Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio) is now on Wednesdays at 11AM (CT) on KPFT-HD2, Houston’s Community Station. You can also hear the show:
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Welcome to Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig where we discuss local, state, national, and international stories. My co-host and show editor is Andrew Ferguson.
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- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
POSSIBLE TOPICS: VOTETEXAS.GOV—Voter Information; DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME: A Deep Dive; Daylight Saving Time | State Legislation; Oregon wants to stop changing the clock to and from daylight saving time…; The geographical problems with time zones and Daylight Saving Time: Oh, no, it’s time to switch the clocks back again; League City City Council postpones vote on downtown revitalization; Harris County outlines next steps in redistricting transition process; Montgomery County approves new commissioner precinct maps before Nov. 12 deadline; US Rep. Louie Gohmert exploring run against Attorney General Ken Paxton in increasingly crowded GOP primary; Biden’s infrastructure plan will set aside about $35 billion for Texas projects; Roads, transit, internet: What’s in the infrastructure bill; Native-Owned Renewable Energy Companies to Receive more than $6.5 Million from Department of Energy; Ted Cruz said Texas might secede if ‘things become hopeless’ in the US and joked that Joe Rogan could be the state’s president; EU readies Belarus sanctions as migrants try to breach Polish border; Bikini rule changed in beach handball after players protest; New study suggests SARS-CoV-2 spreading widely within wild deer population; More
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- Make sure you are registered to vote! VoteTexas.GOV – Texas Voter InformationTEXAS SoS VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT APPLICATION (ALL TEXAS COUNTIES) HarrisVotes.com – Countywide Voting Centers, (Election Information Line (713) 755-6965), Harris County Clerk
- Harris County “Vote-By-Mail’ Application for 2021
- Fort bend County Elections/Voter Registration Machine takes you to the proper link
- GalvestonVotes.org (Galveston County, TX)
- Liberty County Elections (Liberty County, TX)
- Montgomery County (TX) Elections
- Brazoria County (TX) Clerk Election Information
- Waller County (TX) Elections
- Chambers County (TX) Elections
- For personalized, nonpartisan voter guides and information, Consider visiting Vote.ORG. Ballotpedia.com and Texas League of Women Voters are also good places to get election info.
- If you are denied your right to vote any place at any time at any polling place for any reason, ask for (or demand) a provisional ballot rather than lose your vote.
- HarrisVotes.com – Countywide Voting CentersHARRIS COUNTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: Do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs?
- Fill out a declaration at the polls describing a reasonable impediment to obtaining it, and show a copy or original of one of the following supporting forms of ID:
- A government document that shows your name and an address, including your voter registration certificate
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- A certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes your identity (which may include a foreign birth document)
- You may vote early by-mail if:You are registered to vote and meet one of the following criteria:
- Away from the county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period;
- Sick or disabled;
- 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
- Confined in jail, but eligible to vote.
- Make sure you are registered:
- Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar
- CHECK REGISTRATION STATUS HERE
- CLICK How to register to vote in Texas
- Outside Texas, try Vote.org.
- I include this as a preface to what follows, in the event that anyone else, like myself, is both annoyed and confused by the usage and meaning of “biannual”.
- On ‘Biweekly’ and ‘Bimonthly’ (MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM): Biweekly and bimonthly can mean the same thing because of the prefix bi-, which here can mean “occurring every two” or “occurring twice in.” Therefore, biweekly can be “twice in a week” or “every other week.” Bimonthly can also mean “every other week” if it’s twice in a month, or it can mean “every other month.”
- MIKE: This same contradiction applies to the word “biannual”.
- MIKE: MERRIAM-WEBSTER follows this up with a pretty funny explanation about the contradiction that is itself worth reading. I have linked to it.
- MIKE: ABOUT DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME:
- The current politics of it
- Discussing the present instead of just the history
- There’s actually a gradual national uprising against the semiannual switch
- Daylight Saving Time | State Legislation; ORG (National Conference of State Legislatures ) | 10/8/2021
- … Most all of the states have considered legislation over the last several years that would place the state permanently on either standard time or daylight saving time [DST]. Since 2015, at least 350 bills and resolutions have been introduced in virtually every state, but none of significance passed until 2018, when Florida became the first state to enact legislation to permanently observe DST, pending amendment of federal law to permit such action.
- In the last four years, 19 states have enacted legislation or passed resolutions to provide for year-round daylight saving time, if Congress were to allow such a change, and in some cases, if surrounding states enact the same legislation. Because federal law does not currently allow full-time DST, Congress would have to act before states could adopt changes. The 19 states are:
- Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi and Montana (2021).
- Idaho, Louisiana, Ohio (resolution), South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming (2020).
- Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington (2019).
- Florida (2018; California voters also authorized such a change that year, but legislative action is pending).
- Some states have commissioned studies on the topic including Massachusetts (2017) and Maine (2021).
- [T]he current federal policy [was] enacted in 1966, as the Uniform Time Act. Several changes occurred along the way, mostly altering the start and end dates of DST. The current enactment was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The U.S. Department of Transportation is responsible for overseeing DST and the country’s time zones. All states but Hawaii and Arizona (except the Navajo Nation) observe DST. The territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe DST. Federal law allows a state to exempt itself from observing daylight saving time, upon action by the state legislature, but does not allow the permanent observance of DST.
- … DST was originally enacted as a way to save energy …, but some studies have called [that] into question … Other studies have shown negative impacts on people’s health and circadian rhythms because of time changes as well as a higher number of car crashes and workplace injuries in the days after a time change. The Transportation Department website states that DST saves energy, saves lives and prevents traffic injuries, and it reduces crime since people tend to be out and about more in daylight hours as opposed to the night when most crimes are committed.
- It would seem that a primary complaint of those seeking a change from the current situation is the act of time switching itself, and the problems that it creates. Opinions are mixed on the benefits of daylight time versus standard time, but the actual March and November time changes are almost universally reviled because of all the accompanying adjustments we must make, like coming home from work in the dark and the slower-than-expected resetting of our internal time clocks. …
- Oregon wants to stop changing the clock to and from daylight saving time, but it’s still happening and here’s why; By Meagan Cuthill | OPB.ORG (Oregon Public Broadcasting) | Nov. 6, 2021 2:43 p.m.
- In June 2019, Oregon took the first step toward eliminating the time change when legislators passed a measure that would allow most of the state – the majority which falls into the Pacific Time Zone – to remain in daylight saving time. …
- All three West Coast states are trying to stay in daylight saving time. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a similar measure as Oregon in 2019. In California, voters supported year-round daylight saving time in 2018. The proposition then went to California lawmakers, but the effort reached a dead end when legislators didn’t pass it by the end-of-session deadline.
- So, California is the main reason the change is in a holding pattern on the West Coast.
- … [T]here’s still another party that gets a say: Congress.
- In the case that the trio of states would be in favor of year-round daylight saving time, federal lawmakers would have to give a stamp of approval to the change and having all three states on the same page would likely help. Congress needs to get involved because the federal Uniform Time Act doesn’t allow for year-round daylight saving time. …
- The benefit of daylight saving time over standard time is as its name and purpose suggest: to have more light in a day – which many argue is better for individual health, economic productivity, etc. The benefits are why it was created and why 19 states … want to be in daylight saving time year-round. …
- The geographical problems with time zones and Daylight Saving Time: Oh, no, it’s time to switch the clocks back again; Why we may not escape the nuttiness of falling back and springing forward. By David Policansky | WASHINGTONPOST.COM | November 6, 2021 at 4:14 p.m. EDT
- … [T]he problems associated with wanting to switch the clocks … is more acute the farther one is from the equator. In Miami, on the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year), the sun rises at 7:03 a.m. and sets at 5:35 p.m., while in Fairbanks the times are 10:58 a.m. and 2:40 p.m. (both standard time). Most of us live at less-extreme latitudes, so let’s look at Washington[DC]: Here the sun rises at 7:24 a.m. on the shortest day and sets at 4:50 p.m.
- But north and south aren’t the only factors that affect daylight: our position in the time zone also can have a large effect. … [Comparing] Indianapolis, in the far western end of the Eastern time zone, with Boston, at the far eastern end. At the winter solstice, the sun rises at 8:02 a.m. in Indianapolis and sets at 5:23 p.m., while in Boston the times are 7:10 a.m. and 4:14 p.m. You really notice the dark winter afternoons in Boston and you really notice the dark winter mornings in Indianapolis. …
- Several states have passed or are considering laws that put them on permanent Daylight Saving Time, and several senators of both parties have proposed similar legislation in Congress. That might be acceptable if you live in Boston (or Chicago, at the far eastern end of the Central time zone), but the good people of Indianapolis would not see the sun rise until after 9 a.m. for a few weeks in the winter. I don’t think they would like that. …
- Another possibility is to stay on standard time all year, but then you have those dark afternoons in Boston and Chicago, and furthermore, on standard time the sun would rise at 4:06 a.m. in Boston in June, which means you’d have to get up by 3 a.m. to do anything at sunrise.
- As an aside, due to peculiarities of the tilt of the Earth’s axis and its orbit, we lose far more daylight in the mornings at mid-latitudes after the beginning of standard time than we lose in the afternoons as the days continue to shorten. The switch to standard time is on the latest possible date this year, but the latest sunrise (in early January) in Washington is still 42 minutes later than it will be on Sunday, while the earliest sunrise (in early December) is only 11 minutes earlier than Sunday’s. …
- So why not just live with whatever the geographic cards have dealt us with respect to time changes? Well, switching the clocks is a royal pain, and some of us hate doing it. But it’s not only inconvenient; myriad studies show small but significant increases in stroke, heart attack and other diseases and in death rates after changing the clocks, particularly after the spring forward change. Other studies have shown increased risk of accidents after the spring time change.
- ANDREW: The daylight savings question seems a bit less important than the question of whether we should be working so long as to need an extra hour of daylight in the first place, but until labor is organized enough to make bosses acknowledge the wasted time of the eight-hour day and end it, daylight savings is a diverting discussion topic. Obvious thing would be to amend the Uniform Time Act to allow permanent daylight savings, but there must be some official who’d lose out from that and has enough power to stop it from happening.
- Going Local:
- WHY MENTION THIS? ⇒ League City City Council postpones vote on downtown revitalization; By Jake Magee | COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM | 8:22 PM Nov 9, 2021 CST | Updated 8:38 PM Nov 9, 2021 CST
- … During the [Nov. 8 ] meeting, City Council was presented with an item to relocate power lines along Main Street between Hwy. 3 and Michigan Avenue from above ground to below ground. City Council eventually voted to postpone a decision on the $1.8 million project until its first meeting in January where city staff will host a workshop on the project.
- Council Member Larry Millican said he could not support the item due to its cost. While the project to revitalize downtown is aimed at spurring economic development in the area, Millican said he is not convinced the city could recoup $1.8 million just to bury power lines.
- “I question whether or not that this is going to be beneficial to the citizens of League City,” he said. “I don’t see any real benefit to doing this project.”
- Mayor Pat Hallisey said he does not believe treating city operations like a business is the best move. The city provides several benefits, such as police and fire protection, without getting a return on investment because the city’s job is to provide services, Hallisey said. …
- Millican said if the goal is economic development, if a developer were to come to the city later and say they will develop so long as the power lines were removed, City Council could make a decision then. Until then, $1.8 million could go toward other projects in the city that are more necessary, he said.
- City Manager John Baumgartner pointed out the agenda item is not to move power lines just for the sake of removing a visual blight. Removing the lines is necessary for other downtown revitalization projects, such as planting trees, widening sidewalks and enhancing lighting along Main Street, he said.
- MIKE: It’s not mentioned in the article, but moving power lines underground is actually about more than “beautification” or prepping the streets for tree planting. Putting power lines underground also protects them from wind and tree damage from powerful storms. And this is LEAGUE CITY we’re talking about, which is kind of close to the Gulf of Mexico.
- MIKE: As Mayor Hallisey points out, Councilman Millican also labors under a common misconception among Conservatives regarding government spending (although Hallisey didn’t say it like that).
- MIKE: Government is not a business!! It can’t and shouldn’t be run like a business!! Government is also not a household, and can’t be run like a household, either. Government is a government; it is essentially a sovereign. It’s reasoning is different from business; it’s economics, assets and resources are not a business. Also, for a government, taxes are not an expense: They’re the sole or primary source of revenue for a government! Government doesn’t buy “business insurance”; it essentially provides business insurance. What could possibly make government MORE different from running a business??
- MIKE: Government exists for purposes of national defense and domestic order, but also for promoting and protecting the welfare of its citizenry. Putting power lines underground, among other things, not only provides for the general welfare, health and safety in the event of a storm; it also saves money in trying to reassemble the local power grid after a storm. This makes such a project forward-looking in all respects, including “profit”.
- ANDREW: I see the argument about spending the money when there’s a clear need. But as Mike said, disaster preparedness is a very compelling argument that seemingly wasn’t explored here. For a coastal city, that’s a clear need in my book.
- Harris County outlines next steps in redistricting transition process; By Danica Lloyd | COM | 5:14 PM Nov 9, 2021 CST | Updated 5:13 PM Nov 9, 2021 CST
- Harris County commissioners approved new maps as part of the redistricting process 28, but officials said shifting agreements, personnel and assets from one precinct to another requires time. County officials said the deadline to transition responsibility is not officially until Jan. 1, 2023, but commissioners agreed the transition would be completed by March 31.
- All four commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding stating existing services can continue within the precinct boundaries that were in place before the redistricting maps were approved through the first quarter of 2022.
- “The memorandum of understanding is basically saying ‘Hey, let’s all play nice and work with each other for the next few months to kind of transition,’” Precinct 4 Communications Director Joe Stinebaker said.
- Commissioners agreed the continuity of services was a top priority during the transition, which has already begun. …
- Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia said commissioners have worked well together in previous redistricting transitions and expressed confidence it could be done successfully again.
- Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle and Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey pushed back, saying previous transition periods have been much different. Cagle mentioned the vote on new maps has historically been unanimous and both Republican commissioners brought up the drastic “flip” of their two precincts.
- “I don’t think there’s ever been a redistricting that’s moved 2.3 million people. That’s what we’re talking about here,” Ramsey said. “So the scope of it, even though it’s been done before … it’s just going to be one of those historical things.”
- REFERENCE: Judges’ precinct map pleases Latino leaders; PURVA PATEL | HOUSTON CHRONICLE | Nov. 20, 201, Updated: Nov. 20, 2011, 9:20 p.m. (for maps)
- MIKE: Andrew and I spent a considerable amount of time discussing the country maps. I made a special effort to find the 2011 map to compare it. While at first glance the new map looks highly gerrymandered, it’s actually in many respects not that different from the old Republican-drawn maps. If I might infer one significant difference, it appears that northeast Harris County will now have actual voting influence, instead of being put in a district with the southeast part of the county which is heavily populated by blue collar whites.
- MIKE: Over 90% of Texas’s population growth in the last 10 years was from people of color. The Texas state legislature tried to gerrymander them out. The large population shifts in Harris County districting might be inferred to both empower people of color, and to make up for past Republican gerrymandering.
- ANDREW: To me, both the 2011 and 2021 maps are clearly gerrymandered. Those precinct shapes are not intuitive, and I consider that a reliable indicator of gerrymandering. With that said, this is Texas, a state gerrymandered all to hell by Republicans, and there is an argument that Democrats need to use that strategy too in order to survive it. But I think it would be worth considering doing away with precincts and having at-large Commissioners, or making the precincts multi-member districts and using ranked-choice voting. Perhaps the Fair Representation Act could serve as a model.
- BY CONTRAST: Montgomery County approves new commissioner precinct maps before Nov. 12 deadline; By Jishnu Nair | COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM | 3:34 PM Nov 9, 2021 CST | Updated 3:34 PM Nov 9, 2021 CST
- The new maps moved a single voting precinct in southeast Conroe from commissioner Precinct 4 to commissioner Precinct 1. (Courtesy Montgomery County, Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta) …
- Commissioner precinct boundaries changed at the borders of precincts 1 and 4, represented by Robert Walker and James Metts, respectively. Bickerstaff Heath’s analysis showed Precinct 1 was the least populous before redistricting began, while Precinct 4 was the most populous. Commissioners agreed to move voting Precinct 2 from Precinct 4 to Precinct 1.
- Both Metts and Walker described the changes as “relatively minor.” Metts said the county was “blessed” that the changes were not more substantial, while Walker said the county’s growth in the past decade was “absolutely a good thing.”
- US Rep. Louie Gohmert exploring run against Attorney General Ken Paxton in increasingly crowded GOP primary; Land Commissioner George P. Bush, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and state Rep. Matt Krause are also vying for the GOP nomination next year. by Patrick Svitek | TEXASTRIBUNE.ORG | Nov. 9, 2021, Updated: 11 hours ago
- S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, is exploring a run for Texas attorney general, weighing a late entry into the already crowded primary to unseat GOP incumbent Ken Paxton. …
- According to video of the event, Gohmert repeatedly warned that Paxton’s legal problems could jeopardize the attorney general position for Republicans in November. …
- Gohmert said he would be “all in” if he can collect $1 million in contributions by the end of the day on Nov. 19. If he does not, he added, he would run for reelection to his current seat in Texas’ 1st Congressional District. …
- Gohmert is known as one of the most far-right Republicans in the Texas congressional delegation. …
- ANDREW: Great, so he’d be even worse than Paxton. Seems weird for a federal official to want to run for state office, sounds like a career backstep.
- Biden’s infrastructure plan will set aside about $35 billion for Texas projects; The funds will help advance existing plans, pay for much-needed repairs and launch other projects for roads, bridges, broadband access, electric vehicle charging stations and more. by Reese Oxner | TEXASTRIBUNE.ORG | Nov. 9, 202110 hours ago
- Here is the breakdown of the funds that Texas is expected to receive based on estimates from the White House:
- Federal highway programs: $26.9 billion
- Public transportation: $3.3 billion
- Drinking water infrastructure (and removing lead pipes): $2.9 billion
- Airports: $1.2 billion
- Bridge replacement and repairs: $537 million
- Electric vehicle charging network: $408 million
- Broadband expansion: $100 million
- Wildfire protection: $53 million
- Cyberattacks protection: $42 million
- The White House also estimated that $3.5 billion will be invested to weatherize the country’s energy infrastructure, but it wasn’t immediately clear how much of that money would go to Texas or how those plans could combine with measures approved by the Texas Legislature this year in response to February’s devastating winter storm. …
- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said his city — and others throughout the state — will immediately reap rewards from this investment into infrastructure once funds are earmarked for specific projects.
- “There are a number of areas within the city of Houston that can directly and specifically benefit,” he said. “We have projects that are ready to go to shovel ready right now. So it couldn’t have passed a moment too soon.” …
- He also emphasized the importance of investment into Texas’ electrical grid, nodding to the fact that his constituents are seeking more stability following the widespread outages during February’s winter storm. …
- Greg Conte, Texas Broadband Development Office director, said his office is looking into how the funds will be used to help bring “reliable, high-speed internet to every corner of Texas.”
- “Once we determine how these federal dollars can be used, they will add to the significant $500 million investment the Texas Legislature made in broadband earlier this year,” Conte said.
- ANDREW: So some form of this plan has finally passed. It’s nowhere near what’s needed to fully fix this country’s infrastructure, but I suspect even with a supermajority, Democrats wouldn’t have been willing to pass that. At least some repairs and upgrades are going to happen, though. I like that Texas is getting a big check for public transportation. Maybe Metro will add some suburb bus stops.
- Here is the breakdown of the funds that Texas is expected to receive based on estimates from the White House:
- Roads, transit, internet: What’s in the infrastructure bill; By ASSOCIATED PRESS from KKTC.COM | Published: Nov. 7, 2021 at 3:23 AM CST
- The $1 trillion infrastructure plan that now goes to President Joe Biden to sign into law has money for roads, bridges, ports, rail transit, safe water, the power grid, broadband internet and more. …
- Native-Owned Renewable Energy Companies to Receive more than $6.5 Million from Department of Energy; By Darren Thompson | NATIVENEWSONLINE.NET (Yahoo News) | November 08, 2021
- The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Minnesota-based Native Sun Community Power Development over $6.5 million for what’s being touted as the Upper Midwest Inter-Tribal Electronic Vehicle (EV) Charging Community Network.
- The funds will be used to purchase a fleet of electric vehicles to be maintained and charged for official use by the Red Lake Tribal Nation in northern Minn. and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North and South Dakota.
- The Native-led project will fund the two tribes, who have opposed oil pipelines in recent years.
- “This award is our answer to the pipelines,” said Native Sun Community Power Development Executive Director Robert Blake to Native News Online. “They’re going to continue to build pipelines. We’re going to build EV charging networks.” …
- The project is expected to commence in May 2022. Native Sun Community Power Development and SAGE Development Authority (“SAGE”) will utilize electronic vehicles in the rural, under-resourced tribal communities over the three-year funding period.
- The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe aims to promote EV use on its reservation, not only for official use, but for tourism use as well. …
- Electronic vehicles are powered by electricity from batteries or a fuel cell, most commonly lithium-ion batteries. These types of batteries are also used in most portable electronics, such as cell phones and computers.
- Lithium is a natural resource, and mining for lithium is contested in many places throughout the world, particularly on or near Indigenous lands. This summer, Indigenous leaders around the proposed lithium mine Thacker Pass in Nevada have opposed the massive project. The 1,000-acre Thacker Pass Lithium Mine is anticipated to operate for 46 years and, at full production, could produce a quarter of today’s global lithium demand, according to research on its website. It’s the largest known lithium resource in the United States.
- ANDREW: Pushing for more EV use and pushing against more mining and drilling aren’t actually at odds. Plenty of lithium is already moving around the global supply chain, and a lot more is waiting to be extracted from recyclable products. Further mining, at the very least right now, is not necessary. On top of this, one only has to look at Giant Mine in Canada for an explanation of why Native and First Nations people don’t want resource extraction operations happening on their land, both for their own health and the planet’s. The EV project being pursued by the Oceti Sakowin (“oh-chey-tee shah-koh-ween”), the preferred name for the group of tribes that the law calls the Sioux Nation, and projects like it, are very important, but making sure that good work isn’t undone by the extraction of the materials to make it possible is just as important. A lot of recycling is deemed “not economical”, but we’re going to have to learn to get over that, especially for lithium, if we’re going to stop, let alone reverse, climate change.
- Ted Cruz said Texas might secede if ‘things become hopeless’ in the US and joked that Joe Rogan could be the state’s president; Cheryl Teh | BUSINESSINSIDER.COM | Nov 8, 2021, 11:33 PM
- Cruz was speaking at an event at Texas A&M in October when an audience member asked him about his views on secession. Cruz said he wasn’t “there yet” when it came to the question of whether Texas should secede but understood the sentiment behind the question.
- “I think Texas has a responsibility to the country, and I’m not ready to give up on America,” Cruz said. “I love this country.”
- After going on to further praise Texas, he added: “If the Democrats end the filibuster, if they fundamentally destroy the country, if they pack the Supreme Court, if they make DC a state, if they federalize elections and massively expand voter fraud, there may come a point where it’s hopeless.
- “We’re not there yet, and if there comes a point where it’s hopeless, then I think we take NASA, we take the military, we take the oil,” he continued, prompting applause. …
- There is a so-called Texit movement seeking to make Texas an independent nation. The website of the Texas Nationalist Movement says its mission is to “secure and protect the political, cultural, and economic independence of the nation of Texas and to restore and protect a constitutional Republic and the inherent rights of the people of Texas.” The movement says on its website that it has more than 420,000 supporters.
- The movement is organizing a campaign to “force the Texit question on the primary ballot in Spring 2022.” The organization is calling for supporters to … sign a petition to have the question “Should the State of Texas reassert its status as an independent nation?” placed on the primary ballot next year.
- In February, the Texas GOP even moved to endorse legislation to allow residents of the state to vote on whether to secede from the US.
- MIKE: Ted Cruz says he loves this country, but Ted’s country appears to be Texas, at least after it’s Canada. Ted Cruz is bad for the United States. The Texas Republican Party is bad for the United States. All the evidence of the past few years (at least) is that the Texas Republican Party is not a loyal opposition. It’s a reactionary, separatist movement that keeps waving the flag of secession from the country they keep claiming they love. It’s a reason that the Texas electrical grid is kept jealously separate from the North American grid. It’s even one of the reasons Texans froze to death this past winter.
- ANDREW: As if there weren’t already enough reasons to be wary of Joe Rogan. I don’t care what happens to the US government, but I do care what happens to the people who live in this nation, and I know Texas secession would be a bad idea for everyone in Texas and the rest of the US– the movement’s name piggybacking on Brexit is a good clue to that. Devoted secessionists don’t care what happens to the US government either, but they also don’t care what happens to the folks who live here. That’s why they’re wrong. That, and the fact that they have the likes of Ted Cruz arguing their case.
- EU readies Belarus sanctions as migrants try to breach Polish border; By Alan Charlish and Robin Emmott | REUTERS.COM | November 10, 20215:20 AM CST, Last Updated 9 minutes ago
- Migrants trapped in Belarus made multiple attempts to force their way into Poland overnight, Warsaw said on Wednesday, announcing that it had reinforced the border as the European Union prepares to impose sanctions on Belarus over the crisis.
- The bloc’s 27 ambassadors are set to agree on Wednesday that the growing numbers of migrants flying to Belarus to reach the EU border amount to “hybrid warfare” by President Alexander Lukashenko – a legal basis for new sanctions. …
- The EU accuses Belarus of encouraging the migrants – from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa – to try to illegally cross the frontier in revenge for earlier sanctions imposed on Minsk over human rights abuses.
- Lukashenko has denied using the migrants as weapons and on Wednesday won a fresh show of support from his most powerful ally, Russia, which blamed the EU for the crisis and sent two strategic bombers to patrol Belarusian airspace. …
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging Moscow to put pressure on Belarus over the situation at the border, a German government spokesperson said. Putin’s office said he suggested to Merkel that EU members discuss the crisis directly with Minsk.
- Thousands of people have converged on the border this week, where razor wire fences and Polish soldiers have repeatedly blocked their entry. Some of the migrants have used logs, spades and other implements to try to break through. …
- Neighbouring EU state Lithuania, which followed in Poland’s footsteps by imposing a state of emergency at its border on Tuesday, reported 281 migrants were turned back that day, the highest figure since August when such pushbacks began. …
- MIKE: If Belarus and Russia were normal countries in normal times, Belarus might request and get outside aid for these migrants. Russia might not be flying them in to use as human weapons against the EU. Of course, this raises the question of “what are normal times”? It’s like people wishing they had a normal family at Thanksgiving. In most cases, that dysfunctional group at the table does represent a “normal” family. Likewise, perhaps countries and the times we live in are “normal”.
- ANDREW: Migrants should never be viewed as weapons. Dehumanization of migrants is already a huge problem, and thinking of them like this only worsens that. If western nations want fewer migrants, they should stop contributing to dangerous conditions abroad and stop allowing their businesses to extract wealth from foreign nations.
- Bikini rule changed in beach handball after players protest; The Norwegian women’s team was fined back in July for failing to wear bikinis during a match. Associated Press | Published: 8:07 AM CDT November 2, 2021, Updated: 4:20 PM CDT November 2, 2021
- Bikini-style uniforms will no longer be mandated for female beach handball players following protests by players and European lawmakers.
- The new wording by the sport’s governing body follows a campaign started by the Norwegian national team in July and now allows women to wear “short tight pants” instead of bikinis.
- The Norwegian federation was fined because players wore “improper clothing” at the European Championship in July. They had worn shorts to protest the bikini rule. …
- There is still a gender divide in the updated International Handball Federation equipment rules.
- Female players are told to wear pants “with a close fit” while men’s shorts can be “not too baggy.” …
- This change is good, but not enough. I see no good reason why these uniform rules shouldn’t be the same for all players. More broadly, gender divides in sports are looking more and more useless all the time, as our understanding of human genetics and biology expands and makes clear that gender is more of a random collection of otherwise-unrelated traits than an evolutionary imperative. Weight or strength classes are much more sensible, IMO.
- New study suggests SARS-CoV-2 spreading widely within wild deer population; Hunting season came as human cases were spiking, which may have been a bad combo. John Timmer | ARSTECHNICA.COM | 11/2/2021, 4:39 PM
- What does this mean to humans?
- The big reason not to hit the panic button is that we’ve yet to determine whether the virus can move from deer back to humans. …
- That said, deer could provide a substantial reservoir for the virus. The species studied here, the white-tailed deer, has a population estimated at 25 million in North America, and many of those ungulates are found in areas with high human population densities. The two populations also regularly interact thanks to both hunting and traffic accidents.
- A large reservoir like that poses a number of risks if there’s a chance of a return spread to humans …
- In addition, the virus could evolve to thrive in its new hosts—with consequences for humans that are difficult to predict. The virus could become more specialized for deer, reducing the risk it poses to humans. Or the virus could evolve in ways that heighten either its spread or the symptoms it causes in human hosts. Finally, either of these changes could alter its immune profile in a way that limits the protection provided by vaccines or prior infection.
- All of this means that we need to learn more about the risk of this form of interspecies infection as soon as we can.