Here are a couple of videos I'd like to bring to the attention of everyone with a soupçon of empathy. Neither of them mentions the Jones Act, which stipulates that shipments of, well, anything to Puerto Rico must be carried on American-flagged and -registered ships. Lee Camp's rant does mention a 1984 law, introduced by South Carolina's infamous Senator Strom Thurmond, that made it easier for US vulture capitalists to rip off and exploit the island and los boricuas.
1. Lee Camp of Redacted Tonight:
2. Mike Figueredo on The Humanist Report:
Although the power is out on Puerto Rico, there is plenty of reporting and opinionating available regarding conditions there, including what information the Democracy Now! crew has been able to glean and the US administrations refusal to suspend the Jones Act. Beyond that, I recommend:
Communication is down all over the island of 3.4 million people, where the once-lush hillsides have been transformed into apocalyptic wastelands. TV news crews capture crumbled roads strewn with downed power lines and people waiting for hours for a few gallons of gas. Drinking water is reportedly at critically low levels and almost nonexistent for washing. Hospitals, if they are still standing, are operating on backup generators.
Saturday afternoon, by sheer serendipity, I had the privilege of addressing this year's Rising Stars class from the League of Women Voters, Houston. Rising Stars is LWV's program to connect with politically engaged youth and helping them build their knowledge of political mechanics, especially on the local level. Janis Richards, a current member of the Harris County Green Party's Steering Committee, accompanied me and delivered a portion of the 45-minute talk.
The best information I could find on the web via Duck Duck Go was this Houston Media Source video from 2014. LWV Houston has a regular live program on HMS, just as HCGP does (GreenwatchTV). The program's co-host Linda Cohn also served as one of the hosts for the September 2017 Rising Stars workshop, which took place Saturday at the Leonel Castillo Community Center on the Near Northside. It was originally scheduled for 26 August, but our area had a most unwelcome and very wet guest named Harvey that weekend.
Since adopting the habit of reposting Texoblogosphere entries, I haven't left the intro intact until this week:
With this week's lefty blog post and news roundup, the Texas Progressive Alliance urges our government to attend to the much-needed care of our American brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico.
Amen. However, I couldn't leave it uncommented upon, especially after hearing the relevant facts on Democracy Now! yesterday and this morning. On Puerto Rico alone, there are about 3.5 million American citizens without electricity, potentially for four to six months after Hurricane Maria's visit. Fuel, food, and clean water are in short supply. Even those who have generators cannot get gasoline or diesel to run them. We're already looking at more human beings dying from the heat, due to lack of air conditioning and refrigeration and potable water, than from the storm itself.
Meanwhile, our alleged president has his knickers in a twist over NFL players, coaches, and management expressing some solidarity with each other and with the victims of the systemic racism in our law enforcement agencies. The Short-Fingered Tweeter took several days getting around to mention Puerto Rico at all, and then he couldn't help but post some shit about what the territory owes Wall Street. He stopped well short of echoing Rep. Jeb Hensarling's "God is telling you to move" sentiments, mainly because that would likely mean 3.5 million more Puerto Ricans moving onto the mainland.
Oh, and about those NFL owners, cue Shaun King.
This is Volume III in the continuing saga of How My GF Convinced Me to Read the Outlander Series without Trying Very Hard. The first two volumes are here and here.
I will freely admit that the video adaptation on Starz played a big part in getting me to dive into the books three whole years after Kayleen first raved about them to me.
For the record, Voyager, the third novel in Diana Gabaldon's series, was first published in 1994, a little before the Star Trek franchise spawned its series that was also entitled Voyager. In the year following its publication, the book won an honor from Entertainment Weekly for Best Opening Line in a novel. Even if the opening doesn't make you chuckle, know that there are chuckles aplenty, and even a few LOLs, in this sweeping tale.
This week's blog-a-thon contains quite a few intriguing-looking links, IMHO. That's not to say that I'll click through all of them, and I seldom do, but there's plenty of stuff below that looks as if it will hit home.
I have already taken a peak at Durrel Douglas's piece regarding "racism in the progressive movement," on his Houston Justice blog. It was not what I expected, but it's an important read. Activist organizations—particularly those addressing issues of racial justice—seriously need to put more POC in the top decision-making roles, he reminds us. It isn't just a matter of crusty old white folks being racially insensitive (or just plain clueless) at meetings, as unfortunate and sadly pervasive as that might be.
To no one's great surprise, the big story in Texas remains a mix of cleanup efforts and ruminations on how public policy must focus on flood-proofing counties near the Gulf coast. We've just completed three weeks since that ungodly wet weekend, but it's just over a week that residents near the Addicks Reservoir can even get to their homes to assess the damage. I find myself both nauseated by the constant Harvey focus in local news outlets and addicted to it.
Maybe you want to watch this 40-minute Facebook Live video from Dr. Margaret Flowers, last year's Green Senatorial candidate from Maryland. Maybe you don't, and that's OK.
Maybe you truly believe that Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders's introduction of the new Medicare for All Act is perfectly timed and will generate the popular groundswell necessary to get it passed over the objection of Big Med and Big Pharma. Maybe you also believe that it will become the single "litmus-test" issue for candidates in 2018, especially in Democratic primaries. Maybe you believe neither of those, and that's OK too.
For me, as long as I've been paying attention to the issues, health care reform has taken a reluctant back seat to (1) anti-war/pro-peace, and (2) environmental matters such as climate change. Both (1) and (2) not only deal with the survival of life and civilization on this planet, but are also absurdly multi-faceted and loaded with ramifications. But I have been a proponent of a national single-payer health care system since high school, when the nationwide debate topic of comprehensive medical care.
BIG UPDATE: Within minutes of my publishing this post, the Scott McLarty sent out this GPUS press release on the topic. So as a party, we're officially excited by this development.
Today is the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and we solemnly pause and remember the lives of the victims lost on that day sixteen years ago. I firmly believe that it takes nothing away from those victims and their families to remember the unquantifiable death and suffering that followed in the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Let us also not forget that today is the 44th anniversary of the US-backed coup that brought Augusto Pinochet and his cronies to power in Chile, the 35th anniversary of the Israeli massacres of refugees at Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon.
SocraticGadfly offers up a trio of Harvey-related thoughts related to possible future "big ones." Would an Ike Dike be a massive military-industrial complex boondoggle? Can Houston and Harris County do anything different on evacuation ideas? And does greater Houston, like some other disaster-prone areas, simply have too many people living there?
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is angry with the previous head of Houston flood control and the current pollution helpers.
Dos Centavos wants us to think about undocumented immigrants as something other than cheap labor for rebuilding after disasters.
jobsanger profiles the four Texas Republican Congressmen who voted against federal assistance for Harvey victims.
Texas Vox, the blog for Public Citizen, kicked off its Texas Climate Change Tour in Austin.
Family feuds are the most fun to watch, especially when you're not in the family, laughed PDiddie at Brains and Eggs as he popped more corn.
Neil at All People Have Value said Democrats really need to move on from the Sanders/Clinton primary fight. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
The Lewisville Texan Journal reports that the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission is suing Denton County over allegation of gender pay discrimination.
Off the Kuff looked at the hopefully temporary reinstatement of the voter ID law as it goes through the appeals process.
And Nick Anderson, previously the Houston Chronicle political artist and now drawing for Texas Monthly, sums up what merits a special session for Greg Abbott and what does not.
In other disaster-related news, Houston Matters reports that aftershocks from the 8.1 magnitude earthquake that leveled the Mexican city of Juchitan continue to hamper relief efforts there.
An Associated Press account reveals that more than two dozen storage tanks holding crude oil, gasoline and other contaminants ruptured or otherwise failed when Harvey slammed into the Texas coast, spilling at least 145,000 gallons of fuel and spewing toxic pollutants into the air. The environmental calamity left behind by Harvey will be the most difficult cleanup of all (where it manages to occur, that is).
Texas Standard asks: will those displaced by Hurricane Harvey return to the Texas Gulf Coast?
Better Texas Blog talks fighting hunger after Harvey.
The Texas Living Waters Project will work to find innovative flooding solutions for the next hurricane.
The TSTA Blog cheers the selection of John Sharp as statewide rebuilding (post-Harvey) czar.
Offcite curates a few hurricane think pieces, including a NYT op-ed which uses a phrase familiar to Jill Stein supporters as the premise for rebuilding the nation's coastal regions. An excerpt:
Environmentalists and scholars have sometimes called this a “green New Deal” or “environmental Keynesianism.” We should invest in science and public education to train the next generation of engineers who will build safer homes and infrastructure. (President Trump promised us infrastructure but, just weeks before this storm, rescinded an Obama-era regulation that required structures built with federal money to take sea-level rise into account.) We should expand and enhance programs that make adaptation to climate change possible for ordinary Americans, helping them to retrofit their homes or relocate to safer ground.
Space City Weather points out that Houston is already pretty dried out, and going to get drier.
Michael Li shows the proposed remedial Congressional maps.
Grits for Breakfast sees a rare moment for bail reform.
Michael Barajas at the Texas Observer took note of Trump’s nomination of two lawyers, Jeff Mateer and Matthew Kacsmaryk, from the First Liberty Institute—a far right Christian advocacy organization—to vacant federal judge seats in Texas. The reaction from LGBTQ groups and civil rights activists was swift.
First Liberty Institute has used anti-LGBTQ policies to blatantly vilify our families and neighbors for two decades,” Equality Texas said in a Friday statement. “By nominating associates of this hate group, the president is using his office in an attempt to ensure policies will be created and spearheaded to advance anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing and places of business all under the guise of protecting religious liberties.
Kathy Miller of Texas Freedom Network, which advocates for church-state separation, called the nominations “a clear signal that President Trump intends to make our federal courts the place where civil rights go to die.” Their nominations must still be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Last, Texas Moratorium Network announces that the 18th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty is scheduled for October 28 at the Capitol in Austin.
This is what I did between calls at the Blackboard help desk this afternoon. It has been quite some time since I last posted a blog entry on hcgp.org, and I took too long getting around to putting up something Harvey-related. But then, so has the rest of the party.
Everybody and his proverbial dog has posted something about our recent unwelcome parade-pisser-onner Harvey, on magnillions of websites and social media pages. The Harris County Green Party's Steering Committee hasn't even posted an Ooh, Look! Climate Change in Action! piece. Some of them have been rather busy dealing with the after-effects of two feet of standing water in their living rooms.
As HCGP has no designated blogmeister, I took on the task and presumed to speak for the party organization. Having known these folks for 17 years or more, I feel comfortable in presuming, even though I no longer attend regular meetings.
I hope you enjoy it and are sufficiently inspired to click some of the many links in it.
UPDATE: As sustainability wonk Jay Crossley so eloquently put it on Facebook, Wow. Just wow. (From the Dallas Morning News, so you may run into a paywall.)
In a variety of ways, blogging can be a public service before, during, and after an event like Harvey. If used correctly, blogs don't just keep the reading public informed; they also can give them more positive feelings on which to return from disaster mode to routine. When we talk about "recovery" after a disaster, what we really mean is recovering or rebuilding the life we had before, perhaps not wholly but in large part—i.e., in the Texas idiom, getting back to bidness.
If we or our loved ones lose treasured objects or people, we lose part of that life-before. In essence, it is a partial death. For most of us, grieving is a healthy and necessary process, even if we are (in a sense) mourning for ourselves.
But I have not been blogging much lately. When opportunities have arisen, I have instead spent parts of two days helping friends empty their inundated homes, and parts of two other days involved in the Burners Without Borders Harvey Relief effort. The BWB group and others met at warehouse location in Houston's Near Northside to assemble packages of donated food, clothing, toiletries, and cleaning supplies for shelters and neighborhoods all over Southeast Texas. After a hot and busy Sunday afternoon, when I had time to breathe, it occurred to me that I had never been so proud to call myself a Burner: not for anything I had done that day, but for the way my friends made it all happen.
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.