Friday, May 12, 2017

Scattershooting the shitshows *with updates

-- I am just not going to spend much time following the Trump/Comey carnival from town to town.  If that's your thing, you have all you want to consume.  My plans are to get out and do something fun around town on Saturday and then take Mom out to lunch on Sunday, avoiding the teevee Talking Heads as stringently as possible.

-- It's that time of spring/early summer when the Texas Lege is on its worst behavior, and as the calendar deadline came and went last night, statehouse Republicans drew knives on each other and the Texas Senate's Education Committee snuck vouchers into the school finance bill and passed the bill out to the full floor.  Which means Joe Straus, et. al. is the last chance to kill them.

(T)he House has indicated that it opposes school choice but supports funding schools at a higher level than the Senate says the state’s tight budget can handle. In a bargaining move by the Senate to push school choice, a priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and an issue supported by Gov. Greg Abbott, House members who oppose school choice at least have to consider the issue now.

Don't hold your breath.

-- A glimmer of good news: despite Harris County's best and most expensive efforts, a federal judge struck down their opposition to reforming bail bonding for the indigent, and the Sheriff's Office is moving quickly ahead on releasing the debtor's prison inmates.

Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal denied the county's motion to stay her order, leading to an expedited appeal by the county expected to be filed Friday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rosenthal's order is set to go into effect on Monday. County officials are already planning to begin releasing inmates even as their lawyers fight to stop the order.

The judge ruled that the county's bail practices are unconstitutional, forcing poor people to stay in jail when people with money can walk free while awaiting trial on misdemeanors, allowing them to go on with the lives and jobs.


According to testimony at a lengthy injunction hearing earlier this year, many defendants opt to plead guilty rather than wait for their day in court on a minor offense.

Rosenthal weighed the request for a stay based on who faced the "greater harm" if she granted it: The 15 Criminal Court at Law judges and five hearing officers who asked for the delay or the inmates being held on bail rates they couldn't pay. She explained in her order Thursday that the misdemeanor defendants stuck in jail while awaiting trial would suffer greater harm than the county in implementing a new bail system [and also] found "that overwhelming credible evidence established that Harris County has a policy of routinely and systematically detaining indigent misdemeanor defendants before trial on secured money bail that the defendants clearly cannot pay because of their indigence, without procedural protections."

Update: The Fifth Circuit late yesterday put a stop to Judge Rosenthal's stay.

A federal appeals court granted Harris County a last-minute reprieve Friday in a contentious civil rights lawsuit, calling a temporary halt to a judge's order that would have altered the way cash bail is handled for hundreds of people jailed on misdemeanor charges.

In an order posted after the courthouse closed Friday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the request of the county's teams of lawyers to stop the order - set to take effect Monday - until the appeals court can further review the matter.

A three-judge panel of the court  notes the temporary halt to the order was issued "in light of the lack of time before the district court's injunction will take effect and in order to allow full consideration of the following motions and any responses thereto."

And the sheriff puts his plans on hold as well.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez had already been preparing paperwork for the expected release of about 80 indigent inmates locked up while awaiting trial on misdemeanors.


Gonzalez ... is among those who believes the bail system should be overhauled. He said about 100 inmates a day would have been affected by the new bail system.

"We are prepared to comply, allowing many inmates to return to their homes while their cases get resolved in court," he said Friday, before the ruling. "We need to make sure we keep peace in our community, but the system should be compassionate."

I suppose (once the lower court's order is confirmed, that is) the jails, city and county, will now have plenty of room for all the homeless people they will begin arresting today.  Unfortunately someone *update: nearly died of a drug overdose at the Wheeler encampment last night, which is all the motivation some people will need to accelerate their plan.  This is how it went down at City Hall a couple of weeks ago.  Leading homeless activist Shere Dore spoke with Fox 26's Isiah Carey earlier this week about the issue, but the report is not mentioned that I can find on his many social media outlets.  Unusual for such a relentless self-promoter.

Update: More from the scene yesterday; Sylvester Turner applies the full court press (including a billboard on I-45), and Burnell McCray's photographs document the lives being impacted.

-- It's worth re-pointing out the obvious inability of Clinton Democrats to recognize their own hypocrisy, even without demonstrating much in the way of cognitive dissonance.

The toons I have for Sunday are some of the wildest I have ever collected, by the way.  And most of them will never see the light of day at Blue outlets like the Beauty Shop or Ted's.  We no longer live in a world where the psychopathy of the Republicans can be condemned without acknowledging the absolute failure of the Democrats to stop them, electorally or in the use of their meager political power, and not just in Washington and elsewhere but in places like Austin.

With respect to the meme above, let's really get this clear: Trump stands as much chance of being impeached as Obama did.  To hear liberals repeat this ridiculous whine using the logic of the TeaBaggers is, to quote a president's Twitter feed, sad.  Trump is not only not going to be impeached; he's not even going to be investigated as long Mitch McConnell is in charge.

Senate Republicans are unified in rejecting calls for a special counsel to take over the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election, even as some take a critical tone against the president’s abrupt firing of FBI Director Jim Comey.


... Republicans, even those critical of President Trump for firing the FBI director while he was investigating ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, are not biting — at least not for now. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, told a CNN reporter at least six Republicans privately support either a select committee or special counsel to look into the Russia claims, and it’s possible that more information could come out about Comey’s firing that would change their positions.

“Today we’ll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation, which could only serve to impede the current work being done,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.

Several Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is leading its own probe into Russia, echoed McConnell, saying a special counsel at the Justice Department would get in the way of their investigation, which has been criticized for being understaffed and slow.

And it's not just that loyalty to party -- or your party's president -- over country, or to the rule of law, is the only thing that matters to Republicans; the Democrats are experiencing too much infighting to capitalize in 2018 to so much as put impeachment on the table.  This past-its-sell-date baloney is fed to them daily by the likes of Louise Mensch and Palmer Report and others.  Careless thinking is part and parcel of what appears to me as a general lack of understanding about how far they have driven -- and continue to drive -- the party off the rails.  As an example, I take frequent issue with the Observer (a Kushner family publication, but with several progressive writers who still get published), Naked Capitalism, and HA Goodman, a hyperbolic and excessive shill for his efforts in the style of local Donkey Egberto Willies.  (Sidebar snark: "So-and-so slams so-and-so on Rachel Maddow/Bill Maher" etc. is not riveting blogging, and that banality drives about 75-80% of Eg's content, but only if you can get past the constant pimping of his email list, radio shows, books, whatever other activism he's involved in that he can't otherwise monetize, and so on ad infinitum).

But when they're quoting the DNC's lawyer from legal briefs in the ongoing trial associated with Bernie Sander's contention that the party apparatus repeatedly defrauded his efforts to secure the nomination, which essentially denies that democracy has anything to do with being a Democrat ... somebody whose mind hasn't been clouded by neoliberalism maybe ought to shake those fuckheads by the shoulders.  And it ain't gonna be Tom Perez.

With nothing but a severely dysfunctional Democratic Party, the GOP is only going to get worse.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

If you didn't see me tweet the Mike Ramsey "But Her Emails" photoshopping cartoons late last night, they are the likes that Ted et al will NEVER, EVER run. But they're totally true: