Monday, August 17, 2015

Scenes from tonight's Meyerland mayoral forum *Updates*

A very large crowd -- perhaps one thousand -- gathered at Lovett Elementary this evening to hear the six seven candidates for Houston mayor talk about infrastructure, specifically the concerns of some of the locals about the area's severe Memorial Day flooding, and the potholes and pensions whining from the usual suspects.  Bill King also got in a rant about the city's debt obligations.  Several took shots at Steve Costello's Rebuild Houston.  Since I arrived late, there may have been other topics covered that I missed, but nothing about HERO while I was there.

Media was well-represented.

Best literature for the public I've seen.

L-R: Marty McVey, Adrian Garcia, King, Ben Hall, Chris Bell, Costello, Sylvester Turner.

Far left: Former Council Member Anne Clutterbuck, who served as moderator. Some Tweets...

I'll follow later with the media accounts in an update.

Updates: From Click 2 Houston with the best video, and Fox 26 (good video but leads with the two worst conservatives in the race, as you would expect from Fox) with the best reporting in the written word.

They certainly don't agree on who should be the next mayor of Houston, but several of the mayoral hopefuls who attended a forum in the flood-ravaged Meyerland area, and other neighborhoods along Brays Bayou, have put out some of their thoughts about what went wrong, and how to fix it.

The most popular answer: complete Project Brays.  The (infrastructure program) run by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Harris County Flood Control District isn't a city project.  So what is a mayor to do?  Lobby for the federal dollars.

State Rep. Sylvester Turner says: "If given the opportunity I would love to work with the Congressional delegation to see if we can speed up that timeline. If we're able to do that, that would make a significant difference."

The project was started in 1994, and received significant updates in the early 2000s.  But its estimated completion year is 2020, about 8 years behind schedule. Turner's sentiments were echoed by Bill King, Stephen Costello, and former Congressman Chris Bell.

Bell also said ReBuild Houston, a city-funded project which was supposed to make drainage better, failed: "It made some areas worse." Adrian Garcia added: "Whatever it is doing, we need to make sure that ReBuild Houston is doing for this neighborhood what it is doing for others."  Garcia also said high water rescue vehicles and alert systems could have saved the lives of some of the 8 flood-related victims.

Attorney Ben Hall said a storm water management and road tunnel system used in Malaysia has practical applications for Houston.  "Once the glass is full, it's going to overflow but if you have two glasses, or a saucer underneath then you have capacity and less flooding."

Hall out-dumbed Garcia for the title here.  Somebody tell "Adrain" that Houston and Harris County already have a plethora of alert systems -- for missing children, missing seniors, traffic congestion, text messaging services for the public to notify them of severe weather conditions, etc.  They don't need another, and they don't need urban assault vehicles driving through high water, pushing it into homes on flooded streets.

Hall's glass is just half empty.

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes former President Carter all the best for a speedy and complete recovery...

...and sends condolences to the friends and family of Julian Bond... it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff reports on another Voting Rights Act lawsuit, this one filed on behalf of low English proficiency voters who have been denied the ability to bring a translator of their choice to the ballot box with them.

For a time, many Houstonians considered it a point of pride that the city repealed the use of red light cameras in 2010. But as Texas Leftist has recently discovered, a Houston without camera accountability has become much more dangerous for all transit users... even deadly.

Not a trace of irony has been found to be present in the recent pronouncements of a certain Democratic so-called frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs -- with an assist from the biting cartoons of Ted Rall -- illustrates some of the things making Clintonites so nervous of late, none of which have anything to do with e-mail servers or sagging poll numbers.

Socratic Gadfly runs Kinky Friedman's old Five Mexican Generals border control plan through a Donald Trump filter, just for a bit of fun.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is sorry to say Nueces County thinks a husband can kill his wife's lover with impunity. Stand your ground just the way a Republican likes it. Your wife is your property.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson knows there is so much Texas could do for those in need, but our GOP state leaders choose to do nothing. As a consequence, only Texas remains above the 20% uninsured rate.

Neil at All People Have Value asserted that the nine bikers shot dead in Waco this past May could have been wrongly killed. APHV is part of

And in a notable reversal of the industry trend, the Lewisville Texan Journal goes from blog to weekly newspaper.  Don't worry; you can still find them online.


The Makeshift Academic reviews the landscape in Texas on the Affordable Care Act.

Nancy Sims considers the value of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus' mayoral endorsement.

The Houston Justice Coalition calls for an investigation into the actions of three sheriff’s deputies who forcibly conducted an illegal body cavity search publicly on a woman in Harris County.

Scott Braddock knows the real reason why Ken Paxton is still in office.

The Texas Living Waters Project reminds us that the best time to plan for a drought is when you're not in one.

TransGriot covers the first HERO grassroots activist training meeting over the weekend.

Grits for Breakfast catches us up on criminal justice reform news.

Texas Watch talks to a food safety attorney about Blue Bell's listeria problems and the long road back to the public's good graces.

Trail Blazers has the riveting story of former Dallas mayor and US trade ambassador Ron Kirk playing golf with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Vernon Jordan at Martha's Vineyard.

Finally, via Sayfie Texas Review, the Austin American Statesman reports on the district court ruling against the state's Medicaid regulators.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Not a trace of irony

"No one wants their private e-mails made public, and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy." -- Hillary Clinton, quoted in the New York Times, March 10, 2015

Ted Rall, a couple of days later (just before the NSA was forced by court order to stop reading everybody's e-mail, or so we believed):

Update: More on Clinton's laughable hypocrisy on the sanctity of the protection of classified emails.

It turns out that at least two of the emails which traversed Hillary Clinton’s personal email account and server were “top secret,” according to the inspector general for the Intelligence Community as reported by McClatchy. To describe that as reckless is an understatement given that, as AP notes, “There is no evidence she used encryption to shield the emails or her personal server from foreign intelligence services or other potentially prying eyes.” The FBI has now taken possession of that server.

When it comes to low-level government employees with no power, the Obama administration has purposely prosecuted them as harshly as possible to the point of vindictiveness: It has notoriously prosecuted more individuals under the Espionage Act of 1917 for improperly handling classified information than all previous administrations combined. 

It's not just Julian Assange or Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden.  Next...

“I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.” -- Clinton, at the 2008 AIPAC convention

Just days before Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran...

“I so hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts the lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” she said. “Even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran. They are the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism. They use proxies like Hezbollah to sow discord and create insurgencies to destabilize governments. They are taking more and more control of a number of nations in the region, and they pose an existential threat to Israel.” -- Clinton, from Politico on July 3, 2015

Ted Rall again:

Peter Beinart:

In his book "Unthinkable", the Brookings Institution’s Kenneth Pollack notes that although Iran likely has biological weapons, it has not given them to Hezbollah. In 1982, when Lebanese Shia leaders asked Iran to send troops to repel Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, the then-supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, refused. In 1996, Iran pressured Hezbollah to agree to a ceasefire with Israel. And as Trita Parsi notes in his indispensable book on Iranian-Israeli relations, "Treacherous Alliance", Israel’s then-defense minister, Yitzhak Mordechai, even praised Tehran for its efforts to return Israeli soldiers that Hezbollah had captured. In 2001, according to Parsi, leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad vented frustration that Iran was not offering them greater assistance during the Second Intifada. And in 2003, after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iran offered the United States a grand bargain that included an offer to cut ties to Hamas and Islamic Jihad and pressure Hezbollah to shut down its military wing if the United States ended sanctions and restored diplomatic ties.

More recent history of the vastly exaggerated claims of Iran's military threat to Israel or the US or anybody else at that link.  Last...

In a video of a private Clinton speech posted to YouTube (in June of 2013), Clinton told a Canadian audience that she hoped the U.S. would elect a woman to the White House because it would send "exactly the right historical signal" to men, women and children. She said women in politics need to "dare to compete" and the nation needs to "take that leap of faith."

"Let me say this, hypothetically speaking, I really do hope that we have a woman president in my lifetime," Clinton said at a women's conference in Toronto on Thursday night. "And whether it's next time or the next time after that, it really depends on women stepping up and subjecting themselves to the political process, which is very difficult."

The former secretary of state told the cheering audience that she would "certainly vote for the right woman to be president."