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Friday, May 06, 2011


The May 2010 Elections

It's May, and that means that many municipalities and school districts across Texas are holding elections. Below are my endorsements for those elections in Lampasas. Needless to say, candidates who are throwing about the word "conservative" won't be listed here. If you want me to explain any of my endorsements, leave a comment and I'll reply with the reasons behind my choices.

City of Lampasas

Mayor: Judith Hetherly
City Council, Place 1: Jason Hamilton
City Council, Place 2: Robert McCauley
City Council, Place 6: John Cole
Proposition 1 (Library Expansion): For
Proposition 2 (Civic Center Construction): For

Lampasas Independent School District

Board of Trustees, Place 7: James “Jamie” Briggs

Election Day is Saturday, May 14. The First Methodist Church at 2 Alexander Lane in Lampasas is the sole polling place on that day. Polls will be open from 7:00 that morning until 7:00 that evening.

Early votes can be cast weekdays through May 10 in the office of the Lampasas County Elections Administrator at 407 South Pecan Street in Lampasas. The office is open during the standard business hours of 8:00 each weekday morning through 5:00 each weekday evening.

A special extended early voting option is available today, May 6, at the office of the Lampasas County Elections Administrator. The office will be open from 7:00 this morning through 7:00 this evening. I'll be casting my vote there when I arrive in town this afternoon.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Thank You, Senator

While being a Democrat in the Texas Legislature doesn't mean much these days, sometimes the few who are there make me especially proud.

I'll let an e-mail written by Texas State Representative Carol Alvarado and distributed to Democratic e-mail lists across the state say the rest.


We all remember that in 2007, State Senator Mario Gallegos literally risked his life by traveling to Austin to beat back the voter-suppressing Photo ID bill from his sick bed. Over the last two days, the Senator has once again put his service to the people of Texas above himself.

Yesterday, Senator Gallegos' daughter Melissa gave birth to his 6th grandchild, a beautiful baby girl. Today, the Senate passed the shameful sonogram bill that intrudes on the rights of women and on the doctor/patient relationship in the name of politics and personal ideology. Senator Gallegos, as expected, voted against the consideration of the bill under the Senate's 2/3rds rule and against the bill on final passage.

Honestly, no one would have blamed Senator Gallegos had he been absent for the vote - it was a foregone conclusion that the bill was going to pass the Senate, but he ultimately made the difficult decision to stay in Austin and fight for what he believes in.

Senator Gallegos has time and again gone beyond the call of duty and proven his loyalty to our party, our state, and our personal freedoms above all else. I hope you will join me in thanking my friend, our Senator, the Honorable Mario V. Gallegos.


Carol Alvarado
Senate District 6 Resident

I join Representative Alvarado in thanking Senator Gallegos. While neither of them officially represent me in Austin, they do a lot more for me than either my Republican Representative (Aycock) or Senator (Frasier).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Quote of the Day

For today's "Quote of the Day" we return to the wit of Marc Campos.

"If the Democratic Caucus of the Texas House of Representatives has any more defections, they are going to have to call themselves the House Democratic Focus Group."

You can read the entire blog entry that was taken from here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Quote of the Day

In the past, I've used my "Quote of the Day" posts to ridicule some terrible or stupid (or terribly stupid) thing that a conservative said. Today, I'm reserving the honor (dubious as it may be) for an incredibly spot-on observation made by someone on my side of the political spectrum.

"I was checking out the GOP U.S. House Speaker-to-Be [sic] Sunday night on '60 Minutes' and the fella loves to shed a tear and cry. If Nancy Pelosi had cried a tenth of the time that Boehner has cried she would have been labeled as not up for the job or emotionally unfit for the job or something like that."

The quote comes from today's "Daily Commentary" blog posting by Marc Campos of Campos Communications. I generally take a few minutes each day to read what he says. His comments usually make their way to my computer by way of Carl Whitmarsh's e-mail list.

I don't always agree with him, but today, Mr. Campos is absolutely correct.


Monday, December 13, 2010


Correcting the Chronicle

The Houston Chronicle got at least two wrong.

While there is no disputing the fact that Texas Democrats suffered massive losses in the November 2 elections, the paper did short us at least two victories.

The Chronicle's R.G. Ratcliffe reports that only one Democratic County Judge, Don Pozzi of Victoria County, won re-election on November 2. Actually, Judge Pozzi is not alone. Andrews County Judge Richard Dolgener also won re-election over his Republican challanger that night.

Of course, it wasn't an entirely good night for Democrats in Andrews County. Mark Hooper, the Party's candidate for Judge of the 109th District Court lost to his Republican opponent in the contest for that open seat.

In another race missed by the Chronicle, a comment left on the Ratcliffe story's webpage says that the incument Democratic Judge in San Jacinto County also won re-election over a Republican. A quick check of election returns from San Jacinto County shows the comment to be true. Judge Fritz Faulker did indeed beat a Republican to win re-election.

In fact, and as the commenter "SanJac56" pointed out, every Democrat running for a county office in San Jacinto County won. The comment was met with replies that question the intelligence and immigration status of voters in San Jacinto County. That tells us all we need to know about those who bristle at the news of Democratic victories.

So, and for whatever it's worth, there's at least a little salve for Demoratic wounds.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Guage Of Support

Without a script to copy and paste from, I'm going to start this post with some paraphrasing. Terry Jones, the so-called pastor who plans to burn Korans on September 11, told Terry Moran of ABC News that his receipt of some 200 copies of the book are an indication of the support he enjoys across the country.

With that thought in mind, let's extend the apparently self-proclaimed pastor's logic to its mathematical conclusion. Assuming that the widely-cited figure of 300,000,000 is an accurate count of the population of the United States, we can determine (thanks to this handy calculator) that Jones enjoys the support of 0.00006666666666666667 of the American people. In other words, not even close to 1% of Americans physically support what Jones is planning to do.

I take some comfort in that tiny figure. With all of the media foolishness surrounding the incorrectly labeled "Ground Zero Mosque" having resulted in majorities of polled Americans being against its construction, I was beginning to doubt the character of many of my countrymen. Thankfully, the act of Islamophobia proposed by Jones is a bridge too far for almost all of us.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


Thank You

Following my previous criticism of the Hector Uribe campaign, I was quite happy to receive what I did from them yesterday. In an e-mail, the Uribe campaign announced what I would call a major policy position.

In that e-mail, Uribe does an excellent job of laying out the problem and proposes an almost certainly lucrative solution.

"[T]he state has now used up most of the oil and gas on its own lands and the revenue flow which used to gush into the permanent education fund is now a
trickle. Adjusting for inflation, the value of the money from oil and gas leases
on Texas lands in 2010 will have dropped nearly 67% since 1984.

Texas owns the submerged lands stretching 10.3 miles into the Gulf of Mexico along its 376 mile coast. I have proposed that the General Land Office aggressively promote the development of wind farms on our submerged lands to provide a clean and permanently renewable source of energy to our Texas cities. I will ask legislators to support legislation that will require that at least 50 percent of the revenues derived from our state lands be generated from clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020.

Wind farms over Texas' submerged lands would create a new and permanent source of funding for our Permanent School Fund. Furthermore, the installation of approximately 5000 wind-turbines would generate as much value as generated by our mineral leases back in 1984."

I am glad to see the Uribe campaign putting out serious ideas for the serious problems that Jerry Patterson's failures have allowed to fester.

Last month, Uribe proposed to "extend the authority of the Veterans Land Board to issue bonds so that we can either build or purchase an existing hospital right here in the Rio Grande Valley so that we can finally have our veterans’ hospital that has been so long in the making.”

I hope that the Uribe campaign will keep up the good work. I'll try to do a better job of keeping up with them.


Fox News Is A Terrorist Organization

To be fair, the title of this post is probably over the line. With that said, if I practiced the same kind of propaganda that the folks at Fox News do, it would be well within their standards.

The parent company of Fox News, as it turns out, has a major shareholder that is also a significant benefactor of the imam in charge of the incorrectly labeled "Ground Zero Mosque" that they spend so much time being in a frenzy about at Fox News.

NPR is finally reporting the story long after Jon Stewart first brought it to people's attention.

"Yet the parent company of Fox News shares a financial backer with the imam who is at the center of the firestorm. The second-largest holder of voting stock in News Corp. is Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king. And through his philanthropies, Waleed has given generously to initiatives pursued by the imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf.

But that connection has not been spelled out by Fox to viewers. Fox's intense coverage of the Islamic center, combined with its lack of disclosure about the corporate connection to Waleed, has sparked scorn from some media critics and from liberals — including, repeatedly, from satirist Jon Stewart."

It would be in order for the rest of the media, especially those in the media who have followed Fox's lead in broadcasting the controversy around the proposed facility from hell to breakfast, would also report these facts. I won't hold my breath, though.

Let me end here with a question of semantics. Since terrorist organizations seek to achieve their political ends by terrorizing people (thus the term), and since Fox News spends most of its time running stories that are intended to scare the shit out of its audience, can't we really justify calling Fox News a terrorist organization?

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Sunday, August 22, 2010


Put Up Or Shut Up

Since we won't see anything of substance discussed in the media until the incorrectly labeled "Ground Zero Mosque" issue is resolved, I have a solution.

Angry, racist Republicans, put your money and your free market principles where your mouths are. The group building the project paid a little under $5 million for the building. So, all you rich Republicans should bundle together $6 million and buy them out.

Problem solved. Of course, Republicans would rather have a non-issue to scream about than actually work to solve a problem, so I won't look for this to happen.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010


Sisters In Stupidity

Radio hatemonger Laura Schlessinger has announced that she's giving up her radio show at the end of this year (conveniently enough, when her current contract expires) to regain the First Amendment rights that she says she's lost.

Apparently needing to feed on controversy, Sarah Palin has tweeted her support of Schlessinger. In the span of 140 characters, Palin also manages to accuse activists of taking away Schlessinger's First Amendment rights.

Ladies, please take your heads out of your asses. No one is taking away anyone else's First Amendment rights in this situation. Both of you have every right to spout all the bullshit you want. People like me have just as much right to call you on it. We also have the right to call your sponsors and radio affiliates (in Schlessinger's case) to make our distaste known to them. They have every right to respond by pulling their advertisements or cancelling your show in order to protect their business interests.

The only way in which anyone's First Amendment rights would be violated in this situation is if the government somehow intervened to stop Schlessinger, Palin, activists, sponsors, or affiliates. That hasn't happened here. It won't happen here. There is no First Amendment breach.

Now, I should probably take some time to explain that broadcasting is not entirely subject to First Amendment protections because the airwaves are a public resource. That's why George Carlin was able to tell his "seven deadly words" joke. It's why CBS paid a lot of money for showing Janet Jackson's breast. Read the Federal Communications Act of 1934 (which was significantly amended in 1996) and you'll understand why. Then we can have that discussion.

Once Schlessinger leaves her show, she'll still have just as much freedom as she does today to say the stupid things she does. Palin will have just as much freedom to support Schlessinger. Activists will still have just as much freedom to call them stupid. Everyone's First Amendment rights will remain intact. The only thing that will be lost is Schlessinger's current opportunity to say stupid things to millions of people at the same time. It's her own choice to lose it. The First Amendment does not guarantee her (or anyone else, for that matter) the right to a radio show.

For a pair of women who make daily use of their First Amendment rights to say outrageous things, it's a sad indicator of their lack of integrity when they accuse people who use their own First Amendment rights to make their outrage known of somehow violating the First Amendment.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010


He's A Thief

Republican State Representative Joe Driver admitted to billing taxpayers for expenses he also billed to his campaign. (Photo Credit: Texas House of Representatives)

Joe Driver is a thief.

The Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives from Garland has admitted to billing Texas taxpayers for expenses that he also billed to his campaign.

Driver made his admission when he was confronted with the findings of an investigation by the Associated Press (AP). According to the AP's report, that money went straight into Driver's pocket.

Here's the most damning information from the AP story:

"The veteran Republican legislator, faced with findings from an investigation by The Associated Press, acknowledged in an interview that for years he has been submitting the same receipts — for luxury hotels, airline tickets, meals, fees and incidentals — to both his campaign and to the Texas House. He has also been collecting thousands of dollars in state mileage reimbursements for travel in vehicles for which his campaign has shelled out more than $100,000 since 2000.

The AP’s review of hundreds of pages of state and campaign travel records found that Driver double-billed for at least $17,431.55 in travel expenses, much of it at fancy out-of-state hotels, since 2005. The number could go higher, but House travel records before mid-2005 have already been destroyed. Driver has been in office for 18 years. The double-billing figure does not include the vehicle expenses.”

Let me repeat one part of that. Records only exist to prove Driver's thievery since 2005. We will never know how much of a thief he truly is and he will likely never have to make restitution for any money he stole between 1993 and 2005.

Not surprisingly, Driver is one of those Republicans who spends a lot of time railing about taxation and government spending. I guess as long as that taxation is for spending that lines his pocket, it's no problem.

Almost as infuriating as his actions is Driver's defense of those actions. He says he didn't know that what he was doing was wrong. Driver goes on to claim that someone, but he can't remember who, told him that double-billing is an acceptable practice.

"Driver, former chairman of the House Law Enforcement committee, said that state ethics authorities approved the arrangement years ago, but he couldn't remember who told him that or when it was. He said he was told to just keep the state money and not reimburse his campaign for the expenditure.

The Ethics Commission says it doesn't provide such advice because campaign money can't be legally converted to personal use."

The Texas Democratic Party has called for a full investigation. Hopefully, we'll all get one.

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Proof Positive of Partisanship

The Fox News Channel's parent corporation gave $1 million to the Republican Governor's Association.

That news comes to us from Politico who originally got it from Bloomberg.

So, the next time you see or hear some Fox News promo calling themselves "fair and balanced," join me in a good, long, loud laugh.

One wonders how much of that money will be funneled to Rick Perry's campaign to get around those pesky Texas laws that prohibit contributions from corporations and require the source of all contributions to be disclosed. Perry's campaign recently settled to avoid a lawsuit that could have proven similarly illegal conduct the last time he was on the ballot.

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Wondering What They'll Call It

The McKinney Police Department identified Patrick Gray Sharp as the man who attacked their headquarters on August 17, 2010. (Photo Credit: KTVT-TV)

Imagine a scenario in which a angry young man drives up to a government building, uses his truck as an improvised explosive device (often called an IED for short), and fires at least 100 rounds at government employees.

If something like that happened in Baghdad, Kabul, or Tehran, the national media would trip over themselves to call it an act of terrorism. Instead, it happened in McKinney, Texas, today, and I haven't heard that word "terrorism" said once.

If it had been done by a brown-skinned man with an Arabic-sounding name, the national media would trip over themselves to call it an act of terrorism. Instead, it was done (according to the police who were the apparent target of the attack), by a white-skinned man with a name that couldn't be more American-sounding. I haven't heard that word "terrorism" said once.

To be fair, the police have said that his motive remains unclear. Even so, I know what news anchors would be calling it if the incident played out the same way but it happened somewhere else.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Core Conservative Values

With today's news that a growing number of Republican senators want to repeal the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the core values of Conservatism have finally become crystal clear to me.

  1. Conservatives love the Bible (except for those parts they ignore).
  2. Conservatives love America (except for those states they want to secede).
  3. Conservatives love the Constitution (except for those parts they want to scrap).

A fourth core value would be that Conservatives love private property rights (except when people use those rights to build a mosque), but I think the list of three really drives the point home.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010



To be fair, and as a quote in the New York Times article that inspired this post points out, "not all [car] dealers are shysters."

Those that are, however, can continue their shysterism unimpeded thanks largely to Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas.

As the Times reports:

"Sometime next week, President Obama will finally sign a financial reform bill.
Plenty of banks will have to deal with messy new rules, but one big winner in
the 'spare me from further regulation' sweepstakes was auto dealers.

Mr. Obama wanted the new consumer financial protection agency to oversee dealers and the loans they arrange for consumers. So did many consumer groups and military organizations, because crooked dealers have taken advantage of many young soldiers.

But the dealers prevailed, winning exemption from oversight by the new agency, in part through the efforts of Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas."

No one should be surprised that a Republican senator acted to protect a moneyed special interest like car dealers. What should be asked of Republicans, though, is why people who constantly pound on their chests and wrap themselves in the mantle of support for American troops are so unwilling to protect them from an enemy at home.


Cry Me A River

The Austin American-Statesman brings us the story of a former bus driver who feels he's been slighted because of his religious beliefs.

"A former bus driver has sued the Capital Area Rural Transportation System,
charging that the nine-county transit service discriminated against him based on
his religion when he was fired for refusing to drive a woman to a Planned
Parenthood clinic in January."
Frankly, I think that Edwin Graning, the "ordained Christian minister who is opposed to abortion" and is no longer a bus driver, needs to put on his big boy pants and realize that his rights don't trump anyone else's.

The Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) is a publicly-funded entity and that makes Graning, by extension at least, a government employee. If he was running some private taxi service, I'd have no issue with his decision. It would be his fare to lose. As a CARTS employee, he had a duty to provide the service he was paid to provide to anyone eligible to receive that service.

It's also worth pointing out that a trip to a Planned Parenthood clinic does not mean an abortion is about to be performed. Planned Parenthood provides an array of services. A half-brained notion on the part of some "minister" (especially one who hasn't figured out how to dupe enough followers out of thier tithes to avoid having to get a real job) is not enough to justify a public service to anyone.

I have to assume that, as an apparent religious conservative, Graning is probably also a limited government conservative. As such, what the hell was he doing working for a public transportation service in the first place? Once again, the hypocrisy of conservatism shines through.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Harold Cook Responds

Following yesterday's criticism on these pages of the latest press release from the Hector Uribe campaign, Harold Cook has made his rebuttal. I encourage you to read it and I thank him for making it. Not only does Cook answer my complaints, but he also provides a great deal of information about Uribe's positions on the issues in the Texas Land Commissioner race.

Thanks to Cook's rebuttal, I now know that Uribe has already debated his Republican opponent, I know where he stands on energy issues, I am reminded of his speech to the Texas Democratic Convention, and I know what a Commissioner Uribe would do about the Christmas Mountains.

Cook also reports that I can expect a written reprimand from Charles Kuffner for my suggestion that he and I are of the same mind on the latest Uribe press release. I'll link back to that reprimand when it comes.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010


Uribe's Ubiquity

Hector Uribe is apparently everywhere. At least, that's what his campaign press people (or, perhaps, person) want us to think.

Less than two weeks since his last campaign press release drew sharp criticism from this blogger, his latest press release is not much better. He's gone from bragging that he saved someone's life to bragging that someone is vicariously living his life.

I will make no attempt to justify someone falsely using the candidate's photo on an Internet dating profile, and I fully support Uribe's efforts to get the fictitious profile taken down, but to issue a press release broadcasting this foolishness to the public (or hoping that Texas media outlets will do the broadcasting for him) is just plain silly.

The tongue-in-cheek tone of the release makes it that much worse. Reminding us that Uribe is an occasional actor with professional head shots does absolutely nothing to make him a more credible candidate.

Uribe's campaign should be using its press releases to attack the Republican incumbent and to announce Uribe's own policy ideas (assuming they actually exist). There's a lot to attack about Jerry Patterson. His record as the custodian of state lands is a terrible one. He's also a pompous ass, but Uribe's campaign seems to be doing all it can to bestow that insult on its own candidate.

The man behind the Uribe campaign press releases is reportedly Harold Cook. The author of his own usually humorous blog about Texas politics, Cook seems to think that getting a chuckle is the sole purpose of all political communication. Sadly, that's not how politics work in the real world. This is especially true in Texas, where the reactionary right has kept Texas Democrats in the political wilderness since 1994 largely by scaring the shit out of people.

Thankfully, I'm not alone in thinking that the Uribe campaign is bringing mockery upon itself. I can only hope that Cook, Uribe, or somebody else in that camp will wake the hell up before November. By then, we may have all enjoyed a few laughs, but we'll have no prospects for a better Texas Land Commissioner.

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