Monday, July 26, 2021

The Waiting Game Wrangle from Far Left Texas

A very solid analysis by Reese Oxner of where Greg Abbott, the Lege -- those under the Pink Dome and those in DC -- and all of us watching are today.

The Texas Supreme Court has been asked to rule whether Gov. Greg Abbott’s unprecedented line-item veto of Article X in the state budget -- which pays for the Legislature and its staff -- is constitutional.

Abbott issued the veto after the regular legislative session ended, pulling one of the few political levers at his disposal to try to force Democratic lawmakers to show up for a special session if they want their staffs to keep getting paid when the next fiscal year starts Sept. 1.

It didn’t work. Enough House Democrats left the state to deprive the chamber of the quorum needed to conduct business.

Now the state’s all-Republican highest civil court -- with four of eight members appointed by Abbott and one seat vacant -- has been asked by the House Democrats who broke quorum to overturn the veto.

Legally, the case hinges on whether the Texas Constitution allows a governor to cut off funding for an equal branch of government. Politically, it’s unclear whether the court would be doing Abbott a bigger favor by upholding his veto power, or by extricating him from a stalemate that’s not going his way.

All the way back here -- before the special session began -- I suggested, referencing Quorum Report's plugged-in coverage, that this was likely the endgame.  For those who can't be troubled to keep up.

(Seriously.  If you're writing 'like I said, what else is there to say' on a regular basis, why are you even bothering?  One post a week versus three posts a day and still two weeks behind.  SMDH)

“This is well beyond the Schoolhouse Rock version of how government works,” (U of H political science professor Brandon) Rottinghaus said, referencing a children’s animated series that simplified political concepts into cartoons. “This is a political story as much as it is an institutional separation-of-powers story. So it’s going to really push the boundaries of what’s allowable in Texas, especially in its governor.”


It’s unclear when the Texas Supreme Court could rule on the issue -- or if it will at all. It could rule any day now, delay a decision or decide the court does not have jurisdiction over the case at all. The justices could also rule to disallow part of the veto — for example, legislators are allowed a per diem payment under the Constitution -- or find that the issue is not yet ripe and punt it down the road to decide at another time. Attorneys for House Democrats asked for the court to expedite its decision “well before” the new budget comes into effect.

“If I had to really put money on it, I would say that the court would back the governor’s veto, in part because they might view this as being a temporary political skirmish that can be resolved,” Rottinghaus said.

Anything short of striking down Abbott's veto is a wipeout for the Q-Breakers.  That's actually less of a long shot than expecting Joe Biden to suddenly support killing the filibuster, though.

Talk about being left to twist in the wind ...

As for Beto: he's already said he will wait for the final outcome of the voter suppression bill before he decides to run for something (Donks pray every day it's governor).  I've already said -- and this requires no crystal ball -- that the bill will eventually pass, Beto won't run, and Texas Democrats will be drowned in a red tide in 2022 unless they can break through in the AG race with Joe Jaworski (or, I suppose, Lee Merritt).

Maybe the best hope for the Blues is another statewide power outage. This week?

I think I can get around to more blogging as long as I don't lose electricity.  For now, let's chill.

Monday, July 19, 2021

"Life Comes at Ya Fast" Wrangle from Far Left Texas

Just when I thought I would blog about Miller Lite, or Gene Wu's eating habits, or Donna Howard's, err ... laundry, the Texas House Democrats in Washington had to go and shift the narrative.

Someone -- a Republican, if you can believe it -- predicted this development, but because the TXGOP have no empathy, it's not influencing their snark much.

(Psst: He's a 'communicator' and a 'former DCer'.  So maybe the best they have.)

As time marches on, so do the Republican efforts to make a silk purse out of the remaining 18 days in the (first non-redistricting-related, thank you Guvnah) sow's ear special session of the summer.  The Senate passed the voter suppression bill, the bill curtailing women's reproductive rights, and the the critical race theory bill.  Oddly no action on SB10, the bill that would restore funding legislative salaries (that Abbott vetoed).  I suppose somebody thinks that would be a bad look during the quorum break.  On another bummer: with several remaining crappy pieces of legislation queued up, I can't wait to hear John Whitmire say "lipstick on this pig" for the 40th time.  Here's your exit strategy: all of these will suffocate until the House Dems return, and if/when they don't, then we wait for special session #2 ... unless something unforeseen happens.  Which, after the way last week unfolded, should be expected.

Kuff also had plenty to say about Quorum Break 2, the sequel.  No mention of the COVID outbreak among the caucus, however.

Never one to let someone else have all the attention, Joe Manchin stole the show back.

With Democraps like Manchin and Krysten's Enema, who needs Mitch McConnell?

Got much more obviously, but I'll stop here.  A separate post on the foibles of Governor Fish Lips, and yes, all of the previously promised.  Here's my calm-me-downs:

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

"Can You Get a Decent Taco in DC?" Tuesday Wrangle

Apparently, although that review is dated.  This Yelp list has been updated this month.  And here's breakfast tacos.  At any rate, some Texans recently arrived from out of town are going to find out.  I'll wait for Rep. Armando Walle's judgment.

Non-scientific polling -- just the kind the GOP likes -- shows Twitter sentiment against the Donks on the Run, but I would imagine they care as much about that as they do critiques of their beer choices.

I do think one Republican got it correct.

...state Rep. Dustin Burrows, a Lubbock Republican who chairs the powerful House Calendars Committee ... said in a statement to The Texas Tribune that “unfortunately, the siren call of social media fame and fundraising” had lured Democrats to D.C.

Corporate media appearances all day and night.  Public speaking events before various Democratic, aligned, and sympathetic groups.  Fundraisers galore.  That's already a big win by any partisan establishment scorekeeper.  Why it's even possible that a gubernatorial candidate will emerge from this group (not that the Texas Signal has been pimping that as hard as they can, mind you).

So will this go like 2003, when Texas House Dems fled to Ardmore, OK and waited out the special session called by Rick Perry to redistrict Texas according to Tom DeLay's liking?  Followed by another special session where the Texas Senate Dems runaway-scraped to Albuquerque, NM, only to be betrayed by Judas Whitmire?  I suppose time, and some exit strategy that meets with the budding future Houston mayor's approval, will tell.

Despite the Senate adjourning due to lack of quorum, the Shun and Shame Transgender Children Committee gaveled in and conducted business.

It went about as hideously as you could have predicted.

The cash bail bill ... less ignorant but no less successful.

Your summary, for those short on reading time:

It wasn't all bad for the good guys.

Rinaldi is, to put it mildly, a maniac.  And he does not like Greg Abbott.  So while this may be another Allen West 2.0 situation for the Lone Star Pachys -- sound and fury signifying nothing -- an unsettled, divided, squabbling RPT can't hurt anybody who wants things to get better around here.

Some corroborating evidence showed up in Big D this past weekend.

On a downer, perhaps they'll fall back in line after the primaries next year, like they always have in the past.  A common enemy is a great unifier.

Just don't expect great things from AllRight x3.

I think there's an opening at the top of the Serve America Party ticket, Matthew, if you can convince Bill King to step aside.  Maybe suggest he run for Lite Guv.

Hoo boy, I've had enough of this for one post.  A couple of calm-me-downs, and then fleeing the Lege as fast as possible to other items in the next posts.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Waiting-to-Testify (*updated with Walkout) Wrangle

The lines were long, the wait lasted the entirety of Saturday and proceeded well into daylight Sunday morning ... and it was all for naught.  As expected.

Bus loads secured by Sen. Borris Miles.

A Texas House committee voted early Sunday morning to advance to the floor a GOP-backed voting bill in the Texas Legislature that includes extensive new voting restrictions, the Texas Tribune reports.

Right along party lines.

That's Sen. Bryan Hughes, far right, looking at the ceiling.  He of the egregious exaggerations.

In defending his controversial voting bill on CNN on Sunday, Texas state Sen. Bryan Hughes claimed half a dozen times that the attorney general's office had 400 open voter fraud cases.

“That's the fact,” Hughes, R-Mineola, said in an interview with CNN host Pamela Brown. “It's documented. There's no question about that.”

Yet that number is almost 10 times larger than the number of people with pending voter fraud charges in Texas, which is 43, according to data from the attorney general’s office. Only one of those pending cases stems from the 2020 election, in which more than 11 million Texans cast ballots.

Sorry, Sen. Hughes; that's not the fact.  There are more than questions about that, especially regarding your -- and Ken Paxton's -- continued insistence that this falsehood is true.

Sen. Royce West took his (graceful) shot.

You'll see and hear (I have to read with closed captions) Sen. West say '43 cases'.  The 44th occurred at the end of last week.

Greg Abbott went on Chris Wallace's Sunday morning program and chose to get, shall we say, exotic with his rationalizations.

Abbott, Paxton, Hughes, are obviously gaslighting, but Texas Democrats are trying to teach these pigs to sing by offering actual facts, truth and logic to them.  They are not going to be persuaded.  Because if it ain't in the Bible, they don't need to know it.  Exhibit A:

Back to Reality: do you think Abbott and Luis Saenz and the rest of the governor's brain trust sit around and spitball these, or does he just make them up off the French cuff?  Because I'm beginning to wonder who he/they think they're fooling.

On the other hand, I -- and everybody else -- know exactly who he's fooling.

In a survey of 446 Republican primary voters conducted between June 14-17 by Public Opinion Strategies, 77 percent of primary voters said they would vote for the Governor, while 15 percent said they would select another Republican candidate.


The poll found in a hypothetical primary race, Abbott won 69 percent of the vote, while (former RPT chair Allen) West received 13 percent and (former state Sen. Don) Huffines had 3 percent. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller also received 3 percent, but since the poll was conducted, he has decided against running for governor and will instead run for re-election.

Abbott fares better among those who consider themselves “strong” Republicans, who represent 61 percent of primary voters. He received 75 percent of the vote, while West won 11 percent, and Huffines had 3 percent. Eight percent were undecided.

All of this business, or con job if you prefer (I do) regarding the voter suppression bill is leading in one direction; a path we've been down before.

I don't think they're bluffing, Governor.

Update: And sure enough, they weren't.

Since I've run long here, I'll put the bail bill (hearings and passage out of committee also done over the weekend), summaries of the laundry list of other neo-fascist legislation, a few more election items, the spike in COVID's Delta variant cases, criminal and social justice news -- including the surge of gun-related deaths -- and whatever else I have left in posts later this week.  Also Part 2 of the environmental collation.  Soothers to close.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday "Delta is Ready" Funnies

Which brings us to this piece of gaping idiocy, and I’m not in the habit of expressing my disapproval in quite such stark terms, but we are, after all, talking about Ben Garrison, who delights in over-the-top attacks and who has not only failed to read Don Quixote but hasn’t even grasped the concept of “tilting at windmills.”

Which failure, Derf Backderf points out and documents, he has demonstrated over and over, because, if you’re going to act the fool in public, why not repeat your folly?

And Garrison hilariously follows up: "When a Quixotic Analogy is Wrong but Still Right".

Please support the work of (lefty, intelligent) cartoonists here.

Friday, July 09, 2021

The Environmental Round-Up, Part 1

Long promised, finally delivered.  It's not all about Texas, as most of my blogging this year has been; the state of the planet -- as much as our Great State's contribution to the climate crisis -- is what's been on my mind.

And the news is bad for any of you who may not have been paying attention.  I decided I'd just embed a few Tweets from the past few weeks to convey that, and keep them in some kind of loose chronological order, unless there was a point to be made by skipping a few days forward or back.

If you're like me, you won't be able to read to the end.  That's okay.  It's a lot to absorb.  Come back later when you feel stronger, or bookmark for weekend reading.  Just don't bury your head in the sand, or in your hands.

We're past the point of mourning.

Where should we start playing the blame game?  Sixty-four years ago, as referenced above?  Fifty?

More recently?

We already know ExxonMobil bought these guys off.  Let's maybe fault the actual source of the greed and corruption.

That's it for now.  More bad news, some good news, some local (i.e. the Permian, coastal Texas and even poor, forsaken Lake Charles, La.) coming in Part 2.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Pre-Special Wrangle

Maneuvering for perceived advantage in the forthcoming 30-day special legislative session is in high gear, and among the developments to watch is, as Harvey Kronberg at Quorum Report has noted, the level of trust shown between Abbott, Patrick, and Phelan.

With his veto, (the governor) has terminated an entire support staff for an independent branch of government by vetoing funding. He has suggested he will not put Article X back on the agenda until he gets legislation he wants. In other words, the governor is offering a financial quid pro quo in exchange for specific legislative performance.

Democrats have filed a case with the Texas Supreme Court. Unlike most of what they do, there is no tort issue involved so we are unlikely to find a wink and a nod from their primary benefactors at TLR. And while some of the justices are serious people fully comprehending the precedent they will be setting, they are still under the thrall of the state’s current financial power structure.

That's all we get from Harvey w/o a subscription.  But it's enough to suggest that there may be some conservatives coming back to Austin with a chip on their shoulder ... just like all the Dems.  It's worth mentioning that two former Speakers and one previous lieutenant governor -- two of them Republicans -- have weighed in via amicus brief at the SCOTX against Abbott's veto.

So I'm anxious to see how, and how quickly, that goes.  In the meantime, if you'd like a briefing on the upcoming special, join Every Texan on Facebook tomorrow.

Lt. Dan and his Schutzstaffel at the Texas Public Policy Foundation stayed busy during the interim practicing their Lone Star-styled fascism.

Scott Braddock examined Patrick's deep and abiding convictions about "freedom of speech".  The Dallas Observer updated us on the latest assault on free speech being committed by Collin College trustees.  And Robert Rivard reviewed our state's long history of suppressing the vote, a topic given yet more urgency with the SCOTUS decision last week.

Among the items I'd like to see the governor add to the special session call are medical cannabis and Medicaid expansion.  Both have widespread public support.

Previewing my environmental post:

I'm amazed that Ted Cruz missed this list.  Not so much that none of our Texas Congresspersons found the courage to mention it; neither did the president.

Here's a look at the latest in social justice news ahead of a longer post.

Stace at Dos Centavos also had some thoughts about DA Ogg and Dr. Gokal.

David Collins highlighted the Texas Green Party's state meeting.  Houston mayoral also-ran Bill King thinks the answer is a new centrist party, aimed at Democrats disaffected with the liberal wing (LOL) and anti-Trump Republicans.

I have a lot more to get to before Lege coverage once again takes center stage.  Until then, here's the lighter-side items.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

"Another Prick at the Wall" Round-Up

Four, actually.

WESLACO, Texas (CN) -- As Texas Governor Greg Abbott floats plans to finish building a border wall, former President Donald Trump visited the Lone Star State on Wednesday to, as he put, “admire the wall and how it works.” But the real show came earlier, at a so-called border security briefing in the South Texas city of Weslaco.

There, at a Texas Department of Public Safety building, the purpose of Trump’s border visit came into focus. State Republican leaders like Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton displayed their pro-Trump bona fides, beaming as Trump noted that he had given Abbott his “highest and best endorsement” and hinted he would be making an endorsement in the 2022 Texas attorney general race “in the very near future.”

Meanwhile, the former president -- who has been banned from virtually every social-media platform as a result of his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol -- got a platform to speak to journalists who have largely ignored him since he left office. Much of what he said had nothing to do with the border at all.

Instead, Trump discussed the years-old investigation into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, his cognitive abilities and his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen ...

“Everyone said, ‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’” Trump said at the border security briefing. “Well, that’s been proven false. Not only false, it was them that were associated with Russia. It was them, the Democrats and Hillary [Clinton].”

Snark aside, the "boarder", as so many MAGAts spell it, will be the rally cry for 2022, and I would guess two years after as well.  The governors of Florida and some other Republican states have answered Abbott's call, sending their National Guards to South Texas.  Noteworthy for trying to avoid the "taxpayer dollars' waste" problem is South Dakota's Kristi Noem, who got crony-creative.

And there won't be one single red county judge that gets left out.

All for a stunt.

A stunt, to be clear, that is widely supported by those who vote in the TXGOP primary (who are the only people who matter in this state).

It takes a special kind of stupid to keep falling -- and paying -- for this shit.  Then again, these are the folks who mustered forces to keep Ted Cruz in the Senate.

They're also the people, by and large, being arrested for insurrection in D.C. on January 6th.

And, paraphrasing Jon Lovett as Michael Dukakis, Texas Democrats are still losing to these guys.

More on COVID, social justice, and that long-delayed enviro-post coming.  Here's my soothers.

Correction: White women.