Sunday, February 28, 2010

Did You Ever See a Racist in Fort Bend County?

I did.

Frankly they are all over the place here, and yes, racism crosses party lines. But it is insidious, you see, because racism has been a part of our society since the story of Cain and Abel was twisted into a race war.

I was raised in a country, you see, that let young school children form their opinions on African-Americans by reading this book.

I was raised in a country, you see, that sold orange marmalade with advertisement artwork that looked like this.

I was raised in a country, you see, that had this kind of advertising and this kind of imagery on the outside of a box of pancake mix for decades.
I was raised in a country, you see, that published magazines with full page ads having content just like this.

I was raised next to people who think that this kind of imagery of the President of the United States is proper.
And yes, I now live in an area where a DEMOCRATIC candidate for State Representative in HD 27 thinks that this is a perfectly proper rendering of her African-American opponent.

You know that is racist imagery, but Dora Olivo doesn’t. She, like me, was raised in a country that inundated its citizens with this kind of racist tripe through media and advertising. I learned to hate these racist messages.

Dora Olivo hasn’t because she continues to use ones like them to insert the kind of subtle racist messaging that I had hoped was a thing of the past.

Dora Olivo turns racism to her advantage in an eleventh hour hit piece on her African-American opponent, and that is deplorable.

This makes Olivo, herself, a racist. A racist who doesn’t know she’s a racist.

But she sure as H-E double hockey sticks should.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Early Vote Totals Are Higher Than in 2006

Now that Early Voting for the March 2nd primaries is over, it looks like voter interest remains elevated. Not, obviously, as high as it was in 2008 where records were set up and down the state, but compared to the last mid-term primary election in 2006, yes, voter interest is high.

The Houston Chronicle has the Harris County figures here, but I will summarize the results of my number crunching in Fort Bend County.

In Harris County the Chronicle is reporting a high turnout for the mid-term primary election with 84,018 early vote ballots cast this year as compared to 33,362 cast in the previous mid-term election in 2006.

The Chronicle also breaks down early voter totals by party: 33,771 Democratic voters showed up to early vote compared to 50,250 Republican voters.

But while the Chronicle breaks down the 2010 Early Vote numbers by party, they didn’t compare those numbers to 2006 numbers by party.

Comparing these numbers to those in the area of my more immediate concern, neighboring Fort Bend County, we are seeing a similar overall trend, but truly startling numbers in the Democratic Primary early vote.

In Fort Bend County a total of 16,520 voters early voted in the past two weeks. This is an increase over 2006 where a total of 10,721 voters cast their ballots in the gubernatorial primary election.

Now at a 54% increase over 2006 early vote numbers this isn’t the 150% increase in total early voter turnout seen in Harris County, but it still is rather significant.

But broken down by party the early vote totals comparison between the 2006 and 2010 elections are far more telling.

In 2006, 1619 Democratic party early votes were cast in Fort Bend County. In 2010 the total Democratic early votes cast number 5114 – a 216% increase. And while far more numerous Republican voters early voted this year, at 11,406 ballots cast, that is only a 25% increase over the 9102 Republican early vote ballots in 2006.

In other words, interest is higher in this year’s primary election across the board, but among Democratic voters in Fort Bend County, interest has skyrocketed.

The trouble is, it is still unclear what this all means, but here is what I hope it all means. Democrats are still fighting for Change, not only change in the way the state and local governments behave, but also change in the way the Democratic Party and some of its elected officials behave.

One dares to hope.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fort Bend County Democratic Party Chair Agrees to Another Polling Location Change

Shades of 2008.

In 2008 the Elections Office in Republican-dominated Fort Bend County government pulled a fast one by changing the Election Day polling locations of two Democratic-dominated precincts.

I mentioned it in this piece back then.

Back then the county Elections Office changed the polling locations of Precincts 2123 and 1114, both of them strong Democratic precincts. But they made the mistake of announcing the change 3 weeks before Election Day.

I remember it well. My Democratic Club printed and mailed at its expense notification of the polling location change to each and every resident of the affected area.

At the same time we railed at each other why our County Chair, Elaine Bishop, would allow that to happen. Isn’t she supposed to protect the votes of each and every Democrat in Fort Bend County?

And now it has happened again.

Only this time the Elections Office waited until the last minute.

They do learn.

The polling location for Democratic majority precinct 1076 has been changed at the last minute. And obviously, with the assent of our Party Chair.

Precinct 1076 used to vote at Holy Cross Episcopal Church near just outside of River Park West. It has now been moved down the freeway to River Pointe Community Church on Ransom Road. Here is the precinct map.

Yes, two separate communities joined by one two-lane road.

So now, even if a Precinct 1076 voter looks on their voter registration card to remind themselves of where they go and vote, that address will be wrong. But usually voters don’t even look it up, they just go where they always go.

We can only hope that enough voters do show up at the polls and vote for Change in Fort Bend County.

Vote for Steve Brown for Fort Bend County Democratic Chair.

Oh, did I mention what was Elaine Bishop's reaction to my Democratic Club's action in response to her inaction? Were we thanked? Appreciated? Not on your life.

She criticized the group for meddling.

I am not kidding.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Americans Want

That title is a little loaded because I have no idea what Americans want anymore. In 2008 I was pretty sure that Americans wanted Change. And that Americans wanted comprehensive healthcare reform.

Now I’m not so sure.

Here is why.

Today’s Healthcare summit at the Blair House in DC pretty much went over like the proverbial lead balloon that we all were expecting. Republicans were adamant that they wanted to start all over even with the House and Senate versions of the bill both passed.

And now Democrats are once again talking about passing a bill on a 51-vote majority.


Here are some snippets of this conversation gleaned from MSNBC:

Harry Reid: “No one has talked about reconciliation but that's what you folks have talked about ever since that came out, as if it's something that has never been done before. Now, we as leaders here, the Speaker and I, have not talked about doing reconciliation as the only way out of all this. Of course it's not the only way out. But remember, since 1981 reconciliation has been used 21 times.”

Obama: “I do think [the American people] want a vote on how we're going to move this forward … A majority vote makes sense.”

Now I have to wonder about that last statement.

Because according to a Gallup poll just released, 52% of Americans oppose the use of reconciliation to pass healthcare reform.

From RTT News:

“According to the poll, which surveyed 1,009 adults on February 23, 52% of Americans oppose using reconciliation to pass health care reform compared to 39% who support it.”
Now does this mean a majority of Americans now don’t want healthcare reform? Because I read the news and it appears that the only path to passing healthcare reform any time soon is reconciliation.

But apparently, that’s not true.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 58% of all Americans would be disappointed or even angry if healthcare reform isn’t passed this year.

That’s the poll I wanted to look at. It’s here.

So bottom line, what do Americans want? Apparently they want healthcare reform, but they want the Republicans to give it to them also.

And that doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in H-E-double hockey sticks of happening.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A DA Three-Fer

Now every once in awhile I get an e-mail message forwarded to me that originates from one Teabagger or another, but that is because I asked my cousin, who gets them nearly every day to forward them to me.

I like to see what the Dark Side is saying without having to venture there and wade through the mis-spellings, ALL CAPS TEXT and exclamation points (honestly these people write like Glenn Beck talks).

But what irritates me is that come election time my mailbox gets inundated with those color glossy cardstock campaign cards from Republican candidates.

To my knowledge, I have never given my mailing address to a single Republican so I have no idea how I wound up on their list. But they all send me their campaign paraphernalia.

But today it was unreal.

I received four pieces, all of them the same size (6 by 11) mailers, and 100% of them coming from a Republican DA candidate. One each from Healey and Raymond, and two different ones from Nina Schaefer.

It was just unreal that they were all received on the exact same day. What are the chances of that happening?

Here’s a photograph of them.

Of the three, Healey’s is the tamest. His attacks consist entirely of the lack of experience of one his two opponents (Raymond) and that the other is “Weak on Crime” ostensibly because she doesn’t prosecute criminals, she defends them.

Raymond devotes most of his ink attacking Healey and cites the Fort Bend Herald Coaster’s call for his replacement, quotes a juror (and taxpayer), and cites a Texas Ethics Commission opinion on Healey’s “illegal campaign activities.” His sole criticism of Schaefer is that she is TOO LIBERAL for Fort Bend County.

Obviously, he is not worried about Nina Shaefer.

Schaefer, on the other hand trumps both candidates by sending out not one mailer but two. In one she attacks Healey for his many legal and political sins (as I recall Healey’s assistant, Mike Elliott, was the sinner most of the time). In the other she fires shots at both Healey and Raymond, bringing up Raymond’s association with Joey Sula, the guy who bilked Fort Bend County political consultant Karen Pearson out of 500 large.

Pearson, as it turns out, managed DA Healey’s campaigns in the past.

Reading all of this just assaults the senses a little bit because one of these rascals is going to be elected (or re-elected) to District Attorney because no Democrat would file in the race.

So, what the heck, since Richard Raymond says Nina Schaefer is too liberal for Fort Bend, and since Nina Schaefer definitely pulled on her punch in her hit piece, what the heck. If you vote in the Republican primary you should probably put the red color in the box next to Schaefer’s name when you vote.

Support Your Public Schools: Take a TAKS Test

I love irony.

Yesterday I posted a brief video of former Travis County DA Ronnie Earle commenting on high stakes testing in Texas’s education system.

According to Ronnie Earle, “we do too much testing and not enough teaching.”

Yes we do. But more than that it is just amazing what gets shoved aside when a TAKS test is administered in Texas.

Feature this. The Texas School Public Relations Association, an organization dedicated to “promoting public schools through effective communications” has announced that next week, March 1st through 5th is “Texas Public Schools Week.” And for $60 you can download a kit to help you celebrate Public Schools Week.

But then, if you go over to the local online newspaper Fort Bend Now, you see that Fort Bend ISD is actually postponing celebration of Texas Public Schools Week until the 2nd week in March.

Now I don’t know what is more ironical. That Fort Bend ISD is postponing a celebration of itself because it will be spending a day that week putting thousands of students through what will be a grueling all-day English Language Arts TAKS test, demonstrating one more time that TAKS testing is truly the primary concern of education administrators. Or that the state organization, whose prime concern is to promote education through effective communication was either unaware that March 3rd is a TAKS test day, or unaware of the importance that TAKS tests take in school districts, to the exclusion of everything else, including promoting themselves.

All I know is that in either case, the irony is exquisite.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kesha Rogers On You Tube – Getting the Word Out

Nutty LaRouche Democrat Kesha Rogers is doing her very best to get herself out into the public view any way she can. Amazingly, Fort Bend Now is currently featuring a video of her on their website.

She is doing a bang-up job broadcasting to Democrats of TX-22 how much she wants to impeach President Barack Obama – although she isn’t altogether clear what heinous offenses President Obama has committed to warrant impeachment.

I guess we don’t have to worry about that, she’ll think up stuff later just like Bart Starr did.

The really funny thing about this, though, is that apparently she thinks that Democratic primary voters are also enraged at Barack Obama and will cast their primary vote for her over say, Doug Blatt, the only real Democrat on the CD-22 ballot. So she is actually proudly announcing this very strange anti-Democratic demand where ever and whenever she can.

Which seems strange because she has enviable ballot positions in Fort Bend and Harris Counties – the two populous counties within CD-22 boundaries. The theory goes that a completely ignorant Democratic primary voter, not knowing any of the candidates or their positions, would opt for the first one on the list.

Or the second.

But no, Kesha Rogers is getting herself out there informing the uninformed about how truly wacky her ideas are.

So I thought I would help out.

Here is Kesha’s video as seen at Fort Bend Now.

Go, Kesha, go.

Ronnie Earle On High Stakes Testing In Texas

I shot some video of Ronnie Earle speaking to a roomful of Democratic activists last weekend. He has two hot button issues that I’d like to see discussed more in the Texas political conversation: Tax Structure and Education.

Today I’d like to share Ronnie Earle’s take on high stakes testing of our school children in Texas. He has an interesting view that most people don’t bring up very often. Doing poorly on these tests is stigmatizing.

Yes, Earle needs to get over his performance in Algebra just like Texas needs to get over over-testing its children. Testing them not to assess how much they learn, but to figure out which teacher they need to fire.

Fun With Turnout Projections: 2nd Attempt

Last week with one day early voting turnout totals I boldly, and in retrospect, foolhardily attempted to make a voter turnout prediction based on a comparison to the 2008 primary turnout compared to the turnout on day one of early voting.

Remember the prediction? Based on that one day and setting up a simple proportion I came up with the remarkable number of 13,573 Democratic voters, or roughly 19% of the turnout when it was still undecided who would be the Democratic nominee for President.

Then I compared that number to the 2006 mid-term primary election turnout, which saw 6,550 Democratic voters go to the polls. And I predicted that the actual turnout would be somewhere between those numbers.

Well, I have a slight revision based on another tweak of the data.

Now with 7 full days of early voting results in I have run the same proportion calculation for each day’s cumulative totals. Each day, except for yesterday, the predicted turnout decreased. One day by as much as 13%. Here is the daily analysis showing how the prediction changed from one day to the next.

It varies a bit, and Monday was the only day to have an actual gain over the previous day, a no-brainer because that was a figure for Sunday and none of the polls in churches were open. So with today’s numbers the predicted turnout is 9,037 Democratic voters.

But we have 4 more days in the early vote, so I went ahead and calculated the average daily decrease over all 7 days (-7.3%) and applied that to the next 4 days.

Know what I got as a final vote turnout prediction for the 2010 Democratic primary?

6,671 voters.

Spooky, huh?

No the really spooky thing is that in the contested races, if this turnout holds, 3,336 voters will decide the fate of the Fort Bend County Democratic Party for the next 4 years, at a time when Democratic voters will finally attain majority status in this county.

That is 4.7% of the voters who called themselves Democrats in 2008.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Top Ten Reasons to Vote For Elaine Bishop For Party Chair

You’ve probably seen Juanita Jean’s rant over at the World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc. on how Elaine Bishop in her push card laughably takes credit for any and all things good that has happened to Democrats recently. Her list of ten things the County Chair has accomplished is a magnificent thing. I could tell she had just as good a time assembling that list as I had reading it.

(I even added one of my own in the comments)

But I can’t let this thing go even though Juanita did such a marvelous job because you rarely get a pushcard that completely drips with prevarications and bald-faced exaggerations like Elaine Bishop’s.

I got one too, you see.

So without further ado, and with apologies (again) to David Letterman, here are the Top Ten Reasons to Vote for Elaine Bishop for County Chair.

10. She knows how to mis-spell candidate’s names really, really well. Her own name is mis-spelled on the ballot. Her real name is Elena.

9. When the rubber hits the road during election time, Elaine is busy organizing Get Out The Vote activities and calling voters – in Ohio.

8. We don’t need a “Can Do” Chair like Steve Brown, not when we have been served all these years by a “Can Don’t” Party Chair.

7. Thrift. Elaine Bishop is saving Fort Bend County thousands of dollars by approving their plan to let a Republican-dominated local government and the GOP operate Democratic Primaries.

6. Synergy. Elaine Bishop maintains close contact with Democratic Clubs all around the county and works tirelessly to derail any and all work they do helping to elect Democrats in Fort Bend County.

5. Inertia. When it comes to not moving a millimeter despite all indications that Democrats are on the verge of being the majority voters here, Elaine Bishop has gotten it down pat. Isaac Newton would be proud.

4. Credit Taking. The Chair is an expert at tooting her own horn by taking credit for the labors of others. Barack Obama doesn’t know this, but The Chair is personally responsible for his historic election in 2008. Ask Elaine.

3. Recruitment. Under her leadership 81 precinct chair positions are vacant in Fort Bend County and 7 of these vacant chairs are actually Voter Registrars. Don’t believe me? It’s here.

2. Communication Skills. With one hand on the pulse of Fort Bend County Democratic voters and the other hand on her cell phone, Elaine Bishop is skilled in not returning phone calls.

And the Number One reason to vote for Elaine Bishop for County Chair?

1. Experience and Reliability. Elaine Bishop has the most experience in not getting anything done and we can rely on that to continue when we re-elect her.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

For Lieutenant Governor: Ronnie Earle

So since I early voted already I thought I would share the fact that for Lieutenant Governor I made former prosecutor Ronnie Earle my choice to run against Lieutenant Governor David Deworst this fall (I know how to spell his name correctly, I just choose not to).

I know it’s not what other lefty bloggers are doing. They are opting for the former VP of the AFL-CIO Linda Chavez-Thompson. Why they do this escapes me. The idea, I thought, of primaries was not only to choose the best candidate but also to choose the one who is more likely to win in November. Chavez-Thompson’s hyphenated name is not recognized beyond a few, especially here in union-less Texas.

Ronnie Earle, my choice, has a name that is not only recognized statewide, but nationally. He is famously noted as the point man that got Tom DeLay to pose for this mug shot, an act that eventually led to his resignation from the US Congress, a place that he ran like an iron fist. An act that eventually led to his brief stint on “Dancing With the Stars” where he demonstrated how he could nearly drop his dance partner on her keester.

And because he demonstrated this can-do approach to criminal behavior among politicians, Ronnie Earle is the guy who can bring needed change to the way the state of Texas does its business, or should I say, doesn’t do its business.

For instance, Earle is correct in his assessment that Texas’ tax structure is designed to favor the rich, who pay no taxes. Texas, Earle says, runs on the backs of the middle class. A class that he correctly believes is slowly but surely disappearing in Texas. So following this policy is fiscal suicide in the long term.

And yes, I heard Ronnie Earle speak yesterday at a Democratic Party workshop that was held in Bastrop, Texas. He came in toward the end of the workshop and spoke for a couple of minutes, and then took questions.

And yes, I got it on video. I am going to cherry pick a few clips and post them over the next couple of weeks. The first one is a response to a commenter in the audience who also lived in former Congressman Tom DeLay’s district.

Here was the comment:

“We’re from Fort Bend, we want to thank you because your work in Austin led us to getting rid of a scourge for Fort Bend County, Tom DeLay, and we . . . (applause and whoops).”

Here is what Ronnie Earle, who finds himself free of the fetters of office now and can now speak bluntly of his former case.

Even though I had already voted for Earle, I just have to say that anyone who says that going to the penitentiary wouldn’t be as embarrassing to DeLay than “Dancing With the Stars” has my vote.

Republicans in a Fracas in Fort Bend County

You had to know it was going to happen. Here in mean-spirited Fort Bend County where Republicans have had a stranglehold on government for decades now, when they have a primary they treat it like the General Election because they have had it their way for so long that they forget themselves and go at each other in public without mercy or remorse.

Witness the current primary race between Rick Forlano and Jeff McMeans. Both are running for the Republican nomination in an open seat in County Court-At-Law #2.

A seat being vacated by Jeff McMeans’ daddy, (as Forlano refers to him), Walter S. McMeans who is retiring.

All over my development Jeff McMeans’ campaign signs sprang up. They were even starting to challenge the primacy of which DA candidate’s signs were most numerous.

But something happened, and where you once saw a forest of McMeans signs up and down the block, they have all been taken down, but I think not by the usual method of sign stealing. That only happens to my signs.

My curiosity over this phenomenon was satisfied like the perennial curious cat this weekend when I listened to a voicemail message left on my phone the day before. It was a very poor quality recording of a guy speaking into a wastebasket or something. It insinuated that Jeff McMeans was a wife beater (without saying it) and that the county DA’s office made the case simply go away.

A double shot, if you will, against McMeans as well as County DA John Healey, who was the County DA when the recording reports that the county sheriff had forwarded a domestic violence case “to prosecution” (also known as the County DA).

So, mystery solved, right? The Good Republicans of my development might think it’s fitting and proper to steal my lawn signs, but reprehensible to be a wife beater or in this case, accused of it in a whispering campaign.

And yes, I downloaded the recording, and no, I am not putting it up for you to hear. That, I fear would benefit the campaign of Rick Forlano who thinks he’s got the election in the bag and has won Jeff McMeans’ daddy’s job.

No, I think I’ll save that for later in case Republicans who go to the primary simply go there to vote for the ones they have always voted for, in this case, for a guy by the name of McMeans.

It could be useful later on.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Recovery Act Funds Are Not For Us

I find it appropriate that funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will not be coming to Fort Bend County as County Commissioner Richard Morrison had hoped.

The county again found it self flatfooted when Lamar Consolidated ISD built a brand new high school and middle school way out in the country, and the only roads to them are two lane country roads to accommodate the thousands of commuting students, teachers, support staff and administrators.

Roads that will be used by many cars and busses. One of them even crosses railroad tracks that are often used by trains as anyone who has ever driven out there knows.

According to this article in the Chron, Richard Morrison worked diligently to lobby for some stimulus money to pay for the widening of Crabb River Road, and that he had the support of Congressman Pete Olson, whose district includes that area.

But with the hue and cry coming from Republican governors, including Texas’ Rick Perry, about not accepting these federal dollars for projects in their state way back when the stimulus bill was passed early last year, as seen here. Perry has since reversed himself and is now enjoying the benefits of handing out millions of federal dollars to state law enforcement agencies, but I think the die was cast back in February, and I think that Republican districts here in Texas will continue to be caught behind the door as stimulus funds are doled out.

Case in point, as the Chron article spells it out, Fort Bend County, with its past and present dominance by Republican politicians and politics will not be seeing a single red cent of any Department of Transportation money to help Morrison widen the roads. In fact, statewide, only two transportation projects will be funded by the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grants, a $1.5 billion part of the stimulus bill.

And who got the grants? Both of them went to Dallas. One to fund a light rail expansion in downtown Dallas, and the other to help build a toll road.

Well I can understand one of the grants. Building light rail is future-thinking and the federal government needs to encourage expansion of public transportation systems. But funding a toll road?

Actually, I think that what is going on here is the Department of Transportation’s TIGER program demonstrating to Republican-dominated areas of the state that once again, all politics is local.

Dallas County went blue in 2006 and has stayed that way.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stack Attack

Well when I heard about how someone flew a Cessna into the IRS headquarters in Austin, the very same place that processes my income tax returns every year, I knew it was not a terrorist attack.

When I heard about the attack I simply said to whoever was in earshot, “Geez, the Teabaggers have a new tactic.”

Then, when I heard that the perpetrator of this crime was a guy named Joe Stack, a 53-year old white software engineer who had past issues with the IRS, I thought this definitely confirmed that suspicion

Then I heard he left a suicide note on a website.

A suicide note that was written over a 2-day period (although in the rant he says that it has been a project of many months) written in MS-Word with 27 revisions.

A suicide note with a couple of F-Word bombs in it, but otherwise the spelling was fairly good and Joe looked like he was a man who could turn a phrase when he wanted to. In other words, despite the errors in punctuation, Joe’s manifesto wasn’t the complete incoherent rant as you would expect to come out of the mouth of a true Teabagger. But he and Teabaggers do share some common sentiments nonetheless

The website has been taken down by the FBI but not until other websites picked up the text and posted it on theirs. At the moment at least, you can read the entire rant here.

But this paragraph from his rant that I pasted below betrays how disturbed this guy was, and how closely his ideology compares to the rhetoric that comes from TEA Party People and other radical right wingers who, say, wear T-shirts that suggest that the “…the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”.

“I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of s--t at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.”

May his wife and daughter survive this thing with dignity and the compassion of people around them.

And may Joe Stack eternally burn in the fires of H-E-double hockey sticks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Early Voting In Fort Bend County

So I early voted today.

I usually don’t go in the first day despite what they tell me about how your vote will count even if you get hit by a freight train the next day on your way to work. I trust to luck and train crossing guard gates that I can wait until the second day when the poll workers have all of the kinks knocked out of the system.

Especially this year because this year the Fort Bend County Elections Office has seen fit to hold a “joint primary.” That is, you stand in one line and tell the poll worker which party’s primary you want to vote in. They say it’s better to do that than to stand in the short (Democratic) line. I hardly see the advantage.

But that is what our Party Chair agreed to, much to the glee of Rick Miller, the GOP County Chair. I wonder if Rick Miller will be glad or sad when he finds out that Steve Brown is replacing her this time around?

But I digress . . .

I compared the first day of early voting totals to that of 2/19/2008, which I have listed here.

Yesterday, the first day of early voting saw a grand total of 333 Democratic voters come in to vote. Compare that to 1710 early votes in 2008.

Now granted, 2008 was a big year for Texas primary voters, especially Democratic ones where the nominee for President wasn’t really apparent until May. But I thought I would work some proportions and see how the voter turnout is going to go this year – or more to the point, how bad it was going to be.

So OK, in 2008 we had 70,330 Democratic voters show up at the polls in Fort Bend County, that’s 25.96% of the total number of registered voters in the county, and yes, that is double the number of Republican voters who voted (McCain was already their nominee at that point).

If you work a simple proportion, hoping that all things are equal, and fully acknowledging that this is based on some very scant data, and that these results are too scary to base one’s reputation on, nevertheless here is what yesterday’s turnout predicts:

In the 2010 election, 13,573 Fort Bend County Democrats will stream to the polls if this one-day “trend” holds.

Compare that to the 2006 mid-term primary elections where a total of 6,550 voters showed up.

Do I really think that the turn out will double this year? Actually no, but I suspect that the truth will lie somewhere between 2006 turnout and my “prediction” based on one data point.

Because I also apply the Half Empty Poll Worker Index (HEPWI). That index ranges from 0 to 100 and is essentially the percentage of early voting location poll workers who have out in front of them either a crossword puzzle or a Sudoku puzzle.

Today, the HEPWI was 100.

These were some pretty bored poll workers. They even occupy their time listening to how fast, or slow, a voter hits the vote button. They actually complimented me on my speed, saying that most voters come in and don’t even know who is on the ballot.

And yes, I do live in a heavily Republican area. You do THAT math.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On Despoiling the Resolute Desk

Yesterday, as an afterthought, I thought I’d post my latest favorite photograph of President Obama at work. At work with his feet hiked up on a 130 year old national treasure (as seen in a film of the same name – hidden drawers and all), the Resolute Desk.

You know, this one:

A commenter directed me to which had yet another photograph of Obama with his feet up on this desk, as seen from the front. But the hilarious thing was that the black and white photo of Obama and his feet that accompanied the discussion on whether this was, or was not a sign of disrespect was yet another photo from another administration, taken at exactly the same angle and distance as the one I posted above.

The discusstion there was also accompanied by this photograph:

Why is this appropriate? I kept going back to Republican angst that Obama, or Eric Holder, his AG, should never have Mirandized the Underpants Bomber. The implication is that his predecessor did not show this sign of utter weakness.

A fact that lacks just about anything, including the truth.

The truth is each and every terrorist caught and captured after 9/11 under the Bush Regime was Mirandized, beginning with Richard Reid, the Shoe Bomber.

So I found this little bit of back and forth entirely appropriate to merit yet another blog posting.

And to drive home the ridiculous nature of this Teabaggeresque complaint that Obama’s shoes in some way defile the Resolute Desk, I offer this photograph, taken when America was a kinder place to live.

Where a sitting president allowed his child the freedom to explore the very same, but younger by 40 years, Resolute Desk.

I mean, honestly, you never know where those little hands have been, do you.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It’s Presidents Day

Dating myself again, I remember back in the good old days when equal weight was given to the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12th, and of George Washington on February 22nd. I recall that school children were given a day off on both days.

Banks were closed, too.

But that was a little too much to take for some people, what with February being the shortest month of the year, even on leap year.

But it’s Presidents Day again and a very aptly timed one this year at that.

Aptly timed because tomorrow is the first day of Early Voting in the Texas Primaries.

Yes, it is a non-presidential year, but that isn’t enough of a reason to stay home from the polls. No we don’t get to choose between the first woman or the first African-American to be the Democratic nominee, but there is enough out there to go and have some fun with.

For instance, there is a County Chair race that could just mean the difference between winning and losing in 2010 and 2012 in Fort Bend County. Everybody I know is voting for Steve Brown to unseat our do-nothing, secretive, and obstructionist Chair, Elaine Bishop.

For instance, there is a race in HD 27 that pits a young energetic progressive attorney against an anti-choice, anti-stem cell research Democrat. A Democrat who votes to let the government intrude into the lives (and bodies) of women because there are a lot of “church people” in her district. A vote for Ron Reynolds in HD 27 will fix that problem.

For instance, there is a statewide race for the Democratic nomination for governor. It’s a deep field running, but only two serious candidates exist: businessman Farouk Shami and businessman and former Houston mayor Bill White. Of the two Bill White will present the only credible opposition to the inevitable choice of the Dark Side, Rick Perry.

So there are lots of reasons to go out and vote.

And lastly, because it is Presidents Day, I wanted to post my latest favorite photograph of the current president, President Barack Hussein Obama.
Yes, that is the Resolute Desk that Obama has his feet hiked up on. And yes, the Resolute Desk was given by Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880. And yes the Resolute Desk is so-named because it was built from timbers scavenged from the HMS Resolute when it was broken up in 1879.

And yes the Teabaggers are utterly and completely up in arms over this photograph of our president with his feet up on this desk.

But you know, sometimes a man’s feet do hurt. What better place to prop them up but on a 130 year old desk?

Texas CD – 14 Candidates Speak at the Fort Bend Democrats’ Candidate’s Forum

Finally, we have one last contested primary race in Fort Bend County to post video on. The only other contested race that I haven’t covered from the candidate's forum last week is the race for County Chair. The incumbent County Chair, Elaine Bishop, failed to show up at the forum, making my life easier at least.

However, two candidates for the Democratic nomination to run against Ron Paul in Texas’ 14th Congressional District did appear to state their respective cases. There are actually three candidates in the race, Jeff Cherry, Winston Cochran, and Robert Pruett, but Cherry did not make an appearance.

Perhaps because he was outed as a Republican in Democrat’s clothing. He was actually videoed at a Teabagger rally stating that he was going to run in the primary against Ron Paul. He changed his mind just as he changed his party.

This leaves Cochran and Pruett.

Now I have previously endorsed Robert Pruett on this blog, and I stand by that endorsement. I think Pruett can do it.

But Winston Cochran, who went first to speak, spent much of his time defending allegations that he is not really a Democrat. And I will allow that what he says is the absolute truth: in 1998 he ran for statewide office for the Court of Criminal Appeals. He ran as a Democrat.

Here’s the video.

His website can be found here.

No argument. Here is a screenshot of the election results of that election from the Texas Secretary of State’s website:

Yep, that’s Winston Cochran there, listed as DEM losing to Cheryl Johnson the REP.

But that’s not the whole story, is it. Six years prior to his run for Court of Criminal Appeals he ran in the Republican primary for State Rep in HD 135. Here is the screenshot for that from the same Texas SOS website:
Fair is fair. That is Winston Cochran placing 3rd in a field of 4 in the Republican primary.

Now admittedly, that was 18 years ago. Lots of things happen in 18 years. But in coming to a conclusion on whether to support Pruett or Cochran in this primary, I had to ask myself the question that I often do in cases like this: when does the statute of limitations run out on the crime of Voting While Republican?

Robert Pruett then got the microphone, admitted to a couple of physical issues that arose in his long wait to speak at the forum, and then concluded with dignity.

This is where you can find Robert Pruett’s website.

I still think he can do it. By sheer contrast he is going to make Dr. Paul look like the Libertarian ideologue that he is.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

JP Court Race Heats Up

As if it couldn’t heat up any further, the two individuals listed on the Democratic Party ballot for Fort Bend County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, went at it again last Wednesday night.

I was telling a friend that I used to cringe when Democrats ran against Democrats in the primaries. I am now of a different mind. When there is controversy, controversy is a good thing. When it’s clean and not mean spirited, I think primaries are very healthy things for a party to have.

And it sure keeps you interested, and makes an otherwise non-controversial office like JP into an exciting thing.

So before we get down into the dirt, here are Judge Joel Clouser’s (the incumbent) and challenger Tony Sherman’s opening statements.

First Judge Clouser.

Now Tony Sherman.

Now the question and answer period for these two began rather tamely so I won’t burden you with that footage. Let’s just say that Precinct 2 doesn’t have the caseload (around 6700 per year) that Precinct 1 Place 2 has because Precinct 1 Place 2 has jurisdiction over the non-municipal county roads as well as US 59 as far as traffic court goes (something I am well aware of). And let’s just say that since the upper limit of $5,000 matters that the JP court could hear was raised to $10,000, JP cases have gone up and yes, both candidates think this is just about the right limit.

But then, Tony Sherman lit into Judge Clouser on the number of terms he has served, and the number of years he has served. Then he brought up the incident that got Judge Clouser an admonishment from the Judicial Conduct Commission. This raised in my mind the basic principal of debate: never ask an opponent a question when you don’t know what the answer is.

Is Dora Olivo Anti-Establishment?

That’s a term that dates me somewhat. The term Anti-Establishment was used in the 1960’s and 1970’s as a way to describe a point of view that opposed conventional social, political or economic opinions.

That is definitely not a word that we can use to describe Texas State Rep Dora Olivo (D-Missouri City). But it is part of a phrase.

Dora Olivo is Anti-Establishment Clause.

The Establishment Clause is a clause within the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution that forbids Congress from establishing a state religion. Here it is:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

You know, it strikes me that this is the first clause to be written in the Bill of Rights. The first. The Framers must have had some strong feelings about this to have written this clause even before “freedom of speech” or “freedom of the press.”

But Dora Olivo appears to be against the Establishment Clause. This appears to be the case and I have it on video as rock solid proof that appearances don’t deceive. It’s a short clip from a larger exchange between Olivo and Ron Reynolds that took place last Wednesday.

Did you hear that? If you didn’t get it I have it transcribed below.

“You know there’s people here that…in…in Fort Bend County…there’s a lot of church people here in Fort Bend County that believe . . .eh … don’t believe in embryonic stem cell research their whole life, you know. And I'm pro-life, you know. And this has been my position all this time.”

Dora Olivo bases her opposition to embryonic stem cell research, not on her own religious beliefs, oh no, not at all. She bases her opposition to embryonic stem cell research because she has religious people in her district and THEIR religious beliefs lead them to conclude that embryonic stem cell research is a moral sin and should be outlawed.

In short she is letting someone else’s religious doctrine guide her governmental decision-making processes.

That she hasn’t actually taken a public vote in her district to see how many of them actually oppose embryonic stem cell research, and how many do not, is absolutely beside the point. In her own self-incriminating words, Dora Olivo admits to bending to the pressure of people whose sole reason in opposing embryonic stem cell research is their religious doctrine.

That’s not only unconstitutional; it’s just plain bad manners.

It’s also, as Ron Reynolds sought to point out, not very Democratic.

I quote from the Texas Democratic Party Platform that can be found here:

"Stem cell research should not be held hostage to politics that limits the potential for conquering many debilitating and deadly illnesses. Texas has world-class research facilities that cannot attract world-class talent and funding until we take stem cell research out of politics and put it into the labs where research could lead to life-saving therapies. Texas Democrats strongly and unconditionally support research into stem cell therapies and state funding for research into stem cell therapies at state public universities. Curing disease is the right thing to do, and stem cell lines should be expanded without increasing or encouraging any high risk procedures."

This is the platform of the political party of which Dora Olivo professes to be a member.

True Democratic voters in HD 27 would want a real Democrat to represent them in the Texas state house. Ron Reynolds may have had some past issues with the Texas State Bar Association, issues that have been resolved and everyone has moved on, but I see Ron Reynolds as someone who will more fully and fairly represent HD 27 voters, voters who want a true Democrat in that office rather than someone who cherry picks the platform.

HD 27 voters wouldn't want someone who puts the religious beliefs of some of her constituents before a cure for cancer or any of the other manmade miracles that stem cell research promises.

One would think.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sparks Fly at Candidate’s Forum: Reynolds vs. Olivo II

One of the contested races on the Fort Bend County Democratic Primary ballot is for the Democratic nomination in Texas House District 27, a seat currently occupied by State Rep. Dora Olivo. Attorney Ron Reynolds is challenging Olivo for the second time to be the party’s nominee.

The two candidates sparred at the Fort Bend Democrats’ Candidate’s Forum this past Wednesday and I got it on video.

The first two clips you see below are relatively tame video on each candidate’s statements, reasons for running (or in both cases, re-running) for the nomination.

First, here’s Reynolds, who went first.

Then it was Dora Olivo’s turn.

Then Bob Haenel of the Fort Bend Herald Coaster had a question for both candidates: what will they do to make up for the expected budget shortfall on the horizon?

Bev Carter then focused on an issue that has been dogging Ron Reynolds in both primary elections. She asked him to explain his past troubles with the Texas Bar Association which suspended Reynolds from practicing law for a year, and then put him on probation.

Then the sparks flew when Olivo accused Reynolds of stealing a client’s award in a civil rights case that was settled.

I particularly like the part about how Olivo is really running for re-election because she doesn’t want Reynolds, a despicable character in her estimation, from doing harm in her district. Somehow I missed that in the intro. Did she say that before?

And finally, Carter questioned Olivo on her controversial (for Democrats) votes on the Gay Marriage Ban constitutional amendment in 2005, how she will vote in a piece of anti-choice legislation that will come before the body in the next session, and finally, what bills she can say are her own personal accomplishments.

This is where Olivo chastised an elderly woman in the audience who complained that she couldn’t hear and would she please use the microphone.

Fun stuff, huh?

Want the You Tube links to share with friends?

Ron Reynolds' opening spiel is here.
Here is Dora Olivo's
Then Bob Haenel's question is here.
Here is Bev Carter's question for Ron (with sparks at the end).
Here are Bev Carter's questions for Dora.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Doug Blatt on His LaRouchenik Opponent Kesha Rogers

Yesterday was a long day. First work, then a quick posting of an email from Marsha’s friend of a friend who went to Haiti, then two hours videoing the Fort Bend Democrats’ Democratic Candidates’ Forum. A forum that included questions from the local press.

I have a lot of material to post. It might not all make it here. You might find video clips in various websites. I’ll try to provide links if that happens.

I had an idea of where to begin, but my plans were totally upended this evening when I read the newest comment on an older posting I did on LaRouche Democrat Kesha Rogers and her enviable ballot position in Fort Bend and Harris Counties.

The commenter was Kesha Rogers’ only true Democratic opponent, Doug Blatt.

Her other opponent is Libertarian John Wieder. Those two actually have more in common between each other than Blatt or the Democratic Party. Teabaggers would love it if Democrats nominated either of them.

The Blattster, as I want to call him, left a scathing comment on Kesha Rogers, all of it true in my opinion. I want to “front page” his comment here so people who don’t look at the comments can see what he had to say. Here it is pasted below verbatim:

Coming from someone who supports a candidate that says nothing about herself and only says what comes out of Lyndon LaRouche’s mouth, I will take your calling me a “party hack” as a badge of honor.

That means that I am and have been seen as the true Democrat in the race. Being a Democrat means something to people like us. People who support other Democrats, especially ones they worked hard to elect…people that share the same ideas, values, and opinions (for the most part). We don’t equate President Obama with Hitler or call for his impeachment. We don’t stand in front of public building waving pictures and chanting. We respect our President and each other.

Every time your candidate speaks, the people in the audience turn towards me and proclaim their support of me. That’s why I have several endorsements from Democratic clubs and groups that support Democrats and your candidate doesn’t.

I may be an unknown first time candidate, but I realize that when one actually gets into office, doing and saying things against your own party isn’t the way to be a success. You and others have said that I have no personality. You made that judgment from one or two early speeches when I was getting used to speaking in front of large crowds. I don’t have the chanting and yelling at the top of my lungs, annoying patrons of public buildings experience you do.

I may not be the consummate candidate yet, but I am definitely the one with the experience and temperament to do the job in Washington. How do you think the Democratic Party elected officials in Washington will treat her if she took office? She would get absolutely no support because she and the LaRouche people have shown them absolutely none.

If you are true Democrat out there reading this, tell your friends and family to do their research before they vote. I am confident in the result.

And so am I.

I also want to let you know that Doug Blatt’s speaking style in front of large audiences seems to have advanced to the next level in the short time that I have been watching him speak. As I mentioned, I videoed all of the speakers at the Fort Bend Democrats’ Candidates’ Forum, and The Blattster showed up and stayed to the bitter end.

Kesha Rogers, however, was not there. She was given the boot by the Club’s Executive Director who made the correct executive decision that Rogers is guilty of the crime of Speaking While Influenced by Lyndon LaRouche (SWILL).

That crime is punishable by permanent exile.

Here is a short video clip I shot of Doug Blatt who had to keep it short because as he spoke the librarians were coming in with spiked clubs ready to enforce their sacred rule: Closing Time.

See what I mean? A new improved Doug Blatt who seems comfortable at the podium.

Now we have to see if we can get him to do that gravelly thing with his voice that Nick Lampson was so good at. You know, the voice thing that got Howard Dean in so much trouble all those years ago.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Forwarded Email

This will be a quick and dirty one because I've got a meeting to attend soon. Fortunately my friend Marsha forwarded an email message to me last night from a friend of a friend that she hasn't seen in years. The friend had just returned from Haiti. Why he was there I have no idea. It sounds like he went there to help out but with help like his, I think Hatians would be better off without. It's an interesting report and goes to the heart of why I detest neoconservative nutjobs.

This is a guy who graphically describes the tragedy in Haiti, and then uses it to further a rightwing political agenda.

A truly hateful person. See if you agree. Here is the email message in its entirety.

To All,

I just returned from Haiti with Hebler. We flew in at 3 AM Sunday to the scene of such incredible destruction on one side, and enormous ineptitude and criminal neglect on the other.

Port-O-Prince [sic] is in ruins. The rest of the country is fairly intact. Our team was a rescue team, and we carried special equipment that locates people buried under the rubble. There are easily 200,000 dead, the city smells like a charnal house. The bloody UN was there for 5 years...doing apparently nothing but wasting US Taxpayers money.

The ones I ran into, were either incompetent, or outright anti American. Most are French or French speakers...worthless...every damn one of them. While 1800 rescuers were ready willing and able to leave the airport and go do our jobs, the UN and USAID (another organization full of little "OBamites" and communists that openly speak against America). These two organizations, exemplared their parochialism by:

USAID, when in control of all inbound flights, had food and water flights stacked up all the way to Miami, yet allowed Geraldo Rivera, Anderson Cooper and a host of other left wing news puppies to land.

Pulled all the security off the rescue teams so that Bill Clinton and his wife could have the grand tour, whilst we sat...unable to get to people trapped in the rubble.

Stacked enough food and water for the relief over at the side of the airfield, then put a guard while we dehydrated and wouldn't release a drop of it to the resuers [sic].

No shower facilities to decontaminate after digging or moving corpses all day,
except for the FEMA teams who brought their own shower and decon equipment, as well as air conditioned tents.

No latrine facilities, less digging a hole. If you set up a shitter... everyone was trying to use it.

I watched a 25 year old "Obamite" with the USAID shrieking hysterically, berate a full bird colonel in the air force, because he countermanded her orders, whilst trying to unscrew the air pattern. "

You dont know what your president wants! The military isn't in charge here...we are!"

If any of you are thinking of giving money to the Haitian relief, or to the UN... don't waste your money. It will only go to further the goals of the French and the Liberal left.

If we are a fair and even society, why is it that only white couples are adopting Haitian orphans? Where the hell is that vocal minority that is always screaming about the injustice of American society?

Bad place, bad situation, but a perfect look at the new world order in action. New Orleans magnified a thousand times. Haiti doesnt need democracy, what Haiti Papa Doc. That's not just my opinion...that is what virtually every Haitian we talked with... said!

The French run the UN. Papa Doc ran the country.

Oh, and as a last slap in the face...the last four of us had to take US AIRWAYs home from Phoenix. They slapped me with a 590 dollar baggage charge for the four of us.

The girl at the counter was almost in tears...because she couldnt give us a
discount...or she would lose her job.

Pass that on to the flying public.

So I did. And next time I fly, I'll fly US Air. Slamming this guy with a $590 baggage charge is just the icing on the cake isn't it.

One question: what was in the bags?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

For Democratic Candidate for State land Commissioner: Hector Uribe

Yes, this is another Half Empty primary endorsement, this time for Texas Land Commissioner. I will cast my vote for Hector Uribe and I think you should, too.

Here are my reasons:

Hector Uribe knows Austin. He spent 12 years in the state legislature and state senate. He did this when the legislature was a functional thing and not the bickering body that we are now burdened with for 140 days every other year.

Hector Uribe runs a law practice that specializes in government relations. While he has not held office in twenty years, for the past 14 years he has been an active participant in state government.

And finally, Hector Uribe knows how to make me laugh on what was otherwise a very troubled and stressful day.

Hector Uribe has an elegant sense of humor.

Here is a press release from the Uribe campaign from yesterday:
Hector Uribe weighs in on Ag Commissioner race dust-up

Austin) Fearlessly wading into the escalating war of words between Democratic Agriculture Commissioner candidates Hank Gilbert and Kinky Friedman, Democratic Land Commissioner candidate Hector Uribe said the following today:

“I have no idea if there was a ‘bribe,’ and if there was one, who bribed whom. But I’d like to make the suggestion that if anybody’s returning any contributions, if they could instead just contribute that money to the Hector Uribe for Land Commissioner Campaign, that would be way cool.”
I agree. That would be way cool. Besides, Farouk Shami doesn’t need the money that he gave to Hank Gilbert just days after Gilbert not only dropped out of the race for governor but then turned around and endorsed his former political opponent, Farouk Shami.

Shami doesn’t need it, nor do his campaign workers. They are being well compensated by the billionaire hair care entrepreneur.

But Hector Uribe could use the coin, which is some serious money from what I hear.

Oh and by the way, without commenting on the White/Shami debate last night because I think most people came away with the same opinions I did, did you see how Bill White absolutely towered over his cowboy boot-shod opponent? I’ve never met or seen Shami except for on camera, but have met and shaken the hand of Bill White.

Shaken the hand of Bill White while my head was seriously tilted downward.

Bill White is not a large man.

So how tall is Farouk Shami, anyway, and does he qualify, legally, as a Little Person?

Monday, February 08, 2010

For Whom the Toll Road Tolls

Did you ever wonder where people got the idea that toll roads are inherently good things?

Did you ever wonder how toll roads have become so numerous around these parts?

I have, and so have the Fort Bend County voters in Precinct 1 who came out and voted against a toll road authority candidate and for a Democratic candidate, Richard Morrison, whose call to battle was “No Toll Roads.” At the time, it was Section C that created the hue and cry. Section C, also known as the Toll Road to Nowhere. Section C would have created a ribbon of concrete through a quiet development known as Greatwood. Then onward to the south over a treeless plain.

That issued was settled with the voters in 2008. But now another toll road has reared its ugly head.

Section D.

Section D is a stretch of the Grand Parkway that has already been built between the Westpark Tollway and US 59. It’s free. The proposal is to finish the project by building a tollway in addition to the existing 4 lane artery currently handling the traffic.

Then charge commuters money to drive on it.

According to Bob Hebert, “Ph.D.” it is completely fitting and necessary to build the thing.

From The Chron:

“County Judge Bob Hebert said tolling would be the only option to build the
road as taxpayers would be opposed to county using their tax money for the

As if that is the only option.

There is another option.

Don’t expand it.

And who said the taxpayers will object to their tax money funding the project? Where does he get his facts? The funny papers? If memory serves, the taxpayers in Fort Bend County overwhelmingly approved a county bond issue to expand existing county roads all over the place. It was Fort Bend County Proposition 1 on the May 2007 Ballot.

Take a look. It’s here 79.21% of the voters voted in favor of selling millions of dollars in bonds to improve the county road system.

That’s 12,932 votes, by the way.

Now my point is twofold.

One, what the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks are we doing listening to this guy talk about expanding the Grand Parkway by having it paid for in tolls when the county road expansion project has yet to show any results? If congestion is such an issue, or prevention of it, where are the road expansions that were meant to alleviate the situation?

Two, what is this about taxpayers will oppose having their taxes go to expanding the Grand Parkway. Has he asked any of them yet? I can count 12,932 voters out there who will vote for anything that Judge Hebert and his cronies want to buy. All he needs is another off-off year election in May to get another bond issue passed.

2011 sounds like a very good year for something like that.

Face it. Until the voters catch on about these guys and their construction company cronies we will continue to have these ribbons of pavement foisted on us and there isn’t a thing we can do about it until the voters wake up and smell the concrete.

Paraphrasing John Donne who said it best when he wrote in his Devotions:

“…never send to know for whom the toll road tolls; it tolls for thee."

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Failure of Leadership in the Fort Bend County Democratic Party

You’ve heard me rail on about why, in Fort Bend County, Democrats who want to file in a primary election are made to wait until the last day of filing. Why something as simple as a name like “Steve” is difficult to spell on a ballot. You may have read elsewhere how mis-spellings are rife in the county party this year.

All of this underlines the bold incompetence that defines the cabal that currently serves as Democratic Party leadership in Fort Bend County. Elaine Bishop and her coterie of sycophants need a vacation. A long vacation.

I was struck by the incompetence of the Party Chair and her assistants a few evenings back as I sat and listened to two individuals, one who I knew from the ‘08 campaign and the other I had just met. These two offered their own personal experiences of the Chair’s incompetence and policies. We all knew the Chair has a problem returning her calls. We all know that her Voicemail inbox often fills up so you can’t even leave a message. It’s a joke among some of us. But the reality is that this gross incompetence does real harm.

And one thing we cannot afford in the coming years is incompetent Party leadership in light of the coming voter shift in Fort Bend County that is being forecast by demographers.

I sat and listened to them tell their stories, and then I sat and listened to Steve Brown, who is running against Elaine Bishop for County Chair. And, yes, I videoed the whole thing.

First, I apologize for the unsteady hand. Somehow I left at home that thingy that allows me to mount my camera to a tripod, so I held the camera in my hands and tried to keep as still as I could sitting turned around in my chair for 18 looooong minutes.

Steve had lots to say but I decided that I needed a theme. He was nowhere near as negative as he sounds. That was me. I edited the video to emphasize the incompetence of his opponent.

So here it is in all its 9-minute long glory (apologies again): why we need new leadership in the Fort Bend County Democratic Party.

Teabagger’s Remorse

Now that the Teabagger convention in Nashville is history, along with a truly uninspired speech delivered by a moronic half term former governor of the least populous state in America, now that all of that is over it is time for them to sit and reflect on the state of things now compared to how it was, say, twenty years ago.

Teabaggers must look back to those days fondly. Days when we knew who the enemy was because they carried AK-47s and bazookas. When the enemy wore red stars on their uniforms and didn’t try to blow up their underpants onboard a commercial flight.

Teabaggers must look back on those days with fond regret.

Don’t believe me?

I offer in evidence the musical stylings of Billy Cerveny who has his latest rendering up on You Tube. Cerveny is affiliated with The Daily Caller, a Teabagger website founded by Tucker Carlson and Nell Patel, is dedicated to the celebration all things absurd in America.

Dear Mr. Gorbachev

Typical Teabagger.

“The Cold War it was cooler”?

Does this guy have any inkling of how many people were murdered by the Soviet Union? By the KGB? By the STASI?

Have an inkling of how many people are walking around today that still bear the physical and mental scars of ill treatment by the Soviets? And yet we have this guy yearning to go back to those days because it's so much harder now.

I give you Teabaggers USA (Unbelievably Stupid Adversaries)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

A Riot in the Shami Campaign?

I am not at all concerned with this fracas that has emerged in the Farouk Shami campaign because as you can see from the thumbnail on the left, I support Bill White for Democratic nominee for Texas Governor. But just as I was rapt with attention as news came out of infighting in the campaign of Hillary Clinton a couple of years ago, I am now amazed at some inconsistencies within the Shami campaign that now appear to be coming out.

The Dallas Morning News came out today with a story on how the mainstream media is being labeled as racist from within the campaign.

From the Dallas Morning News:
“Shami campaign director Vince Leibowitz said that the Houston businessman has been treated differently, that he has a compelling story of success, and that he has ideas for Texas that are not being adequately covered by the news media.”

“Leibowitz said many news stories point out that Shami was born outside of the U.S., yet the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't merit such attention when he was running for governor in California.”
“Leibowitz also said that the Anderson County Democratic Party chairman displayed obvious racism when he sent the Shami campaign an e-mail last week that said ‘nobody is going to vote for anyone named Farouk’ in today's post- 9/11 political climate.”

“The campaign manager also took issue with the Statesman's recent editorial interview with Shami, who was asked about state government in a rapid-fire series of questions. While Shami knew the state budget, he failed to recall that Susan Combs is the state comptroller and Greg Abbott is the attorney general.”

“His inability to name state officeholders became a news story.”

“‘The Austin American-Statesman put him literally through a police-style interrogation asking him all those questions,’ Leibowitz said. ‘What they did was unconscionable. The question is, did race have something to do with it? Is it because he's a Palestinian-born candidate?’”
All of this, it seems to be stemming from a comment by the candidate himself that when Bill White, in his television ad, mentioned that he was born in San Antonio, Shami said “I take that as a racist comment.”

Meaning, I guess, that since he himself couldn’t claim birth in Texas (as I can’t as well), Bill White’s statement on his birthplace was a racist remark.

How all of that translates to the Texas press also being racist, however, is a little too much for me to take. Dick Nixon finally found out that you can’t get into a pissing contest with the press; the campaign manager of Shami’s foundering campaign should realize that as well.

Because it is not racism to say that there are a lot of Texans with racist tendencies and they will avoid checking off the name Farouk Mohammed Shami just as they disdained the name Barack Hussein Obama.

That’s just common sense.

Statewide, Shami hasn’t a prayer.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Farouk Shami: First Do No Harm.

Medical doctors, since the beginning of their science, have been admonished by their philosophical progenitor, Hippocrates, about the ethics of their medical practice. The Hippocratic Oath, as it is called, was boiled down by French clinician Auguste Chomel to this choice phrase: Primum non nocere.

First, do no harm.

Ronald Reagan, much later, applied this medical dictum to his political colleagues in the GOP in his (appropriately for the Party of God) Eleventh Commandment:

“Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

Now while I don’t advocate this one hundred percent, and believe that a primary challenger should use what he or she can to get the voter to see reason in supporting them over their opponent, there are limits to how a fellow Democrat should act in this vein.

And I think that gubernatorial candidate wannabe Farouk Shami has just crossed over that line.

Farouk Shami should listen to sage voices of the past: First do no harm.

Do no harm, for instance, by using the Rasmussen Poll recently released that shows how Bill White, his opponent in the Democratic primary, will not win against any of the three Republicans who are competing for the same nomination in the Republican party.

According to the poll, as reported on Shami’s own campaign website, Bill White would be defeated by Rick Perry by 9 points, 48% to 39% (5% for another candidate and 8% undecided), by Kay Bailey by 13 points, 49% to 36% (7% another candidate, 7% undecided), and now also defeated by Medina, the Teabagger, by 3 points, 41% to 38% (6% other, 16% undecided).

Shami seems to gloat in this result.
"I may be an unconventional candidate but Texans are ready for some fresh ideas. That's evident in how Debra Medina's numbers are improving. The establishment needs to listen up, because Texas Democrats aren't buying the goods they are selling anymore"
And in doing so, Shami does a disservice to one who will undoubtedly be the Democratic nominee.

This poll will make enough news without Shami jumping on the bandwagon.

And really news is what this poll is all about. Newsworthiness is reason enough to doubt the poll.

Rasmussen, it seems, has evolved since its inception as Rasmussen Research. Rasmussen has become a self-promoting entity that thrives when its polling makes the news. Rasmussen has evolved to the extent that its polling is being driven toward what will make the biggest news splash.

The biggest news splash like how the Democrats are going to get a pasting in 2010.

Davie Weigel at the Washington Independent has it exact, I think:

“In the book [A Better Deal! Social Security Choice] — not a huge seller, but promoted by Rasmussen at an August appearance at the libertarian Cato Institute — the pollster argued that ‘giving workers more control over their ‘contributions’ will put the ‘Security’ back in Social Security.’”

“Since then, Rasmussen’s business has boomed, aided in no small part by those “newspaper” questions that are blasted out to reporters and frequently buck up the Republican spin of the week. ‘Every pollster wants to promote his own research,’ said Brent Goldrick. ‘It makes sense for Rasmussen to promote questions that are more newsworthy.’”

In short, Shami uses a poll that was constructed to get a response in tune with what would make a great headline. A headline with the name Rasmussen in it.

Shami, in short, prostitutes himself to Rasmussen, who is the pimp. Rasmussen displays his wares, Shami snaps up the Johns.

Shami neglects to mention how he himself would do in a race against any of these three Republicans. You know why? No one has done a poll on that.

That poll wouldn’t be very newsworthy, would it.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

I Voted Republican Because . . .

My cousin, who lives in Arizona, is an Independent voter who used to vote Republican. Some of her friends who are still of the mind she once had are not aware of the fact that she voted for President Obama in the last election.

They keep sending and forwarding to her those annoying chain emails that circulate around the internet. Things that make Glenn Beck look like the pillar of reason. I asked her to keep me in the loop because I am always looking for material, and eschew places where that material is there for the finding.

My cousin sent me one recently that I just couldn’t let go unanswered. It was called “I voted Democrat . . .” and delivered the inane party line of the Grand “No” Party neocons.

You can find most of the original rendering of this email message here at Funny and Jokes “Unforgettably stupid humor”.

Here is my answer:
I voted Republican, because
I love the idea that I can tell people who don’t
share my values who they should marry.
I've decided they should marry the Ann Coulters and Rush Limbaughs of the world.

I voted Republican, because
I believe oil companies' obscene profits on 100 dollar a barrel oil is
a beautiful thing, and the government taxing a gallon of gas
at a mere 15% is also.

I voted Republican, because
I believe that big business and the banks will do a better job of
spending federal bailout money better than I would.

I voted Republican, because
freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody burns a flag
to express that speech.

I voted Republican, because
we knew that when we went into Iraq the bad guys would stop what
they were doing, because they now think we are good people.

I voted Republican, because
I know I am a responsible person who can open carry a gun to political rallies,
and I know that my local police and secret service will understand
that I need it with me to protect me from murderers and thieves.

I voted Republican, because
I believe that people who offer mountains of convincing data that
tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away at an alarming rate are
all just trying to sell me a Prius.

I voted Republican, because
I'm not concerned about the taking of innocent life in prisons as
much as I am in favor of how a strong central government can tell
what women are to do with their reproductive organs.

I voted Republican, because
I think illegal aliens are the best thing since sliced bread
to scare the bejesus out of frightened Americans who think these brown people
are getting free educations, and taking their Social Security benefits.

I voted Republican, because
I believe that business should be allowed to make obscene profits for
themselves by lobbying for the repeal of laws that, for decades, saved America
from another Great Depression. They need to keep as much of their profits
as they can for themselves, or for any lobbyists that republicans see fit.

I voted Republican, because
I believe neoconservative judges need to rewrite The Constitution
every few days to suit corporations and the rich who would never
get their agendas past the voters.

I voted Republican, because
My head is so firmly planted up my patootie that it is unlikely
that I'll ever have another point of view.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Republican Primary Voters Get to Vote Twice

All eyes are on the Republican primary voters as they sort out who is going to be their choice for Texas Governor Nominee. Including Rasmussen.

In its latest Texas polling, Rasmussen has the 3-way race for Republican nominee with Rick Perry firmly in the lead with 44% to Hutchison’s 29% and Debra Medina’s 16%.

Leaving 11% undecided.

All that tells me is that the Rasmussen poll was not a poll of likely primary voters because I highly doubt that anyone who will be voting in the Republican primary starting 13 days from now has yet to make up his or her mind.

That’s just absurd.

But the other numbers look about right.

So with that 11 percent gone, and 100% being the new 89%, here is what the numbers actually look like.

Perry: 49%
Hutchison: 33%
Medina: 18%


No majority. Not unless Perry can woo away some Medina voters which is the only well he can draw from. Hutchison voters who are looking to make their vote count in an otherwise hopeless cause are not streaming to Perry because Hutchison represents the anyone but Perry vote.

Instead, according to Rasmussen, Medina is getting converts from Hutchison.

From Rasmussen Reports:

“Medina has gained four points since the previous survey while Hutchison has lost four points. Perry's support is little changed from a month ago.”

So my guess, if the trend holds, we will see a Republican governor runoff primary to be held on April 13th.

April 13th. Two days before federal income taxes are due.

Meaning of course, that if Rick Perry can’t pull it off in March with primary voters, something that up until just a couple of weeks ago I thought would be a shoe-in, he will definitely get the job done two days before Teabaggers will have to mail in their federal income tax returns.

Giving Democrats another reason to give thanks to Jesus for His Good Works getting Rick Perry back on the ballot in November.

And no, not so Perry can make mincemeat out of Farouk Shami. No way. You see, I think Jesus loves His Palestinian follower just as much as He loves Bill White, I really do. But I think Jesus knows that the Party of the Dark Side will have a tougher time beating a popular mayor AND successful businessman than beating a successful businessman.

A successful businessman whose name most Texans associate with guys who try to blow up their underpants.