Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We missed it earlier, but TxSharon at Bluedaze has a post up covering September's meeting of Project Farm Team. The mission of the farm team is to encourage, support and train Democratic candidates to run for public office in Denton County.

The farm team speaker's this month was Vince Leibowitz. Vince is a professional writer and political strategist who owns Capitol Annex, a political weblog dedicated to Texas news and politics. As a longtime Democratic activist and the former County Chairman of the Democratic Party of Van Zandt County, Vince understands the challenges facing democratic candidates in this state.

Vince shared his experiences and vision for the political netroots in Texas.
Leibowitz also spoke about strategies to increase participation on the country level, and how to get important information to voters. One of his suggestion was that each precinct have its own blog to help distribute information.
For more information, or to join the farm team, click here.

rick noriega comes to unt

Via WhosPlayin:

State Rep. Rick Noriega, Candidate for United States Senate, is coming to the University of North Texas on Tuesday, September 25 in an event co-hosted by The College Democrats and UNT LULAC council #4789. The event will start at 7:00 in the Lyceum with a presentation on the Dream Act, a bill that State Rep. Noriega wrote while he was in the the Texas House.

At 8:00, Noriega will begin his speech, informing campus students as to why he should be the next senator from the state of Texas. A Question and Answer session will follow, so you can find out his position on almost any issue.

This will be a hot race next fall, so use this opportunity to learn about the candidate so you can have an informed voice when you vote.

*LULAC is a non-partisan organization that has not endorsed any candidate for political office

Joseph Vogus
President of the College Democrats of North Texas

If you're in North Texas, you should definitely check this event out. We have a chance to break Sen. Cornyn's stranglehold on Texas next fall, and this might just be the guy to help us do it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Texas Blog Roundup: September 24, 2007

(Woops! We missed last week's roundup. If you didn't catch it elsewhere, here's a link.)

It's Monday, and that means it's time for yet another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's Weekly Blog Round-Up. This week's installment is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

It's about one thing. TXsharon at Bluedaze tells us why we have to make it about something else.

Bill Howell of StoutDemBlog, a new member of the Texas Progressive Alliance, takes a look at Kirk England's recent party switch as well as other recent party switches in Dallas County in Rove's Permanent Majority Collapses: Now What Do We Do With All These Defectors?

Boadicea at Texas Kaos wonders if MoveOn doesn't owe John Cornyn a thank you note.

Musings discovers that the lead GOP presidential contenders are too busy for Black and Latino sponsored debates, while the local Harris County GOP claim they are home to Hispanics because of their once a year bike give away.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has word on Mayor Manlove of Pasadena entering the race to challenge Lampson for Congress and the mayor's race it opens up He also has a short colorful digest of Naomi Klein promoting her book on Disaster Capitalism.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson posts on recent news that Gov. Perry and Speaker Craddick - who Krussee excoriated at the end of the legislative session--will appear at a fundraiser for him in Krusee Throws Reagan Over The Wall And Under The Bus.

Mayor McSleaze at McBlogger takes a look at some of the dumber things to come out of the right this week, like Bill O'Reilly's trip to a Harlem hot spot where he discovered that it was just like a 'real' restaurant, you know, like Olive Garden.

Off the Kuff looks at the causes and effects of Kirk England's party switch.

Refinish69 at Doing My Part For The Left looks at UT football and ask a simple question - UTLonghorns or UT Thugs.

Burnt Orange Report and its diarists are following the Kirk England switchover with enthusiasm. After breaking the story on Wednesday, the entirestaff, welcomes the newest Democrat to the House.

KT at Stop Cornyn shows how Junior Senator John Cornyn is wasting time again. Instead of getting funding for CHIP or getting our troops the armor they need, John Cornyn forced a vote condemning MoveOn.org. Yet another example of failed leadership and Junior John being out of touch with Texas needs.

Evan at the Caucus Blog covered two major stories this week. First, after months of investigation, discussion, and debate, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus has decided to endorse the HISD bond proposal. Second, Evan has looked into the history of the fight for a federal Employment Non-discrimination Act in the post "ENDA Deja Vu."

Bradley at North Texas Liberal discusses how Washington, D.C. almost had the vote, but lost it due to greedy Senate Republicans. Only eight Republicans could be bothered to vote for the legendary bill that would have allowed the District a voting member of Congress.

The marriage of the Republican party to theocracy is no accident. Right wing investors like Richard Mellon Scaife are molding US churches, notes CouldBeTrue at in "What does an El Paso Church have to do with the right wing" at South Texas Chisme.

It was quite a week for Senator Box Turtle; he led the Senate charge against free speech, voted against habeas corpus, and against adequate down time for our soldiers. As PDiddie at Brains and Eggs points out, he now owns the war on terror -- in addition to the war on the Constitution and all Americans. But he did unwittingly sponsor a successful fundraiser for MoveOn.org, so he wasn't a complete failure.

WhosPlayin joins a local Republican activist in opposing tax abatements for speculative real estate development in Lewisville.

Vince at Capitol Annex has been keeping tabs on the Texas Conservative Coalition and its town hall meetings across East Texas in which they propose to eliminate property taxes in favor of an expanded sales tax, and points out that at least one new candidate has already started drinking their Kool-Aid.

Hal at Half Empty was at a campaign kickoff fundraiser for Ron Reynolds who is running for State Rep in HD 27. He took videos and did a series. Links to the series is at his summary posting: Ron E. Reynolds is Running for State Rep in HD 27.

Blue 19th notes that Randy Neugebauer can't hide his contempt for veterans from everyone. So which party was it that supported our troops? Oh yeah, the one that doesn't start with "Republican".

Texas Cloverleaf reports on Trinity Vote Trickery: Confusing ballot language and campaign slogans cloud the upcoming Trinity Toll Road vote in Dallas.

The True Definition of Victory in Iraq

George Lakoff has posted a must-read article on the implications of Alan Greenspan's admission that the war in Iraq wasn't started because of any imminent threat from Saddam Hussein. Greenspan's quote has gotten some press, but not as much as it deserves.

The former head of the Federal Reserve writes in his memoir, "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." Greenspan even advised Bush that "taking Saddam Hussein out was essential" to protect oil supplies.

Okay, we knew that, but having it spelled out in black and white is still rather chilling. One reason why Greenspan's comments haven't been a bigger story is because the press is also downplaying a story that would tie it all together: The Iraq Oil Law.

The contracts the Bush administration has been pushing the Iraqi government to accept are not just about the distribution of oil among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. The contracts call for 30-year exclusive rights for British and American oil companies, rights that cannot be revoked by future Iraqi governments. They are called "production sharing agreements" (or "PSA's") - a legalistic code word. The Iraqi government would technically own the oil, but could not control it; only the companies could do that. Exxon Mobil and others would invest in developing the infrastructure for the oil (drilling, oil rigs, refining) and would get 75 percent of the "cost oil" profits, until they got their investment back. After that, they would own the infrastructure (paid for by oil profits), and then get 20 percent of oil profits after that (twice the usual rate). The profits are estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. And the Iraqi people would have no democratic control over their own major resource. No other Middle East country has such an arrangement.

Yes, this is ultimate goal in Iraq - not the defeat of terrorism, not the spread of democracy, not the neutralization of weapons of mass destruction. Those were just the shifting sands of rationale to cover our real purpose for the invasion - the control of Iraq's oil reserves.

You won't read much about the oil law in U.S. press. The above quote was from a Pakistani newspaper. The MSM here is too busy chasing it's tail over the surge/son of surge/drawdown of surge and the 24-hour hype over the MoveOn ad to actually fuss with something as arcane as a piece of Iraqi legislation. But read the law, read an analysis by someone other than an oil industry representative, and tell me that it doesn't tie everything up neat as a Christmas package. As Lakoff notes:
What is most frightening is they may mean what they say, that they may have a concept of "victory" that makes sense to them but not to the rest of the country. If the goal of the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been to guarantee access to Iraqi oil for the next 30 years, then any result guaranteeing oil profits for American oil companies would count as "victory." Suppose the present killing and chaos were to continue, forcing us to keep our troops there indefinitely, but allowing the oil companies to prosper under our protection. That would be a "victory." Or, if the Iraqi army and police force were to develop in a few years and keep order there protecting American investments and workers, that too would be "victory." If the country broke up into three distinct states or autonomous governments, that too would be "victory" as long as oil profits were guaranteed and Americans in the oil industry protected. And it doesn't matter if a Republican president keeps the troops there or a Democratic president does. It is still an oil company "victory" - and a victory for Bush.

The first company to bear the fruits of this sweet victory is actually based here in Dallas: Hunt Oil. In a press release earlier this month, the company announced what has proven to be a very controversial agreement with Kurdistan to develop fields in Northern Iraq.

As Paul Krugman observed in The New York Times on September 14, "the chief executive and president of Hunt Oil, is a close political ally of Mr. Bush. More than that, Mr. Hunt is a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a key oversight body." Hunt Oil seems to have had the first taste of "victory."

Apparently, we're fighting them over there so we can import their oil over here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

move on, senator betray us

In a post on Thursday, we told you of Sen. John Cornyn's sense of the Senate resolution that would condemn liberal organization MoveOn.org for running an ad in The New York Times that used wordplay to ask if General David Petraeus was really "General Betray Us."

Democratic rival Rick Noriega, who plans to challenge Sen. Cornyn for his seat in 2008, had this to say about Cornyn's political theatre:
Yesterday, he voted against restoring the Constitution’s basic right of habeas corpus. Yesterday, he voted against the Webb-Hagel amendment, legislation that would have provided a safety net for our troops, requiring that they spend as much time at home with their families as they spend deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. And today? He’s wasting the Senate’s and the people’s time by introducing a resolution about MoveOn.org’s ad!
That's right, Cornyn voted against the Webb-Hagel amendment. Now who doesn't support the troops? MoveOn should run an ad in The Dallas Morning News outing "Senator Betray Us" as the chickenhawk that he is. How dare the Senator waste the Senate's time by introducing his resolution of condemnation in an effort to save face for his buddy Petraeus, all the while voting against real legislation that would support the troops?

Please donate to Rick Noriega and Mikal Watts today. Maybe next session, our Senator won't make the state of Texas look like a joke.

san diego mayor reverses opinion on gay marriage

An emotionally struggling Mayor Jerry Sanders of San Diego said he will sign a resolution passed by the City Council requiring the City Attorney to file a brief in support of gay marriage.

"I feel like I owe all San Diegans an explanation for this change of heart," he said.

Sanders went on to say that he can't look his daughter in the eye and tell her that she does not deserve the same happiness that he shares with his own wife.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Vote in Democracy for Texas Senate Poll

Democracy for Texas is conducting a poll to determine who will receive DFT's endorsement for the Texas Senate primary: Mikal Watts or Rick Noreiga. To help voters decide, they have posted an extensive candidate questionnaire covering major issues.

To vote, click here.

And, as if you needed any reminder why replacing John Cornyn in the U.S. Senate is an imperative in next year's election, just review Cornyn's plan for supporting the troops. In a Terry Schiavo moment, he sponsored an amendment to condemn Move-On for its Petraeus ad, just after filibustering an amendment by Senator Webb to give the troops more time between Iraq rotations. Good to know the junior senator has his priorities straight.

It's so touching that Cornyn feels the need to protect Petraeus. Someone should explain to the senator that the term "character assassination" is rhetorical. The real dying is going on in the sands of Iraq by an army close to the breaking point, and the Republican rubber stamps don't care.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

senate republicans deny dc voting rights

Only eight Republicans supported a measure in the Senate today that would have allowed the District of Columbia a representative in Congress, according to the Washington Post.

The legislation would have allotted a voting member of the House to D.C. while also creating a new district in Utah. The Senate needed 60 votes to consider the bill; it fell short with only 57.
The vote was a crushing disappointment to many activists in the decades-long campaign for voting representation for the city in Congress. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives in April, has gone further than any other D.C. vote measure in nearly 30 years.
Currently, D.C. has a non-voting delegate in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton. Norton is a Democrat and would likely be elected to the post if a voting spot was created for the District. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, R-Va., suggested that if D.C. was going to elect a Democrat, a growing area in Utah should be allowed to create a district that would likely vote Republican.

Despite this compromise, the majority of Senate Republicans were opposed to the measure.

The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the White House have strongly criticized the legislation. They maintain it violates the Constitutional mandate that House representatives be chosen by the "People of the several States," since the District is not a state.

"I opposed this bill because it is clearly and unambiguously unconstitutional," McConnell said in a statement. "If the residents of the District are to get a member for themselves, they have a remedy: amend the Constitution."

In addition to the legal concerns, some Republicans were wary of the bill's potential political repercussions. Some Republicans feared the measure could eventually lead to two full D.C. senators, who would likely be Democrats.

Good thing Republicans play politics when the most fundamental of rights in America's representative democracy is being denied in the nation's capital.

Supporters vow not to end the fight. It's one that's been brewing for years, with a previous constitutional amendment that passed Congress, but failed to be ratified by the states.

"We have not given up. The session is not over," Norton said. "We have come too far to stop now."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Trinity Trees Controversy Growing

Caravan of Dreams covers the Fort Worth City Council meeting and reports that those proponents advocating preservation of the trees along the Trinity Trail received a cold reception.

And as the controversy heats up, it feeds a growing undercurrent of mistrust about drilling among local residents.
One Mistletoe Heights resident told me, "I see more and more people in my neighborhood becoming concerned with this issue. It is not going away. It's only getting bigger." And she's right. People connected to the neighborhood association there say only around 10 percent of homeowners have signed lease agreements for their mineral rights. A drilling company needs 80 percent before they can drill. I'm told numbers in neighborhoods like Ryan Place and Berkeley have also been slow to sign. Because so many of the Trinity Trees people come from these neighborhoods, I could easily see this issue preventing people from signing.

Bernie Scheffler, who is running to replace Davis in District 9 when she leaves to run for the State Senate, was surprised that Chesapeake and Union Pacific won't ask the City to get involved and help find a solution. "We aren't telling you what to do with our land, we're asking you to get involved to help find a win-win solution for everyone," he said. "Here's your chance to be good corporate citizens. It's not a complex issue."
Meanwhile, Bluedaze reminds us trees aren't the only resource impacted by gas drilling.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Texas Blog Roundup: September 10, 2007

A new week is here and that means it's time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's Blog Round Up. This week's round-up is brought to you by Vince from Capitol Annex.

Do You Ever Feel Like Cassandra? Gary Denton at Easter Lemming Liberal News is beginning to feel like Cassandra again over Iran. Condemned to know the future but unable to convince others to prevent it.

Port Arthur gets shipped several hundred thousand gallons of a waste byproduct of the chemical nerve agent VX or incineration, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs reveals that neither a federal judge nor the TCEQ nor Rick Perry did anything to stop it.

Over at Three Wise Men, Nat-Wu notes that, whether or homosexuality is a choice or not, everyone deserves the same rights.

Blogging at the University of North Texas Democrats' site, Adam Silva of Three Wise Men notes that pundits are over-analyzing polls in the 2008 presidential race.

Hal at Half Empty blogs about some hot water Senate Candidate Mikal Watts got into over a letter he wrote to another attorney talking about contributions to judges.

Stace Medellin at Dos Centavos reports on a recent Democratic event held in a Houston suburb (Kingwood). Along with several locals running in the 2007 Houston city council election, the event attracted several more judicial candidates running in 2008, including Texas Supreme Court Place 8 candidate Judge Susan Criss.

In one of his information packed open threads on Texas Kaos, lightseeker notes that T Boone Pickens is stacking the deck in Roberts County to suck up water rights.

McBlogger at McBlogger has an update on the toll roads in the Austin area and urges those on CAMPO to think about what they are doing carefully and advises them to not burden taxpayers with the most expensive method of financing road construction.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson wonders if the "conservative" WCGOP and Craddick are going soft and will they let Rep. Mike Krusee go without a primary challenge from the right, in Will Craddick Let Krusee Go Unpunished?

Bradley Bowen of North Texas Liberal tells us about the excitement at a Hillary Clinton event in DC -- the crowd was moved and motivated, and Sen. Clinton is in it to win it.

Could Be True at South Texas Chisme notes that a polluting refiner gets only a teeny, teeny, tiny slap on wrist. Oh, why did they even bother. Just taking the time of a minimum wage clerk to file the darn thing would cost more than the fine does.

Vince at Capitol Annex discusses the race of a "Craddick D" down in House District 40 (Aaron Pena) and offers his opinions on the blogging legislator's chances in a contested primary.

At Bluedaze, TXsharon tell us about yet Another Republican Sexual Pervert.

would you like fries with that?

Here's one to file under "outrageous abuses of power."

A McDonald's employee in Georgia, 20-year-old Kendra Bull, was arrested and spent a night in jail because a police officer's burger was too salty. Bull may even face criminal charges.

According to USA Today, Bull accidentally spilled salt on hamburger meat. A supervisor "tried to thump the salt off," and then the batch of hamburgers was made. On her break, she ate a burger from the batch.

Meanwhile, Officer Wendell Adams complained to the manager that his salty burger made him sick.

Bull admitted spilling salt on the meat, and Adams took her outside and questioned her, she said.

"If it was too salty, why did (Adams) not take one bite and throw it away?" said Bull, who has worked at the restaurant for five months. She said she didn't know a police officer got one of the salty burgers because she couldn't see the drive-through window from her work area.

Police said samples of the burger were sent to the state crime lab for tests.

City public information officer George Louth said Bull was charged because she served the burger "without regards to the well-being of anyone who might consume it."

If the police thought this was a malicious action, that's fine, but Bull's story was supported by a co-worker and a supervisor.

If this was a joke, it might even be funny.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Grassroots Wants to Protect Trees from Drilling

In Dallas, the controversy over building a toll road within the Trinity River Project is one of the hottest issues in the upcoming election. Now another controversy has popped up along the river on its sister city side.

Chesapeake Energy has announced plans to drill on an eight acre site of woodlands along the Trinity Trail near Rogers Road in Fort Worth. Two and a half acres of trees will be removed to facilitate the drilling. The project requires that this area be kept barren for the duration of the project, estimated at 50 years.

A grassroots group, Trinity Trees, has organized to oppose this loss. They recently held a rally. Steve Smith at Caravan of Dreams has extensive coverage of the speakers and events, which included out-going Fort Worth City Council member Wendy Davis, and State Representative Lon Burnam. Steve also covered this in a column for Pegasus News.
Jim Bradbury with Trinity Trees explained the group's position: urban gas drilling has unknown consequences, connected tree canopy is important and alternative drilling sites exist on the Union Pacific site next door. They aren't against drilling, they are in favor of finding a third way, an alternative.
Steve follows up this extensive coverage, with a response to Bud Kennedy's editorial pointing out that the land in question has never been a park and was not intended by the city to be preserved.
I believe we can't leave it all in the hands of developers who are more concerned with maximizing profit than making this a better community. The fact is that green space matters -- and I'm talking trees, not money. Green space is as important as good roads, good schools and affordable housing. Look at Austin -- they have Town Lake, Zilker Park and Barton Springs. They have worked hard to preserve their natural environment, and it is a big part of the reason Austin is one of the hottest places to live in the country.
On their side, Chesapeake Energy has attorneys, full page ads in the FWST and property rights. Trinity Trees has grassroots activists, full page ads in the FWST, and the support of many Fort Worth notables. Both sides seem to be digging in for a protracted fight.
So who's the victim here? Well, as it stands right now, Chesapeake's reputation as good corporate citizen in Fort Worth appears to be teetering. As Bernie Scheffler, an opponent of urban gas drilling and a candidate for Wendy Davis' District 9 seat on the council said, "Why would Chesapeake Energy, who has spent millions polishing its public image in Fort Worth with commercials and billboards ... why would they blow all that goodwill on this?"
Note to Chesapeake. The longer this is an issue, the more scrutiny citizens will be giving drilling regulations, and they just might decide losing a few trees isn't their only concern. You lost this one the day they posted the photos of the baby bluebirds. Time to for plan B.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Denton County's Grassroots

In the frenzy of a holiday weekend, we're betting a lot of you missed John McClelland's overview of politics in Denton County at The Texas Blue. It's a very encouraging look at the resurgence of democratic activism in an area that hasn't been associated with that in a very long time.

It should be noted that Denton County’s political offices are held entirely by the GOP. But this does not deter those who want to change a county just north of the newly blue enclave of Dallas. The official Democratic Party structure in the county includes the county chair and precinct chairs. As few as five years ago, the party only involved anywhere from 10 to 20 precinct chairs for the entire county, out of 140 voting precincts. The number of precinct chairs has steadily increased as Democrats make gains in other parts of the country and state. The current number of precinct chairs reached 50 this summer. Thanks in part to active recruitment of friends and neighbors, the Precinct Chair Leadership Committee has worked diligently to add to the party. It also held its first grassroots training class for new and existing precinct chairs in June of this year.

Committees such as Precinct Chair Leadership have made a resurgence due to active county chairs who want to make a difference. Former County Chairwoman Edra Bogle’s active involvement in groups such as Democracy for America started the grassroots push in local party politics. She stepped down in 2006 and was replaced by UNT professor Dr. John Gossett. Dr. Gossett’s vision included pushing the party into areas of the county long since neglected outside of the city of Denton. Holding meetings in Lewisville, house parties in Krum and Plano, and booths in Highland Village were all a way to show that Democrats exist in all parts of Denton County. Unfortunately, Dr. Gossett suffered health problems that led to a short tenure as Chair. A contest to replace him this past spring resulted in Issues & Policy Committee Chairman Neil Durrance becoming Chairman of the county party. Mr. Durrance has continued the policy of covering all parts of the county, and has been working actively to give Democrats a message.

While the message is prepared, others are preparing the candidates to take that message to the people. The Candidate Recruitment Committee initiated a program called Project Farm Team. Chairman Steve Southwell envisioned a system similar to that of the farm system in baseball that built potential candidates up before they hit the ground running in the big leagues. "We are all about preparing individuals to take up the battle against crime, corruption, and cronyism that currently tarnishes our public sector. We are about taking people of integrity and giving them the tools they need to make a successful campaign," Southwell said. "But Project Farm Team is also about encouraging leadership, activism, and public service outside of government. We're very excited about Project Farm Team, and we have heard from other Democrats across the state that they are anxious to see how well it works out." Potential candidates attend training sessions and listen to speakers of various experience levels, while learning about what offices could be a good fit for them. Some members are former candidates and even former office holders.

One candidate has already emerged from the system: Carrollton lawyer Karen Guerra has announced her intention to run for 16th District Court Judge. Another goal of Project Farm Team is to prepare a coordinated campaign for Denton County in 2008. The 2006 coordinated campaign in Dallas County resulted in a clean sweep of every contested judicial seat. A similar attempt may be made by Denton County in the 2008 election cycle to pool resources and make a run at taking back at least some, if not all, of the seats up for grabs.

There is much more, including an overview of some of the more active clubs in the area. Read it and be inspired.

If you live in Denton County and haven't contacted the county party or one of the local clubs (check out our sidebar), you might just be surprised at how active Democrats are in Denton County. If you're not already engaged in this effort, plan on joining us at the Donkey Fest on the evening of September 29th at the North Texas State Fairgrounds.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bob Perry Linked to California Electoral Scam

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that the law firm behind the proposed California ballot initiative that would eliminate the state's "winner take all" scheme for awarding electoral votes has ties to Texan Bob Perry.

Charles H. Bell and Thomas Hiltachk's law firm banked nearly $65,000 in fees from a California-based political committee funded almost solely by Bob J. Perry that targeted Democrats in 2006. Perry, a major Republican donor, contributed nearly $4.5 million to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that made unsubstantiated but damaging attacks on Kerry three years ago.

The Perry-financed committee in California, the Economic Freedom Fund, continued to spend money this year, mostly on legal expenses tied to an ongoing legal dispute in Indiana over phone calls made to voters in 2006. It lists the Sacramento law office's address as its home and its Web site directs contributions to the firm, Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk. In addition, Bell serves as the committee's treasurer.

Through a political action committee, Californians for Equal Representation, the firm is trying to collect 400,000 petition signatures to place the measure on the ballot.
And while Perry has not donated to their cause, his wealth and connections make him a potential financier for a drive that could cost more than $1 million. Running a statewide campaign would cost millions more..
The impact of splitting the electoral votes of this heavily Democratic and populous state would favor the Republicans.

[The initiative] would award two of them to the statewide winner and the rest, one by one, to the winner in each congressional district. Nineteen of the fifty-three districts are represented by Republicans, but Bush carried twenty-two districts in 2004. The bottom line is that the initiative, if passed, would spot the Republican ticket something in the neighborhood of twenty electoral votes-votes that it wouldn't get under the rules prevailing in every other sizable state in the Union.

That the Republicans are looking to manipulate elections that they can't win outright is hardly news. Neither is the revelation that a Texas sugardaddy may once again be handing out the goodies when the GOP opens its bag of dirty tricks. The good news is the grassroots is organizing to oppose this power grab.

hillary's happy hour

Tonight I had the unique opportunity to meet the next president of the United States.

Say what you will about her, you won't soon forget your experience if you're ever within twenty feet of Sen. Hillary Clinton while she lays out her plans to lead this country in a new direction.

She came to a venue in Northeast DC called Ibiza. I had never heard of it before, but it seemed kind of like a night club. The owner was there and said that he had opened it for top-notch entertainment and special events, so apparently it was a pretty classy place.

I stood in line for a few minutes, but because I was already on the guest list I was whisked to a different line where I was patted down by Secret Service. Then they let me inside and I went to find a nice place to stand, because I knew that it would be crowded.

Soon, her campaign manager Terry McAuliffe came on stage and gave a rousing introduction. He said that the polls show that Hillary Clinton will not only win the states that Al Gore and John Kerry won, but she'll win other key states like Florida, Nevada, etc. After rattling off more of her credentials, he introduced her and musical performer Mya.

It was very much a stump speech from the presidential hopeful, but I was moved and motivated nonetheless as she detailed why she should be the next president and what she would do if elected.

She promised universal health care for all Americans, an end to the war in Iraq and real support for our returning veterans, an end to the war on science and a new dawn for research, specifically life-saving studies of stem cells.

She recalled when she was going off to college: her dad paid for tuition and room and board, but she was delegated the task of buying her own books. But she had to pay her own way through law school. She earned scholarships and worked, but she said she was also lucky enough to be able to borrow money from the federal government with only 2% interest. She said we need to end the days of soaring tuition prices that cause students to get led astray by private lenders that they become indebted to for much of their adult lives.

She also brought up Hurricane Katrina and how a natural disaster became "a national disgrace and an international embarrassment." She said she had a unique idea involving the appointments of competent people to important positions, which drew laughter and applause from the crowd of over 1,000 supporters.

She ended the speech with a story that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once told her about visiting "behind the Iron Curtain" for a WWII memorial: she saw many American flags with only 48 stars. When President Clinton's cabinet member asked them why they had these old flags, it was explained to her that they were family heirlooms that were first given to them by American soldiers. The flags, in pristine condition, represented freedom that many of these people could only ever hope for.

Not only did Sen. Clinton say that this sentiment should still be felt abroad, but she said that she wants us to be able to feel it about ourselves, as well. We should be proud to be Americans, where we value liberty and democracy.

Under a Hillary Clinton administration, we will be.

Monday, September 03, 2007


"In her first ad of the campaign, Hillary says that everyone who has been invisible to George W. Bush won't be invisible to the next president."

Texas Blog Roundup: Labor Day Edition

Even though it's Labor Day, Texas Progressive bloggers are still hard at work, and so the Texas Progressive Alliance is proud to present the TPA Blog Round-Up for September 3, 2007. This Labor Day edition was compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

In the opening part of his in-depth series on the policies of the Democratic presidential candidates, Phillip Martin at Burnt Orange Report examines where the candidates fall on issues concerning energy and the environment. From their stance on CAFE standards to new coal plants, to renewable energy and greenhouse emissions, the post provides a well-sourced comparison of all 8 of the candidates' platforms.

Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal lets us know that, even after embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation, Texas' unpopular Sen. John Cornyn is still defending Bush's crony.

As Bush prepares to ask Congress for $200 billion in supplemental spending TXsharon at Bluedaze tells us just who The Iraq War Profiteers are.

Muse at Musings liveblogs NASA Administrator Michael Griffin's press conference about astronauts and alcohol use and finds his "sensationalism" and "urban legend" accusations of the independent commission¹s report a little tiresome. Not to mention defensive.

Over at Texas Kaos, in "Clinton Did Nothing to Stop Bin Laden" Is a GOP Lie, Krazypuppy takes on the Republican lie that Democrats are soft on terror with some of them facts we in the Reality Based Community are always on about. As one commenter notes, Dems aren't weak on terror, they're weak on Republicans. Time for that to change, for America's sake, Iran's sake, and the entire world's sake.

Someone shoved a press release under Hal at Half Empty's nose: Ron E. Reynolds will challenge Dora Olivo for state Representative in HD 27.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on TxDOT's plan to buy back interstate highways from the federal government and put tolls on them and asks Will TxDOT' Plan To Toll Interstates Be Tipping Point?

The last public hearing prior to METRO choosing a route for its Universities light rail line was this past Tuesday. Alexandria Ragsdale attended the hearing, made her statement in favor of a Richmond Avenue alignment, and blogged all about it at Off The Kuff

Whosplayin.com shares correspondence with his Congressman urging the avoidance of pre-emptive war against Iran and shares a study regarding the administrations probable plans on the matter.

John at Bay Area Houston claims the recent changes to the Texas Residential Construction Commission makes it the most expensively worthless Commission in Texas.

Vince at Capitol Annex examines some interesting questions raised by the lawsuit against the changes to the pledge to the Texas flag made by the 80th Legislature.

Unchecked development in Texas now threatens the continued long-term existence of an iconic bird species, the Whooping Crane, notes Peter at B & B.

CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme shows how El Paso Women are taking a stand against NAFTA. These courageous women staged a hunger strike for the Labor Day weekend to bring attention to the loss of American jobs due to NAFTA.

And, McBlogger will be celebrating a birthday soon and has some conveniet gift ides for everyone.

Be sure to check out these other great Texas Progressive Alliance blogs, too: Brains & Eggs, Casual Soap Box, Common Sense, Dos Centavos, Easter Lemming Liberal News, Feet To Fire, In The Pink Texas, Marc's Miscellany, People's Republic of Seabrook, Rhetoric & Rhythm, Three Wise Men, Truth Serum Blog, Winding Road In Urban Area, and Wyld Card.