Monday, January 25, 2021

The Weekly Wrangle from Far Left Texas

Anyone else worn out from these "Hold my beer" challenges between our Lone Star Coupks?

Paxton is leaving state government in less than two years.  One way or another.

Maybe Texas Republicans will police themselves, but I won't hold my breath.  I'd rather see the GOP, here and everywhere, cleave itself in two.

On the lower rungs of Lone Star deplorables:

Garret Miller of Richardson posted along with his selfies that he "just wanted to incriminate himself a little LOL".  Mission accomplished.

The yeoman's work of identifying the Texas insurrectionists came not from police but from local progressive activists, who've been dealing with these knobs in their communities for a long time.


"What is it about the pandemic that’s made people toss common sense in exchange for legalism?"

Bud Kennedy at the StartleGram reports on the Oathkeepers' ties to Fort Worth-area LEO.  Jenna Ryan, the Frisco realtor who demanded a pardon from Trump after her insurrection antics were well-documented on social media, said she rode on that private plane to DC "because of a cute guy".  Who got with another girl.  Sami Sparber for the San Antone Current wrote about the Texas-based anti-vax org that collected over $100,000 in PPP money last year.

Informed Consent Action Network was among five anti-vaccine groups that collectively received more than $850,000 in federal loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, the Washington Post reported ... The organization received $166,000 in May, according to founder Del Bigtree. [...] The Austin-based nonprofit has more than 43,000 followers on Facebook and regularly posts information questioning the safety of the coronavirus vaccines. Facebook and YouTube penalized Bigtree’s online anti-vaccine talk show last year for violating misinformation policies and downplaying the severity of the pandemic.

Lauren Drewes Daniels for the Observer blogged that Dallas County had sought an equitable vaccine distribution plan, and the state said 'nope'.  Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and BLM activists continue negotiations on a civilian police accountability board (why these discussions are moving so slowly I leave to your imagination.)

“My thought process is that we’re stagnated,” said Ashton P. Woods of Black Lives Matter Houston.

Woods, along with other community activists, have said they’ve worked for years to see some of the reform policies come into fruition and argues change can begin now.

“Many of the recommendations from this advisory council, much like others, looks like it’s collecting dust on the shelf,” Woods said.

There are positive developments.

Tricia Cortez at LareDOS took note of Trump's border wall ... hitting the wall.

There was an election over the weekend, and as expected two Republicans go to a runoff for the vacancy in the statehouse.  One is a wealthy business owner and one meets the governor's seal of approval.  TXElects:

Jacksboro attorney and Jacksboro ISD trustee David Spiller will face Nocona boot manufacturer Craig Carter in a runoff election to fill the unexpired House term of Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster).

The Texas Signal talks about a preliminary effort to create a pipeline of candidates for US attorneys and federal court judges.  Better late than never, I suppose.  This is a microcosm of the Donkey Party's ineptitude in one glance: a total failure to understand or wield power.  Why did DC Senate Democrats go into hibernation when Obama was president, failing to force a single judicial confirmation until Harry Reid finally sucked it up and eliminated the filibuster for those?  Why couldn't they figure out a way to stop Moscow Mitch from confirming a third of the Supreme Court and a fourth of the entire federal judiciary -- nominated by an impeached president -- over the past four years?  And for the past week, McConnell has again taught a master class in obstructionism even as Majority Leader Schumer extends his hand of cooperation and draws back a bloody stump?

To bring this point back home: how does the Texas Democratic Party have a Latino chairman for the past 8 years and lose counties in the RGV to Trump?!?

Something is deeply wrong, and it can't all be the fault of the worst Republicans in the country.  Maybe TexDems can just wait until, you know, demographics turn the tide for them.

See, by the time this saves their hides, the Gulf will be lapping at the state Capitol's south steps.

Here's a business news update.

As alternative fuels rise, carbon-based energy sources fall.

That doesn't stop Mr. Tesla from fighting for the right to drill for natgas near his launching pads in Boca Chica.

More snark, in keeping with this blog's motto (at the top, in case you forgot):

I'll call this next segment "end of an era".

Jeff Balke for the Houston Press sadly (at least for this blogger) detailed four things we will miss with the departure of George Springer to the Toronto Blue Jays.  And former Rockets owner and automobile titan Charlie Thomas passed away from COVID.

I have a handful of Texas music links.

Socratic Gadfly has Janis Joplin singing a Mercedes-based river for Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.  The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences in Lubbock is now prepares to open in February (though with less fanfare than they had hoped).

(Rave On, the restaurant inside the Buddy Holly Hall, as it gets ready for its debut. 
Photo courtesy Justin Rex, Lubbock A-J)

And I'll wrap it today with these.

Lauren Hough tears apart an essay from a Californian who moved to "Austin" with absolutely no sense of geography, reality, or self-awareness.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Lone Star Leftist Round-up *updated

A big week -- a historic week -- tends to overshadow the Great State's highlights and lowlifes since Monday.  I will forge ahead anyway, no mittens required.

(Like me, David Collins is hopeful but not optimistic about the next four years.  Pages of Victory seems to feel the same -- perhaps somewhat less so -- as well.)

Ken Paxton failed to secure a pardon and John Cornyn is tweeting in a subdued manner.   Both were far outdone by Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz, each of whom eyes future election prospects.  Update: Johnny felt left out; tried to make up lost ground.

It's clear neither Abbott nor Cruz is going to let an opportunity to disgrace himself get past him.

If we can't force him out, then we can at least cut off his money supply.

The same does not hold true for Govnuh Helen Wheels.  He's a multi-millionaire and an adroit fundraiser.  We'll need to be more creative.

"The most offensive thing he's ever heard" happened this week.

Abbott may or may not be smarter about pandering to the Trumpist base than Cruz, but he's certainly no less obvious about it.

There are more "Texans Behaving Badly" downpost; we'll pause from that to consider the Texas Lege, which doesn't reconvene until next week ... but their bad behavior from last week is still reverberating around the state.

Shaefer Edwards at the Houston Press takes note that the statehouse and Senate disagree on COVID testing -- and media access to legislators in their respective chambers -- as the session gets under way.  In spite of the initial difficulties, Texas Democrats resolutely soldier on.

Once more: shame will not force the seditionists out, so some good old-fashioned effort to sweep them out in 2022 is required.

The early line is prohibitively against that.  And not only because Gilberto Hinojosa is making others take the fall for him.

A smattering of mostly unrelated bad news and good news:

The Root quotes NBCDFW 5 about the story of a Denton County woman, faced with racial harrassment from a neighbor, who called law enforcement about the threats and was told to "stay away from (your) house until this blows over".  The Appeal writes about Austin's dysfunctional crime lab and how it may lead to another wrongful execution.

Closing out this week with the softer side news items.

Monday, January 18, 2021

The Sedition Edition of the Far Left Texas Wrangle

And at the end of the first week, they adjourned until January 26.

At least one member caught COVID.

Before moving on, let's note for the occasion of MLK Day that while casino gambling and relaxed cannabis legislation may be on life support, hopes for passing a symbolic bill striking a blow for social justice remain high.

The state Capitol was locked down through the Inauguration on Wednesday in order to limit the opportunities for mischief and misadventure. Some Fa protestors showed up anyway.

Those who chose to mark their disapproval with the Pro-Fas in our federal government also rallied.

And some action items for those who didn't want to leave the house, too.

The NRA wants to come to Texas to escape some of their many problems.

Maybe they could stop buying so much avocado toast ...?

COVID remains the state's worst problem despite all the others.

Jacob Vaughn at the Dallas Observer documents the communication breakdowns at all levels of government for the vaccine chaos. Socratic Gadfly, in his weekly roundup of coronavirus news, led off with COVIDIOTS in a Love Field baggage carousel and went on to note the airport's and Southwest Airlines' lack of responsiveness.

Criminal and social justice headlines:

And some climate updates.

Obstacles? What obstacles?

And wrapping today's Wrangle, a tip of the Stetson to Willie Lusk, Jr.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Thursday Lone Star Leftist Round-Up

Not as small a Round-up as I wished, given that the topic of shithole state insurrectionists is ... worn thin with me.

Ted Coupz, briefly.

Trump in South Texas. As updated in the Monday Wrangle ...

Meanwhile back in DC:

And at the Lege ...

Outside the Texas Capitol, members of a group called the Southern Patriot Council said they believe Joe Biden's election as president was illegal. One member, who would only identify himself to Texas Public Radio as "General E" predicted states would pass laws to stop protests like theirs.

"You won't be able to assemble anymore," he said. "So the bottom line is, assemble now while you can, because they are attempting to make it illegal for us to do that."

Houstonians didn't want to be left out.

I'm throwing James Harden under this bus also. So is Judge Hidalgo and his former Rockets teammates. That's no way to open a restaurant, Mr. Beard.

Criminal and social justice news, first from (the real) Alamo City.

The San Antonio Current finds numerous "alternative facts" on the Texas police union's anti-reform website. KXAN reports on a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the City of Austin regarding a teenager’s suicide in the back of an APD patrol car. Grits for Breakfast rounds up more like these stories from a week ago and today. It's almost like a virus that's out of control.

A couple of environmental updates.

Four of the state's environmental groups -- the Environmental Integrity Project, Sierra Club, Environment Texas, and the Port Arthur Community Action Network -- sued the EPA last week, alleging that the agency stood by while Texas failed to enforce the nation’s federal environmental laws and adequately control air pollution in the state. DeSmogBlog reports, with the assistance of some of Texas' foremost environmental activists: Sharon Wilson, Bryan Parras, and Hilton Kelley.

Texas Standard brings the news that an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that a gas leak from a pipeline damaged during replacement work performed over 20 years ago likely caused an explosion that killed a 12 year-old girl in Northwest Dallas in 2018.

Finally, we'll roll into the weekend with Comrade Fidel's Bayou City barbecue tasting event, over 60 years ago.

Monday, January 11, 2021

The Far Left Texas Wrangle *updates

I am going to make an effort to keep the focus forward, as the Lege gavels in tomorrow and the Traitor-in-Chief visits South Texas to celebrate something.

Something tells me our junior senator will be greeting him.  Update:


More about last week's sedition in an extended version of "Texans Behaving Badly", downpost.  Returning to the Lege, one seat needs to be filled in the first election of 2021; TXElects.

HD68 special: Early voting begins (Monday) for the January 23 special election to fill the unexpired House term of Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster). Five candidates are on the ballot:
  • John Berry (R), Jacksboro financial planner and former Jack County Commissioner
  • Jason Brinkley (R), Gainesville attorney and Cooke County Judge
  • Craig Carter (R), Nocona boot manufacturer who has twice unsuccessfully run for SD30
  • Charles Gregory (D), Childress retired postal employee; and
  • David Spiller (R), Jacksboro attorney and Jacksboro ISD board member.

Later this morning, Comptroller Glenn Hegar will release his estimate of the state's revenue for the next two years.  Raise Your Hand Texas, advocates for public education, runs it down from their "Across the Lawn" newsletter.

The state’s current budget is already facing a $4.6 billion shortfall due to the recession caused by the pandemic and downturn in oil prices. Legislators will likely use a mix of the Rainy Day Fund, which has $8.8 billion on hand, and federal stimulus dollars to fill that hole ... What worries most budget writers, legislative members, and advocates is the estimate may be similar to 2011, when the state faced a $27 billion shortfall and cut $5.4 billion from public education.

Read on at that link about the $900 billion stimulus Congress just passed, the $5.2 billion it contains for Texas schools, and the chances that the state's teachers and children won't see any of that money invested in education because of the games the Lege is likely to play.


Speaker-to-be Phelan is already pouring cold water on the possibility of casino gambling becoming a tax revenue stream for the state.

Update: The death of GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson -- announced Tuesday morning; he was investing heavily in a lobbying effort for casinos in the Lone Star State -- further clouds the possibility of that legislation being approved.  Let's look at the state's worsening COVID crisis next.

Joe Deshotel for The Texas Signal does not want COVID-19 to be used as an excuse to shut the public out of the legislative process.  And RG Ratcliffe, writing at Texas Monthly, puts the blame for the state's vaccine rollout chaos on Greg Abbott.

So will things get better or worse before they improve?  Magic 8 Ball says, "Ask again later/Better not tell you now/Don't count on it/Outlook not so good".

As much of a selection of "Texans Behaving Badly" as I could tolerate.

Kuff demands swift prosecution and punishment of everyone involved in the violent assault on the Capitol, and points to Cruz and Paxton as the top two priorities for those who value democracy.

Larry R. Brock is from Grapevine, actually.  His 'uniform' had a vinyl sticker of the Texas flag overlaid on the skull of The Punisher, the Marvel comic book character.  His ex-wife recognized him from the photos and turned him in.

Cudd ran for mayor of Midland last year.

Steve Jackson, a Wichita Falls city councilman who attended the January 6 rally at the state Capitol, displays a Trump campaign poster ... with Mike Pence's name cut out.

That's all I can manage.