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Posts from ‘November, 2012’

Friday random ten: For the ladies, part 7

Getting close to the end of this series: 1. Mrs. Martha Knowles – Silly Wizard 2. Mrs. McGrath – Bruce Springsteen 3. Mrs. Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel 4. Mrs. Robinson – Pomplamoose 5. Peg – Steely Dan 6. Polly – Amanda Palmer 7. Rosalita – Bruce Springsteen 8. Rosealia – Better Than Ezra 9. […]

Pity the poor judges

It’s hard out here on a judge. For longer than anyone remembers, you had to be a Democrat to be a district judge in Texas – or just about any other political office. When the Democratic Party split apart in the South over civil rights, Republicans gained the upper hand, so much so that by […]

Time for the biennial attempt to de-fang the Travis County DA

Same story, next chapter. The Texas Ethics Commission, long criticized for its lax enforcement of public officials, is considering a plan to take over all ethics enforcement from the Travis County district attorney’s office, which has a long history of prosecuting errant state officeholders. The eight-member Ethics Commission, meeting Thursday in Austin, is scheduled to […]

Let the endorsement race begin!

We may not have a date for the SD06 special election, but that doesn’t mean the race hasn’t begun. In particular, the race to begin collecting endorsements has begun, and both major declared candidates have announced wins. Sylvia Garcia has the AFL-CIO on her side. [Wednesday] Harris County AFL-CIO COPE Members met with Senate District […]

Constable Trevino’s day in court

It went about as you’d expect. Precinct 6 Constable Victor Trevino and his attorney said Tuesday they expect the longtime law enforcement officer to be cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with allegations he abused his official role and used charity donations for personal use. “On behalf of my family and myself, I just want […]

Precinct analysis: The range of possibility

Here’s a look at selected districts in Harris County that shows the range of votes and vote percentages achieved by Democratic candidates. I’ve thrown in the Obama and Sam Houston results from 2008 for each to provide a comparison between how the district was predicted to perform and how it actually did perform. Without further […]

The anti-student RFID movement has already begun

When I wrote about the battle over student RFID, I said it was just a matter of time before the Lege intervened. Turns out I was behind the curve on this. Since first hearing about the use of radio frequency technology to track public school students in 2004, state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, has filed […]

Biggio on the ballot

Former Astros great Craig Biggio will make his debut on the Hall of Fame ballot this year. Ballots for the 2013 Hall of Fame class will be issued this week to media members; candidates will officially be announced Wednesday. Results will be disclosed Jan. 9 for a controversial list of names that will include first-timers […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 26

The Texas Progressive Alliance is rested and ready after the holiday weekend as it brings you this week’s roundup. Off the Kuff notes that for the second election in a row, the city of Houston voted 61% for President Obama. Keep that in mind the next time someone tries to tell you that Texas is […]

Precinct analysis: City propositions

And we come to the city of Houston bond referenda, of which there were five on the ballot. Here’s the usual breakdown of them: Dist A Yes A No B Yes B No C Yes C No D Yes D No E Yes E No ========================================================================== 126 720 231 725 239 711 228 671 275 […]

The Lege will take another crack at payday lending

I’m glad to see this, because the Lege definitely left business unfinished last time. About 83 percent of customers in Beaumont and 75 percent in the Houston and San Antonio metro areas are locked in a loan renewal cycle, latest lender reports show. State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and state Sen. John […]

We should expect boring Congressional races for the foreseeable future

That’s my takeaway after reading this. For Pete Sessions, election night ended with yet another resounding send-off to Washington. He won a ninth term, with 58 percent of the vote. But an analysis by The Dallas Morning News raises questions about how long the swath of Dallas and Collin counties that makes up Sessions’ 32nd […]

RIP, Marvin Miller

Marvin Miller, whom Red Barber said was “one of the two or three most important men in baseball history, along with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson”, has died at the age of 95. It is impossible to overstate Miller’s impact on Major League Baseball. While some — including Hall of Fame voters — have long […]

Precinct analysis: HISD and HCC

I was reasonably confident that the HISD bond referendum would be successful, mostly because there wasn’t any real opposition from officials or constituencies that would normally be expected to support it. It had a much smoother path than the 2007 referendum, which still managed to pass, so it wasn’t hard to see this one making […]

Jail privatization update

Grits, from about two weeks ago: In a conference call last week with investors (see the transcript), Corrections Corporation of America said it expects to find out by next spring whether they will receive a contract to operate the Harris County Jail. Said President and CEO David Hininger: The final update I wanted to give […]

When will we have that special election in SD06?

Sylvia Garcia would like to know. Senate District 6 candidate Sylvia Garcia, today called on Governor Rick Perry to set an election date to fill the senate district seat as soon as possible. “This is a simple taxation without representation issue,” Garcia said. “The working families of our district, most of whom are Latino and […]

Demographic change in the Panhandle

What’s happening in other parts of Texas is happening in West Texas, too. Whites no longer are the majority group in 17 counties in the Texas Panhandle/South Plains region, including Potter County, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. And based on current population growth rates, in at least four other counties, including Lubbock, non-Anglos could […]

Precinct analysis: Metro

The first rule of precinct analysis, at least as I do it, is that you really can’t learn much by doing it on lopsided elections. The Metro referendum, which passed with 78% of the vote, is Exhibit A of this phenomenon. Here’s how the vote went in the State Rep districts for the Metro issue: […]

A family planning end run?

This is interesting. Texas lawmakers have spent the past two years attacking family planning services in the state, cutting funds for programs that provide women with birth control and wellness exams. Now family planning advocates are fighting back. A coalition of providers plans to bypass Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature and apply directly […]

Student RFID

I have three things to say about this. A Texas high school student is being suspended for refusing to wear a student ID card implanted with a radio-frequency identification chip. Northside Independent School District in San Antonio began issuing the RFID-chip-laden student-body cards when the semester began in the fall. The ID badge has a […]

Voter ID case will likely wait for SCOTUS, too

Texas Redistricting: In a move not too surprising, the three-judge panel in the Texas voter ID case also has asked the parties to brief the question of whether the court should delay taking up questions about the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act given Supreme Court’s grant of cert. in Shelby County […]

Weekend link dump for November 25

“But what I learned from this experience is that if you’re a Christian — left or right, it doesn’t matter — and if your religious convictions lead you into political activism, do not bring Jesus into it unless you’re prepared to let him shape not only the causes you support, but the way you go […]

It’s drug testing all the way down

Looks like the urinalysis industry in this state is going to get a big stimulus package next year, at least if the Republicans get their way. As top state leaders push to drug-test some Texans seeking jobless benefits and financial assistance, critics suggest the initiative would single out the powerless and hurt their children. It’s […]

RIP, Larry Hagman

Farewell, JR. J.R. Ewing was a business cheat, faithless husband and bottomless well of corruption. Yet with his sparkling grin, Larry Hagman masterfully created the charmingly loathsome oil baron — and coaxed forth a Texas-size gusher of ratings — on television’s long-running and hugely successful nighttime soap, “Dallas.” Although he first gained fame as nice […]

Cracker Jack’d

Buy me some peanuts and caffeinated Cracker Jacks… Coming soon to a store near you: Cracker Jack’D, a new twist on the popcorn candy that offers Power Bites with as much caffeine in every serving as a cup of coffee. That could mean kids could get an overdose of caffeine if they consume more than […]

Saturday video break: Mr. Tambourine Man

Song #42 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Mr. Tambourine Man”, originally by Bob Dylan and covered by The Byrds. Here’s the original: I’ve lost track of how many songs I’m familiar with that I didn’t know were Dylan covers. I should probably just assume any song whose provenance I don’t know was […]

What next for Ron Kirk?

He’ll be moving on after President Obama’s second inauguration. We’re hearing that U.S. Trade Representative and former two-term Dallas mayor Ron Kirk has let the White House know that he intends to leave Washington and head back to Dallas. The U.S. Trade Representative, a cabinet-rank position, is the point person for coordinating and implementing U.S. […]

More on the economic effect of casinos

I’m just noting this for the record, since I am sure that gambling expansion will come up again in The Lege this spring. Melissa Kearney, an economist at the University of Maryland, released a literature review in 2005 summarizing work on gambling done to date. A study by Maryland’s William Evans and Julie Topoleski that […]

Friday random ten: Black Friday

Taking a short respite from the girls’ name songs to note the event of the day. 1. Black Water – Doobie Brothers 2. Reverend Mr. Black – Kingston Trio 3. Long Black Veil – Dave Matthews 4. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree – KT Tunstall 5. Blue On Black – Kenny Wayne Shepherd 6. […]

The drought is back

Bad news, y’all. The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, released this morning, shows that more than three-quarters of Texas is now in at least a “moderate” drought, and nearly half the state is in a “severe” or worse drought. Now to be clear, conditions are still far better than 13 months ago, when […]

DRT vs OAG

Nothing like a little holiday week controversy. A blistering report released Tuesday by the Texas attorney general’s office outlines a long list of problems and dysfunctions in the past management of the Alamo by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. In a 38-page report to the Legislature, the attorney general’s office accuses the DRT […]

Is immigration reform likely to happen now?

With President Obama’s victory powered in part by overwhelming support from Latino voters, and a dawning if grudging recognition from the GOP that they can’t continue to alienate this growing segment of the electorate, some kind of deal on immigration reform seems increasingly likely. I still have my doubts, however. Prominent voices in both parties […]

Where to eat if no one is cooking in your house

I figure most people are eating at home, or the home of a family member or friend, but if you’re not and you’re in Houston, Eater.com has a list of restaurants that are open today. Some pretty fancy places in that list, actually, so if you were going to cook but had a catastrophic failure […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 19

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving as it brings you this week’s roundup.