Category Archives: Texas

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.  

 

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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.

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.