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Posts from ‘June, 2013’

Weekend link dump for June 30

A photographic look at Staten Island in the 1980s. Really takes me back, I have to say. “Scientists are in awe after discovering a Queensland lake that has barely been affected by changes in climate for 7,000 years.” The NBA teams up with the White House to promote Obamacare. If Jean-Paul Sartre were an app […]

Full speed ahead for Parks By You

Excellent. Houston City Council on Wednesday approved an agreement with the Houston Parks Board to tackle the ambitious trails plan voters approved in a $166 million bond issue last November. The Bayou Greenways 2020 project fulfills a century-old vision first laid out by urban planner Arthur Comey in 1912, with a $205 million, 160-mile connected […]

Burnam to re-file marriage equality bill for Special Session 2

From the inbox: Upon the announcement [Wednesday] of a second special legislative session by Governor Rick Perry, as well as the Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, State Representative Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) today announced his intention to re-file his Marriage Equality bill from the 83rd regular Legislative Session, HB 1300. “The […]

Enrolling the uninsured

This is going to be such a huge job. Fresh produce wasn’t the only thing you could find at the Farmers Market [last] Saturday. Volunteers with the Get Covered America campaign were passing out flyers and letting people know that starting Oct. 1, American citizens can enroll for low-cost health insurance as part of the […]

Saturday video break: Proud Mary

Song #13 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Proud Mary”, originally by Creedence Clearwater Revival and covered by Ike & Tina Turner. Here’s CCR: Great band, and I love John Fogerty’s voice, even if some of his enunciations are a bit weird. Still, an awesome song that is also in my vocal range. […]

Time to lace up your Mizunos and head back to the Capitol

Special Session 2 starts today. If you can be there to watch the proceedings in the Legislature, that would be great. RSVP here, and while you’re at it, give a Like to the Stand With Texas Women Facebook page. The rally on the Capitol steps will be Monday, July 1, from 12 to 2 PM. […]

Commissioners Court approves HCSCC Astrodome plan for further review

I noted this briefly in an update to my interview with Willie Loston, but on Tuesday Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the proposal by the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation to redevelop the Astrodome for further study. Commissioners did not comment on the proposal before or after the vote, but County Judge Ed […]

Clock strikes midnight for North Forest

This was a tough blow for NFISD. North Forest school officials lost one of their final court battles Wednesday, making the district’s state-ordered merger into HISD five days from now increasingly likely. U.S. District Judge David Hittner rejected the last-ditch claims by North Forest that the school system’s takeover by the Houston Independent School District […]

One thing Wal-Mart could be good for

They could wreak havoc on payday lenders. Raj Date says that with modern data analysis banks could offer payday loans on much less extortionate terms. Felix Salmon retorts that banks don’t actually want to do business with poor people unless they can scrape them for high fees. Otherwise the costs of dealing with the accounts […]

Friday random ten: Going deep

My inspiration this week comes from John Scalzi: Name a favorite “deep cut” from a band you like. A “deep cut” meaning a track that was never a single or radio/video hit and wouldn’t generally be known to people who are not already huge fans of that particular band. His commenters left a ton of […]

What the future may hold for Wendy Davis

Patricia Kilday Hart has her take on the Wendy Davis phenomenon, including the reaction of some Republicans to it. For both proponents and opponents of SB 5, the legislation that would have banned abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy and required costly upgrades to abortion facilities, one point was irrefutable: The filibuster created a new […]

The 2011 maps are officially dead

Rick Perry has signed the redistricting bills, thus making the 2012 interim maps the official state-sanctioned maps and thus dropping any further pursuit of the maps drawn by the 2011 Lege. On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry signed all three redistricting bills that lawmakers sent to him. With his signature, Perry set the district boundaries for […]

Patrick is in for Lite Gov

And then there were three challengers to David Dewhurst. Citing the need for “authentic conservative leadership” in Texas, state Sen. Dan Patrick announced on Thursday that he would run for lieutenant governor against incumbent David Dewhurst. “Today begins roughly 18 months of hard work,” said Patrick, a Houston Republican who was joined by his wife […]

Endorsement watch: The firefighters still don’t like the Mayor

Last week, the Ben Hall campaign teased on its Facebook page that it was about to get a “game-changer” endorsement. This week, that endorsement was announced. The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association announced they will be endorsing Ben Hall in his challenge to incumbent Mayor Annise Parker in this year’s mayoral campaign. This comes well […]

Still standing with Wendy

Let me just say that I hope Sen. Wendy Davis slept in yesterday, and did nothing more strenuous than channel surfing and ordering takeout. She’s earned a lazy day, and a lot more than that. And while she (hopefully) took a well-deserved rest, the media spotlight continued to shine on her. State Sen. Wendy Davis […]

Patrick and Williams keep squabbling

Just as a reminder that Senate Republicans don’t need Democrats to stir up trouble, here’s a flare-up of an earlier kerfuffle. Fire one. In a recent interview with The Texas Tribune, my colleague, state Sen. Dan Patrick, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, attempted to explain his vote against our no-new-tax balanced state budget that […]

Not so fast on voter ID enforcement

Oops. Top Texas leaders acted without legal authority when they claimed to be moving forward with implementing the state’s controversial voter ID law, a veteran Supreme Court watcher said today. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Secretary of State John Steen both said after the Supreme Court struck down the core of the country’s voting […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 24

The Texas Progressive Alliance is once again ready to wish the Legislature a happy summer as far away from Austin as possible as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Smitherman says he’s in for Attorney General

Whatever. Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman is running for the 2014 Republican nomination for Attorney General, he confirmed to the Tribune. Public announcements via social media are planned for Monday. Smitherman told the Tribune he hopes to continue the “great work” of current Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has yet to declare his own […]

A woman for the Governor’s Mansion

Annie’s List sent out the following email last week: We’ve had it with Rick Perry.  First he added insulting anti-choice legislation to the Special Session agenda while ignoring funding for our schools. Then he did the unthinkable–vetoing the Texas Lilly Ledbetter Bill.  Perry has it in for Texas women. He’s waging war on our right […]

Filibusted

I figure this is about how the Republicans think of Sen. Wendy Davis right now: Well, they probably think a few more things, too, but this is a family blog. If you didn’t stay up late last night and follow the Wendy Davis filibuster by one means or another – I’m pretty sure the Senate […]

RIP, Section 5

By now you are well aware that SCOTUS has dealt a blow to the Voting Rights Act. They actually left Section 5, which is what requires certain parts of the country (including Texas) to get preclearance on voting-related changes, intact, but instead ruled that Section 4, which defined who was under the purview of Section […]

HISD budgets for teacher pay raise and more Apollo

Whether that will mean a tax hike, and if so how much, remains undetermined. Houston ISD employees will see a 2 percent pay raise and many schools will receive more money to help struggling students under the budget that trustees approved on a 6-3 vote Monday. Left unsettled was whether property owners will face an […]

Interview with Willie Loston

Willie Loston is the Executive Director of the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation, which is the not-for-profit company that operates and maintains the public facilities at Reliant Park, including Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome. It was the HCSCC that called for and evaluated the private proposals for the Astrodome, and the HCSCC that ultimately […]

No action on SB5 in the Senate

The name of the game is running out the clock. Texas Democrats, far outnumbered by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, are nonetheless on the verge of killing one of the most restrictive abortion proposals in the nation — at least for now. Using delaying tactics and parliamentary rules, the minority party argued […]

Chron wonders where B-Cycle is going

Last week in an unsigned editorial, the Chron asked a provocative question about B-Cycle. Are bicycle rental programs supposed to be legitimate transportation or merely toys for urban bohemians? New York Times writer Ginia Bellafante revealed Friday that her city’s attempts to make bike share more affordable, such as distributing free helmets and subsidizing Citi […]

Skilling gets resentenced

He got the minimum of what he could have gotten. The long-running battle between federal prosecutors and former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling formally came to an end Friday when U.S. District Judge Sim Lake signed off on a negotiated sentence agreement that will end Skilling’s incarceration in about four years. In agreeing to the minimum […]

Two contradictory polls about abortion

The UT/Texas Trib poll painted a not-so-rosy picture for reproductive choice in Texas. Texas voters remain split on the permissibility of abortion but favor banning the procedure after 20 weeks of a pregnancy, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. The survey also found a divergence of opinion about public schools: Voters with […]

More on the rejected Dome ideas

The Chron pays some attention to the 19 ideas that were submitted to the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation for what to do with the Astrodome. Willie Loston, executive director of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp., said much of the plan it outlined features ideas and suggestions from 19 proposals it got […]

Last redistricting bill passes Senate, House debates abortion bills

It was destiny. The Texas Senate on Sunday wrapped up final redistricting loose ends by concurring with changes made by the House to political boundaries for the lower chamber. In an 18-11 vote, the Senate signed off on a series of small tweaks to the House maps — changes that swap a couple of precincts […]

Patrick versus Ratliff

TFN Insider: Texas State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, has already made clear his disgust over the political witch hunt that forced the state’s Education Service Centers to stop writing lesson plans in their CSCOPE curriculum management system. In May, for example, he tore into Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, […]

Weekend link dump for June 23

Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime… We may never get the flying cars we were once promised, but flying bicycles appear to be a possibility. Vota por un gato! I’ll bet Eric Dick is wondering how it is that he didn’t think of that. When animals attack news reporters, on live TV. Steven Spielberg and George […]

No override of Public Integrity Unit funding veto

Alas. A legislative move to restore state funding for the ethics-enforcing Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County district attorney’s office died Friday afternoon. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, said no vote is expected on House Concurrent Resolution 6 — the attempt by state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, to override Gov. Rick Perry’s […]

More on the HCDE pre-k proposal

Some more details on that pre-k proposal being pitched to the HCDE. It raises more questions than it answers. Members applauded the effort by the recently formed Harris County School Readiness Corp., a non-profit group whose membership includes business, philanthropic and community leaders, including former Houston first lady Andrea White. At the end of the […]