I have just returned from a few days in Minnesota, spent visiting relatives and rediscovering tennis. It was my first visit to the Gopher State since summer 1986, apart from passing through it on the Amtrak Empire Builder in 1998.
Highlights of the trip included playing tennis with Mom and her friends, seeing a very live production of West Side Story at the legendary Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, devouring a rhubarb pannekoeken at the Pannekoeken Huis in Saint Louis Park, hearing Minnesota regional accents everywhere dontcha know, and dinner with a friend who moved to the Twin Cities from Houston last year and absolutely loves the place.
Not-so-highlights included a visit to the Mall of America (it's just not my thing), constant political ads on the TV, and noticing how incredibly white my parents' summer neighborhood is. And it is very much a summer neighborhood: Owners can live there only between 15 April and 15 October.
Next visit, I definitely want to go to St. Cloud (or the Cities) and try some Somali cuisine.
The Texas Progressive Alliance again took a break from the most rabid Washington-related political news—no Manafort, no Rudy, no Omarosa, no Kellyanne, thanks—and focused on environmental, educational, and social issues occupying the public domain over the past week.
David Collins has some post-Midwestern primary election thoughts, which included a measured response to the now-weekly unhinged rants of centrist Democrats blaming the Green Party for having the temerity to allow the sun to rise too early while simultaneously turning off their snooze alarms.
Meanwhile the DNC quietly (but almost unanimously) aborted their two-month-old moratorium on accepting PAC money from fossil fuel companies, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs learned that a brand-new DNC member from Houston was probably instrumental in the move.
Reality-based Texas blogs addressed the worsening climate crisis before the DNC sold out.
Texas Vox described how cities in Texas—beyond Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and hopefully Dallas soon--can craft a "Paris-friendly" climate action plan.
Downwinders at Risk advanced the hearing with the Dallas city council's Quality of Life committee on August 27th, with the current challenge being that city officials do not think that the public can "handle the truth" about air pollution in the Metroplex.
DeSmogBlog detailed how the fracking industry is cannibalizing themselves, setting up the next bust cycle via overuse of horizontal drilling, using the film There Will Be Blood's milkshake analogy to describe how it is happening.
Millard Fillmore's Bathtub recalls the days when DDT was sprayed from airplanes in order to prevent the spread of polio.
In more recent poisonous aerosol applications by misguided public officials, the Texas Observer documented Sid Miller's crawfishing on cattle spray boxes. (Just go read it. Really.)
The Culture Wars, in the diminutive form of beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions, came to Houston and promptly ate too much Mexican food, upsetting the delicate constitution of the city's liberals and conservatives.
El Jefe at the Beauty Shop also recapped the El Tiempo debacle.
UPDATE: Pro-level trolling by Montrose Tex-Mex competitor El Real, via Eater Houston.
Dallas city council member Dwain Caraway resigned after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges. The Dallas Observer compiled a few of his greatest hits, including his contribution to the QAnon controversy.
With the midterm elections looming, voter registration among millennials is surging—just not in Texas, says the San Antonio Current.
"Texas seems to be moving backward in comparison to the rest of the country," said Zenen Jaimes Perez, communications director for the Texas Civil Rights Project. "This state, unfortunately, is becoming an outlier. … Very clearly, it’s motivated by state’s top leaders wanting to keep the same people in power."
As schools get set to open, the Texas Tribune takes note of students in Port Arthur who are still living a Harvey PTSD moment.
Texas Standard brings home the report card on Texas schools in the RGV earning an A, which defies the conventional wisdom about poverty and achievement.
In the wake of this past weekend's "Unite the Right 2" march, Jef Rouner at Free Press Houston believes that Houston should be preparing for its own white supremacist rally.
SocraticGadfly wants to know more about all the alleged Texas atheists the Lyceum poll on the Cruz-O'Rourke Senate race said the state had.
In a promising Texas media development, the Rivard Report has relocated its San Antonio offices, tripling the square footage, adding to staff and making conference space available for meetings with government officials and community leaders.
Harry Hamid has another edition of the Saint Christopher Chronicles, begun week before last and continuing with "Breakfast with Buck."
Carlos Sanchez at Texas Monthly eulogizes the liberal lion of the Texas Senate, A.R. "Babe" Schwartz. He was an avid environmentalist and a civil rights advocate—especially desegregation—at a time when that was not a popular position. He also pushed for open government, education, and state services for the mentally challenged.
And the biggest music news last week was rapper Travis Scott dropping "Astroworld" and scheduling a new jam fest in H-Town in November.
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.