Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance would like for everyone to be able to pee in peace as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff is encouraged by a surge in voter registration from people who can’t wait to vote against Donald Trump.

Libby Shaw at a Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick roast at Daily Kos received a fair share of push back when she suggested GOP primary voters defaulted to Trump because most get it that they’ve been conned by the GOP establishment. They lost because they serve billionaires. Voters finally figured it out.

SocraticGadfly looks at the Texas Supreme Court’s school finance ruling and says Texas GOP voters have reaped what they have sown.

The difference between murder and manslaughter is “I didn’t mean to”, observes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value sees a lot of value in everyday life. You should as well. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Dos Centavos expresses outrage about the administration’s latest immigrant raids, and hopes that Bernie Sanders delegates to state conventions will hold fast — and hold the Clinton delegation’s feet to the fire — on deportation issues.

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

Lone Star Ma highlights the 10th of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Reduce inequality within and among countries.”

Space City Weather salutes the Addicks and Barker reservoirs for their stalwart flood mitigation.

The Great God Pan Is Dead updates us on the Rokudenashiko case.

Phyllis Randolph Frye explains what the law really says about bathrooms.

John Nova Lomax questions Houston ISD’s school renamings.

BOR frets that the combination of Zika virus and anti-abortion laws could have a large and negative effect on public health in Texas.

Cody Pogue would like us all to get over our bathroom issues already.

Early Voting: May 16 – May 20

donkey-fightWell, it’s that time, again. Democrats didn’t finish the job of setting the slate for the November ballot, so, it’s time for us to return to our polling locations and finish the job.

On the ballot are one statewide post, several judicial posts, an SBOE post, some JP jobs, and most importantly, ensuring Ed Gonzalez is our Democratic nominee for Harris County Sheriff.

Early voting begins today, May 16 and goes on until May 20, 7am to 7pm, and you may vote at any early voting location. Run-off election day is Tuesday, May 24. Find a early voting location here.

My choices:

SBOE6:  Jasmine Jenkins

District Judge, 11th District:  Rabeea Collier

District Judge, 61st District:  Fredericka Phillips

District Judge, 215 District:  JoAnn Storey

Sheriff:  Ed Gonzalez

The NIMBY, but I would if I could vote for them:

JP1:  Tanya Makany-Rivera

Constable Pct 2:  Christopher Diaz

Constable Pct 3:  Michel Pappillion

 

A State Rep Working On Real Issues

With today’s news that Dan Patrick is more interested in potties and sending back billions in federal education dollars to DC, it’s time to remind folks that there are folks representing us in Austin that are actually serving their constituents.

Last weekend, I attended State Rep. Gene Wu’s (HD137) town hall. Having lived in the district for a few years, I had yet to attend one, but since this one would have much to do with moving toward a set of legislative priorities, I thought I’d better go.

Upon arrival, I found a pretty diverse crowd that looked just like Houston. “De todo un poco,” or, a little of everything. And Wu didn’t make the meeting all about him, though I wouldn’t blame him since he’s up for re-election. In fact, he showcased some local experts on issues, such as education, health care, and public safety.

H.D. Chambers, chief at Alief ISD, presented on the realities about public education in the area, and especially on the lawsuit filed by numerous Texas school districts regarding education finance. (The lawsuit was decided today by the Texas Supreme Court and, let’s just say, the kids, the people, and the schools lost). The lawsuit was mainly about having the courts decide how enough resources would be provided to meet expectations that we place on our schools. The Court decided that the state met minimum constitutional standards of funding.

Anyway, he reminded us that there are 5 million students in K-12, but that there are 3.5 million children age 0-3, who by 4 should be getting into Pre-K. Of course, Pre-K support from the state is non-existent. This poses a major threat to the future of Texas, which includes a startling statistic:  If a child cannot read by 3rd grade, there is a 35% chance that the child will dropout of school.

Freddy Warner from the Memorial Hermann system spoke regarding health care from a major system standpoint. He stated that health care and education are among the top funding priorities in the Texas legislature and that in the coming session, they may be crowding each other out. Considering Texas was just bailed out by the Obama administration regarding Medicaid, one would think that Medicaid expansion would be a priority. Warner stated that there is zero chance it would be addressed as health care doesn’t seem to be a priority for most in Austin. He did mention that Memorial Hermann does provide $1.4 billion in charity care.

A startling statistic he provided is that we shouldn’t be surprised if there is a budget shortfall in 2017. While the State Comptroller based a budget on $65 per barrel oil, we’re currently at $40 ($46 today) per barrel. It just doesn’t look good for our next budget.

Now, take Dan Patrick’s potty boycott of $10 billion of our federal money that we’ve paid into the system into consideration. Now, open a bottle of booze and start worrying.

Next up was Januari Leo of Legacy Health, which is a federally qualified health center. The majority of people seen by them are uninsured who cannot afford the emergency room or private clinics. They weren’t helped when Harris Health changed their qualification threshold, thus cutting 19,000 patients from their services.

With uncompensated care growing, and Obama bailing out Texas Medicaid, if a politician for state or local office (Republicans) promised you a cut in property taxes, it is not going to happen. Texas needs to pay its bills. How that is accomplished when we take losses in oil revenue, dismal tax collections and other budgetary nightmares into consideration, well, go ahead and open a second bottle of booze.

The public safety presentations by Assistant County Attorney Vinson and Lt. Conn from HPD centered on some of the things their agencies are working on. The County Attorney’s office is mostly working on ridding the district of nuisance businesses–massage parlors and after-hours clubs. They attract crime, drugs, etc. HPD’s Midwest division helps businesses develop surveys of the areas they serve as to type of crimes and how to protect themselves. They have programs to work at Lee HS with at-risk youth.

Overall, a very interesting meeting that has prepared me for the 2017 session. While State Rep. Wu will definitely have a list of priorities based on open communications with constituents, he’ll have to deal with some of the odd-ball and bigoted priorities being presented by Dan Patrick and his potty buddies.

Ultimately, elections matter. We have a run-off coming up and early voting begins on May 16. You best start practicing for November.

Thanks to Rep. Wu’s staff for putting on an informative meeting and for that open door.

 

Obama To Launch Immigration Raids

MEXICO-US-MIGRATION-PROTEST

That’s right. The Obama administration is about to launch raids on undocumented Central Americans because 2.5 million deportees have not been enough.

U.S. immigration officials are planning a month-long series of raids in May and June to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children found to have entered the country illegally, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters.

The operation would likely be the largest deportation sweep targeting immigrant families by the administration of President Barack Obama this year after a similar drive over two days in January that focused on Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.

After calling to step-up deportations of Central American children in 2014, Hillary Clinton has somehow seen the light (the political light) and changed course on the issue. Democrat Bernie Sanders has been consistently for a halt to mass deportations.

Specifically, the raids and deportations target the same people Clinton wanted to originally capture and deport to violent homelands that these kids and mothers were escaping.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has now told field offices nationwide to launch a 30-day “surge” of arrests focused on mothers and children who have already been told to leave the United States, the document seen by Reuters said. The operation would also cover minors who have entered the country without a guardian and since turned 18 years of age, the document said. Two sources confirmed the details of the plan.

I can’t for the life of me think of any good reason for Obama to do this, other than to solidify a legacy of horror. Yeah, I said it. Millions deported, hundreds of thousands warehoused in private prisons around the country, which even recently have been in the news for sexual and physical abuse of children. It is ridiculous that this occurs while local politicians use human trafficking as a “get tough” issue. With more children and mothers being picked up and jailed, should we expect more horror stories of abuse?

As voters who support Clinton show some odd excitement because they seem to think some Republicans will support Clinton over Trump, and it’s been in the news that Clinton has committed to selling her political wares to these Republicans, the timing of these raids makes me question pretty much everything–more than usual. Because we know how Obama’s deportation programs brought in GOPers to effect immigration reform, right? Or how Democrats moving to the right on immigration since 2006 have attracted so many crossover votes and big wins, right?

Thank goodness Bernie Sanders will remain in the race until the convention. Bottom line, his supporters need to be visible and vocal at the convention, especially on immigration and deportation reform. I would hope Clinton joins in on saving the immigration reform plank from those who feel they can attract Republicans in November.

 

 

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates the Leicester City football club for its amazing underdog Premier League championship as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff ponders career options for Ted Cruz.

SocraticGadfly takes a snarky look at possible Hillary Clinton Cabinet nominees.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos learned that Rick Perry is looking for a job. She thinks Ted Cruz should be looking too. In another line of work. A Tale of Two Texas Republican Losers.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is shocked to hear that a Texas cemetery refuses to serve Hispanics. Surely, they are happy Trump is the nominee of their party.

It was a disgraceful Cinco de Mayo for Drumpf, as he made a fool of himself with a taco bowl and a Hispander. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs hoped he used the coupon for free breakfast tacos on the 6th, because he certainly seemed drunk on the 5th.

As the Sanders campaign moves towards the Democratic convention in July, Neil at All People Have Value found a freedom loving Texan supporting Bernie. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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

The Great God Pan Is Dead tells a NSFW story about art, obscenity, and the jailing of Rokudenashiko for making a kayak in the shape of a vagina.

Houston Tomorrow is looking for its next Executive Director.

John Royal calls out Baylor for its out of control sexual assault problems with its football team.

Make West Texas Great Again documents (and complains about) the rise of the “suburbatarians” in rural parts of the state.

Andrea Grimes invites out-of-staters who cheer the idea of Texas seceding to come here and help us do the work needed to turn our state around.

Progress Texas rounds up the best “Ted Cruz drops out” reactions from Twitter. (WARNING: You will never be able to un-see the image at the top of this post. Click over at your own peril.)

Raise Your Hand Texas hopes you thanked a teacher last week.

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progessive Alliance notes that Festivus poles can be repurposed for May Day celebrations as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at new polling evidence showing a shift in partisan preference towards the Democrats in Harris County.

Socratic Gadfly moves outside of politics to ask if recent injuries may give Timmeh, Manu (and Pops?) a Los Spurs retirement gift..

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos insists that Texas Republican leadership and its obsession with public bathrooms while it ignores crucially important health and environmental challenges is a literal threat to our lives. Houston: Hurricanes, Frequent Flooding and now Zika too?

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme knows that Republicans run the Child Protection Services, but still. Blaming the victim in domestic abuse cases? Still?

The passing of the legendary Texas sports reporter and editor Blackie Sherrod was noted by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value made a small donation to help with recent flooding in Houston. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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

Robert Rivard considers Julian Castro’s place on Hillary Clinton’s VP short list.

The TSTA Blog cites actual statistics experts on the subject of using statistical methods for teacher evaluation.

Space City Weather puts Houston’s recent flooding into historical perspective.

Paradise in Hell advises Ted Cruz to listen to himself.

Andrea Grimes would like to know who will protect us from the likes of Dennis Hastert and Johnny Manziel.

Offcite gives a tour of Houston’s new clinic for the homeless.

Adam Briggle, father of a transgender son, calls out Denton County Sheriff candidate Tracy Murphree for a transphobic post on Facebook. Murphree then agreed to meet with the Briggle family to talk with them and get a better understanding of the issue, but as Equality Texas reports, he abruptly backed out before their meeting could take place.

Ed Gonzalez Calls on HCSO to Reinstate Inspectors, Diversify Staff

cafeed2Ed Gonzalez, Democratic candidate for Harris County Sheriff, challenged current Sheriff Hickman to reinstate jail inspectors and diversify the staff if any criminal justice reform plan is to succeed.

Here’s the press release from Gonzalez:

Ed Gonzalez, the leading Democratic candidate for Sheriff, called on Sheriff Ron Hickman today to join the county’s push for criminal justice reform by reinstating jail inspectors and replacing his command staff with a more diverse leadership team

Gonzalez applauded yesterday’s action by county commissioners to accept a $2 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation and spend millions more on reforms that include expanding pre-trial diversion programs, implementing a new bail system and improving relationships with minority communities.

“Commissioners are moving in the right direction with their new reform plan, but it won’t be enough until real reform comes to the Sheriff’s office,” said Gonzalez.

“Sheriff Hickman must immediately reinstate the jail inspectors and the investigative unit he dismantled and replace his command staff with a leadership team that is more reflective of the communities served by the sheriff’s office,” said Gonzalez.

Hickman’s first act after being appointed sheriff was to replace the existing diverse command staff with all white men. After intense pressure, Hickman later made some additional appointments, but the command staff is nowhere near reflective of the communities that make up Harris County. Gonzalez expressed concern that, until the sheriff truly diversified his command staff, the county’s new racial and ethnic diversity coordinator would continue to face barriers in rebuilding the trust of minority communities in the criminal justice system.

“If the county’s law enforcement leader fails to recognize the need for real diversity,” said Gonzalez, “what chance will the county’s new criminal justice diversity coordinator have to succeed?”

Gonzalez also expressed serious concerns about the ability of the county’s new jail coordinator to speed up the release of inmates awaiting bail, a key element of the new reform plan, given existing management problems at the jail.

Earlier this month, a suspect awaiting bail on a charge of stealing a guitar was beaten to death by inmates in his holding cell – continuing a pattern of violence, abuse and neglect at the jail that was exposed in a 2015 Houston Chronicle investigation. Hickman’s response was to reduce oversight at the jail, including dismantling the investigative unit that had uncovered some of the worst cases of abuse and neglect.

“For the county’s new reform plan to succeed, we must incease oversight, transparency and accountability at the county jail,” said Gonzalez. “That’s why I’m calling on Sheriff Hickman to live up to the values of this new plan by diversifying his command staff and reinstating the jail inspectors he cut earlier this year.”

Ed Gonzalez is a leading candidate in the May 24 Democratic Party primary runoff election for Harris County Sheriff. He is a veteran Houston Police officer who rose to the rank of Sergeant, led murder investigations and served on the elite hostage negotiating team. He served two terms on the City Council, chairing the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and becoming mayor pro-tem. On the Houston City Council, Gonzalez led efforts at criminal justice reform – including creating the Houston Center for Sobriety, which keeps people who need help out of the criminal justice system and allows police officers to spend more time on patrol, catching criminals.

 

TPA Round-Up!

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the LGBT community of North Carolina and Mississippi as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at the insane amounts of money being spent on the Austin rideshare referendum.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos sounds the alarm bells on Ted Cruz. Desperate Republican donors, afraid of Trump, are rallying around the scary man from Texas. Beware Ted Cruz. He is more dangerous than W.

Socratic Gadfly wonders if California’s expected full legalization of marijuana could be the impetus in it joining North Dakota and creating a state bank.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that the Texas Republican party, like its national parent, is heading further down the rat hole. John Cornyn was bad enough, but Ken Paxton et al maybe worse.

The water got hotter for Texas AG K-Pax as the feds piled on with some stock fraud charges. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs wishes the GOP would take out their trash and clean up their mess, but isn’t going to hold his breath waiting for it.

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

Robert Rivard takes issue with a proposal to build a minor league baseball stadium in San Antonio.

Former Texan Elise Hu muses about female role models.

Genevieve Cato tackles the problem of how female ambition is perceived.

Austin On Your Feet, Mike Dahmus, and Austin Teacher Dad all weigh in on the May 7 referendum to repeal Austin’s ordinance that regulates vehicles for hire companies like Uber and Lyft.

Newsdesk introduces the anti-LGBT culture warriors who will be running the Attorney General’s office during those times when AG Ken Paxton is too busy defending himself from multiple criminal allegations to do it.

Grits for Breakfast calls the ban on surrogate social media accounts for inmates a bad idea.

Juanita welcomes Tom DeLay back to the scene.

DC Reviews: Jay Perez ~ Un Amigo Tendras

jaypTejano crooner Jay Perez is back with his long-awaited release, Un Amigo Tendras. After riding the radio waves with the title track, a smooth sax-driven cumbia, we get to enjoy the other 11 tunes. That’s right–12 tunes on this Freddie Records release. Produced by Mario Ortiz, this new production really hits the spot.

Perez seems to be going for a more laid-back vibe on this release as one notices a different feel to the introductory ranchera, Cuentale De Mi. No, Perez hasn’t abandoned the formula he uses to produce music, but this CD seems to offer up a smoother R&B feel; especially on his rancheras. He Venido A Decirte is an acordeon- and bajo-fueled ranchera that is sure to be a favorite. Quiero Amarte, though, is that standard ranchera with which Perez has earned his reputation. Hasta El Fin Del Tiempo and El Adios Es Asi are both beautiful tunes, especially the latter with its slow acordeon intro. Perez also offers a re-make of a previous hit, Me Sigo Acordando, but with a mellow feel

Perez still has a knack for those smooth, R&B-laced cumbias and No Se Me Olvidan will rank as one of his best. Of course, Perez is also known for his powerful ballads and La Ultima Vez proves to be a beautiful anthem to love lost, along with Ya No Puedo Verte. Perez also returns to his country roots with You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This.

Perez and the band close strong with Tu Fiel Amante, which seems to be the next single on the production. The keys, acordeon, and a more than audible guitar give this ranchera a strong foundation.

Kudos to Freddie Records and to Jay Perez for offering up a classy production for the fan base. Always offering a great live show, there’s no doubt that these tunes will sound strong in a live set. Get your CD today through most online music stores.

 

DC Reviews: Stefani Montiel ~ La Dueña

stefanimontiel15Ever since the 90s, I’ve been a fan of Stefani. From her early hits like Celos and Por Que Soy Mujer, she has built a following and a career founded on a great voice and great music. Always willing to go the extra mile and try something new, she has stayed true to the Tejano genre. No doubt, her newest release, La Dueña, will rank up there among her greatest works.

Produced by Gilbert Velasquez at VMB Music, Stefani Montiel offers up some rancheras, lots of cumbias, and some beautiful ballads. Kicking off with a rockin’ intro, she leads us into Cumbia Fantasia, an acordeon-heavy vallenato styling based on sonic vocals. And if that tune doesn’t get you dancing, Loca Por Quererte will certainly get you on the dance floor; a ranchera in which she is backed up by David Lee Garza and in which Stefani lets loose on some high notes on the way to catchy chorus.

Earning radio play and popular in the DJ scene has been ¿Quien Quiere Shots?, a get-down-and-party cumbia. The ranchera, Mas Que Amigos, is definitely a hit with its harmonies and conjunto vibe. Other cumbia-rockers include Work and Delirio, which will definitely be dance-floor fillers. La Dueña brings us back to conjunto, the title-track being a proclamation of ones ownership of another’s love–it’ll be another favorite.

My personal favorite tune is Que Risa Me Das, which can only be called some sort of rock-ranchera fusion with its awesome acordeon and bajo sexto licks. It’s one of those insult tunes to a guy that deserves it.

Stefani slows it down with a classical-guitar and mariachi-backed ballad, Adios Adios Amor, in which she belts out the beautiful goodbye song. Si Fue Un Juego and Pero Why are a couple of catchy tunes with a cumbia groove. Agua Bendita is a haunting, slow flamenco-ish tune that many will enjoy. The big ending comes with a re-boot of Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass, but in a bad-ass cumbia styling.

After listening to all the tunes more than once, I can honestly say that these 13-tracks (plus the intro) make up a full and diverse production for Stefani. There’s no doubt that she and her production team went all-out in creating something special that will be on constant rotation–at least on my MP3!

Get yours today!