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July 31, 2004

More Convention Wrap-Up

By Byron LaMasters

Apparently, I'm the last person on Earth to find out about Jib Jab's "This Land" video. Absolutely hilarious if you haven't yet seen it.

Natasha has her version of our Novak baiting on her blog, Pacific Views (my picture and version of the events are here). Natasha probably scored more interviews than any other blogger. She did a great job, and if you don't read Pacific Views regularly (I didn't), it's definitely worth it. Check out some of her work:

Joe Trippi.
Andrei Cherny - Senior DNC Advisor.
Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) on farm policy (I'll be posting my thoughts on this interview in the next couple of days).
Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Javier Brown, College Democrats of Georgia.
Jerry Springer.

Jesse and Ezra of Pandagon.net are just really cool. Yeah. That's about it. Read them, even though they really don't need the extra traffic.

So is Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis. He got me copies of all the embargoed speeches that got emailed to him (I wasn't on the email list) if I didn't get a print copy that was passed around. He also took some great pictures of Kate Snow of Good Morning America interviewing me in Blogger Alley. Bill also got some great coverage of several caucuses so check out his blog if you don't already.

I spoke with a high-ranking DCCC official, and their polling shows some good news for Richard Morrison, and they are considering targeting the race. I'll post more details on it in the next few days.

David Weinberger applies the smackdown on Charles Cooper's silly critic of the Convention Bloggers. Rick Heller of Centerfield also defends himself against Cooper's attacks.

I finally gave in to Wonkette guest editor Boi From Troy and did a short interview with him. I figure he's been hitting on me since Monday, and even if he's a Republican, I figured five minutes of flirting was worth the several hundred (thousand) visitors the link from Wonkette would bring. Breaking stories like Why Margaret Cho got disinvited from the HRC party also helps getting Wonkette linkage.

That's all that comes to me for now.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

When the "bounce poll" doesn’t really measure the bounce

By Byron LaMasters

How can the Newsweek Poll out today that claims to measure the “bounce” Kerry received out of the convention actually measure the bounce when half of the poll was taken before the acceptance speech. A fair “bounce poll” would poll from Friday through Sunday after the Thursday acceptance speech, but this poll was done on Thursday (before the speech) and Friday. Not surprisingly, the results for Thursday and Friday are vastly different:

In interviews on Thursday, July 29-before the Kerry nomination acceptance speech-Kerry/Edwards received the support of 47 percent of registered voters, Bush/Cheney 45 percent and Nader/Camejo 2 percent, according to the Newsweek Poll. In Friday interviews after the speech, Kerry/Edwards received 50 percent, Bush/Cheney 40 percent and Nader/Camejo 3 percent. In the two-way race, in interviews on July 29, Kerry/Edwards received 49 percent and Bush/Cheney 47 percent. On July 30, Kerry/Edwards got 54 percent and Bush/Cheney 41 percent, the poll shows.

Newsweek comes to the conclusion that Kerry had a two-to-four point bounce, based on the poll (two point bounce against Bush, four point bounce with Nader included). Before the convention, Newsweek had Kerry leading Bush by six points head-to-head, and Kerry led Bush by three points with Nader included. Thus, this poll giving Kerry an eight point lead over Bush head-to-head and a seven point lead with Nader included shows a two-to-four point bounce. But does a poll partially taken before the acceptance speech was given really qualify as part of a poll measuring the bounce? I think not.

The only relevant information from this poll regarding a convention bounce is that of the poll data from Friday. And that data confirms my belief that Kerry’s speech was a home run. The polling for Friday (presumably with a larger margin of error, I’ll admit) shows Kerry with a ten point lead with Nader included and a thirteen point lead head-to-head. Thus, the early polling data here shows a Kerry post-convention bounce of about seven points (both head-to-head and with Nader included). If that holds up, the Kerry folks ought to be very pleased . In a polarized electorate where less than twenty percent of the voters are truly up for grabs, a seven point bounce would be quite a feat.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MIA: The Dallas Morning News MIA Article

By Byron LaMasters

Here's a shocker. You may recall that I blogged on Thursday on the Dallas Morning News article chiding Oscar Mauzy among others for not attending the Democratic Convention. The Morning News however, forgot to mention that Mauzy had been dead since 2000. Well, now when you go to the page where the article appeared, you get a funny message:

This file is no longer available 01:50 PM CDT on Friday, July 30, 2004

What? No correction? No retraction? I think it's time to write a letter to the DMN editor. Of course, it'll be an open letter so all of you can read it as well. I'll post it tomorrow. And they can't deny it, either. I've got the screen shot.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Back Home

By Byron LaMasters

I'm back home in Dallas from the Democratic convention. I'll have lots of posts over the next few days wrapping things up. I still have lots of material from interviews, etc. that I would like to post, along with many pictures. Today, I've been catching up with laundry and watching convention videos from the C-SPAN archives to get another perspective of them. The convention is an incredible experience. I got around 4-6 hours a night, so I slept for about 14 hours last night catching up. The trip was so fast-paced. I think I would have needed 100 hours a day to sift through all of the news and information that I needed to cover the convention as well as I would have liked. In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently. I wanted to go to some state delegation events, but was unable to. The main state delegation events were morning breakfasts at 8 AM. That would have required waking up at 6 AM to get to the subway station at 7 AM in order to find my way to an 8 AM event. Considering that I didn't get to sleep until 3 AM at the earliest nights, going to delegation breakfasts was not a realistic plan if I wanted to maintain my sanity throughout the week.

I'd like to especially thank the DNCC for giving us the opportunity. They were very helpful, and when a lot of us had a hard time getting an wireless connection on Monday night, they were up there with two teams of technicians on Tuesday afternoon. The blogger breakfast went great. The only conflict of the week between the bloggers and the DNCC was due to Matt Stoller's "Not sold on Obama" post on his personal webpage after the blogger breakfast. And to be honest, I'm a huge fan of Obama, but his comments at the blogger breakfast were pretty generic. I was mostly focused on taking pictures of the guy, so I didn't hear everything, but I think Obama felt obligated to just stop by personally thank the bloggers who had been following his candidacy much longer than most Americans. He certainly got a reception Tuesday night. His was the best speech of the convention along with Bill Clinton. They both get an A+. I'd disagree with Jim - that Kerry's acceptance speech was the best I've ever seen. It was a damn good speech, but not the best ever. John Kerry simply isn't a great speaker. But he rose to the challenge and captured the moment. I give him a solid A.

Speaking of Obama, check out his blog. It just got bombarded with visitors on Tuesday night. According to Atrios - Obama's webpage was getting 18,000 hits a minute during the speech.

As for Kerry. He keeps breaking records. As he did earlier in the year, John Kerry broke online fundraising records in two consecutive days. The U.S Newswire reports:


The highly successful 2004 Democratic National Convention ensured Kerry and Edwards started this tour with tremendous momentum at their backs. The four-day showcase of the Kerry- Edwards plan to make America stronger at home and respected in the world energized Americans everywhere.

On Wednesday, the campaign shattered its previous online fundraising record, raising over $3.3 million dollars in one day, only to crush it on Thursday with a total of $5.6 million raised - bringing its two-day total to $8.9 million. At times during Kerry's speech, johnkerry.com received over 5,000 hits per second.

The campaign also succeeded in energizing people in states across the map. On Thursday night, more than 200,000 Americans gathered with friends and fellow supporters at over 5,000 house parties to watch Kerry accept the nomination.

Most importantly, millions of Americans over the last four days learned about the lives of service and strength Kerry and Edwards have lived, about their experience standing up for middle-class values and their plan for America's future.


Wow! Not only that, but Kerry / Edwards are on the road drawing tens of thousands of people in mid-sized conservative-leaning cities in Pennsylvania:

10,000 in Greensburg, PA.

20,000 in Harrisburg, PA.

17,000 in Scranton, PA.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mmmm... Tradition!

By Jim Dallas

Apparently, the appropriate response to trolls and trolling is to post recipes.

I did not know this.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 09:53 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 30, 2004

Why Margaret Cho was Disinvited from the HRC Convention Party

By Byron LaMasters

One of the few controversies this week at the Democratic convention was the disinvitation of comedian Margaret Cho to the July 27th "Unity Party" for GLBT delegates sponsored by the HRC (Human Rights Campaign). Cho has a huge following in the gay community, so her participation in the event was widely anticipated by the organizers and many delegates. The Washington Blade provides some background:

The Human Rights Campaign says it stands by a decision to drop bisexual comedian Margaret Cho from the roster of entertainers invited to perform at a July 27 “Unity 04” party in Boston for gay delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Cho had promised to put on an “incendiary” act attacking President Bush, according to HRC spokesperson Steven Fisher. Fisher said such a performance would have diverted the event’s “message” away from the organizers’ aim of helping to elect John Kerry president.

Some of Cho’s gay fans said the comedian became a victim of efforts by the Kerry campaign and some of its gay supporters, including HRC, to tone down controversial rhetoric inside and outside the convention hall.

[...]

Fisher said that 10 of the 12 groups that signed on as sponsors of the Unit 04 party supported HRC’s proposal to withdraw the Cho invitation.

Fisher said HRC raised concerns after Cho informed the gay rights group through her publicist that she planned to use new material at the Unity 04 event from her “State of Emergency” national tour, which is set to begin soon. He said HRC called Cho’s representative and asked to review the material.

Cho then informed HRC she would put on an “incendiary” performance and would not in any way “tone it down,” Fisher said.

“We said we feel she’s great but this was not the right forum,” Fisher said. “This is a political convention where everyone is on message.”


According to sources close to the HRC, Cho's "new material" which she refused to tone down (thus prompting her disinvitation) included references to "fist 'cheney'-ing" and sexual humor regarding the Abu Ghraib prison. Organizers were worried that such humor would be offensive to some, and would cause a media frenzy that would distract from the overall positive tone of the convention, and thus decided to rescind their invitation to Cho.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:53 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Hey, We Don't Suck As Much As We Thought We Would!

By Andrew Dobbs

Greg puts it best. The Bush Administration is bragging that the record $420 billion deficit isn't nearly as big as the $477 billion to $525 billion predicted earlier this year by the administration. This is idiocy at its finest.

If I took a class and made a 57% average in it I failed. If I retake it the next semester and make a 59% average I don't get to brag that I improved, that I did better than expected. I still failed. The Bush Administration is spending half a trillion bucks more than it takes in. Anyone who has been in debt before know it isn't something to brag about and letting our country sink into massive debt is shameful.

Dale Bumpers used to have a great saying- you let me spend $100 billion in hot checks and I'll show you a good time too. Bush's economic "recovery" (which, by the way is slowing down precipiously) is built on the shoulders of irresponsibility and is setting us for long term failure.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:29 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

$15K in 14 Days

By Andrew Dobbs

Just wanted to let everyone know about a big fundraising push we have going on over at the Texas Democratic Party. We are trying to raise $15,000 to provide access for our new state of the art voter file for all of our state house candidates. The file was put together with the help of the DNC's "Demzilla" file and has all the top notch data mining information. Our candidates will know everything they could possibly need to know about the voters in their district and they will have a great advantage over their GOP opponents.

The problem with that is that the file isn't free. In fact, it is quite expensive. We need the cash to give our candidates a great chance at if not taking back the Texas House at least gaining quite a bit of ground.

As a result, we have a $15 K in 14 Days netroots fundraising effort underway to raise the money needed to make this tool available for our candidates. Since this is my job and what not, I am going to ask you all to do what you can to help us turn Texas blue again by donating today. I know you have been so generous to Karl-T. and Byron so that they could offer you all some of the best commentary on the convention on the web. Please help me out so I can look good while helping some great Democrats get elected in the process.

Thanks people, hope you can spare some cash and have a great week!

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 11:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bob Novak Without the Makeup

By Byron LaMasters

As I left the convention center with several fellow bloggers, Natasha of Pacific Views spotted Bob Novak and proceeded to chase him down to try and interview him. I ran after Natasha to see what was going on. She finally caught up with Novak, and asked him a question about the outting of Valerie Plame. Novak was approaching security, made a funny evasive manuever, mumbled something, then continued walking much faster. The rest of our group caught up with Natasha, and we started walking towards the Charles River out of the Fleet Center to catch a taxi to meet up at this place in Cambridge with some other bloggers. About a minute later, Novak is storming back towards the Fleet Center, probably having forgot something. Natasha doesn't miss a beat. She asks Novak again, "Do you have a statement regarding my question"? At that point, Novak turned around and I caught this flattering picture of the Real Bob Novak.

Enjoy.

Afterwards, Natasha, everyone else and I kept north to get a taxi as Bob Novak turned into a bat and flew away.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:28 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

July 29, 2004

The Best Speech I've Ever Seen

By Jim Dallas

Kerry's acceptance speech - out of the park! Natural but idealistic, easy-going but serious, small and big.

You gotta believe!

UPDATE: Here's some extended commentary from an IM between me and Byron.

Jim D.: The speech to me seemed very Capra-esque.

Jim D.: It started off with a sort of Clintonian "my momma always said" touch and had it's Kennedy-esque moments..

Jim D.: But it was a speech which let Kerry talk about big ideas without becoming overwhelmed by them.

Jim D.: It was passionated but poised.

Jim D.: Much like Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Jim D.: It captured the mind of our candidate, but it captured also his heart and soul and because of that I trust Kerry more than before. I mean I can say I am really FOR this guy and not just a defeated Deanie..

Byron L.: post that.

Jim D.: It came across real good on TV (C-SPAN at least).

Byron L.: what you just said.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:04 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Values

By Byron LaMasters

I'm pleased that John Kerry is framing the Democratic domestic agenda about values. What are values? Republicans would make you believe that values are about stem cell research, abortion, guns, gays and God. But what are values really about? Should they be about ideology? Or should they be about doing things that actually make a difference in the lives or ordinary people.

Values are not just words. They're what we live by. They're about the causes we champion and the people we fight for. And it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families.

[...]

We believe in the family value of caring for our children and protecting the neighborhoods where they walk and play.

[...]

You don't value families by denying real prescription drug coverage to seniors, so big drug companies can get another windfall.

We believe in the family value expressed in one of the oldest Commandments: "Honor thy father and thy mother." As President, I will not privatize Social Security. I will not cut benefits. And together, we will make sure that senior citizens never have to cut their pills in half because they can't afford life-saving medicine.

[...]

You don't value families if you force them to take up a collection to buy body armor for a son or daughter in the service, if you deny veterans health care, or if you tell middle class families to wait for a tax cut, so that the wealthiest among us can get even more.


Democratic values are about helping people. Republican values are about advancing an extreme ideology. Family values should be an issue in this election, and I'm glad that John Kerry is making it one.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"I Accept Your Nomination for President of the United States"

By Byron LaMasters

Just testing this out. I might have missed the words, but here's the reaction from the nosebleed seats:

Here's my video of it: here

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2000 vs. 2004

By Byron LaMasters

Bush 2000 - "I will restore honor and dignity to the White House"

Kerry 2004 - "I will restore trust and credibility to the White House"

One failed. Now, Kerry has his chance.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hampsters for Kerry!!

By Byron LaMasters

Well, Kerry certainly must have the hampster vote after the night. After Alexandra Kerry's inspiring story of John Kerry diving into the river, grabbing that hampster, getting out of the river, performing CPR on the hampster (mouth-to-mouth) and saving its life.

Somehow, it's just not quite as inspiring as pulling Jim Rassmann out of the Mekong River in Vietnam, but in the world of hampsters, John Kerry is probably hailed as a hero nonetheless.

Speaking of Rassmann, he's up next, and the runners are handing out "Veterans for Kerry / Edwards" signs.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Tammy Baldwin Interview

By Byron LaMasters

Tammy Baldwin is probably best known as the first and only open lesbian to be elected to the United States Congress. She is also the first non-incumbent open gay or lesbian to win election to that body. As a Congresswoman from Madison, Wisconsin, she has been highly involved on health care issues. I also had the opportunity to ask her about higher education since her district includes a large university - The University of Wisconsin. Along with Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis, I had the opportunity to spend ten minutes to ask her a few questions.

First, we asked how she felt that GLBT issues had been handled at the convention. She was very pleased. She felt as if she had two very distinct honors in that regard. First, her selection as a vice chair of the convention was the first time that an openly gay person had been selected for that honor for a Democratic convention. Second, she was honored to have the opportunity to speak on the opening night of the convention on health care issues. She said that her selection was significant for the state of Wisconsin - a swing state this fall, and also for the fact that the Democratic Party has embraced gays and lesbians in positions of prominence in the party, not just on the sidelines.

As the first open lesbian in congress, Baldwin believed that her success as a candidate was due to her involvement in local and state level politics first. By the time that she ran for congress, her sexual orientation was old news, because voters had a chance to see her as a public servant who cares about good health care who happens to be gay. She said that she'd work with the media to make sure they'd get their one "can an out lesbian win" story during her first campaign, but only once. Then she'd move on to the other issues for which she was fighting. As for advice to other gay and lesbian candidate, Baldwin said that the key was to build your way up. A gay or lesbian candidate with no experience on other issues can be easily labeled as a one-issue "gay candidate". When Baldwin first ran for office in 1986, there were slightly over a dozen openly gay and lesbian elected officials nationwide. Today, there are well over 200. She believes that state and local offices are the training grounds for Congress, and the they are the best way to build political skills and position oneself.

On higher education issues Baldwin shared many of the concerns that many students, especially of those at the University of Texas, as she represents a large university in Madison - the University of Wisconsin. Wisconsin, like Texas, struggles with the same concerns of higher tuition rates. She felt that John Edwards' "two Americas" speech perfectly captured the problems of many students. She said that the solution to the problem was increasing funding for the Pell Grant program, and lifting the ceiling on the amount for grants so that it could cover a higher percentage of costs. Higher education funding has shifted vastly to students so that scholarships, grants, a part time job, and a small loan is usually no longer enough. Now, many students must take out dramatic loans and are strapped with huge debts for many years. Such debts leave many students with limited opportunities after college, making them less likely to take jobs after college where they give back to their communities after college such as joining the Peace Corps or teaching in an inner-city school. Baldwin decried this as "depriving our country of a talent pool".

John Kerry will be visiting Wisconsin next week and Baldwin cited health care, job instability and Iraq as the most important issues in the state. Baldwin said that while Bush has visited Wisconsin frequently, he tends to stick to the "conservative hamlets". When asked how Bush would be treated in Madison, Baldwin replied, "I don't know. I haven't seen him here".

I also had the opportunity to interview Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) yesterday, but I haven't yet had the chance to put it up. It may be up tonight, maybe tomorrow, maybe over the weekend....

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Wingnuts Will Hit on this....

By Byron LaMasters

Knowing the right-wing, it'll only be a matter of time before Republicans will attack Kerry for waffling on the critical issue of which sport is the toughest. From Kerry's ESPN interview:

3. A little while ago at ESPN.com, we did a package on the toughest sports to play. Since you have participated in so many, what do you think is the toughest sport?

I think there are different kinds of toughness. There are one-on-one, physical combat, body-violence tough sports. But there are tough sports mentally and otherwise physically, too.

Rugby is a tough sport. Professional football is a very tough sport, it's gladiator combat out there. Something like the Tour de France, when Lance Armstrong or Greg LeMond wins. Particularly, I think Greg LeMond's first win as an American was really a breakthrough, and that took a kind of talent and discipline, mental and otherwise -- it's pretty extraordinary. Triathlons. I'm always amazed by marathon runners. I've run a marathon and the concept of doing an under-five-minute mile 26 times in a row is pretty mind-boggling.

I think climbing Mount Everest is tough, without oxygen. To be the best in any sport is tough. The mental discipline of the U.S. Open, getting through ... there are just different kinds of toughness. Basketball is tough. These guys are throwing elbows -- it's combat out there. I think hockey, obviously, is very, very tough.


There you go. John Kerry can't even give a straight answer on what sport is the toughest. He's obviously not qualified to be president.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Translate me this

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Apparently some version of one of my profiles has been translated into Spanish and made into this and this and this and this paper/online. I imagine it's got to be AP Spanish or something, I'm not entirly sure. Here is the (badly) translated text.

The performance of the blogueiros will not be restricted to the commentators politicians. Some democratical commission agents including Karl-Thomas the Musselman, youngest delegated of the Texas also will have its blogs. The youngster of 19 years, that when child dreamed in being the first man to step on in Mars, despertou for the politics in the 2000 elections. The blogueiros ones go to offer one another angle, one another market for notice and information is of the convention

Karl-Thomas Musselman, blogueiro and democratical commission agent

Musselman created its site and its blog, musselmanforamerica.com, because it was concurring to represent a district with 480 kilometers of extension. The initiative disclosed the possibility of a new link with the voters. The site was redesigned for the conventions and Musselman waits to obtain to bring up to date blog, with a connection without wire, right-hander of the meeting in Boston.

The democratical commission agent says not to believe that the blogueiros ones go to supplant the traditional media, but detaches the paper of them. "the blogueiros ones go to offer one another angle, one another market for notice and information is of the convention", affirms Musselman. "We are not under a flag of ' right and balanced ' (slogan of the Fox sender). We can be a little more irreverent, more critical, more analytical ", we add the blogueiro. "This is the nature of that we are, and is therefore that the people read blogs."

I also seem to have been translated into German as is evident here (taken from the AP story)
And if you are in Longview, TX, you might pick up your paper (Longview News Journal ) or check this out online; they picked up the Ausitn American Statesman profile from Monday. Nothing new, just interesting that it's out in Longview now too.

Also, I've been listed on the front of the Out for Democracy Blog. Entry is here.

Oh, and MTV just interviewed me.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 05:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Atrios is Real!

By Byron LaMasters

I can prove it! The picture was taken at the blogger party last night hosted by the DCCC at Meze. They made us feel important at least. Whether we are or not is probably debatable. But being a VIP at a party in convention week with a wristband for free drinks and a "blogger goodie bag" and free t-shirts upon leaving certainly made me feel at least a little bit starstruck.

(left to right. Jeralyn of Talk Left, Duncan of Atrios, and Byron of Burnt Orange Report)

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Orange Mike

By Byron LaMasters

He's a Dean Delegate from Milwaukee. From the Fourth Congressional District of Wisconsin. His real name is Michael Lowrey, but as you can see as he takes a break from the floor to check his email up in Blogger Alley, he is aptly named:

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Boston Globe on the Texas Delegates

By Byron LaMasters

The article is really pretty silly. I mean there's some good points, but overall, the article paints the wrong picture of the Texas delegates. It starts with a picture of Texas delegates looking very bored. Well, yeah - the picture was taken early in the afternoon when no one was paying attention - in Texas, or in any other state. But this is just silly:

Texans are not taking the slights as well. The 232-member delegation is a proud bunch, easily recognizable in vests emblazoned with the Texas flag and cowboy boot-shaped pins that flash in neon red, white, and blue lights. Some wave American flags festooned with faux sprigs of bluebonnet, the Texas flower.

Yesterday, the Dallas Morning News weighed in on the matter of the Texas delegation's lodging at the airport hotel in verse: "Hello, Mudda, hello, Fadda. I am overlooking Lufthansa. The Texas Dems have come to Boston. And state support for Bush is gonna cost 'em."

But Texas' treatment comes as no surprise, given the Texas Democratic Party's anemic condition -- a dramatic comedown from last century when such Democrats as Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson dominated both Texas and American politics, said Earl Black, a professor of political science at Rice University.

"Texas Democrats are weaker than they have ever been," Black said. "Every major statewide office is held by Republicans. . . . I'm sure whoever is deciding who goes where has written off Texas so completely that Texas Democrats have to settle for the crumbs."

Texas delegates protest, arguing that Bush is losing favor in his home state.

"Don't count Texas out," said Earlie Davis, 72, a retired teacher from Dallas.

Others seemed resigned to Texas' diminished role.

"Texans want to do anything possible to see George Bush go," said Jim Fletcher, 55, a businessman from Fort Worth. "Even if that means taking a back seat."


Can someone explain this to me? Why does the Globe say that "Texans are not taking the slights as well", when their only source is silly Dallas Morning News ditty, but not of any delegates. The most negative thing they could find was a warning to the media to "not count Texas out". I guess the reporters are just bored. They're making up news where none is there. All of the Texas delegates I've spoken to are enthusiastic about the opportunity. Travis County's 14th senatorial district didn't have nearly eighty people run for six delegate slots because they were expecting to be treated to fabulous parties, cocktails, happy hours and boat trips. Sure some fun is nice, but Texas Democrats were eager to come to Boston to participate in being part of making history to nominate and elect a new cycle.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Oscar Mauzy is MIA at the DNC!!!

By Byron LaMasters

Yup. The Dallas Morning News breaks the news. Oscar Mauzy is missing in action at the Democratic Convention (screenshot available here):

MIA at the DNC

The Democrats best known to the most Texans aren't at the Boston Hilton this week. They aren't delegates, so they're on vacation or back at work. They include:

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Austin

Rep. Chet Edwards, Waco

Rep. Martin Frost, Arlington

Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Corpus Christi

Rep. Max Sandlin, Marshall

Former comptroller and lieutenant governor nominee John Sharp

Governor nominee Tony Sanchez

Former attorney general Jim Mattox

Former land commissioner Garry Mauro

Former agriculture commissioner Jim Hightower (although he came for a day to promote his book.)

Former House Speaker Pete Laney

Former U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (who is in frail health)

Former state senator and Texas Supreme Court Justice Oscar Mauzy

Former Senate nominee Victor Morales


Good research to the guy at the Dallas Morning News. It's abundantly clear that Texas Democrats are running away from the Kerry / Edwards ticket!

A slight problem, though. And I won't even mention the fact that Jim Hightower and Victor Morales have distanced themselves from the party in recent years (Hightower supported Nader in 2000, Morales refused to support Kirk in 2002). A bigger problem though is that Oscar Mauzy died in 2000 - almost four years ago:


OBITUARY:

Justice Oscar Holcombe Mauzy, champion of the people and friend of the underdog, died peacefully after a brave battle against lung cancer on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2000.

Born to Harry Lincoln Mauzy, Sr. and Mildred Eva Kincaid Mauzy on Nov. 9, 1926, Oscar was the sixth of eight children and the namesake of long-time Houston mayor Oscar Holcombe. Although his father's death when Oscar was only three prevented Oscar from knowing him, he was always proud of his father's work as a union organizer. The family was raised by Mildred Mauzy in Houston's Fifth Ward.


Oops. Next time the Dallas Morning News wants to engage in Democrat-bashing on their headlines, they ought to do better research. Or, if they want to list dead Democrats as being MIA in Boston, they ought to include Ralph Yarborough, Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn. Then again, they mentioned that Lloyd Bentsen is in frail health, so you would think that they would point out that AWOL Oscar Mauzy is dead.

Hat tip to Tom Blackwell.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:38 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Vote Against Perry- Today!

By Andrew Dobbs

Alright, so not for real but this online poll at the Brenham Banner's website will let you rate the governor's performance. Only 33 people have voted so far and 81.8% of them have said his performance is "Outstanding." They must mean it stands out in their mind because it is so rediculously terrible, but let's be on the safe side and vote "Poor."

The poll is on the left hand side of the page, a little ways down. Vote now!

Update: Well, in a little over 45 minutes we went from 33 votes with 81.8% saying they like Perry to having over 215 votes with about 84% saying they don't like Perry. Good job guys! Keep checking up on it!

Update 2: Looks like there was some sort of tossing out of the votes- after being well over 200 it is down to 41 votes and went from 85% poor to about 39%. Teach these Nazi bastards not to screw with us- vote if you haven't already!

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 12:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Question

By Jim Dallas

And I want Byron and Karl Thomas to get me the answer.

Four years ago, much was made of Gore writing his speech on a notebook computer.

This year, both Kerry and Edwards wrote their speeches out on yellow legal pads.

Has our party been taken over by luddites?

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:53 AM | TrackBack

Hutchison's Liberal Record

By Andrew Dobbs

Alright, now that headline is not an endorsement of Kay Bailey Hutchison, in fact it is quite to the contrary- it is pointing out that to the hard right of the GOP she will be quite odious. Quorum Report editor Harvey Kronberg wrote an interesting (if mistaken, as I'll argue) column for News 8 Austin discussing some of her recent boat rocking in DC:

Here in Texas, social conservatives and evangelicals dominate the Republican Party infrastructure. While affirming religious freedom, the state party platform goes so far as to declare the United States is a Christian nation. The platform calls on the party to deny assistance to any Republican candidate that does not completely and uniformly subscribe to their two pages of prohibitions on abortion and scientific research using fetal tissue or stem cells.

That's all fine. Whatever encourages citizens to engage in the political process is worthwhile.

But how important is all of that in electing public officials in Texas?

Last week, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison cast her first vote against a Bush nomination to the federal bench. Leon Holmes is an evangelical and the former head of an Arkansas right to life group.

Hutchison has long said she supports abortion until viability.

In the overheated rhetoric that usually accompanies controversial judicial nominations, one Texas social conservative labeled Hutchison a "religious bigot". Two former Republican Party chairmen castigated Hutchison for being a Republican in name only and said conservatives would work to defeat her should she run for governor in 2006. (...)

Religious conservatives are a key part of the Republican coalition in general elections. But the truth is that they are rarely successful in dominating the Republican primary above the level of state rep or State Board of Education.

The congressional primary last spring makes my point. Houston's Ben Streusand outspent Austin's Michael McCaul, pouring millions into messages targeting social conservatives. But as is typical, McCaul beat Streusand by a factor of almost two to one. Don't get me wrong. There are exceptions.

But if history is any guide, the storm and fury over Hutchison's vote last week will have little significance if she chooses to run for governor in 2006.

I respectfully disagree with Harvey on this one. To begin, his key example- the McCaul v. Streusand race isn't really a good one in this instance. Yes, Streusand reached out to grassroots social conservatives more than McCaul but McCaul is also a social conservative. It's not like Streusand was pro-life and McCaul was pro-choice, they are both pro-life. At that point the powerful social conservative voting base of the GOP picks their candidates on other important (or not so important) characteristics such as experience, likability etc. McCaul's victory doesn't prove that abortion doesn't matter above low level races- it proves that it only matters when there is a difference between the candidates on the issue.

With Hutchison v. Perry it will be an issue. Perry is 100% pro-life and Hutchison is moderately pro-choice. Perry will have a boatload of money- new laws suggest that her federally raised money couldn't be used for a race in Texas so she is starting off broke. The latest Ethics Commission numbers say that Perry has a shade under $5.1 million cash on hand. He will continue to be better funded and the social issue threatens to blow the race up. Hutchison "missed" the final vote on the partial birth abortion ban and is publicly pro-choice. For the right wing religious types that control the levers of the GOP in Texas, she's likely to lose a GOP primary.

I really want to run against Perry- he is very unpopular and corrupt, we can beat him. Still, running against Hutchison might not be too bad- with the social issues out of contention a lot of Republicans will stay at home or will consider voting for a moderate/conservative Democrat. A nominally pro-life Democrat like John Sharp or *shudder* Tony Sanchez could perhaps strip her of some of the social conservative vote and benefit from the taint of GOP corruption in this state. Still, she is the most popular politician in the state- right up there with George Bush- so she'd still be a much more difficult challenge.

Lesson: the GOP is in a bind right now and we Texas Democrats are looking at the possibility of gains in 2006 and beyond.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 11:51 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

More BOR Rumor Mongering!

By Jim Dallas

Yahoo!News via Kuff:

Speaking during a weekend panel at San Diego's Comic-Con convention, show producers dropped a bomb: An upcoming Simpsons story line will focus on what happens when Springfield legalizes gay marriage.

"We have a show where, to raise money, Springfield legalizes gay marriage," producer Al Jean told comic book fans. "Homer becomes a minister by going on the Internet and filling out a form. A longtime character comes out of the closet, but I'm not saying who."

And with that, Simpsons aficionados got their gaydar on and began winnowing down the list of potential suspects.

The early favorite appears to be billionaire Monty Burns' ever-devoted sidekick, Waylon Smithers, who--aside from being a yes-man--has been known to collect Malibu Stacy dolls, lives in the gay part of town (where Homer once shacked up with two gay guys), has a Mr. Burns screensaver and dreams of a naked Mr. Burns jumping out of a birthday cake.

But that might be too easy. According to online fan scuttlebutt, there are other characters who might be secretly having a gay old time in Springfield, including Homer's regular-guy cohorts at the nuclear plant, Carl and Lenny, as well as Moe the bartender, the Reverend Lovejoy, Principal Skinner and Comic Book Guy. Of course, the producers didn't rule out a lesbian wedding, either.

If it's not Smithers, I'll be shocked.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Edwards Speech (As seen on TV)

By Jim Dallas

Not being in Boston, I've had to watch everything on TV.

I tuned into ABC last night to watch the Edwards speech. First off, and most importantly, Peter Jennings was being a real dick last night; the pre-speech commentary was mostly a string of Republican anti-Edwards talking points. And then Jennings seemed largely bored at the conclusion of the speech. The SCLM strikes again.

Now, on to the speech itself. It was good, and very well delivered given the fact that Edwards was just recently sick. I think I agree with Josh Marshall that Edwards was at "about 75%"; but not so much because of the delivery but because, as far as I can tell, there didn't seem to be a very clear theme to the speech. Put another way, I liked it, but I spotted a few areas where, had I written it, I would have done it differently.

Also, I was perplexed by the phrasing of one of Edwards's applause lines, to wit:

"And by doing all those things, we're going to say no forever to any American working full-time and living in poverty. Not in our America, not in our America, not in our America."

Now, the way it came across on TV was "we're going to say no" to the people (as in, "minimum wage workers, go cheney yourself.") Not, "we're going to say no" to the idea of people working minimum wage and living in poverty, which is clearly what was intended. It took a moment or two for me to realize what he was saying.

It doesn't have to be that way!

All in all, Edwards is still one of the best speakers in America today, and I'm proud that he is our vice-presidential nominee.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Photos

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Photos from Tuesday start here.

Photos from Wednesday start here.

Also for you Houston folks, I might be in a piece on FOX 25 tonight at 9 pm.

As a side note, today I finally got up before 8 am and made it to the Texas Delegation Breakfast. There were a number of Congressmen there, some speaking (Gene Green, Ken Benson, and Ciro Rodriguez (who Party Chair Soechting endorsed in hoping he won the recount battle going on in that district against Democrat Henry Cuellar).)

New Mexico Governor and convention Chair Bill Richardson spoke to our delegation, thanks us for helping his state's economy with our Senators. The guy is actually really funny, much better today than his speach yesterday on the floor. Maybe he's better with smaller crowds. Either way, he actually recognized me on the floor of our Breakfast as the delegation's youngest, which was pretty awesome.

I'm off now to the official GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered) lunch with Glen, Mark, and the Austin people. Texas is proud to have two of the seven Transgendered delegates at the convention, (one is from Austin, Christina).

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 09:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Over the Top

By Byron LaMasters

America, we have a nominee tonight. I had a DCCC party for bloggers to get to, but I stayed at the Fleet Center to watch an important part of history occur. Soon after John Edwards spoke, the official nomination process began. Alabama yielded to Massachusetts in order to allow John Kerry's brother and sister read announce Massachusetts' delegates unanimous vote for Kerry. Then Alaska yielded to North Carolina to cast their votes for John Kerry. Finally, around 11:30 PM EST, the Minnesota delegation came up to vote. They yielded to Ohio, where John Glenn announced that Ohio's delegates had put Kerry over the top. Yup. The Florida of 2004 is Ohio. And if John Kerry wins Ohio, it's highly probable that he'll win the White House.


Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 28, 2004

USA! USA! USA!

By Byron LaMasters

George W. Bush's supporters chanted it in the 2002 election rallies to drown out anti-war hecklers. Well.. Democrats can do it, too. A great salute to our veterans here in the Fleet Center tonight.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Will Kerry Make an Appearance?

By Byron LaMasters

He's in town. Al Gore made an appearance four years ago. Will Kerry? I wouldn't be surprised if he joins with Edwards after Edwards gives his speech, but we'll have to see...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kucinich Sightings

By Byron LaMasters

Just came back up to take my seat and sure enough, there's Dennis Kucinich signing books. I was going to see if I could ask him a few questions, but he got a phone call and the security guy didn't look too friendly, even if he worked for a guy supporting a Department of Peace. Oh well.



Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That's all for now...

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Hate to say it, but that's all for tonight. My battery is going out in the middle of Bill Richardson's 'so-so' speech. I'll update tonight if I can, and the past couple of days will slowly come back online. There are some great little stories I have to tell, and there might be some exciting press that the Texas delegation is going to create tomorrow thanks to an idea of mine. Think fundraising....on the floor!

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 08:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LCR Supporters Swing to Kerry

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Past leaders of the Austin Log Cabin Republicans chapter, Andy Smith and Paul van Wupperfeld, were just shown on the big screen as switching their support to Kerry. It's just another example of groups that voted for Bush in 2000 that won't this time. And I'm still searching for what class of Gore voters are switching to Bush.

So if Bush's vote total is shrinking, and he was half a million short in 2000, then I'm trying to figure out how he's supposed to win this fall?

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 08:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bob Graham

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Now, Bob Graham, the first candidate to drop out of the presidential primary, is speaking. After Sharpton, it's a huge drop-off in energy. It's sad, because I know people in Florida liked him a lot, and he's a good man. But it's just really an example of why he never took off in the polls. Bob Graham is in serious need of some Joe-mentum.

Karl: He's approaching Dick Gephardt levels of interest here.
Nick: He's surpassed it.

Oh, and Rob Reiner just walked by the Texas delegation as well as Ron Kirk (who ran for Senate two years ago in Texas).

I'm here blogging live on the floor, around the other young Texas delegates (Nick Lawrie, 24 and Matt Glazer, 21) and Matt and I and Christina (one of Texas two Transgendered delegates) have our laptops with stickers on them. That of course, drew a photographer out of the woodwork. Normally they only go for the people with big silly hats.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 07:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sharpton

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I was right, Shapton has grabbed the crowd's attention. And in less than 15 seconds he managed to give out one of his infamous zingers. You do have to give him credit, he can rouse an audience and make you understand and believe in him. He's managed to get the entire audience on it's feet twice, thrice 8 a dozen times already.

"This is not about a party, it's about living up to the promise of America."
"Mr. President, read my lips, out vote is not for sale.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 07:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Lieberman Appears

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Dennis Kucinich just finished speaking on the floor. While he was the man who stayed in the race until about a week ago, and has been gathering a number of delegates across the states, his reception still was not heralded as the big unifying speech that Dean's was last night. It's a bit of a shame, but still, the party in my opinion owes him less than it does Dean and I think the organizers accepted that. Texas (having 75 'stealth' Dean supporters in other delegate roles) has only 1 maybe 2 Kucinich 'stealth' delegates. The Kerry campaign was actively trying to squelch that movement. (You can always tell when Kucinich is excited because he starts hopping around at the podium).

Soon we will be moving on to Al Sharpton. I have a feeling that he will get a greater reception with more people listening than Kucinich. It will indeed be an interesting night pre-Edwards. I think today has been a bit more negative in tone than the last two days. I hoping Edwards lifts it up at the end.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 07:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kucinich Speaks

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Dennis Kucinich just finished speaking on the floor. While he was the man who stayed in the race until about a week ago, and has been gathering a number of delegates across the states, his reception still was not heralded as the big unifying speech that Dean's was last night. It's a bit of a shame, but still, the party in my opinion owes him less than it does Dean and I think the organizers accepted that. Texas (having 75 'stealth' Dean supporters in other delegate roles) has only 1 maybe 2 Kucinich 'stealth' delegates. The Kerry campaign was actively trying to squelch that movement. (You can always tell when Kucinich is excited because he starts hopping around at the podium).

Soon we will be moving on to Al Sharpton. I have a feeling that he will get a greater reception with more people listening than Kucinich. It will indeed be an interesting night pre-Edwards. I think today has been a bit more negative in tone than the last two days. I hoping Edwards lifts it up at the end.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 07:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Few Texas Degates Express their Opinion on the War

By Byron LaMasters

Texas has no Kucinich delegates, who I might add - just finished his speech with a strong endorsement of John Kerry.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

News Reports

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I wanted to leave with with an update on news reports that this blog or myself have been mentioned or profiled in. I know there are probably more out there than trackable, but here is my best findings. Some are really excellent and they all seem to take different angles though of course there are general themes (youngest delegate or blogging)

KUT Radio Diaries: Reported by Public Radio Exchange
Go Here to Listen to Series
Login is easy. Make one.

These are really cool. I'm doing them with Nick Lawrie of Ausin, 24.

Daily Texan Blogging Article

Houston Chronicle Profile and Picture
Fellow delegate-blogger Patti Fink is in the back left of that picture. This ran on the front page of the Chonicle paper, and online edition. Greg has a screenshot from this morning.

Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram Profile
There is a good picture here and a really well written fun article.

Austin American Statesman Profile
Probably the most political in tone of all the articles, with comments from this blog. The author, Ken Herman, won a Pulitzer when he was 24 I have been told.

Waco Tribune-Herald Article

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 06:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Michael Moore and his Posse

By Byron LaMasters

I turned around after taking a picture of Sean Hannity's hate station to see Michael Moore walking in the hallway with a gaggle of several dozen reporters. Taking pictures of the entourage was a challenge, since these types of things tend to act like a wrecking ball. Either you get out of the way as it comes towards you, or you get trampeled. I got shoved up against a trash can a little bit, but I squeezed through to take some more pictures. Here's one for now. Moore is being talked to by U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sean Hannity

By Byron LaMasters

Yeah. I got to see where he's spewing his lies and crap on the first floor of the Fleet Center (check out Media Matters).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush V. Choice Blog

By Byron LaMasters

NARAL Pro-Choice America has a set up a webpage with a blog. Anyway, go check them out if you have the chance, and let them know in the comment threads what you would like to see from them.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday Pre-Convention

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Waking up at 9 am today was early, too early for me it seems, but I had to get downstairs to the delegation breakfast due to our state Party Chair 'complaining' (kinda) to me the other day that I keep sleeping in. Apparently they have been wanting to introduce me as the youngest in the delegation (not that most of them already know, but I understand).

Well, that didn't happen today (for some reason there was no food in sight by the time I got there (isn't a breakfast supposed to have food) and I managed to get some coffee moments before it disappeared.

My plan was to attend some of the Democratic GAIN trainings today, but that fell through as I have been so far behind in blogging. I ended up taking the Blue line (Boston T (subway)) into downtown, transferring to Green line and then off at the Hynes Convention Center stop. Instead of exiting left on the street, I went right to find some grub.

Walking down Newbury St was quite an adventure. There are all kinds of shops there, a lot of them upscale but not mainstream. Local things, and just generally a really great atmosphere that wasn't too busy.

Whenever I go to cities or events, I tend to explore the not so walked areas. While this was more that, it’s still too close to the center of everything for me. On Friday, if I have time, I’ll probably ride out and just see the far flung parts of town.

Either way, I end up eating at a place called Finagle A Bagel, which I’ve been dying to eat at all week. Finagle has actually become my word of choice this week and I have been using to excess almost. Either way, I met up with a photographer for the Dallas Morning News there and we proceeded to start a photo shoot. Due to the rain we moved to the Library and sha-bam, here I am!

I’ll start working on back-dated posts now and then post some more from the floor of the center starting around 4:30 EDT.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 01:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Boston Library

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I am currently sitting on the base floor of the expansive Boston Public Library on Boylston Street. I managed to get a library card and a wireless spot and finally have a chance to get some blogging done.

A lot has happened in the past two days and I must offer my apologies for not having more up to date coverage. Tonight on the floor, I should have more time to update and post.

More coming as of now!

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 01:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Boston Library

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I am currently sitting on the base floor of the expansive Boston Public Library on Boylston Street. I managed to get a library card and a wireless spot and finally have a chance to get some blogging done.

A lot has happened in the past two days and I must offer my apologies for not having more up to date coverage. Tonight on the floor, I should have more time to update and post.

More coming as of now!

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 01:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Morrison Within Striking Distance of DeLay

By Andrew Dobbs

This is stunning in a very very good way. The latest poll (done by the DCCC, albeit, but still a serious poll) has the race in CD-22 as:

DeLay 49
Morrison 39
Fjetland (I) 7

That's right- Morrison (who has very very low name ID at this point) is within 10 points of beating the 20 year incumbent majority leader of the House.

It is more important than ever that we get Morrison some cash so he can educate the voters in his district about who he is and why he's better than DeLay. Tom DeLay is running 11 points behind Bush/Cheney in his district and a moderate, ethical Democrat like Morrison can win if he has the resources to do it. Donate Today!

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 12:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Perry's Interns Paid With Corporate Cash

By Andrew Dobbs

I really think I should just have a standing daily or even perhaps twice daily column called "The Latest Fucked Up Crooked Thing Done by a Texas Republican." I'll probably find that I am having to pick and choose between Fucked Up Crooked Thing A and Fucked Up Crooked Things B, C, D and E. I swear to God, not a day goes by when something so creatively dishonest is tied to these guys that I am constantly surprised.

Today, I'll start with this one. I just saw this story so I'll get around to some of the other bubbling scandals later. This story comes from the Austin American-Statesman:

A group of Texas business leaders is raising money from lobbyists to pay for 20 interns for Gov. Rick Perry during the coming year.

Government watchdog groups say the practice raises questions about what influence might come with the contributions.

"It reeks of a shakedown," said Suzy Woodford, executive director of Common Cause of Texas, echoing the sentiments of some lobbyists. "Those who pay will be on the good list, and the ones who don't won't be able to get a phone call returned."

Kathy Walt, Perry's press secretary, denied that the fund-raising poses any conflict.

"These are not contributions to the governor; they are contributions to the governor's office," she said. "This is an independent group who sees the value in providing intern- ships."

Even so, the letter by the Governor's Business Council, a nonprofit organization of Texas' top business executives, opens with an official tone: "Governor Perry asked us to contact you about a program important to his office and mission: The Governor's Fellowship Program."

The letter asks for tax-deductible contributions ranging from $500 to $10,000. "Your contribution may be personal or corporate," it notes. (...)

Yancy said Tuesday that lobbyists were only a small part of the solicitation list. The rest, he said, were foundations, corporations, other tax-exempt organizations and "supporters of the governor."

"It went statewide," he said.

Nonetheless, Woodford and Tom Smith, Texas director of Public Citizen, another government watchdog group, insist that the scholarship solicitation creates an appearance of impropriety.

"It's a new way of buying influence," Smith said.

The letter has set off grumbling among some Capitol lobbyists. None of the lobbyists contacted for this article would speak publicly.

One, who asked not to be identified by name for fear of reprisals from Perry's office, said, "If you think the governor's office won't know who contributed and who didn't, you're crazy."

So here's the score. The Governor wants a bunch of interns- there's a lot of work to be done and if he has a bunch of interns it can get done efficiently and he can look good in the process. These interns don't come cheap so how oh how is he going to afford them? Why not just hit up big time corporate donors? While this isn't as awful as some of the filth that has poured out of this administration its still shady and corrupt.

I'll have more stuff to write on later in my quest to be the person who keeps us up to date in our real strength- covering Texas politics. I think we are one of the best blogs out there right now- two contributors at the convention (including one as a delegat) and two great writers back at the home front keeping their thumb on the pulse. Thanks to Karl-T and Byron for all the hard work!


Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 11:03 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

We told ya so...

By Byron LaMasters

Well, finally, the rest of the country (well, at least those who watched) figured out what all the comotion about Obama in the blogosphere was all about. I was cheering Obama on since March. And I've been thrilled with him ever since (here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here).

Obama just brings it all. He has an inspiring personal story. He frames a progressive message in a conservative manner by speaking about personal responsibility, a unified America and opportunity through hard work. One thing that I'm struck by is that conservative columnists are praising the speech - a speech that brought the mostly left-leaning Democrats in the convention hall into a frenzy. Why?

I think that Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher captures conservative reaction to the speech well:


One more thought about Barack Obama: almost always when I hear African-American politicians, I feel like they're speaking to their own, excluding my kind of voter. Tonight I felt like Barack Obama was speaking to me, to the mainstream, to everybody.

Consider this line from Jesse Jackson's landmark 1984 Democratic Convention speech:


My constituency is the desperate, the damned, the disinherited, the disrespected, and the despised.


That's a great fragment of rhetoric, but I'm a middle-class white socially conservative male who is, therefore, the Bad Guy. So, tonight, 20 years later, along comes another black Democrat from Chicago, and he gives a magnificent mainstream speech that makes me think that this guy is onto something, that he would at least listen to somebody like me. I probably wouldn't vote for Obama because I'm sure I don't agree with his policies. But I'd sure hear him out, because I don't perceive that he thinks of people like me as villains. That's progress for the Democratic Party.


Obama won't win the votes of people like Rod. But he has won the votes of not only the Chicago Black community and the White liberals that supported Jesse Jackson. Obama beat a terrific field of candidates in places that normally don't vote for progressive African-American politicians - the collar suburban counties of Chicago. Last night, he proved exactly why.

Obama is the type of African-American politician that White progressives like myself have always dreamed of. It's an outrage that the United States Senate has no African-Americans currently. It's easy to blame conservative voters as racist for opposing African-Americans for the body, be in Ron Kirk in Texas, Carol Mosely Braun in Illinois, or by scaring off qualified African-Americans from running statewide like Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee. But Obama is different from all of those above. While Kirk was able to form a multiracial coalition in Dallas, he failed to do so statewide.

Obama is the rare African-American candidate that speaks in a langauge that appeals to the Black community and progressive Whites, but also to working class, middle class, White, moderate to independent to conservative voters. Jesse Jackson is a brilliant orator, but he is clearly rooted in the African-American community, and the first description that would come to most Whites would probably be something along the lines of "African-American activist". That's fine with me, but it's difficult for many middle-class Whites to related to his perspective. Obama, on the other hand frames his story as an American story, as the son of an immigrant who worked his way through school without question of how he got into Harvard Law School (as the chair of the Harvard Law Review). It is my hope that more African-American politicians will adopt Obama's rhetoric. It's not necessary to abandon progressive ideals to build a strong multiracial coalition (some would argue that Ron Kirk did that in 2002), but it is necessary to articulate those values in langauge that appeals to all voters.

Full text of Obama's remarks are here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2004

The Kucinich Delegates

By Byron LaMasters

Today, I had the opportunity to interview several delegates for Dennis Kucinich. From delegate totals, I knew that Kucinich had the most delegates from Colorado, Maine and Hawaii, so I tried to catch some people from those delegations. I was successful in interviewing several members both from Colorado and Hawaii. Last week Dennis Kucinich endorsed John Kerry, and in the past day or two he became the last candidate to officially release his delegates, but unlike Howard Dean and John Edwards (and all of the others - I think) who asked their delegates to vote for John Kerry on the first ballot. Dennis Kucinich asked his delegates to "vote their conscience".

The Kucinich delegates from Colorado appeared to be idealists first, but they determined to take a pragmatic approach. I had a chance to speak with Colorado Kucinich delegate Joel Leventhal and Colorado Kucinich alternate Aime Fournier. They were part of the delegation of fourteen Kucinich delegates from Colorado - the largest Kucinich delegation of any state. Kucinich did well in Colorado for several reasons. By the time the caucus in Colorado rolled around in April, all of Kerry's Democratic primary challengers but Kucinich had dropped out. The system was also a closed party caucus system. So, only the most dedicated activists. Considering that Kucinich was actively working the state and building an organization, it's not a huge surprise that he snagged some delegates.


Both Joel and Aime supported Dennis Kucinich because they believe in moving the Democratic Party in a more progressive direction. They said that Dennis Kucinich represented "the voice of the direction we want to see the party go". They said that they will join the Kerry campaign on Thursday, and they believe that 99% of the Kucinich delegates will do the same. However, they believe that it is important to vote for Dennis Kucinich on the first ballot. By doing so, they believe that they send a message to the people that elected them to serve as a delegate at the convention that they're hard work meant something. Then they believe that they can come home to their communities with credibility to ask other progressive not yet behind Kerry / Edwards to join the fight to defeat Bush in November by supporting Kerry / Edwards.

Another Kucinich delegate, Michael White of Boulder, Colorado was running from delegation to delegation this afternoon handing out surveys to Kerry delegates. It's well publicized from polls of the delegates by various media outlets that the delegates are liberal - not just liberal on a generic political spectrum, but liberal for the Democratic Party. Michael gave surveys to as many delegates as he could asking them to say which issues on Kucinich’s platform they agreed with. Then he planned to send the results to the Kerry campaign in hopes of encouraging the party to embrace much of the Kucinich platform.

Dennis Kucinich came in second place in Hawaii by visiting the state twice (no other candidate did) and by connecting with many of the left-leaning progressive Democrats in that state. I spoke with four Kucinich Hawaii delegates: Cecile Smith, Isaac Harp, Elaine Gima and State Representative Maile Shimabukum (D- Waianae). All four stated their intent to vote for Dennis Kucinich on the first ballot. All four plan to support John Kerry for President, even if Hawaii is not a swing state - they, like other Kucinich delegates strongly believe in moving the Democratic Party to the left, but are Democrats nonetheless. Shimabukum defeated an incumbent Republican last cycle, but has a tough reelection this time from both the Democratic primary and the Republicans because of her stances on issues of peace. The important issues to Cecile were getting out of Iraq, a single-payer health care system, canceling the Patriot Act, canceling NAFTA, WTO and signing the Kyoto Protocol. Most importantly, though, to the Hawaii delegates was the Department of Peace.

One man, Isaac Harp had seen his son sent to Iraq. While he returned safely physically, he worries that he was effected emotionally. Furthermore, the Bush administration, because of their failure to prepare to the war - did not get his son the armor that he needed to be safe for months. For that reason, among many others, the Kucinich delegates in Hawaii strongly support a Department of Peace. The Kucinich delegates also brought up some Hawaii sovereignty issues, however I feel obligated to research the materials they gave me before I address that issue.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:26 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

OBAMA!!

By Byron LaMasters

The signs are being handed out. In a minute we'll see a sea of Obama Blue (and yes, this whole time I'm working on my original reporting - I'll post on the Kucinich piece soon).

Update: Read the speech (you'll have to copy and paste it somewhere because it's a .txt file)! Classic Obama. He rivaled Clinton for his ability to bring the crowd to it's feet.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:40 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Kos, MyDD Interview Chris Bell

By Byron LaMasters

Damn. You just never have enough business cards. Jerome said he would have invited me if he knew my number. Well he does now... so next time they get a Texan to interview, hopefully I'll be able to make it. But for now, check out what kos and Jerome have.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wow! The Kerry Folks Allow Kennedy Signs

By Byron LaMasters

No one but the New York delegation had Clinton signs last night, but the entire floor just erupted waving Kennedy signs in a standing ovation as Ted Kennedy came on stage. All we saw last night was Kerry / Edwards signs. But then again, Ted Kennedy doesn't exactly have presidential ambitions anymore. As for the Clintons, well...

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

National Anthem

By Byron LaMasters

That was different. Never heard of the language, but it sounds enchanting however it's sung. Thanks to Michael Enis and Alicia Childs of the Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona for singing tonight's national anthem via satelite.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

John Kerry Blog Blogs on Bloggers

By Byron LaMasters

Therefore, if the John Kerry blog will blog on bloggers. I'll blog on their blog blogging on bloggers. Ok, I really just wanted to see how many times I could use a variation of the word "blog" in a sentence, but here's the links on the Kerry Blog:

Our view from "Blogger Alley" of the Clinton Speech

Blogger Breakfast Post

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

People I've been within 5 Feet of Today

By Byron LaMasters

Jesse Jackson
Charlie Rangel
Anderson Cooper
Bill Schneider

vs. yesterday....

Barack Obama
Howard Dean
Tucker Carleson
Al Franken
With the exceptions of Howard Dean and Barack Obama, they all seemed quite busy at the time, so I didn't have a chance to talk to them, but I did have a great interview to talk to a lot of people today. I think I've figured out my strategy for blogging the convention. Try to go to an event or so earlier in the day. Then in the afternoon, spend a coupl e of hours on the floor of the convention talking to delegates and elected officials that I can find (as I did today). I'll be blogging tonight on the Kucinich delegates I interviewed from Colorado and Hawaii. I also want to provide live commentary on the major speeches tonight, especially because I was unable to last night. I think my coverage of the speeches last night wasn't as good as it could have been because my initial thoughts were harder to capture after catching the network analyists thoughts on the speeches. Anyway, Maya Angelou is speaking right now, but unfortunately there's an NPR guy here interviewing the guy next to me (ok, the NPR guy is actually a nice guy - he interviewed me on Sunday at the blogger thing that night). People are also still filling up the seats, so thats making some noise as well. Also, the wireless problems have been taken care of, so the blogging out to be much smoother than last night throughout primetime.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Texas Tuesdays: Kelly White

By Byron LaMasters

I may be in Boston, but that doesn't give me an excuse to forget to write about another Texas Tuesday. This week, Kelly White was profiled. She's running for state representative in Austin against Republican Todd Baxter. Kelly White has a solid record working with issues of domestic violence, and she's a real community leader. She is one of our strongest female candidates this cycle. I think it's quite sad that the Texas state legislature has no Anglo Democratic Women in the House, and hopefully candidates like Katy Hubener and Kelly White will change that in November.

Meet Kelly White

Kelly White Q&A

Donate to Kelly White

Contribute to Texas Tuesdays Candidates on ActBlue

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Last Night

By Byron LaMasters

Overall, a very good night for Democrats. I planned to blog more extensively last night, but I had difficulty pulling myself away from watching the President Clinton speech over and over and over again as I flipped back between CNN and C-SPAN.

Of the four major speeches, I found Gore to be effective. He was self-depricating and funny, and if only he would have acted as such without using words like "lockbox" all the time in 2000, he might have won without a recount. I think the way in which he spoke of the 2000 election with a laugh as opposed to with a frown or a scream was quite effective in arrousing the anger and passion that many Democrats feel regarding that election without alienating moderates or undecided voters. And the repeat of "The Kiss" was quite humorous.

Jimmy Carter was just hard to hear. Fortunately, I received a copy of the speech, but from the upper deck, he was a challenge to hear. I think the speach was effective to the extent that Jimmy Carter is not the kind of guy that you would expect to deliever the red meat. And when Carter delivers the neat, people listen.

The 9/11 tribute was phenominal. Abosolutely beautiful. I was talking to someone when I noticed the overhead lights go out, and candles light up on the floor, when the family member of 9/11 victims ended her speech. At first I wasn't sure what was going on. Then the violin began playing "Amazing Grace", and everyone was quiet. Seeing all the candles from above was truly a splendid site.

I honestly wasn't too impressed with Hillary Clinton's speech. It was a good introduction of President Clinton, and defense of Kerry, but there was nothing particularly memorable about it. Perhaps, the reason is due to Bill Clinton's mesmerizing that followed, but nothing about Hillary's speech stood out.

There's not really too much else to say about President Clinton. He has the unique ability (as does John Edwards) to speak in a way that tells a story. Actually, I had heard most of the speech before. The "strength and wisdom" quote was extraordinarily powerful. Clinton trotted out the Bush-Cheney-and-I-could-have-gone-to-Vietnam-and-didn't-but-John-Kerry-said-send-me line back at the DNC unity dinner in March. In fact most of the speech was based on that speech back in March. Do a "unity dinner" search on C-SPAN to find the video (you'll have to go a little over an hour into the speech). I got the feeling that Bill Clinton is itching for a fight. And as much as the Clinton's might harbor future White House ambitions, I was convinced by President Clinton's performance last night that he'll work to get John Kerry elected. And Kerry would be stupid to not send Clinton into the Black community especially, in most every swing state come this fall. Personally, I find the Hillary '08 speculation to be silly. The only way that Hillary will win the Democratic nomination in 2008 will be if Democrats across the country are fully convinced that she did everything in her power to get Kerry / Edwards elected in 2004. The Democratic base hates Bush so much, that they won't stand for any major Democratic figure sitting on the sidelines this year.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:33 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Sorry

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Monday has passed an though I have not had the time to write up a full report as of yet, I do have Monday's pictures up here. My apologies for being a bit slow on this past day, but I need more than two hours of sleep to operate. I will be back on track later today. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures; I will get labels on them as I have time.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 09:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 26, 2004

Ben Affleck Applies the Smackdown on CNN

By Byron LaMasters

Just saw this... gotta love it:


Larry King: We are the only network still on the air still right now with our post convention coverage.

Ben Affleck: Well, FOX News is doing a John Kerry worships the devil thing.

Nice.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:54 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Texas Delegation Blog

By Byron LaMasters

When I ventured on to the convention floor this evening, I had the opportunity to speak with several of the people working on the Texas Delegation Blog (besides Karl-Thomas). Check out their work, here. There's also other official delegation blogs on the official blog of the convention.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Parties Tonight

By Byron LaMasters

I just got back to my hotel tonight. I had been running around for 15 hours straight after getting about four hours of sleep last night, so I decided I come home, see what the TV and other blogs are saying (and catch up on some blogging as I was still having trouble with the wireless connection).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Meanwhile, in Red America...

By Jim Dallas

We break from our usually scheduled program to bring you this mundane news from Texas.

I was down at Wal-Mart (still breaking in the moped; when I have her chugging along nicely, I'll revert back to my usual Target-patronizing, Wal-Mart-bashing virtuousity) -- and so anyway I saw a big sign advertising the first season of The Jeff Foxworthy Show on DVD.

Now I remember seeing about one episode of that show and I recall I was not pleased. Not as formulaic and unfunny as many sit-coms, but still, it was not a good career move for Jeff Foxworthy. You know, kinda why you didn't see Foxworthy between 1996 (the peak of "You Might Be A Redneck"-itis) and the early-2000s Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

At any rate, I see the sign, and what do I see -- pre-Sixth Sense Haley Joel Osment! Could it be that tinseltown's favorite tyke was in that stinker sitcom?!?

Yes. But I guess everyone must start somewhere. (Also pre-Jerry McGuire Jonathan Lipnicki had a part in the second season.)

Now, back to enlightening BOR Boston blog-a-rama from K-T and Byron!

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

No Gore/Dean Scream

By Byron LaMasters

Well, that is if Gore sticks to the script. I just received an advance copy of Gore's speech. The DNC people probably wouldn't like it if I posted it, though. That goes into that whole journalistic ethics thing that may or may not apply to bloggers. Who knows?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to heading up to our blogger section and watching them in person.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:40 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Convention Advice and Tidbits

By Byron LaMasters

Don't take pictures of federal buildings with lots of security officers around. They tend to ask a lot of questions.

Bostonians love donuts. There are donut shops on practically every corner. I mean, really. And I briefly heard a CNN segment earlier today that noted that Boston had something like ten times more donut shops per capita than the U.S. average.

Boston subways don't always go where the map tells you that they're going. Usually, its not too difficult to get around, though. It can just be a minor problem, so it's good to plan a little extra time.

Go Johnny Go is back in. At least until November 2nd. Ok, maybe until 2004. Or hell, maybe until 2016 when John Edwards is reelected. But he better not have a running named John.

The press filing room has a much better connection than the "Blogger Blvd" where the wireless connection goes in and out every five minutes. My advice to other bloggers? Do your blogging in the press room, then watch the speeches you want in the Blogger section. I'll be back up there around 8:30 PM eastern to catch the Gore, Carter and Clinton's speeches.

There seems to be a 10-20 minute lag on my posts in the convention center regardless of where my connection is. So, if things look weird, it's because it's taking forever for me to know if posts go through.

Tucker Carleson looks different in person.

It's very tempting to make Andrew D. jokes with Ezra of Pandagon.net. Ezra and Andrew both worked for Dean last summer in Burlington, VT. Ezra had the pleasure of sharing a place with Andrew and two other people for the entire summer. We love you Andrew. Really, we do. I swear!

James Carville is good. Very Good. It doesn't matter if he's on Crossfire, or if he's rallying a Vets for Kerry rally, as he did today. He's just good.

The best advice, bar none that I got for the convention was to eat and go to the bathroom whenever you can - preferably not at the same place. Yesterday, I ate breakfast at 9:30 AM, got busy and just sort of forgot to eat lunch, then finally ate dinner at 7 PM. Today, I decided I'd just eat breakfast and lunch at the same place to make it easier. I had a little bite to eat at the hotel as I headed to the shuttle stop, I had breakfast at the blogger breakfast a little after 10 AM. Then I had another big plate of eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes as they shut the buffet down a little before noon. That's a good thing. I haven't had a chance to eat since.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Guam Delegation

By Byron LaMasters

I had the opportunity to make it down to the convention floor earlier where I literally ran into the Guam delegation walking on to the floor of the Fleet Center. They were easy to recognize with their bright red Hawaiin shirts with "GUAM" written on them. It was an interesting group. All of the delegates were either Kerry delegates or unpledged. They had quite a journey to get here. The leader of their delegation, an attorney named Mike Phillips had travelled from Guam to Hawaii to Los Angeles to Boston. It takes about a day.

Mike has an interesting story himself. He's attending his second convention - his first was the 1992 convention in New York that gave Bill Clinton his historic convention bounce. Back in 1992, Mike was one of the youngest state chairs and the security / credentials people didn't believe him at first when he tried to show up at several caucuses. Mike's serving his third (non-consecutive) term as chair of the Guam Democratic Party. He's lived in Guam all his life except for college at UCLA and graduate school at the University of Hawaii.

I asked Mike what the most important issues were for Guam. He said there were three key issues. The first was the war in Iraq, as young people from Guam have served alongside young people from the fifty states in the war. Second, is the Guam economy. Mike noted that whenever the Asian economy goes into recession, as it did in the late 1990s, it seriously effects the Guam economy, and they have little representation in Washington D.C. to attain relief. Third, are issues of self-determination. Guam is a unique case. It's too small to realistically be admitted as a U.S. State. Yet, it relies upon the U.S. government heavily in many ways, so most in Guam would probably not be interested in Independence. Still, Mike would like to see greater self-determination for Guam while maintaining bonds with the United States. Mike noted specific historical injustices in Guam. Guam became a U.S. territory in 1898, yet only was able to elect their own governor in 1970, and only afforded the right to trial by jury in 1972.

Anyway, Mike said that with no real representation in Congress, it is critical that he uses events like the Democratic convention to be able to share his concerns with others, and seek the change Guam seeks. I hope that this post can help him achieve that.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Perry Considering New School Finance Prospects

By Andrew Dobbs

While Karl-T. and Byron L. spend their days happily Democrating it up in Beantown, I'm here in Austin keeping my finger on the pulse of Texas politics and whatnot. So in between pictures of Senators and stories about rubbing shoulders with someone cool and famous I'll be providing breathers for the junkies out there who want all the hot gossip from the City of the Violet Crown. And so, without any further ado...

Looks like the long lost special session for school finance might be rearing its misshapen head once more as another scheme to increase school funding while cutting property taxes and not introducing an income tax has been put forward, this time by Senator Florence Shapiro (R-Plano). From Capitol Inside (subscription required):

There are increasing indications that Governor Rick Perry might be amenable to the new school finance plan that State Senator Florence Shapiro has crafted and that he might consider calling a special session later this year if an agreement hasn't been negotiated before the end of August. (...)

Perry said earlier this week that there's still time for a special session this summer but that the issue might have to wait until the regular session in 2005. After a two-hour meeting with Craddick on Tuesday, however, Perry appears to be more open-minded about the possibility of calling a special session at some point this fall. A statewide vote on proposed constitutional changes would have to be postponed until February if a plan clears the Legislature in a special session during the final four months of the year.

Key House members probably won't be willing to cast any more votes on tax measures until they have reasonable assurances from Perry and the Senate that they are voting on proposals that wont be rejected later in the process. The House passed a watered-down school tax bill in May after removing a proposed business payroll that Perry threatened to veto. Senators never took a vote on the House measure.

While Perry still opposes any new taxes that he says will hurt job growth in Texas, he has apparently left the door open on the "cafeteria-style" approach to business taxation that's contained in Shapiro's new plan. Dewhurst had reportedly made strides in his attempt to sell Perry on the merits of a business activity tax as a fair and stable source of public school funds. (...)

Shapiro, the co-chair of a working group that's been holding informal meetings on the subject for several weeks, unveiled her newest proposal last week. She presented it to Perry and said that he appeared to be generally receptive to it . The plan would rely on a series of tax changes to raise $5 billion including $3.5 billion for property tax relief and the remainder for educational initiatives. Sales taxes, cigarette taxes and taxes on car and truck sales would all go up to help fund a 20 percent reduction in local property taxes. Businesses would be able to choose from a list of tax options in determining which levy was best suited for each of them. Hoping to avoid controversy that could undermine her plan's potential survival, Shapiro is not proposing to raise money for schools from video lottery terminals at racetracks like the governor and legislative leaders favored during the initial special session on school finance.

The prevailing sentiment at the Capitol is that many House members don't want to vote again this year on higher taxes and other volatile issues before the November general election. About half of the House's 150 members have November opponents while only a few senators face token opposition this fall. Craddick appears to be taking the heat while providing members with cover until the elections are over and the Legislature convenes in regular session in January.

Y'know, I have no idea why anyone other than incredibly wealthy businessmen ever cast their votes for the GOP. A plan that raises taxes on the most needy Texas families (most families already pay more in sales taxes than property taxes and an increase in sales taxes and a cut in property taxes will raise taxes on renters while cutting them for their landlords) while letting corporations have the right to pick and choose their taxes is so ludicrously rigged for the wealthy and for the powerful it makes Shapiro and Perry into overdrawn charicatures of their own party. This plan is a disgrace.

But the good thing is that it almost certainly won't pass. VLTs are a poison pill to any finance plan offered to this legislature and almost certainly any offered to the next. The vast majority of Democrats will vote against any bill with a sales tax hike and a solid number- if not a majority- of Republicans will vote against VLTs. So for this bill to pass it would have to lose all of its major sources of funding- just like last time. At that point most members will realize the idiocy of passing a school finance bill that doesn't actually y'know, finance schools and the bill dies an ignominous death.

I can see only one reason we should pass this plan- to keep Kay Bailey Hutchison out of the race for governor. A conservative journalist who I am on friendly terms with told me that sources close to Hutch have told him that she will definitely run if no school finance plan is passed before the end of the 2005 session and will most likely do something else if one is passed. I am still not convinced KBH can beat Perry in a GOP primary, especially since Strayhorn would likely run for Lt. Gov. at that point. Still, she is well-liked and would very likely beat anyone we offer up.

Perry, on the other hand, will beat Strayhorn easily in the primary and then will be a sitting duck- one of the most unpopular governors in recent Texas history. We need to keep KBH out of the race or hope that Perry can play the pro-choice card against her well enough to survive a brusing primary. To that end, passing a plan will help us reach that goal, but I'm not one for letting people needlessly suffer for political gain. This plan will almost certainly die and that will be a good thing for Texas.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 05:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Big Lead for Kerry with Students

By Byron LaMasters

Great news from the latest Harvard Institute of Politics Poll (PDF file). Kerry has a huge 21 point lead (58-37%) among students (Bush Approval is at 40/53%). This reflects the trends in other polls that I've seen in recent weeks (I'll try and cite them later tonight if I have a chance) that Kerry is opening up a significant lead among young voters. Many people say that young people don't vote, but there is hope that that will change this year. Look at college tuition rates. Look at the lack of good jobs for many college graduates. Look at the young people that die every week in Iraq. Young people must get involved in 2004. As Bill Maher says, it's not coke or pepsi in 2004, it's coke or "Jesus juice". Even controversial issues like the Federal Marriage Amendment are opposed by the vast majority of young people. Hopefully, Kerry/Edwards will continue to reach out to young voters, and hopefully copy many of the tactics that worked for the Dean campaign. Regardless, whatever they are doing now is working - if only we'll vote.

Via Political Wire.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

From the Front Page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By Byron LaMasters

More coverage from the front page:

Blogging is making a breakthrough into what had been a realm of mainstream American journalism.

More than 30 bloggers are covering this week's Democratic National Convention, a first for the popular keepers of online journals.

Among those granted press credentials is Dallas native Byron LaMasters, who runs Burnt Orange Report, a blog on Texas politics.

"I'm happy to say that I don't claim to be nonbiased," said LaMasters, 22, a sophomore at the University of Texas. "I support John Kerry for president, but I hope my blog can be a place for people willing to engage in debate and not just name-calling,"

[...]

The day LaMasters learned of his invitation to this week's convention, he asked his readers what they wanted him to report on. The suggestions were few; most simply wanted him not to copycat the press corps. Rather, they wanted an irreverent account of his experience. In essence: be a blogger, be yourself.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GLBT Delegates

By Byron LaMasters

The 2004 Democratic National Convention has set a new record for the number of openly gay or lesbian delegates. It was announced at the GLBT caucus earlier today that there were 255 openly gay or lesbian delegates to the 2004 Democratic National Convention and 7 transgendered delegates. That is up 15% from 2000. Also at the GLBT caucus were many speakers, including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and several high ranking GLBT officials in the Kerry campaign and the DNC.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Breakfast Blogging

By Byron LaMasters

The rumors were that Max Cleland was going to speak to the bloggers, but he had to cancel, and that the speaker for our breakfast would be someone bigger than Max Cleland. I wasn't sure if that meant that we were going to have Michael Moore, or some other larger than average individual, but alas, we were in luck. The credentialled bloggers, and about twice as many news reporters (or was it three to one?) had the opportunity to hear two people who needed no introduction. Barack Obama and Howard Dean:




Obama just had time to stop in, say hello, talk for three minutes, and leave. I would have loved to hear him give his stump speech, but I can wait for that until tomorrow night.

Dean, on the other hand, in typical Howard Dean fashion, offered a few surprises. The typical - basically what myself, and every other blogger has been saying to most media folks we talk to - that blogging is a two-way communication with voters - something that has not existed to this extent in a long time, if ever in the American political process. Dean noted that the first two people that he hired for Democracy for America were bloggers. Dean then said something to the effect that the "mainstream media are the last people to figure out whats really going on in America, because they spend so much time in Washington". In a way, he was right. In the polls and in fundraising, Dean was the leader for the Democratic Presidential nomination by June (July at the latest), yet the establishment media only proclaimed him as such at the end of the year. The activists knew Dean was the frontrunner. The bloggers knew it. But the mainstream media wasn't buying it. Perhaps, in the long run, the media was right, but not before they joined with everyone else in saying in December what the rest of us were saying in July - that Dean was the frontrunner.

Dean continued to note that most politicians fight the last war as opposed to the next one. Dean predicted that people like Rupert Murdoch and others in the mainstream media would lose out in the long run, or be forced to change to accommodate the next generation. There's a reason why young people get their news from the Internet and the Daily Show. When the mainstream media does not conform to the demands of their viewers, they lose. It's the same with bloggers. The credentialed bloggers in Boston are only here because we have (at least enough of the time) met the needs of our readers.

Perhaps Dean paid the bloggers his best compliment with this: "If i were you I would not be insulted if someone didn't call you a real journalist... Have you read what's in the NY Post from time to time?" Yup. Gephardt for VP... all the way.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Bloggers Blvd

By Byron LaMasters

The "Bloggers Blvd." is up in sections 319 and 320 of the seventh floor above the convention center. A wireless connection was set up for us, but it was acting pretty flaky, so I'm currently down on the third floor in the press filing room, so you can expect several of the posts I've been working on today in the next couple of minutes.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Photos Up

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I got the pictures uploaded from the last three days. Check them out. Eventually I will get them labeled.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 05:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Voice of America

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Though it's not official yet, you may be able to hear me today on Voice of America, between 1:30 - 1:45 p.m. ET during the "Talk to America" call-in part of Doug Bernard's show. If you tune in, and I can make the interview, you may just hear me. I'll try to make it.

Link to online feeds.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Media Update

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

(Including an e-mail I just recieved, there have been about 24 total media requests of some sort that have come my way in the last 2 weeks. To quote Bush, I'm "shocked and awed".)

The Associated Press article has now hit the wire meaning it's been picked up by about one and half dozen newspapers across the country so far. And the bit that has to do with Texas is as follows with my oh so wonderful quote at the end...

For Texas delegate Cate Read, 37, of Houston, a blog is an extension of the daily e-mails she sent when she was a delegate in 2000. When she ran for delegate this year, fellow Democrats asked her to keep up the Internet missives. One man in her district printed the e-mails so his elderly parents could read them every day, she said.

Blogging comes naturally for some delegates, especially the younger ones. In tech-savvy circles, they assume important events will be blogged.

"It's another element of your lifestyle," said delegate Karl-Thomas Musselman, 19, a government major at the University of Texas in Austin. "It provides a connection that I think didn't exist just from watching TV or reading editorials in your local paper it's someone I can relate to."

If no one from the Texas delegation blogged, Musselman said, "I think there would be real dissatisfaction."

I'm still trying to figure out what all I meant in the original interview that was drawn into that quote.

In addition the AP piece, the Waco Tribune article ran today...

"Most bloggers don't consider themselves journalists but rather as political activists," said Byron LaMasters, who received credentials on behalf of "Burnt Orange Report," a political blog based in Austin. "I don't have an editor. I write whatever I want to write, but I feel responsible to our readers, the Democratic National Committee and to the blogging community to conduct myself professionally."

LaMasters, a 22-year-old senior at the University of Texas at Austin, said his blog receives 700 to 900 views daily.

"I think blogging will add another dimension to covering politics with a new attitude," he said. "I think it will bring some excitement to the coverage. I know I'm excited about going."

...

Nor are all bloggers at the convention credentialed, for that matter. Karl-Thomas Musselman, who blogs about politics on "Musselman For America," will attend as the youngest delegate from Texas, representing state Senate District 24, which includes Temple and Killeen. He plans on blogging from Boston, saying it adds another layer of reporting from the inside on things the mainstream media won't cover.

"I'll be able to provide a personal touch by interviewing other delegates about party concerns," he said. "Most bloggers wouldn't pretend to say they are objective. I realize that conservatives aren't reading my blog looking to have their minds changed."

Musselman, 19, is a sophomore at UT-Austin. He has been a Democrat since growing up in Fredericksburg, Texas, he said, and participated in a peace rally in March near the Bush ranch in Crawford.

BBC News Online also writes up their story...

But the bloggers will not only be laptop-toting political pundits. Some delegates will be blogging, including the youngest delegate from Texas, Karl-Thomas Musselman.

The 19-year-old originally dreamed of being the first man to set on foot on Mars, but the 2000 election sparked an interest in politics.

He started his website and blog, musselmanforamerica.com, because he was running to represent a district that is 300 miles (480km) from end to end. It was a way for him to connect to voters.

He redesigned the site for the conventions and hopes to be able to update it wirelessly from the convention floor.

He does not think the bloggers will in any way supplant the traditional media, but stresses they have their own role.

"Bloggers provide another angle, another market for news and information out of convention," he said.

"We're not under a banner of [Fox's slogan] 'fair and balanced'. We are able to a little bit more flippant, more critical, more analytical," he said. "That is the nature of who we are, and that is why people read blogs."

That last one is probably the best quote I've seen so far pulled out. I mean, of course I said everything I'm quoted as, it's just always a game as to what fits with the theme of any particular story and makes the final cut.

Also, a quickie blog based interview on my thoughts about Farenheit 9/11 and my reporting at the DNC.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Yesterday

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

After our free continental breakfast at our hotel in Lenox, we made a quick trip back to the Democracy Fest to say goodbye. We are leaving early to Boston so that Glen can organize the seating arrangement of our delegation. We will be missing Howard Dean’s speech out here in Pittsfield, but we will likely see him at various events this week, and possibly on the floor if our arrangement to have him come sit with the Texas delegation for a time hold true. (The only other delegation that he was planning on staying with was, of course, Vermont.)

On the way out to Boston, a reporter from the Austin American Statesman called an interviewed me on the way to Boston, with the cell phone cutting out twice in more rural areas. We met up for a photo shoot later in the day. Veronika from Congressional Quarterly asked to interview Byron and I for our reporting on the Burnt Orange Report, though I didn’t end up making it downtown to meet her. And Laura from the Daily Texan at UT also called to talk about blogging for her story.

In Boston, we had to deal with a couple of situations, one being the rooms, and the fact that our group was not in adjoining ones. After talking to about 3 different Hotel people, Glen manages to get a young’n to rearrange the arrangements, add two cots, drop me off the ‘official’ list in order to bypass the hotel’s automatic person/room ratio and adjust the names… shebam, we have adjoining rooms. Never underestimate the power of Maxey.

The major events for the rest of the evening included riding three blocks down to our official Texas welcome party at the Hyatt Harborside. The place was absolutely beautiful. It was on the corner of the bay, looking out across to Boston proper. Delegates, alternates, committee people, big wigs, and probably some “big wigs” as well were all there. There was Mexican and Italian food, fajitas and pasta. Oddly enough, the more grassroots, new party folks were outside the big white tent eating Mexican while the party regulars and suits stayed in the tent with the Italian. Self-selecting classism, would make an interesting sociology study.

I ended up talking to Rodd from the BBC Radio London and then introduced him to Texas Arab American delegate from Austin as well as Glen and later the Democratic Mayor of Waco (which represents George Bush’s ranch). Ken, reporter/photographer extraordinaire from the Austin American Statesman was around and interviewed me as well, adding a sixth Texas paper to cover me (after Fredericksburg, UT-Austin, Waco, Dallas, and Houston.) My cell phone was literally ringing every half hour with some new news request or update. I can’t imagine though what I would have done without it and how I have somehow managed to get along all these years without it.

I met up with Aldon Hynes, credentialed blogger from Connecticut and husband of Dean Dozen candidate Kim Hynes.

After dinner, it was over to Boston proper to the City Hall square to listen to the music and Boston Pops Orchestra. Nick Lawrie and I meet up with the Public Radio Exchange to do radio spots for KUT, UT-Austin’s radio station, as well as any others that might want to pick it up. We are doing delegate diaries, 3 of them, and will be meeting again Monday and Wednesday nights for the next rounds.

We did some walking around downtown to buy Glen Diet Cokes, because he’s more or less addicted to them (we joked about how he could be an official sponsor except he’d have to do the ads and say “I’m Glen Maxey and I approved this ad because it’s time to quench our thirst”.) The Pops started close to 9 pm but were wonderful. They had standard fair patriotic songs, but also classical, Elvis, and modern as well. The director was amazing we agreed, because he got into his directing so much. In addition, at 10, the fireworks were shot across the bay and romantic music was playing; it was really special and exciting all at the same time.

But alas, we did have to return to our hotel, though the fun did not end. There was the Sheila Jackson Lee party (not that crowded apparently, bad timing) where I got down on the dance floor right along with the Congresswoman (who had endorsed Dean during the primary at our Houston rally).

All that left for a very tiring day.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Last Saturday

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Arising from our ‘non-smoking’ room, we packed up the bags and moved to Pittsfield, out in far western part of Massachusetts to go the Democracy Fest, the national pre-convention gathering of Howard Dean delegates, ‘shadow’ delegates like us who are officially John Kerry (etc.) delegates but Deaniacs at heart, and other hardcore volunteers and Blog for America commenters.

We arrived around noon while things were already in progress, and met up with Fran Vincent, Austin delegate and volunteer organizer of Democracy for Texas as well as Marla Camp who is on the DFT steering committee and was on the National Platform Committee in Florida.

Throughout the day, we attended training sessions sponsored by the Latinos for Democracy people from California. Alongside that, there were entertainers down in the dining tent; everything from political bands, comedy groups, slam poets, solo singers, and speakers. Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi spoke around 2 pm which prompted some interesting discussion. This event, being a gathering of the core of the hard core activists, had a number of people who were incredibly upset with Trippi for what they believe he did to the Dean campaign at the end. There are complaints about his firm managing the horrible media ads, not paying attention to Iowa, not paying attending to minority building, etc.

Personally, I find it ironic that some of the Deaniacs dislike Trippi so much. Come on, you have to at least thank him for building an enormous campaign first so that he could screw it over in the end! Note my sarcasm.

He spoke about his book, The Revolution Will Not be Televised. Or rather, he spoke on how it was not a ‘tell all’ (though according to those in the know, he apparently bashed a number of people and Howard Dean after the whole campaign reshuffling. Dean also had his words, but kept them in private conversation I was told.

In any case, he outlined what his greater vision was for political organizing beyond the Dean campaign. About how we are in the time between TV being the dominant medium to the Internet taking over. It’s an idea of how people will return to the community driven model of interaction, organization, and socialization instead of being driven by the solitary conversation that direct mail and tv ads create now.

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

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

During the afternoon, Glen Maxey spoke, though I missed it due to talking to a Hartford Current Reporter for an hour. She was a story on young Dean supporters and what has happened to them post-campaign. If anything, it brought back a lot of memories and a big smile from me.

Most of the rest of the evening was spent eating and drinking out in the main tent until it got late. We headed out to Fran’s campsite where the Texans and other Deansters got together to stand around the fire, drinking, and telling stories about the campaign. It was a magical moment, reliving so much of what happened, with people from six different states all knowing what you are talking about, down to the smallest detail. It was community.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 03:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Last Friday

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Having finally gotten an Internet connection here in Boston, I'm uploading the entries that I have so far. Pardon my lateness...

Leaving Austin today, we had few problems, other than the fact that there was bad weather in Newark, NJ which was delaying our Continental flight to Providence, Rhode Island. Being early, like I usually am to the airport, I had a head start in getting things arranged so in the end we were put on American Airlines flight through Chicago.

I’m traveling with Glen Maxey (Dean State Coordinator and general Texas political guru), Mark McCulloch, a delegate here in Austin infamous for the “Austin Progressive Coalition” yellow doorhangers, and Nick Lawrie, the 24 year old delegate from here in Austin who had blockwalked state delegate’s houses and made handwritten letters asking for votes to the National Convention. They arrived, with a news crew from the local FOX affiliate (which later ran our departure story at 5 and 9).

The flights were more or less uneventful and once in Providence around midnight we packed up the rental car and headed west through Rhode Island, Connecticut, and then up to West Springfield, Massachusetts where we stayed for the night. Our motel was a Rodeway Inn. On our first pass by it, we were a bit worried because the bank of rooms for the Inn had been burned down. Of course, the actual motel part was on the other side of the burned building leading Mark to make the observation that this Inn “clearly had a choice of non-smoking and smoking rooms.”

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 03:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday Night Fun

By Byron LaMasters

Tonight I met a bunch of bloggers at this blogger event in Cambridge. Then, several of us tried to make it into the big party tonight at Club Avalon where Bill Clinton, Howard Dean, Al Sharpton, etc. etc. all made appearances. Jesse of Pandagon.net gets it right.

Okay, so as virtual nobodies, we've learned a valuable lesson. Knowing about parties does not garner you a way in to parties.

Yeah. Ezra (also of Pandagon.net) had some will-call tickets for the party, and he talked a bunch of us into going out over by Fenway Park (where, I swear, the catcher who was catching John Kerry's first pitch HAD to be a Republican. I mean the catcher let the ball go through his legs and bounce back towards the backstop. Although, John Kerry should have practiced the pitch. There's really no excuse. Sure, I don't expect a 60 year old to throw a strike, but Kerry could have at least gotten the ball over the plate.. but I digress).

Yeah, so Avalon Club. The highlight was seeing Jerry Springer leaving. Springer managed to pose for pictures, and shake a lot of hands. I tried to get a good picture or two, but they didn't turn out so well - it was at night with all sorts of bright lights from Fenway and the club, so that's to be expected.

Next event? The Blogger breakfast at 10 AM. Rumors are swirling about it, and I'm excited.

Update: There's another blogger on my floor at my hotel - Natasha of Pacific Views.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Charlie Cook: "Bush will Lose"

By Byron LaMasters

While I was in the Fleet Center today, I picked up a print copy of the National Journal Convention Daily. Charlie Cook had perhaps the most insightful analysis of the recent polls that I've seen in awhile. Cook took the combined results of the last four AP polls on the national presidential race, so that he could attain a large enough sample size of undecided voters to make some educated observation. Cook's findings were quite significant. He found that undecided voters had decidedly negative opinions of America under the Bush administration. Undecideds broke 18/75 on the right track / wrong track question (compared to 41/56 overall). Undecideds also broke 22/69 on approve / disapproval of President Bush's job performance. John Kerry supporters were even more likely to believe that America is on the wrong track and disapprove of President Bush, but overall, undecided voters were much closer on these two questions to Kerry voters than to Bush voters.

Thus, all Kerry has to do to win is to cross the threashold of acceptability to voters, whereas Bush must convince voters who already disapprove of him and think that the country is on the wrong track - that even though they may not like Bush, Kerry would be worse. It's a hard arguement to make, and it's why Bush has spend nearly $100 Million in attack ads against John Kerry. Why? It's his only chance to win. If this election is about George W. Bush and his record as President - Bush will lose (unless Osama is captured, Iraq is stabilized, gas prices return to normal, and the economy starts booming again - all of which would be great, but it won't happen). Democrats have a reason to be optimistic, but John Kerry is absolutely correct in his approach. A Bush bashing convention would be fun for the delegates, but it's not what undecided voters need to hear. They need to hear why John Kerry will make America safer and stronger - and that's what I'm expecting to hear a lot of this week.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More BOR Press

By Byron LaMasters

I was quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution here:

Like Kos, Byron LaMasters can participate immediately in politics through his blog. No waiting. Just type and click the mouse.

"Formerly, if you were an activist and you wanted to get involved, how would you get involved?" asked the 22-year-old University of Texas government major who runs the Burnt Orange Report. "You contact the county coordinator who then contacts the state coordinator, then the regional coordinator then the national coordinator. A lot of stuff happens and by the time they get back to you, it's out of date.

"Blogs allow anyone to have a stake in the campaigns. Blogs are basically just online diaries, but politics has found a way to use that technology."


Meanwhile, Karl-Thomas made it into a story in the Austin American Statesman:


"It's another element of your lifestyle," said delegate Karl-Thomas Musselman, 19, a government major at the University of Texas in Austin. "It provides a connection that I think didn't exist just from watching TV or reading editorials in your local paper — it's someone I can relate to."

If no one from the Texas delegation blogged, Musselman said, "I think there would be real dissatisfaction."

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

Credentials!

By Byron LaMasters

Here's a look at what will get me past about six rounds of security and into the Fleet Center tomorrow:



Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ballons!

By Byron LaMasters

They're already up. They'll be coming down on Thursday night.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2004

Protesters

By Byron LaMasters

From both the right and the left, protesters decended upon Boston today:

The Left







And the Right







Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

CNN vs. FOX News

By Byron LaMasters



CNN will be covering the convention live from the floor of the convention - for the first time in convention history. Above, Wolf Blitzer did his show earlier today on the convention floor.

Meanwhile, fair and balanced FOX News is up three floors above the convention floor with the networks who are covering less of the convention than ever despite the fact that 60% of Americans are more enthusiasic about voting than usual right now (compared to 38% in October 2000).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Downtown Boston: 07-25-2004

By Byron LaMasters

Check out my pictures from today, here.

Downtown Boston had thousands of police in the streets today. There were transit police (yes, I got searched twice - once on the orange line the stop before arriving downtown, and once as I got on the train to head back to the hotel. The transit police just came in and asked everyone with a bag to open it up). There were police on horseback, police on nearly every street corner, the U.S. Army, the national guard, helicopter police, motorcycle police and police in cars. The outside of the Fleet Center has the feel of a military base in a war zone. In a way, it makes me feel more secure, but on the other hand I almost feel like I'm living under martial law in a military dictatorship. Despite the security, tall fences and thousands of security personnel, the inside of the Fleet Center had the feel of a political convention that was absent on the outside. I'll be excited to be spending the next four days blogging from inside the convention center.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:36 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Today's Plans

By Byron LaMasters

High Speed Internet Connection.... check
Cell Phone Charging..... check
Shuttle Reservations in an hour to the subway line.... check

To do today:

1) Get Aquainted with the Boston subway system
2) Check out the Fleet Center to make sure I can get credentialed without too much difficulty.
3) Spend some time checking out historical sites in Boston, as I doubt I'll have much opportunity to do so during the week.
4) Check out the protesters "pen" that everyone is talking about.
5) Check on the Texas delegation
6) Blogger Happy Hour at 8 PM.

That's the plans. I will not be bringing my laptop with me today, since I want to get aquainted with the city and the credentialing process before I have to worry about lugging around my laptop. Anyway, I hope to have a chance to post this evening before going to the blogger happy hour, but we'll see how the day goes.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Getting things together

By Byron LaMasters

Errr... things are a little bit rocky here, but I'm managing. The high speed internet connection in my hotel room didn't work last night, so I just switched rooms this morning, and I need to buy a cell phone charger as I left mine at home. Other than that, things are going well so far. I'd like to do some touring of some of the historical sites in Boston today, since I don't anticipate much opportunity to do so later in week.

Anyway, check out my NPR interview, here. It aired yesterday.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Drunken rambling

By Jim Dallas

It's Saturday night/Sunday morning... which means it's time for another round of "Jim's field-sobriety blogging." If this fails to be be at all coherent, I have failed!

So anyhow, I go out and when I get back, I have a bag full of Wendy's food and a Newsweek in my hand. Don't ask how they got there.

So I flip to the "My Turn" essay in Newsweek. Now this is an essay written by a regular Newsweek-reading joe (or jane) like me, and it's usually pretty boring and pointless. I see it, frankly, as a pretention: "Oh look, we're letting people ramble about stuff that nobody gives a darn about so we must be as cool as NPR!"

(Note to self: this post is not pretentious!)

But this week's essay really connects: it's about an intern who likes to make signs. Too many signs. Signs that drive people CRAZY.

Now all summer long I've been complaining at both of my jobs that we have inadequate signage. The reason for this is because many of our customers keep doing dumb things. Which means either (a) our customers are not being properly instructed with signage or (b) they are sooooo dumb that they need someone like me to hold their hand.

Of course, once I realized that my job could be totally eliminated with the creation of adequate signage, I had an epiphany. Lay off the signage trip.

Not like I'm a luddite or anything, but I'm a lot more wooden and stiff than any sign will ever be!

Reminder: We are only days away from BOR Democratic National Convention blogging! All the taste, half the calories!

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 24, 2004

Live from Boston

By Byron LaMasters

I'm live from Boston, and I can tell it already. There's a bunch of Red Sox fans going nuts in the bar next to where I'm eating. I'm grabbing a quick bite at the Logon airport before going to my hotel to check in. I think I'll be going to a young Democrats party in Cambridge tonight, but I'll check into that when I get in to the hotel. Anyway, one of the advantages of a group blog is that I can take a few days away from writing if you feel like your in a rut - or if you know that you're about to spend the next six days blogging constantly, as is the case here. Regardless, I'm back in my blogging mood, and I wrote this in the airplane today:


You would think that DFW would be the easy part of my trip considering the security and commotion it brings about in Boston this week. Yet, I managed to have something of a minor adventure in Dallas earlier today. My Delta flight with an hour layover was overbooked, but they could book me on a direct flight to Boston on American leaving an hour and a half later. They asked me if I would be interested, and I said sure - as long as my bag gets there. I'm currently somewhere above Tennessee, and there is an open middle seat (I'm by the window), so I'm considering myself lucky so far, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed about the luggage. So, needless to say, I had some time to spare in the airport, and I made good use of it.

I'm an outgoing person by nature. I got it from my mother. She could find herself stranded on a desert island for a day with five strangers and by the end of the day she would have five new best friends. On the other hand, my father would be more than happy stranded on a desert island by himself with a remote control and a good book. I take after my mom. So, on that note, I talked to two fascinating women at the DFW airport as I awaited my flight. It troubles me that I forgot their names, but I'll surely remember the conversations.

First, was this African-American woman - probably late 20s or early 30s who was an airline security screener. I met her on the shuttle bus from terminal E - where my Delta flight was - to terminal A - where my American Flight to Boston departed. We were the only two passengers on the bus, and the driver wasn't too talkative, so I asked her - since she was in her security uniform - which exit to take for gate A10. She told me when to exit, and then after hearing that she was a security screener, I asked her why she was taking the shuttle from E to A. Why? She has to park way out near the entrance to the airport (and those of you unfamiliar with the DFW airport - it's huge). Not only that, but she has to pay $30 a month out of her own pocketbook to park there. Then she has to take one shuttle into the actual airport, then another to get to her terminal. Was she bitter about having to go to the trouble? No. She seemed to be happy with her job, and someone who was genuinely motivated to perform the important job on the front lines of national security. But does she deserve to pay $30 a month to do her job, only to take two shuttles to get there? She continued to tell me that most of the companies - the fast food joints, the news stands, the restaurants, etc. in the airport pay for close parking for their employees - so that they can park nearby to where they work. Yet, the federal government does not. That means that the guy at Au bon pan who made my chicken Caesar wrap for lunch probably has his parking paid for, yet the woman who checks to make sure that I'm not a terrorist does not. Someone needs to get with the program. If we're serious about airport security in America, we need to treat airport screeners as professionals. That means professional training, professional service, and professional pay. Treating airport screeners like professionals means not forcing them to pay $30 to park far away only to take two shuttles to do their job keeping America safe. They deserve better. Even so, the woman was friendly, and had a smile on her face. For her, it was just another day at work keeping America's airplanes safe from terror.

While I was waiting to board my airplane, I somewhat awkwardly spurred up a conversation with a young woman - I doubt she was any older than I - who was in a US Army uniform. I should force myself to do it more often. There was a young Hispanic guy - probably also about my age in front of me at the check in casual civilian clothes, but with a US Army bag. He was alone, as was I, so I thought of a way to spring up a conversation. Nothing came to me, so I just minded my own business. However, at the gate, I had just finished my chicken Caesar wrap, and I had another 15 minutes before my flight - not enough time to make it worth buying a wireless internet pass to log in and check my email, but enough time to spark a conversation. So I approached a very tired young woman in a US Army uniform, and I'm glad I did. I asked her if she was going to Boston. No, she was going on the following flight to Minnesota for two weeks of R&R. She had just come from Iraq, and had spent the last twenty hours in airports. I told her my story. I'm covering the Democratic convention in Boston for my website. And most importantly, while I opposed the war, I thanked her for her service. I'm just as proud today - the summer of 2004 - than I was in the winter and spring of last year that I opposed the war in Iraq. Having said that, its so important, especially for those of us who opposed the war in Iraq from the beginng to go out of our way to say thank you. It's so chilling to me to see people younger than myself die in Iraq. It's quite jarring. I just turned 22, and I turn the television on and see 19 year olds American kids die. It makes me feel so old. We all owe a debt of gratitude to our men and women in the armed forces, and its important on occasion to say thank you for their effort. That, more than anything is what I'll remember from today. And it made me feel good about our country and the people that fight for it. I'll remember to thank our troops more often. Not by writing about it on my blog, or praying about it at the kitchen table, or singing about it before the ballgame - but actually by going up to a service member and saying “thank you“. I'm sure they hear it all the time, but I know that serving in Iraq, having to kill another human being, seeing friends die or become disfigured - it all surely takes away part of your humanity. And it is my hope that the gratitude of millions of Americans will help restore with our troops and our veterans that sense of humanity. The conversation ended on a bright note as well. After hearing I was a Democrat, she told me her father was a Democratic State Senator in Minnesota, so she grew up in a political family. I was also envious to hear that she had met Paul Wellstone before he died - and she was quite a fan. My last question was what one thing would you like to see the U.S. government do to help the situation over in Iraq? The answer: Elect John Kerry president. Amen to that.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:19 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Odd

By Jim Dallas

A DailyKos user points out that President Bush's paychecks were getting mailed to an address on Westheimer in Houston during his national guard days.

Anybody from Houston know more?

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:21 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 23, 2004

Money Raised in Legislative Races

By Andrew Dobbs

I've been meaning to do this for a few days now and before we get into the Convention-gasm that will follow for the next week I figured we'd better post these numbers. I picked 11 competitive or interesting races that we've been keeping up with around these parts to compare how the Democrats and Republicans are doing in their semiannual campaign finance reports. For a few there were no cash on hand numbers and Republican Ray Allen's COH number was in parantheses, the only one like that, and I don't know if that means he's that much in the hole or what. Reporting here in Texas can be a little lazy but here are the numbers thus far:

Jack Stick (R-Incumbent)
$121,449.84 Raised
$50,917.57 Spent
$101,689.49 Cash on Hand

vs.

Mark Strama (D-Challenger)
$225,826.49 Raised
$43,317.58 Spent
$188,499.34 Cash on Hand

Alan Askew (R-Challenger)
$15,455.61 Raised
($70,000 Loan)
$23,196.15 Spent
$26,842.36 Cash on Hand

vs.

Patrick Rose (D-Incumbent)
$343,695.31 Raised
$58,301.83 Spent
$504,768.37 Cash on Hand

Talmadge Heflin (R-Incumbent)
$40,950.00 Raised
$75,046.84 Spent
$106,034.00 Cash on Hand

vs.

Hubert Vo (D-Challenger)
$41,996.30 Raised
$60,141.64 Spent
$58,863.70 Cash on Hand

Todd Baxter (R-Incumbent)
$79,275.00 Raised
$10,252.52 Spent
$118,141.35 Cash on Hand

vs.

Kelly White (D-Challenger
$195,298.04 Raised
$60,655.02 Spent
Cash on Hand Not Available

Roy Blake, Jr. (R-Open Seat)
$27,290 Raised
$26,519.72 Spent
$13,679.49 Cash on Hand

vs.

Robin Moore (D-Open Seat)
$14,924.00 Raised
$8,781.62 Spent
$14,415.23 Cash on Hand

Ken Mercer (R-Incumben)
$91,793.89 Raised
$35,561.71 Spent
$71,059.61 Cash on Hand

vs.

David Leibowitz (D-Challenger)
$12,387.10 Raised
($71,347.15 Loan)
$84,653.37 Spent
"Zero" Cash on Hand Reported

Charles "Doc" Anderson (R-Challenger)
$43,250.69 Raised
$20,346.66 Spent
$20,957.94 Cash on Hand

vs.

John Mabry (D-Incumbent)
$79,772.31 Raised
$8,202.74 Spent
$87,171.77 Cash on Hand

Martha Wong (R-Incumbent)
$109,957.00 Raised
$11,838.62 Spent
$148,214 Cash on Hand

vs.

Jim Dougherty (D-Challenger)
$35,875.30 Raised
$19,336.05 Spent
$25,431.24 Cash on Hand

Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton (R-Incumbent)
$24,235.00 Raised
$15,803.84 Spent
Cash on Hand Not Available

vs.

Rex Peveto (D-Challenger)
$2,100 Raised
$2,522.13 Spent
$1,525.16 Cash on Hand

Ray Allen (R-Incumbent)
$80,595.63 Raised
($7,250 Loan)
$41,429.47 Spent
[$47,438.50] Cash on Hand (Don't know the significance of the brackets)

Jim Pitts (R-Incumbent)
$12,188.33 Raised
$24,740.20 Spent
$227,879.51 Cash on Hand

vs.

James "Jake" Gilbreath (D-Challenger)
$2,906.36 Raised
$2,686.53 Spent
Cash on Hand Not Available

The most shocking thing about these numbers is the fact that Democrats outraised $1,012,581.38 to the Republicans $646,440.99 in these 10 races- more than 1 and a half times more. Of course, if this is anything like 2002 the shady corporate cash will pour into the GOP races late in the cycle and off the books so don't get your hopes up.

The most promising signs are in Rose's race where he has a shocking $504,768.37 though his opponent is a multi-millionaire and is likely to start spending his cash soon. Strama's almost 2-1 advantage over Stick is exciting and White's greater than 2-1 advantage over Baxter suggests that Austin could be looking at an almost all Democratic (minus the unopposed Terry Keel) delegation. Mabry is looking good and so is Vo, though one would like to see a little more coin in both their pockets.

Disappointing signs are showing with Dougherty, Leibowitz, Peveto and Gilbreath. I never thought Gilbreath would win- I just hope he does better than expected. But raising only 3 grand in 6 months is pretty sad- especially when your opponent has almost a quarter of a million bucks in the bank. Leibowitz ought to have the easiest job of any Democrat- his opponent won in a fluke in 2002 and is one of the few Republicans in a solid Democratic distrct anywhere in the state. Still, he seems to be depending on loans (probably from himself) over fundraising and is burning it off fast. Dougherty's 6-1 disadvantage is sobering but one hopes he can start turning the corner on that one.

Over all things look very verygood. Let's keep it going and drop some coin in their buckets. Look to the left hand side of the page and you can find contribute links for most of our side.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 06:12 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Heading Out

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Ok, this is my last post from Austin Texas before I end up in the Northeast. I'll catch up with you from there by reporting on the National Convention as well as Democracy Fest (Dean Fest) this weekend. So begins the tag team coverage here at BOR. And of course, I am crossposting everything here and at Musselman for America.

I also just got finished compiling my schedule of events (which I'll try to get posted and linked over the weekend before it gets firmed up Sunday) and the Media list that has been contacting me over the past couple weeks. In no particular order and with the knowledge that things are still fluid and the fact that these are not links to anything other than main website pages...

1. Public Radio Exchange: Boston for KUT Campus Radio 3 minute "Delegate Diaries"

2. Youth Radio

3. MediaNation: Boston Globe Special!

4. Houston Chronicle: Full Profile (with photoshoot)

5. Dallas Morning News: Profile (One of five, possible pic)

6. Waco Tribune-Herald

7. Associated Press: General

8. Associated Press: Blogging Story

9. ABC News Nightline: Pending

10. CNN (cable): Possible Delegate Profile in Boston

11. NOS (Dutch Radio and Television): May Follow at Convention

12. BBC News Online

13. OFD-Blog

14. USDems.org Book: Education Chapter Intro

15. Young Author Scott Goldstein's new book: Entry/Chapter


And don't forget...

16. Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post has run a home-town article

17. Daily Texan article online

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 07:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Books for Boston

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I just bought about $15 worth of books online on Amazon for the "Campaign for Literacy- Books for Boston Project" for Boston Public Schools. It's on of the mailings that came with all the Convention Invitations and me, being me, could not turn down a chance to do some 'service above self'. So I bought them The Scarlet Letter and The Giver. Yep, the book I can't stand the most and one that I love the best. I figure their needs before my tastes.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 07:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One Party I'm Not Attending

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I saw this earlier today over on dKos about Margaret Cho getting 'disinvited' from the Huge Ass Unity Party for the near dozen GLBT groups sponsoring it. I agree that the Dems in charge of this one totally wussed out. If the Democratic Higher-ups are going to put up with Dick F***ing Cheney and "Democrats are Girlie Men" Arnold, and then wilt away when when the Republicans attack outspoken Whoopi or Cho, I will not stand by.

Granted there is not much I can do about it, but as a symbolic act I for one will not be attending the "Unity" party and encourage others not to go as well (meaning you Byron). By taking the Cho out of the event, it's not much more than a glorified, headliner-less, overly expensive, drinking, hook-up event with a bunch of older delegates. There is no need to go to Boston to do that. I'd rather enjoy the rest that Boston has to offer and help the local economy elsewhere.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 05:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2004

Strama Speakers

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

The Mark Strama for State Representative Campaign Academy is now in it's second session and there is a new line-up of speakers that will be down at the campaign headquarters.

7/26 Mon: Andrea Marsh, ACLU Lawyer @ 12:30

7/27 Tues: Jim Harrington @ 13:30

7/27 Wed: John Sharp, former Comptroller @ 12:30

7/28 Thurs: Paul Steckler, made Vote for Me & Last Man Standing @ 12:30

7/29 Fri: Jackie Goodman, Austin Mayor Pro Tempore @ 12:30

8/2 Mon: Charlie Gonzalez, US Congressman @ noon
8/2 Mon: Bob Krueger, former US Senator @ 2pm
8/3 Tues: Robyn Emerson, Community Leader @ 12:30
8/3 Tues: Cat Callen, Mayor of Pflugerville @ 2pm
8/4 Wed: Glenn Smith, Sanchez for Gov Campaign Manager @ 12:30
8/4 Wed: Mike Davis, Stick's GOP Primary Challenger @ 2pm
8/5 or 8/6: Kirk Watson, former Austin Mayor

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 11:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The 98% Solution?

By Jim Dallas

Dr. Wang at Princeton says Kerry's chance of winning is 98 percent.

I have in mind a few ideas on how to improve this analysis (of course, I'm not a doctor). What Dr. Wang is doing here is pretty reasonable - use the standard error of the mean to estimate the likelihood of a Kerry victory in a state using recent polling, and then multiply.

Also, I'm not sure I would consider state poll "wins" to be independent events, although it's probably easier to just assume that they are. One reason I think that is this: if you have a set of pollsters, they're going to have some kind of bias, and that bias may (in the aggregate) favor one candidate over the other consistently. Wang makes no adjustments for this, which is for the best given the paucity of data to start from. But it makes me wonder.

It seems to me that it might be better also to simply pool samples instead of averaging sample means (that is, instead of averaging results of different polls, add up the Rs). Of course, in practice, this is harder because some polls quote Registered Voters and some polls quote Likely Voters. And some polls simply don't quote N at all.

Also, instead of using "the last six polls" I'd just use polls from the last four weeks, and if there aren't (m)any recent polls, well, sorry. The problem with using x number of polls is that in some states, you'll get 6 polls a week, and in others there've only been 6 polls in the last year. So it's really scattershot.

Oh well, perhaps I want too much. But if I have some free time tonight or tomorrow, I'll try to apply my ideas (also, a dailykos poster suggested doing monte carlo simulations instead of running all permutations, which is probably more MS Excel friendly (117,000 permutations = bad mojo). Of course, if anyone wants to buy me a copy of MatLab...).

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 04:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Looking to 2006

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

As far as Democratic Politics in Texas goes, early is never early enough to start your rumors about running for office. So with that, I provide you the following 'preview' of who is seriously looking at 2006.

For Governor, Roy Spence (the S in GSD&M)

Robin Rather, Dan Rather's daughter, a leading environmentalist, and a likely candidate for Austin Mayor in 2006.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 03:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

American Made Contest

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

The DNC is having their homemade video competition online here called the American Made Convention. There are 10 selected and you can watch them to choose your favorite to show at the Convention.

There are some really creative ideas and my favorite two are "America's Party" and "New Direction". So go see them and vote for the best.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Texans to skip convention

By Jim Dallas

Martin Frost, Chet Edwards, Nick Lampson, and Max Sandlin will not be present in Boston, according to the AP. They'll be campaigning in their re-mapped districts.

Perhaps more strangely, Lloyd Doggett and Solomon Ortiz will also not be going. Apparently Doggett will be working the district, just to be safe, and Ortiz will be smoozing with businessmen (ahem).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:11 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Convention Speakers

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

The DNC has released the latest and what hopes to be (more or less) final line-up of speakers for the Democratic National Convention. Inlcuded are all 10 candidates from the Democratic Primay who will appear on the following days...

Tuesday
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Carol Moseley-Braun

Wednesday
John Edwards (as VP)
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Al Sharpton

Thursday
Wesley Clark
John Kerry (as Pres.)
Joe Lieberman

In addition, I have to say that the week's speakers excite me because of the following people (who I have **). I'm glad that our star power is our base this year, and not the charade the Republicans are having at their National Convention.

Monday, July 26
The Kerry-Edwards Plan for America's Future

David Alston, Vietnam Swift Boat Crewmate of John Kerry
Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin
****Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States
****Bill Clinton, Former President of the United States
****Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator from New York
****Al Gore, Former Vice-President of the United States
Steny Hoyer, U.S. Representative from Maryland, Democratic Whip
Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the Democratic Party
Kendrick Meek, U.S. Representative from Florida
Robert Menendez, U.S. Representative from New Jersey
Thomas Menino, Mayor of Boston
*Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senator from Maryland (joined by all Women Senators)
Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, U.S. Representative from Ohio
*Jim Turner, U.S. Representative from Texas (we got someone!)

Tuesday, July 27
A Lifetime of Strength & Service

*Tom Daschle, U.S. Senator from South Dakota, Democratic Leader
*****Howard Dean, Former Governor of Vermont, 2004 Presidential Candidate
Richard Durbin, U.S. Senator from Illinois
James Forbes, Senior Minister at Riverside Church, New York City
*Richard Gephardt, U.S. Representative from Missouri, 2004 Presidential Candidate
Chris Heinz, Stepson of John Kerry
*Teresa Heinz Kerry, Wife of John Kerry
Mike Honda, U.S. Representative from California
*Ted Kennedy, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
Jim Langevin, U.S. Representative from Rhode Island
**Carol Moseley-Braun, Former U.S. Senator from Illinois, 2004 Presidential Candidate
**Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona
****Barack Obama, State Senator from Illinois, U.S. Senate Candidate
*Ron Reagan, Son of former President Ronald Reagan
Christie Vilsack, First Lady of Iowa
*Ilana Wexler, 13-Year-Old Founder of Kids for Kerry


Wednesday, July 28
A Stronger More Secure America

Steve Brozak, Ret. Lt. Col., USMC, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey
Elijah Cummings, U.S. Representative from Maryland
Cate Edwards, Daughter of John Edwards
Elizabeth Edwards, Wife of John Edwards
***John Edwards, Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee
Bob Graham, U.S. Senator from Florida, 2004 Presidential Candidate
*Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan
Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Representative from Ohio, 2004 Presidential Candidate
Greg Meeks, U.S. Representative from New York
Martin O’Malley, Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland
Harry Reid, U.S. Senator from Nevada
*Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania
**Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico
Al Sharpton, 2004 Presidential Candidate


Thursday, July 29
Stronger at Home, Respected in the World

***Madeline Albright, Former Secretary of State
*Joe Biden, U.S. Senator from Delaware
*Wesley Clark, Four Star General, 2004 Presidential Candidate
*Max Cleland, Former U.S. Senator from Georgia
James Clyburn, U.S. Representative from South Carolina
Alexandra Kerry, Daughter of John Kerry
***John Kerry, 2004 Democratic Presidential Nominee
Vanessa Kerry, Daughter of John Kerry
Joe Lieberman, U.S. Senator from Connecticut, 2004 Presidential Candidate
Ed Markey, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
Juanita Millender-McDonald, U.S. Representative from California
Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Representative from the District of Columbia
*Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Representative from California, Democratic Leader
Jim Rassman, Green Beret rescued by John Kerry in Vietnam
Louise Slaughter, U.S. Representative from New York (joined by Congressional Women)
John Sweeney, President of AFL-CIO
Mark Warner, Governor of Virginia

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Perry is a Whore

By Andrew Dobbs

(A cross post from Yellow Dog Blog, the official Texas Democratic Party blog. I've revised it for the more casual tone of BOR)

Fucked up story out of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this morning.

Perry got donations ahead of proposal
BY R.A. Dyer

AUSTIN - Horse racing interests contributed $232,800 to Gov. Rick Perry two months before he floated an idea that could have meant millions of dollars to the industry, according to an analysis by a public interest group.

The donations came during a single day: Feb. 11. Perry received 67 separate contributions from veterinarians, horse breeders, track owners and others with horse racing interests, according to the Austin-based Texans for Public Justice.

As part of the special legislative session Perry called in April, the Republican governor proposed adding thousands of slot machines at Texas racetracks. (...)

The Texans for Public Justice analysis expands upon the organization's earlier review of Perry contributions during the first six months of 2004. The first review indicated Perry received more than $100,000 from gambling interests on Feb. 11, but further review found twice that amount coming from the racing industry.

Perry's total contributions on Feb. 11 were $307,745, with 76 percent coming from donors with ties to the horse racing industry, Texans for Public Justice reported. The contributions that day represent more than three times what Perry raised during any other day between January and June, according to the group.

McDonald noted that the governor accepted those contributions just days before he traveled to the Bahamas -- ostensibly to discuss his agenda for a special session. Had it passed, the governor's agenda would have meant millions of dollars to Texas horse racing interests, McDonald said.

So let's lay the scene here- Rick Perry recieves a chunk of almost $300,000 in a single day from gambling interests and a few days later goes off on a taxpayer subsidized trip to the Bahamas where he was to discuss school finance. While on that trip his plan he develops a plan that wouldn't really increase education funding very much, but it would make millions for gambling interests. It isn't hard to connect the dots here.

Perry is a whore- willing to do whatever to whomever for the right price. He got $300,000 and he lets the gambling interests be prioritized above kids. He got $1,000,000 and let homeowners' insurance rates stay high in spite of suffering families across the state. He get's donations from various other interests and he starts to prioritize their low tax rates above the needs of poor kids. He's a dirtbag and he deserves to be kicked out of office in 2006.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 09:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 21, 2004

Support the Other Karl with a K

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I read Andrew's post earlier today on supporting a good friend of ours, Karl who was a blogger and great Deaniac that I got to know this past year. Here is photographic proof taken at Dean's November 18 Speech in Houston.

So after you have finished supporting him, think about helping this Karl with a K (and a hypen and a T!) who is going to Boston as a delegate and blogger for the Burnt Orange Report. You readers are in for a real treat with half of our 'staff' here being in Boston so we'd be really thankful if you support us. Byron did here.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 03:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Feds Cut Off Funds for Migrant Workers' Kids

By Andrew Dobbs

To crib (and paraphrase) an old joke from Saturday Night Live, Bush's score so far is conservative= 1,754 compassionate= 0. From the Associated Press:

Funding is being eliminated for a federal program that pays the children of migrant workers across the country to stay in school instead of working in fields.

The Department of Labor program pays some young people minimum wage to stay in school while migrating with their parents, who travel across the country looking for seasonal farm work.

Coordinators in 31 states and Puerto Rico were told there was no money to operate the program this year, leaving them to find alternate sources, petition Congress or drop the program. (...)

Repeated telephone messages left this week for Labor Department officials weren't returned.

The Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Youth Program is designed to combat extraordinarily high dropout rates among seasonal migrant youth workers and the children of adult seasonal migrant workers. It also attempts to end cyclical poverty and low socio-economic levels plaguing that population. (...)

Dropout rates among migrant youths are estimated at 60 percent, according to the federal Office of Migrant Education in the U.S. Department of Education. (...)

Despite the stipends, most of the young people still work because their families need supplemental income. The average income of an adult farm worker is less than $10,000 a year.

Nationally, more than 2,500 youth ages 14 to 21 participated in the program last year. Many came from California, Texas and Florida.

The program also provides job placement, tutoring, mentoring, vocational training and career counseling services. It also funds child care and health care.

Four years ago, programs across the country were dividing a healthy $10 million a year. This year, all funding was eliminated and coordinators were told to use money from last year until it dries up.

God, I have trouble wrapping my mind around Republican policy. This is a program which is successful at keeping poor kids in school so they can pull themselves out of staggering poverty. It provides necessary services to people who couldn't otherwise afford it. It serves only to help people who are among the poorest yet also most important workers in our society. And they want to get rid of it.

So much for being the "education president." Bush's administration has cut loose the poorest of the poor of our young people from the hope of a decent education. Now these kids have to choose between letting their families starve to death or dropping out. Which do you think they'll choose?

Great job, George. Quietly killed off a successful program in the name of promoting ignorance and poverty. Jesus I hate this president.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 12:12 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Lance Kicks Alpe d'Huez's Ass!

By Andrew Dobbs

Austin represents, baby! Alpe d'Huez is the toughest route in all of the Tour de France- 9.6 miles of hairpin turns, most named for fallen riders of the past. It rises sharply from the ground, the grade averaging almost 10%. For the first time this year the Tour made the trail an individual time trial each of the riders leaving the post one at a time, Armstrong (the yellow jersey holder) left last. His nearest opponent, Italian Ivan Basso left 2 minutes before him and Armstrong went so fast he passed him up and more than doubled his previous lead, all but locking up a record 6th victory.

For those of you not in Austin its hard to understand the love this town has for its favorite son. Every business has a "Go Lance" sign, the buses run "Go Lance" on their marquees. Lance Armstrong owns this town so it is exciting to see him doing so well.

Congrats Lance, here's to 6th in a row!

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 11:24 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 20, 2004

I'm Getting Old

By Byron LaMasters

13 - You're a teenager. You're important. Finally, people listen to you. Finally, they take you seriously. You are somebody.

15 - Drivers Permit. You can drive with mommy and daddy. You can go places. You can drive. You feel a sense of liberation. Finally.

16 - No more mommy and daddy. You have a drivers license. You can see the city. You can do whatever you want, if you can get away with it. You are free, really.

17 - Age of consent. You can f*ck (what's that, Dick Cheney?) whoever you want. Well sorta.

18 - You can vote and you can smoke. I could care less about smoking, but I'm still just as proud today as I was in November of 2000 that the first vote that I ever cast at 18 was for Al Gore for President. I was proud of that vote when I cast it, I'm proud of it today, and I'll be proud of it the day I die.

20 - No longer a teen. Now you really get taken seriously. Sort of.

21 - Officially. You are an adult. You can drink (legally). A year ago I had a blast down in Austin with my friends. Good times. Fun times. Now what?

Today, I turned 22. I'm officially old. What else is there to look forward to? Getting older? I love being 22, I'm happy, but there's nothing left agewise to look forward to. Just getting older. I guess I'll just take my grandfather's advice. Getting older is a heck of a lot better than the alternative. Amen to that.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:56 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Shameless Plug

By Byron LaMasters

More from me in the news regarding the convention.

The Miami Herald:


Despite its embrace of the electronic entrepreneurs, the Democratic Party appears cognizant of the risk of opening the door to the unpredictable blogosphere. Though there is no shortage of blogs that lean to the right, most of those credentialed for Boston fall to the center, if not to the left.

Party organizers said they were overwhelmed with about 200 applications. The criteria for inclusion: professionalism of the site, originality and readership.

Those chosen include blogs like Burnt Orange Report, run by Byron LaMasters, a University of Texas student, who suggests on his site that he might have made the cut because ``I'm from [President] Bush's home state, and I've had to hear his crap much longer than most Americans.''


It's funny what people decide to publish from an interview. The rest of the interview was pretty subdued, but I guess they were looking for some fiery rhetoric, and I gave them a little.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Texas Tuesdays: Jim Dougherty for State Rep.

By Byron LaMasters

Jim Dougherty is running for state representative against Martha Wong in Houston. Wong defeated longtime progressive Democrat Debra Danburg in 2002 after redistricting significantly changed the district. Dougherty is one of the two top Democratic pickup opportunities in Houston, so check out todays posts:

Interview with Jim Dougherty

Overview of the race

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Send Carl With a K to the National Convention!

By Andrew Dobbs

I don't know if any of you were ever a fan of the blog Carl with a K, but I know I was and I had the incredible fortune of living with Karl Frisch in Vermont last summer. Karl is easily the funniest person I have ever met (get him to do his Jesse Jackson impression if you ever meet him- perfect!) and he has a harrowing story. Karl started out as a Republican and was in the closet about his sexuality. After working for Lamar Alexander and John McCain, he came out and was mistreated by his coworkers and superiors. He quickly realized that the GOP wasn't for him so he became a Democrat and started all over again, working his way up to the staff of Dean For America.

Now he wants to go to the Boston convention and he can't afford it at this time so he is participating in a contest from the DNC where the top 5 fundraisers get to go to the convention. Right now he's doing well but he still needs our help. Please go to his contribution page, http://makers.democraticaction.org/page/mm/carlwithak and drop some coin in his bucket. Be sure to add .36 (for 1836, the year of the Texas Revolution) so he'll know his Texas friends are responsible.

Help Karl get $2 Ks in the next few days!

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 11:13 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 19, 2004

Official Democratic Donkey

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

His name is Swifty and he's from Georgia...

People call him Swifty. To the Democrats, he’s the official donkey delegate of their 2004 national convention. Most of the year, he lives in the foothills of Lookout Mountain in the northwest corner of rural Georgia. But the purebred donkey is packing it up for the 942-mile haul to New England to help win over undecided voters for his party’s man, John Kerry.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 06:32 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Alert for UT Students

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Dear UT Students -

This message is to alert you to an unknown man claiming to be
affiliated with the UT Department of Psychology who is making hoax
telephone calls to people affiliated with the UT community.  The
caller typically claims to be working on a publication with a faculty
member in the Department of Psychology and asks the person being
called if they would like to participate in an over-the-phone survey
for $300 (or more).  He proceeds to ask questions around general
themes of "the dark side of the mind," "IQ and the brain,"
"controlling and playing with people's mind," "power,"
"competitiveness," etc.  He often calls females late in the evening
and spends hours questioning his target. Eventually, he hangs up.

Although the person making these phone calls may initially sound
convincing, THIS PERSON IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF
PSYCHOLOGY AT UT-AUSTIN.  The Psychology Department and other
departments on campus do conduct studies that involve phone surveys.
These studies have been approved by the UT human research ethics
committee (the IRB), and the caller conducting the survey should
always call at a reasonable time of day and be able to provide the
investigators' names and telephone numbers.  If you have any
questions about the legitimacy of a survey, you should first take
this information and call the numbers provided to verify that the
survey is indeed valid.

For obvious reasons, we are very concerned about the reports of this
bogus survey and are working with the UTPD on this matter.  If you or
someone you know has received one of these phone calls, please
contact me or the Department of Psychology.  If you or someone you
know receives one of these phone calls in the future, do not feel
compelled to stay on the telephone and please report the incident.
If the call is made to a UT phone line, the Call Trace *57 security
feature will capture the Caller ID information even if a caller has
blocked the display (more details below).

Jennifer M. Loving, M.S.
Research Coordinator, Department of Psychology
Phone: 512.232.4269
Email: 301research@psy.utexas.edu

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Intention to Vote

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Today in my inbox, I got an e-mail from our National Delegate Contact person for Texas asking for our intention of who we are going to cast our nominating vote for.

The official delegate roll call at the Democratic National Convention will begin at 4:30 pm on Wednesday, July 28.  As a delegate, this will be your opportunity to put your name on the official roll call to nominate John Kerry as the Democratic candidate for President of the United States.

Please take a moment to email me with your intended vote:

Delegation State:
Delegate Name:
Name of the Democratic nominee for President who I plan to vote for:

I know it's not the final momment yet where it is sealed in stone, but I responded.

Texas
Karl-Thomas Musselman
John F. Kerry

This Deaniac is for Kerry. It's almost complete.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 03:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why Americans Don't Take Third Parties Seriously

By Byron LaMasters

This is who the Libertarian Party nominated for President this year:

The nomination process was over. LP delegates had chosen as their standard-bearer a man who had willfully refused to file his federal tax return for years, refused to get a driver's license but continued to drive his car despite having been ticketed so many times that he couldn't recall the exact number, proposed to blow up the United Nations building, wanted to force criminals in prisons to stay in bed until their muscles atrophied, and planned to force Congress to take a "special version" of his class on the Constitution. And the overwhelming majority of delegates didn't know any of this about their nominee.

Say what you want about Republicans or Democrats, but unless third parties nominate serious candidates (Nader and Michael Badnarik - 2004 LP nominee don't count), then no one will take them seriously.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:27 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Proposed 2004 DNC Platform

By Byron LaMasters

Here it is! (PDF file).

I just had it forwarded to me, so I haven't had much chance to read it yet, but this is the working platform approved on July 10th in Hollywood. Florida. I watched some of it on C-SPAN. From the looks of it, I'd be surprised to see any major challenges, but you never know.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The beginning of the end of the end of history

By Jim Dallas

Brad Delong picks up on Francis Fukayama's un-endorsement.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Stupidest Column Ever

By Byron LaMasters

George W. Bush will win. Here's why. 1) John Kerry just can't win. Duh! 2) Edwards charm won't do it! 3) John Kerry just can't beat Bush... just beause he's John Kerry! 4) Dick Cheney's use of the F-word still makes him a better VP than Edwards. 5) Even with the dumb, stupid neocon influence in the Bush White House -- Bush will beat Kerry. 6) Even though Donald Rumsfeld is an idiot, he's better than what Kerry would offer. 7) Kerry's 'Nam talk is boring, so Bush will win. 8) Even though Bush thinks he's God, and is obsessed with gay people and abortion, he'll still win. 9) Republicans have worked hard, so they will win! Of course! 10) The left hasn't done anything relevent since JFK, so it won't ever again. 11) Kerry is too boring to lead any political movement, and he's tired. 12) Democrats can't win because we're not tough enough.

Finally.... the point. Only George W. Bush can beat George W. Bush. True, re-elections are about incumbents, but still, this Houston Chronicle column by C.P. Houston has to be among the dumbest columns I've ever read.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Boston Info... And Howard Dean Appears

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Some great info for those headed to Boston next week...

Pack your suitcase inside a bigger suitcase so that you'll have an extra piece of luggage to bring home all your stuff. Every day you'll get all kinds of stuff from books, to bags, to jewelry, to just some plain junk LOL.. You'll also leave the convention hall every night with a armload of signs and other stuff you'll want to give to friends or auction off at some fundraiser back home at a Party Fundraiser... On Friday, you'll actually have collected a suitcase full of stuff so prepare to get it home.

You'll get more invitations that ask for RSVP's for free parties and lunches.. Send them back even if you think you might not be able to go. It might turn out to be the luncheon where Kerry or some other rock star is going to be that you want to see, and if you didn't RSVP, it'll be full. Also, it may be a free lunch between two things you want to do in nearby hotels. (Save the actual invites... they are often the "ticket" to get in.)

And for those who asked, Howard Dean has accepted our invitation to be at one of our delegation breakfasts!

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hope in the Hill Country

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

A few weeks back, in the last round of John Kerry House Parties, I was invited to, but could not make it to a Kerry House Party in Bandera Country.

Bandera County is one of those counties that votes Republican. A lot. As in... In this spring's primaries, there were 279 Democrats that showed up and 3,360 Republicans. (8%-92%) In the 2002 general election, Marty Akins got a whopping 15% against Strayhorn for Comptroller.

But I just got a report back from one of the organizers with the following, which reminded me of our 40 person, $1,000 house party for Howard Dean in Fredericksburg that my family held last December...

The location was miles and miles from anywhere. We hoped we might get 20 to 30 people, planned for twice that many to be on the safe side, and wound up with 80 or more. Because of Leon Cahan's generosity, I told the Kerry Core people that we would raise $3,000, which is much above the average house party yield. Including a couple phone contributions, we collected over $7,000, which astound us. We had folks there from 13 communities in 5 different counties. It shows me that voters are primed for a regime change in the White House. Good luck to you in Boston.

I am, encouraged, to say the least.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 02:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 17, 2004

On the Road Again...

By Jim Dallas

The "Invade Iran" boomlet coming from the usual uber-hawk suspects and their supporters -- "look ma, no credibility!" -- is starting to rub me the wrong way.

Apparently Mr. Drum is of the same opinion.

Of course, many Iraq skeptics, myself included, were of the opinion that if we were forced (at gun point) to pick a country to invade, it'd have been Iran. But luckily, we're not threatened with that choice.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The LA Times

By Jim Dallas

Kevin Drum often complains about Michael Kinsley losing his touch. I'm beginning to agree.

Fun with the LA Times and WMDs.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 09:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Students for John Kerry

By Byron LaMasters

Part of the deal that I made in order to have my friend's laptop for my current trip to Vancouver, and for next week's trip to cover the Democratic Convention in Boston is that I write up an article for the Students 4 Kerry @ The University of Texas at Austin on why Kerry / Edwards is the best choice for young people in America. I'm the treasurer of the organization, so if you'd like to donate to the organization, you can via paypal using this address: treasurer@ut4kerry.com

Here's what I wrote for the webpage. It's my first draft, so it'll probably be changed a little bit, but check it out and tell me what you think....

Students for John Kerry / John Edwards

We are students at the University of Texas - Austin supporting John Kerry and John Edwards for President and Vice President. The reason is clear. It is absolutely critical that we elect John Kerry and John Edwards in order to have a safer, stronger and more prosperous America for young people.

Kerry / Edwards will make America stronger for young people of today. That means having a strong military, but without the polarizing, jingoistic rhetoric and actions of the Bush administration. A Kerry / Edwards administration will keep us safe from terrorism by using our military wisely, and by not sending our troops to war without a clear defined mission and an exit strategy -- something that the Bush administration failed to do in Iraq. In addition to keeping our military strong, Kerry / Edwards will work to repair the image of America in the world. Instead of working against our allies, Kerry / Edwards will work with our allies on key issues. First, Kerry / Edwards will go back to our allies to ensure that the American burden in Iraq is shared by the world community. This can be done by giving other nations a financial stake in a peaceful Iraq, as opposed to awarding all of the major contracts to American corporations such as Halliburton. Second, Kerry / Edwards will join the world as a partner in important treaties, such as the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. John Kerry believes that an America that is respected in the world, is a stronger America. Unfortunately, George W. Bush has made America less respected in the world by shunning internationalism early in his presidency, then lying to the world community about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As president, John Kerry will only send our troops into harms way after exhausting all peaceful options, and only if American national security is at risk.

Kerry / Edwards have a plan to make a college education affordable for all qualified students. Kerry / Edwards want to repeal the Bush tax cuts for those who make over $200,000 in order to fund initiatives such as the “College Opportunity Tax Credit”. This program would give $4000 per year credits to students from mostly middle income families. Kerry / Edwards also have a "Service for College" plan that would pay for four years of college for students willing to spend two years in service to America after college. Students in this plan would have a wide range of service opportunities after college including teaching in troubled schools, teaching young children to read, helping older students go back to school to earn their degrees, assisting in Homeland Security and helping seniors live independently. Finally, many colleges like the University of Texas have witnessed outrageous tuition increases under the Bush administration. With huge tax cuts and huge deficits, the Bush administration has no money to offer states dealing budget crisis's. Unfortunately, leaders in Texas chose to increase the tuition rates for students as means to balance the budget in Texas. However, John Kerry has a better plan. With the money saved by canceling tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, John Kerry has proposed the “State Tax Relief and Education Fund” -- a program that would give states $25 Billion to stop cutting higher education funds, and raising tuition rates.

Under the Bush administration, more jobs have been lost than under any administration since Herbert Hoover. Many of us are worried about not having a job after we graduate, or that we will be forced to settle for a job for which we are overqualified. John Kerry has a plan to change that. John Kerry has a plan to create ten million job. First, he'll end all tax breaks that have encouraged American companies to move jobs overseas, and give incentives for companies that have outsourced jobs to bring them back to America. Second, John Kerry will use the money from the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans on job-creating, high-tech initiatives that will help America become energy independent, and safer as we become less dependent upon Mid-East oil. This plan will invest in jobs to find new sources of energy, increase fuel efficiency, and develop clean energy like hydrogen based power for our economy. Instead of relying on the failed trickle-down economics theory, Kerry / Edwards have plans that will directly help real people, especially young people just graduating from college find well-paying jobs for which they are qualified.

Four years ago, George W. Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative" and promised to be "a uniter, not a divider". On both promises, George W. Bush has failed. Instead, Bush has governed as a divisive conservative on issue after issue. George W. Bush has divided America from the rest of the world. Bush has divided Americans on the basis of race as the only president in recent history to snub the NAACP, and not speak at their annul convention. George W. Bush has divided Americans by sexual orientation, by proposing a constitutional amendment to the United States constitution to ban gay marriage. George W. Bush has divided Americans by income, giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, but no real help for those without a job or without health insurance. George W. Bush has divided Americans on the one critical issue in which we must be united -- the war on terror. Bush has lied about the premise for the war in Iraq. And unlike Tony Blair, he has refused to take responsibility for his mistakes. He has refused to take out the portions of the Patriot Act that violate our Civil Rights and Civil liberties. Bush has diverted resources from the war against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to go on a misguided adventure in Iraq. He declared victory in Iraq only to see U.S. troops continue to die everyday even as "major combat operations" were complete. The truth is simple. America has a critical choice in 2004. We continue to be led by one of the most arrogant and reckless presidents in American history, or we can chose a new leader who will heal the wounds of the past four years. John Kerry and John Edwards are fully prepared to accept this task.

John Kerry and John Edwards offer America a new team for our future. Both men are ably qualified to serve as president, and their life experiences bring a wealth of promise to America. John Kerry was born in an Army hospital in Colorado, went to school at Yale, then earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three purple hearts as a war hero in Vietnam. He returned home determined to end that war that he saw take so many American lives first hand. In his anti-war activities, John Kerry felt a calling to run for public service, and ran two unsuccessful campaigns for Congress in 1970 and 1972 before being elected to serve Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1982. In 1984, Kerry was elected to serve in the United States Senate where he has served to date. Kerry quickly became a leader on the Senate Foreign relations committee, and has immense experience on matters of foreign policy. Kerry has also been a leader in the U.S. Senate in education issues, health care, children's issues and veterans issues.

John Edwards brings extraordinary life experiences to the ticket as the Vice Presidential candidate. Edwards was born in a small town in South Carolina and grew up in a North Carolina mill town. Edwards worked his way through college and law school and became a successful lawyer fighting for working families wronged by big companies, the insurance industry and corporate negligence. After losing his sixteen year old son in 1996 in a freak car accident, Edwards felt called to public service after seeing first hand the shortness and mortality of life. Edwards defeated an incumbent Republican supported by the race-baiting Jesse Helms political machine in 1998 to win election to the United States Senate. In the U.S. Senate Edwards has served on the Select Committee on Intelligence -- giving Edwards much more foreign policy experience than George W. Bush had when he took office in 2001. John Edwards has fought for ordinary, hard working Americans all his life, and he will bring that approach to the Vice Presidency.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 06:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Bush Whack Music Festival

By Byron LaMasters

If you're in Dallas, come out to the Bush Whack Music Festival! It's at Club Dada in Deep Ellum from 2 PM until Midnight (or whenever) tomorrow (Sunday). There will be six bands, and the proceeds will support the Dallas County Young Democrats. If we make enough money from the event, the DCYD's will hire interns to work on the campaigns of local young Democratic candidates in Dallas County. It's $10 to get in, so come on out, support Democrats and have a fun time.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush = God's Voice

By Byron LaMasters

I saw this on Political Wire and now Pandagon, but this is a bit scary:

"I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job."

-- President Bush, quoted in the Lancaster New Era, during a private meeting with an Amish group.


The belief that one is doing the work of God is one of the signs of someone who believes in the infallibitily of their own work, and of their own decisions. Remember the press conference several months ago where George W. Bush could not recall a single mistake that he had made as president?

In no way do I compare the works of George W. Bush to the following, but the language and rhetoric of justification of one's works by faith in God is strikingly similar:

"I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work." - Adolf Hitler

"I place my trust in God and not in some illegal political tribunal. God
has already told me that this period in history is a part of the
inevitable human process. My sacrifice will be recognized in many years.
That is my hope and my faith."
- Slobodan Milosevic

For more insightful reading, check out the Falwell-Robertson-Bid Laden Quiz.

I could certainly find many more examples given the time. However, this ought to do for now. I know this will bring about certain outrage from some on the right. And in no way am I comparing Hitler and Milosevic to Bush (and allow me to point out that Bush resorted to using images of Adolf Hitler alongside images of Howard Dean and Al Gore while attacking his opponents in a campaign sponsored web ad). George W. Bush's campaign compared the words of Democratic leaders to those of Adolf Hitler. Therefore, if the Bush campaign feels it appropriate to compare the words of Dean and Gore to Hitler, then comparing the words of Bush to those of Hitler and Milosevic must certainly be considered fair political discourse by the Bush campaign. Unless, they're hypocrites, or something like that.

Having said that, I'm not comparing bush to Hitler or Milosevic. Hitler and Milosevic were evil doers.. eh, I mean murderous dictators. Bush, rather, is just a poor president who squandered a huge surplus, and took us to war under false pretenses. Saying that, the rhetoric of leaders who maintain that God speaks through them, or that they are carrying out the work of God is highly similar. And whether it comes from a dictator or a bad president, it is rhetoric that ought to have no place in politics. Let priests, reverends, rabbi's, preachers and clerics tell people how to go about doing God's work. The president of the United States should steer clear of such rhetoric.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:31 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Red or Blue

By Byron LaMasters

Surprise, surprise... I'm in the middle on this one.

Take the Red or Blue test from Slate.

Via Greg's Opinion

Update: I happen to agree with several commenters that found this test to be utterly silly. But, I always find tests interesting for their questions and methodology. Whatever you think of these types of tests, go ahead and take a look at it, and decide for yourself. If you're outraged, do what one commenter did, and email the author of the test your distaste. If you find it interesting, let me know how you scored.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 16, 2004

Friday Texas News Roundup

By Byron LaMasters

Just a quick round-up of Texas political news before I turn off my computer for the afternoon to enjoy Vancouver.

John Edwards is in Texas today. He was in Houston to deliver the keynote at the Texas Democratic Convention last month, and today, he's back:


Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards brought the ticket's "front porch tour" to Houston on Thursday, making his first appearance in the city since he was tapped as John Kerry's running mate.

Edwards, a first-term U.S. senator from North Carolina, arrived Thursday afternoon from a campaign stop in New Orleans.

He and Kerry hope to use the tour to deliver a message of what they call "hometown values," promoting their plans on health care, jobs, middle-class tax relief and education.

Edwards headlined an evening fund-raiser at the Intercontinental Hotel, where he was introduced by City Councilwoman Carol Alvarado.

"It makes me proud to know this is the face of the Democratic Party," Alvarado said. "Tonight we stand here as one with one mission, and that is to bring George W. Bush back to Texas. I'm willing to do my part to bring that shrub back and replant it right in Texas oil."

[...]

Several Texas Republican elected officials chided Edwards for coming here to collect checks, saying he and Kerry are out of touch with Texas values.

"Following in the tradition of Al Gore and Bill Clinton, Senator Edwards only comes to Texas to raise personal injury trial lawyer money," Gov. Rick Perry said.

"Kerry and Edwards may be able to sell a few folks in Massachusetts on their liberal vision for America, but that dog won't hunt in Texas."


I can't argue about the whole raising trial lawyer money in Texas. Nothing wrong with that, and I'm not going to kid myself into thinking that Texas is in play, even under the worse circumstances. On the other hand, the whole "Texas values" comment is funny. If Texas values are going to war under false pretenses, war profiteering for Haliburton, amending the constitution to disriminate against one group of people, cutting health care for children, raising college tuition rates for middle class families, and deficits as far as the eye can see because of irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthy -- I'll take the "liberal Massachusetts" values.

Ok, I'd go ahead and post more, but its a beautiful day here in Vancouver, so check out Off the Kuff for the rest of your Texas news fix. I'm going to head on over to Stanley Park, rent some roller blades and take some pictures.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:50 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Boston Bloggers

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

The following is a list of some of the credentialed bloggers to the Democratic Natinoal Convention originally posted here. In addition, I will be blogging here and at my main site www.MusselmanforAmerica.com

In addition, I have made the following graphic that you are free to use.

• Alan Nelson of command-post.org
Dave Winer of Scripting News
Dave Weinberger
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
NYU's Jay Rosen, who has lengthy essay about the incoherence of modern conventions and the freshness bloggers may bring.
• Markos Moulitsas Zuniga from the Daily Kos
Jerome Armstrong
Aldon Hynes for greaterdemocracy.org
• Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft
• Matt Welch, for his personal blog and Reason's
• Tom Burka for Opinions You Should Have and The American Street, which will also have two Oregon state delegates blogging from the convention, Jenny Greenleaf and "BeckyG."
• Paul McCullum, Will Oemler and Allison Grady for dinnerforamerica.com
OxBlog
• Rick Heller for the Centrist Coalition's blog, Centerfield
Matthew Gross
• Byron LaMasters of BurntOrangeReport.com
• Jessamyn Charity West for Librarian.net
• Dave Pell for electablog.com
• Natasha C. for Pacific Views and King County Democrats blog.
• Jesse Taylor and Ezra Klein of Pandagon.net
• Michael Feldman for Dowbrigade News
• Gordon Joseloff for WestportNow.com
• Christopher Rabb for Afro-Netizen
• Kirk W. Johnson for American Amnesia
• Bill Scher for LiberalOasis
• Brian Reich for campaignwebreview.com
• Stephen Yellin for DailyKos.com and for OurCampaigns.com

Other who may blog from the convention include:
Ana Marie Cox, aka Wonkette
Dave Barry

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 04:31 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Selected Photos for Vancouver

By Byron LaMasters

I had fun today walking around Vancouver making sure that I could successfully take pictures and upload them on to the laptop that I have with me here (and that I'll have with me in Boston). I think we had success. I took about forty pictures today, but here's a few of my favorities:







Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:39 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 15, 2004

Don't Call him Chicken. Or maybe so.

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Here's one for you sociologists and others into weird stories.

Man In Fiji Raised As A Chicken

A man in Suva, Fiji, is being taught to act human after being raised as a chicken. Sunjit Kumar was locked in a chicken coop for several years as a young boy, after his parents died and he was handed over to his grandfather.

He had little contact with humans during that time and picked up the habits of the birds. Kumar escaped from the chicken coop and was taken to a local hospital. But the staff did not know how to treat him, so they confined him. He spent 20 years there, often tied to his bed.

Kumar, who is now 32, finally got a second chance at life when he was discovered by Elizabeth Clayton, a native New Zealander and president of the Suva Rotary Club. Clayton said doctors examined Sunjit and found no mental defects. Professionals agreed that his condition was the result of years of neglect and abuse.

"He had imitated or imprinted with the chicken," Clayton said. "He was perching, he was picking at his food, he was hopping around like a chicken. He'd keep his hands in a chickenlike fashion, and he'd make a noise, which was like the calling of a chicken, which he still has."

Clayton took over Kumar's care and he has reportedly made "remarkable progress," learning to walk and speak like a human.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 05:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

No Dean for VP Floor Fight

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Just saw this article that says the backers of a Dean for VP floor fight at the Convention next week is now not in the plans. I agree. While I was only somewhat interesting in it pre-Edwards, I'm glad it's dead now that he has been chosen. It's time to come together and even this Deaniac is there. Just have Dean speak at the convention, and I think the deal will be finally sealed.

A group of political activists has given up its bid to draft former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as the Democrats' vice presidential candidate. Leaders of a committee of Dean's backers, who had vowed to mount a floor fight to draft Dean at the Democratic National Convention, has decided "to close ranks" behind the party's ticket, said Michael Meurer, committee co-chairman.

"(Dean) definitely is urging all of us to campaign, volunteer, donate and campaign hard for the Kerry-Edwards ticket," Meurer said Tuesday. "And we're going to do that."

The announcement last week by presumptive nominee John Kerry that he had tapped North Carolina Sen. John Edwards as his running mate took a lot of the momentum out of the draft Dean movement.

"I think he's the most appealing choice that Kerry could have made for Dean supporters," Meurer said.

...

"We're going to drop the floor fight and we're going to sponsor a resolution on the floor of the convention to pay tribute to Gov. Dean for his contributions to the party this year and to show support of Dean Democrats for the Kerry-Edwards ticket," Meurer said.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 05:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Arab American Voters Strongly Against Bush

By Byron LaMasters

No surprise here, but as long as we have an Attorney General named John Ashcroft, not too many Arab-Americans will be voting for Bush. Here's the latest polling:

Concern about civil liberties and the war in Iraq (news - web sites) have pushed President Bush (news - web sites)'s already low support among Arab-American voters in key battleground states even lower, a survey showed on Thursday.

In a poll of Arab-American voters in the key states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida only 24 percent said they would vote for Bush, a dip from 30 percent in April, while 51 percent supported Democratic nominee John Kerry (news - web sites).

In the poll, conducted between July 9 and 11, 13 percent supported independent candidate Ralph Nader (news - web sites), who is of Lebanese descent.

[...]

Bush narrowly won the Arab-American vote in 2000, but 69 percent in the latest poll said Bush did not deserve to be re-elected, including 30 percent of those who identified themselves as Republicans.

Although they comprise only about one percent of the national electorate, the 500,000 Arab-Americans expected to vote in these four swing states could make the difference in a close race, especially in Michigan where they make up 5 percent of the overall electorate.


The Arab-American vote in Michigan, in my opinion almost puts the state out of reach for the Bush campaign. As for the other battlegrounds mentioned, a strong Arab-American turnout certainly could tip the scales.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Update on the Martin Frost Campaign

By Byron LaMasters

Here's the latest update from the Martin Frost campaign:

Frost Continues Fundraising and Campaign Successes

Frost Out Raises Sessions in 2nd Quarter; Funds Used to
Establish Field Operation and Educate Voters

DALLAS, TX - Congressman Martin Frost’s re-election campaign in the 32nd
Congressional District continues to build momentum, grass-roots support and
the necessary funds to win what experts are calling “the most competitive in
the nation.”

In the recently completed second quarter (April 1 to June 30), Congressman
Frost has out raised his Republican opponent, Pete Sessions, and is on
schedule to raise his $3 million goal for the general election.

Frost raised a total of $1.2 million during the second quarter. In addition,
he already had $1.2 million cash on hand at the beginning of the quarter,
which amounts to a total of about $2.4 million to date for the general
election.

North Texas Support

Frost, a political moderate with a record of creating jobs and delivering
for North Texas, has enjoyed significant success with in-state Texas
fundraising during the cycle. To date, he has received contributions from
more than 2,100 individuals in Dallas County and during the last quarter,
received more than $700,000 from Texas contributors. This brings the total
amount raised from Texas individuals during the cycle to $1.65 million.
Frost is proud to have a strong base of local business and civic leaders
from North Texas supporting his campaign.

Congressman Frost has already been endorsed by the Dallas Police Association
and the Dallas Firefighters Association. Former Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright was the headliner at a June 13th fundraising luncheon in Dallas for
Frost that was attended by 800 people and raised more than $200,000,
primarily from local donors. Dallas business leader and philanthropist,
Raymond Nasher, also hosted a fundraising reception on June 29th that raised
more than $100,000, primarily from local business executives, and featured
retired General Wesley Clark.


Back to the Basics: Grassroots Campaigning

Because of Congressman Frost’s strategy to win the seat, Frost made a
strategic decision to spend significant money early in 2004. The first step
began in April, by establishing a field operation in the district’s 178
precincts.

Already, the campaign has recruited precinct captains in almost all of the
district’s precincts. Each individual captain conducts phone canvassing and
door-to-door walk programs within their precincts. Also included in the
early money spent, are three district-wide mailings that highlight Frost’s
26 years of fighting to create good jobs, safe neighborhoods and represent
the needs of North Texas in Washington [Links Below]. After all of this
initial investment, the Frost campaign has a cash-on-hand figure of more
than $1.6 million.

The 32nd District is 50% minority (36% Hispanic, 8% Black and 6% Asian), and
almost the same number of votes were cast in the Democratic and Republican
primaries in the new 32nd District in March. The diverse make-up of the
district, paired with Congressman Frost’s early efforts to organize and
educate all of the precincts, truly make the race for CD 32 one of the most
competitive in the nation.

“The early investment of campaign funds in the district has brought the two
campaigns to a dead-even situation,” Frost spokesman Justin Kitsch noted.
“We will build on this in the fall with a significant amount of paid media.”

Frost has raised a total of $3.1 million since January of 2003. About
$700,000 of this was spent on 2003 redistricting and political expenses
prior to the March primary.

# # #


Funds Available for General Election Campaign


- Cash-on-Hand as of March 31, 2004: $1.2 million
- Amount Raised During 2nd Quarter, 2004: $1.2 million*

Total: $2.4 million

- Funds Raised During Cycle: $3.1 million*
- Spent on Redistricting, Primary and
Other Political Expenses During 2003:
$700,000
Total Available for General Election:
$2.4 million

Total Number of Contributors from Dallas County for the Cycle: Over 2,100
Total Raised from Individuals in Texas this Quarter: Over $700,000
Total Raised from Individuals from Texas this Cycle: $1.65 million
Cash-on-Hand as of 6/30/04: About $1.6 million

*Figures are approximations, and will be finalized before the reporting
deadline.

HIGHLIGHTS:
- $200,000+ raised at the Madeleine Albright luncheon on June 13th,
primarily from local donors.
- $100,000+ raised at the home of prominent Dallas businessman and
philanthropist, Ray Nasher, on June 29th, primarily from local donors.

Links to Frost Mailings
http://www.martinfrost.com/mail1/
http://www.martinfrost.com/mail2/
http://www.martinfrost.com/mail3/

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Republican Runs From FMA

By Byron LaMasters

They thought that this would be an issue that would embarrass Democrats in a tough election year. Instead, many of the conservative Democrats such as both senators from Louisiana, both senators from Arkansas and Tom Daschle held the line as they could take cover by telling their constituents that they voted with John McCain. On the other hand, FMA is embarrassing Republicans like George Nethercutt - the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Washington State. Despite a zero lifetime rating from the Human Rights Campaign, Nethercutt knows he needs to become a born again moderate to have any chance in Democratic-leaning Washington. The Seattle Times reports:

WASHINGTON — In the midst of a heated Senate debate on gay marriage, there is surprising tranquility in the senatorial campaign in Washington state.

U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt of Spokane, who is expected to be the Republican challenger of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray in November, released a short statement yesterday saying he does not support the Federal Marriage Amendment, which is scheduled for a Senate floor vote today.

That brings him in line with Murray, a Democrat, who has said she would vote against the bill. The state's other senator, Democrat Maria Cantwell, also opposes the measure.


So George Nethercutt is reinveting himself as a moderate after spending a career voting for progressive legislation only five percent of the time.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

More on the Bell Ethics Complaint of DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

Chris Bell wrote the following letter to both the chairman and the ranking member of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct regarding his ethics complaint against majority leader Tom DeLay:

Dear Chairman Hefley and Ranking Member Mollohan:

I am writing not to amend my complaint but to inform the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct that Westar Energy commissioned a report which
investigated its company’s 2002 plan to influence pending federal legislation by making political donations. This plan included a $25,000 donation made to Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Westar Energy voluntarily gave the report to the Federal Election Commission, and I urge the committee to request the report compiled by Mr. Tom Jenkins of O’Connor & Hannan law firm.

In 2002, Westar Energy conducted an internal probe of the company’s finances, headed by the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, with the assistance of consultants from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The report included allegations of corruption, sweetheart financial deals, unjust enrichment, fraud and a disinformation campaign by former Westar executive David Wittig.

After receiving the Debeviose & Plimpton report, Westar retained O’Connor & Hannan lawyer Jenkins as expert counsel to investigate the campaign finance
issues raised in the initial report. Attorney Jenkins then conducted his own
year-long probe into possible illegal political contributions which occurred
during the tenure of former Westar executives, David Wittig and Douglas
Lake.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has requested
Mr. Jenkins’ report and any exhibits, attachments, or correspondence
accompanying the report under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §552, et. seq. I urge the committee to request the Jenkins’ report because I believe it will provide information necessary to determine whether the
committee should investigate count one of the complaint.

I also wanted to inform you of other developments which may be germane to
the complaint. In the July 12, 2004 article, “DeLay’s Corporate Fundraising Investigated,� The Washington Post wrote that, “Enron's top lobbyists in Washington advised the company chairman that then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was pressing for a $100,000 contribution to his political action committee, in addition to the $250,000 the company had already pledged to the Republican Party that year.�

The article added that “DeLay requested that the new donation come from ‘a combination of corporate and personal money from Enron's executives,’ with the understanding that it would be partly spent on ‘the redistricting effort in Texas,’ said the e-mail to Kenneth L. Lay from lobbyists Rick Shapiro and Linda Robertson.� An email sent to Former Enron CEO Ken Lay suggests that Representative DeLay personally requested corporate money from Enron. The Post also writes that this email “is one of at least a dozen documents� that directly suggests Representative DeLay directly solicited corporate monies for Texas state Republicans which is illegal under Texas state law.

It has also been brought to our attention that Representative DeLay's counsel, Ed Bethune, was the chief lobbyist for Burlington Northern, a corporation which could be implicated in the Travis County grand jury investigation. While I realize the rules of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct do not address conflicts of interest, I believe the committee should be apprised of this potential conflict as you move forward.

Sincerely,

Chris Bell
Member of Congress

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2004

Good Choice

By Byron LaMasters

Edwards / Obama 2012!

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Kerry / Edwards Should have been there

By Byron LaMasters

They can't be at every vote, and this vote wasn't even close, but John Kerry and John Edwards should have come back to the U.S. Senate today to vote to end debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment. I understand that they're campaigning, and basically every gay and lesbian in America that doesn't hate themselve will be voting for them, but as a symbolic gesture, Kerry / Edwards should have cast their votes today to send a message that they won't stand for hate in the United States Senate.

Here's the Roll Call for the Hate Amendment. It lost 48-50, falling twelve votes short of continuing debate and 19 votes short of receiving the needed two-thirds vote to pass. So, basically - a crushing defeat for the right-wing hate machine.

These Republicans voted against hate. Write them. Commend them. They stood up against their President:

Campbell
Chaffee
Collins
McCain
Snowe
Sununu

These Democrats voted for hate, and not Democratic values. Write them an angry email:

Byrd
Miller
Nelson

I wanted to post on the Santorum that was spread on the Senate floor yesterday, whoops here's the link:


If you look at the socialist countries that have gone in the direction of destruction of the family, you only need to look at the imposition and heavy weight of government. Why? Because there is no one there to pick up the pieces. You can say, if I had known, if I had only known. Every day we get up and tell ourselves lies, so we can live. The problem is this lie hurts the future lives of millions of children in America. And they are going to have to live with the consequences of the lie you tell.


That's it. Gay marriage is the first step towards socialism. If I could have a penny for every time a Republican equated some public policy or another to socialism, I'd be a rich man.


I do not see how anyone can possibly imagine a whole nation without whole families. Yet we will choose tomorrow to risk everything. Think about this. We will choose tomorrow to risk everything. Why? What is worth this risk? What is worth this experiment in sociology heretofore unseen? What is worth that much?


Nothing like a little hyperbole to top it all off. FMA is defeated. The end is near. Armageddon is upon us. Red alert. Judgement day. Save the children. Hide the babies and vote Bush / Cheney in November.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:22 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Sorry for the Problems

By Byron LaMasters

My apologies to anyone who has had difficulty posting the past 16 hours or so. There was a problem with our hosting company - Dreamhost, but the problem has been fixed. I'm just glad that the problem happened now, as opposed to while I'm in Boston, since I was unable to post while the promblem persisted. Anyway, things are back to normal again.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Digital Cameras are Really Cool

By Byron LaMasters

My parents gave me a digital camera yesterday as one of my birthday presents. I'm really excited about it, because tomorrow I'm heading to Vancouver with them for a family vacation, and then of course the week after next I'll be headed to Boston for the convention. Anyway, I decided to test out the camera tonight at our Dallas County Young Democrats meeting. There were a few kinks, and I still have to figure out how to use all the features on the camera, but I'm excited to have it. I'm certainly looking forward to the opportunity to get as many pictures as I can of politicians and celebrities at the convention. Anyway, tell me what you think so far....

DCYD Treasurer David Hardt, State Rep. candidate Katy Hubener and yours truly (DCYD Executive Director).

My friends David (at his house before the meeting), Ali and Andy (all from the UT Democrats). Notice their shirts. David's is the hero (accompanied by a picture of John Kerry in uniform) / zero (with Dubya) shirt. Ali is wearing her Good Bush / Bad Bush t-shirt, and Andy is wearing his "I support the Homosexual Agenda" shirt.

Them again.

The Elbow Room sign on Gaston Ave. in east Dallas where we have our monthly DCYD meetings.

DCYD Vice President, Kara Engstrom.





Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Director Daniel Clayton speaks to the club.

Dallas for Kerry organizer Danny Henley speaks to the DCYD's about their groups efforts.

State Rep. Candidate Katy Hubener speaks with DCYD Treasurer David Hardt after the meeting.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 13, 2004

Events Tonight

By Byron LaMasters

If you're in Austin, go to the LGRL protest against FMA:

Join LGRL for a demonstration on Tuesday, July 13th, at 7:30pm outside the south gates of the capitol complex, along 11th street in Austin. We will meet at 7:30pm in front of the capitol on Congress.

At 8:30 we will light our candles (glow sticks) in protest of the U.S. Senate's decision to allow the Federal Marraige Amendment to come to the floor for a vote. While politicans address the issue of discrimi nataion against LGBT Americans, we will help put a face to the issue.

For more inforamation call us at 512.474.5475.


If you're in Dallas, come to our Young Democrats meeting:


Next Meeting: Tuesday, July 13. We will meet at 7 PM in the Elbow Room at 3010 Gaston Ave for our monthly meeting. Daniel Clayton, the new Executive Director of the Dallas County Democratic Party will speak.

My friend Katie from UT who was visiting Dallas and came to our meeting tonight. This picture was before the meeting at our friend David's house.

My friends David (at his house before the meeting), Ali and Andy (all from the UT Democrats). Notice their shirts. David's is the hero (accompanied by a picture of John Kerry in uniform) / zero (with Dubya) shirt. Ali is wearing her Good Bush / Bad Bush t-shirt, and Andy is wearing his "I support the Homosexual Agenda" shirt.

Them again.

The Elbow Room sign on Gaston Ave. in east Dallas where we have our monthly DCYD meetings.

DCYD Vice President, Kara Engstrom.





Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Director Daniel Clayton speaks to the club.

Dallas for Kerry organizer Danny Henley speaks to the DCYD's about their groups efforts.

State Rep. Candidate Katy Hubener speaks with DCYD Treasurer David Hardt after the meeting.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Texas Tuesdays

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

This week, courtesy of Texas Tuesdays, (the Coalition of the Willing of Texas Bloggers), we are brought the story of Candidate Jeanette Popp, running for Texas House District 99. Her story is an incredible one and not like the usual run of the mill politico.

A native of Azle, Texas, Jeanette has come from being married at 14 and homeless at 15, to being a nationally sought speaker and the Democratic candidate for Texas House District 99. She exhibits a determination usually reserved for prize fighters and NBA superstars. Petite, blond and feminine, there is a toughness about her that there is no mistaking. She's no quitter. She's in this fight until the end.

...

"You have to start with the children. A child can do anything he or she is taught to do. Children can be taught to read or can learn to rob. They can be taught to hate or can be taught to love. When they are children, that's when you have the opportunity to give them what they need to success in life."

Read the entry here and then donate to her campaign.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 11:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

John Cornyn: Gays = Box Turtles

By Byron LaMasters

Occationally, you have to give Andrew Sullivan a little credit. He found this gem about our Junior Senator in Texas:

"It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right. . . . Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife."

-- Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), advocating a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in a speech Thursday to the Heritage Foundation.


That's right. In 2004, it's men marrying men and women marrying women. In ten years, it'll be men marrying goldfish and women marrying box turtles. Really, can anyone take these nuts seriously?

Update: As noted in comments, Cornyn did not use the "box turtle" line in his speech, although it was in the prepared remarks.

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

SCLM Coddles Racist

By Andrew Dobbs

Tired of hearing wingers tell you that Fox News has to be conservative to balance out that awful liberal CNN? Well bust this out on them. On Lou Dobbs (no relation, thank God) this evening they had a whole segment about our "broken borders"- the crisis of immigration. Now, talking about immigration isn't a bad thing, its an important issue that gets little talk time because it is so rife with controversy. But the foundation of the segment was an interview with an immigration expert named Otis Graham, author of the book "Unguarded Gates." Here's an excerpt from the piece:

In your book, which is very interesting, you point to a second wave of immigration. The first wave, we're all familiar with from our grade school class, history class, of the great immigration wave. Now we're in a second one. Why is this any different than the first? The first went fairly well.

OTIS GRAHAM, AUTHOR, "UNGUARDED GATES": The first was restricted after 40 years of argument and it did go rather well, partially because it was restricted and we had time to assimilate those 30 million people who came in those years. The situation is very different for the second wave that began arriving in the 1960s.

First of all, the source countries are profoundly different. The first wave came from Europe. They were western people however different we thought that they were and they seemed to be. The source countries are now very different.

The largest single source country -- there was no one single source country in the first wave. In the second wave, Mexico and Latin America generally, but Mexico is a very large component, sustained component coming from a country with a poor economy, a troubled economy, and a fast-growing population. 2,000-mile border between the two so that coming and going back and forth, the cultural reinforcement, the language reinforcement, these circumstances didn't apply 100 years ago.

A third thing I would mention as a difference, 100 years ago, when immigrants came into the U.S., we were a culture and a society that insisted on Americanization. English, learn our ways, learn our history. Now we've changed for reasons which we don't need to go into now given our time. But we're a society which is much less emphasis on a common language. There's multi-culturalism as an intellectual current which welcomes all cultures and doesn't insist on Americanization.

So whether the assimilation process is working well is not a question that applies in the same way as the first wave. So the second wave and the first wave are about the same in size, and they've both been running about four decades. Whether we can curb and control the second wave, as we did the first wave, is a very open question, I think.

Okay, so doesn't sound overtly ignorant but the dichotomy drawn between the "successful" or good immigration of "Westerners" versus the "very different" second wave of mostly Latino people that needs to be "curbed or controlled" is pretty disturbing. I heard this piece, which went unchallenged either from an opposing theorist or from the guest host, Kitty Pilgrim. So I decided to do a little detective work.

First stop, the Anti-Defamation League, one of the top watchdogs for hate groups in the country. I ran a search on Graham's name and found a report on the group he founded, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Here's what they say:

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR),* headquartered in Washington, D.C., describes itself as “a national, non-profit, public interest organization of concerned citizens who share a common belief that the unforeseen mass immigration that has occurred over the last 30 years should not continue.” Its stated goal is “to end illegal immigration” and “to set legal immigration at the lowest feasible levels consistent with the demographic, economic, social, and environmental realities….”

However, in recent years, FAIR has:
• acknowledged and defended having received grants reportedly totaling around
$600,000 from the Pioneer Fund, which has been described by The New York Times as having been established for the express purpose of promoting research into eugenics, and which has sponsored projects based on the notion that Blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites.

• expressed support for an anti-immigration op-ed article by John Tanton, a FAIR founder and board member, in which immigrants were compared to bacteria. (Linda Chavez, a former official of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, has called Tanton’s views “anti-Hispanic, anti-Catholic, and not excusable.”)

• reflected hostility toward Hispanics and the Catholic Church when FAIR’s executive director, Dan Stein, told an interviewer, “Certainly we would encourage people in other countries to have small families. Otherwise they’ll all be coming here, because there’s no room at the Vatican… Many [immigrants] hate America, hate everything the United States stands for. Talk to some of these Central Americans.”

• Sponsored a newspaper ad critical of a U. S. Senator’s position on immigration legislation, in which a photo of the Senator, who is of Lebanese ancestry, was juxtaposed with one of a notorious Middle East terrorist; the ad suggested that the senator’s position would cause Americans to be “needlessly exposed to the threat of terrorism from criminals like Osama bin Laden.” The Detroit Free Press recently described FAIR’s ad campaign regarding the senator (Spencer Abraham, R-MI) as “hysterical rhetoric … disingenuous and nativistic. It comes perilously close to a smear.”

• expressed approval of China’s forced abortion policy (in a column by Ben
Wattenberg quoting Dan Stein) as an “international family planning program.”

• Provided a link on its Internet web site to that of the California-based Voice of
Citizens Together (VCT), a strident anti-immigration group whose web site has
referred to “Mexico’s invasion of the United States,” and predicted that “California will be taken over by Third World forces, led by Mexico, who have an axe to grind against European Americans.” (...)

Critics of FAIR have accused the group of engaging in old-fashioned nativism and xenophobia in its single-minded pursuit of immigration control, and of using racism to promote its message. In addition, the group has been accused of anti-Hispanic and anti-Catholic bias, based on comments made by some of its leaders. The group has rejected such allegations. Moreover, FAIR has been criticized for accepting financial support of approximately $600,000 from the Pioneer Fund, a controversial New York-based taxexempt foundation that has promoted eugenics.** In 1994 Daniel Stein told The New York Times that such contributions to FAIR came without any strings attached. More recently Stein said his job was “to get every dime of Pioneer’s money.”

Okay, so pretty scary stuff. Futhermore, the other big hate group watchdog, the Southern Poverty Law Center has grouped them together with David Duke's group and other hate groups. Here's what they had to say:

Today, FAIR claims a staggering 70,000 members, although that number is almost certainly inflated. Tanton remains on FAIR's board and also is the publisher of The Social Contract Press, which sells racist anti-immigrant tracts.

Dan Stein, the group's executive director, has warned that certain immigrant groups are engaged in "competitive breeding" aimed at diminishing white power. Rick Oltman, FAIR's western representative, has spoken before and worked with the racist Council of Conservative Citizens.

Garrett Hardin, a FAIR board member, has argued that aiding starving Africans is counterproductive and will only "encourage population growth." Overall, FAIR blames immigrants for crime, poverty, disease, urban sprawl and increasing racial tensions in America, and calls for a drastic cut in the numbers of those allowed in.

The ADL article cites Otis Graham, the man who was on Lou Dobbs, as the cofounder of FAIR. So, let's connect the dots here. Otis Graham is the cofounder and spokesperson for a group that is identified by both the ADL and the SPLC as a white supremacist group and he goes on CNN and is treated like a normal scholar and his claims go unchallenged.

Some liberal media, huh?

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 12:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2004

The Edwards Bounce Kicks in

By Byron LaMasters

It's here:

John Kerry is getting a boost from his selection of North Carolina Sen. John Edwards as his running mate, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows.

The Democratic ticket now leads President Bush and Vice President Cheney 50% to 45% among likely voters, according to the survey taken Thursday through Sunday, with independent candidate Ralph Nader at 2%. The Kerry-Edwards lead widens to 8 points, 50%-42%, among registered voters.

The choice of Edwards helped Kerry consolidate support among Democrats and those who lean Democratic. Three weeks ago, 85% supported Kerry. Now 92% do.


Kerry / Edwards leads Bush / Cheney by eight points and Democrats are fully united behind our ticket. I'm happy.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:07 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

A Day of Hate on the Senate Floor

By Byron LaMasters

I was tuning in earlier to listen to the Republican Hatefest today on the Senate floor as several senators resorted to the same old tired hysterical rhetoric in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Here's some example of the hate spewed on the floor today:

From Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY):


I don’t know why these judges believe they are so wise and how they cannot see how dangerous their actions are.

But they now threaten our way of life and it is up to us to act to ensure that the American people have the opportunity to decide what is right for this society.

[...]

It is the law of nature, and no matter how much some might not like it, or want to change it, or push for technology to replace it, this law is irrefutable.

It is upon this law that so much of our society and our cultural institutions are based - families, communities, work, and schools.

And when families suffer - when they are undermined - we all suffer.

We know that weak families lead to more poverty, welfare dependence, child abuse, substance abuse, illness, educational failure, and even criminal behavior.

And failing to protect marriage will send the message to the next generation that we do not care about them and that we have thrown away a cultural institution that has served human beings throughout recorded history.


Ok. Thanks, Jim. It's nice to know that gay people threaten the American way of life, and that Trent Lott and Rick Santorum taught you that homosexuality is equatable to "poverty, welfare dependence, child abuse, substance abuse, illness, educational failure, and even criminal behavior".

Next up. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT):


The bedrock of American success is the family, and it is traditional marriage that undergirds the American family. The disintegration of the family in this country correlates with many serious social problems, including crime and poverty. We are seeing soaring divorce rates and out-of-wedlock birth rates that have resulted in far too many fatherless families. Weakening the legal status of marriage at this point will only exacerbate these problems. We simply must act to strengthen the family.

[...]

The Constitution has functioned to secure and extend the rights of citizens in this nation, and it serves as a model of democratic self government to the world. Aside from the Bill of Rights, it has rarely been amended. But when it is, we have done so to expand the rights of democratic self-government, and to re-secure the Constitution’s original meaning. That is precisely what we are intending here.


Hatch picked up on the talking point. An amendment to the constitution is critical in order to end these so called "serious social problems, including crime and poverty", and while he's at it, he blames the gays for "divorce rates and out-of-wedlock birth rates ". That's really odd, Orrin. Which one of Rush Limbaugh's three marriages is the Federal Marriage Amendment protecting? I mean am I missing something, but how did gays and lesbians suddenly become responsible for divorces and out-of-wedlock births? Maybe there's some new science I don't know about, but otherwise its totally irrelevent to the debate. But the the backers of this amendment don't care about minor details like that, because this amendment is not about having a serious debate about marriage in America. This debate is about election year demagoguery so that the Republican Party can secure their social conservative base.

I also had the privledge of watching Trent Lott, Rick Santorum and Jeff Sessions run with the hate baton on C-SPAN earlier, but I haven't found the transcripts of their remarks at this time, so I suppose I'll have to check back later.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Tom DeLay and Enron, Ken Lay and Redistricting!

By Byron LaMasters

Yay. More trouble for Tom DeLay. The Washington Post connects the dots with their front page article today:

In May 2001, Enron's top lobbyists in Washington advised the company chairman that then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was pressing for a $100,000 contribution to his political action committee, in addition to the $250,000 the company had already pledged to the Republican Party that year. DeLay requested that the new donation come from "a combination of corporate and personal money from Enron's executives," with the understanding that it would be partly spent on "the redistricting effort in Texas," said the e-mail to Kenneth L. Lay from lobbyists Rick Shapiro and Linda Robertson.

The e-mail, which surfaced in a subsequent federal probe of Houston-based Enron, is one of at least a dozen documents obtained by The Washington Post that show DeLay and his associates directed money from corporations and Washington lobbyists to Republican campaign coffers in Texas in 2001 and 2002 as part of a plan to redraw the state's congressional districts.


I'll have to read the rest of the article when I have more time to look at all the research the Washington Post did (it's a long article). Anyway, take a look.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:45 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

They Get Zell Miller, We Get Ron Reagan Jr.

By Byron LaMasters

Democrats have found our Zell Miller for our convention. Ron Reagan Jr. will address the Democratic Convention this month:

In a move sure to embarrass Republicans, Ron Reagan will address the Democratic National Convention this month.

Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan and an outspoken critic of the Bush administration, will be at the podium on the second night of the four-day event in Boston, July 27, in support of stem-cell research, he said Sunday in an interview here.

David Wade, a spokesman for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, confirmed Reagan's appearance, but sources said the date had not been determined. Scott Stanzel, press secretary for President Bush's campaign, declined to comment.

Reagan, a Seattle resident with his wife, clinical psychologist Doria, said he was contacted about two weeks ago by the Democratic National Committee. He said he "had a nice chat" on the phone with Kerry, "but he wasn't pushing me. I had already decided."

A registered independent who has long been an outspoken political liberal, Reagan said he would not campaign for Kerry or any other candidate. He said he would vote for Kerry, however, "as a way to defeat Bush."


I'm looking forward to the speech...

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Jolly Olde England

By Jim Dallas

Caught an interesting documentary last night on The History Channel (are there any other kind?) about the various threads of the King Arthur legend and their historical roots. I think it was narrated by Capt Jean-Luc Picard Patrick Stewart.

It's a bit sad though that there were some pretty important/obvious things about medieval Britain that I had never known before, e.g. the Battle of Badon Hill, and the role of british-descended Bretons (from Brittany) in aiding William I's Norman invasion ("revenge is a dish best served cold" ~ old Klingon proverb). Chalk that up to me not having a really good formal education in British history. For shame.

Not to suggest that we should be monocultural, but the history and customs of Britain are probably the single most important influence on American legal and political culture. So I try to pay attention.

Strangest applications of Anglo-trivia: the time I invoked William Pitt the Elder at a pro-choice rally ("The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storms may enter, the rain may enter,—but the King of England cannot enter.") There's also a nice Burke quote at the exit of the Rainforest at Moody Gardens ("No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.")

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

Bruised Ego Alert

By Jim Dallas

Love him or hate him, admit that Ron Reagan Jr. can at least form a coherent thought and express it articulately (I guess he was paying attention to his old man).

Yet the GOP asserts boldly (as if this were playground one-ups-manship) that Zell Miller's speech at the Republican convention will resonate more with Independents than Reagan's speech at the Democratic convention.

I guess Zig Zag Zell will woo undecided voters by calling Kerry a gay-loving, baby-killing liberal commie from Taxachusetts? Is that the plan? Perhaps Zell will wear a sequin jump suit, like Elvis?

[plug]Also, dear readers, there's another internet gubment sim getting together.[/plug]

Posted by Jim Dallas at 02:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lynne Cheney Loves Her Daughter

By Byron LaMasters

It's good to see that Mary Cheney's mother supports her daughter:

Lynne Cheney, the vice president's wife and mother of a lesbian, said Sunday that states should have the final say over the legal status of personal relationships.

That stand puts her at odds with the vice president on the need for the constitutional amendment now under debate in the Senate that effectively would ban gay marriage.

"I think that the constitutional amendment discussion will give us an opportunity to look for ways to discuss ways in which we can keep the authority of the states intact," Cheney told CNN's "Late Edition."


Congrats to Lynne Cheney. Now, only one of Mary Cheney's parents supports using the U.S. Constitution to discriminate against her.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 11, 2004

Dallas County Dem Chair Supporting GOP Judges?

By Byron LaMasters

There's been quite a bit of chatter in Dallas Democratic circles over the weekend about news that the chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party, Susan Hays gave a statement in support of one of President Bush's judicial nominees last week. The San Antonio Express-News reports:

Texas Supreme Court Justice Michael Schneider sailed through a Senate confirmation hearing today, clearing the way for a vote on his nomination to the federal bench.

Schneider, 61, is a San Antonio native who was nominated by President Bush on May 17 to fill the Eastern District of Texas post that was held by the late Chief Judge John Hannah Jr.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, introduced Schneider to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"I cannot think of anyone who has the respect that he does, who is seeking a permanent position on the court," Hutchison said.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, chaired the confirmation hearing.

Cornyn, a former Texas Supreme Court justice, said Schneider understands, "as every good judge must, that the duty of a judge is to interpret the law, not legislate from the bench."

Schneider is a non-controversial judicial nominee, who received the backing of Susan Hays, chairwoman of the Dallas County Democratic Party.


There's probably several different versions to this story. The chair of a county party has an obligation to support that party's candidates and nominees for office at all levels. However, does that mean that the chair has an obligation to oppose a nomination of a Republican to a higher office? Since this is an appointment rather than an election, should the same rules apply? Is it justifiable for a party chair to support a relatively moderate and fair-minded judicial nomination of a Republican when the alternative would likely be much worse? Based on the statements of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), that seems to be the case:


Today we are considering the nomination of Michael Schneider to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. He currently serves on the Supreme Court of Texas, where he has served since September 2002. Prior to serving on the Texas Supreme Court, he spent 12 years on the State bench as a trial and appellate judge. He has a reputation as a conservative, but fair-minded judge. On the Texas Supreme Court, he has only authored a few opinions to date, but they lay out the facts and the law with no hint of a personal bias. Justice Schneider shows a willingness to listen to all litigants and to be fair. Unlike some of his more conservative colleagues on the court, Justice Schneider has not been a judicial activist and has not distorted the law to benefit corporations at the expense of consumers and injured individuals. In contrast, his opinions have focused on statutory interpretation, proper trial procedures, and the rule of law.

I would note that, like his colleagues on the court, Justice Schneider campaigned for his seat on the high court and received campaign donations from a number of lawyers, including employees at large defense firms. However, in contrast to Justice Owen, who received 17 percent of her total campaign contributions in 1994 from the two leading business tort political action committees and consistently ruled in their favor, Justice Schneider received only 1 percent of his total contributions from such groups with self-employed donors constituted the largest share of his donations.

Throughout his career, Justice Schneider has demonstrated a commitment to serving those less fortunate, by developing a mock trial program at a school in an impoverished neighborhood, participating in Habitat for Humanity projects, establishing alternative dispute resolution programs, and working with the State Bar of Texas to increase access to justice.


Sounds like a decent guy to me. Based on that information, I'd probably vote to approve the guy if I were on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and hold my fire for the true wing-nuts. But still, it kind of rubs me the wrong way to see Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) use the party chair as something of a pawn in the fight over judicial nominations:


Justice Schneider’s reputation as an exceptional jurist and a true gentleman is well known throughout the state of Texas. It is also well known by the American Bar Association, which recently gave him its highest rating, when its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary unanimously certified him as “well qualified” for the federal bench. His nomination enjoys broad bipartisan support across the state of Texas. For example, Susan Hays, who chairs the Dallas County Democratic Party, has written a strong letter of support, and without objection, I’d like to submit that letter for the record.


I don't personally think that this is a huge deal, but I do think that it's legitimate to ask questions regarding the party chair's motivations for such actions.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 10, 2004

Hooray!

By Jim Dallas

I finally own a (legal!) copy of Europa Universalis -- if indeed their is a true PC heir to Avalon Hill's Diplomacy board game, it is not Microprose's Diplomacy for Windows but rather Strategy First's EU.

If, of course, any readers in the Houston-Galveston area have a copy of the original Dip board game, please e-mail me so that we can schedule a face-to-face game, OK? I had a copy in college but lost it somewhere in moving back home from Austin.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I knew Lyndon Johnson, Lyndon Johnson was a friend of mine. You, sir, are no Lyndon Johnson.

By Jim Dallas

Well, uh, not exactly, since LBJ died nine years before I was born. But DHinMI reveals how President Bush doesn't measure up to the standards of the only real Texan to occupy the White House.

(And yes, I imagine some one in the comments is going to say something like "yeah, LBJ killed 58,000 kids while Bush only killed 1000." That would be historically accurate, but probably unfair, for reasons I'd be glad to debate in comments.)

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:13 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

July 09, 2004

Sidenote

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Remember the Texas Tuesday's Post about Mark Strama that I wrote for earlier this week? Well it has appeared, in short, on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) official blog. You can see the short piece here.

Props to the Burnt Orange and Texas Tuesday's Team.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 11:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

News Combination

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

First, the Coalition of the Willing Death Toll passes 1000.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- In a grim milestone, the number of deaths in the American-led coalition in Iraq surpassed 1,000 this week.

The latest reported deaths include a U.S. soldier who died from wounds in fighting Thursday in Baghdad, an American soldier killed in a Samarra attack Wednesday and another who died in a nonbattle-related incident Thursday.

The deaths bring multinational fatalities -- both in combat and "nonhostile" situations -- to 1,002 since the start of the war in March 2003. U.S. military deaths now total 881.

And then the Senate Report on the Crappy "Intelligence" from the CIA. I'm sure the families of the above would have appreciated a little more truth.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In a highly critical report issued Friday, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee found that the CIA's prewar estimates of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were overstated and unsupported by intelligence.

Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, told reporters that intelligence used to support the invasion of Iraq was based on assessments that were "unreasonable and largely unsupported by the available intelligence."

...

"Before the war, the U.S. intelligence community told the president as well as the Congress and the public that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and if left unchecked would probably have a nuclear weapon during this decade," Roberts said.

"Today we know these assessments were wrong."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the leading Democrat on the 18-member panel, said that "bad information" was used to bolster the case for war.

...

"Leading up to September 11, our government didn't connect the dots. In Iraq, we are even more culpable because the dots themselves never existed."

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 11:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BOR in the AP

By Byron LaMasters

This is cool. The Burnt Orange Report was mentioned in an AP news article today:

Wilhide would not release a full list of the approved bloggers, but said they included the Democratic-leaning Burnt Orange Report, Daily Kos, Pandagon.net and TalkLeft. Jerome Armstrong of MyDD.com also confirmed to The Associated Press that he had been accepted.

Bloggers will have the same access as traditional journalists within the FleetCenter convention hall, Wilhide said. And bloggers will join radio journalists with workspace in the FleetCenter itself, while other media will be in nearby buildings, she said.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 10:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Republicans for Nader... Again

By Byron LaMasters

Ralph Nader continues to allow himself be used as a pawn for the right-wing. Here's the latest two examples. The San Francisco Chronicle did a study of people who have donated to Ralph Nader, and they found some interesting results:

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader -- still not on the ballot in a single state -- has received a recent windfall of contributions from deep-pocketed Republicans with a history of big contributions to the party, an analysis of federal records show.

Nearly one in 10 of Nader's major donors -- those writing checks of $1, 000 or more -- have given in recent months to the Bush-Cheney campaign, the latest documents show. GOP fund-raisers also have "bundled" contributions -- gathering hefty donations for maximum effect to help Nader, who has criticized the practice in the past.

[...]

The financial records show that $23,000 in checks of $1,000 or more have come from loyal Republicans. Among those who have given recently to Nader are Houston businessman Nijad Fares, who donated $200,000 to President Bush's 2000 inaugural committee; Richard J. Egan, the former ambassador to Ireland, and his wife, Pamela, who have raised more than $300,000 for Bush; Michigan developer Ghassan Saab, who has given $30,000 to the RNC since 2001; and frozen food magnate Jeno Paulucci, and his wife, Lois, who have donated $150, 000 to GOP causes since 2000 alone.

All have donated the maximum $2,000 to Nader's campaign since April, records show.

[...]

Among Ralph Nader's top Republican donors:

-- Billionaire corporate executive John Egan of Massachusetts, who has raised at least$200,000 for the president's re-election campaign, donated $2,000 to Nader.

-- Nijad Fares, a Houston businessman, who donated $200,000 to the Bush inaugural committee and who donated $2,000 each to the Nader effort and the Bush campaign this year.

-- David Reed, president of Washington-based Foundation Petroleum Inc., who donated$1,000 to Nader and $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign.

-- Jack and Laura Dangermond, both executives in Redlands-based Environmental SystemsResearch Institute, who each donated $2,000 to Nader's campaign and the Bush- Cheneycampaign and $25,000 to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.


Meanwhile, the AP has a story on how Republicans are helping Nader acheive ballot access in Michigan:


Michigan Republicans are helping gather signatures to place independent Ralph Nader on the presidential ballot in the battleground state, irritating Democrats who accuse the GOP of trying to pull votes away from candidate John Kerry.

"It's another example of state Republicans willing to try every unethical trick in the book to hold power," Democratic Executive Chairman Mark Brewer said Thursday. "This clearly shows that a vote for Ralph Nader is a vote to re-elect George Bush. The Republicans know that, and that's why they are desperate to have Nader on the Michigan ballot."

Greg McNeilly of the state Republican Party said the GOP is doing nothing wrong and hopes Nader will draw votes from the Democratic candidate. Republicans will make sure Nader has more than the 30,000 valid signatures he needs by July 15 to qualify for the Michigan ballot, McNeilly said.


Ralph Nader can whine all he wants about Democrats fighting his attemps towards ballot access, but when he accepts help from Republicans, he loses all creditability. Democrats ought to use every mechanism available to deny Ralph Nader ballot access in every state as long as Nader allows himself to be used as a tool of the Republican Party. It's good to see that Michigan Democrats intend to use the same tactics used by Democrats in Texas, Arizona and Oregon:


Brewer sent a letter to Nader on Thursday asking that he refuse the GOP's assistance and any petition signatures collected by the Republican Party, its staff or volunteers.

"We're not out there focusing on getting Libertarians on the ballot," Brewer said. "If the Republicans refuse to stop their efforts and Nader accepts their help, we will have no choice but to oppose his petition effort, review every signature and challenge his petitions if they are insufficient in any way."


Good for the Michigan Dems. Ralph Nader's progressive legacy is unfortunately fading as his candidacy is in the midst of a slow and painful death.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Cheap Airfare to Boston Still?

By Byron LaMasters

I just bought my airfare to Boston. I was expecting to pay something rediculous - like over $400. Am I lucky, or what? I found a roundtrip ticket from Dallas to Boston on Delta for $238 (I have to stop in Atlanta going, but it's direct coming home). Next up is getting a hotel. I'll probably just take what the DNCC (Democratic National Convention Committee) is offering. I talked to one of their guys on the phone for a bit today, since I had several questions, and I ought to have something by early next week. The DNCC also asked if it was alright if they gave my name and contact information out to media outlets who want to talk to bloggers that will be at the convention. So, within two days, I've already received three media requests. I'll be interviewed on NPR on Monday in their local Dallas studio, and I'm sure I'll have more excitement later in the week.

Anyway, I arrive in Boston at 6:15 PM on Saturday, July 24, 2004. I'll depart Boston at 5:20 PM on Friday, July 30, 2004. My schedule on Saturday night and Sunday is yet to be determined. Monday through Thursday I'll be primarily at the convention center, and then I'll probably take most of the day on Friday to tour around Boston before I fly back - or maybe catch up on sleep. Again, let me know what you'd like my coverage in Boston to focus on. Thanks.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Mark Strama Update

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

This update from the campaign for all you naysayers out there...

Let me give you a brief update on where things stand after 6 months of campaigning.

-We have had unprecedented fundraising success for a non-incumbent candidate, thanks to a tremendous amount of help from friends and supporters like you. Our internet-based fundraising efforts alone have generated over $32,000, illustrating the power of the Internet to level the playing field against the big special interest groups supporting my opponent. Our total fundraising to date is over $250,000 - nearly half our total goal.

-In the March primary, Democrats turned out in larger numbers than Republicans in my district, indicating that this district will be very competitive in November. Remember, Democrats John Sharp and Kirk Watson both carried this district in 2002, and Democrats enter the 2004 election in a much stronger position than they were in two years ago.

-Over 50 young people have signed up to spend their summer vacation participating in our Campaign Academy. Each day they spend an hour or two with guest lecturers, who teach them about politics, public policy, and grassroots campaigning. The remainder of the day they are registering voters, block walking, phone banking, data entering, and doing whatever they can to make a difference in this election. I am more proud of this component of the campaign than anything else we are doing.

-Capitol Inside newsletter has ranked this campaign as the second best chance Democrats have to take back a Republican-held seat in the Texas Legislature. For those interested in restoring balance and bipartisanship to Texas politics, this has become a critically important election.

I am very pleased with the organization and infrastructure we have developed moving into the coming critical months of the campaign. I am incapable of expressing my gratitude to the many friends, supporters, and volunteers who have helped us reach this point. Thank you again for your support.

Send Strama some Jingle since his Texas Tuesdays Thunder was a little overpowered by that John Edwards guy.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 06:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Republicans Strong Arm Congress Into Keeping the Patriot Act Intact

By Andrew Dobbs

From the Associated Press:

House Republicans used an extra-long vote to derail a drive to weaken the USA Patriot Act, handing a campaign-season victory to President Bush (news - web sites) and angering Democrats and GOP conservatives who led the unsuccessful effort.

"You win some, and some get stolen," said conservative Rep. C.L. Butch Otter, R-Idaho.

He was a lead sponsor of the provision that would have prevented authorities from using the anti-terrorism law to demand information on book buyers and library users.

The proposal, which had drawn a veto threat from the White House, was defeated 210-210, with a majority needed to prevail. House GOP leaders extended what is normally a 15-minute roll call by 23 additional minutes. That was enough to persuade about 10 Republicans to switch their votes to no (...)

As the amendment's prospects shifted to defeat from an apparent victory, Democrats chanted, "Shame, shame, shame." The tactic was reminiscent of last year's House passage of the Medicare overhaul measure. Then, GOP leaders held the roll call open for an extra three hours until they got the votes they needed (...)

Otter and Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., led the effort to block one section of the law that lets authorities get special court orders requiring book dealers, libraries and others to surrender records such as purchases and Internet sites visited on a library computer.

The lawmakers contended the provision undermines civil liberties and threatens to let the government snoop into the reading habits of innocent Americans.

"We are all in that together," Sanders, one of Congress' most liberal lawmakers, said of the anti-terror effort. "In the fight against terrorism, we've got to keep our eyes on two prizes: the terrorists and the United States Constitution."

So yeah, this is just further proof that the GOP is full of reactionary despotic assholes. I mean, I am not a huge fan of the Patriot Act but I'm not as opposed to it as most people on the left are. Most of the powers weren't new powers- they just couldn't be used against terrorists until it passed. Still, whether you like it or not, breaking the rules so that the president doesn't look bad is pretty fucking despicable.

This is why I'm not a Republican and don't ever plan on being one. I mean, if you are a conservative there is a place for you in our party, but if you are a liberal you are run out on a rail of that party. They do their business in a dishonest way because it seems they are more interested in power than in governing for the empowerment of all people. It is wrong, they are wrong and we have to beat them this year.

Good news- every Texas Democrat in the House except for 2- Stenholm and Edwards- cast their ballot for the amendment and 1 of the 18 Republicans to vote for it was from Texas, Ron Paul. Thanks Lloyd, one of the last major votes you'll take on behalf was the right one- I'll miss having you as my congressman.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 12:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I'm Going to Boston

By Byron LaMasters

I was a bit shocked when I got a letter in the mail from the DNC on Tuesday with press credentials for both the perimeter and the hall to the Democratic National Convention in Boston at the end of the month. I had pretty much discounted my chances, since BOR - while being a top political weblog in Texas, is not really one of the top blogs nationally. I mean, yeah, we have a link on kos, but still we're around #200 in terms of traffic ranking of weblogs on the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem. We still get around 1000 page views a day - a number that I'm sure will rise dramatically when I blog the convention. Regardless, I must have something going for me. I was smart enough to send the DNC everything they needed (some bloggers seemed to forget about this minor security detail). You know - a copy of my drivers license, my social security number, etc. - to make sure I'm not a terrorist. Although, a background check on me (via Google.com) yields some interesting results. Maybe it's because I'm important enough for Rick Perry to call the top reporter for the Austin American Statesman into his office to dispel a rumor I posted that was initially spread by the governor's opponents within the Republican Party. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm a student at a University that rejected George W. Bush. Or maybe it's that I'm from Bush's home state, and I've had to hear his crap much longer than most Americans. I don't know. But it doesn't matter. I've been asked by the Democratic National Committee to cover the convention for this blog, and I accept the task. Since I was not expecting to be credentialed (and since I have a job this summer), I had not yet made plans to attend the convention. But I've managed to scramble some things together, so I should have all the airfare and hotel issues worked out by the weekend. Fortunately, I'm able to get some help with this from my employer (Dallas County Young Democrats) and from my parents, so the costs, while expensive, ought to be managable. My birthday is July 20th, so my parents contribution will be something of a birthday present.

Anyway, I'm very excited about this opportunity. I don't know if this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, or if this is something I'll be back at every four years if I decide to make a career out of this. I'm still not sure. I have another year of college to figure it out, I suppose. It doesn't matter, really. I'll have the opportunity to hear John Kerry and John Edwards accept their nominations to be the next President and Vice President of the United States - and for that, I consider myself very lucky. The first vote that I ever cast was for Al Gore in 2000, and every day as I see the wreckless policies of the Bush / Cheney administration I feel prouder of that first vote that I cast when I was 18 years old. Now, at the age of 22 (as of 7/20/04), I will have the opportunity to see the Democratic ticket completed to defeat George W. Bush. Having said that, my job at the convention is to blog. I want to cover issues that the mainstream media will likely ignore. My focus will be on the Texas delegation, but I want to meet as many delegates from across the country as I can. All of the delegates have a story, and the more that I can find the better. In particular, I would like to reach as many young people as possible. I want to know how young people across the country see this election. I want to know what Democrats can do to energize and bring more young people into the party. The mainstream media will cover all of the major speeches, and I will do that as well. But, I want to focus on things that the media won't quite capture. I want to hear from all of you. I'm doing this for my viewers. Fortunately, Karl-Thomas will also be in Boston as a delegate out of his senate district. So, there will be two of us from BOR covering the convention. Jim and Andrew have already promised to give their reaction to the mainstream media coverage of the convention. So here's my question. I'll be in Boston. I'll be spending a good four or five days around the convention. Yes. I'm a partisan liberal Democrat. But, I'm not going to be a lackey for the DNC. They'll probably approve of most of what I post, but I have my credentials, and I'll be in Boston as an Independent progressive Kerry / Edwards supporting Democratic blogger. So, here's my question to all of you. What do you want me to cover? What would BOR readers like to hear from the floor of the convention? I'll be there, and I'll have a laptop, and likely wifi access, so tell me what you want covered at the convention (if you don't want to comment, email me at: Byron@BurntOrangeReport.com).

Finally, while I do have some help getting to Boston, some of the cost will have to come out of my own pocketbook. So, if you'd like to help defray my costs, please donate to my paypal account (lamasters@mail.utexas.edu) here (and be sure to tell me what you'd like covered at the convention while you're at it):


Thanks again.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:27 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Republicans Don't Buy the Attacks on Edwards

By Byron LaMasters

John Edwards is more qualified to be President of the United States of America in 2004 than George W. Bush was in 2000. We've all said it in the lefty blogosphere, but I'll let a Republican say it best:

Today, President Bush took a shot at John Edwards, suggesting the U.S. senator was ill-prepared to be vice president of the United States. The attack was a cheap shot: John Edwards has served the same amount of time in the Senate as George W. Bush served as governor of Texas when he was elected president. The Texas legislature only meets every other year and the governorship of the Lone Star State has long been considered one of the weakest positions of its kind in America. Add to it that Edwards has sat on the intelligence committee through the days before and after September 11th. You could argue that Edwards has more experience in key areas than George W. Bush did when he ran in 2000.

Other vice presidents, like Harry Truman, were dismissed as political hacks and lightweights, too, because of their relative lack of experience. But when the Senator from Missouri replaced one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman exceeded all expectations and ended up being one of our country's strongest leaders.


Thanks, Joe Scarborough. The rest of the column is hogwash. He tries to claim that Bush has led the best economic recovery in twenty years. You have got to be kidding me. George W. Bush has created less jobs as president than any president since Herbert Hoover. Bill Clinton and Al Gore created Millions of jobs as president and vice president. And Scarborough claims that Bush has created the best economic recovery in twenty years? You have got to be kidding me. Anyway, its still good to see a conservative make the point that John Edwards is more qualified to be President than George W. Bush was four years ago.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 08, 2004

DMN Slams Bush Campaign

By Byron LaMasters

It's good to see the Dallas Morning News editorial board take an occasional time-out from their GOP chearleading to call the Bush campaign out on the Howard Dean + Al Gore = Adolf Hitler ad:

Stop it. Stop it this instant.

No more Hitler images. No more brown-shirt references.

It doesn't matter who started it. It doesn't matter who perpetuated it.

It doesn't matter how badly either party wants to win this election or how much its partisans dislike the guy on the other side.

For those who've missed all the yelling, the Bush campaign has a Web ad that tars the Kerry forces as "the coalition of the wild-eyed." In addition to film clips of agitated Democrats, the spot offers glimpses of two ads submitted months ago to a contest run by MoveOn.org, which likened the president to the Nazi dictator.

Bush followers say the ads – which MoveOn yanked after a few days from among the 1,500 entries on its site – fairly represent Democratic fanaticism. Kerry supporters say his campaign had nothing to do with the original ads, while the Bush campaign has everything to do with keeping them in public view. Further, the Kerry-ites say, the Bush spot, by juxtaposing Al Gore, Howard Dean and Adolf Hitler in what looks like a spit-slinging derby, draws a subliminal connection between the Democrats and the Nazis.

Frankly, my dear, when it comes to the nuances of the thing, we don't give a damn.

Every political party, interest group or individual should retract any and every Hitler image or reference, regardless of where it originated. Both sides should apologize – if not to each other.


Note to the Dallas Morning News - MoveOn.org has already apologized.... six months ago:


The Republican National Committee and its chairman have falsely accused MoveOn.org of sponsoring ads on its website which compare President Bush to Adolf Hitler. The claim is deliberately and maliciously misleading.

During December the MoveOn.org Voter Fund invited members of the public to submit ads that purported to tell the truth about the President and his policies. More than 1,500 submissions from ordinary Americans came in and were posted on a web site, bushin30seconds.org, for the public to review.

None of these was our ad, nor did their appearance constitute endorsement or sponsorship by MoveOn.org Voter Fund. They will not appear on TV. We do not support the sentiment expressed in the two Hitler submissions. They were voted down by our members and the public, who reviewed the ads and submitted nearly 3 million critiques in the process of choosing the 15 finalist entries.

We agree that the two ads in question were in poor taste and deeply regret that they slipped through our screening process. In the future, if we publish or broadcast raw material, we will create a more effective filtering system.


Some low level staffer at MoveOn.org probably posted the Hitler ad without thinking about the consequences. On the other hand, the campaign of the President of the United States utters Adolf Hitler in the same breath with patriotic Americans like Howard Dean and Al Gore. It's pretty simple to me who owes who an apology here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:29 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Am I addicted?

By Byron LaMasters

Or can I just not get over my excitement about our ticket?

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:03 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Back to Normal: Bush Politicizing the War on Terror

By Andrew Dobbs

Phew... well after my rather conservative screed below, I imagine I'd better do a story about how freaking awful this administration is. From the New Republic:

This spring, the administration significantly increased its pressure on Pakistan to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, or the Taliban's Mullah Mohammed Omar, all of whom are believed to be hiding in the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan. (...)

This public pressure would be appropriate, even laudable, had it not been accompanied by an unseemly private insistence that the Pakistanis deliver these high-value targets (HVTs) before Americans go to the polls in November. The Bush administration denies it has geared the war on terrorism to the electoral calendar. "Our attitude and actions have been the same since September 11 in terms of getting high-value targets off the street, and that doesn't change because of an election," says National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack. But The New Republic has learned that Pakistani security officials have been told they must produce HVTs by the election. According to one source in Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), "The Pakistani government is really desperate and wants to flush out bin Laden and his associates after the latest pressures from the U.S. administration to deliver before the [upcoming] U.S. elections." (...) the November election is apparently bringing a new deadline pressure to the hunt. Another official, this one from the Pakistani Interior Ministry, which is responsible for internal security, explains, "The Musharraf government has a history of rescuing the Bush administration. They now want Musharraf to bail them out when they are facing hard times in the coming elections." (These sources insisted on remaining anonymous. Under Pakistan's Official Secrets Act, an official leaking information to the press can be imprisoned for up to ten years.)

A third source, an official who works under ISI's director, Lieutenant General Ehsan ul-Haq, informed tnr that the Pakistanis "have been told at every level that apprehension or killing of HVTs before [the] election is [an] absolute must." What's more, this source claims that Bush administration officials have told their Pakistani counterparts they have a date in mind for announcing this achievement: "The last ten days of July deadline has been given repeatedly by visitors to Islamabad and during [ul-Haq's] meetings in Washington." Says McCormack: "I'm aware of no such comment." But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring that "it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July"--the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Holy shit. I really hope the SCLM doesn't try and bury this one- this is big stuff. For 3 years nearly we have dicked around on catching bin Laden- Bush didn't want to risk the casualties a concerted effort to capture him would have certainly incurred- and now he's putting the thumbscrews on Pakistan to make sure they make a good little ad for him. This is hideous, infuriating and awful.

The story goes on:

During his March visit to Islamabad, Powell designated Pakistan a major non-nato ally, a status that allows its military to purchase a wider array of U.S. weaponry. Powell pointedly refused to criticize Musharraf for pardoning nuclear physicist A.Q. Khan--who, the previous month, had admitted exporting nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea, and Libya--declaring Khan's transgressions an "internal" Pakistani issue. In addition, the administration is pushing a five-year, $3 billion aid package for Pakistan through Congress over Democratic concerns about the country's proliferation of nuclear technology and lack of democratic reform.

Gee, is this the same administration that sent us into a war against a country with no WMDs because they might put them into the hands of terrorsts that is now coddling a country that has admitted to giving WMDs to enemies of the United States? I mean, what if Eisenhower had pardoned the Rosenburgs? We would have had anarchy in the streets. Well this Khan guy makes the Rosenburgs look like the Partridge Family because unlike the Soviets the people Khan sold the secrets to don't have any sense of self-preservation or caution towards the use of nukes. Now we are helping to strengthen the military of a country with a very weak and embattled dictatorship and a large undercurrent of Islamic extremism that also happens to be the sworn enemy of the world's largest democracy (India). Call me in 10 years, if we are still around, so I can say "I told you so" after an Islamic cabal in Pakistan nukes Israel or India or the United States.

While I disagree with Moore's way of stating his criticisms, he makes a few good points in his movie (even a stopped clock is right twice a day) and among them is that this administration's foreign policy is about promoting their own power more than promoting stability. This is a despicable case of it and Bush ought to be kicked out whether we catch UBL or not.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 02:26 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Why I Hated Farenheit 9/11

By Andrew Dobbs

So yeah, I really disliked Michael Moore's new movie Farenheit 9/11. I know that in the world of liberal blogging that is akin to saying that you have sex with animals or burn down synagogues or something but its the truth- I think that it was contradictory, demagogic, disrespectful to American soldiers, slanderous and annoying.

To begin, let me note that I am most likely the most conservative author on this blog. That is not to say I'm a conservative- I like to joke that I'm a liberal trapped in a conservative's body. I have a conservative temperament and outlook but I come to liberal conclusions. Perhaps it is just a case of proving FDR's adage that a liberal is nothing more than a far-sighted conservative, but I know that the far left really pisses me off and Michael Moore is among my top sources of annoyance.

The movie is really quite disingenuous to begin with. When it gets to talking about the War in Iraq it begins with scenes of idyllic, happy, peaceful Iraq. It shows children playing and laughing, old women shopping and smiling, a restaurant full of cheery people, families all peaceful and wonderful. It then cuts to the bombing, suggesting that it was the US that ruined their lives. This is dishonest to the point of apologetics for Saddam's regime. While its true that children may have been running around happily, what about the thousands that starved while Saddam stole aid money to build palaces? While it might be accurate that old women shopped peacefully, where is the condemnation of the man who stole their sons and daughters in the middle of the night to torture and kill them? While people might have had the opportunity to sit down for a meal at a restaurant, where are the images of Kurds, Shi'ites and others who were brutally gassed by the monster who ruled their country? To suggest that Iraq was a nice place to live before we came there and we ruined it is bullshit and is disgusting.

Furthermore, after the bombings begin he shows families whose homes were destroyed- including one woman who wishes for terrorism to occur against the US. He shows her in a sympathetic light, never contradicting or addressing this. He cuts it into a scene where she is made to look like someone the audience is supposed to sympathize for and then she spews forth anti-American garbage. He also shows soldiers arresting a young man as his family cries for him and makes the soldiers look like bad guys while the young man is portrayed as "just a college student." For all we know this guy could be a terrorist but Moore never makes it clear, suggesting that our soldiers are to be blamed for doing their jobs.

He also, in his unique way, makes soldiers look like heartless fools. He shows the bodies of dead Iraqis and then shows grinning soldiers. He shows devastation and then shows soldiers who listen to heavy metal and portrays them as hicks and murderers. He never explicitly says anything about them but his editing and visual montage suggests that they are bad for being over there. He then shows Marine recruiters in a negative light, implicitly criticizing them for looking for recruits in the poorer parts of town. He makes them look like fools who are taking advantage of young people. Moore's disdain for servicemen and women is shocking.

And then he does a complete 180. After an hour of showing Iraqis as innocent victims (and many are) and soldiers as uncultured killers he talks about how sad it is that they have to be over there and shows injured soldiers and most dramatically the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. The contradiction is glaring to anyone who sees the movie with anything other than frothing-at-the-mouth partisanship. To cut a whole half hour of the movie making soldiers looking like dolts and then turn around and cast them as heroes is sloppy filmmaking and the fact that this won the Palme d'Or really just proves that the French are more interested in hating Americans than they are in promoting anything useful.

The other part of the movie deals with Bush's ties to the Saudis, the bin Ladens, the Taliban and others. The implicit (and often explicit) suggestion is that Bush was glad that 9/11 happened, that he consciously let it happen and perhaps even had some inkling of when it was coming. It shows the 7 minutes between when Bush was told of the attacks and when he left the classroom he was in- something Moore suggests was sinister in nature- and he says "I wonder what he was thinking? Maybe- I've been hanging with the wrong crowd." Essentially, he says that Bush was affiliated with the conspirators of 9/11. This is slander at its worst. I hate George Bush, but I do not believe that he wanted 9/11 to happen, that he knew it would happen the way that it did or that he was glad that it happened. This is worse than when GOPers suggested that Bill Clinton killed Vince Foster. Where is the left's outrage at Moore's viciousness? Yes, Bush had some pretty vague ties to bin Laden's dad in the 1970s- Salem bin Laden had James R. Bath invest his money in Texas, Bath- being in the oil business like Bush- came to know Bush and put some money into Bush's doomed oil exploration business. To try and draw a line- either explicitly or implicitly- from this to 9/11 is idiotic and despicable.

Finally, he also is terribly inaccurate. When he is decrying the USA PATRIOT Act- something that is probably justified, though it is not nearly as bad as most of the left says it is- he cites two cases of post-Patriot Act overstepping by the authorities. The first is the case of an undercover Fresno (CA) police officer infiltrating a local peace group and the second is the case of a man whose friends called the FBI after he suggested that Bush was as bad as bin Laden (a disgusting bit of slander that Moore lets go unchallenged). The problem with this is that neither of these two cases have anything to do with the Patriot Act. Long before the Act police officers could infiltrate whatever groups they wanted to, provided they didn't violate anyone's constitutional rights, and long before that people could rat their friends out the the FBI and the FBI could question those friends. He suggests that these are the result of the Patriot Act, but in fact they have absolutely nothing to do with the law, a case of either willful dishonesty or of lazy filmmaking on Moore's part.

This all adds up to one thing- demagoguery. Moore is no better, and in fact may be worse, than Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage or Sean Hannity. He makes very tenuous connections, outrageous statements and unbridled ideology to slander his political opponents and to appeal to the worst instincts in his base of support. He may be worse because he essentially indicts Bush in the deaths of 3,000 Americans on 9/11. I hated this movie and I promise to never pay to see another Michael Moore movie ever again.

I'm surprised the Republians haven't raised a much bigger stink about this. All they'd have to do is talk about how he portrays Baathist Iraq as a happy place and then suggests that we are worse than Saddam, or the portrayal of our soldiers, or the implication that Bush let 9/11 happen, or the fact that towards the end of the movie he lets a woman calls Bush "the real terrorist" and suggests that he is worse than bin Laden and the claim goes unchallenged, or the factual inaccuracies. Any one of these would make Moore and all of his left-wing standard-bearers look ridiculous, which frankly they already do.

This movie angered me and the response to it is even more enervating and I think that it is important that my opinion be put on the record as well. So here it is- right in the middle of liberal land. I hate Farenheit 9/11 and I think that it is shameful that we would embrace such a piece of despicable garbage.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 02:12 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Should Kerry / Edwards Opt Out of Public Funding?

By Byron LaMasters

The Hill says that John Kerry is considering opting out of public funding for the general election (also noted on Political Wire). Basically, Kerry will receive $75 Million after he is nominated for the general election campaign after he receives the nomination, but is not allowed to raise or spend any other money. By opting out, Kerry could raise and spend as much as he would like. There's two questions here. Could Kerry / Edwards raise over $75 Million between the convention and election day? Yes. Should Kerry / Edwards then deny public funding to be able to spend more, though? That's a much more difficult question, and my gut instinct says no. Here's why.

Based on John Kerry's fundraising since March, I believe that it is realistic to suggest that in the three (and change) months between the convention and election day, Kerry / Edwards could raise another $100-$150 Million. This would increase the amount that Kerry / Edwards could spend in the general election campaign by 33-100%, which would easily neutralize any Bush advantage generated from the late GOP convention. Still, the idea doesn't make sense. Say that Kerry / Edwards is able to raise $100 Million between the convention and election day. That is effectively $400 Democratic dollars being spent to generate an additional $100 in campaign funds for Kerry. Even if Kerry / Edwards raises $150 Million after the convention - it would be a truly astonishing figure - but it would also mean that every $200 raised would only generate an extra $100 in campaign funds. Wouldn't it make more sense for Kerry to take the $75 Million and then urge his supporters to give money to the DNC? Or to state parties in swing states? Or to Congressional candidates (especially those in swing states)? By opting out of the $75 Million in public funds, Kerry / Edwards would probably be able to raise more hard money for their campaign, but is it really worth another $25-50 Million, when $50-100 could be raised for nearly the same purpose?

Pandagon also advises Kerry / Edwards not to opt out for a different reason. Television ads this year really haven't been all that effective. There's no smoking gun with either Bush or Kerry. There's no Willie Horton, there's no Daisy. $75 Million gives Kerry / Edwards more than enough money to run an effective television campaign through election day, while state parties and the DNC can probably handle most of the GOTV.

My DD takes the other side. He thinks it's a no-brainer, and that Democrats could spin it as an issue of fiscal responsibility. Kerry / Edwards could boast that they're saving taxpayers $75 Million, while Bush / Cheney is just playing the same tired old game of Republican borrow and spend economics.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Metrosexual Ticket

By Byron LaMasters

And that's a problem to some National Review columnists:

The JFK wannabes know the centrality of image to Kennedy's magic. Between Kerry's expensive haircuts and Edwards's hair-sprayed bangs, my guess is that no presidential ticket in the history of the planet has cared so much about personal grooming. When the ticketmates travel together, there will probably be stiff competition for the mirror and hair products. Teresa herself has gotten into the act, recently pronouncing herself "sexy" — an odd boast for someone auditioning for a job that usually involves reading to schoolchildren.

Sounds like someone is a little bit insecure there.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:32 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

They May Take Our Lives, But They Will Never Take Our Cocktail Sauce

By Jim Dallas

Brad DeLong catches the Bush administration raising your taxes again.

True, this may (or may not) provide temporary relief for some Gulf Coast shrimpers, but a 49 percent tariff is a little steep, no?

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2004

Bush is Worried About North Carolina

By Byron LaMasters

Or else the campaign wouldn't have started running ads in North Carolina:

For Friday's launch, Bush's campaign plans to roll out new ads. It started running a commercial Wednesday on national cable networks featuring GOP Sen. John McCain praising Bush. That ad also could run in local media markets in the 19 states where Bush will go back on the air starting Friday.

On Wednesday, Kerry began airing ads in Edwards' home state, and his campaign unveiled new commercials that say Kerry will "fight for the middle class," while being "tough and smart" on the war on terror. The ads don't mention Bush, but they attempt to subtly contrast his proposals with Kerry's.

Kerry's campaign also boosted its ad spending to $18 million for July by buying more airtime in small media markets where it had been advertising at lower levels. In all, Kerry is on the air in media markets in 19 states.

Bush won North Carolina by 13 points in 2000, but he must go on the air there to keep Kerry from making inroads on traditionally Republican turf. Democrats hope Edwards can help put the state — and its 15 electoral votes — in play, along with other Southern venues. The new Democratic ticket campaigned in Florida on Wednesday night.


By the way, check out the latest Kerry ads. They touch a bunch of issues, and there's a few bio spots mixed in. The best of the bunch is the "Team for America" ad touting Kerry and Edwards.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shocker! Bush Leads Kerry in Texas

By Byron LaMasters

Rasmussen Reports has Bush leading by a 55-37% margin.

Thats close to the margin in which Bush defeated Gore in Texas in 2000 - 59-38%. Thus, Kerry is doing marginally better than Gore in Texas, but not close enough to make a difference. However, it will be interesting to see if Edwards helps the ticket in Texas. Texas won't be targetted, but if Kerry / Edwards gets into the mid-forties in Texas (I think a realistic possibility, although low-forties is certainly more probable), then it would bode well for Democrats here in 2006. Regardless, boosting the Kerry/Edwards vote in Texas serves several important purposes. First, it helps our congressional candidates. Second, it helps our state representative and statewide candidates. And third, it can help give Kerry / Edwards more of a mandate when they win in November by increasing their popular vote margin. Either way, I'd be very surprised if Kerry does not improve upon Gore's showing in Texas. In 2000, lots of Democrats and Independents voted for Bush, because he was our popular and relatively moderate governor. However, as we all know, he has radically shifted from a moderate Republican / compassionate conservative to a right-wing ideolouge as President. Also, Ralph Nader will not be on the ballot in Texas. Expect the 2-3% of votes that would go to Nader, to go to Kerry. In 2000, Bush carried both Dallas and Travis (Greater Austin - where Nader won 10% of the vote) Counties. I would be willing to bet that Kerry carries both counties (Travis easily, and Dallas by a small margin) this time.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:43 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Fight Fire with Fire

By Karl-Thomas Musselman


Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 05:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

No one wants to hear your stupid Vietnam stories!

By Jim Dallas

Slate notes that John Edwards is the first national-ticket candidate to have been too young to get drafted for the Vietnam War; he didn't turn 18 until the war was practically coming to an end.

[parody of what they said about Clinton in '92]Finally, somebody who represents our generation![/[parody]

Note: lest anyone be offended or think I am making light of the great sacrifice many of our elders made in Vietnam, the line for the title comes from the Degenatron! ad in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Idiots...

By Byron LaMasters

The New York Post eats crow:



You gotta love their correction today:


Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.) — whom The Post incorrectly reported yesterday would be tapped as Kerry's running mate — and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack were among others known to be under consideration.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Genocide, schmenocide.

By Jim Dallas

Ezra over at Pandagon clearly does not understand why I spent so many hours watching Sex and the City.

Jesse, on the other hand (scroll down to the part referencing Hillary Clinton)...

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Dynamic Duo!

By Jim Dallas

Brought to you by Jim D, the GIMP 2.0, and about a half-dozen margaritas. Whoooooooooooo...

(Perhaps the legislature will take up anti-drunken-Photoshopping legislation during the next session?)

kerryedwards.gif

I'm listening to a Bruce Springsteen album right now, and the Boss says steal this picture if you want.

This jpeg inspired by the following DailyKos commenter.

I think I'm gonna pass out now.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 12:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2004

Texas Tuesdays: Mark Strama

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

(bumped up, Interview Link added)

It's Texas Tuesdays! And though it will be swallowed up by Kerry's VP announcment, please do take the time to read about today's Candidate: Mark Strama who is running for State Representative in North Austin/Pflugerville in District 50.

The official posts are as follows:

The first is about the Race.

The second is mine about the Campaign Academy (which I'm in).

The third is an interview with Mark Strama.

So read, visit his website, and then donate to one of the hottest Texas House Races in the state. (add .01 for the Internet. Give us something to report back to you!)

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 05:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

It's Missing - Haha

By Byron LaMasters

Remember the "exclusive" New York Post story citing Dick Gephardt as Kerry's choice? Well, follow that link now and guess what? It redirects to this address: http://www.nypost.com/missing/missing.htm

Haha. Stupid Rupert Murdoch. Go Kerry / Edwards!

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Very Tight Ship

By Andrew Dobbs

The fact that nobody, most amusingly the New York Post, knew who the VP was shows that the Kerry camp is running one of the tightest ships in political history. Literally no one knew who the nominee would be and according to Kerry himself there were several others that almost made it that were never even mentioned by the media. Democrats have a problem with keeping things secret- witness the perpetual leakiness of the Clinton Administration- and so this is promising. I think that this ticket is doing all of the right things.

Furthermore, can you name one big bad thing that they've done? Can anyone think of any single monumental blunder or strategic misstep? The fact that he has gone 4 months without fucking up is pretty significant. Gore 86ed Clinton, Clinton had the sex stuff, Mondale picked a crappy running mate, etc. So far Kerry hasn't screwed up anything and he's had a lot of time to do it. He's doing a hell of a job and slow and steady is likely to do the trick.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This Kerry Edwards Ought to be Happy

By Byron LaMasters

It might not be much fun to be named Carey Edwards right now. But this Kerry Edwards is one lucky guy. His name is Kerry Edwards, and since 2002 has owned the domain name of his name - KerryEdwards.com. And, it's up for sale. I'd be surprised if he doesn't get six figures from either the Kerry campaign, a Democratic 527, or from some wealthy Bush group.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's Official

By Jim Dallas

This Guy's Life is Ruined!

And he's my favorite Houston-area afternoon radio personality.

OK, second favorite. After Outlaw Dave on KLOL.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 09:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kerry / Edwards '04!!

By Byron LaMasters

It's official, and I'm pleased. If you haven't yet, watch our next Vice President at the Texas Democratic Party convention last month, here. Check out Edward's homepage as well.

If you aren't one of the million plus people on the John Kerry email list, here's what John Kerry had to say this morning:

Dear Friend,

In just a few minutes, I will announce that Senator John Edwards will join me as my running-mate on the Democratic ticket as a candidate for vice president of the United States. Teresa and I could not be more excited that John and Elizabeth Edwards will be our partners in our journey to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.

You are the heart and soul of our campaign. You've shattered records and expectations every step of the way. Every time someone said you couldn't do it, you proved them wrong. Because of your incredible grassroots energy and commitment, I wanted to make the first official announcement of my decision to you -- more than one million online supporters at johnkerry.com.

I want you to know why I'm excited about running for president with John Edwards by my side. John understands and defends the values of America. He has shown courage and conviction as a champion for middle class Americans and those struggling to reach the middle class. In the Senate, he worked to reform our intelligence, to combat bioterrorism, and keep our military strong. John reaches across party lines and speaks to the heart of America -- hope and optimism. Throughout his own campaign for President, John spoke about the great divide in this country -- the "Two Americas" -- that exist between those who are doing well today and those that are struggling to make it from day to day. And I am so proud that we're going to build one America together.

In the next 120 days and in the administration that follows, John Edwards and I will be fighting for the America we love. We'll be fighting to give the middle class a voice by providing good paying jobs and affordable health care. We'll be fighting to make America energy independent. We'll be fighting to build a strong military and lead strong alliances, so young Americans are never put in harm's way because we insisted on going it alone.

I can't tell you how proud I am to have John Edwards on my team, or how eager I am for the day this fall when he stands up for our vision and goes toe-to-toe with Dick Cheney.

This is the most important election of our lifetime, and a defining moment in our history. With you by our side every day of this campaign, John and I will lead the most spirited presidential campaign America has ever seen and fight to lead our nation in a new and better direction.

Thank you,

John Kerry

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Merry Veep

By Jim Dallas

Woke up to find the "Kerry-Edwards" e-mail in my inbox this morning.

Veep Day - just like Christmas, without the screaming kids and having to pick up 7 tons of wrapping paper!

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's Gepwards!

By Byron LaMasters

Well, one source says he's seen Kerry/Edwards decals painted on the Kerry plane. I have no idea how creditable this is...

And this source.... well the New York Post has apparently learned it somehow... but again, the New York Post is hardly a creditable news source either.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Cafe Insinuendo

By Jim Dallas

Commenters on several blogs are noting a lot of rumors (example 1; example 2) among flight enthusiasts in the Pittsburgh area that the Kerry campaign jet is getting "Kerry/Edwards" decals put on it tonight in PIT hanger 4.

If you're in da Burgh, you know, go get yerself a picture before dawn.

(Damn I wish I still lived in Pittsburgh, even if the school kids used to make fun of my Tennessee accent. I was cast as the farmer boy in the first grade play.)

Also, readers, subscribe to the Kerry mailing list if you haven't and stay up with your caffeine fix. Scuttlebutt is that the official Kerry Veep Announcement e-mail should be coming down the pipe in the next few hours.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And We Helped

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Earlier in the week I had a post up about the Sandlin campaign job posting. Well, now it's down thanks to this last e-mail...

We very much appreciate your help with our search to find good people to work on the Sandlin campaign. We have since filled the field coordinator position, and if possible would prefer to have the spot that is on your site taken down in order to slow the amount of calls we receive. The posting did, indeed, lend itself to several good candidates. Once again the support is, as always, appreciated and we will continue to keep you updated with the campaign.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 01:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Veep Plans

By Byron LaMasters

The New York Times seems to have the scoop:

Mr. Kerry, said one associate familiar with the plan, intended to begin calling the major candidates in contention around 7 a.m. Tuesday to give them the news of his choice

The first public word of Mr. Kerry's selection is to be conveyed after the phone calls in an e-mail message to supporters who signed up on the Web site johnkerry.com, aides said. More than 150,000 people have enrolled on the site since Friday, when Mr. Kerry first promised to release his decision this way, his spokesman, David Wade, said.

If all goes according to plan, Mr. Kerry will appear at a big morning rally in Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh and announce his choice at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, aides said, before flying to Indianapolis to address a convention of the A.M.E. Church. He will then return to his wife's farmhouse in Fox Chapel, Pa., in the critical electoral turf of Allegheny County, to await the arrival of his new No. 2 for an overnight visit.

At some point Tuesday afternoon Mr. Kerry and his running mate are to appear for a wave to the cameras, which would provide, in time for the evening news, the first post-selection images of the two men together.

[...]

Mr. Kerry and his running mate will fly together Wednesday morning to Cleveland for an outdoor rally opposite City Hall, and then to a park in Dayton for another rally with, it is hoped, thousands of supporters. Both Mr. Kerry and President Bush view Ohio as one of a handful of must-win states this fall.


And it's either Edwards, Vilsack or Gephardt:


Senior Democrats identified the top three contenders for the position as Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa. Mr. Kerry's aides reported that placards had been printed with at least three versions of the Democratic ticket: Kerry-Edwards, Kerry-Gephardt and Kerry-Vilsack, though they acknowledged that Mr. Kerry could still surprise even them with a different selection.


I guess I'll be getting up early in the morning....

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 05, 2004

Who would you pick for your team?

By Byron LaMasters

Dick Cheney threw the first pitch at a minor league baseball game in Altoona, PA yesterday. Shortly after throwing the first pitch, he had a bit of trouble. The Altoona Mirror reports:

Was it a bad omen for the Bush-Cheney team, which is striving mightily to reverse last election's squeaker loss to the Democrats in Pennsylvania?

In front of thousands of Altoona Curve fans Sunday night at Blair County Ballpark, Vice President Dick Cheney dropped the ball, literally, during a campaign appearance.

A ball off the bat of Curve player Ronnie Paulino, just after Cheney sat down after throwing the ceremonial first pitch, went right through the vice president's hands.


Oops. Meanwhile, John Kerry went one-for-three while pitching over at the "Field of Dreams" in Iowa. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:


Kerry had just come off the field, sporting a Boston Red Sox cap and a new black Rawlings ball glove, after 20 minutes fooling around in the field, basking in the lens clicks of the traveling national press corps.

Accompanied by a dozen little kids, he waded into the chest-high corn beyond left field and disappeared, mimicking the movie. He played second base. He gently pitched to several pint-sized batters, calling all of them "slugger." He took three turns at the plate, hitting a weak squibber and popping a foul behind the plate that nearly beaned one of his volunteers before he slammed a towering shot into deep left field that required him to circle the bases. "Phew -- I'm out of breath," he gasped as he came off the field.


Easy choice. I pick Kerry.

Photos via the AP

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Terrorist Teachers for Kerry

By Byron LaMasters

No surprise here, but the National Education Association has endorsed John Kerry with a 86.5% vote:

The National Education Association, the nation's largest union, endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president Monday, the final touch in its campaign to drive up school spending and reshape the biggest education law in decades.

[...]

Kerry, who is scheduled to speak to the 9,000 delegates at the NEA convention on Tuesday, was endorsed by 86.5 percent of them. The Massachusetts senator offers many teacher-friendly promises the union likes, but he also advances ideas the NEA has long opposed, such as paying bonuses to teachers based on student test scores


Of course, this comes as no surprise considering that the Bush administration holds our teachers in the same regard that they have for terrorists:


Although a quarter of NEA members identify themselves with the Republican Party, the union has never endorsed a Republican for president and typically spends $9 out of every $10 it raises on Democrats. Its relationship with the Bush administration has been particularly prickly since his education secretary, Rod Paige, jokingly referred to the union as a "terrorist organization" and annoyed members with how he apologized for the remark.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 05:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Edwards?

By Byron LaMasters

CNN seems to hint as much:

According to several Democratic sources, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina interrupted his family vacation at Walt Disney World last Thursday to come to Washington for a private meeting with Kerry, without even telling many members of his own staff.

Sources said the meeting went extremely well and that Edwards' stock is rising with Kerry. Edwards was Kerry's strongest rival in the Democratic primaries, but has since become a vocal and visible supporter of Kerry's candidacy.

Edwards traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, to appear at two Kerry fund raisers Monday night, after which he is scheduled to return to Washington.


Charles just doesn't want to say anything more until things are official. I really can't blame him. Regardless, I'll be getting up early tomorrow to check if there's any announcement.

Update: The AP has this story out in the past hour also hinting at Edwards.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fahrenheit 9/11 Passes the $50 Million Mark

By Byron LaMasters

F 9/11 made it past the $50 Million mark on Saturday night. It's managed to have a good weekend (the numbers for the long weekend ought to be out tomorrow) despite all of the Spiderman mania. F 9/11 has also maintained a distant, yet solid second rating all weekend.

Speaking of Fahrenheit 9/11... one of the projects I was working on this week was voter registration outside showings of the movie. We registered 30-40 voters and handed out many more voter registration cards to people outside the Dallas County Young Democrats and Dallas for Kerry.

Update: Greg finally saw the film, and as he expected, didn't like it. Most of Greg's objections to the film are understandable. I don't think that anyone will deny that the film is basically made as anti-Bush propaganda. But, I'd also argue with anyone who suggests that F 9/11 is bad for Kerry. Both Greg and Richard Cohen suggest that the movie is more likely to turn off potential swing voters than it is to get people to question their vote for George W. Bush, because the film is so overwhelmingly biased against Bush. I disagree. Most Democrats who see the movie come out of it even more motivated to help elect John Kerry. Did I buy into every charge and attack that Moore made in the film? No, of course not. But overall, it's entertaining in a way that softens the hard-hitting rants that might turn some people away. John Kerry is not mentioned once in the film. In fact, the film attacks Senate Democrats for not allowing debate on the certification of the 2000 election. It attacks Tom Dashle and Dick Gephardt (the potential Vice Presidential nominee) for their support of the war in Iraq. As long as Kerry distances himself from F 9/11, he ought to be fine. His only problem is if he embraces Michael Moore (a la Wes Clark).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gephardt?

By Byron LaMasters

The Veepstakes Rumors are all over the place. Gephardt's not my first choice, but Kos has some good insight for anyone who might be a little depressed with a Gephardt pick:

There are a lot worse choices than Gephardt. And a defense of the guy will be forthcoming sometime Monday, whether he is our veep nominee or not.

But a sneak preview -- Gephardt might not the most exciting choice, but he gives the Republicans zero ammunition. And that fits in nicely within Kerry's strategy.

Kerry may be boring, and he may not be inspiring, but he's given Rove absolutely no new material to work with. That's why the GOoPers have had to trot out 10-year-old b.s. to try and smear Kerry. Our guy has said just about nothing that can be turned around and used against him by Bush/Cheney 2004.

Kerry's team is operating under the C.W. assumption (correctly, IMHO) that a reelection battle is a referendum on the incumbent. Hence, they are fully expecting Bush to do himself in, leaving Kerry as the only alternative by the time November runs around. It may not be an exciting strategy, but a sound one nevertheless.

Gephardt as veep would be a natural extension of that strategy.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 02:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 04, 2004

Conservatives Report on Dem Confab.

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

This report from Gary Polland of the Texas Conservative Review... some interesting thoughts...

Now for the answers to questions TCR has been asked: a.. How were you treated? Mixed, many Democrats recognized me and were impressed we were covering the convention, others like Chris Bell said your Editor was "spying" and some came up to TCR and started attacking your editor, Bush, Perry, DeLay and the GOP.

b.. Is the state Democratic Party still on life support? It depends. The convention attendance was up from 4500 two years ago to 8000 in Houston with 70% new delegates. The grass roots seem to be on the way back. The elected officials, especially the legislators for the most part, are spoiled brats who can't deal with being in the minority. Some Democrat's vilified Representative Sylvester Turner for accepting the Speaker Pro-Tem and working with Speaker Craddick. The State Democratic party leadership is dazed and confused with a dismal record of fielding candidates.

c.. Why did Chris Bell just before the convention file an ethics complaint against Tom DeLay? It's just politics. After unsuccessfully running against DeLay in his primary that he lost to African American Democrat Al Green, Bell is a politician looking for his next opportunity. He sponsored a reception for delegates at the convention and got a coveted speaking spot for a defeated candidate. Bell's plan is to run statewide - Senate, Governor or whatever. TCR wonders if you can't win as an incumbent in a Democratic leaning district how can you win statewide?

d.. What is Dr. Richard Murray up to? Murray is smart - he understands the GOP came to power via advancing powerful ideas. At the convention he was circulating plans for a private funded think tank to develop issues, do polling and network to advance the Democratic Party. This means he D's are going to join the battle of ideas at a time where the state GOP is
losing its focus. More on this in a future issue.

e.. What is the mood of the Democratic grassroots? Angry. It's interesting, four years ago our GOP base had it with Clinton-Gore. Four years ago, the non-fiction best-seller's list dealt harshly with them, our talk show lines were full of Clinton-Gore haters and our base was highly motivated to get back the White House. If you were at the convention, you would know we are 180 degrees from where we were. Anti-Bush books are best sellers, a Bush-bashing movie is number one at the box office, the Democrats everywhere want to win bad and anti-Bush T-shirts were top sellers at the convention. TCR believes angry voters show up to vote.

f.. Did you have any culture shock moments? Yes, while interviewing the representatives of the Gay and Lesbian Democrats. TCR asked about T-shirts they were selling - one says "I do" and the other " I can't" - I'm sure you know the meaning - so we asked what "appeared" to be a woman what about Massachusetts and "she" said that doesn't help transsexuals. TCR believes that will be next if we let them legalize gay marriages.

g.. Any special interests that showed up at the convention that were no shows at the GOP convention? Oh yes! Start with our union "friends" - the TSTA (teachers union), the Plumbers union, Texas AFL-CLO, UAW, and then the liberal lawyers, and candidates - like Peter Brown (running again for Houston City Council as) a "nonpartisan" candidate.

h.. What remains the Democrats biggest problem? Their problem is still quotas and non-mainstream special interests. The National Convention delegates still are divided by race, gender, sexual orientation etc. TCR counted forty-five (45) separate caucuses meeting - from such odd groups as the Secular Humanist caucus, Progressive Populist Caucus, Lesbian, Gay, and bi-sexual, and transgender caucus, Medical Marijuana Caucus, and every race based group you can think of including three different Hispanic caucuses! These many caucuses get in the way of unity and divide the party.

i.. Any closing thoughts? Yes, the Democratic Party reminds us of the GOP in the late 70's, growing and expanding and eager to get in power. They have a way to go - with pro-gun, pro-life and pro-fair tax and others. There was much more diversity than our convention which may portend a recognition by some Democrats they are out of touch on some issues and need to be accommodating. A Democratic Party that mutes difference with the GOP on core issues, while speaking to its traditional base could be "back" sooner than we believe. The lesson to be learned is we need to work hard to stay on top. See our last issue for ideas on what the state GOP needs to be going.

And his predictions of the Republican Statewide's Dance...

Governor Rick Perry (I) Kay Bailey Hutchison Carole Keeton Strayhorn Secretary Don Evans

U.S. Senate
Kay Bailey Hutchison (I)
David Dewhurst
Any GOP Texas Congressman

Lt. Governor
David Dewhurst (I)
Greg Abbott
Carole Keeton Strayhorn

Attorney General
Greg Abbott (I)
Robert Eckels

Comptroller
Paul Bettencourt
Susan Combs
Matthew Dowd

And his background...

Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his ninth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last three years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant and can be reached at (713) 621-6335.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11, And a Parable

By Jim Dallas

Well, the good folks over at the Galveston Premier Cinema decided to pick up Fahrenheit 9/11 this weekend, which spared me the headache of driving all the way to Houston to see this year's winner of the Palme d'Or (why else do you think I'd go see two-hours of Bush-bashing? wink nod.)

I'll just go ahead and join the throngs of reviewers who felt (a) moved by Mrs. Libscomb, (b) concerned about the "My Pet Goat" footage, (c) somewhat confused about the Saudi stuff and (d) highly disturbed by our singing Attorney General (the guy that lost an election to a dead man).

But at anyrate, if by-gummit this is supposed to been a scathing indictment of the tragedy of the last four years, it seems to me to have lost itself, drowning in the sea of mendacity that is the Bush White House. Is it not simple enough to remind people that, nearly three years after 9/11, we don't have bin Laden in custody? George W. Bush has always had a slight problem in producing results. Getting bin Laden was, is, and always be the bottom line here in the cosmic balance-book.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 11:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

How do you say "Judge Ito" in Iraqi?

By Jim Dallas

Uhh... it's stories like this and this and this that give me the unpleasant sensation of believing that, if Saddam is half as smart as he thinks he is, he might end up walking free.

That would be anywhere from embarassing to catastrophic.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Let's do the time warp, agaaaaaain

By Jim Dallas

Atrios scooped us (pooey) on Joe Barton's use of the franking privilege to send mail-outs to constituents he doesn't represent; apparently this redistricting thing has got even the Republicans confused!

In short -- frank is meant for office-holders to write back home to the people that voted for (or against) them in the last election, not to potential future voters. Writing to potential future voters is what we in the politics business call "campaigning" (yes, Joe, I know it's a big word, but that's why they pay us the big bucks). And using public resources for that purpose without any other good excuse* is considered to be unethical.

If nothing else, this is yet another reason to vote for Morris Meyer -- he knows what time it is.


* Yes, just about every representatve and Senator uses the franking privilege to score political brownie points, but it's usually justified along the same lines that stockholders' reports are -- you gotta let the people that voted for (or against) you know what you're doing with their public trust. If a public company were to mail stockholders' reports to people who do not (yet) own their stock, I'd imagine that the SEC would deem that "advertising," wouldn't you?

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2004

A love story about two people who hate each other

By Jim Dallas

About four years ago, my father predicted the Republicans were on the verge of a total meltdown. "Verge" wasn't the right word, since, at that time, the GOP was able to rally together around (a) hatred of Bill Clinton and (b) love of George W. Bush.

Ezra over at Pandagon catches Andrew Sullivan observing that these two factors may no longer be significant enough to prevent catastrophe for the GOP. Are inter-partisan squabbles in Texas and elsewhere signs of impending doom for the American Right? Possibly; a boy can dream, can't he?

BONUS POINTS for any reader who can tell us which tagline for a Woody Allen movie the title of this post comes from (hint, it's after Take the Money and Run and before Annie Hall).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 10:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

State Department Karaoke Night

By Jim Dallas

Having been given the elbow by the Pentagon, the State Department resorts to drastic measures in order to get attention.

Hat tip to The Note.

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

I'll see your berry-berry and raise you a John Kerry

By Jim Dallas

Newsweek has an enlightening article on behavioral economics, specifically dwelling on neurological investigations into the mechanics of rational decision-making:

Much of Glimcher's work is with monkeys...Monkeys, obviously, don't save for their retirements, and you couldn't expect them to grasp the rules of the ultimatum game. But they do have a rudimentary concept of economic choice, and researchers have discovered a medium of exchange—Berry Berry fruit drink—that can usefully stand in for money in a monkey's mental life. To illustrate how monkeys make economic decisions, Glimcher's former colleague Michael Platt, now at Duke, has investigated how they value status within their troop. Male monkeys have a distinct dominance hierarchy, and Platt has found they will give up a considerable quantity of fruit juice for the chance just to look at a picture of a higher-ranking individual. This is consistent with field observations, Platt says, which have found that social primates spend a lot of time just keeping track of the highest-ranking troop member. It isn't known exactly why monkeys do this, but the finding might help explain the behavior of human beings who pay $1,000 just to sit in a hotel ballroom with the president.

Economics is a pretty abstract science that is good at guessing what people will do in the aggregate over the long-haul (when rational decision-making tends to rise above the signal-to-noise ratio of daily life). The problem is, according to the behavioral scientists interviewed, that much of what is often dismissed as "noise" actually has a logic to it -- and understanding this will be a necessary part of enlightening people of their own self-interest.

This got me thinking about the applicability of this research to political science. Especially in the shadow of "rational choice" scholarship in poli-sci, economic theory increasingly finds itself applied to analysis of political decision-making, among government officials as well as among ordinary citizens.

I'd imagine that careful attention to this sort of research could help to explain why people don't vote. It might also suggest strategies for encouraging civic participation, reducing mistrust of government, and building more social cohesion.

Very important stuff indeed.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 03:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Slightly less crazy than the crazies

By Jim Dallas

Brad DeLong links to Tyler Cowen's ripping of the Bush administration's god-awful Cuba policy. The White House is focusing on tightening the embargo and travel restrictions on Cuba, which will have the primary effect of eliminating American competition to European investment in Cuba, and just generally pissing people off. This is neither a hawkish position, nor a dovish position, nor a realistic position. It just basically defies explanation. And unfortunately, it's probably going to be the consensus opinion in Washington. Here's DeLong:

I should, however, point out that there is fine print: this kind of absurd, punitive, counterproductive, and stupid policy toward Cuba is not the exclusive province of this particular administration or this particular congress, but is the reflection of the structural strength of the anti-Castro lobby. Don't hope for things to become less stupid for a while, no matter who wins elections.

Exactly.

As I mentioned earlier, this is not a truly hawkish position. A hawkish position on Cuba would involve invading Cuba and carpet-bombing the Revolution.

Consider:

  • Cuba's Castro has historically been hostile to the United States.

  • The Dictator oppresses his own people!

  • Cuba is developing chemical and biological weapons -- according to exiles, anyway. There will be leftists and clear-eyed realists who will dispute this fact, but they hate America anyway, so we can discount their analysis.

  • Cuba is "with the terrorists," and while they weren't the masterminds behind 9/11, they certainly have been impeding our investigation.

It seems to me the argument for invading Cuba was always about as strong as the case for invading Iraq; indeed it ought to be stronger for the following reasons:

  • We need to finish what Eisenhower started before we finish what Old Man Bush started. Priorities!
  • Cuba is 90 miles away, not 9000 miles away. Basically, the state of Florida is a 500-mile long, aircraft carrier parked off-shore.
  • It's a lot easier to find 100,000 Spanish-speaking MPs than 100,000 Arabic-speaking MPs.
  • Because Cuba already has spiffy schools and hospitals, we won't have to worry about building brand new ones (of course, this might make it hard for us to use the "look at the beautiful new schools" line as proof of progress on the ground).
  • Oh yeah, they're Communists. And we don't want to be perceived as soft on communism, since our struggle against the communists is a struggle for national survival, and ultimately, Civilization Itself!

Not that I would advocate this course of action, but 50 years of Cuba strategery reminds me of the scene in Austin Powers where Dr. Evil lectures on the proper use of force:

SCOTT EVIL But what if he escapes? Why don't you just shoot him? What are you waiting for?

DR. EVIL
I have a better idea. I'm going to
put him in an easily-escapable
situation involving an overly-
elaborate and exotic death.

SCOTT EVIL
Why don't you just shoot him now?
Here, I'll get a gun. We'll just
shoot him. Bang! Dead. Done.

DR. EVIL
One more peep out of you and you're
grounded. Let's begin.

The more I think about it, the more I can empathize with Curtis LeMay.

Yes, invading Cuba on the flimsiest of pretenses is an absolutely crazy plan, but it would be a slightly less crazy foreign policy than, you know, the foreign policy we're actually adhering to at the moment.

What we need, of course, is a non-crazy Cuba plan (that might involve finally normalizing relations), but it isn't in the interests of the politicians in Washington to get with the program.

Posted by Jim Dallas at 02:42 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 01, 2004

Cash'n'Kerry

By Jim Dallas

With the second quarter results just coming in, it appears that more fundraising records have been smashed by the Kerry campaign. According to the campaign, the YTD total will be in excess of $150 million (at least 50 percent higher than President Bush's total), from over a million donors (and at least two-thirds of the money is coming in from the Internet, direct mail, and phone solicitations).

Posted by Jim Dallas at 07:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bush "Honors" Civil Rights Act

By Andrew Dobbs

So I was just watching Bush on CNN as he talked about how great the Civil Rights Act of 1964- 40 years old this week- was for America. He's right on that point, but its interesting to note that at the same time that Act was being passed George Bush's father was running for the U.S. Senate here in Texas on a platform of staunch opposition to the Act. Other opponents included recent focus of obsession Ronald Reagan and pretty much all of Bush's ideological forebears.

I suppose it is a good thing that the vast majority of conservatives have moved past explicit opposition to basic civil rights for racial minorities, but one realizes that the lineage of their rhetoric and ideology can be traced straight back to those who tried to defeat the Act. When Bush cries out against "judicial activism," he is quoting John Stennis. When he celebrates "states rights" he is cribbing the name and philosophy of Strom Thurmond and his segregationist compatriots. When he suggests that 3-5% of the population should be constitutionally barred from access to certain legal institutions, he is continuing in an awful tradition that began with those who tried to kill the Civil Rights Act.

Finally, while I do not think that Bush is an explicit racist and I know that he holds no candle for segregation, he has chosen to associate himself with those who are unreformed. In 2000 he infamously campaigned at Bob Jones University- a campus that forbade interracial dating- and said nothing negative about the policy. At the same time when neo-segregationists were arguing for the right to fly the Confederate flag over the capitol of South Carolina (a tradition that began not with the Civil War but with resistance to the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s), he declined to urge them to remove it. In 2002 he campaigned for and raised money for Haley Barbour in his ultimately successful race for Governor of Mississippi. Barbour attended events hosted by the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, was featured on their website alongside articles denying the holocaust and decrying integration and when asked if he would request to be removed, he said that he didn't mind being there. Bush was affiliated with him, helped him get into office and helped make him money. That is unconscionable and outweighs all of the nice things he says on days like today.

Bush doesn't appear to be a racist, but he is willing to turn a blind eye to racism when it means more power for himself. He certainly isn't a segregationist but he has benefitted from their patronage. I don't know what he should have done instead, but I just find his words empty when such injustice goes unspoken, and unapologized for.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 03:40 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Texas House Democrats Lead in Fundraising

By Andrew Dobbs

Some great news out of Capitol Inside (subscription required) this morning:

Democrats appear to be raising campaign money more aggressively than their Republican counterparts so far in targeted state House races this year. A full picture won't be available until candidates file semi-annual reports with the Texas Ethics Commission on July 15. But the snapshot provided by fundraising during the spring special session hints that the minority party is off to a sizeable lead in the dollars department in the battle for Texas House seats. In contribution statements filed by candidates in Capitol Inside's top 20 races to watch this fall, the top four special session money leaders were all Democrats.

The four Democrats - two incumbents and two challengers - reported raising about $207,000 combined between the start of the special session on school finance April 20 and the day it adjourned May 17. The four leading state House Republican hopefuls combined to bring in about $51,000 - almost four times less than the Democrats with the most successful fundraising efforts while legislators were in Austin tackling the issue of public school funding. Only one of the Republicans who raised the most during the special session is an incumbent legislator. Seven of the top ten fundraiser's at that time are Democrats.

TOP SPECIAL SESSION FUNDRAISERS Patrick Rose (D-Inc) $80,000 Mark Strama (D) $55,000 Kelly White (D) $46,000 John Mabry (D-Inc) $26,000 Ann Witt (R) $17,000 Martha Wong (R) $16,000 Yvonne G. Toureilles (D) $16,000 "Doc" Anderson (R) $13,150 Katy Hubener (D) $8,600 Jim Dougherty (D) $7,700

State Rep. Patrick Rose, a Dripping Springs Democrats seeking a second term in the House, raised by far the most of any candidate vying for for a seat in the lower chamber of the Legislature in 2004. Rose reported contributions of almost $80,000 during the 28-day called session. Rose's Republican opponent, Alan Askew of Wimberly, is one of several candidates in competitive House races to not file a report by the mid-June deadline. Candidates were not required to submit a report to the state if they didn't raise any money during the time the Legislature was in session.

Alright Mark! The fact that he raised $55,000 and that Jack Stick isn't anywhere in sight bodes well for him. Texas Democrats are tired of all the crap coming down from Craddick and I think that our candidates will do quite well this year. Of course, some of the big name GOP donors haven't shown up yet but this has got to be a good sign. I really think that we have a chance of picking up 5-7 seats this year if we keep this going.

Congrats to all of our House Democrats- we'll be there for you in November!

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 09:57 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

House Dems Look Into Impeaching Perry

By Andrew Dobbs

Perry woke up to this headache this morning:

A group of Democratic Texas state representatives is researching whether it can impeach Republican Gov. Rick Perry on corruption allegations, according to documents obtained by The Monitor.

At the top of the Democrats’ list of accusations of possible wrongdoing involving the governor is the contract between the Texas attorney general’s office and a Las Vegas law firm. The contract called on the firm to draft legislation on the issue of slot machines.

The $250,000 contract became public during a June 2 meeting of the Texas House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures. The contract was finalized in 36 hours during a weekend in December 2003 at Perry’s urging and is being paid for by funds from the Texas Lottery Commission.

The lottery funds were intended for the state’s Foundation School Fund but were instead used to pay the law firm, documents obtained by The Monitor show. (...)

The House Democrats studying impeachment, including Rep. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth and Rep. Pete Gallego of Alpine, said they also are disturbed by statements made by Perry about how the Texas Supreme Court will rule in a school finance lawsuit and the accusation of Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn that Perry misused a state agency to perform political opposition research on her. (...)

The power to impeach rests with the Texas House, according the State Government Code. There are three ways to get the process started: by proclamation of the governor; by proclamation of the speaker of the House if 50 or more members sign a petition; or by a written proclamation signed by a majority — 76 members — of the 150-member House. Impeachment in the House is followed by a trial in the Texas Senate, with conviction requiring a two-thirds vote of the senators present, according to state law. (...)

At least one Republican state representative, who asked that his name not be used because of possible political ramifications, said he was studying the impeachment process along with House Democrats.

“I’m studying all the options,” he said.

That's right- impeachment, and at least 1 Republican is joining in the action. Perry has spent an inordinate ammount of taxpayer dollars on political bullying, seeking favors for his allies and has used his office as a multi-million dollar operation to serve the special interests. Still, Democrats have to know that he has little chance of getting convicted so what is the intention? It has little to do with actually running him out of office, it is more about increasing the public's attention to his misdeeds and then spreading that stink over all Republicans in the legislature.

Remember that all we need are 50 signatures to get the ball rolling and now that the story is public there will be pressure on safe Democrats to put their name on the dotted line. There is an excellent chance that this will be coming down and focusing on the gambling issue (which has a very passionate opposition among a majority of House Republicans) makes it more likely that the impeachment will indeed come down. Perry has got to be scared now- Democrats are fighting back.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 09:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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