- Galveston, TX Weather :: 60F Overcast December 18, 201760F Overcast
- Galveston, TX Weather :: 60F Overcast December 18, 2017
- Jaguars thump Texans 45-7 for 1st playoff berth since 2007 December 17, 2017The Jacksonville Jaguars are returning to the playoffs for the first time in a decade thanks to a 45-7 drubbing of rival Houston on Sunday.Once the NFL's poster child for futility and a punchline for potential relocation, the Jaguars (10-4) are now one of the league's top turnaround stories.Blake Bortles threw three touchdowns passes, including […]
- Houston sports mascots come together for the holidays December 17, 2017The holidays bring a lot of family members together, but this year Houston sports mascots decided to link up.Orbit (Astros) posted a group photo with Clutch (Rockets), Foxy (Dynamo) and Toro (Texans)."I got the boys together to celebrate the holidays!" Orbit tweeted.It's been a busy season for all the mascots, but they all made time […]
- Harden, Paul lead Rockets to 13th straight victory December 17, 2017James Harden scored 31 points and Chris Paul had 25 in the Houston Rockets' 115-111 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night for their 13th straight victory.The winning streak is the Rockets' longest streak since a franchise-best 22 straight in 2007-08.Harden hit a step-back 3-pointer over Malcolm Brogdon and was fouled, giving Houston an […]
- Paul, Rockets rout Spurs for 12th straight victory December 16, 2017Chris Paul had 28 points, eight assists and seven steals to lead the Houston Rockets to their 12th straight victory, a 124-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.Paul became the first player in NBA history to post 28 points, eight assists and seven steals in a game against the Spurs. In the […]
- World Champion Astros sign reliever Hector Rondon to 2-year deal December 15, 2017The World Series champion Houston Astros have bolstered their bullpen by signing free agent relief pitcher Hector Rondon to a two-year deal.The Astros are making good on their commitment to re-shape their bullpen this offseason after the team signed righty reliever Joe Smith Thursday.Rondon has spent each of his five major league seasons with the […]
- MD Anderson honors legendary sports reporter Craig Sager with Craig's Court December 15, 2017MD Anderson Cancer Center just honored former patient and NBA sideline reporter, Craig Sager Sr.MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital named its pediatric basketball court "Craig's Court" in a ceremony Thursday honoring the legend. WATCH: Craig Sager speaks about cancer battle, family"Craig's Court" is where pediatric patients and young adults at MD Anderson spend time playing […]
- Joe Smith, champion Houston Astros agree to 2-year contract December 14, 2017Right-hander Joe Smith and the World Series champion Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year contract.The 33-year-old was 3-0 with one save and 71 strikeouts over 54 innings in 59 relief appearances this year for Toronto and Cleveland, which reacquired him for a pair of minor leaguers at the July 31 trade deadline. Smith pitched […]
- Richmond 2-year-old buys Tic Tacs for firefighters December 14, 2017A little boy's good deed for a group of Richmond firefighters is going viral! Two-and-a-half-year-old Dawson usually gets a little reward for good behavior during shopping trips with his mom, Summer Aldridge.Last Thursday, during a trip to the Walmart on FM 1640 in Richmond, he earned $5 to spend on a toy or snacks.But after […]
- Doping: Russia backs Winter Olympics athletes December 13, 2017Russian athletes wanting to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea will have the unanimous support of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), the body said Tuesday.Last week Russia was banned from taking part in February's Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) found the country had engaged in "systemic manipulation" of anti-doping rules, […]
- Chris Pezman introduced as University of Houston athletics director December 12, 2017Officials at the University of Houston introduced Chris Pezman as the school's new athletics director during a news conference Tuesday.Pezman, who served as the assistant athletics director for football operations at UH during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, comes back to Houston after spending four years as senior associate athletics director at the University of […]
- Jaguars thump Texans 45-7 for 1st playoff berth since 2007 December 17, 2017
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast December 17, 2017National Weather Service Houston/Galveston TX. 212 PM CST Sun Dec 17 2017. TXZ211-181000-. Austin-. Including the cities of Bellville and Sealy. 212 PM CST Sun Dec 17 2017 .TONIGHT...Mostly cloudy. Patchy fog in the evening. Areas of fog. after midnight. A slight chance of showers and isolated.
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast December 17, 2017TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast for Sunday, December 17, 2017. _____. HGXZFPHGX. FPUS54 KHGX 171527. ZFPHGX. FPUS54 KHGX 171526. ZFPHGX. Zone Forecast Product for Southeast Texas. National Weather Service Houston/Galveston TX. 926 AM CST Sun Dec 17 2017.
- TX Marine Warning and Forecast December 17, 2017TX Marine Warnings and Forecast for Sunday, December 17, 2017. _____. SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY. URGENT - MARINE WEATHER MESSAGE. NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX. 505 AM CST SUN DEC 17 2017 ...ELEVATED SEAS WILL PERSIST OFFSHORE ...
- Special Weather Statement December 17, 2017TXZ213-227-237-238-170415- Brazoria TX-Galveston TX-Harris TX-Fort Bend TX- 927 PM CST SAT DEC 16 2017 ...STRONG THUNDERSTORMS MOVING ACROSS GALVESTON...EAST CENTRAL FORT BEND...BRAZORIA AND EASTERN HARRIS COUNTIES UNTIL 1015 PM CST... At 925 PM CST ...
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast December 17, 2017
Travel through time!
- COM TRUSTEES LEASE TRAINING SPACE TO ADDRESS SHORTAGE OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS December 15, 2017College of the Mainland Trustees have approved a one-year, $54,264 lease with the Community Family Center at 2000 Texas Avenue in Texas City.
- Truman Taylor Insurance Joins Galveston Insurance Associates December 15, 2017Texas Senator Larry Taylor from Friendswood, president of Truman Taylor Insurance, is closing his agency after 55 years of operation and joining Galveston Insurance Associates, effective Dec. 15.
- City of Galveston December 15, 2017The City of Galveston will host the 6th Annual Santa Hustle 5K and Half Marathon on Sunday.
- H-GAC Transportation Policy Council December 15, 2017The Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council today voted unanimously to approve a set of amendments to the 2017-2020 Transportation Improvement Program and the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan.
- Galveston City Council December 15, 2017Galveston City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to appoint Council Member Dr. Craig Brown and Assistant City Manager Rick Beverlin to the Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council and Public Works Director Kyle Hockersmith and City Engineer Daniel Christodoss to the H-GAC Technical Advisory Committee.
- Galveston Welcomes Hale as Next Chief of Police December 15, 2017Galveston City Council on Thursday officially welcomed Vernon Hale as the city's next chief of police.
- Santa Fe City Council December 15, 2017Santa Fe City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a collective bargaining agreement with the Santa Fe Police Officers' Association.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation December 14, 2017The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking the public's assistance in gathering information regarding the case of a boy whose body was found on a Galveston beach in October.
- Galveston City Council Workshop December 14, 2017Galveston City Council, during its workshop today, talked about an ordinance to add provisions for the regulation of substandard buildings in Chapter 10 of the city code.
- COM TRUSTEES LEASE TRAINING SPACE TO ADDRESS SHORTAGE OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS December 15, 2017
- Trump Plans Shift to U.S. Security Strategy 18 Dec 2017 15:51 wsj.com WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump will put his domestic economic and trade policies at the heart of a new national-security strategy that depicts the world as one of heightened rivalries and potentially dangerous competition. The new strategy, with an …
- Trump to Declare China 'Strategic Competitor' in Security Speech 18 Dec 2017 15:49 News Max President Donald Trump will declare China a "strategic competitor" to the U.S. in a speech that lays out an official national security strategy heavily influenced by his views on trade and economic relations, senior administration officials said …
- Partial list of acts against Trump by Massachusetts’ Healey 18 Dec 2017 15:49 The Republic A partial list of legal and other actions announced by Democratic Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey targeted at President Donald Trump’s administration in 2017: JANUARY — Four days after Trump’s swearing-in, announced her office was intervening …
- 'Mean' Time: Greenwich Council Bans Donald Trump From Visiting 18 Dec 2017 15:46 Sputnik International Europe 18:31 18.12.2017(updated 18:35 18.12.2017) Get short URL The move is yet another episode in the prolonged row that British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing at home over her decision to invite the US president. This Tuesday, the councilors at …
- Putin thanks Trump for intel that thwarted terror attack 18 Dec 2017 15:46 Washington Times Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked President Trump in a phone call Sunday for U.S. intelligence agencies providing a warning that thwarted a major Islamist terrorist plot against a cathedral and other sites in St. Petersburg, Russia. The White House …
- Trump reverses Obama, eliminates climate from list of national security threats 18 Dec 2017 15:46 Washington Times President Trump will announce Monday his new National Security Strategy, putting his own stamp on a defense plan that reverses an Obama administration policy by eliminating climate change from a list of threats to national security. Senior administration …
- Trump Administration Dropping Climate Change As National Security Threat 18 Dec 2017 15:46 New York Magazine The year 2017 has seen a supercharged hurricane devastate Puerto Rico, wildfires raging out of control in California, and a catastrophic rainfall event in Houston. While it is notoriously difficult to link any one weather disaster to the effects of …
- Donald Trump is calm about the Russia investigation. For now. 18 Dec 2017 15:44 KITV Honolulu's Channel 4 Analysis by Chris Cillizza CNN Editor-at-large (CNN) -- Nothing has irritated President Donald Trump more in the first year of his presidency than the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russia. He has called it a witch hunt. A hoax. He's …
- Putin Thanks Trump For CIA Tip-off That Foiled Terrorist Attack 18 Dec 2017 15:41 RTTNews A tip-off by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) helped Russian security services foil a series of terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg. Russian President Vladimir Putin called his US counterpart Donald Trump to thank him for the unprecedented gesture of …
- Barron Trump Missing From Family Chrismas Card (Photo) 18 Dec 2017 15:40 Opposing Views President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have revealed their official Christmas card for 2017. The first lady debuted the card on Twitter on Dec. 14, reports Empty World. In the caption accompanying the Trump's Christmas card photo, the …
- Arrests along border dipped sharply under Trump, according to federal data
- Woman with criminal history accused of setting Galveston man on fire turns herself in
- Man’s body found near Seabrook highway
- Officer kills burglary suspect in shootout in La Marque
- Deputy shoots teenage driver after driver attempts to run deputies over
- Gorilla escapes barrier into hog exhibit at Houston Zoo, officials say
- Meet the man who took his daughter out of school early for deer season
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: Texas churches need to know they can have guns
- In Texas, you probably won’t get welfare benefits; even if you qualify
- Texas reform advocates want to close all state-run youth lockups
- Man exposes himself at tanning salon, League City police search for his identity
- Free Press Summer Festival is changing its name to this
- Assault charge against Johnny Manziel dismissed
- How Texas curtailed traditional welfare without ending poverty
- Texas parents wait in limbo as policymakers struggle to save Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Harris County man wanted for 2006 murder arrested in Mexico
- Members of street gang linked to series of burglaries of Apple products, police say
- Arrest expected soon after Galveston man set on fire, police say
- How Breitbart, Trump and Texas Politicians Spun a Tale out of a Border Patrol Agent’s Death
- Man accused of killing teen with whom he had inappropriate relationship appears in court
- Here’s what’s happening in Harris County now that the sheriff issues bail bonds
- Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halts state’s last execution of 2017
- Houston church threatened by gunman at Sunday’s service
- As Bayer and Monsanto push for merger, Texas farmers fear rising prices
- Civil Offenses: Those Calling for Political Civility Often Have the Least to Lose
- Without recovery funds, more than 50 Texas day cares close after Harvey
- 13-year-old robbery suspect shot in the head by apartment tenant, police say
- Man Mistaken for Burglar, Shot by Police then Shackled to Hospital Bed and Barred from Seeing Family
- Coyote attacks increasing: What you should know
- Postal worker accused of kidnapping, choking and fatally shooting co-worker girlfriend
- Medical marijuana in Texas: What you need to know
- Harris County deputy suspended after striking handcuffed man after chase
- Woman with F-Trump sticker adds Sheriff Troy Nehls to display on truck
- Abbott calls White House’s latest disaster aid request “completely inadequate”
- Former United Airlines pilot pleads guilty to running prostitution ring
- Abbott, Patrick push back on TxDOT’s plans for financing new toll projects
- Trial dates set for ex-deputy, husband charged in John Hernandez’s death
- Cities race to annex land before new Texas law goes into effect Dec. 1
- A “glitch” on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s website asked for visitors’ Social Security numbers
- Greg Abbott Declares War on Moderate Republicans
- He thought he had a free court-appointed lawyer. Then he got a bill for $10,000
- Man fights to prove he’s alive after bank reports him as deceased
- Scam costs Friendswood man thousands of dollars
- At the Texas Capitol, victims of sexual harassment must fend for themselves
- Human Rights Lawyer on How Government is Complicit in Mexico’s Drug War
- ‘Sean Hannity Show’ fans smash Keurig brewers over pulled ads
- Another woman accuses former President George H.W. Bush of groping
- Student sent home from school bruised, claims PE teacher slammed him onto concrete
- Gov. Greg Abbott endorses primary challenger to state Rep. Sarah Davis
- Analysis: A media exec in Texas politics, not quite ready for prime time
- Police dogs trained to ignore marijuana
- Former HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence makes first court appearance
- Rent-to-own complaints spur investigation by federal agency
- HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence
- Joel Osteen impersonator breaches security at Los Angeles event
- Former ‘All My Children’ star arrested in Galveston
- Cornyn and Cruz under pressure over allegations in Alabama Senate race
- Family’s beloved pony shot to death in Liberty County
- Coastal officials say feds failing Harvey victims on short-term housing
- 22 Houston gang members indicted for multiple violent crimes, officials say
- The Faith-Tinged Fatalism of Greg Abbott’s Response to Texas’ Deadliest Mass Shooting
- Execution date set for Sugar Land man on death row
- Trump in Japan…
- Free of criminal charges, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes says she was victimized
- With no state-approved textbooks, Texas ethnic studies teachers make do
- Texas back in federal court over anti-“sanctuary cities” law
- Clara Harris granted parole for husband’s murder
- Coast Guard searching area near Freeport after boat catches fire, sinks
- Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez emerges as potential challenger to Gov. Greg Abbott
- With Trump Cuts, Obamacare Enrollment is a Volunteer Affair in Rural Texas
- Explosion at vodka distillery burns 3 in north Harris County
- Documents: Texas National Guard Installed Cellphone Spying Devices on Surveillance Planes
- Police increase reward for information in case of child’s body found on Galveston beach
- Meet Nueces County’s New DA, a Self-Professed ‘Mexican Biker Lawyer Covered in Tattoos’
- Leon Jacob, man accused in murder-for-hire plot, faces new charge
- The Brief: The deadliest mass shooting in Texas history
- Counterprotesters say white supremacists, not Russian Facebook ads, drew them to rally
- What we know about Texas church shooter
- Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable shot several times, officials say
- $500 million in Ike relief is still unspent. Will Texas do better after Harvey?
- Prosecutor asks for current medical standards in death penalty evaluations
- How to earn quick cash by flipping items
- Rick Perry ties fossil fuel use to sexual assault prevention
- Abbott Supports Removing Inaccurate Capitol Displays. Do Slavery-Denying Plaques Count?
- A Russian Facebook page organized a protest in Texas. A different Russian page launched the counter-protest.
- 24 Texas Dairy Queens closing after franchise company files for bankruptcy
- USDA Rolls Back ‘Fair Practice’ Rule That Would’ve Protected Texas Chicken Farmers
- Trump nominating Ryan Patrick, son of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to be U.S. attorney
- Fired in 2009, football coach Mike Leach still rages at Texas Tech and Texas law
- Texas Toxicologist Who Rejects Basic Science Appointed to EPA Science Board
- Abbott presses Congress for an extra $61 billion to rebuild after Harvey
- The ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Ban Has Already Reshaped Some Police Department Policies
- Hurricane Harvey flood looters exposed
- U.S. Supreme Court examines investigatory funding in Texas death penalty case
- Who’s Defending Texas’ Confederate Monuments?
- Kicking in doors and crushing credit: How a Texas-based retailer torments customers
- Harris County jailer accused of letting prisoner attack fellow inmate
- House Democrat: Abbott supports removing Confederate plaque from Texas Capitol
- Legislators mull changing Texas law allowing criminal charges against rent-to-own customers
- Houston woman’s daughter stranded at sea with another woman for 5 months
- ‘Fail State’ Delves into the Shadowy World of For-Profit Colleges
- Grambling State student charged in double homicide
- How renting furniture in Texas can land you in jail
- ‘Wedding crasher’ says she never attacked guest, apologizes to bride and groom
- Something Yuuuge was Missing From Franklin Graham’s Waco Revival
- Family: Florida deputy caught on camera breaking into dying man’s home
- Federal government rolls out eight border wall prototypes
- In ‘The Second Coming of the KKK,’ a Timely Lesson in the History of American Hate
- US launches ‘most advanced’ stealth sub amid undersea rivalry
- Houston man identified as victim of barge explosion near Port Aransas, officials say
- Controversial Halloween decoration in Katy leads to threats against homeowner
- What does boycotting Israel have to do with Hurricane Harvey relief?
- Rep. Dawnna Dukes cleared of criminal charges, attorneys say
- $5,000 reward being offered in shooting that caused man to lose his legs
- Tornado leaves trail of damage in two Dickinson neighborhoods, NWS says
- Former HPD officer indicted in 2016 shooting of unarmed neighbor
- State Rep. Victoria Neave pleads no contest to June DWI charge
- Texas attorney general opens investigation Into Harvey debris removal companies
- Police: 3 Texas men arrested after shot fired at Richard Spencer protesters
- Perry pursuing policy on coal, nuclear power at odds with Texas record
- Cornyn: Trump assured me more Harvey aid for Texas coming in November
- Dallas Fed CEO: Technology, not trade or immigration, is main reason for job loss
- Immigrant Workers in Texas Could Fill Farm Vacancies, but They’re Trapped in the Valley
- Texas Cities Embrace a Softer Approach to Pot Possession as State Reforms Stall
- This man robbed woman who was 9 months pregnant, shot her husband, authorities say
- Ex-KIPP Explore Academy staffer arrested after accusations of child indecency
- U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson walks back comments on sexual assault
- Who is this mystery man? Galveston woman begins search to find apparent veteran’s identity
- U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders face off in tax code debate
- A look back at Colt Stadium, the home of the Colt 45s
- After Failing to Prop Up Coal in Texas, Rick Perry is Trying Again Nationwide
- Potential new murder confession delays Texas serial killer’s execution
- Texas court halts execution to review claims that co-defendant lied at trial
- How much are property taxes in Houston going down next year?
- Cruz presses Sessions on Trump administration’s “catch-and-release” policy
- Federal Prisons Don’t Even Try to Rehabilitate the Undocumented
- Three teens charged with murder after missing teen’s body found
- Houston serial killer faces execution this week
- Insurance company accused of delayed response to storm claims
- Some Texas Republicans in Congress again outraised by challengers
- To fund bid against Ted Cruz, former mayor puts up building as prize in “essay and rib contest”
- U.S. House passes hurricane relief bill after tense day for Texas delegation, Abbott
- It’s Time to End Austin’s Failed Experiment in Police Oversight, Activists Say
- Prosecutors drop 1 of 13 felony charges against Rep. Dawwna Dukes
- League City mayor hospitalized after heart attack
- ICE Detained a Pregnant Rape Survivor for Six Months, Records Show
- Husband, wife each lose leg after hit-and-run crash in Waller County
- Temporary bans placed on fishing near site of busted cap
- Texas man travels to Orlando to sexually assault 9-year-old girl, police say
- Mom, older brother charged after 11-year-old found smoking meth
- Days from execution, man convicted in prison guard’s murder insists on innocence
- Truck involved in multiple accidents leaves 1 dead, 1 injured in Texas City, police say
- $1M worth of iPads mostly unused after being purchased for local elections
- Woman caught on camera stomping small dog inside elevator
- How much has been raised for Harvey relief — and how’s it being spent?
- The Case to End Assembly Line Justice for Poor People in Harris County
- Mother, son charged in murder-for-hire plot
- How scammers are using homeowners to defraud FEMA
- Police find man’s body stuffed in closet after victim ‘tortured’ to death
- In historic win, charters getting state funding for facilities for the first time
- Dreamers greet DACA renewal deadline with anxiety and unanswered questions
- Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial is delayed for a third time
- Judge blocks Texas secretary of state from giving voter information to Trump commission
- East Texas county sues drug companies, alleges role in opioid crisis
- North Korean workers prepare seafood for U.S. stores, restaurants
- 3 Harris County Sheriff’s Office employees indicted in assault cases
- Reward raised for man on Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders list
- Texas business mogul Mark Cuban offers details for hypothetical 2020 presidential run
- Woman accused of killing taxi driver appears in court
- Texas death row inmate Duane Buck has sentence reduced to life after Supreme Court orders retrial
- Hearing in Paxton case to consider delaying trial for third time
- Appellate judges show concern over Harris County bail practices, court ruling
- 28 organizations that got money from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- Pasadena drops appeal, will remain under federal oversight of election laws
- Almost 400,000 Texans’ insurance at risk after Congress fails to renew CHIP
- How Harris County’s federal bail lawsuit spreads beyond Houston
- HHS Secretary Tom Price resigns amid criticism of his travel on private planes
- Houston mayor calls off property tax hike after Abbott delivers $50 million
- ‘I’m just gonna shoot him if things go sideways,’ cop tells college student during traffic stop
- Hearing set for Friday in wrongful death suit in John Hernandez case
- Aide found half-naked after sexual contact with student, deputies say
- Thousands of Poor Texans Could Lose Health Care With Congress Distracted by ACA Repeal
- Slideshow: For southeast Texas, recovery after Harvey is slow
- Even Hurricane Harvey Can’t Temper GOP Hostility Toward Texas’ Big Cities
- Murder suspect arrested in 27-year-old ‘killer clown’ shooting married to victim’s husband
- Texas attorney general now accepting complaints on “sanctuary” jurisdictions
- Abbott: Houston has enough funding for Harvey recovery
- U.S. House passes tax breaks for victims of Harvey, Irma and Maria
- New state law seeks to reduce the number of child brides in Texas
- Texas can enforce more of ‘sanctuary cities’ law
- Florida trooper accused of showing porn to child
- Town mayor facing assault charges
- 13-year-old accused in kidnapping and rape plot
- Hensarling to flood victims: ‘God’s telling you to move’
- Body Cam Policies in Texas Exacerbate a System Designed to Protect Police, Critics Say
- Army vet shown walking after claiming he couldn’t owes government $434K
- Analysis: X-factor in 2018’s Texas elections might be Harvey, not Donald
- Federal appeals court to hear arguments on Texas “sanctuary cities” law Friday
- Texas teens to be trained next year on police interactions
- Newlyweds say DJ robbed wedding cash
- How Galveston is offering a free beach weekend
- Lyft ride leads to hate crime charge for Houston man
- Florida woman makes ‘sexy’ plea to get power back after Hurricane Irma
- Report: Indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes spent $51k on online psychic
- Report: Trump’s judicial nominee from Texas called transgender kids part of “Satan’s plan”
- Hospital workers in hot water over Snapchat video, picture calling newborns ‘mini Satans’
- How some see Texas as the “gold standard” against wrongful convictions
- New leak discovered on Battleship Texas
- Texas House Speaker Joe Straus calls for removal of “inaccurate” Confederate plaque
- Hey, Texplainer: How is FEMA distributing money to areas hit by Harvey?
- Friendswood man accused of raking in nearly $2 million in decadelong pay-phone scheme
- Mayor Sylvester Turner has strong words for Red Cross after problems surface
- Trump Nominee to FEC Tried to Shred Texas’ Already-Weak Ethics Laws
- Dad in clown mask shot at while chasing daughter through neighborhood
- As a result of Hurricane Harvey, 600 more Texas prisoners getting AC
- Trooper fired for Sandra Bland stop: “My safety was in jeopardy.”
- Mysterious sea creature that washed up on Texas beach after Harvey identified
- Within days, this Austin company hopes to start legally growing marijuana
- Former officer accused of stealing $2,400 from dead man indicted on theft charges
- 135,000 gallons of sludge released into Galveston Bay after equipment failure, officials say
- Post-Harvey, Houston officials hope Congress is up for funding Ike Dike
- Ex-husband strangled Baytown realtor while children in next room, prosecutors say
- Pizza Hut manager threatened workers evacuating for Irma
- The Road to Huntsville
- Now you can carry any knife (almost) anywhere in Texas
- In beleaguered La Marque schools, Harvey stirs up old anxieties
- Flooded cars already being put up for sale
- Trump Nominates Lawyers from Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Group to be Texas Federal Judges
- Man survives being shot 16 times outside southwest Houston home
- Floridians jam highways to flee wrath of Hurricane Irma
- U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul again top contender to be Trump’s homeland security chief
- Experts: Much of Harvey-Related Air Pollution was Preventable
- Texans in Congress aim for united front ahead of long fight for Harvey aid
- Texas churches damaged during Harvey sue FEMA for federal funding
- Amazon wants to open $5 billion second HQ in North America
- New law allows hunting hogs from hot air balloons, but few balloonists will offer it
- New texting while driving ban full of loopholes
- Woman urinates herself, yells racial slurs during DUI arrest, police say
- Police shoot, kill tiger running loose in neighborhood
- What to do if your vehicle flooded during Hurricane Harvey
- House overwhelmingly passes $7.9 billion Harvey aid bill
- Selena’s family mourning the death of Houston relatives killed in Harvey flooding
- Trump ending immigration program that has impacted more than 120,000 in Texas
- Cinco Ranch flood victims demand buyout from federal government
- The Impossible City
- Our Lady of the Underground
- Texas officials see long road from Harvey for state transportation network
- Officials are starting to grapple with the costs of Harvey. Here’s what you should know today.
- Thanks to their State Rep, Friendswood Family Rushes to File Insurance Claim for their Flooded Home
- President Trump to visit Houston today to survey Harvey destruction
- As floodwaters continue to rise in Lake Jackson, crews come in to help with evacuees
- Residents being warned of people impersonating city of Houston, FEMA inspectors
- Renters find issues with flood-damaged units, property
- Crosby plant explosion highlights state efforts to block access to chemical information
- Where the government spends to keep people in flood-prone Houston neighborhoods
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: No special session needed for Harvey aid
- Five days after Harvey, here’s where things stand in Texas
- Harvey brings catastrophic flooding to Houston; 5 reported dead
- Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Why Houston isn’t ready for Hurricane Harvey
- Judge Emmett, Mayor Turner say ignore ‘rumors’ about Hurricane Harvey
- Galveston Island prepares for Harvey’s impact
- Former Galveston ISD teacher accused of having sex with high school student
- Galveston deputy accused of assaulting girlfriend, investigators say
- In San Antonio, Cops Punch Down
- The Brief: Battle lines are (curiously) drawn in Texas’ redistricting fight
- Analysis: Firing the opening shots in the 2018 GOP primaries
- As Houston plots a sustainable path forward, it’s leaving this neighborhood behind
- Harris County emergency officials preparing for tropical system Harvey
- Federal court puts hold on Houston ordinance aimed at homeless camps
- Puppy attacked by pet store owner’s dog
- Mother left kids in hot car while she drank at bar, police say
- Angela Paxton, Texas attorney general’s wife, eyes Texas Senate run
- US imposes sanctions on Russian, Chinese firms over North Korea
- Parents’ plea for help in finding teenage couple missing for 48 hours
- 2 women claim they were groped by local massage therapist
- Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller criticizes Six Flags’ removal of Confederate flag
- El Paso City Council votes down city ID program
- League City Man Sentenced to 6 Years for Online Solicitation of a non-existent Minor
- UT-Austin removing Confederate statues in the middle of the night
- Galveston County Deputies Prevent Jumper on Bridge at 646 & I-45
- Dickinson Cops use Facebook to Catch a Burglar Named Jesus
- Evading Theft Suspects Taken Into Custody After Causing Accident in League City
- Father faces charges after he and missing boy found at hotel, authorities say
- Confederate Monument Protest Draws Hundreds in Houston
- Former HPD officer among those arrested in prostitution sting
- Mother charged with murder after child ejected during drunken driving crash
- Over 250 sex buyers, traffickers arrested on prostitution charges during sting
- Remember the Alamo (Differently)
- Your phone’s Bluetooth can locate illegal skimmer devices
- With Supreme Court appeal, Texas wants to keep congressional map intact
- Dallas, Houston Protests Planned as Confederate Monuments Under Fire in Texas
- With Trump’s Infrastructure Plan, Rural Texas Could be Left in Disrepair
- Body found in Bayou Vista while searching for woman who disappeared under ‘suspicious circumstances’
- South Florida woman accused of DUI with 3-year-old unbuckled in back seat
- Deputies: Mother tells son to buy her drugs
- HPD officer relieved of duty after DWI charge, officials say
- Abbott: Removing Confederate monuments “won’t erase our nation’s past”
- Prosecution rests at trial of woman accused in 2012 death of husband
- Confederate statue controversy hits Houston
- Selena’s brother taken into custody after landing on most wanted list
- In special session rubble, spotlight shines bright on Straus
- President Trump disbands White House business councils as CEOs leave
- Video shows deadly jailbreak; Man who pleaded guilty in deputy’s death sentenced to life
- Fisherman hooks gator in Buffalo Bayou
- Squatters or scam victims? Homeowner finds another family living in home
- Charges sought against those who toppled Confederate statue
- Houston group asks mayor to remove Confederate statue from downtown park
- Federal court invalidates part of Texas congressional map
- Texas to receive millions in federal funding for wildlife conservation projects
- How a total solar eclipse created France, Italy and Germany
- Deputies Go Unpunished for Invasive Cavity Search on Houston Roadside
- Florida man gets 6 years for firing gun during strip club selfie
- Map details where Texas hate groups are in 2017
- Man blames ‘hookah-smoking caterpillar’ for wrecking liquor store, police say
- ‘I feel like I was raped,’ woman says of invasive roadside strip search
- New Mexico Bandidos members held in Texas in firearms case
- Man, 57, commits suicide after shooting juveniles during road-rage incident, police say
- Mother charged with child abandonment after newborn found in flower bed
- President Trump condemns KKK, neo-Nazis as ‘thugs’
- Woman hit, killed by Houston garbage truck while crossing street
- Legislature advances annexation bill to Gov. Abbott
- 2 Teens Who Attacked Man Shot After Auto Accident in Galveston
- White nationalist rally, counter protest planned at Texas A&M on Sept. 11
- Hundreds Clash over Confederate Monument in San Antonio
- Greenspoint Mall to close in 60 days, sources say
- Texas House approves “compromise” city annexation bill
- Asps — poisonous, stinging caterpillars — back in season
- Texas bathroom bill appears to be all but dead in special session
- Gator spotted on Galveston County road
- After 2015 legalization, Texans may be able to buy medical cannabis oil by January
- Conroe Chief of Police asked to leave doctor’s office
- Law Enforcement Increasingly Opposed to Abbott’s Agenda
- Meet the Expert Who Helps Texas Cops Justify Extreme Behavior
- Baytown woman charged in two La Porte road-rage incidents
- FBI agents searched former Trump campaign chair’s home
- Special Session a ‘Battle Royal’ for Dominionists Who Seek Christian Rule
- Zoo employee accused of sex with 14-year-old boy
- New requirement for Texas driver’s license begins soon
- With 8 days left in special session, Texas House and Senate remain far apart
- What you need to know if your vehicle is flooded
- City of Houston applies for FEMA grant to help elevate homes in flood-prone areas
- Commissioners vote to ban swimming, fishing in San Luis Pass
- Texas backs Wisconsin in battle to protect partisan gerrymandering
- SE Houston gas pump appears to charge customers after they are done filling up
- Carjacking suspect accused of shooting father multiple times sentenced to 171 months in prison
- 4 arrested in connection with 2 deadly shootings in Montgomery County
- 1 drowns, 2 injured in incident at San Luis Pass
- 1 arrested, 1 on the run in linked cases of Spring nurse found dead, missing UH student
- Near Drowning at Bacliff Chase Park Pool
- Drunk Wrong Way Driver Arrested in Dickinson
- Lasker Park Community Swimming Pool to Open on August 15th
- Man accused of touching girls’ buttocks in back-to-school aisle at Walmart
- Rare pink dolphin spotted in Louisiana waterway
- Woman found hiding in bed of pickup truck says she ‘was just looking at the stars’
- Amazon sells out of toilet paper with Trump’s tweets
- Teen home invasion suspect killed, man on the run in Baytown
- Houston man last seen throwing life jacket to daughter before going underwater at Canyon Lake
- Deadly dare: 8-year-old girl dies after drinking boiling water
- 2nd Man In Robbery Spree Gets 20 Years Prison
- Oklahoma to seek death penalty against William Reese
- 4 officers taken to hospital after 2 patrol units run into each other, police say
- STATE LEGISLATURE PUTTING THE BRAKES ON TEXAS CITY ANNEXING SAN LEON WITHOUT SAN LEON RESIDENTS APPROVAL:
- 2 men charged in teen girl’s shooting death in Bacliff
- Weed company buys town in hopes of creating pot-friendly tourist destination
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick calls city governments the source of “all our problems in America”
- Man, 25, arrested for DWI after crashing into patrol car, deputies say
- Texas man snags “bucket list” 12-foot tiger shark off Padre Island
- Chauna Thompson, deputy terminated in wake of Denny’s choking death, appeals firing
- Humble ISD police officer accused of child pornography
- Angry woman robs cellphone store with large gun
- Dalia Dippolito discusses prison break in recorded jail call after recent conviction
- Tiny mermaid-painted shed drifted 200 miles in Gulf of Mexico
- Uber ride turns into nightmare for recent Texas A&M graduate
- ‘Sugar daddy’ banned from beaches after handing out provocative cards
- Business owners fight against crime in Chinatown
- 14-year-old girl clocked driving 107 mph during chase in Montgomery County
- Fight outside Spire Nightclub ends in crash, shooting
- When school’s out, rural Texas towns struggle to feed their hungry kids
- Guided bus tour of Houston’s strip clubs, massage parlors sheds light on human-trafficking business
- NASA looking to hire officer to protect earth from alien harm
- In Texas House, property tax proposals range from minor tweaks to abolishment
- Man exposes himself to woman outside fitness center, police say
- Man accused of robbing people who post items on buy, sell sites
- What it means for Texas colleges if Trump targets affirmative action
- ‘Cash Me Outside’ girl sentenced for stealing mother’s car, using her credit cards
- President Trump signs bill imposing sanctions on Russia
- Wife shoots, kills husband after finding him with another woman, police say
- Humble restaurant employees accused of sexually assaulting teenage girls
- Family reunited with dog 3+ years after it went missing
- Angleton animal sanctuary facing fines after filing lawsuit
- Woman finds evidence bag full of marijuana at neighborhood park
- State Rep. Dawnna Dukes declines deal from Travis County District Attorney
- Report: Texas could lose billions if new immigration enforcement law stands
- Texas’ War on Local Control is Part of National Trend
- Wife of accused gunman dies after double shooting that led to innocent woman’s death
- ‘Ghost forests’ appearing from Canada to Texas
- Man charged after leaving crash that left motorcycle rider in critical condition, police say
- Flight in Vegas delayed by naked passenger, officials say
- Galveston’s Pleasure Pier ride Revolution shut down temporarily
- How often do shark attacks happen in Texas waters?
- Naked bank robbery suspect tosses stolen money
- Harris County officials continue crackdown on unlicensed after-hour bars
- Wife: Disagreement over Trump contributed to divorce from state attorney
- Kingwood native torches 8 cars after wedding called off, police say
- HPD officer hit by car, plunges 16 feet off Southwest Freeway
- Texas executes man who claimed his lawyers committed fraud
- Woman arrested on suspicion of posting ‘revenge porn’ online
- Statue honoring Alvin’s hometown hero, Nolan Ryan, topples
- Man arrested after showing porn to child at supermarket, authorities say
- Underage woman claims she was raped after being served at Houston-area restaurant
- The Woodlands teens accused of Florida crime spree after posting Snapchat videos
- La Marque residents asked to boil water after order issued
- Man who fled to Mexico after murder charge 21 years ago arrested trying to re-enter US
- Texas Senate passes bill to allow people to vote on whether a city can annex them
- Spring man caught filming up skirts arrested on child porn, invasive photography charges
- One-armed, machete-wielding clown arrested, police say
- Despite Knowledge of Climate Change in 1970s, Texas Utility Companies Funded Climate Denial
- Venus Williams accuses 78-year-old man killed in crash of not wearing seat belt
- Scammers target college students eager for scholarship money
- Woman accused of kidnapping baby while hitchhiking
- Every Texan in the U.S. House just voted for sanctions against Russia
- Man accused of producing child pornography
- Persistence pays off for rural Texans besieged by sky-high power prices
- Man accused of beating dog with crow bar
- 2 charged with prostitution after offering sex acts to undercover constables, authorities say
- Senate votes to start debate on health care bill
- Harris County pastor charged with sexual abuse of a child
- Trump’s New Immigration Lockup Draws Local Opposition in Conroe
- Set for execution, death row inmate alleges legal fraud in hopes of a stay
- Concerns raised over new Harris County bail system
- Crooks return to rob dentist office after police leave
- 2 throw drugs out window during high-speed chase, police say
- 5 arrested after drugs, gun, money seized from Magnolia home
- 15 years later, Clara Harris remains in state prison for husband’s murder
- Woman, 91, kicked out of Sunnyside home
- Congressman: If female GOP senators were South Texas men, I’d challenge them to a duel
- Turning Tail
- Death toll in San Antonio immigrant-smuggling case rises to 10
- Ex-Mexican drug cartel leader gets 30 years in US prison
- Kushner’s statement on Russia: What to know
- Analysis: In special session, Texas Senate’s the hare, House is the tortoise
- Texas Senate panel targets mail-in ballot fraud after high-profile case
- Drunk Driver Sentenced to 50 Years for Fatal Crash
- Tanker Crew Rescues 5 In Capsized Boat
- Man Sentenced to 45 Years on Drug Charges
- After Texas “human trafficking crime,” Lt. Gov. Patrick lauds sanctuary city law
- Charges possible in disturbing Florida drowning case
- Texas Senate committee OKs bill to outlaw city cellphone restrictions
- Texas Senate panel approves teacher bonuses, retirement benefits
- Carjacking suspect opens fire on officer during chase in SW Houston
- Man, 2 children killed in crash in NE Houston
- Katy woman arrested for DWI after man follows, records her erratic driving
- Mickey Mouse mask-wearing burglar caught on camera breaking into 2 stores
- Houston pastor Victoria Osteen says she does not endorse skin care product
- Senate committee passes bills on private school choice and school finance study
- Bill limiting city, county spending fuels war over local control
- Woman, 93, dragged during carjacking at church, police say
- Trans Texans, Advocates Swarm Texas Capitol to Oppose ‘Bathroom Bills’ (Again)
- Man admits to killing 14-year-old half-brother, authorities say
- Monkey on the loose in south Houston after attacking girl, police say
- ‘Million Dollar Ho’ arrested in Florida prostitution sting
- Turner reopens bids for recycling contract to 4 companies
- District attorney to pursue death penalty against 4 suspects
- Houston woman charged in connection with ransom scheme
- Pastor in The Woodlands accused of prostitution
- Academy Sports + Outdoors laying off 100 employees
- 1 dead after shooting at NW Harris County apartments
- Kay Bailey Hutchison vows toughness on Russia as NATO ambassador
- Conroe horse-riding trainer accused of sexually assaulting child
- Environmental groups sue EPA over lax Texas air pollution permits
- Abbott adds school finance, retired teacher benefits to special session
- Bodycam allegedly shows Baltimore cop planting drugs
- Key events in OJ Simpson’s fall from sports hero, movie star
- Heat is part of life at Texas prisons, but federal judge orders one to cool it
- Growing health trend bypasses doctors’ offices for diagnosis, treatment
- HPD chief answers questions about Josue Flores murder case
- Sarah Davis wants more information about “misconduct” at TABC
- Texas Bill Would Revoke Medical License of Doctors Who Perform Abortions
- Senate gives early OK to must-pass “sunset” legislation
- Lead singer of The Suffers featured in national campaign
- Man wanted in 2016 fraud case
- Couple arrested for second time for impersonating Adele’s manager, police say
- Mexico says electronic device checks on US flights begin
- Dancing with Denial
- Teen shot at high school party at AirBNB house in southwest Houston
- Toll road drivers getting fed up with erroneous charges
- Trump administration: Trust Texas on voter education spending
- Baby dies after being infected with cold sore virus through kiss, parents say
- 24 firearms stolen after Texian Firearms robbed twice in one day
- Texas Republicans in Congress process health care bill’s collapse
- Florida man arrested after reporting cocaine stolen, deputies say
- Teens arrested after Facebook Live video of 23-year-old woman’s assault
- Girl, 17, fires shot at intruder while chasing him out of her house
- Police: Aunt charged after leaving young neice, nephew in hot car outside grocery store
- Texas Senate moves to fast-track special session agenda
- President Trump: ‘Let Obamacare fail’
- Why the murder charge against the Texas police officer who killed Jordan Edwards is rare
- What happens if Congress fails to repeal Obamacare?
- Four Texas Republicans in Congress were just outraised by Democratic challengers
- This crazy thread got deleted off /pol/ and subsequent threads were 404'd trying to carry on the convo... December 18, 2017https://archive.4plebs.org/pol/thread/153674689 An alleged 33rd degree mason talking about a major happening in the next few months possibly regarding aliens. Someone posts a picture of a Mossad stamped handgun, and the thread 404's shortly afterwards. Picture: https://img.4plebs.org/boards/pol/image/1513/58/1513581194133.jpg /pol/ has way more threads than usual currently, users are saying in threads something weird is happening shortly before […]/u/Fusion7778
- Netflix's "Wormwood" - a series that delves into the "suicide" of Dr. Frank Olson, an Army biological warfare scientist involved in the CIA's Project MKUltra. What did everyone think of the docudrama? December 18, 2017For clarification: Dr. Olson was himself an unwitting subject of Project MKUltra while he worked with the CIA in another capacity. submitted by /u/thesadpumpkin [link] [comments]/u/thesadpumpkin
- So i'm lying in bed with my long skinny black phone and it hits me.... December 18, 2017submitted by /u/russianbot01 [link] [comments]/u/russianbot01
- We have video footage from US military documenting an encounter with UFO's but we STILL don't have a shred of video from Mandalay Bay before or during the Las Vegas false flag. December 18, 2017submitted by /u/SixVISix [link] [comments]/u/SixVISix
- Operation mockingbird in real time December 18, 2017submitted by /u/NOTT-kgb [link] [comments]/u/NOTT-kgb
- WTF is this doing in the NY Post? X post from r/WTF December 18, 2017submitted by /u/deeznootz [link] [comments]/u/deeznootz
- For the anybody that hasn't seen this amazing and complex documentary by Adam Curtis called "HyperNormalization", do yourself a favor and spend 2:40 hours witnessing the puzzle of the world today. Is confusion the real goal behind everything happening right now? December 18, 2017submitted by /u/mentallo [link] [comments]/u/mentallo
- Whatever it takes to get Google Home or Amazon Alexa in your home. Hmm wonder why?? December 18, 2017submitted by /u/Jocramid [link] [comments]/u/Jocramid
- Someone scratched "666" into the car on the Fox Live showing of "A Christmas Story" tonight. Why add a blatantly satanic message into a live Christmas special, Fox? December 18, 2017submitted by /u/HehTheUrr [link] [comments]/u/HehTheUrr
- I left in love, in laughter and in truth; and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit. ~ Bill Hicks December 18, 2017submitted by /u/dreamslaughter [link] [comments]/u/dreamslaughter
- Q Said 10 Days of Darkness, Has It Begun With Power Outage At Atlanta Airport? December 18, 2017submitted by /u/WeAreTheResistance [link] [comments]/u/WeAreTheResistance
- There’s no way in hell that the busiest airport in the world just went total blackout. This is a beta test for something. December 18, 2017I’ve been to Hartsfield dozens of times. That place has got to have multiple redundant power systems in different locations so that something like fire can’t knock it all out at once. I’m calling BS submitted by /u/rbsams72888 [link] [comments]/u/rbsams72888
- New York Times 1902: "GIANT SKELETONS FOUND.; Archaeologists to Send Expedition to Explore Graveyards in New Mexico Where Bodies Were Unearthed." December 17, 2017submitted by /u/Question_History [link] [comments]/u/Question_History
- I know what is happening to Terry Crews. IDK why it's not talked about much here. December 17, 2017Targeting and Gang Stalking is a massive set-up by TPTB & Deep State. This is/was prevalent in Scientology communities to silence dissenters, etc. They may be the originators. It involves government agencies, Private detective but also regular citizens, neighborhood watch groups led to belie they are doing something good. These tactics have been used on […]/u/positiveascension
- Brittany Murphy and her husband had serious conflicts with Weinstein and his people. Tried to blame husband? December 17, 2017submitted by /u/aquamansneighbor [link] [comments]/u/aquamansneighbor
- This crazy thread got deleted off /pol/ and subsequent threads were 404'd trying to carry on the convo... December 18, 2017
About GatorpressCovering Galveston, Houston, Baytown, Pasadena, Texas City, LaPorte, League City, Kemah, Santa Fe, Hitchcock, Alvin, Crosby, San Leon, Bacliff, Deer Park, Tiki Island, Crystal Beach, Bolivar Peninsula, Surfside, Bayou Vosta, Seabrook, South Houston, Missouri City, Pearland, Friendswood, Galena Park, Shore Acres, Dickinson, El Lago, and the unincorporated areas in Galveston, Harris, Fort Bend, and Brazoria counties.
Author Archives: Christopher Hooks
Everyone thinks there’s something amiss in the American political system falls into one of two camps — they either have a stylistic critique or a substantive one. Stylists think the way we do politics is corrupting things from the top down, while the Substantivists believe structural problems are rotting politics from the bottom up. It’s a cross-ideological divide. Many conservative Never Trumpers agree with the president on most issues, but think he’s a pig. They share a stylistic critique with many liberals who seek communion with moderate Republicans. The problem, the Stylists believe, has to do with individual responsibility; particular political actors are gross and venal.
Those who hold substantive critiques think the problem is collective, that it’s about institutions, trends and incentives — gerrymandering, political polarization, the breakdown of procedural consensus, court packing, permanent war, campaign finance, the nationalization of local politics, Breitbart, etc.
The stylistic critique is especially prevalent among centrists because it’s simple and easy. Stylists of late include George W. Bush, who recently lamented that “We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization.”
Jeff Flake, in his lauded Senate speech, focused almost entirely on style, decrying the “indecency of our discourse” and the “coarseness of our leadership.” The 51 percent of Democrats who now hold a positive opinion of W. are Stylists too, because they remember his personal decency but not his actions. Stylists, in short, would be more than happy to return to our previous mode of doing politics, with its familiar refrains and patterns, before the great orange Hindenburg crashed into the White House. But what led us to this moment if not the previous mode of doing politics?
To paraphrase Anton Chigurh, if the norms you followed brought you to this, of what use were the norms? Bush revisionism is particularly telling — historians will remember his failed presidency as key to the development of Trumpism. The Republican Party’s ideological collapse, xenophobia, authoritarian fervor and love of conspiracy theories all have roots in the Bush years.
But Bush was civil, it is said. The key word in the stylistic critique is civility, of which it is imagined we once had but no longer have. But political incivility rises in America when something important is at stake. The republic’s early years, Reconstruction, the 1960s: These were rough times to do politics. Assassinations, terror attacks, congressmen beating each other nearly to death on the floor of the Senate. It was that way because the country stood on a precipice. It is not unreasonable to think that we do so again.
It is good to be nice, and civility in a vacuum is a fine attribute. But it’s also worth noting who subscribes to the stylistic critique most strongly — people with relatively less at stake. Many political consultants adopt this framework. The grand game’s not fun anymore, and they wish it were. The media adopts it too, because stylistic critiques are “safe,” according to the unwritten rules of objectivity.
Other civility fetishists include those who feel touched by a kind of political insanity they had previously been insulated from, especially people who live in blue states. “Before Trump was elected, the United States was a deeply imperfect democracy. Afterward, it became a shitty kleptocracy,” Slate’s Michelle Goldberg wrote. “Overnight, the very texture of reality changed, becoming surreal and dystopian.”
But of course, a great many people have been living in this America all along. If you’re a kid in Dan Patrick’s Texas terrified every day that your father is going to be deported, or you’re a sick mother in the Medicaid gap, you’ve lived in a surreal and dystopian place for many years. Your problem isn’t that Trump ignores norms.
But the most dangerous thing about stylism is that the superficial critique of political dysfunction allows us to ignore its causes. When Flake, after his speech, told the press that he believes the “fever will break,” that voters will eventually return to being rational, it invalidated everything he said on the floor because it made clear that he doesn’t understand the political moment at all. He, like us, is stuck in a do-loop, in which our politics is systematically worsening and we seek only to change its appearance.
The post Civil Offenses: Those Calling for Political Civility Often Have the Least to Lose appeared first on The Texas Observer.
In the latest episode of Texas Politics, God’s dumbest reality show, Governor Greg Abbott celebrated the beginning of Republican primary season by going to war — against a popular incumbent lawmaker in his own party, in a district that Hillary Clinton won by 15 points. On Monday morning, Abbott issued a fatwa of sorts, calling for the replacement of state Representative Sarah Davis, a moderate pro-choice Republican, with primary challenger Susanna Dokupil, a right-wing lawyer and board member of the Seasteading Institute, which exists to build libertarian cruise ships and permanently station them in international waters, free from the laws of man.
If that information is hard to make sense of, so are most recent events on Texas Politics. Conservative activists hate Davis, the least conservative Republican in the House. Davis is a generally reliable vote for abortion rights, gay rights, public schools, vaccines, etc. But Abbott’s decision to weigh in against a party incumbent breaks an unwritten rule, and the political logic behind it is hard to parse. House District 134 covers much of Houston’s upscale west side, including Bellaire and West University Place, went for Clinton by 15 percentage points in 2016, and was held by Democrat Ellen Cohen before Davis won it in 2010. Davis is probably the GOP’s best chance to retain the seat, so Abbott’s decision to join the fight seems to put his own desire to unseat Davis ahead of the party’s interest.
Furthermore, Dokupil does not appear to be a particularly strong candidate. In many ways she’s a fairly run-of-the-mill party hack, a lawyer with ties to the Federalist Society, the American Enterprise Institute, the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Harris County Republican Party. She co-chaired the national finance committee for Ted Cruz’s 2012 Senate campaign. Then there’s the Seasteading Institute, a political project of Silicon Valley’s chief cryptofascist, Peter Thiel. Seasteaders seek to construct “floating communities in the ocean based on the principles of contract and radical consent” — Burning Man meets Waterworld.
Dokupil is an enthusiastic supporter of the project. In December 2015, she interviewed the Seasteading Institute’s chief guru, Joe Quirk, who calls himself a “seavangelist” and an “aquapreneur,” for an episode of the institute’s podcast, “Seasteading Today.” Over the course of a surreal half-hour, Dokupil exhorts listeners to join in on the creation of Quirk’s new “seavilizations,” utopian leviathans with “start-up mentalities,” ranging the “floating frontier,” free from the harsh yoke of “land-based government.”
We’ll see, in time, how that flies in west Houston. So, again, why is Abbott getting behind this? It may simply be that he knows Dokupil personally — she was an assistant solicitor general when he was Texas attorney general. Or it may be that he’s keeping his promise from the session that any legislator who crossed him would be put on a “list.”
But it’s worth considering the broader conservative political project here. If Abbott’s goal is an ideologically uniform House caucus, then it’s genuinely preferable to lose Davis’ seat than to allow her to continue to win. Beating Davis in the primary — even if it cedes the seat to a Democrat — removes the only openly pro-choice Republican voice from the caucus, and it pushes other lawmakers who show an independent streak back in the herd.
Because the Republicans are in no real danger of losing their overall House majority anytime soon, it’s better for Abbott and friends to have a smaller, purer GOP caucus. And in Davis’ case, a gentle nudge might be enough to do it — for years, Democrats have talked idly about convincing her to switch parties, a prospect that may now be more enticing. (Harris County Republicans had been set to debate a motion to censure Davis for her too-liberal voting record on Monday night; it was apparently withdrawn after Abbott’s endorsement.)
House Speaker Joe Straus’ retirement gives Abbott and others the opportunity to try to force conformity on the House. That’s going to lead to a lot of strange dynamics in the next four months, as the Republican primary heats up. For one thing, Straus has promised to use his ample campaign funds to push hard for his candidates this cycle, which means Davis’ district provides an opportunity for Straus and Abbott to butt heads.
It would be hard to overestimate the importance of the speaker’s election in 2019 on Texans’ lives, and the outcome of that depends entirely on what happens in the next six months of the Republican primary and next year’s general election.
What makes the outcome of the next speaker’s race so difficult to game out — apart from the fact that our world broke at some point in the last couple years — is that there are three strong competing phenomena in the House right now. The first is simply that Democrats may be approaching a wave election. The Democrats have a meaningful chance of winning more seats in the House next year than they’ve won since 2008. That could be helpful in the effort to select a Straus-type speaker.
The second is that Republican primary fights between moderates and conservatives will be especially vicious this year, particularly if Abbott puts the weight of his political machine behind it. That could be good for Democrats, but it also diminishes the chances of selecting a moderate speaker, because the casualties of the primary will include at least a few more experienced moderates, replaced in the ranks by pliable freshmen, as they always do.
The third is that the Republican circle is tightening. The GOP and affiliated organizations, such as Texans for Lawsuit Reform, are pushing hard for Republican candidates to pledge to select the next speaker without Democrats. This leads to a paradox: It’s plausible that House Democrats emerge from next year’s election stronger than they’ve been in years, yet more powerless than ever before.
On August 4, less than a month before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick appeared on the Fox Business Network with a diagnosis for what ails the nation. “Where do we have all our problems in America?” he asked. “Not at the state level run by Republicans, but in our cities that are mostly controlled by Democrat mayors and Democrat city council men and women. That’s where you see liberal policies. That’s where you see high taxes. That’s where you see street crime.”
In September, another big problem appeared over Houston, a messy city run by one of those dangerous Democratic mayors, Sylvester Turner. Houston is the state’s beating heart, and Harvey could end up being the most expensive natural disaster in American history. In the past, it would have been of some comfort to the mayor of Houston that the lieutenant governor and some of his top allies, such as state Senator Paul Bettencourt, hailed from the Houston area, because they’d help make sure the city’s needs were met in the months and years ahead. That’s not the case now, and it’s worth taking a moment to place Harvey in the context of the extraordinary animus the Legislature often seems to have for local governments and the people who run them.
Turner now has one of the most difficult and unpleasant jobs of any public official in the United States. To take just one example: An immediate crisis the city faces is waste removal — there are whole neighborhoods full of tall piles of ruined furniture and trash that will rot in the rain and attract pests. Turner recently told the city council that many of the contractors who do the kind of removal work Houston needs fled to Florida, for better rates after Hurricane Irma. The best case scenario is that “most” of the waste will be cleared by Thanksgiving, two months from now.
If things go slowly, residents will inevitably blame Turner, just as a backlash immediately materialized when he recently proposed a temporary 8.9 percent property tax hike, which would raise about $113 million for Harvey recovery. For the average homeowner in the city, that comes out to about $117 a year, which doesn’t seem like terribly much given the circumstances. More importantly, Turner’s hands were tied. The storm wiped out the city’s emergency funds and destroyed a lot of city property, and though FEMA will pay 90 percent of trash removal costs, Houston’s share is still something like $25 million. Nonetheless, Turner caught a lot of heat for the proposal.
Later, a new agreement with FEMA caused Turner to reduce the amount he was asking for to $50 to $60 million. For the state, that’s chump change — the rainy day fund alone has more than $10 billion. Though state leaders have signalled a willingness to spend some of the rainy day fund on disaster relief, no one’s rushing to appear overly generous. When Turner’s hand was forced and the tax bump was proposed, state officials had two options: Reassure Houstonians about the forthcoming availability of state money, or let Turner, the Democratic mayor of a city Republicans are increasingly struggling to contest, twist in the wind.
You know which one they chose. “I don’t understand this mindset,” Bettencourt, Patrick’s lieutenant on tax issues and a resident of the city of Houston, told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s beyond tone deaf. I don’t believe governments should be showing this type of attitude when people are down. Taxpayers are going to be furious.” Bettencourt then added that he now opposes provisions that let local governments raise taxes more easily in the event of a disaster or emergency. Bettencourt even told a Houston radio station that he’s against using any state money to help the city, offering that Houston should be “using the funds that are already there to avoid a tax increase.”
On Tuesday, after Turner made a public request for money from the rainy day fund, Governor Greg Abbott joined in, telling reporters that the fund wouldn’t be touched until the 2019 legislative session. Turner “has all the money that he needs,” Abbott said. “In times like these, it’s important to have fiscal responsibility as opposed to financial panic.” The governor went on to accuse the mayor of using Harvey recovery efforts as a “hostage to raise taxes.”
Bettencourt and Abbott are doing what state lawmakers frequently do now — putting political pressure on local governments to draw attention away from what the state is doing and gather ammo for future internecine battles in Austin. (All last session, Bettencourt was at war with local officials over property tax policy.) The difference now is that he’s doing it right after Texas’ largest city had its legs shot out from under it, at a time when you might hope Houston-area lawmakers would not only refrain from taking potshots at Turner, but find ways to affirmatively help him. But, hey, it’s just business as usual: Everything good in Texas is to the credit of the brave boys and girls of the Lege, and everything bad is the fault of county commissioners courts, city councils and school boards.
Aren’t the different layers of government supposed to work together? In Texas, they generally do not. I’ve talked to many local officials, including Republicans in deep-red counties, who can’t for the life of them get a call returned from their GOP state representative or senator. Even big-city mayors sometimes get the stiff arm, and lawmakers seem to take pleasure in nullifying or canceling popular city ordinances, sometimes because of lobby money but sometimes, it seems, simply out of spite.
Consider Houston before the storm. Its school systems are heavily penalized by the state’s school finance system, which forces locals to raise property taxes. It has huge immigrant populations whose relationships with the police were negatively affected by Senate Bill 4. The culture wars at the Legislature — and the poor quality of state services — hinder Houston’s appeal to the international business community. Houston’s health care system has suffered greatly from the Legislature’s refusal to expand Medicaid.
This is despite the obvious fact that Texas’ appeal, and strength, is the quality and dynamism of its big cities. Six of the nation’s 20 largest cities are in Texas, and each has a distinct identity and appeal. (Well, maybe not Dallas.) The state should be helping cities. To take but one too-late example, the Legislature is the only body that could have cut through the mess of overlapping political jurisdictions to control development and strengthen flood planning in greater Houston in a unified way.
Instead, we have a state government that sees its largest generators of economic activity — the six metropolitan areas in which more than half of the state lives — as some kind of threat, either because of their values or the demographic and political threat they represent to the Republican Party. You might hope Harvey would temper that, but don’t hold your breath.
The post Even Hurricane Harvey Can’t Temper GOP Hostility Toward Texas’ Big Cities appeared first on The Texas Observer.
In yet another case of the cosmic satire in which we live hitting its mark a little too hard on the nose, the Trump administration last week nominated Texas lawyer Trey Trainor to a seat on the Federal Election Commission, an agency that’s supposed to enforce and interpret campaign finance laws. Trainor is notable mainly for his general opposition to campaign finance laws, so his nomination makes sense, in that most of Trump’s appointees so far either hate or are ignorant of the thing they’re expected to oversee.
But Trainor’s nomination also provided an opportunity to make note, once again, of the similarities between Texas’ screwed-up politics and the nation’s increasingly screwed-up politics. If you haven’t heard of Trainor, you’re not alone — he’s well-known around the Capitol, but he’s a behind-the-scenes guy. His name rarely pops up in news stories.
Who then, for our out-of-state friends, is Trainor? Well, on social media, he’s a fairly typical right-winger — the kind of guy who got really mad about the New Black Panther Party pseudo-scandal, who approvingly tweets out articles characterizing Obama as a “race hustler,” Protestantism as “poison” and Islam as a “phony religion” manufactured by the “murderous Mohammed.”
He shares the kind of videos in which, say, a “Wretched old hag harasses Trump supporter on a flight and TOTALLY GETS WHAT’S COMING TO HER!” Perhaps not a great public profile for someone who’s supposed to play a juridical role in ensuring the fairness of American elections. But that’s not why Trainor’s important.
The civil war within the Texas Republican Party — billionaires, enormous egos, blood grudges, subterfuge, religion, debauchery — is one of the best and most under-told stories in American politics, but it also has a Tolkien-length backstory. The simplified version is this: A decade ago, as the Bush administration started melting down, the Texas GOP began to split into two. One faction aligned with a more genteel and traditional form of business conservatism; the ideology of the other was nativism, Christianism and a nihilistic approach to government.
The second faction eventually won. But at the beginning, all they had were a few ideologically aligned millionaire and billionaire donors — Tim Dunn, Jeff Sandefer, the Wilks brothers — who wanted to buy legislators, a long-standing trade in Texas. The state’s weak ethics laws inhibited, albeit very modestly, their ability to do so. So they went guerrilla. They set up a constellation of organizations to quietly funnel their money into legislative races, and they used the threat of that money to put enormous pressure on elected officials. It was very effective: They didn’t always win elections, but they changed the way politics is done in Austin.
As the legal counsel for Empower Texans, the mothership shadow-money group, Trainor was the faction’s chief legal mind. He was Tom Hagen to leader Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Michael Corleone, but substantially less cool. National publications have described Trainor as an “opponent” or “critic” of campaign finance regulation, but that’s significantly underselling it.
Trainor wasn’t just a fan of lighter regulation; he wanted to dismantle the whole system.
Texas ethics laws aren’t very good. For example, there are no limits on campaign contributions from PACs and individuals to non-judicial candidates. But two core principles that do exist here are financial disclosure and the public registration of lobbyists. Trainor wanted to gut both.
In 2014, when the Texas Ethics Commission charged that Empower Texans’ Sullivan had been acting as a lobbyist without registering — an infraction for which he would then have to pay a small fine — the group went to war with the commission. In a truly bizarre episode, Sullivan moved, or possibly pretended to move, to Denton County, in a temporarily successful bid for a change of venue and a more friendly court. Meanwhile, Trainor’s friends repeatedly called for the commission to be defunded or eliminated outright. The remnants of the investigation into Trainor’s organization were gradually whittled down to near-nothingness by Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose job was to represent the commission in court, and, coincidentally, whose 2016 campaign benefited from a $1 million loan guaranteed by Empower Texans.
Last year, Trainor took a job with the Trump campaign. In a back office at the Republican convention in Cleveland, he was instrumental in helping Trump save face by quashing a last-minute rebellion by Ted Cruz delegates, who wanted a roll call vote. For his service, Trainor was given a job at the Pentagon, until he got this better reward.
The early stages of the Ethics Commission fight were some of the first events I covered when I started writing about Texas politics, and in hindsight they were a useful introduction to a particular feature of Texas government. The institutions of government are all there, and their leaders say the right things, but within each agency is a sort of shadow-agency, self-negating. As a result, the institutions are often not just bad at their mission, they do the opposite of the thing they’re supposed to do.
The Texas Education Agency inhibits access to education and Health and Human Services puts health care providers out of business. The same politicians who keep Child Protective Services weak and underfunded pile on the agency when another 4-year-old in state care gets beaten to death. Trainor and his friends helped nullify the Ethics Commission by definitively proving its powers were ceremonial at best. They’re the people who bring the shadow.
So it makes perfect sense that Trainor was nominated to the Federal Election Commission, which is also a broken institution. Created after Watergate to help restore the public’s faith in the electoral process, the commission is supposed to have three Democrats and three Republicans, with four votes needed to pass any kind of ruling. That was supposed to foster consensus, but in the last decade the FEC has frequently deadlocked 3-3, which nullifies the purpose of the thing.
That’s when the commission is fully staffed. There may only be four commissioners by the time Trainor is confirmed. There’s only one Democrat left, whose term technically ended in 2007 and hangs around, one would guess, out of a general sense of obligation. Trump could appoint more Democrats, or, as seems more likely, he could leave the commission in its weakened state. The FEC has become a very Texan thing — a fake, or self-nullifying, institution.
There’s something quaint, almost sweet, about the idea that a panel composed equally of the two parties was ever able to come an agreement. It’s an artifact of a bygone era. And maybe it never worked well — it’s a bit like having two foxes guard the same henhouse. But it’s obviously impossible when one of the parties doesn’t believe in the purpose of the thing at all.
While the appointment makes sense, it’s hard for me to understand why someone would accept it. Trainor’s signing on for at least a six-year term to be a nullifying vote on a non-functioning commission in an unfortunate city where nothing ever gets done. To which I suppose we should say: Congratulations!
The post Trump Nominee to FEC Tried to Shred Texas’ Already-Weak Ethics Laws appeared first on The Texas Observer.
November 8, 2016 should have been a night of unmitigated joy for the Harris County Republican Party, the largest local GOP organization in Texas. After all, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, hometown hero, had rushed to back Trump as soon as Ted Cruz’s body hit the floor.
But when Patrick took the stage late in the night to address the crowd, he felt obligated to acknowledge the elephant in the room: The Republican Party had been crushed in Houston. In 2012, Obama and Romney had tied in Harris County; in 2016, Clinton beat Trump by more than 12 percentage points. The Democratic wave washed out every Republican running for a countywide office. “We have to hold the line,” Patrick said. “We have to keep Democrat victories in Harris County to a minimum so that we win statewide.”
Since his first days in the world of New York real estate, nearly everyone who’s cut a deal with Donald Trump has gotten burned. In Patrick’s case, the electoral climate he so fervently embraced came at an acute personal cost: Ryan Patrick, his son, lost his position as state district judge in Harris County, a seat he barely retained in 2012.
But it’s not just him. Trump’s deep unpopularity in the state — only 42 percent approval, in one recent poll — threatens Texas Republicans as a whole. At the same time, the sudden absence of a Democratic president has left the Texas GOP adrift. For years, the party has been too big, containing too many disparate interests. Opposition to big-spending D.C. liberals kept the coalition together, but it has gotten harder to answer the question: What is a Texas Republican? For the last 15 years, Texas Democrats have been accusing Republicans of overreach. This time, they might be right.
During this year’s legislative session, the tensions in the Republican coalition became explicit. For example, Senate Bill 4, the “show your papers” law, flipped the bird to the business lobby, which was also at odds with lawmakers over the “bathroom bill” and a host of other issues. SB 4 blew up a long-standing truce that kept hard-line immigration rhetoric from becoming law. “It may not be soon,” Representative Poncho Neva?rez promised the House chamber, “but there’s going to be a reckoning.”
There’s some reason to believe him. It’s not just Houston — Clinton outdid Obama’s 2012 result by at least 7 points in the state’s five other large urban counties, and did remarkably well in populous suburban counties such as Collin, Hays and Fort Bend, which voted for a Democrat for president for the first time since LBJ.
Historically, an unpopular Republican president is the only thing that has really worked for Texas Democrats: The 2006 and 2008 elections brought them to the cusp of control of the Texas House. Trump has never been popular in Texas, and it’s likely that he’ll become even less so. The policies he champions — harsher immigration enforcement, opposition to global trade — threaten the state’s economy. The GOP is courting its own electoral backlash, right ahead of elections in 2018 and 2020, which will determine who gets to draft redistricting plans and shape the contours of power over the next decade.
But Texas Democrats are experts at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Last decade, there was a sustained campaign to pick up legislative seats that peaked with Obama’s first election. There’s no such effort now. The party waged an expensive campaign in 2014, but it got crushed, and much of that electoral infrastructure has collapsed. Coordination and candidate support is now mostly handled by outside groups on an ad hoc basis, with mixed results.
Beto O’Rourke’s campaign has garnered energy and excitement, but Democrats have no obvious contender to run for governor. The sole challenger to Patrick is a competent technocrat, Mike Collier, who is not a particularly strong candidate. The 2018 ticket could be full of holes, and it remains hard to get good people to run in Texas at the local level.
In other words, all the usual caveats about Texas progressives still apply. But if you’ve been considering volunteering or running for office, now’s the time. And if Democrats can’t, ultimately, make significant headway in this climate, it’s hard to imagine one in which they can.
The post It’s a Trump Miracle! There are Signs of Life Among Texas Democrats appeared first on The Texas Observer.
Congratulations! It’s campaign season again. On Saturday, at a public square in Round Rock, businessman Mike Collier made official his bid to unseat Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in 2018. Texas Democrats are fired up this year, but they’re also weary from so much bad news for so long, like the moles in a whack-a-mole machine. Tammy Young, a Round Rock City Council member and one of the up-and-coming Democrats in formerly beet-red Williamson County, captured the mood: “Are you tired of the circus happening at the state Lege?” she asked.
The crowd cheered. But the problem for Democrats, of course, is that the answer on Election Day has been consistently no: Texans, collectively, have not yet tired of the circus. In fact, the circus has been resoundingly successful, in political terms. In practical terms, less so: Exorbitant property taxes, soaring local debt, crummy infrastructure, an awful school finance system, skyrocketing tuition costs and tough conditions for the working poor have been the norm for a decade or more, but Democrats haven’t been able to capitalize on it.
In part, that’s because Texas Republicans have been very good at maintaining a narrative about what they are for and who they are against. By constantly reinventing Republicanism, and by putting the blame for everything going wrong on other people — the federales, local governments, bureaucrats — they skate effortlessly over dysfunction and back into office.
The narrative Democrats offer is one of competence and good government, often in the form of well-meaning technocrats such as Bill White, the former mayor of Houston who lost to Rick Perry in 2010. This has not been successful. In odd-numbered years, Democrats watch, mystified, as the GOP-controlled Legislature contorts itself into a Twin Peaks episode. Then, in even-numbered years, they’re even more confounded when voters, who may not support many Republican policies, send the Republicans back to do it again.
The race for lieutenant governor is arguably the most important for Democrats this cycle in terms of its potential effect on Texans, thanks to the extraordinary impact Patrick has on political life in the state. If Collier goes on to win his primary bid — he’s currently unopposed — he will have a weighty responsibility on his shoulders. Who is he? He’s a former corporate accountant and a former finance chair of the state party who ran for comptroller in 2014, a role to which he was well-suited. (He lost by 20 points, about the same margin as the rest of the statewide Dems.) He was one of a number of figures who helped fill out the Democrats’ normally-withered down-ballot slate that year, along with attorney general nominee Sam Houston and Railroad Commission candidate Steve Brown, who had very little public experience but could lay claim to a basic understanding of ethics and a desire to demonstrate competence.
Competence and seriousness is still Collier’s core message. “Dan Patrick’s got to go,” he told his Round Rock crowd of about 75 people, who came out to cheer and sign-wave on one of the hottest days of the year so far. “Don’t let them tell you we can’t win. We can win, and I’ll tell you why. Dan Patrick’s the worst lieutenant governor in the history of the state.”
If elected, he would attempt to refocus the Senate on “fixing school finance,” and “making property taxes fair again,” he said. “We’ve got real issues to deal with, right? What has Dan Patrick spent the entire legislative session working on? Bathrooms, good grief!”
“We just want good leaders. We want to end this partisan hooey,” he said. The actions of statewide elected officials, he argued, are endangering the state’s relationship with big business. “We’re becoming one of the most deeply indebted states in the country,” and one in which taxes are already high. “If you want high property taxes, stick with Dan Patrick, ‘cause he’s been sticking it to you for years,” Collier told the crowd. “Dan Patrick is never gonna fix property taxes because his so-called conservative fiscal policies have created the property tax crisis in the first place.”
But is competence enough to win? Patrick is a master at communicating with his base and using wedge issues to drive divisions among his enemies. He has achieved almost complete control over the Senate. Collier is a wonky, quirky figure who came to politics late in life, after a long and lucrative run in corporate America. He used to be a Republican, and he describes his run for comptroller as a political awakening. He wrote a book about it — Out of Comptrol: A Converted Democrat’s Improbable Quest to Save Texas Politics — a political Bildungsroman, wherein Collier starts with almost no political knowledge and becomes the kind of guy who describes state government as a junta.
He’s the latest in a long run of businessmen to come up within the Texas Democratic Party — some better than others — and like them, he has a lot of innate confidence. In office, he’d end corruption in Texas by “propos[ing] something very revolutionary, very novel,” a body which he calls the “Audit Performance and Integrity Commission,” he told the rally. “Texans are gonna love it.”
Collier says that he wants to craft a better message for the party. After the event, as most of the audience had left to find shade, Collier said one of the main lessons he took away from 2014 was that Democrats are insufficiently clear about the policies and the people they stand for. “We saw this very clearly in the presidential election,” he said. “We think that people know we’re the champions of the working and the middle class. But to some extent, what we’ve failed to do is articulate that point and make it real. What does it mean that you’re for the middle class?”
The practical concerns of Texans, he said, were drowned out during the din of the 2014 statewide campaigns. “What Texans are concerned about is fiscal issues, kitchen-table issues, things such as education and health care and tuition,” he said. “Pocketbook issues are my world, as an accountant.” His primary message would be to try to convince voters that Republicans are “actually not good on economic issues.”
Is Collier the man to do it? In his book, he describes the dispiriting experience of coming to terms, on the eve of the election, with the fact that his arguments and his qualifications didn’t matter very much. “Politics, I had learned, is mostly about identity. People identify with their party the same way a student identifies with his high school football team,” he writes. “The players might be perfectly likable and honorable people. But their character doesn’t matter as much as their affiliation. I had no idea, before I ran this race, that this was how politics worked.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of political instincts. Still, this year seems set to be his football team’s best season in years, and the Republicans have crippling injuries up and down the lineup. So who knows — maybe we’ll look back on 2018 as the year Texas got brought back under comptrol.
The post Is Competence Enough? Mike Collier is Counting on it in Race Against Dan Patrick appeared first on The Texas Observer.
Grind with me for a moment the gears of imagination, and consider a state not unlike our own — let’s call it Rexas — which has demonstrated an unusual degree of political stability over the last 20 years. One party has held every statewide office since 1998 and both chambers of the Legislature since 2002. The Party effectively has a supermajority in the Senate, and it almost holds one in the House. Ever since Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” topped the Hot 100 Singles Chart, The Party has controlled every part of state government where policy is formulated, passed into law and implemented.
Rexas is a very boring state, especially for political journalists. There are no surprises. After 15 years of The Party ordering and reordering the state to its liking, there’s little for the Legislature to argue about. Pass a budget, make patches to state government, go home. But we live in Texas, where something very peculiar is in the water, and where things can, and do, always get worse. And here, our politics have never — at least, in living memory — been more dysfunctional, more stupid or more deranged.
There have been plenty of tough times at the Legislature: mid-decade redistricting in 2003, the budget crisis in 2011, the abortion special sessions in 2013. But in the closing days of this year’s session, a wide array of Lege vets — conservative Republicans, business Republicans, Democrats, lobbyists and journalists — agreed that there was something uniquely acrid in the air, and that it had pervaded just about everything. What was especially poisonous this time was the extraordinary amount of procedural dishonesty — the willful dishonesty from different parties about what was happening and why.
A good deal of that dishonesty came from Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s office, a theme that ran throughout the session. His first press conference, back in January, was an angry defense of his bathroom bill in which he denied its true intent. Elsewhere, he insisted that he had saved the spending cap last session, when the opposite was true. And in the last two weeks, he made three laughably bad-faith assertions about the Legislature’s final negotiations. Patrick argued that the House had killed its own school finance bill, derailed must-pass sunset bills, and forced a special session. In each case, he was verifiably wrong, dishonestly removing his own agency from the equation. He doesn’t care. He sounds more and more like Trump.
But the bad vibes went beyond Patrick. Legislators sniped and cried and yelled and bullied and debased themselves by carrying bills they seemed to know were bad. Lawmakers and staffers both appeared generally unhappy to be there. From the House gallery, you could watch lawmakers play with fidget spinners, the toy for adults who would rather be doing almost anything else, almost anywhere else. Then the regular session ended, spectacularly and appropriately, with a threat of lethal violence on the House floor. And it ended in failure — because of Patrick’s refusal to advance must-pass legislation with the hope of forcing a special session for his bathroom bill.
This is the kind of thing you might expect in the most polarized legislatures, when two parties that loathe each other share the levers of power. But all this happening without the input of Democrats. It’s happening after two decades of Republican dominance. And all available signs point to it getting worse, not better. What’s happening?
Partly, it’s the delayed impact of the changes that occurred in the Republican Party of Texas during Barack Obama’s presidency and ripened during Trump’s candidacy. Perry’s long tenure maintained a sort of detente, in part because no one could easily move up the political ladder. It wasn’t until 2015 that we had our first post-tea party statewide candidate slate, and that year’s Legislature was sort of a bust. The 85th was the session when the promise of Patrick’s 2014 campaign came into fruition, along with the steady turnover of old-style Republicans in the Senate and House.
The party’s like a shark — if it stops moving, it dies. At his 2015 inauguration, Patrick promised a “new day” in Texas, as if he’d just ended a war. What did he mean? In short, that the people he was replacing were frauds. The old Republicans cared first about making money and helping others make money. What the business lobby wanted, it mostly got. They inherited that from the old Democrats — in Texas, economic development has traditionally been king. That’s no longer the case. The business lobby got beat up this year in an unprecedented way.
The new politics comes out of the massive population growth in the state’s new suburbs — alienated, paranoid, distrustful of any government program. That dynamic had been growing for years — Patrick was first elected in 2006 — and then a black guy became president. Conservatism has traditionally been about the preservation of the status quo and the maintenance of a traditional social order. The new politics, which is much bigger than Patrick as an individual, is about change. It’s radical, and radicalism has its own compelling internal logic.
Everything is pushing the party in that direction, and everyone else is struggling to keep up. Patrick’s unpredictability and ambition colors much of what happens at the Capitol and the governor’s mansion. Governor Greg Abbott wants to stay in alignment with the state’s current political orientation, which long postdates his entry into Texas politics. And a circular firing squad has formed, with the House, the last bastion of more traditional conservatives, at the middle. When House conservatives don’t get what they want, they blame House leadership. When Republicans pass a crappy bill, the group that takes the most direct fire from Democrats is House leadership. When Dan Patrick doesn’t get what he wants, he blames House leadership.
But it’s important to be clear about one thing — the war between half of the state Republican party and House Speaker Joe Straus is about process and procedure, not policy. For all the arguing about who is the real conservative, the gap between what the House passes and the Senate passes is small in real terms, especially on matters that the governor has embraced, and it was smaller this session than probably ever before. There’s only one major substantive issue on which the two chambers are far apart — “school choice.” But the major problem adversaries of public education have in the House is that many Republicans come from rural districts, and it’s far from clear a new speaker would make a difference.
Everything else can be chalked up the narcissism of small differences — a radical can brook no dissent at all. The real objection Straus’ opponents have is to the way the House is run day to day. Conservatives want Democrats to be prevented from “grandstanding” on the House floor and to be given less influence in even the most innocuous committees. Though it’s rarely said, they also want a speaker of the House who is, ahem, not Jewish. But vanishingly few people outside downtown Austin and the orbit of Empower Texans care anything about that at all — it’s the domain of people who have run out of better things to argue about.
And yet, the divisions among factions of the Republican Party subsume just about everything else at the Capitol. Why did the session’s school finance bill, which passed 134 to 16 in the House and 21 to 10 in the Senate, die? Patrick’s anger at the House’s refusal to pass his voucher program. Why did members of the House kill unobjectionable bills addressing maternal mortality on the Friday before Mother’s Day? House conservatives were acting out of spite. Why are we facing a special session? So Patrick can put more political pressure on Straus and Abbott. Can anyone say honestly say that this is a reasonable way to run a state?
The Republican Party of Texas will never fix itself. It’s hostage to its own overreach and gerrymandered districts, and political pressure groups will continue to purge moderates and install younger, less-independent members. The “moderates” aren’t coming back, and we’re likely to lose more of them in coming election cycles. The incentives are all wrong, and political independence only has downsides.
The only way out is through the Democratic Party. Until Democrats make serious headway, expect that every session will be worse than the last, and the stakes are only going to get higher. The 86th Legislature just may get the chance to overhaul Medicaid with new freedoms granted by Paul Ryan and the Trump administration, a truly horrifying prospect. Let’s just hope everybody keeps their guns holstered.