(Great to hear from John Courage, the Democratic candidate in SD-25 and last chance to stop Dr. Donna Campbell from taking a seat in the State Senate. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)
Only a few days after her Republican Primary runoff victory Donna Campbell is being touted as "as good as being elected" to take the Senate seat representing the voters of District 25. Before one general election vote is cast, before a discussion is held, before a comparison is made, before the 500,000 other registered voters in the 25th Senatorial District even have an opportunity to consider who to vote for, the San Antonio and Austin media is ready to anoint MS. Campbell, a virtual unknown, as our Senator. Our vote and our voice and our concerns are insignificant, because the Tea Party has chosen its Senator and the rest of us don't matter a lick.
Well I for one have something to say about that. In the words of the great American Patriot John Paul Jones, "I have not yet begun to fight".
I want the other half million voters in this district who do not belong to the Tea Party to have a say in this election. They too have a right to be represented in Austin. They deserve a Senator who will represent their concerns; a Senator who will represent all Texans. District 25 residents deserve a Senator who will represent all of us regardless of whether we lean left, right or straight down the middle. We do not need a person who will only represent the extreme ideology of a vocal minority.
I have lived, worked, raised a family, volunteered, served, worshiped, spoken out, celebrated and buried friends and family in San Antonio and Bexar County for over 40 years. I have worked, and played, and educated myself, and my children, from Austin to San Antonio, and everywhere in between in the district.
I intend to campaign until the last hour of Election Day November 6th. I want to listen to the voters of our district and hear their concerns. I want to inform and educate them about my candidacy and what I will do to represent them in Austin. I will knock on doors, call on the phone, speak publicly and privately to every voter of any persuasion who is willing to listen or talk with me, about the real issues that confront our district. Texas faces challenges in dealing with our moral obligations to provide an excellent education to our children, water for ourselves and future generations, and health care for all citizens, as well as transportation and energy for a 21st century economy. I will fight for common sense solutions for these challenges when I go to the Texas Senate.
With the voters approval I intend to win this race. I want to serve in the Texas Senate for every individual, for every family, for business big and small, and for a brighter and more prosperous future for all residents of District 25.
John Courage,Democratic nominee
Texas Senate District 25
Ed. note: Tonight, fellow blogger-in-crime Rachel Farris -- better know for her blog's nom de plume, Mean Rachel -- will be roasted at an Annie's List fundraiser. You've probably seen the ads for the event ads on the left side of our page for a while -- if you want to come get drinks and have some laughs at her expense to raise some money for Annie's List, come join us.
Conventional wisdom is a beast to be reckoned with. It is much easier to believe something dumb than to learn something smart. And once the dumb sets in, it can be hard to get it unstuck. Once stuck, conventional wisdom can stifle creative thinking and extinguish hope for new opportunities -- and make us all much more lazy in the process. When we become lazy, we can easily become down-trodden and all of a sudden, we don't want to fight.
Conventional wisdom -- whether in politics, or in life -- limits our ability to think big and to dream. In politics, we worry about conventional wisdom like "maybe Obama is a Muslim" or "of course a Democrat will never win statewide." But often times, conventional wisdom is something much worse. Maybe it's, "of course I'm never going to find a job," or "I'm never going to be able to do that because the world is stacked against me." There is a pattern of behavior that can take root, spread, and overcome the entire thought process so badly that it renders one inert and unable to move forward and strive for the dreams we had laid out in front of us.
Rachel -- even if she doesn't know it -- has shown me a lot about fighting back against conventional wisdom, and trying to do the right thing whether or not it makes you popular, earns you praise, or puts money in your pockets. That's real wisdom, and that's the kind of wisdom we need if we're going to win elections this fall.
So how do you fight conventional wisdom? I think it takes three things...
Recently there has been a national conversation about race and racism, but this conversation has been inadequate at best and detrimental at worst. The problem is that the conversation has not been about racism as a systemic and institutional problem, but the conversation has been about whether or not individual acts of prejudice constitute racism. This conversation then completely ignores the structural problems that create racial disparities, and therefore completely misses the point of what our national conversation about race should be about. Perhaps the most significant source of structural racism is the United States justice system, where justice is not always blind.
According to a recent study, a defendant accused of killing a white person in North Carolina is nearly three times as likely to get the death penalty than someone accused of killing a black person. This study looked at death sentence in North Carolina over a 28 year period, and examined 15,281 homicides in the state of which 368 resulted in death sentences. The results of the study where that the odds of receiving a death sentence in cases where the victim was white were 2.96 times as high as the odds in cases with black victims. This finding is not unique. According to another study, blacks who kill whites are significantly more likely to face the death penalty in Maryland than are blacks who kill blacks or white killers
Race is not only one of the determining factors in who receives the death penalty, but in who is stopped by the police, especially when police are racially profiling. In New York 575,304 people stopped and frisked by the New York Police Department last year, and information was gathered on individuals being detained to build a database on citizens who had not committed any crime. According to a report by New America Media, 87% of those who where detained where people of color. While Governor Paterson recently signed a law that made it illegal for police to randomly detain and frisk individuals and to compile their private information, this illustrates another example of the structural racism that exists in the justice system.
While the Statesman editorial board and writers have made some less than keen statements and pronouncements over time (twice endorsing George W. Bush being at the top of that list), today they must be writing in tune with the universe on two separate but equally "hell yeah" commentaries with regard to the Texas Governor's race.
There's something about Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison we don't quite understand.
As we all know, Hutchison, one of your senators since 1993, now wants to be your governor. As we all also know, her current candidacy has been something of a magical mystery tour.
After walking us through Sen. Hutchison's indecision over resigning and noting her original pledge to only serve 2 terms in the U.S. Senate as she callously plays with the concept of service while she serves in her 3rd elected term, they close with the ongoing mystery.
As she asks voters for a new job, doesn't Hutchison have an obligation to tell us why she plans to walk away from her current one if she isn't nominated for the new one? In the schoolyard, the phrase sore loser might enter the conversation.
I suppose it is of some relief to see the Statesman editorial board just as befuddled as the rest of us as to Kay's logic. But let's move on to the other gubernatorial player of interest- Faurouk Shami, who received his own slicing by the respected Ken Herman.
He pens some commentary which echos the above interview. The entire piece is worth a read.
...I was surprised this week when Houston hair-care magnate Farouk Shami, a candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, offered this explanation for his apathy about voting:
"I didn't care about politics because I didn't think I could make a change. Minorities did not get involved in politics, and we always thought we could not make a difference. Now we have a president called Barack Hussein Obama at the White House. He is minority. He is black. So he opened the door for an average person like me to step up front and be ready to serve this state of Texas as the new governor," Shami said at an Austin campaign event.
The downtrodden minority/victim role is particularly unattractive on a guy who lives in a 24,585-square-foot-home like Shami does.
More from Shami: "I did not care about voting because career politicians, if you vote for one or the other, what did they do? They put us in distressed economy and in a bad economy. So I didn't care. Now it is time for each of us to step up to the responsibility and the duties of every citizen to vote for the right person for new blood for the state of Texas."
Does it sound like Shami's new zeal about voting could be inspired by the fact that he's running?
Herman goes on to point out Shami's lackluster voting record, absent of any Democratic primaries but including a Republican primary, and his scatterplot contribution history including current Republican statewide candidates, Ralph Nader, Kinky Friedman, Bill White, and others.
Shami - with his promise to spend $10 million of his own money - is going to continue to be an oddity in the gubernatorial race. As Democrats coalesce around White, Shami may not be the toast of the party. But he sure knows how to throw one.
His Farouk Systems held its 2006 annual conference in Jordan. The company Web site says in an "attempt to bring peace amongst the Middle East and Western civilizations" Shami gathered "4,000 hairdressers from over 70 different countries ... under the banner of bridging the world through wellness and peace!"
Four thousand hairdressers. The Middle East. Perhaps they went to the Red Sea to try to part it. (Sorry. But comedy deity Don Rickles is in town and maybe he'll read this.)
I think Herman is on to something which appears to be an emerging conventional viewpoint- there is no real reason that Democratic Primary voters or the media should be taking Shami's campaign that seriously. Would any of us be honestly spending as much ink as we have on his campaign had he not pledged $10 million to run his campaign and millions more to other institutions and organizations around Texas?
In short, Farouk Shami is a Felix Alvarado with a much bigger check that doesn't bounce.
Of course, I believe Shami is well intentioned, and relatively more genuine in his intent than either Kinky Friedman or Marc Katz. Running for Governor isn't going to help sell that many more CHI hair irons, and I believe that there is a value to re-investing in institutions that could have a positive impact in organizing and voter registration. The question is if these positive elements that help to empower minorities and political change in Texas can and maybe should occur without a Shami for Governor campaign attached to them.
After being involved with Planned Parenthood for eight years, either as a volunteer or as an employee, Abby Johnson suddenly resigned this week and joined the Coalition for Life. So why would someone who had dedicated so much of their life working for reproductive rights suddenly not only change their views on abortion but on the complete scope of reproductive rights? After conducting an investigation and interviewing several sources it has become clear that this was not a spiritual awakening.
The story that Johnson has repeated is that she had a "change of heart" after witnessing an abortion through an ultrasound. According to an interview with ABC News, Johnson held the probe on the patient's abdomen during the procedure, and according to that interview Johnson was unclear as to the reason why she was there during this procedure because it was not a normal part of her duties. According to an interview with World Net Daily, Johnson said that for "whatever reason, the physician had called me back to assist with the procedure."
However, Johnson did not just happen to witness the procedure, and the procedure did not actually even take place at the Planned Parenthood that Johnson was the director of in Bryan, Texas. Johnson was visiting another clinic in the Houston area; she was there visiting a doctor that Bryan clinic was considering utilizing for abortion procedures. Johnson was specifically interested in the doctor because of the very fact that the doctor used the ultrasound, which makes the abortion safer, more efficient, and many believe more humane for the fetus. Confidential sources also confirmed that Johnson was pleased by the visit to the doctor and impressed with the procedure.
I know reporters always got reporters' backs, and that's awesome and I respect that. But this isn't like the White House just decided to go against a channel that occassionaly gives them negative stories. And -- despite what the Fox News folks say -- the White House (and anyone with a brain) can distinguish between the Fox "commentary" and what is portrayed w/ their news logo.
Just take a look at the facts in this simple, yet direct, video:
If anyone can show me the journalism displayed in that video, then I'll change my mind.
I absolutely agree with the White House's attempts to ignore Fox News as much as possible. I think reporters that blindly defend Fox News for this are devaluing their profession. And I think Republicans that want to make hay about this are only providing further evidence that Fox News is a 24/7 political operation.
Journalism is an important piece of our democracy: the fourth estate. However, over the last several years both the economy and the rise of technology have had a negative effect on the backbone of journalism: newspapers. Around the country more and more newspapers are in danger of shutting down, even in large markets such as San Francisco. It is also possible that a large city could be without a newspaper in the coming years. Newspapers in major cities have been able to switch to an online only format, such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. However, in medium and smaller cities, it could prove difficult for a newspaper to move to an online only format.
According to the Burnt Orange Report, newspaper publishers in Texas are considering sharing their content; this is the possible outcome of editors under pressure to produce news with less and less staff. Local media outlets have covered state and local politics less and less over the years; instead newspapers and television stations have focused on crime. In turn there are less and less journalist covering state politics in Austin, which means that politicians, lobbyist, and influential citizens will be questioned less and less.
I dubbed 2007 the year of the bimbo because of the enormous amount of time dedicated on what was supposed to be news channels, and even our plain old nightly news to the saga of Anna Nicole Smith, the trials and tribulations of Paris Hilton, and the various on goings of Brittany Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
Despite the fact that our country was fighting two bloody wars and the death of such greats as Molly Ivins and Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Johnson, one quarter to one half of the news on many nights and on many shows was wasted on the afore mentioned bimbos. 2009 is shaping up to be nearly as bad.
For the past two nights, the Rachel Maddow Show has been pre-empted to instead dedicate the full hour to Michael Jackson. Those "news" shows that haven't dedicated their entire show to Jackson, spent a quarter to a half of their time on story. Just as with the death of Anna Nicole Smith, we are getting a play by play on everything from the custody of the children to the location and details of the funeral and burial.
The coverage of Anna Nicole's death was over the top and excessive.
The coverage of Michael Jackson's death is turning out to be just as bad or possibly even worse.