Saturday, May 15, 2021

RIP to Bills Good and Bad Wrangle *updated

That would be "rest in peace" to the good and "rest in pieces" to the bad.

More good, bad, and ugly:

And then there are the zombie bills.

(I planned on a longer post but Blogger ate this one's updates twice, so this is all until I have some assurance that I won't be rebuilding it a third time.)

New Mexico Republicans are convening in Amarillo this weekend to dodge the Enchanted State's stricter COVID protocols.  And the CDC has beaten Greg Abbott and everybody else to the punch -- I'll call it Kool-Aid -- on ending the mask mandate.

I think this is remarkably foolish.  I'll go on wearing my mask despite having gotten my two Moderna shots, probably for the rest of my life when I'm out in public.  If for no other reason ... because Texas is full of idiots and assholes.

Here's my post on the Texas Green Party's state meeting in June.  And here's the soothers to close.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Texas Greens come together next month

In cyberspace.

Registration is now open for the GPTX Annual State Meeting, to be held online, June 26th & 27th. Individuals wishing to attend as Delegates must register by June 1.

Meeting business will include election of officers as well as Bylaw & Platform amendments. Individuals wishing to affect the direction of Green Party efforts in Texas should be sure not to miss this important meeting!

GPTX is seeking candidates for the 2022 general election, and will host a prospective candidate information event on August 28th. Candidate filing will take place November - December 2021, so prospective candidates are encouraged to begin preparing their campaigns now for 2022.

Texas appears poised to enact SB 2093, which will entrench charging convention-nominating party candidates a primary filing fee upon application to run, before they are certain of winning the GPTX nomination, and of course still omitted from the state-run primary. Most voters do not understand that the reason they don't see Greens during the primary in Texas is because minor parties are not permitted to participate in it. They are instead relegated to a do-it-yourself convention process which must conform to antiquated rules, and now to be paying a fee to reimburse the state for a process in which they can't participate. No matter that this new fee provision was under injunction during the last week of the 2019 filing period, and is still in question as a subject of pending litigation; Texas is set to double-down on the requirement in the 2022 election cycle, so Green candidates should plan for it.

The Green Party presently has ballot access in Texas through 2026. That means we need candidates who subscribe to our platform to step up and carry our message to the public, win office, and implement change.

GPTX can offer little beyond a path to the general election ballot line.

We need Greens across Texas to build their own local groups & help us fill out all of the things we'd like to see the party doing.

While political rhetoric has shifted considerably in the last decade, we still have not seen substantial policy changing the course of US empire. Maintaining and building Green Party political pressure remains an imperative for putting people, peace, and planet over profit. While the duopoly parties maintain a stranglehold on ballot access and the electoral process, Greens will not give up the struggle to call out and break this unconstitutional capture of our supposed democracy.

I've been promoting Delilah for Texas in these pixels for quite some time now.

I just can't with Texas Democrats any more, y'all.  Here's some of the most recent reasons why.

Poor Jana Sanchez.  I feel like she knew this well in advance of being shut out of the runoff for TX-6 but kept it quiet, hoping she could still eke her way in.  She could not, thus becoming the latest self-fulfilling prophecy of 'loser' by the king- and queenmakers at the DCCC.

Shell has some bad advice for those of you living in the district, which I wouldn't take if I lived up there.

I love Michelle and her blog, but this is just ... no.  Not no but HELL no.  "Not Trump's candidate" is not a good enough reason to vote for Jake Ellzey.  And regarding reasons: there's obviously a very good one why Sanchez didn't make the runoff beyond the DCCC ignoring her.  And there isn't a single good one for voting for the allegedly less-evil Republican.  No measurable amount of harm reduction. Pick another battle.

And I've blogged plenty about the flea-bitten Blue Dogs in the Lege.

Don't get me wrong; I'm glad the Bexar County Donks did what they did, but that's not going to change a thing.  Democrats in and around the Alamo City are riven with internal strife like nowhere else in the state, and the Bexar County Greens have the strongest Lone Star chapter as a result.

Unfortunately, we all know that's not saying a whole hell of a lot, but it is what it is: the GPTX needs new blood itself, and is ripe for changes in leadership.  And the plain truth is spoken above in the excerpt; unless somebody like me hits the Powerball and can suddenly fund GPTX candidates, infrastructure, etc. then your mission, should you choose to accept it ...

... is going to be more of an "All By Myself" ride than an "All for One and One for All" quest.

Or you can keep voting blue for another 25 years, see if something changes.

The work stands ready for the able-handed. You in?

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Two-fer Tuesday Round-up from Far Left Texas

Twenty-twenty two is warming up as summer approaches and dreams of electoral sugarplums dance in a few heads.  Greg Abbott draws his first -- far from the last -- far-right primary challenger.

If the MAGAts don't split their vote among other freak-right foes with delusions of grandeur, then their strike at the king might not miss.  On the other hand, Scott Braddock observes that it will likely come down to a runoff.

I'll repeat my assertion that Governor Wheels only loses in 2022 to a Trumpist.  I doubt whether that will be Huffines, but there are plenty of other loonies in the bin with better bonafides and fewer marbles.  Maybe even somebody with more money than Huffines, for that matter.

Which is also the reason why I encouraged Progress Texas to stand up for their principles instead of being a flack for the Donkey nominee again.

Fat chance, I know.

The other candidate taking a leap yesterday is a centrist Democrat who wants to replace Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson in Congress.

Hamilton joins one of the best progressive Democrats in the country, already declared for this race but as usual not getting the free corporate media coverage.  I wonder why (not really; I know why, and have for a while now).

And Jacob Vaughn at the Dallas Observer has the Big D city council races you might want to know about.  It was kinda nice to lead off this post with something besides shitty Lege conduct, although they did not absolve themselves yesterday.

One big victory.

Progrexas links to the TexTrib's story about an alliance of state oil and environmental interests that blocked a bill that would've given a West Texas nuclear waste company a break on their fees.  And Luke Metzger for Environment Texas is counting down the days (25) left in the regular session with an update on where his organization's priorities lie.

I haven't posted anything about COVID in a long time, and all the links I've been saving have gone stale.  This story, below, is of concern for the most obvious of reasons: it's one thing to decide not to wear a mask or not get a shot; it's quite something else to attack the doctors who are safe-guarding the rest of us.

A spot of good news:

Topic de jour in The Big Greasy yesterday was the large Bengal on the loose in west Houston.  The story quickly got much weirder.

Just go read Miya Shay's other tweets.

Topical, in light of what is happening in Gaza.

Leftist and labor activists have been busy.

And the Screwston Anti-Fascist Committee kept George Floyd's crypt safe from potential vandals over the weekend.

Reid Hopkins, one of Jim Henley's former students, wrote a touching remembrance of his former teacher for the Houston Press.

Closing out today with one art and one lit tweet, courtesy Texas Monthly.

Monday, May 10, 2021

"I Can Almost See Sine Die" Wrangle

A tumultuous week last.

"The most conservative 48 hours in Texas history", Bud Kennedy at the Startlegram wrote.  And it still wasn't good enough for them.

At least Texas Democrats can muster a protest on the south steps of the Capitol, amirite?

Saturday was local and consent calendar day, and the mood was ...

Find the rare Texas Republican that gets the Pink Floyd reference.

Since these beans were hashed, smothered, fried and refried last week, I'll move on to some topics neglected; namely election and politics news developments.

The biggest enchilada left on the buffet for the Donks is the mayor's seat in Fort Worth.

In this Wrangle last week I posted that Austin had approved ranked choice voting for their city elections.  D Magazine says it's time for Dallas to do the same.  (Hey, Houston? San Antonio? Bueller?)

Serving notice to Joe Biden on his failures in South Texas are John-Michael Torres of La Unión, Norma Herrera of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, and Roberto Lopez of the Texas Civil Rights Project, writing in the Rio Grande Guardian.  Nathan Newman in The Week points to a lifeline that the president could throw to El Paso and other blue cities in red states.

El Paso is being squeezed.

In 2019, the Texas state legislature passed SB2, which limits property tax increases to 3.5 percent per year. Meanwhile most of the city's budget is based on largely unfunded state mandates. And where the state in 2008 funded 45 percent of local education costs, that's been reduced to just 39 percent today.

So even before the COVID-19 crisis hit, "the wiggle room we have to spend on projects we think are important becomes smaller and smaller," observes El Paso County Commissioner David Stout.

A city similar in size to Boston and Washington, D.C., El Paso is politically a blue triangle at the far end of a sea of red in West Texas -- and Stout thinks politics plays a big role in the increasing limits on local spending: "The state legislature wants to stop local progressive policies from being put in place."


Luckily for the residents of these localities, there's new hope for an escape. President Biden's American Rescue Plan and the revival of Congressional earmarks are giving local cities, particularly in red states, the first chance in a generation to creatively plan new local projects to demonstrate the possibilities of progressive government.

El Paso's Stout says since Texas "has preempted us so much and taken over our budget, the only way we can fund anything else is through money coming from the federal government."

Read on.  And the H-Town firefighters whipped Sylvester Turner again.  Long past time to throw in the towel and pay the men and women, Mr. Mayor.

Criminal and social justice and injustice news:

Which member of the Supreme Court said that racism is over in America?  I forget his name -- I think it rhymes with Juan Boberts -- but I hear he's supposed to be the swing moderate vote now.  He's probably not on Twitter anyway.

*heavy sigh*

How about some environmental updates?

Rachel Meidl at the Center for Energy Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute, writing in the HouChron, thinks that the Bayou City can become a leader in the circular plastics economySpace City Weather explains Houston's new climate normals.

Elon Musk is taking over both South Texas and Austin.

The RGV is putting up some resistance.

And the Austin Chronicle lampooned Musk last month.

Proclaiming "an end to a century's worth of frustration and a great day for the schoolchildren of Texas," Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law today (Thursday, April 1) Senate Bill 3236, authorizing the purchase of the entire city of Austin, excepting the Capitol Complex and University of Texas campus, by area Technoking Elon Musk, henceforth to also hold the title of "Iron Mayor."

That's a good one to transition to the remaining soother.  I'll have more as the Lege works their, uh, magic this week.