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Posts from ‘November, 2012’

Dan Patrick wants to play doctor

Clearly, the man missed his calling. Before Texas’ abortion sonogram law passed last legislative session, some women seeking to end pregnancies in rural communities relied on telemedicine, with physicians — working in partnership with medical technicians or nurses — administering prescription drugs via videoconference to induce early-stage abortions. If new legislation filed by Sen. Dan […]

Rodeo kicks in for tree replanting

Trail riders coming into Houston for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo traditionally camp overnight in Memorial Park on their way to the event. Last year they did this as many of the trees around them were dying from the drought. This year, the HSLR is giving back to help with that problem. On Monday, […]

How’s that GOP Latino outreach going?

There are issues. On Election Day, it became clearer than ever how important Hispanics, as the fastest growing portion of the U.S. population, are to national political success. Republican Mitt Romney earned only 27 percent of Latinos’ support in his failed bid for the presidency. Now, as Republicans in Texas examine Romney’s loss, they are […]

When will we have truly electronic voting?

When will there be an app to cast a vote in a US election? So at a time when we can see video shot by a robot on Mars, when there are cars that can drive themselves, and when we can deposit checks on our smartphones without going to a bank, why do most people […]

Precinct data: County Commissioner precincts

I wish they called County Commissioner precincts by some other name, because it’s confusing to refer to them as such when one is discussing canvass data, which is data from the thousand-plus voting precincts in Harris County. But that’s the name we’re stuck with, so make sure the clutch on your context-shifter is in good […]

If eliminating straight ticket voting is the solution, then what’s the problem?

With the opening day of bill-filing season comes the recurrence of a not-so-old chestnut that like many other bills is a solution in search of a problem. Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said he wants to end straight-ticket voting for judges because the political winds often determine the fate of a judicial candidate instead of qualifications. […]

Maryland to join the Big Ten

The dominoes have resumed falling. Maryland is joining the Big Ten, leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference in a shocker of a move in the world of conference realignment that was driven by the school’s budget woes. The announcement came Monday at a news conference with school President Wallace D. Loh, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany […]

The helium shortage gets real

It could affect Thanksgiving. “We’ve secured helium to meet some of our parade needs, and we are working to secure more,” Kim Stoilis, president and chief executive officer of the Houston Festival Foundation, said in an email Wednesday. “We’re excited about this holiday tradition and our parade director assures me that all of our balloons […]

Precinct analysis: City and county

If you know a little something about Excel (or in my case, OpenOffice Calc, which has the same basic functionality), it’s fairly straightforward to calculate the vote totals and percentages for various candidates in various county, state, or federal districts. These districts are well-defined, and by that I mean they contain a certain number of […]

We need infrastructure, yes we do

But paying for it is often a problem. That doesn’t work very well for a chant, I’m afraid. The American Society of Civil Engineers Houston branch assessed the structural and economic viability of roads, transit, solid waste, wastewater and drinking water facilities. Drinking water systems received a D, and roads and highways got a D+. […]

Shall we wait for SCOTUS?

Texas Redistricting: The three-judge panel in San Antonio overseeing redrawing of Texas’ redistricting plans has signaled that it is at least considering the possibility of delaying action on new maps until the Supreme Court decides questions about the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, asking the parties to brief by December 3 […]

Mount Rush Hour Park

It’s actually called American Statesmanship Park, but either way it’s awesome. Harris County on Tuesday accepted a donation of a small plot of land near the intersection of Interstates 10 and 45 where 18-foot concrete busts of Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington sit. Each bust by Houston artist David Adickes, […]

Weekend link dump for November 18

Isn’t it nice to be able to watch live TV again without having to dread the political ads? More early voting, and more voting by mail, would do a lot to make voting easier. The Internet withstood Hurricane Sandy. One reason we know why voter fraud is not a big problem is that those who […]

Constable Trevino indicted

Lovely. Longtime Precinct 6 Constable Victor Trevino was indicted Friday, accused of failing to report cash campaign contributions, diverting money from his youth charity for personal use and using deputies to serve eviction notices and then keeping the delivery fees. Trevino was charged in four felony indictments alleging abuse of official capacity, misapplication of fiduciary […]

A third act for Jolanda?

Maybe. Jolanda Jones, who lost her at-large position 5 seat in last December’s runoff election, may run in next year’s elections to win a third term on Council — but this time it would be representing District D. The seat will be open next year because Councilwoman Wanda Adams is termed out. “I’m keeping my […]

Washington Avenue parking

The city of Houston has been trying to tackle the problem of insufficient parking in the busy Washington Avenue entertainment corridor. What to do about Washington Avenue is Houston’s latest public policy discussion of what government’s role should be in growing business, in helping a fledgling business strip turn into a destination district. The players […]

Beer is still a job creator

We really owe a debt of gratitude to beer, in particular to microbrewers. Saint Arnold Brewing Co., the city’s oldest craft, has 43 employees and is in the midst of hiring at least three more, founder Brock Wagner said. That is about double the staff before production shifted to a new brewery with more capacity […]

Saturday video break: Blue Suede Shoes

Song #43 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Blue Suede Shoes”, originally by Carl Perkins and covered by Elvis Presley. Here’s the original: And here’s Elvis: I’m just going to quote the Popdose writer here, because I can’t add anything to this: “Blue Suede Shoes”” is such an early rock song that it […]

It’s all about 2014

This is very easy to understand. Signaling austerity despite improving state revenues and a push by some to undo cuts to key programs, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and leading GOP senators said they plan to write a budget for the next two years that is smaller than allowed under a spending cap adopted Thursday. The […]

Sumners for Controller?

Yeah, I don’t know about that. County tax assessor-collector Don Sumners, who lost his bid for re-election in the May GOP primary, said Wednesday he is considering running for city controller next year. “The part that has to be decided is whether I can actually win. I’m not a spring chicken,” said Sumners, 73. Controller […]

Amazon comes to Schertz

Hello, Schertz! After about six months of negotiations, this city, the Schertz Economic Development Corp. and Guadalupe County have approved about $7.6 million in direct tax incentives to land a $166 million distribution warehouse for Amazon.com. The 1.26 million-square-foot warehouse, called a fulfillment center, will become the largest facility in Schertz and Guadalupe County, Schertz […]

Friday random ten: For the ladies, part 6

More ladies’ names as song titles. Let’s get to it: 1. Margot Fonteyn – Eddie From Ohio 2. Mari Mac – Great Big Sea 3. Marie – Randy Newman 4. Mary Ann – Ben Arthur 5. Minnie The Moocher – from “The Cotton Club” 6. Miss Amanda Rae – Clandestine 7. Miss Fritchie – Eddie […]

Precinct analysis: Sadler v Noriega and Sadler v Obama

Day Two of precinct analysis, in which we take a look at the Senate results. As I did with the Presidential results, I’m going to compare the candidates from this year to the candidates from 2008. Dist Cruz Sadler Cornyn Noriega ======================================== HD126 63.86% 36.14% 62.26% 37.74% HD127 70.57% 29.43% 67.93% 32.07% HD128 72.95% 27.05% […]

On peeing in a cup

Another solution in search of a problem from the Republican leadership. Out of the more than 250 bills filed Monday, the first possible day to file legislation for the 83rd session, one measure — concerning drug testing for welfare applicants — is already drawing the support of the state’s top lawmakers and the criticism of […]

Will health insurance exchanges be on the Lege’s agenda?

The deadline was today for states to decide what they want to do about implementing health insurance exchanges. At least eight Republican governors vowed not to implement the health-care law until after the November election. “I will make that decision number one after the election,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told a local television station in […]

Not on the Ben Hall bandwagon

Ouch. Ben Hall is talking about running for mayor — again. He won’t do it, and if he does do it, he won’t win, says one local African-American political consultant. Bethel Nathan is a veteran of local politics. His recent clients include Elaine Palmer, who last week won the general election for the 215th District […]

Precinct analysis: Obama v Obama

So as mentioned before I now have a draft canvass for Harris County. There’s a lot of data to go through, and I’ll probably publish most of what I find after the holiday. One thing I’d like to share for now is a comparison of how President Obama did in the various redrawn districts versus […]

Speeding tickets and vehicle registration

I confess, I’m puzzled by this. Municipal Court Presiding Judge Barbara Hartle has a proposal on Wednesday’s City Council agenda to sign an agreement with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles that would have the state refuse to issue vehicle registrations to people who have outstanding traffic fines. As proposed by Hartle, by investing about […]

Buses and trains, not buses or trains

I have a lot of emotion about this, but I’m still working through how to express it. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials say the agency is on firmer financial footing than it has been in years. They plan to add shelters at 100 bus stops in the next year, replace aging buses with larger and smaller […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 12

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates President Obama on his re-election as it brings you this week’s roundup.

The third parties

While I work my way through the precinct data in Harris County, we can keep looking at the county data for Texas from last week’s election. Here are the top and bottom ten counties by percentage of the vote for Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson: County Johnson % County Johnson % ============================================== Travis 2.72% Throckmorton […]

Garcia and Alvarado and everyone they know

It’s not just Sylvia Garcia versus Carol Alvarado to succeed the late Sen. Mario Gallegos in SD06. It’s also everyone else that’s getting involved in the race. Alvarado’s chief rival for the Senate seat is expected to be former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, who announced her candidacy last week. Garcia, 62, the first Hispanic […]

Harris County redistricting lawsuit kicks off

Remember the lawsuit that was filed over the redistricting map for Harris County Commissioners Court? It’s been on hold since the beginning of the year, after an interim map was drawn to get us through this election and since the main point of contention in the new map was not an issue yet. Now that […]

Time for another Speaker’s race

It’s like a rite of spring, except it happens in alternate Januaries. House Speaker Joe Straus’ bid for a third term as leader of the 150-member state House may not come as quickly or as easily as he had anticipated. The San Antonio Republican finds himself caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place: […]