Monday, October 21, 2019

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance sends condolences to all who are mourning the untimely passing of Congressman Elijah Cummings.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings will lie in state in National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, ahead of a funeral service.

There will be a public viewing in the two-story chamber following a formal ceremony for members of Congress, the Cummings family and invited guests on Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced.

In this week's edition of the best of the left from around and about Texas, Trump held a rally in Dallas, while Beto countered it with one of his own.

“Texas is not in play,” he said to raucous chants of 'four more years' from a packed crowd of supporters at the American Airlines Center. “Donald Trump is not going to lose Texas; I can tell you that.”

Unsurprisingly, O’Rourke had a different assessment on Texas in 2020, telling supporters that the work they did in his near-miss U.S. Senate race last year put the state in play.

“You ensured that the 38 Electoral College votes here in Texas can be won and can put Donald Trump away forever,” O’Rourke said.

Addressing a smaller crowd at an counter-rally in Grand Prairie, O’Rourke called on Texans to reject the “false bullshit fear of Donald Trump,” especially when it comes to immigration and the rhetoric that fueled the deadly August shooting in his hometown of El Paso.

Recent polling, as well as the words of the speaker of the Texas House -- on a clandestine tape recording finally released this past week -- suggests that Beto is right and Trump is wrong.  And it wouldn't be a Trump rally without something stupid said by Trump.

Trump's ignorance notwithstanding, the 'Ike Dike' is generating concerns about its expense as well as well as its functionality, as the Chron reported.

Circling back, Scott Henson at Grits -- no partisan, he -- ties two things together.

Regarding l'affaire Bonnengate, the matter that has had all of Austin's Lege watchers a-Twitter for weeks now ... the boil was lanced and statehouse Republicans who would rather install a Freedom Caucus fire-and-brimstoner in 2021 were finally allowed to erupt in righteous indignation.  Their Democratic counterparts opted to keep their powder dry for now.

Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer considered the effect of the tape on the speaker's political future.  Kuff rounded up reactions to Bonnghazi.  Matt Goodman at D Magazine dug into the hatred expressed towards cities and counties by Bonnen, and the Rivard Report compared him to his predecessor, Joe Straus, and found him lacking.

In the aftermath of last week's Democratic presidential debate -- PDiddie at Brains and Eggs scored the winners, losers, wieners, and loosers -- the two favorite sons of the Lone Star State aren't faring particularly well.  SocraticGadfly blogged about Beto (aka Bob on a Knob) O'Rourke batting 0-2 on recent constitutional issues.  And poor Julian Castro is threatening to drop out again if he can't raise enough money -- a lot of money, actually -- by the end of the month.

Dos Centavos explained his previously-presented Stace Slate for H-Town's elections.  And PDiddie also posted his P Slate (for mayor and at large council races, with more to come).

Some environmental news:

And in social justice (or the lack thereof) headlines ...

And a Texas federal judge ruled that medical doctors could refuse care to transgenders as a violation of their religious freedom, striking down part of Obamacare in the process.

Judge Reed O’Connor in the Northern District of Texas vacated an Obama-era regulation that prohibited insurers and providers who receive federal money from denying treatment or coverage to anyone based on sex, gender identity or termination of pregnancy.

It also required doctors and hospitals to provide “medically necessary” services to transgender individuals as long as those services were the same ones provided to other patients.

O’Connor, the same judge who last year ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, said the rule violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

His ruling is likely to be appealed.

TransGriot celebrated the opening of an LGBTQ center at Prairie View A&M.

Spanish language media pioneer Emilio Nicolás -- he founded what has grown into Univision -- passed away earlier this month.  Services are this afternoon.

“His contributions go beyond even just Spanish language media,” said Luís Patiño, his former understudy at Univision San Antonio and now the president and general manager at Univision Los Angeles. “I think his contributions for the Hispanic community, in general, are probably understated in most cases. People need to realize how important it was in the 1950s -- when in most places in South Texas you weren’t even allowed to speak Spanish -- that he and his partners went out of their way to create the first Spanish radio broadcast station.

Finally, some lighter fare.

And a new biography of Janis Joplin by Holly George-Warren, reviewed by Karl Richter at the Texas Observer, explores the iconic singer's 50-year legacy.

The P slate

Ahead of today's usual TPA Wrangle, here's my suggestions for Houston's municipal elections, with early voting opening this morning.  It's worth noting that Clerk Trautman has expanded these hours for the working class.

For Mayor: Sue Lovell

This seems like a safe protest vote in light of yesterday's UH polling, which reveals Mayor Sly almost within reach of being re-elected without a runoff.

The poll, published on the eve of early voting, shows Turner with 43.5 percent support among likely voters, followed by lawyer and businessman Tony Buzbee at 23.4 percent. Bill King, Turner’s 2015 runoff opponent, trails with 7.8 percent, while 6.8 percent of voters said they support Councilman Dwight Boykins.

Turner's numbers have strengthened since the last survey was taken.

Lots more of this Tweet thread for you crosstabs kind of people.  Buzbee's millions spent on media has them rooting for a runoff for sure.

Way back here I was considering casting my ballot for Derrick Broze, whose website is ... entertaining, to say the least.  But I cannot in good conscience vote for someone who was convicted of felony meth possession because he violated parole.  That is supposed to make him and others ineligible for the ballot, but somebody at City Hall apparently isn't doing their job.  Another thing for me to hold against Turner, I suppose.  If the mayor gets pushed into a runoff with Buzbee, I'll vote for him, but not under any other circumstance.

For At Large 1:  Raj Salhotra

Everybody likes him, so let's get Mike Knox outta there.  Still, with all the others bidding this is probably a runoff, and if Democrats fracture the vote too much -- a typical mistake for them -- Knox could ease his way back around the horseshoe.

For At Large 2:  David Robinson

Conservative pastor Willie Davis took him to a runoff last time, but Griff and the others may make it possible for Robinson to avoid that this go-around.

For At Large 3:  Marcel McClinton

The young activist gets the nod over Janaeya Carmouche from me because of all of his tribulations, and because I don't have any use for age-related discrimination.  (John Coby sucks; that's why his blog no longer appears here).

For At Large 4:  Nick Hellyar

I wouldn't have predicted Hellyar would be the liberal favorite last month.  I thought Bill Baldwin, the deep-pocketed, well-connected fellow Realtor would have swamped him.  But Baldwin hasn't raised (or contributed) much money to his own campaign, leaving me to wonder if he isn't quietly conceding the race to his earnest, well-qualified, and (frankly, overlapping demographical) challenger.  Hellyar picked up the Chron's endorsement, making a good impression on them.  Dr. Leticia Plummer may still get enough votes to put Nick into a runoff with Nepotism Dolcefino despite the latter's questionable residency qualification.

For At Large 5:  Ashton P. Woods

My favorite candidate this cycle.  I much prefer radical activists over establishment robots like Sallie Alcorn, who is probably favored to win here, but either would be a vast improvement over Jack "You don't Die from the Flu" Christie.

Dislodging or blocking these conservatives from Council goes a long way to a better city.  Let's hope those suburbs and exurbs have purpled up, like the analysts keep telling us.

I've got the alphabet council races, state constitutional amendments, and more coming.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Wieners and loosers

Going short today because recent posts have run a little long.  Seriously; as short as I could.

-- Bernie won.  Bigly.  Even his detractors at Daily Kos approve of the Unclogged, Stented Bern (as reflected in the comments).  A calmer, quieter, yet still smoldering and intense Bern got after Trump, made his case for the GND and M4A, and was applauded by his peers after thanking them for their well wishes.  Then at the conclusion of the debate, the endorsement of the cycle broke.  Not Bill O'Reilly's, either.

That's called momentum.

-- Warren held serve for the most part, but everybody thinks she needs to a) actually have a healthcare plan, and b) defend a little better whatever it is she supports at the moment.

Some talking heads say she won because she survived.  Others say not so much.  Meh.

I did enjoy watching her bust Biden's balls, though ...

-- Biden wasn't the biggest loser, but only because there were two other nasty neoliberals trying to steal his eroding base of voters.

Biden’s most aggressive moment in the debate was his most cringeworthy. After he claimed that he was the only person on the stage who’d gotten big things done, Warren noted that she had ushered in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the first regulatory agency built in a generation, and did so over the fierce objections of Wall Street. Biden responded by claiming loudly that he had gone to the Senate and secured votes for it. That claim is dubious at best; Biden had no public presence in the debate over the CFPB and people involved with the fight over it say he did little to nothing behind the scenes, either.

In shouting and pointing at Warren and attempting to take credit for her signature achievement, he finished with a verbal pat-on-the-head: “You did a hell of a job at your job,” he told her.

It escapes me as to why any woman with an ounce of self-respect would so much as consider -- any more than one would for Trump -- casting their ballot for Biden.

But there were shittier centrists on the debate stage last night, and their names are Pete Buttigeig and Amy Klobuchar.

-- I wrote yesterday that Boot Edge tops my shit parade.  Everything he did last night, and prior, cemented his standing.

I would have liked seeing him go after Warren on the basis of her disingenuousness on a variety of issues beyond M4A, but she left herself open for that.  Maybe I shouldn't be too picky.  Then again ...

And ...

And ...

I could not be more out on Pocket Change Pete.  But Minnesota Nice is right behind him.

I can't take any more, but the establishments want another serving.

-- So Bernie's a winner, Biden's a wiener and a loser, Boot Edge and Bathroom Book Collector are losers, and Warren gets a draw on my scorecard.

-- Sadly, Beto and Castro did not do what they needed to.  Loosers, not losers.

-- Kamala flopped.  Loser.

(Harris) made a curious decision in choosing to challenge Warren to call on Twitter to suspend Trump’s account, part of a larger discussion about checking the influence of big tech. It seemed to miss the point of the conversation -- holding big tech accountable means kicking trump off Twitter? -- and Warren did not take the bait.

-- Gabbard and Steyer also came up losers on everybody's list.  Booker did the same thing he always does: "Hey y'all, stop fighting".  "I'm a vegan."  "Aren't I a swell guy?"  Looser.  Yang's online cult is growing but nobody knows what it portends.  Wiener.

-- Far and away, the biggest loser was CNN.

The last twenty minutes wasted on some sort of 'let the healing begin' attempt.  Let's not spare the rest of our corporate media's blathering bobbleheads.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Fight Night Four: Flash Points

On the whole, I'd rather not aggravate my carpal tunnel with the remote, going back and forth between this and Cole v. Severino, but I'll be here for ya (tomorrow and on Twitter tonight).

Update: Early start means a fresh elbow. Astros 4, Yankees 1, bottom of the 9th.

The fourth Democratic presidential debate will be on Tuesday, October 15, at 8 pm ET at Otterbein University, outside of Columbus, Ohio, and broadcast by CNN.

So if you've been following the primary to this point, you know that a) it's now a three-person race, with b) the leader, Joe Biden, slowly fading into a tie -- in some recent polls slipping behind -- the steadily rising Elizabeth Warren, followed by Bernie Sanders ... c) who may have lost or gained momentum as a result of his cardiac event, depending on who you listen to, what your bias is toward him, whether you belive the polls accurately represent his strength, etc.

Tonight's face-off is co-sponsored by the NYT, and their preview is the best.

Expend one of your ten free looks (that's what the Times gives me each month for not being a subscriber but having a log-in and getting some e-mail from them) and read it.

Old Uncle Joe needs a strong performance.  In an unusually-timed interview later this morning, prodigal son Hunter appeared on teevee for questions about his former Ukraine employment that now threatens the Trump presidency with impeachment.

For the majority of the Democrats running for president, and even one notable surrogate to Joe Biden himself, there is a sense of confusion as to why Hunter is choosing now to finally speak up about the extent of his business ties in Ukraine and China.

“I wouldn’t have put Hunter on the air,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a top surrogate for Biden, told The Daily Beast. “I think the more you respond, the more you’re playing into Donald Trump.”

Rendell, who said was not involved in any discussions about the matter, wondered aloud about the thinking behind it, before doubling down. “There’s a danger in playing Trump’s game,” he said bluntly.

For Team Biden, Hunter’s interview on ABC News’ Good Morning America is an opportunity to clear the air and turn the attention back to the widespread corruption running rampant in the Trump White House. It will also give the younger Biden a chance to present facts in his own words to counter Trump’s misinformation campaign.


Rival campaigns weren’t so sure.

“This is insane that they would do it,” a senior adviser to a Democratic opponent said.

Multiple aides to 2020 candidates found the timing suspect and speculated that Hunter Biden’s move to go public automatically puts the debate moderators in a position that they can’t ignore it on Tuesday night.

“Everyone else had laid off of Joe Biden,” the senior adviser added. “Now that’s all gone. I would bet $100 it’s the first question. If it is, it’s a major disaster.”

“Why even put it out there to answer for that?,” another rival campaign aide asked. “Now it’s fair game that a moderator can bring it up.”

Biden, flanked by Warren and Sanders, ought to get pummeled by them and by the rest of the field as well.  Warren should finally get some attention from her challengers.

(H)er new status as near co-front-runner comes with fresh pressures. In the earlier debates, other candidates have been more keen to target Biden than her.

Considering she bills herself as the candidate with a plan for everything, Warren's lack of specificity on how to pay for her health care proposal is an obvious target for her rivals.

Some analysts see the omission as a device to allow her to track more to the center in a general election after avoiding alienating liberal voters who want a single-payer health care system and to abolish private insurance.

She has also had some staff problems.

"Rigged", you say?  Surely not again.

So this goes -- although not directly -- to Tulsi Gabbard's boycott threat, and why I remain hopeful she'll bust a Kamala on Warren at some point tonight.

Warren's hypocrisy came into tighter focus yesterday, as Indigenous Peoples Day has overtaken Columbus Day in the socio-politically correct revisionism our American history is undergoing.

Just facts, not attacks.


I'll beat this horse until it's dead or the corporate media starts doing the same job on her that they do on Bernie.  Regarding the senator from the Green Mountain State, his mission this evening is to demonstrate he's up to the rigors of campaigning, to say nothing of the job of being president.

As new polling suggests Sanders’ heart attack may harm his chances to win the nomination, his campaign is working to project normalcy, even as Sanders remains at home under doctor’s orders. Sanders is set to make his first public appearance outside of Vermont since the health scare on Tuesday night at the fourth Democratic presidential debate in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio -- an appearance his campaign hopes will quiet doubts about whether he can win the nomination.


In a new HuffPost/YouGov survey, 88% of registered voters say they’ve heard at least a little about Sanders having a heart attack. The news appears to have taken a toll on perceptions of his health -- just 19% of voters say they believe he is in good enough physical condition to serve effectively as president for four years. By comparison, 43% believe former Vice President Joe Biden is in adequate health, with 53% saying the same of President Donald Trump and 66% of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

... Just 28% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters say they think Sanders is in physical condition to serve effectively, compared to the 59% who say the same of Biden and the 81% who say the same of Warren.
More broadly, a 56% majority of voters say they believe Sanders’ age would make it difficult for him to serve effectively as president, with 44% saying the same of Biden, who was born the year after him. Only a third are similarly concerned about Trump’s age. Warren, perhaps helped by the fact that many voters believe her to be younger than she is, fared best on the metric, with just 16% saying her age would make it difficult for her to serve.

No question it's a tall order.  Nothing he can do to quiet the haters; he must convince the doubters.  He was judged by a harsher standard than "Early Stage Dementia/Bleeding Eye" Biden long before his heart attack, which is probably why he ran himself into the ground demonstrating vigor on the campaign trail.  Now he needs to do only a little bit more than all the others instead of a lot more ... especially in going after his friend.

He hinted at a more aggressive approach toward Warren in an interview with ABC News' This Week on Sunday.

"There are differences between Elizabeth and myself," he said.

"Elizabeth, I think, as you know, has said that she is a capitalist through her bones. I'm not."

If Sanders is to win the nomination he will need to check Warren's momentum amid signs she has eclipsed him after he put issues like economic inequality, Medicare for All, and corporate responsibility at the top of the Democratic agenda in his 2016 presidential bid.

For all the the targets on the front-runners' backs, there should be plenty of shots fired at them from the ones in the rear.  If they're not too busy -- in the short time everybody will have -- shooting at each other, that is.

I expect it to be Boot Edge Edge that will be taking the most potshots at others and receiving the most incoming as well.

I'm certain after tonight's festivities that I'm going to be disliking Snotty Little Petey even more than I do now, and I already can't stand him.

Lily-livered Donkeys are terrified that Beto's call for mandatory gun buybacks and taxing churches who outlaw gay weddings are *clutch pearls, faint* "going to hand re-election to Trump".  At least  Cory Booker punched back at Buttigieg.

Surely there will be some challengers besides Beto and Booker ready to knock Petey flat on his cornucopia of neoliberalism this evening.

Klobuchar, another crappy centrist pretender, got an assist from Bill Maher this past weekend.

Yeah, these are the people who bastardize the word 'progressive'.

As for Steyer and Yang ... well, I would hope they both get the least amount of talk time.

Moving on:

One of the Democrats' billionaires who dropped out months ago is rethinking his candidacy in light of Biden's souffle'-like collapse..

Just what we all were waiting for.

In minor party news:

Okay, that's enough.