Archive for May, 2008


Check out this almost-totally redacted document courtesy of the ACLU blog. The only words not redacted on the entire page are “These enhanced techniques include:” and “Water Board.”


May Election Analysis: Lubbock City Council District 4

District 4 is headed to a runoff.

Paul Beane won a plurality of the votes with 45.33% (about 3,100 votes) of the vote, with just under 7,000 votes cast total. Jerry Bell won 31.57% of the vote, and Tom Keisling won 23.10% of the vote. Bell and Beane will face off with early voting beginning on Tuesday.

Let’s look at how the May 10 election went:

As you can see from the map above, Paul Beane did well throughout the district.

In my mind, it’s not clear what Tom Keisling’s supporters will do in this runoff election. Will they support Bell, Beane, or stay home? Since District 4 has excellent turnout no matter the election, the preference of Tom Keisling’s supporters is likely to be one of the deciding factors of the runoff election.

Another deciding factor will be which way the highest-turnout precincts lean. Precinct 54 (Honey Elementary) alone accounts for nearly 18% (1,194 votes) of the total vote and is always the highest-turnout precinct in any election in Lubbock County.

Other high-turnout precincts in this election are:

  • Precinct 52 (11%)
  • Precinct 127 (10%)
  • Precinct 12 (10%)
  • Precinct 30 (9%)
  • Precinct 123 (8%)


As with District 2, the outcome of the runoff election is unclear. Both candidates have their work cut out for them.

May Election Analysis: Lubbock City Council District 2

Lubbock City Council Districts 2 and 4 are headed for a runoff election Saturday, June 7. With that in mind, I have decided to try a little analysis of the May election results.

Lubbock City Council District 2 (LB2) straddles Interstate 27 from 19th street on south. The Interstate is a physical barrier as well as a psychological and cultural one. The situation is improving over time, but the three precincts west of I-27 (19, 25, and 29) are still “anglo precincts,” and the four precincts east of I-27 (6, 20, 26, and 40) are still “minority precincts.” Each half on either side of I-27 accounts for 50% of the votes cast in the Council 2 race.

In the picture above, Floyd Price carried the green precincts and Armando Gonzales carried the purple precincts. The gray precinct (29) was a tie between the two; Armando Gonzales carried it by a single vote.

I believe this runoff is up in the air. Price missed winning outright by less than 5 percentage points, but, as Todd Klein showed us in 2007, a runoff can be won by the underdog. Time will tell if a 46.47% to 37.39% gap can be closed in this race.

I will look at the district 4 results this weekend if I have time (there are more precincts involved). I will say that Jerry Bell has his work cut out for him — Paul Beane won a plurality in every single precinct in district 4.

What are your thoughts on the City Council runoff races?

Did you know…?

…that this year’s Texas State Democratic Convention will almost certainly be larger than this year’s Texas State Republican Convention?

…that this year’s Texas State Democratic Convention in Austin will be larger than this year’s National Democratic Convention in Denver?

…that this year’s Texas State Democratic Convention will very likely be the event that puts Barack Obama over the winning number of delegates?

Needless to say — I’m pretty excited!

The Real McCain 2: McCain Harder

It must be so easy and so fun to make these videos. I mean no offense to the BNF crew — y’all do great work as always — but there are so very very many McCain gaffes out there to work with. He’s got flip-flops on major issues, deer-in-the-headlights looks, outright lies, and enough just-plain-wrong statements to make 2008 the biggest landslide Republican loss in decades.

But the thumping that the Republicans will receive does not mean we Democrats can rest on our laurels. Spread this video around so everyone can see how McCain and the Republican Party have lost their way.


Amarillo has got it goin’ on…

…when it comes to a vibrant art/music/indie culture community.

I’m in Amarillo today for Homer’s Backyard Ball, a charity outdoor Texas
country concert, and I’ve had some time to tool around coffeehouses in Amarillo.

I’m impressed!

The 806 is a fairly new coffeehouse / lounge with a great atmosphere, including lots of progressive reading material and a great selection of art on the walls.

Roasters is another great coffeehouse near the big Hastings (and the one that was torn down). They have a great art exhibit of photographs of Amarillo musicians.

Lubbock has a vibrant art/music/indie culture scene, and I’m glad to see that Amarillo does as well.

Now if only we could get them talking to each other…

A good reason not to keep guns in the house

1420 AM reports tragic news today, as a Hockley County child accidentally shot his brother with his grandfather’s pistol found in his other brother’s room.

Sheriff David Kinney says no charges have been filed. It is being investigated as an accident. Here’s Kinney speaking on News Channel 11. “The weapon, we found out the 13-year-old had taken the weapon about three months ago from his grandpa’s house in Lubbock, without the grandpa’s permission or knowledge.”

Guns are designed to kill, and having one in the home in a place where a child could access it is not wise. Grandpa had every right to own a gun and keep it in his home, but this story and the many other accidental gun death stories like it are a major reason why I have made a personal decision not to allow guns — mine or anyone else’s — in my home.

My heart goes out to the family in this sorrowful time.

United States: Behind on Broadband

The right-wing mantra of “deregulate, deregulate, deregulate” is costing America one of our most important technological and cultural advantages: ubiquitous, affordable broadband internet access.

Ars Technica has an article about how we are being left behind:

Despite the repeated claims of the current administration that our “broadband policy” is working, the US actually has no broadband policy and no aggressive and inspiring goals (think “moon shot”).

Simply put: Japan, France, Sweden, Canada, and most of Asia are out-interneting us. The main reason that they have surpassed us is because their governments view fiber optics as core infrastructure issues worthy of government investment.

Meanwhile, our government is too busy selling out the public trust to the biggest corporations it can find, all in the name of “deregulation” and “smaller government.”

My view is that regulation does not stifle competition; instead, it prevents people from hurting other people. A good business can survive in nearly any regulatory climate. In general, we only hurt ourselves when we remove regulations from industry.

Furthermore, we have seen that the politicians who ran on “small government” don’t really believe in small government. What they believe in is a very large government that benefits only them and their friends, while the majority of citizens suffer from a lack of services and public resources. (Picture Hurricane Katrina alongside record profits for military contractors and oil companies and you’ve got a snapshot of the Bush legacy.)

“Small government” plus “deregulation” equals the perfect atmosphere for corruption.

Winning the fight against this type of corruption is how we will catch up with broadband access. (Support of Net Neutrality is an enormous part of this struggle, and it ranks pretty high on my list of reasons for supporting Obama.)

If we keep the internet open — both the physical medium and the data — then we can catch up and once again become the world’s internet access leader.

Monday: The Todd Klein Show

I’ll be on Todd Klein’s radio show on KRFE AM 580 Monday Morning from 10-11AM to discuss the election returns from Saturday and whatever else comes up.

This will be my second appearance on the show. The last time was in February, and we discussed the intersection of technology and politics.

I’m looking forward to the show, and I hope you’ll tune in!

How do we promote Lubbock?

With all the talk about the Visitor Center these days, I find myself brainstorming other ways to attract overnight visits in Lubbock.

First, how about some more brochure racks? Check out River Smith’s:

River Smith’s is right next to at least 5 hotels as well as the intersection US84 and the Marsha Sharp Freeway. It’s an excellent place to leave information about what to do in Lubbock.

So, why not put similar brochures in all the nearby businesses? There are several other restaurants, a Wal-Mart, and a strip mall nearby.

How about similar brochure racks in all the businesses that surround Texas Tech? How about in all the nicest restaurants in town?

The cost of these racks is negligible, and putting them where visitors will already be makes good sense to me.

Second, we need a world-class Lubbock tourism website, and one that is optimized for search engines and linked to from already prominent Lubbock websites. This one seems like a no-brainer to me, and is also an inexpensive and maintainable option.

The initial website design could really involve the community as well. Hold a contest for the best-designed page, with the prize being a permanent link to the winner, or have web design classes at Tech take a shot at it. Ask for content suggestions and pictures from Lubbock citizens. Let existing businesses contribute content in exchange for links.

Third, let’s take Councilman Klein’s suggestion and put kiosks in popular Lubbock destinations like The Mall. They could be interactive, and feature attraction tours by type. Like the website and brochure racks, this option is inexpensive and effective because it targets Lubbock visitors where they already are.

Fourth, the City of Lubbock should advertise in other newspapers in Texas and New Mexico. Ruidoso, NM advertises in Lubbock, and I’m sure it helps their visitor traffic. (Also, they have a spiffy, thorough website geared toward tourism — compare to Visit Lubbock’s website.) People in Dallas, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio should be marketed to by the City of Lubbock.

Fifth, how about encouraging the nearby small town traffic to Lubbock? Residents of the surrounding communities already visit Lubbock, so why not put some extra effort into advertising to them so that they visit a little bit more?

I think there are many ways to promote Lubbock, from the obvious to the very creative, and many of them make more sense than the current Visitor Center project.

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