All posts by L. Wayne Ashley

Thanks for visiting!! My name is Wayne, and I live in Houston, Texas. I wouldn't consider myself a "diehard" liberal activist, but I definitely have a Progressive view on most issues. I'm a proud Millennial, and I feel like the voice of my generation in Texas gets overshadowed by the older, more established groups. This is my effort to change that. Please come back and read when you can.

Will ‘Respect’ Ever Matter Again?

Though the song was originally written and first performed by Otis Redding in 1965, the mega-hit Respect did not reach the top of the charts, and did not become one of the world’s greatest known anthems from his work.  It was only when the song was given a new perspective and performed by the one and only Aretha Franklin that it spoke to the hearts and minds of people across the globe.

But over 50 years later, R-E-S-P-E-C-T is in short supply these days, especially from the most senior leadership in the United States.  Whether one supports or opposes President Donald Trump, few would hold him up as a role model for how their children should behave.  No matter one’s personal opinions of Trump’s latest victim of attack, the controversial Omarosa Manigault Newman, comments like this about the former White House senior staffer should give each of us pause…

 

There used to be a line. A line we as people had to draw for ourselves, and say “This is not me. This is not acceptable. This is not the example I want to set for my kids, or for the next generation.

As the Trump era continues to erode our common values, one is left to wonder… once they’re gone, can we ever get them back?  Will Respect Ever Matter Again??

Right now in 2018, it remains an open question.

 

Sending love, prayers and respect to the one and only Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.  

 

“We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right.”  

– Aretha Franklin

 

 

Missing Out: Texas High Schools Way Behind On Voter Registration Mandate

Ask any teacher or principal at a Texas High School, and they can immediately tell you that in their job, they have a lot to do.  Teaching course curriculum, supervising their classrooms, meeting benchmarks, planning for the safety of their schools.  It’s a lot to contend with in most any machination.

Given that this is the case, it’s probably not a surprise that most Texas High School Administrators are paying less attention to the state laws around voting than they are the state graduation requirements.  As Ashley Lopez of KUT Austin reports, this seems to be the case for an overwhelming majority of our state’s high schools.

Roughly a third of Texas high schools have requested voter registration forms from the Texas Secretary of State’s office, a new report from the Texas Civil Rights Project finds.

Requesting forms from the state agency is the first step schools must take so they can register students to vote. Texas law requires schools to give eligible students these forms at least twice each school year.

While the percentage of schools following the law is low at 34 percent, it’s higher than what it was in 2016 – a mere 14 percent.

Researchers looked at requests for voter registration forms by high schools “from the close of voter registration for the last presidential election (October 2016) to the close of voter registration for this year’s first round primaries (February 2018).”

With 66 percent of Texas High Schools not requesting a single Voter Registration form for eligible students, the news can seem pretty bleak.  But a couple of factors can affect this particular law.  For one thing, the Texas Civil Rights Project report strongly suspects that most high schools don’t even know this law exists, as it has not been enforced in recent memory.  Because the state never talks about this law, there’s a good chance many principals do not know about it.  So putting the knowledge out there will help to recruit some school administrators that may not have previously known to comply.

But as disheartening as the news maybe, it also presents a rare opportunity.  With more than sixty days to go before the 2018 General Election Voter Registration Deadline (October 9th), parents, students, and concerned community members have the ability to inquire about these practices at their local schools.  With some careful planning and hard work, there is still time to get many more interested students access to Voter Registration Forms.

If you’re an administrator reading this post, here is the direct link to the form needed to request official Voter Registration Forms be sent to your High School.  Though we all hope the day when the Texas Secretary of State will simply send the forms to our schools and HELP our students to exercise their rights as citizens, we can still make an impact right now.

Most voting age citizens of Texas also have the ability to become Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrars, which is a great way to encourage voter registration in your community.  Many groups even organize workshops to help citizens through the process, but here are the steps to become a VDVR directly from the Texas Secretary of State website.

Texoblogosphere: Week of June 18th

The Texas Progressive Alliance strongly condemns the inhumane practice of separating families from their children as it brings you its weekly roundup.

Off the Kuff looked back at the polls from 2010 and 2014 to get a sense of where we are today.

SocraticGadfly talks about the need for third parties of the left, in the plural as necessary.

Neil at All People Have Value posted a picture of people protesting at the proposed Houston location of the baby jail for kids taken from families at the border.

After being targeted by hackers last week, Texas Leftist is dusting off, and standing by our values.  This blog is a site which will always promote diversity, inclusion and understanding.  As such, TL was happy to observe and celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid Al Fitr with our fellow Texans.

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

Texas Vox examines the issues of storing renewable energy in Texas.

The TSTA Blog would like to know who is going to pay for more school counselors.

Gaby Diaz wants real action on school shootings.

G. Paris Johnson explores mental health issues in the African-American community.

Therese Odell reviews the Trump/Kim bro-fest so you don’t have to.

Jessica Elizarraras notes Whataburger’s reaction to the IHOP/IHOB name change.

Eid Mubarak! Texans Mark The Close of Ramadan

(Originally posted on June 15th, hackers apparently  deleted this post over the weekend. So it is being reposted, with a very slight title change)

The state of Texas is home to a sizeable Muslim population, last officially noted at 422,000 persons during the 2010 Census.  As we approach the next Census, all estimates indicate that the Texas population has grown in significant number, with the majority of Muslim Texans living in the Greater Houston area.

Like Christianity, Judaism or any other of the world’s major religions, Islam is composed of many diverse groups and variations within the religion.  But one major observation that is common for all is the holy month of Ramadan, a month of fasting, prayer and religious traditions.  At the conclusion of Ramadan comes one of Islam’s biggest holidays, Eid Al-Fitr.  It is a joyous time where the worldwide community celebrates with family, worship and fellowship.

For Muslim Texans up and down the Gulf Coast, this also marks the first observance of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr since Hurricane Harvey.  Many communities were affected, and some even devastated by the storm.  But just as common was the response of Texans answering the call to help those in need.  As the President of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston and former Houston City Council Member M.J. Khan said at the time, helping Houstonians in the wake of Harvey was a “total no-brainer”.   So for a host of reasons, this year’s holiday is special indeed.

U. S. Senate Candidate Beto O’Rourke, still garnering press for the completion of his trip to all 254 of the state’s counties, was also in Houston to mark Eid Festivities  with his fellow Texans.   As expected, Beto and his team live streamed on their way to the event.

To all those who celebrate, Texas Leftist wishes you a most joyous, most blessed Eid Al-Fitr.

Eid Mubarak!

A prominent Mosque in Southwest Houston, one of few in the region flanked by the two small towers, or minarets.  

 

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

 

GOALS: Beto O’Rourke Visits all 254 Texas Counties

Texans are known for having quite a bit of pride in their state.  Most are quick to site the myriad of ways in which Texas is bigger and/or better than other areas.

While most of us know that the Lone Star State is BIG, very few of us can say that we’ve experienced the true size of Texas

But as David Yaffe-Bellany of the Texas Tribune reports, one politician just made some impressive news, and fulfilled an impressive campaign promise at the same time…

After tens of thousands of miles on the road, hundreds of town hall meetings and innumerable cups of coffee, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke made the final stop on his much-ballyhooed tour of all 254 Texas counties on Saturday, visiting Gainesville in his continuing bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz this fall.

Over the last 15 months, O’Rourke’s county-by-county driving tour has taken him all over the state, from his hometown of El Paso on the Mexican border to Cooke County in the north, where he held a town hall on Saturday afternoon.

“Here we are in Gainesville, which, as the crow flies, might be the farthest point you can get from El Paso,” he said to laughter from a packed house in the historic Santa Fe train depot.

The tour represents more than just an expansive retail campaign across the largest state in mainland America. It also marks a dramatic deviation from the political playbook employed by the majority of Texas Democrats over the last two decades.

Running a true statewide campaign is a promise Beto O’Rourke made early on during the campaign, and as of this weekend, it is a promise kept.  The trek also marks an historic accomplishment for a statewide candidate.  Though O’Rourke and his team are not the first to have visited every Texas county during a statewide campaign, it is still a rather rare feat.  So as the first known campaign to complete such a feat in the 21st century and with copious social media documentation.

As the Tribune says, Beto’s strategy is a far cry from previous Democratic (or Republican) candidates.  Most Democrats have run their statewide campaigns by sticking to the “urban triangle” of Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston with rarely a stop elsewhere.  As a result, the Democratic party has basically retreated to only these areas of the state.

But whatever the result come November, Beto O’Rourke has laid a new course which all Democrats, centrists and Progressives should be watching.  The only way to turn Texas’ political tide is to be competitive in every single county, and you can’t be competitive if you don’t show up.

Let’s hope the originality continues.

Hey Beto!!  Thanks for showing up.

Texoblogosphere: Week of April 9th

The Texas Progressive Alliance is neither the subject nor the target of an investigation, but it is bringing you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff noted that Texas lost another federal lawsuit about voting rights.

Socratic Gadfly, seeing the latest anti-Palestinian violence by Israelis, looks at myth vs reality in a major piece of Jewish history.

Stace writes about Tex-Mex music Grammy winners Los Texmaniacs’ new album, Cruzando Borders, which will touch on border and Mexican American themes. It’s quite timely during this era of Trumpismo.

After more than a generation of one-party dominance, it’s tough for any Texas Democrat to predict what a winning statewide campaign would actually look like. But if Texas Leftist had to take guess, it would come pretty close to the Beto O’ Rourke campaign thus far. After a massive fundraising haul, Beto is showing that he means business in this race. And speaking of winning, more great news for Texas’ Classical Music community as the Houston Chamber Choir receives a very prestigious National honor.

Neil at All People Have Value attended, as he does each week, the John Cornyn Houston Office Protest.

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

Stan Spinner, Lindy McGee, and Julie Boom urge Texans to not politicize vaccinations.

Better Texas Blog explains why a property-tax-for-sales-tax swap is a bad idea.

Elise Hu remembers her first mentor and his warning about Sinclair Broadcasting.

Deborah Beck urges elected leaders to have in-person meetings with constituents.

Therese Odell grapples with the politics of Roseanne.

The FIRST: Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth Gives Birth To Second Daughter

If you take ten seconds, and do a quick Google search of the term “An American Original”, the results that pull up first in some ways quite extraordinary.  Walt Disney was certainly so as a business magnate and visionary.  Few Americans could certainly compare to the genius of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin.

In the 21st Century, those true American Original stories continue.  And thankfully for the rest of us, the great people of Illinois have sent a TRUE American Original to Washington in United States Senator Tammy Duckworth.  As if her incredible journey from serving our country in Iraq, to injury in combat as a double amputee, to being elected to the Senate isn’t inspiring enough, Duckworth never seems to be satisfied with her long list of historic accomplishments.  As Daniella Diaz and Sunlen Serfaty of CNN report, this trailblazer is far from done rewriting the rules of Washington or the history books…

(CNN) Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth gave birth to a baby girl Monday, her office announced, the first US senator to do so while in office.

“Bryan, Abigail and I couldn’t be happier to welcome little Maile Pearl as the newest addition to our family and we’re deeply honored that our good friend Senator (Daniel) Akaka was able to bless her name for us — his help in naming both of our daughters means he will always be with us,” Duckworth said in her office’s statement.
Duckworth had her first child in 2014, when she was serving in the House of Representatives.
An aide close to Duckworth told CNN she’s doing well and taking 12 weeks to bond with her new daughter and take care of her family. She’s staying in Washington, DC, for her maternity leave and is available to vote as needed.
When she gave birth to her first daughter, she took her maternity leave at her home in Chicago, but this time she and her and her husband decided that she would give birth in the DC area in case she needs to vote, the aide said.
Akaka — a Democrat from Hawaii who served in Congress for more than three decades — died Friday at age 93. He was also responsible for giving Duckworth’s first daughter, Abigail, her middle name of O’kalani. They worked together on veterans’ issues dating back to when she was a patient at Walter Reed and he asked her to testify before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee when he was chairman.
The juxtaposition of seeing someone like the Senator, who works overtime to do her job, raise her family, and address the needs of her constituents, against the constant circus that is the Trump Administration.  Thankfully for the rest of us, Duckworth herself has been quick to call the President out on his lies and inability to do his job for the American People.  She even gave Donald Trump the nickname Cadet Bone Spurs.
Sure it’s way to early to even consider 2020, at least officially.  But if Democrats want to take back the White House, I hope they’re paying attention to the folks that can truly get that job done, like Senator Tammy Duckworth.
Congratulations to the Senator and her family!!