Monday, September 14, 2015

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance knows that no one has a constitutional right to be a county clerk as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff takes a look at the very high stakes of the voter ID appeal.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos, and contributing to Daily Kos, asks why the U.S. cannot have high speed rail that is common in Europe and Asia? Why? The do-nothing GOP, of course. Republican are why we can't have nice things.

Socratic Gadfly, linking to the first piece he has written for an in-depth philosophy and social sciences webzine, explores the parallels between Constitutional originalism and religious fundamentalism.

The best debate in the Houston mayoral contest happened last Thursday night, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs blogged about it.

Texas Leftist agrees with President Obama; the economic future of the United States may soon be inextricably linked to the world's next great power player. Here's why it's time for Texas to take a new look at Africa. Plus some coverage as the Houston Unites campaign kicks into high gear.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson understands that the Texas GOP has a problem with health care. They hate it and it shows: Common sense conservatism is bad for your health.

JohnCoby at Bay Area Houston took note of Ted Cruz locking up the coveted Kentucky hillbilly vote.  "Lock up."  Get it?

TXSharon at Bluedaze caught the Texas Railroad Commission sitting on the lap of a fracker.

Egberto Willies documents more of the slow-but-steady rise of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.

Neil at All People Have Value was glad to see local outreach by the Harris County Green Party on Labor Day. APHV is part of


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

A rally in Dallas tonight for Donald Trump will be preceded by a "Dump the Trump" protest march through downtown during rush-hour, according to Trail Blazers.

Juanita Jean unloads on Houston mayoral candidate Ben Hall.

Grits for Breakfast calls out Dan Patrick for misleading and incendiary rhetoric about crime and the police.

The TSTA Blog rebuts a Wall Street Journal op-ed on the recent SCOTUS charter school ruling.

Prairie Weather uncovers how America became the land of gross inequality and the home of dangerous coverups.

Steve Bates marvels at the self-realization of some Republicans that another government shutdown -- this time over defunding Planned Parenthood -- might not benefit their general cause.

Carol Morgan would like to know how to pronounce "Mission Accomplished" in Arabic.

jobsanger caught the YouGov poll that said 43% of Republicans would be in favor of a military takeover of the US government.

Liz Goulding looks back on three years of being a one-car household.

The Bloggess celebrated World Suicide Prevention Day.

And Fascist Dyke Motors is waiting on Alex Trebek.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Adios, MoFo (with a dream sequence update)

Too easy a headline, considering the departed has been on life support for some time.

Rick Perry's political career ended with a whimper, a remarkable if predictable fall for the longest-serving governor in Texas history and a leader many considered the Republican Party's savior just four years ago.

History may judge it an end sealed back in 2011, when Perry froze on a debate stage and tried to recover with an embarrassed "oops." Others may remember the former governor with the movie-star looks and resume to match as Donald Trump's first political victim.

He left with a tinge of bitterness against the candidate with even more remarkable hair than his own.

In July Perry blasted Trump as a "cancer on conservatism (that) threatens to metastasize into a movement of mean-spirited politics." On Friday he offered another, more veiled, jab at the real estate mogul and star of wildly popular television show "The Apprentice."

"The conservative movement has always been about principles, not about personalities," Perry told the Missouri crowd.

"Our nominee should embody those principles. He or she must make the case for the cause of conservatism more than the cause of their own celebrity."

With $13 million remaining in his super PAC account, Governor Oops can still be a kingmaker of sorts.  Don't count on him crowning The Donald with any money.  The fellow who stands to benefit the most from Perry's second crap-out in four years is probably Ted Cruz.

Cruz feels that Perry's exit will make it easier to attract top Texas donors who hadn't otherwise contributed to the senator, because they didn't want to be seen as publicly choosing sides against Perry, the person said. It also may make the March 1 Texas primary "a lot cleaner," since Cruz will be the clear home-state choice.

At the moment, polling in Iowa shows Trump, Ben Carson, Cruz, and Carly Fiorina first through fourth.

Between the four of them, there’s about two-and-a-half years of experience in public office — all belonging to Cruz — and that experience largely consists of shouting and/or reading children’s books in an empty room while C-SPAN cameras whir softly.

We're gonna let you git on down the road, Goodhair.

Update:  I did not have time to include this in the post, but on Friday night I had a dream that involved me being at a party with Taylor Swift (she performed in Houston this past week) and a few hundred other of her closest friends.  It should be noted here that I am not a fan, don't have any of her music, don't know any of the words or even titles of her songs.

But there I was, sitting at the edge of a luxurious, resort-style swimming pool, legs in the water, eating a delicious stuffed croissant with crab and mushrooms and some kind of creamy alfredo sauce (essentially something I can never eat, as I am diabetic).  A waiter came by and I asked me if I would like to have a 'margarita shrimp cocktail', which he promptly set down beside me.  It was, as you might visualize, a frozen margarita with boiled shrimp lining the rim.  As I surveyed the delicacies I was eating and about to eat, I looked up, and from across the pool Taylor was waving at me.  I smiled and waved back, then noticed from the lower corner of my eye that someone in one of those floating chair things -- the kind with a cup holder in the armrest -- had paddled over to me and was extending his hand to shake.

It was Rick Perry, and he wanted to thank me for everything that I had blogged about his campaign through the years, how grateful he was for all the help, and blahblahblah....

Apparently that was too much cognitive dissonance for my conscious mind to endure, and it promptly shook my subconscious/unconscious by the figurative shoulders and I woke up.  Grinning.

(That's the best imitation of your style that I am capable of, Katy.)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Best Houston mayoral debate happened last night

Best performances by the media as well.  Give serious props to moderators Eric Barajas and Rebecca Suarez for solid prep and good questions.  Not tough ones; not softballs.  Update: And to Miya Shay, who wrote them.

Televised in Spanish by Univision and in English by KTRK, the mods asked each candidate about their most-presumed weaknesses.

"I've learned a lot more from my failures than my success," said King, who smoothly pivoted the question into one about becoming a better candidate because of his earlier mistakes.

Current state representative Sylvester Turner was asked about his two failed runs at mayor prior to now, and why voters should take him more seriously this time.

"Those first two occasions are dress rehearsals; this is the real deal," quipped Turner, before turning more serious. "In life, you will go after things and you won't get it. It doesn't mean you get a negative attitude, it doesn't mean you throw in the towel and quick (sic), you keep on."

Neither of these are particularly good answers, you might note.  And after something like 30 of these fora and no traction or buzz surrounding his campaign, Bill King finally decided it was time to come out against the HERO.

It might be too late for Pothole Bill to recapture the Hate Caucus back from Ben Hall, but since those folks are also racists... there's always a chance.

Since I missed it live (or taped, so far), I can't tell if Turner's answer about Sandra Bland might be an issue or not.  This Twitter exchange set off some alarms.

We'll wait a bit and see if that's molehill or mountain.

Hall has a commanding presence on stage.  Trained as both lawyer and pastor, he comes off as relaxed and authoritative.  I was astonished two years ago at how poorly done his TV work was.  I suspect we will see better this time.  Watch his one-minute video segment and then King's (scroll down) and see if you agree.

As the perceived (no polling yet? in mid-September?!  The first and last one came out in late June.  WTF, people?) front-runners, Sylvester Turner and Adrian Garcia took the most incoming fire.

Former Sheriff Adrian Garcia was asked about his controversial management of the Harris County Jail, which was first brought to light by ABC-13. Garcia countered that he addressed the problems as quickly as he found out, then added, " If terrible things happen as mayor, I'll take full responsibility, take action."

Garcia just doesn't have it, whatever 'it' may be.  There's no charisma, no real thoughtfulness being demonstrated.  The lights are on but nobody's home.  Maybe he's too scripted or perhaps he over-practiced.  He simply does not show, through either word or deed, the ability to lead the city.  And that's not just me saying that, but the Harris County Deputy Sheriff's union, the people he formerly commanded, who endorsed Turner yesterday in a sharp jab at the former sheriff.

And that's before you even consider his record, which is stained with a lack of accomplishment beyond Bill White's help, and a repetitive cluelessness that crosses the line to malfeasance (not just the jail mess but the no-bid consultant contract) too many times for my comfort level.  I keep trying to give Garcia the benefit of some doubt, but I still find him unfit for public service.

For his part, Chris Bell enlisted Bill King's help in pointing this out again.

Apparently Chris Bell's biggest flaw in the contest is that he hasn't raised as much money as everybody else.  Candidly, that's a benefit and not a problem.  As long as you're not a fan of oligarchy, of course.

It was Marty McVey who got eliminated from contention last night, sadly.

Local businessman Marty McVey was asked about the more than a dozen lawsuits filed against him in the past few years. The lawsuits, one of which is scheduled to go to trial next year, stemmed from his purchase and bankruptcy of Spring Branch Medical Center. 
"We must face litigation and it's part of doing business sometime," said McVey, who countered that the Medical Center was an anomaly in his string of business successes.

Stick a fork in him.  He had some brief shining moments during the early parts of the campaign, but he's not ready for prime time.  Maybe two years from now he can be saying the kinds of things Hall and King are saying now.

As opposed to McVey, I simply don't know what to make of Steve Costello's performance.  He seems a little too bland, unanimated, "low-energy" as somebody has said about Jeb Bush -- and that's saying a lot with McVey and King to compete with.

So... any clear winners and/or losers to you?