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September 30, 2004

Operation Gravy On The Mashed Potatoes

By Jim Dallas

Just when you think it can't get better, it does:

The New York Times says Tom DeLay has been busted for violating House rules.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Conservatives Sour on Bush Performance

By Byron LaMasters

From the National Review:

ABC INSTANT VIEWER POLL [John Hillen] Kerry 45 Bush 36 Draw 17


TONIGHT'S WINNER [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, that's dead on. Over at Joe Scarborough is saying Kerry wins on points. I think that's right.


Russert on Kerry.


John Kerry plus: He does not come across as arrogant and obnoxious as we believe him to be.


George W. Bush minus: The President is a dismally poor public speaker.

From Daniel Drezner:

After an awful start, I thought Kerry and Bush got stronger as the evening wore on. But Kerry got much stronger -- his criticisms of Bush got sharper over time.


WRAPUP: Both closing statements were pretty good. Overall, while neither of these guys is an especially good orator (or maybe because neither is an especially good orator) it was a more substantive debate than I had expected.

Kerry was tougher than I had expected [...]

Bush started off weak, got better as it went on, and finished well ("the transformative power of liberty").

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's the Nuclear Holocaust, Stupid.

By Jim Dallas

I think it's apparent now, if it wasn't pre-debate, that Kerry's trump-card on foreign policy is being played: nuclear proliferation.

For the last week there's been a lot of chatter surrounding proliferation issues, revolving mostly around Graham Allison's book Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, which has gotten considerable press despite being mired at #367 in the Amazon sales rankings.

That isn't to say that Kerry is latching on to a newly-salient issue; I think there's probably been some strategy to do this for a while, because it's so obviously effective as political ju-jitsu. The thing speaks for itself.

Moreover, anti-nuclearism should have broad public appeal, especially among the "base" that has needed a little prodding.

I hope we will continue to hear a lot about this, because I think it could be a very effective issue.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The new paradigm

By Jim Dallas

The incumbent is weak and ignorant.

The challenger is strong and articulate.

The choice is between proven failure and a smarter direction.

Bring it on!

I watched the debates down at the Cougar Place (home sweet home) lobby. Both candidates had their share of knee-slappers and chuckles from the audience (about 20 residents or so), but I think it's clear that Bush was babbling like a little lost child trying to find his way home.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 09:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Debate Thread

By Byron LaMasters

Well, I'm in front of the TV chatting with friends, eating, drinking and blogging. I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging throughout the debate, but I'll use this thread to blog what comes to mind.

Oliver Willis has the debate Rapid Reblogger to debunk and fact check throughout the debate.

Update (7:45): Apparently, instant response has replaced rapid response.

Kerry team set for Instant Response [Official John Kerry Blog]

Get the Facts LIVE During Tonight’s Debate [Bush-Cheney Website]

Update (7:55): Jesse and Ezra got their debate thread up. They'll have much more to say about it than I will, so read them if you don't already. Washington Monthly also has a good debate thread.

Update (8:10): Damn, I had know idea Bush could pronounce a five-sylable word: vociferously.

Update (8:12): I wish Kerry would have hit back with how Cheney said a Kerry election would have caused another terrorist attack, but the outsourcing comment about Afghanistan was good.

Update (8:16): Thank you Ezra!

"Alright, Bush is WAY more orange than Kerry is here."

If you're watching C-SPAN (split screen), it's remarkably obvious. Take that all you googlers of Kerry + orange that find your way here.

Update (8:22): It's like, yeah man, a huge like tax gap, like yeah. Did Bush go blonde?

Update (8:26): Bush is razzled. Yay! That's nice that he meets with the FBI director every day he's in Washington once a week. That's like once a month, right.

8:28: Where the heck is E-ron? I've never heard of that country, Mr. President.

8:36: "I see on the tv screens how hard it is" - uh, Mr. President, how about going to a funeral. Or having a coherent thought where you don't say "uh" every three seconds.

9:05: I bet Bush's mama is proud. He can say: KIM JONG-IL - Geez. How many times did he repeat that name? At least (I don't think) he mangled it like Abu Gharib.

9:06: Ok, give Bush a minute, and he'll mangle it.

9:09: It shouldn't have taken Kerry to take 69 minutes to say the word "draft", although he gets double credit for saying "outsourcing" several times earlier about Afghanistan, a double attack. One, that Bush failed to pin down Bin Laden when he had a chance, and two, it reminds people of job outsourcing.

9:13: Best Bush lines of the night. Praise Kerry with compliments, then question him for changing his positions.

9:19: Q: What is the most serious threat to the U.S?

Kerry: Nuclear Proliferation.
Bush: What the fuck? (all he had to say was terrorism)


2001 - Bush: Outsoursed U.S. national security to Taliban warlords.
2004 - Bush: Outsourced U.S. national security to China

9:32: Did Jenna just turn her back on John Kerry? Didn't her father teach her better?

9:39: Greenfield says Kerry was more presidential, and that the conservative bloggers were mixed on Bush. FOX News is doing the unthinkable - they're talking down Bush. Damn. If FOX News is saying things like "Kerry supporters should be heartened", then its a darn good night. Thank God.

9:48: Vote in the silly network polls. It'll control the spin for the next few days, so give Kerry some love.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:37 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Thank You, Austin!

By Byron LaMasters

This is cool. I found out this morning that we won the Austin Chronicle: Best of 2004 for Best Political Blog by the Austin Chronicle readers. So, a very special thank you to the BOR co-bloggers, my family, my friends, our readers, our commenters (especially our right-wing friends that enliven this place with their always pithy, and sometimes snarky remarks), our linkers, my sixth grade teacher, my parents rabbit, my parents rabbit that didn't make it, and well anyone else that deserves to be thanked. Here we go:

Best Local Political Blog

Burnt Orange Report

Named (natch) for the 40 Acres' famous colors, the Burnt Orange Report has quickly risen to stand toe-to-toe with some of the Blogosphere's biggest. Its exhaustive list of progressive resources is a blessed boon for those feeling a bit "bushed" from the last four year of Republican stranglehold. Founded a year and a half ago by Byron LaMasters and Jim Dallas, with Andrew Dobbs and Karl Thomas coming onboard later, these UT Dems are a much needed anathema to the Young Conservatives of Texas.

I'll have to email them a quick correction, giving them Karl-Thomas's full name, and making sure that they know that he was the delegate, whereas I only attended the DNC Convention due to the good graces of whoever decided to credential bloggers. But anyway, thanks as always for reading BOR, and let us know what else you'd like to see from us.

More on the Best of Austin in the extended entry

Other winners of note:

Best Scandal

Governor Rick Perry Is Gay

Initially cranked out by multiple and seemingly credible sources, then running on the fumes of wishful thinking (well, he is awfully cute), this rumor far
outlived its expiration date, keeping pub and watercooler conversations lively – as well as a few news outlets. What was amazing was how fast it spread – across Austin, around Texas, and throughout the country. It ended up offering more insight on those who spread it than it did on the governor, because although it had no basis in fact that anyone could determine, some wanted it to be true so badly they spread it anyway.

My only comment here is that I may have called Governor Perry many things, but cute is not one of them. Although, I must add, he does have mighty good hair.

Best Elected Official

Lloyd Doggett

After years of being part of the local landscape Doggett really needed to feel your love this year, after redistricting put him at genuine risk for the first time in his House career. And love there was; barring an act of God, Doggett's career representing Austinites will continue into its fourth decade in November.


Best GLBT Leader

TIE: Bettie Naylor, Randall Ellis

Two of the hardest-working activists in the scope of GLBT rights, it is an incredible honor that we can call them our own. For those new to town, meet LGRL's director Randall Ellis and lobbyist Bettie Naylor, two Texas stars from two generations of Lone Star activism. Naylor's fire was lit during the early feminist movement and she's been flaming ever since. Naylor was the first lobbyist that LGRL ever hired to chat up lawmakers at the Lege, and Lord knows she can tell you some tales about those days. But right now she's too busy working on the future. Ellis joined LGRL two years ago and really hit the ground running. His mobilizing skills have been proven time and again. Of course, he was already wise to the corridors of power after serving a stint as aide to gay-friendly Houston Rep. Garnet Coleman. Though they travel in different circles, this charming, well-coiffed duo has been instrumental in the fight to retain the dignity and stature of the GLBT community in an era when Dubya is trying desperately to revoke their rights and send queer folk back into the closet as second-class citizens. With Ellis and Naylor duo in our corner, that will never happen.

Ditto to my thoughts regarding Lloyd Doggett. Randall Ellis is a tireless advocate for LGRL. I've spent time working with him up close, and he came on the job with LGRL soon before the 2003 legislative session, and managed to organize a phenomenal campaign to defeat a proposed ban on gay adoption and foster parenting. Bettie Naylor has been fighting for GLBT equality just as long as about anyone, and while I'm not sure how old she is now, she still has the energy of someone in their 20s or 30s. I absolutely have tons of respect for her.

Another winner hit close to home, as I live about 250 feet from the dividing line of three congressional districts, across the street from the Marimont Cafeteria:

Best Place to Digest Redistricting

Marimont Cafeteria

You can count on the elderly for two things: getting out the vote and getting in the dinner line before 5:30pm. The local nexus of the two lies at Austin's hallowed Marimont Cafeteria. Like a tubby kid ogling the pie cart, the newly Repub majority Lege of 2003 decided to carve up Texas' congressional districts like so much roast beef as to neuter yellow dog Lloyd Doggett, entrench Tom "Bug Man" DeLay's dominion over his district, and Perrymander themselves extra seats in the process. Therefore, Austin got Ronco'd, with Marimont Cafeteria on 38th and Guadalupe serving as the new meeting point for districts 10, 21, and 25, with none drawn in a way to truly represent the capital city. So as you enjoy their from-scratch specials, remember: The best thing about a cafeteria is the lack of DeLay.

Other bloggers recognized include:

  • Beth Westbrook (Best Local Blogger - readers) - An Austin transgender activist who passed away this summer. I hadn't read her blog before, but I'll definitely give it a look.
  • Prentiss Riddle (Best Austin Blogger - critics) - another blog I'll have to check out. It looks interesting from first glance.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Finally! The SCLM Reports on the Bush Flip-Flops!

By Byron LaMasters

One of the biggest mistakes the Kerry campaign made was allowing President Bush to define him as a flip-flopper. If the Kerry campaign had hit back with a strong rapid response that George W. Bush is a flip-flopper, the issue probably would either be dead, or greatly diminished. Instead, they didn't respond, and well, we know what's happened.

For awhile now, lefty bloggers have been making the arguement that the Kerry campaign should have been making two or three months ago, and finally the so called liberal media (SCLM) is begining to pick up on it. I think it would be effective for Kerry to point out some of these Bush flip-flops if he has a chance tonight.

First, on Paula Zahn Now:

ZAHN: Kerry isn't alone when it comes to being vulnerable on the flip-flop issue. The Democrats are now stepping up their efforts to point out that President Bush has also changed course on a number of critical issues. We check the president's record involving the war on terror and Iraq.


ZAHN (voice-over): Six days after the attacks of 9/11, the president had this to say about terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

BUSH: I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said wanted dead or alive.

ZAHN: But only six months later, catching bin Laden was no longer a priority.

BUSH: The idea of focusing on one person really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.

I truly am not that concerned about him.

ZAHN: The Bush administration at first opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So creating a Cabinet office doesn't solve the problem.

ZAHN: But less than three months later, that all changed.

BUSH: I asked the Congress to join me in creating a single permanent department with an overriding and urgent mission, securing the homeland of America and protecting the American people.

ZAHN: In building a case for going to war with Iraq, the president argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

BUSH: Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.

ZAHN: But when no weapons were found, his emphasis shifted.

BUSH: Because America and our allies acted, one of the most evil, brutal regimes in history is gone forever.


BUSH: The dictator of Iraq committed many atrocities and he had many more in mind.

ZAHN: Last month, when the president was asked if the United States could win the war on terror, he was doubtful.

BUSH: I don't think you can win it, but I think you can create conditions so that the -- those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world, let's put it that way.

ZAHN: But the very next day, he reversed himself.

BUSH: We are winning this war against these terrorists, and we will win this war against these terrorists.


ZAHN: The president in his own words on several subjects (ph), almost certain to come up on tomorrow's debate.

Ok, so lets review. George Bush wanted Osama Bin Laden dead or alive before he said he wasn't concerned about him. George Bush was against the Department of Homeland Security before he was for it. Invading Iraq was about WMD's before they weren't found, and the justification was then about toppling an evil, brutal regime. George Bush believed we could win the war on terror, before and after he said it couldn't be won. Did someone say flip-flop?

And there's more. Also yesterday, CBS News reports on Bush's top ten flip-flops (via From the Roots):

  • Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • Nation Building and the War in Iraq

  • Iraq and the Sept. 11 Attacks

  • The Sept. 11 Commission

  • Free Trade

  • Homeland Security

  • Same-Sex Marriage

  • Winning the War on Terror

  • Campaign Finance Reform

  • Gas Prices

To recap - Bush justified the invasion of Iraq on WMD's, but now admited none were found. Bush was against nation building before he was for it. Bush told the American people that Saddam Hussein was part of the war on terror, before admiting that he was not connected with 9/11 or Al-Qaeda. Again, Bush was against the 9/11 commission before he was for it. Bush was for free trade, but then supported tariffs on foreign steel products, before flip-flopping again, and opposing them. Again, Bush opposed the Department of Homeland Security before he was for it. Bush was against federal intervention on same-sex marriage before he was for it. Bush said the war on terror couldn't be won, before changing his mind the next day. Bush was against campaign finance reform before he was for it. Bush was for "jawboning OPEC" to lower gas prices, but as President has seen gas prices rise to $50 a barrel, and done nothing to pressure OPEC to increase production.

George Bush = Flip-flopper. End of story.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Unlike every other generation, they were not sissies...

By Jim Dallas

... and according to Grover Norquist, that makes the "Greatest Generation" un-American.

It's amazing how much dumb Norquistisms Kevin Drum has dredged up ever since he started, you know, paying attention.

What exactly is so fascinating (such that they merit constant blogging) about the troika of right-wing inanity, Alan Keyes, Grover Norquist, and George W. Bush? I don't know, exactly, and perhaps I will never know. But I suppose it has something to do with "shock and awe."

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sugary, Marshmallowy, Honeyfied Goodness... Now with Whole Wheat

By Jim Dallas

This is good news. If Burger King started to use organically-grown tomatoes in making their triple Whoppers, we'd really defeat this obesity thing.

Disclaimer: I love triple whoppers just the way they are, thank you very much.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Keep Hope Alive

By Jim Dallas

During torts class today, about half the class (as far as I could tell) was paying only intermittent attention to the lecture, instead watching the Cubs lose to Cincinatti through the magic of streaming video. (On the other hand, I was barely paying attention because I kept falling asleep; I've gotten on to a really weird sleep schedule, and the "causation" chapter isn't exactly barn-burning excitement.)

At any rate, it's Wild Card Season, and the Astros are now in first place, with the Cubs and Giants a half-game down.

The Astros play the Rockies next, and if they blow up now, I'll be even more heartbroken than usual.

Oh yeah, the first presidential debate is tonight.

How can we possibly be expected to learn in such an environment?

Posted by Jim Dallas at 06:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Maya Keyes Pictures Removed

By Byron LaMasters

The Alan Keyes campaign might not be talking to reporters about it, but they're obviously ashamed of Maya Keyes - Alan Keyes lesbian daughter.

The pictures of Maya have been removed from the Keyes Campaign website.

Gone, gone and gone.

Via Archpundit.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:03 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 29, 2004

UT Student Government Politics Begins

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

(This post is about some inside info on the positioning that is going on for SG elections (which are held all the way away in March) but are being talked about now.)

Student Government elections are held in the first week of March each year. There is a two week campaign period before the elections in which a number of silly rules limit activities and speech of the 'tickets' and individual. (i.e. not being able to mail, e-mail students about positions creating a situations where the bulk of funds is spent on t-shirts and push cards).

Because of the blackout on being able to officially say "vote for" any candidate or ticket anywhere before that two week window, most organizing of tickets must go on under the radar and generally creates Tickets that are heavily Student Government based in recent history or filled with those who know the process.

From what I have learned this past week, the beginnings of two tickets have already been formed out of this year's Student Government body, meaning a Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate. At this point I would like to say that I am writing this as a student and Burnt Orange blogger, not as a personal critique on any of these people, but as a reporter attempting to shed light on a process that is largely unseen and insider. If Student Government wants to talk about breaking widespread stereotypes about it being "Insider", "Elitist", or "Clubby" then it needs to be open to this type of reporting.

One one side so far, there is Omar Ochoa, currently a 2 Year at Large Representative who also sits on the President's Student Advisory Committee. These are two good things to be if you are looking at the SG Presidency as current SG President Brent Cheney was a 2-year at large, as was previous president Brian Haley, previous VP Sly Majid, and last year's losing candidate for president Patrick George (who still sits in the SG Assembly now). Sly was also on the President's Student Advisory Committee back in 2001.

The nice thing about being a two-year at large Rep is that if you lose your bid for President, you still have your seat. In addition, both Brent Cheney and Patrick George were Liberal Arts Reps before they were 2 Year at Larges. Other 2 Years have become part of various Executive Boards nominated by the Prez, but that is an aside.

Omar is the most progressive of the four names I'm about to go through. He's been very much involved with the Multicultural Information Center on campus and is a Co-Director of the Latino Leadership Council, the umbrella for about 25 Latino groups on campus.

Pairing up with him though is the seemingly odd and maybe upsetting choice for progressives, Elizabeth Brummet who not surprisingly is also a 2 Year at Large and former Liberal Arts Rep. Definetly to the right of Omar but possibly not so much in an active political sense (as I don't know all the Reps personally as of yet) Brummet is very much involved with Greek Life, specifically Chi Omega and could be comparably compared as I have been told to current SG VP Rachel McGinity who is also a Chi O and is on that same list.

Now why the big deal about Chi Omega? At UT it is considered by many to be the most active, politically involved sorority that has influence over how the other sororities align, especially the Tri-Delts in the like. And he (or she) who has the political muscle of Chi Omega behind them likely garners the other sororities. And not only that, but the fraternities tend to follow their partnered sororities, so you can see what it makes sense to take advantage of this. This will also be the cause of contention in the next Ticket I present.

Ticket numero dos is apparently headed by Wes Carpenter, making this the ticket headed by a conservative rather than a progressive (though I'm not sure to what degree). From his profile...

My hometown is Sugar Land Texas, where there is no equal. I am currently in my second year here at the University pursuing a degree in Government and Economics. On campus I am involved in Brothers Under Christ Fraternity, the Distinguished Speakers Committee, the Outdoor Pool Committee, the Spirit and Traditions Council and LEAP...

Yes, that's Tom Delay land. But the more curious thing is that Carpenter is and has been a SG Agency director for two different ones, not the most usual path to the Presidency for recent history. And apparently there is already some kvetching over the fact that many of the conservative student groups on campus, their leaders/people in SG are being enticed to fall behind the Ochoa/Brummet ticket and not the Carpenter/Hanks ticket.

Hanks? you might ask. Never herd of Colby Hanks. Good point, because that name isn't in the Student Government roster, it's found on none other than the same Chi Omega roster where Brummet and McGinity are found! For the reasons layed out above, the importance of Chi O. There was supposedly a big flare up at the House the other weekend over this very point because they don't normally split their resources. It's a pure political move on the part of Carpenter, a smart one, but still, it's a ticket headed with an Agency director and an outsider and still somehow trying to be an incumbent ticket. (because at this stage in the game it's all about trying to pull existing representatives to one or the other in advance)

Frats and Sororities still have a lot of influence over SG elections at UT. Put simply, they vote and in lockstep if they have a person on a particular ticket. Members get points if they vote and you can be darned sure someone is at the door making sure you've voted before you've left for class that day.

Student groups have some power, but they aren't organized and not near as large. University Democrats, some of the cultural groups, UT Watch, and a few others are considered the only ones whose endorsements actually matter. The Agency and Committee heads within SG tend to know their constituency’s very well and that can lead to GOTV efforts and word of mouth about what ticket is best to vote for.

Right now SG is mildly conservative and has lost the liberal majority it had last year. The question now is which way will it trend? Will there be a third ticket that gets set up, through a huge ass monkey wrench into the plans being laid? How long will it take and will there be an opportunity for a progressive coalition to join together (UDems, Campus Greens, UT Watch, the Cyclists, Hispanic, Black, Asian cultural groups, the GLBT crowd, the environmental groups, Save Barton Springs, Students Against Cruelty to Animals, and on and on) complemented by a few always needed liberal frat types? Will the Ochoa/Brummet ticket try to do this? Will the progressives swallow that combo?

Remember, turnout is only about 20% these days, even with Internet voting. (pretty graph and one that is zoomed into the more recent elections). Will we sit and grumble or try to outreach and take over a ticket or make our own? Will this be yet another election won in a landslide by the entire ticket like the last two elections (minus one Representative in 2003 from the minority 'party')?

This post is meant to provoke some thought. It's meant to open up the process. I'm in the progressive camp so pardon me if it sounds like I'm being too negative about any conservatives. One of these days I'll probably be running as well but until then, can we as Student Government try to still FOCUS on the issues we/you were elected to deal with this year and not worry about perpetual elections?

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 11:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

More TX-32 Updates

By Byron LaMasters

Busy week with the Frost campaign, but a couple of quick updates.

Southpaw did some phone banking for Frost tonight, and has a report for us:

Inspired by the recent Texas Tuesday feature, I volunteered for the Frost campaign tonight and heard an interesting bit.

The Lover's Lane United Methodist Church asked Frost and Sessions to meet with them. While Frost accepted, Sessions never answered.

The man is not a good speaker, yet why would you avoid meeting people, particularly in what you would think would be a friendly group?

FWIW, my phone calls turned up more than 3-to-1 support for Frost among undecideds. And I had no good amusing conversations, although one woman concerned me at first when she said that she was a lifelong Republican. Then, she said rather dramatically, "But I went and got me an absentee ballot just so that I could vote for Frost and the Democrats."

Good news there. Also, the latest Frost mailer targets Pete Sessions's tax-payer funded trips to Malaysia, Orlando, Taiwan, China, Russia, Cyprus, Iceland, New Zealand and Australia. Via 100 Monkeys Typing.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Score one for the Lefty Bloggers

By Byron LaMasters

Kudos to David Brock for getting GOP pollster Frank Luntz canned as MSNBC's objective pollster in the debates tomorrow.

Roll Call reports:

The watchdog organization Media Matters for America was none too pleased that MSNBC had scheduled GOP pollster Frank Luntz conduct on-air focus groups following tonight’s presidential debate.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kinky Rick Santorum

By Byron LaMasters

Via Wonkette, the latest from the kinkiest Senator in Washington:

Santorum will seek Whip slot.

Because, he seems to know more about various sex acts than just about anyone else in Washington (heck, in just about anywhere for all I know):

“In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality.” –Rick Santorum, AP interview

That's right, guys. Save marriage today, because next generation, it'll be man on box turtle.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

San Antonio Voter Reg. Way Up

By Byron LaMasters

From the broken record department, Kuff crunches the numbers via Lasso:

More than 62,000 Bexar County residents have registered to vote since January, boosting the number of local eligible voters to a record level of almost 900,000 and causing officials to brace for the upcoming presidential election.

If only half of all those who are registered to vote actually show up at the polls Nov. 2, it would be the largest voter turnout in Bexar history, officials said Tuesday.


According to election records, there were 896,913 registered voters in Bexar County as of Tuesday afternoon — about 25,000 more than the 2000 presidential election.


The north and northeast parts of the county set the pace for new registered voters this year with 22,819.

Certainly good news for democracy, although I'd be inclined to second-guess Kuff's assertion that this is great news for Democrats:

Idealistic concerns for democracy aside, there's a big reason to be happy about this. I've been going through election return data, and in just about every election I've checked, going back to 1996 so far, the Democrats do better in the four major urban counties (Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis) than they do statewide.

Any and all voter registration is a good thing, but just because the urban counties show an increase in voter registration, doesn't necessarily mean it's likely to swing Democratic. Harris, Dallas, Bexar and Travis Counties all have large swaths of favorable turf for Democrats, but the same is true for Republicans. I tended to regard the Travis County voter registration news as great for Democrats, because it was disproportionately among young people. In Bexar County, the article mentions that the highest voter registration is in the north and northeast sections of the county - also the most Republican and suburban areas of the county.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

UT Ad and Democratic Ruminations

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

The University of Texas has an awesome new ad they have produced. You can see it from this page.

It was made by GSD&M, a major advertising company here in Austin. Each of those letters stands of name of the major workers/players in the company, some of which are Democratic. The S is Roy Spence, quoted in the article, whose name has been bandied about the Capitol City a number of times in reference to a possible bid of Texas Governor.

His quote about that ad is what I would love to see as part of a Texas political campaign...

The spot, produced in conjunction with the strategic planning and positioning firm GSD&M Advertising, is the first in a series of seven “image” ads that will debut this year.

The series will incorporate a new theme, “What Starts Here Changes the World,” developed by the university’s Office of Public Affairs and the Center for Brand Research in concert with GSD&M, in a year-long project led by Advertising Professors Neal Burns and Deborah Morrison.

“Austin, Texas is the ‘City of Ideas’—a city that brings the doers and dreamers together to see new things, dream new dreams and create things and experiences that make a difference,” said Roy Spence, founder and president of GSD&M Advertising.

“The heartbeat of this City of Ideas is the University of Texas, a place of learning, discovery, leadership, freedom and responsibility, where everyone is a student of both our proud heritage as well as a seeker of what is next. The University of Texas and the City of Ideas, working, living and learning together. What starts here changes the world—that is what this new campaign for the University of Texas is all about.”

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 10:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Holy Shit! The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

By Byron LaMasters

Ok, not really, but the Dallas Morning News endorsed Democrat Diana Lackey for Dallas County Tax Assessor over GOP incumbent David Childs.

In the last year for which statistics are available, the Dallas County tax office, headed by 15-year GOP incumbent David Childs, collected 95.8 percent of the taxes owed the county. That sounds good, but it puts Dallas County fourth among Texas' five major urban counties. (Only Harris County was less effective.)

One year might be a fluke, but for the past 10 years Dallas County's collection rate has consistently lagged those of Tarrant, Travis and Bexar counties. If Mr. Childs' office had been as effective as the other three, averaged, Dallas County's coffers would have been fatter by $43 million over that period.


The 51-year-old challenger, who has a bachelor's of science in accounting from San Diego State University, comes with an impressive resume and glowing recommendations from her former employers in California's Santa Clara and San Diego counties. Between them, she worked in those counties' tax offices for 24 years, working her way up from a trainee in San Diego to the No. 2 person in the Santa Clara office. (Santa Clara, site of San Jose, is California's fourth-most-populous county.) During her six-year tenure there, the county's collection rate jumped substantially over previous years'.


Fortunately, voters have an excellent alternative. We feel confident that Ms. Lackey can take the tax office to the next level.

Wow. I can't remember the last time the Dallas Morning News endorsed a Democratic challenger over a GOP incumbent (even if it's for the lowly office of tax assessor). Maybe I should lighten up a bit on them. Or maybe I should just remind themselves that they still have a rigid GOP bias.

Current DMN endorsement tally:

9 Republicans
2 Democrats

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:39 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Iraq, Jobs, Hate Amendment...

By Byron LaMasters

Basically, Tom DeLay and the GOP House leadership are saying screw jobs and screw Iraq. You know, because what's the most important issue for the GOP House leadership to debate thirty days before the election, even though it's a lost cause?

Yup, it's here again. Hate Amendment time:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, acknowledged Tuesday that the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage would fail to win House passage Thursday.

But he insisted that he would go forward with a vote on the amendment anyway.

"The American people need to know where their representatives stand" on the issue, DeLay told a news conference.

DeLay acknowledged that past House votes on gay marriage issues show it is unlikely that the proposed amendment could receive the necessary two-thirds support.

Ok, Tom, so why are we debating the issue? Norman Ornstein gives us the answer - Armageddon:

Norman Ornstein, a congressional analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said the issue is being pushed by Republicans to energize their conservative base.

"The upside potential in convincing the Christian conservative community that Armageddon will come if John Kerry and Democrats are elected is greater than losing Log Cabin Republicans and some socially moderate Republicans," Ornstein said.

Ok, it all makes sense now. Jobs and Iraq are pretty minor compared to Armageddon. Why didn't the just come out and tell us earlier? I was confused for the longest time.

More at Boi From Troy.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:29 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Am I missing something?

By Byron LaMasters

Or is there a good reason why so many people are doing Google searches of "John Kerry" + orange and Kerry + orange today? I've received dozens of visits via those searches today, and I have absolutely no clue why.

Can anyone help here?

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:57 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Thou shalt not raaaaaaaawk

By Jim Dallas

John Nova Lomax goes on a rant directed at Radio One (new owners of 92.1, formerly the classical radio station) in this week's Houston Press (not posted yet, see below). Unfortunately, it's one of those rants that everyone knows is true, and there's nothing you can do about it:

There's a killer station waiting to happen in this town, one that would make lots of money and spawn lots of copycats nationwide. Take the smarter edge of modern rock...[a]dd in the smarter edge of modern commercial hip-hop...[a]nd play the music that influenced those bands...

But no, you wouldn't ever do that, because that would be something smart, new and different, and I've just about given up hoping that you'll ever try anything like that here. You might try that in some city that your marketing wonks will tell you is "hip," some place like Austin, Portland, or San Francisco, but as for Houston? Naah. You'll just continue to give us the same stupid old tired-ass crap, because after all, we're just Houston, and Houston is not allowed to have cool radio stations. It seemed like it must be on some stone tablet somewhere in the bowels of City Hall near the "no zoning" commandment, the one that dictates the Astros will always break our hearts, and that other one that says all of our local TV commercials have to be made by half-bright orangutans.

The Astros may break their heart-breaking streak soon, though, so there is always hope. Until then, I guess it'll be classic rock and 97.9 KBXX in rapid rotation (unfortunately, I'm having the darndest trouble receiving the 80s station, 106.9, on campus).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Beldar Won't Like this

By Byron LaMasters

Over the weekend, the conservative Beldar Blog posted that "Kerry's no Ike", differenciating how in his opinion Dwight Eisenhower's election in 1952 in the middle of a war is from the 2004 election. As he concludes, Bedlar writes:

When John Kerry says, "Trust me and I'll fix things in Iraq and with the Global War on Terror" — what possible basis can you have to give him that trust, other than a faith so blind that it has become genuinely reckless?

I could offer my reply, but why don't I just let Ike's son, John Eisenhower do the talking:

As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration’s decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.

The fact is that today’s “Republican” Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today’s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.

Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others. America, though recognized as the leader of the community of nations, has always acted as a part of it, not as a maverick separate from that community and at times insulting towards it. Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.


Sen. Kerry, in whom I am willing to place my trust, has demonstrated that he is courageous, sober, competent, and concerned with fighting the dangers associated with the widening socio-economic gap in this country. I will vote for him enthusiastically.

The trust given to John Kerry by a lifetime registered Republican for fifty years, who saw his father's Republican Party take a wild and radical turn to the right in recent years is no small issue. This is not someone putting blind faith or reckless trust in John Kerry, but rather someone who despite a lifetime of supporting Republicans, has seen the Bush administration take a rapid departure away from the leadership role that America has played in the world since World War II.

Will anyone listen? Or will John Eisenhower just get the Ron Reagan Jr. from the right?

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The National Past Time

By Jim Dallas

According to wire reports, the Montreal Expos will announce today intentions to move to Washington, D.C.

A FOX Sports poll asks readers what the team's name ought to be changed to. I vote for "Republi-crats," only because every team named "The Senators" has ended up leaving Washington. And we all know the Republi-crats will never stop playing "insider" baseball. So it seems like a good-luck-charm sort of thing.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Deep Thought

By Jim Dallas

Why doesn't "Waco" rhyme with "taco"?

In other news, who really has a burning desire to see a special session called between now and January?

Austin American Statesman:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst reiterated today that they're willing to call a special legislative session on education funding before next year's regular session, if someone puts forth a plan that has a chance of winning the backing of majorities in both houses.

"If the lieutenant governor comes to me tomorrow and says we have a solution that the House has agreed to, and I looked at that and said I can sign that, I wouldn't be afraid to bring them in next week," Perry told reporters. "We are not there yet."

Perry called a special session on education finance in April without success. The current system was ruled unconstitutional Sept. 15 by state District Judge John Dietz.

"I have said over and over again that, given a choice, I would much rather solve school finance today than wait for the regular session," Dewhurst said.

The two talked with reporters after announcing state funding for a high-speed computer network to connect dozens of Texas universities and colleges.

"But even in the regular session, we can solve it," Dewhurst said. "We want to pass it as early as we can in the session.

"School finance is broken, and we want to fix it. We know what we need to do to reform our finance system and make it better — lower local property taxes and reform how we pay for our schools. We need to come together and pass that, and then this lawsuit is over. It's moot."

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 28, 2004

Does Wohlgemuth Represent Ohio Values?

By Byron LaMasters

Yesterday, State Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth campaigned with President Bush in Ohio:

Republican Congressional candidate Arlene Wohlgemuth traveled with the president to a couple of campaign stops in Ohio Monday and walked down the stairs of Air Force One with President Bush Monday night in Waco.

As state representative, Arlene Wohlgemuth authored the bill to cut over 130,000 kids off the CHIP program:

State Rep.'s bill has caused 130,000 Texas children to lose health insurance; Results in higher local taxes and health insurance premiums.


Wohlgemuth, as chair of the Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, wrote the law that "reorganized" the Texas Health and Human Services Department. The bill, HB 2292, has made it more difficult for working families to qualify for CHIP by cutting continuous eligibility in half (from 12 months to 6 months) and imposing a 90-day waiting period on new CHIP applicants. CHIP is intended to serve working families who make between 100%--200% of the poverty level—up to $37,700 for a family of four. Congress designed CHIP to help families making too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford private insurance.

Wohlgemuth's bill also eliminated dental care and eyeglass coverage from CHIP. CHIP is not free—families pay a monthly premium to enroll in the program.

Arlene Wohlgemuth votes against health care for poor kids. Arlene Wohlgemuth campaigns with George W. Bush in Ohio. Does Arlene Wohlgemuth represent Ohio values (or heck anything other than her own right-wing extremist agenda)?

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Travis Co. Voter Reg. Up 64% over 4 years ago

By Byron LaMasters

More good news regarding voter registration. Democratic-leaning areas everywhere are seeing huge increases in voter registration, and Austin is no exception. The New York Times studied top Democratic and Republican precincts in Florida and Ohio a few days ago, and showed that the Democratic registration has increased considerably more than has registration in predominantly GOP districts.

I reported last week that Travis County voter registration was up significantly over 2000, and the Austin American Statesman has more this week:

With five weeks to go before the presidential election, Travis County residents are registering to vote in record numbers.

Since Sept. 1, the county tax office has received 29,865 voter registration applications, a 64 percent jump from the 18,207 received during the same period in September 2000.

The applications come from first-time voters as well as registered voters who are reporting name and address changes.

Travis County typically leans Democratic.

And from the department of *duh*:

Bystanders can only guess at reasons behind the skyrocketing numbers. The election year agenda certainly has plenty of hot-ticket items that could pique voter interest: the war, the economy and gay marriage, just to name a few. Such topics could attract voters of all ages and political persuasions.

But Dolores Lopez, director of voter registration for the Travis County tax office, suspects younger people are behind the pumped-up registration numbers.

"I suspect it's them, just from the people coming into our office," she said. "A lot of our volunteer deputy registrars who are out registering at events are young people."

Of course, it's younger voters. Younger voters move the most, and vote the least. Thus, they're most likely to not be registered, or be registered at an old address. Thus, in an election where there are clear issues that effect young people (i.e. Iraq war, tuition deregulation, jobs, etc.), young people are more likely to register to vote in larger numbers than any other group. The numbers show that 50% of new registrations are under 30, and 39% are under 25.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TRMPAC in More Trouble

By Byron LaMasters

2002 Attorney General candidate Kirk Watson and 2002 State Rep. candidate Mike Head have filed a lawsuit against "Law Enforcement Alliance of America, based in Falls Church, Va.; its undisclosed corporate donors; "John Doe conspirators" who assisted in the ad campaigns; and John Colyandro, the former executive director of Texans for a Republican Majority". The Austin American Statesman reports:

In a new assault on corporate spending in politics, former Texas attorney general candidate Kirk Watson on Monday sued an out-of-state group to unearth the identity of the corporations he said secretly financed illegal campaign ads.

Watson and East Texas legislative candidate Mike Head, both Democrats, filed the lawsuit in Travis County district court against the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, based in Falls Church, Va.; its undisclosed corporate donors; "John Doe conspirators" who assisted in the ad campaigns; and John Colyandro, the former executive director of Texans for a Republican Majority, who also advised Watson's opponent, Greg Abbott, during the 2002 elections.

The lawsuit, opening another front in the escalating campaign finance controversy, says corporate-financed advertising tainted the 2002 elections and says that the alliance violated Texas law by not disclosing its donors. State law generally prohibits corporate or labor money from being spent on political expenditures.


The alliance spent an estimated $1.5 million on a TV commercial aired around the state in the final days of the 2002 campaign. The commercial attacked Watson as a personal injury trial lawyer who "made millions suing doctors, hospitals and small businesses."

Watson served as Austin mayor from 1997 to 2001.

Abbott, a Republican and the eventual winner in 2002, was praised in the spot for believing in "common-sense lawsuit reform."

The law enforcement group, according to Colyandro's deposition in another lawsuit, also distributed some of the mail pieces created by the Texas Association of Business. The state's largest business group spent $1.9 million in money from undisclosed corporate sources to mail information to voters in several legislative races around the state.

The postcard about Head, a criminal defense lawyer, states that he is "on the side of convicted baby killers and murderers" and questions whether such lawyers should be writing state laws.

The lawsuit follows in the wake of last week's 32 criminal indictments against Colyandro, two other lieutenants of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and eight corporations accused of making or accepting illegal donations during the 2002 elections.

That "common-sense lawsuit reform fellow" - Greg Abbott, by the way, won a multi-million dollar settlement years ago because a tree fell on him, or something like that. However, now he's a champion for tort reform. Hmmm... gotta love how Republicans think sometimes.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blog PAC Press Release on TX-32

By Byron LaMasters


Dallas, TX, September 28, 2004.

What was Pete Sessions thinking about during the debate with
Representative Martin Frost in likening the War in Iraq to a game? How
could Pete possibly think of 9-11 in terms of a game?

Today, BlogPac.org - a political action committee - is beginning an
online advertising campaign with the goal of informing Texas voters of
Pete Sessions's abysmal record of playing partisan games when our troops
lives are on the line. BlogPac.org is running online advertising
throughout the Dallas online media market. BlogPac.org hopes to reach
as many Texas voters in the 32nd CD as possible before early voting
begins next month.

In the 45 second video ad (which can be viewed at
http://www.BlogPac.org/current) Rep. Pete Sessions likens the War in Iraq
as similar to being an away game, and that we had our home game on
September 11, 2001, and Rep. Martin Frost responds.

To this date there have been over 1,100 Coalition Casualties, and the
United States has spent over $200 billion dollars on the war in Iraq.
Does Pete Sessions really believe we should be playing games with our
soldiers' lives and our taxpayer dollars?

Pete Sessions has been a staunch supporter of the Republican President
Bush, but Sessions could not bring himself to support a Democratic
president when we were engaged in peacekeeping in Kosovo. He voted
against authorising the use of force in Kosovo to stop genocide
perpetuated by the brutal dictator Slobodan Milosevic. In addition,
once our troops were on the ground in Kosovo, Sessions voted AGAINST
funding for them (H.R. 1141, 5/18/99, vote # 133).

It's time that Texans were told the truth about Pete Sessions and his
habit of playing partisan political games with our troops lives and our
tax dollars.

Anna Brosovic - Texas Press Relations

Jerome Armstrong

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Bush's Hometown Newspaper endorses Kerry

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

The Lone Star Iconoclast, the Crawford weekly paper which endorsed Bush 4 years ago has seen the light and has endorsed Kerry.

"The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda," the newspaper said in its editorial. "Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry."

It urged "Texans not to rate the candidate by his hometown or even his political party, but instead by where he intends to take the country."

Update: Byron, here. Karl-Thomas just beat me to this one, as I just spotted it over on mydd. Instead of starting a new thread, here's my two cents on this one. The Crawford paper must be getting a lot of traffic as the site appears to be down.

Crawford is an interesting little town. The mayor of Crawford has endorsed John Kerry.

And don't forget the Crawford Lone Star Iconoclast editorials during the redistricting fiasco last year.

Here's one when the Texas Ten were in New Mexico:

The Iconoclast of the Week is New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who assigned a state trooper to protect the protesting Texas legislators from bounty hunters. The Rightist lunatics who have taken over the state legislature were reportedly planning to hire gun thugs to go to New Mexico and bring back the 11 Texas legislators who fled the state to stop lying Texas Gov. Rick “Tricky Ricky” Perry’s illegal gerrymandering scheme.

And this one:

The Iconoclast of the Week is Rep. Jim Dunnam, who led the legislative march to Ardmore and protected the voting integrity of McLennan County and surrounding counties.

The Rightist Republican Gerrymander would have pared segments of Waco into the religious radical loony land of southern Fort Worth suburbs and thrown the rest in with Georgetown and Round Rock’s white flight wealthy.

We need only to look at the debacle of Bosque County, represented by Burleson’s sanctimonious socialite who hardly bothers to campaign down here, let alone represent us.

That sanctimonious socialite would be none other than Arlene Wohlgemuth, who's running against Chet Edwards with Club for Growth support. The interesting thing is that the Crawford Lone Star Iconoclast isn't known to be a left-wing rag. Rather, they supported Bush in 2000, and much of his early agenda:

The Iconoclast, established in 2000, said it editorialized in support of the invasion of Iraq and publisher W. Leon Smith promoted Bush and the invasion in a BBC interview, believing Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

"Instead we were duped into following yet another privileged agenda," the editorial said.

The newspaper praised Kerry for "30 years of experience looking out for the American people" and lauded his background as "a highly decorated Vietnam veteran."

Times change, people change. The "compassionate conservative" governor dedicated to having a "humble" foreign policy has in fact governed entirely without compassion, with more liberal domestic spending than Clinton or Carter, and with a foreign policy defined by preemption and unilateralism. It's no surprise that the Crawford paper has changed their mind on George W. Bush. President Bush has abandoned the people and policies that elected him.

Update: More on the Kerry Blog. Good for them to be on top of things.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Election Law 101

By Jim Dallas

Atrios takes the time to actually dig up the voting rights statute that is relevant to the "paper weight" controversy in Ohio:

42 U.S.C. §1971(a)(2):No person acting under the color of law shall... (B) deny the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under State law to vote in such election...

The second issue in Ohio relates to the provisional ballot provisions of the 2002 Help America Vote Act. I think it would be fair to say that HAVA is causing chaos all across America (at the very least, it is hard for me to explain accurately to fellow students what it means).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Al Gore and Bob Dole Debate at SMU Tonight

By Byron LaMasters

This ought to be interesting:

Title: TATE Lecture - Gergen Panel Discussion Date: 2004 Sep 28 Time: 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM Calendar: McFarlin Events Calendar Contact: David Scannell Categories: Lectures Description: A Panel discussion with Bob Dole and Al Gore moderated by David Gergen Tele. #: 214-768-8283 Building & Address: McFarlin Auditorium - 6405 Boaz Ln.

I'm not sure if it's just for students, or open to the public, but if I were in Dallas, I'd just call the above number and find out. Show Al G. some love tonight...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:24 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Baseball Blogging

By Andrew Dobbs

I know that Kuff is usually the one to do the blogging on our national pastime but as a fellow fan of the Thinking Man's Game, I feel the need to pontificate on my predictions for this fairly exciting end of the season.

My beloved Boston Red Sox have clinched a playoff spot for the second year in a row, maintaining a 6 game lead over Anaheim in the Wild Card race and sitting only 3 games behind the Spawn of Satan in the AL East. There is an outside chance that Boston could end up winning the division- they play the cellar dweller Devil Rays and the lackluster (yet still threatening) Orioles to close out their season. The cursed team that only a pedophile or communist could love, on the other hand, has a 3 game series against the AL Central Champs- the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota is the beneficiary of a weak division, but Johan Santana is almost a lock for the Cy Young and is pitching like nobody's business. After a rocky start, Santana will close out the regular season with a record of 20-6 and an AL best ERA of 2.62 and an AL best 260 Ks. New York lost two big ones to Boston and while they have home field advantage against the Twins, their starting rotation is hurting without Kevin Brown (his 2/3 IP, 6 Hit, 4 ER performance on Sunday was pathetic at best) and there is a chance that Boston could walk away with a division championship.

But is that what the Sox want? For all of their strengths, the Oakland As or the Anaheim Angels (whichever one wins the startlingly competitive race for the AL West) are both better teams than Minnesota. Unless they eclipse Minnesota in win percentage, the AL East champ will face off against the best of the AL West. It might be better for Boston to win the Wild Card, face off against Minnesota and quickly dispose of the Twins while the Yanks get bogged down against Oakland or Anaheim. The problem would be that Boston would have to start out against New York at Yankee Stadium- always a tough venue- if this is how it unfolds. Still, one way or another, Boston has a real shot at the pennant. New York will likely be the favorite (though Boston led them in their regular season series this year for the first time since 1999), but Boston followed by the AL West champ and then Minnesota in that order all have good shots. Anything can happen with the caliber of playing all of these teams are putting up.

But the real story isn't the AL- it's in our pal the National League. Four teams are still concievably in the hunt for the Wild Card spot (Chicago, San Fran 1 GB, Houston 1.5 GB and San Diego 3 GB). The late-breaking Giants have the good (or perhaps bad) luck of facing both San Diego and the division leading Los Angeles Dodgers. Still, with LA getting a vacation in the form of a four game series against the second to last place Colorado Rockies, I suspect LA will find a way to hold onto the lead in this division. Chicago is 1 game into a 4 game series against the depressing Cincinnati Reds before a 2 game shot against the 13 season straight NL East Division Champs Atlanta. Chi town will likely win the Wild Card, as I don't see Houston passing them in the NL Central.

But Wild Cards and the NL East and West Champs might as well wait until next year- this is the year of the Cardinal. St. Louis has by far the best record in baseball- a full 6 games better than the second best New York Yankees. With power hitting from Albert Pujols and other worldly fielding from Jim Edmonds, every position on the team is stocked with a rock star. They are about 14 games better than .500 on the road and since they will almost certainly play the NL West champ, their 21-9 record on the season against teams from that division is rather revealing. I have no doubt that they will find a way to win the NL pennant and I suspect that they will be favored in the Series. Their pitching is only so-so (their ERA leader- Chris Carpenter- is 17th in the Majors, their win leader- Jeff Supan- is 10th and their K leader- Carpenter- is 25th), their defense and hitting should put them over the top.

My final prediction? Boston wins the AL pennant (wishful thinking? perhaps...), St. Louis the NL and the curse will live on with the Cards beating the Sox in 6.

So some good ball should be going on in the next month or so, I hope to have some more posts on my other passion (besides politics, women, food and sleep)- sports- in the future.

And remember kids... Yankees Suck!

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 05:50 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 27, 2004

Texas Tuesdays: Martin Frost is Up

By Byron LaMasters

Just posted on Texas Tuesdays on Martin Frost

Q&A with the Martin Frost Campaign.

Recent Rumblings in TX-32.

Donate to Martin Frost.

Donate to the DCCC.

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

Katy Hubener Campaign Update

By Byron LaMasters

From the Hubener campaign:

We’ve knocked on over 8,000 doors, made over 1,100 phone calls, put 25 3X6 Katy signs, and given out over 1,500 yard signs.

The success of this grassroots campaign has been in its people.

Two Saturdays ago, over 150 people joined us to register voters, knock on doors, and put up yard signs. The huge volunteer turnout and voter response proves that the people of District 106 are ready for new leadership in the Texas House of Representatives.

Donate to Katy here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Which Republican did the DMN endorse today?

By Byron LaMasters

They said this one was a close one, but the Dallas Morning News still recommended Republican Beth Maultsby over Democrat Dennise Garcia for Family District Court 303.

That's nine Republicans and one Democrat so far (and they still haven't officially endorsed Bush, but that'll make it ten).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Texas Vets for Kerry in Austin Tomorrow

By Byron LaMasters


Via Texas Democratic Party Press Release

Veterans from across the state of Texas are coming to Austin Tuesday, September 28, to express their support for fellow combat veteran John Kerry’s Presidential campaign.

The veterans caravan will arrive in Austin at 4 pm Tuesday at the Airport Hilton, where they will rendezvous with Austin area veterans who will escort them to Wooldridge Park at 900 Guadalupe for a 5 pm press conference. State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos will welcome the group to Austin, and they will take questions from the media. (In case of rain, the press conference will be held at the Texas AFL-CIO building, 1106 Lavaca.)

Following the press conference, the Travis County Democratic Party will host the veterans at a major rally at Scholz Garden, 1607 San Jacinto, from 6:30 to 10 pm. Many of our local Democratic legislators and Democratic candidates will be speaking at the rally, in addition to some great live music, food, and drinks.

“Our caravan is a caravan of hope for our great country,” said Rick
Bolanos of El Paso, one of the organizers of the caravan. “A caravan
of hope for peace in Iraq and hope for a stronger and more caring

In addition to other Texas veterans, Bolanos will be joined on the
caravan by his three brothers – Louis, Ben, and Bill – who have the
distinction of being the only family in America to have four brothers
serve in Vietnam at the same time. The Bolanos brothers were cited for
their patriotism by President Lyndon Johnson.

The caravan, which begins Friday, September 24, with a morning press
conference in San Antonio and an evening rally in Laredo, will hold
events in 15 Texas cities on its way to its final Texas rally October 2
in El Paso. From El Paso, the caravan will roll across New Mexico,
Arizona, and California before its final rally next month in San

The other Texas cities holding events are McAllen, Harlingen,
Kingsville, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Houston, College Station,
Waco, Killeen, Dallas, Fort Worth, Abilene, and Midland. This is a
grass roots caravan supported by Veterans for America, Texas Democratic
Veterans, and Hispanics for America. For more information on the press
conference and rally, please call Todd Phelan at 512-443-2021.

“Senator John Kerry is a true patriot who passionately and fervently
loves this nation,” Bolanos said. “Hundreds of thousands of us are fed
up with the Bush administration’s treatment of veterans and the
maligning of patriots who served with valor. We are tired of this and
we must unite to stop it.”

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Proposed Kerry Debate Line RE: National Security Credentials

By Andrew Dobbs

I just saw this sickening new ad from the "Progress for America" Fund where a scary narrator spells out all the terrible things terrorists have done against pictures of terrorist attacks and jihadists in scary uniforms and headbands before calling Kerry weak on defense. It then asks "Do you trust John Kerry against the terrorists? President Bush didn't start this war, but he will end it."

Goddamn if I don't hate Bush and Co. even more now for suggesting that if you disagree with him, if you run against him for president or if you question his policies that you are on the side of the terrorists. I personally support the Iraq war now and I also wholeheartedly support the War on Terrorism. But this is over the top. Kerry should wait for an opening in the debate and respond thus:

"President Bush has been suggesting that I would be soft on terrorism, or that the terrorists want me to win. But what the president says is not true- my record tells the truth.

When President Bush was playing tee-ball in West Texas I was growing up on the front lines of the war against communism- in West Berlin, just a stone's throw from the wall.

When President Bush was working on a losing campaign in Alabama, I was coming under fire in the Mekong Delta as a Naval Officer in Vietnam.

When he was being investigated for securities fraud in the 80s, I was shutting down the world's largest sponsor of international terrorism- the Bank of Credit and Commerce International- despite opposition from many powerful politicians in Washington.

When President Bush got a sweetheart deal on a baseball team I was pushing for an investigation of those Republican politicians who sold weapons to a sworn enemy of the United States- the government of Iran.

When President Bush was making Texas the most polluted state in America, I was voting for more than 4 trillion dollars in expanded defense funding.

When this president opposed a 9/11 commission and a Department of Homeland Security I was successfully fighting to get those institutions put into place. And now that we have virtually no protection of our chemical plants, when 98% of the containers shipping into our ports- including those from Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Sudan- are completely uninspected, when 1100 soldiers have died in a war that has served as the greatest recruiting tool al Qaida ever had, when the Taliban has started making gains in Afghanistan, when an anti-American government in Sudan has slaughtered 2 million Christians as our government looks on, when North Korea is testing nukes while the inspectors told us BEFORE the War in Iraq that there were no weapons there- President Bush is "resolutely" leading us down the same failed path while I am offering hope for the future.

You can listen to soundbites or you can read between the lines- no terrorist would ever want this old sailor in the Oval Office."

I hope something similar comes up, it'd be a great way to kick the slats out from underneath GWB.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

New TV Ads in Texas

By Byron LaMasters

Some good stuff here. Chet Edwards (TX-11) has two ads in rotation slamming Arlene Wohlgemuth on cutting 150,000 kids of the CHIP program.

Arlene Wohlgemuth has one ad responding to the Edwards ads, and she attacks Edwards for negative campaigning. Whine on. When you cut health care for thousands of kids, it's a huge issue. Also, Club for Growth has spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in this district attacking Chet Edwards.

Nick Lampson (TX-2) has a whole bunch that I hadn't seen before here.

Of course, Louie Gohmert in TX-1 has the Dan Rather ad that I mentioned yesterday.

Anyway, help out our guys by donating to the DCCC.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Next Katherine Harris?

By Byron LaMasters

The Republican Ohio Sectretary of State wants to make it difficult for people to register to vote. Read mydd and give 'em hell (write, email, call, etc.).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:20 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Getting what they deserve

By Byron LaMasters

I really think it's hilarious how some of the most notable right-wing anti-gay reactionary activists wind up with gay kids (or brothers or sisters, etc.): Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, etc. (ok, I'm having a brain fart here - usually I could rattle off a dozen of these)...

Well, anyway, the latest addition to the list is Alan Keyes (remember he was calling Mary Cheney a hedonist a few weeks ago?). Well, it seems as if his daughter is a lesbian. For more info, start reading here and here with analysis over on kos and Archpundit (here, here, here and here).

Well, of course, she's a lesbian. Duh.

Update: Another picture at Wonkette.

Update: Shocker here. Check out the Alan Keyes website. See the top story?

Gay marriage provides ammunition for Keyes.

Hahahaha. The hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Blog PAC Targets Pete Sessions

By Byron LaMasters

Markos (DailyKos) and Jerome (myDD) have formed Blog PAC, and their first target is Pete Sessions. It looks like they'll be creating internet ads out of Pete Sessions' remarks at a recent debate with Martin Frost equating the war on terrorism to be a game. The entire clip is available on the Frost website (WMV file).

Interestingly enough, I'll be featuring Martin Frost for Texas Tuesday's tomorrow. So be sure to check it out. Here's a teaser for tomorrow. One of my questions for the Frost campaign related to none other than Pete Sessions "terrorism is a game" comment:

BL: In a recent debate, Pete Sessions equated the war on terror to a "game". What was Martin Frost's response to this characterization?

Frost Campaign: Sessions showed he does not take our national security seriously with this comment. Congressman Frost replied, "Pete, my wife is an army officer and she's on assignment in Iraq right now. Two weeks ago I went to the burial of a 21-year old Marine from this area who was killed in Iraq. That burial was at the National Cemetery. We've had a thousand, more than a thousand people die in this war so far. Pete, this is not a game." (Click here to view the exchange).

I'll have the full interview, and more updates from the campaign up on Texas Tuesday's tomorrow. Anyway, donate to Blog PAC if you feel inclined.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Todd Baxter Won't Debate

By Byron LaMasters

I guess when you have a crappy record to run on, you don't wanna talk about it (Via Rational Rantings):

Interesting news from the Texas State House race in District 48. In the last week, Republican incumbent Todd Baxter and Democratic challenger Kelly White have gone up against each other in a few rounds of debating, and Baxter apparently didn't enjoy himself too much.

Now, in the midst of negotiations for an upcoming debate to be broadcast by the local PBS affiliate, Baxter is making a very strange request. He is asking that, during the debate, Kelly White not be allowed to listen to his responses to the questions asked him by a panel, claiming that it gives her an "unfair advantage."

Rather cowardly, if you ask me.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:18 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 26, 2004

Dallas Morning News Drinkin' Kool-Aide

By Byron LaMasters

The Dallas Morning News really needs to be called out more often for their totally idiotic editorials. Today's editorial reads like a Bush / Cheney Press release full of fluff and devoid of facts (ok, they do give him a minor wrist slap over the deficit).

The U.S. economy is coming back, and you can thank President Bush's tax cuts for much of the rebound.

Four years ago, President Bush inherited an economy tumbling into recession after the tech bubble burst. In the uncertainty after 9-11, the raft of tax cuts he pushed through Congress stimulated the laggard economy.


The president has pledged to reduce the projected budget deficit to around $260 billion by 2009, down from $420 billion this year. Reality check: He can't do that unless he is willing to get serious about cutting up the government's credit cards, which neither Congress nor the White House cares to do just yet. His convention wish list of generous new social programs is unrealistic, and his desire to make his first-term tax cuts permanent would wreck his pledge to cut the deficit in half within five years.

Mr. Kerry inspires less confidence. His economic proposals are dangerous prescriptions for both higher taxes and sharply increased federal spending. The Kerry plan is precisely the wrong remedy for long-term economic growth.


The test for any economic policy is whether it creates jobs and raises the standard of living. Mr. Bush is headed in the right direction.

Huh? Are they on crack? Ok, fact check:

America under Bush = 913,000 lost jobs (Department of Labor).

The Bush record? The worst since Herbert Hoover. Either the Dallas Morning News has remarkably low standards, or they're living in fantasyland.

Next up - federal spending. The DMN is worried that a President Kerry would see "sharply increased federal spending". Perhaps they never saw that left-wing commie report this summer by the Cato Institute that showed that conservative President Bush had increased domestic spending greater than those liberal Presidents - Carter and Clinton:

George W. Bush is the most gratuitous big spender to occupy the White House since Jimmy Carter. One could say that he has become the "Mother of All Big Spenders."


According to the new numbers, defense spending will have risen by about 34 percent since Bush came into office. But, at the same time, non-defense discretionary spending will have skyrocketed by almost 28 percent. Government agencies that Republicans were calling to be abolished less than 10 years ago, such as education and labor, have enjoyed jaw-dropping spending increases under Bush of 70 percent and 65 percent respectively.


Clinton had overseen a total spending increase of only 3.5 percent at the same point in his administration. More importantly, after his first three years in office, non-defense discretionary spending actually went down by 0.7 percent. This is contrasted by Bush's three-year total spending increase of 15.6 percent and a 20.8 percent explosion in non-defense discretionary spending.

That's the CATO institute folks. As for the deficit. Need I say more? Eight years of deficit reduction under Clinton, followed by four years of destroying it all. Sure, some of it was inevitable because of 9/11, but much of it is due to President Bush's out of control spending.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

TX-1, TX-32 Updates

By Byron LaMasters

Southpaw has the latest.

First, how Louie Gohmert is attacking Max Sandlin using Dan Rather. It'll be interesting to see if any polls come out in the race this week. Watch it here (WMV file). Even Republicans have admitted that Gohmert is trailing Sandlin by a few points in their internals, and recent Democratic polling says the same. Hence, the negative attack ad. First it's attacking Sandlin using Rather and Kerry. Next week it'll probably be the 3 G's - God, gays and guns (I'm sure the RNC could help), even though the NRA has endorsed Sandlin.

Moving on to Dallas... Pete Sessions just doesn't seem to be interested in accountability. Southpaw reports:

On Sunday, October 3, at 2 pm, the Dallas Area Interfaith is holding an "Accountability Session" with Martin Frost, Pete Sessions, and ther civic leaders, such DISD superintendent Groppel and Police Chief David Kunkle. It is not a debate, but an opportunity for citizens to speak and communicate heir concerns about very specific problems and issues: Education, health care, safe schools, and safe neighborhoods.

But Pete Sessions is not interested in that. When I asked one of the people helping organize it why he would not attend, she said that he said that the debates were enough. I guess accountability is clearly something Sessions wants no part of. Here is an organization of people from different religions and faiths who want to come together for solutions to common problems. There's little to say about Sessions's aversion to listening to people, except help Martin Frost. He's not afraid to listen to his consituents.

And, if you are interested, here are the details about the Accountability Session:

Midway Hills Christian Church
11001 Midway Road
Dallas, TX
2 pm on Sunday Oct. 3

Need I say more?

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

What were we really doing at the convention?

By Byron LaMasters

I finally got around to reading the New York Times magazine profile of political blogging. There's a lot of things I could write about the article - it's quite long, but a rather good in-depth look at Ana Marie Cox and Markos Zuniga (among others. But really, what did we do at the convention? Wonkette sums it up:

In Boston, at the convention, she hardly blogged at all. MTV had scheduled a single short piece for her to do from the convention floor. ''I'm not really doing anything for MTV,'' she said at the start of the convention. ''I'm doing interviews about being hired by MTV.''

That's pretty much it. Some of mainstream media folks complained that bloggers didn't add much to the convention, but that's because instead of paying attention to what we wrote, they spent most of the time asking us mostly generic (and sometimes condescending) questions about what we were doing there. Oh well, it was fun. If only they would have taken the gloves off in July...

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

Iraq: Objectively Worse Than Houston

By Jim Dallas

About a year ago I suggested that Iraq was (contrary to a blurb in the Houston Press) much, much worse than Houston.

According to Reuters, Iraq is worse than everywhere else on the planet, up to and including Houston.

I wonder how much longer it'll be before the advertising geniuses start putting up billboards that say "Iraq: It's Not Worth It!"

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The two faces thingy

By Jim Dallas

At first I thought it was a hacker. At second glance I thought it might be a cover for a new Peter Gabriel album (maybe I'm crazy, but I think Bush and Gabriel have some similar facial features, or at least in their younger years...).

And then I found out that the two-faced Bush graphic was part of a new DNC guerilla campaign.

Well, now I know!

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 25, 2004

Hook 'Em

By Byron LaMasters

No Owen, it's not Rice's year... again.

Time for the real season to start. Go Horns.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Kos Dozen House Parties

By Byron LaMasters

Kos has an interesting idea for house parties for the Kos dozen. I'd be interested in either hosting, or going to one in Austin focused on Kos Dozen candidate Richard Morrison. Ideas anyone? Anyone else interested? Let me know...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Some more State Rep News

By Byron LaMasters

From State Rep. Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs):

What a week this has been! I participated in the Dale Community Center candidate's debate, our first ad began airing on televisions across the district and our BBQ Round-Up at the Salt Lick last night was a tremendous success. Over 800 supporters joined us to kick-off the last five weeks of the campaign.

Everything is going extremely well - we've knocked on over 10,000 doors and received every major endorsement in this race. We've been able to run our grassroots campaign more efficiently and aggressively than we did last time, and it is paying off on the doorsteps of our district.

Mark Strama:

Opponent's Biggest Contributors Under Criminal Indictment

Jack Stick took almost $50,000 in direct contributions from Tom Delay's PAC. Contributors to the PAC, as well as several people responsible for raising the funds, were indicted Tuesday by a Travis County grand jury. Click here to read my statement on political accountability.

Public School Funding

Judge John Dietz gave the Texas Legislature one year to fix the broken school finance system. But unless there's a change in the State Legislature, you could give them 100 years and they couldn't solve it. We need new faces and fresh perspectives to solve this problem and give our children an educational system we can be proud of.


There's only six weeks to go. Here's our campaign's report card:

5,982 doors knocked on
1452 phone calls made
Almost 50 4x4s and 568 yard signs placed
So far we're way above the average campaign. But just a few weeks away from the biggest test of all, we can't afford to stop working. I need your help to run a grade A campaign and win this election.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

State Rep. Jim Pitts Slings Mud

By Byron LaMasters

State Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) is slinging mud in his race against Democrat Jake Gilbreath. Pitts claims that Gilbreath asked him to drop out of the race following the tragic death of his wife, a charge that Gilbreath says is outrageous and false. Here's the article from the Waxahachie Daily Light, and Gilbreath's responses to Pitt's false charges:

The tragic death of his wife, Evelyn, in June at the hands of a suspected drunken driver left family responsibilities solely in his hands. His opponent in the Nov. 2 election, Democrat Jake Gilbreath, asked Pitts to quit the race.

“It would have been very easy to drop out,” Pitts said. “I’m wearing a lot of hats right now.”

But the sense that he has unfinished business in Austin – primarily the overhaul of the state’s system for funding public schools – and the satisfaction he gets from serving his district are powerful motivators. In fact, he calls solving the school-finance issue his “No. 1, 2 and 3 goals."

Jake's response?

The first unfortunate issue I feel the need to address is that I NEVER asked Rep. Pitts to drop out of the race. Such a thing would be grossly insensitive, and it never happened. I hope that Mr. Pitts is just confused on this matter and is not purposefully spreading lies about me. Regardless if it was a misunderstanding or a mistake, Rep. Pitts should apologize for this ridiculous claim and stear clear of negative falsehoods. Again, I never asked Rep. Pitts to drop out of the race, and I'm disappointed that he would make such a claim.

Next issue - young people in politics. Pitts says we should finish college and get a job before we get involved. Gilbreath disagrees. Back to the Waxahachie Daily Light:

Pitts said he finds Gilbreath to be a polite, smart young man, but he also believes the 21-year-old should finish college, get a job, become a taxpayer, and acquire some real-world experience before he runs for office.

“If he were my son, that’s what I would tell him,” Pitts said.

Besides, he said, there’s no way the people of House District 10 would be better served by a newcomer. Twelve years in office has elevated Pitts to senior status in the House, and he has connections that don’t come overnight.

Gosh, maybe Pitts should have a talk with Tom DeLay about the importance of senority in politics, but back to the point here.

Young people have much to contribute in politics. Eighteen year olds are fighting and dying in Iraq. College students have seen our tuition rates go up nearly 30% as politicians like Jim Pitts voted to gut funding for higher education and place the burden on students and middle class families. Graduating college students often have trouble finding good jobs, because so many Republicans are more interested in enacting and preserving tax cuts than they are in creating more opportunities for our generation. But according to Jim Pitts, Jake Gilbreath isn't qualified to be state representative. Here's Gilbreath's response:

The most offensive thing Rep. Pitts claims is that young people should not be involved in politics. He claims that I should "finish college, get a job, become a tax payer and aquire some real world experience" is an insult to all young people. I've worked 70 hour work weeks before, including 15 hour shifts at one job to help pay for my college. And I'm damn sure some of that money was taken away for taxes. I have real world experiences. When I held a little African baby in Equatorial Guinea who was obviously sick and breathing hard, that was a real world experience. When I hugged a mother who's son was off in Iraq, that was a real world experience. When I talked to a man on the phone who had lost his wife of 50 years, that was a real world experience. And when I saw my own classmates sent overseas to defend our nation, that was a real world experience.

I am young. But you know what? There are men and women my age and younger overseas laying their lives on the line for our country. And many of our veterans were my age our younger when they took bullets for our nation. Our country is founded on and defended by the blood and work of young people, and it is an insult that Rep. Pitts believes that there is an age requirement to make a difference in life. I am young, and I'm proud of it. Young people can change the world, and we will if we just get the support and respect we deserve. I wish Rep. Pitts felt the same way about our young people.

I would like for all young Democrats to write a brief letter to the editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light and politely explain to Rep. Pitts that we do matter, and we can make a difference. Please send all letters to:
neal.white@waxahachiedailylight.com - and include your name and city. Thank
you, and keep fighting.

Check out Gilbreath's website and donate.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Read Your Bibles

By Jim Dallas

I know I'm spending way too much time with this, but the "bible banning/gay marriage loving liberals" mail-out really irks me.

The strain of allegedly-Christian paranoia openly embraced and espoused by the REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE has reached a tipping point here.

Now the Lord says, as to His true prophets and followers, that ye shall know them by their fruit. Just look at the plain facts. The Romans crucified Jesus and threw St. Peter to the lions, and did they complain? Heck no! Nowadays, liberals reject the idea that religionists can use the power of the state to cram their religion down everybody's throats, and a small group of wingers screams "anti-Christian oppression!" That's some awful bitter fruit, guys.

It's clear the only alternative that's acceptable to the RNC, which is supposedly the GOVERNING PARTY, is out-and-out theocracy. Either that or self-serving hypocrisy.

Words cannot contain my deep, deep, righteous indignation.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 06:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2004

Quote of the Day

By Byron LaMasters

“At least he didn’t challenge me to a duel” - GA Dem chair Bobby Kahn on Zell Miller's latest memo attacking President Carter and Kahn.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

RNC: Liberals are Evil

By Byron LaMasters

First, Oklahoma GOP Senate candidate Tom Coburn cast his race as good vs. evil.

Then, the RNC sent mailers to Arkansas and West Virginia saying to vote Republican because liberals will ban the bible.

Now, they're hitting New Mexico and Florida with radio ads that mimic Coburn's good vs. evil rhetoric:

A Republican radio ad airing in swing states in this presidential election— including New Mexico— paints voters' choices as between good and the threat of evil.

"There is a line drawn in America today," the Republican National Committee ad says. "On one side are the radicals trying to uproot our traditional values and our culture."

In a bitterly fought presidential election, the ad minces no words in laying out the differences facing a polarized electorate, although it never mentions President Bush's re-election effort.

The ad alludes to gay marriage and accuses "radicals" of conspiring against the conservative agenda: "They're fighting to hijack the institution of marriage ... plotting to legalize partial birth abortion ... and working to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance and force the worst of Hollywood on the rest of America."

"Are you on their side of the line?" the ad asks. "Or do you believe our values made our country great by keeping our families strong?"

The ad encourages listeners to register to vote and to support "conservative Republican candidates."

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush Losing (or Maybe Winning) Expectations Game

By Andrew Dobbs

Perhaps the smartest thing Bush has ever said is that he is the "master of low expectations." Bush comes across as the likeable but not terribly competent frat guy- someone you like to get trashed with but you wouldn't let him date your sister. As a result when he comes up against the hot shot academic/political professional and manages not to shit his pants, he wins. People expected him to look like a vegetable against Gore and when he looked like he was a sentient being he was christened the winner. He was expected to be tied up in knots by Ann Richards and when he wasn't, he won. This isn't a criticism of Bush, but more of the observers of the political world. Bush thrives off of their contempt.

But now the tables have turned it appears. Political Wire reports that a soon-to-be- published Time Magazine poll shows 44% expect Bush to win the upcoming debates while only 32% expect Kerry to win. For the first time in his life Bush is going into a debate expected to thrash his opponent. Now if Kerry can just keep up with him voters will be likely to name him the winner.

Still, if Bush performs at his usual folksy level and Kerry comes in there with a head of nuance and longwindedness Bush will throroughly thrash Kerry- he already was expected to win and he confirmed those suspicions, thus striking a deathblow to Kerry.

Kerry needs to be on his A game and needs to strike some blows on Bush. He is in a great position right now and K-E needs to keep lowering Kerry's expectations. If he comes out and gets Bush mixed up a couple of times, he'll win the debates and he'll have a very good shot at winning 270+ in November.

My suggested line- when Bush calls Kerry a flip flopper or lauds his own resoluteness, Kerry needs to say- "I understand where the President is coming from. He appears very resolute on TV. But let me be very clear and decisive about one thing right now- if 3 years into my presidency I am where he is right now and 1.6 million jobs have been lost and people who do have jobs are making less than before I became president, if 5 million fewer people have healh care and 4 million more people are in poverty, if college is more expensive and 1100 more soldiers are dead in a war no one can explain why we are fighting, if the deficit is at a record level and if a majority of people think that things are going to be worse for their children than it is for them, I'll 'flip flop' and try something new."


Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Free State Project Worthless

By Andrew Dobbs

If you haven't heard of the Free State Project it is this loveably hairbrained scheme to move a whole bunch of Libertarians to New Hampshire and take over the political process there. Their theory is that it will give them an opportunity to prove to the rest of us that a party run primarily by conspiracy theorists, militia movementers and slot machine addicts can in fact run a state well. Anyway, looks like they might have a bit of a hiccup.

Michael Badnarik's campaign failed to make the ballot in "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire. How hard can it be for the Libertarians to make the ballot in New Hampshire when they managed to gather more 77,389 signatures in California, 128,120 signatures in Louisiana and 112,557 in Minnesota? The Libertarians have made it onto 49 ballots, missing out on only New Hampshire and Oklahoma.

So Badnarik's dreams of a laissez faire utopia in the Granite State seem to be a little bit off track, but the question now becomes why should Nader (who most observers will be on something to the effect of 35 ballots) get included in poll questions but not Badnarik who will be on virtually every state ballot? If we are smart we might just be able to pump up the Libs' numbers and cost Bush some close states. If only they'd nominated Russo...

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

State House Updates

By Byron LaMasters

There's a lot going on in state rep races over the past several days, especially with the indictment of Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) executive director John Colyandro on 14 counts of unlawful acceptance of a corporate political contribution.

Check out the extended entry for the latest with the Mark Strama, Kelly White and Katy Hubener campaigns.

Here in Austin, Jack Stick seems to be having some ethical troubles:

Stick spoke Wednesday to the Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud, a group created by the insurance industry to devise legislation for the 2005 Legislature.

The panel met for the third time this year in a hearing room offered by the Texas Department of Insurance.


"We will always accept monetary assistance or monetary assistance and if you can't do that, we can take monetary assistance," Stick said, according to an observer who took notes. "We also take checks or credit cards."

Stick, disputing the observer, said he said "financial" help.

A legislative watchdog conceded Stick broke no law but said he crossed an ethical line the same week a Travis County grand jury indicted corporations and Republican operatives on allegations of violating campaign finance laws.

Suzy Woodford of Common Cause of Texas said Stick's request for campaign cash during a discussion of legislation was "unseemly."

She said lawmakers should ban such requests in any facility where state business takes place.

Both Stick's opponent, Mark Strama, and Todd Baxter's Democratic challenger, Kelly White called on their opponents to return donations from the Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC). TRMPAC executive director John Colyandro was indicted this week on 14 counts of unlawful acceptance of a corporate political contribution.

Democrats Mark Strama and Kelly White demonstrated on the Capitol steps Wednesday what their GOP opponents, state Reps. Jack Stick and Todd Baxter, can expect until Election Day: a steady barrage of attacks on their receipt of money at the center of a campaign finance investigation that has resulted in 32 indictments so far.

The indictments were against eight corporations and three fund-raising operatives for U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Stick and Baxter were among seven Texas candidates in 2002 who received money that the indictments say was laundered from corporate donors to the Republican National Committee by operatives of Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee.


Strama and White demand that their Republican opponents give the money back or donate it to charity and pledge not to take any more. Strama charged that Stick and Baxter put a higher priority on following DeLay's congressional redistricting desires and corporate issues than on working on school finance and property tax relief.

"Because of this illegal money, they didn't close the corporate franchise tax loopholes," Strama said. "If you look at how much money of that corporate money came from out-of-state corporations, and when you realize that it's out-of-state corporations that skate under the corporate franchise tax loophole, I think you see how that money directly influenced the problems we have with school finance."

According to the article, neither Stick nor Baxter have any intention of returning their dirty DeLay money.

Finally, the Dallas Morning News profiled the race between Democrat Katy Hubener and Republican extremist incumbent Ray Allen. The article seems a little biased towards Allen in calling Howard Dean a "firebrand", and by not investigating the charges against Allen using state employees for personal gain - which the Fort Worth Star Telegram editorialized against (but this is the Dallas Morning News after all, so what else would you expect).

Who would have thought a race to represent the working-class residents of Grand Prairie and South Irving would include cameo appearances by Howard Dean and the Moonies?

Anything's possible in the spirited race for state House District 106 between Republican state Rep. Ray Allen and Democrat Katy Hubener, who moved from nearby Duncanville for the chance to unseat the incumbent.

The battle, waged without expensive TV and print ads, has touched on public education, the environment and children's health care. But it has most intently focused on Mr. Allen's legislative and business practices during his decade in office.

"I decided to run for state rep primarily because we need more balance and integrity in the state House," Ms. Hubener said.

Mr. Allen accuses his opponent of "telling lies" about how he does business, while seeking to make him look like a corrupt money-grubber in the pocket of the gun-and-prison lobby. His business practices, he said, are legal, ethical and capitalize on an extensive knowledge of criminal justice issues.

Mr. Allen, 53, is a self-described conservative Republican, backed by business and law enforcement. He is anti-abortion, pro-gun rights and a nationally known expert on criminal justice. He is married with five children.

A former environmental lobbyist, Ms. Hubener, 33, advises nonprofit groups on fund raising and media relations. She is a teacher and Realtor. She grew up in Duncanville and is single with no children.

Lies? If Katy Hubener's charges are a bunch of lies, then Ray Allen ought to take up the issue with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, not Katy Hubener.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Good News, Weird News

By Byron LaMasters

Via Panhandle Truth Squad:

I just got scolded by David Van Os.

It was at a fundraiser at the River Briggs Ranch for the Democratic nominee for the Texas Supreme Court. Mr. Van Os was making the rounds through the chili line, and when he got to us, I mentioned the crowd, which was larger than anyone could remember at a Democratic event in Amarillo, Texas. "We're going to turn Texas purple," I foolishly babbled. That's when David Van Os scolded me.

He pointed at me repeatedly with his index finger, while pointing out that Republican turnout has been twice that of Democratic turnout in the past several elections. "They have to get twice their people to vote to beat us," he said.

Don't sell us short, don't buy into the notion that maybe if we work hard we can come close to beating Republicans in a few elections. Texas, like everywhere else populated by normal human beings, is a blue state, David Van Os proudly shouted.

As much as I'd like to believe David Van Os - well, Texas is just not a Blue state. At least not in 2004. Kerry will not win Texas. It's one thing to try and fire up the base, but it's quite another to live in fantasyland (to steal a line from Kerry's recent stump speech). The only way we turn Texas blue is by working our butts off, registering and turning out every voter in every cycle that we can. It means contesting more races with quality candidates and funding them. It means having a cordinated message where Texans of all races, backgrounds and regions can be proud to call themselves a Democrat. And on that note, here's the good news. The Texas Democratic Party is alive in Amarillo:

And, yeah, that crowd was fantastic. Democrats are coming out like no one ever believed we could. Even Will Rogers would have to admit that we're lining up together this year, when it matters most.


A huge crowd for a state Supreme Court nominee at an isolated ranch we had to drove over miles of dirt road to get to? Even Texas a blue state? George Bush was the best thing that ever happened to our party.

Everything sounds great until the last sentence there. The Bush mystic is the reason Texas Democrats are in such bad shape. Had George W. Bush never arrived on the scene of Texas politics, Democrats wouldn't have been shut out of the statewides in his 1998 landslide reelection, which means Democrats wouldn't have gotten screwed in the 2001 legislative redistricting, which means the most recent redistricting never would have happened, but I digress.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:55 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Josh Marshall Said it First

By Byron LaMasters

On Prime Minister Allawi:

Is Prime Minister Allawi actually part of the Bush campaign? Or is he registered as a 527?

Funny thing, because I had the same reaction watching the clips last night. John Stewart dissected the Bush and Allawi speeches on the Daily Show (Real Player Video) last night. You'd think they have the same speechwriter. Maybe they do...

Update: And the reaction over in Iraq? Read Riverbend.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Who's Fighting for you in TX-32?

By Byron LaMasters

Martin Frost fights to keep America safe and bring jobs to the Dallas area.

Pete Sessions fights for jobs.... in Malaysia.

The latest:

America goes to war.
Sessions goes to Malaysia.

In January 2002, as our nation reeled from the attacks of 9/11 and the U.S. military mounted air strikes over Afghanistan, Pete Sessions and his wife went on a $11,000 trip to Malaysia -- a luxury vacation paid for by a lobby group that receives funding from the Malaysian government. (Source: Congressional Travel Disclosures, National Journal, 3/27/04)

America needs homeland security. Sessions lobbies for Malaysia.

In March 2002, while President Bush and a bipartisan coalition were working to create the Department of Homeland Security, Pete Sessions spent his time creating the "Malaysian Trade, Security and Economic Cooperation Caucus," a lobby group for Malaysian special interests. In one of his first acts as an advocate for Malaysia, Sessions researched delays in the processing of U.S. visas for Malaysians.

Too bad Sessions doesn't work as hard to protect you as he does to protect his special interests. Sessions voted against screening cargo on passenger airliners for explosives and other weapons that could be used in a terrorist attack. And Sessions opposed the President's air safety plan, when he voted against Senator Hutchison's bill to require professional baggage screeners, add air marshals and reinforce cockpit doors on passenger flights. (Source: Sessions website, Markey Amendment to H.R. 4567, FY05 Dept. of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, 6/18/04, Vote #273, S. 1447 11/16/01 Vote #448)

America needs jobs.
Sessions sends them to Malaysia.

As our local economy faces layoffs, you would expect Pete Sessions to work hard to create new jobs. But as Sessions co-founded his lobby group to move our jobs to Malaysia, Forbes Magazine revealed how EDS outsourced thousands of jobs to low-wage countries like Malaysia, Hungary and India. Then last week, the Dallas Morning News reported that EDS plans to cut 20,000 U.S. jobs: "Workers at EDS have endured repeated downsizing ... EDS wants to more than double the number of workers in offshore locations by the end of next year ..." In three years, the Dallas area has lost more than 15,000 high-tech jobs to countries like Taiwan, India and ... you guessed it ... Malaysia. (Source: Sessions website, Forbes, The Dallas Morning News, U.S. Department of Labor)

Don’t you deserve a Congressman who is working for you?

More on several other House races, check out Off the Kuff.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Texans for Truth Ad

By Byron LaMasters

I think the whole Rathergate episode has taken some of the sting out of questioning George W. Bush's National Guard record, but Texans for Truth has a new ad out, asking President Bush to authorize the release of all of his National Guard records before the presidential debates. It's better than the last ad. You can donate here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

265.3 mbs

By Jim Dallas

That (also translatable as .2653 brooksies) is our current measure of Internet Fame on the Drum Index. By comparison, that's about a quarter of the IF rating for Kevin Drum, an eighth of the rating of Atrios, and one percent of George W. Bush.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 05:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Liberals Want To Impose Their Values on Arkansas

By Jim Dallas

...whereas conservatives want to impose their values on Arkansas AND the other 49 states.

The mailer that hit West Virginia hit Arkansas this week, and who knows where else?

If only all this stuff about liberals being for raping, pillaging, casual sex, horrible drugs (besides, you know, tobacco), irreligion, and loud music were true! I've always wanted to be a Viking. Or an extra in a Mad Max movie.

"Hey kids, let's go get drunk, grow long beards, wear funny hats... and sack Arkansas!"

They say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 23, 2004

BOR in RHE306

By Byron LaMasters

It's nice to know that BOR is contributing to academia here at the University of Texas. I just noticed that we're used as an example in UT's entry level Rhetoric and Composition class (I tested out of it).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:39 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Anyone else see a Theme?

By Byron LaMasters

Repeat after me. Repeat in every congressional district where ARMPAC has dumped money. ARMPAC money is DeLay money. DeLay money is dirty money. Dirty money is very, very bad. If you have dirty money, you should give it back. If you don't give back dirty money then you're just a typical corrupt, worthless, no-good Tom DeLay lackey congressional pawn, and it's about time you got the boot.

Every Democrat in a race against an ARMPAC Republican should hammer away at the issue and demand that the Republican return their check. A brief google search shows the issue taking hold in House races across the country:


A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Max Sandlin on Wednesday challenged Republican congressional candidate Louie Gohmert to return "tainted cash" he has received from groups affiliated with U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.


"As a young man, my parents taught me to never revel in the troubles of others, so I was disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that three of Tom DeLay's top lieutenants, and many of his cash contributors, were indicted for illegal campaign activity," Sandlin, D-Marshall, said in a statement.

Gohmert, whose campaign has received $10,000 from Americans for a Republican Majority, said Wednesday that the investigation should have no bearing on his campaign to unseat Sandlin in the 1st Congressional District.

AZ-1 (PDF file):

The Paul Babbitt campaign today called on Rick Renzi to return $15,000 in campaign funds from ARMPAC, a political committee named in felony indictments in Texas and run by House GOP Leader Tom DeLay (TX). ARMPAC’s executive director Jim Ellis and other aides to DeLay were indicted yesterday by a grand jury for money laundering, a first-degree felony.

“Rick Renzi has received thousands of dollars from a political committee involved in a felony money laundering scheme. Rep. Renzi should immediately give Tom DeLay his tainted money back,” said Paul Babbitt.

Using an accounting trick that credited a March 2003 contribution of $5,000 to the previous election cycle as “debt retirement,” Renzi has accepted $5,000 more than from ARMPAC than the legal limit of $10,000 per election cycle.


U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, and his challenger, Democrat Jim Sullivan, continued to fire away at one another Wednesday, with Sullivan calling for Simmons to return a campaign contribution from a political committee whose aides were indicted the day before.


At the center of Sullivan's demand was the indictment Tuesday of three men, including Jim Ellis, a top aide of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and John Colyandro, executive director of his political committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, or ARMPAC.


Simmons has received $10,000, the legal maximum, from ARMPAC, which has distributed more than $780,000 to Republican candidates in the current election cycle.


Democrats on Thursday called on New Jersey Rep. Mike Ferguson to return $10,000 in campaign money he received from a political committee named in felony indictments and associated with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas.

Good to see Dems turning up the heat on Tom DeLay's congressional lackeys... help the DCCC expose them all with a donation.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier (just so long as I'm the dictator).

By Jim Dallas

According to a Turkish newspaper, Saddam Hussein will declare his candidacy for President of Iraq, and it looks like he is leading in the polls.

Of course, that's a major step down from the last election he won with 99.99 percent of the vote.

This is clearly a ploy to irritate the provisional government and the United States, and provoke them to either kick him off the ballot so he can whine (ala Ralph Nader). Or cry about "rigged elections." Or actually win. Either way, this is bad news.

Idealistic visions of democracy-promotion can be a real pain in the neck sometimes. Especially when you're dealing with jerks like Saddam.

UPDATE: This story is a couple days old, and none of the major European (outside of Turkey) or US media has gotten on it. So who knows... although I hope this doesn't happen.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 02:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Off the Kuff = Best Houston Blog

By Byron LaMasters

Congrats to Charles Kuffner on being recognized as the best local blog by the Houston Press:

Off the Kuff In a field cluttered with "what I had for breakfast" and "my girlfriend/boyfriend is so cute" entries, Charles Kuffner's gazette keeps track of local and national politics, music, baseball and a bunch of other stuff in an informative and digestible way. And among political bloggers, Kuffner also stands out as a sensible moderate Democrat amid all the paranoid libertarians, smug right-wingers and shrill lefties typing their screeds in cloudy cuckoo land.

And since I don't have much hope in gathering all the latest news on everything going on with Tom DeLay, and everyone's reaction to it between trying to get a few posts up here, catching up on sleep, and studying for my third exam this week, read Kuff today. He's got everything on the latest twist (is Tom Craddick next?) in the investigation by the Travis County DA.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:13 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

BOR Hurricane Blogging (and other news)

By Jim Dallas


Reporting live from the Burnt Orange Weather Center (err, OK, my study carrell here at UH), I'd like to fill you in on the latest exciting hurricane news here in East Texas.

It's sunny outside albeit a little windy. It's also unusually cool for this time of year.

Local citizens are panicking, so much so that most of fellow students yawned when told about the approaching disaster. Many are making special efforts to go to the Miami - UH game at Reliant Stadium tonight in order to escape. Although the dude who sits next to me tells me he thinks its funny we're playing the "Miami Hurricanes" tonight, ironically at about the same time this beast is supposed to make landfall on the upper Texas coast.

But let me tell you, dear readers, there is absolutely nothing funny about a tropical storm packing 50 mph winds, which is so strong that it might not even be a tropical depression by the time it makes it to Houston!

In contrast, I intend to take this horrible disaster seriously, by strapping myself to the nearest palm tree and practicing my Geraldo Rivera impression.

(Seriously, though, I would be concerned about rain; Ivan is expected to basically stall out over the Houston area and dump a foot or two of rain. Which is kinda what Allison did three years ago. You know, they told me I'd either sink or swim in law school, but I didn't think they'd mean it literally!)

(Furthermore, I think this freakish weather event is a message of God written directly to me and Seabrook resident Jack Cluth not to blog about weather events being "messages from God." Of course this does not give readers the right to throw us into the lava-filled crater of a smoking volcano.)

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ronnie Earle is not a Democratic Hack

By Byron LaMasters

FOX News demonstrated this week that they know nothing about Texas politics. Texas has its share of partisan Democrats, but Travis County DA Ronnie Earle is not one of them. In fact, Ronnie Earle has investigated and indicted far more Democrats than Republicans. Media Matters for America has the details:

FOX News Channel correspondent Brian Wilson echoed allegations by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) that the September 21 indictments of three top aides to DeLay by Ronnie Earle, district attorney in Travis County, Texas, were politically motivated. But evidence shows otherwise.

"This has been a dragged out, 500-day investigation and you do the political math," DeLay said, according to a September 21 Associated Press report. On the September 21 edition of FOX News Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume, Wilson reported that "some say" Earle is "the most partisan Democrat in the state of Texas" and that "a good DA [district attorney] can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich":

WILSON: Now, Ronnie Earle, the DA [district attorney] who conducted this probe, is one of the most powerful, some say the most partisan Democrat in the state of Texas. As district attorney of Travis County [Texas], he can investigate anything that pertains to the state capital. It is often said in Texas that a good DA can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. And Earle is a pretty good DA who works before a largely Democratic grand jury. Earle once brought charges against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican, only to have the case thrown out later by a judge.

But a June 17 editorial in the Houston Chronicle noted: "During his long tenure, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has prosecuted many more Democratic officials than Republicans. The record does not support allegations that Earle is prone to partisan witch hunts."

This assertion supports Earle's own claim about his record. From a March 6 article in the El Paso Times: "Earle says local prosecution is fundamental and points out that 11 of the 15 politicians he has prosecuted over the years were Democrats."

I guess "fair and balanced" means taking Tom DeLay at his word.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:28 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Death Threats Are Funny?

By Byron LaMasters

Jimmy Swaggert thinks so:

In the broadcast, Swaggart was discussing his opposition to gay marriage when he said "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry."

"And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died," Swaggart said to laughter and applause from the congregation.

Today, Swaggart said he has jokingly used the expression "killing someone and telling God he died" thousands of times, about all sorts of people. He said the expression is figurative and not meant to harm.

"It's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything. You can't lie to God -- it's ridiculous," Swaggart told The Associated Press. "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology."

That's a hell of a non-apology apology. I posted on this last week, here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:43 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 22, 2004

Tom DeLay Fact Check

By Byron LaMasters

Chris Bell debunks the DeLay myths in a press release:

FACT CHECK: DeLay Statements Contradict Evidence

The Myth:

"This investigation isn't about me", explained House Majority Leader Tom DeLay Tuesday about his colleague's indictments. "All I did was help raise money. I didn't have anything to do with where it went." As reported in today's Los Angeles Times.

The Facts:

Although Mr. DeLay claims to have no connection with the three associates indicted on Tuesday, his statements do not agree with the facts. According to deposition testimony offered by defendant John Colyandro, the executive director of TRMPAC, DeLay is directly involved with TRMPAC.

See the rest of the Chris Bell press release in the extended entry:

  • DeLay served was the head of TRMPAC's advisory board and was integrally involved in its administration.
  • According to the deposition testimony of John Colyandro, there were regular conference calls "to discuss matters related to the overall administration of the committee."
  • "When it came to broadly making decisions about who, which candidates we would support and with what amount of financial assistance, at that point the advisory board was involved with those types of decisions." - John Colynadro, sworn testimony
  • An October 4, 2002, memo from TRMPAC fundraiser Susan Lilly discussed an upcoming conference call with donors in which Rep. DeLay would "update everyone on TRMPAC's efforts to date and to discuss our strategy for victory in the final weeks of the campaign."
  • Other highlights of the deposition connecting DeLay to the indictments are listed as follows:
    • DeLay named to TRMPAC advisory board.
    • TRMPAC documents stating that Congressman DeLay was a leader of TRMPAC.
    • "High Ranking Republicans announced formation of new PAC" (11/28/01 news release includes description of advisory board and DeLay's name.
    • Colyandro met with DeLay in Dallas at Bill Ceverha's office while Colyandro was working for TRMPAC.
    • DeLay traveled, on a private plane, to Texas for TRMPAC event in February 2002. TRMPAC paid for the cost of the plane ride.
    • Colyandro distributed memo to members of advisory board assessing potential Republican candidates and discussing their viability.
    • Advisory Board met and discussed races that TRMPAC was supporting.
    • All members of the advisory board were engaged in raising funds for TRMPAC. A quote from Congressman DeLay was used in TRMPAC's direct mail fundraising appeals.

Response Statement from Chris Bell

"These indictments along with the deposition of his fellow collaborator, John Colyandro, just strengthen the case that Mr. DeLay should be investigated by the Ethics Committee."

"I don't think any credible person would believe that Mr. DeLay had no idea what his top level aides were up to, particularly when the money they raised illegally helped changed the face of Texas politics. Besides, the facts clearly show Mr. DeLay was deeply involved. The evidence at hand doesn't support his statements."

"I am confident that the evidence will demonstrate that all roads lead right back to Tom DeLay. He is the common link."

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hale Center American Endorses Stenholm

By Byron LaMasters

It's from last week, but good news. For those of you not familiar with Texas politics, Hale Center is a small rural town in the Panhandle, home of former Texas House Speaker Pete Laney (D-Hale Center).

Help out Charlie Stenholm fill the boot in his bid to raise $10,000 online in 30 days.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush Wants to Raise Your Taxes

By Andrew Dobbs

Still no word from "Bill"- guess it's easier to scratch your ass and attack the loved ones of those serving overseas online than to stand up like a man and put your money where your mouth is. But on another note, George W. Bush is going to raise the taxes on American families:

"It's time to return to the idea that made this country great," said Edwards. "Instead of helping wealthy people protect their wealth, we should reward the work of America's middle class."

The president has spent the past four years working to shift the tax burden onto people who work, while eliminating taxes on unearned income. The Bush administration's new "tax reform" plan, as revealed in a memo released by his former Treasury Secretary, is a reckless continuation of the President's history of serving special interests on the backs of working Americans.

The President's plan will raise taxes on typical families and take away deductions for home mortgages, charity and health care, hurting middle class families even more than before and rewarding special interests.

Alright, it is a K-E Press Release but I have yet to hear anything in response from Bush-Cheney. If this plan goes through, American families will have tens of thousands of dollars in extra tax exposure every year. Kerry will lower taxes on American families while maintaining write-offs for those whose paychecks go a lot less further thanks to George W. Bush and Bush will raise your taxes.

Let's push this new Middle Class Tax on the American Dream as a top reason to vote against Bush.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 04:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why to give to the DCCC?

By Byron LaMasters

Because unlike any other major national Democratic committees, they can make the difference between winning and losing in the final weeks of the election. And for everyone complaining that Texas sends millions of dollars to the D.C. committees and doesn't get a cent in return, give to the DCCC. Texas has six competetive congressional races this cycle. SIX! That's about two more than any other state. So for the first time in a long time, Texas (via the DCCC) will see money coming into it from other states. Read Joe Trippi on the Stakeholder on how the DCCC really does make a tangible difference in these races that we're talking about everyday on here.

If he makes as much sense to you, as he does to me, send them a few bucks.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Q&A with Chet Edwards

By Byron LaMasters

State Rep candidate Jake Gilbreath (D-Waxahachie) attended an event in Hillsborough (I-35 outlet mall town between Dallas and Waco) event for Chet Edwards (D-Waco) earlier this week, and asked him a few questions about his race. Jake's asked me to post it on BOR. There's also a picture of the two of them that I'll upload when I have a chance. More good news in the interview. Our friends (at least until November 26th) at Texas A&M are doing great work for their fellow Aggie, Chet Edwards. A&M students have knocked on 14,000+ doors so far for Chet.

Check out the interview in the extended entry:

JG: How do you feel about your race?

CE: I feel great about it. I think I reflect the mainstream values of the people of this District. My opponent Mrs. Wohlgemuth has cut 147,000 children of working families in Texas off health care and taken money away from seniors in nursing homes that they needed for just their basic needs. I don’t think those are the values that reflect the families of this district.

JG: You have many community colleges and universities in your district including Baylor University and Texas A&M University. Why are you the candidate for young people, and how have young people contributed to your campaign?

CE: There’s a clear choice on education in this race. As a Texas Senator I helped pass as the college student loan program that gave $70 million to help students afford college. In Washington, I’ve been a strong supporter of college student loans, Pell Grants, and work studies. I helped take on Newt Gingrich when he was trying to cut out $2 billion in college financial aid. Ms. Wohlgemuth, on the other hand, supports college tuition deregulation and has been part of under funding our higher education institutions in Texas. That’s why tuition rates are going up so dramatically right now putting a lot of burden on many students of working families.

Also, on public schools, I support keeping tax dollars in our public schools. Ms. Wohlgemuth supports private school vouchers which take tax dollars out of public schools which education 90% of our children to subsidize wealthy, private schools which education 10%. That makes no sense.

So there’s really a clear difference on education.

We have had students at A&M that have knocked on 14,000 doors in our campaign. We have had students throughout the rest of the district that have knocked on thousands of additional doors. So students are really an important part of our campaign. Education issues and my efforts to try to reduce the federal deficit that’s going to be a burden on the students of today and the leaders and tax payers of tomorrow are issues I hope will really motivate students to get out in this campaign.

JG: Do you ever see Texas turning back to a Democratic state?

CE: Yes I do. I think the pendulum goes back and forth. I think what a lot of Texans right now who have been voting Republican are seeing is that with Republican control of the Legislature they’re seeing tuition rates going up at 20-30% a year. They are seeing funding for our community colleges being cut by 20% on a contact hour basis per student. They are seeing all of our new roads are going to propose as toll roads. And now they’re cutting 147,000 Texas children off the children’s health insurance program which encourages welfare rather than encouraging work. I don’t think those kind of far right fringe politics really reflect the values of Texas. So I’m optimistic about the future of Democrats coming back in our State.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sweep Travis County

By Byron LaMasters

I'm confident Democrats will carry Travis County for John Kerry and sweep the countywides. Right now our state house delegation is 3-3. It can be 5-1 Democratic. Travis County is a Democratic county and a fair balance of Dem vs. GOP representation in the state house would be 4-2 Democratic (it was 4-1 Democratic before the 2001 redistricting). But instead of creating a new Republican seat (the fair thing to do), Republican redistricters destroyed one Democratic seat, and created two new marginal Republican seats. Well, they overreached, and in order to create three Republican state rep seats in Travis county, they had to overstretch their Republican voters. Thus, both Republican state reps elected in 2002 are susceptible to strong Democratic challengers. And that's what both Jack Stick and Todd Baxter got.

So, check out the profiles of both races in the Austin American Statesman today:

Stick vs. Strama.
Baxter vs. White.

Show Tom DeLay's corrupt puppets the door:

Give to Mark Strama
Give to Kelly White.

Via Off the Kuff.

Update: Here's the latest on Todd Baxter Follies from a reader following the race:

Todd Baxter has lost his mind. He's going around saying that more Texas children have health insurance now than ever before. We have no idea where he's getting this information from, particularly as every responsible authority (i.e. Children's Defense Fund, Center for Public Policy Priorities) is saying the exact opposite. From what we can see, he's just pulling it right out of thin air- it's a blatant lie.

Todd Baxter has flip-flopped on just about every issue facing Travis County. Local political observers will tell you that when he was on the Travis County Commissioners Court, he voted "present" more than anyone else. I guess when you can't flip-flop, it's best to just not take a position.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

My Father Is Going to Iraq

By Andrew Dobbs

Yesterday in my post on Tom DeLay, some guy calling himself "Bill" felt it necessary to call me full of crap and to suggest that I hate America. He also said this:

Though i really respect Andrew Dobbs, I feel that his opinions (and those of like minded people) are based on unreality. I bet if he had a brother in Iraq or a father or mother whos erved the community he wouldn't hold such American hating positions.

Guess what "Bill"- my father is currently on his way to Iraq to train Iraqi police officers in firearms and defensive tactics. Why is he qualified to do this? Because he was a police officer for 25 years. My father is voluntarily putting himself in the belly of the beast and he has spent a majority of his life in uniform looking down the wrong ends of guns. He has served the community.

And don't you, or anyone else here ever suggest that I hate America. I catch flack from the left on campus because I hate Michael Moore and because I now support the Iraq war, because I am a firm believer in the war on terrorism and I support a strong military (including a National Missile Defense system). If you want to say that I hate America, give me a call- you know my name and you go to UT so use the directory and look me up. We'll find a place to meet, you'll call me unpatriotic to my face and then I'll kick your ass.

Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they are evil. Just because they think that Tom DeLay is a bad dude doesn't mean they hate America. It is funny- you'll bend over backwards to defend draft dodgers like Tom DeLay, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich and the like but you'll never give credit to veterans like John Kerry, Tom Daschle, Tom Harkin or Al Gore. Still, I don't believe that you or your candidates hate America- I just think that you all are cowards. I think that more than any other indictment or accusation or investigation your barely literate, barely legible, fairly neurotic screeds of accusation against me prove that your hero and former employer- Tom DeLay- is a worthless piece of scum.

I'll be waiting for your call- my Dad taught me never to back down to a bully.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 12:21 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Michigan No Longer a Swing State

By Byron LaMasters

In the big picture, the current small Bush lead doesn't mean that much. Basically, it has one real consequence. There are less states in play. Red states that Democrats were hoping would be competetive such as Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri and Arizona are less likely to be as seriously contested. The playing field has shrunk, and both Bush and Kerry are diverting resources to the other states. So - advantage Bush, but the same basic electoral axiom applies that existed several months ago. It's pretty much a certainty that whoever wins two of the three of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania wins this election. Both Bush and Kerrry can win by only winning one of those three states, but in order to do so, they must each be able to cobble together a combination of the vast majority of remaining swing states.

The three state trifecta in 2000 was Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania. But in 2004 - even as Kerry has sunk in some polls, he's remained relatively strong in Michigan. Now, it's begining to look as if Michigan is joining several of the above red states in its removal from the electoral playing field. In fact, ACT is pulling out of Michigan:

Americans Coming Together (ACT), the political fund-raising group behind high-profile rock concerts meant to increase turnout for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, is closing all 10 of its offices in Michigan and reassigning most of its 100 staff members to other battleground states.

The shift comes as polls show Kerry still holding a lead ranging from 4 to 6 percentage points over President George W. Bush in Michigan, but with Kerry trailing in other states considered must-wins for the Democrat.


ACT staffers are being deployed to other states, such as Florida, because Michigan's labor unions are experienced in massive get-out-the-vote efforts to back Democratic candidates.

Not only is labor strongly getting out the vote for John Kerry, but the Muslim vote probably makes a big difference in one state - Michigan. And they're polling heavily for Kerry:

American Muslim voters are overwhelmingly supporting Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry over Republican George W. Bush, according to a new American Muslim Poll conducted by Zogby International for Georgetown University’s Muslims in the American Public Square (Project MAPS). By a margin of 76% to 7%, Muslims back the Kerry/Edwards ticket over the incumbent Bush/Cheney ticket. This is a stark reversal of fortunes from the 2000 election for Mr. Bush. The poll consisted of a telephone survey of 1,700 Muslims, and an over sample of 146 face-to-face interviews of African-American Muslims. The margin of error is +/-2.3 percentage points.

“This contrasts sharply with the 2000 election, when Mr. Bush garnered 42% of the Muslim vote versus 31% for Democrat Al Gore,” said Dr. Zahid Bukhari, director of Project MAPS.

Nader received a substantial portion of the Muslim vote in 2000 as well. But these numbers suggest a phenomenal shift of +45% for Democrats and -35% for Republicans. In Michigan, that's enough to skew the entire voting population several points towards Kerry.

So for Democrats wanting some good news in the presidential race, here you have it. Michigan is looking pretty solid for Kerry.

Update: Just read Kos, and he's got more.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So wrong, yet so inevitable

By Jim Dallas

I was waiting to see who would insist the Florida hurricane trifecta was a "message from God" (A few years back when Galveston got hit by a couple of tropical storms in the same season I figured as much. I think the message was, "let's have the high school kids sit at home and play video games on a school day, just for fun." That's the difference between hurricanes and tropical storms -- a tropical storm is a good excuse, whereas a hurricane is a bad disaster).

Looks like the wait is over.

UPDATE: Incidentally, it occurred to me that the year I speak of was 1998 (hurricane names are repeated every six years). The two storms that hit Galveston that year were... Tropical Storm Charley and Tropical Storm Frances! Now explain to me this... Texas gets hit twice when Bush is up for re-election as Governor of Texas in 1998. And now Florida (a swing state) gets hit by storms with the same names exactly six years later when he's running for re-election as President? WTF?

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Well, Your Honor, It's Funny That You Mention That...

By Jim Dallas

Justice Scalia says its time for the Court to stop hearing so many morally-charged, "political" cases.

Funny, I feel the same way.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'll take a million bajillion points, please.

By Jim Dallas

One thing that I think tends to be forgotten that, "72 hour projects" and GOP bragging aside, we're still better at GOTV than the Republicans are.

My rule has been, "if we're down by three in Ohio on the eve of the election, it'll end up being a tie because of GOTV."

Mark Shields, fwiw, now says that Republicans are admitting that it's more like five points.

I tend to doubt that GOTV is quite that outcome determinative (and one of the rules of engagement must be, don't trust GOP operatives when quoted anonymously in the press). But I do think that we'll prevail if the polls are tied or thereabouts.

I am pretty confident that this is conventional wisdom, by the way, and I'm hoping your heads are nodding in unison, dear readers.

And that sort of inspires me to hitch a bus to Arkansas in November, if I can get away from school (damn attendance requirements).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Voter Registration

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

The report from this weekend's Austin City Limits fest is that we registered 876 people here in Travis County to vote.

Also, the University Democrats are now up to around 2,300 registered by organization members. (Meeting tonight at 8 pm in GAR 1 to phone bank to Arizona! Bring those phones and laptops.)

That leave 12 more days to register voters here in Texas. Now is the time, if you are not registered, register. If you can register others, do so.


Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The New and Improved Democratic Party

By Jim Dallas

Apparently this was under the radar until tonight, but tomorrow we're going to get the unveiling of the DCCC's version of the Contract with America.

Here's to hoping the best for the D-trip's manifesto.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 21, 2004

All DeLay, All the Time

By Byron LaMasters

Sorry for the lack of extensive Tom DeLay coverage on BOR today. I've got three exams this week in addition to two Democratic meetings and sending out a major fundraiser - so I literally didn't have a chance to get online until 10 PM today. Fortunately, Andrew was able to mention the indictments against DeLay's cronies earlier today, but if you're looking for more info on it all, here's where you can find it.

From the papers:

Republican Majority officials indicted in fund-raising investigation. Attorney says seven companies, three individuals named [Austin American Statesman]

Of specific note were last year's redistricting mastermind Jim Ellis, a former Tom DeLay staffer, and current head of Americans for a Republican Majority (Tom DeLay's PAC). Also included is John Colyandro, executive director of Texas for a Republican Majority PAC.

32 felony indictments returned in DeLay case [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

Indicted include corporations - Sears and Roebuck, Westar Energy Inc, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Bacardi USA, and also DeLay fundraiser Warren RoBold (along with Colyandro and Ellis).

Indictments of associates may turn up heat on DeLay. Investigation could aid ethics complaint against him, analysts say [Dallas Morning News]

3 DeLay Aides Facing Charges in Fund Inquiry [The New York Times]

3 DeLay Workers Indicted In Texas. Aides Charged in Fundraising Probe [Washington Post]

From the Blogs:

Keep an eye on Austin Today [Taking on Tom DeLay]
First TRMPAC Indictments Issued [Taking on Tom DeLay]
Dirty Dirty Money [Taking on Tom DeLay]
Indictments [The Stakeholder]
Indictment Question [The Stakeholder]
A Simple Question for DeLay [The Stakeholder]
TRMPAC indictments handed down [Off the Kuff]
I Heart Ronnie Earle [Roman Candles]
Indictments Handed Down in TRMPAC Case [Rational Rantings]

DeLay Escapes Indictment [Daily Kos]
Tom's Friends [TAPPED]
TRMPAC Indictments [The Yellow Doggerel Democrat]
Indictments Returned in DeLay Investigation [Talk Left]

Update: Here's the statement by U.S. Rep. Chris Bell (D-Houston) who filed the ethics complaint against Tom DeLay in the U.S. House:

Congressman Chris Bell released the following statement:

"After today's felony indictments of John Colyandro, Jim Ellis and other key
DeLay associates, the Ethics Committee has no option but to move forward
with a full investigation into Mr. DeLay on all three counts of the
complaint filed against him.

The Ethics Committee has already taken 90 days to review the information and
has yet to take action.

These indictments are clear indication that the Ethics complaint against Mr.
DeLay is substantive and extremely serious. Anything less than a full
investigation would signify a failure on the part of the Committee to
fulfill their responsibility to protect the integrity of the House."

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I wonder who funded the latest Swift Vet Ads?

By Byron LaMasters

Not the grassroots army of veterans who John Kerry supposedly sold out, but major Bush family donor Bob Perry:

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has launched another flurry of television advertisements attacking Democrat John Kerry, and Houston homebuilder Bob Perry is providing most of the money.

In a report available to the public on Monday, the organization disclosed that it spent $326,210 on ads aired earlier this month in New Mexico and Nevada — states considered key to winning the White House this year.

Of that amount, $250,000 was donated by Perry, a longtime support of President Bush and other Republican candidates.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another Texas Tuesdays

By Byron LaMasters

Morris Meyer Intro.
Morris Meyer Interview.

Lorenzo Sadun Intro.
Race for the 10th CD.
Lorenzo Sadun Interview.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Google has expanded their g-mail trial pool for their 1 Gigabyte Free e-mail storage service yet again. And once more, because BOR is your friend, for a third time this month, will offer up to 5 g-mail invites to our loyal readers.

So if you throw some jingle in, of whatever amount you feel BOR is worth, I'll send you an invite to the address that is included on the paypal receit. Be sure to leave a comment after you do so in order to make sure you have yours reserved.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Breaking News: Indictments Against DeLay Cronies Handed Down

By Andrew Dobbs

From Clean Up Texas Politics, quoting the Austin American-Statesman:

A Travis County grand jury today indicted three consultants with Texans for a Republican Majority and at least seven corporate donors, according to lawyers for U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Indicted were John Colyandro, executive director of the political action committee; Warren Robold, a Washington, D.C., fund-raiser; and Jim Ellis a key aide to DeLay, according to Austin attorney Steve Brittain, who is a lawyer for DeLay.

Defense attorneys said Colyandro and Robold were charged with about a dozen felonies each; Ellis was indicted on one count. It was not yet known what the charges were.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle was not available for comment yet, and the indictments were still being processed.

Today's indictments were the result of almost two years of investigation.

The corporations indicted are Sears Roebuck & Co., Barcardi USA Inc., Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., Diversified Collection Services Inc., Questerra Corporation, Williams Companies, Inc., Westar Energy Inc., Alliance for Qualilty Nursing Home Care, Inc. Several of these companies, of course, are long time Texas GOP sponsors. Now we'll have to see if Colyandro, Ceverha or one of the others sells DeLay up the river in return for immunity. The Hammer's about to get nailed.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 02:40 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

September 20, 2004


By Jim Dallas

A DailyKOS diarist notes that Grover Norquist looks at demographic trends, and smiles:

Each year, 2 million people who fought in the Second World War and lived through the Great Depression die. This generation has been an exeception in American history, because it has defended anti-American policies. They voted for the creation of the welfare state and obligatory military service. They are the base of the Democratic Party. And they are dying.

Norquist might have his own agenda, but I've heard at least a few Democratic big-wigs say the same thing (although, as one would hope, interpreting such facts with horror instead of glee).

But I see here a caveat. Our grandparents' generation didn't start voting for Democrats when they were old; they started voting for Democrats when they were our age.

(My inner Republican pundit sez: "I guess that's what smoking and voting have in common." But then again he's an idiot.)

At any rate, if you want to see the future, don't look at who's leaving a system, look who is entering into it.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Phenomenal Voter Reg. Numbers from Travis County

By Byron LaMasters

Between March 9th and September 18th of this year 41,400 people registered to vote in Travis County.

Of those 41,400 new voters, 50% are under 30, and 39% under the age of 25.

This is nearly twice the number of voters registered in Travis during the last presidential election year. During this period in 2000, there were 25,100 voters who registered. Of those new registered voters, 59% cast a ballot.

Local Democratic organizers expect another 20,000 voter registrations in the final two weeks of registration before the October 4th deadline.

I am extremely optimistic about Democrats prospects in Travis County. In 2000, George W. Bush won Travis County 47%-43% (10% for Nader). That year, there were two key trends among voters that are absent this year. First, Ralph Nader was on the ballot, many liberals saw little difference between Bush and Gore, and thus since Texas was not a swing state, many liberal voters cast a Nader protest vote. Second, despite getting roughed up some in the 2000 campaign, many Texas Democrats still saw George W. Bush as their popular homestate governor. This year however, many longtime Austin activists will tell you that the Democratic base is more energized than they have seen in a decade or two.

It would not surprise me to see Kerry approach (or even top) 60% of the vote countywide. I'd be shocked if Democrats don't sweep the countywides as well. The real question will be the two hotly contested state representative races in the northern part of the county (Strama and White). Both are marginally Republican districts, but full of moderate suburbanites who often split their tickets.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:14 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Jake Gilbreath Campaign Update

By Byron LaMasters

I spoke with Texas State Rep candidate Jake Gilbreath recently, and asked him to send me a campaign update when he had the chance. He emailed me with one earlier today, so here's the latest:

Campaign Update:

Is there any more evidence needed that Democrats should always have a candidate in every race? Rep. Jim Pitts has not been challenged by a Democrat since 1992. As a result he’s been allowed to sit back, ignore the District, and not be held accountable for his actions.

So now that he has a challenger, what is Mr. Pitts’ response? Refuse to debate and rely on thousands and thousands of dollars in advertisement to ensure his re-election. Mr. Pitts has plastered Ellis County with yard signs and 4x4 signs. On top of that, he has taken out billboard signs, including one off 1-35, and bought out multiple advertisements. I expect him to send out at least two mailings as well.

But what about the debate? I challenged Mr. Pitts to an open discussion of the issues some two weeks ago. I have yet to receive a response. Why is it that Mr. Pitts can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on advertisement, but he’s afraid to debate? Now I’m not saying that I’m not a qualified candidate, but let’s think about it. I am a 21 year old college student. Mr. Pitts is a practicing lawyer in his 50s with 12 years in the Texas Legislature under his belt. And he’s afraid to debate me? If that doesn’t say something about his record, I don’t know what does.

In the end, I openly admit that I am ready to lose this election. But politics shouldn’t be about winning and losing. It should be about standing up for what you believe in. The Democrats have a candidate, we have a fight, and we’re going to have a showing. That’s an improvement. The goal for all of us should be to continue on with our upward movement until soon, very soon, we see Texas turn blue once again! Keep up the good fight!

Jake Gilbreath

Learn more about Jake here and send him a few bucks if you have the chance.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

UT ITS is Evil

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

UT thinks that passwords are not good enough as they are now. So the Information Technology Wizards have thought up a new scheme in order to keep anyone from figuring out your password. This apparently includes the owner of the password as well. Their newly printed guidlines are the most assinine set of rules I have ever encountered for a password. Soon we will all be forced to have some god-awful combo like "jek45:@blg%7"...

What are the new password requirements?

- It must be between 8 and 20 characters in length.
- It cannot contain blanks.
- It must contain letters, numbers, and special characters.
Special characters which are permitted are ! @ # $ % & * ( ) - + = , < > :
" ' .
- It cannot contain any words found in our dictionary or common proper nouns
of four letters or longer. In addition, common letter transpositions are
not allowed (such as @ for a, ! for i, or zero for O).
- It cannot contain your UT EID.
- It cannot contain your first or last name.
- It cannot contain your birthday in any form.
- It cannot contain your Social Security Number.
- You may not reuse any of your last 10 passwords.

I can almost guarentee you that this is not going to create more difficult passwords but simply some combination that is easy to type (since almost any word longer than 4 letters will NOT work) meaning that passwords will be patterns on the keyboard. Think ASDF7890.

Please add your creative ideas for additional restrictions in the comments. Mine?

- It cannot be possible to type you password in under 10 seconds.

update Thanks to this idiotic new system, I have Already Locked myself out of my UT accounts due to the password changing shit.

update 2 Being the crafty student I am, I found a way to get around needing to contact the Main offices in the Tower. Take that, security bitches.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 05:18 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Thoughts on an Idea

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

The other week my mother sent me a very interesting e-mail with an idea in it which I have been meaning to post here for your review so here goes...

I feel so frustrated every time I watch the news and read the paper because of the war, but yesterday with the death toll at 1000 American soldiers really got to me. And all for nought, such needless, senseless deaths for such a bogus sham of a war. I guess because I am a mom I always think, that was someones boy, that could have been my boy.

I wish there was something that I could do to make people more aware of the situation, surely we have not all forgotten Vietnam.

I was thinking, is there anyway to find out where or who made those yellow Lance Armstrong wristbands?

I would like to see the company make black ones with white letters that say "NO MORE WAR". And they would cost a dollar and the money would go to making a memorial for all those fallen soldiers. This would be a non-partisan action, it would be for anyone that wants to make the statement that the war needs to end, that there should be no more wars like it. It would not be a money maker for anyone (except to cover the costs of the wristbands of course)

Would do you think I could contact? Would putting out a note on the Burnt Orange or the Daily Kos work asking for someone who knows someone to see about this? I feel that a statement should be made, and the Armstrong wristbands were a very powerful message.

So here goes, comments anyone?

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:34 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

More Good News for Martin Frost

By Byron LaMasters

I wasn't paying too much attention over the weekend, but Martin Frost scored an interesting endorsement on Friday in Ed Smart, father of the kidnapped Elizabeth Smart:

Ed Smart is best-known as the father of kidnapped Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart, whom authorities found alive and safe after nine months in captivity. He's also a Republican.

But Mr. Smart traveled to Dallas on Friday to endorse Rep. Martin Frost, D-Dallas, in his contentious fight against Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, to represent Texas' 32nd Congressional District.

Mr. Frost, he said, should be rewarded with re-election for advocating a federal Amber Alert system – named for an Arlington girl who in 1996 was kidnapped and murdered – that broadcasts emergency messages when authorities suspect someone has abducted a child.

Mr. Frost also wrote a bill that created stiffer penalties for sexual offenders.

"This man here made it happen," Mr. Smart said, placing his arm around Mr. Frost. "He's someone who's responsive, who's dedicated to the betterment of our society."

Pete Sessions, on the other hand, opposed the Amber Alert system.

Houston Chronicle columnist Craigg Hines also noted this weekend that Republicans are increasingly concerned about the Pete Sessions campaign:

An equally nagging worry for the GOP is that their candidate is Rep. Pete Sessions, whom some North Dallas Republicans find it easy to dislike. Sessions, 49, began his House career in a district that stretched from East Dallas 200 miles into the hinterlands. Tired of the rural schlepping, Sessions, after the initial redistricting that followed the 2000 census, hopped across town (against the wishes of some North Dallas Republicans) to claim what looked like a more securely Republican (and certainly more compact) district.

When Boss Tom DeLay ordered up a new map from his girlie men in the Legislature, a top priority (other than just gaining Republican seats) was to nail Frost to the mast. The obedient Republicans in Austin tried (and eventually the plan may have its desired effect). But Frost, not taking the hint, launched a savage onslaught against Sessions, not a very nimble campaigner.

Frost, no fool, plays down his Democratic ties and pictures himself as a more ardent supporter than Sessions of President Bush's war on terrorism. Frost emphasizes a Sessions post 9/11 vote against increased air security.

In what was, at best, insensitive phrasing, in a debate last week Sessions said Sept. 11, 2001, was "a home game" and the attack Iraq a preferable "away game." Rushing into the opening, Frost turned on his opponent: "Pete, this is not a game."

In speaking of the war on terrorism, Frost points out that his wife, an Army major general, is on assignment in Iraq and that he, unlike Sessions, served in the military.

Charles has more on this as well as some other election news that came out over the weekend elsewhere.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 19, 2004

Who would want to look at Jimmy Swaggert "like that" anyway?

By Byron LaMasters

Jimmy Swaggert one-upped our friends Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson the other day as the lead hate mongering wingnut of the religious right in America. Falwell and Roberson just blame gays and lesbians (and feminists, abortion providers, the ACLU and PFAW, etc.) for 9/11. Swaggert, pictured above, took things a step further. Instead of merely blaming gays and lesbians for terrorism, he advocates the final solution for anyone who would look at him "like that" (although Jimmy, I really don't think ya got too much to worry about).

Anyway, I found the story on Angry Finger via alandwilliams.com.

Here's exactly what Swaggert said:

I'm trying to find the correct name for it ... this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. ... I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died.

Of course, this is coming from the same guy that regisned his ministry in 1988 over "moral failures". Jimmy Swaggert should read his bible.

John 8:7 - "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone."

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

More Commies, and, I can't find my keys!

By Jim Dallas

Mark Schmitt wonders if Bush is a closet commie, on the basis that his second term agenda is almost certain to lead to a complete breakdown in the private health care system. In addition to the complete breakdown in the pension system, the tax system, and everything else, I might add. This is almost sort of a "let's have an experiment and see if Karl Marx was right!" sort of agenda.

On another note, I can't find my keys, so I am stuck at home. I can't drive without keys, so I can't get to the HCDP voter registration drive at Sharpstown Mall (being organized by Old Man Wythe). Nor can I go up to the school to study. I think the commies snuck into my apartment last night and stole my keys. On the other hand, my bible is still where I left it...

UPDATE: The aforementioned Decembrist post is actually a few months old, but it's relevant to this DailyKos diary, which asks, "why isn't Kerry slapping the President silly with this?" Indeed! And why is it that Bush is the one on the offensive about health care ("Kerry's for socialized medicine and blah blah blah...")

UPDATE 2: I found them! Take that, collectivists!

(If you ever get the impression I'm having too much fun with this, you'd be correct).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 03:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hide your bibles and lock up your daughters, err, sons.

By Jim Dallas

Greg tells us about scare-mongering that will make you want to laugh (not laughing with them, laughing at them) and cry at the same time.

More of the latter than the former, though.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 18, 2004

Philosophy Majors, I beseech thee

By Jim Dallas

Humble supplicant JIM D asks:

Please evaluate and explain this growing tangle of terminology. It appears to me that Volokh, Drum, Yglesias, and Crooked Timber could all be wrong. And if that happens, oh if Those Great and Learned Wise Men of the Blogosphere have lost their way, then surely we are doomed!

Posted by Jim Dallas at 09:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

LA Gay Marriage Ban Vote Today

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Louisiana is holding elections today. Or rather, has been attempting to as a number of polling locations had no voting machines and Ivan disrupted some polling locations.

The biggie on the ballot was a state constitutional amendment to ban Gay Marriage which is expected to pass with around a 70% 'yes' vote. Click here to watch the returns as they come in later tonight (since results are being somewhat delayed today).

For those of us here in Texas, if we let our state legislature puke a similar measure out of the session next Spring, we will face basically the same thing on the 2005 State Constitutional Amendment ballot. We won't be able to stop it at the voting booth if it gets that far, so in the spring, please be aware and help try to kill it in the legislature.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 07:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BBC Blogs BOR in Austin

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

During the convention I talked to a lot of reporters from all over the place. One of which was Kevin Anderson, who is now traveling across the US for the BBC blogging with fellow reporter Richard Greene. Since he was in Austin he gave me a rang and we met at the historic Scholz's Biergarten for a chat about Texas politics. (Kevin aslo has some great stuff from Mike Lavine and folks out in San Marcos in surrounding posts. They were in Colorado recently as well.)

The Blog is here and my bit is the second story from the bottom. (Look for this picture).

I've copied my piece with him in the extended entry in case it disappears from the site blog.

I first spoke to Karl-Thomas Musselman in the lead-up to the Democratic Convention in Boston.

He was Texas' youngest delegate to the convention, and he had his own blog and also writes for the Burnt Orange Report, a Democratic blog about Texas politics.

"The creativity of grass roots blogs fills in where most journalists fear to tread," he said.

He's a government student at the University of Texas at Austin, so being in town, I thought I'd give him a call.

We met at Scholz Garden, a local watering hole where Deaniacs - supporters of insurgent candidate Howard Dean - like Karl-Thomas gathered for the Meetups, the use of which was of the Dean campaign's online innovations.

Meetup.com is a site where people with similar interests can find each other online and set places to meet up offline. The interest doesn't have to be politics.

A quick search of the Austin area shows that there are Meetups about dog agility, the right to bear arms, cat rescue and witches, just to name a few.

As a volunteer for the Dean campaign, Karl-Thomas travelled to Iowa, to New Hampshire and to Arizona. He was there in Iowa for the famous "Dean Scream" speech.

Because the Deaniacs had such an attachment to people in the campaign and the candidate himself, Karl-Thomas said it was hard to let go.

After Dean's last stand in Wisconsin, Karl-Thomas said: "It was almost like losing a loved one. You had to go through a process of grieving."

At first he felt demoralised, but Howard Dean transformed his presidential campaign into a broader campaign to elect fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates.

Karl-Thomas had been a committed Deaniac

Dean for America became Democracy for America, and Karl-Thomas has been working to elect Democratic candidates to local and state office in Austin.

Part of those efforts has been voter registration drives, and he said that at the university, they have registered 1,720 voters as of last week.

Generally, he thinks that voter turnout will be higher for this election than in the presidential election in 2000.

He predicts turnout will be up, at levels not seen since 1992, about 55%.

"I get this sense, this feeling that this is one of those elections that is going to draw out those people who rarely ever vote, people who vote once every 20 years," he said.

As an example, he said that his uncle hasn't voted since 1976, since the Jimmy Carter-Gerald Ford race.

Karl-Thomas' uncle believes "that all politicians are crooks and sleazes", but his uncle recently registered to vote.

He said that that there are lot of people who will turn out for this election to vote for "anybody but Bush".

They may not necessarily be voting for John Kerry, but if there is anything they do this election, they will cast a vote, in essence, against George Bush, he said.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 05:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


By Byron LaMasters

And pretty much the story of George W. Bush's life.

Check out this Spanish language Internet ad by the New Democrat Network.

Via BOP News.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh, only Commie stooges, ay?

By Jim Dallas

The Daily Howler doesn't quite say it, so I will:

When O'Neill and Corsi decide that spouting the Official Communist Party Line is perfectly O-tay as long as its used to smear John Kerry ("Comrade Kerry supports our Glorious Revolution! The 60s were one Big Communist Conspiracy!"), they are not merely hypocrites, charlatans, and scoundrels.

John O'Neill and company are Communist stooges.

The rule is very simple. The Communists are jerks. Just because the Cold War is over doesn't change this simple moral fact.

And as for me, I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious liberal media outlets.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:57 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 17, 2004

A general thought

By Jim Dallas

Atrios continues the attack on Gallup and NYT/CBS, noting that the 2000 choice of the NYT sample is something like 36-28 Bush over Gore. That would be a really big problem, if the respondents were being honest.

However, I'd add on a healthy +/- 5 to whatever the margin of error is, because it's a proven fact that people lie to pollsters, especially as it regards who they voted for in the last election.

So, looking at these Bush-Gore stats, the CBS/NYT poll may be unrepresentative, but then again, it may not.

I'm bullish on Kerry, but I think it would be a bad idea not to think that we are potentially down 14 points right now.

Coming of age in Texas at the turn of the century, my general advice has to be, "be prepared to lose.... but go down fighting."

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:20 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

More on Oklahoma

By Byron LaMasters

Since the Oklahoma race is my adopted senate race this cycle (since Texas doesn't have one), I thought I'd post the good news.

SoonerPoll.com shows Carson with a seven point 42-35% lead. Note that the SoonerPoll.com is a Republican poll.

So what's the latest in the race?

Republican Tom Coburn has pissed off Oklahoman Native American tribal leaders:

In a news release Thursday, tribal leaders quoted Coburn as calling treaties between the United States and Indian Nations "a joke" and "primitive agreement(s)."

"I mean, this is a joke," Coburn was quoted as saying. "It is one thing for us to keep our obligations to recognize Native Americans, but it's a totally different thing for us to allow a primitive agreement with the Native Americans to undermine Oklahoma's future."

Ya know, those primative Injuns! That's how Republicans think I guess.

And of course, the woman whom Tom Coburn sterilized without her consent is speaking out:

Angela Plummer says Coburn removed a fallopian tube without asking - while operating on her for an ectopic pregnancy. It happened during emergency surgery in Muskogee in 1990.

“Doctor Tom Coburn sterilized me without consent, verbal or written; I know he's stating he got oral consent, that's not true.”

And check out Brad Carson's latest TV ad entitled "Heard it all". Brad Carson's wife can vouch for Brad. He's not evil.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

169,000,000 Cell Phone Users Can't be wrong

By Byron LaMasters

Except when they're not polled.

Oh and check out the internals of the Gallup poll while your at it. No wonder they have Bush with a double digit lead when they sample 40% Republicans and only 33% Democrats. That's an eleven point swing from 2000 - where Zogby estimates that 39% of voters were Democrats and 35% were Republicans.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fahrenheit 9/11 Reaches the Axis of Evil

By Byron LaMasters

From Andrew's post a few weeks ago, you might think that Michael Moore is trying to undermine America internationally by fanning the flames of anti-Americanism by showing his movie in the axis of evil. Well, here's a shocker. Take a look at the reaction to F 9/11 in Iran.

"It sure is a great country, where someone like Moore trashes the president and gets away with it -- and makes so much money!" he laughed.

Another woman said she was impressed with the scene where Moore chases US congressmen to ask them if they would send their children to Iraq.

"How many top officials here sent their offspring to fight in the Iran-Iraq war?" asked the woman, one of several who directed their frustrations at Iranian authorities -- and not President Bush.

So what was the conclusion of those interviewed in Iran who saw the film? That George W. Bush is the great white satan? Nah. If anything, the reaction of the viewers was one of envy for the American values of democracy and capitalism, and an understanding of the parallels between the unwillingness of those in power in Iran, and America to send their children to war. That doesn't sound like promoting terrorism or communism to me...

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

Run Against Bush in Austin

By Byron LaMasters

Tomorrow is National Run Against Bush Day.

Details for the Austin event:

"Run Against Bush on Saturday, September 18, 8 AM at Town Lake by the Hyatt. Participants are encouraged to wear Kerry / Edwards T-shirts (there will be Run Against Bush T-shirts available for purchase). For more info, call 281.221.1987 ot email tatroe02@yahoo.com".

I don't think I'll make it up at 8 AM tomorrow, but I'm planning on block walking later in the morning for some local candidates.

More about Run Against Bush here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DeLay the Devil

By Byron LaMasters

The Houston Chronicle went out after Tom DeLay in today's editorial entitled: DELAY'S DEVILMENT:

The deformed spawn of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, new congressional districts finally enacted by the Republican-controlled Legislature stand as a freakish monument to political megalomania.

And that's before a vote has even been cast in elections that seem likely to send at least a few more DeLay allies, or automatons, to Washington.

Just read the whole thing. There's so much to attack Tom DeLay on, and exposing him as a hypocrite is quite easy and fun. Take Tom DeLay's support of Arlene Wohlgemuth to be Texas A&M's next congressman - a school that Tom DeLay feels doesn't represent conservative values:

Brazos County and its major industry, Texas A&M grew accustomed to steady, influential legislators. As a result of DeLay's demands, Brazos County could end up being represented in the U.S. House by a tyro, (Republican state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth) whose home and natural interests are in a Fort Worth suburb.

A senior Texas Republican said Aggieland voters, dependent on their House member to look after A&M's business, especially research funding, "miss the influence of a Phil Gramm or a Tiger Teague. They want someone to settle in and stay there."

That's certainly not a given, as long a DeLay's hand is on the tiller.

DeLay, interestingly, has raised money for Wohlgemuth in Houston but he's been sparse on the ground in the district itself. Perhaps that's because of a 2002 dust-up after he declared that parents interested in a "good, solid, godly education" should not send children to Texas A&M or Baylor, the major educational institutions in the redrawn 17th and always considered two of the most conservative big universities in the state.

I wonder if Arlene Wohlgemuth feels the same way as her top supporter, Tom DeLay does about Texas A&M? I think Texas A&M is too conservative, and I wouldn't ever want to live in Bryan/College Station, but I also have no interest in representing them in Congress. Tom DeLay and Arlene Wohlgemuth do.

More on Off the Kuff, The Stakeholder and Taking on Tom DeLay.

Update: Richard Morrison has raised nearly $17,000 of his weekly goal of $20,000 online. Help put him over the top.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An Openly Gay Senator?

By Byron LaMasters

If the election were held today to replace John Kerry, we'd have one. According to this poll, Barney Frank has a striking 20 point lead in a large field for the Democratic nomination.

The Boston Herald has the first poll on the potential race that I've seen (Note: The Boston Herald is Boston's right-wing newspaper):

The short story is this: U.S. Rep. Barney Frank [related, bio] of Newton holds an early and significant lead. Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley has the potential to emerge as a strong candidate. And if the field remains crowded, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch of Boston, the sole pro-life candidate, could end up the winner, capturing a plurality - but not a majority - of the votes.


Frank holds a startlingly significant edge, with favorability ratings that are considerably higher than anyone else in the field: 70 percent positive with only 16 percent negative. The other candidates range from 54 percent to 44 percent favorable, with the exception of Lynch, who is only at 26 percent. Moreover, when looking at the horse race, Frank gets 33 percent of the vote; everyone else is 11 percent or less.

Should the MA Senate race open up, I'll probably give Frank a small donation for the race. The U.S. Senate is grossly overrepresented by white, heterosexual males. Women are very underrepresented, and Blacks, Hispanics and (openly) gay or lesbians are not represented at all in the U.S. Senate. It's time to change that with Barack Obama and Ken Salazar in November, and with Barney Frank next year.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Re-count! Reeeeeeeeeee-count!

By Jim Dallas

Matt Stoller and Jerome Armstrong over at MyDD demand a recount of googled statements of voter intention.

Who knew the Google cache would be the 21st Century's equivalent to Ballot Box 13?

Say what you will about their methodology, but even the original, uncached results are still more accurate than the latest Gallup poll.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 03:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ahead: The Great Senate Train Wreck of 2006?

By Jim Dallas

The Chronicle's Kristen Mack says Bill White might be in the hunt for the 2006 Senate race.

After scanning a post over at Greg's last night (which suggests that the 2006 races might be getting crowded already), all I have to say is...

Mayor: take a number, we'll be right with you.

(On the other hand, I suppose it's a marvelous sign that the pre-pre-pre-election enthusiasm is spreading. Sort of like it's a good sign for concert tickets to sell-out early.)

Posted by Jim Dallas at 02:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Latest from the DCCC

By Byron LaMasters

They're up on the latest Tom DeLay scandals. More at Off the Kuff, Brazos River, Taking on Tom DeLay and Daily Kos. Check it all out, and donate to Richard Morrison.

The DCCC also notes how Lloyd Doggett's opponent, Republican Rebecca Klein - a certain loser - is raising considerable money because of the whisper campaign by the Bushies (or is that Bushy? I'll have to ask Jenna and Barbara) that in a second term (if it happens), she is likely to become head of the FCC. Jim Hightower has more.

The DCCC is doing phenominal work. Texas Democrats often complain (rightfully, in my opinion) that the national committees take our money, but never give us anything in return. Well, 2004 is different. Texas has six congressional races in which the DCCC is seriously looking at spending significant amounts of money (Edwards, Frost, Lampson, Morrison, Sandlin, Stenholm). In fact, Texas will likely see more DCCC money than most anywhere else. So, donate to the DCCC today. Texas Democratic Chair Charles Soechting has (in my opinion) been rightfully critical of the DNC for taking millions of dollars from Texas and returning to us pocket change. But the DCCC is committed to Texas. We have more competitive congressional races than any other state, and I'm involved in working with them so that money donated to the DCCC from Texas will be spent on Texas races that matter to us. I'll have more details very soon, so check in with BOR for the latest.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Before Everyone Flips Out over the Gallup Poll Today

By Byron LaMasters

It was an outlier in 2000:

NN/USA TODAY/GALLUP # 10/26/2000:
Bush 52%
Gore 39%
Nader 4%
Buchanan 1%

Bush +13

They were wrong by about 14% in 2000, and I'll bet they're wrong by about that in 2004. Once again, Gallup is the outlier poll in 2004. Chris Bowers of MyDD reports on their pro-Bush bias:

Gallup, even without their new poll, is without question the top outlying polling organization in this election. Since they began doing state polls on the 2004 campaign, one twelve occasions Gallup has had a poll in the field for at least one day when at least one other non-partisan polling firm has had a poll in the field. On eleven of those twelve occasions, Gallup's results were the most pro-Bush of the other non-partisan operations.

So yeah, the Gallup poll will show Bush up by 13% today. I don't buy it. Especially when polls yesterday by Pew and Harris show the race dead even. Bush may be up by a few points, but as Atrios notes, ya gotta be on crack to believe Gallup on this one.

Hat tip to Pandagon for the 2000 info.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:12 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Kelly White News

By Byron LaMasters

I wouldn't want the Kelly White campaign to feel left out after posting about Mark Strama, so here's the latest with her campaign:

Kelly White wrote a letter to incumbent state representative Republican Todd Baxter yesterday. I have a rough copy of the letter in the extended entry:

Dear Representative Baxter,

I am writing to you about a matter of great concern to myself and many concerned citizens in Texas, including the constituents of House District 48.

As you know, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle is leading an ongoing criminal investigation into U.S. Representative Tom Delay and the Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee (TRMPAC) and their connection to donations received by you and five other Republican candidates in the 2002 election.

Part of this investigation is to determine whether the $35,000 you received on October 2, 2002, from the Republican National Committee was part of a money-laundering scheme by TRMPAC to funnel illegal corporate contributions into the campaign coffers of Republican candidates.

You have been quoted as saying that "Public service is a wonderful honor and it means a great deal to me to have your support and trust as I serve you in the Texas Legislature." If this is true, Todd, then I maintain that you owe it to the people of District 48 to demonstrate your responsibility as a public servant and do the right thing.

Many were interested to read in the Houston Chronicle that even Congressman Delay himself has told supporters that he "fully anticipate(s)" indictments to occur. In light of the continuing controversy and questions surrounding this situation, I call on you today to take the $35,000 in question and make a donation in the name of your constituents to a charity that serves our community. A health clinic such as People's Community Clinic in Austin is certainly one such worthy organization. Your $35,000 contribution will send a clear message to the voters that you intend to run a clean campaign - devoid of contributions that are in any way connected with questionable behavior and/or possible indictments.

What is more, by giving to a health clinic, your contribution will go towards filling the gap in care that was created when you voted to take 147,000 Texas children off the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In 2002, more than 1.4 million Texas children were uninsured. Your vote has made the children's health matter worse. Unfortunately, $35,000 will only begin to help, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

As you are a public official who states that he holds the trust of his constituents in highest regard, I hope you will do the honorable thing to remove any hint of impropriety from your record.

I appreciate your consideration of my request.

Kelly White

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jack Stick is Getting Desperate

By Byron LaMasters

Back to Texas State Rep races for a minute here. I just made a $20 donation to Mark Strama - you should, too. He's one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party and deserves your support. Here's the latest with his race...

State Rep. Jack Stick (R-Austin) just doesn't seem to understand why local business leaders are supporting his opponent, Democrat Mark Strama. The Austin Chronicle has the latest:

In his lengthy tenure as a mover and shaker in Texas business and politics, Lowell Lebermann has been called a lot of things, but "anti-business" is not one of them. That is, not until earlier this month, when state Rep. Jack Stick referred to Lebermann and other business leaders in that vein. It happens that the group of local boosters is supporting Democrat Mark Strama's bid to unseat Stick in the District 50 legislative race. The bunch of ne'er-do-wells, in addition to Lebermann, includes former Dell CFO Tom Meredith, GSD&M advertising President Roy Spence, PR guru and former chamber Chair Kerry Tate, and ex-mayor and chamber Chair-Elect Kirk Watson. Theirs and other names of pro-business people appear on an invitation to a meet-and-greet event for Strama, to be held Sept. 21 at the Austin Club.

In response, Stick sent a letter to many of the same lobbyists and potential donors on Strama's invitation list, warning them not to fall for his challenger's dirty tricks. "That fundraising letter," Stick pointed out, was "signed by some of the most liberal anti-job growth, anti-business, anti-conservative activists in the state." He added, "You'll learn more about some of my opponent's 'John Kerry' behaviors in the days to come."

The article notes that Strama supporting business leaders fired back with a letter citing their work to create thousands of jobs in Texas - which is true.

I mean, who are these "liberal anti-job growth, anti-business, anti-conservative activists" who are supporting Mark Strama? Let's take a look:

Former Austin Mayor and Austin Chamber of Commerce Chair-Elect Kirk Watson:

During his terms of office, Forbes and Fortune named Austin the best city and best place for business in America. Texas Monthly Biz magazine named him best mayor in Texas for business. He received the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s highest award for his economic development efforts and vision. Governing Magazine recognized Austin as one of the top two cities in America for the way it was governed while Watson was mayor.

GSD&M co-founder Roy Spence:

Roy Spence isn't afraid of anything.

You can see this fearlessness in young Spence back in 1971. Barely out of short pants and holding a freshly minted UT bachelor's degree in history, he and four other brand new UT graduates launched an advertising agency, Gurasich, Spence, Darilek and McClure (GSD&M).

You can see it in him the time he appeared wearing shirt, tie, boots, and underwear in a lobby full of Fortune 500 executives assembled for a Wal-Mart shareholders meeting. "Has anybody seen my pants?" he asked. The desk clerk produced his sodden trousers. They had slipped off his hanger and been found rain-soaked in the parking lot. Spence borrowed a blow dryer and, right there in the lobby, dried the pants. He put them on, and went on to a very successful meeting. You can see it in the man who, with his partners, built little GSD&M, located in the unlikely town of Austin, into a $700-million- a-year, internationally recognized powerhouse.

Former Dell CFO Tom Meredith:

Meredith most recently served as the managing director of Dell Ventures and Dell senior vice president of business development and strategy. He joined Dell in 1992 as chief financial officer and was instrumental in refining and extending Dell's highly successful direct business model.

Prior to joining Dell, Meredith was vice president and treasurer for Sun Microsystems, Inc. He was also the co-founder and general manager of Amdahl Capital Corporation. He is currently a board member for Freemarkets, Inc., Tipping Point, and several other private portfolio companies. He is also an adjunct professor of business at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas and serves on the advisory boards of both the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas.

I could go on, but the point is made. How in the hell can anyone reasonably argue that these guys are "liberal anti-job growth, anti-business" supporters? I guess ya just have to be drinking the GOP Kool-Aid.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 16, 2004

Just when you thought you've seen it all...

By Byron LaMasters

There's Votergasm.

Isn't America great?


Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Max Sandlin Leads Gohmert

By Byron LaMasters

The latest polling in the race:

A Bennett, Petts & Blumenthal poll; conducted 9/7-9 for Rep. Max Sandlin (D); surveyed 400 likely voters; margin of error +/- 4.7% (release, 9/16). Tested: Sandlin and state Rep. Louie Gohmert (R).

General Election Matchup

Now: Sandlin 47%, Gohmert 43%, Undecided 10%.

May: Sandlin 41%, Gohmert 44%, Undecided 15%.

Donate to Sandlin here. This is a very conservative district, but Sandlin has the NRA endorsement and a strong campaign team.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Amend the Constitution- Let Naturalized Citizens Run for Prez

By Andrew Dobbs

CNN just talked about US Rep. Dana Rohrbacher's (R-CA) proposed constitutional amendment to let naturalized citizens run for President of the United States. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has, of course, offered similar legislation in the Senate. While these people appear to be boosting Arnold Schwarzenegger's chances for the top job, I think that there is a better reason to pass and ratify this amendment.

Because it is the right thing to do.

You see, the constitutional prohibition against naturalized citizens running for president is actually one of the least reasonable parts of the document. Rather than springing from the thoughtful philosophy of federalism or republicanism or a wise protection against tyranny, the prohibition was born of pure political partisanship. Opponents of Alexander Hamilton, who was born in England, wanted to keep the frequently enervating (the man was killed in a duel for chrissakes) Hamilton out of the office of President. So naturalized citizens since then have been barred from the White House because a handful of otherwise brilliant men let their conniving get to them.

Naturalized citizens can serve in any office except for President or Vice President. We have had naturalized cabinet members (Madeline Albright), Congressmen (Tom Lantos), Governors (Schwarzenegger, MI Gov. Jennifer Granholm), Mayors, Senators and every other office imaginable. They have yet to overthrow our democracy in the name of the Kaiser or any other "prince or potentate" as of today and I don't believe serving as president would make things worse.

The people who choose to go through the naturalization process work incredibly hard and develop a deep love and knowledge of our nation. People who want to harm us do not bother with that process. This is the last great discrimination written into our election laws (with the possible outstanding violations of the District of Columbia and paroled felons)- it is time that we got rid of it. I'll be writing my congressman and senators to urge them to support this constitutional amendment.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:42 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

The Bounce is Over

By Byron LaMasters

Or at least it's begining to look like it. Two new polls out today:

The Pew Poll:

The GOP convention gave President Bush a double-digit lead, but the race has settled into a virtual tie with voters still worried about the economy and Iraq, according to polling by the Pew Research Center.

The first of two national polls by Pew, done Sept. 8-10, reflected the president's post-convention bounce. Bush was ahead of Democrat John Kerry 52-40 among registered voters and by an even wider margin, 54-39, among likely voters, a narrower group.

By the second poll, done Sept. 11-14, the Bush lead had evaporated. In that poll, Bush and Kerry were knotted at 46 percent among registered voters. Among likely voters, Bush was at 47 percent and Kerry at 46 percent.

And the Harris Poll:

The latest Harris Poll finds that Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush are now enjoying almost equal levels of support. Immediately after the Republican convention in New York, several polls showed President Bush jumping ahead of Senator Kerry with a clear lead of between six and 11 percentage points. This "convention bounce" has now disappeared.

These are some of the results of a nationwide poll of 1,018 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive(R) between September 9 and 13, 2004. It seems that the short-term effects of the Republican convention have worn off. The poll shows Senator Kerry leading 48 percent to 47 percent among likely voters.


One reason that President Bush is no longer ahead is that a slender 51 percent to 45 percent majority does not believe that he deserves to be re-elected.

Hopefully, this trend will continue, but it'll be a few days before we have a good idea of whether Bush still has a small lead or if the race is dead even. Of course, I've heard from a few sources that tomorrow's Gallup poll will show Bush with a significant lead, so things might just be all over the place.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:40 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Austin's Next State Representatives

By Byron LaMasters

They both spoke at the University Democrats meeting last night. Also, it was announced that Democrats have registered 1720 students to vote on campus in the past three weeks:

Mark Strama on the left. Kelly White on the right. They are two of the top pick-up opportunities for Democrats in the state house.

Donate to Mark Strama.

Donate to Kelly White.

More pictures in the extended entry...

UD President Marcus Ceniceros with Mark Strama

The UT Tower last night all lit up with our favorite color.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 15, 2004

Campus Sightings Today

By Byron LaMasters

The George W. Bush piñata after a few whacks.

Karl-Thomas (right) and I (left) in front of the University Democrats table where Democrats were invited to "paint Texas blue". If only Texas would turn blue as fast as it got painted today...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Breaking News: Judge Rules School Finance System Unconstitutional

By Andrew Dobbs

In one of the most anticipated rulings of the year, the Associated Press is reporting that District Court Judge John Dietz found the current funding system unconstitutional:

Texas' $30 billion system for financing public schools was found unconstitutional Wednesday by a judge who said he would issue an injunction ordering state funds for education to cease within a year if the Legislature does not find an equitable solution.

State District Judge John Dietz ruled moments after closing arguments in the lawsuit brought against the state by more than 300 school districts. The districts contended that the system violated the state Constitution by not providing equal educational opportunities.

Dietz agreed, saying the gap between "the haves and the have nots" was too wide, and Texas faces dire consequences if it doesn't provide adequate funding to all its students now.

"By 2040, we'll have a population that's larger, poorer, less educated and more needy than today," Dietz said. "Who in Texas would choose this for our future? The answer is no one."

The decision, which follows nearly six weeks of testimony, is expected to be appealed.

The suing districts, both wealthy and poor, argued that the state depends too heavily on local property taxes and should share more of the financial burden of public education. (...)

The state argued that the system meets the minimum constitutional requirements for Texas' 4.3 million students. Changing the system should be the responsibility of the Legislature, not the courts, the state has argued.. Nearly two-thirds of the state's education budget comes from property taxes.. But the districts say a cap on local property taxes limits their ability to raise money.

The case will be appealed and unless the all GOP Supreme Court sinks to shocking new lows by putting political considerations over the funding of our schools (some naive part of me is hoping that they show us better than we have come to expect), the ball will end up in the legislature's court. It is time for us to commit fully to the most excellent school system in the world and our current system- constitutional or not- does not meet that standard.

So, this is big news and this is a story we should all be keeping tabs on.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 05:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Scandalous Republicans

By Byron LaMasters

Remember that Salon article about that female-sterilizing, Medicaid-defrauding [...] Tom Coburn character?

Well the national media has picked up the ball and run with it:

[The New York Times, AP, The Washington Post]

But more importantly, the local guys are paying attention, too:

[Channel Oklahoma, Tulsa World - subscription required to read article, but if you scroll down to "news" you'll see the headline]

And of course our friend Tom DeLay will not be investigated by the House Ethics Committee (where the Republicans on the committee are bought and paid for by Tom DeLay and his corporate buddies). Richard Morrison has the latest in today's press release:

In another show of the power of money in Washington, the House Ethics Committee resorted to an option that has never been used before that could, in effect, kill the ethics investigation into Tom DeLay’s illegal fundraising and his role in Texas redistricting. After nearly three months of reviewing the charges against DeLay, the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Ethics committee postponed today’s hearing and have decided to put before the committee the question of whether to proceed with the investigation. This unprecedented move could result in a deadlock among the ten member committee resulting in no further action in this Congress.

“I’m outraged that the Committee is giving DeLay a pass,” said Morrison. “Soliciting funds for legislative favors, funneling corporate contributions to state races and personally redrawing districts to ensure his power in Washington---these are serious charges and they merit investigation. But when four of the five Republicans on the committee have accepted thousands of dollars from DeLay how can they be trusted to judge him impartially? If DeLay is innocent of these violations he should demand the investigation proceed so his name can be cleared.”

Richard Morrison is on the air in Houston, but he needs to stay up. He's trying to raise $20,000 online for the ad, and he's almost halfway there - on day #2!! (thanks to Texas Tuesdays plug on Daily Kos in addition to all the regulars), but if you're in the mood, give 'till it hurts!

Reaction on today's decision by the House Ethics Committee around the blogs:

[Daily Kos, Off the Kuff, Taking on Tom DeLay, The Stateholder]

Update: Back to Tom Coburn, Matt in comments notes that after a little more research (than what I did), the Oklahoma media is being quite soft on Coburn's latest flap. Check out his research over on his blog entry on the issue.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:34 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

DMN: Documents May Be Forged, but The Content is Still Valid

By Andrew Dobbs

Alright, I'll admit that I've denied myself the insatiable joy of delving into the history of American typewriters over the last week as many of my blogosphere colleagues seem to have done. I have a hard time believing that CBS News would walk on air with completely fake documents and unless the accusers have seen the actual documents up close and personal there is no way for them to analyze them. Still, where there is smoke there tends to be fire- something shady is going on for sure.

So let's assume for the sake of argument that the documents are indeed faked and that someone managed to fool one of the nation's preeminent journalists- Dan Rather- into believing something absolutely false. Does it make a difference? According to the Dallas Morning News, the answer is no:

The former secretary for the Texas Air National Guard officer who supposedly wrote memos critical of President Bush's Guard service said Tuesday that the documents are fake but that they reflect documents that once existed.

Marian Carr Knox, who worked from 1957 to 1979 at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, said that she prided herself on meticulous typing and that the memos first disclosed by CBS News last week were not her work.

"These are not real," she told The Dallas Morning News after examining copies of the disputed memos for the first time. "They're not what I typed, and I would have typed them for him."

Mrs. Knox, 86, who spoke with precise recollection about dates, people and events, said, "I remember very vividly when Bush was there and all the yak-yak that was going on about it."

She added that she does not support Mr. Bush as president, deeming him "unfit for office" and "selected, not elected." (...)

She said that although she did not recall typing the memos reported by CBS News, they accurately reflect the viewpoints of Col. Killian and documents that would have been in the personal file. Also, she said she didn't know whether the CBS documents corresponded memo for memo with that file.

"The information in here was correct, but it was picked up from the real ones," she said. "I probably typed the information and somebody picked up the information some way or another."

Mrs. Knox said that she didn't recall typing a Killian memo alleging that a commander, Col. Walter "Buck" Staudt, was pressuring officers to "sugar coat" Mr. Bush's record. But, she said, such a portrayal of Col. Staudt was consistent with his character and Col. Killian's opinion of his superior officer. (...)

Other evidence in the documents seem to point to a forgery and the source seems pretty unimpeachable here- a sound of mind woman who did all of the typing for the superior officer in question who has no interest in fronting for Bush. Still, she says that forgery or no forgery Bush was a shmuck during his time in the Guard.

So the story is still quite disturbing. CBS appears to have perhaps been duped by someone but the dupe still caught the right information. They clearly had a familiarity with the situation on base- being able to identify the correct commanders and capturing Killian's general tone and attitude. Perhaps these documents were recreated from someone's memory of the originals or perhaps they are real after all. Still, the point is- fake or not fake Bush shirked his obligations to his country while serving in the Guard.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Whack Shrub

By Byron LaMasters

Come by the Students for John Kerry table in the West Mall on the UT campus today, tomorrow and Friday for a chance to take a swing at our George W. Bush piñata!!!

More at UT4Kerry.com:

George W. Bush Piñata Whacking

This Wednesday (9/15), Thursday (9/16), & Friday (9/17), S4JK will be on the West Mall registering voters with our favorite presidential piñata!! At about 1pm each day you can take a whack at Dubya for only $2!! Who knows what goodies will come flying out!!

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:24 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

80,000 Say: Investigate DeLay!

By Byron LaMasters

Democracy for America has the press release:

80,000 supporters of Democracy for America are urging the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to investigate Rep. Tom Delay (R-Tex.) and appoint an outside counsel to investigate ethics complaints against him.

Read the rest to see what all the fuss is about (if for some reason you haven't been paying attention to the news recently). What struck me though, is the fact that 80,000 people signed an online petition. What if those 80,000 people all donated $10 to Richard Morrison?

That's $800,000 - enough for a significant television ad campaign even in the expensive Houston market. So what are you waiting for... make it happen.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 14, 2004

Dick Morris's readers don't really like him that much.

By Jim Dallas

Well, OK, mayyyyybe it's just me.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Flip-Flop Baxter

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Since Republicans love to talk about flip-flopping, it makes it even more fun to talk about flip-flopping Republicans.

Todd Baxter, Republican State Representative for District 48 here in Travis County, is busy telling anyone who will listen that he is the champion of West Austin, defending it from the threat of toll roads.

Baxter’s website states the following:

As a member of the Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), I voted against the Central Texas toll road plan that converts some of our existing roads to toll road systems.

I believe that the primary purpose of toll-roads should be congestion reduction, not revenue generation. The CAMPO plan is a patchwork quilt of toll-roads that will make our daily commutes either more expensive or more time-consuming.

I propose that we abandon the CAMPO toll road plan, and allow for meaningful public input to create a new plan that our community supports.

This is misleading. As a member of the State Legislature, Todd Baxter was a supporter of toll road legislation. House Bill 3588 was the legislation which enabled CAMPO to convert existing roads into toll roads, and Baxter voted in favor of this bill. The vote was taken on May 10, 2003. It was Registered Vote #608, which can be viewed on Page 2963 of the Journal of the 78th Legislature.

Todd Baxter's opponent is Democrat Kelly White. Last week I heard some chatter about an independent poll, separate from either campaign, that had White up 10 points on Baxter. I haven't heard it confirmed, but if true, people should watch out in Travis County because it means the Democratic campaigns and the Coordinated Campaign are having a huge effect beyond what we expected.

In August alone, about 10,000 new voter registration cards flowed onto the rolls, putting us literally halfway to the 20,000 goal set for the fall, and that was without the major coordinated Voter Registration drive having even started around UT and Central City. (The University Democrats have now registered upwards of 1200 voters alone since August 25.)

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

War, Games, Evil-doers and Terrorists

By Byron LaMasters

What is war to Republicans?

As I noted yesterday, Pete Sessions doesn't really think that the war on terrorism is a war. It's just, ya know, a game, dude.

So what is war to Republicans?

For Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes, war means his campaign against Democrat Barack Obama:

The sources said Keyes explained that his campaign has been unfolding according to plan and likened it to a war in which lighting the "match" of controversy was needed to ignite grass-roots voters.

"This is a war we're in," one source recounted Keyes as saying. "The way you win wars is that you start fires that will consume the enemy."

Keyes' comments came during a 40-minute address to about 20 leading Republican fundraisers and donors Thursday at the posh Chicago Club. The sources asked not to be identified to prevent additional pre-election controversy within an already divided GOP.

At the session, the sources said, Keyes denied that he has engaged in name-calling in his campaign. But he likened Democratic opponent Barack Obama to a "terrorist" because Obama, a state senator, voted against a legislative proposal pushed by abortion foes, sources said.

For Alan Keyes, his opponent is the terrorist. For Tom Coburn, his opponent is merely evil:

The race is “the battle of good versus evil,” he said, and his words were echoed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee at a breakfast for Oklahomans attending the GOP national convention in New York.

Brad Carson, the consummate all-American young man, devout Christian and member of the same faith as his opponent, first in every class he attended from high school through Baylor and the University of Oklahoma, Rhodes Scholar, White House Fellow — evil!

This is just a smidgen of the character attacks Coburn — the irreproachable candidate far too noble for such mud-slinging during the primaries — has made toward Carson’s character and conservative voting record.

Carson, responding to the “evil” assessment, said “Osama bin Laden is evil, not your political opponent. These kinds of nutty, extremist comments only further lead to the polarization of our democracy. This isn’t a political jihad, this is an election.”

So, I have a question for Pete Sessions. Since he believes that the war on terrorism is only a game, then what does war mean to him?

Does Pete Sessions a) agree with Alan Keyes, that his opponent is a terrorist? Or does Pete Sessions b) agree with Tom Coburn, that his opponent is simply evil?

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Texas Tuesdays: Richard Morrison

By Byron LaMasters

It was about four months ago when Texas Tuesdays first profiled Richard Morrison. Back then, few people outside of Texas had heard of the man, the blog community had yet to take much interest in the race, the DCCC wasn't paying attention to the campaign and everyone pretty much expected Tom DeLay to squash him like a bug in November.

Four months later, things have changed. Morrison is being watched by the DCCC as a possible investment, he's captured the interest of Daily Kos, Democracy for America, the blog community and DeLay haters across the country. On the other hand, DeLay has been dogged by scandal after scandal, forced to open a campaign office and actually campaign for the first time in years - meaning that at the very least, DeLay is unable to spend that time and money on folks like Pete Sessions and other endangered House Republicans.

Charles has the latest on the race over at Texas Tuesdays:

Morrison Campaign Update.

Interview with Richard Morrison.

Message from Richard Morrison.

If you haven't already, take a look at the previous Morrison entries:

Morrison Meets with Bloggers (6/18/04).
Introduction to Richard Morrison (5/4/04).
Interview with Richard Morrison (5/4/04).
Guest Post by Richard Morrison (5/4/04).

So, donate to Richard Morrison and make Tom DeLay cry.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Texas Tuesdays: Richard Morrison

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Via Texas Tuesdays...

The following is a message from Richard Morrison, who's running to rid us of the disgrace that is Tom DeLay and who could surely use your help in doing so:

While campaigning in Fort Bend County last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting some of the charming ladies of the local GOP clubs. We exchanged friendly greetings and had a nice discussion about the campaign. I told them how many people in the district had told me they were supporting President Bush AND Richard Morrison because they just couldn't bring themselves to vote for DeLay this time. That strained their smiles a bit but our friendly conversation continued.

I was flattered by the kind words the ladies had about my campaign and was especially flattered when they invited me to join the GOP. Here's what I told them:

"Well thank you ladies, that is very sweet, I am flattered. But here's the deal, the Democratic Party is the party of my grandparents, the greatest Americans I have known. I'll never switch parties -- if Hell froze over I'd fight the GOP on the ice."

There's not much ice to be found around here, but that kind of fighting spirit is becoming more and more prevalent in Texas Democrats. Please help us keep it going.

Read the Morrison Introduction and his phony Boy Scout award.
Plus, there is the fantastic Texas Tuesday's Morrison Interview

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Barbara Radnofsky and Cam Kerry

By Jim Dallas

A couple of student organizations here at UH (American Women in Law and the American Constitution Society) hosted a spiffy little lecture by possible 2006 Senate candidate Barbara Radnofsky just now. I was really impressed by Radnofsky, who, as a pre-candidate, has not yet been beamed-up to the political mother-ship. She came across to me as strikingly sincere and down-to-earth, as well as sporting an impressive resume.

Cam Kerry, who is in town for a fundraiser (I think) dropped in for a few minutes to stump for his brother, Big John. A little less approachable than Radnofsky (understandably), but still aware of his audience. Cracked law professor jokes ("I promise I won't call on anybody sitting in the back row..." nyuck nyuck).

OK, enough for now. Got to start paying attention to my Procedure professor (we're tackling the removal statute right now...).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tom Coburn in a Sentence

By Byron LaMasters

Tom Coburn really is about the nuttiest U.S. Senate candidate with a chance of actually winning (thus, Alan Keyes is excluded here) since Oliver North. If you haven't been following the race, check out Salon for the latest. Atrios posted on Coburn yesterday, too. Anyway, I decided to have a little fun with Tom Coburn's wackiness tonight, and came up with a sentence:

Tom Coburn is an death penalty-prescribing (for abortion doctors), yet abortion-providing, homosexual-obsessing, female-sterilizing, medicaid-defrauding, name-calling, Schindler's List-condemning, base-closing, farm-destroying, road-decaying, ski chalet-owning, Club for Growth-pandering, hatemongering, hypocrite who says he won't raise taxes, but wants a Senate pay increase as Oklahoma's next senator.

So yeah, donate to Brad Carson. If you donate to one senate candidate, donate to Carson, because 1) Obama will win, 2) Coburn is the scariest senate candidate with a chance of winning since Oliver North, and 3) a senate majority will be gained only through a victory in Oklahoma.

Update: Kos has the latest independent poll numbers for the race showing a statistical tie.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 13, 2004

Pete Sessions: War on Terrorism is a Game

By Byron LaMasters

Republicans soft on terrorism?

Yup. Pete Sessions equated the war on terrorism to a "game" in his debate with Martin Frost over the weekend. The war on terrorism isn't a "game", the war on terrorism is well... a war. Sessions' entire statement on terrorism was pretty much nonsensical - rambling about how 9/11 was our "home game" where we sustained major loses, and how we're now playing the away game, and we can't give up. Huh? Something like that. Here's to really stupid metaphors (and really stupid congressmen).

So check out the video clip of Sessions' here (WMV file).

And best of all is Martin Frost's response where he applies the smackdown.

Anyway, donate to Martin Frost and make Pete Sessions and Tom DeLay cry on November 2nd (and help rid America of a really dumb congressman).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dallas Morning News: Which Republican will they endorse tomorrow?

By Byron LaMasters

I'm always amused with the process in which the Dallas Morning News endorsements are cushioned to appear nonpartisan, when a closer examination clearly yields a strong Republican bias. And they continue the trend this year...

Tuesday, September 7:

DMN enthusiastically endorses Republican Criminal District Court Judge Cliff Stricklin over Democrat Don Adams in a highly contested race.

DMN enthusiastically endorses Republican Criminal District Couty Judge Robert Francis over Democrat Carter Thompson in a highly contested race.

Saturday, September 11:

DMN wholeheartedly endorses George W. Bush's policy (or lack thereof, rather) over John Kerry's.

Monday, September 13:

DMN endorses Democrat Lon Burnam as the "better of two weak candidates" for State Representative in an uncompetitive race in a 70% Democratic district.

So, basically, the DMN endorsements so far... Vote for the Republican judges, Bush is great and Kerry is weak on terrorism (and don't forget that President Bush is Texan of the year), and if you happen to live in Lon Burnam's district, hold your nose and vote for the scumbag.

The Dallas Morning News will probably take a pretty solidly GOP line this year as usual, although I do have a suspicion that they'll bite the bullet and endorse Frost over Sessions.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Club for Growth Targets two more Texas Races

By Byron LaMasters

The Club for Growth is targetting two more house races in Texas (they've been helping Arlene Wohlgemuth since before the primary. Now the Club for Growth is asking their members to send money to Louie Gohmert and Ted Poe. I don't know if they're targetting these races because they're worried about the Republican, or because they want two more Republican Congressmen that will be indebted to them when they come to Washington in January. Here's the letter sent to Club for Growth members:

Club For Growth pres Steve Moore writes in a letter to supporters, recommending ex-Judge Louie Gohmert: He "has exceptional economic conservative instincts and has shown time and again that he doesn't buckle under political pressure. We think he has a terrific chance to beat liberal incumbent Max Sandlin, who has been a prickly thorn in our side for years... It nearly goes without saying that he is an articulate advocate of tort reform. He wants to institute a true 'loser pays' rule that would stop abusive litigation such as that which he saw first hand as a judge in that notorious case" (letter, 9/13).

And, Ted Poe:

Club For Growth pres Steve Moore writes in a letter to supporters, recommending ex-Judge Ted Poe: He "is one of the most unique and famous candidates we've ever run across... Poe has become a bit of a national folk hero for his unusual approach to retribution for criminals known as 'creative sentencing.' (Liberals hate it.) His pioneering approach to fighting crime has even been featured on 60 Minutes. He is a solid supporter of limited government and lower taxes. He supports the abolition of the income tax in favor of a national consumption tax. His top economic advisor is Louis Woodhill, one of the Club for Growth's Founding Committee members, so he knows the right places to turn to for advice (letter, 9/9).

I think we all know what this means. Max Sandlin and Nick Lampson are about to get Club for Growth attack ads thrown upon them. So send them some love...

Donate to Sandlin.

Donate to Lampson.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cam Kerry at UT

By Byron LaMasters

Cam Kerry, better known as John Kerry's brother was in town today for some fundraisers, and he happened to have an hour free in his schedule around 11 AM. Fortunately, Cam's people thought last night to call the Travis County Democratic coordinated campaign to ask what he could do for an hour. They decided that students could put together a mini-rally in twelve hours, so we hurried out some emails and managed to give Cam a nice setting to chat with the local media, so if you're in Austin, watch the news tonight. Cam made some brief remarks to the group of 30-40 students that had gathered about the importance of voting and this election, then spoke for a bit with the local media, then took time to chat with many students, sign t-shirts and pose for pictures. It ought to get us some good publicity.

Cam Kerry speaking to students on the west mall of the UT campus. Behind Cam are the tables of the University Democrats and Students for John Kerry. Together the organizations registered over 75 students to vote today, and have registered over 1000 students to vote since the semester began.

More pictures here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:46 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Better late than never

By Jim Dallas

Funny, I don't remember the national media really mentioning this until today:


Studies done by pro- and antigun groups as well as the Justice Department show conflicting results on whether the ban helped reduce crime. Loopholes allowed manufacturers to keep many weapons on the market simply by changing their names or altering some of their features or accessories. (Assault weapons ban to expire Monday)

Gun shop owners said the expiration of the ban will have little effect on the types of guns and accessories that are typically sold and traded across their counters every day.

At the Boise Gun Co., gunsmith Justin Davis last week grabbed up a black plastic rifle resembling the U.S. military's standard issue M-16 from a row of more than a dozen similar weapons stacked against a wall.

The civilian version of the gun, a Colt AR-15 manufactured before 1994, could be sold last week just as easily as it can be sold this week. "It shoots exactly the same ammo at exactly the same rate of fire," said Davis.

Of course, I'm sure this means that drug-dealers and terrorists will now all be lining up to buy newly-legal assault weapons like TEC-9s. Out the door and around the block.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

He's pointing at the center field bleachers.

By Jim Dallas

Every time the press photographers take one of these dramatic Kerry pictures, I can't help but think about another lefty (er, as in left-handed; and yes, I know, Kerry is actually right-handed, but I'm trying to make a point, OK?).

(Photo: Time/AP)

Posted by Jim Dallas at 03:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Kerry on Campus

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Today, Monday, starting at 11 a.m. on the West Mall of the UT campus here in Austin, John Kerry's brother Cameron Kerry will be speaking. Come join us if you can!

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 01:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2004

TIME with Kerry

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Kerry sat down with TIME magazine and had some really great stuff to say, a refinement of his campaign message.

I've been in worse situations in my life. The attacks don't attack me as much as they attack Americans and America. They're trying to distract people from the real issues that matter.

America is not as safe as we ought to be after 9/11. We can do a better job at homeland security. I can fight a more effective war on terror. The standard of living for the average American has gone down. People's incomes have dropped. Five million Americans have lost their health insurance. The deficit is the largest it's been in the history of this country. They're taking money from Social Security and transferring it to the wealthiest people in America to drive us into debt. They're shredding alliances around the world with people we have traditionally been able to rely on.

That's what bothers me.

It bothers me, too, John. So what you going to do about it?

Draw the contrast; be crystal clear about it. That's what I've been doing every day. George Bush has made the wrong choices for America. He's leading the country in the wrong direction. John Edwards and I have better choices. We have a health-care plan for all Americans. We're going to stop subsidizing jobs that go overseas and create jobs here in America. We're going to fund education and not leave millions of children behind every day. The trail of broken promises and reversed decisions of this Administration is unlike any I have ever seen at any time that I have been in public life, and I'm going to draw that picture as clear as a bell.

And that foreign policy stuff?

I believe very deeply that it takes a new President, a new credibility, a fresh start, to change the whole equation in Iraq. I will get countries involved in ways that the President doesn't have them involved today, and I will get our troops home.

How? Diplomats say that it is not in our allies' political interest...

George Bush has made it not in their interest today. There are all sorts of options with respect to Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds in the region that this Administration is not exploring. They have failed in their diplomacy utterly. In fact, they have made it easy for countries to say no, because of their arrogance, because of the way the President chose to go to war.

What's at stake?

All over the country we've got an enormous amount of energy, people are organizing, and I just think the choice is very clear. The Supreme Court of the United States is at stake. After-school programs are at stake. Health care is at stake. Social Security is at stake. Jobs are at stake.

The character of our country is at stake—whether we're going to have people who traffic in fear instead of real solutions.

Read the full article, it's one of the best interviews I've seen.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 06:08 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Watching Ivan

By Jim Dallas

Here's something else to worry about: The forecast models over at the National Hurricane Center seem to have started diverging again as to the track of Hurricane Ivan; it's getting to be a little unclear about where this thing is going. The latest strike probabilities table shows a 10-to-15-percent probability all the way from New Orleans to Key West. And the probability for Galveston has risen to 3 percent (tepid, yes, but it was essentially zero at this time yesterday).

A look at the water-vapor loop I think indicates why the sudden uncertainty is coming in to play: there's a heck of a lot of swirls and eddies out over the Gulf! Particularly look at (what I believe are) clockwise (presumably high pressure) rotations over southern Georgia and the Yucatan, and a dry, counterclockwise rotation over Texas. I wish I really knew what all this meant...

At any rate, as somebody who has spent a lot of nervous summers watching the Gulf: the Texas coast is probably safe, but it's not a bad idea to start paying lots of attention to this (Category 4) storm.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 11, 2004

In the Wings

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

It's almost 4 pm and I can't believe that none of the other Burnt Orangers have written a Sept. 11 post. So neither will I.

As much as I'd like to reflect on today as a great day or mourning and remembrance, which it is, the more immediate questions is whether or not American's are making the sacrifice to reduce terror and the causes of it around to world.

In George W's mind, that of course means Iraq, which thanks to him actually has become a new front in the 'war on terror'. And just this last week, we acknowledged that 1,000 American's sacrificed their lives for Bush's lies.

Roberto Abad and Robert P. Jr. Zurheide

What do these two men have in common? They are the "A" and "Z" of 1000 Americans and in between them lie 998 more pictures of soldiers now gone from this world because of lies.

That is the most moving thing I have seen in months. Thanks to the New York Times (and George Bush) the Thousand Image Roster of the Dead.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 03:57 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 10, 2004

Air America coming to Houston?

By Jim Dallas

Discussed as rumor here.

A little googling suggests that people have been bandying this topic about for a while, so I'll believe it when I see it.

Still, Air America has added almost two dozen stations in the last year...

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:28 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

On-Campus Diary, Sept. 10: Houston IS worth it.

By Jim Dallas

At least if you're on two wheels, going from UH Central Campus to Bellaire via MacGregor, Main, and Braeswood is a really awesome little trip. Nice corners and grades.

I guess I know how Capt. Kong felt riding The Bomb down in Dr. Strangelove. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-(haw).

Lots of green. Frankly, as an outsider, I tended to think of Houston not being particularly verdant. Taking a cut through Hermann Park changed that real quick.

(Got a little bumpy though around the point where N. Braeswood turns into Beechnut; my scooter's speedometer stopped working, presumably because the odometer cable got jolted. Figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it is my weekend project).

Now, on another front, I've located an HEB, a Luby's, a Taco Bell, and a Blockbuster. So far, the Third Ward isn't looking nearly desolate. But I have not yet figured out where the nearest Taco Cabana is, and this upsets me greatly.

I don't want my opinion of Houston's historic Third Ward spoiled by the lack of accessibility to a Taco C!

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 09, 2004

Nader Calls Texas Ballot Access Law "Fascist"

By Byron LaMasters

The Austin Chronicle reports:

"This is American fascism. We're going to appeal it all." That was Ralph Nader's response to two Sept. 1 decisions rejecting the Nader presidential campaign's applications for ballot access in Oregon and Texas.


And in Texas, U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel ruled against Nader in his lawsuit to have the Texas regulations governing independent candidates ruled unconstitutional. Yeakel ruled that although independents are required to submit more signatures gathered in a shorter time than are minor-party candidates, the differing requirements are "reasonable, nondiscriminatory, and constitutional." (Nader's campaign had submitted enough signatures by the deadline to meet minor-party requirements, but not the higher standard required of independents.)

More important, though, than the fact that Ralph Nader is calling anyone who disagrees with him "fascist", is that a court in Florida ruled Nader off the ballot in that state:

In a tactical victory for John Kerry, a Leon County circuit judge issued an emergency order Wednesday night knocking Ralph Nader off Florida's ballot.


The ruling stands for now, but could be reversed later.

Nader drew about 92,000 votes in Florida four years ago. Democratic Party leaders, who unsuccessfully beseeched him not to run this year, have said that many of those voters would have supported Al Gore if Nader wasn't on the ballot. Supporters of President Bush, who won Florida by a disputed 537-vote margin, have helped Nader qualify for ballot position in some states this year.

Nader said he would appeal Davey's ruling and move the case to federal court, if necessary.

Less than 11 hours before Secretary of State Glenda Hood is supposed to certify the ballots for 67 counties - which signals elections supervisors to mail thousands of ballots to Floridians overseas, including troops in Iraq - Davey ruled that the Reform Party is no longer a real political party. Therefore, he held that Nader's certification as the Reform candidate did not meet Florida laws, which require a presidential candidate to get nearly 100,000 voter signatures or be nominated by a national convention.

If anyone forgot, the Reform Party's "national convention" was a conference call. And I'd be neglegent if I didn't remind everyone that if one percent of Nader's voters in Florida in 2000 would have voted for Al Gore, Gore would be president today.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


By Jim Dallas

Is it just me, or did Yglesias just suggest that President Bush is some kind of stereotypical Ivory-Tower intellectual?

The president we've got, though, doesn't see it that way. He won't win the war on terrorism or even make it less likely that terrorists will kill you. He'll just make terrorism less acceptable, winning the war in the Platonic realm of Forms while losing it here on earth.

It's a strange attitude, but it explains a lot.

I've often suspected the man must be getting lessons from Dr. Pangloss! Imagine:

BUSH: But what if I am not re-elected?

PANGLOSS: Then everyone will be killed by terrorists. But this is the best outcome in the best of all possible worlds, so it must be for the best!

BUSH: Obviously!

Posted by Jim Dallas at 03:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Can anybody hook a person such as myself up with an AK?

By Jim Dallas

Starting Monday, the answer is... sortof (to the extent that any AKs not banned by previous legislation will be legal).

CNN: No vote to renew Assault Weapons Ban

Regardless of your feelings on this (and my feelings are mixed), why do I get the feeling that Frist is making stuff up?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress will not vote on an assault weapons ban due to expire Monday, Republican leaders said Wednesday, rejecting a last-ditch effort by supporters to renew it.

"I think the will of the American people is consistent with letting it expire, so it will expire," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, told reporters.

The 10-year ban, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, outlawed 19 types of military-style assault weapons. A clause directed that the ban expire unless Congress specifically reauthorized it.

The Daily Cougar had an article about this on Tuesday.

P.S. Yes the title was changed, on the grounds that it was potentially offensive.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:26 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


By Karl-Thomas Musselman

One in Five Germans Wants the Berlin Wall Back

Germans would vote 74-10 Kerry v. Bush, World Would Vote Kerry

It's quite interesting in my opinion. And true.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

University Democrats

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Tonight was the second University Democrats meeting here at UT. Last week we had about 300 attend the first meeting where Congressman Lloyd Doggett was our speaker. Today, our first ever "Action Wednesday" saw about 130 in attendance to hear about local operations, opportunities to go to Florida for free with the League of Conservation Voters October 1-4, and other sign ups.

65 people were deputy registered, bringing our total to about 100 in our first two meetings. Voter Registration is our primary activity as far as campus goes since we are focused on turning out the vote for our county-wide Democrats since we can affect that here in Austin. Yesterday (alongside Students for John Kerry) we registered 175 students, and today, 265. Since school has started we have registered around 750 students and that doesn't count the effort of other independent operations on campus.

Thanks to an election for UD Treasurer today (which was won my Larkin Campbell, (now former Historian)), dues money has flowed in. Over $500 was collected last week with at least another $100 today. The office of Historian will be filled at next week's meeting, which will see a wide-open race since there is no one 'in line' you could say for the spot. (Larkin was our interim Treasurer until today so her 69-14 win was not unexpected.) It's amazing the amount of new blood in UDs (super majority are 1st and 2nd years).

So props to Byron and the past officers for building UDems up since 2000 and getting us ready for where we are today. We couldn't have done it without you.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 08, 2004

Texas Tuesdays: Jim Nickerson

By Byron LaMasters

Jim Nickerson is the Democrat running against DINO-turned-Republican (finally!) Ralph Hall. He's the candidate featured in today's Texas-it-feels-like-Tuesday edition:

Jim Nickerson bio.
Issues and the opponent.
Nickerson for Congress Website.
Make a Donation.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Watch Ben Barnes

By Byron LaMasters

It's tonight on 60 Minutes, Ben Barnes will tell us how he got George W. Bush into the National Guard so that a some underprivledged kid could go die in his place (it's at 8 PM Eastern, so I'll assume 7 PM Central on CBS):

Former Texas House Speaker and Lt. Governor Ben Barnes tells Correspondent Dan Rather that he regrets what he calls the "life or death" decision he made to help President Bush get into the Texas Air National Guard.

Rather's report, which will include new information about Bush's military service, will be broadcast on 60 Minutes, tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Following are quotes from Rather's interview with Barnes:

Barnes on his decision to help George W. Bush and others get into the National Guard:

"I've thought about it an awful lot and you walk through the Vietnam memorial, particularly at night like I did a few months ago and, I tell you, you'll think about it a long time. ...I don't think that I had any right to have the power that I had to choose who was going to Vietnam and who was not going to Vietnam. That's power. In some instances, when I looked at those names, I was maybe determining life or death and that's not a power that I want to have. ..."

Barnes on his feelings of regret:

"It would be very easy for me to sit here and tell you, Dan, that I had wrestled with this and lost a lot of sleep at night, but I wouldn't be telling you the truth. I...not eagerly, but readily, was willing to call and get those young men into the National Guard that were friends of mine and supporters of mine. ...Reflecting back, I'm very sorry about it, but you know, it happened and it was because of my ambition, my youth and my lack of understanding. But it happened and it's not...something I'm necessarily proud of."

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Jeff Ortiz for City Council...of Nederland

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Since July, I have been in touch with someone who at the age of 22 is likely one of the youngest challengers for a city council seat in Texas. His name is Jeff Ortiz and he is off an running for a May 7, 2005 election for City Council in the City of Nederland, near Beaumont.

As a young person, it inspires me when other young people decide to become involved in their communities and bring about a different voice and view in communities across this state where they are sometimes not heard.

In an e-mail exchange earlier, I garnered the following statement from Jeff about the nature of the race, 9 months out.

"The median age of the city council is probably around 70 years old. In the last Mayoral election this past May only 10 percent of the registered voters voted. Not a good ratio for a newcomer. I am very confident on winning though."

Read up on his vision, and heck, even throw some jingle his way. Though I'm sure that most of your Burnt Orange reading fiends are not from Nederland, We're Texas (to borrow UT's advertising line) and so I'm going to serve our readers no matter which rock they may be hiding under in this great state.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

They told us it would be Easy

By Byron LaMasters

Remember Shock and Awe? Remember how we'd crush Iraq in a matter of days with swift, coordinated attacks and the best military technology in the world? Well, we did. And that was the easy part. If only they would have had a coherent plan for the peace...

Why couldn't the war have just lasted one month as Bush would have led us to believe when he said "Mission Accomplished"?

Seriously, how can anyone make a rational case for Bush's leadership in Iraq? He told us that all the major combat opperations were completed, only to see more than four times more Americans lose their lives than before major combat opperations were completed - not to mention entire cities are still uncontrollabe and ungovernable.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:47 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Because picking on Oklahoma is too hard to resist...

By Byron LaMasters

If I weren't from Texas, I'd probably be a little bit more judgemental about Oklahoma, but Texas politics is sufficiently screwed up, that I can't really get on their case.

Seriously, though, from almost electing right-wing nut Steve Largent as governor, to the horny judge to the U.S. Senate candidate Tom Coburn (R-OK) who believes that abortion doctors should be executed after having performed two abortions himself - Oklahoma has its share of craziness. Well, thank god Brad Carson is in the race, because the Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate seat almost makes Tom this-senate-race-is-about-good-versus-evil Coburn look sane. The Oklahoman reports:

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Sheila Bilyeu claims the federal government implanted a device inside her head in the 1970s and has sent messages for years to annoy her.


"Mean politicians ... have been after me for years and years and years," she said last week. "I know it sounds nuts, but it's true."


Bilyeu, 60, has repeatedly sued the U.S. government in federal courts in Florida, Virginia, California and Washington, D.C.

Most of those lawsuits also named former President Clinton and other politicians as defendants.

"It's like a little radio," she said of the supposed device in her head. "They can transmit in stuff and talk to me. It sounds like I'm a schizophrenic, but I'm not. Anyway, it has caused me a lot of trouble and pretty much ruined my life and so I've filed these lawsuits about that."

You can read the rest in the extended entry. It gets better. I swear!

Bilyeu was born in Oklahoma in 1944 and graduated in 1966 from Oklahoma State University with a home economics degree.

Bilyeu filed for the Senate seat from Virginia. She has since returned to Oklahoma and said she is looking for inexpensive housing.

She said she "has been sleeping in my car for much of the last 10 years and living below the poverty line because of politics and greed."

She also ran for U.S. president this year as a Green Party candidate and for governor of Texas in 1986 as a Democrat.

She calls herself an educator and political activist. She said she has campaigned for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

She said she last worked an education job as a school counselor in Ponca City in the 1992-1993 school year. She moved from there to Florida and later to Virginia.

Judges dismissed all her lawsuits against the federal government. Judges wrote they were hard to understand.

In her D.C. lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts wrote in 2001: "Plaintiff has filed a narrative, stream-of-consciousness complaint that, as best as I can tell, revolves around the plaintiff's belief that a conspiracy led by President Clinton has implanted a transmission device in her head, 'gassed' her and stolen her dog."

In California, a U.S. magistrate last year said Bilyeu's allegations of "a vast conspiracy of powerful people" were far-fetched and vague.

The magistrate, Carla Woehrle, noted that Bilyeu asked in the lawsuit "that the 'device' be removed by doctors who are not part of the conspiracy, that she be protected by 'good authorities,' that she receive damages of $50 million or whatever is fair, and that her dog be found and returned to her."

In the 1990s, Bilyeu unsuccessfully sued Ponca City schools, game show host Alex Trebek, CBS anchor Dan Rather and others.

She would not discuss her lawsuit against Trebek. She said Rather did not use her name on the news, but "was making insinuations about me -- that I was a whore or something."

Her lawsuit against Ponca City schools alleged educators there were part of the "evil political conspiracy" against her.

She has appealed some cases to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I found that there are a lot of corrupt judges that don't really care about justice. And justice is one of my really big issues. I think there are a lot of those judges that need to be weeded out," she said.

She claims she has been targeted by conspirators because she was born with a "V" mark on her head and was known as the "victory baby." She said politicians have tried to stop her from running for office because they fear she will "mess up their ... power and their money."

She said the device was stuck in her head during an operation in the late 1970s at a military base in Arizona.

She said things got worse while Clinton was president because she spoke out against him. She said she was gassed in her apartment and in her car.

"You can't even believe all the equipment they can use on somebody that they don't like," she said.

She said she has never been in a mental hospital. But she would not say if she has ever been under a psychiatrist's or psychologist's care.

She said the CIA or a rogue unit use satellites to transmit the messages -- mostly "put downs" -- inside her head. Asked during an interview the time of the last transmission, she said, "Today."

"I really think it's political," she said. "I think the Clintons are out to get me. ... Somebody still is. Somebody is still funding the unit that is transmitting."

She said she is running for Senate largely because she is against the war in Iraq.

"We've wasted a lot of young people's lives and billions ... of dollars that should have been used back here on health care and all kinds of things that we needed," she said.

"I really do care about this country and want it to get back on track like it's supposed to be."

She admits she was thrown in jail in 2000 for sleeping in her car in a church parking lot in Virginia. "That whole deal was part of the conspiracy," she said.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:43 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Log Cabin is Relevent After All

By Byron LaMasters

The Log Cabin Republicans came to their senses last night as their executive committee voted 22-2 to not endorse George W. Bush for President.

The New York Times:

The board of Log Cabin Republicans, the largest group for gay men and lesbians in the party, voted overwhelming last night against endorsing President Bush for re-election because of his support for a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The decision ends six months of soul-searching as the group, which endorsed Mr. Bush in 2000 and Bob Dole in 1996, wrestled with its divided loyalties.


In a meeting last night in Washington, the group's board voted 22 to 2 to withhold its endorsement, a spokesman said, declining to name the holdouts.

In a statement afterward, Patrick Guerriero, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, cited exit polls showing that more than one million gay men and lesbians voted for Mr. Bush in 2000. That included 45,000 in the pivotal state of Florida, which Mr. Bush carried by roughly 500 votes.

"Some will accuse us of being disloyal," Mr. Guerriero said. "It was actually the White House who was disloyal" to those gay voters, he continued.

Absolutely. The Bush administration filp-flopped on gay marriage. In 2000, it was a state issue. In 2004, it's a federal issue. They flip-flopped on the compassionate and uniter crap. They used gays and lesbian as a wedge to divide Americans on social issues in order to distract people from the critical issues where the Bush administration has failed such as the economy and Iraq. Anyway, Log Cabin is now relevent for another election cycle. If they had chosen to endorse President Bush, they would have lost the little credibility in the GLBT community that the have in the first place.

Kos has more.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:27 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Burnt Orange Report From the Floor

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Yet another Tuesday, yet another UT Student Government meeting.

This week there was not much up on the agenda. Some housekeeping, updates from reps and committee people, and the executive reports.

I was surprised with the level of positive response to Graduate Rep. Laura Gladney-Lemon's proposal (which was floated last Spring) to form an exploratory group around the issue of adding height/weight discrimination to UT's non-discrimination policy. I'm beginning to wonder if this year's assembly is going to be as conservative as I originally thought. I think that they are more willing to explore ideas and research them, though we will see later if that turns into votes.

Same goes for the sign up sheet for interest in getting on board with the Orange Bike Project, which I discussed in last week's report.

The only bill tonight was the Increased Appropriations legislation. What should have been another easy sailing bill ended up getting slowed down by a number of questions, most well reasoned. The real controversy came later after the meeting when International Affairs co-director Matt Stolhandske brought up his concerns that he felt that the body connected with the student populace primarily through Appropriations and that he did not feel that money given to SG Agencies and Committees may be as worthwhile when it should instead be going to student groups. (Matt is a friend of mine, granted he's YCT, but at least one of the reasonable ones that thinks)

For me, being a co-director for the GLBTAAA and a budget that runs about $3500 (by far the largest alongside the Women's Resource Center) such talk affects me. Personally, I do see the value of having funds because my agency serves as an umbrella over about 10 student groups on campus, none of which have the time or connections to make larger events happen. The money that flows from the GLBTAAA, is money that likely would never get back to those 10 student groups if it was just general appropriation money.

Now, I'm not going to just fill up a budget with pointless items, my German heritage won't let me do that. har har. If I find that I only need $3,000, that's all I'm going to submit. But with the way that SG operates, agencies collectively have been funded at last year's levels. Since there is no more and no less money out there, I don't have an economic incentive to change my allocation, other than my personal nature to do what is right. I think that is what Matt was getting at and I agree with him on that. I don't mind defending a budget, because it makes government honest. (Though I'm sure someday I'm going to wish I never said that comment.)

That's it for this week. The only other thing that made me happy was that I now have an official nametag. And it's Burnt Orange.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 07, 2004

We were at war with Eurasia? When?

By Jim Dallas

:: Bangs head violently ::

Juan Cole on Iraq's new vice-presidents, the axis of used-to-be-evil:

Ash-Sharq al-Awsat says that the council first voted by a strong majority to alter the original plan of having two vice-chairs, increasing the number to four. 92 of the 100 members were present, and 12 persons put themselves forward for the offices. The winners (with vote tallies) were:

Jawad al-Maliki, Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Shiite) - 56
Hamid Majid Moussa, Communist Party, - 55
Rasim al-Awadi, Iraqi National Accord (Allawi's Party) - 53
Nasir A`if al-Ani, Iraqi Islamic Party (Sunni) - 48

Al-Maliki at least used to be a Khomeinist radical. The Iraqi Islamic Party is a Sunni fundamentalist outfit, the leader of which has denied that there is a Shiite majority in Iraq. The INA groups mainly ex-Baath officers and officials.

So, this list is further evidence that the US invaded Iraq to install in power a coalition of Communists, Islamists and ex-Baathist nationalists. If you had said such a thing 3 years ago you would have been laughed at.

Every day that goes by, I become more and more convinced that we are living either in an George Orwell novel or in a Woody Allen movie.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Four More Loads!

By Jim Dallas

Fafblog on laundry detergent.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 08:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Did George W. Bush Go AWOL?

By Byron LaMasters

Check out Texans for Truth. One of the men that George W. Bush reportedly served with doesn't remember serving with Bush. They want to put up an advertisement questioning George W. Bush's service, and considering the lies by people connected to the Bush campaign about John Kerry's record, I'm all for it.

Put the ad on the air.

Update: Here's some details about the ad:

In this case, smearing John Kerry about his service in Vietnam has brought focus back on Bush's embarrassing evasion of service. Today, a group in Texas, Texans for Truth, is launching an ad campaign that highlights Bush's absence from duty in 1972. The first ad, featuring a National Guardsman at the base where Bush was supposedly posted, will air as soon as Texans for Truth can raise their $200,000 budget for the ad.


The ad features Robert Mintz, who served in Alabama's 187th Air National Guard when Bush claims to have been there. In the ad, Robert Mintz says simply and powerfully that

"I heard George Bush get up and say 'I served in the 187th Air National Guard in Montgomery Alabama.' Really? That was my unit. And I don't remember seeing you there. So I called friends. 'Did you know that George served in our unit?' 'Naw. I never saw him there.' It would be impossible to be unseen in a unit of that size."

Spurred by Bush's cynical and ugly attacks on Kerry, people who have never spoken out before have now begun to come forward to talk about this period in Bush's career. And journalists are now also ready to cover the story of Bush's evasion of service. Many are embarrassed that their outlets reported the false charges against John Kerry without checking the facts. And it's well known that the Bush campaign has been stonewalling on details of the President's service.

On Sunday, the Associated Press reported on their continuing fight to get records of Bush's service released. I've attached an excerpt of the story below. The AP, which is a cooperative of almost every newspaper in the nation, has sued the Bush administration for records of Bush's service, which are still being withheld even though President Bush agreed on national television to release everything about his service.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Martin Frost on the Air

By Byron LaMasters

Martin Frost launched two television spots yesterday. They do a good job of highlighting key bipartisan aspects of Frost's record. First, writing and passing the Amber Alert law, and second, his work for veterans. I think that in order to win, Frost will have to go very negative on Sessions in the closing weeks of the campaign, but he has to introduce himself to the district as an acceptable moderate first.

Check out the spots here.

And, donate to Frost here.

Update: I forgot to mention that the Houston Chronicle profiled the race yesterday without saying anything new. Read it if you want, or need an overview of the race. Kuff offers a few thoughts as well.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Perry Approval at 43%

By Byron LaMasters

The Texas Poll came out over the weekend, and Rick Perry's doing better than last time. He's at 43% approve, 47% disapprove:

Some 47 percent in the Scripps Howard survey rated the governor's job performance as fair or poor, a five-point drop from last spring's poll during a failed special legislative session on school finance, when more than half disapproved.

The results, showing Perry's approval rating at 43 percent, are contained in the latest Scripps Howard survey of 1,000 adult Texans Aug. 9-26. Last spring, Perry was popular with only 37 percent of Texans.

The latest poll includes 38 percent Republicans, 26 percent Democrats and 25 percent independents.

Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt said the governor continues to base policies on principles rather than polls, but a political scientist said the latest results look bad for Perry.

The relatively high percentage of Republicans polled underscore how troubling Perry's ratings are, said Bob Stein, Rice University political scientist.

"This is not an incumbent governor who should feel good about being re-elected," said Stein. "This is going to only add additional evidence that Kay Bailey Hutchison and the comptroller will think seriously about running against the governor."

For someone who had no budget plan, no redistricting plan and no realistic school finance, and got himself embarrassed mightly with all of the above, Rick Perry's lucky that he's not under forty percent. And it's hard to keep a straight face when you see the three words of "Rick Perry" and "principled" in the same sentence. Anyway, here's how the folks that might run against Perry in the primary shape up:

Hutchison's popularity soars ahead of all other state leaders, the poll shows, with 62 percent saying she's doing excellent or good versus 24 percent who rate her fair to poor.

During a visit to South Texas this week, the senator took aim at Perry for pushing policies that have cut 147,000 children from the Children's Health Insurance Program, leaving millions of tax dollars in Washington instead.


Strayhorn rates positively with 45 percent of Texans polled, versus only 39 percent during the ill-fated legislative session last spring.

She rates negatively with only 23 percent of those polled. Another 32 percent said they didn't know either way.


Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst also has fairly low name recognition, the poll indicates, with 36 percent polled saying they didn't know enough to rate him. He rated favorably with 35 percent of those polled and unfavorably with 29 percent.

Let the bloodbath begin.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:38 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The crisis of libertarian fundamentalism

By Jim Dallas

Matt Yglesias notes a particularly egregious example of the quasi-libertarian/corporate mouthpiece junkscience.com's "deny the problem exists" reflex.

It's arguable that Matt over-reaches here when he implicitly ascribes the pollyanna position to libertarians generally, but I think it has some merit. I'm come across too many people who are desperate to deny global warming or second-hand smoke or... whatever.

Matt asks:

[W]hy all the libertarian interest in these sort of debunkings (or, at times, purported debunkings) of public health research[?] Would the philosophy of individual rights suddenly become false if it could be conclusively proven that a 50 cents per bag tax on Doritos would improve American life expectancy?

And that's the thing. There are, as far as I can tell, three kinds of libertarian rhetors (and this template applies also to liberals and conservatives and... whatever... but in different ways):

(1) People who deny that problems exist, in the process making themselves look silly;

(2) People that acknowledge that the problem exists, but insist that any solution incompatible with their ideology be excluded from consideration on moral grouns; and

(3) People who are willing to constructively propose solutions that are compatible with their ideological views, and accept some solutions that are not compatible as compromise.

Needless to say, I have very little patience with the first group of libertarians (or liberals, or commies, or conservatives); I disagree heartily with the second, but respect them; and with the third I am in general agreement.

But it seems to me that (largely due to corporate influence, and John Stossel, I think) this first group predominates. And as long as that happens, I think it's clear that libertarianism is going no-where.

UPDATE: Sorry about the lack of clarity. Forgot to insert a key word in the last graf as I was reworking it.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

If at first you don't succeed fail, redefine success failure.

By Jim Dallas

Kevin Drum's insight on the No Child Left Behind Act:

Later on the story quotes some suburban parents who are concerned that labeling their local school a failure will cause their property values to fall. This might actually be amusing if it weren't for the fact that labeling schools as failures isn't an unexpected consequence of NCLB. In fact, it's precisely the point of NCLB — at least for some people.

As I mentioned last year, NCLB mandates that each state has to set standards for student achievement, and by 2014 every single student must meet those standards. Any school with less than 100% success is deemed to be failing. What's more, even in the period between now and 2014, while pass rates are "only" 80 or 90 percent and we're still working our way toward the El Dorado of 100%, there's an absurd concoction of thinly sliced categories mandated by the act, and failure in any one category marks the offending school as a failure. It's pretty obvious that there are a suspiciously large number of ways to fail, and as the years go by the number of "failing" schools will slowly increase to 100%.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 09:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Well, since you asked

By Jim Dallas

Kuff: "Nebraska - Does anyone actually need a reason to dislike the Cornhuskers?"


What other teams that get the finger every year from me? Florida (sorry, but I was raised in a god-fearing Tennessee Volunteers home), Miami, Penn State, and Notre Dame.

I actually feel sorry for A&M these days, and Oklahoma wins because they deserve it. Mixed feelings about Colorado and Colorado State.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:49 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Complete the analogy.

By Jim Dallas

The flat tax is to horny boys studying with their girlfriends as the value-added tax is to horny boys mentally undressing girls which a reasonable person would say had no interest in them whatsoever.

And that's the crux of the problem, I might add.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 06, 2004

Hezbollah, Castro Promote Farenheit 9/11

By Andrew Dobbs

As many of you know, I crossed over into the world of liberal heresy this summer by saying that I hated Farenheit 9/11. I felt it to be disrespectful to our servicemen, unpatriotic and to have a strong anti-American bias. And it looks like I'm not the only one. From the Guardian of London (hardly a bastion of conservativism):

Meanwhile, in the United Arab Emirates, the film is being offered the kind of support it doesn't need. According to Screen International, the UAE-based distributor Front Row Entertainment has been contacted by organisations related to the Hezbollah in Lebanon with offers of help.

And from the News section of the Helsinki Film Festival's website (a bit obscure, but once again, hardly an anti-Moore source):

In terms of marketing the film, Front Row is getting a boost from organisations related to Hezbollah which have rung up from Lebanon to ask if there is anything they can do to support the film. And although Chacra says he and his company feel strongly that Fahrenheit is not anti-American, but anti-Bush, “we can’t go against these organisations as they could strongly boycott the film in Lebanon and Syria.”

Hezbollah, you'll remember, twice bombed US Marine barracks in the early 1980s, killing almost 300 servicemen between the two attacks. They also have been responsible for the hijacking of an American airliner (where they murdered another American serviceman), dozens of kidnappings of American officials (many of whom they murdered) and has worked with Al Quaida on logistics and training in the past. I looked around Michael Moore's website and he had nothing to say about the fact that a heinous group of terrorists is pumping his movie with the cooperation or at least acquiesence of his distributor.

And Hezbollah isn't the only group of anti-American psychos pumping Moore's movie. From the Knight-Ridder News Service (sorry no link, found it on Lexis-Nexis):

Weeks after Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" became a controversial blockbuster in the United States, the film and its maker are generating a new wave of attention this time from Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits.

In Cuba, where leader Fidel Castro is in a heightened war of words with President Bush, bootlegged copies of Moore's Bush-bashing documentary were shown to packed cinemas for a week, and the film was aired on state-run television July 29. (...)

Shawn Sachs, Moore's spokesman in New York, said Moore declined to comment.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" reached Cuban homes and 120 cinemas "from an unauthorized, pirated copy" broadcast without prior knowledge of Moore or the film's distributors, their representatives said.

So while Moore (who claims he was fired from Mother Jones magazine once for being too pro-Sandinista) won't speak out against a ruthless communist dictator using his film as a piece of anti-American propaganda at least the suits at his distribution company spoke up. Maybe it was because the pirated copies cost them money while Hezbollah's activities stand to make some for them. Looks like the bottom line trumps again.

I doubted these stories at first because I only saw them in conservative sources but the 10 minutes of research I did made me mad. Hezbollah is second only to Al Quaida in its reach, determination and hatred of America. They do not want a free world, they want a world based on the subjugation of women and free speech, the violent supression of individuality. Fidel Castro does not want a "progressive movement." He wants to repress and kill anyone who desires to be something more than a peon under his paternalistic glare. These men hate America, hate our ideals, hate our success- yet they love Michael Moore and his movie.

Mama always said you can judge a person by the company they keep. Ask yourself- when the people supporting Moore's movie kill innocent women, children and the elderly what does that say about him?

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 10:11 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Stop Freaking Out

By Andrew Dobbs

Alright, now everyone's got their panties in a wad over the Time and Newsweek polls which say that Bush is going to win in a landslide. Well, I have this from the incomparable Electoral-Vote.com:

Rasmussen has started publishing a 3-day rolling average every day. For Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, (all post-speech), Bush's lead nationally has shrunk to 1.2%. Rasmussen looked at the Time and Newsweek polls we had yesterday and said the samples had too many Republicans in them. When he corrected for this effect, he concluded that the Time and Newsweek data might support the conclusion of a 3% Bush lead, not more. This observation is noteworthy because it is relatively rare when one pollster says that his colleagues blew it.

He also goes on to say that Rasmussen polled people on their opinions of Zell Miller, Karl Rove, Bill Frist, Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert. Distressingly enough, the only one that more than half of America has any opinion of is Zell Miller, easily the least powerful of the 5. I mean, Tom DeLay is probably the second most powerful man in America and a majority of people don't know who he is? Jesus people- wake up! Anyways, the good news is of the people intelligent enough to y'know read and stuff and who know who the other four are tend to dislike all of them. Of the 5 the only one who didn't have more negatives than positives was Hastert who has the same number of dislikes as likes. So the good new is that the "political class"- the people who read and tend to educate their peers about politics are telling them that the GOP is f**ked up.

Anyways, stop freaking out, Bush picked up a little bit of ground but Time and Newsweek were counting way too many Republicans. Kerry works best when he's down so I wouldn't start stocking up water in the bomb shelter or planning a 4 year trip to Canada quite yet.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:17 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 04, 2004

Should the U.S. House Investigate Abu Ghraib?

By Byron LaMasters

Republicans say no! Via the Stakeholder:

Four More Years? The vote to establish an independent House investigation was held on May 20, 2004. Out of 228 Republicans, 6 did not vote, 0 voted Aye, and 222 voted No, including:

Renzi (AZ-1); Beauprez (CO-7); Simmons (CT-2);
Shays (CT-4); Shaw (FL-22); Burns (GA-12);
Crane (IL-8); Hastert (IL-14); Nussle (IA-1);
Hostettler (IN-8); Ryun (KS-2); Northup (KY03);
Graves (MO-6); Terry (NE-2); Ferguson (NJ-7);
Wilson (NM-1); Gerlach (PA-6)

Don't forget about DeLay, Sessions and Neugebauer. All three Texas Republicans voted not to investigate what happened in the Abu Ghraib prison.

Send them a message by donating to Morrison, Frost and Stenholm.

Update: It looks like Charlie Stenholm is attempting to "fill the boot" by raising $10,000 online in September, so help him fill the boot.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How to Prevent Sprawl

By Byron LaMasters

Speaking of sprawl, the Austin city council enacted some good public policy this past week regarding west campus housing. The Daily Texan reports:

The Austin City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to approve a plan that would allow the construction of high-rise student housing in West Campus. The council postponed voting on the plan, called the University Neighborhood Overlay District, at last week's City Council meeting.

Debated since the summer of 2002 and postponed until today, the Overlay plan finally passed with amendments concerning affordable housing, streetscape specifications and parking requirements. The amendments met very little resistance.


The new district is bordered by Guadalupe Street on the east, Lamar Street on the west, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the south and 29th Street on the north. It allows developers to build as high as 175 feet, but only in the blocks west of Guadalupe.

To build that high, developers must agree to improve sidewalks and lighting and plant trees.

The council declined to include an amendment supported by the Student Government to increase the plan's minimum off-street parking requirement to 80 percent of the residential population, leaving it at 60 percent.

Jerry Harris, a lawyer representing a West Campus property owner, said the city wants to encourage pedestrian usage and reduce cars in the area.

"The cost for parking spaces is very expensive, and rent for a student would have been negatively affected," Harris said.

Having more parking would be nice, but overall, allowing high-rise housing in west campus would most likely serve to lower the cost of living, and increase the amount of housing space for most students. By increasing the supply of west campus housing, either the price of housing will go down, or the quality of housing will go up in order to attract more students to live in the area. Personally, I'm glad that the amount of parking wasn't increased, because that would only serve to increase traffic, when you really don't need a car to get around if you live in west campus - I got around just fine with my bike most of my freshman year (although having a car makes getting downtown, and going out on the weekends easier).

I think that the spirit of the proposal is what makes it very good policy. No one says that you can't have a car in west campus, it's simply not encouraged. If you need a car, and you can't afford to park a car in west campus, then live on Riverside or Far West. Requiring builders to increase the amount of parking in west campus from 60% of the residential population to 80% would drastically increase the construction costs of new units, and thus increase the rent. That's unfair to the people living in west campus that don't have cars. By keeping the parking at 60% of residency, it encourages lower rent, public transportation, walking and cycling - and from personal experience, I'll argue with anyone that cycling is the most effective way of getting around central Austin.

Finally, this proposal encourages students to live close to the university and participate more in university sporting events, activities, student organizations and other parts of college life. Without encouraging high-rise units close to campus, more students will move to areas further away with lower rent. Common sense tells us that students commuting to campus are less likely to come back for events outside their classes - thus making the university a commuter school, which for a large university like the University of Texas, would take much away from the community and culture of the institution. And having a vibrant and active central city is good policy for anywhere, especially a college town like Austin.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

AISD Endorsements

By Byron LaMasters

I just wanted to follow up my post a few days ago on the AISD bond propositions with an official BOR Endorsement (I spoke with Andrew and Karl-Thomas on this - Jim is in Galveston / Houston, so I'm sure he'll forgive me for not consulting him).

The election is September 11th, and the early vote times and locations are here:

Prop 1: Yes
Prop 2: Yes
Prop 3: Yes
Prop 4: Yes
Prop 5: Yes
Prop 6: Yes

Comments: Money for schools is good. Read the proposals (PDF file) to see exactly what the money will be used for. Some groups have opposed Props 1 and 5 because they would build schools on the Edwards aquifer. I'm sympathetic to environmental concerns, but I don't believe that not building schools will prevent sprawl. Not building schools will only make our current schools overcrowded in several years, and in all likelihood, apartment complexes will go up where the schools have first dibs.

Austin Chronicle:
Prop 1: Yes
Prop 2: Yes
Prop 3: Yes
Prop 4: Yes
Prop 5: No
Prop 6: Yes

Capital Area Progressive Democrats:
Prop 1: Yes
Prop 2: Yes
Prop 3: Yes
Prop 4: Yes
Prop 5: Yes
Prop 6: Yes

South Austin Democrats:
Prop 1: No
Prop 2: Yes
Prop 3: Yes
Prop 4: Yes
Prop 5: No
Prop 6: Yes

Travis County Democratic Women's Committee:
Prop 1: Yes
Prop 2: Yes
Prop 3: Yes
Prop 4: Yes
Prop 5: Yes
Prop 6: Yes

Roman Candles (Sarah):
Prop 1: Yes
Prop 2: Yes
Prop 3: Yes
Prop 4: Yes
Prop 5: No
Prop 6: Yes

I'll urge the University Democrats to endorse all six props at their meeting on Wednesday.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fuzzy Math

By Byron LaMasters

Ok. I'll admit. I'm a little worried. Both Time and Newsweek polls have Bush up by 11 points (although American Research Group and Zogby have mid-convention polls showing one and two point Bush leads respectively).

My guess is that the race is somewhere in between with Bush leading by four to seven points, and that most of that lead will erode within the next few weeks. I'll be worried, I suppose if more polls show Bush with a ten point lead in a week, but it's certainly not time to panic. After all, Al Gore trailed Bush most of the fall in 2000, only to win the popular vote.

Still, looking at the internals of the Newsweek poll suggests a strong pro-Bush bias. Take a look at the partisan sample size:

374 Republicans (plus or minus 6)
303 Democrats (plus or minus 6)
300 Independents (plus or minus 6)

Thus, of the 977 people polled, 38% were Republican and 31% Democratic. And not surprisingly, Bush has a 94-4% lead among Republicans. In an evenly divided nation, where Democrats and Republicans are nearly equal in size, Newsweek rigged this poll to give Bush a significant bounce. While, I'm not a statistics expert, knocking off 71 Republicans from the sample, thus making the number of Republicans equal to the number of Democrats in the sample, you'd have a much closer result.

From 977 voters, here's the number polled supporting each candidate:

54% of 977 voters = 527 Bush voters.
43% of 977 voters = 420 Kerry voters.
3% of 977 = 30 Undecided voters.

Thus knocking off the 71 Republicans needed to equalize the sample would remove:

94% of 71 voters = 67 Bush voters.
4% of 71 voters = 3 Kerry voters.
2% of 71 voters = 1 Undecided voter.

Reflected on the total sample would give you:

527-67 = 460 Bush voters.
420-3 = 417 Kerry voters.
30-1 = 29 Undecided voters.

Therefore, we now have:

460 Bush voters of 906 total voters = 51%
417 Kerry voters of 906 total voters = 46%
29 Undecided voters of 906 total voters = 3%

Ok, I feel better. If my math / logic seemed flawed, feel free to add a correction (I'm not a math major). Bush has a bounce, but it's not a double digit one. Kerry just need to keep hammering hard at Bush. I love the "unfit to command / lead, etc." lines of Kerry's recent speeches.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:36 PM | Comments (28) | TrackBack

September 03, 2004

Do Bush Supporters Want Bill Clinton to die?

By Byron LaMasters

Republicans went on the attack when Trent Lott and others were booed at the Paul Wellstone memorial service in 2002. I would expect the media to give those who booed President Bush's call for ''best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery" for Bill Clinton the same treatment:

President Bush on Friday wished Bill Clinton ''best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery.''

''He's is in our thoughts and prayers,'' Bush said at a campaign rally.

Bush's audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them.

Bush offered his wishes while campaigning one day after accepting the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in New York. Clinton was hospitalized in New York after complaining of mild chest pain and shortness of breath.

Bush recently praised Clinton when the former president went to the White House for the unveiling of his official portrait. He lauded Clinton for his knowledge, compassion and ''the forward-looking spirit that Americans like in a president.''

And it's not just people at a rally, U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY) had this to say about Clinton:

"Who knows? It could be the result of a successful Republican convention"

Now, that's respectful.

In case you want to send Bill Clinton a card, here's the address:

The William J. Clinton Foundation
55 West 125th St.
New York, NY 10027

Although, as Trapper John (Kos) points out, the best thing that people can do for Bill Clinton is to donate to the Democrat of your choice, or to the Clinton Presidential Center to support President Clinton's work on HIV/AIDS and many other issues.

Update: This is quite bizarre, but the story on the Boston Globe site has been retracted and the AP article on the AZ Central site entitled "Some at rally boo after Bush mentions Clinton" on Google is renamed "Bush offers best wishes to Clinton" on the AZ Central site. Very odd. Either no one was booing, but the reporter said there was. Or there were only a few boos and editors didn't think the article was appropriate. Or there were a lot of boos, and Karl Rove made a threatening call. I don't know. It would be interesting to hear from someone who was actually there.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:55 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

How to Nominate a Minority Republican

By Byron LaMasters

I think its a good thing that Democrats and Republicans have collectively nominated five Hispanics and African-Americans for U.S. Senate (Obama D-IL, Keyes R-IL, Salazar D-CO, Majette D-GA, Martinez R-FL) in this cycle. While there are currently no Blacks or Hispanics in the U.S. Senate, there will likely be two or three next year. That's a good thing for the progress of race relations in America. But what's not good for America is the manner in which racial minorities campaign in order to win the acceptance of a party that is super-majority White, has no African-American congressmen, and only one non-Cuban Hispanic congressman.

In order to win the Republican nomination, minorities must prove to the base of the Republican Party that they can hate just as well as Tom DeLay, Tom Tancredo and Rick Santorum. For Vernon Robinson - who emerged from nowhere to almost win a GOP primary in North Carolina last month - it was about hating immigrants. For U.S. Senate nominees Mel Martinez and Alan Keyes, its about hating gay people.

The Boston Globe reports on Mel Martinez:

Martinez, a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Bush administration who ran as a moderate, created a furor in the last weeks of the Republican primary campaign when he accused opponent Bill McCollum of being hostage to the ''radical homosexual lobby" because McCollum, a former US House member, supported hate crimes legislation. Martinez also said McCollum was antifamily because he backed embryonic stem-cell research.


But Democrats say Martinez's remarks about gays in a television ad and a campaign mailing reflect a ''bigoted" GOP agenda, followed by recent remarks by Alan Keyes, the Republican US Senate nominee in Illinois, that gays, including Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Mary, were guilty of ''selfish hedonism."

''Why don't they have Alan Keyes, who said what he said about Dick Cheney's daughter, and Mel Martinez, who bashed Bill McCollum as a sympathizer with the 'extreme homosexual lobby,' on the podium? They can show the true diversity of their party: an African-American Republican and a Cuban-American Republican who equally hate gay people," said Brad Woodhouse, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

In the Republican Party, supporting additional penalties for hate-related crimes is considered giving in to the "radical homosexual lobby". I can only see two possible explanations. Either the Republicans are soft on crime, or Republicans hate gay people. Any of my Republican friends care to answer that question?

In fact, Martinez's attack were so hysterical, that the St. Petersburg Times rescinded their endorsement of Martinez in the final week of the campaign:

The Times originally recommended former U.S. Housing Secretary Mel Martinez to Republican voters in Tuesday's U.S. Senate primary, but that was before Martinez took his campaign into the gutter with hateful and dishonest attacks on his strongest opponent, former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum. The Times is not willing to be associated with bigotry. As a result, we are taking the almost unprecedented step of rescinding our recommendation of Martinez.


No matter what else Martinez may accomplish in public life, his reputation will be forever tainted by his campaign's nasty and ludicrous slurs of McCollum in the final days of this race. The slurs culminated with Martinez campaign advertisements that label McCollum - one of the most conservative moralists in Washington during his 20 years as a U.S. representative - "the new darling of the homosexual extremists" because he once favored a hate crime law that had bipartisan support. A few days earlier, the Martinez campaign arranged a conference call with reporters in which a group of right-wing Martinez supporters labeled McCollum "antifamily." Why? Because McCollum supports expanded stem cell research to find cures for deadly diseases - a position that is identical to those of Nancy Reagan, Connie Mack and many other prominent Republicans.

At Friday night's Republican Senate debate, McCollum confronted Martinez and called on him to repudiate his campaign's sleazy, homophobic advertisements. Martinez refused. Later, he said he "wouldn't be in favor of that kind of rhetoric." But the rhetoric calling McCollum "the new darling of the homosexual extremists" and accusing him of making "statements in order to appease . . . the radical homosexual lobby" was included in advertising paid for by the Martinez campaign. If Martinez failed to review the ads before they were sent out under his name, he was irresponsible. If he knew what was in the ads and is now trying to distance himself, he is being dishonest. Either way, Floridians deserve better in a U.S. senator.

We don't need any more hatemongers in the U.S. Senate. Donate to the Democrat in the race, Betty Castor.

As for Alan Keyes - it's pretty much the accepted conventional wisdom that he's a certifiable nutcase, but in case you missed it, he took the opportunity to attack Dick Cheney's family at the very convention that was renominating him for Vice President. It would have been comparable to Barack Obama calling Jack and Emma Claire Edwards "dumb, retarded little kids". Here's what Keyes said about Mary Cheney:

Alan Keyes, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois, told a radio reporter at the Republican National Convention that gays and lesbians are "selfish hedonists," including Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney.

A spokeswoman for the vice president called Mr. Keyes's statements "inappropriate.''

Mr. Keyes, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, made the comments in an interview with Sirius OutQ, a radio station aimed primarily at a gay and lesbian audience. Asked about his views of same-sex marriage, Mr. Keyes said he believed marriage should be limited to heterosexuals because it is grounded in sexual reproduction. Same-sex relationships, he asserted, manifested "selfish hedonism."

Asked if that meant Mary Cheney was a "selfish hedonist," too, Mr. Keyes said, "Of course she is," according to a transcript.

Memo to minorities running in GOP primaries (or wanting to get appointed to a nomination after the primary winner's divorce records are unsealed) - If you can convince the rank and file that you're one of them, talk about how much you hate gay people. It's a guaranteed winner.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 02, 2004

Ok. I'm Getting Mad

By Byron LaMasters

I think I'll have to make some donations tonight. It's the best way to deal with watching George W. Bush try to put a sunny face on the past four years, wrap himself around exploiting 9/11, and laying out no real vision for the next four years.

Here's some good folks to donate to here in Texas, if you feel the same way that I do:

State House:

Katy Hubener for State Rep.

Mark Strama for State Rep.

Kelly White for State Rep.

Hubert Vo for State Rep.

U.S. House

Chet Edwards (Club for Growth is about to dump $700,000 into this race).

Martin Frost (Pete Sessions is a crook and an idiot. He needs to go).

Nick Lampson (Read what his opponent said today).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Kerry Klose Starts Tonight

By Byron LaMasters

And the gloves are off. The Republicans took them off at their convention, so it's fair game if you ask me. Kos has excerpts:

For three days in New York, instead of talking about jobs and the economy, we heard anger and insults from the Republicans. And I'll tell you why. It's because they can't talk about the real issues facing Americans. They can't talk about their record because it's a record of failure.

We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief. Well, here's my answer. I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.

The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.

Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without healthcare makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi Royal Family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it's not going to change. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America.

Take that.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:18 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

NASA Changes the Rules for Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

Tom DeLay thinks he's above the law, and that the rules don't apply to him. We see it over and over again, and when Tom DeLay makes a call asking NASA to change their policy regarding political activity by NASA:

The August 18 internal memo to all NASA personnel at Johnson Space Center seemed innocuous enough.

"With the party political conventions in full swing," wrote JSC chief counsel Bernard Roan, it was time to restate NASA's policy on employee campaign activities. Included was a warning against any political activity while on duty, and "on duty" could be defined as any time when an employee was wearing a NASA pin.

Then someone at NASA apparently realized that: 1) U.S. Representative Tom DeLay was being honored at an August 24 reception at nearby UH-Clear Lake; 2) Redistricting has put JSC in DeLay's district; and 3) NASA needs to do some serious kissing of the DeLay ass to keep getting funded.

So on August 19 a new memo went out. "It is my determination that it is in the Agency's interest for NASA [employees] and their guests to attend this event," deputy chief counsel Daniel Remington wrote.

The second memo alarmed some NASA workers. "I couldn't believe they'd do something like that," says one veteran employee. He said a co-worker had e-mailed to say he'd never seen anything like it in 30 years at JSC. "It just didn't pass the smell test," he said.

An anonymous complaint has been filed with NASA's inspector general, but somehow a ruling didn't come down before the DeLay event.

At the event, by the way, the number of protesters almost equaled the number of attendees.

Hah. Tom DeLay was embarrassed, and pulling a few strings didn't make a bit of difference. But there's a bigger concern here. Today's Republican Party has a disturbing pattern of politicizing communities of Americans that have in the past been regarded above politics. Just earlier this week, Republicans boasted how three percent of their delegates are active military when being a delegate to a political convention clearly violates the Code of Military Conduct. What's next? Having the prisoners of Abu Ghraib make Bush / Cheney bumper stickers? I wouldn't put it past these guys.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


By Jim Dallas

First we had the "national sales tax" trial balloon from Speaker Hastert. Now we have LaRouchie conspiracy theories. (Link to Off the Kuff).

Get this man away from the levers of power now!

In other news, I'm still emotionally mixed about the Zell Miller speech. As I've intimated, I think that this speech had some potential to "turn-on" some Republicans and right-wing independents. I say this because in the last year I've learned that, when it comes to rhetoric, insanity is relative. I was in the convention hall with Howard Dean during the infamous "scream" speech, and I liked it. So I guess Republicans and other kool-aid drinkers are entitled to think positively about Miller's blood-curdlingly bellicose speech.

(Has it ever occurred to you that the Internet is populated by extremely partisan hacks? Or am I just projecting?)

And as always, I feel mixed about the man myself. It's unfortunate, but this year I've pretty much lost all respect that I had gained for Zell after he stood up against the media for making fun of hillbillies.

(This is the point where I was going to compare Zell Miller to Al Sharpton, but then realized I couldn't say it in a way that didn't sound blithely politically incorrect).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A Gentle Reminder

By Jim Dallas

And if I hear anyone ever impugn Kerry's defense voting record again, I will challenge you to a duel (from Fred Kaplan in Slate):

Here, one more time, is the truth of the matter: Kerry did not vote to kill these weapons, in part because none of these weapons ever came up for a vote, either on the Senate floor or in any of Kerry's committees.

This myth took hold last February in a press release put out by the RNC. Those who bothered to look up the fine-print footnotes discovered that they referred to votes on two defense appropriations bills, one in 1990, the other in 1995. Kerry voted against both bills, as did 15 other senators, including five Republicans. The RNC took those bills, cherry-picked some of the weapons systems contained therein, and implied that Kerry voted against those weapons. By the same logic, they could have claimed that Kerry voted to disband the entire U.S. armed forces; but that would have raised suspicions and thus compelled more reporters to read the document more closely.

What makes this dishonesty not merely a lie, but a damned lie, is that back when Kerry cast these votes, Dick Cheney—who was the secretary of defense for George W. Bush's father—was truly slashing the military budget. Here was Secretary Cheney, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Jan. 31, 1992:

Overall, since I've been Secretary, we will have taken the five-year defense program down by well over $300 billion. That's the peace dividend. … And now we're adding to that another $50 billion … of so-called peace dividend.

Cheney then lit into the Democratic-controlled Congress for not cutting weapons systems enough:

Congress has let me cancel a few programs. But you've squabbled and sometimes bickered and horse-traded and ended up forcing me to spend money on weapons that don't fill a vital need in these times of tight budgets and new requirements. … You've directed me to buy more M1s, F14s, and F16s—all great systems … but we have enough of them.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 05:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


By Byron LaMasters

Ok, this is my last bit on this, but it struck me earlier today...

John Edwards: "Hope is on the way."

John Kerry: "Help is on the way."

Zell Miller: "Hate is on the way."

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:07 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Ted Poe: Nuttier than Zell Miller

By Jim Dallas

This guy is supposed to beat the incomparable Nick Lampson?


Ted Poe, a congressional candidate from Texas, goes even further. He compares Upper West Side liberals, at least implicitly, to the nation's enemies in the war on terror. The country is currently fighting for freedom abroad in Iraq, Poe says. But it's also fighting for "basic American principles" at home. "This threat is real," he continues. Don't "complain and criticize as the French did in the war in Iraq." No, this dangerous "threat" must be stopped with a fierce barrage of smaller government and lower taxes. "Sitting on the sidelines is not an option," says Poe, sticking with his hilariously inappropriate analogy. "Now is not the time to be a French Republican" (or, as the official transcript of his piece has it, an all-caps "FRENCH REPUBLICAN").

Who screened Poe's speech? Sure, it's not prime time, but certainly someone pointed out (or someone should have pointed out) that it wasn't a good idea to compare Democrats, by far the majority in New York, to Baathists.

Red-baiting my fellow Americans is not something I will abide.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Vote For AISD

By Byron LaMasters

Yesterday, I voted in favor of all six of the AISD bond initiatives. I tend to categorically support almost all education funding, because one of my fundamental beliefs in government is that after defending its people, providing strong education and strong health care are the best investments that a government can make. That belief trumps most all else, including the concerns of some of the more strident environmentalists.

I'd encourage a vote for all six propositions. Early vote locations are here.

Here's what AISD is requesting from Austin voters:

Proposition 1 Tax Rate: 1.54¢ Relief for Overcrowded Schools/ Provision of Equitable Facilities District Wide • New Schools o Elementary (6) $111,547,983 NE SC SE SW Undesignated (2) o Middle (1) 35,777,119 NE • Classroom Additions 30,280,564 • Land Acquisition o Future MS sites (2) 4,962,651 SE SW o Elementary (1) 1,029,747 Undesignated Proposition 1 Total: $183,598,064

Proposition 2
Tax Rate: 1.69¢
Academic and Building Infrastructure Renovations to Safeguard Investments in District
Campuses, Facilities and Sites and Invest in Environmental Health Initiatives and Standards
• Renovations to Campuses $187,550,897
& District-Wide Facilities
• Technology 13,553,074
Proposition 2 Total: $201,103,971

Proposition 3
Tax Rate: .45¢
Safety and Security, Environmental Health and District-wide Facilities
• Safety & Security $20,954,097
• District-Wide Facilities 17,505,352
• Low-Emission Buses 13,234,166
• Asbestos 2,205,694
Proposition 3 Total: $53,899,309

Proposition 4
Tax Rate: .11¢
Athletics and Physical Education Including the Efficient Utilization of Taxpayers’ Dollars
Through Sharing Facilities Among Governmental Entities
• Interscholastic Sports Task $10,405,729
Force recommendations
• Elementary covered play slabs 2,424,781
Proposition 4 Total: $12,830,510

Proposition 5
Tax Rate: .37¢
Relief for Overcrowding and Partial Funding for a District-Wide Performing Arts Center
• Partial Funding for $7,719,706
District-Wide Performing Arts Center (PAC)
• Site for PAC 1,102,815
• New Southwest Middle School 35,777,241
Proposition 5 Total: $44,599,762

Proposition 6
Tax Rate: .49¢
Refinancing of Contractual Obligations
• Contractual Obligations $23,495,000
Proposition 6 Total: $23,495,000
Bond Proposal $519,526,616
Total Tax Rate: 4.65¢

Many Austin environmentalists oppose Prop 5. The Austin Chronicle wrote the following in opposing Prop 5:

Proposition 5: NO

Proposition 5 includes funds for a new, districtwide performing arts center and a new southwest middle school. We would support the PAC, but we have not been convinced that the district needs another southwest middle school on the edge of the aquifer's recharge zone. We believe Proposition 5 violates the spirit of SOS because it unnecessarily reinforces, by institutional inertia, developmental growth patterns that endanger the community's best values, its health, and indeed its unique character as a city. Elected officials cannot continue to throw up their hands and say, "There's nothing we can do about sprawl" – when they endorse decisions that make sprawl inevitable.

The Chronicle urges voters to reject Proposition 5.

The only problem is that if this proposition fails, and a school is not built on the aquifer recharge zone, then it is likely that an apartment complex will be built on the land. Personally, I think that soccer fields are more environmentally friendly than are parking lots that would surely accompany an apartment complex. It's a simple choice in my eyes. Not building schools won't stop sprawl. Not building schools will only lead to school overcrowding and less educational opportunities for AISD students.

Sarah says Vote No on five, as the Austin Chronicle recommends, so check out her two cents.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Worse than Buchanan in 1992

By Byron LaMasters

Seriously, Zell Miller's speech was nothing more than pure hate, just like Pat Buchanan in 1992. Except there's one big difference. Pat Buchanan may be a bigot, but at least he's consistent. Zell Miller started his career working for segregationist Lester Maddox, became a progressive southern Democrat, then completed his return to his hate-filled roots tonight. He's zigged and zagged his entire career, and tonight he exposed himself as the disingenuous hypocrite that he is.

When Zell Miller ran for congress forty years ago, he was a segregationist:

As a congressional candidate 40 years ago, Miller argued President Johnson was "a Southerner who sold his birthright for a mess of dark pottage" because of his support for the Civil Rights Act.

Then, Zell Miller disavowed those remarks:

Miller later disavowed those remarks, even leading an unsuccessful charge to take the Confederate emblem off the Georgia state flag.

Civil rights pioneer John Lewis, the dean of Georgia's congressional delegation, recently called Miller's decision to speak for Bush "a shame and a disgrace." Lewis quipped that, this time, Miller was the one selling his soul for pottage.

Then in 1992, Zell Miller stood up for draft dodger Bill Clinton:

"George Bush is a timid man who hears only the voices of caution and the status quo," Miller said back then. "Let's face facts: George Bush just doesn't get it, he doesn't see it, he doesn't feel it, and he's done nothing about it. That's why we cannot afford four more years."

At least Zigzag Zell is consistent in supporting draft-dodgers. He supported Clinton, and he supports Dubya.

Tonight Zigzag Zell denounced John Kerry's twenty year senate record:

And, no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.

Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the War on Terror.

Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security but Americans need to know the facts.

The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40 percent of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq.

The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Khadifi's Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora.

The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War. The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's Capital and this very city after 9/11.

I could go on and on and on: against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel; against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile; against, against, against.

So, Zell Miller is attacking the twenty year senate record of John Kerry - a record that he admired three years ago:

As for John Kerry, Miller has found kind words for Democratic presidential nominee, calling him "one of this nation's authentic heroes" during the Georgia Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson Dinner three years ago. Kerry made a return trip to the gathering in April, cracking, "Back then, Zell Miller was a Democrat."

So, for 17 years in the U.S. Senate, John Kerry was an authentic American hero, then for the past three years John Kerry's record has been an entirely different creature. Why did Zell Miller not speak out against John Kerry in 1992 or 2001? Why did Zell Miller praise John Kerry in 2001, before speaking out against him? Republicans have attacked John Kerry as a flip-flopper again and again, but there is no greater flip-flopper in America today than Zell Miller. He started politics as a segregationist. He became a Clinton-supporting, progressive, southern governor. He praised John Kerry in 2001, and in 2004 he lashes into Kerry with a hate-filled speech. Zell Miller has no values. Zell Miller has no convictions. Zell Miller stands for nothing. Good riddance.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:20 AM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Photoshop Monkeys Unleashed!

By Jim Dallas

This is what I love about America.

Even if I still use the GIMP.

UPDATE: C-Span has now got the Zell Miller speech up online. For what it's worth, I thought the first five minutes were palatable (a good speech if you overlook the obvious disingenuousness). Then it turns it into a temper-tantrum/slash/orgy of Kerry-bashing and mindless militarism.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 01, 2004

Like Al Gore, but stiffer

By Jim Dallas

Cheney's giving us a laundry list speech. Will we then "shock" us by giving Lynne a big smacker?

Monotone... blah/blah/blah....

Damn, apparently I missed Zell Miller's "commit me now!" (or at least, I hear it was pretty nutty) speech. I finally get around to tuning into the GOP convention, and I get... this?

Something tells me that the GOP docs intended to slip some valium to Zig-Zag but accidentally put it in Cheney's cup.

UPDATE: WTF? Cheney said something about Iraq's nukes being stored away in Tennessee?!?

UPDATE 2: Here we go with the "bash-Kerry" routine. Now Cheney's getting enthusiastic. Lies, nonsense, hypocrisy.

UPDATE 3: I still remember Cheney's 2000 speech (riffing on Gore's "it's time for them to go" speech). This just plain sucked, and I say that objectively, not as a partisan.

Oh, boy, Brooks and Dunn is on. If we could get rid of all the Republicans, the Republican Convention would be awesome!

(I believe I made a few errors herein which have now been corrected.)

UPDATE 4: Corpus Christi Diocese bishop emeritus Rev. Rene Gracida is up giving the benediction. Thoughts??

Posted by Jim Dallas at 09:35 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Painful David Brooks

By Jim Dallas

First off, I agree with Brooks for about the first two pages: there is a tectonic shift in party ideology going on right now (I would argue that the Republicans are getting to be extremely statist, whereas Democrats are becoming more libertarian). And I agree that there is a "reformer" or "national union" wing of the Republican Party, (as opposed to the plutocrat-Dixiecrat axis that forms the GOP's current establishment), which could become powerful.

But then Brooks start arguing that Bush is an enlightened Hamiltonian in compared to the GOP's unprincipled Congressional wing. And that all of Bush's "ownership society" rhetoric is really a meaningful resuscitation of Teddy Roosevelt's Square Deal. Because giving billions of dollars of handouts to insurance companies and Big Pharma is really about "empowering people."

It's true that Karl Rove famously looked to the past in order to find inspiration for Bush's policies - but it wasn't Roosevelt that was Rove's model. It was William McKinley, who was not exactly a "reformer" by the standards of any age.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry, but point is this: Brooks article is excessively illogical, ahistorical and wrong, even by Brooksian norms.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 08:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Genocide and the GOP

By Andrew Dobbs

Via Atrios, it appears that the National Review has chosen as one of its "Editors' Picks" a book by the spokesman for former Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Readers are reminded that Karadzic is the architect of the "ethnic cleansing" of Croats and Muslims that was perpetrated by the Serbs.

Hear the National Review's thoughts on the book:

Since the attacks of September 11, dozens of books have been rushed to market purporting to "explain" the religion in whose name the terrorists acted. Most of them strike a common theme: "true" Islam -- as opposed to the "fundamentalist" variety of the hijackers -- is a "religion of peace" that promotes charity, tolerance, freedom, and culture no less than "true" Christianity. (...)

To correct this, Trifkovic gives us the unvarnished, "politically incorrect" truth about Islam -- including the shocking facts about its founder, Mohammed; its rise through bloody conquest; its sanctioning of theft, deceit, lust and murder; its persecutions of Christians, Jews, Hindus and other "infidels"; its cruel mistreatment of women; the colossal myth of its cultural "golden age"; its irreformable commitment to global conquest by any means necessary; the broad sweep of the military, political, moral, and spiritual struggle that faces us; and what we must do if we wish to survive.

If the vicious slaughter and mass rape of Srebrenica is any indication (an unholy massacre that this book's author was a part of), killing off all the Muslims and raping their women probably plays some part in "what we must do if we wish to survive." The National Review has stooped to a new level with this one. The Joseph Goebbels of the Yugoslav Civil War deserves much worse than a National Review Editor's Pick- he deserves a firing squad.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 04:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Texas Tuesday's

By Byron LaMasters

I did some posts for Texas Tuesday's this week. Check out my Katy Hubener posts:

The Opponent: Ray Allen.

Interview with Katy Hubener's campaign manager - Cass Callaway.

About Katy Hubener.

Read more about Katy on her website, and donate to the campaign to take back Texas.

Also check out another state representative candidate, Stephen Frost.

Interview with Stephen Frost.

Introduction to Stephen Frost.

Donate to Stephen Frost.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jenna Bush is an Idiot

By Byron LaMasters

I can't really attest to Barbara Bush, but really, their speech was totally idiotic. The LA Times adds their two cents:

The strategy Tuesday, apparently, was to have sisters Jenna and Barbara humanize and soften the grim-faced Politburo image that dogs the Bush-Cheney campaign, which hasn't made much of an effort to court those young Americans who call it a good day if they've remembered to TiVo "The Simple Life."

So here they were, girlie and giggly and glammed-up (Jenna in some kind of Juicy couture-looking track suit top over white pants, Barbara in a black cocktail dress).

They told slightly off-color jokes, apparently to drive home the point that, supporting a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage aside, their parents weren't totally freaked out about S-E-X. Her grandmother, Jenna said, "thinks 'Sex in the City' is something married people do but never talk about," getting the show's name wrong. Barbara said, "Jenna and I are really not very political." She's the one who graduated from Yale.

The Republicans, you were reminded, are really good at chest-thumping and flag-hugging, but they ought to stay away from showcasing their privileged, Prada-wearing first daughters until the campaign is over.

After the speeches were over, even CNN's talking heads seemed to be struggling to make sense of the sisters' sister act. Judy Woodruff stammered, "I'm not sure what that was about," while an incensed Jeff Greenfield called the appearance a "frankly discordant moment."

I just wonder how many of the Republican delegates really have a clue what Sex and the City is really all about.

Ezra has more insight over at Pandagon.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:10 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

CNN is being a pussy

By Byron LaMasters

They won't air this ad by the Log Cabin Republicans that calls for unity within the Republican Party, asking the party to focus on what unites it - the war on terror, and put aside divisive figures like Pat Buchanan and Rick Santorum. Log Cabin also airs a picture of a "God Hates Fags" sign by Fred Phelps's gang. C'mon CNN. It's offensive, but you're also airing ads by the Swift Vets that talk about chopped off heads. That ought to be much more controversial. Anyway, it'll be interesting to watch if the Log Cabin Republicans do ultimately sell-out, and make themselves irrelevent to the gay community by endorsing George W. Bush, or will they actually hold Bush accountable for using gays and lesbians as victims in fanning the flames of the culture war.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Some Things you Didn't Know

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I've been meaning to post this for some time but have been busy with school starting.

Back when we had the Grassroots training here in Austin and Dean came, there were a number of people of interest that came to our evening gatherings to talk politics and such. One of which was Tom Hughes, political director for DFA. There were others, the trainers, and at this point I'm not entirely sure who said what about each of these following discoveries. So I'll put it under the category of "Things Learned That Neither You Nor I Knew Before".

First off, the Infamous Iowa Dean Scream. I was there, many of you have heard me and just about everyone else bitch about it and how the media didn't bother to include the crowd sounds and just filtered out everything. I went on and on about how in the room you might now have even heard the scream (which is still true) and the callous media didn't bother to do a 'reality' check.

Come to find out, the entire fiasco, and especially the Cable TV clips that were run over and over 100s of times might have been the fault of the Dean Iowa campaign. That night, all of those stations were plugged into the general media Pool Feed (similar to the Democratic National Convention where there was a Pool Camera just to the right of the Texas Delegation that didn't pan on us, hence why you never saw us on TV floor flyovers). Well, the Iowa Dean staff had plugged into the Pool Feed box only the mic for Dean and no feeds that were there for background crowd noise as can be done for rally like events. (Nothing is worse than having a big applause line and then hearing quiet muffled nothingness.) So in short, we screwed up, and though the Media in the grander scheme certainly isn't absolved of being at times hostile to the Dean campaign, it's not all their fault.

Second big thing, and this one is more local to Texas. These rumors concern the DA's office and the Ronny Earle investigation into Tom Delay and illegal corporate money flowing here, there, and everywhere in and out of the state of Texas in relation to influencing the 2002 Texas House elections. Apparently, they are finding out more connections that they thought they would find and the analogy given was, "each stone turned over is revealing 5 new bugs that lead to other stones with more bugs under them".

So the problem? This is taking more time than expected. As in, possibly extending the time frame of the investigation beyond that of the election cycle this fall. Which means that some candidates might not get their indictment/guilty verdicts or otherwise before Nov. 2. Because if they stop too soon, the leads dry up, and the greater goal of bringing down influential Corporate Money in Texas once and for all will not be achieved.

And now, going even more local into a race where the Republican was aided by Delay Money Funneling, Jack Stick, being challenged by Mark Strama here in northern Travis County, apparently has only recently in the last 3 weeks gone in to get his first Voter File from the County offices. There has been no active field program as of yet according to the Stick staffer who picked up the file, who unwittingly talked to a Democratic operative that he apparently didn't recognize. So all summer, as Mark Strama and his Interns have been blockwalking, phoning, and raising money up in Pflugerville, Stick has been raising some money and doing nothing.

Doesn't that make you want to donate to Strama with .01 added for BOR? Let's swing this one our way.

And there is one other tidbit I have learned but am not ready to share quite yet if at all. Let's just say that it could fall into the category of ScHrOCKING.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 01:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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