Friday, September 30, 2011

Cleaning up the urine

... from some funny things this morning. First:

Michael Williams @MichaelWilliams is now following you (@PDiddie)
"Catholic, movement conservative, married 23 yrs, elected statewide 3X, inspirational speaker, SC Trojan, wears bowties, jogs" 

If Michael Williams is a jogger than Chris Christie is a triathlete. And this:

Meet the new Republican front-runner: Newtman Caingrich

And this comment there:

In the Gingrich/ Cain Household, which one is " The b!tc#?" I'll bet it aint Herman! ' I GOT PIZZA MONEY FOOL! YOU MAKE DINNER NEWT!"

'Move to Amend" Texas tour next week

Update: The schedule has added Bastrop and Austin; see below.

Me, previously, with Texas Vox detailing the specific sites and times:

David Cobb, a fiery speaker and former Green Party presidential candidate, is touring Texas giving his talk “Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule”.  His presentation is part history lesson and part heartfelt call to action!

Cobb is an organizer and national spokesman for, a coalition of over 130,000 people and organizations whose goal is to amend the United States Constitution to end corporate rule and legalize democracy.

Sunday, October 2, 2:00-4:00pm – BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION.
Clara Mounce Public Library. 201 E 26th Street, Bryan.

Tuesday, October 4, 7:00pm – HOUSTON. Home of Lee and Hardy Loe.
1844 Kipling, Houston.

Wednesday, October 5, 6:30pm – SAN ANTONIO. The Radius Center (in the gallery).
106 Auditorium Circle, San Antonio.

Thursday, October 6, 7:00pm – BASTROP. First National Bank.
489 Hwy. 71. W, Bastrop.

Sunday, October 9, 6:00pm – AUSTIN. Third Coast Workers for Cooperation.
5604 Manor Road, Austin.

Monday, October 10, 7:00pm – CORPUS CHRISTI. Unitarian Universalist Church.
6901 Holly Road, Corpus Christi.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Dick Update

The Chron:

Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced a crackdown on so-called bandit signs Wednesday, pledging to issue fines to political candidates and others who illegally post their signs on city land.

The announcement comes less than a month before early voting in her re-election campaign. Parker said election season is when signs proliferate and that the city spent $450,000 in 2009 to take them down. The $200-per-offense fines aim to recover the city's costs.

"This is about quality of life in our city. This is about visual pollution, and this is about someone trampling on the public right of way and intruding in the public space. And it is about tax dollars – $450,000 a year to deal with illegally placed signs," Parker said during a news conference following Wednesday's City Council meeting.


(W)hether you’re concerned about those signs that break the law or those that clutter our streets and sightlines, it’s all good if the net effect is to convince candidates to leave signs off the junkier placements that serve no purpose.

The Press, with the street artist Shreddi taking matters into his own hands (really; click over and look at his handiwork):

What is it about Eric Dick that gets to you?

Shreddi: I don't think a lot of people have picked up on the fact that politicians use graffiti tactics for their personal gain. Each election year, without fail, we get this illegal political signage jammed all over empty lots, chain-link fences, telephone poles, etc. The problem is, once elected, these politicians persecute the general public for doing the same fucking thing...It's a double standard. It's funny too, because when I pulled down one of these signs, there was another political sign underneath it. So they're even covering each other's tags. I read last year the city spent a million dollars on graffiti cleanup. Politicians could probably cut that number in half if they'd stop posting their mind-numbing graffiti everywhere. Obviously I have no problem with self-promotion, or art in the streets. I have a problem with politicians holding the public to standards they don't abide to themselves. And I don't have anything specifically against Dick....his ballsy sign campaign just stood out.

Lastly, Dick lover Big Jolly:

I kinda like this guy because he isn't afraid to get out there and fight. Oh, and he's also very creative.

Update: Miya Shay, and the videotape.

Update II: In his sneering press release intended as a response to the mayor's enforcement of the ordinance, Dick discloses an endorsement from "The Log Cabin". I am familiar with the Log Cabin Republicans, but does anyone know what "The Log Cabin" is that Dick refers to here? Certainly it's not the maple syrup; could it be that little house in Emancipation Park? Has Dick nailed his campaign signs to its roof?

Is this the same ringing endorsement as the empty lots and utility poles and overhead crosswalks that have also 'endorsed' him? I must admit that I'm not well-versed with all of the changes passed in the recent legislative session with respect to election law: do inanimate objects get to vote now? Do they have to show photo ID if they do?

And if not, then should we alert the King Street/True the Vote thugs to show up at the polls in order to suppress the possible votes of vacant buildings, cyclone fences, weed-filled lots, city rights-of-way, and the like?

When it comes to our freedoms you can't be too scared careful.

I'm concerned that in our habitually low-turnout municipal elections, the boulevard median near my polling place might be able to sway the election. And these days, it just looks a little too brown to ... you know ... be legal.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crowd wails "jobs" at Port Arthur hearing on Keystone XL

Absent were the celebrities and environmental protesters seen at the White House over the summer.

Instead, the job hungry came en mass (sic) Monday to the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur, turning the first part of a State Department public hearing on the Keystone XL crude pipeline into a virtual rally for the project.

For about the first two hours, the only critical comments of the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline that would connect tar sands in Alberta, Canada to refineries in Port Arthur came from those expressing concerns that the jobs created would not go to Southeast Texans and that the State Department was moving too slowly in issuing a permit.

It's no surprise to me really. This is where I grew up; the oil (refining) patch. The area is hurting -- though not so bad as they would think, particularly in comparison to many other places in the country. They just cannot break out of the generational paradigm that's been in place since Spindletop.

They've lived with refinery pollution for decades. What's a little more as long as they can get paid?

Republican Texas State Rep. James White, whose district includes Angelina, Trinity and San Jacinto counties, noted that the agency had already assessed the environmental impact and said he wanted to see the permitting process expedited.

"This is why people are frustrated with government," he said to applause from a crowd numbering around 500. "We need jobs!"

Garden variety demagoguery. Port Arthur is nowhere near James White's statehouse district, but redistricting has paired him in a GOP primary with Tuffy Hamilton and he needs to stoke that TeaBagger fear and hate back home if he wants to entertain any notion of going back to Austin. Here's Dustin Matocha, chairman of the UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas, writing at Empower Texas with all the background on that race you can possibly stand. Now back to the Golden Triangle ...

Earlier Monday, 200 people attended a meeting in Topeka, Kan., with a drastically different audience than the one seen in Port Arthur. In Kansas, a number of environmentalists spoke against the pipeline, claiming it would move a "dirtier" and "environmentally devastating form of energy" from Canada through six U.S. states before ending up in Port Arthur ...

Well those damned Kansas liberals.

There's another hearing tomorrow in Austin -- none in Houston, where the pipeline's other southern terminus will be located -- and I'm just guessing a different crowd will turn out for that one.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Texas Tribune sells all the way out

It was fairly obvious before last weekend's Corporate Republican Whorefest, but this post by Sharon pretty much seals the deal.

I was invited to appear on a panel after the showing of the documentary Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for an Energy Future.

I knew the film depicted natural gas drilling in the Haynesville Shale as an economic miracle for folks in north Louisiana and East Texas, with barely a mention of environmental health risks. I said yes, received an enthusiastic confirmation letter requesting my bio, which I sent in, a request to sign the “Talent Agreement,” and a list of the panel members.

Here’s the rest of the lineup:

I saw I was the token enviro on the panel, but I’ve been a turd in the punchbowl before. I did want to know how the panel would be structured, and if I would have an opportunity to correct their misinformation.

I sent back the following email:

I am quite surprised that your panel is so unbalanced. I would like to get more information on how this panel will work. I don't mind being the token environmental person as long as I have an opportunity to give my vast experiences living in the gas patch and working with people who are suffering from natural gas drilling that is too close to their homes.

The next thing I know: I received a phone call from the festival coordinator notifying me that I was uninvited to participate. Maybe they would find a more suitable panel for me sometime. Ouch! But, on second thought, I reclaimed my weekend and shrugged it off to the influence from T. Boone Pickens, one of the festival’s financial backers.

Then somebody sent me this poster from the event.

Hmmm. So the Texas Tribune Festival was co-sponsored by America’s Natural Gas Alliance. The Tribune’s website says other sponsors included El Paso Natural Gas and Energy Futures Corp., formerly Texas Utilities. I was starting to put two and two together.

The TexTrib does a fine job with hiring a few good journos at above-scale wages, a great job with maps and data, the occasional blog-styled snark and once in a great while even a breaking news update. They've more or less made obsolete poor Harvey Kronberg's modern-Internet-challenged Quorum Report, though the insiders still pay for Harvey's access to the players. (The Trib is busily fondling that crowd for all it's worth, too.)

But their polling of political races has been absolute shit, and sadly now we know that their integrity is as well.

Then Steve Horn of DeSmog Blog published an investigative piece on Alternet exposing Haynesville as a piece of industry propaganda masquerading as an independent documentary. Turns out Gregory Kallenberg “is actually a well-connected oil and natural gas man, with both a direct and familial financial stake in the ongoing domestic natural gas boom.”

Horn learned that Kallenberg is vice president of his family’s company, Caddo Management Inc. of Shreveport. Caddo Management is an oil and gas exploration company with active drilling operations in Arkansas and Louisiana.

So do you think that when Kallenberg takes his supposed independent documentary to international film festivals he’s upfront about his oil and gas connections and the fact that he’s flacking for the industry? (Even though he makes no mention of them on his website under the “about” section or in “film credits.”)

If you believe that, you probably still believe in the independence and integrity of The Texas Tribune’s shale gas coverage.

Maybe there is an explanation of the Tribune’s behavior that isn’t explained by financial influence of the natural gas industry. But if there is, it is past time for them to make their case. And from where I sit, it better be a doozy.

You just have to understand from now on what you're getting when you read the Trib. You're getting the straight story ... as told by the oil and gas companies' PR departments.

Update: Eye on Williamson is nicer than me, and McBlogger is nastier.

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks Alec Baldwin's hair does a pretty decent impersonation of our governor as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff discusses the latest Texas polling data and what a Rick Perry candidacy might mean for downballot Democrats.

On a night during which both Georgia and Texas put men to death, Letters From Texas visits the moral and practical implications.

Amy Price, the progressive running for Houston's city council at large #4 seat, had a great week of news coverage. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs collected the stories, audio, and video.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows how state Sen. Steve Ogden's retirement announcement this week has shaken up the county's politics: The changing election landscape in Williamson County, creating opportunities.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that Rick Perry is having a bad week. Boo hoo.

This week on Left of College Station Teddy asks how do you support reproductive rights? LoCS focuses on reproductive rights all this week as the anti-choice '40 Days for Life' protest begins

At McBlogger, we take a sniff around LCRA's decision to privatize some of their assets and don't like the smell.

Neil at Texas Liberal noted a new phone app that will show the amount of forced labor used in many of the everyday things that we buy.

Libby Shaw over at TexasKaos brings us up to date on Rick Perry's limelight moment. Called upon to demonstrate his cool under fire before a national audience at the last Republican debate, he showed his true mettle. He melted down. See all the details here: Rick Perry Bombs Presidential Debate.

Friday, September 23, 2011

All about Amy *updates*

Charles Kuffner has posted his audio interview with the Houston City Council candidate of my preference, Amy Price, and she also interviewed this week with Greenwatch TV as well. That video will be linked here as soon as it is posted there. Update: Here it is.

From Kuff's written intro:

Price is a violin teacher and professional musician who has performed with such bands as Gordian Knot, The Buddhacrush, and Orange Is In. She’s also someone I’ve known and been friends with for over 20 years.

I will add that Amy plans on doing some of her LPC-Intern experience toward obtaining her LPC licensure at H.O.P.E. Psychotherapy of Houston, PLLC pending approval of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, and is a member of the Houston Professional Musicians Association, Local 65-699 of the American Federation of Musicians.

Amy is, again, running in the At Large #4 contest, challenging incumbent Chief Crime Labford -- err, Councilman CO Bradford, along with Louis Molnar. I have previously documented the distinctions between the two men and Amy here.

If you think that municipal government should NOT be run of, by, for, or like a corporation -- if you think that city services like health inspections at your favorite restaurant and libraries that are open every day, or fixing potholes or collecting garbage or providing safe, clean drinking water should NOT be on a P&L statement -- then you have a very clear choice in AL#4, because Amy will NOT be 'business as usual' at City Hall.

And that's what scares her opponents the most.

Find Amy's website here, her blog here, on Facebook here and on Twitter here, and consider making a contribution to her campaign here.

Update II: From the comments at Kuffner's post ...

I am a fairly conservative Republican, so I attended the Heights area forum tonight to assess the candidates for this position and one other. I have heard hundreds of candidates over the years. This woman was the best informed, best prepared, most thoughtful candidate I have seen in many years.

She had thoughtful answers about job growth, neighborhood concerns, and the City’s dismal crime lab. The organizers of the event allowed Bradford to send a substitute, which is generally unheard of at a candidate forum.

I have never voted for a Green Party candidate for anything. There is no Republican running in this contest, and my thinking is that while I might not want a council dominated by Green Party activists, there should be a place at council table for a thoughtful, well-prepared young leader like this. I plan to recommend her to my neighbors. I am under no delusions about her chances against a well-funded incumbent, but it might do democracy good if he had a closer than normal contest.

Less kooky, more snarky

Whether because of his relative inexperience as a debater or due to a simple lack of serious debate preparation, Perry's attacks seemed to have the unintended affect of making Romney, who clearly has been practicing his debate routine, look good.

But it wasn't even Romney or Perry who had the best debate line of the night. It was newcomer Gary Johnson, who in his first debate appearance, offered a crowd-pleasing zinger about President Obama's handling of the economy.

"My next-door neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration," Johnson declared, prompting his GOP rivals and the audience to erupt in laughter. (It later came to light that Johnson had lifted the joke from conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.)

Rick Perry didn't receive a decent applause line until well into Thursday's night's pissing contest, and at times was jeered by the Orlando audience. My perception is that his Ponzi scheme nonesense is turning off voters, particularly the demographic that Florida is full of, and the recent polls seem to be bearing this out.

But my favorite line goes to Crazytown Bachmann, who when asked how much of every dollar should a taxpayer be allowed to keep, said "all of it". Um, then what exactly would you be able to govern, honey? Right. We get it.

Michele Bachmann, who seems to be getting less attention at the debates as her poll numbers fade, did try to gain momentum by repeating two of her previous attacks against Perry: His backing of an executive order in Texas that mandated the vaccination of young girls against HPV and his moderate stance on immigration.

But Bachmann's attacks offered Perry two of his strongest moments in the debate. In response to Bachmann's claims he was influenced on the HPV decision by campaign contributions, Perry looked into the camera and admitted he had been "lobbied" on HPV—by a young woman who had "stage four cervical cancer." ...

On immigration, Perry insisted nobody on the stage understands the subject as he does. Both Bachmann and Romney slammed Perry for backing legislation in Texas that allowed the children of illegal immigrants to attend state colleges and universities at the in-state tuition rates—a criticism Perry slammed as heartless.

"If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart," Perry said, as some in the audience erupted in boos. "We need to be educating these children because they will become a drag on our society. I think that's what Texans wanted to do."

Yes, booing. And that was likely before the Floridians in the audience got this news which the TexTrib broke yesterday...

Native-born Texans who were seeking employment likely lost out to competition from immigrants in recent years, according to a conservative think tank that advocates for limited migration to the country.

The data, compiled by the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, may provide some low-hanging fruit for Gov. Rick Perry’s Republican opponents. Perry has been attacked from the right on immigration with his field of challengers alleging he’s been too soft on illegal immigrants in Texas. The study estimates that population benefited from Texas’ job growth the last four years more than citizens.

The center found that of the 279,000 jobs created in Texas since the second quarter of 2007, 225,000 — about 80 percent — went to legal and illegal immigrants. The center says that while “no estimate of illegal immigration is exact,” at least 40 percent of the job recipients were illegal immigrants.

“Of recently arrived working-age immigrants in the state, 113,000 are in the country illegally. The other half of the recently arrived immigrants (112,000) are legally in the country,” the reports says. “This means that in Texas — one of the few states that experienced job growth after 2007 — native-born workers benefited little from this growth.”

It should be noted here -- since the Texas Tribune did not -- that the Center for Immigration Studies is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA are all part of a network of restrictionist organizations conceived and created by John Tanton, the “puppeteer” of the nativist movement and a man with deep racist roots... CIS was conceived by Tanton and began life as a program of FAIR. CIS presents itself as a scholarly think tank that produces serious immigration studies meant to serve “the broad national interest.” But the reality is that CIS has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked, and it has frequently manipulated data to achieve the results it seeks." (emphasis theirs)

But that won't matter to people who boo gay soldiers.

Not unlike the past debate, the forum included a potentially ugly moment for the party. The presidential hopefuls took a question via YouTube from a openly gay soldier serving Iraq about the possibility of "don't ask, don't tell" being reinstated.

The question was posed to Rick Santorum, but before he answered, there were audible boos in the audience —- something he and other GOP candidates on stage didn't acknowledge.

Video here. The sad thing is that I almost expected it after the cheering of Rick Perry's record-breaking executions and letting uninsured people die, so I wasn't all that surprised to hear it.

The least worst of the three debates this month in terms of exposing the Grand Old Party of Hate, and also the least successful for Rick Perry's career advancement.


Update: Related reading ...

FACT CHECK: Slippery assertions in GOP debate

The Not Quite Ready for Primetime Debate

Perry takes lumps for ‘soft’ position on illegal immigration in GOP debate

Perry met cancer victim ‘lobbyist’ after signing HPV order

Huntsman warns conservatives against purity tests

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Questions I'd like to see asked in tonight's GOP debate

The Republican presidential contenders are meeting in Orlando, Florida this evening for their third debate of the month.
Here are the questions we’d like to see asked and answered tonight.
  • Social Security: There are 3,994,280 Floridians between the ages of 40 and 54. They’ve been paying into Social Security for decades based on the promise that they too will receive benefits later. You all support privatizing Social Security and some of you believe it is unconstitutional and may want to abolish it altogether, so how can you guarantee that these workers will receive the benefits that they’ve been promised?
  • Medicare: Republicans said the Affordable Care Act would destroy Medicare Advantage because it achieved $500 BILLION in savings by cutting wasteful overpayments to private insurance companies; however, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) noted today that Medicare Advantage premiums in Florida have dropped 26% and enrollment has increased 20% since the Affordable Care Act was passed. Isn’t this proof that the Affordable Care Act is working?
  • Let Them Die? Florida has the fifth highest rate of people without health insurance in the country, with 3.8 MILLION Floridians lacking health insurance. Do you agree with the Tea Party audience at your last debate that society should let these people die if they become sick and cannot afford care or do you think they have a right to health care?
  • Rebuilding America: President Obama visited a bridge today to highlight his plan to spend $50 BILLION to rebuild our crumbling bridges, roads, and transit systems which will also create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. The president’s infrastructure plan would immediately invest more than $1.5 BILLION in Florida and create at least 20,500 local jobs. Why shouldn’t we take the $40 BILLION in wasteful tax giveaways to Big Oil and instead spend that money putting Americans back to work rebuilding America?
  • Immigration: Nearly one-quarter of Florida’s population, some 4.2 MILLION people, is Hispanic. Does the GOP’s virulently anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy positions risk alienating this large and growing segment of the electorate in Florida and elsewhere?
  • Voting: Florida, like many states under Republican control, has passed a strict new voting law that will make it more difficult for millions of students, elderly, minority, and military voters to vote and actually have their votes counted. Since there is almost no evidence of actual voter fraud, do you support these laws even though they are likely to disenfranchise millions of Americans who have the right to vote?


The debate begins at 8 p.m. tonight on FOX.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rick Perry scores a zero

And so it begins.

The ad opens like a trailer for a zombie movie: empty, desolate streets and shops, a storm siren blaring. Obama's iconic "O" symbol is then replaced with a zero, as various clips of television reporters talking about "zero jobs created" play.

The ad's mood then shifts dramatically. "In 2012 America will discover a new name for leadership," the ad says, while clips of Perry are spliced with shots of galloping horses in the sunlight, American flags, green farms and the Statue of Liberty.

Honestly, I thought I was watching the trailer for the new "Blade Runner".

Perry's new ad seems ripped straight from a sci-fi thriller, complete with labeling Obama "President Zero." And his message hits you on the head with a hammer: "NO JOBS CREATED!" yells the ad. One especially unsettling moment shows Shepard Fairey's iconic Obama poster literally disintegrating on a wall ...

Sure hope the president and his team are getting ready to fight.

The most powerful part of the ad may be the economic statistics, including the new poverty numbers from last week, which don’t need portentous music to sound grim. The “President Zero” line was introduced by the Republican National Committee, a few weeks ago. There’s another Republican debate Thursday night—another opportunity for the candidates to engage in vaccine denialism and cheer the prospective execution, tonight in Georgia, of a man whose guilt has been called into doubt, but also another chance for the G.O.P. to test various angles from which to attack in the general election. Perry’s extremism may ultimately cause his party to turn away from him, but his ad gives an idea of the direction any Republican is likely to take: the dominant sentiment, for all the Americana, is not one of nostalgia, but of fear.

Nader's rationale

Updating the previous post -- it's a little long already and Matt in the comments wants to steer it off topic, as usual -- here is Ralph Nader on Lawrence O'Donnell's The Last Word last night explaining his reasons for holding what I will call a 'topics primary challenge' to Obama.

I agree with everything Nader says here. If this is the exclusive premise for his tack (no agenda to turn it into another Quixotic bid for the White House), then I can get firmly behind it. Nader and I would still disagree about working within the Republican-Democratic duopoly for progressive change as opposed to without, but there's certainly no reason why both couldn't happen at the same time.

Here's the letter (.pdf) his group has written to the "slate of potential primary challengers", and here's a sample from the announcement:

The letter points to numerous decisions that have drawn criticism from Obama’s own Democratic Party including his decision to bail out Wall Street’s most profitable firms while failing to push for effective prosecution of the criminal behavior that triggered the recession, escalating the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan while simultaneously engaging in a unilateral war in Libya, his decision to extend the Bush era tax cuts, and his acquiescence to Republican extortion during the recent debt ceiling negotiations.

“Robust debate on the crucial issues facing our nation, including global environmental devastation, should characterize all races for national public office and the Democratic presidential primaries are no exception,” said Brent Blackwelder, President Emeritus of Friends of the Earth. “The public needs to hear whether a second term Obama will be like the first term Obama, or perhaps more like the 2008 presidential candidate Obama or something else altogether.”

I'm in. Let's have that conversation with the president and not just at him. Compel his attendance and participation, and make him listen. That's a very worthwhile objective in our republican democracy.

Otherwise, the 2012 campaign -- the next thirteen and one-half months -- is going to be the same old weekly Republican freak right debate, where TeaBaggers cheer death and corporate takeovers, and the Congress bogs down in another squabble with repetitive conservative talking points and FOX-News-buzzworthy phrases ("class warfare" is this week's poll-tested one).

Otherwise, Obama is reduced to what's he been doing ever since he was elected: forced to defensively respond to some right-wing lunacy. Birth certificates, death panels, job creators, Ponzi scheme, blah blah blah. In other words, losing.

And I'm not in on that.

But hey, don't feel bad if you don't get it; Russ Feingold apparently doesn't either.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ralph Nader, a Democratic primary against Obama, and better options

With this news, Ralph Nader is once again inserting himself into the process of a presidential election.

Worried the liberal voice is being drowned out in the presidential campaign, progressive leaders said Monday they want to field a slate of candidates against President Obama in the Democratic primaries to make him stake out liberal stances as he seeks re-election.

Ralph Nader warns that without an intraparty challenge the liberal agenda “will be muted and ignored,” the one-man primary will kill voter enthusiasm and voters won’t get a chance to reflect on the real differences that divide the Democratic and Republican parties.

“What we are looking at now is the dullest presidential campaign since Walter Mondale — and that’s saying something, believe me,” Mr. Nader told The Washington Times.

The group’s call has been endorsed by more than 45 other liberal leaders. They want to recruit six candidates who bring expertise ranging from poverty to the military.

I think Nader probably is going to find -- like Dick Cheney twelve years ago --that he is ultimately the best man for the job. And that is bad for progressives and the progressive movement, whether perceptible progressive movement is occurring within the Democratic Party (it is not) or outside of it (barely).

In its recruitment letter, the group faulted the administration’s handling of the Wall Street bailouts, the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the U.S. involvement in the military effort in Libya. They also criticized Mr. Obama’s decision to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and the recent deal he struck with Republicans over cutting spending to raise the debt ceiling.

“We need to put strong Democratic pressure on President Obama in the name of poor and working people” said Cornel West, an author and professor at Princeton University. “His administration has tilted too much toward Wall Street, we need policies that empower Main Street.

I have enormous respect for Dr. West and even agree with him for the most part. Nader is the problem here, however.

To be sure, there are plenty of Democrats who still hold a grudge against Nader for 2000. I believe that blame is misplaced, even when it comes from the most esteemed sources (.pdf). My rebuttal is that Theresa LePore, the Democratic elections administrator for Palm Beach County, Florida, designed a butterfly ballot so confusing that it caused thousands of elderly residents there to punch a chad for Pat Buchanan, thinking they were voting for Al Gore.

That's what most directly caused the defeat of Gore, IMHO, more than anything Nader did or did not do.

But Texas Democrats are also still litigating over the Texas Green Party's ballot access for 2012, secured not only with the generous help of prominent Republicans but also by the Democrats' own ineptitude at failing to field a candidate in 2010 for the state comptroller's contest. The Green in that race, Ed Lindsay, surpassed the 5% threshold to secure ballot listing for the GP in '12. I spoke out loudly against this unholy alliance at the time, but came around to the understanding that the Democrats did it to themselves.

So once more, misdirected outrage. But I digress.

Nader has actually accomplished things of great significance in his life, most notably automobile safety activism, but today is more of an egotistical geriatric -- a crank -- who appears to believe that only he is capable of representing the will of liberal people in the United States. He's sucked all of the oxygen out of the room for decades now, stunting progressive growth in this country in the process. If he spent time recruiting and training people to a/the cause in-between his various presidential bids (a la Wellstone Foundation, for example), I'd have more respect for him.

To Nader's credit, and unlike Jim Hightower -- a progressive who has reduced himself to mere grifter and attention whore ever since he endorsed Kinky Friedman for governor in 2010 -- he's never done anything solely for the money in his life, from what I can tell.

Anyway, I wish Nader wouldn't run at all for anything -- his time has long passed -- and I would really prefer that, rather than an Obama primary opponent, there be a significant and notable presidential challenge from the Green Party ... preferably someone whom Nader has 'blessed' to some degree or another (rather than take potshots at).

Maybe that's going to be David Cobb again. He's making the rounds in Texas next month as part of the "Move to Amend" effort. From the inbox:

The recent U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending on elections.

David Cobb, an attorney and organizer for the Move to Amend coalition, will be touring Texas from October 2-10 to help local residents understand the history behind the recent decision and how they can work to abolish "Corporate Personhood" and establish a government of, by, and for the people by joining the Move to Amend campaign.

David Cobb is fiery speaker and former Green Party presidential candidate. His talk "Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule" is part history lesson and part heart-felt call-to-action!

“Corporate Personhood” is the court-created doctrine that gives corporations constitutional rights intended for human beings. “Corporate personhood is not an inconsequential legal technicality. The Supreme Court ruled that a corporation was a ‘legal person’ with 14th Amendment protections before they granted full personhood to African-Americans, immigrants, natives, or women”, says Cobb.

Move to Amend is a coalition of over 132,000 people and organizations whose goal is to amend the United States Constitution to end corporate rule and legalize democracy.

David is available for events in these places and tentative dates if we can find folks on the ground who will help us out:
  • Bryan - College Station (Oct 2)
  • Huntsville (Oct 3)
  • Houston (Oct 4)
  • San Antonio (Oct 5)
  • San Marcos (Oct 6)
  • Austin (Oct 9)
  • Corpus Christi (Oct 10)
And wherever else you may be!

Update: Socratic Gadfly piles on.

Steve Ogden joins a lengthy line headed for the exit

Retiring from politics.

State Senator Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) announced Tuesday he would not seek reelection to the Texas Senate, nor does he plan to run for lieutenant governor.

Ogden, who will serve out his term, told WTAW he did not feel it was right to ask voters to reelect him to the Senate to improve his chances of running for lieutenant governor.

He says his primary reasons for not running again are to finish raising his family and concentrate on his business.

Williamson County state representative Charles Schwertner wasted no time throwing his hat into the ring for Ogden's seat.

Ogden joins FloShap and Inaction Jackson and 26 other statehouse members who voluntarily won't run for return to their currently-assigned seats in the Texas Legislature when it next reconvenes in January, 2013 (barring special session between now and then) according to Harvey Kronberg, who considers that normal turnover for a redistricting year. Update: As Robert Miller specifies, many are running for other positions in the Lege or for statewide promotions, some are running for Congress, the number of those actually quitting is now up to nine.

I have written quite a forceful bit about Ogden so this news comes with a sign of relief ... mixed with the usual trepidation about what TeaBagging asshole might replace him.

One of the biggest rats on the ship of state just leaped into the water, swam over to a yacht, climbed onboard and is eating caviar and truffles. Not much cause for celebration by anybody but the rat.

Update: Eye on Williamson with more.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Texas news breaks out all over the place

Yes, like a bad rash (but some of it is good and all of it is juicy). Let's begin with ...

-- The Texas Perrymander got crushed under the boot heel of the US Department of Justice today. The Texas Senate's redistricted maps passed VRA muster but the Texas House and Congressional maps failed. A 3-federal-judge panel will eventually settle the matter. That's because Greg Abbott and the Perrymanderers ...

... chose to skip the cheaper pre-clearance process, which would have put the decision in the hands of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. A hearing is set for Wednesday.

-- Two unrelated resignations happened today; first, Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole has run out of money to pay his lawyers to defend him against ongoing federal corruption charges, so he's quitting his low-paying job. I'm sure that in this economy he wouldn't be doing that without a better one to go to ...

Our sources and common sense both tell us this resignation may be connected to a possible plea deal in the criminal case. We're told this has been in the works for weeks. Eversole is facing a bribery re-trial in a little more than a month, and now it appears most of those charges have been dropped.


Eversole said for a long time he had no interest in resigning and planned to fight. But campaign records show Eversole's ability to pay for what had become a very pricy legal defense was pretty limited.

Eversole was using campaign funds, legal under Texas law, but after spending more than a million dollars on legal fees, Eversole had just $50,000 left to spend, according to his last report. The math was not in his favor.

The math, the money, public opinion, his own assmunchery ... the list of tolerances exceeded is long.

“I ran for this job to try to solve problems and then I looked in the mirror one day and I was the problem, so that’s the main reason I’ve resigned,” Eversole said. ...

A mistrial was declared in the commissioner’s corruption trial earlier this year. Jury selection is scheduled to begin in the second round of that trial in late October.

The Department of Justice’s four-count indictment alleges that Eversole, 68, took nearly $100,000 in cash and gifts from longtime friend Michael Surface in exchange for steering millions of dollars in county contracts to companies in which Surface had an interest.

Eversole won his sixth term on the court last fall, running unopposed.

County Judge Ed Emmett will appoint his successor to complete the remaining five three-plus years on his term. Update: Unless the redistricting matters compel a special election in 2012.

What local GOP toadie has earned a big favor? Toni Lawrence, perhaps?

-- ... and also state Sen. Florence Shapiro has pulled the plug, saying that, at 63, it's "time for her to grow up." I have no idea what the hell that means, either.

Shapiro, a former mayor and city council member in Plano and head of the Texas Municipal League, came to the Senate in 1993, defeating incumbent Democrat Ted Lyon of Mesquite. She chairs the Senate Education committee, is a longtime member of the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee, and also chaired the State Affairs committee earlier in her tenure.

FloShap was in the running to challenge for Kay Bailey's chair in the US Senate as recently as a year ago. Apparently she needs to go make some big money, too.

State Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, who sought to topple House Speaker Joe Straus at the start of the 2011 legislative session, starts as a strong replacement candidate ...

Great. Another Dan Patrick clone in the Senate. Just what we've been waiting for.

-- More on redistricting: It turns out that Aaron Peña is a big fat liar. What a revelation. NewsTaco ...

Republican State Rep. Aaron Peña allegedly lied about his involvement in redistricting along the Rio Grande Valley (the border for non-Texans), according to a report from the Texas Democratic Party. Here’s an excerpt from the report:

In April, during floor debate on the state house redistricting proposal, Republican State Representative and member of the House Committee on Redistricting Aaron Pena emphatically and repeatedly stated that he had no role in drawing the actual lines for the controversial district that was created for him in Hidalgo County.

During last week’s redistricting trial, Ryan Downton, the House Redistricting Committee Counsel, testified in open court that he worked with Representative Pena on the district lines after the first draft of the map was released. He then went on to say that Pena would identify specific neighborhoods that he believed were favorable to him so that Downton would include those in his district.

If you recall, Peña switched parties late last year, giving Republicans in Texas just the edge they needed to be able to take ideological issues like abortion and voter ID to the legislature and pop out some harsh new laws.

NewsTaco has much more, including profiles of the three judges who comprise the committee that will determine the maps' boundaries.

-- The Texas Tea Party is demanding Rick Perry take some kind of action to deal with the non-existent problem of sanctuary cities.They held a protest at the state Capitol building today.

Tea Party leaders confronted Rick Perry in his own back yard Monday, calling on him to use his power as Texas governor to crack down on illegal immigration.

The activists, representing Tea Party groups from around the state, want Perry to either sign an executive order or call the Legislature back into a special session to enact a ban on so-called sanctuary cities. They also want him to eliminate a  policy that they say discourages the state police from enforcing federal immigraiton laws.

After holding a press conference about it at the Capitol, the group delivered petitions from more than 3,000 Texans who want the governor to act now.

"Gov. Perry needs to clarify his position on illegal immigration, and he needs to come back to Texas and to finish the people's unfinished business," said JoAnn Fleming, chair of the Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee of the Texas Legislature. "The ball is in Gov. Perry's court. He needs to make a decision. He's running out of time."

In mocking tones, Fleming threw Perry's signature phrase "fed up" — the title of his Washington-bashing book — right back at the governor.

"We're fed up, too, Gov. Perry, and we're ready for you to take care of this issue," she said.

There's a video of an angry, well-fed white female bigot at the link.

Do the Texas TeaBags really think they're more powerful than Bob Perry and Bo Pilgrim? Truthfully though, these people might be the biggest cockleburr under the governor's saddle blanket in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination.

Isn't that sad?

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is still wondering what this wet stuff falling from the sky is as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff noted that even the state's own expert thought that the redistricted Congressional map was bad.

There's a difference between what Michele Bachmann is calling 'PerryCare' and actual peri-care, but there's not as much difference as you might think. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs elaborates.

Austin Energy's proposed rate increases hurt Austin's residential consumers and continues the city's corporate welfare program, and you can tell the city how you feel about it. Visit TexasVox for more info.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that the Republicans' plan to make us ignorant and poor is going great.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson on the latest legal action on school finance: Taylor and Hutto ISDs join lawsuit .

Neil at Texas Liberal posted about the high poverty level in the United States.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy wonders if the battle over collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin is coming to Texas. LoCS also takes a look at the most misleading chart of the week, and covers the week in headlines.

Libby Shaw points out the sad pattern: "Tea Party Republican candidates seem to bring out the very worst of their base." Check out the details at TexasKaos.

Friday, September 16, 2011

PerryCare, not peri-care

In the wake of her disastrous attempt to score a political point on Rick Perry's Gardasil problem in this past week's Republican presidential candidates debate, Michele Bachmann is now referring to a government official's interference in the occasionally difficult medical decisions people must make as "PerryCare".

"Whether it's Obamacare or Perrycare, I oppose any governor or president who mandates a family's health care choices, and in turn, violates the rights of parents on these issues ..."

Forget for a moment the conflation of disparate issues. Ignore Bachmann's stark contradictions associated with this statement and her virulently anti-choice view. Overlook the redux of fear-mongering we last saw in the discussion regarding 'death panels' and that nonsense.

Bachmann might be onto something, however unwittingly, with PerryCare and its phonetical twin, peri-care.

I'm certain she has no idea that peri-care (short for perineal care) is ...

... the washing of the genital and rectal areas of the body. Perineal care should be done at least one time a day during the bed bath, shower, or tub bath. It is done more often when a client is incontinent. Perineal care prevents infection, odors and irritation.

Perineal care is done when a patient has a urinary catheter in place. It is also done when the client does not have a urinary catheter. Perineal care is done differently for men and women.

The link gets more specific about how the procedure is specifically performed for men and for women.

If any of you have cared for an elderly parent or an incapacitated person then you might already be familiar with peri-care, usually (thankfully) performed by home health aides when a person is confined to bed at home and by nurses and nurse's aides in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

So my first response was: 'It makes perfect sense that both PerryCare and peri-care are close to an asshole'.

I think this could quite possibly develop into a meme. "PerryCare: when you care enough to do the very best for your loved ones."

"Under PerryCare, Texans are getting their clocks cleaned. And that's not all."

"Without PerryCare, we'd have been in a world of shit."

"PerryCare covers my entire family. And when I say 'covered' and 'entire', I mean it."

Do you have a similar campaign slogan for 'PerryCare'?

Update: In related news, Bachmann reinvigorates her continuing quest to out-"side of life" Rick Perry ...

“We must respect every life, even those yet to even be created. If we don’t give them the hope of becoming an embryo, we are letting down future generations of American citizens.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Screweth thou, every man for himself, lest ye be socialist"

Last week they cheered the execution record of Rick Perry; this week it was poor sick uninsured people.

When debate moderator Wolf Blitzer brought up a hypothetical young, uninsured American in a coma, he asked, “Are you saying society should just let him die?” and the tea party crowd cheered, some shouting, “Yes!”

So much for that compassionate conservative shit. Ron Paul's got a better idea, though.

“The churches took care of ‘em. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals,” he said, suggesting that society seems to have given up on people assuming responsibility for themselves: “Our neighbors, friends, churches would do it.”

But if your neighbors are Tea Partiers, you better just die quickly.

Update: Geoff Berg of Partisan Gridlock expands ...

This all probably came as quite a surprise to Michael Schiavo. You might recall that multiple courts found that his wife, Terri, (who had been in a vegetative state in a hospital in Florida for several years) should be allowed to die a natural death in accordance with her wishes.

In response, the Republican Congress passed and President Bush signed a law written just for her. Tom Delay hailed it as a legislative achievement honoring the sanctity of life. People who’d read the Constitution observed that it was “demonstrably at odds with our founding fathers’ blueprint for the governance of a free people.”

Barack Obama believes society has an obligation to provide health care to Blitzer’s hypothetical sick thirty year old. That, of course, makes him a crusading big government socialist Kenyan America-hater, obviously.

The freedom-loving Constitutional scholars who yelled “Yeah!” at the prospect of allowing uninsured sick people to wither into dust clearly disagree with the president. Tea party bigshot Senator Jim DeMint agrees with the pro-death to the uninsured delegation. He says “health care is a privilege. I wouldn’t call it a right.”

So to sum up: Republicans believe health care is a privilege. Choose not to buy insurance and you can die (or ask your HMO if it’d be interested in trading medical services for live poultry). On the other hand, if you’re desperately ill, have insurance and are being cared for in a hospital, there’s a good chance a conservative member of the Senate will challenge your diagnosis because of something he sees on tv, then pass a law so that your wishes can’t be carried out.

Monday, September 12, 2011

All I want to see tonight in the Teapublican debate is

... Ron Paul and Rick Perry get into a fistfight. With that in mind ...

Go Ron Paul. LMAO

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance joins the rest of the country in honoring our first responders as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff discusses how many votes it will take to have a shot at winning citywide office in Houston this year.

Eric "Illegal Signs" Dick gets nailed to a utility pole the wall once more, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs laughs and points.

Bay Area Houston notices that a new flavor of ice cream has been created for the Tea Party: Schweddy Balls.

Don't use 9/11 to promote Bush or Cheney. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is appalled at the thought that anyone would give them credit for good actions.

Neil at Texas Liberal made note of his growing appreciation for Rick Perry. With his lack of second-guessing over all the people who have been executed while he has been governor, at least Mr. Perry embraces our culture of violence and death with open arms. The governor of Texas offers voters a clear choice. We'll see what people want in 2012 and we'll move ahead from that point.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson demonstartes that a picture is worth a thousand words: Perry/Texas GOP budget cuts already proving costly for Texas.

At TexasKaos, lightseeker ponders the relationship between Rick Perry, Wildfires and Cultism. Give it a read.

Did you watch the Republican debate last week? So did McBlogger...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nation Would Rather Think About 9/11 Than Anything From Subsequent 10 Years

The Onion, in a searing bit of irony that transforms into reality before our eyes.

As media coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 ramps up this week, citizens across the United States collectively realized they would rather think about the terrorist attacks of 2001 than about anything else that has transpired in the subsequent decade.

"The events of Sept. 11 were unspeakably tragic, but really, when you think about it, things have only grown more horrible and unbearable since then," said Phyllis Bennett of San Jose, CA, who considered 9/11 a notably less unpleasant topic than the Iraq War, the worldwide financial meltdown, Hurricane Katrina, the nation's debt burden, the deaths of 6,200 U.S. troops, China's rise into a global superpower, the housing market, relentless partisan bickering, millions of job losses, the war in Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation, unchecked climate change, declining household income, swine flu, or the 9/11 Truth movement.

"That was an awful day for America, but at least the nation came together and people actually seemed to care about one another. Just compare that to now, Jesus Christ."

While stating they felt "kind of terrible" about it, Americans expressed a longing to return to those "better days" of shared national agony in September 2001, when everybody truly believed things couldn't get any worse.

Of course if you would prefer to be consumed by grief and horror on this day, then go ahead and read this. Personally I was only able to read a few paragraphs in before becoming too nauseous to continue.

And if you would rather be reminded of the actions of one of 9/11's biggest heroes, Rick Rescorla, then by all means read his story. And be sure to click on the links embedded there.

Sunday Not Funnies At All


It's been 10 years since the terrorists struck the Twin Towers in New York City, killing 2,973 people of all ages, sexes, colors, and many ethnicities and religions. And today there will be little else discussed. There will be myriad television programs reliving the horror both on news and entertainment channels. There will be articles in all the newspapers and across the internet. And there will be ceremonies, both large and small.

Even now, ten years later, the attack is still a national obsession -- one could say it has sort of morphed into a very macabre American holiday. Why is this? What makes this disaster so different from the many other disasters in our history?

Some might say it is because it took the lives of so many people. That doesn't really ring true. There have been American disasters that took more lives, and yet they weren't turned into some kind of sacred day of remembrance. The Galveston hurricane killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people. The San Francisco earthquake killed between 3,000 and 6,000 people. The infamous Trail of Tears killed at least 4,000 people. And the Johnstown Flood killed 2,209 people. And yet there is no special day on the calendar on which the nation remembers these events.

Others will say it is because it was a terrorist attack on the government and people of the United States. And I'll admit that the idea of being targeted by terrorists is frightening. But wasn't the attack on Oklahoma City just 16 years ago also a terrorist attack on the government and people of the United States? It is nearly as recent as the 9/11 attack, and yet I doubt that many Americans even remember what date on the calendar that it happened.

Could the reason the 9/11 tragedy has struck such a chord with Americans be because it feeds into the innate bigotry and hatred of far too many Americans? Oklahoma City was done by white, male, christian, Americans, and that strikes too close to home for many people. After all, most of the people in power in this country (at all levels) are white, male, christian, and born in this country. Examining the Oklahoma City terrorist attack too closely would require we look in the mirror and consider the problems this country has.

But 9/11 was different. It was done by foreign, brown-skinned, muslims. It is tailor-made for the inherent bigotry of this country. It is easy to hate foreigners. It is easy to hate people of color. It is easy to hate people who believe in a different religion. To hate the terrorists of 9/11 doesn't require we look in the mirror and examine our own faults, because it is easy to tell ourselves they are "different" from us.

The sad fact is that 9/11 made it easy for too many of us to wrap ourselves in the flag and boast of a false patriotism -- and then use that to spread hatred and bigotry against muslims, immigrants, and brown-skinned people (many of whom are our fellow citizens). It has given bigotry a reason to rear its ugly head again in America -- disguised as patriotism (and even echoed in the halls of government by dishonest politicians).

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we shouldn't remember the 9/11 disaster. It was a tragedy, and we should remember the innocent people who lost their lives. But we should remember it the same way we remember other American tragedies, and not use it as an excuse to foster hatred or encourage bigotry.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was also a great tragedy, and we still remember it on a specific calendar date. But we don't use it to spread hatred of Japan, Japanese-Americans, or Shintoism. Why can't we take the bigotry out of 9/11 and remember it the same way?


I’m sorry for the people who died on 9/11.

I’m sorry we were told to shop after 9/11 and that many of us chose to consume beyond our means.

I’m sorry that some of the financial firms in Manhattan chose to cheat people and to rip people off.

I’m sorry we sometimes used 9/11 to scapegoat Muslims and torture people.

I’m sorry we used 9/11 to start wars based on lies, kill civilians, and then treat our veterans like crap.

We had choices to make about how we would honor the dead from 9/11 and honor our soldiers fighting abroad.

I’m sorry and ashamed that this is how our nation chose to act after we were attacked by the terrorists on 9/11/01.

The good news is that we always have the ability to learn from the past, and to make better choices for the future.

Last, from William Wordsworth's "Splendour in the Grass", via my mother:

That though the radiance which was once so bright
be now forever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
of splendour in the grass, or glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Rick Perry gets punked by Taiwanese animators, threatens Ron Paul

Thanks, TexTrib, for this.

Thanks to the folks over at Next Media Animation, Taiwan's premier purveyors of CGI-animated humorous political reenactments, many great moments in the life of Perry and his home state of Texas can be relived on YouTube. For example, there's the moment a snake jumped out of Karl Rove's mouth and convinced Perry to become a Republican, the time he recklessly wielded a human-sized needle full of Gardasil, his famous boxing match with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and that awkward strip-tease performed for him by Abraham Lincoln.

Speaking of fights, what do you suppose Perry said to Ron Paul last night when he took hold of his arm and wagged a finger at his nose?

During a commercial break, Perry walked up to Paul's podium, physically grabbed Paul's wrist, and pointed at Paul's face with his other hand ...

What's that about? "Imo kick yer ass" or some variation?

Why is our governor threatening an 80-year old Congressman? Is it just because he's getting worked like a sour mop in a debate? Or is there more to it?

Update: Mediaite has more photos and more snark.

Dick gets hammered again

Greg Wythe nails Eric Dick to a utility pole the wall, again.

But there are other times when you just know the candidate is flat-out lying about their very deliberate breaking of the law. And that’s what Eric Dick is doing when he says that there are nefarious “overzealous volunteers” placing yard signs 20-feet up on utility poles. If that’s how he runs his campaign, just imagine what kind of city councilman he’d make. 

I wish someone would get a few thousand signs made and have some overzealous volunteers attach them everywhere they see a Dick sign. Those signs would say: "No More Dicks On Houston City Council".

Marc Campos also piles on Illegal Sign Dude:

The slimy fella that makes a living putting out the campaign signs had a hand in recruiting candidates to run against the City Council District H and I incumbents.  He was at City Hall yesterday with one of the challengers.  Some folks will do anything to get campaign work.  Would Democratic candidates please stop paying this fella to put out your signs?  If he hasn’t already ripped you off or double dipped on you, you’ll soon get taken for a ride.  Commentary learned his lesson an election or two ago.

In a vaguely similar appeal, this is another reason you should vote for Amy Price in At Large #4. It's obviously a different race and different candidates, but the sentiments are exactly the same.