Planned Parenthood & Refugees in Texas

Planned Parenthood isn’t in the refugee resettlement business, but the organization may have some advice to offer nonprofits that are. It seems the State of Texas has once again decided to ignore that matters of immigration are expressly the purview of the federal government, not the state:

Texas health commissioner Chris Traylor issued the first lawsuit threat over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in a letter to the Dallas branch of the International Rescue Committee, which said earlier this month that it supports accepting Syrian refugees.

“We have been unable to achieve cooperation with your agency,” Traylor wrote in the letter, which was released to the Houston Chronicle late Sunday, adding that, “Failure by your organization to cooperate with the State of Texas as required by federal law may result in the termination of your contract with the state and other legal action.”

Planned Parenthood has been threatened many times by the state threatening to cut off federal dollars appropriated for family planning and distributed via pass-through grants to states. The health, education, and advocacy organization can advise refugee groups on the legal costs of being targeted by a vindictive state government.

Let’s hope that the refugee organizations won’t become targets for daily protests, but PP can help with that as well.

At what point will Texans say enough? Our state government has slashed access to healthcare for low-income people, is denying birth certificates to infants born in the United States if their parents don’t have the right type of identification, and is now going after refugee agencies.

Who counts as a Texan? Rich white people born to other rich white people? Because my Texas is rather more inclusive than that.

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Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Roundup November 16, 2015

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks maybe we should finish celebrating Thanksgiving before we begin the Christmas season as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff took a closer look at how people voted in the Houston Mayor’s race.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos wonders if Houston’s anti-HERO supporters (those who embrace discrimination on behalf of bathrooms) know the group’s head ringleader is defending a male bathroom pervert? Anti-Hero Activist Defends Man Photographing Women in Bathroom.

Socratic Gadfly is trying to popularize the term Inside the Mopac media as a parallel to “Inside the Beltway media.”

Donald Trump asked “How stupid are the people of Iowa?” and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs answered, “stupid enough to vote for you, asshole”.

Neil at All People Have Value said that Mark Rothko had an almost Starbucks level of hatred for Jesus. APHV is part of

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks its all kinds of wrong to have private businesses pay for our border patrol.

From main line media reporting, it almost seems like some “shocking development” that the same forces which defeated the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance would now turn their ire upon the city of Dallas. But to Texas Leftist, or anyone that has closely followed the U.S. Pastor Council, this move was just a matter of time. Hold on to your seats North Texas, and get ready for some heinous lies to come your way.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs:

Grits for Breakfast calls out DPS for screwing up racial classifications on traffic stops.

Morgan Guyton decries Houston pastors who bore false witness against their transgender brothers and sisters.

Texas Watch has a petition calling for hospitals to be accountable for their doctors.

Raise Your Hand Texas reviews the education-related interim charges for the Legislature.

Alexa Martin-Storey and Kate Prickett remind us that plenty of laws and policies that undermine same-sex parenting still exist.

The Texas Election Law Blog updates us on the continued election woes of the city of Martindale.

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Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Roundup November 2, 2015

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone took advantage of their opportunity to vote as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff noted that one way to improve turnout in municipal elections is to hold them in even-numbered years.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos calls out Republican lawmakers for their cowardice in failing to pass a viable budget that will actually pay for things. TX Prop 7: GOP Asks Voters to Rob Peter to pay Paul.

SocraticGadfly notes that, unless the Clinton Foundation completes a massive accounting cleanup in just two more weeks, Hillary (and the other Clintons) could face a problem far worse than her email server or Trey Gowdy, and that would be the IRS.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants the world to see the 27 immigrant women standing up for themselves at Hutto immigration center.

A few late-breaking developments in Houston’s forthcoming elections were posted by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value took a picture of recent high water in Houston. Everyday life is interesting. All People Have Value is part of


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The TSTA Blog ponders the end of the standardized testing regime.

RG Ratcliffe names and excoriates the main climate villain at Exxon.

Patrick Michels analyzes Texas high school graduation data.

Paradise in Hell grades the latest GOP debate.

Better Texas Blog highlights the second year of modest rate increases for the Texas health insurance marketplace.

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Berkman Says Intolerance of His Intolerance is Mean

Former Astros baseball player Lance Berkman spoke out about the “digital persecution” directed his way after he publicly opposed passage of Houston’s equal rights ordinance (HERO).

The “digital persecution” that basically did not affect his life one iota as he does not have a Facebook or Twitter account or spend much time online:

He did say he Googled some of the coverage of his stance, which included radio ads on local airwaves.

“A lot of the comments were not in favor of letting the HERO ordinance pass, which was a little encouraging,” Berkman told Berry.

What really offended his delicate ego is that when he spoke out publicly against a law that created a municipal remedy for discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations for fifteen classes of people including veterans and the elderly, people spoke out publicly against him.

Yes, an internationally known athlete who represented Houston for eleven years (plus the one day at the end of his career when he re-signed with the team so he could retire as a member of the team) was surprised that his speaking out against the equal rights ordinance triggered a reaction and not only from people who agreed with him.

What did he say about it, exactly?

“No men in women’s bathrooms, no boys in girls’ showers or locker rooms. I played professional baseball for 15  years, but my family is more important. My wife and I have four daughters. Proposition 1, the bathroom ordinance, would allow troubled men to enter women’s public bathrooms, showers and locker rooms. This would violate their privacy and put them in harm’s way.”

And what did he claim was unfair about people responding to his advocacy?

“I didn’t expect the mayor to make a personal attack,” he said. “I didn’t expect her to talk about my girls or my family.”

You didn’t expect anyone to talk about your family? Because you did.

And actually, not only did you talk about your family, you talked about hers.

Everyone knows the mayor is a lesbian, but opponents of the equal rights ordinance conveniently ignore the fact that the mayor is also a parent and a married person. A lesbian parent of two adopted daughter and an all-but-adopted son, who Mayor Parker describes as African-American and mixed race.

The HERO would protect people based on their membership in classes including race, familial status, and sexual orientation, so the ordinance is exceptionally personal to her and her entire family.

When Berkman spoke out against it, he spoke out against a law that would protect the mayor and her family in multiple ways.

He was the one who used his wife and daughters to justify his bigotry. He can’t act surprised when someone else continues along that line.

Coach Berkman? May I explain something to you?

You’re not being persecuted for saying what you think.

What you’re experiencing, sir, are the consequences of engaging in political discourse with people who are not obligated to tolerate your intolerance.

Welcome to the big leagues, cowboy.

And by the way, Berkman, if you’re so concerned about protecting women and girls from predators …

I couldn’t help but notice that when the Houston Astros dumped the Houston Area Women’s Center from their roster of charities after a 23-year relationship and in the middle of a fiscal year, you were nowhere to be seen.

Surely, sir, you are familiar with the Houston Area Women’s Center? The nearly 40-year-old and exceptionally well-regarded local charity which provides services to adult and child survivors of rape and domestic violence?

You know, people who have been the victims of predators?

Here you go, cowboy. I’ve got a whole list of ways you could involve the Astros, retired Astros, or your students at Ed Young’s Second Baptist school, in supporting the Women’s Center and people who’ve been the victims of predators, since you seem to care so passionately about it. You can Google them to get a phone number. I’m sure they’ll take your call.

By Flickr user D.L. used under creative commons license.

By Flickr user D.L. used under creative commons license.

Posted in politics, race against violence, Texas | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Roundup October 19, 2015

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready to vote and mad as hell that Gov. Abbott yanked Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff would like to clear up some myths about sexual assault.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos argues Governor Greg Abbott cannot claim to be pro-life when he denies federally expanded Medicaid coverage for 766,000 Texans. The Holy Ones and the Senseless Cruelty of Right Wing Dogma.

Socratic Gadfly offers up a Democratic debate related trio. First, he presents his snarky, under-the-bus debate preview. Second, he provides his take on debate winners and losers. Third, he tackles a post-debate conspiracy theory by some Sanders supporters, that anti-Semitism is behind some opposition to Sanders.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes Republicans choose the CEO, even if headquartered out of state, over the citizens they were elected to serve. Worker safety? Not at the expense of profits. The water you drink? The air you breathe? Even the wind. Not yours.

Nonsequiteuse, writing for Burnt Orange Report, points out that voting yes on Prop 1 in Houston isnt just the right thing to do, its your patriotic duty.

With early voting starting Monday in the Houston municipal elections, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs offered his “P Slate” for progressive voters.

Neil at All People Have Value took a picture of the sun over Houston. APHV is part of

Just in time for Early Voting, Texas Leftist took a moment to compile all of the TLCQ 2015 responses. Find out where Houston municipal candidates stand on less “press grabbing” issues like complete streets and Mayoral power.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Juanita reports on the #CocksNotGlocks protest at UT.

Grits for Breakfast has a suggestion for Dan Patrick if he really wants to reduce police officer deaths.

Texas Clean Air Matters would like to change the conversation about the Clean Power Plan in Texas.

Texas Watch has a Netflix recommendation for you.

The Texas Election Law Blog wonders if we are ever going to get a court order regarding 2016 legislative and Congressional boundaries.

Amy Valentine navigates her way through Amazon’s creative standards as she attempts to promote her book about her breast cancer experience for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Melissa Hudnall bemoans anatomically incorrect spider costumes and decorations. [She must really hate the Nasonex bee!]

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Whose Land Am I On? And Am I Really a Princess?

In an essay published several years ago on Crunk Feminist Collective, Eesha Pandit reflected on our country’s official and stubborn celebration Columbus Day, in light of the fact that the explorer’s “discovery” of the Americas caused the genocide of Native and First Nations people, and an experience she had:

Recently, while at a conference, Jessica Yee, of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, asked a group of us in the audience whether we knew whose land we stood and sat upon.  She asked us if we knew the people whose land we were on.  After an uncomfortable silence, someone spoke up. There were about 300 activists in the room, and perhaps 2 knew the answer to her question.

Do you know? Wherever you sit right now, do you know who lived, worked, loved and died there before your history books begin the story?

Today would be a good day to find out.

She re-posted the piece today, and, upon reading it, I answered out loud, alone in my kitchen: Karankawa.

Why do I know this?

Not because it was taught in class.

Allow me to share with you the bizarre tangle of racism, cultural appropriation, and ignorance both benign and willful that made it possible for me to reply instantly to a question posed second-hand in a four-year-old blog post.

In the mid-to-late 1970s, during elementary school, I took part in a program offered at the YMCA on Augusta Street in Houston. The father/daughter outdoors program was called Indian Princesses. Boys did Indian Guides.

Preparing for some event at which we would need a sign to identify our particular group, my father volunteered to create a banner. He used some scrap lumber and piece of textile art from Ecuador for our standard. Across the top bar holding the banner in place, he wrote our tribal name: Karankawa.

Our fathers explained that we should claim that name because that was the tribe who lived in Houston before us. They didn’t tell us much about them, except that they were vicious warriors prone to cannibalism. When you are in second grade, you don’t question facts like those. They fit everything I knew about Indians.

There we stood, at a gathering of various Indian Princess groups from around the city that I have to think must have been called a pow wow. How could they have called it anything but that? A tribe of Indian Princesses, one of us in a headdress, one of us with a large drum, and one of us holding the Ecuadorian banner (maybe Quechuan?) of our Karankawa nation.

Today, the local YMCA still offers the program:

Y Guides and Princesses, formerly Adventure Guides, encourages fathers and their children to spend uninterrupted time together as members of a larger group, building lifelong memories and bonds. Through activities such as weekend camping trips, games, ceremonies and family adventures, dad and child will create memories that neither will ever forget.

Through Y Guides and Princesses the YMCA provides the following benefits to father and child:
  • Foster companionship and understanding and set a foundation for positive, lifelong relationships between father and child
  • Build a sense of self-esteem and personal worth
  • Provide a framework to meet a mutual need of spending enjoyable, constructive, and quality time together
  • Enhance the quality of family time
  • Emphasize the vital role parents play in the growth and development of their children
  • Offer an important and unique opportunity to develop & enjoy volunteer leadership skills
  • Opportunity to meet other families with children the same age

Y Guides and Princesses. They’ve dropped Indian from the name at the Y in Houston, but the Native and First Nations appropriation is still central to the programs across the country. And note that they dropped Indian from the program name, but they kept princess.

That’s kyriarchy for you.

That’s how densely packed racism and cultural appropriation and sexism are.

Reading about the Pawnee Nation, one of the California groups, I saw a reference to the Great Spirit. I’d forgotten, but seeing that on the page brought back a memory of chanting and drumming while we offered something (prayers? supplications? wishes?) to the Great Spirit as part of our daddy/daughter time.

This is the essence of cultural appropriation, isn’t it? We conquer and drive people from their land that we “discovered,” and then, we romanticize and fetishize their culture to assuage our collective guilt until we don’t even realize what we are doing.

As individuals—certainly, as children—we may not understand. It is endemic and systemic. Very few are taught to question it, and very few are offered history books that tell the other sides of the story.

The goals of the program in the bullet points above are lovely. Why on earth must we hang those goals on a framework of exotic otherness? Are modern American dads only capable of relating to their daughters by playing the role of the Noble Savage™? Surely not.

And yet, there it is. Daughters and daddies worshipping the Great Spirit while wearing war feathers, chanting made-up words, and pounding on drums.

Of course, when I was in 2nd grade, it was wonderful. I loved it.

It is probably a big part of the reason that I was so eager to accept the lore that one branch of our family tree bore a real Indian princess. I recall my grandmother, a native of Opelousas, Louisiana, confirming that our ancestor was an Alabama-Coushatta princess. {That’s a wholenother story … } Needless to say, all of my research suggests that was not the case.

The work may never end.

The name isn’t Indian Princesses, but the program still appropriates Native cultures and reinforces the erasure and denial of the brutality visited upon Native people.

I wonder what it would take to get the Y to overhaul this program so that it creates a space for parent/child bonding free of cultural appropriation? And maybe to create a space for children to learn whose land they are standing upon, and what it really means, and how to learn and grow from that knowledge? I think dads and daughters could handle that.

Posted in big questions, Houston, Texas, time for action | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Roundup 10/5/2015

The Texas Progressive Alliance is happy to feel a little fall in the air as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff highlights a new poll showing a gap between what the people of Texas believe and what their government stands for.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos is grateful to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner for revealing his Party’s false prophets. She is also grateful a Republican Presidential candidate’s whopper about an abortion that did not happen is exposed.

SocraticGadfly cleans up the climate change trash that Erica Greider threw all over the ground.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme has had it with Republicans who treat workers like so much used tissue paper.

The Harris County Green Party endorsed four Democrats in Houston municipal elections, bypassing the only announced Green member who who was declared, in At Large 3. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs says there’s a story about that, but he’s not telling it.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Grits notes that statewide judicial candidates no longer have to get petition signatures from each appellate district.

Tamara Tabo has some helpful hints for the Gaslamp and other (allegedly) racist nightclubs.

Lone Star Ma went pink in support of Planned Parenthood.

The TSTA Blog warns about bullies.

Eric Berger explains what the discovery of water on Mars means for the future of space exploration.

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