There were going to be three, but now I can't find the third one.
Texas and Florida, the two most populous states in the US South, constantly compete in a variety of areas. Most prominently, the debate about which state has the bigger and scarier cockroaches (palmetto bugs, whatever) never seems to end. Both continually top each other in the most inexplicably crazy news story department: Florida is ahead, as Texas still hasn't found anything to beat bath-salt-crazed residents eating people's faces.
Saturday evening, as noted in last Wednesday's entry, I went to BBVA Compass Stadium with a party of six to see the Dash play Sky Blue FC. Six different Dash players scored a goal each, one for each in our group. And my niece got a photo with Dynamo Diesel before the match. Even a 6-1 victory wasn't enough, however, to keep the club's playoff chase alive, as the Chicago Red Stars beat the Orlando Pride that evening, and one of Chicago's two remaining games is against the Utah Royals, who are ahead of the Dash on head-to-head results, so effectively there's no way for the Dash to jump into fourth place.
Consolation: the Dash can go have fun and play under no pressure against the first-place Courage in Cary NC. It sure beats where the squad was at this time last year, playing home games in Frisco and Edinburg while their stadium and the surrounding neighborhood were partially submerged. (Sidenote: Frisco and Edinburg, along with Cary, are venues for the upcoming CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifiers.)
Reminiscences were the theme of the week, as Texas Progressive Alliance bloggers and news sources looked back at Hurricane Harvey, John McCain, and other people and events in the week that was.
Last Tuesday's conviction of Paul Manafort and guilty plea by Michael Cohen--which occurred within minutes of each other—was a turning point for the Trump presidency, and both items were briefly summarized by Somervell County Salon.
Socratic Gadfly remembers Senator Maverick (not fondly, either).
#Harvey1YearLater was an opportunity for many Houstonians to contribute their stories to the narrative of the region's most destructive storm in over a century:
Amen, Quetzal. Originally, that's all I was going to say. But, as often happens, Quetzal Cáceres's post got my analytical juices flowing, and those juices took the form of words.
The goal of wresting the Democratic Party from the clutches of its corporate masters and turning into a true party of peace and justice is a noble one. The goal of returning it to the days of FDR, LBJ, or even JFK is a misguided one.
From what I've read, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is sincere in her socialist leanings. She has some knowledge of the implications of advancing a socialist policy agenda, and why people (voters or not) will embrace socialism if they feel that capitalism has failed them. Does she know everything about it? No, but then who really does? I also perceive that her message gets muddled by the people who feel that they have a right to use or co-opt her voice.
Four days after beating the Washington Spirit at home 4-0, the Houston Dash visited smoky Seattle last night and lost 2-0 to the Reign. They still have a shot at a top-four finish in the NWSL and their first playoff in their five seasons of existence. Two points separate fourth place (Chicago Red Stars) from seventh (Dash). But they will likely need to win both of their remaining matches: one at home against a Sky Blue team that has yet to win this season; the other at North Carolina against a team that has lost only once.
The good news is that the North Carolina Courage's one loss was on their Cary NC home ground, at the hands—er, I mean the feet—of the Utah Royals. So the Courage are not invincible.
A playoff run would be nice, but even if the Dash fall short, I'm still a big fan...and the live-in companion of their loudest fan. ;-)
Order out of Organizational Chaos
I've heard from lots of fans about how messed up the Dynamo-Dash organization is, which the Christen Press mess and other quality players' departures brought to light. But that doesn't affect how I feel about the players, both Dash and Dynamo, or about the squad as a whole that new manager Vera Pauw has built. (I'm less enchanted with the Dynamo as a unit and with manager Wilmer Cabrera.)
I had my doubts about Pauw at the beginning of the season, when the team wasn't quite playing as a team, what with all the new arrivals. But even then I detected that Pauw was breaking things down into their component parts, improving those parts, and reassembling them into something better. The result is the Dash's best season yet: new highs for wins with 8, and for points and goals with 29 of each as of today.
Moving Rachel Daly back to the top of the formation where she belongs was the biggest improvement. Daly plays pretty well at any outfield position, including right fullback where she plays for England, but with the Dash she needs to be up front combining with Kealia Ohai. The additions of creative attacker Sofia Huerta and tall halfback Claire Polkinghorne, among others, helped solidify the team.
Just before the season started, Kayleen and I went to the Chocolate Bar in Rice Village and saw Coach Pauw waiting to order ice cream. We are frequent customers at both locations of the Chocolate Bar, so I interpreted that as a good sign.
Taking the Niece
This Saturday evening, I'll get to take my five-year-old niece and her parents to their first Dash match, the final 2018 regular-season home game against winless wonders Sky Blue FC. The niece has exhibited an aptitude for soccer, so I hope she'll be impressed with seeing some of the world's best players who happen to be women—including the two-time FIFA player of the year, former Dasher Carli Lloyd.
Ideally, I'd hope that, by the time my niece reaches adulthood, women's team sports will get coverage and attendance equal to men's in this country—and perhaps even equitable salaries for women athletes. Some day soon, perhaps in my lifetime, women's sports will just be...sports. It's already happening in Cascadia: The Portland Thorns routinely play to capacity crowds.
If you're curious, tickets are still available for Saturday, including some $9 specials for Fan Appreciation Night (Promotion Code = BBVA). This game will likely have way more than the usual 3,000 or so fans in attendance, and may set a new attendance record.
I'll leave it to my sister to explain to her daughter (or not) the meaning of #DashTFOn.
Sorry I missed it. Friday the 17th was the Feast of Saint Hyacinth, or San Jacinto in Spanish. The flowers on the crest of the University of St. Thomas, Houston, are a hyacinth, subtly symbolizing the 13th-century Polish ecclesiastical reformer, namesake of a major river in Texas and the site of the decisive battle in the War for Texian Independence. It's hard to tell what type of flowers appear in the lower-left quadrant of the UST shield, since they lack that distinctive purple, but they do have star-shaped blossoms.
Also hard to tell, if your news diet is limited to mainstream media, is that the US is right now complicit in one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in history. The cable news channels at long last seem to have awoken to this fact, which alternative media have been reporting for years. So the next time a Facebook friend posts some version of that graph showing which media sources are trustworthy, ask why those oh-so reliable founts of information spent so many months not even mentioning Yemen while telling us about every mole and freckle on Stormy Daniels.
Beto O'Rourke enjoyed a swelling enthusiasm for his effort to unseat Ted Cruz and go to Washington as Texas' new junior US Senator. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs collected favorable polling and mentions of television and Facebook advertising to revise his prediction to a much closer contest, while Kuff seemed to be feeling a little pessimistic about Beto's chances and speculated on some consolation prizes for Texas Democrats.
The TexTrib's Ross Ramsey has an analysis--reprinted at Progrexas--of Greg Abbott's attempt to expand gubernatorial power that would make even Pa and Ma Ferguson, among the most corrupt Texas governors in the state's history, blush. (With envy, not shame.) Retiring state legislator Byron Cook warned that the governor's move represented a constitutional overreach, aka power grab.
I have just returned from a few days in Minnesota, spent visiting relatives and rediscovering tennis. It was my first visit to the Gopher State since summer 1986, apart from passing through it on the Amtrak Empire Builder in 1998.
Highlights of the trip included playing tennis with Mom and her friends, seeing a very live production of West Side Story at the legendary Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, devouring a rhubarb pannekoeken at the Pannekoeken Huis in Saint Louis Park, hearing Minnesota regional accents everywhere dontcha know, and dinner with a friend who moved to the Twin Cities from Houston last year and absolutely loves the place.
Not-so-highlights included a visit to the Mall of America (it's just not my thing), constant political ads on the TV, and noticing how incredibly white my parents' summer neighborhood is. And it is very much a summer neighborhood: Owners can live there only between 15 April and 15 October.
Next visit, I definitely want to go to St. Cloud (or the Cities) and try some Somali cuisine.
Here's a shortish entry to counter-balance the lengthy one that I posted earlier today.
This 18th installment of the Common Censored podcast, featuring DC-based comrades Eleanor (Act Out!) Goldfield and Lee (Redacted Tonight) Camp, is worth listening to in its entirety. If you can't consume the whole thing, please listen to the part that starts about 37 minutes in.
Goldfield starts with the concern-troll habit of trying to force a post-racial world into existence by saying, "Race is just a construct! So stop talking about it!" They both go on to explore issues of identity politics from multiple angles, including Camp's observation (about 41 minutes in) that it is sometimes abused in leftist organizations to the point of keeping these organizations from getting anything done. (I'm thinking of a particular group that shall remain unnamed in this post.)
I agree completely that white folks in progressive and radical groups need to be more sensitive to our society's systemic white supremacy and their own assumptions, or white and male is the default and not an identity. (I do not exempt myself from this responsbility.) I also agree that these groups have a duty to encourage people from historically oppressed demographic groups to speak their truth, raise their issues, and propose solutions.
But I also agree with Goldfield's prescription: that perceived racial and gender slights can be addressed outside the meeting. Certainly, call people out for misusing their privilege, but do so when and where you can more effectively make them see their error, rather than derailing the meeting. Strive to make your comrades, your organization, and future meetings better, rather than giving up on them based on one or two faux pas.
It is not your responsibility as a person of color to educate white folks on their insensitivity; however, the potential upside in making them even a bit more woke is huge. If they resist these educational overtures, they're not very woke to begin with, and then you can give up on them. Tell them to go find another group that's more their speed.
won't you please come to chicago for the help that we can bring
Yesterday, in some primary elections, Progressives got a little more to cheer about. The Intercept provides the most thorough recap I've seen thus far (with a little editorializing because it's The Intercept).
These mostly Millennial-age candidates may talk like, well, a bunch of Millennials, but, like, once you get past the cadences of their speech, it emerges that, like, they really know something about policy. They may not get everything right, but they are using their platforms to advocate passionately for a government that takes care of people and the environment, that sees human beings as more than just donations and votes, that can halt the damage from humanity's worst ecocidal tendencies (to borrow a word from Caity Johnstone). For that I salute these young candidates, even if they are running as Democrats.
Fifty years ago this month, a crowd of mostly Baby Boomers gathered in Chicago, in a mass demonstration against the Democratic Party's nomination process, among other things. Since then, the party has changed a lot, in multiple directions, but the net change has been for the worse. The Baby Boomers have taken over both parties, and the vision of peace and justice that the demonstrators brought to Chicago is far from realized. Progressive and radical activists still demonstrate at these quadrennial conventions, in smaller numbers, and usually within the designated Free Speech Zones.
Perhaps the Millennials can do what their parents and grandparents could not: forge a true people's party, either with the Democratic Party's infrastructure or by creating something entirely new. I don't hold out much hope for them #GreenEntering en masse.
Reminder: The United States of America remains the only nation to use atomic/nuclear weapons. Seventy-three years ago this week, the USA used those weapons on two militarily important cities in Japan, with the full knowledge that thousands of civilians would be incinerated. This nation has no moral authority to dictate to any other nations what weapons they may or may not possess—especially given that, as we speak, it is participating in a non-nuclear holocaust in Yemen. (UPDATE: not just participating.) One would hope that an international authority such as the United Nations could move toward a consensus that all nations with nuclear weapons should dismantle them as quickly and safely as possible—and then act on that consensus.
Over the weekend, I received a notification that Cindy Sheehan had been invited to return to Hiroshima and give a speech there. Also, while grocery shopping Saturday, I saw a gentleman wearing a cap that said WORLD WAR II VETERAN. I calculated that the youngest veterans of World War II would now be in their 90s and reckoned he might be about that age. For his display of courage in visiting Generic Kroger on a Saturday morning, even with the aid of his wife and an electric scooter, I salute that veteran.
Here's the blog post and lefty news roundup.
In ordering the Trump administration to immediately begin locating immigrant parents and reuniting them with their children, a federal judge declared that the danger of creating "permanently orphaned children" will be "100% percent" the responsibility of the federal government.
Calls for a state investigation and to cease approving licenses for immigrant detention centers were made after a report that a toddler died after being released from a facility in South Texas, and allegations of sexual abuse of at least eight immigrant boys at centers in Arizona run by Southwest Key, the company that wants to open a "baby jail" in Houston.
Texas Standard wonders if Pope Francis' call to eliminate the death penalty will change any minds among Texas Catholics...like Greg Abbott.
Since dropping a hint about it in Monday's post, I've been putting this off, partly because I don't like devoting blog space to personal matters, and partly because I'm not sure exactly what I want to say. So I'll decide what to include as I go, which is not unusual for me. Life is jazz. I like to improvise.
Today I celebrate seven days without alcohol. OK, not entirely without alcohol: I drank an Italian soda that Kayleen made with a shot of Chambord. My abstinence is due not to any recognizable drinking problem, nor to a flare-up of gastritis, but to alcohol's incompatibility with my new medication regimen.
The Next Thing
Last fall, I indicated in an entry here (sorry, can't find it) that my mental state was not suitable for a political candidacy in 2018. I may have even hinted that my particular issue is depression, sometimes accompanied by anxiety. Mine is not the sort of debilitating depression that I've seen friends and family members suffer; I still get through my day with all its obligations. But there I times when I'd rather just curl up in a ball and die than face The Next Thing.
The Next Thing can be any task of any size: e.g., making and eating breakfast, filing a tax return, shopping for gifts, getting my shit together for a weekend camping trip, or even posting on this blog.
Or getting myself to a doctor.
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.