Monday, September 17, 2018

The Weekly Wrangle

September 16 was Mexican Independence Day, according to Millard Fillmore's Bathtub, so the Texas Progressive Alliance hopes all Texans were able to proudly fly their flags yesterday.  Here comes the blog post and lefty news roundup from a busy week passed.

A US Border Patrol supervisor was arrested in Laredo for the murders of four women in what officials are calling "serial killings".

Authorities issue more search warrants as the investigation into the murder of Botham Jean by a Dallas police officer continue.  Experts are disagreeing on the credibility of the officer involved.

The Texas SBOE chooses to remember the Alamo's heroes, but ignore the historical contributions of Helen Keller and Hillary Clinton.

Houston's ABC affiliate KTRK reports the Cajun Navy has headed toward the Carolinas to utilize experience gained during Harvey to help out the victims of Florence.

Southwest Key, the company that wants to house immigrant children in a facility in downtown Houston, has sued the city claiming that the permitting process required to open it has been an "improper political exercise" that has been "motivated by hostility" toward federal immigration law.

And Texas Monthly's Bob Moore has the story about Tornillo's tent city for unaccompanied immigrant children doubling its capacity.

As we barrel toward our first US Senate debate this Friday night, the latest developments in the race between Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke include:

-- Cruz mailing out campaign solicitations marked "Official Travis County Summons".  State legislator Gene Wu says that's a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

-- SocraticGadfly wondering why states' rights wingnuts like Cruz can't talk more about the truly overlooked Ninth Amendment and less about the un-overlooked Tenth Amendment, especially in judicial confirmation hearings.

-- And Sanford Nowlin at the San Antonio Current taking the measure of O'Rourke.

Off the Kuff published interviews with Congressional candidates Steven David (CD-8, incumbent Brady) and Adrienne Bell (CD- 14, incumbent Weber).

David Collins wonders if voters actually care about foreign policy positions when assessing Congressional candidates, and Zachery Taylor asks if oligarchy is creating another wave of fake progressives (and if so, for what purpose).

Grits for Breakfast collates some criminal justice reform implications associated with a few of the fall Texas Senate races.  Texas Public Radio covers the last days before the special election for SD-19 between Bill Flores and Pete Gallego.  And the Texas Tribune reports that Texas Republicans are worried their supermajority in the upper chamber will be lost.

Raise Your Hand Texas reads between the lines of the Texas Education Agency's budget request.

Save Buffalo Bayou thinks the recent 'A' given Galveston Bay's water quality is misleading.

Texas Vox separates energy subsidy myth from fact.

BeyondBones catalogs what the devastating fire at the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro means to the world.

Kevin Curtin at the Austin Chronicle says goodbye to the iconic Threadgill's World Headquarters.

Stace at Dos Centavos wrote about an old friend's biography, which won a major literary award.

And Harry Hamid found a life away from blogging, but doesn't feel like he's through blogging.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

#VoteBlueNoMatterWho? #NoCanDo

#AnyBlueJustWon'tDo for me.

As DWT posted a few weeks ago, it's almost nostril-pinching time for some.

Beto, as many of you know, is on Colbert tonight.  Panties and money will be thrown.  Update: Keep your clicker close, because Ted Cruz has bought ad time during the show.  What a likeable guy.

As I mentioned last week, he will have enough caysh to win.  Lack of name recognition should be no excuse for his losing, either.  That leaves only one thing: Latin@ turnoutSeveral media outlets have already mentioned it as key to Bob's victory, so I'll just point you to Stace, who -- as referenced in Monday's Wrangle -- seems to be using the recent NALEO poll for excusing low turnout well in advance of the election.  Let's hope I'm just misunderstanding him, but ...

... frankly, if Trump and ICE and separating children from their parents and holding kids in cages, and policies like this, and Democrats like Lupe Valdez and Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar and Lina Hidalgo and Adrian Garcia and a shit-ton of others on the ballot aren't enough to motivate turnout, then maybe turnout is impervious to motivation.  Exactly how much fucking worse must it get for La Raza in this country before they do something about it?

If I remember history rightly, black people have been tortured, murdered, lynched, dragged, burned, and hanged just for trying to vote.  And then they were poll-taxed.  And they're still pretty well kept from voting by any means Republicans deem necessary to this day.  Maybe I have a blind spot, but I just don't recall Latinxs having to put up with as much bullshit through the years as that.

If Latin@s (and maybe this should be read as 'Mexicans') are waiting for their engraved invitation to a banquet where all of their wishes, hopes, and dreams will be granted ahead of their citizen participation in selecting our leaders ... then somebody needs to take them aside and explain that politics doesn't work that way.

Power concedes nothing without a demand, said Frederick Douglass.  And the way that looks, hermanos y hermanas, is: first you show up, then you demand.  Your demand correspondingly includes withholding your future support if your prior demands are not met.  Maybe try something different besides doing nothing this year, see what happens.

On the bright side for Beto, my shero Sema is on board.

She's made a pragmatic political calculation here, to Gadfly's irritation.  She plans on challenging Cornyn in 2020, and there's simply no way that her harsh criticisms of the Democratic Party establishment -- published as an op-ed in the Chronic in late July-- would be forgiven if she did what I'm doing and went "bah-fungoo" at O'Rourke.

I'm gonna cut her some slack.  Part of this is inherently being DSA; if you're running on their ballot line, you're inside their party.  You are expected to fall in line in November.  She may have simply given in to Beto's most obvious charm: his empathy.  He listens well.

Let's also be clear that Poop Cruz, whoever it is Tweeting for him, his comms team generally, and the Texas GOP at large are the gifts that keep on giving to O'Rourke.  They are doing everything they possibly can to lose this race for the Zodiac Killer.  Beto has also been blessed with the most favorable media coverage ever.  For the life of me I cannot understand how he dances through these continuously blooming meadows of lilies, gilded and not.

There's no reason he should get special recognition for this.  He's already sworn off corporate money and PAC money (allegedly), right?  I find plaudits from McKibben here the equivalent of whooping for a 7-year old who successfully completes his first unattended poop, or a 14-year old who has managed to tie both his shoelaces.  It's very typical of the Congressman's national media coverage.  Read all of this, with the excerpt being the last sentence.

If O’Rourke really does have a chance to win this November, then he’s going to have to prove to be the political rock star all those profiles keep making him out to be. 

No Beto for me, but Mrs. Diddie will give him a vote.  Same for Elizabeth Fletcher (why does a corporate attorney go by such a childish, childhood name?), whom I find charisma-impaired on top of her more recent Labor Day hypocrisy.

Wasn't exactly her firm's position in 2016.  (Your vehement protests against personal characterization as a janitors' union buster have been duly noted, Lizzie.)

Her vanquished primary opponent, Laura Moser, has been graceful and hard-working in support of Ds of all stripes since March.  Both Sema and Laura are just better Democrats than me. 

While Moser would be more accurately called a Berniecrat and Sema DSA, I personally am more of a hybrid when you consider my affinity for the Greens, or any independent candidate running to the left of the Donks.  I like DSA and their inside strategy, but I'm also more than willing to part company when certain right-leaning Democrats -- Henry Cuellar, anyone?  Bueller?  -- fall too far outside tolerance limits, as they do for me with Beto and Lizzie.  YMMV, and this is not what the vast majority of Texas Democrats are accustomed to doing, as we all know.

I have a few more Dems I won't be voting for, and a list of those that I will, which may surprise some of you reading this far.  I'll try to get that posted before the weekend.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance observes that honesty is no longer a required attribute for Republican judicial nominees, but apparently that simply does not matter to Republican Senators.

Not.  A.  Single.  One.

Here's the blog post and lefty news roundup from last week.

Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who shot Botham Shem Jean in his apartment -- erroneously thinking she was entering her own -- has finally been arrested on manslaughter charges after a few days' delay, attributed to the Texas Rangers' assumption of the investigation from the DPD.

Texas Standard reports that a federal judge buried the fetal remains law passed by the Lege last year, but the case will be appealed to the country's most conservative appellate court, the Fifth Circuit.  And it's on to the SCOTUS, with Brett Kavanaugh sitting in judgment, should it lose there.  Consider the bill a zombie, resting for awhile before it rises and walks again.

Influence Texas and Texans for Public Justice announced the release of Influence TX OS, an open source app providing campaign finance and voting records of Texas state politicians.  This is a very valuable and insightful tool for those who wish to hold elected officials accountable for their political donations.  For example: why did "good Democrat" Gene Wu take $7,500 from one of the world's greediest people, Alice Walton?  (He has -- so far -- refused to answer me.)

Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke both revved up their Senate campaigns with rallies in Harris County, the state's largest and most purple.

“Whatever you’re doing do, please do more of it,” O’Rourke told supporters packed in to the Houston Stampede Event Center, a 12-mile drive from where Cruz first campaigned Saturday in the area. “Not a single one of us wants to wake up with anything other than a hangover from celebrating a victory on the 7th of November."

Harris County — home to the state's most populous city, Houston — has long been regarded as a battleground in Texas politics, though it swung solidly Democratic in the 2016 presidential election, when Hillary Clinton routed Donald Trump there by 12 points. The county previously delivered much closer margins in statewide elections, including Cruz's 2-point win there over Democratic opponent Paul Sadler in 2012.

Off the Kuff published an interview with Mike Collier, Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor.

Stace at Dos Centavos interprets a recent poll as saying that neither Democrats nor Republicans want the Latin@ vote, which appears to be excusing low 2018 turnout in advance for the critical election demographic.

By contrast, the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) voting bloc is feeling energized by the candidacy of CD-22 Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni in Fort Bend County.

For years, the Texas Democratic Party has bet its future on an imminent, but never-quite-materializing demographic destiny. Eventually, the thinking goes, the rapidly growing Latino population would exercise their political muscle, turning Texas blue. But that hasn’t happened. Meanwhile, Asian Americans are another rapidly growing, low-turnout demographic in the state. As a small, relatively conservative, highly fragmented voting bloc, they’ve attracted far less attention from Democratic operatives. But Asians have undergone a massive political realignment to the left and they could hold the key to Democratic gains in the diversifying purple suburbs of Texas. At least that’s Kulkarni’s bet.

“When I first started, I was told not to bother with the Asian-American vote because they don’t turn out,” Kulkarni told the Observer. “Well, I said, maybe that’s because you’re not reaching out to them.”

Better Texas Blog gives a state budget update.

Pages of Victory quotes the HouChron in asking again: did Harvey makes us all sick?  There are indeed still more questions than answers.

SocraticGadfly observed that Glenn Greenwald is getting close to "Deep State" conspiracy theory talk on the Trump Administration on things like the "anonymous" op-ed.

David Collins takes down the piety of Nike -- not the protest of Colin Kaepernick, just their making money off of it -- in "Das Kaepital", a barbed commentary pointed at end-stage capitalism.

G. Elliott Morris discusses the current odds of a U.S. House flip by the Dems.

Texas Freedom Network points out that the SBOE is getting ready to write -- or rewrite -- history again, in the form of approving public school textbook curricula this week.

Juanita Jean at the Beauty Shop always believed that the Trump inaugural photos had been doctored.

The Great God Pan Is Dead reviews some Soviet avant-garde art.

Texas Monthly's Doyin Oyenyi writes about a (somewhat elusive) Guy Fieri meme that mocks Austin's envy of Houston's food scene.  *Update: Meme now shown in link and below.

And Sarah Martinez at the San Antonio Current has important Whataburger news.