Monday, August 28, 2006

JAB Signing Off

I have been meaning to write this for a while. In the past months I have moved to Austin and started writing at and Burnt Orange Report and the combination of the two has left me to leave my beloved blogspot.

I started this site as a way to vent and never thought it would turn into what it did, and I thank you all for that.

Without your support and you reading daily and weekly, I would not be writing at other sites and for that, thank you. However, I am still writing and I would encourage you all to read and Burnt Orange Report. Come harass me over there.

I have a soft place in my heart for San Antonio and my first blog.

Thank you all so much. Your friend,

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

San Antonio Loves Their Mayor

The latest Survey USA poll shows that Mayor Hardberger is sitting pretty with a 60% approval rating.

It is widely known that potential candidates for the 2007 municipal race are waiting in the wings to see if Hardberger will run for re-election. This recent poll shows why it will be hard to beat Hardberger next year if he decides to run.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Playing Games with Our Right to Vote

The Republican Party has been playing a manipulative shell game with American’s right to vote and there is no end in sight.

The Republican Party has been at odds with itself since the 1960’s when the Voting Rights Act passed.

The landmark legislation eliminated many prevalent discriminatory practices like a literacy test and created Department of Justice oversight for any state that was at least 5% African-American.

American’s are use to the idea of the “Right to Vote”, but until the 1965 voting rights act and three subsequent constitutional rulings, there was no right to cast a ballot for any person. Reynolds vs. Simms clarified the rule set in the case Baker vs. Carr, and one justice wrote, “the right of suffrage is a fundamental matter in a free and democratic society. Especially since the right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner is preservative of other basic civil and political rights, any alleged infringement of the right of citizens to vote must be carefully and meticulously scrutinized”.

Since the late 60’s the US has even dictated foreign policy based on the rules of voting by dictating a just society gives every citizen the right to vote.

Why then has the United State stalled on renewing the Voting Rights Act?

According to the Miami Herald:
The renewal of the act was delayed weeks ago after some House Republicans questioned the validity of the `60s-era legislation, particularly some Southern states that argued federal oversight was no longer necessary.

Other Republicans questioned the need for language assistance for voters, among them Rep. Cliff Stearns, an Ocala, Fla., Republican who unsuccessfully pushed a provision that would have ended a federal mandate requiring foreign-language assistance. In Miami-Dade County, it involves providing ballots in Spanish and Creole, and in Broward County, ballots in Spanish.
With a recent ruling by the United State Supreme Court on Texas redistricting it is clear that federal oversight is needed and the rights of the minority are still at risk.

Republican leadership and Texas Congressional officials like John Carter think there is no racism anymore even when the Supreme Court has ruled that they have oppressed the rights of more than 100,000 voters. Lamar Smith wants to wait to vote until AFTER he has been elected chair of the House Judiciary Committee and has the ability to rule on the interpretation of the VRA.

Our nation and Congress has ruled to protect the rights of EVERY voter since 1965, and four decades later this Congress wants to renege on their promise to protect our voice in this democracy. Contact your Representative today and tell them to renew the Voting Rights Act today.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Glenn Smith: On the Sparks Ruling

Judge Sam Sparks today ruled with Democrats, ordering that Tom DeLay remain on the ballot in his congressional district.

Sparks' language is powerful and unambiguous:

"Political acumen, strategy, and manufactured evidence, even combined with a sound policy in mind, cannot override the Constitution."

In other words, DeLay and his GOP co-conspirators had concocted a political scheme to have DeLay declared ineligible to serve in Congress. This was all a ploy to save the GOP from embarrassment due to DeLay's indictments and many ethical black marks.

The importance of the ruling goes beyond DeLay. The Court has put the freedom to vote and the integrity of the Constitution and election law ahead of partisan schemes.

Ultimately, the Democratic Party's greatest success in this case is their steadfast support for the rights of voters, for free and open elections. This is a win for popular democracy, for too long under assault by the right wing.

Here is the full opinion.

Sparks Rules With Democrats

From the Lone Star Project:
Federal Judge Agrees with Texas Democrats
on DeLay Ballot Challenge

Federal District Court Judge Sam Sparks just ruled in favor of Texas Democrats who sought an injunction to prevent Republicans in Texas Congressional District 22 from replacing Tom DeLay on the congressional ballot.

Texas Democrats argued that the U.S. Constitution, not State law, defines eligibility to serve in the U.S. Congress. Judge Sparks agreed.

More details to come.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Vilma Luna Resigns

Nueces County State Representative Vilma Luna has resigned. At the Capitol, Luna is well known to vote with Republican leadership and ignore the D next to her name which has made her a Craddick darling and an enemy of the party.

The rumor on the street is that she will be offered a job at HillCo and cash out while the going is good.

The real question that arises is what happens to that seat for November? Luna was unchallenged in the Democratic primary and she had no opponent in the November general. Luna, has said that this will allow voters pick a candidate to serve a full two year term. Which makes it sounds like there will be a primary election before November, but I am not sure about the law on that.

No matter what, this district is overwhelmingly Democrat and I view this as a victory for the party. Like Al Edwards being beaten by Boris Miles or Carlos Uresti defeating Frank Madla... Democrats have picked up yet another D vote for January.

Anyone want to make the natural speakers race comment? A moderate Republican or rural Democrat might seem substantially more appealing now that Craddick is down another vote.

Philip Martin at BOR has the legal info.
The the county executive committee (CEC) will meet to replace Rep. Luna on the ballot. The CEC is made up of the precinct chairs from House District 33 (all 46 of them) and the County Chair in Nueces County. Solomon Ortiz Jr. is expected to announce by the end of the evening, and Danny Noyola Sr. is expected to announce as well.

Since the Republican Party did not field a candidate to run against Rep. Luna, they will not have anyone on the November ballot, and the seat will remain Democratic.

An "Unnamed Source" has done some fantastic analysis on who might replace Luna.


There are few details, but it appears Enron found Ken Lay was found dead in Aspen. CNN has more on the story.

First reports are saying that Ken Lay has passed away of an apparent heart attack in his vacation home in Aspen.

Kathi Thomas on Toll Roads

Kathi Thomas, Democratic candidate in Senate District 25, had a letter to the editor published last Friday in the Statesman.

Instead of publishing her full commentary, the online and paper addition only used parts. Here is the piece in full.
I agree with Rep. Rodriguez that putting all toll roads in East side of Austin, where more people are less likely to be able to afford them, is unfair, However, to force the 290/71 Y to be a toll road when the Fix 290 group's plan would save millions in construction, impact the environment much less (including Williamson Creek which contributes to the Edwards Aquifer) and eliminates tolls just because the West side "deserves" toll roads isn't a wise use of public money.

Instead, I propose that we don't need the toll roads at all. Instead of forcing some people to pay for roads, a wise legislature would raise the gas tax by the 2 cents per gallon that is widely reported to be the amount that it would cost to keep from tolling roads. At 2 cents per gallon, we'd all be paying less than we would for tolls, and it would be a much more fair and equitable way to fund roads.

Currently, we have a governor who touts his "tax cutting" while upping "fees" to middle and lower income people as a routine way of life, while his rich supporters get off with nice big tax breaks. People need to wake up. No tolls- and no one who supports tolls should elected on November 7.
Kathi Thomas

Monday, July 03, 2006

How Patriotic Are You Open Thread

Tomorrow is THE day of our countries independence. Some would call it Independence Day. Some say call it July 4th. Yet others call it the day of BBQ and beer. All of these people are right.

Dos Centavos has found a great test to find out how well you know your country.

Take the test and let us know how you did.

I got a 95%, how did you do?

UIW Supports 1st Amendment After All

After national pressure, the University of Incarnate Word has reinstated its subscription to the New York Times after canceling it last week. The Express-News reported the story Saturday, one day after the story broke.

Sadly, Dean of Library Services Mendell Morgan did not admit that he was censoring the press at the University when he announced either the cancellation or the purchase of the NYT subscription.
"In retrospect, I made a personal decision perhaps in too great haste and did not seek other input," Morgan said, speaking in front of the university's library. "I wanted to send a message in protest."
Mendell added, "I do abhor censorship and its implications."

It is good to see Mendell acknowledge that the cancellation is tantamount to censorship and that those that objected to the rash and sudden behavior had legitimate grievances.
But those who opposed Morgan's decision to remove the Times, including library staffers Jennifer Romo and Tom Rice, argued it was wrong to deny students access to the newspaper because of a personal disagreement with its coverage. Romo and Rice criticized the action publicly.

Though the campus was nearly empty Friday, two students who stumbled on the news conference said they strongly disagreed with the cancellation.

"What disturbed me is that Morgan didn't seem to realize there was anything wrong with his decision," said Joan Braune, a recent graduate and president of the campus chapter of Amnesty International. "Our tuition and fees pay for his salary and library services and he decided to speak in our name without any input."
After all is said and done, Morgan needs to be applauded for listening to the students, faculty, and community. However, it is sad to see a Dean act in a political way instead of consulting others and working in the best interest of the students.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Chris Bell Endorses John Courage as a MapChanger

Here is the e-mail in full:
With your help over the past two weeks, we smashed our online fundraising goal and advanced to the finals of Mark Warner's Map Changer contest. We also asked you to join is in supporting the other Texas campaigns in this contest, and you came through by sending John Courage into the finals as well. It's a great example of what Texas Democrats can accomplish when we work together.

Now as we start the final round, there are ten candidates from across the country vying to win a fundraiser with Governor Warner. Voting runs through July 10th, and you can only vote for one candidate. It's a testament to the strength of the Texas netroots that we have two Texans into final ten, and we'll need every bit of that strength to bring Mark Warner to Texas. That's why we need to work together to make sure we do not split our votes.

I've talked with John Courage and we've decided that, in the spirit of Texas unity, and on behalf of all Democratic candidates and activists across Texas, we will ask all of our supporters to join together:

Please vote for John Courage in this contest.

John is a great Democrat and a great candidate, and he finished the second round only a handful of votes shy of being the leading vote-getter nationwide. We believe that if we can pull together and get all of Texas behind John Courage and take him to victory, that we can accomplish a much greater victory for all of us across the state

Our new field director, Glen Maxey, is working with activists and campaigns all across the state to build a website at that will offer netroots organizing tools that will help Democrats win in November and beyond. If we can put John Courage over the top, he has agreed to use the first $15,000 raised at the Mark Warner fundraiser to underwrite the development of these tools and this website. These tools will help us across the state for years to come, and they will only get better as we build and improve on them.

The web site is under construction and is being developed as a open access site with lots of organizing tools for candidates and activists to use to register and turn out Democratic votes. It will be open for the use of local, state and federal candidates. It will be open for the use on any individual wanting to help the Democratic ticket or a candidate.

That's why winning this contest is bigger than John Courage or me. It's about what all Texas Democrats can accomplish if we work together. By voting for John Courage in the Map Changer contest, you will be helping all Democratic candidates in Texas.

Vote today:

Vote for Texas. Vote for Courage.

In unity,
Chris Bell

P.S. I need to thank you again for helping us smash our goal on our online fundraising drive. We set a goal of raising $25,000 through our website in the last two weeks of June. With your help, we ended up bringing in more than $40,000 from grassroots Texans. The momentum keeps building as we get closer to November, and I'm glad to have you at my side in this fight.