Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Texas Notes—Clinton Robbed Of Texas Win, Lottery Sales Decline & Galveston Tax Break Racket

Here are some Texas notes & thoughts about events in the news—

State Democratic Party Convention.  

Party Chairman Boyd Richie won reelection to another term as Chair. I once saw Mr. Richie speak in Houston. He barely mentioned online activism.

Maybe Mr. Richie sees that a goal of some portion of blogger activism is about joning the already existing mainstream two-party infrastructure of political job seeking and consulting gigs. Why talk about something you can take for granted and that fits seamlessly into the structure as already formed?   

You have your mainstream political bloggers and others less-connected. Folks can easily co-exist as long as everybody is respected. It takes all kinds.

Texas blogger Perry Dorell at Brains & Eggs provided good coverage of the convention.

I have no idea if Mr. Richie is an effective chairman or not. Since he has been reelected, I hope he’s effective.  

The convention put off until 2010 any discussion of changing the so-called Texas two-step caucus system. This is a process that allows the allows the loser of the popular vote on primary day to gain more delegates than the winner. 

Some delegates are allocated by popular vote, and other delegates by a process that begins the night of the primary with caucuses at each of the voting precincts.  

In 2008, Hillary Clinton won the Texas primary, but won fewer Texas delegates than Barack Obama. The caucus system allows people not working at night and without childcare concerns to go and vote a second time. This can only favor more affluent and educated voters. 

Some say the caucuses get people together and strengthen the party. I say if folks are only getting together this one night, it is not much of a party.

In any case, the purpose of the primary is to see who the people want as the nominee—not a social outing.

Declining Texas Lottery Sales Hurt School Funding

Sales of lottery tickets are down 2% in Texas and this is hurting state-provided school funding.

Good. I hope lottery sales tank. Then maybe Texas will find a way to fund schools that does not exploit the desperation of poor people.

The lottery came to Texas when Democrats held power in Austin. The cancer of the lottery is just another token of appreciation for the never-ending years of minority support for Democratic candidates. 

One hopes when Democrats take power in Austin again, it will be a majority committed to all people in Texas and not beholden to Democrats who might as well be Republicans.

This will require strong minority turnout. Folks have to realize they’ll be left out if they don’t show up at the polls.  

Tax Break Racket In Galveston And Elsewhere In Texas

Here is a story that speaks for itself from the Galveston Daily News— 

Developers of residential and retail projects in special tax financing zones have sought at least $17 million in public money as reimbursement for improvements that are supposed to benefit the public.But there’s a blurry line between public improvement and private perk. Developers of affluent neighborhoods want reimbursement for building boccie ball and horseshoe courts, for hundreds of thousands of dollars in “administrative expenses,” for architectural fees and environmental mitigation that developers outside such zones pay for themselves. In some cases, it appears developers are seeking public funds to pay for pagers, cell phones, office overhead and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to lawyers and consultants, some charging $200 an hour.And developers have been reimbursed for work without providing standard documentation.

No one has been accused of doing anything improper. Such expenses are eligible for reimbursements under Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone agreements. The question, some elected officials say, is whether the reimbursements are appropriate. The issue isn’t isolated to the island. More than 70 such reinvestment zones are registered in Texas, and still more likely exist, officials say.

June 10, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Galveston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Aliens Would Be Terrifying And We Should Not Look For Them

One of the worst ideas I’m aware of is the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life.

This Los Angeles Times story details new efforts to use sensitive radio telescopes to hear alien signals.

This is called SETI—Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

This is a terrible idea.

I don’t want to know about any space beings. It’s bad enough we bring back samples from the moon or wherever else. Someday we are all going to get the spacepox.

I feel any aliens coming here will either enslave us or eat us. Maybe both. It rarely went well when civilizations met for the first time in Earth history. At best, aliens will transmit a horrible disease.  

The thought of aliens is terrifying. People would lose their minds if the mother ship landed in Red Square or the Bronx or anywhere. People lose their minds over far less. 

I get upset when I think of the records on the Voyager spaceprobes that give our location. Why tell our potential alien masters where we are?  

I know we can’t do anything about the radio and television signals transmitting our location for the whole galaxy to hear. But we can at least put our heads in the sand about whatever beings that mercifully have not found us yet.

Or are not yet hungry enough or in need of all our water to come to Earth.       

June 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 13 Comments