Attorney Brian Harrison has evolved into a deep-thinking wonk. And that's a good thing.
Harrison is not new to policy analysis. The former host of Greenwatch TV broadcast his biweekly conversations with subject matter experts on a variety issues for more than 15 years. He also ran as a Green for the State House from District 147 in 2016, amassing just under 3% of the vote against popular Democratic legislator Garnet Coleman.
Since that 2016 election, in which the Green Party lost its ballot line, Harrison's pet project has been Houston's chapter of Socialist Alternative. I dropped into SA's meeting at the Montrose Center Tuesday night, on the topic of curtailing gun violence nationwide, participating in the two-hour discussion and collecting ten signatures on the Green Party's ballot access petition.
This was my first SA meeting since the rather disappointing one I went to last January. That one, my own disappointment aside, packed a double-wide meeting space to overflowing; this one drew fewer than 20 attendees, even with a current hot-button topic in the afterglow of the March for Our Lives.
[Updates appear at the end of this entry.]
You may already know that Houston has an inferiority complex, roughly proportionate to its size importance. Having its name as the first word ever transmitted from the moon is not enough to compensate for not being perceived as in the same league with New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio, or even Austin. It's the main reason people here buy and wear t-shirts that say Fuck You, Houston's Awesome. If our city really were awesome, we wouldn't have to keep telling ourselves that it is.
So when a smart, personable, hard-working, relatively woke international star like Christen Press is traded to the Houston women's soccer franchise, and then refuses even to report to training camp without even specifying why??? Houstonians who follow the game might wonder what they did to deserve such a snubbing.
Yesterday, before going to the Houston Dash's match against Press's former team, Chicago Red Stars, I checked the Dash's roster page to see if the team had at least given her a squad number. Her entry had appeared without a number since the big three-way swap was announced in January: a swap that included shipping two-time FIFA player of the year Carli Lloyd to play in her beloved New Jersey for Sky Blue FC and Australian star Sam Kerr to Chicago. (Kerr was away on international duty with the Matildas this weekend.)
As of yesterday, Press's entry and mugshot were no longer on the page, and I could not find any news on the Dynamo/Dash website explaining it.
Somehow the March for Our Lives just wasn't on my radar. A lot of friends, particularly from First UU Church, marched Saturday here in Houston. I decided to take a bike ride with some other friends and friends of theirs. It was good for me to catch up and make some new acquaintances; however, as the day went on, I felt an increasing sense of FOMO. (That's Fear Of Missing Out, for my less Web-savvy readers.) Dammit, I said to myself, I could have been collecting signatures for the Greens, assuming that not every registered voter at the March had voted in a primary election this year. I didn't even think about putting the event on the HCGP Petitioning Opportunities calendar until too late.
My clipboards and I also didn't hang out near the gates of the In Bloom Music Festival over the weekend as I'd kind of wanted to. In addition, there was the Lyons Avenue Renaissance Festival (no, not that kind of Renaissance) in Fifth Ward.
But I'm not sweating it too profusely, especially since I'm not certain how many other Greenies across the state, if any, are actively petitioning.
Knowing the odds against a successful Ballot Access Petition Drive, and having a fairly busy schedule, I've started out fairly low-key. But I have 53 signatures as of Wednesday night, which marked a full week into the 75-day window. How about you? How many have you collected?
As I told Texas Green Co-Chair Wesson Gaige yesterday, I've gone rogue; I am not acting in coordination with the Harris County Green Party, but I'm gathering signatures anyway. In addition to some big public events, I have also collected some at bars, even relatively uncrowded watering holes such as Notsuoh and Khon's. I plan to start hitting Avant Garden on Thursday nights.
Petitioning is an opportunity to promote the Green Party and its candidates in a time when many voters are disillusioned with both corporate parties. Despite all the breathless coverage about big increases in primary turnout—especially in the Democratic Primary—85% of registered voters in Texas skipped the vote. Some of those 12 million abstainers may still show up for the 22 May runoffs, but not a lot, I reckon.
If you're interested in helping with the effort, please contact me. Reply to this post, or send a message to dbc4senator(at)gmail(dot)com. See the Petitioning Opportunities page on the HCGP website, which I just updated today. (I will not be working the In Bloom Festival, but I may make an appearance at Sunday Streets this weekend.)
In St. Paddy's Day hangover news: nothing to report, really. It was a full weekend, however:
I work in IT, which, as most modern Americans are aware, stands for Information Technology. But my particular focus is a different IT, Instructional Technology. I work at a small university, helping instructors build online courses.
In post-secondary education, one of the hot terms is flipped classroom. The first time I heard someone use it, I had a pretty good idea of what it meant: student-centered or student-directed learning. I've known since my earliest teaching days that one of the most effective ways to learn facts and concepts involves teaching them to others.
In political wonkery, one of my hobbies, I have only recently become acquainted with yet another IT: Inverted Totalitarianism. The true meaning of that term, I thought I could guess. But I could also guess incorrectly, and I did. Until today, I didn't even bother to look up inverted totalitarianism, because the implications of putting those two words scared me. It's actually way more complex and way scarier than I originally thought.
This week's collection is not entirely progressive or even left-of-center: It features a link to a conservative website's coverage of the annual Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Animal Rights Protests. For my loved ones and me, Rodeo Time means avoiding driving anywhere near NRG Park for a few weeks.
DBC reminds you that, even if the animal rights argument doesn't convince you to curtail your consumption of meat, mass-market animal agriculture is responsible for a huge percentage of greenhouse gas emissions (and we're not just talking cow farts here). It also creates water shortages, deforestation, and dead zones in the oceans, among other unpleasant phenomenona. Have a nice day, y'all.
Here's the progressive blog post and lefty news roundup from last week's whirlwind of primary elections and the aftermath.
Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer thinks the biggest election in Texas is next January, and that perhaps a hundred or so Republicans may be the only ones voting in it. In that vein, the Lewisville Texan Journal says that area state Rep. Tan Parker has thrown his hat into the ring for Speaker of the Texas House, joining extremist Phil King on the far right side of the GOP caucus, and in opposition to the more moderate Rep. John Zerwas.
Three TPA bloggers offered their post-primary thoughts: Off the Kuff, Socratic Gadfly (the Senate and gubernatorial races), and Neil at All People Have Value (focusing on Harris County).
Grits for Breakfast analyzed Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and county district attorney primary outcomes, and DBC Green Blog saw mixed results for progressives in the Democratic primary.
We're just going to take candidates' "Progressive" self-descriptions at face value, despite any misgivings we may have expressed about these candidates progressive credentials. None of the identifiably progressive candidates won their races outright, but some will appear in the runoffs on 22 May. Others will have to be content with participation medals.
Obligatory/Reflexive Reminder: If you skipped the primaries (or even if you didn't), you can still help with the Green Party's Ballot Access Petition Drive. Down the petition sheet (PDF), print it out on legal-size paper, and collect signatures from primary non-voters around you.
Primary abstainers may also attend the Green Party's precinct and county conventions, 13 and 17 March respectively. Location information is still not confirmed, so for now I recommend just making your way to the Midtown Bar & Grill, 415 West Gray Avenue, on Tuesday night.
Massive turnout in early voting across Texas is the news everyone is talking about as campaigns, candidates, and volunteers make the final push for Election Day. The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes to congratulate tonight's winners and console those who don't, offering encouragement to refocus (in some way of their choosing) for November.
DBC once again adds that those who do not vote in either corporate party's primary may sign the Green Party's ballot access petition. If you want to collect signatures from your nearest and dearest, read up on the process here and download copies of the petition sheet.
As one of the perceived front-runners in the Texas Democratic primary for governor, Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer says that it's impossible to determine Lupe Valdez's chances of winning.
Grits for Breakfast posts his collation of criminal justice news that includes the growing movement on the part of some Republicans (!) to end the partisan election of judges in Texas. A GOP 3rd Court of Appeals prospect is evidence of the problem that needs fixing.
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.