Skip to main content


Reposted from Patience John by nomandates

Howdy my fellow Texans, we got a full-blown lefty coming to town! Come see Bernie Sanders at the IBEW Union Hall tomorrow.

The IBEW Union Hall is on 71 (aka Ben White Boulevard because this city loves naming streets like four times) just east of I-35 on the northside of the road. The discussion will begin around 7pm, Austin time.

As a left-leaning populist, rarely do I get to hear a politician speak that I can even remotely relate to. I look forward to seeing the Senator speak and helping to open the overton window to the left as much as we can. And doing it in Texas.

So come on by tomorrow!

Town Meeting on the Fight for Economic Justice (RSVP here)

Tuesday, March 31 at 7 p.m.
IBEW Local Union 520, 4818 E. Ben White Boulevard, Austin, TX 78760
Please join Bernie, Jim Hightower and other local leaders to discuss how we can:
Get Big Money Out of Politics
Deal with Obscene Wealth and Income Inequality
Combat Climate Change
Create Democracy NOT Oligarchy
Click here to RSVP »Town Meeting on the Fight for Economic Justice

Discuss
Reposted from Chrislove by nomandates
Texas Kos banner
Before I begin, I just want to point you to Egberto Willies' diary on the Texas Kos meet-up held in Austin on Saturday, if you haven't seen it already. It posted last night and is a good recap of the meet-up. I'd already been working on a diary, so we figured that two diaries on such an epic meet-up can't hurt.

If you were following the diaries nomandates and I posted advertising the Texas Kos meet-up, you know that we were expecting a huge event. We maxed out the RSVP list at 175 people and were expecting the room to be packed. Unfortunately, Texas weather had other plans for us. An ice storm hit parts of Texas, including the Austin area, and our attendance dropped by over a hundred. And we understand why--safety first. In the end, almost 80 people showed up, and while it was an enormous drop in attendance, those of us who were able to make it had a great time listening to our incredible lineup of speakers, getting to know other Texas Kossacks, sharing ideas for the future of organizing in the state, and eating (of course).

Unfortunately, all of us were so busy having a good time that we forgot to take our standard food porn pics. So in lieu of seeing our shrimp and grits (which were amazing), have this, taken by navajo at dinner the night before the meet-up. Follow me below the pretty salmon for more on the event...

Continue Reading

Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 07:21 PM PST

Selma exhibit at LBJ Library in Austin

by Blood

Reposted from Blood by nomandates
"Civil Rights are Unconstitutional." Tea Party Conservatives on guard in Selma, AL, March 1965. Photo by James Martin.

Anyone heading toward Austin on Saturday, February 28 for the Statewide TexasKOS Meetup may wish to take in the new photo exhibit at the LBJ Presidential Library on the Selma march of 1965, entitled "March to Freedom," based around rarely seen photos, plus some famous ones, taken by James "Spider" Martin. A few pictures taken during last year's Selma conference at the library in 2014 complete the exhibit.

According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, "On one end, there’s the iconic photo of John Lewis and other civil rights protesters bracing for a bloody clash with Alabama state troopers in 1965 near Selma. On the other, there’s Lewis, a longtime congressman, embracing President Barack Obama last year."

If You Go

What: “March to Freedom,” a photo exhibit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma-Montgomery marches and the Voting Rights Act

Where: LBJ Presidential Library, 2313 Red River St., Austin, TX 78705

When: February 21 through April 12

How much: The special exhibit doesn’t cost extra, but regular adult admission to the library is $8.

Discuss
Reposted from Chrislove by nomandates
Texas Kos banner
We only have a little over a week until our epic Texas Kos statewide meet-up! And I don't know about you, but I'm pretty pumped. We'll be meeting in Austin on Saturday, February 28 for a packed day of listening to talks, strategizing, and strengthening statewide community-building efforts. If you feel in despair now as we begin what is sure to be a disastrous Republican-led legislative session, we're certain that you will feel empowered by the end of this event. So what do you have to lose? Come join us and get to know your fellow Texas Kossacks!

We have an incredible lineup of talks from some names you will probably recognize:

Kath Haenschen aka kath25: Legislative Preview: The Good, The Bad, And The Really Really Ugly
Meteor Blades: The Power of Year-Round Precinct Organizing
Denise Oliver-Velez: Motivating Young People to Vote and Run for Office
Neeta Lind aka navajo: Maximizing the Daily Kos Forum
Egberto Willies: How to Attract the Most Readers to Your Message
I mean, come on. These five outstanding individuals, all under the same roof, sharing their activist wisdom with us. Do you need any other reason to sign up right now?

Thanks to navajo, this event has received a big boost from official Daily Kos support. Lunch and your first happy hour drink (if you attended the seminar) will be courtesy of Daily Kos, as will be the seminar room. Because of this support, there will be no charge for the event. But space is limited, so you need to RSVP soon. All Texas (and non-Texas!) Kossacks are welcome. What's stopping you?

A few final notes:

First, transportation. If you can't drive yourself, some Kossacks have organized carpools from Houston and San Antonio, and AndyT has offered to give a ride to Kossacks coming from Dallas. In addition, if you are in or near a major urban center, check out Megabus. It's a highly affordable option (it shouldn't cost much more than $20 for a one-way ticket, and probably much less), and the bus is comfortable and has wi-fi and electrical outlets. I've taken it many times, and the last time I took it from Houston to Austin, I only paid about $10 each way. There are stops in downtown Houston, Katy (west of Houston), downtown San Antonio, downtown Dallas, and Grand Prairie (between Dallas and Fort Worth). The Megabus stop in Austin is right on the University of Texas campus, not too far (but not within walking distance) from our meet-up location. If you can't drive yourself, these may be some affordable alternatives.

Second, lodging. Unfortunately, downtown Austin is expensive. If you want to stay the night and can't afford lodging near the meet-up location, you'll probably want to look for hotels outside of downtown. The last time I was in Austin, I found affordable options not far from the meet-up location (but not within walking distance--closer to the University of Texas area), on the east side of I-35. Once you go west of I-35, the hotel prices are going to skyrocket. There are plenty of affordable hotels in Austin, just unfortunately not within walking distance of our event.

Third, if you stick around Austin until the next day, we have a bonus event for you. The annual Zilker Park Kite Festival starts at about 11:00 AM on Sunday, March 1, and was an enjoyable part of our last statewide meet-up. Something to think about.

Let us know below if you have any questions. If you want to RSVP, either comment below or contact nomandates. We're hoping to see y'all in Austin!

Continue Reading
Reposted from Chrislove by nomandates
Texas Kos banner
The clock is ticking as we get closer and closer to our Texas Kos statewide meet-up. A bunch of us Kossacks will be meeting in Austin on Saturday, February 28, for a packed day of speakers, panel discussion, eating, and fun. Have you been sitting in dismay ever since Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick were swept into power? Maybe you're in an area with few progressives around you? Feeling powerless and don't know what to do? Come join us! We're all in this fight together, and while we lost the last election, it's not too early to gear up for the next one. We'll be listening to talks from activists, discussing strategy, and strengthening statewide community-building efforts. This is an event that you don't want to miss.

And trust me when I say that we have a stellar lineup of talks. Here are our speakers and their topics:

Kath Haenschen aka kath25: Legislative Preview: The Good, The Bad, And The Really Really Ugly
Meteor Blades: The Power of Year-Round Precinct Organizing
Denise Oliver-Velez: Motivating Young People to Vote and Run for Office
Neeta Lind aka navajo: Maximizing the Daily Kos Forum
Egberto Willies: How to Attract the Most Readers to Your Message
So there are five very big reasons for you to make your way to Austin on February 28.

Thanks to navajo, this event has received a big boost from official Daily Kos support. Lunch and your first happy hour drink (if you attended the seminar) will be courtesy of Daily Kos, as will be the seminar room. Because of this support, there will be no charge for the event. But space is limited, so you need to RSVP soon. All Texas (and non-Texas!) Kossacks are welcome. What's stopping you?

A few final notes:

First, transportation. If you can't drive yourself, some Kossacks have organized carpools from Houston and San Antonio, and AndyT has offered to give a ride to Kossacks coming from Dallas. In addition, if you are in or near a major urban center, check out Megabus. It's a highly affordable option (it shouldn't cost much more than $20 for a one-way ticket, and probably much less), and the bus is comfortable and has wi-fi and electrical outlets. I've taken it many times, and the last time I took it from Houston to Austin, I only paid about $10 each way. There are stops in downtown Houston, Katy (west of Houston), downtown San Antonio, downtown Dallas, and Grand Prairie (between Dallas and Fort Worth). The Megabus stop in Austin is right on the University of Texas campus, not too far (but not within walking distance) from our meet-up location. If you can't drive yourself, these may be some affordable alternatives.

Second, lodging. Unfortunately, downtown Austin is expensive. If you want to stay the night and can't afford lodging near the meet-up location, you'll probably want to look for hotels outside of downtown. The last time I was in Austin, I found affordable options not far from the meet-up location (but not within walking distance--closer to the University of Texas area), on the east side of I-35. Once you go west of I-35, the hotel prices are going to skyrocket. There are plenty of affordable hotels in Austin, just unfortunately not within walking distance of our event.

Third, if you stick around Austin until the next day, we have a bonus event for you. The annual Zilker Park Kite Festival starts at about 11:00 AM on Sunday, March 1, and was an enjoyable part of our last statewide meet-up. Something to think about.

Let us know below if you have any questions. If you want to RSVP, either comment below or contact nomandates. We're hoping to see y'all in Austin!

Continue Reading
Reposted from Blood by nomandates

Secular Coalition for Texas has announced the first annual Texas Secular Convention to be held in Austin from February 27 – March 1, 2015. It will be preceded by a Rally/Lobby Day on the steps of the Capitol, where we will raise the visibility of secular voters.

This is happening at the same time as the statewide Texas KOS Meetup, so there is no excuse not to be in Austin on the last weekend in February!

Confirmed speakers include:

• Annie Laurie Gaylor, President Freedom from Religion Foundation

• Jamila Bey, radio host of "Sex, Politics, and Religion Hour"

• Greta Christina, blogger and author of "Coming Out Atheist"

• Kathy Miller, President Texas Freedom Network

• Ron Lindsay, President Center for Inquiry

• Rep. Donna Howard, Texas House of Representatives

• David Smalley, Host Dogma Debate

• Amanda Knief, American Atheists

• Amanda Hernandez, Secular Majority

• Chris Johnson, author of "A Better Life"

• Daniel Moran, Secular Candidate for Texas House of Representatives

• Dr. Katherine McCutchan, Hispanic Secular Humanists

• Prof. Kelly Wilson, Co-Author of “Sex Education in Texas Public Schools”

• Alix Jules, Chair, DFW Coalition of Reason Diversity Council

As speakers are added, get updates on www.texassecularconvention.org, and get get frequent notifications by joining www.tx.secular.org or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/SecularCoalitionforTexas.

There will also be a Mini Camp Quest on Saturday for children ages 6-13. Campers must be registered in advance.

Discuss

Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:16 PM PST

Rep. Alcee Hastings messes with Texas

by Hunter

Reposted from Hunter by nomandates
Rep. Alcee Hastings. CNN Caption: 'New Tonight: Uproar as Lawmaker Calls Texas 'Crazy State'
'Thank you Jesus' — American news networks
Congressman Alcee Hastings went on a bit of a tear during a House Rules Committee meeting this week, calling Texas "a crazy state to begin with" and so on and so forth. I would think any fact-checker would have to back him up on that, though someone from Florida is probably not the right person to cast stones, but in any event the entire political population of Texas is up in arms. In arms, I tells ya!
On Tuesday, all 25 Republicans in the Texas delegation demanded Hastings apologize for the comments, which he made during a Monday House Rules Committee debate over a bill repealing Obamacare.
Not to be outdone, former Texas governor and reliable conduit for much of that crazy piped up as well.
“He called Texans crazy. He is right,” Perry said at an American Principles Project event Thursday night. “We’re crazy about jobs. We’re crazy about opportunity… And we’re particularly crazy about the Second Amendment and the 10th Amendment. What we’re not crazy about is a government that taxes too much, borrows too much, spends too much.”
It's wonderful that Perry's movement is able to now embrace two constitutional amendments, though the reason for embracing those two continues to be the theory that with proper application of those particular two, all the other rights can be nullified as Jesus and Sam Adams (the beer, not the patriot) intended. I have high hopes of eventually convincing them of the critical importance of at least three of those amendments, but this is Rick Perry we're talking about.

Anyway, Hasting's spat with the entire Texas delegation is a glorious thing and one we'll have to keep an eye on. As far as I can tell Rep. Louie America's Dumbest Congressman Gohmert hasn't personally weighed in yet, and he should be good for a long, stream-of-consciousness floor speech in which he blames immigrants, ISIS, and the measles for being behind this plot to mess with Texas. Until then we'll have to settle for the rest of what this debate has brought us, such as better historical knowledge of Texas dildo restrictions.

Discuss
Reposted from nomandates by nomandates
Texas Kos banner
We have lined up yet another fantastic speaker for our kossack meetup in Austin on Saturday, February 28th! Longtime-kossack Katherine Haenschen, editor and publisher of the Burnt Orange Report, is joining us to share some of her insights regarding the current state of Texas politics. Known here as kath25, she has quite an impressive bio:
Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She has previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Austin. In addition to serving as the president of Austin Young Democrats, she is also UCONN's #1 fan in Texas.
My personal favorite of Katherine's recent posts at BOR is In Which We Join The Blame Game and Criticize Democrats Who Tried In Texas. Here's how she begins:
There’s been a lot of Democratic finger-pointing in Texas over the past week. I open my newspaper or my newsfeed and I see a pretty aggressive effort to assign blame to a bunch of people that worked really hard over the last six months to two years to a lifetime to try and change this state.
Yep, this was posted one week after the November 2014 election, and she accurately sums up most of what I was seeing as well. And then she proceeds to recognize the efforts of so many organizations whose volunteers and staff tried to elect Democrats in Texas last year. I was literally cheering by the time I got to her conclusion:
Far too many people appear excessively eager to condemn the hard, sweaty work of others who left it all out on the field. It never fails to amuse me to see who magically appears for the circle-jerking firing squad pointed at people that busted their asses to do meaningful work.

Sure, there are some serious questions about the outcome of this cycle that need to be addressed — so that we can all learn and do better next time. But I fail to see the value in personal attacks on people who have probably not slept more than 5 consecutive hours since Labor Day.

Was there no way for individuals who are so critical now to contribute meaningfully to anything on the ballot anywhere in Texas or nationally? If the existing organizations fail to suit one’s fancy, there’s nothing stopping anyone from starting their own effort and making a difference at the precinct, district, or county level, before moving on from there.
[....]
Believing in a better world in which every Texan is given a chance to succeed is hard. We haven’t seen much of that from our state government in the last two decades. Doing the work to change that is hard. Tearing down those who do it is easy.

So thanks to everyone who left it out there on the field for progressives and Democrats. All of us at Burnt Orange Report respect and admire your courage and commitment to our candidates. You and your energy are what will keep this movement moving forward, and why we will — eventually — prevail.

Yes, we will. I am looking forward to hearing what Katherine has to say at our meetup.

In case you missed our previous Texas Meetup diaries, our other speakers are equally fantastic:

  • Meteor Blades will speak about the power of precinct organizing to GOTV.
  • Denise Oliver-Velez will talk about the importance of registering, and motivating and mobilizing young voters (especially young people of color) - and her experience with helping them understand how voting directly affects their lives.
  • Egberto Willies will share what he has learned about blogging to attract the maximum number of eyeballs to your message.
  • navajo will offer pointers for maximizing the DK forum and growing groups.

We hope you're able to join us in Austin on February 28. All Kossacks are welcome, including out-of-staters. And if you're in a part of Texas that does not currently have a Daily Kos group, this would be the perfect opportunity to meet with other Kossacks and maybe even develop a plan to start a group yourself!

Because Daily Kos is sponsoring the lunch and seminar room, there is no charge to attend the event itself. But space is limited, so you must RSVP to attend. Just post a comment or kosmail me to RSVP.

Continue Reading
Reposted from Chrislove by nomandates
Texas Kos banner
We have just a little over a month to go before it's time for the second Texas Kos statewide meet-up! You might remember our inaugural meet-up in Austin two years ago, where we laid out a vision for turning Texas into a battleground state. The event was a great success. It was an inspiring day full of hope and camaraderie, and navajo and belinda ridgewood even flew in to visit us.
We're planning for something even bigger this time. In the wake of our Election Day losses, we cannot lose our momentum, and we must continue to stick together as progressives. Next month, we will be meeting in Austin for a day of discussion, strategizing, and (of course) eating. From my first diary on this meet-up:
Now that we have mostly recovered from the immediate effects of Election Day, Texas progressives have work to do. We knew from the beginning that efforts to flip the state would be a long-term project, and just as Republicans didn't take control overnight, we are not going to retake Texas without a long, hard fight. Now is the time to pull together, talk, plan, but most of all, never lose hope.

[...] Every cog, every organizing effort, every activist outlet in our Texas progressive movement matters, and Daily Kos plays an important role in our future as a battleground state. There are many of us Kossacks in Texas, both vocal and lurking (and somewhere in between), and we hope to bring even more into our shared struggle. Here in Houston, the Houston Area Kossacks group has served as an activist launching pad for several of us. While our metro area is too sprawling to have effective group activist events, our meet-ups have served as a clearinghouse for sharing information, and many of us have become much more active in our own areas of the city. And that should really be the point of any Daily Kos group--after all, we are here to elect more and better Democrats.

In the spring, we want to bring together Kossacks from across the state and region so we can lift each other up, share strategies, inspire and become inspired, and keep up the momentum toward tipping the balance of power in Texas. All while meeting new people and forging new friendships with our fellow Kossacks, of course.

Continue Reading

Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 03:55 PM PST

Texas Deregulation, Oops for Texans

by DRo

Reposted from DRo by nomandates

BACKGROUND

Deregulation

State utility commissions used to regulate most of the rates we pay in electric utility bills. Sales for resale between utilities are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In the 1990s, however, Enron Corp successfully urged many states and the FERC to deregulate and allow “the market” (e.g., the utility sellers and buyers) to determine electric rates. As a result, no regulator, state or federal, now protects many utility ratepayers from excessive rates.
Electricity deregulation in Texas was approved on January 1, 2002, and called for  deregulation that would be phased in over several years. Customers in deregulated areas can choose their electricity service from a variety of retail electric providers (REPs), including the incumbent utility.The incumbent utility in the area (differs to regions within the state) still owns and maintains the local power lines. The REPS compete pricewise to bill customers.

Regulated vs Deregulated

The difference between the two markets is actually fairly simple.  In a regulated electricity market, there is only one main company, which is commonly referred to as the utility.  This utility claims ownership of the entire infrastructure including wires, transformers, poles, etc.  It has two major responsibilities.  The first is to purchase electricity from companies that generate it, and the second is to sell and distribute it to its customers.

In a deregulated market, an additional party is involved.  The utility still owns the infrastructure, but now, its only responsibility is to distribute the electricity.  Deregulated markets permit electricity providers to compete and sell electricity directly to the consumers.

Smart Meters

Most Texans now have Smart Meters and have a monthly fee added to their bills to pay for them.  It's called  'Advanced Metering Cost Recovery Factor'.

Touted by Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) to:

Your meter will be read without a meter reader having to come to your home.
Your meter can be re-read much faster, should you have questions.
The new meters will record electricity use in 15-minute intervals instead of once a month like the old meters, providing customers more choice and control over their electric usage and expenses.
Smart Meters will provide instant power outage notice to your TDU and support more reliable and efficient electric delivery to your home.
Since in-person meter readings will not be required, the number of vehicles on the road will be reduced, thus reducing pollution, traffic, and fuel consumption.
Eventually, you will have access to detailed readings of your electricity use and corresponding price.
As meters are installed and enabled, the time needed to process service orders, such as starting or stopping service, will be reduced.
In the future, the meters will be able to communicate with programmable devices (like your air conditioner or dishwasher) through a Home Area Network (HAN) module to monitor and control electricity consumption.
You will have more choice and control over your electric usage and bill.
Continue Reading
Reposted from nomandates by nomandates
Texas Kos banner
Last month, Chrislove announced that we are planning our second statewide meet-up, and why:
Now that we have mostly recovered from the immediate effects of Election Day, Texas progressives have work to do. We knew from the beginning that efforts to flip the state would be a long-term project, and just as Republicans didn't take control overnight, we are not going to retake Texas without a long, hard fight. Now is the time to pull together, talk, plan, but most of all, never lose hope.

[...] Every cog, every organizing effort, every activist outlet in our Texas progressive movement matters, and Daily Kos plays an important role in our future as a battleground state. There are many of us Kossacks in Texas, both vocal and lurking (and somewhere in between), and we hope to bring even more into our shared struggle. Here in Houston, the Houston Area Kossacks group has served as an activist launching pad for several of us. While our metro area is too sprawling to have effective group activist events, our meet-ups have served as a clearinghouse for sharing information, and many of us have become much more active in our own areas of the city. And that should really be the point of any Daily Kos group--after all, we are here to elect more and better Democrats.

In the spring, we want to bring together Kossacks from across the state and region so we can lift each other up, share strategies, inspire and become inspired, and keep up the momentum toward tipping the balance of power in Texas. All while meeting new people and forging new friendships with our fellow Kossacks, of course.

We decided on Saturday 2/28 in Austin for our main meet-up based on the input we received as well as on the date for the annual Zilker Park Kite Festival, which begins around 11:00am on Sunday 3/1 and was an enjoyable part of our last statewide meet-up.

The next thing we knew, though, navajo had swooped in offering to come visit with us again as well as official support for our event from Daily Kos, and we gratefully accepted!

Continue Reading
Reposted from Houston Area Kossacks by nomandates
Photobucket

Now that we have mostly recovered from the immediate effects of Election Day, Texas progressives have work to do. We knew from the beginning that efforts to flip the state would be a long-term project, and just as Republicans didn't take control overnight, we are not going to retake Texas without a long, hard fight. Now is the time to pull together, talk, plan, but most of all, never lose hope.

In that spirit, the Houston Area Kossacks are in the beginning stages of planning our second statewide meet-up (you might remember our first almost two years ago). Every cog, every organizing effort, every activist outlet in our Texas progressive movement matters, and Daily Kos plays an important role in our future as a battleground state. There are many of us Kossacks in Texas, both vocal and lurking (and somewhere in between), and we hope to bring even more into our shared struggle. Here in Houston, the Houston Area Kossacks group has served as an activist launching pad for several of us. While our metro area is too sprawling to have effective group activist events, our meet-ups have served as a clearinghouse for sharing information, and many of us have become much more active in our own areas of the city. And that should really be the point of any Daily Kos group--after all, we are here to elect more and better Democrats.

In the spring, we want to bring together Kossacks from across the state and region so we can lift each other up, share strategies, inspire and become inspired, and keep up the momentum toward tipping the balance of power in Texas. All while meeting new people and forging new friendships with our fellow Kossacks, of course. But to pull this thing off, we need input from you. Some questions to consider:

First of all, would you come to this meet-up?

How long do you want this to last? A day? A weekend? Last time, we had lunch, socialized for a bit, and then most of us dispersed. We were thinking bigger this time.

We're considering hosting the event in either Houston (which will be easier for us to organize) or Austin. Would you be able to travel to either location?

Which dates work for you? We were thinking about either the weekend of 2/28-3/1 or 3/7-3/8. What would you prefer? If we choose to hold the meet-up in Austin, the latter weekend dates in March are out, as 3/16-3/20 is spring break and 3/17-3/22 is SXSW.

Perhaps most importantly, what do you want from this meet-up? What kinds of things would you like to see? Speakers? Panel discussions? Forums? We want to put something together from which we can all walk away a little richer in mind and progressive spirit.

We're looking forward to hearing your input. Please leave it in a comment below, or you can Kosmail nomandates or myself. We can't wait to hopefully pull together Kossacks from across the region. After all, we're all in this fight together!

Discuss
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.

RSS

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site