Any McCain defenders out there?

May 19, 2008

Stumbled into this post, “McCain’s YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare.”

To now, I’ve just had policy differences with McCain, and much admiration for his having gone through his prison experiences while maintaining a high degree of balance. The video is damning. Is it accurate?

Any McCain defenders out there who can make the case against what the video seems to say?

Retail politics in a democratic republic

March 5, 2008

More than 1,000 people showed up for our precinct caucus.  That’s 200 times more people than have showed in any previous year.  I didn’t get elected convention chairman by default, nor did I even get nominated.  The parking problems anticipated by The New Republic all came to pass — and no one really cared. 

It was fantastic to watch.

Obama got 89% of the 55 delegates to our Senatorial District Convention; Clinton got 11%.

More, later I hope, when I get a few minutes to write about it.

Obama shadow: Republican incumbents threatened

March 1, 2008

I tried to vote in Texas’s early voting process Friday. I opted out when, at 6:00 p.m., the line to vote in our usually-sleepy end of Dallas County was up to three hours long (the last voters made it inside the building at 9:08 p.m. — with another 90 minutes of standing in line).

The Obama earthquake is particularly heavy in our precinct. We may have been the most enthusiastic precinct in Texas for Gore and Kerry, and two years ago our voting pushed Dallas County into the Democratic column for judges, sweeping dozens of Republican incumbents out of office. This year, voting by and for Democrats is more than double the early voting totals then.  Our precinct is one of many in 2008.

However the Clinton/Obama drama plays out in Texas and Ohio, this demonstration of democratic muscle — in favor of the Democrats — should worry Republicans. If the numbers are repeated in nearby precincts, which have similar demographics, and in similar suburban districts around Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Austin, Republican incumbents in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate will be in trouble. No amount of advertising could avert a change in Texas’s party alignment at the national level.

Obama mania, and ennui from Republican control, combine to make a voting tsunami.

At this moment, from where I sit, it appears Democrats will win Texas’s U.S. Senate seat held by Republican John Cornyn. U.S. Representatives such as Kenny Marchant, who unseated Democratic Whip Martin Frost four years ago, should consider new employment beginning January 2009.

Republicans in Texas were talking about voting in the Democratic primary this year, to vote for Hillary Clinton, in the hopes that waving that particular flag would anger conservative Christians enough to motivate them to vote against her.

That’s a thin hook on which to hang hopes of election wins. There are not enough conservative, religious voters in America to overcome the wave of discontent with the present, and hope for the future, this election race has created. If Texas voters realize the power they wield, and they use it in November, the political world will reel and rock.

Alas for Republicans, that’s not a big “if.”

Will the ground move on Tuesday night?



4,000 screaming fans welcome Barack Obama to Republican stronghold Duncanville, Texas, in the Sandra Meadows Arena, February 27, 2008. Cellphone photo copyright © 2008 by first-time voter James Darrell; used with permission.

Creationists make stealth bid to takeover Texas education board

February 28, 2008

Sane members of the Texas State Board of Education hold a slim majority over scripture-at-any-cost-in-science-books creationists.

Creationists are hammering away to defeat at least two incumbent board members to tip the balance, in classic stealth campaigns where they hide their intentions and spend oodles of money hoping to do evil by catching most voters asleep.  The creationists are campaigning to beat conservative, religious Baptists, because the Baptists are “too liberal” on evolution. 

Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow presents the facts in the State Education District 11 race, where a secretive urologist who patterns his campaign tactics after Kim Jong Il is outspending the sane incumbent at least $12 to $1.  The entire column is below the fold.

District 11 includes most of Tarrant County (Fort Worth), and Parker, Ellis and Johnson counties.

Social studies is also at risk here:  The stealth candidate, Barney Maddox, is making false claims against Texas social studies teachers and Texas social studies books, especially history books.  The guy looks like an ill-informed nutcase, and he has a good chance of winning.

For example, the campaign flier says: “Barney Maddox believes social studies textbooks should devote more space to American presidents than Marilyn Monroe and that the vicious attack of 9-11 should be portrayed as an aggressive act by terrorists, not an American conspiracy.”

Marilyn Monroe makes no appearance in some books; presidents get 100 times more space in any book you choose.  No book portrays 9-11 as an American conspiracy.  The man campaigns like your standard, wild-eyed nutcase.

Call, write and e-mail everyone you know in Texas to warn them to vote against Barney Maddox, and for Pat Hardy, in the District 11 State School Board race.  Your friends may not live in that district, but they should know.  There are other racess with similar problems.  

Early voting in this primary ends tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.  Tuesday, March 4,  is election day.

Blow’s column, below the fold.

While you’re working at making the world safe for science, wander over to the Texas Freedom Network’s site, and sign the petition saying you’ll stand up for science.  Tell ’em Ed sent you.

Read the rest of this entry »

2008 economy: 8 views

February 9, 2008

The Christian Science Monitor presented a series of eight different views of the world economy for 2008: 2008, a look ahead. Since the Monitor is one of the better newspapers on Earth, the series presents outstanding reporting with important insights into economics.

Photo of Chinese corn farmer, Christian Science Monitor

These are custom made for warm-ups and student projects:

  1. Why the era of cheap food is over
  2. Global elections watch: All eyes on U.S. race
  3. Global flash points: How to spot signs of peace
  4. As oil passes $100, the question: will it stop?
  5. The Olympics in China: a moment for pride – and world scrutiny
  6. As violence ebbs, the next hurdle for Iraq is political progress
  7. Will nations build on climate-change momentum of 2007?
  8. How a credit crunch may hurt the world economy

Sticking by the error

November 17, 2007

Neil Boortz has a bottomless well of venom. Boortz appears to be the chief source of the mean-spirited, cut-from-whole-cloth fables about Hillary Clinton being next to Marx.

Checking to see whether he had run a correction of those errors* (he did not), I found this little spittle of acid in that same post from October 8: Boortz wonders about former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger advising Hillary Clinton’s campaign, citing Berger’s admission that he took documents out of the National Archives as a basis for some conspiracy about a cover-up of Bill Clinton’s actions prior to September 11, 2001.

Berger pled to misdemeanor charges. He had the right to view the documents, especially since many of the documents he was reviewing were his own. NARA staff said he took copies of documents only. He was working to prepare a report to the 9-11 Commission at the time.

Neil, here are the facts: Berger was right about Osama bin Laden, years before you ever thought about it. Berger was the guy who was left standing at the White House door, ready to brief President George W. Bush on the need to continue chasing Osama bin Laden and the threat al Quaeda posed to America when Condoleeza Rice informed him that the Bush administration would not continue the chase. Berger was the guy who first got the news that Bush was letting al Quaeda off the hook.

There is great value in getting advice from people who seem to have an ability to see the future, or at least get the present right. Boortz can’t even bring himself to admit error for a silly quiz. We shouldn’t expect him to admit the larger error: Sandy Berger was right about Osama bin Laden and al Quaeda, and it was a nasty, damaging error for the Bush group to brush him off and ignore his warnings. Now we are involved in a great, perhaps misguided war that could have been avoided had Bush listened to Sandy Berger in January 2001.

It must be painful for Boortz to even imagine such things.

It’s a great idea for Berger to advise Clinton, or anyone else, because George W. Bush didn’t allow it, would not listen. Nearly 10,000 Americans are dead, 100,000 to more than a million Iraqis and Afghanis are dead, the U.S. has a multi-trillion-dollar debt, and the entire planet is a lot less safe because of Bush’s error. Let’s not compound the error.

(Boortz’s radio show is carried on a backwater AM station here in Dallas — oddly on KSL’s old clear channel frequency. I’ve never heard it. Is he this reckless with facts on all things? If the FCC were alive today, such inaccuracies might endanger a license, back when broadcasters had to broadcast in the public interest. Nostalgia is appropriate here. Too bad such broadcasters are not required to be licensed like history teachers; worse that Boortz doesn’t work for accuracy himself.)

* No, I don’t really believe Boortz simply erred; but it’s polite to pretend so, so that he may more gracefully make corrections.

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