Monday, April 16, 2018

The Weekly Wrangle

Even as missiles flew into Syria, Trump attorney Michael Cohen was raided by the FBI (precipitating a tense political drama that may yet result in a Nixonian 'Saturday Night Massacre', version 2.0), Paul Ryan abruptly quit his job, Mark Zuckerberg testified before Senate and House Congressional committees -- whose members demonstrated a laughable degree of technological cluelessness -- and James Comey released an explosive book about his dealings with Trump ... there was other news of importance happening around the Lone Star State, and the Texas Progressive Alliance's blog roundup has it here for you.  Set aside your double nothingburger with extra nothing and read some non-fake news.
Following up on developments reported in last week's Wrangle, the NRCC is starting to freak out about losing deep-red House districts in the November midterms.  Down With Tyranny begins with the latest on Texas 27 ...

(Last)Thursday evening the Houston Chronicle reported that when Blake Farenthold slithered out of Congress last week, he did so without repaying the $84,000 he stole from the taxpayers to cover up the charges that he had sexually harassed a female staffer. He had promised he would repay the stolen funds -- and he's a multimillionaire. The GOP-led House Ethics Committee is demanding he pay back the money, as are (retiring) Speaker Paul Ryan and NRCC chair Steve Stivers. His very gerrymandered district (TX-27) has a PVI of R+13 and gave Trump a 60.1% to 36.5% win over Hillary. But this is precisely the kind of district the NRCC is starting to worry about. Two Republicans are locked in deadly runoff combat for the nomination, Bech Bruun and Michael Cloud. (Two Democrats, Roy Barrera and Eric Holguin, are in their own primary runoff for the seat.) As of the February 14 FEC reporting deadline, neither Bruun nor Cloud was in good shape for what could turn into a competitive race. Bruun has $84,497 in his campaign account and Cloud has only $12,127. Holguin had only $2,413 and Barrera had nothing at all.

... and wraps up with Texas 36.

No one imagined Republicans in deep red districts like Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Peter Cook (CA-08), Devin Nunes (CA-22) and Brian Babin (TX-36) could be on slippery ice but all 6 and dozens of others in red, red districts are.


Dayna Steele is urging progressives outside of (TX-36) to adopt a red district. "So many of you are in districts that would elect a Democrat even if no one was running. Find the reddest district in your state or find the reddest district in the country or find the reddest district in Texas, like mine. Adopt a candidate in a red district and do everything you can for them, like call banking and fundraising (which is virtual now). You can adopt me here."

Immigration reporting took the lead in many Texas news sources.  First, Leif Riegstad at Texas Monthly reports that ICE will stop releasing pregnant women from immigrant detention facilities in order to comply with a Trump administration directive issued last week.

ICE’s detention facilities are notorious for offering poor health services to detainees. The facilities are often kept so cold that aluminum coated blankets are given to detainees and immigrants have begun calling the facilities hielera, which means cooler in Spanish. Twelve detainees died in ICE custody in 2017, the deadliest year since 2009. One hundred seventy-nine people have died in ICE detention since 2003. Report after report from immigrants’ rights watchdog groups have been critical of ICE’s ability to provide health care to detainees. Last year, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General conducted surprise investigations of five detention facilities across the country, and found “significant issues” in four of those facilities, including poorly documented medical record keeping, dirty or insufficient hygienic supplies, and long waits to receive medical care for detainees suffering from painful conditions, like infected teeth and an injured knee.

Stace at Dos Centavos gets harsh at some unidentified elected and activist Democrats for being passively supportive of Trump's -- and Obama's -- immigration crackdown, and suggests he might be more specific about who before the runoff elections in May.  Ed Darrell at Millard Fillmore's Bathtub posts a Tweet link to the NYT story about the myth of the criminal immigrant.  And Houston Public Media reports on a new project to offer legal defense to immigrants facing deportation getting under way in the Bayou City.

Gus Bova at The Texas Observer exposes the charade of Greg Abbott's pandering to his conservative base by adding some hysteria to the call-up of the National Guard to the Rio Grande border, and Chellis Glendinning at The Rag Blog talks to an indocumentado about how he comes and goes, recording the stories he tells about the experience.

News Taco reports that the state Board of Education finally approved a curriculum for Mexican American studies, but it won't be called that because one Caucasian board member objects to, quote, "hyphenated Americanism".

 Off the Kuff casts a skeptical eye at a lawsuit filed against Dallas County claiming that white voters are being discriminated against.  Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer has an opinion on CPPP's report on inequality in Dallas, alleging that it might be a failure of leadership as well as a lack of will to do anything to rectify it.  And Edgar Walters at the Texas Tribune writes about the ten-year stall in Galveston public housing reconstruction after Hurricane Ike; "our own form of apartheid", one activist says.

Neil at All People Have Value wrote an open letter to Democratic Party leaders about the need for an assertive response to any effort by Trump to curtail the Mueller investigation.

Midlothian rancher Sue Pope and her group Downwinders at Risk made the last contribution from the pollution reduction fund bearing her name -- created as a result of litigation against a DFW cement company -- to special needs education programs in her local school district.

Better Texas Blog criticizes the latest farm bill coming out of Congress, calling it flawed and suggesting it won't help feed Texas families.

Grits for Breakfast has a modest proposal for Texas counties that complain about the cost of indigent defense.

Mark Bennett explains why -- as with driving, sending an email, or retiring for the evening -- you should never argue while angry.

Pages of Victory reprints an article from the Ghion Journal about war, the wealthy, and the ideology  of death.

At the Texas Green Party's annual convention in Houston, new state officers including co-chair Joy Davis and treasurer Alfred Molison were elected, and party business was conducted as efforts to achieve 2018 ballot access continued.

In sporting news, SocraticGadfly wonders if Kawhi Leonard has already played his last game for the Spurs, and "Cablanasian" Sean Pendergast at the Houston Press sees Houston Texan players stepping up their Dez Bryant recruiting efforts.  And Mike McGuff made it inside the Astrodome for one last look around before the underground parking lot construction work begins.

And Harry Hamid reminds you that your personal online data is as secure with him as it is with Mark Zuckerberg, and wants you to answer a few questions to demonstrate it.

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