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

Sunday, November 26, 2006


The Dallas County Young Democrats continue their Texas Democratic Revolution Speaker Series this week, presenting artist Wafaa Bilal. A student activist against Saddam Hussein, he was arrested, then fled and lived in refugee camp in Saudi Arabia before coming to America to continue his art studies. Now a naturalized U.S. citizen, he does photography edging into surrealism dealing with the horrors he escaped. One of his pictures is of a man strugging under the weight of a mosque on his back. An insightful review of his work is here, and some of his photos here and here.

He is also noted for interactive exhibits, such as a Manet's bartendress at the Folies Bergère who preps herself to work while the viewer's own image shows up in the bar mirror behind her. Clips of these and others are linked on his own website here. While denouncing Saddam, he has also been critical of U.S. policies in Iraq, as seen in interviews here and here. He will be one of the featured artists at the grand opening of the new Pawn Gallery in Dallas on December 1. This week's Young Democrats-sponsored Evening With Wafaa Bilal will be free, starting at 7 PM, on Wednesday, November 29, at Space Studio, 2814 Main Street, Dallas. Free parking for this event is at the corner of Elm and Crowdus (at Club Clearview).

This Saturday, December 2, the Young Democrats will hold their Holiday Party at 7 PM at 2814 Canton Street, Dallas. In the spirit of the season, they will be accepting donations for Vogel Alcove, which provide services for homeless children. Top five needs are: diapers, infant formula, clothing, infant and toddler toys.


The Stonewall Democrats of Dallas chose new officers at their most recent meeting. The enthusiasm they displayed in this year's winning campaigns carried over into the election, where there was an unheard of contest for President. The winner is board member Jesse Garcia (shown here at left), who pledged to help make the rapidly-growing group an even more professional organization. The other new officers will be Vice-President Erin Moore, Secretary Kirk McPike, and Treasurer Bill Howell [oui, c'est moi]. Effusively thanked by the membership for their labors (in some cases of many years) were the outgoing officers: President Michael Moon, Vice-President Dana Wilson, Secretary Emily Beer, and Treasurer David Morris.

Stonewall will hold its Eighth Annual Holiday Party, Gift Basket Auction, and Awards Presentation on Tuesday, December 12, starting at 6:30 PM, at Havana's Bar and Grill, 4006 Cedar Springs at Throckmorton, Dallas. Parking is available on the left side of the building and across the street. Last year's event raised $2,500 from the auction, and members are encouraged to bring creative baskets to help raise funds for the Stonewall Democrats. Dallas County Democratic County Chair Darlene Ewing is scheduled to speak. Awards will include the Harryette B. Ehrhardt Destinguished Democrat Award, the Christy Kinsler Board Member of the Year, and the general Member of the Year. There will be music, a Mexican feast, and a cash bar.

Monday, November 20, 2006


The manager of the party's north Dallas coordinated campaign office, Kirk McPike, has put up the story of what led to a triumphant Election Night 2006 on Burnt Orange Report at "How We Won: Dallas County Turns Blue". You'll probably find out things you didn't know about how well this worked because of our local candidates cooperating with each other and the party. After his narrative, former State Representative Glenn Maxey adds in the comments that our former State Senator Oscar Mauzy "is grinning from above right now", andlongtime Precinct Chair Tom Blackwell adds more about the vicious Republican campaign this year.


The sweeping Democratic victory for Congress means that for the first time in U.S. history, the Speaker of the House of Representatives will be a woman. Nancy Pelosi is a 66-year-old San Francisco grandmother of six, who was born in Baltimore (where her father and brother each served as Mayor), and served as California State Democratic Chair before election to Congress in 1987.

Naturally, the Republicans and their loyal cheerleaders in the media began a campaign of attacks on this very threatening role model for equal opportunity. You can read more about how pathetic their venom has been in blogs at Daily Kos and at Unclaimed Territory and at Taylor Marsh and at Media Matters.

Disregarding such wailing, she is proceeding with professional poise. Before the election, she laid out an agenda for the new Congress for their first "One Hundred Hours" (including raising the minimum wage and negotiating lower drug prices). She also made it clear that "Bringing the War to an End is my Highest Priority as Speaker", adding that "...the biggest ethical issue facing our country for the past three and a half years is the war in Iraq." Both polls and election results show most of the nation agrees with her stands.


Monday, November 13, 2006


Texas State Senate tradition calls for the President Pro-Tempore to be sworn in as Governor for a Day, a 50-year-old practice that gives the member an opportunity to showcase Texans from his or her district. Perhaps the most memorable instance of this so far was on June 10, 1972, when future Congresswoman and two-time keynoter of the Democratic National Convention Barbara Jordan took the oath. (You can see her inaugural program at this page.) This is one of the few remaining bipartisan things done in Austin; last year's honoree was Republican Florence Shapiro of Plano. This time the one-day chief executive will be Democratic Senator Royce West of Dallas.

As is typical of these occasions, events begin with an Inaugural Parade on Congress Avenue in Austin, starting at 9 AM. The Inaugural Ceremony itself will be from Noon to 1 PM in the Texas Senate chamber. From 1 to 3 there will a Receiving Line (and photos with Governor West) in the Governor's Reception Room, along with an Inaugural Luncheon and entertainment on the Capitol grounds. From 7:30 to midnight the Governor's Gala will be held at the Hilton Austin Hotel. (Ticketed events may already be sold out; for more information, call 512-463-0123.)

Senator West holds the seat formerly occupied by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and the late State Supreme Court Justice Oscar Mauzy. You can read his Senate biography at this page, and find links to more details about his inaugural day at this page. This is a deserved honor for a man not just Democrats, but all Texans, should be very proud of.

Perhaps most important of all is this "Memo to Every Democrat", beginning: "Dear Everyone Who Thinks They Singled-Handedly Won the Last Election".

And remember, there are still two Congressional runoffs, due to court redistricting in Texas, and to the bizarre election system in Louisiana. There is only one Democrat running in the Texas contest: former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez. In Louisiana, against the cash-taking incumbent, the party has firmly endorsed State Representative Karen Carter.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Yesterday was a triumph for the people, and a defeat for the arrogant and out-of-touch Republican Party which had dominated Dallas County government for the last quarter of a century. Every single one of our local county-wide candidates was elected, most of them defeating incumbent Republicans. Forty-two Democratic Judges will take office in January, along with five new Democratic county-wide administrative officials. They are all listed now on the party web site. You can find their vote totals and percentages here. (And right now, the dozen other Republican Judges that we didn't challenge this year are feeling very lucky to have dodged the tidal wave.)

The victory was made even more sweet by the nastiness of the campaign run against our candidates by the fading local Republican machine. There were robocalls, flyers, doorhangers, mailings and ads that ranged from misleading to downright dishonest (we won a court order to stop one of them). Some of the smears were vicious attempts at hate-mongering. But, just as we made history in 2004 by electing an Hispanic woman Sheriff, we did it again this year by ending the long line of white good old boys with the election of Craig Watkins as District Attorney. On the bench, at the jail, and in the prosecutor's office, the face of criminal justice in this county will now look much more like the people themselves.

What made this sweep of all the contests possible was teamwork. The foundation was the 123,059 people who all just voted straight Democratic Party. That was 53 per cent of all the straight party vote, swamping the Republicans who usually dominate that category, and starting them all out over 16,000 votes down. Our strong campaigners took off running from there. The highest percentage among county-wide races went to one of our two incumbents up this year, Judge Dennise Garcia, who got 54.19 per cent of the total vote. Our highest percentage among non-incumbents went to Mike Snipes, at 53.84%. The highest vote total among local candidates was for Craig Smith, with 203,638.

The flood washing out encrusted Republican misrule was nationwide, with Democrats apparently winning control of both houses of Congress, and voters across the country identifying "corruption" as their first concern. A host of abusive incumbents were thrown out in several states. We also elected hundreds of new state legislators across the country, including several in Texas. In Dallas County, Allen Vaught defeated an incumbent Republican for State Representative in District 107, and several others made impressive showings. They are part of the building next wave, to take back control of our state government in Austin as well.

We've shown this year that the key to that is having a structure in place that can coordinate campaign efforts and enable the diverse energies of Democrats to be effective. To firmly establish, and expand for the future, popular control of our own government, we need ongoing staff and operations. That means money. You can help us reach out for that goal by contributing to the Dallas County Democratic Party or becoming a Sustaining Member. You can easily do this on-line at this page. Think of it as both a celebration of our success, and an investment in tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The Republican Party is running very scared this year. Since surveys show most Americans agree more with Democrats on most issues, including Iraq, they have turned to voter suppression. This effort began months ago. Greg Palast, who uncovered the purging of tens of thousands of votes in Florida for 2000, says that kind of "pre-disqualification" is still going on.

Their latest scam is phony, annoying robocalls. Here's one example: "The call purports to be for John Hall, the Democratic challenger, but makes negative assertions about Hall. If the caller hangs up, they are called again and again, as many as seven times, according to one report. So either the recipient hears a negative message about Hall, or they think Hall is harrassing them with repeated phone calls. Either way it's a win for Hall's opponent, Republican incumbent Sue Kelly."

These calls are already getting them in trouble for breaking the law in several states, like Indiana, and New Hampshire, and "also violate a Federal Communications Commission rule that says automated calls must identify their source at the beginning of the message. ... The NRCC is using "robo calls" in at least 53 competitive House races nationwide." The Democratic Party "is preparing to file civil suits and pursue this to the fullest extent of the law." (See the video here.)

That's not even the most vicious thing they are doing. In the tight U.S. Senate race in Virginia: "Tim Daly from Clarendon got a call saying that if he votes Tuesday, he will be arrested. ... The transcript from his voicemail reads: "This message is for Timothy Daly. This is the Virginia Elections Commission. We've determined you are registered in New York to vote. Therefore, you will not be allowed to cast your vote on Tuesday. If you do show up, you will be charged criminally." Daly has been registered to vote in Virginia since 1998, and he has voted for the last several cycles with no problem. He has filed a criminal complaint with the Commonwealth's attorney in Arlington." Illegal calls like this have been made across the state to Democrats.

Just in case their efforts fail, the GOP pundits are announcing they plan to be poor losers: Evans and Novak write "expect a few recounts". But if they do manage to run up seemingly winning numbers that just look funny, they are priming their true believers to shout that all is well: "Enormous Republican efforts to encourage early and absentee voting could dramatically skew exit polls. Do not be surprised if the apparent results Tuesday night are overturned by Wednesday morning in several close House races." One of their own sites warns their dupes: "Beware Of Exit Polls ... Biased And Inaccurate Predictions Have Led To Poor GOP Exit Poll Showings In Past Three National Elections". Never mind that exit polls are what the U.S. government itself uses to spot stolen elections in other countries.

They have nothing to fear but voters themselves. Their support for "democracy" abroad doesn't seem to extend to actual free and honest elections here at home. Go vote, get all the non-Republicans you know to vote, and then come celebrate tonight at our Victory Watch Party when we see the results come in of the people rejecting this gang of very un-American crooks and bullies.

UPDATE: There's more, including that wonderful picture above, at Firedoglake.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


The rally on Monday, November 6, for our Democraticcandidate for Governor Chris Bell has been moved to a different site. It's still scheduled for from 1 to 2 PM, but now it will be held at the Dallas County Democratic Party's main office near Fair Park. The address is 4209 Parry Avenue at the corner of Parry and Fletcher, between Haskell and Peak, just two blocks south of Interstate 30 and two blocks east of Fair Park.

Chris is bringing his statewide Bell On Wheels Tour to Dallas on its last day. He's been running TV ads pointing out the flaws of the unpopular incumbent (see the latest one here), as well as radio spots featuring Bill Clinton (listen to one at this page.) Come out and help cheer him on at his last event here before the Victory Watch Party on Tuesday night.


Friday, the Dallas County Democratic party won a lawsuit against the local Republicans, who had put out a campaign flyer which clearly violated state law. In listing their various candidates, the door-hanger left readers to believe that several of them were incumbents who were not. This is a misdemeanor under Texas statutes. Unfortunately, they had already put out thousands of the misleading piece, but the court required them to alter it or not distribute any more. They are also subject to damages for their crime.

This is just the latest of several Republican violations of the election code this year, beginning with Tom Delay's attempt to illegally remove his name from the ballot after the deadline. As our party attorney (and former County Chair) Ken Molberg said in September, after defeating their attempt to strike one of our candidates' names off the ballot, "This is the eighth case that Republicans have filed locally this season. It's called litigating their way to election. They have lost every one of them. And all of them have been decided by Republican judges."

Nor is the Republican lawbreaking only occuring here in Dallas. The Texas Democratic Party had to sue (and win, now on appeal) over the state Attorney General's "shamefully abused a technicality in the law to unfairly target minorities and seniors, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation .... Abbott's voter fraud task force has prosecuted 13 individuals, 12 of which are African American or Hispanic. Most are elderly and female, and all have Democratic voting history." (Read more here.) And their candidate for Supreme Court, seeing that his Democratic opponent Judge Bill Moody had been endorsed by all the major papers, just lied about that.

Nor is this limited to Texas. Nationally, both parties are gearing up for Florida-like battles in court after the election, whoever wins. (Read more
from the NYTimes here.) There is just one good way to stop this kind of nonsense: we need to beat the Republicans by a big enough margin that not even they can claim with a straight face that they didn't lose fairly. So redouble your efforts. Make sure you, and every non-Republican voter you know votes. Be a pest now, so that we can win by so much that we won't have to listen to their nonsense later. Just barely winning isn't enough -- help get a landslide for all of our great Democratic candidates to celebrate Tuesday night at the Adams Mark hotel downtown.