Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stay Bailey Hutchison

Who does this surprise? Well, me. But then I've never been much of an insider, either.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said this morning that she will stay in the Senate until her term ends in early 2013, reversing repeated pledges made during her failed campaign for governor that she would resign early.

Hutchison said she had changed her mind and decided not to leave Washington because the country needs her to stand against the liberal agenda of President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress.

Speaking for the country, we would prefer it if you dried up and blew away, Kay.

"My experience will be better used fighting this effort by the president and the Congress to do so much to take away the essence of America," she said in an appearance with her Texas Republican colleague, Sen. John Cornyn, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Hutchison, McConnell and Cornyn took no questions. Aides said they had pressing obligations elsewhere. Congress is not in session this week.

She appeared between two burly henchmen bodyguards named Cornyn and McConnell, who made sure she said what they wanted her to say, and then she and Mitch piled back on the plane after her 90-second announcement. Corndog stayed behind to spin.

Reaction to this latest flip-flop was typical.

"This is a selfish decision but not a surprising one,” said one Republican who was eager for Hutchison to retire. “The wind is at our backs this year, and it was the best chance we had of getting a solid Republican in this seat. Sen. Hutchison has put the seat at greater risk by pushing the vacancy off until 2012. We have no idea what the political landscape will look like two years from now."

Florence Shapiro withdrew, Michael Williams collapsed in a heap of hysterical crying, Roger Williams sighed heavily and went back to selling cars.

Rodney Ellis told a funny, though.

Even conservative freak blogger Douchebag Robbie -- continuing his contempt for everyone and everything that doesn't shoot bullets -- let fly some invective:

2010: The year that Mark McGwyer announced he used steroids. Ricky Martin announced he's gay. Sen. Kay Baily Hutchison (RINO-TX) announces she lied about resigning from the Senate. Let's just call 2010 "The year stuff that everybody already knew is considered news."

The lamest duck in the United States Senate -- formerly the 'most popular elected official in Texas' -- gets to sit in Washington a couple more years, draw a paycheck, and keep doing what she has done since 1993: tell her purse boys to make certain her nail polish and makeup are refrigerated.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Weekly Wrangle

Why not enjoy these posts from the Texas Progressive Alliance along with the beautiful spring weather?

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme sees vast differences between Rick Perry, his bud David Dewhurst and Bill White. Democrats are for a robust public education while Republicans are doing their darnedest to kill it.

This week at Texas Vox, the commissioners at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) undermine the findings of their own staff in order to follow TCEQ’s mission statement that prioritizes economic development over protecting the environmental health of Texas. Are we surprised?

Are you playing the Barnett Shale economic shell game? Learn the rules at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

The Texas Cloverleaf
has commentary on Congressional GOP members behaving like adults; if grown-ups were 4 years old, that is.

Off the Kuff took a look at voting trends in Texas' fastest-growing counties. Hint: They are getting more blue.

The week at Left of College Station Teddy reports on the Coalition for Life possibly being in conflict with itself 501(c) 3 status by appearing connected to the Rob Curnock for Congress campaign.  LoCS also takes a first look at the candidates for College Station mayor, and also the candidates for Bryan mayor.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos updates us on GoodHair and company's reaction to HCR. It is not pretty: Perry and Abbott On Crusade to Block Health Care Benefits for Texans.

Neil at Texas Liberal visited a Walgreen's in suburban Chicago in the week just past. While there he took a picture of chocolate praying hands and of a chocolate cross that are on sale for Easter. Maybe these items are for people who adhere to the Chocolate God Theory.

at Eye On Williamson chronicles the fact that after the Democrats passed a historic health care bill, the GOP went crazy over health care.

Randy Noogie-Booger, the West Texas Congress critter who yelled "Baby killer!" during the debate on healthcare reform last week, was profiled by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Bay Area Houston writes about When Teabaggers Become Terrorists.

, like a lot of other progressive bloggers this week, had thoughts on the historic passage of health care insurance reform.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Bayou City Arts Festival and the Tomball German Heritage Festival

Here's your weekend.

Houston's award-winning outdoor art gallery is a juried fine art event that boasts 300 acclaimed artists in 17 media formats from throughout the U.S. and the world. Ranked the #3 Festival in the U.S. by the readers of AmericanStyle Magazine in 2009, the Bayou City Art Festival features fine art, multicultural music and dance, international food and wine cafes, and interactive art, including the Capital One Bank Creative Zone, where children and families can discover the fun of making art together.

$10 for adults, free for children 12 and under. There is no public parking at Memorial Park, but BCAF is offering a free park and ride shuttle. There are two shuttles; one will pick you up from Northwest Mall (610 Northloop and 18th; you'll want to park near the PODS). The other is available in the Theater District (you'll have to pay to park there). It runs each day of the festival from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Shuttle passes are available for free inside the mall. Click here to get more parking details.

The 10th Annual Tomball German Heritage Festival will be March 26, 27, and 28 located on the Old Downtown Streets of Tomball, Texas near 201 S. Elm Street, Main Street (FM 2920), and Market Street. It is a Music/Street festival celebrating German and ethnic heritage with 4 stages of live music entertainment "happy music for happy people", ethnic and festival food, beer, wine, 150 street vendors, all kinds of German souvenirs and clothing, arts crafts, antiques, Heritage Center, German church service, fireworks, carnival, pony ride, petting zoo, strolling music makers, street performers, and much more. Like Oktoberfest in March! One of the best street festivals in Texas. Willkommen! No admission or parking fees.

The Audacity of Dopes

Some of my other favorite captions ...

-- The difference between crap and shit

-- "I thought I was in Non-Fiction ..."

-- Approved reading by the Texas SBOE

-- "Anyone dare me to autograph them?"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scenes from the SD-17 convention

The Mayde Creek high school NROTC color guard presents the colors.

Two of the over 240 registered delegates.

Keynote speaker (and next governor of Texas) Bill White
addresses the convention.

Felicity Pereyra conducts VAN training.

White, 2006 gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell, and HD-134 Rep. Ellen Cohen in a (not-quite-private) moment.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The freedom to be screwed

Randy Noogie-Booger

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) has come forward and admitted that he was the one who yelled "baby killer" during the House debate on the health care bill last night.

In his statement, Neugeubauer said that he meant to refer to the bill as "a baby killer," not Stupak himself. That said, he has apologized to Stupak.

Neugebauer was first elected to Congress in a spring 2003 special election, after having previously worked in real estate and served on the Lubbock city council. In 2004, after the controversial mid-decade redistricting engineered by Tom DeLay, Neugebauer defeated long-time Blue Dog Democratic Rep. Charlie Stenholm by 58%-40% in a reconfigured district.

It should be noted that in addition to the "baby killer" outburst, Neugebauer is also a sponsor of the so-called "Birther Bill," introduced by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), to require presidential candidates "to include with the committee's statement of organization a copy of the candidate's birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution."

Neugebauer's district is solidly Republican, having voted 72%-27% for John McCain in 2008, and 77%-22% for George W. Bush in 2004. Neugebauer was re-elected with 72% of the vote in 2008.

Obviously it's not just that Noogie-Booger is a fool, it's also the people in West Texas who keep electing him. More from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (courtesy Lubbock Left, who also shares the link to the TX-19th's Democratic challenger, Andy Wilson). I lived for a few years in this district; it's all wide open spaces and cotton fields beyond Lubbock. Farmers. Ranchers.

You know why they call it God's country? Because nobody else wants to live there.

Monday Funnies

Pre-Celebratory Health Care Reform Victory Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog roundup will reach 32 million more Americans regardless of their pre-existing conditions.

Last week TXsharon at BLUEDAZE made a video statement at the EPA public hearing on the proposed ozone standards.

Who needs a proctologist when you have former state representative Rick Green running for the Texas Supreme Court? John Coby at Bay Area Houston has a bigger-than-usual pain in his ass.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy looks at the voter turnout in the Bryan and College Station municipal elections and has to ask the question: does minority rule? Teddy also unpacks the misleading poll on health care reform that the Chamber of Commerce commissioned to attack Democrats in conservative congressional districts. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know why monuments to racism and fear are so important to Republicans. Why not spend taxpayer dollars on something constructive like education or health care?

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the continuation of skyrocketing homeowners insurance rates in Texas: Homeowners insurance corporations - increasing our pain while Perry, GOP sit idly by.

Off the Kuff writes about tough times for school districts. Get ready for another school finance lawsuit, because it's coming sooner or later.

The Texas Cloverleaf tells the Dallas Trinity Tollers I told ya so.

Phillip Martin at Burnt Orange Report has covered Rick Perry's "secret" border plan in great detail -- namely, the lies and politics the governor has thrust into a very serious and dangerous situation along the Texas-Mexico border. Be sure to read Rick Perry's Political Grandstanding Misrepresents Definition of "Spillover Violence and follow the links at the bottom of that post to learn much, much more.

WhosPlayin's story last week about a tax-dodging Lewisville city councilman resulted in a tearful admission at the next council meeting, where news cameras were running. WhosPlayin follows up on the results of that meeting, and analyzes the media coverage and truthfulness of the councilman in his response.

As if rising sea levels, stronger hurricanes, and more extreme weather events weren't bad enough... not the Golden Cheeked Warbler too! Texas Vox is sad to report this week that birds of a feather feel the heat from climate change.

A little March madness in the form of preparations for his Senate district convention overtook PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, and he lumped in two updates on the campaigns of Bill White and Lakeisha Rogers (completely unrelated, trust him).

LibbyShaw over at TexasKaos checks in on Rep. Louie Gohmert, who in speaking to a Tea Bagger rally "declared that 'demons'" -- yes, demons -- "have invaded the capital (and likely the souls of Democrats), forcing lawmakers to mislead the public about the content of the health care bill." Check out the rest of the fun here: TX U.S. House Rep: "Demons have Invaded the Capital".

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On boldness

Rarely does the government, that big, clumsy, poorly regarded oaf, pull off anything short of war that touches all lives with one act, one stroke of a president's pen. Such a moment now seems near.

After a year of riotous argument, decades of failure and a century of spoiled hopes, the United States is reaching for a system of medical care that extends coverage nearly to all citizens. The change that's coming, if Sunday's tussle in the House goes President Barack Obama's way, would reshape a sixth of the economy and shatter the status quo.

To the ardent liberal, Obama's health care plan is a shadow of what should have been, sapped by dispiriting downsizing and trade-offs.

To the loud foe on the right, it is a dreadful expansion of the nanny state.

To history, it is likely to be judged alongside the boldest acts of presidents and Congress in the pantheon of domestic affairs. Think of the guaranteed federal pensions of Social Security, socialized medicine for the old and poor, the civil rights remedies to inequality.

I'm not certain I like it any better when the AP is calling Obama 'bold' any more than I did when they repeatedly referred to Dubya with that adjective. "Bold" didn't appropriately portray the decision to go to war on false pretenses, to say nothing about unintended (?) consequences like torture and warrantless wiretapping and so on.

Judging by the frothing insanity of conservatives' latest behavior, however, he must be bold as hell.

Here's the latest schedule associated with the legislation ...

From the House Democratic Caucus meeting, this from House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-CT). He says "shortly after 2, we will have an hour of debate on the rule." This is the rule to allow reconcilation to get to the floor.

They would then vote on the rule, sans deem and pass. He then says there will then be "two hours of debate on the bill."

Larson did not elude to passing the Senate bill later. But he did say they would do this "in the light of day."

In conclusion, Larson added that the Senate bill "will become law tomorrow evening with the president's signature."

If you're trying to time your watching or your DVR-ing, that would be debate on the rule of reconciliation beginning "shortly after" 1:00-2:00 p.m. CDT, that vote followed by two hours of debate on the bill itself (2-4 p.m. Central), and then on to the thrilling conclusion.

Friday, March 19, 2010

March Madness = Senate District conventions

Mostly for those of us doing the final preparations. For mine (SD-17), we're hosting Bill White as a keynoter and expect to hear from many of the judicials (especially those in run-offs) as well as some of the county-wide executive office-seekers and -holders. In the meantime here's a little postpourri ...

-- Speaking of our nominee, White's campaign has had a rough couple of weeks since his landslide primary win. He's not disclosing his tax returns, which both the Beaumont Enterprise and the Chronicle's Rick Casey are chiding him about, and this week it was revealed that he sits on (and has been paid well for) the board of directors of one of the oil companies working the Barnett Shale, controversial for the pollution being created by the hydraulic fracturing technique used for extraction. (My sister Sharon is the authority on hydro-fracking and the Barnett Shale, and has been for some time.)

Most media missed this during last month's gubernatorial debate, but now it's no wonder why White declined to support a moratorium on drilling there.

The campaign needs to get out in front of things like this -- as they did very well with White's refusal to promise to cut taxes if elected -- but they are already behind on these two, and an appropriate (forget 'rapid') response is still lagging.

Texas Democrats need the White campaign firing on all cylinders, and I hope a quick tuneup gets things in order.

Update: And just like that, there are his tax returns. Bradley Olson at the Chron has more.

-- Lakeisha Rogers, the Democratic nominee in CD-22, has generated lots and lots of responses over her, ah, unorthodox beliefs. The SDEC resolved to release the party from supporting her campaign. The resolution was necessary because TDP rules require precinct chairs and the like to support the party's nominees under pain of removal from office.

The intent behind the resolution, expressed in various ways, forms, and places, leaves a lot of unanswered questions that trouble me (and many other Democrats): we are censuring duly elected nominees for their beliefs now? Guilt by association? What would Thomas Jefferson say about this as it relates to free speech? Just because his name was removed by the SBOE Texas school textbooks last week doesn't mean we should already be ignoring what he taught us ... should it?

I think Ms. Rogers could have been pointedly ignored by everybody and it would have served a better purpose than a public rebuke. But I seem to be in the minority on that.

-- The vote on healthcare reform comes this Sunday. It's going to be more dramatic than any of yesterday's first-round games, which were the closest in history.

Really though, my bracket isn't too bloody ... except for that Georgetown-in-the-Final-Four pick.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance heads into March Madness with its own bracket of news and links for the week.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders how Republicans can be so violently against having services they desperately need?

Off the Kuff analyzed county returns in the primaries for Governor, Lite Guv, and the Commissioners.

When are you "too gay" for your job? The Texas Cloverleaf finds out.

WhosPlayin broke the story of a Tea-Partying Lewisville city councilman who has failed to pay his business property taxes for the 28 years he has been in business. On the same weekend, the story came out that the son of the Flower Mound mayor and her public-school-Bible-class-promoting husband was busted with marijuana, a BB gun, and stolen property in his car. (But don't worry, he wasn't actually arrested.)

Bay Area Houston says that when capitalism works we buy from China.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson says it's time for Democrats to go all in on health care.

This week McBlogger brings you Tom Pauken, Moron (NSFW).

Karl Rove is "proud" that the Bush administration tortured suspected al-Qaeda terrorists. That -- coupled with the Obama administration's recalcitrance to prosecute Rove, Cheney, Bush, for their admitted war crimes -- has PDiddie at Brains and Eggs a little more pessimistic than usual.

Attention all Breathers! It's URGENT that you attend the EPA public hearing on the proposed new ozone standards. The hearing is Tuesday in Arlington and to help get you motivated TXsharon posted a video on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Neil at Texas Liberal says that with one in three folks in Houston lacking health insurance, Houston mayor Annise Parker should be speaking up in favor in health care reform. Mayor Parker has already spoken up on the federal issues of the census and EPA air quality standards. So why not speak up on this federal issue that impacts Houston?

Lightseeker at TexasKaos tells us, again, why Rick Perry Must Go. It seems his cronies want the private sector bozos who messed up the validation procedure for food stamps to advise on fixing the system, and they don't understand what all the fuss is about. I mean, doesn't every vendor get a no-bid contract?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

GOP's 2010 election strategy: repeal healthcare reform

As if liberals need more motivation to push health- care reform, Rush Limbaugh, in a profoundly patriotic move, said last week he'll be "leaving the country" if health care passes. VOTE YES ON REFORM. SEND RUSH PACKING! It's a bumper sticker with the virtue of no reference to "cost curves" or pre-existing conditions.

Progressives are so dispirited—and, like the rest of the country, so sick of talking about sick people—that they can't wrap their heads around the reality that this is the Big One, the Super Bowl, for all the marbles. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner can scowl, but Republicans are now nearly irrelevant to the process. The only real question is if Democrats are in the mood to slit their own throats. The bill is complex, but the politics are simple: if health care doesn't pass this spring, Obama's domestic presidency is finished. The Democratic Party will be, to borrow a phrase from Nixon, a "helpless, pitiful giant." By contrast, if the bill gets signed, Republicans are setting themselves up for a "repeal the bill" campaign that will likely backfire in November's midterm elections. That's eight months away, but if the bill passes I'd bet on the GOP winning only a few new seats.

This is Politics 101, a class that many Democrats apparently flunked. The House Democrats who voted for the bill at the end of 2009 have no choice but to vote for it again if they have any clue as to what's in their political self-interest; the he-was-for-it-before-he-was-against-it ads write themselves. And the more conservative Blue Dog Democrats who voted against it need to understand that no matter how toxic health care is in their districts right now, things will be a lot worse if they have to run under the banner of a failed president. Voters won't reward them for being fake Republicans—they'll vote for the real ones instead. ...

These members all know that, according to a Harvard study, 40,000 people a year die for lack of health insurance. Do they want that on their consciences? It's hard to imagine they do. This is their moment of truth as Democrats. Let's face it: if they vote to cripple a Democratic president now, they ain't real Democrats. It's like a Republican voting against Bush's tax cuts. In 2001 no House Republican did.

Ironically, this is not as hard a vote for Democrats as it looks. Sen. John Cornyn, the Texan who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, says the midterms should be a "referendum" on repealing the health-care bill (if the bill fails, the Republicans will run against it anyway). Because the insurance-industry reforms kick in immediately, this means Republicans would be running against protections that even those queasy about health-care reform are not going to want stripped away. Whose side will candidates want to be on? The insurers—or average people happy that they have the security of not worrying about their health if they lose their job?

If the Republicans truly believe passage of this bill will ensure electoral victory for their party in 2010, why are they still fighting tooth-and-nail against it? Here's why: A Democrat is in the White House, so repealing healthcare reform next year would require the GOP to control both chambers of Congress with super-majorities -- the 2/3 needed to override Obama's certain veto.

Does anyone think the GOP can capture both houses of Congress in November? Charlie Cook thinks they can take the House with 40 flips, but that's still over 40 seats away from a super-majority. Switching 19 Senate seats and 86 seats in the House (Dems currently hold a 257-175 advantage --3 independents/vacancies at the moment -- and that represents 59.03%-40.23%, nearly precisely the same Senate percentages) is the only thing that gets the Republicans past a presidential veto.

In other words, running on a 'repeal healthcare' platform is tantamount to a lie. But of course, their voters really don't care about the truth anyway.

Funnies Extra

The Texas Textbook Massacre

Mustering outrage on this is easy.

Friday morning the Texas Board of Education voted to approve changing the state's social studies curriculum to make it more closely reflect the views of God's Own Party. Among the changes are:
Given Texas' influence on the national textbook market, you're probably better off home-schooling your kids. Or not.

Kuffner compiled linkage to those who covered the hearings as they happened, including the exemplary Texas Freedom Network and Think Progress. April Castro at the AP, Blue Texan at firedoglake, and Gary Scharrer at the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau add more. I just have one question: if the conservatives would rather home-school or use public education vouchers to privatize their children's education, why do they also insist on indoctrinating the remaining public education students? Is it a mission from God? A small portion of their quest for world domination? Because they can't help themselves?

Where is that good ol' libertarian "leave us alone" mantra when it comes to public school textbooks?

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Theodore Olbermann 1929 - 2010

My father died, in the city of his birth, New York, at 3:50 EST this afternoon.

Though the financial constraints of his youth made college infeasible, he accomplished the near-impossible, becoming an architect licensed in 40 states. Much of his work was commercial, for a series of shoe store chains and department stores. There was a time in the 1970's when nearly all of the Baskin-Robbins outlets in the country had been built to his design, and under his direction. Through much of my youth and my early adult life, it was almost impossible to be anywhere in this country and not be a short drive to one of "his" stores.

My Dad was predeceased last year by my mother, Marie, his wife of nearly 60 years. He died peacefully after a long fight against the complications that ensued after successful colon surgery last September at the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. My sister Jenna and I were at his side, and I was reading him his favorite James Thurber short stories, as he left us.

More. RIP Ted Olbermann and deepest condolences to Keith.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rove: "proud" USA used waterboarding

And I would be 'proud' to see him -- standing alongside Dick Cheney, of course -- executed as a war criminal. So I guess that makes us even.

In a BBC interview, Karl Rove, who was known as "Bush's brain", said he "was proud we used techniques that broke the will of these terrorists".

He said waterboarding, which simulates drowning, should not be considered torture.

In 2009, President Barack Obama banned waterboarding as a form of torture.

But the practice was sanctioned in written memos by Bush administration lawyers in August 2002, providing legal cover for its use.

"Should not be considered torture". Too late, it already is.

Last night, in an interview with Rachel Maddow, Nancy Pelosi said that the evidence against Bush administration officials had to be much more solid than it was and that, as a result, was the reason she took impeachment off the table ... but that she thinks there should always be accountability. I wonder if all the confessions coming out leave any impression on her.

Beyond that, the refusal by Obama's Justice Department to prosecute them -- or turn them over to be prosecuted by a world court -- despite their open boasts is one of the reasons why people like me have lost enthusiasm for this President.

Digressing for a moment to the issue of healthcare reform as analogy: like Ed Schultz, I have come around on the healthcare reform proposal, but I also believe that the criticism of Dennis Kucinich's principled stand against it is uncalled for, and a positively shitty thing to make a political play of (the deadline to file in Ohio has passed so Kucinich won't have a primary opponent.  More of this kind of crap from Markos is going to really piss me off).

But there is no room for compromise on torture. You can't say it's illegal and then turn away from your responsibility for enforcing the law because of perceived political fallout (see 'Clinton, impeachment').

Obama has already lost most of the vim the progressive left had for him so this shouldn't surprise or alarm anyone. The malaise threatens to wash over the November elections all the way down the ballot. The only question left is how broad it goes and how deep it reaches. And whether the Republicans can do something to screw up their advantage between now and then.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance would like to thank the Academy by presenting it with this week's roundup.

TXsharon went undercover this week to map methane plumes in the Barnett Shale: "Stealth" measurements contradict Shale Gas industry safe air claims, new technology shows. Big Gas is so BUSTED! And it's all reported on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy covers all of the results of the primary elections including the surprising defeat of Don McLeroy in the State Board of Education District 9 Republican primary. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines, and this week will begin coverage of the local municipal elections.

The Texas Cloverleaf provides a Denton County and Texas primary roundup.

Texas Vox celebrated last week as the student governments of two Texas rivals, UT and A&M, passed "green fees" to support sustainability initiatives on campus.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson takes a first look at the general election race for governor in Texas: White vs. Perry is a toss up.

Neil at Texas Liberal offered up a video of him reading the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution in front of the Beer Can House in Houston. This is a house made out of beer cans.

Off the Kuff looks at primary results in the SBOE races.

Bay Area Houston thinks Harris County Democrats are going to get LaRouched in the upcoming Democratic judicial primaries.

Justin at Asian American Action Fund Blog warns those outside Texas to stop being federal snobs and begin to concern themselves with the State Board of Education.

WhosPlayin is watching all hell break loose in Flower Mound, as a group circulating a gas drilling permit moratorium petition is blown off by Town Council, and a political organization in the town tried to have the local school district call the police on them if the group used school parking lots for signature gathering.

Over at TexasKaos, libby shaw writes that Senator Cornyn has found himself a hero: Senator Jim Bunning. Yes that Bunning, the one who scores political grandstanding points at the expense of the unemployed. Read the rest here: GOP Senator to the Jobless and Uninsured: Tough S$it. Cornyn defends him.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Reading the tea(bagger) leaves

-- First let's note Governor MoFo's pollster's contention that the 45% of early GOP primary voters in 2010 -- who had no prior Republican primary history -- put the governor over the top in Tuesday's election.

Now personally I believe that's hogwash. People in Texas who have a voting a history, just not a Republican one, turned out in the tens of thousands to vote for Rick Perry?!? LMAO.

There thousands of people with no prior Republican voting history who voted in the Republican primary, all right, and they were Democrats who voted for Kay Bailey ... and Debra Medina. Yes, we have our share of low-information voters too, and they're almost as ignorant as any conservative. Almost.

Baselice wants you to believe that TeaBaggers are legion, especially in Texas. That's partly right; they're just a whole lot smaller in number than he is spinning. I can't look at the full story on QR but that is ludicrous on its face. This is more of the Perry team trying to drive a narrative; don't fall for it. Moving on ...

-- Incumbent Texas Railroad Commissioner Victor Carillo laments his loss to David Porter ...

" ... an unknown, nocampaign (sic), no-qualification CPA from Midland residing in Giddings filed on the last day that he could file while I was waiting in Abilene to bury my dad. He has never held any elected office, has no geoscience, industry, or legal experience other than doing tax returns for oil and gas companies. ...

Early polling showed that the typical GOP primary voter has very little info about the position of Railroad Commissioner, what we do, or who my opponent or I were. Given the choice between “Porter” and “Carrillo” -- unfortunately, the Hispanic-surname was a serious setback from which I could never recover ...

Carrillo is, of course, precisely right and one of the commenters has a suggestion for him:

Message to Mr. Carrillo - why would you stay in a political party that votes out a qualified person just based on their surname?!?

If ever there was a poster child for the racist attitude that pervades the Republican party, to the point of kicking out a qualified incumbent with a hispanic surname, this is it.

Please join the Democratic party. This will not happen to you there!

But -- at least in Harris County -- that suggestion's closing point is also inaccurate. Hispanic judicial candidates on the Democratic ballot lost to non-Latinos by the bushel.

Everybody knows what this is all about, and you don't have to be a regular consumer of FOX or local talk-radio to get it.

The Texas Blue has an even better suggestion:

If (Carillo) is truly interested in supporting the candidate with the most oil & gas experience, he and all Texans should cast their votes in November for Democratic candidate Jeff Weems, a former roughneck and energy lawyer. I don't know about y'all, but I'd rather see an oil & gas person do an oil & gas person's job rather than leave it up to a candidate whose most germane qualification is that he lives near oil & gas infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Porter has hired former TRC member Barry Williamson -- a former finance chair for the RPT -- to raise money for him. I posted a lengthy bit of data on Porter here in January that tells you money is going to be the least of his concerns.

And look for more discussion on this surname topic, here and elsewhere.

--  Kuffner ...

Meanwhile, Harris County Tax Assessor Leo Vasquez suffered the same fate as Victor Carrillo.

Don Sumners won the Republican nomination for county tax assessor-collector Tuesday, ousting incumbent Leo Vasquez on his promises to continue the anti-tax crusade that characterized his tenure as county treasurer in the 1990s. 

Sumners campaigned on a slogan of "I was Tea Party before Tea Party was cool."
As treasurer, he publicly criticized Commissioners Court for increasing the tax rate and was an outspoken opponent of a bond measure that approved hotel and car rental taxes to fund football, basketball and baseball stadiums.

I think teabagging has been pretty cool among certain segments of homosexual men for ... what, decades maybe? Centuries possibly?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Best, worst, and most surprising results from yesterday

-- Perry won without a run-off and Kay conceded fairly early, before it was known for certain whether there would be one. At least she's a quitter in that respect.

-- Bill White got 76% of the vote against his five challengers. Farouk Shami appears to have paid about $10,000 per vote with less than 13%. No one else even got to 5%.

I am both amazed at the result and disgraced in my prediction. Humble pie for a month.

-- Hank Gilbert salted away Kinky Friedman and it was as close as I thought it would be: 52-48. Linda-Chavez Thompson cruised past Ronnie Earle 53-35; Marc Katz had 12.

-- Hector Uribe barely got past Bill Burton for GLO commissioner. The percentage was 51.6 to 48.4 and Uribe trailed late into the evening.

-- Borris Miles defeated Al Edwards by eleven votes. Another incumbent in the Texas House, Fort Bend-area Rep. Dora Olivo, lost her primary challenge to Ron Reynolds.

-- Sheila Jackson Lee thumped her two rivals and drew 67% of her district's vote. I'm convinced she can have that seat for life if she wants to, and she deserves it. I hope some day I get gerrymandered back into the 18th.

-- Keisha Rogers will be the Democratic nominee for US Congress in CD-22, besting two challengers with 52%.

-- And Ann Bennett topped Sue Schechter in the race for County Clerk. 63-37, in my personal biggest shocker.

Worth noting: Reynolds, Burton, Rogers, and Bennett are all African American candidates and may have benefited from increased AA turnout across the state. Jackson-Lee's contest and the Miles-Edwards battle certainly boosted tallies in Harris County for Burton and Bennett.

Bennett will square off against TeaBagger Stan Stanart for Beverly Kaufman's old job. He trounced the establishment candidate, Kevin Mauzy 60.5-39.5. This race was already at the top of my list, but because the two expected participants were both upset, big, it becomes impossible to predict in November.

-- In other Republican results, Ed Emmett-appointed lackey Leo Vasquez got pummeled by Don Sumners 57-43 in the race for Harris County tax-assessor/collector. Oh, the woe of a having a Latin surname in a GOP primary. And beleaguered HCRP chairman Jared Woodfill enters a run-off for his job with reform candidate Ed Hubbard.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for primary election day and reminds all of you to vote if you haven't already. Here is your Primary Day roundup.

From the Barnett Shale, TXsharon announces a new "Watchdog" for drillers and her SOS to EPA about benzene and other dangerous toxins in the Denton Creek watershed was heard. The EPA has responded! Read all about it at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS

After the latest prevarication on her date of departure from the Senate, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs opines: "Kay Bailey, won't you please GO HOME?!"

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme shows the Texas Supreme Court flipping the finger to Texans, yet again.

Snowmageddon may have struck Austin -- but don't let that cold, hard evidence convince you that global warming ain't real. Let Citizen Sarah (with a little help from President Obama) break it down for you at Texas Vox.

Bay Area Houston highlights yet more hypocrisy from Rick Perry with his I Came and Took It! teabagging campaign.

At WhosPlayin the recent discussion has centered around equity in the Lewisville ISD. It looks like the district may be taking a big step by considering a tear-down and rebuild of the district's oldest high school after costs for asbestos remediation and fire sprinkler installation in the old building went too high. Construction is not equity, though, and there are still issues to be addressed.

Over at McBlogger, Mayor McSleaze takes a look at the Republican HD 47 primary fight and finds it almost as entertaining as an old-fashioned pie fight.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison changes her story again about when she might leave the Senate. Off the Kuff has lost count of how many times this has happened.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson has a round up of the campaign cash and who's giving in Williamson County: Bob Perry looms large in Williamson County GOP House races.

The Texas Cloverleaf looks at the early voting turnout in Denton County and the GOP surge.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy makes the case for Brazos County Democrats to vote in the Republican primary, and releases the L o C S Democratic primary candidate endorsements. Left of College Station also covers the debate in the Texas A&M student senate over the anti-discrimination policy.

Pollchecker over at TexasKaos calls out McCain on using Texas health care as an example of "success". And he wonders why he is not president?

Neil at Texas Liberal offered up his 2010 Democratic Primary slate. Neil also noted that Texas Liberal passed one million page views. Thanks to everybody who has read the blog.