Archive for August, 2007

Garnet Coleman in Lubbock

I saw Garnet Coleman, one of Texas’ finest Democratic leaders, speak at the monthly Texas Democratic Women meeting today. He was wonderful, and his appearance brought the biggest turnout I have ever seen at a local TDW meeting (I have been to a few).

He talked quite a bit about the Speaker’s race, education, CHIP, and other priorities for 2008-2009. If events unfold as they are trending, we’ll see a new speaker (odds are good that there will be 76 people pissed off at Craddick), a Democratic majority in the State House, restored funding to CHIP, re-regulated college tuition, and a public school funding system that makes sense and actually funds our schools.

In what I couldn’t help but think was a remarkable coincidence, Coleman referred several times to Grover Norquist’s rhetoric about shrinking the government, which was the same rhetoric on my mind earlier this week for the Katrina anniversary. What is sad is that the Norquist school of neoconservatism — which is nothing short of an attempt to totally dismantle our government — has been the policy of the Republican overlords at the federal and state level since 2001. His point was very dire: the neocons are succeeding in their attempt to cripple government. Look at CHIP: 230,000 kids cut + 100,000 kids restored = still 130,000 kids not covered while Texas’ population continues to boom. Worse, Bush is now playing the same games with CHIP at the federal level. Sometimes I feel like Texas is the playpen for the most vile Republican policies out there.

But, there’s hope. With seasoned, effective leaders like Garnet Coleman (along with Jim Dunnam and Pete Gallego) and high-performing newcomers like Crosbyton’s own Joe Heflin, I think our odds of making things better for Texans in 2008 and beyond are looking pretty good.

Edit: The A-J covered the event.

Remembering Katrina

Norquist got his wish.

MSN has a slide show about the challenges in rebuilding the gulf coast. Apparently the odds of a mansion being rebuilt are much better than that of a small home or business.

The A-J has a story about a local artist who narrowly missed Katrina that includes a timeline of Lubbock’s involvement with helping Katrina evacuees. Another story about a struggling evacuee in Lubbock is also worth a look.

Hurricane Katrina is a painful lesson in the disaster preparedness of the neoconservative philosophy of government.

It was also a reminder of what qualities our President should possess. Two days after Katrina, Bush flew over New Orleans for 35 minutes in Air Force One. The day after Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans in 1965, LBJ was on the ground, talking to ordinary people on the streets and in the shelters.

MoveOn Vigil a Success

Tonight’s vigil in support of ending the War in Iraq was a success.

MoveOn vigil -- signs
The event began with volunteers displaying signs along 82nd St. — one of Lubbock’s busier streets. The signs from L to R are “Peace is Patriotic,” “Iraq War: Wrong Way,” and “Keep Them Safe.” It was at this time that someone from KCBD put a camera in my face and I flubbed through some statements about the event, so I might have been on your TV last night.

MoveOn vigil -- small groups
After that, the group gathered near the Veterans’ Memorial in five groups of this size to read through rolls of this year’s U.S. Soldier casualties and injuries in Iraq. It was a powerful moment, followed by an equally powerful minute of silence to honor the fallen.

The event ended with remarks from Bobby, the organizer, about contacting our representatives to tell them that we want out of Iraq.

Overall, it was a very tasteful event. It brought out more than the usual mix of activists as well, which is really one of MoveOn’s great strengths.

Lubbock DFA to Screen “The Corporation”

Lubbock Democracy for America will be showing “The Corporation” this Wednesday at 6PM at Mahon Library downtown. The film looks at corporations in terms of actual personhood. What is the character of the corporate entity, a legal construct with the same rights as a citizen? Turns out that it’s a sociopath.

From a user comment on the IMDB page for the film:

It should make you angry. If not, your conscience has long been stilled by your big screen TV, your gas-guzzling SUV or your stock options. Probably won’t show in most of your towns….too much of a threat to the corporations that are shown up in this show.

Event details and RSVP are available at the Lubbock DFA event page for the screening.

See you there!

You know what I miss?

A 24hr coffeehouse.

Lubbock used to have one called Renaissance Coffeehouse on 19th just east of University where a Radio Shack is now. It was half of the building that used to be Mad Hatter’s House of Games about 10 years ago. Having a place to hang out with friends and “just be” at any time of the day is pretty great.

What is your favorite Lubbock coffeehouse these days, reader? I don’t really have a favorite any more. There are about 5 that I stop at “regularly” — and none of them are Starbucks.

I mention coffeehouses because they are great places to meet with fellow activists to get going and get organized. Lubbock Democracy for America got started at J&B Coffee and met at other coffeehouses like Aroma’s, Hastings, and Daybreak.

Lubbock County Democratic Party Elects New Chair

We have a new Lubbock County Democratic Party Chair!

From the Democratic Party’s press release:

The Lubbock County Democratic Executive Committee on Tuesday elected Susan Barrick to fill the vacancy created by County Chair Johnnie Jones’ departure. Barrick, 55, a former League of Women Voters president, ran against incumbent County Judge Tom Head in 2006. She said her goals as Democratic County Chair are to bring up the number of precinct chairs and to recruit strong candidates.

“Maybe then,” she said, “we can begin to overcome the problem of low voter turnout.”

Barrick praised Jones’ leadership over the past 3 years. “The party made significant strides under Jones’ leadership. Her tenure saw the purchase of a party headquarters building and the broadcast of a weekly radio show devoted to the Democratic point of view during the legislative session,” Barrick said.

Johnnie’s leadership will be missed, but I’m very much looking forward to what Sue Barrick can bring to the party. The press release doesn’t mention it, but Sue has also served as President of Texas Democratic Women and as Vice Chair of the County Party. She is literally the most qualified candidate that I could imagine to continue moving our County Party toward victory.

Linda DeLeon: Good for District 1

While she may make the occasional gaffe, I believe that Councilwoman Linda DeLeon really has her district’s best interests at heart. Case in point:

Council members gave little indication Thursday night what they would do about Citibus, though they asked general manager John Wilson how much his costs have gone up since the last fare increase in 1996.

Only Councilwoman Linda DeLeon, who has said she supports raising taxes for such things as Citibus, said she would oppose a fare increase.

(from, emphasis mine)

District 1 has many residents who ride the bus on a regular basis. It may be that the City has lost so much federal money for the bus system (on account of our population growth) that there is not enough to fund Citibus, but a fare increase should be our absolute last option. Raising fares is a regressive tax in disguise.

Way to go, Linda!

Stand Up In September Vigil

Local activists from MoveOn, DFA, and other groups will meet for a vigil to end the War in Iraq.

Here are the details:

National Take A Stand Day
H. Huneke Park 82nd at Nashville
4001 82nd St at Nashville (East Kingsgate)
Lubbock, TX 79423
Tuesday, 28 Aug 2007, 8:00 PM

You can sign up to attend the vigil at MoveOn’s website.

I will attend and try to take some good pictures. Let’s show our representatives that we still want to end this war, and we will not quit until our troops come home.

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Not My Job!

As a thought exercise, what might be the progressive and conservative responses to this photo? Here’s my take.

Conservative response #1: Why are we even painting the edge of the road? My tax dollars are being wasted — I can see the edge of the road just fine!

Conservative response #2: Let’s put that innovative street painter in charge of Homeland Security or FEMA !!

Conservative response #3: If gun laws were done away with, that tree stump could have been cleared in a glorious shootout.

Progressive response: Let’s correct the problem and make sure it won’t happen again. We’ll move the tree and repaint.


Second DeLeon Recall Petition Fails

KCBD 11 just broke the story that the second petition to recall Linda DeLeon has failed by 23 signatures.

I’ve heard that the news conference on Wednesday will detail each rejected signature along with the reason it was rejected.

Edit: Sue is right (in the comments) — the A-J is reporting that it failed by 16 signatures.

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