A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What's Wrong With Dallas County Legal System ?

The Dallas Morning News tells us that another convict has been found to be innocent through the use of DNA. This man had already served 25 years for a crime he did not commit. The really sad fact is that this is not the only case like this in Dallas County.

In the last five years, ten prison inmates convicted in Dallas have been found to be innocent. Most of these men were convicted on eyewitness testimony. Many people think that eyewitness testimony is the best kind of evidence. They are wrong.

Unless the witness is identifying someone they already know pretty well, eyewitness testimony is probably the least reliable kind of evidence. People just do not do a very good job of identifying a stranger they have seen only briefly during a period of high stress.

Dallas needs to be more careful in their use of this kind of evidence. Ten innocent men in the past five years is way too many. Barry Scheck, an attorney with the Innocence Project, compares the situation to plane crashes. You might expect 10 crashes in five years, but not all in the same place.

This is why I really cannot support the death penalty. Theoretically, I don't see the death penalty as morally wrong, but there are just far too many innocent men being convicted. Until we can fix our justice system, and make it as fair for minorities and the poor as it is for the rich, we should not be executing anyone. There is no justification for sending an innocent man to prison - in general population or on death row.

Early Vote Looks Good For High Turnout

Through the first seven days of this election's early voting, the totals of the in-person and mail-in ballots are substantially higher than the seven day totals for the 2002 election. These are combined and cumulative totals and were taken from the Secretary of State's web site for 2002 and 2006. The numbers are especially high for Fort Bend and Galveston counties, and low for El Paso and Hidalgo counties. This is how the percentages stack up:

HARRIS
up 59.2%

DALLAS
up 36.1%

BEXAR
up 55.8%

TARRANT
up 18.7%

TRAVIS
up 4.5%

COLLIN
up 66.2%

EL PASO
up 0.8%

DENTON
up 54.4%

HIDALGO
down 26.3%

FORT BEND
up 131.9%

MONTGOMERY
up 35.3%

WILLIAMSON
up 52.6%

NUECES
up 42.4%

GALVESTON
up 106.8%

A Message From Hank Gilbert's Wife

One of the finest men I have had the pleasure of meeting in this election season is Hank Gilbert, the Democratic candidate for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Hank is no corporate-owned political hack looking to use the office as a stepping-stone to even higher office, like his Republican counterpart. Hank is a throwback to the times when candidates had real American values like honesty, hard work, helping your neighbor, and serving your country.

That's why I take great pleasure in submitting the following letter from Hank's wife to the voters of Texas.


Dear Friend,

My name is Karla Gilbert and I would like to share a story with you about a man who will work to make Texas a better place to live, work, and raise a family. This man is my husband, Hank Gilbert.

This has been a year to remember for our family. I will never forget the day the boys and I told Hank he should run for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. At first he thought we were kidding - then he realized we were right. Hank is truly a man of the people. One of his greatest gifts is being able to relate to people from all walks of life.

While this year has been hard at times it has been good for our sons, Peyton and Cody, to see their dad work so hard for what he believes in and cares so deeply about. The boys have missed their dad, but they have learned independence and are proud of all he has accomplished. We look forward to seeing all of our hard work pay off on November 7th!

I find myself telling everyone about the race. I attend a lot of sporting events with our sons. As I sit in the stands, I think about the people sitting around me - farmers, ranchers, small business owners, teachers, policemen - people who love Texas and their community. Hank is working so hard to protect this way of life, our way of life. I'm asking each of you to work as hard as he is to get every person to the polls on November 7th!

I appreciate the support each and every one of you is giving Hank. We know that without you none of this would be possible. Thank you for everything you are doing. It has been a great experience for my family, and I know our sons will come away from this year understanding that big dreams take hard work.
Early voting is going on now and the election is November 7th, please join me in casting your vote for Hank Gilbert. He's done right by our family. He'll do right by yours.

Sincerely,

Karla Gilbert

Tarrant County Democrats Go To Court

The Tarrant County Democratic Party has done what they promised to do. They have filed a suit in federal court against the Texas Secretary of State, asking that a verifiable paper trail be installed on the electronic voting machines before November 7th. The Tarrant Dems had asked for this several weeks ago, and threatened to go to federal court if it did not happen.

In their federal suit, the Democrats say that paperless electronic machines violate the Texas Election Code, the Help America Vote Act, and the U.S. Constitution [1st and 14th amendments]. Tarrant Democratic Party chairman, Art Brender, said he knows it is impossible to install the printers for a paper trail before the November 7th election. But if a court declares the machines to be in violation of the law, it might help the party get new elections if a programming error occurs. It would also set a precedent for future elections.

The company that makes the electronic voting machines does sell a printer that can easily be added to the machine, and produce a paper printout of each ballot. However, the Secretary of State has not approved the addition of the printer. They say they have not yet developed standards for the printer attachment, and also expressed concern that a paper trail might make it possible to track a person's vote. What a load of crap! What kind of standards are needed to attach a printer already designed to work with the machines in use? And the computer paper trail would be no more trackable than any other paper ballot.

The Tarrant County Elections Administrator holds an even sillier view. He says the machines store an image of every ballot cast, which could then be printed out and recounted as a paper ballot. The problem is that no one could know whether the ballot printed is as the voter voted, or whether it had been changed by a computer error or virus.

I applaud the Tarrant County Democratic Party for their bold move. They are just trying to make sure the votes counted are the same as the votes cast. Personally, I believe we need to go back to paper ballots and forget the hackable and error-prone machines [these same machines added an extra 100,000 votes during the last primary]. But until that can happen, we should at least have a paper printout that can be verified by the voter before leaving the polls.

If you cannot trust the counting of votes, do you really have a democracy?

Radnofsky Will Fight For Ordinary Texans

If we believe the polls, the Republicans are poised to sweep all of the state-wide races in the coming election, including the race for the United States Senate. Maybe they will, but I'm having a little trouble accepting that. I watched the senate race debate, and I honestly don't see how anyone that watched that debate could vote for our current senator.

The Republican candidate has done nothing but shill for the current incompetent in the White House. She supported the invasion of Iraq, and still supports the war, even though she admits now that we shouldn't have done it. She also supported the Republican efforts to destroy social security.

Although she claims to be a moderate, she votes with the ultra-right over 90% of the time. She has even broken her own campaign promises. She is now running for a third term, even though she promised six years ago that she would not. She is truly an embarrassment to Texas.

But not everyone believes the polls. Barbara Ann Radnofsky, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, certainly doesn't. With her hard campaigning, and a little bit of the coming Democratic wave, Texas could send a senator to Washington that we all could be proud of. I still believe it can happen!

I have reprinted the latest press release from Barbara Ann Radnofsky below. Read it, and see if you don't think she's by far the best candidate.




October 30, 2006

I’m a mother of three, wife, volunteer teacher, mediator, and practicing lawyer for twenty-seven years. I’m a professional problem solver who knows how to represent people, how to fight for people, and how to bring people together.

In my more than 560 trips across the state, Texans have repeatedly said that they want a senator who they can trust, who will stop wasting our taxpayer dollars, who will honor our promises to the brave men and women who have served our country, who will eliminate the alternate minimum tax that is hurting the middle class, and who will advocate for Texas farmers and ranchers and bring home the agricultural relief they need.

For three years I have advocated education and insurance reforms which will reduce waste, save billions, avoid disease, and lower taxes. Health care reform will ensure our ability to respond to bio-terror attacks. I am the daughter and granddaughter of injured veterans, and we need a G.I. Bill of Rights for the 21st Century.

I received an "A" rating by the NRA and will fight to protect the Constitution and the Second Amendment.

My opponent refuses to pledge to serve out her six-year term in the senate if elected. She has given every indication that she will cut and run from her senate service. The senior senator from Texas believes perjury is a mere technicality, she will not take a stand on outlawing horse slaughter for human consumption, a cause every Texan understands. She has proven over her thirteen years in the senate that she is a liberal spender, and she has voted to rubberstamp failed Bush Administration policies 95.6% of the time.

Under my opponent's 13-year senate career, Texas ranks first in uninsured children, first in high school dropouts and 41st in federal funding. The agricultural relief bill has been delayed for two years. The problems that Texas and our nation face can be solved, but we need a leader in the senate who has a track record of solving problems.

My opponent believes that we cannot even think about leaving Iraq until the country is stabilized. Our presence is destabilizing Iraq. We must set a timetable and withdraw. My opponent is promising perpetual war.

I bring my experience as a problem solver to the race for the U.S. Senate. I have made over 560 trips across Texas in the last two and a half years, and have promoted my message of honesty, of credibility, and of bringing effective representation to Texans in the U.S. Senate. Please visit www.radnofskyvideo.com, and see the issues chart for more details on my positions and proposals at www.radnofsky.com.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Kinky Gets Another Newspaper Endorsement

The conventional wisdom is that Perry will retain his office in the governor's mansion this year. But Kinky Friedman was never one to listen to the political pundits. As his campaign manager, Dean Barkley, would tell you, no one thought Jesse Ventura would win in Minnesota until the votes had been counted.

So Kinky keeps plugging away, and good things continue to happen. Yesterday, the Brazoria County newspaper The Facts came out with an editorial endorsing Kinky in his race for governor of Texas.

Here is what they had to say.


October 29, 2006

No one would call Kinky Friedman anyone’s lap dog, accuse him of being beholden to any special interest group or say he is afraid of going with his gut rather than what is popular.

No one would dream that Texas would be the same under the leadership of Kinky Friedman as it is under the leadership of Rick Perry.

It is primarily for those reasons that The Facts editorial board urges your vote for Richard “Kinky” Friedman in his bid for governor of Texas.

A vote for Friedman is a vote against politics as usual in Austin. It is a vote against those who say one thing when running for office and once elected look for the first chance to run for political cover as fast and as hard as they can.

With Kinky Friedman, what you see is what you get, and love them or hate them, he has laid out strong positions on issues most important to voters in this election: border security, education and health care.

In his years in office, Gov. Rick Perry has talked much but accomplished little. Not until the last year has Perry done much to speak of, and many of those accomplishments he touts — school finance reform and enhanced border security, for instance — were made by a candidate, not by a leader.

Even surrounded by Republicans in leadership positions in Austin, Perry was largely ineffectual up until the time he came under attack by Comptroller-come candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn.

By contrast, when Friedman announced his candidacy, it was widely regarded as a joke. Somewhere along the line he became a factor in the race, not so much because of anything the man himself has done — his stump hasn’t changed much since the early days of the campaign. Instead, his stature as a candidate has improved as the field around him has stumbled.

Democrat Chris Bell has good ideas, but despite his differences in viewpoint from the current Republican leadership, he remains part of an establishment which we tired of long ago.

Unlike the true independence we see in Friedman, Strayhorn’s convictions seem to bend to whatever political constituency she finds most likely to vote for her.

The Kinkster has made a living out of unabashedly offending just about everybody. An entertainer and writer far removed from politics, Friedman’s platform is like that of most Texans — a cafeteria-style selection rather than an order straight from the menu of hard-line right- or left-wingers.

He’s for less of a focus on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and more support for teachers. He’s for investment in alternative fuels that will make us less dependent on foreign oil. He would increase the number of Texas National Guard troops on the border and levy hefty fines on companies that hire illegal immigrants. He is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, favors stem-cell research and favors optional, non-denominational prayer in schools.

Even if Friedman doesn’t win — and polls show Perry as the frontrunner — a strong showing will send a message to Austin that we’re sick of the double-talk and tired of special interests having the ear of power while Joe Taxpayer gets pushed to the back of the line.

The fact that Friedman has proven himself a factor in this race, including his twice winning of The Facts’ online reader poll by huge margins, proves Texans are desperate for his brand of frankness and for a change in course in Austin only a true independent can provide.

Today’s editorial was written by Yvonne Mintz, managing editor of The Facts.

Early Voting Still Strong

We've had seven days of early voting now, and the turnout still shows a strong lead over the turnout in 2002. Here is how the five largest counties are doing:

TRAVIS COUNTY
up 2.8%

TARRANT COUNTY
up 9.6%

DALLAS COUNTY
up 18.1%

BEXAR COUNTY
up 40.3%

HARRIS COUNTY
up 58.5%

As usual, the numbers & graphs can be found at Texas Gone Kinky.

Dallas Paper Notices Dewhurst Has An Opponent

I saw an amazing thing in the Dallas Morning News today. It was an article about Maria Luisa Alvarado running for Texas Lieutenant Governor. Until today, I wasn't even sure they were aware that Dewhurst even had an opponent. If you are a north Texan, and depend on the Morning News for all your political news, you may not even know who Maria Luisa Alvarado is.

But I don't mean to just pick on the Morning News. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has been just as bad. Both of these papers will give you several stories about the governor's race each day, but seem to have blacked-out all news of any down-ballot Democrats running this year. Even the article about Alvarado today, mostly talks about how she doesn't stand a chance of being elected.

All of the north Texas news media have covered this election very poorly. I don't remember a single article or TV spot about Alvarado or VaLinda Hathcox. The only time Fred Head has been mentioned is when the media wants to talk about his opponent's dirty book.

But Maria Luisa Alvarado is not deterred by the lack of media publicity, or the lack of campaign funds. Here is what she has to say:

"I'm not a lawyer and I have no special political skills that the experts say are necessary to win office. I have no electoral experience and have not held prior office. I'm just an ordinary person. But the voters are people just like me. We don't have to look for knights in shining armor to take care of us. All of us are responsible for what gets done by government.

I'm fully aware this is a tough race. It's not David vs. Goliath. It's more like Maria vs. David and Goliath. But I grew up poor and worked my way to where I am today. Don't tell me I can't do something without money.

I'm very aware that my opponent is wealthy and has the power of the incumbancy. But the main requirement of the lieutenant governor's office is the ability to work with people, to know when to fight and when to compromise for what's best for the people.

I don't pay much attention to what the experts and the media say. They said I couldn't win the Democratic nomination for this office. Around the state, I'm finding an audience for my message and I'm finding a strong anti-incumbancy attitude. People tell me they're ready for a change. I tell them that I'm their chance."

Whether the newspapers and TV want to tell you or not, Dewhurst does have an opponent this year, and she's ready to help us take back Texas. Vote for Maria Luisa Alvarado. You'll be glad you did.

FBI Lists Most Dangerous Cities

The Associated Press has printed a list of the most dangerous cities in America today. The list was made by Morgan Quitno Press, and was compiled from FBI figures released in June of 2006.

The most dangerous city in this country was St. Louis. It was followed in order by Detroit, Flint [Mich.], Compton [Cal.], and Camden [N.J.]. Texas didn't have any cities in the top 30. Here's how Texas cities rated [the higher the number, the safer the city]:

34. Dallas
47. Houston
66. Longview
71. Beaumont
104. Killeen
106. Waco
126. Fort Worth
137. Amarillo
139. Lubbock
140. Wichita Falls
165. Arlington
174. Corpus Christi
175. San Antonio
179. Tyler
192. Abilene
204. Grand Prairie
211. Laredo
214. Austin
217. San Angelo
226. Denton
234. Irving
241. Midland
245. McAllen
250. Mesquite
253. Brownsville
254. Pasadena
258. El Paso
268. Odessa
275. Garland
289. Carrollton
303. Lewisville
308. McKinney
311. Richardson
331. Plano
359. Round Rock

Zogby Thinks Sekula-Gibbs Could Win District 22

Ever since Tom DeLay made a monumental blunder by winning the Republican primary and then dropping out of the race, many political pundits have been saying that District 22 would be won by the Democrat, Nick Lampson, this year. One reason they have been saying this is because DeLay's name could not be removed from the ballot, and anyone voting for the Republican candidate, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, would have to write her name in on the ballot. Traditionally, write-in candidates do not do well in Texas.

Now there is someone who says the race is evenly divided at this point, and the Republican could win. Pollster John Zogby has just released a new poll taken in District 22 between October 23 and October 25. According to the poll, Lampson had 36%, the write-in had 35%, the Libertarian had 4%, and 25% were still undecided. The poll was conducted for the Houston Chronicle and KHOU-TV. The poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

Zogby says, "Both candidates seem to be swimming upstream here. What's clear on one hand, is Nick Lampson seems to have had the opportunity and has not closed the deal just yet. On the same token, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs has a great opportunity in a Republican district. Punditry was coloring the district blue. It's still a Republican district. Even harder than selling a write-in, is selling a Democrat in this district."

I'm not sure what to think about this. I find it awfully hard to believe a write-in candidate could win, especially with the anti-Republican wave that seems to be sweeping across the country. But that wave is not as strong in Texas as it is in other states, and odd things do happen in politics. Democrats should not take this one for granted.

Cowboys Enter The Romo Era

The Dallas Cowboys new quarterback, Tony Romo, started his first regular season game on Sunday night against the Carolina Panthers. The first quarter was kind of shaky for both the offense abd the defense, and the score was 14-0 in favor of the Panthers when the quarter ended.

But after the first quarter ended, the Cowboys settled down and played some good football. They got 10 points back in the second quarter, even though the million-dollar kicker missed another field goal. No one scored in the third quarter.

The game was busted wide open in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys scoring another 25 unanswered points. The final score was 35-14.

After the horrendous game they had last week, the Cowboys needed to win this game. They looked as good this week as they looked bad last week. I hope this is the team we'll be seeing for the rest of the season. The only negative thing in this game was the fact that they got too many penalties again. They still need to work on that.

Next week, Dallas travels to Washington to play the Redskins. We should see a good game there. Washington has their back against the wall and cannot afford to lose another game. Add that to the fact that these two teams really don't like each other, and it should be an interesting game. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Kinky On Letterman / Gets NASCAR Support

The Kinky Friedman for Governor campaign is getting a couple of boosts in the final week of the campaign. First, Kinky will be appearing on the late night David Letterman Show next friday. Kinky will be taping the Letterman segment on Monday, and it will air on November 3rd. Kinky will also be campaigning in Temple, San Antonio, El Paso, and Corpus Christi in the next week.

The other boost to Kinky's campaign comes from a NASCAR racer, Robert Richardson. NASCAR is heading to the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend in Fort Worth. The details are in the Kinky press release reprinted below:


McKinney, TX (October 30, 2006) - Robert Richardson is much more accustomed to racing on the track in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Series, but when NASCAR heads to the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, Richardson will also be involved in the political race for the Governor of Texas. Kinky Friedman the Independent candidate for Texas Governor on the ballot on November 7th has teamed up with R3 Racing for next weekend’s events at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Kinky for Governor will appear on both the No. 1 Chevrolet Silverado NASCAR Craftsman Truck as well as the No. 80 Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR Busch Series. Both are driven by the 24 year old McKinney, Texas native, Robert Richardson.

Supporters of Friedman and Richardson will also have their own opportunity to be a part of the racing action through a contribution to the campaign. Fans can visit http://www.kinkyfriedman.com/ to help. For any donation of $100, the individual’s name will appear on the race truck or car. For any donation of $500 or more, the individual will receive a signed die cast #1 Chevrolet Silverado along with the individual’s name on the race vehicles.

“I’m really excited to have Mr. Friedman onboard with us,” Robert Richardson said. “Kinky has some campaign issues that are vital to the 18 to 25 year-old voter as well as changes he would like to make for every generation. Texas is my home track and we’ve had a lot of success there. I hope to have a good performance in both races and hopefully get people out and ‘race to vote’ for Kinky Friedman as Governor of Texas on November 7th.”

Richardson is no stranger to the Texas Motor Speedway where he has had four starts, one win and two top-five finishes on the 1.5-mile race track in Forth Worth, Texas. Richardson will be making only his second attempt to start a race in the NASCAR Busch Series and his 21st start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.For more information on R3 Racing and Kinky Friedman for Texas Governor visit http://www.robertrichardson.net/ and http://www.kinkyfriedman.com/.

Grapevine Election Crucial To Tarrant Commuter Rail

For Tarrant County, the November 7th election will determine more than just who will be elected to fill political offices. The election will also determine whether Tarrant County will get the proposed Cotton Belt Commuter Rail Line. This rail line is supposed to run from downtown Fort Worth to just north of the DFW Airport.

Grapevine has a proposal to raise its sales tax by 1/2 cent for economic development and another 1/2 cent for crime control and prevention. The crime control and prevention tax would be used to fund police operations. It is the economic development tax that is crucial to the building of the rail line.

If approved, 3/8 of a cent of the new tax would go toward funding Grapevine's portion of the commuter rail line. The other 1/8 of a cent would be used to build and maintain transit-related items, like a train station and a parking garage.

County officials say this election is crucial to determine if they rail line will be constructed. Dick Ruddell, executive director of the T [Fort Worth Transportation Authority], said, "If they don't pass it, it doesn't go. We can't get to the airport without Grapevine. The election is huge."

If the 1/2 cent tax is approved, the commuter rail line will probably open for passenger service in 2011.

New Video Shows Castro Improving

It looks like the rumors of Fidel Castro's death were just wishful thinking by his enemies. The AP is reporting that Castro appeared on Cuban television Saturday, dressed in a red, white and blue track suit, and reading the current edition of Granma [a Cuban newspaper].

The Associated Press said Castro was "looking thin and tired but walking around and ridiculing recent rumors of his death." Chiding those who had said he was dead, Castro said, "They've declared me moribund prematurely. But it pleases me to send my compatriots and friends this small video. I am coming along just as planned...I feel whole. I'm not the least bit afraid of what will occur."

Castro went on to say that he helps those currently running the government as much as possible. He said, "I participate in the most important decisions with my comrades from the leadership of the Party and the government. I do everything possible to support my comrades, and to be useful."

Government officials say they believe Castro will return in December, when a belated birthday celebration is planned for him.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Early Voting Still Ahead Of 2002

Well, we have completed five days of early voting for this election, and the numbers are still looking good for those who want a larger than normal turnout. Here is what it looks like right now [detailed figures and graphs available at Texas Gone Kinky]. The number in parentheses is the number of days reported. This year's numbers are compared to numbers from 2002.

BEXAR COUNTY [5]
up 62.8%

HARRIS COUNTY [5]
up 15.6%

TRAVIS COUNTY [5]
up 14.2%

TARRANT COUNTY [5]
up 15.6%

DALLAS COUNTY [4]
up 15.8%

COLLIN COUNTY [4]
up 34.1%

NUECES COUNTY [4]
up 42.0%

DENTON COUNTY [4]
up 26.9%

WILLIAMSON COUNTY [4]
up 63.0%

MONTGOMERY COUNTY [4]
up 49.4%

GALVESTON COUNTY [4]
up 52.7%

FORT BEND COUNTY [4]
up 75.1%

Halliburton Tries To Hide Public Info About Iraq

By DAVID IVANOVICHCopyright 2006 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Giant military contractor Halliburton Co. has hampered oversight of its work in Iraq by abusing rules designed to protect sensitive, proprietary information, a government inspector general said.

KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, provides logistical support for operations in the Green Zone in Iraq.

In examining KBR's performance, Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, blasted the Houston firm for using a regulation designed to ensure contractors don't learn the business secrets of their competitors, to keep much of its work for the government under wraps.

"In effect, KBR has turned (federal) provisions designed to protect truly proprietary information ... into a mechanism to prevent the government from releasing normally transparent information, thus potentially hindering competition and oversight," Bowen wrote in a report released Friday.

KBR would claim, for instance, that the daily head count at dining facilities or the amount of fuel issued to foreign embassies was proprietary, and should not be disclosed, the report said.

And those claims about proprietary information, Bowen said, have kept the government from releasing information that should have been made available to the public.

"KBR is not protecting its own data but is in many instances inappropriately restricting the government's use of information that KBR is required to gather," the report said.

- - - - - - - - - -

I guess we shouldn't expect a leopard to change its spots. Halliburton has used its ties with Cheney and Bush to steal millions from Americans. The fact that they would try to hide their actions should not come as any surprise.

If no one is allowed to know how many meals were served, for instance, then no one would know if Americans were billed for many more meals than were actually served. The same goes for other KBR [Halliburton] activities in Iraq.

The Iraq War has been a souce of windfall profits for Halliburton. While Iraq disintegrates and our soldiers die, Halliburton profits just keep climbing.

Just another reason to vote against the Republicans on Novenber 7th.

Smokey Joe Barton Blocking Breast Cancer Bill

Once again, Rep. "Smokey" Joe Barton is blocking a bill that has overwhelming support in the House of Representatives, so he can protect his polluting corporate donors. This time, it's a bill that would dedicate millions of dollars to research the causes of breast cancer.

Last week we learned that Barton is blocking a bill to provide money to research the causes of autism. Both the autism bill and the breast cancer bill have enough co-sponsors in the House of Representatives to assure easy passage if they get to the House floor. But before the bills can reach the House floor, they must be voted out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Barton is the chairman of this committee and is blocking both bills.

Why would he do this? Both of these bills provide for money to research possible causes of the two conditions, including possible enviornmental causes. This scares the hell out of Barton's rich polluter buddies, who are afraid the research will find their pollution is a root cause of one or both of the conditions. So Barton steps up to protect them, just as he has done so many times in the past.

Elizabeth Emken, a board member of Cure Autism Now, said of Barton, "Why would he do this? Why would he throw his body in front of this train? Autism is a national emergency and needs immediate attention."

Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, was even more critical. She said, "Here's a group that did everything right, had an overwhelming majority of support in the Senate and the House. All the research and analysis gets shut out by Joe Barton. It's absolutely infuriating. What a horrible civics lesson to give to the public."

Fortunately, Barton does have a viable opponent in the November 7th election - Democrat David Harris. Mr. Harris said, "It just doesn't sit well with me, [that] you don't want enviornmental considerations in the bill because people that support your campaign are major polluters of the enviornment." Harris also said that Barton is "trying to push more coal power plants into the district, create more pollution and more mercury. It's just one big vicious circle."

It is time to show Joe Barton that he cannot throw sick Americans under the bus, just to protect his polluting donors. It's bad enough that Barton is responsible for the failure to control pollution, but to deny funding for medical research is way over the line. Obviously, his campaign donations are more important to him than the people he represents. Vote for David Harris, and send Barton home so he can breath the polluted air he helped to create.

Van Os Blasts Abbott's Death Penalty Pandering

It looks like Greg Abbott may be scared that his right-wing base will stay at home on election day, due to the many Republican blunders and criminal acts. Now, in an effort to pander to that base, Abbott has declared that he is in favor of the death penalty for sexual predators. Don't get me wrong - I am in favor of harsh punishment for this type of crime. But the death penalty shouldn't be on the table unless a life was lost.

Fortunately, Abbott has an opponent that believes in applying the law in a fair and common sense way, instead of pandering to fringe voters. David Van Os, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General, gave us his own views on this matter yesterday. This is what he had to say:


While I support stiff penalties for sex predators, I am opposed to the death penalty as punishment for a crime that did not result in a death. In my opinion the death penalty in such circumstances would be out of proportion to the crime. Applying the death penalty to cases where there has not been a homicide undercuts the seriousness of capital punishment. Also, reserving the death penalty for homicides saves some crime victims' lives. Making non-homicide crimes subject to the death penalty will result in some criminals killing the victim where they might not have done so, since they've already committed a capital crime and have nothing to lose by committing murder.

This makes me the exact opposite of Greg Abbott, who favors the death penalty for sex predators. Abbott's position on this issue is typical of his grandstanding. It is also typical of the way he deals with families. In his administration of child support, for example, he does not care about the families who are involved in anguishing situations. He only cares about getting his statistics to use as political bragging points. In many sex predator cases the offender is a family member who needs treatment and cure. To apply the death penalty in many such cases would only bring more anguish to an already distressed family. Families need help, not death needles.

~David Van Os

Friday, October 27, 2006

Another Endorsement For Kinky

Kinky has picked up another newspaper endorsement. The Amarillo Independent has endorsed Kinky. Their editorial is reprinted below:


• For governor, which presented the editorial board the toughest decision reaching consensus, we reluctantly back Richard “Kinky” Friedman.

Let’s first dispose of those who don’t deserve to sit in the governor’s mansion. The Libertarian candidate for governor is a nonentity.

Gov. Rick Perry has shown himself lacking vision and leadership, selling children down the river with cuts to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, not intervening in Tom DeLay’s gerrymandering of congressional districts and continuing to foist the falsehoods on the public that there has been property tax reform and that teachers are getting a big raise.

Meanwhile, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, flying the false independent flag, is not much better. Strayhorn has switched major party labels, revealing her to be an ambitious political chameleon whose advertising tells us nothing we can trust. Unfortunately, we are sometimes judged by the company we keep and Strayhorn’s sons, Mark McClellan and Scott Mc- Clellan, have been part of the corrupt Bush administration.

That leads us to the difficult choice between Democratic Party nominee Chris Bell and Friedman. Bell has electoral experience, serving as a representative from Houston in the U.S. House. His seat was gerrymandered out of existence, an unfortunate event and a loss for the Houston area. We like Bell and we like some of his stances. But Bell’s Web site is obtuse and connecting up with the candidate to get a real bead on him, even for a friendly media outlet, is difficult. It’s also too bad that this candidate lacks charisma, something needed for the bully pulpit, because Texas governors don’t have much else to offer in the way of power.

That leads us to our endorsement of Friedman. Is Friedman’s candidacy a joke with his repetitive stump speeches and oneliners? Maybe, but Friedman seems serious about this campaign and, frankly, reflects what we believe Texas needs. His positions on the issues make sense to us, making him more libertarian than anything else and we believe that is a good thing. He is flamboyant, will attract media attention, and if he plays his cards right in Austin, will be able to use the bully pulpit. Friedman has a greater chance of shaking things up than Strayhorn, that one not-so-tough grandma.

Are You Too Obsessed With Religion ?

I was reading James Randi's site SWIFT, and was amused by the top-ten list below. Randi got it from a website called This is True. This is a humorous entry, but as usual the humor is built on truth.


Top Ten Reasons Why You May Be Too Obsessed With Religion


#10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

#9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that humans were created from dirt.

#8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

#7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the male first-born babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" – including women, children, and trees.

#6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods consorting with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

#5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (4.55 billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is about a couple of generations old.

#4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering, and yet you consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

#3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor “speaking in tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" your choice of religions to be the correct one.

#2 – You define .01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers, and consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% failure was simply the will of God.

#1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but you still call yourself a Christian.

Van Os Says No Border Wall Is Needed

In his latest press release, David Van Os, candidate for Texas Attorney General, talks some common sense about illegal immigration and border issues. He knows that building a fence will not solve the problem. It will just do economic and enviornmental damage to Texas. The only way to slow down illegal immigration is to go after the employers, who import and/or hire illegal workers so they can get away with paying substandard wages.

The Van Os statement has been reprinted below for your perusal.


"The Bush administration prosecuted less than ten (10) employers nationwide last year for violating laws in the employment of undocumented immigrants. As a loyal Bush Republican, Greg Abbott does absolutely nothing about corporate employers who violate these laws.

"Employers who pay substandard wages to attract undocumented immigrant workers harm everybody. (1) Those employers foster disrespect for the rule of law, (2) they undercut the wages and living standards of American workers, (3) they create unfair competition for law-abiding employers and workers, (4) they exploit the economic desperation of the undocumented immigrants, and (5) they place increasingly massive burdens on communities that are struggling to provide services.

"The Texas Attorney General can do something about it. Twenty years ago Attorney General Jim Mattox aggressively enforced our laws and assessed severe penalties against employers who broke labor laws to attract and exploit undocumented workers.

"But as a loyal Bush-Rove Republican, Greg Abbott does absolutely nothing about corporate employers who violate the law in the hiring and employment standards of undocumented immigrants.

"My loyalty is to the laws of Texas, not to political bosses.

"We don't need expensive walls that'll make us feel like we're outside a Berlin Wall. We need to enforce the laws we have.

"Corporate employers who violate our laws in the employment of undocumented immigrants need to know this: I'm going to throw the book at them."

Early Voting Still Showing Increases

First, I want to apologize for screwing up the numbers yesterday. The Harris County numbers had been flipped, showing a decrease instead of an increase. I also screwed up by adding cumulative totals together. I will try to do better. Here is how the increase in early voting is shaping up so far:

BEXAR COUNTY
up 60.9%

TRAVIS COUNTY
up 22.6%

HARRIS COUNTY
up 91.6%

DALLAS COUNTY
up 15.8%

TARRANT COUNTY
up 18.3%

It looks like voters in south Texas are turning out for early voting in larger numbers than voters in north Texas. Some say the rising early vote turnout is just the result of more voters becoming familiar with early voting, and doesn't represent a real rise in the total number of voters. Maybe they are right, but I think the total turnout will be higher for this election. I believe that Bush has negatively energized Democrats and Independents, and they will turn out in large numbers to show him how displeased they are.

For the actual figures, along with graphs, go to Texas Gone Kinky.

Kinky Campaigns In Fort Worth

Kinky Friedman brought his campaign for governor of Texas to Fort Worth yesterday. A little after noon, Kinky met with supporters at the Tarrant County Elections Center on Premier Street. Kinky talked with supporters and the media about the arrogant way Perry and Bell have been trying to make this a two-way race by ignoring the other candidates.

Kinky said, "You talk about sending a message to America, this is going to be a great one. We are tired of the corruption and the arrogance of the two-party system. They think those votes belong to them, and they don't."

Kinky also said he would win the governor's race with young and new voters. He pointed to the sharp rise in the number of early voters as proof that his strategy may be working.

Today, Kinky will meet with supporters outside Dallas City Hall at 9:00am, then he will be off to Amarillo to meet with voters at the Potter County courthouse about 1:00pm. At 5;15pm, Kinky will be at the Lubbock County Elections Office. After the polls close, Kinky will attend a campaign rally and music festival at the Canyon Amphitheater at the Lone Star Events Center.



INFORMATION ALERT -- For those of you who don't wish to vote on the paperless electronic voting machines [and all early voters must use these machines], election officials have assured me that on November 7th all local precincts will have the machine-countable paper ballots that Tarrant County has been using for years. So, if you're like me, and don't trust the electronic machines or the Republicans in charge, then you'll have to wait for November 7th to vote.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Gary Page Is The Best Choice For Distict 24

I haven't talked enough about the race for U.S. Congress in District 24. This district is currently represented by Bush flunky, Kenneth Marchant. Marchant has supported all of Georgie's ridiculous actions, including the invasion of Iraq, and the attempted destruction of social security. It is time to vote this fool out of office.

Fortunately, the voters of District 24 do have a choice this year. Bush's lackey is being opposed this year by Gary Page. Gary understands that a congressman needs to represent all of his constituents, and not just the right-wing whackos. It won't be easy to beat Marchant in this very republican district. But with the public's dissatisfaction with Republican leadership, and Marchant's complete inability to oppose Bush on anything, perhaps there is a chance this year, especially with voter turnout looking like it will be up this year.

Drop by Gary's web site and check him out. I think you'll see that we finally have an alternative in District 24 we can proudly vote for. Reprinted below is a message from Gary Page to the voters of District 24:


Hello, my name is Gary Page and I'm running for Congress in District 24.

I was born in San Antonio Texas into an Air Force family. I grew up around military bases in San Antonio, Taiwan, Germany and Maryland until my father retired in Central Texas. I went to the University of Texas on a Navy scholarship.

It is my intention that I will represent all of the people of District 24 regardless race, faith or party. I believe government should not just represent a majority rule or an established ideology. The Republican party has an agenda and selects candidates supporting that agenda, which implies that citizens are only represented if they subscribe to the ideology or party agenda. I run as a Democrat because I support the principles and values of the Democratic Party.

If elected, I would be obligated to represent and provide access to all of my constituents. My job as Congressman would be to faithfully represent my district in accordance with the Constitution and protect individual rights and privacy. Once in office, I need to accept the reality that I am an American first and a Democrat second.

This needed to be said as I am sick and tired of partisanship replacing patriotism. The needs of the country and the people should always outweigh political posturing and pandering.

96 U.S. Soldiers Killed In October In Iraq

The month of October has turned out to be the deadliest month in nearly two years for U.S. soldiers. As of this date, 96 soldiers have been killed in Iraq this month. To find a worse month, you'd have to go back to January of 2005, when 107 U.S. soldiers were killed. But there's still several days left in October, and the death toll will probably rise. The month with the highest death toll was November of 2004, when 137 soldiers were killed.

But American deaths pale in comparison to Iraqi deaths. This month has seen an average of 41 Iraqis killed each day. Iraq had been averaging 27 deaths each day, although the U.N. said this number is far too low. The U.N. believes that at least 100 Iraqis die each day in this war.

This begs the question - exactly what are we accomplishing with our continued occupation of Iraq? If we're there to protect our puppet government, then our mission is useless. The present Iraqi government will fall the minute we leave. This is not the government Iraqis would choose for themselves - it's just the government we allow them to have.

If we're there to prevent sectarian violence and needless Iraqi deaths, then we are failing in our mission. In the current situation, we cannot even protect our own soldiers, let alone any Iraqi citizens.

There were no weapons of mass destruction, Saddam has been deposed, and we cannot protect the Iraqis from themselves. There is no legitimate reason for our soldiers to still be in Iraq. We need to stop making excuses and BRING THEM HOME!!!

Early Voting Numbers Still Up In Urban Countys

Texas Gone Kinky is still tracking the early voting numbers in the five most populated Texas counties, and they are still looking pretty good. All of the counties are showing an increase in voters, except for Harris County, which shows a slight decrease. Here are the cumulative totals for the first three days of early voting:

BEXAR COUNTY
last election..........27,206
this election..........51,267
+88.4%

TRAVIS COUNTY
last election..........25,158
this election..........32,035
+27.3%

TARRANT COUNTY
last election..........39,406
this election..........45,641
+15.8%

DALLAS COUNTY
last election..........50,324
this election..........55,200
+9.7%

HARRIS COUNTY
last election..........42,207
this election..........41,205
-2.3%

Kinky needs the voter turnout for this election to be much larger than normal, and a large turnout usually bodes well for the Democrats also. Does anyone out there know how the vote is going in some of the smaller counties? Is the vote also up in those counties? If you know, I would appreciate the information.

TXU Unhappy About Logo On Protest Float

Downwinders at Risk, an activist enviornmental group, has built a parade float that features Governor Rick Perry planting a kiss on a smokestack. The float was built to show opposition to Perry fast-tracking the building of 11 new coal-powered power plants in Texas. The enviornmental group believes the new plants would add more pollution to our already polluted air.

But TXU doesn't like the float one little bit. That's because the smokestack on the float carries the logo of three energy companies. The TXU logo is one of the three. TXU sent the group a letter demanding that they take the logo off the float, and threatened legal action if they didn't.

Yesterday, Paul Levy of Public Citizen, and the group, Downwinders at Risk, both sent letters to TXU replying to their demand. Both letters denied that the use of the logo constitutes trademark infringement. Levy said, "Apart from the other silly claims in your letter, your apparent assumption that members of the public need corporate permission before they may use trademarks to depict companies that they want to criticize is simply false."

Experts in intellectual-property issues agreed with the protesters. John Allison, a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, said, "They're making fun of these companies. That's not trademark infringement. It's pure political speech, and that's about as constitutionally protected as you can get."

It looks like the logo will stay on the float, even though TXU is upset. Yesterday, the float followed the Perry campaign bus as it went around north Texas. These enviornmentalists have been joined recently in opposition to the new plants by several mayors, including the mayors of Dallas and Houston. Opposition to the plants is growing, because TXU has opted not to use the cleanest technology available. Their new plants would pour tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air. If Perry is not re-elected, it could be a serious blow to the building of the new power plants. All of his opponents are against the building of the plants without cleaner technology.

The other two companies whose logos are on the float, Texas Industries and Ash Grove Cement, have not complained.

Bloggers Get Some Recognition

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an excellent article this morning on how bloggers are becoming effective at raising money for political candidates. The article says that bloggers have raised over $2 million dollars for campaigns nationwide. Here in Texas, liberal bloggers have raised over $125,000 for state and local candidates.

This is just a drop in the bucket when compared to all donations, but it does show a growing trend in American politics toward more online contributions. Political experts expect this trend to continue, with blogs becoming more important fund-raisers with each succeeding election.

The article also featured a couple of local Texas bloggers. Our friends, Anna of Annatopia and Vince of Capitol Annex were interviewed for the article, and Anna even got her picture in the paper. Way to go, guys!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kinky Winning "Ice Cream Straw" Poll

There have been all kinds of polls in this election year - some were purported to be scientific and some weren't. But I doubt if any of them did it like Beth Marie's Old-Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Fountain on the Square. This Denton business is conducting a real "straw" poll.

As Beth Marie's customers wait for their order, they are invited to pick their own straw from one of four different boxes. Each box is decorated and marked for a different candidate for governor. On Monday, Beth Marie counts the straws missing from each box, and posts the totals for each candidate.

Kinky is doing well in the "straw" poll. This is how it stands as of last Monday:

Kinky..........169
Bell..........119
Grandma..........109
Perry..........107

The business also conducted the same type of "straw" poll for the 2004 presidential election, and it showed George Bush to be the winner.


In other election-related news, two more college newspapers have endorsed Kinky Friedman for governor. A couple of days ago, the University of Texas' Daily Texan endorsed Kinky. This time it's two north Texas universities. The University of North Texas' North Texas Daily and Southern Methodist University's Daily Campus have both endorsed Kinky. This is encouraging, because Kinky can't win without a substantial portion of the youth vote.

Skinhead Movement Is Larger & More Violent

Some of you may have noticed that on our blogroll is a listing titled SPL Center. This is the Southern Poverty Law Center, and they probably do more than any non-governmental organization to oppose the violent racist groups in this country.

The latest Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report has some bad news for decent and law-abiding Americans. According to the report, the number of racist skinhead groups has more than tripled in the last four years. In 2002, there were 18 skinhead groups in this country. Today, there are at least 59 skinhead groups.

Mark Potok, director of the Center's Intelligence Project, says, "In the last couple of years, we have seen a significant increase not only in the number of active skinhead groups, but also in the level of violence they are producing. The movement was once dominated by a single powerful organization, the Hammerskin Nation, that tended to keep the lid on violence. Now, we're seeing a large number of smaller organizations vying for power and prominence, and that raises the potential for even more criminal activity."

This is a personal issue with me. I was shot last year by a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, who thought he needed my car more than I did. While this was not a racial incident, it does point to the fact that no one is safe from these violent criminals. If they want something of yours, or if they don't like the way you look, they will maim or kill you in a heartbeat.

Maybe it's time for the FBI to stop eavesdropping on our phone calls, and pay a little attention to these violent and growing groups. This is no "orange alert" terrorist hoax. These groups are real, and they are a constant and looming threat to the security of our country and the safety of our citizens.

First Day Voting Figures Are Up

Kinky Friedman, candidate for governor of Texas, has said all along that there must be a larger turnout than the last election, if he is to have a chance of winning. It looks like that larger turnout may be happening. At least the first day's numbers look good. Over at the blog Texas Gone Kinky, the first day numbers are listed for the five largest counties in Texas.

Here is what the numbers look like when compared to the last election:

HARRIS COUNTY
this election.....8545
last election.....5322
up 60.5%

TRAVIS COUNTY
this election.....5009
last election.....4626
up 8.3%

DALLAS COUNTY
this election.....9129
last election.....8172
up 11.7%

TARRANT COUNTY
this election.....7497
last election.....6266
up 19.6%

BEXAR COUNTY
this election.....8195
last election.....5171
up 58.5%

Of course, we'll have to wait until the night of November 7th to know just who these voters are rushing to the polls to vote for, but at least the numbers so far are encouraging.

'Frank From Atlanta' Says Kinky Is Not Racist

During the one debate in the governor's race, Kinky Friedman was asked about the diversity of his campaign staff. Kinky replied that the highest ranking Black in his campaign was "Frank from Atlanta". Well, Frank is now in Texas and is talking to the media.

Frank Mason, a 62 year old construction worker who lives in Athens, Georgia, says he met Kinky when he performed at the Lone Star Cafe in New York City about 25-30 years ago, and they have been friends ever since then. Frank is originally from New York.

What does Mason think about the charges that Kinky is racist? He says, "I've known the man for 25, 30 years, and he has never shown any signs of bigotry. It's not true at all. It's so sad. This man has a heart of gold. It's a bunch of crap. People are sick and tired of the negative politics." Mason spent the day defending Kinky to the media and making get-out-the-vote phone calls for Kinky's campaign.

Of course, this won't stop the smears from the Bell campaign. Senator Royce West, a Bell supporter, has already started running attack ads in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, claiming Kinky is a racist. This is very disappointing, because I used to respect Senator West. I now see that he's just another politician all too willing to sling mud. Rep. Garnet Coleman, another Bell supporter, is doing the same in the Houston area.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Message From David Van Os

The following is a message from David Van Os to the voters of the great state of Texas. Please consider voting for David on November 7th.


Dear Friends, Supporters, and Visitors,

I pledged to meet the public at every one of the 254 county courthouses in Texas, and I have met my pledge. The 254th whistlestop was last Friday, October 20, at the Travis County courthouse in Austin. From April to October touring Texas occupied most of the time and energy of my wife Rachel and myself.

Seeing and meeting the good people of Texas in every county, together with absorbing the natural grandeur of our beautiful Texas, was one of the greatest experiences of our lives for both Rachel and myself.

Even more importantly, having learned about the concerns of Texans in every part of the state will make me a much better attorney general and public servant.

For example, I now understand much more than I did before about the unfairness of unfounded mandates that state government in Austin imposes upon our rural county governments whose budgets are already stretched to the breaking point. Another example is that I understand more about the struggles that Texas farmers and ranchers face in working hard every day in the face of the price-gouging exercised by monopoly and near-monopoly robber barons in the utility, insurance, and energy industries, because I've learned about it first hand. Now I understand more about a child support enforcement system that treats people as statistics for press releases instead of as human beings with problems. And I understand a lot more now about the actual real-life effects that greedy corporate robber barons like Big Oil and Big Insurance have on people's daily lives. The list could go on and on.

To sum it up, as a result of my journey through Texas I now understand more than ever about why the Framers of the Texas Constitution bestowed upon the people of Texas an Attorney General to be the people's lawyer and champion; and I'm more determined than ever to be that champion for the people.
Greg Abbott is now using his millions of dollars of corporate special interest money to blitz the airwaves with his slick package of lies and hypocrisy. To top it off, he is shamefully using children as stage props for his own glory and ambition. In all the talk about protecting children, you don't hear a word about the real job of the Attorney General, which is to protect our children from growing up into a brave new world where they stand to live their whole lives as indentured servants to the banks, the finance companies, and their own government, thanks to the corporate and governmental war on the middle class. Greg Abbott is a general in that war, leading the charge on behalf of the corporate and political elite to deprive our children of the opportunity to live as free and independent citizens in a Constitutional democracy that protects their rights and liberties.

My fellow Texans, you have the right and the power to fight back. Our forebears in 1776 and 1836 had to charge imperial cannon fire to win our freedom and our liberties. We have it so much simpler. We don't have to charge cannon fire and massed imperial regiments. All we have to do is vote. We don't have to sacrifice at all. The real sacrifice will be if we don't fight back, because then we will be sacrificing the Constitutional birthrights of our children.

Don't let anything stand in your way. Fight 'em til hell freezes over; then fight 'em on the ice.

Respectfully,
David Van Os

Supporting Hank Gilbert

As the election draws nearer, I wanted to remind voters of the race for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. This race pits Democrat Hank Gilbert against Republican Todd Staples. There is a clear difference between the candidates in this contest. Staples is the darling of the corporate robber barons. They have given him millions, and therefore his allegiance is to the corporations, and not to the people of Texas. He is just using this office as a springboard for his higher political aspirations.

On the other hand, Hank Gilbert has been involved with agriculture all his life. Hank is not interested in a political career, but in seeing that the Agriculture Department is operated for the benefit of the citizens of Texas. Hank has experience as a rancher, a businessman, and a teacher. He understands agriculture from both the producer's viewpoint and the consumer's viewpoint.

Many urbanites don't pay much attention to the race for Agriculture Commissioner in the belief that the Ag Commissioner really doesn't have much to do with their lives. They are wrong. As Hank says, "If you eat, if you use gas in your car, if you wear clothes, literally if you breathe the air or drink the water in Texas, you should care about the election for Agriculture Commissioner.

No matter who your choice for governor is, I ask you to consider voting for Hank Gilbert for Agriculture Commissioner. Below, I have reprinted a short message from Hank to the voters of Texas:


My name is Hank Gilbert and I'm running for Texas Agriculture Commissioner -- it's the only job I want.
As a life-long agriculture teacher and operator of a family agribusiness, I understand the issues and the needs of this vital Texas industry. For far too long this office has been ignored and used only as a ladder for those with higher political aspirations.
The people of Texas have paid the price.
We are paying for gas that never makes it to our cars because gas pumps in the state have not been checked for accuracy in years. We are paying for vegetables and meats that never make it to our tables because the scales in grocery stores have likewise been neglected.
These are only a few responsibilities of the Commissioner of Agriculture—but they affect all Texans on a daily basis.
There are many, many more complex and important issues—natural resource conservation, food safety, monitoring and inspection of NAFTA border commerce, bio-terrorism and environmental protection—all involving the Texas Department of Agriculture and all important to each and every Texan.
My name is Hank Gilbert and Agriculture Commissioner is the only job I want. I am asking for your vote.

Cowboys' Play Is Embarassing Against Giants

The Dallas Cowboys blew a golden opportunity Monday night. They went into last night tied with the New York Giants at 3-2, and the game's winner would be alone in first place in the East Division of the NFL. But it was not to be for the Cowboys. They lost to the Giants 36-22, and dropped their record for the year to 3-3.

This loss was a team effort. Neither the offense nor the defense played well. The offense could not run or pass, and the Giants rush got to the quarterback far too often. In fact, the offense played so poorly that Coach Parcells replaced starting quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, with his back-up, Tony Romo, for the second half. It didn't help. Romo played just as poorly, and had three passes intercepted. But this was not just the quarterbacks playing poorly. The offensive line couldn't seem to block anyone for the run or the pass. Runners were stopped for no gain too often, and the receivers could not seem to get open most of the time. Even T.O. dropped two passes that definitely should have been caught.

Speaking of T.O., when are we going to get to see the "great receiver" that he's supposed to be. So far, T.O. has been just an average receiver for the Cowboys. We've seen the injuries and the complaining, but very little of the "greatness".

I don't want to let the defense off the hook either. They played very poorly. They went into the game as the league leader against the run, but Tiki Barber just ran the ball down their throats, and became the first runner this year to run for 100 yards against the Cowboys. The pass rush was anemic again, giving the Giants enough time to make multiple big plays. This certainly did not look like the awesome defense they were supposed to be.

At the beginning of the season, I thought the Cowboys had a very good team. Last night has me rethinking that. So far this season, they have been a very average football team. Unless they get a lot better quickly, there will be no playoffs for this year.

It doesn't get any easier next week. On Sunday night, the Cowboys will go to Carolina to play the Panthers. Carolina is a very good team, and if the Cowboys play like they did last night, they will be embarassed again.

Kinky Favors Political Reform

I have talked about several of Kinky's stands on different issues, but today we examine probably the most important issue - political reform. Kinky has four proposals in his political reform agenda, that he hopes would take Texas out of the hands of the corporations and give it back to the citizens. As Kinky has said, "Politics is the only field where the more experience you have, the worse you get. It's time to clean house."

Kinky's first proposal is to institute a program of Initiative & Referendum. If the state government will not address issues important to ordinary citizens, this would allow the citizens to initiate a vote on issues. Several states already have this and it seems to be working well. Kinky believes, "Real political reforms occur when citizens are able to place their own initiatives on the ballot."

The second plank of Kinky's reform agenda would be to institute Same Day Voter Registration. This would allow a person to register and then to vote on the same day. Experience in other states has shown that this increases voter participation from 5% to 25%. With all our modern technology, there is no reason to have to register a month or more before an election in order to vote. Kinky believes we should be making it easier for Texans to vote - not harder.

The third plank of Kinky's reform agenda may be the most important. Kinky would like to introduce Publically Funded Campaigns. In today's campaigns, a politician is bought and paid for by the corporations before he ever takes office. Modern campaigns cost so much money that a candidate must either be rich, or he must sell out to monied interests. Publically funded campaigns would solve this. This would once again open public service to all citizens. Kinky would pay for this with surcharges and registration fees on lobbyists.

Kinky's last plank is Lobbying Reform. Kinky says we must, "Prohibit any Texas elected official or Texas state employee from becoming a lobbyist in Texas for two years from the time they leave or retire from the state." Under the current system, a public official can sell out the state and be rewarded immediately with a very lucrative lobbying job. Public service was never meant to be the key to becoming rich. We must stop these back-door payoffs.

--------------------

Kinky voted early yesterday at the Kerr County courthouse. When asked who he voted for, Kinky replied, "I voted for Kinky. I like where the guy stands on most of the issues."

The election is now upon us, and I urge all Kinky supporters to be sure you make it to the polls. If you can, vote early, but please vote! Kinky needs you, and so does Texas.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lyle Lovett To Perform At Benefit For Kinky


Another musician has come out to try and help Kinky Friedman in his bid to be elected governor of Texas. Texas singer and songwriter, Lyle Lovett, will be performing at a benefit for Kinky on Wednesday, October 25th, from 7:00pm until 10:30pm. The event is hosted by Carolyn Farb at 1814 Larchmont Road in Houston. There is a limited amount of space, but reservations can be made by contacting Kay Wicall at 512-326-5465 or 512-947-9642, or you can contact her by computer at kay@kinkyfriedman.com. This one is kind of expensive though - a minimum donation of $1000 is expected.