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, January 29, 2007


Stats on the number of click-throughs to Democratic Presidential campaigns from our last issue listing them all show that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were tied among our readers. As it happens, those are also the top two in the national polls. It varies in individual states, with different polls showing Clinton or John Edwards ahead in Iowa -- but that is almost one year away, and a lot can change. Meanwhile, John Kerry has taken himself out of the race, and seems to feel more free to criticize administration idiocy
as a result.

Here in Dallas, potential Obama supporters will be meeting Wednesday of this week, and those interested in Bill Richardson will meet next Tuesday. (See below for details.)

Wednesday, January 31: First Meeting of the Dallas Barack Obama for President Meetup Group; more info at this page (7 to 9 PM, Gloria's Restaurant, 3715 Greenville Ave., Dallas)

Tuesday, February 6: Meet Up for Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico for President. Bruce Rothstein writes "Whether you are already inclined to support him, or just want to find out more, join us for an initial Bill Richardson for President gathering.... We’ll talk about what we can do to help, and expect to receive a phone message from Bill Richardson during the meeting. RSVP by email to bersmr AT or just show up." (6:30 PM, La Madeleine, Preston and Forest --
northeast corner, Dallas)


Molly The Bold:
Molly Ivins hospitalized in her cancer fight
Some of Molly's great lines
How right she was about Iraq

The State of The Union:
Sen. Webb’s Democratic Response
(video and transcript)
Olbermann: A Look Back at Bush’s SoTU Credibility (video)
We don't need another 'speech from the throne' a little history
The Daily Show on SoTU 2007 (video)
Big Oil, Big Brother Win Big in the SOTU (Greg Palast)
A Sorry State new low in Bush polls post-speech
Why we don't like him (and get called "irrational")

Other Tidbits:
Buoyant Democrats hail 'can do' Congress
Life on the Plantation (Bill Moyers - video and transcript)
Bush the Empire Slayer (sharp and hilarious)

Monday, January 22, 2007


As of now, there are nine Democrats off and running for the 2008 nomination for President (or at least setting up "exploratory committees"), including two just this weekend. Here's a list of their websites so far, in order of announcement:

Mike Gravel, former Senator from Alaska
Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa
Dennis J. Kucinich, Congressman from Ohio
John Edwards, former Senator from North Carolina
Christopher J. Dodd, Senator from Connecticut
Joseph R. Biden Jr., Senator from Delaware
Barack Obama, Senator from Illinois
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator from New York
Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico

In addition, here are three more that are widely discussed as possible candidates (in alphabetical order):

Wesley Clark, retired four-star General
Al Gore, former Vice-President
John Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts


Former President Bill Clinton will speak at the NOKIA Theatre in Grand Prairie on Thursday, February 8. The tickets are from $39.50 to $175.00 and available at Ticketmaster. The speech begins at 7:30 PM at 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie.


Last week we posted Judge Chapman's remarks from this year's swearing-in ceremony about some Democratic activists smiling down from heaven on the new elected officials. We are delighted to hear that one of those so listed is still with us: Jack Crout, who was a regular volunteer at the party office in the 1990's.


Linda Coleman, Precinct Chair of 4425 (Oak Cliff), writes: "I wanted to let you know about my new blog, Sessions Watch, which will track the votes and rantings of Pete Sessions over the next two years. Hopefully, this will help the next Democrat who challenges him, by gathering information in one place for easy access. Everybody in TX-32 is invited to participate -- just leave a note in the comment boxes if you have a "Pete sighting" or anything interesting to add. Extra points for catching him in a "macacca moment" and posting it on YouTube!"


This is the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In commemoration, over four hundred bloggers are posting today on "Why I’m Pro-Choice". The annual event was sparked this year by Bush v. Choice (whose own answer is "It’s about trusting women"), who has put up a growing list of participants at this page. My favorite was the long list at Feministe, concluding "I am pro-choice because my life is worth something."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Though Democrats picked up some seats in the Texas legislature, the Republicans kept a majority and chose the Speaker of the House. There was a challenge to the authoritarian rule of incumbent Speaker Tom Craddick, who even upset many Republicans with his aggressive and brutal style of pushing for the agenda of Tom Delay and his cohorts. Most Democrats wound up supporting a Republican challenger instead, but he withdrew after the Craddick crowd forced through a vote prohibiting a secret ballot. You can read more here, and a column with more background here. (Notice that the Austin paper mistakenly listed our new Democratic State Representative from Dallas County, Allen Vaught, as a Republican instead.)

Representative Jim Dunnam of Waco, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, sent this letter to the 55 Democrats who voted for the arcane parliamentary motion that would have freed the Craddick opponents from fear of his retaliation. But all was not lost. Democrats also made some progress on reforming the rules for the future, as described in this statement.


Bush Meets Monty Python "This policy is definitely deceased."

Keith Olbermann on Bush's speech (video)

Daily Show: Is Bush the New Lincoln? (video)

Texas Cong. Lloyd Doggett on Bush's speech (video)

Hand-picking Bush's audience

What Bush said to the troops (or maybe not)

Better armor lacking for new troops in Iraq

Vanity-Induced Bonfires

Bush Sends GIs to his Private Fantasyland

Rich: He's in the Bunker Now

Lying, Even Though It's Over

The collapse of the Bush presidency poses risks

Krugman: The Texas Strategy

Finally, this quote, reminding me of Lloyd Bentsen's line to Dan Quayle, is from Robert Fisk in Bush's New Strategy:
...history is littered with powerful men who thought they could batter their way to victory against the odds. Napoleon comes to mind; not the emperor who retreated from Moscow, but the man who believed the wild guerrilleros of French-occupied Spain could be liquidated. He tortured them, he executed them, he propped up a local Spanish administration of what we would now call Quislings, al-Malikis to a man. He rightly accused his enemies - Moore and Wellington - of supporting the insurgents. And when faced with defeat, Napoleon took the personal decision "to relaunch the machine" and advanced to recapture Madrid, just as Bush intends to recapture Baghdad. Of course, it ended in disaster. And George Bush is no Napoleon Bonaparte.

(These were made as the keynote remarks at the swearing-in and celebration of the newly elected officials, mostly Judges, in Dallas County on January 1, 2007. Chapman was the last Democrat who won election county-wide in Dallas for an entire decade before the party began its local comeback in 2002. The incoming judicial candidates had requested having him there to speak.)

The first thing I wanna know is what took you guys and gals so long to get here? I've been waiting….

When our Party Chair first told me that I would have the honor to make a few remarks to our new officeholders, I immediately began placing two restrictions upon myself. First, I would not make the remarks gloating and partisan. Second, I would not "preach" to our newly elected officials. That's probably the last thing they want to hear after undergoing two months of telephone calls from folks seeking either employment for themselves or their cousin or their brother-in-law, or telling them how to do their jobs.

However, after a week of sitting at a computer trying to create a speech with such restrictions, particularly after a glorious Election Night in November like we Democrats hadn't seen in Dallas County in at least 20 years, I decided "To Hell with it – it simply can't be done." But even when my remarks turn partisan, they apply equally to Republican or Democratic officeholders.

Those of us who serve in elected public office in Texas, particularly judges, find ourselves dealing with the peculiar anomaly of having to be elected on a partisan basis while performing duties that demand an independent, non-partisan philosophy and practice. One of my favorite personal experiences is of the attorney who was walking through the courtroom of the court over which I was presiding, only to stop in mid-stride and say "Judge, are you a Republican or a Democrat. I can't remember." My response to that was "Thank you, I take that as a compliment." And I DID! I considered it a compliment then as much as I do today.

If you are so fortunate as to provoke a similar reaction or comment from those who are the users of your office – if your office is so "user friendly" as to make the issue of your political affiliation a non-issue, then you are obviously doing a good job – the job you were elected to do. You will soon find that you have now become a charter member of a very small fraternity and sorority – one that constantly strives for that unique blend of self-sacrifice and altruism that we require of our public servants in Texas. The PEOPLE of Dallas County elected you and it is those PEOPLE to whom you owe your first allegiance.

The same applies to how you refer to your office. It is not YOUR court or YOUR clerk's office – it is the court or office of the PEOPLE – whether it's the District Clerk's office or the 44th District Court of the County Court at Law Number One or Criminal District Court Number Five or the 302nd Family District Court or Probate Court Number Three, or any of the other courts and offices of our county.

I was asked to tell y'all a little bit about what to expect as officeholders. Let me just say that you're now literally living in a fishbowl – your every action, including your telephone records, your calendar, and what time you enter or leave your parking space, are now "public record". I probably could serve you best by telling you about some of the many mistakes I've made over these past 28 years, but that would take far too long for our celebration today. I'll be glad to meet with you at a later time if you're interested in hearing about them.

Many of you will find that you want to work long hours, believing that you can "do it better" by simply working longer and harder. Let me assure you that with the caseloads and numbers that you will be dealing with, no amount of overtime will ever allow you to do more than stay even. And remember this – your staff, your deputy clerks, your court reporter, your bailiffs, ALL have private lives and responsibilities. Give them time to meet those responsibilities and live their lives.

This goes for you, too. It's not just a coincidence that the divorce rate for officeholders is higher than that of the average worker. Live your lives so that you take time to be with your family and loved ones – to be with the folks you want to be with and to do the things you like to do. Let me assure you that, whatever you might think, you did not arrive at this moment in your life alone. Not only did every one of you have friends and relatives who helped you run your race, who provided you the necessary love and physical, financial, and spiritual support you needed to be here today, there were thousands of others who also helped, many of whom are here in this room today.

Would all the current and former Precinct Chairs stand and be recognized? This is your army – these are your soldiers – these are your infantry that helped you in your fight to be here today. YOU DIDN'T DO IT ALONE!

In closing, although the names I'm about to read apply to the Democratic officeholders here today, any elected Republican would have a similar list. For the Democrats, your way was paved long ago by the loyalty and hard work of many, many plain, ordinary folks in Dallas County – folks whose efforts helped maintain a party infrastructure that, as cycles always do, swung back your way in 2006. And I want to mention just a few of them today. I thought of them often on Election Night and I'm so happy for the opportunity to list them today. Some of you will be too young to recall all of these names. Some or us "more senior" will recall them well. But rest assured, that in God's great heaven, you are being smiled upon today by folks like Millie Bruner, Al Calkin, Peggy Campbell, Bernice Conley, Juanita Craft, Jack Crout, Malcolm Dade, Frances Dirks, Anne Gresham, Preacher Hays (and his damn whistle), Bob Hickman, Oscar Mauzy, Mike McKool, Pancho Medrano, Craig Murphy, Wayne Post, Joe Pitzinger, Jackie Townsell, and, assuredly smiling down on us today, Ann Richards.

Your election has made them proud. See to it that your careers in office continue to do the same.

Madame Chair, I thank you for the opportunity to talk to this great group today.

And, for those of you in the audience, let me say, as I've said for over 28 years, thank you for being my friends.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


For those too young to remember it, or those who just need a reminder or some inspiration to start off the year right, you can read and watch a YouTube video of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s great "I Have A Dream" speech on August 28, 1963, on line at this page.

The City of Dallas will also be celebrating this Nobel Peace Prize winner's life and birthday with a candle lighting ceremony (Friday, January 12, at 6:30 PM, at the MLK Center, 2901 Pennsylvania Ave.), then a parade on Saturday (starting at Dallas City Hall at 10 AM and going to Fair Park), then with the 26th Annual MLK Awards Banquet, featuring newly elected Democratic District Attorney Craig Watkins as keynote speaker ($60, Saturday at 7:30 PM, Adam's Mark Hotel, 400 N. Olive St. Dallas).

Because of the MLK holiday next Monday, our DCDP email newsletter won't be out before Tuesday next week. If you have news for the next Roundup, please email it in no later than next Monday. Thanks!


There's more to watch and read on the new Speaker's swearing-in and how much this matters to Democrats and how the far right resent it.


"On Wednesday, DNA testing exonerated Andrew Gossett of Garland, who had been serving a 50-year sentence for a 1999 sexual assault he didn't commit. Within 24 hours, Gossett was in a courtroom shaking hands with new Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, who apologized and told Gossett his office would work on his application for a pardon and monetary compensation. Gossett, 46, walked out a free man.

"The new D.A.'s office gets credit for that," says attorney Bruce Anton, who handled Gossett's appeal. He was amazed at how fast his client was released. "Craig Watkins was there to speed up the process. I think the change in command makes all the difference in the world."

The office under former District Attorney Bill Hill repeatedly fought against post-conviction requests for DNA tests, even if inmates were willing to pay for the tests out of their own pockets." Read it all at New D.A. Rising?.


Texas Democratic Party back in the black and improving

New poll detects a change in the political climate in the Capitol


Watching the President's Iraq Speech: A Diagnostic Guide

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Troops oppose “Escalation”

Olbermann: Special Comment on “Sacrifice”

Wesley Clark: Bush's 'surge' will backfire

Surge is a sham

The Surge to Nowhere

Future of Iraq: The spoils of war

Top Ten Myths about Iraq 2006

Diversionary Delusional Dishonesty

Surging in Afghanistan

While You Were at War ...

Molly Ivins: It's up to us to stop this war

Surge Protection For Our Men And Women In Uniform

Stopping the surge

It's Time for an American Surge To Stop the Bush War in Iraq

Petition: No Escalation in Iraq

Nancy Pelosi will not fund the McCain doctrine without justification

Spelling it out


The threat to journalism (a Tom Tomorrow cartoon)

Media myths and falsehoods to look out for as Dems launch "100 Hours" plan

Most outrageous comments of 2006

2006: The Year in Wingnuttery

Misinformer of the Year: ABC

Selective Amnesia

Eating crow (or not)

The "credibility" of the right-wing blogosphere

And the most hilarious reactionary syllogism about the terrorists, found in This Week in Conservative Organs:

1. They hate us for our freedoms

2. Liberals are the ones who use freedoms


3. They hate us for our liberals.