Thursday, September 30, 2021

A Dowdful Wrangle

Much like me -- a Democrat turned Republican in the late '70's (by Ronald Reagan, like so many other Texans) turned back to Democrat in the late 80's -- Matthew Dowd's path has been full of twists and turns.  He's more of a Democrat of convenience these days, as the GOP has gone full whacko.  Feel free to blame it on Trump, but the truth is that the slow migration began under Dowd's former idol, George W. Bush.  I know; I blogged it.  From the stolen 2000 election to 9/11 to Iraq and Afghanistan and Katrina and WMD and the 2008 housing/Wall Street meltdown,  Bush the Younger owns clear title to it all, and the chickens are still making their way home.  So when you read "former Bush strategist" as Dowd's first name, you should remember that it wasn't just Karl Rove or Karen Hughes advising the country's 2nd-worst president how to destroy the world.

Don't forget that there was a not-insignificant number of Democrats who voted for GWB in 2004 who said that he should be the one who cleans up his messes.  On that theory, apparently, Dowd might be the choice for Team Donkey.

Dowd's magical thought leadership hasn't abandoned him, either.

driftglass expands, but you get it.  Make no mistake; this isn't an endorsement of Mike Collier, another former Republican who has lost twice statewide and thinks the third time is his charm.

Undervoting this race unless there's a real for-the-people candidate.  And by that I mean one that doesn't meet the approval of people like Evan Smith and Evan "Ike Dike" Mintz.

The Texas House redistricting maps are to drop today, according to Speaker Phorehead, so I won't go as long with the Congressional cartography as I intended or wanted.  Some pearls of wisdom from those in the know, for our edification.

And the Houston Press points out the gift given to Wesley Hunt.

Here's the latest on the fraudit.

Trump is going to turn on Abbott eventually, just as he does everyone, friend and foe alike.  And I am here for it.  The 'forensic audit' (sic), as it turns out, is more fraudulent than everyone thought.

So it appears Governor Fish Lips has tried to gaslight Trump.  That should go over well in his primary fight with the freak right. LOL

Let's move on to the Lege's latest show of incompetence.

That's what happens when the lobbyists write the bills and then you vote for 'em without readin' 'em, you buncha morons.

Truthfully, I prefer stupid over corrupt.

I don't know whether I prefer corrupt to venal.  At least corruption can be prosecuted (even if these fuckers tend to skate).

The criminal and social justice updates.

To wrap, a few extra pieces of good news, and the soothers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Tongue Out Tuesday Wrangle

Panting here trying to keep up.

The new Congress maps dropped yesterday, and everybody has an opinion, analysis, and snark.

Keep in mind that these are the maiden efforts.  There will be revisions, perhaps several, and then they will be challenged in court after implementation for 2022.

At first pass my reaction was "it could have been worse".  They may eventually get that way, but these lines, while ugly and injurious to Texans of color, simply don't strike me as being the most terrible the Rethugs could have come up with. YMMV.

Reid Wilson at The Hill sees US cities -- citing Texas, Tennessee, Oregon, and Arkansas -- as being the pawns in the gerrymandering game.  Fernando Ramirez at The Texas Signal has five takeaways, with Colin Allred getting a safe seat, Vicente Gonzalez getting gutted, and the lack of a Latino/a majority district being the most significant.

Moving on to other Lege affairs.

Angela Valenzuela of the Texas Educational Equity, Politics & Policy blog posts about a new conservative website that purports to track where critical race theory is taught at US schools., created by (Cornell Law School professor William) Jacobson, features a state-by-state list of more than 200 colleges and universities promoting critical race theory -- which he describes as “a radical ideology that focuses on race as the key to understanding society, and objectifies people based on race.” Launched last weekend, the website was a six-month project by Legal Insurrection, the conservative blog run by Jacobson. It contains information about various schools -- including Cornell in Ithaca, where Jacobson teaches -- as well as links to critical race training activity there.

Jacobson told Fox News that people need to know that higher education “is the source of the problem.”

“It provides the ideological mothers’ milk for activists and trains the people who then go onto jobs in government and primary/secondary education and the ‘journalists’ who push this coverage,” he said.

Criminal and social injustice updates, apparently now a daily feature.

One environmental update (and it's a big one):

Tens of thousands of solar panels will line an area the size of 200 football fields and produce enough energy to power 5,000 homes. ... Houston, known for having one of the highest number of greenhouse gas emitters, will be able to offset 120 million pounds of CO2 per year through this solar farm alone.

Closing today with these.

Connor Towne O’Neill, one of the producers of the NPR podcast White Lies, discusses his book Down Along with That Devil’s Bones.

It examines the nation's reckoning with Confederate monuments through the lens of the fight over monuments to one particular figure from the Civil War: Nathan Bedford Forrest. O’Neill will speak at a virtual event with west Houston's Blue Willow Bookshop Thursday evening.

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Monday Morning Wrangle from Far Left Texas

Just not sure where to begin with today's round-up of the best of the left of Texas from the past few days, so I suppose I'll start with what pisses me off most.  As usual that's Governor Strangelove.

The election audits "actually began months ago".  That is new news, as you can tell from these two reporters and this account.  The public needs answers.

Not enough in the state, as John Whitmire would say.

A few random fails by our Lege.

Li's thread below is one of two must-reads in this post (not a "must-read" like Evan Smith sells it six times a day; a real, actual must-read).

As this post was published, the new Congressional maps were released; I'm Tweeting the reactions (top right).  More on that subsequently.

Still planning on going long regarding last week's border catastrophe, but need to keep up on the most recent developments.

John Oliver also excoriated WH press secretary Jen Psaki for avoiding blame for the MAGA Mounties in Del Rio.

"(S)aying ‘this is not who we are’ about White people chasing Black people on horses is a bit of a stretch. Historically, we’ve been yes-and-ing that idea since 1619,” Oliver said. “If you listed the top three things that make America America, it’d be regional sandwich differences, flyovers at halftime, and White people chasing Black people while on horseback. I’m not saying that’s what made America great. Just what made America America."

Here's the other thread you should read.

KTSM reports that an El Paso shelter began caring for Haitian migrant families flown from Del Rio. Single adults were being returned to their country.  And Stace at Dos Centavos reminds us of what is really happening on the border: a human rights crisis.

Why is it always the least among us who help the most?

Let's talk about water.

The Texas Railroad Commission will cease issuing saltwater disposal permits in the Midland area after a rash of earthquakes there.  And El Paso Matters discusses the fight between New Mexico and Texas over the Pecos River, and the implications of that in the battle for the Rio Grande.

Texas Democrats are ticking me -- and each other -- off again.

By contrast, Beto nails Alrightx3 for his popularity.

There is simply no logical reason -- desperation to remove Governor Fish Lips doesn't count -- to support Matt Mac for public office.  For openers, he'd like to keep being an actor while governor.  Hard pass on any part-timers.

Criminal justice latest:

A few weeks ago I told you about Tesla's Giga factory coming together just outside of Austin.  This account says that the annual shareholders meeting for the company will be held there on October 7; it's virtual, and the public has access.

I've got more but I should stop here, as the latest redistricting will prompt an extra post this week, and I'm long enough here as it is.  The calm-me-downs ...

Houstonia welcomes Top Chef to Space City.

And congratulations to Lisa Gray on her move to CityCast and the forthcoming debut of CityCast Houston.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday's Lone Star Far Left Round-up

Let's do politics first, with Sly Turner in the barrel.  ICYMI:

Turner's not been one of my favorites almost since he was first elected, and these accusations of grifting come from an unimpeachable source in McCasland, who was vaunted for his mission upon appointment, again at the start of Turner's tenure after he (McCasland) lost a Council election.  The mayor makes "avoiding the appearance of impropriety" look worse with this move yesterday.

The old 'we investigated ourselves and found we did nothing wrong' whitewash.  Count on Groogan at Fox, as red as the local newshounds get, to take it as far as he can.  And don't anticipate reading it on OTK anytime soon, as usual.

Both of these orgs studiously ignore the most progressive female they could hope for, who's already running (and has been for awhile).

Which means they think the definition of "progressive" is limited to Democrats.  And that is horseshit.

And as if we needed to be reminded that Eddie Lucio is not a Democrat ...

This update adds Jim Murphy of west Houston to the growing list of bailouts.  A Democrat named Kristi Thibaut was once a candidate for this seat.  I wonder if she, or someone she might endorse, would take on the challenge.

A new episode of The Three Stooges aired yesterday, and I missed it.

I really don't care who wins this primary.  Do You?

How must it feel to be a Trump-endorsed Republican and have lost Tucker Carlson?

Governor Fish Lips' challengers are already whining about equal time.

Annnnd that's all of that I can tolerate.  Moving on to redistricting and other Lege developments; this being the latest.

That sound is Greg Abbott's wheels, spinning as fast as possible to accommodate -- and return to the good graces of -- his daddy.

This has been a good week for insider info.  I highly recommend this piece about my Congresswoman, and these two tweets as well.

I'm also not Fletcher's cheerleader.  I was not exactly shocked to learn that she has ingratiated herself even to Congressional Republicans like Michael McCaul.  Looks like I'm stuck with her unless they draw me out.

Last of the Lege business.

I would also say that I have been surprised by Spectrum News' very fair coverage of the legislative sessions, given their reputation.

A few updates to news items that have previously reported by yours truly earlier this week.

It's been a long time since I posted a "Republicans Behaving Badly".

*Whew* the stench!  Closing today with some book news.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Thursday's Wrangle from Far Left Texas

Not enough yesterday to post, and too much today.  Let's begin with Beto.

The math hasn't changed.  The Freedom to Vote Act, watered down to get Joe Manchin's approval but still too injurious to the Greens to get my approval -- not that I matter) still needs ten Republicans ... because Manchin isn't down with killing the filibuster.

Don't take my word for it; do take Ari Berman's.

(O'Rourke) predicted Democrats would lose their congressional majorities if they failed to pass federal legislation protecting voting rights.

“If we, as Democrats or pro-democracy Americans, are not willing to use every tool available to us—while Republicans are using every tool available to them to constrict and reduce and perhaps demolish the right to vote altogether—then we become complicit in the outcome,” he added. “And I’m not in for that one.”

Sounds clear to me.  Joe Biden made his pitch to King Manchin on the $3.5T spending bill last week, got nowhere.  This week he's begging.  So as it relates to busting out the filibuster ... I read this as wishful thinking at best, delusional at worst.

On to redistricting and the rest of the slate at the Lege.

It should come as no surprise that legislators are bailing out; ridiculously long hours, low pay, the frustrations of having to negotiate with freaks -- this can be taken from either extreme, mind you -- quickly leads to burnout.

Two other empty statehouse seats, HD10 and HD118, are holding special elections to fill vacancies as this is published.  And Celia Israel, who postponed her wedding during the quorum break, might enter the scrum for Austin mayor.  She would possibly join former state senator and more recently former dean of U of H's public policy school's Kirk Watson and conservative real estate broker Jennifer Virden, who declared in June.  CM Greg Casar and attorney Adam Loewy are also said to be thinking about running.

More politics in the next post; here's more Lege, new business.

According to this conservative source, COVID funds can't be used to lower taxes.  So once again we see the state's leaders acting defiantly.

Or just stupidly.

This could be stupid or just plain old lying.  Hard to tell.

So ... kinda not surprised at this polling.

More updates on the abortion law include:

And the Texas Standard spoke to Elizabeth Sepper, a law professor at UT-Austin, who explains why suits filed against SB8 may not result in a SCOTUS showdown.

Sepper says that when the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to block SB 8, it set up the likelihood that state suits against the law would begin working their way through Texas courts. The Supreme Court could eventually hear one of those cases and could then rule on whether the law is constitutional.

Before that happens, Sepper says Texas courts might look at issues raised by the law, like who can actually file suit.

“SB 8 purports to allow anyone, anywhere to file a lawsuit,” she said. “Texas courts might not be able to go along with that. Usually in order to file a lawsuit you have to have standing, which requires some kind of injury.”

Beyond the standing issue, Sepper says SB 8 effectively bans abortion in the state.

“SB 8 is an unconstitutional law,” Sepper said. “It is unconstitutional because it has banned abortion in the state of Texas, contrary to the basic rule of Roe v. Wade for the last 50 years.”

Sepper says the lawsuits against (San Antonio physician Alan) Braid could move through Texas courts and eventually end up at the U.S. Supreme Court, or a lower court could dispatch the case before that happens.

“It is entirely possible that Texas courts won’t be played in this way, and they will say that these plaintiffs don’t have standing, and that the Legislature does not have the power to grant everyone in the country, or everyone in the state, the ability to use the courts to bounty-hunt against other citizens,” Sepper said.

I'll take that as my segue to these criminal and social justice updates.

As promised earlier, a longer post coming on this disaster.  Here's a couple of environmental pieces.

And since I haven't posted anything about COVID lately ...

(New Mexico reached 70% of its adult population vaccinated this week.  Just two died of invermectin poisoning.  If you're thinking of relocating, there are lots worse places.)

Okay then.  It's a beautiful day, looks like it will be a beautiful weekend.  You should get outside, feel the grass, do something fun, eat some delicious food.