Monday, September 30, 2013

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is as eager as everyone else for Thursday's announcement as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff is glad to see more people questioning the purpose of Rick Perry's job-stealing trips, which do little more than spend tax dollars promoting Rick Perry.

This week, McBlogger tells the story of a man with no plan, who'll get no pay because he caused a delay. While others worked hard, his head was filled with lard. And then he tried to hide, so now we get to chide.

Somebody is going to have to do some dirty work if Wendy Davis is going to get elected governor, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs nominates the Castro brothers.

Sophia at Texpatriate got a special sneak peak of (Houston mayoral candidate) Ben Hall's newest television ad.

Ted Cruz doesn't think waiters and maids deserve health care. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme doesn't think Ted Cruz deserves to represent Texas.

Neil at All People Have Value made more posts at his new blog. All People Have Value is part of Neil's new website,

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos offers another in his continuing investigation of the education wars. Check out Three Telling Articles on The Education Wars. Give it a look; Rick Perry sure will.


John Coby mocks Ted Cruz as only he can.

Jason Stanford, on the other hand, sees Ted Cruz as a great gift for Texas Democrats.

Concerned Citizens stands up for San Antonio City city council member Diego Bernal, author of their new non-discrimination ordinance and much more.

Texas Redistricting reports that True The Vote wants to get involved in the voter ID litigation.

The TSTA Blog asks what "education reform" means to Greg Abbott.

Better Texas Blog points out the mental health care benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Castros as attack dogs for Wendy Davis

My response to this development Friday morning is going to be somewhat more politically incorrect than my usual.  (Hard to believe, I realize...)

This is precisely what both Castro brothers are going to need to do to provide a proper assist to Wendy Davis' gubernatorial prospects.

Harvey Kronberg has already written about the nationalizing of the statewide elections, and that if Greg Abbott is going to run against Barack Obama, Wendy should campaign against Ted.  Since Congressman Joaquin and Mayor Julian were too cautious to take the 2014 plunge themselves, they must now be at the forefront of the attack on the Poop Cruz travelers.  And there should perhaps be a racial component to it (at least as a whisper campaign).  I decried that tactic when Gilberto Hinojosa did it last year, but the only truth in this race is that Democrats who really want to win had better be strong enough to fight fire with fire.  The Barbie crap simply cannot go unanswered.

The Castros have to speak with conviction to the Eddie Lucios among Latino Democrats, and they must directly address the concerns of those whose reticence will be heightened because of the millions of dollars Abbott will pump into Spanish language media.

Without collecting another dime, Abbott's already got enough money to spend two million bucks a month between now and November 2014.  If history serves as a guide, he's going to pour it on in TV ads at the end, as he did in 2006 when he ran against David Van Os, and in 2010 against Barbara Radnofsky.

This skirmish is one of the small but numerous critical components to the success of Davis and other Texas Democrats on the ballot: the Castro brothers and all Latino electeds -- not just prospective LG candidate Leticia Van de Putte, or Sen. Sylvia Garcia, but the titular heads of that caucus -- have to reinforce and grow the Democratic Latino base in the face of these gathering headwinds, and they cannot be shy about going on the offensive when it is needed.

And if the Castros -- or anybody else -- choose to half-ass that effort, i.e. fail to fight back, there ought to be plenty of Democrats who remember that when it's their turn to run.

Let's give Joaquin credit for a good start and expect to see more like this.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday morning spitballing

-- Tea Party queen Debra Medina makes a transparent play for some of Greg Abbott's check-writers.

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina could end up running again for the state's highest office, this time as an independent, she said Friday afternoon.

Medina, who has been exploring a race for comptroller for several months, told the Tribune earlier this month that she is having trouble raising the amount of money she thinks is necessary to mount a competitive campaign for that office. She cited a particular lack of interest from wealthy campaign donors who are typically pivotal in financing successful statewide races in Texas.

At the same time, in a development first reported by the Quorum Report, she said she has been hearing from potential donors interested in seeing her run as an independent for governor. Collectively, she has received pledges totaling millions of dollars, she said, and that has her wondering whether she ought to switch from one race to the other.

I would be stunned if Medina ran for governor.  As Texpate suggests, that would create so much momentum for Wendy Davis that it cannot be measured with modern technology.  What Medina really wants is for General Scooter's benefactors to open up their wallets and keep her out of the governor's contest.  And Greg Abbott will encourage them to do so, because he doesn't owe Harvey Hilderbran or Glenn Hegar a thing.

As for the still-just-prospective Democratic candidate's part, Davis needs some big money herself, she needs Abbott to screw up publicly a few more times, and she needs some glorious serendipity in order to be able to change her address to 1010 Colorado Street, Austin.  Medina in the race as an indy falls into the third category.

There's a case to be made for Mike Collier being the Democrat with the best shot at statewide victory if Medina is the Republicans' nominee for comptroller.  Her pet issue is overhauling the state's eminent domain laws; she spoke about it at the Independent Texans convention last weekend in Bastrop (where she likely was begged to run for governor).  That could be a hot topic again with rural, suburban, and urban Texas voters of all political stripes, as it was in 2006 with regard to the Trans Texas Corridor, but it's not a stance that's attracting wealthy oil company executives -- and their PACs -- who make large contributions to GOP political campaigns.  So there's that.

-- The Tea Pee also wants Louie Gohmert to primary John Cornyn.  Some people don't want to say so directly, so they're dropping The Dew's name.  Those are people who want one of the other three RWNJs to be lite guv.

Dewhurst can finish first in the primary he''s already in, but he might be unable to win the runoff with one of Staples, Patterson and (most likely) Patrick as his competition.

The conventional view of the race is that despite Dewhurst’s advantages, he is highly vulnerable. Down-ballot races are about getting your message out, and with his ability to self-fund, Dewhurst will have the biggest megaphone. But a four-way primary could easily result in a runoff, in which he would struggle, just as he did in the delayed primary against Cruz. His performance in that race also indicates that his constituency may not have the influence it once did.

Dewhurst is still haunted by his loss to Cruz. ... 

Go click and read that article.  And then you'll see things come full circle; Gohmert is the guy we all want to primary Cornyn.  Because then a Democrat might actually decide to run (and consequently win).

For the Republicans reading this and not getting it: splitting your party between crazies and "moderates" is how you will lose control of this state.  It's happened all across the country, and it's coming to Texas.  Sooner than later.

But please don't take my advice and vote for the 'sensible' person in your primary.  Please.

-- Ben Hall cranked up the slime to 10 yesterday.  Sue Davis threw a creampie back at him.  Both parties missed their target.  Update: Dr. Murray may think it's funny, but I sure don't.

Another thirty days of this... maybe sixty.

Update II:  I should have added San Antonio city council member and virulent homophobe Elisa Chan to the list of batshit nuts challenging plenty-conservative-enough Republicans from their right.

No offense meant toward bat guano.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Here we go.

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis and her advisers have begun informing influential Democrats that she intends to run for governor in 2014, according to multiple sources familiar with Davis’s conversations. [...]

Davis advisers declined to confirm that she will enter the governor’s race, but Davis consultant Hector Nieto said the senator has made up her mind about 2014 and will unveil her plans next week.

“Sen. Davis has decided what she will do and she looks forward to making that announcement with her grass-roots supporters on Oct. 3,” Nieto said.

I have to first say that I'm disappointed that Davis has sought the advice and counsel of the Matt Angle brain trust.  This man and his acolytes -- last responsible for the glittering state party chairmanship of Boyd Richie -- have filled the yawning leadership vacuum in this state for much too long.  I was hoping Battleground Texas might be growing up enough to wrest control of things away from them.

Davis really does need some people who have won some races, which is to say no Texas-based consultants with any real authority.  (This is the nicest thing you will ever read me write about political consultants.)  Trust that I will be critical of her campaign if I disagree with it.

But no matter what happens, Davis amps up the wattage for 2014 to a national intensity, brings along a few of her Senate colleagues on the ticket, and lifts the boats and the spirits of Democrats down the ballot and across the Lone Star State.  None of that is a bad thing.

What is a bad thing is the "baby-killing Barbie" bullshit that's already flying in from the starboard side.  Fourteen months of that garbage is going to try men's and women's souls.

I promise to keep things fair and balanced; every time I read something derogatory from a child doll fetishist about a woman's reproductive freedom, I'm going to post a cripple joke.  I was forced to start early with the payback, if you recall.

Texas Monthly's already got General Scooter on the cover.

I thought he had two legs?  Who pushed him out in the middle of that field?  Must he wear a seatbelt or a harness when he fires that shotgun in order to avoid dumping himself out of his chair?

Anyway, things should be lively going forward.  Despite the senator's moderate record overall -- never mind, once again, what Mark Jones says -- I'll host some moneybomb efforts and make a small contribution myself.  And that will be because the right wing freaks in this state need to be made to understand that they aren't going to be in charge much longer.

Update (9/29): Thanks to Mike at Crooks and Liars for including this post in his roundup. Those visiting here for the first time might also want to see here for the latest development in the Texas governor's race.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Things I would rather not blog about

-- Ted Cruz ruining my Green Eggs and Ham, because the moral of the story zoomed over his head.  If this putz is the smartest TeaBagger in the country, then what's the real problem?  Why, it's that all the rest of them are so much more stupid than him, of course.

-- Greg Abbott filing his thirtieth lawsuit against the Obama administration, this time over a UN treaty.  Another guy who panders to the worst elements in society -- conservatives clinging and crapping their pants in fear of 'the other' -- because he understands that these morons can be manipulated so easily that he can ride that wave right into higher office.

-- Meanwhile, in a nation where Democratic base voters are yet to be fully convinced that voting in every election could, you know, change things like this... Republicans brag about the fact that they won't.  (This also factors into the reasons why elected officials think the people who elected them are more conservative than they actually are.)

Republicans are literally daring us to vote them out of office at this point.  Because they don't think it will happen.

-- I'd also rather not blog about Ben Hall's latest teevee commercial, because while it's less weird and more on target than his previous efforts -- a politician who became a millionaire while in office is a legitimate, populist, and effective argument against career politicians -- Ben Hall is just the wrong messenger.  It doesn't matter how hard his tail hit the ground when it fell off, either.

It does make me want to vote for the Socialist or the Green, however.  Somebody who's actually not capable of being bought off.

But keep in mind that Parker and Hall are sitting on fat wads of cash, they don't like each other a lot, and your television and mailbox are on the verge of being inundated with their focus-grouped, consultant-produced slime.

You want to know the worst part?  People will still be led to believe that the best way to evaluate a politico's electoral prospects is to see how much money they can raise.

Now do you see why I didn't want to write any of that?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dome vote, like Parker's re-election, slouches toward approval

I'll just excerpt and you tell me if you see any similarities.

Two polls released this week show a majority of likely Harris County voters have decided whether or not they want to preserve the iconic Astrodome by paying to turn it into a convention and center and exhibit space.

A $217 million bond initiative to fund the re-purposing of the now-vacant stadium, which county officials have said would require an increase to the property tax rate, will appear on the ballot this November.

A KUHF/KHOU poll, conducted by Rice University political scientist Bob Stein, shows 45 percent of likely county voters would support the bond issue and 35 percent would oppose it, while 20 percent are undecided. The poll surveyed 650 likely county voters and has a 3.8 percentage point margin of error.

Another poll, conducted for the campaign working to drum up support for the dome project, shows a tie: 43 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed, with the rest undecided. The group's poll surveyed 500 likely county voters and has a 4.5 percentage point margin of error.

While the results are "not spectacular" for proponents of the initiative, Stein said he gets the sense that the initiative will end up passing simply because there is no organized opposition, meaning the campaign will get to "control the message."

I nodded off a little in the middle of reading that.  Swamplot posted one of the commercials that the referendum's support captains have authorized, and noticed that something got left out.

Part of the so-called “New Dome Experience” devised by the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. proposes that the space-age icon be slimmed down — and, if this new promo video (at link) is any indication, that means more than just removing ramps and staircases from the stadium’s unwashed exterior, but also chopping its name in half. You’ll see in this new commercial, produced by the recently formed committee to persuade voters in advance of this November’s this-or-nothing bond election, that the Astrodome is referred to throughout solely as “the Dome,” whether it’s hosting technology conferences, Ferris wheel demonstrations, or generic swimming championships.

The commenters over there get it right -- its name never actually was 'Astrodome' except in the public vernacular, and the powers-that-be can sell the naming rights and call it "Blimpie" as long as they don't implode it like Macy's/Foley's.

I'm back to being bored to tears about this election season.

Bishop Robinson speaks in Houston next week

Gene Robinson, retired bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America, will be speaking about religious freedom in America and how the Religious Right gets it wrong. Widely known for being the first openly gay priest to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian denomination, Bishop Robinson’s election in 2003 was the source of significant controversy within the Episcopal Church. He has spoken out about the importance of maintaining separation between church and state.

The date is Thursday, October 3rd, and the topic is "My Country 'Tis of Thee: Religious Liberty in a Religiously Zealous Society".  Here's a preview.

Texas is one of the worst places in the United States when it comes to intolerance, and after November 2014, it's invariably going to get worse.

Given the caliber of political mind Texas Republicans seem intent on foisting off onto the rest of us, non-Texans might be curious as to what sorts of people they've tapped for state government of late. The simple answer is "more of the same," as the responses to an AP questionnaire on gay rights sent to GOP candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general revealed. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst sets the tone:

"Sadly, in a culture infected with political correctness, people of faith are targeted for defending their beliefs with no consideration of their First Amendment rights. I will continue to stand with my fellow Texans in defending our God-given, constitutionally protected freedoms."

Yes, yes. Why are we even talking about civil rights for gay Americans when people of faith are the real victims here. It's getting so you can't even show your love for Jesus by calling someone names and beating them up anymore.

And on and on like that.  Greg Abbott's challenger Tom Pauken and Greg Abbott's soulmate and AG hopeful Ken Paxton also are quoted at the link.  Let's finish with that.

We shall see if Texas demographics begin to reverse the tide of celebrated Republican dullardism that has turned state politicians into national laughingstocks. Republicans are highly devoted to making sure that doesn't happen, but I remain confident that at some point the party will elect someone to office who is so stone-cold stupid, such an obvious empty sack, such an impressive specimen of termite-riddled fencepost that the entire state shudders in embarrassment and begins to rethink their party lifestyle choice en masse. It would have to be someone meaner than Steve Stockman and dumber than Louie Gohmert and—well, I forget the third thing—but do not worry about that.

Somewhere in Texas there is a very drunk and bitter man sleeping it off under a church pew who fits all those requirements and then some. Get to it, Republicans. Find that final mean, stupid, godbothering anti-science crank who can out-crook and under-whelm all the rest of them. It is your destiny.

Bishop Robinson suggests a more tolerant approach to affecting change than I do, as you could have guessed.  Get your tickets here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why doesn't anybody want the Harris DA job? *Updated*

Update (1 pm): Surprise, surprise.


That's the real question.

Devon Anderson, the widow of recently deceased Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson, is the local GOP leadership's choice to replace her late husband, the head of party said Monday.

"The person who would be the best to fill Mike's shoes, and they're big shoes to fill, would be his wife," said Jared Woodfill, chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. "I'm hopeful that the governor will appoint her to carry on Mike's legacy. She's very, very qualified for the position."

Woodfill put his sentiments in a letter to Gov. Rick Perry who will appoint someone to fill the unexpired term of Mike Anderson, who lost his battle with cancer Aug. 31.

Woodfill said he is urging Devon Anderson to ask for the appointment, and said she is considering it.

So let's reset: the chair of the county's Republicans has asked the governor to appoint someone to be the district attorney who hasn't said she wants the job yet.

The slot has previously been offered around with no takers.

Rumors have it that Gov. Goodhair has shopped the position to various folks who have been prominent in the Harris County criminal (in)justice system but that no one has expressed any desire in serving as the temp. It looks like Belinda Hill will get the nod by default. But whatever's going to happen needs to happen fast because so long as no one's in charge confusion will continue to reign at 1201 Franklin.

Texpat with some more on that.

Reportedly, (acting DA) Belinda Hill is also interested in maintaining the office permanently. KTRK notes a list of four other candidates being discussed by local Republicans. Given that Perry makes the call, it is a foregone conclusion that a Republican will get the nod. The other names include Marc Carter, the judge of the 228th District Court ...

Jim Leitner, a key Lykos aide, and Rachel Palmer, both prosecutors, were other names mentioned. Palmer has some skeletons in her closet relating to being investigated for criminal wrongdoing and pleading the Fifth. Leitner was also involved in this controversy.

The last name mentioned by the KTRK article is Ted Poe. Being a Congressman with unbelievable job security, and being a mere 65 years of age, I cannot understand why Poe would consider leaving Capitol Hill for this job.

Yeah, Poe already turned it down almost three weeks ago.  Nobody who works this beat regularly -- Grits for Breakfast, Big Jolly -- seems to have anything recent to say about it.  Grits last had Anderson's obit in August, while Jolly's last post, also three weeks ago, puts him on record as opposing Hill.  Not a word from uber-lobbyist (literally, he's Uber's lobbyist) Robert Miller except the usual nothing.  With baseball season nearly over, Marc Campos is now providing movie reviews.  Riveting.

So why isn't anybody talking about why nobody except Belinda Hill wants the job?  Seems to be a lot of insiders on lockdown about whatever is developing down at the county courthouse.

Or maybe they're in the dark, like the rest of us.

Update: Paul Kennedy, this morning.

Why doesn't anyone want the job? It's the highest profile county-wide post in Harris County -- aside from being county judge when a hurricane strikes. It will give whoever accepts it a big leg-up in the special election. You get to be the top law enforcement agent in the largest county in Texas. What could beat that?

Well, I guess there's the issue of managing an office with well over 200 attorneys plus staff. Then there's that whole "tough on crime" thing that doesn't take into account that it costs a bunch of money to lock folks up in jail. And then there's the state of the Harris County Jail -- it's full to the gills with folks who can't make bond.

As we can see by the grease fire that is the DWI pre-trial intervention program, it's not enough to make promises and speak in sound bites on the campaign trail. In order to make things work it takes attention to detail and an office that "buys into" a program. The PTI program was cobbled out of Pat Lykos' illegal DIVERT scheme without much thought as to how it would be implemented.

On second thought, maybe it's no wonder no one wants the job.

KHOU poll is more bad news for Hall

Annise Parker's challenger can only hope that his supporters have been seriously undersampled.

Annise Parker seems headed for a runoff in her campaign to keep her job, but she commands more than twice as many supporters as her leading challenger in a newly released poll commissioned by KHOU 11 News and KUHF – Houston Public Radio.

Still, just six weeks before Election Day, roughly half of all surveyed voters either didn’t know or wouldn’t say how they’re going to vote.

Parker leads the pack of candidates at 34 percent, with former city attorney Ben Hall at 14 percent. About 48 percent of voters are classified as undecided, indicating the incumbent mayor will have to fight to keep the post to which she was narrowly re-elected two years ago.

“I don’t see the mayor losing this race,” said Bob Stein, the KHOU political analyst who conducted the survey. “I’m not certain she’ll win it in the general election, like she did in 2011. But the mayor, who tends to get high marks as a mayor, simply doesn’t get what I’d call great public support as a candidate.”

Stein has it right.  It's possible that Hall can shore himself up a little in the next seven weeks, but only enough to force the mayor into a runoff.  More Stein...

“(Hall) expects to bring out a large number of African-American voters and win 80, 90 percent of that. Doesn’t seem to be working. Turnout may be a little bit higher among African-American voters, but he’s only winning 29 percent of the African-American vote, to the mayor’s 24 percent.”

Meanwhile, Parker garners 27 percent of Anglo Republican voters’ support compared to Hall’s 11 percent.

The biggest surprise in this polling is that the mayor is getting the Republican votes, and she isn't losing the black votes by enough to make a difference.  Actually it's not that surprising; Hall is just a terrible candidate with an even worse campaign.  And  'delusional' isn't helping.

"These numbers show what we hear every day: Ms. Parker's tenure has been repudiated by the people of Houston and she will not be re-elected as the next mayor," (Hall campaign spokesperson Julie Smekalina) said. "As Houstonians are beginning to see the vision Ben Hall has set forth, they are rallying behind his ideas for the city's future. The grass-roots momentum that we see supporting Ben's candidacy is growing and will secure his election as mayor."

You have to be on LSD to see that.   I'll go out on a very thin limb and say that a runoff is still possible.  But with numbers like these for the campaign operatives to spin, it's growing unlikely for Ben Hall.

If you're one of that 48% who haven't decided whom to vote for, go out to one of the forums on this schedule and see what the candidates have to say.

Mike Morris at the HouChron, KUHF (which conducted the poll with the TV station), Dos Centavos and Texpatriate also weigh in.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is thoroughly enjoying some Republican slapstick comedy as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff implores Sen. Leticia Van de Putte to run for lieutenant governor.  One look at the group vying for the GOP nomination shows how much Democrats need her on their ticket.

Eye On Williamson is having some technical difficulties, and hopes to be back next week.

Texas Leftist takes an early look at Annise Parker's political legacy as mayor of Houston, and why lacking a third term isn't the only reason it seems incomplete.  Also, we remember some wisdom from Ann Richards on why Texas Democrats are different.

Once PDiddie at Brains and Eggs declared this year's municipal election season in Houston "the most boring ever", things started to pick up a bit.

Horwitz at Texpatriate discusses the controversy that has arisen in a Houston city council election after one leading candidate allegedly made some unspeakably offensive comments.

Over at TexasKaos, Libby Shaw explains that cravenness hasn't gone out of style, no sir. Check out More of the Same. Cruel, Crazy and Craven.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

John Coby has some advice for David Dewhurst.

The Great God Pan Is Dead showcases an excellent graphical guide to the insurance exchanges.

Better Texas Blog covers young adults and the insurance marketplace.

Texas Living Waters Project calls out Lite Guv candidate Jerry Patterson for his ignorant remarks about endangered species.

Nonesequiteuse has an action item for everyone who believes in reproductive justice.

Prairie Weather examines the link between Obamacare and ego.

TFN Insider reminds us why Don McLeroy should never be allowed near a textbook.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Funnies

"If you define 'mass shootings' as four or more people getting shot at one time, we've had nearly 250 so far this year. We've only had 260 days! Our mass shooting average is 96 percent. Our mass shooting scores shouldn't be that much higher than our math and science scores. There have been more mass-shooting days than Jewish holidays---and there are a shitload of Jewish holidays."

-- Jon Stewart

Paula Deen was a big butterball of emotion today during her first public appearance since settling the racial discrimination lawsuit that destroyed her career ... and we've got the pics.

Paula appeared in Houston, Texas for the Metro Cooking and Entertainment Show to mark her return ... and got choked up after receiving a standing ovation when she hit the stage.

The 66-year old chef told the crowd she had been wanting her return to take place in Texas all along ... and was just shedding tears of joy.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Down-ballot Democratic prospects, updated

Kolten Parker at the HouChron, behind the paywall, makes the case I made a month ago that everything blue for 2014 hinges on that certain someone.  And also reminds us that even state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte's presumptive bid for lieutenant governor depends on what Wendy does.

But he also names a few new (to me) names as potential statewides.

State Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, said he is considering a run for attorney general.

"Politics is about timing," Uresti said. "And I certainly think it's the right time for the Democratic Party, and for myself as well."

Other candidates being courted by Democrats to make the leap are state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, who has more than $1 million in his campaign account, state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas and state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin. None returned calls for comment.

Uresti does not stand for re-election to the state senate until 2016.  But West and Watson -- like Davis herself -- are up in 2014, which is to say that they must relinquish thier seats to run for higher office.  The same, of course, for Rep. Anchia (because the House terms are two years).

I am still hoping Sen. Rodney Ellis will run for something -- perhaps against John Cornyn? -- as he does not have to run for re-election in 2014, has the ability to fund a campaign himself, and brings much-needed diversity to the ticket.

So add those names to the 'definitely maybe' category.  Besides the potential team of Davis and VDP at the top, Texas Democrats today have two declareds: Houston businessman Mike Collier running for state comptroller, and former El Paso mayor John Cook standing for GLO.

Anybody know anything else?  A juicy rumor, perhaps?

Update: Go read Socratic Gadfly's observations in the comments -- and an expanded version at his shop -- about West, and by extension, Ellis.  As Texpate reminds, Raffi Anchia stated in June that he was focusing on re-election to the House (and not a Dallas mayoral bid).  So the list of rumored candidate prospects is still barely enough to qualify as a decent rumor.

Ted Cruz, Tom DeLay, and rapper M.I.A.

-- Here's Why Ted Cruz's Plan To Defund Obamacare Was Always Doomed.

The House bill that continues funding for the government is expected to pass on Friday. It will go to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will face two potential filibusters of the legislation.

One is on the vote to begin debate — which is not likely to produce a fight. The language will enter the Senate with the House language, so there's no reason for conservatives in the Senate to vote against opening debate on the bill.

The key procedural movement will come next. A Democratic Senate aide said that it's likely Democrats will introduce an amendment to strip the House language defunding Obamacare after the vote to end debate occurs. Because of Senate rules, they can do so by a simple majority vote.

That makes the second cloture vote the one to watch. That's when Cruz, along with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), can argue that voting to end debate will enable Reid to get rid of the House language that defunds Obamacare — "which is true," the Democratic aide said.

Here's why that's a problem: Reid needs 60 votes to end debate. He can count on all 52 Democrats (including himself), as well as the Senate's two Independents, to vote to end debate and strip the language defunding Obamacare.

That means he needs only six Republicans to vote to end debate. And 14 Senate Republicans have already expressed their dismay with the strategy — mostly because doing so involves the possibility of shutting down the government.

Even the cartoonists have grown tired of lampooing Cruz, when there are others just like him (only lacking some of his talent at bombast).

For his part, "Poop" has already worn out his welcome in Washington, and in less than a year.  You have to admit that's quite an accomplishment.

The truth is that defunding Obamacare -- just like ending abortion -- is a fundraising mechanism for the GOP.  They use the issue to fleece conservatives who have more money than sense.  It's always been this way.

There are Republicans who are starting to see through Cruz, they're just not the poor saps who sent him to DC in the first place.  These folks who vote in the Texas Republican primary are probably not redeemable at this point after so many errors in judgment (Rick Perry, Greg Abbott, David Dewhurst, Dan Patrick,John Culberson, Louie Gohmert, Steve Stockman, blahblahblah).

We have to stop allowing deranged, delusional people create the reality that the rest of us have to live in.  How's Battleground Texas coming along, anyway?

-- La Cucaracha takes a victory lap.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, reveling in victory Thursday against Texas prosecutors in a money-laundering case, said his political career is over but he’s eager to return to the courthouse.

If he can find a lawyer “with a backbone,” DeLay said, he’ll considering suing the Travis County district attorney for the eight-year legal clash that ended with an appeals court tossing his conviction.

“I cannot take this laying down. For the welfare of the people that serve in the future, I can’t just let this go,” he said.

The threat was vintage DeLay.

Let's allow him to get comfortable, then let's squash his guts all over the floor.  Again.

-- The NFL wages war on another halftime performer, and she's fighting back.

On Feb. 5, 2012, nearly 167 million TV viewers tuned in to Super Bowl XLVI to watch a matchup between the New York Giants and New England Patriots. Besides the football action, what had people talking that day was a halftime performance by M.I.A. and, specifically, how she extended her middle finger during a performance of "Give Me All Your Luvin' " while mouthing, "I don't give a shit."

But the NFL did care. One month after the performance, the league initiated legal proceedings against the English-Sri Lankan rapper-singer. In a March 13, 2012, filing at the American Arbitration Association, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the league demanded $1.5 million from M.I.A. for allegedly breaching her performance contract and tarnishing its goodwill and reputation.

In the 18 months since, the 38-year-old M.I.A. (born Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam) has been waging a secret legal war with the NFL over what happened at Super Bowl XLVI. Last week, league lawyers continued their push to have her deemed liable for her actions on summary judgment before moving to a trial for damages.

This is not going over too well with M.I.A, best known for her catchy agitpop music including the hit song "Paper Planes," which includes the repeated sound of gunfire. She's also used her fame to spotlight human rights abuses in her war-torn South Asian homeland. Now her lawyer Howard King tells THR that his client plans to launch a public war on the mega-powerful football league.

Moneyshot, from her barrister...

"Of course, the NFL's claimed reputation for wholesomeness is hilarious," King tells THR, "in light of the weekly felonies committed by its stars, the bounties placed by coaches on opposing players, the homophobic and racist comments uttered by its players, the complete disregard for the health of players and the premature deaths that have resulted from same, and the raping of public entities ready to sacrifice public funds to attract teams."

What, you forgot the NFL was a big bunch of socialists?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The most boring municipal election season ever

Yes, it's this one.

Ben Hall's team has been arrested for burglary (of thunder).  Eric Dick hasn't even put out any signs, for chrissakes.  Helena Brown and Brenda Stardig -- and Amy Peck and the rest of that Tea Pee gang out in Oak Forest -- are as quiet as churchmice.

Michael Kubosh has apparently put the kibosh on his own campaign. (Turn the cameras back on, buddy! Please!)  Jenifer Rene Pool and Rogene Calvert and all the rest of AL3 are similarly flying well under the radar. Even Big Jolly's post about the candidate forum held at the Pachyderm Club last week put my feet to sleep.

This is a wretched development.  I have never been so bored in my decade-plus of blogging.

To be clear, I like the stealth campaign of Don Cook for mayor.  He's had four LTEs published by the Chronicle.  I suppose I could link to them, if I could find them.  And James Horwitz, the challenger to Jack "You Don't Die from the Flu" Christie, is a great candidate in need of a little more exposure, just like everybody else.

I remember when city council campaigns had some electricity around them.  Even Ben Mendez and Graci Garces seem to have shot their wads early.  (I really thought that nasty "fat" joke was going to be a running battle.  Alas, no.)

And please don't suggest that I read whatever drivel Campos is writing.  The lights aren't on and nobody's home, folks.  It's an empty house.  Nobody wants to break into it, either.  Not even the hungry, homeless people want to crash there.

For today's example, he seems completely unaware of the fact that deathcare monopolist SCI, owner of Forest Park Lawndale cemetery (and every other boneyard in Houston), has a standing offer to purchase the adjacent Gus Wortham golf course whenever the city is ready to sell.  The price has only been going in one direction for years now, and it's not up.  Even the developers won't get interested in bidding for that very prime property, because the neighborhood hasn't gentrified enough for them.  And it probably never will.

I bet if he ever spoke to James Rodriguez once in awhile, he might have become aware of this.

Maybe this will have some fireworks.  Perhaps there will be a poll released on the mayor's race, or someone will sling some piece of mud that's larger than a crawfish mound.

But I gotta say that so far, it's been really lame.

Update: District I to the rescue!

Eastside city council candidate Ben Mendez’s campaign claims he  is being smeared by rumors and innuendos, and denied Mendez  blamed a gang rape of an 11-year-old girl on the clothes she was wearing.

Campaign manager Joaquin Martinez  confirmed  community leader  Bill Lawson has withdrawn his support for Mendez in the District I race. Lawson, a respected former pastor, wrote a letter saying he had “serious problems” with Mendez remarks on the sexual attack, as well as what he called negative campaigning against candidate Graci Garces.

“There have been people saying Ben made insensitive remarks, but Ben didn’t make any,” said Martinez. 

Martinez, you may recall, was a candidate in the SD-6 special last winter.

“Throughout the campaign we’ve had several people who have tried to smear Ben Mendez as a candidate, because he is the frontrunner right now.”

There's no polling of any significance that reflects who is leading in this race; that's just bravado on the part of Martinez.  Personally I don't see how Mendez could possibly have ever been ahead at any time.  And trust me, my opinion carries as much weight as Martinez's and everybody else's (except for the one belonging to Marc Campos, which is worth less than zero as usual).

This development has significance due to Lawson's high standing in the African American community (and the likelihood that black turnout in this year's election might be somewhat higher than in years past).

In the letter, Lawson wrote that he admired Mendez as a civic leader, businessman and a friend, adding he would make a good city representative for  the council district.

“I simply cannot continue to take a stand for underclasses and give public endorsement for someone who would ignore them,” Lawson wrote.

Pretty harsh.  After taking the summer off, it looks like there might be a resumption of hostilities between the Mendez and Garces teams.

I'll pop the corn.

Update: Texpate digs deeper into the details.

Update II (Friday, 9/20): Big Jolly has another kerfuffle involving involving Kubosh and a "racist" e-mail.  My feet are wide awake now.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Women, Wendy, and waiting

A popular topic lately among the chattering class in recent days seems to be that Texas women -- more specifically, suburban Texas women -- might have some role to play in Wendy Davis' political future. 

Ignore Dr. Murray's contention that Chris Bell got 43.3 percent of the 2006 vote.  (He gets the rest correct and I chalk that error up to him needing another intern for fact-checking.)  I just thought I had cleared up this deal a couple of months ago.

Update: it has been pointed out to me that by "major party vote", Dr. Murray accurately pushed up Bell's tally from 29.79% to the 43.3 he cites in the above link.  In other words, he excluded everybody who voted for Kinky Friedman and Carole Strayhorn in 2006 and then called the remainder whole.

I don't believe anyone -- no matter their pedigree -- can simply delegitimize the ballots of over 1.3 million Texans in order to reinforce a premise.

This is what is meant by the adage 'figures don't lie, but liars can figure'.  It is partisan and duopolistic at best -- and duplicitous and disingenuous at worst -- to manipulate data to reach your desired conclusion.  And it strains credibility to its breaking point for any reasonable person to call that 'accurate'.

It's helpful that Republicans -- from "Too Stupid" Robbie Cooper (I have been following this douchebag for years, so that you didn't have to) and "Retard Barbie" Jeff Rutledge all the way to Dave Carney and Greg Abbott himself -- keep pounding home the misogyny.  Conservo-scumbags Tweeting and blogging aren't ever going to be as influential as the experiences of exurban and rural Texas women like these, however. This is what's actually helping turn the worm faster.

A Texas woman who was shamed by her doctor for having a hickey and wanting birth control says she is now forced to drive four hours to a Planned Parenthood clinic for health care due to the state’s new anti-abortion laws.

Athena Mason told KUT that her first visit to the doctor as a student at Texas A&M was awkward.

“I had a hickey and the doctor was just like, you shouldn’t be doing that,” she recalled. “I’m like, ‘It’s a hickey, it’s nothing major.’ But I got a big lecture. [He said] my boyfriend was abusive and all of these things. And then I asked for birth control. I did not hear the end of that. So I said never mind, I’ll go somewhere else.”

Mason started using the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan. But that facility is one of four women’s health service providers that closed in August after the state passed new regulations restricting abortions.

So Mason now drives four hours to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin for health care.

Shamed by her doctor because she had a hickey. That's not The Onion, but it should be.

If we could just make Republicans understand that birth control provided to women prevents as many as 71% of all abortions, we might make some progress. Then we could say, "If you cut family planning clinics out of the state budget, you will have more abortions", and perhaps that fact would start to make some moral sense to the pro-birth crowd.

Nah; these are Republicans and this is logic. Who am I kidding?

As Ana Kasparian says, "If you vote Republican, and you have a vagina, you are a moron."  That is sadly and particularly true in Texas.  But as we wait for Wendy Davis to decide to run for governor, that message is already being received -- and understood -- by women everywhere.

Update: The waiting will be over on October 3rd.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is happy about the non-developments in the Caribbean tropics this past summer -- but is still wondering when that first cool snap is going to get here -- as it brings you the best of the left of Texas blogs from last week.

Off the Kuff suggests a way to measure the effect of the voter ID law in the November elections.

Horwitz at Texpatriate discusses the renewed efforts to bring a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance to the City of Houston.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson points out that the ridiculous has become reality in Texas, thanks to ignorance and lies, in Absurd?

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that the batsh*t crazies on the Texas State Board of Education textbook review board are still pushing creationism in and science out.

Texas is home to two of the top five dirtiest power generation facilities in the United States, and a new report suggests that they are "the elephant in the room" when it comes to climate change. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs thinks he has identified the main culprit, and it's not what you may have first thought.

Neil at All People Have Value said that with the proper balancing of internal life and external life,  the right calculation exists to make sense of life. All People Have Value is part of

Even with a barrage of annoying mailers, emails and kissing babies, elections are very important. Besides being the way we choose new leaders, they are also important to ensure that our currently elected officials listen to the public, and sometimes the only way to hold them accountable for what they do. For all these reasons, Texas Leftist has decided to "take the plunge" with an official candidate questionnaire and endorsement process.


Here's some other great posts from around the Texas lefty blogosphere.

Grits for Breakfast observes that there are now Lexus lanes at the airport security checkpoints, and that TSA groping is becoming something that only happens to poor people.

Hal at Half Empty documents the conservative argument that their Fourteenth Amendment rights trump your First Amendment ones.

Prairie Weather thinks that suburban Texas women are finally wising up.

Socratic Gadfly wonders if Wendy Davis might have a Tony Sanchez problem, and updates his extensive post about the prospects of a Blue Texas.

Dos Centavos posts the speaking engagement details of Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson's appearance in Houston. Robinson is the first openly gay priest to be consecrated as bishop in a major Christian denomination.

TFN Insider notes that Barbara Cargill, the chair of the Texas SBOE, outed herself again as a creationist, as if the effort to write intelligent design into biology books wasn't enough of a clue for us.

State Impact Texas reminds that the shale oil boom is a bust for Texas roads.

And finally, Txsharon at BlueDaze points out all the fun they're having in Colorado that Dallas missed out on when it denied drilling permits in flood plains.

Dallas, Uber, and Yellow Cab

Top city officials in Dallas, including lawyers and the police, worked in concert with representatives of Yellow Cab before a crackdown on Uber, the smartphone car service that the cab company sees as a threat.

Interim City Manager A.C. Gonzalez coordinated the effort, and the mayor’s office now is scrutinizing his actions, according to interviews and records obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

The Yellow Cab operating in Dallas does not appear to have any corporate connection to the one operating in Houston and other Texas cities, as I detailed here.

The anti-Uber campaign included a widespread sting this summer in which police and city transportation officials wrote citations against drivers under contract with Uber. Meanwhile, an attorney for Yellow Cab — a longtime political and financial benefactor to council members — helped draft a proposed ordinance that could make it harder for Uber to operate in Dallas.

The Yellow Cab vs. Uber fight, which boiled over publicly in the past few weeks, offers a behind-the-scenes look at a conflict between old politics and new technology.

At stake: Did City Hall use its muscle to aid an entrenched business, or was it challenging a new company it suspected was skirting long-established safety regulations?

This development has reinforced Uber's primary argument.

Leandre Johns, Uber’s general manager in Dallas, said he’s not surprised that cab companies are attacking Uber.

“The only parties who stand to benefit from a lack of innovation and competition in Dallas transportation options have been the ones leading the charge” to limit consumer choices, he said.

Dallas city officials seem to have an expanding ethical dilemma on their hands, and it's one that feeds the "poor-picked-on-us" Uber meme.  That's a seriously bad development for Big D, but unless evidence of something similar surfaces here in H-Town, it has to be considered their problem.

But it does help explain the various lobbyists and lawyers throwing themselves into the mosh pit in every city Uber starts their business. Disruption as a marketing plan is working out pretty well for them.

Update: Via Charles, yet more chaos.

Update II: Still more bad news coming out of customers' experience with Uber, this time in the nation's capital.

Uber, seemingly in permanent murky water in D.C., has a funny way of playing damage control.
Last Saturday night, Bridget Todd, an activist and former lecturer at Howard University tweeted at the company that her Uber driver choked her after she kissed her husband in the back of the vehicle because he didn't approve of her interracial relationship, according to Valleywag.

In response, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick emailed the company's PR team (and apparently included a Valleywag reporter on the e-mail list) warning them to "make sure these writers don't come away thinking we are responsible when these things do go bad…for whatever reason these writers are starting to think we are somewhat liable for these incidents that aren't even real in the first place."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Texas has two of the dirtiest power plants in the country

They burn coal. A lot of coal.
The new report, from the group Environment America, ranks the 100 dirtiest power plants in the U.S. Overall, nearly 6,000 different power generation facilities are located in the U.S., which in total account for 41 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions produced here. But the 100 dirtiest alone -- all but two of which are coal-fired power plants -- create nearly half of those planet-warming emissions.  [...]

The top five individual plants were:
  1. Georgia Power Company's Plant Scherer
  2. Alabama Power Company's James H. Miller Jr. Plant
  3. Luminant Generation Company's Martin Lake Plant (near Dallas)
  4. Union Electric Company's Labadie Plant in Missouri
  5. NRG Texas Power's W.A. Parish Plant (near Houston)
These power plants, said Julian Boggs, Environment America's global warming program director, "are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming."

In case you have missed the local developments...

In past years, the W. A. Parish power plant outside Houston in Fort Bend County has ranked near the top of national lists for “Most Polluting Power Plants.” It has also been lauded for its efforts to reduce emissions.

Now, this power behemoth, the biggest power plant in Texas and second biggest fossil fuel-burning plant in the nation, is planning to build one of the country’s more innovative pollution control projects. It will use some of its pollution to pump oil out of the ground.  [...]

Here’s how it’s suppose to work: the W.A. Parish plant burns some 36,000 tons of coal a day, producing tons of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas linked to climate change. The CO2 would normally go up and out the smokestacks. But now with the new system, the gas will be “captured” before it leaves the stack by spraying it with a chemical solvent. Then, the CO2 gas will be compressed and fed into a pipeline. [...] The pipeline will run some 80 miles to the West Ranch Oil Field east of Victoria, Texas. There, the CO2 will be pumped a mile underground to expand oil deposited in rock formations, allowing the oil to be piped up to the surface.

This process of rejuvenating old oil fields by pumping in CO2 has been used for several decades, especially in West Texas. But getting the CO2 from a power plant is what’s new.

Not everyone is convinced this is good news.

“Anybody who’s independent enough and really worth their salt is never going to guarantee you that you can store this highly pressurized (CO2) underground for thousands of years and expect it to stay there,” said Ryan Rittenhouse with the environmental group Greenpeace. It’s backing a protest organization called Quit Coal.

Rittenhouse contends there is not enough research to determine if the CO2 won’t just leak back to the surface, defeating the whole idea of reducing greenhouse gases. Critics also have said there is the added worry that pumping such quantities deep into the ground might increase seismic activity or leak into underground water supplies, increasing the water’s alkalinity and causing other changes to degrade water quality.

It will be early 2016 before NRG engages the carbon capture and storage system.  Meanwhile, the Luminant facility in North Texas -- and its parent company, EFH -- is in much deeper doodoo.

The Justice Department sued one of the nation’s biggest but most financially shaky power generators (last month), saying Dallas-based Luminant had made pollution-increasing changes at two Texas coal plants without permits or necessary environmental upgrades.


Luminant is a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings, created in 2007 in the $45 billion private-equity buyout of the former TXU. After years of low wholesale electricity prices and an exodus of retail customers, many analysts predict bankruptcy soon for EFH, which faces $4 billion in annual interest payments on its debt.

The two coal-burning plants in the lawsuit, Big Brown in Freestone County and Martin Lake in Rusk County, are factors in Dallas-Fort Worth’s smog but also anchors of Luminant’s fleet.
Their fate in a bankruptcy filing — upgraded, sold, closed or transferred to creditors along with the rest of Luminant — is part of discussions of EFH’s future. They are among Texas’ biggest and oldest industrial polluters, predating modern coal plants’ emission controls, making them targets of environmental critics.

More from Bloomberg.

“While dozens of other utilities nationwide are investing in clean energy, installing modern pollution controls to reduce pollution and retire aging coal plants, Luminant stands out as one of the nation’s very worst actors,” Nia Martin-Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Texas, said in a statement. “It burns the dirtiest possible coal -- known as lignite -- and has repeatedly refused to install modern pollution controls.”  

It was Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, those old Bain Capitalists from the '80's, that originally bought out TXU and took them private.  Then energy deregulation in Texas came along and choked the remaining life out of the company (while still not giving electricity customers any relief from high rates).

As far as the environmental threat goes, this isn't garden-variety fracking or tar sands oil we're talking about here.  This is shipping coal in by rail from back East and burning it in giant furnaces to drive power generators to run our air conditioners and refrigerators.  And the biggest question might be: why aren't these facilities at least using cheap natural gas, of which we have an abundance in Texas and the US?

Because the plants are too old and too expensive to retrofit, and because the companies don't have enough incentive -- i.e. tax breaks -- to do so (and besides, natgas isn't as clean as some would have you believe, anyway).

Let's review: the power plants spew pollution into the air because they are too ancient to fix or replace without a big tax incentive, the companies that own them are about to declare bankruptcy because of crushing debt and deregulation...

Yet John Young, president and CEO of Energy Future Holdings, had his pay package more than double in a single year, between 2010 and 2011, from $6.9 million to $15 million.

You don't suppose that capitalist greed could be the root problem, do you?

Update: "Obama prepares to take on Big Coal"...

The rule coming this week wouldn’t apply to existing power plants — EPA will tackle those in a second rule due to be proposed next June and finished a year later. But EPA’s proposal is the first major step toward fulfilling Obama’s call this summer for his agencies to tackle climate change without waiting for help from a gridlocked Congress.


Expect to hear a lot about the rule during the next year, especially as Republicans use it as a weapon against coal-state Democrats like Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall and Kentucky Senate challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. Meanwhile, environmental groups are expected to mount a major effort to champion the rule, offering both public and legal support while praising Obama for taking on the fight.

Much more about CCS -- carbon capture and storage -- at the links.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dave Carney, Larry Summers, and Ed Emmett

These three stooges aren't actually related to each other.

-- I just don't think I can trust Carney's definition of the word 'stupid'.  Because, after all, he helped get Rick Perry elected.  And then got his own fat ass fired -- by Anita, no less -- for screwing up the presidential campaign (as if that was actually his fault).

If anybody is more stupid than that when it comes to potential Texas governors... well, it would simply have to be Greg Abbott.  What else can be said about a guy that makes his entire job about suing the federal government, and loses those lawsuits more often than not?

All the Republicans are trying to do here, of course, is intimidate Wendy Davis from running at all in order to demoralize Texas Democrats in their quest simply for candidates in the 2014 elections.  Clinging to their last national stronghold, they know they cannot defend their antiquated, morally bankrupt ideology anywhere else.  So they must use the same bullying tactics that they employed in the Lege at the end of the sessions last summer.

Davis is the Democrats' only hope, everybody knows it, and the GOP is straight-up scared to death about what could happen to them if she runs.

Going nasty is really all they have.

-- A Japanese newspaper is reporting that Obama will name the worst person in the world, Summers, to head the Federal Reserve and that it will happen as soon as next week.  I find myself embarrassed to be in agreement with John Cornyn in this regard (though not, naturally, for the same reasons).

As with a Congressional vote to intervene in Syria, I am going to keep fingers crossed that the whip count compels the president to back away from this ill-advised move.

Update: Summers withdraws himself from consideration.

-- A PAC has been formed and is being spearheaded by the daughter of Judge Roy Hofheinz to raise money to do advertising to try to save the Astrodome (at the 11th hour).  Emmett and my precinct county commissioner, El Franco Lee, both passed $5000 checks at the presser.  There's enough good news in this story to allow me to rekindle a flicker of hope.

Organizers of the PAC say they’ll put a special focus on winning support from voters inside Houston’s city limits, who will probably turn out in larger numbers because of the mayoral election.

“It’s a little late,” said Bob Stein, the Rice University political scientist and KHOU political analyst. “However, if the supporters of the referendum are organized, spend a lot of money and there is no organized and vocal opposition, I don’t see this having great difficulty in passing.”

I'm obviously in the demographic that favors resuscitation.  In 1965, at the age of seven, my Dad took me to a game and we sat in the center field stands, me in my Little League uni and with my glove on my hand, praying for a home run to be hit my way.  In the late '70's while in college, I sat in the nosebleed seats among the reefer smoke clouds watching the bands at the Texas Jam.  In the '90's I took my nephews to monster truck shows (and made sure they had proper earplugs to protect their hearing).

I spent some time helping Katrina evacuees there in 2005.

The last season the 'Stros played inside it, I took my Dad back for a ballgame and we walked all around the old stadium, reminiscing.  Today, he can't remember what day of the week it is, but he can remember that day.

Wouldn't it be grand if some mayoral or council candidates could summon the courage to come out publicly in favor -- or for that matter, opposition -- to the referendum?

Perhaps we might ask them where they stand at upcoming forums and debates.

Update: Fox26 has this.

(T)he coalition of preservation groups launched its educational campaign with a Facebook page called "Our Astrodome", the Twitter handle @OurAstrodome and the Twitter hash tag #SavetheDome.