News, Politics, and Fun From Deep in the Heart of Texas
October 30, 2004
Viva Las Cruces
By Jim Dallas
I'm on a bad internet connction, on the road here in Dona Ana county, so I'll be brief. When they say NM is a battleground state, believe it. Blockwalking today, we saw EVERY interested group trying to GOTV, and it appears houses are getting knocked many times over. The mission is truly to hunt down every last possible voter.
I thought the Iowa caucuses were crazy, but this right here is the big enchilada.
More thorough after-action reporting when Byron and I get back to Texas.
Early Voting Over
By Karl-Thomas Musselman
The Early Vote is cast in Texas and the results from Travis County are in.
On Friday, an astounding 30,987 votes were cast bringing the total Early Vote draw to 217,428, or 37.17% of 584,949 registered voters.
Early vote has been less than election day voting in Travis County traditionally, so even assuming a 50-50 split, my prediction is that a 70-75% turnout for the Austin area is in the cards. That's huge when you consider that in 2000, Travis county had a turnout of around 51%.
The University of Texas Campus had lines up to 150 at some points this afternoon. There were about 40 in line 15 minues after the polls closed even. There were 1984 votes cast at UT today, the highest daily vote return. All 23 early vote locations in the county cast their early vote record days today.
October 29, 2004
New Mexico Bound
By Byron LaMasters
Heading for New Mexico... I may have some Internet access, but I don't know for sure, so use this as an open thread if you wish. I'll try and post some while I'm out there, but probably not too much. I'll be talking to as many people as I have the chance urging them to go out, and vote for John Kerry for president.
By Jim Dallas
It's been a few months since I've last been in Austin. I just got here on the bus from Houston and am bumming around the UT campus for a few hours.
First of all, I would like to thank Capitol Metro for your wonderful bus service. Yes, we have buses in Houston, and indeed we have a very spiffy-but-somewhat-accident-prone light rail. But you could get married and divorced - twice! - waiting for a bus to come in Houston.
Second, I saw lots of Kerry signs and that is good. I also saw some signs put out by the TCDP saying, among other things, "Republican Redistricting tore Austin Apart", "Tell Baxter and Stick to Return the Illegal Money", and "Women make the difference!"
Except, this being Austin, I'd have had the sign say:
"Women and men-who-dress-like-women make the difference!"
But there's only so much you can hope for.
As usual, there aren't too many smiling faces on the Duval #7 bus. There never were. But in positive news, I hear that some dudes up in Hyde Park are very close to building the world's first angst-powered automobile.
They finally finished some new buildings at UT. Unfortunately, they've started new useless construction projects. I think there is a univesal principle known as the "Conservation of Construction."
Whoever decided to pick that new type-face for the Daily Texan headlines made a mistake; by this I mean that skinny, curvy, sans serif font they're using. I think it's called "Lame-O Condensed" or maybe "Weenie Extra Weak."
People vote here like it's going out of style. There is a massive line here at the UGL (where I'm dropping by to make some e-mails on the public internet terminal). I voted here at the UGL in 2000. There was NOT a line four years ago.
Burnt orange-colored everything. The number one reason I love Austin.
By Byron LaMasters
Greg's Opinion has some here.
Chris Elam is too good for predictions -- or maybe too smart. Or maybe just too much of a pussy. Just kidding. It depends who you ask, I guess.
George Strong says Vo and Hochberg look good -- if only he could spell Vo's name right as Rob Booth notes -- who is also too good, too smart, or... well, you know :-) to make any predictions other than that he'll be tired on Tuesday night.
Feel free to compare everything above to the predictions that Andrew and I made however wrong / stupid / smart we might end up being.
Republicans Gay-Baiting in Dallas Sheriff's Race
By Byron LaMasters
If Republican Danny Chandler is elected Dallas County Sheriff, will he be comitted to being serving the GLBT community in Dallas? His latest attacks bring that into question. The Dallas Morning News reports:
The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund is a unique organization. It basically has no agenda other seeing the election of openly gay and lesbian candidates:
Lupe Valdez hasn't signed on to any "agenda" other than that of serving the people of Dallas County as sheriff. Her sexual orientation is well-known, especially among the GLBT community, but she has not made it an issue in her campaign.
The real issue here though, is that Danny Chandler is trying to distract people from reports that he has violated federal election law:
Maybe it's just me, but federal election law violations seem more relevant to the race for sheriff than Lupe Valdez's endorsement by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. Dallas County might not be the most progressive place in the world, but Dallas County does have three openly gay elected officials: Dallas City Councilmen John Loza and Ed Oakley, along with Constable Mike Dupree. Their sexual orientation has come up occasionally in their campaigns, but in general it does not seem to have been a major issue for most voters.
Update: Also via Josh Marshall is news that the Jim Bunning campaign is implying that Democratic senate candidate Dan Mongiardo is gay. (He's not).
More on the CR's Fundraising Scam
By Byron LaMasters
This out of North Carolina:
Scamming seniors... just what Republicans do best (among many other things). The Brown University Democrats Blog was on this yesterday and I posted on it based on this Seattle Times article. We'll see what comes out next...
October 28, 2004
Heard on the blogs
By Jim Dallas
Now around here we love consultants, and in fact some of us aspire to be consultants. But I found the following joke posted in one of the comment threads over at Pandagon.com to be painfully on-target.
A cowboy was herding his herd in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses, YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"
The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure. Why not?"
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, conects it to his AT&T cell phone, surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.
Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formula. He uploads all of this data via an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response. Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, a miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1586 cows and calves."
"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says the cowboy.
He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car. Then the cowboy says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"
"You're a consultant for the Democratic party," says the cowboy.
"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"
"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked; and you don't know anything about my business.
........ "Now give me back my dog."
By Byron LaMasters
Well, it's that time in an election year. Bloggers wear a lot of hats. We're part-time party activists, part-time news regurgitaters and members of the notorious blog echo chamber. Most importantly, we're full time political news junkies and probably have just as good of a read on the election as anyone, so there comes a time where we ought to stick out our necks, put our names and reputations on the line, and make a prediction or two.
So, without any further disclaimers, check out the extended entry for my predictions on the Presidential race (popular vote and electoral college) and races here in Texas (and make your own predictions on this thread). The winner of each category will win their choice among several books that I have to give away.
President: John Kerry 277, George W. Bush 261 (Popular vote: Kerry 51%, George W. Bush 48%, Others 1%).
Kerry wins all Gore states except Iowa + Ohio and New Hampshire.
I think that Iowa and Florida are extremely close, but I'll give them to Bush. I think that it's certainly possible that both go for Kerry, giving him 311 electoral votes. If Bush wins, I predict that he'll win without Ohio. Ohio has been trending Kerry in the past week, and I think it goes for Kerry either way. I think a likely scenario is a Bush win with 280 electoral votes by winning the states he won in 2000 minus Ohio plus New Mexico, Wisconsin and Iowa.
My prediction for Kerry is based on two assumptions. First, minority voters turn out in very large numbers. Republican pollster Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates basically say that the race is dead even, but when adjusting poll results for a large minority turnout, Kerry's lead grows to several points. Also suggesting a very large minority turnout is the well known and unprecidented level of organization, coordination and funding of Get Out the Vote organization of Democrats and left-leaning groups.
Second, undecided voters will break for the challenger as they traditionally do in the final weekend. There's some doubt as to whether the tradition will hold in this election, because of the focus in this election on national security. I think the tradition does hold for several reasons. Polls of undecided voters show very low approval and reelect numbers for President Bush. The question of these voters is not whether they like President Bush or not. They've already decided that they don't. The question is whether John Kerry has met the threashold of acceptability on the issue of national security. It's taken a long campaign, and most importantly three debates for John Kerry to reach that threashold, but I think he's finally reached it among the type of voters who will decide this election. These voters are people who might have voted for Bush or Gore in 2000, they rallied to Bush after 9/11, they supported the war in Iraq from the begining, but they have deep reservations about how Bush has handled the war. While Kerry's lead in newspaper endorsements is unlikely to swing many votes, I believe that its reflective of the thought process of many undecided Americans in this election cycle. In recent days, I think Andrew Sullivan and The Economist well articulate the reasons why John Kerry is the best choice on national security issues, despite the flaws that some find in him. The only question in my mind, is whether the views of the Economist and Andrew Sullivan are widespread among undecided voters making up their minds this weekend, or if their views simply represent the pundit class elites who quick to overthink and overanalyse. I honestly don't know.
Texas Congressional Races:
CD 1: Sandlin 51, Gohmert 48
Sandlin has run a strong campaign, and has the NRA endorsement. He's running very strong in rural areas -- strong enough, I belive to offset Gohmert's margin from Tyler/Longview.
Lampson has a shot, esspecially if he gets a huge turnout from Jefferson County (Beaumont), but in recent weeks, it does look as if Democrats are less confident about Lampson than they are about Frost, Edwards and Sandlin. I don't have recent polling from the race, so its basically a gut feeling.
Edwards is in the best position of any Texas Democrat. He won't win in a landslide, but I think he'll win with a solid margin.
Meanwhile, Charlie Stenholm is in the worst shape of any Texas Democrat. Like Edwards, I think Neugebauer will win by a solid, but not overwhelming margin.
I hate Tom DeLay, but I do have a hard time seeing him lose in his overwhelmingly Republican district. I think the race is in the single digits as Tom DeLay has gone negative in recent days, but I still see DeLay winning.
Frost / Sessions is going down to the wire. It could go either way, so I decided to be optimistic and give Frost a one-point win.
State Representative Races
Democratic Pick-ups: Strama (Stick), Vo (Heflin), Liebowitz (Mercer).
I'm not very confident about these picks. State Rep races are hard to peg, but this is my best shot. There's a lot of races I think could go either way: Snow / Frost in TX-1, Hughes / Glaze in TX-5, Rose / Askew in TX-45, Baxter / White in TX-48 and Allen / Hubener in TX-106. All those races will likely be decided by five points or less, so its hard to make an educated guess when I'm much less knowledgable about those races than I am about the congressional races. I could easily just call all of those races toss-ups to various degrees, however, for the purposes of my contest, which I'm asking you guys to tell me your picks, I figure that I'd give incumbents the benefit of the doubt and only pick the four challengers that I believe have the best chances of victory. I actually think that Democrats do pick up 3-4 seats in the state house, but I'm just not sure which ones they'll be. I expect to be wrong on at least several of these.
Here's the challenge. I have a bunch of books that I need to give away -- Students for John Kerry got a shipment of free books from Bill Press's publisher when he had to cancel his visit to the University of Texas. So, here's the deal. Post your predictions by the time the polls open on Tuesday (7 AM CST) in this comment thread for two categories:
Congress: Post your predictions for the six congressional races that I posted on. Then, post the margin for the winning candidate. The winner will be the person that gets the most winners right. In the case of a tie, the winner will be the person who's average margin is closest to the actual margin.
State House: Post your predictions for the races in which the challenger defeats the incumbent party. You get a point for each race you call correctly, and lose a point for every race you either 1) fail to call correctly or 2) call incorrectly. Whoever has the most points wins.
What do you get for winning?
I'll send you your choice of three books:
The President of Good & Evil by Peter Singer.
More Dallas Morning News Layoffs
By Byron LaMasters
According to several emails today there was apparently another round of layoffs at the Dallas Morning News today. Of note is the fact that the pictures and contact information of three of the more progressive members of the editorial board - Jim Frisinger, John Chamless, and Tim O'Leary are missing from the Editorial Board Blog as of this morning. I don't have confirmation that they've been laid off, but the evidence I've seen suggests that this is the case.
Update: Here's what Rob Dreher, probably the most conservative member of a very conservative editorial board had to say this morning on the DMN blog:
Sorry to hear it...
Another Update: More at Super Awesome Good Analysis and The Frontburner.
Are you Whoring for Kerry?
By Byron LaMasters
Chris is.... in Florida.
College Republicans Fundraising Scam?
By Byron LaMasters
The Seattle Times has the details:
More at the Brown University Democrats blog.
Washington Times Pessimistic About Republican Chances in Texas Congressional Races
By Byron LaMasters
The conservative Washington Times reports that Democrats are running much beter than expected in the Texas Congressional races:
Technically, Republicans have already picked up two seats -- TX-4 where Ralph Hall switched parties (although he was a Democrat-in-name-only), and TX-10 which Mike McCaul will give Republicans a seat previously held by Lloyd Doggett (Doggett will win the 25th District, the old 25th -- represented by Chris Bell will be won by Al Green in the new 9th District, the old 9th represented by Nick Lampson is now the 2nd district which will be represented by Lampson or Ted Poe, and the old 2nd district held by Jim Turner no longer exists. Turner did not seek reelection, so essentially the old 2nd was replaced by the new 10th - a net gain of a GOP seat before any election was held). Back to the article.
On the Frost / Sessions race:
Only in the Stenholm / Neugebauer race is the Washington Times confident that the Republican will win:
How can you help? Donate to the DCCC's Defend Texas Campaign.
October 27, 2004
Coburn: Blacks have "Genetic Predisposition" to Die Young
By Byron LaMasters
Chalk this up as another Coburnism from tonight's debate with Brad Carson:
I'd like to find an African American that would agree with Tom Coburn -- that the Social Security system discriminates againt Black people. Wow.
Update: Well, it looks like Kos got the same press release that I did.
Bloggers Make Suggestions, the DCCC Listens
By Byron LaMasters
I was on a conference call with the DCCC last month where several of us recommended that in order to get grassroots activists and blog readers to contribute to national committees, they ought to allow people to earmark their contributions to races they care about. I know that a lot of us in Texas have been reluctant to give to the national committees because they take millions of dollars from Texans, but rarely spend much money in the state. So, the DCCC has listened. Now, you can contribute to the DCCC's effort to Defend Texas.
Red Sox Win!!
By Andrew Dobbs
For the first time in 86 years...
THE BOSTON RED SOX ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS
The curse does not exist. Yankees suck. John Kerry will be President.
The last time this happened we were in a relatively unpopular war... World War I.
Though it was not a presidential election year, an internationalist intellectual Democrat- Woodrow Wilson- was president (much like the man we will soon elect).
God, I am so excited I can barely breathe.
Congratulations to all of the guys that made this possible- Curt Schilling and Manny Ramirez (my two favorite players) especially. This is absolutely amazing.
I'll stop now, but go Sox!
Daily Kos is a lot of things...
By Byron LaMasters
Liberal. Provacative. Progressive. Perhaps "far-left" or "left-wing". I'm sure Markos wouldn't have too much of a problem with any of those labels. But, the Daily Kos is not raising money for terrorists. That's the libelous campaign rhetoric in Tom DeLay's latest attack on Richard Morrison's association with Daily Kos:
In response, the Morrison campaign issued the following statement:
Markos made an unfortunate remark about the deaths of American contractors in Iraq this spring, but to suggest that Daily Kos is "raising money for fighters against the U.S. in Iraq" is a blatant lie. As for the Morrison / LaRouche connection, I'm just perplexed.
More at the Stakeholder, Kuff and Kos.
New Early Vote File
By Karl-Thomas Musselman
I just received the early vote chart by location in Travis County good through yesterday. One thing to note, the turnout figure is high because there are more registered voters than the number used in the spreadsheet. In fact, if you look at this site you can see that it's nearing 585,000 registered. Also, precincts 147 and 148 are the two on campus here. The active registrations before this fall for each was about 700 and 900 respectivly. They are now as of today, 1803 and 2634. You can thank University Democrats for that.
While you were in Iraq...
By Zach Neumann
North Korea has still not come to the table to discuss their growing nuclear armaments program. The NY Times reports that:
I find it ironic that President Bush talks big about disarming dictators but turns a blind eye to Kim-Jung Il’s unabashed pursuit of a nuclear arsenal. While North Korea has openly sought to improve payload and delivery capacities, Bush has responded by withdrawing a considerable number of troops from South Korea. It seems that the President only supports wars that get rid of weak dictators who pose no imminent threat to the United States.
Before I get ten angry comments calling me an idiot allow me to clarify… I’m not saying we should invade North Korea here, I’m saying the President is a hypocrite.
Early Vote still Fast and Furious
By Karl-Thomas Musselman
The Secretary of State has new numbers good as of yesterday. 1,534,963 total votes cast among the top 15 counties with an 18.87% turnout. When you count in the rest of the state, I would be willing to guess that actual turnout is a bit higher as the smaller counties in Texas have had a history of higher turnout than the Urban ones (like sad Harris County and Hidalgo County).
Travis County here isn't slacking at all, yesterday there were about 18,000 cast, today around 20,000 cast when you add in the by-mail votes. I expect it to climb here over the next three days. On campus, yesterday's vote, 1350, was 1 shy of the highest which was the first day of voting.
October 26, 2004
Early vote surge continues
By Jim Dallas
1,294,409 votes as of yesterday; twice as many votes as this time in 2000.
UPDATE: A slight clarification was in order.
Burnt Orange Report from the Floor
By Karl-Thomas Musselman
:: Final Report ::
Yes, I know that it has been a couple of weeks since I've submitted one of these reports, after Pride Week I took a bit of a break (as we all did) and haven’t been at the SG meetings. But I am back this week.
Apparently while I've been gone, much of the discussion has been about the Proposed Diversity Symposium for the SG Assembly which was tabled and then rewritten as new legislation for this week creating a committee instead. (SG and Committees, we love them!)
President Chaney gave his report discussing progress on the Student on the UT Board of Regents. Two more system school (Dallas and either Permian Basin or PanAmerica) passed them with 100% of the vote and the LBJ School Student Council (GPAC) here at UT also passed it. In discussions with the
Bill for SG to sponsor the Muslim Student Association Fast-A-Thon passes.
Bill to increase UT E-mail storage space has been revived and passed. Thank goodness as I'm always in need of more UT space, even though I have g-mail, because I divide my accounts and which type of mail goes where.
In the middle of debate over the Vending Machine Bevo Bucks Bill President Chaney's laptop suddenly burst out in a rousing chorus of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack. As to why? No idea......
Charges were exchanged over the possibility that costs would increase anyways by implementing the system which would hurt returns to student organizations. Another charge was that those in communication with administrative officials (Dr. Harkins) had left him a bit flustered/in the dark claiming that he had first read about the effort to expand the service in the Daily Texan last week.
Personally, I didn't think this was all that much of a controversial issue, and I believe that it should be passed because the question really comes down to whether or not SG reps want to expand this service. Without the show of student support, it likely won't happen. SG resolutions tend to push issues in general, the specifics usually work themselves out (but of course, there are always Reps that love to bury themselves in endless debate over the wording but alas, I don't enjoy such privileges...)
The bill calls for a test run, it likely would be lower in costs of implementation since many of the network lines already exist on campus (the high cost the last time around). Grant Stannis, one of the authors of the legislation, swept in in the middle of the debate as he just made it to the SG meeting, and has been trying to calm the fears. Then an Instant Messenger conversation was read in support of the resolution that had happened just minutes before.
It's true; most students would be in support of expanded Bevo Bucks service on campus. It's highly irritating to be at other building on campus that isn't a dorm and not be able to use the UT IDs and Bevo Bucks. Most students don't understand it's because of a divide in contracts. But they don't really care; they would just like to see some action.
Oh heavens, the debate over this bill is going far beyond where it should be and reached a personal level when one of the Representatives questioned the student who sits on the committee that deals with this issue and commented "unless you're that stupid." I'm surprised that the SG Attorney General did not pipe up to declare anyone out of line.
Then there were a series of motions to move in and out of a Commiitte of the Whole in order to conduct a "straw poll" which found that when it came down to it, people wanted to pass the bill.
And in the final vote, after a friendly amendment to address concerns with scholarship money, the bill passed 29-0. Yea.
OK, so the music earlier was explained. Three costumed Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles appeared in the SG meeting, interrupting things and taking the mike with the following demands.
The turtle pond is too small, they want their pizza mobile back ("you don't see Michaelangelo here do you?"), they wanted some of hair gel Chaney used, urging Chaney to never wear khakis again. And then they left. I am quite confused.
And that is all I have for tonight, as my battery is dead.
Bush Flip-Flops on Civil Unions within a 24-hour Period
By Byron LaMasters
This morning, on Good Morning America, Bush said he wouldn't mind if a state decided to offer Civil Unions to gay and lesbian couples.
Yesterday, he praised a congresswoman (Marilyn Musgrave) at a rally in Colorado:
Musgrave is the sponsor of the Hate Amendment, which Bush supports, that would not only prevent a state from allowing marriage equality for gays and lesbians, but would also prevent Civil Unions:
More at Brutal Hugs via Talk Left.
No comment yet from Boi From Troy, but here's a picture of some self-hating gay in Los Angeles.
Republican Race Baiting In Colorado
By Byron LaMasters
Looks like Republicans are trying to scare people in Colorado - attacking Colorado Congressional candidate John Salazar on Immigration. Watch the ad to see the shadowy figures in the background, trying to tie a Hispanic candidate to illegal immigration. Pretty shady. Rick Perry ran similar ads against Tony Sanchez two years ago, attempting to tie Sanchez to drug dealers and the murder of DEA agents.
Via Colorado Luis.
Bush-Cheney Suppressing Vote in FL
By Andrew Dobbs
I don't know if you've seen georgewbush.org, but it is an anti-Bush site with almost the same domain and the same layout as the real Bush site and is really quite funny. Something even funnier is that a lot of Bush-Cheney employees and other GOP types accidently sent things to their friends with "@georgewbush.com" email domains to "@georgewbush.org" thus sending them to the "catch-all" account for this website. The site's creator then felt compelled to post all of these emails online at their Dead Letter Office. Really funny, right?
Excpet when it is scary. A BBC reporter found two emails referencing a "caging list." The list can be found here and here. I saw these and didn't think anything of it before I read a story on Kos that explained what "caging" is: keeping Black folks from voting. From the BBC:
Around these parts I'm starting to drift closer and closer to the tin foil hat crowd. I covered the phones here at the TDP Headquarters for about an hour today while our receptionist was out to lunch. In that time I answered 3 calls with serious voting irregularities/campaign suppression. At other times I have answered to hear tales of election judges wearing GOP buttons and GOP candidates standing behind the clerks' table shaking hands, computers marking Republican boxes when the voter attempted to vote Democratic, ballots being put into cardboard boxes and on and on. Something shady is going on.
I am starting to worry that traditional voter suppression is giving way to outright election fraud. I think I am probably just a little worried about things in general but we definitely need to make sure the light is shed on everything we read/hear about. If the light is on their activities it will infinitely harder for them to get away with it, so let's keep up the heat.
Andrew Sullivan Comes to His Senses
By Byron LaMasters
Not a shocker, but here's his endorsement of Kerry. Not a glowing endorsement, but one nonetheless from a Bush supporter in 2000. I do fear not only for America, but for both parties should Bush win next Tuesday. I fear an inevitable, bloody, gut-wrenching fight for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, and I also fear a Republican Party out of control - with no regard for our budget deficit, and highly reliant upon religious conservative voters who will shape a dangerous social and foreign policy. Andrew Sullivan shares my concern:
Finally, I think that Sullivan makes a compelling case for voters who supported attacking Iraq from the begining. Even if you believe that Bush was the right man for responding to 9/11 and dealing with Saddam Hussein, a clear arguement can be made for a Kerry presidency. The next four years will likely present America with complex foreign policy problems where a nuanced, rather than an absolutist approach is necessary. In this ever-changing world, John Kerry is best prepared for the task. Sullivan writes:
For once (on a non-GLBT issue), I completely agree with Andrew Sullivan.
Texas Tuesdays: Charlie Stenholm
By Byron LaMasters
It's the last Texas Tuesday before Election Day, and Charlie Stenholm is our feature. Stenholm's a Blue Dog and a Boll Weevil, but despite my policy disagreements with him, he's been a damn good congressman for west Texas for the past couple of decades. It will be sad to see him lose, as I fear he will next Tuesday.
Philadelphia Be Damned!!
By Byron LaMasters
I don't know if Philadelphia has chosen Gays over God, but they certainly chose Bill Clinton and John Kerry yesterday.
Meet Streaky Pete
By Byron LaMasters
The DCCC is weighing in on Pete Sessions' hypocricy (watch the Flash Ad).
Also in CD 32, according to several sources, dozens of Democratic D.C. staffers have poured into the district in recent days and have been organizing van rides to the polls for voters in the Democratic precincts of the district. At the HRC Black Tie dinner in Dallas on Saturday night Frost said that his race was the most competetive in the country. Of course he'll say that, but I there's a good deal of truth to it.
By Jim Dallas
The Galveston County Daily News makes a rather strange non-endorsement endorsement of Tom DeLay in the District 22 race. The most amusing part is about Tom DeLay "has sought" to represent Galveston County, the subtext being DeLay's redistricting tactics.
Paraphrased, "we should be soooooooo grateful that the great and powerful Tom DeLay had part of Galveston County drawn in to his district."
What really gets me is that it was penned by the almost-reasonable Heber Taylor, rather than publisher and Republican shill Dolph Tillotson.
Jim Pitts Campaign Above the Law?
By Byron LaMasters
This Jim Pitts campaign truck doesn't have handicapped tags and that's a handicapped parking space...
Update: Responding to some of the comments -- the person who took the picture said he checked the truck for handicapped tags and there were none. Obviously, I'm sympathetic to the Pitts family for the tragic traffic accident resulting in the death of Jim Pitts' wife over the summer. I've changed the wording above because there's some question over whether the truck in mention is owned by Jim Pitts, or whether it is the truck of someone else in the campaign. Either way, it's a campaign vehicle without handicapped tags in a handicapped space.
Check out one of the goofiest pictures of a congressman in the extended entry:
Sorry for the teaser. If you were hoping for nude pictures of Pete Sessions from his streaking days, I'm sorry to disappoint you. But here's the silliest use of the Texas flag on Congressman Joe Barton (R) (with State Rep. candidate Jake Gilbreath (D) in Palmer, TX.
Las Cruces Matters
By Byron LaMasters
That's what Salon says.
And that's why thirty of us from Austin will be going there this weekend.
October 25, 2004
I guess the Wingnuts Stuffed the Ballot Box
By Byron LaMasters
Because I certainly didn't vote for any of the winners for the Washington Post's Best Politics and Elections blogs. The most laughable is that the National Review's The Corner received the award for "Best Democratic Party Coverage". Huh?
I guess I'll hand it to them. Dems stuffed the online polls after the debates, the Goopers hit this one. It just goes to show that online polls are easy to manipulate and relatively worthless.
Tom DeLay: "We are a permanent majority"
By Byron LaMasters
If Tom DeLay had his way, we probably wouldn't even bother having elections anymore.
Watch DeLay on Drive Democracy.
Update: There's also a new Richard Morrison ad up today, "Drunken Sailor".
Chuck Norris Backs Down
By Byron LaMasters
"Walker, Texas Ranger" star, and well-known Republican Chuck Norris is pulling his ads for Lupe Valdez (Democratic nominee for Dallas County Sheriff) after pressure from Republicans. Kuff has the scoop, and a better title, "Chuck Norris Wimps Out"
Want a 30% Sales Tax?
By Byron LaMasters
Pete Sessions does:
I took a picture of this sign while I was in Dallas over the weekend. This one is on Preston Road near Walnut Hill in north Dallas. Sessions signs outnumbered the Frost signs in the Preston Hollow and Park Cities neighborhoods of the district (no shocker there), but I drove through the Kessler Park and Wynnewood neighborhoods of north Oak Cliff where Frost signs predominated (again, no surprise). I wish I would have had more of a chance to drive through the swing areas of the district such as east Dallas, Irving and Richardson. I did, however notice that Sessions is doing just what Arlene Wohlgemuth is doing to associate himself with the Bush / Cheney ticket. Here's another picture from the Bent Tree neighborhood of far north Dallas:
If Pete Sessions wins, it'll be because of straight ticket voting for the Bush / Cheney ticket, and Dallas Republicans are doing their best to prop up Bush / Cheney by adding Sessions (or Wohlgemuth, or insert the name of the embattled Texas Republican here) to the ticket.
A Winning Team for Texas Republicans...
By Byron LaMasters
... A losing team for Texas Kids:
Donate to Vote Kids to help tell more voters in the 17th CD about Arlene Wohlgemuth's terrible record for kids in Texas.
Over a Million Served
By Jim Dallas
It's official: over a million Texans (at least 13 percent) have already voted by early ballot -- in just the "Top 15" Counties, which contain about two-thirds of the state's registered voters.
So the true number may have already surpassed 1.5 million, although we really won't know about the other 239 counties in Texas until Election Day. Again, this is just an extrapolation, so the overall statistic would still be about 13 percent turnout.
Karl-Thomas hinted that the million-vote milestone would likely be broken over the weekend, and he was correct.
Turnout so far has been highest in Collin, Travis and Williamson counties.
My observation is that usually about a third of the vote will be cast early, depending on the type of election. In 2000, registered voter turnout was 51.8%, and early vote turnout was about 20 percent.
Given similar ratios, we're likely to surpass that. In Texas I think we'll exceed 55%, and perhaps get closer to 60%.
380 Tons of Explosive Disappear in Iraq
By Andrew Dobbs
That's right, 380 tons of powerful explosives were sitting in a pile in Iraq. We knew they were there and yet we did nothing to secure them and now they are gone. From CNN.com:
Just FYI, the same type of explosives that went missing were used in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Scotland in 1989. The bomb that tore that plane to shreds used 1 pound of these explosives. The Bush Administration's understaffing and mismanagement of this war (which I support in spite of Bush's mishandling) has handed 760,000 pounds of the same stuff to terrorists.
I shudder to think of what will happen after 4 additional years of this kind of incompetence.
Corpus Christi Caller Times Endorses Kerry
By Byron LaMasters
Also, via Brazoria County Democrats and Kuff is news of an endorsement of Kerry by the Baytown Sun.
Meanwhile, Sarah has information about a rally against the Statesman yesterday for their endorsement of Bush. The Lasso has some coverage. Amblongus has some thoughts on the Statesman endorsement and the View from the Left has cancelled their subscription. I've never subscribed to the Austin American Statesman myself. Give me the New York Times.
October 24, 2004
Travis County Turnout Breaks 100,000
By Karl-Thomas Musselman
I finally have an update on the vote here in Travis County...
Total Vote to Date (including Mobile and Mail): 102,516
That's a turnout of 18.5% of registered voters already.
(Just to note, it started raining Saturday evening and was also generally nasty for much of Sunday, a very likely explanation for the dip in turnout. In addition, Sunday voting was on shortened hours.)
Interestingly, not all places dipped in turnout equally this weekend. As expected the UT Campus location went from a solid 1200+ a day to less than 200 a day. Most of the Randalls locations were steady from Friday to Saturday with about a 50% drop to Sunday. Home Depot actually ticked up on Saturday as did Highland Mall and Northcross Mall. The HEB locations also faired better than average.
At some point I may make a chart when the next couple of day's data is in again.
If you would like to look at the number yourself, here is the file.
Texas Votes: Breaking Records Across the State
By Karl-Thomas Musselman
Much has been said of the the stunning early vote number pouring in across Travis County. This has been seen across the state's largest counties as reported by the Secretary of State's office. Though the latest numbers won't be up until Monday, it is very likely at this point that over 1,000,000 Texans have cast their ballots, over 10% of Registered voters.
So is it happening just in the urban core of Texas? A little research from the Texas Newspapers list shows that is most certainly NOT the case.
Something is different this year. Turnout is up across the state from the biggest cities to the smallest towns. There is something fundamentally different about the electorate. (I've overheard that here in Travis County, 17% of those who have already cast ballots have never cast one here in Travis County before: think students and inactive long time registered voters.)
First, from my Hometown of Fredericksburg in Gillespie County...
An unprecedented turnout marked the first two days of early voting here this week for the Nov. 1 general election as well as for City of Fredericksburg and County of Gillespie special property tax freeze balloting.
At the county courthouse both Monday and Tuesday, lines of voters spilled out of the county commission courtroom where early in-person voting was in progress and streamed through the adjoining hallway and even at times extending out through the building's front door. (picture)
"It's been really astonishing," said County Clerk Mary Lynn Rusche who is overseeing balloting for both the general election and the county property tax freeze election.
As of 4 p.m. yesterday when early voting ended for the day, a total of 1,304 ballots had been cast Monday (666 ballots) and Tuesday (638 ballots). (County Population ~20,000)
"We've been busy since early voting started here at 8 a.m. Monday," she said. "I could tell by the high number of mail ballot requests that we had received here through last week that early in-person voting was going to be heavy, but this is far beyond what I imagined. It's really great!"
She added that many of the voters there so far this week are new voters who in the past had not voted early...
Mrs. Rusche said this week's voting is far beyond anything she has seen since 1979 when she began working in the county clerk's office as a deputy clerk and especially since no-reason early voting was allowed around 20 years ago.
More below the fold...
From Kerr County: The first day of early voting for the 2004 General Election was described as “heavy,” with 1,451 Kerr County citizens marking their ballots before the polls closed at 5 p.m. Monday, according to the county clerk’s chief deputy, Nadine Alford.
Voters lined up “out the door” throughout the day, waiting for a turn to cast their votes, she said.
With long lines that began at 8 a.m. Monday, poll workers had little time to break during the day, even for lunch, said Kerr County Clerk Jannett Pieper. Both the county clerk’s office and the voter registrar’s office reported busy phones and steady streams of traffic throughout their offices all day.
Also in Kerrville..In the last two weeks, 1,148 Kerr County citizens registered to vote or updated addresses, Rector said.
Impressive for a County with about 40,000 people. And by Wednesday, over 4000 had voted in Kerr County.
From Longview News-Journal:
Upshur County: "We've had a tremendous turnout," Upshur County's assistant elections clerk Glenda Cox said late Monday afternoon. "We've had 419," Cox said. "We've never had a first day like this; it's really been good today. It's really unusual for Upshur County to vote this much on the first day."
Rusk County: In Rusk County, where voters are deciding on a new sheriff and choosing a district attorney, first-day balloting was "very, very heavy," said Diana McKey, elections clerk. "We had 656 votes by 3:30," she said. "We've never had that many on a first day."
Gregg County: "The line has been from the voting table out to the door all day long," said Kathryn Nealy, Gregg County deputy voter clerk. "The election has been highly publicized and people are interested in this election."
Also, she said, her office has received three or four calls coming in at the same time all day Monday. "We've had calls all day long," she said. "The majority of the calls have been 'where do we go vote?'”
From Brazoria County: On Monday, 3,288 people cast ballots, by far the highest opening day total in the county since early voting by appearance began in 1992. In 2000, 2,950 people voted on the first day....
Brazoria County Clerk Joyce Hudman was almost giddy Tuesday talking about the turnout. She said north-end voters are coming out in the greatest numbers, creating the need for more voter sign-in sheets than usual. “In Manvel, they vote one sheet, maybe,” she said. “They voted six sheets (Monday).”
Hudman said early voting usually doesn’t peak until the second week. “I think it will pick up next week,” she said.
Hudman said she’s also getting a lot of phone calls from people asking about limited ballots.
People are so motivated they are asking to vote even with limited ballots. Here in Travis County, the clerks office has told a tale about in past years, those that call asking where they need to vote if they forgot to change their registration to Austin gave up after learning they had to vote back home. This cycle, they are saying "OK" and heading out across Texas to go vote.
From Anderson County: "Lines were long during the opening day of early voting at the Anderson County Courthouse, with more than 650 people casting ballots in next month's general election...
Brown said she believed Monday's turnout was a record for the first day of voting in Anderson County.
From Lamar County: "Marlowe said she expects a record turnout both at the early voting box and in the election in general.
“We’ve had 1,246 ballots cast in the first three days,” Marlowe said, explaining that 420 voters cast ballots on Monday; 475 Tuesday and 351 Wednesday."
From Erath County: Early voting for the Nov. 2 general election is off to a strong start according to Erath County Clerk Gwinda Jones.
“People are standing in line to vote today,” Jones said on the first day of early voting. “We expect it to be pretty heavy today.” In fact, as of late Monday afternoon, nearly 500 voters had cast their ballots early at the courthouse.
In Comal County: Comal County elections worker Cynthia Jaqua said 7,731 had cast ballots in the county elections as of Friday afternoon. Jaqua said 4,739 ballots were cast in the first week of early voting in the presidential election four years ago.
I like McLennan County
By Byron LaMasters
Several weeks ago, the Crawford Lone Star Iconoclast endorsed John Kerry. Today, the largest newspaper in George Bush's "home" county joined the chorus to endorse John Kerry as well.
Today's Waco Tribune Herald:
In addition to the Statesman endorsement, Bush also won the Houston Chronicle endorsement as well today. Both papers endorsed Bush in 2000 as well.
Statesman Endorses Bush
By Byron LaMasters
Personally, I don't care too much. Undecideds and conservative independents considering voting for folks like Mark Strama, Kelly White or Patrick Rose might be more apt to take the Statesman's recommendations on local races after seeing their endorsement of Bush. There's more to it than that, however. I received several emails earlier this week that a Bush endorsement by the Statesman was forthcoming, including this.
I don't know the validity of the email, and I didn't post it at the time, because, frankly, there's more important fights to fight less than two weeks from election day. The Statesman endorsed Bush in 2000, so their endorsement of Bush this year is not a big surprise. Overall, the paper is relatively fair in my opinion, especially in taking on Republicans in the legislature. I don't know the background to the Bush endorsement, so go ahead and believe what you want about it.
October 23, 2004
Alan Askew + Bad Poetry?
By Byron LaMasters
To Infinity and Beyond
By Jim Dallas
I was a fan of the tragic flop game Microsoft Space Simulator (it was released at about the same time as Flight Simulator 5.0 back in the mid-1990s).
But now I've found something even better, and it's free.
Orbiter: The Free Spaceflight Sim.
We choose to go to moon, not because it easy, but because it is a Saturday, and I don't feel like doing Contracts homework.
DCCC has CD 32 a One-Point Race
By Byron LaMasters
From the Stakeholder:
It's a DCCC poll, so take it for what it's worth. I'd rather have the DCCC saying that Frost is up by a few points, but I guess we need to take what we can get. I'd also be shocked if John Kerry gets 43% of the vote in the district.
Austin Chronicle on the Texas Lege, and my thoughts..
By Byron LaMasters
Great overview of fourteen of the most competitive state legislative races in this week's Austin Chronicle.
Overall, I'd be surprised if Democrats do not gain seats in the legislature this year for the first time since 1972. I think Repubulicans hit their high-water mark in 2002. There just aren't really that many more Democratic seats Republicans can win. Sure, there's a few rural seats that may flip when the popular incumbent retires, but those are no sure thing, and you can generally count those on one hand. On the other hand, Republicans that have long held safe seats (Ray Allen, Talmadge Heflin) have been shocked with the fights of their life - and they're just the begining.
For starters, I think the challengers have the edge in two races where incumbents hold seats in unfavorable territory won in 2002 over flawed opponents. This time, John Mabry (D-Waco) and Ken Mercer (R-San Antonio) aren't as lucky, and I'd be surprised if either wins.
Beyond that, I think most Democrats are pretty safe. Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) has a fight, as does Scott Hochberg (D-Houston), but I feel relatively confident about both races. The only other Democratic seat where I have concern is the District 1 seat being vacated by Barry Telford centered in Texarkana in the northeastern corner of the state. In all, my guess is that 1-2 currently Democratic seats shift Republican.
Republicans have more to worry about. They're down one with Mercer losing, but the quality of Democratic challengers in another handful of races has the potential to make it long night for several Republican incumbents. In east Texas, Bob Glaze is back for a rematch with Bryan Hughes after a narrow 52-48% defeat in a solid Republican year. Talmadge Heflin defeated a lackluster opponent in 2002 with only 55% of the vote, but this year Hubert Vo has emerged as one of the best Democratic candidates in the state (read this week's Houston Press article on the race for a good overview). If Heflin holds on this year, it's only a matter of time before he is defeated in this minority-majority, Democratic-trending district. I think Vo, along with Katy Hubener, Mark Strama and Kelly White all have decent chances of winning. I'd be surprised if we don't pick up at least two of those seats. Kuff was upset not to see Jim Dougherty (challenging Martha Wong) on the list, but it's probably a second tier race. And we can't forget about our good friend Scott Campbell.
What does it all mean? Well, at the very least, I see Democrats picking up two seats. I could easily see Democrats pick up 4-5 seats, but that's probably being a little too optimistic. We'll see.
Be sure to check out the Austin Chronicle updates on the three major Austin-area races as well:
TX-45: Rose (D) vs. Askew (R).
Texas Supreme Court Races
By Byron LaMasters
They're really pretty boring - Republicans currently hold all the seats on the court, and only one is contested by a Democrat this cycle. That's Place 9 where Democrat David Van Os is challenging Scott Brister. A reporter asked me about the race this week, Greg's crossed party lines to endorse Scott Brister, and even the Daily Texan, which has endorsed most every Democrat on the ticket refused to endorse Van Os, even after sharp criticism of Brister. I, on the other hand, dutifully cast my vote for Van Os, but not with any premonition that he might actually win.
The Daily Texan gives a pretty good overview of the race with ample reason to vote against Brister, even if Van Os isn't exactly what you're looking for in a judge:
But, even the Daily Texan had problems with Van Os:
Greg Wythe found this to be reason enough to endorse Brister:
On one hand I can understand where Greg is coming from. I think for a lot of Democrats, the vote for Van Os is more of a vote against Brister than of one for Van Os. There are times (especially in judicial races) when a poor candidate wins the nomination, and it makes more sense to elect a Republican than to elect a Democrat that would embarrass the party. I think we'll see some instances of this type of behavior in the next few cycles in Dallas (and Harris a cycle of two later) county as Democrats will probably field some poor nominees that could win on the basis of straight ticket party voting. It'll take a realization of the downtown establishment that Democrats are the majority party in Dallas county before we'll really see a real fight between highly qualified candidates for the Democratic nomination in judicial races (something that we see in Travis County every cycle).
I digress a little bit here, but it's relevent to the point that Greg made in that it's better to elect a Republican judge than to elect a Democratic one that will embarrass the party. I don't think that's the case with Van Os, but I can see how someone with a bit more conservative outlook could come to Greg's conclusion.
As for my comments on the race with San Antonio's weekly, the San Antonio Current, I basically said it wasn't much of a race, and that the Democratic activists in the state are most focused on congressional and state representative races:
Meaning, what's the difference between a 9-0 decision and an 8-1 decision. Not much. Whereas a shift of just a few seats in the legislature makes a tangible difference in the make up of committees.
The reporter kept pressing me on what I thought Van Os's chances of winning his race were. I basically said, they're about as good as Kerry's are of winning Texas, and finally said a little bit more:
The state party isn't really doing too much for Van Os (although Andrew has said he's helping with some of his press releases) - their focus is on thirteen state rep races:
All in all, it's not too exciting. Brister wins this race by a 60-40% margin at least.
October 22, 2004
Bush Wins, America Screwed
By Byron LaMasters
Do you want this to be the BOR headline on November 3? I know I don't. That's why I'll be going to New Mexico with Students for John Kerry to canvass the weekend before the election. We're leaving from Austin Friday afternoon (10/29), we'll canvass for John Kerry in the Las Cruces area Saturday and Sunday, then return to Austin late Sunday night (10/31) / Monday morning (11/1). Interested? Everything except a few snacks / meals is paid for, so if you want to go, we can accomodate about
Update: I'm getting tired of this post being on top, so I've timestamped it back to real time, but we've still got some space left in our vans. I'll post again Sunday or Monday to remind people if we have space left. And I'll be working for Strama or White here in Austin on election day for sure. I think that a lot of us who have been working on Texas races this entire cycle want to spend a weekend in a swing state to feel like we're making a difference in the presidential race. It's not just a Democratic thing. The guy I debated on UT's television station last week is going to Ohio for the GOP 72 Hour plan. So, anyway, I don't care where you go if you're a Democrat, as long as you're working in the final days to get Democrats elected.
Sounds Like Liberte to Me
By Zach Neumann
After a month of hemming and hawing the French Government has begun enforcing a recently passed law that prohibits students from displaying religious symbols in schools. According to the NY Times:
What in hell are the French doing? I love the separation between church and state as much as the next guy, but this goes way too far. Not only is this new law a serious affront to the rights of students—it’s also going to drive a large portion of the Muslim population out of public schools.
Hey France, I’ve got an idea. Maybe if we make public school unbearable for the most conservative Muslims in the country we can get them to stop going. And then, (if we’re lucky) maybe they will go to religiously operated private schools controlled by other really conservative Muslims. And then because they have been excluded from public schools for their religious beliefs and spend all their time talking with radical Clerics they’ll contribute to significant social unrest!! Won’t that be awesome!?
France is setting itself up for some serious trouble. In addition to establishing a political precedent that seems to contravene basic notions of personal freedom and expression, the French are about to permanently isolate a large part of their population.
Vive La Liberte.
A Sorta Non-endorsement of Smoky Joe Barton
By Byron LaMasters
In their editorial entitled "Joe Barton: Our Honest Editorial Conversation", the Dallas Morning News decided to sort of not endorse Barton and didn't mention his opponent, Democrat Morris Meyer once:
Only in California...
By Byron LaMasters
I'm surprised Boi From Troy hasn't latched on to this San Francisco Chronicle story yet:
Haha. I guess Gavin Newsom knows what will get him reelected in San Francisco...
October 21, 2004
The Importance of Reading Instapundit
By Jim Dallas
Sometimes you find cool stuff hidden among the debris. Not as as good as Jib-Jab, though.
Also, the Astros lost. I don't want to talk about it.
OK, here's a canned statement so I don't look like a total loser.:
"Congratulations to both teams. We admire their sportsmanship. There is always next year. Baseball totally kicks Cricket's ass."
Nine Innings Away From Glory
By Jim Dallas
Cards vs. Astros on now.
Attention fundraisers. I'm too busy watching Game 7. Don't bother me.
Redistricting Flash Mob
By Byron LaMasters
This is where I'll be headed through on my way home from class tomorrow (via email):
Neugebauer Leads Stenholm in Another Poll
By Byron LaMasters
This is a Republican polling firm, so take everything with a grain of salt, but it would not surprise me if Neugebauer wins by 10+ points in this one:
The Real Alan Askew
By Byron LaMasters
Grits for Breakfast has all you need to know about the Alan Askew / Jerry Falwell connections.
And while one half of the "blame the gays, lesbians, feminists, abortion doctors, the ACLU and the PFAW" crowd is out stumping in Texas for Alan Askew, the other half is called a liar by the White House:
Oh, yay! Nothing like stirring up the evangelicals less than two weeks before the election.
Tom Delay Subpoenaed!!!
By Byron LaMasters
Is this the end of the end for Tom DeLay?
The Stakeholder reports on the subpoenae from the office of State Rep. Lon Burnam:
The DCCC could certainly use your help, as can Richard Morrison. Check out their blog as well.
Lon Burnam is one of the most liberal members of the Texas legislature - he actively opposed the war in Iraq, and I got him to speak at the University of Texas anti-war rally in February of 2003 when I was President of the University Democrats. Burnam was also the only vote against Speaker Tom Craddick in 2003 in the Texas House. Having said that, Greg's still happy. So, that's a good thing.
Tom DeLay is resorting to the same old tired crap of a defense:
Tom DeLay's words aren't exactly creditable themselves, so I'll consider the source when I don't giving a damn about what he has to say.
Back to CD 22, there's finally some new polling in the race. I saw (sorry, forgot the link) somewhere that Tom DeLay cited a poll that showed him with 56% (in a three way race) last week. I also received this email from the Morrison campaign yesterday:
MyDD is now reporting that this is a seven point race - I still don't see it that close, but here's what he has:
Needless to say, there's ample reason to suspect that this race is closing, but the question is how much? In addition to Campaign Money Watch, Democracy for America is now up with a television ad. I think this race will come down to whether the DCCC decides to make an investment in the final week. If not, DeLay probably wins. If the DCCC comes in, there's a possibility this race will close even further, although I'm still doubtful about a Democrats' chances in CD 22 under any circumstances, the current ones are about the most favorable ever for Democrats.
Update: Here's quotes of Richard Morrison's press release on the matter today:
Travis County Votes Day 3
By Karl-Thomas Musselman
Well, it is late at night, and I have not received the vote totals yet today for the County. But I do know of one number and that is the UT Campus vote!
No slacking of the voting here on campus. There was a huge Welness fest on the West Mall which was no doubt responsible for bumping things up a bit over yesterday's total. I talked to one of the clerks again today who said that in the 1:00-2:00 rush, there was a line clear across the lobby of the UGL (so that's what, 100-150 feet?) He said that usually that only happens just before the last days of early vote at which point the lines actually start to go out the door.
The officials here are just giddy when you talk to them. They havn't seen anything like it and are amazed that the numbers are keeping up the way they are. If this does indeed keep up ( I have this nagging feeling that it's all going to drop off but as each day goes by proving me wrong confidence grows. ) it's going to be one heck of an election on Nov. 2. I would not want to try to manage the lines in Jester that will handle both campus precincts.
In addition, I asked if they have had any problems with students not being able to vote and no systemic problems. Just one isolated case that wasn't very complicated to resolve ( I didn't get details. )
As far as the State of Texas goes, on Tuesday, 153,320 voted, almost 10,000 more than voted on Monday. On Wednesday, 147,148 early votes in Texas were cast bringing us up to over half a million in three days statewide.
That's without mail ballots but you get the picture
Todd Baxter is Also...
By Karl-Thomas Musselman
This is a copy of the type of attack ads that Baxter is putting out about Kelly White.
He's desperate. Incumbants don't attack their opponents unless they are down in the polls and they need a way up. So they go on the attack. Help Kelly White.
I havn't heard anything out of Strama's race up north, if you have some info, send it our way...
Todd Baxter's Wife is a Bitch
By Byron LaMasters
The Austin American Statesman takes a look at the emails that Courtney Baxter has been sending to her "neighbors":
Kelly White has a good, calm respose:
So, after seeing the email spread across West Austin like a wildfire, does Courtney Baxter apologize? Hell no:
While we find a place for Courtney Baxter to get some treatment for her anger management issues, head on over to that "lying, male hating liberal" Kelly White's website to give her some change to help end Todd Baxter's political career (and Courtney Baxter's bitching).
Update: Lasso (via Roman Candles) has the full text of the email:
Classy, just classy.
October 20, 2004
There is a God
By Andrew Dobbs
Red Sox win in 7, greatest accomplishment in baseball history. Now, time to reverse the curse!
Re-show of Sessions/Frost debate
By Jim Dallas
On C-SPAN2 now.
Also in TV land, the Boston Red Sox are going to the World Series, and North-by-Northwest is running on a local broadcast channel. Damn I love Jimmy Stewart movies.
UPDATE: Haha! I goofed. Cary Grant is in North by Northwest. For some reason I started writing the post when I thought I was watching Vertigo (having just flipped the movie on without having seen a TV listing), it having been a while since I had last seen either Vertigo or North by Northwest. Boy do I feel dumb. I guess its easy to get some Hitchcock movies mixed up.
Is Katherine Harris doomed?
By Jim Dallas
My friend and blogger Larry, who is pretty Republican albeit an independent-minded one, voted for Jan Schneider instead of Katherine Harris.
The Newest Competitive Race- Jeri Slone
By Andrew Dobbs
The thing I love about politics is the way things can change overnight. In West Texas we are seeing that right now, as Jeri Slone proves to us all why we need a candidate in every single race. Slone is the Democratic nominee for House District 72 against Republican incumbent Scott Campbell. San Angelo and Snyder are at the heart of the district, one the would never have been competitive and that 3 weeks ago nobody had given any thought to. But now, thanks to Campbell, all of that has changed.
First, Campbell was charged with drunk driving. From the San Angelo Standard-Times:
So that's no good. But what could be worse than drunk driving? How's about indecent exposure. Also from the Standard-Times but quoted on the TDP Website:
So driving drunk and then showing his wang off at a massage salon. Sounds pretty shady. Well why not add assaulting a police officer to the mix? From the Standard-Times, once again hosted by the TDP:
Campbell's brother is the DA in his home county so a special prosecutor has been brought on board. Campbell has self-destructed over the last 2 weeks and now his opponent Jeri Slone has already been endorsed by the Snyder Daily News (the other major paper in the district) and is in line for the Standard-Times endorsement. Add this race to the ones to watch as Scott Campbell might have a lot to drink about (not to mention a good reason for a massage) on Election night.
Throw some jingle her way, she needs it now. (And yes, I know, she still has a fundraising appeal from September up, but things have changed- she needs the cash to close the gap).
[Update: Byron here. I spoke with Andrew about this race last night, and I think it's one that has closed very quickly here. I just donated $10.01 ($.01 for the blogs). Hope some other folks can join me.]
Lufkin Daily News Endorses Sandlin
By Byron LaMasters
Read it here.
(Via the Stakeholder)
Update: A reader sent me some articles about the Sandlin / Gohmert debate on Monday. Check them out:
Fireworks in Congressional District 1 Debate.
Daddy DeLay, Go Away
By Byron LaMasters
There's been so much news with the other Texas congressional and local races that I haven't kept up with everything in CD 22 over the past few days, but fortunately, Kuff has the latest. First, everyone be sure to follow Atrios's lead if you are represented in Congress by a Republican. Demand that they give back their dirty money from daddy DeLay. More at the Stakeholder.
There was also quite a surprise last night in Clear Lake. Tom DeLay showed up. Kuff has the details and the Houston Chronicle reports:
Tom, perhaps, just perhaps, people were surprised to see you because you never attend candidate forums. Perhaps?
Finally, Campaign Money Watch is up with an ad asking Houston area viewers whether Tom DeLay shares their values. Check it out, sign up for their daily DeLay email, and contribute to keep the ad on the air.
Rose vs. Falwell
By Byron LaMasters
State Rep. Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) is running for reelection against right-wing Republican Alan Askew. Askew has some interesting friends including the Reverend Jerry Falwell (of "blame the gays, feminists, ACLUers, PFAWers and abortion doctors for 9/11" fame):
There's enough insane, crazy right-wingnuts in the Texas legislature, and we sure as hell don't need another one. Pay Patrick Rose a visit, check out his latest ads, and send him a few bucks if ya got the chance.
GOP Leadership Abandoning Coburn
By Byron LaMasters
Here's what Speaker Dennis Hastert said yesterday:
Hastert's a realist, Alan Keyes, on the other hand is in La-la land:
Alan Keyes is soooo much fun! And pay Brad Carson a visit. I'm confident Carson will win, but not quite as convinced as Dennis Hastert yet.
Dallas Morning News Endorses Frost
By Byron LaMasters
I rag on the Dallas Morning News a lot, because, well - they're one of the most conservative, right-wing major daily newspapers in the country. They endorsed Martin Frost today, because the CD 32 race is one where it's basically impossible for an independent, unbiased person to look at the race and support Pete Sessions. Martin Frost is a 26 year incumbent with a distinguished record of delivering for the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, whereas Pete Sessions is an right-wing ideologically driven backbencher. The contrast could not be starker. Here are some excerpts of their endorsement:
There's no comparison...
Statesman Endorses BOTH Strama and White
By Karl-Thomas Musselman
Surprising us here at the Burnt Orange Report, the Austin American Statesman has issued endorsements for both Kelly White over Todd Baxter and Mark Strama over Jack Stick.
Some clips from the White endorsement in TX-48
And from the endorsement of Strama in TX-50...
[Update: Byron here. I'm pleasantly surprised here. Democrats in Austin-area competitive state representative races are four for four in receiving the Statesman endorsement. Not only that, but Strama and White were also endorsed by the Daily Texan today as well]:
They endorsed Elliott Naishtat as well, even though it won't make too much of a difference.
Travis County Votes Day 2
By Karl-Thomas Musselman
It's really quite amazing. I can't wait to see the rest of the state's numbers to see if it's just us or not. From the County Clerk's Office...
Travis County Early Vote
Mail Ballots received
Total Daily Vote
Total Travis Vote to Date: 33,531
A full 6.06% of this county's voters have already cast their ballots. That didn't happen until Day 5 of early vote in 2000. In fact, the very fact that Day 2's vote total is almost exactly the same as Day 1 is shocking!
It's hard to compare numbers to the 2000 and 1996 races due to the fact that in both of those years, early voting did not start on a Monday. In 1996 is was a Wednesday and in 2000, a Saturday. So you have two patterns to account for which is near impossible- what the day of the week is (weekends affect turnout) and what day of early voting it is (1st, 2nd, 3rd...).
But in any case, numbers this high are still running twice as high as past presidential years. And just think, the total early vote for Travis County in 2002 was 16,771.
And the actual data formatted like yesteday. This is Tuesday specific though...
The break once again is to indicate which locations are pulling more or less than their 'fair and equal' share should every location have pulled the same number of votes, 689 in today's case.
In the Top Locations today, we see no movement in the Top 6 spots but those in 3, 4, 5, 6 all strenghtening their share. Randalls Lakeway (west) moves up 3 spots while Randalls Parmer (north) falls off the top. HEB Four Points (northwest) moves up into the Top list.
In all cases, votes cast at Central locations continues to lead yesterday and today with just over 20% of the total. North has been second both days with just under 20%. Both regions have weakened though along with East, the bottom region both days making up less than 4% of the daily vote. Southwest, West, and Northwest have all gained about 1% each of the total share in the past day.
A couple of things to remember in all this. Higher turnout tends to help Democrats as a general rule. Also, Democrats historically tend to vote in larger numbers on election day than in early voting. This is even more true as a general rule for minority voters, who like to bring out the whole family to vote at once. I'd be willing to bet that on the weekends, the three Eastern regions pick up as well.
All that said, these numbers feel good. You also don't want to see the arrangement of my spreadsheets where I'm crunching numbers. I'll keep posting the daily chart, and whatever else is up to how much time I have or what looks interesting.
And by the way, do ya'll actually like seeing these numbers and analysis? Let me know, because otherwise I'll just drop them.
October 19, 2004
|Early Vote Location||Monday Votes||% of County Total||Region of County|
|Northcross Mall 1||1567||9.80%||North|
|University of Texas 1||1351||8.45%||Central|
|Randalls South Mopac 1||1068||6.68%||Southwest|
|Randalls Bee Caves||863||5.40%||West|
|Randalls Parmer Lane||755||4.72%||North|
|HEB South Congress||730||4.57%||South|
|Randall's 35th Street||713||4.46%||Central|
|HEB Four Points||656||4.10%||Northwest|
|Travis County Courthouse 1||654||4.09%||Central|
|Randalls Ben White||541||3.38%||South|
|Albertsons North Lamar||491||3.07%||Northeast|
|Travis County Airport Office||414||2.59%||Central|
|Pflugerville County Tax Office||407||2.55%||Northeast|
|HEB East 7th||328||2.05%||East|
|Northeast Health Center||213||1.33%||East|
|Avg. Votes per Locale||694.913|
The break in the table indicates: those above it cast more than their 'equal share' of the total vote per location, those below it, less than their 'equal share' of 694 votes.
I talked to the poll worker at the Campus UGL voting location who has run it for 10 years and she said that in all that time, this is the largest first day turnout she has ever seen by far. To think that a couple cycles back, they wanted to eliminate the UGL early vote location because it was had low turnout. (Campus precincts had 20% Nader votes, in 2000. Tack that on to the about 40% Gore vote plus increased turnout and you are looking at solid Blue numbers)
The malls, Northcross and Highland, have traditionaly been high vote locations so that isn't surprising. Highland is located still in the north central city so I would assume a tendancy toward Democratic voters. Northcross is close to Kelly White's district and the Democratic/student areas of that district (remember, early votes can be cast anywhere). I wouldn't say that is the reason for it, or that that location is usually Democratic. I'd be willing one of the other BOR writers knows that.
It does seem that the top of the list is coming from the more Republican regions of the county (North and West) but it's hard to tell beccause Pflugerville is north but swing, and West really depends on how far west you go. Central west is still swing. And all of this is codespeak in reference to Strama and White's House Campaigns which are probably going to push up total votes in those areas anyways.
There just aren't as many local competitve races in the solid Democratic Central and East parts of the county. (And the Fiesta mart listed as Central, is East of I 35 and serves a lot of the residents living farther east that are minority. So there are many things you have to be able to read into this to get at the trends.
Usually Republicans love to early vote. But it is my feel, that with such a huge early vote increase, it's not because Republicans are coming out to vote. I.E. University Democrats camping out all night to be first in line to vote as well as another story of a 96 year old man who was up to vote early to make sure he cast his ballot for John Kerry and against Bush in the case that he didn't make it to November 2.
You will now. Check out this front pager from today's Daily Texan...
UT alumnus John Corvino thought it was "just some innocent kissing." He and a male friend sat talking and kissing on a park bench near the Capitol on Sept. 16, when he said a state trooper strolled by.
"It wasn't heavy kissing," said Corvino in a statement. "Just an occasional kiss mixed with lots of conversation."
According to the complaint Corvino filed against the Texas Department of Public Safety a week later, the trooper returned 20 minutes later with two others and told the pair that homosexual conduct was against Texas law.
Though the trooper allegedly identified himself to Corvino as "Trooper Carlson," the DPS would not comment on investigative proceedings, the trooper's identity or the potential ramifications of official misconduct.
"We're conducting an investigation, and at its conclusion the investigators will write a report and send it up the chain of command to see what can be done," said DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange.
According to his statement, Corvino questioned the officer about the legitimacy of the confrontation.
"In Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court struck down antisodomy laws, and besides, we were just kissing," Corvino said he told the trooper.
He said the trooper repeated that he would not allow such conduct on Capitol grounds, so Corvino and his friend left the area.
Corvino said the officers "clearly needed some education on the issue" and worried the troopers might detain him or call some "nonuniformed buddies" to harm him. He also recalled recent "gay bashings" in the Austin area and said he had once been attacked himself.
"That he hoped to intimidate seems evident by his remaining silent the first time he observed us, only to return with two other troopers [all armed]," Corvino said in his statement.
This story disgusts me. Trooper Carlson should be fired.
And it's not only from the news media, but from the experience of a friend of mine, Chris - who I first met in the summer of 2003 with the Dean campaign in Dallas:
We waited in line for around an hour and a half, and 2 of us voted. John was DISENFRANCHISED! He registered to vote in the UC Breezeway in August, and he hadn't yet received his voter registration card. I was like, it's fine, you're still on the rolls even if you don't have the card. He wasn't. One of his suitemates who "registered" at the same as John isn't on the roll either. They aren't exactly sure with whom they "registered" but signs point frighteningly to Get Out the Vote. This is frightening because Get Out the Vote registered 1500 some UM students. If Get Out the Vote fucked up in some way, this could mean massive, widespread disenfranchisement of UM students. The poll worker called the downtown office to verify that he was not on the roll. I told him we weren't leaving until he at least filled out a provisional ballot. This is when the poll watcher became involved. Now we had three people on the phone (the worker, the watcher, and the clerk) trying to figure out what the hell. The worker's people told him to call the elections office and confirm what they were saying--only fill out a provisional as a last resort. The worker and the clerk were saying that he's never been registered to vote in this county and that there was nothing they could do. BULLSHIT! I told them that he was filling out a provisional ballot before we leave. They said that it was pointless because as someone who isn't registered, "you are nothing to us." On our way out, we got the card of a lawyer who saw it happen, and passed by a Morales supporter who called her people cause he didn't vote.
Something was especially fishy about the situation at the poll. The worker was trying to shove her point down the watcher's throat by saying that he doesn't even have proof of address. This is where I jumped in.
"He can just sign the affidavit! The one where he writes his name and address and signs it! That takes the place of proof of identification!"
"That's right," she says.
"Okay then, why are you even saying it?!"
They made me show picture ID, which was unnecessary because I've voted in this county before. I could've used a credit card, a pay stub from work, or even a bank statement. But no, "photo ID please." I said to her that I didn't need it. "Yes, you do."
Also, I couldn't find the voter rights and responsibilities posted ANYWHERE! That should be posted where people can check it out. The poll watcher dropped the ball on this one.
Welcome to Florida ladies and gentlemen. This is only the beginning.
Damn, Chris, I wish you could bring us better news, but then again, what do you expect when you put a Bush in charge of the damn thing?
Max Sandlin is featured for Texas Tuesdays today. After Chet Edwards, I'd say that Sandlin is in the best shape of the five endangered Texas Democratic congressional incumbents. Still, I'd say Sandlin is running just about dead even. If you want to make a late congressional donation, sending a few bucks Sandlin's way would probably be one of the better investments you could make. Donate to Max Sandlin today.
I try not to get too worked up about sign stealing, because, well it happens. Both sides do it, and it's part of the game. As for office break-in's and vandalism, that's a different story. Both sides have done it in this election, and that's another issue entirely, but this story made me laugh my ass off:
A Lakewood Republican stealing campaign signs late one night got nabbed when he ran across a low-hanging driveway chain, fell face first onto a pilfered sign and the concrete and knocked himself unconscious.
Randal Wagner, 50, was loaded into an ambulance, treated at Lutheran Medical Center for abrasions and facial cuts and issued a summons.
Idiocy at it's greatest.... via Political Wire.
There are four competetive state house races in the greater Austin area: Tx-17, TX-45, TX-48 and TX-50. With the Austin American Statesman endorsements today, Democrats were endorsed in two of those races today:
Democrat Patrick Rose won a close race two years ago in state House District 45 and he has a tough contest again this year against a well-funded opponent.
But, Voters in the district, which includes Hays, Blanco and Caldwell counties, should send Rose back to Austin because he has represented them well in the Legislature. Rose was as prominent as any freshman last session and worked hard for his constituents.
Rose, 26, fights diligently for insurance reform and wants to revamp Texas' broken school finance system. He has good ideas for filling the gaps in a public school system that has seen state participation decline to below 40 percent of annual costs. He also is pushing to reform the state's battered ethics rules.
Incumbent Robert L. "Robby" Cook III, an Eagle Lake Democrat, is a farmer who shares the rural outlook and interests of a district that covers Bastrop, Burleson, Colorado, Fayette, Lee and part of Brazos counties. Cook was first elected to the Texas House in 1996. He was designated the outstanding freshman of the 1997 session and has been a leader in the House ever since. [...]
Cook, 44, knows how to listen and he knows how to act. His devotion to rural Texas is not just talk, it's action. He deserves another term in the Texas House.
It would be nice to see the Statesman endorse both Mark Strama and Kelly White, but I have a feeling they'll endorse one of them, and one of the incumbents.
The Daily Texan came out with congressional endorsements today:
Hopefully you live far enough south to vote for Austin's beloved Lloyd Doggett, former UT student government president, 10-year House veteran and nationally renowned progressive. One of redistricting's more blatant targets, his District 10 was stretched all the way to Houston to grab enough republicans to kick him out of office. But Doggett moved to 300-mile-long District 25 and has been campaigning hard to gain support in the two-thirds Latino district.
Democrats outnumber Republicans almost two to one in the district, so Doggett should survive in the House. He is experienced, compassionate and has represented Austin well this past decade. Plus, voting for Doggett sticks it to the man by foiling Tom DeLay's best-laid plans to oust him. [...]
Redistricting stood to make this a boring election season until Lorenzo Sadun came along. Disgusted by the absence of a Democrat running in the newly gerrymandered district now extending to Houston, the UT math professor forfeited his time and resources to give voters an option. [...]
Opponent Michael McCaul is just another pretty boy party-liner who will vote however DeLay tells him, giving little thought to important decisions or how they affect our city. [...]
When President Bush tells McCaul to jump, he'll enthusiastically ask "How high?"
This district was hand-tailored for a Republican - Sadun has no shot. But sometimes voting isn't about picking the winner, it's about picking the person you believe in. And we believe in Sadun because he embodies the idealism and integrity sorely missing in politics.
District 21: No endorsement [...]
We recommend voting for Rhett Smith in opposition to Lamar Smith's offensive record or Libertarian James Werner for a jab at the two-party system. We're disappointed at all the choices.
Works for me.
They're not up on the Secretary of State Website yet, but the Statesman has these numbers:
Among the major counties' totals were 20,868 in Harris County; 20,566 in Dallas County; 15,375 in Bexar County; 17,685 in Tarrant County; and 15,983 in Travis County.
That's a total of 144,598 in the 15 largest counties statewide yesterday compared to 84,809 four years ago. I saw the Travis County Tax Assessor on the local news last night and she said that 95% of potential Travis County voters were registered, and that she was expecting a turnout countywide of 60-65%. That wouldn't surprise me.
My usual approach to such stories is, "Well there goes the media trying to cover up real Republican fraud by feeding us minor and irrelevant stories of Democratic voter fraud."
But this story is too ironic and amusing to pass up. All Americans, Democrats and Republicans, should join in wondering what the heck is going on in Defiance, Ohio...
...and then after joining in the fun, all Americans should be equally concerned by the real vote suppression going on all over the country.
:: Voted ::
Also, after an agonizingly long time, I decided to vote against City of Houston Proposition One and for the arguably draconian Proposition Two. I personally prefer broad principles of action over arbitrary numbers, and prefer the more open framework of Prop 2 accordingly. If we're going to have a revenue cap, lets at least have one based on a formula, rather than made-up numbers.
Moreover, after casting a bunch of other fairly responsible votes, I was ready to do something crazy and stupid.
I'm sure, of course, that when the City of Houston turns into a Mad Max-style distopia because of the horrible funding shortage my vote will cause, that I will get my just desserts.
Moreover, if you think I am right, I urge you to go vote and make it two votes! If you think I am a moron, go vote so you can cancel out my vote!
After weeks of frustratingly checking the Harris County web site, vainly hoping that my voter registration card had finally been turned in...
I have received confirmation that I am indeed registered to vote in Harris County!
So long, suckas, I'm goin' to vote!
Radical right-wing Republican values, then vote for Pete Sessions. Not sure if it's the Park Cities People or D Magazine, but they endorse Sessions even after admitting that Frost has "done more for Dallas":
We Endorse Sessions. Both men are solid on national security, the war on terror, and the war in Iraq. Mr. Sessions is better on taxes and job growth. Mr. Frost has done more for Dallas, especially in pushing the Trinity River project that is so essential to the city’s future. But for us, the decisive point comes down to conservative values, not to pragmatic pluses and minuses. In that regard, Mr. Sessions is the better choice.
We urge our readers to vote for him. If he wins, we expect him to get the message that a Congressman from Dallas should be a fighter for its future — and rise to the stature of his position.
D Magazine has a good review of the most recent Frost / Sessions debate as well. A few of their observations:
I think Sessions has a hard time getting comfortable at these events. [...]
Frost, on the other hand, never seems more comfortable than when he's either responding to an attack or ramping up his own. [...]
I counted that Frost took one drink of water from a cup hidden behind his podium. I lost track of how many drinks Sessions took, but I know that he dropped his cup on the floor once, and twice he kneeled down behind his podium for an extended period of time. [...]
Sessions repeated the point that Frost had invited Peter Yarrow to sing at an October fundraiser. [...] Though Frost immediately withdrew the invitation, Sessions suggested that this meant Frost didn't care about the safety of children, a line of attack that seems overheated at best. Frost responded with a new bit of information: Yarrow had sung at the Republican Conference two years ago, and Sessions had not objected to that. The word "hypocrite" hung lightly in the air.
Haha. Pete Sessions is an idiot. According to a reader that attended the debate, Sessions also directed people to an anti-Frost website on several occasions, however he must have taken directions from Dick Cheney. Sessions meant to direct debate watchers to CostOfFrost.com, but apparently said at least once CostOfMartinFrost.com, a website which the Frost campaign bought immediately following the debate.
He won the Fort Worth Star Telegram endorsement several days ago, and today he was endorsed by both the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American Statesman.
Dallas Morning News:
The moderate Waco Democrat is a powerful fighter for a strong national defense and deeply engaged with the issue that threatens America more than any other today: nuclear terrorism.
We're impressed by his knowledge on the critical problems facing the state and nation regarding the vulnerability of ports – like Houston – and transportation systems to nuclear weapons hidden in shipping containers.
Austin American Statesman:
Edwards has put up a stiff fight and has attracted some Republican support. During his 13 years in Congress, Edwards' old district included Fort Hood, where he demonstrated solid, effective support for the military and helped bring new construction to the post. He's also a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which is so important in winning federal support for district projects. That could be especially important for Texas A&M University, which is in the newly redrawn district.
The Waco Tribune-Herald will surely follow suit in the coming days.
Looks like the UD's here at UT weren't the only ones.
This is bunk. Democrats are way sexier than Republicans.
Rep. Jack Stick, R-Austin, had been scheduled for weeks to show up for a joint appearance with Democratic challenger Mark Strama on Wednesday.
But even though he’d reconfirmed as early as that morning, Stick bowed out and instead sent an aide to say he wouldn’t be there after all.
Would-be debate moderator Ross Ramsey, editor of the political newsletter Texas Weekly, told officials at the Northeast Austin Rotary Club that it wouldn’t be exactly fair to have Strama debate a Stick underling. So the officials agreed to simply have Strama talk for a while about voter turnout.
I guess he's taking after Tom DeLay. Show Mark Strama some love.
Hat tip to Sarah.
No, it may not have the circulation of the New York Times, but the Daily Texan came out clearly for John Kerry today. The editorial mostly attacks Bush on both foreign policy and domestic policy. On Iraq, they write that "More than 1,000 American soldiers have died for this oversight [WMD's in Iraq], and the United States continues to fight a war that has no definite exit strategy. On gay rights, President Bush has engaged in an "open attack on the gay community". On government, the Texan goes on to say that the "citizen's relationship with the government is worse than it was four years ago". The praise for Kerry isn't glowing, but it's unique insofar that the Texan writes that perhaps Kerry's greatest presidential quality is the one that Bush attacks most frequently - Kerry's supposed "flip-flops":
The Bush-Cheney campaign itself offers the best endorsement for John Kerry: He changes his mind.
When it became increasingly obvious that the war in Iraq was based on faulty intelligence and downright ignorance, Kerry was willing to call out the administration. As law enforcement officers began using anti-terrorism powers to create an unsettling culture of surveillance in America, Kerry attacked the way the Patriot act is used.
Far from being a mindless flip-flopper, Kerry has proven that he is willing to listen to public input. Kerry's brand of flip-flopping would be a welcome change from an administration that simply refuses to admit mistakes or accept any responsibility for the disaster zone it has created in the Middle East.
It's about time that someone in the White House has an open mind.
The Daily Texan endorses John Kerry for president of the United States.
After all, isn't "flip-flopping" really just synonymous for "admitting one's mistakes" - something that the current administration has failed to do.
The Supreme Court of the United States has revived the Texas redistricting lawsuit, forcing a partisan re-match in federal court.
The ruling won't affect this year's map, but might result in changes for 2006.
I'll be on KRV-TV tonight at 9 PM with Zach Stephenson of the College Republicans and Students for Bush. We'll be discussing our perspectives of the presidential debates, and the current state of the presidential race with a focus on jobs and the war in Iraq in a 4-5 minute segment on the show.
We'll be on the award-winning KRV News 9:
This fall, get all your local UT and national news from KVR News 9, Monday nights at 9:00 PM. Get award-winning informative reports geared towards a student perspective. It's news you can use, broadcast LIVE from KVR-TV.
I think its available to most of Austin via either campus cable and the Austin Community Access Center:
KVR's over-the-air signal reaches homes in central- and east-Austin over VHF channel 9. In addition, KVR is available 24 hours/day in on-campus dormitories via cable channel 15 and in other on-campus buildings via Campus Cable channel 51. KVR is simulcast over Time Warner Cable from 9-10pm Monday-Thursday via channel 16, which is operated by the Austin Community Access Center.
I'm looking forward to it. If anyone is able to watch it, let me know what you think.
I voted an hour ago in my second presidential election. Karl-Thomas, and a bunch of the University Democrats camped out in front of the UGL all night. I have to give them credit where credit is due. They were all over the 10 PM news last night, and when I arrived to campus at 6:55 AM this morning, there were three local television trucks taking live shots of the line of about 50 people. Additionally, the Daily Texan had a huge picture and story on the front page of the paper. The whole idea was a bit goofy, but it generated great publicity, even though the only real benefit of camping out in front of the early vote location is the satisfaction of voting first (7:05 as opposed to 7:15 AM). I guess it's a big deal, especially for people that were either voting for the first time, or for the first time in a presidential election.
I cast my first vote just about four years ago when I went with my mother one day after school to vote early for Al Gore. This time it was with a bunch of University Democrats for Kerry and the rest of Democrats on the ballot. Overall, the process took about two minutes.
First, I checked the Democratic box for straight ticket voting...
Then, I scrolled down to write-in Lorenzo Sadun for Congress...
Then, I voted for Libertarians Quannah Parker and Tom Oxford for Court of Criminal Appeals...
Then, I voted FOR the Capitol Metro Referendum.
Finally, I reviewed everything to make sure the computer didn't do anything quirky, like cast a vote for a Republican or something, then pushed the "cast ballot" button.
Karl-Thomas and I talked about the Capitol Metro Referendum for a little bit last night. He said he was conflicted on the measure, as he thought that the commuter rail proposal was too watered down, and rejecting it might force the city to go back to a real light rail proposal. However, he changed his mind after people basically told him that the proposal was commuter rail or nothing, and a little bit of mass transit is better than none at all. The proposal was watered down because in 2000, Austin narrowly rejected a light rail referendum because a right/left coalition of anti-rail conservatives and anti-development liberals, and small business owners that would have to relocate if rail were to be built joined together in opposition. Essentially, the downtown bureaucrats wanted to put together an uncontroversial proposal this time that would pass easily, since something is needed as Austin has perhaps the worst traffic of any midsized city in America.
I can't say that any of the votes were tough calls for me. Travis County is lucky to have extremely well qualified Democrats up and down the ballot. It's always a pleasure to vote for local elected officials that I've worked with like Elliott Naishtat and Bruce Elfant as well as candidates that I've had the opportunity to get to know through the primary and general election season like Nancy Hohengarten, Stephen Yelenosky, Lorenzo Sadun and Greg Hamilton. Voting for Ronnie Earle, even though uncontested, is my way of
bitchslapping, errr... voting against Tom DeLay, Tom Craddick and the GOP corruption in this state. And of course, I had been waiting four years to vote against George W. Bush again. It was a pleasure to cast not just an anti-Bush vote, but also a pro-Kerry vote, because I trust, and have confidence in the next President of the United States, John Kerry.
A tolerant, Christian society should not have to tolerate people who fantasize about when imposing capital punishment for homosexuality would be a subject for "an in-house debate."
And the voting machines are ready for use in the UGL on the UT campus:
So are the University Democrats who are going to be right outside the library all night. There was a live shot by two of the local ten o'clock news stations. Here's one of them:
And there's lots of fun and games as well. Balloons, bubbles, pizza, face painting and more:
I'll be ready to vote tomorrow morning. My choices for each race I'll be voting in are here. Here's a sample Travis County ballot (PDF).
President and Vice President: John Kerry / John Edwards - DEM
United States Representative, District 10: Write-in, Lorenzo Sadun - DEM
Railroad Commissioner: Bob Scarborough - DEM
Justice, Supreme Court Place 3 - No vote
Justice, Supreme Court Place 5 - No vote
Justice, Supreme Court Place 9: David Van Os - DEM
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2: Quannah Parker - LIB
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 5: Tom Oxford - LIB
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 6: J.R. Molina - DEM
State Representative, District 49: Elliott Naishtat - DEM
Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals District, Place 4: Jan Patterson - DEM
Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals District, Place 6: Diane Henson - DEM
District Judge, 53rd Judicial District: Scott Jenkins - DEM
District Judge, 98th Judicial District: W. Jeanne Mercer - DEM
District Judge, 126th Judicial District: Darlene Byrne - DEM
District Judge, 167th Judicial District: Mike Lynch - DEM
District Judge, 200th Judicial District: Gisela Triana - DEM
District Judge, 345th Judicial District: Stephen Yelenosky - DEM
District Judge, 353rd Judicial District: Margaret Cooper
District Judge, 390th Judicial District: No vote
District Attorney: Ronnie Earle - DEM
Judge, County Court at Law 5: Nancy Hohengarten - DEM
County Attorney: David Escamilla - DEM
Sheriff: Greg Hamilton - DEM
County Tax Assessor-Collector: Nelda Wells Spears - DEM
County Commissioner, Precinct 1: Ron Davis - DEM
Constable, Precinct 5: Bruce Elfant - DEM
Capitol Metro Referendum: FOR
Matt Yglesias puts down in words what I've been thinking (as well as, apparently, Kevin Drum, Michael Froomkin, and a whole bunch of other people who are smarter than I am):
There are disturbing parallels between the Bush White House and the Putin government in the Kremlin.
Look, it'll be a bright and sunny day for freedom when Bin Laden gets his just desserts, but walking the rain-slicked streets of the gray present, I must wonder what is happening to America, and worry what will happen if we keep on the road we're on.
A reader emailed me the "US House Outlook" for Texas from the Southern Political Report (subscription service). If you don't want to read the whole thing, they basically say this:
Likely Democrat: TX-25 (Doggett)
Toss-Up: TX-1 (Sandlin), TX-17 (Edwards)
Leans Republican: TX-2 (Lampson), TX-19 (Stenholm), TX-32 (Frost)
I'm not quite sure why TX-25 is on the list. It's a 70% Democratic district that was decided in the Democratic primary - Doggett ought to win it easily. I'm equally surprised that TX-22 isn't on the list. Sure, DeLay is favored, but I expect the DeLay / Morrison race to be significantly closer than the Doggett / Klein race.
As for the others, it shows me further evidence that Sandlin is probably running the strogest campaign after Edwards. I think that Edwards narrowly leading Wohlgemuth by a few points, that Sandlin is running just about even, and that Frost and Lampson are running a few points behind with Stenholm running further behind - possibly double digits at this point. I could be wrong, but that's my gut feeling on the state of those five races. Click on the extended entry for the Southern Political Report analysis of the Texas races:
"Texas 1 (Texarkana, etc.) The race between four-termer Max Sandlin (D) and ex-Judge Louis Gohmert (R) "is closer than expected," say Lone Star observers, with each side touting a poll showing it slightly ahead. A Sept 7-9 poll by Bennett, Petts & Blumenthal (D) gave Sandlin 47%, Gohmert 43%, although a journalist says "Bush should carry Gohmert across the line." Toss-up.
Texas 2 (Nacogdoches, etc.) In the race between four-termer Nick Lampson (D) and former judge Ted Poe (R), "Both sides think they're winning," says an editor. The new district lines help Poe. There are some unions in the district, which should help Lampson. If Kerry enjoys a post-debates respectability, it could also help Lampson. A Sept. 19-21 Harstad Strategic Research poll (D) gave Poe 41%, Lampson 37%. Leans Republican.
Texas 17 (Waco, etc.) Seven-termer Chet Edwards (D) is in a tough race with state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth (R). One operative (R) says she's up four or five points in her polling. A newsman says private, non-partisan polling gives Edwards the lead. And Edwards is hitting her hard for votes in the state legislature to reduce the number of children eligible for health care assistance and to deregulate college tuition, a no-no in the College Station area. "It's the most competitive race" in Texas, says the journalist. Toss-up. "
Texas 19 (Abilene/Lubbock) In the battle between 26-year veteran Charlie Stenholm (D) and freshman Randy Neugebauer (R), demographics in this newly-formed district trumps experience: It's Neugebauer 48%, Stenholm 39%, says a Sept. 27-28 Public Opinion Strategies (R) poll; Neugebauer 52%, Stenholm 29%, says a Sept. 15-23 Scripps Research poll. Local observers expect a closer race, but it still Leans Republican.
Texas 25 (Austin, etc.) Well-credentialed and well-funded Becky Armendariz Klein (R) has little chance of beating Lloyd Doggett (D). "He's in a race," says an Austin lobbyist, "but he'll win it." Rumor has it that she's slated for a spot on the Federal Communications Commission. Likely Democratic.
Texas 32 (Irving, etc.) The race between 13-termer Martin Frost (D) and four-termer Pete Sessions (R) "is getting really ugly," says one observer. "It's a very
aggressive campaign on both sides," says a journalist. When Frost scheduled Peter Yarrow, of the folk-singers Peter, Paul and Mary, to headline a fundraiser, the GOP brought up Yarrow's 1970 conviction on child indecency charges. Frost dis-invited Yarrow, but now GOPers are urging him to give back money from any advance ticket sales. Frost accuses Sessions of opposing important homeland security measures, such as air cargo screening and reinforced cockpit doors. The GOP's internal polling shows Sessions leading "outside the margin of error," says an insider (R). Other polls also show Sessions leading. Frost's ace in the hole could be Hispanic voters, but their turnout rate is low. Leans Republican."
Good Statesman article today with insight on where the five incumbent Democratic Texas congressional races stand in terms of money currently.
At first glance, Martin Frost appears to be way behind in cash on hand, but he just purchased a $1 Million media buy:
Sessions, a Republican with nearly $2.3 million in the bank, is ideally set for a last-month push in the expensive Dallas-Fort Worth media market.
While his Democratic opponent has outraised Sessions by almost $350,000, he has spent most of his nearly $4.2 million haul, leaving the Frost campaign with $576,872 available as of Sept. 30 — about one-fifth of Sessions' bankroll.
"That creates a situation where we can get our message out there without a response from him, " said Chris Homan, Sessions' campaign manager.
The figures, however, hide a $1 million media buy, closed just before Frost filed his fund-raising documents, for TV and radio commercials through Election Day, spokesman Justin Kitsch said.
In the Stenholm / Neugebauer race the cash on hand is just about even:
The other battle of incumbent representatives, Democrat Charlie Stenholm and Republican Randy Neugebauer, is a $4 million race that has already flooded voters with hundreds of TV commercials in the relatively cheap Lubbock and Abilene markets.
Stenholm's $2.1 million is the most he's raised in 14 campaigns, though Neugebauer had a slight edge in available cash.
Chet Edwards is in the best shape in the polls, and its the same story with money. Arlene Wohlgemuth has spent most of her money, and even with a large investiment by the Club for Growth, Edwards still has a leg up in TX-17:
Challenger Arlene Wohlgemuth had less than $163,000 remaining on Sept. 30, the smallest amount among the five races. That could be a looming factor in a contest in which her opponent, Waco Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards, had almost $668,000 in the bank.
The discrepancy becomes even greater if a Democratic poll proves accurate in its findings: a 50 percent to 40 percent lead for Edwards.
In both TX-1 and TX-2 the Democrat leads in cash on hand:
Poe, criticized by Republicans for anemic fund-raising, added luster to his campaign by collecting almost $459,000 in the third quarter. Still, Democrat Lampson collected $100,000 more, pushing him beyond the $2 million mark, almost double Poe's total.
In the Piney Woods of Northeast Texas, GOP challenger Louie Gohmert outraised Rep. Max Sandlin, D-Marshall, by more than $100,000. Sandlin, however, continued to hold an advantage in available cash, up more than $150,000 on Sept. 30.
Overall pretty good news for all the Democrats. The only Democrat significantly behind in cash on hand is Frost, and that's because he just made a $1 Million media buy.
Three major Texas newspapers weighed in with their congressional endorsements today. Karl-Thomas noted that the Houston Chronicle endorsed Richard Morrison over Tom DeLay.
The Houston Chronicle favored incumbents and presumptive favorites in the other races:
TX-2: Nick Lampson (D)
TX-7: John Culberson (R)
TX-8: Kevin Brady (R)
TX-9: Al Green (D)
TX-10: Michael McCaul (R)
TX-18: Shelia Jackson Lee (D)
TX-22: Richard Morrison (D)
TX-29: Gene Green (D)
The Austin American Statesman offered no surprises with their endorsements of all the incumbents and presumptive winners:
TX-10: Michael McCaul (R)
TX-15: Ruben Hinojosa (D)
TX-21: Lamar Smith (R)
TX-25: Lloyd Doggett (D)
The San Antonio Express-News threw in one surprise in an otherwise incumbent lovefest:
TX-20: Charles Gonzalez (D)
TX-21: Lamar Smith (R)
TX-23: Henry Bonilla (R)
TX-28: Jim Hopson (R)
Who is Jim Hopson? He's the guy running against Henry Cuellar in the seat currently held by Ciro Rodriguez. Cuellar narrowly defeated Rodriguez in a primary that the Express-News is apparently still embittered over:
San Antonio Rep. Ciro Rodriguez lost to Henry Cuellar in the Democratic primary under unsettling and controversial circumstances.
The Democratic Party failed to fully investigate the disturbing recount results that overturned Rodriguez's election day victory and gave the nomination to Cuellar.
Now Cuellar is facing Republican Jim Hopson of Seguin in the Nov. 2 election. We recommend voters cast their ballots for Hopson, an independent thinker who will bring integrity to the job.
Cuellar ought to win relatively easily, but San Antonio Democrats have a reason to be unhappy. Rodriguez was a strong progressive from San Antonio, while Cuellar is an unpredictable moderate from Laredo that won the primary because Rodriguez didn't take him seriously enough (until it was too late), and the Laredo turnout far exceeded the San Antonio turnout in the primary. San Antonio will have a chance to reclaim its congressional seat in the 2006 primary, but for now Cuellar will have to do.
I've said for awhile now that the Dallas Morning News would endorse Bush, but they've become so utterly predictable with their endorsements, that I even called when they would do it. So, I'll take credit for it here.
As for their endorsement, it's basically what you'd expect from a newspaper that backed Goldwater and segregation four decades ago (and a paper that a bit more recently said Bush won the first debate). You'd think they just copy+pasted the talking points from the Bush / Cheney webpage. It starts with "Americans want and need a president with a backbone steeled by courage and a heart tendered by compassion", and well you can pretty much just use your imagination to figure out where it goes from there.
Overall, I don't think that newspaper endorsements matter that much for the presidential race. I do think that they matter a lot of downballot candidates where most voters have not heard of either candidate, and independent voters will vote often vote for the candidate backed by their local newspaper. Most newspaper endorsements for president are pretty easy to track based on their previous editorials, but I do think that it is of some significance when normally conservative newspapers endorse the Democrat and vice versa. That's why it was interesting to read this:
Kerry gained the editorial backing of at least 28 papers, with Bush winning the support of 14 that we know of, giving Kerry the lead by 43-27 in E&P's exclusive tally. He has many more large papers on his side, maintaining his "circulation edge" at nearly 3-1: approximately 8.5 million to 3 million.
Among Kerry's new supporters were five papers that had backed Bush in 2000: the Bradenton Herald in Florida, the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado, the Columbia Tribune in Missouri, Colorado and the Daily-Herald in Arlington Heights, Ill., and Muskegon (MI) Chronicle.
Two other papers that backed Bush in 2000 announced they would not pick either candidate this year: the Tampa Tribune and the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal.
These are minor things, but I do believe that endorsements of Kerry from newspapers with moderate to conservative credentials might help some undecided voters close the deal with Kerry.
Exciting news out of Houston, the big city paper has chosen to endorse Richard Morrison over Tom DeLay!
And as strange as it may seem for us Austinites, they also tossed McCaul a bone in endorsing him for TX-10 which runs from Austin to Houston, giving them a reason to add it in their list of Houston area endorsements.
Of course, McCaul does have an opponent and you can Write In Sadun.
Last night, I had the honor and privilege of judging at the UH speech and debate tournament.
The golden nugget goes to a young extemp-er who said "Maybe Ralph Nader just hates everybody."
In other news, Nader's 2000 running mate, Winona LaDuke, is supporting John Kerry this year.
Kerry endorsements coming in the newspapers tomorrow:
The New York Times endorsed Kerry on Oct. 17
"We have been impressed with Mr. Kerry's wide knowledge and clear thinking — something that became more apparent once he was reined in by that two-minute debate light. He is blessedly willing to re-evaluate decisions when conditions change. ... He strikes us, above all, as a man with a strong moral core."
The Star Tribune, Minneapolis, endorsed Kerry on Oct. 17.
"Kerry knows how to effectively join with U.S. allies to leverage the vast power of international will. ... Kerry's approach demonstrates maturity, nuance and thoughtfulness. Those qualities don't always play well in campaign sound bites. But they will serve America exceedingly well in the Oval Office."
Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, endorsed Kerry on Oct. 17.
"John Kerry is a credible, prepared, likely choice for a nation that should expect more sophistication, more skill, less failure and more focus on the problems of the American mainstream than George W. Bush has offered."
The New York Times is nice, but expected. The other two though, are major papers in major swing states. Bush will get one endorsement tomorrow in a major (although not as big as either of Kerry's) swing-state newspaper:
The Carlsbad Current-Argus, Carlsbad, N.M., endorsed Bush on Oct. 17.
"We believe President Bush should be re-elected because he is better prepared to lead the war on terror. We believe his firm conviction and stalwart stance to pursue the terrorists and destroy them is the only way America can navigate toward a secure tomorrow."
I have a sense the Dallas Morning News will endorse Bush tomorrow, but they might wait a few days. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.
I've had a busy day, so I'm taking a day off posting, but everyone ought to be happy tonight:
Astros 5, Cardinals 2. (Feel better, Jim?)
Texas 28, Missouri 20. (Too bad I didn't make a bet with a Missouri fan.)
Good news for Chet Edwards, bad news for Charlie Stenholm in polling over the past two days.
This poll for Chet Edwards is out today:
A Bennett, Petts and Blumenthal (D) poll; conducted 10/11-13 for Rep. Chet Edwards (D); surveyed 450 likely voters; margin of error +/- 4.9% (release, 10/14). Tested: Edwards and state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth (R).
General Election Matchup
I'm not sure if Chet's really up by ten since this is a Democratic poll, but he probably has a small, if not comfortable lead.
There's been lots of good news for Chet Edwards this week. He picked up several endorsements:
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
At this time in history, Texas needs Edwards in Congress. His experience in national defense issues is important to the entire state, not just District 17.
The off-cycle redistricting process cut Fort Hood and Killeen out of Edwards' district -- a deliberate move by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and the Republicans to remove the world's largest military installation from the man who has so ably represented it for the past 13 years.
With Edwards' record of fighting both Democratic and Republican administrations that tried to cut housing allowances, retiree pay, education for military dependents and danger pay for troops in Iraq, no wonder the Republicans didn't want the base and its voters in his district.
The Battalion Op/ed:
In this day and age, when movie stars govern states and Democrats speak at Republican conventions, why shouldn't a Democrat continue to represent a primarily conservative district? Especially one that has done nothing to suggest that he is not fit for the position. This election year, one would hope voters will consider experience and ideals over political party.
Via The Stakeholder, Greg's Opinion and Off the Kuff.
Also, Edwards has been endorsed by Wohlgemuth's hometown mayor (along with other small-town mayors nearby):
Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter pledged Thursday to work hard to keep state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth's trash picked up, her water running, her neighborhood safe -- and her political opponent in office.
Shetter was joined by first-term Cleburne Mayor Ted Reynolds and Wava McCullough, mayor of the small community of Cross Timber, in endorsing Edwards on the courthouse lawn.
More good news later in the article. Roll Call has taken Chet Edwards off it's "Ten most vulnerable incumbents" list:
Roll Call, a nonpartisan newspaper that closely covers Congress and Capitol Hill, took Edwards off its "ten most vulnerable" list of legislators expected to lose in November.
"We're by no means saying this is a slam dunk for him," said Josh Kurtz, political editor of Roll Call. "A lot could happen."
Now on to the bad news. Charlie Stenholm is in some trouble:
According to the new poll by students at Texas Tech, 53.5 percent of respondents favor Neugebauer and 23.3 percent favor Stenholm. The poll, which the university released late Monday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points.
The numbers, however, closely mirror earlier findings by the Scripps Research Center showing Neugebauer with support from 52 percent of voters, and Stenholm with support from 29 percent.
There were questions about the student poll at Texas Tech. I'd trust it just about as much as I'd trust an Aggie poll - not very much. I'm sure there are some inaccuracies, but I think it's also clear that Stenholm is in trouble - probably behind in double digits, even if he did get some good news today with an endorsement by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Overall things are looking much better than expected for the "Texas 5". A year ago, most analysts thought that the Texas 5 (along with Lloyd Doggett) would be pushovers with their seats handed over to voting-with-Tom-DeLay-in-lockstep lackeys . One looks on the cusp of victory (Edwards), one looks likely to go down in defeat (Stenholm) and three I think are pretty close to being pure toss-ups (Lampson, Frost and Sandlin).
Update: More on the chances of Texas Democrats from the National Journal's House Race Hotline:
DCCC chair Rpboert Matsui "insisted that at least three of those embattled incumbents -- Reps. Chet Edwards, Charles Stenholm and Martin Frost -- stand a good chance of surviving" in TX. Matsui said the others -- Reps. Nick Lampson and Max Sandlin "could prevail" (Hess, CongressDaily, 10/14).
They pretty much mirror my own. First, I'll vote straight ticket Democratic and FOR the Capital Metro Referendum, then I'll write-in Lorenzo Sadun for Congress, then I'll go through the list and vote Libertarian in the statewide races where there's no Democrat running. That's basically the approach that the Austin Chronicle took in their endorsements this year with a few minor exceptions (they endorse one Republican, Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo - who I'd probably vote for in this race if I weren't a yellow dog Democrat, so take that for what you will.)
The Chronicle's readership is solidly motivated by Bush hatred of the Dean/Kucinich mold (not that that's a bad thing, but that alone doesn't win elections), so I was a little disappointed with the focus of their Kerry endorsement merely being anti-Bush than pro-Kerry:
President: John Kerry
No surprise to regular readers, and not a tough call. As voters approach the booth, we can either pretend the last four years have not been a national and international disaster, teetering on the brink of much worse, or we can remove the man and the team who drove the country into an aggressive and unjust war, willfully bankrupted the treasury, and used both as excuses to undermine virtually every socially progressive U.S. institution, from schools to health care to Social Security. If George W. Bush is re-elected, he and his neo-conservative handlers, feckless retreads of the worst excesses of the Reagan administration, will have no incentive to moderate their ingrained policies of imperial adventurism abroad and reckless social retrogression at home.
It's astonishing to us that any sentient progressive voter would not see the urgency of summarily evicting these reactionaries who've so abused the public trust. There has been much spilled ink over the insufficient differences between Bush and Kerry, as if the electorate is too naive to know that over the long term, our two-party duopoly needs a major overhaul. We don't entirely buy the cynicism about Kerry on literal grounds, but even so, how can it justify granting four more years to Bush & Co.? We either fight one necessary battle at time, or we surrender.
I mostly agree, but would it be too difficult to say one good thing about Kerry? He's not that bad, guys. It's not like Joe Lieberman won the nomination, and everyone on the left would have to enter the voting booth with a clothespin on their nose. There's a very substantive case to make for John Kerry to just about any mainstream, moderate, independent or left/liberal leaning audience without even mentioning or attacking Bush once. Of course, criticism of Bush is a large part of the Democratic case, but I like to see endorsements that balance both a reason to vote for a candidate in addition to the reasons to vote against the other.
Downballot, the Chronicle reminds us why to vote for those Libertarians running for the Court of Criminal Appeals in the races without a Democrat on the ballot:
Court of Criminal Appeals
Place 2: Quanah Parker
Place 5: Tom Oxford
Place 6: J.R. Molina
Incumbent Republican judges Lawrence Meyers (Place 2) and Cheryl Johnson (Place 5) face token opposition from Libertarian candidates Quanah Parker and Tom Oxford; Michael Keasler (Place 6) is opposed by perennial Democratic candidate J.R. Molina. None of the challengers are particularly impressive. But voters should reject any incumbent on the CCA as a matter of principle; the current court, led by presiding judge Sharon "Who Needs Evidence?" Keller, has distinguished itself largely by its hostility to any and all appellants and its willingness to rubber-stamp any lower court decision that smacks of anti-crime absolutism, whatever the broader legal or constitutional consequences. Meyers thinks the court is "as fair as it can be," and Keasler says he looks to Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas for his "textualist" models. Johnson has occasionally acted as a moderating vote on the court's worst decisions, to little avail. The opponents are valiant mavericks, hoping to make a statement about the court's reactionary intransigence and its ineffectiveness at promoting equity and simple justice in the Texas judicial system.
These races don't really offer voters a choice - All three Republicans will win in landslides without breaking a sweat. But voters do have a chance to cast a protest vote in each, and I'd encourage Texans to do so.
The Chronicle has glowing endorsements (just go here and scroll down to read them) of Mark Strama, Kelly White, Jan Patterson and Diane Henson (for the 24-county 3rd Court of Appeals), Stephen Yelenosky (running against the only Republican countywide officeholder, a Perry-appointee for the 345th District Court), Greg Hamilton (in the open sheriff's race), and also for the Capital Metro Referendum. I haven't focused too much on the Capital Metro Referendum, because it's widely expected to pass, and unlike the narrowly defeated light-rail plan in 2000, it's not very controversial. Here's what the Chronicle says:
Capital Metro Referendum: For
How do we put this nicely? If you don't vote for this rail plan, Capital Metro is doomed. Yes, this plan is excessively cautious and modest. Yes, it really sucks that Cap Metro has been put in this box. But in the box it remains, and unless rail wins, that box is going in the trash, and we can give up any hope that Austin will ever have a transportation system (or land-use pattern) that isn't totally dependent on the automobile. We believe this to the depths of our souls, and we hope you do as well.
Overall, solid picks as usual for the Chronicle. They wear their partisanship on their sleave, but their readership is primarily south and central Austin, and well, that's what we like to hear.
This is cool. I never knew this Gebauer was that old. From an email today:
UT's Oldest Building Turns 100 (and there are lots of stories to tell!)
THE GEBAUER BUILDING CENTENNIAL OPEN HOUSE
and special photographic exhibit by Blake Justice
Friday, October 15th, 4 - 6:30pm at the Gebauer Building
Refreshments served starting at 4:30pm
Formal Birthday Ceremony at 5:00pm
Historic Tour conducted at 5:30pm
Sponsored by the UT Heritage Society of the Texas Exes in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Engineering
Nestled on the side of a hill just northeast of the Tower, the Gebauer Building is the oldest structure on the Forty Acres, and the first University building to survive a century. It has been a home for Journalism, Speech, the Dean of Students, and now the College of Liberal Arts, but the building was opened October 1, 1904 to house the "Engineering Department."
As the old Engineering Building, it boasted architectural drawing rooms on the top floor, hydraulics, mining and electrical labs in the basement, and classrooms, a photographic darkroom, and a library in between. Through the 1920s, engineers used the building to host all-university dances, class smokers and annual engineering banquets. Because of an ongoing "feud" between engineering and law students, the building has also seen its share of pranks and other shenanigans, including the colorful debut of Alexander Frederick Claire, the engineer's patron saint, in the spring of 1908.
Or Elvis. Or Jesus for that matter. When Bill Clinton came to UT as part of the Liz Carpenter speakers series, the University Democrats got in line to get our tickets at 10 PM the night before to get tickets at 8 AM the next morning. (Originally, about 1000 tickets were distributed, but only people in line two to three hours before they started distributing them actually got tickets. University officials then decided to change the venue to the Erwin Center (our basketball arena) to accomodate several thousand more students.)
Anyway, the University Democrats want to be the first people in Texas to vote, so they'll be camping out on the west mall Sunday night so they can vote at 7 AM:
"VOTERAMA: WE’RE NOT SLEEPING UNTIL WE VOTE!!"
The University of Texas Democrats are not sleeping until we vote and neither should you!
Early vote starts Monday October 18. We are going to be the first to vote on campus, in Austin, and possibly in Texas. Sunday night starting at 9:30 p.m. on the West Mall we are going to start the line to the UGL in order to cast our votes at 7:00 am.
This will be one of our biggest projects ever! There will be local candidates, food, music, games, and fun. You don't want to miss this unique experience. It'll be something to tell your kids about.
We reistered over 7,000 voters on campus and now it's time make sure they vote, and that they vote Democratic. If you are worried about sleeping, don't— bring your sleeping bags and blankets or use ours. If your worried about studying, dont—go into the UGL and get it done. If your worried about safety, don't—there will be tons of us. So grab some friends and come out to show the country that even Texas wants a change!!
TIME: Sunday 17 October 9:30 p.m. until Monday 18 October 2004 7:30 a.m.
PLACE: West Mall on the campus of the Univ of TX
Sould be fun. I'll plan on hanging out for a little bit, and coming back to vote sometime in the morning, although I do want to be fuctional on Monday, so I think I'll settle for the comfort of my own bed on Sunday night.
My previous post about Lynne Cheney was getting a bit long, and I wanted to respond to this comment that Chris made:
In the case of Lynne Cheney, BOR writers headline that she's ashamed of her daughter. Show me where she said that. On the contrary, she has made it obvious for years, even in the aforementioned article, that she does NOT want her daughters' personal lives brought up in the campaign.
I'm not picking on Chris here, I just wanted to clear up some of the misconceptions coming from the other side today. For those not familiar with the context, Lynne Cheney said this regarding John Kerry's comment last night that Mary Cheney along with any other gay or lesbian could tell you that being gay or lesbian is who they were born as:
Lynne Cheney issued her post-debate rebuke to a cheering crowd outside Pittsburgh. "The only thing I can conclude is he is not a good man. I'm speaking as a mom," she said. "What a cheap and tawdry political trick."
So, why does Lynne Cheney lash out like that? Easy. Salon wrote in 2000 about Lynne Cheney's response to a question about her daughter's sexual orientation. Lynne Cheney has a history of shame and denial about her daughter's sexual orientation:
On Sunday, the issue of Cheney's sexuality took an odd twist, when her mother Lynne denied ABC's Cokie Roberts' assertion that Mary Cheney has "declared that she is openly gay." An irritated Lynne Cheney shot back: "Mary has never declared such a thing. I would like to say that I'm appalled at the media interest in one of my daughters. I have two wonderful daughters. I love them very much. They are bright; they are hard-working; they are decent. And I simply am not going to talk about their personal lives. And I'm surprised, Cokie, that even you would want to bring it up on this program."
Either Lynne Cheney was absent in her daughter's life for most of the 1990s decade, or she is ashamed and in denial about Mary Cheney's sexual orientation. The fact of the matter is that it's inevitable that the personal lives of candidates and their children come up in a campaign, especially one for the White House. The personal life of the Cheney's other daughter has been displayed by the Cheney's in this campaign, whether it be when Liz Cheney appeared with her family (when Mary Cheney's family did not) after Vice President Cheney's speech at the GOP convention, or when Elizabeth Cheney says things like this in interviews:
E. CHENEY: No, I think this is an issue my dad's been very clear about. And, frankly, it's an issue that not a lot of Americans are spending a lot of time being focused on this election cycle. My family is out working very hard.
You know, I'm a security mom. I've got four little kids. And what I care about in this election cycle is electing a guy who is going to be a commander in chief, who will do whatever it takes to keep those kids safe.
So, it's fair to bring up Elizabeth Cheney's family, but it's not fair to bring up Mary Cheney's? Instead, Lynne Cheney resorted to denial in 2000. Saying "Mary has never declared such a thing" about Mary Cheney's sexual orientation is about as desperate a comment as saying "The only thing I can conclude is he is not a good man" of John Kerry for bringing it up. Mary Cheney is not ashamed of her sexual orientation. Neither is John Kerry, but Lynne Cheney is ashamed. When Lynne Cheney sharply declared in 2000 that her daughter had never declared that she was a lesbian, that was a flat out falsehood. Salon continues:
Mary Cheney, 31, is not just any lesbian. Until May, she was the lesbian/gay corporate relations manager for the once-notoriously anti-gay Coors Brewing Co. In that role she became a key player in the pivotal "movement vs. market" debate raging inside the gay activist community, representing the point of view that corporate America is a better friend than government in advancing the cause of gay rights.
Judging from her efforts on behalf of Coors, Cheney will go the extra mile for a cause she believes in. To get gay advocates to drop their support for a Coors boycott, for instance, she traveled the country with the winner of the International Mr. Leather 1999 competition -- a hugely popular event on the gay-bar circuit -- meeting with gay leaders to advance the Coors cause.
Mary Cheney was active in the gay community before 2000 both privately and publically. In both he personal life, and her professional life, Mary Cheney was openly lesbian. However, her mother denied it. Why?
To add to the Baxter Story that Byron commented on earlier today...
I've actually been running though hundreds of these ethics filings as part of a project I'm working on for one of my classes here at UT so I've become very use to patterns that have emerged and noticing how Republicans and Democrats funnel their money.
The Democrats in 2002 left much of the work to the Texas Democratic Party as far as staff, direct mail, and polling was concerned (all in in-kind contributions). The Republicans that I have looked at so far in the House elections have not had any in-kind contributions from the Texas Republican Party other than a voter file once in a while, which is low cost and fairly normal. Instead, their in-kind biggie contributions are from TRMPAC and Texans for Lawsuit Reform for things such as "Contract For America" or research.
Now, as far as the corrected report goes... it's not uncommon that candidates file a corrected report because with that much data, little things like an address or name or such do get left off. I've noticed this under the reasons for filing a corrected report from both parties. And in most cases, it's done within just a few days or maybe a week after the report was supposed to have been filed. Maybe a couple of months max, for those that don't file electronically or are running for the first time, due to not being used to all the laws and the reporting system. Baxter, like others, has a number of corrected reports over the years due to this.
BUT... I have not seen as a 'common' occurance, the filing of a corrected report nearly ONE YEAR and FOUR months after the date of the filed report it's correcting. It just doesn't happen.
In between filing the mandatory "8 Day Before Election" report and the corrected "8 Day Before Election" report (65 weeks after the election), Baxter filed 4 'daily telegram' reports for contributions received in those last few days before the election and another mandatory "January Semi-Annual" Report which is supposed to cover everthing from the "8 Day Before Election" Report to the mid-December deadline for accepting contributions before the 2003 legislative session. He also filed a mandatory 2003 July Semi-Annual Report, 3 Special Session Reports, and the 2004 January Semi-Annual Report.
That's a total of 10 other reports filed over a year's time before he finally corrected his TRMPAC donation on Febuary 19, 2004 for the October 28, 2002 filing. For all of Baxter's other corrected reports in his political history, the longest it's taken to correct is six days.
That's a lot of time to notice a missing TRMPAC contribution (page 29) especially when the other TRMPAC contributions were around the same time...
October 1, 2002 TRMPAC 'in-kind' $2,373.00
October 3, 2002 TRMPAC 'missing donation' $5,000
October 4, 2002 TRMPAC 'reported donation' $10,000
October 18, 2002 TRMPAC 'reported donation' $1,000
The October 1, 4, and 18 donations can be found on page 29 of either report, right under the October 1, 2002 donation from Texans for Lawsuit Reform for $25,000. Funny how that's that same as one of the TRMPAC dates, though pages 28-31 are full of PAC donations from various dates.
He's normally on top of his game, and does all filing electronically. So I find it out of the ordinary for him personally, and for representatives in general.
So did Baxter Lie? Is the following report from Rational Rantings true?
It was not until February of 2004, after the TRMPAC scandal had been in the news for many months and grand jury investigations had gotten underway, that Baxter quietly filed a revised campaign ethics report with the TEC, including the TRMPAC donation which had been missing from his original report. Obviously, had he tried to keep it under wraps altogether, he would almost certainly have been indicted as soon as the false report had been discovered by the investigation.
As it was, the Texas Ethics Commission took up the matter in its May 7 meeting. According to the minutes of the meeting, the recommended fine was $10,000, but without explanation the fine was reduced to a mere $300. Why Baxter received a slap on the wrist (#30 about 3/4 of the way down, there was 1 dissenting vote from Commissioner Davenport) for what was clearly a very serious violation is not known, but then the Texas Ethics Commission has never been particularly aggressive on such matters.
We Report. You Decide. Vote Kelly White starting next Monday at early voting locations across Travis County.
Last year students voted to allocate $2 per semester in student fees towards statues for Barbara Jordan and Cesar Chavez on campus. Since almost all of our statues are White men, and since Confederate generals are severely overrepresented, while women, Blacks and Hispanics are severely underrepresented, supporting this was pretty much a no-brainer since the cost per student was minimal. UT's Office of Public Affairs issued a press release today on the plans for the statues:
University officials Wednesday (Oct. 13) announced the sites of new campus statues of two nationally recognized champions of civil rights—the late U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan, the first African American woman from the South to serve in the U.S. Congress, and the late Cesar Chavez, a civil rights and labor leader who became a force for social change.
The statues will be the first on campus honoring the contributions to society by a woman and by a Latino.
The Chavez statue will be placed at the south end of the West Mall, across from the Undergraduate Library. The Jordan statue will be near the Battle Oaks at 24th and Whitis streets.
Each statue will cost about $400,000. Artists interested in recreating the historical figures should submit their qualifications by Nov. 15. Finalists for each statue will be announced this spring.
The only other prominently displayed statue of an ethnic minority on campus is the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, which was unveiled on the East Mall in 1999.
President Bush just can’t get away from that pesky little Iraq problem. The NY Times reported today that:
In a brazen attack that punctured any illusions of a safe haven in the capital, 10 people, including four Americans, were killed today when two separate explosions were set off inside the heavily controlled Green Zone in central Baghdad.
The four Americans were civilians working as security officials and the other six were Iraqis, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in Washington. Two Americans were also seriously wounded and several other embassy employees were also injured.
While it was not the first attack in the Green Zone, it was one of the worst, and raised questions about the military's ability to maintain the security necessary to carry out its work of bringing peace to Iraq.
Mr. Boucher said officials were still trying to sort out what happened while security officials sweep the compound for more explosives.
"We all know that the work of reconstruction in Iraq is dangerous, that there are some very nasty people who have no respect for human right — human life, no respect for the Iraqi people, no respect for the efforts that we're all making to help the Iraqi people, who are out to attack us and the Iraqis and others," Mr. Boucher said.
But, he added: "It's premature to start speculating about what kind of changes might be necessary, whether they're major or minor."
Even though Richard Boucher and the State Department think it’s too early to start “speculating” about whether we need to change our tactics in Iraq, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that maybe (just maybe) there is a little room for some good-natured speculation…
Since President Bush declared and end to hostilities in Iraq last May (looking very strapping in a well fitted flight suit I might add) violence in Iraq has spiraled out of control. Not only have militants been able to inflict heavy casualties on American soldiers, they have also succeeded in bringing reconstruction efforts to a virtual standstill. Though democratic elections are scheduled for January, it is highly unlikely that they will occur.
I do not see how the President can claim that Iraq is free and safe when insurgents are able to make devastating attacks on targets in the heart of Baghdad. Though Bush can talk a good game when it comes to defense, it seems like he’s having a hard time acting on it.
I'm glad to see that my arch- cyber-nemesis, Adam Yoshida, who is truly the cutting-edge of right-wing insanity (trust me, I mean this in the most complimentary way possible), has gotten linkage from Michelle Malkin.
Honestly, how many of the 101st Fighting Keyboards have the honesty and integrity to just come out and say this?
I lay out this record not as a political case against John Kerry but to argue that, by traditional standards, he has a history of disloyalty. I point it out not to question his credentials, but rather his patriotism.
See, unlike most reactionaries and Bush-backers, Yoshi is not some kind of cowering, smirking weenie.
I think I can say that I feel as proud of Adam as the KGB would have, had they learned that the CIA employees got themselves a Starbucks cart at Langley.
"High five, comrade, high five!"
Or at least that's how I think the KGB would have felt. You know, from my vast knowledge of the KGB derived from Tom Clancy novels and made-for-television movies.
Rick "man-on-dog" Santorum has a friend with the Young Conservatives of Texas UT-Chapter (it's not yet up on their site). Here's a portion of their press release regarding gay pride week:
Calling gay activists to task on moral grounds, Chairman Conner made the following argument, "Using the logic of the gay activist, we can assume that there should be no societal norms and that morality should be at the discretion of the individual. Now assuming that each of these gays was born from the reproductive act of a male and a female, ostensibly known as a mother and father, we can conclude that they would support any decision of either to make their own moral judgment on an issue such as adultery. So if one parent wants adultery to be their chosen life style, claiming they can't help themselves, and the other doesn't, which will they support? Judging by their logic, the gay activist would have to agree with the rights of both parents to choose the life style that they see fit. If not, who is the gay child to make this moral judgment? How about polygamy? Incest? These aren't anything more than moral judgments. What if people who commit these crimes claim to have genetic tendencies toward each of these acts? Do these acts then become morally acceptable? Again, the gay activist would have to agree."
YCT also rejects claims made by the gay community that same-sex attraction has been proven to be a genetic disorder. In fact the opposite has been proven. Same-sex attraction is a treatable and preventable developmental disorder, and those suffering from this affliction have the ability to change.
The first paragraph simply makes no logical sense. It's the slippery slope argument that homosexuality leads to adultery that leads to polygamy that leads to incest that leads to man-on-dog at least in worldview of YCT and Rick Santorum.
The second paragraph is flat out untrue. Basically every major respectable psychiatric, psychological and pediatric organization in the nation has said that homosexuality is not a genetic disorder.
Time for YCT to do some research before writing another press release.
Todd Baxter lied to the Texas Ethics Commission. Rational Rantings has the story:
In October of 2002, Baxter was locked in a close race with Democratic Representative Ann Kitchen in his bid to win the District 48 seat. That month, the Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) began funnelling money into Baxter's campaign. This money was probably decisive in pushing Baxter over the top, and he won the election by a hair.
In October of 2002, Baxter received four contributions from TRMPAC. However, he apparently tried to conceal one of them, because the campaign ethics report his campaign filed with the Texas Ethics Commission only lists three TRMPAC contributions. The other contribution, which totaled $5,000, was simply left out.
Simply put: Baxter lied about how much money he received from TRMPAC.
The full story, links included at Rational Rantings. Pay Kelly White a visit while you're at it.
When Atrios calls Bush a retard, this, apparently, is an insult to the mentally-challenged.
Who am I to disagree?
UPDATE: Greg Wythe is, as usual, more interested in making legitimate debating points than in making cheap shots. I guess that's one thing we just don't have in common.
The latest on the ads in this race here.
Yesterday, Sessions and Frost visited Richardson High School, and Sessions showed that he is completely out of touch with the concerns of young people:
They listened intently to U.S. Reps. Pete Sessions and Martin Frost and questioned them without fear.
In the end, a cross-section of the dozens of Richardson High School seniors who attended a question-and-answer forum with the 32nd Congressional District campaign opponents gave Mr. Frost high marks for addressing the issues concerning them most.
It seemed Mr. Sessions, several students explained, just didn't know how to communicate with 17- and 18-year-old prospective voters.
"He wasn't talking to us; he was talking to the television cameras," Mandi Raz, 17, said of Mr. Sessions. She said she supported Mr. Sessions before Wednesday's forum at the high school. Ms. Raz, who says her chief election-year concerns are financing college and job outsourcing, is now leaning Mr. Frost's way.
The students' major concerns, based on interviews with 15 students representing various economic and ethnic backgrounds, centered on terrorism, college tuition assistance and environmental protection. A majority of the students, some of whom will vote for the first time in November, also cited the reconstitution of a national military draft as one of their primary election-year fears.
Jackie Garza, 17, said she plans to enlist in the Marine Corps next year.
"But I don't feel you should go to war if you don't want to," she said.
Tim Williams, a 17-year-old prospective Air Force recruit, agreed.
Both students said Mr. Frost explained, to their satisfaction, that he'd fight in Congress against a compulsory draft. Mr. Sessions wasn't as convincing, they added.
Smart kids. Seriously, there's three major issues for young people this election. The draft and the war in Iraq, affordable tuitions and opportunities for college, and jobs, jobs, jobs.
Republicans are wrong on all three. When Tim Ryan blasted the Bush administration on the draft, he made a lot of sense. How can we trust the Bush administration not to reinstate a draft when they've essentially begun a backdoor draft through our national guard and reservists - extending tours of duty by six and twelve months?
Here in Texas, Republicans have raised our tuition rates by about 30%, balancing the budget on the backs of students and middle class families. That's a huge issue for young people.
Finally, the Bush adminstration has lost jobs - the first administration to do so since Herbert Hoover. Young people in high school and college are concerned that there won't be well-paying jobs available to use when we graduate, and Republicans have done nothing about it.
Finally, Pete Sessions decided to stress one issue in particular that's a total nonstarter with young people - a national sales tax:
Mr. Frost argued against a federal sales tax that he accused Mr. Sessions of supporting.
"You wouldn't pay $20,000 for a car; you'd pay $26,000," Mr. Frost said.
Young people don't make much money, so we don't pay much income tax. But a national sales tax would hit our pocketbook every time we go to the store. Anyway, there's no surprise that Sessions didn't want to debate.
Too bad. I was very impressed with the way that Dick Cheney thanked John Edwards for the kind words about his daughter, but his wife obviously doesn't feel the same way. Apparently, Kerry is a "bad man" for mentioning that Mary Cheney is who she is, and John Kerry supports her, while Mary Cheney's mother obviously feels uncomfortable:
Lynne V. Cheney, wife of Vice President Cheney, accused John F. Kerry on Wednesday night of "a cheap and tawdry political trick" and said he "is not a good man" after he brought up their daughter's homosexuality at the final presidential debate.
Mary Cheney, one of the vice president's two daughters and an official of the Bush-Cheney campaign, has been open about her lesbian status. The candidates were asked if they believe homosexuality is a choice, and President Bush did not mention Mary Cheney. Then Kerry said, "If you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."
Lynne Cheney issued her post-debate rebuke to a cheering crowd outside Pittsburgh. "The only thing I can conclude is he is not a good man. I'm speaking as a mom," she said. "What a cheap and tawdry political trick."
Glad that was cleared up.
Via Political Wire.
Update: Elizabeth Edwards shares my thoughts:
ELIZABETH EDWARDS ACCUSES LYNNE CHENEY OF "SHAME" OF HER DAUGHTER: "She's overreacted to this and treated it as if it's shameful to have this discussion. I think that's a very sad state of affairs… I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences… It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response."
MyDD reminds us that Mary Cheney was the only member of the Cheney family absent from the stage after Daddy's big speech at the GOP convention.
Andrew Sullivan also notes that the right wing is in a tizzy over all of it:
All Kerry did was invoke the veep's daughter to point out that obviously homosexuality isn't a choice, in any meaningful sense. The only way you can believe that citing Mary Cheney amounts to "victimization" is if you believe someone's sexual orientation is something shameful. Well, it isn't. What's revealing is that this truly does expose the homophobia of so many - even in the mildest "we'll-tolerate-you-but-shut-up-and-don't-complain" form. Mickey Kaus, for his part, cannot see any reason for Kerry to mention Mary except as some Machiavellian scheme to pander to bigots. Again: huh? Couldn't it just be that Kerry thinks of gay people as human beings like straight people - and mentioning their lives is not something we should shrink from? Isn't that the simplest interpretation? In many speeches on marriage rights, I cite Mary Cheney. Why? Because it exposes the rank hypocrisy of people like president Bush and Dick and Lynne Cheney who don't believe gays are anti-family demons but want to win the votes of people who do. I'm not outing any gay person. I'm outing the double standards of straight ones. They've had it every which way for decades, when gay people were invisible. Now they have to choose.
Right on. Boi From Troy still echoes the tired old this-is-a-cynical-Machiavellian-ploy line that the right wing is jumping on. But then he goes on:
It seems consistent with the Democratic ticket's refusal to publicly support substantive gay rights during the debates.
Huh? John Kerry has a 100% ranking from the HRC and has a very public GLBT civil rights platform on his website. But I guess that's not public or substantive enough for Boi From Troy. Personally, I found Kerry to be both last night:
But I also believe that because we are the United States of America, we're a country with a great, unbelievable Constitution, with rights that we afford people, that you can't discriminate in the workplace. You can't discriminate in the rights that you afford people.
You can't disallow someone the right to visit their partner in a hospital. You have to allow people to transfer property, which is why I'm for partnership rights and so forth.
Now, with respect to DOMA and the marriage laws, the states have always been able to manage those laws. And they're proving today, every state, that they can manage them adequately.
Having mentioned HRC, they have some statements out today:
On the debate last night:
“President Bush has been promoting discrimination and using a constitutional amendment as his weapon. You can’t respect and discriminate at the same time. President Bush put politics ahead of the science that being gay is not a choice. Senator Kerry made clear that gay Americans should have the basic rights, responsibilities and protections that all American families have. Senator Kerry made clear that it is wrong that in most states it is legal to fire the star employee simply because of who they are.”
On Lynne Cheney's remarks:
“President Bush missed one more chance to denounce discrimination last night so it is bewildering that Lynne Cheney instead attacked Senator Kerry.
“Senator Kerry made clear that gay Americans should have the same basic rights, responsibilities and protections as every other American.
“Vice President Cheney first discussed his own daughter in the context of this issue two months ago and it is not surprising that Senator Kerry mentioned her experience as emblematic of millions of gay Americans.
“Senator Kerry was speaking to millions of American families who have hard-working, tax-paying gay friends and family members.”
So very much better, now. My eyes were getting sore, and besides we're BOR-ers, not crimson and creamers - that just doesn't sound right on multiple levels.
Although, if you must see crimson, I still have the crimson template up - just in case I'm stupid enough to make a bet with an Oklahoman next year.
This debate, I decided to forego any attempt at journalistic objectivity and instead focused on leaving no beer bottle left behind. By about the third bottle, somewhere in the last 15 minutes of the debate, President Bush was making perfect sense. Too bad I didn't figure this out four years ago.
But as I've had the opportunity to get un-buzzed as well as get over the Astros losing the NLCS opener, I have been amazed at the media coverage of Bush's "I'm not really concerned about Osama" gaffe.
Not only has the President destroyed any last shred of credibility he may have had, he has (well, presuming that the news channels reshow it about 640 times (yeeeeeeeeeeeeargh!)) single-handedly proven Kerry's entire point about Iraq being a diversion.
Be still my beating heart.
Even the GOP skewed ones...
Every poll so far:
KERRY WINS CBS POLL 39% - 25!!! [CBS, 10/13/04, 10:51pm]
KERRY WINS CNN’S FOCUS GROUP 10 – 7!!! [CNN, 10/13/04, 10:46pm]
KERRY WINS ABC REPUBLICAN HEAVY POLL: Of the 566 People Polled (38% Were Republican, 30% Democrat, 28% Independent) Kerry Won 42%-41%. [ABC, 10/13/04, 10:50pm]
I wasn't sure how the instant polls would break down on this one, but I'm quite happy that this is shaping up to be a third Kerry victory, and a second blowout Kerry win. I thought Bush looked better at first, but about halfway through the debate, Kerry found his stride with solid, thoughtful answers in the second half of the debate. His answers really hit the mark in my opinion on issues like gun control, the minimum wage, GLBT issues (will the false bravado of a few gay Republican bloggers continue?) and especially the last two segments - the one about his family (the marrying up joke was great - even if it wasn't intended, Kerry proved he could laugh at himself a little bit. Also, the mammathon should be a winner with women) and the closing statement helped to reassure voters that still have doubts about Kerry on national security.
I left the television for an hour after the debate, so I'm not sure how the pundit class called it, but Political Wire calls it for Kerry as well.
Television.... check. Internet access... check. Jim ready to liveblog with me ... check Time for Kerry to go three for three... sounds good to me.
Byron L. in regular font, Jim D. in italics.
9:36: FOX News is calling Bush out on the Bush / Osama gaffe... sorta.
9:35: CNN's Carlos Watson: Kerry won.
9:30: Overall, I think tonight was Bush's best performance. He wasn't too wound up, or too peeved. Still, I wouldn't call it a Bush victory. I think the media will filter through all the facts/myths, and many of the things that Bush said won't pass the smell test.
9:30: That's the second time. What the heck are the "armies of compassion"? Does Bush want our army to be more compassionate? That sounds a lot like fighting a more sensitive war on terrorism to me.
9:29: I think Kerry has done a good job of showing to us his principles tonight.
9:27: GOD DAMNIT. Cards up 6-4.
9:26: The DailyKOS IRCers say Kerry is playing the Mom card
9:23: Bush: No sucka, John McCain is my bitch!
9:16: Little girls? Little Girls!?!? Who does Bush think he is... John Edwards?
9:11: Good way of framing the gun issue for Kerry. It's a no-win issue for him, but he framed it just about as best he could, especially by hitting at the law enforcement angle.
9:09: The first Gulf war. Smart for Bush to remind folks about that even though this debate seems to continually gravitate towards foreign policy.
9:07: What boggles me is that Bush seems to vacillate between angry and humbled. It's like he's being smacked around.
9:00: Do you oppose Roe v. Wade? No answer.
[The first hour is in the extended entry.]
8:59: That was the best two minutes for Kerry for the night. Bush just has no creditability on issues like jobs and a minimum wage. On both issues, Bush changed the subject to education within seconds.
8:58: KILL KERRY! KILL KILL KILL! Attack the House Republicans! YES! YES! YES!
8:56: Video Proof: Bin-Laden doesn't concern Bush.
8:53: Maybe the immigrants can practice their love on women.
8:52: It'll be fun to fact check that after the debate (Bush's response on the second Social Security question).
8:46: The cost of doing nothing? You mean the cost of not stopping the raiding of social security by the Republican congress?
8:45: Astros 4-2 end of 4th inning
8:42: Bush is going on his paranoid anti-commie rant.
8:41: Bush says just don't trust any news networks anymore? Ok, that might play with the conservative base, but I think beyond that it falls flat.
8:38: Smacked DOWN
8:37: Kerry has got his groove back
8:35: Buggy and horse?
8:34: HAHAH Bush just cowered before Kerry.
8:30: Good to see Kerry go on the record saying that homosexuality is something that is decided at birth, and on the record for various benefits for gay and lesbian couples, although it would have been nice to see a follow-up on what he meant specifically by that.
8:29: YOU ARE CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION TO DENY PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO MARRIAGE, Mr. BUSH! SHUT YOUR FUCKING PIEHOLE! Kerry seems a lot more sincere in answering this question.
8:28: ASTROS UP 4-2! Go Astros!
8:25: Shocker on this one: "Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts".
8:21: Whooooow! My brain cells just can't function that fast!
8:21: Tony Soprano - Now that was a good line, JFK
8:18: OK, I'll be fair. Bush is going into his canned "liberal liberal liberal!" attack
8:17: Wow. We hear "Massachusetts" and "tax gap" at the same time. I guess Bush forgot about that timber company that he owns again.
8:15: I'm inclined to agree. Kerry's trying to get every zinger into the first thirty minutes. It almost seems like what Bush did in the first debate.
8:14: Kerry's off key, he's throwing in irrelevant attacks instead of answering question.
8:12: Now George Bush should know something about bait and switch.
8:11: Kerry personalizes it. Those kids in Arizona, and oh yeah, two other random states, Ohio and Wisconsin.
8:11: Blame the lawyers
8:10: 1) Bush feels our pain, he didn't get a flu shot. 2) Flu vaccines are tied to tort reform? Huh?
8:09: Bush is lying already WTF is Bush talking about?
8:08: Ex-a-ger-a-tions? It'll be easy to bring up some "Al-Qaeda is not the priority" quotes
Pandagon has it now:
BUSH: "And [Osama Bin Laden is] just – he’s a person who has now been marginalized. His network is -- his host government has been destroyed. He’s the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match…So I don’t know where he is. Nor -- you know, I just don’t spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you. I…I truly am not that concerned about him."
[Bush Remarks, 3/13/02]
8:07: Nuisance. That was quick.
8:04: Both are wearing red ties! Fashion faux pas!
7:57: Also liveblogging, Swanky Conservative, Vodka Pundit, Washington Monthly and Pandagon.
Here's a foreign policy story if Zach wants to take a dive at a good one that's in the international headlines today:
Germany might deploy troops in Iraq if conditions there change, Peter Struck, the German defence minister, indicated on Tuesday in a gesture that appears to provide backing for John Kerry, the US Democratic presidential challenger.
Via Political Wire.
The latest from BlogPAC, and it attacks Tom Coburn.
Happy B-Day Karl-T. and welcome to Zach N. (my best friend and now a fellow blogger)! My birthday is tomorrow and as it is my 21st, I will begin legally drinking at midnight tonight. Those who know me are invited to join me on 6th- just give me a call.
But on the fun side of things, Bill O'Reilly is being sued for sexual harrassment. Now, I have been frivolously charged with sexual harrassment before and as a result I am pretty skeptical about these things. But some of the quotes from this case really sound like verbatim recordings and as a result I'm wondering what kind of evidence exists. Could O'Reilly's invitations to menages a trois and offers to instruct ladies in the techniques of vibrators bring him down? One can only hope.
Best allegation: O'Reilly was traveling to Italy to meet the POPE with his pregnant wife staying at home and he regaled the plaintiff and her friend with hopes that he would be able to hook up with "hot Italian women." That's right, he was hoping to use his audience with the Holy See as an opportunity to cheat on his wife.
Let's bring this dirtbag down.
Update Read this section with its detailed monologue. No way this is made up, IMHO. This is recorded and when O'Reilly's famous voice is heard on CNN discussing kissing his producer's "spectacular boobs," it'll be all over.
Mark that two days in a row where the Dallas Morning News put their GOP cheerleading on hold - today endorsing Democrat Lupe Valdez for Dallas County Sheriff:
Republican Danny Chandler and Democrat Lupe Valdez both have a passion for the job, impressive law enforcement backgrounds, a commitment to restore integrity to a department rocked by scandal, and experience in management and leadership roles.
Key distinction: One has spent much of his career working in the ranks of the organization he now wants to lead, and the other has spent her career working at the state and federal level and would come to this job as an outsider.
We give the nod to the outsider, Ms. Valdez. Just as another outsider – Police Chief David Kunkle – seems to be doing a fine job of leading the Dallas Police Department, the sheriff's office could benefit from being led by someone with a clean slate. This organization needs to be shaken up, as the last year of turmoil makes clear. The best way to do that is with fresh blood, fresh instincts and fresh ideas.
Ms. Valdez, 56, is a retired federal agent with the U.S. Customs Service, a former corrections officer and a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves. She is well equipped to handle the challenges of being sheriff. Bilingual and armed with a master's degree in criminology and criminal justice from UT Arlington, Ms. Valdez has the added benefit of coming to the post without pre-existing relationships, expectations, loyalties or grudges.
Damn right, the Dallas Sheriff's office needs an outsider. Anyone that's followed what's happened there over the past few years knows that. Read more about Lupe Valdez on her website.
Current tally DMN endorsement tally:
I'm not really in the mood for DeLay analysis today, but here's the latest:
DeLay Backers Threaten Hefley [Taking on Tom DeLay]
Yard signs in Sugar Land:
At Republican Headquarters, the big demand is for Bush-Cheney signs. This is longtime Tom DeLay turf and by their count, 600 DeLay signs have headed out.
Oh, and according to the Morrison campaign, they've handed out 6000 yard signs. Don't look back, Tom - someone is gaining on you.- [Off the Kuff]
Trash DeLay [The Stakeholder]
Brandon Douglass: Less Verbiage in DeLay Rebuke? [The Stakeholder]
Good new ads by Martin Frost. They're hard hitting, and use the images of 9/11, but they're justified. When Congress voted for reinforcing cockpit doors, putting air marshalls on our airplanes, toughening security in our airports and ensuring that our baggage screeners are top-notch professionals, Pete Sessions voted no. These weren't controversial issues then, nor are they today. Both then, and now, they were common sense security measures aimed at making America safer, and protecting us from another terrorist strike. Martin Frost voted yes, Pete Sessions voted no.
Check out the ads:
Air Safety. (MOV file)
Too Tight? (MOV file)
Who Has? (MOV file)
Also, Frost has an 26 Years of experience ad (WMV file) that I had not seen before.
Yeah, the ads are a bit (ok, very) nasty, and some might say they're a sign of desperation, but remember that it was Pete Sessions who ran a hardcore-nasty (no pun intended in light of the recent news) negative radio ad entitled Frost-Caught accusing Frost of commingling with child molesters. Sessions' response ad doesn't defend his record, its just some red meat union-bashing to the Republican base (yeah, and there's the "I'm Rudy Giuliani, and I'll lie and tell you that Pete Sessions is a leader on homeland security, if he'll lie and vouch for me as a genuine conservative when I run in the 2008 GOP Presidential primaries" ad, which beyond the obvious fluff and cynicism that I see, might prove to be effective in the district. But, another thing to keep in mind is that people remember and are effected by negative ads, and much less so by positive ones, so whether the Giuliani ad proves effective is still up in the air).
Anyway, Texas politics definitely isn't for the squemish. So, wander over to MartinFrost.com or the DCCC to help our guys win twenty days from now.
Update: I've added the Frost Press Release for these ads in the extended entry.
The first ad titled, “26 Years” highlights Congressman Frost’s bipartisan leadership, emphasizing his success in taking on tough jobs that have helped improve the quality of life here in Dallas. Martin led the fight to create DART, and was the only local leader with the ability and stature to bring both labor and management together and save American Airlines from bankruptcy, protecting over 20,000 jobs. Congressman Frost’s bipartisan leadership contrasts dramatically with Sessions’ opposition to DART and his lack of a single successful job creation project over his eight years in Congress.
Our second ad this week reinforces the advertisement we aired last week highlighting Sessions’ vote against President Bush’s major air safety plan to fight terrorism. 510 Members of Congress voted to support the anti-terrorism plan, while Sessions joined a band of only nine dangerously out of touch Members who voted “no”. What’s more, the ad shows Sessions himself explaining his vote by saying security at our airports is “too tight” because people like “even Senator Ted Kennedy” might be delayed.
“Stronger vs Weaker Homeland Security”
Virtually every American knows that everything changed on September 11, 2001…. but not Pete Sessions. While Republicans, Democrats and Independents came together to fight terrorism and protect America, Pete Sessions continued following an overtly partisan and dangerous ideology that puts raw politics ahead of American security. It’s an attitude President Bush has described as a “September 10th mentality.” Throughout his career, Congressman Frost has been willing to stand up to the leaders of either party in order to make sure that our Nation’s defenses remain the strongest in the World and that the safety of those he represents comes before any partisan or ideological pursuits. Sessions' voting record and his own words demonstrate clearly that he can’t be trusted to keep America safe.
Informed Decision-Clear Choice
Congressman Frost has a deep trust in the wisdom of informed voters. We believe you will find these advertisements helpful as you begin to decide your vote for Congress. Please share this information with your friends and family because, when the record of both candidates is fully and fairly reviewed, the choice for Congressman Frost is clear.
First, everyone be sure to welcome Zach Neumann to BOR. He's been a friend of mine and Andrew's at UT for two years now, and also used to be a University Democrats officer, and is currently a junior at UT. Zach emailed me on Monday, and said that he loved BOR, but wanted a larger focus on international issues and offered to fill that void. I said sure, and added him on. His first post isn't on foreign policy, but expect most of his posts to be on that topic. As for adding contributors to BOR, I really don't have a policy. I've been told multiple times by many of our readers that our biggest weakness in terms of content is that there are no female bloggers on BOR. I agree. I added Andrea in March, but she posted just once, and that was it. Andrea's a good writer, but she was busy with an internship, a job and school, and well, there's only 24 hours in the day. Still, I know a lot of BOR readers would like to see a regular female voice here, so if you, or anyone you know is interested, email me at: Byron AT BurntOrangeReport.com - and yeah, this isn't a "no more boys allowed" thing. Anyone that's interested is welcome to email me - basically the only major requirements are that you're a Longhorn and a Democrat (or progressive independent-minded, you-get-the-idea).
Second, happy birthday to Karl-Thomas. I've never had a really sucky birthday, cuz, well, my birthday is in July, so there's no school to worry about. But I do know how Karl-Thomas feels. Two years ago when I was president of the University Democrats among other activities, there were times where I thought I was about to have a mental breakdown. But, I've since learned (I hope) not to try and do too much, not to fall too far behind in classes, and to make time for things besides school and activism. Karl-Thomas is doing a heck of a lot of work between being a UD officer being co-chair of the GLBTAAA, classes (and of course, blogging), so wish him the best.
As for myself, I had a midterm yesterday (30% of my Latin American Revolutions grade), another midterm today (20% of my Human Sexuality grade) along with a paper (20% of my History of Science grade), so it's nice to finally have all that behind me, although I'll admit Karl-Thomas has me beat. I figure I've gotten about 13 or 14 hours of sleep in the past three nights combined (he's had seven).
Anyway, after an afternoon nap I'll plan on liveblogging the debate tonight assuming that I can find a place where I can watch it with a working television and working computer in the same room (I misplaced my cell phone over the weekend, and my computer that I'm having perpetual problems with decided to quit working entirely on Monday, so this is a more difficult task that it might otherwise sound - fortunately, the rest of my week is relatively free and painless, so ensuring that I have a working computer and working cell phone by the end of the week are my top priorities).
I'm turning 20. As of 11:52 p.m. tonight. The day isn't over yet but I think it's going to be the worst birthday I've ever had.
I have a research paper worth 35% of my grade due in an hour that isn't written. I have a social work paper due tomorrow and an update on the progress of my project, which is really nothing to report. And the social work paper I didn't do last week. And my german oral exams got moved up to tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. And I have pulled two all nighters in the last three days for a total of 7 hours of sleep in the last 72.
I recently signed on as a BOR contributor to write about International issues, but it seems my first post is going to be a bit closer to home. This morning, The Daily Texan reported that the Longhorn Hellraisers were in hot water with the Multicultural Information Center for a “Cowboys and Indians” party they threw over the weekend. Nolene Clark writes that:
“According to Nathan Heinsohn, co-director of the MIC agency Longhorn American Indian Council, the MIC plans to file a formal complaint with the Office of the Dean of Students, who would then handle any investigation in accordance with the University's nondiscrimination policy.
"If they're sanctioned, we want there to be an educational part to this," Heinsohn said. "Of course, the organization should be reprimanded for their actions, but they could be told they were wrong without understanding it. We would like them to go through some sort of training."
The MIC did not, however, inform the Hellraisers of their intentions to file a complaint.
"If they want us to take a class or undergo training about diversity, we'll go," Deitering said. "We want to show that we had no intentions of being derogatory towards Native Americans. All these people needed to do was to come and talk to us, and we could have avoided all this."
Deitering said his group has made an active effort to become diverse through the recruitment and respect of underrepresented groups. For the Hellraisers "to be sanctioned because one person was offended is ridiculous," he said.
But Heinsohn said this is exactly what the MIC is supposed to do.
"The whole point of this center is for everyone to feel that their voice is equal, that they can say what they need to say and have it be taken seriously," Heinsohn said.
The Hellraisers believe this is one complaint that shouldn't be taken seriously.
"I don't see how every voice can be equal," Deitering said, "when all it takes is one voice to tarnish our reputation."
Though I am disappointed that the Hellraisers would be audacious enough to actually throw a “Cowboys and Indians” party, I am more troubled by the fact that the Multicultural Information Center is trying to have the Hellraisers censured by the Administration. It seems that the MIC fancies itself something of a racial thought police, attacking groups that behave in a manner inconsistent with its social and political sensibilities.
Unfortunately, it is very likely that the Office of the Dean of Students is going to back the MIC up on this one. A recent (and little known) addition to the speech policy here on campus forbids organizations that are registered with the Office of Campus and Community Involvement from engaging in expression that offends various ethnic and gender groups. If the Hellraisers are going to go down because they offended the Native American population with an ill conceived party, I can’t help but wonder how free we really are to express ourselves here on the 40 acres.
[Update: Byron, here. I just put the link and blockquotes into the post. The content has not been changed.]
While I don't necessarily agree with the conclusion about Bush's mental state, this video does make me wistful and nostalgic for the days when President Bush was our governor.
From an instant messenger conversation just now:
Jim D: Can I ask you a question?
JD: Well... I'm just checkin' here since I had a rather weird dream. But the End Times haven't happened yet, have they?
Friend: I guess it all depends on one's definition of "End Times" :p
JD: Heh ok
JD: Well, I had this dream where Jesus comes back and pretty much everybody gets decided upon pretty quickly. It's really wonderful. No long lines or nothing.
JD: So anyhow I'm at the back of the line
JD: And some other person, who i couldn't identify
JD: And so of course we get there to be a judged eternally by Jesus. And He can't make up his mind.
Friend: That's strange. I think I had a dream kinda like that once.
JD: So I'm like: Whoa, Jesus, I respect You and all, You being my Lord and Savior Who fills my heart with joy. But isn't it obvious! Split the time between heaven and hell! If that's what I got to do to bask in your magnificence, I'll do it!
JD: I love you, Lord, but You're kind of being a putz right now! Was kind of the effect of my outbust.
JD: So anyhow after this I wake up
JD: And as far as I can tell this isn't hell. This is Houston.
JD: So maybe this is some kind of karmic lesson. It's a mystery inside of a riddle inside of an enigma.
JD: OK, thank you for confirming this for me.
Friend: I always kinda imagined Houston to be like hell. : )
JD: Yeah but we have the Astros
Friend: lol, ok, maybe purgatory : )
JD: Hehe, maybe an eternity in Houston would be splitting the difference. :-D
Friend: that would be funny if purgatory was kinda like being enslaved, but all your sports team kicked ass!
From a DKos Diary Entry (reccomend this one- it is good), Arlen Specter's once inpenetrable lead is slowly deflating as more people learn who Joe Hoeffel is and as conservatives bolt the party. Quoting an unlinked article from the Harrisburg Patriot News:
Specter says Hoeffel supporters pulled what he believes is a "dirty trick" by helping Jim Clymer, a Lancaster County conservative attorney - who opposes Specter, abortion and gun control, in that order - to get on the ballot. (...)
But for Specter, Clymer might be one opponent too many. Specter has watched his numbers fall from the safe, just-over-50-percent range, to the more tenuous, 45-46-point range, as Clymer rose from 2 percentage points months ago, to 7 points among likely voters in the Keystone Poll last week.
That poll shows Specter leading Hoeffel, 44 percent to 35 percent, among likely voters, 46-32 among registered ones.
But it also shows Hoeffel getting the support of only half of self-described Democrats, and shows half of the voters haven't heard of Hoeffel. So he has a lot to do, but also a lot of relatively easy ground to gain. As the Democratic nominee, Hoeffel figures to get, at minimum, 42 to 44 percent on Election Day.
So, do the math: If Clymer gets the 7 percent he is polling and Libertarian Betsy Summers gets 1 to 2 percent, as Libertarians can get statewide, that leaves 91 percent to be split between Specter and Hoeffel. That means you don't need 50 percent to win, just 45.6 percent.
If the Pat Toomey crowd boosts the conservative Clymer up near 10 percent - his political mentor, Peg Luksik, reached double figures twice when both major parties nominated abortion-rights supporters, like Hoeffel and Specter are -"Arlen is in a lot of trouble, very vulnerable at that point," said Sen. Vince Fumo, D-Philadelphia, a longtime quiet Specter ally.
That's right, the Constitution Party candidate and the Libertarian might soak off enough Right wing votes from the moderate Specter to allow the disappointing Hoeffel campaign to actually eek out a victory. Pat Toomey has repeatedly endorsed Specter, but most of his supporters simply aren't having it.
This is a great strategy and we really need to start promoting this where available. I was hoping for Aaron Russo, a charismatic, wealthy Hollywood producer to pick up the Libertarian nominationa as he would have been a formidible threat to Bush. Instead Michael Badnarik- who I met last week, incidently (he has lots of nose hair)- a nutjob got the nomination. Still, Dems should look into spending a few hundred bucks in swing precincts for every kind of race to put out some cheap Libertarian fliers. If we can split conservatives- social versus business, statist theocrats versus libertarian types- we can break the party in half and have a period of Democratic dominance.
Keep an eye on PA, it might just give us some ideas for the future.
Attn: Republican Crooks
Re: Kerry Smear
The gig is up, guys.
A poem, by Jim D.
Violets are blue,
Gumbo is stew,
CAP gets into the action, too.
Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?
According to today's Statesman:
Conventional wisdom in Washington has also smiled upon Edwards, giving the Waco Democrat the best odds of spoiling the Republicans' redistricting party.
The charismatic Edwards has more money, experience and cross-party support than his opponent. He has an energized campaign and a challenger with exploitable weaknesses.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see anything happen," said Amy Walter, the expert on House races for the Cook Political Report, which analyzes and handicaps elections.
Like other members of the Texas Five — as the five endangered Democratic incumbents have become known — Edwards is offering tougher-than-expected resistance to Republican mapmakers, Walter said.
I agree. I think Edwards is a very slight favorite in the race, whereas all of the other redistricting-forced races are either toss-ups or favor the Republican.
Give to Chet.
Update: Also in Texas congressional news today, C-SPAN will air the live debate between Stenholm and Neugebauer in TX-19 race created by a redistricting pairing at 8 PM EST, 7 PM CST.
Good stuff over at The Bonassus. First, Daniel mentions the tourism brochures promoting cow manure tossing, which I mentioned last week as well. Bonassus also informs us that Jesse Helms has been reincarnated, and he's resurfaced in Oklahoma:
Now from the ridiculous to the absolutely appalling: while the state government was busy living up to stereotypes of public sector incompetence and Oklahoman yokeldom, the national Republican Party was finding ways to pander to the racists they bank on for electoral support. The NRSC has produced a new ad attacking Oklahoma's Democratic candidate for Senator, Rep. Brad Carson, for his stance on immigration policy. The ad bears more than a passing resemblance to the infamous "White Hands" Jesse Helms ad from 1990, and the national Democratic party is trying to draw attention to this nasty little tactic. If you're as disgusted by the commercial as I am, head on over to Brad Carson's website and supply some countervailing resources.
Yeah, it's from last week, but even Oklahomans aren't stupid enough for me to provide mocking material everyday. Just wait until tomorrow... I'm sure Tom Coburn will open his mouth, and something surreal will come out within 24 hours.
Backing off of Oklahoma, Daniel has a good post on where 650 international relations professors (possibly even one from Oklahoma) agree: Bush's Foreign Policy is a Disaster:
We judge that the current American policy centered around the war in Iraq is the most misguided one since the Vietnam period, one which harms the cause of the struggle against extreme Islamist terrorists. One result has been a great distortion in the terms of public debate on foreign and national security policy—an emphasis on speculation instead of facts, on mythology instead of calculation, and on misplaced moralizing over considerations of national interest.
Check the whole thing out here.
Update: Yes there is! Three signatories from Oklahoma! Maybe they're coming to their senses as the latest poll shows Bush with only a twelve point lead in the state.
Well, I wouldn't want to debate Frost either if I thought that terrorism was a game:
As part of KERA's Student Voices project, Congressman Martin Frost and Pete Sessions are scheduled to make a joint appearance at Richardson High School. Instead of addressing the group of young adults together with Congressman Frost in a civilized debate, Pete Sessions instead insists on making a quick speech and an early exit. It's sad that Sessions has been ducking the issues this entire campaign, but what's worse is the fact that he refuses to act like an adult in front of a group of high school students. But, given recent disclosures of Sessions' activities, what would you expect?
Who: Congressman Martin Frost and Pete Sessions addressing Richardson High School separately.
What: KERA's Student Voices Project
When: Wednesday, October 13, 2004, 10:30 - 11:15 a.m.
I think that President Bush has a line for this.... "you can run, but you can't hide". Some one tell Pete Sessions.
Where: Richardson High School
1250 W. Beltline Road
Haha. The Oklahoma Democratic Party released this today:
Oklahoma City – A group of legislators from across Southeast Oklahoma today spoke out to denounce Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Coburn’s statement about the school children of Southeast Oklahoma. Yesterday’s news reports show that during a town hall meeting in Hugo, OK on August 31st, 2004 Tom Coburn commented that Southeast Oklahoma schools are “rampant” with “lesbianism.”
“Tom Coburn apparently doesn’t know anything about families in southeastern Oklahoma or the values we hold dear,” said State Senator Jay Paul Gumm, Durant. “If he knew us or shared our values, he would never have said our female high school students are afflicted with ‘rampant lesbianism.’ Our children deserve better than to have repulsive allegations made against them by a politician.”
Gumm said the only reason Coburn would make such a sickening charge is to avoid talking about real issues like creating jobs, improving public schools and highways, and boosting agriculture. “Given his dismal record on those issues, we shouldn’t be surprised he would try to misdirect Oklahomans with yet another shameful and unsubstantiated claim,” Gumm said.
“To repeat an outrageous claim without some sort of proof or fact is reckless and irresponsible, and regrettably could have consequences,” said State Senator Jeff Rabon of Hugo.
“It’s one thing to believe this kind of crazy nonsense and even say it publicly, but another thing entirely to use school children as props to make your point,” State Senator Richard Lerblance of Hartshorne said. “Making such a baseless attack on our children represents a new low in the discourse of Tom Coburn.”
Tom Coburn’s suggestion that lesbianism is rampant in our schools is perverse. It really is a desperate and sad assault on our children,” State Representative John Carey of Durant said. “We need someone to represent us who believes in all of Oklahoma, and will build us up, not tear us down with such disgusting attacks. Tom Coburn is showing us that he’s just another degrade Southeast and rural Oklahoma Republican.”
At a recent town hall meeting in Hugo, OK, Tom Coburn said:
- “You know, Josh Brecheen is our rep down here in the southeast area. He lives in Colgate and travels out of Atoka. He was telling me lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they’ll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that’s happened to us?” [Tom Coburn, Hugo, 8/31/04]
Recently, a number of newspapers have editorialized on the numerous offensive remarks that Tom Coburn has made over the past two months. He has been consistently rebuked by newspapers statewide, some of which have called him unfit to serve the people of Oklahoma, and asked him to quit the Senate race. Excerpts from two such newspaper Editorials are below.
- Coburn has managed to alienate many, even in his own party, with his far, right wing views which are turning off voters in droves. From farmers, to Native Americans to people in Oklahoma City he has referred to as "crapheads," Coburn is losing support by the day and should not be considered by any Oklahoman who cares about their community and their children. [Sulphur Times-Democrat, 9/30/04]
- Coburn, in marked contrast, has painted himself as being on the side of "good" while those who disagree with his politics are "evil." He referred to the state's leadership in Oklahoma City as "crapheads." He dismissed many tribal members as non-Indians. Coburn, who speaks so dismissively, so disdainfully, of so many of his fellow citizens, is not the candidate who will represent all Oklahomans. [Tulsa World, 9/26/04]
“Tom Coburn has publicly made offensive comments about Native Americans, the people of Oklahoma City, and our hard-working farmers, just to name a few,” State Representative Paul Roan of Tishomingo said. “But now to make such ridiculous and offensive comments about our children and the schools they attend in Southeast Oklahoma goes way too far.”
I'm not going to go on about how blatantly obscene Sinclair Broadcasting is for planning to air what is effectively a one-hour Swift Vet liars infomercial (who have equated their opposition to Holocaust deniers), because it's being effectively combated by most of the major lefty bloggers.
I'll simply direct our readers to the Boycott Sinclair Broadcast Group Advertisers webpage where you can call Sinclair advertisers and urge them to stop advertising on Sinclair.
For more information just check out Kevin Drum, Kos, Atrios and Josh Marshall and scroll down to get all the latest. Don't forget Media Matters as well. The five of them seem to be leading the charge, so follow their lead...
Greg has this week's Texas Tuesday feature up for us. This week our candidate is Nick Lampson. The anti-gay wingnuts are out swinging in this one, so pitch in a little bit for Congressman Lampson if you have the chance... or just give to the DCCC 'till it hurts.
There's all the talk about the jinx and the Boston Red Sox, but it's easy to argue that we've got 'em beat here in Texas.
The Texas Rangers have played in Arlington for 33 years.
Number of playoff series won?
The Houston Astros have played in Houston for 43 years.
Number of playoff series won until last night?
Combined, that's 76 years of Texas baseball without as much as a playoff series victory... until last night.
Red Sox fans could say it's nothing compared to an 86 year World Series drought, but at least they've won a frickin' playoff series since then.
Anyway, congrats to the Astros for breaking their jinx last night... everyone in Houston seems to be happy.
If you live in Kelly White's district or care about education issues, she has a simply poll up on her website at the moment that asks... Do you think public education in Texas should receive more, less or the same amount of funding from the State in the future?
They took a day off from their GOP cheerleading:
GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay escaped an independent counsel investigation last week. But the Texas Republican's now damaged goods. It's hard to see him ever becoming speaker of the House.
The House voted along party lines to reject siccing an outside counsel on Rep. DeLay. That's just as well. The vote was a Democratic trick to get Republicans to support their controversial colleague, knowing they could use the vote against Republicans in tight congressional races.
But the sheer volume of charges is hard to ignore. It smacks of a pattern of abuse. Worse, it reveals a contempt for how the House should work. This business of getting an agency to track down Texas Democrats was about as brazen as it gets.
Add that to all the editorials yesterday and over the weekend.
If you happen to be able to watch the local Austin news channels tonight do so. There may some reports running about Todd Baxter and a very interesting protest of sorts that is being done by University Democrats members... a copy of the following letter will also have been released to the press...
Dear Representative Baxter,
As this year’s election approaches, young people across the country are becoming politically involved in record numbers. In Travis County alone during the last week of voter registration 12571 people registered to vote. Of those voters, 47% are under 25 years of age. Even more impressive, over 7,000 of those have been registered on campus at the University of Texas at Austin— 3,000 in just one day.
With so many young people engaged in politics, races like yours are gaining more attention - especially given that many of these students live in House District 48. Recently, the Travis County District Attorney deemed the corporate campaign donations given to TRMPAC in 2002 illegal, and because your campaign directly benefited from this illegal money, several disappointed, disillusioned, and upset students have expressed concern and feel you should be held accountable.
I write to you on behalf of these students and your constituents, “How will you make this right?”
As a public servant, you’ve taken the awesome responsibility to serve the people of your district and set an example for the citizens of this state. Leaders sometimes make mistakes, but great leaders resolve them.
I understand that you have been called to donate the $35,000 to a non-profit organization, such as the local children’s hospital. Not only will this allow you to give back to your community, this donation will also begin to atone for the 147,000 Texas children who lost eligibility for the Children’s Health Insurance Program as a result of your vote in 2002.
Please also consider donating the $35,000 to a college scholarship fund to assist Texans who, due to your vote to deregulate tuition, find it harder to afford the rising tuition at Texas’ fine college’s and universities.
For several years, we experienced the results of apathy in America’s youth and have seen the downward trend in civic participation; however, this trend is sure to change this year.
We will be a voice to be reckoned with this campaign season. We will be a decisive factor in this election, and we will not stand quiet while politicians make shortsighted decisions, with long-term consequences of which will affect our lives the most.
Please reassure us hope that the health of Texas children will be cared for and make certain that these children will have the means to pay for college. Furthermore, please restore our confidence that our officials will work for us and not for their next election and not for the special interest with the biggest checkbook.
Whatever you choose, the more than 300 active members of our organization eagerly await your decision.
Marcus S. Ceniceros
President, University Democrats
University of Texas at Austin
Public Relations Director
Just another update on the last day of voter registration here in Travis County. The latest figures I have heard now put the one day total at 12,571. In addition, of those voters, 47% are under the age of 25! (Partly due to the fact that around 3000 of that day's total were registered by University Democrats.
The Dallas Morning News poll gives Sessions a 50-44% lead in TX-32:
The four-term Republican congressman leads his Democratic rival, U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, 50 percent to 44 percent in their quest to represent Texas' 32nd Congressional District, according to a Dallas Morning News poll.
In this district designed by Republicans in the Texas Legislature to end Mr. Frost's 26-year congressional career, Mr. Frost is appealing more to women, minorities and independents than Mr. Sessions does, according to the survey of about 800 likely voters in the district.
Mr. Frost's strength among independent poll respondents – 56 percent favored him, compared with 37 percent for Mr. Sessions – and an unusually high Hispanic voter turnout are Mr. Frost's best hopes for victory, Dr. Selzer said.
And since only 4 percent of the poll's respondents are Hispanics – they represent 36 percent of the district's total population, including nonvoters – Mr. Frost said he believes a higher Hispanic turnout will close the poll's 6-percentage-point margin.
Eighty-two percent of respondents identified themselves as white, while 7 percent said they are black.
I think it's very telling that the poll only includes four percent Hispanics when Hispanics make up 36% of the district's population. I think that about ten percent of the vote in the district will come from Hispanic voters, and if they favor Frost by the margin that Hispanics typically favor Democrats (and Rep. Frost in the past), then this race is a dead heat.
As for the presidential race in the district, Sessions is running five points behind Bush:
For example, 55 percent of respondents said they would vote for President Bush on Election Day, while 42 percent said they would vote for Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic nominee. In 2000, 57 percent of respondents said they voted for Mr. Bush, compared with 31 percent for Al Gore.
This poll should give Democrats confidence. I believe that it severely undersamples Hispanics, and that this race could easily go either way.
What can you do? Donate to Martin Frost or the DCCC.
Re: Kerry Smear
I would note that pissing off half the country is not a good business plan.
Not like you guys are strangers to bad business plans...
I attended a training session for judges for this weekend's UH high school speech and debate tournament. The professor went off on a tangent (while describing the prose interp. event), noting that we should try to give kids good marks even if they do something blatantly shocking, like using the "crucifix scene" in The Exorcist as their interp piece.
OK, Professor, but I seriously hope that the kids won't be interpreting the Washington Post any time soon; the scary images it might induce will leave scars.
The Washington Post:
DALLAS - The gloves have come off in the tight election race between two Texas congressmen - and every other article of clothing appears to be fair game as well. Democrats on Monday circulated old newspaper clippings of a 1974 college streaking stunt staged by hundreds of students - including then-18-year-old Pete Sessions - at Southwest Texas State University.
The conservative Republican congressman - who wrote a column condemning Janet Jackson's nude display during her 2004 Super Bowl halftime performance - apparently bared his bottom with about 300 others in a stunt that ended with arrests and a clash with police. Newspapers were filled with nude photos and headlines like: "Dudes, Broads, Bare Bods."
Southwest Texas students were apparently trying to break a streaking record set by another university amid a nationwide college streaking craze.
"Congressman Sessions' old school days are long gone," said Sessions' spokesman Chris Homan. "He recognizes it as an immature action of an 18-year-old college freshman."
But the campaign of Democrat Rep. Martin Frost is holding his rival's bare body to the fire.
"Pete Sessions exposed himself to children and strangers," said Frost spokesman Justin Kitsch. "He's exposed himself as a hypocrite as well."
I for one am getting pretty tired of people carrying on about the "October Surprise," as if it was a certainty. You know, the October Surprise comes around every four years, sort of like locusts, or sunspots, or disco.
There is no good reason to suspect that an "October Surprise" is inevitable, and indeed, the October Surprise could very well be the lack of anything surprising at all.
Specifically, I am getting kind of tired of people saying that Osama is going to be produced on schedule. Now that's mighty rich, because what sense it would make at this point? Half the country is predisposed to believe such as "surprise" would be a gimmick. And I'm not sure what it would accomplish, either; sure, we may have "75 percent" of Al Qaeda, but as soon as we got 100 percent, the justification for permanent war would evaporate. And considering that is Bush's only, uh, "real issue"...
I'm not naively suggesting that nothing will happen; I am suggesting that it is naive to assume it would be so obvious and gaudy as "The October Surprise," you know, as obvious as a swarm of locusts, sunspots, or disco enthusiasts.
Kevin Drum creates a quantifably "deception index." Currently Bush is leading Kerry by a 2-to-1 margin.
Reading the comments, the contrast becomes even more clear. The Bush haters are wondering how Kevin can consider Bush's deceptions about Iraq to be so minor ("Over a thousand dead troops is only worth 15 points?"). The Kerry Haters are latching on to pathetically small things ("The $84 was for oil, not for timber!") to try to prove these somehow prove moral equivalency.
A snapshot of America if there ever was one.
Ezra at Pandagon:
"...it's thus a shame that current FCC commissioner Michael Powell has, thus far, been something of a tool."
P.S. I suppose it bears clarification: Ever since I started paying attention to the FCC (in 1996, when I got my ham radio ticket), I have never seen a Commission so devoted to carrying water for big corporate interests, except, of course, when women's breasts are involved.
Whereas Texas' defeat this Saturday was largely the product of Texas native Adrien Peterson's ungodly performance, I have a modest proposal to prevent future acts of treason and betrayal such as the execreble Mr. Peterson's.
1. If you are a high school athlete in Texas and decide to go to any school in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas or Louisiana, your family will be imprisoned for 25 years without parole, their assets will be liquidated and the money will be used for scholarships for athletes at the University of Texas.
2. If you ever return to Texas, you will be sent to prison for life without possibility of parole.
I decided against punishing those who go to Texas A&M in order to get bipartisan support in the legislature. Any takers?
Well, pretty much everyone.
Just a small sampling:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Allentown Morning Call
New York Times
Wilmington Morning Star
Via Off the Kuff and the Stakeholder.
Also, be sure to read up on Streakin' Pete Sessions:
Hard to believe, but Sessions, the Texas Republican who decried Janet Jackson's Super Bowl public nudity incident in January took part in a raucous, two-night streaking rampage when he was a freshman at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos.
"Just taking off your clothes and running around is kind of a free spirit thing," said Sessions, who was two weeks shy of his 19th birthday and a physical education major. He would later transfer to Southwestern University.
Haha. I think we know what this spells... H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E...
I'm a good sport about having BOR in Crimson and Cream this week. I'm not going to complain. We'll be back in burnt orange on Wednesday night, but I do think that it's only fair to spend each of these three days with at least one post a day mocking Oklahomans. Today's victim? It should come as no surprise... Tom Coburn (heck, he just might be tomorrow and Wednesday's victim, too!).
The man is obsessed with lesbianism. Atrios has the latest of Coburn on the issue:
Listen to the Republican candidate for senator from Oklahoma say this:
You know, Josh Burkeen is our rep down here in the southeast area. He lives in Colgate and travels out of Atoka. He was telling me lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they’ll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that’s happened to us?" - Tom Coburn, 8/31/04
Only in Oklahoma...
Update: The Carson campaign had this to say about Coburn's statement:
"This is one in a long line of outrageous statements Tom Coburn has made during the course of this campaign," said Carson for Senate spokesman Brad Luna. "As Tom Coburn continues on his own far out personal agenda, Congressman Carson will continue fighting for the people of Oklahoma. We deserve a Senator who's focused on creating good paying jobs in Okahoma, fighting for road money to improve our state's infrastructure, and trying to lower skyrocketing health care costs -- not someone who is focused on this type of crazy nonsense."
Media Matters for America has all the details:
Email Sinclair Broadcasting group and urge them not to broadcast the anti-Kerry attack film Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal between now and the Nov. 2 presidential election.
David D. Smith
President and Chief Executive Officer
Contact your local Sinclair station
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
10706 Beaver Dam Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030
410-568-1500 (Main Telephone)
410-568-1533 (Main Fax)
Jib Jab has a new video - "Good to be in D.C." Not as good as "This Land", but funny regardless. Some might view it as anti-gay with Jim McGreevey prancing around like a nelly queen, but it's meant to be a satire, so yeah, if you have a big problem with it, you should probably lighten up a little bit (and it's about time that John Ashcroft be outed anyway).
This is good to see. The DNC has just launched an $8 Million campaign targeting young voters in placing ads on Comedy Central and VH1:
Today, the Democratic National Committee formally unveils an ad that's unlike any other this year. The 30-second message, called "On the Road," is the first major ad to target young voters, a key bloc for John Kerry. The commercial ran this weekend during NBC's Saturday Night Live in 13 close states, New York City and Washington, D.C. Today, it starts a one-week run during Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and on VH1. It's one of three DNC ads that the party will spend about $8 million to air this week.
Watch the ad over at: What Makes George Tick.com and vote in their survey. Is it, 1) He Doesn't Get It, 2) He Doesn't Care or, 3) He's Not on Your Side. How about all of the above?
Seriously, it's good to see the DNC specifically targeting young voters. Whether it'll do much to increase turnout or swing young voters towards Democrats is debatable, but at least they're trying.
Three more Goopers today.
Bush is next, even if most major daily papers are breaking strongly for Kerry.
We'll be back in burnt orange on Wednesday night. For now, though, we'll have to live with my best attempt of BOR in crimson and cream. I'm using #990000 for crimson (although I'm welcome to suggestions of a better crimson). That's what they use over at Sooner Sports, so I figured that it would be acceptable. God, this looks ugly.
Update: If you can't stand to view the crimson, you can view everything in burnt orange, here.
The Houston Chronicle says that at least one Houston oil man was in cahoots with the "UN pussies."
Here's what I suspect the true story is on this oil-for-food scandal.
The oil-for-food program was corrupt, but everybody was getting a cut of it. By 2001, the whole sanction regime was falling apart, and that was good for business.
But then, somebody got a little greedy, and so we had to make an offer they couldn't refuse.
So yes, the Duelfer report does explain our justification for war, I think, if by justification you mean "it proved that this really was all about oil."
Of course, I'm stating this as suspicion, not as fact.
Sticky note for Byron: I changed the title this morning.
I don't know if y'all intended to change the entire color scheme. Y'all were the ones making bets, not me.
And for goodness sake, don't make sports bets with Sooners fans!
Dave Neiwert has his own spin on Bush's Dred Scott ramblings. What I find compelling here is Neiwert's linking of "strict constructionism" with "legal formalism," which lit up my student's brain when I read it. Yes, yes, Neiwert is making a totally obvious point, but you know I've been spending more time trying to learn about simple things like the statutes of fraud and personal jurisdiction, and less time pondering the forms. But what the hell.
If I've learned anything about the philosophy of law so far in this first semester, it is that for atleast a century almost all credible legal scholars have considered legal formalism to be an archaic, obviously wrong theory that was laid to rest years ago. Sort of like how biologists and spontaneous generation (a theory that rose and fell contemporaneously with legal formalism), or geographers and the flat-earth hypothesis.
A few weeks ago Dean Rapoport, who is probably both the smartest and also most perky person I have ever met, came down to lecture our contracts class on Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon. She almost had a joygasm when lecturing about Judge Cardozo's famous line in the opinion that begins with the phrase "[t]he law has outgrown its primitive stage of formalism when the precise word was the sovereign talisman..."
So here we have Bush, apparently endorsing a return to legal formalism. Building a bridge to the nineteenth century, if you will. But atleast he thinks slavery is bad; his "ownership society" proposal notwithstanding.
I wonder if Bush had any idea what he was talking about. I know that I surely do not.
DailyKOS has a little diatribe about econometric models of presidential elections this morning. In it, he says, "[t]o be fair the modelers have always taken their models less seriously than the general public."
The comments, I think, put it better. Here's what user DemfromCT says:
[A] tool in the hands of the ignorant can be dangerous. I don't think the press should be allowed to get their hands on a weapon of math instruction.
As someone who has tried to approach econometric modelling as an actual attempt to nail an election (as opposed to prove some generalized point about human nature), I have this to say: naive regression-based modelling is, essentially, a really underpowered means of grappling at the problem of election prediction.
I share the sentiment that (I think) Chris "Empirical Left" Bowers over at mydd shares: that statistical analysis of political events is a worthwhile endeavor. But I'm a bit skeptical of the idea that it will ever yield a highly-reliable prediction model. Any prediction model that works significantly better than a coin-flip, I'd be pretty happy with.
Anyway, I gave up in the spring on my project, simply because I didn't have the time to finish it. I will probably start again sometime before the 2008 election, and I have some interesting ideas I'd like to play around with.
That's what we could be next week, if OU wins today. We know it won't happen, but if the unimaginable does happen (again), we'll be the Crimson and Cream Report for three days next week.
That's my bet with Keith Gaddie of Sooner Politics. If UT wins, we'll have the pleasure of viewing Sooner Politics in burnt orange.
Here's what Keith has to say:
Byron LaMasters, guru of Burnt Orange Report.com and I have a friendly wager on the OU-Texas Game. If OU wins, BurntOrangeReport goes Crimson and Cream; if UT prevails, SoonerPolitics will be a lovely shade of Burnt Umber for a few days.
And Keith's comments about the debate are priceless:
I am not going to comment on the debate for at least 72 hours, except to make this one observation: I am very pleased to hear that George Bush will not appoint any justices to the Supreme Court who would seek to uphold slavery . However, I do need some firewood, so I may be driving down to Crawford to pick up a rick or two.
And in case anyone is curious, we're not the only ones with a friendly wager over sports this weekend.
Boi From Troy and Pathetic Earthlings have a friendly wager over the USC / Cal game.
Update: Ouch. Shutout. That's 0/4 in my four years at UT. Get ready for Crimson and Cream on Monday.
Damn. And the burnt orange on Sooner Politics would have looked so good.
Some say this is Bush's "Dean Scream."
Aside from the timber flap, the weirdest moment of the debate for me was definitely when Bush cited the Dred Scott decision while simulaneously praising strict constructionism.
No doubt, the Scott holding was bad (Atrios explains), but arguably it was also the "strict constructionist," or at the very least, the conservative holding. I remember studying the case in high school and college, and no doubt it is a stinker, but it was not one that was premised on radical activism but simply very bad logic in defense of the status quo.
Look, the Founding Fathers wouldn't have given Dredd Scott the time of day. And lest we forget, the holding in regards to the Missouri Compromise was premised largely on a strict (mis)reading of the Constitution.
Consider these West Headnotes to the case:
92 Constitutional Law 92II Construction, Operation, and Enforcement of Constitutional Provisions 92k11 General Rules of Construction 92k16 k. Matters Extrinsic to Instrument in General. Most Cited Cases
No change in public opinion or feeling in relation to Negroes should induce court to give to words of Constitution a more liberal construction in favor of Negroes than such words were intended to bear when instrument was framed and adopted.
92 Constitutional Law
92II Construction, Operation, and Enforcement of Constitutional Provisions
92k44 Determination of Constitutional Questions
92k45 k. Judicial Authority and Duty in General. Most Cited Cases
Duty of court is to interpret Constitution as framed with best light court can obtain on the subject and administer Constitution as it finds it according to its true intent and meaning when adopted.
Incidentally, this last headnote seems to just about sum up George W. Bush's favorite justice, Antonin Scalia's "original intent" theory. The legacy of the Scott case lives on today.
Frankly, I can't help but believe that the sort of judges Bush would appoint are precisely the ones who are likely to give us "the next" Dred Scott decision.
Kos explains the weirdest moment of the night.
It's too bad Kerry didn't have time to explain more of this on national television.
This will be the thread for debate liveblogging tonight. I think I've got Jim committed to liveblog with me (he was going to on Tuesday, but fell asleep. I guess law school will do that too ya).
9:34: "Saddam would still be in power and the world would be a lot better off."
9:33: Kerry's greatest strength has been how he has humanized every issue.
9:30: Ouch. This may just be the key to the night. Bush had the perfect chance with the last question about mistakes to be humble and to show humility. He failed. He is certain, but also wrong.
9:29: I think this was a grave mistake for Bush, to take a "yes or no" position on abortion. Most Americans have complicated feelings about abortion, and I think there will be broad sympathy for Kerry's position.
9:24: This is the moment I've been waiting for.
9:23: Ok, I'm reassured. Bush won't bring back slavery. But he opposed the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, and his running mate voted against sanctioning South Africa over Apartheid and against a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.
9:22: "I would pick somebody who would pick me"
9:21: Oh here he goes pandering to the troglodytes.
9:20: Oh thank God, he's not for picking pro-slavery judges.
9:19: Bush is giving a fine response on the stem-cell question, although I think he is exaggerating the number of lines.
9:18: Cool. Pandagon is liveblogging after all.
9:12: Wood. I'm sure Wonkette will have something to say about that.
Update: She does: "Did the President of the United States really just ask Charlie Gibson if he "needed wood"? Where's Bob Dole when you really need him. . ."
9:11: Now that was odd. Need some wood?
9:10: Oh heck yes. Make him defend the PATRIOT Act.
9:08: Speaking of folksy. It's an interesting tack that Kerry is taking. He's reminding everybody that he, President Bush and Charlie Gibson are wealthy, but that he's on the side of ordinary people, and Bush isn't. I think it's effective. Kerry is an elitist. He can't deny it, and he isn't denying it. But he's effectively pivoted to say, "Neither of us is one of you, but I'm fighting for you - President Bush is not".
9:07: I like how Kerry keeps referring to Charlie Gibson and people in the audience. He seems like a real thinker.
9:05: Bush's "folksy" manner is backfiring. He looks like a goddamn moron.
9:04: Damn. Orwell.
9:03: Here's George Dubya Jetson again. I don't want a hydrogen car. I want a flying hydrogen car.
9:02: Did bush just say he was a good steward of the land? *gag*
9:02: "Bush has a record! Look at his record!" - lies.... all lies....
9:01: Bush's argument would be stronger if he actually could give examples of Kerry's "liberal" record. Kerry explains what he's done and what he'll do. Bush simply smears with a broad brush.
[The first hour of the debate in the extended entry.]
8:59: Just in case anyone forgot, George W. Bush is not a fiscal conservative. In fact, he's more liberal on fiscal issues than Carter and Clinton!
8:57: Kerry looks us in the eye.
8:53: I am a Keynesian, or I would be, if I could pronounce "Keynesian"
8:52: The blame game. No problem is Bush's fault. He'll take the credit for all the good news, but when there's bad news on the deficit, he plays the blame game. Blame Clinton. Blame 9/11. Blame the war. Blame tax cuts. How about taking some responsibility for once?
8:51: That's right, Bush. Beat up on the trial lawyers. It didn't work for Launch Faircloth, it won't work for you.
8:50: Ah, the baseball anologies. Bush is only 0/2? He's worse than that!!
8:49: You know why Kerry is smiling? Because screaming "liberal" is no longer viable politics in a post-Bush nation.
8:47: Senator Kennedy?
8:44: In your face, Mr. President.
8:43: On to the domestic issues, and Kerry is kicking ass. Bush is making up excuses for selling out to the drug companies: they're unsafe, they're not approved by the FDA, Kerry hasn't done anything...
8:38: Oh yeah, this woman is REAL undecided. He worries because he is optimistic... and a screenshot.
8:36: Clear, concise, perfect line: "The president chose tax cuts for the wealthy over protecting the homeland".
8:32: Ok, Angry Bush is back!!
8:31: Show-off. :-D Kerry likes to rattle off names
8:30: Rumors on the Internets?
"We don't need mass armies anymore"??? Then why is there a backdoor draft of our national guard and reservists.
8:29: So far this has been fairly free of gaffes. Both the president and the senator have done quite well.
8:26: I think that Bush has replaced his angry, annoyed look with a confused, perplexed look. It's rather amusing. CNN is doing regular cutback to both candidates while the other is talking. OMG - "That answer almost made me want to scowl" - that joke was totally FLAT. Haha.
8:22: OMG, Did Bush just compare himself to Ronald Reagan?
8:17: 17 Minutes to bring up "Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong Time". And Bush got it in the Wrong order.
8:13: Well, it took 13 minutes to bring up "the global test". Bush: "the kind of mindset that sanctions were working"? Uh, Mr. President, the sanctions were working. Good Kerry response. Bush should have taken the opportunity instead to bring up Kerry's vote against the 1991 Iraq war (after Kerry brought up supporting Clinton's intervention in the Balkans in 1998).
8:11: Bush sounds like he's about ready to pop.
8:08: More Dean bashing by Bush. Also liveblogging are Outside the Beltway and Wizbang.
8:06: It took two minutes: "A campaign of mass deception"
8:04: Wow. They like talked to each other for several seconds on the way out. If you didn't know better, you'd think they were old buddies at a class reunion. But impression will change quickly.
7:58: Looks like there won't be any liveblogging from Pandagon. Other livebloggers from the veep debate appear to be back:
Bull by the Horns, Washington Monthly and Vodka Pundit.
7:55: Alright. Jim and I are ready to go liveblogging. I'll be in regular type, Jim will be in italics.
I guess one Williamson County Blockbuster was afraid that if they put Fahrenheit 9/11 on the shelf, it would rot kids teeth, corrupt their minds and turn them to satan.
At the Blockbuster Video store on Cypress Creek Road, if you want to rent "Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore's anti-Bush blockbuster, you've got to ask for it.
That's ruffled a few feathers even in heavily Republican Williamson County. And it's prompted local Democrats to ponder a protest of Phillip Patrick's store, which does display copies for sale.
"I think it's a form of censorship," said Jessica Stempko, an officer with the Williamson County Democrats, "and I think he should have the courage to offer the choice."
Even some Bush backers question the move.
"They're treating it like porn," said former City Council Member Phil Duprey. "I guess it's political porn, anyway. Hiding it behind the counter is not good retailing."
I did a little bit of research, and called the Blockbuster in question. If they still had F9/11 behind the counter I was going to post their phone number and urge people to call and annoy them until it was on the shelves. But, alas, the lady I spoke with told me that it had been put on the shelves. So, I'll let the issue rest.
On the eve of Texas / OU, here's the latest from Oklahoma:
Their tourism brochure?
Take a look.
They've now been recalled, but it's still a revealing look at what people do for fun in the Sooner state.
"Durin the summer, Oklahoma is hotter than two rats fuckin in a wool sock. This makes it a good time too do some inside shoppin. Whether your looking for bathtub gin or used guns, Oklahoma ain't known as the KMart of the Midwest for nothin".
"Lots of satates got rules about where you can exercise your constitutional right to shoot shit. Well, not here in Oklahoma. Bring your gun and keep what you kill!"
"While lots of states has has tryed to deny there heritage, you can join us for annual celebrations of the old South, a great time in our history. Spend the day watching reinactments, then spend the night gettin drunk as ten indians at the confederate ball"
Full story on CNN.
Via Mark Twang.
Ok, I'm done cheerleading for Brad Carson. I'd give to some one else. I'll recommend Tony Knowles, Betty Castor and Ken Salazar.
We got horoscopes instead!
Of course, I fully expect my confidence in astrology will not be shattered by this election, since I don't have any confidence in them to begin with.
Tonight's guest.... Bill O'Reilly. Ought to be hilarious. If you miss it, watch it at midnight.
Update: Ehh.. it's ok. Atrios's Presidency 101 test that Bush failed is entertaining me more, though.
Update: God. Bill O'Reilly is trying to pretend like he's an independent moderate - if he talked like this on FOX News, he'd never keep his show on the air. Geez. I was hoping for a good smack down by Jon Stewart, but he didn't have the chance as O'Reilly decided he'd audition for his potential 2006 U.S. Senate race against Hillary than to defend his "stoned slackers" remarks about the Daily Show audience.
From the University e-mail today.
The UHS flu vaccine order was placed with Chiron, the flu vaccine manufacturer whose license to manufacture the vaccine has been suspended. Chiron's license suspension means that the 46 - 48 million doses of flu vaccine they were expecting to ship to the US will not be available. Because of this, UHS currently has no flu vaccine and we have cancelled all previously-scheduled flu shot outreach clinics for the month of October.
UHS is now on a waiting list with Aventis (the second of the two flu vaccine manufacturers) for potential future receipt of the vaccine, but we're currently unable to tell you with certainty if and when we will receive vaccine or if vaccine will be restricted in any way.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that existing vaccine be given to certain "priority groups" - those who are at higher risk of complications if they get the flu and healthcare providers. To ensure that this happens, the CDC is requesting that people defer getting a flu shot unless they are in one of these groups. If you fall into a priority group, we encourage you to find a healthcare provider or other community resource with flu vaccine and get your flu shot now.
For a definition of priority groups, information on where to get a flu shot if you're in a priority group and information on cold and flu prevention, go to the "Spotlights" section of the UHS website at http://www.utexas.edu/student/health . Another helpful prevention resource is the CDC's Germstoppers website at http://www.cdc.gov/germstopper/resources.htm.
We will post any changes in the availability of flu shots at UHS on our website.
Priority Groups are as follows....
+All children aged 6 – 23 months of age
+Adults aged 65 years and older
+Persons aged 2 – 64 years of age with underlying chronic medical conditions such as asthma and other lung diseases, compromised immune systems, diabetes, heart disease, blood disorders, etc.
+Women will be pregnant during the influenza season
+Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
+Children aged 6 months – 18 years of age who are on chronic aspirin therapy
+Health-care workers involved in direct patient care
+Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children less than 6 months of age.
Blistering attack by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), the youngest Democrat in the House on the possibility of a draft. The man was on fire. On fire... damn! (Via Smart Ass and BOP News).
I was actually interviewed by a Dallas Morning News reporter yesterday about the draft - we'll see if and when they publish a story about the issue. I don't think that a draft is extremely likely, but I do believe that the reelection of George W. Bush will make it more likely, and that, I believe is a legitimate election issue in which many students and young people are very concerned (Perhaps that helps explains Kerry's twenty-five point, 56-31% lead among voters age 18-29 in the Zogby poll released today, also via Smart Ass). The Bush doctrine of (nearly) unilateral action and preemption has already led us into a backdoor draft of our National Guard and reservists. The logical next step would an actual draft.
Update: Democracy for America has an anti-draft petition.
TAPPED reports on the thoughts of U.S. Rep. Chris Bell (D-Houston) in a conference call with reporters this afternoon:
Rep. Chris Bell made a pretty intriguing point about the Ethics Committee’s decision to defer an inquiry into Tom DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) shenanigans, pending further developments in Travis County DA Ronnie Earle’s criminal investigation. [...] According to Bell, this decision is the “strongest indication yet that Mr. DeLay himself is the target of an investigation by the Travis County grand jury in Austin. Mr. DeLay could face a felony indictment in the very near future.” I asked Bell to elaborate a bit:
The committee states in its memorandum that it has been following the investigation in Austin quite closely. Mr. DeLay has claimed that he’s not a target of the investigation, but if he’s not a target then there would be no reason for the Ethics Committee to defer action. They apparently seem to believe after following the case that there’s a strong possibility that he is a target and that an indictment will be forthcoming, and that’s a thought that I share. I think that Mr. Earle has made it quite clear that this is an ongoing investigation and that he is in no way, shape or form tried to lead anyone to believe that Mr. DeLay is off the hook. So I think by deferring action on that particular account, the ethics committee seems to believe that Mr. DeLay could very well be a target.
Emphasis mine. Continue to keep your eyes and ears open on the DeLay mess. DeLay's political career is dying a long slow death, and it's a privilege to be able to watch it.
This is outrageous. Last night, UT's Board of Regents Chair, James Huffines hosted a fundraiser for the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, State Rep. Talmadge Heflin (R-Houston). It was Heflin's committee that passed through tuition deregulation that has raised our tuitions by about thirty percent. But it wasn't good enough for Huffines to simply raise money for Heflin - who balanced the state budget on the backs of students and middle class families. Huffines suggested in his fundaising letter for "Friends of the University PAC" that he was acting on behalf of the university as he used official-looking stationary. The Austin American Statesman reports:
Current and former officials of the University of Texas System, including Board of Regents Chairman James Huffines, last week solicited campaign contributions for a powerful member of the state House under the letterhead of a political action committee bearing the name of the UT System.
The letters sought donations of $500, $1,000 or $2,500 in return for tickets to a reception tonight at Huffines' home in the Pemberton section of West Austin for Rep. Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston. Those who were not interested in contributing were asked to check a box marked "Aggie."
Heflin, who is chairman of the Appropriations Committee, is facing a stiff challenge from Hubert Vo in a race that Democratic Party leaders hope could topple the 21-year veteran of the House.
"If these guys want to endorse Talmadge Heflin, they're entitled to do that. But the name of the PAC drags the university into this, in my view," said Ed Sills, who received a letter in his role as communications director of the Texas AFL-CIO, which has endorsed Vo. "I think it's pretty clear it's not in the interest of any university to start making endorsements in partisan races."
So I guess that Huffines thinks that all of us supporting Hubert Vo aren't real Longhorns? Calling us Aggies? Ya gotta be kidding me. Vo, in a press release yesterday, shot back:
State Representative candidate Hubert Vo today called on University of Texas officials to abandon a fundraising reception scheduled for tonight to benefit his opponent, saying that the high-dollar affair "smacks of political payback" for his opponent's push to raise college tuition rates an average of more than 30 percent during last year's legislative session.
"Talmadge Heflin pushed through a tuition deregulation bill that resulted in a middle-class tax hike on families with college-bound children," Vo said. "Now political appointees at the state's taxpayer-funded flagship university are paying him back by helping him raise campaign cash."
"This reception smacks of political payback and is part and parcel of the continuing corruption controversies that have embroiled the Texas Capitol under the current regime," Vo said.
"A college education has made all the difference in my life," Vo said. "So I find it difficult to understand why higher education officials would raise campaign cash for a career politician whose most recent efforts have closed off that opportunity for a generation of middle-class Texas families."
This is exactly the sort of thing that pisses me off, and turns ordinary people away from politics. How can students expect to have a voice, when our board of regents is in bed with Republicans at the expense of students? I can't afford a $500, $1000 or $2500 donation to offset what the other side is doing, but if the blog community and other students join me in chipping in $10 or $20 to Hubert Vo, we can make a little bit of a difference.
I just made a donation of $20.01. I'd encourage other students and others in the blog community to do the same, and add a penny to let Vo know that its coming from students and the blogs.
Via The Stakeholder.
"Mr. DeLay has proven himself to be ethically unfit to lead his party. The burden now falls upon his fellow House Republicans.
"Republicans must answer - do they want an ethically unfit person to be their majority leader, or do they want to remove the ethical cloud that hangs over the Capitol?"
"Twelve years ago, a Republican member took to the House floor and stated: 'When someone is in power for an inordinate amount of time, then this kind of oversight, this kind of corruption, if you will, continues and builds upon itself and sort of feeds on itself.'
"Two years later, that same member stated: 'We need to clean our own House for the sake of the institution.' That member was Tom DeLay. It is time for the American people to clean this House."
Taking on Tom DeLay has the news roundup from this morning.
Help the DCCC take down Tom DeLay, and donate today.
The Green and Libertarian presidential nominees were to debate today on the West Mall of the UT-Austin campus (apparently it was moved inside to the Union, not sure why). I was planning on listening to a few minutes of the debate as I passed by the West Mall, but taking a two minute detour to get to the Union really just wasn't worth my time to listen to two candidates - one of which is not even on the Texas ballot (Green nominee, David Cobb), and the other is a tax evading, UN bomb threatening, prisoner's muscle atrophying, constitution shreading nutcase who doesn't even drive anymore because he refuses to get a driver's license (Libertarian nominee, Michael Badnarik).
The Daily Texan has the story:
The Longhorn Libertarians and UT Campus Greens are hosting a debate between the two candidates in hopes of informing students that they have more than the two traditional party choices when voting. Ben Philpot of KUT radio and Daily Texan associate editor JJ Hermes will be moderating the event for the first 30 minutes. The second half of the debate will be open for questions from the audience.
The debate is targeted at allowing the audience to get honest views from the candidates about issues that the two major parties have avoided, said Bill Holloway, UT Campus Greens liaison and debate organizer.
Philpot said today's event will focus on similar issues as the Bush-Kerry debates, but he also plans to bring up topics specific to Texas, such as education, health insurance and immigration. Philpot said this debate will differ in that candidates are likely to agree on more issues, because they both disagree with the Democrat and Republican parties.
I'm all for a serious debate of the issues, and I'll admit that there's a good number of key issues in which the two major parties largely agree, and opposing views are often not heard (Israeli / Palestinian conflict, the drug war, the Patriot Act, the influence of corporate power, the death penalty, immigration, etc.). But as someone who doesn't really take third parties seriously in the first place, the third parties vying for the presidency this year give third parties a bad name.
Update: Speaking of the irrelevence of third parties, Nader failed for like the eighth time to make the 2004 Texas ballot today with his rejection by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. (Via Kuff).
Three more Republicans in the past day.
Texans will make a difference in this presidential election, even if Texas isn't in play. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports:
The Kerry-Edwards campaign in Arkansas alone has roughly 100 volunteers from out of state, with most of those — about 75 — coming from Texas and working in the Texarkana office, said John Emekli, spokesman for the campaign in Arkansas. "I think the people in this region of the country know Arkansas is a battleground and can be won," Emekli said. "They can certainly make a difference in Texas, but they want to come somewhere they can swing the election to Kerry and Edwards."
Some volunteers are students who take time off from school, some are retirees, and others use vacation time, Emekli said. He said a dozen volunteers from Texas were expected in Little Rock this weekend.
If any southern state (excluding Florida) is truly in play, it is Arkansas. If Clinton's up to it, I'd have Kerry unleash him in Arkansas in the final weeks of the campaign.
Update: Speaking of Arkansas, it's a statistical tie according to the Wall Street Journal polling today, with Kerry leading by 0.2%:
Following Pandagon's instructions here.
Everyone together now, say "Bush flip-flops".
Political Wire catches Bush:
"My opponent says he has a plan for Iraq. Parts of it should sound pretty familiar -- it's already known as the Bush plan."
"In Iraq, Senator Kerry has a strategy of retreat; I have a strategy of victory."
-- President Bush, in the same speech, this morning in Pennsylvania.
Ohio House candidate Jeff Seemann has a great idea here - let his onling supporters and the blog community choose his schedule for tomorrow. So, vote for what you'd like to see Jeff do, and it'll be interesting to see what type of coverage it works.
If it turns out well, I could see a candidate like Richard Morrison doing something similar.
Tom DeLay's free fall continues:
The House ethics committee Wednesday criticized House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for conduct that appeared to link political donations to legislation and for improperly contacting U.S. aviation authorities for political purposes, House sources said Wednesday. The committee’s findings were an extraordinary second rebuke of the Texas Republican’s ethical conduct in just six days.
The committee of five Democrats and five Republicans deferred to Texas authorities’ allegations that DeLay violated state campaign finance rules.
I'd encourage all of the Kos readers following the link over here tonight, to take this opportunity to give to Richard Morrison, and the redistricted Democrats here in Texas running hard-fought campaigns against right-wing Republicans in tough districts (learn more about the Texas Democratic Congressional races over at our group blog: Texas Tuesdays). Or just donate to the DCCC.
Update: The Houston Chronicle has a more in-depth story on DeLay's latest rebuke today.
Very interesting. Andrew posted earlier that a DeLay censure may be coming down this evening. Now, word is leaking out that there were secret metings of the House Ethics Committee yesterday:
First, potential political damage will hinge on the results of the indictment of DeLay’s allies by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, the Senate and Justice Department investigation of DeLay’s former aide Mike Scanlon, and the pending ethics complaint against DeLay filed by outgoing Rep. Chris Bell (D-Texas).
The ethics committee met yesterday in secret, a meeting that committee observers speculated was for the purpose of voting on how to proceed on the Bell complaint. An aide to Hefley announced yesterday afternoon that the committee would issue no statement on the proceedings.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
The House ethics committee met Tuesday to consider how to proceed on the complaint against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, but did not disclose the proceedings.
Lou Dubose says that things will only get worse for Tom DeLay over at Truthout (via Salon.com):
September was a bad month for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas. The year to come will likely be worse.
And finally, the conservative public advocacy group, Judicial Watch has called on Tom DeLay to resign his post as majority leader:
Judicial Watch, the conservative public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today called on Rep. Tom DeLay to step down as House Majority Leader in the wake of the bipartisan House Ethics Committee’s recent findings that he acted improperly in attempting to win a vote from Rep. Nick Smith in exchange for endorsing Smith’s son in a congressional primary. It is the second time that DeLay has been chastised by the ethics panel.
“Frankly, the ethics report was too kind to Mr. DeLay and the other House members implicated in the controversy. Mr. DeLay’s actions in trying to trade a political endorsement for a vote were inappropriate and unacceptable, and given this grave ethical lapse, he should step down as Majority Leader. The Republican Party should not countenance its leadership violating House rules and standards of ethical behavior,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
Also following the story around the blogs are Off the Kuff, Taking on Tom DeLay and Gregs Opinion.
Dick Cheney lied last night when he said that he met John Edwards for the first time before the debate.
We immediately learned that they met twice; at a prayer breakfast in 2001, and at Elizabeth Dole's swearing in ceremony (as opposed to the Patrick Leahy swearing "at" ceremony this summer).
Now, the Gadflyer reports on a third meeting before last night:
We hear this from Tim Russert:
"On April 8 of 2001, they were on 'Meet the Press' together. Dick Cheney first and then John Edwards after him. They stopped and shook hands."
The fact that Cheney fudged the truth for the sake of a good line is true to form. But let's think about this for a moment. This is what Cheney would have said if he was being honest:
"Once a week, I come up to the Senate to have lunch with Republicans. I don't talk to Democrats, because you're the enemy. If I do find myself at some kind of event with them, I'm as likely to say 'Go fuck yourself' as hello. And yet, we haven't had the chance to get together. That must be because you're not doing your job."
It doesn't really matter to Dick Cheney, whether it's big issues like Iraq and Halliburton, or small issues like factcheck.com and how many times he's met John Edwards. On issues big and small, Dick Cheney is a serial liar.
Update: For a list of all the Cheney lies throughout the debate, check out Washington Monthly.
Max Speak has the letter. Here are some excerpts of the letter signed by seven professors at UT's McCombs School of Business among dozens others.
The data make clear that your policy of slashing taxes – primarily for those at the upper reaches of the income distribution – has not worked. The fiscal reversal that has taken place under your leadership is so extreme that it would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. The federal budget surplus of over $200 billion that we enjoyed in the year 2000 has disappeared, and we are now facing a massive annual deficit of over $400 billion. [...]
Although some members of your administration have suggested that the mountain of new debt accumulated on your watch is mainly the consequence of 9-11 and the war on terror, budget experts know that this is simply false. Your economic policies have played a significant role in driving this fiscal collapse.
These sorts of deficits crowd out private investment and are politically addictive. They also place a heavy burden on monetary policy – and create additional pressure for higher interest rates – by stoking inflationary expectations. If your economic advisers are telling you that these deficits can be defeated through further reductions in tax rates, then you need new advisers. [...]
What is called for, we believe, is a dramatic reorientation of fiscal policy, including substantial reversals of your tax policy. Running a budget deficit in response to a short bout of recession is one thing. But running large structural deficits over a long period is something else entirely. We therefore urge you to consider the fiscal realities we now face and the substantial burden they are placing on our economy. [...]
At the moment, the most commonly accepted measure of inequality – the so-called Gini coefficient – is far higher in the United States than in any other developed country and is continuing to move upward. We don’t know where the breakpoint is for the U.S., but we would rather not find out. With all due respect, we believe your tax policy has exacerbated the problem of inequality in the United States. [...]
Freshman State Rep. Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) has three ads in rotation. Check them out.
And yes, BORFTF is Burnt Orange Report From The Floor (Student Government Meetings).
I have an update with some corrected info from last nights report that I wanted to elevate to a post here. It was about the surveys that John Walthall spoke about...
Good Wednesday! I am pleased to see that BOR comments from the SG meeting each week, and I wanted to clarify some of the points made about the survey, as I was the person there to present the issue.
First, the main topic of the presentation was to let current reps know about the possibility of addressing or researching relevant issues or projects by use of these opinion surveys.
Second, I have some more detailed info on student's rating of Student Government. 23% of the undergraduate population rated some dissatisfaction with SG. A question then asked (if they were dissatisfied), what was the reason. Of those that responded, No Authority received 26% and No Outreach received 22%. It is important to note that this does not mean that 26% of undergrads believe that SG has no authority.
Lastly, the results will be provided to Exec to then be released to The Daily Texan, the SG assembly, and the public at large. There is no intention of hiding the results to use in future campaigns.
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me. I am honored though that the data has made an appearance here.
Word round the campfire is that a DeLay decision will come down tonight, probably around 7 PM CDT. Word is there will be a CD-ROM released, which suggests exhibits, evidence that sort of thing. "Censure" has been on a lot of lips. Can't confirm it, but where there's smoke, there tends to be fire.
Just reporting what I've heard, don't shoot the messenger.
Because in the past twenty minutes or so, MSNBC has repeated about three times that 59% of their over 2+ million online voters thought that John Edwards won. Totally unscientific, yes. But having everyone repeat over and over that their viewers thought Edwards won is a good coup in the spin department.
Josh Marshall has the best speculation I can find.
Cheney mentions "Factcheck.com" during the debate as an independent non-partisan location where viewers see a defense of Cheney's connections to Halliburton.
Next, millions of viewers (including myself) head over to Factcheck.com, overloading their bandwidth. When the dust cleared, we all realize that it's a dead site. Bought up by someone who used the random hits the site got to make money via ads.
Right after the debate, "Factcheck.com" starts redirecting to "GeorgeSoros.com". It would be interesting to know if Soros owned FactCheck.com or if a Democrat owned it an immidiately redirected it to GeorgeSoros.com. Either way, some one was on top of things - and it wasn't Dick Cheney.
He meant to direct viewers to FactCheck.org (yeah, old farts just don't seem to grasp the difference between that .org and .com thing). And what does FactCheck.org have to say:
Cheney wrongly implied that FactCheck had defended his tenure as CEO of Halliburton Co., and the vice president even got our name wrong. He overstated matters when he said Edwards voted "for the war" and "to commit the troops, to send them to war." He exaggerated the number of times Kerry has voted to raise taxes, and puffed up the number of small business owners who would see a tax increase under Kerry's proposals.
Cheney got our domain name wrong -- calling us "FactCheck.com" -- and wrongly implied that we had rebutted allegations Edwards was making about what Cheney had done as chief executive officer of Halliburton.
In fact, we did post an article pointing out that Cheney hasn't profited personally while in office from Halliburton's Iraq contracts, as falsely implied by a Kerry TV ad. But Edwards was talking about Cheney's responsibility for earlier Halliburton troubles. And in fact, Edwards was mostly right.
For only the fourth time this year the DMN made the right decision in who to support for the Texas House by endorsing our friend Katy Hubener.
(W)e are troubled that since the last election, Mr. Allen has demonstrated several examples of poor judgment:
Mr. Allen blurs the line between personal and public interests. He lobbies in Washington and other states for an association that champions prison industries, both state- and privately run, and at the same time chairs his chamber's corrections committee. Mr. Allen insists this doesn't pose a conflict of interest. But we worry that his position of authority over legislation that affects the association he works for undermines the public's confidence in the integrity of the legislative process.
Mr. Allen was the target of criticism this summer in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for inappropriately running his personal businesses and his campaign out of his state office. Mr. Allen confirmed to us the story was "accurate, fair and painful."
Some of Mr. Allen's legislative colleagues have expressed concern about his lapses in judgment.
These issues, together with our concerns about Mr. Allen's positions on key issues, prompt us to recommend Democrat Katy Hubener in the Texas House District 106 race. (...)
By way of background, Ms. Hubener, 34, has education degrees from Texas Tech and Claremont Graduate University in California. Mr. Allen, 53, is a graduate of American Christian College in Oklahoma.
Ms. Hubener served until recently as executive director of the Blue Skies Alliance, pressing to clean Dallas-Fort Worth's air so that asthmatic children can breathe and businesses can invest without fear that Washington would restrict economic development. She resigned the post to run for the Legislature, but not before she'd developed a reputation as somebody who could work across party lines. No less a Republican than Collin County Judge Ron Harris lauds Ms. Hubener as "wanting to find solutions" and "being reasonable to work with." (...)
(I)n the final analysis, we figure Mr. Allen's had his turn in Austin. It's time to give Ms. Hubener a chance.
Looks like old habits die hard, they open the article (which I mercifully left out of my excerpt) by singing Allen's praises- his corruption being left until after the lede and his infidelity not garnering a mention at all. But they made the right choice. Katy stands a good chance to knock off a terrible incumbent and in doing so she will become a rising star of Texas Politics.
Congrats Katy! Check out her website and try and drop her some jingle if you can.
[2:14: Calling it a night here. Be sure to check the veep debate thread below if you missed it, and while you're at it, check out the DNC video.]
12:10: Politicalwire calls it for Edwards, as does Andrew Sullivan, Kevin Drum and Pandagon (slightly). I'm still calling it a draw, although I'd like to see more polls on it. I have a sneaking suspicion that Edwards may have had a positive impact with women (the CNN undecided group seemed to like him, and anecdotal evidence that I've seen here and there tonight seems to suggest that this might be the case).
11:03: Here's a line for Wonkette or Boi From Troy: "I love it when you tease me like that, Jeff" - Aaron Brown on Jeff Greenfield's headline on Newsnight.
10:52: Keith Olberman drew the opposite conclusion that I did. He called it a draw (as do I), but seems to give Edwards points on foreign policy and Cheney points on domestic issues. Huh?
10:47: Anyone have any snap poll numbers?
CBS gives Edwards the edge:
A CBS News poll of 169 uncommitted voters found that 41 percent said Edwards won the debate, versus 29 percent who said Cheney won. Thirty percent said it was a tie.
Of course, the wingnuts will dismiss it as liberal BS. I mean, obviously, Dan Rather's behind it...
Update: Got some more:
ABC: Cheney 43, Edwards 35, Tie 19% among debate viewers.
Voter Preference (before): Bush/Cheney 51, Kerry/Edwards 48%.
Voter Preference (after): Bush/Cheney 50, Kerry/Edwards 49%.
Internals of those polled: Republicans 38%, Democrats 31%, Independents 27% (509 registered voters, 4.5% margin of error).
So Cheney won by 8%, but the poll had a 7% GOP edge. So, basically a draw in that poll.
10:40: Cheney Lied. Cheney recognized Edwards at a prayer breakfast, and Edwards escorted Sen. Dole (R-NC) when she was sworn in by Dick Cheney. I guess Cheney is either very antisocial or just has a bad memory.
10:38: Another live poll list on Atrios. Vote for John-John.
10:26: Sen Leahy (D-VT): "The Vice President comes up every Tuesday, but he only talks to Republicans" - on why Cheney had never met John Edwards until tonight.
10:00: Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and girls, its Jon Stewart time!!
Remember to vote in the Houston Chronicle poll. That's the one poll Bush won last Thursday.
9:56: Ok folks. This dkos diary has all the polls we should vote in. You know the drill. Vote for John-John.
9:54: Yay. Women like Edwards. 9/10 in CNN's focus group when he talked about outsourcing.
9:47: Atrios has the post-debate GOP conference call information up, but it looks like the GOP learned from last week. My friend just called and the operator asked for his name. I guess the BC04 team decided to give them a list of the people invited. It might have just worked to make up a name, but we were too slow.
Don't think anyone was here for the live blogging? Think Again.
9:47: Last post here. Liveblogging continues on the post-debate thread.
9:38: Cheney got the best jabs in on foreign policy. Edwards took too long to go on the offensive (Haliburton) and defend Kerry's record that Cheney ripped into. On the domestic front, Edwards dominated. Cheney's hard to listen to. He's dull, boring, uncharismatic. You can tell when he's on an issue that he cares about (Iraq, terrorism), and when he's just going through the motions (domestic issues).
9:29: Did Cheney just mention how the president worked across the aisle in Texas? And how did (Former Texas House Speaker) Pete Laney get treated for working with Bush? Oh, ya know, President Bush sat on the sidelines while Tom DeLay used illegal corporate money to take over the Texas House for Republicans, where Tom Craddick has run the most partisan, autocratic legislature in memory.
Zell Miller? Democrat? The dueler? Huh?
9:25: Bush/Cheney flip-flops: It's about time someone calls them out on it on national television. Thank you, John. (I blogged on this last week).
9:20: "I don't talk about myself very much". That was just soooo self-deprecating Mr. Cheney.
9:16: The experience question. And Edwards... please, say the line that he has the exact same experience in government as George W. Bush did in 2000. It's such an easy and revealing line.
9:13: Cheney wasn't aware of African-American HIV rates? Has he been living in fantasyland? I wonder what Cheney's record on HIV was while he was in Congress in the 1980s? I doubt that he was any more progressive on AIDS than he was on Apartheid.
9:10: Cheney talking about tax loopholes? I think we just entered a parallel universe or something.
9:06: Clintonesque. The swimming pool drain company story. Talking about the poor little girl who was deformed by the evil corporation that was too cheap to fix it with a two cent screw. It's the type of human connection that has failed Dick Cheney tonight. He's hit Kerry hard and effectively tonight, but I don't think he's made any deeper connection.
9:04: Nice, Cheney was speachless. That made me happy. There was nothing further that he could say to bolster the presidents case on the Hate Amendment other than to simply thank John Edwards for his kind words about his family. Cheney's silence demonstrated the complete inability of the Bush administration to defend the Federal Marriage Amendment. His first comments were rather incoherent, but thankfully, Cheney chose loving his daughter over supporting his boss's position in his final remarks.
9:02: Gay marriage... does Dick Cheney hate his daughter? First, he's totally incoherent.
As for Edwards - very nice. Remind all the wingnuts that Cheney has a gay daughter, then talk about Civil Unions and opposition to the Hate Amendment. He's better now, making the case for why gays deserve equal benefits.
[I've moved the first hour of the thread into the extended entry.]
8:56: Cheney talking about jobs again? Rolling back tax cuts for people making $200,000 will hurt small businesses and lose jobs?
Fact check: Clinton raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans in 1994, and 22 million jobs were created. Bush cut taxes for the fourth time this week, and still... net job loss - worst since Herbert Hoover. Who makes up this stuff? It's a bunch of right-wing Kool-Aide.
8:52: Old data? I guess that since it happened in 2002 or 2003, then Bush/Cheney isn't responsible for it? Huh?
8:50: Nice jab by Edwards. How did a jobs/poverty question turn into a talk about education? Because the Bush adminstration has done nothing about jobs, health care or poverty, so they try to change the subject and talk about a subject (education) that they've done little about, but one that they can try to convince enough people that they've tried to do something.
8:47: Another low blow by Cheney. "Senator Gone" (from Edwards "hometown newspaper? Any comment on what Bush's "hometown newspaper" had to say last week)? "The first time I saw you is tonight". He ought to look in the mirror. Where has Dick Cheney been over the past month as the president of the Senate? Has he been presiding over the Senate? Even on Tuesdays? Hell, no. He's on the campaign trail.
Ok, good. To recap: Kerry voted against the same weapons that Cheney opposed. Cheney voted for Apartheid.
8:41: I guess everyone's going to Factcheck.com. I can't open it.
Also liveblogging is Bull by the Horns. Thanks for the trackback.
8:38: Sanctions don't work, but we need stronger ones in Iran? Huh?
8:31: "34 Countries then, 30 today"? You've got to be kidding me. That's the biggest load of crap I've ever heard. What percentage did our allies pay then and now?
Thanks, John. $5 Billion vs. $200 Billion.
The sacrifice of our Iraqi allies? Wasn't their oil supposed to pay for everything? Oh wait, it went to Dick Cheney and Haliburton instead.
8:27: Yes, Dick, the record does speak for itself. Thanks, John. I would have liked to have seen Haliburton and the remarks about Cheney opposing the same weapons systems as John Kerry 10-15 minutes ago, but I'm glad it made it's way into the debate.
Also liveblogging the debate: Rooftop Report - thanks for the trackback. So is Swanky Conservative.
8:24: Does Dick Cheney have a single positive thing to say about anything? Is he going to start defending his record, or keep attacking. Time to change the topic, John. Talk about that "long resume"...
8:22: Snarky! "You probably weren't there to vote for that"! Damn! I guess he took his anger management from Bush in the first debate. My friends I'm watching this with are mocking him now. He looks evil. And he kept looking at his notes. Look at the camera, Dick!
8:20: This is why Edwards is on the ticket. The "global test" isn't about giving Paris a veto over U.S. security, it's about returning to the type of leadership that the United States has had between World War II and the end of the Clinton administration.
8:18: Well, Edwards responded to the "global test" thing, but not about Kerry's record of opposing weapons systems that Dick Cheney also supported.
8:14: Good retort by Cheney (after a slow start and not answering the first question). He said what President Bush should have said last Thursday night. Attack Kerry's record on defense since the 1970s. I was shocked that Bush didn't mention how Kerry voted against the first Gulf War when Kerry alluded to it during their debate. I was surprised Bush didn't mention Kerry's opposition to weapons systems (that Cheney also opposed... will Edwards remind America of that?). And I was surprised that Bush didn't come up with the "no US force without UN approval line". Cheney did a good job of picking up where Bush screwed up last week.
8:10: No connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. Wow, they came out swinging. Cheney looks angry. Did he prep from Bush?
8:03: Ok, as for the real livebloggers: Pandagon and Washington Monthly. On the other side, there's Vodka Pundit and a gooper open thread here.
7:53: I'll start liveblogging the debate in a few minutes.
If George W. Bush had things his way, instead of playing Atlanta tomorrow night for the first game of the NLDS, the Houston Astros would be sitting at home watching the playoffs, or heck, maybe the debates.
Boonville Blog explains:
If it was up to George W. Bush the poor Red Sox and Astros would be home and we would not have an extra round of exciting playoff baseball. 27-1. It hurts when Bud Selig (yes, Bud Selig) has history on his side and you don't. George Steinbrenner, Peter Angelos and the rest of the owners were all correct. George W. Bush was wrong. Can you imagine baseball without the wild card. Sigh. This man is clearly unfit to be president. Will the Kerry campaign please take a stand on this!
Yup, Bush was the sole vote against the Wild Card:
Major League Baseball's decision in 1993 to realign its leagues into three divisions and include the team with the next-best record in the playoffs was considered heresy by the purists, particularly because it copied a concept from football, of all things.
The only baseball owner to vote against the change, which took effect in 1994 before the postseason was canceled by labor strife, was from Texas.
"I made my arguments and went down in flames. History will prove me right," said then-Rangers owner George W. Bush, whose foresight led him to bigger and better things.
"This is an exercise in folly."
Hmm... I'm sure that John Kerry would disagree. Go Red Sox!
(I'm an honorary Red Sox fan this October, beacause growing up in Dallas, I grew up a Rangers fan, so its hard to bring myself to be too excited about the Astros. There's no way I'd ever cheer for the Yankees, and well I figure that the Rangers curse won't end until the Red Sox take care of theirs. Plus, it might even bring some good karma to the Kerry campaign).
Back in the Student Government room I am today with another report while Byron entertains you tonight with LiveBlogging.
Some initial announcements, someone spoke on surveys that SG is currently doing. Some interesting preliminary results about some of the questions, political make up of respondent pool (about 1000, MOE ~3%)
I think that isn't out of the ordinary with our actual voting results on campus because many campus Republicans do not vote here (many do voting by mail) The Green vote will be in the Kerry column in Texas this election (no Nader), I would be willing to bet that much of the independent vote is democratic this year and the libertarians on campus are the 'intellectual' type and not the right wing type that exists in much of rural Texas.
Also, number one complaint with Student Government? With about 28% (I think) the top claim is "No Authority".
I find it interesting though that polling like this was done during last year's SG election (though I'm not sure in what capacity) but with the fact that the data will be given to the SG Exec, will we ever see the results? Will it just end up being used to craft next spring's winning message for the SG ticket?
President Brent Cheney reported that he and VP Rachel McGinity met with Carol Keeton Rylander McClellen Strayhorn and asked about some student concerns. In asking, "If you were Governor what would you think about these ideas...." tax-free textbooks and student on board of regents both sounded like a really good idea to her and her office is apparently crunching the number on tax free textbooks right now. Can someone say campaign issue for the 2006 Governor's race?
We are now in the middle of appropriations where $46,336.84 was requested by student groups this week, and $7,370 will actually be given out by SG. This is spread out over 3 weeks and in total about $80,000 will have been requested and maybe $11,000 will be given out.
It looks like the letter was also sent to The Lasso (and posted), but it's a well researched critic of the Dallas Morning News, which as a rule is something I pretty much can't resist:
I wake up each morning with the DMN and lately their editorial page has made me want to call up and cancel my subscription. Friday, they called Bush the winner of the debate because he didn't lose, whatever that means.
Then on Saturday, in their chatty Hits and Misses editorial column, the final item admonishes Martin Frost for having a fund raiser with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. Headlined, "Dude, where's my due diligence?" the blurb by Rod Dreher drags out the 35 yr old arrest of "crusty old Peter Yarrow, the epitome of the diehard '60s liberal," for taking "immoral liberties" with a 14 yr old girl in 1970. The editorial then suggests that Frost's campaign Google all potential fund raisers, which I thought was pretty hip for Belo. Even though the whole "immoral liberties" thing does sound just a tad dated.
So I Google Peter Yarrow. 33,700 matches. Result 109 (page 11) led me to House Resolution 161, "a tribute to Operation Respect, Inc., and Peter Yarrow for anti-bullying, compassion and tolerance program Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House April 29, 2003." So here's a man honored by the Congress last year for his good works that the DMN wants to sling mud at for a 35 yr old crime.
By page 13, I started getting pages from Japanese web sites in Kanji, so I decided to refine my search. Using "peter yarrow" and "immoral liberties" in quotes, I got 71 matches to the DMN story. I wonder how they came up with that search string?
So then I Googled "Dallas Morning News" and "fraud." Result number three was a story in the Dallas Observer about the News inflating their circulation figures and over billing their advertisers from August of this year.
Thank god for the Internet!
This is what the original Dallas Morning News editorial wrote:
It's hard to see where the payoff for Martin Frost would have been in bringing crusty old Peter Yarrow, the epitome of the diehard '60s liberal, to Dallas to perform at a campaign fund-raiser in his new, Republican-leaning district. But never mind that: Who on Team Frost forgot to Google the guy's name to find out if he'd been tarred with anything untoward – like, say, a 1970 guilty plea for taking "immoral liberties" with a 14-year-old girl?
Pete Sessions, meanwhile, has turned the incident into a Radio Ad (scroll to "Frost-caught").
The letter brings up an interesting point, though. Did Pete Sessions object to the U.S. House resolution (approved by a voice vote) honoring the work of Peter Yarrow's organization, Operation Respect, Inc.? If not, Sessions has some explaining to do. Why would he support honoring the work of a man, who he is now attacking in press releases and radio ads?
In all seriousness, inviting Peter Yarrow to do a fundraiser in Dallas was a mistake by the Frost campaign. It sends the wrong message when you base much of your campaign on creating legislation to be tough on child molesters, and then you plan a fundraiser with someone who took "immoral liberties" with a 14 year-old girl while in his thirties. Still, Frost has the upper hand on the issue. However much Pete Sessions wants to change the topic, Martin Frost created a law that has helped a tremendous number of kidnapped children, while Pete Sessions voted against it. It's that simple.
Back to the Dallas Morning News for the latest endorsement tally. They endorsed Republicans Linda Harper-Brown and Robert Frost (Frost, no relation to the aforementioned congressman, is running against Carlos Cortez, a member of the Dallas County Young Democrats who is running a strong campaign. Check out his website and throw some change his way if you have a chance).
Current DMN endorsement tally?
Fair and balanced alright...
The Kerry "Dog Hunters" versus the Swift Vets has been one subtext of the 2004 campaign in which it often appears as if, even after thirty years, we are refighting the Vietnam war. Well, Glen Smith offers us another subtext. Forget Vietnam, we're refighting the Civil War. There's quite a bit of evidence to suggest it without looking any further than the 2000 election results. In 2000, Bush carried all eleven Confederate States. Meanwhile, Al Gore carried 17 of 23 Union states (three of Bush's six Union states were border states - Missouri, Kentucky and West Virginia). In fact, Al Gore only carried three non-Union states - Washington, New Mexico and Hawaii. What to make of it? Well, the easy answer is that Democrats are the party of progress, and Republicans are the party that has used every social issue in the past generation to rally the racists and bigots to their side. Well, that's one way of looking at it. Glen Smith extrapolates on the topic a little further.
But not before the Travis County Democratic coordinated campaign registered 12,424 voters yesterday alone.
Over in Houston, the Harris County Democratic Party's Sharpstown office registered over 2500 in their voter registration drive.
Good job everyone!
Update: My father just sent me this New York Times article on how he thinks we managed to do so well with voter registration here in Travis County:
The Austin event, Burlesque the Vote, was the brainchild of Audrey Maker, a local burlesque artist and activist, who brought together 14 strip acts, both amateurs and professionals, for an evening of erotica. By 10 p.m. 300 people packed the club.
Ms. Maker had completed the coursework to become a Texas deputy registrar, and after the event ended, she rushed a box of new registrations to the local tax assessor's office, ahead of the Monday deadline in Texas to register for the November election.
Over the last six months a range of adult performers - from performance art-oriented burlesque dancers at Emo's to harder-core strip clubs to online pornographers - have conducted voter-registration drives.
Well, whatever works, I guess. I can't complain.
Well those activist judges did it again. The most recent state constitutional amendment is overturned because it violated the constituion.
Update [Byron here]. More at Boi from Troy.
I enjoyed liveblogging the first debate last Thursday, and I think I'll try it again with the veep debate tonight. So, let me know what you'd like to see with our coverage, and hopefully I can convince Andrew, Karl-Thomas or Jim to help liveblog the debate with me.
Update: Veep Debate Thread here.
It's Texas Tuesdays again, and today we're featuring U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Waco) for the second time.
Charles has reposted the interview of Chet Edwards by State Rep. candidates Jake Gilbreath previously seen here at BOR.
There's also an introduction with the latest on the campaign.
Above is a picture of Chet Edwards and Jake Gilbreath a few weeks ago after the interview for Texas Tuesdays.
Show them some love.
Donate to Chet.
Donate to the DCCC.
Donate to Jake.
Yeah, they're chicken. Chicken Jack almost sounds like a good sandwich. Not so much with Todd. But, I digress. Why are Jack Stick and Todd Baxter chicken? They won't debate their opponents Mark Strama and Kelly White.
Each election year, Austin's PBS affiliate, KLRU hosts (along with KUT radio, Texas Monthly and the Austin American Statesman) a candidate forum for local legislative races. This year KLRU invited the Democratic and Republican nominees to the candidate forum (KRLU's invitation to all candidates is here - PDF file), but Stick and Baxter insisted on very bizarre rules. Instead of simply declining to debate, Baxter and Stick essentially admitted that it would be unfair for their opponents to be able to respond to their characterizations of their freshman term accomplishments - or lack thereof. Furthermore, Stick and Baxter requested a single moderator over a full panel of journalists (ya know, too many of the commie journalists asking questions would really trip them up). Put simply, Jack Stick and Todd Baxter don't want to debate, because they can't defend their record.
Here's the request that Baxter and Stick (and HD45 GOP nominee Alan Askew, running against State Rep. Patrick Rose D-Dripping Springs) made to KLRU:
You can read the entire letter sent by the three GOP nominees here (PDF file).
White and Strama responded with this letter (PDF file) to Baxter and Stick noting that their request for the candidates to not hear each others remarks was highly unusual. They continued to invite both Baxter and Stick to four public debates, but the Republicans would have none of it. Neither Baxter nor Stick replied to the Democrats' letter.
Finally, KLRU had to make a decision on what to do. The Austin Chronicle reports:
Clearly, not even presidential candidates make these kinds of demands, but KLRU president and general manager Bill Stotesbery preferred to play down the pains in the station's neck. He explained that the candidates' schedules were such that it made more sense to shift to a format of individually taped interviews. "At this point we're trying to find a format that will allow everybody to be seen," he said. But even that appears iffy. As of Monday, the station was still waiting to hear back from some of the candidates. Stotesbery said he didn't know which ones had not yet scheduled interviews, but we have an idea.
Alan Askew already hasn't shown up. The Chronicle continues:
One is Askew, of Wimberley, the GOP nominee in District 45. The Democrat he's trying to unseat, Rep. Patrick Rose of Dripping Springs, walked into the KLRU studio on Sept. 22 for what he thought would be a debate with his Republican rival. But Askew was a no-show, so Rose sat down for a one-on-one with Spencer, and that interview will air Friday on Spencer's Austin Now program. Producers, who this week were still uncertain about Askew, had hoped to run the Rose/Askew interviews back to back during the Friday night program. But who knows? After Rose's segment, maybe all they'll have to show for the other guy is dead air.
So will Stick and Baxter show up? I can't really blame them. If I were Jack Stick or Todd Baxter, I wouldn't want to defend my record either. I mean, if I had voted to divide Austin into three congressional districts, or to deregulate tuition rates and raise UT's tuition thirty percent or to cut the health insurance for thousands of disadvantaged children on the CHIP program, a public candidate forum is about the last place that I'd like to be.
And it's not even the left that had to correct him this time. Little Green Footballs (aka Kos for the wingnuts) finally allowed research to trump their initial euphoria over Kerry possibly cheating. I wonder how many times Limbaugh, Hannity and Savage repeated it first, though?
Wow, I thought I'd never see the day:
Personally, I'd be delighted to live in a country where happily married gay couples had closets full of assault weapons.
I'll write a post commenting on the new financial disclosure reports from state races either tonight or tomorrow- whenever the numbers are online. It will surely be a bit of sublime commentary of epic proportions.
Dan Rather, a CBS anchor suspected of an affinity for the Democrats unwittingly reports that some forged documents are real and though Bush never denies the substance of the documents, the GOP is ready to string Rather up.
Meanwhile, Carl Cameron, Fox News' Cheif Political Correspondant, has a wife that works for Bush/Cheney and this week he openly admits to making up quotes from John Kerry. My question- where is the outrage?
The article alleged to cover a post-debate rally by Kerry at which the Massachusetts senator was purported to gush over his "metrosexual" appearance.
"Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!" the article by the Cameron read, purportedly quoting Kerry after the event.
"Women should like me! I do manicures," the story also quotes Kerry as telling the crowd.
The article also has the Democratic candidate contrasting himself to US President George W. Bush.
"I'm metrosexual -- he's a cowboy," Cameron quoted Kerry as saying.
Officials for Fox, which has been criticized for being biased towards Bush's Republican party, decline to explain how the spoof article ended up on the network's website.
Yeah, so here are a couple of problems. Either Fox News is lying and they wanted people to believe that Kerry actually said these things or the lines of journalistic integrity are so blurred there that their chief political reporter- the husband of a Bush campaign staffer- is also spending his free time writing anti-Kerry spoofs and their staff is so inept that they put a rather unfunny spoof up where real news is supposed to go.
Fox News is incompetent, unethical and perhaps even straight up dishonest. When will the National Review begin their screeds against "Cameron-gate"?
Help take back the Texas House! Do your part to meet a rising star in the Texas Democratic party:
KATY HUBENER, Candidate for Texas House of Representatives, District 106 (Grand Prairie and Irving in the DFW area).
Katy Hubener is one of the best state house Democratic pick-up opportunities. She has been featured as by Howard Dean as a Dean dozen candidate, and has been featured by Texas Tuesdays and has received strong backing from Annie's List (the Texas version of EMILY's list supporting pro-choice female Democratic candidates).
TODAY, MONDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2004
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
HOSTED BY NANCY HOFFMAN AND LINDA LEFF
6311 MESA DRIVE - AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731
For more info, Email: NHOFFMAN1@AUSTIN.RR.COM or CALL 512-346-1826 or check out her webpage.
The man called the good folks of Oklahoma City "crapheads". Now, I certainly disagree with the average Oklahoman on a number of issues (not the least of which being who's gonna win in Dallas next weekend), but I've never called them "crapheads". On the other hand, the Republican that wants to represent them in the U.S. Senate has done just that:
This one from the DCCC entitled "Miserable Failure" (In honor, I suppose of Dick Gephardt's number one contribution to the 2004 POTUS campaign). It debunks several of the Bush lies from Thursday night, along with pointing out his angry and annoyed expressions to Kerry's remarks (as seen in the DNC debate video.
The Tom DeLay protest which Karl-Thomas mentioned was sort of cancelled because DeLay rescheduled the fundraiser to be three hours earlier at the last minute, but dozens of protesters and several media folks showed up anyway. I got bored after about ten minutes and rode my bike right back to campus, but a Tom DeLay theme seems to be emerging. He's toxic to most everyone outside of Sugarland. No one wants to be seen with him. Whether it be Jack Stick and Todd Baxter today, or Billy Tauzin III last week, nobody wants to be seen with Tom DeLay.
Here's what Capitol Inside reported on today's events:
Now you see him, now you don't.
U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay outfoxed local Democrats who'd been planning to protest his appearance at a Monday fundraiser in downtown Austin. The powerful Texan slipped into town four hours earlier than originally scheduled, started raising cash for his re-election campaign and hoped to hit the road before any angry protestors arrived on the scene.
But DeLay pulled a fast one on the Democrats with a last-minute change of plans. He had sponsors move the fundraiser from the noon hour up to to 8 a.m. Lobbyists and others who'd indicated plans to attend the event were alerted Sunday night to the scheduling revisions.
DeLay arrived at the Austin Club about 7:50 a.m. in a black Cadillac Escalade sports utility vehicle, which followed another car into an alley off 9th Street between Congress Avenue and Brazos Street. The congressman, who was accompanied by a small security detail, entered the building througha sid e door on the alley. There wasn't a single protestor in sight at the time.
The Austin fundraiser was designed to help DeLay raise cash for his general
election race against Democrat Richard Morrison, a Sugar Land lawyer who's attempting to overcome long odds in challenging the second most powerful Republican in the U.S. House. Democrats became incensed when they heard last
week that DeLay planned to raise money for his re-election in Austin just a
few blocks from the county courthouse where District Attorney Ronnie Earle has been leading the grand jury inquiry since early 2003.
They'll surely be back to their GOP cheerleading tomorrow, but today the Dallas Morning News endorsed Harriet Miller for State Representative:
Democrat Harriet Miller, on the other hand, struck us as smart, responsive and practical. A lawyer who graduated from Rutgers University, Ms. Miller has practiced law for 30 years and cut her teeth at the federal agency once known as the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. She helped draft the federal regulations implementing Title IX, which led to increased funding for girls' sports in public schools. For the last 10 years, she has worked as a professional mediator. We hope that she can put those consensus-building skills to work in Austin.
Ms. Miller, 55, supports an expanded business tax to pay for education, restoring funding for children's health insurance, the local-option transit election and pledges to be more in touch with district interests than the incumbent. She has an uphill climb in this GOP-heavy district, but as a former PTA president in the Richardson school district, she knows something about community meetings.
We thank Rep. Goolsby for his service.
We recommend Harriet Miller.
Current DMN endorsement tally:
And while you're at it, check out Harriet's webpage and drop her a few bucks. She's raised a considerable amount of money for this race, and along with Katy Hubener is running the strongest campaign challenging a Republican state representative in Dallas County.
Anna Quindlen has a wonderful column about the election, with the only blemish being, I think, a mixed metaphor:
Mortal Kombat, the election version: the more you shoot, the more you score.
Mortal Kombat was a martial arts game, not a shoot-em-up.
CALLING ALL ACTIVISTS!!
DATE: Monday, October 4, 2004
TIME: 11:00 a.m.
PLACE: The Austin Club, 110 East 9th St.
It’s almost unimaginable that Tom DeLay would have the nerve to cross
the Austin city limits, but he’s coming to town to RAISE MONEY, of all
things. He'll be meeting with fat cat donors at the Austin Club, and
we’d like to let him know just how much we appreciate all he's done for
Austinites are planning to show up at the Austin Club to protest DeLay
and his pest controllers at TRMPAC. Republican State Reps. Jack Stick
and Todd Baxter, who are currently running for re-election, are two of
DeLay's and TRMPAC’s beneficiaries and it's time to show them that
their corporate funded schemes will no longer be tolerated.
Let's make a bold stand against Tom DeLay and the puppet Republicans he
controls in Travis County. We must show Texas that Travis County will
never accept DeLay and the Republicans soul less politics of deceit and
help turn the tide against him and his corporate donors for good.
So let's greet Mr. DeLay as he comes out ................
I think all of you have seen the endorsement of Kerry in the Crawford newspaper, Lone Star Iconoclast. If you haven't you should read it on the internet here. This article is well written and is a good synopsis of what GWB has done to destroy our country as we knew it.
The San Antoino Express-News had an article pointing our that some of the people in Crawford are canceling their subscriptions and advertising and taking the newspapers out of their racks . The papers circulation is very small and the editor suggests they might not be able to weather the storm of cancellations. Some highlights...
As of Wednesday morning, more than a dozen readers had canceled their subscription and six advertisers had pulled their spots from the paper.
Smith expects there will be more, and he's preparing for the worst.
"It will probably put us under," he said.
He pulled up his computer e-mail inbox, filled with messages of varying intensity.
Smith said about 75 percent of them applaud the editorial, but the remaining fourth border on vitriol.
"It really appears to be me that we no longer live in an open society," he said. "When you get to the point where you can't express an opinion, then you're in trouble."
Smith said too many voters suffer from an emotional attachment to a person, particularly when that person happens to be president of the United States, and he lives a few miles down Prairie Chapel Road.
"We're not electing a king or an emperor, we're hiring somebody," he said, matter-of-factly. "Do they work every day like everyone else and get the job done or not?"
Let's do our part to protect our 'freedom of speech' and assure the people in Crawford get a chance to read the truth about our president, or any president. Start a subscription today to try to help give them this chance.
The newspaper is a weekly and the phone number is (254) 675-3336. Subscriptions by mail are $45 per year. Or maybe you might want to advertise on their website. (call about advertising in their actual paper, same number)
Update:Here is much better subscription info!
You can subscribe by calling 254-675-3336 and paying by credit card or you can mail payment to:
The Lone Star Iconoclast
P.O. Box 420
Crawford, TX 76638
The cost for one year is $45.00 and six months is $22.50.
--- Melanie Milbradt Marketing Director
Kuff had a good post on the latest mess with DeLay, so I don't have to say too much. The Statesman notes that Democrats are engaging in a full-blown offensive attacking DeLay:
House Democrats, emboldened by the ethics committee's public rebuke of GOP leader Tom DeLay, went on a blistering offensive Friday, demanding a full investigation into the "stench of corruption" surrounding the Texas Republican.
While Republicans rallied around their leader and political observers weighed the rebuke's impact, Democrats pounced as they sensed a turn of momentum against DeLay.
"The ethical cloud surrounding Tom DeLay has quickly grown into a thunderstorm," said U.S. Rep. Chris Bell, a Houston Democrat whose separate ethics complaint against DeLay has been pending since mid-June. "The stench of corruption emanating from Mr. DeLay and his associates has become too pungent to ignore any longer -- even in Washington."
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, once steadfast in her refusal to address complaints against DeLay, found her voice after the ethics committee admonished DeLay late Thursday for offering a political favor in return for a representative's vote on the Medicare prescription drug bill.
"The rebuke of Tom DeLay by the ethics committee is yet another ethical cloud hanging over the Capitol," said Pelosi, D-Calif. "Mr. DeLay's offer to trade political support for a vote for the shameful Medicare prescription drug bill is completely inappropriate."
Talk Left is also on the case, as Kuff notes. Also, be sure to check out Taking On Tom DeLay here and here.
Also of interest was this post on War and Piece found (via BOP News) about the latest Washington chatter:
Was at a wonderful dinner party last night hosted by the Road to Surfdom's Tim Dunlop and his wife, Aussies on sabbatical in Washington, with some very interesting Hill and Brookings people. And among the notable observations and gossip from folks there, the word on the Hill is that Tom DeLay is finished. A downfall that couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. He's always struck me as an evil character from a David Lynch movie. Apparently, DeLay is in real life basically every bit as despicable as he appears. Works closely with a lobbyist from Hell who championed a loophole allowing no regulation of sweat shops and virtual slavery for Chinese workers working in horrendous sweat shop conditions on the Martial Islands. An African lobbyist told me recently about DeLay's other tight associations with another right wing American lobbyist who coowns a property with a truly evil South African apartheid era former defense official, where dogs were set on blacks for sport. May justice be done to these horrible people.
I like the sound of it...
Not surprising anyone, the Dallas Morning News called the debate for Bush in their Friday editorial:
Great Debate: Bush wins by not losing
The only truly surprising thing about last night's presidential debate was how good it was.
Crisp, authoritative and articulate, both George W. Bush and John Kerry were at the top of their respective games. We call it a draw. But because Mr. Kerry did not get the breakout performance that he needs to turn this race around heading into the homestretch, the president won by not losing.
This letter responds best to the Dallas Morning News wingnuttery:
What did you watch?
Re: "Great Debate – Bush wins by not losing," Friday Editorial.
"Bush wins by not losing?" Is this what America wants or needs: a pass/fail presidency?
John Kerry was specific and concrete with facts and figures, to which George Bush's only answer was: "Well, it's hard work." Mr. Kerry made it clear that he's a straight-talking man concerned with our security. He made it clear that he understands the implications of strategic foreign policy in ways that George Bush does not now and never will.
And the best The Dallas Morning News can do is surrender to the soft bigotry of lowered expectations. The president won the debate by not losing? I certainly don't feel safe having a president whose only success is avoiding utter failure.
Tena Hollingsworth, Dallas
Ahh, I love it. Throwing the conservative "soft bigotry of lowered expectations" line right back at 'em.
And as for the Dallas Morning News, they ought to take a look at the latest Newsweek poll. Sludge tells us that Newsweek's polling gives Kerry a two to three point lead.
Just a short update on the money race for our local Travis Country State House Candidates.
Kelly White is reporting that in September they flew through their $100,000 month-long fundraising goal and brought in $125,000 instead. (Donate)
Mark Strama's campaign has just now passed $47,000 raised online in his race. No report on latest total numbers. (Donate)
My grandfather "Bubba" used to let me play with an old wind-up monkey such as the one aluded to in Bill Mitchell's latest cartoon.
Who would have thought CNN Online would trigger happy memories about my old man's old man?
Sigh... thems was the good old days.
Over in the dKos diaries, AlaraJRogers asks what a lot of us perhaps thought: Isn't Bush's reliance on multi-lateral talks with North Korea (in effect) giving Red China a veto over our nation's security policy?
Frankly, in watching the debate, I thought this would have been an obvious come-back for Kerry myself.
But here is the answer: No, Bush's multi-lateral talks doesn't give China a veto over our policy, because multi-lateral talks aren't really a policy at all.
The argument for bilateral talks is essentially that "bilateral talks" will not simply be bilateral, but will involve real negotiation and consideration. There will be actual give and take, like in haggling over a contract. That's what Kerry was hinting at. I think the technical diplomatic term for this is "constructive engagement."
For North Korea, getting nukes isn't simply about being a dangerous rogue state (although with Kim Jong-Il, movie fanatic and tyrant, that may be part of the deal). What North Korea wants is security guarantees, in addition to all kinds of economic assistance. Oh yeah, and all this has to come on the condition of the Kimists staying firmly in power.
Multi-lateral talks are not about haggling or barganing. They are simply about lining up as many countries as possible to "shame" North Korea, and to isolate them. You might as well call "multilateral" talks "unilateral" talks, because we're not listening, just talking.
True, there might be a deal cut, but when we're pulling in China "for leverage", the goal is to insure as complete and unconditional a diplomatic victory as possible. In contracts terms, if "bilateralism" is about bargaining, "multilateralism" is about duress.
This runs the risk, of course, of pretty complete failure if there's a miscalculation.
In theory, either approach could work, but consider the default, fall-back position we have in the event of failure is identical in both cases: we bomb North Korea.
With a bilateral agreement, it may be possible to avert this while at the same time put together a real solution to the "Korea problem," paving the way to a lasting peace on the peninsula.
With a multilateral agreement, we are simply trying to back the North Koreans into a corner, forcing their hand in this instance, but not at all structuring any kind of long-term, sustainable arrangement.
"Peace in Kora" is sort of like that of a critically-injured patient, the prognosis being pretty bad. Think blood and guts spirting out all over the table.
Bush is proposing sending in a whole trauma team of doctors... to apply a band-aid. Whereas Kerry is proposing to send in one doctor to do major emergency surgery.
That, in a nutshell, is the "difference of opinion" between Bush and Kerry over North Korea.
Both policies have their down-sides, but I think Kerry's is obviously more likely to work.
I don't attack FOX News that much anymore, because it's just not really worth it. In all honesty, they did a phenomenal job by finding a gap (lack of a consistently conservative leaning network) in the cable news market, and filling it successfully (and profitably). But, today, FOX didn't just embellish, or distort the news. They just completely made up this story about John Kerry, and posted it on their website as a news story. They've now taken it down, but Josh Marshall caught it while it was there:
Rallying supporters in Tampa Friday, Kerry played up his performance in Thursday night's debate, in which many observers agreed the Massachusetts senator outperformed the president. "Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!" Kerry said Friday.
With the foreign-policy debate in the history books, Kerry hopes to keep the pressure on and the sense of traction going.
Aides say he will step up attacks on the president in the next few days, and pivot somewhat to the domestic agenda, with a focus on women and abortion rights.
"It's about the Supreme Court. Women should like me! I do manicures," Kerry said.
Kerry still trails in actual horse-race polls, but aides say his performance was strong enough to rally his base and further appeal to voters ready for a change.
"I'm metrosexual — he's a cowboy," the Democratic candidate said of himself and his opponent.
A "metrosexual" is defined as an urbane male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.
It's one thing if the report was intended as satire, but that seems quite unlikely in the context of a news column. A new low for FOX News.
Speaking of media bias, the CNN undecided voter was actually a college Republican. They ought to be doing a better vetting job, but I won't be too hard on them.
The DNC has the faces of frustration video which shows one minute of Bush making gestures (Real Player).
Here's the official BC04 talking points:
Over the next few days, at the office, at your children's football or soccer games, and in your homes, people will be talking about last night's debate. Here are some important facts to keep in mind as you're talking with friends and neighbors about the exchange.
President Bush spoke clearly and from the heart last night about the path forward - toward victory and security - in the War on Terror. The President spoke candidly about the difficulties facing our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as these countries prepare for their first free elections. The terrorists will continue to fight these steps toward freedom because they fear the optimism and hope of democracy. They fear the prospects for their ideology of hate in a free and democratic Middle East.
President Bush detailed a path forward in the War on Terror - a plan that will ensure that America fights the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan - not in America's cities.
John Kerry failed the one test he had to pass last night: he failed to close the credibility gap he has with the American people as his record of troubling contradiction and vacillation spiraled down to incoherence.
People have a clear choice between President Bush's clarity and strength to fight and win the War on Terror and John Kerry's attacks and reversals - born out of political calculation, not a vision for winning the War on Terror. People saw for themselves last night where John Kerry would lead our military, our allies and the world in the War on Terror down a bumpy road paved with indecision, vacillation and cynicism. John Kerry has a record of wavering in the face of real challenges.
Truth and optimism are not competing ideals. The War on Terror is difficult - there will be good days and bad days, but the war is essential to our safety at home and victory is the only option.
Better yet, lefty bloggers hijacked the Team Leader conference call with Mehlman.
Taking a break from my all-nighter study session for Latin American Colonial Civilization, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the debate and some input I got from others.
First off, Kerry kicked ass in the expectations game. I seriously cannot think of one person I know who didn't think that Kerry would just totally screw the pooch on this one. The media seemed to think that Kerry would get caught up in his patrician, standoffish, nuanced indicisiveness on this one. For the first time the SCLM pointed out that Bush has never lost a debate (before tonight) and so his expectations were rather high. As a result, Kerry had to simply appear presidential, appear as someone voters could relate to to win and Bush had to offer up the performance of a lifetime. Kerry succeeded and Bush didn't.
Secondly, I think that this is likely to turn the tide for Kerry in a big way. Any polls you see on the issues show that a solid majority of Americans dislike Bush as President. They think that the country is going in the wrong direction, that Bush screwed up the economy, that the War wasn't worth it blah blah blah. But a plurality, and sometimes a majority, supported his reelection- largely because (IMHO) they thought Kerry was a spineless New England ultraliberal and as a result, they thought he would be worse than Bush. Kerry tonight demonstrated that (a) he is tough as nails, (b) he isn't some hard left anti-military, anti-America radical (c) he can relate to people in an understandable, if not terribly warm, way. All of this, I suspect, will encourage the people who didn't like Bush but liked Kerry less to reevaluate JFK and to eventually switch sides.
Thirdly, I think that Kerry ought to stop worrying about the "aloof" factor so much. The types of people who are going to throw their civic duty to the wind and vote for a President based on how nice he seems are going to vote for Bush, no matter what. Love him or hate him, Bush seems like a far more personible and fun guy than Kerry- Kerry can't win that vote. Kerry ought to be lively enough and personible enough to keep people from falling asleep and to keep people's spirits up, but he should focus on credibility and toughness more- fights he can win.
Fourthly, that bicycle fall must have given Bush amnesia. He won the race in 2000 in large part because he managed to beat Gore in the first debate. Gore lost that debate not by not making sense or looking good, but by looking like an insufferable prick. Bush sighed and rolled his eyes and in general looked like he was about to lunge at Kerry and try and claw his eyes out. I think that this will be a big item over the next few days.
Fifthly, I've been talking to Republican friends and reading GOP reaction to this debate. My friend Matt felt that Kerry still seemed very unapproachable, but had improved. He made the very prescient comment that it appears that someone worked with Kerry on his gestures and use of hands, as he didn't look like a robot. He also feels that Kerry might have lost some support on the left due to his strong stances against Iran and North Korea, but I argue that he made up those votes in the middle. The guys over at the National Review Online are mostly arguing that because Kerry didn't obliterate Bush somehow, Bush won. See argument number one above, guys. Fox News, as Byron noted, was pretty harsh as well.
Finally, check out these flash poll numbers. ABC News found that 45% say Kerry won, 36% say Bush won and 17% say that it was a tie. Most telling- 89% of Kerry supporters felt he won, only 70% of Bush supporters felt their man did the job. Finally, Independents came down on Kerry's side 48% to 28% (and 24% said tie). No minds were changed, but it usually takes about a week or so for any event (Reagan's death, the Swift Boat ads, etc.) to move the polls. CBS News polled only undecided voters, and Kerry kicked ass. 43% said Kerry, 28% said Bush and 29% said it was a tie. A majority said that the debate improved their opinion of Kerry, 14% said that it diminished their opinion and a third said it didn't affect them at all. Bush, on the other hand, saw 22% improve their opinions, but the same number said it caused them to like him less. The numbers are dramatic across the board, read the article for the full impact.
Essentially, Kerry exceeded his expectations, he did everything he needed to do (except perhaps deliver a knockout punch), the spin is on his side, the voters are on his side finally and even the GOP is on the defensive. If Kerry can parlay this into some good momentum, it could carry him through November 2 and is likely to go down as among the most important events in the history of US political campaigns.
JFK, all the way!
Realistic Idealist documents two (just two?) Bush "fuzzy math incidents" from tonight's debate.
Would you care to share others, dear readers?
And in other news, Ezra fills us in as to why Dubya is a .22 in a .44 caliber world.
(My apologies to Mr. Klein for the previous attribution error)
Strangely enough, I find this out from Dean "Defending Liberalism Means Re-Electing the Most Illiberal President In History" Esmay.
The Federal Marriage (a.k.a. Hate) Amendment died again today, this time in the House of Representatives. It fell 49 votes short of the 2/3rds majority needed.
And the peasants rejoiced.