Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Monday, December 29, 2008

Better Angels

Living up to the creative name of his blog, The Quaker Agitator has a positive suggestion to make:
As an act of protest against the appearance of Rick Warren at the inauguration, we ask our fellow progressive bloggers that on January 20, 2009, you post your own alternative invocation.

We ask that you post a message of compassion, empathy, tolerance, diversity, and true Christian (or other) love to America. Post a message that stands in opposition to the messages that Rick Warren and those of his particular political persuasion use to divide our country.

If you’re posting, let us know! Send an email or leave a comment, and we’ll add you to the list which will be on our blogroll.
You can find it at The Alternative Invocation.


Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind...and, if you remember the rest of the song, you're doing one better than we are. At any rate, it is the last Monday of the year and that means it is time for the Texas Progressive Alliance's End-Of-Year Round-Up For 2008.

2008 was a heck of a year for Texas Progressives. The Presidential Primary came to Texas (for real), we caucused, conventioned, challenged, credentialed, voted, elected, counted, re-counted, brought Netroots Nation to Texas, watched Tom Craddick fight for his life, said farewell to legends, got a head start to on the race to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison and more. A lot more.

It is in that spirit that we bring you the final round-up of 2008. Enjoy.

jobsanger has posted on a variety of subjects, including the popularity of George Bush in 11% Of Americans Are IDIOTS, the Ku Klux Klan in The Klan Is Still Stupid, a plan to steal water from the Panhandle in The Coming Rape Of The Ogallala Aquifer, the fall of a county sheriff in Potter County Sheriff Indicted On Felony Charges and Potter County Sheriff Convicted, and the 2010 governor's race in Who's The Dem In 2010 Governor Race?

John Coby at Bay Area Houston has blogged on a number of issues concerning Bob Perry's home building industry, the Texas Ethics Commission, insurance deregulation, electricity deregulation, and including some humorous posts. One of his favorites series is Spending Campaign Cash which has resulted in a number of stories in the news and contributed to a bill to be filed by State Representative Senfronia Thompson.

South Texas Chisme covered such entertaining South Texas stories from the original DA Hissy Fit to his poor imitation, various ethics problems including a few felonies to helping Republicans recover and Democrats to prosper. And, we never forget about that Republican monument to racism and fear otherwise known as that d*mn fence!

As he approaches his seventh anniversary as a blogger, Off the Kuff decided to look forward rather than back on the year. My thanks to my TPA colleagues for all they do, and my best wishes to all for a great 2009.

The Texas Cloverleaf looks back on 2008, as it's first full year on the blog scene comes to a close. The DNC kicked off the year by picking the Jewish named donkey over the black one for it's mascot, in what would become the ultimate irony of the political season. Adding to ironies, cash strapped TxDOT gave away $20 million for a Dallas park. We were introduced to GOP family values: 16 US Senators, including our own from Texas, voted against funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, leading to more deaths, and the Palin clan popped out more replacements as part of God's will. Don't forget to carve the backwards B on your face for posterity. 2008 was a whirlwind and couldn't have been more dramatic. Here is to a 2009 with the same kind of flair!

Neil at Texas Liberal wishes everyone good luck in the New Year. Here is my post on controversy regarding what may or may not be the world's largest potato. Please visit Texas Liberal in 2009. I work hard to make the blog worth reading.

As 2008 comes to a close, circumstances have limited Refinish69's access to his own blog, Doing My Part For the Left. He's nonetheless written a compelling series hosted on various national and local blogs that shares what it is to be homeless in Austin. Homeless in Austin-An Insider's View is a four part series so far and Refinish69 wants to thank all those who've helped him get this story more attention. Part 1 at Momocrats. Parts 2, 3, and 4 at Texas Kaos.

Texas Kaos frontpagers have covered a wide variety of issues both national and Texan. Krazypuppy wrote a cautionary tale of how far Republican hubris can go in All Southerner's Should Know Don Siegalman's False Imprisonment Story" Refinish69 shared one man's story of unexpected impact of the historic Democratic extended primary in A Trip to the Gas Station: No it's not a Curious George book Lightseeker reported on the convention for SD 15 and the contrast between previous years. He also gave great pointers on political discourse with the neighbors. SCCS did a series on the congressional races all over Texas, and was our correspondent in the Big Tent at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Txsharon's contributions keeping us abreast of what Big Dirty Oil and Gas are up to are so valuable it's hard to pick only a few, but proving that a picture is worth a thousand words, Barnett Shale Sludge Pond Pictures is a must see (and read).

BossKitty at TruthHugger sees no other options ... Retirement or Exile, Show Bush The Exit.

At Eye On Williamson this year the election took up much of our time on the blog. From candidate filings, to the massive turnout for the Williamson County Democratic Party primary and convention, all the way through to electing the first Democratic state representative in Williamson County since 1992 - Diana Maldonado. There were still the same local issues popping up like road projects that are bad deals for the taxpayers, the county landfill, and the T. Don Hutto family prison in Taylor.

It's been a year of excitement at McBlogger. We've looked deeply at medical tourism and James Dobson's fear of homos. We've also, occasionally, talked about the meltdown in the financial sector. And Mr. The Plumber.

WhosPlayin shared his experience working the Democratic Primary and then the Denton County Democratic Convention back in March. In May, the Earth opened up and swallowed part of Daisetta, TX. In September, WhosPlayin suggested how a financial industry bailout could work and be transparent. Over the Christmas holiday, WhosPlayin rolled out a new Congressional Campaign Finance research website.

Over at Capitol Annex, Vince Leibowitz had a difficult time trying to select his favorites out of 2,470 posts published (so far) during 2008, but finally settled on a few. After a long PrimaCaucus season and hair-raising state convention, he posted some Random Thoughts on the 2008 TDP Convention. As the election cycle went on, he pondered why anyone would want to re-elect State Rep. John Davis (R-Clear Lake), and told the world about a racist mailer that had been sent out against State Rep. Allen Vaught. After the election season, he memorialized "The People's Lawyer," Jim Mattox, and noted that Tom DeLay's wife was trying to quash a subpoena in a civil lawsuit related to the now-defunct Americans for a Republican Majority.

Mean Rachel started off 2008 with An Open Letter to Whom She Was in 2007, and proceeded to write open letters to just about everyone, including Mark Strama and Elliot Elliott Naishtat. She met Barack Obama, got Obama license plates, and subsequently had her tires slashed because of them. She also wrote for the Texas Observer in Denver and daydreamed about Republican pornography. Finally, in June, Mean Rachel asked for serenity now, and wondered if Americans would ever have the wisdom to change. By November, she had her answer.

In Sympathy: Ramon And Elisha Alonzo

On December 20 Dallas State Representative Roberto Alonzo lost his older brother and his grand-nephew in an accident on a south Texas fishing trip. The four-year-old Elisha fell in the water and his grandfather Ramon, 58, jumped in to try and save him. Both were drowned. Jesse Garcia of the Dallas Stonewall Democrats put it well: "We are very sad that one of our best allies and dearest friends who champions causes for our families is going through such heartbreak over his own. To send your condolences, you can email to District104.Alonzo AT"

In Memory: Ned Fritz

Edward C. "Ned" Fritz, called by the Dallas News "perhaps Dallas' most ardent and influential environmentalist", died on December 20 at 92. Those of us who had known this tireless activist for years would delete that word "perhaps". You can read the paper's obit at this page. There will be a memorial service at 3 PM on Friday, January 2 at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, 4015 Normandy Ave.

Our District Attorney Craig Watkins Named Texan Of The Year

This award came from the Dallas News, in recognition of his transforming Texas justice. You can read their editorial at this page.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Congratulations To Our Judicial Runners

Dallas County Democratic Judges Doug Skemp and Dan Patterson participated in the White Rock Marathon this past Sunday. Judge Skemp completed the 26.2 mile marathon in 4 hours and 16 minutes. Judge Patterson completed the 13.1 mile half marathon in 2 hours and 29 minutes.

See Our Democratic Judges Sworn In

Judges in Dallas County will be sworn in for their new four-year terms on New Year's Day, January 1. The ceremonies will begin at 10 AM, at The Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce St., in downtown Dallas. There will also be a traditional breakfast buffet. Tickets are $40, and will probably sell out very quickly. Reserve your tickets (or table) now at the Dallas County Democratic Party office, 4209 Parry, Dallas. Call 214-821-8331 for more information.

Presidential Electors Vote Today

You didn't really vote for President on November 4. In accord with the indirect design of the authors of the U.S. Constitution, back in the days of still-primitive communication and transportation and drastically restricted electoral franchise, you actually voted for a slate of Presidential Electors in each state and D.C. Today those 538 people (one for each member of Congress, plus three from the District of Columbia) will meet and cast the actual votes for President and Vice-President. A majority of the states require them to vote for the candidates they were pledged to support, and only very rarely does anyone do otherwise. (One John Kerry elector voted for John Edwards instead in 2004, for example.)

The electoral votes cast today will be counted by the new Congress in January. Barring an isolated protest vote, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will each get 365 votes to McCain's and Palin's 173. [And no, Palin won't be the first woman to get electoral votes. Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro did that ahead of her in 1984.] Then on January 20, the new administration will begin, and Americans and the world can breathe a huge sigh of joyous relief.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Happy Holidays To All!!

Contrary to hate-mongers like certain far-right broadcast hosts, we say that not to "make war on Christmas", but to recognize that there are a broad range of celebrations in December. That includes Christmas, but also Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha, and pagan ceremonies for the Winter Solstice. We joy in diversity, not demonization.

This month several Democratic organizations are not having meetings, or are having Holiday Parties instead or in addition. We've listed several in Upcoming Events below. If your Democratic group is having one not shown, email us and we'll put it on the DCDP website Calendar. (Note that a couple of these only have a date and a link to their own website, since they don't have a location yet.)

The Dallas County Democratic Party's own HOLIDAY PARTY will be on Friday, December 12, from 4 to 7 PM, at the Tipperary Inn, 5815 Live Oak St. (at Skillman), Dallas, TX 75214. There will be light snacks, but the kitchen is open. It's a cash bar, but with Happy Hour pricing from 4 to 7. Come by for fun with Democratic friends.

Next month will come one of the biggest celebrations of all, when Barack Obama and Joe Biden are inaugurated, and begin restoring hope to the American people and the world. The big day is January 20. Please visit the Presidential Inaugural Committee's web site for information on obtaining tickets to the 2009 Inaugural Events.

[And of course, that afternoon, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will be out of office and therefore eligible for indictment and arrest for war crimes in several European countries, even if they have pardoned themselves for any violations of U.S. laws. That should put a crimp in their travel plans. Happy New Year!]

Upcoming Meetings & Events:

(For the latest updates on local events, and links to more info about these, always check the DCDP website Calendar.)

Tuesday, December 2:
  • Las Colinas/HD105 Democrats (7 PM, La Madeleine, 6430 North Macarthur Blvd. at Royal, Irving)
Wednesday, December 3:
  • Tarrant County Democratic Party HOLIDAY PARTY Featuring: James Hinkle and Mace Maben - Fort Worth Guitar Legends with their Big E in FW Band. $25 donation. (7 PM, Lola's, 2736 W. 6th Street, Fort Worth)
Thursday, December 4:
  • Dallas Peace Center 2008 Peacemaker Awards Dinner Tickets $75 and up; reserve online at this page. (Reception begins at 5:30 PM, Dinner is served at 7 PM, DoubleTree Hotel, 4099 Valley View Ln., Dallas)
Friday, December 5:
  • Collin County Democratic Party HOLIDAY DINNER DPCC is providing smoked ham and turkey and vegetarian lasagna. We are asking members to bring food items according to their last name. Read more at this page. RSVP to us no later than Monday, Dec 1 so we can get a head count for the food. RSVP by email to events AT (7-9 PM, Unitarian Church, 2875 E Parker Rd, Plano)
Saturday, December 6:
  • Park Cities / Central Dallas Democrats (10:30 AM, Oak Lawn Public Library, 4100 Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas)
  • North Dallas Texas Democratic Women and NDD102 HOLIDAY PARTY The two clubs will furnish ham, turkey and a vegan dish, plus all liquid refreshments. Please bring a dish -- see the schedule on this page. You MUST RSVP by December 3rd in order for us to have sufficient food and liquid refreshment for all! Either call 972-732-7712 and leave a message or email to info AT (6 PM, 17201 Hidden Glen Drive, Dallas)
Monday, December 8:
  • Stonewall Democrats of Dallas HOLIDAY PARTY With annual holiday basket auction and awards presentation. (7 PM, Round Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs, Dallas)
Tuesday, December 9:
  • PVL - A New Era (6:30 PM, Thurgood Marshall Rec Center, 5150 Mark Trail, Dallas)
Wednesday, December 10: Thursday, December 11:
  • Dallas County Pct. 5 Constable & J. P. Community Christmas Luncheon (11 AM to 1 PM, 410 S. Beckley Avenue, Suite 200, Dallas)
  • Preston Hollow Democrats Please call Roger Grape at 214-502-7084 to RSVP so that we can tell Popolo's how many to expect. (6:30 PM, Popolo's Restaurant at Preston and Royal, Dallas)
  • Garland Area Democratic Club (7 PM, Garland Women's Activities Building, 713 Austin St. at Glenbrook, Garland)
Friday, December 12:
  • Dallas County Democratic Party HOLIDAY PARTY Light snacks but kitchen is open. Cash bar. Happy hour pricing on drinks from 4 - 7! (4 to 7 PM, Tipperary Inn, 5815 Live Oak St. at Skillman, Dallas)
  • Dallas County Young Democrats HOLIDAY PARTY (8 PM)
Tuesday, December 16:
  • Texas Coalition of Black Democrats (6:30 PM, Moorland YMCA, 907 E. Ledbetter Rd., Dallas)
  • Irving Democratic Club HOLIDAY PARTY Bring a dish to share, and canned good for food collection. (7 PM, The Glass Door, Story Road at Irving Blvd.)
Saturday, January 3:
  • Texas Coalition of Black Democrats Dallas Chapter Inaugural Formal Dinner and Ball $100 - General Admission; $150 - VIP Pass [includes private reception at 6:00] Get tickets online at this page. Reserve tickets by email to tcbdevents AT Inquiries 214-404-8336. (7 PM, The Women's Museum, 3800 Parry Ave, Fair Park, Dallas)