Archive for June 29th, 2020

H-Town is a mess.  We are the lead story on national newscasts.

Our leaders and experts have no idea how we will get the virus under control.

Gov. Greg Abbott admits he got it wrong on bar openings, but he won’t give Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo more authority to shut things down.

Judge Hidalgo is now self-quarantining.

The Texas Medical Center is playing games with the public and putting lives on the line.  They are playing politics during a pandemic and have lost Commentary’s respect, big time.

Thanks to Chron reporters Mike Morris and Zach Despart for exposing these bums.

What a mess.

Early Voting in Person for the Primary Runoffs starts today.  Wear a mask if you go vote.

Here is from the Chron E-Board today:

Anna Eastman in primary for Texas House District 148. Her record as an eight-year member of the HISD school board, plus the work she’s done since voters chose to send her to Austin in the January special election, shows she has a firm handle on how to get results for constituents. She has promised to make education one of her top priorities.

This is an interesting story from the Statesman today.  It is a must read for politicos.  Here:

On March 20, days after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, Gov. Greg Abbott postponed the statewide primary runoff election from May 26 to July 14 out of concern that the original date would result in people congregating in confined spaces in ways that “would threaten the health and safety of many Texans.”

Two weeks of extended early voting for the rescheduled runoff election begins Monday amid an intensified sense of crisis around the spread of COVID-19 and rulings by Texas courts and U.S. Supreme Court that prohibit the general use of voting by mail.

Nonetheless, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir reports that a huge crush of mail voting requests by those 65 and older, who are automatically eligible to receive mail-in ballots, could foretell an exceptional turnout by runoff standards, and she promises that in-person voting in this novel circumstance is being conducted with extraordinary attention to public health.

“I don’t think we should be voting in person at all, quite frankly, in the middle of a pandemic,” DeBeauvoir, who would have preferred universal vote-by-mail under the circumstance, told the American-Statesman late last week. “Which is why we’re taking all of these extra precautions to try and make voting in person as safe as humanly possible.”

While the pandemic might logically be expected to depress turnout, DeBeauvoir said that in Travis County, the reverse may be the case.

While turnout for runoffs generally runs in single-digits, DeBeauvoir said this time, “it just might get as high as 30%.”

There are a number of high-interest runoffs, both statewide and local, and a separate, coincident special election to replace former state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, representing Senate District 14, which is open to voters of both parties and does not require that a voter participate in either party’s runoff.

But, more than that, DeBeauvoir said, “I think voters want to vote. I don’t think they care what they vote on. They just want to vote.”

Ordinarily, she said, her office would get 1,000 to 2,000 requests for mail-in ballots for a runoff.

But by Friday, she said, “the levels of by-mail ballot requests we are getting are rivaling presidential levels. The most by-mail requests I’ve ever had for a presidential was 31,000. We already have more than 28,000 in house.”

Of those, she said, 85% are from those 65 and older, and another 12% are those with a disability, the other category that is automatically eligible to vote by mail.

But DeBeauvoir said that an estimated quarter of Travis County voters have disabilities, and that, despite the Texas Supreme Court decision that fear of the coronavirus alone was not sufficient reason to seek a disability ballot, that ruling also made clear that “a voter, using their own health history, can make a determination about their risk of injury to their health if they show up inside a public place.”

If so, they can check the “disability” box on the vote-by-mail request, and return it to her office, no questions asked, because, she said, election administrators do not and, under law, cannot check disability claims.

There is still time for any Travis County voter seeking a mail-in ballot to download the application from the clerk’s website, fill it out, check the appropriate box, sign it and return it to her office as long as it received by Thursday.

Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued warnings that anyone who advises voters that they can vote by mail simply out of fear of COVID-19 can be subject to criminal sanctions.

“Certainly there’s been an effort to make it seem very confusing. It is not confusing at all,” DeBeauvoir said.

“That’s why I am using very carefully picked language,” she said. “That’s why we have decided a voter, using their own health history, can make a determination about their risk of injury to their health if they show up inside a public place.”

Democrats have implored Abbott to use his power to allow any Texan to vote by mail, to no avail.

Last week, Abbott warned Texans the state was facing a “massive outbreak” of COVID-19, advising, “There’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home unless you do need to go out. The safest place for you is at your home.”

Nonetheless, when he was asked about in-person voting in a TV interview Wednesday, Abbott said that, with two weeks of early voting, “everybody’s gonna have an opportunity to go vote in a setting that is not crowded at all.”

“So, my first message to the public is that you can go vote and vote safely by going to vote early. Try to pick times of day when other people likely will not be there, and you will reduce your chances of encountering somebody else,” Abbott said. “The other message, of course, is to, number one, wear a mask, number two, use good hand sanitizing. Take sanitizer with you to use both before and after you vote.”

Early voting begins Monday and runs daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through July 10, but not on July 3 or 4 because of the federal holiday. There is early voting on July 5.

“There are 20 early voting locations. About half of them are new, larger sites that can accommodate social distancing,” DeBeauvoir said.

“We will not be using any grocery stores this time, so a warning to voters — don’t go on automatic pilot,” she said. “Check the location and pick the one that’s close to you and the County Clerk’s website has page on it that has an app called ‘wait times,’ that you can open on your phone or your laptop, that will look at all 20 early voting locations, and tell you if there’s any kind of a line, with a traffic signal icon — red, yellow, green. If it’s red, it means, don’t go there. If it’s green, it’s smooth sailing.”

Only 10 people at a time, including poll workers, will be allowed in a polling place. DeBeauvoir advises taking an umbrella in case you have to wait outside in the sun.

Voters will be given hand sanitizer on their way in, will use a disposable, hyoallergenic finger cot to use to sign in on a touch screen and a Popsicle stick to make their choices on the voting machines.

“You know the main thing I worry about is I want voters to wear a mask,” DeBeauvoir said. “If you don’t wear a mask you still get to vote, and we’re going to put you as far away from the rest of the voters as we possibly can.”

But, she said, “It is really not OK to show up at an inside polling place without wearing a mask. I don’t care who says what, it is not OK. I realize there for some people, that’s a real inconvenience, but I just think that voting is not the right place to grind your ax.”

DeBeauvoir said she increased staffing for the election from 1,200 to 1,600 people, and along with other safety precautions and the big mail ballot operation, it is costing the county twice what it would have in the past.

“We’re now over $2 million to conduct this election — a little runoff,” she said.

30% turnout for a primary runoff.  She is combining Dems and GOP, plus they have the Senate District 14 Special Election.

I have no idea what will happen in Harris County.  We are in new territory.

California Democrats have a resolution wanting to rename John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.  The Duke was known for saying some racist sh_t in interviews.  Commentary is not going to defend him.

I know this doesn’t matter, but the Duke was married three times, all to women of color.  A Latina from Panama, a Latina from Peru, and a Spanish American.

My favorite Western of all time is “The Searchers” starring John Wayne.  I first saw it in the 1960s and have seen it numerous times since.  In my personal point of view, it just gave me an awareness of sorts of the racist treatment of Native Americans during that period of our nation’s history.  You have to watch it to understand what I am talking about.

Commentary is certainly not going to say to keep the John Wayne name for the airport because of the movie, but the movie does have cinematic value in a discussion portraying our history.

Just saying.

GOP State Rep. Briscoe Cain tweeted this yesterday:

If I owned a bar, I would open it.

What an idiot.

S.E. Cupp tweeted this last night:

What’s the movie you just watch over and over again, just because it’s on, to fall asleep or when you’re sick?

Princess Bride

Apollo 13

Mission: Impossible

I tweeted her mine:

Godfather I & II

Wizard of Oz

Mama Mia

Notting Hill



Deep Impact

Saving Private Ryan

Princess Bride

To name a few.

I could have also added:

The Notebook

The Searchers

Blazing Saddles

The Astros named their pool of players they will use if there is a 60 games season.

Read Full Post »