Pulling for Boston

Boston is one of America’s greatest cities. Through sun and rain, the city moves on with pride, and carries the weight of American history. Not only is Boston the cradle of this great nation from a political standpoint, but it’s also a musical powerhouse, giving rise to mega groups like Aerosmith, New Kids On The Block, New Edition, James Taylor, and well… Boston. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the bombing at this year’s Boston Marathon. The whole US is pulling for you Boston. Home town boys New Edition posed the original question, and we know the answer. You will stand the rain.

Texas Home Mogul, GOP Donor Bob Perry has died

You may not have known him, but you definitely know his work. According to the Houston Chronicle, Home builder and tireless political contributor Bob Perry passed away this weekend at his Nassau Bay home. He was 80. As far as I know, he is no relation to Texas Governor Rick Perry, though given his long history of contributions to the Governor’s political campaigns, they clearly had some things in common. Perry is perhaps best known for donating to the infamous “Swift Boat” campaign again John Kerry during his 2004 Presidential run, but he has long been a trusted advocate of Republican politicians and causes.

Brains and Eggs has more.

Houston’s Mayor reminds us what REALLY makes a family

By design, politicians are public figures. They are used to cameras, the press, and definitely get used to the sound of hearing themselves talk. But as public as people like Houston Annise Parker can be, it is rare that she has been so candid about her personal life. The nation probably knows that she is openly gay, and they know that she won an historic victory as the first openly gay person elected mayor of large American city. And that’s probably about it.

But in a rare speech to the Coalition for the Homeless, Mayor Parker opens up about her family experience with the struggles of homelessnesses, and about the story of her wonderful family. All three of the mayor’s children are adopted (though only two legally) and all are African-American. In this speech, she shares the story of how she and partner Kathy Hubbard (THE First Lady of Houston) came to know their son. He’s not legally adopted, but they consider him family just the same.

As the Mayor reminds us in this speech, genetics are not the only factor that determine a family. Like her and her partner, many same-sex couples are providing homes for children that may otherwise be homeless. They open their life and their family to them. It’s one of the most loving and noble acts one could ask to be done. It’s speeches like this one that make me truly proud to be a Houstonian.

Texoblogosphere: Blog News 4/12/13

Besides Texas Leftist, be sure to check out these blogs to keep up to speed with the Lone Star State.

The Texas Progressive Alliance has seen what Battleground Texas wants to do and is ready to do its part as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff is railing about new possibilities for High-Speed Rail to connect Dallas and Houston. The case for developing it gets stronger every day.

Dos Centavos rightly points out that the push to drug test poor Texans is not only discriminatory, but will likely keep encourage the very sour morals it seeks to legislate away from.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson posts on the budget debate in the House this week, and the fact that there was little discussion of what Texans really need, Still trying to find a way in…the budget version.

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw explains why Senator Cruz Brings Plenty of Spite But No Bacon. Check it out.

The Republicans in the Texas House passed an amendment that kinda sorta endorsed the spirit of Medicaid expansion, but within a few hours got ‘corrected’ by their lobbyists and rescinded it. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs kind sorta expected that.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that Rick Perry implies Mexicans shot the Texas DAs. Didn’t Perry get the Reince Priebus memo about gratuitous racist eruptions?


And here are some blog posts of interest from elsewhere in Texas.

The Lunch Tray is a Food Blogger Against Hunger.

Bob Cavnar explains some lesser known dangers of fracking.

Juanita Jean has a question for the queen of True The Vote.

Texas Vox says that the pipeline spill in Arkansas calls into question the viability of converting other older pipelines for transporting tar sands.

Equality Texas reminds us that it’s always a good idea to get to know your legislator.

Jason Stanford has a strategy for coping with the STAAR tests.

Austin Contrarian publishes a response from Sen. Kirk Watson to an earlier post about one of his bills.

Raise Your Hand Texas outlines an agenda for real school reform.

Harold Cook channels William Travis.

And finally, we wish fellow blogger Katy Anders a peaceful but not too lengthy sabbatical.

Before You FREAK OUT About Obama’s Budget…

Take two seconds, breathe, and use that noggin of yours to gain some long-game perspective. One thing is clear… It’s a busy time in our Federal Government right now. Probably the busiest time that we’ve had since Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. We sit on the precipice of having Our Legislators do some REAL work on both Gun Safety and Immigration Reform. We may (fingers crossed) even encourage these people to SOLVE some of these problems.

But then on Wednesday, this happened. President Obama released his budget proposal… the third such go at a Federal Budget after previous ones by both the House and the Senate. And yeah, he attacks Social Security directly by slowing the increase Seniors get each year due to expected inflation.

To ward off the cardiac issues (remember we’re trying to LOWER health care costs here), let’s put this bitter pill in perspective with three main points.

1. The President’s Proposed Budget is just that… a PROPOSAL. Remember this is the Washington fantasy world we’re talking about here.. A place much is said, and very little is DONE. Absolutely nothing regarding the budget has been passed by both Houses of Congress. And no one has voted on even a single word of the President’s proposal.

2. We need to create some SPACE right now. That’s the most important thing that President Obama can do if he has any chance of getting a gun safety bill and immigration reform passed. This budget does that because it makes Republicans feel like they are not being ignored. Look at it in perspective. Remember how the GOP said that the President isn’t serious on entitlements? Well they can’t say that now.

3. TIME is running out for gun safety and immigration reform, . As soon as we get to the summer, the only thing that will matter to Congress will be the 2014 elections. That’s another reason this proposal was critical at the time it was released. Before the lawmakers go back into campaign mode, we need to get these things done.

Progressives should be infuriated at the notion that President Obama would propose these cuts to our nation’s most vulnerable, while continuing to protect the wealthy. The time is surely coming for the Left to push back. But with gun safety and immigration reform hanging in the balance, now is not that time. But it is the time for us to hold our tongues, raise some money, and look ahead to 2014. If these initiatives pass, Democrats score a major victory and ride that into 2014 and take back the House. If they fail, they will do so because of the Republicans, and we ride THAT into 2014 and take back the House.

So for now, the best we can do is to grin and bear it. We’ll know when it’s time to bring the real bears out.

In the Austin VS. Houston battle…

For once, Houston wins. At least in the mind of HuffPost Travel writer David Landsel. He ranked Austin as the number one most overrated travel destination, and instead recommended readers mosey on down to the Big H…

1 Austin Drum roll, please, for this legend in its own mind, a mildly entertaining university town and state capital with fever dreams of greatness, a city whose entire purpose for breathing is to not be like everything else around it. When you’re trying to set yourself apart from a place as large and as bold as Texas, you have to work really, really hard. Which could explain why everyone walks around here looking so stressed. Sprawling Austin is one of those unfortunate places that seems really smashing on paper. And then one ruins things by going. You have now been advised. Instead, try If your precious snowflake mind can tolerate a little diversity of thought, Houston — our nation’s fourth largest city, if you didn’t know — is currently the place to experience Texas at its most interesting. Sure, this is a city so ugly that sometimes you may be tempted to put a bag over its head, but Houston is also an impressively creative and very fun town, with good museums (the Menil Collection, the Contemporary Arts Museum), plenty of good food — Austin’s own golden boy, Tyson Cole, opened Uchi here recently — good drink (start with Anvil & Hay Merchant), plenty of music and — best of all — fun-loving locals who are generally anything but uptight.”

Houston has been a media favorite as of late, with coveted spots on “Best City” rankings by Forbes, and a recent ranking as the Number 2 city for Women-Owned Businesses. Good press for Houston is one thing… that’s always welcome. But to be in a direct throwdown with the prennial Texas favorite of Austin, and have someone actually pick us? This is simply unacceptable.

Or is it?

If there was ever a time for someone to want to visit or move to Houston, this may be it. The city is booming with job opportunities, becoming more Progressive by the hour, and making long-term investments in infrastructure and transportation. We’re even trying to combat our massive car stigma with some of the country’s boldest bicycle initiatives. City leaders have also begun to take visual aesthetics more seriously with revitalization of everything from freeways to our acclaimed network of parks. Sure it’s still mega-flat, mega-hot and mega-sprawled, but Houston is working hard to make its outer shell match the boundless inner beauty that ardent Houstophiles already know.

So I guess this is our new world. Instead of “Keep Austin Weird”, maybe we should all be saying “Make Houston NORMAL”.

Oh, and Houston is not ugly. But sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to see just how amazing the city is. I for one am glad more people have started digging. No offense to my dear Austinites, but you’ve held the spotlight for a long time. Enjoy the break!!

(photo credit telwink on Flickr)

Margaret Thatcher passes away at 87

One of the best-known politicians on the planet, former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died, aged 87. The AP reports that she suffered a stroke.

Baroness Thatcher has been the only female ever elected to Prime Minister. She is a political legend known for her strong will and Conservative values.

Interesting fact… Thatcher never lost a general election. She was forced out of power by her fellow Tories and didn’t run for re-election.

(photo credit from the Associated Press)