Last night's monthly General Membership meeting of the Harris County Green Party went into extra innings. I'd like to think that HCGP emerged with a victory, even if the victory was over ourselves.
Perhaps it was for the best that co-chair George Reiter discovered yesterday afternoon that our regular meeting space at Trinity Episcopal Church had not been reserved. Trinity's security staff kicks us out promptly at 9:30, and last night we needed an extra hour to take care of our pressing business. Part of that business was electing half of the HCGP Steering Committee, including one of the co-chairs.
Our fallback space upstairs at Midtown Bar & Grill was taken, but the Midtown folks love us and let us occupy the main dining area. (There was basketball on two of the TV's, CNN on another, so I was horribly distracted but made it through somehow.)
The strategic proposal that I crafted and originally presented in November 2016 was passed, with amendments. I am supremely satisfied with that result, and the sense of accomplishment I feel is not small. Now I must prepare myself for the real work that follows: I have agreed to coordinate the standing Ballot Access and Campaign Coordination Committee for the 2018 election cycle. Who wants to be a part of that effort?
Below the Read More is the complete text of the message that I sent to the HCGP Discussion list this morning, followed by the text of the proposal as adopted.
Despite being a former Latin teacher and Classical history buff, I haven't exactly devoured every modern literary or cinematic treatment of Roman era. I didn't get around to watching I, Claudius until 1991, my eighth year of teaching. (Yes, I am that old.) I have only recently begun watching Kayleen's DVD set of HBO's Rome—in small doses, finding it enjoyable but not binge-worthy.
Comparisons between Rome in the first century BCE and the United States today have become a hoary, moss-ridden cliché. By the time of Marius and Sulla, almost two generations before Gaius Iulius Caesar became dictator for life, the Roman Republic had already become a de facto empire that maintained only the forms of representative democracy. Meanwhile, opposing gangs of Optimates and Populares staged bloody rumbles in the streets almost daily. Historians can argue for days about whether Caesar and his allies did Rome a favor by hastening the demise of the decrepit Republic.
We keep coming back to that word "Republic." It's an incredibly important concept. The majority of nations today keep the word in their official names, deservedly or not. Even North Korea is officially "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea."
In the past five years, I have attended or participated in performance art exhibitions more times than I've gone to the cinema. Even including video I've watched at home, the number of feature films I have watched since 2012 is still lower than the number of performance art shows I've taken in, by a rough estimate. Just to go out on a proverbial limb, I guess that's unusual for an American citizen.
This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, Houston welcomes performance artists from various corners of this cornerless planet, including our own corner. They are converging here for Experimental Action, the reboot of the Lone Star Explosion biennial that Clutch City hosted in 2012 and 2014.
Although I did stage a piece in the 2014 Lone Star Explosion, my name is not in this year's program. I have too much else going on. But I plan to be in attendance all three nights, and possibly involved in someone else's performance:
First of all, I'm a bit disappointed to learn that the cerulean warbler is an actual bird. But then, according to Anis Shivani—the same guy who wrote that compelling article about getting gentrified out of Houston's Upper Kirby District—Jonathan Franzen belongs to the realist school of novelists, so making up a species (like the pine weasel in Twin Peaks) as a central plot device just wouldn't do.
I did enjoy reading Freedom, my first encounter with a novelist about whom I have heard so many raves. It is a well-woven story, featuring moments of sublime beauty, remarkable turns of phrase, and OMG-did-I-really-just-laugh-at-that humor. Its principal characters are mostly intolerable upper-middle-class white folks, but the story through which they move overcomes that handicap, at least for a fan of character-driven fiction.
I also found quite a bit to kvetch about, although not nearly as much as Shivani did.
For those just getting around to shopping for last Christmas, Pocket Constitutions make great stocking-stuffers. Several Republican legislators in Texas appear in desperate need of a US Constitution. Here's the problem: Beyond leaving a copy in each of their stockings, someone will have to read it to them, and then understand it for them.
Socratic Gadfly posted an item Sunday, linking to a pair of articles on Ballot Access News (one and two). It's a good thing we don't pay these clowns more than a per diem, because they're wasting precious time filing bills destined to be overturned in court. The Legislature packs a lot of serious business into its five-month session, or at least it's supposed to.
Any Texas lieutenant governor worthy of the office would take one look at these bills and give them a speedy burial in the Senate Calendar Committee. Sadly, we have Dan Patrick in that position. On the House side, we'd best hope that the appropriate committee chair knows unconstitutionality when he or she sees it.
...and I have no patience
for either of you (major political parties).
Happy Saint Valentine's Day, comrades.
BTW, there's an update at the bottom of this entry.
Yesterday, minutes after I had posted a link on The Facebook to the Redacted Tonight VIP interview with Sandernista Nick Braña of draftbernie.org (below the fold), some algorithmic magic displayed for my perusal a link to a group called Progressive Army against Trump and Republicans. I was intrigued enough to click through, but the pinned post at the top made me recoil. Run-on sentences aside, it was bad enough that I had dropped in on several #Resistance groups' meetings, including Socialist Alternative, at which working with the Democratic Party was considered an option. For this group, the Democratic Party is the One True Vehicle of Resistance.
The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, my representative in the US House, didn't just participate in something historic today; she was quoted at length about it in this article from The Hill.
The story broke about an hour ago; Facebook friend and fellow Rice alum Heather Nodler, an attorney in Beltway Country, posted a link to it. As of this moment, we don't know how the whole shebang turned out.
SJL, a few members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and supporters like Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut strode right over to the Senate chamber to voice their disapproval of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell parliamentary bullying. You've probably read the stories and various commentaries of how McConnell used Senate rules to issue a "red card" to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, when Warren tried to quote from Coretta Scott King's 1986 letter in opposition to Jeff Sessions's appointment to (yada-yada). These House members marched across the Rotunda in a demonstration of solidarity with the Democratic Senate colleagues and Warren in particular.
Here's one that isn't about politics, cycling, literature, etc. It does have some observations on urban planning and policy, which should not be partisan issues but frequently are.
During last weekend's visit to San Antonio, I posted several sets of photos accompanied by the hashtag #SuperBowlRefugees. Since we live about two miles east of NRG Park, along US-90A, we left town to duck the mayhem that a Super Bowl brings to one's city. There was plenty of PARTYYY! going on during the preceding week, but most of that was confined to the Discovery Green/Convention Center District downtown. I'd love to have seen some of the local musical acts (and I don't even mean Solange) performing there, but I likely couldn't handle the traffic and crowds.
Since everybody in the anti-Trump #Resistance has taken to copying and pasting each other's #Resistance messages on Facebook, I'll buck the trend by copying and pasting this Facebook Note into my blog—with minor edits for context and clarity.
When Kayleen decided that she could not or should not travel with me to Connecticut over Winter Break, I was able to cancel her reservation on Amtrak. But Megabus, which we had planned to take to New Orleans to catch the Amtrak Crescent, does not refund fares; however, passengers may exchange the tickets they have purchased for a different trip. We decided we would get a pair of tickets to San Antonio to get away from the Super Bowl LI madness here in Houston.
San Antonio was the right call, I must say.
Regular followers of dbcgreentx, here or on Facebook, know that I've become a drooling fanboy for Caitlin Johnstone. I'm not going to say she gets everything correct, and sometimes she offers glimpses of a paranoia that makes my own appear mild by comparison. But she's a cracker-jack progressive analyst, writer, and memester, one who traffics in chunks of uncomfortable truth.
In her Newslogue entry this morning, Caity included the photo assemblage below. At left, in case the face is unfamiliar, is Cenk Uygur, Sultan of The Young Turks, proponent of curing the rot in the Democratic National Committee through a grassroots takeover by Progressives. At right, of course, is Green Party standard-bearer Dr. Jill Stein, on whom I have lavished much praise in previous posts. The photo symbolizes how #DemEnter and #DemExit might work in concert to bring about effective reforms and create an opposition party that represents The People.
It's a laudable goal, but is it feasible?
While not optimistic about its success, I believe that the lawsuit brought against the Commission on Presidential Debates is of historic importance. It warms my chilly heart to know that the plaintiffs have filed the opening brief in the appeal. The entire brief is available as a PDF, 49 pages in length, the first five of which are header text and citations.
The big philosophical matter at issue is whether the Sherman Anti-Trust Act applies to a case in which one corporate entity exercises a monopoly on the marketplace of presidential debates; also, whether the presidential campaign in its current form embodies commerce. The bigger, darker matter behind and amid that issue is whether our entire electoral process can be construed as a network of business transactions.
Keep in mind that this lawsuit was originally filed in September 2015, attempting to pressure the CPD into dropping its arbitrary criteria for appearance in the televised debates. Per the wiki:
In 2012, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the CPD, the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee in D.C. Circuit Court citing the Sherman Act and claiming "restraint of trade" for denying competition to, for example, potentially receive the $400,000 annual presidential salary. The case was dismissed in 2014 due to lack of jurisdiction.
What's your opinion? As a challenge, answer that question to yourself before you read the brief; then, after reading, do you find any holes in the attorneys' argument? Does the attorneys' argument shed light on any holes in yours?
Confession: I haven't read the brief all the way through, but I plan to very soon.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
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.