The Klan strikes again

So in northwest Austin, a bigot decided to lynch an empty chair, an obvious allegory to the President. If you are still not convinced, when reporters from BOR (who broke the story) contacted him, he said  “I don’t really give a damn whether it disturbs you or not. You can take [your concerns] and go straight to hell and take Obama with you.” Essentially a tacit admission of the metaphorical lynching.

Evidently this follows a larger trend, with other incidents reported in Virginia and possibly Beaumont. It seems to me that this is a threat against the President, eg something the Secret Service should investigate, but maybe that’s just me. I intentionally have such a “shock appeal” title because I feel that it is necessary. This guy, Bud Johnson I think is his name, may not have ever donned a hood and burned a cross en masse, but I can guarantee you that he had some affiliation with some white power/white supremacy cause. I certainly do not feel that all criticism of the President is motivated by race, but A LOT is. There seems to be a good quarter of the country that simply cannot get over the fact that we have elected an African-American President. They just can’t, just as there were southern bigots who could never get over the fact that Kennedy was Roman Catholic.     

In re Perry

The Chron has come out with a story that little makes me blood coagulate and my skin crawl. It seems Preacher/Governor Perry is at it again. Perry gave a speech where he denounced Church/State separation and claimed that the religious right are “Christian Warriors” and “Christian Soldiers”. He further stated that “Satan runs across the world with his doubts and his untruths”.

I don’t know about you, but whenever uses the term “Christian Soldiers”, it is the type of $%&! that makes me want to change my last name to “Smith”. Now I’m not calling Perry an anti-Semite, but he seems to be advocating just as extreme of positions. I think we have reached a tipping point. We have a Governor who is one third politician, one-third televangelist, and one-third rodeo clown. Governor Perry prances around as if he is one of those burned-out politicians who has a speaking gig on Fox News, but here’s the catch–Perry is still in office, and he is running for re-election!

Perry wants to run for re-election in 2014, and if the typical lazy Austinite attitude continues (like 2006 or 2010), he will win. The Democrats need to not throw their support to a weak candidate like Bell or (as much as am ashamed to admit it) White. I see two options for improvement in 2014:

1. The Messiah.
Julian Castro, Tommy Lee Jones, or Cecile Richards would be preferred. Only a national celebrity could bring down the house of crow in just two years. The demographics would not be feasible for Castro until really 2018, so I find this unlikely. Though I would sure like to get the opportunity to vote for a Richards in my lifetime.

2. The Coalition
This is the one I think is a whole lot more realistic. It worked for the Legislature, so I think it could work for the Governor. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Carole Strayhorn, or Joe Strauss. Would be preferred. Hell, Dewhurst, Abbott, I would prefer literally ANYBODY to Rick Perry. Just get him the %^#& out of that Governor’s Mansion!

Dear Mr. Stanart,

To the Honorable Harris County Clerk, Stan Stanart,

I am writing this open letter because I am perplexed as to why I have gotten no correspondence back on my application for an absentee ballot. On September 6th, the first day I was legally able to, I mailed my application to vote by mail, meticulously abiding by the standards of both your office and the Secretary of State. I sent the letter first class, certified postage and included a typed note asking to confirm receipt at my email address. It has nearly been two weeks, and I am beginning to worry. It is quite important to me that I get to vote, so it is imperative that someone from your office contact me as soon as possible to discuss why I have not received any correspondence.

Thank You,

N.M. Horwitz, resident of Harris County, Texas

Amarillo bans Texting while Driving

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports that the City of Amarillo has banned texting while driving.

Amarillo follows in the footsteps of at least 24 cities to do the same, including Arlington, Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio. Dallas has no ban, nor does Houston. However, in the metro area Bellaire, Conroe, Galveston, Magnolia, Missouri City, Tomball, and West University have all banned the practice.

Last year, the state legislature, in one of their only marks of goodness, passed a bill to ban the practice statewide. Governor Perry vetoed it. As long as Perry is in office, no statewide bill will be passed, so I have come up with an alternative. Dallas and Houston need to get on the wagon and pass municipal ordinances, meanwhile the President should sign an executive order banning text messaging while driving on all federal roads (Interstates and US Highways). If I am not a city and not on the interstate, odds are I am going 30 miles per hour and a one lane road. I think that this solution would be just as good as a statewide ban and perhaps it would not enrage as many rural voters seeing it as a way to micromanage their life.

For what it is worth, I tend to not think there should be a blanket ban on texting while driving per se, just as there shouldn’t be a ban on driving after consuming any alcohol. I think certain things, like texting on the highway or at night, should be banned, but there is no reason to ban my ability to quickly return a message when I am at a stoplight, or swiftly change the song on my iPod. That’s the libertarian streak for me in the month of September.

Social Media in “E”

Elizabeth Perez, candidate for the District E special election in November, now has a website. (Linked here)

Perez lists a number of endorsements from “elected officials”, but they all seem to be from municipal officeholders outside of the city, including La Porte, Deer Park, and Highland Village. I find this quite odd, it seems to be if someone in my old neighborhood touted their support from the Mayor of Bellaire, it would be a negative (Perhaps that’s just my bias against racist cops). It seems somewhat weak compared with Martin’s support from the incumbent Councilmember, who still seems popular. However, Perez is also playing off of two other angles: national conservatism, and the Clear Lake lobby. I seemed to be mistaken earlier, as it seems that Perez does actually live on the southern side of the district. She is using this to her advantage by also bringing up the whole NASA issue. Additionally, she is playing off of tea party anger and national tidings, listing we small business owner supports as “‘I built this business’ supporters”. Perez’s website, coupled with her comprehensive Facebook page, shows her putting the most energy into social media. Martin’s website is still a basic stub, and thanks to comments from Allsbrooks himself on this blog, we know he is simply going to use his facebook page in lieu of a website.

For the record, I endorse Dave Martin. I will assume that we have some stark differences politically, just as I do with Councilmember Sullivan. But I have a tremendous professional respect for Councilmember Sullivan, and given the conservative leanings of all the candidates, I am inclined to support Sullivan’s endorsement.

Endorsements: Yellow Dog

Endorsements: Yellow Dog

This is Tilly, my yellow dog. She isn’t very bright but I would vote for her over quite a few candidates for political office this year. Some of these candidates have formidable Democratic opponents, but the common denominator is that I would vote for the Democrats in these elections even if it were a yellow dog.

I endorse the incumbent, Barack H. Obama, for re-election. Yes, I support the President on most issues, but with Romney on the other end, it was a pretty easy choice.

**US Senate**
I endorse former State Representative Paul Sadler. As opposed to a few of the sorry fellas that the TXDEMs have put up over the years, I actually do really like Sadler. It does help, however, that he is running against the guy that makes Dewhurst look sane.

**US Representative 2**
I endorse the Democrat, Jim Dougherty. Congressman Poe, as much as he had previously garnered a good deal of respect from me, lost it all last term as he made fictitious statements about voter fraud, skirted on the edge of birtherism, and played the “Obama-is-an-anti-Israel-anti-semite” card, which I take very personally.

**US Representative 7**
I endorse the Democrat, James Cargas. In 2010, I had to pick Tilly because there were no opponents to Culberson. Culberson is my congressman, and such, we have had a very special relationship ever since his office blocked my email address when I was in the 9th grade. From making garbage up to try and destroy the METRORail, to more extremism, to only proposing one bill over the last few years, I hold a particularly disdain from the honorable Congressman from Texas, and such I am happy he has drawn good enough of an opponent in Cargas.

**US Representative 9**
I endorse the incumbent, Al Green.

**US Representative 10**
I endorse the Democrat, Tawana Cadien. Congressman McCaul, as the richest member of Congress, has done nothing to refute the presumption that he is out of touch, in fact he has exacerbated it.

**US Representative 14**
I endorse the honorable former Congressman, Nick Lampson, for reasons stated in previous posts.

**US Representative 17**
I endorse Tilly. The district formerly held by Chet Edwards, a Democrat, as late as 2010, is now held by Republican Bill Flores. Flores did not draw a Democratic opponent.

**US Representative 18**
I endorse the incumbent, Sheila Jackson Lee.

**US Representative 22**
I endorse Tilly, again. Congressman Olson is just as far right as Tom DeLay, and his Democratic opponent belongs to the LaRouche cult (I didn’t even know that still existed).

**US Representative 29**
I endorse the incumbent, Gene Green.

**US Representative 36**
I endorse the Democrat, Max Martin. He was the only Democrat to sign up for the primary that twelve Republicans duked it out for. That takes chutzpah.

For further reference, I endorse all the Democrats in the Houston area running for the State Legislature. However, I try to endorse a few Republicans when it comes to county jobs. Stay tuned.

National Musings


A few weeks ago, I prophesied that Obama would win the popular vote but lose the electoral college and therefore the election. I based this on the fact that I was somewhat confident that the state of Wisconsin would be in the red column. However, I have recently been notified of the GOP pulling ads from quite a lot of states they deem unattainable: New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Though they do not mention New Mexico or Nevada, both of these states are almost definitively going to vote for the President. Assuming a GOP North Carolina, and leaving the remaining states blank, this gives Obama 257 and Romney 206. The path for victory then becomes quite easy for Obama, as he would simply have to win Colorado and Iowa, of which he is comfortably ahead in both, or just one of the major swing states (Florida, Ohio, Virginia).

I still tend to think that polls are overestimating voter turnout and underestimating voter suppression (the coarse duo of Voter ID and the good-for-nothing-dirty-hippies of occupy), and that Romney has a pretty good shot at winning the three major swings as well as Iowa. For the good of all things holy on this holy day for me though, I hope he doesn’t.

…and they’re off!

Nick Lampson is on the air, launching his first tv ad. Here‘s the link.

I find this interesting as, besides the Obama or Romney ads on national television, this is the first general election ad I have seen in the Houston area. I saw tons of Dewhurst and Cruz ads during the primary, and I think even one for James Cargas. However, since July 31 I have not seen any local politics on the television. I’m guessing Lampson/Weber will be the only congressional race in the Houston area to actually warrant any sort of heavily advertisements, but I would not be surprised if a few State House races (Davis/Johnson) warrant them, as well as some county spots. Ed Emmett will probably have a cameo where we says “hunker down”, and Ted Cruz might make an appearance too.

Counting down the days until a Weber response…

International Perspective on the Democratic Party

Any poor schlemiel who will ever take an introductory class on Comparative Government will realize something right off the bat–our political system, Democrats & Republicans, is fundamentally different than other countries. America has a a problem with people not voting, we have a lot of young ingrates that won’t get off their lazy butts long enough to go to a polling booth, and I mean A LOT of them. Voter Turnout in 2008, our big “landslide” election was 62%. The net result of this is that the people on the extreme right who do vote dominate the entire process.

Speaking internationally, the United States has two political parties: a right-wing party, and a “big tent” party that encompasses centre-right, centre, and centre-left. The left-wing people of America are not really represented. This is fundamentally different than most other international systems. European nations have right-wing parties, LDRP of Russia and Yisrael Beiteneu of Israel as two examples, but neither ever really make it past third or fourth place. I have noticed that most European models are skewed to the left, whilst the United States is skewed to the right.

In Canada, there was at one point a similar system to the United States. There was the Conservative Party, representing the centre-right, the Liberal Party representing the centre-left, they fought over the middle, and there were smaller third parties that got the right-wing and left-wing. However, all of this changed in 2011. While the Conservatives maintained their control of the government, there was a spectacular death and resurrection of the left that occurred in the background. The Liberal Party lost half of their seats, and the centre-left Quebec interests party lost all but four. Meanwhile, the left-wing New Democratic Party tripled their share in the House of Commons. The left of Canadian politics was traded from cenre-left to left-wing.

In 2010, however, the opposite thing occurred in the United Kingdom. The centre-right Conservative Party rose to power, defeating the left-wing Labour Party (it is important to not the Labourites are probably in between centre-left and left-wing after the reforms of Blair). However, the big winners of the elections was the Liberal Democrat Party, of the centre-left persuasion. In one election they rose from irrelevance to forcing the first coalition government in 65 years.

Still, other nations see a perpetuation of the old ways. In France, the centre-right UPM would face off against the left-wing Socialist Party, the two competing over the middle with splinter parties vying for the extreme. Similarly, Germany has the centre-right Christian Democrats and left-wing Social Democrats.

There seem to be three types of non-American political parties: Conservative (centre-right), Liberal (centre, centre-left), and Socialist (left-wing). Fascism (far-right), Republicanism (right-wing), and Communism (far-left) are all minor actors. What I’m trying to get at here is that the USA has a political system which is at its core unsustainable. Democrats used to be exclusively centre-left and the GOP centre-right, but times have changed as the Republicans keep moving to the right and the Democrats keep eating up the empty territory. Once the Democratic Party solidifies its control of Conservatives, Liberals, and Socialists (which in the United States is quite small), it will be the end of the Republican Party.

I have hypothesized that this would happen around the early 2030s, keeping in line with demographic changes. The result would be a short lived second Era of Good Feelings, followed by the Democrats splitting into two distinct parties. What those two parties would represent, I believe, is based on just how far the country moves to the left. Whether it will revert to being a centre country like before, or to the European model of being skewed to the left.

If we revert to a centre model, we would have a Conservative party roughly in line with the Republicans of the Kennedy era and a Liberal party roughly in line with the Democrats of the Kennedy era. If, however, we go further, we could have a Liberal party and a Socialist Party. I think it is based on the political climate of the era (1932-1980, Left), (1980-Present, Right).

Anyways it’s late, and Houston politics is pretty quiet right now.

The curious case of the Fourteenth

So I’m stuck here. As far as I can tell, there has been one poll in the fourteenth congressional race, and it has put Lampson ahead of Weber by a few points. Therefore, I would have considered this race to be a tossup. However, EVER major congressional reporting service lists it as “safe Republican”. I would like to hypothesize two reasons for this:

1. National Organizations are too cynical. The main reporting services I am running on are The New York Times, 270 to Win, and Cook. Real Clear Politics also puts in the “likely GOP” category, which is a little better–but not much. The school of thought here would be that the good people working the computers here are lazy, see a seat which has not put up a serious Democratic challenger in years, and just write it off. This seems quite feasible.

2. Burnt Orange Report, in their original article about this poll in question, implied that Lampson’s campaign was the one who released the poll. Now, there may be a chance that Lampson has become so inundated with the Austin spirit that he would put out excessively naive polls like the ones that showed Rick Perry was beatable. For the sake of one of my favorite Democrats in Texas though, I hope not.

Further, for the sake of our country, I hope the poll stands true. As I have said before, the District is quite favorable to Lampson. However, it will all boil down to how much Obama wins (or loses) by. If droves of people show up to the polls in Galveston and Beaumont to vote for the President, and pull the lever for the Ds, Lampson will win. If not, the fourteenth district is sending another wacko to the Washington.