Monday, June 28, 2021

The Tardy, Brief, Ketchup Wrangle from Far Left Texas

Not as long as you or I feared.  First, let's load the chuck wagons and pluck the cockleburrs out of our saddle blankets and rest up this long weekend ahead before the Legislature's new/old business comes due.

Some lawmakers -- particularly Democrats -- seem less than thrilled about it.

Governor Fish Lips (what? you hadn't noticed?) thinks he's being tricky.

Texas Dems have asked the SCOTX to decide whether his veto of Article X -- which funds the Lege's staff -- is constitutional.

In other dictatorial developments:

Wrong disaster.

The worm may have finally turned against Abbott and Ken Paxton last week; some things that happened were suggestive.

Indiana won their lawsuit just last week.  Kuff also weighed in on a couple of polls that show no great love for what the Repubs have been doing lately, and Grits for Breakfast called Abbott's vetoes "a final punch in the nose for the bipartisan criminal justice reform movement".

Honestly though, in a state unplagued with Trump Syndrome, a Democratic Party with some cojones and a plan might stand a chance of flipping something in 2022.

The vice president didn't help the cause in her visit last week.

When all else fails, send in the doctor.

The local Donks have a new chair.  According to former precinct chair J.R. Behrman, he's Nigerian.  They also censured a state representative for his conduct.

I'll wrap this Wrangle with a few things worth celebrating.

And also, as mentioned, my mother Jean, marking her 95th year (and amazing us all)!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Not quite back to normal


Celebrating Mom's 95th in Beaumont with her today.  Brother went to the hospital yesterday.  Have spent all week laid low by a vicious summer cold.  So there's my excuses for not posting since Monday.

Still have all those I promised in draft, with a lot of work needed, but they won't see the light of day until next week soonest.  Funnies tomorrow, a Monday Wrangle to play catch-up, then we'll see.

Thanks for checking in.

Monday, June 21, 2021

The Monday Wrangle from Far Left Texas

We're still reading cabrito entrails from the session just past.

And reacting to Governor Wheels' latest temper tantrum/diversion.

As well as the rest of the nutty Tejas fringe.

Here's a few posts from yesterday's rally at the Capitol.

Greg Abbott is never going to be above petty maneuvering.

The Texas Signal sums up the next moves.

I do not favor passage of the For The People Act because of its onerous penalties to minor parties.

HR 1, also known as the “For The People Act,” is sold as a way to get money out of politics and to protect voters, but it contains several poison pills for democracy and opposition parties like the Green Party. Most alarmingly, HR1 quintuples the amount of money Green presidential campaigns will be required to raise to qualify for federal matching funds: from $5,000 in each of 20 states to $25,000 per state. Other poison pills in HR1 would:

1. Abolish the general election campaign block grants that parties can access by winning at least 5% of the vote in the previous presidential election. HR1 would eliminate this provision that was created to give a fair shot to alternative parties that demonstrate significant public support.

2. Replace the general election block grants (where each qualified candidate receives a set, lump sum of public funding for campaign expenses) with matching funds through Election Day -- a huge step backwards for public campaign finance reform -- using the above-mentioned criteria designed to squeeze out alternative parties and independent candidates.

3. Eliminate the limits on donations and expenditures candidates can receive and make. What kind of campaign finance reform is that?

4. Inflate the amount of money national party committees can give to candidates from $5000 to $100 million, an astonishing increase of 1999900% that would give party bosses virtually unlimited power to flood elections with big money.

And Joe Manchin's efforts to sell it -- and anything else -- to his good friends in the Senate Republican Caucus got caught in Mitch McConnell's wedge politics.

And we already know that Texas Democrats can't play any fairer when it comes to the Texas Green Party than the TXGOP plays with them.

So as I mentioned, it's best for TexDems and best for democracy if they have DOJ sue, get the courts to suspend the laws the TXGOP passes until the SCOTUS rules (which will be a year from now at the earliest), and hope for the best.  In the meantime, do what they should have been doing all along: blockwalking, voter registration, GOTV.  The Pukes did that during the pandemic, after all.

And think about replacing that tired old Padron chairman with a Black woman.

Here's a few scenes from Juneteenth.

This program was expertly done, with both Houston and Galveston's history, conversations with activists, and a lot more you did not know.  Highly recommended viewing.  And here's a blast from Dallas' past celebrations.

And an online event today.

Finally, let's not forget that Juneteenth did not celebrate the end of slavery.  It marked the day when the US Army sailed into Galveston harbor and told Texans that slavery had ended two years before, and to cut it out.  And Texas -- and a lot of other states -- didn't.  And still don't.

Bud Kennedy at the Star-Telegram wrote about how a 1939 Fort Worth race riot sparked Opal Lee’s long effort for a Juneteenth federal holiday.  And Kimiya Factory for the San Antonio Report tells why she celebrates.

I think that catches me up to current.  I'll go back and pick up my environmental and social and criminal justice news in posts I said I would get to earlier in short order.  Here's today's soothers.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Texas Republicans Behaving Badly Round-Up *Updated

Far too long a post, y'all.  Starting with yesterday's news and the latest from the worst governor in the long history of the Great State.


Abbott was determined to make this past week all about him and his Trump-ish agenda, and he didn't necessarily fail at that.

It's particularly insulting that this occurred as Juneteenth, a state holiday since 1979, finally became a national holiday.

He also managed -- along with several of his friends -- to show his ass at the gun bill signing at the Alamo, just prior to the start of Fiesta in San Antonio.

During a question-and-answer session, one reporter asked the governor about the timing of signing these bills after a recent shooting in downtown Austin that killed one and hurt 14 others. The crowd behind Abbott booed, and he remarked, “you must be from out of state,” at which the crowd cheered.

Then there's his wall.

He also made sure critics of the electricity grid's second potential failure this year clearly got his message: contempt.

For the record, I don't think Abbott is a Neanderthal.  I DO think he is a menace to society, a devoted plutocrat, and a self-loathing sociopath.

But Abbott wasn't alone in his atrocious conduct.


Sanford Nowlin at the San Antonio Current had the "Louie Gohmert, Space Cadet" news.  And the Lege never fails to get in on the act, even out of session.

Reform Austin also shined a light on the Legislature's lack of transparency.  I would still like to do a separate post on Texas Monthly's Best and Worst listings, since they're always so good, and include some thoughts about Mark Jones' far right-to-far left rankings of the statehouse and Senate, but I still have an environmental and a criminal justice post to get to, so I'm not sure if anything I have to say about those will be timely.  We'll see.  You can enjoy them without my commentary.

As teased, lots more on the way.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Happy Juneteenth, Pride, Fiesta Wrangle

It's been a reasonably good week for progressive and liberal causes.

The newest federal holiday commemorates June 19, 1865 -- the day Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with word that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed by President Abraham Lincoln more than two years before.

For years, Juneteenth has been celebrated in Houston and Galveston to commemorate General Order No. 3, issued a month after the formal end of the Civil War. Galveston was one of the last places in the U.S. where enslaved people learned of their emancipation. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who sponsored the national holiday bill in the House, told Axios Juneteenth becoming a national holiday affirms the experiences of people of Houston and Galveston -- the descendants of those who celebrated the first Juneteenth.

(As a leftist, maintaining this health insurance company long-term stimulation plan is less than half a loaf.  Americans are still dying for profit margins and CEO bonuses, and that must end.  Hopefully before the planet cooks us all.  Which is to say that my environmental post is on the way.)

DOJ preclearance for Texas voting laws, redistricting, and all the bad GOP bills in the pipeline is the game, set, and match for Team Donkey.  No amount of rallies, protests, marches, quorum breaks, petitions, or other performative actions matter.  Tie it all up in court and let the SCOTUS ultimately decide.  So far the track record with the Nine is encouraging, and Ken Paxton is as incompetent there as he is at everything else.  More on all the TXGOP fails in the next.

So celebrate these wins in the way that you choose this weekend: with your Black, Brown, and LGBTQ friends, and with Dad if you can.  If for whatever reason you can't, then please find something else to be happy about and celebrate that.

Here's another Fiesta guide from San Antonio Magazine.

As many more topics as I can get to still on the way.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Texas grid fried; Abbott roasted

The trouble began Monday afternoon.

As with the gun carnage on Austin's Sixth Street, reaction was quick ... and relentless.

Indeed it was.

“Dang those frozen wind turbines ...” tweeted Laura Beil.  Meanwhile, Jennifer Hiller is “Just over here shouting at my kids to close the door already so we don’t cause the Texas grid to collapse.”  “Republican leadership in Texas is doing well, unless you like electricity,” posted Mark Jacob.

Some were nicer -- and more policy-oriented -- about it.

Some elevated their snark.

Some were just blunt.

Some spread the recriminations to Ted Cruz and Ken Paxton.

So what was Greg Abbott's response to this epic failure?  Why, he signed the critical race theory outlaw bill into law, invited Trump to join him at the southern border at the end of June to demagogue the border wall, and followed Steve Bannon's -- and several other scam artists' -- lead in soliciting public donations to fund its construction.

It was just Sunday night when John Oliver pointed out that Texas inmates were cooking in the state's prisons because the TDCJ won't provide air-conditioning.

Now we are all going to do so (unless you can afford your own generator), especially those who couldn't pay their electric bill previously.

I have to believe that at some point all of the corporations and all of the conservatives moving to Texas from elsewhere are going to start reconsidering the wisdom of that, as Mayor Adler observed above.  Low taxes aren't all there is to living.

Before this post runs too long, I'll hold the other Lege business -- Texas Dems in Washington meeting with Pelosi and the Lone Star delegation to receive their heroes' welcome for stopping SB7, and entreating their DC counterparts to stop the steal, to appropriate a phrase, by passing legislation that will block suppression efforts better than another walkout.  And also Texas Monthly's "Best" and "Worst", Mark Jones' ideological ranking, and a few more things having to do with Juneteenth, and environmental, and whatever fresh hell may pop between now and tomorrow and Friday.

Here are a few calm-me-downs.

Monday, June 14, 2021

The Updates Wrangle from Far Left Texas

I promised this on Friday so before I get way behind again ...
First however is the news from Austin regarding the shooting on Sixth Street.

Reaction has been swift.

Especially the reactions associated with defunding the Austin PD.

It's the same in San Antonio.

And everywhere else.

The state's capital is far from the only Texas city plagued with gun violence.  This was Houston over the weekend.

And Grits for Breakfast wonders what will happen to all those old convictions for unlicensed carrying of a weapon.

Governor Strangelove had to quickly come up with yet another diversion from failed Lege policies, and his choice was ...

You got it straight.

Braddock with the win.

Abbott is not one to let the grass grow under his wheelchair.  Part of his re-election strategy is to set the agenda and have others react to him; he never responds to what happened yesterday or last week, and rarely if ever to his critics.  This is his definition of "leadership".

Case in point: the swelling national backlash over critical race theory.

The whitewashing has been going on for almost two centuries.

Shell Seas with the less-than-280-character executive summary.

Abbott and the Lege have an unfinished piece of business: the voting suppression bill due in the first special session.  More skeezy details have leaked about SB7 in the just-concluded regular.

Accolades are still pouring in for the brave Donkey blockers.

And Beto's Texas tour brought him to the Bayou City yesterday, where he fired up the troops for the coming rematch.

Political watchers of the "expert" variety seem skeptical that Tex Dems will be able to reach their 'two million new registered voters' goal, along with the usual pessimism regarding their biannual electoral prospects.

More Texas 2022 election developments:

I should give a COVID update since I haven't in a long while.

Texas Republicans (like Louie Gohmert, Space Cadet and Ken Paxton, Thug) behaving badly and some environmental news still to come this week.  Here's the soothers.