Thursday, July 28, 2005

Every Race MUST be Run

Inspired by Greg Wythe when he bestowed the title of Honorary Texan on Paul Hackett, Texas Bloggers, led by Burnt Orange Report, Off the Kuff, PinkDome, and Greg's Opinion are calling today upon all Texans (and friends of Texas) to join ranks and donate towards the very cause we have been arguing for this past week- Run Everywhere, because it's what our Party and our Democracy needs.

His success is our success, not just as Texas Democrats, but as Democrats period.

"Paul Hackett is hereby granted "Temporary Texan" status from now and election day in the Ohio 2nd (August 2). I'm pretty sure I have no legal standing whatsoever to convey Texan-ship, but who am I to let that stop me?"

Certainly not us Greg. So join us today, in a special edition, Texas Thursday, for Honorary Texan Paul Hackett. Let's roll.

Chris Bell WILL RUN for Gov

From Chris Bell's Campagin:

Over the past half year, I have traveled all over Texas, literally exploring the race for governor. You have indulged me in this process as I sought the answers to some important questions, some personal (and Alison's doing better every day, thanks) and some of them public: Can a Texas Democrat win? Are Texas Democrats ready to try something different? Do people see what is happening in Texas the same way that I do?

Well, I have my answers, and today I am proud to share the news that I've decided to run for governor.

If you ever want people to question your sanity, explore running for statewide office as a Democrat in Texas. When this started, I had no clue as to how people might respond. I have not been that nervous about getting on the phone since running for Houston City Council the first time. Everyone agreed that it would be a tough road for any Democrat but, interestingly, the overwhelming majority of people with whom I spoke could also see that Rick Perry is creating a huge opportunity for a Democrat. They also agreed it wasn't enough for me to be right about Rick Perry being wrong; it would take a positive message that could unite all Texans.

As I've traveled the state, I've been talking about the "New Mainstream," the disaffected majority of Texans who know that Rick Perry couldn't lead a silent prayer. I've been talking about how budgets are moral documents that have both a fiscal impact as well as a human cost. And, as a public school parent, I've learned that parents and teachers across Texas share my frustrations with Enron-style accountability that encourages dropouts and systematic fraud by teaching our kids nothing as much as how to take yet another standardized test.

The best part of the exploration phase has been watching as people came out of their seats to cheer. Some memories have really stuck with me: the young college student who approached me in Brazos County, with tears in her eyes, telling me how inspired she was by what I had said; the pastor in Mount Pleasant who told me he would be with me all the way; the County Chair in Lubbock starting the chant, "Run Chris, run!" I won't pretend that people were responding to me so much as to hearing someone talk about the world the way it is, and not just the way it polls.

The one remaining question was whether my wife, Alison, would be up for the fight. I am happy to tell you that the prognosis after chemotherapy is as good as it can get. Ali has been my rock ever since we've been together, and there's no way I would embark on something as challenging as a race for governor without her feeling up to it. As everyone knows, she's every bit the fighter I am, and she feels strong enough to join me in this battle.

We're launching our campaign for governor on Sunday afternoon, August 14th, at 2PM in Austin, and Alison and I want you to join us there. If you would like to help organize participants from your city, please let us know. For more information about the launch rally, visit our website:

We are going in with eyes wide open, aware not only of the odds but also of the possibilities to achieve great things for Texas. I look forward to seeing you in Austin and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendship and support.


Chris Bell
Chris Bell

P.S. Ironically, as I was writing this letter, I received a "thought for today" e-mail from a friend. It was a quote from Anatole France that says, "To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." I couldn't have said it better myself. I dream of a better state and believe we can build it together.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Unite For Change Splits from AFL

SEIU and the Teamsters unions have officially split from the AFL-CIO. Andy Stern, the president of SEIU, has been threatening to sever his ties with AFL-CIO unless certain demands were met. The major conflict was that Stern wants each sector to be headed by a single union or federation of unions as opposed to the current format that can have up to 15 unions representing a division of the labor force.

SEIU also has been putting a major focus on organizing service sector jobs that cannot be shipped over seas and that cannot be fired easily. This focus on organizing "safe" employees has made it possible for SEIU to be one of the few unions that have still continued to grow over the past few decades. The AFL has been trying to get all unions together to run strategic campaigns and has been trying to figure out how to protect the manufacturing jobs, telecomunication jobs, and technology jobs that are disappearing in the states.

The AFL-CIO has continued to make its primary focus politics. While organizing is a form of politics, the AFL's focus is candidate politics. According to Andy Levin of the AFL-CIO in 2004 24% of the voting population was a union member, one of the largest single segment turnouts. This alone shows that the AFL is doing an impressive job educating and turning out their people. However with shrinking numbers, there is less money for this and less influence.

I am a person that believes competition is almost always a good thing. It's the economics student in me. I believe this will benefit both sides and that in the long run this will strengthen unions in general-- as long as SEIU and the AFL-CIO can work together on the big things.

Yesterday on the Diane Rehm show there was an excellent debate between the SEIU and AFL-CIO that made a few things clear. SEIU is amazing at organizing new members in new sectors. Their focus on service unions will hopefully inspire and mobiles the AFL-CIO to organize the weaker manufacturing sector and begin to make low wage jobs middle class jobs. It also appears that SEIU is looking to becoming an international union. While they currently have influence abroad they are not focusing on just state-side organizing anymore.

While SEIU is going to force the AFL-CIO to become a better organized group that is more focused on general organizing, it is becoming obvious that the SEIU is going to have to learn how to better educate and mobiles their members in politics to be successful. Currently in San Antonio the SEIU is organizing at the municipal level and have quickly started affecting local politics.

At the end of the day, both sides have great arguments that make it obvious there is a fundamental different in philosophy currently, and union membership has been down since the AFL and CIO merged nearly 50 years ago. This shake up will help the labor movement in the long run. It will organize more members, it will get more people involved in politics, it will secure more jobs from going overseas, it will secure more small businesses, and it will cause more people to have incomes they can live on with benefits like health coverage to ease the burden on the lower class. As long as the two groups work together to take on large multi-national corporations and national politics, only good comes from this.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My Possible Candidacy

Right now I am in Lubbock working. I have made a promise to my current employers that I do not blog about my job, so I cannot tell you exactly what I am doing.

For the first time I checked my blog to see how the traffic was and see if there were any comments of interest, and to my amazement my site traffic has nearly doubled the past two days. What could have I said or done to cause this?

It seems that Karl Thomas over at BOR outed me, and that the glory of anonymity has been lost. I completely understand why the Jeffersonian has clung to his alter ego so tightly. I cannot and will not deny that I am indeed Matt Glazer. I can tell everyone that I have, until recently, been a freelance campaign operative. I have worked chiefly on environmental issue advocacy and for candidates that share my sense of social liberalism, and who balance their progressive leaning with a fiscally conservative mindset. In other words, I work for the people I will vote for.

Karl Thomas talks about my possible candidacy for HD 122. Let me tell you that I am not yet committed to run, but over the past half decade Frank Corte has become my nemesis, even though he does not yet know I exist. I would like to change that by either aiding in another person's run for office or challenging him directly myself.

I still hold to the opinion that there are qualified people in the district that should run, but in the absence of a challenger someone needs to run.

I appreciate the support at Off The Kuff, and The Jeffersonian. These are two men that I have a great deal of respect for. Their ability to analyze and understand the details is a talent I will need to beat Frank Corte.

I agree that this is a tough fight, but I have always been told that everything worth doing is hard. I expect I will need a massive amount of money and a talented pool of activists and staff to make this work. I need to hear everyone’s opinion and continue to look forward to your thoughts. My e-mail for the time being is, and I look forward to reading your opinions about this run (both the supportive and informational ones).

At the end of the day, regardless of what people say of the make up of the district, I know that a Democrat can win in HD 122. All it will take is shoe leather, a clear message of change and hope, and a wide net of support from now until November 2006. I will have an answer as to whether I am running in October or November.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

HB 2 Signed

With the threat of another special session looming in Austin there seems to be a resolution on HB 2. Quorum Report has it that at 10:30 last night the big three finally agreed to something.

With the clock winding down on the two major bills of the special session, Gov. Rick Perry'’s spokeswoman Kathy Walt confirmed the Big Three had reached an agreement in principle on the education reform bill, House Bill 2. A conference committee report is being compiled and printed on the bill to be signed by conferees, Walt said.

The Capitol press corps has spent the last three hours or so camped outside the Governor’s office, awaiting word on the fate of House Bill 2 and House Bill 3. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker of the House Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland) have come and gone during the course of the evening, as well as conferees Sen. Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) and Sen. Ken Armbrister (D-Victoria).

Slick Rick is spinning the latest special session woes as nothing more than the Senate not knowing how to do their job. Silly man.
“But what that individual needs to also keep in mind is that we're going to be back on Thursday, so they could explain to their constituents and the people of the state of Texas why we're having another special session just so that they could make a point that, quite frankly, didn't make any difference, Perry said.
Clearly Rick is forgetting that he is the reason for all the latest conflict. He showed a total lack of leadership during the session and then again in the special session. He is the one that allowed legislation on eminent domain, tuition tax breaks, telecommunications, etc, etc.

If Rick Perry had either shown leadership of any kind OR limited the focus of the special session to ONLY education, then we wouldn't be in this mess.

This special session is a sign of things to come. Perry mishandled it, and now as he moves into campaign mode, he is going mishandle it too. Strayhorn and who ever the democratic nominee, both have a great show to take out the bottom dwelling Perry.

Monday, July 18, 2005

HB 2 and HB 3-- The Drama Continues

It seems like Rick Perry opened the flood gates up a little early. Making the assumption that talks on HB 2 and HB 3 were nearly wrapped up he allowed for a couple more things to be put on the docket for the special session (see this, this, and this).

Well it seems that adding to the special session might have been a bit hasty after all. Burnt Orange Report-er Damon McCullar has a brief synopsis of what went down this weekend, and it seem that it has already all come undone again.

The latest from inside the capitol is that there is a mad house with in the lege. To many people are trying to pass to much and at the same time legislators are starting to fend off against primary challengers.

Quorum Report has the latest break down of HB 2 and HB 3, and it doesn't look pretty.
The conferees on House Bill 3 met briefly this morning to discuss the progress on the bill. Chair Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) said the conferees had worked through the night and morning and were "as close as they'd ever been on the bill" but still had details to decide.

Keffer reiterated that he and Sen. Steven Ogden (R-Bryan) were committed to good state policy and not just passing a bill to pass a bill. Much of the committee's work has centered around what Keffer termed the potential "unintended consequences" that might result from terms laid out in the bill.


Despite conferees telling us they had a deal

We are told that some language surfaced in the most recent version of HB2 that was not part of the agreement. We are not clear on all the details yet other than that it is back to the negotiating table.

This is bad news for the session. Their number one goal is to fix public schools, and they are not doing that. I think there will be a resolution by tomorrow, but with this legislator it is hard to be certain of anything.

UPDATE 7/18/05- 1:33 PM
Only adding to the credibility, Kuff has this to add.

BOR: Mehlman to NAACP

Via Burnt Orange Report:

Please recommend this cross-post at dKos to keep the discussion going over there.

From the transcript...

I certainly will, going forward, if either party engages in things which are racially polarizing unnecessarily -- for instance, a good example, in 1998, the Democrat Party put up ads in Missouri that said -- I mean, this is appalling -- that said, "Every time you don't vote, a church burns. Vote Democratic." That's an appalling example.

The NAACP unfortunately in the 2000 campaign likened the president to James Byrd, who was a racist killer in east Texas, who the president brought to justice.

...We need more racial reconciliation.

That would be great if James Byrd was a racist killer in east Texas. Unfortunately for Mr. "Who me, gay?" Mehlman, James Byrd wasn't a racist killer. He was the African American victim of a gruesome hate crime.

Brewer testified he kicked Byrd's ribs once to break up the fight and then sprayed the victim's face with black paint. Seconds later, Berry came up behind Byrd.

Brewer heard a click, then a swooshing sound as Berry's arm made a sweeping motion.

"Byrd had his hands up here," Brewer testified, motioning with hands to his face, "and I guess that's when Shawn cut his throat."

The testimony was a startling twist to a brutal story that has attracted global attention.

Prosecutors allege Byrd's murder was carried out to draw attention to the racist gang to which Brewer and King belonged.

While juries in two trials had heard the grisly details of Byrd's death -- chained by his ankles to a pickup and dragged to pieces along three miles of road -- not even law officers were aware Byrd's throat had been cut first.

Gray wasn't convinced Byrd's throat was slashed, saying there wasn't enough blood at the fight scene to confirm it happened. And the autopsy showed Byrd was alive and attempting to hold his head up as he was being dragged, which Gray said doesn't jibe with a victim whose throat has been slashed.

It was of course this case that lead to the passage of the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes law in Texas, which includes protections based on 'sexual preference' as well, one of the last pieces of good legislation passed in 2001 when the Democrats still had control of the statehouse. Of course, President Bush opposed the bill in 1999 where it died in committee.

The cluelessness seems to extend from Mehlman to the top of the party as well, as Bush didn't seem all too interested in the case to get the facts right either.

"The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what's going to happen to them?" Bush said, smiling. "They'll be put to death. A jury found them guilty. It will be hard to punish them any worse after they get put to death." In actuality, two of Byrd's three murderers -- John William King and Lawrence Russell Brewer -- have been sentenced to death, while the third, Shawn Allen Berry, was sentenced to life in prison, and will be eligible for parole after 40 years.

Reached over the weekend, members of the Byrd family said that they weren't surprised Bush got the details of the case wrong. Unlike other Texas public officials -- they cite local mayors, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and President Clinton -- Bush was never remotely comforting to their family after Byrd's grisly murder, they say.

"I wasn't surprised that he didn't know," says one of Byrd's younger sisters, Betty Boatner, 46. "I wasn't surprised at all."

Bush "should have known" the details of the trial, says Stella Byrd, James Byrd Jr.'s mother. "But I wasn't surprised about his reaction." She says Bush showed no concern when her granddaughter talked to him in May 1999 to try to persuade Bush to support the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, which would have increased punishment for criminals motivated by hatred of a victim's gender, religion, ethnic background or sexual orientation. "So I'm sure with that lack of interest, he didn't ask to see what was going on."

Slip of the tongue or just more words lacking actions from the GOP? Could there be a reason why African American voters have a problem getting over the trust barrier to listen to what your party is preaching?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bush Get's More Bad Poll Numbers

Bush's strength has always been in two areas: national security and his personal credibility. With support for the war creeping down the one thing Bush had to maintain was his credibility. According to a NBC/Wall Street Journal, that has not happened.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed the percentage of Americans who believe Bush is "honest and straightforward" fell to 41 percent from 50 percent in January, while those who say they doubt his veracity climbed to 45 percent from 36 percent.
What did this? Was it a lack of movement on issues like Social Security or the constant bad press from Karl Rove and Tom DeLay? It is hard to say, but whatever is pissing the American people off, it shows no sign of slowing down.
The new poll also showed Bush's overall job approval rating slipping to 46 percent from 47 percent in May, while his disapproval rating crept upward to 49 percent from 47 percent
If you have a theory or thought I am curious to hear it.

Senate Takes Another Long Weekend

The Senate is in recess until Monday it look like. I am impressed with how many long weekends they are taking, especially when you factor in the fact that special sessions cost a lot of money and Slick Rick has added 5 new focuses to the session. I guess this is a good thing for me since I will be in Houston and unable to blog much today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Over a year ago in August I watched a movie called Bush's Brain. This is an interesting examination on Karl Rove and his strategy of usurping power in Texas politics and using George W. Bush to garner more influence in Texas and nationally.

The interesting thing is that over a year ago, James C. Moore wrote and examined Karl Rove as Robert Novak’s leak in a story outing a CIA operative. Much like Whitewater during the Clinton presidency, this has taken a few years to gain traction.

American Progress Action Fund has this to say:

Rove identified Valerie Plame as "Wilson's wife." Under section 421 of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act the disclosure of "any information identifying [a] covert agent" is illegal. Second, Rove's lawyer is undermining the distinction between naming and identifying Plame as too legalistic and a minor detail. Third, Rove insisted on speaking to Cooper only on "double super secret background." As Andrew Sullivan notes, "Why would Rove have insisted on such a super-tight confidentiality standard if he was not aware that he was divulging something he truly shouldn't divulge?" Fourth, as Joe Wilson himself has indicated, his wife goes by Mrs. Wilson, so it would have been clear who Rove was talking about (and Rove attended the same church as the Wilson family, indicating he may know more about Plame than he's letting on)

It seems as though Rove has done something wrong, no matter what some want to say. Ironically, Bush and Press Secretary Scott McClellan have both said that at the very least the leak would be fired. Of course, Monday McClellan started back tracking this statement as soon as it was confirmed that Rove was the leak.

Most shocking is that Bush is trying to have his cake and eat it too. Today Bush has started dodging direct questions about Rove, Rove's involvement in this situation, and most importantly what will happen to Rove in this administration. (Check these two separate AP stories out). At the same time he is keeping Rove close to his side and subsequently close to the information he has been leaking. This seems like a conflict of interest during an on going investigation, not to say a stupid idea.

I am not at the point were I am advocating for impeachment, but I can say that I am appalled by the fact that this administration is supporting Rove and standing by as Judith Miller protects her source (most likely Rove or a Bush administration official). This is quickly turning into an ugly mess, and something ugly is going to happen very soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Expanding the Focus

It seems as though Perry wants us all to ignore the fact that Strayhorn has 7 million dollars and that his polling numbers are now below 30%.

Perry has now added to the grocery list of the special session telecom issues and renewable energy. I am starting to get the feeling that he is trying to take away Strayhorn's moderate edge and go after some progressive issues.

I am sure by the end of the day Slick Rick will also be adding Pro-life legislation, Women's Rights Legislation, Pro-business, Pro-environment, and the elusive Pro-Pro legislation.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Jeffersonian: Teacher Pay

It is good to see The Jeff posting again. Here is an amazingly well and thought out piece on unequal teacher pay in San Antonio. Check it out!

UPDATE: Total Lack of Focus

From Quorum Report:
Gov. Rick Perry today opened the special legislative session to include legislation that funds tuition revenue bonds and judicial pay raises.

"Today I am asking legislators to fund tuition revenue bonds during this special session in order to improve educational opportunities at colleges and universities across Texas," Perry said. "This is vital unfinished business from the last session, and we need to finish our work on behalf of more than one million college students in Texas."

Perry’s specific message allows legislators to consider legislation relating to the authorization, issuance and funding of tuition revenue bonds, and legislation relating to an increase in the compensation of judges, including salary and retirement benefits.

"Last night the Texas Senate showed real leadership in passing a property tax reduction that brings us closer to a school finance agreement," Perry said. "The Senate and House versions of the bills are very close, and now more than ever I encourage Texans to weigh in and let their legislators know Texans expect them to get the job done."

Apparently ensure that the education plan actually goes through and takes the Supreme Court's mandates wasn't enough; nor was adding the a constitutional fight on eminent domain. Now Perry wants to explore higher education tax incentives and higher pay for judges. In doing this Perry will be spending millions more by extending the session.

Here is a tip for Governor Perry, get out of the media. Show leadership during the actual session, and most importantly focus on issues that matter like CHIPS, public education, border safety, etc.

A New Focus

With HB 3 passing out of the senate late last night, Slick Rick has announced a new focus for the special session-- eminent domain.

With the rash of private property seizures going on across this state, and the fact that 8 years of trying to fix the educational structure of Texas has not been long enough, Rick Perry has chosen to take on something that will derail the session.

Currently there is already legislation in both the house and senate to make it unconstitutional for any private or governmental entity to seize any private land. This will make it nearly impossible for a municipality, city, or county to build new roads, school, hospitals, or any other public good. This is one of the worst ideas Perry could have come up with, especially because the education debate is not close to over.

Either the conference committee will have to dramatically alter the bill as it is written now or the Texas Supreme Court will rule that the taxing system that HB 3 establishes will be unconstitutional because it is inequitable.

Like so many things in legislative Texas politics, this special session has turned into a real mess... and the Republican's have nobody to blame but themselves.

Friday, July 08, 2005

GEAA: TCEQ Meeting Next Week

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is holding public meetings on their rules governing the Edwards Aquifer. You can attend one of the meetings and provide your comments there, or submit comments in writing by August 13. The purpose of the meeting is to provide input on how the TCEQ’s Edwards Rules are working and what actions TCEQ should take to protect the Aquifer from pollution.

GEAA will be submitting written comments as an organization, and we encourage everyone to attend one of the public meetings, relay your experience with the TCEQ Edwards rules, and share our ideas for how TCEQ can better protect the Aquifer, including:

  • Establish impervious cover limits. Impervious cover has the largest effect on water quality and the environment at the point where water from the site is discharged. Limiting imperviousness on a site provides ample area to locate construction away from sensitive areas like wetlands, stream banks and karst recharge features. We recommend an impervious cover limit of 10% net site area in the recharge zone and 15% of net site area in the contributing zone.
  • Where engineered controls are used, require removal of more than just Total Suspended Solids, but also the other constituents that are polluting our water supply: tetrachloroethylene, pesticides including atrazine and diazinon, benzene, arsenic, nitrogen, petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, lead and mercury.
  • Require inspection and maintenance of water quality controls once they are built, with effective enforcement measures.

Because of the critical role the TCEQ’s Edwards rules serve, we also want to request another public meeting, with the TCEQ Commissioners.

The meeting dates and times are:
Austin: Tuesday, July 12, 2005, 9:30 a.m.
TCEQ Park 35 Office Complex, Building E
Room 201S

San Antonio: Wednesday, July 13, 2005, 6:30 p.m.
City of San Antonio Municipal Council Chambers
103 Main Plaza

Written comments should reference the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and may be sent to:

Tracy Callen
TCEQ Field Operations Division, MC 174
P.O. Box 13087
Austin, TX 78711
Fax: 512-239-0404

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Heroes of London

With all the somber news about London I wanted to take a moment to talk about the doctors who flooded the streets and saved countless lives.

There are reports coming in about the explosions at King's Crossing and Russell Square and the amazing organization of the medical community. By noon every London hospital was reporting that it was already filled to capacity, and the walking wounded were already leaving hospitals.

Doctor's from out of town began to fill university hospitals and major London area hospitals to assist in treating the still unknown injured. One doctor interviewed on NPR today litterally grabbed an impromptu medical team and went out to Russell Square (luckly located by BMA) and began to save lives around the double decker bus.

We talk about the firemen and policemen on 9/11, and today on July 7th we had the same heroes of public service come out and save lives. Today was a tragedy for sure, but let us also breath optimism and hope into this event by honoring those that work so tirelessly for others.

Tragic London Blast Affects G-8 Summit

As many of you know already, four explosions in London have killed at least 40 people at this point and injured 350 more at this point. The US Government is currently raising the transit security warning levels to orange and national levels are staying at yellow.

This terrorist act is being claimed by The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe, but the British, French, and US authorities have not yet confirmed that this is indeed the group.

A major concern is that this tragic event will derail the important and needed G-8 Summit. The AP wire writes a great article that you can see here. My hope is that the G-8 Summit continues and I hope that Blair is able to get back to it in order to talk about global warming, trade issues, and African Aid packages.

Driving to work today and hearing Blair speak was moving and I send my thoughts and prayers to Great Britain. I will post crucial information as it comes out all day.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Judith Miller Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect 200 dollars

From the AP:
A federal judge on Wednesday jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller for refusing to divulge her source to a grand jury investigating the Bush administration's leak of an undercover CIA operative's name.

There is still a realistic possibility that confinement might cause her to testify," U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said.

Miller stood up, hugged her lawyer and was escorted from the courtroom.

This is sad day for the judiciary and a dangerous day to be a journalist. I applaud Judith Miller and sticking to her principals and protecting her source (who ever it may be... and that includes Karl Rove).

Texas Supreme Court Hear School Finance Arguments Today

Today the Texas Supreme Court will hear arguments on last years financing plan. Why is that important? The court will compare the current legislative plans and compare them to last years short comings to see if HB2 and HB3 will make a difference.

The arguments are contingent on two standards: equity and adequacy. The lower court said that equity was not fulfilled because of the use of property taxes. This may be resolved because the current plan lowers property taxes for all Texans.

The real concern is adequacy. Currently the conglomeration of school boards are arguing that the current level of funding is nowhere near enough to adequately educate our students for TAKS Test, SAT's, or ACT's. This does not take into account those students that take AP exams or attempt vocational exams of any kind.

Already local school boards have all but eliminated arts, language, vocational training, and any other "extra" that does not bring in revenue or is not tested on. This due in large part to unfunded national mandates.

today's ruling will either be a signal to the legislature to proceed with their education plans or tell them what to fix. What happens if the Texas Legislature does not adhere to the Supreme Court ruling? The same thing that has happened the past 4 sessions... nothing.

Monday, July 04, 2005

A Little History with Your BBQ and Beer


Independence Day, or the Fourth of July is the adoption by the Continental
Congress on July 4, 1776, of the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming
the severance of the allegiance of the American colonies to Great Britain.
It is the greatest secular holiday of the United States, observed in all the
states, territories and dependencies.

Although it is assumed that the Continental Congress unanimously signed
the document on the 4th of July, in fact not all delegates were present and
there were no signers at all. Here is what really happened.

The congressional delegate from Virginia, Richard Henry Lee, introduced
in the Continental Congress, on June 7, 1776, a resolution "that...body
declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from
allegiance to or dependence on the Crown or Parliament of Great
Britain..." On June 10 a committee of five, headed by Thomas Jefferson
(the actual writer), was appointed to prepare a declaration suitable to
the occasion in the event that the Virginia resolution was adopted.
's version was revised by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams
before it went to the Congress where they did some editing of their own.

Congress approved the resolution July 2; the declaration composed by
and amended by his committee was adopted July 4. That evening
John Hancock ordered Philadelphia printer John Dunlap to print 200
broadside copies of the agreed upon Declaration that was signed by him
as President and Charles Thomson as Secretary. These were distributed to
members of the Congress and distributed to the 13 colonies and elsewhere.
The Declaration was read in the yard of the state house July 8. New York
did not even vote on it until July 9. The signing was even more gradual, and it
is somewhat misleading to speak of the "fifty-six original signers of the
Declaration of Independence".

By August 6, most of those whose names are on the document had signed,
but at least six signatures were attached later. One signer, Thomas McKean
did not attach his name until 1781! Some of those who signed were not even
in Congress when the Declaration was adopted, and some who voted for it in
Congress never did get around to signing it. Robert R. Livingston was one of
the committee of five; he helped to frame it; he voted for it; and he never signed

The first anniversary of the declaration was observed only in Philadelphia, Pa.,
by the adjournment of Congress, a ceremonial dinner, bonfires, the ringing of
bells and fireworks. In 1788, after the requisite number of states had adopted
the constitution, Philadelphia celebrated July 4 by elaborate festivities,
including a grand procession.
Boston, Mass., first observed the day in 1783, and thereafter this celebration
replaced that of the Boston Massacre, March 5. The custom spread to other
cities and states, where the day was marked by parades, patriotic oratory,
military displays and fireworks. In present time, games and athletic contests,
picnics, patriotic programs and pageants, and community fireworks of
pyrotechnic expertise are characteristic of the 4th of July.

On a lighter note, I hope everyone has a great day with their friends, family, and
everything in between.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Jim Dallas is My Hero

Kuff is gone for the weekend, and Jim Dallas of BOR fame is guest blogging at over at Off the Kuff.

That being said, Jim is one of my favorite writers and has a sharp mind. He has just posted on one of my favorite topics-- Kinky Friedman. I encourage everyone to read this post.

Friday, July 01, 2005

O'Connor Steps Down, Dems MUST Step Up

B and B had my first and second response down perfectly, but for different reasons.

The Democrats are already playing this correctly. They are calling Sandra Day O'Connor a moderate and a insightful Republican Justice. She was. They are saying that she was the vote who voted on constitutional fact over party affiliation. She did (for the most part). They are saying the Bush has the ability to unite the Supreme Court with a strong leader, and he does.

Sandra Day O'Connor was a good justice and her legacy will show that. She upheld Roe and the rights to privacy. She supported women's rights and free speech. And she argued for and against constitutional items, even when she disagreed personally. I can't say that I agreed with her on ever ruling, but I can say with out hesitation that I respect the job she did.

That all being said... Bush better not be stupid with this. CNN has the most commonly named possibilities and these are some radical people. If Rehnquist had step down I would have little argument replacing a conservative with a conservative, but O'Connor was not any where close to Emilio Garza, Janice Rogers Brown, or Harvie Wilkinson. These are not the right people.

Do I have the right ideas on this one? Probably not. I do have to say that It better not be Hinojosa, Garza, or Cornyn from Texas. If it is, then the Democrats better use the filibuster, and they have polling numbers for it. 65% said they oppose a justice that will overturn Roe and 41% say they approve of a conservative justice. These numbers from Gallup/USA Today, fly in the face of what Bush wants, and he will have to temper these wants in order to win.

If Bush fights hard for a conservative justice in the mold of Rehnquist, Thomas, or Scalia... he will be a lame duck the day the hearing start, the senate will run the country, the house will be up for grabs in 2006, and most importantly he won't have his top choice if Rehnquist decides to retire before 2008.

There is a lot on the table, and it can no longer be said that Supreme Court is not a political branch of government. In the era of 24 hour news cycles and 2 year campaign cycles, there is no such thing as a non-political hearing or appointment process. For progressives out there, be glad O'Connor stepped down and not Rehnquist, and for conservatives, realize O'Connor stepped down and not Rehnquist.

Just when you thought it was safe to BBQ for the July 4th weekend, reports are coming in that Rehnquist will be announcing retirement after the July weekend. Sen John Cornyn is saying that Bush will then announce his choices for Chief Justice and Associate Justice on July 8th after he returns from the G8 summit.

O'Connor Stepping Down

The swing vote is stepping down. This is very scary. More Coming soon!

John Sharp Rumors Confirmed

I hardly ever post on rumors or speculation, and so I have held off on the John Sharp posts. However, BOR has that John Sharp will announce his candidacy for Governor.
Through the grapevine of tech people and political consultants, BOR now feels comfortable filing this initial report that John Sharp, former candidate for Lt. Governor against Dewhurst in 2002, will be entering the race for Governor against Perry. Word from our source has it that a "key Texas consultant has offered his endorsement of Sharp for Governor, an action this particular consultant wouldn't do unless there was a campaign and they were on board with it."
My sources in the lobbyist community have said that Sharp is being pushed by the conservative Democratic community with the hope that Chris Bell will shift his sights on Lt. Governor, and a D will be at every position for statewide office. The hope is that Sharp, who is naturally much more conservative that Bell, will have more appeal to Republicans and independents.

The other concern for some is that Bell will not have the same appeal as Sharp to even Democrats. This is a naive concern say the least, but still the conservative concur. Chris Bell has been working for over a year to garner both name recognition across the state and build lasting Democratic influence.

This hope will put a D at Gov, Lt Gov, Attorney General, Senate, and key congressional seats. Is this the best strategy? It is to early to tell, but this is the way the players are trying to force the top two races.