Monday, September 30, 2019

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance has a 'perfect' roundup of the best blog posts, Tweets, and news about and around Texas from last week ... as you can see from the transcripts.

The Texas Tribune held their annual #TribFest, gathering every establishment politician, politico, and talking head, along with insiders, geeks, groupies and wannabes from across the country.  There was lots of sitting, talking, chatting, Tweeting, rumor-mongering, pontificating, scoffing, laughing, eating of tacos, and drinking of spirits ... followed by more guffaws and snorts.

Everybody who is allegedly anybody was supposedly there.

With so many of the state's political elites on both sides playing power glad-handing and ass-grabbing games (perhaps less of the latter than in years past), there was little for their reporters to cover beyond the relentless self-promotion and 'brand-building'.  But the Wrangle ropes the dopes anyway.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and DCCC chair Cheri Bustos circled the wagons around Henry Cuellar.

During appearances this weekend in Austin, including at The Texas Tribune Festival, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Cheri Bustos, the head of the House Democrats' campaign arm, lavished praise on Cuellar, and Bustos said more than once that she was not concerned about his reelection prospects.

"Henry Cuellar knows that district like the back of his hand," Bustos said Saturday at a briefing for reporters. "I completely support him. ... He has very good relationships with the vast majority of his colleagues -- who are supportive of him -- and I think he'll be fine."

Cuellar is being challenged by Laredo attorney Jessica Cisneros, who has the backing of Justice Democrats, the progressive group well-known for helping elect freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Cisneros is arguing Cuellar is too moderate [sic] for the 28th District, calling him President Donald "Trump's favorite Democrat." Cuellar is denouncing the challenge as meddling by out-of-state partisans who do not truly understand the district.

Speaking hours after Bustos at the festival, Pelosi was unequivocal in her support for Cuellar, who was in the audience.

"Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, absolutely," she said, drawing scattered boos. "I'm very, very proud of Henry's work in the Congress and I'm proud to support him -- even if I didn't have a policy of endorsing incumbents."

In other Republican incumbent news, Mac Thornberry becomes the sixth member of the US House of Representatives to join the #Texodus.

The district (TX13) contains much of SD31, currently held by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and all or significant portions of HD68, held by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster); HD69, held by Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls); HD86, held by Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo); and HD87, held by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo); and half of HD88, held by Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian).

John Cornyn draws another primary challenger.

From the Dallas Morning News:

The self-described Ronald Reagan Republican said he's uniquely qualified to bring a business perspective to Washington.

"Given the many challenges that America currently faces, this is the right time for a business leader to serve Texas and the country, rather than a career politician," Yancey said in news release. "Senator Cornyn has little support from conservatives across Texas. Senator Cornyn has frequently disappointed Texans with his strong alignment with both Mitch McConnell and [President Donald] Trump. He has shown repeatedly that he is a follower and a compromiser on the wrong side of an issue rather than a leader. ..."

Yancey is the chairman and CEO of Attacca International, an independent, privately held mergers and acquisitions boutique firm based in Dallas. He is the former co-owner of the Dallas Wings of the Women's National Basketball Association. ...

The banner of Yancey's news release describes him as a "moderate Republican," even as he claims that conservative Texans don't like Cornyn. A moderate Republican is likely to face an uphill battle in a primary dominated by conservatives.

Not too long ago in a conservative galaxy far, far away, Yancey would be the perfect GOP senatorial candidate.  But these are Trump's Republicans now, and Cornyn -- who just a few short years ago was the embodiment of all that Yancey claims to be -- is today nothing more than a lickspittle to the powers that be.  Together with a pending Pat Fallon challenge from his right, we may finally see the depth of loyalty Texas Republican primary voters have to Big (SuckUp) John.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston reported from a protest near state Rep. Briscoe "Little Baby" Cain's home.  The TSTA Blog reminded that voters -- mostly independents and those not aligned with the two-party duopoly -- will have the last word on Trump's fate.  And Sanford Nowlin at the San Antonio Current examined the effects of impeachment on San Antonio-area Congressional races.

With the first polling of Houston residents in the mayor's race now released, KHOU and HPM's Bob Stein break down the results.

Kuff discussed what he perceived to be the motives behind several Texas counties' plans to raise property tax rates.  Tory Gattis at Houston Strategies answers the question as to whether one should vote in favor of the MetroNext 2040 referendum.

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs posted about the opening impeachment gambit and its impact on the Democrats' race for the White House, and also on the latest developments regarding the campaigns of Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, and Elizabeth Warren.

Texas Rural Voices explains the Mueller report and why it's still important.

And with that, we'll move on to some lighter, non-political postings.

SocraticGadfly dips into academia and says that conspiracy thinking is a new form of Gnosticism, an ancient religious movement that crossed Jewish, early Christian and pagan boundaries.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Twenty Twenty Update: Gabbard, Castro, Warren

Impeachment broke on Wednesday; updates in the Twitter feed.

-- Bag-eyed Gadfly should be pleased to learn I'm no longer "twerking for Tulsi".  If she's backing away from Medicare for All, I'm off the bandwagon.

Her overly generous welcome to Indian PM Narendra Modi last weekend knocked the legs out of any support I could continue to give for her foreign policy.

I'm still glad she ruined Kamala Harris, and I hope she's planning on doing the same to Liz Warren in a couple of weeks ...

... but I won't be anywhere near her corner otherwise.

-- Julian Castro joins Cory Booker in the 'help me or I'm over' camp.

I'm with Jim Zogby here.

Nobody on the DNC seems to have learned a cotton-picking thing from having rigged the nomination for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

-- Warren doesn't just have issues; she's got subscriptions.

Let me underscore that facts are not attacks.  My biggest problem with Warren isn't her foreign policy, or her being a Republican until 1996, or even her 'capitalist to my bones' remark.

It's that she's also moving right on M4A.

Very much looking forward to the October debate.  Aren't you?

-- Plebis Project has a lengthy interview with Green Party presidential candidate Ian Schlakman, on YouTube, posted.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Twenty Twenty Update: Impeachment Begins

Well, sort of.

Pelosi’s announcement came after months of infighting on the topic within the caucus, which split largely between those in safe districts and those who helped hand the House to the Democrats in November, with Pelosi siding with the latter group throughout. However, north of two dozen House Democrats have come out in support of an inquiry since news emerged that Trump allegedly pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden (The Hill).

Opening an inquiry was as far as Pelosi would go on Tuesday. According to three House Democrats, she would not promise a floor vote on impeachment, a step some House Democrats have sought.

The polling is still not supportive ...

According to a Monmouth University poll taken in August, 59 percent of voters were against impeaching Trump, with 35 percent in favor of doing so. However, the poll was taken well before the Ukraine information came to light and in the aftermath of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony in late July.

And this Reuters poll, fresh out of the oven, shows public interest in impeachment falling: 37% support the Congressional inquiry, 47% against.  Forty-four percent say they have heard little or nothing about the Ukraine story.

There won't be regular reports here on this topic.  This blog don't play like that.  Plenty of others do, and I link to them in the right hand column.  I will say this:

The path to ejecting Cheetolini is laced with landmines for Team Donkey, which is why Pelosi has been so reticent to undertake it.  Republicans, starting at the top, seem to believe it's their road to victory next year, and this would be evidence of that (to me).

Senate Democrats, on the other hand, are a bit divided.

Joe Biden -- and his son, Hunter -- are at the heart of this matter.  Previous reporting had suggested that Biden used improper influence to remove a Ukrainian official who was -- allegedly -- investigating the company Hunter Biden was working for.  The problem for Biden is that there is video of him bragging about it (transcript here).  A variety of media sources say that while this is 'unsavory', it's just business as usual in DC.  The problem for Trump is that he tried -- via Rudy Giuliani -- to make something out of it, and Trump's call to the Ukrainian president, his actions beforehand, and the person who blew the whistle are now the focus of the impeachment inquiry.

So as Trump likes to say: "we'll see what happens".

Biden's opponents in the primary are treading carefully.  They don't want to defend him for somewhat obvious reasons and they don't want to attack him over this -- yet -- either.

Aides to 10 Democratic candidates acknowledged the internal strain in interviews with POLITICO, stressing they need to avert a repeat of 2016, when Trump capitalized on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Several expressed sensitivities around the candidates saying anything that could be construed as helping advance Trump and his allies’ story lines. Yet the candidates and their aides have mostly tried to turn the conversation back toward Trump’s actions, rather than speaking up for Biden.


Part of the tension stems from the reality that much of the field needs Biden’s campaign to collapse. But it would be poor form -- and could come off as un-American -- for a rival campaign to look like they’re capitalizing on Trump’s gambit. Warnings have come from some unlikely quarters: The Intercept, a liberal publication that's been critical of Biden’s campaign, carried a column by the writer Robert Mackey under the headline: “Reporters should stop helping Donald Trump spread lies about Joe Biden and Ukraine.”

So ... as Trump likes to say: "we'll see what happens".

Mainstream media is excited about Liz Warren getting a leg up on Bernie Sanders -- and Biden. The Hill's Reid Wilson gives us takeaways from last weekend's Steak Fry in the Hawkeye State.

A new Des Moines Register-CNN poll conducted by Iowa polling guru Ann Selzer shows Sen. Elizabeth Warren leading the Democratic presidential primary field, the first time one of Selzer's polls has shown anyone ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden.

But Warren is more than just the front-runner in the Iowa Democratic caucuses. She's positioned to be the front-runner in the whole race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

What made Warren the leading contender in Iowa, even before Selzer's poll, was her slow and steady rise -- and the room she has left to grow. Momentum matters in politics, and Warren has spent nine uninterrupted months building hers.

Look beyond the top-line numbers, which have Warren leading Biden by a statistically insignificant 2 percentage point margin: Seventy-one percent of Iowa Democrats say Warren is either their first or second choice or that they are actively considering supporting her. That's 11 points higher than Biden, 16 points higher than Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris, and, crucially, 21 points higher than Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren's biggest rival in the progressive lane.

Selzer calls that combination -- first choice, second choice plus actively considering -- the "candidate footprint," a way to measure support that reflects the fluid nature of a caucus in which voters can pick different candidates in different rounds. That Warren has the largest footprint is important at this stage of the race, she said.

"The footprint signals upside potential," Selzer said in an email.

It might seem premature to call Warren the race's overall front-runner, but history is on her side. The last four winners of the Iowa Democratic caucuses won the party's presidential nomination.

High revolution spin, usually reserved for Bernie-haters like Nate Silver and Harry Enten.

Harris has joked about moving to Iowa. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock pretty much has moved there. Former Rep. John Delaney has camped out there for more than a year.

For all the talk of a nationalized election and a long, drawn-out fight for the Democratic nomination, Iowa is becoming a make-or-break state for a significant number of candidates.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar has to do something in her neighboring state. Sen. Michael Bennet has already spent much of his campaign's funds on television spots in Iowa, apparently to little effect. And Bullock is clear his chances rest on a strong Iowa showing.

Iowa can launch a president. It can also end a bunch of dreams. This year, more than any previous year, Iowans are going to severely narrow a record-size Democratic field.


Selzer's poll showed Warren is seen favorably by 75 percent of the Democratic electorate, a larger slice than anyone else in the field. Almost 70 percent see Buttigieg in a favorable light, two-thirds see Biden favorably, and both Harris and Sen. Cory Booker crack the 60 percent mark.

But Warren was one of the few candidates who saw her favorable ratings rise, up 12 points since March.

Biden's favorable ratings have dropped 15 points since March, when he first announced his campaign. The number of Iowa Democrats who see him unfavorably has doubled to 29 percent.

Sanders has fallen too, from a 70 percent favorable rating in June to 58 percent today. His unfavorable ratings, 36 percent, are the highest numbers of any of the top-tier candidates.

Several contenders haven't seen their reputations grow over the crucial summer months. Harris, Bullock, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke all saw little movement in their favorable ratings over the summer.

My feeling is that the debates are doing more to winnow the field than the primaries.

Some hot shots:

-- The fourth debate -- on October 15 in Westerville, Ohio, and sponsored by CNN and the NYT -- now has twelve participants, with Tulsi Gabbard qualifying.

Other candidates have until Oct. 1 to qualify for the event.

Only one other candidate, best-selling author Marianne Williamson, is relatively close to qualifying for the fourth debate. She has already surpassed the 130,000-donor threshold but needs to register at 2 percent or higher in at least three more qualifying polls.

It’s still unclear whether the debate will be held on a single night or split between two nights like the first two debates in June and July.

The DNC has said that it will make that decision after the Oct. 1 deadline.

-- The fifth debate, slated for November, will have tougher thresholds, and there is speculation that second-tier candidates like Castro, Klobuchar, Steyer, Gabbard, and others won't clear the bar.

-- Bullock is raising money in Dallas tomorrow and Houston on Friday.

-- You can be excused for barely noticing that Bill deBlasio removed himself from contention.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio ended his 2020 bid (last) Friday, saying the party’s rules for qualifying for televised debates had made it hard for him to continue. He failed to qualify for a Sept. 12 debate that featured the 10 leading candidates for the party’s nomination.


"I think this gets to the reality of the debates, first and foremost for me," de Blasio said on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Friday morning. "But the bar is so high, so early, that for a lot of us -- clearly some of my fellow chief executives, governors, couldn't make that cut -- its clear to me that's a high bar, and that's one I'm not going to be able to meet. And I think that's the central reason."

-- Cory Booker says he'll be out in a week if he can't get a cash infusion.

-- Did you watch the Republican candidates debate yesterday?  Maybe you missed it because there was something else going on.

President Donald Trump's Republican primary contenders set the tone right out of the gate: the 2020 race isn't about electing someone else, it's about not electing Trump.

Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld took the stage at Tuesday's Business Insider GOP debate, where both argued that Trump is a threat to national security and American values and deserves to be removed from office.

"This is about Trump," Walsh said. "This is about that guy in the White House. I'm not debating Bill Weld. I've got all the respect in the world for Bill Weld."

He added: "It's not about issues, it's about Trump."

The president "deserves to be impeached and everybody should keep their boots on top of" Republicans in Congress "so that they follow their constitutional duty," Walsh said.

Weld struck a similar chord.

"We simply can't sit still for this guy, who's a disgrace to this office," he said, adding that Trump engaged in "some combination of treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors."

It's not the first time Weld has accused the president of treason. Earlier this week, he said Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election constitutes treason and specifically noted that the crime carries the death penalty.

He backed off from repeating that during Tuesday's debate but pointed out that his time in office during the Watergate scandal in the 1970s contributed to his support for Trump's impeachment.

The president declined an invitation to participate in the debate, and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who is also challenging Trump for the nomination, couldn't attend because of a scheduling conflict.

-- Here, courtesy Independent Political Report, is last Friday's Green Party presidential candidates debate -- attended by Howie Hawkins, Dario Hunter, Ian Schlakman, Dennis Lambert, David Rolde, and Chad Wilson -- in its 2-hour, 45-minute entirety.

-- Hawkins has been vocal in recent days about Net Neutrality and supporting striking GM workers.

Updates here or in a Friday post, relative to their importance.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance -- most of it, anyway -- waits patiently for some cooler weather here at the fall equinox.

Meanwhile the upper Texas Gulf Coast is drying out after a tropical system named Imelda quickly formed, moved inland, and parked itself, dumping a torrent of water on places previously flooded two years ago by Harvey as well as some that were not.

American Independent News Network, via ShareBlue, reported that 4 Texas Republicans -- Brian Babin, Dan Crenshaw, Pete Olson, and Randy Weber -- all voted against a bipartisan temporary funding bill for FEMA's flood insurance program just as TS Imelda hit SE Texas.

Against the backdrop of Imelda's flooding, the #YouthClimateStrike on Friday underscored the urgency of immediate action.

David Collins was on the scene at H-Town's city hall; Austin rallied at the Capitol.

Before we move on, let's close a long climate lead-in with a few additional items.

Downwinders at Risk
says that LafargeHolcim, a multinational European cement manufacturer, is a 'conscientious corporate citizen' everywhere except Midlothian, Texas.

There is some good news ...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India visited Houston on Sunday, and Trump was at NRG Stadium to greet him, along with 50,000 of Modi's devotees and a few thousand protestors.

In election related developments:

Annie's List has endorsed Lorraine Birabil for Texas House District 100 and Dr. Eliz Markowitz for Texas House District 28 in advance of the November 5 special election, and TXElects reports that the the Harris County Republican Party endorsed Luis LaRotta for HD-148.

Republicans constitute a little over a third of (HD-148)'s electorate. If they unite behind LaRotta, it would be very difficult for any two of the 12 Democrats running to qualify for the runoff ahead of him.

Also from TXElects regarding the HD-100 special election:

In an email to supporters, Democratic candidate Paul Stafford announced he was ending his special election campaign because his “ballot application, which was originally accepted by the Secretary of State, was rescinded” because he had not lived in the district for at least 12 months. Stafford voted in the May mayoral election from an address outside of the district. Stafford said he would run for the seat in the March primary. Nonprofit executive James Armstrong III, attorney Lorraine Birabil (as referenced above), business owner Daniel Clayton, and former Dallas council member Sandra Crenshaw remain on the ballot.

Kuff looked at Crystal Mason's illegal voting conviction, which just had its appellate hearing.

In 2020 Democratic presidential developments last week ...

SocraticGadfly ranked some of the candidates by cult level of their following.  PDiddie at Brains and Eggs had two of his usual weekly Updates; the first focusing on MSNBC's #ClimateForum and the second with news about the #LGBTQforum, the US Green Party's Black Caucus debate, and the piece from the Chron/SAEN's Marina Kormbaki about the Texas Green Party.

At the Lege, the TexTrib's Ross Ramsey compared Speaker Dennis Bonnen and redistricting to a haunted house story, while Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer is just enjoying the Dan Patrick/MQS fight.

With an update on Space City elections, PDiddie here in this space posted about the city council and mayoral favorites, his and the most likely, while Above the Law had a laugh at Tony Buzbee.

As we come to the end of another Wrangle, there are some historical papers to view ...

... and some history to review.

Glasstire announces the Houston Cardboard Art Parade.

The Texanist addresses the question of whether one can be a liberal and a Texan at the same time.

And Nicholas Frank at the Rivard Report posted a eulogy for San Antonio media titan and philanthropist Houston Harriman Harte.

Friday, September 20, 2019

H-Town race track 5 weeks long

All the doo dah day.

If the muni elections in Space City don't begin to gin up some enthusiasm -- and the inglorious Mark Jones is here for that -- then there will be a few Republicans who sneak through to upset wins in a few contests.  Orlando Sanchez defeating incumbent Controller Chris Brown could be one such.

Brown's done fine as the town's counter of beans, has the legacy pedigree, and certainly all the money he should need to maintain skyward trajectory toward future political success.  Didn't help his dad, RIP, beat Annise Parker, though.  In a low turnout affair -- perhaps now with Houstonians again struggling with flooded homes and cars -- and with the conservatives agitated as usual, as well as the firemen and -women working hard to eject Mayor Turner, there's a possibility Brown could get caught in a red tide of anti-incumbent sentiment at City Hall.  I'm just sayin'.

So as some local polling begins to trickle out over the next few weeks and pundits like Nancy Sims sniff and prognosticate, Democrats should start thinking about scaring their voters to the polls.

The eleven alphabetically and geographically identified city council districts:

(Since I'm not as plugged in as I used to be, these are really just best guesses as far as who is favored to be selected by their neighbors.  Again, the super source is here.)

A:  Term-limited incumbent Brenda Stardig's chief of staff, Amy Peck, would be the prohibitive favorite in this typically conservative-voting northwest-area district.  The Democrat with the best chance at pushing Peck into a runoff might be Iesheia Ayers-Wilson.

B: CM Jerry Davis, also term-limited, sees fourteen bidding for his chair around the horse shoe down on Bagby.  This is a minority/majority, Democratic district; split almost evenly now -- or at least as of 2017 -- black and Latino (48-45%).  Situated in the north and northeast neighborhoods that encompass the Fifth Ward, Greenspoint, Acres Homes, and Kashmere Gardens, District B's residents are among the oldest, poorest, and least educated in Houston.

The five I'd rate as favorites to move on to the runoff would be, in no particular order:

C:  In stark contrast to B, C is the wealthiest and most Caucasian district in town.  It's also very purple, similar to its counterpart in the Texas Lege (HD-134, represented by that most moderate of Texas Republicans, Sarah Davis).

Mayor pro-tem Ellen Cohen, also term-limited, has endorsed civil rights attorney Abbie Kamin from among the thirteen (six Democrats) running to take her spot.  Community activist and former SDEC member Shelley Kennedy has piled up endorsements from Democratic electeds and orgs.  All candidates reported a total of more than $330,000 in funds raised on their July reports, with Kamin holding $175K of that.  Of the five Republicans hoping to be in December's runoff, I'd give political advisor Mary Jane Smith and former HISD board president Greg Meyers the best odds of taking on Kamin or Kennedy.

D: Should be the funnest election going.  CM Dwight Boykins is challenging Sylvester Turner, and there's a fifteen-member scrum going after his seat.  District D, comprising the south and southeast side, is also predominantly black (Third Ward and Sunnyside) and while there are a few recognizable names in this race -- Carla Brailey, Andrew Burks, Carolyn Evans-Shabazz -- I think it would be a shock if one of the two people in the runoff weren't named Brad "Scarface" Jordan.

E: ... is a GOP district and incumbent Dave Martin has a challenger, but don't expect a surprise.

F: This far west and southwest majority/minority district (17% white, 24% black, 39% Latino, 18% Asian) has sent three different Vietnamese men to city council in the past three elections.  One of them, Democrat Richard Nguyen, returns for another try.  He was the incumbent when barely defeated by conservative Steve Le in 2015; Le is not running again, due in large part to the pay scandal surrounding his former COS.

(Nguyen's own victory in 2013 was a narrow upset over the GOP incumbent, Al Hoang.)

Because the district's races are always close -- with just a few thousand voters turning out, swinging back and forth between R and D -- give Le's new COS Van Huynh a good chance as the only Republican running.  Tiffany Thomas is the other Democrat in the race.  It's all about ground game out here; one of these three could escape without a runoff with a lot of hard work.

G: ... sweeps straight west and south of I-10 and encompasses almost everything north of the Westpark Tollway.  As you might expect of the Memorial area, it's rich, white, and oily.  Republican incumbent Greg Travis isn't being seriously challenged.

H: Campos client -- and Democratic incumbent of this northside, mostly Latino district -- Karla Cisneros draws three challengers, two of whom seem serious: activist Cynthia Reyes-Revilla and former Farrar and Congresista staffer Isabel Longoria.  I can't project whether they are serious enough to push Cisneros into a runoff.

(Campos is also pimping Anna Eastman for HD-148.)

I: Incumbent Robert Gallegos (also east end and southeast) has a Republican challenger but I wouldn't give him much of a shot at unseating the popular councilman.

J: Mike Laster is termed out; there are seven Ds and one R angling for the right to represent this southwest 59 wrap-around.  Once again it's hard for me to gauge favorites, so I'll guess that the Republican Barry Curtis, a former cop, makes it to December against one of Edward Pollard, Nelvin Adriatico, Freddie Cuellar, or Sandra Rodriguez.

K: My CM, Martha Castex-Tatum, isn't going to be upset by either of the two Republicans who decided to enter the race at the last minute.

I'll update this prior to early voting and offer some thoughts about local and state ballot referenda at that time.  Still need to finish my research on those.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Bi-Weekly Twenty Twenty Update, part 2

The #ClimateForum2020 livestream via Our Daily Planet and below, today and tomorrow ...

As I understand it, there will be no live broadcast other than a few snips on various NBC platforms (MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Nightly News, etc.) and that -- no live airtime -- was the off-the-record reason some candidates *cough*Warren*cough*Biden* chose not to participate; i.e. they believed they "checked off the climate box" two weeks ago w/CNN's forum.  Here, from Georgetown University, is the full schedule.

The LGBTQ forum details (it's tomorrow evening).

There's also a Green Party presidential candidates debate tomorrow afternoon.

And a piece about the GPTX in yesterday's HouChron (and San Antone Express News) ...

And from the Spectator's Daniel Bring: snark echoing the usual 'radical' themes but especially critical of the GPUS playing favorites with its White House hopefuls.

I'll have something on Friday's global #ClimateStrike, as well as the promised second part of Houston municipal elections later today or tomorrow, and perhaps more on developments regarding any or all of these events before I get to Sunday's Funnies.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

H-Town races sing dis song

Doo dah, doo dah ...

A bit more than a month from the start of early voting for November's elections, and here I am finally pulling together some recommendations for mayor and city council.  (Stace has posted his; it was in last Monday's Wrangle, too.)  Also on the ballot are three special elections to fill Texas House vacancies, two in the greater Houston area: HD-148 (Jessica Farrar-D, retiring) and HD-28 (John Zerwas-R, retiring).  The TexTrib previously listed all of those running in the jungle primaries.

Democrats have coalesced around Elizabeth "Eliz" Markowitz, who was the only Democrat to file. Markowitz, a Katy teacher, unsuccessfully ran last year for State Board of Education District 7, which overlaps with HD-28.

In HD-148, there are a dozen Dems on the ballot with two Rs and one indy; perennial loser/attorney Chris Carmona.  Carmona's been a Republican in elections past, most recently in a bid for HCRP boss as part of the Hotze Caucus opposing chairman Paul Simpson.  Carm may stand a good chance of getting into the runoff, but he stands no chance against whomever the Dems select.  Erik Manning's spreadsheet lists them all, including their campaign website and Facebook page (slide the cursor at the bottom to the right).  Anna Nunez is my pick here among a handful of good choices.

To the contest for the mayor of HTX:

I can't bring myself to help Sylvester Turner into the runoff.  I have blogged plenty about my disappointments with the mayor, just not recently.  Suffice it to say that this race comes down to 'least worst' option, depending on the two we'll be voting on in December's runoff.

Dwight Boykins, Tony Buzbee, and Bill King are solid 'no's.  I'm trying to choose between Sue Lovell, a competent and amenable yet much-too-conservative Democrat -- like the vast majority of Houston and Harris County Donks -- or the radical, Derrick Broze.  To call Broze the outsider here is an understatement.  Anti-5G is *ahem* an interesting campaign platform, despite the legit bad press about the technology.

Also still sorting my At Large potentials.  Coby has posted details about the AL candidate forum tomorrow night in Clear Lake, so if you'd like to get down that way, be sure you book time to eat some truly excellent barbecue while hearing these prospective public servants for yourself.  I've already endorsed Ashton P. Woods for AL5 and made a contribution to his campaign; I'll do the same for Raj Salhotra in AL1 in short order.

In At Large 2, the incumbent, David Robinson, is the only Dem.  Nobody has served with a lower profile or less distinction.  In At Large 3, incumbent conservative Michael Kubosh has drawn three challengers, but much of the focus has been on 18-year-old Stratford High student Marcel McClinton, a school shooting survivor, co-organizer for March For Our Lives Houston, and representative on Mayor Turner's gun violence prevention commission.  Janaeya Carmouche is the other Democrat.

And in At Large 4, incumbent Amanda Edwards decided to challenge John Cornyn in the Democratic US Senate primary, so eleven have filed for the empty seat.  I'd rate the favorites as Bill Baldwin, a prolific Democratic fundraiser and well-heeled Realtor; Nick Hellyar, a former city council and legislative staffer and HGLBT activist; Dr. Letitia Plummer, a dentist and 2018 CD-22 challenger (she lost the D primary runoff to Sri Preston Kulkarni, 62-38%); and Anthony Dolcefino, one of three Republicans and the prodigy of conservative muckraker Wayne Dolcefino.

I'll do comptroller, the alphabet council districts, and school board races tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The (Bi-)Weekly Twenty Twenty Update

It's #BiWeek, but nobody I know has any declarations to make.  Rather, this will be the first of at least two 2020 presidential candidate posts this week due to the heavy schedule of events.

First up:

Thursday, September 19
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Senator Michael Bennet
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Andrew Yang
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Marianne Williamson
1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
Senator Bernie Sanders
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Former Representative John Delaney
4:15 – 5:15 p.m.
Representative Tim Ryan
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Former Secretary Julián Castro

Friday, September 20
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Senator Cory Booker
10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
Governor Steve Bullock
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
12:45 – 1:45 p.m.
Tom Steyer
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Former Governor Bill Weld

More from Vox.  There seem to be quite a few of the front-runners missing, you say.

Former vice-president Joe Biden and the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, will miss an MSNBC forum on the climate crisis to be held in Washington later this week.

The California senator Kamala Harris, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke and the Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar will also miss the event.

Organizers said most candidates who declined cited scheduling conflicts in the early voting state of Iowa, including for an LGBTQ forum in Cedar Rapids on Friday.

-- There's also a conflict with the #ClimateStrike.  Stephanie Quilao explains.

I see no reason to read any lack of commitment into any candidate's non-participation in any one event, though there will be plenty of spinning like that.  I feel the same way about the Working Families Party endorsement of Warren over Sanders; lots of sound and fury, but the endorsement itself means nothing.  WFP is just another progressive org corrupted by the establishment.

-- This event today is a big deal, however.

(Biden and Sanders) along with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, businessmen Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang and author Marianne Williamson will speak about their labor platforms before members of the Philadelphia Council of the AFL-CIO.

The summit is taking place just two days after the union of autoworkers at General Motors in Michigan announced strike plans, the largest labor action by workers in the auto industry in a decade. ... The power of organized labor and the importance of the Pennsylvania electorate in presidential elections gives candidates a unique chance to connect with two constituencies at the same event.

-- So where is Beto this week, since he's not at any of these events?  Svitek at the TexTrib almost always knows these things.

He's sticking to his guns.

-- Bennet is pushing all in on the Hawkeyes.

Another million bucks flushed by a no-name.

-- Tulsi gets hosed again on the polls.

-- One more thing about Boot Edge Edge, from the last climate town hall.

Let's not.  Let's talk about climate chaos as a scientific emergency action issue, and let's leave your imaginary friend out of the discussion entirely.

This dipshit is really starting to piss me off.

-- Trump's in H-Town this Sunday evening.

-- Last, and updating last Thursday's Update with a new development regarding Mike Gravel's alleged endorsement of Howie Hawkins ...

If this is meaningful to you then you should a) scroll through Primo Nutmeg's Tweets for the full story, and b) follow his/her Twitter and YouTube channel for some of the best progressive news you can find anywhere.

I'll be posting a local (Houston, Austin and elsewhere in Texas) political events update as soon as I can collect a few more items.  If you have something you want to see in that post, send it to me via e-mail or Twitter DM.