Friday, April 28, 2017

Democrats continue purge, retrench

A bit over two weeks ago -- during Holy Week, mind, you -- Houston City Council voted unanimously to criminalize homelessness in the city.  Every Democrat joined the conservatives: Mayor Turner, who is at the forefront of the effort, with a strong assist from Republican At-Large CM Mike Knox, but joined by Democrats (Mayor Pro-Tem) Ellen Cohen, ALs David Robinson and Amanda Edwards, and District members Dwight Boykins, Jerry Davis, Robert Gallegos, Mike Laster, and Larry Green.  That's nine alleged liberals who lined up to cast away the least among us.  Four days before Easter Sunday.

To say that action triggered my snowflakes is understating the case.

Since then I've written, edited, re-written, and re-edited my post about it at least a half dozen times.  It's still not ready for me to publish, and the two council meetings since -- one where Houston's strongest advocate for the homeless suffered a seizure, and this past Wednesday's -- indicate no remorse on the part of the mayor or the so-called progressives who hold a majority on council.  I'm still deciding how hot I'm going to flame their asses.  For today, let's take a look at national Democrats behaving badly in similar ways.  It's been a bad couple of weeks for them.

You might recall it got started when Bernie Sanders was on Face The Nation last Sunday and pointed out, to the chagrin of the establishment, that the Democratic Party's current model is a failing one.  That brought rebuke from various quarters, and the leading attack was Sanders' endorsement of Heath Mello, a candidate for Omaha mayor who has espoused some anti-choice views while serving in the NE state legislature.

(A personal note here: my wife has both served on the board of Planned Parenthood when we lived in West Texas, and availed herself of their services on two separate occasions when we first moved to Houston.  I escorted her both times to the clinic's former location on Fannin, encountering the crosses jammed along the sidewalk and the gruesome photos attached to the fence.  We are about as pro-choice as pro-choice gets.  I do not and have never supported Democrats who aren't, or who think that choice is negotiable -- like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, for example.)

When Clintonites declared Sanders' endorsement of Mello -- and his missing voice in favor of Georgia's 6th Congressional Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, who happens to be in a runoff to replace HHS Sec. Tom Price against Republican Karen Handel, of Komen Foundation disrepute -- was some kind of compromise of Sanders' long and strong pro-choice record, or when they expanded the conflation to wonder why someone doesn't support the party platform in this regard ... then they just haven't been paying attention to Democrats over the years.  Here's Bill Scher of of the longtime website Liberal Oasis, via Real Clear Politics, to remind them.  My excerpt leaves out some background you might want, so read the whole thing.

Much scrambling ensued. Sanders belatedly threw his support to Ossoff. The liberal netroots activist site Daily Kos withdrew its endorsement of Mello. Mello started talking like he was pro-choice. DNC Chairman Tom Perez tried to defend the party’s endorsement while touting the party’s pro-choice platform. By (a week ago) Friday, he was celebrating Mello’s pivot: “I fundamentally disagree with Heath Mello’s personal beliefs about women’s reproductive health. It is a promising step that Mello now shares the Democratic Party’s position on women’s fundamental rights.” Perez then went further, with an ultimatum to every Democratic official and candidate: “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

Shock you; I agree with Perez.  Let's hear Bernie out here, and then we'll go to the moneyshot.

First, Sanders revealed his priorities. He tried to characterize his endorsement as electoral realism, telling NPR, “You just can't exclude people who disagree with us on one issue” and the Washington Post, “If you are running in rural Mississippi, do you hold the same criteria as if you’re running in San Francisco?”

True enough. But Sanders doesn’t speak in terms of electoral realism when it comes to anything on his economic populist agenda, such as single-payer health care, free college and a $15 minimum wage. Anti-abortion votes didn’t disqualify Mello, but apparently Ossoff’s pledge to cut “wasteful spending” and his rejection of “Medicare for All” was, until Sanders was pressured, insufficiently progressive to merit endorsement. By putting his favored planks on a higher plane than abortion, Sanders sends a distressing signal to reproductive rights activists about what he is willing to trade away to accomplish his desired transformation of the Democratic Party.

So while the Nebraska Democratic party chair has slammed Perez for his purity demands, Bernie still belongs over there with the pragmatic Hillary and Barack on women's reproductive freedoms.  Red-flag warning: here comes the reality takedown, Donkeys.  Emphasis is mine.

On the other side of the coin, NARAL’s implication that the Democratic National Committee should snub all candidates who are not fully pro-choice also creates major complications. Why? Because Democrats already have people in office who oppose federal funding for abortions and late-term abortion rights, or who define themselves as personally opposed to abortion.

This faction includes several senators up for re-election next year and tenuously clinging to red state turf: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Bob Casey (Pa.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.). Abandoning them when Democrats are desperately trying to retake control of the Senate would be political malpractice.

While these senators hold views that pro-choice activists deem antithetical to their objectives, their ascension paradoxically occurred in concert with the Democratic Party’s deepening commitment to abortion rights. Two of the four were elected to the Senate for the first time in 2012, when the Democratic convention was as vociferous about reproductive freedom as ever, and the platform was rewritten to explicitly support federal funding of abortions.

... The four red state Democrats simply expressed their opposition to the platform and won their states anyway, defeating far more socially conservative Republicans. Meanwhile, national party officials didn’t go out of their way to spotlight their “pro-life” candidates, which would have muddled their national message and hampered the base turnout needed to re-elect Barack Obama.

As linked above, both Clinton and Obama have said the right words but signaled to the anti-choice faction a willingness to bargain.  By contrast, those pro-birth Dems have actually voted proper.

Of those still in the Senate, Heitkamp and Casey have voted to protect funding for Planned Parenthood. Heitkamp helped filibuster a ban on abortions 20 weeks after conception. Casey, who, unlike the others, was in office at the beginning of Barack Obama’s first term, voted to confirm two Supreme Court justices expected to uphold Roe v. Wade. Surely the others would if given the opportunity. The same could not be said if Republicans snatched their seats.

And we'll find out in 2018, as most of these Blue Dogs are up for re-election.  Let's wrap this with Schur's pragmatic POV.

Abortion rights activists are getting the better of this bargain. Allowing a few marginally “pro-life” Democrats inside the party tent helps maximize Democratic numbers in the Senate without diluting the national party’s message. A zero-tolerance policy would only shrink Democratic numbers in the chamber, weakening the party’s ability to protect abortion rights and resist the rest of the Republican agenda.

Many progressive (sic) Democrats say they want a “50-state strategy,” without considering that party members in some states won’t want to run on every plank in the platform. The trick is to allow individual Democrats to quietly go their own way when state terrain demands it, so as not to suggest any sacrifice of principle by party leadership. There’s no upside in loudly bragging about a Democratic big tent on abortion, and unsettling base voters in the process. Nor is there any value in naming and shaming right-leaning candidates who aren’t trying to rewrite the national party platform.

If I was a Clinton Democrat, I'd feel a little chastened.  But I'm not.  And since I'm not a Sanders Democrat either, the various criticisms of his emphasis on economic populism to the occasional lack of verbal emphasis on women's rights -- again, check his voting record -- or the tired accusations that his politics are racist (Ta-Nehisi Coates has the best nuance for this question, over a year ago) aren't really my battles any more.  About the only reason why I'd like to see Bernie split off from the Democrats at this point is to hasten their crumbling into irrelevance.  That I can get behind, if still cautiously, because his new party wouldn't necessarily be mine.

That would have been enough for one vast Blue schism for the month (and this post), but then Obama decided he was going to give a speech to Wall Street bankers for $400,000.  About healthcare.  And some stupid fucking Democrats decided it was necessary for them to vigorously defend that.

No.  Just no.  Caity, take over.  This one is going to sting, Mules.  A lot.

Could you ask for a more perfect bookend to Obama’s blood-soaked neocon abortion of a presidency than his receiving $400,000 to give a speech at a health care conference organized by a Wall Street firm?

My God I hate every single thing about every single part of this. Let me type that out again in segments, so we can all really feel into it: 

Four hundred thousand dollars. For a former President of the United States. To give a speech. At a healthcare conference. Organized by a Wall Street firm.

Why are Wall Street firms organizing motherfucking healthcare conferences, one might understandably ask? And why are they hiring the man who just completed an eight-year war on progressive healthcare policy and a torrid love affair with Wall Street criminals? These are extremely reasonable questions that might be asked by anyone who is intelligent and emotionally masochistic enough to look straight at this thing, and the answer, of course, is America. That’s what America is now. The man who continued and expanded all of Bush’s most evil policies, created a failed state in Libya, exponentially expanded the civilian-slaughtering US drone program which Chomsky calls “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times” to unprecedented levels, facilitated the Orwellian expansion of the US surveillance state while prosecuting more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, and used charm and public sympathy to evade the drastic environmental policy changes we’ll need to avert climate disaster and lull the progressive movement into a dead sleep for eight years now gets paid nearly half a million dollars an hour to continue bolstering the exploitative corporatist nightmare he’s dedicated his life to. [...]

This is your intervention, West Wing Democrats.

I can understand why pro-establishment liberals are defending this man; he stands for everything they stand for. If all you stand for is vapid tribalism and vanity politics and you are willing to sacrifice integrity along with economic and social justice and the lives of other people’s kids in corporatist wars overseas in order to feel like you’re on the right team, Obama is your man. But if you’re an actual, real progressive and not just a latte-sipping NPR listener with a sense of self-righteousness and a pro-choice bumper sticker, you’ve got no business regarding Obama with anything but disgust.
I mean, it’s wrong, but I also get it. The sympathy we’re tempted to feel for that child-killing corporate crony is one of the very few problems that we actually can blame mostly on Republicans. They spent eight years hammering the guy, but they couldn’t criticize any of his actual evil policies because they were all policies that Republicans support too, from warmongering to bolstering the Walmart economy. So they had to make up the most ridiculous bullshit we’d ever heard, which you couldn’t just stand around listening to without screaming and disputing. They couldn’t attack his Orwellian surveillance programs, so they said he’s a Muslim. They couldn’t attack his eat-the-poor neoliberalism, so they said he’s a Kenyan. They couldn’t attack the unforgivable bloodbaths he was inflicting on other countries, so they said he’s a socialist (Ha! Remember that one?). So by attacking these moronic right-wing narratives, we often wound up tacitly taking his side, which fostered sympathy.

I confess: even when I abandoned Obama in 2009 for not supporting the public option, I still felt obligated to spend years fighting back for him against the lies and smears and racism from conservatives and Republicans, battles he would not fight for himself.  I called him weak then, but now I see that it wasn't weakness.  Being a corporatist tool is what he was all along. 

If you needed more evidence that establishment Democrats would rather keep their heads in the sand about their 2016 failures, here you go.

Okay.  If you're still reading, Caitlyn says it all better anyway, so go grit your teeth at her.  I'll have more on the local version of these atrocious neoliberals serving us on America's fourth largest city council soon, and if you think I'm pissed off now...

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance Marched for Science in celebration of Earth Day this past weekend. Here's the lefty blog post roundup.

Off the Kuff analyzed the Texas Lyceum poll of attitudes towards Trump and 2018 races.

Easter Lemming remarks on the great Houston Chronicle endorsement for Pat Van Houte for Pasadena mayor and tells you a bit about city election political funding.

SocraticGadfly writes about — with photos — Earth Day 2017 and climate change reminding readers that time is running short, and that a carbon tax, a strong carbon tax, must be the baseline of any solution.

Back a week early from his fishing trip, CouldbeTrue at South Texas Chisme draws a bead on the TXGOP letting the lobbyists roam free range in the Lege.

Texas Leftist comments on the "cracked and packed" gerrymander of Texas House redistricting schemes that were struck down again by the courts.

Ted at jobsanger, like too many other devoted Clinton supporters, keeps driving the wedge deeper between that faction in the Democratic Party and the Sanders coalition.  Presenting the opposite point of view, the Houston Communist Party watched Bernie Sanders describe how his 2018 strategy for Democrats should terrify Trump ... but is likely to enrage Blue core constituencies.  And following on that, Ally Boguhn at Rewire wants to know why the DNC is supporting an anti-choice Democrat.

The popular political drama from the last decade The West Wing turns out to be a lousy model for the Democratic Party, observes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Txsharon at Bluedaze wonders aloud how far Apache Corp.'s harassment and intimidation in Toyahvale (near Balmorhea) will go.  And Texas Vox reports that the EPA will hold a public hearing via teleconference today.  Let them know how Trump's war on regulations affect real people.

The Lewisville Texan Journal has city council and school board races on its ballot and early voting for the May 6 election begins this morning.  That's true across Texas for your local elections, too, and don't forget: you still need your photo ID, or be prepared to sign an affidavit attesting as to why you don't have one.

While on vacation in his hometown of Cincinnati, Neil at All People Have Value found the Grim Reaper supporting Trump at the March for Science in that city ... and Abe Lincoln speechless.  APHV is part of


More Texas news and blog posts!

As we commemorated the 181st anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto this past weekend, the Rivard Report has two articles  about the recently-revealed plans to restore Alamo Plaza, one from the historic preservation view, and one looking forward to connecting the plan with the goal of having a vibrant public space.

Even with Greg Abbott's support, the "bathroom bill" still faces an uphill battle in the Texas House, writes Peggy Fikac at the San Antonio Express News.

Better Texas Blog looks favorably on school finance bill HB21, and the Houston Press notes the TXSBOE's softening of creationist language in the science text standard.

Texas Watch describes HB 1774 and SB10 as the "Blue Tarp" bills, reducing incentives for home insurers to pay claims in full and on time.

Somervell County Salon sees 'strike two' called on Sid Miller's Hogpocalypse bill, and and the TSTA Blog isn't having it with Dan Patrick's spin on the budget.

Michael Li compares the 2011 and 2013 statehouse maps in the wake of the Fifth Circuit ruling that the 2011 map was passed with discriminatory intent. 

Dan Solomon introduces us to Student Body Armor.

Paradise In Hell attended the Ted Cruz town hall (which Cruz did not).

Lone Star Ma presents an Earth Day-themed reading list, and DBC Green Blog asked the March for Science to please give his Earth Day back.

Lisa Gray eulogizes longtime Houston preservationist Bart Truxillo, and Save Buffalo Bayou has the details of Terry Hershey's memorial service.

And Purple City says goodbye and leaves us with a few of the ideas it didn't get to finish exploring.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The West Wing is a poor model for the Democratic Party

While my rant on Houston's criminalization of the poor simmers (Marialuisa Rincon at the Chron has the latest, and there will be another hearing this afternoon at Bagby, assuming weather permits), this piece by Luke Savage at Current Affairs crystallizes some of my thinking about the callous breed of Donkey we have here on Houston city council and elsewhere across Texas.  (Sam DeGrave at the Texas Observer has tuned in to this neoliberalism in recent days as the Blue Dogs have resurfaced at the Legislature.)

I'd like to excerpt long but you'd need to be familiar with The West Wing to a greater degree than I am, so let me begin and end with the following sentence, which explains more about Democrats' ineptitude in fewer words than I have read anywhere:

“The belief that politics is about argument rather than power is likely a symptom of a Democratic politics increasingly incubated in the Ivy League rather than the labor movement.”

Boom and thud.  Read the whole thing.  I wasn’t a West Wing watcher -- I spent the Aughts working nights and watching Sopranos when I had time and energy left to watch teevee -- but I am not a fan of fantasy politics anyway.  (House of Cards is a non-starter for me also.)  Had I understood the show was all about the neoliberals reinforcing the duopoly I would have gotten disgusted and abandoned it quickly anyway, but I may be speaking in my current state of mind and not the one I was in ten years ago, as a Democratic activist slowly becoming disillusioned with corporate conservative Dems and their political consultants.  We didn't call them neoliberals then; they were 'Lieberman Democrats' and such.  But they've always been with us: from Sam Nunn and Scoop Jackson all the way back to Harry Truman.  Even JFK and LBJ were war-hawking neoliberals, no matter their devotion to domestic social engineering.  Some would say the Cold War times demanded that.  But the Democrats did manage to nominate a peace advocate in George McGovern ... and they still live with the terror of that defeat to this very day.

You never hear anybody say "I'm afraid we might be Gore'd", or "Hillary'ed", do you?

The Democrats have repeatedly demonstrated their worthlessness to working people, poor people, people who want affordable healthcare and not just affordable health insurance (take note that the two leading Texas Ds for US Senate in 2018 still have not signed on to Medicare for All), people who want less war, more clean air and water, are in support of women's reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights and immigrants rights and all the rest.  And the sooner that Democrats who want those things to come to reality -- and not just to hear words favoring those things spoken and no action taken -- realize they've been had, the sooner we can get started on changing this political system for people at the bottom rather than the top.

Of course, between a warming planet and North Korea we may be short on time.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance has nothing to hide in its tax returns as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff contemplates a contested Democratic primary for the Senate in 2018.

SocraticGadfly, with apology and hat tip to T.S. Eliot, offers up some snarky Trump poetry.

The Texas House will give a committee hearing to their version of the 'bathroom bill' this week, in a nod -- or something more -- to the concerns of rural and exurban members, representatives of those Texans least likely to encounter a transgendered person anywhere, much less a public restroom. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs wishes tolerance and love was something taught in the state's churches on Easter.

The Lewisville Texan Journal reports that the TCEQ has tentatively approved an expansion of the landfill in Farmer's Branch, adding 100 acres and allow it to rise 675 feet above sea level.

Texas Vox sees El Paso Energy renewing its attack on solar customers.

Prior to the Tax March this past weekend, jobsanger bar-graphed three national polls that show a majority of Americans still want to see Trump's tax returns.

Neil at All People Have Value attended the great big Houston march and rally to demand that Trump release his taxes. We must oppose Trump each day. APHV is part of

John Coby at Bay Area Houston attended a Resistance meeting and heard former Rock Goddess Dayna Steele talk about her pending bid for US Congress, challenging Brian Babin in CD-36.

And Grits for Breakfast shares the song by Just Liberty that pays tribute to HB 81 (the decriminalization of marijuana bill).


More Texas news and blog posts!

The Waco Herald Tribune takes note of the fact that Trump's border wall could leave some Americans on the 'Mexican side' of it.

With six weeks remaining in the legislative session, Ross Ramsey at the TexTrib finds lots for representatives and senators still to fight over.

The Texas Observer finds two Democrats in the Texas House voting to phase out the franchise tax, squeezing billions of dollars out of a state budget that doesn't have any dollars left to spare.

Andy Hailey at the WAWG Blog reminds Democrats again that simply complaining about the opposition does not incentivize voter turnout, which will be vital in 2018.

On the eve of his child custody court fight, Jonathan Tilove at the AAS' First Reading blog hears Alex Jones suggesting Obama's daughters aren't his.  (Performance art, indeed.)

The Texas Election Law Blog sums up the latest voter ID ruling, and Gerry Hebert and Danielle Lang do the same from their perspective as private plaintiffs' counsel in the lawsuit.

The TSTA Blog reminds us that retired educators need more than kind words and fond memories, and Raise Your Hand Texas highlights the dangers of special education vouchers.

Megan Hix at Burkablog gives a preview of the forthcoming movie about the disastrous Texas City harbor explosions seventy years ago.

Cort McMurray laments the "Erasing Texas History Act".

Anastasia Hansen explains Houston's German heritage.

Scott Elliff imagines a future day at a fictional Texas county courthouse.

And the Houston Press reveals the excuse an Aggie football player had for exposing himself to two female tutors: he had a case of 'jock itch'.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Funnies

Sorry kids, no Easter bunnies or eggs this year.  Budget cuts, you know.

This next one is dedicated to Big Jolly (news item, Tweet, response) ...

Friday, April 14, 2017

Texas House breathes life into bathroom bill

I am as mad as a hornet about Houston's latest assault on homeless people, but that rant is still being formalized, so here's a little fresh outrage at the Lege and the bathroom bill.

Oh, but they do. They really do.

(Texas) House lawmakers will debate a so-called "bathroom bill" next week that supporters hope will be less worrisome to business interests concerned the measure could hurt the Texas economy.

The decision to debate the House bill, and to set aside a more severe version passed last month in the Senate, marks the latest split the two chambers have endured during a particularly divided legislative session. The House bill will probably get the backing of the Dallas Cowboys, their lobbyist said, but the state's largest business group is withholding its support at this time.

"It's a bill that's trying to strike a balance between all the interested parties," Rep. Ron Simmons, the bill's sponsor, told The Dallas Morning News on Thursday. "It's our belief that discrimination issues related to privacy should be handled at the state level."

House Bill 2899 will be debated in the State Affairs Committee (next) Wednesday. The amended bill would ban cities, school districts and any other "political subdivisions" from passing local laws that protect certain people from discrimination in an intimate space. This would render local nondiscrimination ordinances that protect the rights of transgender people to use bathrooms that match their gender identity unenforceable.

Guess what this bill is modeled on.

While the language isn't an exact match, Simmons' bill looks quite a bit like the revised bathroom law recently passed in North Carolina. Both ban local governments from regulating use and access of restrooms, changing rooms and locker rooms.

Unlike the North Carolina law, Simmons' measure would not affect colleges campuses. It also would not restrict bathroom use based on biological sex, which the Senate Bill does. The House bill is co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock, Cole Hefner of Mount Pleasant, Jodie Laubenberg of Parker, Valoree Swanson of Spring and Terry Wilson of Marble Falls.

I'm going to expect that Speaker Straus is going to hold fast his coalition of sane business and corporate types inside and outside the Dome, and is just accommodating the rural and exurban back-benchers aligned with their extremist counterparts in the Senate by giving this bill a committee hearing.  And nothing more than that.

Too much to expect?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bill O'Reilly takes a vacation

Let's hope he's on an overbooked United flight.   To nowhere.

In the midst of an ongoing scandal surrounding Bill O’Reilly in the wake of a NY Times report that he’d paid out $13 million in sexual harassment settlements, O’Reilly is going on vacation. O’Reilly, however, insists that it is not a suspension, and that he had been planning the vacation since last fall. It is merely a coincidence that the vacation falls in the middle of the week. After over 60 advertisers have dropped his program. 

Could it have happened to a more deserving cad?

New York Magazine, however, is reporting that (Tuesday night)’s show may be his last. Fox News is conducting its own investigation into sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly, and there is a battle between Rupert Murdoch and his son, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, over whether to keep O’Reilly around. Rupert wants him to stay, while James does not.

More from Think Progress.  Watch for news about Billo and Roger Ailes getting a new conservo-news network going with Steve Bannon (as soon as Trump fires him).


In the New World Order, there's always room for one more authoritarian overlord.  To emulate the president, everybody thinks being the biggest, baddest bully is the way to go these days.

The company prevented two girls in their early teens from boarding their flight just a couple of weeks ago because they were wearing leggings.  They added surcharges -- 'tiered' ticket pricing -- for fliers who wished to use the overhead bins a year ago.

It seems obvious to me that the invisible hand of the free market needs to remove a large number of United's paying customers.  Unless we don't actually have a choice, in that the airline industry has become an oligopoly, like our media, our food supply, etc. 

Oh wait, they already are.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance would rather be taking in a baseball game than covering the Lege with this week's lefty blog post roundup.

Off the Kuff has a bunch of updates about various Texas voting rights-related lawsuits.

SocraticGadfly took note of the centennial of American entry into World War I and noted why, in detail, we never should have gotten involved.

The 59-Tomahawk Tweet Trump sent to Syria isn't paying off in polling dividends just yet, according to PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, and jobsanger sees the Syrian bombing as a publicity stunt.

Neil at All People Have Value commented on the Republican universal access plan for basketball. APHV is part of

Texas Leftist thinks the GOP is cracking up.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston takes a swipe at the Harris County Republican Party.

In Lewisville, the Education First High School Year Exchange and their good works are acknowledged by participants in the Texan Journal.


More blog posts and news from around Texas!

The Texas Observer, on the scene at the #Megamarch for immigrants rights in Dallas yesterday, saw Joaquin Castro and Beto O'Rourke and thousands of others.

Meagan Flynn at the Houston Press recorded five highlights from the 15-hour debate over the state budget in the Texas House last Thursday.

Texas Freedom Network's Dan Quinn celebrated the defeat of Dan Patrick and school vouchers in the House, but despaired that the assault on women's health goes on.

Raise Your Hand Texas introduces us to Mr. Voucher III: The Frankenvoucher.

PoliTex (the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's blog) rounds up a few Lege items, including one state lawmaker whining about politics stalling his effort to outlaw abortions in Texas.

Texas Watch names the all-stars on the fantasy sports industry's lobbyist team.

Burkablog reported on Hillary Clinton's keynote speech at the Annie's List fundraiser luncheon in Houston, where she gave unqualified support to Trump's missile attacks in Syria.

Former Sanders supporter (and Trump voter) Digital Heretic joins the chorus of those denouncing the Syrian Tomahawk strike.

Paradise in Hell has a few choice words for former Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss.

Lila Mankad explains why the Legislature should let cities regulate plastic bags if they choose to.

Michael Li has the latest updates in the Texas redistricting litigation.

And CultureMap Houston and Houston Streetwise collected some snapshots from the Art Car Ball and Parade.