Thursday, March 30, 2006

Neighbor-to-Neighbor Organizing Day on April 29th.

I am sure others received this note from Howard Dean. Is this something we should think about doing as a group?
Are you ready to make history? Thanks to the overwhelming support from thousands of Democrats, who donated to get the literature for the canvass printed and shipped, we're on schedule and gearing up for the unprecedented Neighbor-to-Neighbor Organizing Day on April 29th.

On that Saturday, thousands of volunteers will recruit hundreds of thousands more Americans committed to changing the status quo this year during door-knocking events in communities across America.

Democrats have a clear vision for America, and we're going to get the word out by making personal contact with our neighbors. And along the way we will build new relationships among volunteers on the ground, a network that will have an impact beyond a single day. Whether you've never volunteered or you're a seasoned door-knocking veteran, it is crucial that you take part in this historic organizing push.

In many states, Democratic Party staff on the ground have already put together staging areas for massive voter contact events on the 29th. Thanks to donations from people like you, hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature are being printed and shipping in bulk to those locations right now.

If there isn't an event near you, don't worry. Some state parties will have canvassing events on alternate dates, or have other important events planned for that weekend. You can still plan your own canvass in your community. Our online tool makes the planning process easy, and if you create your event before April 10th, we will get doorhangers to you in time for your canvass on the 29th.

Whether you're attending an event or hosting your own, we have also put together materials on the web to help you make your canvass as effective as possible. The online package includes tips on canvassing, a suggested script for when you get to the door, and the doorhanger itself in various formats for you to print extras on your own.

Two-thirds of Americans reject this president and the Republican leadership -- and they are waiting to hear from us. We are all members of one American community and it's up to us to make sure that our country has a government as good as its people. Democrats have a big task in November. We will only win if every one of us takes responsibility for the outcome of the election now -- while there is still time to build our operation.

Thank you for being a part of this extraordinary grassroots push.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

march book club meeting!

The Flower Mound Democrats Book Club will hold their March meeting tomorrow night at Jill's house. They will meet for dinner and afterwards will discuss How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics and the War on Sex by Cristina Page. If you have read this book or plan on reading it, please attend for an informed discussion on abortion rights and the secret anti-contraception agenda of the pro-life movement. The book suggests that the pro-choice movement saved America because pro-choice activists have done more to lower abortion numbers through sex education, planned pregnancy, and birth control.

Check the Flower Mound Democrats Yahoo! Group or email Jill at for details on the March 31 meeting.

radnofsky mailers

Please refer to this blog at Burnt Orange Report for more information on the new mail ads from Barbara Ann's campaign. Remember to tell your friends about this great candidate and encourage them to vote for Radnofsky in the April runoff election. Gene Kelly has lost time and again and it's about time the Democrats presented a real candidate to the U.S. Senate race.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

denton county democratic convention

This past Saturday, I was a delegate to the Denton County Democratic Convention. The convention was opened with a speech from Lt. Governor candidate Maria Luisa Alvarado. She expressed her desire for a stronger Texas for every Texan and promised to bring her Democratic values to the very important post in Texas government. She asked that all Texans vote for her in the runoff on April 11 and beyond that in November.

After Alvarado's address, Denton County Party Chair Edra Bogle addressed her last convention. In May, she will be succeeded by John Gossett, who served as secretary to the convention. Mrs. Bogle called the convention to order and implemented some parliamentary procedures and then we were under way.

Some key speeches included a rousing address from candidate for U.S. Congress, District 26, Tim Barnwell. He talked about how the constituents in his district range greatly; some live in a gated community in Flower Mound and others live in a rough area of Fort Worth. He's running on principles, though, principles that should extend past those barriers. Rep. Michael Burgess has outstayed his welcome in the 26th District and it's time for a change.

Amy Manuel, running for Denton County Commissioner Precinct 2, gave a speech, as well as the Democrat running for State House, District 64, John McLeod. McLeod faces stiff competition from popular Republican Myra Crownover in November.

Some candidates sent representatives to speak in their stead. One of your NTL bloggers proudly spoke on behalf of Barbara Ann Radnofsky, candidate for U.S. Senate. The crowd overwhelmingly showed support for Radnofsky as Jennifer urged the delegates not to vote for perennial loser Gene Kelly on April 11.

Another candidate represented by a campaign worker was Glen Maxey. Maxey ran the No Nonsense in November campaign last year against Prop 2. This year, he is running for State Party Chair. The representative urged all delegates that would go on to the State Convention to cast their vote for Maxey.

After candidate speeches, delegates were chosen for the State Convention. Yours truly will represent Senate District 9 and Denton County this June at the State Convention in Fort Worth. I'm very excited about it and will definitely come back bearing many reports, endorsements, etc.

After a short recess, Edra reconvened the convention to vote on resolutions. The Denton County Party will send several resolutions, including national healthcare and anti-war messages to the State Convention. At the state level, they will have the chance to be embedded within the party platform.

The convention ended with a speech from Lt. Governor candidate Ben Z. Grant. Grant will face Alvarado in an April 11 runoff. Grant famously rode a horse to the Constitutional Convention in the 1970s and is a former Texas lawmaker that was considered a member of the "Dirty Thirty." He asked the delegates for their vote in the primary so he could get back down to Austin and sort out the Republican corruption.

The convention, overall, was a huge success. I was proud to be a part of politics in action and felt like I was really doing something to help better the Democratic Party here in Texas. I can't wait till June when the State Convention will convene. It will be a huge honor to participate. A large number of area Democrats have been elected as delegates to attend, and Denton County will be well-represented.

abramoff gets jail time

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist at the center of a Washington corruption scandal, was sentenced Wednesday to nearly six years in prison for fraud in the purchase of a Florida casino cruise line.
Let this be an example to those corrupt politicians and lobbyists that would try and exploit the system to line their pockets. Fraud, conspiracy, perjury, and corruption will no longer be tolerated. You are not above the law and the justice system will treat you like the criminal you are.

I'm not naming any names, but a certain politician from Sugar Land should be mighty worried at this newsbreak.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

dixie chicks "not ready to make nice"

In March 2003, just days before the first bombs were dropped over Baghdad, the Dixie Chicks (a country music group consisting of lead singer Natalie Maines, guitarist, banjo player, and backing vocalist Emily Robison, and violinist and backing vocalist Martie Maguire) sparked controversy at a concert in London. In between songs, Maines, a Lubbock native, said that as a group the Dixie Chicks were ashamed to be from the same state as President Bush.

A firestorm of angry phone calls and letters to radio stations caused country radio to boycott the Dixie Chicks' music, despite its previous popularity. Conservative activists staged burnings and bulldozings of former fans' unwanted CDs. The members of the bluegrass trio received numerous death threats. They had really caused a ruckus.

However, when the Dixie Chicks came back to the United States to promote their Home album that featured a cover of Stevie Nicks' "Landslide" and a song about the Vietnam era entitled "Travelin' Soldier," they played to sold out crowds. Their first show was in Greenville, South Carolina, where 15,000 fans cheered them on. When Natalie gave time for detractors to jeer, none were heard over the screams and cheers.

The Dixie Chicks still had a problem with country radio. Their hits weren't played on many stations. Natalie made the comment that after being snubbed at the Country Music Awards, but still winning three Grammys against tougher competition, they knew that country wasn't their home anymore.

In 2004, the Dixie Chicks toured with James Taylor on behalf of the MoveOn PAC's Vote for Change Tour. In late 2005, they recorded "I Hope," a song dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. All profits from the single were donated to charity to help New Orleans residents affected by the disaster.

Now, the Dixie Chicks are gearing up to release their first new album since the controversy, Taking the Long Way. It is anticipated to have a different sound than the other albums, aimed at a wider audience. The first single is "Not Ready to Make Nice," a song co-written by all three of the group members. They admit that the song is a statement about the comments Natalie made and the reactions that ensued. Some lyrics include "I’m not ready to make nice/I’m not ready to back down/I’m still mad as hell and I don’t have time to go round and round and round/It’s too late to make it right/I probably wouldn’t if I could/‘Cause I’m mad as hell/Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should" and, in reaction to the death threats the group received, "It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger/And how in the world can the words that I said/Send somebody so over the edge that they’d write me a letter sayin’ that I better shut up and sing or my life will be over."

Robison released a statement about the single.
"The stakes were definitely higher on that song. We knew it was special because it was so autobiographical, and we had to get it right. And once we had that song done, it freed us up to do the rest of the album without that burden."
The Associated Press reports that many country music stations are adopting a "wait-and-see" attitude toward the single. Some are slipping the song into rotation without making any fuss and just seeing if the listeners notice and how they respond. Others are waiting to see how the single fares in other markets. The song has received airplay in some of the major markets for country music, such as Dallas, Austin, and Nashville.

The full song and the lyrics can be found at the band's official website. To try and get the song played on country radio in North Texas, you can request it online from country stations like 96.3 KSCS, 96.7 The Twister, and 99.5 The Wolf.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The hand protecting our Constitution

Scalia gives obscene gesture at church
(UPI) - A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state. "You know what I say to those people?" Scalia replied, making the obscene gesture and explaining "That's Sicilian." The 20-year veteran of the high court was caught making the gesture by a photographer with The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper. "Don't publish that," Scalia told the photographer, the Herald said.
Dick Cheney says "Go f#*k yourself" on the Senate floor. George W. flips off reporters in Texas, later recorded calling them "a*sholes." Supreme court justices now too? What does this really prove?

It proves that they have nothing but contempt for the people, for reasonable discourse, and for our fourth estate (you know that little idea of a free press mentioned in the first amendment?). A Supreme Court Justice, one expected to uphold our Constitution, feels free to exercise his first amendment right in a crass, juvenile manner, but expects his orders not to publish to be obeyed? They aren't hiding their agenda, their lust for power, their disdain for the ideals of this country. They really believe they've won and they can spit on us and any institutions that question them. What an embarrassment, again.

Thank God two of my best friends cleared this situation up for me before I really got depressed. Joe knows Boston, and took the liberty of enlightening me:
"Jennifer, for shame. How quick we are to hate.

Being that I am from the great Bay State, allow me shed some light on what you have OBVIOUSLY misconstrued to be some type of insult to his detractors. In the great city of Boston, the middle finger is synonymous with and common as a hand wave. It is our special way of saying, "How is yous guys doin'?"

So please, before you pass judgment on the great and august Justice Scalia, take a moment to attempt to understand (dare I say "embrace") the cultural diversity that makes up this great land. I think we will all be better people for it.

F*#@ you all,
Thanks, Joe. I feel better now. And from my best spin-sister Holly back home:
"Justice Scalia clarified his comments and accompanying hand gesture made March 26th on his way out of Catholic mass. Regarding Scalia's use of his middle finger pointing upward, representatives for Scalia assured shocked supporters that when used by a person ordained by God to judge the morals of others, like Scalia, the gesture actually means "see you in heaven my child." Members of the religious right breathed a sigh of relief at the revelation and immediately thanked God for this neatly packaged and convenient answer, which allowed them to stop considering whether or not Scalia is just a prick. President Bush, in a statement issued today, praised Scalia for his uncompromising ability to 'see the Christian spirit in others, even his opponents and to express hope that even the Godless will receive salvation'. Bush, however, stopped short of expressing his approval of the gesture as the new symbol of the restructured Supreme Court. Unnamed White House sources report that Bush does agree that the gesture sums up the stance the new Court intends to take on established precedent inconsistent with its preconceived notions of morality and on Constitutional freedoms deemed unnecessary."
Thanks, Holly. Those degrees in journalism and law will take you far. Don't be surprised if Fox News calls with an offer if they read this.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

DCCC to target NRCC Chair

Robert Novak has some good news and some bad news for the Republican party. First the good news: Jack Abramoff is telling friends that nothing he is revealing to federal prosecutors as a result of his plea agreement on fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy will implicate Tom DeLay. Alright, technically it's only good news for DeLay. Abramoff doesn't promise he won't sing about other members of the House, including Ohio congressman Robert Ney.

Now the bad news: There are reports the DCCC may be targeting the chair of the NRCC in the 2006 congressional elections:

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign committee (DCCC), has taken the unusual step of targeting his Republican counterpart, Rep. Tom Reynolds, for defeat in his upstate New York district this year. There is no record of a House campaign committee chairman ever being defeated for re-election by the opposition party.

The DCCC claims secret polls showed the supposedly safe Republican district represented by Reynolds is competitive this year. Reynolds, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, in 2004 won re-election to a fourth term with a surprisingly low 56 percent. His Democratic opponent was retired industrialist Jack Davis, who spent $1,250,000 of his own money in 2004 and is trying again.

Where would the DCCC get the chutzpah to pull something like this? Whatever happened to bipartisanship in Congress? Why, this is unprecedented!

Of course, there was that little incident with Tom Daschle. You know, the Senate Minority Leader who was defeated by John Thune in November, 2004 after an unprecedented campaign where Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist broke tradition and actively campaigned against his counterpart. The result was the first race a senate majority or minority leader has lost in over 50 years. Daschle's crime, according to Frist, was that he was the chief obstructionist to President Bush's policies on tax cuts, judicial nominees and the war in Iraq. Of course, a lot of Democrats were scratching their heads about that one, seeing as how his tax cuts went through, not once but three times, his judicial nominees were appointed and the war in Iraq...well, don't even go there (no pun intended).

For an example of Senator Daschle's unpardonable crimes:

...he angered Republicans and unnerved a few Democrats when, with the nation on the brink of war with Iraq, he said he was "saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war."

Daschle later said he regretted the timing of his criticism and expressed strong support for U.S. troops in Iraq.

Yes, it's painful to remember how successfully the Republicans were able to steamroll the Democrats in the early years of the Bush administration. But that's history now. If the November elections deliver a Democratic majority in the House, the Democrats are going to issue subpoenas faster than New Rome issues traffic tickets. Senator Frist, along with henchman Tom DeLay in the House, rewrote the rules of partisanship that are now coming back to haunt them. Too bad neither one of them will be around after the elections to reap their just rewards.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Lewis Lapham on C-SPAN

The editor of Harper's Weekly, Lewis Lapham, appeared on C-SPAN this week promoting his article in the March 2006 issue, "The Case for Impeachment: Why We Can No Longer Afford George W. Bush." After almost thirty years at the helm, Mr. Lewis is retiring, but his swan song is a doozy. The article documents extensively the justification for the build-up to the war, but the money quotes are Mr. Lapham's editorial assessments, where he throws down the gauntlet to both Congress and the press:

We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiple the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal -- known to be armed and shown to be dangerous. Under the three-strike rule available to the courts in California, judges sentence people to life in jail for having stolen from Wal-Mart a set of golf clubs or a child's tricycle. Who then calls strikes on President Bush, and how many more does he get before being sent down on waivers to one of the Texas Prison Leagues?....

But in the news media [the American electorate] find no strong voice of dissent, in the Democratic Party no concerted effort to form a coherent opposition. Which places the work of protecting the country's freedoms where it should be placed -- with the Congress, more specifically with the Republican members of Congress. What else is it that voters expect the Congress to do if not to look out for their rights as citizens of the United States? So the choice presented to the Republican members on the Judiciary Committee investigating the President's use of electronic surveillance comes down to a matter of deciding whether they will serve their country or their party. I don't envy them the decision; the rewards offered by the party (patronage, campaign contributions, a fat retirement on the payroll of a K Street lobbying firm) clearly outweigh those available from the country-- congratulatory editorials in obscure newspapers, malicious gossip circulated by Focus on the Family and Fox News, an outpouring of letters and emails from grateful citizens not in positions to do anybody any favors.

The March issue is still available at newsstands. On March 2, Harper's Weekly held a forum, "Is There a Case for Impeachment?" moderated by Sam Seder, and featuring Rep. John Conyers Jr., John Dean, former congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, Lewis Lapham and Michael Ratner. Click here for a transcript and podcast of the forum, and the text of Conyers' impeachment resolution.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

oglala sioux tribe planned parenthood

After the recent abortion ban was signed into law in South Dakota by Governor Mike Rounds, no one was more outraged than the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder. Ms. Fire Thunder is a former nurse and was angered that a governing body consisting mainly of white Republican men would make a law restricting women from making a personal choice on abortion. Free to make her own decision on the issue, she has come to take the opposite stance.
“To me, it is now a question of sovereignty. I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction.”
Yes, you read that correctly. President Fire Thunder plans to open a Planned Parenthood branch in the state of South Dakota and there's nothing the Republican legislators can do about it.

A mailing address and an email address can be found here if you'd like to help finance this effort. The Oglala Sioux Tribe doesn't have a lot of disposable income, so in order to take on such a large project, they're going to need our help. If you can't afford to help with resources presently, at least drop an encouraging email to President Fire Thunder and let her know that you support her work for women's rights.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Second Verse, Same As the First

With the president's poll numbers in a free fall, and Republican dissent emerging in Congress, Democrats are setting to run the 2006 campaign as a referendum on Bush's policies. Republican party strategists, however, think they know the key to winning in the fall: turn out the base.

As Fred Barnes, in an article for The Weekly Standard, outlines it:
House Republicans, for their part, intend to seek votes on measures such as the Bush-backed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a bill allowing more public expression of religion, another requiring parental consent for women under 18 to get an abortion, legislation to bar all federal courts except the Supreme Court from ruling on the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance, a bill to outlaw human cloning, and another that would require doctors to consider fetal pain before performing an abortion.
There couldn't be a better testament than this agenda to the fact that Bush's capital is - spent. And although it sounds arrogant and even risky to run on an agenda that is so marginalizing when the largest disaffection in recent polls has been among moderate Republicans, the truth is that the RNC has no choice. They are paying the price now for the incredible party discipline of the last five years. The Republican congressional leadership followed Bush doctrine in lockstep right up to the edge of the cliff, and there is no backing away now.
"Dave Sachett of the Tarrance Group said, in a memo to Mehlman, that distancing oneself from the president is a "flawed strategy" and would not protect a Republican candidate "from the generic backlash against the administration or the congressional leadership." Rather, it would turn the campaign into "a national referendum on President Bush and the policies of the administration and the congressional leadership"-- just what Republicans fear in 2006. Jan van Lohuizen of Voter/Consumer Research said a campaign that becomes a referendum on Bush could also chill Republican voter turnout. "Anything we do to depress turnout, by not running as a unified party, for instance, could very well lead to serious consequences in November."
Well, why not? It worked before. And they might get lucky. Moderate Republicans may choose to stay home in November rather than vote for a Democrat, if the party of opposition fails to prove it is a viable alternative. But the Democratic strategy may not necessarily equate to many specifics, something that frustrates Republicans.
Blunt, however, wants to force Democrats to present an agenda. Contrasted with Democratic plans, "our ideas always look better," he says. "Their best day will be the day before they release their agenda. Suddenly [Republican] policies will look like the policies that would work best in the future."
The Democrats learned this piece of political jujitsu from the Republicans' torpedo of Hillary Clinton's health care plan. Republicans trashed it without presenting a viable alternative, and therefore, scuttled any possible compromise. The Democrats displayed the same tactic successfully during the debate on how to save Social Security, and although they have taken hits for not being the party of "ideas", the political fallout has been manageable. But the key to successfully implementing this strategy is a strong offense in order to keep the focus on your opponent's shortcomings, rather than your lack of specifics - a tactic at which the Republicans excel. Fortunately, five years of Bubble Boy's bungling has given the Democrats plenty to attack. It remains to be seen whether they have the stomach for it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Gore in 2008?

Ever since Al Gore sat in a hot tub on Saturday Night Live, and followed that appearance with an announcement that he would not run for president in 2004, conventional wisdom has been that his days of seeking political office are over. Following the chaos of the 2000 election battle, and seemingly freed from the constraints of worrying about public consensus, a new Al Gore emerged as a cogent and uncompromising critic of the Bush administration; dawned the hero's cape to rescue ailing patients from a Louisiana hospital during Katrina; launched a new media venture; and is gradually becoming the most recognized and respected international spokesperson on the dangers of global warming. Nowhere, it seems, is running for office even a consideration.

And although the democratic field of presidential candidates for 2008 is dense, favorites are already emerging. Hardball, along with much of the Republican leadership, has annointed Hillary Clinton the frontrunner; the blogosphere is fawning over Russ "Censure the President" Feingold; and the traditional media is looking for the next Clinton in Virginia Gov. Mark Warner. Al Gore, we're told, has found his niche and it ain't running for office.

And indeed, every spokesperson for Gore has echoed that, time and time again. But a recent article in The American Prospect leaves the door open just enough to speculate:
And it could be Gore, if he wants it. Here’s the scenario: Hillary Clinton continues rolling forward, amassing establishment support and locking down the large donors. Anti-Hillary voters prove unable to coalesce around a single champion, so Clinton is able to suck up all the oxygen but, as with most faits accomplis, attracts little genuine enthusiasm. At the same time, her hawkishness and ostentatious moderation sparks widespread disillusionment among the online activist community. Inevitably, the liberal wing of the party begins calling for a Bigfoot of its own to enter the primary, and the obvious prospect is Gore., which already exists, amplifies the drumbeat, collecting pledges and holding events. The press corps, sensing a Godzilla vs. King Kong battle, begins covering the events. As Marty Peretz, publisher of The New Republic and a longtime friend of Gore, says, “if he were to find that there was some groundswell for him, I think it would be hard to resist.”
So it seems a long shot at best. If he were to declare, would his new image and fund-raising capabilities make him the automatic front runner? Who knows? Republicans did a character assassination on Gore in the 2000 campaign, with the press as willing accomplices. As a result, Gore suffers from the same bane as Hillary Clinton - high unfavorable ratings from Republicans. In the long run, Gore may serve us better by continuing to focus on global climate change - a threat more serious than terrorism, and an issue seriously begging for a credible political spokesperson. But with a new movie on the issue coming in May, and "draft Gore" momentum building, speculation won't be dying down any time soon.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Texans at War

As we mark the three-year anniversary of the Iraq war, protests are scheduled across the nation this weekend, including today's rally - Stop the War Now and Bring Our Troops Home- in downtown Dallas.

Before it's gone, grab a copy of the March 2006 issue of Texas Monthly, devoted entirely to Texans who have served their country at this time of war. Among the articles is one on Rick Noriega, a Democrat representing District 145 in the Texas Legislature, when he found himself called up to serve in Afghanistan. Rick designated his wife, Melissa, to serve in his stead until his return last August. Another story covers a soldier who blogs from Iraq. And "Fallen Heroes" is a somber roll call of the 203 soldiers with ties to Texas who have given their lives in the Iraq war.

As Matt Cook, the soldier blogger from the "War.Com" article, describes his role:
I've been here almost five months - a rough five months at that - and the patrols seem to blend together. We've done a lot of good things here, but tragedies often make it difficult to see the forest for the trees. I think I speak for many when I say that my biggest fear is leaving this place in no better condition than we found it. But whether we say it or not, in between our b****ing and bellyaching lies a purpose and a promise to each other. When we leave, this place will be better than we found it.
The brave men and women showcased in these stories, and the countless others whose names and faces we will never know, deserve leadership at home equal to their sacrifice abroad. What Bush needs now is someone who can put aside the slogans and produce what this administration has failed to produce so far - an actual plan to end the war. The MBA president needs a project manager, who can produce a plan with quantitative deliverables to measure our progress, and report back to congress and the American people. He needs a plan with timelines and a decisive end point, that tells us by what measure we'll be able to declare victory and bring our troops home. Real victory, the kind Matt Cook yearns for, is beyond our reach. But the only thing worse than acknowledging that now, is marking a second three-year anniversary with more grim statistics and the same result.

Friday, March 17, 2006

sandra day o'connor speaks out!

The newly retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, appointed by President Reagan but considered by many to be a moderate and "the swing vote," recently spoke out against right-wing attacks on the judiciary.

Sandra Day O'Connor was born in El Paso, Texas, and spent much of her life in Duncan, Arizona. She later attended Stanford in the 1950s. She had trouble finding work as a lawyer because of her gender, but she was appointed to the Arizona State Senate and was subsequently elected to two full terms as a Republican. She became the first woman to become Senate Majority Leader in any state. She was serving as judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals when she was tapped by President Reagan.

Ms. O'Connor spent twenty-four years on the Supreme Court. She was the first woman to be appointed to the highest court of the land, and part of her service was spent with the second woman ever appointed and confirmed, Clinton-nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

On March 9, Sandra Day O'Connor gave a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In her speech, she criticized Republican leaders for their attacks on the independent judiciary. She declared, "We must be ever-vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary" and said that such threats "pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedom."

Many point to former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) as an example of what O'Connor is warning against. Last year during the Terri Schiavo debacle, DeLay called for scrutiny of "an arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the president." Unfortunately for these Republicans, the Supreme Court is in place to uphold the Constitution rather than to enforce the conservative moral agenda.

"It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship," Ms. O'Connor said, "but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

Saturday, March 11, 2006

High School Student Not Backing Down

Did anyone read the story about the Democrat student at Highland Park High School who refused to become a Republican, even when his dad threatened not to pay for his college education? According to the story, the HS student could not be bribed to support a party which we all know only cares about a few people and causes and does not support what is good for all Americans. He should definitely be applauded. The story indicated that the student participates in several Democrat groups. With more young people in Texas becoming Democrats, there is definitely hope for the future.

Meet Tim Barnwell - Candidate for TX-26

Tim Barnwell is running for Congressional District 26 against Republican Michael Burgess. Come to the Flower Mound Democrats meeting THIS MONDAY, meet Mr. Barnwell and mingle with some like-minded citizens:

When: Monday, March 13, 2006
7:00 p.m.

Where: Landmark Grill
1297 Justin Road
Lewisville, TX 75077
(972) 317-4867

Let's turn out and show some support for a worthy candidate!

Update: [3-13-2006]
Listen to Mr. Barnwell's podcast at the News Connection.

Friday, March 10, 2006

ann richards diagnosed with cancer

Ann Richards, a Democrat and former Governor of Texas, has been diagnosed with cancer. On Wednesday she announced that she had "been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and her treatment could include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of all three." Yesterday, she began treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Richards, 72, was the 45th Governor of Texas, serving from 1991 to 1995. She was succeeded by George W. Bush. She went on to work at the bipartisan Public Strategies, Inc. in New York.

She has been known to fight illness with strength and candor. She admitted that she had once suffered from alcoholism and that she attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but her spokesperson said that she quit drinking and smoking in 1980. She also wrote a memoir in 2003 about her battle with osteoporosis.

The present Governor of Texas, Republican Rick Perry, released a statement yesterday that reflects the feelings of Texans throughout the state as we hope for the best for our former leader.
"Ann Richards holds a special place in Texas history. [My wife] Anita and I join Texans across the state in sending our prayers and best wishes."
We at NTL also send our best to Ann Richards, a true Texas hero. Here's to a full recovery as you fight this battle... you've done it before and we're convinced that you can do it again.

Maybe It Should Be A Law

An open house at a local public school featured essays by second graders on the topic If I Were President... Among the thoughtful musings on why we should provide medicine for sick people and all toys should be free, was this entry:
Vice Presidents can not shoot people when they're out hunting birds.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

radnofsky event in flower mound

Let's get this (Democratic) Party started! With Barbara Ann Radnofsky going into a runoff election against perennial loser Gene Kelly, it's time to really get excited about her campaign. You can start by attending a fundraising house party for Barbara on Saturday, March 18th at 7:00.

Food, drink, and entertainment provided. Just bring your open mind and your open wallet to ensure Barbara's win in the run-off on April 11th!

When: Saturday, March 18th 7:00 PM
Where: Home of Jennifer Giles (Flower Mound, Texas)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

radnofsky prepared for runoff

US Senate hopeful Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Democrat from the Houston area that represents the best chance of beating incumbent Kay Bailey Hutchison in November, is still going strong after yesterday's primary. She didn't lose, but she didn't exactly win. She'll face Gene Kelly in the April 11 runoff election. Her campaign is remaining positive about the future.

Barbara Ann won the primary, garnering 43.5% of the vote versus Kelly's 37.4%. Hunter scored a distant third. Barbara Ann faces Kelly in a runoff election on April 11.

A reclusive candidate who doesn't talk to the media and who avoids voters, Kelly has massive name recognition after ten failed attempts in fourteen years, and runs solely off his name similarity with deceased Hollywood dancer Gene Kelly, whose moniker pulls up 19 million hits on Google.

Barbara decisively beat Kelly in the primary, despite the fact that he was the party nominee against Hutchison in 2000. Running as a first time candidate without primary polling, without direct mail, and without paid media, Barbara still took first place by a clear margin against a hunter in Texas and a Hollywood icon.

She has carefully managed money, staff, and a statewide grass-roots volunteer effort, and is well positioned to use her resources to win the runoff--with your help.

Karl Rove of course would love to clone Eugene Kelly. He has run numerous races against Democrats, and his name recognition is high enough to cause multiple run-offs and to even win the Senate nomination in 2000.

Once he makes the final cut, however, Kelly keeps playing dead--to the glory and glee of the people he supposedly runs against. Against Republicans, he does no campaigning, avoids the media and Democratic events, and gives up without so much as a whimper. In his race against Hutchison he made no appearances, received no endorsements and only granted one interview. "I'm not doing anything different, to be honest with you," Kelly said in the runup to this year's primary, indicating that he plans to keep losing even as he tries to keep others from making a positive difference.

Texas Democrats need a fighter to take our state back and to keep fakers like Kelly from ruining our party. Barbara Ann Radnofsky has made 328 campaign appearances and received the endorsement of every major newspaper in Texas. And Kelly? Commentators describe him as a clown, a perennial joke, and an embarrassment to the party.

The dancer is dead, folks...please don't let him kill the Party.

It's time to get behind Barbara Ann. Support her today by visiting her website and donating what you can. She's going to need all the resources she can get for her runoff campaign and hopefully for her general election campaign after that. Stay tuned to NTL and we'll keep you updated on parties and events that will benefit Barbara Ann's campaign. Most importantly, get out and vote on April 11 and bring all of your friends with you.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

primary results - statewide elections

Chris Bell won the Democratic primary race for governor and will be the Democratic nominee that faces Rick Perry in November. Perry has been called as the winner of the Republican primary, polling at 85%.

Democrats chose former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell of Houston to be their gubernatorial nominee Tuesday, making him at least the second sure candidate on the November ballot.

Bell had 62.8 percent of the vote, while former Supreme Court Justice Bob Gammage had 28.6 percent, according to early returns. Houston store manager Rashad Jafer, who was not raising money, had 8.6 percent.

Bell will face Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Perry in November, while the independent candidates, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and singer/writer Kinky Friedman, now face an uphill climb to get enough petition signatures to get on the ballot as well.

Democratic nominees for Lt. Governor Maria Luisa Alvarado and Benjamin Grant will face each other in a runoff election. Alvarado received 40% of the vote, while Grant received nearly 39%. The two will face off to run against Republican incumbent David Dewhurst, who won the Republican primary with about 80% of the vote.

One of the biggest surprises of the night is the Democratic primary race for United States Senate. Many expected Barbara Ann Radnofsky to win in a landslide as she was the only visible candidate during campaign season. However, former nominee Gene Kelly won about 37% of the vote, with Radnofsky in the lead at 45%. The two candidates will take part in a runoff election to decide which of them will face Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison in the general election.

Hank Gilbert has been endorsed by voters and will be the next Democratic nominee for Agriculture Commissioner to attempt to unseat Republican incumbent Susan Combs.

Prop 1 and Prop 2 on the Democratic ballot have both passed, meaning that the state Democratic Party platform will reflect the voters' wishes to raise the minimum wage and restore full rights to a trial by jury in civil cases.

primary results - local elections

The U.S. House District 16 will send incumbent Democrat Silvestre Reyes, who won his primary with 100% of the vote, to election in November.

Art Brender has won with about 60% of the vote and will retain his position as Tarrant County Democratic Chair.

The Dallas County District Attorney's race has been called. The nominees will be Democrat Craig Watkins and Republican Toby Shook.

Denton County Criminal District Attorney Bruce Isaacks seems to have been unseated in the Republican primary. Paul Johnson received nearly 60% of the vote in that race.

The highly contested race in District 47 for State Representative will end with runoff elections for both the Democrats and Republicans. Valinda Bolton and Jason Earle will face each other in a Democratic runoff and Bill Welch and Alex Castano will face each other in a Republican runoff.

The US House District 10 Democratic primary will also see a runoff between Ted Ankrum and Paul Foreman. The winner of the runoff will face Republican Representative Michael McCaul and Libertarian Michael Badnarik (the same person that ran for US President in 2004 against Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush).

Roger Owen narrowly defeated Duane Shaw in the Democratic primaries and will face Republican incumbent Louie B. Gohmert for US House District 1.

Jim Henley won the Democratic primary for US House District 7 and will face Republican John Culberson for his seat.

Do Your Duty!

Today's the day. GO VOTE!

Click here for a list of Democratic primary voting locations in Denton County. They are sorted by precinct, which is listed above your address on your voter registration card. If you can't find your voter registration card, you can find your precinct here.

For Democratic primary voting locations in Dallas County, click here.
For Democratic primary voting locations in Collin County, click here.
For Democratic primary voting locations in Tarrant County, click here, then click on Election Day Locations.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Enemies List

If the NSA sweeps you up in it's net for expressing your dissent against the Bush administration's policies, you'll be in good company. The following letter from Michael Smith was published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in the letters to the editor section of the December 30, 2005 edition. In light of the continuing saga on NSA wiretapping, we thought it was worth revisiting.

Dear President Bush,

Can you please place me on your enemies list? Is there a form I can download or something? I'm quite sure that there is an enemies list. Nixon kept such a list of U.S. citizens who he felt were a danger to his administration, and your views on dissent seem to be comparable to his. If we question you, we're giving aid and comfort to the enemy, right? If we criticize your war, we're traitors, right? If we check out the wrong books from the library, you'll know about it. If we call the wrong people, the NSA will know about it. So there's bound to be a list, and I don't want to be left out.

Read the entire letter at Michael's Notes.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Redistricting Update

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the legality of the Texas congressional redistricting plan. Anthony Zurcher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an op-ed arguing that if this plan doesn't qualify as overly partisan, there's no such thing.
But in their zeal to redraw Texas' electoral map and maximize their party's representation in the congressional delegation, Rep. Tom DeLay and the state Republicans have gone too far - and, depending on the increasingly fickle views of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court might agree.
But David Broder doesn't think it likely. The arguments against the redistricting center on three issues: 1) A mid-decade redistricting was unfair; 2) Gerrymandering was excessive; and 3) Probably the strongest argument, that the redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act. Broder notes:
Questioning showed that about 100,000 Hispanics had been moved out of a South Texas district, improving the election prospects of Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla. The state contended that they were shifting Democrats - not Latinos - and Roberts, for one, appeared to buy the argument that the motivation was political, not racial.
So it's okay to crack and pack districts according to race, as long as you're a political hack and not a bigot. Ah, but I'm sure that Chief Justice Roberts, who attended private boarding schools, graduated from Harvard, and spent his formative years working with an ethnically diverse group of middle-aged white men, (Rehnquist was Scandinavian, after all) would certainly have a keen antenna for these issues.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Where Do They Get These People?

The News Hour with Jim Lehrer had a segment on the South Dakota abortion legislation tonight. In an interview with Fred De SanLazaro, State Senator Bill Napoli (R) was asked how he could insist the legislation, which bars all abortions except when the mother's life is at risk, would allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest. Here's his response:
A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.
Digby has the analysis here.

conservative states going haywire

The state of Mississippi, a conservative bastion and a strict opponent of abortion, is following the lead of South Dakota and attempting to ban all abortions in the state. The Republican Governor Haley Barbour has said that he hopes that the bill comes to his desk with exceptions made for rape and incest, but that he would probably sign it even without those provisions.

Responding to questions about whether he'd sign a bill with no exceptions for rape or incest, Barbour said: "It hasn't gotten to my desk yet. When one gets there, we'll find out, and I suspect I'll sign it. But I would certainly rather it come to my desk with an exception for rape and incest. I think that's consistent with the opinion of the vast majority of Mississippians and Americans."

This really goes to show that Barbour is another conservative puppet. He obviously cares more about pleasing his Republican legislature and the radical conservative voters in his state than protecting women if he'll veto his own opinion before he'd veto the monumental legislation.

Now, the legislature in Jefferson City is proposing that Christianity be made the official state religion of Missouri. This is in direct violation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution... but the Republicans in Missouri can't let a silly little thing like the Constitution impede them.

Seriously... what is this country coming to these days?

Edit: Upon further research of Missouri law, it's interesting to note how misleading the original article from KTOV out of St. Louis is.

The bill was filed as House Concurrent Resolution 13, meaning that even if passed it will have virtually no effect and will not be considered an actual law (according to the Missouri House glossary).
An act of the House or Senate or of both together that ordinarily has no effect of law. It either commends some achievement, expresses an opinion, urges another entity such as Congress to take some action, or takes some internal action such as establishing a committee. See also Concurrent Resolution and Joint Resolution.
Regardless, this is a waste of time and money, and the Missouri House is "recommending" something that is blatantly unconstitutional.

dallas anti-war rally

Please join us on Sunday, March 19, 2006, in downtown Dallas for a rally to Stop the War Now and Bring Our Troops Home.

At 10:45am, people of all faiths are encouraged to attend morning services at St. Paul United Methodist Church at 1816 Routh St., Dallas, TX 75201. Rev. L. Charles Stovall will lead a service centering on the tragic consequences of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Protestors will begin gathering at around 1:30pm at the church. The antiwar rally will begin promptly at 2pm and the corresponding march will end at the federal building downtown. After the event, those attending the rally will be invited back to the church for complimentary refreshments provided by the Food Not Bombs group.

Please come out and support the antiwar movement in Dallas. Your presence is extremely important and vital to the mission: we need to bring the troops home safely and as soon as possible. With 72% of the troops thinking we should end the war this year, there's no better way to support the troops. Bring them home!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Jaw Dropping Poll Numbers

No, we're not talking about the 34% overall approval rating for George Bush in the latest CBS poll, the lowest of his presidency. Nor is the 18% approval rating earned by Dead-Eye Dick much of a surprise. We're talking about the Zogby poll findings that 72% of American soliders serving in Iraq think we should pull our troops out within the year. That's the good news. Here's the bad:
85% said the U.S. mission is mainly "to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9-11 attacks," and 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was to stop Saddam from protecting al-Qaida in Iraq."
Okay, troops, we're very, very proud of you. And we're doing our best to bring you home. But do we have to say this again? Saddam Hussein thought Al Qaeda was a threat to his power. He wanted nothing to do with them. He had no ties to the attacks on 9-11. There were no Iraqis involved, period. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudi Arabians, and two were from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. See, that's why we're turning over our port operations to Dubai Ports World. It's not because Bush is cozy with these guys. It's just that, like the Godfather, the administration likes to keep our friends close and our enemies closer. It's part of our strategery in the global war on terror.