As I sit here on a Sunday after the Astros clinch a playoff berth, and my Texans are demonstrating to Pittsburg that my hometown again has a couple of real sports franchises, it's tempting to write about this great weekend. OK, the Rockets were the '62 Mets of the NBA last year, but they have been on top before, so I'll reserve judgment. But there are a few things to talk about this week involving the Congress, the leading Republican candidate's problems in New York and a big Greg Abbott supporter who is involved in helping illegal aliens.
First, the obvious. The Congress bought the country some time with a so-called "continuing resolution" to keep the old republic creaking along for another few weeks. And for doing the politically reasonable thing, finally, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted by the Eddie Haskell of the GOP, Matt Gaetz. Gaetz is one of the "leaders" of what is jocularly called the "Freedom Caucus" in the House. Like every conservative company calling itself Patriot this and Patriot that, it is meant to imply, you know, freedom from something or other.
And we could be looking at this kind of nonsense again just before Thanksgiving if these dimwits persist. They are couching this as a fight for fiscal responsibility, and goodness knows we can use some. But their idea is to responsibly dismantle the New Deal, Great Society, Medicare, Medicaid, the EPA, and any efforts to avert climate disaster. I've talked about this endlessly, and why it is happening. Some states, including ours (looking at you, Chip Roy) have elected this herd of cretins and they are willing to short people that work for us all, and defend us all, on their paychecks and ruin the country's credit rating, all to earn applause at a Trump Rally and Libroast. Governmentally it's more humiliating than Musk cosplaying Eastwood at the border...with his hat on backwards.
Certainly the border is a real problem, and one we can't solve alone. It will take cooperation from Mexico first and foremost, and since most of Latin America is in turmoil to a greater or lesser extent, the problem of people wanting to escape will be a real and constant one. The solution? Close the border? Really, how? A wall? The border is just under 2000 miles long. Let's get a bid on that one, shall we?
Trump and DeSantis have recommended shooting them. No, really, but maybe just in the legs. Marjorie Taylor Greene wants a declaration of war on the cartels. How we actually do that selectively, she didn't explain, because explaining lunacy is just tiring. Lauren Boebert wants to pass new laws to make smuggling drugs and human trafficking, which are of course illegal, even MORE illegal. And they all want a 2,000-mile border wall since the one in Berlin worked so well. I imagine Canada feels like they have rented an apartment above a meth lab.
And the object of all their affection, the former President, has more troubles a-brewin'. This week, the New York Attorney General, Leticia James, whom Trump calls "Peekaboo" succeeded in a fraud case against his businesses in New York. Why does he call her "Peekaboo?" Who the hell knows? Some have turned to the Urban Dictionary for a salacious and vulgar explanation of the term. His former fixer, Michael Cohen had a different theory in an interview with Business Insider...
“There’s no way in the world that Donald Trump knows the Urban Dictionary,” Cohen told Insider. “Considering he doesn’t even know the English dictionary.”
Okay, so what’s Cohen’s theory of the case? “My opinion? He has dementia,” he told Insider. “Especially with the additional stress that is now on top of him.”
Whatever you think the answer may be, this case hinged on Trump and his business, including his kids, giving false representations of their company's value to banks in New York. Here's my favorite part. Trump's lawyers claimed the banks should have done their own research instead of trusting our valuations. I call it the "Otter Defense" from Animal House...
Otter is my all-time role model, by the way. Trump also called Leticia James, Judge Tanya Chutkan who will oversee his trial on federal charges, and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis racists. Why? They are all black, and he is not. Recognizing projection when he sees, or in this case, does it, is not his strong suit.
This is not to mention his other comments in the last few days, as outlined by political commentator Charlie Sykes...
“Let’s just think about the last three days where we’re at here. Donald Trump mocked a disabled veteran, called for the execution of Gen. Mark Milley, has called for the complete shutdown of the government unless they defund the prosecutions against him. He’s asked for all Senate Democrats to resign over the [N.J. Sen. Bob Menendez] case. And, you know, he’s talking about using government power to retaliate and shut down NBC for criticizing him.”
Oh, and just shoot looters. Honestly, to all my reasonable conservative friends, do we really want to take the Tommy Tuberville Trolley to Looneytown again? None of the debaters were particularly inspiring, but there has to be a better choice in there than a guy who wears more makeup than Norma Desmond.
And yet we are lurching toward a Trump nomination like a drunk driver toward the guardrail. Watching the embarrassing performance at the second GOP "debate" should convince any sane Republican that they have a problem. Although, Nikki Haley seems the most reasonable of the group and the most likely to appeal to undecided and moderate Democrats. Like being the leper with the most fingers.
Of course, observers like former Fox stalwart Megyn Kelly said the real problem was that one of the moderators asking questions was a correspondent from Univision, the Spanish-language network. So, when in doubt, blame the brown lady. The New Yorker summed it up this way...
But one story I stumbled on this week, I think at least, isn't getting enough play. How about a Texas developer setting up a virtual town for illegal immigrants?
It's called Colony Ridge and is a real estate development of roughly 40,000 people in Liberty County, northeast of Houston, according to the Daily Mail.
The developer set the project up as essentially a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants wherein he sells them lots without the need for a Social Security number, only a tax ID. It is all perfectly legal. From the Texas Tribune...
Kathleen Campbell Walker, an El Paso immigration lawyer and the former president and general counsel of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said no state or federal law prohibits undocumented immigrants from purchasing homes or land in the U.S.
She said cities across the country have tried to prevent undocumented immigrants from renting apartments or buying homes, and those ordinances have repeatedly been ruled unconstitutional by federal courts. Under the law, Walker said, there is no difference between a foreign investor and an undocumented immigrant buying property in Texas..
“If foreign nationals can acquire property sitting in their living room in London or sitting in their kitchen in Shanghai, [immigration] status doesn't have a darn thing to do with it,” she said.
Of course this story has the conservative blogosphere and pundits' knickers in a twist, and Governor Abbott swears they'll look at it in the upcoming special session in October, you know, the one where they want to take your tax money and give it to private schools. The State Republican Executive Committee, the governing body of the Texas GOP, said in no uncertain terms that this project must be stopped.
No doubt the target of conservative ire is this lefty, pinko, fellow traveler of a developer. He is obviously trying to increase, somehow, the democratic voter pool in ways that no one can ever really explain. But this, and I can hear Mark Levin's reedy little voice shouting it, "This Bolshevik needs to be locked up along with the guy who pulled the fire alarm at the Capitol!"
Here's the problem the governor faces. The developer is William Harris. This guy...
And Bill, surprise, surprise (imagine Jim Nabors voice here) is not very good at liberal. In fact, he is such a failure at liberal that he gave money to Greg Abbott and other Republican candidates.
A lot of money.
It is estimated that he donated roughly $300,000 a year since 2018 to the Governor and more to other state reps, particularly from the Conroe area. So, this project that has the Texas GOP in a state of high dudgeon, and I mean Everest high dudgeon, is a product of one of their own. A rich and generous one of their own.
The company for the project is called Terranos (terrain) Houston and the marketing is all in Spanish. You think interest rates are high now? He is charging these folks 10% on loans, and conservative media is saying that the cartels are worming their way into this community. So, he's like Señor Potter of the Latin corner of Bedford Falls, and the Latin corner pretty much sucks, as this video shows.
How will Governor Abbott finesse this? I realize now I just said the words Governor Abbott and finesse in the same sentence. I know, it doesn't make sense, but it will make the next session a little less of a snoozer than it was inevitably going to be.
Meanwhile, on a lighter note, our illustrious leader Chris Newlin has a great piece on the Astrodome and the Oilers this week, and it reminded me of an old friend who wrote for the Dallas Morning News, Rena Pederson. She and I met on a trip to Germany to cover the impending reunification of the East and West. That's her on the left and me with the devil horns (administered by a smart ass from the Times). And let's be honest, isn't every writer for the Times a smart-ass?
As we talked, and inevitably started ragging on each other's hometowns, we hit on the idea of trading op-ed pieces about our cities and the failings of the other guy's. The Houston Chronicle let me disgrace their editorial page with my piece, and of course, Rena's was in the Morning News, and since she was the Editorial Page Editor, they couldn't say no.
She traded on the image Chris talks about this week, that Houston is a blue-collar, spit-on-the-sidewalks kind of overgrown Hooterville. I mentioned the Houston/Dallas-LA/San Francisco comparison. One town is trading martini recipes and the other is making money. She talked about Houston as though Jett Rink was still holding drunken banquets at the Shamrock Hotel, may it rest in piece.
Now this was the early 90's, when the Cowboys were really "South America's Team" and they had trouble keeping chalk lines on the field as the players were snorting them up. I mentioned the fact that Little d apparently had a case of ADHD as well since it couldn't finish anything. Their highway loop (635) didn't go all the way around the city and Cowboy Stadium had a hole in the roof. It was great fun and Chris has more of it in his essay this week.
So, kids, that's it for this week. I'd really like to write a travelogue like our buddy Jim Moore does sometimes instead of chronicling the actions of our duly elected nincompoops in Austin and Washington. But they are frankly more entertaining than my failed hitchhiking attempts back in college. Who knew that two guys in jeans and blue work shirts hitching near the boys' reformatory in Gatesville were going to look suspicious to drivers? My whole life is an ode to bad planning.
Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.