Texas surpasses 500,000 COVID-19 cases https://t.co/lVCalcCmAO— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) August 10, 2020
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner blames his city's out-of-control coronavirus outbreak on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to strip away his authority to deal with the pandemic.
Coronavirus cases skyrocketed in Houston in June and July -- reflecting a statewide trend -- after Abbott reopened the state's economy on May 1, ending one of the nation's shortest stay-home orders. And the governor issued executive orders prohibiting local officials from mandating masks and imposing fines for not complying.
In mid-June, Turner and several other Texas mayors joined forces to request that Abbott allow them to issue face mask mandates. The governor initially dismissed the idea; it took him two additional weeks to issue his own statewide mask-wearing order.
The mayor noted that more Houstonians contracted and died of coronavirus in July than in March, April, May, and June combined.
"That did not have to be," he said.
The first trials of a vaccine are now under way in Houston. According to this report, they are still in need of (paid) volunteers.
Vox details how and why the coronavirus devastated the RGV. And Socratic Gadfly read the TXGOP tea leaves and offered some early thoughts as to whether Greg Abbott will be primaried in 2022, and if so, by whom?
More stories about the fallout of COVID-19 ...
Since the new coronavirus first surfaced in China last year, the number of reports of racist verbal threats and harassment targeting Asians in the U.S. has been on the rise.— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) August 5, 2020
Public health officials and police alike are starting to track it. https://t.co/jmPv22UXk3
During the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people screening themselves for anxiety or depression has skyrocketed. https://t.co/7wzt0gxDa6— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) August 6, 2020
Community advocates in Houston’s Fifth Ward say they feel overwhelmed at the prospect of recovering from another storm like Hurricane Harvey during the pandemic. https://t.co/euU16FKnet— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) August 8, 2020
Space City Weather looks at what is now forecast to be a more active hurricane season.
Around 50 cars full of teachers caravanned to San Antonio ISD headquarters to protest what they said is a rush to reopen schools. https://t.co/jU3NTozjsG— San Antonio Current (@SAcurrent) August 3, 2020
Zeph Capo, writing for Reform Austin, argues against reopening schools without a robust plan to keep everyone safe.
I have something of a backlog of criminal justice links to post next. Grits for Breakfast has been busy as always, with the report first filed by the Austin Chronicle on that city's 'Citizen Spying Program' and a test drive of the state's Criminal Court 'data dashboard'. The San Antonio Report, formerly the Rivard Report, reviews Doug J.Swanson's book Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers.
Two thirds of the 745,000 people jailed on any given day are pretrial detainees. That means the majority of people in local jails likely meet the qualifications to vote. Yet there are numerous hurdles to voting from jail.https://t.co/tUDrWNWGhX— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) August 7, 2020
A man who pointed a sniper rifle at crowds during a counter protest to a Black Lives Matter protest of a confederate statue in Weatherford, Texas, last month was arrested by the Parker County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday: https://t.co/zlTFQQKolw #txlege pic.twitter.com/rxfdozwCzU— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) August 5, 2020
And just a couple of environmental updates: the Midland Reporter-Telegram says that the Texas Railroad Commission is soliciting public comment on flaring rule changes. Keith Schneider at Circle of Blue warns that Texas and its developers always forget about drought during rainy times.
Linking police power and the fossil fuel industry. About SA's own Valero: "Valero has a board seat on the Corpus Christi Police Foundation’s board of directors, and it is a sponsor of the Houston Police Department’s Mounted Patrol." https://t.co/jgWNz6pXft— Sierra Club Alamo (@SierraClubAlamo) August 3, 2020
Patagonia grantee @txenvironment is hosting their 10th Annual Trash Makeover Challenge virtually on August 29th. Tune in to enjoy this unique fashion show and get involved in their efforts to reduce pollution across Texas.— Patagonia (@patagonia) August 5, 2020
I saved politics and election news for last.
“In the op-eds, the Arlington Republican advocates for public executions, criticizes ‘Black English,’ known as Ebonics, and requests federal protection for white males.”— Progress Texas (@ProgressTX) August 5, 2020
Apparently this is the best the Texas GOP has to offer. It’s time to #TurnTexasBlue!https://t.co/Z9vzfl3Olf
Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper) wins vote of CD4 executive committee on the first ballot, will replace former U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath) as the Republican nominee. This will trigger a special election for the remaining 2 years of Fallon's state Senate term. #txlege https://t.co/lUiAbjbI1O— Texas Election Source (@TXElects) August 8, 2020
TXElects has a hypothesis about how the pandemic might affect the college vote.
One of the impacts COVID-19 may have on the general election is a potentially significant drop in turnout among college students. University of Texas interim president Jay Hartzell estimated roughly 40%-50% of the student body has opted for an online-only fall semester. While that does not necessarily mean they are not in Austin, or will not vote, it likely means far fewer of them will vote relative to two years ago.
Lower college-age turnout could impact close races across Texas, including potentially some at the statewide level. Younger voters tend to favor Democrats. Fewer of them voting likely hurts Democratic candidates.
For example, in 2018, we calculated that Rep. Erin Zwiener’s (D-Driftwood) margin in the eight precincts including and immediately adjacent to Texas State Univ. put her over the top. She lost the rest of the district.
The Texas Politics Project has the state presidential polls collated all in one place. Michael Li shares a few charts to illustrate why the Lone Star State is finally competitive this year.
The combination of @AlexSamuelsx5's account from a "Black Voices for Trump" event and @jonathanvswan 's @Axios/@HBO Trump interview underlines polling on Black attitudes re: Trump in Texas.— Jim Henson (@jamesrhenson) August 10, 2020
This +more data points from the week in Texas politics: https://t.co/EWtVBYYrQi #txlege pic.twitter.com/QFVUKeFdsD
Progressives Everywhere writes about Sharon Hirsch in HD-66 and her plans to unseat Tea Party Republican Matt Shaheen. Kuff did an interview with Sherrie Matula of the Sisters United Alliance, a grassroots effort to turn out low-propensity Democratic female voters. Dos Centavos says that if Dems want to run up the score with Latino votes, they must sell the Biden Latino plan too, instead of just pointing fingers at Trump's racism. Ray Levy-Uyeda at In These Times profiles the Latinx activist group Mijente, which seems to have the opposite POV of Stace. And Maria Teresa Kumar also writes about Biden's Latino/a problems and offers advice on how he can fix it.
PDiddie at Brains and Eggs just laughs at Donkeys who are cringing inside about being stuck with Biden, who gaffes every time he opens his mouth and can't really decide on a running mate. Hey, you fucked around; now you're finding out. And state Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio (HD-122) opined in the SAEN that it is is time to abolish the two-party system (!!).
In the aftermath of the explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, James the History Teacher re-tells the story of the 1947 Texas City disaster, caused by improper storage and safeguarding of the same kind of fertilizer material. And Dan Solomon at Texas Monthly introduces us to Curbside Larry, the library hero we didn't know we needed.
At the very bottom of Saturday's week-ending Wrangle, Michael Barnes mentioned that there was, indeed, a basement in the Alamo. In celebration of the 35th anniversary of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure", News4SanAntonio followed Paul Reubens as he toured it. No bike was found, though.
Amazing historical photograph showing the moving of a hotel from Dimmitt to Plainview, a distance of 45 miles, in 1893. It was taken at the end of that journey. The effort was abetted by eight wagons and 32 horses. Awesomely, there is another hotel in the photo. pic.twitter.com/P7V8Sfiy5G— Traces of Texas (@TracesofTexas) August 7, 2020