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Over the last few years, I’ve tried to read more fiction - kind of stopped during college after reading a lot of classic, sci-fi and fantasy prior. Recently I started reading Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire trilogy - the basis for FX’s The Strain (which I’ve watched with passing interest). Certainly not a classic by any stretch, but entertaining and a quick read - infinitely better than the television series, imho. Last vampire novel I read was Interview with a Vampire (before that Dracula), so The Strain was an interesting take on the subject of vampires.

If y’all have any recommendations for science fiction or fantasy books, let me know.

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Gotta Love the HOA

They let me know I need to paint my house and I must do this by February 2015.  Not only must I paint my house, but I can only use this lovely set of pre-approved colors. I’m just wild about Terrazzo Tan. And some of the colors are no longer in regular use (hopefully Terrazzo Tan). So glad I get to pay someone to tell me when to paint my house and what color I can paint it.

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The City of Houston recently passed an equal rights ordinance “which would cover employment, city contracting, housing, public accommodations and private employment at businesses with at least 50 employees on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity” (Source).

Opponents of the ordinance are attempting to repeal it through a ballot initiative; however, their petition was rejected, and they have taken the city to court. That’s where the City Attorney’s office comes in:

…city attorneys, in an unusual step, subpoenaed sermons given by local pastors who oppose the law and are tied to the conservative Christian activists who have sued the city.

I’m not a lawyer; I’m not a constitutional scholar. However, this just doesn’t feel right, regardless of whether one supports the ordinance or not. I’m not a particularly spiritual person, but I do have a high regard for freedom of conscience and religious liberty (see here and here), and for me, this action appears to conflict with that principle.

The mayor’s office issued a statement criticizing the subpoenas, but the statement says City Attorney David Feldman thought they were too broad (which doesn’t seem to be the case in the Houston Chronicle article). It will be interesting to see how this is decided.

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My Pet Peeve Strikes Again

So, I have a pet peeve about talking heads dissing “negative” ads (if you’re not going to tell voters about your opponent’s bad acts, why even bother running a race). The talking heads struck again while discussing Wendy Davis’ latest ad in Texas’ gubernatorial race. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Dorian Warren said, “What we know about negative ads is that they almost always depress turnout” (Source). Actually, Dorian, we don’t know that; it’s just that you and others keep repeating this bs.

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We took a day trip to Corpus Christi yesterday and went to the Texas State Aquarium, as well as the USS Lexington.

There aren’t a lot of exhibits at the Texas State Aquarium, so if all you do is look at the fish, etc. and move on quickly (like Zeke did), then you’ll be in and out of there quickly; however, they do have several presentations, such as how offshore rigs are turned into reefs, sea turtle conservation efforts, and of course, info about otters.

There is a lot of history on the USS Lexington, and there are many areas of the ship to explore, as well as aircraft.  Pro tip: if you go below decks, do so during the months when it’s cool (I know, I know; it’s Texas, so that’s about 2-3 months every year), because it gets warm down there.

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Wayne Thorburn has recently written a book about Texas politics called Red State: An Insider’s Story of How the GOP Came to Dominate Texas Politics (which I’ve purchased). Today, he published an article on Politico addressing whether or not Democrats can use the state’s changing demographics to their political advantage:

The problem for Democrats, and their hope to build a Democratic majority by motivating Hispanic voters, is that the numbers are misleading.

Misleading in terms of eligible voters and their reliability as Democratic voters. BattleGround Texas is working hard to register Hispanic voters, and Leticia Van de Putte - the Democratic Lt Governor candidate - is targeting her advertising in cities with large numbers of registered Latinos (Source). We’ll see the fruit of their efforts after November 4th. Whatever the results, the hopes of a Democratic takeover based on demographics may be short lived.

See also:

Courting the Hispanic Vote

Predicting Texas’ Future

Adjusting for the Math

Hispanic voters were boon to GOP

GOP’s Hispanic Outreach

The Republicans’ Hispanic problem

Texas and Hispanic Voting Patterns

Where the Trends Go…

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jspong:

Leadership.

HELL YES!

jspong:

Leadership.

HELL YES!

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Austin City Council Elections

Starting this year, Austin will have single member districts with real representation (although the districts have been gerrymandered in such a way to benefit the downtown/central Austin crowd):

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There are 10 single member districts, as well as the Mayor’s office, which will be chosen this November. I live in District 5, so I’m looking at the candidates there.

I have one major quality I’m looking for in any mayoral or city council candidate: that they haven’t previously served, or are not currently serving, on the council (they’re the problem, and the reason why we now have single member districts). Not too surprisingly, none of the candidates in my district have ever served on the council.

The Austin Chronicle has a list of all the candidates for mayor and city council. Please find your district and go vote. The people who have run this down for decades don’t want us to have real representation and expect us to stay home - they opposed single member districts and moving the elections to November.

It’s time for things to change in this town and for communities and neighborhoods to be truly represented.

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'Bout a Month to Go

If you live in Texas, we have several elections taking place: a US Senate race, Congressional races, statewide offices, some state senate seats, state house, as well as various county and city races. You can find a list of all the candidates here.

Election Day is November 4th, the first day of early voting is October 20th, and the last day to register in Texas is October 6th. Find out if you’re registered or what you need to do here.

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So It’s Banned Books Week…

In honor of that, I want to thank my parents (and I may have done this before on this blog, but it bears repeating) for not censoring my reading. I read lots of different books growing up, and I was never told I couldn’t read something because I wasn’t old enough or the book contained unsuitable material. I read Dracula and Frankenstein while I was in middle school (probably not appreciating all they had to offer), and I’m sure my parents’ curiosity and concern were piqued when they saw me reading Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. However, they didn’t tell me I couldn’t read them. I know I’m a better and more well rounded person because of this.