Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lupe Valdez false-starts gubernatorial campaign

Maybe it wasn't her but her county chair (see excerpt below).  Several Metroplex media reported late yesterday that the sheriff had resigned her post -- something she is not (see correction explanation in the comments) required to do, by the way --  in order to challenge Greg Abbott in November of 2018.  That hasn't happened yet.

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a Democrat who has been exploring a run for governor, doesn't appear ready to quit her day job for a campaign yet, despite reports she resigned ahead of a likely bid.

Multiple local news outlets in North Texas reported her resignation Wednesday evening. At least two cited Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Carol Donovan as the source of the news. But a few hours later, Valdez's spokeswoman denied the reports.

“As she has stated in the past, the Sheriff is considering the next stage in her career," said the spokeswoman Melinda Urbina. "A letter of resignation was not submitted today. The Sheriff will make a formal announcement when her final decision is made.”

When I wrote a little over three weeks ago that she held the fate of the free world, which still includes Texas, in her hands, that wasn't hyperbole.  She changes the game for everybody in Deep-In-The-Hearta, but only if she pulls the trigger.

(And for the record, let's note that Valdez is much more comfortable wielding a firearm than either Wendy Davis or Greg Abbott.)

Davis, you may recall, had to come clean on her appeal to the NRA Caucus.  Abbott couldn't fire a shotgun without going wheels up, even if his brake was locked and Luis Saenz stood behind him bracing his chair.  But the fetish of guns remains important in a state full of gun nuts.

Gadfly has a bit on her pluses and minuses.

Resignation or no, if/when Valdez commits to make the run as she remains promised to do, she mobilizes the Latin@ vote, the LGBT vote, the RGV vote, and the women of color vote, all of which must surge like Harvey in order to carry some Democrats into Austin (and Washington).  Maybe not herself, but certainly several others.

Like some of these these good people running for the statewide judicial bench.

From left: Franklin, Kirkland, Cheng, Jackson, Sandill.
The Texas Democratic Party is hoping their slate of Houston-area attorneys and judges running for seats on the state's highest courts will catch a "blue wave" of anti-Trump sentiment to carry them into office.

But the candidates said Tuesday they know they are facing a steep battle in 2018, given that Democrats haven't won a statewide race since 1994.

"We all know it's a stretch goal," said Judge Steve Kirkland who has served as a judge in municipal and district courts and is running for Place 2 on the Texas Supreme Court to replace Justice Don Willett who is expected to be confirmed to sit on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


"We've got a bully in the White House. We have a governor that's a bully," said Judge R. K. Sandill, who is running for Place 4 on the Supreme Court against Justice John Phillip Devine. "Texans stand up to bullies."


Six total statewide seats are up for election on the Texas' high courts: three on the Supreme Court and three on the Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest court for criminal matters. Each term lasts six years.

Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia said the party currently has only five candidates and does not expect a sixth to come forward to run for the Criminal Court of Appeal's Place 8 at this time.

Texas Greens: ^^THAT^^ is your clue.  Get your shit together, your signatures collected and verified, and your asses on the ballot.

All five of the 2018 candidates are from Harris County. Of the four who are judges, none risk losing their current seat on the bench if they lose in the general election.

Judge Ramona Franklin is running for Place 7 on the Court of Criminal Appeals. She presides over the 338 Criminal District Court and would run against Justice Judge Barbara Hervey.

"So many people think the law depends on the amount of money they have," Franklin said. "The perception is wrong, but it is still perception... I think if we can debunk that, I've done my part."

Judge Maria Jackson, a presiding judge in the 229th State District Court in Houston since 2008, wants a seat on the Court of Criminal Appeals. She will run against Presiding Judge Sharon Keller for Place 1.

"I believe in being the judge for everyone," Jackson said. "I'm running because I can be a part of change in the law and making it more balanced."

Kathy Cheng, a Houston-area attorney and first generation Asian American born in Taiwan, largely handles civil litigation, asset protection, commercial and family law. She is the only Democratic candidate who is not a judge, and she's running for Supreme Court Place 6, a seat currently occupied by Justice Jeff Brown.


Kirkland is expected to face off against Jimmy Blacklock, Gov. Greg Abbott's trusted general counsel. The governor announced Monday he would appoint Blackock to the job if Justice Willett is confirmed to the federal circuit court.

All of these judicial candidates are known to me, some better than others.  Kirkland has been profiled and endorsed here in the past, as has have the others (Cheng came within a whisper of a Houston-area state appeals court seat in 2012).  If a blue wave in 2018 comes, they will be the most likely to benefit from it due to straight-ticket voting.  Historically, STV in Texas gives Democrats a slight edge, but that data was taken in presidential election years.  (The Lege abolished straight-ticket voting for 2020, but a lawsuit by Dems could overturn that.)

I'll have your early progressive Democratic slate of candidates forthcoming.  Your piss-off-the-centrist-Donkeys tip: It won't include Lupe Valdez or Andrew White, or Beto O'Rourke, or Sylvia Garcia, or either of the two top fundraisers in CD-7.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Weekly Wrangle

With this week's lefty blog post and news roundup, the Texas Progressive Alliance has eaten enough turkey sandwiches, soup, casserole, and other turkey leftovers and would like some Tex-Mex (or Italian, or Chinese, or sushi, or...)

Off the Kuff notes that the odds are in favor of at least a couple of Democratic Congressional pickups in Texas.

SocraticGadfly takes a look at Cooperstown this week with a trio of posts. First he offers his thoughts on the new Hall of Fame ballot, with who he thinks will make it, should make it, and should not make it. Second, he salutes Joe Morgan's comments on steroids users. And third, he offers his thoughts on the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee ballot.

With Gene Green's retirement, Congressional District 29 has an opportunity to move left.  How far to the left is the question, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has an answer.

The Texas Observer's account of a Mesquite man mistaken for a burglar, shot twice by police, shackled to his hospital bed, and barred from seeing his family is demonstrative of the fact that many police officers have learned nothing from the multiple instances of abuse of their authority over the last few years.

Grits for Breakfast is amazed at the lengths that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will go to ignore police misconduct and uphold dubious convictions.

Ty Clevenger at Lawflog writes that the Texas Department of Public Safety is being investigated for forgery, and it's all because of Snoop Dog.

The Lewisville Texan Journal's editor announces the newspaper's plans to return to a limited print publishing schedule, along with the details of a profitability model (as a non-profit entity).

jobsanger sees how Congress has protected the sexual abusers within its halls -- it's a bipartisan effort -- and then uses taxpayer funds to pay the damage claims.

Texas Leftist returns after a hiatus to prepare for 2018 candidate questionnaires.

And Millard Fillmore's Bathtub has a glorious thread of photographs of great authors and the machines they used to write with.


In a few hurricane-aftermath-related stories, Democracy Now! asks if Houston's recovery will remediate or exacerbate Houston's inequality.  Texas Vox wonders who is going to pay, emphasizing the suggestion that perhaps it is time for those who have both contributed to climate change and profited from it to do so.  And as Houston moves on from Harvey, Travis Bubenik at HPM takes note of the scientists moving in.

The Texas Tribune's Ross Ramsey states the obvious: politicians will start taking sexual harrassment seriously just as soon as voters do.  Echoing that sentiment, RG Ratcliffe at Burkablog thinks the timing of Joe Barton's sexcapade is going to enable him to skate past the worst of its effects on his career.

PoliTex, in their weekly roundup of North Texas political items, expands its view to Fort Bend County, noting that the woman with the now-infamous 'bumper' sticker, amended to include the county sheriff in her instructions, is offering them for sale.  To that end, The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon has the stocking stuffer you're looking for.

The Rivard Report offers some tips on avoiding cybercrime.

The TSTA Blog wants us to stop taking educators' votes for granted.

Scott Braddock ponders Greg Abbott's attack on Sarah Davis.

Nonsequiteuse says the way to fight gentrification is to buy local.

And The Lunch Tray has some suggestions for helping kids in need.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Leftover Funnies

"Trump Fans Are Owning Libs by Losing All Their Friends":

Trickle-down economics may be a big pile of Reagan-era bullshit, but trickle-down Trumpism seems to be a startlingly real factor behind this rise in manic tribalist behavior. Trump’s identity, and his style of governance, is based on highly polarized divisiveness and outspoken feuding. In just the past few weeks, he has started extremely public fights with everyone from NFL player Marshawn Lynch to basketball dad LaVar Ball to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The unifying factor in the Trump attacks is a complete scorched-earth strategy: The NFL should enforce his suggestions or face total boycott. Ball should be thanking Trump on both knees for keeping his son out of Chinese prison. There is no room for nuance or compromise or even just not talking politics—either you’re with Trump, or fuck you. And now his supporters are bringing this philosophy into their own lives.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Pre-Turkey Day Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance sends its deepest condolences to the family of Steve Mostyn, who lost his short battle with an undisclosed mental health concern last week.

Off the Kuff explains what the special election schedule might look like in the event Sen. Sylvia Garcia wins the primary to succeed Rep. Gene Green in CD29.

Socratic Gadfly takes a look at the latest on the Julian Assange-Donald Trump Jr. entanglement, along with blank-check defenders of Assange.

Both Al Franken and Don Willett (the Texas Supreme Court Justice up for a seat on the Fifth Circuit) made jokes that weren't funny that recently came to light, as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs observed.

The Lewisville Texan Journal reports that Denton County Democrats have selected the leader of Indivisible Denton to run the county's coordinated campaign in 2018, but not without some internal bickering.

jobsanger notes that fundraising for Doug Jones, the Alabama Democrat hoping to prevail over Roy Moore, has seen his fundraising surge to "Ossoff-level money" in the wake of Moore's sexual abuse scandal.  (Is that a good thing?)

Grits for Breakfast noticed another shooting by police of an unarmed black man, this time in Mesquite.

Texas jobs simply don't pay well enough, especially when they're staffed by women, says the Better Texas blog.

And The Rag Blog has a hefty podcast from last week, including Jim Hightower, some Vietnam vets reflecting on the war, a climate change scholar, a founder of the Weather Underground, and legendary Austin musicians performing live.


In other lefty blog posts and news, today is the global Transgender Day of Remembrance, and Equality Texas invites you to join them at one of these events near you.

Houston Justice also tips his cap in deference to Steve Mostyn, recalling the outsized influence he and his grassroots arm, Texas Organizing Project, had on the 2012 SD-6 special election to replace Mario Gallegos.

In their Texas roundup from last Friday, Abby Johnston at the Daily Post has details of Harris County suing Arkema, the company owning the chemical facility near Baytown that suffered flooding and then releases of gases and explosions in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

In San Marcos, an undocumented immigrant left detention without being charged, but also without his DACA status, which was not due to expire until 2019, according to the San Antonio Current.

The Texas Observer has state Rep. Drew Springer in the crosshairs: he sits on the Ways and Means committee overseeing tax law while also serving as a director to one of the state's largest corporate tax (avoidance) law firms, a conflict of interest apparently invisible to him.

Did you vote against toll lanes in a recent election?  TXDOT is attempting a bait-and-switch, according to Somervell County Salon.

Zachery Taylor has a lengthy observation about how the Texas church shooting exposes the military's longstanding coverup of domestic abusers within -- and recently removed -- from its ranks.

And Harry Hamid walked back home after crossing the street last week, detecting some astronauts underground in the process.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Al Franken, Don Willett, and 'jokes'

The day before yesterday's news broke about Al Franken and Leeann Tweeden, Franken -- in his role as Senate Judiciary Committee member -- was grilling Fifth Circuit Justice nominee Don Willett about his Tweets.  Specifically one Tweet.

You can catch up on the frontstory at this Chron link, where the following is excerpted:

"Do you think it demonstrates good judgment for a man in his late 40s, a sitting Supreme Court justice, to publicly demean and humiliate a 17-year-old girl on Twitter?" asked Minnesota Democrat Al Franken.

"I believe that every child is a gift," Willett answered. "Every child is a blessing... I would never demean or disparage anyone."

Willett, a prolific social media user with more than 104,000 Twitter followers, labored to explain the Tweet. "Go away, A-Rod," he said, was a reference to New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez – nick-named A-Rod – who had just accepted a year-long suspension from Major League Baseball for using steroids.

"It was an A-Rod tweet, not a transgender tweet," Willett said.

Franken questioned why it was accompanied by a Fox News article about Cordova-Goff.

"I think it was a ham-handed attempt at levity, and at comedy," Willett said, acknowledging Franken's pre-Senate career on Saturday Night Live. "Your comedy never falls flat, but mine does, admittedly."

"I don't get the joke," Franken pressed. "Sometimes, when you don't get a joke, it's because it wasn't a joke."

"It was intended as one," Willett said, a smile frozen on his face.

Bold emphasis mine, and the quote from Franken is cringeworthy in light of yesterday' developments regarding Franken's own ... let's call it 'no longer appropriate in this national tipping point moment' sense of humor.

David Sims at The Atlantic explains this.  Again, if you need the stage set, go there.

I was just kidding is often a defense offered onstage by stand-up comedians who have, in some way, pushed past performance into something more threatening or upsetting. When Daniel Tosh heckled an audience member with a menacing monologue about how it’d be “funny” if she “got raped by, like, five guys right now,” he claimed afterwards that he was trying to weaponize the “awful things in the world” by making jokes about them. The joy of comedy, after all, is that you can make light of anything, right? But that defense falls flat when a “joke” is targeted to harass, degrade, or even assault a particular person or group—in such cases, “comedy” becomes an excuse to abuse an imbalanced power dynamic. Franken, with all his years in the comedy community, could lay claim to knowing what was funny and what wasn’t, and could plausibly pressure Tweeden into kissing him as a form of unnecessary “rehearsal.”


It was meant to be funny has been used as the defense for supposedly ironic racism that more often than not feels like button-pressing that’s meant to be emptily offensive. It’s been used to justify “telling it like it is” in ways that work to silence women. And, of course, it’s been used since time immemorial as cover for “goosing” (or whatever other euphemism you might think of) and grabbing people without their consent. Perhaps Franken’s defense could fall into this category—that he was mocking such casual sexism, that he was just pretending to be a thoughtless pig, perhaps for the benefit of giggling onlookers.

Toxic masculinity was referenced in this space just a few days ago, and I suspect there will be plenty more opportunities to rehash and revisit that in the future.  I'm no Franken supporter; he's been losing me for some time with his votes authorizing war funding and his unlimited support of the state of Israel, and more recently last year when he became a super delegate for Hillary Clinton from a state that went 61% for Bernie Sanders, though he didn't say what he was accused by Berniecrats of saying.  In terms of degree of egregiousness of sexual harassment violations, Al Franken ≠ Donald Trump ≠ Roy Moore, but that's not stopping any conservatives from trending a topic overnight.

Likewise, Democrats who attack Tweeden or employ the ' just joking' defense are nothing but blind partisan hypocritical tribalists.  (Some people there get it; most don't.)

So to summarize: Franken did something bad; Tweeden felt empowered by other women sharing their stories to come out with her complaint after more than ten years of suffering in silence about it; Franken quickly apologized, twice, and called for an ethics investigation; Tweeden accepted his apology and called the partisan diatribes "disgusting".  You can watch it all here.

That ought to be the end of it, except for ... you know.

Trump has stayed silent about Moore but has let fly on his medium of choice about Franken.  Some talking head on CNN said last night that "we have a moral leadership vacuum" in the White House.  That's spot on.  One of the things Barack Obama got right, consistently, was when he said in response to some national tragedy: "That's not who we are."

You will never hear Trump say anything remotely like that.

Franken should not resign.  If he does, then he better be holding the door for Roy Moore and Donald Trump to walk out ahead of him.  We'll take that deal, Mr. President.

Update: This take from DocPhD at First Draft is pretty solid.

What so many people are awkwardly groping for is some sort of “sex crime conversion chart” in which one boob-grab equals two ass-pats or one photo equals three teen accusers and one signed yearbook or something. We have finally started coming to the necessary conclusion that shitty behavior is shitty behavior, but people with myriad agendas want to create a hierarchy out of these behaviors, as if hierarchy itself weren’t the reason these messes exist in the first place.

It doesn’t work that way because it’s not about sex. It’s about power.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gene Green gone. Can TX-29 do better?

Another little bit of scalding truth you'll never read at Off the Kuff.

Gene Green is one of the worst Democrats in Congress; very conservative and very corrupt, a pairing that you often find together. And he's retiring early. No realistic explanation why, since he's been raising money hand over fist all year. He raised $474,164 so far this year and has a campaign war chest with $1,272,398 as of the September 30 FEC filing deadline. TX-29 is a strongly blue district -- PVI was D+12 in 2015 and is D+19 this year -- and Obama won it in a walk both times. A 77% Hispanic district, it wraps around Houston (north, east and south) and includes much of the Ship Channel area, South Houston and Pasadena. Green has promised to help solve the endemic pollution problem at election time while taking massive bribes from the oil and gas industries the rest of the time and helping push through their agenda. He should have been replaced years ago.

The only Democrat brave enough to take him on this cycle has been progressive activist and public school teacher Hector Morales. Hector has been one of the few progressives challenging an entrenched incumbent conservaDem anywhere in the country, the toughest job in politics (please contribute to his campaign here). When the Republicans, with Green's help, passed a fracking bill last July, we asked him about Green's vote and he told us:

"This should not come as a surprise, as Gene Green is one of the founding members of the Congressional Oil & Gas Caucus along with Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez, to name a few. Green was also one of the scarce Democrats that voted in favor of the Keystone Pipeline... Perhaps the Congressman should look no further than the Manchester neighborhood, deep in the heart of the 29th Congressional District, where all the refineries are located. After all, the low-income, heavily Latino community has high rates of childhood leukemia, asthma, and bronchitis, an observation that has been backed up by data from the Environmental Protection Agency and the University of Texas, which found “unacceptable” levels of cancer-causing pollutants in Manchester’s air.
"Gene Green is nothing more than a corporate shill who has gotten away with representing the oil and gas companies while claiming to look after the well-being of the community he has sworn to protect. But with $260,000 worth of campaign contributions in this quarter alone from special interests, what more could you expect?"

As an editor's note, I performed several corrections, mostly of punctuation, to the above and added the embedded links that appear.

It will be worth watching Green to see if he doles out that money to some Democrats (and whether they're mangey Blue Dogs like him or somewhat to the left of that), or charities, or whether he just walks away with it.  Maybe Charles will do a spreadsheet for us.

Here comes more hot water.

The Houston Chronicle called Green "a fixture in the Texas Legislature and Congress for nearly half a century." What a terrible, terrible waste of a seat!

Until now, Green's longevity in city politics helped preserve Houston's status as America's largest Hispanic city without a Hispanic member of the U.S. House. Aware of that status, Green worked assiduously to serve constituent needs through job fairs, immunization drives, and town halls. He also worked to court the city's top Latino activists.

A pretty wretched bunch of opportunists jumped right into the race yesterday, starting with anti-charisma state Senator Sylvia Garcia and state Rep. Armando Walle, both Green disciples who seem to have had advance notice.

I actually think a little higher of both Garcia and Walle than DWT; they're both to the left of Green, though that bar is so low it's about three feet under ground.  Morales' biography might be too wordy for Chuck to get through, but let's give him credit for at least noticing Morales, even though he probably hasn't gotten a press release in his inbox.  DWT has been writing about Morales monthly since last July, as noted in the excerpt above.

Wrapping up the slapping of the Donkeys for this morning, I'll predict that Walle drops out* and re-files for his seat in the Lege before December 11, the last day to do so, and that Sylvia Garcia, not Adrian, ultimately goes to Washington.  Carol Alvarado does not enter this race**; she waits for Senator Sylvia's seat to open and runs for that (a special election perhaps not happening until the spring of 2019; Kuff is already offering his nonspecific speculation).  Clinging like remora to the future Congresswoman Garcia are her staff of neoliberal millennial trust fund babies, seeing a political future for themselves by staying in her orbit.

If I had a vote it would be for Hector Morales.  I just can't count on the citizens of CD-29 to be so enlightened as to send some fresh progressive blood to Congress.  Prove me wrong, please.

*Too easy.  If Charles read this blog he'd have known it, too, but he's reading Campos blogging about Dwight Boykins jacking off in front of everybody (figuratively only).

**Update (11/30): Prediction #2 comes to pass.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Moore-ons in al-Abama

They are by no means unique or exclusive.  To begin, let's watch as Sharia Christian clerics are reminded by Chester the Molester's wife that they endorsed her husband just six weeks ago.

The wife of embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sought Monday to draw attention to an August letter from 53 Alabama pastors supporting him in the GOP primary as allegations of sexual misconduct build ahead of next month's special election.

The letter, published on and highlighted on Kayla Moore's Facebook page, praises the candidate for his “immovable convictions for Biblical principles” and says he suffered “persecution” for his faith by opposing gay marriage as Alabama's chief justice.

“For decades, Roy Moore has been an immovable rock in the culture wars — a bold defender of the ‘little guy,’ a just judge to those who came before his court, a warrior for the unborn child, defender of the sanctity of marriage, and a champion for religious liberty,” the letter reads.

Two of the TaliBaptists did, to their credit, withdraw.

... Tijuanna Adetunji of the Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery, said she was not contacted about the letter and did not give permission for her name to be used.

"I was not asked about this story or allegations," Adetunji said.


Pastor Thad Endicott said he was not contacted about the most recent post from Kayla Moore.

"The list that has recently circulated was evidently copied and pasted from the August endorsements without checking to see if I still endorsed Moore." Endicott, pastor at Heritage Baptist Church, asked that his name be removed from the Moore endorsement.

Moore's campaign did not respond to questions related to the letter or why it was posted with the date and identifying information removed. At least one of the pastors listed as supporting Moore is no longer at the church listed on the letter.

Be it the primary, runoff, or general election, these Cotton State churches have listed themselves as unsafe for children.  The percentage of self-appointed disciples of Christ bailing out, mentioned above, is too low but still a good start.  Like their shepherds, the flock is experiencing a wide degree of cognitive dissonance.  Polling results in recent days have Chester down by four and up by ten.

Update: As HuffPo (hat tip Eschaton) notes, the concept of forgiveness for any and all sins is another one of the grand excuses made by Christians for Christians.

Bruce Register, 87, a retiree from Dothan, Ala, said that spiritually, the whole controversy was moot.

“I really don’t think someone of his character would have done that. And if he had done it, it doesn’t matter in God’s eyes because he’d have been forgiven ...”

Meanwhile DC Republicans, more mindful of how this might influence their 2018 prospects, are keeping all options on the table, including the nuclear one.

Alabama has been right there alongside Mississippi as the worst of these United States for several generations now.  The plague of ignorance has spread, however, and can no longer be contained.

Whatever happens -- whether Moore is elected or not, seated in the Senate or expelled in a vote by his peers -- is of little consequence at this point.  Oh, Democrats may be able to make political hay of it in 2018, but they would fare better if they did not have their own Harvey Weinstein/Kevin Spacey/Hollywood, etc. problems to try to distract from.

The takeaway is that this scourge is not confined to the Heart of Dixie.  It's a feature of Christian extremism, and we in Texas and much of the rest of the country have our own terrorist cells.  They're stronger in the South, but no region of the country is immune.

Amidst shocking allegations that Roy Moore pursued relationships with girls ranging in age from 14-18 years old when he was in his 30s, a new poll shows that 37% of evangelicals are “more likely” to vote for Moore, while another 34% say that these allegations make “no difference.” Some of his supporters have upped the ante by saying that even if the allegations are proven true, they won’t think Moore did anything wrong because they didn’t actually have sex and “he was single” at the time.


Incredulous observers won’t be able to make sense of Moore’s supporters while seeing the allegations only in terms of inappropriate behavior, or even alleged statutory rape. They will miss the point that the problem is actually far more insidious; a feature, not a bug of this subculture.

The allegations are being read by Moore supporters through a lens shaped by the courtship-purity movement promoted by the Biblical Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements widely influential in Christian homeschooling circles. ...

As Kathryn Brightbill tweeted: “It’s not a southern problem, it’s a fundamentalist problem. Girls who are 14 are seen as potential relationship material.”

Forget for just a moment about Roy Moore and Alabama and Dan Patrick and Texas and all the rest of the sanctimonious Christian hypocrites and places one could name, and ponder: Why did the majority of white women vote for Trump, when almost no black women or Latinas did so?  (Clue: it wasn't the Russians, or Facebook, or even the damned liberal media.)  The same question holds for Wendy Davis in 2014; how does the champion of women's reproductive rights, under assault like no other in this day, get 32% of the white women's vote running against Greg Abbott?

It is not nearly all the fault of these women, to be certain; most of them were simply voting the way their husbands told them to.  Similarly, it would be too convenient to heap all the blame on the Jesus Freaks, or even the demise of the Fairness Doctrine that gave us Rush Limbaugh in 1988 and Fox News in 1996, which has poisoned the minds of people living in Alabama and rural Texas and elsewhere, convincing them that voting for a child-molesting Republican is better than voting for a Democrat.  Even that is a bit of a cop-out.

I would submit that there is a longstanding culture of toxic masculinity in this country that only a majority electorate of people of color, and most specifically women of color, can deliver us from the evil thereof.  Testosterone poisoning pervades the rationale for war, corporate competition (take note of the battlefield jargon in your memos and email) and in recreational activities, notably bloodsport like football and WWF.  It's quite obviously behind the menace of rape culture and the unspoken, unreported sexual abuse contagion that's finally being outed all across the nation.

It's at the root of homophobia, bullying, and gun violence.

This is an extremely complex issue with so many layers going back thousands and thousands of years through history and evolution. There is no right answer to solving it and I don't think there ever will be. Education is a powerful tool, teaching boys to be kind and not violent is the step in the right direction.

Too often we define masculine strength by who can blow away the most people, who can flex the most muscle, who can impose their will and inflict the most damage. But this cheapens the real definition of strength and toughness. We respect the toughness of firefighters who rush into burning buildings when others are rushing out.

Police officers and first responders who put their lives on the line, and the men and women of the armed services who show courage under fire, do so not because they're out to prove something but because they steel themselves in the face of danger and face down their fears in service to others. For the same reason, we should respect the toughness and strength of men who challenge the myth that being a real man requires putting up a false front, disrespecting others, and engaging in violent and self-destructing behavior.

Cultures take a very long time to fix.  Maybe we've taken a few halting steps down that road to recovery in recent days.  There will be some bumps, and those who fear change will push back and fight back.  It's always been that way.

Change we must, and there's no time to waste.

Update: "Methinks thou doth Brotest too much".

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Weekly Wrangle

With this week's lefty blog post and news roundup, the Texas Progressive Alliance hopes that the victories won by a broad and diverse slate of Democrats around the country last Tuesday -- and with the special election for the seat in the US Senate representing Alabama starting to turn their way -- is the start of something promising.

Although there is still some close-mindedness and hypocrisy to overcome.

Off the Kuff analyzed the Houston-area election results from last week.

SocraticGadfly talked about Veterans Day and stupid wars in light of the World War I centennial.

Democrats turned it up, out, and on in last Tuesday's elections, wrote PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Texas Freedom Network's Insider blog declares that it's long past time for a Mexican American textbook and curriculum in our state's public schools.

In his collection of criminal justice news, Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast points to the Mother Jones piece that indicates TDCJ spokesperson Jason Clark might not be telling the truth about the Beaumont-area prison that flooded during Harvey.

The "new" Music City Mall in Lewisville addresses its planned installation of a Ten Commandments monument, reports the Texan Journal.

The tenth annual green (not Green) Holiday Party in Austin is announced by Texas Vox.

Neil at All People Have Value said folks should vote for Elizabeth Santos in the HISD District 1 runoff on Saturday, December 9. APHV is part of


And from other blogs and news sources ...

An explosive account by Olivia Messer in The Daily Beast reveals the men in the Texas Legislature behaving badly toward women.  It's not the latest breaking news in the ongoing and unreported-but never-to-be-forgotten incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace; only the most statewide.  RG Ratcliffe at Burkablog knows it's a long and sordid tradition at the Capitol.

Public records researched by Melissa del Bosque at the Texas Observer disclose the planned route of the proposed southern border wall.  Fifteen segments would bisect three wildlife areas in the RGV, and put more homes and structures in jeopardy than previously known.

DBC Green blog also analyzes the election results from last Tuesday, and understands -- more clearly than most -- that they weren't the changes establishment Democrats could believe in.

(The election outcomes) demonstrated amply that 1) mainstream Democratic candidates and strategies don't get it done; 2) progressive and populist ideas and candidates win, and 3) people will turn out mostly to express their utter revulsion at our alleged president, not because they have any great love for—or knowledge of—the candidates.

Paradise in Hell is more than ready to draw a line on automatic weapons.

The Texas Living Waters Project is not afraid to use contested case hearings to fight for our state's rivers and bays.

Juanita Jean at The World's Most Famous Beauty Salon needs your help to get mail ballots for 2018 to people who need them, especially in counties affected by Harvey.

Therese Odell at Foolish Watcher grapples with the revelations about Louis CK.

Monica Roberts at TransGriot documents the history of transgender candidates running for legislative offices.

And Harry Hamid crossed a street yesterday.