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Dispatches from Dallas, March 24 edition

This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think.

This week in DFW: A run of school violence including a fatal school shooting, in DFW area schools; a former president comes to Waco on a major Texas anniversary; ongoing fallout from the DPD evidence scandal; and cricket comes to Texas in a big way.

Monday in Arlington, two students were shot, [Archive link] one fatally, before school began. Jashawn Poirier, age 16, died in the shooting and another unnamed student was injured. The fifteen-year-old shooter is in juvenile detention in Tarrant County, charged with capital murder. No motive for the shooting has been offered so far.

Meanwhile in Dallas, there was a shooting at Thomas Jefferson High School in northwest Dallas on Tuesday. One student was shot in the arm in the parking lot a few minutes after class let out for the day. The shooter has been arrested according to the superintendent of Dallas ISD. Again, investigators haven’t ascribed a motive.

McKinney ISD also had a weapons incident on Monday, but fortunately it only involved a middle schooler using a knife one of his classmates, causing minor injuries [Archive link.] The knife-wielding student was taken into police custody and the injured student was taken to the hospital to receive medical care.

As the band director at Thomas Jefferson said to the Dallas Morning News, It’s not an ethnic thing, or a rich or poor thing, or a ZIP code thing of where you live or where you go to school. It’s happening everywhere.” Meanwhile our only governor continues to advocate against any restrictions on gun purchases or ownership, and has described legislation to raise the age for gun purchasers to 21 as unconstitutional.

In other news:

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 20

The Texas Progressive Alliance can’t believe that two top seeds were knocked out before the Sweet 16 as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for March 19

“In other words: Christian advocacy group accuses Conservative and Reform Jews of lying about their own religious dogma. This will end well.”

“Netflix TV users can now customize the appearance of subtitles and closed captions on the streaming platform, allowing subscribers to adjust the size and style of the text.”

“How much would it take for you to publicly pledge allegiance to a man you privately loathe? Not just once, but night after night, in a pair of stale khaki pants? Really think about it: How much would it take for you to sell out, knowing full well your own lies convince others to live in delusion?”

“I’m literally writing the book on planetary defense, so I know things about errant space rocks. And asteroid 2023 DW – with its small-but-not-zero chance of hitting Earth on Feb 14, 2046 is making headlines. So: let’s sort a few things out, shall we?”

“With that new topline metric top of mind, we’ve ranked the major streamers by last quarter’s revenue and included their most up-to-date subscriber tallies. It should come as no surprise that More Subscribers = More Money, but they don’t always go in lockstep. And yes, we know not every quarter is created equally for every streamer, but it’s the latest data we’ve got to go on.”

“These are the words from other languages that don’t have a direct equivalent in English, and yet carry so much meaning.”. I really related to “soubhiyé”, which refers to the period of time early in the morning when you’re the only one awake in the house and you can just have some time to yourself. You non-morning people will have to find your own equivalent word for the late night period when you’re the only one up.

“Gannett’s most recent annual report drives home the fact that no company has done more to shrink local journalism than it has in recent years.”

“Twitter is in a period of decline. The site still functions, people are still using it, but there’s a familiar stink that lingers on the website. It reminds me of the twilight days of two other social media platforms I’ve used: LiveJournal and Tumblr — onetime vibrant communities that grew in popularity until everyone seemed to be using them, which then began a long, slow death.”

“And it is hard, at least for me, not to notice the gap between the decisive response of the US Federal Government and the lack of any coherent response (other than complain and ask for help) from the VC and tech world.”

What Counts As a Bailout?”

Never listen to a word Jim Cramer says.

RIP, Bud Grant, Pro Football Hall of Famer who coached the Minnesota Vikings to four Super Bowls.

RIP, Joe Pepitone, former All Star first baseman primarily for the Yankees.

RIP, Pat Schroeder, former US Representative from Colorado and feminist trailblazer.

RIP, Dick Fosbury, Olympic gold medalist who revolutionized the high jump via his “Fosbury flop”.

RIP, Rolly Crump, Disneyland designer who worked on the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, and the Enchanted Tiki Room.

“Silicon Valley’s Titans Are Realizing a Lot of People Really Don’t Like Them“.

This interview with legendary MAD artist Al Jaffee is from 15 years ago, but it’s in honor of Jaffee turning 102 (!), so go read it. He’s delightful.

Here’s The Tau Manifesto, for those of you who think Pi Day isn’t nerdy enough. Tau Day would be June 28, in case you’re wondering.

Wait, they’re making a movie about BlackBerry? I…may have to see that.

“Silicon Valley Bank was fine. It’s Silicon Valley that’s broken.”

A detailed history of the solar panels that were once on the Carter White House.

“Anti-Woke Author Who Could Not Define Woke Gets Petty”. What’s kind of amazing about this is that the person who asked her the question that completely tripped her up is herself one of the Internet’s leading jackasses. Be that as it may, enjoy the video if you haven’t seen it.

I feel really bad for Edwin Diaz, but I fully agree that it is the players’ decision whether or not to play in the WBC.

Lock him up.

RIp, Lance Reddick, actor best known for his work on HBO’s “The Wire” and the “John Wick” movie franchise – and for me, on “Fringe” and “Lost” and “Bosch”. He’ll portray Zeus in the forthcoming Percy Jackson TV adaptation, if you want one more chance to see his work.

“Brown freshman Olivia Pichardo became the first woman to appear in a Division I baseball game when she pinch hit in a 10-1 loss to Bryant on Friday.”

Dispatches from Dallas, March 17 edition

This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think.

This week in North Texas, we have bad bills filed by our local legislators and follow-ups on a variety of ongoing stories in North Texas including the Dallas Zoo, the buyer of the Roe v Wade archive, and the back-and-forth in Frisco ISD about trans kids.

The deadline to file bills in the Texas legislature has passed, so it’s time for a rogue’s gallery of bad bill filers from North Texas. Take note of these names and remember to remind your pals from these parts that friends don’t let friends vote for dumbasses who put forward garbage bills.

Senator Phil King of Weatherford (west of Fort Worth) is a co-sponsor of bills designed to restrict the development of renewable energy in Texas in favor of fossil fuel power plants [Archive link].

Representative Bryan Slaton of Royse City (northeast of Dallas) wants to put a secession referendum on the ballot, which is probably illegal and unconstitutional, but who cares about that? He also filed HB 42, which would define gender-affirming care for kids as child abuse.

As mentioned in this article, Representative Nate Schatzline of Fort Worth filed HB 1266, which defines commercial enterprises that host drag shows as sexually oriented businesses. The linked article is about him harassing a constituent who responded by posting a picture of Schatzline in a dress to social media.

Representative Jared Patterson of Frisco has a number of bad bills, mentioned in this article about his Don’t Say Gay Bill. His greatest hits for the 2023 session also include abolishing the city of Austin and banning minors from social media.

Representative Matt Shaheen of Plano (of whom more later) filed a bill to make daylight savings time permanent, which is less harmful than other bills described here but is not what I’d personally consider a high priority in the 2023 session. He’s also behind HB 620, which would end the Robin Hood school tax recapture. (This local news story has some numbers for what Robin Hood does to Dallas and Plano schools.) While there’s quite a bit of room for debate around Robin Hood, I’m personally suspicious of a bill by a Republican who’s in favor of “school choice”, aka defunding public schools and subsidizing private schools. Shaheen is a little smart to be on the dumbass list and is all the more dangerous for it.

One good bill I like comes from Austin, where Representative Donna Howard filed to exempt menstrual products and a variety of pregnancy and baby needs from state sales tax.

In other stories:

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 13

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes your internal clocks have all adjusted as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for March 12

“If this were any other state, Presley might arguably be an outright favorite to win this race. The problem, of course, is that he happens to be running in Mississippi, which has among the highest levels of racial polarization in the nation.”

“Japan discovered it has 7,000 more islands than previously thought thanks to advanced survey mapping technology.”

“That is because the lab leak is still missing the key element of the U.N. cholera story that made it more than just a bunch of rumors: an actual, coherent theory of the case that could be refuted or confirmed.”

“In other words, it means that the music I think of as cool is, now, officially, no longer cool. It has become so wholly and officially un-cool that it can now be played as harmless background noise in a Big Box store in the white western suburbs of Philadelphia.”

“So, this isn’t One Weird Trick to solve it, it’s a reminder to neurodivergent folks that a lot of politeness is a performance of a lie so that people, especially white people, can survive cognitive dissonance and pretend nothing is bad if we all just use our company manners.”

What the dogs of Chernobyl can teach us.

RIP, Judy Heumann, renowned disability rights activist.

“How Attacks Against Obamacare Turned Into Tools to Protect Abortion Access”.

Peak TV was awesome. Trough TV, not so much.

Is your tap water turning you gay? Spoiler alert: No, it is not.

RIP, Gary Rossington, guitarist and last surviving founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“Toblerone is no longer Swiss enough to feature the Matterhorn on its packaging”.

RIP, Barbara Everitt Bryant, first woman to lead the US Census Bureau.

Keeping track of time on the moon is trickier than you might think.

“The real lesson of the 2022 election is that the country is ready to move on from extremists and traitors. And yet they’re going right back to it because it’s who they are.”

“The World Baseball Classic, right now, is a half-measure, and most of its problems can be traced to it being played in March. You’re not getting the best players, you’re not getting the biggest audience, in March. By moving half the event into the summer, you can address those problems and start the Classic on its way to becoming what MLB wants it to be: baseball’s World Cup.”

RIP, Lee Ellis, former Houston restauranteur. I can attest that both the chicken and the donuts at Lee’s Fried Chicken and Donuts, which was in my neighborhood, were very good.

“The bewildering descent of Scott Adams and Dilbert“.

“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait. I hate him passionately.”

RIP, Ian Falconer, stage designer and author/illustrator of the Olivia children’s books, which our family dearly loved.

RIP, Chaim Topol, actor best known for playing Tevye in the stage and screen versions of Fiddler on the Roof.

Three reasons to believe that COVID evolved naturally, not in a lab”.

“Pfizer ready to launch RSV vaccines for older adults, pregnant women in US, Europe”.

RIP, Robert Blake, actor best known for the TV show Baretta and for being acquitted of the murder of his wife.

Lock him up.

A great story about Malachy McCourt – author, actor, raconteur and man-about-town – written by one of my high school classmates.

Dispatches from Dallas, March 10 edition

This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think.

This week in Dallas news: The DPD evidence scandal grows, more about Marvin Lowe, water cremations, winter weather, Star Wars, and finally some good news at the Dallas Zoo.

I complain a lot about the Dallas Morning News, but they’ve done a good job covering the Dallas PD evidence scandal. Here are the two most recent stories about what the investigation into missing evidence is finding: Murder cases could be in jeopardy as Dallas police review 450 cases for missing evidence [Archive link] and What we know about Dallas police search for missing video evidence in murder cases [Archive link]. 13 homicide convictions are in jeopardy and now they’re going through violent crime cases. One does wonder whether this is a problem with DPD or whether review of other law enforcement agencies would show the same kinds of negligence in evidence handling. Meanwhile, I hope the last line of this DMN story about official reactions to the missing evidence [Archive link is correct and someone is going to be held responsible for these screwups.

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 6

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready to spring forward as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for March 5

13 Biggest Changes ‘Game of Thrones’ Made From the Books. Spoilers a-plenty, in case you couldn’t tell.

“[T]here is no evidence to support speculation that noise resulting from wind development-related site characterization surveys could…cause mortality of whales, and no specific links between recent large whale mortalities and currently ongoing surveys.”

AI chatbots are probably not going to write any good original fiction any time soon.

“The verdant canopy of lies tended by Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) requires no summary here. They’re so thick and leafy that they now block the sun from the forest floor. But he’s not the only freshman member who struggles when self-reporting.”

“In 2022, right-wing extremists committed every ideologically driven mass killing identified in the U.S., according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.”

Human composters are pitching themselves as part of the solution—and trying to dismantle the funeral industry in the process. The potential to alter an age-old practice has brought together former Silicon Valley types, celebrity investors and mission-driven entrepreneurs as interested in lofty green goals as they are in changing our relationship to death.”

Don’t believe a word Ron DeSantis says.

The New York Times is perfectly capable of publishing deeply stupid op-eds on a broad array of topics.

“The National Cartoonists Society condemns all forms of racism and discrimination.”

“Andrews McMeel Universal values free speech. We promote and facilitate many different voices and perspectives. But we will never support any commentary rooted in discrimination or hate.”

“I’m proud and happy to see publishers, magazines, and newspapers are dropping him because there should be no tolerance for that kind of language. It’s a relief to see him held accountable.”

And with that, Elon Musk has entered the chat.

RIP, Gus Mutscher, former Speaker of the Texas House who got caught up in an infamous contretemps known as the Sharpstown scandal.

“Don’t get your dog stoned. He’s not all that high up on the food chain to begin with.” — Robin Williams

Photos of President Jimmy Carter’s Fort Worth visit seen for first time in 45 years”.

RIP, Burny Mattinson, longtime Disney animator and the last full-time Walt Disney Studios employee who had worked at the company when Walt Disney still ran it.

“It’s a weird thing to know for an absolute fact that the people lying to you knew they were lying to you at the time they did the lying.”

RIP, Ricou Browning, actor and stuntman best known for portraying Gill-Man in the 1954 film Creature from the Black Lagoon.

RIP, Linda Kasabian, former Manson family member who testified for the prosecution in the trials.

“[S]ocial media has become central to the modern extremist landscape, often supplanting affiliation with formal organizations. Extremists can mobilize far more effectively on digital platforms than they can through formal organizations alone. While the Jan. 6 committee’s final report spotlighted the role of militias and extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, members of these groups represented a small minority of rioters at the Capitol. The presence of so many unaffiliated rioters in Washington suggests something that was also true for Brasilia: The spread of election disinformation and extremist rhetoric was a more effective motivator than membership in established groups with public leaders and logos.”

“But at the end of the day, the origin of the pandemic is also a scientific question. Virologists who study pandemic origins are much less divided than the U.S. intelligence community. They say there is “very convincing” data and “overwhelming evidence” pointing to an animal origin.”

RIP, Wayne Shorter, 12-time Grammy-winning saxophonist and composer who played with Miles Davis and co-founded Weather Report.

“Pete Maravich’s all-time NCAA scoring record survives … for now”.

“None of the witnesses have provided evidence related to a violation of law, policy, or abuse of authority. None are whistleblowers in any sense recognized by federal law or any federal agency.”

RIP, Tom Sizemore, actor best known for Saving Private Ryan.

Dispatches from Dallas, March 3 edition

This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think.

This week in DFW, our most interesting story is a brouhaha in Frisco ISD, but we also have an interview with Sarah Weddington’s co-counsel in Roe v. Wade, trouble with the Dallas SPCA, local elections news, including speculation about who’ll go for Colin Allred’s seat if he takes on Ted Cruz, and more. Be sure to scroll down for a link to a picture of bald eaglets!

Marvin Lowe, a Frisco ISD trustee elected in the May 2022 cycle, had some kind of interaction with a trans student from Brownsville at a statewide educational conference in September of last year. The student reports that Lowe said a number of inappropriate things, he’s backed up by his mother and at least two other adults, and he and his family seem to have gone through official channels until last week, when they spoke to the Dallas Morning News [Archive link] because they weren’t getting any satisfaction. Lowe apparently talked about his “junk” and naked people in locker rooms and people getting aroused to the student; also, according to everybody but Lowe, an activist had to intervene to get Lowe to leave the then sixteen-year-old student alone.

Lowe didn’t want to talk to the DMN, but the subject came up at a Frisco ISD board meeting on February 26 (Frisco Star), exciting significant controversy from speakers. Lowe denied everything at the meeting but has since gone on a conservative talk radio show to defend himself (DMN archive link) but his story has already started to shift: now he says he talked to the student’s mother about locker rooms.

Lowe won his seat from incumbent Kathy Hebert by 51 votes after a recount. His candidate website is bare-bones but mentions his opposition to CRT in the schools. Here’s some coverage of the race and Lowe’s supporters in Texas Monthly from last May, which demonstrates how Lowe’s candidacy is part of the ongoing reactionary attack on public schools, teachers, and curriculums in north Texas.

I don’t expect Lowe will resign, or be forced to, but I don’t expect we’ve heard the last of this case, or Lowe.

In other news:

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 27

The Texas Progressive Alliance is studying pitch clocks and base sizes as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for February 26

“No one has a playbook in politics for shooting down UFOs that are not aliens.”

“Bill Watterson, the creator of the beloved comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, is releasing a dark and adult graphic novel later this year.”

“After years of Marvel and Star Wars movies and shows inundating screens big and small, Disney is putting the brakes on the output of some of its biggest franchises and brands”.

RIP, Richard Belzer, comedian and actor best known for Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

“NASA isn’t announcing the existence of extraterrestrial life. But if the last two weeks show anything, it’s if the agency ever breaks such news, the world may have trouble understanding.”

RIP, Barbara Bosson, actor best known for Hill Street Blues, Murder One, and the immortal Cop Rock.

“Kevin McCarthy makes sensitive security footage available to the insurrectionists’ propagandist”.

RIP, Hugh Harris, known as “The Voice of NASA” for his time as public affairs officer there.

RIP, B.J. “Red” McCombs, San Antonio businessman and former owner of the San Antonio Spurs, who brought that franchise to town before they joined the NBA.

Yes indeed, let them fight.

“It is against free speech to stop us from fixating on the genitals.”

“Let’s just get this out of the way: the Hays Code was awful. It was sexist, racist, homophobic nonsense that set film back decades and reinforced a lot of cruel moralizing that weakened the gaps between art and faith, thus ensuring decades of culture war bullshit. It baffles me that I even have to say this in 2023. Anyone who knows anything about the history of Hollywood is well aware of how the code caused so much damage to the art form of cinema. Yet a tedious strain of online scorn and politically tangled discourse has seen way too many people acting as though what pop culture needs in the 21st century is a return to mandated puritanism.”

“As privilege discourse has attempted to trundle on over the past few years, it has really stagnated. We circle back over the same ground constantly, but don’t spend much time discussing what a good life truly means, who is getting what they want out of the world, and which of us is really enjoying ourselves. Who are life’s winners, in other words, and who are the losers.”

“Isn’t it comforting to have your worst suspicions confirmed?”

Assholes of a feather flock together.

“I have studied the Soviet and the Russian economy for over four decades. I believe there are four reasons the sky has yet not fallen in on the Russian economy.”

RIP, Duangphet Phromthep, one of the 12 boys rescued from a flooded Thai cave after a weekslong operation that drew global attention in 2018.

“Ten Dazzling Celestial Events to See in 2023″.

This will be the final season of Succession, so enjoy it while you still can.

Dispatches from Dallas, February 24 edition

This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think.

This week in Dallas area news, we now know the candidates for various races in the May elections in the Metroplex; staffing and evidence issues in the Dallas Police Department; and news from Dallas Museums. Also, from the border by way of the BBC, a fascinating short film about a Texas town that is now part of Mexico.

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 20

The Texas Progressive Alliance is recovering from the Presidents Day sales madness as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for February 19

“A new study examines the huge amount of misinformation being disseminated by a small but popular group of political podcasts. In particular, researchers found that claims of election fraud rose by over 600% in the days leading up to the Capitol insurrection, with the increase concentrated, unsurprisingly, among conservative media.”

“A document the NSF released in late August [detailed] a decades-long history of pervasive sexual harassment and assault at Antarctic research stations.”

“I just bought a house just past Girard in Brewerytown, and I took a walk around the street and I ran smack into Taney Street. I was just like, ‘There’s no way that this is named after who I think it’s named after.’”

“The designs for the 2024 American Women Quarters will be released in mid-2023.”

“Where did Superb Owl come from?”

“The Twilight of the Deficit Hawks”. Good riddance.”

“Taken aback by Florida’s attacks against its new AP African American studies course, the College Board late Saturday denounced the state Department of Education, saying it used the course to advance a politically motivated agenda.”

RIP, David Jolicoeur, a.k.a. Trugoy The Dove, member of De La Soul.

“And the weekend shootdowns coming so soon after The Balloon risks giving rise to assumptions about the new objects—that they are foreign; that they are a threat—that news coverage can easily amplify (even implicitly) if we’re not careful. The shootdowns are clearly a news story because, well, the things got shot down. And we’re right to request more certainty from officials. Until we get it, though, the story can’t be bigger than one of uncertainty.”

“A [judge’s] ruling citing [Oklahoma’s] parentage act could have substantial implications for marriage equality and LGBTQ+ parental rights nationwide, legal experts warn.”

RIP, Jesus Campos “Jesse” Treviño, renowned San Antonio painter and muralist.

RIP, Ann Hodges, journalist who established the Houston Chronicle’s TV beat and a founding member and two-time President of the Television Critics Association.

“There was a time when shame was a powerful force in American politics. That time is not now.”

“Although the shadow of a major cyberattack with international consequences has loomed over Europe since [Russia invaded Ukraine], a week before the first anniversary of the Kremlin’s assault, cyberwarfare still has not played a significant role in the conflict.”

“A group of more than 170 trans, nonbinary, and cisgender contributors to the New York Times published an open letter on Wednesday, condemning the paper’s coverage of trans issues — particularly its reporting around trans youth and gender-affirming healthcare.”

RIP, Raquel Welch, movie star and iconic sex symbol. These celebrity tributes to her are lovely.

Lock them up.

“Tesla recalls 362,758 vehicles, says Full Self-Driving Beta software may cause crashes”.

RIP, Tim McCarver, longtime MLB catcher and Hall of Fame broadcaster.

“Huge day in the Dominion Voting Systems v. Fox News defamation case, with both sides filing summary-judgment motions. Dominion’s version is a nearly 200-page document bursting with text messages from network talent in the tense days following the 2020 presidential election.” You should read the Introduction section of their filing, it’s 14 pages, easy to read, and incredibly damning.

RIP, Stella Stevens, actor best known for Girls! Girls! Girls! and The Nutty Professor. A rough week for classic Hollywood glamour, this was. Mark Evanier adds a few words about Ms. Stevens.

Dispatches from Dallas, February 17 edition

Note: this is the second edition of the Dallas-area news roundup conducted by my friend Ginger. Issue 1 was last Friday. We got a lot of positive response to that and I definitely like it, so on we go. The title is taken from the email Ginger sent me, so we’ll give that a try as the feature name. Let us know what you think. Thanks!

This week’s DFW news is mostly about the suburbs: Southlake, Carrolton & Farmer’s Branch, and Arlington are featured trouble spots. Also, I’ve found, which archives web pages and may be useful for reviewing articles on the Dallas Morning News or the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. If you can’t get through to an article I’ve linked, I may have archived it for you.

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 13

The Texas Progressive Alliance extends their sympathy to everyone who made ill-advised prop bets during the Super Bowl as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for February 12

“I’d argue that a number of important fissures define the current House congressional GOP — and the embrace of Trump and Trumpism is just one of them. Voting records, ties to the establishment and caucus membership, for instance, all played a role in how I measured Republican House members against one another, drawing on data as well as expert opinion.”

“Whenever fears of technology-aided plagiarism appear in schools and universities, it’s a safe bet that technology-aided plagiarism detection will be pitched as a solution.”

It’s fun to think that Elvis Presley’s cousin could be elected Governor of Mississippi as a Democrat, but I’ll take the under on his chances.

“In short, white Christians in antebellum America did not come to accept slavery because of their biblicism. They became biblicists because of their prior acceptance of slavery.”

“The Years Of Vitriolic Misogyny At The Heart Of The Paul Pelosi Attack”.

“It’s Saturday night, so I will be a bit snarky: they need to get a grip. A key aspect of any country’s national security is spying, and of course China and the U.S. are spying on each other. Shooting the balloon down as soon as it was spotted would have endangered Americans and made learning anything from it more difficult.”

“That is to say, by most standard metrics, the U.S. economy is doing just fine. And the parts that have looked weak are directly related to how CEOs are feeling. About 98% of CEOs surveyed by the Conference Board going into the fourth quarter of 2022 said that they expected a U.S. recession. The reasons why are not entirely clear, but could be related to how the federal government has responded to recent inflation.”

Meet Ronnie Gajownik, the second female manager in the affiliated minor leagues and the first out LGBTQ person to have such a role.

RIP, Harry Whittington, Austin attorney and Republican activist best known for getting shot in the face by Dick Cheney.

Looks like you missed your chance to buy the National Enquirer on the cheap.

Everything you wanted to know about the 2023 MLB rule changes/a> but were afraid to ask.

“Major League Baseball, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and San Diego Studio are partnering to introduce legends from baseball’s Negro Leagues to MLB The Show 23.”

Things That Don’t Exist in ‘The Last of Us’ Universe (Because the World Ended in 2003)”.

RIP, Charlie Thomas, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer with The Drifters.

“What Pete Buttigieg Could Do To Deal With The Horrors Of Air Travel In 2023″.

Still looking for the Tylenol murderer, forty years later. Hoping DNA can help.

“In recent years, Washington’s NFL team and Cleveland’s MLB team have finally dropped their racist mascots. But Kansas City in the NFL and Atlanta in MLB and Chicago in the NHL have avoided similarly broad calls for change. At least, for now.”

RIP, Burt Bacharach, legendary Grammy, Oscar and Tony-winning composer of many pop music hits.

Wait, so you’re telling me that James O’Keefe is a complete asshole? Boy, I never would have guessed.

RIP, Charles Silverstein, psychologist and therapist who played a key role in getting homosexuality declassified as a mental illness.

Dallas-area news roundup, inaugural edition

Hello, Off the Kuff readers! I’m Ginger and I’ve been friends with our host for nigh onto thirty years. Back in the early 2000s, when they called it “warblogging”, I had a blog, but I’ve long since retired it. I’ve been sending Charles items from the news in Dallas, where I now live, for a while and offered to start doing local news roundups for DFW.

I was born and raised in Houston, lived for a decade in Austin, and have lived in Dallas for four and a half years now: long enough to get familiar with a lot of local politics but not long enough to have found everything about the area that’s interesting. My political interests are broad, from immigration (I used to work as a paralegal for a corporate immigration lawyer) to reproductive choice (Charles and I infiltrated an anti-abortion activist meeting together to report back to our local Planned Parenthood many years ago), to disability issues. When I’m not doing politics, I read a lot, mostly history, mysteries, and science fiction/fantasy, listen to a lot of music, and play tabletop roleplaying games in person and online.

What you can expect to see from me is news from the DFW metroplex, centered mostly on Dallas and the Dallas-side suburbs mixed with some local stories that I get from friends who are still in Austin and a few larger stories that grab my interest. I’ll probably post about a half-dozen links every week and we’ll see how it goes.

Note from Charles: The idea to do this kind of Dallas-centric news roundup emerged from an email exchange Ginger and I had. It was Ginger’s blog, which I stumbled across in 2001, that gave me the impetus to do this blogging thing, and I’m delighted to have her voice on here. We’ll see how this goes, and we may come up with a suitable name for the feature if we’re inspired. Let me know what you think.

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 6

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone has their power back by now as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for February 5

“AT FIRST GLANCE, electric vehicles seem like rolling disasters for the power grid. Surely the ancient, creaky network in the United States can’t handle the demand for charging those massive batteries. But a new analysis suggests that just a fraction of EV owners could make the grid more flexible and reliable by plugging into a system called vehicle-to-grid charging (V2G), or bidirectional charging.”

“The Unlikely Alliance Between Tech Bros and Radical Environmentalists”.

Et tu, Rooty?

“Biden’s expansive executive order seeks to restore competition in the economy. It’s been a long, slow road to get the whole government on board—but there are some formidable gains.”

“We are on the edge of a spy scandal with major implications for how we understand the Trump administration, our national security, and ourselves.”

RIP, Annie Wersching, versatile actor known for roles on 24, Timeless, Star Trek: Picard, The Vampire Diaries, and as the voice of Tess on The Last Of Us.

RIP, Barrett Strong, Motown singer and songwriter whose credits include “Money (That’s What I Want)” and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”.

RIP, Lisa Loring, actor who was the original Wednesday Addams.

“We Tried to Call the Top Donors to George Santos’ 2020 Campaign. Many Don’t Seem to Exist.”

“Priscilla Presley, widow of Elvis Presley and mother of their late daughter Lisa Marie Presley, has filed a challenge to the validity of her daughter’s will in Los Angeles Superior Court.”

RIP, Bobby Hull, Hockey Hall of Famer. As Defector says, “He was a fantastic hockey player and a horrible human being, and to pretend like one of those is somehow at odds with the other is a fool’s math.”

RIP, Cindy Williams, actor best known as Shirley from Laverne and Shirley.

“Former President Donald Trump sued famed journalist Bob Woodward on Monday over the release of audio recordings of his interviews with Trump, who claims he never agreed to allow those tapes to be sold to the public.”

Premium cable channel Showtime is being swallowed by Paramount+ into a new thing called “Paramount+ With Showtime”, and all I can say as a computer nerd is that Paramount++ was right there.

“For all of the reasons provided in my answer, which is incorporated herein in its entirety, I decline to answer the question.”

“Be honest Gen Xers, if someone were to ask you, right now, to explain Whitewater in three sentences, could you do it? I think most people couldn’t; I know for me the phrase is really just a lot of random word association. e.g., Whitewater/Clintons/land deal/suicide (remember Vince Foster??) that is shorthand for some vague criminality no one can articulate. And that’s the point.”

“The World’s Most Online Man has been so busy soothing the bruised egos of right-wing Twitter influencers that he’s once again allowed Twitter to drift dangerously close to the rocks. That’s true not just in the United States, but increasingly in Europe, where regulators aren’t amused by Musk’s cavalier attitude toward tough EU policies on hate speech and data privacy. Let’s take a look at who Elon is pissing off today.”

Here’s a cool story about a cousin of mine.

“A Brief History of Let’s Get Back to Teaching the Basics”.

“Hunter Biden’s legal team is coming out swinging. Who knows what House Republicans were expecting, but President Joe Biden’s son is not going quietly into the night as they plan their unsubstantiated investigative attacks.”

“The interview, disappointingly, doesn’t touch on a question that I thought would be of particular interest to Christianity Today’s readers: Will AI programs like ChatGPT someday be writing sermons?”

“Netflix hasn’t confirmed its plans to stop password sharing just yet”.

RIP, Bobby Beathard, Hall of Fame football executive.

“Why On Earth Are Some MAGA Republicans Wearing AR-15 Pins?” (Spoiler alert: Because they are terrible, awful, no-good people.)

“Along with the Hug Fairy and HourlyPony, it’s likely also the end of song lyric bots, book snippet bots, poetry bots, art bots, satellite imagery bots, bots that tell you how much of the year has passed, bots that remind you to take a drink of water, those that share daily screenshots from TV shows, and the many, many other bots that demonstrate the creativity a free API allows. But it’s also a lot more serious than that.”

RIP, Melinda Dillon, actor best known for A Christmas Story, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Slap Shot.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 30

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for January to end as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for January 29

“One of George R.R. Martin’s favorite fantasy novels might finally get adapted into a TV series thanks to an unlikely ally — late-night host Stephen Colbert.”

“Over the last year, several Republicans have been clamoring to impeach the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, as the next act in their nativist political theater. Devoid of substance, their production of impeachment is but the latest in an escalating set of performances to engage their base. While a dead-end in the Senate controlled by Democrats, House Republicans reinvigorated their calls for impeachment after their lackluster performance in the midterms guaranteed their efforts would be just for show. If House Republicans move forward with an endless set of hearings or impeachment, their charade will not just be a massive waste of tax dollars and distraction from Republicans’ failure to govern but a dangerous normalization of a conspiracy theory drenched in white nationalism and anti-Semitism that they will employ as a critical accusation. A conspiracy theory that has inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks over the last few years and claimed the lives of dozens of Americans.”

“Pink Floyd Announce Dark Side of the Moon Box Set for 50th Anniversary”.

I’m not in the target demographic for Zoey 101, but this argument against watching the forthcoming reboot by someone who is in that demographic is compelling.

“A new analysis of citizen science reports indicates that light pollution is intensifying around the world.”

If you’ve ever wondered why the NFL doesn’t use the chip that’s in every football to measure for first downs instead of those silly chains, here’s an explanation for you.

So, how are the billionaires doing at supporting and revitalizing journalism?

Lock him up.

Elections have consequences. That includes good ones. And bad ones, too.

“Sunday [marked] 50 years since the Roe decision. Now, in the seven months since the court’s reversal, the scope of its protections are clearer than ever — as are the implications of its loss. The 19th has tracked who in America can get an abortion and where, a picture that has changed dramatically. Here’s where laws stood as of these dates”.

Hey, remember the USA Network? They used to have shows worth watching. I would have included In Plain Sight on their list of quality programs; among other things, it had in my opinion one of the best and most satisfying series finales I’ve seen.

“By coincidence, both party leaders are now Baptists, a faith that outside the South has generally been underrepresented among the political elite. […] There would be good feature potential in comparing the two Baptists’ congregations.” (Via Slacktivist.)

“For these policies to retain such support among House conservatives suggests that Republicans have failed to absorb Donald Trump’s one good political lesson: Don’t mess with Social Security and Medicare.”

“An important lesson of American mass shootings, including the most recent, is that each one is an individual incident, involving different circumstances, different motivations, different victims. We should always be careful to recognize this specificity, as well as the unimaginable losses suffered by the victims and their families. But we must never lose sight of the fact that all these tragedies take place in a culture that has facilitated the sale for profit of deadly weapons, making it relatively easy for people with deadly intentions to acquire one. Unless and until this environment changes, the carnage will continue.”

“And apparently it’s all part of a conspiracy that started with gas stoves, moved on to coffee, and now is infesting video games.”

I trust that by now, a special prosecutor has been appointed. Right?

“Earth’s inner core may have temporarily stopped rotating relative to the mantle and surface, researchers report in the January 23 Nature Geoscience. Now, the direction of the inner core’s rotation may be reversing — part of what could be a roughly 70-year-long cycle that may influence the length of Earth’s days and its magnetic field — though some researchers are skeptical.”

RIP, Lloyd Morriset, co-founder of Children’s Television Workshop and co-creator of Sesame Street.

Cry me a river.

“All of that could be described as Tim LaHaye’s attempt to ensure that the attitudes he expressed in that 1968 letter would be and remain “normal” for white evangelicalism in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, 2000s and 2010s. For the next 48 years of his life, right up until his unraptured demise in 2016, Tim LaHaye never stopped writing this letter.”

“Chao has previously suggested that repeating Trump’s racist attacks against her—which often includes not only the personalized slur but baseless accusations of secret fealty to Beijing—only fuels his abhorrent taunting. And yet it’s gotten to the point that even she has to say something. And she had to do it alone.”

RIP, Lance Kerwin, actor best known for the TV show James at 16.

“But after almost four years — far longer than the Russia investigation itself — Mr. Durham’s work is coming to an end without uncovering anything like the deep state plot alleged by Mr. Trump and suspected by Mr. Barr.”

Disbar him.

RIP, Billy Packer, Emmy award winning college basketball announcer and Final Four fixture.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 23

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for pitchers and catchers to report as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for January 22

“I’m a Criminology Professor. I’ve Seen Students Like the Idaho Suspect Before.”

“After being fired by Disney for transphobic and antisemitic statements, Gina Carano’s new movie has epically flopped”. I should note that what is reported there is not entirely accurate, but the real story is pretty hilarious.

Only 47 percent of nursing home residents were fully up-to-date and had received the bivalent COVID booster in the four weeks preceding December 18, according to AARP. Less than a quarter of staff, 22 percent, are fully up-to-date on their COVID vaccinations. This is despite relatively high rates of infection and transmission. Over the same time period, one in 17 nursing home residents tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 1,100 nursing home residents died. In all, 64 percent of nursing homes had at least one resident case. COVID is the third leading cause of death for Americans over 65.”

“In the country which we live in, about 60 percent of the population identifies as white, and you take Latinx people who identify as Caucasian, it’s maybe closer to 70 percent if you’re going for the biggest meat of the audience … you tend to program for white men, because women watch a lot more drama and comedy than men, so if you get a scripted program that appeals to men, that’s automatically a boom. You worry, when there’s narrowing prospects, who’s losing opportunity.”

“The Pentagon’s new office for investigating potential UFO sightings received hundreds of new reports in 2022, and while it can explain more than half of those events, a sizable chunk remains a mystery.”

“The cycle has some experts wondering about how useful these discussions are. We aren’t, after all, obsessing about which strain of H3N2 flu has been causing most of the illness that has cycled through the United States in this abnormally early flu season. That’s because new strains of existing flu viruses may make us more vulnerable to infection, but they don’t render us defenseless against influenza. The same is true with SARS-2 subvariants — but that sometimes gets lost in the back and forth.”

RIP, Gina Lollobrigida, iconic Italian movie star.

“CNET Has Been Quietly Publishing AI-Written Articles for Months”.

“Roomba testers feel misled after intimate images ended up on Facebook”.

“The Taliban have started using Twitter’s paid-for verification feature, meaning some now have blue ticks on their accounts.”

“To be fair, there are not a large number of Bible verses that directly address the subject of oral sex. The practice is enthusiastically celebrated in several places in the Song of Solomon, but that book is a tricky thing to cite if you’re also intent on blanket condemnations of all extramarital sex.”

RIP, Chris Ford, former NBA player and coach mostly for the Boston Celtics, credited with scoring the first 3-point basket in NBA history.

“Here are some fun numbers. Toyota did not sell a single all-electric product until 2020, flagging far behind both rivals like Mitsubishi, Nissan, and BMW, all of which were selling EV models years before Toyota even established an electric car office. And that electrified product (a version of its C-HR SUV) was initially exclusive to Chinese consumers. The company’s first globally available zero-emission vehicle, the bZ4x, had a limited production run, went on sale in the U.S. only last year, faced an alarming safety recall, and ultimately sold just a couple hundred models here, a paltry portion of the 800,000 total EVs sold stateside throughout 2022.”

We’re all trying to find the guy that did this, SCOTUS edition.

“They said that my husband Don Lewis is alive and well in Costa Rica. And yet all of this hay has been made about me having something to do with his disappearance when Homeland Security has known where he is at least since back then.” The Internet reacts.

RIP, David Crosby, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and co-founder of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Lock him up.

RIP, Sal Bando, three-time World Series champion third baseman with the Oakland A’s.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 16

The Texas Progressive Alliance has already started the countdown clock to sine die as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for January 15

“In addition to helping absorb water, rain gardens can filter dirty street runoff, reduce urban heat, and provide a habitat for pollinators like bees and birds. So if you have space for it, you might consider adding one to your home.”

Some notes from a book critic about the first chapter of Ross Douthat’s epic fantasy novel that he posted to his Substack.

“We were the most gangsta as you could be, but that day at Dionne Warwick’s house, I believe we got out-gangstered that day.”

I don’t know if the Republicans have finally elected a Speaker as I write this, but once they do and they start doing actual legislative things, crap like this will be high on their priority list.

RIP, Adam Rich, former child star best known for his role on Eight is Enough.

Ethics, schmethics.

“We lost many former major league baseball players in 2022. Here is a review and roster of the most prominent ones.”

“Political action committees affiliated with more than 70 major corporations said they would pause or reconsider donations to those who objected to certifying the results of the 2020 election after the attack on the U.S. Capitol two years ago. Then they gave more than $10 million to members of Congress who did just that, according to a POLITICO analysis of federal campaign finance filings.”

“The narrative laid out in the Select Committee’s report illustrates how the twin threats of political violence and anti-democracy schemes were able to feed off each other in the lead-up to January 6 in a vicious cycle that still has not subsided.”

“A Tax Guru Explains Why Donald Trump May Finally Be in Trouble“.

“You do your job, hold up your part of the deal, the way they ask you to. Then they decide they don’t want to do their part of the job — for a tax break. And suddenly you’re paid, but you’re NOT getting the support you were promised as part of the deal.”

“The Earth’s ozone layer is on its way to recovering within the next 40 years”.

RIP, Sheila Masters, Houston community leader, friend and neighbor to George Floyd and his family.

“Investigators used forensic genealogy to zero in on [Idaho multiple murders] suspect Bryan Kohberger. But they aren’t saying so.”

“Give it up, lawmakers: It’s time to give C-SPAN better access to the House floor”.

“How Democrats Managed to Avoid a Red Wave in the 2022 Midterms”.

“Roman concrete, in many cases, has proven to be longer-lasting than its modern equivalent, which can deteriorate within decades. Now, scientists behind a new study say they have uncovered the mystery ingredient that allowed the Romans to make their construction material so durable and build elaborate structures in challenging places such as docks, sewers and earthquake zones.”

RIP, Jeff Beck, guitar virtuoso and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

RIP, Charles White, former ALl Pro NFL running back who won a Heisman Trophy and a national championship while at USC.

RIP, Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis.

RIP, Robbie Bachman, drummer and co-founder of Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 9

The Texas Progressive Alliance mourns the death of labor stalwart David Van Os as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for January 8

“Not only did Greta Thunberg destroy Andrew Tate with her tweet, she made him so angry he inadvertently tipped off Romanian authorities of his presence in Romania with his lame comeback video.”

“Why can’t we make remote controls thick and heavy again?”

“Let’s talk about the real problems with rural America”.

“Google’s embrace of publisher confidentiality means roughly 1 million publishers can remain anonymous to companies and individuals who buy ads on its network to reach customers. This opens the door to a range of abuses and schemes that steal potentially billions of dollars a year and put lives and livelihoods at risk due to dangerous disinformation, fraud and scams.”

RIP, Anita Pointer, Grammy-winning singer with the Pointer Sisters.

Time once again to vote for the Worthy Awards.

Advice on the minimum amount of work needed to protect your data and privacy.

RIP, Cliff Gustafson, longtime baseball coach at the University of Texas, two-time College World Series winner, formerly the winningest baseball coach in the NCAA.

Another “wellness to QAnon pipeline” example.

RIP, Walt Cunningham, Apollo 7 astronaut who was on the first crewed Apollo flight.

RIP, Orion Know, Jr, one of the discoverers of Natural Bridge Caverns.

Five things to expect from the incoming House”. You’ve already seen plenty of the chaos, and there’s so much more to come.

To put it another way, the worst people you know are having a fight.

“There are other critical functions that the House of Representatives executes that can’t take place until there’s a Speaker in place. Without a Speaker, committee assignments can’t be finalized.”

“An ancient wooden sarcophagus that was featured at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences was returned to Egypt after U.S. authorities determined it was looted years ago, Egyptian officials said Monday.”

RIP, James “Buster” Corley, co-founder of Dave & Buster’s.

The next Benoit Blanc film will not have Muppets in it. Sadly.

“Kevin is a man with many flaws, but on this day his fatal one was not heeding the lesson of the leopard-eating-faces allegory.”

“The longtime partner of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the Jan. 6 riot, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against former President Donald Trump and two men involved in assaulting Sicknick.”

RIP, Nate Colbert, former MLB first baseman and still the all-time home run leader for the San Diego Padres.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 2

The Texas Progressive Alliance still cannot believe that the year 2023 is not off in the distant future as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for January 1

I’m sorry, but the year 2023 still sounds like something out of a science fiction story to me.

The sordid history of Ticketmaster apparently includes that company getting a boost from former Sen. Phil Gramm.

“The US Senate is a fundamentally broken institution. Democratic judges need to account for that in their retirement decisions.”

“A freelance producer for ABC News also gathered dirt on critics of a consulting firm’s powerful clients.” A truly bonkers story.

“You Can Now Sue Movie Studios for False Advertising With Deceptive Trailers”. You can thank Ana de Armas, or more specifically two of her fans, for that.

“The 5 ‘known unknowns’ that will define 2024″.

About damn time: “West Point will remove Confederate symbols from its campus”.

“A List Of All The Jan. 6 Committee Witnesses Who Pleaded The Fifth“. A real rogue’s gallery in there.

Meet Bessie Mae Kelley, pioneering female animator from the 1920s whose story is just now being told.

“From a spacecraft the size of a refrigerator plowing into an asteroid (deliberately) to a helicopter trying to catch a rocket plummeting back to Earth, 2022 offered surreal moments in space that could have been ripped from the pages of a science fiction movie script.”

RIP, Thom Bell, Grammy Award-winning producer, arranger, composer, and one of the architects of Philadelphia soul music.

“The question of why the Trumpian populist right is so consumed with hatred for Ukraine—a hatred that clearly goes beyond concerns about U.S. spending, a very small portion of our military budget, or about the nonexistent involvement of American troops—doesn’t have a simple answer. Partly, it’s simply partisanship: If the libs are for it, we’re against it, and the more offensively the better. (And if the pre-Trump Republican establishment is also for it, then we’re even more against it.)”

No, Buckminster Fuller was not a cryptocurrency prophet.

‘Home Alone’ reimagined in the style of ‘The White Lotus’ opening credits“. And generated by an AI, which makes it even creepier.

RIP, Kathy Whitworth, pro golfer whose 88 LPGA Tour victories, six more than Sam Snead and Tiger Woods had on the men’s tour, makes her the winningest golfer of all time.

“Netflix is reportedly developing a Stranger Things anime series set in 1980s Tokyo that will be labeled as the franchise’s first official spinoff.”

“Three years on, the pandemic — and our response — have been jolting. Here’s what even the experts didn’t see coming.”

“The Dog Not Barking about a U.S. Recession”.

RIP, Pele, all-time soccer legend. I had the opportunity to see him play a game with the NY Cosmos of the old NASL at Giants Stadium in the 70s, and yes, he scored a goal, the only one in a 1-0 Cosmos win. I have no recollection of how I came to be at Giants Stadium watching a Cosmos game but I’m glad I was there.

“Sherlock Holmes will finally escape copyright this weekend”.

RIP, Benedict XIV, Pope Emeritus.

RIP, Barbara Walters, trailblazing TV newscaster and anchor.

Here are your 2022 Golden Duke winners.

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 26

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a Happy Boxing Day as it brings you the last blog roundup of 2022.


Weekend link dump for December 25

It may be Christmas but it’s also Sunday, and on Sunday we dump links. You needed something to read after the chaos subsided a little, right?

“Which Streamer Was the Biggest A-Hole About Cancellations in 2022?” (Spoiler alert: It was HBOMax, and it wasn’t close.)

“A researcher found more plotlines around and more mentions of abortion on TV this year — though wealthy White characters are still overrepresented.”

“No One Is Happier About Sam Bankman-Fried’s Downfall Than the Bitcoin People”.

“The federal charging documents, obtained by the Globe, outline a plot pulled straight from “The Americans” TV series, about KGB agents raising a family near Washington, D.C.”

“It’s time to change our minds about the cause of our current bout of inflation”.

Can you in fact cook a steak by dropping it from space? Science finally tells us.

“So: A small but not negligible minority of people say they won’t go back to pre-pandemic life. A plurality say they will continue at least some precautions. And there’s reason to believe that covid worries are having an effect on labor force participation. But the who of people with these concerns is where the stereotypes take serious damage.”

RIP, Gabrielle Beaumont, prolific and pioneering TV director, who may have directed more primetime hours of television than any other women in history.

“James Cameron aims to finally put that ‘Titanic’ door debate to rest, 25 years later”.

“At the core of every Musk company is a big, world-changing promise — they sell the idea that their products and services are saving humanity from some intractable problem, whether it’s climate crisis or traffic. But Musk’s promises track more with religion — he has been sent to save us from our earthly sins of waste and pollution — than with science. Think about it a bit and the idea that a luxury sports car can save us from global warming or that the answer for the Earth’s toxification is to move everyone to Mars falls apart, but that isn’t the point. The goal of all this mythmaking is to turn investors, employees, and customers into evangelists.”

Lock them up.

RIP, Tom Browning, former pitcher who won a World Series with the Cincinnati Reds and threw a perfect game in 1988.

“On Monday, the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol released an executive summary of its final report, which focuses primarily on former President Donald Trump’s alleged criminal efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The committee, however, also presented new evidence of criminal efforts to interfere with its investigation – on the part of some witnesses, their attorneys, and others associated with the former president. It is the kind of evidence that may have far-reaching implications including bolstering Special Counsel Jack Smith’s January 6th and Mar-a-Lago investigations.”

“Whale-sized shonisaurs dominated the ocean 230 million years ago. A fossil cluster offers a fascinating glimpse at how they lived—based on where they died.”

RIP, Franco Harris, Hall of Fame running back who won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers and caught the iconic Immaculate Reception.

“But while it’s hard to ignore the warning signs, there are plenty of reasons to still have hope for our planet’s future — starting with what happened at COP15.”

“But it’s also gutting because I’ve seen that look before. I’ve seen that same heartbroken and heart-breaking expression on my own father’s face.”

RIP, Rudi Valentino, oldest male orangutan in North America, lifelong resident of the Houston Zoo.

“A New York State metropolis recently rocked by a racist mass shooting filed a groundbreaking lawsuit Tuesday against multiple gun manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, Glock, Remington, Sig Sauer, and Beretta.”

“Hotels say goodbye to daily room cleanings and hello to robots as workers stay scarce”.

I did not believe it for a second.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 19

The Texas Progressive Alliance has some chestnuts and an open fire ready to go as it brings you this week’s roundup.