Wednesday, August 30, 2006

And Then There Were Three

I tell you it just can't get any odder (did I just have deja vue, or did I really write that before?)

Texas CD-22 now has a Democratic candidate, my man Nick Lampson, a Libertarian candidate, Bob Smither, and THREE write-in candidates, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, Don Richardson and Joe Reasbeck.

Joe Reasbeck?

Well, let's play some catch up first.

First, last night Bob Dunn broke the news about Don Richardson. Yesterday evening he called Richardson on the phone and asked him why his name was still on the write-in candidate list for CD-22. Turns out Don wanted the RNC to put it in writing that they would cough up the promised 3 or is it 4 million dollars to the Sekula-Gibbs campaign, and conpensate him for his filing fee. Then he would remove his name.

This gave the RNC an easy out, because we all knew that they weren't going to pay up. As I noted on a previous posting, the money would be provided with the agreement of the Texas Republican Congressional Delegation (who would rather spend the funds on table dances). Don kept his name on the write-in list and that nixed the deal that never actually existed in the first place.

But at the last minute, a THIRD name appeared on the list of write-in candidates. I was thinking this would happen. What better way to get your 15 minutes of fame than to file as a write-in candidate in this race. All you have to do is come up with the filing fee.

Joe Reasbeck is running for US Congress in Texas CD-22.

No one knows who Joe Reasbeck is. He doesn't have a voting record in Texas. PeopleSearch and ZabaSearch come up with one Joe Reasbeck in the Lake Travis area, and Google just gives you a Wisconsin Joe Reasbeck who rassles and another, or maybe they're the same person because he is from Superior, Wisconsin, who has rather strident views on the Iraq War - ones that make Don Rumsfeld's views positively dovish.

And that's it.

C'mon Joe, call a press conference. Let's get a real feeding frenzy going here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Perry Proclaims Special Election in Texas CD-22

On the Deadline Day? Cutting Things Close, Aren’t We?

In an incredibly cynical and transparent proclamation, Texas Governor Perry announced today that the last 6 to 7 weeks of Tom DeLay’s unexpired term would be filled by a special election to occur on the same day as the General Election, on November 7th.

As noted in the posting immediately preceding this one, it was revealed to The Daily News, a Galveston County daily newspaper, that Perry was contemplating not filling the remainder of the term, giving CD-22 a near-record time interval where they were not represented in Congress.

According to Kathy Walt, spokesperson in Perry’s office, the reason for the huge delay in issuing the proclamation was just this:
”Because there were a lot of maneuverings in the court on the Delay question on what could happen with that election, that had to play out then we reviewed all the legal requirements and options”.
Well, heck. If you would have just said that in the beginning, gee, we would all understand. After all, this is one tricky little devil, trying to figure out if the seat is really and truly vacant. Don’t want to make a mistake, right? Oh, but wait, what does that reason have to do with the two other special elections that were proclaimed today? The ones to fill the unexpired terms of state Representative Vilma Luna, and state Senator Frank Madla?

Could it be that both of these seats are in strong Democratic districts?

Is it that transparent? Perry waited until the last possible day to issue the proclamation, and candidates who want to file to run in the special election have a whopping 72 hours (not counting today, today doesn’t count), to file the necessary papers and pay the necessary fees?

Yes, it’s that transparent. And when you read Kathy Walt’s explanation, it’s just that cynical.

Well, all I can say is we dodged another constitutional crisis in CD-22. Perry’s reported consideration not to have a special election in this case would have raised constitutional issues again, just as it did when Tina Benkiser decided to declare Tom DeLay ineligible to run for Congress in CD-22. In this case, Perry would have run afoul of Section 2 paragraph 4 of the US Constitution which says:
“When vacancies happen in the Representation from any state, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies”.
Hand he not, it would have been bad. It seems that Rick and his buds are starting to read the law of the land now. Not necessarily because they want to follow it. Mainly it’s because they know that the Texas Democratic Party will hold their feet to the fire on following the rule of law in this country.

Well, we know that Nick Lampson will be filing for this election, and also, that Shelley Sekula-Gibbs will file, now that she knows there will be an election. Well, at least those who intend to vote for the choice of 83 precinct chairs in a backroom deal won't have to vote for the "Pink Lady" with a write-in wheel on the special election. There's that. No word from Smither, but I doubt it. The filing fee is more cash than he has in his campaign war chest.

Now here is the “expect the worst” aka “Half Empty” advice to the Lampson campaign on filing for this sucker. Hand-carry the filing papers to Austin. Bring extra copies. Personally place them in Secretary of State Roger Williams’ sweaty hands, and pay the filing fee in cash – make sure he counts it out in front of you. Bring witnesses and a notary. Wait for the receipt. Videotape the entire meeting.

Anything less, and you give Tricky Dick’s boy an opportunity to claim that he never received the papers, and oh-oh, the deadline is past.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Rick Perry Considers No Special Election for CD-22

Take a look at the Texas Secretary of State web page on Special Elections. Special elections are being called in the five congressional districts that were affected by the U.S. Supreme Court-ordered redrawing of district boundaries. That’s because they have to. The primary races that were run last March are all moot now, as the candidates who won are now facing new sets of voters.

I guess that’s what makes it special.

The illegally drawn district boundaries caused minorities to lose their voice in the US House. So they need to run an election to regain their voice. Right?

Well, then, what the heck is the difference between the plight of the people in those 5 congressional districts and the people in Congressional District 22? By my count, voters in CD-22 have not had anyone representing them in Congress since June 9th. That’s 78 days, folks. Now we are near the beginning of the really interesting part of hurricane season, the country is in the middle of a protracted war that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight, and there is no one in Washington speaking for us and looking out for our interests.

Isn’t that kind of special also?

Doesn’t that warrant a special election? Heck, we’re already having 5 special congressional elections because of Tom DeLay, why not 6? The same guy caused the problems in those districts, but here in CD-22 there were different issues involved. Like the issue where Tom quit and ran off to Virginia.

Well, it seems that Governor Rick Perry is considering the notion that it’s OK for CD-22 voters to go a couple months longer without a congressman. According to an article in “The Daily News”, out of Galveston County, Perry is considering just that.
“Despite previously declaring he would call a special election, Gov. Rick Perry has yet to do so. His office is now leaving open the possibility he may decide against calling one. The deadline for calling a special election is Tuesday, said Scott Haywood, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, which oversees elections in Texas. In April, Perry said he would call a special election to fill the final two months of DeLay’s term. But spokeswoman Kathy Walt indicated Friday that Perry was weighing his options. “The matter is being reviewed, and no decision has been made at this time,” Walt said in an e-mail response to The Daily News.”
This previous declaration is to be found in Perry’s April “White Paper” in which he calmly informed Tom that he would have to do one better than just quitting the race - he would have to move out of state. Recall the passage out of FortBendNow back then:
“According to the white paper, Perry has only two options if DeLay formally resigns after April 7:
→ “Call a special election for the Nov. 7 general election date.
→ “Call an emergency special election date prior to the November general election. The emergency special election could be set for any Tuesday or Saturday occurring between 36 and 50 days after the emergency special election is ordered.”
Apparently there is a third option. Don’t call a special election.

Realize that this will be only second to an all-time record breaking event. By not calling an election, Perry will leave TX-22 voters hanging out to dry without representation for over half a year (204 days). This will come very close to the 224 day vacancy created on April 24, 1905, when Congressman John M. Pinckney, was shot and killed at a meeting of the Waller County Prohibition league. Since that time, however, no vacancy went unfilled for longer than 130 days.

Apparently, the thinking goes that if a special election is called, CD-22 voters, who are already as confused as a baby in a topless bar, will have to cast their votes for the same office, twice. And considering that one of the potential candidates is a write-in candidate that could spell additional trouble (pun intended). And consider this: if Perry calls the election, anyone, of any party affiliation, can file for the office, and the winner requires a majority vote. If no majority vote is won, a run-off election occurs.

And finally, consider this: Nick Lampson is the only candidate in the general election who has said that he would be a candidate in the special election. Smither won’t file, and Shelley Sekula-Gibbs won’t say.

The right thing to do for the voters of CD-22 is to call a special election for them as well as the other 5 congressional districts. We deserve representation in Congress. But if you are a political hack like Rick Perry most certainly is, what would you do (or in this case, not do)?

I don't think it matters to anyone of any political persuasion. What Perry is considering doing is clearly against the interests of all people living within CD-22 boundaries.

But the man just doesn't care.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Labor Day Barbecue, Democrats, and Fun With Friends

First, an aside:

Like the new title graphic? Mark over at View from 22 put it together. I didn’t even ask. It’s hard to get used to people doing things for you without you asking. It’s commonplace among Democrats, but it’s still hard to get used to, working, as I do, for a school district.

Now on to new business

It seems like every time something good happens around here, there is barbecue to eat. And on Sunday, September 3rd, Labor Day Weekend, we have the mother of all barbecues to attend at the Sugar Land Community Center.

For a map click here for the muse map

I’ve been block walking, and you think that would help me drop a few pounds, but with all this barbecue, it’s pretty much a wash.

This is event a must do. You can’t not go. Not only will Congressman Al Green be there as keynote speaker, but there is going to be a grand assemblage of federal, statewide, and local candidates there.

In addition to Congressman Green, at last report we will have the following in attendance:

Barbara Ann Radnofsky – candidate for US Senate
Nick Lampson – candidate for US Congress (TX-22)
Shane Sklar – candidate for US Congress (TX-14)
Chris Bell – candidate for Texas Governor
Hank Gilbert – candidate for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture
David Van Os – candidate for Texas Attorney General
Jim Sharp – candidate for Justice on the 1st Court of Appeals
Dora Olivo – Texas House Representative (District 27)
Dorothy Bottos – candidate for Texas House (District 28)
Neeta Sane – candidate for Fort Bend County Treasurer
Rudy Velasquez – candidate for Judge of County Court at Law #1
Albert Hollan – candidate for District Judge 268th District Court
Veronica Torres – candidate for Fort Bend County District Clerk
Farhan Shamsi – candidate for Justice of the Peace Precinct 3

Get your tickets before they sell out. Call or go on down to the Fort Bend Democrats Headquarters in Rosenberg. I already have my ticket. Here’s the truth: I bought the first one. Mine is #001. I picked it up early because I have a class to attend all day Saturday, the day I usually show up to install campaign signs or go block walking. So I decided I had better get mine now.

I know. What a day to have a class to go to. Well you can say that when I am putting up campaign signs, I have no class. muse would agree. muse vision has had to sample the aftermath of one of my sign installation forays into the field. Not a pretty sight.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Party Giveth and The Party Taketh Away

Remember just a few days ago when Tina Benkiser told her College of Cardinals conclave in Pearland that they needed to come up with a single candidate to support because "she had a commitment for $3 million for this race from Washington"?

Well, apparently there is “true commitment” and there is “Republican commitment”.

Well, hey, the cardinals . . . er . . . precinct chairs let white smoke go up the chimney of the Baptist Church of Pearland, what we didn’t see was an immediate infusion of funds to the CD-22 campaign. As a matter of fact, here is what they are saying now through RNCC spokesman Jonathan Collegio:
“The National Republican Congressional Committee, which is a fundraising group that targets open Congressional seats, will wait for an endorsement from the Texas Congressional delegation before taking steps in Congressional District 22”.
What? Does that mean that Tina’s “commitment” was a commitment predicated on whether the other Texas Republican candidates agree?

Ho boy. That’s a good one. Here is a possible scenario in a meeting of the Republican congressional delegation, at say, The Colorado Club on the Southwest Freeway:

Pass out the cigars, boys, let’s have a meetin’. ‘Scuse me darlin’ d’y’all have a light? Whaddaya say boys, are we gonna give the RNCC the go-ahead to give this Shelly Gibbs-Sekula woman $3 million to get her write-in campaign off the ground?

Haw-HAW, yeah, Bubba, I know, but I had to say that or I couldn’t get my campaign to pay for this party. OK. Meetin’s over. Hey Slim, get that little ol’ redhead over here, that’s right wave a Benjamin. Tom, get up a second and let her use your chair to get up on the table, yeah, help her up there, Tom . . . yeah . . .

So sometime in the not so distant future, Shelley will hear that the RNCC was told that the Texas Delegation had better ideas on how to use campaign funds in this year’s congressional races.

Well, at least she has the $2100 from David Wallace, right? Right?

Never fear though, Shelley is going to come out swinging with her Pink Patrol knocking door-to-door, passing out glossy tracts, yard signs, manning the phone banks and putting together the monumental Get Out the Vote campaign. The Presses are running nonstop, it is said, to produce a huge lot of additional Sekula-Gibbs Campaign materials.

Presses on a budget. Heck, Shelley, go on down to the Fort Bend ISD warehouse and see if your campaign can pick up a couple of slightly used mimeograph machines on the cheap. Then, if you can find ditto masters, you’re in business. Besides, cranking that old crank is good exercise.

Had Enough? Vote Democratic

There's a great commercial coming on the tube this fall. It was made by former CD-22 candidate Richard Morrison. He has made it available on You Tube so we can all get a sneak preview.

Just click on the icon/photo below.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Things You Have to Believe to be a Republican Today

Things are quiet here in Texas Congressional District 22. Well, there are rumblings about some out of state Georgia congressman urging TX-22 voters to vote for Bob Smither. See about it here. But I am absolutely brain-dead today, so I am not going to participate in the observations underway on the GOP grilling of Bob Barr, or the speculation about whether the 3 million promised by the GOP head office will actually find it's way to the Pink Lady's campaign warchest. I am, however, mildly amused by an email I received today.

My auntie out west is the widow of a union man, and long-time Democrat. She reads my blog from time to time, so I bet she'll be surprised to see that I have posted her forwarded email to my blog today. I am a lover of irony and these one liners ooze irony. Enjoy.

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:

  • Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
  • Trade with Cuba is wrong because that country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
  • The United States should get out of the United Nations, but our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
  • A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations should be able to make decisions affecting all mankind without any regulation.
  • The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.
  • If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
  • A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
  • Providing health care to all Iraqis is a sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism.
  • HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart, as do oil companies.
  • Global warming is junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
  • A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
  • Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
  • The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.
  • Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.
  • What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Stick a Fork in Him, He’s Done

And like a rubbery-armed pitcher, David Wallace walked off the mound this afternoon. But wait, it’s still August, November 7th is near, but not that near. There are still innings to play. Oh, I see, it’s not a fatigued arm we are talking here. It’s a twisted one.

Republicans are very good at that. It’s human nature for one to express his or her individuality, but you don’t see much of that in the Republican Party. You see ranks and ranks moving in lock-step – all of them with twisted arms, tweaked ears and the occasional cigar burn. Vicious, vicious people when what is at stake is Power.

So what DID convince former Texas CD-22 candidate David Wallace to step aside for Shelley “Pink Lady” Sekula-Gibbs? What kind of deal did he swing? And does it, as suggested by Mark in View from Twenty-Two, qualify as a crime? Actually, Mark says that the 3 million dollar payoff to the local GOP from Washington “if there is only one Republican write-in candidate” in and of itself is a violation of the Texas Penal Code Section 36.01. I’m inclined to agree. He was induced to withdraw by enticement of massive amounts of funds to a local political organization of which he, himself, is a member.

Don’t Republicans have any scruples? We have LAWS here. David Wallace revealed the enticement himself in his statement:
“At the closed door meeting Texas Republican Party Chairman Tina Benkiser announce that she had a commitment for $3,000,000 for this race from Washington . . . as long as there is only one Republican write-in candidate. I believe that with those promised resources, and a masterfully crafted campaign, a write-in candidacy is a winnable campaign.”
See? He said it himself, just as Our Tom said he didn’t know where he would be living on Election Day. Just as Dubya said he was justified in keeping foreign nationals locked up indefinitely in military prisons until the Supreme Court slapped him down.

Guys, we are a nation of laws. You’re not supposed to break them whenever you feel like it or when it is politically expedient for you .

But as others have noted, no one locally will file criminal charges because they themselves are politically self-motivated.

Here’s what I think. I think that there are 6 more days until the filing deadline. What is the likelihood that someone, and I mean anyone, steps up and files for a write-in candidacy, and then announces that they are the Fort Bend County Republican alternative?

I hear the GOP is paying these people off big time.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hank Gilbert – Ag Commissioner for the People

"Agriculture First, Politics Last"

I had an interesting experience in true “Grassroots” campaigns yesterday, where the grass, in this case, came up to my hip in some places. And then there were the thorns, and the freshly moistened cow pies (it rained possums and armadillos that morning). Again, I joined Don and Charles, and this time with Tony, to put up campaign signs in the Fort Bend County portion of CD-22. Last time I helped install signs in the city-proper areas of Richmond and Rosenberg. This time we hit the highway and went out to the agrarian areas of Fort Bend County. It turned out to be a nice country excursion for this city slicker.

David Van Os said it best: Rural Texas is overlooked by modern political campaigns. There is a tendency to blitz the central media markets and ignore the rural areas where it is more difficult and costly to deliver any kind of message. In response to that, we spent the day bringing the campaign to rural parts of Fort Bend CD-22. Needville and Pleak Village are now adorned with the Democratic Party’s Fort Bend candidate team, and Nick, too. We also posted signs for Deborah Bottos, running for state house in District 28 prominently with her campaign colleagues.

But this posting isn’t about installing campaign signs, or Deborah Bottos, for now at least. It’s about Hank Gilbert who is the Democratic candidate for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture.

Hank Gilbert is a former high school agriculture teacher. His background is all about cattle ranching and agriculture. It is his passion.

Hank has held many positions in the agricultural community, both in 4-H and FFA, but also as a director of the Texas Simmental/Simbrah Association. Most recently he was President of Walnut Grove Water Supply, a member-owned cooperative where he was able to cut operational expenses and reduce the member’s water rates by 35%. He has never served in public office.

Why run? What possesses the man to run for Ag Commissioner? As Hank tells it, it’s because he became disgusted when he read that yet another Republican political hack was going to use the office to rise in the state hierarchy. Current commissioner, Susan Combs, is using the office to step up to State Comptroller this year. Before Combs? Rick Perry. Before Rick Perry? Democratic Commissioner Jim Hightower - the last Agriculture Commissioner to work for Texans and not for their own self-promotion.

Who is Hank Gilbert running against? State Senator Todd Staples. You’ll see why as you read on.

Trans Texas Corridor

Hank Gilbert is an opponent of Trans Texas Corridor. He says that it will hurt the marketing of Texas agricultural products, as a direct route from Mexico to Canada will essentially bypass Texas. The massive project will also serve to remove hundreds of thousands of agricultural acres from cultivation. Democrats, Independents and even some Republicans are opposed to the TTC. No one wants it. It is Governor Perry’s Iraq. Yet not only is Todd Staples in favor of the TTC, his campaign coffers have been stuffed by Cintra-Zachry, the corporation that stands much to gain if the TTC project goes forward. As a matter of fact, Staples co-wrote SB 1706, which enabled the TTC. Nice job, Todd. Always protecting the Texas Agriculture Industry, huh?

Of the TTC, Hank Gilbert has said that it will result in
“taking the vegetable industry away from Texas. By building this corridor from here to Canada, we will effectively take the U.S. out of the fruit and vegetable market. We will seriously deteriorate the beef cattle industry in this country because of the influx of foreign products across this border.”
“This is the one single largest thing that is going to affect and begin to destroy Texas agriculture,” Gilbert said. “And this is just one road. There are over 4,000 miles of these toll road plans taking up over 600,000 acres of farmland.”
While the Agriculture Commissioner is responsible for enforcing of all areas of Texas regulations concerning food inspection, pest control, things you would expect, things that are only in the background to we city folk, the office also oversees the department of weights and measures. This is a hot button for we commuters. Are you sure that you are getting what you are paying through the nose for? Are you aware that under Jim Hightower, gasoline pumps were checked annually for accuracy, but since Republicans have taken over the office, gas pump inspections are now required only once every 4 years? And some of these inspections are overdue?

Why vote for a Democratic Ag Commissioner? You can bet that most gas pumps are out of calibration, and you know if there’s a mistake in how much gas you are actually paying for, the mistake won’t be in your favor. Remember, Republicans don't care about your gasoline bill.

You know that, don’t you?

Hank Gilbert says his office will see to it that inspections will be back to an annual basis. What has Todd Staples said about this? Nothing. Nada. Staples is part of the Republican machine of power and political hackery. Everything to stay in office or advance, nothing for the people. Why, Todd would ask, should he do anything for the people? What have the people done for him, Todd Staples?

I have heard confirmation that Hank Gilbert will be present at the Fort Bend Democrats "True Blue Fort Bend" Labor Day Barbecue at Sugar Land Community on Sunday September 3rd. A wide range of statewide, local and federal candidates will be there. Go. Just go. Tickets are limited. $20 advance, $25 at the door. Click here to start the ticketing process. One thing I need to ask him. You see a whole bunch of campaign literature and banners with Red White and Blue, colors, but never the green and yellow colors that Gilbert chose for his campaign. I wonder why?

Finally (you knew this was coming) TexRoots is supporting Hank Gilbert for Agriculture Commissioner. Go here and drop a few bucks in the kitty for Hank. Shane Sklar and Juan Garcia can also use some help.

David Wallace: "I'll Be Seeing You"

My eyes have finally started spinning. It has taken all summer, starting with the TDP filing in Travis County to enjoin Tina Benkiser, chair of the Republican Party of Texas, from replacing Tom DeLay on the November ballot. I thought I was immune, but now we have a collective deep draw in of breath across CD-22, with speculation of what David Wallace will announce tomorrow on the steps of Sugar Land city hall.

And my eyes started spinning.

Probably the only thing fitting in all of this is that what was begun by Nick Lampson on those very steps last April, will, in all probability, come full circle tomorrow and we are finally off to the end game in November.

And all we need is Marsha Rovai and Ken Dexter to cap off tomorrow’s performance with a knock-down drag-out.

I can’t find anyone in the CD-22 extended blogosphere who hasn’t weighed in on the outcome tomorrow. Those who haven’t are probably getting ready for school.

Juanita says: “…you don’t have to beat Lampson, you just have to beat Sekula Gibbs and the primary is yours in two years. You wave goodbye now and you’re toast for at least a decade.”

muse says: “Democrats remember the last time there was a political press conference at Sugar Land Town Square. We learned that air horns are the required accessory for such an event.Time's ticking, David. Will you stay or will you go?”

Charles Kuffner says: “Heck if I know. I don't believe his presence or absence in the race affects Sekula-Gibbs' prospects very much. I want him to run if only to foment maximum discord in the district, but it probably doesn't matter.”

Chris Elam says: “50 bucks to my favorite charity says he drops out with a press release at the beginning of the week talking about doing what's right for the district and how he has searched his heart to come to this difficult decision.”

John Coby says: “Film at 11 on Monday”

Fred says: “Odds are he out of this race and after the tongue lashing he received on Conservative radio KSEV on Friday I can imagine the heat he is receiving from his own party.”

So what do I say?. He’s gone. It is the political expedient. Let his opponent (not Nick, Shelley) run and lose the election. This is just ammunition for his future (2008) irrational claim that Shelley lost the district to a Liberal Democrat Pelosi Lapdog.

And he’ll appear to be the team player, especially if he can get Gillen and Hebert to lick the faces of other pack leaders. A word of warning to those three: don’t forget about the long memories of these Republican leaders (one of whom, as Juanita says, owns a transportation device that also cleans the floor). Have no doubt that they will feast on your bone marrow if you show the slightest sign of weakness in the next couple of years.

See you later, Dave.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Lady In Pink: Clear Choice of Republicans in Texas CD-22

Here she is. The Republican choice to run against Nick Lampson and Libertarian candidate Bob Smither.

Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.

The Pink Lady of ever so many muse postings. I can't wait to see what the muse makes of this.

Republican voters, better get used to the spelling. Shelley will have to file her name without the ever-present hyphen. No eSlate machine has a hyphen on its list of things to select, so best do without it. And that's "ey" not "y".

Well, 85 of the 150 precinct chairs arrived in Pearland to help decide who shall be the anointed one, the savior of the failed Republican effort to hold onto the Texas CD-22 congressional seat. And by an unknown majority (well, after all the meeting was closed to the public and the press), Republicans voted the candidate who they will support for a write-in candidate for US Congress in CD-22.

Thank Krisna. Nick Lampson will not be able to "steal" this seat.

By the way, did you know that the word "sekula" is Indonesian for "school"? True. For about 40 years, the Spanish had control of the East Indies. In that time they introduced the concept of "escuela" or "school" so the word stuck. Indonesians are a very versatile people. The word for gear, in Indonesian is "verschnelling", a Dutch word for gear. Point is, the Indonesians have no difficulty with new rulers, new languages, new anything. I bet the Indonesians would have no problem voting in this election. Americans, however, will be entirely baffled.

And I will bet you DeLay Dollars to doughnuts that this factoid is being overlooked by Shelley and her new support group.

Voters will have to enter dialed letters to give vote counters the idea of who they are to choose. In Pearland, the Republicans opted to support the person with the most incredibly difficult name to dial in on an eSlate ballot. Nice job. Arthritic people will rejoice.

Unless they can enter another person's more arthritis-friendly name like "David Wallace". Nothing has changed there, as far as I have heard. David "Guns" Wallace is the candidate of choice of bug killer Greg Gillen and Judge Hebert.

Whatever happened to Tina Benkiser's man of the hour, Paul Bettencourt? Well, according to Juanita, he folded his tent and went back to Harris County.

Shelley, listen to the words.

Hey-hey-hey- Goodbye

The New Democracy – Republican Style

Yee – haw! It’s the Republic of Indonesia’s Independence Day today – AND – today 150 some odd Republican precinct chairs and various and sundry Texas state and local GOP officials will meet at the First Baptist Church of Pearland to agree to support one write-in candidate. There is also the persistent rumor that some out-of-state Washington lobbyist will be in attendance, also.

The meeting is closed to the public. The smell of this is high.

Didn’t Sam Sparks tell Tina Benkiser et al. that they could not replace Tom DeLay on the ballot? Now here they are organizing Republican support for a Republican write-in. Why oh why doesn’t the TDP file suit to restrain these people from committing what is arguably a criminal act?

I’ll tell you why.

No one down at TDP is strong enough today, having laughed themselves senseless since Monday’s announcement of the meeting, and announcements that have followed, all the way up to today.

The latest? Gary Gillen says that Fort Bend chairs should boycott the meeting, and meet at the Pecan Grove Country Club instead. It’s all in a forwarded memo at muse’s place. Hey, muse, GG specifically wrote these people not to forward the memo to anyone else. These words out of a man who claims to be in favor of meetings that are “open to the public and the press” and that “I don’t intend to participate in anything secretive.”

Apparently the Pecan Grove Country Club has donated its meeting room to the local GOP (you hear that? donated) in exchange for the attendees agreeing to feed on a pasta soup and salad bar dinner for 15 bucks a pop. Well, at least you can go back for seconds, but man, 15 bucks for noodles, soup and lettuce? By comparison, Ashton Glover’s family’s fund raising spaghetti dinner was $8.00 a plate.

Good food there, better cause, better attended too, I’ll wager.

So I imagine that the press is going to flock to Gillen’s meeting because they can’t get in the one in Pearland. At Gary’s meeting, at least, you will have a bunch of Republicans speak as one in praise for their new savior David “Guns” Wallace. Over in Pearland, a blood bath is inevitable, but I guess if Tina Benkiser can get 76 chairs to agree to Paul Bettencourt, then they’ll have a write-in candidate.

Wow. 76 out of 150 votes are all it would take. Well, you know, it’s kind of patriotic. They could say things like “Paul Bettencourt, choice of the people”, where “the people” are a group that they could call “The Spirit of the 76”.

And that, folks is democracy in action, also known as The New Democracy – Republican Style:

Gaming the system
Sneaking around
Disobeying court orders
Accepting non-cash donations from tax-exempt organizations and fat cat establishments.
Paying too much for a buffet dinner.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

God Almighty 1, Satan 8

I'm telling you, Satan, through his allies the Liberal Democrats and Nancy Pelosi, is winning his battles on all fronts. Armageddon is nigh (or . . . er . . . was)

First, one of God's home-boys, Tom DeLay former congressman from Texas CD-22, got chased out of town by Liberal Democrat (and Nancy Pelosi's lapdog) Nick Lampson. (That's 1) And he even enlisted the help of Republican-Appointed judges (That's 2).

Then nearly the same thing happened to Bob Ney in Ohio. Earlier this month, Ney announced that he would not seek re-election, to his seat in the US House, even though he is not under felony indictment as is Our Tom. CBS News reported that Ney withdrew "citing the strain of an intensifying corruption investigation that had focused for months on his dealings with lobbyists". (That's 3)

And in an yet another irony, God's attempt to allow Tom DeLay name his successor - foiled by Satan (That's 4) - was foiled again by the dark lord when it was just announced today that Ney's endorsement of Joyce Padgett for his seat - and she was the front runner - is now all for naught as she will be ruled ineligible to run as she has run afoul of Ohio's "Sore Loser Law". (That's 5).

Also today, we learn that Activist Judges in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that a copy of the Holy Bible may not be displayed in a monument to William S. Mosher that is located outside of the Harris County Civil Courthouse. (That's 6)

Three Ronald Reagan-Appointed judges ruled 2 for, 1 against removal of The Word of God. No one is immune. Especially men of a lawyerly background, who often find themselves listening to Lucifer's lectures.

And in his most outrageous move to-date, Satan whispered into the ears of unwitting Republican Party officials, and got them to set up a closed-door meeting of party officials and precinct chairs, so they could agree on a write-in candidate to support a replacement for Tom DeLay's seat. Unbeknownst to them, Jesus was all set to reveal Himself at the First Baptist Church of Pearland on Thursday evening, in commemoration of the National Independence Day of Indonesia (Jesus loves Indonesians, especially their batik). Not knowing the secret password, Jesus had to change venues, and millenia. (That's 7)

Thank God Almighty for the Fort Bend County Grand Jury and Judge Brady Elliott. They are alone this week doing God's bidding. Brady Elliott, Republican Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey and Assistant District Attorney Felipe Rendon got the Grand Jury to hand down a "no-bill" in a criminal charge against Ken "Sword of God" Dexter. In the "no-bill", the jury declined to return indictments against this true blessed of Jesus.

Unfortunately our Sword of God could not do our Lord's business earlier today. Marsha "I Love Nancy Pelosi" Rovai was out again with her hero, Nick Lampson. But the devil protected the news conference by surrounding them with policeman carrying guns and mace.

And That's 8.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sugar Land Justice. When?

Today, I received a message from my best friend Ann Van that Marsha Rovai's assault case got a "no bill" from the Fort Bend Grand Jury, who heard opposition arguments by Republican DA Jim Healey.

Last April, during a Nick Lampson press conference (Nick is the Texas candidate for the CD-22 seat) Marsha Rovai, a five foot tall 69-year old retiree and Lampson supporter, was assaulted on the steps of Sugar Land's city hall by a Republican goon named Ken Dexter. Dexter is twice her size, and foreman of the Fort Bend County Grand Jury. Sugar Land police stood by as he and another mouth-breathing knuckle-dragging goon assaulted this female senior citizen. Note, I do not, at this point, blame the police for not witnessing the assault. The crime was apparently committed cleverly and secretly. As is their wont.

This is not the end. As Juanita says, "more to come".

Monday, August 14, 2006

How Irregular - An Anointment in a Baptist Church

It was rumored this weekend that Republican precinct chairs would be called to a meeting in a “central location” to select a single unified (but not officially Republican) write-in candidate . Well, an hour ago, FortBendNow broke the news that it will indeed happen.

Who: Republican CD-22 Precinct Chairs from Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston and Harris Counties, RPT Executive Committee members within CD-22, maybe other Texas state GOP officials, Republican elected officials from the four counties within CD-22, and the original cast of Jonathan Larson's "Rent".

What: Perform a miracle on the order of the loaves and fishes.

When: 7:30 PM, Thursday, August 16, 2006.

Where: First Baptist Church of Pearland (I guess that’s in Pearland).

Why: Nobody knows for sure . . . just can’t give the seat to Lampson without a fight.

How: Everyone brings food (thank God Talton’s out, no cookies), straw votes are cast into one of those Post Office plastic bins, votes immediately counted, and then all hell breaks loose.

It’s not an official party function, they say, because that would be a violation of Judge Sparks’ order, wouldn’t it? Nevertheless, the public is not invited, nor is the press. Another exhibition of the opacity of Republican politics in action? Really I just don’t think they want to show the amount of blood and gore that is going to be thrown around inside that House of God on Thursday. From the photo, I'd say leave your stones at home.

And when will the CD-22 Republicans choose their Savior? Well the picture at the top gives you some indication of my opinion.

And David Wallace: if you plan on attending, bring Kevlar.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Was Juan Garcia a Jet Pilot or a Swift Boat Commander?

Gene Seaman, the Republican incumbent Texas HR district 32 representative, said Juan Garcia, naval aviator, is not a jet pilot. My response to Gene Seaman is just this:

So What!

No one ever said he was.

Oh, I see, Clean Gene is addressing the fact that he is pictured, on his campaign website, giving a smooch to his wife with a jet in the background. Well, actually he said this:

"He is not a fighter pilot even though he takes his picture behind a jet."
Does that statement even make sense? In the photo, which is also part of the background on his campaign website, Juan is laying a rather huge smacker-oo on his wife, Denise. You don't see him holding a camera. But somehow he took a picture behind a jet. I've seen that picture Gene, and it looks like Juan and Denise are beside a jet. Gene, it is pretty foolhardy to position yourself behind a jet.

So let me autocorrect for you.

Juan Garcia posted a picture of himself kissing his wife and there was a jet in the background.

Implying what?

That he flies that jet? Folks, I have a picture of myself standing in front of the USS Constitution. Does that picture imply that I am the ship's captain?

On his campaign website, Gene Seaman has a picture of himself standing in front of a military version of what looks like a Piper Cub. Is that the plane that you flew during your term of military service, Gene? A Piper Cub? Is that why you think that Juan Garcia is falsely claiming that he flew jets? Because you had a picture taken of you standing in front of your plane?

By the way, nice job in your choice of military service to your country. You and The Prez, have something in common. You joined the National Guard during the Korean War and had fun not going overseas. Dubya joined the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, and had fun doing the same thing.

Obviously Seaman is taking Bob Perry's money, and a page from his Swift Boat Campaign strategy, and trying to besmirch the military record of an accomplished P-3 Orion driver. You think that flying a propeller driven plane isn't as sexy as flying a jet? Consider this Gene:

Propeller driven planes are slower than jets. They make easier targets.
Juan Garcia, naval aviator, flew one of these flying targets. Used in a variety of missions, it can be a tool in anti-submarine warfare as well as gatherer of battlefield intelligence. P-3 Orions not only carry weaponry, they carry equipment to gather very valuable battlefield intelligence:
"The Harpoon Stand-Off Land Attack Missile (SLAM) launched from the P-3C Orion aircraft provides commanders with the ability to immediately deploy a long range responsive platform that can remain on-station for extended periods of time,
retask targets in flight, and deliver up to four over-the-horizon precision weapons in minutes. The same aircraft can then remain on station and continue to target other platforms' missiles by the use of its Electro-Optical, Rapid Targeting System (RTS) and real time data link capabilities."
The Piper Cub, I hear, has an unique ability to drop spitwads on the elusive enemy.

Gene Seaman, you're an idiot.

Anyone who doesn't see through this weak attempt to besmirch the war record of Gulf War and Balkan War veteran Juan Garcia, is likewise, an idiot.

Treat yourself to Juan Garcia's video. It was released last month. I just get all weepy and proud every time I watch it.

And by the way, you can send a message to Clean Gene Seaman by contributing to the Juan Garcia campaign through TexRoots. Click on the icon on the left and leave a few bucks off. Shane Sklar and Hank Gilbert also need support.

For Fort Bend County District Clerk, Veronica Torres is the Clear Choice

You know, most people don’t really and truly care about such down ballot races like District Clerk, and that’s just the truth. Mainly it’s because they are unaware of just what the office does. I have had to explain to potential voters on my block walking tours just how important that office is. As it turns out, it is a pivotal job in county government.

The District Clerk, in Fort Bend County, Texas, is the records keeper for the county court system. Currently the District Clerk has 40 full time and 6 part-time employees, and has a budget of over $1.7 million. Among other things, the District Clerk’s office files and assigns “causes of action” in civil, criminal, and family matters, including divorces, name changes, serious personal injury, child support and custody, delinquent taxes, product liability, contracts, real estate, felony indictments, revocations, bond forfeitures, and expunctions. The District Clerk maintains all court records, and handles all funds paid to the courts.

And I hear the pay sucks.

So who would ever want a job like that? Well, like every other kind of county job, it comes down to two different types: people who really care about the job, and people with an agenda that has nothing to do with doing the job well.

Glory Hopkins, the Republican District Clerk, is of the first type. She has served the county and her party for 20 years. Of late, she has been working to edit out personal information that is available in documents that can be accessed by anyone on-line. No one told her to do that.

She is also not running for re-election this year. Not because she doesn’t want to. And that is a sad sordid tale reminiscent of the machinations of a former congressman in Texas CD-22.

Glory Hopkins became a thorn in the side of quite a few people. Among other things, she actively fought against buying an integrated computer system that would serve the county’s entire justice system. She often ran afoul of other Republican elected officials. She wasn’t a team player. Paraphrasing Dubya, if Glory was not with them, she was with the terrorists (or Democrats, whichever fits).

Enter from stage right, Annie Rebecca Elliott.

What? A Republican stepping up to challenge an incumbent Republican with name recognition? An easy re-elect? Yep.

What a waste of time and money. You know the voters aren’t going to be voting out an experienced person in favor of a Court Coordinator working for the County Clerk?

Unless . . .

Unless you find a way to keep Glory Hopkins off the ballot. Well, Eric Thode, former Fort Bend County Republican Party Chair, apparently had a look at Tom DeLay’s playbook. He sent an email to Glory giving her the address to which she could submit her filing papers, and gosh darn it all, put the wrong zip code in the address. So when Glory used the address Thode sent to her, sent her filing papers (due January 2nd at 6 PM) using that address, and picked up the certified mail receipt which showed a postmark of Dec. 27, it was all copacetic. After the close of the business day on January 2nd, Thode called Glory’s daughter and told her that he had not received the filing. She later found out that her registered mailing to Thode was deemed undeliverable on December 29th.

So even though the filing was hand delivered to the Republican Party Secretary on January 3rd, Thode, regretfully, could not accept it. You snooze, you lose. Glory’s name would not be put on the ballot. Thode must have been relieved, though, that at least there would be one Republican candidate for the office on the ballot.

Glory filed a writ to to the 14th Court of Appeals get her name on the ballot. Of the process FortBendNow posted this:” Hopkins, her campaign officials and Thode all say they believe a good-faith effort was made to get the application to Thode by deadline.”

But faith doesn’t cut it. The court turned down Glory twice, and then the State Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Case closed, Glory’s out.

You know, when Eric Thode was heard to say that it was a big mistake for Tina Benkiser’s lawyers to have the Tom DeLay Eligibility case moved from state to federal courts, could he have had Glory’s try at justice in mind?

Enter from stage left: Veronica Torres.

On January 4th, Veronica Torres, a Democrat who also works in the County Clerk’s office, announced her candidacy for the office of District Clerk. Commenting on the premature end of Glory Hopkins public service, Veronica said:
”After 20 years of serving her County and her Party, her party has turned their back on Glory Hopkins. I am sad for Glory and our Democratic process. This whole episode demonstrates the confusion, disarray and division in the other party.”
“I wish Glory well and salute her for her many years of public service.”
Veronica, in working in the County Clerk’s office, was well-aware of the issues in regard to the aforementioned new software being bought by the county, and Glory’s error in not supporting it. You can read it all on her campaign website, but let’s just say that Veronica knows the job and is the kind of person that is committed to doing it right. I have even heard, through muse, who gets to hear it all, that Glory Hopkins is of the opinion that Veronica is the more qualified candidate.

A great wrong has been done to Glory Hopkins and, as Veronica says, to the Democratic process. We will never know for certain whether Thode sent the wrong address to Glory intentionally or not. That is between Eric Thode and Jesus. Krisna knows I have done similar things with that handy tool, "cut and paste". However, I am ever the skeptic, and cannot separate, in my mind, these shenanigans from those of Our Tom.

Anyway, why am I writing about all of this ancient history today? Yesterday I went down to the Fort Bend Democrats Headquarters in Rosenberg and had some of the best barbecue that I have ever had. It was a fundraising event for Veronica Torres’ campaign. Of barbecue, an old friend of mine used to say “Good is lots, more is better”. This certainly qualified. I will be feeding on this $6.00 purchase for a couple more days. muse was there (yes, I have learned my lesson) and took the picture with the muse camera that I have reposted here. The barbecue and beverage went down well. I was thinking about it all day while I was walking blocks in Lake Olympia, with Tom (Pat couldn’t make it).

Life is good when you are a Fort Bend Democrat.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Having Some Barbecue With a Galaxy of Texas Candidates

Things are looking up for this Blogger. Tonight I was asked by Juanita to come to a fundraising barbecue dinner and meet and see a whole host of Democratic candidates, past and present I left my notebook at home, so what you're going to read are the more memorable (to me) things that transpired tonight.

First, it was held on Old South Plantation, a very genteel place in Richmond that has its own church right on the premises. The place is to die for. The house, above, was built in 1890 by descendents of Jane Long, "Mother of Texas". What can I say, white buildings and columns. The barbecue itself was in an outbuilding.

Now you expect a fundraiser dinner of this caliber to be with linen table cloths and napkins with white coated servers. Well, that's what you would expect at a Republican Do. What we were treated to were bare wooden tables, barbecue dinners in Styrofoam trays - you know - the kind you use to take home the carne asada that you couldn't finish, plasticware and beverages in an ice chest. This is why I like Democrats. No pretense, just solid down to earth people.

Who were there:

Nick Lampson, the only major party candidate on the Texas CD-22 ballot
Jim Sharp, running for Justice on the First Court of Appeals
Albert Hollan, running for Judge in the 268th District Court
Farhan Shamsi, running for Justice of the Peace in Precinct 3
Rudy Velasquez, running for Judge, County Court at Law #1
Veronica Torres, running for Fort Bend District Clerk
Neeta Sane, running for Fort Bend County Treasurer

Also present, though not running for anything (this year) were:

Gerry Birnberg, Harris County Democratic Party Chair
Richard Morrison, former Democratic candidate for Congress for CD-22 in 2004.

Albert Hollan spoke about how he was proud of the American judicial system in the decisions of the past month-plus. Republican-appointed judges ruling not in a partisan way, but following the rule of law. He's running against Brady Elliott, who, Albert says, is a judge who doesn't allow you to speak more than 2 or 3 minutes before cutting you off, having already made his decision about you.

Farhan Shamsi told a perfectly charming tale of his immigration as a 4-year old, and about how his parents were naturalized in 1976, the bicentennial year, and that his parents voted as Americans for the first time that year - their first vote being for Jimmy Carter.

Rudy Velasquez. Now you have to know that Rudy Velasquez is a very calm soft spoken man, but he brought the house down with a comment that goes something like this: People ask me why run for judge in Fort Bend County? You're just wasting your time and money and no lawyer in the county is going to vote for you because they are Republicans. To which Rudy responded. Well, I have lots of time and no money. Besides, there are only 200 lawyers who can vote against me. But you know, I am Hispanic, and we Hispanics have large families. I have 47 first cousins on my mother's side, and 62 first cousins on my father's side. And they're all registered to vote and they are all going to vote in November.

Jim Sharp is running for Appeals Justice in an area that stretches across 9 counties in southeast Texas. He's as sharp as they come (sorry). To Rudy, who spoke of running for judge of some kind of lowly court, Jim said: You're lucky. You're running against 1 candidate who has never seen the inside of a court, I am running in a field of 9 candidates.

Veronica Torres is really starting to come on strong. I heard her speak at a house party last February, and she came across as a quiet but earnest candidate. Tonight I saw a Veronica Torres with strong convictions in her abilities with fire in her voice. She is going to make her opponent, a Republican, propped up, under-qualified candidate sorry she ever agreed to run.

Neeta Sane is always fun to watch. She's maybe 5 feet tall, and you have to keep telling yourself not to tell her to stand up when she speaks - because she is standing. The woman has more energy than Exxon-Mobil and Chevron-Texaco combined. Neeta argued very forcefully that she will be the watchdog of taxpayer money, seeing that it is properly invested, and above all running a transparent operation. No more shady deals in our County Treasurer's office.

Nick got up last and threw out perhaps the best line I have heard out of him, and that's saying something because the man can turn a phrase. I hope I do it justice: We got rid of Tom DeLay! We buried him! Then we resurrected him and then we buried him AGAIN!

Although not running for office this year, the entire crowd turned to Richard Morrison and gave him a loud standing ovation for being the pioneer running an underfunded campaign against a well-monied powerful Republican congressman in 2004, and making a more than respectable showing in that race. He demonstrated that DeLay was vulnerable, even in his own gerrymandered district.

It was a great evening.

And you know what? Richard Morrison reads my blog!

TexRoots Update

We're now up to 31% of our goal for Juan, Hank and Shane. C'mon guys. These are tremendously important races. We Bloggers have "primed" the fund with our hard-earned dollars. I did as well, and I am a public school teacher. You must know that I can ill afford too many contributions. The time is now upon us. If you can, please contribute to the campaigns of these very deserving candidates. They will turn it around for us, but they need your support. Do what you can for them, OK? If you are a CD-22 voter, then you can now consider a contribution to Shane Sklar. He is running against a Libertarian, as is Nick. We can use Shane's campaign to show potential Smithers voters what they will reap if they vote for a Libertarian. That is, NOTHING. I especially want to see Hank win. The Agricultural Commish has been for too long a path to higher office. A vote for Hank Gilbert is a vote to make that office work for US again. Juan Garcia? The man's record speaks for itself. You can't NOT support this gentleman. He is too cool for the room.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Nick Lampson: Nothing Has Changed

There were at least 50 attendees tonight at the Nick Lampson Campaign’s Fort Bend County Volunteer meeting at the First Colony Library.

A good turnout on a good week for the Texas Democratic Party.

Nick was running late so several people gave accounts of the week’s events, including the latest news that Tim Turner, one of the replacement candidates that I forgot about in my previous posting (gimme a break, there were so many of them), has announced that he too will run for Tom DeLay’s vacant seat. Well climb on board, Tim.

Now we know of at least 3 Republicans who won’t be voting for Bob Smither.

Nick finally showed up and got a standing ovation. He gave a short speech, a kind of “Nick Lite” speech that quickly summarized the issues facing voters, and some of the things going on at the campaign.

Emphasizing and underlining throughout the evening is this key thought: Nothing Has Changed. Nick is still going to run an aggressive issue-based campaign with no let up until November 8th. Nick has said time and time again that he will run against anyone and there will be no change – the issues are the same, Bob Smithers is still there, yes we have some new faces on the block, but NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
“Nothing has changed with Nita Sane [Democratic candidate for County Treasurer], nothing has changed with Farhan Shamsi [Democratic candidate for Justice of the Peace], and nothing has changed for Albert [Albert Hollan, Democratic candidate for 268th District Court]”.
Then he moved on, but it took only a couple of sentences for Nick to see Rudy Velasquez,
Democratic candidate for Judge of County Court at Law #1, sitting in the back row. He recovered nicely.
“And nothing has changed for Rudy Velasquez . . . let’s see if there’s any body else out there . . . “
I really like this about Nick. He knows how important his race is for the down-ballot candidates.

There was lots of discussion on plans for the 90 days left before November 7th. As with every Lampson meeting, we were updated with the current door/call tally. As of now, 18,000 doors have been knocked on by a Lampson campaign worker or volunteer, and 27,000 people have been contacted by phone. The data base is being fine-tuned.

We are going to be awesome as we come down to the wire.

And then I got the best news (personally) that I had all night. The campaign reads my blog! [Hey, guys]. My friend Ann said “Told ya”. But you know me . . .ever the pessimist.

I tell you, working with these people - it changes your outlook. I may have to change the name of this blog to Half Full.

And then there was one . . . er, two?

What a day in old Texas CD-22. Here we had a galaxy of candidates all set to replace Our Tom on the ballot, but like the old campfire song, “100 bottles of beer” they each seem to have been taken down and passed around in considering a write-in campaign.

Tom Campbell, as a primary candidate, is forbidden by law from participating. Imagine that, he won’t even be running against his foe on the primary ballot, but that’s the law.

Robert Talton and Charlie Howard would have to give up their state legislature seats to be write-in candidates, and that won’t happen anytime.

Andy Meyers doesn’t have any of the above to consider, but says he won’t run and doesn’t think anyone else should either as he was heard to say:
“There’s no way anybody can run a credible campaign as a write-in candidate. What are you going to say – ‘I’m a write-in candidate, send me money’? How are you going to do that?”
I’ll bet Our Tom could have figured out a way.

We haven’t heard from Mike Jackson or John Devine these past few months, but they are also in the same boat as Talton and Howard, so another two are off the table.

Let’s see, Eckels took his Stetson out of the ring ages ago, so that leaves . . .

David Wallace and Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.

Well, now, just about anyone who has written about a Sekula-Gibbs write-in candidacy has made the comment about the length of her name and how hard (actually nigh to impossible with that there hyphen) it would be to dial her name in on an eSlate voting machine.

FortBendNow says that a meeting occurred today among state and local Republican Party officials, and the word is that they will lock themselves in a room – at an undisclosed location – until they come out with one name.

Prediction: If they come out with one name, and that is a reach, it will be She of the Pink Leggings and Hyphenated Name. Why? There is such a rabid dislike of David Wallace among them that it will be either Shelley or no one.

So the GOP officials' choice will be Shelley Sekula-Gibbs . . . or no one.

But wait, there’s more. David Wallace has already said that he will launch a campaign in the 2008 election, in this case now as it seems most certainly to be, to reclaim the seat from Congressman Nick Lampson D-Sugar Land. Wallace will most certainly run a write-in campaign this year, GOP endorsed write-in candidate or not. It’s inevitable. Not only inevitible, it just happened. Guess David read the same FortBendNow article that I did and moved up his announcement.

Now where do I go to sign his nomination petition? But alas, I voted in the primary. Juanita tells me that I only get to watch. Poop. That's my life in a nutshell.

So look for at least one and maybe two write-in candidates. Or maybe more. X Swami X might run if he hits on the Lotto. Or maybe . . . a dark horse.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Write-In Campaign in Texas CD-22? Tom Withdraws!

Early this morning, Time Magazine correspondent Mike Allen broke the news that Tom DeLay is seriously considering stepping aside and selecting a write-in candidate to replace him. He was given this information from a Republican insider who says things are not final, but that he “more likely than not” will go that route, adding as a caveat “with DeLay you never know.”

You might recall that I had a posting suggesting several different scenarios as a result of Sparks’s ruling on July 6th. Score! We are now considering Scenario 3.

“Scenario 3: 5th Court of Appeals doesn't play ball. Tom officially withdraws and Nick faces off with Bob Smithers, David Wallace, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, Tom Campbell and Kristna knows who else - all candidates but Smithers and Lampson are write-in candidates. GOP vote is split, Lampson wins, but the vote totals of all his opponents combined are less than Nick's.”
Will Durst, at AlterNet, contemplated this scenario three weeks ago. His conclusion? Doable, but only in the world of a paranoid schizophrenic on speed. He wrote

“Or the Republicans could decide to put together a write-in campaign. Which might prove to be a mite ticklish, especially when you consider voters in Texas 22 are about as bright as a buried 15 watt bulb to begin with, which can be verified by their perpetual requited love affair with Mr DeLay. So, teaching an entire district to learn how to write is going to be about as easy as untying the shoes of a greased up centipede while wearing oven mitts.”
Have you actually ever seen how to effect a write-in vote on eSlate voting machines? It makes working a Qwerty keyboard look like a snap. Here is a link to Hart Intercivic, the company that markets eSlate machines. Curiously enough, though, they don’t seem to have any instructions on how to use the machines in a write-in race. I found this site, a simple PDF made available by Boulder County, Colorado. What you do to enter a write-in candidate’s name, is turn the little finger wheel so the cursor highlights a letter, then select the letter, then turn the wheel to the next letter. There is a place for a space, and a backspace key, but woefully, no hyphen. So Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, your name is not only horribly long for those of us with arthritis, we can’t even spell your name correctly.

Who does Tom select to succeed him? Well, it needs to be someone with some name recognition. And someone stupid enough to accept the challenge. Does the name David Wallace come to mind? Mike Allen writes:

“The write-in candidate has not been chosen, but Republican officials in Washington said they have a good chance of retaining the seat if it is a credible candidate like a mayor, judge or state legislator. Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace has expressed interest in running.”
Trouble is, which David Wallace are we talking about? There are four (4) individuals named David Wallace in Fort Bend County, and I haven’t even looked at Brazoria, Harris or Galveston possibles. We could be back to the 2004 CD-22 election where Tom DeLay squared off against Richard Morrison, a Democrat and Tom Morrison, a Libertarian.

This is not lost on others in the Grand Old Party. The best summary of that feeling is found in the opinion of Bill Miller, a GOP consultant:

"This would be met with ridicule and scorn. This strategy would be like handing the seat to the Democrats on a silver platter. Tom Delay will be remembered for the craziest end to his political career. Anointing a candidate never works. Voters are likely to say, 'The hell with 'em' and write in their own name, their kid's name."
And apparently according to the Texas Election Code, chapter 146, it is fairly easy to be certified as a write-in candidate. All you need is $3125.00 and a list of 500 signatures, and get that filed with the Secretary of State on or before August 29th. Not bad. My old favorite write-in candidate, X Swami X, could always get the signatures, but could never pan-handle the filing fee. So when we wrote his name in, the vote never recorded as he wasn’t officially certified. But heck, it was fun to vote for that character.

Levity aside, I have two questions for Republicans who are considering this move.

First, how can they expect the local Republicans to unite behind a DeLay-Anointed write-in candidate when they have been so willing, this year, to air their dirty laundry in public? Replacement candidates have been eyeing each other suspiciously since April. The blood-letting has been all over the media.

Second, how do they plan on handling Tom’s fanatic base? Those squealing, squirming, ladies and back-slapping gentlemen that we saw at Tom’s Thank You Event at the Sugar Land Marriott last month? What’s to keep them from dialing in “TOM DELAY” on the eSlate machine?

So in this, Tom has a distinct advantage among the arthritic that have trouble turning that eSlate dial. Like his most recent poll numbers, the number of letters in his name is also low.

Flash Update:

CNN correspondent Dana Bash has just reported (1:52 pm) that Tom DeLay will not run for re-election, this from three GOP sources. An announcement from DeLay is expected later today.

And now just in Tom DeLay's withdrawl announcement at FortBendNow. Left out? Any direction of what Republicans are to do:
“I strongly encourage the Republican Party to take any and all actions necessary to give Texas voters an up-or-down choice this Fall between two major party candidates"

[Emphasis mine]

What? Did someone misplace the holy oil?

TexRoots Update:

As of this posting, we have achieved 26.2% of our goal in an amazingly short amount of time. Those of you who haven't chipped in yet, go here.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Scalia Rejects Arguments in Application for RPT DeLay Stay

Antonin Scalia has denied the Republican Party of Texas' application for a stay of enforcement of Judge Sparks' July 6 decision. It seems to be the end of the road for the litigation portion of this affair.

Earlier today, lawyers representing Tina Benkiser and the Republican Party of Texas filed an application for a stay of enforcement of the judgement that the Texas Democratic Party obtained In TDP vs. Benkiser et al. That judgement, among other things, enjoins Tina Benkiser from removing Tom DeLay’s name from the November ballot for the CD-22 race.

But late this afternoon, Justice Antonin Scalia, who reviews appeals of 5th Circuit Court rulings, denied the application.

Final door slammed in the collective faces of Tina Benkiser, the Republican Party of Texas, and Tom “I’ll be back” DeLay.

There is no where else to go with this. Tom DeLay cannot be replaced on the ballot. Said James Bopp, the RPT’s lawyer in the case:
“The efforts to get relief through the courts prior to the election have been exhausted. Obviously the party is considering their options.”
Options? They have options?

The only person in this whole mess that has an option here is Tom DeLay. Now Tom will have an option to come back and run, or to exercise the other option, to announce what we all know he will announce.

That he is withdrawing from the race.

FortBendNow holds that Scalia denied the application because he disagreed with the arguments presented:

“The denial by Justice Scalia indicates he disagreed with the GOP argument. As a result, no replacement candidate will be allowed to be named.”
Now I think that’s possible, but I also think that he must have thrown up his hands after the first read of the 51 page long application, especially after seeing such whiney rhetoric like
“This application seeks to protect Republican Party of Texas’ First Amendment right of association by protecting its ability to nominate a candidate of its choice free from the intrusion of those with adverse interests, the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”). As a result of TDP’s intrusion into RPT’s nomination process, RPT is forced to retain as its nominee, a nominee who has announced that he will be ineligible to take office if elected, because he has moved to Virginia and plans to live there indefinitely, even though Texas Election laws allow political parties to replace ineligible candidates as their nominee with someone who would be eligible to serve if elected. The Fifth Circuit’s decision condones this intrusion by holding that RPT’s exercise of its statutory right to require a candidate to reaffirm his eligibility for office, once he has taken steps fundamentally incompatible with his previous promise that he would be eligible for office if elected, unconstitutionally adds a qualification for office."
[All the emphasis mine]

That’s three sentences boys and girls. Three long, whiney sentences. Intrusion. Where can their whiney little heads be? Obviously they were making a run at political bias. While Scalia’s politics run just left of Benito Mussolini’s, he is not a man to mess with the constitution.

I also want to point out an outright lie within that paragraph. “he will be ineligible to take office if elected, because he has moved to Virginia and plans to live there indefinitely.”

On July 6, in Sparks’ court, when DeLay was asked by TDP lawyers where he would be on Election Day, Chad Dunn, a TDP lawyer said that “[DeLay] stated he didn’t know where he was going to live on election day,” Actually, according to muse, DeLay’s exact words were "Uh, I dunno, dude. Where do you want me to be?".

Oh well, it’s over for now. I would expect a withdrawl announcement very soon, probably after Tom talks it over with his good friend and confidante, Almighty God.

Texas Progressive Alliance Launches ‘TexRoots’ Fundraising Initiative

The Texas Progressive Alliance today launched ‘TexRoots,’ an online fund-raising campaign designed to raise funds for Democratic candidates in Texas via the internet. The launch of ‘TexRoots’ is the first major coordinated fund-raising effort of its kind by Texas blogs.

The Alliance will begin with an appeal to our readers to contribute to the campaigns of three Texas candidates:

Hank Gilbert: candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture
Juan Garcia: candidate for the Texas House of Representatives in District 32
Shane Sklar: candidate for the US House of Representatives in Congressional District 14.

You may have seen my post for Shane Sklar. This guy really needs some serious help. He’s running against a Libertarian who poses as a Republican. All that the incumbent has going for himself is name recognition. Expect to see future posts on Hank and Juan, and again on Shane as we move along toward Election Day.

TexRoots works with the nationally-recognized fund-raising tools of

Candidates selected for this solicitation were picked after a considering a number of factors, including the strength of the candidates and their Republican opponents, the candidate’s use of the internet and blogging, and the demographics of the candidates’ districts.

The Alliance hopes to have as many as five total groups of candidates before November 7th. Anna Brosovic of Arlington, founder of the Alliance and author of Annatopia said of this group of candidates:
"This first group of candidates comprises a good cross-section of regions, ideologies, and ballot races. We have a statewide candidate, a congressional candidate, and a candidate for Texas House of Representatives which we believe are worthy of the attention of the Texas Netroots.”
Charles Kuffner, of OffTheKuff, another founding member of the Alliance, writes
“We are pleased that we have been able to raise the funds necessary to activate this important fund raising tool. Netroots money has made the difference between being competitive and winning in races all across the country.”
TexRoots follows a formula similar to the popular national Netroots Candidates fund raiser launched earlier this year by blogs such as DailyKos and MyDD. However, TexRoots focuses only on Texas candidates.

So click HERE or click on the TexRoots logo at the top of this posting, or click on the sidebar icon and go help these guys out. Better yet, go over to Muse and click on one of the paths to TexRoots found there and contribute that way. Reason I say this is that Muse wanted to try it out this morning through musings but discovered that the Muse Card was left at a restaurant last night.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Why Tom Won’t Run

In an Opinion/Analysis piece filed this weekend at FortBendNow, Bob Dunn ponders the seemingly risky and foolhardy run at the Supreme Court on the part of the Republican Party of Texas. Five judges have already found for the TDP, time is short and funds need to be raised to counter the Lampson war chest, and shorter if you have to wait until October for the Supremes to hear the case. So Dunn asks:
“what does the Grand Old Party hope to achieve by making this move?”

Well, he says, it comes down to this.

Benkiser and the RPT are doubting that Tom DeLay will run. They think he’s going to withdraw no matter what. So what do you do? Hold out for an 11th hour finding by the Supreme Court that
“the GOP will suffer “irreparable harm” if it isn’t allowed to field a replacement candidate for DeLay”.
Why doesn’t that surprise me? Here Tom and his cronies conspire to game the system, get caught, and then come back and say that they simply cannot be “punished” for committing this fraud because the punishment will not be upon them but upon the voters who won’t have a candidate to vote for in November.

Where was their concern for the voters when Tom decided to quit and choose his successor?

It makes you wonder why it isn’t more obvious to people to realize why our children think that there should be no consequences for poor behavior. They have such rich and powerful role models.

But getting back to the main subject, from the title, why is it so obvious to Benkiser et al. that Tom is going to withdraw, leaving them with no one on the ballot?

Well really, there are several reasons, some of them would, individually, be reason enough for Tom to quit. Taking most of these reasons together, it positively screams out that he is going to withdraw.

First, let’s take the most innocuous reason: he’s been there, done that and can’t go back. Rick Casey at The Chron wrote way back in April that DeLay will quit for the same reason Newt Gingrich quit.
“Already nervous about President Bush's poll numbers, the last thing Republicans would want to do is return to leadership a man who has a hard time holding onto a district that he himself drew.”
“Even if he held on to his seat in November, he wouldn't have the office of majority leader or the infrastructure of DeLay Inc. He has decided that if he can't be at the center of the action in the House, he can have more influence on the outside.”
It’s sort of like a star UT quarterback being suspended for taking steroids, but being allowed back on the team if he remains on the 3rd string. No thanks.

Next let’s look at the false reason, the one I call the "self-serving reason". Tom DeLay, by virtue of the fact that he has been in the news with his wheelings and dealings under scrutiny by the House ethics panel and federal prosecutors, decided to take himself out of the race to help his fellow Republicans. Nationwide, Democrats were planning hours and hours of television ads linking their local candidate to DeLay. Now with him out of the way the ads won’t have play.

That one just doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t matter if Tom is running or living in a cabin in Idaho this fall, his name and photograph WILL be tied to any other Republican who got in on his crimes and misdemeanors. First to go will be the candidates who still have Tom’s ARMPAC or TRMPAC money in their campaign funds.

Way back when, I wrote a posting where I suspected that having the indictments looming over his head was not the real reason that he quit. I still think so. And I am now completely convinced that the ongoing Abramoff investigations are a very good reason why he doesn’t want to run. In a July 17th article posted in The Washington Times, by Christina Bellantoni, it seems obvious that he will not seek to reclaim his vacant seat because in doing so, the House Ethics Panel would again take up their investigation of his dealings with Abramoff and his crew. This based on this quote:
” The panel … said it would have investigated former Majority Leader Tom DeLay had the Texas Republican not resigned his congressional seat last month.”
Another reason? Tom’s Money. This from a July 18th article in “TheRawStory” although you can find it anywhere you look:
“A report in today's Roll Call indicated that the former Texas Congressman and House Republican Majority Leader has spent $1.7 million on legal fees, leaving him with only $641,000 in his campaign reserves.”
That being the case, and the fact that he still has his money laundering case ahead of him, Tom simply doesn’t have the funds to mount a campaign AND defend himself against the onslaught of Ronnie Earl.

And I leave the best for last (or worst, depending on your point of view). As seen in a posting in Juanita’s, citing the very same “Roll Call” article, Tom can’t run because if he runs and wins he would be “restricted to $5,000 donations to his legal defense fund”. As a private citizen he can accept any amount of financial help that his friend Bob Perry would want to give him, and not have to report it to anyone – well, maybe the IRS, but that’s only if you don’t game the system.

So still Tom DeLay continues the fa├žade. It’s obvious to anyone who cares to look that he is planning to withdraw. But by not withdrawing, he keeps Tina and others in his party pounding on the Supreme Court’s front door in the hopes that their disingenuous argument for the rights of “disenfranchised Republican voters” will find a sympathetic ear.

My suggestion is to try this sympathetic ear on the right, Tina. She looks like she will give your lawyers' arguments her full attention and a guaranteed successful outcome. But then, she's an anime drawing.