Sunday, September 27, 2020
Friday, September 25, 2020
Governor Rolling Blunder is not a fan of the First Amendment, specifically "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".
I doubt whether a Democratic majority in the Texas House -- with a Democrat as Speaker -- is going to be carrying this water, but we'll wait and see.
Among the very few down-ballot Texas Democrats I'll be voting for are my statehouse representative, Shawn Thierry, because she has been an effective warrior against the ignorance of Republicans like Abbott and company.
Texas governor is proposing a felony for anyone who donates funds or on the ground support for BLM protests https://t.co/fvAxD6Wnnl— the effexorcist 💘 (@kahtrinuh) September 24, 2020
Yeahno. Not no but hell no. My tax dollars will not continue to support this nonsense.
This is an incredible story, stop what you're doing and read it, you won't be sorry.— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) September 23, 2020
Texas deployed SWAT, bomb robot, small army of cops to arrest a woman and her dog https://t.co/EVy1Pmdmll by @sethharpesq
DeSantis should be nobody's role model.
As Grits has taken note of, this is another distraction from Abbott's failures in managing the response to the COVID outbreak. Ross Ramsey at the TexTrib, via Progrexas, softpedals the incomprehensibility of the toll of the pandemic on us all. But even a few members of the GOP are breaking away from the governor now.
State Rep. Steve Toth, a Republican from The Woodlands, has withdrawn his support of Gov. Greg Abbott, saying the GOP leader has "betrayed the trust of conservative Texans" over his response to the coronavirus pandemic. #txlege https://t.co/8JL0JJ7Nb0— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) September 23, 2020
And not just on the coronavirus, either.
In a move that I'm told national Republicans privately discouraged, Texas GOP Chairman West, Ag Commissioner Sid Miller, and other conservatives sue @GregAbbott_TX over unliterally extending early voting. They want the Texas Supreme Court to block the extra week #TxLege https://t.co/Fod9HlGYPa— Scott Braddock (@scottbraddock) September 23, 2020
(Braddock meant 'unilaterally', but sometimes typos are best left for their humor value.)
Between Abbott’s mask mandate, the shutdown of bars and the extension of early voting, the governor has received an unusual amount of criticism from his own party.
The suit argues that Abbott, without addressing the state Legislature, does not have the power to extend the voting period. An Abbott spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
“Abbott’s Executive Orders are unprecedented and have had life and death implications, destroyed small businesses and family’s livelihoods, have had a crippling effect on every single community, and now have the ability to impact local, state and national elections,” the lawsuit said.
Notable Republicans listed on the lawsuit include state party Chairman Allen West and state Sens. Pat Fallon and Charles Perry along with state Reps. Cecil Bell Jr., Dan Flynn, Steve Toth and Bill Zedler.
Sen. Donna Campbell, who was originally listed on the suit, wrote a letter to the plaintiffs' attorney stating that she did not agree to be involved in the suit.
Despite the TXGOP's best efforts to restrict voting, many more Texans have signed up to do so than in years past.
A little less than three weeks before early voting is due to begin, Texans are already making election year history, setting new records for voter registration. https://t.co/0GvhTEPkm7— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) September 24, 2020
BREAKING: for the first time ever, some Texans will be able to register to vote ONLINE just in time for the election. For too long, state politicians have fought the inevitable, but today we are one-step closer to a truer democracy. https://t.co/xXSuHj91ZJ— Texas Civil Rights Project (@TXCivilRights) September 24, 2020
And it's a good thing, because as we all know, there are going to be considerable challenges to voting this year. Beyond COVID19 and mail delivery problems, that is.
After Houstonians in several predominantly minority neighborhoods were forced to wait as many as six hours in line to vote in the March primary, new county clerk Chris Hollins is determined to help every eligible resident cast a ballot this fall. https://t.co/3bREuhkbjl— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) September 24, 2020
No straight ticket voting option this year. There are 80 races on Harris County ballot. It could take 15 minutes to cast your vote in total. End result? Potentially a lot of long lines. Really important story by @zachdespart https://t.co/oDTbM6m6ID— Mizanur Rahman (@Mizanur_TX) September 22, 2020
Kuff made an argument for voting in person. Whether you're voting by mail, at an early voting location, or on Election Day, make a plan. Don't wait until the last minute. And don't run afoul of Ken Paxton's Vote Cops, either.
NEW: Gregg County Commissioner among four charged with mail-in voting fraud https://t.co/5e3ENnDa1y— Taylor Goldenstein (@taygoldenstein) September 24, 2020
Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that authorities arrested Gregg County Commissioner Shannon Brown, Marlena Jackson, Charlie Burns, and DeWayne Ward on charges in connection with an organized vote harvesting scheme during the 2018 Democratic primary election.
According to a press release, to increase the pool of ballots needed to swing the race in Brown’s favor, the group targeted young, able-bodied voters to cast ballots by mail by fraudulently claiming the voters were “disabled,” in most cases without the voters’ knowledge or consent.
Here's a few more election-related items worth your time.
There's a lot of hang-wringing among Dems following a couple of national polls that show Biden lagging among Latinos compared to Clinton in 2016. In Texas, Latinx voting experts say polls aren't telling the whole story.https://t.co/BV58G3gXnk— Ashley Lopez (@AshLopezRadio) September 22, 2020
Here's my randomly-sorted social justice headlines and stories.
Why has Texas struggled more than most to keep up with critical covid data? Years of underfunding, a deeply fragmented public health system and reluctance from leaders to modernize its disease reporting process. w/ @caylajharris https://t.co/N9EIdjdRar— Jeremy Blackman (@jblackmanChron) September 23, 2020
New report by @LimanCenter & @CLALeadership shows that TX prisons impose solitary confinement on more people and for longer periods than any other state: ~4,400 people in solitary as of last year, 1,124 of whom had been in isolation for 6 years or longer https://t.co/WqGhvP3c89— Michael Barajas (@michaelsbarajas) September 22, 2020
Car insurance companies are sitting on a $600 million windfall due to reduced driving during the pandemic.— Texas Watch (@TexasWatch) September 23, 2020
Watch Episode Two of our COVID-TX series to learn what you can do to protect your family. #txlege #COVID19 #texashttps://t.co/ZpzrHfyl3S
“The institution of slavery and its control of minorities directly parallels with early American policing. ... This history of race and policing in America is deep, and we do ourselves a disservice by just glossing over it.”https://t.co/NWTeGPcOwa— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) September 24, 2020
Reducing this state grant by $2 million could mean 15 million fewer pounds of produce for food banks – at a time when food insecurity is spiking: https://t.co/wit2813rmb— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) September 22, 2020
Socratic Gadfly notes that PRO Gainesville, the group protesting the Confederate statue and other things in Cooke County, appears to have shot itself in the PR foot, as part of recent updates about events there. Schaefer Edwards for the Houston Press writes that the Nic Chavez case points up the need for both HPD reform and mental health assistance. John Coby at Bay Area Houston calls Fort Bend County Sheriff (now Congressional candidate) Troy Nehls one of the reasons why we need police reform. And Jacob Vaughn at the Dallas Observer covers the latest in the Dallas city budget's cuts to cop overtime, but not much else in the way of actual changes.
Dallas has the largest homeless population in Texas, and advocates say too little funding and focus have gone into helping people out.— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) September 23, 2020
But federal funding for help during the coronavirus is adding millions more to the city’s fight against homelessness. https://t.co/ft0R9HGKKW
With a follow-up to a post in Tuesday's Wrangle:
BREAKING: The Texas Historical Commission DENIES request to relocate the Cenotaph monument in Alamo Plaza. Relocation was part of the Alamo’s $450M redevelopment plan.— Joey Palacios 😷 (@Joeycules) September 22, 2020
The monument would have moved about 500ft to a space in front of the Menger Hotel@TPRNews - @TexasStandard pic.twitter.com/3CYk9cNxJT
"It puts the whole (Alamo restoration) project in jeopardy."
Thanks, Dan Patrick!
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick urged a state agency Tuesday to keep the Cenotaph in its current place on Alamo Plaza, taking aim at San Antonio Councilman Roberto Treviño, who supports moving it: "He wants to change history. He wants to erase history"https://t.co/dZNuFLpzHr @ExpressNews— Joshua Fechter 📝 (@JFreports) September 22, 2020
And here's my Texas environmental collation for the week. It opens with a seven-count thread on Joppa -- more than an environmental abuse tale, and more even than a social injustice story.
this is a story i’ve been working on for more than three years, so i hope you’ll read it. it’s about joppa a community founded by emancipated slaves in 1872. it has been terrorized, neglected, and otherwise abused ever since. [1/7] https://t.co/f76rT2qc6J pic.twitter.com/5palXeiOPD— mark lamster (@marklamster) September 23, 2020
A few weeks ago, the HouChron op-ed board wrote that the TCEQ should be more heaviliy penalizing Texas companies who pollute. Public Citizen follows up.
945 Superfund hot spots across the U.S. are vulnerable to hurricanes, flooding, sea level rise, and wildfires related to climate change. Many of those hazardous-waste sites are already in peril. https://t.co/fw46UqP9Tr— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) September 25, 2020
“For the first time, a supermajor oil company is saying that they do not see a scenario where demand for oil grows much higher than it was last year. And any industry that shrinks or has lower demand for its product is one that's in trouble.” https://t.co/KjpahGUm9c— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) September 21, 2020
The Conversation says that it is time for states that got rich from oil, gas, and coal to figure out what comes next. Texas has a good head start.
There are several examples of successful just transition programs. One is Project QUEST in San Antonio, which highlights the benefits of “local contextualization” and has helped workers transition from manufacturing to health care, information technology and other trades.
And I'll close with these.
I swear, the more I read about South Texas Curandero Don Pedro Jaramillo the more fascinated by his life I become. A nice Texas history read here:https://t.co/0We5J97kxn— Traces of Texas (@TracesofTexas) September 24, 2020
Thursday, September 24, 2020
As surely as the seasons change from summer to fall and the Gulf clears itself of tropical disturbances; as certainly as 2020's hurricanes went from boys and girls to non-binary; and as absolutely as there will be a new Justice seated before November 3rd, will President Donald Trump be "re-elected", in the most marginal definition of the word.
Prove me wrong, Donks. It's all up to you. No amount of scolding is going to get it done. The polls all say you've got this, just as they did right up until the afternoon of November 8, 2016. So this is a "no excuses" election for you. Not that you won't make all of the same stale ones if I'm right.
And I really don't want to be right. I'm just not going to be helping you, or many of your down-ballot candidates, like I have in decades past. That ship has sailed.
As for the Supreme Court: maybe you all can motivate Schumer, et.al. to throw a block. I'm not seeing it, even if Mark Kelly wins and jumps the seniority line, because of Mitt now. Amy Coney Barrett (or Barbara Lagoa, or whomever) will have ordered the drapes for her new office by then, her robes having come back from the tailors. Seat on the bench adjusted and ready to cast her vote on approving the incumbent president's legal pleading for "election tampering", or vote "fraud", or whatever. Negotiations are open for a third term. A second one IMHO is no longer in question.
For 6 years Harry Reid and the Democrats had the majority with Obama and had the worst judicial appointment rate in modern presidential history because McConnell and THE MINORITY party blocked and obstructed everything.— citizen uprising (@cit_uprising) September 23, 2020
The Dems CAN STOP THIS, but they don't want to. Period https://t.co/jhzysmjMgf
Okay...so what’s the plan? The man has told us he won’t leave peacefully, he is stacking the court with Justices he knows will rule in his favor, and he is talking about tossing ballots. What is the plan? https://t.co/3DdUqF5cKS— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) September 24, 2020
You could use it as a learning experience in how to wield power once you get it back. Maybe not sign off on Trump's judges or undeclared wars, to start. Sure sounds like anything more radical than that -- like changing the crusty rules of the upper chamber -- are out of your reach.
FEINSTEIN on ending filibuster and expanding SCOTUS: “I don't believe in doing that. I think the filibuster serves a purpose. It is not often used, it's often less used now than when I first came, and I think it's part of the Senate that differentiates itself.” ht @DanielPFlatley— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 21, 2020
One thing I would suggest not doing is giving any more money to Bitch McConnell's opponent.
Stop giving McGrath money, she's losing by double digits. Also stop saying McConnell will win bc people in KY are dumb. There is mass voter disenfranchisement and people from outside KY donated tons of $ so McGrath could (barely) beat a better candidate. Other races can be won. https://t.co/fB1SvYUx4W— Kate Willett (@katewillett) September 19, 2020
Personally I would have donated if Charles Booker had won the KY D primary. And I'm voting for David Collins here in Deep-In-The-Hearta, since he's back on my ballot. Consider the rest of Kate Willett and Ryan Grim's advice on a case-by-case basis if you've got political cash to burn.
And rank Lisa Savage first if you live in Maine. Sara Gideon is still going to win, and Susan Collins is still going to lose. So is Cory Gardner in Colorado. The other seats Democrats ought to capture are North Carolina (Thom Tillis, R inc. versus Cal Cunningham); Montana (Steve Daines, R inc. versus Steve Bullock); Iowa (Joni Ernst, R inc. versus Theresa Greenfield) and Georgia's regularly scheduled US Senate election (David Perdue, R inc. versus Jon Ossoff). It's a longer shot, but if a blue wave has been underestimated, the Donks could sweep out Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, replacing him with Jaime Harrison. But they will lose Alabama's Doug Jones to Auburn's Tommy Tuberville. The GA special election, Kansas, and yes, Texas, are out of reach.
But the ones I've predicted are enough to give Donks a 53-47 margin, which is what Moscow Bitch has been working with, and if I'm also wrong about Trump being re-elected then it's a new blue day in Washington. They can do whatever they want.
Just don't forget that Joe Biden wants to work with Republicans because America needs the GOP. That's why I #ListenToBernie.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
While there are things to be sad about and things to be mad about, this round-up of the best of the left of, about, and from around our Great State chooses a few things to celebrate.
To mark today as National Voter Registration Day, as well as to highlight the ongoing Hispanic Heritage Month ...
While other groups struggle to register Latino voters, @votolatino has now registered 300,000 voters nationwide, including more than 166,000 in Texas. 77% are between 18 & 39. Read more in this report from @imegarcia in @dallasnews https://t.co/jnfUxEaDPc— James Barragán 🌟 (@James_Barragan) September 21, 2020
This month, Houston Public Media is celebrating the city's Latino icons. Dorothy Caram is a lifelong advocate for Latino culture and education. https://t.co/2B17Xw6dH2— Houston Public Media (@HoustonPubMedia) September 18, 2020
Every Houston City Council District is a Latino district. Hispanic Heritage Month must reflect that this year. That is why Nuestra Palabra is organizing The Ultimate Hispanic Heritage Month. And we need your help. #UHHM https://t.co/uxsftG4DMQ pic.twitter.com/JX4xADVfkS— Tony Diaz (@Librotraficante) September 18, 2020
There are at least 25 restaurants on board so far including La Fisheria, La Pupusa Loka, La Vina Cuban, Los Ranchitos, Tony's Tex-Mex, La Calle Tacos Downtown, Tropical's Restaurant and Sweets by Belen. #HouNews #LatinRestaurantWeeks https://t.co/tmpI0dj9gI— Forever in debt to your priceless advice. (@PDiddie) September 18, 2020
And before moving on to politics, some more good food news.
Whoa. Pappas brothers exploring acquisition of Luby's https://t.co/BgmuCSvN0A— Alison Cook (@alisoncook) September 21, 2020
The sunny side for Democrats:
Texas Average Lead On September 20:— Polling USA (@USA_Polling) September 20, 2020
2004: Bush +21
2008: McCain +9
2012: Romney +14
2016: Trump +10.2
2020: Trump +1.1
Just updated the @txpolproject Texas 2020 Presidential Poll Tracker with results from @CBSNews Battleground Tracker Texas result: @RealdonaldTrump 48%, @JoeBiden 46%. n=1140 LV, moe +/- 3.5%.— Jim Henson (@jamesrhenson) September 20, 2020
Also, in #Txsen: @JohnCornyn 46%, @mjhegar 41% https://t.co/xGXWJ7tSt6 #txlege #tx2020 pic.twitter.com/qtVPdeMmwI
And for Greens:
Youtube link:https://t.co/B3H1hx4u4m— Green Party of Texas (@TXGreens) September 18, 2020
Bad news for Republicans, though.
NRCC cancels $2 million in advertising in Houston for the last two weeks of the campaign: https://t.co/5dUUDD6kKe— Abby Livingston (@TexasTribAbby) September 18, 2020
Much more stupid from Coronavirus Cornyn later.
New: @ShelleyLuther has received a $1 million loan from West Texas megadonor, @timdunntexas, in her special election bid for #SD30. The field features 5 other candidates, including State Rep. @DrewSpringer. #txlege https://t.co/PJVAvmRNkh— Brad Johnson (@bradj_TX) September 18, 2020
Springer, generally viewed in this jungle primary as Luther's main Republican competition, is in quarantine after his wife tested positive for COVID.
Video: Sen @FallonForTexas and rebel salon owner @ShelleyLuther got into a heated argument about her qualifications to be elected senator at a campaign event in Grayson County this weekend https://t.co/KXNyzbDYlD #txlege— Scott Braddock (@scottbraddock) September 20, 2020
"Can we get back to the good news, PDid?" Yes we can.
"Following Texas politics via social media can be dangerous to your mental health," writes @evan7257.— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) September 17, 2020
"Whenever I feel the brain worms coming on, however, I just close my eyes and let loose with my new mantra: build the Ike Dike." https://t.co/NW2fzpfzsU
Cities have spent three decades criminalizing homelessness. Last year, Austin bucked the trend—and sparked a firestorm that still hasn’t gone out. https://t.co/bQH2xtagRe— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) September 22, 2020
New Houston Botanic Garden a dazzling, natural attraction https://t.co/yUBfCBjRqr— Alison Cook (@alisoncook) September 18, 2020
And while I have plenty of the regular reporting for another Wrangle later in the week -- you know, cops and Republicans behaving badly, environmental and criminal justice postings -- I'll close today with these.
Chunk of 61st pier that broke off Sunday night from #TropicalStormBeta has now ended up along the beach a few blocks away & now serves as a photo opp! People have been coming by all evening since the rain stopped to take pictures with it. @FOX26Houston pic.twitter.com/DddAdThHxv— Natalie Hee FOX 26 (@NatalieHee) September 22, 2020
Taken in 1866, one of the oldest photos of Texas you'll see and a most remarkable historical moment in time!https://t.co/sPlKLDzSkj— Traces of Texas (@TracesofTexas) September 18, 2020