Thursday, June 30, 2005

Official high temperature hits 100 | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News: "It's hot – officially.

Two weeks into the current sweltering spell, the temperature reached 100 Thursday for the first time this year.

The official gauge at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport touched the century mark at 3:47 p.m.

It was the first official 100-degree day here since July 16, the only day last year that saw triple-digit temperatures.

We could double last year's total Friday. The National Weather Service is again predicting a 100-degree high before temperatures drop back into the comparatively cool upper 90s this weekend.

The normal high for July 1 is 94 degrees.

Hot as it might have felt, Thursday was well below the record of 107 set in 1980."

Pay raise offer puts state officials on spot | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News: "When a 35 percent pay raise is offered in state government, it becomes more than generous. It becomes political.

Because of those implications, and the lack of new money to pay for the raises, at least three statewide elected officials said they are turning down a $32,783 pay hike authorized by the Legislature in the budget finalized last week. They are Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs and Railroad Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones and Michael Williams.

Three others – Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson – said they are fairly certain they will take the money, raising their annual salaries to $125,000.

Railroad Commission Chairman Victor Carrillo said he doesn't know whether he'll accept the raise.

Because the raises were approved but not funded, elected officials would have to dig under the couch cushions of their agencies to pay for them – or do without in some other department."

Officials confirm mad cow case in Texas | News for Denton, Texas | AP: Texas: "The first case of mad cow disease in a U.S.-born animal has been traced to a 12-year-old beef cow raised in Texas, the country's largest beef producing state, the Agriculture Department announced Wednesday.

Department officials would not identify the cow's owner or the town where the animal came from, although they said the animal had only one owner.

'Obviously, it's disheartening to learn the animal is from Texas,' said Shane Sklar, executive director of the Independent Cattle Association of Texas. 'But we move forward from here and we work to eradicate BSE from the United States.'"

The Austin Chronicle: News: Naked City--Perry, Strayhorn spar over education funding

The Austin Chronicle: News: Naked City: "After launching a cheery radio spot and swinging across Texas to promote his school finance plan to friendly audiences, Gov. Rick Perry returned to the Capitol on Monday, where the so-called Perry Plan faced its toughest criticism yet.

First, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn deemed the plan a failure, predicting it would create the largest tax hike in state history and force the 2007 Legislature to increase taxes by as much as $2.6 billion. The comptroller – a gubernatorial candidate who is challenging Perry in next year's GOP primary – also took issue with the centerpiece of Perry's plan – a $7 billion property tax cut – which Strayhorn said would leave the state with a $200 million shortfall. 'This is the second plan Gov. Perry has offered up and, like the first, it simply does not add up,' she said. She advised the governor to 'pull down this plan, regroup, and try again.'"

House panel approves Perry-Craddick tax bill | News for Denton, Texas | Texas Legislature: "A tax bill that would be friendly to businesses and squeeze consumers won approval from a House committee Wednesday on a party-line vote."

Sales tax proposal clears House committee

Star-Telegram | 06/30/2005 | Sales tax proposal clears House committee: "Texans would pay the highest state sales tax in the country and would shell out more for bottled water, cigarettes and cars under a bill approved Wednesday by a House committee.

The legislation is designed to pay for an approximate 25 percent reduction in school property taxes over two years. It narrowly passed the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee on a party-line, 5-4 vote, with all the Republicans voting yes and the Democrats voting no."

The Texas Whip: Nuggets of Insight: The Mind of Rick Perry

The Texas Whip: Nuggets of Insight: The Mind of Rick Perry: "Rick Perry is the kind of guy who will boast to the press that he's just signed off on a budget which cut $200m in social services. Flashback, if you will, to 2003. What were said services? Health insurance programs. For whom were said services intended? Low income children. Now, it seems kind of mean to gloat about cutting 150K children off from their government sponsored health insurance. Some, like Rip, might say this is much more immoral than letting two dudes get married. I digress.

So we know that Perry is mean and petty. Let's add rock stupid to the list of Perry's character flaws. Saving that $200m meant forfeiting $500m in Federal Medicaid subsidies. That's right. Cutting $200m meant a net loss of $300m in money the Feds earmarked for Texas."

San Antonio Current catches Barbara Radnofsky's invigoration of the Democrats in Texas.

Barbara Ann--Texas Senator 2006: "Beholden to Texas": "'The party is being invigorated,' Barbara Ann Radnofsky, who is running for Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat in 2006, told the Current. Citing issues such as health care, education, and abortion, she said, 'we can find common ground on the most controversial issues. These issues that divided can really bring us together.'"

Off the Kuff: KBH's veterans goofup

Off the Kuff: KBH's veterans goofup: "Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is scrambling to cover a hole in the Veterans' Affairs budget."

The Raw Story | DeLay inquiry set to move; GOP ethics chairman backs down

The Raw Story | DeLay inquiry set to move; GOP ethics chairman backs down: "The Republican Chairman of the House Ethics Committee has retreated on a bid to have his chief of staff become co-director for the Committee, paving the way for ethics investigations of House members, including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX"

El Paso Dems Crossed for Med School

Redefining Chicano Socio-Political Discourse...: El Paso Dems Crossed for Med School: "Late last night after reading Rep. Peña's posting regarding the El Paso delegation supporting HB2, I immediately knew it was because of the Med School. Capitol Inside provides the story.

The funding for the El Paso Med School and the TAMUK Pharmacy School was something DC commented about after the legislative session. As a native South Texan, I can vouch for the area that there is a dire need for professional schools and the benefits that come with possessing such educational instituions. Now it seems Craddick, who did away with the funding during the regular session in the first place, used the El Paso program as the carrot to lure the El Paso delegation of 3 Democrats and one Republican. Rep. Paul Moreno did not budge, though. I am very sure many were left seething at this occuring, as I also was."

Clean Up Texas Politics | Houston Chronicle: Scary idea- Andy Taylor may be right

Clean Up Texas Politics | Houston Chronicle: Scary idea- Andy Taylor may be right: "A story by Chronicle Austin reporter R.G. Ratcliffe the other day raises a frightening question.

What if Andy Taylor is right?

Taylor is the Houston lawyer for the Texas Association of Business, the group that in 2002 raised and spent $1.7 million in 42 secret corporate contributions to buy the Texas Legislature.

It then bragged about its success.

And based on the results, especially the refusal of the Legislature to raise business taxes to more fairly and fully fund public schools, TAB has every reason to brag.

TAB, you may recall, ran a coordinated effort with U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee (TRMPAC) to target key legislative races and pour in money for ads supporting favored candidates and attacking their opponents.

The result was a speaker of the House who appears to be totally indebted to TAB and TRMPAC, a cadre of Republican legislators devotedly grateful to them, a bundle of indictments and several lawsuits.

7 unseated, he boasted"

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Burnt Orange Report - Chris Bell Rails Against Tutition Deregulation

Burnt Orange Report - Chris Bell Rails Against Tutition Deregulation: "Today former Congressman Chris Bell, who is exploring a run for governor, says that tutition deregulation has failed Texas.

“When tuition rises four times faster than inflation, we need to admit that tuition deregulation has failed,” said Bell. “One of my top priorities as Governor will be to put that genie back in the bottle. There is no better economic development program in the world than higher education, and the moms and dads in Texas deserve a Texas Governor who gets it.”"

Burnt Orange Report - 50cc's of "adjustment so that they're not losing their purchasing power," stat!

Burnt Orange Report - 50cc's of "adjustment so that they're not losing their purchasing power," stat!: "The purchasing power of the minimum wage has fallen by over fifteen percent since 1997, the last time y'all gave poor folks a raise."

House Agrees to $3,100 Pay Raise for 2006

House Agrees to $3,100 Pay Raise for 2006 - Yahoo! News: "'It's not a pay raise,' said House Majority Leader
Tom DeLay, R-Texas. 'It's an adjustment so that they're not losing their purchasing power.'"

Maybe the Hammer can convince his buddy Craddick to give teacher an adjustment so that we don't lose our purchasing power.


A CAPITOL BLOG: HOUSE LEADERS SAVE SCHOOL BILL WITH EL PASO MEDICAL SCHOOL DEAL: "Texas House Republican leaders made the El Paso delegation an offer its members wouldn't refuse - and it saved the school finance bill from going down in flames late Tuesday night after 13 hours of debate.

The House approved House Bill 2 on a 77-70 vote after three El Paso Democrats and the city's only Republican lawmaker abandoned their opposition to the measure amid promises of state funding for a four-year medical school in the border town. "


A CAPITOL BLOG: "As the 4th of July weekend approaches, children across Texas will be enjoying themselves with fireworks, movies and family fun. State Representative Aaron Pena today issued a warning to Texas families that one childhood diversion that parents should look out for is the increased attempts to attract children to drugs.

'We are always aware of the attempts to entice our children into a life of illegal drugs,' said Rep. Pena. 'We also need to be vigilant for the ever increasing legal attempts to divert our children down the wrong path. Today I filed HB 74 to shut down the legal marketing of the drug culture to our children by the sale of marijuana candy.' "

Texas House Thwarts Voucher Bill - by Connie Sadowski

The Heartland Institute - Texas House Thwarts Voucher Bill - by Connie Sadowski: "A proposal to create a statewide school voucher program was shelved in the Texas House of Representatives May 23 after five hours of heated debate, effectively ending any chance of giving Lone Star State students full school choice until the next legislative session convenes in 2007.

'It is a sad day in Texas when legislators vote against an educational option that would save our most vulnerable children in our inner cities,' said Peggy Venable, director of the Texas chapter of Americans for Prosperity. 'These legislators have turned their backs on the kids trapped in low-performing schools, the students who are victims of violence, and others who would have benefitted.'

The bill went through a series of last-minute changes and votes, with one amendment being tabled on a 72-71 vote and another losing 72-72, according to the May 24 issue of the Houston Chronicle. The bill was then amended to give students vouchers only to attend the public school of their choice, defeating its central purpose. House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland) used a parliamentary procedure to close debate on the bill for the session.

'I woke up this morning thinking this may be the day we made history in Texas,' sponsor State Rep. Kent Grusendorf (R-Arlington) told the Chronicle. 'I'm disappointed.'"

House approves education overhaul | News for Denton, Texas | AP: Texas: "The Texas House late Tuesday approved an education reform plan that also lowers school property taxes for Texas homeowners.

Now, they're left with the task of paying for the promised tax relief.

The plan approved Tuesday would alter the way schools operate in a variety of areas. Teachers would get a raise and could soon teach using digital technology instead of textbooks, and all classes would start the day after Labor Day.

The classroom overhaul legislation is the first part of a package of school funding legislation that brought lawmakers back to the Capitol this summer for a 30-day special session.

Lawmakers haven't yet decided how they'll pay for accompanying legislation to pay for reduced property taxes.

After hitting a dead end with the most recent tax scheme, Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick said he's e-mailed a new list of tax options to members, and a meeting to consider them is scheduled for Wednesday morning."

GOP three plan a jobs carve-up

GOP three plan a jobs carve-up: "Three powerful Senate Republicans are planning to reallocate some of the tasks assigned to the leadership posts they hope to win at the start of the next Congress.

During talks last week that produced a deal in which none of the three would challenge either of the others for their allotted rungs of the leadership ladder, Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) and John Ensign (Nev.) discussed how three leadership job descriptions might be adjusted.

Republican sources offer conflicting accounts of what role each senator would play. None of the participants concedes that his or her responsibilities would be diminished.

It is expected that Hutchison, the current party vice chairwoman, would play an increased role in communicating the GOP message, despite running to head the GOP Policy Committee, which has hitherto focused on producing detailed position papers on a range of issues."

Mayor wants role in Wright's future | News for Dallas, Texas | Business: "If there's a chance that flight restrictions at Dallas Love Field may be repealed, Mayor Laura Miller wants to make sure local officials have a seat at the table.

Ms. Miller said Tuesday that she is working with city staff to develop a compromise that would include a 'predictable repeal over time, where both sides have to make concessions and have input into a solution.'

'I've heard from a lot of people in D.C. that this thing is gaining momentum, and if it's allowed to be voted on, it passes,' Ms. Miller said in an interview.

'As the local officials, we should say, 'OK, we see the train wreck coming, here's what we're offering as a solution.' '"

Whether by conscience or politics, thanks for apology

Whether by conscience or politics, thanks for apology: "We're glad that one senator from Texas will be on the record supporting the U.S. Senate's apology for failing to pass anti-lynching laws that might have spared thousands of African Americans from mob violence.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who withheld her name from the historic resolution earlier this month, now has signed it. To that we say, better late than not at all to Texas' Republican senior senator.

It is disheartening that 10 senators — including Texas' junior senator, John Cornyn, also a Republican — still have not formally supported the apology. The resolution should have carried the names of all 100 senators. Apparently, some senators think it would not make for good politics at home to have their names on the resolution. What a shame."

Recent high court rulings concern DeLay, Cornyn - Recent high court rulings concern DeLay, Cornyn: "Several recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have brought renewed criticism against the federal judiciary from some of Texas' leading Republicans in Congress.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, of Sugar Land, and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn railed against the high court's 5-4 ruling last week giving government authorities the right to seize and transfer private property for public use projects.

The court only partly redeemed itself Monday in some Republicans' eyes when it decided in another 5-4 ruling that some, but not all, public displays of the Ten Commandments are constitutional.

The rulings provide a new platform for lawmakers who have said the judiciary has run amok, in DeLay's words, and must be subject to stricter congressional oversight. Cornyn is proposing legislative efforts to alter the fallout from the land use decision."

Gates raises tuition for Fall 2005 - The Battalion

Gates raises tuition for Fall 2005 - The Battalion - News: "Texas A&M University President Robert M. Gates announced a $12.50 per credit hour increase in designated tuition effective at the beginning of the fall semester, in a campus-wide e-mail sent Tuesday.

In the e-mail, Gates said the designated tuition would be raised to $87 per semester credit hour, an increase of $187.50 for full-time undergraduates."

Kinky sees Legislature as the joke Local News: "'My campaign is not the joke,' he said, his trademark cigar hanging from his lips. 'It's the Texas Legislature that's a joke. I think it's an easy job, and it's one that's not being done the way it should be.'"

The Texas Whip: Rep. Corte Introduces Amendent to Restrict Eminent Domain

The Texas Whip: Rep. Corte Introduces Amendent to Restrict Eminent Domain: "In the wake of the recent Supreme Ct. odious decision regarding government's ability to take land and turn it over to private entities, Rep. Frank Corte (R-San Antonion) has introduced an amendment to the Texas Constituion which would prohibit such a despicable event from occuring" - Robison: Rev. Gov. Perry hitching re-election to conservatives - Robison: Rev. Gov. Perry hitching re-election to conservatives: "The Web site, to the casual glance, looks like a sleek come-on for a quickie, weekend elopement package. It is adorned with images of wedding rings, smiling (heterosexual) couples and a huckster minister.

But wait a minute, that preachy fellow with the so-sincere, trust-me countenance on is none other than the Rev. Gov. Rick Perry. And he is not there to merely perform weddings but to save the very institution of marriage, as we have come to know it, and, by implication, human civilization itself.

Or so Perry and other promoters of the proposition to lock a ban on homosexual marriages into the Texas Constitution would have us believe. In truth, whether intentionally or not, they are fanning the flames of bigotry against a minority group of Texans, mainly to prolong their own political careers.

With such pettiness from Austin's leadership, there is little wonder that gay-bashing continues to persist in a state whose very name is supposed to symbolize friendship."

The Texas Whip: More on the Tomfoolery of Rick Perry

The Texas Whip: More on the Tomfoolery of Rick Perry: "More on the Tomfoolery of Rick Perry"

Good analysis.

Lawmakers slam Halliburton on costs - Lawmakers slam Halliburton on costs: "Pentagon auditors have challenged nearly $1.5 billion worth of Halliburton Co.'s bills to the U.S. military, Democratic lawmakers say.

Placing the military's largest private contractor operating in Iraq under the microscope once again, House and Senate Democrats on Monday pointed to Pentagon audits criticizing Halliburton for inflating costs, billing for unnecessary equipment and submitting millions of dollars in duplicate costs on two contracts valued at more than $11 billion."

House OKs plan for school spending

House OKs plan for school spending: "The House approved a $2.5 billion education proposal Tuesday night that lowers property taxes and boosts teacher salaries but has been widely criticized by educators.

House leaders, meanwhile, tried to quietly revise a separate plan to swap billions in higher state taxes for lower school property taxes."

Houston Democrats: Democratic Tax Plan Goes Down by ONE Vote

Houston Democrats: Democratic Tax Plan Goes Down by ONE Vote: "The Texas House turned back a Democratic proposal for a school finance overhaul by one vote today, barely avoiding what would have been a major change in the direction of the special legislative session.

The House defeated the Democrats' proposal with a 75-74 vote, with Speaker Tom Craddick casting the deciding vote after the rest of the House was tied. Speakers generally do not vote, although Craddick has regularly done so on major proposals this year.

The plan drew the support of every Democrat and 12 Republicans.

It would have cut the maximum property tax rate for school maintenance and operations from $1.50 to $1.30. Its supporters also wanted to increase the value of a home that is exempt from school taxes from $15,000 to $45,000, although that language was not included in the proposal offered on the House floor.

Democrats said their plan would provide $3,200 in across-the-board pay increases for teachers. The Republican-backed plan that lawmakers will consider later today would give teachers across-the-board increases of $500, plus require school districts to give additional raises averaging $1,000 per teacher. Republicans also want to spend more money on incentive programs for teachers."

House approves education overhaul "Teachers would get a raise, would teach using digital technology instead of textbooks and all classes would start the day after Labor Day under legislation approved late Tuesday in the Texas House.

The classroom overhaul legislation, which also lowers school property taxes, is the first part of a package of school funding legislation that brought lawmakers back to the Capitol this summer for a 30-day special session.

School districts in Texas will get a minimum of 3 percent more money in 2006 than they would under current law."


A CAPITOL BLOG: HB 2 VOTE: PASSES 77-69: "Say it ain't so El Paso! Four members voted for HB 2 and were the difference in the vote. Rep. Paul Moreno stuck with the other border representatives and voted against HB 2.

The second reading vote at 11:26 was 77-69.

The third reading vote at 11:30 was 77-70.

April Castro with the Associated Press gives her take on the 13 hours of debate and the final vote."

Redefining Chicano Socio-Political Discourse...: HB2 Passes

Redefining Chicano Socio-Political Discourse...: HB2 Passes: "According to our friend and bloggin' State Rep. Aaron Pe�a, the Texas House has just passed HB2 on its 3rd reading by a vote of 77-70. Mr. Pe�a gave bit of a play-by-play. HB2 was the Republican plan for an 'education overhaul.'

Earlier in the evening, the Democratic Plan for school finance was defeated by ONE VOTE. That's right! Tom Craddick was the deciding vote after 12, mostly central Texas, Republicans crossed the aisle and voted for the plan. All of the Democrats did what they were supposed to do and supported the plan."

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Texas Whip: Hutchison Confident She Would Have Beaten Perry

The Texas Whip: Hutchison Confident She Would Have Beaten Perry: "Check out the full story from the Houston Chronicle. Below is the highligh of the article:

Asked whether she would have beaten Perry in a Republican primary next year, Hutchison's one-word reply: 'Yes.'"

Grits for Breakfast-- Judge: Perry probation veto risks public safety

Grits for Breakfast: "Judges fear the worst, says the June 26th Beaumont Enterprise, after Governor Rick Perry vetoed HB 2193 which would have strengthened Texas' probation system. One jurist painted an especially stark scenario, the paper reported:

In the late 1980s, Texas prisons were overcrowded at a population of about 35,000 inmates.

The situation was so dire, local criminal justice authorities say, that prisoners were being released after serving 10 percent of their sentences.

[Senior District Judge Larry] Gist shuddered when he recalls what happened next.

'There's this ridiculous picture of a one-rock drug possession coming in and a murderer going out, and nobody wants that to happen,' he said.

He doesn't think it could happen again but can't really see what will prevent it."

Monday, June 27, 2005

Cornyn to Minutemen: Back Off

WOAI: San Antonio News - Cornyn to Minutemen: Back Off: "U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) today urged the civilian 'Minuteman' border patrol organization not to begin operation along the Texas-Mexico border in October as planned, expressing concern that the group's activities could do more harm than good.

'I would hope that everybody who is concerned about the porous nature of our borders would allow the federal government to act,' Cornyn told 1200 WOAI news this morning.

The Minuteman action 'may actually not help solve the problem but may create a new and additional problem,' Cornyn said.

'So my preference would be to let the federal government do the job the federal government is supposed to do.'"

Friedman pushes education - The Battalion - News

Friedman pushes education - The Battalion - News: "Texas should reform its educational policies by increasing funding for school programs and teaching students real subjects instead of how to take standardized tests, said musician, author and 2006 gubernatorial candidate Richard 'Kinky' Friedman.

'I don't like the way the state is going,' Friedman said. 'We're first in executions and the last in education.'"

Radnofsky takes on Hutchison

27 June 2005
Tel: 713 858 8509

Senate Candidate responds to Hutchison's Announcement

San Antonio, Tx - San Antonio voters instructed by Republican leaders to expect a Tim Duncan-style slam dunk in the Senate race with Kay Bailey Hutchison's announcement to seek re-election got a taste of the all-out battle that's brewing when Democratic Senate candidate Barbara Ann Radnofsky addressed local groups on veterans, health-care, and education issues, on the eve of Kay Bailey Hutchison's announcement she'd run again for Senate.

Responding to statements by Hutchison and Karl Rove questioning the patriotism of Democrats, Radnofsky said, "Karl Rove and Kay Bailey Hutchison must not have gotten that 'I'm a uniter, not a divider' memo. My father won a Purple Heart helping save the world from fascism in World War II, and he was a Democrat all his life."

Radnofsky spoke twice to the Tejano Democrat Convention, and at a luncheon on June 25 accepted a "Moral Courage Award" from the group's Chairman, Texas State Rep Aaron Peña for her "service to the Tejano Democrats and for 'stepping forward.'"

Radnofsky, a mother of three, wife, volunteer teacher, mediator, and 26-year lawyer, filed in January for the Senate seat which many predicted would be open. Senator Hutchison, who pledged she would limit herself to two full terms, was expected to announce for governor, but has instead recently announced she would announce she'd run for a third term.

Radnofsky, who also addressed the statewide Tejano Democrat Convention in Corpus Christi last year, was lauded by the Chairman of the Convention at its evening opening event as a long time friend of Tejano Democrats. She told the crowd: "Texans need representatives in Washington who are beholden to the interests of their constituents rather than a senator who rubberstamps the administration."

Pointing out that vital Texas needs have gone unmet, Radnofsky emphasized that Texas leads the nation in uninsured adults and children. "I've traveled the state for a year and a half, and health care is on everyone's mind. You have familes where husband and wife work hard, and they still can't afford insurance. They are naked out there, with no preventive care, increasing the risks of diabetes, cancer and heart disease."

She emphasized education as an issue, criticized cutbacks in Pell Grants and advocated programs designed to prevent high school children from dropping out: "I teach in the 'Upward Bound' Program, designed to help high school children whose parents never made it to college. The administration proposed to eliminate that program, which in Alvin, Texas had a 100 percent success rate in kids advancing to college."

And, she advocated placing mediation programs in the schools, to address violence, bullying and giving children the life skills they need to succeed, describing those programs she's been leading for more than a decade in Texas schools.

Later in the day, Radnofsky spoke to the American GI Forum and emphasized the critical need for a Veterans Administration hospital south of San Antonio. "We are here at 'la frontera'", she said. "There is no Veterans Hospital south of San Antonio. Our veterans deserve better. They deserve to be treated with the respect and honor they have earned." The denial of benefits to veterans, and the additional human and economic costs imposed on those who would have to pay an access fee or have to travel long distances to access health care represent major campaign issues that Radnofsky believes will bring voters from across the spectrum into her camp.

"These are not Republican or Democrat issues; these are not liberal or conservative issues; these are moral issues. How can we ask people to put their lives on the line for our liberty, and then deny them access to care for the injuries and illnesses they've sustained as a result of that sacrifice? The veterans from all wars are aging, and their needs for medical care will only increase over time."


Radnofsky is well on the way to wrapping up the Democratic nomination, an unusual situation 9 months in advance of the primary. "It's a great gestation period," she smiled, "and I'll have another 9 months after that, too. I've had three babies, so I know I can go the distance."

Despite Radnofsky's two years of careful preparation for the race, many expected her to focus on a different race once Hutchison announced. Far from it. "While I'm honored to accept the 'moral courage award'" she said, "this isn't moral courage to step forward. I honor the 'moral courage' of those who risk their lives to step forward. When my father was in POW camp, and the Nazis came at morning muster and said 'all the Jews will step forward,' my father told the story, late in his life, that each and every man stepped forward that morning, saving his life. "

"That's courage in stepping forward," she quietly explained. As far as the race, "I intend to win it," says the Houston lawyer. "We'll continue to work on getting out our positive message of moderation versus extremism, concern for individuals rather than bureaucrats, and a focus on Texans rather than Washington."

Barbara Ann Radnofsky
Candidate, U.S. Senate 2006


A CAPITOL BLOG: TEACHERS SALARIES AT A GLANCE: "Okay so we all know Texas fails to pay its teachers at the national average. But what are the real numbers, state by state?

Here they are. Now lets get moving!"

refinish69: Make a decision already

refinish69: Make a decision already: "Does anyone else think that Chris Bell's exploratory campaign could wind up being longer than the regular campaigns for 2006? I keep getting the feeling he is worried that someone else in the party might run against him or raising money for a future campaign. I wish more candidates would come out because I think we need a choice and need to pick the best candidate for the state. "

Texas Commandments display OK | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News: "A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on government land, but drew the line on displays inside courthouses, saying they violated the doctrine of separation of church and state.

Sending dual signals in ruling on this issue for the first time in a quarter-century, the high court said that displays of the Ten Commandments -- like their own courtroom frieze -- are not inherently unconstitutional. But each exhibit demands scrutiny to determine whether it goes too far in amounting to a governmental promotion of religion, the court said in a case involving Kentucky courthouse exhibits.

In effect, the court said it was taking the position that issues of Ten Commandments displays in courthouses should be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

In that 5-4 ruling and another decision involving the positioning of a 6-foot granite monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas capitol, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the swing vote. The second ruling, likewise, was by a 5-4 margin."

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Officials say funding crisis won't close schools - Local News - 06/26/2005 - Officials say funding crisis won't close schools: "School shutdowns and districts having to reach into their reserve funds because of Gov. Rick Perry's vetoing of Texas' $35.3 billion public education budget are falsehoods, according to school district officials in West Texas and House Speaker Tom Craddick's office."

Soechting calls Radnofsky a " tough, very legitimate candidate."

Star-Telegram | 06/26/2005 | Hutchison's choice likely to fuel her ascent: "Hutchison has $7.5 million in campaign donations and an approval rating of 67 percent, compared with 45 percent for Perry, according to the May Texas Poll. After 12 years in the Senate, she is widely considered a virtual shoo-in for re-election next year, although Texas Democrats dispute the notion that she is invincible.

The only apparent Democratic challenger is Barbara Ann Radnofsky, 48, a partner in the Houston-based law firm Vinson & Elkins. Although she is waging her first political campaign, Radnofsky has raised a half-million dollars and plans to portray Hutchison as a defender of administration policies harmful to average Americans.

'I'm not intimidated,' she said in a telephone interview.

State Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting calls Radnofsky a 'tough, very legitimate candidate. There is no question that the statewide race is going to be tough, but she's working every corner of this state hard. I have to be believe that's a recipe for an upset.'"

Perry's school-finance plan quacks like electioneering - Robison: Perry's school-finance plan quacks like electioneering: "That's because the governor and the Legislature have at least two escape hatches should lawmakers fail to cut local school taxes, as Perry has demanded, or overhaul the school finance system.

The Legislature simply could reappropriate the public education budget that the governor vetoed. Perry wouldn't veto it again.

Or, lawmakers could go home without doing anything and let the governor and the Legislative Budget Board transfer the vetoed funds to the schools by exercising their budget execution authority."

Kay could have been a myth buster - Casey: Kay could have been a myth buster: "Kay Bailey Hutchison had an opportunity to destroy a myth that is crippling Texas.

It is the myth that the only way to win the Republican primary — and therefore to win any statewide office and many regional ones — is to appeal to social conservatives and starve-the-government ideologues.

Hutchison had a chance to show something only a candidate with her profile and credibility, and not least of all her budget, could show: that given a credible choice, a Republican could win a Texas primary by appealing to moderates.

It's unlikely that Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn has the horsepower to be the myth buster Hutchison could have been.

Most Texans, like most other Americans, fall between the extremes."

Democrats shake tree for governor candidates Metro | State: "'The Democrats have serious fundraising issues that they're going to have to prepare for,' said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. 'The money is going to flow to current officeholders and likely winners, and right now those are Republicans.'

Chris Bell, a former one-term congressman who lost re-election to his Houston-area seat in the bitter redistricting battle of 2003, has launched an exploratory committee for the state's highest elected office.

Other names have been floated over the past few months — former Comptroller John Sharp and Laredo businessman and defeated 2002 gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez, to name two — but only Bell has formalized an exploratory bid."

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Texas Officials Admit Jackpots Inflated

Texas Officials Admit Jackpots Inflated - Yahoo! News: "Lottery officials admitted Friday they knew ticket sales would not cover an advertised $8 million Lotto Texas jackpot this month, meaning a winner would not have collected the full amount.

The Texas Lottery Commission used the inflated number for the June 8 drawing to generate interest and get more people to play even though staff reports estimated sales could only cover $6.5 million, manager Robert Tirloni told commissioners.

Tirloni said jackpots had fallen short of the advertised amounts twice before — once last October and again in February. Each involved an advertised $8 million jackpot that couldn't be supported by ticket sales. No winners emerged, however."

Frost Endorses Raymond

The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture: Frost Endorses Raymond: "Former Congressman Martin Frost, former chair of the Democratic Campaign Committee and former Chair of the House Democratic Caucus (the #3 Dem position in the House of Reps), has endorsed State Representative Richard Raymond in his challenge against Henry Cuellar. Frost cited a long history of betraying his party as to why Cuellar must be removed.

Jack Valenti: Worthy opponents | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: Viewpoints: "In Washington, the cords of collegiality that used to bind the members of Congress to one another – and to the president – haven't just frayed, they've snapped. This descent into enmity is not just one party's fault. There is blame to distribute among all.

It is worth recalling a time when compromise had not been exiled. I had the good fortune to see this firsthand when I worked for President Lyndon B. Johnson."

As partisan as I can be, this is well worth a read.

Damned by Demand: Drug problem is far from Mexico's alone | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: Editorials: "'BRUSSELS, Belgium – South America's cocaine output rose by 2 percent last year, bucking a five-year downward trend as increases in Peru and Bolivia outpaced Colombia's clampdown on coca cultivation, a U.N. report showed.' – Associated Press, June 13

The issuance of what amounts to a commodity outlook provides harsh clarity to the civil breakdown along Texas' border with Mexico. To use business parlance, 757 tons of 'product' from one continent needs to get to market. Smuggling is the specialty of Mexican drug cartels that use narco-militias to make sure rival gangs, snitches, journalists and local authorities don't get in the way. Delivery must be assured.

'Foreign visitors and residents, including Americans, have been among the victims of homicides and kidnappings in the border region.' – Travel alert currently posted on the State Department's Web site

As more than 600 drug-related slayings are counted this year across Mexico -- most of them along the border -- American tourists are warned of the dangers of crossing onto foreign soil. Riled Mexican officials say the alert is alarmist."

refinish69: Speak out and get involved

refinish69: Speak out and get involved: "This will be a recurring theme on here and might bore some of you to death but who knows when a new person might check in- if anyone does. LOL Find the links to your local parties and groups, go to as many events as you can and meet the candidates who are running in the primaries. Pick one you like and help then and then help them get elected in the fall of next year. It takes lots of man hours to put on an election and thousands and thousands of volunteer hours. I can tell you first hand that win or lose you feel great that you have been involved and your voice has been heard. "

refinish69: Tis the season to meet candidates

refinish69: Tis the season to meet candidates: "Tis the season to meet candidates. Well, I met a candidate this past weekend I am sure will go far and be a great addition to the U. S. Seanate. Barbara Ann Radnofsky is a woman to watch, admire and support. She has a ready smile, a quick whit and some strong opinions on what needs doing in DC. I look forward to watching her win the seat away from KBH in 2006.

Charlie Baird is running for 299th District Court and has an impressive resume, list of supporters and personality also. Spent some time talking with him at the Austin Stonewall Democrats meeting in June. Another one to help get into office."

War with Iraq--49% Say Bush Responsible for Provoking Iraq War

War with Iraq: "Forty-nine percent (49%) of Americans say that President Bush is more responsible for starting the War with Iraq than Saddam Hussein. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 44% take the opposite view and believe Hussein shoulders most of the responsibility.

In late 2002, months before the fighting began, most Americans thought that Hussein was the one provoking the War. Just one-in-four thought the President was doing the provoking at that time."

Off the Kuff: Would KBH have beaten Perry in the primary?

Off the Kuff: Would KBH have beaten Perry in the primary?: "I'm one of those people who has believed that Perry has mostly locked up the GOP primary vote, since just about everything he's done lately has been aimed towards those voters. There's not a lot of data about this survey here (sample size? margin of error? question wording? etc), so I can't say definitively that this has debunked those beliefs, but surely a poll conducted by her campaign for the primary would have at least tried to identify likely primary voters. You do have to wonder how big the horsehead was that someone put in her bed to dissuade her from this race. The idea that her change of mind was simply good manners on her part is ridiculous to me (link via PerryVsWorld)."

Come and Take it!: Wow, Senator Rubber Stamp Strikes Again

Come and Take it!: Wow, Senator Rubber Stamp Strikes Again: "Barbara Ann Radnofsky called Kay Bailey Hutchison out for opposing emergency appropriations for Veterans benefits. But even worse than that, it is the way she did it, according to Radnofsky in her press release,

'Sen. Hutchison is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. In a floor speech on April 12, 2005 opposing Sen. Murray's Amendment for Emergency Supplemental Appropriations this year, she confessed to relying on the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Congr Record S3457, 3465 et seq), while major organizations had already uncovered the truth in terms of needs.' Radnofsky continued, 'Had the issue of funding for veterans been presented to me as a sitting Senator, I would have vigorously done my homework. We expect our Senator to be an independent voice for Texans, not a rubber stamp for the administration.'"

By the Bayou: Teach Your Children Well

By the Bayou: Teach Your Children Well: "In the comments to another post (on gay pride), a conservative, religious observed that he didn't think sexual displays at Pride were helping us, and mentioned that he wouldn't want to explain to his kids why there were, say, two people spanking each other at Pride. "

Read all of this excellent response.

Lubbock DFA: Kay and Karl

Lubbock DFA: 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.

Grits for Breakfast: Perry's vetoes worse than reported

Grits for Breakfast: Perry's vetoes worse than reported: "The press and the public haven't caught on yet, but Texas Governor Rick Perry's insensible criminal justice vetoes appear almost designed to provoke a crisis. Here's why:"

Senators back municipal broadband

Senators back municipal broadband: "Last month, a Republican congressman from Texas, Pete Sessions, introduced legislation seeking to prohibit local governments from providing telecommunications service where private companies already offered competing services. Sessions, a former employee of Southwestern Bell, has received more than $75,000 in political contributions from telecom giant SBC, according to several published reports. Sessions' wife also still works for SBC."

Young men starting to feel a draft | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News: "Last year, the Selective Service registered 15.6 million young men 18 to 25 years old, a national average compliance rate of 94 percent. Texas has historically ranked below the national average of registered young men. Last year, its rate was 89 percent for that age group.

Retired Army Col. Claude Hempel, the Texas state director of the Selective Service System, said the state's rate is down in part because of lower registration in the Rio Grande Valley and along the U.S.-Mexico border.

'If we had mandatory registration with the driver's license application [like Florida] we'd have higher compliance rates,' he said."

Rick Perry--Hero or Goat? | News for Dallas, Texas | Collin County Opinion: "Gov. Rick Perry has put school funding on the line and called lawmakers back for a special session. Was this bold leadership or reckless politics? Will the session make him a hero or a goat?"

Records: TAB officials wished to sway races - Records: TAB officials wished to sway races: "Documents released in a civil lawsuit Friday show that Texas Association of Business officials were trying to influence the outcome of state House races when they ran a $1.7 million 'voter education project' paid for with corporate money.

'Of the nine incumbents ... we went after, seven were defeated. This is huge news,' a TAB executive said in a 2002 e-mail the day after the group helped Republicans win control of the Texas House for the first time since Reconstruction.

TAB officials have claimed that their corporate spending was meant to educate voters, not affect elections."

Friday, June 24, 2005

Eye On Williamson County

Eye On Williamson County: "Two articles today about yesterday's happenings in the House Ways and Means Committee. One from the Austin American Statesman, Tax plan faces criticism and the other from the Houston Chronicle, Perry tax plan has a chance. Both of these articles are attempting to show that Gov. Perry's plan is getting looked at as an option to break the impasse. The one thing that stood out to me in both articles is that there were nothing from the Speaker or Lt. Gov. or anyone in their offices. Which to me means they haven't embraced it. They're leaving it to Rep. Keffer to say it's being looked at...But until the Speaker and Lt. Gov start saying they're looking at it, seriously, I won't believe the governor's plan is being taken seriously, no offense to Rep. Keffer. "

Hangin' Loose : You’d think Republicans and Democrats would agree on an issue like lynching. You’d be wrong.

Hangin' Loose : Radar Online: "In the run-up to the vote, news stories began appearing that indicated some senators had qualms about the resolution. Then, on June 15, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Senate majority leader Bill Frist had threatened to table the resolution indefinitely, unless the vote was held at night without a roll call.

Bloggers like myself wondered why Frist was so worried about such a seemingly innocuous resolution so, naturally, we posted the story and began naming names. We found the list of senators who had already cosponsored it, and identified those who were missing. After their office phone numbers were posted on the Web, calls started pouring in and several senators immediately jumped on board, even though the resolution had already passed. But after a week 11 Republicans—one-fifth of all GOP senators—still refused to cosponsor the resolution."

Tax plan faces criticism

Tax plan faces criticism: "House leaders' plan for a major tax shift drew bipartisan criticism Thursday when some lawmakers asked why it would exclude many investors from a reworked business tax and others said it would shortchange state services such as education and transportation.

'We're leaving a lot of significant taxpayers out of this bill,' Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, said."



Let's recruit strong Dems for every race. I think we have a chance to start taking Texas back this cycle.

Eye On Williamson County: Special Session Analysis

Eye On Williamson County: Special Session Analysis: "Looking over the early landscape of this, what may be the first of many, special session it doesn't appear much has changed since the Republican impasse at the end of the regular session. The Big Three – Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Speaker Craddick – still cannot agree on a plan."

Read below the fold--good analysis.

Hutchison followed rules of etiquette

Hutchison followed rules of etiquette: "Some influential Texans and Republican insiders have felt that Hutchison would handle these matters better than Perry. Perry obviously disagreed and made it clear that he was in the race no matter what Hutchison decided to do. And some of the governor’s operatives tried to foreshadow a campaign in which Hutchison would be portrayed as a social moderate-to-liberal ally and associate of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

The potential for ugliness in such a contest could not be underestimated. And the fact that contestants would have spent $50 million ensured that everyone would have been splattered with mud.

Despite the anticipated nastiness of the potential primary, I don’t know anyone around Texas politics who believes Sen. Hutchison would have lost to Rick Perry. Hutchison is a certifiable conservative who has served her party and her Texan president with grace and distinction. She is arguably the most popular figure in Texas politics today. That’s saying a lot."

McNeely: Hutchison's decision provides political road map for 2006 - Editorial & Opinion - 06/24/2005 - McNeely: Hutchison's decision provides political road map for 2006: "The other foot finally fell.

Kay Bailey Hutchison's decision June 17 to seek re-election rather than take on incumbent Gov. Rick Perry in the 2006 Republican primary kicked off a jam-packed weekend of politics.

Hutchison's decision, which had been what several politicians had been waiting for to decide their own paths, means she chose the almost sure thing over a bloody, mean, nasty and somewhat iffy intraparty battle.

That was last Friday.

On Saturday, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who said earlier she had something important to say that day, stepped up just past high noon for a bloody, mean, nasty and somewhat iffy intraparty battle against Perry."

Off the Kuff: Lottery chief to explain shortfalls

Off the Kuff: Lottery chief to explain shortfalls: "I can't wait to hear this.

A Texas lottery chief is expected to detail today why the state advertised an $8 million jackpot this month when available prize money fell short by more than $1 million.

The error, also slated for legislative scrutiny, was followed last week by the firing of Lee Daviney, the commission's director of financial administration. Commission spokesman Bobby Heith declined to discuss Daviney's departure, calling it a personnel matter."

Burnt Orange Report - No Primary Interest

Burnt Orange Report - No Primary Interest: "Hutchison didn't want to challenge Perry, this we all know. But the big question is why. We assumed that she felt she couldn't win the primary, or would damage the political capital that she has. The latter would have probably ended up true, but the Statesman shows us today that the former wasn't true at all."

Burnt Orange Report - Land Commissioner set for Re-Election Bid

Burnt Orange Report - Land Commissioner set for Re-Election Bid: "In the category of Great Shakes and Stunning Announcements comes Republican Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson's declaration that he's running for re-election and that he would 'like to have an opponent.' To which Mike Lavigne of the Texas Democratic Party responded, 'He will'."

Burnt Orange Report - Confirmation for HD 47 Challenger

Burnt Orange Report - Confirmation for HD 47 Challenger: "Quorum Report is a bit behind of us on this one, but has some background info to add to the mix.

Add Dennis Speight to the list of Democrats considering a run for Terry Keel's (R-Austin) soon to be open House seat."

Redefining Chicano Socio-Political Discourse...: World Champs 2005

Redefining Chicano Socio-Political Discourse...: World Champs 2005: "World Champs 2005"

I'm not a huge sports fan, but it was nice to see the Spurs win.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

THE BRAZOSPORT NEWS: Ron Paul votes against flag-burning amendment

THE BRAZOSPORT NEWS: Ron Paul votes against flag-burning amendment: "The Gentleman Gynecologist from Brazosport, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a Republican (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) of the allegedly conservative 14th District, was one of only 12 Republicans to vote AGAINST an amendment that would prohibit burning the flag of the USA. (The amendment passed and now goes to the U.S. Senate.)

Maybe this'll get a rise outta Duh Facts, the local paper, which so far hasn't seen fit to say a darn thing about Paul's co-sponsorship of a House measure to force a timetable on the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq (bad idea at this point), or his bill to legalize industrial hemp (good idea, I guess)." Republican Signs onto Dem School Finance Plan June 2005 Archives: "Republican Signs onto Dem School Finance Plan"

Corked Bats: Not just any old "plan" for education will do...

Corked Bats: Not just any old "plan" for education will do...: "You know, one of the things I like about Chris Bell is that he thinks about the future--quite often in fact. Yeah, it is entertaining to flog Rick Perry for his lack of leadership on school finance in this terrible legislative session, but what are YOUR ideas?

Well, Chris Bell has said it in front of audiences all over the state--he wants Texans to demand that their government get on the ball and assist in the development of the best--not 2nd, not 3rd, the best--public education system in the country in a decade's time.

That is the kind of visionary leadership I have been waiting for and I bet most Texans probably have, too. So, let's give the idea a little traffic."


A CAPITOL BLOG: TEXAS FREEDOM NETWORK RELEASES LEGISLATIVE RANKINGS: "Our thanks to Pink Dome for locating the legislator ratings by the Texas Freedom Network on education related matters.

Legislators were ranked with an 'Exemplary,' 'Recognized,' or 'Academically Unacceptable.'

Here are the rankings of your favorite legislator."



We're going to take the women back, the Latinos back, the African Americans back, the working class back, and the religious back. We are posed to take back both Texas and Washington in the next 4 years.


A CAPITOL BLOG: R.G. RATLIFF: PERRY'S PLAN HELPS RICH OVER THE POOR: "Was talking with Liz Pearson at the Monitor the other day about how superficial observations of the Perry plan needed to discarded until a detail analysis was looked at.

R.G. Ratliff, respected political writer at the Houston Chronicle, has crunched the numbers and the report does not look good.

His observations listed in the article conclude that the plan hurts the poor more so than the rich." | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News: "It was the gubernatorial gaffe turned golden goose.

While Gov. Rick Perry and his camp may be trying to trying to distance from his ill-timed “Adios, mofo” remark to a reporter, one entrepreneur has embraced the quip as a moneymaking opportunity.

One day after the “mofo” heard around the state,, a Web site that makes personalized merchandise, was hawking T-shirts bearing the governor’s headshot and the famous words.

An Austin political blogger who goes by “Charlie” says he’s responsible for the shirts, tote bags, sweat shirts, coffee mugs and bumper stickers. Charlie declined to give his last name, saying he wanted to remain anonymous because he runs the satirical political blog

“As soon as I saw the video, immediately after I stopped laughing, I said, ‘This has got to be a T-shirt,’” he said. “We were selling them the next day.”"

Burnt Orange Report - Soechting is NOT Resigning

Burnt Orange Report - Soechting is NOT Resigning: "Apparantly Houston Democrats and Greg's Opinion are reporting that Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles E. Soechting is resigning as Chairman. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. I talked to Charles yesterday, talked to our Chief of Staff about 2 minutes ago and have talked to the Chairman's personal assistant. He is still the Chairman, he will be the Chairman until June of 2006 and he is planning on running for reelection at the convention at that point. Charles will serve out his entire term, and he is in perfect health.

I won't name any names, but I will say that it seems that some Craddick Ds are the ones who got this whole rumor started in the hopes of making it come true. This session Democrats have been more disciplined and more poised to take back the state than any time in recent memory. All of this boils down to the fact that our leadership has finally been gutsy enough to stand up to powerful Democrats who have a bad habit of selling out the party. Charles Soechting has become one of the most respected state chairman in the country as a result, and he’s not going anywhere when we are closer than ever to our ultimate goal."

Capitol Hill Blue: How a Lobbyist and a Former Tom DeLay Aide Ripped Off Clients and Padded Their Pockets

Capitol Hill Blue: How a Lobbyist and a Former Tom DeLay Aide Ripped Off Clients and Padded Their Pockets: "Lobbyist Jack Abramoff laundered money from a Mississippi tribal client, using it to set up bogus Christian anti-gambling groups and fund other right-wing projects, including gear for a 'sniper school' in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, The Washington Post reports in today's editions.

E-mails and testimony before Senate Indian Affairs Committee show an incredible trail of lies, fraud and deceit by Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, public relations executive and former spokesman for scandal-ridden House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.)."

Caddy Hacks - Golf, the ultimate symbol of Republican corruption. By Michael Crowley

Caddy Hacks - Golf, the ultimate symbol of Republican corruption. By Michael Crowley: "Golf, the ultimate symbol of Republican corruption."

On a Wednesday afternoon earlier this month, top Republicans quietly disappeared from Capitol Hill. House votes were suspended for several hours. What was afoot? An urgent briefing on Iraq, the troubled economy, the coming avian flu pandemic?

Not exactly. The event that lured away the Republican throng, which included House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was the Booz Allen Hamilton pro-am golf tournament held in suburban Maryland. Alas, politics waits for no tournament, and back on the Hill there was trouble. Short-handed Republicans on the House Committee on International Relations nearly lost a major vote on U.N. reform when two of their own defected to vote with the Democrats. According to Roll Call, Indiana Republican Dan Burton had ignored a specific warning not to miss the vote, which Republicans barely squeezed out, 24-23. A "freshly-sunburned Burton" returned to the Hill the next day to read that he might have sabotaged his chance to assume the committee's chairmanship next year.

For many Republicans, it seems, golf is like sex—it leads to reckless risk-taking. Sure, the game has its Democratic draw: Bill Clinton, for one, was a famous addict. But in today's Washington, golf is an intensely Republican sport.

Lawmakers' summer plans put on hold for session - Lawmakers' summer plans put on hold for session: "A country-western tune came to mind as lawmakers descended on the Capitol this week, less than a month after wrapping up their regular session.

With apologies to Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, 'How can I miss you when you won't go away?'

With only three days' notice, Gov. Rick Perry called lawmakers back to tackle school finance when they could have been cuddling young babies, soaking up the coastal sun or cooling off in the mountains."

Rick, Carole strike a pose

Rick, Carole strike a pose: "The way some people find religion, the up-till-now quite evangelical Gov. Rick Perry may have just found moderation.

Found tolerance. Found the Jewish vote, the Muslim, the Hindu, even the Unitarian vote.

That's because Carole Strayhorn is running at him, and Kay Bailey Hutchison isn't.

As for Strayhorn, she may have just rediscovered her roots, which are Democrat. For the truth is, if she is to defeat the governor, she is going to need more than Republicans to do it.

Strayhorn's race against Perry makes for one of the most fascinating primaries in years. That's because Texas' open primary makes it possible for lifelong Democrats, if they feel the calling, to vote in the enemy camp. This March, to defeat Perry, many Democrats will feel the call."

House Ethics Chairman May Quit, Officials Report

House Ethics Chairman May Quit, Officials Report - New York Times: "The chairman of the House ethics committee, Representative Doc Hastings, Republican of Washington, is warning that he may resign from the post this summer because of a stalemate of months with Democrats over whether and how to conduct investigations of Representative Tom DeLay and other lawmakers, Republican Congressional officials said.

They said Mr. Hastings had told colleagues privately in recent weeks that he might step down out of frustration with what he considered intractability of Democrats on the panel and their repeated public attacks on his leadership."

Perry order begins move off death row - Perry order begins move off death row: "More than three months after the Supreme Court ruled that juveniles cannot be executed, Texas Gov. Rick Perry today commuted 28 death sentences to life in prison for inmates who were under 18 when they committed capital murder.

The Supreme Court forced the commutations with its March ruling that executing juveniles violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Texas was one of 18 states that allowed the practice.

Perry's order starts the process of moving the inmates off death row.

'While these individuals were convicted by juries of brutal murders and sentenced to die for their heinous crimes, I have no choice but to commute these sentences to life in prison as a result of the Supreme Court ruling,' Perry said."

Proposal has 4th ID bound for Iraq, then Colorado

Proposal has 4th ID bound for Iraq, then Colorado: "Soldiers of the Army's 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Hood are already preparing to leave Central Texas for Iraq.

Their next move could be more long term, as Pentagon planners have recommended returning the 16,000-troop division to its previous post in Colorado after about a decade at Fort Hood.

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission is considering the proposals, which include closing 33 major bases and moving troops around the country to save billions of dollars a year.

The 4th ID would move to Fort Carson, Colo., as part of a major shuffle. The Pentagon report said Fort Hood did not have sufficient space for its operations and recommended downsizing the base by 5,000 to 7,000 troops."

Why Legislature is at impasse on school financing

Star-Telegram | 06/23/2005 | Why Legislature is at impasse on school financing: "For the fourth time in just over two years, state leaders are trying to overhaul the way Texas pays for its public schools and meet its constitutional mandate that all students have equitable access to an adequate education.

So why is the process taking so long, and what are the obstacles standing in way of lawmakers and Gov. Rick Perry?

Here are some of the key questions and possible answers:"

The Austin Chronicle: News: Grandma vs. Cowboy

The Austin Chronicle: News: Grandma vs. Cowboy: "Resplendent in a navy blue windbreaker, dark slacks, and sensible shoes, state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn finally and officially opened her campaign against Gov. Rick ('Drugstore Cowboy') Perry last Saturday, armed with a well-worn cache of one-liners and more ominously with her incumbent opponent's ongoing record of failure on school finance reform. Get used to her opening salvo, for you'll certainly hear it again: 'I am not a weak leadin', ethics ignorin', pointin' the finger at everyone blamin', special session callin', public school slashin', slush fund spendin', toll road buildin', special interest panderin', rainy day fund raidin', fee increasin', no property tax cuttin', promise breakin', do-nothin' Rick Perry phony conservative.'"

Turner on a Tightrope, 6/24/2005 - The Texas Observer

Turner on a Tightrope, 6/24/2005 - The Texas Observer: "Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) performs one of the trickiest political balancing acts in Texas politics. He is Speaker Pro Tempore, ostensibly the second most powerful position in the Texas House. Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland)—the first Republican speaker in 130 years—appointed Turner to his leadership spot in 2003, at the beginning of the 78th Legislative session. But Turner is not a Republican. He is an African-American Democrat who represents a district where 19.6 percent of the population is living in poverty (as compared to 15.5 percent for Texas as a whole), according to the 2000 U.S. Census. None of Craddick’s leadership team fully embraces Turner’s concerns for more funding for public education and healthcare, consumer rights, human services, and juvenile justice. In fact, the direction of the House since Turner received the position of Speaker Pro Tem has taken a hard right that runs counter to the interests of his inner city Houston district. "

The Austin Chronicle: News: Lege Notes

The Austin Chronicle: News: Lege Notes: "A relaxed and confident Gov. Rick Perry, appearing more aggressive and a bit more gubernatorial than he has in prior attempts on school finance, unveiled his school funding plan during a news conference on the first day of the special session. 'Our mission is crystal clear,' Perry told reporters. 'The people of Texas expect action. They say, 'Pick a plan and pass it.' To my friends in the Legislature, I say, 'Here's the plan. Here's the plan. Pass it.''"

Phone giants try to block towns' wireless plans

Phone giants try to block towns' wireless plans: "After years of waiting for a local phone company to roll out high-speed Internet access in this growing lakeside town of about 6,400 people, municipal information-technology director Tony Tull took matters into his own hands. The city last year invited a start-up telecom firm to hang wireless equipment from a water tower and connect the town.

The network now provides high-speed wireless Web access to most of Granbury, and the town is negotiating to buy some of the equipment. But Granbury's foray into the wireless business has propelled it into a battle between cities and technology companies on one side and big telephone companies on the other.

SBC Communications Inc., the dominant phone company in Texas, and other big phone companies say that cities should not be allowed to subsidize high-speed Internet connections -- even in areas where the companies don't yet offer the service. Since January, lawmakers in at least-- states and the U.S. Congress have introduced bills to restrict local governments' ability to fill the gap."

Perry kicks off race with radio ad blitz | News for Denton, Texas | Texas/Southwest: "Gov. Rick Perry kicked off the political season Wednesday by airing a statewide radio commercial touting his education funding plan.

The 60-second ad asks people to call their lawmakers and urge them to support the Perry Plan, which he unveiled Tuesday to a less than enthusiastic reception from legislators who are busy honing their own proposals.

House Speaker Tom Craddick said the governor was trotting out a list of ideas already discussed by lawmakers, but Mr. Perry described his plan as a middle ground between the House and Senate. Lawmakers ended the regular session last month in a stalemate over which chamber's version of education finance should be passed."

Perry takes his school finance plan on the road | News for Denton, Texas | AP: Texas: "Gov. Rick Perry took his school finance reform plan on the road Thursday, urging Texans to pressure lawmakers to solve the problem that has plagued the state for years.

A 30-day special legislative session on school finance began Tuesday, and Perry has offered a plan that he says would give homeowners $7 billion in property tax relief and inject $5 billion in new funding into public schools over the next two years.

'Texans have heard enough talk from Austin. Now they expect results,' the Republican governor told dozens of employees and supporters at a homebuilder's showroom. 'They want to see action, and they want to see leadership.'"

The Texas Whip: More on Knaupe

The Texas Whip: Greg Knaupe is Running for Tx Dist 47

The Texas Whip: Courage is Running Against Smith for Cong. Dist. 21

The Texas Whip: St. Dist. 48 News- Andy Brown Needs Your Help

Hutchison outpolled Perry | Hutchison outpolled Perry: "U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison would have been a strong front-runner among likely Republican voters if she'd challenged Gov. Rick Perry one-on-one next year, according to a survey conducted by a firm hired by her campaign.

A memo summarizing the April survey and obtained by the Austin American-Statesman says that, at the time, about 59 percent leaned toward Hutchison, with 33 percent favoring Perry."

Eye On Williamson County: Video of Gov. Perry's MoFo Comment

Off the Kuff: Same old same old

Off the Kuff: Same old same old: "Perry's plan helps rich at others' expense"

The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture: More State House Campaign Speculation

The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture: More State House Campaign Speculation: "This could be Jon Mabry's 'in' to getting back his House seat. For those of y'all that remember, Mabry won in '02 in large part because of an extremely divisive primary between Holt Getterman, Walt Fair, and Charles 'Doc' Anderson. And since Mabry really only lost his House seat last year because of his trip to Ardmore, we could see a close race in HD 56 for the third straight election. Here's to hoping this pans out."

The Red State: Vetoing for the hell of it

The Red State: Vetoing for the hell of it: "I missed the truly awful vetoes by Gov. Perry. Scott over at Grits gives us the full rundown "

Latinos For Texas Blog » Gov. Goodhair on Border Violence

Latinos For Texas Blog » Gov. Goodhair on Border Violence: "“This is a problem that Mexico and the United States together need to be working on,” Perry said. “And not continuing to burden the states with the protection of our citizens along international borders.”

Last week, Perry announced he was sending about 100 extra state troopers and $1.2 million for communications equipment to the border region. The grant money will flow from the criminal justice division in the gov"

Blogs' role in political campaigns

Grits for Breakfast: Blogs' role in political campaigns: "Last Saturday, I attended a panel on bloggers and blogging at a seminar put on by Campaigns and Elections magazine in D.C. that raised cusping questions about the role of blogs in electoral political campaigns.

The panelists were the Pew Internet project fellow Michael Cornfield, creator Michael Krempasky, and Larry Purpuro, who creates campaign websites for Rightclick Strategies.

Here's a few things I learned there Grits readers might find interesting:"

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Rick Perry vs The World - Too funny

Rick Perry vs The World - Too funny: "Someone emailed me asking me if I thought 'Adios Mofo' is a serious issue. Of course not. I think it's hilarious.

Then I noticed that Scott thinks that this is a 'huge on-camera gift' to Comptroller Strayhorn.

Uh, I don't see it. This isn't nearly as juicy as 'major league asshole,' nor is it as mean-spirited (though Bush did say it jocularly), and Bush wasn't hurt by it. It humanized him, and it was kinda funny."

Grits for Breakfast: Adios Mo-Fo!

Grits for Breakfast: Adios Mo-Fo!: "Texas Governor Rick Perry just handed his gubernatorial primary opponent Comptroller Carole Strayhorn a huge on-camera gift that should be repeated on near countless television commercials between now and March:"

Perry's school plan is attacked

Star-Telegram | 06/22/2005 | Perry's school plan is attacked: "Gov. Rick Perry unveiled a school-finance plan that would cut property taxes and boost teacher pay Tuesday, but his fellow Republican leaders are already taking potshots at the way he proposes to pay for it.

House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, said Perry's proposed fix for the loophole-ridden business tax 'doesn't work.' And Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, leader of the state Senate, said the governor's idea of raising the state sales tax by 0.7 percentage point would meet stiff resistance in that chamber.

Perry brushed off the criticism, saying legislators will warm up to his plan once they start considering the alternatives.

'This plan is a sweeping vision for our state that will improve education by increasing the state's share of education funding while alleviating the tax burden on local property taxpayers,' he said."

Hutchison plans to seek chairmanship

Star-Telegram | 06/22/2005 | Hutchison plans to seek chairmanship: "Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who decided last week to stay in the Senate instead of running for governor, said Tuesday that she plans to seek the chairmanship of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, the chamber's fourth-highest post.

If elected by her GOP colleagues late next year, the Texas Republican would move up a notch in the Senate Republican leadership, further bolstering her prestige as one of her party's most prominent female office-holders. Hutchison is vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference, the fifth-highest spot."

Gov. Perry's $35 billion shell game - Casey: Gov. Perry's $35 billion shell game: "The House and Senate can, if they want to, easily override the governor's veto. The school budget passed with 138 of 150 votes in the House and 30 of 31 in the Senate.
Both margins are well over the two-thirds necessary to override a veto should Perry choose to try his trick again, and would put the law into effect without a waiting period."

The Texas Whip: Uh Oh, I Found the Van Os Site

The Texas Whip: Uh Oh, I Found the Van Os Site: "Who is this bearded, mustachioed man in the leather vest? Er, at this rate, he's not going to be the next Attorney General of Texas. Click on the title of this post to visit his site."

The Texas Whip: Democrats' Stealth Candidates

The Texas Whip: Democrats' Stealth Candidates: "Soechting told Sargeant Sam and Co. that while the current crop of candidates seems weak, the Dems are holding back and not releasing the names of the real candidates for '06. Reason: Dems came out with their 'dream team' (Rip vigorously objects to anything with Tony Sanchez being called a 'dream') too early in '02, which gave too much time for GOP oppo-research to mount a smear campaign. No word as to who these 'stealth' candidates may be, although well known Dems like Kirk Watson, Ron Kirk, John Sharp, and others have been conspicuously absent from any talk of statewide bids."

Common Sense: Betting is illegal in this state

Common Sense: Betting is illegal in this state: "That said, I still agree that Perry is the favorite to win the GOP primary and the 3:1 odds sound about right. The higher the turnout, the more likely that new voters are coming to the polls and I'll put the odds 2:1 Strayhorn if the turnout is above average. Strayhorn's only chance is to really get new voters to the polls in March to offset the traditional conservative wingnut vote. The moderates and independents will go for her, too, giving her just the edge she needs to grab the nomination.

In the General, I call it:
Perry 50, John Sharp 43, Kinky 7 +/- 2
Bell 49, Perry 47, Kinky 3 +/- 2
Strayhorn 51, Sharp 44, Kinky 5 +/-2
Strayhorn 49, Bell 48, Kinky 2 +/-2"

Lubbock DFA: Texas - only 1 of our Senators is pro-lynching

Lubbock DFA: 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."

Lest I Forget: We're Under Special Session Alert

Greg's Opinion - "Yeah, I haven't made much mention of the current special session that has the Texas Lege under high alert. Perhaps that's due to the lack of a snazzy name for the session, such as the 'Pay no attention to the maniac grandma, look at me over here' Special Session ... or the 'Let's Put a Gun to the Heads of Schoolkids and use them as political pawns' Special Session. Considering that school opening for the fall is now a question with no immediate answer and that the bulk of Perry's actions were clearly timed to distract from what little political heat Texas' second favorite grandma could offer up ... I'm not entirely optimistic that much good will come of this excercise. Maybe I'm just a cynic. Dunno ... don't care. Oh well."

Tribe Told to Reroute DeLay Checks

ABC News: AP: Tribe Told to Reroute DeLay Checks: " A casino-rich tribe wrote checks for at least $55,000 to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's political groups, but the donations were never publicly disclosed and the tribe was directed to divert the money to other groups that helped Republicans, tribal documents show.

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, now under criminal investigation, told the Coushatta Indian tribe, a client, to cancel its checks to the DeLay groups in 2001 and 2002 and route the money to more obscure groups that helped Republicans on Medicare prescription drug legislation and Christian voter outreach."

Highlights Tuesday from the Texas Legislature

Highlights Tuesday from the Texas Legislature: "The Texas Legislature on Tuesday began its latest round in the school finance debate, hoping to find the solution that has eluded them for years."

Still no plan

Texarkana Gazette: News and Classifieds From Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas: "So why call the session? Some suspect Perry made what has been described as a bold move to counter State Comptroller Carol Keeton Strayhorn's announcement that she'll be opposing Perry in the Republican gubernatorial primary. As far as Perry's upcoming campaign, the last thing he needs is to have the political millstone of public school funding hanging around his neck. Schools struggling to make financial ends meet, or worse, having the court system take over operation of the state's public schools, would be a damper during the campaign."

DeLay uses Houston to make point about Iraq - DeLay uses Houston to make point about Iraq: "'You know, if Houston, Texas, was held to the same standard as Iraq is held to, nobody'd go to Houston, because all this reporting coming out of the local press in Houston is violence, murders, robberies, deaths on the highways,' DeLay said.

'And if you took that as the image of what is a great city that has an incredible quality of life and an incredible economy, it's amazing to me. Go to Iraq. And see what's actually happening there."

So Delay thinks Houston is just like Iraq.

Keep our focus where it belongs: on schools, not taxes | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: Viewpoints: "Shift the debate from property taxes to school finance. State District Judge John Dietz ruled that the Texas school finance system is underfunded and unconstitutional; he did not rule that property taxes are too high. When taxpayers invest in children's minds, they also invest in the state's future prosperity. Tax reduction is a worthwhile, but secondary, goal."

Make sure the fix isn't worse than the problem | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: Viewpoints: "After not finding agreement on school finance reform during the last two regular sessions, the state's leadership is now trying to rush toward a solution. But before we simply embrace any solution for the sake of politics, let's make sure it will solve the problem and not make things worse."

Gambling defies odds, returns as school solution | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas/Southwest: "As the Legislature convened again to devise a new way of paying for schools, some lawmakers and lobbyists argued that taxes and fees on slot machines would provide a massive cash infusion.

But Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday that lawmakers could solve the school-finance riddle without gambling revenue. Besides, he said, supporters don't have the votes to push the measure through the House.

'The chances of that this year are rather slim,' said Mr. Perry, whose school-finance proposal does not include additional gambling revenue."

Perry prods Legislature to go his way on schools | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas/Southwest: "As legislators convened in a special session called by the governor, Mr. Perry tried to jump-start work with a blueprint that he insisted would ease problems in the school finance system while providing long-sought property tax relief.

'I haven't the inclination nor the patience to study this issue any longer,' he said. 'Neither do everyday Texans who have seen their property taxes continue to rise.

'Today, the clock starts ticking. We're going to be here until we get this right.'"

Two Texas soldiers die in Iraq | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas/Southwest: "Two soldiers from Texas have died while conducting combat operations in Iraq, the U.S. Department of Defense said Tuesday.

Master Sgt. Robert M. Horrigan, 40, from Austin, died Friday in Al Qaim, Iraq. He was assigned to the headquarters of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Pfc. Christopher R. Kilpatrick, 18, of Columbus, died Monday in Tal Afar, Iraq, when the Humvee he was riding in was bombed and fired at by enemy forces. Kilpatrick was assigned to the 603rd Transportation Company, 142nd Corps Support Battalion, Warrior Brigade in Fort Polk, La."

Perry red-faced over off-color quip | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News: "Gov. Rick Perry apologized Tuesday for using a vulgar expression that was captured on camera after a Houston TV interview."

Perry's Plan

Redefining Chicano Socio-Political Discourse...: Perry's Plan: "Republicans should learn a lesson: Don't sell yourself as an anti-tax candidate when you have to worry about paying for EDUCATION--which is paid for by taxes! Republicans have painted themselves into a corner with their anti-tax rubbish. The bottom line is that we still have to invest in our future workforce, and that includes Republican households that moved to the suburbs for the 'better schools.' I love to watch the lost look on some of my Republican Kingwood neighbors' faces when I reveal to them that their school district is a recipient of Robin Hood money, and at the same time tell them that Pasadena ISD is the 'wealthy' school district that provides them the 'educational welfare' they are so much against. Yep, some of these Republicans think that because their houses are so big that their taxes alone pay for the schools without realizing that it takes property wealth (business, refinaries, etc.) to pays for schools. Yes, Republicans will fool their own in order to make wealthy corporations wealthier."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Texas Whip: Democratic Candidate for Texas AG

The Texas Whip: Democratic Candidate for Texas AG: "You might be wondering who is running against Abbott in '06. As far as I know, it will be David Van Os. "

Quan says he won't run for District 22

Herald-Coaster: "The Houston city councilman who considered a run for the District 22 U.S. Congressional seat as a Democrat announced on Monday he will not seek the office, after all.

Houston City Councilman Gordon Quan, who will be term limited in six months, endorsed Democratic candidate Nick Lampson in making the announcement he will not run a race to unseat Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Quan cited both a desire to focus on his business with Houston city council and an internal survey which places him and Lampson on equal footing in a run in the Republican-leaning district.

Lampson, who served as a Congressman in District 9 until he was unseated by Republican District Judge Ted Poe, made his announcement several weeks ago. Quan's decision to not run means the Democrats will likely avoid a divisive primary." - Unwanted intrusion: Asbestos bill in U.S. Senate would undercut recent Texas law - Unwanted intrusion: Asbestos bill in U.S. Senate would undercut recent Texas law: "Asbestos bill in U.S. Senate would undercut recent Texas legislation with an inferior law opposed by consumers and corporations.

All that hard work could go down the drain if the U.S. Senate passes an asbestos bill it is considering. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a physician, is strongly pushing S.852, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act. The bill would eliminate defendants' and plaintiffs' access to state and federal courts. Instead, it would use borrowed federal funds and mandatory assessments on all corporate defendants in asbestos civil litigation and their insurers to establish a $140 billion fund. Only ill workers who could prove five years of occupational exposure to asbestos, and their dependents, would be eligible for compensation.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry wrote President George W. Bush last month to warn that the asbestos trust fund concept is "deeply flawed" and the Senate bill's medical criteria "far too weak." Texas Sen. John Cornyn says he cannot support the bill as written."

Editorial: Perry's gamble

Editorial: Perry's gamble: "Governor puts school year on line with surprise special session

In poker lingo, Gov. Rick Perry has pushed all his chips to the center of the table and declared, "I'm all in."
Perry, known for post-legislative surprise vetoes, pulled off his biggest surprise Saturday by vetoing the legislature's $35.3 billion funding bill needed to operate Texas' public schools.

At the same time, Perry called yet another special session in an attempt to come up with a new method to fund public schools.

Perry and Texas lawmakers have unsuccessfully attempted to reform public school financing over two regular legislative sessions and one special session.

The stakes this time are no less than the prospect of not being able to open Texas schools this August, the possibility of more lawsuits filed against the state and the likelihood of some ruined political careers."

Lack of state money may cause some districts to dip into fund reserves

OA Online News: "West Texas school districts might need to dip into their reserves if state lawmakers, who begin a special session today, fail to hammer out a school-funding plan by the start of school.
Ray Matthews, superintendent of Pecos Independent School District, said Texas school districts are wondering how they will pay for salaries, textbooks and the operation of school buildings come mid-August.
“We start Aug. 15, and we’ll have to go into our fund balance if there’s not an answer by then,” Matthews said. “It’s tough overall and some smaller districts will have to borrow money.”
By law, school districts are required to have two months of reserve funding that is supposed to enable the district to operate without incoming revenues in emergency situations." Time Ran Out (Lies, Lies and More Lies) Time Ran Out (Lies, Lies and More Lies): "Today at noon. In reading the media's stories this morning on the Special there is a theme that just sort of pissed us off every time we read it: '...negotiations over school finance ran out of time just before the regular legislative session ended on Memorial Day.' [DMN]

Time did not 'run out' on school finance. It was a top priority and was the fourth attempt in four years to fix school finance. It's so bad in this state that a friggin' court has to step in and scream for the Lege to fix it."

Burnt Orange Report - Special Session Starts Today

Burnt Orange Report - Special Session Starts Today: "With Perry cutting basicly all education funding for the state of Texas with his line item veto, he'll attempt to force the hand of Craddick and company to do something about school finace, as well as to buy some political cover against CKMRS (Carol 4-Names) as she goes on the warpath against him."

Off the Kuff: Special session begins

Off the Kuff: Special session begins: "The initial focus of the new session will be on Republican Speaker Tom Craddick and the GOP majority in the House, which, under the state constitution, must act first on a tax bill.

And one Republican House member, Rep. Carter Casteel of New Braunfels, warned the new session was shaping up as 'a mess.'

She said many GOP House members, who got elected campaigning against higher taxes, are worried they will lose their re-election bids next year if they vote again for higher state taxes, as they did in March, and then fail to reach a compromise with the Senate on property tax relief.

'It (the special session) is going to put the icing on the cake. The icing may taste good or a little sour,' Casteel added."


A CAPITOL BLOG: BACK IN AUSTIN TO FILE TEACHER PAY RAISE LEGISLATION: "As soon as I received word that the governor was calling a special session, my staff and I have been preparing our teacher pay raise legislation. Although the session starts tomorrow, I pre-filed HB 18 which is our proposed across the board pay raise for public school teachers.

Burnt Orange Report - Carol 4-Names Report

Burnt Orange Report - Carol 4-Names Report: "I attended Carole Keeton Strayhorn's event today, and things seemed impressive. There was a moderate turnout, and people seemed content to stand around waiting in our beloved Austin heat until she took the stage at 12:45. Her most vocal supporters there seemed to be the Anti-Toll/Anti-TTC crowd, though judging from the placement of the majority of the applause -- that is, when she talked about health and education issues -- I'd hazard a guess that there were a few closet progressives present, too."
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