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, May 23, 2005

THE DIPSTICK IS DRY: The Medium Lobster weighs powers in the balances:
And in the fight against the fight against freedom, Uzbekistan has more than proven its mettle, putting its unique people-boiling skills to good use against the terrorists, suspected terrorists, and suspected possible associated of possible suspected terrorists flown in by the United States. Indeed, Uzbekistan has bought itself enough anti-anti-freedom to counterbalance the somewhat regretable human rights abominations within its borders.
Emjoy it all at "The Calculus of Freedom".
SURRENDER IN OUR TIME: To paraphrase the old line about the restored Bourbon monarchy in post-Napoleonic France, the Spineless Seven Sellouts, those Democrats who made the "compromise" not to filibuster Bush's most outrageous judicial appointees (so far!), have earned nothing and begotten nothing. They throw in the towel, and the Republicans don't vote to abolish the filibuster. But if the Democrats give up like this, then the issue of abolishing the filibuster never reaches the floor, so the Republicans give up nothing at all.

Furthermore, they reserve the right to back out if the Democrats ever do filibuster in any but "extraordinary circumstances". If the radical reactionary and theocratic records of these repulsive nominees are not extraordinary, then who could Bush possibly appoint that would look that way to these seven jellyfish? Pat Robinson? David Duke? There is nothing whatsoever that would prevent the seven Republican signers from denying that even those nominees constituted "extraordinary circumstances", and therefore going right ahead with the "nuclear option" again.

It is no comfort that the fanatics of the far right are throwing fits of their own denouncing the Republicans (but it is fun to watch; you can find several examples linked at DailyKos). Let us remember the names of these appeasers, which will live in infamy:
Robert C. Byrd D-West Virginia
Daniel Inouye D-Hawaii
Mary Landrieu D-Louisiana
Joseph Lieberman D-Connecticut
Ben Nelson D-Nebraska
Mark Pryor D-Arkansas
Ken Salazar D-Colorado

Thursday, May 19, 2005

THE CITIES OF MANKIND: With almost every day comes a new revelation of misleading tactics causing switches in endorsements for the Dallas City Council runoffs on June 4. In district 2, third-place finisher SeGwen Tyler first backed runner-up Monica Greene. Now she's found that she was misled about the background of Pauline Medrano, and has switched to support Pauline instead. In district 14, Candy Marcum first -- incomprehensibly -- backed the Republican Ingle. Now she's been hammered because Ingle didn't support GLBT rights on a city board, and withdrawn her support. She didn't endorse Hunt, but that is the effect of it. Medrano and Hunt should both win. Moral: don't play fast and loose with the facts.

All of this is really shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, until we change the city government to allow the people to have some real say in their government. The thankfully-defeated "strong Mayor" proposal was going the wrong direction. What do we really need? A very good example from South America, found at wood s lot, is described in "Cities For People". But don't mind me, I'm just a starry-eyed idealist.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"STUDIOUS OF BREVITY": One more reason we love reading Body and Soul:
The New York Times, in its continuing effort to turn itself into a national joke, sent Judith Miller to cover the story, and to tell us that Galloway was not credible, without actually letting us in on much of what he said.

Judith Miller thinks George Galloway is not credible.

There isn't much more to say after that.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Flavia Fontes was talking on the phone when a headline in a small Brazilian newspaper caught her eye: A paraplegic man was forbidden to get married by the Roman Catholic Church because he was impotent. ...

Even though Fontes, a Brazilian filmmaker living in New York, was already immersed in another project, she decided she needed to capture Hedir Antonio de Brito's story. The result is "Forbidden Wedding," which premieres on the Sundance Channel at 9 p.m. EST Monday. ...

De Brito was two weeks away from marrying Elzimar de Lourdes Serafim, a widow, in August 1996, when he received a shocking letter from the local bishop denying their application for a marriage certificate. According to canon law, any man or woman who is impotent and unable to have intercourse cannot get married.

De Brito wrote a letter to Pope John Paul II to appeal the bishop's decision, but didn't get a response. The invitations had already been mailed and the couple were determined to get married, even if it meant going against the church.
(Found at Down with Absolutes!)
FEEL THE EARTH MOVE: As Kansas "education" commissioners claim to "investigate" evolution by holding hearings free forums for theocratic idiots to spout prescientific nonsense, one real practitioner has skewered them not just dead, but really most sincerely dead. Check out Pharyngula's beautiful post at "Niobrara":
The Niobrara Chalk formation is 600 feet thick. It was building up for a long, long time, tens of millions of years. The exposed chalks of northwestern Kansas are also old, dating to between 87 and 82 million years ago....

The inescapable conclusion is that Kansas was under water during the age of the dinosaurs. During the Mesozoic, the world was warm and the oceans were at a high level, and the entire central part of North America was a great, shallow, inland sea, a warm soup rich in microorganisms that were busily living and dying and slowly accumulating into deep dense chalk beds on the bottom. ...

During the course of the hearings, the lawyer on the side of science, Pedro Irigonegaray, asked several of the witnesses for Intelligent Design creationism what they thought the age of the earth was. It's a simple, straightforward question with a simple answer: about 4.5 billion years. The Intelligent Design creationists found it difficult. Some answers were ludicrous, such as Daniel Ely's and John Sanford's assertion that the earth was between 10 and 100 thousand years old. Others were evasive: Stephen Meyer and Angus Menuge refused to answer. Some of these "qualified witnesses" were embarrassingly ignorant: William Harris could only say, "I don't know. I think it's probably really old.". All of this is in line with the intellectually flaccid position of the godfather of the Intelligent Design movement, Phillip Johnson, who has bravely announced that "I have consistently said that I take no position on the age of the earth".

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The White House launched an investigation Thursday into the 47-minute delay in notifying President Bush about the intrusion of a single-engine aircraft into restricted airspace over the nation's capital that provoked emergency evacuations.

The violation of the no-fly zone Wednesday led more than 30,000 people to quickly leave the White House complex, the Capitol and the Supreme Court and triggered an eight-minute "red alert" at the White House.

At the time, Bush was riding a bicycle at a wildlife center in suburban Maryland and wasn't told of the alert until after he had completed his ride at 12:50 p.m., 47 minutes after the "red alert" was issued and 36 minutes after an all-clear.

Vice President Dick Cheney, first lady Laura Bush and visiting former first lady Nancy Reagan were among those evacuated from the White House complex during the alert.
You say coke I say caine
You say John I say Wayne
Hot dog I say cool it man
I don't wanna be the President of America
You say smile I say cheese
Cartier I say please
Income tax I say Jesus
I don't wanna be a candidate
For Vietnam or Watergate
Cos all I want to do is
Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle

--Freddie Mercury, Bicycle Race, 1978
And this update was spotted at Kicking Ass, found by me via Magpie:
Well it turns out that there's no bikes allowed on the trails where Bush was riding.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

AHEAD OF THE HEADLINES: This may hit the news in the next day or so, but here's the quick scoop about today's imbroglio in the runoff for Dallas City Council District 2. Someone in the anti-Medrano camp came around to Pauline's house (where she and her family have lived for many years) and was photographing it. Someone saw him; when observed he fled, then returned later in another vehicle, believed to belong to his spouse. When he was spotted again trying to photograph the house, he tried to flee -- and promptly crashed his vehicle into that of Pauline's brother. He then fled from the accident scene, and its witnesses, at great speed. Meanwhile, the brother was admitted to the nearby Parkland Hospital to be checked out. This is just one more example of how pathetically desperate the die-hard Medrano haters are here. Sad, really. Maybe this notorious scourge will finally get the ticket he deserves for this panicky lawbreaking.
MISC. BLOGGING NEWS: I should have pointed this out earlier, but north Texas blogger and super Dean supporter Annatopia has revised her site, which is now more accessible and renamed Out Loud.

Meanwhile, Avedon Carol of The Sideshow, who from her perch in England has been noticing Dallas events through this humble *cough* blog, has also been helping fill in at Eschaton lately. Frankly, for day to day links we look to her site ahead of his or his main competition for massive daily visitations, Daily Kos. Both of them remain among the "most used as sources" on my sidebar, but that count was made long ago. Both of them have changed to mostly hitching posts for interminable chains of comments, often in "open threads" with no story at all. Ms. Carol still gives the good links and just gets out of the way. Brava to her.
NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS: I didn't report on the rountine Dallas County Executive Committee meeting Monday night at which Darlene Ewing was elected as the new County Chair, after Theresa Daniel filled in for a month to allow the Precinct Chairs to find out about the three candidates and make an informed choice. Since I was busy volunteering at the party office, I didn't endorse anyone or get involved in the campaigns. (If you want more details, the ever quick and invaluable Byron has put some up at Burnt Orange Report, complete with a diehard revanchist Parthian shot from one of the old guard's claque of haters, and total takedowns from Ken Molberg and others in the comments. More there also about the report to the meeting on the large sums of payroll taxes found to have been unpaid by Her Former Majesty.)

There were no fights or parliamentary disputes at the meeting, just a calm election on the first ballot. Frankly, the party has grown and is growing so much that we have had to establish bureaucratic committees to delegate various matters to, such as finance, communications, and so on. These have begun active and promising meetings, and they will be the real center of party operations over the years to come. It is rather like the way General Motors had to reorganize when they slapped together several smaller companies. Once they put those groups together so they could cooperate, they began their progress to eventually bypass the old fashioned style of the one-man-on-horseback Ford Motor Company. The same thing is going to happen here, as we pass the fading Republicans in this county. Any of the three candidates would probably have fit well into this new decentralized system. Prospects feel good.
A county Republican chairman says his bid to head the state party was sabotaged because a letter falsely accused him of having been married six times. The right number, he says, is five.

"That's unconscionable," Seminole County Republican Party Chairman Jim Stelling said Tuesday in the trial over his defamation suit. "I have four children and eight grandchildren that I love dearly. I believe in family values."

He is seeking unspecified damages in his lawsuit against Nancy Goettman, a former county GOP executive committee member who sent out a letter to party executives statewide days before the 2003 election for chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

Stelling narrowly lost to Carole Jean Jordan and sued Goettman soon afterward.
(Thanks to Tom Blackwell for sending this one.)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN: There is good news for local Democrats in the election held yesterday in Dallas County. I was working at the polls myself, instead of actively campaigning in these non-partisan races. The results are up on the Dallas County Elections Department site HERE. What does it all mean?

The best news was actually three defeats. Best of all was the defeat of Dwaine Caraway in Dallas Council District 4. The impression I have formed of his previous involvement in city politics is that a victory by him could only have been compared to some very serious medical problem. That's only my own personal opinion, of course. I hope the voters never give him a chance to prove me correct.

The next best news was the huge defeat of the proposed "strong Mayor" proposition, by over 61%. This was a centralized power-grab whose ultimate suppport came from the same kind of advocates of elected tyranny that back the Bush regime. They were frustrated by the actual democracy of Council members who dared to represent their own constituents instead of taking orders, and wanted to put all the reins in the hands of one person. They figured Dallas is so big, and city-wide campaigning so expensive, that these fat cats would always have control over whoever won that one race. The people, overwhelmingly so in the minority parts of town, told them "Hell, no."

Voters remember when all the council was chosen at large, by an elite group of developers and special interests, who paid no attention to all the little people until time came to collect their property taxes to finance pork barrel projects for the absentee landlords. We're not going back there again, and it's just fine with us if the door hits you in the rear on the way back to your vanilla surburbs. This proposal did bring out some reactionary true believers in the fuhrer-principle of leadership to vote for it, which hurt some good candidates in other races.

Third best, though it hardly qualifies as news, because it was totally predictable, was the overwhelming defeat of a Democrat in Dallas Council district 10. This clueless loser has lately been telling people how Sheriff Valdez won by following his advice last year, and Congressman Frost lost because he wouldn't listen to him. He's also said our last County Chair resigned because this guy personally got Howard Dean to order her out. He assured me he would have Howard call and tell me that was so. I'm still waiting.

A hopeful sign for the future came in two races for the Dallas County School Board, whose districts include lots of usually-Republican suburban territory. A Democrat, Ann Hubener (mother of Katy Hubener, one of our candidates for State Representative last year), won one of the two races, and another Democrat, Pauline K. Dixon (a longtime Precinct Chair), almost tied for the other seat; there could be a runoff there in a month. There will be other runoffs in some Dallas Council races.

In heavily African-American District 8, five inconsequential minor candidates wasted the voters' time by denying a majority to either incumbent James Fantroy, or former Council member Al Lipscomb. The leaders wound up within twenty votes of each other overall, and actually got exactly the same total of 1,792 votes cast at the polls. Lipscomb was attempting a comeback after the white Dallas establishment had failed in a trumped-up effort to destroy this long-time activist thorn in their side. They maneuvered a ridiculous felony indictment of him over a trivial misdemeanor issue about financial reporting laws, based on grand jury testimony from a source so questionable that they did not even dare expose that witness to cross-examination in court, then arbitrarily moved the trial to overwhelmingly white and very conservative far west Texas.

Rabble-rousing accusations of bribery, fanned by Al's longtime enemies in the local reactionary media, let to an absurd conviction. This was later overturned on appeal, repudiating the ex-Dallas cop turned judge, whose former colleagues probably considered his improper transfer of the trial as payback for the times Al had denounced Dallas police for excessive force and other abuses. The voters have two experienced Council members to choose from, and won't go far wrong with either. (Personally, I'd vote for Al, but I have nothing against Fantroy himself.)

In Dallas Council District 14 there's a runoff between Democrat Angela Hunt, supported by the term-limited incumbent, and Republican Kathy Ingle, who spent a lot of money at the end provoking calls from voters to the party office wondering if she was a Democrat, which tells you what her literature was carefully not saying. Finishing third was Democrat Candy Marcum, heavily supported by the GLBT voters of Oak Lawn in that district. Eccentric Republican P.D. Sterling went nowhere, as did the angry effort by former Democratic candidate Jack Borden, who failed to file in time even as a write-in candidate, then complained loudly to all about not being able to vote for himself. Angela, friendly to the Stonewall Democrats and a serious contender for their endorsement herself, deserves to and should be able to win this easily.

District 2 is not so certain, though it should be. I wrote about this race April 18, in "The Fight For Dignity". Here is where the monarchial mob that came out to hand over their unwanted freedoms to a strong Mayor had the most impact. They've been drinking the kool-aid from the Dallas News for years, including its ceaseless tirades against those awful Medranos and their obstreperous pro-labor and minority activism. They are sort of like the viewers of Fox News, who polls showed really believed we had found WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam was behind 9-11. They don't have the reading comprehension to remember the details of articles and editorials carefully worded not to fall over the edge into actionable libels about election "improprieties". They just remembered "Medrano, bad; powerful city boss, good", and voted for the proposition and against that apprentice demon, Pauline Medrano.

She still got the most votes, of course, and would have won outright if that amendment had not been on the ballot. The grudge-bearing haters who put out tons of anonymous and illegal garbage against her will have a hard time getting their dupes back for the runoff. (Meanwhile, the irony of these theocratic-driven locksteppers voting instead for a person whose entire personal life would get her banned from those people's antediluvian churches will go totally over their head. That irrelevant background has not, should not, and will not, be made an issue, but it's hilarious to observe their infinite capacity for hypocrisy.) Pauline should pull this out next month, if the voters don't let down their guard.