Memorial Day

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My grandfather served in World War II, being part of a unit that landed on Omaha Beach and suffered very heavy losses. His two brothers also fought, serving in the South Pacific and fighting in the Battle of Guadalcanal. However, this holiday is not about them; they all survived the war.  Memorial Day is about those who give the ultimate sacrifice –their life– in the service of their country. It is about the men who served as the namesake for my father and, by extension, my nephew. My grandfather had multiple friends in the service named James, all of whom died when their company scaled the gigantic cliffs at the end of the Normandy beachhead.

The holiday is also about more than those who died on the battlefield. Those who return home with untreated ailments that prove ultimately fatal should be memorialized as well, just as vigorously. These include physical ailments, such as lymphoma from exposure to Agent Orange, and mental ailments, such as post traumatic stress order shell shock from traumatic experiences that often leads to suicide. The rate of suicide among recent veterans has jumped 44% in recent years alone, being one of the biggest unaddressed issues facing today’s veterans.

This is only compounded by the recent scandal at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Forget about assigning winners and losers, or ascribing blame. How about, just today, our top priority be to lessen the suffering of those who have put everything on the line for the good of their countrymen. Veterans should transcend the politics behind wars; they are the brave young men and women who are willing to sacrifice their lives for country. I’m not, nor have I ever been, a supporter of the Iraq War in any way, shape or form, but believe that the veterans created by that conflict should be taken care of as one of our biggest national priorities. Those who lost their lives in the conflict should be revered as strongly as any other serviceman.

Click here to read more, including today’s relevance for tomorrow!

Who’s lying?

Via Lone Star Q: a question is asked of the recent non-discrimination ordinance proposal floating around the corridors of City Hall. A few days ago, I noted that trusted sources had confided in me that seven Councilmembers, plus the Mayor, support a comprehensive ordinance that prohibits discrimination against LGBT people in not only public employment and public accommodations, but by private employment as well. Simply put, not only would a store no longer be allowed to deny service to a gay patron, it could similarly no longer fire a lesbian employee themselves. Lone Star Q picked up the story the next day, noting that “Horwitz’s list is accurate.”

That brings us to today. John Wright, the author of all the LSQ articles, now ponders why the number of Councilmembers supporting private employment decisions is not a slam duck majority. Specifically, he takes aim at four Councilmembers (C.O. Bradford, Jack Christie, Jerry Davis and Larry Green) who had represented to the GLBT Caucus their support for a comprehensive NDO (including private employment protections). As many will recall, in preparation for the 2013 Municipal elections, all of these men were endorsed by the GLBT Caucus, following conciliatory questionnaire replies.

Click here to read analysis of each of these current undecideds!

Parker pulls an Obama

This is a few days late, I have had a whirlwind of a weekend in Houston, but I felt that this story was specifically too important to ignore. In a recent speech and press release, Mayor Annise Parker outlined her proposals for a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT rights. The only problem with this, of course, it is not all that comprehensive. Texas Leftist sums up the position somewhat well, as does Lone Star Q. In short, it covers both public employment and private corporations providing public accommodations. However, it does not cover private employment. This means, simply put, that most people could continue to be fired in Houston just for being gay.

Ostensibly, Parker sold out on this important detail because she did not have the votes on the council. It is important to note, however, that the comprehensive NDOs are not as ubiquitous as many may think. Only Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth fully ban the private employer discrimination, whereas El Paso and San Antonio have ordinances similar to the one Mayor Parker has proposed. For all of Julian Castro’s accolades in his past last year for a comprehensive NDO, it did not actually go all that far in comparison.

Click here to read an analysis of how things stand at City Hall!

I voted today

I drove into Houston this morning for a productive weekend to take care of some personal and professional business. Needless to say, one of the first things I did was to go to the West Gray Multiservice Center and fulfill my civic duty to vote. Regardless of what I may have said about the value of voting in the Republican Primary, I voted in the Democratic contest. I voted for the following candidates in contested races, which I have enumerated bellow the jump. Additionally, I cannot help but to note the good feeling I got out of voting for a fellow Horwitz for the second time in my life. My father, James Horwitz, is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination in County Probate Judge #4. These are only the races I personally voted in, and they may feature races Texpatriate has yet to field an official endorsement in.

Click here to read my slate!

Civil Affairs: Judges

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Noah M. Horwitz published a weekly column, “Civil Affairs,” in a Boston newspaper from 2012-2014He has since transferred the column’s home to ‘The Daily Texan’ in Austin.

The first time I voted in a general election (2012), I was shocked at just how long the ballot was. The presidential election had obviously garnered a fair amount of coverage, as did local races for Congress, sheriff and the state Legislature. However, what took up the vast majority of the ballot were the myriad judicial contests. Pages upon pages of district and county benches were to be filled by the voters, in partisan elections. Democratic and Republican nominees had been selected in their respective parties’ primaries to run for the posts: civil, criminal, family, juvenile and probate courts.

Read the whole op-ed in The Daily Texan!

Houston Press picks up Twitter tantrum story

As many may remember (the article got a lot of views), I broke the news late Wednesday that Councilmember James Rodriguez, after getting hammered in the Houston Chronicle, went on an epic Twitter temper tantrum, in which he made disparaging comments towards both the Mayor and Lisa Falkenberg, as well as especially vitriolic remarks towards another Chronicle writer, Jose Ortiz.

I noted all of these tweets, and wrote a post about it, providing photographic evidence. Councilmember Rodriguez responded by hurling repeated personal attacks against me and my family (as well as, at least once more, towards Ortiz). I may have egged him a little bit, but he was incessant in trying to belittle both me and my family in an extend that was wholly uncalled for. The news must have gotten around, because before I knew it, the Houston Press was interviewing me about the incident. Hair Balls wrote up a full incident report on the subject, complete with the screenshots I sent to them.

Click here to read more!

The Harris County lineup

Laziness heralded the day for the Texas Democrats shooting themselves in the foot at the close of the filing deadline, but it is unbridled stupidity carrying the banner for the Harris County Democrats next year. Again, not from the leadership, but from the average people. I will post a full list at the bottom of the post, but would like to talk about a few things first.

There will be six Court of Appeals slots up for election to a 6 year term, between the seats on the 14th Court of Appeals and the 1st Court of Appeals. These elections were remarkably close in 2008, meaning that changing demographics should probably make them just as competitive –if not more– in 2014. But will they be competitive? No. Because the Democrats, once again, were too LAZY to contest half of the slots. One candidate, Jim Sharp, actually won in 2008. He will be running for re-election, and Kyle Carter, a good District Judge, will run for another post. These two men will be great candidates! Another candidate, Gordon Goodman, has filed but I do not have any info on him yet, nor do any of my attorney sources have information on him.

When it comes to District Courts in Harris County, there are a full 36 posts up for election, between Civil, Criminal, Family and Juvenile courts. In 2010, every single one of these posts had a Democratic candidate, and as I recall most every candidate was well qualified and overall competent. Only 27 of these will be contested by the Democrats this time around, including four races where Democrats will be fighting one another instead of the incumbent Republican judges.

Please click here to continue reading!

More filings

I’d like to apologize for some inactivity recently, I have two finals and a 18 page paper due on Monday, so my blogging has had to take a little bit of a backseat. Anyways, with just two more days left in filing, there is a lot news to report upon both Statewide and at the Harris County level with the introduction of new candidates.

Most notably, the Dallas Morning News reports that Kesha Rogers will throw her tinfoil hat into the ring and seek the Democratic nomination for US Senator. Rogers, who has twice been the nominee for Congress in Sugar Land’s 22nd Congressional District, is a member of the Lyndon LaRouche political sect cult. This organization has little cohesive or consistent message besides revering LaRouche in a cult of personality. This organization is not really reminiscent of the Democratic Party in any way, spouting utterly nonsensical and conspiratorial views. Even the Morning News article notes of Rogers, “As an acolyte of perennial presidential fringe candidate Lyndon LaRouche, she believes the U.S. economy is secretly controlled by a cabal of London financial institutions.”

Also included in the Senate slates are Harry Kim, a dentist out of Odessa. I can’t really find much information one way or another on him. Brains & Eggs also counts Roman McAllen,  local architect, among the Senatorial candidates (though he has yet to file).

Click here to read about new candidates for Railroad Commission and County offices

2013 results and analysis

We’re working on trying to abridge the hours and hours of livestreamed Texpatriate election return coverage into about 20 minutes of the top hits. Yesterday, our all-time view record was demolished as thousands of people appeared to come to our website to read up on candidates before they voted. Additionally, Richard Nguyen, the victor in District F, had little impact on the internet besides his interview with Texpatriate.

First and foremost, Mayor Annise Parker was decisively re-elected to a third and final term as Mayor of Houston. She cruised to over 57% of the vote, far outpacing the amount of the vote she received in 2011. Meanwhile, Controller Ronald Green also was re-elected, albeit by a much smaller margin. The only surprises amongst City Council races were in At-large 3 and District F, respectively. Otherwise, most incumbents cruised to re-election.

All nine Statewide propositions passed, as did Harris County Proposition 1 (the joint processing center/jail). The Astrodome referendum, however, did not pass, as the iconic 8th Wonder of the World now looks condemned to demolition.

Click here to see full results and read more!

Voter ID troubles

When I voted last Friday in Houston, I had to cancel the absentee ballot that was sent to be on the account of my sojourning in Boston. I was desperately worried, given the law voting restrictions, that there would be some issue with the casting of my ballot. Fortunately, there was no issue. When my father went to vote, however, that was a different story.

His driver’s license bears his full middle name, whereas his voter registration merely contains the middle initial. Evidently, this creates the risk of voter fraud, but since the names are “substantially similar,” he signed an affidavit confirming his identity and was allowed to cast a ballot. As Burnt Orange Report reminds us, the original bill would have required these individuals to cast provisional ballots, meaning they would be forced to return to the polls to produce a different ID in order for their ballots to be counted.

But it wasn’t just my father. Click here to read about who else was affected!