Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dick and Kay

This ought to really sway that all-important Democratic cross-over vote.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, a longtime acquaintance and supporter of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, will be in Houston on Nov. 17 to formally endorse her in the race for governor against fellow Republican Gov. Rick Perry. ...

... Cheney knew Hutchison and her husband, Ray, while he lived in Dallas as the chief executive officer of the oil-field service company Halliburton from 1995 to 2000, and when he became George W. Bush's vice presidential running mate.

“I am so pleased,” Hutchison said Wednesday. “I respect the former vice president so much. We've worked together. He knows my record as a conservative in the Senate.”

Just don't think this helps her all that much. Judging solely by the comments, it appears to be backfiring.

With all of his own disastrous campaign twists, I still believe Rick Perry wins this primary.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why is Peter Brown pouting?

He's stinking-ass wealthy and he's ahead in the polls for mayor of Houston (but only because he's stinking-ass wealthy). So why does he look so unhappy?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hank Gilbert's "Scoop" and more postpourri

-- My choice for Texas Governor has established a rapid response site for the jumble of news associated with the half-dozen or so Texas gubernatorial candidates. Don't miss the hilarious mugshots of Tom Schieffer and Farouk Shami (who is a dead ringer for Cesar Romero). Update: Ask Kay Bailey's Magic 8 Ball a question.

-- Glenn Smith has been doing some excellent writing over at his new place, but my favorites have been his reminiscences about H-Town back in the day. Here's a bit about Telephone Road, and here's one about Brays Bayou.

-- Passings I should have blogged about: William Wayne Justice, William Safire, Soupy Sales.

Justice was as powerful a liberal lion for us in Texas as Ted Kennedy was for the country. His loss is deeply felt, and recalls a time when the disadvantaged actually had a shot in the legal system. Grits is good. So is Harold Cook.

I loved Safire's column "On Language", little else he said or did. But he was civil, and a gentleman, something conservatives these days gravely lack. As a result I thought this was a little harsh. Serves to remind me that I am hardly the most severe.

And I was a little too young to enjoy the highlights of Soupy Sales' career, but he was a very special comedian. Pee Wee Herman in particular stole a lot from Soupy. This is a nice remembrance, written almost fifteen years ago.

-- Also missed Vic Mizzy, who wrote the theme songs to "The Addams Family" and "Green Acres". Great epitaph: "Two snaps got me a mansion in Bel Air"

-- In the wake of last weekend's March to Stop Executions in Texas, this report says that ending the death penalty could save the United States millions of dollars.

-- Saturday was also the International Day of Climate Action.

-- Two excellent book excerpts: this one has the play-by-play of the 1980 New Hampshire Republican primary debate where Reagan bellowed "I paid for this microphone!" Riveting. And this one is a previously undiscovered Vonnegut.

-- Will Texas opt out of the public option? Signs point to 'no'.

US Senate Candidates Forum

Very little mudslinging, a good bit of humor, and plenty of respect for physicians marked the first forum for all six prospective candidates for the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Texas. Hosted by the Texas Medical Association’s political action committee, TEXPAC, and moderated by former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, the forum gave the four men and two women the chance to share their views on health system reform, Washington politics, and other key issues. The race will be to replace Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is expected to resign soon to campaign full-time for governor. All six candidates who have filed campaign committees with the Federal Election Commission participated in the event.

  • WHAT: 2010 U.S. Senate candidates’ forum
  • WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009, 7 pm
  • WHERE: Westin Stonebriar Hotel, 1549 Legacy Dr., Frisco, Texas

Each candidate was asked to present his or her qualifications and positions on health care reform and other key federal issues of interest to Texas voters. The six candidates who participated were:

  • Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones
  • State Sen. Florence Shapiro (R-Plano)
  • Former Texas Comptroller John Sharp
  • Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams
  • Former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams
  • Houston Mayor Bill White

TEXPAC speaks on behalf of more than 44,000 Texas physicians and medical students, and nearly 8,000 alliance members. Organized in 1962, TEXPAC is one of the oldest political action committees in Texas. TEXPAC also is one of the largest bipartisan PACs in the state and ranks first in size among other state medical association PACs.

Go to the link for video in thirteen short segments of the entire forum. Part 13 (at the top) picks up with some jokes by John Sharp.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for the start of the World Series, and it presents to you its weekly highlight reel as we await the first pitch.

quizas of South Texas Chisme wonders about the US detaining a Mexican human rights activist.

WWJD on Carter Avenue? TXsharon wants to know if Chesapeake Energy or anyone in Fort Worth government has stopped to consider the answer to that question. Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Bay Area Houston wonders if the Hispanic community will dump their endorsement of Gene Locke.

WhosPlayin lost a fight with the Lewisville ISD, whose board voted unanimously to define media as print and broadcast only and give itself permission to shut out bloggers (includes video of meeting).

Not sure how to green up your life? Lucky for you, there's a whole series of tips to that topic at Texas Vox, the Voice of Public Citizen in Texas. This week's suggestion: Start a compost pile! Even in your freezer ...

The Texas Cloverleaf picks up on the "pay to play" system, alive and well with Rick Perry and the TABC.

Problems for the Democrats in 2010? Harry Balczak at McBlogger uncovers something that says that's exactly where we're headed.

Dembones at Eye On Williamson posts on Rep. John Carter's latest hypocrisy: Carter's income disclosure problem spoils GOP tactic.

Progressive Coalition candidates for Houston city council (and a Socialist running for mayor) are the subject of PDiddie's post at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at Texas Liberal also suggested that voters in Houston consider the Progressive Coalition candidates running for Houston's city council. It is hard to see how voting for Democrats year-after-year in city elections has been of great benefit to the people of Houston.

Over at Texas Kaos, libby shaw provides a public service by providing a Republican hypocrisy scorecard. Check out her Texas GOP Hall of Hypocrites. You can't tell the hyprocrites without a program. Wait, you can. Almost. If there is an "R" beside their names, the odds are better than even ...

Off the Kuff notes that a settlement has been reached in a lawsuit between Democrats and the Harris County tax assessor's office over allegations of voter suppression.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Progressive Coalition slate

Neil and Charles have both posted about the three Green Party Houston council candidates running as the Progressive Coalition. I was unable to attend their events here this past weekend -- a fundraiser on Friday and a film screening of Robert Greenwald's "Rethinking Afghanistan" on Saturday, both hosted by 2008 Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney.

(l-r) Don Cook, Deborah Shafto, and Alfred Molison

It's notable that Houston has an active community of liberals and progressives that refuse to be aligned with the corporate conservatives that too often represent the Democratic party.

So if you are also one of those, consider supporting these candidates with your vote (and volunteer support and pocketbook, if you can manage it). Note that while Cook and Shafto are on the ballot, Molison is a write-in candidate, and there are specific instructions for how to do that in e-Slate (.pdf, page 2 of 4).

Houston also has a Socialist Party mayoral candidate, Amanda Ullman. Though I am a strong supporter of Annise Parker, it would have been valuable to Ms. Ullman's alternative campaign -- as Neil has also noted -- to have at least put up a website.

I'll follow with interest these candidates' vote tally.

Minority on Houston council wants to play Nail the Ill Eagles

(A busy week plus another touch of the vertigo kept me away. Let's play ketchup with this local flash ...)

A rare special council meeting scheduled for Wednesday (October 28) comes as a direct response to last week's announcement by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials that Houston no longer was in consideration for the 287(g) program, which deputizes local law enforcement to assist ICE agents in identifying illegal immigrants in the jails.

But the effort to revive the city's chances is likely to bump up against stiff resistance on council, as many members are planning to skip the meeting, a step that effectively would kill any chance of forcing a vote on the matter.

Houston city council members were previously scheduled off next week, it's the middle of early voting, and the three who want to play hot potato with a political football are all mad-dog Republicans.

Easy to see how this meeting gets denied a quorum.

Political machinations potentially could raise the stakes of the meeting, as several council members are just days away from an election. (Mayor Bill) White, who made an urgent request to join the program in the spring before backing away after negotiations with immigration officials broke down, is actively campaigning for a not-yet-vacated U.S. Senate seat. Councilwoman Toni Lawrence, the leader of the three that called for the special meeting, has begun campaigning to become the next Harris County Precinct 4 commissioner. One of her potential opponents has been running advertising on conservative radio attacking the city for backing away from the program.

Lawrence said she decided to call the meeting after feeling unsatisfied with plans White proposed to her that included further studying the matter. White instead favors having the city participate in another ICE program, dubbed Secure Communities, that gives local law enforcement access to a massive immigration database.

The other two ...

Council members Anne Clutterbuck and Mike Sullivan, who also signed the petition to schedule the special meeting, said the policy should be openly discussed and debated by council, not set by mayoral edict. The procedural move is the first in the history of White's administration, which was marked by rosy relationships among council members for the first five years, but has met with more resistance this year.

Clutterbuck, who supports the 287(g) program, said she plans to attend Wednesday's meeting, but is not optimistic about seeing the issue come to a vote. In addition to Lawrence, Clutterbuck and Sullivan, mayoral hopeful and Councilman Peter Brown plans to attend.

More covering of his right haunch by Brown. Early polling and other circumstantial evidence suggests that Brown is capturing a majority of conservative municipal voters due to his playing both sides of the street and calling it 'independent'. (Or it may be because he's the white guy.) Seriously, this demonstration of solidarity with the one conservative issue responsible for the loudest screaming likely puts him in the run-off with Annise Parker.

Democrats and liberals supporting Peter Brown are in for a very rude awakening.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates the start of early voting for the 2009 elections with its always-on-time blog roundup.

Human tragedies are mounting in the Barnett Shale as study after study shows high levels of toxins in the air. The only ones who can't seem to find anything wrong are the regulators. TXsharon asks, "Will the EPA intervene in Texas?" at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Why did the US forcibly detain a Mexican human rights advocate? CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know.

Bay Area Houston says Tort Reformers in Texas suck.

The Texas Cloverleaf presents the Kay Coward Bailey Hutchison plan for health care mediocrity.

Off the Kuff takes a look at Cameron Todd Willingham's supposed confession, and finds the evidence for it lacking.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson states that no matter what you hear, transportation schemes are continuing, despite "death" of the TTC. EOW also had a guest post this week on the PEC: Pedernales Electric Cooperative: Who's Electing Your Board Representative?

"Other big names" may enter the Republican primary for governor if Perry and Hutchison can't get their acts together, according to a right-wing talker in D-FW and passed along by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

The folks at Texas Vox would like to thank everyone who participated in Blog Action Day on climate change last week. Following that trend, check out our round-up of Texas Blog Action day posts, let us know who we're missing, and read up on the Business of Climate Change.

WhosPlayin posted an update on gas drilling in Lewisville, and also breaks the story that a local group is looking to ban smoking in public places in Lewisville.

refinish69 reopens Doing My Part For The Left with the latest installment of his series Homeless in Austin -- An Insider's View Part 7.

Mean Rachel got to see President Obama speak in College Station on Friday.

We have known for a long time that Governor Perry is a bottom feeder, but letting an innocent man die and then refusing to get at the truth about his execution? Well, I would not want that on my conscience. Let Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos bring you up to speed in his posting: All the Good Hair on the Planet Won't Make the Cover Up Go Away.

Neil at Texas Liberal ran a picture he took this week of the confluence of White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou in Downtown Houston. This spot, important in the founding of Houston, is still a place of connection. If connection could be found in the hot and hellish Houston of 175 years ago, we can find connection today even in tough circumstances.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Obama in College Station this afternoon

There is a long tradition of sitting Presidents courting, relying on and even plotting with their predecessors, and the latest chapter is set to unfold Friday afternoon when former President George Herbert Walker Bush, accompanied by former Secretary of State James Baker, greets Barack Obama as he steps off a Marine Corps helicopter in College Station, Texas.

At Bush's invitation, the 44th Commander in Chief is paying a long-planned visit to the home of Bush's presidential library to mark the 20th anniversary of the voluntarism initiative begun by the former President in 1989.

After being introduced by Bush, Obama will speak on community service before 2,500 people in Rudder Auditorium on the campus of Texas A&M University. Obama is expected to pay tribute to Bush's Points of Light Initiative, a community-service and charitable works program he launched in the early days of his presidency in 1989. Joining the two men on stage will be Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense and former president of the university, who has worked for both Presidents.

(Personal aside: I was sitting in Rudder last Sunday afternoon for an Aggie concert band performance; my nephew is one of the percussionists.)

The meeting has been in the works for months, almost since the earliest days of the Obama Administration, and postponed at least once. It is just the most recent display of bipartisan goodwill between current and past holders of the highest office in the land. These alliances often span vast differences in both ideology and age: Richard Nixon paid a secret visit to Bill Clinton, 33 years his junior, to discuss Russia policy in 1993; Herbert Hoover met with John F. Kennedy, 38 years his junior, before he was inaugurated in 1960. Bush, at 85, is 37 years older than Obama, who is 48.

The two men met for the first time in January when Bush's son, George W. Bush, invited all the former Presidents, as well as Obama, to the White House. Earlier this year, the White House issued a proclamation marking the 20th anniversary of another Bush initiative, the Americans with Disabilities Act - a gesture that did not go unnoticed in Bush country.

The political benefits of this stop are easy to spot - though it would be easy to overestimate them too. It does not hurt Obama to be seen in the Lone Star state with Bush and Baker, two of the state's favorite sons, not to mention Gates, a Kansan who in College Station is something of an iconic figure. And as Republican criticism of his busy legislative program has increased, Obama may benefit from a joint appearance with a popular former Republican President elsewhere in the country.

But it is more likely that Obama, as he considers his options in Afghanistan, would benefit most from any private conversation he can work in on the subject with Bush, who was considered a foreign policy maestro, not to mention Baker, who along with Brent Scowcroft (and Gates), helped Bush chart a solid and centrist foreign policy from 1989 to 1993.

Longtime Bush observers were not surprised that the former President initiated Friday's visit. Bush is the informal leader of the four living ex-Presidents (Carter, Bush, Clinton and Bush) in part because, as President, he paid uncommon attention and courtesy to the four living Presidents who preceded him in office.

Alas, not all Aggies (and others) plan a courteous welcome for Obama.

“President Obama is protested everywhere he goes, so I think it would be odd if he came to one of the most conservative campuses and there wasn't a protest,” said Justin Pulliam, a sophomore at A&M and a member of Young Conservatives of Texas, one of several groups planning protests in conjunction with Obama's visit.

Even the mouth-breathing contingent normally infesting the Chron's comments section appear to be on hiatus.

Teddy at Left Of will have some on-the scene updates. Theo Johnson also links to, which will live-stream the event, and The Battalion, the on-campus newspaper which is to have continuous coverage.

"Other big names" may enter primary for Texas GOP governor

D-FW right-wing gasbag Lynn Woolley shares my concern -- expressed at the end of this post -- about the ridiculous state of the Republican gubernatorial tilt:

It is becoming apparent that there is a possibility that neither Rick Perry nor Kay Bailey Hutchison may be the Republican nominee for governor of Texas. Both of them have issues that must be cleared up – and soon – or other big names are going to enter the race.

It is always instructive to observe the conservative mind as it attempts logic. Again, a primer: there's the Right, then the Far Right, then the Far Out Right. Woolley mostly occupies the middle ground of the extreme. First he deconstructs the governor's dilemma:

Perry is smack in the middle of a developing controversy over the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham – indeed a very bad man, but a man who may not have started the fire that killed his three children. The strange thing is that the question of Willingham's guilt is not central to the governor's problem. Of course, if Willingham did not set the fire – that's huge. But if Rick Perry interfered with the Texas Forensic Science Commission's investigation into the case – that's monumental.

Well, rise and shine the coffee's on; Rick Perry has a problem. And lookie here: so does Kay Bailey.

This sordid affair might prove very useful to Hutchison in her campaign to unseat the governor, except for the fact that she seems to have no fire in the belly to pursue the race. In a radio interview with WBAP's Mark Davis, she said she isn't sure when she will leave the Senate to pursue the governor's race full time. She isn't certain about what Congress will do with health care, and she wants to "stay and fight with every bone in my body against a government takeover."

And we all thought she wanted to be governor.

Pretty good slap, Lynn. There's a bit more.

So she's going to resign unless she doesn't, and she's going stay in the Senate to fight Obama's health care and energy bills unless she returns to Texas full time to run for governor. Are we confused yet?

I could get to liking this guy if he would keep using that cudgel on Kay. He really seems to believe that Perry is damaged goods, and that is a key concession from a Lone Star conservative talker.

Unfortunately Woolley leaves us hanging by not identifying any of the Republicans he suggests are interested in jumping into the race for governor. The moneyshot, though, is at the very end:

Perry needs to clean up his Willingham mess and Hutchison needs to make up her mind. The governor should stop talking about what a monster Willingham was and support a full investigation. And it had better prove Willingham was guilty.

Hutchison should resign soon and trust Dewhurst or someone else to take up the health care fight. If not, the governor's race could go to the Democrats for lack of a Republican candidate.

Well that would be the worst of all possible outcomes, wouldn't it? *snicker*

Anybody hearing any actual names of Republicans thinking about diving into the mosh pit?

Update: Oh hell, of course; Dan Patrick. The wart right in the middle of their face. How could I have missed it? *slap*

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kay Bailey: "Perry's actions give liberals argument to discredit death penalty"

It's just embarrassing watching her trying to squeeze herself into the space between Medina and Kilgore, on Perry's right:

"The only thing Rick Perry’s actions have accomplished is giving liberals an argument to discredit the death penalty. Kay Bailey Hutchison is a steadfast supporter of the death penalty, voted to reinstate it when she served in the Texas House and believes we should never do anything to create a cloud of controversy over it with actions that look like a cover-up."

So the greatest travesty here is not that an innocent man was executed, not even that Rick Perry is a wretched scumbag for allowing it to happen and then actively attempting to conceal it.

The most serious offense is the "cloud of controversy" the governor has created over the death penalty.

Who again are the Democrats who intend to vote for this harridan in the Republican primary in March, 2010?

Update: Medina, not surprisingly, makes considerably more sense than the senior senator. (Inquiring minds want to know: could Kay Bailey actually come in third in the GOP gubernatorial primary?)

Action for Climate Change

(This post is -- obviously -- part of today's Blog Action Day.)

If you're a conservative then you can keep on doing what you do best: deny, delay, obfuscate and avoid. If you're anyone else, you can help educate the ignorant.

Climate change in Google Earth

The human faces and stories of those who already confront climate change in their lives: Climate Orb

Kids vs. Global Warming

Pew Center for Global Climate Change's Facts and Figures (great for those who want the charts and graphics and clear explanations). Even more comprehensive data at their Climate Change 101 series.

Mother Nature Network's 15 Best Carbon (footprint) Calculators

CAP's Top 100 Effects of Global Warming includes “Say Goodbye to Pinot Noir”, “More Bear Attacks”, “Malaria Spreading in South America”, and “More Stray Kitties”.

You're more of the results-oriented type? 10 Solutions for Climate Change

Next week, on October 24, is organizing the International Day of Climate Action. You can visit their site and see what people all around the world are planning to do to demonstrate their commitment to stopping climate change.

U2 in H-Town last night

(We didn't go, but we can see Reliant Stadium from our house)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Perry's response? "Monster", "bad man" *update*

“Willingham was a monster,” Perry said. “Here's a guy who murdered his three children, who tried to beat his wife into an abortion so he wouldn't have those kids. Person after person has stood up and testified to facts of this case that, quite frankly, you all are not covering.”

“This is a bad man. This is a guy who in the death chamber in his last breath spews an obscenity-laced (tirade) against his wife.”


Referring to yesterday's report that former Texas Forensic Science Commission chair Samuel Bassett was replaced because he refused to yield to pressure from the governor's legal advisers to quell the investigation:

“If somebody felt like they got pressured, that's his call, not ours. My folks don't feel that way at all,” Perry said.


Back to Willingham and the case:

“He (Willingham's defense lawyer) will tell you that this man was a monster. He has come to clearly believe in his guilt,” Perry said. “He said that study that Mr. Beyler came forward with (that declared the fire was not arson) is nothing more than propaganda by the anti-death penalty people across this country.”

“How many courts looked at this? There were nine federal courts that looked at this case. Nine federal courts. It was before the Supreme Court of the United States four times. Now surely you're not saying the Supreme Court of the United States fouled up four times?”

“We have a system in this state that has followed the procedures and they found this man guilty at every step of the way. You have one piece of study that everyone is glomming onto and saying, ‘Ah-ha!.'”


Completely reprehensible, as we have all come to expect from Perry.

This is going to get much worse for the governor if his only defense continues to be to blame "libruls" and "the media".

Update: Glenn Smith at Dog Canyon broke the news earlier today that Perry's general counsel at the time was none other than current Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina -- who was himself indicted by a Harris County grand jury for arson.

Perry attorneys: Willingham arson probe "waste of money"

The old saw about "it's not the crime, it's the cover-up" means that the governor is desperate to hide the fact that he let an innocent man be executed.

Lawyers representing Gov. Rick Perry on two occasions grilled Austin lawyer Sam Bassett on the activities of his Texas Forensic Science Commission, telling him its probe into a controversial Corsicana arson case was inappropriate and opining that the hiring of a nationally known fire expert was a “waste of state money,” the ousted commission chairman said Tuesday.

Bassett, who served two two-year terms as commission chairman before Perry replaced him on Sept. 30, said he was so concerned about what he considered “pressure” from the lawyers that he conferred with an aide to state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, who reassured him “the commission was doing what it's supposed to do.” ...

Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle confirmed the lawyers met with Bassett, but only for routine, informational purposes. “They did not ask him to discontinue this review,” she said.

No, I'm sure they didn't. They just told him it was a "waste of state money". And made a few other 'suggestions' that left Bassett with the distinct impression that he was being "pressured" to drop the investigation.

Bassett said he was called to meet with then-General Counsel David Cabrales and Deputy General Counsel Mary Anne Wiley on Feb. 3. Bassett described the session as progressively confrontational.

As Bassett outlined the commission's investigations of the Willingham case and that of Brandon Lee Moon, an El Paso man wrongly convicted of sexual assault, Cabrales told the chairman “he didn't think those kinds of investigations were the kind contemplated by the statute,” Bassett said.

“I think he said something along the lines that we should be more forward-looking, more current rather than examining older cases,” Basset said. Later in the discussion, Bassett said, he was told the Moon investigation was appropriate, but the Willingham case was not.

Bassett later reviewed the statute, and, feeling vindicated, sent a copy to the governor's lawyers along with a copy of the complaint that prompted the Willingham investigation.

At one point, the lawyers asked Bassett how the panel chose Beyler to review the Willingham case. Bassett said he explained state regulations, requiring the soliciting of bids, were followed. When Wiley asked how much Beyler had been paid, Bassett said he responded, “$30,000, maybe a little more.”

Wiley then remarked, “That sounds like a waste of state money,” according to Bassett.

Bassett said he was a novice in the role of commission chairman and was uncertain how to interpret the lawyers' remarks.

“I was surprised at the level of involvement that they wanted to have in commission decision-making,” he said.

After the February meeting, a representative of the governor's office for the first time attended commission meetings.

Bassett was summoned to a second meeting with Wiley on March 19. That session seemed less confrontational, he said, although Wiley mentioned there was concern the Legislature might discontinue the commission's funding.

“She wanted the commission's focus to be more on liaisons with crime labs, oversight of existing facilities and so forth,” he said.

Nice prevarication, Ms. Castle.

The case continues to rise in national profile, but the travesty simply doesn't seem to be sticking to the governor among the Texas electorate. Attitudes about him appear to be hardened.

Can Kay Bailey make this an issue in the primary? Does she dare? It may take her months to decide whether criticizing the governor's decisions regarding the case is worth risking the flak she'll take from the pro-death penalty Republican base.

Furious polling is no doubt currently underway by all sides to determine their POV. Mike Baselice is staying up way too late trying to figure out a way to spin this to Perry's advantage.

Update: Via BOR, the report last night from "AC360"...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why do conservatives hate America? (part III)

OK, I know, it’s just some conservatives who’ve been exhibiting what they, in a different context, surely would describe as “Hanoi Jane” behavior. Others who haven’t taken leave of their political senses—and are familiar with the concept of manners—responded to President Barack Obama’s unexpected award with equanimity and even grace. Sen. John McCain, for example, offered his good-natured congratulations.

Some of Obama’s most strident critics, however, just can’t give it a rest. They use words like farce and travesty, as if there were always universal agreement on the worthiness of the Nobel peace laureate. Does anyone remember the controversy over Henry Kissinger or Yasser Arafat or F.W. de Klerk?

The problem for the addlebrained Obama-rejectionists is that the president, as far as they are concerned, couldn’t possibly do anything right, and thus is unworthy of any conceivable recognition. If Obama ended all hunger in the world, they’d accuse him of promoting obesity. If he solved global warming, they’d complain it was getting chilly. If he got Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu to join him around the campfire in a chorus of “Kumbaya,” the rejectionists would claim that his singing was out of tune.

Let the rejectionists fulminate and sputter until they wear themselves out. Politically, they’re only bashing themselves. As Republican leaders—except RNC Chairman Michael Steele—are beginning to realize, “I’m With the Taliban Against America” is not likely to be a winning slogan.


What I really don’t understand is the view that somehow there’s a tremendous downside for Obama in the award. It raises expectations, these commentators say—as if expectations of any American president, and especially this one, were not already sky-high. Obama has taken on the rescue of the U.S. financial system and the long-term restructuring of the economy. He has launched historic initiatives to revolutionize health care, energy policy and the way we educate our children. He said flatly during the campaign that he wants to be remembered as a transformational president.

The only reasonable response is McCain’s: Congratulations. Nothing, not even the Nobel Peace Prize, can set the bar any higher for President Obama than he’s already set it for himself.

The Kay Bailey Watch

Three MSM political bloggers weighed on KBH's radio appearance today with three distinctly different observations. First, Anna Batheja at the Star-Telegram's PoliTex (emphasis is mine):

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison suggested on conservative radio host Mark Davis' show this morning that she might put off her resignation from the US Senate once again.

"I am going to leave," Hutchison told Davis on WBAP/820 AM. "I think it’s important that I do everything I can when there are such huge issues and I haven’t been able to set that deadline which I know is something a lot of people are looking at to determine what other possibilities there might be."

Davis asked if she might stay in her seat until the end of the year.

"I can’t say anything right now because I don’t know," Hutchison said. "Every day in Washington, some new bad thing is coming up."

Davis pushed further, asking if she might stay in the Senate through next year's March primary.

"Well, a lot of people are suggesting that," Hutchison said. "That’s not what I want to do. That’s not what I intend to do but... right now I want to just see what comes next. ..."

Hutchison announced in July, also on Davis' show, that she would step down from her Senate seat sometime in October or November in order to devote herself to her campaign for governor.

Todd Gilliam at the DMN's Trail Blazers mocked out Michael Burgess' re-endorsement:

The Hutchison for governor campaign is touting an endorsement today from U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville. Burgess joined the senator this morning on the Mark Davis show on WBAP to "announce" his support. Hmmm. Seems like I read that somewhere a couple weeks ago.

Oh yeah, here is it.

Lastly, RG Ratcliffe at the Chron's Texas Politics notes the senator's jabs at the governor, calling him a former Democrat, that he has "increased taxes", and that he is "so political and trying to protect his political base that he's not doing what's necessary to lower taxes, have good policies, to address the what's good for Texas in 20 years and not just tomorrow".

My reaction to these reactions is 1) so what -- KBH is saying one thing and doing another, again; 2) so what --Burgess is the pretty much the least freaky of Texas Republicans in Congress, he brings very little to the table she needs; and 3) ho hum -- Kay Bailey is shaving off a deli-thin slice of red meat and having one of her purse boys throw it to Rick Perry's 'political base'.

The only news here is her continuing lack of commitment to a deadline for withdrawal. At this point that probably means a special Senate election butting up against the March primary -- not what the governor wants, which is exactly why she's stalling.

And so we wait.

Update: Even the conservo-blogs express perplexity.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day Wrangle

About 517 years have passed since Christopher Columbus stumbled onto North America, and it's time to remember that with a three-day weekend.

Well, for some of us. While national government offices can be depended upon to celebrate a federal holiday, Columbus Day isn't a day off for all Americans. Some schools will stay open, and local bureaucrats will still shuffle paperwork ... but the department store sales soldier on.

Looking back, the formal recognition of Columbus Day is relatively recent. New York City threw the first recorded Columbus party in 1792, but it took New Yorkers 74 years for another big celebration. Then, Colorado scooted in to become the first state to have a Columbus Day (1905). President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided the Depression could use a new holiday, and made Oct. 12 a federal one in 1937. Under President Richard M. Nixon, Columbus Day got moved to the second Monday in October.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 22 states don't observe the holiday. Why the disparity? Well, among other reasons, a strong contingent feels that the Genoese navigator's sailing the ocean blue in 1492 introduced a dark period of colonization. Protesters and academics have argued for years that the existing American population, plus earlier evidence of Viking houseguests, make the notion of "discovery" misleading.

These impassioned arguments around Columbus go back decades before any holiday: efforts to make the Italian navigator a candidate for sainthood inspired a tart New York Times editorial that said Columbus got his "fleets at public expense, on the condition that he remove himself and his tediousness as far as possible toward the unknown west."

Wait a minute... America's honored "discoverer" was a Socialist?

Some states have long just "observed" the holiday, but leave local government offices open. Others use the date to revere the native population who existed long before the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria sailed in. According to a Wikipedia round-up, South Dakota declares October 12 as Indigenous People's Day. Hawaii celebrates the more general Discoverers' Day, which actually refers to the Aloha State's Polynesian founders (although the bureaucrats firmly emphasize "this day is not and shall not be construed to be a state holiday").

Tennessee, though, wins for creative calendaring: The Wall Street Journal (link above) points out that the state bumped Columbus Day to after Thanksgiving to create a four-day weekend. Indeed, the explorer's day leads in "holiday swapping"—work on that October date, get another day off later in the holiday season.

Update: Irregular contributor Open Source Dem sends this along ...

(T)he weirdest thing is the possibility, likelihood actually, that Columbus was a Secret Jew and began what would later become Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, including, yes, Jean Laffite!

Here's the weekly roundup of the best posts from the Texas Progressive Alliance from last week.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy writes about what it is like to share a birthday with a war and how we have been unable to learn from the mistakes we have made during the last eight years. In the weekly guest column about teaching in Aggieland, Litia writes about the reasons why they are a teacher. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notices that Republicans running Texas agencies don't care whether doctors are bad as long as you can't sue.

WhosPlayin investigated complaints by parents that schools were allowing church groups on campus during lunch hour to proselytize, while preventing parents from accessing their kids.

Communities all across the nation are watching DISH, Texas to learn how natural gas drilling is threatening our health but TXsharon at Bluedaze wants to be sure you don't forget about the public meeting Monday, October 12th at 7:00PM.

Neil at Texas Liberal wrote about a 17th-century book by Rhode Island founder Roger Williams that was ahead of its time in offering respect for Native Americans and women.

The Texas Cloverleaf watches as Denton County comes out for LGBT equality.

Justin at Asian American Action Fund Blog provides detailed coverage of the Houston Asian American Mayoral Forum.

Off the Kuff notes that at least some conservative candidates are not interested in learning from the mistakes of others.

At Texas Vox read about how Tom Craddick laundered money through Jobs PAC to House Dems, and Texans for Public Justice files a complaint.

Over at McBlogger, Captain Kroc takes a look at the latest GOP plot to make people think they actually care about the poor.

Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman announced her retirement, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs threw the names of a few Democratic and Republican potential successors into the rumor mill.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson writes that TxDOT again says the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) is dead, but how many times will it die?.

Over at Texas Kaos, Libby Shaw asks: Republicans Are On Board with Corporate Communism?. They can't make up their minds, but it is sadly funny to read about.

Burnt Orange Report explores the value, or lack thereof, of proposing an opt-out of the public option as a strategy to pass the health care bill out of the U.S. Senate.

Ten reasons Obama won the Nobel

The original post says "deserved". I won't grant that, though -- as the citation notes, 'fact has no affiliation' -- this should end the discussion (and would if the whining objectors had any common sense whatsoever):

  1. Before he became president -- Obama forcefully argued, at great political risk, that the U.S. should talk to its enemies (famously, in a debate with John McCain). He convinced a majority of Americans, and that is now U.S. foreign policy.
  2. January 22 - On his second day in office, Obama announced plans to close Guantanamo in a year. He has made great diplomatic efforts to find residences for innocent detainees, even as fearmongers accused him of wanting to release terrorists in America.
  3. February 27 - Obama details his plans to pull out of Iraq. He made his speech in front of uniformed Marines and explained that combat troops would be out by 2010.
  4. March 13 - Obama Justice department drops 'enemy combatants' label on detainees, marking a return to the Geneva Conventions.
  5. April 5 - Outlines details of nuclear weapons reductions plan in a speech to the public in Prague. The plan calls for intense international diplomacy and a respect for the right of fledgling countries to enrich uranium for energy purposes, proposing an international nuclear fuel-bank for those aims. All this was in the face of North Korean long-range missile testing.
  6. April 13 - Repeals restrictions on Cuban Americans, allowing them to visit home as long as they want and to send money. Also allows telecommunications companies to pursue agreements in Cuba, hoping to promote communcation. This is the boldest move towards peace with Cuba any president has made in over 40 years.
  7. June 4 - Obama makes landmark speech in Cairo, in which he quotes three different holy texts and speaks Arabic. Again, at tremendous political risk at home, Obama makes empassioned tribute to the achiements of the Muslim world and admits U.S. role in overthrow of Iranian government, attempting to create environment of honesty, respect, and cooperation.
  8. June 27 - The U.S. begins removal of combat troops from major cities in Iraq.
  9. July 6 - Obama heads to Russia to speak with Russian president about nuclear arms reduction. He makes a speech at a Russian University, notably saying, "There is the 20th century view that United States and Russia are destined to be antagonists. And that a strong Russia or a strong America can only assert themselves in opposition to one another. And there is a 19th century view, that we are destined to vie for spheres of influence and that great powers must forge competing blocs to balance on another. These assumptions are wrong. In 2009, a great power does not show strength by dominating or demonishing other countries. The days when empires could treat sovereign states as pieces on a chessboard are over."
  10. Sept 24 - In a first for a U.S. president, Obama presides over a U.N. Security Council summit, where members unanimously agreed to a sweeping strategy to stop the spread of and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons
On June 2nd, Obama stood with Nancy Reagan and signed legislation marking the 100th anniversary of her husband and calling for celebration of his achievements as president. Wouldn't it be nice if some in our country could be as humble as to recognize the positive achievements of someone they didn't vote for?

President Obama is making great strides towards peace, which are all the more impressive when you consider the political environment that has developed in the U.S. over the past several years, where torture is acceptable by many, searching for peace is called "demasculating America" by Rush Limbaugh, and Joe Scarborough says there is "no upside" for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

President Bush said that we are a peace loving nation. I'll let the reader decide if that is true.

Obama finds cure for cancer

Harris County GOP cries: "MD Anderson has been bankrupted"

Eleven and one-half months is more than long enough to stay stuck on stupid, much less in Sore-Loserland.

What do you think will be this week's Faux Outrage?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Perry received arson report minutes before Willingham executed

Should the governor be condemned to death for killing an innocent man?

Just 88 minutes before the February 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, Gov. Rick Perry's office received by fax a crucial arson expert's opinion that later ignited a political firestorm over whether Texas, on Perry's watch, used botched forensic evidence to send a man to his death.

In a letter sent Feb. 14, three days before Willingham was scheduled to die, Perry had been asked to postpone the execution. The condemned man's attorney argued that the newly obtained expert evidence showed Willingham had not set the house fire that killed his daughters, 2-year-old Amber and 1-year-old twins Karmon and Kameron, two days before Christmas in 1991.

On Feb. 17, the day of the execution, Perry's office got the five-page faxed report at 4:52 p.m., according to documents the Houston Chronicle obtained in response to a public records request.

But it's unclear from the records whether he read it that day. Perry's office has declined to release any of his or his staff's comments or analysis of the reprieve request.

A statement from Perry spokesman Chris Cutrone, sent to the Chronicle late Friday, said that “given the brevity of (the) report and the general counsel's familiarity with all the other facts in the case, there was ample time for the general counsel to read and analyze the report and to brief the governor on its content.”

A few minutes after 5 p.m., defense lawyer Walter M. Reaves Jr. said he received word that the governor would not intervene. At 6:20 p.m. Willingham was executed after declaring: “I am an innocent man, convicted of a crime I did not commit.”

How about we just end Perry's political life -- right now? Not wait for March or November 2010? Demand his immediate resignation.

Oh wait, I almost forgot: this is Texas.

Sunday Funnies (Make this War More Gay edition)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Better to be thrown accolades than shoes"

The bellowing indignation over Obama's Nobel certainly -- and rather successfully -- minimizes the intolerable hell the rest of the world endured during the previous eight years.

"Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum — when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes."

That's the take of Hillary Clinton's State Department on President Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, according to her spokesman, Assistant Secretary PJ Crowley.

Crowley was referring to the incident last December when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during his final visit to Iraq of his presidency.

Muntader Zaidi, who worked for the Iraqi television station Al Baghdadiya, hurled both his shoes at Bush and called him a "dog" during a press conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He narrowly missed the president, who quickly ducked.

The shoe-throwing, considered one of the highest insults in the Middle East, illustrated the deep anger toward the United States over its invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Crowley's comments suggested a recognition by the Obama administration that the Nobel Prize was as much an indictment of the Bush administration as it was an effort to praise President Obama's outreach to improve the US image around the world.

Echoing comments by the White House, Crowley said the award was not just an "affirmation" of the Obama administration's foreign policy strategy of engagement, but also on its robust foreign policy agenda, which includes non-proliferation, dealing with Iran and North Korea, and pursuing peace in the Middle East.

"There is an opportunity here," Crowley said. "The tone has changed — but obviously we recognize that, while the tone in the world has changed, the challenges remain. They are very significant."

Forget the missing weapons of mass destruction and the Nigerian yellowcake and the smearing of an ambassador and the outing of his wife as a CIA agent. Overlook the torture of Iraqi POWs and the warrantless wiretapping of Americans (after all, Obama isn't moving nearly fast enough on either of those to satisfy me, for certain). Disregard even the photos of Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse that continue to be shielded from public view, perhaps forever if Congress gets it way.

Consider only the non-American lives lost: the millions of innocent Iraqi civilians whose misfortune was to be in the way of the bombs and the bullets from both sides, the "coalition of the willing"'s soldiers whose leaders were browbeaten into supporting the war of lies, the deaths by torture and rape at the hands of American troops.

By all means, I expect Obama to actually accomplish a hell of a lot more than he has to this point. President Kumbayah has maxed out on victories by smile and speech.

But if the Nobel committee wants to bet on the come, good on 'em. It's their money. And if anybody wants to keep on playing the tear-down game, they're just stuck in Sore-Loserville.

And Harvey Wasserman, via The Rag Blog, is correct: this Nobel is a pay-it-forward request from the international community to get out of Afghanistan.

Clerk Kaufman retiring

Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman, a one-time Waller County farm girl who oversaw record-keeping and election functions of the nation's third largest county, announced Friday she will not seek a fifth term next year. ...

n 1994, Kaufman was appointed to fill an unexpired term as county clerk after the death of Molly Pryor, who had been appointed eight months earlier after the death of longtime clerk Anita Rodeheaver.

Duties of the county clerk include maintaining records for commissioners court, probate and civil courts; overseeing records of real property, tax liens and vital statistics, and supervising elections.

Congratulations and enjoy your retirement, Ms. Kaufman.

Let the speculation begin on her 2010 potential successors. Councilwoman and Vice Mayor Pro Tem (and DNC member) Sue Lovell is widely rumored to be interested in the post, though we likely won't hear anything about it from her until after the November municipal elections. Hector de Leon, Kaufman's director of communications and voter outreach, could have an interest; 2006 Clerk candidate and 2008 judicial candidate James Goodwille Pierre may as well.

Republicans will line up to replace Kaufman, too. Their ranks could include former and very temporary District Clerk, Theresa Chang; the man she replaced when he unsuccessfully challenged County Judge Ed Emmett, Charles Bacarisse; and Tom Moon, whose long record of both Republican activism and government service includes a stint working for both Kaufman and former tax assessor/collector Paul Bettencourt.

Dwayne Bohac and Ed Johnson probably have ruined their chances.

What names are you hearing bandied about, from either side of the aisle?

Update: Carl Whitmarsh advances the name of Sue Schechter.

MLB realllly needs instant replay

Jeff Passan:

On Friday night, a bad call might have cost the Minnesota Twins a chance to beat the New York Yankees on the road in their American League Division Series. In the 11th inning of Game 2, Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer sliced a ball down the left-field line that not only glanced off Melky Cabrera’s glove in fair territory but also bounced at least 6 inches inside the line and then into the stands for what should’ve been a ground-rule double. Umpire Phil Cuzzi, standing 10 feet away, called it foul. (See photo above.) And even though Mauer singled and the Twins managed to load the bases with no outs, they didn’t score, and the Yankees won 4-3 on a Mark Teixeira home run later that inning.

The Twins were here, of course, because of an umpiring error earlier in the week. A pitch glanced off the jersey of Detroit third baseman Brandon Inge with the bases loaded in the 12th inning of the Tigers’ one-game playoff with Minnesota. Umpire Randy Marsh didn’t call it. The Twins scored in the bottom half of the inning. Marsh claimed not to have seen the video, and MLB’s umpiring boss, Mike Port, said he stood by Marsh.

A pair of bad calls, one completely hideous, as all after-the-fact evidence easily reveals.

So that’s what baseball has come to: supporting egregious flubs to protect their own. It’s the epitome of an old-boys’ network, and it’s insulting to the game. MLB says it uses a grading system during the regular season that rewards the best umpires with playoff assignments. That alleged fair and impartial grading system, mind you, rewarded a postseason series to C.B. Bucknor, about whom a player once said: “My grandpa would be a better umpire than him. And my grandpa is dead.”

Bucknor, by the way, blew three calls at first base in Game 1 of the Red Sox-Angels series. Bungling one call is bad. Mangling two is unconscionable. Blowing three in a single game is fireable.

All of this, again, has happened within a half a week’s time. Two game-defining calls and three more that could have led to … well, no one knows. That’s a wall MLB hides behind: that even if Mauer were on second, who’s to say Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer would’ve followed with singles?

Baseball has to start getting these right.

Technology exists to ensure that such errors are rectified before they cost a team. If Cuzzi is willing to admit he’s wrong after the game – “There’s a guy sitting over in the umpire’s dressing room right now that feels horrible,” crew chief Tim Tschida said – then it behooves him and others to allow their calls to be vetted in-game. In no way does it subvert their authority. Players will respect their fallibility, a grand quality for so many who try to play god.

Take the cue from football. Use a red replay flag. Each team gets two per game. If the manager throws them too early, or misuses them, and can’t overturn a poor call later, it’s his mess. ... Accompanying the technology is the urgency. Nobody inside baseball wants a postseason defined by its umpiring screw-ups, and yet year after year, they happen. Ignoring the issue won’t make it go away.

Watch for the next blown call, and whether the outrage is sufficient to drive baseball out of the 19th century and into the 21st. Next season. Perhaps.

The human element. That’s the best argument purists muster against widespread instant replay in Major League Baseball. Let’s see how that works: Umpires make mistakes because they’re human, and ... that makes it OK! Somehow, it’s difficult to believe such reasoning would stand up in a court of law or, say, anywhere in the world not populated by baseball’s dopey decision makers who don’t understand that a huge integrity problem is about to smack them in the face.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cornyn and Gohmert: sex fiends of a varying sort

While John Cornyn only votes to support the rape of government contract employees by their co-workers without recompense, Louie Gohmert has apparently enrolled in the same kinky turtle club Cornyn once spoke fondly of:

I can't decide which is more offensive: his comparison of homosexuality to necrophilia, bestiality, and pedophilia, or his citing of Chuck Colson on the subject of morality.

It's just so difficult to pick a "worst Texas Republican" when they all compete so vigorously for the title, and when they all belong in the Hall of Shame.

Link via TPM.

Pistachios and Playgirl

Every time Levi Johnston rankles the Palin family, an angel gets its wings.

Truly, as long as Sarah keeps trying to extend her fifteen minutes, there will be little Levi, leeching his commission.

You don't think it drives the conservative hockey moms crazy, do ya?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

US Attorney and US Marshal recommendations

A press release from Cong. Lloyd Doggett today revealed the recommendations from the Texas Democratic Congressional delegation for the Obama administration's selection of the US Attorneys and US Marshals for the four Texas federal districts.

While the entire list is noteworthy for its diversity and depth of experience, I'll focus on the two nominees -- both for the Eastern district -- with which I have a passing familiarity: Jefferson County criminal district court Judge John B. Stevens, Jr. for US Attorney and Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods for US Marshal.

First, a little about Judge Stevens, from an announcement in 2006 in conjunction with our shared alma mater, Lamar University:

John B. Stevens Jr., a Beaumont lawyer and Lamar alumnus, has presented Lamar University with first editions of “The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar” and other rare documents chronicling the man regarded as the father of Texas education. ...

“These documents chronicle Texas history at a time when its leadership was just made up of dreams and hopes,” said Stevens. “They had little or no money. They just had a love of freedom to inspire the people to follow them and pledge their lives and their sacred honor. And what has come of that? A great nation, then a great state and a great educational institution.”

“Anything related to Texas history is directly related to Mirabeau Lamar,” Stevens said in an earlier interview. “I don’t believe any of our Texas forefathers compiled such an extensive set of manuscripts chronicling Texas’ road to independence. Many owe much to Mirbeau B. Lamar, and he is often taken for granted.”

At the conclusion of his presentation, Stevens announced a surprise gift: A signed and numbered edition of Philip Graham’s “The Life and Poems of Mirabeau B. Lamar,” published in 1938 and which he described as the pre-eminent work that is not only the greatest chronicle of Lamar’s poems, but also one of the best biographies of Lamar.

“The first 1,000 of this issue of the book were numbered, and Lamar University already has No. 441,” Stevens said. “The first 300 were numbered and signed. You do not have a numbered and signed one – until today. It is my great honor to present No. 219.” ...

Stevens graduated from Lamar in 1974 with a degree in government and history. He went on to post-baccalaureate studies at the University of Texas and to receive a law degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1979. He earned a master of social sciences from Syracuse University in 2001.

He began his legal career in the Jefferson County district attorney’s office, where he served as an assistant district attorney from 1979-81. Stevens spent four years in private practice, then began a 20 year career as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.

He resigned from that post to become a candidate for judge of Jefferson County Criminal District Court. After receiving the Democratic nomination for the post, he is unopposed on the Nov. 7 (2006) ballot.

Sheriff Woods:

Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods is a step closer to becoming the next U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Texas. The U.S. Marshal Services is a federal law enforcement agency that protects the federal courts and its personnel. It is the oldest law enforcement agency in the United States. He applied for the job in July and recently his name was submitted for it. Sheriff Woods tells FRONT ROW that the next step is to pass an FBI background check and receive Senate confirmation. Woods has been sheriff since 1996.

The position is appointed by the President of the United States. There are 94 U.S. Marshals, one in each federal judicial district. If Woods gets the job, he'll remain in Beaumont. The office is housed at the federal court building.

The state's senators usually have a say in these appointments, but since Texas has no Democratic representation in that body, the Congressional delegation took on the task of initial vetting and selection of these recommendations.

Congratulations to all of the esteemed officials on that list, and let's look forward to speedy confirmation by the US Senate.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Political Alliance hopes that everyone reading this today has ensured they are registered to vote in the November election, as the deadline for doing so is Monday, October 5.

The Texas Cloverleaf reviews proposed changes to the city of Denton's charter that will be on the November ballot.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notices Rick Perry has had a busy week what with channeling Glenn Beck and messing up a wrongful execution investigation.

TXsharon of BlueDaze had a hard time keeping up with all the fracking, moving, shaking and gasping for toxic air in the Barnett Shale this week so there is a BS recap that includes a recently released URGENT alert for all current and former residents of DISH -- formerly Clark -- Texas to complete and submit a health survey.

Bay Area Houston wonders what $640 a frickin hour buys you in the Houston mayor's race.

If a Republican holds an online event, will they properly provision for the people who want to join it? McBlogger's pretty sure they won't and isn't terribly surprised that they blamed it on the nefarious actions of others.

At Texas Vox, Citizen Andy fills you in on the Senate incarnation of the climate change bill. Waxman-Markey, meet Kerry-Boxer.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on Gov. Perry's latest outrage. It's another example of why Texas needs accountability in our state's government: Perry's pride and the Willingham case.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy writes about why he gets up early on Saturday mornings to escort patients at Planned Parenthood; guest blogger Litia writes about the frustrations they fell while trying to get students to participate in class at Texas A&M. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines.

XicanoPwr is encouraging people to vote for Prop 4, the national research university proposition, on November 3. Texas currently has three flagship universities -- The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and Rice University -- compared to states such as California, with nine, and New York with seven. If passed, it would allow seven emerging universities -- Texas Tech, University of Houston, University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at El Paso and University of Texas at San Antonio -- tap into a $500 million education fund to help them be part of the elite three and achieve national prominence as major research universities.

WhosPlayin' has video from Denton County's "Donkeyfest" where candidates John Sharp for U.S. Senate and Neil Durrance for U.S. Congress spoke.

Off the Kuff has a simple suggestion for how Governor Perry and Williamson County DA John Bradley can counter the perception that Bradley's elevation to chair of the Texas Forensic Sciences Commission was a blatantly political move designed to bury the findings of the Cameron Todd Willingham case: reschedule the meeting that the Commission was going to hold before Perry's maneuver.

Neil at Texas Liberal offered a post this week about the famous Dogs Playing Poker paintings. These paintings have been around for more than 100 years now. How many of our blog posts will last in any meaningful respect beyond next week?

The Doctorate of Shadetree Psychology is hereby awarded to PDiddie of Brains and Eggs, for his compelling dissertation that Rick Perry is a sociopath.

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw gives Senators Hutchison and Cornyn a chance to put up or shut up. If government health care is so horrible, so "socialist", give up your govenment coverage. Read the rest here: Senators Hutchison and Cornyn: Get Us What You Have or Give Up Yours.