Apologies for the tardiness, as well as for the whining below.
I would have posted this Texas Progressive blog roundup Monday, but I was sooooo not feelin' it Monday. What I did feel was anxiety, mostly about HCGP's monthly membership meeting scheduled for that evening. It was bad enough that around midday I informed members of the Steering Committee and others that I would not be attending. Tuesday I felt better, but not enough to confront anything Green Party–related.
In some recent posts here, I have written direct references or dropped hints about this anxiety that sometimes borders on existential dread. During the last week, I have endured a generalized angst concerning the fate of our nation and world, as well as a specific angst concerning the direction of the county and state Green organizations.
I have taken on a role at the county level that I may not be able to fulfill, and it hurts me horribly to let down these people I have grown to love over the years. But when the organization continues to give me more stress than joy, I also find it difficult to continue serving it.
Now that that's out of the way:
Off the Kuff introduces the Democratic candidates in SD10 who hope to recapture Wendy Davis' former seat.
In the wake of a fourth consecutive loss for Democrats in Congressional special elections this year, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs assembled some of the pundits who performed Wednesday morning quarterbacking.
SocraticGadfly tells environmentalists to stop buying eXXXon's PR crap about supporting a carbon tax.
Texas Vox reports on the effort to make Austin carbon-free by 2030.
Ted at jobsanger thinks Democrats should stop blaming Nancy Pelosi for their troubles.
The Lewisville Texan Journal has a moving story on the local art contest winner who dramatized and honored victims of some of the nation's mass shootings.
Neil at All People Have Value appreciates all people working to oppose the Bannon/Trump agenda. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
And Harold Cook provides the press release that at least 20 members of the Legislature could use about now, in response to Texas Monthly's 'Best' and 'Worst' listing.
More news and blog posts from around Texas!
The San Antonio Current summarizes the legal case against the anti-sanctuary cities law, SB4, with opening arguments this morning.
Could Travis County's STAR-vote technology be the answer to election hacking? Isabelle Soto at Burkablog explains.
Greg Abbott appointed two Fort Worth-area legislators to manage the legislation addressing mail-in ballot fraud in the forthcoming special session. Anna Tinsley at PoliTex has the details.
Dan Quinn at Texas Freedom Network reveals the cesspool of extremism and hate at Dr. Steven Hotze's Conservative Republicans of Texas website.
DBC Green Blog has some of Jill Stein's responses to the recent outpouring of vitriol against her and the Green Party, likely prompted by scrutiny of the Democrats' own failings.
Robert Rivard assesses outgoing San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor.
Michael Li describes the sleeper Texas partisan redistricting claim, though it won't be heard by the appeals court at this time. And the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has the Associated Press analysis that "nearly four" Texas Congressional districts were won by Republicans because of gerrymandering than otherwise would have been the case.
Better Texas Blog reminds us that the Senate will not make the Trumpcare bill any less mean.
Glissette Santana at the Urban Edge wraps up a week of taking public transit around Houston for the first time.
And Beyond Bones weighs in on the "did T. rex have feathers?" debate.
I'm glad to know that Dr. Jill Stein has time not only to reply to the barrage of establshment-Democrat hatred she faces in social media, but to generate her share of noise. As of this moment, he is her most recent in a whole chain of tweets spaced about 20 minutes apart.
You'd think she was running for something, or perhaps just gearing up for another campaign. She could lie low and enjoy having made some history, but she's practicing her political medicine both defensively and aggressively instead.
Of course, the more Dr. Stein tweets, the more she invites attack, not just from high-profile operatives like Neera Tanden, but also from street-level Democrats who accuse her of working for the Putin-Trump axis because they can't envision actual Americans of their own volition attacking the Democratic Party from the left. The vitriol of some of the replies to Stein's tweets from aggrieved Democrats is palpable.
Fortunately for us in the bleachers, Caitlin Johnstone has collected Stein's exchange with Tanden (minus replies from the rabble) and reproduced it on Medium. "Pwnage" is often in the eye of the beholder, but this beholder believes that Stein pwned Tanden big-time. For confirmation, I noticed that the replies from Team Tanden diminished in quantity and causticity after Stein's "Girl, do you even Google?" burn, and Team Stein's replies smelled like victory.
Oh look, Jill just posted another one 20 minutes after the last:
Of the couple dozen or so photos I took Saturday at Emancipation Park, this one at right is the only really good one. The couple on stilts and their young companions, all arrayed in 19th-century finery, walked around the grounds, posing for pictures with people attending the celebration of Juneteenth and the newly gussied up park. It was a mighty hot day for such accoutrements, with temperatures around 95F/35C and the customary Houston summer humidity.
By design, this weekend's Grand Reopening of the park coincided with Juneteenth Weekend. Juneteenth has special significance in Texas, since the Emancipation Proclamation arrived in the South via Galveston on 19 June 1865. Here's an item proposing making Juneteenth a federal holiday. (Thanks, Mo Cortez.)
The New York Times apparently considered the park's reopening worthy of coverage. Excellent. It's that and more. (NYT has a paywall, but you get limited free views per month.)
Along with the reopening of the splendidly refurbished park, Emancipation Avenue got its official debut. The air was all abuzz with expectations of an economic revival along the former Dowling Street corridor, preferably without a lot of big chain stores and fast-food joints. For longtime Inner Loopers, the challenge now is not to "dead-name" Emancipation Avenue, which is no longer named after a Confederate general.
Click the Read More link to see more photos of slightly less quality.
I'm just a tad surprised that my heartfelt, labor-intensive summary of the GPTX Annual State Meeting didn't make the cut for the weekly Texas Leftist blog summary. In light of Greens' general exclusion from the stage at the People's Summit last weekend in Chicago, perhaps the omission is appropriate. Happily, the Brains and Eggs piece linked below links to mine.
Off the Kuff looks at the latest approval ratings in Texas for Donald Trump.
SocraticGadfly takes a much more extensive look at universal basic income, finding it one tool—one nice tool, yes—but only one in a full arsenal of what working Americans need.
Maybe he's just a little crazy from the heat and a slowly-forming tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico, but PDiddie at Brains and Eggs arrived at the conclusion that voting might not be making enough of a difference in our country's future direction.
Grits for Breakfast applauds Samantha Bee's takedown of junk forensic science.
El Jefe at the Beauty Salon links to that Rolling Stone piece, and refers to the prevailing condition as the "disaster of the Democratic Party".
jobsanger passes along the statistic that there is no state in the Union in which a person earning minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom apartment.
State Reps. Ron Simmons and Pat Fallon held a town hall meeting in Lewisville and answered pre-submitted questions about abortion, sanctuary cities, and GOP legislative priorities, as detailed in the Texan-Journal.
Neil at All People Have Value asked for citizens to consider in advance their response if Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
More news items from around the Lone Star State!
The Tribune shared their most recent survey results of Texans who were asked about immigration laws and bathroom bills. Deep partisan splits were revealed.
Even as Quorum Report saw the Texas Parent PAC holding open rehearsals for a challenger to Dan Patrick, the Austin Statesman was on the scene as Mike Collier became just the second Democrat to announce for a statewide office in 2018.
The San Antonio Express News opines about the demise of one-punch straight-ticket voting in requiring the electorate to exercise preparation and forethought ahead of casting their ballot.
RG Ratcliffe at Burkablog strapped on his helmet to report from the front lines of the battle Greg Abbott is waging on your local government.
The Beaumont Enterprise, via the Associated Press, took note of the Texas companies who have jobs they cannot fill because of immigration fears.
The Somervell County Salon passes along news on her former state representative and now state agriculture commissioner Sid Miller's latest foible: fined by the Ethics Commission for violating campaign finance laws.
Sen. Kirk Watson invites Greg Abbott to take a deep whiff of Austin.
Paradise in Hell finds the transcript to that Trump cabinet meeting.
Kyle Shelton and Yujie Hu at the Urban Edge identify what makes some intersections dangerous.
Lone Star Ma suggests an old school tactic for pressuring lawmakers on Trumpcare.
And Houstonia scooped the traditional media with news of the birth of Beyonce's twins.
Socratic Gadfly was kind enough to leave a comment on one of my posts from Monday. His comment about the switching Nationbuilder reminded me of something I need to tell the world:
HARRIS COUNTY GREEN PARTY HAS A NEW WEBSITE!
More to the point, the site is now available via our domain addresses, hcgp.org and harriscountygreenparty.org—as well as harriscountygreenparty.com in case anybody thinks we're a commercial enterprise. We worked the necessary magic with Network Solutions, which has hosted our domains since the dial-up era, to have those domains forwarded to the new NationBuilder site.
Please give the new site a close look. It has responsive formatting, so it is browsable on computers, tablets, and smartphones. Let us know if you see any errors or omissions that need correcting. If you are a sincere Green, we at HCGP want this to be your site.
Singin' the post–Green Party Annual State Meeting Blues yesterday did not lift my spirits the way singin' the blues is supposed to. Maybe it's because it comes out sounding more like the greens. Fortunately, I have friends and associates who can sing right along. Misery Loves Company, eh?
Off the Kuff looks at Republican fear of a redistricting ruling and considers the best case scenarios.
Yuge news broke every day last week but PDiddie at Brains and Eggs only had time to blog a few paragraphs about all of it.
Ted at jobsanger marks the anniversary of the Orlando Pulse nightclub tragedy, and observes that it was not just the largest mass shooting in the nation's long bloody history of those, nor only the worst terrorist attack since 9/11, but remains a failure to confront the source of our country's greatest ongoing carnage: a lack of courage to appropriately close the loopholes in gun purchase laws.
High Plains Blogger would remind us that the White House is no place for on-the-job training.
Texas Freedom Network says "Don't let the door hit ya on the way out" to longtime SBOE lunatic David Bradley.
Greg Abbott has mistaken the odor of high percentages of incarceration in the counties north of Travis for "freedom," writes Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast.
The counter-protesters at the "March Against Sharia" at the Capitol over the weekend far outnumbered those who organized the demonstration against the monsters under their bed the alleged influence of Islamic law in America. Gus Bova at the Texas Observer filed a report and posted pictures.
SocraticGadfly, channeling Greg Palast's smarter brother, Greg AtLast, talks about Trump v Comey, and how too much Putin Did It conspiracy thinking got Reality Winner arrested, as well as how the Comey testimony was kind of a nothingburger.
The Lewisville Texan Journal offers some tips for those moments when you might encounter wild critters in an urban environment.
The Rag Blog hosts "Demand the Impossible!" with Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn next week in Austin. Sponsors of the event include the Austin chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Neil at All People Have Value blogged that the city of Houston offers hurricane preparedness guides in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Arabic. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
More Texas news and blog posts from around the state!
Wedding bells and jail cells marked the end of the regular session for some Texas legislators, notes Anna Tinsley at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Politex blog.
This past weekend's Green Party state convention in Corpus Christi marks a turning point for the party's legitimacy in Texas politics, and David Collins detailed how that is, came to be, and goes forward.
Catherine Hunter at Progrexas lists ten bonafide progressive Democrats who're running for office across the Lone Star State in 2018.
The Houston Communist Party posted video from the Nina Turner Show, starring Bernie Sanders (the People's Summit, also this past weekend).
Sanford Levinson at Rivard Report argues that nobody really knows what "sincerely held religious beliefs" are.
Lize Burr at Burnt Orange Report tries to make sense of the special session agenda.
Jay Leeson at Burkablog wonders why so many state senators want to serve Dan Patrick's interests instead of their constituents'.
Andrew Edmonson, in an essay for the Houston Chronicle, thinks Pride parades should return to their protest-march roots.
Paradise in Hell has a modest proposal for Greg Abbott.
Durrel Douglas at Houston Justice provides a way to help the family of Johnny Hernandez, the man who died from a chokehold by a Harris County deputy's husband after an altercation outside a Denny's.
To spotlight the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally this past weekend, All Ablog Austin posted the ten best rides through Central Texas.
And Harry Hamid considers the axolotl.
Since officially forming in 2000, the Green Party of Texas has held its annual meetings and conventions in a variety of venues. That first state convention took place at the AFL-CIO hall here in Houston. We've met in places like the SHAPE Community Center in Houston, the old American Legion hall in Marfa, the Pearl Street student housing co-op in Austin, whatever that little place outside San Antonio (Grays Falls) calls itself, and an elementary school in Bastrop. This year, with upwards of 50 Greens expected to show up, GPTX did something very unusual: It rented a meeting room at an actual motel.
The choice of Corpus Christi's only America's Best Value Inn as a venue proved an interesting one—interesting in the sense of "not your typical convention experience, even for Greenies with relatively low expectations." But it's not as if GPTX could afford one of the fancy downtown hotels. As I've frequently stated in this space, we don't have millionaires lining up to give us their money.
Other than Laredo a few years ago, Corpus is the southernmost location ever for a GPTX state meeting. In this year with no statewide election, the Party wanted to go someplace new, a smaller city with a possibility for outreach. The State Executive Committee decided on Corpus, despite the lack of any organized Green Party in the state's eighth-largest city. We were hoping to draw Greens from the Rio Grande Valley counties and Laredo/Webb County, but alas-alack, that roll camp up snake-eyes. Despite having a Green elected to Laredo City Council (in a non-partisan race), the Webb County chapter has quite disintegrated, some of its leading lights having moved elsewhere.
Last week, when anyone would ask about weekend plans, I told them, "Going to Corpus." To a person, their eyes would get wide and their mouths would make an "Oooooh" shape. It's an exotic locale. People immediately think of beautiful beaches and plentiful seafood. If I'd said, "Going to Cancún," I'd probably get the same reaction. But from what we saw of Corpus, I could have just said, "Going to Victoria" (Texas, that is—not British Columbia). It wouldn't have looked very different.
Last week, in anticipation of the Annual State Meeting of the Green Party of Texas, I expressed my trepidations about what might happen. The outcomes I dreaded did not come to pass. Unfortunately, some other stuff did, and I did not come away from the meeting in a sunnier frame of mind, despite the plentiful sunshine we experienced in Corpus Christi.
LiveStreaming Your Dirty Laundry
Let's get this part out of the way right here and now. The main reason for my troubled state is that all is not hearts & flowers within my state party. As I mentioned last week, we have rifts, some of them deep, concerning strategy and tactics, and even concerning the purposes of the Green Movement and what constitutes Grassroots Democracy. We also have some troublesome members, some of whom stir up shit because they have passionate beliefs about the Party's direction, some of whom stir up shit just because they can. I will not point out any of them by name, but you may soon be able to watch video of our proceedings and decide for yourself. The event was LiveStreamed for the benefit of those who couldn't attend.
In a separate post, I'll dish on Corpus Christi, or at least the parts of it we saw. For now, let it suffice to say that, in comparison to some other state meetings we've had, we were kind of roughing it.
SEC and NC Election Results
There are certainly some positive developments worth reporting, including the new lineup of the State Executive Committee. Except where otherwise noted, these were contested races—i.e., more than one person raised a hand and said, "Gee, I don't have a lot of time to devote to it, I guess I can do that if nobody else is willing."
To be quite candid, during its 18 years as a political organization, the Green Party of Texas has seldom had its act completely together. The same is true of the Harris County Green Party, as I have occasionally mentioned on this site. But then, I can hardly throw stones about getting it together. I have problems of my own.
Since 2000, valuable activists at the county and state levels have come and gone. They have burned out, left to pursue other priorities, or just disappeared without notice. Other valuable activists have somehow stuck with it all these years, including some might lean years. They may have been discouraged but never crushed by the internal and external obstacles that keep the organization from growing and thriving. They have also taken some courage from the increasing numbers of Texans willing to vote for Green candidates.
Odd-Number Annual Meeting in Corpus
The Party leadership's traditional preference has been to convene in the big cities during even-numbered years with statewide elections, and less populous spots in odd years. In 2007, GPTX met in Marfa, its only annual meeting in Far West Texas to date. That was a truly memorable sojourn that included camping near Fort Davis in vicious summer storm.
This weekend, the state Party meets in Corpus Christi. It will be GPTX's first annual meeting there, and only its second south of San Antonio. Corpus Christi, the seat of Nueces County, was selected for its proximity to the growing county parties in Webb County/Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. It is also more accessible for Houston, Austin, and DFW Greens than Laredo or Harlingen would be. Nueces County has not had an active Green chapter of its own since the early 2000s; we're hoping to change that this year.
I am looking forward to this weekend's trip, but with a bit of consternation. Usually, I leave these meetings with renewed vigor and enthusiasm, and I hope that will be the case this weekend. To be quite candid again, if I don't get that post-meeting buzz, it will be difficult to justify continuing my activities with the Party.
Sorry, but I'm not feeling motivated enough to contrive a clever intro.
Off the Kuff notes the final passage of Voter ID 2.0, which does not and cannot address the issue of the original bill's discriminatory intent, but will make the Texas GOP feel a little better about itself.
In some good news that came out of the legislative session recently concluded, Texas Vox proclaims the extension of TERP (Texas Emissions Reduction Plan) to 2019 as cause for celebration.
There's a case to be made for Russian involvement in the 2016 election; it's just not a convincing one, according to PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.
SocraticGadfly sees Hillary Clinton's latest blame-passer about the election and wonders, among other things, if some of the latest complaints about sexism couldn't apply to her own comments.
The Lewisville Texan Journal profiles the large number of Democrats ready to challenge Republican Congress Critter Michael Burgess.
Dos Centavos had a couple of posts wondering why Houston still hasn't signed on to the lawsuit challenging the anti-sanctuary cities law, as several other Texas cities have.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme shows how Bush presided over the death of the GOP.
jobsanger cites a Media Matters poll showing the corporate media has failed the public on its reporting of climate change.
Neil at All People Have Value does not understand why citizens of Houston litter at Stuebner-Airline Park. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
As the Lege concluded its regular session—and everyone waits with bated breath to see if Greg Abbott will call a special—here's what made news as state legislators took a break.
A case in Wisconsin could send a powerful message about Dan Patrick's unhealthy obsession with who uses which bathroom, posts RG Ratcliffe at Burkablog.
The Dallas Observer names their best and worst legislators from this past session, and Better Texas Blog complains that the Lege is out of sync with Texas values and needs.
The TSTA Blog lets Matt Rinaldi have it. And Rep. Cesar Blanco is not going to be silent in the face of bigotry.
Grits for Breakfast asserts that Texas gets more credit than it deserves for reducing the state's prison population rates.
After 17 years, the racial discrimination lawsuit between EPA and TCEQ over the pollution emitted by Beaumont's Exxon Mobil refinery that has seen a deleterious effect on the adjacent Charlton-Pollard neighborhood has finally been settled. To a farthing, as reported by Naveena Sadavisam at the Texas Observer. (Ed. note: I blogged about one of the public hearings regarding the circumstances involving this lawsuit in 2005.)
Space City Weather gives a primer on when to avoid breathing in Houston.
As Alamo City residents begin voting in their municipal elections, Robert Rivard notices that a majority of San Antonio city council members have taken a stand against incumbent mayor Ivy Taylor with regard to suing the state of Texas over the 'anti-sanctuary cities' law.
Sen. John Cornyn assesses Trump's Twitter 'habit' and scores him a B+ in foreign policy, according to High Plains Blogger.
Trump loyalty played a part in the election over the weekend of a new Texas Republican Party state chairman, and First Reading gave us a peek at the politicking that saw James Dickey prevail over Rick Figueroa by a single vote.
Everybody really is moving to Houston, if you measure it by the reports from U-Haul, says CultureMap Houston. And The Urban Edge writes that millennials are flocking to the Bayou City's suburbs.
Harry Targ at The Rag Blog writes about neoliberalism, resistance, and a left that yearns to grow.
And when in doubt, Harry Hamid quotes Eugene V. Debs.
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.