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August 6th, 2012:

NOH8 comes to Houston

Very cool.

The NOH8 “photographic silent protest” comes to town Oct. 18 at the University of Houston. The shoot is hosted by the UH Council of Ethnic Organizations, from 4-7 p.m. in the University Center.

NOH8 was created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in response to Proposition 8 in California, which amended the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8” painted on one cheek in protest. Bouska will take 5-10 frames of each person and retouch the final selection.

The event is first come, first served. You’ll sign a release, receive a NOH8 temporary tattoo and listen for your number. The tattoo will be applied to your face, along with silver duct tape across your mouth.

Solo portraits are $40. Couple and group portraits are $25 per person. And please wear a white shirt. Photos will be available in about eight weeks via

Funds raised by NOH8 will be used to promote and raise awareness for marriage equality and anti-discrimination through NOH8’s interactive media campaign. This includes bringing the campaign to other cities around the country, as well as compiling the images for a large-scale media campaign.

October 18 is a Thursday. Let’s have a good, strong showing for Houston. Put it on your calendar and be there if you can.

Chron smacks Stanart and Sumners


Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart is bad at his job.

Specifically, Stanart has performed poorly as chief election officer in his duty to responsibly and effectively administer elections for Harris County.


Stanart said that the delayed results were due to faulty phone lines that could not be tested until Election Day. This excuse, however, doesn’t explain why results were similarly late in the first round of runoffs back in May, including delayed processing of mail-in ballots. Nor does it explain why he published an inaccurate manual for election judges during the November 2011 election.

Going by this pattern, we’re not looking forward to Stanart’s handling of the presidential election.

But Stanart is not the only elected official in Harris County who has done a poor job running our elections. Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar Don Sumners used outdated district boundary information when distributing election ballots for the May primaries. This mistake prevented some valid voters from participating in the Democratic Party primary for Harris County Board of Education, Position 6, while also allowing some people to vote in that race who shouldn’t have. Now Harris County, Sumners and Stanart face a lawsuit from the Harris County Department of Education.

At a time when people around the country support strict voter ID laws against the real or imagined specter of mass voter fraud, or oppose it to prevent threatened disenfranchisement, incompetence in our county government has brought the integrity of our local elections into question.

Stanart and Sumners are of course two of the bigger proponents of the “mass voter fraud” hallucination. The Chron doesn’t often call out officials this starkly, so it was quite bracing to read. Interestingly, they did not bring up the idea of an elections administrator as a potential solution to these problems. I’m still waiting to see if Judge Emmett will try to put it back on the table or not. I suspect we are unlikely to hear about this again until after November. Coby has more.

You weren’t supposed to be mad at me!

Oh, the humanity!

Sad Dewhurst is sad

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Friday continued to fight a battle that he had lost three days before when Ted Cruz defeated him for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

Cruz and his allies had effectively cast Dewhurst as a tax-and-spend moderate, a criticism that Dewhurst was still eager to rebut during a rare meeting of the Legislative Budget Board at the Texas Capitol.

“There are a lot of Texans who are so mad and angry at Washington — and I’m mad and angry at Washington, too — (they) have a hard time understanding how any other form of government, such as state government, could actually cut taxes, which we did, and cut spending, which we did,” Dewhurst said.

Allow me to translate that: “All that anger and fear and hatred and mistrust we’ve been stirring up with our lies and disinformation and propaganda – that was supposed to help me, not be used against me! Why can’t you people act rationally when we appeal to your basest instincts? Don’t you understand how government really works?”

On a more serious note, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has been saying since last Tuesday that he was going to run for Lite Guv in 2014 regardless of what The Dew does. That’s a long way away and anything can happen, but I tend to believe him. Given that Patterson is not a culture warrior, it’ll be interesting to see how a Dewhurst-Patterson primary would shape up. Will Dewhurst play with fire again, or will he learn from his experience?

Houston Bike Share set to expand


The plan has always been to expand the program, and Laura Spanjian, Mayor Annise Parker’s sustainability director, first alluded to a search for new locations in early June.

“We’re going to have about 20 new kiosks and about 205 new bikes,” Spanjian now tells CultureMap. That would bring the total to approximately 225 bicycles inside of the Loop.

Spanjian says that the expansion, which was made possible through grant funding, will bring B-cycle sites to high-density neighborhoods with big office buildings and apartment complexes.

Come October, expect to see another 10 downtown kiosks, plus a few each in Midtown, the Museum District and Montrose. A leftover kiosk may be granted to the burgeoning East End.

I inquired with Spanjian about this and was told that so far there are 650 members in Houston B-Cycle and over a thousand check-outs at the three downtown kiosks, not too bad for our wet summer. There will be a full array of stats and numbers relating to the program around the time of the expansion in October. I don’t spend much time downtown but I did see a few people riding by on those easily recognizable bikes on the western end of the Buffalo Bayou trail near Shepherd a few days ago. I expect to see a lot more of them in the fall.