Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Tejas Progressive Roundup

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates last week’s wins and looks to build on them as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff has some fun with the Harris County Republican Party and its ridiculous whining about straight ticket voting.

SocraticGadfly had a three-part election wrap. First, he looked at general hot takes, trends and issues from races. Second, he observed that conservative writers at centrist political mags were getting out the long knives for Beto, maybe in fear of a 2020 presidential run. Third, noting successful Democratic Socialist of America campaigns, he wondered if they would stay true to ideals once in office, and other issues, above all, the use of the word “socialist.”

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

Colin Strother makes the case for Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Therese Odell vents about the Saturday Night Live/Dan Crenshaw situation.

Sanford Nowlin reports on how progressives hope to build on 2018.

Paradise in Hell interprets the Presidential appointment-making process.

Grits for Breakfast looks at the 2018 results through a criminal justice reform lens.

Dan Gordon cuts through the anti-Semitic crap.

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The Tejas Round-Up (TPA)

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges everyone who has voted to work to get more people to the polls as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at the potential ticket-splitters in this year’s election.

SocraticGadfly does some number-crunching on the early voting surge and offers a quick hot take on what it might mean for the Cruz-O’Rourke Senate race.

Stace at Dos Centavos reports on the weekend’s voting and cultural activities in the Northside and The Heights.

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

Sanford Nowlin reminds us that some Christians do support progressive ideas and politics.

The TSTA Blog begs teachers to support public education at the ballot box.

Rick Casey votes No on a license plate honoring Confederate soldiers.

YesNoBlog suggests we pay attention to the security of our GPS systems.

Paradise in Hell ranks Donald Trump’s favorite dictators.

Out in SA warns of a threat to San Antonio’s non-discrimination ordinance.

The Tejas Round-Up – TPA

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges everyone to get out and vote as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff published an interview with Kim Olson, the Democratic candidate for Ag Commissioner.

SocraticGadfly, collating and expanding on several previous posts and Twitter interactions, explained why he plans to undervote the U.S. Senate race.

Stace at DosCentavos got what he wanted in a Beto O’Rourke immigration ad. In fact, Beto hit Cruz pretty hard.

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

Leah Binkovitz looks at the question of whether Houston’s light rail line has helped to reduce traffic pollution.

Christof Spieler analyzes the so-called “sharing” economy as another aspect of sharing space in a city.

Better Texas Blog catalogs the ways in which our state tax system is unfair.

Juanita names her favorite moment from the Cruz-O’Rourke debate.

Texas Vox finds meaning in organizing after reading the IPCC report.

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for voting to begin as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff interviewed Attorney General candidate Justin Nelson, and Harris County Judge candidate Lina Hidalgo.

SocraticGadfly was at an education-related campaign forum for a group of statewide and Northeast Texas regional candidates and offers a few takes.

Stace reports on a GOTV rally and concert held in Houston’s East End featuring Little Joe y La Familia and a cast of Dem favorites. FYI: Little Joe is like Willie Nelson famous in the Tex-Mex world of music. Grammys and everything.

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

Juanita sees some hope in evangelical women.

Paradise in Hell is glad to see the Catholic Church finally releasing names of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Rick Casey is skeptical of the latest agreement regarding the Alamo.

Therese Odell has had it with Melania Trump.

The Current salutes Texas hero Joe Bob Briggs.

Finally, the TPA wishes Texas Leftist all the best as it transitions from blogging to podcasting.

HISD Tactics: Reminders of the Good Ol’ Days

I have a running joke whenever something occurs at Houston ISD.

“Don’t look at me, I live in Alief ISD.”

But Houston ISD’s possible move to place 10 of its schools under a charter corporation whose record is iffy at best is concerning since all of us will be affected in one way or another.

The abrupt end to the meeting when the school board decided to have enough public comment on the issue was ugly in that leadership was lacking. Watching (on TV) constituents dragged by HISD police was scary in that you have black and brown and white families being thrown out of a building for which they pay taxes. But much of this could have been avoided at different times.

For last night, perhaps HISD’s tactics and rules were a bit much. Fewer seats for the public at meetings; no standing in the room, but there’s an overflow room elsewhere; limited public speaking time; no applause; etc. I remember reading that the gringo school boards did this to Chicanos in my hometown of Crystal City when families were showing up to school board meetings to demand justice from those they elected. The more they showed up, the more rules would trickle out with the hopes of stifling progress and activism.

Well, I don’t expect these tactics to work, as they didn’t work then.

The bigger problem is a Republican-led Texas Legislature which has failed to fix school finance. Decades of a system designed to ensure poor districts were adequately funded has been met by an economic system that has made the wealthy wealthier, the poor poorer, and the middle class stagnant. And while Houston’s wealthy seem to have provided us with a lot of property wealth that makes Houston ISD seem like a wealthy school district, the bottom line is that the district is 85% black/brown and 75% economically disadvantaged. The wealth hasn’t trickled down. Thus, the current school finance system penalizes a wealthy-looking district like Houston with mostly poor kids in attendance and sends much needed tax dollars elsewhere to districts who are indeed property poor. And no one in charge in Austin seems to want to change this, or even want to achieve any kind of fairness for all.

The rules the TEA has imposed on schools–forcing the creation of charter arrangements, threatening to take over school boards-has placed an even bigger burden on the people we elect to create and oversee school policies. To the point where they’ll do just about anything to keep their elected positions, or the access that comes with it. School boards should be siding with the people–in the board room and not just outside after the meeting is ended.

This is a great formula which has the least among these three groups fighting for scraps. And a power base that can blame the other two groups (and the groups among them) for all the troubles. Obviously, all of this came to a head at the HISD board meeting last night. And the school board was met with a united front.

As much as it seems that last night’s meeting was about someone over-applauding or being loud, the problem is a systemic one that has been avoided by those in power, and, yes, those who fail to vote.

Still, one should expect better from elected officials than rules designed to stifle activism and discussion.

UPDATE:  HISD Nixes Partnership Plans (Chron)

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance believes that everyone counts and everyone should be counted as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff takes two more looks at precinct data in Harris County from the primary races.

Socratic Gadfly offers some updates on what now clearly appears to be a weird triangle in Marlin between Houston real estate “flippers,” a former VA hospital building, and the General Land Office and P. Bush.

Neil at All People Have Value again made the point that there is authoritarian/Constitutional crisis on the way.

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

Luke Amphlett criticizes the San Antonio ISD handbook on SB4, the so-called “sanctuary cities” law.

Therese Odell sees a chance for the Roseanne reboot to open a national dialogue on important issues, but fears it will take the easy way out.

Durrel Douglas unveils a project aimed at placing more Black people on government/NGO Boards and Commissions.

The Texas Living Waters Project reminds us that urban wildlife and people need healthy creeks and streams, not channelized ditches.

Amy Pearl asks who “walkability” is for.

BeyondBones explores the origins of timekeeping.

Guest Texan Aviva Shen examines the primary ouster of McLennan County DA Abel Reyna.

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the marchers as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff analyzed the Harris County precinct data for the Democratic Senate primary.

SocraticGadfly offers his thoughts on the lawsuit by Seth Rich’s parents.

Stace offers his thoughts on law enforcement and media portrayal of the Austin bomber.

As if last weekend’s March For Our Lives events weren’t epic enough, Texas Leftist was glad to see some Houston Area high school students start yet another impressive movement. By bringing prominent Democratic and Republican leaders together in ways that political forces have fallen short, the Inaugural Day of Unity Texas is off to a great start.

Neil at All People Had Value made the point that we are facing an authoritarian/Constitutional crisis.

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

Stephen Young lists ten Texas celebrities who ought to get into politics, a list that might have been a bit more useful before the primaries.

Space City Weather explains why a hurricane forecast for 2018 will be a challenge.

Jeff Balke puts the blame on negligent drivers for the spate of car crashes with light rail trains in Houston.

Dwight Silverman shows how to manage your Facebook privacy settings.

Mean Green Cougar Red takes a long look at the Uber self-driving car that caused the death of a bicyclist.

SATX: TMA Fan Fair 2018 Mar. 15-18

From the inbox:

TEJANO MUSIC AWARDS FAN FAIR 2018

Set for March 15, 16, 17, 18, 2018 at Historic Market Square San Antonio

Four Days of  FREE Non-Stop Tejano Music

Over 200 Tejano Bands from Across the U.S.A & Mexico

Performances by  Michael Salgado, Jay Perez, Los Palominos, Hometown Boys, Stefani Montiel, Tony Guerrero y La Sombra, Los Garcias Bros,  DJ Kane, Isabel Marie, Dezigual, La Tropa F, Lucky Joe, Erick y Su Grupo Massore, Eddie Gonzalez, Augustine Ramirez, David Farias, and many more to be Announced

SAN ANTONIO, TX (02-15-2018) – Texas Talent Musicians Association (TTMA) presents the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018. Set for March 15-18, 2018. (ThursdaySunday). Thousands of Tejano Music Fans from across the country will travel to Historic Market Square in Downtown San Antonio for the Tejano Music event of the year.

The four-day event  runs from 12:00 noon to 11:00pm each night and will showcase over 200 bands from across the U.S. to include Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Florida and of course Texas. The TMA Fan Fair draws over 95,000 die-hard fans each year and offers an up close and personal atmosphere with live music on five stages featuring emerging acts and top established performers as well as surprise guest performances.

There will be a variety of foods and beverages at this family oriented event as well as crafts booth selling t-shirts, caps various items and face painting for the kids. Fans will get exclusive access to their favorite artists participating in the special autograph sessions featuring Miss Reina Latina San Antonio Sydney Gonzalez and Miss Reina Latina San Antonio Teen Giselle Gomez scheduled during the four days of TMA Fan Fair.

The Tejano Music Awards continues to shine each year by producing the largest Tejano Music events in the country. Scheduled to perform this year Michael Salgado, Jay Perez, Stefani Montiel, Los Palominos, Hometown Boys, Ricardo Castillon Y La Diferenzia, Isabel Marie, Ben Ozuna, Sunny Sauceda, Fama, DJ Kane, La Calma, David Farias, Eddie Gonzalez, Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers, Joe Bravo, Patsy Torres, Avizo, Conjunto Romo, Adalberto, Rio Jordan, Stephanie Lynn, Da Krazy Pimpz, Boni Mauricio, Bajo Zero, Los Garcias Brothers, Bad Boyz De Valle, Massore Erick y Su Grupo Massore, Carlos y Los Cachorros , Pio Trevino , Xelencia, Augustine Ramirez , Massore, Joe Posada and many more.

San Antonio, the “Tejano Music Capital of the World”, will host the 38th Annual Tejano Music Awards Show in the Fall of 2018.

For the latest information on Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018 and performance schedule please visit the official website  at www.tejanomusicawards.comSchedule is subject to change.

Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018 Sponsors : Budweiser, Hermes, MetroPCS, 7up, Squirt, WellMed, RDS Marketing

Not A Good Time for Mandatory Anything Right Now

During a time in which a good chunk of people aren’t fans of federal government (or who’s in charge of it), when there is distrust of law enforcement and politicians in charge, and when government is negatively targeting entire groups of people while benefiting others, it may not be a good time to do mandatory anything, especially mandatory volunteer service for all.

That’s not to say Beto O’Rourke’s idea is a bad one, it’s just one of those policy things that gets pretty mucked up when people demand specifics rather than general campaign talking points. Because entire groups of people can get screwed once specifics are discussed. It’s kind of like how I feel when I hear politicians say they “support comprehensive immigration reform.” I want specifics because too many times, specifics like walls or temporary worker visas or “legalization vs citizenship” can screw entire groups of people.

As a young college student, I had big dreams of serving my community, state, and nation. No, not in the military, but in helping run things–legislation, departments, etc. Being a poor kid from South Texas living on student loans and the few grants that hadn’t been cut yet, though, it was hard to “volunteer” for a government internship, drive 80 miles a day to/from Austin, and try to impress some VIPs when bills had to be paid. So, a non-political job on campus and one in a call center had to do, while kids with influential parents or just plain ol’ family money could get most of the opportunities. Needless to say, sometimes one has to make ones own opportunities to do what one enjoys.

That said, the thought of a mandatory volunteer service program brought back memories about how it might work. Will the rich kids get the better volunteer opportunities with a phone call and a campaign donation? Can a poor kid from South Texas get some sort of incentive and “political” support that the privileged brats usually get to end up in a good opportunity? Because the service should end up amounting to something tangible, and not just student loan forgiveness and a spot on the resume detailing some crappy mandatory volunteer placement. In other words, how exactly would it work? Given that it’s mandatory, folks should have equality of options and not just the usual placement made by a political appointee.

I’ll be honest, I enjoyed some placement assistance when I was a teen in need of work. In my little town of 8,000 in South Texas, one of my dearest friends’ dads was the local city manager. So, when I put in my application for a job through JTPA (look it up), my friend advised her dad to pick me. She knew of my love of government at an early age and work ethic, so, her dad trusted the recommendation. Working for $3.35 an hour in the City’s finance department and sometimes being shared with the Planning Department was a great experience. Unfortunately, when a small-town kid moves to the big college and wants to work in big government,  the lack of opportunity because of forces out of ones control was quite the shock. Which is why options are important so that one doesn’t have to go through friends and connections.

So, yeah, no doubt being of service is important, but specifics are very important. And ensuring equality of opportunity is even more important. And without that kind of specificity (and bad memories of getting passed up by brats), it was just too hard to embrace Beto’s idea.

DREAMers May Continue As Political Football

Word from Politico is that Trump and his ilk will end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2012 that has allowed over 700,000 children of immigrants to obtain work permits and continue their studies, as well as not having a deportation target on their backs.

Credit: Lalo Alcaraz

No, it’s not surprising, given that it was a campaign promise made by Trump. But, much like anything regarding immigration and immigration reform, it did not start with Trump. In fact, the so-called DREAMers, the name given to those who benefit under DACA and those who would have benefited under legislation called the DREAM Act, have been a political football for quite a while.

The DREAM Act itself was first introduced as bipartisan legislation in 2001 by Senators Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch. What should have been a no-brainer because these kids were academic successes and hard workers wanting to become taxpayers, ended up with them relegated to “amnesty” seekers in the political fight in the media. And that such legislation serves as a “magnet” for the undocumented. You know, the Republican Party’s Greatest Hits album.

Introduced, changed, and re-introduced since then, it was in 2010 when it finally gained momentum. By the end of 2010, a Democratic House of Representatives voted for it; however, a cloture motion to stop debate on the bill failed in a Democrat-controlled Senate by a vote of 55-41, five short of the 60 required. Five Democrats voted no as they were more interested in running for re-election than doing the right thing. Although a few Republicans voted for it, the vast majority voted against it. But if there had been a chance to pass the DREAM Act and have it signed by a Democratic President, it was in 2010.

Although pressured by DREAMers to sign an executive order to at least protect DREAMers from deportation since the beginning of his tenure, President Obama continually stated that he did not have the power to sign such an order. DREAMers kept the pressure on him until finally, in June 2012, President Obama signed an executive order creating DACA. Unfortunately, upon rescinding DACA (or 6 months after if that is indeed what occurs), and with USCIS having collected the information of 740,000 beneficiaries who feared giving it because they were only “protected” from deportation through deferred prosecution of their cases, the fear of being deported by Trump may become a reality.

Trump will give reasons for ending DACA, such as the Sessions Justice Department suggesting it would not withstand a legal challenge, or that immigration law should be decided by Congress. On the latter, one can only recall 2010 and the 5 Democrats who voted against it when Democrats had a majority and a shot at protecting these kids. No doubt, there will be Republicans who point to 2010 to escape questions from the media during the coming weeks.

An all new DREAM Act has been filed and there is hope that it will be a priority for Congress to pass it during the next six months. Given the racism within Trump’s base of support, and Republicans and Democrats thinking about 2018, Washington, DC will continue to have a political football to kick around and use for political expediency and that is the DREAMers.