Category Archives: Texas

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.

Texoblogosphere: Week of April 2nd

The Texas Progressive Alliance believes that everyone counts and everyone should be counted as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff takes two more looks at precinct data in Harris County from the primary races.

Socratic Gadfly offers some updates on what now clearly appears to be a weird triangle in Marlin between Houston real estate “flippers,” a former VA hospital building, and the General Land Office and P. Bush.

Neil at All People Have Value again made the point that there is authoritarian/Constitutional crisis on the way.

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

Luke Amphlett criticizes the San Antonio ISD handbook on SB4, the so-called “sanctuary cities” law.

Therese Odell sees a chance for the Roseanne reboot to open a national dialogue on important issues, but fears it will take the easy way out.

Durrel Douglas unveils a project aimed at placing more Black people on government/NGO Boards and Commissions.

The Texas Living Waters Project reminds us that urban wildlife and people need healthy creeks and streams, not channelized ditches.

Amy Pearl asks who “walkability” is for.

BeyondBones explores the origins of timekeeping.

Guest Texan Aviva Shen examines the primary ouster of McLennan County DA Abel Reyna.

High School Students Hold Inaugural “Day Of Unity” To Promote Civil Discourse

Sometimes words like “historic” just don’t get the job done. But if this weekend’s events weren’t already historic enough to show the capabilities of our nation’s young people with the March For Our Lives events on Saturday, some young Southeast Texans decided to forge yet another new path.

From Patrick Svitek of the Texas Tribune, here’s the story on today’s event…

BELLAIRE — For several hours Sunday, an auditorium at Bellaire High School played host to an uncommon sight in Texas politics: an organized attempt at unity.

Hosted in part by Texas High School Democrats and Republicans, the Day of Unity that was held here drew two of the state’s most well-known partisans: GOP U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio. And it brought together the Democratic and Republican state party chairmen — Gilberto Hinojosa and James Dickey — for what was billed as their first joint appearance ever.

In describing the need for the event, one of the organizers, Adam Hoffman, a student at Robert M. Beren Academy and chairman of the Texas High School Republicans, said the country’s “being ripped apart from within. Our social fabric is tearing.”

[…]

The Day of Unity also featured appearances by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, and the city’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, who provided a proclamation recognizing the day. On the panel featuring Dickey and Hinojosa, the state’s party chairs, things got chippy on the topic of gerrymandering, through the two reached something of a consensus on polarization being less of a problem when elected officials are closest to their constituents.

Yep, you read that right… the living human known as Texas Senator Ted Cruz actually showed up for this event… in Texas.  An impressive feat if there ever was one.

Oh, sorry… the point of this post was Civil Discourse.  Still working on it, I guess.

In coverage leading up to the event with Houston Matters‘ Joshua Zinn, organizers Adam Hoffman and Alex Kontoyiannis discussed how the goal of the event was to be expressly non-political.  By all measures that goal was a success.  Though the first event occurred in Texas, Hoffman and Kontoyiannis also revealed that the Day of Unity Texas is quite possibly the start of a national movement, as other student leaders from across the country have already expressed interest in hosting similar events.

Austinites Search For Answers Amid Serial Bombing Threats

No matter how different the lives of Texans may be, safety is a concern which all of us share.  We all want to live in safe cities, and not have to be constantly worried about major threats.

But unfortunately for the great citizens of Austin, one bad actor is causing much concern.  Since March 2nd, a serial bomber has put the city on high alert.  And as Alex Samuels of the Texas Tribune reports, the latest attack is creating new cause for alarm…

A fourth bombing in Austin on Sunday night has placed Texas’ capital city even more on edge, with two more people seriously injured and police describing what could be a new method used to set off the most recent explosion.

“We are clearly dealing with what we expect to be a serial bomber,” said Brian Manley, Austin’s interim police chief.

In a press conference Monday morning, Manley said a tripwire mechanism appears to have been used in the most recent blast. That indicates a higher level of sophistication by the bomber than police had previously seen, and also a new level of randomness in the attacks, Manley said.

“What we have seen here is a significant change from what appeared to be three targeted attacks to an attack that could have harmed anyone,” Manley said.

Unlike previous bombings, the trip wire incident also occurred in a different part of town.  So the serial bomber’s reach now extends far beyond the area of South Austin.

On Tuesday morning March 20th, yet another package exploded at a FedEx facility near San Antonio.  As Bill Chappell and Scott Neuman of NPR report, this incident seems to be connected…

A package destined for an address in Austin, Texas, exploded at a FedEx distribution facility near San Antonio early Tuesday morning, reportedly resulting to a slight injury to an employee.

“One person was treated and released at the scene,” the Schertz Police Department says.

The FBI has agents at the site of the explosion, which comes after a string of bombings in Austin. FBI spokeswoman Michelle Lee says, “We believe that the explosion is likely connected” to those earlier blasts.

“There is an army of law enforcement folks that are here,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler told NPR’s David Greene. “Hundreds of federal agents, multiple federal agencies, hundreds of agents working on this outside of Austin and Texas.”

“Army” is probably not far of a stretch, as experts across the country are working hard to assist and protect the citizens of Austin.  Just yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott allotted nearly $250,000 in emergency funds to help equip Texas law enforcement agencies with the most current bomb detection technology available.  Whoever this domestic terrorist is, and wherever they may be hiding, they can be absolutely sure that a lot of Texans are looking for them.  And with over $115,000 in reward money as incentive for whoever can turn them over to Austin police, It’s only a matter of time before they are found.

 

After Heinous Russian Attack, UK Action Finally Drags Truth Out Of Trump White House

In an era filled with constant streams of misinformation, a coordinated response from the United States government is becoming a rare, precious commodity. Americans can barely keep with who is on the the Trump Administration payroll, much less any definitive policy stances.

But due to a tragic event overseas, the White House has finally seems to have gotten some of the message on Russia’s malicious actions.  As Alex Ward with Vox reports, Britain’s clear messages are shining a light that even Donald Trump’s Administration cannot run from… 

Donald Trump is one of the most Russia-friendly presidents in modern history. But in less than an hour on Thursday, he rebuked Russia harder than he has throughout his entire time in the White House.

[…]

On March 4, Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found on an outside bench in Salisbury, England. It turned out they had been poisoned with a highly toxic nerve agent.

Eight days later, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said it was “highly likely” that Russia was behind the attack on the Skripals. When asked about the event later that day, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to directly blame Russia but said that “we offer the fullest condemnation” of the attack.

But on Thursday, the White House issued a joint statement with allies to support Britain’s claim, which said: “The United Kingdom thoroughly briefed its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack. We share the United Kingdom’s assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation.”

Moscow, however, denies it had any hand in the attack.

The sanctions that the US Treasury Department issued on Thursday have a bit more of a backstory. It all goes back to the January 2017 US intelligence community assessment that Russia did meddle in the election, and did so to help Trump win the White House.

 

So there you have it. After months of stalling, dragging their feet on Congressionally-mandated sanctions, and even defending Vladimir Putin, the Trump Administration has finally, officially admitted to some of the misdeeds that American Intelligence officials mentioned all along.

After thousands of documents, and hours of testimony from United States intelligence agencies coming under attack from the Trump Administration, they suddenly turn tail and stand in full solidarity with Theresa May and British Intelligence?

Where is the outrage among Trump supporters? Why does it take the actions of a foreign government to finally convince this White House that Russia is a threat?? This is exhibit A that they (and Fox News, Breitbart, the whole Right Wing média vortex) have been LYING to the American People. Any Trump supporters that have the audacity to be honest with themselves should have cause for concern. Instead of working for the American People, it seems more and more like the Trump Administration, is only working for itself.

Now that we all finally live in a “yes Russia did it” world, let’s sincerely hope that people take into account how many of their politicians have lied to them to protect these misdeeds. They are on record, including the House Intelligence Committee members that decided to just DROP their investigation the day before news of this UK attack broke. In light of the news from the UK, this makes House Republicans look at best like fools incapable of running the country. At worst?? Accomplices to Trump’s misdeeds. And yes… these are the same Republicans that have crowed for DECADES about the importance of National Security and a robust Military Defense, are leaving Americans and our National Security vulnerable to attack because they refuse to discover what methods of attack were used previously.

Whatever daily distractions and news cycle crises occur between now and November, let’s all  hope that voters pay attention to important developments like these, and use them to VOTE accordingly.

Washington is in dire need of some watchdogs. Here’s hoping that Democrats are up for the job.

After Perplexing Attack On Sarah Davis, Have Texas Women Had It With Greg Abbott?

There was a time when some Texans had high hopes for Greg Abbott’s tenure as Governor. (emphasis on the term “some”). The mostly jovial and mild-mannered former Attorney General gave the impression that, perhaps, his administration would bring forth an elevated political discourse which puts the needs of real Texans before inter-partisan bickering and personal vendettas.

Of course… we know how that turned out. Behind the friendly smile lies a politician that really takes that “bully” part of the bully pulpit to heart.

For evidence of this, we need look no further than last year, which found the Governor telling lawmakers that he was “keeping a list” of anyone who opposed his initiatives during the Special Session.

But while Abbott has indeed taken several retaliation measures, one particular lawmaker has received an unprecedented wave of attacks. Here’s more on that from Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle

[Sarah] Davis, a West University Place state representative, lawyer and breast cancer survivor elected in 2010, represents House District 134. She sits on the powerful appropriations committee and chairs the committee on general investigating and ethics. Her power and influence only go so far.

But she’s one of the few moderates who hasn’t given up on Texas politics, who is willing to fight the often-futile battle against motivated, moneyed ideologues who have hijacked the Republican Party.

And for that she has drawn the ire of one of the most powerful, moneyed ideologues of them all: Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor, in a rare move, has come after several moderate Republicans who aren’t inclined to carry his water, but he seems to have reserved a special vintage of vengeance for Davis.

He has not only endorsed Davis’ opponent, Susanna Dokupil, whose chief qualification seems to be that she once worked for Abbott at the attorney general’s office. He has hit the campaign trail for the elusive Dokupil,

‪Not only is HD 134 known as a notorious swing district, but it also has some other unique attributes, like being the home of the world-reknowned  Texas Medical Center, Rice University and some of the most prominent biomedical research centers in the United States. For Governor Abbott to prop up an anti-vaxxer candidate in one of the most Doctor and Medical Professional-heavy electoral districts in the country?? Well…it smacks of either total ignorance or a simple lack of concern for the real issues of Texans in this district. Your guess is as good as mine.

Or perhaps, this fight serves as a proxy for Abbott’s fight against Texas Women. Most will recall that Davis’ record on women’s issues is starkly different than her Republican colleagues. Abbott, on the other hand, has distinguished himself as an ‘anti-woman Governor’ with all deliberate speed. Why else would he veto bi-partisan legislation designed to focus on Women’s Health issues?

Here’s more on that from Sophie Novack of the Texas Observer

Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy in the United States, the highest uninsured rate in the country and an ongoing Zika outbreak that threatens pregnant women. Yet Governor Greg Abbott unilaterally ended a committee that advises the state on women’s health programs.

Abbott on Thursday vetoed a bill with bipartisan support by Senator Borris Miles, D-Houston, that would continue the Women’s Health Advisory Committee past September.

“I am shocked and frustrated by the governor’s veto,” said Representative Donna Howard, D-Austin, who wrote the House companion to Miles’ bill. “At no point during the past six months had the governor’s office expressed any concerns to me over the legislation. This absentee style is disgraceful, and it is now jeopardizing the health and safety of women across the state.”

A very confusing decision, especially after the Governor himself highlighted maternal mortality as a focus of the Special Session. If he cared that much about the issue, what sense does it make to scuttle a panel devoted to research and recommendation?

And in case you’re wondering… a co-sponsor of this bill in the Texas House?  Rep. Sarah Davis.

Whatever the Governor’s motivations, one thing has become clear… Texas women are watching.  Abbott’s curious attempts to oust Davis have drawn major headlines across the state and all over the country.  But while he may believe that his efforts will draw far-right Primary voters to support Dokupil, most that actually live in the district are wondering if the attacks will ultimately serve to actually help Davis.  Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest strong turnout for Davis, including some Democrats that voted in the Republican Primary just to support her.  We’ll find out the final outcome with tonight’s Election results.

But one thing is for sure… this race has exposed a palpable weakness for Governor Abbott.  The misguided decision to meddle in this race could ultimately prove more detrimental to his agenda, and his political future than anyone else.

So back to the opening question… Have Texas Women HAD IT with Greg Abbott??  We’ll find out some opening thoughts on that tonight, with more to come in November.

Texas Leftist 2018 Endorsements- Democratic Primary

For those interested, here are the Texas Leftist Endorsements for the 2018 Democratic Primary.

Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  For the Primary, you must register to vote no later than February 5th (if you’re unsure of your voting status, here’s where you can check your registration).  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery Countyand Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

Texas Leftist has chosen to endorse candidates because they have demonstrated a commitment to advancing public policies that will improve the lives of Texans.  Though each person’s individual positions vary, they are generally candidates that stand for equality, social justice, comprehensive immigration reform, healthcare expansion, living wage and economic prosperity.

 

Though not endorsed by Texas Leftist, candidates Margarita Ruiz Johnson, Matt Harris, Glenn “Grumpy” Williams, Kevin Nelson, Tahir Javed and Levy Q. Barnes Jr. did participate in this year’s Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire.  Please consult their interviews for more information. 

 

Federal Races

United States Senate                            Beto O’Rourke

United States House TX #2               Silky Malik

United States House TX #7                Ivan Sanchez (TLCQ)

United States House TX #10             Tami Walker (TLCQ)

United States House TX #14              Adrienne Bell

United States House TX #18              Sheila Jackson-Lee

United States House TX #22              Steve Brown

United States House TX  #27             Vanessa Edwards Foster (TLCQ)

United States House TX #29               Sylvia R. Garcia

United States House TX #36               Dayna Steele

 

State Races

Governor                                                                    Andrew White

Lieutenant Governor                                            Mike Collier  (TLCQ)

General Land Office Commissioner             Miguel Suazo

Railroad Commissioner                                       Roman McAllen

Agriculture Commissioner                                Kim Olson

Comptroller                                                                Joi Chevalier

Texas State Senate #5                                Brian E. Cronin (TLCQ)

Texas State Senate #15                             John Whitmire

Texas State Senate #17                              Fran Watson (TLCQ)

Texas State House #28                               Meghan Scoggins

Texas State House #29                               Dylan Forbis

Texas State House #126                            Undrai Fizer

Texas State House #129                            Alexander Jonathan Karjeker

Texas State House #130                             Frederick A. Infortunio (TLCQ)

Texas State House #133                             Sandra G. Moore

Texas State House #134                             Allison Sawyer

Texas State House #138                              Adam Milasincic (TLCQ)

Texas State House #139                              Randy Bates

Texas State House #142                              Harold V. Dutton Jr.

Texas State House #146                               Shawn Nicole Thierry

Texas State House #147                               Garnet Coleman

 

Harris County Races

Harris County District Clerk                            Marilyn Burgess

Harris County Clerk                                              Diane Trautman

County Treasurer                                                   Dylan Osborne

Harris County Commissioner #2                  Adrian Garcia

Harris County Commissioner #4                   Penny Shaw

County School Trustee Position #3             Josh Wallenstein

 

Judicial Races

Texas Supreme Court, Place 2              Steven Kirkland

14th Court of Appeals, Place 3            Jerry Zimmerer

14th Court of Appeals, Place 8            Michele Chimene

55th Civil District Court                          Latosha Lewis Payne

113th Civil District Court                        Rabeea Collier

185th Civil District Court                       Jason Luong

188th Civil District Court                        Scott Dollinger

234th Civil District Court                        Lauren Reeder

269th Civil District Court                          Cory Sepolio

281st Civil District Court                           George Arnold

246th Family District Court                      Angela Graves- Harrington

289th Family District Court                      Barbara J. Stadler

309th Family District Court                      Kathy Vossler

Harris County Probate Court #2                         Jim L. Peacock

Harris County Probate Court #4                        James S. Horwitz (TLCQ)

Harris County Criminal Court #2                        Harold J. Landreneau

Harris County Criminal Court #5                        David M. Fleischer

Harris County Criminal Court #7                          Andrew A. Wright

Harris County Criminal Court #11                         Gus Saper

Harris County Criminal Court #12                        Juan A. Aguirre

Harris County Criminal Court #13                         Raul Rodriguez

Harris County Criminal Court #15                        Kris Ougrah

 

In addition to the TLCQ 2018 series, the following resources were also consulted for the 2018 Texas Leftist endorsements: Off The Kuff, Dos CentavosHouston GLBT CaucusProject Vote SmartThe Texas TribuneThe Houston Chronicle Endorsements, The Dallas Morning NewsThe League of Women Voters Guide and Ballotpedia.

 

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