Saturday, August 01, 2020

Week-ending Lone Star Round-up

Here's all the news that broke over the past few days, along with updates to Monday's and Tuesday's Wrangles, and a few things I couldn't fit in there from earlier.

Catching up on COVID, Louie Gohmert wasn't the only Republican diagnosed with the virus trying to board Air Force One with Trump to go to Midland and Odessa for the rally there this week.  Gohmert remains the stupidest, however.

Also receiving an award for Ignorant Texan of the Week is Dr. Stella "Alien DNA-Demon Sperm" Immanuel, whose 15 minutes of fame pegged out the meter.

A Houston doctor who praises hydroxychloroquine and says that face masks aren’t necessary to stop transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus has become a star on the right-wing internet, garnering tens of millions of views on Facebook on Monday alone. Donald Trump Jr. declared the video of Stella Immanuel a “must watch,” while Donald Trump himself retweeted the video.

Before Trump and his supporters embrace Immanuel’s medical expertise, though, they should consider other medical claims Immanuel has made—including those about alien DNA and the physical effects of having sex with witches and demons in your dreams. 

Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches. 

She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens.

In the interest of fairness, I'll concede that last claim of hers could be true.

About that Permian Basin visit:

Pretty sure they still get public radio in West Texas.

Masculinity can be toxic, I've read.  I will never believe the social and educational gains of having Texas schoolchildren return to the classroom is worth risking their lives and long-term health, or that of our state's teachers (or school bus drivers and custodians and cafeteria workers).  Just know that the wealthy have options that the rest of you don't.  I don't have any children or grandchildren in the state's school system but I do have a few nieces and nephews (and grands- of those).  Should I care as much as their parents and grandparents?  I don't really have a say or influence.  I certainly didn't think that disregard for the threat, or poor planning and execution -- much less the economy -- was a good excuse for sacrificing our seniors, like Dan Patrick.  (Nor the prisoners and immigrant detainees in our jails, but hey, maybe that's just me and a few other bleeding hearts.)

I wasn't elected to anything, and I sure didn't vote for any of these people who do think that.

Speaking of elections ...

Because of the resignation of Diane Trautman and the withdrawal of Andrea Duhon, there are now two Democratic nominee vacancies on the November 3, 2020 General Election ballot:

Harris County Clerk - Unexpired term, through 2022
Harris County Department of Education Trustee, Position 7, At-Large - Full term

Under state law, precinct chairs from each political party nominate a candidate to appear on the November ballot. HCDP precinct chairs will vote at a County Executive Committee (CEC) meeting to be held virtually (conducted by computer, rather than in-person) on Saturday, August 15, 2020, at 11:00 am.

Environmental updates include these developments.  First, from Juan Cole:

Ashton Nichols at The Dallas Morning News reports that ExxonMobil lost over $1 billion in the second quarter, up from a $600 million lost in the first. Year on year, its revenues are down 33% for the first half of this year. It has been forced to close down half its fracking rigs in the Permian Basin. In recent years, the company is responsible for 124 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually and it is one of the biggest polluters in the world, helping wreck the planet.

Nichols quoted senior vice president Neal Chapman as saying, “Absolute demand fell to levels we haven’t seen in nearly 20 years. We’ve never seen a decline with this magnitude and pace before, even relative to the historic periods of demand volatility following the global financial crisis as far back as the 1970s oil and energy crisis.”

Chevron did even worse, losing a whopping $8 billion.


This crisis is a foretaste of what is coming when electric cars take off in the consumer market, something that will happen through the 2020s.

As I have written before, I simply do not have the same amount of sympathy for these companies that I do for small businesses.  They haven't only failied to adapt; they have refused to, and have denied that their commerce is at the root of a more serious global pandemic than COVID-19.

ExxonMobil has known about the catastrophic effects of using its product for decades, and has spent tens of millions of dollars to muddy the waters and discourage people from giving up gasoline. It also engages in greenwashing, pretending to be working on renewable energy or the (non-existent) carbon capture, when in fact only 1% of its profits go toward such research. ExxonMobil executives and flacks are committing premeditated inter-generational genocide.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining, and the Progressive Forum's blog, written by Randall Morton, presents the capitalist opportunity in the midst of the crisis:

Let’s rouse the business opportunities at our feet. The next decade is an opportunity to generate a Houston renaissance by taking the most practical economic course. While still works in progress, post-industrial cities like Pittsburgh and Tulsa are proven examples of hope. This common-sense direction is also the path to solve our three major crises: Economic recovery, inequality, and climate. The pain of our current passage, the common suffering of rich and poor, the common suffering of politically right and left, are driving common support for dynamic business answers. The bottom line: Profitable investments toward renaissance and resilience are better than endless trillions for rescue. Let’s put our HAT on.

They'd better get after it because we're all running out of time.  And shit like this isn't the right way to fix anything.

I have a variety of social justice posts and Tweets.

Zachery Taylor blogs about how the mainstream media continues to overlook the murders of US veterans beyond Vanessa Guillen.  Which leads us to the latest news on the killing of Garrett Foster, the Austin BLM protestor gunned down last weekend.

Today is the first of the month, and that is creating a crisis for many Texans who are unable to pay their rent.  Once again, I'm not sure our state's leaders care.

As this post was set to publish, some sad news came over the Tweet feed

Sincerest condolences to Rep. Howard and her family.

Traces of Texas closes us out.

1 comment:

Charles Turner said...

Just a note to encourage you to keep on doing what you do so well, PDid