Thursday, December 31, 2020
Monday, December 28, 2020
Ambling toward the end of a year that no one will look back upon with any fondness, I collected a few listicles to sort through; they appear close to the end of this post. First let's catch up on the last election of 2020, and a vacant seat in the Texas state Senate that gets filled by a slightly less rabid Republican than the other one.
TX SENATE RUNOFF: State Rep. @DrewSpringer defeats @ShelleyLuther, Dallas salon owner jailed for defying Gov @GregAbbott_TX's coronavirus orders; Abbott threw his weight behind Springer— ChickenFriedPolitics (@ChkFriPolitics) December 20, 2020
-Southern politics are always on the menu at ChickenFriedPolitics.com-https://t.co/z5xtc4LOwI
The rebel salon queen beat Governor Greg Abbott once, but on Saturday, he had the last laugh. https://t.co/W3WeYn0Lev— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) December 20, 2020
Shelley Luther became a conservative darling this spring for reopening her business in defiance of Texas emergency stay-home orders.— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) December 21, 2020
Meanwhile, hundreds were jailed in the Rio Grande Valley for violating orders, and their cases have largely gone ignored. https://t.co/tn6tsI367q
No Texan even moderately progressive gave one solid shit about this outcome, but had Luther prevailed, Greg Abbott would have been bloodied heading into his re-election campaign. That might have energized Allen West and the rest of what comprises the "More Freak Right than You" caucus, and losing does nothing to soothe the savage beasts. They will primary him regardless, and depending on how the various Lege skirmishes go, may feel stronger and more squirreley than ever in six months. We'll be watching.
The Cornyn family brisket became a trending topic for a few days.
Like all Texans I too coat my charred Christmas beef lips in molten Twizzlers https://t.co/EPNogfAcBR— BUM CHILLUPS AKA SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) December 25, 2020
While John created the diversion, Ted secured a few million dollars in CARES Act funds for his friends, the Wilks brothers.
Cornyn indicated that Abbott went to DC last week and asked Trump for more time to spend the remaining $2 billion left in the pandemic relief fund, saying without the slightest hint of irony that Texas would do so "hopefully in a more effective and reasonable way”.
It is to laugh. Not to be outdone, Ken Paxton tried to make sure nobody knew that the reason he asked the Trump administration to claw back Harris County's federal COVID-19 relief funding was because he was afraid they might use the money to expand access to voting.
BREAKING: Texas AG Ken Paxton urged White House to investigate and potentially revoke Harris County COVID relief https://t.co/5gsL9owuKC)— St. John Barned-Smith ⚔️ (@stjbs) December 22, 2020
This is Ken Paxton, Texas' attorney general.— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) December 26, 2020
Paxton has been suing to try to overturn election results.
Paxton is under indictment for fraud and is facing abuse of power allegations.
Paxton asked the feds to take back aid $ to Texas. And kept it secret.https://t.co/Nkhfd3scuC
By contrast, all Dan Patrick managed in the week before Christmas was to ignore his peer in Pennsylvania, who wants him to pay off his $1 million promise about election fraud. And outgoing statehouse Speaker Dennis Bonnen caps the worst year of his life (it's a long line, dude, and you're at the very end of it) by contracting COVID.
Criminal and social justice headlines:
In the latest hypocritical effort by the governor to shrink the size of state government, Abbott wants to take over the Austin Police Department and give it to the TXDPS. D Magazine says that the new Dallas police chief, Eddie Garcia, is not humbled. Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast blogged that limiting police pursuits would save lives ... but cops enjoy them too much for that to happen. The outgoing El Paso DA, Jaime Esparza, wants to be the next federal prosecutor for the Western District of Texas. A North Texas man who filmed his son's arrest -- for making a "wide right turn" -- by the Keller PD was beaten, maced, and arrested himself.
Cell phone providers are turning over private cellular data to law enforcement agencies that use Texas based ‘Hawk Analytics’ new surveillance tool to sift through data.— Carla R ✍🏾📖 (@CarlaRK3) December 27, 2020
Powerful Cellphone Surveillance Tool Operates in Obscurity. https://t.co/oHC6xLeQ8o
And Trump pardoned former Cong. Steve Stockman.
THREAD: Yesterday, Trump doled out a big Christmas basket of pardons and commutations. Among the recipients was ex-Congressman Steve Stockman, who got COVID in federal lockup. He was serving 10 yrs for 23 counts tied to illegal use of charity funds. https://t.co/pmbzoWeR4G— Gabrielle Banks (@GabMoBanks) December 23, 2020
The Texas eviction moratorium was extended by the SCOTX.
The Texas Supreme Court has extended its emergency eviction relief program for tenants behind on rent through at least March 15, lengthening the program’s expiration date by a month and a half. https://t.co/woLwAyjCoP— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) December 22, 2020
For some reason this has not halted evictions in Harris County.
The CDC moratorium has stopped less than 10% of eviction cases in Houston since the order went into effect. https://t.co/5HFtQTXWmI— Jen Rice (@jen_rice_) December 21, 2020
The moratorium appears to be working much better in Austin, however.
After a 3.5 hour hearing in Houston, federal judge Andrew Hanen did not rule on the @TXAG's office request to declare the #DACA program unlawful. The program has been in effect since 2012 and Texas, along with eight other states, filed suit to stop it in 2018.— Julian Aguilar (@nachoaguilar) December 22, 2020
And as promised at the top ... some lists.
Latino Decisions: TX-10, TX-21, and TX-24 are among 15 Congressional districts that an engaged and enthused Latin@ electorate should decide in 2022.
HPM's Town Square podcast reviews the year in racial and social justice, with emphasis on BLM, George Floyd, John Lewis, and Kamala Harris.
Environment Texas posts the top ten wins for the state's climate for the year.
Six of the seven most common qualifying conditions for medical cannabis are not covered under Texas' current Compassionate Use Program. https://t.co/9VQhhlQwDg— CBS Austin (@cbsaustin) December 27, 2020
At the beginning of 2020, there were zero union papers in the Lone Star State. Soon, it seems, there will be three.https://t.co/4Oh6fALqVs— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) December 23, 2020
Texas Monthly's top ten favorite books about the Great State are here.
And ending today with these.
Over five decades of a career focused on "behavioral" politics and real-life elections, Richard Murray developed a reputation as an expert analyst and pollster.@chronsnyder looks back at that career as Murray retires from teaching: https://t.co/ZVvChihseG— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) December 20, 2020
In 1976, Texas A&M denied a group of gay and lesbian students the ability to form an on-campus student organization. The resulting court case, Gay Student Services v. Texas A&M, lasted the better part of a decade.— The Battalion (@TheBattOnline) December 23, 2020
This is their story.https://t.co/xBiDzhBIo6
What a year, folks. To remember everything that’s happened, we’ve put together a compilation of Ben Sargent’s Loon Star State cartoons from 2020. https://t.co/cjeWG4I4VZ— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) December 24, 2020
Tom Hanks plays a Confederate Civil War veteran from San Antonio in the film News of the World, released on Christmas Day.
And there once was a Texas governor who claimed election fraud and refused to leave office. It happened 147 years ago (and no, it wasn't Ma Ferguson).
Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson, the first female governor of Texas and the second ---- by 15 days ---- in the United States. She ran for governor in 1924 and won handily, decided not to run in 1928, then ran again and won in 1932. She passed away in 1961. pic.twitter.com/iOaAcKUazD— Traces of Texas (@TracesofTexas) December 27, 2020
Sunday, December 27, 2020
Mike Peterson at the Daily Cartoonist has updated this list of cartoons, cartoonists and their Patreon and other support pages. You don’t have to support them all, of course, but if you enjoy my weekly aggregation, please choose your favorite artists and back them up!
Friday, December 25, 2020
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Back with another Lone Star Round-Up and the regularly scheduled Sunday Funnies this weekend. If you need a last-minute stocking stuffer, Mike Peterson at the Daily Cartoonist has updated this list of cartoons, cartoonists and their Patreon and other support pages. A great gift is a subscription to one of your (and their) favorite artists!
Monday, December 21, 2020
Ross Ramsey, TexTrib:
The Texas economy was one of the early victims of the coronavirus, as precautions like social distancing and staying close to home made it nearly impossible for many businesses to thrive. And in the interest of public health, a markets-oriented governor found himself stuck between fighting the spread of the coronavirus and keeping Texas businesses open to customers.
As the economy faltered, so did the underpinnings of the Texas state budget that depends on taxes and fees those businesses generate. The Legislature will return on the second Tuesday of January to figure out how to keep providing the services Texans want during a recession.
Ramsey links to several of his columns there. Every Texan (previously named the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Austin's liberal think tank) has posted its top five intiatives for the 87th Session.
- Use the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund), an estimated $9 billion in resources, as it was intended to avoid cuts to education, health care and other services essential to the livelihood of Texans in times like these.
- Accept Medicaid expansion for 2.2 million uninsured Texans, removing barriers to children’s coverage, food security and unemployment benefits.
- Do not reauthorize the massive school property tax giveaway program, Chapter 313, that gives corporations unnecessary tax breaks. Use that revenue instead for public schools, health care and higher education.
- Reform unemployment insurance to make sure benefits are adequate and that the insurance system does not put unnecessary hurdles in Texans’ way.
- Expand affordable access to college by protecting and increasing investment in need-based financial aid programs.
The Lege has a hard road and difficult choices looming, and matters won't be eased by some of the worst Republicans (yes, we're all looking at you, Mayes Middleton) in the entire country.
Bills to repeal in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant children brought into Texas, de-license handgun carrying, ban abortion if fetus can feel pain should not be bottled up by Dem House committee chairs, 4 hard-line Republicans warn incoming speaker @DadePhelan. #txlege https://t.co/nHOXGCe2pN— Bob Garrett (@RobertTGarrett) December 18, 2020
Not just the electeds but those who elected them.
What kind of people are willing and able to finance violent extremists like former Houston PD captain Mark Anthony Aguirre?— Chrissy Stroop’s resting festive face (@C_Stroop) December 18, 2020
The kind who believe, probably correctly, that they will face no consequences for funding terrorism.
My latest for @RDispatches:https://t.co/UdNwlpPVhp
Young and ideologically aggressive, James Ho, Andrew Oldham, and Don Willett are already making their mark on the nation's most conservative appellate court.https://t.co/mn2zZHrn4K— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) December 17, 2020
Writing for the Houston Press, Jef Rouner talks to Dr. Peter Hotez about the coming anti-vaxxer backlash. Bud Kennedy for the FWST covers the GOP evangelical beat: they believe keeping Trump in the White House is a mission from God. (Cue up the Blues Brothers.) And Progrexas sees newly-elected GOP Rep. Beth Van Duyne as the anti-Squad leader.
You may ask yourself: "PDid, why is it that Texas Democrats cannot beat the worst Republicans in the nation?" That's a good question. Trust me: after 25 years of getting their asses kicked (pun intended), they still don't know why, either.
Texas Democrats got what they wished for in 2020. They still lost. https://t.co/TonLa0vo3j— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) December 21, 2020
Texas is set to gain three seats, and Republicans will likely try to expand their current 23R-13D edge to a 26R-13D edge - all while adding at least one new Hispanic majority seat and a new Dem seat in Austin. Here's how... pic.twitter.com/4I2nhANKd1— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 16, 2020
I'll have the post-mortem from the usual suspects on the SD30 special election result later in the week. Here's my environmental collation.
“Dangerous petrochemical incidents like this are far too common in Texas,” said Adrian Shelley, director of Public Citizen's Texas office. “...we hope lawmakers will pass long-overdue legislation to prevent chemical accidents.” #txlege #txenergy https://t.co/hDBA77kqnL— Public Citizen Texas (@PublicCitizenTX) December 16, 2020
As the demand for clean, renewable energy is on the rise, the solar industry in Texas is booming— and so are anti-solar disinformation campaigns. https://t.co/OBLp07uaUA— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) December 17, 2020
Thursday was the first day of a long removal to teardown Shingle Mountain, a giant pile of toxic waste that's been located in southeast Dallas for nearly three years. https://t.co/gHQ0tlLCtn— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) December 19, 2020
This has been a goal of Downwinders at Risk for many years now, amd it's good to see it finally come to fruition. Coastal News Today republished the Chron op-ed written by Ken Adler and Elena Craft about the Port of Houston's self-defeating efforts to become an environmental advocate (dredging the Ship Channel in the manner they plan is crap).
The port is sponsoring a nearly $1 billion project to dredge the Ship Channel to make it easier and safer to navigate. But the project plans to use old, cheap dredges that will burn even more dirty diesel, dumping thousands of tons of extra toxic pollution on these families. How much pollution? It’s comparable to adding another refinery or power plant in their neighborhood — except that would have at least required an impact review and the best available pollution control technologies.
No one’s controlling this pollution. Tasked with protecting Texas’ air quality, the state environmental agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, approved the port-sponsored project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, acting as the contractor, is weeks away from doing the same.
DeSmogBlog's Dana Drugman wrote about San Antonio's public utility company, CPS Energy, paying $250,000 a year for memberships in fossil fuel advocate organizations like the American Gas Association. And the Texas Signal published an op-ed by Madeleine Pelzel and Noah Hardaway of the Houston Democratic Socialists of America, and Marco Garcia of Sunrise Movement Houston, excoriating Cong. Lizzie Fletcher for sucking up to Big Oil during her first term.
With the criminal and social justice updates:
Dallas Police Chief candidates all put emphasis on community policing in their online public forum last week. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that Alfred D. Brown must be compensated by the state after he spent nearly ten years on death row for a crime he did not commit. And HPOU head Joe Gamaldi suddenly resigned his position as head of the HPD union (go there for the background).
Let's close today with a few items to get in the holiday spirit.
SUPERHERO SURPRISE: Pediatric patients at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston got a surprise visit from Superman and Batman Thursday, when the superheroes rappelled off the hospital windows outside their rooms. pic.twitter.com/dnoICnIjeg— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 17, 2020
Paul Wall, aka Slab Santa, delivers Christmas cheer around Houston https://t.co/gTQfReJRnM— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) December 17, 2020
Sunday, December 20, 2020
If you need a last-minute stocking stuffer, Mike Peterson at the Daily Cartoonist has updated this list of cartoons, cartoonists and their Patreon and other support pages. A great gift is a subscription to one of your (and their) favorite artists!
Friday, December 18, 2020
It's remarkable that Ken Paxton didn't find his way to the top of either Texas Monthly's Bum Steer Awards or Progress Texas' Worst of 2020, but that just shows you how stiff the competition is.
The winners were well-deserved.
The late, great Molly Ivins: “The Democrats never miss a chance to miss a chance.”— Tenilla Sheehan (@tenilla) December 15, 2020
More of TM's selections throughout this post. Here's a salute to Governor COVID, who would rather kill Texans than cower before the "bidness/freedumb" base of the TXGOP.
Because this year was such a special one, we reserved a distinguished place among our 2021 Bum Steer (dis)honorees for the not-quite-twenty Texans who spectacularly disgraced themselves during the pandemic.— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) December 17, 2020
Let's give it up for the COVID Nineteen y'all: https://t.co/IO51x4YQzZ
More "do as I say, not as I do" from our elected leaders.
NEW: Despite CDC guidelines to avoid public gatherings, 80+ legislators from both parties scheduled in-person fundraisers in Austin this past month.— Lauren McGaughy 🌟 (@lmcgaughy) December 15, 2020
We scoped out the most popular venues — and got kicked out of a couple — to bring you this story:https://t.co/SonagGBmDm #txlege
"I saw a guy with an oxygen machine. He was carrying around an oxygen machine to *breathe,* but he didn't have a mask on."— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) December 16, 2020
Grooms with COVID, flying bodily fluids, and maskless dance floors: Texas wedding photographers are telling all. https://t.co/e2Opnc3Xcm
There were other late contenders for Bum Steers and Worst Texans. Here's one of the hard-charging finalists on my personal list.
Prosecutors: A former HPD captain faces assault charges after accosting an A/C repairman at gunpoint who he believed was involved in a ballot fraud scheme https://t.co/PDIUA568yz— St. John Barned-Smith ⚔️ (@stjbs) December 15, 2020
Read the whole Tweet thread. Few stories have the shock capacity of this one.
Aguirre was apparently paid more than $200k from the "Liberty Center for God and Country," to investigate the alleged voter fraud. The vast majority of the money — $211,400 — came the day after the alleged aggravated assault. pic.twitter.com/Y8WlFtrP2d— St. John Barned-Smith ⚔️ (@stjbs) December 15, 2020
Guess who's behind the Liberty Center for God and Country? It was "Christians Outed for Behaving Less than Godly" week.
Jesus Christ, what’s wrong with you people? So much for separation of church & state. Your gov’t just gave $4.4 million ‘stimulus’ loan to billionaire conman Joel Osteen's Church. https://t.co/7JNZw3NxAY via @houstonchron— kotawi (@kotawi) December 15, 2020
Then there's Greasy Henry Cuellar, whose bad behavior was noted twice.
Besides shafting AOC -- a trending topic this week regarding M4A -- who was the beneficiary of slots on Energy and Commerce?
Last weekend, @HoustonDSA protested Rep. Lizzie Fletcher's ties to fossil fuel donors & her failure to #FightForOurLives with a Green New Deal.— DSA for a Green New Deal🌱🌹⚡️ (@DSAecosocialism) December 18, 2020
Today Nancy Pelosi rewarded Fletcher & 4 other pro-business "New Democrats" with powerful positions on the Energy & Commerce Committee. https://t.co/hnMgtVyGeP
Those of us who won't be supporting corporate Democrats any more have a long, hard job ahead. And it doesn't involve pushing people like Fletcher to the left.
Despite these Grinches ...
... several Texans got in the spirit of the holiday season.
THE SPIRIT OF GIVING: The rapper and entrepreneur was spotted donating toys during and emergency toy drive in Houston. https://t.co/I7uHjMUIkG— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) December 18, 2020
Dallas buys Oak Cliff hotel to serve as COVID-19 quarantine location and housing for homeless people https://t.co/o2iq9R6di9— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) December 17, 2020
UT-Austin establishes Dan Rather Medals for courage in journalism https://t.co/rQeGx77ucr— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) December 18, 2020
I have more of the typical updates on environmental and criminal and social justice news that will wait until Monday's Wrangle. Closing today with these.
I wrote a story about the actor Barry Corbin, who left Lamesa, Texas, & wound up playing the roles of Uncle Bob, General Beringer, Maurice Minnifield, a couple of psychotic patriarchs, 15 sheriffs—and Macbeth. @TexasMonthly https://t.co/sPL3UYnqAF— Michael Hall (@mikehalltexas) December 17, 2020
“Selena: The Series” has reignited interest in her music.— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) December 15, 2020
For more on the next generation of female Tejano artists, we’ll talk to Veronique Medrano.https://t.co/orlOrfBEbV
KEWX, the New Braunfels Radar, has gotten into the Holiday spirit. Each year our electronics staff add red and green lights to the tower around Christmas time.— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) December 18, 2020
Bonus content for the astronomy folks - getting Jupiter and Saturn being buddies in the picture!@NWS @NEXRADROC pic.twitter.com/DiwqQkEbHh
THROWBACK: In this 1961 photo, Houstonians line up for their free polio vaccine shots at the Minimax store off Holmes Road. The special clinic, sponsored by the city, was set up at the store because the area was so far from any public health facility. (Jim Morgan/Chronicle file) pic.twitter.com/LehYdv1xuQ— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) December 17, 2020
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
I feel certain you haven't missed anything, but since it's been awhile and for the sake of posterity, I'll break it down by Tweet, in something close to chronological order.
It might help get the attention of people with pardon power, though. https://t.co/nDFX2j4l9s— Jay Root (@byjayroot) December 8, 2020
GA AG: “The Texas Attorney General is constitutionally, legally and factually wrong about Georgia.”— Matt Schwartz (@SchwartzChron) December 9, 2020
Mich. AG: a “publicity stunt, not a serious legal pleading.”
Wisc. AG: “I feel sorry for Texans that their tax dollars are being wasted on such a genuinely embarrassing lawsuit.” https://t.co/IJfsrDOqKB
In a very brief order, the court says Texas lacks Article III standing to sue other states over how they conduct their own elections. In layperson's words: a state has no valid interest, under the Constitution, in attempting to police other states' voting procedures. pic.twitter.com/o2TRRN2PmM— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) December 11, 2020
There were zero votes for the TX AG on the merits, including zero votes from Trump appointees. It was a clown suit from the beginning, and 126 representatives, 18 state AG’s, and a host of prominent right-wing activists beclowned themselves by supporting it.— David French (@DavidAFrench) December 12, 2020
Undermining American democracy is a non-starter but smart politics? https://t.co/mAECcUTU8q— Evan (@evan7257) December 10, 2020
I decided to leave Ted Cruz and Dan Crenshaw out of this rundown ... because there's only so much bullshit all of us can take.
The meter's running ...— Bob Garrett (@RobertTGarrett) December 15, 2020
Lawyer hired to defend Texas AG Ken Paxton in whistleblower case will cost state $540 an hour, according to latest by @lmcgaughy and @MorrisReports #txlege @KenPaxtonTX https://t.co/9XqJBpY6wv
National lawyers group seeks sanctions against Texas AG Ken Paxton, colleagues who sued to undo Biden’s win https://t.co/lVLGFTwvGV— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) December 15, 2020
Chris Hooks at Texas Monthly attempted to describe Ken Paxton to a new audience. Steve Vladeck gave his explanation of the Paxton lawsuit, then broke down the SCOTUS ruling
There was lots of news on the COVID-19 front.
With the FDA granting Pfizer an EUA for its coronavirus vaccine, Socratic Gadfly presented his round-up of coronavirus-related news, which covers vaccine efficacy in the real world, distribution to problematic and/or impoverished rural areas like the "Big Rez", and more, including how long the vaccine's protections may or may not last. Bud Kennedy at the Startlegram says rural Texans are 'angry' at the coronavirus and its toll on the grieving.
“I’ve never seen this level of human suffering in my 20 years of healthcare." https://t.co/baBU0aFLJE— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) December 14, 2020
The White House Coronavirus Task Force is increasingly suggesting that states including #Texas begin shutting down again since they aren’t doing enough to slow the worst surge in COVID cases that the country has seen, writes @BenjaminEW➡️ https://t.co/ot7O0vgzad— Zach Despart🖊️ (@zachdespart) December 14, 2020
Greg Abbott says the White House -- i.e. Deborah Birx -- was "unaware" of all the things he's done to slow the spread. Whoever happens to be at fault (and I would assert it's all of them), the pandemic is grinding everybody down.
Nurse Christian Ramirez said he’s started to dream he’s in the hospital and will wake up wondering where his patients are.— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) December 13, 2020
At one point during the summer, he saw a nurse weeping next to a dying patient — her own mother — wondering if she’d infected her. https://t.co/zuCDXS4t0o
The @EPA is fast-tracking the review of hundreds of products that may be effective against COVID-19—even as many experts warn that some of these products could be dangerous to consumers and the environment, especially when overused or used incorrectly.https://t.co/9YHk9Nhumw— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) December 11, 2020
And as my segue to the criminal justice collation:
🚨🚨 According to a study from the University of Texas at Austin, 21 people who died from the virus while incarcerated had served 90% or more of their sentence. And nine people had been approved for parole but died before they could be released. https://t.co/0AKRzyNTuG pic.twitter.com/DDj9meXxq3— Rio Slade of the Guillotine Party (@RioSlade) December 14, 2020
Grits for Breakfast lists his top ten Texas criminal justice stories of the year. The latest Texas Watch podcast outlines the brutal history of tort reform in the Lone Star State.
SCOOP: Texas prisons been flouting state fire officials for years, ignoring orders to get working fire alarm systems. MOST inspected facilities don’t have them - which is how prisoners can keep starting fires to protest conditions. Here’s a story& a THREAD https://t.co/FfHrXk0XRj— Keri Blakinger (@keribla) December 13, 2020
Both men were put to death last week.
As a transition from this topic to election news ...
More in this Tweet thread from the Chron's Jasper Scherer.
There were other municipal runoff election results from the Metroplex covered by TXElects. LareDos posted about the progressive candidates who won in that city's council and community college board races. And El Paso's mayor, Dee Margo, lost to his predecessor, Oscar Leeser.
The head of the Texas Democratic Party has appointed a committee to take a "deep dive" on what went wrong in the November election after a group of executive committee members wrote to him demanding answers, reforms and a shakeup in senior staff.#txlege https://t.co/NssalBfhlV— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) December 8, 2020
I predict no action will be taken. In more positive developments for leftists, David Collins blogged about the Green Maps Project.
Of note is that Texas Greens already have a 2022 candidate for governor.
There were a few news items from the Lege yesterday. Maybe you heard.
Looks like the dedicated data and mapping staff of the @TXLegeCouncil will not be pulling all-nighters during the Christmas season this year to get ready for redistricting. Key Census geographic boundary data will not be available for another six or more weeks. #txlege https://t.co/5HBft9BMLA— Texas Election Source (@TXElects) December 11, 2020
That would be Kyle Biedermann. Secession could be yet another litmus test between the Trumpublicans and the other ones.
You see it, right?— Joe (@CPO_JOE) December 13, 2020
They wanna leave a country they hate, and go to someplace named after a country they hate. pic.twitter.com/bYHwQlj8XK
Oh yeah, the Electoral College met. Nothing of interest to report there that I haven't already mentioned at the top, so here's the Texas Music Office director playing his violin while they counted the votes.
While electoral college votes are officially being certified, they broke out a fiddle to keep people entertained here in Texas. That is Brendon Anthony, director of the Texas Music Office. And yes, we have a Texas Music Office. pic.twitter.com/9xiZ0OBzbd— Jeremy Wallace (@JeremySWallace) December 14, 2020
A plethora of environmental developments:
Texas Environmental News aggregated these: the SCOTUS gave New Mexico a win in the latest skirmish over water between us and them; BP's dismal refinery safety record finally came to the attention of Trump's Labor Department; and the Midlothian cement facility pollution plan is moving ahead, but activists there are not relenting.
NASA has famously used fuel cells to power spacecraft & satellites, and that existing technology led many to believe hydrogen will eventually replace gasoline and diesel as the world’s primary transportation fuel.— HOUmanitarian (@HOUmanitarian) December 12, 2020
https://t.co/kunp7s2gf5 by @cltomlinson
The Week says it's mostly hype, though. *heavy sigh*
Oil companies are struggling with falling energy demand this year and as world leaders pledge to address climate change. But Exxon Mobil has doubled down on its commitment to oil and gas and is making relatively small investments in future technologies.https://t.co/1D6RaJDIbv— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 11, 2020
There's a balance of good news, bad news, and a hybrid of both in the Tweets below.
“#Wind and #solar are the cheapest forms of e#nergy on a levelized cost basis for electric generation, and that will continue to be the case,”— TXsharon (@TXsharon) December 8, 2020
Why are we still permitting new #oilandgas wells that #taxpayers will pay to clean up? https://t.co/efnN7sqgff
How Texas and other red states tried to jump start carbon storage a decade ago https://t.co/mgc8qxp2Ta— Laredo Morning Times (@lmtnews) December 10, 2020
Federal wildlife managers are considering offering permits to landowners in the Permian Basin that environmentalists say could further compromise habitat for a rare lizard found only in parts of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. https://t.co/mGDG2yc5tE— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) December 13, 2020
DSA activists had a busy weekend in Houston last.
Although we visited these four companies today, they are far from being the only offenders. Today we shed light on the devastation that ensues when corporations and donors hold power over politicians. pic.twitter.com/TAQyOqf1es— Houston DSA (@HoustonDSA) December 13, 2020
A couple of Texas-based firms figure prominently in the latest Trump election conspiracy theory/Russian hacking episodes.
UPDATE: I said that Dallas' "Allied Security Operations Group"—behind the disinformation-fueled attack on Michigan's certification for Biden—would be traced to Flynn.— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) December 14, 2020
Well, one of the men who headed it until days ago "served as an intelligence operations leader under DIA Flynn." pic.twitter.com/oANiTXzs8P
SolarWinds, the software company at the center of a suspected Russian cyber attack on U.S. federal agencies, has deep roots in Austin https://t.co/Fqprn5SM0o— Austin Statesman (@statesman) December 14, 2020
I should do these Wrangles at least twice a week, shouldn't I? A few social justice pieces, centering on the looming eviction crisis.
“I am kind of just marked, for what feels like years. And nobody is going to give me a chance because of that one mistake on my record.”https://t.co/5F26DUSueD— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) December 15, 2020
Evictions filed in Texas during COVID-19:— Gregorio Casar (@GregCasar) December 7, 2020
Fort Worth: 8,525
Our tenant protections in Austin are succeeding. Progressive local government really matters. #EvictionMoratorium #CancelRent pic.twitter.com/CrziRvaoVN
Liberation News profiled H-Town's I-45 expansion opponents. And the San Antonio Current reports that the Alamo City will hold its largest holiday food distribution event of the year today.
Wrapping up with these lighter-side items.
From sports and school graduations to protests and a presidential election, our photographers captured the unique experiences of a year saddled with social-distancing and shutdowns.— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) December 13, 2020
👀 Check out the images in The Dallas Morning News year in pictures https://t.co/qVVqxqtzBt pic.twitter.com/KBXObKS5jQ
The largest wildlife bridge in the United States opened Friday in San Antonio.— KUT Austin (@KUT) December 13, 2020
The bridge will be covered with native trees and plants and connect a previously divided 330-acre park. | via @TPRNews https://t.co/0JaCi6GdzL
As Steve Bresnen noted, low profile run-flat tires were not a recent invention.
Texaco vehicle in East Texas circa 1915. Texaco was born in Beaumont, Texas in 1902. At first it was "The Texas Company," but when a salesman saw the abbreviation "Texaco" in a telegram, it became the nickname of the company & the its official name. The Texaco star came in 1903. pic.twitter.com/zwm8QpFXBC— Traces of Texas (@TracesofTexas) December 12, 2020
Goddamit!!! Kiss an angle good morning..and let her know you think about her when you're gone.— PJ Smith ☠ Buccaneer (@PJTheAltrusian1) December 12, 2020
"Country music legend Charley Pride dies at 86 from COVID-19 complications" https://t.co/xklazDSnwu
Meanwhile, somewhere in Texas ... Better safe than sorry, I reckon. pic.twitter.com/mZuYJeQqU2— Traces of Texas (@TracesofTexas) December 9, 2020
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Mike Peterson at the Daily Cartoonist has updated this list of cartoons, cartoonists and their Patreon and other support pages. You don’t have to support them all, of course, but if you enjoy my weekly aggregation, please choose your favorite artists and back them up!