Burnt Orange Report

News, Politics, and Fun From Deep in the Heart of Texas

Support the TDP!

August 31, 2004

Burnt Orange Report From the Floor

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Some highlights from tonight's first Student Government Meeting.

The most interesting announcement in my opinion was that about the idea of a Orange Bike Project where students could pay a deposit for a semester, get an orange painted bike and u-lock for a semester. It would be done in coordination with the Austin Yellow Bike Project.

A simple procedural vote introduced by Laura Gladeny-Lemon to recess for 5 minutes to discuss the general appropriations bill (as it was not labeled as FastTracked by mistake) failed narrowly in what seemed to be a split between the more liberal members and conservative members of the Assembly. I may be mistaken but I think it is an indicator of the more Conservative nature of this year's assembly. (Though apparently, as always, some reps are rumored to already be looking at building tickets for the spring elections and from what I have heard there are more conservatives than not.)

Update: One other point which I would like to point out is that when Graduate Representative Y. Westerband came up to speak about plans for working on a resolution in support of exploration and expanision of Gender Neutral bathrooms across the University Campus (as well as adding a Diversity Training component to the SG Retreat in some fashion) there appeared to be a sincere lack of interest among the representative body (as there was last spring when she first brought the topic up). I don't know if this is due to the body simply not being aware of the issue (likly) or being non-supportive (possible). I think that it shows though, how much an educational diversity component is needed (run by the MIC, Multicultural Information Center, and IGSC, Interim Gender and Sexuality Center).

I would also like to add how impressed I am with President Brent Cheney and VP Rachel McGinity. I was disillusioned during the actual elections but thank goodness those two one in comparison to what the RepreZent ticket had put up (uber conservatives). The Execuative directors are on the ball as well this year, especially those that deal with us Agency and Committee heads. ( I am the co-director for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Ally Affairs Agency (GLBTAAA) for those that don't know.

On more levels than one, I'll say this about our first meeting... It's a Start.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 09:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Source of Job Growth Revealed!

By Jim Dallas

Hey there, all you Bush-bashing Democrat pessimists -- believe that there aren't any jobs out there? Just ask state Rep. Ray Allen's staffers about new jobs. They've got two or three themselves!

(The August Consumer Confidence Report be damned! We're turning the corner! Feel the Turn, baby!)

(Via Kuff)

I would of course be remiss if I failed to note that Katy Hubener could use some turkee.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 05:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Set-Up

By Jim Dallas

Could America be one appeal away from declaring "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" unconstitutional?

That, to me anyways, appears to be the upshot of the appellate decision discussed here (on the ACSBlog).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another GOP Closet Case Hypocrite?

By Byron LaMasters

I dismissed an email last week that attempted to out a Republican congressman on this webpage. That would be Republican congressman Ed Schrock (R-VA). At first the webpage looked unprofessional, and the whole thing looked a little bit far fetched. Well, my causiousness was unfounded. Schrock, a congressman with a 92% rating from the Christian Coalition, has decided to end his campaign for reelection. This is certainly a signal that the he is unable to defend the rumors that are now emerging in his campaign:

When the story of Congressman Ed Schrock (R-VA-2) first came to me, I was quite skeptical. After all, Congressman Schrock's district includes parts of Hampton and Norfolk and all of Virginia Beach, home to no less than NINE military facilities and Pat Robertson’s Regent University! Nevertheless, the activities of Congressman Schrock have been documented and verified as thoroughly as any I have seen come before me and what I have learned is, well, ScHrOCKING!

Congressman Ed Schrock has made a habit of rendezvousing with gay men via the MegaMates/ MegaPhone Line, an interactive telephone service on which men place ads and respond to those ads to meet each other. What makes this story more amazing? Congressman Schrock not only voted for the homophobic Marriage Protection Act, but he also signed on as a CO-SPONSOR of the Federal Marriage Amendment!

Ed Schrock has a voting record that the most right wing conservative would be proud of. The Christian Coalition gave him a 92% rating in their 2003 voting guide.

Schrock's voting record at the Christian Coalition: 92%

His score over at the Human Rights Campaign? ZERO!

Why has Schrock resigned? Well this ought to explain it:

The blogger who triggered yesterday’s resignation of Rep. Ed Schrock (R-Va.) by spreading rumors that he is gay promised “there’s more to come.”

The gossip first surfaced two weeks ago on a Washington, D.C.-based Web log, or blog, Blogactive.com. The site links to an audio recording that it claims is Schrock calling into the MegaMates/Megaphone Line, a telephone service that men can use to meet other men.

After the GOP push to ban gay marriages, Blogactive.com began “outing” political aides and has since targeted lawmakers who voted for legislation on the issue. Schrock was one of 233 lawmakers who this year supported the Marriage Protection Act, which would block federal courts from considering constitutional issues arising from gay-marriage cases.

Mike Rogers, the blogger who is promising more embarrassing revelations, said an anonymous source gave him the audiotape. “[We target] people who say they are Republicans and then use sexual orientation to stay in power.”

Schrock, a 63-year-old second-term lawmaker and retired U.S. Navy captain, did not respond to the allegations specifically, and his office could not be reached for comment last night. Schrock, a cancer survivor, is married and has one son.

In a press release, Schrock said: “After much thought and prayer, I have come to the realization that these allegations will not allow my campaign to focus on the real issues facing our nation and region. Therefore … I am stepping aside and will no longer be the Republican nominee for Congress in Virginia’s Second Congressional District.

“Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all of the people who have entrusted me to be their representative and have shown unwavering support. Together, we have accomplished so much for the people of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.”

Uh, yeah. Closet case. That makes three gay Republican congressmen: Jim Kolbe, Mark Foley (closeted but obvious), and this guy.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:43 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 30, 2004


By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I'm looking at this picture in my German book. It's a bunch of students hanging around the outside of a college talking. And to the right in German, it asks, "What are these students doing?"

a. Sie spielen Tennis.
b. Sie spielen Karten.
c. Sie sagen, "Tag, wie geht's?"

Um, I'll take C as in Captain Obvious there Alex!

Playing Tennis or Cards, seriously. Who do they think I am? A first year German student! Oh wait...

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 11:31 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Republicans Welcome Vicious Bigot to Pray at Convention

By Andrew Dobbs

I've been referring to the GOP Convention this year as the largest simultaneous crossdressing event ever held in American history. I think it is funny that the only true conservatives speaking in prime time slots (besides Bush and Cheney) are a Democrat- Zell Miller- and a very vocal critic of Bush- John McCain. Still, looks like they shoehorned in a fanatic, just to keep the mouthbreathers happy- Sheri Dew.

Who is Sheri Dew, you ask? Well she's giving the invocation to begin the convention and she is a Mormon activist and speaker. Dew, who is unmarried and has no children, had this to say about homosexuality in a recent speech:

Lining Up With Hitler or Against Him

This escalating situation reminds me of a statement of a World War II journalist by the name of Dorothy Thompson who wrote for the Saturday Evening Post in Europe during the pre-World War II years when Hitler was building up his armies and starting to take ground. In an address she delivered in Toronto in 1941 she said this: “Before this epic is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up with Hitler or against him. Every living human being either will have opposed this onslaught or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If he takes no side, he is on Hitler’s side. If he does not act, that is an act—for Hitler.”

May I take the liberty of reading this statement again and changing just a few words, applying it to what I fear we face today? “Before this era is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up in support of the family or against it. Every living human being will have either opposed the onslaught against the family or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If we do not act in behalf of the family, that is itself an act of opposition to the family.”

At first it may seem a bit extreme to imply a comparison between the atrocities of Hitler and what is happening in terms of contemporary threats against the family—but maybe not.

That's right- gay people (who, by the way, were killed by the thousands by Hitler for being an affront to public morals) are like Nazis. If you support the rights of gays and lesbians you are just as bad as those fuzzy-headed Germans who supported Hitler in the 30s. How fucking sick is that? Choosing to spend the rest of your life in a loving, monogamous relationship with a person who happens to be of the same sex versus killing 12 million people, ending anything resembling human freedom and trying to conquer the world for fascism. Seems about the same to me.

Her logic is that homosexuality presents a threat to the family that will undermine our civilization and Hitler also threatened our civilization so we're talking po-tay-to po-tah-to here. But haven't we straight people undermined the family too? I mean, here we have a society with no gay marriage to speak of and our divorce rate hovers in the upper 50% range. We have child abuse and child neglect and kids keeping bombs in their rooms and their parents never know about it. Our society is in trouble already and the idea that letting an entire group that for decades was forced to live secret, often deceptive and dishonest lives finally move into a life where they can be committed and loving in a public way is somehow going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back is lunacy. Sheri Dew is not only mistaken, she is a bigot, and I am sickened to know that a major party in this country would even seat her as a delegate, much less let her petition God for His grace. Shame on the GOP for letting her stand on their stage.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:48 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Ralph Nader Sucks... And Always Has

By Andrew Dobbs

Byron wrote a great post on Ralph Nader's recent dalliance with none other than the KKK. I know its fun to think of a guy who is supported by not only unbathed, wooly faced anthropology majors in hemp pants and Che Guevara T-shirts but also white supremacists with a surprising lack of teeth so good job, Byron. But one line in the post kinda irked me, the last one:

He did too much good for America prior to 2000 than to have his entire career be defined by his recalcitrance in hopeless crusades for president in 2000, and 2004 that only serve to dampen his otherwise exceptional career.

This is a frequent, and mistaken assumption- that Ralph Nader was cool but turned bad in 2000. Jonathan Chait wrote a powerful article for the New Republic in February of this year (article only available with paid subscription or on Lexis-Nexis) detailing the myth of a "good Nader." Here are some choice excerpts:

The good-man-who-went-wrong assessment of Nader is virtually unchallenged among liberals. But, if you think about it for a moment, it's awfully strange. Heroes of history do not normally reverse themselves out of the blue. George Washington did not end his days pining for a return of the British monarchy to U.S. shores. George Orwell did not suddenly warm to the virtues of totalitarianism. Nor, for that matter, did Ralph Nader go wrong after decades of doing good. The qualities that liberals have observed in him of late--the monomania, the vindictiveness, the rage against pragmatic liberalism--have been present all along. Indeed, an un-blinkered look at Nader's public life shows that his presidential campaigns represent not a betrayal of his earlier career but its apotheosis.

Nader made his name with the 1965 publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, an expose of the Chevy Corvair... Few realize that Nader's campaign against the Corvair was only the most visible edge of an uncompromising, conspiratorial worldview. Nader believed not only that the Corvair was dangerous but that General Motors (GM) knew it was... Nader hounded liberal Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff into investigating whether GM had lied about what it knew in testimony before Congress.... Nader insisted he had an array of inside sources and documents that would reveal this conspiracy. Ribicoff dutifully assigned a pair of staffers to the case, and they spent two years chasing down Nader's leads. None of them panned out. The investigators found no evidence that GM knew of the Corvair's safety flaws. The failure to confirm Nader's suspicions enraged him. "He could not let go of the Corvair issue," one of the staffers told Martin. "He was fixated. And, if you didn't accept or believe the same things he did, you were either stupid or venal." (...)

In fact, even then his work was driven by ideologically motivated fanaticism. In 1971, Nader pressured one of his associates, Lowell Dodge, to sex up his study "Small on Safety: The Designed-in Dangers of the Volkswagen."... Nader insisted that Dodge rewrite the conclusion of the study so that it began, "The Volkswagen is the most hazardous car in use in significant numbers in the U.S. today." Objecting that "the conclusion is not reflected in the data," Dodge left the project, allowing others to take credit as principal authors. "I have always carried around considerable guilt about what I regard as the extreme intellectual dishonesty of that conclusion," he told Sanford. (...)

Nader's friends recalled that often he would act furtively, speaking in code, always convinced he was being monitored or phone-tapped. When he insisted in 1966 that he was being followed, one of his friends replied, according to Martin, "Ralph, your paranoia has grown to new extremes." Of course, it turned out that in that instance Nader was being followed. But this merely proved the old adage that sometimes even the paranoid have enemies plotting against them.

Nader sued GM and won $425,000, which he used to found activist organizations that helped push through a staggering series of consumer and environmental reforms, most of them in the late '60s and early '70s. Nader rightly wins credit for spurring progress during the era. And yet, even during his heyday, Nader habitually denounced liberals and their work, sabotaging the very causes he claimed to believe in... In 1970, Nader championed a report by his staff savaging Ed Muskie, the liberal senator from Maine. Muskie, who helped engineer the Air Quality Act of 1967, had a reputation as an environmental ally, but Nader's report called the act "disastrous," adding, "That fact alone would warrant his being stripped of his title as `Mr. Pollution Control.'"

That same year, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to create a Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), what Nader called his highest legislative goal. But, just days after praising the bill, Nader turned against it, saying that "intolerable erosions" had rendered the bill "unacceptable."... Without Nader's backing, the bill lost momentum... and died in committee. The pattern repeated itself, as the CPA passed either the House or the Senate five more times over the next six years, but Nader rejected every bill as too compromised. "Ralph could have had a consumer agency bill in any of three Congresses," liberal consumer activist and former Nader associate Mike Pertschuk told Martin. "But he held out" (...)

The final defeat came in 1978... He maligned Washington Representative Tom Foley as "a broker for agribusiness"-- despite the fact that Foley had bucked agribusiness to pass a bill regulating meatpackers. He attacked... Pat Schroeder, who had supported earlier versions of the CPA but had minor reservations this time, as a "mushy liberal" selling her vote to corporate contributors. He so alienated Democrats that, as the measure went down to defeat, one reportedly said as he voted no, "This one's for you, Ralph." House Speaker Tip O'Neill told The Washington Post, "I know of about eight guys who would have voted for us if it were not for Nader."

For Nader, it was almost axiomatic that anybody who disagreed with him was a corporate lackey. "Nader sees critics as enemies," wrote Sanford, a former ally. "Those who do not serve him serve the evil elements of corporations." This Manichaean worldview came through in everything Nader did. In the 1970s, he worked to establish automatic funding for Public Interest Research Groups (pirg) on campus--proto-Naderite outfits to train the next generation of like-minded activists. Nader's preferred funding mechanism was for every student to automatically contribute $1; those who objected could go to the college administration for a refund. But the administration at Penn State University in 1975 opted instead for a positive checkoff, whereby each student would check a box if he wanted to pitch in $2 for the pirg. Nader attacked Penn State as "a citadel of fascism" and threatened one Penn State board member (...)

In the summer of 1980, Jonathan Alter (now a Newsweek columnist) worked on Nader's voting guide for the presidential election. Alter came away amazed by Nader's fury at Carter. "He didn't seem overly distressed at the idea of Ronald Reagan becoming president," Alter later told Martin. As Nader addressed a gathering of supporters in 1981, according to The Washington Post, "Reagan is going to breed the biggest resurgence in nonpartisan citizen activism in history." (...)

In his 2002 memoir, Crashing the Party, Nader alleges that Bill Clinton leaked the Gennifer Flowers adultery revelations himself to avoid having to address Nader's agenda. "I'm almost certain that [Clinton] and his supporters knew [the Flowers scandal] was coming," he posits. "Clinton knew how to stay on message, and nothing was going to get him to take a stand on President Bush's nafta proposal before Congress, or on nuclear power, or on the failing banks in New Hampshire." This assertion neatly encapsulates Nader's style of thinking--the fevered conspiracy-mongering, the moral righteousness, and the laughably outsized role he assigns himself in world events. (...)

As Nader embarks upon his fourth protest run against the Democrats in as many elections, there is something slightly ridiculous about the shock of his liberal critics. They still don't know who they're dealing with. Nader is not a heroic figure tragically overcome by his own flaws; he is a selfish, destructive maniac who, for a brief historical period, happened upon a useful role. (...)

Like other liberals, the people behind the website seem to think, if they could only persuade Nader that his candidacy might help reelect Bush, it would dissuade him from running. More likely, it would have the opposite effect. The real mystery is not why Nader would do something so destructive to liberalism. It's why anybody ever thought he wouldn't.

Sorry for the long excerpt but the article has a lot of good information. Essentially, Ralph Nader is a megalomaniacal egocentric psycho who sees his own reputation as far more important than the progressive reforms he claims to support. Yeah, he has passed some important bills, but even Mussolini made the trains run on time. Ralph Nader is nothing more than a very sad man with a very paranoid and cynical vision of the world who is sees himself as something far more important than he really is.

Ralph Nader claims he is building a progressive movement for the future. But where's the beef? Very few progressives are lining up behind him this year and it is the far Right that is doing more to promote his candidacy than anybody. He claims that the two parties are morally bankrupt, but is a movement built on cynicism writ so large that help from even the KKK is acceptable any more morally solvent? I would argue no- his movement is about him and not his ideals.

Independent and third party movements are not all bad- in fact they can be very good for our Democracy when the movement is about ideas and not any single individual. But for better or for worse because of the party system these movements typically form around an individual and die off when that person leaves the political arena- George Wallace, John B. Anderson and Ross Perot are a few examples. Ralph Nader goes a step lower than them even by now completely jettisoning his (deceptively) good reputation in order to up his honoraria in the next four years. Shame on Ralph Nader and let us not forget that this recent destructiveness isn't in spite of his previous work, it is the character of it.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Moving on during the RNC

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Right now MoveOn.org is fundraising to run their set of 5 real people ads in states during the Republican National Convention. Deborah Wood from Wimberly Texas is one of the five and I have to admit, I really like these ads. They remind me of a blend between the infamous Dean White Screen ads that were so bad in Iowa and the grassroots Switch to Dean ads that were in Wisconsin. Of course, these are much better.

My favorite line, which sounds great when you listen to it, is Rhonda Nix's "I'm still a Baptist but no longer Republican" in southern drawl.

Go ahead and listen and donate.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Alan Keyes drinking game

By Jim Dallas

DailyKOS: Alan Keyes is not making sense.

Every time he says the word "corrupt", take one shot.

Every time he implies Barack Obama "can't win", take two shots.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nader in bed with KKK Apologists

By Byron LaMasters

Further proof that Ralph Nader will do anything to screw Democrats in 2004, just as he did in 2000:

Texas Democrats, led by two prominent black senators, called on Ralph Nader on Saturday to step down as the Reform Party's presidential candidate after it was disclosed that the party's leader once defended a murderer from the Ku Klux Klan.

The Democrats, still angry about losing votes to Nader in the 2000 presidential election, issued the call as he formally accepted the party's nomination in a small conference room at a hotel in Irving.

Nader was introduced by Shawn O'Hara, national chairman of the Reform Party of the United States of America. O'Hara is also an outspoken defender of Samuel Bowers, former Imperial Wizard of the KKK in Mississippi.

Bowers was convicted in 1998 in the fire-bombing death of Vernon Dahmer, a black civil-rights activist from Hattiesburg, Miss. Prosecutors said Klansmen shot up and bombed Dahmer's home in 1966 because he helped blacks register to vote by letting them pay their poll tax at his grocery store.

On Saturday, O'Hara sat next to the podium, nodding approvingly as Nader gave his customary stump speech, accusing Democrats and Republicans of being in the clutches of corrupt corporations. He also said he planned to sue the Democratic Party for working to keep him off the Nov. 2 ballot in most states, including Texas.

So what did Ralph Nader have to say after learning that the leader of the party that has given him ballot lines in seven states is a Ku Klux Klan apologist?

After his speech, Nader appeared stunned when asked about O'Hara's relationship to Bowers and the KKK.

"That's false. I think that's propaganda," he said as supporters quickly ushered him onto an elevator.

But O'Hara, also of Hattiesburg, acknowledged that he actively worked on Bowers' defense team. The political activist, who is not a lawyer, said he began defending the Klan leader after failing to find hard evidence of his guilt.

Ralph Nader doesn't care. He'd probably take the Nazi Party line if it gave him ballot access in more states. He doesn't care about winning this election, or doing anything for democracy in America. Ralph Nader is a pathetic disillusioned activist who needs to hang up his boots, and call it a career. He did too much good for America prior to 2000 than to have his entire career be defined by his recalcitrance in hopeless crusades for president in 2000, and 2004 that only serve to dampen his otherwise exceptional career.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:29 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Katy Hubener in Final Dean Dozen

By Byron LaMasters

I missed this last week, but Katy Hubener was endorsed by Howard Dean in the final "Dean Dozen".

Katy's campaign is one of the races that has surprised a lot of people by emerging as one of the top Democratic pick-up opportunities in the Texas House, and Dean's help is certainly welcome. Katy is running against a corrupt, right-wing Republican in a moderate district. Texas has no Anglo, Democratic women in the state house, and along with Kelly White and Robin Moore, Katie Hubener will change that come November.

Donate to Katy's campaign, and learn more about her race here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

RNCC Violates Code of Military Conduct

By Byron LaMasters

The RNCC is bragging about the number of veterans and active military personell serving as delegates at their convention this week (emphasis mine):

Americans who served in the military will be well represented at the upcoming Republican convention, more so than at last month's Democratic convention or in the U.S. population overall, according to the GOP.

About 15 percent of the 4,800-plus delegates and alternates to the convention in New York are veterans, organizers said Monday. An additional 3 percent are active military personnel.

Census Bureau estimates show that roughly 12 percent of U.S. residents in 2002 were military veterans. About 11.5 percent of delegates at the Democratic convention in Boston were veterans, a record high, according to the Democratic National Committee.

That's great that active military personnel are supporting President Bush. There's just a slight problem with that. As Eric Alterman points out, it violates the military code of conduct for active military personnel to participate in a political campaign or convention:

Is the Republican Party in violation of the US military’s rules on the participation in party politics by active duty military?

It sure looks that way. The RNC convention week is boasting that it has 144 active duty military delegates at the convention or three percent of the total. That information can be found here.

Meanwhile, according to DOD Directive 1344.10, which can be found here this is a violation of the code of military conduct. It explicitly says:

A member on active duty shall not...
Participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions (unless attending a convention as a spectator when not in uniform).

But the Republican Party itself is claiming that the active duty personnel are not spectators but delegates. What’s going on here? Why are the Republicans encouraging our soldiers to violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice and its stated rules of political engagement? And why for goodness sakes, aren’t these rules being enforced? Hey MSNBC.com, can we put a reporter or two on this story please?

Why do Republicans support violating the code of military conduct on political participation, but not on "Don't Ask, don't Tell"? I'll wait patiently for their response.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 29, 2004

Stop it.

By Jim Dallas

TAPPED has a little ditty implying that John O'Neill should be disbarred.

There are lots of things which ought right to be done to John O'Neill (one of the Swifties), but disbarment, at least for the reasons cited in the TAPPED post, is probably not one of them. To begin with , 8.02 seems to apply strictly to judicial candidates - judges, district attorneys, and attorneys general. Why drawing the line there would make sense ought to be obvious. But if it doesn't consider the reasoning in comment 8.02.1 - "Assessments by lawyers are relied on in evaluating the professional or personal fitness of persons being considered for election or appointment to judicial office and to
public legal offices, such as attorney general, prosecuting attorney and public defender. Expressing honest and candid opinions on such matters contributes to improving the administration of justice." It is this duty to uphold the administration of justice that creates a special obligation for attorneys not to engage in gutter-campaigning against judges and other attorneys.

Second, 8.04 would, I believe, is extremely general, almost a sort of catchall "don't do bad stuff." And the thrust of it, as far as I can tell, is that it is aimed at stuff that lawyers do in their capacity as lawyers, or that would reflect upon their lawyering. That said, I think the Swifties stuff makes O'Neill look hackish, but that doesn't necessarily change my opinion on his other professional activities.

If you're going to start pulling rules out of thin air, oughtn't the Bar ignore you?

This is just silly. Stop the "hunting of the Bush lawyers" on flimsy grounds.

UPDATE: On the other hand, the case against Ben Ginsburg is looking pretty solid.

Rule 8.02 Judicial and Legal Officials (a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory official or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office. (b) A lawyer who is a candidate for judicial office shall comply with the applicable provisions of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct. (c) A lawyer who is a candidate for an elective public office shall comply with the applicable provisions of the Texas Election Code. Comment: 1. Assessments by lawyers are relied on in evaluating the professional or personal fitness of persons being considered for election or appointment to judicial office and to public legal offices, such as attorney general, prosecuting attorney and public defender. Expressing honest and candid opinions on such matters contributes to improving the administration of justice. Conversely, false statements by a lawyer can unfairly undermine public confidence in the administration of justice. 2. When a lawyer seeks judicial or other elective public office, the lawyer should be bound by applicable limitations on political activity. 3. To maintain the fair and independent administration of justice, lawyers are encouraged to continue traditional efforts to defend judges and courts unjustly criticized.

Rule 8.04 Misconduct
(a) A lawyer shall not:
(1) violate these rules, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the
acts of another, whether or not such violation occurred in the course of a client-lawyer
(2) commit a serious crime or commit any other criminal act that reflects adversely on
the lawyers honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;
(3) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
(4) engage in conduct constituting obstruction of justice;
(5) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official;
(6) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable
rules of judicial conduct or other law;
(7) violate any disciplinary or disability order or judgment;
(8) fail to timely furnish to the Chief Disciplinary Counsels office or a district grievance
committee a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of
Disciplinary Procedure, unless he or she in good faith timely asserts a privilege or other
legal ground for failure to do so;
(9) engage in conduct that constitutes barratry as defined by the law of this state;
(10) fail to comply with section 13.01 of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure
relating to notification of an attorneys cessation of practice;
(11) engage in the practice of law when the lawyer is on inactive status or when the
lawyers right to practice has been suspended or terminated, including but not limited to
situations where a lawyers right to practice has been administratively suspended for
failure to timely pay required fees or assessments or for failure to comply with Article
XII of the State Bar Rules relating to Mandatory Continuing Legal Education; or
(12) violate any other laws of this state relating to the professional conduct of lawyers
and to the practice of law.
(b) As used in subsection (a)(2) of this Rule, serious crime means barratry; any felony
involving moral turpitude; any misdemeanor involving theft, embezzlement, or fraudulent
or reckless misappropriation of money or other property; or any attempt, conspiracy,
or solicitation of another to commit any of the foregoing crimes.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:30 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

"Spill those Texas-sized beans"

By Jim Dallas

Mydd.com remains firmly on top of the Ben Barnes - Bush TANG story.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 28, 2004

Democrats Protest Bob Perry

By Byron LaMasters

Texas Democrats are protesting Bob Perry - the major donor to the Swift Boat Vets for Lies.

The Bay Area New Democrats protested at Perry's home today, and they have pictures!

So check them out.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

RNCC worried about Sessions

By Byron LaMasters

Six Republican congressmen will speak at the Republican convention. Typically, the congressmen given these spots are the most endangered incumbents, and among them? None other than Pete Sessions:

From a NRCC release on 8/26, these are the candidates addressing the GOP convo:

NRCC Chairman Rep. Tom Reynolds (NY-26)
Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-06)
Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32)
Rep. Bob Beauprez (CO-07)
Rep. Jon Porter (NV-03)
Rep. Rodney Alexander (LA-05)

Not only is Sessions one of the six, but Alexander is only given a spot because he's a turncoat, and Reynolds because he is chair of the NRCC. Thus, Sessions, along with Gerlach, Beauprez and Porter are four of the Republican incumbents that the NRCC considers the most vulnerable.

Other Texas Republican congressional candidates to speak at the RNC are Louie Gohmert, Ted Poe and Becky Armendariz Klein. Since Republicans have no non-Cuban Hispanic congresswomen, Klein serves as a token Hispanic female, even though she has no chance in hell. Poe and Gohmert, meanwhile are locked in tough races with Democratic incumbents. I am surprised though. Where is Arlene Wohlgemuth? She could talk about real Republican values, like throwing a temper tantrum after her bill got stuck in the Calendar Committee, or working to take thousands of kids health care away by knocking them off the CHIP program. But I forgot. This convention isn't about real Republican values. This convention is about showing off the dying breed of moderate Rockefeller Republicans who have zero influence in policy, yet for the next week will represent the face of a party that has abandoned them.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 27, 2004

I'm a minority, and I'm feeling hipper already.

By Jim Dallas

Kuff: Non-hispanic whites are no longer in the majority in Texas.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gosh darn it to heck!

By Jim Dallas

Looks like I'm gonna have to endorse Barack Obama after all.

They're giving me no choice.

At least in high school they had an "election" so nerds like Alan Keyes (and me) could get trounced by the popular kids the old-fashioned way.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Yet another fountain of undiluted foolishness

By Jim Dallas

No, I'm not talking about Bob Jensen, who (regardless of your politics) is a pretty nice guy.

Rather, I'm talking about another UT Journalism prof who Josh Marshall has caught acting like (a) a grade-A hack and (b) an anti-Catholic.

True, said prof has (so I've heard) been a wonderful educator, although I've never taken any of his courses. But I'm waiting for Faulkner to, you know, treat other goofy faculty members the way he's treated Bob.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Annoy Zigzag Zell

By Byron LaMasters

The good folks at Zellout spell it out for anyone who isn't already convinced that Zell Miller has turned into a not-so-closeted Republican. His office staff should have done what Rodney Alexander's office staff did when he switched parties, and resigned. They didn't, so take this opportunity to annoy his office staff by flooding Zell's email account in response to his nomination of George W. Bush.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ben Barnes Got Bush in the National Guard

By Byron LaMasters

Then, Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes speak out in this video that he helped pull strings to get Bush in the National Guard. The video is at: Austin4Kerry.org. It's up on kos diaries and Drive Democracy right now. We'll see if this gets any traction.

Update: Well, Jim beat me to it by three minutes (see below). I guess I'll have to be quicker next time.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You Drop the Bomb on Me

By Jim Dallas

Texas Nate: Ben Barnes allegedly says he pulled strings to get Bush in the National Guard.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 05:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pick the Picks

By Jim Dallas

Which newspapers in Texas will endorse Kerry? Which papers in Texas will endorse Bush?

My predictions here.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:23 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

There really is no end to this, is there?

By Jim Dallas

A DailyKos diarist reports that at least one International Olympics Committee member was so angry about the Bush-Olympics flap that he'll be voting against New York's bid for the 2012 summer Olympics.

Really, if America loses the 2012 bid due to presidential petulance, that ought to be the definitive sign that all of the good will which the rest of the world felt for New York City and the USA after 9/11 has been totally squandered on behalf of the president's domestic political ambitions.


Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


By Jim Dallas

The Presidential Prayer Team (as noted by Belle Waring) requests prayers for Attorney General John Ashcroft this week.

You know, a strict reading of 1 Timothy doesn't say you have to pray for your leaders to keep on doing what they're doing, but rather that "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." So you know, if you're cranky (as I am), about the utter dishonesty and abuse of power in Washington, you might want to consider praying even harder.

At the very least, consider a humble request that the door not smacketh their ass on the way out.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Try the salmon.

By Jim Dallas

Brad DeLong presents us with a socratic dialogue at a buffet with the ghost of Daniel Webster (need I say more?).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 03:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And I ran... I ran so far awaay...

By Jim Dallas

Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) on why he loves New York City:

Favorite NYC Memory: "Going to see the band Flock of Seagulls in 1983 for only $1.00. After the concert we saw David Bowie walking down the street. It was a great night and great memory."


UPDATE: The Stakeholder notes something a little more interesting about NYC-loving Republicans Rep. Richard Pombo (Calif.) and Gov. Linda Lingle (Hawaii).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2004

If it Smell like a Rat...

By Byron LaMasters

Two days ago, I posted that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a Freedom of Information Act Request in order to find out if Karl Rove is lying when he said that he hasn't spoken with major Bush and Swift Boat Vets for Truth donor Bob Perry. Not surprisingly, the White House claims that they are exempt from the FIOA request:

Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) received a letter from the Executive Office of the President denying CREW's Aug. 24 request for records detailing White House contacts with individuals connected to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT). As grounds for the denial, the White House claimed that it was exempt from having to disclose the information.

CREW had asked the White House to release information regarding contacts between the Executive Office of the President and members of SBVT and others associated with the group, including public relations, advertising, detective and fundraising organizations.

CREW decided to file the FOIA after learning that President Bush's political advisor Karl Rove had claimed not to have spoken with his longtime friend and primary SVBT donor Bob J. Perry, in over a year. Yesterday, Rove had changed his tune, telling FOX news: "I don't want to leave any misimpression. But he's (Perry) not somebody that I've had, you know, any extended conversation with in years . . ." Rove denied, however, speaking with Perry about SBVT.

Rove's comments were made the same day CREW discovered that a Republican party Committee website in Collier County Florida was soliciting donations for SBVT and showing the group's ads, something clearly not allowed under the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Upon receiving the denial of the FOIA request, CREW's Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated "If the White House really had nothing to do with SBVT or its ads, then there was no reason for it to deny CREW's request. The White House could have released the records and silenced its critics. Its refusal to respond suggests that there is information the White House would prefer not become public."

If it smells like a rat...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Republican National Covention Schedule

By Karl-Thomas Musselman


New York, NY

6:00 PM Opening Prayer led by the Reverend Jerry Falwell

6:30 PM Pledge of Allegiance

6:35 PM Ceremonial Burning of Bill of Rights (excluding 2nd Amendment)

6:45 PM Salute to the Coalition of the Willing

6:46 PM Seminar #1: Katherine Harris on "Are Elections Really Necessary?"

7:30 PM Announcement: Lincoln Memorial Renamed for Ronald Reagan

7:35 PM Trent Lott - "Re-segregation in the 21st Century"

7:40 PM EPA Address #1: Mercury: It's What's for Dinner

8:00 PM Vote on which country to invade next

8:10 PM Call EMTs to revive Rush Limbaugh

8:15 PM John Ashcroft Lecture: The Homos Are After Your Children

8:30 PM Round table discussion on reproductive rights (men only)

8:50 PM Seminar #2: Corporations: The Government of the Future

9:00 PM Condi Rice sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man"

9:05 PM Phyllis Schlafly speaks on "Why Women Shouldn't Be Leaders"

9:10 PM EPA Address #2: Trees: The Real Cause of Forest Fires

9:30 PM break for secret meetings

10:00 PM Second Prayer led by Cal Thomas

10:15 PM Karl Rove Lecture: Doublespeak Made Simple

10:30 PM Rumsfeld Lecture/Demonstration: How to Squint and Talk Macho Even
When You Feel Squishy Inside

10:35 PM Bush demonstration of trademark "deer in headlights" stare

10:40 PM John Ashcroft Demonstration: New Mandatory Kevlar Chastity Belt

10:45 PM GOP's Tribute to Tokenism, featuring Colin Powell & Condi Rice

10:46 PM Ann Coulter's Tribute to "Joe McCarthy, Great American Patriot"

10:50 PM Seminar #3: Education: A Drain on Our Nation's Economy

11:10 PM Hilary Clinton Pinata

11:20 PM John Ashcroft Lecture: Evolutionists: A Dangerous New Cult

11:30 PM Call EMTs to revive Rush Limbaugh again

11:35 PM Blame Clinton

11:40 PM Newt Gingrich speaks on "The Sanctity of Marriage"

11:41 PM Announcement: Ronald Reagan to be added to Mt. Rushmore

11:50 PM Closing Prayer led by Jesus Himself

12:00 PM Nomination of George W. Bush as Holy Supreme Planetary Overlord

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:16 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

History Repeating Itself All Over Again

By Jim Dallas

Let's face it, these have been incredibly slow news weeks. True, the Olympics are fascinating, we had a hurricane hit Florida, and there has been serious news abroad (in Iraq and Russia). These are all very serious for the people involved. But they're not really moving "stories" that capture the attention of the whole country.

The Campaign Desk hits political journalists for focusing so heavily on the Swifties, which is only a notch above Kobe Bryant, and various human interest stories.

Three years ago, I was working down in The Daily Texan basement, and I got a great kick out of reading a comic strip that was tacked up on the wall bemoaning the lack of real news the summer before (it was all shark bite stories and bear maulings, if I remember correctly). It was funny because it was true. Nothing really "big" had happened.

This was two days before 9/11.

Normalcy doesn't last long. I start to get skittish when the CJR starts bemoaning the reportage of silly stories like the Swifties, because it's usually not too long before the press corps have real news to report.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:59 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Hard Science is Easy

By Jim Dallas

From CNN, we learn that a 4 inch telescope discovered a new extra-solar planet.

You know, you can get a four-inch scope for a few hundred bucks, and all the necessary equipment to replicate this observation for a few thousand.

The truth is out there, eager beavers.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 25, 2004

DFA Recap of Dean Rally in Austin

By Byron LaMasters

Austin SDEC member Fran Vincent has a post (along with photo) of the Dean rally on Sunday on the Democracy for America blog, so check it out.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DeLay Embarrassed, Heckled

By Byron LaMasters

You'd think it were Austin. The protesters for the DeLay event outnumbered supporters. Kuff has all the details.

Of course DeLay tried to make it a successful event, but no one really wanted to see him, except the protesters that is. Taking on Tom DeLay reports:

What an embarrassment for Tom DeLay. After sending 7500 invitations paid for by the University of Houston, for a reception honoring Tom DeLay, less than 100 attended, 50 of which were staff or worked at the university.

Outside in the hot sun were 150 enthusiastic protestors chanting "Don't DeLay. Indict today!" and "Tom DeLay has got to go". Three times as many protested Delay than those that honored him.


On the inside there were 3 large tables filled with food for 400-500 people that was left untouched. Name tags of about 100 people were left on the table, from those who didn't bother to attend after making reservations.

And DeLay only spoke for about 3 minutes including taking time to address students who were distrubed his speech by singing.

This was to be an event to "introduce DeLay to his new district" according to an email sent from the University. Many believed this was a misuse of state funds and will be filing a complaint tomorrow in Austin.

Instead it turned out to be an embarrassment for DeLay. He later went to Deer Park where again there were more protestors than those attending the event.

Meanwhile, while Tom DeLay was heckled by his new constituents, according to friends in Dallas, there were 2000 people at Gilley's last night to support Martin Frost.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Heflin talks one way, and votes the other

By Byron LaMasters

I'm pleased that State Rep. Talmadge Heflin (R-Houston) has cared for an African-American child from a home that couldn't care for him. But why does Heflin lament over the problem of the shamefully high incarceration rate of young Black males, but votes against programs to help remedy the problem?

The Austin American Statesman has the story for you:

Just as Rep. Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston, is running for re-election in a district that is increasingly minority, he got into an adoption battle over a youngster the Heflins felt they cared for more and better than his parents.

And it produced a comment in court from Heflin that drew some stinging remarks from people who indicated that if Heflin was right, he’s part of the reason.

“We all know the terrible problem that black male children have growing up into manhood without being in prison,” Heflin told the judge in the court hearing, as he and his wife fought for custody of the American-born son of African immigrant parents.

Heflin’s Houston House colleague, Democrat Garnet Coleman, who is African-American, said he felt for the parents and the child, and the Heflins – to a point.

“I hate to see anyone go through an emotionally wrenching situation like the one that the Heflins and their former employee are dealing with,” Coleman said in a press release. “Clearly, everyone involved cares deeply for the child.

“However, Rep. Helfin’s paternalistic remarks about black males clearly contradict his record as a legislator. If he truly wants to do something to keep young people out of prison, why did he pass a budget that cuts at-risk youth prevention programs by more than $27 million? Rep. Heflin’s actions do not match his words and his testimony can only be viewed as hypocritical grandstanding.”

Coleman went on to list a litany of other programs that had been cut as a result of the tight budget overseen by Heflin, in the face of Gov. Perry saying he’d veto any new taxes.

Typical Republican hypocrisy. They do a lot of talk about the problems that the poor, the downtrodden, racial minorities and working class families face, but their votes don't back up their talk.

Give the people of House District 149 representation in the state house that will back up the talk. Donate to Hubert Vo today.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How to be Popular on Campus

By Byron LaMasters

The Reliable Source column of the Washington Post weighs in on what I blogged the other day - the intent by the College Republican National Committee to exploit the 9/11 anniversary to sign up Republicans and bring conservative speakers to campus:

How to be popular on campus: Despite claims from both sides of the political fray that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks should never, ever be politicized, the College Republican National Committee hopes to build membership in the new school year by promoting 9/11 observances. "You can ensure your CR chapter starts the new year as the leading group at your school," the group's Web site states, "by becoming involved with Young America's Foundation's 9/11: Never Forget Project." Past participation with the nonprofit conservative organization has helped chapters "boost [their] standings" and get better speakers, such as conservative loyalists Bay Buchanan and Dinesh D'Souza.

Young America's Foundation suggests, among other things, holding a moment of prayer at home football games to mark the anniversary and will provide free posters, buttons and other materials. But it's in no way, shape or form political, Patrick Coyle, director of campus programs, assured us.

"We're using this in a way to get the members active," he said. "The reason why we started this program in the first place is that a lot of schools weren't doing anything for the anniversary."

This year, the foundation Web site says, its 9/11 speakers include Dave Bossie, a certified Bill Clinton antagonist who has written a book called "Intelligence Failure: How Clinton's National Security Policy Set the Stage for 9/11." A nonpolitical title if we've ever heard one.

Of course, the other side has rushed to defend the CR's, calling me a hypocrite for condemning the CR's, but not F 9/11. I'm sorry Chris, but that's about the silliest argument I've ever. Chris Elam managed to twist my words, because of my conclusion in my original post:

If either the UT College Republicans or the UT Young Conservatives of Texas chapter exploits 9/11 for partisan political purposes, I'll be there with a lot of others to call them out on it.

Apparently, that's hypocritical, because I haven't criticized Michael Moore for doing the same thing. Perhaps, I should have spelled it out for Chris and said:

If either the UT College Republicans or the UT Young Conservatives of Texas chapter exploits the 9/11 anniversary for partisan political purposes, I'll be there with a lot of others to call them out on it.

Ok, so I should have included those two words in the original post, even though I thought that it should have been assumed, given the title (and thrust) of my post, "College Republicans to Exploit 9/11 Anniversary". Hello. If Michael Moore exploits the 9/11 anniversary to increase his book or F 9/11 sales, I think that would be inappropriate. If conservative groups use the anniversary for political purposes, I'll also feel that that is inappropriate.

Both the left and the right has appropriately questioned the months and years leading up to 9/11/2001, and the actions by the Bush administration following that day. The left has attacked Bush for his failure to take our security threats seriously before 9/11, and his actions following 9/11 that have made America less safe and secure by dividing America and alienating our allies, whose help we need to fight international terrorism. The right has questioned President Clinton's approach to fighting terrorism, and the Bush campaign has run ads touting Bush's leadership following 9/11. Agree or disagree with it, but it's fair game. However, using the anniversary of 9/11 to advance a partisan political agenda is inappropriate for either side.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:28 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Conservative Student Paper to Begin in Austin

By Byron LaMasters

Because ya know, the Austin Review and Contumacy just aren't enough for the other side. They need a conservative daily to counter the liberal Daily Texan. Whether the Daily Texan is liberal depends almost entirely on that year's editor. I'm causiously optimistic about this year, but the past couple of year's the Texas has had libertarian or conservative-leaning editors. Calling the Texan liberal when they had assinine editorials supporting third-party candidates against Elliott Naishtat and Lloyd Doggett - both of whom have been champions for UT. They also endorsed State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos's Republican opponent that year, when Barrientos has been the leader in the state senate for a student regent.

Anyway, here's what the Austin Chronicle has about the new paper:

On Sept. 2, the ex-advertising director of The Daily Texan will launch a new weekly broadsheet newspaper called The Austin Student, which will go forth to do battle with the Texan and other area student publications. It will be distributed free on the campuses of UT, Austin Community College, Concordia University, St. Edward's University, and Huston-Tillotson College, according to publisher Evelyn Gardner, who spent 16 years pitching ads for the Texan. (Though the Texan editorial staff is made up of students, its business side is not.)

Gardner resigned from the Texan in May after butting heads with Texas Student Publications director Kathy Lawrence (who declined to comment on Gardner's departure). She was soon joined by Texan account executive Donna Settle, who is the advertising director of the new paper, which hopes to "offer advertisers a one-stop shop to reach the college students of Austin."

While Gardner emphasizes that the Student is not targeting the Texan or any other publication, she also makes it clear it will attempt to set itself apart from the political coverage and opinion, particularly of the left-leaning variety, that has long been a hallmark of student papers. "We're going to cover issues that relate more to students on a personal level," Gardner said.

That would include everything from first-person stories from students to a religion page, spotlighting features and columns by local religious leaders. Students are "begging" for a more conservative voice on campus, Gardner says. "UT has a reputation for being a liberal school, and I think that is unfounded."

To help emphasize the new choice for this underserved legion of Bush-loving free thinkers, the Student's red, white, and blue boxes with the Texas star will soon appear next to every one of the Texan's campus news racks. "We will cover every site the Texan has, all 70 locations," Settle said. By the end of September, Gardner says, the Student, between all its distribution points across Austin, will reach 35,000 in free circulation – which would, perhaps not coincidentally, push it past the circulation of the Texan, renowned as the most widely read college newspaper in the country.

At the very least, Gardner vows the Student will do a better job of covering student government, the Greek scene, and on-campus issues than does the Texan. The Student also won't rely on news wire services, an oft-touted criticism of the Texan, she says.

I'll be sure to check it out with a critical eye when it appears on the scene.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:14 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Personal note

By Jim Dallas

Since basically, my time now belongs entirely to (in order), my civil procedure class, my contracts class, and my torts class, I will be blogging on such material since I really have no other frame of reference from which to blog. Feel free to read and to leave me helpful comments about why I should be pre-emptively barred from the Bar because I am an "evil-doer."

Although hopefully I will still regularly pop my head in here and say silly things.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 24, 2004

Soon to be Published

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Scott Goldstein is someone whom I have come to know through the Dean campaign. I met him at the National Convention in Boston as he was coordinating the Dean Delegates. He's asked to publish part of my original writings from the Winter Wanderlust in Iowa and such.

I'm sending in the permission for it to be used in his latest book "The Tea is in the Harbor" to be published this October. This from the letter explains how it will be used...

The format chosen was to tell the stories of some of the “New Revolutionaries” or the “Sons of Liberty” following chapters or sections in the book. Your stories are interspersed throughout the writing.

So keep an eye out. This is Scott's Second Book, the first having been written about the 2000 election which is available here. It's an interesting feeling being published in a book, granted it's not My Life by Bill Clinton but hey, you try where you can. :)

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 10:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sadun on the Ballot

By Byron LaMasters

It'll be nice to have a congressman to vote for, even if only as a write-in. Lorenzo Sadun is turning in his signatures to get on the ballot today:

At 2 p.m. today, Lorenzo Sadun, professor of mathematics at the University, will deliver the 500 signatures needed to place him on the November ballot as a write-in candidate for the 10th Congressional District of Texas. To celebrate this success, Sadun held a gathering for supporters Monday at his recently acquired campaign office on Cameron Road.

I'm one of those 500. I signed Sadun's petition back at our Travis County Democratic convention back in April.

Sadun Blog.

Donate to Sadun.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Does Cheney Support his Daughter or his boss?

By Byron LaMasters

Or does he just flip flop?

He couldn't seem to make up his mind today:

Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary is a lesbian, spoke supportively about gay relationships on Tuesday, saying "freedom means freedom for everyone."

At a campaign rally in this Mississippi River town, Cheney was asked about his stand on gay marriage - an issue for which his boss, President Bush, has pushed for a constitutional amendment to ban such unions.

"Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with," Cheney said. "With the respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone ... People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.

"The question that comes up with the issue of marriage is what kind of official sanction or approval is going to be granted by government? Historically, that's been a relationship that has been handled by the states. The states have made that fundamental decision of what constitutes a marriage," he said.


Last month, Lynne Cheney said states should have the final say over the legal status of personal relationships, a comment that came just days before the Senate failed to back the ban.

Cheney said the amendment did not have the votes to pass, but he also said the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which President Clinton signed into law in 1996, may be enough.

"Most states have addressed this and there is on the books the federal statute, the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, and to date, it has not been successfully challenged in the courts and may be sufficient to resolve the issue," the vice president said.


During the 2000 campaign, vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney took the position that states should decide legal issues about personal relationships and that people should be free to enter relationships of their choosing.

Addressing Bush's position on the amendment, Cheney said, "at this point, save my own preference, as I have stated, but the president makes policy for the administration. He's made it clear that he does, in fact, support a constitutional amendment on this issue."

Why won't Dick Cheney just say point blank, "I disagree with the President on this issue, but he makes the decisions for this administration, so his position is our policy"? Ok, well Bush doesn't really make the decisions, but that's beside the point. He didn't say that, so all the modifying rhetoric is meaningless. Dick Cheney has constantly refused to back up his support that he expressed for states rights on the marriage equality in which he expressed in the 2000 Vice Presidential debate. "Freedom" doesn't mean "freedom for everyone" when he remains silent when his boss wants to write into the constitution of the United State an amendment saying that his daughter's family is of lesser value than the families that President Bush's daughter's might choose to have. Dick Cheney can't have it both ways.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:35 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Is Karl Rove Telling the Truth?

By Byron LaMasters

Karl Rove says that he hasn't spoken with major Bush fundraiser and major Swift Boat Vets for Truth financier in a year. Is Karl Rove telling the truth?

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a Freedom of Information Act Request in order to find out:

Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) with the White House asking it to detail its contacts with individuals connected to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT).

CREW asked the White House to release information regarding contacts between the Executive Office of the President and: any member of SBVT; SBVT donors Harlan Crow, Bob J. Perry [...]

The White House has claimed no involvement with SBVT or the group’s anti-Kerry campaign ads, a claim undermined by recent revelations that Mr. Cordier, who appears in one of SBVT’s advertisements was on the Bush campaign’s veterans steering committee at the time he made the ad, and by the fact that a Kerry campaign volunteer picked up a flier for SBVT at the Bush-Cheney ‘04 campaign offices in Gainesville, Florida.

CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan stated “Despite evidence to the contrary, the Bush Administration has repeatedly claimed that it has nothing to do with SBVT or its ads. If this is true, then the White House should have no qualms about releasing information regarding any contacts between White House officials and those connected with SBVT.”

This could get interesting...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Texas Tuesdays: David Leibowitz

By Byron LaMasters

I think that most political analysts in the state would tell you that State Rep. Ken Mercer (R-San Antonio) is the most vulnerable Republican in the state house. His victory two years ago was basically an accident in a Democratic district against a flawed Democratic candidate. Anyway, read up about him:

House District 117: A Seat Even The Republicans Say We'll Win.

Texas House District 117: A Look At The Issues.


Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Texas Poll

By Byron LaMasters

According to Survey USA (PDF file), Bush leads Kerry by a 21 point margin in Texas (58-37%). Via Political Wire and Off the Kuff.

The poll is about what I would expect out of Texas. Interestingly, 21 points is exactly the margin that Bush beat Gore by in Texas in 2000. I expect Kerry to improve slightly on Gore's showing for a few reasons:

First, Nader pulled two percent in 2000, and will not be on the Texas ballot. Unlike previous years, there is significantly less fire directed at the Democrats from various lefist / Green groups. They sufficiantly hate Bush that even if they think John Kerry is a douche bag, they're voting for him anyway.

Second, the homestate bounce that a candidate typically gets will be significantly less for Bush in 2004 than it was in 2000. In 2000, George W. Bush was our relatively uncontroversial, popular compassionate conservative governor. Now, Bush is the most divisive president since Nixon as he has spent four years pursuing the most radical right-wing agenda of any president in modern times. While the above poll does not the Bush approval rating in Texas, there's no reason to believe that it is significantly lower than it was in 2000.

Third, Democrats in Texas are much more united than in 2000. Our state house was still in Democratic hands, and Speaker Pete Laney (D-Hale Center) led with a bipartisan coalition. Few Democrats could have imagined the systematic power grab by Tom Delay and his cronies in the legislature. Thus, I believe that Democrats and some Independents who sat out of the 2000 election are more likely to vote in 2004 just to send a message that they're pissed off with the way Republicans do business in this state.

What does it all mean, though? Not a heck of a lot. Gore plus Nader in 2000 was 40% of the vote. My bet is that Kerry will get in the low forties - 41 to 43% if I had to guess at the moment. I think it's possible for Kerry to approach 45% in Texas, but anything higher than that seems extremely unlikely.

Update: I'm perplexed about how they divided the state up regionally. Bush leads the panhandle by a two-to-one margin - no surprise there. Then it shows Kerry with a 58-36% lead in "West Texas". I'm with Kuff in that I assume that just means El Paso (city or county), because if rural west Texas, Odessa and Midland were included, the Kerry lead would evaporate quickly. The next category is Houston, showing Bush with a 50-47% lead. Again, does that mean the city of Houston, Harris County, or Houston metro. It's a very significant difference. If it's just the city, I would expect Kerry to have a sizable lead. If it were Harris County, I would expect a modest Bush lead (so that seems to be the most likely scenario), and if it were greater Houston metro, I would expect a Bush lead in the 60-40% range. The state is also divided along urban, suburban and rural lines, which are somewhat more predictable.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

John Kerry on the Daily Show

By Byron LaMasters


Sen. John Kerry, Democratic nominee for president, will be a guest on tonight's edition of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

"It's a big get, a huge get," Comedy Central spokesman Steve Albani said Monday. "We're very excited."

Asked if any subject would be off the table for tonight's one-on-one, Albani said: "Not that I am aware of, no."

Look for the show to break from its traditional three-segment, three-topic format. Kerry will likely stay for two segments, just as The Daily Show devoted two segments to the recent appearance of former President Bill Clinton.

Question of the day: Has President Bush been issued a Daily Show invitation?

"Should the president ever desire to make an appearance on The Daily Show, he'll be welcomed with open arms," Albani said.


But it's not likely Bush will appear, primarily because sitting presidents traditionally don't make appearances on late-night shows. This is true even though programs like The Daily Show appeal to younger audiences, a group candidates desire to reach.

This will be a great opportunity for John Kerry to reach out to younger voters. Recent polls show younger voters strongly for Kerry, and if Kerry / Edwards can energize young people in this election, it could easily be the difference in a close race.

So you know what I'll be doing at 10 PM...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bush was for the 527's, Before he was against them...

By Byron LaMasters

This is making its rounds among the lefty blogs, so here we go...

Bush in 2000:

The recount fund created by the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign evaded a soft money campaign finance disclosure law for 18 months and did not file required forms until the last day of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) "amnesty" program for out-of-compliance groups, Public Citizen has discovered.

The Bush-Cheney 2000, Inc-Recount Fund, a 527 political group created shortly after the November 2000 election to pay for the legal and political activities in Florida and other contested areas, apparently did not file at least four – and perhaps as many as six – required disclosure forms until 3:25 p.m. on July 15, 2002 – meeting the deadline to avoid millions of dollars in potential fines by less than nine hours.


Republican National Committee (RNC) official Jim Dyke confirmed to Public Citizen that the recount fund is a 527 group that first filed its statement of organization and contribution and expenditure reports with the IRS just before the amnesty program ended. However, the information has not yet appeared on the IRS Web site, and the IRS has not confirmed to Public Citizen that that the Bush-Cheney recount fund’s contribution and expenditure forms have been filed. IRS spokesman Tim Harms told Public Citizen that if the group submitted its forms by July 15, as the recount fund claims, it would be "in compliance" and would not be subject to fines.

Bush in 2004:

President Bush, speaking at his ranch in Crawford, Texas on Monday, denounced all ads run by 527 groups, including the ads run by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which attack Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's military record, saying "this kind of unregulated soft money is wrong for the process."

"I'm denouncing ... all the stuff being on TV, all the 527s. That's what I said," Bush said. He also called on Kerry to join him in "getting rid of all that soft money, not only on TV, but used for other purposes as well."

Did anyone say flip flop?

Hat tip to Pandagon, Atrios and Kos diaries.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:17 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Alan Keyes on Sex

By Byron LaMasters

Because, well, that's what Alan Keyes really likes to talk about, and what the Illinois Senate race should be about if you ask him:

''First, no study has made such a determination. . . . And I say that unequivocally. I've looked at the question many times. Second, we are all in a certain sense genetically and biologically predisposed to a kind of sexual promiscuity. We want to engage and indulge our sexual appetites in ways that have no respect for basic human requirements, conventions, family responsibilities and so forth. That's not just true of homosexual people. That's true of heterosexual people. Healthy, red-blooded males who are sexually attracted to every attractive woman they see, and vice versa.

''We as human beings cannot assert that our sexual drive is uncontrollable. If we do, civilization is ended. These are not things we can't control. Our passions are precisely subject to our moral will and our rationality. That's what makes us human. So if you're going to tell me that the sexual impulse of anybody -- not just homosexuals -- is uncontrollable and you've got to do it, then you have removed us from the realm of human moral choice and you have consigned us to the realm of instinctive necessity and animal nature. And we are not there. I will not deny our humanity.

''So I think that in this area as in all the areas of passion: our anger, our greed, our resentment, our jealousy -- these are all passions that can be very strong in us but which we know must be disciplined and regulated by our moral will for the sake of conscience and human community. And we have to expect that of one another. Do you realize that the very idea of freedom and self-government is absurd if we are, in fact, subject to uncontrollable passions? Then we're not free. We're slaves to our passions. But that's not so. We believe in this country, in liberty, in . . . true moral choice. And that moral choice is possible with respect to sexual action to such a degree you don't even have to engage in sexual activity. You can refrain from it altogether, if you think that is required by the dictates of moral conscience. And that capacity shouldn't be denied in any human being. And I don't think it's a question of homosexual or heterosexual. It's a question of humanity.''

That's nice Alan. Now, why don't we go back to the real issues that people care about.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Red State / Blue State Suicide Rates

By Byron LaMasters

I generally find these type of statistics stupid. Both Republicans and Democrats will both take various statistics to prove that Blue / Red America is more advanced, patriotic, American, etc. than the other. Having said that, I found these suicide statistics interesting from the Boston Globe over the weekend:

WHEN DEMOCRATS and Republicans decided where to hold their national conventions, they probably didn't know that Massachusetts and New York have the lowest suicide rates in the nation, about 6.5 per 100,000 people per year. The national average is 10.7, and states with the biggest problem are in the 19 to 20 range.

Suicide rates in the United States generally rise as you go south and west. Earlier this year, I got interested in the exceptions to that rule, so I decided to create a map. States with lower than average suicide rates I colored blue; the rest I colored red.

And there it was: an approximation of the year 2000 presidential election map.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have lower than average suicide rates. All but one voted for Al Gore. Of the remaining 37 states, 29 voted for George W. Bush. The five states with the most lopsided Bush vote (Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho, with a margin of 25 percent or more) were all among the top eight for suicide.


In a 2002 study, Dr. Jean McSween of the University of Virginia found that people who identify themselves as Republican and conservative are less likely to favor government spending for mental health. Her research also showed they are more likely to fear violence from the mentally ill and want to keep their distance from people with mental disorders. It's not surprising that the Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act has languished in the Republican-controlled Congress despite having numerous cosponsors.

I do think that there is a point here. Mental health should not be a political issue. It's a human issue that should be above politics. An arguement could be made from this research that more Democratic / liberal / blue states spend more on mental health and thus have less suicides and vice versa for Republican / conservative / red states. It's an interesting point, but there are surely many other factors at work here. Take it for what it's worth.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 23, 2004

College Republicans to Exploit 9/11 Anniversary

By Byron LaMasters

The College Republican National Committee is asking their chapters across the country to sign up for the 9/11 Never Forget Project for their campuses. That project is sponsored by Club 100 a program of the Young America's Foundation - a right-wing youth organization dedicated to promoting a conservative Republican agenda on college campuses.

The College Republicans want to use the tragedy of 9/11 to bring more conservative speakers to college campuses. The College Republican National Committee boasts of this on their website:

This program significantly boosted the standings of several CR chapters last year. For example, the CR chapter at Western Michigan University organized a moving candlelight vigil that drew over 600 students. The success of this event allowed them to host several conservative speakers on their campus including Dinesh D'Souza, Bay Buchanan, Reginald Jones, and Alan Kors.

The CR's are using Western Michigan University as an example of what they would like to see nationally. 9/11 shouldn't be about politics. It should be about everyone, all of us, Democrats, Republicans and Independents remembering the loss that we all suffered on that day. I hope that Republicans at UT will break from the national CR organization, choose to avoid partisan politics on 9/11, and join with the rest of us in respectfully remembering our shared loss of that day. To do otherwise would be unfortunate and shameful.

Seth Tanner of the College Democrats of America blog, Smart Ass adds his two cents as well:

"With recent polls showing Senator Kerry with a 2-1 lead among young voters, it is no surprise that the College Republicans are getting desperate," CDA National President Grant Woodard said. "But for them to exploit 9/11 to promote their organization is a disgrace. If they want to hold a memorial they should hold a memorial, not a membership drive."

CDA encourages its leaders to alert members and campus publications about this despicable project so they know what to expect next month. "Let's make sure everyone sees this project for what it really is," Woodard said.

Agreed. If either the UT College Republicans or the UT Young Conservatives of Texas chapter exploits 9/11 for partisan political purposes, I'll be there with a lot of others to call them out on it.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:56 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

DFA Training and Dean

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

This past weekend I attended the DFA/21st Century Democrats training at the Huston-Tillitson (historic Black college) in East Austin. For the details on that, I would read RedPeg who has an excellent report. I actually met Trei, the writer over there which was awesome. Check out some of his pictures and also mine.

On Sunday, there was the big Rally, highlighted by Howard Dean with all the local candidates up on the stage as well. With about 1000 people in attendance and a lot of media, the organizers were more than thrilled.

This was the 12th time I have been with Dean at some function. The others being...

Ruta Maya fundraiser- Austin
Sleepless Summer- San Antonio
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee endorsement- Houston
Fundraiser- Houston
Bill Bradley Endorsement- Manchester
Ames College Rally- Iowa
Caucus Night Speech- Des Moines
Bloggers Breakfast- Boston
Dean Delegates Meeting- Boston
DNC Speech- Boston
Texas Delegation- Boston
Austin Grassroots Training Rally- Yesterday

Dean spoke for a very long time, more than I've heard before. The angle was local, with some of his stump speech mixed in. But there was more of a focus on Texas, and running for office, and what we need to do as a party to build it in Texas and win in the future.

Now as far as the other candidates went, I have some comments about a few of them. Lorenzo Sadun (Congress TX-10) gave a really great speech, spiced up with democratic (small d) idealism. Kelly White (TX House- 48, West Travis County) was much improved in her speaking abilities from this spring when she spoke to the University Democrats. (Her opponent is apparently doing poorly in his fundraising while she has a quarter million or more). Greg Hamilton (for Travis County Sheriff) was by far the best local speaker, an amazing law enforcement Democrat that will help with the African American turnout locally. Mark Strama (TX House-50, North Travis County) was absent.

I have some really interesting information related to 3 races here in Austin that I will post soon, after I can verify it or decided whether it's ok to post. Keep an eye out in the next couple days.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh, they have a lot to brag about...

By Byron LaMasters

Take the Dallas Morning News survey for what the Texas GOP delegation should brag about when they cast their votes for President Bush's nomination. Somehow issues like raising college tuition for students and middle class families, throwing thousands of kids from low-income families off the CHIP program, holding special sessions on public school finance without acomplishing a damn thing and being the home of corrupt congressmen like Pete Sessions and Tom DeLay aren't options in this Dallas Morning News survey.

Email the Dallas Morning News your suggestion on what the GOP delegates should brag about at: awudmn@hotmail.com

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Put Richard Morrison on the Air

By Byron LaMasters

The Richard Morrison has produced a new commercial, and they want your help to put it up on the air.

There's nothing too fancy about the commercial. It introduces Morrison as an ordinary guy who wants to go to Washington to make a difference for ordinary people as opposed to going to Washington for the sake of personal power. Of course, I'd like to see some hard hitting attacks on Tom DeLay, but then again, Tom DeLay's negatives are high enough, Morrison's most important task is to present himself as a creditable alternative. This ad begins to do that, although I'd like to see Morrison present more details about his life, family and career. Those are the type of things that add greater creditability to a challenger. Still, this is a good start.

Watch the ad.

Donate to the Morrison campaign to put it on the air.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Is this a Beer Commercial or Oklahoma?

By Byron LaMasters

I know I've been hard on Oklahoma this week, but some things are really just too hard to resist. As does any campaign, my friends on the Oklahoma Democratic Coordinated / Carson campaign routinely look through the local newspapers for relevent political stories. This one isn't exactly relevent, but it's certainly amusing. From the Sulphur (OK) Times-Democrat on Thursday, July 15, 2004:

A few visitors to Arbuckle Lake got more than they bargained for as they witnessed two Sulphur women engaged in a brawl, tearing off each other's bathing suit tops. The incident occurred Friday, July 10.

According to a report by a Chickasaw National Recreation Area park ranger, Candace Denise Hamilton, a.k.a. Candace Denise Rochelle, and Melody Mae Fisher are both facing a disturbing the peace charge for the brawl.

The ranger's report indicates the woman, who are sisters, were arguing in the water near Buckhorn Pavillion about 7 p.m. when the argument escalated to a fight.

Witnesses said the women were in the water and started cussing each other, fighting and tearing off each other's bikini tops.

"At one point, Fisher held Hamilton underwater for several seconds and when she let her up, they both started hitting and cussing at each other," the report states.

Fisher left the water and was followed by Hamilton and the fight continued.

Witnesses told the ranger the fight continued for about five minutes during which time both of the women's bathing suit tops were again ripped off, exposing their breasts to the other visitors and children in the picnic area.

Witnesses said Fisher left the area, with Hamilton cussing at her as she left. She then began cussing at the children in her group, quieting down when she received a phone call.

When the officer arrived, Hamilyon was still at the scene, but Fisher had left. Hamilton was arrested, and an assult warrant was issued for Fisher, Monday.

Hamilton told the officer she couldn't remember what they had been fighting about, and their tops had come off accidentally. She said Fisher had bit her by the eyebrow, and there were visible teeth marks under her left eyebrow, according to the ranger's report.

Hamilton received a one year deferred sentence and a $100 fine. She also has to write a letter of apology to the witnesses. At press time, Fisher had not yet been apprehended.


Update: Previously reported here. And here's a report from the Ardmoreite:

Two Sulphur sisters shocked park visitors when they lost their bathing suit tops during a fight in the Chickasaw Recreation Area Saturday. One of the women, Candace Denise Rochelle Hamilton, 32, was arrested by park rangers for disturbing the peace.

Ranger Susan Thompson reported responding to a call of two women fighting at the Buckhorn Pavilion at approximately 7 p.m. Several witnesses told the officer Hamilton and her sister, Melody Mae Fisher, began cursing each other and fighting while they were in the water. At one point during the fight, Fisher held Hamilton underwater for several seconds.

When the fight continued and moved to the shore, witnesses said both women lost their tops, exposing their breasts to other visitors and children in the picnic area. After the fight raged on for about five minutes, Fisher finally left the area with Hamilton cursing her and the children in her group. Hamilton reportedly quieted down after receiving a phone call.

Hamilton admitted fighting with her sister but couldn't remember what they had been fighting about. She said their tops had come off accidentally during the altercation. Hamilton had visible teeth marks under her left eyebrow.

Because of witnesses statements and Hamilton's admission of the fight, she was arrested for disturbing the peace by fighting and the use of profane language.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


By Byron LaMasters

I went to Oklahoma on Friday to volunteer with the Brad Carson for U.S. Senate campaign. My only regret is that I didn't take a camera. It was quite an experience. I have a friend that is working on the campaign out of the Ardmore office, so I offered to canvass with him on Friday afternoon. Ardmore is only about an hour and a half from north Dallas, and I got out of the city before rush hour so it was a surprisingly pleasant drive. Of course, it wasn't my first time to Ardmore either. I made it up there a year and three months ago when 51 Texas Democratic state representatives made the Holiday Inn their home for a week in order to delay redistricting. I blockwalked in the town of Madill, OK, population 3502.

I've always liked canvassing (except when it's a summer job in 100+ degree heat as I did for Tony Sanchez in 2002). It's much more fun than phone banking, because you can interact with people personally, and try to make a personal connection and sales pitch on behalf of your candidate. Elderly people are especially responsive. I've told many people that canvassing and speaking directly to voters is more of an education about politics than any government or political science class. But Madill was a bit challenging for me. I'm very outgoing, so it's usually easy for me to connect with people when I canvass. I have a good deal of experience canvassing in urban and suburban areas. Canvassing urban areas makes me feel right at home. There's lots of minorities, gays, young people, union folks, etc. - Democrats, my people. Suburban areas aren't as much fun, but growing up in suburban north Dallas, I'm good at connecting as I can pretty much come off as just another neighborhood college kid.

But Madill, OK is rural. Very rural. So when I knock on the door and a woman wearing a "I heart Sunday School" t-shirt opens, I know I have a difficult task ahead. Then I tell her about Brad Carson, and ask about her party affiliation. Sure enough, about thirty seconds later she goes into a rant about "those lesbians kissing on tv and those gays marching around like it's nothing" and a comment or two about abortion. Here's a woman who lives in a tiny house in a town where the average household makes $22,457 a year and lives in a house worth $46,000 that cares more about her daughter or grand-daughter not seeing gays accepted on television than whether that child will be able to grow up in an America where they have guaranteed health insurance and a real opportunity to go to college.

I understand wealthy people who vote on social issues. I mean for wealthy people it doesn't really matter. It doesn't really matter whether you can buy a house with four bedrooms or with five. It doesn't really matter if you can buy a second home or a yacht. But it does matter if you can afford quality health care, feed your children and take care of elderly parents. Maybe I'm just going on an unintelligible liberal rant. It's not that I don't understand why people can have different opinions on social issues than myself. I understand that. But I can't understand why poor people in communities across America allow their social concerns to trump their economic self interest. Especially in a state like Oklahoma where their senate candidate, Brad Carson is just as conservative on social issues as most Republicans.

Anyway, I'll have more on Oklahoma throughout the week. I have several more stories to tell, and I'll get to them as I'm able.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:32 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 22, 2004

Dean in Austin Again

By Byron LaMasters

I've been busy moving in to my apartment and getting ready for school, so I'll be catching up on blogging over the few days here, so I wasn't able to make it to the Dean event, but here's what happened earlier today:

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean made a stop in Austin Sunday to motivate Texas Democrats to take back the White House.

Hundreds of supporters showed up at Huston-Tillotson College in East Austin to hear Dean's message. They call themselves Deaniacs for Kerry - supporters who believe Dean is making an impact on Texas Democrats.

"Howard Dean got us energized, and I think we are tired of what's going on and we're finally saying enough's enough. We're gonna' take it back," Austin Democrat Joene Grissom said.

The crux of Dean's message is that Democrats need to take back Texas by relying on grassroots organizing.

"We've been away from that too long, and I'm pretty optimistic. I don't want to give up on places like Texas," Dean said.

Dean showed his support for candidates on the Dean's Dozen list - people like Richard Morrison, who is running against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and David Van Os, who is running for Texas Supreme Court Judge.

The rest here.

Meanwhile, Dean stumped in Houston yesterday for Richard Morrison.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:29 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 21, 2004

KNAF Radio

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

If you happen to live in the Hill Country area around Fredericksburg, tune in this morning (Saturday) to KFAN 910 AM radio at 9:00 a.m.

Jan Fritz, wife of station owner Jason Fritz, has her weekly segment Kit & Kaboodle which covers a wide range of topics. This week's hour long show will be an interview with me about politics, my experiences regarding the Democratic National Convention, and youthful idealism.

If you miss it, I have been told it may run on another Saturday before the election at which point I'll post about it again.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 01:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 20, 2004

Kerry The Terrorist Buster

By Andrew Dobbs

Via Atrios we get this great piece from David Sirota and Jonathon Baskin on Kerry's role in taking down the Bank of Credit and Commerce International:

Two decades ago, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was a highly respected financial titan. In 1987, when its subsidiary helped finance a deal involving Texas oilman George W. Bush, the bank appeared to be a reputable institution, with attractive branch offices, a traveler's check business, and a solid reputation for financing international trade. It had high-powered allies in Washington and boasted relationships with respected figures around the world.
All that changed in early 1988, when John Kerry, then a young senator from Massachusetts, decided to probe the finances of Latin American drug cartels. Over the next three years, Kerry fought against intense opposition from vested interests at home and abroad, from senior members of his own party; and from the Reagan and Bush administrations, none of whom were eager to see him succeed.

By the end, Kerry had helped dismantle a massive criminal enterprise and exposed the infrastructure of BCCI and its affiliated institutions, a web that law enforcement officials today acknowledge would become a model for international terrorist financing. As Kerry's investigation revealed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, BCCI was interested in more than just enriching its clients--it had a fundamentally anti-Western mission. Among the stated goals of its Pakistani founder were to "fight the evil influence of the West," and finance Muslim terrorist organizations. In retrospect, Kerry's investigation had uncovered an institution at the fulcrum of America's first great post-Cold War security challenge. (...)

legislation is only one facet of a senator's record. As the BCCI investigation shows, Kerry developed a very different record of accomplishment--one often as vital, if not more so, than passage of bills. Kerry's probe didn't create any popular new governmental programs, reform the tax code, or eliminate bureaucratic waste and fraud. Instead, he shrewdly used the Senate's oversight powers to address the threat of terrorism well before it was in vogue, and dismantled a key terrorist weapon. In the process, observers saw a senator with tremendous fortitude, and a willingness to put the public good ahead of his own career. (...)

BCCI, meanwhile, had its own connections. Prominent figures with ties to the bank included former president Jimmy Carter's budget director, Bert Lance, and a bevy of powerful Washington lobbyists with close ties to President George H.W. Bush, a web of influence that may have helped the bank evade previous investigations. In 1985 and 1986, for instance, the Reagan administration launched no investigation even after the CIA had sent reports to the Treasury, Commerce, and State Departments bluntly describing the bank's role in drug-money laundering and other illegal activities. (...)

Kerry pounced, demanding (and winning) authorization from the Foreign Relations Committee to open a broad investigation into the bank in May 1991. Almost immediately, the senator faced a new round of pressure to relent. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Democratic doyenne Pamela Harriman personally called Kerry to object, as did his fellow senators. "What are you doing to my friend Clark Clifford?," staffers recalled them asking, according to The Washington Post. BCCI itself hired an army of lawyers, PR specialists, and lobbyists, including former members of Congress, to thwart the investigation.

But Kerry refused to back off, and his hearings began to expose the ways in which international terrorism was financed. As Kerry's subcommittee discovered, BCCI catered to many of the most notorious tyrants and thugs of the late 20th century, including Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the heads of the Medellin cocaine cartel, and Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist. According to the CIA, it also did business with those who went on to lead al Qaeda.

And BCCI went beyond merely offering financial assistance to dictators and terrorists: According to Time, the operation itself was an elaborate fraud, replete with a "global intelligence operation and a Mafia-like enforcement squad."

By July 1991, Kerry's work paid off. That month, British and U.S. regulators finally responded to the evidence provided by Kerry, Morgenthau, and a concurrent investigation by the Federal Reserve. BCCI was shut down in seven countries, restricted in dozens more, and served indictments for grand larceny, bribery, and money laundering. The actions effectively put it out of business what Morgenthau called, "one of the biggest criminal enterprises in world history." (...)

A decade after Kerry helped shut the bank down, the CIA discovered Osama bin Laden was among those with accounts at the bank. A French intelligence report obtained by The Washington Post in 2002 identified dozens of companies and individuals who were involved with BCCI and were found to be dealing with bin Laden after the bank collapsed, and that the financial network operated by bin Laden today "is similar to the network put in place in the 1980s by BCCI." As one senior U.S. investigator said in 2002, "BCCI was the mother and father of terrorist financing operations."

This just touches on the basic facts of the case, please read the entire article. It makes the valuable point that there are two kinds of Senators- legislators and investigators. Massachusetts is blessed to have among the best examples of each in the Senate- Ted Kennedy is one of the Senate's most prolific and tireless legislators, bringing sweeping new bills before the chamber and sheparding them to passage while John Kerry has used his position to tear open Iran-Contra, BCCI and other scandals. Both serve a valuable purpose and even though Kerry's name isn't on the top of a lot of legislation, his impact has clearly been felt.

And this also answers the charge that Kerry will do anything to get elected and that he's been running for President since he was in diapers. Yes, he had a lot of ambition and I'm sure that he thought about the White House from an early age on, but it is not easy to run for president when you are pissing off your party's elder statespeople by investigating some of their most prominent figures. For whatever you can say about him now at least at one point Kerry put his ambitions aside and prosecuted a golden calf of DC's establishment in the name of protecting American lives. This alone makes him well qualified to be president.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 12:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Solitaire was a big deal in 2002, but this?

By Byron LaMasters

Dallas County Democrats made a big deal of the fact that Judge Craig Fowler played Solitaire during court. Fowler's opponent, Lisa McKnight came within one percentage point of winning, and was one of the top Democratic vote-getters in the county.

Well, Oklahoma in 2004 has done us one better:

An Oklahoma judge facing removal over charges that he masturbated and used a device for enhancing erections under his robes during trials said on Wednesday he would retire from the bench.

Creek County District Judge Donald Thompson, 57, wrote to Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry resigning effective Sept. 1, a move that will allow him to retire with a full pension.

A former state representative and a judge for 22 years, Thompson was accused by state Attorney General Drew Edmondson of using a "penis pump" to enhance erections during trials and exposing himself to a court reporter several times while masturbating on the bench.

The state Court on the Judiciary was scheduled to hear a motion on Friday to suspend Thompson.

The judge has denied the charges and did not refer to them in his letter of resignation.

"I have greatly enjoyed my public service and offer my gratitude for the public trust reposed in me during the terms I served," he said.

*Insert your Oklahoma joke here*

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:58 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Uh, what's that, Pete?

By Byron LaMasters

I'm certainly not an expert in the lie-detector department, but I do recall that the repeated use of the word "uh" is certainly one indicator of uncertainty and lying. On that note, here's exhibit A - the transcript of Pete Sessions answering questions this week on a local radio show regarding his stealing of yard signs during the 2002 election ("uh" emphasis mine):

Rep. Pete Sessions (R) gave an interview to KLIF radio's Gary Knapp.

GK: "The Martin Frost (D) campaign has come out with this miscellaneous incident report that says that a police officer stopped you in 2002, where you were taking signs up from along the road of Skillman and Northwest Highway, uh ('02 Dem nominee) Pauline Dixon's signs, and that you had put them in your truck bed. Is that true?"
PS: "Absolutely correct."
GK: "OK, and they're saying that means you stole signs. Is that true?"
PS: "No, that is not true."
GK. "Ok, explain that."
PS: "Greg what happened is is that uh, a couple years ago, uh when I was coming back from a uh a meeting, uh to my house, uh, I was on a state highway that is called Northwest Highway, and every single sign, political sign, in the state of Texas says you're not allowed to put those in in uh, the uh in the right of way."
GK: "It's illegal to put political signs in the right of way."
PS: "On a state highway. Uh, and I was driving by the signs which we had uh put out earlier, several weeks before on a piece of property that was private property that was directly there, and as I was driving home, someone had come and in front of and behind every one of my signs, they put these Pauline Dixon signs. In front of mine and behind mine. Just a political game, that's ok."
GK: "So you're saying your signs were on legal?"
PS: "Absolutely."
GK: "Because your signs were on private yards?"
PS: "No there's uh, it's it's an apartment complex that is there, uh that has allowed us to put ours exclusively there, on, directly on Northwest highway..."
GK: "OK now wait one second, because I'm still kind of confused... There's an area in front of what is an apartment complex, that is owned by the apartment complex that you were allowed to put your signs on because they told you you could."
PS: "Absolutely."
GK: "Ok and then next to that is the right of way that goes to the road where nobody's allowed to put their signs there, whether permission is given from the apartment complex or not because it's not their property. Is that true?" PS: "Well, the highway, theoretically would be down the middle part, or where where, the right of way is a middle part that really nobody owns except the state. It's no-mans land."
GK: "Right. But your signs were on the part..."
PS: "They were on private property."
GK: "Ok, so if yours were on private property and theirs were directly in front of yours, wouldn't they still be on private property too."
PS: "They would have been."
GK. "Oh, so you're saying that because they didn't get permission from the apartment complex to put them there they were illegal."
PS: "Yeah."
GK: "Now I'm with you. See why I was confused."
PS: "They were also on a state highway, a right of way state highway and all I'm suggesting to you is that I went down, saw it, I we had, we put the signs in, we checked them on a regular basis, driving the way home, and I just went down, put my flashers on, the police officer at, uh about two minutes later saw us."
GK: "The only thing that I'm still confused about with you taking these signs down, Congressman Sessions, is did you check with the apartment complex and say did Pauline Dixon, did she ask you permission to put these up, or did you just assume she didn't have the right to put those up?"
PS: "She did not, and no I did not. It was they were they were put up that night at some point and they were uh dropped on the they were dropped on the uh ground."
GK: "Can you see why some people would say, 'Well wait a second, why didn't you just leave those signs there. Isn't it wrong to pull other people's signs down?"
PS: "No no, I don't think so at all. I think if I went by the CWA uh, or any other Union place that Martin Frost had his signs up and he knew they were up, and some of our supporters or somebody came and put them there, I think it's perfectly professional to pick them up and drop them" (Excerpted from Frost release, 8/19).

I counted fifteen. Anyone want to check that? Regardless of the legitimacy of what Pete Sessions' did that night, he certainly does not project confidence of the legality of his actions in this interview. I was speaking with some friends about this last night, and I'm glad that Frost is making an issue of this. I think it's easy to take this incident and tie it into Pete Sessions' other shady activities such as employing a communications director who was convicted of a felony for his work as a Republican Party operative. We'll see if it comes up...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:37 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 19, 2004

The Road to Boston

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

What follows is the more or less official report I wrote for my journey to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Parts of it were published on the front page of the Community Section of my local paper, the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. While not a full and complete record (other elements and stories lie in the archives of this site) it should give new information and a readable picture of what was the most moving journey of my life to date.

From Austin to Boston: The Tale of Texas’ Youngest Democratic Delegate by Karl-Thomas Musselman

Growing up, I thought I would find myself among the stars. With an interest in space and my last name, I figured it must be destiny that if Armstrong was the first man on the Moon, then Musselman could be the first man on Mars. My plans were to spend my life studying the heavens, getting to know the likes of Polaris, Vega, Sirius, and Castor.

It was certainly a lofty goal, but destiny found me some stars down here on Earth to be among last month, stars with names like Clinton, Gore, Dean, Edwards, and Kerry. It was the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and I was the youngest of Texas’ 232 delegates in Boston, representing Democrats in 21 Central Texas counties, including Gillespie. For a 19 year old Democrat from Fredericksburg, I’d say that’s still pretty ‘out of this world.’

Getting Started

My convention story actually began four years ago with the 2000 presidential election. Unlike the majority of Texans, Al Gore inspired me and was the reason I got involved in politics as a career. At the age of 15, I attended our Democratic Precinct Convention at St. Joseph’s Hall with my parents in my first act of participatory democracy. Even though I could not vote, it was there that I made the bold statement that in 2004, I would be the youngest delegate for Al Gore to our county, state, and national conventions.

Unfortunately, that dream in full could not be fully realized as Gore did not become President in 2000. But that did not stop me and in 2002 I got involved in the John Courage for Congress campaign. I volunteered for him at our County Fair and on Election Day, I stood outside the Courthouse polling location handing out literature to the few voters that trickled in after I got off from school.

While handing out literature for Mr. Courage that evening, I remember one woman, a Hispanic employee at the high school, who said she had only planned on voting for Sanchez for governor but she voted for Courage thanks to me. That one moment made that night worth it and I realized just then that conversations like that, multiplied by millions, was what was needed to help Democrats win in 2004. Most importantly, it gave me hope in a year when there was little for an aspiring Texas Democrat.

Primary Politics

A year before the Democratic primaries, in the spring of 2003, I had already settled on my candidate for president, Howard Dean. For the next year, whether it was in Texas, New Hampshire, Iowa, or Arizona, I did what I could to help him win the nomination. But by the time the Texas Primary came about, my man was out of the race but still on the ballot. John Kerry had the nomination so I went ahead and cast my ballot for Dean along with a dozen other Gillespie County die-hard Deaniacs. It was the least we could do heading into our Precinct Convention that night, where 9 of the 13 Dean voters signed in county wide. It was there, in the same St. Joseph’s Hall that my journey to the National Convention began. All those in attendance advanced to our County convention where a few weeks later, I was elected as one of four delegates to the State Democratic Convention in Houston.

In the Running

Traditionally, delegate seats go to Party regulars, long time activists, or elected officials. The rules are set up and not widely publicized in order to encourage the continuance of those in the system, and discourage flocks of new people from overtaking it. Certain paperwork has to be filed with the state party in advance and deadlines have to be met. Because of this, most of my work to become a national delegate took place in late May and early June, before the actual State Convention. This meant that I knew in advance who I was running against for the male John Kerry delegate slot for our district, which consisted of the same 21 counties in Troy Fraser’s State Senate district. It also meant I knew and had access to contact information each of the voting delegates in the district that would decide who to send to Boston.

Because of party rules, and the way delegates are allocated, I faced a bit of an uphill battle to begin with. Two of the 21 counties, home to Temple, Killeen, and Abilene, made up half of the total delegation from our district. Five out of six of my competitors for the seat were all from Abilene, and the remaining one from Llano, was the former head of the Wesley Clark campaign in Texas. Thankfully, Bell County, the most populated county with 51 delegate votes had no dog in the race providing an opening. My plan was to run a grassroots campaign, win over the Bell county delegates and pair that with votes from Gillespie, Kerr, Blanco, Burnet, and other smaller rural delegations.

The very first action taken was to develop a message for my campaign. I decided to run on my youth, activism, and my dream from 4 years prior. “Believe in me, Believe in our future” was the slogan which adorned the first piece of campaign literature, a hang-signed and addressed letter sent to all 160 odd delegates and Democratic Party County Chairs. Soon to follow were three different e-mails including endorsements and directing people to my campaign website I had set up. About 70 phone calls were made to gather support and in the week before the State Convention, I printed up postcards that included the time and voting location where the vote would be held in Houston.

At the state convention, I bypassed most of the caucus meetings and such on the first day. Instead, I staked out in front of our district’s sign in booth, talking to delegates as they signed in. Like any good candidate would, I offered campaign stickers, over a hundred of which were taken, more than enough to win if they actually turned into votes. By the time our district met to vote, there was little more to do than some last minute hand shaking and nomination speeches.

As it turned out, all but one of the other 6 challengers for the National delegate slot dropped out of the race, leaving a long time labor union delegate from Abilene as the only competition. We gave our speeches, each focused on our strengths, but when the vote was tallied it was evident that the grassroots campaigning did it’s job. With a 120-30 vote win, a four year old dream was fulfilled and I was headed to Boston.

Democracy Fest

I traveled up to Massachusetts the weekend before Democratic National Convention with the Austin delegation in order to attend Democracy Fest, the national gathering of Howard Dean activists, delegates, and progressives. Held in the rural western part of the state, it required a day’s travel by car and an overnight stay at a cheap motel which was the cause of the best joke of the trip.

It was very late by the time we arrived at the motel to spend the night. We ended up driving by the back entrance at first and saw a bank of old rooms of which the roof had been burned off by a past fire. The rest of the rooms were just fine but it gave a new meaning to smoking and non-smoking rooms we thought.

At Democracy Fest, we attended training sessions sponsored by the Latinos for Democracy people from California where we learned what it was like to run and political operation in a Democratic state. Alongside that, there were entertainers down in the dining tent; everything from political bands, comedy groups, slam poets, solo singers, and speakers.

Dean’s presidential campaign manager Joe Trippi, an icon to most of the grassroots, spoke that afternoon which prompted some interesting discussion. This event, being a gathering of the core of the hard core activists, had a number of people who were incredibly upset with Trippi for what they believe he did to the Dean campaign at the end. There are complaints about his firm managing the horrible media ads, not paying enough attention to Iowa, not paying attending to minority building, or any number of reasons.

Personally, I found it ironic how some of the Deaniacs disliked Trippi so much. The man had to build an enormous campaign first in order for his detractors to complain about how he let it fall apart! They have to at least give him credit for that.

Trippi spoke about his new book, The Revolution Will Not be Televised. Or rather, he spoke on how it was not a ‘tell all’. But he did outline what his greater vision was for political organizing beyond the Dean campaign. He spoke about how he felt that Americans are in a time between TV being the dominant medium to the Internet taking over. It’s an idea of how people will return to the community driven model of interaction, organization, and socialization instead of being driven by the solitary conversation that direct mail and TV ads create now in politics.

He was asked a question after his talk along the lines of, “If you were the Kerry campaign manager, what dream idea would you have for the campaign.” Trippi’s response was that at the national convention, during his nominating speech, he would have Kerry make the announcement that he was putting the future of his campaign into the hands of the American people by not accepting $75 million, taxpayer funded, public financing check for the post-convention portion of the general election campaign. By making a bold statement like that, for one, a media firestorm would be created, and two, it would advance the acknowledgement of online organizing and fundraising to now, not 10 years from now.

I understand his vision and I can see, just like I see it in any of the other Deaniacs, there is a deeper commitment, vision, and belief behind what we are all doing. And that gives me hope.

Boston at Last…

There is no way one can fully convey the awesome experience of being a first time National Convention Delegate. There is so much to take in that it is near impossible to remember all the amazing pieces. One tries to take pictures, write down what they can, and take home as many memories as possible while fulfilling an official duty as a delegate.

Activities fall into a few categories, some having little to do with the Convention Hall. One of the primary ones is official caucuses. Throughout the week, delegates could attend convention caucuses if they happened to fall into one of the various interest groups like Hispanics, Native Americans, Veterans, Disabled, or a variety of others. I attended the Youth caucus where for two hours we discussed what we could do to get students more involved on campuses. In addition, speakers came including representatives from one of the Wrestling Federations doing voter registration, one of the head organizers of MoveOn.org, and the two Kerry daughters. Other caucuses had speakers in line with their interests ranging from Congressmen to Ben Affleck to Hillary Clinton and Teresa Heinz-Kerry. Since speakers are almost never announced ahead of time and can drop in unexpected, delegates depend on word of mouth and their ability to get from one event to another quickly for the best caucuses.

Also during the week were various trainings put on by more groups than one can keep track of. Topics ranged from fundraising to effective crowd-building to developing winning messages or building online grassroots organizing tools. There were sessions in which delegates gave brief speeches and received critiques. In others, delegates were invited to hear big name party analysts give their view on how the race for the House and Senate were developing. Hopping from hotel to hotel, sometimes across town to make particular session not only provided hectic schedule but also a way to burn the excess calories that most delegates took on at on the various breakfasts and after-parties scatter about town.

For veteran delegates who have been to many National Conventions, it is these meetings and parties which provide the most fun. It’s hard to pass up free food, free drinks, and the opportunity to schmooze with important luminaries. Some events are free, others by donation. Some are invite-only or open if you happen to know the right invited people. Or, in my case once, if you act like you’ve been invited and walk on in with a reporter in tow, few will question you.

A facet of great importance at modern day conventions is one that is nearly impossible to overlook. The Media. For every delegate, there are at least 3 officially accredited members of the media. In the hall, on the streets, or behind the security perimeter there was no place that delegates could go without running into someone with a camera, recorder, or notepad. As Texas’ youngest delegate, as well as an online ‘blogger’ (an internet writer and pundit of sorts) I had around 30 different media encounters ranging from Texas newspapers to BBC radio to MTV.

It would seem as if the convention was more for the media and less for the delegates and these days, and that is mostly true. The entire message is managed by the party, with every speech, every poster, every official event trying into a grand theme, in this Convention’s case, “A Stronger America.” The organizers even supplied official ‘talking points’ in every delegates welcome packet, none of which have been infused into this article because the time for media pandering ended with the close of the convention.

A little known fact is that former presidential candidate Al Sharpton’s 20 minute convention speech was 14 minutes over what had been scheduled because he junked the official script on the Teleprompters. But because John Edwards’s speech had to start on time later that evening in order to be picked up by television broadcasts, organizers had to cut that many more minutes out of the night’s schedule, which they did with amazing speed.

Speaking of speeches, hearing so many stars of the Democratic Party in just four days was one of the most exciting things about the National Convention. Every single one of the 10 Democrats who ran for President addressed the delegates, some with louder applause and cheering than others. While the likes of Rep. Richard Gephardt and Senator Lieberman barely got the crowd on its feet, Wesley Clark and Howard Dean had to wait through minutes of non-stop cheering and frequent applause.

Dean’s speech meant much to me personally, and it meant a lot to the convention as it was the premier speech of unity for the party. As he ended his speech, he began to run through a list of states where he said we would be proud to be Democrats in, Iowa style, capping it off with Texas, at which our delegation burst out in full minute of nearly deafening cheers. Though our delegation had not one single official Dean delegate, we had the largest Dean delegation with 75 of us having been Dean supporters at some point in the past year. It was like being there for the infamous Iowa Caucus Dean Speech one more time. And just like the other Dean delegates, official or otherwise, there was a certain bittersweet feeling. Like Dean himself joked in his convention address, we know he was going to be there; we just thought it was going to be on Thursday night instead of Tuesday, accepting the nomination instead of speaking on behalf of unity behind the nominee.

While Dean’s appearance was personal, he actually came and visited with the Texas delegation at the Convention Hall on Thursday, the rest of the Democratic Superstars spoke as well. Bill Clinton and Al Gore spoke to our heart, to the base of the party, articulating the very message which we had lost two years ago. Elvis may have been the King of Rock and Roll, but Clinton was the King of Soul, the Democratic Soul of the convention. Barak Obama’s keynote address opened many eyes, ears, and hearts to the formerly unknown Democratic Senate candidate from Illinois. He hasn’t even been elected yet and delegates chattered about an Edwards/Obama ticket in 2012. John Edwards’s speech on Wednesday night, given while he had a 101 degree fever, was true to its message “Hope is on the Way.” After seeing him at the Texas State Convention, I finally got his message and realized why so many Iowans caucused for him. After Clinton, I have never heard a speaker so optimistic about what America could and should be. Most Democrats I know can’t wait to see the Cheney verses Edwards’s debate in the fall. “Talk about emotional opposites,” was a fellow delegate’s comment.

John Kerry’s acceptance speech was one of the most masterful works of political oratory, not because of what he actually said, but the effect it had on its targeted audience, undecided voters in swing states. With over half a million dollars spent on polling and focus groups in the prior month, the message was honed and perfected to appeal to the middle and satisfy the base, the premier balancing act of politics. As a result, the base donated over $5 million dollars online the day of the speech and the polls moved in the places that mattered, the battleground states.

And we as delegates were treated to a confetti filled balloon drop with the highly appropriate “We are Family” and “Celebrate Good Times” songs pumping through the Convention Center. Never underestimate a balloon drop’s power to create unity and energy, because it turns even the most ardent Anti-Bush Democratic voters into Pro-Kerry Democratic voters. While politicians might not care exactly why they get the votes they do, democracy cares because so much more is accomplished in the long run when citizens are for, not against, pro, not con.

But lost in all this hubbub of activity, speeches, parties, meetings, and general hoopla is the very simple task for which I was elected: to cast my official nominating vote for John Kerry as the Democratic Nominee for President. It was indeed the fulfillment of a four year old dream, one born on the inspiration of Al Gore, carried on by the hope of Howard Dean, and fulfilled by the acceptance of John Kerry.

Who said the third time couldn’t be the charm?

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 11:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kerry Message

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Matthew Gross sees something in the new Pew Research Center Poll...

"Nowhere is the partisan divide more evident than in views of America's global standing. Fully 80% of Democrats and 74% of independents say the U.S. is less respected by other countries than in the past. Only about half of Republicans (47%) believe the U.S. has lost respect."

Kerry's message? Stonger at Home. Respected in the world. These people are on the ball. The message is targeted to lock in the base, swing the undecideds, and eat at the Republicans base.

More evidence? MyDD picks up how Zogby is adding 4 more states to the 'swing' category, making that 20 total. Those four are Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia.

And don't forget, Nebraska (and Maine) allow their electoral votes to be split. 2 for the statewide winner, and then 1 for whoever wins each Congressional district. Kos talks about how Nebraska-1st District might be battleground territory as it's outgoing Republican Congressman says the war in Iraq in retrospect was indeed unjustified.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 18, 2004

Instant Karma

By Jim Dallas

A very belated welcome-to-the-blogosphere to Oregon tag-teamers Kevin and Carla (Pre-emptive Karma).

I've done some role-playing games in the past with these two, both class acts.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 17, 2004

Passing On

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

One member of the 50,000+ students of the UT-Austin community has passed from our union.

This morning I attended the funeral of one of my fellow class of 2003 graduates, Nikki B., at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fredericksburg. Thousands were there as the hurch was standing room only as it is during the holiday services. We had always been one of the lucky classes because we managed to make it through high school without anyone passing on in a car wreck or anything of the sorts. But last week while jogging on Main Street in town she was hit by a pulmonary embolism which stopped her heart for about a minute. She had gone into a coma with 50/50 chances of surviving, and even if so, with severe brain damage.

She was always a sweet girl, was in debate with me one year and a number of AP classes. It was true what was said about her by those who were closer than I. She had a great sense of humor and was always cheery. She saw the best in people and even when she disagreed with you, she did it with a smile.

She will be missed and will live on in those around her whom she inspired, including me. She is survived by her brother and parents, her father having been the Justice of the Peace who married my parents over 20 years ago.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 10:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gonzo Editorialism

By Jim Dallas

Please take a moment to follow my lead and participate in Chris Bower's "Astroturf" experiment.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 06:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fuck Pete Sessions

By Byron LaMasters

I'm about to head out here, but I've received several calls regarding Pete Sessions yard sign stealing today, and Kos has the proof.

Sessions is really a worthless scumbag, and idiot at that, so I'll be back with more later this evening when I get home from dinner and a meeting.

Update: Ok, no more posts tonight on this, but Josh Marshall has some good stuff on the topic, here and here.

By the way, Pete Sessions is obviouslly paranoid. Take a look at the last email he sent to his supporters:

August Mega Walks have Started!! – Team Sessions completed its first of three Mega Walks this past Saturday with tremendous success. With more than enough walkers to cover the four North Dallas precincts that were scheduled, we were able to send walkers into three other precincts. Folks – that is dedication from a volunteer corp. which is putting Martin Frost and his paid "volunteers" to shame.

Mr. Frost is so deficient in his efforts that he even sent his Campaign Manager, Jess Fassler, out this weekend to harass our walkers and lead a group of Frosty workers who were instructed to tear off the door hangers that our folks were putting on homes. No doubt, this is very annoying, but it shows what pathetic shape the Frost campaign is in. They cannot stage their own positive voter contact effort, so they are now left to trying to disrupt ours. As always, be on the lookout for this type of activity – if we can secure photos or film, witnesses, and a homeowner willing to press charges – we WILL go after Frost and his campaign workers to the full legal extent possible.

Total crap. Total bullshit. If anyone should have charges pressed against him, it's Pete Sessions...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:23 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Paging Ronnie Earle, we have a code blue in progress...

By Jim Dallas

The Pandagon Boys and the NY Times scooped us:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 - Becky Armendariz Klein is widely expected to lose her bid for Congress in Texas. But that has not stopped executives and lawyers from the nation's largest telephone and energy companies from pouring money into her campaign.

Indeed, some of her strongest supporters expect her to fail.

Running as a Republican in a heavily Democratic district in Texas against a five-term incumbent, Ms. Klein, 39, has received more in donations and fund-raising help from the telecommunications and power industries than any other rookie candidate in the nation.

Why is Ms. Klein such a draw? Because administration officials have said that in the event of a second Bush administration she would be considered by the president, whom she served as a senior policy adviser when he was governor of Texas, as a candidate to be the next head of the Federal Communications Commission. And even if that does not work out, she is expected to receive a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, should a vacancy occur...

For those interested in the details, Lloyd Doggett has almost $2 million cash on hand; while Klein has only a few hundred thousand. Amazingly, though, Klein has raised more money from out of state than Doggett has - $83,000 worth! More than half of that comes from donors in the Washington, DC area. And nearly 10% of Klein's contributions come from an industry that would be regulated by either the FCC or the FERC.

UPDATE: Geez, where was my head this morning? Kuff blogged this, like six hours ago. As does Greg "Darn you hippies to heck!" Wythe.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


By Andrew Dobbs

Hey, I just wanted to put this down so that I can never be accused of conflict of interest or impropriety or whatever.

The views that I express on this website in no way reflect the positions- official or unofficial or otherwise- of the candidates, committees or organizations for which I work nor the Democratic Party as a whole or anything other than my own personal, private viewpoints. If I say it, it is because that is the way I see it, not anyone I work for so please don't try and get a read on the philosophy or programs of anyone I'm working for by reading this blog.

Once again- what you hear me say is me, not anyone else.


Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 10:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Because Texas A&M Still Sucks...

By Byron LaMasters

(Or was it OU? I forgot. They both suck.)

And the winner for the most Republican major University in America is....

Texas A&M! According to the Princeton Review:

Students Most Nostalgic for Ronald Reagan

Based on students’ assessment of their personal political views The Best 357 Colleges

1-5 of 20 schools

1 Texas A&M University-College Station
2 Grove City College
3 Samford University
4 Hampden-Sydney College
5 Brigham Young University (UT)

Now why anyone would classify Texas A&M as one of the best 357 colleges in America, I don't know, but I digress...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:10 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

August 16, 2004

On the Trail for Juan Valdez

By Jim Dallas

The most important poll of our lifetime is currently underway, and I want to say a few words about the truly iconic nominee I am supporting.

Juan Valdez is a true man of the people. He's never afraid to talk to people in grocery stores, restaraunts, or subway stations.

Mr. Valdez has committed his life to ensuring that the American people have access to rich, flavorful Colombian coffee. He doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk (except when he's riding his donkey).

Cast your vote for Juan Valdez.

(Also, the Pillsbury Doughboy is a pervert, the Energizer Bunny is too robotic, and the Kool-Aid Man is a Red.)

Thank you.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 05:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

"Strong, Decisive Leadership"

By Jim Dallas

Of the three charter members of the Axis of Evil,

1. North Korea has almost certainly gained possession of nuclear weapons and the means to deploy them since Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech, in large part because the White House could not decide whether/how to act, and is now left with nothing.

2. Iran is trying very hard to get nuclear weapons, and may very soon have them. Again, indecisiveness and disengagement were major factors in this.

3. Iraq, which did not have significant stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, nor apparently was anywhere close to building The Bomb, is now on a rocky road towards self-governance as our boys try real hard not to get sucked into a civil war.

Matt Yglesias lays it out:

More typically, though, the president’s intellectual infirmity affects national-security policy by creating paralysis, as his famously divided foreign-policy team is unable to agree on a common approach and the president is incapable of choosing one side or the other.

As a result, one of Bush’s biggest foreign-policy disasters relates less to something he’s done than to what he hasn’t done: devise a coherent policy toward North Korea. The debacle began in March of 2001, with South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung scheduled to visit Washington. On the eve of the trip, Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters that the new administration would pick up where the Clinton administration had left off: supporting Kim’s “sunshine policy” toward the North and pushing for full implementation of the 1994 Agreed Framework under which North Korea abided by a stipulation not to build nuclear weapons in exchange for U.S. financial and energy assistance. The White House immediately contradicted Powell, giving us the first sign that something was amiss with the supposedly “grown-up” new national-security team and infuriating Kim. Administration hawks -- led by Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld -- didn’t replace the Powell-Kim-Clinton engagement policy with any real alternative; instead, they sought simply to talk tough and “isolate” North Korea, already the most isolated country on earth. Thus North Korea found itself featured in the 2002 State of the Union address as a charter member of the “axis of evil” (although this, the country later learned, was not a deliberate policy shift but simply a reflection of a desire to throw a non-Muslim country on to the list to allay fears that America was waging war on Islam). The hawks hoped that the regime would fall apart before it built nukes. Things didn’t work out that way.

North Korean President Kim Jong-Il concluded that because Bush clearly meant to invade Iraq, had broken off negotiations with his regime, and was now lumping the two together as “evil,” he might soon find himself targeted. The result -- a result that even a moderately engaged chief executive would have foreseen -- was a North Korean rush to acquire nuclear weapons that could deter U.S. invasion before it was too late. By October 2002, the State Department sent officials to Pyongyang to confront the regime with evidence that it had been acquiring centrifuges needed to make weapons-grade uranium. Instead of offering the expected denials, North Korean officials conceded that, yes, they had done just that. After some trans-Pacific name-calling, Pyongyang let the other shoe drop: Not only was it processing uranium (which could take years to be successful), it was also kicking out the weapons inspectors who, under the Agreed Framework, were safeguarding North Korean plutonium rods that could be turned into nuclear fuel within months.

The time had come for the president to do something about the situation. So he did exactly what we were assured during the 2000 campaign he would do: He asked his advisers. The problem was, they didn’t agree. Some were hawks and others more dovish, so Bush couldn’t make up his mind. As Fred Kaplan wrote in The Washington Monthly, Bush “neither threatened war not pursued diplomacy.” Eighteen months later, with U.S. forces pinned down in Iraq and North Korea allegedly possessing several nuclear weapons, military options had to be taken off the table, and even administration hawks agreed that they had to pursue talks. Unfortunately, when you refuse to negotiate until you have no sticks left, it’s hard to get a good deal, and the United States now may be unable to secure a non-nuclear North Korea. And if we do get what we want, we will surely need to give up far more than we would have had we just negotiated in the first place.

Worse, as the Prospect goes to press, history is repeating itself in Iran, pace Marx, as tragedy all over again. Tehran is cheating on its international commitments, and the United States needs to do something about it. Some in the administration want to pursue engagement; others want a push for regime change. As before, Bush can’t decide what to do, and as time goes on, our options will only get worse. No American has yet paid the price for the North Korean fiasco or the emerging one in Iran, but down the road our strategic position is deteriorating with remarkable speed while we have not yet -- and may never -- make up for the opportunity squandered at the beginning of the Iraq War.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


By Jim Dallas

Luckily, GIMP 2.0.3 has been released for Windoze (it crashes a little bit less).


"Dick, we're 106 electoral votes behind Kerry, we have a full tank of gas, a half pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses."

UPDATE: Responding to comments - BC04 bumbling might be funny if it were in the movies, instead of in real life. I guess that's what I'm trying to get at.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Another reason why I remain neutral in the Obama - Keyes race...

By Jim Dallas

Via Archpundit and Os-blog, Aexia makes the case:

Ladies and gentlemen of the supposed electorate. Barack Obama would certainly want you to believe he's the best choice to represent Illinois in the Senate. And he makes a good case. Hell, I'm almost ready to vote for him myself!

But ladies and gentlemen of the supposed electorate, I have one final thing I want you to consider: This is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, but Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now, think about that. That does not make sense! Why would a Wookiee--an eight foot tall Wookiee--want to live on Endor with a bunch of two foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense!

But more important, you have to ask yourself, what does this have to do with this election? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this election! It does not make sense!

Look at me, I'm a Republican from Maryland running for Senate in Illinois and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca. Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense. None of this makes sense!

And so you have to remember, when you're in that voter booth deliberating and conjugating the Emancipation Proclamation... does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed electorate, it does not make sense.

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must vote Keyes! I rest my case.

If only Keyes would say it himself, I think this would be an open-and-shut case.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:25 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


By Jim Dallas

Call me cruel, or simply hacktackular, but I like to shame blog trolls. I call it tough love.

My compassionate readers, please take a moment to laugh at troll "VRWC" in this pandagon comment thread.

Here's how "VRWC" performs the reverse-judo-flip-insert-foot-in-mouth:

1. Post random gobbledy-gook (knuckleheaded Republican talking points; alleged humor) in pandagon comment thread. Never mind that it is off-topic in the extreme.

2. Cry bloody murder when some "liberal" resorts to "ad hominem attacks", as if you actually were making an argument based on facts and logic, and thus we would actually care about rebutting you, but aren't.

(Jimbo's first rule of argumentation: people who aren't really trying to debate you are not entitled to your respect. Make fun of them early and often, or just ignore them if you are suffering from an excess of maturity.)

3. When people actually do try to discuss issues of substance, respond to them in a half-assed way and then throw in more shtuff that has nothing to do with what you are talking about.

4. When the heat really starts coming on, disappear. You have stirred the pot, now you can slurk back to your trollish cave.

Seriously, I am looking forward with much anticipation to a National Geographic channel special on trolls, especially their mating and feeding habits ("And now the female troll will IM the male troll --

Dubyasxylady83: OMG scary Kerry so totally sux donkeyballz!
TailgunnerJoe4Evr: Yeah totally ROFLMAO!"

-- and so on)

UPDATE: Oh darn, if I had just read the last post in this thread, I'd see someone has already summed this up:

The mentality that inspires clowns like VRWC to post off-topic, irrelevant, stereotype-driven blather is the same mentality that creates books like this for children. There's a certain satisfaction many people find in reveling in their own pig-headed ignorance. You can't argue with a moron who isn't even paying attention to what you're actually saying; it's third-grade playground logic. A stubbornly moronic stance can be very powerful because for any logical point thrown at you, all you have to do is shout "Liberals! Sensitive! Cambodia! French!" and a certain percentage of the peanut gallery will be won over. For too much of America, "nyah-nyah-nyah" is what passes for critical thinking. That's what we're up against.

That isn't to say that Republicans or conservatives are generally uncritical idiots, just the ones that spend all day trying to irritate users of left-of-center blogs with non-debate debates and agitprop.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 14, 2004

More Alan Keyes Wisdom...

By Byron LaMasters

End the direct election of U.S. Senators:

Alan Keyes said he would like to end the system under which the people elect U.S. senators and return to pre-1913 practice in which senators were chosen by state legislatures.

The Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, asked about past comments on the election process, said Friday the constitutional amendment that provided for popular election of senators upset the balance between the people and the states.

"The balance is utterly destroyed when the senators are directly elected because the state government as such no longer plays any role in the deliberations at the federal level," Keyes said at a taping of WBBM Newsradio's "At Issue" program.

He said it was one of the reasons "there has been a steady deleterious erosion of the sovereign role of the states."

Now, I know that Republicans don't want people to vote, but it's a rare day when they'll actually admit it. So, kudos to Alan Keyes. He has the courage to say what Republicans actually believe, but rarely admit.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:29 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

"He's adorable. We all love him"

By Byron LaMasters

That's me!:

The first person I spotted was 35-year-old Jessamyn West, who runs the wonderful librarian.net.

"My town's got 1,200 people in it. I have no frame of reference to deal with this amount of people," the dreadlocked Vermont librarian told me, nodding toward the crowded convention floor. She's been spending about six hours a day in the bloggers' area; it takes her a while to get going, since she has to pick up her credentials daily at an out-of-the-way hotel.

She pointed out a few notable blog-stars to me: Markos Zúniga, aka dailykos.com; OxBlog's Patrick Belton; and the exceptionally attractive Byron LaMasters from the Burnt Orange Report. ("He's adorable. We all love him," West said.) Aside from her, I spotted only one other female blogger in the section.

West said she's had a great week at the DNC, especially since, back home, "the only other person I know who knows about computers is my boyfriend."

Sure, it could be a little breezier on bloggers' boulevard. The location could be much easier to find. But it's a start. And the bloggers don't seem to mind so much.

"It's good to be here where all the nerds are," she said. Posted 8 p.m.

I really need to write this reporter a thank you note. You'd think I set this up, but I swear, I had no knowledge of this article...

It's so much fun doing google searches on my name. I'm like the only Byron LaMasters in the world, so if you do a "Byron LaMasters" search on Google.com, you'll find out plenty about me.

Anyway, reporters say good things about me. I am 'exceptionally attractive!" Go me!

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:57 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Why Orange? Orange Mike Responds!

By Byron LaMasters

A lot of people wondered why Orange (BOR's favorite color)? Orange Mike, a Dean delegate from Wisconsin (who we could almost always spot within a minute from the nosebleed seats AKA Blogger Blvd. in the Fleet Center) tells us why he wears orange. Via email to Texas 16th Senatorial district delegate Patti Fink:

"he's wayyyyyy into deer hunting, wears orange all the time"?

Actually, the irony is that I *don't* hunt, even though I live in Wisconsin (what the hey; I don't drink beer, even though I live on Milwaukee's Brewers Hill and belong to the Brewery Credit Union).

I just enjoy the color orange. I started doing my "full orange" at science fiction conventions almost thirty years ago; later expanded it to union conventions and the bargaining table (weirds out new management suits).

Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey
Dean delegate, 4th Wis. Congressional District

I took a picture of Orange Mike when he visited Blogger Blvd., here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 13, 2004

Things that are Wow

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Today was really quite a day.

First, I watched the Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics which I've never done before. I cannot imagine what it must be like to actually be there. I intend to watch coverage of it as I can and hope that all is safe and dignified.

Secondly, I just watched the evening news and saw the report on Austin's downtown tribute to Lance Armstrong. Est. 60,000-100,000 people came out which is stunning.

Third, John Kerry in Oregon today had a rally of between 50,000-60,000. This report with pictures further down blows me away. If I remember correctly, Gore didn't have those kinds of crowds until the last week in Florida where I think he had an Election night rally of 50,000. Folks, this election will truly be like no other. I predict national turnout between 55-60% and I a decisive win, none of this 50-50 jazz.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 11:20 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

I know I make Editing Errors, but...

By Byron LaMasters

The Dallas County Democratic Party could at least get Martin Frost's gender correct in their weekly email:

>CONGRESSWOMAN FROST TO OPEN >AN OAK CLIFF OFFICE ON SATURDAY >WITH A FIESTA! > >Come join Martin Frost tomorrow, Saturday, August 14, 2004 for the grand opening of the Frost Oak Cliff Office. >1:00pm – 3:00pm >512 W. Davis St. >Dallas, TX 75208 >Free food and refreshments will be provided. >RSVP to (214) 943-2005 >The Oak Cliff Headquarters is located on W. Davis St. in between North Adams Ave. and Cedar Hill Ave. near the Bishop Arts District.

So, yeah, join congressman Frost tomorrow as he opens his Oak Cliff office.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

DFW TV Stations Refuse to Air Bigoted Anti-Frost Ad

By Byron LaMasters

Good news from the Martin Frost campaign. The Coalition for the Future of the America Worker - an organization with racist ties has targeted Martin Frost with their brand of hate mongering attack ads. The Martin Frost campaign gives us the latest:

We have just learned that KTVT - CBS Channel 11 has joined KXAS - NBC Channel 5 in refusing to run the inaccurate and racially inflammatory attack spots by the anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, Coalition for the Future American Worker, aimed at Congressman Martin Frost. A recent Wall Street Journal piece wrote that the principal sponsor of this group, “received more than $1.5 million from the Pioneer Fund, a white-supremacist outfit devoted to racial purity through eugenics.” [Wall Street Journal March 15, 2004]

Your calls and e-mails are working! Now it’s time to redouble our efforts and focus our attention on WFAA – ABC Channel 8 and KDFW – FOX Channel 4. Even if you have called or e-mailed once please send another message TODAY and let these channels know that they should not take money from hate groups seeking to divide our community and spread lies and fear.

Comment line: 214.720.3103
Comment email: viewersvoice@kdfwfox4.com

Direct/Comment line: 214-748-9631
Comment email: news8@wfaa.com

After reviewing the scripts of the new ads we have found that not only are these
spots entirely inaccurate they are also just as irresponsible as the last ones. So
please contact WFAA and KDFW now!

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Go Haley!

By Byron LaMasters

It's always fun to be able to recognize friends for a job well done. Well, today is one of those opportunities. My successor as President of the University Democrats - Haley Greer is "Staffer of the Week" for Campaign Corps. Haley graduated from UT this Spring, and now she's working on a targeted state representative race in Oregon. Via email:

Now that the 40 Campaign Corps staffers are out and in the field and working hard, we will be recognizing the exceptional work of one staffer each week with the "Staffer of the Week" competition. Attached is the first winner, Haley Greer, of Alvin, TX (who, incidentally was recommended to the program by '03 Alumna Audra Tafoya).

Kudos to Haley!

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More on McGreevey

By Byron LaMasters

First, I'd like to state my agreement with Andrew's comments regarding Rick Perry below. Rick Perry is not gay (to my knowledge). And I stand by the posts that I made earlier in the Spring, because we were blogging on legitimate reports from people working in the legislature, people deeply connected in Austin politics and Republican and Democratic sources. They were all saying the same thing, and we felt an obligation, as an Austin-based Texas political blog to report on what we were hearing. I think that we handled the situation in a professional manner, but as far as I'm concerned, it's over. There was no evidence to suggest that the Perry rumors are true, yet there was plenty to suggest that the rumors were perpetuated by opponents of the governor within the Republican party. Perry blamed this blog and the Texas Democratic Party Chair, because we were easy targets - making this look like a Democratic attempt to smear the governor, when in fact the rumors came directly from the governors Republican political opponents. But regardless, I consider the issue to be over.

As for McGreevey - there's several aspects of the resignation speech to explore. Last night I focused on the gay aspect of the resignation. That post was my gut reaction after glossing over the aspects of the resignation. Obviously, the situation is more complicated. I think there are two issues here. First, the gay issue, and second, the issue over the misuse of public money, and power of appointments.

The most shameful aspect of this for me is that McGreevey's announcement yesterday could very easily be put into headlines like this:

"NJ governor is gay, resigns"

"Jersey Governor resigns, Is Gay"

Etc. Etc.

Which is exactly what you'll find under a search through Google News:

"NJ Governor out of closet, quits"
"New Jersey Governor Resigns over Gay Affair"
"US Governor steps down over gay affair"
"New Jersey Governor Quits over Same-Sex Affair"
"NJ governor had gay affair, says he'll quit"
"NJ governor resigns, citing affair with man"
"NJ Governor Quits Over Gay Affair"

This is a shame. Why? Because it sends a message to America, and to the world that being openly gay is inconsistent with public service. That's a terribly harmful message that has been sent to millions of Americans today. And that's what drove the thrust of my post last night.

Now, as for the real reason over the resignation, after researching the background here, it's hard to feel too much love for the guy. (I didn't look too much into the story last night - I was in Austin, at a friend's place writing the post, as I had just moved my stuff into my apartment - but did not yet have cable or Internet access. I'm back in Dallas now - working for another week before moving back to Austin for the semester).

Back to the real reason for this whole thing... Golan Cipel. I don't have much respect for this guy either, as he tried to extort and blackmail McGreevey in order to keep his mouth shut. But, the truth is that McGreevey paid him $110,000 / year for a job in which he was underqualified. That's hardly excusable, and it's hard to feel too much sympathy for McGreevey. The whole situation is shameful, and I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it all, but I think the best thing that I can do now is just wait for the facts to come out, and see what happens.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Perry Isn't Gay (I Don't Think)

By Andrew Dobbs

Alright, enough is enough. I know that we kind of got our name in the world of blogging by reporting (not creating, not even promoting, but simply reporting) on the the rumors that were swirling around the governor's sexuality earlier this year. At the time it seemed like a lot of really well-placed sources were saying the same things- Perry was sleeping with Geoff Connor, he was going to resign, Anita was going to leave him. As a result, we did what we do and we reported on them.

Now I'm not so sure. I don't know if Perry is gay or not- I suppose only Perry and anyone he has slept with would know that for sure (and I haven't slept with him, to my knowledge). But it appears that what happened was a very well coordinated whisper campaign orchestrated by someone aligned with Carole Strayhorn's office. The only thing more despicable, in my estimation, than a gay person hiding their sexuality and scoring political points off of discriminating against their own people would be to score political points off of people's bigotry by cowardly suggesting that your political opponents are gay. I don't know which is true but to be on the safe side, don't vote for either of them.

The rumor gained traction I believe because the governor is a fairly private man and that means that there isn't much conviction that he is certainly straight, he is attractive and very attentive of his physical appearance (which is often stereotyped as "gay") and for a long time was known to be something of a wild child- his carnal appetites were well-known. Throw all of this together and it creates fertile ground for a rumor. Get some well-connected capitol staffers talking and the small world that is the Austin political scene is running rampant with a rumor. Karl Rove did a similar thing to Ann Richards in 1994, suggesting she was a lesbian.

So now that I've said that, the jokes are still funny but they are inaccurate. I doubt that Perry is gay and I suspect the worst of his political opponents. So please, don't expect me to be the one to beat this dead horse any further.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 05:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Kerrry finds more people to fight back agains the latest Bush attack ads, specifially the Swift Boat Veterans Against Kerry group which isn't appearing to be so swift after all...

From the Kerry Blog.

Ten senior military officials released the following statement in response to the Vice President’s attacks on John Kerry on Thursday:

“We are deeply disappointed by the tone and tenor of President Bush and Vice President Cheney’s personal attacks on John Kerry, a decorated combat veteran who served his country with courage and honor. John Kerry is talking about his plan to address the most pressing issues facing our nation – jobs, the economy, health care, the war on terror, the war in Iraq. George Bush and Dick Cheney have chosen take their campaign to the gutter. We call on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to stop the irresponsible personal attacks and tell us where they want to take the country. Tell us how they plan to win the peace in Iraq. Tell us how they plan to get us back on track with the war on terror. Tell us where they plan to lead the country. The American people and our troops deserve better.”

Signed by:

Admiral William J. Crowe (United States Navy, Retired)
Admiral Stansfield Turner (United States Navy, Retired)
General Wesley K. Clark (United States Army, Retired)
General Merrill “Tony” A. McPeak (United States Air Force, Retired)
General Joseph Hoar (United States Marine Corps, Retired)
General Johnnie E. Wilson (United States Army, Retired)
Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (United States Navy, Retired)
Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy (United States Army, Retired)
Lieutenant General Donald Kerrick (United States Army, Retired)
Lieutenant General Edward D. Baca

In addition, this picture says it all.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 12, 2004


By Byron LaMasters

I don't really care what Andrew or anyone else says about Jim McGreevey's resignation announcement today. It's a shame, because if the affair was with a woman, McGreevey wouldn't be resigning. There's no doubt about it. He wouldn't be resigning (Ok, unless his name was Bob Livingston). That's all there is to it. I don't care if he was a bad governor (he did some good things and he did some stupid things, but that's not the point).

Some people here might be inclined to call me a hypocrite, because had this happened to a Republican governor, they'd say I'd probably be laughing my ass off right now. They're probably right. My belief about closeted gay politicians is that it's a personal decision to come out, and I respect that decision so long as they are consistent in supporting GLBT issues. Jim McGreevey did that, and passed domestic partnership legislation for GLBT couples in New Jersey. I have no respect for closeted gay politicians who consistently oppose gay legislation. They deserve to be outed, embarrassed and humiliated.

But today is a historic, yet sad day for the gay community in America (in addition to the voiding of the same-sex marriages in San Francisco). For the first time, America has an openly gay statewide elected official, but it's a shame that he failed to be honest with himself, and especially his family (until today) about his sexual orientation. There's a first for everything, and Gov. McGreevey through his courage in coming out to 300 Million people today has opened the doors for many others. Who knows? We might be looking at Sen. Barney Frank (D-MA) in a year...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:47 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

NJ Gov Resigns, Comes Out of the Closet

By Andrew Dobbs

I know I should probably wait for one of our two openly gay authors to write about this one but I'll just crib the AP report.

In a stunning declaration, Gov. James E. McGreevey announced his resignation Thursday and acknowledged that he had an extramarital affair with another man. "My truth is that I am a gay American," he said.

"Shamefully, I engaged in adult consensual affairs with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony," the married father of two said. "It was wrong, it was foolish, it was inexecusable."

The Democrat said his resignation would be effective Nov. 15.

McGreevey said he would step down because his secret — both his sexuality and his affair — leaves the governor's office vulnerable.

He's a dirtbag for misappropriating funds and cheating on his wife, but until November 15 America has its first openly gay governor.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:53 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

In a totally serendipitous sort of way, Alan Keyes is making sense!

By Jim Dallas

Some say he's just crazy, but I say Alan Keyes is pandering to the key drum corps demographic.

With his stunning rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," Keyes has surely locked up Cavaliers fans in Rosemont. And you know after winning four straight DCI titiles, you can't ever underestimate those people.

(If you don't understand what I'm talking about -- that's OK, although I think it's testimony to just how under-the-radar Keyes' nefarious coded appeals to band dorks are.)

In other Illinois Senate news, I keep confusing this guy with John Kerry...

(Hat tips to Cap'n Redbeard and Max).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 03:05 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Get Connected

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Every night at 2:30, the Internet connection on my dial-up here at home seems to go out. This is very weird to me.

Reasonable Explanation: The ISP automatically shuts off any active lines at that time as it figures, it wants to reduce the load.

Tin-Foil Hat Explanation: My parents really aren't scared of technology and have set up this up in order to track whether or not I'm up this late.

Bids anyone?

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:42 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Texas Tuesday's, Wednesday's, Thursday's...

By Byron LaMasters

This week the Texas Tuesdays site was down on Tuesday, so this week's posts were posted Wednesday, and here I am putting it up here on Thursday:

Meet Hubert Vo.

Q&A with Hubert Vo.

Donate to Hubert Vo.

Hubert Vo is probably the Democrats best pickup opportunities in Harris County, and probably one of the top five in the state. Vo is running against Talmadge Heflin - an incumbent Republican who won by a surprisingly narrow margin in 2002 (45%) against an underfunded and largely unknown candidate. Vo, on the other hand has a unique personal story from growing up in South Vietnam, immigrating with his family to the United States with the fall of Saigon, to now being a leader in his community.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bob Scarborough Report

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Sue Weninger, our official blogger at the National Convention and blogger at the incredible cool West Texas Voice Blog sends in this report on Bob Scarborough visiting Lubbock. He's running for one of the Texas Railroad Commissioner seats and his website is here.

I went to hear Bob Scarborough speak at the Lubbock County party HQ this morning. He’s the Democrat running for The Texas Railroad Commission. I didn’t know what to expect. Railroad commission—sounds like something created in 1891 by Gov. Hogg. Zounds. That’s exactly what it is. Back in those days, Bob explained, the commission lobbied for Texas citizens in the face of powerful back east railroad corporations that wanted to charge too much for railroad transportation. The commission was created to protect the public interest and the citizens of Texas. Now along with railroad crossings it regulates oil and gas. The only problem is that it’s fallen into the toothy jaws of the barracuda known as the oil and gas industry.

Bob wants to set the commission back on its original course as the peoples’ lobby, this time with the oil and gas industry. He seeks better public policy on the issues of severance tax exemptions, remediation of ecologically damaged land, prevention of ecological catastrophe from uncapped abandoned wells, and he also wants to support those small producers who pump 4-5 barrels a week in stripper operations. This man is authentic. When you hear him talk you just know that he’s got the people foremost in his thoughts.

I want you to visit his website and for the sake of goodness and the people of Texas, vote for him and give him some money. He and his wife of 49 years Glenella are traveling Texas in a “little white casita”. Buy them a tank of gas at the very least.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 11, 2004

Money Money Money

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I just donated $20 to the Texas Democratic Party in support of the 15K in 14 Days fundraising drive. It's the right thing to do.

And speak of the devil, Howard Dean is doing exactly what I suggested should be done to raise money in the state. (Not because I said something though, but it's nice to think that.) Word via the latest Democracy for Texas e-mail...


On Saturday, August 21, Howard Dean will be appearing at a fundraiser for the Harris County Democratic Party in Houston at the annual Johnson-Rayburn Dinner. Tickets begin at $125.00. www.hcdp.org.

On Sunday, August 22, Governor Dean will headline a brunch fundraiser for Richard Morrison, Dean Dozen candidate, and the man who’s going to be responsible for retiring Tom DeLay! Tickets to the brunch are $50.00. For more information, go to www.richardmorrisonfordistrict22.com.

Finally, on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., the Gov will be in Austin to appear at the largest DFA/21st Century Democrats training to occur anywhere in the country. This appearance will be outside, open to the public and FREE. (There will be places to wait inside out of the heat and plenty of shade.) We encourage you to join us at Huston-Tillotson College to welcome Dean back to Austin!

Update: From the other thread there is a very good comment by Vince L. County Chair of Van de Zandt County which really explaing the point I made about fundraising and rural counties. I've elevated some of the highlights in the extended entry...

Finally, it's great that Soechting is talking about the DNC not doing enough for us. Texas has been written off as everything but a cash cow for too long. They want our money but give no on the ground assistance.

However, Soechting is doing the SAME THING TO TEXAS COUNTIES. Not long ago, he sent out what some of my fellow county chairs have deemed an "extortion letter" telling us how we county chairs needed to raise $5K very quickly and send it to the state party in installments. Number one, most rural and less populous suburban counties (which are essentially the majority) don't have that kind of base to draw from. Some counties don't raise $5K for an entire election cycle. Second, we need to be spending that money to take back our courthouses before we send it to the state party.

Taking back Texas begins one precinct, one courthouse at a time and we've got to have the money for those races. Finally, we're being asked for all this money, but where's the support. I have difficulty getting emails and sometimes phone calls returned from the state party for the most basic of information. I've twice invited the Chairman to VZC and been turned down by his staff because of scheduling conflicts.

The first time, back in May, I was told a visit to our county wouldn't happen because there were more "pivotal" places. Is that not being written off in the same manner in which the DNC has written off Texas? The state party wants me to send them a $5,000 check representing the hard work of hundreds of Van Zandt County citizens yet we receive relatively little support in return. A voter database would be great, but it's a little late for the current year. We've been working on ours for months. We needed this in March.

Just for kicks, multiply $5,000 by the number of counties in Texas. Heck of a lot of money, isn't it? Where will it be spent? Not, I dare say, on races actually in our county like CD 5 (which even many Democrats have written off), but rather on battleground races to take back the state house. I understand this, but if we're going to give someone $5,000, don't spend it in San Antoion or Houston, spend it at least somewhere near where all those people gave it. We have needs, too.

There are things that have been done--like the county chairs helpline--that are beneficial to Texas counties. I'm not saying the TDP doesn't do anything for Texas counties. But, from my experience, those of us in rural East Texas are out busting our behinds while the TDP focuses on San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and El Paso. Our voter registration cards get stamped "DEMOCRAT" the same as the ones in those areas.

Sure, there aren't anywhere near the people in VZC as there are in any one of those areas. HOWEVER, pack all the East Texas counties like Anderson, Wood, Van Zandt, Rains, Kaufman, etc., together and you have a huge voting block where a difference can be made in local voting and statewide races.

Every time I hear the state party asking for more money, I feel sad. I want to go out and raise and help, but, hey, I've got three candidates here I've got to get re-elected. They need that $5,000. I dare say that if the TDP leadership had a full grasp on the situation on the ground in some of our counties, we'd have never received that letter.

An elderly lady I know likened this year's local election to a war during a conversation yesterday. The more I think about it, she's right. We're waging a war against the far Right right here in Van Zandt County--a war against their money, their huge headquarters across the street from our Sheriff's Department with paid staff, a sophisticated computer system and their inferior candidates with more money to get their messages of false hopes and half-truths to the people. I'd give my eye teeth for one paid staff member, one computer, or a bigger headquarters, and dance in the streets if someone sent us or our candidates a check for even one quarter of what they have in the bank right now.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 11:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

$15 K in 14 Days Continues

By Andrew Dobbs

Amidst all the stories about Chairman Soechting sticking it to the DNC for ignoring Texas, realize that we are knee deep in an important online fundraising push right now. We are trying to raise $15,000 to provide access to our brand new Demzilla voter file for all of our candidates and organizers. This is a great new tool for all Texans and it isn't free. We'd love ya'lls help on this one.

So go ahead and check out the appeal and try and give a little bit to our effort. We'd really appreciate the help and it'll help make Texas blue again!

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 11:39 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Texas Money Matters

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

As has been reported on BOR, Off the Kuff, and Redpeg, Texas Democratic Party Chair Charles Soechting is basically one step away from fully urging Texas Democrats to just give to the state party instead of the national organizations which don't give much back.

The following main points have already been made...

+ Kerry isn't winning Texas, granted.
+ Texas gets no respect.
+ If money going out of state stayed in, what an amazing grassroots party we could build and actually elect people on lower levels as part of our longer term comeback.

I have some of my own thoughts and commentary about the state's finances.

1) For one, I don't see why the State has to buy our piece of the Demzilla pie (the DNC's national voter database). I would think this is something the partly would just provide. That is unless this is just being used as a reason to fundraise which is quite possible. (Though having an updated graphic once in a while could help.) (Donate here)

2) Texas money, if kept in Texas could do a lot of good. But hearing that Obama raised $200,000 at Gary Mauro's backyard party in Austin while the Travis County Coordinated Campaign has to scratch for it's cash bit by bit, party paid by the candidates which it helps elect is ridiculous. Why should we have to read stuff like the following...

The event was packed like a sold out KISS concert and Obama got the reception of a rock star. ... After his speech I hung around for a bit and talked to various local candidates who you need to support...

Obama is going to blow Keyes back to Maryland where he came from, no problem, but there are half a dozen good, close races in Travis County that $200,000 would have made a HUGE difference in. Use that power for the greater good. Like an Edwards visit to raise money for the State since Kerry can't take it in. Like the Travis County people did during the big Convention speeches, house parties that directed money to the coordinated campaign locally instead of up to national where it would make little difference in the $5.6 million raised that night.

3) The State Party needs to raise money. From what I was last told, there is not much money in the accounts which was part of the reason for the not so popular fundraising plea of last month from the Chairman for each county, regardless of population or Democratic turnout to cough up $5,000 which would bring in about $1.25 million. But of course, this is a very illogical idea. Many of the small rural counties like the ones from the Hill Country revolted and said "No". We can't raise that kind of money to begin with and if we could, you'd be damned sure that we'd use it for local operations first because guess what! We send stuff to the state and it traditionally doesn't come back! (Sound familiar?) A suggestion, do what the State Dean operation did last year which was, set goals by county based upon the number of Democratic voters that turned out in the last election/primary. ( 25 cents a vote or something) Then small counties don't get stressed and the urban ones pay their fair share.

4) Once the state gets its voter file, and the county's and precincts get theirs, hopefully in some online format, once last thing could be great if the money is there. Country Party websites. Or at least the space for them off the state or something. (http://kerr.txdemorats.org ?)Maybe if we had an integrated system top to bottom, it would benefit both the local and state parties (making exceptions for the urban counties that have their website done well.) The fact that some counties websites are on geocities and haven’t been updated since 2000 is sad. I know most of the local parties don't have a lot of tech savvy youth like in Austin. But this is where we could figure out a way to export knowledge and experience within our state.

Maybe it's just me ranting. Maybe it's the seeds of some good ideas. But at least it's out there to think about. Add your thoughts.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:29 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 10, 2004

DMN Investigative Research on Kerry's Service

By Byron LaMasters

Even though they had already run a fact check yesterday on the Kerry-smearing Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad, the Dallas Morning News ran a large front-page "investigative research" story today. Does it tell us anything that we didn't already know? Not at all. The story is simple. The men that John Kerry commanded on his swift boats - the people that served under John Kerry day and night, say one thing about John Kerry's service. They consider him a hero and stand by him today. The people that didn't serve with him, who had limited contact with, and who are only speaking out after thirty years, and are being funded by right-wing hack Bob Perry say another.

I know who I trust. I'd be surprised if the Swift Vets ad doesn't backfire. It's vicious and hateful in tone, and lacks evidence and creditability to back up the claims it makes. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:09 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

It's a Squeaker in Illinois...

By Byron LaMasters

To see if Barack Obama will defeat Alan Keyes by more than Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski did.....

1988: Sarbanes 62%, Keyes 38%.

1992: Mikulski 71%, Keyes 29%.

2004: Survey USA poll (PDF) - Obama 67%, Keyes 28%.

Personally, I'd bet on Obama between 62% and 71%, but then again you never know when Keyes compares himself to Lincoln, and Obama to slaveholders. The Illinois GOP could have at least tried to win this race, but this is more fun...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ok Kids, Here's a Question...

By Byron LaMasters

Which one of these four governors looks left out?

A. Guv Perry (R-TX)

B. Ahnold (R-CA)

C. Guv Napolitano (D-AZ)

D. Guv Richardson (D-NM)

Photo via the AP.

If you picked "A", you win! Ahnold is smart. He knows the good folks in California will appreciate it that he shares a laugh with two popular Democratic governors while giving the unpopular Republican the cold shoulder (Literally!).

Anyone that snubs Guv Goodhair earns points in my book. I just keep liking Ahnold even more...

Update: Or just suggest your own caption....

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:46 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Give to the Texas Dems!

By Byron LaMasters

It's always a good thing to have unity in an election year, but occasionally letting off a little steam isn't a bad thing. That's what Charles Soechting (TDP Chair) did today. The Houston Chronicle reports:

State Democratic Chairman Charles Soechting said Monday that he is disgusted that his national party has written Texas off as Republican and is urging financial donors from here to cut off the Democratic National Committee.

"Is a line drawn in the sand between myself and the DNC? Yes it is," Soechting said. "If you want good government in Texas, you start (by giving) at home."

Soechting said national party officials have taken the attitude that Texas is President Bush's home state and cannot be won.

"That is a loser, defeatist mentality," Soechting said. "I'm not willing to concede that Texas is not winnable. I'm just hearing too many good things around the state."

Soechting said he decided to start urging Texas donors to keep their money in the state after the DNC offered $5,000 to the Texas party to send staff to battleground states that could be won by the Kerry presidential campaign.

"I'm not sending a single person to another state when we have important races here. They want my best and brightest," Soechting said. "I've got people from the courthouse to the White House to elect."

I'll concede the DNC one point. John Kerry will not win Texas. George W. Bush will win the state of Texas on November 2nd, and Texas will cast our 34 electoral votes for George W. Bush. Having said that, Soechting makes a critical point. For years, Texas donors have sent millions of dollars to the DNC and other national committees (DCCC, DSCC), while declaring the situation in Texas as hopeless. Well - it's only hopeless if you say it is. The article goes on to state that Texans gave $15.4 Million to the DNC in 2002! $15-fucking-Million dollars! And for what?

Think about it for a minute. Was that $15.4 Million best spent with the DNC? Sure, they have a nice new office with better technology, and overall I give Terry McAuliffe a lot of credit for bringing the DNC to relative parity to the RNC - especially after McCain-Feingold. But do the math here. Where did that $15 Million get us nationally in 2002? We lost the Senate. We failed to retake the House. Patriots like Max Cleland and Walter Mondale went down to heartbreaking defeat.

What if that $15+ Million was spent on the thirty most competitive state legislative races in Texas? That's $500,000+ extra money in every race. What would that have meant? Electing another handful of Democratic state representatives might have kept Pete Laney the Speaker of the Texas House with a bipartisan coalition. Electing one more state senator (David Cain) would have meant that even when Sen. Quitmire (D-Houston) came back home, enabling the redistricting scheme to proceed last summer, there still would have been enough senators to deny a quorum. Either of these events would have prevented redistricting. And instead of talking about how we'd be lucky if three of the Texas Five win, we'd be talking about knocking off Henry Bonilla.

Texans have every reason to send our money to the state party over the DNC. Will the DNC ever put more money into Texas than they take? No. But if they see funds drying up, they'll give us more than a passing glance, and not insult us by bribing the state party for staff to send to swing states.

So Donate to the Texas Democratic Party, because good government starts at home.

And then, only afterwards, send your leftover change to the DNC.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 09, 2004

Last Convention Photos

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

The last of the DNC Convention pictures are finally uploaded! Thursday, the day of the big Kerry speech starts here.

At the very end of the set you can find three panoramic shots I put together. Boston City Square, the Sept. 11 Convention memorial, and downtown Pittsfield where Democracy Fest was held.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 05:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bad Idea

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Some advice.

Never play Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells soundtrack on shuffle or random. Since the CD is practically one huge song, playing it out of order will cause severe mental confusion.

That is all.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Yes, really, this is a Democrat

By Byron LaMasters

Check out the latest Max Sandlin ad. Really, he's a Democrat, even if you're not used to hearing a Democrat brag about his NRA endorsement and support of school prayer. But hey, it's east Texas and Sandlin is a solid vote for the Democratic leadership when it coulds. Also check out the Sandlin blog - sorta, if you haven't already. Even though it's not really a blog in the sense that most of us are used to, it's use of pictures and videos is a solid improvement for a candidate who didn't have a campaign website until a few months ago.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Stupid Conservative Press Releases

By Byron LaMasters

Take a look at the Press Release that the American Family Association issued last week:

A Texas-sized argument is shaping up over the state's purchase of health class text-books. The issue is whether the books will follow Texas law and focus only on abstinence — or whether the abortion industry, lead by Planned Parenthood, will get its pro-condom bias into the pages.

The controversy centers around the "abstinence-plus" message some groups are pushing to have presented in the books. That's code for education that offers condom use as the best protection against sexually transmitted diseases.


Textbooks can last a dozen years, meaning even kids who are 3 years old today may be affected by what the board decides in November. That long shelf life also motivates the abortion industry.

"That is why they're fighting so hard to get this information into the health textbooks," said Terri Leo, a member of the Texas Board of Education. "(They hope) every last child will be reading what they want them to read."

Experts say the place to teach so-called comprehensive sex education — another code phrase for condom advocacy — is a class where opting out is allowed. But that's not a possibility in most health classes.

Ok. This is stupid on several levels, but you'd at least expect a national organization to get their grammar correct in a press release. But, no, the abortion industry is led by Planned Parenthood, not lead by it.

But beyond the grammatical errors, the press release is silly in its logic. It’s one thing to promote abstinence-based “sex education”, and it’s another to oppose abortion. But linking the two seems quite contradictory. Promoting condom use among sexually active people would likely serve to reduce pregnancies, and thus abortions. That’s exactly what Planned Parenthood does, yet AFA attacks them as part of the “abortion industry”, when in fact AFA does far more than Planned Parenthood to promote unwanted pregnancies by encouraging school districts teach “sex education” that avoids any talk of “sex”, and thus by definition is not “sex education” (which is why I will always refer to abstinence based “sex education” in parenthesis).

It just bothers me that groups like AFA continue to perpetuate their lies and flawed logic when in fact young people who take an abstinence pledge are just as likely to get an STD than young people who don't. Sure, kids who take an abstinence based "sex-ed" class may be somewhat less likely to have sex, but those that do are much less likely to have safe sex. But the religious conservatives let their own personal moral values get in the way of critical public health education, which is a shame.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:38 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 07, 2004


By Jim Dallas

Once again, Professor DeLong is well aware of the fact you haven't been studying (slacker):

What impresses me about this is how much Bush's answer sounds exactly like the answers you read on the short-essay exams of students who are so unprepared that the question itself makes no sense to them. Classic strategy: scratch around with a few jargony tautologies, and then change the subject to something unrelated but on which the student feels solid. End with something the professor has obviously been pushing.

What's sad is that I've employed this strategy myself on several occasions -- with mixed results.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Running Government Like a Business Insane Asylum

By Jim Dallas

The Houston Chronicle:

In 1960, there were 17 different executive titles in federal departments, and 451 people held those titles. The government resembled a pyramid, with most employees at the bottom, working on the front lines.

Today, the number of titles has swelled to 64 and the number of titleholders to 2,592, and the government looks more like a bloated pentagon, with a bulging middle and top and a shrinking bottom.

Light says this explains a lot — like why it's so hard to get someone to answer the telephone at federal agencies, or why there aren't enough FBI agents on the street or enough Border Patrol agents along the Rio Grande.

And, he says, it explains why people at the top of the heap often have no idea what's going on at the bottom. There are simply too many people in between, disrupting the flow of information up and down the line and distorting and corrupting it along the way.

"It's like that game we used to play as children, called Gossip or Telephone," he said. "You whisper a message to a child, the child whispers to the kid sitting next to him, and it is passed around the room. At the end of the game, you find out the message coming out is absolutely and completely different than the one you put in."

So is it any wonder that clues about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were not put together in time to prevent them? Is it surprising that top Pentagon officials were unaware of the photos showing abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, or that FBI officials didn't know about missing firearms and Los Alamos officials didn't know about missing computer disks?

And how was NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe to know that lower-level engineers were worried about damage to space shuttle Columbia's wing if no one deemed the information important enough to pass to the top people before the shuttle broke apart over Texas?

"The private sector experience has been that less is more in terms of layers," Light said. "The government philosophy is that more layers and more leaders equals more leadership and more accountability, and it's just not true."

Posted by Jim Dallas at 09:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Job Growth...Cough, Cough

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

To put it visually for you.


That leaves how many more that Bush now has to create before November 2 in order to not be the first President since Hoover to have have a net loss of jobs after four years? I'm not smirking (and neither are those out of work, who can't find work as hard as they try, or are not working where they want because their job skills aren't matched to the economy). I'm disappointed.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:43 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Strama Update

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Over the summer I was part of the Mark Strama Campaign Academy with about 40 other interns. Like Kelly White, Mark is trying to win a Republican State House seat from the Republicans in Travis County. I got an update from the campaign, parts of which I'll pass on. If someone from the White campaign has some good stuff, e-mail me, my contact info is on the side-bar.

Our summer Campaign Academy attracted over 40 high school and college students, who spent their summer block walking, phone banking, and registering hundreds of new voters. Guest speakers at the Academy included Ann Richards and John Sharp, as well as some of Texas’ top political consultants, policy advocates, and university professors. KUT radio recently profiled the Campaign Academy; you can hear the report here.

The Academy received extensive news coverage in the Pflugerville Plag when we donated blood in July. See our news release here.

· Thanks to the generosity of my friends and supporters who want to restore balance and integrity to the Texas Legislature, we have raised over $250,000 to date. Based on the June 30 reports, we enjoy nearly a 2-to-1 cash on hand advantage over my opponent, whose funds overwhelmingly came from PAC’s and special interest lobbyists. More details on our fundraising success are available here.

KVUE profiled the fundraising dynamics of this race in a recent story
available online here:

· Our weekend block walking has begun in earnest. We have already knocked on nearly 4,000 doors this summer, and we’re just getting started.

· Capitol Inside newsletter ranks my opponent as the second-most vulnerable Republican incumbent in the Texas Legislature, and says “Strama is arguably the strongest challenger in the Democrats’ arsenal…”

His website is www.markstrama.com

To Donate, go here and add .01 to let them know it's coming from the blogs.
(Total online fundraising to date is $29,620.61)

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shy Republicans

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Thanks to the Patriot Act, enemy combatants being held around the world, and other Republican measures, we have learned how little Republicans really care about civil liberties and privacy rights. They aren't particularly worried about what all the FBI/CIA/ETC. can look into about you as far as information goes.

So I find it particularly ironic that the Florida Delegation to the Republican National Convention does not want to give out their names due to privacy concerns as reported here.

The Republican Party of Florida, citing security and privacy concerns, has refused to release a full list of the 112 delegates who will attend the party's convention in New York. The names of delegates, who formally endorse their party's candidate for the presidency, have historically been made public.

Democrats released a full list of their more than 4,300 delegates from around the nation, complete with many of their e-mail addresses and home counties, weeks before their party's convention in Boston. Other state GOPs also have released delegate lists.

But Florida Republican officials said they heard from several delegates who were concerned about their privacy or security.

"Our delegates' request for privacy and their well-being and safety are the top priority for the Republican Party of Florida," said spokesman Joseph Agostini.

Hahaha. I love it. Maybe they should ask Dick Cheney for some help keeping things secret, with all his experience from his energy task force dealings.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

State of the House

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Two years ago, Congressional elections went very badly for Democrats as we lost seats thanks to a lack of message, spine, and money. Bush was King (in more than one way) and he led his party to victory. No one ever thought that in 2004 we would be where we are today. Kerry even or ahead in the polls, the Democratic Party flush with funds, and a base that is energized.

What may be even more stunning are stories like this where the topic is how Democratic leaders are saying how it's possible, possible to win back the House or come damn close to it. Who would have thunk it, eh?

How does the 1994 math look ten years later? Democrats see 33 seats across the country as competitive -- far less than the 68 in play in 1994, but then the Dems only need a net gain of 11 to win back the House. That means winning one out of every three competitive races -- easier, perhaps, than the one out of every 1.8 Gingrich's Republicans had to win in 1994.

Money is a second indicator encouraging Hoyer's optimism. Republicans have always raised truckloads more cash than Democrats in past elections. But for April, May and June of this year, House Democrats surged and by June 30, the Democratic campaign organization for the House had $18.5 million on hand compared with $20.2 million in GOP coffers -- a far narrower Republican cash-on-hand advantage of than in the past.

Also, the polls are looking better for Democrats. John Kerry has managed to survive the spring and summer barrage of GOP attack ads while President Bush's numbers have been sinking. But the polls to which congressional leaders in Washington pay more attention are the "generic" ones, where voters are asked whether they'll vote for a Republican or a Democrat in congressional races.

By early August 1994, Republicans had overtaken the Democrats in the generic polls and were leading by about two percentage points. In June and July of 2004, Democrats have had anywhere from a 6- to a 15-point advantage, depending on the poll.

Isn't it nice?

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 06, 2004

Hart in Tennessee... Some Interesting Thoughts

By Andrew Dobbs

This story is getting quite a bit of traction in the online world. Turns out that the only Republican to file for the congressional primary in Tennessee's CD-8 is a White Supremacist booster of the discredited "science" of eugenics named James Hart. Good thing this is a solid Dem seat with 15 year incumbent James Tanner.

The local GOP declined to endorse Hart originally and supported a write in candidate who got about 20% of the vote.

Now here's the rub. This despicable guy is getting a lot of attention- I just saw a thing about him on CNN and we'll look at the papers over the next few days also. Most reasonable people and all members of the "unfavored races" as he calls them will be disgusted by such blatant racism and his psychotic policy proposals such as just printing more money to pay off our national debt (seriously). Having this guy's name on the ballot right under George Bush's can't help Bush and having him in the same party ties him to the president in a negative way. This guy has the potential to hurt Bush.

But there is a way Bush could get out of this bind- support Hart's Democratic opponent John Tanner. Tanner, according to the great new vote rating system from Progressive Punch is the 9th most conservative Democrat in the House. The American Conservative Union gives him a 43% lifetime rating and the Americans for Democratic Action give him a 46% rating. He's a conservative/moderate Dem and Bush could easily get away with supporting him, especially since the state and local GOP wants nothing to do with Hart. This would have the added benefit of making Bush look reasonable to many swing voters and Democrats a little uneasy with Kerry- it will be a big news story.

Bush, while he has traded in racism and used it to his advantage in the past (Bob Jones U., McCain's "Black baby," Haley Barbour, etc.) is not a racist as far as I can tell. He gains nothing from staying silent on this candidate and there is a perfectly viable option for him- support Tanner. Of course, Bush is far more interested in partisan oneupmanship than he is in doing the right thing so something tells me he won't say anything (or do like Perry did in regards to wingnut Steven Wayne Smith's 2002 candidacy for Texas Supreme Court- "I support all of the Republican ticket but I am pulling for some parts of it more than others") and as a result we should knock him in the jaw with this one. Barbour and Hart- two White supremacist bookends to sum up Bush's cynical views on race.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Meeting Obama

By Andrew Dobbs

I don't know if you knew about this, but Barack Obama was in Austin last night for a fundraiser at former Land Commissioner Garry Mauro's Tarrytown home. Mauro planned the event long before last week's keynote address and was planning for maybe 50 people to join him with the senator. Last week's speech raised the stakes a bit so that he ended up with about 600 people crammed into Mauro's back yard in the sweltering August heat.

I heard about the event earlier this week and saw the event's organizer, political consultant (and great guy) Christian Archer in our office yesterday. I asked him if I could go if I promised to help out a little bit and he agreed. After helping with the throng at the registration table and running a rather frustrating errand (driving from Tarrytown to 5th and Lamar at 6:15 on a weekday- Austin residents understand the traffic situation) I got to mill around and drink a coulple of beers.

Mauro began by introducing all of the electeds and other important folks and then turned it over to Geronimo Rodriguez, a local political consultant and big time Edwards booster, who introduced Sen. Obama. Obama told some great jokes, including one about how much he loved Texas Democrats because progressives here aren't just doing it because its popular or it helps your career- you do it because you really believe it. He excited and amused the audience before stepping down to say hi to some people.

I managed to fight my way through the crush (being 6'5" and 300 pounds has its benefits) and got close enough to shake his hand and tell him that I supported him from the beginning- which is true, Byron introduced me to him months ago. I then got to have a picture taken with him (and a small group of people, but I was right next to him so I should be able to crop just the two of us out). It was exciting, it was marvelous and he is just as impressive and exciting in person as you would imagine.

I hope that Obama makes it as far as we all dream he could go- he can be the catalyst to a new progressive movement in this country. Not some movement based on outdated and ineffective liberal sacred cows but one that affirms all of our ideals. Obama is the key to all of our hopes and I am so excited to have him on our side. I will always remember last night and someday I will tell my kids all about the time I shook hands with the man they read about in their history books.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 02:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


By Jim Dallas

I know that the other BOR guys are all on top of this, but I just want to say that I am excited about Alan Keyes facing Barack Obama in the Illinois Senate Race.

Now, normally, I would go and fully endorse Obama, who is an eloquent progressive, a shining star in the Democratic Party, and a likely presidential candidate someday.

But first of all, I think there needs to be a mercy rule in politics, just like in tee-ball. And every reasonable person is already backing Obama.

Also, in regards to (sortof) Ambassador Keyes:

In 2000, Michael Moore's The Awful Truth television show took a portable mosh pit across the country and challenged presidential candidates to dive in. The premise was that the show would endorse any Presidential hopeful crazy enough to do it. At one debate the mosh pit was called "the defining moment of the 2000 election."

At a town hall event being staged by Ronald Reagan's former ambassador to the United Nations Social and Economic Council, Alan Keyes, aides went outside to see what all the commotion was about. When informed that Keyes could get the endorsement of "The Awful Truth with Michael Moore," Keyes' national field director dove into the pit, hoping that would suffice for the endorsement. He then brought out "Uncle Sam," a Keyes supporter who also jumped in.

Alan Keyes, after being convinced for several minutes by his daughter to dive in also, did exactly that. He dove backwards into the screaming crowd of youths to the sound of Rage Against The Machine and surfed the crowd. After a couple of body slams with a spiked-hair youth from Ames high school, he left the pit with the official endorsement of the show.

Michael Moore said of the incident: "We knew Alan Keyes was insane. We just didn't know how insane until that moment."

So, frankly, Mr. Obama, you're a swell guy, but you don't mosh, and my key endorsement isn't actually gonna do anything but run up the score.

No endorsement from me!

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Eminent-ly Important

By Jim Dallas

And now for something totally different, Prof. Eugene Volokh has a few words about the most important property rights case you will never hear about.

Poletown’s “economic benefit” rationale would validate practically any exercise of the power of eminent domain on behalf of a private entity. After all, if one’s ownership of private property is forever subject to the government’s determination that another private party would put one’s land to better use, then the ownership of real property is perpetually threatened by the expansion plans of any large discount retailer, “megastore,” or the like. Indeed, it is for precisely this reason that this Court has approved the transfer of condemned property to private entities only when certain other conditions—those identified in our pre-1963 eminent domain jurisprudence in Justice RYAN’s Poletown dissent—are present.

While I hope that this will encourage other state courts (and federal courts) to turn back the tide of governments using eminent domain to favor developers (which are forcing out homeowners so cities can build malls and such), my inner commie informs me that this could also endanger less evil uses of eminent domain, such as the Hawaii Land Reform Act and takings stemming from environmental concerns. Indeed, the organized property rights movement scares me (for about the same reason that I think religion is peachy keen but some organized religionists scare me).

On the other hand, if courts were to base there arguments on the three-pronged test in the Poletown dissent, which this case does, then it would probably benefit everybody.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:44 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Alan Keyes for Senate!

By Byron LaMasters

Tell Alan to Run!!!

But seriously, seeing the Illinois Republican Party implode is just completely priceless. Now, if only the Texas GOP would follow their leadership...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 05, 2004

Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Republican

By Byron LaMasters

I was just chatting with some friends on AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), when I saw a friend's away message linked to this site entitled "Still undecided in the election? Just So You Know". (Although to be honest, some of the claims made on the website are arguable, since the documentation is not cited for the claims made).

It's a good link to fill you in on George W. Bush's record as president, since he's spent nearly $100 Million attacking John Kerry rather than defending his pathetic first term accomplishments. Anyway, it heartened me to see the link as this friend was a Republican when I first met him six years ago. Not anymore.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Scandal After Scandal...

By Andrew Dobbs

I am a History major at UT and I tend to focus on Texas and Southern Political History. I wouldn't call myself an expert on the history of Texas politics, but I would say I have a pretty good understanding a nice perspective in these sorts of things. Having explained that, I have to dig really really far back to find as much abject and unfettered corruption in such a diverse number of programs as now exists under Perry-Craddick-DeLay.

Today, two new scandals have begun to emerge or rather have developed further. The first scandal has to do with the ongoing controversy surrounding Tom Craddick's selection as speaker:

Friends and family of House Speaker Tom Craddick have raised $108,900 in donations from corporations to aid a political committee designed to help the speaker. (...)

The committee, Stars Over Texas PAC, has raised $33,250 from individual donors but has garnered three times that amount from corporations ­ including a $100,000 check from AT&T, state filings show. (...)

"With the unprecedented level of scrutiny from Democratic prosecutors, Democratic organizations and the press, the Stars Over Texas PAC will adhere to the highest standards of legal and ethical activities," said GOP consultant Ray Sullivan. (...)

Tracy King, a government relations specialist with AT&T, said the reasoning behind the donation was a way to be helpful to "the agenda makers and dialogue makers."

"In Texas, you look for the opportunities to support organizations and individuals that are helpful to you, or supportive of you, or could be supportive of you," she said.

Ms. King said AT&T is working in the home state of SBC, and they have found, "It's very difficult for any competitor of SBC to really get a seat at the table, and we really want a seat at the table. (...)

The Stars Over Texas PAC was formed in December with the goal of donating to Republican legislative candidates who will support Mr. Craddick's leadership in the House. For the last nine months, Dallas businessman Bill Ceverha has served as treasurer.

Mr. Ceverha, a longtime booster and adviser to Mr. Craddick, also was the treasurer for TRMPAC, the PAC that has been the subject of the Travis County grand jury investigation for how it spent $600,000 in corporate contributions. (...)

Mr. Sullivan said Stars Over Texas was started by the speaker's daughter, Christi Craddick, a former lobbyist. Ms. Craddick is paid $83,000 annually from her father's political campaign account to work on his behalf.

Craddick apparantly never heard the line "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." This guy is already in the hotseat for his TRMPAC bullshit in 2002 and now he's back to playing his old games again. Maybe he's addicted to corporate cash. Maybe he, DeLay, Perry, Ceverha and all the others need to form the world's first CCAA chapter- Corporate Cash Addicts Anonymous. They need to admit that they are powerless over corporate cash and their lives have become unmanageable...

The second scandal deals with the spreading rot in the health and human services here in Texas:

A deputy human services commissioner awarded a $1.2 million consulting contract to a company whose lobbyist employed the commissioner's former business partner as a consultant.

Gregg Phillips oversaw the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's award of a public information contract last year to Accenture to develop a strategy to inform the public and state employees about a state social services overhaul.

Accenture's lobbyist in seeking the contract was Strategic Partnerships Inc. of Austin.

Shortly after Phillips became the No. 2 director of the state social services agency in March 2003, Strategic Partnerships hired Phillips' former business partner, Paige Harkins, as a "senior strategy consultant" to advise companies how to lobby Phillips for contracts.

Strategic Partnerships' founding partner Mary Scott Nabers said Harkins never directly lobbied Phillips and never worked on the Accenture account. Nabers said she also was unaware that Phillips' wife, Helen, continued to work with Harkins in an unrelated business venture. (...)

Nabers said she knew Harkins and Phillips had been partners in a Georgia-based company that Phillips had founded, Enterject Inc. But Nabers said Harkins had told her that she and Phillips had severed all business ties.

The Georgia Secretary of State lists Phillips' wife, Helen, as the chief financial officer for Enterject. Phillips said his wife is just a part-time bookkeeper for the company.

Phillips last week announced plans to resign from the social services agency effective Sept. 3 for personal reasons. (...)

Suzy Woodford, executive director of Common Cause of Texas, described Harkins employment by Nabers as a "sweetheart deal" because of Harkins' relationship with Phillips and his wife.

The Chronicle reported earlier this week that Enterject earlier this year had won a $670,270 contract from the Texas Workforce Commission to process immigrant green cards. Commission Executive Director Larry Temple said an internal audit proved he played no role in awarding that contract.

Okay, so this one is trickier to understand. Gregg Phillips is the number 2 guy at the state Health and Human Services Department and in that capacity awarded a contract to Accenture. Accenture's lobbying firm is Strategic Partnerships Inc. and SPI has Paige Harkins on the payroll. Harkins used to be Phillips' business partner and in fact, Phillips' wife Helen is the CFO of Harkins' company Enterject. Enterject, by the way, got a $670,270 contract from the agency that is run by its CFO's husband. Complicated, but very crooked.

Add this to the $20 million+ of CHIP money that just went up in smoke and several other huge scandals and it looks like our social services in this state are overrun by corruption. Essentially the GOP leadership has appointed big business people who are so greedy they take advantage of the poor in order to make themselves and their cronies even wealthier. This is despicable and Texas deserves better.

More tomorrow, I'm sure. In the meantime, find someone good to give some money to. Our links are on the side of the page- they need it to kick assholes like these out of office.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 02:47 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 04, 2004

Barack Obama Vs. Alan Keyes?

By Byron LaMasters

It's a possibility. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Illinois Republican leaders on Tuesday neared the end of their frustrating search for a candidate in the U.S. Senate race, selecting two African-Americans as finalists for the party's nomination to face Democrat Barack Obama, who also is black.

Following a meeting that lasted more than seven hours, the Illinois Republican State Central Committee selected Alan Keyes and Dr. Andrea Grubb Barthwell, two candidates who will likely face an uphill battle against Obama. Keyes has already lost two Senate races in Maryland and has few connections to Illinois while Barthwell boasts a long resume but has never run for elected office.

Still, the decision sets the stage for a historic Senate race in which for the first time in American history both major party candidates would be black. Both would be vying to become only the third elected black U.S. senator since the Reconstruction era.

With Keyes, 53, expected to fly into Chicago Wednesday to meet with the 19-member committee, the group planned to meet in the afternoon and make a final decision later in the day, Chairman Judy Baar Topinka said.

"We don't quite have white smoke yet," Topinka said, referring to the Vatican signal for the selection of a new pope. "But we have come up with two very good candidates."

A former GOP presidential candidate and conservative radio talk-show host, Keyes was pushed in recent days by Republicans who felt his stands on the issues sharply contrast to those of Obama, who the party has attempted to portray as too liberal for most of the state's voters.

I just LOVE how Republicans think. Hmmm, the Democrats nominated a Black guy, so we should, too! Then, the Black people will be confused and the White folks will salivate, because our Black guy is more in line with their values than their Black guy.

Anyway, my only question if Keyes gets the nod is if he can do worse against Barack Obama than he did in his 1992 Senate run against Barbara Mikulski in his home state of Maryland:

1992 U.S. Senate, General Election:

Barbara Mikulski (D) - 1,307,610 (71%)
Alan L. Keyes (R) - 533,688 (29%)

Hmm. I like Obama with 72%.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:33 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 03, 2004

It's Another Texas Tuesday!

By Byron LaMasters

This week we got a two-fer with State Representative candidates Wade Weems and Charlotte Coffelt!

Wade Weems Introduction.
Wade Weems Interview.
Donate to Wade Weems.

Charlotte Coffelt Introduction.
Charlotte Coffelt Interview.
Donate to Charlotte Coffelt.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Bush in Dallas Today

By Byron LaMasters

President Bush is in Dallas today, trying to out-Catholic John Kerry. The Dallas Morning News reports:

Among Catholics, the Knights of Columbus are known as the men with the capes, swords and "Three Musketeers" hats, the ones who raise millions for charities, most famously by flipping pancakes.

But at the White House, they're known as voters. Crucial voters. So President Bush is stopping by Dallas today to address the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization – 1.2 million strong in the United States alone.

The Knights are meeting this week at the downtown Hyatt Regency essentially for a religious convention. All but two U.S. cardinals and dozens of bishops will be on hand, which speaks to the influence and standing the Knights hold in the church.

The sitting U.S. president is always invited to the group's annual convention. In recent years, only Republicans have accepted. (John F. Kennedy, the only Catholic president, was a Knight; John Kerry, the first Catholic nominee since JFK, is not.)

The Knights don't endorse presidential candidates, and members arriving in town Monday had mixed feelings about Mr. Bush's visit. He will have to do more than trot out his opposition to abortion to get their votes, many said.

I really don't get it. Bush is a good Catholic because he's against abortion and believes in discrimination against gay people. Yet, John Kerry is a bad Catholic despite being against capitol punishment in most cases, supporting programs to create more jobs, getting health insurance for more kids, making health care more affordable for the elderly, and providing all qualified students with the opportunity to get a great college education. Catholics that claim that George W. Bush is more in line with their values must have forgotten that the Catholic Church used to believe in social welfare programs that helped people get ahead in life, instead of the current single-issue judgement of politicians by the rigidity of their opposition to abortion rights.

Anyway, some folks in Dallas are protesting the speech, so we'll see how the protest goes.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Missouri on the Line

By Byron LaMasters

For everything you need to know and more about today's Missouri Democratic primaries, check out Archpundit or more specifically, Archpundit's Blog Saint Louis. Three big races in Missouri today. First is the race to succeed Dick Gephardt. The son of former Guv. Mel and former Sen. Jean Carnahan, Russ Carnahan seems to be the favorite, but the progressive / blog folks seem to be for Jeff Smith. In the Guv primary, incumbent guv Bob Holden seems poised to lose to Claire McCaskill. The conventional wisdom is that Holden is unpopular and would likely lose reelection to the Republican, whereas McCaskill would be able to run on a reformist message of change that would coordinate well with Kerry's message in a swing state. So, I'll be hoping for a McCaskill victory out of Missouri tonight. Archpundit offers his endorsement of McCaskill here. The third race of interest is vote on gay marriage. Basically, gay marriage is already illegal in Missouri, but it's critical that in order to save marriage that they have a vote to make it more illegal. Follow that logic, or read Archpundit's take on the matter. Anyway, I'll try my best to get some results posted tonight.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Henry Bonilla Missed the Memo

By Byron LaMasters

After a tip from a reader, I watched the reairing of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at midnight last night. U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) was the guest, and Jon Stewart basically just ripped him a new one. Seriously. Henry Bonilla was trying to make the point that he just wished that all politicians would be honest about where they stand. Bonilla labeled himself a conservative, and spoke of another congressman who called himself a liberal, and asked why John Kerry wouldn't just be honest and say that he was a liberal, too.

So, Jon Stewart asked Bonilla if Kerry was a liberal, and Bonilla hit his stride. Here's basically what was said:

Bonilla: Yes!! Those groups. These groups. Ya know, the conservative and liberal groups, they say John Kerry is really liberal.

Stewart: What groups? I mean who says Kerry is really liberal.

Bonilla: You know those groups. Like the trial lawyers and labor and doctors--

Stewart: Congressman. I don't think your following me. You say 'these groups'. Who are 'these groups'?

Bonilla: All of them. You know the groups. They rank ALL of us. You know. Liberal groups. Conservative groups. There's lots of them.

Stewart: But which group says John Kerry is the most liberal and John Edwards is the fourth most liberal senator.

Bonilla: That's right! John Kerry and John Edwards are liberals! More liberal than Ted Kennedy! Why aren't they honest about it then?

Stewart: That wasn't the question. The group is the National Journal. And they rated Kerry and Edwards as the first and fourth most liberal senators for last year. For their careers, John Kerry is more conservative than Ted Kennedy, and John Edwards is more conservative than the median Democrat.

Bonilla: Oh. That's interesting.

Apparently, Henry Bonilla didn't get the full July GOP Talking Points Memo. They all got it:

July 2004 GOP Memo:

John Kerry is the most liberal senator. The National Journal says so, and they're nonpartisan. John Edwards is the fourth most liberal senator. The National Journal says so, and they're nonpartisan. That makes John Kerry the liberal senator from Massachusetts! More liberal than Ted Kennedy! Repeat that as much as you can! He's voted to raise taxes hundreds of times, and that's only when he shows up to vote. He's missed two-thirds of his votes this year, so he's not doing his job! Think what he'd do as president! Hide the children!

It looks like Bonilla forgot about the whole National Journal thing. Next time he ought to review the GOP talking points memo before he makes a fool of himself.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:36 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

August 02, 2004

DCCC To Invest in Morrison?

By Byron LaMasters

In a word... Maybe.

I had the chance to speak with some high ranking DCCC folks for a little bit at the convention, and they are considering investing into TX-22 against Tom DeLay. They'll obviously be working to help reelect all of our embattled incumbent congressmen in Texas, but recent polling data gives the DCCC much reason to consider putting some funds into Morrison's race. Andrew posted a DCCC poll last week that showed DeLay under 50% and leading Morrison by only ten points. That poll included Independent Fjetland at 7%.

Without Fjetland, DeLay leads Morrison 50%-36% in the latest DCCC polling:

Tom DeLay - 50%
Richard Morrison - 36%
Undecided - 14%

While the district is Republican, DeLay runs eleven points behind Bush. The point here is that with a little bit of work, Morrison could wind up with DCCC assistance in a targeted race. But the only way that the DCCC will invest in the race is if Morrison continues to show the grassroots and fundraising success that he has shown so far. So, donate to the campaign to help make that happen.

Even if Morrison doesn't defeat DeLay (even if the DCCC does invest in the race, I know I'm not alone in being somewhat skeptical of Morrison's chances), Morrison will have made an impact just by running a competetive race. For the first time in years, Tom DeLay has opened a campaign office, and any money and time that we force Tom DeLay to spend in his own district is money and campaign time that won't be spent elsewhere.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

You Only Love Me for My Vote

By Jim Dallas

Now, for something totally different (and for reference, I'm not linking directly to the site), a site which purports to trade sex for votes.

Personally, I just want to make it clear that I dig Republican women for totally non-electoral reasons.

UPDATE: Ironically, Greg Wythe informs us that things are different in Iran. Instead of sex leading to changed votes, votes are leading to sex changes. What a strange world this is. Greg also touches on the tax reform trial balloon.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 09:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cheney in Texas to Help Neugebauer

By Byron LaMasters

Dick Cheney is in Texas this afternoon for a rally and fundraiser for Republican Congressman Randy Neugebauer. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports:

Vice President Dick Cheney arrives in the Hub City today to support Lubbock Republican Congressman Randy Neugebauer's District 19 bid.

Neugebauer's campaign expects the sold-out event to draw more than 1,000 participants and raise about $415,000, setting national records for attendance and fund raising at a vice presidential congressional campaign event this election year.

Neugebauer has been paired with longtime Democratic Rep. Charlie Stenholm in a new district that favors Neugebauer. While Neuebauer will spend much of the campaign wrapping himself around the Bush / Cheney ticket, Stenholm made an appearance at the Democratic National Convention last week in Boston. This was a surprise to many as the other four embattled Texas Democratic incumbent congressman chose to skip the convention. Still, Stenholm used the convention to show independence from the Democratic Party on several issues. The Dallas Morning News reported last week:

The four other incumbents scrambling for re-election in GOP-dominated districts stayed home to campaign. Mr. Stenholm opted for a cameo appearance in Boston.

The 13-term leader of the conservative Blue Dog caucus arrived Monday afternoon and returns to Abilene first thing today. He spent a couple of hours Monday in the convention hall, catching part of former President Jimmy Carter's speech but none of Bill or Hillary Clinton's.

"Al Gore was on good behavior," he said, referring to the former vice president's speech.

He attended a few receptions sponsored by agribusiness. As top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, he said, he felt duty-bound to show up, especially for a dinner Tuesday night in his honor.

"A lot of folks pay a lot of good money to be part of this," he said.

Tuesday morning, Mr. Stenholm gave an interview to televangelist Pat Robertson's 700 Club and spoke at a rally held by Democrats for Life, an anti-abortion group with only a handful of delegates.

"It's who I am and what I am, and this is part of West Texas values as I see it," said Mr. Stenholm, who faces GOP freshman Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock.

*cringe*. Democrats for Life is one thing, but talking to the devil? Err.. Pat Robertson? Oh well. The guy has got to do what he's got to do. Even before redistricting, Stenholm represented the most Republican district of any Democratic congressman. The new district isn't much more Republican, but instead of the rural counties Stenholm has represented for decades, he must win over voters in Lubbock - a nearly impossible for any Democrats, even a reliably conservative one. Still, Stenholm is a good Democrat when it matters, and on leadership votes, he's a solid D. His experience on agriculture and other issues clearly would make him the best advocate for west Texas in Congress, but that's for the voters to decide.

The latest poll that I've seen (about a month old) shows Neugebauer with an eight point lead:

In a Neugebauer poll of 500 registered voters; 49% Republican, 29% Democrat, and 19% independent, both Stenholm and Neugebauer scored 51% when it came to favorable name recognition. But when asked if the election for congress were held today (June 28-29) Neugebauer scored 8 points higher.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Eliminating the IRS

By Jim Dallas


A domestic centerpiece of the Bush/GOP agenda for a second Bush term is getting rid of the Internal Revenue Service, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

The Speaker of the House will push for replacing the nation's current tax system with a national sales tax or a value added tax, Hill sources tell DRUDGE.


"People ask me if I’m really calling for the elimination of the IRS, and I say I think that’s a great thing to do for future generations of Americans," Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert explains in his new book, to be released on Wednesday.

"Pushing reform legislation will be difficult. Change of any sort seldom comes easy. But these changes are critical to our economic vitality and our economic security abroad," Hastert declares in SPEAKER: LESSONS FROM FORTY YEARS IN COACHING AND POLITICS.

"“If you own property, stock, or, say, one hundred acres of farmland and tax time is approaching, you don’t want to make a mistake, so you’re almost obliged to go to a certified public accountant, tax preparer, or tax attorney to help you file a correct return. That costs a lot of money. Now multiply the amount you have to pay by the total number of people who are in the same boat. You can’t. No one can because precise numbers don’t exist. But we can stipulate that we’re talking about a huge amount. Now consider that a flat tax, national sales tax, or VAT would not only eliminate the need to do this, it could also eliminate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) itself and make the process of paying taxes much easier."

"By adopting a VAT, sales tax, or some other alternative, we could begin to change productivity. If you can do that, you can change gross national product and start growing the economy. You could double the economy over the next fifteen years. All of a sudden, the problem of what future generations owe in Social Security and Medicare won’t be so daunting anymore. The answer is to grow the economy, and the key to doing that is making sure we have a tax system that attracts capital and builds incentives to keep it here instead of forcing it out to other nations."

Although such a goal would be noble (and major tax reform is an issue that ought to be raised, as I have noted, Atrios pretty much sums up the reality of the situation:

The thing about those who advocate replacing all federal taxes with a VAT taxes, they almost inevitably lie about just about everything when they're advocating it. Any changing tax system needs to start with what it would take for a revenue neutral change. They always set the tax rate too low, often obscuring it by calculating percentages rather weirdly (say, if the total price including tax is $1.30, and the price without tax is $1.00, they call the associated tax rate as ((1.30-1)/1.30)= .23 instead of the .3 that we normally think of it). They claim you can include progressivity by exempting the first $X worth of purchases, ignoring how this would require a massive increase in the underlying tax rate. They pretend compliance and enforcement costs simply don't exist (abolish the IRS!). And, they exaggerate the overly impact on the economy which serious studies find to be at best a tiny bump.

The core to what Atrios is getting at is, I think, that the Republicans do not have the credibility to make these sort of changes (for about the same reason that Social Security privatization is DOA).

Should this develop as a major campaign theme, I hope that the Kerry/DNC response is more nuanced than "tax cuts for the rich!" Chicken Little-isms. Rather, I'd like to see them advance an alternative tax reform plan and then question the honesty of the GOP.

And let's face it, is it not abundantly clear that Hastert, at least, has not totally drunk the "abolish the IRS" kool-aid? And knowing Bush, is there any doubt that he would not whole-heartedly support a war on the IRS, even if all the evidence justifying said war was bogus?

Part of me also suspects that this is a trial balloon being floated. But if this does come to fruition, this is a sign of desperation on the part of the GOP (a sort of Hail Mary pass to shore up support among fiscal conservatives).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 02:00 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 01, 2004

Some Numbers

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Here is some interesting figures that were passed on to me from sources inside the back-rooms of the Convention Stage.

John Kerry's Acceptance Speech had about $500,000 of polling and focus groups done on it to determine the most effective message that voters across the spectrum would like. That's info you won't hear most anywhere else.

Besides that, info that had now gone into a press release from the campaign is as follows.

On Wednesday, the campaign shattered its previous online fundraising
record, raising over $3.3 million dollars in one day, only to crush it on
Thursday with a total of $5.6 million raised -- bringing its two-day total to
$8.9 million. At times during Kerry's speech, johnkerry.com received over
5,000 hits per second.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:39 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Ted Turner on media reform

By Jim Dallas

The Mouth of the South writes a few words about the eeeeeeeeevils of media consolidation in the Washington Monthly:

I freely admit: When I was in the media business, especially after the federal government changed the rules to favor large companies, I tried to sweep the board, and I came within one move of owning every link up and down the media chain. Yet I felt then, as I do now, that the government was not doing its job. The role of the government ought to be like the role of a referee in boxing, keeping the big guys from killing the little guys. If the little guy gets knocked down, the referee should send the big guy to his corner, count the little guy out, and then help him back up. But today the government has cast down its duty, and media competition is less like boxing and more like professional wrestling: The wrestler and the referee are both kicking the guy on the canvas.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

About Us
Advertising Policies


Tip Jar!

Recent Entries
BOR Edu.
University of Texas
University Democrats

BOR News
The Daily Texan
The Statesman
The Chronicle

BOR Politics
DNC Blog: Kicking Ass
DSCC Blog: From the Roots
DCCC Blog: The Stakeholder
Texas Dems
Travis County Dems

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett
State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
State Rep. Mark Strama
Linked to BOR!
Alexa Rating
Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem
Technoranti Link Cosmos
Blogstreet Blogback
American Research Group
Annenberg Election Survey
Polling Report
Rasmussen Reports
Survey USA
Texas Stuff
A Little Pollyana
Austin Bloggers
DFW Bogs
DMN Blog
In the Pink Texas
Inside the Texas Capitol
The Lasso
Pol State TX Archives
Quorum Report Daily Buzz
George Strong Political Analysis
Texas Law Blog
Texas Monthly
Texas Observer
TX Dem Blogs
100 Monkeys Typing
Alt 7
Appalachia Alumni Association
Barefoot and Naked
BAN News
Betamax Guillotine
Blue Texas
Border Ass News
The Daily DeLay
The Daily Texican
Dos Centavos
Drive Democracy Easter Lemming
Get Donkey
Greg's Opinion
Half the Sins of Mankind
Jim Hightower
Hugo Zoom
Latinos for Texas
Off the Kuff
Ones and Zeros
Panhandle Truth Squad
Aaron Peña's Blog
People's Republic of Seabrook
Pink Dome
The Red State
Rhetoric & Rhythm
Rio Grande Valley Politics
Save Texas Reps
Skeptical Notion
Something's Got to Break
Stout Dem Blog
The Scarlet Left
Tex Prodigy
View From the Left
Yellow Doggeral Democrat
TX GOP Blogs
Beldar Blog
Blogs of War
Boots and Sabers
Dallas Arena
Jessica's Well
Lone Star Times
Publius TX
Safety for Dummies
The Sake of Arguement
Slightly Rough
Daily Reads
ABC's The Note
BOP News
Daily Kos
Media Matters
NBC's First Read
Political State Report
Political Animal
Political Wire
Talking Points Memo
CBS Washington Wrap
Matthew Yglesias
College Blogs
CDA Blog
Get More Ass (Brown)
Dem Apples (Harvard)
KU Dems
U-Delaware Dems
UNO Dems
Stanford Dems
GLBT Blogs
American Blog
Boi From Troy
Margaret Cho
Downtown Lad
Gay Patriot
Raw Story
Stonewall Dems
Andrew Sullivan
More Reads
Living Indefinitely
Blogroll Burnt Orange!
BOR Webrings
< ? Texas Blogs # >
<< ? austinbloggers # >>
« ? MT blog # »
« ? MT # »
« ? Verbosity # »
Election Returns
CNN 1998 Returns
CNN 2000 Returns
CNN 2002 Returns
CNN 2004 Returns

state elections 1992-2005

bexar county elections
collin county elections
dallas county elections
denton county elections
el paso county elections
fort bend county elections
galveston county elections
harris county elections
jefferson county elections
tarrant county elections
travis county elections

Texas Media
abilene reporter news

alpine avalanche

amarillo globe news

austin american statesman
austin chronicle
daily texan online
keye news (cbs)
kut (npr)
kvue news (abc)
kxan news (nbc)
news 8 austin

beaumont enterprise

brownsville herald

college station
the battalion (texas a&m)

corpus christi
corpus christi caller times
kris news (fox)
kztv news (cbs)

crawford lone star iconoclast

dallas-fort worth
dallas morning news
dallas observer
dallas voice
fort worth star-telegram
kdfw news (fox)
kera (npr)
ktvt news (cbs)
nbc5 news
wfaa news (abc)

del rio
del rio news herald

el paso
el paso times
kdbc news (cbs)
kfox news (fox)
ktsm (nbc)
kvia news (abc)

galveston county daily news

valley morning star

houston chronicle
houston press
khou news (cbs)
kprc news (nbc)
ktrk news (abc)

laredo morning times

lockhart post-register

lubbock avalanche journal

lufkin daily news

marshall news messenger

the monitor

midland - odessa
midland reporter telegram
odessa american

san antonio
san antonio express-news

seguin gazette-enterprise

texarkana gazette

tyler morning telegraph

victoria advocate

kxxv news (abc)
kwtx news (cbs)
waco tribune-herald

krgv news (nbc)

texas cable news
texas triangle

World News
ABC News
All Africa News
Arab News
Atlanta Constitution-Journal
News.com Australia
BBC News
Boston Globe
CBS News
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
Denver Post
FOX News
Google News
The Guardian
Inside China Today
International Herald Tribune
Japan Times
LA Times
Mexico Daily
Miami Herald
New Orleans Times-Picayune
New York Times
El Pais (Spanish)
San Francisco Chronicle
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Times of India
Toronto Star
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post

Powered by
Movable Type 3.15