Monday, March 23, 2020

The Weekly Pandemic Pandemonium Wrangle *updates

With this edition of the best lefty blog posts, Tweets, and news from around and about our still-Great State, the Texas Progressive Alliance has all the TP it needs for a two-month quarantine, but is already running out of potato chips and beef jerky.

(Ed. note: There have been so many developments since yesterday morning that this post contains only a few of the most significant updates.  Additional Wrangling to come for Tuesday, 3/24.)

Greg Abbott has postponed the May 26 primary runoff elections to July 14.

Holding the election in May “would cause the congregation of large gatherings of people in confined spaces and force numerous election workers to come into close proximity to others, thereby threatening the health and safety of many Texans and literally exposing them to risk of death due to COVID-19,” Abbott said ... It “would therefore prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in containing the COVID-19 disaster.”


The Republican Party of Texas supported a delay “to allow for time to ensure that Texas voters and their votes are protected and safeguarded.” In a letter released publicly, the Texas Democratic Party said it wanted a process that “reduces the need for in-person voting and enhances Texans’ ability to vote by mail.”

The Democratic Party has since filed a lawsuit in Travis County (.pdf) to expand ballot-by-mail voting, “instead of bringing our democratic process to a halt.” The lawsuit seeks to “allow any person who does not want to risk their health or that of their family’s [sic] during this coronavirus pandemic to vote by mail.” Specifically, the suit claims that Section 82.002, Election Code, already allows voters to cast ballots by mail “under the circumstances of this pandemic” and seeks a declaratory order.

Kuff looked at expanded vote by mail possibilities, the subject of the TDP's lawsuit.

Abbott has deferred to local governments the decision as to whether to take further action locking down their communities.

Abbott will not be ordering a statewide shelter-in-place at this time, pointing to the lack of positive novel coronavirus cases in more than 200 counties.


The governor had previously fallen in line behind the leaders of the state's major urban metropolitan areas in closing schools, assisted living facilities, restaurants and bars, and other large gathering places in order to stop the spread of the contagion.

Abbott has come under withering criticism for rolling too slowly on protecting the state's citizens against the rapidly-expanding pathogen.

But at least the governor hasn't been as big an embarrassment as John Cornyn ...

... or Louie Gohmert ...

Update: ... or Dan Patrick.

But Texas Democrats have lowlights of their own: Rep. Marc Veazey tried to earmark additional spending for F-35s as part of one of the governmental stimulus spending bills.

There is likely an overload of helpful -- and unhelpful -- information in your inbox, social media timelines, and on your teevee, radio, and podcasts about the pandemic.

Texas bloggers also had the topic foremost on their minds.  Here's a sampling:

Alex Birnal at the Rivard Report highlighted how coronavirus demonstrates the need for paid sick leave.  Lisa Gray at the HouChron interviewed vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez about the state of COVID-19.  Space City Weather shares their thoughts also, including social distancing and flattening the curve.  And The Bloggess tells her social distancing story.

A very strange story from the legal world makes news.

These are just some of the bizarre details of the years-long feud between former Proud Boys attorney Jason Van Dyke, who was also a member of the group and briefly led it, and Thomas Retzlaff, the man who Van Dyke alleges is trying to destroy him.

Now new evidence in a Texas police file obtained by the Daily Dot reflects that Van Dyke threatened Retzlaff’s life a little more than a year ago.

No excerpt can really do justice (pun intended) to this case, so click over and read.  The Southeast Texas Record offers a drier account.

Restaurants and their employees are suffering the worst of the economic body shots.  But no small entrepreneur adapts quicker to adverse business conditions, or takes better care of their own.

Here's something for us to watch while we shelter in place.

Kam Franklin, in Texas Monthly, tells how her band, The Suffers, got their start.

And music fans across genres said goodbye to Houston native Kenny Rogers.

No comments: