Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It's all conservative, most of the time

Stan Stanart's continuing snafus aside, here's a flash on some election results of note.

-- James Cargas 58%, Lissa Squiers 42%, 80% of precincts reporting.

If it goes to 60-40, then it would match the percentages in the primary of Blue Dogs to progressives. Conservative Dems split their votes between Cargas and Phillip Andrews in the first round.

Being able to torment the Corporate Democrat for the next three months really isn't a bad consolation prize.

-- Paul Sadler 63%, Grady Yarbrough 37%, 85% reporting. Sadler immediately challenges Ted Cruz to a debate.

“So far, many people have not heard my message and I am looking forward for the chance in the coming months,” Sadler said. “I challenge my opponent Ted Cruz to a debate on the issues that affect Texans. I will meet him any time, any place, anywhere.”

Not all of the contests tonight were disappointing. Pete Gallego bested Ciro Rodriguez in CD 23, Marc Veazey got past Domingo Garcia in CD 33. Those are two progressive victories and two likely new Democrats in Congress next year. The real surprise of the night locally has to be Gene Wu trouncing Jamaal Smith in HD 137. I expected something much closer.

But even as the Democrats nominated right-leaning candidates, the Republicans went further right, and not just with Cruz.

-- Pearland's Randy Weber will face Nick Lampson for the right to replace Ron Paul in Congress.

"Voters had a clear choice," he said Tuesday night... "They want someone to go into there and stop the liberal agenda." 

Yeah... no.  Lampson should win the seat and a flip from R to D.

-- Steve Stockman 55%, Stephen Takach 45%, with 61% of precinctb reporting.

The newly-created CD36 can't be seriously considering sending Stockman back to Washington. Let's hope Louie Gohmert doesn't get a butthole buddy. Max Martin is the Democrat in the fall tilt.

-- Christi Craddick over Warren Chisum and Barry Smitherman over somebody for Texas Railroad Commission. Michael "Bowtie" Williams and Elizabeth Ames Jones never looked so good.

-- John Devine narrowly over David Medina for the Texas Supreme Court. Guess those runaway grand jurors made something stick after all.

-- Speaker Joe Straus is having a bad night. Sid Miller, Chuck Hobson, Bill Keffer, and Jim Landtroop are all losing. So is state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, to Donna Campbell. None of these incumbents could have been considered "libruls" except in Tea Party Bizarro World.

In other words, the Texas Republican primary.

More tomorrow.

Update: The Tea-GOP picked the white guy over the black guy in their sheriff runoff. They might have had a chance in this race in November had they not.

Today is the day.

As the Chron notes.

Though it has scarcely been mentioned anywhere except this little shop -- the Chronicle mostly ignored the race, except for a pathetic e-board endorsement written in full by one of the candidates himself; the other blogs in Houston did also, one a recent Houston Press award-winner; heck, even the mighty Kuffner and the Great Orange Satan -- the contest for the Democratic nod for US Representative, Seventh District of Texas has great significance.

I'll let Lissa Squiers, yesterday's birthday girl, finish.

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes.  It's been a long time since 1964 and things have changed a lot in Houston since then.  Back then my father was working at Champion Paper Mill and my grandfather worked at Armco Steel until the day it closed.  We weren't a 'consumer society' then.  There was no such thing as 'bling'.  People had a savings account and a pension fund and your average person had no money connected with Wall Street.

More recently, the 1% told us that our pensions and savings belonged on Wall Street and convinced us that corporate politicians could be trusted to do what was right for America.  As we know, that hasn't worked out!  Now we have a choice.  We can continue to try and replace John Culberson's tea party vote with a moderate guy in a suit, or we can actually replace him with a progressive voice.  The Chronicle E-board says that if you want someone who will support the Democratic Party platform and take on the powers that be, then you should vote for me.  They say if you want someone who will support the dirty fossil approach, the status quo, then you should vote for my opponent.

For the last several years I have been hosting events at places like TSU and local churches, speaking at city council and serving on local community boards.  While my opponent was sitting on the Board of the Energy Lawyers and the Gas Standards, and was busy buying and selling utilities wherever a profit could be made, I was helping to find alternatives to usurious payday lending companies and the cradle to prison pipeline that ramrods our children into private for-profit prisons, working with women's groups and supporting Democratic causes. Representing Houston in Congress is more than talking about the energy corridor and being a member of the oil patch.  As an accountant with an MBA, I have worked in some of the oil company offices on I-10 and know what they pay people, how they treat their vendors, and how they do business.  My opponent only knows the Mitt Romney end of the business -- where you buy and sell it at a profit for yourself -- he's never actually worked in these buildings he speaks so often of.

Does it matter who wins tomorrow?  I think it does matter whether a progressive Houstonian, a community Democrat, or a moderate oil and gas corporate politician from Michigan represents District 7.  What do you think?  Plus, we won once already!  In the May primary we won the mail-in vote, the early vote, and on election day.  Let's do it again on Tuesday.

Right now 2175 people have voted in Congressional District 7 -- 1600 early voters and 575 mailed-in ballots.  That's out of the 8500 that voted in May.  (Tuesday) DOES MATTER.  Literally thousands of Democrats in Congressional District 7 will go vote (on Election Day).  Has your neighbor voted?  Do you have a coworker in CD07?  Please call or go knock on your friend's or neighbor's door and ask them to come vote with you.  If  you know Democrats in CD07, please call or email them and tell them that WE CAN TAKE JOHN CULBERSON'S JOB THIS YEAR.  Polls close at 7 tonight.  There is plenty of time!  Reach out now to CD07 voters and let's make a difference today: Community Democrat or Corporate Politician.  We are deciding that now, not in November.  I know how to beat a moderate and how to beat a Republican.  I've done it once already.  Now I need your help to do it again.

Here's one link that pulls together everything I have written on the race. If you follow the links within, you will find every claim sourced, every fact verified. That as opposed to nothing but the indignant, spitting responses of the Cargas campaign... with the exception of a photo of a postcard I signed, paid the postage on, and sent out on behalf of the Squiers campaign. Cargas whined something about Citizens United in response. As if a postcard is evidence of something besides my full-throated (and previously-and-repeatedly-disclosed) support.

The Cargas campaign consistently misinterpreted what I wrote and what Ms. Squiers said so many times I went from surprised to bemused to picking myself off the floor from laughing so hard. They got the numbers wrong many times, once declaring victory after a straw poll at a pre-primary event. He even got the district's boundaries wrong, and the Chron e-board didn't bother to correct him, just repeating his claim that he "would bring federal grants to the Texas Medical Center".

They complained to the Harris County chair and his associate and even the state party chair about so many inconsequential slights that the officials cringed every time the phone rang. They bitched about missing financial disclosure reports which weren't missing; they just couldn't find them. They wrote "Formal letters of Complaint" that objected to Ms. Squiers' holding a strategy session on how to beat Culberson. As if she should have the temerity to suggest she might get the opportunity to do so. For that joke, they had their events removed from the HCDP calendar (along with the Squiers campaign's, which was likely their hope all along). I got e-mail from their communications director threatening to publish additional obscure public records about me and directions to "take down my hateful blog". They made asses of themselves over and over again, once even with the Houston Police Department's Threat Investigation Unit.

I may yet blog about that. What I will say about it now is that I am still laughing about it.

Later on this evening we'll find out whom the voters chose to carry the Democratic banner against John Culberson. I've got plans either way; I'll go right to work helping Ms. Squiers defeat the incumbent... or, paraphrasing Harry Truman, I'll keep telling the truth about James Cargas and he will keep thinking it's hell.

Honestly, I'll be fine no matter the outcome.

Find your polling place today and a sample ballot -- who you get to vote for -- here. Everybody in Harris County gets to pick the US Senate nominee and the disputed Board of Education  representative. And if you also get a vote in CD07, you get to decide...

Community Democrat, or Corporate? Oil and Gas Attorney or Single Mother? Progressive... or conservative?

The choice is ours.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Weekly pre-Election Day Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is overloading on the Olympics as it brings you this week's roundup.  The TPA also reminds you to cast your ballot at your precinct poll tomorrow in the runoff elections happening throughout the state.

Off the Kuff notes that for a guy who claims to hate the federal government, Rick Perry sure gives them a lot of opportunities to get involved in Texas' business.  

BossKitty at TruthHugger was on a roll this week. In America and Collateral Damage and Double Jeopardy, the NCAA went overboard when they punished past, present and future Penn State students. Too many Americans have been tricked into believing that the government can no longer help them and their families. Until enough people realize that as a lie, take back the government, and use it to bring economic equality back we will continue in this depression.  

WCNews at Eye on Williamson says it's the inequality, stupid.

As long as Mitt Romney didn't bring bacon-wrapped shrimp to the Knesset after leaving London, then last Thursday was the worst day of his European vacation, writes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.  

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants you to know that Republicans at Texas A&M are thrilled to give our money to North Carolina while screwing Texas workers.

Neil at Texas Liberal wrote about an interesting and expansive definition of life that he read about in New Scientist magazine.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Three pips for Anglo-Saxon heritage

Not Mitt Romney's version, mind you, but that as presented by the Anglo-Saxons in charge of last night's Olympic opening ceremonies.

True, much of the talk inspired by NBC's tape-delayed broadcast Friday night probably hovers somewhere between "well, that was just nuts" to "what the …?" But as long as it shoves the Olympics to the front of the national conversation, NBC will take it.

Granted, "strange" seems to be the Opening Ceremony stock in trade these days, as each organizer tries to out-do, and out-shock, the last. But even when you apply the 1992 Albertville opener-as-Cirque du Soleil standard, London's show, designed by Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle— with its grassy knoll and light-board hospital beds — was boisterously, Britishly odd.

It was delightful at times, to be sure. But just as often, it was trying so hard to create magic and impart meaning that it became impenetrable.

The Queen parachuting into the stadium as a Bond girl? Fun. Rowen Atkinson destroying Chariots of Fire? Peculiar, but fun. The flying bicycle dove? Also fun, even if it did look more like a flying monkey.

But the dancing sick-kids salute to the National Health Service, complete with a Mary Poppins air raid and a giant Franken-baby? Much less fun, and more than a bit bizarre. "I don't know if that's cute or creepy," said NBC's Matt Lauer proclaimed about the baby, as if "cute" were actually an option.

There was whole lot of Anglo-Saxon history presented at the opening of the opening that was completely unfamiliar to this Anglo-Saxon. But I had the sound on mute, as I usually do, so that Lauer and Meredith Viera weren't explaining it to me.

The Industrial Revolution without all of the slavery and pollution was interesting, though.

Whitewashed though it may have been, it was the spectacle that Opening Ceremonies always are... as long as you changed channels pretty quick after the Parade of Nations began. That shit puts my feet to sleep.

Now let the Games begin.

Friday, July 27, 2012

As long as he doesn't bring bacon-wrapped shrimp to the Knesset...

... then yesterday might be the worst day of Mitt Romney's European vacation.

I'll leave this one to the experts.

British papers blast Romney:

The Guardian also ran a sidebar entitled, "Oh, Mitt: those Romney gaffes in full." The article dissected Romney's gaffes and rated them all on a scale of one to 10. The "disconcerting" comment received a rating of eight on the gaffe scale. "Take that, Romney! Now get that horse out of my sight," the Guardian wrote in the blog post, in reference to Ann Romney's horse, Rafalca, which will compete in the Olympics.

The Daily Kos could barely keep up with the gaffe-athon, and that's saying something considering their staff puts up a post an an hour from 8am until 11 pm. Here's an excerpt from the day's work:

  • Mitt started the day saying he met with the head of MI6, which you are not supposed to do, because MI6 is the British version of Fight Club. Aside from being awkward, it also immediately deflates the Mitt theory that Mitt can be trusted with secrecy more than that nasty Obama fellow.
  • Mitt then proceeds to question, in London, to Londoners, whether London will be able to pull off the Olympic Games:
    "You know, it's hard to know just how well it will turn out," Romney said. "There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the – private security firm not having enough people – the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging."
  • This pissed off the prime minister, David Cameron, who responded by noting of the Romney-headed Salt Lake City games that it must have been "easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."
  • That in turn pissed off the current mayor of Salt Lake City, who offered to send David Cameron a map of the place.
  • And Mitt apologized, which is something he has said a president should never, ever do.
  • Mitt apparently forgets the name of the leader of the opposition Labour Party that he's currently meeting with, and has nice things to say about 10 Downing Street's backside, which in addition to being the usual awkward Romney framing is awkward for an entirely different reason:
    Firstly, in Britain, "backside" means "ass". As in the part of the body. Secondly, "10 Downing Street" is often used in political reporting as a synonym for a press spokesman for the prime minister, in the same way as "the White House" can say things or have opinions.
    It means "ass" here in America too. As in "I would like to introduce you to Mitt Romney, a very wealthy American backside."

That's only a little over half of the rundown. Before his plane even touched down in the UK, an unnamed campaign adviser had started an "Anglo-Saxon Heritage" society, party of one, last name Romney. And that list doesn't include the bust of Winston Churchill affair.

If you wonder why the Teabaggers have to keep holding rallies every weekend to gin up the rage, it's because Republicans know the only chance they have in November is to make certain the base is capable of hating Obama more than they love their country.

Update: Fox and Friends' Brian Kilmeade wants the British newspapers to "back off" Romney, and Chris Wallace has to set him straight.

...Wallace reminded (Kilmeade) that, yeah, Romney kind of deserved it, likening his Olympic comments to someone you wouldn’t want to go clothes shopping with.
“If you ask me if that suit makes you look fat, I’m not going to tell you it does even if it does, Brian.”

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Turnout remains poor, Dems plead with voters

While the TeaBaggers hold two huge rallies this weekend -- one in The Woodlands with Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, and Jim DeMint, one in DFW with Cruz, Dick Armey, and Glenn Beck -- our local Democratic party is literally begging voters to vote. Sue Mallot, a Spring precinct chair:

I'm working one of only two EV locations in North Harris Co. between Tomball and Kingwood. As of day 3 - Republicans 700+ ...Democrats 22!!!  Really - Yes - Really!!  I don't care that in most precincts there is only 1 election - Senator - it is a pretty darned important one - so Get off your Butt and Vote.  There are no lines...you could drive in vote and drive out in 20 minutes- or less.  And, And all of the voters with Hispanic surnames voted Republican and all of the young people voted Republican...What does that say about our prospects for November???

Yeah Sue, I don't know where enough enthusiasm is going to come from to overcome all the fear, bigotry, and hate these Republicans are fomenting. Maybe this morning's message from Gilberto Hinojosa will stoke a little determination in the hearts of the Dems. Its title: "This is what happens when we lose elections."

Dire. That’s the situation for Texas children. Texas ranks 44th in the nation on the overall well-being for children. More than one in four children in our state lives in poverty. That’s the reality as published by a report from the Annie E. Casey foundation. That’s utter failure.
But it’s also a reminder of what’s at stake. Elections are not just about who wins and who loses. They are about what happens to our loved ones as a result. When we don’t win, the people for whom we fight suffer. And it’s unquestionable that our children are suffering as a result of Republican rule.

These rankings are the results of Perry, Dewhurst, and their Republican buddies turning their back on our children. Republicans betrayed children by shutting down schools and by making it harder for kids to visit a doctor. There’s just too much at stake.

When we don’t win, more than one in four children in our state live in poverty. When we don’t win, neighborhood schools close. When we don’t win, nursing homes are forced to shut their doors leaving seniors with nowhere to go. When we don’t win, women lose access to cancer screenings and other vital health care.

If you didn’t cringe enough by Texas ranking 44 for the well-being of children, read the other shameful statistics and rankings for children in Texas:

  • 1.7 million Texas children – or 26 percent - live in poverty. 
  • Overall for children: 44 
  • Education: 32 
  • Economic well-being: 33 
  • Health: 42 
  • Family and community: 47 

Let's move on from the statistics, and get on with the prognostication.

For the purpose of this posting, let's assume that Ted Cruz and Paul Sadler are the two major party US Senate nominees. Where do moderate Republicans and conservative-leaning independents go? Whom do progressives and liberal independents vote for?

To me this outcome suggests a surge of sorts to the Libertarian and the Green. But how big a surge remains to be determined by the amount of traditional media coverage the two minor party candidates get (probably little to none). Whether they get to participate in the debates, for example.

However many lemmings cast a ballot in November, many will dial in one party and be done with it. What a shame. No election in recent memory cries out for voters to split their tickets than 2012, and that includes the presidential race all the way to the bottom of your ticket.

Downballot races locally will generate similar disgust among Harris County voters. The Republicans have two sheriff candidates in the runoff who have disciplinary records with the HCSO. The GOP lame duck incumbent tax assessor/collector, Don "I was TeaBaggin' Before It was Cool" Sumners, is being sued for the purpose of overturning the ongoing election for school board because he supplied the wrong map. Thus people not eligible to vote in the race did so, and some eligible to didn't have the option on their ballot.

Sumners' conqueror, former city councilman Mike Sullivan, has a worthy challenger, Ann Harris Bennett, opposing him in the fall. But those RWNJ straight-ticket sheep likely won't care. County attorney Vince Ryan has had Wayne Dolcefino broadsides leveled against him, but his opponent is Crazy Bob Talton. That alone should make it possible for Ryan to survive.

Similarly, Democrats who spin the wheel to the D will miss voting in a Texas Supreme Court race that will have either a racist or an arsonist (allegedly) on the Republican side, and an outstanding progressive running as a Green. They'll also miss one of the two Railroad Commission slots, where only an R, an L, and a G are on the ballot -- scroll down at that link to RRC Place 2.

This is both good and bad. By not voting for the Green, they can hold out hope of denying the party ballot access in 2014. Good for Texas Democrats very marginally, very bad for democracy.

It's so much easier to vote your conscience philosophically. Feels better, too. Of course it takes an extra five minutes.

My vote in the ongoing runoff is already in the bank: Grady Yarbrough for US Senate, Lissa Squiers for CD07, Erica Lee for school board trustee. (This last one is the one that will have to be revoted, and it may be in November with a wide open primary according to what I am hearing.) I don't get a vote in HD 137, but either Gene Wu or Jamaal Smith will make a fine representative. There are constable runoffs in the county for which I offer no opinion.

I encourage my readers to do your civic duty, but as you have observed I'm already looking past next Tuesday to November, when the choices don't generate quite so much angst. Or apathy.

Update: Charles Kuffner's case for turnout being fairly good locally in this runoff is well-taken.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A couple of videos

For your lunchtime viewing.

Texas Organizing Project supported Houston's janitors with a street action. A hard day's work deserves a living wage.

Obama's latest ad defines the hypocrisy behind the Romney campaign's twisting of the truth re: "You didn't build that".

Update: Let's make it three.

Legendary rock bands KISS and Motley Crue teamed up to help U.S. military veterans win the battle against unemployment, giving a $250,000 donation to Hire Our Heroes during a free concert in the D.C. area the night before launching The Tour. “Without veterans, there’s no tonight,” said Paul Stanley. “There is no freedom. There is no rock ‘n’ roll without these people.”

Cargas Smear of the Day

So perhaps you're aware of the Nixonian dirty-trick website with the URL of the name of the female candidate running for the 7th Congressional District. I'm obviously not going to link to it.

It contains some images of public records. A link to the website was circulated in an email earlier this week through Carl Whitmarsh's listserv by someone named "Alice Addertongue". James Cargas, in an email reprinted in yesterday's post, says he doesn't know who that is, or where the website originated.

So I decided to find out for him. It took me less than five minutes.

I checked the whois domain register for that URL (here's a screenshot of it in case it gets revised, or disappears, like Evan Mintz's name from the Jamaal Smith supporters list)...

Click here and scroll down a little, reading the domain information in the right-hand column. Note that the adminstrative and technical contacts are marked 'private', but that the domain was registered through something called cree8.it on July 11 of this year.

Google cree8.it and click on that. Here again is the screenshot.

Top left, under the name: "An Affiliate of Carreno Group."

I swear, these men are either so ignorant they can't pull their pants on with the zipper in front or they just don't care what anybody thinks.

Which do YOU think it is? Frankly I think it's both.

To clarify, this kind of thing is not illegal. Emily Ramshaw's excellent piece about online impersonation in Texas politics appeared just two weeks before primary election day, two months ago.

Straddling the line between dirty tricks and political strategy is as old as elections. And campaign impersonation dates at least as far back as the 1970s, when Donald Segretti, President Richard Nixon’s re-election operative, forged letters seeking to discredit Democratic presidential candidate Edmund Muskie — a move that landed Segretti in prison.

But social media sabotage is in high gear in Texas’ later-than-usual primary, from fake Twitter feeds to deceptive website domains to allegations of email and Facebook forgery.

Nope, not illegal. Unethical, slimy, deceitful, disreputable, disgusting, venal and prevalent on the Republican side of the sewer we call politics, but not illegal. Yet. Maybe the Republicans in the Texas Legislature will take up a bill that addresses the issue in the next session, since they seem to be the most frequent victims of it.

Here's today's question, only partly rhetorical: do you think James Cargas and Hector Carreno think they are powerful enough to get away with this? Here's an excerpt at the very end of that article from a fellow named Weston Hicks, an analyst with a conservative online firm named AgendaWise.

Hicks said when it comes to political activities, there are distinct differences between the three types of attacks — false, parody and accountability — and that only false ones should be off-limits. Parody and accountability “don’t involve pretending to be someone else or gaining trust for ulterior motives,” he said. 

Hicks said AgendaWise routinely exposes false attacks, and doesn't engage in them. “Though we don’t participate in them, false political activities are like any lie,” he said, "they can be useful if they don’t get you in trouble.”

That's obviously what Cargas and Carreno are counting on: that they won't be held accountable for their actions. I see no logical way for them to disavow their association with these nefarious tactics. They will probably ignore them, as they did my calls for them to remove the person who worked for their campaign who posed as a volunteer for the Squiers campaign at one meeting.

Maybe they can use the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital defense.

Anyway... what I would like to do at this point is ask a few additional questions.

I would like to ask John Martinez, Jim Henley, Michael Skelly, Chris Bell, Loren Jackson, Jeff Weems, Sylvia Garcia, and Jessica Farrar the following:

In light of the above, is James Cargas still worthy of your support? Is he still the kind of person you thought you were endorsing? Do you endorse this conduct?

The same questions are directed to every single one of the Democratic club members, precinct chairs, and others who appear on Cargas' website as supporters. If you know any of them, ask them for me. A few of the ones I know personally are Mary Luckey, Joy Demark, Ken Bielicki, and Stace Medellin.

I await your reply in my comment section (or on this blog's Facebook page, or in an email reply), ladies and gentlemen. A simple yes or no will suffice. Further, I am not likely to publish any comment that extends the personal attacks, ad hominem invective, and outright smears currently raging in this contest. I will not edit your replies. But please don't bother responding if you do not want your answer revealed publicly. As it has always been, silence will be considered acceptance.

One last thing: most of you who have read this far in already know that Bethany Bannister is James Cargas' communications director.

Alice Addertongue, Bethany Bannister. Do you still think Cargas doesn't know who AA is?

Here's the Lissa Squiers response -- yes, that link is to the real, actual website; accept no substitutes -- that Carl Whitmarsh refused to send to his list, and to Ms. Addertongue's venomous communique':


I have not been responding to any of the various posts by my opponent, and I do not know who wrote this piece sent to you, but I can definitely tell you that I have never been arrested or in jail.  Yes, 15 years ago I paid a $100 ticket for a misdemeanor.  I appreciate the great interest in this current and pressing matter.

I can also share with you that in the Chronicle EBoard interview last week we discussed that I turned down an offer for a contract job with BP during their oil spill because I was morally against their behavior.  Since the person writing to you has referenced the situation but is claiming the opposite of what is true, I can only assume they were in the interview.  Only my opponent and his assistant, Bethany Bannister, were there.  Possibly they were having hearing trouble that day.

And I can assure anyone that is interested that I am in full compliance with my contribution and expenses paperwork.  I have assured my opponent several times that this is the case, but he cannot seem to understand that I filed in the second quarter, once I passed the threshhold for reporting.  Numerous reporting documents can be found online by anyone that searches correctly.

I would like to thank everyone for their interest in these matters and say that I am extremely flattered they are so interested.  Especially Hector Carreno for buying my name as a website domain on July 11, kindly provided as a link in ms. 'snaketongue's' missive.  For the last ten days my opponent's campaign has been running a website under my name, even copying the header from my campaign website to make it look the same.  I hope they have enjoyed their endeavor to share their opinions in this manner.

That's a lot nicer than I would have been had it been me, that's for sure. But then I'm not a candidate for office. Nor am I a communications director for a campaign.

Nor do I publish my opinions -- and my research, and the cartoons lampooning the powerful, the greedy, and the corrupt that are drawn by professional artists -- under aliases or fake names.

Full disclosure here: "PDiddie" has been my nickname, assigned to me by subordinates and peers in a previous profession, since the late '90's. Even when Sean Combs dropped the 'P', I didn't. And 'Hussein' has been my adopted middle name since 2008, and will be as long as Barack Obama lives in the White House.

All that I am, for this purpose and your consumption, is a dude with a blog. And an occasional volunteer for a few political campaigns that meet my criteria for good government: progressive, ethical, and honest.

And I'm probably going to keep doing both of those things for as long as I am able. Without remuneration, and without fear of retribution.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

EV turnout on Day One and other developments

Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart said as of 4 p.m. 1,847 Republican voters had cast ballots early in person, along with 338 Democrats.

Just as in the May primary, mail ballots are playing a significant role in the runoffs. As of Friday, 14,000 GOP voters had returned mail ballots, joined by 6,500 Democrats, Stanart said.

Turnout improved significantly as voters got off work and went to the polls. Three hours later at closing the in-person count was 1537 Ds and 8231 Rs. The mail-in numbers also edged up: 14,750 Republican, 6671 Democratic. All this data is courtesy of Du-Ha Kim Nguyen in Clerk Stanart's office.

The turnout was also good at the GOP Senate mudfight last night. The behavior of the two combatants was the same; the audience participation was typical TeaBagger.

The politics of the personal trumped differences over policy in Monday's debate between U.S. Senate candidates Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who accused each other of lying about their respective records and waging a media war marked by untruth and insult.

Sponsored by the King Street Patriots, a Houston-based tea party organization, and carried live on KRIV-Channel 26, the Houston affiliate, the hour-long debate before an audience of more than 300 offered mostly nuanced differences on the issues. With the candidates standing at separate podiums within a few feet of each other, the conversation grew heated when Cruz accused Dewhurst of running a dirty campaign.
Although the audience had been told in advance not to applaud or audibly respond to the candidates' remarks, an audience member shouted "Not true" as Dewhurst spoke. Later in the debate, an audience member yelled "Liar." The candidates ignored the outbursts.

Wow that sounds familiar, doesn't it? Where in the world have I heard of whining, moaning accusations from the establishment's candidate of a negative campaign being waged by the upstart challenger?

Speaking of CD07, the Harris County Democratic Party's de facto chairman, Carl Whitmarsh, has declared a moratorium on any more email through his listserv of the House seat's primary between Lissa Squiers and James Cargas.

That's fine with me... because he has only been sending out Cargas e-mails for weeks now.

Update: Even Campos is sad about it. Naturally, within a few hours of announcing his ban, Carl sent out the following from Cargas himself. I'm sure it was just a mistake...

Welcome to the world under Citizens United. Where candidates raise the least amount of money, candidates have less control of what happens in their race, and the FEC is becoming less relevant. I don't know who Alice Addertongue is; and I don't want to.  Because under Citizens United, if I were to ask her to pull down her site, I would be “coordinating” with her (this assumes that the site she links to is hers).

Of course, the same cannot be said for Ms. Squiers. She is clearly coordinating with Perry Dorrell and his vile vicious blog that attacks 99% of Houston, including my dear Communications Director, our beloved former Councilmember Peter Brown, and even the Chronicle's suit-wearing editors - none of whom are running for Congress. Exhibit 1 is the “paid for by the Lissa Squiers for Congress Campaign” postcard mailed to my Campaign Manager signed by Mr. Dorrell. Exhibit 2 is the fact that Dorrell’s posts are sent to you for circulation at the request of my opponent.

I have the distinct advantage of being the ONLY candidate in the runoff talking about the issues. Issues that Democrats and all Americans care deeply about. I am losing that advantage the more these distractions continue. So, I actually would like Ms. Addertogue to stop her throwing of gasoline on the fire (I knew about Squires’ arrest a long time ago but did not see any value in releasing it; after all, she pled nolo contendere, which is akin to not guilty). It wouldn’t hurt, my friend, if some gatekeeping happened on your end too and a gag order were placed on Mr. Dorrell.

Well if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black. Googling peoples' public records is so Matt Bramanti, James.

Cargas hasn't read my posts closely enough. Or maybe doesn't communicate clearly with his communications director. Because if he did, he would know that I outed myself as a volunteer in the Squiers campaign a looong time ago. For at least the third time, Team Cargas: 'volunteer' means UNPAID. I realize this is a foreign concept to you folks in and of itself, but it is quite common in the political world.

Mr. Cargas: go get the most recent copy of the map of the 7th district, familiarize yourself with it, and remember that if you want to bring federal grants to the Texas Medical Center next year, you might have to lobby Al Green -- and not Lissa Squiers -- for them.

What I have learned in two weeks of not just postcard signing but blockwalking and phone-calling, however, is that most voters have never heard of either Carl or me. So -- as I have suspected all along -- this campaign will likely turn on the simplest of differences between the two candidates: Community Democrat versus Corporate Democrat. Oil and Gas Attorney versus Single Mother. Progressive as opposed to "moderate" conservative.

The Democratic primary for the US Senate race is both very similar and very different. There have been some fascinating discussions recently on Facebook, which I would wish to excerpt here except that I really don't want to go to the trouble. Suffice it to say -- if you haven't been party to those chats -- that most Democrats are in a quandary about whom to choose because of the two rivals' corresponding incompetence as candidates. In making my own selection a month ago, I explained my tongue-in-cheek-but-not-really rationale.

The TDP, in an e-mail to voters yesterday, decided to abandon neutrality and join the fray. A lengthy comparison of Paul Sadler's curriculum vitae publica, alongside Grady Yarbrough's nonexistent one, concluded with "The Choice is Clear".

Eh, not so much, Gilberto. Texas Democrats have a fairly consistent record of nominating as many pure populists with no experience as they do "moderate" establishment types. Victor Morales and Gene Kelly come to mind right alongside Rick Noriega and Barbara Radnofsky and Ron Kirk. Neither faction seems to hold an edge with respect to general election results. So IMHO the choice isn't so clear.

And candidly, the TDP is damned if they do and damned if they don't. By picking sides in a primary they draw deserved heat; by not doing so they have also withered fire in circular formation in the past. To me this e-mail demonstrates that the TDP is going to have to offer this message's value as an in-kind contribution to the Sadler campaign, which will be the largest one of any kind the man is likely to receive.

No matter who the Democrats and Republicans nominate, the choices ARE clear for those who don't want to pinch their nostrils while voting. David Collins is the Green and John Jay Myers is the Libertarian.

Now that choice is much clearer. In fact, it just might be as clear as choosing CD07's Community Democrat over the Corporate one.

Have you voted yet this week?

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Weekly Runoff Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds everyone that this is the only week of early voting for the July 31 primary runoffs as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff notes that Medicaid expansion would be far less expensive than originally claimed.
BossKitty at TruthHugger is sad to see history repeating itself more frequently. More and more people are "loosing" their sanity and getting away with it. Because of the recent mass murders in Colorado, I re-post I Have A Gun and I Have A Grudge – Aurora Update.

The Romney campaign is blatantly lying, and CNN and Fox News are going along with it. It's what WCNews at Eye on Williamson calls The horribleness of our media.

The Houston Chronicle made an endorsement in the Democratic primary that caused PDiddie at Brains and Eggs to question their integrity. It's an unsettling account of an editorial board with few apparent scruples and even less journalistic competence.  

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants you to know that our government is still building a monument to racism, aka that damn fence.

Justin at Asian American Action Fund has Linsanity.

Neil at Texas Liberal offered a first look at the 2012 Green Party Presidential ticket.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Regarding that HouChron endorsement last week

I mentioned here that I was going to write about last week's endorsement by the Houston Chronicle in the race for the Seventh Congressional District's Democratic run-off, with early voting beginning tomorrow morning at 7 a.m at polling places around the county, and concluding Tuesday July 31st. Here that is.

The two men representing the Chron's editorial board were managing editor John Wilburn and Evan Mintz.

Wilburn is one of the paper's higher-ups, editorially speaking. 'Managing editor" is the #2 ranking person on the news side, usually only answering to the Editor and the Publisher in Hearst's hierarchy (though this is based on my aged past experience with Hearst community newspapers, and the Chronicle, as an urban market daily, may have a different reporting structure). He's been in this position since 2008. He is also the husband of Texas Monthly writer Mimi Schwartz. Here's a photo of them at a recent benefit sponsored by the paper.

Wilburn is, in short, of fairly high stature professionally, socially, and probably financially. Comfortable, I suspect, but maybe not wealthy. He travels in wealthy circles, though, and his professional and social status is representative of Houston's elite.

Nothing wrong with that.

Mintz is slightly more out in the open. He describes himself at his Twitter profile as someone who "sometimes writes for the Houston Chronicle". His Twitter feed consists mostly of the usual inane chat and semi-witty repartee that infests the medium generally. Mintz does have several examples of quality writing around the Web; I have been aware of his blog for almost as long as I have been writing at my own. It's not very active but seems to draw a share of fans. Here's an article he wrote for the Rice University Thresher about Dan Patrick; here's another from his law school newspaper advertising himself for hire. Here's another article written about him at the Chron that spotlights his internship at the ACLU. Mintz might be a fairly significant contributor to the e-board endorsement process; here he Tweeted the Chron's judicial endorsements back in May.

With just a few clicks, then, it becomes fairly easy to discern Mintz' political leanings: he's a good liberal. He supports good Democrats like Jamaal Smith in the statehouse race for HD137 (whom I support as well; scroll back up that page and look to the right). The endorsement of Smith from the Chron was also a Mintz Tweet. (Here I should write that Gene Wu, the other candidate in that run-off, would make a fine representative and, like Charles, I would be delighted to see either man serving the district in the Texas House next January.)

What's fairly unusual for Chronicle reporters, specifically Mintz's name on Smith's endorsement page, is to reveal their political connections this obviously. *Update, Monday 7/23: Evan Mintz's name has been removed from the list of supporters of Smith. C'mon people; screenshots, for Chrissakes. 

One Chronicle writer was terminated for making a campaign contribution a few years ago (maybe that's where the line is drawn). If I were Mr. Wu I might be a little upset upon learning this information about Mintz. Being an attorney I'm sure Mintz ought to know where the line is drawn, and so -- I am certain --  does the newspaper.

This appearance of bias is not what I am looking for in my newspaper endorsements, however, and I frankly believe that  Mintz crossed it, both in this endorsement of Smith and in the one for Cargas. That's subject to individual interpretation, naturally.

According to reports from the scene, Cargas and Mintz demonstrated a relaxed affability at the endorsement hearing, even discussing shared law school acquaintances at the conclusion of the meeting.

Nothing wrong with that either, I suppose. Two young attorneys just having a chat, after all.

Where this goes off the rails is with the verbiage Cargas used throughout the interview, and how closely it matches the words written in the editorial. Occasionally it veers off into embarrassment for the paper of record. For example, Cargas -- whose wife is a physician for a hospital in the Texas Medical Center -- said that he would work to bring federal grant money to the Texas Medical Center.

It's a little puzzling that the man who wants to represent the 7th would advocate for issues and organizations outside the district, in this case mostly the 9th. Ted Poe's 2nd and Sheila Jackson Lee's 18th are in fact closer in most respects than is the 7th.

That's not the best screenshot at first glance, but click on it and you can see the district lines for the area. If you prefer to go to the Texas Legislative Council's District Viewer website and select Plan C235 ("Court-ordered interim Congressional map") and scroll and zoom for yourself, go right ahead.

In defense of Cargas, the TMC was drawn into and out of CD07 in the various redistricting gyrations performed by both the Texas Legislature and the federal court a handful of times last spring. It's almost excusable -- not quite, but almost -- that Cargas has his lines crossed. Almost as plausible as he might have a conflict of interest. Irrespective of that, Congress members just don't cross boundaries to take up or oppose causes and concerns in another member's district. That would be like Ted Poe taking on a Jefferson County refinery project, or Ron Paul pushing for Dow Chemical in Brazoria County.

"Hey it's in my district now..."

Maybe Cargas thinks -- or has some inside information -- that the TMC will be drawn back into the 7th in the next year's legislative session. That would be a pretty neat trick for him if it were true, wouldn't it?

It's not. Nobody can say with any certainty whatsoever how the Lege is going to draw the maps in 2013. So Cargas just has his map wrong.

That's incredibly stupid, but it's not lethal.

There is, however, no excuse except laziness or corruption for the newspaper not to know what the district looks like, even if the prospective representative doesn't. Given what has already been revealed here, we can't be certain that journalistic sloth is the only excuse for the Cargas endorsement. There's reasonable doubt, in lawyer parlance. When you have the appearance of Houston's close-to-elites anointing one of their own, it just looks a little skeezy. Especially when it isn't a Republican -- allegedly -- they're endorsing.

Of course I see lots of Republican support for Cargas, camoflaged though it may be. I have certainly seen first-hand Republican smear tactics vigorously exercised by the Cargas campaign.

So if the Democratic members of the establishment want to line up in support of Cargas despite all that... well, now you know what people who do not vote mean when they say "both parties are the same".

Let's go ahead and give Wilburn and Mintz the benefit of the doubt: Cargas' resume', connections, and "experience" probably DO make him look, to them, more qualified to be a Congressional candidate than Ms. Squiers. Like Michael Skelly before him, Cargas is already running to the right in anticipation of attracting the mythological crossover Republicans in November with his "moderate/energy policy/fracking is good" talk.

As I have said a time or two, if that's the kind of Democrat that Democrats think can win against Republicans, in spite of decades of evidence to the contrary, then maybe it is me and not them who is wrong. Maybe it is me who finds himself in increasing disagreement with the philosophy of the majority of candidates the Democratic Party in Texas nominates.

I'm OK with being wrong, in that case.

As for the Chronicle's endorsement, as well as the rest of the Democratic establishment's... hey, take it or leave it. I've already gotten feedback that the newspaper's approval  makes precisely the case I argue: that Cargas is the Corporate Democrat. The representative of, by, and for the 1%. That's simply not the right thing to be in this Occupy-influenced cycle.

But hey, you already know I'm biased. Maybe as much as the Chronicle's editorial board.

My mind is certainly made up. Is yours?

Voting begins Monday morning at these locations. Note the 7-7 and M-F hours, which means you can go before or after work but not next weekend. Finding your precinct's voting place will be confusing on Election Day due to various and unpredictably combined polling places.

So get your runoff vote out of the way early, and kindly consider casting a ballot for the Community Democrat for the 99%, who is opposed by nearly one hundred percent of the 1%.

She knows how to beat a Republican.

Let's keep talking about voter "fraud"

Until some people finally get it. This report was filed back on July 12 by the CBS affiliate in D-FW, though it is Jeremy Desel, a Houston reporter for KHOU, that filed it.

Here also is PolitiFact.

We also asked how many election fraud cases had been referred to the attorney general’s office since 2002. Abbott’s list shows 311 accusations of election fraud spanning 2002-12. The 57 investigations we’re checking represent only those cases that were both prosecuted and resolved.

Six of the prosecutions ended in dismissal or acquittal, Strickland told us by telephone, leaving 51 prosecutions that resulted in convictions.

By our analysis, three-quarters of the cases involved election code violations classified as "illegal voting" -- which includes acts such as voting more than once, impersonating a voter or voting despite ineligibility -- and "method of returning marked ballot," often meaning the defendant was accused of having someone else’s ballot.

Only two cases are described as "voter impersonation" on the list. Whether voter impersonation is a standing problem has been a hot button in the state’s legislative debates over proposed voter ID laws in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011; Austin American-Statesman news stories say legislators mostly split along party lines, with Democrats claiming impersonation is rare and Republicans claiming the problem is significant. Abbott drew criticism in 2006 for creating a special unit to target voter fraud that by mid-2008 had yielded, according to a May 19, 2008, Associated Press news story, only 26 prosecutions.

Looking at all 57 election fraud prosecutions from 2002 to 2012, we tallied up the resolutions (some had multiple outcomes, when charges were pursued as separate cases):
  • Specified as convictions: 26
  • Guilty plea resulting in conviction: 2
  • Deferred adjudication: 19
  • Pre-trial diversion: 10
  • Acquitted: 2

Out of more than 39 million votes cast in Texas over the past decade across the state in all elections, the number of convictions for voter impersonation fraud -- between 20 and 60, give or take 2 or 3 according to both links I embedded above and depending on how the term is defined -- represents, according to Desel and the most generous rounding (62/39,000,000), all of .0001%. That's one ten-thousandth of one percent. My calculator drives out .0000015, however.

Chances of winning the MegaMillions lottery: about one in slightly under 176 million. That's much poorer, by the way.
Chances of being struck by lightning: much better; 1 in 576,000
Chances of being killed by lightning (this happened in Houston to two men just last week): one in 2,320,000
Chances of being mauled by a polar bear and a regular bear at the same time: I don't know, ask the e-Trade Baby.

There are many more sightings of Bigfoot in the Lone Star State, and almost exactly as many reported captures of a live one... or a dead one, for that matter. There is a much greater likelihood of your becoming an astronaut, and significanty better odds that you can draw a royal flush on the first hand dealt than find a voter fraud conviction in the state of Texas.

When you say there is no voter fraud -- so small an amount that it is infinitesimal; essentially and statistically 'none' -- taking place in Texas, and your friendly conservative moron says "one is too many", or "we jes' ain't catchin' all the damn Ill Eagles", or "Mickey Mouse and the Dallas Cowboys are registered in Harris County", or "ACORN", be prepared. Keep a few facts to slap their dumb shit down with.

And don't forget to make fun of them for being so stupid.

Sunday Unfunnies

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Chron makes it 100% for the 1%er

From that perspective, there is something to be said for Lissa Squires' approach of taking the strongest position possible and unapologetically charging forward. But while her anti-corporate rhetoric may help rally the most liberal members of the Democratic base, it is neither a winning strategy nor the way to best represent Houston. But Squires' moderate Democrat opponent, James Cargas, seems excellently suited to reflect the district's energy industry. 

"Moderate" is the new word Cargas learned to describe himself the last couple of weeks, and the newspaper swallowed it whole.

Oh, they did pick one liberal female upstart candidate against the established "moderate" candidate... but then, Ms. Squiers' mother's name isn't Sheila Jackson Lee.

The paper's e-board is just doing the conservative thing here, though;  lining up behind pretty much every other establishment "moderate" in this race.The Chronicle has had some hilarious outcomes trying to pick winners in this cycle, so this endorsement might wind up as more a curse on the Cargas folks than the blessing they will be trumpeting.

Squiers led Cargas 40-34 at the end of the day in May, an upset all by itself. Runoffs, as we know, are all about getting out your vote, and with the other Blue Dog coming in third with 24% and promptly endorsing his canine brother, it remains to be seen if Cargas can get Phillip Andrews' supporters back to the polls.

To that end, Cargas has spent heavily on robocalling from Ohio and Florida outfits. Odd he couldn't hire a Houston or even Texas firm to do that, isn't it? In this respect he'll make a typical Congressman: spending other people's money out of state. But on the flip side of that, he's run over $5000 in ads in community newspapers. I should also mention that he's collected many donations from the elite class, including $500 from former city councilman and mayoral candidate Peter Schlumberger Brown. In my previous posting on his SEC filing I noted that most of his contributors have the letters CEO and M.D. and so forth behind their names.

This race is a classic 1% versus 99% showdown. The Corporate Democrat against the Community Democrat. One from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, one from the Republican wing. Progressive and Blue Dog.

But it's also about the Oil and Gas Man versus the Single Mom.

This self-proclaimed energy lawyer for the energy corridor refuses to get bogged down in partisan wedge issues, but instead emphasizes Houston's position as a national leader in the medical and energy industries.

In the midst of our natural gas boom, this founding member of the Oil Patch Democrats could be a strong voice for the Houston economy, showing that the oil and gas industry isn't merely a Republican institution, but a broad and important economic driver that deserves attention from the entire political spectrum.

And even if he doesn't win in the general election, putting forth a candidate like Cargas can remind voters in the district that there are plenty of Texas Democrats who support fracking, will bring federal grants to the Texas Medical Center, and put Houston before party.

Update: You see that part in the last paragraph about Texas Medical Center grants? The 7th CD does not contain the TMC. The interim maps, drawn by the court for this election, place it mostly in the 9th, with a sliver in the 2nd. That's just lame fact-checking. Saying Cargas is going to "bring federal grants" there has all the weight and significance of saying I'm going to be bringing federal grants there.

The Chronicle has humiliated themselves -- and completely devalued their endorsement process -- by transcribing the words Cargas said in the e-board meeting and publishing it as their endorsement.

I wonder how much he paid for that. I'll post a little more about the two Chronicle men who conducted this sham -- managing editor John Wilburn and writer/blogger/Tweeter Evan Mintz -- next week.

So let's summarize: if you support fracking, if you think Keystone XL is a good idea, if you think the oil and gas companies need to stay on the government teat -- maybe even suck a little harder -- hey, then CarGas is your boy.

Do you really think there will be any difference in a James Cargas policy on Metro and mass transit in Houston as opposed to the John Culberson policy?

I probably shouldn't remind you -- some people might consider it 'sniping' -- of the Watergate-style bumbling espionage, the foul dirty tricks, the battery-acid blog posts from the Cargas campaign's morbidly obese communications director -- as in paid, a measly $800 for the privilege -- and the sneering, contemptuous sense of entitlement James Cargas has repeatedly demonstrated toward the woman who dares challenge him for the primary nomination.

And Hector Carreno gets all offended when I call him a Republican. It's just laughable, isn't it?

The funniest thing was his "Formal Complaint" last week to HCDP chair Lane Lewis about the county party's facilities being used by Squiers for a planning meeting on how to beat Culberson. The Cargas campaign's godfather hilariously thought it was a strategy session against his client. If we needed another reminder that Carreno's reading comprehension was a little suspect, we got it.

(Aside to Hector: it's not bigotry to call you a poor practitioner of the English language. It is not lying to point out your associations with the wealthy, the powerful, the conservative, and the corrupt. Go cry into your $10,000-a-month Rolodex.)

Yes, I have made my position pretty clear in the race from the outset. Next week, and on through Tuesday evening the 31st, we'll find out what the people think. Whether the voters of CD07 want John Culberson Light, or a real, actual Democrat is still to be determined.

Yep, my mind was made up a long time ago. What about yours?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mid-week Funnies

Because there will be too many by the time we get to Sunday.

Starring Bain as Bane. (What's the difference?)

Rush Limbaugh naturally observed the batty coincidence/conspiracy, and Rachel Maddow promptly mocked him right the fuck out about it. 

...Maddow contended that, sure, the villains in Batman were “pre-named decades in advance in anticipation of a 2012 presidential election in which one of the candidates would have a contested affiliation with a company named Bain.” The conspiracy is “deep” and has “a lot foresight,” she ridiculed, adding that, in that case, Gone With the Wind was an “early salvo of the clean energy movement.” [...] “The modern American Right is hermetically sealed in a media universe that lets in no natural light and no air,” she said. “They breathe in only their own exhalations.” And in that bubble, she asserted, they especially have an affinity for conspiracy theories.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grand jurors speak out against David Medina

Modern political conservatism is and must have its foundation the absolute commitment to truth, integrity, and character exemplified in faithful adherence to Judeo-Christian principles as espoused in our U.S. Constitution regarding civil government. Any breakdown in the first set of qualities inevitably leads to corruption of the practice. In other words, character and morals will dictate performance and when the sword of justice is at stake, the character and morals must be unimpeachable.

That is the primary issue at hand in regards to Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina. The issue is whether he is ethically and morally fit to sit on the highest court in Texas rendering judgments that impact millions of people after significant evidence of corrupt behavior that includes indictments by a grand jury, of which some members I know personally and trust implicitly.

I challenge any who would like to dismiss this documentary out of hand to set aside political allegiances and agendas for a few moments for the sake of watching and listening with an open mind. Being well familiar with this drama since the story of the fire at the Medina home first broke in the media setting off this chain of events, I believe there is ample reason to accept the credibility of the initial indictments. I was also one of the first to publicly call for Chuck Rosenthal’s resignation as Harris County District Attorney due to – ironically enough – clear moral and ethical failure that cast significant doubt on whether he had been or could be serving the public with integrity. The evident cronyism involved in the quashing of the indictments of the Medinas was glaring and troubling to say the least.

Go watch the video at the link above. Update: Via Voices Empower (which advocates for Medina's almost-equally-odious runoff opponent John Devine, FWIW), the YouTube...

As Charles also noted yesterday, Devine is no walk in the park himself, and the Texas Democratic Party failed to field a candidate for the race. That makes it all the more important for Texans of all political persuasions to consider voting for the Green, Charles Waterbury, in November.

To disclaim: the producer of the video, Truth in Politics, is a 501(c)(3) and does not support any candidate or receive funding from any party or candidate.

Justice David Medina is a man in need of transformation and redemption, but must first come face to face with the fact that he has violated the trust of the people and been proven unfit to sit on the highest bench of justice in this great state. We the people will be judged with him if we show contempt for bankruptcy of moral and ethics by those we place in positions of public trust.

Dave Welch
Houston, TX

(Dave Welch is founder and Executive Director of Houston Area Pastor Council and Texas Pastor Council, former National Field Director of Christian Coalition, former Executive Director of Vision America and his GOP credentials include being a delegate to three Republican National Conventions (from Washington State), eleven state conventions (WA and TX), fourteen county/district conventions (WA and TX) and was elected chairman of the Washington State delegation to the 1996 RNC in San Diego as well as having served as precinct chairman in WA and TX and the state Republican Executive Committee in WA.)

Ron Paul cast out of GOP convention. What's next?

Alas, it is finished.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, the longtime Texas congressman who marshaled an American tea party movement, won't get to have a last word -- at least not at the GOP national convention next month.

His futile effort over the weekend to get enough delegate votes to secure a speaking spot at the convention marks the end of the road for the 76-year-old candidate who tried and failed three times to win the presidency, relying upon the unflappable courtesy of a career physician and the iron-clad commitment to a libertarian ideology that endeared him to young and old followers alike. 

So long, Dr. No. We hardly knew ye.

As for the nascent Paulista movement, though they will probably take their bongs and go home, there remain plenty of good Plan B options.

There's a fine Libertarian candidate, former NM Gov. Gary Johnson and his running mate, CA district judge Jim Gray. I wrote about them here. Particularly for the Weed Caucus, this ticket is very encouraging. Johnson makes Romney's path to Electoral College victory much more difficult throughout the Mountain West states, not just in New Mexico. Update: this poll, showing Johnson drawing 13% of the New Mexico vote, suggests the Libertarian is earning the support of Dem-leaning independents.

The Green Party has fielded two excellent progressive populists, Dr. Jill Stein and homeless advocate/activist Cheri Honkala. I have written a lot lately about them, and so has the Traditional Media over the past week. Their strongest platform is economic: the Green New Deal -- rebuilding the country's infrastructure, providing well-paying jobs and healthcare for Americans while dismantling the creeping corporatism in our government -- is a worthy goal for the benefit of the 99%.

And for the truly freak right, there's a nutjob Constitution Party candidate that makes the Teabags appear closer to the statistical mean in terms of sanity. Read this article to see why Virgil Goode will likely keep Romney out of the White House -- by tipping Virginia to the Ds, upsetting Karl Rove's strategy -- no matter what else may happen between now and November.

All those and potentially others will be on your ballot in the fall for people who seriously consider themselves not-Romneys and not-Obamas. Voting against some one or the other is no way to elect leaders to run this great nation. Voting for the "lesser of two evils" is still voting for 'evil'.

Texas won't be in play, electorally speaking, for the usual reason: low-information conservative lemmings who like to spend less than 5 minutes on their citizenship responsibility every four years by voting a straight R ticket.

Don't be that guy (or girl).

This advice is meant for a wider audience than just the Ron Paul folks: Democracy -- and our Republic -- is best served when people vote for candidates who come the closest to representing their views, be those views right or left, far right or far left. Voting for a Libertarian or a Green, or even a Constitutioner, sends the message to the Democrats and the Republicans that they cannot take your vote for granted.

Casting a mindless vote for the two-party duopoly instead of the best man or woman running -- and that includes races down your ballot -- is the only thing worse than not voting at all.

Update: The Libertarian Party, via e-mail to its supporters, emphasizes the 'golden opportunity NOW to bring Ron Paul supporters into the LP'.