Civil Affairs: Obama


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In early November, after months of ongoing decay, President Obama’s approval rating dipped below 40%. According to some (admittedly unreliable) sources, the number now stands at a mere 37%. At this time, I will note the grievances of that not-so-silent majority of 55-63% of Americans who disapprove of our incumbent Commander-in-Chief.

Those who have known me (and suffered through political conversations with me) before I began Texpatriate (August of 2012) will recall that I supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries, as much as a kid in junior high could really support a candidate I suppose. Following then-Senator Obama’s victory, I lent my full support to him and was an ardent supporter for much of his first term. However, following an embarrassingly unsuccessful confrontation with Republicans in August of 2011, I withdrew that support, mainly because I believed the President was not doing enough for liberal/progressive values. Shortly after he announced his change of heart on same-sex marriage (in May 2012), I had a change of heart on his performance and ultimately was an strong supporter of his re-election effort and otherwise a supporter ever since. Today, however, my critiques come much less from the left and more from the point of view of a typical American who has been slighted by the incompetence and ineffectiveness of the current administration.

Click here to read exactly why Horwitz now counts himself among the President’s opponents!

The Democratic slate

UPDATED 11/30: David Alameel to run for Senate; scroll to bottom.

About a month ago, we ran a tombstone on the cover and declared that “Democrats have surrendered the capacity to run competitive races for 2014 offices.” Perhaps that was a little harsh, and the jury might still be out on how competitive at least some of these races will end up being. Please note that I do not believe that any Democrat could actually win next year in a statewide race, but multiple races could end up being closer than 5 points, a far cry from what I was willing to admit just 30 days ago.

Since then, three major actions have occurred,all of which have renew a limited sense of optimism towards the future. The first is that State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-Bexar County), who announced she would run for Lieutenant Governor next year. When our “Tombstone article” was published in October, Van de Putte had been painfully silent for a very long period of time, and many had concluded that she would not end up running to lead the Senate. At that time, Maria Luisa Alvarado, the Democrat’s 2006 nominee for Lieutenant Governor and a political novice, had just announced her candidacy. At a time when the Republican candidates –all White men– keeping sliding further and further to the right, the right Democrat could have a very successful impact. While Alvarado would be sure to lose by double-digits, Van de Putte has the ability to make this a competitive election (within 5 points). This was more or less the point of Ross Ramsey’s recent Texas Tribune column on the Lieutenant Governor’s campaign.

Click here to read more about why some elections might be competitive!

Strip Club deal reached

I did not really want this to be the first blog to cover this story, given all the lubricious stereotypes that apply to a college student, but since Off the Kuff has noted it, I will as well. Originally from the Houston ChronicleTexpatriate has learned that longstanding litigation between the City of Houston and strip clubs have come to a close.

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At a press conference, Mayor Parker announced that the settlement, which will be described in detail later in this article, only applied to 16 specific clubs that have been “grandfathered” into this agreement. Those were the clubs originally targeted in a 1997 Sexually Themed Businesses ordinance, which prohibited (among other things) building new clubs close to schools or churches, as well as prohibiting full nudity, a distance of less than three feet between any guests and dancers, the elimination of private rooms and a requirement of licensing from the city. Since the passage of the ordinance, the 16 clubs have been in nonstop litigation against City Hall.

Click here to read about the settlement reached!

The election in HD134

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I live in House District 134. Despite having a Democratic rep for two terms, the district swung Republican in 2010 and was gerrymandered in the following year’s legislative session to become something of a Republican stronghold. Sarah Davis, the Republican incumbent, defeated her Democratic opponent by 10 points in 2012 as opposed to less than 1 point in 2010.

Accordingly, I have felt it to be less-than-newsworthy to bring up that a Democratic named Alison Ruff has signed up to challenge Davis in the 2014 election, given she has not created a website, Facebook page or Twitter account at press time. Charles Kuffner has met —and been impressed by— her, though I cannot say that I have done the same. Given that I am in a Boston dormroom (for now), lacking an online presence assures one will not interact with me.

I have no doubt that Ms Ruff is a qualified and impressive candidate, just as Ann Johnson was last year, but that does not change the demographics and politics of the heavily gerrymandered district. It will be a cold day in hell before a Democrat wins in HD134 as currently configured. The real news, therefore, is in the Republican primary, which (like most other contests in Texas) is tantamount to election nowadays. The primary will be competitive this year.

Click here to read about Sarah Davis’ primary challenger!

Texas Guard to offer Same-sex benefits

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Texas National Guard, after long pushback, has acquiesced to demands of the Defense Department and will offer benefits to same-sex couples. Our sagacious readers will remember that, at the beginning of September, Texas was one of only a handful of States to deny same-sex benefits within their State National Guards, despite a direct order from the Pentagon to that effect.

Most of the former Confederacy (along with Oklahoma) originally defied the Pentagon,  but the holdouts have been dropping like flies in the last few days. Florida recently relented, as did Kentucky, to name a few. Oklahoma, in a desperate attempt to avoid benefiting same-sex couples, dropped the benefits to all couples irrespective of sexual orientation.

As the Chronicle notes, these benefits offered to same-sex couples include “services ranging from access to base commissaries to medical care and housing allowances.” By no means are we talking about insignificant issues.

Click here to read more!

Texpatriate endorses in At-large #3 runoff

There were countless candidates for City office this year; so many, in fact, that many began to blend together and become utterly unmemorable. Agree with him or not, Michael Kubosh has never been one of those candidates.

Love him or hate him, Mr Kubosh has always brought an inimitable zeal to local politics that we would be hard-pressed to find in any other recent candidate. As the Houston Chronicle recently wrote about him (when they endorsed him), he has a “striking compassion” for the marginalized and disenfranchised. Recently, this was most evident when he helped to lead the charge against a vile ordinance that prohibited dispersing food to homeless Houstonians. On other issues such as Red-Light cameras, Mr Kubosh has fought at the forefront of both pubic consciousness and common sense, both of which our politicians seem to ignore on a daily basis.

This board supports Mr Kubosh, though, with some serious reservations. Among these are his continued ambivalence and obfuscation on the topic of a non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT Houstonians. Such a noxious position is unbecoming of an ethical and moral public servant. We hope that Mr Kubosh will come down on the side of liberty and justice on this issue.

Click here to read more!

…Nevermind! Garrison will not resign

A couple of weeks ago, HFD Chief Terry Garrison announced that he would resign at the end of the year. He cited personal reasons that required a return to his native Phoenix, not political disagreements with the administration. Garrison, who was officially conferred the position in August of 2010, is the only official Fire Chief to have served during the Parker administration. Longtime chief Phil Boriskie resigned shortly after Parker took office, and Rick Flanagan became the Acting Chief in the roughly 20 month interim.

Now, the Houston Chronicle reports that Garrison will not be moving after all. The original move had been prompted by the ailing health of his young grandchild. Now, Garrison and his family have decided that the entire family should relocate to Houston, which fortuitously is the location of the best children’s hospital in the country with the Texas Medical Center (My brother, who works for Children’s Hospital Boston, may beg to differ).

Click here to read more about Garrison’s decision!

Democrats battle incompetence in race for DA

After the incumbent District Attorney, Mike Anderson, passed away this last August, Harris County began preparing for a Special Election in November 2014 to fill the remaining two years of his term. In the interim, Mike Anderson’s widow, Devon Anderson (hereafter, “Anderson”), was appointed by Governor Perry to fill the vacancy.

Anderson, a former Judge, will be running for re-election, though one should probably expect a challenger in the Republican primary. Meanwhile, the Democrats already have a good candidate announced: Kim Ogg. She is from a prolific political family, has extended expertise in both law & criminal justice (former director of Crime Stoppers) and will make a great candidate who stands a good chance of winning the election. Contrary to public opinion, the DA should not simply be the high executioner who shows no mercy, it is a position about justice and equity. In other words, perfect for a progressive person such as Ogg.

But these are the Democrats we are talking about, which naturally means adding a tablespoon of incompetence. Since we are talking about the Harris County Democrats in specific, probably two tablespoons to be safe. And I do not mean the leadership of the County Party, I mean the people who show up and vote in the primaries.

Click here to read who the Democrats must fight in their battle against incompetence!

TPA Roundup (November 25, 2013)

Note: The Texas Progressive Alliance or other blogs do not necessarily represent the views of Texpatriate or its contributors.

The Texas Progressive Alliance is thankful for many things, this week and every week, as we bring you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff calls on Wendy Davis to make an issue out of Rick Perry’s refusal to follow the Defense Department’s directive on same sex benefits for National Guard members.

Texpatriate has special news this week, as Sophia announced in her Week in Reviewvideo that founder and Editorial Board member Noah M. Horwitz will be moving to Austin this January to continue his collegiate studies at the University of Texas and lead a new and exciting chapter for Texpatriate in the State Capital.

Continue reading

Horwitz on moving to Austin

At the risk of appearing excessively cold to a significant transition in my life, I will delve into greater detail about what Sophia mentioned in passing in her video last night: I am moving to Austin in January and will transfer colleges to the University of Texas at Austin. The two of us penned a press release on this matter as well, which I have attached below.

Moving to the State Capital, I plan on taking full advantage of my repatriating into the middle of the political landscape. We are working on some big projects that I think will help to expand our visibility and broaden our readership. Additionally, we are looking at hiring more Staff Writers–though nothing is for certain at this point. Like I have said before, more details will be figured out and announced in the coming days and weeks.

Additionally, a serendipitous consequence of my relocation to Austin will be a much closer proximity to Houston. Rest assured, I will continue covering City Hall politics and local primaries with great alacrity. I will have my car with me, which means I can take my infamous “capricious trips” back home whenever the need arises without additionally financial penalty, unlike now when I must purchase airline tickets months in advance. I doubt I will actually return home more than I historically have been recently (roughly once a month), but I believe I will be able to more strategically choose when I come home, so that I may maximize the effectiveness of my visits.

Click here to read the Press Release!