Mike Anderson, Harris County DA Passes Away

Some heart-breaking news is rippling through the Texas legal and political community today.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson has died of cancer. He was 57. More from the Chronicle article…

“In an email to staffers Saturday, First Assistant Belinda Hill mourned “a good man doing great things.”

“When my longtime friend and colleague Mike Anderson asked me to be his First Assistant last year, I accepted the offer because it was an opportunity to return to the office I loved and work closely with a man for whom I had a great deal of respect,” Hill wrote. “I believed that we would do great things together for years to come.”

Anderson, 57, took office Jan. 1, following his election in November. His campaign enjoyed wide support from prosecutors in the office and area law enforcement.

He announced his illness by releasing an email to his staff that did not include details about the type of cancer or when it was diagnosed. The office has not released any other details about his condition.”

My thoughts and prayers are with the Anderson family, and the Harris County DA’s office in this difficult time.

Fellow blogger Off the Kuff has more.

Is Syria “Someone Else’s War”?

Thanks to President Obama’s somewhat surprising decision to consult Congress before any attack is waged on Syria, the United States of America is now in the throes of a vigorous debate. Here is my contribution to that debate. 

But first this is from the President’s own remarks on Syria, full text via the Washington Post…

“Let me say this to the American people: I know well that we are weary of war. We’ve ended one war in Iraq. We’re ending another in Afghanistan. And the American people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in Syria with our military. In that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of the Arab Spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve. And that’s why we’re not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else’s war.”

And therein lies the question that Americans have to ask themselves… Is Syria really “someone else’s war”?

It’s a loaded question, but let’s break it down into sections for a moment. Syria is a country that is not in or near the United States. We do not share a physical border of any kind. They are a sovereign nation with their own leaders, and their own issues. Just like the United States in our Civil War, other nations mostly stayed out of our conflict, despite the fact that over 600,000 people died in the American Civil War. It was a tragedy of epic proportions, but other nations chose NOT to intervene. Were this war happening in a nation like Canada or Mexico, it would be another matter entirelyw, because what happens in those nations could quickly spill over into ours. This isn’t the case with Syria, and it never will be. 

Which leads to the next issue… Syria’s war does not pose an imminent threat to the United States. The last time we had an attack on our shores was 9/11. There’s been no coordinated effort by Syria to attack us… NONE. 
This is not to say that the US doesn’t care about Syria or its people. Everyone is horrified by the murders being committed there, whether by use of chemical weapons or not. But now that other nations are pretty sure that those weapons were used, is it OUR responsibility to do something about it if the US is not under an imminent threat? 
So the next issue… If the US isn’t under imminent threat, then who is? Nations like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey… all US allies, and all staying out of Syria’s war. If anyone has a reason to act against Assad’s use of chemical warfare, it would be these nations. But they’ve chosen to do nothing. In fact, the entire Arab League has been mum on Obama’s plan for a punitive attack. This is a critical difference between now and 2011… When the President chose to use US forces to aid Libyan rebels and eventually overthrow Qaddafi, the Middle East nations of Jordan, Qutar and Turkey were important players in that incident. If the nations most affected by Syria’s actions are not willing to act or ask for help, why should the US bear this burden alone? We cannot and should not fight wars that no one is asking us to. 
What the President should do (and what I sincerely hope he is trying to do) is work with Syria’s neighbor nations to make them understand why chemical warfare is unacceptable. If we fire weapons into Syria without any substantial support from other nations, we are inviting ourselves to war. We’re also inviting them to attack us. It’s ironic how the Obama administration phrases their plan for Syria as “targeted and limited”. Given that the 9/11 attack didn’t involve ground troops, and occurred all within the span of a few short hours, one could argue it was very “targeted and limited” as well. Funny how a few hours can change the course of American history. Are we blind and deaf enough to think an attack on Syria would affect them any differently?? 
Americans need to stop this nonsense of trying to police the world. With all of the issues that we have internally, there is plenty to do in this nation other than meddle in someone else’s war. Sorry Team America… It’s time to retire. 

President Obama Will Seek Congressional Vote On Syria

In what has been a week of high emotions in the continuing Civil War in Syria, President Obama spoke from the Rose Garden and answered some critical questions for the American People today.

After definitive evidence was discovered that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on its own people, the President and his administration have been prepping to strike the nation for punitive measures. Many Americans disagree with the action of intervention in Syria, and would especially disagree if the President made the strike without the involvement of Congress. At the very least, the latter fear was calmed today.

President Obama, speaking from the White House Rose Garden, announced that although the United States Military is ready to attack Syria at any time, he has decided to seek a full vote from Congress before any actions are taken.

“We should have this debate.” The President said. Congress is currently on vacation until September 9th.

More on this soon.

What a week!

Needless to say, this has been a powerful week in American History… The 50th Anniversary of the March On Washington, groundbreaking reforms to our nation’s drug laws and a sweeping ruling for the IRS to recognize legally married same- sex couples. It’s really been something to behold. 

As if that weren’t enough, the city of Houston, Texas turned 177 today. Happy Birthday Houston! 
I intend to post about all of these things, as soon as I gather some strength. It was also the first week of classes, and for anyone in the field of Academia we know that in itself is enough to keep anyone busy. Apologies for the irregularities, but look for more updates from Texas Leftist soon. 

Texoblogosphere: Week of August 26th

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

Off the Kuff shows how the city of Pasadena and Galveston County are trying to take advantage of the SCOTUS ruling on the Voting Rights Act to push through politically motivated redistricting plans.

Olivia at Texpatriate laments living in a world where the Lieutenant Governor can attempt to manipulate the law with little to no consequences.

David Dewhurst put his ailing political career out of its misery with one phone call to the Allen Police Department, and it fell to PDiddie at Brains and Eggs to write the obituary.

Republicans have figured out the best way bring back “states rights”. It’s to rule over the country from the states, where they hold much more power. WCNews at Eye on Williamson calls it Neutering the federal government .

Make way for the Bushes!! Specifically, George P. Bush. Many people have already crowned him as an “heir apparent” for the statewide office of Land Commissioner, but Texas Leftist thinks that if Democrats work hard, they can turn that heir apparent into an apparently NOT.

Neil at All People Have Value wrote about the taxpayer financed life boats on the Bolivar Ferry that runs across Galveston Bay. here seems little difference between state-purchased life boats and Texas Legislature support of Obamacare that will help so many people get health insurance coverage. All People Have Value is part of NeilAquino.com. Please check out the full NeilAquino.com site if so inclined.

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

Walkable DFW draws a lesson in traffic management from the rail systems in Houston and Dallas.

The Observer profiles Jessica Luthor, the Janie-on-the-spot organizer during the rallies against anti-choice bills in the legislative special sessions.

And along those lines, Jessica Luther informs us of a new crowdfunding effort to create an educational online game about abortion and access in Texas.

I Love Beer is looking for a few volunteers for the 2013 Texas Craft Brewers Festival.

Letters from Texas piles on David “I’m Kind Of A Big Deal” Dewhurst.

Nonsequiteuse wonders why we don’t regulate bounce houses more, given the Legislature’s oft-stated obsession with the health of women and children.

Juanita points out that if Greg Abbott can’t read all the way to the end of a tweet, his interpretation of anything longer than that cannot be trusted.

Concerned Citizens calls on San Antonio council member Elise Chan to resign.

Grits For Breakfast documents the rise of futuristic technology in police work.

Former Texan Roy Edroso gives retiring blogger TBogg an appropriate sendoff.

James S. Horwitz Challenges Christie for At Large 5

In something of a last- minute surprise, Council Member Jack Christie now has a serious contender. Houston attorney James S. Horwitz has officially filed for the At Large 5 seat. Here’s the official press release…

HOUSTON––James S. Horwitz, a local attorney, has officially filed his candidacy for the Houston City Council, at-large Position #5, against incumbent Councilmember Jack Christie. Horwitz, who has practiced law as a general practitioner for over 35 years, stated that it is time to restore ‘common sense’ to City Hall solutions, in an effort to carry out the will of the power.

“Over the past one and a half years,” Horwitz said, “the people of Houston have seen a startling departure from reality, and especially from common sense, on the part of Councilmember Christie. To start things off, he campaigned heavily in 2011 on falsehoods, perpetuating a false narrative that he received immense Democratic support.”

Horwitz continued to delineate the reasons Councilmember Christie is unfit for his position, and mentioned punitive –if not bizarre– positions and votes the Councilmember has taken in the last few months. “Councilmember Christie was the sole no vote on an ordinance to receive Federal assistance on juvenile immunizations,” Horwitz said. “I wish this was just a fluke, but it wasn’t. He continued at length at the time, railing on further against flu vaccines. The Texas Medical Center is the largest employer within the City of Houston, and it does not help the City to have such a high level representative who is ignorant of one of the benefits of modern medicine”

“As a ten year cancer survivor, and therefore beneficiary of modern medicine” Horwitz continued, “I find it irresponsible that such a high level representative of our city would take such a position.

Councilmember Christie even voted with some of his colleagues to retain a punitive ordinance against rummaging through refuse for food. In the Councilmember’s world, Horwitz said, the homeless are simply nothing more than common criminals.

Horwitz pledged to be a consensus-builder at City Hall, specifically between the sometimes opposing factions led by Mayor Annise Parker and Councilmember C.O. Bradford. “I think both of these individuals have very good plans for our City,” Horwitz said. “But ultimately, this City works best when we work together towards comprehensive solutions that encompass multiple points of view.”

“Given that Councilmember Christie was unopposed thus far in the general election,” Horwitz said, “I felt it my duty to give the City of Houston’s voters a choice in the election.”

Horwitz may have entered the fray late, but his campaign wasted no time creating a Facebook page, Twitter account, and is planning to launch a website in the near future. The candidate came out swinging, denouncing Christie’s stance on marriage equality, and reminding voters of his misinformed views about influenza. The Council Member voted against allocating funds for child immunizations, and actually stated that people “don’t die from the flu.” Needless to say, the comments were quite controversial, and Christie received harsh criticism from members of the Texas Medical Association.

For a viable run, Mr. Horwitz has an uphill battle to get the word out about his candidacy, and raise some funds against an incumbent with the (assumed) weight of the Republican establishment behind him. One has to also wonder how Horwitz would’ve faired in the early endorsement cycle, especially considering that Christie earned the GLBT caucus nod even though he’s publicly opposed marriage equality in the past. It will be interesting to see how this race plays out.

George P. Bush Wants to Defund Obamacare

Though his candidacy for Texas Land Commisssioner technically started in July, George P. Bush actually started running for the office this week by offering his first set of firm opinions. From Grommer Jeffers Jr. of the Dallas Morning News, here’s the heir apparent finally speaking in something other than broad, non-committal platitudes…

Texas Land Commission candidate George P. Bush said Wednesday he supports controversial efforts by federal lawmakers to defund the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s a monstrosity of a law,” he said. “In terms of defunding it, that would be one way to reduce and mitigate the impact it’s going to have on practicing physicians and hospitals here in Texas.”

Bush was in Addison to deliver the keynote address at the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce luncheon celebration the George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary School.

Before his speech, the Fort Worth Republican told me that he hoped Congress would be successful in stopping the implementation of the new health care law, which is commonly known as Obamacare.

Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, want Congress to approve a continuing resolution that funds government operations, but does not leave money for the Affordable Care Act. Such legislation would be vetoed by President Barack Obama, setting up a showdown that could result in a government shutdown.

Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said he backed Cruz’s efforts.

“I agree with this effort to defund it, or keep Texas out of the program unless we can modify it to a Texas-specific solution,” he said.

Bush is running unopposed for the Republican nomination for Texas land commissioner. He’s considered one of the party’s rising stars and is expected to cruise in next year’s election.

He’s expected to “Cruz” through next year’s election, eh?

Unless there’s a strong Democratic candidate, that’s what will happen. In his quest for Land Commissioner, Bush is running unopposed in the Republican primary so far, and it’s quite probable that’s how things will remain. Conversely, He’s making a specific effort to stay well under the radar. Bush wants to get elected quietly and calmly… just how his uncle moved swiftly through the ranks before defeating Ann Richards in 1994.

But remember, when George P. Bush says he wants to defund Obamacare, that means he wants millions of Texans, eligible today for MediCaid, to continue to make due without any kind of health insurance. He wants hospitals all over the state to wade through the financial struggle of seeing patients without any compensation. He wants people to be denied health care due to a pre-existing condition. He wants insurance companies to keep spend money on executive bonuses, instead of providing the best health care for the hard- earned dollars of Texas families. What he and the Republican Party support is not better health care for Texas… it’s the continuation of Crisis Care.

This is a clarion call to Democrats. Most politicos in the state are pretty sure that George P. Bush is destined to win this seat. But a Democratic candidate can bring Bush out of the shadows by running a good campaign. A main reason why Texas Republicans are able to stay so dominant? Because Texans aren’t presented with reasonable alternatives. If Bush is running as a relative unknown, a Democratic candidate could, at the very least, force him into a debate so Texans get to see a true choice in this race. And of course… if they don’t run, there’s no way they can win.

Great, yet another member of the Bush family rising up through the political ranks. Which is why I agree with the family matriarch… “We’ve had enough Bushes” in Texas statewide politics. He just gave up some ammo here, and I hope Democrats choose to use it.