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‘Keep Public Housing Public’: Texas Dispute Reflects National Tensions

Even with low-cost housing harder than ever to find in most American cities, the stock of public housing is shrinking. The number of families living in public housing shrank 6.5 percent during a recent five-year period, according to the Urban Institute — not a huge decline, but a decline nonetheless. Several federal initiatives to redevelop public-housing towers with lower-density, mixed-income projects have helped improve the image of public housing from its nadir in the mid-to-late 20th century. But they have also changed the mission of public housing authorities. Once focused solely on building and maintaining public units for poor people, housing authorities now engage in a wide variety of housing-related activities, sometimes partnering with private developers to build apartments for people who make barely less than the median income.

The Problem With Juneteenth

The fact that members of the United States Senate voted unanimously to make Juneteenth a federal holiday proved that the commemoration is of no political value. Turning what was a peoples’ celebration into an occasion for opportunism and window dressing has actually damaged the cause of Black liberation and the understanding of history. On June 19, 1865 Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and issued General Order Three, a declaration that slavery had ended. The fact that this event occurred two months after the Civil War ended took on an understandably mythic quality, including a belief that the news had been deliberately kept from enslaved people, or that the person carrying the message had been killed.

Texas Needs Radical Solutions For Water Conservation

South Texas is facing a water crisis decades in the making. Much of the region’s growing population relies on the Rio Grande as its sole source of drinking water. Yet in recent years, as climate change has gripped Texas and caused hotter, drier summers, the river’s flow has diminished to a trickle in some areas. This year, months before summer has officially set in, major reservoirs on the Rio Grande are nearly empty after reaching historic lows last year. Falcon Reservoir is less than 15% full as of mid-April, and Amistad Reservoir hovers below one-third full. Last month, Hidalgo County issued a disaster declaration as a binational agreement with the Mexican government fails to deliver water from the Rio Grande, as it is obligated to do under the terms of a 1944 treaty. Farmers fear losing their crops.

Texas Has ‘The Most Aggressive’ Well-Plugging Program In The US

After a century and a half of oil and gas production in the United States, the nonprofit environmental watchdog Climate Tracker published a sobering report in 2020: Some 2.6 million unplugged onshore wells lay scattered across the country. Plugging all those derelict holes, from the rocky Appalachian hill country of western Pennsylvania to the dry plains of West Texas and the tundra of Alaska, and countless points between, might cost as much as $280 billion. And that figure from the report did not include undocumented wells — the ones that have vanished from the books, if they were ever recorded in the first place.

A Texas Company Is Providing The Jet Fuel For Israel’s Assault On Gaza

A new report calls on United States companies to stop supplying Israel’s military with jet fuel and recommends an embargo to achieve this goal. “Many credible sources have documented crimes under international law being committed by Israel in the context of its ongoing military campaign in Gaza,” reads a briefing from the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO). “These include indiscriminate attacks leading to massive loss of civilian life and targeting of civilian infrastructure amongst other acts which constitute war crimes. Multiple sources, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and UN human rights experts have documented indiscriminate attacks by air which have resulted in catastrophic civilian casualties.

The Fight To Reclaim Texas’ Highways For People

Freeways rip apart neighborhoods, displace primarily Black and Brown people and increase greenhouse gas emissions — so why do we keep building them? According to a new book from Austin-based journalist Megan Kimble, “​​City Limits: Infrastructure, Inequality, and the Future of America’s Highways,” it doesn’t have to be this way. Right now, a new generation of freeway fighters is battling freeway expansion across the country. Kimble’s book profiles three campaigns in Texas to build places for people, not cars: Stop TxDOT I-45 in Houston, Rethink35 in Austin and the campaign to remove the I-345 highway in Dallas.

In Texas, SpaceX’s Rocket Facility Is Blocking Public Beach Access

Boca Chica, Texas —  I’m loafing outside my tent, waiting for the coffee to boil, contemplating a morning swim. My pitbull, Shiner, is thrashing in the sand with a look of crazed joy twisting his face. Brown pelicans are cruising low over the roiling gray-green Gulf waters. That’s when a Cameron County sheriff’s deputy drives up and tells us to leave. Boca Chica Beach is now closed so Elon Musk’s company SpaceX can conduct rocket tests at its nearby launchpad, which towers over the dunes just north of our camp. Such beach closures have become frequent since SpaceX started building its Starbase facility about six years ago.

Texas State Troopers In Riot Gear Crack Down On University Students

Civil rights advocates on Wednesday expressed alarm at a rapid escalation by Texas state troopers who descended on a student-led protest at University of Texas at Austin, which was organized in solidarity with Gaza and other U.S. college students taking part in a growing anti-war movement. UT students gathered on campus at midday and were promptly given two minutes to disperse by state troopers, who had already been called to the scene. The troopers were equipped with riot gear, with some carrying assault rifles and several stationed on horses.

Faculty At University Of Texas Austin Strike In Solidarity With Students

Faculty from universities across the country have begun to mobilize in solidarity with the student movement for Palestine. From NYU, where faculty linked arms to protect students from police; to Columbia University, where faculty engaged in a solidarity walkout with the Gaza Solidarity Encampment; to Barnard College, where faculty planned a sick-out in defense of their students — faculty are rising up in defense of their students. At the University of Texas Austin, faculty have announced a 24-hour work stoppage as part of the fight against student repression.

Biden’s So-Called LNG Export Freeze Sacrifices Gulf South Communities

In late March, Texas joined a 15-state federal lawsuit led by Louisiana to block the Biden administration’s executive order pausing new permits for terminals that export fracked gas, or so-called liquefied natural gas (LNG). Separately, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan created a special committee to investigate President Joe Biden’s permitting freeze, a move that has not only drawn backlash from the oil industry and Texas GOP, but also Republicans on Capitol Hill. Texas’s moves follow House Republicans’ February passage of House Resolution 7176, a bill that would reverse President Biden’s permitting pause by stripping the Department of Energy (DOE) of the power to approve LNG exports to non-free trade agreement countries

Pre-Dawn Noise Demonstration Targets Biden’s Stay In Dallas

Dallas, TX – On Thursday, March 21, members of Palestinian Youth Movement, DFW Anti-War Committee and other Palestine supporters engaged in a 5:30 a.m. noise demonstration outside President Joe Biden’s lodgings at the Fairmont Hotel, lasting until Biden’s speedy departure at 10:30 a.m. Demonstrators banged pots and pans, blew whistles, set off air horns, and in one case played a harmonium. The crowd of about 100 chanted, “If we don’t get no justice, then you don’t get no peace!” and “Wake up Biden! You can’t hide! We charge you with genocide!”

Artists, Speakers Pull Out Of SXSW Over US Army Sponsorship

More than 80 music artists and multiple panelists have canceled appearances at South by Southwest Festival over the U.S. Army’s sponsorship of the event. Gov. Greg Abbott’s response is “Bye. Don’t come back.” Bands, musicians and speakers slated to appear at the festival — which runs from March 8 through March 16 — are pulling out in protest of the U.S. military’s support for Israel in the ongoing Israel-Hamas War. “​​It is done in solidarity with the people of Palestine and to highlight the unacceptable deep links the festival has to weapons companies and the U.S. military who at this very moment are enabling a genocide and famine against a trapped population,” Ireland-based rap group Kneecap said in a statement on X.

How $9 Billion From Taxpayers Fueled Plastics Production

Through billions in tax breaks and subsidies, taxpayers in Louisiana, Texas, and other states have supported the construction or expansion of dozens of facilities manufacturing plastics in the United States since 2012. However, many of these plants have also repeatedly exceeded legal limits on the air pollution they release into surrounding communities, disproportionately affecting people of color. That’s according to an Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) report published on Thursday. For instance, in 2015, then-Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal welcomed Indorama Ventures — one of the world’s biggest producers of single-use plastic — to the state.

Under Biden, Family Separations And Other Atrocities Continue

President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump are in Texas today touring different sectors of the Southern border, a spectacle that encapsulates how central immigration is to each of their reelection campaigns. It is Biden’s approach to immigration in recent months, however, that has been a source of controversy on both sides of the aisle. Large swathes of the country do not believe his actions on immigration have been severe enough, while Democratic voters cannot seem to understand why the man who promised to usher in a more “fair, orderly, and humane” immigration system now champions the same immigration policies he once decried.

The Real Border Crisis: Texas Vs. The Constitution

The United States is on the verge of a constitutional crisis, one that enlivens the nationalist fervor of Trump America and that centers on a violent, racist closed-border policy. In January, the Supreme Court, with a five-vote majority that included both Republican and Democratic appointees, ruled that federal agents can “remove the razor wire that Texas state officials have set up along some sections of the US/Mexico border” to make immigration more dangerous (CBS, 1/23/24). The state’s extreme border policy is not merely immoral as an idea, but has proven to be deadly and torturous in practice (USA Today, 8/3/23; NBC, 1/14/24; Texas Observer, 1/17/24).
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