Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hubener Loses to England

Katy Hubener 2,438 votes or 46.23%
Kirk England 2,788 votes or 52.86%

Full results here.

The Charles Soechting, chair of the Texas Democratic Party has this to say:

I want to commend Katy Hubener on running an excellent race in the special election for House District 106. Katy ran as an independent voice, who could be trusted to stand up against a special interest agenda and fight for the best interests of Texas families.

In a five-week sprint special election called by Governor Perry to benefit his hand-picked candidate in a Republican district, Katy Hubener held her opponent to a margin of only a few hundred votes, signaling a trend of voter dissatisfaction with one-party Republican rule in the State of Texas.

Katy will continue to campaign as an independent voice for North Texas families, and we feel confident about her chances in November. The dynamics of a general election will no doubt benefit Katy and her strong organization of supporters.

As we enter an important special session on education and school finance, the voters of District 106 and every other community in Texas will be watching and waiting to hold legislators accountable. Kirk England will have to face the voters again in November and answer for a record that either protects the priorities of North Texas families or reflects the special interests that control the republican leadership in Austin.”

Texas Democrats are working to earn voters’ trust and offer a real alternative to the partisan Republican “business as usual.” With highly qualified candidates like Katy Hubener and Donna Howard on the ballot again in November, the pay-to-play politics established by Rick Perry and Tom Craddick will be replaced by state government with the integrity to work for all Texans.”

Expect more tomorrow.

SD 19 Rumormill

Frank Madla has an attack piece going out today that questions Carlos Uresti’s Democratic credentials.

The best part is, insiders are saying that Frank Madla had to call David Dewhurst's office and receive permission to attack the Republican Party during the campaign. Ironic, huh?

Pseudo Democrat Frank Madla had to receive permission from Republican Lt. Governor David Dewhurst to attack the Republican Party in a direct-mail piece going out to potential voters in the DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY.

Not only is Madla locking the Democrats in the trunk he is in bed with the Republicans.

Go Vote NOW!

Dallas, it’s your turn to vote in a Special Election. If you live here, then go Vote FOR Katy Huebner!

Need voting information? Here ya go.

New Poll Numbers for the Bush Administration

On the same day that President Bush says that the 2004 Bin Laden tape is a reason for his re-election, a poll done by CBS News President Bush has only a 34% job approval rating-- the lowest numbers of his presidency. Bush’s previous low was 35% following hurricane Katrina.

Bush's overall job approval fell eight points from 42 percent last month. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they disapproved of Bush's performance on the job…

The President’s numbers are low on all fronts. The biggest selling point for the administration has typically been Iraq and the general war on emotions. The CBS poll found that only 30 percent approved of Bush’s handling of Iraq compared to 37 percent in January.

In addition, 62 percent of Americans said they think U.S. efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq were going badly compared with 36 percent who said things were going well.
These numbers could play directly into the midterm elections in November and rapidly force President Bush into lame duck status. Here are the full poll results.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Shameless Plug

So today is my birthday, hence the limited postings today. I want you all to do something for me—you can even call it a birthday present.

I want you to donate some money to John Courage. He is a good Democrat running against an awful Republican in Congressional District 21.

I want you to give some time to Carlos Uresti and Ciro Rodriguez. You can walk for them, adopt a polling location or you can call from home for Ciro.

Not asking for much really. I just want your help in taking back my state.

Thanks in advance!

Multimedia Monday!

I spent this past week catching up on music, movies, and books. Here are the highlights.

Jamie Cullum- Catching Tales
Ben Folds- Rockin the Suburbs
Venus Hum- Big Beautiful Sky

Pink Panther
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

The Dead Emcee Scrolls by Saul Williams

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Are You Kidding Me?!?

There is an article circulating that says that the Texans may be shopping their first round pick (aka Reggie Bush). What a stupid idea!

David Carr has a three year extension, Reggie Bush is a first year impact player, and Dominick Davis could yeild huge trades. If the Texans trade down, they better be doing it to make their line much much much much better or it is a complete waste.

Texans Split on Border Wall

The Dallas Morning News Editorial staff announced the results of a survey that found 47 percent of registered Texas voters oppose building a border wall, while 45 percent favor it.

It seems like most things in politics, we are evenly split. Lamar Smith is a champion for building the wall, and his fellow Texas Republican’s disagree with the idea. Oddly, Rick Perry and John Cornyn make some good points on why the wall is a horrid idea.

Gov. Rick Perry is one of those Texans who believe a wall isn't going to solve anything. We agree with him, both because of the time the construction would take and the immigration problems it would leave unsolved. Sen. John Cornyn has called the fence a "19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem."

The Dallas Morning News also highlights the simple resolve of people trying to cross the boarder. In its most simple terms it can be classified as the, “were there’s a will there’s a way” motivation.

Such costly efforts will only divert migration through underground tunnels, through more desolate and dangerous crossing points along the southern border and through Canada. Consider that when sections of walls were erected along the California border, people began crossing through other states, like Arizona. Of the 472 bodies recovered last year along the border, about half were in Arizona.

All in all, there are too many incentives for people to cross the boarder. American jobs pay better than Mexican jobs, American’s want cheap goods and producers want cheap labor, and American’s are not willing to do the type of labor that is essential to this countries economic survival.

A multi-million dollar wall is not the solution to this problem. Better equipment for our boarder patrol, a better Mexican-American economic plan, and a policy of Fair Trade will all curb illegal boarder crossing. And 47% of Texans already know that. Now all we need is the policy and politicians to stop being so fixated on The Wall.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Perry Wants MORE Wiretapping, Casteel Campaign is Ugly, Madla Needs a Savings Account

Here are a few things that might interest you political savy weekend readers.

The Denton Record has Gov Good Hair on the record saying we need MORE wiretapping in Texas. With all the back and forth on the presidents illegal wiretapping story, Gov Perry has proposed a few things that would make George Bush's life a little easier in Texas.
  • Expanding state wiretap authority – currently limited to murder and drug trafficking investigations – to include kidnapping, aggravated assault and extortion. Law enforcement officials would still need to secure a warrant from a state district judge.

  • Updating conspiracy statutes to better encompass terrorist organizations and international crimes, including smuggling humans and drugs and setting up false charities and businesses to funnel money.

  • Ensuring the Department of Public Safety has sufficient resources to deal with border threats.

On the campaign front, in House District 73, Carter Casteel is one of the harder races of her career against Nathan Macias. The Express-News has the story on the battle of who is more conservative.

Casteel has been a fantastic legislator and in reality this is a race on vouchers not qualifications, and her opponent is really John Leininger, not Macias.

Down in Senate District 19, the man who had an entire party fit in his trunk is now spending a lot of money to do it. Frank Madla represents one of the poorest districts in the state and the Express-News shows that he has spent more than $1.6 million of campaign funds in three years.

Some expenses include, $180,000 on food and beverages since mid-2002, including more than $19,000 at Piccolo's, a restaurant on San Antonio's Northwest Side, which he visited 106 times.

He spent more than $19,000 at Gabriel's liquor store in the same time frame; more than $7,000 on bottled water; nearly $87,000 on an Austin apartment and more than $50,000 on lodging.

The full run down and what Madla endorsers are saying can be found at the Express-News.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Recall Efforts Start in San Antonio District 7

Express News has the story.

Allen Ellebracht told the council, "Because of your inaction, I'm officially calling for a recall petition. I am ready to roll and recall."

But District 7 constituents who showed up said Guajardo had done for them what past representatives failed to do.

"Elena has opened the district office every Tuesday for her constituents to come out and meet with her," resident Ted Guerra said.

After a coalition of District 7 neighborhood association presidents spoke of their support, the group moved to Main Plaza, where Guajardo thanked them for their support.

"We are a beautiful city and we don't need to be divided," Guajardo said.

Background on the recall is here, the most heated debate is going on here, and Guajardo's support can be seen here.

Mark Warner ‘We’re In This Together'

Governor Mark Warner, presumptive candidate for the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary Race has been touring Texas this week, and made a pit stop in Austin at Guero’s this morning.

It was a small crowd of reporters, Fred Baron, the Texas Democratic Party, SDEC members like Boyd Richie, and bloggers like Eileen of In The Pink, Eddie of Red State, Philip Martin of Burnt Orange, and myself.

Warner has started a PAC called Forward Together. It very clearly has two motivations. One, support Democrats up and down the ballot nationwide during the off cycle elections, and two, become a vehicle for Warner to run in the ’08 primary.

Currently the speculative field is composed of Hilary Clinton, Tom Vilsack, Joe Biden, Mark Warner, General Wesley Clark, John Edwards, John Kerry, and whispers of Barak O’Bama. I stress speculative because in the most general terms, every Democrat with a pulse and a background at all is running. And by the by, most of these officials have filed PACs for one cause or another.

Warner was dynamic. He presented a plan that focused on his ability to work across the aisle on issues of fiscal responsibility, education, and even gun rights and safety. He is a balanced budget, revenue neutral, pay as you go Democrat. He is not a deficit hawk, but he is a deficit reducer. His fiscal policy is sound and caused for amazing leaps in infrastructure development in rural Virginia and one of the most stable and fastest growing economies in the nation. His fiscal policy alone helped garner him an approval rating of 80% in a red state.

The issues that peaked my interest the most were his education policy and “in-sourcing”. His education policy was based on incentives and creating higher and realistic standards for students and teachers. With his improvements African American and Hispanic students in advanced placement classes rose to nearly 25% each. Graduation levels rose to approximately 90%. Teacher pay increased for those working in the most deprived school districts and he did this while maintaining the growth of the economy.

His policy on in-sourcing is an idea that I have read about but never heard from a candidate--rural development to allow for a transition from industrial jobs to white collar jobs. National Public Radio (NPR) recently highlighted a work from home model that is conducive to this rural/ex-urban development.

Warner took it one step further by expanding broadband internet connection to the rural parts of Virginia and the areas that needed a transition from coal jobs to high-tech jobs. The goal is to create incentives for companies and corporations to shift work to previously untapped parts of the country instead of outsourcing.

Warner is an impressive candidate. He is charismatic (something you can’t learn or teach). He is smart. He is articulate. And, he is viable. As a red state winner and successful businessman, Warner is a candidate to watch.


Just Another Blog crossed the 10,000 visit mark yesterday... YAY!

To celebrate, GO WALK FOR CIRO!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

San Antonio Recall Process and Ellebracht's E-mail to Guajardo

With all the recent talks surround Elena Guajardo and the Ellebracht recall threats. Here is the statute for a recall effort in San Antonio's single district council set up.
Article 4, Section 26 of the city charter, requires for a recall proposal to be placed on the ballot, 10% of the qualified voters who cast ballots in the last election in the district sign petitions. That would amount to 1625 registered District Seven voters who would have to sign the petition in order to get the matter on the ballot.
WOAI.com impacts this to the current Ellebracht situtation and says that Ellebracht's efforts will require a lot of work and success is not likely.
The petition has to be circulated by a resident of District Seven. Allen Ellebracht, the man who is pushing the recall drive, is a resident of District Ten, on the northeast side.

No city council member has been successfully recalled since the single member district scheme of electing council members was imposed in the late 1970's. The fact that council members stand for re-election every two years has rendered the recall system less important, and currently, council members can only be re-elected once.

The San Antonio Lightning also has an e-mail Ellebracht sent to Guajardo after Dickerson's suicide. The motivation behind the e-mail is that elected officials should praise those that write letters to them and they should have thicker skin.

Today, the city council meets at 6 p.m. and this story is not likely to end anytime soon. Their are previous posts here and here.

Bush Says We Are Safe!

CNN has the story, but the long and short of it is, Bush says the war on terror is won. Our security problem? We are safe now!

Bush says, "It's really important that we not send mixed messages to allies."

Just moments before Bush told reporters during a Cabinet meeting, "This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security of the United States of America."

Apparently Dick Cheney will be monitoring the security efforts at all 6 ports, and running the government again since Bush didn't even know about the deal in the first place.

Peter Sakai For Judge (Again)

Judge Peter Sakai sent out this mail piece as part of his Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort. It makes a fantastic point. The Ralph Lopez running for judge is not the immensely talented and popular San Antonio Sheriff Ralph Lopez.

Instead it is Ralph Lopez the city trial lawyer running against the incumbent and talented Judge Peter Sakai. Lopez has been playing up his name and hoping that this spills over to some votes, and Sakai’s mail piece intends to neutralize that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

6 Days Later

The Elena Guajardo saga continues as organizers are asking for San Antonio citizens to show their support to attend tomorrow’s council meeting.

Last week, Allen Ellebracht lobbied the council to force Guajardo to step down. He gave a week before he initiated a recall effort. The San Antonio City Charter does not seem to allow for a recall effort but with city council members only serving two years before the municipal elections, this could affect Guajardo’s chances for re-election.

Guajardo supporters have been circulating the following information.

We know we can fill the Council Chambers with supporters of Elena, because Elena stands up for us every week as a strong representative of our communities. Right now, she needs us.

The vicious attacks against Elena right now by some local media (Express-News, ClearChannel-owned WOAI radio and TV, and KSAT 12) have to stop! These media outlets have taken advantage of an tragic situation to publicly and unjustly attack Elena – because she is a strong progressive woman who stands up against injustice.

Former City Council member Maria Berriozabal added this:

Elena broke a silence. She simply said this is not right. She did not seek media attention. Yet television stations, radio stations and some newspaper columnists have made it a big issue. The TV stations have even given the phone number for the man who has been attacking Elena and who has said he will continue to attend City Council until Elena resigns. Those who have spoken at Council have used hateful speech towards Elena and even threatened her and yet he has not been stopped. When I was on City Council we had a policy that no personal attacks could be made against ONE member. Mayor Cisneros would quickly nip any such reference in the bud. This Council should do the same thing. One thing is to passionately disagree on votes to be taken; another is a personal attack - which this has become.

We have to not only show support for Elena but we have to show the media and San Antonio that they cannot tolerate this. We told Elena we would support her when she got elected and this is what we need to do. As Latinas, we have to be present and be counted. This is not the time for silence...

Those who oppose Guajardo have been commenting on this forum and have made their support known for Ellebracht.

Tomorrow’s city council meeting will begin at 6pm and those who wish to comment on this matter or any other should be there at 1pm.

A Word From Carla Vela

Today I endorsed Carla Vela as Democratic Chair for Bexar County. Earlier she commented in a previous post and here is what she had to say about herself and her candidacy:

I’m currently employed by Prime Time Newspapers. I have been a Senior Account Executive for over 7 years and I sell advertising for 18 publications in the Clear Channel Communications Group. Serving as:
1st Vice Chair State Tejano Democrats
Chair, Bexar County Tejano Democrats
Chair, Matt Garcia Mexican American Democrats
President, First Friday Network
Precinct Chair 3048
Delegate, State Democratic Convention
Co-Chair, Walter Mondale Campaign for President
President, Womens Club
Vice President, PTA

has allowed me to see that the one thing that is missing from all these activities is UNITY as a cohesive fabric thoughout Bexar County.

My lifelong passion has been minority issues and a gaining a place at the table. My intention is to bring not only the democratic party together but also to bring labor into the fold--your expertise in organizing is needed and your help in bringing everybody in will be greatly appreciated.

As County Chair I plan to unite all areas of Bexar County, the various Democratic clubs, unions, and as many neighborhood associations as possible, with my ultimate goal being the creation of a unified voting block. With the proper functioning of the County Executive Committee and the necessary precinct chairs in place we can finally get down to the business of the Democratic party and the full participation of the people.

JAB Endorsements!

Let me start with saying sorry for the delay. My computer died for the third time in a month and for all intensive purposes, I now have a completely new laptop! Ugh…

Now it is time for the real show. Yesterday was the start of early voting, and the beginning of the Democratic Revolution. Maybe it is wishful thinking, but looking over the endorsements I realized we are in a good place this year. Donna Howard has already won, Katy Huebner is in a good place for February 28th, and we have solid candidates up and down the ballot.

I am going to list the endorsements by position on the ballot and I encourage you to agree or disagree with any and all of them.

Barbara Radnofsky

US Congress District 28
Ciro Rodriguez

Bob Gammage

Senate District 19
Carlos Uresti

House District 118
Joe Farias

County Chair
Carla Vela

County Commissioner Precinct 2
Paul Elizondo

These races I have followed closely. I do not make any attempt to endorse in races that I have either no knowledge of either candidate or only know one side of the story.

Judge, 225th District Court
Judge Peter Sakai

Judge, County Court at Law #6
Judge Phil Meyer

Judge, County Court at Law #9
Oscar J. Kazen

Saturday, February 18, 2006

News You Can Use

I am in Dallas today for a conference hosted by New Politics Forum and the Annette Straus Institute. While I am there filling my brain with interesting panels and people here are some links for you to have fun with.
  • B and B has the best run down on SD 19 so far. If you aren't sure what is going on or who to vote for, this should help.
  • The Red State, among others, have the new Uresti ad.
  • If you are an independent, what are you going to do March 7th? The San Antonio Express-News has an interesting take on this dilemma.

There will be another entry in the Republican's Eating Their Own series and there are talks about creating a national standardized testing scheme for Colleges and Universities. Think, noBODY left behind. I will be discussing this, and announcing endorsements soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Recall Effort of City Council Member Elena Guajardo

Today's city council meeting was tumultuous at best. There was a threat to either force Elena Guajardo to resign because of the incident at Zachry Construction Corporation or face a recall effort. The details are fuzzy. Expect more soon.

Allen Ellebracht has given the city council 7 days until he begins a petition drive to force a recall election. Ellebacht has said that the sucide of George Dickerson is her fault and she must step down because of it.

Ellebacht does not dispute the fact that Dickerson used the Zachary Construction Company work e-mail account to send an e-mail full of racial slurs nor does he dispute the fact that Guajardo went through the chain of command that is typical for an executive that sends hate mail to an elected official. More on this as it develops.

Endorsements- Your Input NEEDED

I am starting to do the usual endorsement watch. On Monday I will announce the JAB endorsements for the contested March 7th primaries, and your will be a crucial part of this.

I want to hear your thoughts and get your input, and this includes volunteers, staffers, community activist, and anyone else in between. You can do it through e-mail by e-mailing me at justanothermatt-at-gmail-dot-com or by posting a comment.

I will move this post up at the end of every day to ensure the most involvement possible.

Put your two sense in, I am still unsure on the Gov race, HD 118, and a few others. Your good points will make a difference in who we endorse at JAB.

Sherman New Assistant Coach for Texans

Mike Sherman was announced yesterday as the new assistant coach for offense. According to the AP, he had turned down a similar offer by the Jets, but took this job because he is a fan of both new head coach Gary Kubiak and owner Bob McNair.

The details on what Sherman's exact role will be are still unknown, but both Kubiak and Sherman come from a long history of managing strong offenses. Kubiak worked 11 years with the Denver Broncos and Sherman is well known for his work as head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

The two men working together should create some solutions for the Texan's horrid offensive line and help improve David Carr's production. This pick up plus the likely draft pick up of Reggie Bush means that the Houston Texans are making some positive moves to at least a .500 season.

Lawsuit Against County Chair Causes Concern for Primary

The saga of the Democratic Chair in San Antonio continues. Now the problem is case of the law of unintended consequence. Last fall 30 Democratic Precinct Chairs, including Carla Vela and Dan Ramos who are running for the Chair position, won a temporary restraining order that put them in control of the party.

Now there is a slight problem. Because the plaintiffs are now in control of the party, Rudy Casias is not allowed to spend party money nor is he allowed to act unilaterally on any party action.

According to the San Antonio Express-News this deal was signed by Senior District Judge Pat Priest and it requires Casias to disband the committee he had formed to oversee preparations for the March 7 primary and accept a panel selected by the executive committee. It also requires Casias to submit a list of election-judge candidates to the committee for approval, as well as a proposal for their compensation. In addition, the chairman must hand over a proposal for voting machines for the committee's OK.

County Judge Nelson Wolff sees a problem here:

Bottom line, from an operational standpoint: It's impossible to change the voting machines and we've already hired the people to be election judges," Wolff said. "So if indeed the judge interprets this to mean they can do these things, I would say the election is in trouble.

Ruperto Garcia, a plaintiff in the case has said that they are not looking to stop the deal Casias worked out and do not wish to interfere with the upcoming March 7th Primary election.

The San Antonio Express-News out lines the deal Casias made:

Casias, his Republican counterpart and county officials signed an agreement in December to hold a joint primary, run by the county's election department. Casias' critics said he didn't have the authority to agree unilaterally to the pact, but Garcia said the plaintiffs aren't looking to back out of the agreement.

The plaintiffs sued Casias in September, claiming he'd violated state election laws and excluded them from important decisions. A judge signed a temporary restraining order at that time stopping Casias from spending money other than daily operational funds and calling on him to complete an audit of the party's finances within 30 days.

The audit has not yet been done because Casias will not hand over the financial statements to the appointed treasurer.

All in all, the primary looks to be on for March 7th, but the question is whether it is because of Wolff’s intervention or the plaintiff’s signing off on the deal that Casias has made.

David Van Os to Filibuster for Independence

David Van Os is the definition of a populist candidate and again he shows us why.

Texas Attorney General Candidate David Van Os will conduct a 24-hour "Filibuster for Independence" on the south steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin, beginning Friday March 3 at 6 p.m. and concluding at 6 p.m. on Saturday March 4.

All Democratic candidates running for federal and state offices across Texas have been invited to participate in the Filibuster for brief periods. A full roster of participants will be released soon.

The public is invited to attend, observe, and listen.

Public Hearing on Proposed Grandfathering Ordinance

City staff was directed to meet with stakeholders (AGUA, cTc, San Antonio Conservation Society, Greater San Antonio Builders Association, and San Antonio Council of Realtors) to discuss recommendations for changes submitted by each of these groups. Recommendations will be considered by City Council after a public hearing on Thursday, February 16th at 5:30 pm at the City Council Chambers (114 W. Commerce).

AQUA will focus on the following issues:

  • Grandfathering is degrading our sole source of drinking water. Today, most new development is exempt from the aquifer protection ordinance, eleven years after it was passed.
  • Grandfathering is enabling clear-cutting of thousands of acres of trees, causing more air pollution and flooding. San Antonio cannot afford to give away more grandfathering than Texas law requires.

This hearing will determine how the City will recognize vested rights, the Council will to some extent determine whether San Antonio will be able to enforce regulations for aquifer protection, tree preservation, safe drainage, signs and bill boards and other issues that will determine what our city will look like in the years to come.

AGUA, the cTc, and others are calling upon City Council to adopt ordinances that recognize grandfathering in a manner that gives the City the greatest possible latitude, under State law, in enforcing good ordinances to protect trees, water quality, regulate drainage and billboards, and other measures that will make ours a more livable city.

AQUA supports requirements for developers to submit more specific plans in order to be recognized as having a vested right. Some special interests are opposing this because such changes will make it harder to sell grandfathered rights (aka "vested rights") along with the land.

AQUA support elimination of a loophole in the aquifer protection ordinance that makes it nearly impossible for developers to lose their grandfathering. This leads to absurd situations where a project is exempt from the 1995 aquifer protection ordinance but NOT exempt from the 2003 tree ordinance.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Donna Howard Wins in Landslide

Not long ago there was a runoff election in House District 48. Only 13,556 people voted and Donna Howard was a mere 73 votes away from winning out right. The Democrats claimed nearly 60% of the total vote in a district that was drawn to be 57% Republican.

Democrats rejoiced. We all came together and cautious optimism filled the air.

Now it is Valentines Day and as of 9:30 only 32of 39 precincts are in. Donna Howard has handily beaten Ben Bentzin and his negative campaign. 21,899 votes have been cast thus far, and Donna did the impossible... she won nearly 60% again. At this point it is 58% for Howard and 42% for the corrupt Bentzin.

Donna Howard has won. Travis county is one seat away from having full Democrat representation for state offices. Now we must turn our attention to HD 106 and Katy Huebner and taking back the state.

Senate District 19: A Full Story

Harvey Kronberg has a great piece on the Madla vs Uresti slugfest. Here is what he has to say about SD 19:

Covering some of the poorest and most isolated territory in the state, SD 19 starts in western and southern Bexar County and stretches to the border and across the Big Bend region to the edge of El Paso. All told, the district covers more than 55,000 square miles and is larger than 18 states.

The military has a strong presence here with San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base and Del Rio’s Laughlin Air Force Base both located in the district. Roughly 10,500 district residents are in the armed forces, according to census figures.

Uresti, a former Marine, said the veterans’ vote is an "X factor" that could tip the election in his favor.

According to Larry Romo, state chairman of the Texas Democratic Veterans, the number of active military belies the real strength of soldiers’ clout at the polls. Add veterans and their families and they boost the total of military in the district to roughly 128,000, or 20 percent, of SD 19. Uresti can count on the support of four-fifths of the veterans who show up at the polls, Romo said.

Several of the VFW post’s officers criticized Madla, whose San Antonio district office is about a mile south of the post, for never visiting them. A former post commander, Eddie Rodriguez, accused Madla of "fat-catting" in Austin.

The incumbent denied that he hasn’t delivered for veterans, claiming credit for past legislation that helped fund some schools on military bases and provided children of veterans with financial assistance for college.

The two also spar over who can better represent the rural part of the district west of San Antonio. Nearly half of the district’s residents live west of Bexar County. Uresti quickly rattles off officeholders in Eagle Pass, Uvalde and Reeves County who back him because they say the incumbent doesn’t visit often enough.

In a district with so many residents in poverty, Uresti has focused on a vote taken by Madla in 2003 to allow debate on a massive reorganization of the state agency in charge of distributing social services.

The bill led to cutbacks in certain components of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides low-cost health insurance for families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to purchase insurance on their own. Since the cuts, more than 180,000 children have left the program.

"He has been voting like a Republican," Uresti said. "The problem is that Senate District 19 needs someone who has the courage to fight for them."

Madla said he he’ll probably spend about $500,000 – reflecting the high cost of television, campaign signs and travel in a district as expansive as SD 19. Uresti estimated he’ll need another $200,000 to $300,000.

You can visit Frank Madla's site here and Carlos Uresti's site here.

Cheney Gun Shot Victim has Heart Attack

AP - Harry Whittington, the 78-year-old lawyer who was shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident has some birdshot lodged in his heart and he had a "minor heart attack," a hospital official said Tuesday.

Young Dem Runs In TN 18

Schree Pettigrew is young, hip motivated and well financed. She is also a Young Democrat running in the Tennessee 18 against Republican incumbent Stacey Campfield.

I don’t blog much on issues outside the state of Texas. This is not a blog that focuses on news like Paul Hackett dropping out of the Ohio Senate race, but I have a special place in my heart for young people getting in the process and bloggers doing exceptional things.

Schree Pettigrew is running for the state house seat in the TN-18. She has out raised the Republican incumbent, has a great site, and an interesting platform.

Check out the site and marvel at what young people are doing across the country. Especially the ones that show why running in every race is a good idea.

Frank Madla Doesn't Like Bloggers

From the Express-News:

State Sen. Frank Madla says he's the victim of dirty politics after a six-second video clip shot at a recent fundraiser made its way onto several political blogs last week.

The video shows the three-term senator standing with family, wagging a finger and earnestly telling a group behind the camera: "When I get to the state Capitol, I lock the Democratic Party in my trunk."

Madla said he was addressing supporters at a Jan. 10 fundraiser where Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a Republican, was a featured guest.

The campaign of state Rep. Carlos Uresti, who's challenging Madla for his seat in the March Democratic primary, disseminated the video last week in an e-mailed news release headlined: "What Frank Madla thinks of Democrats ... " It goes on to identify Uresti as "a real Democrat."

"I think it demonstrates the kind of campaign my opponent is waging," Madla said.

"We didn't send anybody to the fundraiser," he said. "Somebody brought it to us."

Uresti has hammered Madla with the charge that he implicitly supported deep cuts to the Children's Health Insurance Program by voting to allow debate of the bill, an action Madla defends as purely procedural. And Uresti is trying to call Madla's Democratic credentials into question.

He's gotten help from state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, who endorsed Uresti and said Madla doesn't routinely vote in the interest of his heavily Democratic district.

Uresti said the video goes a long way in proving the point.

You can find more background to this story at BOR and the original video.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Multimedia Monday!

You thought I was going to forget... didn't you?

Life of Pi - Yann Martel
House of Leaves- Mark Danielewski

James Blunt- Back To Bedlam
Sunny Day Real Estate- Rising Tide
Ray Charles- My Kind Of Jazz

Agonist Radio Tonight

Agonist Radio is going live tonight on 550 KTSA San Antonio's Talk Radio.

Here is Agonist radio's line-up tonight:

Livestream Here.

700-730: Intro segment, introduce the night's guests, main topic, poll question and call-ins etc . . .
730-800: Suprise Segment but Texas Dems should love it!!
800-830: Sanford Nowlin of the Express-News AT&T Blog.
830-900: Henry Cuellar/Ciro Rodriguez
900-930: Jane Hamsher of firedoglake.
930-1000: TBA


John Courage: DC Wrap Up

I couldn’t bring myself to look at my computer yesterday. The countless e-mails that I need to respond to, the dying battery pack for my laptop, the RSS feeds I need to catch up on… it was all too daunting.

Today, I am sifting through my life and in doing so realizing how much the Courage Campaign accomplished in 4 days.

John Courage, Nick Lawrie, and I attended meetings with over 20 groups, garnered support from nearly all of them, received two major donations and set up multiple fundraisers, talked with strategist and consultants, and have set up two more trips to DC.

Not to bad in my opinion.

The main goal now is raise money. The district looks good and people across the country are excited about the race, but to move from a campaign to watch to a targeted race John needs to raise some bucks.

The National Committee for an Effective Congress is donating their data, American Federation of Teachers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are donating substantial funds and throwing a fundraiser, and everyone from Trial Lawyers to consultants are give John and Nick leads to raise the profile of the race.

I don’t do this often, but donate, donate, donate. Match the efforts of DC and send some money to put Courage in Congress. Regardless of whether you are in the district, the state, or anywhere across the glob, John Courage needs your support to retire Lamar Smith.

In just a few weeks, Nick and John are going back for another round with labor unions and affinity groups. Send them back with some cash in their pockets and let’s elevate this campaign to a new level.

Dick Cheney is Dangerous Man

Guns don't hurt people, Dick Cheney does. If the Vice President is going to accidently shoot someone, doesn't that mean that gun safety laws are a good idea?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Day in the Life in DC

This is my first DC experience, and I am here campaigning. This place moves fast. Everyone is working all of the time and the talent that we see on a daily basis is inspiring.

As a student of economics the first thing I was ever taught was, there are limited resources and an infinite way to use them. Politics is much the same way. Democratic performance and money raised are two of major guide posts to getting any conversation started. Have I mentioned that you should donate to John Courage’s campaign and sign up to volunteer?

Today we met with another half dozen groups including an specialist on immigration issues Rick Schwartz, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the League of Conservation Voters, a specialist in media and communications strategies Jon-Christopher Bua, and the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA).

In exciting news, IBEW endorsed on the spot and pledged to make a substantial campaign contribution.

But, what does a day in DC look like? This is the question I am getting the most right now, and if you are a candidate take notes.

Nick Lawrie, the Campaign Director, spent much of the days and weeks leading up to the trip scheduling appointments and getting to know the best people to talk to. These appointments are an hour long and sometimes longer, but they all begin the same way… hurrying to a cab as fast as possible.

Once you get there you meet with either the political or electoral departments, and on rare occasions you meet with the governmental affairs staff.

You talk about the race and luckily we have a race that we can win and an opponent that is Tom DeLay’s shadow man.

You answer questions about policy, about structure, and about what you will do when you win. You take cards and you go to the next meeting.

When you stop and think about the fact that each meeting is about one hour, then six meetings is a full days work when you factor in cab time and call time.

We have a half day left before we fly back to the district. Tomorrow we are meeting with the American Federation of Teachers, National Committee for an Effective Congress, Planned Parenthood, and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.

The people we have met and we will meet tomorrow want a better future for all of us, and they are working tirelessly to do that. John is here in DC to work with those people to bring fair trade to Texas and bring solid education standards to the children in District 21 and across the country. We are meeting with people every hour to talk about real change and truly represent the people, not the private lobbyist that are buying their way to the seat.

The culture of corruption is going to come crumbling down around Lamar Smith and Tom DeLay and we will put Courage in Congress!

John Courage in DC: Day 3 Morning Update

Day three already? Last night was a who’s who of decorated Democratic Veterans. Men and woman across the country came together and we were lucky enough to be with them.

Senator John Kerry and General Wesley Clark stopped by and said hello. Russ Feingold announced to the room that John Courage is the Progressive Patriot because of the amazing support across the country and his open embrace of new tactics like the internet.

We are running a different campaign and even the Washington insiders can tell.

Today we are in nearly a dozen meetings again and John’s motto has been, “keep’em coming. We can in eat in San Antonio.”

We are moving fast in this city and talking to labor, lawyers, activists, educators, and insiders.

We are talking about saving social security through solvency not destruction, ensuring that all of those that need health coverage can get it, and supporting the rights of workers whether they are teachers, custodians, bus drivers, and small business men and women.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

John Courage in DC: Afternoon Update

Another busy day so far. We have a VETPAC fundraiser, some time with Wesley Clark, and another meeting to go today, but I wanted you to see some of the pictures off my Treo. We have more, but we don’t have a cord to sync up John’s camera to my laptop.

First we went to the meet and greet breakfast with members of VETPAC. While John was talking to his fellow veterans about the campaign and the hard work we have ahead we ran into David Harris from the Texas 6th.

David is a great guy with a strong commitment to represent his district. He is an amazing person and good solid candidate.

Afterwards we met with the DNC political director and had a chance to see Howard Dean. John obviously got a picture with Gov. Dean, but I only had the one of me and Nick on my Treo.

We have a meeting with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare soon and John and Nick are on the phones right now filling our schedule for the next two days.

This city is amazing and the people we talk to are in love with the multitude of possibilities in this district. I will have more meat later tonight but here is the fun stuff so far.

Pen sparks protest, proves more destructive than sword

Hey folks,
Things seem to be going great for Matt as he gets work done in DC, so while I'm stuck back in balmy south Texas, I figured I'd make a post and see what readers of this blog thought of the current cartoon mess across the world sparked by the Danish newspaper. (The Times has an interesting article on the matter, and specifically, the divide it has exposed. And dear me, there's already a Wikipedia entry about it.)

Truly, there is a lack of understanding of Islam and Arab culture in general across the board in our country and Europe, and I too profess no vast knowledge of the matter. It follows that this lack in understanding is surely connected with the breeding of intolerance, death, and war. I must say I have been mildly alarmed by a lashing out that I have read on several blogs, not entirely unlike this one (although certainly not as enlightened!), against Arabs and Muslims in general. I can only imagine how things are over the Atlantic, closer to the heart of the fray. Spending the summer living in Austria, ethnic and religious tensions were certainly apparent between the "local" population, descended from the Judeo-Christian tradition, and the Turkish population.

There is no disputing that violence is violence, murder is murder, and the lashing out of extremists in response to a cartoon seems ridiculous. But in the fact that it seems so ridiculous to the Western mind, we see how much we truly do not understand of a culture that, voluntarily or not, we are being pitted against. Sure, this isn't the first or only instance of such offensive depictions of Muslims or their prophet Muhammad; an average night on Comedy Central is sure to tackle that. However, such images serve little purpose except in prompting those whom they offend to seek justice for what is seen as truly a wrong against them and their religion.

In another piece by the Times, Mike Kimmelman comments on this difference in culture that enables anger and violence to be stirred up in response to a simple image. A popular rebuttal to the defense of Muslim protests and subsequent violence is that similar caricatures are employed of everyone from Jesus to our good friend Bush, and don't incite such passions in the supporters of each. Kimmelman attempts to address this, if I may borrow from his article:

Educated secular Westerners reared on modernism, with its inclination toward abstraction, its gamesmanship and its knee-jerk baiting of traditional authority, can miss the real force behind certain visual images, particularly religious ones. Trained to see pictures formally, as designs or concepts, we can often overlook the way images may not just symbolize but actually "partake of what they represent," as the art historian David Freedberg has put it.
Still, if these be true, do we ever see certain more "touchy" figures given the same treatment? Would an offensive cartoon of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. not only be considered by all to be in bad taste, and rightly so, but also incite protests, some resulting in violence?

I mean to hit this point head-on: that an analysis of the situation in the Middle East should not be simplified to some notion that Muslims and Arabic peoples are of some inherently evil mentality, predisposed to evil and hatred. Reading this, surely you say, "Of course not Glenn, don't be ridiculous, we don't think that." And it is my hope that you don't, but I implore you to look around; am I alone in feeling a subtle but ever-present tide of this mentality throughout Western ideology?

Thus we come up to a larger question of just how far should freedom of speech go? Surely, as good Americans we agree that censorship is negative and our First amendment rights are among our most sacred freedoms. It is not uncommon for the exercise of this freedom to incite the passions and tempers of a body of people, as it has here. As a proud liberal, I stand by these freedoms. But let us not be reckless!! What end do these cartoons serve apart from angering Muslims and spreading a doctrine of hate? It is little more than blatant disrespect and disregard for fellow human beings.

The fire's been started. A response has already been instigated in Iran with a call to produce cartoons depicting the Holocaust. Is this violence necessary?

Tell me what you think.

John Courage in DC: Day 2 VETPAC

We are all starting to bustle about this morning. John is in the shower, Nick is sleeping on the floor, and Fran Vincent is trying to figure out how we will get more hot water.

Today is focused primarily on VETPac, but of course we have a few meeting sprinkled in for flavor. We will be meeting with the 52 veterans running for office as Democrats today and talking about how the Democratic Party is the party of Veterans and John Courage is the candidate to end this culture of corruption and apathy.

There is no VA hospital south of San Antonio, Lamar Smith has had 18 years to fix this problem and what has he done?

As a Veteran, John is excited for today. We will meet great men who served our country in times of war and crisis and want to continue that service in Congress. For some it will be an uphill fight, but nothing that these 52 men cannot handle.

I will be blogging more today so stick around. Your comments are great and I will try and get something up later from John and Nick. Once I get back I will try and catch you all up on what has happened this week across the state, but for now… this is your one stop shop for John Courage!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

John Courage in DC: Day 1

Today was our first day in DC. We met more people and walked more than I could have imagined possible in one day.

We started the day early with 21st Century Democrats. The meeting was great and she was supportive of John’s hopeful message of changing the face of national and Texas politics. Kelly Young, the Executive Director, talked about the new direction that the party must take to stay viable and how John fits that.

21st Century Democrats will focus their efforts on campaigns that will lead the way, not simply follow the lead.

We drove with Kelly to the DCCC. It was a nice way to have a frank discussion of the beltway mind-set. Something that was very interesting to me, since I had never been here before.

The DCCC was great. Emily Lobe greeted us. She is the regional political director for the state of Texas and Nebraska. She introduced us to Andy Yoakam, the regional finance director, and Adrienne Elrod, the regional press secretary. Emily and Adrienne are native Texans and it is always nice to see friendly Texans so far from home.

Andy agrees we are on the right track and we have more meetings with the DCCC while we are here.

While we were there we also received a call about a profile piece by the Austin American Statesman and Express News on the VetPAC events tomorrow.

Once we were done with the party stuff we meet with the AFL-CIO and Amalgamated Transit Union. The ATU endorsed the campaign and will be making a substantial donation to the campaign. ATU thinks that this is a race that could very easily shock the nation. The AFL-CIO was simply excited by the race and the endorsements by the San Antonio, Austin, and Texas AFL-CIO and the CLC.

The day was great. We are about to grab some food, debrief the day, and get ready for our early start tomorrow. We will be catching up with Shane Sklar, Dave Harris, and the rest of the 52 Democratic Veterans tomorrow.

I have some pictures, but I don’t have the cord to upload them from my Treo… so stay tuned for that tomorrow. We will also have some pictures from our meeting with Max Cleeland and Wes Clark tomorrow.

Help make this trip twice as good and go over to John's site. Sign up for e-mail updates and if you have the money donate some cash.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Courage AT Congress: Day

We just arrived in DC. Nick Lawrie (the campaign director) and I are typing away at our computers on the unfurnished floor of Ciro Rodriguez’s apartment in the district.

Future Congressman John Courage is upstairs getting some sleep and getting ready for the onslaught of meetings that we will be having over the next couple of days. It was an interesting arrival as we startled Ciro’s neighbor.

Her words, “I wasn’t scared, I have a black belt”.

These are the words we will start are trip by. Tomorrow we are meeting with Team Blue, an organization that identifies upper tier races. We will see the AFL-CIO after grabbing the endorsement of the Austin, San Antonio, and Texas AFL-CIO.

We will be at the offices of the 21st Century Democrats, DCCC, and the Amalgamated Transit Union.

This is just the start of our week and check in often to get the latest on the Courage for Congress news.

Blogging from DC

I am doing double duty this week-- working both of my jobs at the same time. That means I will be in Washington D.C. with John Courage as we meet with national organizations, political action committees, and elected officials.

Expect some stories and pictures from D.C. over the next few days about putting Courage in Congress. I will post most of the daily stuff here and I will do some cross posting on Burnt Orange Report (I like to help the little blogs out when I can... kidding KT).

We will also be doing a tour with the Band of Brothers. So expect some stories about these other great Democratic candidates.

Boyd Richie is Campaigning for State Party Chair

There has been rumors a buzz about Boyd Richie withdrawing his candidacy for State Party Chair. What does the man do to clarify the rumor? He sends out a mass e-mail explaining who he is and what he intends to do.

Oddly, he is campaigning for the job before the March 7th primary. Why is this so odd you ask? You always ask such good questions.

This is a striking way to become state party chair because we don’t know who is going to the Senate Convention let alone the State Convention in June. A smart party official would wait until the Senate District Conventions are over to get a compiled list of the a thousand or so people to campaign to, instead of every Democratic Primary Voter. What is more effective? Campaigning to a couple 1,000 people to campaign to or hundreds of thousands.

Yeah, I agree.

Boyd Richie’s campaign and platform reads like a been there done that blast e-mail. He is an SDEC member much like Charles Soechting and has been elected to something before. Super, that is all I need to support someone to lead an entire state party. GO RICHIE GO!

His platform is:

· Knows that Democrats from all walks of life bring a richness and diversity to our Party that will allow us to build an organization whose message persuades and motivates our fellow Texans to vote Democratic.
· Will spend all the time needed to contact and meet with potential donors, build an enhanced large donor base as well as the critical small donor base needed to fund our party's day-to-day operations.
· Is committed to hiring an expanded professional field and communications staff that knows how to use today's technology, works with Democratic organizations in every community and provides them with the tools and information to deliver our message and turn out the vote.
· Will direct party staff to work with local party leaders and Democratic officeholders to deliver a timely, motivational message drawing a sharp contrast between our Democratic values and the corrupt "pay to play" Republican leadership, a message delivered not just to statewide press, but also to local community and minority media.

So, it’s a value statement, something that is required by the Party Chair, something already in existence, and something being developed and run by the DNC and current TDP staff.

Great! Richie and Dan Ramos should get together and write out platforms more often.

I am all for people running for State Party Chair, but I want people with different experiences than just one side of the game. I want some one who shows me management and fundraising ability. I want a person who understands what the job really entails and knows what is needed. I want someone who is novel and thinks outside of the box on technology infrastructure and candidate recruitment. Most importantly, I want someone who will grow the party into the reddest of red counties and make this state the southern blue Mecca.

30 Days and Counting

Not long JAB highlighted the low light of a Dan Ramos speech. Today, Just Another Blog highlights Carla Vela.

She has declared her principal focus is to empower the County Executive Committee and the minority community in San Antonio. Her platform is being a respected leader in the county party, reforming the local party structure, creating a unified and cohesive Democratic Party, supporting GOTV for all Democratic candidates in the county.

This is a platform to get behind. The old paradox in San Antonio is the money for the party is in the south and the votes are all in the north. Vela seems to be aware of this and knows she cannot tackle it herself, but intends to listen to and recruit new precinct chairs.

She has the backing of long time activist and leaders like Jamie Lewis, Charles Tucker, Judy Hall, Former Party Chair Gabe Quintanilla, SDEC members Zada True-Courage and Ann Marie Schroeder, Sally Bolster, Gail Beagle, and many more.

Her platform is impressive and well thought out and her endorses are equally notable. With only one month until Bexar County has a new chair it is time to take note of those who want to lead and those who want to empower the county to make change. The latter should be our county chair.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl Prediction

Pittsburgh 34

There it is. That’s the final score. I just saved you some time, you can thank me later if you want. You don’t even need to watch the game now. What you want to know why that’s the final score? Really? You don't trust me? Ok, fine.

Here is the game breakdown before it happens.

Both have great defenses. The Seahawks have over 50 sacks this year and no single player in the double digits. They have stopped the run and the pass and nearly killed a couple quarterbacks this season, but they aren’t as good or balanced as the Steelers.

The Steelers are going to blitz from every position and ever direction. The Steelers D will get to Hasslebeck at least 2 times today, and that is going to throw the veteran QB off in his first ever Super Sunday.

With Troy Polamalu in the secondary and pressure on the QB, there will be a defensive score when Polamalu picks one off.

Remember, Defense wins championships.

Here is how the Steelers will win offensively. First, Jerome Bettis is home for his last game. If you don’t think that is going to give him an uncanny rush, then you haven’t ever played a sport before. That will give you an amazing balance between the pseudo-full back in Bettis and the lightening speed of Willie Parker.

Once the running game opens up, that is the beginning of the end. Ben Roethlisburger will manage the game to perfection—hooking up with Parker, Hines Ward, Antwaan Randle El, and the rest of the receiving corps. The ability to run AND pass in the Super Bowl doesn't happen often, and when it does those are the legendary teams.

Now, don’t think that the Seahawks will just sit and watch. They won’t. Shaun Alexander will make the long and short yardage plays in the first half until the Steelers shut him down. He has convereted 20 of 21 3rd and 1's and 4th and 1's. He knows how to get short yardage.

Darrell Jackson will make some stellar plays at some key times on offence and Marcus Trufant will stay in some faces at corner and Lofa Tatupu will make some key hits on defense.

I just don’t see it being enough. They don't have the same depth sideline to sideline or on the bench that the Steelers have.

It’ll be fun to watch, but the Steelers are going to wins. So there it is… my neck… it’s a little exposed. Your turn.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Texas Senate Committees, Chairs, and Charges

From Quorum Report:

The new Senate Committee Chairs are:
Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas), Transportation; Sen. Kip Averitt (R-McGregor), Natural Resources; Sen. Mike Jackson (R-La Porte), Nominations; and Sen. Kim Brimer (R-Fort Worth), Administration. Sen. Kyle Janek (R-Houston) will become the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Technologies and Economic Development, and Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) will become the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Coastal Resources.

The new Senate Subcommittee on Capital Funding for Higher Education, to be chaired by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), will be charged with reviewing the process for funding construction, renovation and technology infrastructure on higher education campuses throughout the state.

Our institutions of higher education are key to the future success of our state," Lt. Gov. Dewhurst said. "This Subcommittee on Capital Funding for Higher education will play an important role in ensuring that our college campuses continue to grow and that they are able meet the future demands of a growing student population."

Republican's Eat Their Own Part 4: Dualing Donors

This was not suppose to be an on-going series, but it is like watching the Hatfields and McCoys. We have examined the recruitment phase, a definition debate/endorsement, and now funding.

The Dallas Morning News has a story about Bob Perry funding Republican candidates that pledge to be good for business and support lawsuit limits. On the other hand, James Leininger is singularly focuses on making our education system voucher based.

What happens when these two men collide? I guess we will know in a month.

John Boehner the son Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay Never Had

It appears I was more exhausted than I thought yesterday. I received a lot of e-mails and even a couple of calls asking why I support John Boehner. Let’s clear up two things. One, how did some of you get my phone number? And two, his name is pronounced Bay-Ner not Boner.

That being said, John Boehner (Bay-ner) is being framed as the republican solution to corruption. He is not however, not corrupt. This is why the Republican Party is and has facilitated a growing culture of corruption.

Boehner rose to power inside the Gingrich Revolution in the early and mid 90’s becoming the number 4 man as the House Conference Chair. His fall from grace is because of his close ties to Newt Gingrich after (oddly) ethics problems began to plague then Speaker. However, his fall wasn’t that far or that long lasting. In his 18th year as a Congressman, Boehner was currently serving as Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt’s right hand man as the Majority Whip- the third position in the Republican hierarchy.

He was relegated to a backseat leadership position and was instrumental in passing legislation that came to be known as No Child Left Behind. He continued to clean up his act by launching a PAC (The Freedom Project) that is well known for buying political favors (something not uncommon in DC). As one blogger put it, the scheme that Boehner has put together is striking similar to DeLay’s TRMPAC.

Boehner’s real claim to fame is the fact that once in the late 90’s he actually walked on to the floor of congress and passed out lobbying checks that came from tobacco companies.

John Boehner is literally more of the same. He is as corrupt as all of the other leaders because he is one of them. If the Republicans had wanted real change, then they would have voted for John Shdegg of Arizona (who received 40 votes in the first ballot).

Replacing a corrupt politician with a politician currently being corrupted is the same thing.

Rap Up: Valerie Corte to Step In HD 122, Frank to Serve in Iraq

The story took awhile to unfold yesterday, but here are all the details from the Express-News.

State Rep. Frank Corte Jr., a Marine reservist, said Thursday he's shipping out to Iraq and will miss the special session Gov. Rick Perry is expected to call before June.

But his wife, Valerie Corte, won't.

The seven-term lawmaker said he'll appoint her to take his place until he returns.

Valerie Corte, 38, an assistant vice president in Frost National Bank's financial management unit, will face public office for the first time as legislators struggle to mend the state's school finance system.

The Texas Supreme Court gave lawmakers until June to make the overhaul, and Gov. Rick Perry has said he'll call the Legislature back into session in April or May.

"It's nothing more than another military wife stepping up to the plate and doing what has to be done to get the job done," Valerie Corte said.

Corte, 46, a colonel, said he'll leave for Iraq's Al Anbar province later this month and return in September. He'll serve with the 3rd Civil Affairs Group, which will help Iraqi officials craft policies on economic development, transportation, water and property rights.

A state constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2003, gives power to lawmakers and appointed officials who are placed on active military duty to name their temporary replacement.

Besides the special session, Corte also will miss part of campaign season. He doesn't have a Republican challenger in the March 7 primary, but he'll face Democrat Larry Stallings in next November's election.

Stallings, who spent 30 years in the military, including 20 in the Army Medical Service Corps, said he won't make political hay out of Corte's absence.

"I would never try to create a public embarrassment about his being unable to participate in a debate because of his military service," Stallings said. "I wish him the best."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ohio Rep John Boehner elected House Majority Leader

This is a day for shocking news. Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt was the favorite for the position with Lamar Smith lobbying aggressively for him, but it was not to be.

Instead, Boehner won a second ballot of 122 – 109 upsetting Blunt.

This is another clear sign that Republicans are running away from Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, K Street, and the scandals that are starting to plague them.

Frank Corte Deployed to Iraq

Reservist and State Representative Frank Corte has been deployed to Iraq. I am not a Corte fan, but I can't say anything bad about a guy who is going to serve to protect my freedoms.

Update 11:23 AM:
Kuff has some details. I will have more after the press conference at 12:45 pm.

Update 4:29 PM
From Quorum Report: State Representative Frank Corte Jr. today announced that he will deploy to Iraq for a seven month tour of duty with the U.S. Marines. In addition to his role as a State Representative and his other business ventures, Rep. Corte serves as a Colonel with 25 years of service. "As a proud member of the U.S. Marine Corps, I am excited to play a part in one of the major challenges in our lifetime. Iraq is not only the front lines in the Global War on Terror, it is also a country that offers great hope for the expansion of freedom throughout the Middle East," said Rep. Corte of his deployment. Rep. Corte will be the Operations Officer with the 3rd Civil Affairs Group out of California, which will support the I Marine Expeditionary Force in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.

Here is Larry Stalling's response. Stallings is the Democratic challenger in HD 122.

Free Parking in San Antonio

City Councilmember Roland Gutierrez is thinking outside the box. The District 3 Councilmember announced that he would like to create a one year pilot program that would wave all parking meter fees for hybrid owners.

The goal: “To encourage the use of hybrid vehicles in San Antonio, to provide cleaner air in San Antonio and to increase our quality of life.

The San Antonio Express News says that Gutierrez is on the way to make this happen.

Gutierrez said the idea has garnered the support of a majority of his council colleagues. It will be considered by the council's Quality of Life Committee, and could emerge as a detailed ordinance ready for council action within six weeks.

Councilman Roger Flores, in whose downtown district most of the city's parking meters are located, said he supports the move as the city faces federal financial penalties starting in 2008 if it doesn't take steps to keep its air clean.

Ordinances like these are creating more incentives to get a hybrid. Gutierrez breaks it down:

"This type of incentive, which will provide a $500 to $600 savings by someone who drives and has to park downtown, along with the $500 to $600 savings in gas efficiency, coupled with the tax credit of upwards of $3,000 that owners get from the IRS," could help sway some car-buying decisions, he said.

It is good to see the city being proactive. This won’t fix our air quality for the long haul, but instead of creating a sweeping policy, it appears that they are going to tackle this monster with a series of small solutions. Bravo, maybe we can get in on some of that switch-grass action next.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State Party Chair Shake Up

The rumors are building steam on Glen Maxey for State Party Chair. Someone just e-mailed me with Draft Maxey. It appears I am even quoted on it.

It appears this is a support site to either influence Maxey to run or a site to see if there is interest. In either case I have signed on already.

San Antonio Democrat Back on the Ballot

Now usually, I don't support someone getting on the ballot when they can't properly fill out the paperwork, but this is an exception.

That's right... I am bending my rules.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that recently bounced Lauro Bustamante will be back on the ballot. Bustamante will be running for the 4th Court of Appeals and will have no opposition in the primary.

In other words, we actually have a nominee running against Republican incumbent Karen Angelini in the fall.

To often we focus on the glamorous races for Governor, Senate, and Congress, but the Republican Revolution started in the local school boards, judgeships, and precinct chairs. If we don’t rebuild the front line of government we will never take back the country.

The State of Agitation

I promise, this is my last State of the Union post. It is striking to me, just how ticked off the country is at this guy, yet we elected hin in 2004 knowing what he was going to do (or not do).