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Username: Michael Hurta
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Created: Thu Feb 02, 2006 at 06:15 PM CST
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TX 35 candidates vy for support of Northeast Bexar County Democrats


by: Blue_in_Guadalupe

Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 07:14 PM CST

Today's Northeast Bexar County Democrats meeting was a forum for congressional candidates and the TX 35 race was the most hotly contested with 3 candidates. Patrick Shearer made a strong case for his candidacy and the need for a progressive who will not just vote the right way but who will be a real leader.

The club members seemed genuinely enthusiastic about his candidacy and one attendee told me that Patrick is just the kind of congressman the district deserves. That same person, a Hispanic male, was disappointed in Sylvia Romo whose case for her candidacy was largely "this district was drawn as a minority district and I'm a Latina, I represent diversity."

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 182 words in story)

College Democrats to Meet in Dallas: Is Texas the Next 'Big D'?


by: TexasCollegeDemocrats

Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 01:13 PM CDT

( - promoted by Phillip Martin)

College Democrats to Meet in Dallas: Is Texas the Next 'Big D'?

Dallas, TX - Texas College Democrats will have their Fall Conference September 18th at the Progressive Center of Texas located at 1409 S. Lamar Street. Speakers and trainings will be announced in the coming weeks. Dallas was one of the last urban areas to turn blue but Obama net gained more votes in Dallas than any other city in Texas.

Southern Methodist University Democrats, who won the bid, is the home of the George W. Bush Presidential library and is on first glance in a conservative area. In 2008, SMU was named #3 among all U.S. colleges for "Most Conservative Students" by the Princeton Review. However, SMU Democrats was one of only two college chapters to qualify for the full five delegates at the TYD 2010 Convention, was the second largest Texas delegation to the CDA 2010 Convention, and SMU Students for Bill White is the third largest SFBW chapter in North Texas, only behind Austin College and UNT.

Former YDA President David Hardt and current YDA Vice President Renee Hartley are from Dallas. The Dallas County Young Democrats is one of the largest Democratic activist organizations in Dallas County, and one of the largest Young Democrats groups in the nation. With almost 600 members, the DCYDs are able to provide strong volunteer support to local Democratic and community events including parades, campaigns and rallies.

Dallas County has been the most productive county in taking back the state house with 4 gains. Also, a Democrat running county-wide in Dallas County hasn't lost since 2004. More importantly, there are more recognized vulnerable Republican state house members in Dallas County than any other county in 2010.

The Metroplex represents a very real prospect for Texas to turn blue. Texans are folks who love common sense and aren't afraid to swim upstream. In a time when Texas Republicans are in the news shouting about "terror babies", stealing taxpayer money for personal expenses, and being recorded to work part-time for a full-time salary---people from across the Lone Star state will look at their ballot and do the only thing a reasonable, rational, logical person would: vote Democratic.

Let's get to work,

Texas College Democrats

www.txcollegedems.org
twitter.com/tx_collegedems
facebook.com/TexasCollegeDemocrats

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Let's Have a Little Perspective on White's Appointees


by: Elisabeth Long

Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 04:55 PM CDT

Today's article about Bill White's ethics reform plan in the Texas Tribune takes White to task for taking money from political appointees, but skims over an important part of the debate - what commissions the donors were appointed to.  

The Tribune reports that:

White has raised nearly $2 million over his years in public life from people he appointed to boards and commissions, the analysis shows. In numerous cases, he would have exceeded the limits his own campaign recommended in a proposal unveiled Wednesday.

White certainly deserves some criticism for proposing a standard that he himself has violated, but by focusing on the technicalities, the Tribune article misses the big picture.

White appointed active citizens and effective fundraisers mostly to positions on parks, library and arts boards such as the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the Houston Arts Alliance, the Houston Parks Board, and the Houston Library Board.  These are organizations that are in need of fundraising and public support but wield little to no economic power.  

Perry, on the other hand, is appointing his top fundraisers to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, the Parks and Wildlife Commission, the Texas Economic Development Corporation, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), the Texas Transportation Commission and the UT, Texas A&M and Texas Tech Boards of Regents - entities with significant economic influence.

Both White and Perry are struggling with the reality that individuals who are engaged enough to contribute to political campaigns are likely to also be individuals who can contribute to governing our public institutions.  Perry has long been criticized for his appointments, and White deserves the same scrutiny that Perry gets from the media.  But let's try to compare apples to apples.  LCRA controls 3,300 miles of transmission lines across the state and significant water and electricity generation resources.  The Buffalo Bayou Partnership oversees 20 miles of hike and bike trails.  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Students for Gun-Free Schools releases endorsement information for UT campus-wide elections


by: John Woods

Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 06:01 PM CST

This year, The Daily Texan asked every candidate in the University of Texas student elections for his or her position on the issue of guns in classrooms.

The NRA has worked hard to make keeping schools free of guns appear to be a partisan issue, but the Texan's fearlessness in asking about the issue in its endorsements demonstrates that student leaders aren't buying it. More tellingly, only two candidates are listed as "in favor" of guns in classrooms.

Indeed, with complete confidence that students will vote for leaders who are opposed to guns in classrooms, Students for Gun-Free Schools -- a student organization at UT and a nation-wide non-profit -- released a record of candidates' positions on the issue, as well as endorsement statements.

This time last year, there were two bills in the Texas Legislature that would have allowed students to carry guns in classrooms. Both bills were ultimately caught in the Texas House, after one (SB 1164) passed the Senate, in part because of the time and energy spent by student leaders on the issue.

Although Students for Gun-Free Schools was created as a response to such bills, the organization pursues other strategies for preventing campus violence as well. "Our focuses are access to mental health, and various measures which can keep at-risk students from falling through the cracks," said SGFS's Southwestern University chapter president.

The organization's statewide director, John Woods, had this to say: "There's not a lot of violence on college campuses, and we'd like to keep it that way. But over thirty thousand people are killed every year by guns -- that's more than terrorism worldwide most years. We have a responsibility to make students aware of these issues."

Volunteers with SGFS have also put together resolutions against guns in classrooms and in favor of closing the gun show loophole. They plan to introduce these at some precinct meetings Tuesday, in an attempt to unify the Texas Democratic Party around common sense public safety issues.

"Our biggest obstacle right now is getting the word out about our organization," said Woods. "There are so many troubling things happening in Texas that sometimes keeping our classrooms safe gets pushed to the back of the line. Students know about what we're doing, but parents generally don't."

Campus-wide elections begin Tuesday at 9 AM and end Wednesday at 5 PM. Voting may be done online at utsg.org, or at computers on campus.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Prickly Cactus: Cafe Goers Sting UT Leadership


by: zacharybidner

Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 09:52 AM CST

(Reporting on the Burnt Orange... - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)

With one merciless swipe of the pen, the Cactus Cafe was crossed out from the ledgers of the University of Texas and music forever. Or at least that's what UT President William C. Powers, UT Student Government President Liam O'Rourke, and Texas Union Executive Director Andy Smith wished happened.

I'm Zach Bidner, I'm a UT senior, and I want to tell you about the Cactus Cafe.

The Cactus Cafe is located in the Texas Union on the UT campus, and it is the only bar on campus. Moreover, the Cactus Cafe is the mecca of musical fulfillment for UT students, UT alumni, and Austinites for generations over. It is the place where nascent musicians are born and the old hands recharge themselves. Texas favorites like Lyle Lovett have cut their teeth on the Cactus stage, and as stars, they get lured back by the special intimacy of the place.

When I walk through the Union after class, I cross the monotone desert of Starbucks, Wendy's, and Taco Bell before I reach the Cactus Cafe, my oasis for authenticity. At the Cactus, singer-songwriter Butch Hancock has performed at such a personal level, that I could have sworn it was just the two of us in the room. I've also sung-a-long with the band Jackopierce and 150 fellow fans at the show.

On Friday, January 29th, the Texas Union Board, including SG President O'Rourke and Union Director Smith, recommended to President Powers that the Cactus Cafe should be shut down to reduce the Union budget. At a town hall meeting the following Tuesday, President Powers was beseeched by hordes of students, alumni, and Austinites to save the Cactus Cafe, some even offering donations to fill the budget gap. He repeatedly removed himself from responsibility by attributing the decision to the Union Board. Make no mistake, the onus is on President Powers. The board is merely advisory, and President Powers has the authority to accept or reject any of its recommendations.

Shortly after the meeting, O'Rourke issued a statement defending the cuts. He wrote that he understands the importance of the Cactus Cafe, but that compared to other options to reduce the Union budget, his priorities lie with maintaining operating hours and continuing to fund the Student Events Center. The Student Events Center is a branch of the Union whose website proudly announces events like movie nights, such as the Time Traveler's Wife, and open helium tank usage for campus groups!

On Saturday February 6th, a large group of concerned citizens, including many students like myself, formed an organization to restore the Cactus Cafe (our website is www.savethecactuscafe.org). Sensing our momentum, O'Rourke is already eating his words. Interviewed by KTBC on Saturday, he explained that his statement was misunderstood: the Cactus will not be closing; instead, students will replace the current, professional management. This is by no means a victory. I'm a student but I sure don't trust my peers to book quality acts.

Our organization has outlined a plan to save the Cactus Cafe while increasing student involvement. A non-profit support organization will be formed to raise funds and provide long-term financial support for the Cactus Cafe. An initiative will provide students with funded internships in the business and technical areas of club operation, working under the wing of the current, knowledgeable club staff. A Student-Artists in Residence program will also fund a number of students to play at the Cactus. Our organization is eager to cooperate with UT leadership, but so far UT leadership has ignored us.

Powers, O'Rourke, and Smith thought they could write this one off the books, but shutting down the Cactus is not like closing the doors of just any campus recital hall-especially without consulting the UT student body or general public before making the decision. The Cactus Cafe is too historic, too intimate, and too genuine a place to let go of.

Zachary Bidner
214-663-7116
zacharybidner@mail.utexas.edu

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Learning Curve; or, Wishful Thoughts for the SBOE


by: Michael Soto

Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 00:34 PM CST

(From a candidate for SBOE 3. - promoted by Matt Glazer)

Perhaps because I grew up an awkwardly lanky Little League pitcher, one of my childhood heroes was J.R. Richard, the improbably tall Houston Astros ace who was close to unhittable during his prime. Nothing could convince me to trade my J.R. Richard baseball card.

Not a championship season Willie Stargell card.

Not a mint condition Pete Rose rookie card.

Not even an autographed Roger Staubach card. (The Cowboys legend was another hero, so mixing baseball with football doesn't tarnish my logic too much.)

Would I part with J.R. Richard for Stargell, Rose, and Staubach? It's just a card, right?

Wrong.

Anyone who grew up loving baseball knows that a card isn't just a card. And what's true of recent sports history is truer still of America's intricate and splendid past.

The ongoing debate surrounding social studies standards in Texas public schools too often sounds like an unfunny parody of baseball card trading done by bratty kids who never really played the game.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 374 words in story)

Why I Filed for TX-10 by Ted Ankrum


by: Ted Ankrum

Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 05:32 PM CST

I never expected to do this.  It was so unlikely that I had let the domain name registration tedankrum.com lapse.  Of course, it was picked up by a porno site.  I did it because Michael McCaul is such a bad Representative he should never be allowed to run unopposed.  That was the theme of the radio interview I did on KWHI radio this morning (there is some advantage to having run in '06 and being in people's rolodex's).  Now, I'm scrambling to register with the FEC (this came together on the Sunday before filing closed), so that I can get an ACTBlue page.  Kernan Hornberg is working on a template for a website.  Thank goodness I had not closed the bank account (because I still had campaign debts from 2006)so I was able to write the filing fee check from a Campaign account.  Jack McDonald provided a substantial part of the money for that, with some more for the General Election Campaign and Ron Coldiron the rest.

The '06 Campaign put me on record for many things and if one Googles Ted Ankrum, much of that remains.  Many of my positions will need to be updated, though.  I think the Senate Health Care Plan leaves much to be desired, but if that is what we get; take it for now and fix it later--in particular the part that still keeps health care costs on the backs of our companies.  We always seem to be one war behind.  We fought Iraq when we should have finished Afganistan when it was easy.  The most recent attack came from Yemen, just as we are ramping up in Afganistan. Our President says that Afganistan is not Vietnam or Iraq and I agree with him.  It's mired in the time of Alexander the Great and it breaks my heart that our troops are dying to prop up a feudal and corrupt regime.  Our fight is with the terrorists, not the Taliban and we ought to concentrate on them where they are--and they aren't in Afganistan.  I think there are far too few military veterans, and combat veterans in particular, among our political leaders.  If there were more, there might be a different perspective on where and who we choose to fight.  Our military leaders fight the wars they are presented with.  Our political leaders are the ones that do the picking.  There is more to discuss on Cap and Trade and Financial Regulation but I'll save all that for the future.

I got an artificial shoulder last January (the VA now rates me as 100% disabled) and I'm scheduled for an artificial knee on Feb 2. It wasn't an IED that got me in Vietnam, it was an East German anti-tank mine; but the effect is the same.  One doesn't let these availabilites slip, so I'll be good for nothing the first week of February.  I told you I never expected to do this run.

I can't promise you that I'll win, but I will promise you to show just how bad a Representative Mike McCaul is.  He ignored me in the '06 race and that let me knock 10% off his expected results.  Ever since, he's looked vulnerable and attracted stronger opposition than I could give him.  He really should have smacked me down in '06 and scared away any thought of opposing him.  We'll see what happens this time.

By all means support our Statewide Candidates as much as you can.  That's really important.  But if you have anything left over, I could use the help; no matter how small.

Ted Ankrum Congressional Committee 2010, 13707 Via Siena Ct., Cypress, TX 77429  

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Challenging the Second Wave of the Texas Coal Rush


by: Texas Sierra Club

Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 01:03 PM CST

( - promoted by Phillip Martin)

 Today’s the last day to formally ask the EPA to enforce the Clean Air Act in Texas.   

 

Sierra Club our environmental partners, bicyclists, medical communities, and interfaith partners delivered comments last week from more than 2,000 Texans to officials at the Region 6 headquarters of

 

 

the EPA in Dallas and we want them to hear from even more of us today!   Here’s the story on KERA public radio in Dallas.   

What’s all the fuss about?  More and more Texans are realizing that Texas is in the problematic position of having more proposed coal plants than any other state in the nation.  With 12 in various stages of construction or permitting challenges, Michigan, second worst with 4 planned coal plants, leaves Texas in the really big dust 

Texans are learning that coal plants make people sick.   Medical practitioners have become increasingly involved in opposing Texas coal plants – particularly in Corpus Christi, the site of the proposed Las Brisas pet coke plant;  in Austin, which could become the first municipal utility in the state to reject coal; and in Dallas, which is downwind of the majority of Texas existing coal plants and has been in non-attainment of federal air quality standards. At the EPA last week, Dallas-based pediatrician, Dr. Karen Lewis with Physicians for Social Responsibility said, “Coal plants in Texas emit huge volumes of heavy duty respiratory toxins and we're seeing skyrocketing rates of asthma and respiratory illness in children.” Dr. Lewis addressed mercury pollution which leads to developmental and neurological disorders in children, “Doctors recommend that pregnant women not eat large fish and limit their intake of smaller fish, but can we talk about where the mercury in such otherwise healthy food as fish comes from?  The bottom line is that we shouldn’t be building more coal plants in Texas.”   

There are other reasons to fight coal plants.   Coal plants cost too much.   And, costs are rising as new, more protective clean air standards become law.   The new standards will place many additional regions of Texas in ‘non-attainment’ status jeopardizing federal funds and they will require coal plants to install costly new scrubbers.   Texans don’t need to foot this bill when we live in a state with so much clean energy know-how and wind and solar resource. 

Coal plants also cause global warming and use enormous amounts of water.  This is a serious problem in Texas where we experience extreme drought. 

Fortunately, more people are becoming actively involved.  People are hearing about the second wave of the Texas coal rush in part thanks to Forrest Wilder’s Texas Observer article ‘Coal Star State’ and also thanks to hundreds of Sierrans, our environmental partners and bicycling community friends who came out to Roll Beyond Coal at rallies, bike rides, and hikes in five Texas cities on October 31. Sierra Club’s long time chemist, former state regulator, and clean air warrior, Neil Carman believes that the recently appointed new EPAAustin Texas Roll Beyond Coal event Oct 31 Administrator at Region VI in Dallas can make a difference in the coal plant fight. 

We got a hopeful sign last week when a company decided that it won’t import PCBs and burn them in Port Arthur.  He thinks the new EPA can also intervene on TCEQ’s habit of permitting big coal polluters. 

Sierra Club will continue challenging coal plants in Texas and we need your help!  Let the EPA know today that you want them to block Texas coal plants and take a serious look at the 17 existing coal plants. 

 

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Young, Conservative, and Intolerant


by: liberaltexan

Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 09:13 PM CDT

The Texas A&M Chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas is a group of the most conservatives students on the most conservative college campus in the nation. However, the YCT contends that Texas A&M is not as conservative as it is portrayed. The mission of the YCT, as articulated by the Chairman, is to "turn a passive, silent, oblivious majority of conservatives into an active, vocal, aware majority" and to "defend and revive conservatism among the American people...before we lose what has made Texas and this country great and blessed." So how exactly are they going to accomplish their mission? By fighting "liberalism wherever it may be."

A new tool being used by conservative activist is CampusReform.org, which was created by The Leadership Institute, a Virginia based training organization for potential conservative political leaders. The Leadership Instituted, which labels itself as a "a non-partisan educational organization," includes such notable "non-partisan" alumni as Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist, and the "non-partisan" Karl Rove.

As Campus Progress reported, the Leadership Instituted launched a social networking site CampusReform.org so students can report and organize against professors that they view as politically biased. One of the main features of the site is the ability of students to rate professors anonymously, using a scale ranging from liberal to conservative.

There where five faculty members of Texas A&M University that where listed: Antoin Schwab, Ben Harper, Kimberly Brown, Tanya Weathers, and Terence Lamb. Besides being labeled as liberals they all have one thing else in common: all of them are African-American. According to the Office of Diversity, of 2609 faculty members at Texas A&M 93 are African-American (3.5%). The probably of choosing five African American faculty at random is 5x10^-6%, or one in 19,000,000. This gives the perception of racism because it insinuates that African-American professors are "not like the real A&M", and "not like us".

More Below the Fold...

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 489 words in story)

Austin Students Rise Up Against Coal


by: citizen.sarah

Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 01:57 PM CDT

Today students from across the city of Austin came together in support of Austin moving forward in the direction of clean, renewable energy. University Democrats from the University of Texas, Campus Democrats from St. Edward's University, the ReEnergize Texas Coalition, the University of Texas Campus Environmental Center and student Sierra Club members, among others, held a press conference to announce their support for a clean energy future for Austin.

Students also announced an exciting new development: The Student Government of the University of Texas has officially endorsed the call by environmental groups and citizens from across the city to divest from the Fayette Coal Plant and invest more in renewable energy sources.

Students spoke to points featured in Austin Energy's PACE proposals and proposals submitted by a coalition of partners including the Sierra Club, Public Citizen, Environment Texas, and Power Smack.

Students also discuss how divesting from the Fayette Coal Plant benefits students and the community at large.

Featured speakers included Brittany Dawn McAllister, Austin Student Outreach Director for the Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter, Andy Jones, Vice-President of University Democrats and President of Texas College Democrats, and Jimmy Talarico, UT Student Government University-Wide Representative and Legislative Policy Committee Vice-Chair.

Want more? Check out this video from the press conference, and don't forget to join the Facebook group "Austin has a dirty secret".

And an interview from ReEnergize Texas' own Jacob Bintliff:

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

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