Sunday, December 18, 2005

Democrats vying to take back Texas Metro | State: "Underfunded, so it seems.

Relatively unknown, so far.

But they say they are not to be underestimated.

They are Democrats vying to do what no one of their political persuasion has done since 1994: carry their party's banner into victory in a statewide race.

Never mind that political experts give them — at best — little chance of winning next November in the Republican-red state. They believe in themselves, their message and the chance that lightning will strike.

'Some of the professional cynics who operate in the embedded corporate media need to open their eyes and understand that ordinary people everywhere are fed up with power-grabbing 'Bushite' government in both the United States and in Texas,' said San Antonio lawyer David Van Os." - DeLay's request for speedy trial on hold - Dec 17, 2005 - DeLay's request for speedy trial on hold - Dec 17, 2005: "Rep. Tom DeLay's request for a speedy trial on money-laundering charges will have to wait until an appeals court decides whether there is any merit to dismissed charges that the congressman conspired to violate election law.

So said Senior Judge Pat Priest in an e-mail ruling Saturday that was sent to attorneys in the case.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle initially brought both charges against the Texas Republican in September, but Priest tossed out the conspiracy charge earlier this month and Earle has appealed the ruling. (Read about Priest dismissing the conspiracy charge)"

DeLay and his legacy are both on trial

DeLay and his legacy are both on trial: "It's been a bleak December for U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay.

A judge ordered the Sugar Land Republican to stand trial on money-laundering and conspiracy charges. The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will review the Texas congressional map that DeLay worked so hard for. And DeLay's desire for a speedy trial and quick rebound as U.S. majority leader seems less likely every day."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Update 1: Prosecutor Issues Subpoenas in DeLay Case -

Update 1: Prosecutor Issues Subpoenas in DeLay Case - "A Texas prosecutor has issued subpoenas for bank records and other information of a defense contractor involved in the bribery case of a California congressman as part of the investigation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

District Attorney Ronnie Earle issued subpoenas late Monday afternoon for California businessmen Brent Wilkes and Max Gelwix, records of Perfect Wave Technologies LLC, Wilkes Corp. and ADCS Inc. in connection with a contribution to a fundraising committee at the center of the investigation that led to DeLay's indictment on money laundering charges.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Judge Upholds Most Serious Charges Against DeLay - New York Times

Judge Upholds Most Serious Charges Against DeLay - New York Times: "A judge in Texas today dismissed part of a state indictment against Representative Tom DeLay, who was forced out of his post as leader of the Republican majority in the House two months ago after he was charged with conspiracy and political fund-raising abuses."

Judges upholds some of the charges against Rep. Tom Delay -

Judges upholds some of the charges against Rep. Tom Delay - "A judge dismissed the conspiracy charges Monday against Rep. Tom DeLay but refused to throw out the money-laundering counts, dashing the Texas congressman's hopes for now of reclaiming his post as House majority leader.
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Judge Pat Priest, who is presiding over the case against the Republican, issued the ruling after a hearing late last month in which DeLay's attorney argued that the indictment was fatally flawed." | DeLay's hopes dashed for quick end to case | DeLay's hopes dashed for quick end to case: "A senior district judge today dismissed one felony indictment but upheld another against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, dashing DeLay's hopes for a speedy resolution to his case.

A quick ruling in DeLay's favor from senior state District Judge Pat Priest throwing the case out of court was crucial to the Sugar Land Republican's efforts to regain his post as U.S. House majority leader. He was forced to step down when he was indicted in September."

Capitol Counseling: Leaders will have to come to terms on schools

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: Editorials

If Oprah and Dave can mend fences, why not Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst?

People will say that's being overly optimistic about Texas' most celebrated political feud. They will point to the men's bitter dealings over the supercharged issues of tax reform, money for schools and the strings that should be attached.

For those watching the feud at home, this is how we size things up:

Having given up on a joint effort, Mr. Dewhurst is about to announce a special Senate panel on school-finance reform. He foresees "putting new money into the classroom."

Those words are key. Texas schools get just barely enough money to carry out their mission, according to a Texas Supreme Court decision of two weeks ago.

We joined those who were disappointed that the court stopped short of the educator's-eye view – that classroom achievement is minimal and that expensive improvements are called for. That requires better, better-paid educators certified in their fields who can benefit from smaller classrooms and sound facilities.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A CAPITOL BLOG: Lawmakers Declares "A Capitol Blog" Top Public Official Blog In Nation

A CAPITOL BLOG: Lawmakers Declares "A Capitol Blog" Top Public Official Blog In Nation: "I was pleased to read that Lawmakers has declared this blog as this nation's leader blog maintained by a public official.

'Texas State Representative and Lawmakers top blogger Aaron Pena is keeping his constituents updated and informed at his blog. Good work.

Thanks for blogging Aaron Pena.'"

New Twist in Texas Districting Dispute - New York Times

New Twist in Texas Districting Dispute - New York Times: "The Justice Department acknowledged on Friday that top officials had overruled a determination by its civil rights staff in 2003 that a Congressional redistricting plan for Texas, advantageous to Republicans, would violate the voting rights law.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales defended approval of the plan, telling reporters on Friday morning that he was confident that the decision was correct. Conflicting views simply reflected a healthy deliberative process, Mr. Gonzales said.

The plan, which had largely been developed by Representative Tom DeLay and which was subsequently upheld by a three-judge federal appeals court panel, led to Republicans' gaining five seats in the House in the election last year.

Pointing to the court's acceptance, Mr. Gonzales said the skepticism of career lawyers did not 'mean that it was an incorrect decision.'

'Ultimately, someone has to make a decision,' he said. 'We're not going to politicize decisions within the department.'"

Laney won't seek House re-election

The Bryan-College Station Eagle > Politics: "Former Texas Speaker Pete Laney announced Friday he will not run for another term for his state House seat.

The Democrat from Hale Center, who was forced to leave the speaker's office and rejoin the House rank-and-file after Republicans won a majority of the chamber's seats in 2002, declined to say why he decided not to run in 2006.

'I'm looking at other things, but we'll make those decisions at a later time,' Laney, 62, told The Associated Press. 'We're making one decision at a time. After 33 years, this is a pretty big one to make at one time.'

In a statement, Laney said he plans to continue his involvement in government and become 'more involved in programs to advance the importance of public service.'"

Chill seen hindering school funding fix Metro | State: "A frosty relationship between two of Texas' top Republicans has some legislators worried that finding solutions for court-mandated school funding issues will be tougher and they see trouble ahead for a pending special session.

Gov. Rick Perry plans to summon Texas lawmakers back to the Capitol in the spring to resolve school funding problems by a June 1 deadline that the state Supreme Court imposed nearly two weeks ago.

The latest salvo between Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick came when Dewhurst wanted a Joint Select Committee on Education Reform and School Finance, in which Senate and House leaders would do the legislative legwork, to fix what the court declared an unconstitutional system."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Republicans not eager for DeLay to come back

Republicans not eager for DeLay to come back: "Widening corruption scandals in Washington are heightening Republican sentiments for a GOP leadership shake-up early next year that would permanently replace former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, according to House members and GOP leadership sources."

Hammer of Truth » Local Political Blogs will Impact 2006 Elections

Hammer of Truth � Local Political Blogs will Impact 2006 Elections: "Over at Roll Call, they’ve got a great piece about the coming role of state and local blogs in the political world.

But if 2004 belonged to the national political blogs, 2006 might well be the cycle of the local political blog. These blogs specialize in state or local political coverage, and while these smaller, non-national political blogs may not have the resources — financial or otherwise — of the well-known titans of the blogosphere, many are starting to gain a following, not to mention the respect of state and local media outlets and politicians."

Educators' school finance fears focus on Austin

Educators' school finance fears focus on Austin: "With a few exceptions, the future of the state's public school finance system remains unclear in the wake of the Texas Supreme Court's recent ruling.

Two facts are undisputed: The court ruled that the funding mechanism for Texas public schools is unconstitutional and the Legislature has till June 1 to fix it.

Beyond those points, what effect the ruling will have on public education in Texas is still up for debate, said Kevin Houchin, superintendent of the McGregor Independent School District."

Star-Telegram | 12/03/2005 | Memo reignites fight over districts

Star-Telegram | 12/03/2005 | Memo reignites fight over districts: "The divisive Texas congressional redistricting resurfaced with a vengeance Friday as Democrats reacted with outrage to an internal Justice Department memo concluding that the 2003 redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defended the process, and the Supreme Court met privately Friday to consider how to handle an appeal of the case."
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