Tuesday, February 28, 2006

meet chris bell in denton!

Join Curtis Clinesmith and Karl Lynch tomorrow as they host a reception for Democrat Chris Bell. Bell faces Bob Gammage and Rashad Jaffer in the Democratic primaries on March 7. These three are vying for the chance to face Republican Rick Perry and Independents Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn in the general election for Texas state governor.

Meet Potential Gubernatorial Candidate CHRIS BELL

Where: Hannah's Off the Square, 111 W. Mulberry St.
When: March 1, 2006 from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

All's Well that Ends

There was an interesting exchange today in the Senate Armed Services Committee between Senator Kennedy and National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.
Kennedy: [Quoting the President] I'm confident of our plan for victory...and we are winning. Those are the words of the President.....Did you tell the President we were winning [the war in Iraq]?....

Negroponte: I personally? Recalling conversations I've had with the President and other members of the administration, my view has always been that we are moving in the right direction, that we're making progress. I analyze it usually in terms of the
political process there, the progress towards achieving their political timetable on the one hand and progress towards developing their army and their police forces, effective military and police forces. And I believe that progress has been made in both those areas. And I believe that yes, things are moving in a positive direction in Iraq - overall.
Winning? In the words of Jon Stewart, uh, not so much. But we're making progress, right? So what's that look like? Senator Kennedy asks Director of Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Maples to give his assessment:
Maples: ....I do believe that this last week has been a very significant week in Iraq. The level of sectarian violence increased significantly on the ground based on the bombings of the mosques. And we saw exactly the deep divides that exist between the Shia and the Sunni in Iraq....We're also in a very tenuous situation right now, I believe. I think that more violence, were it to occur, were it to be stimulated by Al Qaeda, would have a very significant impact on the situation in Iraq.....
Thirteen hundred Iraqis are dead in sectarian violence since the shrine attack in what the administration finally admits is a low level civil war. But it hasn't yet escalated into an all out civil war...so we're making progress.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Early Voting

Early voting for the March 7 primary continues this coming week through Friday, March 3. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

For information on early voting sites in Denton County, click here.
For Dallas County, click here.
For Collin County, click here.
For Tarrant County, click here.

In addition to the slate of candidates, voters will be able to vote on two propositions for the Texas Democratic Party platform.
Propsition 1
Do you support lifting millions of families above the national poverty line by increasing the state minimum wage above it's current level of $5.15 per hour?

Proposition 2
Do you support the restoration of Texans' full rights to a trial by jury in civil cases?
It's important to get Democratic turnout in the primaries. Allocation of polling resources is based on turnout from previous elections, so we need your vote even if there are no contested primary elections on your ballot.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

candidate profile: ken tapscott

"I am running for the bench because I believe that one way to restore civility in our society is to restore justice in the courtroom. To do so, I'm going to need help from good people like you."

I had the privilege of meeting the man that spoke those words at a rally at Lee Park in Dallas that was led by Senator Joe Biden, Senator Barack Obama, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. As someone that is very interested in the law and criminal justice, I am very concerned with electing Democrats to key positions in the courts, which is why I'll be supporting the campaign of Ken Tapscott.

Ken Tapscott is a Democrat running for Judge, Dallas County Court at Law No. 4. He has been a Senior Associate at the prestigious Baron & Budd law firm for the past nine years and has been named the Rising Legal Star for February 2006 by Texas Monthly. He is also a former staff attorney for the Social Security Administration's Office of Hearings and Appeals.

Tapscott earned his Bachelor of Science in Business, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Alabama-Huntsville and received his law degree from the University of Miami Law School.

He is most known for his social work and activities in the community. He was named Honorary Mayor of Fort Worth because of his work with the American Diabetes Association (he is a diabetic himself). He serves as a volunteer moot court judge for the Southern Methodist University Law School. He provided pro bono legal representation for victims of Hurricane Katrina. He is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and contributes to countless charities, including the North Texas Food Bank, Doctors Without Borders, the SPCA, and Shriner's Hospital for Children.

You can learn more about Ken Tapscott at his campaign website. He is unopposed in the upcoming Democratic primary, so please think about supporting his campaign against incumbent W. Bruce Woody.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Dallas Morning News Reports that Incomes Decrease

When Republicans and Bush tell us that the economy is striving, are they just talking about the Anderson Ranch crowd? The Dallas Morning News reported that according to the Feds, average incomes, after adjusting for inflation, decreased a drop of 2.3 percent in 2004, when compared to 2001 data. During the Clinton years, average incomes soared by 17.3 percent. It also reports that the gap between the very wealthy and other income groups widened from 2001 to 2004. I guess that is why Bush and Republicans want to give the rich more tax breaks while sending jobs of average Americans off shore. When Americans in the middle and bottom groups realize what Republicans and the Bush crowd are doing to their livelihood, maybe they will start voting based on issues that really affect them. And if they say security against terrorists, selling out our ports to a country with ties to 9/11 is hardly a decision from a Republican government concerned with our safety.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Candidates for Governor on Reproductive Rights

The Dallas Morning News has an article outlining the major candidates for governor (Bell, Friedman, Gammage, Perry and Strayhorn) and their views on reproductive rights. Read it here. It begins:
Both sides on the abortion issue have looked to the future and agree on a scenario: Individual states will probably decide its legality.
Chris Bell's campaign has been critical of Bob Gammage over his votes in the 1970's to restrict public funding of abortion, including his 1977 vote in favor of the Hyde amendment. Gammage has since stated he feels those votes were a mistake. In their responses to questions posed by the Dallas Morning News, however, there were no significant differences in their stated views on reproductive rights issues. The most interesting responses came from Carole Strayhorn. A sample:
Should Roe vs. Wade be overturned?
No. We need to reduce the number of abortions in Texas by reducing unwanted pregnancies. Gov. Rick Perry's policies have failed to reduce abortions, which have increased under his administration.
Friedman: No....I'm running for governor, not God.
Gammage: Absolutely not. A woman's right to choose is a fundamental and core right that should and must be maintained.
Perry: The final disposition of Roe vs. Wade is up to Congress or the courts.
Strayhorn: I believe in the sanctity of life.

Should pharmacists be allowed to refuse to dispense the "morning-after" pill?
No. The morning-after pill is birth control. Doctors and patients should make health care decisions, not insurance companies, pharmacists and cynical politicians.
Friedman: No. They should follow the laws.
Gammage: No. They are licensed by the state and have a duty to provide services to those who possess a prescription and are legally entitled.
Perry: Yes, if it violates their conscience, they should not be forced to dispense such a pill.
Strayhorn: Declined to answer.

Should schools limit discussion of pregnancy prevention to abstinence-only?
Obviously, abstinence should play a prominent role in sex education. But we need to give our kids the age-appropriate, medically accurate information they need to keep from getting pregnant in the first place.
Friedman: No. The more education, the better. Lack of education is a big part of the problem.
Gammage: No. We should provide genuine education and engage in dialogue that informs our children of the facts, the dangers, the morality and the responsibility that comes with growing up.
Perry: Abstinence is the surest way of preventing unintended pregnancies and should be taught as such.
Strayhorn: Declined to answer.

Hmm, when faced with difficult questions on sensitive issues, Ms. Strayhorn sticks to her talking points or declines to answer. Now we know where Scottie gets it.

lake highlands democrats

An informal gathering of Democrats from the Lake Highlands area takes place every Thursday night (7:30pm) at the Starbucks on Abrams and Royal. The event is hosted by Jeff and Maridell Templeton who invite all area Democrats to socialize and engage in lively, liberal discussion.

abortion banned in south dakota

The South Dakota Senate has passed a ban on abortion that was proposed by the State House of Representatives. It was sent back to the House, who must agree to a small change made by the Senate, and then will be sent to the anti-abortion governor of South Dakota, Republican Mike Rounds.

"It is the time for the South Dakota Legislature to deal with this issue and protect the lives and rights of unborn children," said Democratic Sen. Julie Bartling, the bill's main sponsor.

The bill, carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison, would make it a felony for doctors or others to perform abortions.

Bartling and other supporters noted that the recent appointment of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito make the Supreme Court more likely to consider overturning Roe v. Wade.

It's quite unnerving that there are Democrats in South Dakota that are so ultra-conservative that they could sponsor, let alone support, this sort of outright ban on abortion. Many conservatives will allow exceptions for limited cases, such as rape, incest, and the mother's health. This is obviously a political ploy to challenge the new makeup of the United States Supreme Court.

I personally think that the new Supreme Court will override this South Dakota legislation and will not overturn the precedent of Roe v. Wade. The "conservative bloc" of the Court is made up by Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts. The "liberal bloc" is considered to be made up by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, John Paul Stevens, and David Souter. The new swing voter, after the departure of Sandra Day O'Connor, will be Anthony Kennedy. He has already shown the propensity to side with the liberal voters on key issues, even though he is considered by some to be conservative. He has actively supported abortion in most cases, other than late-term abortions. I feel that Kennedy will side with the four liberal justices and Roe will be saved in a 5-4 decision. The jury may still be out on Alito, too. If he decides to vote in favor of precedent, Roe v. Wade could possibly be upheld 6-3.

book club meeting!

The Flower Mound Democrats book club will meet tomorrow night at a member's house in Flower Mound. The group will meet for dinner and afterwards discuss President Jimmy Carter's book, Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis. Please check the Flower Mound Democrats discussion group for more information.


Welcome to The North Texas Liberal. Here you will find blogs from liberals in the North Texas area. Anyone is welcome to comment on the posts here.

Subjects will range from local politics (from Flower Mound to Dallas), state politics, what's going on in other states that is of interest to liberals, and current events in Washington, D.C. and the world. We will also try to keep you up to date on how you can get involved as a North Texas liberal by telling you about Democratic organizations that meet around the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex as well as informing you about candidates and elections taking place in our area.