Harvey has drifted off to the northeast, still moving slowly, dumping a zillion gallons per hour on the Piney Woods of Texas and Louisiana. We have clear to partly cloudy conditions here in South-Central Houston today; yesterday, in light to moderate rainfall, I was helping a friend and his family move lots of stuff out of their flood-damaged home and surveying where Brays Bayou had lapped over some of its bridges inside Loop 610.
The university where I work remains closed, with classes canceled, but I will likely make a trip into the office to take care of some overdue business. Before that, however, I wanted to post this as an add-on to Monday's entry.
There has certainly been no shortage of articles, from various web publications, about the exact topic of Monday's entry. I wanted to link to just a few of those here.
Here's a pretty good piece from Ana Campoy and David Yanofsky on Quartz.
Naturally, Dahr Jamail weighs in on the climate angle, his specialty, for Truthout.
And at least one contributor thought it appropriate to mention the twin scourges of climate disruption and suburban development in the Wikipedia entry for Hurricane Harvey.
All for now.
Friday night, as Hurricane Harvey was pulling ashore near Matagorda Bay, we got a little rain here in Greater H-Town. It wasn't enough to scare my visiting brother into packing up his three sons and his new ladyfriend and all their stuff to leave town ahead of their scheduled Saturday morning departure. The Friday night meet & greet proceeded as planned; they rolled out of our sister's driveway early Saturday and arrived safely in Pennsylvania last night. The boys presumably made it to the first day of school this morning.
Meanwhile, here in Southeast Texas, we are not having school this week. Thanks to Tropical Marathon Summer Shower Harvey, in many places, the water is too high even for a school bus to get safely through. Area districts will resume (or in some cases start classes) the Tuesday after Labor Day. My own employer, a small private university, just now announced that it is closed for the entire week. (My director just texted to say that we'd soon have more news on extended closure soon.)
Most businesses are closed; social media outlets are useful for informing us which are actually open. Metro service is suspended, although yesterday I saw an Out of Service bus on Scott Street, presumably taking people to a storm shelter. Some surrounding communities are under mandatory evacuation. There are far fewer cars and trucks on our streets than usual, but yesterday on a reconnaissance walk I witnessed people parking their vehicles on Scott where it crosses Brays Bayou, getting out, and taking video of the high and rushing water.
Stormy Thoughts and Tweets
Hey Lee & Jill, I love you guys, but it's not certain whether we can pin the blame for Harvey on Anthropogenic Climate Disruption. While my neighbors and I endure this unprecedented amount of moisture, I have been careful not to kvetch on my social networks about climate change and those who enable it.
Presumably, according to the scientific consensus, ACD is to blame for our planet having more frequent, more intense, and wetter tropical cyclones. The amount of precipitation from Harvey breaks all records locally, but a lot of folks around Alvin still talk about 1979, Victoria about 1998, even if they don't remember that storms by name (Claudette and—well, Victoria's storm didn't even have a name).
However, just as Katrina was a man-made disaster in 2005, I see Harvey as a continuation of a man-made disaster that has spanned multiple years. With Katrina, the lack of evacuation infrastructure and the inadequate structural integrity of the levees killed more people and caused more misery in Greater New Orleans than the storm itself. You could also throw in the loss of wetlands and mangrove patches in coastal Louisiana and Mississippi, wetlands that would have absorbed a lot of the rain.
In the ever-expanding Houston metropolitan area, we've lost some wetlands too. More importantly, we've been losing prairies. To the northwest, west, southwest, and south of the city, developers have been turning those prairies (as well as the old rice farms) into subdivisions. There is far less permeable ground in the watersheds of the bayous that flow from those prairies. The subdivisions discharge their treated sewage back into the bayous. Downstream, older neighborhoods that formerly flooded never or very seldom have had devastating floods four times in the last three years.
Meanwhile, inside the Loop and just beyond it, older single-family homes and duplexes with yards (aka, affordable housing) have been razed and replaced with omnipresent, butt-ugly, multi-story townhomes on big concrete slabs with token vegetation deployed here and there (aka, profitable housing).
Bigger, Faster, Stupider
The connection between development (which is not exactly new) and the recent flooding is officially controversial, as this article notes. Even stupid development is not new: Just ask the folks who bought in Cy-Fair–area subdivisions like Norchester and Ravensway, both situated right along Cypress Creek.
But there are reasons, other than the Attwater's Prairie Chicken, for concerned citizens having fought against development of the Katy Prairie and the construction of the Grand Parkway for so many years. Even Republican candidates for elective office havepublicly and vociferously opposed the Grand Parkway, which has kicked the sprawl machine into top gear. Just as the oil & gas companies are now resorting to high-risk strategies like tar sands, deepwater drilling, and hydrofracking, the housing mafia has begun gobbling up the most vulnerable lands that might protect the area from Harvey-esque catastrophic flooding.
The painful part for me is that I have friends who live and work in that sprawl—e.g., teaching the children of the Sprawlites. One of them posted photos yesterday of Seven Lakes High School, which over the weekend has turned into One Lake.
Inside the city, the builders may be building for density, but they're doing it stupidly and maliciously. Townhomes and luxury mid-rises are pushing out students, working folk, and families who have lived in their neighborhoods for generations but can no longer afford the property taxes on their over-valued bungalows. The ultimate insult is the new Grey House and River Oaks District, which I've blogged about previously: a new-urbanism-style luxury apartment village with luxury boutiques on the ground floor, where rents start at if-you-have-to-ask-you-can't-afford-it. (OK, it's actually about $1,700 for a 1-1.)
Rather than continue wallowing here, I may have some real wallowing to do today. I'll post a follow-up tomorrow or the next day.
...dude, you're Not reading Enough. If you're of a progressive mindset, and if you have the time and inclination, read Naomi Klein's NO Is Not Enough, sooner rather than later.
When you have finished reading the book, take a little time to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life, before the rising oceans swallow your city. And then get busy. Better yet, get active.
This is not my favorite progressive work of non-fiction. It is not even my favorite book by Naomi Klein. It does not explain everything about something, or something about everything. But it is an important synthesis of the research and conclusions from No Logo, The Shock Doctrine, and This Changes Everything, in a short-and-tidy format that anyone with a working heart and brain can grasp. This synthesis parallels the fact that the election of Donald Trump to a seat of enormous political power is the culmination of several decades of increasingly Trumpian governance here in the US.
I'll be representing the Harris County Green Party at a League of Women Voters forum this Saturday, but that's the extent of my recent GP activity. Next Monday, I will report on what I say, and what the reps from the other three invited parties say. Perhaps thereafter I'll become more inclined to blog more regularly.
OOPS! UPDATE! The looming Tropical Storm Harvey, bringing possibly very heavy rains this weekend, has postponed the LWV Rising Stars forum. It will take place on 23 September.
Between now and then, I plan to post something lengthy about Naomi Klein's concise yet thorough No Is Not Enough.
Here's the blog post and news roundup from last week.
Off the Kuff notes a new lawsuit filed to protect spousal benefits for Houston city employees against an assault by anti-LGBT zealots.
SocraticGadfly writes about another personal experience with age discrimination.
Texas (aka Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton) are going to take their chances with a new, conservative Supreme Court rather than have the Lege redraw Congressional and statehouse maps ruled unconstitutional for the umpteenth time, reports PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.
A Texas Republican legislator thinks running over protestors should be encouraged. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks he and his party are deplorable.
Texas Vox celebrates the end of the special session.
Texas Leftist reminds us that Trump also tossed out his infrastructure advisory council last week.
John Coby at Bay Area Houston remembers a time when "not all Republicans were racist."
The Lewisville Texan Journal shares the announcement that longtime Democratic activist Amy Manuel will run for Denton County Clerk in 2018.
As always, Neil at All People Have Value took part in the weekly protest outside the Houston office of wicked-doing Senator John Cornyn. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
Confederate monuments came down on the campus of the University of Texas overnight. Large rallies supporting their removal in Houston and Dallas were held over the weekend. Six Flags Over Texas bowed to public pressure and announced that only the United States flag would fly at its front gate (but the flags of Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, and the Confederate States of America would continue to fly—and be sold as novelty items at gift shops—elsewhere in the park).
Meanwhile Houston's mayor, Sylvester Turner, has called for a study to help him decide whether or not the statues should be taken away in the Space City.
More news and blog posts from across the Lone Star State follow!
The CPPP Blog reflects on the special session, which sine died a day early last week.
Michael Li breaks down the redistricting ruling.
RG Ratcliffe wonders if the Republicans are going to start running the Lege like they do Congress.
Pete Von Der Haar rounds up ten movie scenes in which white supremacists get their butts handed to them.
Better Texas Blog calls the Senate-modified version of HB21 a step in the wrong direction that pits education against health care.
The Texas Living Waters Project calls for proactive drought response plans.
Somervell County Salon suggests Trump's various golf clubs and resorts as a great place to relocate the Confederate statues being removed in various cities across the country.
And Pages of Victory posts the letter from Rosanne Cash that reminds white supremacists NOT to associate their philosophy with the long legacy of social justice her father lived.
The Texas Progressive Alliance has no room for hate in its heart, no matter what it calls itself.
Here's the roundup of blog posts and news from last week.
Off the Kuff looks at July finance reports in key state Senate districts.
Socratic Gadfly examines Consortium News' latest in-depth piece on how Putin did NOT "do it" on the DNC hacks and and ties this together with Sy Hersh's comments about Seth Rich.
With only a few days remaining in the special legislative session, it appears that Greg Abbott won't come close to getting everything he wanted out of it, says PDiddie at Brain and Eggs.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme calls out the Texas Republican hate on display this week, from LGBTQ bashing, immigrant bashing to the kicking of the poor.
The Lewisville Texan Journal profiles John Wannamaker, a former Marine and prison inmate, one of four Democrats competing to challenge US Rep. Michael Burgess (CD-26).
Texas Watch asks the TDI to investigate the automobile insurance collision repair industry's practices that appear to be short-changing Texas drivers.
Ted at jobsanger posts some statistical facts about Muslims in the United States.
Texas Vox needs some help for its challenge to one of Trump's deregulatory executive orders.
Neil at All People Have Value went to the monthly meeting of the Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. The meeting was well-attended and many tangible actions were discussed. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
More Texas blog posts and news!
Houston, Austin, and cities across North Texas all held vigils for Charlottesville last evening in the wake of white supremacist provocations, animosity, and violence in that city.
Meanwhile in College Station, so-called alt-right leader Richard Spence has been scheduled to appear on the campus of Texas A&M in September. (UPDATE: A&M canceled the event!)
In San Antonio, Gus Bova of the Texas Observer reported that hundreds pf people clashed over the removal of a Confederate monument in Travis Park.
Leif Reigstad at the Daily Post reports that the guy who quit after 37 days as Corpus Christi's mayor, Dan McQueen, is running for the US Senate against Ted Cruz in the GOP primary.
Marc Campos eulogizes former Governor Mark White, while the TSTA blog remembers his legacy.
The Rivard Report notes San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg telling Greg Abbott to back off the attack on cities.
Durrel Douglas at Houston Justice has been covering the Houston ISD goings-on of late, beginning with a post about the candidates challenging board president Wanda Adams, and the possibility of several black legacy high schools in HISD threatened with closure due to failing grades by students.
In a tale reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984 the Texas Senate's Education Committee claims that a $1.8 billion cut to Texas public school funding is part of a long-term remedy, reports the Texas Standard.
Ty Clevenger at Lawflog wonders why the FBI is still protecting Hillary Clinton.
Bonddad takes another look at The Changing of the Guard, a 1980 book that foretold the rise—and destructiveness—of neoliberalism.
Pages of Victory posts part 2 about why he left the Democratic Party.
The Texas Living Waters Project frets about the zebra mussel invasion.
Lone Star Ma makes the case for breast pumps.
And Harry Hamid fears the incoming hordes of killer babies.
The next feat of literary endurance will be to tackle the third book in the Outlander series, entitled Voyager, preferably before the Season 3 premiere of the Starz Original Series®.
Add me to the pile of readers who think Drag-On Fly would have been better minus 200-300 pages. Normally I don't hold it against an author when the book is full of padding that doesn't advance the narrative, extraneous "character moments," even Moby Dick–style long-winded explanations. The Harry Potter series has some of the best padding I've ever encountered, stuff that would sink the page-to-screen translation like a lead weight—e.g., the subplot involving Hermione's Society for the Preservation of Elvish Welfare.
Gabaldon's extra padding in D in A does us readers the great service of making 18th-century Scotland that much more real, through all the senses, right down to the smells of the malnourished and malprovisioned Jacobite Army. But there's too damn much of it. Nonetheless, that multi-sensory approach is one of the aspects in which the quality of the writing took a quantum jump over the first Outlander volume.
For any among you who have already mastered Unit 1 of Bite-Size Hungarian, Unit 2 is now ready for your consumption.
Revisiting and revising my horribly presumptuous attempt at language instruction has been quite enjoyable. My hope is to get my Magyar back up to snuff in time to visit Transylvania with the First UU choir either next summer or in 2019.
I will readily admit that I have been checking my own accuracy via at least two sources, one of which has "Google" in its name.
PDiddie introduced this week's Weekly Wrangle thusly:
The Texas Progressive Alliance mourns the passing of former Texas Governor Mark White over the weekend. A champion for public education, White ushered in reforms that still impact Texas schools to this day, including limits on elementary class size, a "no pass, no play" policy for high school athletes, and the first-ever statewide testing standards.
Permit me a reminiscence. I got my first teaching job in 1984, at the dawn of "No Pass, No Play." Teachers howled incessantly about having their jobs made more difficult, suddenly having to live six weeks or more at a time with resentful students barred from their chosen sport or other activity, as well as hearing from those students' resentful parents and coaches. Teachers and administrators alike cursed the names of Mark White and H. Ross Perot. I favored the measure at the time, in principle and practice, despite the hardship. Of course, I was mostly teaching Latin, and I had very students failing, and even fewer failing students who were in extracurriculars. What few of us anticipated was the ways our state and school districts would make the job even more difficult in the years to follow.
Here's the blog post and news roundup from last week.
Off the Kuff casts a critical eye at Chris Hooks' latest (and weakest) piece about Democratic recruitment for state offices.
Blake Farenthold doesn't just insult and demean female Republican senators, he disses his own constituents by favoring oligarchs over Army employees. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme can't wait until he's former representative Farenthold.
In an environmental news roundup, SocraticGadfly wonders if the internal combustion engine's complexities will hasten its demise.
This fall, when someone asks if PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is ready for some football ... the answer will be no.
Stace at Dos Centavos applauds Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez' discontinuance of the use of private jails, and makes the cogent point about elections having consequences for the rotten money bail system in the county.
jobsanger underscores that our nation's greatest shame is an inadequate healthcare system.
Texas Freedom Network's quotes of the week include a few from some highly embarrassed state Republicans.
The city of Lewisville and its school district join the growing chorus of Texas municipal organizations pushing back against the state legislature's attempts to override local laws with dictums from Austin, reports the Texan Journal.
Neil at All People Have Value offered his guide to activism in the Age of Trump. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs and news sources.
With ten days left in the special legislative session, the Texas Tribune provides a comprehensive update on where things stand regarding Governor Greg Abbott's priorities.
"The Freest Little City in Texas," in the Texas Observer, tells the tale of a libertarian experiment in city government that went awry over taxes, debt, and some very angry people.
Some prison inmates will get moved into air conditioned cells...after a federal judge set a deadline ordering the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to do so, reports the San Antonio Current.
Michael Li explains how the Texas redistricting case might play out.
Grits for Breakfast sorts out the DPS crime lab fees situation.
Paradise in Hell wonders what the floor is for Donald Trump's approval rating.
The TSTA Blog calls for adult leadership in Austin.
Therese Odell wades into the latest revelations in the Seth Rich story.
Molly Glentzer pushes back against an article that had criticized Houston's mini-murals program.
John Nova Lomax goes looking for the "real" Montrose.
DBC Green Blog wants you—yes, YOU—to run for office.
Pages of Victory links to a piece that best explains why he left the Democratic Party.
And Harry Hamid collects a few parts from a passenger train.
Just because I'm not running for public office in 2018 doesn't mean that you shouldn't run if you have the time and energy. I am willing to help a sincere candidate or two with logistics, communications, and other important aspects of campaigning. As I told the co-chairs of the Green Party of Texas in a teleconference last Sunday evening, I am hoping that anyone who runs as a Green in this state will run an actual campaign.
Current plans, still in the making, call for GPTX to hold a candidate recruiting drive and workshop in the DFW area during the weekend of 30 September 2017. If that workshop is successful, we will take it on the road to other metropolitan areas in Texas.
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.