Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Annise Parker takes off the gloves

And gives Ben Hall a beating.

Like everybody else, I thought that Hall's introductory video was weird and slightly obnoxious, but I have to say that I didn't expect the response from the mayor to be so harsh.

For the record let's note that we rarely see an incumbent with such a strong opening hand lash back at a fairly weak (yet coffer-filled) challenger like this. I don't think Parker is nervous about Hall after all of his missteps, but this response signals she's not going to take any chances. So does this, quoting from yesterday's presser and apparently before the above spot made its appearance...

"Mr. Hall hasn't been a Houstonian very long, and he has very little name ID. He has to (make a large advertising buy) to introduce himself to Houstonians, and pretty soon I'm going to help him."

Hall's rejoinder -- from the inbox yesterday afternoon -- makes it look as if he's girded for battle.

Well we knew this day would come. We knew Annise Parker would be terrified of a candidate in this race with real leadership and vision, and we knew she would go on the attack.

Today the incumbent’s campaign launched an attack ad questioning my dedication to the city of Houston and ignoring what I’ve done as city attorney and fighting for justice in my private practice.

Let me be clear: Annise Parker will fund this ad and more like it with the millions she’s raised from those benefiting from taxpayer-funded contracts and special interests from out of state. [...]

Annise Parker doesn’t just campaign like a typical professional politician -- she governs like one too. Houston is just learning about the huge raises worth tens of thousands of dollars she gave to her closest advisers after laying off nearly 750 city workers. She put the rest of the municipal workforce on furloughs (with an exception for her own staff).

And now the same politician who fired city workers while padding her close advisers’ pockets is questioning my love for this city? It’s absurd.

This is the first in what will likely be a campaign full of attacks against me. I don’t mind it -- I can take whatever she can dish out...

Blah blah give me money to fight back blah blah.

Campaigns usually reach this stage in late October, not in mid-August. It's nice to see the two front-runners are in championship form with regard to their rapid response. And I suppose we can expect the carpet-bombings on the airwaves to continue until the outside temperatures around here begin to cool off. Or morale improves.

As for those of us who track these developments, Neil's already disgusted.

84 days before the November 5 Election Day, incumbent Mayor Annise Parker and top challenger Ben Hall are polluting the public airwaves and public debate with negative advertising and attacks in the campaign for Mayor of Houston.

I know this is how it is done and how it has often been done in American history. But just because things are normally done in a certain way does not mean you can't move ahead in a different fashion.

I'm really enjoying my brother's direction with his new effort.

In any case, anybody who has had the misfortune of following Houston politics knows how this will all go---

Mayor Parker and Mr. Hall will spend a lot of money. Much of this money will come from big companies and the rich. Issues of poverty and social justice in Houston will be ignored. Turnout will be 15%-20% of eligible adults. There will be ceaseless negative ads and many of them will be stupid. Neither candidate will get 50% of the vote on Election Day and so we will be subjected to more weeks of campaigning with a runoff vote.

None of this reflects the values of hopeful people. Not much of it reflects anything of value to the people of Houston. Mayor Parker and Mr. Hall will go at it and people will tune it out or just think of both of them as equally bad. Only a small percentage of Houstonians will bother to vote.

Without forgetting the many volunteers each campaign will have of committed everyday people, none of this will inspire people to take action for themselves and with others to offer alternatives from the bottom and middle up to a failed and corporate-bought political system.

I'm on the e-mail list of both the Hall and Parker campaigns. Just today I've received three negative e-mails from these two campaigns. I've resolved today that I'm going to donate 25 cents to Amnesty International for every negative e-mail I get from Parker and Hall.

I won't say "this is going to be fun to watch", because it won't be. Houston deserves better than this. We just stand no chance of getting it.

Around the horn: Stace was first with the ad and the quote from the presser. Noah has a good take on this "attack-back" strategy, and Texas Leftist covered the press conference yesterday where Mayor Parker announced she was coming to the rescue of the Thanksgiving Day Parade (with a little help from her deep-pocketed friends).

More as it develops, and if it's not too nasty. Not interested in documenting every salvo fired from these two. Maybe some of the second-tier candidates can offer something more positive in the days to come.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Water Wars are coming

Not Texas versus Mexico, or even Texas versus New Mexico. But West Texans against the frackers.

Fracking (and the drought) are winning, and Texans are losing.

How dry is it in Texas? So dry some residents are wishing for a hurricane to replenish the aquifer. So dry that many Texans are now against using water to frack for oil, which is famously called Texas Tea.

Every fracking job requires several million gallons of water. “Only about 20 percent to 25 percent on average of the water is recovered, while the rest disappears underground, never to be seen again.” Fracking is probably not the wisest use of water anywhere, but in a drought it’s downright self-destructive.

Update: More from Daily Kos, AMERICAblog, and Texas Monthly with some photos.

Monday, August 12, 2013

And starring Greg Abbott as Dr. Strangelove

Damn Captain Kroc at McBlogger beat me to it, so I guess I'll just have to post some pictures.

This isn't mean or even tacky. I would wager most Texans -- hell, most Republican primary voters -- aren't aware the man is a stone-cold fascist in a wheelchair.

This is "Separated at Birth" satire, that's all.

If you find this offensive but find this hilarious, then it might be you that's the problem.

Just public domain images. Plain vanilla Google search.

You don't suppose he can tap his foot as he plays guitar, like Bob Roberts could, do ya? (OK, that was mean.)

Abbott isn't bothered by the "cripple" jokes, so why should you be? And If you still think this is mean, then just wait and see what's coming over the next year-and-a-quarter. It might be enough to make you cry.

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks sine die are the two sweetest words in the Latin language as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff believes that changing the culture is necessary to change the Legislature.

Texpatriate went undercover in Montgomery, TX to attend Brandon Creighton's big announcement for ag commish ... and lived to tell the tale.

Wendy Davis gave a speech at the National Press Club this week, and the major theme was "giving voice to the voiceless". WCNews at Eye on Williamson calls it a must-see video.

Though we just passed the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, Texas Leftist can't help but have some "pseudo deja vu" from copious hours in history class. It turns out that once upon a time, there was a significant pro-choice contingency in the Republican Party. Though it's a struggle, a few are trying to push the party back towards sanity, and cease the *latest* war on women.

There's going to be at least one debate in the Houston mayoral race, because PDiddie at Brains and Eggs got all the inside dope on it.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants everyone to know the latest dirty deal Rick Perry gave the children in our state.

Neil Aquino, formerly of Texas Liberal, made his first post at his new blog All People Have Value. This blog is at Neil's new website called Neil is open to all comments and input from folks as he debuts his new blog and website.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Too Twisted For Color TV detailed all of the things that she and other people with disabilities have to go through to enter the Capitol. These obstacles were even more daunting during the second special session.

Jason Stanford wants Dan Patrick to keep his word and debate Thomas Ratliff about CSCOPE.

Concerned Citizens calls on San Antonio to finish the job on equality.

Educate For Texas informs us that the state of Texas hasn't updated its cost of education Index since 1991.

Beyond Bones castigates the Discovery Channel for its fake "documentary" on Megalodon.

Better Texas calls the sales tax holiday "well-intentioned but misguided".

Patrick Michels at the Texas Observer crunches the numbers and concludes we are still spending less per student today in Texas than we were a few years ago, and barely more than we were a decade ago.

The Texas Green Report documents the effect of coal pollution on people's health.