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May 8th, 2016:

Weekend link dump for May 8

I for one welcome our robot monk overlords.

“There’s a sickness here. We’re covered with ticks. We call them trolls, and they are, but that’s also a way to dismiss them — as if they’re just cantankerous outliers hiding under bridges.”

Two words: Chewbacca weevils. You’re welcome.

“Here, then, are several Things I Have Learned Due to My Google News Alert for the Word ‘Satanic’”.

If you really want to boycott trans-friendly businesses, make sure you don’t miss any.

I’ve never disliked the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but reading this makes me glad I never bought any of it.

“The only way to maintain weight loss is to be hungry all the time.”

“This election cycle, the tech elite are almost exclusively backing liberals”.

“For the first time, an international team of astronomers from MIT, the University of Liège in Belgium, and elsewhere have detected three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star, just 40 light years from Earth. The sizes and temperatures of these worlds are comparable to those of Earth and Venus, and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the solar system.”

“As broadly gifted an artist as he was, Prince never quite found the right approach when it came to licensing his music for distribution — in spite of the fact that sold over 100 million records, placing him among the best-selling artists of all-time.”

What George Takei says.

If you have ever said to yourself “What the world needs now is an animated Blues Brothers series, your wish has been granted.

What BooMan says.

Yeah, maybe politicians of all kinds should avoid sports references unless they really really know what they’re talking about.

“All of this implies, though, that a hypothetical Trump who toed the party line on trade and entitlements and foreign policy, who stood a chance in the general election, and who was more plugged in to the party apparatus would be totally acceptable to the #NeverTrumpers, in spite of his obvious and dangerous bigotry.”

RIP, Robert Bennett, former Senator from Utah.

“Once you’ve ripped up this deal, what happens to the next one? Yeah, Donald Trump might get a good deal one time, but the next president is screwed. It is the worst thing on the global stage to be viewed as an unreliable partner. You don’t want to be the North Korea of economics.”

Having once taught a class in differential equations back in my grad student days, I can attest that they are in fact evil. But not in that way. Now if he had been doing partial differential equations, that would have been at least a little suspicious.

Austin rideshare referendum goes down

Boom.

Uber

Preliminary election day results in Austin show 56 percent of voters against Proposition 1, a ride-hailing ordinance supported by Uber and Lyft. With 76.76 percent reporting, 13,957 have voted against the ordinance and 10,901 have voted for.

These numbers mirror early voting results, where of the 54,759 ballots cast, 30,683 (about 56 percent) voted against the ordinance and 24,076 voted for. Early voting for Proposition 1 started April 25 and closed on Tuesday.

[…]

Lyft

Both Uber and Lyft said they plan to cease their Austin operations if the election does not go in their favor. Austin Mayor Steve Adler said he hopes to sit down with Uber and Lyft following the election.

“The people have spoken tonight loud and clear,” he said in a statement Saturday. “Uber and Lyft are welcome to stay in Austin, and I invite them to the table regardless. Austin is an innovative and creative city, and we’ll need to be at our most creative and innovative now.”

Rick Claypool, research director for Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog group, said the clash in Austin is unique because the city’s special election is the first time a proposal backed by Uber has actually gone to voters. Claypool said the city will serve as an “object lesson” for other cities and could cause a “chilling effect” for those considering regulations.

“Likewise, there are probably going to be cities that go out of their way to sort of lower the floor of requirements for companies,” Claypool said. “They’ll say, ‘Come here, we’re Uber-friendly. We won’t make you do those things that those uncooperative places make you do.'”

The election night returns are here. Don’t be misled by the “213 of 229 Precincts Reporting” note, it said that from the beginning and I suspect it was just an oversight. I gave up refreshing the main election returns page at about 10 PM; the most recent update at that time was from 9:46. It’s just a matter of the final margin.

You know how I felt about this. Whether Uber and Lyft follow through on their threat to leave or not was unknown at the time I wrote this. We’ll find out soon enough. I’m glad that this multi-million dollar attempt to hijack the local government process failed. I hope Uber and Lyft learn something from this. I have no doubt that there’s room for compromise and improvement in the process, but that requires a willingness to negotiate in good faith, and not come in with a bulldozer and a bottomless pit of cash to force what you want. If they decide to leave Austin and Uber pulls out of Houston, that will be too bad, but they’re the ones who sent the ultimatum. They went all in and they lost, by a lot. Will they double down or will they dial it back and try a different approach? Like I said, we’ll know soon enough. The Austin Chronicle and the Statesman have more.

Jarvis Johnson wins HD139 special election

For whatever it turns out to be worth.

Jarvis Johnson

Jarvis Johnson

Houston voters on Saturday selected Jarvis D. Johnson to fill the remainder of the unexpired term of former District 139 State Representative Sylvester Turner, now mayor of Houston.

Johnson, a former Houston city councilman, defeated Rickey “Raykay” Tezino in Saturday’s race, according to unofficial results. He was the only challenger.

Johnson will serve until at least January. To hold on to the position past that point, Johnson will have to defeat Kimberly Willis in a May 24 special election.

Willis, a social worker and community activist, did not choose to compete in Saturday’s bid to fill Turner’s unexpired term, instead focusing her efforts on the May 24 match up. Primary runoff elections in judicial, sheriff’s and constable races will also be held that day.

Here are the election returns from the Secretary of State. As you can see, the story does not convey the magnitude of Johnson’s win, which was with over 83% of the vote. Of course, that was 83% of 1,836 total votes, so as landslides go it was fairly modest in scope. It’s the election on May 24 that really matters. If Johnson wins that, he gets a head start on all the other freshman legislators-to-be. If not, he’s just another footnote.

Here are the HD120 special election results as well, in which two people who will not be a part of the 2017 Legislature will now go to a runoff to decide who gets to be called “Representative” for a few months. I pity everyone involved in that endeavor.

In other news, here are the election results from Fort Bend County. Of interest are the city of Richmond ballot propositions. As noted in that Chron story above, Proposition 1, to increase the number of city commissioners, passed by a large margin, with over 82% voting in favor. Prop 2, for single member districts, failed by a 47-53 tally.

And finally, every election has at least one reminder that every vote counts. Here’s this election’s reminder:

The Katy School Board Race between Joe Adams and George Scott will not be decided until Friday when provisional ballots are examined, and when additional military ballots could arrive in the mail.

When the votes were tallied on Saturday night George Scott was ahead of incumbent Joe Adams by seven votes. Scott had 1,473 votes to Adams 1,466 but there are 12 provisional ballots that need further examination. That examination will happen on Friday according to Scott. Friday is also the deadline for military ballots.

Seven votes, y’all. I couldn’t find an official election returns page, so I’ll assume that this story is accurate, and I’ll keep my eyes open for a followup on Friday. In the meantime, my tentative congratulations to George Scott for the win.

Keep an eye on 2018, too

From Greg Abbott’s campaign Facebook page:

And from the greasy lips of Dan Patrick:

There are some who say that they could never vote for Donald Trump — in fact, I was one of those people early on in this presidential race. But conservatives and Republicans unite around ideas and principles, and when we examine the ideas Hillary Clinton is putting forward, the choice for conservatives and any thinking American becomes clear.

Hillary Clinton will continue Barack Obama’s open border and amnesty policies. Like Obama, Hillary refuses to see the problems that result because we have failed to stem the tide of illegal immigration. Like Obama, Hillary does not understand that to remain a sovereign nation, we must have a secure border.

Donald Trump gets it. He understands that securing our border must be a top priority. That is an issue Republicans can unite around.

They will have plenty of company in their embrace of Trump. As we know, Donald Trump has record-shattering levels of disapproval among Latinos, people under 30, and single women. These are all groups that Democrats will work to turn out in large numbers this fall, and there is plenty of evidence so far to suggest that they are enthusiastic about voting against the Republican nominee. They are also groups that have, shall we say, a spotty record of turning out in non-Presidential years. I’m just thinking out loud here, but it might perhaps be a good idea for various Democrat-aligned groups, especially those with money, to make note of these things and do everything in their power to remind these voters that their Governor and Lt. Governor embraced Donald Trump with open arms at their first opportunity. I mean, if it is our fond hope to get more of the voters from these groups to, you know, vote in 2018 when our Governor and Lt. Governor will themselves be on the ballot, then it would be a good idea to tie them as tightly and as frequently as we can to the galactically unpopular Donald Trump. Crazy idea, I know, but hey, it can’t be any worse than the strategies we’ve employed in the recent past. Who’s with me on this?

Endorsement watch: Remember the runoffs

The Chron makes their endorsements for the primary runoffs, which will happen on May 24, with early voting from the 16th to the 20th. Let me sum up:

vote-button

Republican

Member, Railroad Commissioner: Gary Gates

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2: Mary Lou Keel

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 5: Scott Walker

Democrats

Member, Railroad Commission: Cody Garrett

Member, State Board of Education, District 6: R. Dakota Carter

State Representative, District 139: Kimberly Willis

Judge, 11th Civil District Court: Kristen Hawkins

Judge, 61st Civil District Court: Fredericka Phillips

Judge, 215th Civil District Court: JoAnn Storey

Sheriff: Ed Gonzalez

Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, Place 1: Eric William Carter

Justice of the Peace Precinct 7, Place 1: Cheryl Elliott Thornton

Constable, Precinct 2: Christopher (Chris) Diaz

Constable, Precinct 3: Sherman Eagleton

Some of these are reiterations of primary endorsements, but quite a few are new, with the original endorsed candidate not making it to the finals. I’ll post a roundup of interview and Q&A links for the races where I’ve done them tomorrow.