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

Friday, December 28, 2007

Holiday Politics On The Web

DCDP Executive Committee Meeting Jan. 10

The Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Committee will meet on Thursday, January 10, 2008, at 6:30 PM, at the Communications Workers of America hall, at 1408 North Washington Street, Dallas. The committee, essentially the board of directors of the local party, consists of the County Chair and Secretary and the Precinct Chairs. Others are free to attend, but cannot vote.

At this meeting candidates (or their representatives) will draw for county ballot positions for contested Primary races (including statewide ones). Since the meeting for this is required by law, a quorum does not even need to be present. However, Precinct Chairs should all attend anyway, because after that we will be breaking into caucuses for business related to next spring's Senatorial District Conventions.

The Chairs from each district will elect Temporary Chairs for their Senatorial Conventions, who will then organize those meetings. Especially in a year with a contested nomination for President, it is important to make sure each district elects a person both competent and fair to this position. Check with your own SDEC members or with the party office for more information.

Filing Deadline And Filing Night Party

Next Wednesday, January 2, is the last day to file for public office or for Precinct Chair in Dallas County. For districts that cross county lines, filing is with the state party in Austin. For local candidates and for Precinct Chairs, filing is at the Dallas County Democratic Party headquarters at 4209 Parry Avenue, Dallas. Call Steve Tillery at 214-821-8331 for details and forms. For a pdf of those who have filed locally so far, see this page. For statewide candidates, see this page.

Next Wednesday night we will have a Filing Night Party here at 6:30 PM at Poor David's Pub, 1313 South Lamar St., Dallas. Come meet all of our candidates, both for reelection and for offices now held by Republicans. Help us get the political year off to a fun start.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Early Xmas Presents

In the runoffs today in Tarrant County (Fort Worth), the Democrat beat the Republican for State Representative. Democrat Dan Barrett had been supported by a lot of active volunteers, including some who went over from Dallas County to help. In the city council race, Joel Burns -- actively supported by some Stonewall Democrats from Dallas County -- also won, though this may have been a choice between the better of two good candidates. Very unlike the legislative race, a contest between an opponent of and an announced supporter of House Speaker Craddick.

The Republicans tried to do the same thing they did in Dallas County in the Grand Prairie - Irving district, where Katy Hubener nearly beat the incumbent Republican, so he resigned early, figuring on better Republican turnout in a special election. By the skin of his teeth, the new Republican candidate did win the special and the general in 2006. (But he saw the handwriting on the wall and recently switched parties anyway.)

Governor Perry made a point of calling the legislative runoff for a different date from the Fort Worth council runoff, figuring that separate voting would help the Republican. Sadly for that strategy, Fort Worth opted to save money on holding elections by re-scheduling their council runoff. Considering what the two candidates there were like, that definitely helped the Democrat in the legislative runoff.

So the Republicans were hoist by their own canard (just to mix figures of speech). Serves them right. I think that leaves us just five seats to go to take back the House? (The results in the Startlegram, if they leave it up and readable, are here.)

Monday, December 17, 2007


It's beginning to look a lot like Monday, every where you go. Take a look at the blogs and posts glistening once again with threads and comments aglow. It's beginning to look a lot like Monday, Round-ups on ev'ry blog, but the prettiest sight to see is the post that will be from your own favorite blog....enjoy this week's Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

Fred Thompson couldn't make the ballot in Delaware because of FIVE HUNDRED SIGNATURES. Mayor McSleaze at McBlogger thinks that's pretty pathetic. You will as well.

Eddie at Burnt Orange Report writes about a precedent-setting case in the Sixth District Court of Appeals which gives helps a Paris, Texas blogger preserve his or her anonymity.

How I became a "far-left-radical with a socialist agenda" etc. On Bluedaze by TXsharon.

While Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News had a sick mouse the world moved on.

Choo choo!! That is the sound of cleaner air at The Texas Cloverleaf. 98 new more environmentally friendly trains are running in Texas. But did taxpayers really have to front the money?

Bay Area Houston wonders why NASA Contractors are limiting their employees constitutional rights while receiving billions of dollars of government funding.

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that AG Greg Abbott has handed Speaker Tom Craddick an early Christmas present in the form of an opinion that hands him cart blanche to do whatever he wants -- and even emasculates impeachment.

Muse discovers a list of 300+ women political bloggers! Female bloggers are playing a powerful role in this presidential election cycle – and are increasingly recognized for this. Texas bloggers are on the list. Check it out!

In his piece titled John Cornyn Files for Senate, Hal at Half Empty entertains the notion that the junior senator is really looking for an elusive seat on the US Supreme Court.

Stace at DosCentavos tells us about the newest Pew Center poll! It's no wonder many Citizen-Latinos (and especially undocumented folks) are feeling like people without a country.

Eye on Williamson, posts on Brian Ruiz, Rep. John Carter's opponent in TX-31, and two of Carter's recent votes in Brian Ruiz And Rep. John Carter's (R-Exxon Mobil) Circle .

An activist action plan for the FISA-with-telecom immunity bill, coming up on Monday in the Senate, is posted by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

And, last but not least, don't forget about Dan Barrett in House District 97, who has been endorsed by the Texas Progressive Alliance in his special election runoff. Matt at Burnt Orange Report has a great post about the race here.

Darlene Ewing Fundraiser / Birthday Party Tonight

Our incumbent Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, Darlene Ewing, will be having a combined fundraiser / birthday party tonight at 6 PM at the Cafe Lago, 9219 Garland Road #1102 in Dallas. Why does a County Chair with no opposition in the primary need a fundraiser? It's one of the penalties of the DCDP's success. Other county parties in the area and across the state keep wanting her to come explain to them the secrets of our victories last year. The job of County Chair doesn't pay a salary or expenses for that kind of inspiration of the neighboring Democrats, but it helps build up the party so that we'll reclaim the entire state from those reactionary Republicans in the near future.

Have You Filed For Precinct Chair Yet?

We need a Precinct Chair in each of the several hundred voting precincts in the county. Their job -- called the most important one in the country by Harry Truman -- is to help get out the Democratic vote in their own neighborhood. (Most of the Precinct Chairs also serve as election judges, but that is a separate office, and Precinct Chairs are frankly needed even more, even if they can't take off to work all day long at each election.) When you look at the election returns you can always tell which precincts have active Chairs, by comparing them to ones next door with the same demographics but which just don't turn out as well. We will be having more workshops to help train people on how to do this vital (and frankly, fun!) task.

Fortunately we already have lots of good Precinct Chairs, most of whom are running for another two-year term in next spring's Democratic Primary. These incumbents should have all received a filing form already, and many of them have gotten them notarized and turned in to the DCDP office already. The others should do so as soon as possible. January 2 is the deadline.

If your precinct has no chair, or your chair isn't running again (or even if you want to challenge one who is because you think you can do better), then you can file yourself at the DCDP office. There's no filing fee, but you will need to get your signature notarized, and we have the forms and a notary available at the office. If you want to know more about what the job involves, talk to some current Chairs or State Committee members, or call Steve Tillery at the party office at 214-821-8331. Your party needs you!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Things Are Bad All Over

The Bush economy is getting worse even for bloggers.


[Friday, the Texas Progressive Alliance honored its 2007 Texan of the Year. I'm just getting around to posting this now. Mea culpa.]

The Texas Progressive Alliance is proud to announce the House Leadership team of State Rep. Jim Dunnam, State Rep. Garnet Coleman, and State Rep. Pete Gallego as our 2007 recipients of the Texan of the Year award.

There may not be another three individuals who have done more for the resurgence of the Texas Democratic Party Democrats over the past four years. They fought through the 2006 elections, and then for the months leading up to the first day of session. They led the fight against Speaker Craddick in the final days of the session, and are now poised to add to the Democratic gains in the House as they continue their roles as Co-Chairs of the House Democratic Campaign Committee. Here are some highlights of what each of them did over the past year:

State Rep. Jim Dunnam

When we had a mere 62 members in the House in 2003. Today, there are 70, including State Rep. Kirk England who switched parties and will run as a Democrat in 2008. There was a full frontal attack on Republican Speaker Craddick's ability to lead, launched by one question by this Waco Democrat: "Mr. Speaker, what is the process of removing the Speaker of the Texas House?" His mastery of the House rules is incredible to watch.

During the 80th Regular Session, Rep. Jim Dunnam led efforts to clean up the mess Governor Perry and the Republican leadership made at the Texas Youth Commission. He worked with Rep. Coleman and Rep. Gallego to fight against expanding new tax cuts for the richest 10% of Texans at the expense of health care and education for Texas families. He will forever be remembered for the efforts he made on the House floor, challenging the absolute power of Speaker Craddick.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman

Rep. Garnet Coleman is one of the most progressive members of the Texas House. He filed over sixty pieces of legislation, including proposals to (1) end tuition deregulation, (2) overturn the ban on gay marriage, and (3) prevent the construction of any new toll roads anywhere in the state of Texas. He passed legislation to expand health care for former foster children, and to double funding for cancer research. He fought to fully restore CHIP -- which he's worked for ever since Speaker Craddick and Republican allies cut hundreds of thousands of kids off of health care since 2003.

Beyond his legislative work, Rep. Coleman is the top fundraiser for Texas Democrats, and is well-known for his non-stop efforts in supporting House Democrats across the state. He chairs the Legislative Study Group, which received a Silver Star award from the TPA for its incredible policy work.

State Rep. Pete Gallego

Rep. Pete Gallego is the chair of of the largest bipartisan legislative caucus in the Texas House -- the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. He also sits on the national board of NALEO [that's the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials --ed.] He was a top lieutenant for Speaker Pete Laney, and his credibility earned then continues make him one of the most trusted members in the Texas House.

His policy interests are far-reaching, ranging from protecting our state's natural resources to preventing those horrid voter ID bills behind the scenes. Rep. Gallego also helped temper some of the more controversial issues of the session, including immigration and security. He often makes waves quietly inside the Capitol, but his efforts help thousands of Texans from all walks of life.

Together, Rep. Gallego, Rep. Dunnam, and Rep. Coleman are extremely deserving of our 2007 Texan of the Year award.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Mario Gallegos
State Sen. Mario Gallegos

We all like to think that when our beliefs and principles are truly put to the test, that we will be able to answer the call and stand up for the things we hold dear, even if it means putting our own well-being at risk. Most of us never find ourselves in that position, and it's often just as well, for as the Apostle Peter could tell us, it's easier said than done. But when it is done, it serves as an inspiration for all of us.

State Sen. Mario Gallegos was in that position this spring. Having undergone a liver transplant shortly after the legislative session began, he spent most of the rest of the session in Houston recuperating. His absence meant that the Democratic Senate caucus had only ten members in it, which by itself was not enough to block a divisive partisan bill, such as the many that were filed to restrict voting rights by requiring photo ID. Sen. Gallegos asked Lt. Gov. Dewhurst to give him notice if a voter ID bill was going to be on the docket, so he could do his duty and prevent it from passing. Dewhurst made a one-time-only guarantee, so against the advice of his doctor, Gallegos arrived in Austin and vowed to stay there until sine die to protect all voters' rights. And it was a good and necessary thing that he did, as later events proved Dewhurst's willingness to pass such a bill by any means necessary. His health was weak, but his will was strong, and the battle was at a standstill.

But alas, just as victory seemed assured, his fragile health sent him back to Houston, and it looked like Dewhurst would finally get his chance. And then, when everyone least expected it, he came back, and he left no doubt as to the force of his resolve.
Ailing state Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, has a hospital bed set up in the sergeant's office -- about a 100 feet from Gallegos' Senate chamber desk, Monday so that he could help block a contentious voter ID bill from debate.

"I'm hurting. I'm hurting," Gallegos said a few minutes ago as the Senate went into session. [...]

In the meantime, Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, is monitoring Gallegos' health. Deuell is a physician.
In the face of such resistance, Dewhurst finally capitulated, and let Sen. Gallegos return home where he could get the treatment he needed. He left the Senate chamber to a standing ovation, and the lasting gratitude of all Texans who cherish the right to vote.

For literally putting his life on the line in order to protect democratic principles, State Sen. Mario Gallegos is a deserving winner of a Gold Star from the Texas Progressive Alliance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Molly Ivins
Molly Ivins.

Had Molly Ivins been born in 1984 instead of 1944, she might have been a modern-day blogger. Instead, she was an award-winning, best selling journalist, columnist and author. A Texan, a progressive, a feminist, and a survivor, Molly Ivins passing earlier this year marked the end of an era for Texans and those who loved her fiery, populist brand. Molly Ivins gave progressives a prominent, national, voice.

In honoring someone as distinguished as the late, great Molly Ivins, sometimes it's best to do so in someone else's words. In this case, Molly's:
I used to say, having once been a card-carrying Sixties radical, that if I had to be called a liberal, I'd just as soon be the worst kind of liberal -- a bleeding heart. I wound up being a liberal because I was for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam and that's what I got called. I missed the New Deal and McCarthyism and all that good business.

I've got more important things to worry about -- three-year-old kids getting raped and denied admission to a hospital because their mamas don't have any money and things like that. I carry neither brief nor guilt for the many sins of liberals past and present: there’s too much to bleed over. And laugh over.
Indeed, Molly Ivins. Indeed. For this and more, we name you a Texas Progressive Alliance 2007 Gold Star.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Denise Davis
Denise Davis.

Few stories this year enthralled the politically inclined among us this year like the ongoing turmoil in the Texas House of Representatives. From the Speaker's race at the onset of the 80th Legislative Session to Rep. Pat Haggerty's call for members who wanted to remove House Speaker Tom Craddick to take the keys to their voting machines and follow him out of the chamber at the end of the session, this year was a watershed moment in Texas political history. While there were many, many, elected officials who deserve (and, indeed, will receive) recognition and historical remembrance for the parts they played in the pageant of chaos that was the 80th Texas Legislature, one other individual--who happens not to be an elected official -- also deserves to be recognized for the role she played in the unprecedented drama.

Denise Davis, the former Parliamentarian of the Texas House of Representatives was never an uncontroversial figure. Throughout her tenure -- which lasted for nearly three sessions -- some Democrats privately criticized Davis for some of her rulings and believed her to be an unrepentant loyalist to House Speaker Tom Craddick. That changed near midnight on May 25, 2007 when Denise Davis walked out of the Parliamentarian's Office and into the pages of history. Around 9 PM that night, after House Democratic Leader Jim Dunnam attempted to get Craddick to recognize a motion to vacate the chair, Craddick walked off the dais and left the House in utter chaos, 'adjourned' until 11 p.m.

What happened in the interim to some degree remains a blur, although one thing is clear: Parliamentarian Denise Davis (and her deputy, Chris Griesel) resigned, and House Speaker Tom Craddick appointed two enforcer-thugs to take their place. Denise Davis departed House Speaker Tom Craddick's service that night rather than legitimize his dictator-like hold over the Texas House. It is a move that took courage, because the full weight of Craddick's office -- in attempts to keep her quiet about what happened in those last days -- came down upon her and demanded she say nothing about her tenure publicly. While Davis, for her own reasons, has not spoken about what happened in those last days and hours of her tenure, one thing is sure: when the history of the 80th Legislature is written, amidst the legislators who will occupy the pages of the texts that tell this story, there will be one other person whose part will be recognized, and that person will be Denise Davis -- for her courage.

[The text above comes from Vince of the TPA, and what he says about her courage is correct, however belated and useless it proved to be. I personally have mixed emotions about giving her an award for it. She actively helped Craddick build the gallows, tie the noose, bind the hands of the (legislative) Liberty of Texans, and insert Liberty's head into the noose -- and then only refused at the very last minute to pull the lever herself to hang the victim. As Craddick demonstrated within minutes, it was too late then to stop the lynching by refusing to be the executioner; other assassins were quite willing.

The rest of the House should have called their own special session and removed the Speaker from office. Furthermore, he should be found guilty of criminal contempt and of attempted subversion of the state and sent to one of our many friendly prison farms. Maybe there is a market for organic, hand-picked cotton, chopped lovingly with a short-handled hoe so that he could carefully examine the ground for any tiniest weeds. --Stoutdem]


[Yes, these went up last week but I missed posting them. Better late than never.]

Since 2005, the Texas Progressive Alliance has named a "Texan of the Year" to give recognition to one worthy Texan who has made a significant contribution to the world of politics or the progressive cause.

For our Third Annual Texan of the Year Awards, the Texas Progressive Alliance elected to not only name a Texan of the Year--the Texan or Texans who contributed the most to the cause of the Progressive movement in 2007--but also recognize other Texans whose contributions were also important to the Progressive cause and worthy of recognition.

The Texan of the Year will be announced next Friday, December 14. Between now and then, the Texas Progressive Alliance will announce its list of Texans whose contributions to the progressive cause it believed worthy of special recognition. This begins today, with the announcement of the Texas Progressive Alliance's Silver Stars. Starting Monday [that was yesterday, Monday Dec. 10 -- ed.], four additional "Gold Stars" will be announced followed by the TOY on Friday.

Without further ado, here are the 2007 Texas Progressive Alliance Silver Stars (in alphabetical order):

bb Texas Ranger Brian Burzynski. It has been said that persistence is as much a virtue as patience. Inasmuch as that is so, it is also true that persistence pays off. In the case of Texas Ranger Brian Burzynski, persistence also saved thousands of Texas children from a certain Hell at the Texas Youth Commission. For nearly two years, starting in 2005, Burzynski investigated allegations of sexual misconduct in Texas' juvenile prison system. He was rebuffed by state authorities, local prosecutors, and even the United States Department of Justice. In spite of these rebuffs, Burzynski continued to push his case--investigating, making noise, not letting go, and never taking 'no' for an answer. The end result? It broke open one of the largest criminal justice scandals in the history of Texas and brought forward a flood of legislative reforms, and victims. For this and more, the Texas Progressive Alliance is pleased to confer upon Ranger Brian Burzynski a 2007 Texas Progressive Alliance Silver Star.

hg Hank Gilbert. When Hank Gilbert's race for agriculture commissioner ended last November, he kept on going. During his 2006 campaign, Gilbert promised Texans that--win or lose--he wouldcontinue to fight against toll roads, mandatory animal ID legislation, and international corporations that threatened the citizens of Texas. Gilbert organized a Texas Independence Day March on Austin. Working with farmers, ranchers, Democratic activists, and disillusioned landowners, brought nearly 1,000 Texans to Austin to testify against the Trans Texas Corridor at a session of the Texas Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security the day before the march. Thousands more Texans showed up the next day to continue the fight. Gilbert has been instrumental in forming a statewide umbrella organization of anti-toll groups to continue the fight against toll-enabling legislation. As a director for Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, he continues to travel the state and nation speaking out against the takeover of taxpayer funded infrastructure by private interests. For this and more, the Texas Progressive Alliance proudly names Hank Gilbert recipient of a 2007 Texas Progressive Alliance Silver Star.

cr Congressman Ciro Rodriguez. In 2006, Ciro Rodriguez was the "come back kid" of Texas Politics, winning a seat in congress after a runoff about the time the Texan of the Year for 2006 was announced. This year, Rodriguez took office as part of the first Democratic congress in nearly a generation, and has served his San Antonio-based district honorably. His race is considered one of national Republicans' top targets, although Rodriguez's constituent services and his support from Democratic Leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will no doubt help him retain the district.

Texas Bloggers Who Made A Difference. This year, for the first time, Texas Bloggers determined that some of their own were worthy of special recognition for their work during 2007: John Cobarruvias (Bay Area Houston Blog); Vince Leibowitz (Capitol Annex); Edmundo "Xicano Power" Roca (XicanoPwr); and Sharon Wilson (TxSharon of BlueDaze). A note on each blogger:
John Cobarruvias has almost single handedly changed the way Texas legislators use and report their campaign/officeholder expenses. Because he has held their feet to the fire through his Spending Campaign Cash series, organizing a group of volunteers to file complaints against offending legislators and urging media to report on spending abuses, legislators have cleaned up their acts. The Texas Ethics Commission has issued written reminders to legislators about the very problems with reporting expenses that Cobarruvias uncovered.

vl Vince Leibowitz. As the 80th Session of the Texas Legislature ended in turmoil--with parliamentarians resigning, a walk-out, and two stooges of House Speaker Tom Craddick on the dais as officers of the Texas House, Leibowitz decided that the whole story of those final days wasn't being told and started digging. Through public information requests, he uncovered a sheaf of documents from House Speaker Tom Craddick's office that helped piece together exactly what happened in those final hours. No main-stream media outlet had dug into this, and Leibowitz's work broke new ground and proved that House Speaker Tom Craddick's actions were the premeditated acts of a Speaker on the edge.

Edmundo Rocha. Blending lends heavy-handed social critiques, local and national politics, and a heaping dose of common sense in his blog, Edmundo Rocha tackles heavy topics like imigration, teenage pregnancy, racial and gender politics, and backs up everything with a sense of style and spirit. With a loyal and unwavering audience (his Texan of the Year nomination, in fact, was suggested in the comments of a blog by one of Edmundo's readers), Rocha has rapidly become one of the state's most prominent Latino bloggers. No issue is too tough, and none taboo for this blogger.

sw Sharon Wilson. Most Texans don't know what the Texas Railroad Commission is or does. In 2007, one Texas blogger changed that: Sharon Wilson. Wilson's reporting on the injection well drilling in the Barnett Shale region and its impact on the water quality and the environment in Wise County and surrounding areas has been exceedingly important to bringing wider attention to the dangers this practice poses across the state. Wilson has nearly single-handedly stood up to large oil companies and made the companies and state agencies--including the Texas Railroad Commission--take notice. Relentless in her drive to educate the public and elected officials to the damage being done to the Texas environment, Wilson's investigative reporting and blogging is worthy of recognition.

lsg Texas Legislative Study Group. The policy clearinghouse for Progressives, the Texas Legislative Study Group is full of unsung heroes. Policy analysts who help Legislators keep up with the more than 50 bills that come up a day in the Texas House, the Texas Legislative Study Group and its policy analysts could perhaps be considered the most important behind-the-scenes players in the legislative process when it comes to safeguarding progressive principles. Legislators carry their reports around on the House floor like bibles. Their arguments against the Appropriations Bill, some versions of Jessica Law, and the Castle Doctrine were masterful. Also important to note is that the brilliant minds behind the work of the LSG aren't aged policy veterans, but rather among the best Texas minds of more recent generations, "Generation X" in particular. The men and women who daily toil at the LSG are indeed the men and women who will shape Texas public policy for generations into the future.

tbp TexBlog PAC. Started by just a handful of Texas progressive bloggers, TexBlog PAC has harnessed the energy of the online community. In a state with one of the largest netroots communities in America--and the most vibrant progressive blogosphere, TexBlog PAC is poised to build on victories bloggers helped happen in 2004 and 2006. Having already raised over $10,000 in its initial months, the PAC will play a key role for Democrats as we try to take back the House in 2008.

dvo David Van Os. Following his defeat in the 2006 Attorney General's race, Van Os made good on his promise to "keep fighting 'em on ice." From helping groups like TURF in their fight against the private takeover of government infrastructure to helping workers who were intimidated when nooses started showing up in their workplace (securing the removal of both the noose and the supervisor), Van Os hasn't stopped fighting for working Texans. In addition, from musicians to probation officers to non-profit workers, Van Os has continued his life's work on behalf of the working men and women of Texas.

Monday, December 10, 2007

In Memory: John B. Wilson

A private memorial service was held in Dallas Saturday for noted civil rights and worker's rights attorney John B. Wilson, who passed away recently at 86, after retiring from practice a few years ago. His former law partner, Ken Molberg, wrote "John was truly what I consider to be the first white lawyer in Dallas to actively and passionately fight for African-Americans." Among other cases, he represented some of the people who integrated the Piccadilly Cafeteria in downtown Dallas in June 1964. Another former law partner, Roger Williams, said "He was probably the pre-eminent workers' comp lawyer in Dallas, if not Texas." He is survived by three sons, two daughters, and six grandchildren. His Dallas News obit was at this page.

Name ID To Die For, And Other Statewide Candidates

The Dallas County Democratic Party's Holiday Party on Saturday was well-attended by activists, Precinct Chairs, and the usual candidates for Judge seeking signatures on petitions to get on the primary ballot. One newcomer who had no trouble getting people to sign is another candidate for Texas Supreme Court. Voters will no doubt easily recall his name: Sam Houston. In fact he is a well respected medical malpractice defense attorney. His website isn't up yet, but you can read more here, and find his contact info (and his primary opponent's) in this list.

As you can see there, it looks like we still have a primary contest for one other seat on the Supreme Court, between two Democratic Judges, Susan Criss and Linda Yanez. It also looks like another primary fight looms for Railroad Commissioner, between Art Hall and Dale Henry.

Part 2: Allen Vaught Petitioning Saturday

If you can't make it to Fort Worth to help Dan Barrett this weekend, you can still help reclaim the Texas State House here in Dallas County. Our freshman State Representative Allen Vaught will be circulating petitions to get on the primary ballot for 2008 in his district in east Dallas. This Saturday, December 15, volunteers will meet at 9:30 AM at the White Rock United Methodist Church Parking Lot, 1450 Old Gate Lane, Dallas.

Allen writes: "If you can help, just show up and look for Sarah, my senior staff member. Sarah's cell phone number is 214-497-3069 if you have questions. Everyone who comes will get their very own Allen Vaught T-shirt, and will be a part of the team who wants to send common sense leadership back to Austin."

Taking Back The State House, Part 1: Dan Barrett

Early voting starts today in the special election for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives in Fort Worth. The only Democrat in the runoff, Dan Barrett, just got the endorsement of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which you can read at this page. One of their key reasons was the need to replace the current Speaker -- that the Republican candidate has already pledged to back again. Barrett was also endorsed by the Texas Progressive Alliance of bloggers here.

The election is next Tuesday, so volunteers are working hard. You can help this week or this weekend. Call the campaign at 817-332-2580 or email to campaign AT danbarrett DOT com.

Announcement Videos: Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Rick Noriega

Our Democratic Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez has put up two videos of her announcement for reelection. This one shows her own statement, and this one shows her introduction by County Commissioner Price. Hear about the ongoing turnaround at the Dallas County jail.

Our first announced candidate for U.S. Senate, Rick Noriega, has also posted his own announcement video online at this page. He'll be in Dallas tonight to speak at the Stonewall Democrats Holiday Party, and he'll be here again next Tuesday the 18th at the Irving Democrats Holiday Party. Meanwhile, he has also drawn a new opponent in the primary, Corpus Christi schoolteacher Ray McMurrey, who'll be speaking to Coppell/Valley Ranch Democrats in January.

Senator Royce West Announces Today

Dallas' only Democratic State Senator will begin his campaign for reelection from District 23 today, with a statement at 5:30 at the African American Museum in Fair Park, at 3536 Grand Ave., Dallas. The public is welcome.


This year, in addition to recognizing its Texan of the Year (which will come this Friday), the Texas Progressive Alliance elected to recognize a number of other Texans who have contributed to Texas politics and the Progressive cause during 2007. This week, leading up to the TOY announcement, we bring you our Texas Progressive Alliance Gold Stars (one each day through Thursday).

Rick and Melissa Noriega. These two Houston Democrats could easily be called Texas' new Political Power Couple.

Melissa Noriega made news early this year with her run for the Houston City Council seat vacated by Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, who resigned the seat to assume the last six weeks of former Congressman Tom DeLay's term in 2006. Through a special election, a runoff, and a general election battle to win the seat for a full term, Melissa Noriega's progressive message endeared her to Houston voters, earned her statewide media recognition, and helped mark her as part of a new generation of progressive leaders with statewide potential.

Rick Noriega's story is one that is also well known. A veteran of the "War on Terror," Rick Noriega started generating buzz early in 2007 as a number of progressive Netroots activists and bricks-and-mortar Democratic activists created a movement to "draft" Noriega into the Democratic Party's race for United States Senate. Rick Noriega answered the call to service and threw his hat into the ring to take on John Cornyn and the Texas Republican machine in the 2008 election in spite of the fact that he could have easily won reelection to his seat in the Texas Legislature or even run for another office where the fight would have been small to none. Instead, he had the courage to stand up for all Texans and say enough is enough.

True people-powered candidates, Rick Noriega and Melissa Noriega have both made significant sacrifices to serve the people of Texas. For this and many other reasons, the Texas Progressive Alliance is pleased to recognize Rick and Melissa Noriega among its 2007 Gold Stars.


It's Monday, and that means it is time once again for the Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up. This week's round-up was compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

It appears that TX Sen. Craig Estes is considering recommending an investigation into the egregious negligence and malpractice of the Texas Railroad Commission. However, as TXsharon at Bluedaze reminds us: It's no time to rest! Keep the pressure on with your letters, emails, faxes and calls.

Now that Williamson County's secret complaint has been dismissed, the Texas Fair Defense Project's class-action lawsuit on behalf of indigent defendants is now back on track. Eye on Williamson's wcnews provides an update on the slowly progressing case in The Upside-Down World of Williamson County.

The Associated Republicans of Texas met, ate, belched and applauded the most recent venom spewed from the mouth of Karl Rove at an appearance in Austin last week. Grab your can of disinfectant and click over to Brains and Eggs, where PDiddie has the (pooper) scoop.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme enjoyed this headline: 'Where was Hutchison, Valley veterans ask'. Why aren't all US veterans asking where all 'support the troop' Republicans have been?

John Coby at Bay Area Houston has his take on a Christmas poem T'was the Night Before Impeachment:
T'was the night before impeachment it was cold, wet, and rainy
Not a creature was testifying, not even Dick Cheney.
Impeachment resolutions were hung in the House for appearing
Waiting for Conyers and Waxman, and a long awaited hearing.

BossKitty at Bluebloggin is frustrated with Congress dropping the Hate Crime Bill H.R. 1585 Hate Crime Bill Married To Iraqi War Funding - No Joke.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at the lies and errors in Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's amucis brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in groundbreaking Voter ID case.

The Texas Cloverleaf calls out TxDOT for delaying DFW area construction projects even after receiving $3.197 billion from NTTA.

The Sunset Commission is taking a hard look at TXDOT and McBlogger thinks it's about time. Feel to send in your suggestions on how to fix the ailing agency.

One week into Filing Season, Off the Kuff reviews the filings he's waiting for.

The Texas Education Agency made national news after the forced resignation of Chris Comer, its science curriculum director, in the ever-swirling "intelligent design" controversy, reports North Texas Liberal's Texas Toad.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Some Texas Items On The Web

Come To The DCDP Holiday Party This Saturday

The Dallas County Democratic Party Holiday Party will be holding our annual celebration this Saturday, December 8, from 1 to 3 PM, at the DCDP HQ, 4209 Parry Ave., Dallas. Join fellow Democrats as we celebrate and remember the past year.

RSVP This Week For John Dean Lunch/Book Signing

RSVPs are needed by this Thursday, December 6, for the appearance on next Tuesday, December 11, by John Dean, discussing his book, Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches, at a luncheon sponsored by the Dallas Democratic Forum. The price of the lunch includes a copy of the book, and the author will sign them after the event. RSVP to 214-855-7151.

The luncheon will be held at the Belo Mansion at Olive and Ross Ave., in downtown Dallas. Registration begins at 11:30 AM, and the program starts at Noon. The price is $35 to regular Forum Members, or $45 to non-members.

Video Posted On DIVERT Court For Drug Offenders

Judge John Creuzot established the DIVERT court (Dallas Initiative for Diversion and Expedited Rehabilitation and Treatment) in 1998 as a way of helping drug offenders address the root causes of their problems. He has posted a video explaining the program on his website at this page.

Sheriff Valdez OpEd From Dallas News

It's about the jail's time credit policy. You can read it on her website (or follow a link to the paper itself) at this page.

Making County Government More Efficient

Our new Democratic officials in Dallas County, including County Treasurer Joe Wells and District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, are continuing to improve local services. Read a pdf about a new automated check-writing system they are using that will save time and money at this page.


It's Monday, and that means it's time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

Also, as a special note, the Texas Progressive Alliance would like to announce that the time has come to announce its 2007 Texan of the Year. This year's Texan of the Year process will be a little different than in years past. We've got a full slate of Texas Silver Stars (our Honorable Mentions), and four runner-ups (Texas Gold Stars) and, of course, a Texan of the Year. We'll start by announcing the Texas Silver Stars on Friday, December 7. Then, each day from December 10 through December 13 we'll announce a Gold Star, followed by our Texan of the Year on Friday, December 14. So be sure to check your favorite TPA blog starting this coming Friday to see who our picks are for our Texan of the Year!

What happens when it rains and containers holding lethal chemicals overflow into creek beds? See How Are Injection Well and Gas Coupling Inspections Alike? for another example of RRC negligence that puts Texans at risk. Brought to you by TXsharon at Bluedaze.

Refinish69 from Doing My Part For The Left shares his memories of loved one lost to AIDS in his World AIDS Day diary and podcast.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News observes the devolving of Texas Education.

Jaye at Winding Road asks "What if abortion is outlawed in a Republican administration?"

Xanthippas at Three Wise Men informs you that when it's the National Football League versus Big Cable, the only loser is you.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at the Interim Charges for committees of the Texas House in the 80th Legislature in three posts, as well as Tom Craddick's views on the charges.

The Texas GOP is gearing up a sophisticated voter suppression effort for the 2008 elections. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs forwards the Lone Star Project's comprehensive report.

The Texas Cloverleaf tells us that TxDOT can no longer plead poverty! It just received a Christmas gift of $3.197 Billion from NTTA for the rights to build SH 121 Toll.

Hal at Half Empty reports that the Republican Party of Fort Bend County has taken a radical shift to the right as neoconservative evangelicals have taken over their county party leadership.

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos looks at the mess Texas Education Agency has become with TEA: We must remain neutral on junk science theory. This should be enough to make parents either vote or move to get their kids out of the Texas school systems.

Matt Glazer at Burnt Orange Report talks about the Texas Internet Revolution and the good publicity TexBlog PAC has been getting recently.

Stunned about the tuition increases at UT Law? So was Closet Purist at McBlogger who takes a detailed look at how UT Law compares to Harvard and Yale and asks, what do you get for the money?

You may have heard the right-wing echo chamber saying that the surge is working in Iraq, or that things are going better now. Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal gives us the real deal in "Some Perspective on the Surge."

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that federal rules allow ferry security guards to sleep on the job. Republicans say they care about security, but prove they don't.

Off the Kuff exercises his privilege as a blogger to nitpick an article about the rise of the netroots in Texas.

Eye On Williamson takes a look at the retirement of Rep. Mike Krusee in Why We Won't Have Mike Krusee To Kick Around Anymore.