In bringing you this week's round-up of the best blog posts and news from the left of Texas last week, the Texas Progressive Alliance understands the value of standing fast for—and not compromising, or negotiating—progressive principles.
The first item (next paragraph) is now out of date. The election results are in, and Rep. Carol Alvarado is now Sen. Carol Alvarado. The expected runoff was avoided due to Alvarado obtaining a majority, 50.4% of the vote in a four-way race with extremely light turnout.
The special election to fill the #SD6 vacancy left when Sylvia Garcia was elected to Congress in November concludes tomorrow (i.e., Tuesday 11 December, or yesterday, because I'm late with this repost), but is widely expected to feature a runoff between the two Democratic state representatives vying for the job (among four candidates). Ana Hernandez, PDiddie's endorsee, and Carol Alvarado have the short odds to move on to a head-to-head matchup for the right to go to Austin for a seat in the upper chamber; the loser will return to the Texas House.
Texas Vox takes a first look at the environmental bills filed for the 86th Lege.
The TSTA Blog reminds us that funding public schools is the state's responsibility.
Andy Canales explores how Latin@ schools are performing, particularly those in the RGV. (Since 2005, there’s been an increase of 800,000 Latino students in Texas. Their success—or lack thereof—will influence the future of our state.)
Texas Standard links to the sickening report in the Austin American Statesman about the 3000+ cases of abuse and neglect in children's day care centers, many of them unlicensed. The worst news was that nearly 900 kids have died over the past ten years.
Tony Plohetski and Sean Collins Walsh are members of the team investigating an alarming series of incidents at Texas day care centers, and what the state is and isn’t doing to respond to allegations of abuse, poor conditions and child deaths. The Statesman series is called “Unwatched.”
Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson made a rare public appearance at a Houston fundraiser for MD Anderson, and made news when he talked about some of his conversations with the president in a dialogue with retired CBS correspondent Bob Schieffer.
"So often, the president would say here's what I want to do and here's how I want to do it and I would have to say to him, Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can't do it that way. It violates the law," Tillerson said.
Trump would get very frustrated when they would have those conversations, he said.
Grits for Breakfast rephrases the question of whether not jailing people for failure (or inability) to pay the fines associated with Class C misdemeanors excuses the punishment of those crimes.
We're left to wonder: why is debt to the government somehow such a big deal that it warrants incarceration of those who cannot pay? Clearly, non-carceral methods are sufficient for these same judges to declare "justice" done if the beneficiary of court-declared debt is a person, not the government.
The government has created a double standard to benefit itself. Ethical qualms about the private sector excessively squeezing the poor are routinely ignored in the public sector when it comes to criminal-justice debt, particularly Class C misdemeanor traffic fines.
The use of incarceration to punish the poor for non-payment of traffic fines appears flat-out ironic when one considers that wealthier people are more likely to commit traffic offenses. So the class of folks facing the harshest punishments for Class C misdemeanors is also the least culpable. In a nation where 40 percent of the population, according to the Federal Reserve, cannot afford a surprise $400 bill without going into debt or selling something, that makes little sense.
There's nothing sacrosanct about debt to the government, certainly from the point of view of the debtor. From the perspective of the stone, it doesn't matter who wants to squeeze blood from it; none is forthcoming.
Paradise in Hell wants to see that Confederate plaque in the Capitol taken down now.
Zachery Taylor is concerned that the conspiracy theories have been overtaken by the absurdist mainstream media narratives.
David Collins joined the chorus those calling for a halt to the canonization of GHW Bush.
The hunt for Bigfoot in Daingerfield State Park, 136 confiscated snakes in San Antonio, and revenge on a 12-foot alligator in Livingston top the Texas Observer's "Strangest State" stories from December.
And Sir Elton John's farewell tour passed through Houston Saturday night (no fighting, all right?) and was a rollicking march through five decades of songs for all time. Both Matthew Keever of the Press and Johnston Farrow of CultureMap documented the history.