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Best Resources To Figure Out Who To Vote For In Harris County & In Texas For 2010 Democratic Primary

The Texas Democratic Primary is coming up on March 2, 2009.

Any properly registered voter can vote in the Democratic primary. The only restriction is that you cannot also vote in the Republican primary if you vote in the Democratic primary.

There are many contested races on the ballot in Texas and here in Harris County, Texas.

How should one vote? Nobody knows about all these people running for all these judgeships.

Please take note—The judicial races in Harris County are for the whole county. Though it may say district court  on the ballot, the races are countywide.

What are the best resources to learn about the candidates in contested Democratic primaries both in Harris County and statewide?

I am aware of two resources that are best.

Houston blogger Charles Kuffner has a spreadsheet with information about the candidates in contested Democratic primaries. This spreadsheet  has links to interviews that Mr. Kuffner conducted with most of the candidates, a list of endorsements the candidates have received, and links to the web homes for the candidates.

Another strong resource is the voters guide issued by the League of Women Voters of the Houston Area. This guide, accessible online, has information for both Harris County and Fort Bend County.

Please find some time over the weekend to figure out who to vote for on primary day. There are campaign volunteers, party workers, bloggers and others who spend time on these races because they think it is the right thing to do as citizens. Please make some effort on your part to be a good citizen as well.

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

First Swine Flu Case In Houston Area—Wash Your Hands, Cover Your Mouth, Stop Kissing

The first Swine Flu case has been found in the Houston-area. This case is in Fort Bend County. Fort Bend County borders Harris County. Houston is in Harris County. 

Here is the story from the Houston Chronicle

The Houston area’s first local resident to be diagnosed with swine flu has been confirmed in Fort Bend County. Officials at Fort Bend County’s health department said early Wednesday evening that they just received confirmation of the case from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The resident, a teenage girl, was not hospitalized and is recovering, said the officials. She is a student in Bellaire at Episcopal High School, which starting Thursday will close through the weekend. The illness started in the middle of last week, and she was treated by a private medical center. She had not recently traveled to Mexico.”

(Here is a later update on Swine Flu in Houston from the Chronicle.) 

(Here are my seven Swine Flu poems.)

So far we have one confirmed case in an area of over five million people and the girl who got sick did not have a severe illness. That’s we are at this point in Houston. It may well be a bad deal before it is all over. But all we can do now is take steps not to get sick.

Here is some more global Swine Flu information from the BBC.

Here are tips from the City of Houston Swine Flu web home about avoiding the Swine Flu—

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?

There is no vaccine available to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with influenza, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue and throw it away promptly.  If there is no tissue available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Avoid shaking hands.  Do not kiss in greeting.

Here is the full City of Houston site. It has information relevant from wherever in the world you are reading this blog post.  

Instead of a kiss or shaking hands, try a hat tip instead as you see President Calvin Coolidge doing back in 1924.

File:Coolidge after signing indian treaty.jpg

Remember, there is no point getting mad at pigs for all this trouble. They are just getting us back for how we eat them. Below is an illustration of the process of pork packing in 19th-Century Cincinnati. Cincinnati was known as “Porkopolis” in those days for all the pork packing. I don’t believe in Karma, but here may a case of what goes around comes around.

File:Pork packing in Cincinnati 1873.jpg

Here is how to wash your hands from the folks who bring you National Hand Washing Week

There’s a right way to wash your hands. A splash of water and a drop or two of soap won’t do the trick. Follow these simple steps to keep your hands clean:

  • Use warm water (not cold or hot).
  • Use whatever soap you like. Antibacterial soaps are popular but regular soap works fine. If you suspect that your hands have come into contact with someone with an infection, think about using an alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Rub your hands together vigorously and scrub all surfaces: Lather up on both sides of your hands, your wrists, between your fingers, and around your nails. Wash for 15 seconds – about how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.”
  • Rinse well under warm running water and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • In public restrooms, consider using a paper towel to flush the toilet and open the door because toilet
  • and door handles harbor germs. Throw the towel away after you leave.

People wear surgical masks to help prevent being infected with the swine flu as they shop in a grocery store on 29 April 2009 in Mexico City

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Texas U.S. House District 22—Facts, History & Views

Texas U.S. House district 22 is up for grabs in 2008.

Here are some facts, history and views on this race. 

Texas U.S. House district 22, previously held by disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, is now held by Democrat Nick Lampson.  

( Here is a photo of Mr. Lampson. He is happy in this picture.)  

Here is some information about Mr. Lampson from the 2008 Almanac of American Politics

Lampson grew up in Beaumont; he got his first job sweeping floors at age 12 when his father died. After graduating from Lamar University, he taught science in Beaumont schools, leading the first local Earth Day celebration in 1979, and then taught a real estate management course at Lamar; he also headed a home health care company. In 1977, he was elected Jefferson County tax assessor; he claimed to cut the cost of tax collections during his 18 years on the job. In Lampson’s previous House stint, he had a moderate voting record and was a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He promoted the Johnson Space Center from his Science Committee assignment and also looked after local needs from his perch on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In 2003, Lampson fell victim to the 2003 redistricting plan that was designed to oust Anglo Democrats like him. Republican Ted Poe defeated him 56%-43% the next year in the newly formed 2d District.

On the Republican side, an April 8 runoff will decide the nomination.

One of the two Republicans in the runoff, Pete Olson, a former chief of staff to far right-wing Texas Senator John Cornyn, is a conventionally awful conservative Republican.

Mr. Olson is your man for more war, more tax cuts for the rich and no progress on universal health care.

The other candidate, former Houston City Councilwoman Dr. Shelley Sekula Gibbs , is uniquely awful.

Due to a quirk in electoral law, Ms. Sekula Gibbs served a two-month term in the U.S. House between Election Day 2006 and Congressional Inauguration Day 2007.

Here is an account of that term from the Associated Press after staffers resigned citing mistreatment by Ms. Sekula Gibbs  —

The staff members have a combined thirty-plus years of experience working on the Hill,” Mr. James wrote. “Never has any member of Congress treated us with as much disrespect and unprofessionalism as we witnessed during those five days.”

Ms. Sekula-Gibbs has raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, largely because of the resignations. Earlier, she told reporters she planned to resolve such thorny issues as tax cuts, immigration reform and the Iraq war — all in less than two weeks of a lame-duck Congress”

Despite how lousy the Republicans are, voting for Mr. Lampson is a judgement call.

On one hand, in 2006 Mr. Lampson  campaigned to the right in order to win a Republican-leaning district. George W. Bush won 64% here in 2004. Sometimes you do what you have to do.

On the other hand, Lampson’s 2006 campaign seemed at times further to the right than required. Specifically egregious in my view was an ad criticizing Dr. Sekula Gibbs for routine city council votes on water and sewer rate hikes.

Cities have to be able to function.

Here is Representative Lampson’s campaign page

You could argue that as long as Mr. Lampson supports Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker and votes with Democrats as often as political realities allow, why not take the best you are going to get in tough circumstances?

Or, you could argue that we are not always obligated to take the least-bad option. Sometimes you can just leave a blank spot on your ballot. If we always take the least-bad option, we’ll just end up being used.

For example, as a lifelong resident of cities, I’ve long felt Democrats take the votes of black folks in every election, but often offer little in return.  

On Election Day, you might be able to stomach Mr. Lampson and vote for him. Or you might feel it is all too much. We’ll see how obnoxious Mr. Lampson’s campaign is in 2008.     

This is a basic dilemma in districts where a candidate for the minority party in the area has to contort his or herself to get elected.

( Photo of contortionist.)

The 22nd Congressional district of Texas is in the Houston metropolitan area. A focus in the district is on the growing suburban city of Sugar Land. 80,000 of the 22nd’s 800,000 people live in Sugar Land. (Here is a history of Sugar Land.) 

The district includes portions of Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston and Harris counties. While Sugar Land is in Fort Bend ( Which is a big place with nearly 500,000 people), roughly half the district lives in Harris County.

Other communites in the 22nd include Pasadena, Santa Fe, La MarqueWebster, La Porte and Pearland.

Some these places are aging industrial areas while others are newer suburbs.

In contrast to booming Sugar Land, Pasadena is an established center of industry. 140,000 people live in Pasadena. (Here is a history of Pasadena.)

( Photo of Pasadena, Texas.) 

Houston suburbs are very ethnically diverse. This is a strong point of Houston and the Houston area. The 22nd is counted as 8% Asian, 9% black and with 20% of Hispanic origin.  

An important source of jobs in this Republican district is the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Republicans are fine with government spending when they are the ones cashing the checks.

(Relative importance of Texas-22 as seen from moon. Here are some basic facts about the moon. )

 

Good luck to liberal and progressive voters in Texas U.S House district 22—You’ll need it!

March 11, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments