Monday, October 18, 2021

The Monday Wrangle from Far Left Texas

“Shortly before Texas' new abortion law went into effect, the SAFE Alliance, a nonprofit that supports survivors of sexual abuse, was counseling a 12-year-old girl who had been repeatedly raped by her father.”

Any minute now, Governor Strangelove is going to eliminate all rape in Texas.  He told us so.  And he always speaks the truth.

After taking a General Strike break at the end of last week, I have more than enough for a very long post.  I'd rather not subject either you or me to that, so let's just hit the highlights.  Or lowlights and lowlifes, if you prefer.

Yes.  Well, Texas Democrats in the Lege could have honored the general strike, or perhaps thrown some other wrench in the gears, but I feel certain they did not have the stomach for a fourth special session.  They all -- mostly -- want you to re-elect them next year anyway.  To keep fighting.  Something.

My personal general strike extends to voting in this current election.  I see no point in weighing in on constitutional amendments.  Similarly, I won't be voting n next spring's Democratic primary.  They can choose who they like and I'll choose whether to vote for any of them in the fall.

There is -- as I have come to understand -- a messsage being sent to government's leaders in not voting.  And that message ranges from "FU" to "IDGAF".

I'll move on while I still have the will, or the interest, to provide these news updates.  Documenting the atrocities is hard.

Environmental developments:

The Axios Dallas newsletter (subscribe here) says that illegal emissions were lower across the state in 2020.  But...

... but North Texas saw an increase in unauthorized pollutants, according to a report from the Environmental Integrity Project and Environment Texas.

Why it matters: 2020's pollutant decline was mostly due to pandemic shutdowns of manufacturing and oil and gas production and not due to increased enforcement of environmental protections, the report says.

The Dallas Observer's Jacob Vaughn writes about a west Dallas neighborhood's concerns about yet another concrete plant's pollutionHPM says that Galveston Bay researchers are literally fishing for data on chemical runoff.  And the Statesman's op-ed board says that the EPA must save Texas from itself.  In more newspaper news, D Magazine says that the DMN should retire its editorial board, and El Paso Matters reports that the El Paso News is now printing the paper in Cuidad Juarez.

A few too many criminal and social injustice updates.

One spot of good news here.

And a few calm-me-downs.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Weekend Wrangle from Far Left Texas

A very antiseptic take on the end of the week's election-related Lege actions from TXElects.

The House passed Senate Bill 4, the Senate’s redistricting plan for itself, without adopting any amendments.

Both plans head to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk in plenty of time to keep the filing period and primary elections on schedule.

The House will take up Senate Bill 6, the congressional redistricting plan, (today).

Early voting begins Monday for the November 2 constitutional, general and special elections.

Let's go elsewhere for some analysis.

As mentioned, Congress maps later today.

Redistricitng/gerrymandering wasn't the only debacle.

There was too much ugliness in the deliberations (sic) on this bill to be repeated here.

The repercussions of previously-passed bad laws are quickly being felt.

What is the other side of the Holocaust?” he asked rhetorically. “Are you going to assign fourth graders Mein Kampf? Are you going to make them listen to Seb Gorka’s radio show? I just don’t know what she actually had in mind. But again, this is exactly what you get when you have politicians playing culture war and then trying to ram that into badly thought out draconian legislation.”

He added, “Republicans in Texas have been conservative for a long time, but there was a time when conservative Republicans in Texas were not absolutely batshit crazy.”

Moving on to criminal and social injustice news.

And there will be some justice.

A few climate items.

And some updates to news that haven't been made here recently.

One snarky bit: "Brain Flakes". They need to be eating more of those in rural Texas, but Mr. Hart needs to be paying his people more to move those boxes.

And a soother.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Hump Day Wrangle from Far Left Texas

Humpin' it to the finish line.

I just don't have the will to post the play-by-play from late last night.  Scott Braddock, Michael Li, and a few other regulars on the #txlege timeline are your go-to for the micro.

Governor Fish Lips gets exposed again as feckless.  All that bragging about the steel in his spine, and it turns out it's jelly.

(Abbott is) so overwhelmed by politics that he’s become a Random Policy Generator, throwing out edicts that make sense only if you forget everything he said before.


When the former president -- whose political favor Abbott craves -- expresses some disappointment, the Texas governor snaps into line. That disappointment often parallels the views of Donald Trump’s favorite Texas politician, (Lt. Gov. Dan) Patrick.


This is straight-up schoolyard politics. Trump is a bully. Patrick is egging him on. Abbott is the target, doing everything they want to avoid an electoral wedgie.

An executive order from the governor in August barred cities, counties and other local governments from requiring vaccines. Another one, in May, barred those local governments from requiring people to wear masks.

Now there’s a new executive order that tosses aside some of that “decide for themselves” business.

Abbott wanted a show of strength here, but settled for a sign of weakness. He didn’t hold his ground, instead caving in to demands from conservatives like former state Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas, who’s challenging the governor in next year’s party primary. Huffines is trying to label Abbott a moderate and himself as a Trump-style Republican -- what he calls in his advertising “an actual Republican.” Trump has already endorsed Abbott, but that’s not necessarily his final answer: The former president has shown a willingness to change his preferences in other campaigns.

In terms of his political chances, Huffines is more light breeze than hurricane. But like his former superior in the state Senate, Patrick, he’s a conduit for Trumphobia -- a contagious affliction marked by its conservative victims’ obsession with the goodwill of the former president and of the multitude of voters devoted to him. Abbott has no reason to fear Huffines, but the idea of getting on the former president’s naughty list gives him the shivers.

He’s not alone in that. Dozens of other Republicans have fallen into this particular personality cult. Abbott is seeking reelection next year amid talk that he -- like a small mob of other Republican wannabes -- might be contending for president in 2024.

They want to be in line with Trump’s voters. And in the meantime, that means staying in line with Trump himself. That, for Republicans with ambitions for higher office, is imperative -- almost a mandate.

Weak. As. Rainwater.

In late August, one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s primary challengers, Don Huffines, accused Texas’ child welfare agency of “promoting transgender sexual policies to Texas youth” under a section of its website titled “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.”

“These are not Texas values, these are not Republican Party values, but these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values,” Huffines said in a widely circulated video on Twitter. The webpage published by the Department of Family and Protective Services linked to a suicide prevention hotline and other resources “dedicated to helping empower and celebrate” young LGBTQ people.

Within hours, the webpage was gone.

I have said it now about six times, but it's worth repeating: if Governor Strangelove loses, it will be next spring, in his primary.  It won't be a year from now, no matter who's on the ballot.

Some Texans aren't taking his crap any more.

And the corporations supporting the bad actors are getting their comeuppance as well.

The latest AT&T ad.

AT&T, the largest communications provider on the planet, not only connects families and friends, it also "helps fund One America News Network," the ad's narrator boasts. "OANN is a streaming channel that hires radical white nationalists as hosts, cheers the Capitol attacks, and promotes Covid-19 conspiracy theories."

The ad lets us in on what we pay for when we sign up for AT&T, including "OANN host Pearson Sharp to call for mass executions," and "funding politicians like Texas governor Greg Abbott, who pushes radical new laws against voting rights and women's rights."

Wrapping up with its tagline, "AT&T, funding sedition, suppression, and of course, One America News Network," the ad parodies AT&T's false altruism to such a tee, I almost missed it on the first view, mistaking it for a real AT&T ad -- which it might as well be.

Still something funny going on with SWA.

A few more "Texas Capitalists Behaving Badly" updates.

Exxon Mobil Corp. said on Tuesday that a vote to remove the United Steelworkers union (USW) from representing locked-out workers at its Beaumont, Texas, refinery would go forward no matter the outcome of a contract ratification vote next week by those same workers.

USW Local 13-243 announced on Monday night that Beaumont refinery and lubricant oil plant workers would take their first vote on an Exxon contract offer on Oct. 19, six months after they were locked out of their jobs and 10 months after negotiations began.

If you're in the market for a new or used car ... get out.  Those thieves have gone full batshit.

The TADA has always owned the Lege, and now they seem to be pressing their greed to extreme levels, like everybody else.

Texas Monthly also had a story about this.

Moving on to the environment.

And the criminal and social justice news.

Sorry about the FOX news link.

And the soothers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Tuesday's Wrangle from Far Left Texas

Updates to yesterday's "Stormy":

I'd like to leave Ted Cruz out of this if that's okay.

There are always criminal and social injustice updates.  Every goddamned day.

I have one serious case of schadenfreude this morning.

Same old nothing from Mr. "I think Acevedo has done a good job" on yet another local topic.  Those campaign finance reports and school board races sure do eat up his time, I suppose.  Nobody does hyperlocal better, unless you're needing hot-off-the-press scoops about Alief school bonds.

Make that two cases of schadenfreude.

I'm just laughin' to keep from cryin', y'all.

Why don't you get a jump on the home seller's market and GTFO NOW, Matt?

Last before moving on: an update to yesterday's Wrangle, where LareDOS told us about the Biden admin canceling border wall construction contracts:

One climate update.

Read the woman's thread, please.

Two soothers to end today.

Thousands of years before land speculators like the Allen Brothers arrived in 1836 or slave traders Jim Bowie and Jean Lafitte set up shop on Galveston Island around 1817 -- or even the Spanish conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked on the island in 1528 -- there were people living around Buffalo Bayou and the prairies, forests, rivers, and bays of the Texas Gulf Coast.

At least 13,500 years ago, the Akokisa people were living in villages along the coast around Galveston Bay. At the time the coast, along with major rivers flowing across, it extended a hundred miles further out, land and channels now covered by water. Sea level then was hundreds of feet lower.

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Stormy Wrangle from Far Left Texas

The rough weather blew through leaving North Texas a little windblown and the Gulf Coast a bit wet after a week of nearly ideal fall days.  The forecast for the remaining days of the Texas Legislature's third special session could go either way, and not necessarily depending on your POV.

The freak right wants outlawing vaccine mandates added to the call.  The beleaguered Democrats just want to get out of town and lick their several wounds.  And as the redistricting hearings and votes come to a boil ...

... the litigation on the voting and abortion rights laws kick into high gear.

So a lot of "wait and see" to start the week.

Fortunately (or un-) I have many other links, starting with politics.

I'd like to feel sorry for West, but I can't.  I will miss those push-up challenges, though.

This after Dowd deleted tens of thousands of Tweets in an effort to whitewash his history.  Oh, for the love of long-lost Fleets.

Obviously "stormy" didn't only mean the weather.

Moving on to another Texas corporation (possibly) behaving badly: Southwest Airlines is encountering some turbulence.  Somewhere.

Strange.  So is this.

So I suppose we'll have to wait until things *ahem* clear up a bit to find out what's going on.  Moving right along to a couple of environmental items.

Pots and kettles in Austin introducing themselves.

Here's the criminal and social justice round-up.

Some good news from down at the border: LareDOS reports that the feds have canceled all border wall construction contracts in that city.

With a pair of labor updates:

Amber Briggle makes the economic case for LGBTQ inclusion in the Texas workforce.  And the lockout of USW workers at ExxonMobil's Beaumont refinery -- where my father worked for nearly 40 years as a union member, where my brother and I worked during the summer to put ourselves through college -- appears to be succeeding in busting that union out.

While I highly doubt some fast-tracked SCOTUS case that threatens to strike down Roe v Wade will finally be enough impetus to scare women to the polls -- Wendy Davis drew massive crowds to the state capital in 2014 but ultimately failed to defeat Greg Abbott and even lost the women's vote to him -- it's one of the few things that's getting people into the streets.  In that vein, the Texas Politics Project takes a long view at our state's attitudes towards abortion and anti-abortion laws.  And L'il Kalish speaks to a volunteer driver at the Bridge Collective -- which provides transportation and accommodations to people in central Texas seeking abortions -- about their work.

Just don't, you know, do it with a Republican.  Please.

I should have posted these items marking Indigenous Peoples Day a little higher but that shouldn't detract from the importance of the newly-renamed holiday.