Monday, August 31, 2020

The Once-Again Weekly Wrangle

Back after a week's break!  Let's open with a lame joke.

Ha. Ha. Ha. But seriously ...

Our fellow Texans in Beaumont and Port Arthur, mostly spared the worst of Laura, evacuated to Austin but still found a reason to fight about something.

And our neighbors in Orange and Lake Charles probably aren't feeling the joke or the lessening, so if you're feeling charitable ...

There's still 42 days remaining before the start of early voting for the November elections, but Greg Abbott is giving SD-30 a head start on replacing Pat Fallon, who replaced John Ratcliffe in TX4 when he joined the Trump administration as DNI. (You may have heard Ratcliffe's name taken in vain over the weekend.)

Luther is the beauty shop owner who defied Greg Abbott and re-opened her salon while the COVID ban was still in effect, drawing headlines, armed supporters, and a brief stint in the pokey.  Springer is the Texas House representative for HD68, and the establishment choice to thwart Luther's bid to join the anti-Abbott Caucus in the Texas Senate.  The other Republicans -- Carter, Hopper, and Watts -- and Democrat Minter are mentioned in this TexTrib piece.

Expect a runoff, with the D and one of the Rs advancing.  The game to watch is whether Dan Patrick -- or acolytes of his that may want to cause trouble for Abbott -- come out publicly for Luther, work behind the scenes, or stay on the sidelines.  Activity like this signals the intensity of GOP primary scuffling in 2022, which the Govnuh is keen to avoid but won't shy away from.

If Springer wins the primary or the runoff, there'll be yet another special election to fill his Texas House seat at some point, in December or January.

Socratic Gadfly also blogged about Abbott, Fallon, and Springer and had some prognostications on the SD-30 race.

TXElects has analyzed Central Texas and Harris County statehouse races.

Who do the newly homeless plan on voting for? Do you think there will be poll watchers challenging their registrations, who've been keeping an eye on the public eviction records?

We know that they -- and everybody else who gets to vote -- won't be able to vote for many Green candidates, thanks to Texas Democrats.

But it's not like the TXGOP is making sure that everyone who wants to vote can do so.

This must be that "lesser evil" stuff I keep hearing about. Remind me again which is which? Oh yeah; I remember now.

There's cruel, and then there's just plain stupid.

Glenn Melancon at Living Blue in Texas points out that some have wasted their entire summer chasing conservative conspiracy theories. (Not this blogger.)

"Cops Behaving Badly" is still news in Texas.

Perhaps there's going to be some room made for improvement.

Here's some environmental headlines over the past week.

With a couple of educational updates:

Dos Centavos points you to a post by researcher Angela Gutierrez regarding a Latino Decisions survey of Latino parents and the challenges they face as schools reopen.

Should I wrap this Wrangle here? Yes, I should. Let's rock (in remembrance).

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sunday "Right to Remain Silent" Funnies

(Ed. note: My, what a relaxing week off.  Regular posting to resume in course.  If you missed anything over the past week, Matthew Dessem at Salon has a nice summary.  I must admit that finding humor in this environment is more than the usual challenge.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

TexProg Blog Wrangle, Hump Day edition

Ed. note: Looks like the left hip is due for a replacement.  When and how long blogging becomes more sporadic than it is currently is still to be determined.  It's probably for the best; I feel so radicalized by the gaslighters in the Democratic Party that I'm ready to join the revolution, if not start it.  Tweeting and reTweeting will continue at the regular pace, so those BidenTimers among my remaining readers and followers might not want their hopes and dreams punctured with the increasingly acidic truth coming down the pike.  You've been warned. -- PD

Catching up with a few things about the Latinx bloc in Texas.  We might be waiting awhile longer for them to save the Donks from the eevil GOP.

The community may have even bigger problems than not being motivated to turn out for Biden and the Democrats in November, if you can imagine.

On a brighter note, the AAPI electorate is highly charged following the selection of Kamala Harris as VP, and that likely bodes well for Sri Preston Kulkarni in TX-22.

Mustafa Tameez interviewed Ilhan Omar after she won her primary last week.

In yet another threat against local control, Greg Abbott said he would support laws in the next legislative session that would limit the raising of property taxes by budget-strapped communities that defund their police departments.

Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast was among the many bloggers who weighed in.

... I thought conservatives believed revenue caps were a good thing, not a sanction applied to liberal cities for doing something they don't like.

Indeed, I'm old enough to remember when conservatives favored less spending and smaller government. Now the governor wants to punish cities that reduce spending. We've passed all the way through the looking glass, it seems.

Austin cut its police budget by less than five percent. By contrast, Gov. Abbott, the Lt. Governor and the House Speaker recently told state agencies they all must cut their budgets by 5% because of declining tax revenue in the COVID era. Isn't what's good for the goose good for the gander?

Finally, cities around the state face budget shortfalls because of COVID combined with revenue caps the Legislature already approved. "Austin bashing" is one thing -- folks in the capital city have come to expect that -- but are you really going to punish every small town that must cut its police budget because tax revenue declined thanks to the virus?

Ten years ago, Texas Republicans were all about "less government" and "local control." Now Abbott wants to micromanage municipal budgets to keep spending high. This debate is becoming downright surreal.

D Magazine summarizes and links to the DMN's report on the City Council's loss of confidence in the leadership of their police department.

It's not just local cops, as we know.

And because so many of these issues are being managed by Democrats in big cities, the question is begged: what good is voting for them actually doing?

Democrats are busy removing any options to their left from your ballot.

Is that democratic? Is it progressive?

More later (possibly).

Monday, August 17, 2020

The TexProgBlog Wrangle (DNC Week)

The leftists in the Texas Progressive Alliance won't be tuning in to the DNC convention this week (not even to Bernie and AOC).  The DSA and progressive Democrats in the Alliance may or may not be, depending on how strenuously they define 'progressive'.  The Blue Dogs, shitlibs, Blue MAGAts, neoliberals, establishment Dems and their paid consultants, lobbyists, pollsters, and associated lickspittles -- and of course the RINOs and the Never-Trump Republicans -- will have their eyes glued to the screen every single night.

Lone Star Latinxs in particular seem a little put out about it ...

"I think that we could win the battle and lose the war," (Julian) Castro told "Axios on HBO" of Democrats' chances this fall. "We could win in November, but you could see a potential slide of Latino support for Democrats."

... even Stace, reverting to his milquetoasty form.  But the Texas Signal, your home away from Kuffner with all the insidery establishment goodness you can tolerate without any clues to what's actually going on with the Donkey Party's eroding youth base, is there for you.  Their opinion editor -- a Latina -- even managed an English-only interview with the "Spanish press secretary" for the TDP.  Somebody let me know if they get around to posting a transcript en Espanol.  At least they mentioned "the" chancla.

And all this time I thought Texas was a swing state ...


-- Can Joe Biden win over the young Latinxs that flocked to Bernie Sanders?

Houston PD chief Art Acevedo apparently spoke last night.  Acevedo, who's welcoming furloughed cops from other cities to come to Houston, probably delivered a real puke-a-thon about law and order and Blue Lives Mattering and such.  I didn't look too hard to find anything about his talk.  If you did, hit me up.  Update: Stace, coming a little stronger.  Judge Hidalgo, by contrast, belonged at the top of this schedule.

Then there's Matt Angle of the Lone Star Project, who resurrected his ten-year-old grievance with the Texas Green Party.

And sure enough:

Charles Waterbury, the Green Party candidate for Texas Supreme Court chief justice, has dropped out of the race after an opponent questioned his eligibility to run.

Waterbury’s withdrawal notice was submitted to the Texas secretary of state’s office Monday after being notarized Friday, the same day his Democratic opponent, Amy Clark Meachum, sought a court order declaring his candidacy invalid.

Meachum’s emergency petition to the Supreme Court, the same body she hopes to join, argued that Waterbury is prohibited from appearing on the ballot as the Green Party nominee because he voted in the March 3 Democratic primary.

State law prohibits candidates for state or county office from representing one political party in the general election if they voted in another party’s primary in the same election cycle.

I have three things to say about this.

1. If you search the archives of this blog hard enough (yesyes, I should have tagged posts long ago) you'll find one where I actually agreed with Angle on this point of his. Along about in 2009 when I became disillusioned with Obama's capitualtion on health care and began to look at the Green Party more seriously, I asked them about this business of having the TXGOP fund their ballot access. The response was quick and certain: "no permanent enemies, no permanent allies". That's kind of how it it with Donkeys and Elephants, too yes?  Isn't John Kasich demonstrating precisely that premise by speaking at the DNC, endorsing Joe Biden, but declaring he's not abandoning the GOP and has been assured that Biden "isn't moving left", toward AOC, as the Jackasses applaud?

2. Amy Clark Meachum just lost my vote in November.

3. If this affects any other Texas Green Party candidates' eligibility, then that's on them, too.  As a member of the Harris County Ballot Board in 2010, the presiding judge disqualified me for the exact same reason (voting in the D primary and serving as a Green judge).  It's a chickenshit play, and in that case, it did not withstand scrutiny; the County Clerk -- Stan Stanart at that time -- asserted that his office selected HCBB judges and that nobody other than him had authority to disqualify them.  (I chose to say off the Board anyway, FWIW, until a new presiding judge took over.)  I have not blogged about this until now for many reasons, as you might suspect.

We're still waiting for that court ruling.

Since I turned this post into a rant, I'll have an actual Wrangle in short order.

(Here's the original for a bigger view)

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Sunday "The Election is in the Mail" Funnies

Bald eagle attacks gov't drone, sends it to bottom of Lake Michigan

White House Update: 2020 is in the mail

As I fell behind this week, here's a brief post (brief for me, anyway) on the race to 1600 Pennsavainya.

-- Kamala is catching the racism and misogyny slings and arrows from Trump and the Right, as all thought she would.  She's deftly blocking them, as everyone also expected.

-- The efforts the president is expending to scrunge the election by sabotaging the post office are shocking even by the standards he has established.

Conspiracy theories abound.

I've read lots of speculating over the past several weeks about 'what if Trump doesn't leave', if/when he loses the election, as I'm sure you have.  I personally haven't given it any worry time, as I'm of the opinion that there will be some soldiers who will do the ejecting if it becomes necessary, and that they might have to fight their way through some other soldiers loyal to the incumbent, not to mention a few militias, to do so.  All in a day's work for the military.

This is going to be a more salacious development.

"From golden showers in a sex club in Vegas, to tax fraud, to deals with corrupt officials from the former Soviet Union, to catch and kill conspiracies to silence Trump's clandestine lovers, I wasn't just a witness to the president's rise -- I was an active and eager participant ..."

Fun.  Here's a few barely-related Tweets from the past week regarding developments that are, shall we say, self-explanatory.

I'll have a lot to say about the DNC convention next week.  Trust me.

-- Libertarian Jo Jorgensen was bitten by a bat in Hattiesburg, MS prior to a rally for inclusion in the presidential debates.  She got inoculated for rabies as a result.  Politico and The Hill also covered the incident.  No word on the condition of the bat.

-- In the only other news I care to mention this week, there were a couple of vice-presidential selection developments in two minor party campaigns.  Via Indy Political Report:

Green Party turned Independent candidate Dario Hunter, who will be on the ballot in Colorado under the banner of the Progressive Party, has announced Penobscot Nation activist Dawn Neptune Adams will replace Darlene Elias as his running mate. No reason for the replacement was given.

Independent Candidate Mark Charles released a statement announcing Sedinam Moyowasifza-Curry was no longer going to be his running mate. Again, no reason was given for the change.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


"Why was the name of Uganda’s biggest city trending on Twitter Tuesday night?"  Because of 'damn you, autocorrect', and not Tommy Chong.

In an evening Tweetstorm of snark and snidery, that was hardly the best.

Maybe Susan Rice was a bit too ... I don't know, swampy?

She'll probably make a fine secretary of state, in the Mike Pompeo tradition.

Anyway ... most of the Donkeys are happy this morning.

Kamala was, after all, the easy choice.  The safe choice.  It seemed as if Biden wanted somebody else, but this piece suggests that it was pretty much hers all along.  If you believe what Obama was tipping, anyway.  (No mention of Klobuchar there, I note.)

Seriously, the KHive brings it, and Trump is somewhat lost for insult words.  'Nasty' and disrespectful' (#3 in this list) aren't gonna play like they did against Hillary four years ago, especially since he donated to Kamala's campaign for CA AG.  Oops.  I'm less sure about "Phony", as that happens to be progressives' primary complaint.  Michael Goodwin at the NY Post is a conservative asshole, but his critique here is mostly spot on (replace "violent radicals leading riots and looting" in the last graf with "police and unidentified federal goons beating up peaceful protestors", for one example).

Let me close this out with two questions I look forward to hearing the answer to:

A White House Update is forthcoming, with more about the other candidates in the presidential race, and less about the duopoly.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Weekly Wrangle

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner blames his city's out-of-control coronavirus outbreak on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to strip away his authority to deal with the pandemic.

Coronavirus cases skyrocketed in Houston in June and July -- reflecting a statewide trend -- after Abbott reopened the state's economy on May 1, ending one of the nation's shortest stay-home orders. And the governor issued executive orders prohibiting local officials from mandating masks and imposing fines for not complying.


In mid-June, Turner and several other Texas mayors joined forces to request that Abbott allow them to issue face mask mandates. The governor initially dismissed the idea; it took him two additional weeks to issue his own statewide mask-wearing order.


The mayor noted that more Houstonians contracted and died of coronavirus in July than in March, April, May, and June combined.

"That did not have to be," he said.

The first trials of a vaccine are now under way in Houston.  According to this report, they are still in need of (paid) volunteers.

Vox details how and why the coronavirus devastated the RGV.  And Socratic Gadfly read the TXGOP tea leaves and offered some early thoughts as to whether Greg Abbott will be primaried in 2022, and if so, by whom?

More stories about the fallout of COVID-19 ...

Space City Weather looks at what is now forecast to be a more active hurricane season.

Zeph Capo, writing for Reform Austin, argues against reopening schools without a robust plan to keep everyone safe.

I have something of a backlog of criminal justice links to post next.  Grits for Breakfast has been busy as always, with the report first filed by the Austin Chronicle on that city's 'Citizen Spying Program' and a test drive of the state's Criminal Court 'data dashboard'.  The San Antonio Report, formerly the Rivard Report, reviews Doug J.Swanson's book Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers.

And just a couple of environmental updates: the Midland Reporter-Telegram says that the Texas Railroad Commission is soliciting public comment on flaring rule changesKeith Schneider at Circle of Blue warns that Texas and its developers always forget about drought during rainy times.

I saved politics and election news for last.

TXElects has a hypothesis about how the pandemic might affect the college vote.

One of the impacts COVID-19 may have on the general election is a potentially significant drop in turnout among college students. University of Texas interim president Jay Hartzell estimated roughly 40%-50% of the student body has opted for an online-only fall semester. While that does not necessarily mean they are not in Austin, or will not vote, it likely means far fewer of them will vote relative to two years ago.

Lower college-age turnout could impact close races across Texas, including potentially some at the statewide level. Younger voters tend to favor Democrats. Fewer of them voting likely hurts Democratic candidates.

For example, in 2018, we calculated that Rep. Erin Zwiener’s (D-Driftwood) margin in the eight precincts including and immediately adjacent to Texas State Univ. put her over the top. She lost the rest of the district.

The Texas Politics Project has the state presidential polls collated all in one place.  Michael Li shares a few charts to illustrate why the Lone Star State is finally competitive this year.

Progressives Everywhere writes about Sharon Hirsch in HD-66 and her plans to unseat Tea Party Republican Matt Shaheen.  Kuff did an interview with Sherrie Matula of the Sisters United Alliance, a grassroots effort to turn out low-propensity Democratic female voters.  Dos Centavos says that if Dems want to run up the score with Latino votes, they must sell the Biden Latino plan too, instead of just pointing fingers at Trump's racism.  Ray Levy-Uyeda at In These Times profiles the Latinx activist group Mijente, which seems to have the opposite POV of Stace.  And Maria Teresa Kumar also writes about Biden's Latino/a problems and offers advice on how he can fix it.

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs just laughs at Donkeys who are cringing inside about being stuck with Biden, who gaffes every time he opens his mouth and can't really decide on a running mate.  Hey, you fucked around; now you're finding out.  And state Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio (HD-122) opined in the SAEN that it is is time to abolish the two-party system (!!).

In the aftermath of the explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, James the History Teacher re-tells the story of the 1947 Texas City disaster, caused by improper storage and safeguarding of the same kind of fertilizer material.  And Dan Solomon at Texas Monthly introduces us to Curbside Larry, the library hero we didn't know we needed.

At the very bottom of Saturday's week-ending Wrangle, Michael Barnes mentioned that there was, indeed, a basement in the Alamo.  In celebration of the 35th anniversary of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure", News4SanAntonio followed Paul Reubens as he toured it.  No bike was found, though.

Biden's veep

“A week ago, I would’ve said it’s Kamala versus the field, then I would’ve said Karen Bass has it won. Now, I think it’s Susan or Kamala,” said one senior Democrat close to Biden and some of his top aides. He then paused and admitted he didn’t actually know much at all. “Who’s in the hunt? We have no idea how one through five goes.” He paused again. "We have no clue".

Not all of us, sweet child. 


Cillizza, blind hog, 5 acorns.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

EOW* Lone Star Wrangle

*EOW -- Eye on Williamson -- was the name of a fine TPA blog managed by a fellow, or fellows, who blogged under WC News and Dem Bones a decade ago.  Brian also served on the SDEC for a brief period of time before moving to Seattle for employment with Microsoft (IIRC).  EOW  -- in this post's title the acronym means "End of Week" -- is one of a bushelful of Texas lefty blogs that have gone kaput over the past ten or so years.  BOR, Burnt Orange Report, is another.  Its founders also moved on to bigger and better things: KT Musselman is now a justice of the peace in Williamson County; Phillip Martin works at Progress Texas and for the Texas House Democratic Caucus; and Matt Glazer, well, has done a whole bunch of important things.

My point is that as independent media comes full circle in terms of its importance to and influence on the dialogue in the public square, I'm looking for more Texas voices to include here: vlogs, podcasts, tweeting, writings on Medium and Substack, what have you.  All I ask is that they be intelligent, consistent in producing content, and original (promoting Democrats and Democratic campaigns is overtilled acreage, y'all.  They also have to have an RSS feed that Blogger can detect so that they show up in the right-hand column, of course.)  Keep sending me your tips, but please also send your favorite sources so I can add them to the blogroll and include them in this biweekly round-up.

Opening today with the optimism brimming among the Donkey herd.  Patrick Svitek and Abby Livingston for the TexTrib compile snapshots of the state of play for a few of the spotlight dances.

I'll add some of my thoughts to theirs (the kind you won't read anywhere else, you know).

-- TX24: Candace Valenzuela won her runoff in the Democratic primary and will face Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne.  Republicans have long controlled this Tarrant Count region, but the polling shows it slipping away from them.

-- TX21: The incumbent, former Ted Cruz flack Chip Roy, squares off with Democratic darling Wendy Davis, and recent polling shows a tight race.  The progressive alternative in this contest is also a former gubernatorial candidate, Tom Wakely, who's running under the Green banner.

TX22: After Troy Nehls emerged from the muddy, bloody GOP runoff with Kathaleen Wall, he scraped his website of references to Trump.  That's because he's up against the Democrat who nearly defeated the retiring Congressman (Pete Olson) two years ago, Sri Preston Kulkarni.  Few places in America reflect the changing demographics and politics of America's suburbs better than this Sugar Land district, which was represented by Tom DeLay just a few years ago.

TX10: Mike Seigel is back for another shot at Michael McCaul.  He's the most progressive Democrat in this class, and as you might have guessed, the DCCC is staying away again.  Texas' electeds are treating him better, though, and he came close enough in '18 -- five points in a district Beto O'Rourke won by .1 of a percentage point -- that a presidential turnout might get him over the hump.

TX2: Dems think they have a shot at knocking off Dan Crenshaw, the media favorite who lives to scratch on "libruls" and "Communists" and other so-called ee-vils.  Sima Ladjevardian is a solid establishment candidate but Crenshaw has a national following and the fundraising to back it up.  This district was surgically gerrymandered to cancel Montrose and other inner Houston Democrats with bumfuck East Texas Republicans, and IMO the only thing that will excise Crenshaw is a redraw in 2022 by a Democratic statehouse at the Lege.  I'd like to be wrong.

TX31: After MJ Hegar chose to challenge John Cornyn instead of taking a rematch with John Carter, Christine Mann, the runner-up in 2018, stepped up again.  But she lost the runoff to Donna Imam, another progressive whiz kid whom the DCCC has avoided.  With a small war chest and some bruised intraparty feelings locally, Imam has a tall hill to climb.

TX7: Lizzie Fletcher's challenger Wesley Hunt was diagnosed with COVID-19 as tried to board Air Force One last week, alongside Louie Gohmert and Donald Trump.  Fletcher is the neoliberal poster child: Pelosi sycophant, loves fossil fuels and war toys, hates Medicare for All.  I didn't vote for her in 2018 and I won't vote for her again this November.  She should still win.

TX32: Colin Allred is Lizzie Fletcher's brain in the body of a Dallas Cowboys linebacker.  They vote exactly the same way.  This is classic old school, Martin Frost/Matt Angle Texas Democrat machine politics.  It's also the reason why Joe Biden narrowly won the Texas primary after Obama told all the other shitlibs to drop out and fall in line behind him.  The whining about "soshulism", even from seemingly progressive Democrats like Sylvia Garcia, was at fever pitch that first weekend in March, and Obama heard their cries and answered their prayers.

Hey, it might win one more time, if the polls are right.  Later today, in Sulphur Springs ...

More on state Congressional races later.  Here's a bit on the Cornyn-Hegar matchup (Dems are optimistic but I am not).

I'll be voting for the Green, David Collins.

In East Texas statehouse races:

I have a lot more to get to in this Wrangle.  It seems Texas Republicans are having things go from bad to worse for themselves, and quickly.

"My professional advice as a financial consultant would be to sell me everything you have for a dollar, except that I already own you."  It should be noted that this is still gallows humor.

There's a point at which Republicans' efforts to demonstrate that government doesn't work becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy just isn't funny.  We reached that point many years ago.

Moving on to the latest environmental news ...

Save Buffalo Bayou reprints an op-ed from Amanda Fuller and Jordan Macha that ran in the Houston Chronicle regarding the urgency of converting Harris County's flood mitigation from concrete ditches and paved-over prairies to something more nature-based.

Missing your hemp headlines?

Eater Houston lists their favorite spots to pick up CBD-infused drinks, smoothies, and ice cream-style treats.  Cooling off and chilling out sounds like a great idea.

The Rivard Report is up to Episode Eleven in their 'Cabeza de Vaca' series; the latest entitled "Faith the Size of a Pecan".

I told you I had a lot to get to.  We're almost at the end.