Monday, August 27, 2018

The Weekly Wrangle

Reminiscences were the theme of the week, as Texas Progressive Alliance bloggers and news sources looked back at Hurricane Harvey, John McCain, and other people and events in the week that was.

Last Tuesday's conviction of Paul Manafort and guilty plea by Michael Cohen -- which occurred within minutes of each other -- was a turning point for the Trump presidency, and both items were briefly summarized by Somervell County Salon.

Socratic Gadfly remembers Senator Maverick (not fondly, either).

#Harvey1YearLater was an opportunity for many Houstonians to contribute their stories to the narrative of the region's most destructive storm in over a century.  Following the successful bond election on Saturday, the Houston Chronicle followed up with a report indicating that the county still hasn't decided how to fix its flood infrastructure.  The Texas Tribune collected its reporting all in one place for a compendium of good reading.  The AP, via Talking Points Memo, noted the chutzpah of Big Oil recommending taxpayers foot the billion-dollar bill for the Texas Gulf coastal spine, to protect their Southeast Texas refinery and chemical plant infrastructure from the next mega-hurricane (caused by climate change, that they caused).

Grist focused on Meyerland's recovery, while Offcite went to a couple of Houston's poorest neighborhoods, Kashmere and Trinity Gardens, to gauge the rehabilitation efforts.

Meanwhile, as developers began building new homes in the floodplain (an abandoned golf course in west Houston), Mayor Sylvester Turner and city council's reaction was ... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The neoliberal storm rages on in the Bayou City, as Harvey's damage did absolutely nothing to change the way bidness goes down at City Hall between the developers and the Democrats.

In some cases, MUDs directly lied to residents about whether their housing units were located in the region’s floodplains. In others, they directly disfigured water flow patterns of the land, opening it to more hazardous flooding against the complaints of residents.

And yet Houston developers have continued to push this privatized model, arguing that without MUDs, developers would have to pay for utilities with their own capital, likely resulting in poor service provision — if not cuts altogether.

The local debate about MUDs reflects the confidence of Houston’s developers and the weakness of the opposition, both in the council and outside of it. This balance of forces allowed real-estate capitalists to transform a statement about privatization’s fundamental insolvency into an argument for its acceleration.

In election news, Beto O'Rourke is quickly becoming a cult of personality for Democrats, not just in Texas but across the country.  The Sulphur Springs News-Telegram opined about "Havana Ted McCarthy Cruz and Robert Francis Kennedy O'Rourke" playing debate chickenSocratic Gadfly took down the Buzzfeed puff piece about Beto.  And Off the Kuff took a look at the latest Senate race poll and compared O'Rourke's numbers to those of Lupe Valdez.

The Dallas News reported that Valdez's missing pistol was located exactly where it should have been: in the Dallas County Sheriff's Department property room.  It took a second audit to locate it.

The madness of Dan Patrick was on full public display, as our state's lite governor went on Fox to rage at CNN and MSNBC for the death of Mollie Tibbetts, and challenged Geraldo Rivera -- and not Mike Collier, his actual November election opponent -- to a debate.

Doyin Oyeniyi at Texas Monthly has the latest on Reality Winner, sentenced to five years and three months in prison for leaking classified information.

Winner is a Kingsville native who joined the Air Force after graduating high school. During her time in the military, Winner worked as a linguist and translator in Arabic and Farsi with the National Security Administration in Fort Meade, Maryland. She later left the military and moved to Augusta, Georgia where she worked as a contractor translating Farsi for the NSA. It was while contracting in 2017 that she printed out and mailed a classified document regarding Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 election.


Winner’s defense requested that she serve her sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, a federal prison in Fort Worth, where she can get treatment for her bulimia and be closer to her family in Kingsville. On Thursday, Judge J. Randall Hall Judge agreed to make the recommendation to the Federal Bureau of Prisons for Winner that she be detained in Texas. 

Leif Reigstad at TM also has another update on Amazon's HQ2, showing Dallas and Austin as frontrunners for the coveted economic prize.  Austin isn't all that thrilled about it.

Fracking is using up already-scarce water in the Permian Basin, says Courthouse News.  The coming underground water war between Mexico and the US is part of the focus of the Texas Observer's nine-part series, "Shallow Waters".

David Collins riffed off of Quetzal Cáceres's post at Black Agenda Report about fauxgressives and fauxcialists.

Neil at You Must Act Right Now was witness to an act of civil disobedience at the proposed location of the baby jail/family detention jail in Houston.

The Rag Blog's Paul Buhle eulogized a pair of global peace leaders, Uri Avnery and David McReynolds.

And Harry Hamid wrote about his annual near-death experience.

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