My New Year's wish is that we all look back a year from now with pride on all the hard work we did in 2006 to bring Democrats and accountability back to our government.
"I am disappointed that it (the Supreme Court decision) didn't take up the issue of adequacy," (Coppell ISD Superintendent Jim) Turner said. "Right now we are not allowed to keep enough of our money to keep the kind of education system the community expects and the students deserve."That quote makes it seem like she is saying that they do this because "our community" wants to retain good teachers and others don't, when in actuality, Eanes already has the money to do this and most school districts don't - that's why!
Eanes Superintendent Nola Wellman said the donations help the district save positions that might otherwise be cut and raise salaries.
"Our community realizes the importance of personnel in the classroom," Wellman said. "We will designate the money to go into personnel if that's what the community values."
Critics of the funding system said the legislators failed in so many sessions because they tried to tackle too much by combining school funding, education reform and property tax reductions in the state proposals.Let's not forget: the property tax as an unconstitutional statewide property tax is just an offshoot of the inadequate funding as a whole. If the state was holding up its end of the funding bargain - the state's share of education funding has dropped to a historic low of 38 percent - property taxes would be much lower.
The failed sessions this year bogged down in two key areas: 1.) a list of education reforms that some legislators wanted to see (and others didn't), paired with a certain level of funding (and debate over whether it was enough); and 2.) implementation of new taxes (including business taxes) to balance out proposed cuts in property taxes.
"The question we're asking is, 'How creative can we be in doing things that will provide the funding we need without having corporations that can come in and help us?' " [Pflugerville ISD grant developer Deborah] Porter said. "We really believe this foundation will help us keep teachers who are creative and innovative. We think that we can do some special things for kids."And along with that, comes the question of what would be expected of the school district if it received, shall we say, an extremely generous gift from someone or some organization? Let's say the individual or organization had an agenda that included teaching sex education or intelligent design. Would that cause a problem? These are just a few things that crossed my mind when I read the article.
And, according to Sharp's recollection, both could have died while his older brother showed off a flashy new car, a GTX 440 Magnum, during a 13-mile drive from Placedo to Victoria at speeds that he insists hit 150 mph.And this part too:
"Perry will still tell you this is the absolute scariest time of his entire life," Sharp said. "I was shaking, I was so scared. Perry won't admit it, but it looked like he was crying to me."
Sharp said he refused to ride back to Placedo from Victoria, accused his brother of being crazy and hitchhiked home.
"I'm pretty sure he (Perry) would tell you today that he's never in his entire life been that scared," Sharp said.
Perry validated the story — except for the crying part.
Fellow Aggie Hector Gutierrez has been a longtime friend of both Perry and Sharp, and he stayed neutral during the 1998 race. After winning, Perry appointed Gutierrez his legislative liaison to the Senate.Right.
"Bitter" is too mild for describing relationships between the Perry and Sharp camps, Gutierrez said of that campaign.
But "Aggies don't hate other Aggies," Gutierrez said.
Karen Felthauser has filed for the Democratic primary as a candidate for the Dist. 52 House seat.Hill Country News:
As of Wednesday, Dec. 21, the following have filed with the Democratic Party for local seats: Mary Beth Harrell for U.S. Congress, District 31; Jim Stauber for Texas House Representative, District 20; and Karen Felthauser for Texas House Representative, District 52.
There is one fight, however, that liberals are winning this year, even in states where the numbers would seem to be against them. They are winning on the minimum wage.When a minimum wage is discussed inevitably two things happen. We are told that it will cause unemployment and it leads to Democrats being accused of class-warfare - in other words stop pointing out that the rich are getting richer and everyone else is getting poorer. (Al Gore didn't catch up to Bush until he adopted that type on popular message in 2000). The first point about unemployment is false, maybe if it was raised too high, but with "..the minimum wage's buying power at its second-lowest level since 1955..". Like this commenter in the DKos diary said:
When Wisconsin raised its minimum last month, to $5.70 and then $6.50 in a two-step process, it became the 17th state to establish a wage floor higher than the $5.15 level that has prevailed under federal law since 1997. A dozen of those states have acted in the past 18 months alone. Most of them have Republican legislatures, or Republican governors, or both.
Quote from Henry Ford, "If I pay people enough money to buy my car, they will buy my car" or something very close to that.I don't think raising it will cause economic problems. As far as the class warfare argument I think it's way past time for the Democratic Party to embrace workers issues again. If they accuse of class warfare we should say it is, you started it and we are on the side of working Americans.
Small businesses benefit when everyone is making enough money to use their services. The cost in wages will be more than offset by the ability of more people to afford their goods and services.
Check out the loaded language that Republican leaders are putting on the March ballot for GOP voters to embrace or reject:Here's another in the long list of articles that leads you to believe they know what's going to happen with school finance. It then ends with well, they gotta do something and we'll have to wait for the spring to find out what that is? On the must-do list
"In order to address the inequity of homeowners' property taxes increasing at a rate far above the rate of inflation, the current 10 percent cap on the rate of increase of appraised value for all homesteads shall be reduced to 5 percent or less."
Tax cap: Answers to commonly asked questions
We appreciate what restraint it must have taken to not include language in this nonbinding referendum calling local officials "out-of-control, tax-raising weasels."
In Dallas, withdrawal of $1.7 million is forcing the closure of three family planning clinics. In Houston, where the Legislature cut more than 50 percent of Planned Parenthood funds, as many as 10,000 women will lose access to well-woman exams, contraception and cancer screenings. Under federal law, none of these Texas clinics could have used these funds to perform abortions. Nevertheless, legislators chose to cripple the clinics.They sure haven't been protecting consumer's, Costs on many services, including electric, to rise. This article talks about how you gas, electricity, local phone service, food stamps, are all going up. Not to worry though:
The pivotal operating funds will go to pregnancy crisis centers or to 19 Federally Qualified Health Centers Â some of which never requested the help. These FQHCs are valuable resources, offering primary care to poor neighborhoods. But the clinics are scarce, far-flung, and often lack family planning services such as contraception. They can't replace the multiservice family planning clinics that have treated Texans for decades.
Legislators have every right to push abortion alternatives - as long as they don't abdicate their other duties. But ravaging working clinics during a health coverage crisis has nothing to do with protecting women or children. It's self-interested strutting, and it's trampling on the health of thousands of Texas wives, mothers and daughters.
But there were some bright spots.That's all you got for bright spots?
For instance, state employees are slated to get the second half of a 7 percent pay raise in 2006, and teachers who earn the minimum for their level of experience will get a state-approved pay increase.
In addition, starting Sunday, the first pay raise for Texas jurors in more than 51 years will go into effect.
Under a new state law, pay will go to $40 per day, beginning on their second day of service, compared with the current day rate of $6.
"This guy calls and says he's Mark Sanders and that he works closely with Carole Strayhorn," (Bexar County Commissioner Lyle) Larson recalled. "He tells me there's a large group of people who would like to find someone else to run for comptroller against Susan Combs."There's more on it here from the Star-Telegram, Democrat sticks to gubernatorial bid. And a really good post on Strayhorn from Common Sense, Grandma got run over by a reindeer.
As an enticement, Larson said, Sanders claimed the group could raise $3.5 million for his campaign and facilitate a meeting with a top staffer in the comptroller's office to give Larson a crash course in the ins and outs of the statewide post.
Florence Shapiro, R-PlanoAnd the House?
Kip Averitt, R-McGregor
Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth
Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock
Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen
Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville
Steve Ogden, R-Bryan
Royce West, D-Dallas
Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands
There will be little input from House leaders, however, as Speaker Tom Craddick canceled an agreement with Mr. Dewhurst to create a House-Senate committee. Mr. Craddick said he decided to defer to a tax commission appointed by Gov. Rick Perry.I guess Dewhurst has to show that he's doing something?
In his remarks, later excerpted in the American-Statesman, Ratliff said individuals who win election touting Christian credentials sometimes don't heed biblical teachings once in office.Here's what Sen. Ogden had to say about this:
Ratliff later said he feels distress over legislators eroding a 1998 goal of prioritizing the Children's Health Insurance Program with money from the state's $15.3 billion settlement of a lawsuit against big tobacco companies. At the time, Ratliff called CHIP, which serves the working poor, realistic because of the settlement.
CHIP enrollment reached 500,000 in 2003 but has since dropped to less than 325,000, partly because the 2003 Legislature cut benefits and made it harder to join. Legislators this year restored benefits but also authorized a waiting list if funds run short.
Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, chief of the Finance Committee, agreed that officeholders can be hypocritical facing tough decisions. Such gaps between belief and action, he said, are "a recognition, from a Christian viewpoint, of our sinful nature."They may have been referring to un-Christian/sinful things like this, Abbott says it could cause $2 billion drop in collections in Texas. In case anyone forgot Abbott's a Republican, so you see it's not just Democrats that are against it. Here are a few quotes from the article:
"I am deeply concerned about the harm that this legislation will cause children in Texas and across the nation," Abbott, a Republican, said in a news release. The bill "will make it much harder for my office to help a million Texas children who need child support to furnish the basic necessities of life."
"Texas has one of the most successful child support programs in the nation, yet this bill punishes states that have performed well," Abbott said. "How unfortunate that when a government program proves to be successful, it is victimized by its very success."
Like most Senate Republicans, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas supported the budget bill.
Cornyn, a former Texas attorney general who ran for Senate touting his record on child support collections, and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, a former deputy attorney general, worked to limit the cuts, spokesmen for both said.
But U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, criticized the bill in general and the child support enforcement cuts in particular.
"The cuts to child support enforcement are ill-advised and morally wrong and signify a chilling disregard for the most vulnerable among us," Doggett said in a statement.
Scott McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which advocates for low- and middle-income Texans, also criticized the cuts.
"These cuts to child support enforcement will mean fewer mothers and children will get the support they need," McCown said. "More families will be on public benefits as a result."
Harrell hopes to oust CarterTwo paragraphs!? If you look at her press release, which I'm sure the AAS being part of the press got, they could have done much better than this! They should have said that she is a military wife and mother. I think the AAS needs a letter. Also be sure to see if your local paper mentions anything this week. If not they need a letter too!
Killeen lawyer Mary Beth Harrell plans to challenge U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, for his 31st Congressional District seat
On Monday, Harrell filed with the Texas Democratic Party to put her name on the March 7 primary election ballot. Harrell, a private practice lawyer, also serves as city prosecutor for Nolanville in Bell County.
Robert Reynolds, a Republican who filed Monday to run in a special election to replace former Rep. Todd Baxter, ended his campaign today as abruptly as it began.Family reasons that came up Tuesday morning? That's sounds a little "fishy"?
Reynolds’ filing angered local GOP insiders who wanted the party to unite behind candidate Ben Bentzin against two Democrats and a Libertarian. Their goal is a Bentzin victory without a runoff, and another Republican in the race would have made that more difficult since it could have split GOP votes between two candidates. Travis County Republican Party Chairman Alan Sager said Monday night that Reynolds had no record of party activism or voting in Republican primaries.
Reynolds said Tuesday he did not face pressure to get out of the race and withdrew because of family reasons that came up on Tuesday morning. “No one’s called me,” he said.
Reynolds’ name will not appear on the Jan. 17 ballot, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Chris Bell said that he will not run for comptroller and that there was no mention in his wife's conversation with Sanders of Strayhorn running as a Democrat.I especially like this part:
(Strayhorn spokesman Mark) Sanders, who worked for 2002 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tony Sanchez, said he does not think that Bell can win the governor's race because the state so strongly favors Republicans. "A Democrat will not win in 2006," Sanders said.Why is this reporter asking a Republican to base an argument on logic? Who knows what the point of this is it all just seems like someone is trying to make up news, in this slow Holiday season.
Asked why the same logic did not apply to the comptroller's race, in which Republican Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs has been running for months, Sanders said he knew only that Bell could not win the governor's race.
If you ask me, the problem with Team Perry's little ploy isn't so much that they're asking supporters to write their local paper (which campaigns have done since the beginning of time), but that the letters they're asking for are nothing more than petty personal attacks. He isn't asking supporters to help spread the word about his own ideas or his own vision for Texas, but rather asking supporters to simply tear down an opponent in hopes of scoring a few points.
It’s time for Democrats to start leading again, and Chris is exactly the kind of fighter we need leading the charge.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that even though some of Texas' lawmakers meet the definition, the leadership in the Texas Legislature is not as incompetent as it appears.
In fact, the governor, the speaker and veteran lawmakers who are trying to remake public schools, like the Republicans' education point man, State Rep. Kent Grusendorf, are not incompetent at all. They are doing exactly what they've set out to do.
"I am going to campaign on my record as a fiscal conservative who has fought for lower taxes and responsible government spending while investing billions more in education," Perry said. "I am going to articulate a clear vision for the future that is based upon the same conservative convictions that the people of this state have seen me act upon during my first full term in office."That's where you're wrong Governor. I think Texans want results not just action. We don't want to see you doing something, no matter how wrong it is, just to do something! We actually want a governor that will fix the school finance problem!
Perry said Texans "understand that I will work to build consensus when I can, but when the time for talk ends, I will take decisive action, just as I did by issuing executive orders to improve education and by providing $10 million for a more secure border."
In the language of prizefighting, Carole Keeton Strayhorn is sure Gov. Rick Perry has a glass jaw.It also appears that a big part of her strategy will be to get Democrats to vote for her in the Republican Primary. I would urge every Democrat not to take that bait. The best way to get rid of Perry is to get the best Democratic candidate nominated and then have all Democrats get behind that candidate.
"Perry's support is this deep," she said, holding her finger and thumb an inch apart. "Once we get to issues, he collapses."
"Rick Perry has promised tax reductions, and he broke that promise. He promised to fix school reform. He's broken that promise," Mrs. Strayhorn told business leaders at a Duncanville hotel. "Now he promises me, and I quote in his own words, 'a bloody, brutal campaign.'
"I say, bring it on," she said.
In her caffeinated, rat-a-tat speaking style, Mrs. Strayhorn blasted Mr. Perry for "signing into law $2.7 billion in new fees, taxpayer charges and out-of-pocket expenses" to balance the state budget. She denounced the governor's toll-road project as a land grab by "Governor Perry and his highway henchmen" to benefit a foreign contractor under secret terms. She said the state budget has grown 41 percent under his tenure, electric and insurance bills are on the rise, and children's health insurance is not properly funded.
The Perry campaign is expected to spend at least $15 million in the primary, beginning with a high-dollar TV spot during the Rose Bowl, the college football championship game featuring the University of Texas. The Strayhorn camp will report in January that it has more than $10 million, which would allow a $1 million-a-week advertising campaign highlighting what the comptroller calls the governor's "misplaced priorities and failed leadership."Oh yeah, Sen. Cornyn doesn't think you need civil liberties anymore, "None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a former judge and close ally of the president who sits on the Judiciary Committee. Senator there ain't much that will matter after you're dead. If you voted for this guy go sit in the corner for an hour!
Unfortunately, it's not an invisible army of naysayers who try and trash this batty idea of challenging Republicans. It's high-priced political consultants right here in Harris County. It's former candidates for statewide office right here in Texas. Our biggest enemies, it often seems, isn't the other party ... it's those within our ranks who have simply given up and are content to take what the Republican Party of Texas gives them. I could go on and on about how wrong they are, but I'd like to offer another option: It's time to prove them wrong.But in the MySA article there seems to be a little different stance being taken by political scientists:
Political scientists don't see much of a chance for victory by the Democrats assembled thus far Â despite controversies starting at the national level including the Bush-led war in Iraq and the allegations about DeLay.And that last quote is what "Run.Everywhere" is about, building bench strength. It's not necessarily about winning this year but building the party back so it will win in the future. Having a prescence everywhere. It appears that one consultant has come around:
Fueling doubt is a recent Scripps-Howard Texas poll showing either Perry or his GOP challenger Carole Keeton Strayhorn likely would beat Bell in the general election.
The poll didn't include a more recently interested Democrat, former Texas Supreme Court justice Bob Gammage, who's is considering a March primary bid. The same poll showed Hutchison with a 70 percent job approval rating.
"The only thing that Democrats may have to bank on is if the Republican Party is so beset by troubles and scandals that it really rubs off on them, which really right now doesn't seem to be happening," said political scientist Allan Saxe of the University of Texas at Arlington.
"George Bush would still carry this state today."
Referring to the well-financed 2002 team led by Laredo businessman Tony Sanchez for governor and former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk for U.S. Senate, Saxe said if that "dream ticket" couldn't win then, "I doubt they (the current candidates) can do it this time around."
Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson said Democrats could win if the GOP were to "go off the rails completely in another special session on education or if a particularly attractive Democratic candidate were to come along."
But he added, "I don't see a prime-time player on the stage yet." Democrats need a farm team to cultivate attractive candidates and prepare them for statewide races, Jillson said.
"Right now, it looks like people sort of choose spots and bounce up and Democrats appear to be happy if someone will agree to run for the United States Senate or governor," he said. "There's no bench strength."
Democrats such as consultant Kelly Fero aren't concentrating on statewide races this time but on legislative races as part of a plan for resurgence. But Fero emphasized he's not in the business of counting out hopefuls.and a political scientist too:
"It is obviously a very tough thing to do to run statewide when you are outspent so heavily," Fero said. But he sees a "sky-high frustration among voters" that could make a difference in this election.
Even with the odds against them, experts don't discount the value of Democratic efforts. Choices make a democracy, help a party build for the future and allow it to capitalize on any incumbent missteps, said Andy Hernandez, a political scientist at St. Mary's University.Very true Andy. You can't win if you don't run. Greg wraps it up this way:
"If you don't compete," he said, "you're out of the game."
I can't think of a legitimate excuse for that. Run everywhere. It's the only way we'll rebuild the party. There's about two weeks left to file. Don't know the first thing about running? Drop me a line. If anyone tells you it's pointless to challenge a Republican, pity them. They're the ones who have given up. I'll take the fighters.Me too!
If the Supreme Court throws out the current Texas congressional map, the state could revert to lines used in 2002. But so much has happened since then that the mere thought gives heartburn to GOP strategists and politicians.Good stuff.
All five Republican freshmen would find themselves shifted into districts held by senior colleagues. Democrats would have a good shot at recapturing at least four of six seats that changed hands last year after redistricting.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, December 19, 2005
CONTACT: Mary Beth Harrell, 254-616-0058 firstname.lastname@example.org
KILLEEN ATTORNEY MARY BETH HARRELL FILES FOR CONGRESS
Soldiers’ Mom challenges Republican John Carter in Texas’ 31st Congressional District
(AUSTIN, TX) Killeen Attorney Mary Beth Harrell filed papers with the Texas Democratic Party today to place her name on the ballot of the March 7, 2006 Democratic Primary for the office of United States Representative from the 31st Congressional District of Texas. The office is held by Republican John Carter. Besides Harrell, no other potential Democratic candidates have declared that they will be seeking this office.
Harrell, a Killeen attorney in the private practice of law, also serves as City Prosecutor for the town of Nolanville in Bell County. She is married to Bob Harrell, a retired Army Warrant Officer who worked his way up through the enlisted ranks and retired as a CW3. Bob Harrell, a self-described “Reagan Republican,” proudly supports his wife for Congress.
“I’m running for Congress because I love my country and I love my kids.” Harrell says, “And I know in my heart that as a nation we are headed in the wrong direction.”
Harrell is running on “Integrity, Accountability and Faith in the Future.” Harrell criticizes her opponent for voting repeatedly to weaken House ethics rules. “I am disappointed that John Carter, a former Judge, would vote to weaken ethics rules and to allow Tom DeLay to remain as Majority Leader even while under indictment,” Harrell said. “He accepted $20,000 in donations from DeLay’s ARMPAC, donated $5,000 to DeLay’s defense fund and voted with DeLay 97% of the time during his first 15 months in office.”
With a veteran husband and two sons in the Army, Harrell pledges to look out for soldiers’ and veterans’ interests in Congress. “Those who serve have greater needs today than ever, yet some wounded have been having to pay for their own meals while hospitalized. The Republicans’ failure to increase spending on our veterans represents an unbelievable failure of leadership. It’s time for a change in that leadership.”
Mary Beth and Bob Harrell have been part of the Fort Hood community since 1987 with the exceptions of Bob’s three-year deployment to Germany and their three-year move to San Antonio after Bob’s retirement so that Mary Beth could study law at St. Mary’s University. Harrell has practiced law in Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties since 1999. The Harrell’s have recently purchased a ranch in Gatesville, Coryell County, where Bob intends to raise sheep.
Mary Beth and Bob Harrell have a daughter, Tonya Rosas of Austin, and two sons, Joshua and Rob Harrell. Both sons are on active duty in the Army. Sgt. Joshua Harrell serves at Fort Huachuca, Arizona and Staff Sgt. Rob Harrell is now serving in Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division. The Harrell’s have three granddaughters.
I'm going down to the State Party office in Austin tomorrow, December 19th, to
file my candidacy for Congress!
At the same time, I'll publish my next campaign diary on DailyKos and TexasTuesdays The new entry will be published at 7:30 am.
I'm asking you to take just a moment tomorrow morning to visit either blog to
read my short diary entry which explains why I'm running and how I plan to win
this race! Then please post your comments about my diary on the blog - and you
can rate it too.
Your comments on either blog will make a real difference to my campaign!
You will be helping to increase the reputation and reach of my campaign -
because high visibility on these blogs increases the traffic and donations on my
THANKS SO MUCH!!
Mary Beth Harrell
254 616 0058
We have our Democratic Candidate for Commissioners Place #2 seeking our help.
Your assistance is needed in obtaining petition signatures to help place Democratic Candidate Michael Hofmann's name on our ballot. We need a total of 500 signatures to waive the $1250.00 filing fee. 250 signatures must be from Precinct #2. Our deadline is Jan. 2nd at 6:00 PM.
Click here to print the petition.
If you are able to obtain additional WCDP Democratic friends to sign the petition, it would help greatly. If you are able to sign just yourself, still send it in. Please note on the side of the petition each precinct number to assist with the difference of district. We have over 700 members on our list so it is possible to meet this goal in a short time if everyone sends in their petition. Each signature counts. Please ensure that it is notarized prior to it being mailed.
Mail to : Hofmann for Commissioner 2
1257 Pine Portage Loop
Leander, Tx 78641
Thank you for your help,
Williamson County Democratic Party
Flounder (n.) -- A fish with both eyes on one side, which lies in the sand to hunt prey; (v.) The status of to the Carole Keeton Strayhorn campaign for governor.The interesting thing to see will be if Carole ETC drops out will Gov. Perry fade to the background during the primary season. In other words does he need a primary opponent to keep in the media or will it allow time for the challengers to catch up?
In 1998, he was one of three state arbitrators selected by then-Attorney General Dan Morales and a friend, Marc Murr, to get Murr millions of dollars in fraudulent legal fees from the state's $17.3 billion settlement of a lawsuit against tobacco companies.The two questions I have about this are, did Gammage benefit from this in any way and who were the other two judges and what do they say about it? If he didn't benefit in any way and he did nothing wrong, like he says, this shouldn't matter.
The arbitrators recommended Murr be paid $260 million, a figure that was all but wiped out later by a national arbitration panel, which accepted arguments from other lawyers that Murr did little, if any, work on the case.
Morales and Murr both pleaded guilty in 2003 to federal mail-fraud charges stemming from the case. Morales is now about halfway through a four-year prison sentence, and Murr was sentenced to six months in prison.
Gammage said Morales and Murr lied to the arbitrators, who acted on the alleged evidence they were presented.
"I don't know why it would undermine my anti-corruption campaign. They were the corrupt ones, and they went to jail," he said.
Dismissing the criticism, Perry spokesman Robert Black said he hopes "Mr. Gammage has more to offer Texans than petty partisan attacks."Here are a couple of the lines from Gammage that I though were interesting:
"Here's my first campaign promise: As governor of Texas, I will make policy in the state Capitol, not in the Bahamas."Gammage seems to have a kind of legitimacy to bring to the Democratic primary that's wasn't there before. It's probably because his state political experience that does that. I'm not saying he's gonna or should win, all I'm saying is that by the way the press covered just his filing yesterday, they are at least acting like there's something to write about on the Democratic side now. With that in mind if the Democrats have a good, spirited, battle and Bell can beat Gammage that can only help him, during the general election, with his own legitimacy, having beaten someone like Gammage. I like Chris Bell and the fact that he stepped out early and was talking to Democrats about this race when nobody else was. But primaries are for culling the herd and now whoever steps up and makes the best case to Democrats in Texas gets to take on Gov. "MoFo", "Goodhair" Perry.
Gammage said he would address specific issues later during a formal campaign announcement. He calls himself "pro-choice, pro-guns, pro-Bill of Rights, pro-family and pro-privacy."
He faulted Perry for a slow response to school funding problems and blasted the governor for developing a plan influenced by wealthy donors with whom he had just taken a Caribbean cruise nearly two years ago, including John Nau of Houston, head of one of the country's largest beer distributorships.
Perry's school funding plan included a tax on bottled water, "but it didn't put any tax on alcoholic beverages - imagine that," Gammage said.
As opposed to the suggestion that we have too much religious influence on public policy, we actually have too little. Up to now, the application of religious principles in political debate has been mainly applied to abortion rights, same-sex marriage, intelligent design versus evolution and similar social issues.Now from the WaPo:
But all too often, those Christians who take strong stands on such issues based on moral or biblical teachings do not then apply such teachings to other issues.
For instance, when considering how many poor children in Texas will be removed from the Children's Health Insurance Program in order to hold down costs to the state, they choose not to consider Christ's admonishment to "suffer the little children to come unto me."
"It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important," said Paul Hetrick, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, Dobson's influential, Colorado-based Christian organization. "But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that."That's an amazing quote. Here's the other side of the story:
Jim Wallis, editor of the liberal Christian journal Sojourners and an organizer of today's protest, was not buying it. Such conservative religious leaders "have agreed to support cutting food stamps for poor people if Republicans support them on judicial nominees," he said. "They are trading the lives of poor people for their agenda. They're being, and this is the worst insult, unbiblical."This next qoute from the WaPo article shines a light on how the conservatives and the SCRR have come togehter around their mutual hate of government:
Dobson also has praised what he calls "pro-family tax cuts." And Janice Crouse, a senior fellow at the Christian group Concerned Women for America, said religious conservatives "know that the government is not really capable of love."FEMA failed Ms. Crouse because President Bush turned into a crony-led shell of what it was under Clinton. And they don't want the government to be responsible for helping people anymore. They don't believe the government ever did anything worthwhile. You know Socail Security, Medicare, Inspecting meat packing plants, the 40-hour work week, etc..
"You look to the government for justice, and you look to the church and individuals for mercy. I think Hurricane Katrina is a good example of that. FEMA just failed, and the church and the Salvation Army and corporations stepped in and met the need," she said.
The truth is that the leaders of this movement -- with Ralph Reed as the prime example -- have fallen in love with their role as political power brokers and have lost all sense of critical distance from the Republican Party and their own role in sustaining it in office.If you want to read more on this go to The Stakeholder.
“Today there is a corrupt political machine which stretches from Washington, D.C. all the way to Austin. Tom DeLay and his cronies are at one end, and Rick Perry and his pals are at the other. The money flows both ways. It has corrupted our politics, corrupted our government and, more importantly, corrupted public policy and betrayed the public trust.Also there is a Statesman article on his statement already, Gammage, gunning for governor, blasts Perry:
“Public office is a public trust. I am running against today's corrupt political machine. I am standing up for reform. I am determined to do everything in my power to restore the public trust and the integrity of the political system. Sometimes good citizenship requires you to put your personal interests aside and just do what's right.
“In an ideal world, the governor of Texas should denounce the shenanigans of Tom DeLay and his twisted, unethical schemes. But Rick Perry is too weak and too dependent on the wealthy, powerful and ruthless special interests that both he and DeLay work for.
“The sad truth is that bad values and weak character at the top produce bad policies for the rest of us. We've seen it time and again -- a leadership that preaches character and commonly held values while practicing neither. On virtually every important issue - funding our public schools, the tax burden on middle-income families, health care for our children, preserving our environment, funding for our public colleges and universities, and how we choose our elected officials -- the men at the top do not fight for the common good, but for the privileged power elite who bankroll their campaigns and keep their machine rolling.
“Finally. There are many fine, decent and, yes, compassionate and idealistic Texans out there who call themselves Republicans; people with conscience and heart. Many of them are also fed up with the corruption of their leadership and embarrassed by the scandals at the top of their party. Their party elite are more con artists than conservatives, and they have betrayed the trust and the values of the Republican grassroots.
“This campaign is about change. We are reaching out to every citizen who believes we need change at the top. Some of the early contributors to this campaign identify themselves as Republicans. I welcome them, and I welcome all like-minded Texans who will dedicate themselves to restoring the integrity of our political processes. We cannot change Texas without their help. Just as Republicans and Democrats joined hands many years ago to throw the rascals out and reform an out-of-control corrupt political machine and restore the public trust, together we can do it again.
“As I said, in a few weeks, at our formal announcement, we will roll out an agenda for change in Texas. I can promise you it will be interesting. You ain't heard nothing yet.”
Bob Gammage, 67, stood next to a blown-up photograph of a yacht on shimmering waters — though not the boat enjoyed by Perry, supporters and advisers.I'm with Soechting, it's good for the party. It can only help whoever the eventual winner is.
After the trip, Perry outlined a school tax plan that floundered during a special legislative session on education finance.
Gammage, noting that Perry's security detail on the trip was funded by taxpayers, said: "We don't need a state government run from yachts."
As governor, he said, "I will make policy in the state Capitol; I'll be consulting with the taxpayers, I'll be consulting with the consumers of Texas. I won't be making it in the Bahamas."
Charles Soechting, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, said Gammage's entry will bring excitement to the primary — perhaps for everyone except Bell, who has been building a campaign for months.
"Chris would have loved to have an uncontested primary," Soechting said. But "I love a contested primary. It does Democrats good."
..an expansion of the sales tax to most services and a new, broad-based tax on businesses. The plan also would increase the state taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, and require full disclosure of real estate sale prices.I always love the thought of people going to the casinos to pay for schools. I'd rather sell candy. Anyway, back to the point at hand, now that we are back to raising sales taxes and adding sales tax to previously untaxed items, sin taxes, and the always popular, at least to Republican paymasters, raising business taxes. Don't forget where this got us during all the wrangling this past year. For all that was attempted EVERY plan put forward by the Republicans would have lowered the overall tax burden on the wealthy and raised taxes on the poor and middle class. That shouldn't surprise anyone because that's what Republicans do after all.
Other witnesses urged the panel to consider expansion of gambling in the state as a less painful way to raise revenue for schools.
The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that the current "Robin Hood" tax system for funding education is unconstitutional.Which is not the case at all, Robin Hood still stands:
"This is a lose and win situation right now," LISD Board President Fred Placke said. "It was expected to be a very strategic ruling but they didn't do a whole lot of anything. We still have to give the money and the Robin Hood law is still in the hand of the Legislature. It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth."What this means to me is that the Republicans are going to use the SC ruling to try to justify a lot of crap that ain't true and force through, again, the same plan from last year. While saying that They're only doing it because we have to do something before the schools close.
In my last post I wrote that our son, Rob, had just been deployed to what my husband and I now know is a meaningless war in Iraq. Funny thing: my husband, Bob, bristled when he read the word “meaningless.” He challenged me about it and we argued. I was genuinely confused because I thought we’d agreed about that. Then I realized this is how the Bush Administration divides us from one another in their public relations war. Let me explain.It's up at DailkKos as well, feel free to post there too.
I wasn’t raised in a military family; Bob was. Bob’s dad was an orphan who made the Army his home. He fought in the Pacific in World War II and retired as a command sergeant major. Bob is a retired Army warrant officer. Our oldest boy, Rob, enlisted in 1995, right out of high school. Our youngest, Josh, enlisted in 1998, after a year of college.
Like so many, we believed the President that Iraq posed a threat to our security. But before the President proclaimed “mission accomplished,” Bob began to have his doubts. He began to tell his closest friends that he feared this was going to be another Vietnam. As the insurgency grew, he knew he was right.
Now he has another great fear: that our son will be hurt or killed fighting an unwinnable, unnecessary war. How does any mother or father live with the possibility that their son died in a meaningless war? That their son’s death served no national purpose? That their son answered his country’s call out of a sense of duty, honor, and love of country and his life was carelessly wasted by those who sent them there?
The war is meaningless; the service is not. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” That passage from the John resonates in a soldier’s heart like no other.
But when the only meaning one can find in this national undertaking is the commitment of our soldiers to each other, it’s time to say “enough.”
That’s why I’m running for Congress–because it is my duty as a citizen to stand up and say “enough.” To echo the words of Jack Murtha, “Our military's done everything that has been asked of them. [The] U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily; it's time to bring the troops home.”
Monday, Jan. 9I assume this page will be updated with the times and locations when they are available? I still don't understand why this commission doesn't have it's own website, that would make too much sense.
10:00 a.m. - Austin
* Texas Tax Reform Commission to hold public hearing.
* Location TBD
Wednesday, Jan. 11
11:00 a.m. - El Paso
* Texas Tax Reform Commission to hold public hearing.
* Location TBD
Wednesday, Jan. 18
10:00 a.m. - Temple
* Texas Tax Reform Commission to hold public hearing.
* Location TBD
5:00 p.m. - Waco
* Texas Tax Reform Commission to hold public hearing.
* Location TBD
Monday, Jan. 23
10:00 a.m. - Lubbock
* Texas Tax Reform Commission to hold public hearing.
* Location TBD
Thursday, Jan. 26
5:00 p.m. - Laredo
* Texas Tax Reform Commission to hold public hearing.
* Location TBD
Friday, Jan. 27
10:00 a.m. - Valley
* Texas Tax Reform Commission to hold public hearing.
* Location TBD
A quick history: After the 2000 Census, the Legislature failed to draw up lines reflecting population changes for the state's 32 Congressional districts. A federal panel of judges took over and drafted a map that the U.S. Supreme Court found no reason to change.What they leave out is how we got to that point in the first place:
Democrats held 17 seats, Republicans 15.
But then-U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Sugar Land, decided he needed more Republicans in his chamber and that the best way to get them was to redraw - again - Texas Congressional lines to favor the GOP.
To do that, DeLay campaigned to get more Republicans elected to the Texas Legislature, especially the Texas House. That campaign has brought him and several of his allies considerable grief in the form of criminal charges and civil lawsuits. But he did get the lines redrawn by the Legislature, and Texas now has 21 Republicans in its congressional delegation and 11 Democrats.
I feel some need to say a few things about this Texas thing. We need to go back a few years to remember how this all got started. In 2000, members of the House and Senate went around the state taking testimony on the subject of redistricting. During this process, there were rumblings that the Republicans simply did not care to get anything done during the upcoming session when it came to redistricting. The reason was that at that time, the Democrats still had a majority in the house and to get a plan out, the Republicans would have had to coompromise. If nothing happened during the session, the state plans (House and Senate) would go to the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB). The LRB consists of the Speaker of the House, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Land Commissioner, and Attorney General. The Republicans held a 4-to-1 majority on the LRB, and there they could pass anything they wanted. Now we come to the Congressional plan. Interestingly, there was little apparent concern at the time over the fate of the Congressional plan. Perhaps the Republicans felt that the courts were in their favor, or perhaps that anything drawn by a court would be better than what might come out of the legislature. The House and the Senate each had their version of a Congressional plan. The House plan made it out of committee, but not to the floor; the Senate plan died in committee. Go figure. It went to a Republican-appointed federal three-judge panel who drew the current plan. It was later affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. This brings us to the current predicament. Now with a Republican majority in both houses, brought into being by the plans drawn by the uncompromising LRB, they want to revisit the Congressional plabecausese it is "unfair." Now I'm no conspiracy theorist, but could this have been the plan all along, since back in 2000? This is not to say the Democrats are any bettebecausese they redrew Congressional districts in the '90's using this same ploy. I am just trying to put a little perspective on the whole issue.It's convoluteded tale about how the Republicans intentionally stalled all redistricting in the legislature in 2001 to force the legislative redistricting - state House and Senate - to be done by the LRB where the Republicans held the majority that they didn't have in the legislature. Once they had gerrymandered the legislature, and with the help of DeLay and TRMPAC won the majority in the state House, and holding every statewide office, they were then free to ram through Congressional redistricting.
In an interview with NBC's "Nightly News" program, Bush acknowledged the U.S. mission in Iraq has not gone as well as originally planned, when senior Bush officials had predicted U.S. troops would be welcomed as liberators.Never mind the crossed up tenses, just look at the oxymoron (no pun intended) he created, "unpeaceful welcome". Here's the definition of WELCOME:
"I think we are welcomed. But it was not a peaceful welcome," he said, while adding that a lot of Iraqis are glad the United States is there.
The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that it would decide a challenge by Democrats and minority groups to the controversial 2003 Republican-supported congressional redistricting plan in Texas.One giant step...Well if they uphold it nothing changes. And if they don't does anything change either? Will they put all the Democrats back in Congress as a penalty? I don't think so. Either way the mission was accomplished, the Republicans got rid of almost every incumbent Democrat they targeted (Chet Edwards and Lloyd Doggett were the exceptions). Who will pay for this? Maybe a few individual Republicans but not the Republican Party as a whole. There is really no way to pay for the wrong that was done.
The justices agreed to review a ruling by a federal three-judge panel that upheld the bitterly contested map, which had been strongly supported by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas.
A slew of Republican candidates have filed for various Williamson County offices since the official filing period began Saturday.Notice the liberal AAS lists the Democrat last.
County Court-at-Law No. 1 Judge Suzanne Brooks, County Court-at-Law No. 3 Judge Don Higginbotham, and Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Judy Hobbs have filed to run again for their seats.
Charlie Culpepper of Round Rock filed for county judge. Melissa Beaudoin of Cedar Park filed for county commissioner in Precinct 2, and Ron Morrison of Round Rock filed for Precinct 4.
Valerie Covey and Lisa Clark, both of Georgetown, filed for district clerk. County Court-at-Law No. 2 Judge Tim Wright and County Court-at-Law No. 4 Judge John McMaster, both from Georgetown, filed for re-election.
Democrat Jim Stauber of Liberty Hill filed for the District 20 state representative seat.
Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), a former judge and strong DeLay supporter, told members during the closed-door conference meeting that Monday's ruling was proof that the case against DeLay is unfounded.I think he should put that part in bold on all his campaign posters. #12 in the DeLay Rankings, he's received $20,000 from DeLay and given $5,000 to DeLay's defense fund.
"Congressman DeLay's team has appeared in court twice, and has won both times," Carter told the conference as it was confirmed by a spokesperson. "The conspiracy charge being thrown out by the judge is a victory for the DeLay team, since this was the easiest charge to prove."