Texoblogosphere: Week of November 25th

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at Rick Perry’s day in court as he tries one more time to quash the indictments against him.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos says the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board perfectly describes Greg Abbott’s stand on Syrian immigrants. “Never one to hesitate when he sees an opportunity to pander to the nativists and the narrow-minded among us, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday became one of 11 Republican governors (as of this writing) to declare his state would shut the door on Syrian refugees in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Paris.” Shaw writes Greg Abbott Brings Out the Worst in Texas. Again.

Stace at DosCentavos offers a tribute to his uncle, Sheriff Jose Serna. Sheriff Serna was the first elected Mexican American sheriff in Zavala County.

There may be some lessons for Democrats to learn from Louisiana, where they elected a Democratic governor on Saturday, but PDiddie at Brains and Eggs suspects the biggest one is “Run the Bluest Dog you can find against the worst Republican you can find”. And that’s just a tired recipe for the same failed election results in Texas over the past twenty years.

SocraticGadfly appreciates the intent, but questions the wisdom, of states making a state-by-state attempt at single-payer type “national” health care.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme doesn’t understand why some Texas pastors go out of their way to spew hate.

Neil at All People Have Value said the value of everyday life is a good foundation for a broad movement demanding that our everyday work and relationships be given proper regard. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


Grits for Breakfast calls for police disciplinary files to be opened up.

Juanita goes biblical on Greg Abbott’s shameless announcement refusing refuge to people from Syria.

Robert Rivard notes that Abbott’s decision is in contradiction to Catholic teaching and practice.

The Texas Election Law Blog mocks the three-judge panel for its refusal to act on the ongoing redistricting litigation.

Dallas City Council member Lee Kleinman touts his town’s non-discrimination ordinance.

Paradise in Hell annotates Greg Abbott’s surrender to the terrorists.

Mary Pustejovsky says no one should have to lose a love one to an automobile accident.

Austin On Your Feet provides five lessons from the passage of a “granny flat” ordinance.

Haley Morrison says it is our American duty to show compassion to refugees.


This week’s feature photo shows refugees fleeing the war-torn country of Syria.  Tell us again Governor Abbott… what did they do to you??

Real-Estate Watchdog ‘Swamplot’ Returns Next Week

For most it is common knowledge that Houston is one of the largest cities in the country.  Even with troubles in the oil industry, the metropolitan area is still growing at an impressive pace.

But what some may not consider is how Houston grows, and the important ways that development guide the Houston of tomorrow.  Unlike any other major city of its size, Houston also holds the unique position of not having formal zoning practices.  Without governance, where and how structures get built can be very serious business, and influence the politics at many levels.  Anyone familiar with the Ashby Highrise saga knows this.

So today’s announcement from the great folks over at Swamplot will be welcomed news indeed.  Long-known for their innovative reporting and exclusive dedication to Houston’s real-estate landscape, the website will be back to full capacity starting December 1st, with a new team of personnel at the helm.

Texas Leftist is glad to see Swamplot back on the beat.  So add this item to your ‘thankful for’ list.




The University of Texas At… Houston??

With a record-setting year, record-breaking Football team and lots of world-wide attention, the University of Houston has seemed to be unstoppable as of late.  But some interesting moves by another state power-player have leaders at the ‘Powerhouse’ seeing red away from school.

Here’s the scoop from Benjamin Wermund of the Houston Chronicle. The Houston area could be in for a big educational shake-up…

After hearing that the University of Texas’ purchase of more than 300 acres in Houston is a potentially illegal “land grab” and an “invasion” of University of Houston territory, UH regents unanimously approved a statement Thursday protesting UT’s planned Houston expansion.

UT Chancellor William McRaven said earlier Thursday that he has no intention of competing with UH. But the regents, meeting in the afternoon, were skeptical.


Law professor Michael Olivas argued that UT was “thumbing its nose” at the state’s higher education coordinating board and current Houston schools by not consulting them before buying 332 acres south of the Texas Medical Center.

The statement approved by the regents argues, in part, that UT already has a significant competitive edge over UH because it has access to the Permanent University Fund, a state-owned investment fund that funnels hundreds of millions to the UT System.

“If the State of Texas is to allow duplication of services and competition as a practice for higher education in the future, then we respectfully ask the legislature to provide parity in resources, including PUF, for the University of Houston System before allowing the University of Texas System’s expansion into Houston,” the statement said.

The UT System has established universities in every major city in Texas, except for Houston, where the UH System has the vast majority of its institutions.

But the one area UH has yet to officially enter is the establishment of a medical school.  UT’s only educational footprint in the Houston region is in the medical arena, with UT Health Science Center at Houston, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and UTMB in Galveston.

In some ways, this is kind of a milestone for the University of Houston.  After years of playing a very safe 3rd chair on the state higher education stage, the institution is finally getting a taste of the “other side” of Tier 1 status… Turf War.  Welcome to the big leagues, UH.

That’s the posturing, but here’s the truth. For a Metropolitian area of 6 million people, there’s no question that Houston can not only support another major university, but is in growing need of one, if not two. The Bayou City falls below other major metropolitan areas when it comes to educational options.

Recent years have seen an especially perplexing situation for UH, where the school has raised admissions standards, yet somehow continues to experience record enrollment growth. It’s a cycle that is not likely to continue with the evolution of a more selective student population.

But even as institutions like Texas Southern University and UH System schools work hard to create educational pathways for area students, their capacity cannot keep up with growth being seen in Houston-area high schools.  In the 2013-2014 Academic Year alone, over 63,000 students graduated from high schools in the Greater Houston region… a number equal to the size of the entire UH System.

So does the Bayou City have room for a ‘UT-Houston’ without causing some unforeseen damage to UH?  Probably so.  But the UH Regents are also right to point out that their system operates without PUF access.  If UH were being funded at the same levels as UT, would another university already exist in ‘Cougar Country’?? It’s yet another question worth asking.

Stay tuned for more as the saga continues.

UT Houston

Texas Leftist Endorsements: 2015 Run-off Elections

It may be a much shorter ballot and in the throes of Holiday Season, but the 2015 Election process will not be complete until December 12th— the date for the Houston Run-off Elections.  As predicted, many important local races have gone to a runoff, and Houstonians will need to come back and vote.  After all, this is where the city’s next Mayor will be selected.

Houston Mayor
Sylvester Turner

Houston City Controller
Chris Brown

Houston City Council
At-Large Races
Position 1: Georgia Provost
Position 2: David Robinson
Position 4 Amanda Edwards
Position 5: No Endorsement

District Races
District F: Richard Nguyen
District H: Karla Cisneros
Distrcit J: Mike Laster

HISD Trustee District II– Rhonda Skillern-Jones

There will be Early Voting for the Run-off, though it is not yet officially posted for Harris County.  Check back here for the updates.  And please support these PRO-EQUALITY candidates!!


Is Texas Governor Greg Abbott Working With ISIS?

Is Texas Governor Greg Abbott working with ISIS?

Enquiring minds want to know.

If Liberals had a ‘Fox News equivalent’ media network, this would be a likely question asked during the news cycle this week.  The Governor of our nation’s 2nd most populous and 2nd most diverse state may not say outright that he’s working for ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) directly, but given his recent decision on those fleeing violence caused by the hate group, he may as well be on the payroll.

Here’s the story from Alexa Ura of the Texas Tribune

A day after about half of the country’s governors promised to block Syrian refugees from resettling in their states, religious and nonprofit leaders warned those governors that their actions could separate families and cause irreparable damage to public sentiment toward refugees.

“To close the door on resettling Syrian refugees would be nothing less than signing a death warrant for tens of thousands of families fleeing for their lives,” Linda Hartke, president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said during a press call Tuesday. “If ISIS had hoped that their attacks in Paris would provoke the U.S. and its allies in reacting with small-minded panic, some governors are helping them get their wish.”

Following terrorist attacks in Paris that were linked with the Islamic State, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday that the state would not allow Syrian refugees to be resettled in Texas. Leaders of refugee resettlement nonprofits argued on Tuesday that the actions of Abbott and governors across the country could create challenges to reuniting families that were separated as they fled their home country or during the refugee screening process, particularly in Texas which has seen some of the highest numbers of Syrian refugees.


In a letter to President Barack Obama Monday, Abbott said he would direct the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s Refugee Resettlement Program “to not participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in the State of Texas.”

“Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees — any one of whom could be connected to terrorism — being resettled in Texas,” Abbott wrote.

 As alluded in the above, ISIS leaders are counting on the very Anti-Islmaic, Anti-Syrian attitudes that Governor Abbott is displaying here.  Syria is a country of nearly 23 million people… a few million behind Texas.  Even if the estimated number of ISIS militants across the world is above 200,000, that would still be less than one percent of the population in Syria alone.  And when compared against the world’s population of 1.6 Billion Muslims, the radical beliefs of ISIS compare to any other hate group associated with major world religions.

Even suggesting that ISIS is somehow representative of all Syrians or all Muslims is basically like saying that David Koresh and the Branch Davidians are representative of all Texas Christians. Punishing refugees at the expense of a few bad actors is a painful, false representation used to stoke fear and gain political points at the expense of making our state and nation less safe.  But that is exactly what our state’s top elected official has done.

The effects of such careless politics are long-lasting, especially in today’s world of fast-flowing, information.  At some point, we have to realize that the things we say and do now are connected to our future.  Take one Timothy McVeigh for example, who was so angry at the government for their treatment of Koresh that he killed 168 innocent Americans in the Oklahoma City Bombing. Nobody had to sneak him into the country to do that.

Be assured that everything Abbott suggests is not based in fact.  For starters, he likely has no legal basis to deny refugees entry into the state, unless he’s planning on secession and rapid building of a wall to keep all Americans out.  If anyone has to even wonder about the vetting process for the very few refugees that America would even accept, check out this quick clip from ThinkProgress.  Who’s going to go on a two year waiting list, be subject to extensive background checks, questioning, immense government scrutiny and commit copious financial resources they may not even have just to come to the U.S. and commit a heinous crime?


So please Governor, would you please stop helping ISIS to achieve its goals?  If you love Texas, do what’s best for Texas, not what’s best for YOU.

Texoblogosphere: Week of November 16th

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks maybe we should finish celebrating Thanksgiving before we begin the Christmas season as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff took a closer look at how people voted in the Houston Mayor’s race.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos wonders if Houston’s anti-HERO supporters (those who embrace discrimination on behalf of bathrooms) know the group’s head ringleader is defending a male bathroom pervert? Anti-Hero Activist Defends Man Photographing Women in Bathroom.

Socratic Gadfly is trying to popularize the term Inside the Mopac media as a parallel to “Inside the Beltway media.”

Donald Trump asked “How stupid are the people of Iowa?” and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs answered, “stupid enough to vote for you, asshole”.

Neil at All People Have Value said that Mark Rothko had an almost Starbucks level of hatred for Jesus. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks its all kinds of wrong to have private businesses pay for our border patrol.

From main line media reporting, it almost seems like some “shocking development” that the same forces which defeated the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance would now turn their ire upon the city of Dallas. But to Texas Leftist or anyone that has closely followed the U.S. Pastor Council (aka the Houston Area Pastor Council or the Texas Pastor Council), this move was just a matter of time. Hold on to your seats North Texas, and get ready for some heinous lies to come your way.


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

Grits for Breakfast calls out DPS for screwing up racial classifications on traffic stops.

Morgan Guyton decries Houston pastors who bore false witness against their transgender brothers and sisters.

Texas Watch has a petition calling for hospitals to be accountable for their doctors.

Raise Your Hand Texas reviews the education-related interim charges for the Legislature.

Alexa Martin-Storey and Kate Prickett remind us that plenty of laws and policies that undermine same-sex parenting still exist.

The Texas Election Law Blog updates us on the continued election woes of the city of Martindale.


Martindale Dam

And going with the above theme, today’s feature photo is of the Martindale Dam in Martindale, Texas.  (Photo Credit:  MartindaleTexas.org)

U.S. Pastor’s Council’s Next Anti-Equality Stop: Dallas

Back in August, before any votes in the November elections were cast, Texas Leftist had a prediction.  Or maybe better to just call it an observation…

The “Vote NO!” arena has already been tested, and victorious.  Last fall, theUS Pastor Council produced a battle to defeat the Non-Discrimination Ordinance in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and won that battle with 53 percent of the vote.  Repeal 119 was one of the “test markets” for persecution of local non-discrimination ordinances across the United States.  Make no mistake… this is a national fight against equal rights, with Houston currently taking center stage.

If anyone had even the slightest doubt that the fight for Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance wasn’t an indicator of battles to come, this week should put those doubts to rest.  Empowered by the spoils of victory, the Equality opponents have revealed their next target.

Here’s the story from Katherine Driessen of the Houston Chronicle…

Fresh off defeating Houston’s equal rights ordinance by stoking fears about men using women’s restrooms, local conservative activists are looking to take the battle to Dallas.

The Dallas City Council this week updated its non-discrimination law to more explicitly include protections for transgender residents, a move that already is sparking much the same opposition rhetoric that engulfed Houston’s law.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has blasted Houston’s ordinance, quickly jumped into the fray, issuing a statement: “This ludicrous ordinance, like the one in Houston, reveals officials who are totally out of touch with Texas values.”

In Houston, conservative activist Jared Woodfill said the same core group that helped defeat the ordinance here 61 percent to 39 percent will deploy similar tactics in Dallas and seek to force a repeal referendum. Woodfill’s group will help collect signatures, send letters to Dallas City Council and organize with local conservatives.

Woodfill and fellow conservatives hammered a message in Houston that the gender identity provision of the equal rights law would allegedly allow men to use women’s restrooms. Though supporters of the law said that was false and tried to broaden the conversation to include the 14 other classes protected in housing, employment and public accommodations, opponents’ tactics won out.

Though Driessen chooses to focus on Jared Woodfill, the former Harris County GOP chair who has found new political relevance through the Anti-Equality movement, it’s important to note that the real muscle in this fight lies with the Houston Area/Texas/U.S. Pastor Council, or whatever they choose to call themselves on a particular day.  Woodfill certainly offers a public face and some political contacts, but the money to fund these hateful and hate-filled campaigns is being raised by USPC congregants and their world-wide network of supporters.  And thanks to a perilous court decision by the Fifth Circuit giving churches license to do whatever they want in politics without consequence or sanction, the hate campaign is about to reach levels previously unforseen.

From the assessment of most political analysts, defeating equality measures in Dallas would be a much tougher fight than what occurred in Houston.  For one thing, the city has had transgender protections since 2002, and in all that time there have been zero incidents of malicious activity in restrooms like the LIES the opposition have described.

Because, you know… a LIE is STILL a LIE.  No matter how many ways you present it.

It’s also important to remember some basic facts about Dallas when compared to Houston.  Though the two metropolitan areas are of similar size, actual city boundaries are quite different.  Where Houston’s city limits sprawl across much of the metro, Dallas is half the size and walled in by some of the country’s largest and most powerful suburbs.  It would be like taking the city of Houston, and chopping off several of the most conservative strongholds.

But all of the logic, reasoning and truth talking… well, we already know how much the other side cares about that.  Dallas needs to know that in the reality of today’s pathetic voter turnout, anything is possible.

Y’all get ready for a fight.

Off the Kuff has more.

Dallas CC

A Voice for the Rest of Texas