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Posts from ‘December, 2017’

Weekend link dump for December 31

Boomers, man. They’ve ruined it for the rest of us. Lots of people are coming to terms with past associations with sexual harassers. It’s a tough thing to grapple with, but we’re all the better for being open and honest now. Here’s a map showing how many Americans died as a result of above ground […]

The Nation on Our Revolution in Texas

Here’s a feature story in The Nation from before the holidays about Our Revolution, one of the many grassroots groups that have become prominent post-Trump to organize and get better people elected. The focus of this story is on what OR is doing in Texas. When Jim Hightower, Nina Turner, and the Our Revolution road […]

The Harvey effect on marine research

It’s tough being on the coast sometimes. Jagged splinters of wood stick out of the shoreline – all that’s left of a pier that once stretched 100 yards into the Gulf of Mexico. White plastic tarps flap in the whipping December wind atop dozens of roofs that failed to withstand the brutal force of a […]

Saturday video break: Something So Right

Here’s Paul Simon performing one of his solo hits: Simon was a top-notch songwriter for over 20 years, and if you look at the trajectory of most artists, that’s a long time. Here’s Annie Lennox, in a recording someone took from a performance she gave on morning TC show, doing her rendition of this song: […]

Precinct analysis: Two facts about 2017 turnout

As always after an election, I received an early copy of the canvass report, which tells me how the vote went in each individual precinct. Unlike other years, I didn’t have a clear direction for what to do with it, because there’s no obvious basis for comparisons. There are no partisan races, and no Mayoral […]

A better BARC

This is good to see. As recently as three years ago, Houston’s animal shelter put down half of the dogs and cats that came through its doors in a busy month. Now, five times in the last year alone, the city’s Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care finished a month having euthanized fewer than 10 […]

Friday random ten: Can’t even, part 1

I just can’t, you know? 1. Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles 2. Can’t Even Get The Blues – Reba McEntire 3. Can’t Find My Keys – Mojo Nixon 4. Can’t Get There From Here – R.E.M. 5. Can’t Go Back There – The Bellyachers 6. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley […]

Another look at Congressional odds

I was browsing around Facebook and came across a link to this 2018 midterm forecast from The Crosstab, whose proprietor also works at Decision Desk. As such, it is basically a December update to the November Decision Desk forecast, which is nice because it allows us to make direct comparisons. As before, it has a […]

The year in beer

It was pretty good overall for Texas craft brewers, especially in Houston. Texas craft brewers will close the books on 2017 having made more beer, opened more breweries and garnered more national recognition for the state than ever. Looking ahead to 2018, Houston appears positioned to keep the party going. Commercial real estate services firm […]

More on the Pressler lawsuit

The Chron adds some details to the lawsuit against former State Representative and Judge Paul Pressler, who has been accused by Duane Rollins of long-term sexual abuse. Rollins worked in 2003 and 2004 as a personal assistant to Pressler and attended the same church as Pressler beginning as a teenager, according to court documents. Those […]

Filing roundup: Other Congressional races, part 2

See part 1 here, and the spreadsheet with all the Democratic Congressional filings here. These are the races that are objectively most likely to produce a flip, so there are fewer of them. Let’s dive right in. CD06 So long, Smokey Joe. Hope to see a whole lot less of you from here on out. […]

Chron profile of Justin Nelson

Hope he earns a lot of coverage in 2018, it sure would help. Justin Nelson stood with his wife around the island in their kitchen and had one final gut check about campaigning to become Texas’ next attorney general: Were they really ready to give up a year of their lives so he could run […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 25

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes a Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it as we bring you this weeks’s roundup.

Filing roundup: Other Congressional races, part 1

We already knew this, but just a reminder there’s at least one Democratic candidate in all 36 Congressional districts in Texas. In deep-red Texas, Republicans will have to fight for every congressional seat in next year’s midterm elections. For the first time in 25 years, Democrats are running in all of Texas’ 36 congressional districts, […]

The state of play in the suburbs

This NYT article about Congressional districts being targeted by Democrats in 2018 is about pickup opportunities in the suburbs, and they lead with a familiar example. As she sat with a glass of sauvignon blanc waiting for a women-focused Democratic fund-raiser to begin, Nancy Sharp let loose in a Texas-seasoned drawl why she and so […]

A third PPP Congressional poll in Texas

Here’s a Public Policy Polling Twitter thread of interest. I’ve highlighted the specific relevant tweets. The generic ballot polling certainly looks great for Democrats, but how is that playing out at the district level? We've polled 36 GOP held Congressional districts since October. Here's what we've found… — PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) December 20, 2017 Last year […]

The Harvey effect on the Waugh Street Bridge bat colony

It was bad, but we hope they will recover. Tens of thousands of bats perished or were displaced from their home at the Waugh Bat Colony when Hurricane Harvey swept through the city this summer, according to bat experts. “Pre-Harvey, we had at least 300,000 bats in the bridge,” said Diana Foss, a wildlife biologist […]

And so I offer you this Mel Torme Christmas story

Every year on Christmas Day, I link to my favorite Christmas story, which stars Mel Torme. This has been a rough year in many ways, but reading that story always makes me happy, and I hope it will do the same for you. Merry Christmas!

Weekend link dump for December 24

Some rules and observations for Christmas music, which I endorse. “While Republicans in the political class will no doubt cite [Roy] Moore’s loss as proof that their party needs to nominate stronger, more mainstream candidates next year, it’s far from certain that primary voters on the ground will heed such pleas from the swamp.” The […]

Diana Davila sues over ballot rejection

There’s one of these every cycle. Diana Davila said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in state district court that her application to run for justice of the peace Precinct 6, Place 2 in the March primary election was inappropriately rejected by the Democratic Party. The lawsuit states that Davila had submitted a petition containing 310 […]

The Republican primary for AG is now about barbecue

Because of course it is. “Barbecue might be America’s most political food,” wrote the New Yorker earlier this year. The claim certainly applies to the 2018 race for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Instead of farming or ranching issues, it’s Sid Miller’s recent history on barbecue that his Republican primary opponent, Trey Blocker, is using against him. For some brief background, […]

Saturday video break: The night before the night before Christmas

A day early, but what the heck: Not to mix metaphors, but may your days be merry and all that.

Pension bond sales proceed

But it was close, which both boggles my mind and annoys the ever-loving crap out of me. The City of Houston can move forward with its plan to sell $1 billion in bonds on Friday as part of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s landmark pension reform passed by the Texas Legislature earlier this year, a judge ruled. […]

SCOTUS to consider Texas redistricting case in January

Batten down the hatches. The U.S. Supreme Court will meet Jan. 5 to consider whether to take up a case on how Texas draws its congressional and statehouse maps. In a 5-4 decision split along ideological lines in September, the justices blocked two rulings by a three-judge federal panel in San Antonio. The panel had […]

Friday random ten: California dreaming

I had no idea I had this many California songs. 1. California – The Aislers Set 2. California – Delta Spirit 3. California – Joni Mitchell 4. California (There Is No End To Love) – U2 5. California Christmas – Brooke White 6. California Girls – The Beach Boys 7. California Gurls – Katy Perry […]

Microbrewery legal setback

Kind of a lousy Christmas present. Three Texas brewers are going back to battle with the state after an appeals court reversed a decision that would have allowed them to sell their distribution rights for monetary compensation. In 2014, Peticolas Brewing Co. (Dallas), Revolver Brewing (Granbury) and Live Oak Brewing Co. (Austin) sued the Texas […]

More on Mark Phariss

I figured it was just a matter of time before someone wrote a feature story about Mark Phariss’ candidacy for State Senate. The man who sued Texas to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage will run for Senate as a Democrat, vying for the seat that represents much of Collin County. Mark Phariss told […]

The most dangerous places for pedestrians in Texas

There are a lot of them. Pedestrian safety is a priority driver safety issue in Texas – where non-motorist fatalities have steadily increased every year since 2012. At the Hill Law Firm, we wanted to be a part of the solution. Pedestrians of any age are amongst the most vulnerable road users. Even at low […]

Farenthold gets off the ballot

It started with this. The Republican Party of Texas managed to clear a path Tuesday in federal court for its chairman, James Dickey, to remove U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold’s name from primary ballots. But as of press time, a party spokesman said Dickey still had not reached a decision on the fate of the congressman’s […]

CCA to review Paxton prosecutors pay case

Good. The state’s highest criminal court agreed Wednesday to take a closer look at prosecutors’ long-running fight to get paid for their handling of the securities fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The move by the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals could have a major impact on the separate case against Paxton. The […]

The possible Houston high speed rail stations

From Swamplot: ONE OF THESE 3 spots revealed in a report from the Federal Railroad Administration will be the planned site for the Houston-Dallas high-speed rail line’s Houston terminal. All 3 are near the intersection of the 610 Loop and the BNSF rail tracks that run parallel to Hempstead Rd. just south of 290. In […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 18

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates Sen.-elect Doug Jones as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Filing roundup: Outside Harris County

A look at who filed for what on the Democratic side in the counties around Harris. These are all predominantly Republican counties, some more than others, so the Democrats are almost all challengers. On the flip side, there are many opportunities for gains. Montgomery County CD08 – Steven David HD03 – Lisa Seger HD15 – […]

New Dallas County Sheriff chosen

Meet Lupe Valdez’s designated successor. Chief Deputy Marian Brown, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez’s third in command, will serve as interim sheriff until voters elect a new one in November. Valdez is stepping down to run for governor. Brown, a 29-year law enforcement veteran in her fourth year with the sheriff’s office, is running […]