Early voting opens in Texas: Polling place shenanigans?

October 20, 2014

If you are confronted with voting irregularities at your polling station in Texas, call 1-844-TXVOTES (1-844-898-6837)

If you are confronted with voting irregularities at your polling station in Texas, call 1-844-TXVOTES (1-844-898-6837)

A friendly reminder from BattleGround Texas:  If you experience voting irregularities at your polling station in Texas, call 1-844-TXVOTES (1-844-898-6837).

Vote early!


Millard Fillmore’s term ended, 1853; another shot in 1864?

August 20, 2014

PrintsOldandRare.com had a copy of an 1864 Illustrated News with Millard Fillmore on the cover.

Prints Old and Rare:

Prints Old and Rare: “1853 Portrait of Millard Fillmore. Antique engraved portrait of Fillmore from the May 28, 1853 issue of the Illustrated News, surrounded by text discussing the history of his administration. 11×16 in. SOLD”

What was the contemporary judgment on the last Whig President, whose own party refused to nominate him for a term of his own?

One wonders if there isn’t another copy of that newspaper floating around out there, or whether it might be available at the Library of Congress.

Just about a decade later, some people thought Fillmore might be a good nominee for the Democrats, against Lincoln.  In a look back in history in the Columbia (Missouri) Daily Tribune, we find this news report out of Fulton, Missouri, repeated by Rudi Keller:

FULTON — Former President Millard Fillmore was a tested leader who would preserve the Union and heal political divisions, Editor John Williams wrote, announcing his preference for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“We have tried him and we know that he will do us justice,” Williams wrote.

The Democratic National Convention was scheduled to begin Aug. 29 at Chicago. Fillmore, 64, was gaining some notice as a potential candidate, but most Democrats were focused on Maj. Gen. George McClellan. Nicknamed “The Young Napoleon,” McClellan was a meticulous officer who thoroughly organized the Army of the Potomac but was relieved of command because of his cautious approach to combat.

Missouri had 22 delegate seats at the convention, with U.S. Rep. William Hall of Randolph County, banker Weston Birch of Howard County and former U.S. Rep. Thomas Price of Cole County included in the delegation.

Williams wrote that while he preferred Fillmore, “McClellan will do — he is a Christian — a soldier and a patriot. Although a war man we believe he would favor peace at once, with the most liberal terms, and on the condition of the Union. If not McClellan, then some other good man…”

Democrats nominated McClellan.  Lincoln won.

More:


Wendy Davis’s guide to Fort Worth: What every GOP delegate, and Texas voter, should know

June 8, 2014

You may have missed it.

Ending yesterday, the Texas Republican Party conventioned in Fort Worth, Texas — oh, if you were in Fort Worth you noticed all the people looking like fools and packing urban assault weapons, but others may have missed it. National GOP officials, and quite a few Texas GOP candidates, hope the convention would fly under the radar, with its call for repeal of Constitutional rights in almost every plank of their platform.

Delegates got a nice little map to help them tour Fort Worth, which is where Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, got her political start.

Come to think of it, it’s a map every Texas voter ought to have, even those not visiting Fort Worth.  It spells out the difference between Wendy Davis’s vision for the growing, healthy and productive Texas, and Greg Abbott’s no-public school, low-wage playground for the rich-and-heavily-armed view.

Sites to see in Fort Worth, if you're a Texas Voter.  Map courtesy Wendy Davis for Governor campaign.

Sites to see in Fort Worth, if you’re a Texas Voter. Map courtesy Wendy Davis for Governor campaign.

[Conflict of interest note:  I've hired (and been happy with) the work of some of the law firms listed, and have familial connections to others.  Needless to say, the views in this map are not necessarily the views of any of my employers, though they should be, if they had any sense about what's good for Texas, and justice.]


Can dog whistle politics keep the GOP in power, or is America too smart to stay enthralled?

March 2, 2014

Especially if, by some grotesque misunderstanding, you don’t think you’re in the 47% Mitt Romney wrote off as undeserving of a vote and a life, you ought to listen to Ian Haney López describe what’s going on in GOP and conservative politics.

From Bill Moyers.

Transcript here.

Cover of Ian Haney Lopez's Dog Whistle Politics, How coded racial appeals reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class; Oxford Books

Cover of Ian Haney Lopez’s Dog Whistle Politics, How coded racial appeals reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class; Oxford Books

Moyers’s website describes this interview:

Ian Haney López on the Dog Whistle Politics of Race

February 28, 2014

What do Cadillac-driving “welfare queens,” a “food stamp president” and the “lazy, dependent and entitled” 47 percent tell us about post-racial America? They’re all examples of a type of coded racism that this week’s guest, Ian Haney López, writes about in his new book, Dog Whistle Politics.

Haney López is an expert in how racism has evolved in America since the civil rights era. Over the past 50 years, politicians have mastered the use of dog whistles – code words that turn Americans against each other while turning the country over to plutocrats. This political tactic, says Haney López, is “the dark magic” by which middle-class voters have been seduced to vote against their own economic interests.

“It comes out of a desire to win votes. And in that sense… It’s racism as a strategy. It’s cold, it’s calculating, it’s considered,” Haney López tells Bill, “it’s the decision to achieve one’s own ends, here winning votes, by stirring racial animosity.”

Ian Haney López, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, is a senior fellow at the policy analysis and advocacy group, Demos.

Producer: Candace White. Segment Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Sikay Tang.

Does revealing the existence of dog whistles help kill the cheap trick?  My fear is that those who hear the whistle clearly understand that they are responding to a racist call, and that is why they respond.  Exposing the racism, or exposing the subtle use of racism, only makes the politicians who use the whistle more appealing to those voter segments, and those policies more appealing to those voters (though they would not admit it).

If you think dog whistles don’t exist, consider the hot controversies surrounding education spending, vouchers to kill public schools, immigration reform needed to boost our economy, or health care reform.  Consider also the birther movement.

After hearing Mr. Haney López’s interview, what do you think?

More: 


“Penetration however slight”: Remembering a good and noble hoax – the U.S.S. Pueblo, 46 years later

January 22, 2014

January 23 is the anniversary of the North Koreans‘ capture of the spy boat, U.S.S. Pueblo, in 1968 — a beginning of a momentous year for bad events.  The saga of the Pueblo and its crew, including especially Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher, is of special interest to me because it features a series of some of the grandest, best and most humorously American hoaxes ever perpetrated by imprisoned people against their captors and wardens.  This is one of the great Kilroy stories of American history.  It should not be forgotten.  Especially with the role North Korea plays in contemporary angst, the Pueblo episode should not be forgotten. This is an encore post, with new links added.

1968 brought one chunk of bad news after another to Americans. The year seemed to be one long, increasingly bad disaster. In several ways it was the mark of the times between the feel-good, post-war Eisenhower administration and the feel-good-despite-the-Cold-War Reagan administration. 1968 was depressing.

Lloyd M. Bucher

USN Cmdr. Lloyd M. Bucher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What was so bad? Vietnam manifested itself as a quagmire. Just when Washington politicians predicted an end in sight, Vietcong militia launched a nationwide attack in South Vietnam on the Vietnamese New Year holiday, Tet, at the end of January. Civil rights gains stalled, and civil rights leaders came out in opposition to the Vietnam war. President Johnson fared poorly in the New Hampshire primary election, and eventually dropped out of the race for the presidency (claiming he needed to devote time to making peace in Vietnam). Labor troubles roiled throughout the U.S., including a nasty strike by garbage collectors in Memphis. It didn’t help to settle the strike that the sanitation workers were almost 100% African American, the leadership of Memphis was almost 100% white, and race relations in the city were not so good as they might have been – the strike attracted the efforts of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Martin Luther King, Jr. – who was assassinated there in early April. In response, riots broke out in 150 American cities.

More below the fold, including the key confession to “penetration.” Read the rest of this entry »


Wendy Davis’s first ad: A positive vision for Texas (but too long for most TV)

October 8, 2013

In stark contrast to Greg Abbott‘s “Texas is for white people with guns” advertisement (addressed here yesterday), Wendy Davis‘s get-to-know-me ad paints a vision of a better Texas to be had, even if in a too-long four-and-a-half minutes:

The ad was released yesterday at Davis’s campaign website, “Are you with Wendy?”

I imagine the GOP will jump on the ad, complaining that it doesn’t show enough guns (are there any?).  But it does several things the next Texas governor needs to do:

  1. It paints a picture of a Texas government that works to help people succeed in Texas.
  2. Davis’s ad shows Texas’s diversity, and suggests both that the diversity is a virtue for Texas’s future, and that Texas government shouldn’t be barring the door (or voting booth) to any Texan (especially white Texas women, many of whom may get a shock when they try to vote this November).
  3. Davis urges policies to help Texas cattlemen, who have been hammered hard under GOP rule (50% of Texas beef ranches closed in the past two years).
  4. Davis urges policies to help Texas farmers (cotton is still big in about a hundred counties).
  5. Aerospace and aviation get specific attention — you saw the American Airlines jet? Davis was City Councilwoman in Fort Worth, American’s hometown and headquarters. Already Davis turned around Greg Abbott on that issue when she called for a Texas government that supported American Airlines and its few tens of thousands of jobs in Texas.  Abbott announced last week that he has dropped his suit to prevent American’s merger with USAir, a suit that threatened Texas jobs directly.
  6. The ad ties Davis’s success in business, and life, to public institutions that help all Texans, institutions Davis used to climb the success ladder.
  7. Pro-business. Business in Davis’s ad is aerospace, ranching, farming, oil, and main street retail, among others.  Abbott’s ad shows only one ramshackle BBQ shack.
  8. It demonstrates an area where Greg Abbott should have been active in fighting crime, processing rape backlogged rape kits from Texas assaults — but where it too Davis in the legislature to get action to solve the crimes.
  9. Oh, yeah:  Education is in there.  It’s solidly in there.
  10. Overall, it’s a positive, “once more into the breach” sort of story.  At the end of Abbott’s ad, one can say he seems a physically capable guy; at the end of Davis’s ad, one may want to get up and go start a business, or run for office.

Davis’s ad does a lot of things a pitch for Texas’s next governor needs to do, on issues that we hope the next governor is way ahead of the rest of us on — but which are wholly missing from Abbott’s first non-negative ad effort.

What do you think?

More:

Davis at a rally following her most recent history-making filibuster.  KUT photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

Davis at a rally following her most recent history-making filibuster. KUT photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon


Greg Abbott’s campaign stumbles — except for white people with guns

October 7, 2013

For three days after Fort Worth State Sen. Wendy Davis announced her candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor, the Republican front-runner, Greg Abbott, seemed off-balance, first going to negative campaigning about Davis.

Some Texans wondered whether Abbott had a good idea about what the role of governor is, which could form a basis for his candidacy.  Why does Abbott want to be governor, and what would he do?

Today Abbott released an almost-90-second advertisement.  The ad reveals Abbott doesn’t have a vision for Texas in the future, and the ad suggests Abbott will rely heavily on trying to scare white Texans to outvote everybody else.

Here are my observations about Abbott’s ad as it came to me on Facebook, and the ad, below.

Greg Abbott first went negative when State Sen. Wendy Davis announced her campaign for governor last week.

He’s having difficulty finding a reason to run for governor, demonstrated by his video, below.

The video is impressive:

  1. Not a single Hispanic shown out of several dozen people. In fact, there appears to be only one, lonely woman of color in the entire thing. Texas is for white people, Abbott appears to be saying.
  2. Those white people in Texas need guns. It’s not like Texas has any shortage of guns, nor has the Obama administration done anything to restrict gun ownership or use, nor is it even an issue in Texas — but watch the video, you understand that the Texas white people shown in it, need guns. (Why? you may ask?)
  3. Abbott is all for low-wage, service industry jobs. When he talks about jobs in Texas, the ad shows a rickety, ramshackle BBQ joint. You may like BBQ more than Greg Abbott, but if you’re an aerospace worker, or you work for American Airlines, you would do well to question why Abbott worked so hard to kill American Airlines before Sen. Davis made it a campaign issue. (Abbott belatedly dropped his suit challenging the American/USAir merger, last week. Less than a week in the campaign and Wendy Davis is already improving Texas government . . .)
    Faced with a pro-business Democrat with a proven record of making things work for business and Texas, Abbott is adrift. These appear to be issues he hasn’t pondered much, other than to reduce regulations on businesses that injure people.
  4. Not a word about education. Where will all those gun-wielding white people send their kids to school?
  5. When he mentions water policy, something that comes far behind guns, BBQ, and the Tea Party in Greg Abbott’s Texas, he shows footage of Interstate 35 in Austin. One of Texas’s greatest problems (on the ballot in November with a Constitutional Amendment), but to Abbot it’s an afterthought. Maybe he thinks he can shotgun a few clouds to resolve the issues?
  6. Not a word about farming, nor ranching. Texas’s lack of a water policy, and inadequate work to mitigate global warming, pushed about 50% of Texas’s cattle and beef operations out of business on the GOP watch, just in the last four years. In Greg Abbott’s Texas, land is for shooting quail for rich folk, all you hamburger eaters can take a hike.
  7. Not a word about oil or gas, nor fracking, nor the abuse of eminent domain to ram a pipeline through Texas ranches and farms, killing the ranches and farms.
    You’d think after two decades in state office, Mr. Abbott would have a better idea about Texas and Texas problems, and would run a campaign on how to improve things for Texans, not just out of state pipeline companies.
  8. Abbott is running against Barack Obama, and he hates California. No good reason, but those are probably the only applause lines in his bereft-of-Texas stump speech.

You’d think some of those Million-Dollar-A-Year consultants would have worried a bit about Texas in setting up these ads. They must think their only chance is to scare their supporters out to the polls. They may be right.

Abbott’s campaign said:

Preserve Texas as the land of liberty. Watch my video below, and donate here: http://bit.ly/18UKBnr

What do you think, America?  See any reason for anyone other than a paranoid white guy to vote for Abbott?

Conflict of interest note:  Abbott is a Duncanville boy, a favorite of most residents of Duncanville we know. 

More: 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appears bef...

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appears before a controversial tablet displaying the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol (behind the capitol building) in Austin, Texas, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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