Monday, August 30, 2021

The Nearly-Finished Special Session Wrangle

We'll all be glad when it's over.  But it ain't over.

W/r/t SB1, it was NOT always to be, as some who would excuse Texas Democrats' collective failure choose to spin.

Playing the race card just doesn't get you very far when Dan Patrick is the dealer.  Once upon a time we lived in a country where saying things like this forced an elected official to resign in disgrace.  I did not see one single person call for the lite guv to step down, which tells you how far he and his ilk in Austin have moved the Overton window.

Meanwhile there were more marches for voting rights over the weekend.

Some of you are free to keep hope alive.

I've seen this show before.  I know how it ends.

On to the rest.

Here I'll clean out my old bookmarks with some news items that have aged but are no less relevant.

-- From The Militant:

John Henry Ramirez is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville Sept. 8, the third execution there this year.

Ramirez filed a federal suit Aug. 10 after prison officials denied his request to have his pastor, Dana Moore of the Second Baptist Church, pray with him in the death chamber and lay hands on him as he dies. Ramirez’s attorney filed for his execution to be postponed while the issue is litigated.

-- Fake Texas Temporary Car Tags Linked to Crimes as Far Away as New York

A recent FBI investigation found more than a half-million fraudulent paper tags were sold by just three people to buyers across the country.  [...]  And that’s not the only way to get fake tags.

In May, an FBI investigation found three people in Houston set up "fraudulent and fictitious" used car dealerships -- and got more than 500,000 tags from the DMV that appeared legitimate to any police officer.

-- Texas town torn by racial rift subject of new NBC podcast

The deep-dive, six-part podcast about Southlake, the upscale suburb of around 31,000 people 25 miles northeast of Fort Worth, begins streaming on Aug. 30.

-- Does Houston really want to lead the energy transition, or is this more greenwashing by Big Oil?

Winding down here with some less aggravating pieces.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Jeffrey L. Dorrell, March 25, 1955 – August 23, 2021

My brother, may he rest in peace.

Jeffrey Lee Dorrell was born on March 25, 1955 in Beaumont, Texas, the first of four children of Earl and Jean Dorrell. Jeff began school at Averill Elementary in Beaumont. The family moved to Vidor where Jeff attended junior high and high school, graduating as salutatorian of his class in 1973. During high school Jeff served as a Congressional page to U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, which spurred an affinity for politics and the law. Jeff attended the University of Texas in Austin, was an active member of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, and graduated with honors with a B.A. in Business Management in 1977.

Jeff started work after college with the Conoco Oil Company in Midland, quickly learning the Texas oil and natural gas business. He soon moved to Houston and worked for the Coastal States O&G Corp. and the infamous Oscar Wyatt. After several years with Coastal, Jeff started his own oil company, Fortis International, regularly trading oil and natural gas with companies across Texas and the world.

In 1994, Jeff sold his company and followed his dream to attend law school. He graduated from the University of Houston Law School and would practice law the rest of his life. He worked for several law firms including Dorrell & Farris, LP with his close friend David Farris; Escamilla, Poneck, and Cruz; and most recently was a partner at Hanszen Laporte.

The highlight of his law career was arguing, and winning, a lawsuit before the US Supreme Court. In Jeff’s own words: “Lawyers dream of having a case at the Supreme Court. In 2015, the Court agreed to hear Husky International Electronics v. Ritz -- which I had managed to lose three times in lower courts. On May 16, 2016, 7 of the 8 Justices agreed with me that fraudulently transferring assets to avoid paying creditors is wrong. Fortunately, I can be just a bit stubborn.”

Jeff stayed very active in the LGBTQ and PRIDE communities and formed lifelong friendships with many wonderful, caring people. He traveled, vacationed, and socialized with many close friends.

Jeff was a confident, driven, personable, competitive, fun-loving individual his entire life with a deep affection for his dogs. He worked hard, played hard, and lived life to the fullest. Jeff would not want anyone to feel sorry for him in any way but to remember the fun times with him fondly, warmly, and affectionately.

Jeff is survived by his partner, Mike Centeno; his mother, Jean Dorrell, brothers Perry (Sue) and James (Pam), sister Jean Ann (Dan), nieces Jessica Morgan (Josh), Ashley Hargrove (Grayson), and nephew Chris Dorrell (Maggie), and many cousins and grand-nieces and nephews.

Special thanks go to Julie Devlin and David Farris for lovingly providing care and support to Jeff during these last few months. Their devotion and dedication was heartfelt and genuine. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to any charity Jeff supported, including the Houston Food Bank or K-9 Angels Rescue.

And thank you all for your friendship, love, and support of Jeff. A celebration of his life is being planned in Houston for later this fall and details will be shared as they are available.

A shorter version of this obituary also appears in today's Houston Chronicle.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Voter Suppression Day Wrangle *update

Update 2 (8/27):

Hold the phone ...

I'll check back in tomorrow evening (with a fresh post).

Update 1:

Original post:

Follow the action at the #TXLege hashtag or in my Tweet feed at the top right. In other news ...

Yes, the very bad is upon us, with the worst to come.

On this travesty, there is considerable pushback.

Others, not so much.  And new dangers loom.

With a few political updates:

Dowd would be primarying Mike Collier if he takes the leap; another Republican turned Democrat.  Moldy Caucasian conservatives are about all Texas Dems are good for any longer, I guess.

Here's the latest from the southern border.

Beginning my segment on the environment with an anniversary.

With a new storm brewing and taking aim at the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast, keep in mind that personal responsibility is all you can count on in our headlong rush to "freedumb".  Take all necessary precautions now.

COVID, and then criminal justice news.

A union update:

And two calm-me-downs.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Busting the Democrats' Quorum Break Wrangle

Lege back in session. Not without some bitterness.

Update (p.m.):

Original (a.m.):

These are quite obviously not the developments you'll be reading on the various online mouthpieces of the Texas Democratic Party, although the Signal doesn't completely ignore the topic like Kuffner does.  And tap-dancing around the criticisms while playing both sides of the fence is ... well, mostly embarrassing.  (Hardest-working fellow you'll ever see who tries not to offend anybody and fails every time.)  Thus the dirty job nobody wants to do falls to this recovering Democrat.  I am, of course, more than happy to pick up the slack.

Let's begin, as we usually must, with the "Save Us Beto You're Our Only Hope" Caucus.

O'Rourke is, as one reply there notes, waiting to see if the US Congress can pass the two voting bills -- the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act -- before he decides whether he will run.  And because Joe Manchin loves the filibuster more than he does democracy, the bills won't pass.  Correspondingly, I have laid heavy stakes on 'Hell No, Beto'.

The Donks will have some sacrificial lamb, as they always do, and they will trumpet that third or fourth option -- do I really need to post again that the Castro Bros don't run for something if there's the slightest chance they might not win? -- as their godsend, saviour, what TF ever.  The down-ballot nominees will have to row harder to pull the dead weight, and the ballast includes Mike Collier, who holds his own delusions of defeating Dan Patrick in a rematch.  Let's hope he can convince more Republicans to vote for him than last time, because that's his only chance.

All this is a crine ass shame because Joe Jaworski or Lee Merritt could legitimately defeat Ken Paxton without all these drags on the ticket.  It's possible the winner of their primary still could.  Only this contest, IMHO, has a decent chance of flipping at the statewide level in 2022.

You're best off sending a message that we need wholesale changes in Austin.

I foresee a return to a more active blogging schedule this week, so with COVID, environmental, and the usual topics bookmarked, I'll pause the serious stuff here and end today with the soothers.

Stace at Dos Centavos honored journalist, poet, playwright, and cultural critic Gregg Barrios, who passed away suddenly last week.

Here's the story on the mural project.

Friday, August 20, 2021

The Friday Texas Fold 'em Wrangle

"I’ve always said in politics, your enemies can’t hurt you, but your friends will kill you."
-- Ann Richards

Karl Rove, writing in the WSJ, made himself look prescient with the headline I borrowed.  He's also back to teaching his master class in projection.

You're excused for not wanting to read the whole thing, whether because the paywall stops you or your gag reflex does.  Still, for purposes of understanding the modern-day Goebbels in his favorite environment, you might give ol' Turd Blossom a click at his shop.

And yesterday, as if by magic, three Houston Democrats bent their knee (bad pun intended) and let the statehouse have its quorum.

There was considerable dissension in the Blue ranks.

And while there were questions as to whether a quorum was legitimately present ...

... the shitshow must go on.

Though out of the office until Monday, Dan Patrick does not cotton (another lousy pun intended) to staying out of controversy.

Rep. Bernal has really been spittin' the facts of late.

I could make this post longer with the SCOTX's latest, some Permian environmental bad news, and the usual Republican suspects saying stupid things (like Louie Gohmert's exploding birds, Ted Cruz's book sales, and John Cornyn's US troops in Taiwan), but I got a lot of shit to do, including prepare to visit my brother for what will quite possibly be the very last time.  So the rest will appear in the Tweet feed to the right ... or not at all.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Governor COVID

Since I'm an atheist, I'm not supposed to believe in karma.

I do wonder who among this enthusiastic crowd might contract the virus, be hospitalized, but not be able to buy access to Regeneron or monoclonal antibodies.  Or a third shot.

Greg Abbott's selfishness, greed, and dark, hard heart is eclipsed only by his rank hypocrisy and his malignant sociopathy.  If, as so many devout Christians believe, their fate vis-à-vis not protecting themselves medically and scientifically is demonstrative of their powerful faith; that they are placing their lives and well-being in the "hands of God" ... then God just clapped his hands together and crushed a mosquito.

Not that our governor is a bloodsucker or something ...

Seriously, he's going to continue to be a lot better than okay.  The rest of us?  Well, we have to take our chances on dying for freedom.

Abbott likes to say, in another context, “the most precious freedom is life itself.” We agree. More than 54,000 Texans have lost theirs now -- some because they believed vaccine conspiracies and some because they believed political leaders who claim a face mask is more tyrannical than a deadly infectious disease.

The governor is reportedly feeling fine ... He seems to be in good hands. If only we could say the same for Texas.

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Epic Failure Wrangle from Far Left Texas

It looks the same wherever you are standing, whether that's inside the Lone Star State or outside of it.

Q isn't sending their best into the streets to protest, it seems.  But they still get their grievances heard ... and approved.

News item: Eastern Harris County lifts shelter-in-place after "mysterious odor"

Update: "What in the sweet libtard hell is this" ... why, that's Briscoe Cain, demonstrating once again that long-term exposure to the fumes in Baytown have damaged his brain.  See, there's a reason why I post cartoons: it's for (those with the intellect of) the children.

One more snarky bit.

One climate update (with more snark following):

As if there might actually be a god, and she's sending Austin Rethugs a message, there'll be another quorum call this afternoon in the Texas House.  Those attending might ought to wear galoshes.

And Stace at Dos Centavos posted some facts about asylum seekers as Abbott and the TXGOP spread COVID lies.  Perhaps there might yet be a political price to be paid by Governor Strangelove for his kow-towing to the lowlife in the GOP.

Don't count on Texas Democrats to capitalize, though.

Okay then.  Probably should post a few items regarding the redistricting/gerrymandering data that dropped last week.

Kuff also took a look at census data.

Wrapping up today with these.

Friday, August 13, 2021

A very gloomy Friday Wrangle from Far Left Texas

Perhaps these performative actions still have some value to "excite the base", or stimulate a bit of fundraising.  Beyond that ...

Two arrests, or two more defections today -- or at some point soon -- and the statehouse will have a quorum, and then will get on with the business the Senate has already conducted.  Another 'E' for effort from Gene Wu, et. al.

If you're Team Blue and reading this, I don't mean to be derogatory.  It's just that with the US Congress currently on vacation, a voting rights bill on the schedule in September isn't going to be of much help to the Tex Donks' hard-fought cause.

And next month's third special session is when redistricting becomes the bulldozer that buries the Democrats six feet under for another decade.

I think it's more like 8 months; I seem to recall both Obama and Eric Holder saying that redistricting would be a top priority after they left office, though I can't find that reference now.  Maybe it was a topic of discussion at the birthday party last weekend.  (That would sure harsh your 60th-year mellow, wouldn't it?)

Anyway, fight on.  Or keep blaming Jill Stein or something.

The good news is it doesn't seem as futile as trying to get Joe Manchin and the rest of the Blue Dogs in Congress to save the planet.

And Joe Biden?  Well, don't blame me; I didn't vote for him.

If you're getting mad again, please consider that I'm just the messenger.  Blaming Republicans is too easy (though some fun), but I long ago concluded that the problems we suffer come out of a delusion that one party is trying to help.  And that, far too often, is not the case.

TTP, above, is a far-right freak, for anybody brave enough to click through.  Here, I'll save you some trouble: he thinks Democrats voting in the GOP primary are the reason Republicans like Greg Abbott keep getting elected.

If Abbott wins the coming GOP primary, it’s a win-win for the Left. The GOP base is less likely to turn out for traitors like Abbott who do nothing but screw them, so a Democrat is more likely to win (especially with legalized ballot stuffing via mail-in). However, if he does survive the 2022 midterms, Abbott will go back to business as usual: placating the Left, leaving the border open, allowing child genital mutilation, and generally carrying on with screw jobs.


We are all so fucked.

Soothers, please.