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, February 28, 2005

THE DALLAS MEETING TONIGHT: The Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Committee (which consists of the Precinct Chairs, the County Chair, and the County Secretary) met tonight at the Communication Workers Union hall, in response to a call by petition from a majority of the Precinct Chairs (since the County Chair had not called a meeting in a long, long, time, despite requests). The meeting is now over, as they have been basically thrown out by someone claiming authority to control the building.

Byron LaMasters has posted the two different suggested agendas at the Burnt Orange Report HERE. The main point is that the Chair was not removed. From a parliamentary point of view it would not have been proper to remove an officer without previous notice of a meeting called for that purpose, which should only follow the appointment of an investigative subcommittee to consider any charges alleged. Some changes were proposed in how the party will have to be run from now on, and a lot of steam was let off. Expect more details tomorrow (or much much later tonight) at BOR or here or both.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


[UPDATE ON THIS, LATER THE SAME DAY: The local party's big guns have now weighed in on this, per the following letter:]
Concerned Democrats of Dallas County
February 26, 2005

Dear Fellow Democrat:

By now you have no doubt received a letter from Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Susan Hays about the County Executive meeting called for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the CWA Hall. We write in response.

The County Executive Committee (made up of you, your fellow precinct chairs, our county chair and secretary) is by law the governing body of the Dallas County Democratic Party. In other words, the Party is our responsibility - not only morally but legally.

The Chair takes the position that the petition calling the meeting was unnecessary. She further implies that the meeting was improperly called. Neither is correct. Despite an intervening presidential election, the executive committee has not met since early May 2004. When we met at that time, the meeting almost turned to chaos. No meetings were called after that date to coordinate the efforts of the precinct chairs for purposes of general election victory, even though Party rules charge us with the task of planning and coordinating the general election campaign, fundraising, and producing materials and coordinating services for the benefit of local campaigns. No meetings of the committee have been called by the chair since the general election. In truth, many of you, as well as Democratic organizations and other party leaders, have repeatedly requested the chair to call an executive committee meeting for the purpose of planning strategy, re-invigorating basic party political programs, fundraising efforts and traditional party events that have withered, and mobilizing our precincts to work on behalf of our Party and our candidates. Those calls have been ignored.

As a result, more than 60 percent of you–substantially more than the required number–took the option specifically provided for by Democratic Party Rules: to call a meeting by a petition process. More than 210 of you have signed that petition and many more sought to sign but were unable to because of time limits. Thus, to imply that this meeting has been called by a handful of disgruntled people is at the least misleading. At the very least, it is an unjustified indictment of the vast majority of the committee.

The calling of the meeting is both necessary and lawful. And given the current circumstances, the action was wise.

The chair personally attacks David Wilkins, our unanimously elected Party Secretary, as the one who called the meeting. That is not correct. Mr. Wilkins merely posted the legally required notice of the action of the precinct chairs in calling the meeting. We applaud him for doing what is no doubt his required duty. To chastize his legitimate actions in an effort to personalize this process is wrong.

You are the Democratic Party of Dallas County. Many of you, like us, have dedicated immense time and effort to the Party over many years – often at great personal expense. You have an absolute right to call a meeting. As Party rules state, the executive committee, among other things, may adopt continuing rules for the conduct of its business and establish committees as it deems appropriate. To suggest that a clear majority of you should not be able to call a meeting for this purpose is not only an affront to you as a precinct chair, it sets a dangerous precedent.

In our collective memory – dating from 1972 – there has not been a meeting called by a majority of the executive committee. That an overwhelming majority of the committee has now succeeded in the difficult job of doing so is evidence of the importance of this gathering.

We look forward to a productive gathering. This meeting is important to you and our beloved Party. Please be there Monday evening.


Theresa Daniel, SDEC

Ken Molberg, SDEC and former County Chair

Shannon Bailey, SDEC and President, Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus

Steve Tillery, SDEC

Michael Moon, President, Stonewall Democrats of Dallas

Dorothy Dean, Precinct Chair, Former SDEC

Bruce Rothstein, Precinct Chair

Janice Mattox, Precinct Chair

Gary Fitzsimmons, former SDEC

Buck Massey, Precinct Chair

Ricardo Medrano, Precinct Chair


The Dallas County Chair has asked concerned Democrats to provide her, in writing, with a list of concerns and complaints regarding her leadership. Although these issues have been addressed with her on numerous occasions both individually and through our Democratic Clubs, we have narrowed that list into a few items that clearly show a history of financial mismanagement, statutory negligence, irresponsibility and malfeasance that threaten our Party’s financial integrity, reputation and cost our Party votes in November:
  • Chair Hays approved a defective 2004 General Election ballot that placed Martin Frost's name next to Republican Robert Frost's such that it was unclear which oval belonged to which candidate. The Frost campaign, after discovering the defect, made an emergency appeal to the County Elections Department to prevent the use of the defective ballot. The Elections Department complied but only after approximately 1,000 ballots had already been mailed to early voters.

  • Chair Hays reluctantly litigated to protect our vote in 2002 when Dallas County early voting machines malfunctioned from mis-calibrations. When our counsel subpoenaed the defective machines, Chair Hays became upset that this action "would upset the Republicans."

  • After the revolving door of four Executive Directors in less than three years, the excessive salaries paid to staff ($5,000 per month for the first two directors and $4,000 per month for the third) have left party coffers nearly dry. Dallas Democrats have no idea how much the fourth is being paid.

  • The annual Fish Fry in its first year took in $13,000, $25,000 in the second, and $50,000 in the third attracting nearly 400 participants. In 2004, after disbanding the fundraising committee which was responsible for that success, Chair Hays produced a Fish Fry that was an embarrassing failure attracting less than 100 with some invitations arriving the day of the event and most the day before.

  • Dallas for Kerry made an agreement with Chair Hays to raise funds that would be turned over to the Party in order to purchase yard signs to sell or give away to those who could not afford them. After selling out of the yard signs twice, Chair Hays refused to purchase any more even at a $4 per sign profit. Chair Hays indicated that it was too much trouble for the Party staff to continue to collect purchaser contact information even though Dallas Republicans sold 18,000 Bush signs and collected contact information for all those purchasers.

  • Chair Hays' poor judgment extended to consolidating and moving polling places without consultation of longtime Election Judges during 2004 Primary Runoff causing voter confusion and chaos. When one elderly Election Judge from the 23rd Senate District, understandably upset to find her election materials at a distant location, complained to Chair Hays, the Chair responded with "just shut up!"

  • The Chair failed to call the Executive Committee together as required by Party rules so as to mount a coordinated campaign; failed to initiate any voter registration projects; has disbanded the party structure of volunteer committees; has staffed the office with inexperienced staffers and one with Republican voting history; has turned successful fundraising events into money-losing failures; and created an atmosphere of dissension, chaos, and distrust through her callous, reckless and irresponsible behavior.
[Observe that these leaders among the party activists are not calling for specific actions at the meeting, only defending the legality of and need for this meeting, against attacks by the Chair which demonstrate why so many are upset with her. You can see a copy of the letter she sent out which provoked this intense response at THIS SITE. Another blogger on top of this ongoing crisis is Byron LaMasters at Burnt Orange Report. Back to the original post:]
"... win or lose, we shall not falter. Whatever fate may at the moment overtake any of us, the movement itself will not stop. Our cause is based on the eternal principle of righteousness ... you ... who ... have come together to spend and be spent in the endless crusade against wrong, to you who face the future resolute and confident, to you who strive in a spirit of brotherhood for the betterment of our nation, to you who gird yourselves for this great new fight in the never-ending warfare for the good of mankind, I say in closing ... We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord."
--Theodore Roosevelt, 1912 National Convention of the Progressive Party, Chicago, Illinois
The conflict between the current County Chair and many of the Precinct Chairs and Democratic organizations and unions here is coming to a head. Pent-up anger and resentment have resulted in this self-explanatory notice, which is unprecedented since the forces of truth and light reformed the party rules to drive out the DINOs (Democrats In Name Only), that were really Republican conservatives, but ran the local party by controlling our primary with big donations:

Whereas, a petition bearing the signatures of more than 51 percent of the members of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee to request a meeting of said committee has been duly filed with the Dallas County Democratic Party and its secretary, pursuant to the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party you are hereby notified that said committee will meet on the following date and at the following time and location:

Monday, February 28, 2005
6:30 p.m.
Communications Workers of America (CWA) Hall
1408 N. Washington
Dallas, Texas 75204

Signed and posted this 21 day of February, 2005

David Wilkins, Secretary
Dallas County Democratic
Executive Committee
This assault against the inert status quo has provoked an attempt at intimidation by the usual group of "don't make waves, I've got my own" crowd.
February 24, 2005

Dear Precinct Chair,

We stand today at a crossroads. Our local success in the November 2004 elections was remarkable, and our potential for building upon that success in 2006 should be unlimited.

We stress that phrase, should be, because the momentum we’ve fought so hard to gain is unquestionably ours to lose — and we fear that internal squabbles over our Dallas County Democratic Party leadership may soon sap our ability to achieve the local election victories so important to us all.

You may have gotten notice of a precinct chair meeting next Monday. Some of those calling for this meeting have been attacking the County Party and our Chair at the very time we should be celebrating success. This infighting must stop. Otherwise, we are doing a disservice to the Party and our ability to win elections in the future.

We urge you to come to the meeting on Monday at 6:30 p.m., and support the Chair and our Party. If there are specific criticisms of current leadership, those should be articulated in writing before the meeting and aired in a productive atmosphere. You can email any concerns to the Chair or to either of us at:,, or

This is the new Dallas Democratic Party — one where we work together toward victory unafraid of new ways and innovations. If we are to achieve the victories we deserve we must unite as we did when we worked together and with the Chair on a coordinated campaign to get out the vote in our districts in 2004. We now urge you to work together, with us and the Chair toward a 2006 Democratic victory.

These are challenging times. If we don’t succeed in pulling together, our Republican opponents won’t have to work to divide us — we will have done it for them. We’ve achieved too much to help them in their efforts to derail us. Please work with us to find common ground and renew our unity of passion of getting Democrats elected.

Sen. Royce West
Rep. Rafael Anchia
Commissioner John Wiley Price
Sheriff Lupe Valdez
Yes, two of these people (West and Price) are very good at their elected jobs, but as Jean told another official once, "I elected you to represent me, not to tell me how to vote." They can happily stay in their gerrymandered districts forever -- unless the grass roots feels empowered enough to challenge their own machines in the primary. Naturally, they have every incentive to discourage any such revolt. Valdez is an innocent being misled by others, because she was never active in the party and does not understand how important it is to have a local organization which can work together with mutual respect.

As for Anchia, he is a longtime Republican, with an anti-progressive record, who in effect stole an open Democratic legislative seat by getting that same embattled Chair to make a bad ruling to keep the real Democrat off the primary ballot. Naturally, he wants to keep his patroness in power. Naturally, he isn't bothered by her similar support of another Republican for a federal judgeship, which is the main (though far from only) provocation of the outrage against her. Here's a reminder of that incident, from the U.S. Senate records. Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, blithely ignoring Democratic protests against the GOP barrier to Clinton judges and greased track for Bush's nominees, said
I ask my colleagues to support this nomination. I say how delighted I am, given this late point in the year when many judicial nominations would not ordinarily be brought up, that there has been bipartisan consensus that this good man and this good judge be put up for an up-or-down vote.
To demonstrate this wholly illusory "bipartisan consensus" for one more reactionary theocratic judge, he said this:
I also ask unanimous consent to print in the RECORD a letter from the Dallas County Democratic Party.
Note that he said the letter was "FROM THE PARTY". Of course the party never authorized any such thing. He was intended to believe that by the author of the letter, who wrote it on official party stationery and signed it as Chair:

July 6, 2004.
Chairman ORRIN G. HATCH,
Members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Re Nomination of Michael H. Schneider, Sr. for the United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE: I write to encourage you to confirm the nomination of Justice Schneider. As the Dallas County Democratic Chair, I supported Justice Linda Yanez, Justice Schneider's opponent in his 2002 race for the Texas Supreme Court. During that election season I learned a great deal about Justice Schneider, namely how well-regarded and well-respected he is by the bench and the bar in Texas. Even the plaintiff's bar in Houston, Justice Schneider's home base, supported his race out of respect for his dedication to following the law.

During his tenure on the Texas Supreme Court I have followed his performance closely. (I served as a law clerk on the court during the 1997-1998 term, and specialize in civil appellate work in my law practice.) While on the Court he has been a voice of moderation and judicial conservatism. In the many conversations I have had with Texas appellate lawyers--of all political persuasions--the overwhelming consensus is that Justice Schneider has done a wonderful job on the Court and fully deserves to be elevated to the federal bench. Justice Schneider is dedicated to the rule of law and the integrity of the judicial system. The only reservation I have about his nomination is that I hate to lose his influence on the Texas Supreme Court. In addition to being a Democrat, I am a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association. Speaking both as a Democrat and as a plaintiff's lawyer, I urge the Committee to confirm Justice Schneider.

While much has been made in the press about partisan gridlock over judicial nominations, as a partisan leader and as a lawyer I know there are times the parties should come together to support a nominee. This is such a time. I urge the Committee to vote on Justice Schneider's nomination at Wednesday's hearing. A quick vote is critical this late in an election year. if you have any questions about my support of his nomination, please call me at 214-557-4819.

Susan Hays,
Needless to say, there are good Democratic attorneys, and former judges themselves, who totally disagree with this characterization of this right-wing hack. Once we had Dallas County Democratic Party Precinct Chairs who kept holding office, and voting in our primary (for the most conservative "Democrats" they could find), then backed Republicans in the fall. Notoriously, several of them actually had signs in their yards for Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964, when a Texas Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, was running for reelection. Reforms of our Rules finally forced these people out, but at the time they were fully supported by our own party's conservative county Chairs, who usually refused to even call executive committee meetings, out of fear that the moderates and liberals who were really loyal to the party might actually take action.

Now we face a more subtle version of the same thing. Republicans who cannot possibly win a general election in gerrymandered minority districts have to win by infiltrating our primary, with help from bad rulings. As demographics make the county more Democratic, they will run still more such camouflaged contenders, and will want to count on help from the party office. Win or lose, a grass roots revolt against that kind of dismal prospect is very good for those who really believe in what the party stands for, and don't like to see it hijacked the way it was up through the 1960s.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

THE FLAMING GUN: Here are some highlights from "a comprehensive analysis of the Edison/Mitofsky report" on the strange discrepancies between the exit polls and the reported results of the 2004 Presidential vote. In other words, this is the best evidence we have of the election being stolen, at least until Bush's impeachment hearings in 2007. (Yes, I can dream.)
The report states that the difference between exit polls and official tallies was far too great to be explained by chance ("sampling error"), and that a systematic bias is implicated. ...

The exit polls were based on more than 70,000 confidential questionnaires completed by randomly selected voters as they exited the polling place. The overall margin of error should have been under 1 percent. But the official result deviated from the poll projections by more than 5 percent—a statistical impossibility. ...

Finally, they report that the source of error is, in fact, within-precinct error (WPE), the difference between official precinct tallies and the exit poll samples from those same precincts. On average, across the country, the President did 6.5 percent better in the official vote count, relative to Kerry, than the exit polls projected. ...

Notably, Mitofsky and Edison unsucessfully try to explain away the fact that, according to their data, only in precincts that used old-fashioned, hand-counted paper ballots did the official count and the exit polls fall within the normal sampling margin of error.

... the report acknowledges that the discrepancy between the exit polls and the official count was considerably greater in the critical swing states. ...

In those precincts that went at least 80 percent for Bush, the average within-precinct-error (WPE) was a whopping 10.0—the numerical difference between the exit poll predictions and the official count. That means that in Bush strongholds, Kerry, on average, received only about two-thirds of the votes that exit polls predicted. In contrast, in Kerry strongholds, exit polls matched the official count almost exactly (an average WPE of 0.3). ....
Read the whole summary at "A Corrupted Election". (Thanks to scratch & sniff.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Dick Cheney says he won't be running for anything after finishing his term as vice president, except maybe to the river with his grandchildren. ...

Cheney tried to put the question to rest in the starkest terms possible. "Not only no, but hell no," Cheney told "Fox News Sunday." He quoted Civil War Gen. William Sherman, who answered similar queries in 1884 by saying, "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."
Read it HERE. (Thanks to Rantings of a Blue Guy in a Red State.) On the other hand, considering his usual degree of honesty, maybe now we should be really worried about him....

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Everybody's asking me what'll happen if we attack Iran. To get a quick preview, just do what this guy in my eighth-grade class did: put a firecracker in your mouth, hold it between your front teeth, and light the fuse.

Your friends won't believe you'll go through with it. So when it blows up in your face, you'll expect them to be impressed. And you'll be surprised, just like this guy in junior high was surprised, when all you get is a perforated eardrum and a reputation as the biggest dumbass in the school.

Right now, Bush is standing there with a lit match and a big firecracker labeled "Iran" in his mouth. Except it's more like an M-80 or a whole stick of dynamite than a firecracker. ...

The Iranians, unlike the Iraqis, have always been willing to die for their country. In the Iran-Iraq War (1980-89) thousands of Iranians volunteered to charge across Iraqi minefields, knowing they were going to die. It scared the Hell out of the Iraqis. They threw everything at those crazy Persian suicide charges, even poison gas. And the Iranians just kept coming. ...

They're the perfect suicide bombers -- in fact, it was the Shi'ites in Lebanon who perfected the suicide car bomb. The first time it happened, a 16-year-old girl drove a car full of explosives into an Israeli APC. The Israelis were shaken; in 25 years of fighting the Arabs, nobody else had done that to them.

Eventually, the Shi'ite Hizbollah guerrillas in Southern Lebanon drove the Israelis out. They were just more willing to take casualties than the Israelis were, even if the exchange was 20 or 30 dead guerrillas for every Israeli killed.
Read it all at "Super War Preview". (Thanks to Long story; short pier.)
NEVER CALL RETREAT: As the corporatist theocrats consider ending Senate filibusters by a simple majority vote, the so-called "nuclear option", Lean Left offers a terrifying solution for the Democrats trying to kept the worst of Bush's brutes off the federal bench.
Eventually, the Democrats will return to majority status in the Senate. It may be a bare majority, but the Republicans have demonstrated that simple majority power can be wielded tyrannically. The Democrats must do so.

Specifically, they must declare, now, that when they return to majority status they will implement tyranny of the majority ruthlessly for exactly as long as the Republicans did so, plus one year. In other words, they will give back to the Republicans exactly what the Republicans choose to do now, plus a penalty. After that, they will return the 60-vote rule regarding filibusters and re-establish the balance of party power. ...

Mutual Assured Destruction: It kept the nuclear peace for over 40 years , and it will work again, if only the GOP is at least as sane as Stalin.
Read it HERE. Of course the problem is that delusional fanatics who assume the Rapture will be here before they lose power won't care about the future.
DREAM THINGS THAT NEVER WERE: As the usual Democratic suspects position themselves for 2008, Jusiper points to an interesting article about "The Once and Future President Clinton".
RETREAT IN RICHMOND: According to The Rule of Reason, nationwide public mockery has had a good result:
Virginia lawmakers dropped their droopy-pants bill Thursday after the whole thing became just too embarrassing.

The bill, which would have slapped a $50 fine on people who wear their pants so low that their underwear is visible in "a lewd or indecent manner," passed the state House on Tuesday but was killed by a Senate committee two days later in a unanimous vote.

Republican Sen. Thomas K. Norment said news reports implied that lawmakers were preoccupied with droopy pants. "I find that an indignation, which dampens my humor," Norment said.
The best response to that was by Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride:
You keep using that word -- I do not think it means what you think it means.
But back to embarrassments to American government:
The bill's sponsor, Democratic Delegate Algie T. Howell, declined to answer reporters' questions Thursday but issued a statement saying the bill "was in direct response to a number of my constituents who found this to be a very important issue."

He has said the constituents included customers at his barber shop who were offended by exposed underwear.
I am personally ashamed to share a last name with such an idiot. Worse, my father's family came from Virginia, so it is possible that this hair-cutter who wants to pull up people's pants may even be a distant relative. If that isn't bad enough, the Speaker of the Virginia House shares my entire name, though that Bill Howell is a Republican. Wardrobe malfunctions aren't his obsession, but he doesn't seem to be a nice person either.

Once, this was a storied name. Hywel Dda (in English, Howell the Good), ruled Wales (or at least Deheubarth, Gwynedd and Powys) from 940 to 950.
The only Welsh king to have earned the title "The Good," he is described in the great medieval history, "The Brut Y Tywysogion" (The Chronicle of the Princes) as "the chief and most praiseworthy of all the Britons."
He was remembered for his code of laws,
recently described as "the greatest intellectual achievement of mediaeval Wales".
How low the mighty have fallen, from storied lawgivers to officious underwear measurers.

Monday, February 14, 2005

NOT QUITE THE PROOF I EXPECTED: Finally The Poor Man explains it for us.
Everyone is still missing the point of the story. ...

The story is that God exists.

Think about it: what are the chances that a media whore like Gannon would turn out to be an actual whore? It's impossible. It boggles the mind how infinitely unlikely this is. It's like if you found someone pirating CDs, and it turns out he actually had a peg leg and a parrot on his shoulder and sailed around the Caribbean saying "arrrrrr!" and plundering booty. You wouldn't believe it. But there it is: impossible, but true. Impossible truths are miracles, and only God can work miracles. Ergo, God exists. Q.E.D.
Read it at "I've Seen The Light".
FILM VERY, VERY NOIR: Last week I watched Dr. Strangelove again. When that movie first came out, and was shown at the theatre on the Air Force SAC base where my father was stationed, there was cheering from the audience when Slim Pickens rode the dropping bomb like a bucking bronco. The nuclear weapons were much bigger then. Forty years later, engineers seeking endless improvements in size have literally made suitcase bombs possible. The advantage is more precise targeting, which can reduce the number of civilian casualties.

The Bush misadministration, never bothered about what they dismiss as "collateral damage", has begun steps to a new bomb policy. According to a New York Times story:
... American scientists have begun designing a new generation of nuclear arms meant to be sturdier and more reliable and to have longer lives.... ... critics say it could needlessly resuscitate the complex of factories and laboratories that make nuclear weapons and could possibly ignite a new arms race. ...

Originally, the roughly 10,000 warheads in the American arsenal had an expected lifetime of about 15 years, officials say. The average age is now about 20 years, and some are much older. Experts say a costly federal program to assess and maintain their health cannot ultimately confirm their reliability because a global test ban forbids underground test detonations.
This is the foot in the door. Think of it as a new nostalgic movie called Battlefield of Dreams, with the recurring motif of "If you build it, they will test." The new Edward Tellers of the world are desperate to prove their geeky manhoods with plutonium pyrotechnics, and think this will be the loophole they can slither through to bring back the Golden Age where their predecessors actually got to explode new toys. The testosterone intoxicated lab rats and their many-starred promoters still wish they had one of those Doomsday Machines.

(Thanks for the pointer to the Progressive Blogger Union. --.)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

FILLING THE VACANCY: Since one phony Republican-funded straight man for the President's new conferences has been uncovered and resigned, cowering from the spotlight, there's one empty chair. Mad Kane has volunteered:
I've always fantasized about being a White House correspondent. But until now, I've never sought so lofty a position because -- silly me -- I assumed you had to be an actual journalist.

Now that I know otherwise, please consider this my application for White House press credentials. ...
Laugh at it all at "Dear Scotty".

Friday, February 11, 2005

DELAY'S LAW: If you haven't been following this story of the Exterminator's latest (and gratingist) power grab, this email gives the details from DRIVE DEMOCRACY ORG, which has been watching it closely:
Yesterday a GOP legislator, State Rep.Mary Denny, (R--Aubrey) chairwoman of the House Elections Committee filed a bill that would give the state's Ethics Commission -- appointed and funded by legislators who could be investigated -- veto power over prosecutors seeking to enforce the state's election law.

GOP lawmakers don't want to be held accountable to the law. So they are considering legislation which would, in effect, grant them perpetual immunity from prosecution. This bill should be called the "We're Above the Law" act. Please contact Rep. Denny and House Speaker Tom Craddick and tell them to withdraw HB 913. Let them know that no Texan, especially an elected official, should be above the law. Enter these URLs in your browser to send an email to Denny:
And to email Craddick:
or contact their offices:
Rep. Denny (512)463-0688 (512)463-0658 Fax
Speaker Craddick (512) 463-1000 (512) 463-7722 Fax

The bill is being filed in direct response to an investigation of the 2002 campaigns that has already resulted in three indicted corporations settling with prosecutors and eight other indictments. And yes, Rep. Denny has received money from both organizations under investigation -- Tom DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) and the Texas Association of Businesses (TAB).

A spokesperson for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association told the Austin American-Statesman, "It seems to keep prosecutors from prosecuting crimes." Ronnie Earle, the Travis County District Attorny heading up the TRMPAC investigation said: "This is the ultimate above-the-law bill. We can't have one law for politicians and another for everybody else. This is a slap in the face of the public."

The Ethics Commission is appointed by state officials and is notoriously gutless. In its fourteen years of existence it has never subpoenaed a witness or any documents to investigate a complaint or referred a criminal case. The Ethics Commission is the very definition of a toothless watchdog!

Please let Denny and Craddick know that you don't appreciate politicians trying to place themselves above-the-law and after you've contacted their offices please come to the blog and post a comment so we'll know how they are responding:

Thank you
Nathan Wilcox,
Here's more, from the Austin paper, which I repeat here because it is notorious for changing links to old stories LIKE THIS ONE:
Republican wants to give state agency power over election code prosecutions
Bill would give ethics commission veto in local prosecutions.

By Laylan Copelin
Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A member of Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick's leadership team wants to give the Texas Ethics Commission veto power over local prosecutors' prosecution of crimes under the election code.

Rep. Mary Denny, R–Aubrey, chairwoman of the House Elections Committee, would create an office under the state commission to conduct election code violation investigations such as Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle's two-year investigation of the Texas Association of Business, Texans for a Republican Majority and Craddick.

House Bill 913 would prohibit a prosecutor from pursuing charges if the state office determines there is no criminal offense.

Shannon Edmonds with the Texas District and County Attorneys Association said the group is taking a wait-and-see attitude on the legislation but added, "It seems to keep prosecutors from prosecuting crimes."

Denny and Earle were not available for comment early Wednesday afternoon.

But a critic of the bill, Craig McDonald with Texans for Public Justice, said the Ethics Commission, appointed by state officials and split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, is not known for taking action against officials.

"I think it's incumbent politicians circling the wagons to protect themselves from prosecution," McDonald said. "It puts a roadblock in the way of local prosecutors, who should have a free hand in prosecuting violations of the law."

The Ethics Commission, created in 1991, has civil authority over election code violations and can refer criminal complaints to prosecutors. The agency, however, has never subpoenaed a witness or documents to investigate a complaint or referred a criminal case.

Immediately after the 2002 legislative elections Earle began investigating the use of corporate money by the state's largest business organization and Texans for a Republican Majority, created by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, in several crucial state House races.

State law prohibits corporate or union money from being spent on political campaigns.

A Travis County grand jury indicted three of DeLay's associates in September. The investigation is continuing.

Craddick has been pulled into the fray because of his role with Texans for a Republican Majority.

A special law bars outside groups from offering help to a speaker's candidate, and the candidate is prohibited from accepting that outside help.

Craddick first denied being involved with the group because he was running for speaker of the Texas House. But legal documents in recent months have shown that Craddick raised money for the group, had his staff distribute it to Republican candidates who supported him and consulted with the political action committee's associates about their activities.

Texans for a Republican Majority and the Texas Association of Business helped Denny in her 2002 election, particularly in a contested Republican primary.
The only good thing you can say about the mind-boggling over-reaching of Delay is that historically such extremes start twisting the minds of their perpetrators so that they even assault their own puppets for fancied slights, and resentment begins to build up until their own bring them down like a house of cards. The example of "deep throat" in Watergate is only one of the most famous instances.

This is the meaning of Acton's saying about the corruption of power. It rots away even at the common sense of those it seduces, until they bring their own mansions of malice down on their heads. And Delay is so gross that the underground rebellion is growing every day. I predict that when he falls (within two years), the public and press will get the taste of blood in their mouths and go on to take down Cheney next. Of course Bush will pardon Delay and Cheney, but that will only incite his impeachment. I think it will begin in 2007.

But then I'm an optimist. Right now, email, call, and write these two abettors of abuses, and all the media you can as well, to ring the alarm bell about this attempted exemption from the rule of law.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


During the last month there has been a massive eruption among Democratic Party activists in Dallas County. They are upset with the County Chair to the extent of calling for her resignation, or, if she does not, for imposing limitations on her power. The main spark of this is her publicly supporting a Republican appointee to a federal judgeship, using her official title and party letterhead for that purpose.

Some local Democrats had already complained to the Texas Democratic Party's State Chair, but he had ruled this was not a technical violation of the state party rules since she did not endorse a Republican candidate on the ballot against a Democrat. That was not the only issue, as some were also angry about how she has administered the party office, campaigns, and interaction with the Precinct Chairs, who constitute the County Executive Committee.

The discontent with the County Chair has continued to fester, and now burst out in five resolutions. Three of them (from the Dallas County Young Democrats, the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, and the Dallas County East Democrats) called for her resignation. Two others (from the Lake Highlands/White Rock Area Democratic Club and the Richardson/Northeast Dallas Democrats) only called for a County Executive Committee meeting to discuss the situation. Here are the texts of the resolutions:

Resolution by the Dallas County Young Democrats:

Whereas; Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, Susan Hays wrote a letter on Dallas County Democratic Party letterhead, endorsing a republican elected official who had been nominated for a Federal Judgeship by George W. Bush,

And whereas; Her letter, stating her office as Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, was read into the Congressional record by republican Senator John Cornyn, an event reported by the San Antonio Express-News, thereby embarrassing all Democrats in Dallas County,

And whereas; The policies and hiring practices of Chair Hays’ administration led to a Party Office in the 2004 election cycle that was, in the publicly expressed views of many members of this club, the most unresponsive and unhelpful Party Office in many years,

And whereas; Chair Hays has not acted in a manner consistent with the government of the Democratic Party as constituted in its Party Rules, because she has disregarded the necessity of working with the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee for the entirety, so far, of her second term in office [see Party Rules Art. III. E., 6. (c)],

And whereas; The members of this club regard Chair Hays as being guilty of a “breach of trust” with her constituency, the loyal Democrats of Dallas County,

Therefore, be it resolved; That the Dallas County Young Democrats no longer have confidence in the ability of Susan Hays to administer the Dallas County Democratic Party and so, call for the resignation of Susan Hays as Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party,

Be it further resolved; That the Dallas County Young Democrats request a meeting of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee,

Be it further resolved; That in the event that Susan Hays does not resign, the Dallas County Young Democrats endorse such actions of their officers and members, including and especially those who are Democratic precinct chairs in Dallas County, as necessary and proper to modify the administrative powers of Susan Hays as Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party to provide relief from the grievances associated with her administration,

Be it further resolved; That a true copy of this resolution shall be sent to each Democratic club and precinct chair in Dallas County, and to Dallas
County Democratic Party Chair, Susan Hays.

Dallas County Young Democrats

- - -

Resolution by the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas:

Whereas, Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, Susan Hays, wrote a letter dated July 6, 2004, supporting the nomination of Republican Texas Supreme Court Justice Michael Schneider, who had been nominated for the position of U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District by George W. Bush, and

Whereas, this letter, written on Dallas County Democratic Party letterhead and referring to Chairwoman Hays by her official title as Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, was read into the Congressional record by Republican Texas Senator John Cornyn, an action considered inflammatory by many members of this organization due to the fact that we were in the middle of a Democratic Campaign to recapture the White House, and

Whereas, Chairwoman Hays is quoted in her letter that: “A quick vote is critical this late in an election year”; a deed condemned by several members of this organization as unnecessary considering that the Democratic Presidential Nominee may have been victorious in less than four months, and

Whereas, the policies and practices of the Party Office, in the 2004 election cycle, especially the lack of a coordinated general election campaign involving candidates, clubs and precinct chairs, led many Democrats to publicly criticize the Party Office as unresponsive to the needs of the party membership, and this has caused a loss of confidence in the leadership of the County Party Chair, Susan Hays, on the part of many members of this organization,

Therefore, Be it resolved, that the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas wishes to express a lack of confidence in the ability of Susan Hays to administer the Dallas County Democratic Party and calls for her resignation as Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party, and

Be it further resolved, The Stonewall Democrats of Dallas request that a meeting of the Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Committee take place within the next 30 days to discuss issues concerning our Party Leadership and future strategy of the Dallas County Democratic Party, and

Be it further resolved, that if Chairwoman Hays refuses to call a meeting within 30 days, the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas urge the Democratic Precinct Chairs to call a meeting of the Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Committee as provided for in the rules of the Texas Democratic Party

Be it further resolved, that a true copy of this resolution be sent to each member of the Dallas County Delegation of the State Democratic
Executive Committee, each Democratic club in Dallas County, The Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee and to Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, Susan Hays.

Passed on this day, January, 18, 2005
Michael T. Moon
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas

- - -

Resolution by the Lake Highlands/White Rock Area Democratic Club:

Whereas the Lake Highlands/White Rock Area Democratic Club notes that there is extensive discontent in Dallas County about the performance of Democratic County Chair Susan Hays, and

Whereas a Dallas County Executive Committee meeting may be called by 51% of its members,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Lake Highlands/White Rock Area Democratic Club calls for the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee to meet within the next 60 days to discuss the performance of Chair Hays and to take whatever actions are necessary and proper for the administration of the Dallas County Democratic Party, and

Be it further resolved that a true copy of this resolution, along with a copy of Chair Hays’ July 6, 2004, letter of support for one of Bush’s judicial
nominees, be sent to each member of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee, to each Democratic Club in Dallas County, and to Dallas County Chair Susan Hayes.

Passed in open meeting, January 8, 2005.

- - -

Resolution by the Dallas County East Democrats:

Whereas, Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, Susan Hays, wrote a letter dated July 6, 2004, supporting the nomination of republican Texas Supreme Court Justice Michael Schneider, who had been nominated for the position of U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas by George W. Bush, and

Whereas, such letter, written on Dallas County Democratic Party stationery and referring to Chair Hays by her official title as Dallas County
Democratic Party Chair, was read into the Congressional Record by republican Texas Senator John Cornyn, an event reported by the San Antonio Express-News, thereby embarrassing Democrats in Dallas County, and Whereas, Chair Hays stated in her letter that, “A quick vote is critical this late in an election year,” thereby implying that the republican-controlled Judiciary Committee should confirm Justice Schneider
before a possible Democratic Presidential victory in the November General Election, and

Whereas, the policies and practices of Chair Hays’ administration have caused dissent and shown a lack of respect for the activists and precinct chairs of this Party, as demonstrated by Chair Hays’ failure to call a meeting of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee to address these issues, or to consult our precinct chairs about the future administration of the Dallas County Democratic Party, or to conduct or manage a coordinated campaign for the Dallas County Democratic Party,

Therefore, Be it resolved, that the Dallas County East Democrats hereby states a lack of confidence in the ability of Susan Hays to administer the Dallas County Democratic Party and calls for her immediate resignation as Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party, and

Be it further resolved, that the Dallas County East Democrats requests that a meeting of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee be called, either by Chair Hays or by the precinct chairs as provided for in the Party Rules, to discuss the problems with our Party leadership and to do whatever is necessary and proper to correct those problems, and

Be it further resolved, that the Dallas County East Democrats requests the Democratic precinct chairs of Dallas County to refuse to sign any
petition to place the name of Susan Hays on the 2006 Democratic Primary ballot for County Chair, and finally

Be it further resolved, that a true copy of this resolution be sent to each member of the State Democratic Executive Committee in Dallas County,
each Democratic organization in Dallas County, each precinct chair in Dallas County, and to Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, Susan Hays.

Agreed to this 26th day of January, 2005.

- - -

Resolution by the Richardson/Northeast Dallas Democrats:

Motion: The Richardson/Northeast Dallas Democrats request that a meeting of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee be called by Chair Susan Hays within 30 days, or if 30 days have elapsed without a meeting, then by the precinct chairs as provided for in the Party Rules, to discuss the problems with our Party leadership.

Agreed to this 25th day of January, 2005.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

That didn't stop Dr. Dobson from approaching the video, and its producers, and SpongeBob, as if they were the warm-up act for the Apocalypse. ...I jokingly warned that if Dr. Dobson's group was right, the video could turn you or your kids or your furniture gay. Or tolerant.

The spam e-mails began coming in Tuesday night. They were pretty routine, damning me to eternal fires and reminding me what they "did" to Dan Rather and how I'd be next. But they were generated from Dobson's own website, which of course negates their impact, and as a result a lot of them were downright hilarious.

Something approaching 20 percent of them were simply blank. Others began with, or consisted entirely of, the preamble "(Please delete these words and type your own message here.)"
Read it HERE.