Monday, May 31, 2021

Well, isn't that ... special

A lot more -- including all I need to catch up on from last week -- still coming.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Memorial Day Weekend "Back to Work" Funnies

If you’re anywhere near Stockbridge, Massachusetts (western MA, near the New York border), the Norman Rockwell Museum’s exhibit Pat Oliphant: Editorial Cartoons from the Nixon and Clinton Eras lasts until Monday, so if you can get there, go see it.  If you can't, read Mike Peterson's review.

And support today's political cartoonists here.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Petty, Party of Two

Late hours, extreme fatigue, frayed nerves, the old push me/pull you between the far right and the freak right is worth a laugh.

Not as funny as eating flies crawling into your mouth, though.

We understood a long while ago that Kremlin Toad Cruz was not human; there's just no need for him to keep proving it.  He can't help himself.

Every single time he tweets, he is savaged.  But it's interpreted by him, and his lickspittles, as "triggering/owning the libs".  It IS a game, we're all playing it, he thinks he's winning.

Apropos of nothing except more of our TXGOP leadership behaving badly ... are Angela and Ken Paxton in an open marriage?

She's working long, late hours under Dan Patrick's tutelege while he's ... doing whatever this is.  The AGTX was previously reported as flinging with a woman whom he referred to one of his rich contributors for a job, which became more grist for his corruption mill.  "Recommitted to his marriage", as the link from six months ago says, does not seem reflected in these photos.

That's enough mockery at these clowns' expense.

I now return you to your regular "Republicans Behaving Badly" programming.  Back under the Pink Dome, as Sine Die bears down ...

"You'll be invoiced for our expenses from our negligence that resulted in your neighbors freezing to death.  Sorry, that's capitalism; some win, others lose."

"Oh by the way, we have openings for unpaid internships for the special session.  Please have your young, attractive daughters and nieces apply now."

Be sure and read Phillip Martin's tweet attached to that thread.

I suppose I'll stop there, though I could post some more.  Maybe later; it's early and our representatives and senators are still asleep.  Mostly.

Oh hell, here's a few more petty pairings.

Still more to come.  My ever-lengthening environmental post, a collation of "cruelty is the point" of this legislative session and a few others.  Just feel the need for some cleansers right now.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A skirmish won

Update: Big battles yet to come, even as Little Guv Dan Patrick throws a temper tantrum and demands a recount of the ones he was beaten on yesterday.

The war, alas, mostly lost already.

Lay it at the feet of the scowly-faced man with the gavel in the video above, along with statehouse Democrats who slid fearfully to the right, and all who trusted Speaker Forehead to be a fair arbiter this session.  Dade Phelan is no Joe Straus.  Back another horse in 2023, Donks.

Between now and then you need to fight like hell for a few more days, then again in a special session on redistricting, and whatever else Gov. Helen Wheels adds to the call -- undoubtedly some of the trash y'all defeated this time -- and then win some goddamned elections.  And don't blame or throttle the Green Party in your efforts to do so, or by Dishrag I'll stop voting for your judicial candidates down the ballot in reprisal, and encourage as many as possible to do the same.

Here's your platform.

(ICYMI: Patrick's 1991 vasectomy, broadcast live on his Houston radio station)

Moving on to other topics ...

Greg Abbott has had a winner of a session by anybody's scorecard, and he's setting up the special to capture a few more flags.

Yeah, just trust him.

If a meteor struck the Capitol today and ended the session early, Abbott would at the very least be able to claim Trump-ish bonafides like outlawing abortion, freeing guns from the tyranny of licensing and training, and some extra helpings of steak tartare to his donors like Kelcy Warren.

It won't be enough for Allen West and Sid Miller and MQS and the rest of the Lafitte privateers in the GQP (don't forget about their big shindig in Dallas this weekend) but that's a fight we can wait to watch next year.  Today the chattering class is excited about who former Prezdint Agolf Shitler might endorse between Ken Paxtoon and George Pee Bush.

"I like them both very much," Trump said in a statement Tuesday. "I'll be making my endorsement and recommendation to the great people of Texas in the not-so-distant future."

Bush has said he is "seriously considering" a primary challenge to Paxton and has scheduled a campaign kickoff for an unspecified office on June 2 in Austin. Bush spoke with Trump about the race Monday.

I really don't care.  Do you?  In more immediate Texas election news, voting has begun in the municipal runoffs across the state, and the most prized for Democrats is the Fort Worth mayoral.

And CD-10 progressive Dem Mike Siegel calls your attention to a like-minded candidate in the runoff with a conservative incumbent in Grand Prairie.

I have a backlog of criminal and social justice news.  First: more photos and video from marches and rallies in the Lone Star State in support of the cause of Gaza and Palestinians living there under the boot heel of Israeli ethnocide.

And Sam Russek's thread with video of the Houston rally that turned into a march is remarkable.  Read the whole thing; here's where the crowd quite gently took down the police barricades and filled Post Oak in front of the Galleria.

HPD's response was incredibly muted compared to past actions I've attended and witnessed.  I believe that's unlikely to be the case in the future, given the recent bill passed in Austin.

Also: laws decriminalizing the driving into and running down of protestors in other states are bound to head our way too soon.  Then there's the bills that penalize cities for defunding their police departments; these didn't need any Democratic votes, but they got them anyway.

Grits for Breakfast hypothesized that "anti-defund" legislation could have the effect of redefining what it means to be a "police officer".

With respect to the statewide camping ban law -- an action taken in response to Austin's efforts -- we know now that cruelty is the point.

And the same with cash bail.

Having run long again here, I'll post environmental updates -- the spat between George Pee's GLO and Harris County's non-existent portion of Harvey funding, Coastal Bend Queen Diane Wilson's ongoing struggle against the Big Chem polluters, and some other items -- tomorrow.  Here's my collection from the softer side.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Guns Up, Voting Down Aggregation

Not so much a Red Raider Wrangle as a Wild West one.

You might find yourself envious of all the Democratic and Republican attorneys having an orgasm thinking about the billable hours they'll accrue when all of this legislation goes to court.

So let's not spend much more of our beautiful mind, or day -- the sun is trying to come out from behind the clouds after two weeks of dreary -- thinking about the wickedness pouring out of the Pink Dome like slime from a sewer.  After all, they still have voting to suppress, trans kids to stop from playing sports ...

... and all of this.

Then there will be redistricting in a special session later in the year.  A fresh hell for many dead bills to be resurrected.  In other words, there will be plenty to get irate about later.

Besides, there has been some good news.

Talerico wins my award for best lawmaker, going away.  He found several ways to make a positive impact during the most hideous legislative session ever.

Patrick's got it bottled up, though, so if this is your jam, it's time to act.

From my cheap seat, nobody has done a better job of Johnny-on-the-Spot advocacy than NORML this session.  Every Texan's Dick Lavine has been relentless on Chapter 313 and Texas Watch's Ware Wendell similarly on the trucking tort reform bill (which passed, unfortunately), but the weed folks have really moved the needle.

Corporate media has been shafted by Lege leadership, and transparency has been ... translucent when it hasn't been opaque.

That is to say, when they have not embarrassed themselves.

And some Republican state leaders learned the hard way that telling the truth is hazardous to their political health.

Dr. Hotez elaborates from his perspective.

So our beloved Texas has a poor prognosis for democracy, facts, and justice, unless the courts can come to our collective rescue.  Yes, I know.  Not the kind of blue anybody wants to turn.

Hard-right politics rules the day, week, month, year, biennium, and perhaps decade.

Are moderate Republicans -- and Democrats who vote in the GOP primary -- the only ones left to rescue the state from this fate?

It's a serious question.

I still I have a lot to post on these and other topics I have promised, but I'll pause here. One soother.

Monday, May 24, 2021

"There is Too Much Evil" Round-up

Under the guise of Christian family values and an emphasis on freedom and liberty, the fascists running Texas demand that you show them your child's genitalia; the government must be assured that all children's clothes and hair match what Jeebus gave them below the belt at birth.

And their obnoxious, overbearing, intrusive god forbid anyone who would question -- much less dare to alter -- his decision-making in the womb, under penalty of state law.

To mark Pan-Visibility Day today, and Trans-Youth Advocacy Day belatedly, it's appropriate to focus on the more cruel business the Lege has been up to over the past week.

Thank goodness there's a Texas governor candidate (and a political party) doing more than Tweeting pictures of themselves wearing a pink and blue flag lapel pin and congratulating each other on how hard they fought as they lost.

Yvonna Marquez at the Texas Observer also looked at the stress that the onslaught of anti-trans bills is causing our state's trans kids.  Adam Briggle, writing at Issues.Org, examined the use of science and his love for his son amid the debate over appropriate trans children's health care.  Mandy Giles is grateful for the community she has found while advocating for trans rights at the Lege.  OutSmart spoke to five Houston-area families who have traveled to Austin to advocate for themselves and their children.  And Socratic Gadfly's take on these bills is a mix of supportive and challenging thought for both critical race theory and gender-critical radical feminism.

Updates as they happen in the Tweet feed to right, or follow it yourself under the #txlege hashtag, or check in here later in the week for the aftermath.

Taking these legislative developments in bite-size pieces, with lots of water and some Maalox to keep them down.  More ahead.

Rise of the Fourth Reich Wrangle

Godwin is dead. George Orwell is alive, well, and walking the halls of the Lone Star State Capitol.

"The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of history." "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past". "In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Thanks to Michael Tolbert for those, and thanks also to Joe Moody, Vikki Goodwin, and Chris Turner in the statehouse last night and in the wee hours today, and Borris Miles and Royce West in the Senate early on Saturday morning, for their eloquence.

Stirring words are all that Lege Dems have, however, and the Republican representatives and senators answer only to the voters in their primary.

There's a reason why they're doing these things in the middle of the night, bending their own rules like a pretzel, and banning media from covering them.

This is NOT what democracy looks like.

I have a shitpile left on all of these topics, plus everything I promised in Friday's Atrocities Documentation Collation, on the way.

Last Night with John Oliver got in on the Texas beatdown.

Much more coming (sooner than later).

Friday, May 21, 2021

Atrocities Documentation Collation (a week-ending round-up from far left Texas, part 1)

This one will have to appear in segments.  We can thank our lucky stars that the House, in a fit of pique, adjourned for the weekend because the Senate is sitting on legislation approved by the lower chamber by near-unanimous consent.  (That's not to say they are all good bills.)

Nobody is more upset with the week's developments than the women of Texas; mothers and those that would be.  By their own choice and not.

"Somewhat indifferent" might be a little soft.

More on the Guvnah's really great week (for him, nobody else) in the next segment.

A lot of damage done by Speaker Forehead, but don't exhale yet; Dan Patrick's gang is still in town.

In a legislative session that has been by far the most extreme and conservative ever, the two Republican-controlled branches and the respective factions within the TXGOP are still slinging mud -- and Mucus -- like they're all infected with COVID.

They're certainly consumed with a raging case of hate, as the masks and gloves have come off and the knives and bricks and bats come out.  At this point Lege Democrats are like the poor children in Gaza and Yemen: collateral damage.

As you might guess, I have a lot more than three things to say about this ... later.  But also a stand-alone environmental post, Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert behaving badly, and some criminal and social justice items, all of which I'll try to get done today get to over the weekend.

Here's a few calm-me-downs.

And it's small solace, but stormy weather sometimes produces a beautiful thing, in that 'darkest before the dawn' kinda way.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Tongue Out Tuesday Roundup from Far Left Texas

Not thrilled to read about this dude again.

Delilah for Texas issued a challenge to the erstwhile, unaffiliated, indecisive gubernatorial maybe-candidate.

Be a lot cooler if he did.

And while I have spent much time and effort denigrating Texas Democrats, and will likely be compelled by their own ignominous conduct to continue to do so *coughBetocough*, the fact of the matter is that Joe Jaworski is the best -- indeed the only -- choice to replace Ken Paxtoon (not a typo) as attorney general of our Great State.

I believe that Lee Merritt is an outstanding candidate, and is someone I could support in the general election (absent a Green nominee).  But I've known Joe Jaws a long time; I know who he is, and he's the best man for the job.

George Pee Bush, on the other hand, is a running joke.  I care not whether he can dethrone the top criminal in the state.  It's as important that we dispense with these legacies as it is the celebrities who think they're entitled to political careers.

All dovetailing nicely with this segment of Republicans Doing That Dumbass Shit They Do.

Perhaps I'll make the segue to the Lege follies by devoting some space to Greg Abbott's latest cave to profits over people.

This wasn't costing the state a dime.  Abbott swallowed the lie that "nobody wants to work".  So like other conservatives -- including Joe Biden -- they will try to force Americans to take starvation-wage jobs with no benefits, no paid time off, and no hope for advancement.

The appropriate market solution would be, as anyone who's passed Econ 101 would know, to raise wages to attract employees.  But in Texas, companies are on the government dole, so they actually run themselves more like what they think communism must be like.

I think Team Elephant would be horrified to learn that they were as Red as China ... if they were smart enough to figure it out.

Let's see; the Lege, was it?

Yes, as Scott Braddock noted, that's five Caucasian state senators -- four Republicans and one very conservative Democrat -- meeting behind closed doors to resolve issues on a bill codifying discrimination against Texans of color and their voting rights.

On that topic, some justice in another arena -- the appeals court -- might be forthcoming.  Don't hold your breath, but be marginally encouraged.

And with respect to other social justice developments:

And that's my segue to COVID.

Do I need to blog again why, even though I've had both my shots, I will keep wearing my mask?

Let Governor Wheels take his victory lap.  What goes around comes around.

We're all glad about this good news, but as Harvey Keitel said in Pulp Fiction ...

I have lots of green posts that I'll save for another day, perhaps its own post this week.  Here's a little something I've been enjoying lately.

Lesser prairie chickens, the slightly smaller cousin to the greater prairie chicken, can only be found in five states: Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. Following the original petition to list in 1995, lesser prairie chickens were listed in 2014 as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A lawsuit challenging the listing ended in a judge vacating the decision in 2015. Another petition for listing was received in 2016, with a finding anticipated in mid-May 2021.

And my artiste soother.