Friday, September 06, 2019

The Weekly Twenty Twenty Update

Once more, a one-issue Update.  There's been plenty about the #ClimateTownHall for you.

The drinking game is: "Here's blood in your eye".

Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared to have a blood vessel burst in his left eye while participating in CNN's town hall on climate change.

A broken blood vessel in the eye, also known as a subconjuctival hemorrhage, can be caused by several things, including high blood pressure, bleeding disorders, blood thinners, or even excessive straining.

In rare cases, it may be a sign of a serious vascular disorder in older people. Patients who frequently experience such broken capillaries in the eye may get tests to try to find an underlying cause, such as a blood clotting disorder, the Cleveland Clinic noted.

When I was in the newspaper business, I worked with a gentleman in his early 70s who had these on a handful of occasions.  I can recall three over the course of a two-year period.  He dismissed them.

I found out later he had passed in his mid-70's of a stroke.

Biden, 76, has long been plagued by health issues. In 1988, he suffered an aneurysm that burst and required him to undergo emergency surgery. The then-senator was so close to death that a Catholic priest began preparing to administer the sacrament of last rites.

Months later, surgeons clipped a second aneurysm before it burst. Biden then took a seven-month leave from the Senate following the surgery. Describing the operation, he once said, “They literally had to take the top of my head off.”

Jill Biden said in her recently released autobiography Where the Light Enters that, at the time, she feared her husband would never be the same. "Our doctor told us there was a 50-50 chance Joe wouldn't survive surgery," she wrote. "He also said that it was even more likely that Joe would have permanent brain damage if he survived. And if any part of his brain would be adversely affected, it would be the area that governed speech."

I can't make light of Biden and his slapstick routine any longer.  Something is seriously wrong with him that isn't just early-stage dementia.

Biden hasn’t disclosed his medical history since 2008, when doctors found he had an irregular heartbeat.

Biden has also raised eyebrows for the increasing number of verbal blunders he has made so far on the 2020 campaign trail, the schedule of which has been markedly lighter than his main rivals.

For the good of the country and his own well-being, Joe Biden needs to drop out.  And Dr. Jill Biden is the one who should tell him to do so.

That's correct; I'm not a medical doctor.  And neither is she.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Labor Day 2019 Wrangle (full edition)

The Texas Progressive Alliance did more than just grill a burger and take a nap on the day set aside to honor America's working class.

(This updated edition of the best of last week's blog posts, Tweets, and news sources -- some lefty, some poking at the Right -- from around and about our beloved Texas follows below.)

To mark the 125th anniversary of Labor's Day, here's a few blasts from this blog's past.

-- LD Wrangle 2018: A tropical storm named Gordon was bearing down on the Gulf Coast; Ted Cruz finally started to take Beto O'Rourke's challenge seriously; somebody named Michael Avenatti planned to organize an anti-Trump rally in Texas (eventually Houston) to counter it; and some history about the holiday, specifically the Pullman strike.

-- LD Wrangle 2017: Rockport, Houston, and the Golden Triangle were just beginning to assess the damage from Harvey, and that was the topic of many of the aggregated blog posts.

-- LD Wrangle 2015 and an excerpt from Robert Reich's 'Labor Day 2028'.

-- David Van Os' "My Hope for Labor Day 2011".

-- Labor Day 2010: Remember why (and who)

And from Juan Cole: US workers in 2019 are one-third poorer than they were in 2003, while the top 1% got twice as rich.

David Harrison at the Wall Street Journal reports that the lower 50% of US households by wealth have 32% less wealth than in 2003 in real numbers.

They have only now, in 2009, finally regained the wealth they lost in the Great Bush near-Depression of 2007-2009.

So they’ve gotten back to what they had in the way of assets (home value and other valuables; probably not stocks, since that half of Americans doesn’t typically own securities) in 2007, but not what they had in 2003.

The second gun massacre in the state this month occurred in Midland and Odessa.

The tragedy came the day before the several laws loosening restrictions on the carrying of firearms, passed in the last legislative session, took effect.  One member of the Lege quickly blamed it on insufficient prayer.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston was among the first to drag Schaefer for his gun worship.

Scott Braddock, for the Quorum Report, noted that the Bonnen scandal leaves the Legislature unprepared for a special session on gun safety even if Governor Abbott were inclined to call one.

Despite demands for the governor to call a special in response to mass shootings, it’s not his fault that the first order of business in the House might be to entertain a motion to vacate the chair while a chaos agent stands ready to release audio evidence of a conversation that “might make a sailor blush”

About this time in 2017, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had just made a mockery of the legislative process, using Sunset legislation as his leverage to force Gov. Greg Abbott’s hand in calling a special session to focus on a failed proposal to create restrictions on where certain Texans could legally use public facilities. The national spectacle aside, the point was that the process was used and abused, making special sessions even riskier than ever with a risk-averse governor at the helm of state government.

But now Patrick’s shenanigans are not the issue. The scandal surrounding Speaker Dennis Bonnen has created an environment in which the governor cannot be fully blamed for the lack of immediate legislative action in the wake of two mass shootings across the Great State this summer.

One more time for the people in the back: The presiding officer’s first standing order is to protect the institution. Because that post was abandoned, even momentarily by Bonnen in his meeting with Empower Texans spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan, the House would likely not be ready to respond to a growing crisis.

As Hurricane Dorian prepares to batter the eastern seaboard, several reports look to see how much progress we've made since Harvey blasted us.

Kuff checked out the Bitecofer model, which suggests that quite a few Republican-held Congressional seats in Texas could be flipped in 2020.

The Texas Signal's lame account of Cong. Lizzie Fletcher's healthcare town hall did not convey the full story.  Read the Tweet thread below from the HouChron reporter in attendance for a better grasp of the popularity among Fletcher's constituents for Medicare for All, and the unpopularity of her position: expanding the ACA.

Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer rolled his eyes at the Republican activist group Engage Texas and their tactic of politicizing DPS parking lots.

The Texas Standard reports that even some oil and gas industry types are opposed to the Trump administration's rollback of methane regulations.

Latino Rebels has the details about the September 7 Action Against White Supremacy.

From the Complaint Department: SocraticGadfly is disgusted that Christmas creep is now apparently "officially" being preceded by Halloween creep.

From the Schadenfreude Department: Therese Odell at Foolish Watcher is loving the Trump/Fox News slap fight.

Molly Ivins, our liberal icon who was Twitter-ready long before the medium existed, is now playing on the big screen (not far from where she grew up).

The San Antonio Current brings word about The Bloggess' new business venture there.

Online goddess Jenny Lawson -- a.k.a. "The Bloggess" -- is branching out into brick and mortar. Not one to be satisfied with merely conquering the web, the best-selling author and prolific tweeter has announced that she has signed a lease for the location of her planned combination bookstore and bar Nowhere Bookshop, right here in the Alamo City.

Finally, in farewells: Rosemary Kowalski of the Rivard Report eulogized Lila Cockrell, former mayor of San Antonio, and The Guardian remembered James Leavelle, the Dallas policeman who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby in 1963.

“Lee,” Leavelle said in the version of the story quoted by the New York Times, “if anybody shoots at you, I hope they are as good a shot as you.” Oswald, he said, replied: “You’re being melodramatic.”