Texas Liberal

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Noriega & More—Texas Political Notes And Thoughts

Some political notes and thoughts from Texas and Harris County—

(Above is the harbor at Palacios in Matagorda County. George Bush won 65% of the nearly 12,500 votes cast in Matagorda in 2004. But I’m certain that four years of calm seaside reflection has given the good folks of Matagorda a new view of things for 2008.) 

Noriega Senate Race

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Noriega of Houston is polled by Rasmussen as running only 4 points behind far-right incumbent John Cornyn. In this polling snapshot, the race is seen as 47% for Mr. Cornyn and 43% for Mr. Noriega.  

Mr. Noriega is a Texas State representative.

I recall early numbers from 2002 that had former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk running ahead of then Texas Attorney General Cornyn. At the time, Mr. Kirk’s favorable name recognition in the Dallas metroplex was a source of his strength.  

Mr. Cornyn won that race 55% -43% in a Republican year. 

This time around, it may be that some Texans are reconsidering allegiance to Republican party ( As well they should.) and that demographic changes in this majority-minority state are finally catching up to the ballot box.

Mr. Noriega’s 51% showing in the Texas Democratic primary was not impressive. Yet, Mr. Noriega will no doubt establish himself among Texas Democrats as November approaches. If the broader climate in Texas is moving towards Democrats, than Mr. Noriega may have a shot.  

Here is Mr. Noriega’s campaign web home.   

Harris County Races

Recent reports on racial disparities in application of the death penalty in Harris County, and reports from Dallas county about long-term inmates being set free after being proved innocent show the importance of a new justice team in Harris County.   

The new Democratic District Attorney in Dallas County has made such a positive difference in that part of Texas.   

Electing C.O. Bradford as District Attorney and Adrian Garcia as County Sheriff would be a good start towards the more fair practice of justice in Harris County.   

The Harris County Democratic coordinated campaign will be led by Bill Kelly.

I’ve seen Democratic coordinated campaigns in other parts of the country that involved walking around money for local pastors and others, and mailings into minority communities featuring white politicians linked up with black politicians.

These mailings were meant to aid white politicians by associating them with black candidates in areas where many black voters live. Yet it never seemed to work the other way of mailings into mostly white areas as a way to boost black candidates.    

One of the many reasons I’m glad to hear about the appointment of Mr. Kelly is that I know it portends real change in Harris County.    

Change for the Harris County Democratic Party as it moves to full inclusion of the voters who are the backbone of its local support, and, after success at the ballot box, changes in public policy such as the immediate need for a better justice system.  

In addition to the $500 breakfast listed on the web page of the Harris County Democratic Party, I look forward to a more broad based campaign kick-off event to generate excitement about the November ticket. 

This post is also at my Houston Chronicle blog where I’m one of eight featured political bloggers.

(The Houston Ship Channel is a big deal in Harris County. Harris County voted 54% -46 % for George Bush in 2004. There were just over 1.05 million votes cast. 2008 may be a more successful year for Harris County Democrats. ) 

   

May 6, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Burma Cyclone & Links To Burmese Bloggers

Cyclone Nargis has killed at least 22,000 people in Burma. There is fear the death toll will reach 50,000.

5/9/08–The death toll is rising and aid efforts have been resisted by the Burmese government.

5/12/08—United Nations frustrated by relief obstacles and death toll climbs up.  

The country is also known as Myanmar.

(The photo is from the Agence French Presse.) 

A cyclone is the same as a hurricane. Here are many cyclone questions and answers.

The storm did the greatest damage in the Irrawaddy Delta area of Burma. Here is extensive information on that region. It is one of the most highly populated areas of Burma. 

The capital, Rangoon, has received extensive damage.

Here is video of the destruction

The Times of London writes about an added crisis from the storm

The features that made the stricken area vulnerable to this disaster — its low-lying geography and proximity to water — also made it Burma’s rice bowl. The cyclone has undoubtedly wrought terrible damage on the country’s agriculture. World rice prices are at a record high already, provoking food riots in more than 30 countries. Burma is a net exporter of rice, and the destruction of crops in the Irrawaddy delta will only add to upward pressure on international prices. The country may be unable to keep its promise to sell rice to other needy countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

There is concern the repressive goverment of Burma will obstruct foriegn-based relief efforts.

This BBC article discusses what aid workers in Burma will be looking for and trying to accomplish.

Here are three Burmese bloggers on the cyclone and the repression in Burma.  

Here is Burmese Bloggers Without Borders.

Here is Burma Digest.

Here is ko hitke’s prosaic collection.

This Saturday, a so-called referendum is planned by the government to help cement their dictatorial rule.

Hopefully this vote will be canceled and the cyclone will help open Burmese society. The Chinese government could help by pressuring its Burmese allies to move towards freedom.

Here is the most recent Reporters Without Borders update on Burma

Here are some basic facts and recent history of Burma.

Below is a BBC map of the path of the storm.  

Burma map 

May 6, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments