Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union Recap

This ends the State of the Union triumvirate. The speech was impressive in the sense that it was the exact opposite of the 4 before it. Granted… by the end, the drinking came claimed me as a captive with out parley.

Tonight’s speech was so defensive. It wasn't the usual, bold, imaginative, naïve policy that the Bush administration usually promotes. There was no Mars policy. There was no Social Security privatization. Hell, there was no axis of evil! Instead it was Ken Lay after day one of the Enron trial. It was Alberto Gonzales after illegal wiretaps. It was Rick Perry after Hurricane Rita.

I want my naïve policy to make fun of for the next year. I feel robbed!

Instead we saw a defense of illegal wire tapping. Still illegal, but now they are defended in a State of the Union and a month of public relation junkets. So, now we have more defense of something 54% fine morally irreprehensible.

We heard more defense of Katrina. The guy flew over and said, “Good Job Brownie!” How do you defend that? You can rebuild the levees, schools, and French Quarter, but you can’t take back the fact that you totally ignored the warnings and then FLEW OVER IN AIR FORCE ONE.

The best was hearing his huge policy announcements on energy independence and health care reform. Energy... reform… that sounds familiar. Oh yeah, the Democrats have been talking about solar, wind, and renewable energy since Eisenhower. We have been talking about decreasing our dependence on foreign oil since Clinton, and now, the Republican’s think they are coming up with something?

At least he brought up his Social Security defeat. That was just funny. Maybe by the time Bush is done with his third lame duck term, I will have a hoverboard. I have wanted one of those since Back to the Future 2 came out.

Worst State of the Union ever. I don’t even have anything to make fun of!

State of the Union Open Thread

I don't do this very often, so this must be a special occasion. Here we go, here is a very special State of the Union open thread for all my loyal readers.

I expect some expectation, rousing insight, and general debauchery to read when I get home. After all, you are all playing the SOTU drinking game, right?

Expect a late night post on what King George said, but we know at least one thing... we are addicted to oil!

Frank Madla Buys Good Press

Our anonymous sources did some research on the SD 19 race, and this what they found. The unedited version of Frank "the educator" Madla.

So by now you've probably heard about South San Antonio ISD (South San) voting to rename Royalgate elementary school to Frank Madla elementary school less than two months before the primary( 1).

Madla calls it the single biggest honor of his life and proudly writes about it on BOR's SD-19 profile (2).

Except, as the Express-News points out, this wouldn't be the first time that South San has played politics with their schools- going so far as to not hold public discussion before the vote and admonishing any member of Royalgate elementary who wishes to speak to the media about the name change ( 3).

But here's the thing, it doesn't stop there. According to Madla's latest campaign finance report he paid Edgar (it written down as Esgar, but as we all know, Madla can't spell) Lopez $3,000 in early November for "local campaign coordination." Edgar Lopez just so happesn to be the brother of South San Antonio ISD school board president Manuel Lopez, the main force on the board for renaming Royalgate. Check the report, it's on page 87 ( 4- pdf).

So let's get the timeline straight, on November 8 Madla pays Edgar Lopez $3,000 for campaign work. A couple of weeks later, Carlos Uresti announces his run for State Senate. Less than two months after that Edgar Lopez' brother, South San school board president Manuel Lopez, rams through a proposal to rename Madla's local elementary school after him- citing nothing more than admiration for Madla's record.

Finally, let me close with this- Madla ends his op-ed over at Burnt Orange Report with these words:

"And with an elementary school not far from my home in South San Antonio as my namesake, every day, I will drive by a concrete reminder of the debt that is owed to every Texas student, from those in kindergarten to those in our higher learning institutions. I believe in them, and I will spare no effort to ensure they have every support needed to reach their highest potential."

I've blockwalked this neighborhood, it's solidly working-class. So while the school district is needlessly spending money on changing their letterhead, school marquee, and anything else with the name Royalgate Elementary on it just so Madla can earn a few more votes from the area, I'd be willing to bet there's several students at that school who lost their health insurance in 2003. Yeah, that's sparing no effort.

Looks like when a few people dig in SD 19, they find gold...

State of The Union predications

I am going to make some bold claims for you all right now. I am predicting the following topics to be the focus of tonight's State of the Union address.

1) Iran, only one country in the axis of evil can have nukes and North Korea already called dibs.
2) Iraq is going well because an ethnic civil war and a near civil war are two very different things.
3) The Republicans are not really that corrupt. Abramoff and DeLay are only large donors to most of the party.
4) The new US energy solutions will be a combination of drilling in the arctic, killing everyone who disagrees with Bush and liberating their oil by March.
5) Samuel Alito is the best thing since Just Another Blog (or at least since Sandra Day O'Connor).
6) Mars is no longer our focus. After an exciting episode of Star Trek, Bush will announce his retirement and begin exploring the final frontier.
7) Democrats smell funny, and John Kerry and Ted Kennedy stink.
8) The economy is fantastic. Republicans have created hundreds of thousands of jobs (after misplacing 2.2 million), and now people can work at least three of them in order to have the lowest savings level since the great depression.
9) You can't spell illegal wire tapping with out "legal wire tapping"
10) Education, no child left behind seems to have left some children behind but George Bush isn't that smart and look where he is today!?

What do you think Bush will talk about?

If these hit you to close to home, then do what I am doing, here is this years State of the Union drinking game.

Monday News Recap

A lot happened yesterday. Here are just a few of the headlines you need to know about from yesterday.

-The Democratic Party is spineless. The cloture vote (the vote that forces or prevents a filibuster) passed 75-25. Keep in mind that 44 people said they will vote against Alito today, and 41 votes will force the fillibuster.

-Today the court becomes the third Republican dominated branch as the Senate is set to confirm Samuel Alito.

-John Kerry announces he has $10 Million to re-run in 2008 if he wants to.

-The Enron trial has officially started, a jury is selected, and opening statements begin today.

-San Antonio Express News launched a blog on only the Congressional District 28 race.

And this is only the stuff that interests me... who knows how much real news was actually out there yesterday!

Monday, January 30, 2006

If Its Your Time to Go...

Here is your random, strange news of the day.

Oscar Kazen is a REAL Democrat

I tend not to take a side in the Democratic Primary. I support all Democrats and want nothing more than to see a stronger party. However, the 9th County Court primary race is an exception to this rule.

Oscar Kazen vs. Laura Lee Salinas is a weird match up for a primary. From inside sources this should be a general election contest, not a race for the March 7th nomination.

For example, Salinas’s voting record from Bexar County Elections indicates she has never voted in a democratic party. Neither under her current name, nor the name she went by when she was married, Laura Reyna.

A search on the Texas Ethcis Commission web site shows that for the last reporting period, she didn't contribute to any democratic candidates or causes, but she gave money to a Republican candidate, District Judge Raymond Angelini. (She then went on to sign the petition to get Lauro Bustamante on the ballot against Raymond's wife, Karen Angelini, but that's another story.)

She was spotted at Paesano's last Friday having lunch with Republican Candidate for County Court at Law # 6, Wayne Christian, who is running against Phil Meyer and who, by the way, Oscar defeated in 2002. I guess they were strategizing?

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

In contrast, the Kazens have a long tradition of public service to the democratic party. From Chick Kazen, the Congressman, to former Webb County D.A. Jimmy Kazen, and current sitting judges Philip of the 227th district court and Federal Judge George Kazen.

If you look on the Texas Ethics Commission website, you will see Oscar gives generously to many different democratic causes, such as the State Tejano Democrats, The San Antonio Northeast and Northwest Democrats, and the Bexar County Democratic Party.

Kazen not only participates from a financial standpoint, but participates in the operations and leadership of the party as well, having been a delegate for the last two state democratic conventions, and is the guy schlepping sand bags and yard signs in campaign offices.

You want to talk DINO… look no further than Salinas. Real Democrats need real support, and I am not buying for a second that Laura Salinas is helping the party! Expect a lot more information on this race over the next month.

Wesley Clark Love

Eddie over at The Red State has been loving on House District 32 lately, and I can't blame him. You get the former NATO Supreme Commander (sweetest title ever) Wesley Clark and a young up and comer in Juan Garcia all in the same place.

Wesley Clark has been on my guys to watch list for 2008, and every week it seems there are more and more reasons to move him up the list. We have John Kerry, John Edwards,Mark Warner, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton as the clear front runners right now. But I really like Clark and I am keeping my eyes on Tom Vilsack (his candidacy alone would negate the Iowa effect).

Clark has a stellar resume, great presence, and now a 20 minute piece circulating the web. Check this out. With Presidential Cycles coming earlier and earlier... it is interesting that this came to me with a preface of, "Democrats love him, Independents vote for him, and Republican's have nothing bad to say about him".

Seem like the internet loves Wes Clark.

Multimedia Monday!

Get Your War On- If you are in Austin, you have got to see this.

Underworld: Evolutions- Another drafthouse, bucket of PBR kind of movies.

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists
Dave Matthews Band- Under the Table and Dreaming

Bexar County Chair Candidate: Dan Ramos

Dan Ramos actually made an appearance at the Senate District 25 meeting in San Antonio this weekend. His treasure is John McConnell, the hawk on Roberts Rules of Order.

After early confusion on whether Ramos would be on the ballot, he is now campaigning across the city.

Ramos was the first candidate I have actually heard speak, although Carla Vela’s candidacy was an absolute assurance.

Ramos called for a push to run more judges and win back the judgeship majority across the county, end all consultant involvement, develop the Bexar County Party as a grassroots organization, and recruit new precinct chairs and fill vacancies.

His general goal is to have a monthly meeting with the County Executive Committee (CEC) and activate a strong precinct base.

I have not heard Carla Vela speak nor have I heard her platform yet. I am not endorsing either candidate at this point, but Ramos’s ideas are both wonderful and terrifying.

First off, consultants are not bad. There are not very many good ones in San Antonio, but looking at Austin and Houston, consultants are the reason why coordinated campaigns work, Hubert Vo is in office, and Bill White was uncontested.

There is also a lack of real action. Yes, we need precinct chairs. Yes, we need the county chair to be a facilitator of the CEC, but the County Chair needs to build depth to the candidate list in the county, raise money, and actually develop a long term strategy. We cannot singularly focus on making our procedure is correct.

If you know anything about Carla Vela, please let me know…

Friday, January 27, 2006

Lamar Smith is an Enabler

Resources of Fun:
Feb 2nd- Smith Put on Ethics Panel
Jan 4th 2005- Ethics Rule Change
Jan 26th 2006- Lobby Reform

Talking Points Memo and The Jeffersonian Respond to Smith.

John Courage is challenging Smith in Congressional District 21.

Part 2: Kathi Thomas's Platform in SD 25

Yesterday I shared Kathi Thomas's background information. This morning I am sharing with you Thomas's bliefs and the reasons she is challenging Jeff Wentworth in SD 25.

From Kathi Thomas:

I value all people living and working in our state, and I believe they should have the opportunity to earn a living wage.

I value our teachers, and I believe they should be paid so that their compensation is, at a minimum, in line with that of other states. They are teaching our most valuable treasures, our children, how can we not value them?

I value the futures of all Texans—so I believe we need to properly fund our schools, public elementary and secondary schools, as well as public colleges and universities.

I value the accessibility of health care for all Texans.

I value integrity and honor.

I believe that “as you do to the least of these, you do to Me,” and that we have a responsibility as a moral state to help provide for those who are in need, not through long-term handouts, but through programs that teach. “Give him a fish, feed him for a day, teach him to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

• Education is my highest priority. With Texas ranked 50th in the nation in terms of graduation rates, we must do better. We must invest in education or we will continue to see a deteriorating society. We spent more than twice as much per prisoner as we do per student. The mandate should not be just to lower property taxes, it should be to make our educational system better, and to pay our teachers sufficiently so that their pay does not rank in the lower one-third of teachers nationwide. Our teachers need more input in what is taught- and how it is taught- so often now, they spend so much more time doing paperwork, when they could be teaching. As the product of public schools, I had some wonderful teachers who gave of their time and talent to help me learn. Many stayed after school and tutored. We need to attract and KEEP good teachers, and we can do this best by respecting how important teachers are to our future and by paying them accordingly.

Teachers hold our future in their hands--what we do today will reap benefits in the future.

• We need a tax structure that is fair so that we can afford to increase funding for public education. Today, just one in 16 businesses in Texas pays the franchise tax, which is the state’s general business tax. All businesses should want to invest in education because better education means better employees. An educated populace benefits us all—both citizens and businesses should share the costs equitably.

Texas has the fastest-growing population of children in the country and all children should be prepared to enter the workforce. Rather than having a multi-million dollar “slush fund” to attract businesses, we should invest money in our schools and attract business because of our well-educated population. In Texas, each year we expend $5,444 per student in school, but spend $13,283 per person in prison. Better education will lead to fewer in prison, and will save us money.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

dear fat girl on the plane to charlotte: you owe me $35

This is just funny....

Part 1: A Profile of Kathi Thomas for SD 25

Today we have the background on Kathi Thomas- who shes and where she comes from. Tomorrow will be what she stands for and why. Enjoy!
From Kathi:

I love Texas, but I don’t love what our state has been doing in terms of education and health care under this Republican administration.

We MUST invest in education and in health care today. If we don’t, the future will be bleak--not only for the children whom we are betraying today, but also for today’s adults, who will depend on these children to be our future doctors, nurses, caregivers, fire fighters, police officers, and bankers, and to provide every other service we will need in the future.

If Texas has a great educational system, people will want to move here and businesses will want to locate here. An educated workforce is easier to employ; an educated populace contributes to the economy, instead of needing help from government.

We must begin by electing people with passion and the integrity to get the job done. I come from a long line of fighters.

In December of 1836, at age 77, my grandfather five generations ago, Stephen Williams, rode from Jasper, Texas to San Antonio to fight in the Siege of Bexar, where the Texicans took the Alamo from the Mexican army. He fought because he believed it was the right thing to do. During the Texas Centennial, my grandfather’s body was moved from a Jasper cemetery and buried on Republic Hill. Former Lt. Governor Bob Bullock is buried next to him. Grandfather Williams fought in the American Revolution when he was 17 and the Texas War for Independence when he was 77—he’s one of only two men buried at the State Cemetery to have fought in both wars. Our family still owns some land, which was granted in a Mexican land grant to his daughter, my grandmother four generations back.

My grandmother, five generations back on my father’s side, Nanye’hi (called “Nancy Ward”) was the last “beloved woman” of the Cherokee. She had the power to decide whether prisoners died or lived, and she was known as one who chose life for the prisoners. Her friendships with the European settlers led to a DAR Chapter being named after her in Tennessee.

I am not a professional politician, I’ve never held public office, but I’m passionate about the needs of our children and the needs of all Texas peoples. I will work with others, and will fight for our children and others who are left powerless by this current leadership.

We are doing a great disservice to our children by not fulfilling the promise of free education. Our state Constitution says: “A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”

I strongly believe that all people in our state need to be educated, so they can help to preserve our liberties and our rights, and so they will have a better life.

I’m running for Senate District 25 because I believe that we MUST do better, for today and for our future. I am asking for your support, for your help in my campaign, and for your vote. Please help me to make Texas once again a state of which we can all be proud.

Filibuster Alito

Everyone is saying that Samuel ScAlito is all but assured confirmation... why? We must defeat the anti-choice, anti-congress, pro-king George, pro-activism ScAlito. If the Senate cannot defeat him, they must filibuster him.

Others have the story at The Agonist, Common Sense, The People's Republic of Seabrook, Eye on Williamson County, , By the Bayou, and Brain's and Eggs.

The filibuster was created to protect the will of the minority from the oppression from the extreme will of the majority.

Ironically, the majority disagree with over turning Roe (Alito would overturn Roe), the majority disagree with the use of illegal wiretaps (Alito wants a King, not a President), the majority oppose activist judges (Alito would be replacing a swing/moderate judge with his well documented conservative ideology that is so far of the mainstream that he was picked after the far-far-far wing of the Republican machine torpedoed Harriet Miers).

The definition for allowing a filibuster is the creation of an extraordinary situation. Samuel Alito is so far out of the mainstream and so young, that he will tip the focus of the court for the next 30 years! Filibuster Alito!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Grandfathering Ordinance to be Debated

Straight from Richard Alles, to me, to you:

A new grandfathering ordinance will be considered by the City Council's Quality-of-Life committee tomorrow morning at 7:30 am.

Quality-of-Life Council Committee meeting
Media Briefing Room, 1st floor, City Hall

Development consultant Susan Wright chaired the "Vested Rights Task Force" which wrote the new ordinance. Wright belongs to a development industry advocacy & lobbying group called the "Real Estate Council of SA".

Recently, controversy over the ordinance intensified when a competing ordinance was submitted by City attorneys and staffers. Among the areas of disagreement is a provision to grandfather projects that have lost their vested rights. In return, the developer would agree to comply with the weak 1997 tree preservation ordinance. Such a provision could allow a developer without a valid grandfathering claim to escape the 1997 stormwater drainage ordinance, the 2001 park/open space standards, and the 2003 tree ordinance.

Grandfathering (aka vested rights) is a legal means for developers to circumvent regulations enacted after they submit an application for development.

Republicans Eating Their Own Part 3: The YTC's side or Ted Kennedy's larger side

In our last outing, we learned who wasn’t a Republican and that moderation is bad. Today, we will discuss what does constitute a Republican and show the difference between Republican’s, Sharks, and those crazy, wacked-out liberals.

Shark Watch is making a point to agree with Vice Chairman Matt Griffing (I dislike when ignorant people have the same name as me) and clarify who their friends are. They start by showing the difference between Griffing and the liberal trial lawyers that are trying to support moderate Republican’s.

Griffing, who we certainly believe to be a genuine conservative Republican. Unlike mega plaintiffs' lawyers Fred Barron, Mark Lanier, John Eddie Williams, etc, we're sure Griffing has not given thousands to liberal Democrats like Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards.

Wow, that really clarifies the striking policy difference! Thanks.

I am particularly glad to see that they draw the line in the sand between an Executive Director at the Poverty Center, a Senate Judiciary Committee member, one of the most popular Senators in the nation, and highly successful lawyers... and them. Of course, you would want to draw a very clear distinction between the Young Conservatives of Texas and these national leaders.

But why would you even write this so called press release? Griffing is kind enough to let us know the second he gets done with his little attack on progressive Democrats.

The theme of Griffing's release is defending State Reps. Bryan Hughes, Robert Talton, and Charlie Howard from the Shark Watch and insisting that they are true conservatives on a host of other issues. However, Griffing is shooting at a straw man - the Shark Watch report never questions these legislators' conservative bona fides on other issues. Quite the opposite, it expresses some alarm about their connections with this small cadre of primarily Democrat plaintiffs' lawyers precisely because these legislators have been such stalwart conservatives over the years.

Shark Watch has a purpose to this e-mail, to define the difference between their Republicans and the trial lawyers Republican’s. Their litmus appears to be based on House Bill (HB) 107 and HB 4 (which became prop 12 in 2003). These two tort reform bills make the difference, not HJR6, not this years education legislation, not a single bill or resolution from the 2005 session or the three specials after that.

Seems fair.

In the end this is about one thing, you are either with Shark Watch or with Ted Kennedy. At least they make it easy for me to pick my side.

Texas Shark Watch is not about genuine conservative Republican plaintiffs' lawyers like Mr. Griffing. This effort also does not primarily concern any legislator. What this is about is the hypocrisy of a handful of plaintiffs' lawyers who have become incredibly wealthy from abusive class action lawsuits and are now attempting to use their largesse to gain a foothold in the Republican Party, even while they continue to bankroll 80 percent of the Texas Democratic Party. Moreover, instead of admitting the obvious - that what they are after is to stop tort reform and roll back existing limits on lawsuits - they are hiding behind the smokescreen of family values.

In this spirit, we ask Mr. Griffing the following: 1) Does he agree or disagree that giving money to Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and John Edwards is a good way to advance the conservative cause? 2) Does he agree or disagree that Proposition 12 has increased the number of abortions by capping medical malpractice awards - the bogus argument made by Mark Lanier against the measure? We hope and trust Mr. Griffing's answers will indeed show that he is a conservative first and a plaintiffs' lawyer second.

Mr Griffing, where do you stand?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Franck Mad-dla Done Good

It's been a slow news day, and I didn't think I would find anything to post. Sadly, Frank Madla's re-election campaign gave me something to post.

Not only can he not spell his supporters names (Jose Menendez, Ruth Jones McClendon, and Trey Martinez-Fischer) but he is also excited about the fact that he gave money back to the Children's Health Insurance Program after leading the charge in cutting its funding two sessions ago!

Monday, January 23, 2006

33rd Anniversary of Roe vs Wade

It's the 33rd year that has passed since Roe vs Wade. On this day 33 years ago women were told that they were free to chose for themselves what to do with their own bodies. 33 years ago today, the highest court in the land ruled that privacy is a constitutional right and the protection of liberty is a fundamental obligation.

Today, President Bush showed class, by announcing to the anti-choice wahoos, "We will prevail". What an asshole...

Politicizing the Environment

The new session is starting and there is a great piece by Laura Kiesel discussing the possibilities of important legislation being tied up because of back door schemes to drill in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was created by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower and has been a point of debate since the Reagan presidency. This is the only self sustaining eco-system left in America and deserves protection against oil companies that are recording record high profits.

Kiesel has an interesting piece exploring the complex politics surrounding a black and white issue. There is only 6 months of oil that will not be read for intrusive drilling for other 15 years. That means no relief from record oil prices and no impact at the pumps today or for the next generation.

There are real solutions. Go after the oil companies for price gouging, create power solvency with non-polluting alternatives like wind or solar, or at the very least, reduce our dependency at home by increasing the local, state, and national green taxes.

There are real solutions and Arctic Drilling is not one of them.

Debating A&M- San Antonio

During the municipal races in 2005, it was when, not if. Working with the Edgewood ISD, it was when, not if. Now, it is if, when, how much, for what purpose, is this is a good idea… and the questions continue to mount.

The Express-News has the full details but the back and forth seems silly. Small business is having a hard time in the south side of the city, education numbers are the lowest there, and the benefits of a state accredited university will help the Toyota plant and the city.

Thirty years ago, critics questioned the need for a UTSA campus on the Northwest Side, he said. Today, that university has 27,000 students and is growing. Empty land that used to surround the campus now is abuzz with shopping, housing, businesses and restaurants.

Critics are comparing the current A&M plan to the one that happened in Kingsville years ago.

Mansour El-Kikhia, president of the UTSA faculty senate who also writes a weekly commentary for the San Antonio Express-News Op-Ed page, is not convinced by A&M's arguments.

If you want to bring in a competitor, we don't mind competition," El-Kikhia said. "At least bring a campus worth competing with. Bring me Johns Hopkins or Harvard. Not Texas A&M. It's a fourth-rate institution in Kingsville. Does anyone really believe it will be first-rate if it comes to San Antonio?"

Critics say students have not shown much of an appetite for the A&M-Kingsville System Center so far, and lawmakers have passed bills to drop the enrollment requirement for system centers — a way of determining whether there is enough demand to support a new, stand-alone campus.

This is just a stupid argument. San Antonio is one of the largest cities in the nation. It is seeing unimaginable growth north of 410, and city resources are not being allocated quickly enough to manage the education and water needs of the whole city, let alone half of it. Kingsville… well… it’s not.

A&M boosters are aware UTSA is struggling to meet demand. UTSA President Ricardo Romo has said enrollment will hit 40,000 within 10 years. Last year, the university turned away students for the first time, sending them to community colleges to take care of basic classes before they could be admitted.

In addition, population growth in the region suggests the number of 18-to-24-year-old Hispanics in Bexar County is expected to increase by about 10,000 from 2005 to 2015 — from 100,804 to 110,164, according to the Texas State Data Center.

Education is a good thing, and putting a university in the south part of the city will move the center of the city away from Northstar Mall and closer to downtown. It will spread out the resources of the city and it will imrpove the quality of life for everyone.

A&M has begun partnering with the East Central, Southside and Southwest independent school districts on programs they hope will improve student performance and increase high school graduation and college attendance. The program focuses on teacher development, mentoring, and parental involvement.

In a time when the legislature can’t fix public education for our public schools, maybe A&M-San Antonio will raise standards in the south part of the city, maybe it will improve the economy, maybe it will do as much good in the south as UTSA did in the north. Or maybe, it won’t be built at all because a few naysayers can’t think outside of the box and see the positive impact this campus will have on the entire city.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

RIP West Wing

West Wing

Friday, January 20, 2006

Cronyism Takes a Ride on the Gravy Train

Need favors? Have an extra $2,000 or $5,000 lying around? Enjoy long train rides and conversations about backwards public policy?

If you answered yes, then you can ride on Congressman Joe Barton’s Gravy Train!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Joe Barton is fighting corruption by taking PACs and individuals money and talking to them about policy that may appear in the Energy and Commerce committee next year.

If that isn’t enticing enough for you to join Barton’s joy ride from Fort Worth to San Antonio, then maybe you should know that there will be a Saturday brunch for you to continue to schmooze with the bought and sold Barton. And what's a two day lobbying adventure after brunch some cocktails and gambling?

Have no fear, this ride is completely anonymous, because what good is lobbying a sitting committee chair, when they can find out who you are (Abramoff?).

For love of god… give money to David Harris in Congressional District 6. If the Republican leadership wants to lie about wanting reform, at least they can have the courtesy of NOT being so flagrant

Another San Antonio School Bond

I talked with a member or the Northside Independent School District (NISD) last night. Apparently they are not waiting for another failed special session, general session, and Texas Supreme Court ruling, so they are gearing up to score another education bond for San Antonio.

The bond will be based on a citizen’s commission on education reform and will likely be around $500 million for infrastructure restoration, reverse metering, a new school to lower classroom size, and technology improvements.

This is a three year process and will be probably put on the May 2009 ballot, but it is interesting to see a school board that has so little faith in the legislature that they are planning this far in advance.

Republican's Eat Their Own Part 2

In the Pink Texas has more on the Republican "in-fighting". It's a nice way of saying the Craddick push for the far-far-far rights goal of eventually ruling the world.

Watching Craddick, Perry, and Dewherst work is like watching old episodes of Pinky and the Brain. It is too easy to picture Perry and Craddick asking each other what they are doing this off season, only to respond in unison, “same thing we do every year, try to push out open-minded legislators”.

The Democrats have a real shot at picking up a handful of seats in the state legislature, but Craddick isn’t focused on taking out more than three or four of the 63 Democrats. No, he is focused on taking out seven or eight of the moderate or “independently minded” republican’s.

The focus is to push through a voucher system, cut state employ benefits by privatizing state agencies, and gobbling up local authorities. Craddick sucks!

Chris Bell Spends the Weekend in San Antonio

Chris Bell will be in San Antonio today and tomorrow. Today’s event is a press conference at the Alamo with elected officials. The goal is for the local and municipal officials to convince you to vote or vote for Bell.

Tomorrow is the event I wish I could go to. Bell will be at a Rally at an Ancira dealership attacking the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor and the recent Perry push for more toll roads. I am always up for a political mudslinging…

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Updates at JAB

My insomnia has flared up again, and it is hard to really do much of anything right now. There is a lot going on in the state, and the lefty blogs are doing a fantastic job covering news across Texas.

In order to make sure all the news is circulating, I have added a blogwire to make sure that you get the news that is interesting to you.

I am also looking for some more writers, trying to find all of the candidates in Travis and Bexar county, and trying to get some feedback on JAB endorsements that I will announce in February.
You interested?

Also, updates seems to be going around. KT at Burnt Orange Report is raising some funds to update that fantastic blog and Charlie at Pink Dome is doing another survey that could use your input. I hope you can help both blogs and bloggers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mercurio Martinez On-Ballot

From the Quorum Report, Mercurio Martinez will be on the ballot against Richard Raymond in HD 42. Raymond challenged Martinez's standing on the ballot after dropping out of the congressional race in CD-28 and deciding to run for reelection in state house district 42. Not really much of a surprise here...

HD 48- Donna Howard Hasn't Won A Thing

There is a lot of celebrating going on in Austin right now, and deservedly so. However, everyone needs to remember one crucial point, Donna Howard hasn't won a thing yet. It should be the motto in everyones head. Last night was impressive, but it wasn't victory.

BOR has the night in full details, but the short story is Kathy Rider is out of the March primary and Donna Howard is in the run off against Ben Bentzin.

Howard is the clear frontrunner with the Democrats securing a total of 60% of the vote and winning 20 out of 26 precincts. It is impressive to be less than a 100 votes away from a straight out win in a 4 person race, but Howard didn't win.

If Margot Clark’s municipal campaign shows us anything, Dems can get complacent if they think they have already won. Yes, Rider and Howard combined pulled 7,121 total votes to Bentzin’s lack luster 5,124, but with such dominance in the polls will Democrats stay home?

I promise you, Bentzin and the Republicans are not going down without a fight.

Winning in the special election would seriously affect the Perry/Craddick/Dewherst plans for the special session, and it would make it infinitely easier to win the big show in November. But we go back to the original question, will the Democrats show up?

Chris Elliot and the Travis County Democratic Party (TCDP) did a stellar job focusing on the cycle and have to do it again. PACs and Organizations did a decent job spreading the word and Rider, Howard, and Andy Brown should all be applauded for identifying and mobilizing so many D’s. And they have to do it again. Democrats likely have one more month to campaign, and with a renewed focus that HD 48 is not securely in hand yet.

Winning outright in February will allow more resources to move to Mark Strama’s tight race in HD 50 and Terry Keels open seat in HD 47. So help make this happen! Howard hasn’t one a thing yet, and Democrats MUST VOTE AGAIN next month.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Texas Tuesdays: Dot Nelson-Turnier

With the holidays now behind us, it's time to get back in the swing of things. And since many of the Texas Tuesdays writers have been behind the concept of running every race, I thought we'd focus on one candidate who best symbolizes the ethic of challenging incumbents despite the odds, despite the conventional wisdom ... and despite personal handicaps.

Dot Nelson-Turnier is challenging incumbent Debbie Riddle in one of Harris County's reddest State Rep. districts - a district that has not had an alternative for Democrat on the ballot as far back as the online records go (1992). That alone would make Dot's challenge impressive. But Dot is also wheelchair-bound, which makes a slight alteration of "Run.Everywhere" to "Roll.Everywhere." This hasn't limited Dot's ability to take her word to Democratic groups in search of volunteers and donors.

Houston's own Perry Dorrell managed to get some Q&A out of Dot in an excellent post over at TexasTuesdays.com:
I am running because I feel no Republican should run unopposed. We have to give people a choice. My focus is on what I call the Killer E’s , Economics, Education, Equity, Equality and Environment and I do not think the incumbent Republicans have been making much progress on these issues.

Of course, Dot's opponent is a Republican who believes that a free, public education is a communist idea. Seriously. Check Perry's post for the details.

For now, we ask that you support Dot's candidacy by mailing a check:

Dot Nelson-Turnier
40 FM 1960 W # 225
HOUSTON, TX 77090-3530

... or visit her campaign site to donate via Paypal.

Feel free to forward this message to any and all good Democrats in your address book. And if you run a blog, feel free to give Dot some publicity to help spread the word. If candidates like Dot are willing to stem the latest version of a Red Tide here in Texas, then there ought to be numerous other candidates motivated to run in even more districts next time around. But for now, let's help Dot get uphill in this race to start showing some real progress among Democratic voters!

And, of course, the fine folks at ActBlue.com could still use a donation or two to help get online donations to every state legislative race available. Donations to this go a long way towards helping candidates like Dot as well as any potential candidates who might be more willing to run if the availability of tools such as ActBlue were available to them.
ActBlue Texas $

Juan Garcia Has Big Name Support

Eddie at The Red State has it first, Wesley Clark will be going to Corpus Christi to announce his support for future state rep Juan Garcia.

You can get the full press release here.

Juan Garcia is the charasmatic Harvard graduate and retired Navy pilot. For a short time he thought about running for US Senate and decided to work for positive change at home first. To say I am a fan is a gross understatement.

As Eddis says, "this is huge". Wes Clark is thought to be an early favorite for the Democratic Nomination for 2008, and having the four star general and former NATO supreme allied commander at your kick off is saying something about your credibility.

If you are able to go you should:
The rally is scheduled to be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 26 in the Selena Auditorium. The event will be followed by a fundraising reception from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Republican's Eat Their Own

Let’s start with the pragmatic. If you aren’t supported by current Texas House speaker Tom Craddick, then you aren’t a real Republican.

Case in point, Carter Casteel.

When a party gets in power, they tend to read their own press clippings a bit too much, they drift further to their extreme flank, take more money, and push an agenda more and more out of the mainstream.

Five legislators are being attacked by the far Craddick right this primary season, not by the Texas Democratic Party. Those legislators are:
HD 7 Tommy Merritt (R)
HD 73 Carter Casteel (R)
HD 78 Pat Haggerty (R)
HD 83 Delwin Jones (R)
HD 99 Charlie Geren (R)

Now there is a war being waged by the extremist wing of the Republican Party as the Craddick machine campaigns to make moderate Republicans extinct. They are also claiming that supporting moderates in the primaries is “infiltrating the party”.

Today in the Express-News there is a tragic story of a grassroots conservative group blasting to 50,000 people their newest campaign- Shark Watch.

If Republican leadership squeezes out all of these moderate candidates, we will be left with a Texas that could look very scary. A Texas with a state sponsored voucher system, continued defunding of health care and CHIPS programs, nasty air and water quality, and more harm to small business in order to cut taxes for corporate business.

Republican moderation is necessary, and watch how Merritt, Casteel, Jones, and the rest of the swing vote crew assist in education and tax reform during the third special session in April or May.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I Have A Dream

Today is MLK Day. Just a few years ago, when I was in college, we still required to attend classes instead of honoring this national holiday to march in one of the largest events honoring civil rights and equality leader Martin Luther King Jr.

To put this in perspective, I am a very recent Trinity Graduate. We advocated and petitioned our small school to ensure that future classes were able to celebrate the life and memory of this great man.

Today is MLK Day and one thing is clear, we still have a lot of work to do for true equality.

Here is the text, video, and audio of the "I Have A Dream" Speech. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Reggie Bush Enters Draft

Now the Texans have to think about they want to do. With Bush turning pro, the Texans have to pick Young, Bush, or trade down.

As long as the Texans can't figure out how to keep the QB standing up, can't create holes for the RB to get through, and as long as they don't have a secondary that stops the long ball... what the hell is the good in having the first pick?

I say trade down, pick up a couple great offensive linemen, get more picks for later in the draft, and get rid of the lowsy GM.

.... Or change the whole scheme and pick up Vince. How much fun would it be to see the option game in the NFL.

Shapleigh Endorses Uresti for Senate

Senator Frank Madla has been running right in a Democratic district, and people have noticed. Senator Eliot Shapleigh (D- El Paso) has taken the unusual step of endorsing Carlos Uresti in the March 7th primary.

“Madla is not a reliable vote for the interests of the district that tilts heavily Democrat,” Shapleigh said. "After 30 years in Austin, the people need to ask Frank, 'Who owns your heart?'”.

Shapleigh's involvement in Madla's race raises some eyebrows because senators, who consider themselves members of an elite club, seldom directly involve themselves in a colleague's political contest.

Shapleigh has been called the heart of the senate or morality chair because of his strong voice and his constant push for good government.

Why is Shapleigh opposing Madla?

One of Shapleigh's bigger objections with Madla is his bill last year that would have changed water irrigation district elections in El Paso. The bill would have restricted voting to landowners with irrigation rights. Critics said it would have taken voting rights away from about 95,000 people. Madla's bill passed the Senate, but died in the House.

Because of Senate tradition and rules, 11 senators from the 31-member body can block legislation. But Democrats can't count on Madla, Shapleigh said, citing Madla's support for debate on such bills allowing school vouchers, cutting children from Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program or shifting taxes from wealthy Texans to middle-class families.

"The first vote that the (Senate) Republicans go to get is Frank Madla's," Shapleigh said.

The Express-News points out some of the conservatives that have endorsed Madla

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a Republican, was the featured guest at a fundraiser for Madla on Tuesday night in Austin. Madla's host committee includes a number of former GOP legislators, such as lobbyists Mike Toomey and Arlene Wohlgemuth.

Wohlgemuth authored House Bill 2292, which dramatically changed the way Texas delivers human services and is assailed by critics for cutting hundreds of thousands of children from Medicaid and CHIP.

If an esteemed Senator like Shapleigh is wanting change and sticking his neck out like this, then you have to pay attention.

These excerpts come from the San Antonio Express-News.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Central Labor Council Makes Endorsements

After meeting last night for four hours the CLC made these recommendations to the voters:
Judge Phil Meyer
Judge Karen Crouch
Judge Oscar Kazen
Judge Peter Sakai
JP Saul Acevedo
JP Edmundo Zaragoza
JP Linda Penn
Democratic Party Chair Carla Vela
They made no endorsements in HD 118, SD 19, or the Barrera/Elizondo Race.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Newt Gingrich is Right

Before you think I have jumped off the deep end, listen for yourself. Former Speaker of the House Gingrich talks about the culture of coruption plaguing Washington and he happens to be right.

Absolute power does corrupt absolutely, and since Republican's control the House, Senate, White House, Supreme Court, Federal Court, Governorships and most State Governments... the culture of corruption can only be blamed on one party.

Democrats have had dealing with Abramoff, but Democrats were the first to give back the money. President Bush called Abramoff a pioneer fundraising. That means that Abramoff convinced others to give anywhere between $100k to $200k during the 2004 election.

Who were those people? How did he get them to do it? Are they now in positions of power? Why won't Bush give all of this money back and not just the money Abramoff directly gave him?

It is an election year again (it seems like it is always an election year), and we are given the amazing ability to take back the house. Newt Gingrich is right about the power of power and the corruption of the capital, and who do we have to blame besides the majority?

Cecile Richards Named New President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America

PPFA News Release:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation's leading advocate and provider of reproductive health care, announced today the appointment of national leader Cecile Richards as its next president. Ms. Richards is one of the nation's most prominent activist leaders and will join Planned Parenthood in mid-February after more than 20 years at the helm of social justice movements.

"Planned Parenthood has recruited an experienced, proven leader who has the vision and skill to lead Planned Parenthood during a period of both opportunity and challenge," PPFA Chair Esperanza Garcia Walters said.

"It is a great honor to assume the leadership of an organization that stands for the very freedoms embraced by the majority of Americans; the ability to decide when and whether to have children; and the importance of privacy, safety and access to health care," Ms. Richards said. "I look forward to working with Planned Parenthood affiliates, staff and partners to realize the dream of access to reproductive health care for all."

Ms. Richards has a long history of work in the reproductive rights community. She created and directed the Turner Foundation's national pro-choice project and has served on the boards of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Ms. Richards also served as deputy chief of staff to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, founded the Texas Freedom Network to counter the influence of the radical right wing, and worked on the campaign of her mother, former Texas Governor Ann Richards.

The announcement that Ms. Richards will head the organization received praise from PPFA Interim President Karen Pearl, who said, "Planned Parenthood has chosen a dynamic leader who will be an important voice in advocating for reproductive freedoms around the world."

Founded in 1916 by Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood is the world's largest and most trusted voluntary reproductive health care organization, with highly respected domestic and international programs. The federation has an advocacy presence in every state, and its affiliates manage more than 850 health centers across the nation, providing reproductive health care and sexuality education for nearly five million women, men and teens every year.

In addition to serving as a trusted provider of health care information and services, PPFA has an aggressive public policy agenda and a nationwide network of grassroots activists, and works in the courts to protect and advance reproductive rights. Recent successes of Planned Parenthood's prevention agenda include leading the effort to require health insurance plans to cover contraceptives; educating women and health care providers about emergency contraception; and working with drugstore chains and pharmacies to ensure that women get their birth control prescriptions filled without delay. In November 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, in which the court is expected to rule on whether abortion laws must include protections for women's health.

Ms. Richards is a native Texan. She and her husband Kirk Adams have three teenagers. She will leave her post as president of America Votes next month to assume this new role. Beth Ganz, executive director of America Votes, will run the organization as it searches for a new president. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, will become interim board chair and lead the America Votes search committee.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Glen Maxey As State Democratic Party Chair?

The rumbling have started and the drum beat is getting louder. The State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) met in Galveston over the weekend, and the word on the street is that former state rep and Democratic political consultant Glen Maxey is considering running for State Party Chair.

Charles Soechting has already announced his intent not to seek re-election to the position, and yet there has not been the great influx of candidates.

The position is unpaid, so any person considering it has to be committed. Maxey's connections to the state party, political consultants, elected officials and Howard Dean himself, make him highly qualified.

After working with Maxey on two separate campaigns, he brings insight, vision and practical experience to the position. His ability to understand targeting and his appreciation on the importance of data collection has made him a force in local, state and national campaigns.

This speculation comes from three sources with close connections to Maxey.

Sam Alito Hearing Schedule

The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin it’s hearings today at 11 a.m. CST. You can hear the whole thing at TPR.org.

Here is the current schedule of the hearing and bios for the witnesses (Beware... it's long):

Monday, January 9
Noon Chairman Specter opens hearing
12:15 pm Chairman Specter begins 10 minute opening statements for Committee members
3:15 pm Break
3:45 pm Presenters introduce Alito
- U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg
- Christine Todd Whitman, Former Governor of New Jersey, and Former EPA Administrator
4:00 pm Swearing-in and testimony of Judge Samuel A. Alito

Tuesday, January 10
9:30 am Chairman Specter begins 30 minute round of questioning (Round 1)
10:45 am AM Break
12:30 pm Break for lunch
1:30 pm Resume questioning
3:45 pm PM Break
6:00 pm Break for dinner
7:00 pm Resume questioning

Wednesday, January 11
9:30 am Chairman Specter begins 20 minute rounds of questioning (Round 2)
10:45 am AM Break
12:30 pm Break for lunch
1:30 pm Resume questioning as necessary
3:45 pm PM Break
6:00 pm Break for dinner
7:00 pm Resume questioning

*At the conclusion of questioning, the Committee is expected to go into closed session.

Thursday, January 12
9:30 am Resume questioning or outside witness testimony
12:30 pm Break for lunch
1:30 pm Resume questioning or outside witness testimony
6:00 pm Break for Dinner
7:00 pm Resume questioning or outside witness testimony

*If additional time for questioning or testimony is needed, changes will be made to the schedule.

Tentative Majority Witness List and Bios:

Panel 1 – American Bar Association

Stephen Tober
– Chairman, ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary

Mr. Tober is the Chairman of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. An attorney for the law firm bearing his name, he is an experienced attorney in civil litigation, professional negligence and domestic relations. Mr. Tober has both his undergraduate and law degrees from Syracuse University, where he served on the Law Review. Deeply involved in New Hampshire and New England legal communities, Mr. Tober is the former Chairman of the Committee to Redraft New Hampshire’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Mr. Tober will explain the methodologies used by the American Bar Association in reaching its conclusion that Judge Alito merited a Unanimously Well Qualified rating, the highest possible recommendation given by the ABA. Some of the factors considered by the ABA in determining its rating are intellectual capacity, judgment, writing and analytical ability, knowledge of the law, breadth of professional experience, courtroom experience, character, integrity, freedom from bias, commitment to equal justice under the law, and general reputation in the legal community.

Marna Tucker ABA DC Circuit Representative

Ms. Tucker is the D.C. Circuit Representative of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. She has distinguished herself as the first woman president of both the District of Columbia Bar Association and the National Conference of Bar Presidents. She is currently a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Feldesman, Tucker, Leifer, Fidell & Bank, and has practiced law in the domestic relations field for over thirty years. In the course of her career, she has been recognized nationwide as an expert in complex divorces, domestic violence and prenuptial matters. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and her law degree from the Georgetown Law Center.

John Payton
ABA Federal Circuit Representative

Mr. Payton
is the Federal Circuit Representative of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. He is the former Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia and DC Bar President and has been recognized as one of the premier litigators in his practice ranging from complex commercial matters to the most challenging of civil rights matters. Most recently, he was the lead counsel for the University of Michigan in defending the university’s admissions process by arguing Gratz v. Bollinger before the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Payton is on the Board of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and on the Board of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Mr. Payton has taught as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and at the Georgetown Law Center.

Note: Only one witness will give an opening statement.

Panel 2 – Judges

Edward R. Becker
– U.S. Court of Appeals Judge (Senior)

Judge Becker received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1954 and his J.D. from Yale University in 1957. Following law school, Judge Becker practiced law in Philadelphia, PA, from 1957-1970. In 1970, President Nixon nominated Judge Becker to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and in 1981 President Reagan nominated him to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Becker served as Chief Judge from 1998-2003 and he assumed senior status in 2003. Judge Becker is no stranger to the Senate, having served as a mediator for stakeholders of the asbestos legislation. Judge Becker has served with Judge Alito for his entire fifteen year tenure on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Anthony J. Scirica – Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Judge Scirica
received his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1962 and his J.D. from University of Michigan School of Law in 1965. He practiced law in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania from 1966 to 1980, when he was elected to the Court of Common Pleas of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In the interval, he served as an Assistant District Attorney and also as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he chaired the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime. He is also a former Chair of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing. In 1984, President Reagan appointed Judge Scirica to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In 1987, President Reagan nominated him to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, where he has been Chief Judge since 2003. Judge Scirica was a member of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1992 to 1998. He chaired the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1998 to 2003. Judge Scirica has been a member of the ALI since 1994, and he is currently an Adviser to the Principles of the Law of Aggregate Litigation Project and a member of the Special Committee on Federal Judicial Code Revision. He also served as an Adviser to the recently completed project on Principles and Rules of Transnational Civil Procedure. Judge Scirica has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and has taught at Duke University Law School and Dickinson-Penn State Law School. Judge Scirica and Judge Alito have served together on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for the past fifteen years.

Maryanne Trump Berry
– U.S. Court of Appeals Judge

Judge Barry
received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke in 1958, her M.A. from Columbia University in 1962, and her J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law in 1974. Judge Berry served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey from 1974-1983. While at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she served in numerous high level positions, including as Deputy Chief of the Appeals Division and Chief of the Appeals Division. She also was Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney and First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the office. In 1983, President Reagan nominated Judge Barry to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and in 1999 President Clinton nominated her to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Barry has chaired the Criminal Law Committee for the Judicial Conference. Judge Barry and Judge Alito have been colleagues for six years while both have served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Ruggero J. Aldisert
– U.S. Court of Appeals Judge (Senior)

Judge Aldisert
received his B.A. from University of Pittsburgh in 1942 and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1947. Following college, Judge Aldisert served in the Marine Corps from 1942-1946. He practiced law in Pittsburgh, PA from 1947-1961 and served as Judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, PA from 1961-1968. In 1968, President Johnson nominated Judge Aldisert to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He served as Chief Judge from 1984-1986 and assumed senior status in 1986. Judge Aldisert has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. He has authored several books on the law, including Winning on Appeal: Better Briefs and Oral Argument and he is considered an expert on appellate practice. Judge Aldisert and Judge Alito have served together on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for the past fifteen years.

Leonard I. Garth
– U.S. Court of Appeals Judge (Senior) – via video

Judge Garth
received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1942. He served during World War II as a United States Army Lieutenant from 1943 to 1946. Upon his return, he earned his LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1952. In 1969, after practicing law in Paterson, New Jersey for over fifteen years, Judge Garth was nominated to the United States District Court, District of New Jersey by President Nixon . He was later nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by President Nixon in 1973. He assumed senior status in 1986. Judge Garth has been a lecturer at Rutgers Law School since 1978 and at Seton Hall Law School since 1980. Judge Alito clerked for Judge Garth from 1976-1977, and has served as a colleague to Judge Alito for his entire fifteen year tenure on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

John J. Gibbons
– U.S. Court of Appeals Judge (Retired)

Judge Gibbons
received a B.A. from Holy Cross College in 1947 and a L.L.B. from Harvard University in 1950. Judge Gibbons practiced law in Newark from 1950-1970. In 1970, President Nixon nominated Judge Gibbons to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He served as Chief Judge from 1987-1990. Judge Gibbons resigned in 1990 to become a Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law. While at Seton Hall, he held the Richard J. Hughes Chair in Constitutional Law until 1997. In 1997, Judge Gibbons entered private practice and he is a partner at Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger, and Vecchione. Mr. Gibbons is a past President of the New Jersey State Bar Association, a member of the American Law Institute, and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is a former member of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association and a former Chair of its Committee on Fair Trial and Free Press. Additionally, he is a Director of the American Arbitration Association, a Trustee Emeritus of the Practicing Law Institute, and a Trustee Emeritus of Holy Cross College. Judge Gibbons has known Judge Alito for more than 20 years when Judge Alito was U.S. Attorney and tried cases before Judge Gibbons.

Timothy K. Lewis
– U.S. Court of Appeals Judge (Retired)

Judge Lewis
received his B.A. from Tufts University in 1976 and his J.D. from Duquesne University in 1980. Following law school, Judge Lewis served as Assistant District Attorney, Allegheny County, PA, from 1980-1983. From 1983-1991, Judge Lewis served as Assistant U.S. attorney, Western District of Pennsylvania. In 1991, President Bush nominated Judge Lewis to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and in 1992 President Bush nominated him to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. At the time of both appointments he was the youngest federal judge in the United States. Judge Lewis resigned in 1999 from the federal bench and he is currently co-chair of the Appellate Practice Group at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP. Judge Lewis is a co-chair of the National Committee on the Right to Counsel (with former Vice President Walter Mondale as honorary co-chair), a bipartisan committee established by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and the Constitution Project to review the indigent defense system throughout the nation and create recommendations for reforms. Judge Lewis and Judge Alito served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for seven years.

Panel 3 – Academics and witnesses acquainted with Judge Alito

Charles Fried
– Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and former U.S. Solicitor General, 1985-89.

Professor Fried is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is an expert in the areas of constitutional law and legal and moral philosophy. From 1985-1989 he served as the United States Solicitor General, arguing on behalf of the United States before the Supreme Court. >From 1995 through 1999, he sat on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts as an Associate Justice. Professor Fried holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, a juris doctor from Columbia Law School, and both a BA and MA from Oxford University. He is widely recognized as one of the premier constitutional scholars and appellate advocates of our time. Professor Fried was Judge Alito’s boss in the Solicitor General’s office.

Anthony Kronman
– Sterling Professor of Law, Yale Law School, and former Dean of Yale Law School.

Professor Kronman is the Sterling Professor of Law at the Yale Law School, and served as Dean of the Law School from 1994 to 2004. He has taught at Yale for the past 16 years. Before joining the Yale faculty, Professor Kronman taught at the University of Chicago Law School and at the University of Minnesota Law School. He graduated from Williams College in 1968 with highest honors in political science, received his Ph. D. in philosophy at Yale where he was a Danforth Fellow. He received his J.D. from the Yale Law School in 1975. Professor Kronman was a classmate of Judge Alito’s at Yale.

Nora Demleitner Professor of Law at Hofstra University School of Law. Also a former clerk to Judge Alito.

Professor Demleitner, from the Hofstra University School of Law, teaches and has written widely in the areas of criminal, comparative and immigration law. She is a managing editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter, and serves on the executive editorial board of the American Journal of Comparative Law. Professor Demleitner graduated from Bates College summa cum laude, and graduated from the Yale Law School in 1992, where she was symposium editor of the Yale Law Journal and managing editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. She also holds an L.L.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. Professor Demleitner clerked for Judge Alito after graduating form law school.

Panel 4 – Democrat witnesses (Academics)

Panel 5 – Witnesses acquainted with Judge Alito’s legal work

Peter Kirsanow
– a Commissioner to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Partner at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan and Aronoff LLP in Cleveland.

Mr. Kirsanow is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and a partner with the law firm Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan, and Aronoff LLP in the Labor and Employment Practice Group. He frequently testifies before and advises members of the U.S. Congress on various employment laws and issues, and has formerly served as labor counsel for the city of Cleveland. Mr. Kirsanow is also the chair of the board of directors of the Center for New Black Leadership and is on the advisory board of the National Center for Public Policy Research. He received his B.A. in 1976 from Cornell University and his J.D. with honors in 1979 from Cleveland State University, where he served as articles editor of the Cleveland State Law Review. Mr. Kirsanow has thoroughly reviewed Judge Alito’s civil rights record and will testify to his conclusions as an expert in the area of civil rights.

Cathy Fleming
– a Partner at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP, who served as a division chief when Alito was New Jersey U.S. Attorney. She is the president-elect of the National Association of Women Lawyers.

Ms. Fleming
is the President-Elect of The National Association of Women Lawyers, the nation’s oldest women’s bar association devoted to the interests of women lawyers and their families, and is a partner at the law firm of Edwards & Angell in New York. She specializes in complex civil and white collar criminal litigation. She has been in private practice for more than 25 years. She has known Judge Alito for nearly 20 years, having worked with him when he was the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey and she was the Deputy Chief and Acting Chief of the Special Prosecutions Unit. Ms. Fleming is a life-long Democrat, outspoken women’s rights advocate, and liberal-minded criminal defense attorney.

Carter Phillips the Managing Partner of Sidley Austin LLP and a litigator who has argued 45 cases before the Supreme Court. Also a former associate of Judge Alito’s in the Solicitor General’s office.

Mr. Phillips is one of the nation’s premier appellate litigators, and currently the Managing Partner of the Washington D.C. office of Sidley Austin Brown and Wood. He served as Assistant to former Solicitor General Rex Lee for three years, during which time he argued nine cases on behalf of the federal government in the United States Supreme Court. Since re-entering private practice in 1984, Mr. Phillips has argued 38 cases before the Supreme Court, for a career total of 47 appearances. That experience, as well as numerous cases in the courts of appeals, is one of the reasons Mr. Phillips was selected as one of the 100 Best Lawyers in America by The National Law Journal, and generally considered one of best appellate advocates in the country. He graduated with honors from Northwestern University School of Law and served as a law clerk to both Judge Robert Sprecher on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Chief Justice Warren E. Burger on the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Phillips has known Judge Alito for more than 20 years, having served with Judge Alito in the Office of the Solicitor General.

Panel 6 – Former Alito clerks

Kate Pringle
a Partner at Friedman, Kaplan, Seiler and Adelman LLP in New York and an Alito clerk 1993-94. She served as co-counsel for the Kerry for President campaign.

Ms. Pringle
is a partner in the litigation department of Friedman Kaplan Seiler and Adelman. She graduated with honors from American University in 1990 and cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1993. She served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Law Journal. She is a life-long Democrat and has been active in Democratic campaigns, including the last two presidential campaigns. Ms. Pringle was one of Judge Alito’s clerks for the 1993 – 1994 term.

Jack White – an Associate at Kirkland and Ellis LLP in San Francisco and an Alito clerk from 2003-04. A member of the NAACP and ACLU, he is a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Jack White is an associate in the San Francisco office of Kirkland and Ellis. He graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Pepperdine Law Journal, and received his B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Mr. White served on active duty as an officer in the United States Army and continues to serve as a Captain in the United States Army Reserve. He is a dedicated member of the ACLU and the NAACP. Mr. White was one of Judge Alito’s clerks for the 2003 – 2004 term.