Category Archives: 2022

DC’s Top 10 Posts of 2022

Well, during a year which saw some activity for myself which then died down as family and self took precedence over the news of the day, I’m still impressed that folks visited the site consistently. Thank you! I’ve compiled the Top 10 posts which received the most views and visits. I’m still surprised that some posts from years past still get a lot of visits, but these are ten I wrote in 2022. Here’s hoping you have a good time reminiscing.

Chou Goes Disingenous With Briones Attack

Judge Lesley Briones Announces for Harris Commish

The 2022 Stace Slate – Dem Primary

JP 1-2 Candidate Victor Lombrana Featured on Univision

43rd Annual Festival Chicano Schedue is Out

QEPD: Harold Cook

Isabel Longoria Resigns As Elections Chief

Race For Precinct 4 Is Almost Over, But…

Ben Chou Files for Harris Commish

Texas Trib: One Last Reunion of La Raza Unida Party

QEPD: Ramsey Muniz

Obviously, the race for Precinct 4 Commish received the most attention on the internets. Thankfully, Chou endorsed Briones after the run-off and Briones and Democrats went on to unseat a bigoted, lazy piece of furniture handily. Democrats will hold a 4-1 majority on the Commish Court because County Judge Lina Hidalgo defeated Fascist Mack, his rich buddies, and their candidate.

It’s been a year, though. I’ll be writing something to sum up my thoughts next week. Stay connected!

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.

2022 Early Voting Begins Monday 10/24

Today is the first day of Early Voting for the 2022 General Election. Here’s the important info:

FIND YOUR SAMPLE BALLOT HERE

FIND YOUR EARLY VOTING LOCATION HERE Or Print a PDF EV Location Sheet

VOTE EARLY! VOTE FOR ALL OF THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES! And vote for all of the Harris County Bond Propositions!

This is a very important election from the top to the bottom of the ballot. Vote in every race.

Personally, though, I’ll be skipping over Democrats who failed to endorse our County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Kudos to Mayoral candidate Chris Hollins for pointing out that one particular Democratic officeholder who has failed to endorse a couple of Latina candidates.

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:

Thoughts on Viernes – -0232022

Getting Antsy

We are a little less than 50 days out of Election Day and the earlier than usual repetitive political ads are already making me antsy to get my vote done. And it’s not just the “Blame Everyone Else But Me” Republican ads and the ones where republican fear-mongers take advantage of crime victims. The Dem ads are getting to me, too. Perhaps it’s because I think there is a lot on which to attack Republicans. I know, I know…it’s about consistency in messaging, but some of us are tired of Republican practices on most issues here in Texas and not just one or two.

Hate Group Messaging Infiltrates Texas Sheriff Depts

No surprise. Dem and Republican sheriffs are pretty much united in blaming immigrants for everything so that Abbott can keep funding the border boondoggle. Hate group, Federation for American Immigration Reform, held a klan meeting in DC regarding the border featuring border cops and other bigots. FAIR was created by white supremacist John Tanton. Despite being deemed a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center, they are still “legit” in the eyes of Republicans and cops who want to use their data created out of their hind sides to legitimize their own bigoted practices. Bottom line: Everything we hear coming out of Republicans, from Greg Abbott to Alexandra Maga-Mealer and Mattress Mack in Harris County and Texas, is tied to bigots who thrive on causing fear among Texans.

The New COVID-19 Variant

There are some new variants of COVID-19 that are on CDCs radar.

The BA.5 variant that dominated the summer wave of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations has now fallen to 83.1% of new cases, according to estimates released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Three rival strains – the BF.7, BA.2.75, and BA.4.6 variants – have now climbed to make up nearly 1 in 5 new infections nationwide, according to the federal estimates. 

Even though people seem to continue ignoring health experts, instead following Biden’s “it’s over” advisory, mask up and play it safe, even if you are boosted. We don’t know how these new variants react–even to the latest booster.

TexTrib: One Last Reunion of La Raza Unida Party

When I heard that there would be another (and maybe final) reunion of La Raza Unida Party in San Antonio, I was saddened that I would not be able to make it. Thanks to Alexa Ura at the Trib, we have a lengthy report on the confab and even some history to remind folks about a liberal third political party that made a difference during the 70s, while pissing off Democrats and making Chicanos a more serious target of GOTV.

They were once deemed radicals on the front lines of the fight for Chicano rights in Texas. On this cloudy Thursday so many decades later, the visitors of the University of Texas at San Antonio’s downtown campus were mostly septuagenarians. They arrived from South and Central Texas or made the trek from other parts of the country to revisit a brief but significant chapter of Texas history when legions of Latinos and Latinas banded together in pursuit of political empowerment.

Out of the fight against institutionalized racism and injustices came La Raza Unida Party, a regional political apparatus that for a few years grew large enough to offer Texans a third political party. The party won local elections, made political organizers out of marginalized Texans and brought scores of new voters into the electoral fold.

I always like to say that I was born into a Raza Unida family. Yes, my parents were stalwart Democrats who finally had enough of Dem Party shenanigans that kept Chicanos and Chicanas from elected office through racist voter suppression and supported a third party that was successful locally.

Democratic county officials maneuvered to try to keep Raza Unida candidates off the ballots, and issues arose with the ballot petitions the nascent party submitted. Left off the ballot in three of the four targeted counties, organizers decided to run write-in campaigns for some candidates.

Doing so forced them to confront the far reach of the state’s discrimination. Illiteracy rates were high among the area’s Mexican Americans who had not been afforded an education, and some local officials vowed to continue barring interpreters at the polls even though federal courts said they must be allowed.

In Crystal City, organizers gathered with voters in parks to walk them through the process of casting ballots. In English and Spanish, they helped voters inspect sample ballots so they could learn to measure the spaces between entries and know where candidates’ names should be written. Then, they helped them memorize how to write out the names.

When voters arrived at the polls, they faced intimidation, illegal literacy tests and ballots intentionally printed with races in a different order. Some ballots were tossed based on misspellings even though state law allowed election workers to use their best judgment to accept a voter’s intentions.

Just one of the party’s 16 candidates won. Still, they amassed on average nearly 40% of the vote, according to the retelling in “United We Win.”

In fact, my Mom’s brother, Jose Serna was among the first Chicanos elected under RUP as Zavala County Sheriff after having organized farm workers and townspeople along with his wife, Olivia. Sheriff Serna was also one of the candidates who earned a majority of votes as a write-in candidate, but was disqualified because of different spellings of his name. When Democrats took over later, he was re-elected as a Democrat.

In the 1960s, Black and Latino people walked a tightrope between oppression and possibility.

Some were coming of age after a lifetime in segregated schools. The social mobility education could offer was mired in everyday inequities. In Texas, racist teachers regularly insulted Mexican American students relegated to rundown schools that often lacked air conditioning. Students were shunned, or even abused, for speaking Spanish. Too many did not graduate high school. Too few made it to college, and the cycles repeated year after year.

Politically, Latino Texans battled for even a sliver of power. It hadn’t been that long since Mexican Americans attempting to vote faced violence and brutality often carried out by the Texas Rangers or were shut out by “white primaries.” Hispanic veterans returning from the Vietnam War found the state’s white power structure marginalizing them by instituting poll taxes and banning interpreters who could help Spanish-speaking or illiterate voters cast ballots.

Some Mexican Americans were from families that had been in Texas longer than it had been a state; others were the children of migrant farmworkers eager to form part of their communities. All were consigned to second-class citizenship.

As Greg Abbott and Republicans nationally continue their bigoted attitudes and practices toward brown people, that feeling of second-class citizenship is still in effect, unfortunately. It gets worse when Democrats, even when they have a majority in Washington, DC, fail to do anything about it.

Still, ingrained in many of us who grew up in the time, is the feeling that the fight must continue, “La Lucha Sigue.” But for so many in Democratic circles, this is a history they try to avoid while pretending to be “woke” about Chicanos and trying to earn their vote. Ultimately, if a political party sells the right message to the voters, they will respond. But it better be done with the same “ganas” that brought out voters during this historic time of empowerment and agitation.

“It was women and families that brought the agenda into the party,” said Martha Cotera, a librarian by trade who moved to Crystal City with her husband so they could moonlight as organizers. “The issues of the platform and the values are all reflective of the needs of a multigenerational group of people because if you bring the whole family in, you’re going to bring in several generations.”

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a happy unofficial first week of autumn as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff comments on the Harris County versus the Comptroller situation.

Socratic Gadfly offers up complex, multi-sided obituary thoughts on a major international death, that being, of course Mikhail Gorbachev, and a major US social activist authorial one, Barbara Ehrenreich.

Stace tells us about National Science Foundation Grant to Texas State University which will study border migrant deaths.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Dr. Hannah Lebovitz relates a lovely story about a Jewish faith leader in Corsicana.

Your Local Epidemiologist has the Cliff notes on fall COVID boosters.

The 19th marks the first anniversary of SB8, the Texas vigilante bounty-hunter anti-abortion law, going into effect.

Texas 2036 previews the largest fund balance in our history.

The Observer talks to Librotraficante about combatting censorship.

D Magazine reports on some good First Amendment news.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for the Former Guy to be charged with some crimes as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff would like more people to pay attention to the Republican quest for vengeance against anyone who has ever had anything to do with an abortion in Texas.

SocraticGadfly had two environmental-related posts of note last week. First, he observed that MBS essentially announced Saudi Arabia is at Peak Oil, or will be in a few years. Second, he had a series of observations on the ongoing heat and drought, combined with a review of a new book on Freon and cooling.

Stace points to APs report on deadly migrant chases by South Texas law enforcement as a cause for lockdown fatigue in Uvalde schools.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The Texas Observer tells the story of Haley Carter and the Friendswood Fourth of July parade.

Juanita is not impressed with her current Congressman.

Raise Your Hand Texas discusses the Texas teacher workforce challenge.

The Dallas Observer lists five really dumb song selections by political campaigns.

Robert Rivard finds a lot of blame to spread around for the Uvalde massacre.

Tacho’s Sabado Playlist

Have you run out of new music to add to your playlist? Here are my recent favorites.

Selena – Como Te Quiero Yo A Ti – The long anticipated release of the newest tune from the Queen of Tejano dropped and it did not disappoint. Being a Selena fan since she was 12, I do remember this song and I even had the cassette. It was more of simple ballad that seemed like a filler back then, but her brother AB has made this into a full-fledged hit with a mariachi backing the vocals. He has also digitally “aged” the voice to make her sound in her 20s and not in her original teens, but one can’t even notice it. She always had a huge voice. No surprise that it is trending on YouTube. I look forward to the full album. It’ll be on CD, too!

La 45 f/ David Lee Garza and Cezar Martinez – La Embarcacion -My friends from La 45 have been busy working on various projects and this one is a big collab with David Lee Garza and Musicales vocalist Cezar Martinez. This is a classic tune from the days of Miguel Aceves Mejia and has been recorded by numerous artists in as many genres. La 45 gives the tune its big band sound with an acordeon interlude by DLG. Cezar lends his vocals to duet with La 45 bandleader Mike Torres, III. Give it a listen. [Also, wishes of good health to La 45 co-leader and trumpeter John Ontiveros!]

Frankie Caballero, Jr. – Legends Medley – I’ve been a fan of Frankie’s dad for ages, so, when Jr. showed up on the scene, it was easy to enjoy his music, too. This tribute medley to legends Chacha Jimenez y Los Chachos and Esteban Jordan includes Nunca Nunca Nunca, Te Recomiendo Esa Ingrata, and Falsa y Mancornadora. Great dancing music made by great musicians.

Not Giving Up On Avoiding COVID-19

Houston Health’s latest report has us at 30.4% positivity on COVID-19 tests. I’m pretty sure we’ll reach one-third of tests soon, at least officially. Because of home tests and lack of individual reporting (c’mon, people, there are various apps on which to report it!), the number is likely higher.

My fear about the Texas Dem convention may have come true as I’ve seen a few friends and FB acquaintances return with positive tests. Another relatively smart FB acquaintance basically stated that we’re all gonna get it, since that person got it while on other unmasked exploits. ((Eye Roll)) I’m not giving up, but, then again, I don’t feel the need to be everywhere maskless during a pandemic. If I do get it, it’ll most likely be because of a failed mask in a room with some infected, unmasked mouthbreather.

The combination of COVID-19 vaccine avoidance due to widespread conspiracy idiocy and those who insist on going unmasked for fun and in the workplace are the reasons we’ve back-slided. The lack of any messaging regarding the latest surge from CDC, FDA, POTUS, and anything other governmental minions shows a lack of concern and also contribute to the current situation. There’s a good article about the current mess in Rolling Stone.

There’s a lot the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can do to slow the BA.5 subvariant and prevent deaths.

But both the FDA and CDC have dragged their heels. The FDA still hasn’t taken arguably the most important steps — approving both second boosters for Americans under age 50 and new booster formulations for subvariants such as BA.5. The CDC meanwhile isn’t clearly communicating to the public just how serious BA.5 is.

Whether it’s outdated COVID-19 maps, definitions of “community transmission” of late, or just a lack of concern based on low hospitalization rates (which say more about severity than spread), it is really looking like failure on the part of government officials. I wouldn’t expect any new mask mandates a few months before the election, but lack of a mandate (or lack of a strong recommendation) has contributed to people being lax and willfully ignorant about reality.

Anyway, I’m officially done with excursions to restaurants and other small events, though, they were few and far between. If I visit a friend by chance, I’ll definitely be masked because I don’t know where anyone not in my immediate circle has been. It’s not just the getting it that worries me, it’s the ongoing effects post-infection. I wish people would take it seriously.