Thursday, June 30, 2005

Lubbock's political landscape

Yesterday local real estate developer John Leonard announced that he is a candidate for City Council District 5. (That seat was held by Tom Martin, the current mayor pro tem.) Tom Martin will be running for Mayor of Lubbock. Mayor Marc McDougal will likely run for a state office, possibly Delwin Jones's seat in the State House. (Can someone clarify that for me?)

This is the kind of smoothly running political machine that the Democratic Party lacks in this area. (That may be a good thing!)

Anyway, I wonder if we could compile a current "who is running for what" with the comments to this post. Only confirmed candidates, please. It would also be useful to know which offices have no declared candidates yet.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Eminent domain comes home to roost

This link from my son is just too rich:

http://www.freestarmedia.com/hotellostliberty2.html

www.dnc.org

The DNC has substantially updated it's website.

I really like the new layout, but I really like what it means. The new design is so obviously a product of young democrats--a loyal group that, until Dean came along, was largely shut out of positions of consequence in the Democratic Party. I am very exctied that my generation will be at least somewhat responsible for shaping the message that takes back America from the clutches of the republican party.

Compare the shiny new veneer of our design and the new Democracy Bonds with the republican's website.

Those chowder-heads are so out of touch with people under 30, that they don't even know what an iPod looks like.











(iPods have wheels)
-Synthesis

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The President's "Big" Speech

-I'm betting he's going to say "Terrorist" and "9/11" about one jillion times. I'll eat my hat if he mentions "Osama bin Laden."

-7:01
Hey, that turd is wearing a blue tie, I expected a red one.

-7:04
Wooo! September the 11th! I'm really glad I didn't make this a drinking game.

-7:05
The president just said the same thing twice. "We must fight 'them' abroad, or we will fight them at home." He then quoted some general who parroted the same meme.

-7:07
Shoot! Osama came up, guess I have a hat to eat. BTW I would really, really like it if we were hunting down Osama bin Laden. Maybe we can do that after this business in Iraq, yes?

-7:11
He just mumbled something about timing a place in time. Maybe his ear-peace is faulty?

-7:13
160 thousand Iraqi troops are apparently trained, outnumbering American troops by more than 10 thousand. Something tells me the president just lied, otherwise Iraq has the worst.troops.ever.

-7:15
Now, it seems a lot of those Iraqi troops are not yet ready to stand on their own. Not so much troops as Weebalos

-7:17
So far, it seems that Bush's big plan is to "train more Iraqi troops." Great plan; I bet he stayed up til the wee hours of the morning to come up with such a nuanced and not at all vague plan.

-7:19
2 things. No new plan on the "exit strategy." The prez. just informed 2 out of 3 Americans that any time table would cause Iraq to crumble. Also, the prez. just claimed he'd add more troops if his generals asked for them. I've heard at least 1 general ask for more troops. It is a moot point because NO ONE wants to sign up for the Iraq war. This war has stretched our military very thin indeed.

-7:23
Is he really claiming the recent Palestinian elections as some sort of success? Hamas won several seats there (Hamas is best described as a well-organized Terrorist network).

-7:28
He just thanked those willing to re-enlist. How about those who were unwilling, but forcefully re-enlisted anyway? This guy has no shame.

-7:30
Well, I didn't expect it to last very long, but dang that was extremely brief. There was nothing at all new in this speech. His framing was super clear. Everyone fighting against us in Iraq is clearly a terrorist, clearly tied to Osama bin Laden. Our reason for fighting in Iraq is, and always has been, fighting all the Terrorists (cough cough WMDs, cough, Saddam Hussein's regime, cough).

As for the meat of the speech, absolutely nothing new about his policy for Iraq. It is still nothing greater than "Stay the Course and support the "troops" (a.k.a the War in Iraq).
-Synthesis

UPDATE

The more I think about, the more I am dumbfounded as to why Bush brought up Osama bin Laden and 9/11 in a speech that was supposed to be about our policy for the war in Iraq. Doesn't he realize how easy it will be for his opposition to make the case that Terrorists weren't a problem in the Saddam Hussein Iraq? That Bush let Osama get away? That we aren't really looking too hard for him now? That it was Al Qaeda, and not Iraq who was actually responsible for 9/11? That, in light of the fact that were zero WMD's in Iraq, we were actually under no threat from Iraq? The president is counting on the American public to be much, much more ignorant than they actually are. This guilt-by-association crap might have flown back in 2003, when we really didn't know for sure what threat Iraq posed. Now however, we've had enough with this cowboy's lies. We aren't going to change our minds just because the president said those same, tired lines for the 814th time.



Live blogging experiment

I am going to try live blogging during the president's "big" speech tonight. Make sure to have your computer AND your T.V. tuned in, this should be fun.
-Synthesis

Monday, June 27, 2005

Howard Dean on the Daily Show (last Thursday)

Someone was kind enough to HOST it.
-Synthesis

p.s. the file is kind of quiet, so you'll need to turn the volume up a bit.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Spare the Outrage Please

Have you noticed how the latest exchange of “insults” and demands for “apologies” a la Durbin and Rove has created so much static it’s hard to hear news about anything with real-world consequences over the last week or two? Take the war. The Downing Street memos continue to be hot on the ‘Net, but not so far on the networks. Rummy has to make the talk show rounds to clear up for us how a dying insurgency in its “throes” kills more innocent Iraqis every day, General Abazaid’s opinions notwithstanding. Take public broadcasting, even. Congress apparently saw the light about the CPB and PBS just in a nick of time to avoid single digit purgatory. True, political plants in the ranks at those institutions may ruin them just as surely as “starving” the two little beasts, but at least for the record, our opponents lost plenty of face.

A few years ago I ventured onto local talk radio to speak about the Lake Alan Henry easement controversy. At that time, the lake had the just about the best water quality in the state, mainly because there was very little human activity next to it. A would-be easement-buster called in to say so many boaters had already tossed dead batteries in the water that the easement was beside the point. My response was that some people were ready to say just about anything to justify their point of view. I was expecting exaggerated claims and untruths. The listeners could decide for themselves about how (un)truthful the caller was – no help needed.

Whenever someone says Hitler, Nazi, Stalin, gulag, etc., outrage is sure to follow. One would have to be a fool not to foresee the controversy remarks like Durbin’s would elicit. Too bad for us he wasn’t able to keep his cool. I feel discouraged when I think that Rove has once again been able to bait serious people into an actual debate about the patriotism of liberals following 9/11 at this late date. I need to sustain some hope that liberals can learn the verbal judo to flip the debate so it doesn’t land in the gutter or stay stuck in la-la land, where the opposition is so comfy. So let’s spare the outrage in responding, else he’s burning us with our own flames. Rove is the ultimate party hack, after all, and what besides criticism or scorn can he be expected to heap on liberals?

Our June DFA House Party

DFA House Party!

DFA House Party!



Why, this new blogger photos thing works great!

Thanks to everyone who came out to our June house party! We participated in the national conference call (go Johnnie!), shared what we leared from DemocracyFest, and discussed our organization's past, present, and future.

A special BIG THANK YOU to Sue W. for hosting!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kay and Karl

If this story on The American Prospect is true: "Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s staff told us she agrees with Rove’s remarks," then I see a good opportunity for Barbara Ann Radnofsky to score some points by denouncing such offensive drivel.

It's my view that Rove's remarks about 9/11 are new low point for this administration's rhetoric.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Fun with Property Seizure

Barely squeaking through a Supreme Court near you:

"The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development."
(emphasis mine)

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/23/scotus.property.ap/index.html

Here in Lubbock, TX we know a little bit about this sort of thing *cough* North Overton *cough* and its implications. Now it seems elected officials will no longer have to justify property seizures as being for the public good.

The dissenting justices were (believe it or not) O'Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas. From O'Connor's dissent:

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

Yeah, that sounds like Lubbock alright.

I think this is a powerful issue with cross-party appeal, and I mean all 3 parties that are active in Lubbock. Let's bring this issue to the foreground when campaign season comes!

Who your local elected officials are matters more now than ever before.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A message from John Cornyn

One of my dear fellow Democrats received an email from John Cornyn concerning his position on this lynching bill. I will post it (with permission) in its entirety. Emphasis was added by me.

Dear XXXXXXXXX:

Thank you for contacting me about the horror of lynching. I share your concern and appreciate having the benefit of your comments.

The era of widespread lynching in our nation’s history is deplorable. We must ensure that such crimes are never again allowed to occur. There are different ways to acknowledge those times when Americans have failed to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. I believe we should learn from the past, and look forward with courage.

As you may know, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu introduced a resolution (S.Res. 39) expressing the sympathy and regret of the Senate to the descendants of victims of these horrible crimes. Victims were deprived of their dignity, constitutional rights, and ultimately their lives. The Senate came together on June 13, 2005, and unanimously approved S.Res. 39. I supported this resolution, and I am pleased that the Senate acted so that such crimes will never again occur.

I appreciate the opportunity to represent the interests of Texans in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.


Sincerely,

JOHN CORNYN
United States Senator

I want to clear up a few things. When Cornyn says "The Senate," what the reader may not know is that only a few Senators (6, I believe) actually came together to pass this bill. The bill indeed passed "unanimously," 6 to 0.

The bill was passed under a special set of rules to avoid the usual roll call vote, where the ayes and nays are officially recorded by each Senator. Though the passage of the bill is already decided, Senators can STILL sign on as co-sponsor, as a sign of unanimous agreement. I believe there are still 11 Senators that need to sign on as co-sponsor, Cornyn included.

I really cannot understand why he has not done so yet, the language of this email suggests that he "supported this resolution." He needs to do more. I, as a regular citizen, can be described as having "supported this resolution." John Cornyn, as my elected Senator can do more than simply "support."

He can, nay, must sign this bill as co-sponsor.

Give him a call or send him an email. We must make it clear that Texas stands firmly against the practice of lynching, and we are deeply sorry for this shameful chapter in American History.
-Synthesis

Texas - only 1 of our Senators is pro-lynching

Senator Hutchison finally got her crap together and took the controversial position (along with 89 other Senators) opposing and apologizing for past lynching.

John Cornyn still needs to co-sponsor this bill, and HE STILL CAN.

There is no good reason this bill should not have 100 co-sponsors.

Call this number: 202-224-3121

then ask for Senator John Cornyn's office. Ask his staff for a decent explanation of why Cornyn has not yet seen fit to co-sponsor this piece of legislation. If you hear anything other than silence, you'll know it is a lie, because there is NO GOOD REASON.
-Synthesis

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Picture of HOWARD FREAKIN' DEAN

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
I got alotta more where that came from. I'll do my best to fix the blurrier ones in photoshop and I can get people who want them all the pictures I took. Howard Dean was even more awesome than I thought he was going to be. I was so happy that I started crying. Awesome, awesome night. See you when we get back in Lubbock.

We are going to take our city, our state, and our country back!
-Synthesis

I was wrong about Hutchison

Looks like she chickened-out of the primary.

Carole Keaton Rylander-Strayhorn-Whatever-Nahasapemapetalan has decided to take on that walking hair-do Rick Perry.

Good. Good.

While I will almost definitely end up supporting Chris Bell for Governor, Strayhorn (I believe that is still her name) is one of the very, very few Republicans that I kind-of-sort-of-like. I have no doubt she could be a better governor than Perry. At the very least, she can bloody up her primary opponent to the point where Bell could effectively land the knockout blow.

On a more serious note, there is a good reason why Hutchison and now Strayhorn are straying from their own party. The republican party is increasingly dominated by the American Taliban wing, and the moderates within the party are completely shut out of the leadership. As a result, the conservatives do not stand for anything other than hatred of all members of society who do not look, dress, pray, and act a certain way.
-Synthesis

Friday, June 17, 2005

DemFest, a running diary

-We arrived at the chapel roughly around 11:30 a.m. People are here from all over the country (and I saw at least 1 woman from Shibuya, Japan!) They already have our clapping organized

-DFA is planning to move away from Meetup and has been developing its own software for the past several months. Overall, I think this is a good idea. The more we make free and accessible tools available to people who may not have the resources to pay for them, the better we will be able to grow DFA groups all over the country. It really empowers people who are time rich but money poor. We also still have the option of keeping our Meetup groups as well as utilizing the new software. I think this is who LubbockDFA will run, at least for the immediate future.

-I really dig the Lakoff stuff too, but dang it is beginning to sound cultish. Framing is important, but it is still only one part of furthering our progressive cause. We can’t let linguistics disguise the fact that we actual, grunt work to do.

-The best idea at the Latino-interest caucus came from a fellow Lubbockite. His perception was that many in the Hispanic community do not care who Tom Delay is, they don’t care about saving the filibuster. They seek immediate help; they need food stamps, they need welfare, they need help and they need it now. We need to view community service as our vehicle into building diversity and membership within LubbockDFA. This goes ditto for the Black community as well. We need to show up when they have food and clothing drives with more food and clothes than anyone else. We need to sponsor free events for family and especially children to attend, like barbeques. I realize it may take some time to get this action plan off of the ground, but we definitely have a good idea now.

-LubbockDFA will soon have a brand new social/fun side. This was really a no-brainer. We are trying to build a sense of community, and we cannot always be talking about politics. Sometime we should get together for drinks and a movie. Heck, we could even get together to watch ‘Lost’ on Wednesdays. I really enjoyed our Memorial Day BBQ; we will have many more events like these in the future.

-There are many more notes that I took, and I promise to do my best to report them all at some point, maybe at our next DFA meeting.

-I got to meet Jim Dean, Chairperson of DFA and brother of (my hero) Howard Dean. My wife took this picture.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
-Synthesis

At DemFest!

Well, the four of us just finished our first day ay DemocracyFest! Great stuff today, and today is the weakest of the three days. We had a meetup host meeting (soon the term "meetup" will be obsoleted as DFA transitions away to its own software), an introduction to RootCamp and three sessions of caucuses. Particularly impressive for me was Mark Strama at the Bloggers' caucus (also the dude from PinkDome was good).

We expect to return to tha' LBK with loads of useful materials and insights!

More as we encounter it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Lubbock: about to boom?

For years I've been hearing that Lubbock is poised to be the next hot spot in Texas, in terms of "good place to live" and "good place to do business" and "good place to go to school." And I see physical evidence of that just-beyond-the-horizon growth: Texas Tech always has new construction and expansion, the east-west freeway project has started, the construction on west loop 289 is almost finished, and downtown is getting some long-overdue attention from builders and planners.

I hope very much that Lubbock will also grow to be the progressive hub of West Texas. I feel in tune with the growth of the city when I see our new party headquarters put to good use and when I see progressive groups organize out of nothing. I am already confident that organizations like DFA, Tech Democrats, Students for Social Justice, YET, TDW, and the local Democratic party will continue to flourish.

So - how do we as progressives keep up with and contribute to the growth of Lubbock? I think the answer is to involve ourselves in all aspects of the city's growth. For many of us, this means branching out into new areas, sometimes areas that have traditionally not been friendly to progressives. We need our voice heard in every professional group, governing body, and neighborhood association. Sometimes this means taking the time to find those who are sympathetic to us and already in these groups; sometimes it means joining a group or running for office ourselves.

After this weekend's DemocracyFest in Austin, several of us will have new tools and techniques to share that will help us boom with Lubbock.

Got any ideas to share?

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Democratic Pary is Ours

Ripped from a semi-good piece from Newsweek
Early in the last "cycle," in 2001, the Republican National Committee outraised the DNC by a 3-1 margin. So far this year, that ratio has been cut to 2-1. More important is the way it was raised. In the past the party relied on "soft money" from millionaires. But such donations are now illegal. Officials esti-mate that $12 million of the $14 million the Dean regime has collected so far this year has come from those who gave less than $250. "For people who really look hard at the numbers, he's wowing people," says Elaine Kamarck, a respected DNC member. (emphasis mine)
I am beginning to understand why some Dems are taking potshots at Dean's leadership instead of standing behind him when he TELLS THE TRUTH about the republican party. The takeover of the Democratic Party by the grassroots has happened so quickly and so thoroughly, that the former DLC/corporate elite must be feeling as useless as they have proven to be these last few decades. Without a charisma-pulsar like Bill Clinton, I believe the Democratic Party would have been far worse off in their leadership. We are moving our power structure back to the state and local parties that are now funding our populist Democratic Party.

As for the potshots, Dean can handle them. Dean doesn't have to run for office in 2006. I'm convinced that the only outrage felt by Americans is purely manufactured by the sort of republicans who will use any reason to hate any Democrat, invented or real. Ask your republican friends and family, chances are they don't even know who Dean is, or they know him as that guy who screamed. Soon, they'll know him in 2006 and 2008 as the DNC chair that engineered that take back of America by the American people.

To paraphrase a quote about another fighting Dem, "Give 'em hell Howard!"
-Synthesis

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Viva Howard

In his book, Moral Politics, George Lakoff lists out the categories of "strict father" conservative moral action. At the very top of those priorities is the duty to promote and defend the conservative moral system. The importance it gets has given birth to a class of conservative warriors - from Newt Gingrich to Rush Limbaugh to Karl Rove ad nauseum. Promoting and defending liberal values doesn't even make it into Lakoff's list of liberal "nurturant parent" priorities. This has got to change!

And maybe it is starting to. It's tough to see the raking over that centrist, corporate sell-outs inside the Beltway are giving our new party chairman. They seem to forget what it takes to win at politics, and they have forgotten the real needs of the people who voted them in. I feel thankful every day that our grass roots outworked the DLC and we have a party chairman strong and wise enough to stand up to the outrages our elected leaders have learned to take for granted. Viva Dean!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

85 years later

"Just think -- it cost your government $130 million to try to get me. I took them over rough, hilly country. Sometimes for fifty miles at a stretch they had no water. They had nothing but the sun and mosquitoes... And nothing was gained."

-- Pancho Villa, 1878-1923

85 years after Pancho Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico, our country still forgets the lesson that a great show of military force is not always the best response to a terrorist attack. I hope I'm not reading a similarly gloating Bin Laden quote a decade from now.

History: it's something to think about.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I really hope this is a hoax/not true

I really hope Military recruiters are not pressured to the point that they have to resort to something like this.

When Marine recruiters go waaaay beyond the call.

-Synthesis

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Downing Street Memo

You've probably heard of the by now infamous 'Downing Street Memo.' Well, now you can do something about how angry it has made you.

Enter DFA

I've already signed the petition and I recommend that everyone who reads this should also sign and pass the link on to all the Democratic, and fed-up Republican friends he or she might have.

There is a good chance for the Democrats to take the House back in 2006, and an outside shot of taking back the Senate. Wouldn't you just love the opportunity to impeach a President for an actual crime?

This memo could be exhibit A in a huge laundry list of evidence that Bush willfully lied America into war with Iraq. We all know he is liar, and the evidence just keeps pilling up.
-Synthesis

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Dean's first 100 days as DNC chair

People talk about him like he is a president or something.

I thought I'd post this excellent article written by Chris Bowers of MyDD.com
-Synthesis

DEMOCRACYFEST IS COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!

I fully expect the weekend to be a blast, and it will be here very soon.

I thought I might post a list of Sponsors for the event. There are some familiar names on the list, including David Van Os, who you should know by know is running for Attorney General. It is good to see one of our candidates making such a strong endorsement of progressive Democrats.

I hope to be re-energized by the weekend. It should thoroughly educate us Lubbock Dems on how to build a stronger local party. I believe we are doing a pretty good job right now, but there is still much we could improve.
-Synthesis

Thought for the day: neighbors

As I was reading an excellent speech by Bill Moyers, I came across the following gem:

"[W]hat matters most isn't what is said in Washington but what you do on the ground across the country to build an independent infrastructure, generate ideas, drive local campaigns, persuade the skeptic, organize your neighbors, and carry on the movement at the grass roots for social and economic justice."

He wasn't talking about DFA, but substitute Vermont for Washington and I think the statement remains true. Our organization's real strength is on the ground here in Lubbock and in the surrounding communities, because we are of these communities. So, while it's nice to keep up with what the national organization is doing, what matters the most is to understand the spirit of Lubbock and to have the credibility and courage to stand up and speak our views within the community. We need sympathetic hearts and minds, as well as energetic volunteers at election time. We won't find any of these by remaining silent.

Let me leave you with a few questions.


  • When was the last time you talked to your next-door neighbors? Two doors down? Three? Did you talk politics?

  • Does your neighborhood have a neighborhood group? (Many do.) Are you in it or can you start one?

  • When was the last time you struck up a conversation with a stranger?



My own answers tell me that I have a lot of work to do.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Why do Democrats keep doing things like this

A friend of mine informed me yesterday that John Edwards had basically rebuked the DNC Chair.

Here's the story
, if you happen to like diversions in myopia.

Here is what is not being reported in the news papers, just because guys like Edwards, and Biden, and Liberman, etc. feel they need to embrace that increasingly elusive center.

This is what Dean said:

However, I said that we were not simply going to criticize the president. We were going to make some positive suggestions as well. Here's what I think Democrats need to stand up for. We need to have pension portability so that pensions, as we move from job to job to job, the pensions follow us, they don't stay in the company. (Cheers, applause.) That great Democrat Jim Jeffords has been introducing this for 15 years. (Laughter.) George Bush has had his chance to fix the pension programs in this country. He has failed to do it. We need a new president and a new Congress who will fix the private pension plans. (Cheers, applause).

We ought not to allow people like Ken Lay to loot the pension plans of America while their companies are going down. Pension plans ought not to be controlled by companies. They ought to be controlled by the people who those pensions belong to, that's the working people of America. (Cheers, applause). Enron began around the time the president took office. Forty thousand Americans lost their pensions; another tens of thousands, just last week when the courts took away the United Airlines workers' pensions. This is a serious problem. The president has had his time; he has done nothing. Let the Democrats try to fix the pension program. We have a positive plan with portability and independent control outside these corporations who abuse the money. This is stealing to let pension plans go down. That money does not belong -- (cheers, applause) -- that money does not belong to these companies who are bailing themselves out of bankruptcies; it belongs to the people who they promised it to in their contract.

It has been set aside. We want these pensions in America to be independently run so that they are not looted in the throes of bankruptcy while CEOs make $30 million and $40 million a year. That is wrong. (Applause.) They have had their chance.

My Progressive Democrats, we ARE the center. Dean is handing Democrats winning language and strategy on a silver platter, and all one can find in the MSM are potshots from Edwards and Biden. I only hope that these words will spread by our word of mouth. These are solid American values, and it comes as no surprise to me, that they come from a Democrat.
-Sythesis

Friday, June 03, 2005

Dean raises more money than any DNC chair. Ever.

Keep in mind we are in a non-election year. I think this is pretty great. Dean is a money magnet, and I haven't really seen him try too hard to raise all that money. He's seemingly been more focused on planning the party's strategy to be competitive in all 50 states.

Outside of anyone named "Clinton," Dean may be the biggest Democratic superstar-celebrity the party has right now.

06' and 08' will be our two big tests of whether our money is being spent wisely. I just wanted you to know that we'll have a LOT more of it than we are used to.

First Quarter of 2005 - $16.7 million
Q1/2004 - $28.7 million
Q1/2003 - $8.7 million
Q1/2002 - $11.8
-Synthesis

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Timely Walmart article link