Category Archives: Texas

To the Victor Goes the Spoils?

The Austin-American Statesman had an article up on Sunday about redistricting, especially in Texas. Is it fair? Should we keep with the old adage “to the victor goes the spoils” or work towards a solution where citizens are aptly represented based on demographics?

Let’s look at both ideas:

(1) To the victor goes the spoils — the party in the majority is in the majority because they won, therefore, they should have control over drawing the maps and setting the line for representational districts

(2) Fairness — should our elected officials, regardless of party, focus more of drawing lines that create districts more resembling how populations in a certain state are placed, focusing more on demographics and less on political party

First off, Texas gives the party controlling the State House full control over drawing the maps. Keep in mind they have to account for populations increases or decreases (adding or taking away districts), where the population is growing or shrinking, and how the population is changing. If the legislative body cannot come to an agreement on maps, it falls to a Redistricting Board composed of five elected officials (Lt. Gov, Comptroller, Land Commissioner, Attorney General, and Speaker of the State House). Generally in Texas, all or most of these offices are going to be filled by one party, usually the party also in power in the State House.

My issue with this, is the party in power is only going to draw the lines that, at a minimum, reflect population changes. Their goals are twofold: (1) Protect the incumbents of their own party; and (2) Create more districts that lean towards their party. What ends up happening is the party out of power can challenge the maps. Already, as a Southern state, Texas is required to pre-clear all maps with the U.S. Justice Department (which, in and of itself, is often quite political); in this instance, now the Courts become involved.

Redistricting is a dirty, dirty part of politics. Which is why it needs to be taken out of the hands of elected officials. If the voters can elect their own commission, fully unable of holding any other state job, you might see maps that more accurately reflect demographic and population changes. For instance, break Texas into an odd number of districts and voters elect 1 redistricting commissioner from each district to draw the maps for their regions. Let someone from Houston draw the Houston map, same with Dallas, San Antonio, west Texas, south Texas, etc. These people have one job, they do it once, and they can’t be re-elected. Simple as that.

Let’s be smart about this. Stop politicizing everything.

The Convention, Day 1

Will update with videos tomorrow.

  • Future First Lady Ann Romney
  • OK Governor Mary Fallin
  • WI Governor Scott Walker
  • NH Senator Kelly Ayotte
  • Former AL Congressman Artur Davis (D)
  • Former PA Senator Rick Santorum
  • OH Governor John Kasich
  • NJ Governor Chris Christie (keynote)
  • SC Governor Nikki Haley
  • Mayor and Utah Congressional Nominee Mia Love
  • TX Senate Nominee Ted Cruz

**********

Day 2 is shaping up to to be GOOD:

  • PR Governor Luis Fortuño
  • Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  • NM Governor Susana Martinez
  • Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan

Akin for Control of the Senate

So, maybe the news isn’t all bad for Republican control of the Senate? Let’s go straight to predictions and explanations!

  • Arizona: No change from last week. MODERATE GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • California: No change from last week. I’m excited to see Emken go on CNN Monday morning. STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Connecticut: This one has moved into a tossup. A new poll had McMahon up 49-46 and Connecticut looks a lot less friendly to Obama. Could a Republican upset happen here? Until I see another poll tell me otherwise, I say yes. TOSSUP/GOP PICKUP
  • Delaware: No change. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Florida: No change. I still think the way Florida goes in November decides the winner between Nelson and Mack. TOSSUP/GOP PICKUP
  • Hawaii: No change yet. Hirono and Lingle are going to debate 8 times between now and November. Lots of room for change. MODERATE DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Indiana: Still not a lot of polling, so no change. WEAK GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Maine:No change. Still not a lot of polling and King has still not declared a caucus yet. MODERATE DEM LEAN/DEM PICKUP
  • Maryland: No change. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Massachusetts: A PPP poll had Brown up 5 points yesterday. Looking like Brown’s race to lose.  TOSSUP/HOLD
  • Michigan: Two new polls have  given Hoekstra a lead and another Stabenow in the low single-digits. Romney’s coattails could make this an upset. TOSSUP/HOLD
  • Minnesota: No change. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Mississippi: Incumbent: No change. STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Missouri: Call it a tossup now. Actually, as long as Akin is the nominee, McCaskill will win. Weak Dem lean with the chance to jump back to GOP with a new nominee. WEAK DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Montana: Montana is looking RED as RED can be this year. Moving this to GOP lean. WEAK GOP LEAN/GOP PICKUP
  • Nebraska: No change. STRONG GOP LEAN/GOP PICKUP
  • Nevada: No change. MODERATE GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • New Jersey: No change. MODERATE DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • New Mexico: No change yet. TOSSUP/HOLD
  • New York: No change. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • North Dakota: No change. MODERATE GOP LEAN/GOP PICKUP
  • Ohio: No change. WEAK DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Pennsylvania: No change. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Rhode Island: No change. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Tennessee: No change. STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Texas: No change. STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Utah: No change. STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Vermont: No change. STRONG DEM (SOCIALIST) LEAN/HOLD
  • Virginia: Virginia is looking like a lean blue state in November, so I’m moving this one down to a Dem hold. TOSSUP/HOLD
  • Washington: No change. MODERATE DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • West Virginia: No change.  STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Wisconsin: Thompson looks to be getting stronger and Wisconsin is looking like a Romney state. Moving this up a little. MODERATE GOP LEAN/GOP PICKUP
  • Wyoming: No change. STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD

Last week I had it at 52-47-1 (GOP/Dem/Independent King); this week we have it at: 52-47-1. Haha. Missouri goes blue, Connecticut goes red. Total wash.

The Morning Dump, August 23rd

So I’ve spent all morning thinking it was the 22nd. TGIF, tomorrow…TO THE DUMP! (Abbreviated today)

World News

  • Rumors of war within Los Zetas. Man, that shouldn’t make Mexico any less violent, corrupt, or prone to mass murders that spill over into the American Southwest…

U.S. News

Texas News

Akin Watch: Day 3

  • Rasmussen teased a poll showing Claire McCaskill up 10 points on Akin. Private sources have said he’d drop out if he’s down 5+ points…

 

 

The Problem With Politics

The problem with politics is plain and simple: too few people have all the power.

In the case I’m talking now, in the Texas Democratic Primary on May 29th, Lloyd Wayne Oliver defeated party favorite Zack Ferrttita for the right to be the Democratic nominee for Harris County District Attorney. And not by a squeaker, it was a couple percentage points of a win.

Fast forward nearly three months later. Former Harris County Democratic Party (HCDP) chair Gerald Birnberg alleges Mr. Oliver “endorsed and supported” current District Attorney Patricia Lykos (R) in her bid to be renominated (which she lost, by a significant margin), based on statements he made following the primary.

In his statement responding to the complaint, Mr. Oliver stated that he would not have endorsed Ms. Lykos because she had lost and was no longer a candidate. The statements were made beginning the day after the primary was over in an attempt to woo some of her supporters. Also in the statement, Mr. Oliver believed that the Texas Democratic Party Rules (TDPR) do not explicitly apply to elected candidates and the attempt to remove him from the ballot would not stand. In conjunction, a representative from the Texas Secretary of State’s Office informed Mr. Oliver that such a thing would not be possible. Believing he had covered the ground, Mr. Oliver sent the statement to Chairman of the HCDP Lane Lewis.

Today, on August 22nd, Mr. Oliver received Mr. Lewis’ answer: his statement did not adequately defend the charges and he would not be removed from the ballot and the decision would be appealed to the TDP Chairman. In addition, for the first time, Mr. Lewis explained that the HCDP had decided to leave vacant the ballot line for Harris County District Attorney. Regardless of the TDP Chairman’s decision, HCDP was not going to run a candidate in November.

This is a clear violation of election laws and a violation of the people of Harris County’s civil rights. The HCDP is attempting to remove a candidate from the nomination of office because their candidate didn’t win. If this was possible, it would happen all the time. There is no vehicle for removing a candidate from elected nomination, barring not meeting age or residency requirements or dying. Election attorneys and judges are salivating at the chance to win this slam-dunk of a case.

Local news and national media have gotten a whiff of this story. The shit is about to hit the fan. The HCDP and the TDP have effectively given this election to Mr. Oliver. Voters love an underdog, especially now that local and national media are portraying him as a victim.

A victim of party bosses, personal vendettas, and he is the defender of 30,000 citizen’s civil rights. And more. By not putting up a candidate for the highest partisan office in the county on the ballot in 2012, the citizens are being deprived of being able to cast a choice and make their voice heard.

Stand for the right kinds of politics. Help Lloyd make his voice heard.

The Morning Dump, August 20th

Monday already? This can’t keep happening, the weekends aren’t long enough. I call on both Governor Romney and President Obama to commit to making the weekend two days longer. That will get someone my vote. As long as you don’t change voting days to weekends, of course.

To the Dump!

World News

  • 11-year-old Pakistani girl charged with blasphemy. I mean, sometimes, seriously? She was burning pages of the Quran mixed in with other papers she was using for cooking fuel. She has Down’s Syndrome. So I’m sure the Pakistani government will stone her for this and then parade her body around the mountains. Poor ass country, supply your population with cooking fuel, you bastards.
  • Chinese “Court” suspends death sentence of China’s “Jackie Kennedy.” Gu Kailai is the wife of the head of the Communist Party in China and was convicted of murdering a British businessman. Just because she’s the wife of the Communist chief doesn’t make her Jackie. She said “I think this verdict is fair. It fully reflects the court’s respect for law, reality and especially human life.” Who has said that ever in China without disappearing?

U.S. News

Texas News

  • Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot is set to be the point-man on the Texas Voter ID Laws and the Section 5 challenge. For those who don’t know, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) declares areas of the country with historical voting discrimination must clear anything from voting laws to election dates to Congressional maps with the U.S. Department of Justice. Section 5 primarily focuses on the South (from 50 years ago) and fails to include places known for voter fraud (Chicago, Minnesota, Philly). The Section 5 challenge could be a big boost for Abbot’s gubernatorial ambitions in 2014.
  • For one year, the Texas DMV will accept matricula cards. Matricula cards are identification cards issued by foreign consulates, in this case, Mexico. Texas residents with matricula cards can use them to register or transfer vehicle titles, but they cannot be used for obtaining a driver’s license. The vote was 6-1 in favor of the one-year exemption, with the nay vote coming from Galveston’s Cheryl Johnson. Johnson, who agrees that the matricula is difficult to verify, said she voted against the rule change because she didn’t want to wait a year to ban the matricula as a form of identification.

Irony of the Day

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod: “Bullshit notion” we ran a positive campaign in 2008. Not what we were told by the media…

Rick Perry Will Get Stood Up at Prom This Year

 

Governor Perry, your time is up.

 

You are the state’s longest serving Governor. You ran for President and failed miserably. You utterly destroyed the career of our most effective advocate for Texas, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

You may pick up your prize at 1246 TAMU, Texas A&M University College Station, TX 77643. Because come 2015, the only thing you have going for you is the presidency of your alma mater (p.s., I wouldn’t stick that on my resume).

Slicky Ricky is so desperate for a date nowadays he ginned up this little number: Texans First. A “philanthropic angel investor group” (say what?) focusing on good governance, civic participation, and “keeping elected officials accountable.” What does Ricky have to do with his? Simple: he’s lost his street cred. He let a no one (read: Debra Medina) run to the right of him in the 2010 primary. He ran for President and failed miserably and lost to a guy who is the national equivalent of Kay Bailey, but a man and Mormon. His chosen boy, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, lost to someone who people didn’t even know until a few months ago. Does Perry have any sway in the state he built and staffed and appointed with cronies and drinking buddies?

I say no. Texans First is Perry’s pathetically lame attempt to court the new GOP freshmen going to Austin for the 2013 legislative session. Here is the letter sent to those freshmen by Texans (Perry) First:

Congratulations on winning your race. You earned it. Now comes the hard part–delivering on the promises you made, so Texas avoids becoming a high-tax, over-regulated, lawsuit riddled disaster like California.

Benjamin Franklin cautioned, “We most all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. That’s why those of us at Texas First, a group of liberty minded entrepreneurs who are dedicated to the same principles you are, want to invite you to an intimate gathering of legislative policy leaders, policy experts, and successful entrepreneurs. If you will come, we promise you a day of deep principled discussion and serious commitments you won’t soon forget.

This is Slick Rick trying to fix his reputation and image. The 2013 session won’t be a nice one, having to deal with a budget shortfall, education funding, women’s reproductive rights, possibly raising taxes and fees to cover shortfalls, and potentially, squaring off with a President Mitt Romney he talked a lot of bullshit about. He knows how vulnerable he is on the right. His presidential run, combined with the TTC and HPV, make him ripe for a primary challenge. He won’t stop mentioning 2016, because he knows his future in Texas politics is o-v-e-r. The lower-rungs are nipping at his heels to move up: AG Greg Abbot, Comptroller Susan Combs, LG Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. Everyone is ready to move up a rung, with Patterson already declaring his intentions to run for LG, Dew or no Dew.

2014 won’t be kind to Rick Perry. Texans are fed up (hehe, ironic). Greg Abbot will run and win the GOP primary. Dew won’t win (and probably won’t run in) the primary. Combs, Staples, Patterson, Abbot are all moving up. Debra Medina wants to run for Comptroller. The guard is changing due to a bunch of Texans ready to march to the right of Perry. Good for Texas? No. Good for getting rid of Perry? Yes.

Keep an eye on the 2013 session and going into the 2014 cycle. The GOP in Washington and Austin aren’t listening to Perry anymore. It’s Cruz time: full speed ahead!

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