Texas Liberal

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Because Of Clinton Caused Climate, I Had To Sign Away Status As Obama Delegate For Texas Senate District Convention

On Texas primary night I went to my precinct convention here in Houston and was selected as an Obama delegate for the senate district convention.

This is part of the complicated and silly process used by Texas Democrats to select delegates to the Democratic National Convention.   

I was told on primary night that the senate district convention was likely to be in the evening. But it turned out to be in the morning and I must work in the morning.

So it goes.

I got a call this evening from the Obama leader in my precinct. The delegates for tomorrow’s convention from my precinct drew up a form for me to sign saying I had duly authorized my replacement by the alternate they had selected. 

This was because of the reports going around that the Clinton folks will have lawyers out tomorrow challenging the credentials of Obama delegates.

I’m going to support the Democratic nominee no matter who it turns out to be. It would take a lot to get me to waver from that view.

But I have to say I feel the majority of the suspicion and hostility at work here has come from Senator Clinton’s side. 

I don’t understand why this needs to go on when the national delegate math appears to strongly suggest Senator Obama will win the nomination.

Please click here to view Senator Obama’s campaign webpage. 

March 29, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Who Can Vote In The Texas Primary Runoff?—Any Registered Texan!


Texas primary runoff day is Tuesday April 8.

Many are wondering who can vote in runoff elections.

At least I feel many are asking even if I have not been asked personally.

The answer is simple.

Any registered Texan may vote in the runoff.

There is only one restriction. Read the text below taken from the web page of the Texas Secretary of State and you will be fully informed—

Runoff Elections: 2nd Tuesday in April following the primary election in even-numbered years. You can only vote in one primary, and if you vote in that primary, you are entitled to vote in that party’s runoff election. If you don’t vote in either primary, you can still vote in the Primary Runoff election for whichever party you choose.  

Please click here for more information about voting in Texas.

Among the many places in Texas in which all people can vote is Pecos, Texas. Pecos is the place you see in the picture above.  

Here is a history of Pecos.

Pecos is in far west Texas. It is in Reeves County.

This post was brought to you by a liberal who believes in the free flow of information, universal health care and less money for war and more money for people who need some help in life.

March 12, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Texas U.S. House District 22—Facts, History & Views

Texas U.S. House district 22 is up for grabs in 2008.

Here are some facts, history and views on this race. 

Texas U.S. House district 22, previously held by disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, is now held by Democrat Nick Lampson.  

( Here is a photo of Mr. Lampson. He is happy in this picture.)  

Here is some information about Mr. Lampson from the 2008 Almanac of American Politics

Lampson grew up in Beaumont; he got his first job sweeping floors at age 12 when his father died. After graduating from Lamar University, he taught science in Beaumont schools, leading the first local Earth Day celebration in 1979, and then taught a real estate management course at Lamar; he also headed a home health care company. In 1977, he was elected Jefferson County tax assessor; he claimed to cut the cost of tax collections during his 18 years on the job. In Lampson’s previous House stint, he had a moderate voting record and was a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He promoted the Johnson Space Center from his Science Committee assignment and also looked after local needs from his perch on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In 2003, Lampson fell victim to the 2003 redistricting plan that was designed to oust Anglo Democrats like him. Republican Ted Poe defeated him 56%-43% the next year in the newly formed 2d District.

On the Republican side, an April 8 runoff will decide the nomination.

One of the two Republicans in the runoff, Pete Olson, a former chief of staff to far right-wing Texas Senator John Cornyn, is a conventionally awful conservative Republican.

Mr. Olson is your man for more war, more tax cuts for the rich and no progress on universal health care.

The other candidate, former Houston City Councilwoman Dr. Shelley Sekula Gibbs , is uniquely awful.

Due to a quirk in electoral law, Ms. Sekula Gibbs served a two-month term in the U.S. House between Election Day 2006 and Congressional Inauguration Day 2007.

Here is an account of that term from the Associated Press after staffers resigned citing mistreatment by Ms. Sekula Gibbs  —

The staff members have a combined thirty-plus years of experience working on the Hill,” Mr. James wrote. “Never has any member of Congress treated us with as much disrespect and unprofessionalism as we witnessed during those five days.”

Ms. Sekula-Gibbs has raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, largely because of the resignations. Earlier, she told reporters she planned to resolve such thorny issues as tax cuts, immigration reform and the Iraq war — all in less than two weeks of a lame-duck Congress”

Despite how lousy the Republicans are, voting for Mr. Lampson is a judgement call.

On one hand, in 2006 Mr. Lampson  campaigned to the right in order to win a Republican-leaning district. George W. Bush won 64% here in 2004. Sometimes you do what you have to do.

On the other hand, Lampson’s 2006 campaign seemed at times further to the right than required. Specifically egregious in my view was an ad criticizing Dr. Sekula Gibbs for routine city council votes on water and sewer rate hikes.

Cities have to be able to function.

Here is Representative Lampson’s campaign page

You could argue that as long as Mr. Lampson supports Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker and votes with Democrats as often as political realities allow, why not take the best you are going to get in tough circumstances?

Or, you could argue that we are not always obligated to take the least-bad option. Sometimes you can just leave a blank spot on your ballot. If we always take the least-bad option, we’ll just end up being used.

For example, as a lifelong resident of cities, I’ve long felt Democrats take the votes of black folks in every election, but often offer little in return.  

On Election Day, you might be able to stomach Mr. Lampson and vote for him. Or you might feel it is all too much. We’ll see how obnoxious Mr. Lampson’s campaign is in 2008.     

This is a basic dilemma in districts where a candidate for the minority party in the area has to contort his or herself to get elected.

( Photo of contortionist.)

The 22nd Congressional district of Texas is in the Houston metropolitan area. A focus in the district is on the growing suburban city of Sugar Land. 80,000 of the 22nd’s 800,000 people live in Sugar Land. (Here is a history of Sugar Land.) 

The district includes portions of Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston and Harris counties. While Sugar Land is in Fort Bend ( Which is a big place with nearly 500,000 people), roughly half the district lives in Harris County.

Other communites in the 22nd include Pasadena, Santa Fe, La MarqueWebster, La Porte and Pearland.

Some these places are aging industrial areas while others are newer suburbs.

In contrast to booming Sugar Land, Pasadena is an established center of industry. 140,000 people live in Pasadena. (Here is a history of Pasadena.)

( Photo of Pasadena, Texas.) 

Houston suburbs are very ethnically diverse. This is a strong point of Houston and the Houston area. The 22nd is counted as 8% Asian, 9% black and with 20% of Hispanic origin.  

An important source of jobs in this Republican district is the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Republicans are fine with government spending when they are the ones cashing the checks.

(Relative importance of Texas-22 as seen from moon. Here are some basic facts about the moon. )


Good luck to liberal and progressive voters in Texas U.S House district 22—You’ll need it!

March 11, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Presidential Campaign Sweeps Across Nation Like Radiation in On The Beach

The novel On The Beach takes place after a nuclear war.

Most people on the Earth are killed by the initial a-bomb blasts or soon after as the result of radiation sickness.

The remaining people are left to wait for the radiation to arrive.

On The Beach is about people in Australia who are among the last survivors.

They are waiting for the radiation.

After the radiation comes, nobody is left.

This year’s presidential nominating season is somewhat like On The Beach.

There was the first quick blast of caucuses and primaries between Iowa and Super Tuesday.

Then the pace slowed down. It was one month between Super Tuesday and the primaries this week.

Now it is a long six-week wait to Pennsylvania.

(Though Wyoming and Mississippi will get the wave in the next few days.)

The good folks in Puerto Rico are at the end. The campaign hits them in the first week of June. 

Texas was nailed last Tuesday.

We were bombarded with robocalls, TV ads and campaign appearances.

Now it’s over.

Given that Texas will likely be barren of two-party competition at the presidential level this fall, its likely we will see little more of the candidates.

Imagine how electoral vote free Puerto Rico will cease to exist for the candidates after its delegates are awarded.    

On The Beach was written by Nevil Shute. It was published in 1957.

March 8, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In Praise Of Gene Kelly & Outlaw Josey Wales

Two perennial candidates for office in Texas are Gene Kelly and Outlaw Josey Wales.

Mr. Kelly runs statewide and Mr. Wales runs for Mayor of Houston.

In the recently contested Texas primary, Mr. Kelly won 27% in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary against Rick Noriega. Mr. Noriega won the primary and avoided a runoff with 51% of the vote. 

Here is some information about Mr. Kelly from today’s Houston Chronicle.

Kelly is a reclusive retired military judge and lawyer from Universal City, a San Antonio suburb. He traditionally does little more than pay his filing fee, but apparently he wins votes because he has the same name as the late movie star and dancer.

Since 1990, Kelly has run for the Texas Supreme Court, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, attorney general and U.S. Senate.

In 2006, he forced Barbara Ann Radnofsky into a runoff in the Democratic U.S. Senate race. She overcame with “the dancer is dead” campaign, but the fact that she was in a runoff is believed to have cost her financial support from national Democratic donors.

Many candidates have an aspect of personal identity that wins them votes.

Did Mr. Noriega win votes because he is Hispanic? ( This no doubt cost him some votes as well.)

Some people voted for Barack Obama because he is black. Hillary Clinton gets some votes for being a woman and she has a famous last name. 

So what? That’s democracy for you. It’s a big spin of the wheel.  

It’s not Gene Kelly’s fault that by simply putting his name on the ballot he wins a quarter of the vote. I say more power to Mr. Kelly.  

If the party that likes to think of itself as the more “enlightened” party has to convince people that the actual “Singing in the Rain” Gene Kelly is not on the ballot–Well, then we have bigger problems than Mr. Kelly’s presence on the ballot. 

Here in Houston, I am a big fan of Outlaw Josey Wales.   

That’s his legal name.

Mr. Wales ran for Mayor of Houston last year. 

In 1999, I voted for Mr. Wales against incumbent Houston Mayor Lee Brown.

Mr. Brown was certain to win the election. I did not think so much of Mr. Brown. 

Once I convinced myself that Mr. Wales was not a right-wing kook, I figured what the hell? 

Two years later when Mr. Brown had a serious Republican challenger, I voted for Mr. Brown.

Here is what I said about Mr. Wales last October

As for Mr. Wales, self-creation and starting fresh are acts fully consistent with Houston and with politics.

He changed his name because he wanted to make some money. Good for him. I hope he made some money. If I thought I could make a lot of money by changing my name to Wyatt Earp, I would likely do so..   

Mr. Wales has had fewer names than former Texas Comptroller and candidate for Governor One Tough Grandma Carole Keeton Rylander Strayhorn…. 

Bloggers give themselves new names and made-up names all the time…

I don’t care what people choose to call themselves.    

Is Mr. Wales anymore or less stable than our civic Founding Father Sam Houston? Mr. Houston used to walk around Houston dressed as a cross between a frontiersman and an Indian. Sam Houston was, in his way, a serious and talented man.

Is Mr. Wales any more or less serious than the process of how we elect our city officials in Houston with silly six year term limits and terrible turnout? I think Mr. Wales might in fact be somewhat dignified for such a screwed-up process.  

Absurdity is a refuge from the day-to-day pain of life. As long as absurdity does not become detachment, what harm does it do?   

I look forward to seeing Mr. Kelly and Mr. Wales on the ballot many more times.    

March 6, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Houston Council Election '07, Politics, Texas, Texas Political History, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Texas Caucus System—I’ll Get To Vote A Third Time!

I attended my precinct caucus last night here in Houston to show my support for Barack Obama.

This in addition to the vote I had cast earlier in the day.  

There were many people there.

Something like 230 people signed in for Mr. Obama or Senator Clinton.

I overheard that last time there were maybe 20 people at this caucus.

( Here is an explanation of this process.)

Waiting outside to be allowed into the church to start the process, Clinton and Obama supporters stood apart from each other.

I will support whoever wins the nomination.

I felt that the process was organized well enough and that people were respectful of each other.

Oh well—Maybe I’ll see a street fight somewhere soon. 

In my precinct, Mr. Obama won more delegates to the next round than did Mrs. Clinton.

People were asked if they would like to attend the next round. I guess these are caucuses of State Senate districts.

They will held on March 29.

I said I would go since this would allow me to vote a third time.

What a silly process.

And what an unfair process.

Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote in Texas.

That should be the bottom line.

Yet Mr. Obama appears to be the statewide winner from this process.

Still, I want to vote as often as I am able.

It’s like I’m getting away with something.

Please click here for Texas Liberal posts on the Texas Primary.   

March 5, 2008 Posted by | Houston, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Rick Noriega Has Work To Do To Win U.S. Senate Race In Texas

Good news from the Texas primary last night for State Representative Rick Noriega of Houston  was that he avoided a runoff.

Mr. Noriega was 51% of votes cast against three weak opponents.

The bad news for Mr. Noriega was that he won just 51% against three weak opponents.

2.86 million people voted in the Democratic presidential race yesterday in Texas

2.16 million voted in the Senate contest.

Nearly a quarter of Democratic primary voters did not get very far down the ticket.

Maybe they they were in a hurry and had someplace else to go. 

In the Senate race there was no real reason for a Democrat not to vote for Mr. Noriega.

By any conventional standard, Mr. Noriega was the likely nominee, the strongest candidate for the general election and pretty much the only “serious” candidate on the Democratic ballot to face incumbent John Cornyn.

There was no reason that would serve the party in November, or any type of ideological split, that merited forcing Mr. Noriega into a runoff.

Just under 39% of all Democrats who voted yesterday voted for Mr. Noriega.     

It simply seems that many Democrats did not know who Mr. Noriega was.

From the Republican side it was more good news/bad news for Mr. Noriega.

The good news was the superior Democratic turnout.

1.38 million Republicans voted in the Presidential race. 

1.21 million Republicans voted in the senate primary between Mr. Cornyn and a man named Larry Kilgore.     

Hopefully Democrats have been energized to show up in November. Almost twice as many voted people in the Democratic Senate primary as did in the Republican primary.

On the other hand, Mr. Cornyn won 81% of the vote in his race and 72% of all Republicans voting cast a ballot for Mr. Cornyn.  

Republicans know who Mr. Cornyn is and are basically willing to vote for him.

Mr. Noriega has overcome one challenge by winning the Democratic primary without a runoff.

Yet in addition to making the case against Senator Cornyn, it appears he still has work to do in introducing himself to Texas Democrats.  

Get to know Rick Noriega a little better by clicking here to visit his homepage.

March 5, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Texas Nominating Caucus Requires Hat, Book & Loud Bell—I Hope Caucus Is Full Of Trouble

In half-an-hour I’ll leave to go the Texas Democratic caucus to help select delegates not allocated in the popular primary today. 

Here is more about this process

I’m not sure how the church I voted in this morning will have enough parking.

I’m going to wear a hat this evening such as we see here on General De Gaulle’s head.

It’s called a kepi.

If anyone asks me why I am wearing this hat I will tell them to get the hell away from me.

Will I also wear the uniform?


I’ll also bring a book to the caucus. I figure it is going to go on for hours and I might need a distraction.

Here is the book I’ll be reading–


Book with words make my head hurt.

I’ve heard that some of the campaigns are encouraging supporters to be aggressive in gaining the tactical upper-hand at these caucuses. Along these lines, I am bringing this bell to get attention.


I hope the caucus is fun. I hope it is disorganized and contentious. Short of violence, I hope it is full of trouble and disagreement.

That’s democracy for you.

March 5, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Presidential Candidates Respond To My Question On What Books They Have Read

The Houston Chronicle asked its reader bloggers to submit question to the remaining presidential candidates. One of the questions I asked was what were the last three book the canidates had read. Here are the answers as reported by Chronicle columnist Clay Robison—   

“In case you were wondering, presidential candidates — some of them, anyway — find time to read something other than news clips.

Republican Mike Huckabee didn’t respond when asked by a newspaper reader, Neil Aquino of Houston, to list the last three books he has read.

But Republican John McCain said he had recently reread A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and read, presumably for the first time, The Age of Turbulence by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and the Spirit of Churchill by Deborah Davis Brezina.

Clinton listed Ike: An American Hero by Michael Korda, The Bourne Betrayal by Robert Ludlum and The Appeal by John Grisham.

“My 9-year-old, Malia, and I read all the Harry Potter books together,” Obama said.”

A few comments–Does Mike Huckabee not read? I’m resistant to generalizations that evangelicals don’t read, but Mr. Huckabee walked into that idea with his reply.

It’s no surprise Senator McCain listed a Winston Churchill book. He’ll see himself as the last holdout for Anglo manhood no matter if he faces Senator Clinton or Senator Obama.

John Grisham is on the record as a supporter of Mrs. Clinton. So they are helping each other out a liitle bit.

I really don’t believe Senator Obama has had the time lately to sit and read those huge Harry Potter books.      

March 4, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Houston, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Jesus Watches Me As I Vote

Black Last Supper Triptych Art Print by Wolfgang Otto

My polling place this morning for the Texas primary was in a black church near my home.

Last time I voted it was in a Catholic church.   

Voting is the only thing that gets me into a church.

As I voted today, I was watched over by a black Jesus.

The image above was the picture in the church.

Was Jesus black?  

This article discusses the topic

The painting is by a man named Wolfgang Otto.

March 4, 2008 Posted by | Art, Houston, Politics, Texas Primary '08, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Photo Essay In Favor Of Voting

Hugo Chavez does it ( Regardless of if he is sincere or not)

People have been doing it for a long time–

And, yes, sometimes it is meaningless—

Yet often the right to vote has come at a high cost ( Blacks voting in New Orleans after the Civil War.)

So if you live in a primary state why not take a spin of the wheel tomorrow—

And cast a ballot.

March 3, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Elections, Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Dream Come True–Texas Primary System Allows Me To Vote Twice

All loyal citizens value the vote very much. The right to take part in our great democracy is at the core of who we are as Americans.

I value my right to vote so much that I’ve often wished I could vote twice on Election Day. 

Yet , in almost all cases, the law has not seen fit to allow me to do so.

The exception is how the Democratic presidential primary is conducted in Texas.  

Here in Texas, we have precinct caucuses after the polls are closed.

You go where you voted during the day, and a caucus is held to award an additional pool of delegates to the candidates.

Here is an explanation of the system from the Houston Chronicle

Who is allowed to vote twice?

In theory, any person  who voted in the primary.

In practice, it’s somebody not working a night shift and somebody who does not have to worry about child care that evening. It’s somebody with a car unless you have a friend or family member willing to shuttle you back and forth to the polls a number of times on Primary Day. 

At core, it’s somebody with the motivation to take part twice on Primary Day. With many exceptions I’m sure, we know this is likely to be a person with higher than average levels of income and formal education. 

My other Election Day fantasies of being offered a patronage job in exchange for my vote, or, in good 19th century fashion, being offered a mug of hard cider in exchange for my vote will remain unmet.

Still, I get to vote twice on Tuesday.

It’s a small dream come true. 

March 2, 2008 Posted by | Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , | 2 Comments

In Addition To Ballot Access Troubles, Linda Yanez Offers Nothing For League Of Women Voters Guide

I have the League of Women Voter’s of the Houston Area guide for the Texas primary.

I picked it up at my local supermarket.

You can also click here to see what it says. It’s the red lettering that says Voter Guide March 2008 in the box to the left.

I see that Supreme Court candidate Linda Yanez did not respond for inclusion to the guide.

This seems a pattern with her problems in securing ballot access for the primary.

I’ve written a post saying that a vote for either Judge Yanez or Judge Susan Criss would make sense in the primary.

But I sure do wonder now about the basic competence of the Yanez campaign.

Please click here for other Texas Liberal posts on the Texas Primary.

February 29, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dale Henry For Texas Railroad Commission

I’m going to vote for Dale Henry for Texas Railroad Commissioner in the March 4 Democratic primary.

Update—Mr. Henry is now in the runoff for this position. His opponent is Mark Thompson. Mr. Thompson was a very surprising first place finisher on March 4.  But he did not reach the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. Mr. Thompson has not voted since 1996. And in that year he voted in the Republican primary. My endorsement of Mr. Henry stands and I ask that you please click here to review his campaign web page. 

Mr Henry is running against Art Hall of San Antonio.

I’ve spent the last half hour studying this matter.  

Bottom line—

Mr. Henry is more knowledgeable on issues relating to the Texas Railroad Commission.

Mr. Hall may prove to be the stronger candidate. 

You could go around forever on this stuff. There is no clear call.

I don’t know anything about pipelines and saltwater injection wells.

This is what the commission is involved with–Not railroads. Please click here to see the purpose of the Texas Railroad Commission.

Mr. Henry lists these saltwater injection wells as a leading issue.

My thought was–What the hell is that?

Here is some information about what these wells are.  

Here is the web page for Mr. Henry. 

Here is the web page for Mr. Hall.

 I see that Mr. Hall is a member of the board of the Alamo Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Has Mr. Hall done anything in that position to encourage the Boy Scouts to end the bigoted position of not allowing gay kids to join?   

No doubt Mr. Hall can come up to speed on policy if elected. Though Mr. Henry does seem well-informed.  It’s just that I as I looked at these two men this morning, I felt Mr. Hall is the type who racks up insider endorsements and connections.

I’m sure Mr. Hall has strong beliefs on many subjects, but in the end his North Star may prove to be his connections and his ambitions.  

If Mr. Hall wins the primary, I’ll vote for him in November.

Next Tuesday however, I’ll for vote for insight and experience offered by Dale Henry.

Please click here for other Texas Liberal posts on the Texas primary. 

February 29, 2008 Posted by | Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Obama Ads During That ’70’s Show Reruns Further Cement My Support


There were maybe seven or eight Obama for President ads for the Texas primary during the That 70’s Show reruns I watched last night.

This was between 11 PM and midnight.

No Hillary ads.

Mrs. Clinton had no interest in subsidizing my entertainment by buying an ad during one of my favorite programs.

It seems clear who wants my vote and who does not care.

I have a right to be entertained.

What did the Obama ads say?

I don’t know. I don’t pay much attention to commercials.

I just know they were on and that they were for a candidate I like during a show I like. 

Think about this stuff all the time and you’ll lose your mind.   

Please click this link for the Obama campaign.

Here is the link for That ’70’s Show. 

February 28, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Texas Primary '08, Things Watching Tv Made Me Think About | , , , , , | 9 Comments