Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A bit more pagan Christmas than years past

Yesterday Mrs. Diddie finally had the surgery she's been putting off for over a year: both medial and lateral menisci (yes, that's the plural of meniscus, or meniscal cartilage) repaired with some debridement of the patella.  She was originally diagnosed as having osteoarthritis and a bone spur, but that proved to be incorrect.  She had to change doctors after that one recommended knee replacement.

I have simultaneously been fighting with my diabetes meds again for about the past six to eight weeks, and that made being the primary caregiver for my wife's day surgery more difficult.  After the election and my ballot board duties were completed in early November, I went back on a class of drug comparable to Invokana (which I had used during the first three months of this year).  It similarly played havoc with the Meneire's Disease I suffer from: dizziness, nausea, sometimes severe vertigo, occasional sudden onset of these symptoms.  But the worst is the exceptionally loud tinnitus, which drowns everything else out.  So I have essentially been in 'read-only' mode for about a month.

All this pretty well wrecked our holidays, that's for sure.  So we're not joining the family for any celebrations, probably not even dining out, certainly not cooking anything, and ain't putting up no Christmas tree.  We've only done a small table-top tree in years past and exchanged small remembrance-type gifts.  As DINKs we've had Christmas every day for decades anyway.  Not feeling too sorry for ourselves, despite how pitiful the above may come off.

But you didn't click in here to read a bunch of whining so let's get to the usual stuff.

-- Charles continues his yeoman's work covering the various special elections as the Lege keeps on playing musical chairs.  He saved me having to finish my unabridged, turgid, still-in-draft-status post with this one paragraph.

Assuming Speaker Straus maintains the tradition of not voting, the magic number is fifty, as in fifty votes in the House are needed to prevent any of these travesties from making it to your 2015 ballot. There are 52 Democrats in the House, plus one officially LGBT-approved Republican, so there are three votes to spare, assuming no other Republicans can be persuaded to vote against these. We know that there are four current House Dems that voted for the anti-gay marriage amendment of 2005. One of them, Rep. Richard Raymond, has since stated his support for marriage equality. Another, Rep. Ryan Guillen, may be persuadable. The current position of the others, Reps. Joe Pickett and Tracy King, are unknown. Barring any absences or scheduling shenanigans, we can handle three defections without needing to get another R on board. This is the key.

(Yes, eleven votes in the Senate can also stop the madness. Unfortunately, one of those votes belongs to Eddie Lucio. I’d rather take my chances in the House.)

That nails it.  Thanks for saving me some time, Chuck!

-- There's also good stuff about the 2015 Houston mayor's race there.  Texpate as well with more council-business-related posts of late.  Here's my two cents' worth.

*When Republicans say they don't like CM Steven Costello because of the drainage fee passed a couple of years ago (the most extreme among them now call him Rain Tax Man), you should believe that animosity is real.  He won't be the guy that Democrats and Republicans in a non-partisan municipal race all get behind.  Neither will Bill King, and neither will Chris Bell.  These gentlemen will all spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, consultants' fees, direct mail, and all of the rest only to find themselves outside the runoff looking in by the time spring blooms again.

*Dave Wilson may be able to coalesce some Rainbow Hate caucus of miserable social conservatives and pastors black, brown, and white, but that still won't be enough to get Ben Hall into the runoff.

*Adrian Garcia is going to be making a big mistake if he runs for mayor next year.  He will irritate Democrats by handing the sheriff's office over to Ed Emmett and the Republican county commissioners to name his replacement, and by virtue of his proud conservative declarations and solid support of the now-eliminated Secure Communities program, has split his pants wide open straddling the partisan fence.  This has been documented most recently in the comments to this post, and in two posts from four years ago, this one and this one. (Scroll down to the last few grafs in both.)  He's been the dictionary definition of DINO for a long time now.

I can't and won't support his candidacy for mayor, and in fact will work hard against it.  He's the lousiest kind of Blue Dog that our new political reality -- 'bipartisan compromise' is what this bitter gruel tastes like -- seems to breed.  But let me also candidly say that if he quits as sheriff and runs for mayor despite my and Sylvia Garcia's discouragement, he still probably gets into a runoff with Sylvester Turner.

Those are the two favorites as of today in my humble O, and you can probably determine which candidate I value the most.  Turner has been rock-solid as a state legislator for several years, and as best I can tell at this stage is clearly the best choice to succeed Annise Parker.

*The mayor and council are supposed to make a decision on the recycling measure known as 'One Bin For All' before the end of the year.  I oppose that measure, and courtesy the Texas Campaign for the Environment, here's why.

(Houston) received five proposals for a facility in June that would mix trash and recycling into the same bin; it would then potentially gasify or incinerate whatever cannot be recycled. Some of the biggest waste companies in the country have said the technology simply does not work, and just last week the National Recycling Coalition issued a statement against programs like the one Houston is considering:

NRC urges communities to implement best practices for the separate collection of recyclables. Recycling programs must be designed to minimize contamination in consideration of the needs of upstream users. In conjunction with source reduction, reuse, and composting, the recycling of valuable materials for their highest and best use is essential to a sustainable environmental, energy, and economic future.

Did you know that the City only collects 10% of the trash generated in Houston? The proposal currently under consideration misses the big picture –that’s why we support a plan crafted with public input from neighborhood groups, apartment dwellers, environmental justice representatives as well as recycling and compost experts. Other cities have implemented policies that make it possible to recycle at home, work and play – so can Houston. Such a plan would not only be good for the environment; increased recycling and composting would create thousands of good-paying, sustainable jobs.

Austin, DallasSan Antonio for example are implementing strategic plans to reduce waste and increase recycling. Cities like Los Angeles have devised innovative solutions to problems posed for large, complex urban areas like Houston. No single facility will solve our waste problems. We need a plan crafted with public input to ensure we sustainably reduce waste in Houston through education, incentives and effective programs that protect the health and safety of our community.

Join me if you like and sign the petition opposing One Bin for All and moving toward Zero Waste with an expanded Single Stream.

Something obligatory about 2016's presidential jostling and elbowing coming shortly.

No comments: