Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Giving Tuesday Wrangle

No boycotts and no strikes today.  Give what you can to those who ask, and to those who need help but are too shy to ask.  It's better than involuntarily donating to corporations.

More of the latest state politics.

JoJo has been one of my favorites for a very long time.  She really gets it, and has the scars from jackasses like Bill White and many other shitlibs to prove it.  All power to her.

Does the Pope shit in the woods?  Of course he does.  I'm not interested in local school board elections, but if that's your jam, now is the time to make your vote, voice, and objections loud to the Q-Crew schoolhouse bullies working hard to Dominionize your kids and grandkids.

I post Dr. Jones' tweets here on the occasions when he manages to keep his red partisanship out of his analysis.  Which is about half the time he tweets.  When he fails in that he embarrasses himself, as Braddock shows here.

Making the effort to challenge one's thinking -- to break out of the silo, so to speak -- requires rigorous self-inspection.  I appreciate when others do the work and create the breakthroughs.  Here's an example of that not happening.

The problem here is the word 'siphon'.

As I have blogged many times in the past, votes are not zero sum.  Votes are earned.  The confusion arises due to Gohmert's intention for his bid.  It was the same as Matt Krause's before he dropped out: capitalize on the scandals of Ken Paxton by offering oneself as the Qonservative alternative to Pee Bush and Eva Guzman.  (The sticky point is obviously trying to understand whatever passes for logic in the TXGOP primary voter's mind in choosing between Paxton and Gohmert.)  Paxton would make the runoff easily -- polling suggests without a runoff -- if it weren't for Gohmert now in.  Bush's chances improve as a runoff entrant.  So if I'm laying odds today, about 90 days from the spring election date, I'm favoring K-Pax and Baby Bush as the top two.  But a lot is going to happen between now and then, not the least of which is the possibility that Tejano Republicans carry more clout than anybody has been able to measure so far.

Yes, Beto needs their counterparts to save him and the rest of Team Donkey down the ballot.  So the RGV is ground zero for March and November.  I don't think it's going to happen for him, but stranger things have.

Still pisses me off that Ms. Crockett Bigfooted into this primary and has squashed Jessica Mason, the actual progressive.  I don't really see the suddenly-presumptive nominee as anything more than another all-talk no-action Squad member.  In similar fashion, Donna Imam beat Julie Oliver to the punch, jumping in to face Lloyd Doggett in the TX-37 primary.

Moving on to the criminal and social justice links.

Even as Abbott has again mobilized Texas Guard troops to the southern border, polls show support for his immigration moves ticking upwards.

There's your cray-cray read of the day.  I'm heading on to the climate news.

The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung reports that opponents to a new quarry to be dug over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone are fighting the company, Vulcan Construction Materials, in court and in the community.

Closing today with some holiday lights and music options.

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Cyber Monday Boycott Wrangle

A very Merry Christmas to ExxonMobil Beaumont for making their locked-out employees' holiday a little darker.

A bit of Lone Star political goings on:

Thus endeth the latest episode of Hamlet-esque dithering of potential Texas Democratic goobernatorial candidates.  This series began in 2012 and ended in January of this year when the original lead, Julián Castro, was first cast.  That hasn't stopped national and state media from keeping candles lit at the church altar for him.  We can only pray to Doorknob that he will eventually join Henry Cisneros in the Hall of Forgotten.

And that smell isn't from Pasadena; it's River Oaks Lawn Odor.
$770,000 for "much-needed equipment and training for HPD".

Well as long as it's for the cops.  Let's get a bipartisan photo and demonstrate that George Carlin was right all along.

THIS is how to analyze campaign finance reports.

After cleaning up ERCOT and PUC (I perhaps should have inserted a 'sic' after "cleaning up") heads need to roll at the Railroad Commission.  They won't.

 Let's move on to the criminal and social justice lowlights.

Whew.  A week's worth of foul behavior over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Quite an accomplishment.  Here are some climate updates from around the Great State.

Greg Abbott guarantees us that it will.  What does he know that he isn't telling us?  Let's keep our eyes peeled for clues.

And via Bloomberg (use this link for Yahoo and jump the paywall) a Permian-based oil company went up in flames, burning their lenders and the planet as well.

Mark Siffin, 71, was no ordinary wildcatter. Sitting in an office in Houston on a rainy day last year, wearing navy corduroys and red sneakers, Siffin recounted the circuitous path he had taken to become the chief executive officer of MDC Energy LLC. He had dabbled in lots of businesses, from gemstones to art, before becoming a big-time real estate developer with projects in West Hollywood and Times Square. Then, in 2018, he snagged more than $700 million in loans to drill wells in the Permian Basin ...

It took just 14 months for his company and his half-century dream to implode. Siffin shelled out money he didn’t have, his lenders said, drilling wells too fast as oil prices slumped and investor interest in the shale patch waned. In November 2019, MDC plunged into bankruptcy.


While Siffin was battling with creditors, his employees were dealing with another problem: MDC couldn’t pay to treat the unwanted byproducts that come up with its oil. The company was required by its pipeline operator to get the hydrogen sulfide content below 4 parts per million. A few of MDC’s wells produced gas with a concentration of 2,000 parts or higher, state records show.

Instead, MDC burned it off. Javier Morin, a former completions consultant for the company, remembers driving from the trailer where he slept to the well pad and seeing either side of Interstate 20 lit up by MDC flares. “At one point it looked like a little town,” said Morin.

In November 2019, the same month MDC filed for bankruptcy, the company’s flaring doubled from the previous month, according to production reports filed with the state, while its gas output grew just 1.4%. By the end of that year, MDC was flaring more than 12% of all the natural gas it produced. That rate continued in 2020, making MDC the second-worst Permian operator for flaring in a list of 45 companies compiled by consulting firm Rystad Energy.

Data derived from satellite imagery show that MDC’s flaring may have been even greater -- roughly twice as much in 2020 as what it reported to regulators ...

Don't miss Sharon Wilson's reporting at the end.

Sadly I have more Tweets and links on all these topics that will appear in the next Wrangle, tomorrow or later in the week.  Let's wrap today on a calmer -- if not entirely happier -- note.

Friday, November 26, 2021

A Keep Warm and Buy as Little as Possible Wrangle

We have the capitalists nervous already, y'all.

Your local small business needs your help.

I will make one exception.

Yeah, gonna keep it light today.  More Funnies tomorrow, and back to the cold, cruel reality of a sick sad world on Cyber Monday.

Today it's turkey tetrazzini, maybe some turkey enchiladas, and mostly a collection of tryptophan-induced soothers.

Lighter, PDid.

Still too mean, dude.

(inner voice: Better.)

Don't wait for Giving Tuesday; be helpful now if you can.

Tens of thousands, not hundreds; I have been corrected.  Okay.  You ever driven to San Antonio without stopping until Frank's in Schulenburg (you know, before it closed) and then pissed steadily for a minute and 45 seconds?  My response is the same: who's counting?

Read Joe's thread.

Democrats: Do NOT let Republicans get to the left of you on this.

(I thought you said this was gonna be light.)  Yeah.  Okay.

We’ve had great turnout for the fabulous show of art and photographs old and new curated by Geoff Winningham.

But we still have amazing prints to sell. So come and buy this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and help support Save Buffalo Bayou and Friends of Don Greene.

All the work in the show focuses on Buffalo Bayou, from maps and postcards promoting the health benefits of 1836 Houston to recent photographs documenting flora and fauna.

Here is a link to the catalogue. Besides Winningham and 19th century photographers, the show also includes photography by Jim Olive and George O. Jackson, as well as artwork by Janice Freeman.
Gabriela Rodríguez (3rd Grade, Treasure Forest Elementary School), “Legend of the White Buffalo,” 2016. 
Signed, archival pigment print from an original monoprint.

Don’t forget to check out the lovely large-format photos and artwork on display in the café itself, 2604 Dunlavy. The bulk of the show is hung in the gallery, located next door at 1709 Westheimer.

“Baptism in Buffalo Bayou,” ca 1900-1914. Baptism on the South Bank of Buffalo Bayou, opposite Glenwood Cemetery. Anonymous photographer.

The Ghost Adventures crew investigated this place a few years ago.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

A Pre-Turkey Day Wrangle from Far Left Texas

Who are these people, though?  I mean besides Elon Musk and Joe Rogan.  Are they people who want to be here for the jobs, the politics, the allegedly low taxes/cost of living?

Pleeease California -- or New York -- our Texas, y'all.  Just a little bit.  More leftist than liberal, though, and since I'm wishing, more Green than Blue.

If you're a Democrat running in 2022 and you're not advocating for weed, you might as well not waste your and everybody else's time and money.  You should be running and voting Green, but a lot of you aren't ready for that conversation yet.

If you're a Democrat or a Green or a Libertarian and you're not running on keeping the power on, wake up and smell the coffee.  Gambling is still illegal in Texas, but Governor Fish Lips has $55 million and his political future riding on no blackouts right before the primary elections next spring.  Does that sound like a good bet to you?  Maybe we won't get another Uri.  Maybe the new guys at ERCOT who are telling him the grid is just fine will be right if we do.  But if I were a betting man -- and I am -- I'm taking some of that action.

Seems like the odds for a fourth special session are getting better every day.  We know the Repukes want one to ban employer vaccine mandates, and with all the Lege vacancies at the moment, who knows what the outcome of anything Abbott might put on the call could be?

It's a little early for the governor to be focused on November 2022 by lying about Beto, but that just goes to show you that you can't put anything beyond him.

The University of Austin's mascot is not going to be an elephant.  Much too noble a creature.  I'm thinking Leeches.

And a Happy Thanksgiving to all the people that Mayor Turner screwed out of affordable housing in the years to come.

The findings push pause on at least six apartment and multi-family projects the City of Houston wants to help build until Houston sends corrections to its plan. It puts at risk $91 million in taxpayer-funded housing subsidies and the future of 933 apartments, many for low-income Houstonians.

GLO reviewers say their overall conclusion is that, "The City of Houston does not have appropriate processes and the necessary controls in place to meet (the multi-family program contract requirements)."

The program is designed to provide affordable housing to low-income families using federal funds, but the GLO found multiple instances where the city didn't follow its own housing recommendations -- the ones developers were given before planning finding the city lifted lower scoring projects above those that scored higher.

The GLO said that "result(s) in a competitive process that is not fair and open."

Say whatever you like about Ted Oberg and Greg Groogan and even George Pee Bush at the GLO.  It was Tom McCasland who first blew the whistle.

One more thing before I get off the corruption beat.

More hard news after the holiday.  I need some soothers now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Go, Go, Gohmert Wrangle from Far Left Texas

Watch him go, go, go.

We should all be entertained, at the very least.  The other obvious 'Block Paxton' Republican in the TXAG GQP primary, Matt Krause, beat a hasty retreat.

We're all hoping he can do less damage there regarding school text censorship than anywhere else he might be elected.

Yesterday in Big D, the Q-nuts reassembled in Dealey Plaza to mark ... something.

Steve Monacelli once again dove into the cesspool to bring us an on-the-scene account.

Whether to laugh or be scared, read the thread.

In a less inflammatory recollection, Bud Kennedy at the Startlegram recounts a childhood memory of his wallet being returned by Lee Oswald's mother.

Shifting gears to catch up on our less-than-favorite Texans behaving badly.

How about some business news?

I won't give either Greg Abbott or Joe Biden the credit.  I'm all but certain Louie Mueller's barbecue closed the deal.

Now that's my kinda Q.

A few legal, criminal, and social justice updates.

The Lake Highlands Advocate analyzed the racial housing wealth gap in Dallas.  And the Dallas Observer found a gap in the prosecution's case against Crystal Mason.

Here's a few extra calm-me-downs headed into Turkey Day.

Salomon Torres at the Rio Grande Guardian has a blast from the past about 2nd Lt. Ulysses Grant and the US Army's occupation of Texas following annexation in 1846.

Second Lieutenant Grant intended to march on foot with the rest of the infantry brigade. Instead he rode on a wild mustang that he had purchased at the Corpus Christi camp from a commander’s servant for $5. (The servant had paid $3). Grant, a West Point graduate, had excellent horsemanship skills and was able to break the Mexican mustang quickly.

A few days march from Corpus Christi he described a massive herd of wild horses, similar to his new horse. Lieutenant Grant and other officers then rode out from the column of American troops. They rode two to three miles to the right of the Army column to see the size of the herd.

“As far as the eye could reach to our right, the herd extended. To the left, it extended equally,” wrote Grant. “There was no estimating the number of animals in it; I have no idea that they could all have been corralled in the State of Rhode Island, or Delaware, at one time. If they had been, they would have been so thick that the pasturage would have given out the first day.”

When the Army reached the Arroyo Colorado (which Grant called the “Colorado River”), it had to improvise on how to cross it. (The location of the crossing is in today’s Cameron County east of Harlingen.) Grant pointed out that the army did not bring a pontoon train that would have enabled ease in transporting wagons and supplies across. The soldiers also had no training in bridge building.

Grant lamented, “To add to the embarrassment of the situation, the army was here, for the first time, threatened with opposition. [Mexican] Buglers, concealed from our view by the brush on the opposite side, sounded the ‘assembly,’ and other military calls. ...[T]hey gave the impression that there was a large number of them and that, if the troops were in proportion to the noise, they were sufficient to devour General (Zachary) Taylor and his army.”

More at the link.

Jonah Raskin at the Rag Blog reviews Exploring Space City! Houston's Historic Underground Newspaper.
Once upon a time it might have been necessary to keep all the facts about the 1960s in one’s own head. That’s no longer true. You can Google just about everything associated with what historian John McMillan has called “The Long Sixties,” the era that began in 1955 with the birth of the modern civil rights movement, and that lasted until 1975, when the War in Vietnam, once the longest in U.S. history, came to an end with a whimper, not a bang. ...

Everything and more that you could possibly want to know about Houston, Texas, including its politics, culture, and economics is contained in a dazzling and authoritative new book profusely illustrated and titled Exploring Space City! Edited by Thorne Dreyer, Alice Embree, Cam Duncan, and Sherwood Bishop -- designed by Carlos Lowry and with dozens of staff members -- the volume is a labor of love that honors “Houston’s Historic Underground Newspaper”, to borrow the subtitle.

It’s 361 pages, it’s published by the New Journalism Project in Austin, and it offers some of the original ads that graced the paper and enabled it to survive as long as it did. Exploring Space City! is a companion work to Celebrating The Rag: Austin’s Iconic Underground Newspaper, which was published in 2016.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Remembering JFK Wrangle

On the 58th year marking the loss of the nation's 35th president, let's tip our hats in the general direction of conspiracy theorists everywhere for altering the minds of Americans for the worse.

Follow both threads for historical -- and entertaining -- reading.  Oliver Stone wants the assassination history's archives opened (they were supposed to be last year).

Okay then; on to the present.  A new goobernatorial poll dropped yesterday.

I don't think Wooderson is going to make a go of it, but I said the same about Beto, so there you go.  Speaking of repeating myself, it's 2006 all over again if he does.  You decide if McConaghey will be playing Kinky or Grandma.  This post will be long enough without opining more about this race today, so I'll save most of the rest for later.

Same old same old.  Another point, via Hector Mendez:

“There is no real long-term investment in cultivating generations of voters because it takes time and money,” Navarro said. “It isn’t enough to just simply register voters and expect them to vote Democrat.”

This is the reason why polling separates registered voters from likely voters.  All of this makes Kuffner's parlor musing a running joke.  It's also why one of the country's A+ pollsters wants to (listen) get out (read) of the game/charade.

Of course that would make people like political consultants mostly obsolete, and if we could do that, Gawd forbid, we might even be able to ban corporate money in elections.  Perish the thought.  Maybe we could start by outlawing Congress critters from trading in the stock market.  Is that too much also?

Alas, we won't have EBJ to kick around any more.  Her announcement on Saturday, with "Re-Elect" in the graphic, was a head fake.

Read down Svitek's other thread for a few of the would-be replacements.  He fails to mention the progressive Democrat who's been in the race for several months, Jessica Mason.  Typical.

The criminal and social justice headlines, after a weekend of national news that was as tragic as one could imagine.

Invoking budget authority when the Lege is not in session, Greg Abbott et. al. took $4 million allocated to the state's prisons and gave it to the Texas secretary of state for county "election integrity" audits, as mandated by state law (SB1).  Trump has been whining about an audit of 2020, and belittled the 4-county audit which the SoS announced on September 23 as 'weak.'

Still with me?  Thank you.  Let's do some environmental news.

I've seen that look on Mayor Sylvester Turner's face before.  It's his "Gosh that's terrible, I wish there was something I could do" face.

It's a good thing that Beto and others plan on running next year on keeping the lights on.  That's an issue they can win on, especially if there's another hard freeze.

More politics in the next Wrangle, before Turkey Day.  The soothers: