Category Archives: History

The Voting Problems

It’s safe to say that local Republicans didn’t mind the voting problems at locations which opened late or were short-staffed at the beginning of Election Day. When supplies were running low at some locations, though, all of a sudden they wanted to be a protected class. So goes the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. It’s all about them–especially when they lose.

Don’t worry, Rethugs, I was almost a victim of those damn printers, too. (Did you hear that HC Elections was counting emergency ballots yesterday?)

I voted on the first day, being the responsible kind of voter who fears dying between Day 1 of early voting and Election Day and not having my vote counted. Though the polling location (Tracy Gee Center) was busy and the configuration of the room between check-in and voting was backwards, I got through that process. Unfortunately, when it came to pushing in the 2nd ballot sheet into the printer, it jammed. Badly! The first couple of lines printed before it skewed badly and injured the paper.

I immediately called up a poll worker who literally had to pull the sheet out, had me put my name on yellow sticky on the ballot while he found a supervisor. I stayed at my polling station, hoping that my vote wasn’t lost. Thankfully, a supervisor brought a new sheet, the poll worker ran it through, and the 2nd page was printed. Finally, both sheets went through the scanner and I was done, placing the I VOTED sticker on my mask. Yes, I still mask.

Anyway, voters need to check their paper print-outs to ensure everything printed out. We have these “paper trails” that were demanded by people for a reason. I thought the paper trail was going to be cash register receipt of my choices for ME, but so much for that.

Thanks to the good folks who committed to working for Harris County Elections for ensuring my vote counted.

Now, the staffing shortages and paper shortages do need to be addressed. The paper trail part is state-mandated now, so, maybe more staff to run a q-tip with alcohol on the rubber thingies that pull the ballot paper in are needed. I don’t know. You got paid people for that. But more paper kept in accessible secure locations or something!

But is this a blatant, purposeful violation of ones voting rights? It’s an inconvenience for sure, but we have 782 voting locations on Election Day that a voter can vote at. At least in my neighborhood, from Tracy Gee I could go down the street to one of the Chinese Cultural centers off Corporate to vote. A little further and I have the Alief ISD polling station. The options were plentiful. We just haven’t gotten people out of the mentality that they don’t have to vote JUST in their neighborhood.

The options were also plentiful for people who somehow didn’t pay attention to all the TV attack ads and mail reminding them that there was an election–early voting and Election Day–yet decided to give up when the one location they went to didn’t open up on time. Or didn’t realize it until they got a text that election day was extended by an hour (to vote on a provisional ballot that may or may not be counted).

Now, some might say, “How Republican of you, Stace, to have these thoughts.” But there were two million people in downtown sweating it out (and stinking it up) for the Astros a day before, I figure driving a few miles to a polling location wouldn’t be that big a deal. Maybe I’m just experiencing less faith in humanity. I wonder why.

Is there voter suppression? Of poor and ethnic folks? Hell yeah. Which is why we have early voting for two weeks, a late night of early voting, a weekend of early voting, and 782 locations to vote at on Election Day.

Do folks still have issues getting to vote? Of course! Especially by mail. The Republicans have improved their voter suppression tactics to include racist mailings to go along with their racist policies that make people give up on democracy. Gerrymandering is voter suppression, too. But given the fact that 9 million people in Texas (a million or so here in Houston) didn’t show up to vote, it’s safe to say that a lot of folks just weren’t giving a shit and for a whole lot of reasons. And that’s a whole other discussion to have, but other than forced voting, I’m not sure what a good solution is.

I’m proud to be the son of Tacho and Flora who instilled in me a love of voting and participating in the political process. And believe me, I went through a phase this summer of wondering if I should even bother, but that subsided when I saw all of the lies and misinformation by Fascist Mack and MagaMealer and “Judicial Fairness PAC.” But I guess 9 million others in Texas don’t want to be like me.

Needless to say, Republicans, your rights were not violated. Inconvenienced? Sure. And the rights of Democrats at those voting locations, too, but you didn’t seem to care about them. But there is a lot of that going on, mostly because of Republican policies.

QEPD: Harold Cook

Growing up as a political operative-wannabe, I always admired the work of Harold Cook; especially during the days of Ann Richards. As a college kid, had I known him then, I’d probably want to be “the next Harold Cook.” So, when I started Dos Centavos and joined a group of Texas political bloggers, I was sort of in awe (at least in an e-mail group) to be in a group that included Harold.

When we finally formally met, it was at St. Arnold’s Brewery during one of the Texas Dem Convention parties. Talk about a Texas-sized hug. He had so much knowledge of Texas Politics and was quite the strategist. But he also had a wit that was so sharp that whomever it was aimed at didn’t know who sliced them up until they’d bled out. So, he was one of my influences during this time of DosCentavos.net.

I was so saddened to hear of his untimely passing. Shocked. Mad. And then sad, again. How could he do this to us? Right? While our political conversations were always interesting, I always felt honored when he left a comment on a photo of one of my food creations, inviting himself or placing an order to deliver to his Western Headquarters. He’ll be missed by those who followed him on social media, for sure. To those who were closest to him, I know they’re going through a lot of emotions. My thoughts are with his family and friends. And Travis the Goofy Dog.

Regarding Letters From Texas (his website/blog) and why he included political satire with his expert analyses, he told Culture Map Austin in 2012, “I think many participants in the political process take themselves way too seriously.” He definitely lightened up Texas politics–at least for those who wanted to be in the thick of it.

Here’s Quorum Report’s statement from Harold’s Family:

Friends and family passed along this statement

Longtime political advisor and commentator Harold Cook died suddenly at his “Western Headquarters” in Marathon.

Not surprisingly, he made it to one last election day.

Harold’s first political job was serving as an aide to State Representative Debra Danburg. He went on working closely with Land Commissioner Gary Mauro, Texas Secretary of State John Hannah Jr.. and dozens of other elected officials and organizations.

Notably, Harold managed the 11 Democratic state senators who broke quorum in 2003 and held out for 46 days in Albuquerque.

Harold later became a featured commentator on Time Warner’s Capitol Tonight, often providing astute observations with an acidic wit.

Harold Lee Cook was born January 16, 1961 in Houston. He is survived by his beloved sister Martha and his loyal dog Travis. Services are pending.

Election 2022 Results

Congrats to County Judge Lina Hidalgo. She fought off an all-out attack from Fascist Mack, his millionaire buddies and his puppet of a candidate, consistently adding to her lead as the votes were counted throughout the night. Other Dems, including District Clerk Marilyn Burgess and County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth return to their jobs, and Dr. Carla Wyatt will take over as County Treasurer in January. Amy Hinojosa and Andrea Duhon return to the Harris County Dept of Education board, too.

We will have a new Pct. 4 County Commissioner as Lesley Briones pushed on through to defeat the no-show incumbent. With Judge Hidalgo and Commish Adrian Garcia earning re-election, Harris County Commissioner’s Court will now have four (4) Democrats–a supermajority that can ensure strong budgets and policies are passed whether GOPer Tom Ramsey shows up or not. Some say this isn’t a mandate, but after all the hate-mongering and money wasted by the other side, I think Harris County did achieve a strong mandate for progressive values and policies.

With all of the attack ads full of misinformation and fear-mongering against “Democrat Judges,” Dems lost a few judicial races, including 180th District Judge Dasean Jones. Of course, the local Dem DA assisted in the bail-related fear-mongering, so, I hope Judge Jones stays close and challenges the DA in 2024. There were several sitting judges who were “in the news” regarding bonds and releases, but it seems Republicans honed in on African-American judicial candidates because they are the ones that lost. The non-Black judges seemed to cruise into re-election. Just an observation.

That said, I’m surprised nothing was said about all the corporate money that was used to create the Republican “crime” message that attacked all of the judges. The money came from Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a very dead Sheldon Adelson’s Vegas gambling corporation, and other non-crime, non-law enforcement-related corporations. They were trying to buy civil court judges, people! They didn’t care about crime.

Well, Democrats haven’t elected anyone statewide for over 25 years, and that reality continues. South Texas continues to add to Republicans’ bottom line, and anything over 35-40 % of the vote in those counties will keep the GOP strong statewide–even as suburban areas “liberalize.” Whether it’s “moderate” Democrats who fail to do anything about educating the South Texas public about progressive issues, Christian fundamentalism that creeps into politics, or South Texas voters falling for right-wing hate-mongering as if they aren’t included in the attacks, it’s a problem. A message problem for Democrats.

Thankfully, at the local level Democrats are still in charge in most of South Texas–even Starr County. It is gerrymandering that ensured right-wing victories in CD-15 and CD-23. There’s a lot to unpack and discuss about South Texas, but as long as Nancy Pelosi feels the need to help sell-outs like Henry Cuellar during Democratic Primaries, the party pendejadas will continue.

Bexar County had a good night, as did Travis County and Dallas County. For some reason, Republicans targeted Harris County, finding and exploiting weaknesses in our bottom line. Fortunately, they ran mediocre (yet well-funded) candidates with awful puppeteers (Fascist Mack, Steve Hotze, etc.) and exploited crime victims in creating a fear-based message. Democratic activists were still successful in the ground game, despite the daily vitriol on TV. Kudos to them. [Travis County Note: Good luck to Celia Israel as she moves on to a Mayoral run-off, and to Jose Velasquez in Austin City Council District 3 run-off.]

While Dem faithful seem to have adopted Greg Abbott’s “it could’ve been worse” line after the results were finally posted, given results in other urban areas of the state which were strong for Democrats, perhaps something needs to be discussed. The activism is working, but the media response to right-wing lies leaves much to be desired. Also, it might help reminding voters how great our elected officials are–at least those that are great. But, hey, we won!

Anyway, Dems have some work to do for 2024, including having a cleaner, more meaningful slate that runs together and supports itself from top to bottom. Of course, this is also something to think about for the 2023 local elections as we remember who, from those in the running for Mayor and Council, stood up for our Democratic slate and who did not.

And somebody educate the local newsreaders about the political and election process before they go on TV. The overdramatization of the last eight ballot boxes was quite annoying.

Kuff has more. And I thought I was the only one making hand gestures at homes with Mealer signs.

QEPD: Ramsey Muñiz

I was saddened to hear of the passing of the first Chicano to run for Texas Governor under the banner of La Raza Unida Party, Ramiro (Ramsey) Muñiz. In 1972, he garnered 6% of the vote, almost causing the defeat of right-wing Democrat Dolph Briscoe. He helped change the face of Texas politics, though, the struggle continues.

Charismatic, politically savvy, and quite the motivator, Muñiz was a Baylor-educated Lawyer and Chicano political superstar who headed up a statewide ballot for one of the most locally effective third parties in Texas whose purpose was not only representation, but progressive policies that would benefit Chicanos all over Texas.

In 2018, I posted about his decades as a political prisoner, which came to an end with a compassionate release. I rank him up there with Leonard Peltier (still imprisoned)–an activist not liked by the federal government, no matter who was in charge. Muñiz resided at Leavenworth, a military prison, after multiple drug convictions with which most end up in a lower security prison. Family and friends, though, kept up the fight to achieve his release. Unfortunately, it took major illnesses for him to be released. Thankfully, he lasted another few years, still gave his speeches, still provided advice to activists, and was able to die with dignity and with his family.

For more on Mr. Muñiz, click here.

For a sample of his speeches:

The Uvalde Report Touches on Migrant Chases

The Texas House committee charged with getting to the bottom of the Uvalde shooting hasn’t dug up enough information or solutions for the future. Ultimately, the reason for the shooting will always be about easy gun access and lax background check policies as these officials continue to pass the blame to everyone but themselves.

I will give the Texas Tribune a lot of credit for their work in Uvalde, including trying to get to the bottom of the report with their takeaways. Among the takeaways included law enforcement and community being desensitized to emergency situations because of the frequent Border Patrol and Greg Abbott-enlisted local law enforcement chases of migrants and smugglers in individual vehicles that caused “bailouts.”

One reason for a culture of complacency around alerts is that they happened so often. Uvalde is located about an hour from the U.S.-Mexico border and police described an increase in “bailouts” near the school, in which officers chase a vehicle containing suspected undocumented migrants who then purposely crash and scatter to avoid apprehension.

Since late February, there were 47 “secure” or “lockdown” events at Uvalde schools, according to the report. Around 90% of them were attributed to bailouts, the committee said.

“Uvalde CISD parents became so concerned about the number of bailouts occurring near the elementary-school campuses that they offered to hire off-duty police to supplement the Uvalde CISD police presence,” the report said.

The vilification of migrants instilled so much fear of them in the community that they ended up not thinking about what else could happen to their children. They were more concerned with people escaping violence and poverty than with some kid with, as the report found, actual mental health issues and online hints of violence that went ignored. The systemic problems include Greg Abbott and his border boondoggle, but they won’t go so far as to blame him.

Just a reminder, early on, it was this blog who mentioned the online rumor mill in Uvalde which included stories of bad migrants attacking the schools from people made ignorant by Greg Abbott and the Keystone Cops which did nothing to save the Uvalde children. It’s an issue, and, unfortunately, it will still go ignored if people (and Democrats) allow it. It will still be a good photo op for area cops who want their trophies to impress Greg Abbott.

Kuff has more on the rest of the report.

The Taco Distraction

When I heard FLOTUS compared brown folks to tacos, I didn’t know how to react. Should I be mad (like so many others who also need to stay focused on actual issues)? Should I be disappointed at the crappy speech writer and staff work? Frankly, I’m pretty sure pissing us off wasn’t FLOTUS’ intent. Chalk it up to another case of white folks thinking they’re doing us a favor, maybe?

Arellano at the LATimes provided us a history of politics and Mexican food. I mean, remember Gerald Ford’s failure at tamales? Then, there’s also Varela at MSNBC who expands on the politics of trying to pat brown folks on the head, while avoiding action on the issues that affect us–by both parties.

Says Arellano:

Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama held lavish diplomatic banquets featuring Mexican food (the Gipper invited actual Mexican chefs; Barry went with Rick Bayless). Jesse Jackson praised Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen in 1988 for being able to “go from biscuits to tacos to caviar real fast, knowing that’s just the cultural diversity that makes up America.” Bill Clinton went so often to Tex-Mex classic Mi Tierra Cafe in San Antonio that it features a painting of a jogging Slick Willie wearing a — you guessed it! — Mi Tierra Cafe T-shirt.

Most of us agree that while FLOTUS and Democrats shouldn’t ever, ever try to make a funny based on culture (they haven’t earned their barrio card; even some of the brown ones haven’t), Republicans really don’t have a say in any of this. Trying to play on brown folk’s annoyance while vilifying brown folk in their policies is pretty stupid. “They compared you to tacos, all we want to do is put you in cages! Ha! Ha!”

As Varela states:

As much as they don’t want to admit it, Democrats, particularly the Bidens, have been uncomfortable practitioners in not understanding the complexity of the Latino community. Last year, the first lady mispronounced the iconic “Sí se puede” chant in Spanish, leading to some head shakes. About 10 years ago, then-Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to the National Council of La Raza (the previous name of UnidosUS) made a bizarre analogy between Mitt Romney’s tax returns and Latinos having to show their immigration papers, as if immigration status is what solely defined the community. Partisan supporters applauded his comments back then, but it felt a bit disconnected, just like the time when candidate Hilary Clinton in 2016 was being compared to an abuela. But are Republicans really the right ones to launch their criticism at Biden, and at Democrats more widely, when it comes to serving Latinos?

And this is what I’m talking about. Worthless platitudes and attempts at being funny at high-priced conferences that most brown folk cannot afford to attend is not how one gets our vote. But a gaffe sure as hell gets to the people, huh?

No, it’s about the action, pendejos! It’s about what you do once we get you into office. We have a Democratic President, Senate, and House and we can’t get immigration reform passed; not even something as simple as codifying DACA. The rights of women and voters have been thrown to the curb, and that also affects brown folks. Standing up to price gouging corporations in a substantial way, rather than finger-wagging for the cameras, is the least that would be appreciated at the moment. Fight for us, cabrones!

So, I’m not angry. Annoyed? Sure. But most Democratic faithful annoy me since all they want is my vote and not my criticism or even calls for accountability. So much for the democracy they purport to want to save, right?

What I do find annoying is the speechwriting targeted at brown folks and its continual failure at capturing us. The Biden administration poached so many salaried “movement” professionals (labor, farm worker, immigration reform), one would figure they’d be called up to help with what was probably supposed to be a simple, non-controversial speech.

Anyway, I prefer to be distracted by actual tacos.

Thoughts on Viernes – 07082022

Migrant Deaths Beyond The Trailer in SA

I came upon a report on FB regarding the bodies of migrants being found in Eagle Pass/Maverick County during this last fiscal year. In fact, the number of deaths this year alone number around seventy. Deaths are caused by dehydration because of the South Texas heat as they trek through farm and ranch land, or from drowning in the Rio Grande. Back in May, a dozen migrants were found in this same sector. Migrant deaths in this sector account for almost a third of all deaths.

So, as Greg Abbott sics his National Guard on helpless migrants escaping violence and poverty in their home countries, migrants will seek more dangerous routes to get here. They certainly aren’t stopping or returning on their own. Along with Abbott’s bigoted policies, The Biden Administration and Congress’s lack of action on immigration reform are the cause of these deaths. US – Latin America policy which supports right-wing governments like the one in El Salvador is at fault for migrants attempting to come to the US in the first place.

We are told to “vote in the next election.” But we voted in 2020. We got a Democratic majority and a Democratic President who promised action. Give us something for which to vote in 2022!

COVID-19 Denial

It seems so many are still in denial that the spread of COVID-19 continues to rise. Houston Health reported we are at 28% positivity. Hospitalizations continue to rise. I see more people I know getting infected, and some, re-infected. I’ll venture to say that these numbers rise because people are out in crowds unmasked. While the vaccination rate in Houston remains steady at around 68%, the re-opening of Texas has sent people into a state of irresponsibility. If you’re skinny and well-insured (and well-informed), the vaccinations and boosters will be a help. But as long as local government isn’t sounding alarms to help inform people of the current reality, then the infection rate will rise. At this point, I’m disappointed in local officials, and not just because some of them got (re-)infected.

The rest of you all, MASK UP. It may be the one thing that keeps you from getting infected, as the vaccination only helps with the symptoms at this point.

But, here’s the thing: So many Republicans and wealthy people whined that working from home would affect productivity. But everyone was working and the work got done. Now, workplaces are seeing increases in COVID-19 positivity, and people are staying home sick and not working. THIS is what affects productivity; not working from home! Anyway, mask up!

Greg Abbott and The People’s Money

Abbott sure knows how to throw other people’s money around, whether it is tax dollars or the money of his donors. In the case of our money, he has thrown $4 billion at the Texas border in what has been one big photo opportunity for himself. He recently announced he was sending another $30 million for his bigoted Operation Lone Pendejo, in which he purports to fight migrants. The money usually goes to overtime for local cops and toys with big tires. And since it comes from federal and state money in the form of law enforcement grants, there usually is no accountability. One would figure that legislators and the feds would ask for a full accounting of it. Hopefully, the Justice Department investigation will tell us what we already know–it’s all a boondoggle and a waste of money. But I’m not even hopeful of that.

Uvalde

I was born and raised about 40 miles from Uvalde, TX in Crystal City. As much as the media talks about how small Uvalde is, those residing in the even tinier towns that surround it think of Uvalde as the closest big city that provides a small hospital, a big Wal-Mart, the KFC and other restaurants, car dealerships, and nice parks that provide more than dirt lots on which to run around in. There’s also Eagle Pass 40 miles in the other direction at the border, but we didn’t like to stop at Migra checkpoints because as Americans we didn’t enjoy having our citizenship questioned, unless we really had to go to La Aguila for the mall or the Social Security Admin office.

Uvalde also offers the area’s junior college for students who aren’t yet ready to leave the area for other universities or who seek workforce degrees in nursing, auto mechanics, HVAC, and law enforcement, or for dual credit courses at the high schools. I even took my ACT at SWTJC. The middle school field trip to the John Nance Garner Museum (FDRs VP aka Cactus Jack) was very interesting, too. The Uvalde Coyotes sports teams have been among Crystal City’s top rivals for decades. I’d add that many of us even have relatives and friends in Uvalde. So, what occurred in Uvalde affected the whole area, whether personally or emotionally and we feel so much for the families that were directly affected. Even those of us who have been gone for 33 years.

Before the news channels got ahold of the events, I was finding out about it through text messages from close friends who had friends with grandkids in the school. Later, when other friends were posting photos of unaccounted for children, and some who even knew slain teachers during their childhood, I found out we aren’t all that disconnected from each other in that area of Texas. In fact, slain teacher Irma Garcia’s father was the Principal at Crystal City High School before they moved to Uvalde during the 80s and Irma’s family are related to a cousin-in-law of mine. Eva Mireles grew up in Eagle Pass, which is the other little city in the area. The father of one of the little girls is from a town down the road from Houston where a friend of mine has taught for years.

When I started doing my internet searches of people talking about it on Facebook, there were so many stories going around that law enforcement had not even announced. One story blamed a “migrant bailout” after a chase because the Migra engages them dangerously and frequently. One news channel (CBS) even took notice of all the Border Patrol members in the vicinity that even that talking head was buying into the fake story. The reality is that BP has a checkpoint just outside of Uvalde on the way to Del Rio and Eagle Pass on the border. And they give all sorts of assists to LE when they’re not hunting brown people or causing accidents from chases. So, there’s a reason folks were questioning the Migra’s appearance and there are enough people there who love to blame “the other.” But it’s a small town and chisme happens really fast and that made things all the more frustrating when people were searching for their kids. The frustrations became more immense in the aftermath, though.

The lack of information provided to parents of missing children was quite angering as the school district, law enforcement, and the hospital were not providing information. It seemed they were getting the “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” treatment. When they began to bring them in one-by-one for DNA swabs to assist in identity purposes, I knew what the outcome would be. One reporter stated they could hear the crying screams of parents as they were told why a swab was needed. One thing about small town folks in crises, we always hold out for hope because that’s one thing we always have and own, and most held out to the very end. But that they were left without a hint of a status for hours is a travesty.

Now, the information is still slow in coming and fast in changing to the point of inconsistencies, even after today’s DPS presser and Greg Abbott’s second presser. Greg Abbott’s first press conference featuring his political buddies was a joke and provided misinformation. Beto O’Rourke’s actions were quite welcome as he spoke truth to power, and their reactions showed us they knew it. A day later, the DPS press conference provided different information and left too many gaps to be filled. The one-hour gap between law enforcement getting shot at and the killing of the shooter was missing.

But then, there is also the allegations of mistreatment of parents by police, or rumors that law enforcement weren’t going in to the school, or others saving their own kids first, including BP agents. I know an investigation takes time, but when parents begin to provide facts of what they were met with when they arrived at the school, it seemed the presser became about defending law enforcement actions against parents, rather than actually investigating those allegations. That same regional director who headed up the first DPS presser, Victor Escalon, is the guy who interrogated Melissa Lucio, who almost ended up in the death chamber recently. That this guy has gotten promoted says a lot about Abbott’s operation.

The timeline is important, but we also need to know who was in charge during the various actions taken by law enforcement, from going into the school initially to the call-up of additional law enforcement and specialists to that one-hour gap to when they finally killed the shooter. It wasn’t until the aftermath that we found out Texas Rangers took over. But who was in charge the rest of the time? As DPS Director McCraw told the press, there is no need for someone in charge in an active shooter situation. One just goes in and takes out the shooters. (We found out later that the incident commander was Chief Arredondo of the school police, who gave the very first press conference on the evening of this tragic day.)

In Friday’s DPS presser, we found more truths, and maybe even more individuals to blame as a school resource officer was mentioned as driving into the school parking lot after the shooter had crossed the fence. Also mentioned was a back door that was propped up by a teacher who may have gone to his/her car to get a cell phone that he/she forgot. But let’s also recall that an awards ceremony had been held earlier that morning and there were a lot of parents going in and out of the building and it was probably close to the lunch period. It never fails that instead of finding systemic gaps in problems, they’ll find an individual to blame so that those in charge seem unblameable.

Congressman Joaquin Castro (because Uvalde’s right-wing guy Tony Gonzalez is useless) put out a request for the FBI to take over the investigation. I think this is a great idea considering that there were federal agencies involved in this. And the FBI responded after meeting with Congressman Castro.

It would seem to me that the kids who survived this tragedy, that were in the building, that heard the law enforcement demands and the shooter’s response, and heard the shots being fired at the children and teachers are providing the most information. And I commend the media for putting those stories out as DPS director McCraw went so far as saying some witnesses are “wrong.” Based on what, if he wasn’t even there. And why would victims lie? Let’s recall that 19 cops didn’t even go into the classroom where this happened.

We’ve spent decades debating gun control, gun safety, etc., and nothing has come about other than more guns. There are close to 400,000,000 guns out there. That’s more than one gun per person. They are accessible to criminals. But this shooter wasn’t a felon, wasn’t deemed mentally unstable, wasn’t reported by social media friends and was able to purchase two deadly weapons and over 1,000 rounds of ammo. The ammo purchase reminded me of Chris Rock’s suggestion that we need bullet control because whether it’s someone who is unstable or someone who gets off on shooting high-powered weapons for whatever reason, the fact that they are buying this much ammo should be a red flag in itself.

What’s the answer? Obviously people will protest and counter, and now the Senate has a committee to discuss disagreements and whatever else they discuss. Is there hope? There’s always hope, but there’s also a lot of right-wing nuts who will get in people’s faces to prove their point and I fear law enforcement will round-up anti-NRA protesters before they round-up armed idiots, no different than those cops who failed to go into the classroom until someone deemed a “specialist” arrived.

At this point, I want the investigation to continue, I want these families to receive the answers, all of the answer, they deserve, and I want Greg Abbott and his minions at all levels to stop the bullshit of covering each others asses. There were multiple agencies involved and a few days later, no one can determine answers until they agree on one that is favorable to them, it would seem.

So, when people who fear politics tell us to not get political, my response is to grow guts, or a pair, and get in the fight. Or get out of the way. Although this is the issue of the week, the fact that the inaction and failures at all levels occurred in South Texas tells you how little they care about the area and how easily they get their vote with rhetoric that blames “the other,” for the problems elected leaders cause. And, this isn’t just about gun laws, it’s about how the victims are being treated by authorities.

So, yes, it is political. Get over it. As someone who grew up down in that area, it’s also personal. The fact that so many people are interconnected with the victims makes it personal. And not just the murders, but also the ineptitude of those in charge.

Finally, if you really want change, vote out Abbott, Patrick, and all of the Republicans. They are not on the side of the people.

PS…GOFUNDME sent an email to users listing legitimate fundraisers raising money for victim families. There are alot of fraudsters out there, so, be aware.

The “Glad That’s Over” Dem Run-Off Report 2022

With 100 percent of the polling locations around the state reporting, it looks like the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor will be Mike Collier as he has around 55%. A little closer than I hoped, but I was surprised to see Beckley showing well in South Texas. That said, Collier will be an active participant in this election.

Also, Rochelle Garza was doing extremely well in South, Central, and North Texas on her way to a decisive victory with over 62% of the vote. Glad we’ll have some highly qualified diversity on the ballot because the rest of the statewide team is not diverse at all.

Janet Dudding (61%) and Jay Kleberg (52%) end up as the Dem nominees for Comptroller and Land Commish, respectively.

In a race that took a negative turn in the last days of the campaign, Lesley Briones held a steady lead with 54% (or so) of the vote over Ben Chou on her way to becoming the nominee for Harris County Commissioner Pct 4. I guess the unfounded, negative attacks against her didn’t work. Briones will take on right-wing incumbent Jack Cagle, who recently voted against a county resolution decrying gun violence. Yes, on the day of the Uvalde, TX shooting, Cagle made it clear that he doesn’t care about dead children. I’m all in with Briones and it is time for all to come together to win this race.

It was also a sad day for incumbents Criminal District Judge Jason Luong and Family District Judge Chip Wells. I guess I need to learn more about the winners. Beverly Armstrong defeated Kim McTorry for the Dem nod for 208th District Judge in an open race.

Also, Treasea Trevino didn’t make the cut for County Court #4, though she was a great candidate who was challenging the local Dem establishment with her race against Monica Singh. Don’t give up, Treasea! Also, Sonia Lopez ran a great race for JP Pct 1, falling short to Steven Duble. Sonia has a great future in local politics.

In San Antonio, Judge Peter Sakai won the Dem nomination over Ina Minjarez for Bexar County Judge. He’s not a bad guy; actually, quite beloved, so Bexar County will be alright once he defeats the Republican.

And in Congressional District 28, Jessica Cisneros was nipping at the tail of Nancy Pelosi’s anti-woman lapdog, Henry Cuellar, down by less than 200 votes most of the night. While Bexar County results showed a few boxes still out, they didn’t seem to change the final result. Newsflash: Nancy Pelosi will get nothing for Democrats from Cuellar, other than a “W” for selling out women, migrants, and poor people.

Anyway, the results are in and we have a ballot to support, while also having the ability to demand more from our candidates in the form of GOTV, issues support, etc. It should already be expected, though.

Cartoonista Lalo Alcaraz in the News

Lalo Alcaraz and Me at the 2007 Latino Book and Family Festival

Recently, editorial cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz was awarded the Herblock Prize for his work on La Cucaracha and his syndicated editorial cartoons. Lalo has been a finalist for a Pulitzer twice, with the last nom not being awarded to any of the nominees for some reason that even ended with the category being cancelled. The Herblock is huge nonetheless, considering Lalo is the first “nonwhite” to earn it.

The judges stated “Powerful versatility. That is one way to describe the work of cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz. Alcaraz is equally as comfortable creating a faux woodblock print to address our country’s history of racism and xenophobia as he is mocking up a blueprint to satirize a rich white billionaire with a space rocket. From a stark dripping red MAGA hat that could be the corporate logo for the bloody January 6th insurrection, to a complex movie poster parody ridiculing right-wing conspiracies, Alcaraz’s cartoons always hit their mark.

and

Alcaraz is active in using cartoons and animation to battle vaccine hesitancy and Covid misinformation in the Latino community with the organization CovidLatino.org and the California Department of Public Health. He is currently Virtual Artist In Residence for the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. He is a graduate of San Diego State University (BA in Art) and UC Berkeley (Master’s in Architecture).

The New Yorker’s Graciela Mochkofsky penned a feature on Lalo describing his long journey to “mainstream acceptance.” Is it really acceptance? Well, that’s a question whose answer continues to develop, but the road to get this far hasn’t been easy.

Now he has finally been accepted. Or has he? “I get a lot of hate mail,” Alcaraz said in his acceptance speech. A few days later, during a Zoom call from Los Angeles, he told me, “There is still this American societal attitude that we are foreign.”

It’s a great read, particularly the reminder that at one point the local fish wrap (The Chron) buckled to their right-wing readers’ offended sensibilities and banned La Cucaracha. A low-point for the Pulitzer winning operation, huh? (I guess that category wasn’t cancelled.) That impromptu protest against the Chron at the Latino Book and Family Festival was fun!

Anyway, read the New Yorker piece about Lalo Alcaraz. Learn something.