HAPPY NEW YEAR
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne
In an interview with The Associated Press, Edwards said he was trying to ease fears about his electability by arguing that his sharply populist message is not polarizing. "It's not divisive at all," he said, "it's uniting."
The public is rightfully upset with Congress over their failure to stop Bush's agenda in 2007. But the answer is to play hardball while strategizing for a larger majority in the next election, not to find more ways to compromise. Previous calls from the GOP for moderation merely provided the political cover to stay the course, and the result has been a legislative agenda vastly out of sync with the views of its electorate on every key policy issue: the war, fiscal responsibility, healthcare, energy.
As regular readers know, I've been pondering this infuriating fixation on bipartisanship and moderation for the last couple of weeks and watching aghast as the press does the wingnuts' bidding, setting up the Dems as failing to fulfill their promise to the American people that they would be moderate and bipartisan if they won the election. This was simply not on the agenda during the election, other than that the House Democrats would restore some sort of fairness to the rules and pass anti-corruption legislation. In fact, the entire election was about the Democrats taking power to provide some needed checks and balance on the Republicans.
Oddly, however, in the last couple of weeks, the media has been obsessing that the election reflected a desire among the American people for the congress to stop fighting and work together, which makes no sense. The Republican congress didn't fight --- the Democrats just caterwauled ineffectually from the sidelines, while the Republicans did what they wanted. There was no gridlock, they passed virtually every piece of legislation they wanted and the congress was perfectly in sync with the president. If comity was what people were concerned about they obviously would have kept undivided government.
The American people voted for the Democrats because they wanted them to stop the Republican juggernaut.
While governor, Huckabee gained favor with Hispanic leaders by denouncing a high-profile federal immigration raid and suggesting some anti-illegal immigration measures were driven by racism. He advocated making children of illegal immigrants eligible for college scholarships.
Huckabee's Republican presidential rivals have tried to make an issue of the scholarship plan, portraying him as soft on illegal immigration. Huckabee responded this month by unveiling a plan to seal the Mexican border, hire more agents to patrol it and make illegal immigrants go home before they could apply to return to this
... though the current immigration flow shows no signs of abating, the Mexican GDP is growing and the national fertility rate has plummeted by almost two-thirds since 1970. That birth rate is nearing the level at which Mexico would need to retain workers for its own economy, thereby shutting off the spigot of immigration into the U.S.So if the GOP can't put this genie back in the bottle, it will have spent a decade or more alienating what will then be Texas' largest bloc of voters on an issue that may resolve of its own accord. Brilliant strategy, pachyderms. Don't stop on our account.
I am officially announcing my candidacy for House District 64 in Denton County, Texas.
While I could post the usual press release, which I have blasted out today to various media outlets, I have decided to make this more personal for the blogs, especially my former home at Burnt Orange Report.
I was asked by the Coordinated Campaign to run for the 2008 nomination because we need to make a change. Denton County, and all of Texas for that matter, needs positive change, which only a Democrat can deliver.
We are the party that works for the people. I want to see the best for our children in Texas by improving education and raising teacher salaries, so they can provide students with the attention they deserve. I want to see Texas take care of its sick and injured, by increasing the number of insured citizens and offering greater access to healthcare. I want to improve public transportation, and look for alternative sources of energy, so we can end the nightmare of traffic jams and poor air quality in our state.
In order for this change to happen, we need a majority in the TX House. At last count, we are 5 seats away from that majority. 5 more seats gives us the power to reverse the problems that the GOP majority and House Speaker Tom Craddick have caused. I believe the people of Texas are ready.
I need only look at HD 97, a Republican stronghold, electing Democrat Dan Barrett to represent them. That is inspiration enough. HD 64 has been a similar Republican "safe district" for many years. I plan on dispelling that notion in 2008.
I am asking for everyone's support in this campaign. Together, we can make a difference in Denton County and all of Texas. John McClelland for State Representative District 64.
All of us here at NTL want to thank John for stepping up and giving voters a clear choice here in Denton County. We wish him the best of luck. You can help launch John's campaign into the New Year. Click here to contribute.
John Moore, a photographer for Getty Images, said Bhutto was standing through the sunroof of her vehicle, waving to supporters, when two shots rang out.
Bhutto fell back into the vehicle, and almost immediately a bomb blast rocked the scene, sending twisting metal and shrapnel into the crowd, he added.Police sources told CNN the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near Bhutto's vehicle.
Chaos erupted at the hospital when former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived to pay his respects to Bhutto less than three hours after her death.Hundreds of Bhutto supporters crammed into the entrance shouted and cried, some clutching their heads in pain and shock. Sharif called it "the saddest day" in Pakistan's history. "Something unthinkable has happened," he said
Sharif said his party will boycott Pakistan's January 8 parliamentary elections in the wake of the assassination.
President Pervez Musharraf said the killers were the same extremists that Pakistan is fighting a war against, and announced three days of national mourning.
Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets in reaction to the death.
Cornyn is, of course, hoping that no one will remember his famous quote during the Terri Schiavo controversy, where he suggested a direct link between violence against the judiciary and the actions of "activist" judges.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the passage an important step to protect judges, courthouse personnel and their families against increased threats of violence.
Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was an original co-sponsor of the legislation, which was passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on April 19. “Our democracy depends on our ability to attract and protect dedicated public servants to administer justice. This vital role comes with serious security risks that place judges and their families in harm’s way,” Cornyn said in an announcement late Wednesday.
I'm sure Cornyn had only the best interests of the judiciary in mind when he tried to warn them of their errant ways. He's certainly not responsible for how some right-wing nut job interprets any of it, right? Joan Humphrey Lefkow, the judge who lost her husband and mother in a double murder that served as the incentive for the security bill in the first place, might disagree. In a hearing designed "to address the possible threat that irresponsible, anti-judiciary rhetoric can pose to the safety of judges, their families, and judicial independence", Lefkow stated:
…it causes a lot of people, including me, great distress to see judges use the authority that they have been given to make raw political or ideological decisions. And no one, including those judges, including the judges on the United States Supreme Court, should be surprised if one of us stands up and objects.....
And finally, I-- I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news. And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in -- engage in violence. Certainly without any justification but a concern that I have that I wanted to share.
Fostering disrespect for judges can only encourage those that are on the edge, or on the fringe, to exact revenge on a judge who displeases them."Fortunately, the pandering politicians who fanned those flames are mostly gone: Tom Delay, Rick Santorum, Bill Frist. Here's hoping our junior senator is not far behind.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) just announced that the Senate will not clear four new appointees for the Federal Election Commission, meaning the panel that acts as a watchdog on political campaigns cannot function during the critical election-year period.
The Senate's inaction means that recess appointments for three of the nominees, including von Spakovsky, will expire at year's end. Unless some of those commissioners choose to work without pay, the six-member commission will be left with only two members, Republican holdover David Mason and Democrat Ellen Weintraub.
Ailing state Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, has a hospital bed set up in the sergeant's office -- about a 100 feet from Gallegos' Senate chamber desk, Monday so that he could help block a contentious voter ID bill from debate.
"I'm hurting. I'm hurting," Gallegos said a few minutes ago as the Senate went into session.
In the meantime, Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, is monitoring Gallegos' health. Deuell is a physician.
I used to say, having once been a card-carrying Sixties radical, that if I had to be called a liberal, I’d just as soon be the worst kind of liberal--a bleeding heart. I wound up being a liberal because I was for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam and that’s what I got called. I missed the New Deal and McCarthyism and all that good business.Indeed, Molly Ivins. Indeed. For this and more, we name you a Texas Progressive Alliance 2007 Gold Star.
I’ve got more important things to worry about--three-year-old kids getting raped and denied admission to a hospital because their mamas don’t have any money and things like that. I carry neither brief nor guilt for the many sins of liberals past and present: there’s too much to bleed over. And laugh over.
John Cobarruvias has almost single handedly changed the way Texas legislators use and report their campaign/officeholder expenses. Because he has held their feet to the fire through his Spending Campaign Cash series, organizing a group of volunteers to file complaints against offending legislators and urging media to report on spending abuses, legislators have cleaned up their acts. The Texas Ethics Commission has issued written reminders to legislators about the very problems with reporting expenses that Cobarruvias uncovered.
Vince Leibowitz. As the 80th Session of the Texas Legislature ended in turmoil--with parliamentarians resigning, a walk-out, and two stooges of House Speaker Tom Craddick on the dais as officers of the Texas House, Leibowitz decided that the whole story of those final days wasn't being told and started digging. Through public information requests, he uncovered a sheaf of documents from House Speaker Tom Craddick's office that helped piece together exactly what happened in those final hours. No main-stream media outlet had dug into this, and Leibowitz's work broke new ground and proved that House Speaker Tom Craddick's actions were the premeditated acts of a Speaker on the edge.
Edmundo Rocha. Blending lends heavy-handed social critiques, local and national politics, and a heaping dose of common sense in his blog, Edmundo Rocha tackles heavy topics like imigration, teenage pregnancy, racial and gender politics, and backs up everything with a sense of style and spirit. With a loyal and unwavering audience (his Texan of the Year nomination, in fact, was suggested in the comments of a blog by one of Edmundo's readers), Rocha has rapidly become one of the state's most prominent Latino bloggers. No issue is too tough, and none taboo for this blogger.
Sharon Wilson. Most Texans don't know what the Texas Railroad Commission is or does. In 2007, one Texas blogger changed that: Sharon Wilson. Wilson's reporting on the injection well drilling in the Barnett Shale region and its impact on the water quality and the environment in Wise County and surrounding areas has been exceedingly important to bringing wider attention to the dangers this practice poses across the state. Wilson has nearly single-handedly stood up to large oil companies and made the companies and state agencies--including the Texas Railroad Commission--take notice. Relentless in her drive to educate the public and elected officials to the damage being done to the Texas environment, Wilson's investigative reporting and blogging is worthy of recognition.
TexBlog PAC. Started by just a handful of
David Van Os. Following his defeat in the 2006 Attorney General's race, Van Os made good on his promise to "keep fighting 'em on ice." From helping groups like TURF in their fight against the private takeover of government infrastructure to helping workers who were intimidated when nooses started showing up in their workplace (securing the removal of both the noose and the supervisor), Van Os hasn't stopped fighting for working Texans. In addition, from musicians to probation officers to non-profit workers, Van Os has continued his life's work on behalf of the working men and women of Texas.
State Representative Mike Villarreal. In 2003, many were ready to write Mike Villarreal's political obituary. Fast forward to 2007, and Villarreal has become one of the Progressive leaders in the Texas House of Representatives. Authoring legislation that would have made created contribution limits for political candidates and an independent redistricting commission, Villarreal took a lead with these progressive issues. In addition, Villarreal took a lead on GLBT rights by authoring HB 900, which would have provided protections from discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression for the GLBT community. This, coupled with the compromise he sought to proffer when Republicans tried to take over the House and suspend the constitutional provision concerning the consideration of legislation early in the session, make Villarreal worthy of recognition.
In forcing Chris Comer to resign as Texas Director of Science, the Texas Education Agency has confirmed in a most public, unfortunate way the central point of my Austin presentation, “Inside Creationism’s Trojan Horse,” the mere announcement of which TEA used as an excuse to terminate her: the intelligent design (ID) creationist movement is about politics, religion, and power. If anyone had any doubts about how mean-spirited ID politics is, this episode should erase them......
Ms. Martinez continued, “Thus, sending this e-mail compromises the agency’s role in the TEKS revision process by creating the perception that TEA has a biased position on a subject directly related to the science education TEKS.” But why would the TEA be concerned about being biased in favor of teaching children the truth about science? The TEA’s proper role is to ensure the quality and integrity of what is taught in Texas science classes. My Austin presentation was most certainly not a threat to that role, but in fact highly supportive of it. I presented the truth about ID as established by years of scholarly research. Has the process of administering the public education system in Texas become so politicized that even the truth is a threat to people’s jobs? One can only conclude that it has.
Those who believe in teaching creation as science often argue that both sides of a debate should be heard.Yet when Christine Castillo Comer, a former science teacher, forwarded an e-mail announcing a public speech by creationism critic Barbara Forrest, suddenly that side no longer needed to be heard......Kevin Fisher, the science coordinator for Lewisville schools, is a past president of Texas Science teachers."The most astonishing part of this is that the Texas Education Agency would want science classes to remain neutral between evolution, which is science, and creationism, which is religion," Fisher said. "I think everybody in Texas wants a 21st-century education for our children. Bringing creationism into the classroom is 15th-century education.
I thought that you might like to know that Barbara Forrest will be speaking on “Inside Creationism’s Trojan Horse” in Austin on November 2, 2007. Her talk, sponsored by the Center for Inquiry Austin, begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Monarch Event Center, Suite 3100, 6406 North IH-35 in Austin. The cost is $6; free to friends of the Center.
In her talk, Forrest will provide a detailed report on her expert testimony in the Kitzmiller v. Dover School Board trial as well as an overview of the history of the “intelligent design” movement. Forrest is a Professor of Philosophy in the Department of History and Political Science at Southeastern Louisiana University; she is also a member of NCSE’s board of directors.
The call to fire Comer came from Lizzette Reynolds, who previously worked in the U.S. Department of Education. She also served as deputy legislative director for Gov. George W. Bush. She joined the Texas Education Agency as the senior adviser on statewide initiatives in January.
Comer's resignation comes just months before the State Board of Education is to begin reviewing the science portion of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, the statewide curriculum that will be used to determine what should be taught in Texas classrooms and what textbooks are bought.
But [Wellman] said that the insistence by the Texas General Land Office that it get paid for the 9,269-acre tract could seriously complicate any potential transfer.
"You're looking at a year delay if you were to involve federal funds -- it would definitely be a hurdle, and I don't know if it would be insurmountable," Wellman said.
A bid has been submitted by John Poindexter, who owns the 30,000-acre Cibolo Creek Ranch near Presidio.
According to the 21-page bid package, Poindexter would spend $175,000 on restoration and conservation projects.
The bid says that an annual barbecue with the tract's neighbors could take place on the property, as well as auctioned hunts for mule deer, whitetail deer and blue quail, but it is vague on other points involving public access. For instance, it says "selective public education might evolve" on the property.