Texoblogosphere: Week of March 30th

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks even Ted Cruz deserves affordable health insurance as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff hears the death rattle of the anti-gay forces.

Harold Cook explains how the “school choice” scam works.

Horwitz at Texpatriate makes an early pick and endorses Sylvester Turner for mayor of Houston.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos is pleased to know the Houston Chronicle called out Ted Cruz for being all about Ted. The Houston Chronicle Spanks Ted Cruz.

Houston’s LyondellBasell refinery’s management turned off an advance warning system near the front gates of the plant, where striking USW workers walk the picket line. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs says that if this is how they demonstrate their concerns for worker safety, it’s no wonder they won’t end a work stoppage despite the national settlement.

Neil at All People Have Value said you should make an effort with the people in your life as part of a complete outlook on life. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Bad things happen when a bunch of government haters try to run the government like a business. This Is What Happens When We Turn Government Over To Corporations.


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

Nonsequiteuse analyzes Ted Cruz’s font and logo choices.

Paradise in Hell examines the Supreme Court arguments about specialty license plates sporting the Confederate Battle Flag.

Grits for Breakfast hopes the state loses that specialty license plate case, though not for the same reason as the plaintiffs.

Purple City thinks the legislative attempt to kill the private high speed rail line may not amount to much.

Better Texas Blog gamely stumps for Medicaid expansion.

The Texas Election Law Blog explains what recent SCOTUS decisions on voter ID and redistricting have to do with pending litigation over those issues here.

Raise Your Hand Texas testified against the voucher bills in the Senate.

Rice Univ Tree Tunnel

(This week’s feature photo is from the world famous tree tunnels at Rice University in Houston.  Photo credit:  L. Wayne Ashley)

Interstate 69 Fully Routed Through Houston, Harris County

It’s been a very piecemeal process, but another big step towards the formation of Interstate 69 is now complete, with the route now fully decided through Houston and Harris County.  Here’s more from the Alliance for I-69 Texas

The 11.9 mile section of US 59 inside of Loop 610 in Houston has been added to the Interstate Highway System as Interstate 69. All of the route through Harris County is now part of I-69 and a continuous section of 75 miles of I-69 is now in place through Montgomery County, Harris County and extending to a point at the south edge of Rosenberg in Fort bend County. The Texas Transportation Commission voted March 26 to complete the designation process for the section through central Houston.

The delay through Houston was actually finalizing how to move the Interstate corridor through the 610 loop.  Given that the urban section of US 59 is already one of the most congested roadways in Texas, residents have been concerned that re-designation of the existing road would only add to those woes.

And yes… they’re probably right.

In truth, I-69 brings both new opportunities and new challenges to the Bayou City.  The increased visibility of the new mainline route is sure to aid in Houston’s quest to become a tourism destination.  But it will also put an even greater strain on the city’s infrastructure. Whether one chooses to celebrate or abhor Interstate 69, all should take it’s formation as a renewed call for aggressive transit investment throughout the Greater Houston region.  It may be expensive to implement a comprehensive transit plan now, but waiting any longer is an expense the region simply cannot afford.

Harris County Map Google

Interstate 69


(photo credit:  Wikimedia commons)

Texoblogosphere: Week of March 23rd

The Texas Progressive Alliance roots for underdogs even to the detriment of its own brackets as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff argues against having a state spending cap, much less making it tighter.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos makes a solid case as to Why The Right is so Wrong given the last few weeks of national political events.

The Poop Cruz is now boarding and ready to set sail, announces PDiddie at Brains and Eggs. Or is that ‘shove off’?

Neil at All People Have Value saw the real spirit of Texas at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


Texans for Public Justice concludes that transferring the Public Integrity Unit would reward crooked politicians by undermining prosecutorial independence.

Concerned Citizens wants to hear voices of support for San Antonio Mayoral candidates.

Better Texas Blog calls the latest effort to restrict spending in the Legislature a really bad idea.

Michael Barajas says to stop calling Houston a “sanctuary city”.

Texas Clean Air Matters rounds up the energy, water, and climate bills in the 84th Legislature.

The Texas Election Law Blog highlights systemic issues documented in Battleground Texas’ post-election report.

Music Musings: Charli XCX ft. Rita Ora “Doing It”

As the 2010s roll on through the 2nd half of the decade, many in the pop music world have begun to look for the sounds and trends which define this decade.  Will the 2010s be nothing more than a re-hash of the 1980s?  Will Disco make a triumphant return?

The answer is still unclear, but if there is one artist that seems to have her finger on the most definitive sounds of today, British pop sensation Charli XCX seems a likely candidate.

A master co-writer of Millennial anthems like Icona Pop’s Mega-Hit I Love It and Iggy Azalea’s Fancy, XCX is now creating a stir with her new solo effort Sucker… named the Best Pop Album of 2014 by Rolling Stone Magazine.  Here’s an excerpt from that publication’s rave review

Charli runs the album’s rock & roll guitars and attitude through enough distressed digital production and thumb-type vernacular to make this the first fully updated iteration of punk pop in ages. It’s also a fitting cap to a music year often defined by powerful young women. Aitchison understands that the difference between a big dumb song and an awesome big dumb song is often just a tiny bit more groove and musk.

That electricity thoughout XCX’s Sucker is well-evidenced in the jam Doing It featuring fellow English pop star Rita Ora.  A careful concoction of throwback feel and cutting-edge clarity, Doing It is a girl power anthem with potential to power up any dance floor.

Check out the video for Doing It below, and be on the lookout for more Charli XCX.

Music Musings: Gorgon City Ft. Jennifer Hudson “Go All Night”

If we had to isolate a single term to define pop music in the 21st century, the task would be a momentous one indeed. So far, this century has seen almost every type of music have at least a small moment in the sun.

But among the main genre groups, only one can stand up as a uniquely 21st century art form. EDM, better known as Electronic Dance Music, has come to define and distinguish what we consider as 21st century sounds. So far, it is the sound of the Millennial generation.

So what happens when you take a cutting edge EDM track and pair it with one of the Century’s most epic voices to date? That’s what listeners experience on the sizzling track by Gorgon City featuring Jennifer Hudson— Go All Night.

From the album Sirens, this EDM track is perfect triumvirate of beauty, beat and boom. The RnB songstress unleashes a timeless, soaring vocal over GC’s spell-binding production. Hudson herself has been on a roll lately, with appearance des everywhere from the smash hit show Empire to awesome features with the likes of rapper Iggy Azalea. But her work on this tune is tough to beat.

The British group is in the midst of a tour across the U.S. Check out their dates in both Austin and Houston this weekend if you can make it.






(Photo credit:  Screenshots from the Go All Night music video)




Texoblogosphere: Week of March 16th

The Texas Progressive Alliance is still full from celebrating Pi Day as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff reports on the last (we hope) special legislative election of the year.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos is both outraged and embarrassed by the 47 GOP U.S. Senator saboteurs. The Snow Made Them Do It.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is terrified that private entities are controlling are access to water. Oligarchy is the Republican way.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. The GOP in Texas used to be for local control, now they’re not. Why is that? They’re For Local Control As Long As They Control The Locals.

A tale of letters, email, and self-inflicted wounds was told by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value visited the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Neil hopes that any race of super-smart alien cows who visit us have mercy on our souls. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


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

The Makeshift Academic reminds us that Obamacare is about people, not states.

Austin Contrarian illustrates the problem of disconnectivity in the streets.

The TSTA blog previews a couple of bad education bills.

Texas Vox calls for renewables to push out coal.

Mean Green Cougar Red supports doing away with Daylight Saving Time.

Rafael McDonnell recalls a meeting and interview he had with anti-gay pastor Flip Benham 20 years ago.

Raise Your Hand Texas testifies that an A-F grading system for schools and school districts is a bad idea.



(This week’s feature photo is the 1903 Tyrell Public Library in Beaumont, Texas.  The 112 year old building was originally constructed for the First Baptist Church of Beaumont.  Photo credit:  L. Wayne Ashley)

Big Oil Sues To Weaken Houston Pollution Regulators

In an era where many of the nation’s richest cities have forged their wealth in big banks and stock market trading, Houston has maintained its standing as an industrial town.  A large part of the metropolitan economy centers around production and shipping.  One third of America’s plastics, and one fourth of all gasoline production is done in or very near the city limits.

With all of that heavy industry comes the burden of heavy pollution.  Its no surprise that practically every night’s newscast features a major chemical spill, localized air quality alert or concerns from a community trying to discover the truth of a recent pollution event.  These realities are a fact of life for residents of Southeast Texas.

It’s also why Houston works so hard to protect its residents from such hazards.  The City of Houston’s Bureau of Pollution Control and Prevention (BPCP) has an extraordinary task of maintaining balance between the region’s economic growth and environmental safety.  The roots of the Houston BPCP go back to the 1960s.

But some Big Oil companies want to weaken the BPCP’s abilities to protect Houstonians.  Here’s the story from Dave Fehling of Houston Public Media

In a case scheduled to be heard later this year before the Texas Supreme Court, a group of big energy companies will argue that the City of Houston is breaking Texas law.

The big companies – which include ExxonMobil and Conoco Phillips – say only the state can legally enforce Texas environmental laws. Lawyers for the industry did not make themselves available for an interview. But in briefs filed with the court, they argue that Houston is going rogue, enforcing state pollution laws because: “Houston disagrees with the TCEQ’s enforcement actions.”  TCEQ is the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

It’s no secret that Houston and Harris County officials have for years complained that the TCEQ isn’t nearly aggressive enough in monitoring plants and pursuing polluters. In briefs submitted by environmental groups, they call the TCEQ “severely underfunded” and say that’s why it’s critical the city help out by having its own pollution police.

Which, according to the city’s pollution control bureau, is exactly what the state’s TCEQ has been asking Houston to do for years.

“We receive complaints from TCEQ weekly, “said Daisy James, acting chief of the Houston Pollution Bureau. “We used to have a contract with TCEQ.”

Even with the TCEQ often in cooperation with the local agency, some Big Oil companies have chosen to try and snatch local control away from the city, even if it means exposing Houstonians to more dangerous pollutants.  Keep in mind that the lawsuit isn’t actually about whether the companies themselves are violating state regulations, but rather who catches them in the act.  They know that state monitors, by nature are both less capable of being a local watchdog and less familiar with the violations in place.

This is a story that needs more awareness across the state.  Houston residents deserve to have the best environmental protections available to them.  Not to be bullied by companies that don’t want to meet the highest standards in the first place.

It’s time for Big Oil to clean up its act.  Then they won’t have to worry about who’s watching.

houston plants

(photo credit:  wikipedia)