Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Updated: Races to Watch in Bexar County

Now that Democrats have had a chance to recover from our massive hangovers..

1) Straight Ticket Voting.  Democrats lost this vote, but the margin was a lot smaller than 2010.
2) Gov. and Lt. Gov.  Leticia carried her home of Bexar County and was only 1 of 2 statewide Democratic candidates to carry Bexar County.
3) County Judge. Nelson Wolff easily (by 2014 standards) prevailed.
4) State Rep. 117 & U.S. Rep 23.  Until we see the precinct level results we won't know for sure, but I'm willing to bet that those precincts outside 1604 were not in favor of Cortez or Gallego. Kudos to Gallego for keeping the margin so close when compared to the 2010 result in CD 23.
5) District Attorney.  Nico carrying the day wasn't a good omen for other Democrats.  If anything it shows that 1) money does make a difference in elections and 2) people were probably tired of Susan Reed.
6) County Commissioner Pct 4. Calvert won by about the same margin as Adkisson did in 2010 and Democrats retain a 4-1 advantage on Commissioners Court.

When the results start to come in, there will be several races we'll be keeping our eye on.

In no particular order they are:

1) Straight Ticket Voting
     Why: In 2010, Democrats lost the straight ticket voting by about 12,000 votes.  Democrats won straight ticket voting in 2012, 2008, 2006, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996. 2004 was the other recent year where Democrats lost straight ticket voting.  Even in a national bad year like 2002, Democrats still did well locally.

2) Gov. and Lt. Gov
     Why: Bill White carried Bexar County in 2010 even as every other countywide Democrat with a Republican opponent lost.  If both Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte are winning Bexar County that seems to bode well for Democratic efforts to turn out voters.

3) County Judge
     Why: Nelson Wolff winning shows that there are Democrats with enough crossover appeal to avoid a national bad tide which should bode well for any Democrats who ran strong campaigns locally.

4) State Rep. 117 & U.S. Rep. 23
     Why: In 2010, the vote outside Loop 1604 turned against Democrats.  Both State Rep. 117 and U.S. Rep 23 have a lot of crossover in terms of precincts that run outside Loop 1604.  If I had to define a boundary, I'd say watch the vote north of Highway 90, outside Loop 1604, and west of IH-10.

5) District Attorney
     Why: Bottom line, if Nico is winning the D.A.'s race, there's a very good chance that Democrats are carrying the night in Bexar County.  This also holds true for Chief Justice of the 4th Court of Appeals; if Irene Rios is winning this race in Bexar County, it's a good night for Democrats locally.

6) County Commissioner Precinct 4
     Why: If Tommy Calvert holds this open seat for Democrats, it hopefully comes because of a good turnout among African-Americans on the eastside.  A good turnout of African-Americans is good for Democrats in general.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Update: Blood in the Water? Queen of Hearts D.A. is Upset

Update: According to a press release from the LaHood campaign, the ads that Reed tried to get yanked are now back on the air.

Word is that our own local Queen of Hearts, aka D.A. Susan Reed, is apoplectic that attorney Thomas J. Henry's donations to Democratic D.A. candidate Nico LaHood is up from nearly $700,000 to $1.2 million.

If anyone saw the the debate between LaHood and Her Majesty that was moderated by Rick Casey, one can't help but feel she was one step away from screaming, "Off With His Head!"

Now Reed has issued a royal proclamation that has resulted in a LaHood ad being pulled.

Henry pumping over a million dollars into the race. Reed getting an ad pulled. I think someone smells blood in the water.

For all of Reed's bellowing, one has to wonder: If someone or some thing, like a business, offered to pump a million dollars into the D.A.'s race on Reed's behalf, would she say no?  What donation is too large?  What if a donor gave her $50,000 each month for a year?  Would that $600,000 be acceptable because it wasn't all at one time?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What the Hell? Day 3 of Early Voting

I think it's safe to say the early vote numbers are just a little whacky this year.

With the data (in-person and mail) from 2 full days of voting, Bexar County turnout is up.  It's that in-person voting that is just confounding. Think about this:

1. Overall statewide turnout so far is up from 2010 (4.07% versus 3.79%; 365,347 versus 315,917)
2. In-person voting is down from 2010 (114,323 versus 121,395)
3. Mail ballots are up by a large amount from 2010 (137,402 versus 76,752)


For day 3 of in-person voting in Bexar, the Top 10 voting early voting sites in Bexar continue to be the usual suspects.

1. Brookhollow Library: 900
2. Cody Library: 623
3. Parman Library @ Stone Oak: 605
4. Great Northwest Library: 582
5. Semmes Library: 575
6. Wonderland of the Americas: 572
7. Shavano Park City Hall: 563
8. Tobin Library @ Oakwell: 561
9. Maury Maverick Library: 546
10. Lion's Field: 533

One site has surpassed the 2,000 mark, and will undoubtedly pass the 3,000 voter mark tomorrow:
Brookhollow Library: 2,749

17 sites have now surpassed 1,000 voters (in order of largest # of voters: Wonderland of the Americas, Semmes Library, Great Northwest Library, Maury Maverick Library, Parman Library @ Stone Oak, Cody Library, Lion's Field, Tobin Library @ Oakwell, Shavano Park City Hall, John Igo Library, Bexar County Justice Center, University City City Hall, McCreless Library, Encino Park Community Center, Windcrest Takas Park, Leon Valley Conference Center, and Northside Activity Center.

Checking in with our 4 higher education voting sites, another 514 votes were added today for a 3 day total of 1,423.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

After Day 2 of Early Voting

As previously suggested, the proof was in the mail ballots.

While in-person voting saw a drop off from 2010, the mail ballots saw a dramatic increase.  Think about these numbers...

For the top 15 counties:
2010 mail ballots after Day 1 of early voting: 61,104
2014 mail ballots after Day 1 of early voting: 127,035

Harris 2010: 24,273
Harris 2014: 41,520

Dallas 2010: 11,464
Dallas 2014: 16, 180

Tarrant 2010: 549
Tarrant 2014: 15,925

Bexar 2010: 4,899
Bexar 2014: 12,942

The unknown is who is driving this mail ballot turnout.  Wendy Davis is from Fort Worth/Tarrant, but is she driving this large number?

Getting back to Bexar, we can now say that we did see an increase in turnout from 2010.  Combined in-person and mail from 2010 was 19,571.  In 2014 that number is 26,378.  

For Day 2 in Bexar County it was steady as she goes.

The Top 10 voting sites were mostly the same:

1. Brookhollow Library: 944
2. Wonderland of the Americas: 656
3. Maury Maverick: 633
4. Semmes Library: 618
5. Great Northwest Library: 512
6. Tobin Library @ Oakwell: 578
7. Cody Library: 577
    Shavano Park City Hall: 577
9. Parman Library @ Stone Oak: 569
10. Lion's Field: 554

For the 4 college sites, there was an increase: 482

In total, we now have 12 early voting sites that have passed the 1,000 voters mark:

Brookhollow Library: 1,849
Wonderland of the Americas: 1,336
Semmes Library: 1,229
Maury Maverick Library: 1,200
Great Northwest Library: 1,200
Lion's Field: 1,165
Parman Library @ Stone Oak: 1,136
Tobin Library @ Oakwell: 1,131
Cody Library: 1,097
Shavano Park City Hall: 1,085
John Igo Library: 1,050
Bexar County Justice Center: 1,011

Overall the number of in-person voters was up from yesterday: 13,899.  What'll be interesting to see is the mail ballot numbers from today.  As of right now though, in-person voting is still down from 2010.

Monday, October 20, 2014

After 1 Day of Early Voting...

The first day of Early Voting has come and gone...

Unless the numbers are adjusted, in-person turnout in Bexar County is down from 2010.

On the first day of Early Voting in 2010 (Oct. 18), Bexar County saw 14,672 people vote.  This year 13,436 people went and voted on the first day.  We're down by 1,236 voters or 8.4% if I did the percentage correctly.  We don't yet have the mail ballot numbers, so maybe they saw an increase.  In terms of totals votes on the first day of Early Voting remember 19,571.  That's the total of in-person and mail ballots on the first day in Bexar County.  Unless the in-person numbers get adjusted, we'll need 6,136 mail in ballots to surpass 2010.

The top 10 Early Voting sites follow their usual pattern:

1. Brookhollow Library: 905
2. Wonderland of the Americas: 680
3. Semmes Library: 611
    Lion's Field: 611
5. Great Northwest Library: 588
6. Maury Maverick Library: 567
    Parman Library @ Stone Oak: 567
8. Tobin Library @ Oakwell: 553
9. Bexar County Justice Center: 549
10: Cody Library: 520

The Early Voting sites at the colleges (UTSA, Northwest Vista, Palo Alto, SAC) saw a total of 427 voters.

I would have been shocked if Brookhollow and Semmes weren't in the Top 5, let alone the Top 10.

Wendy Davis is going to UTSA tomorrow, so it'll be interesting to see if there is an uptick in their numbers. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our 2014 Ballot Choices for Bexar County

Voting starts tomorrow, so who will we be voting for?

U.S. Senate: David Alameel (D)
U.S. Rep, District 20: Joaquin Castro (D) (essentially unopposed)
U.S. Rep, District 21: Anyone But Lamar
U.S. Rep, District 23: Pete Gallego (D)
U.S. Rep, District 28: Henry Cuellar (D) (essentially unopposed)

Governor: Wendy Davis (D)
Lt. Gov: Leticia Van de Putte (D)
Attorney General: Sam Houston (D)
Comptroller: Mike Collier (D)
Land Commissioner: John Cook (D)
Agriculture Commissioner: Jim Hogan (D)
Railroad Commissioner: Steve Brown (D)
Chief Justice, Supreme Court: William Moody (D)
Supreme Court, Place 6: Lawrence Meyers (D)
Supreme Court, Place 7: Gina Benavides (D)
Supreme Court, Place 8: RS Roberto Koelsch (LIB)
Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3: John Granberg (D)
Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 4: Quanah Parker (LIB)
Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9: William Strange (LIB)
SBOE, District 3: Marisa Perez (D)
Senate District 25: Daniel Boone (D)
State Rep, District 116: Trey Martinez Fischer (D) (unopposed)
State Rep, District 117: Philip Cortez (D)
State Rep, District 118: Joe Farias (D) (unopposed)
State Rep, District 119: Roland Gutierrez (D) (unopposed)
State Rep, District 120: Ruth Jones McClendon (D) (essentially unopposed)
State Rep, District 121: Jeff Carruthers (LIB)
State Rep, District 122: James Holland (LIB)
State Rep, District 123: Mike Villarreal (D) (essentially unopposed)
State Rep, District 124: Jose Menendez (D) (unopposed)
State Rep, District 125: Justin Rodriguez (D) (essentially unopposed)

Chief Justice, 4th Court of Appeals: Irene Rios (D)
45th District Court: John Bustamante (D)
144th District Court: Paul Vasquez (D)
150th District Court: Edna Elizondo (D)
186th District Court: Mary Green (D)
187th District Court: Stephanie Boyd (D)
224th District Court: NO VOTE
225th District Court: Peter Sakai (D)
226th District Court: NO VOTE
227th District Court: Tony Jimenez (D)
285th District Court: Raymond Villareal (D)
288th District Court: NO VOTE
289th District Court: Carmen Kelsey (D)
290th District Court: Jennifer Pena (D)
436th District Court: Eddie Bravenec (D)
437th District Court: NO VOTE

District Attorney: Nico LaHood (D)
County Judge: Nelson Wolff (D)

County Court 1: Al Alonso (D)
County Court 2: Jeanette Burney Sullivan (D)
County Court 3: David Rodriguez (D)
County Court 4: Alfredo Ximenez (D)
County Court 5: Brenda Levenstein (D)
County Court 6: Rochelle Acevedo (D)
County Court 7: Michael De Leon (D)
County Court 8: Liza Rodriguez (D)
County Court 9: Carlos Quezada (D)
County Court 10: Tina Torres (D)
County Court 11: Carlo Key (D)
County Court 12: NO VOTE
County Court 13: Rosie Gonzalez (D)
County Court 14: Ernest Acevedo (D)
County Court 15: Michael LaHood (D)

Probate Court 1: Barbie Scharf-Zeldes (D)
Probate Court 2: NO VOTE
District Clerk: NO VOTE
County Clerk: Suzanne de Leon (D)

County Commissioner, Pct. 2: Paul Elizondo (D) (essentially unopposed)
County Commissioner, Pct. 4: Tommy Calvert (D)

JP, Pct. 1, Place 1: Bobby Tejeda (D) (unopposed)
JP, Pct. 1, Place 2: Ciro Rodriguez (D) (unopposed)
JP, Pct. 3, Place 1: NO VOTE
JP, Pct. 3, Place 2: Jason Pipoly (LIB)
JP, Pct. 4, Place 1: Roger Lopez (D) (unopposed)
JP, Pct. 4, Place 2: Yolanda Uresti (D) (unopposed)

For those NO VOTE races...

224th District Court: The Democratic nominee Lauro Bustamante is an embarrassment of a candidate and the poster child for bringing back smoke-filled rooms to nominate candidates. He was replaced as a candidate in 2008 and should be barred from ever running and winning elective office.  We will not vote for the Republican, so we're skipping this race.

226th District Court: By all accounts Sid Harle is a good Republican judge that a lot of Democrats like.  He was rumored to have been contemplating a primary challenge to D.A. Susan Reed.  Once again though, we're not voting for a Republican, so we're skipping this race.

288th District Court: While we were inclined to vote for the Democrat, new information about his student loan debt has caused us to withhold our vote.  Like Sid Harle, Sol Casseb seems to be a Republican that a lot of Democrats like. But once again though, we're not voting for a Republican, so we're skipping this race.

437th District Court: We're not voting for a Republican, so we're skipping this race.

County Court 12: We have been inclined to vote for the Democrat given his previous service to Bexar County, but after hearing from friends, we don't believe he has the judicial temperament needed.  We're not voting for a Republican, so we're skipping this race.

Probate Court 2: We didn't vote for Rickhoff when he was opposed by a Democrat.  He's unopposed, but we're not voting for a Republican, so we're skipping this race.

District Clerk: Once again we a Democratic candidate who is a poster child for bringing back smoke-filled rooms.  There was a far and away better choice in the primary.  We're not voting for a Republican, so we're skipping this race.

JP, Pct. 3, Place 1: We're not voting for a Republican, so we're skipping this race.

For those (LIB) races...

Supreme Court Place 8, Court of Criminal Appeals Place 4 & 9: We've already said we're not voting for a Republican.  If the Libertarians can achieve 5% of the vote in a statewide race, they automatically get to be on the ballot at the next election.  Libertarians seem to take more votes from Republicans, so we feel it's good to keep their place on the ballot.

District 121 & 122: Straus and Larson are going to win, but at least we register a protest vote.

JP, Pct 3, Place 2: Wentworth is going to win and unfortunately for Texas he's no longer in the Legislature.  Again he's a Republican who you can do business with when an election is over. But we'll go ahead and register a protest vote.

Other notes...

Agriculture Commissioner: Again, we have a poster child for smoke-filled rooms.  Hogan is an embarrassment of a candidate, but at the very least he's a protest vote and he helps Democrats get a good idea of their baseline vote with even terrible candidates.

Early Vote Tomorrow Update: Endorsements, Endorsements, Who Got an Endorsement

Update:  How conservative a paper are you when you endorse Dan Patrick? Really Lubbock? From reading that paper's endorsement of Sam Houston, all Ken Paxton would have had to do was show up and he would have been endorsed.  Hell he probably could have driven by, waved, and still gotten the endorsement.

Most people who work on campaigns would probably agree that the larger the race (i.e., president), the less likely an endorsement from a newspaper matters.  It probably has a larger impact on those down ballot races that 1) nobody pays attention to and 2) the candidates don't have enough money to get their name before the voters.  Having seen candidates win a newspaper endorsement and lose, versus those who don't get the endorsement and win, it's easy to dismiss newspaper endorsements as a meaningless folly.  Having said that, campaigns being the competitive things they are, every candidate wants all the support they can get.

So how have these meaningless endorsements gone so far?  We'll update this list as more endorsements come in.

Wendy Davis (D): Austin American-Statesman, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Cosmopolitan, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News
Greg Abbott (R): Beaumont Enterprise, Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Lt. Gov.
Leticia Van de Putte (D): Austin American-Statesman, Beaumont Enterprise, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dallas Morning News, El Paso Times, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News
Dan Patrick (R): Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Attorney General
Sam Houston (D): Austin American-Statesman, Beaumont Enterprise, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, San Antonio Express-News
Ken Paxton (R):

Mike Collier (D): Austin American-Statesman, Beaumont Enterprise, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News
Glenn Hegar (R): Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Land Commissioner
John Cook (D):
George Bush (R): Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, San Antonio Express-News

Ag Commissioner
Jim Hogan (D):
Sid Miller (R): Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
No Endorsement: San Antonio Express-News

Railroad Commissioner
Steve Brown (D): Corpus Christi Caller-Times, San Antonio Express-News
Ryan Sitton (R): Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

U.S. Senate
David Alameel (D):
John Cornyn (R): Beaumont Enterprise, Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News

Judicial Races Statewide:

Chief Justice, Supreme Court
William Moody (D):
Nathan Hecht (R): Beaumont Enterprise, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News

Supreme Court, Place 6
Lawrence Meyers (D):
Jeff Brown (R): Beaumont Enterprise, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News

Supreme Court, Place 7
Gina Benavides (D): Beaumont Enterprise, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News
Jeffrey Boyd (R): Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dallas Morning News

Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3
John Granberg (D):
Bert Richardson (R): Beaumont Enterprise, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News

Locally, who has the San Antonio Express-News chosen?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

If a Candidate Doesn't Show Up, is it still a Debate?

About a month ago the first debate in the Texas Governor's race was cancelled, but was eventually rescheduled.  This was after the debate was agreed to by both campaigns.

It seems to me that this particular election season has seen more than it's fair share of candidate scared to debate their opponents.  I see it coming more from the Republican side.  Maybe they're afraid to get fact checked on the air like Mitt Romney.  Hard to get away with a lie or two when you can't control the moderator.

In 2004, incumbent Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) failed to show up for a debate with his Democratic opponent, and the debate went on.

In Louisiana, the main Republican canidate, Bill Cassidy, skipped the first televised debate with incumbent Mary Landrieu (D-LA).  The debate went on.

This Friday in West Virginia there will be a U.S. Senate debate that the front runner, Republican Shelley Moore Capito, will be skipping.  The debate is scheduled to go on with the Democratic nominee, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, and several minor party candidates.

Kudos to the Kentucky, Louisiana, and West Virginia media.  I think more candidates would stop this last minute cancelling if they knew that the debate was going to happen whether they show up or not.

The station in Dallas should have just gone ahead with the debate even if Wendy Davis was the only participant.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Express-News Headline: Guilty for Life

Today the Express-News endorsed Susan Reed for District Attorney (surprise, surprise).

While the endorsement of Reed was a foregone conclusion, I take issue with this portion of the Express-News' endorsement:
LaHood’s arrest in 1994 for selling 200 Ecstasy pills to an undercover officer at a gentleman’s club is cause for major concern. The case resulted in deferred adjudication so there is no permanent conviction on his record, but it is not the type of incident that fits comfortably on the résumé of anyone seeking the top prosecutor’s job.

The involvement of Thomas J. Henry in the LaHood campaign is deeply disturbing. The plaintiff lawyer’s gargantuan contribution of nearly $700,000 to LaHood’s campaign effort is unheard of in a local race and raises serious questions about LaHood’s judgment.
The message is loud and clear.  On the first point, a person's mistakes are never forgiven and they are forever emblazoned with a scarlet letter.  Message to young people: don't screw up, you'll never get over it.  As we've said before, it would be a nice change at the D.A.'s office if there was someone in charge who saw the justice system from the perspective of not just a prosecutor, but also a defendant. 

To the second point, some how I bet if we delved into the Express-News' archives we'd find plenty of candidates they endorsed who received "gargantuan" contributions from a few contributors.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Susan Reed: I'm Good at Not Prosecuting Child Abuse Cases

In her interview with the Express-News Editorial Board, Bexar County DA Susan Reed stated, "Because I'm good at what I do."

If that's the case, then Susan Reed is good at not doing her job.

39% conviction rate on cases of indecency with a child and we're #2 in the state of Texas when it comes to incidents of child abuse and neglect.

Currently 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused for their 18, and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18.

If this is Susan Reed being good at what she does, I'd hate to think what this county would be if she were bad at it.

Susan Reed, Out of Ideas & Out of Time

Currently the Express-News has about 5 minutes of footage from each of the candidates running for Bexar County District Attorney when they appeared before the editorial board.

A big caveat of course is that the conversations were more than 5 minutes, so it's difficult to gleam too much from just 5 minutes...BUT, if these 5 minutes are any example of the larger conversations we can easily sum them up this way:

Susan Reed: Vote for me because I'm Susan Reed

Nico LaHood: Vote for me because I have a plan for a better justice system in Bexar County

In the two interviews:

Reed is initially asked to make the case for why she should be re-elected. She says, "Because I'm good at what I do."  Then she sorta rambles for a minute about improving mental health and some summit on gun violence.  Never really making a case.

Reed is then asked about her office's use of pre-trial diversions.  She states it only covers 17 - 21 year olds.  When asked why not adults, like those who slip up later in life, Reed says, "I think by 21 your character is pretty well built."  Again she seems to kinda ramble on bringing up deferred adjudication as a solution for the adults.

Reed is next asked about the Uresti case or cases.  For anyone not familiar, check out Brian Chasnoff's column from 2013 where it looks like Reed did some favors for Sen. Carlos Uresti (D) in not arresting or prosecuting some potential cases against his son.  She prefaces her statement with one of these classic politician lines of "What I remember..."  So now if something is wrong, she just didn't remember correctly.  For someone who seems to infer that she may not recall every detail of the case, she seems to remember it pretty well.

Reed is next asked about a backlog in the felony courts.  She deflects the question by saying she cleaned up the backlog in the misdemeanor courts.

Finally, Reed is asked if has anything to say about her opponent Nico LaHood.  I bet if she were hooked up to a blood pressure monitor, we would have seen it spike at this moment.  She talks about we a big city and she sits on all these important national boards.  She then questions putting someone in charge who dealt drugs.

LaHood starts out with a very good argument of Reed may be tough on crime, but is she effective on crime.  He brings up the statistics about the low conviction rate in regards to crimes committed against children.

LaHood is then asked about the criticism against him that he lacks the experience or proper background to be D.A.  LaHood then talks about his experience with various types of cases such as white collar crimes and felony cases.

LaHood is asked about pre-trial diversions.  LaHood agrees with pre-trial diversions, but believes Reed is ineffective at it.  The reason he cites in the interview is the age limitation.

LaHood is next asked about his personal views on the death penalty.  He believes in the responsible use of the death penalty and cites how the last 5 times Reed has tried and failed to get the death penalty in a case. 

LaHood is asked to address juvenile justice.  He talks about how he'd like to do in the adult system, what we do in the juvenile system in terms of getting involved on the front end.

LaHood is asked about Reed's single minded focus on LaHood's drug past.  LaHood points out that she doesn't want to talk about her record and speaks to an arrogance that Reed has.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Coming to an Election Near You: Corporate Suffrage

If there's any reason to ever pay attention to the goings-on in other countries this is a prime example.  There's a fight going on in New South Wales to give businesses in Sydney up to 2 votes in the local elections.  The whole thing is clearly aimed at the current Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore.  Moore was already successfully targeted by the current conservative state government a few years ago.  She was a state MP from 1988-2012.  In 2004 she became Lord Mayor of Sydney.  The conservative government successfully pushed through a bill that said a person couldn't be a member of the state parliament and a member of a local council. Now we have round 2.

What should worry those here is that now with all the publicity that this will likely make, we can probably expect some conservative, Tea Party controlled state to try and pass a bill that gives suffrage to corporations and businesses in this country.  We might not even need that if another Hobby Lobby case makes its way to the Supreme Court.

First Slate magazine which gives a little background:
The controversy, to be clear, isn’t over whether businesses should still get the vote. It’s just about whether they should be forced to vote.

As Marian Sawer and Peter Brent recounted in a 2011 paper, Australia’s odd tradition of corporate enfranchisement is a holdover from its 19th-century colonial days. Early in the country’s history, men could vote wherever they owned property or a business, or paid enough rent. Everyone else was barred from the ballot box. In the 1850s, the country moved to universal male suffrage, and over the next half-century or so, property and business owners lost the ability to vote in multiple jurisdictions during federal elections. But in local politics, the right of out-of-town business owners and landlords to cast a ballot lingered on.
To get an Aussie view, Antony Green of the ABC does a good job:
It is hard not to see malice towards Independent Lord Mayor Clover Moore in the proposed bill. Put forward by Robert Borsak of the Shooters and Fishers Party, it expands the business roll by making business enrolment compulsory, making voting by businesses compulsory, and by giving businesses as defined in the bill two votes.

As Mr Borsak justifies multiple votes in his speech-
Others will ask: Why should business get two votes and why should it be compulsory? Eligible voters are required to vote—pure and simple; that is the law. The way to ensure accountability for any government is through the protection that the ballot box brings. This is called democracy. Everyone pays rates. A household pays only one set of rates, which is substantially less than a business pays. Yet most households have two or more eligible voters living there; they get to have a say for the payment of only one set of rates. If businesses are forced to pay rates those same businesses should have a say as to how those rates are used. Uninformed comment by those opposing this bill would have one believe that overseas investors will be able to vote in the City of Sydney council elections. They will not be able to vote. Only those entitled to vote at a State or Federal election will have that privilege. This bill is being introduced to try to give an honest reflection of what a majority of eligible voters want to see happen in the city of Sydney.
The paragraph is a wonderful bit of sophistry because the bill redefines what an eligible voter is, gives some of the newly eligible voters multiple votes, and then justifies the result because it delivers the will of the majority of eligible voters.

The logic here is trying to tap into the argument of the American revolution about no taxation without representation. Yet it is distorting this argument into one that says those who pay more taxes should get more votes.
When you think about the rulings from the Supreme Court over the years, you can easily see this as being one of the next steps.  We had the court recognize corporate personhood.  With Hobby Lobby, corporations can now practice a religion.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Updated: Just Develop a Cure

Sometimes there are times that just make you think, "Is there some listening device installed on me."

Temple University must have been listening in.  Rather than suppressing the virus, researchers there have been able to eliminate HIV from human cells.

If someone is listening in on me again...I'd like $5 trillion.

This is going to sound so flippant, but let's face it, a cure or vaccine just needs to be developed for HIV/AIDS.

I come to this conclusion every time a news story talks about a rise in infection rates.  Today, Australia reported a 20-year high in HIV-rates.  The leading cause of these high rates in Australia has been attributed to unprotected sex.

Again, saying a cure needs to be developed is probably the understatement of the century.  And let me add another understatement, it's easier said than done, but it needs to be done. Why?

Basically, I come to this conclusion because people are 1) just plain stupid and/or 2) they act stupid (whether they think about it or not).

People are going to have unprotected sex.  People are then not going to get tested.  People are then going to inadvertently spread the virus.

Yes, this is a very simplified solution/explanation to a complex issue.  I know.  Some people may not get tested because what's the point of testing positive only to find out you have no way to afford the expensive drugs it costs to suppress(?), treat(?) the virus.

No matter what, to me, it all boils down to a simple solution: develop a cure.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Who Wants to Be San Antonio Mayor?

We have now have four candidates for mayor.  Not exactly a surprise, we knew it was going to be from a select group of 10 people.

By next Tuesday we'll have our new mayor.

The City Council laid out the selection process last month, and it is so boring.

I was really hoping they might spice up the selection process with a Dating Show style selection.

Or even a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire San Antonio Mayor?

Let's face it, you know the council members are playing Let's Make a Deal right now.

As long as the city doesn't get Zonked...

Or to put it another, the City is collectively saying, "No Whammies, No Whammies, No Whammies...Stop!"

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I Call Bulls**t on TX GOP Chair Steve Munisteri

In an interview with Texas Public Radio, TX GOP Chair Steve Munisteri attributes the passage of "reparative therapy" for gays to a quote: parliamentary trick.  I call bulls**t.

Having attended enough conventions, at least on the Democratic side, from precinct to state senate to state to national, there was no parliamentary trick.

Not ever having attended a Republican convention I have no knowledge of how they do things, but for the Democratic conventions at the state level, the platform usually is passed late on the last day of the convention.  The last day is when we on the Democratic side have the vote for party chair, which can get contentious.  After that vote, the convention moves to start going through the party platform.  This means resolutions upon endless resolutions that most people never stay for (count me as one of those people).

Most delegates are aware of the important or contentious resolutions.  In fact, those are usually brought first because most delegates are still at the convention.

Let's go a step further, most of the time, what the top brass wants, the top brass gets...especially if it avoids embarrassments.

What I'm going to guess is there was no parliamentary trick.  What I suspect happened is that most of the delegates had left by the time of the platform adoption leaving the most fervent supporters of certain items to stay and pass their resolutions.  There wasn't a parliamentary trick.  Munisteri and others were just outmaneuvered.  Their side didn't stay to the bitter end, the other side did.

And there was this gem from TPR:
Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri said the two-week delay in releasing the platform had to do with some clerical errors and nothing to do with controversy surrounding the document.
Again, I call bulls**t.

If I had to guess, a number of people, i.e., wealthy donors, maybe gay Republicans (god what an oxymoron), some elected officials and candidates who were catching flack over the issue, called and complained to the point where Munisteri had to finally issue a statement.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Julian Castro and his After-Cabinet Future

All the chattering classes have pretty much decided that should Mayor Julian Castro become HUD Secretary, he's all but guaranteed the Vice President slot on a presidential ticket led by Hillary Clinton.

So, we were wondering what about past Cabinet members?

At least 86 men and woman have gone on to some other elective office* after serving in a president's cabinet.  *The term is used somewhat loosely since there was a time when for instance U.S. Senators weren't directly elected.

So which department has been the most popular position for appointees to leap from?

What might be thought of nowadays as the least political (in terms of domestic politics) for Cabinet Secretaries has seen the most success.  But when you think about it, it's a pretty good spot to launch a for president from. 16 times a Secretary of State has gone on to elective office after serving in the Cabinet.

Thomas Jefferson: Vice President & President
Timothy Pickering: Massachusetts Senator & Congressman
James Madison: President
James Monroe: President
John Quincy Adams: President
Henry Clay: Kentucky Senator
Martin Van Buren: Vice President & President
John Calhoun: South Carolina Senator
James Buchanan: President
John Clayton: Delaware Senator
Edward Everett: Massachusetts Senator
Daniel Webster: Massachusetts Senator
William Evarts: New York Senator
Elihu Root: New York Senator
Philander Knox: Pennsylvania Senator
James Byrnes: South Carolina Governor

The next most popular is Attorney General. 13 men have gone on to elective office after.

Levi Lincoln: Massachusetts Lt. Gov. & Governor
William Pickney: Maryland Senator
Ceasar Rodney: Delaware Congressman & Senator
John Berrien: Georgia Senator
John Crittenden: Kentucky Senator (Crittenden did it twice. He was AG for William Henry Harrison & John Tyler then was a Kentucky Senator. Then he was AG for Millard Fillmore and then served again as a Kentucky Senator)
Reverdy Johnson: Maryland Senator
Isaac Toucey: Connecticut Senator
George Williams: Portland, OR Mayor
Ebenezer Hoar: Massachusetts Congressman
William Evarts: New York Senator
Judson Harmon: Ohio Governor
Philander Knox: Pennsylvania Senator
Robert Kennedy: New York Senator

After AG there's a 3 way tie.  The positions of Treasury, Navy, & War each saw 12 men have a political career after their stint in the Cabinet.  Navy and War later became Defense.

Only 1 woman has successfully made the leap: Elizabeth Dole (Transportation then Labor): North Carolina Senator.

If you're counting by presidents, John Tyler had 8 men in his Cabinet who went on to political careers afterwards.  William Henry Harrison and Ulysses Grant each had 6.  Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, and James Madison each had 5.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Does USAA Endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?

A valid question.  Below is a screenshot from the 2014 Texas GOP Convention:

As you can see there are numerous sponsors of the convention.

So the obvious question(s):

Does USAA endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does Verizon endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does Saulsbury Industries endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does Breitling Energy endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does Time Warner Cable endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does Altria endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does Anheuser-Busch endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does BNSF Railway endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does Energy Future Holdings endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does Atmos Energy endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does CenterPoint Energy endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does Oncor endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does the Texas Association of Realtors endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Do the Texas for Fiscal Responsibility endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?
Does George P. Bush endorse 'Reparative Therapy' for Gays?

I wonder if these companies, organizations, and candidate got their moneys worth?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Gay Marriage Map Update Re: Pennsylvania

And the map got bluer.

Courtesy of Wikipedia we get a new map of gay marriage in the United States.  With the addition of Pennsylvania, we're up to 19* states, plus the District of Columbia, that currently or will recognize same-sex marriage.  *Illinois won't become official until June 1.

I think we'll just categorize those striped states as being bi-marriage states.  They kinda swing both ways.

So what does this mean?

Adding Pennsylvania, and including Illinois, at least 137,000,000 people in the United States live (or will live) in a place where gay marriage is legal.

Gay marriage states account for 191 Representatives (including the delegates) in the U.S. House and 38 Senators in the U.S. Senate.

Percentage wise, that's about 43.5% of the U.S. population and the U.S. House; and 38% of the U.S. Senate.

Broken down by party...U.S. House: 133 Democrats, 58 Republicans. U.S. Senate: 32 Democrats, 4 Republicans, 2 Independents.

Those 19* states account for 231 Electoral Votes. *Including Illinois.

In terms of regions of the U.S:

New England became the first region to legalize gay marriage.  The Mid-Atlantic region has become the second.  With Pennsylvania making it official, the Northeast is now fully pro-marriage equality.

The Midwest will add it's 3rd state with Illinois.  Still 9 to go there.

The Pacific West has 4. (Only Alaska is left)

The Mountain West just has New Mexico.

When using the Census Bureau's designation of the South, there are 3 states* (Delaware, Maryland, & D.C.) that have legalized gay marriage.

What would happen if those bi-marriage states (specifically the red & gold ones) decided to swing to pro-gay marriage?

The number of pro-marriage states would expand to 28 or 56%! (MAJORITY)

The population living in states that are pro-marriage would be about 209,000,000 or about 65%! (MAJORITY)

The number of U.S. House Reps would be 271 or 66%! (MAJORITY)  (Broken down by party it would be 159 Democrats and 130 Republicans)

The number of U.S. Senators would be 56 or 56%! (MAJORITY)  (Broken down by party it would be 38 Democrats and 16 Republicans)

The number of pro-marriage electoral votes would be 347! (You only need 270 to be president)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


A government proposes a budget.  It could be federal, state, or local.  The question, could you tell if the government is a conservative or liberal/progressive government just by its budget?

That's the question I propose.  A budget has been handed down somewhere and based on the winners and losers in the budget, can you tell the ideology of the government?

Medical Research
Mining Companies

In Between:
High Income Earners
Private Sector

Foreign Aid
Senior Citizens
Public Service
Young People
University Students
Low Income Earners
Public Broadcasting

If you're curious about the budget in question you visit here, here, here, and here.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Message to Milton Fagin: Stop Running

I don't know how many times someone has to run and lose for it to sink in: YOU'RE NOT GOING TO WIN.

Let's have a history lesson:

Care to take a guess how many times Fagin has run and lost?  With 2014 8 times.

1998: Loses in the general election for County Court 5; no primary opponent.
2000: Loses in the general election for 408th District Court; no primary opponent.
2002: Loses in the general election for 285th District Court; no primary opponent.
2004: Loses in the general election for 408th District Court; no primary opponent.
2006: Loses in the general election for 285th District Court; no primary opponent.
2010: Came in last in a 4 way primary for a district court seat.
2012: Primaried Judge Larry Noll and lost 60% - 40%.
2014: Comes in last in a 3 way primary for a district court seat.

Bexar County voters are just not that into you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Updated: My Ballot for the Democratic Primary

So how did my ballot do?

Losses: 5
Wins: 7* (barring any changes with recounts)
Runoffs: 3

So 5 of my chosen candidates lost (Scherr, Fitzsimons, Canales, Petty, & Forbrich).  7 won (Davis, Brown, Green, Boyd, LaHood, Wolff, & Torres).  3 are going into runoffs (Bustamante, Scharf-Zeldes, Abundis-Esparza).

For the contested races in my area, this is who will be getting my vote in the Democratic Primary:

U.S. Senate: Maxey Scherr
Governor: Wendy Davis
Agriculture Commissioner: Hugh Fitzsimons, III
Railroad Commissioner: Steve Brown
45th District Court: John Bustamante
150th District Court: Paul Canales
186th District Court: Mary Green
187th District Court: Stephanie Boyd
224th District Court: Michele Petty
D.A.: Nico LaHood
County Judge: Nelson Wolff
County Court #10: Tina Torres
Probate Court #1: Barbie Scharf-Zeldes
District Clerk: Elva Abundis-Esparza
County Clerk: Chris Forbrich

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Judge Who Isn't a Judge: Race for Bexar County Judge

Bexar County Judge

Primary Outlook: Nelson Favored

General Election Outlook: Nelson Favored

Bexar County Judge.  Through most of the 90s Republican Cyndi Krier held this post.  Since 2001, Democrat Nelson Wolff has been presiding on the Commissioners Court.

For such a powerful position, it's amazing how often it isn't contested, or at least actively challenged.  In 1992, Krier defeated Tommy Adkisson (D) to become County Judge.  When she ran for re-election in 1994 and 1998 she was unopposed.

When Wolff ran the first time in 2002 he faced a Republican and a Libertarian.  In 2006 and 2010 he was unopposed (2006) and only faced a Libertarian (2010).

Who's running?

Running for a full 4th term is incumbent Nelson Wolff.  A Democrat of the more moderate to conservative type, he's managed to avoid a primary challenge...until now.

Giving up his County Commissioner seat is Tommy Adkisson.  He's previously run and lost a race for County Judge and now resides as the Precinct 4 Commissioner.

Financial as of latest filing:
Adkisson: Contributions: $91,575; Expenditures: $90,920.54; CoH: $206,833.89
Wolff: Contributions: $159,600; Expenditures: $81,749.23; CoH: $214,622.99

Adkisson: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Wolff: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Attack Site

Overall this race is HOT, HOT, HOT:

1) Fireworks.  This is a race every political writer dreams of because it has fireworks.  If you've been to any forum featuring Wolff and Adkisson, you will not be disappointed.

2) Race.  It's a countywide race and it shows it.  This race makes the DA primary look like a race for a Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League.

3) Money.  Both candidates have enough money to really go after each other.  One glaring problem for Adkisson is his burn rate.  He's spending just as much as he's raising.

4) Endorsements.  Looking at the endorsements in this race, it starts to look like a David vs. Goliath.  Among Wolff's elected endorsers: Mayor Julian Castro, Congressman Joaquin Castro, Commissioners Paul Elizondo and Chico Rodriguez; State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, State Reps Phil Cortez, Ruth Jones McClendon, Trey Martinez-Fischer, Jose Menendez, Justin Rodriguez, Mike Villarreal.

Among former electeds: Henry Cisneros, Phil Hardberger, Howard Peak, Art Hall, Chip Haass, Patti Radle, Roger Perez, Bonnie Conner.

Among nonelecteds (i.e., prestige and money): Henry Munoz, Frank Burney, Berto Guerra, Frank Herrera, Jane Macon, Walter Serna, Mikal Watts.

Based on the support Wolff should win this race.  Add to that, his better management of campaign money, and Tommy's troubles with emails, and Wolff should easily be the nominee for November.

Even Smart People say Stupid Things

Even very accomplished and smart people can say stupid things.  In this case, it comes in the form of incredulity.  The person behind it is Suzanne Hildebrand, who is definitely no slouch.  From her bio and the Express-News:
Suzanne is the founder of MADD in Texas, was appointed to serve on the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards & Education (TCLEOSE) by Governor Bill Clements, and currently serves on the Texas Council on Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke appointed by Governor Rick Perry. She also served on the Bexar County Jail Population Committee. While Suzanne’s main passion is stroke care and issues, her blog also addresses patient care, grief, political issues and items of general interest.
Hildebrand's incredulity comes about because of her shock that the Express-News endorsed Therese Huntzinger in the Democratic Primary for DA.

It's hard to take Hildebrand seriously in this case.  Why?  Her post starts out like this: I am an Independent, although I am philosophically more Republican than Democrat. Over the years, I have campaigned for candidates of both parties.

That's fine.  But taken together with how she describes the other Democratic DA candidate you start to get a different picture: Correctly, the Express-News found Nico LaHood, a drug dealing, gun toting felon to be unqualified. Don’t you honestly wonder how he ever became a lawyer?

On a personal note, I'm going to guess that LaHood, like many other people, managed to pick up the pieces of their life/lives and make something of themselves.  From the way Hildebrand describes LaHood he sounds like Tony Montana from Scarface.  I will admit to some incredulity at this moment.  Does Hildebrand believe that no one can learn from their past mistakes?  To me this is exactly what is wrong with the criminal justice system today.  We spout these feel good lines about rehabilitation, but never really believe that anyone arrested of certain crimes are capable of bettering their lives.  And thereby, these people are forever branded by some with scarlet letters for the rest of their lives.  But I digress...

It's what Hildebrand says about Huntzinger that causes some pause:
Even minor research, or Google search, reveals the truth about Huntzinger’s pursuit of “a witness-tampering indictment against a well-known criminal defense lawyer”. It was little more than a  political witch hunt launched by Huntzinger and her ally, an ultra-partisan politician and former San Antonio city councilman, who then served as foreman of the Grand Jury.

When asked about the sufficiency of the evidence in the case, Huntzinger said she had enough evidence to INDICT but that she would NEED TO OBTAIN MORE EVIDENCE TO CONVICT.

If Huntzinger’s attitude in that case doesn’t scare even a brave man or woman, it should. In fact, it sends cold shivers up and down my spine. Because of Huntzinger’s actions in that case, the Court appointed a Special Prosecutor to handle it. The Special Prosecutor promptly DISMISSED the case because of a TOTAL LACK OF EVIDENCE. This case should never have been brought and it proves Huntzinger to be uniquely UNQUALIFIED  to serve as District Attorney.

Huntzinger is a clear and present danger to every law-abiding citizen in Bexar County.

The Express-News should not have endorsed either of these unqualified candidates.
Why do I say pause, because after reading another account of the incident (cause I wasn't around for it), I have to wonder if Hildebrand has lied or if the truth is somewhere in between.  In addition, there are instances where a prosecutor does have enough evidence to indict someone, but to get the jury to that final conviction proves tough, if not impossible, without additional evidence.  From the sound of it, Ms. Hildebrand seems to argue that anyone indicted is automatically guilty.

But what really goes over the top is labeling Huntzinger a "clear and present danger."  Really?  Huntzinger is going to incite imminent lawless action in violation of the First Amendment?

Hildebrand titled her post Unbelievable Political Endorsement.  Obviously Ms. Hildebrand isn't supporting either of the Democratic DA candidates.  And going on that, plus that she has admitted to being more aligned with the Republican Party I have to assume she is supporting Susan Reed.  If the rumors about Reed are true, what I find unbelievable is a founder and former President of MADD supporting her reelection.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Republican Lite Gov Debate Snap Judgement

After watching the freak show that took place, I feel guilty for not having paid for a ticket.

For those able to keep your dinner down and managing to avoid a trip to the great white porcelain bowl, kudos.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

She's Gotten Under Their Skin

Wendy Davis must really have gotten under the skin of the Republicans.  They've attacked her bio, now riding in on his hobby horse is conservative porn pusher James O'Keefe.  I say conservative porn pusher, because his heavily edited videos send Republicans into fits of orgasmic ecstasy.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Defense's Opening Statement: Race for Bexar County DA

Bexar County District Attorney

Primary Outlook: Lean LaHood

General Election Outlook: Republican Favored

Bexar County DA.  Democrats have been trying to knock incumbent DA Susan Reed (R) out of this job for several elections.  Reed has held this post since her election in 1998 when she beat District Judge Mary Roman (D).  Reed won that year 57% - 43%.

4 years later Reed went unchallenged by Democrats.  In hindsight you have to scratch your head and wonder why?  Democrats won an open Republican district court bench and nearly swept the County Courts-at-Law benches winning 10 out of 12.  In addition, Democrats beat the incumbent District Clerk, who was the head of the Republican's 2002 campaign.

Fast forward another 4 years and Democrats did challenge, although not wholeheartedly.  Reed beat back a local attorney 61% - 39%.  This was the same year Democrats captured 4 district court benches.  Go figure.

Arriving at the year that shall not be named, Democrats gave Reed her toughest race to date.  Attorney Nico LaHood held Reed to her lowest margin yet 54% - 46%.

Who's Running?

Returning for a second try is attorney Nico LaHood.  Many Democrats remember him from his race in 2010 and his better than expected showing.  He has a background story that is a double-edged sword.  He was arrested for selling drugs back in 1994 and 2 years later his brother was murdered in his parent's driveway.  He's been a defendant and a victim.

Challenging LaHood in the primary is attorney Therese Huntzinger.  This is Huntzinger's second run for office, having previously challenged Judge Carmen Kelsey in 1998 as a Republican.  Huntzinger is openly gay and if she won would likely be thrust into the spotlight.  Her previous run-in with the law was a DWI in 1982.

Financial as of latest filing:
Huntzinger: Contributions: $27,110; Expenditures: $6,300.55; CoH: $17,777.94
LaHood: Contributions: $111,170; Expenditures: $11,467.39; CoH: $99,702.61

Huntzinger: Website, Facebook
LaHood: Facebook

Overall we give this primary race 3 peppers:

1) Race.  Unlike the primary for County Judge, this race hasn't produced any fireworks.  Still it is a countywide race for the top lawyer in the county which means it will make news.

2) Money.  LaHood clearly has the edge in money and if he wins the primary will definitely need it for the fall.

3) Endorsements.  How often do Spurs players get involved in politics?

Lahood's name ID combined with his money should be enough to carry him through the primary.  He also brings backing from some of the Spurs players including Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.  In addition he seems to have consolidated establishment support from people like State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Congressman Joaquin Castro.

Huntzinger did however score the endorsement of the Express-News.  If she can turn that endorsement into some campaign cash, she might have a chance to beat LaHood.  The other factor that is in her favor is newness.  She's the new face might be able to make the argument of not having lost to Susan Reed.  She might also get some cash infusion if the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund endorses her.

All things considered, if I had to choose, I'd say right now LaHood wins the primary.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

44 HD Films a Second

One of our local monopolies, Time Warner Cable, advertises about the internet speeds it offers on its website.

Time Warner's Ultimate (i.e., highest level) package allows a download speed up to 50 Mbps.  The Everyday Low Price package (i.e., lowest level) allows a download speed of up to 2 Mbps.

Ignoring the fact that this speed can graciously be called Stone Age, it will get worse.

A little background...

Going from smallest to largest: byte, kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, terabyte, petabyte, exabyte, zettabyte, and yottabyte.

For this discussion we only need the first 5.  From the BBC:
The "fastest ever" broadband speeds have been achieved in a test in London, raising hopes of more efficient data transfer via existing infrastructure. 

Alcatel-Lucent and BT said speeds of 1.4 terabits per second were achieved during their joint test - enough to send 44 uncompressed HD films a second.
Like any good monopoly, Time Warner and all the other internet providers will throw up some smoke screen and make sure that consumers in the U.S. pay outrageous prices for slow internet speed.

According to Ookla, the United States has the 31st fastest internet speed.  We come right after Russia (30) and ahead of Israel (32).

Sunday, January 12, 2014

When will the Adkisson tape surface?

There is an advantage to having been around one place long enough, especially in politics.  Hanging around long enough you know where the bodies are buried.  In addition, you also build a long memory and can recall certain items that others have since forgotten.

In this instance, we're waiting for damaging video of Tommy Adkisson to surface and come back to haunt him.  Either on YouTube or in a campaign advertisement.

There exists a video out there that if used could very seriously damage his campaign as well as any ambition he has to run for something else.

The tape is a number of years old, but is probably still a potent weapon.

I guess the questions is which local news station will be the first to search their archives and strike gold?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

March Primary Prediction: Tommy will get his Adkisson kicked by Nelson Wolff

Today incumbent Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff kicked off his campaign.

Today I'd like to make a prediction: Tommy will get his Adkisson kicked by Nelson Wolff

For reasons beyond anyone's comprehension, Precinct 4 County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson (D) is challenging incumbent County Judge Nelson Wolff (D).  (Personally, having met Tommy on numerous occasions, I like the guy, but really fail to see how he thinks challenging Nelson is a good idea)

Word is that among Adkisson's reasons for the primary challenge is he doesn't like the way he's treated at the courthouse, he thinks has been there too long, and he thinks Nelson is setting it up so that the job of county judge gets handed over to Precinct 3 County Commissioner Kevin Wolff (R).  No doubt Adkisson will have some legitimate reasons for wanting the top job, but just to go through these 3...

1) If you don't like the way you're treated, do something to change it.  If he's referring to the way the other commissioners treat him, does he really think that if he became county judge that would suddenly all change?

2) This is probably the stupidest reason.  Nelson has been there too long?  Nelson was appointed County Judge in 2001.  Tommy was elected to Pct. 4 Commissioner in 1998 and has been serving since 1999.

3) Nelson preparing the way for Kevin.  I'll confess that I don't know all the rules regarding vacancies on the Commissioners Court, but Nelson was appointed to County Judge after Cyndi Taylor Krier (R) resigned.  If is re-elected and resigns mid-term, the Commissioners (I'm assuming) would get to appoint his replacement.  I understand the Commissioners might show deference to Nelson's pick, but I can't imagine 3 Democrats appointing a Republican.  Especially given that fact, that if Susan Reed is re-elected to another term, that would mean the DA, Sheriff, and County Judge positions would all be held by Republicans.  Democrats would still have a majority on the Commissioners Court (if they hold Precinct 4), but think about the fundraising advantage for Republicans and the fact that those 3 Democrats (assuming Pct 4 is a hold) would have to go to the primary voters and defend appointing a Republican.

4) A fourth reason that Adkisson has been hitting Wolff on has been party loyalty. At first glance this is a pretty good line of attack for Adkisson.  At first glance.  However, Adkisson had, as a political consultant for a number of years, JoAnn Ramon working for him and running his campaigns.  She has worked for Democrats and Republicans.  And now Adkisson's campaign manager is Christian Anderson.  Like Ramon, Anderson has worked for Democrats and Republicans.  So yes, that loyalty attack is pretty good at first glance.  But when looking at who Adkisson has employed to help run his campaigns, suddenly party loyalty gets a little fuzzy.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Jerry Jones: My Management Sucks, So Expand the Playoffs

Dallas Cowboys Owner, President, and General Manager Jerry Jones has come up with a new idea for the playoffs: expand the number of teams.  (Side question, how many titles is enough to satisfy his ego?)

As the CBS article points out:
And before you jump all over Jones for simply looking for a playoff loophole for the Cowboys, it's worth pointing out that even if the NFC had two more wild-card teams the last three seasons, Dallas still would have been on the outside looking in because of its middle-of-the-road record.
That being said, I can't help but think this is still Jones looking for a way to make up for his sucky management of the Cowboys.  Like Standard Oil, Jones has spread his tentacles into nearly every aspect of the team and to the detriment of the team.  To put it in a more modern context, he came in like a wrecking ball.

In 2012, PPP did a poll that included some tidbits on Jones:
Texas voters have a very negative opinion of Jerry Jones, with only 14% rating him favorably to 48% who hold a negative opinion. I'm pretty sure that -34 spread represents the worst poll numbers we've ever found for someone in Texas.
Prediction: If it was Jerry Jones versus Wendy Davis in 2014...Davis in a landslide.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ted Cruz' Brokeback Mountain Moment

Apparently Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Crazyville) is having troubling quitting Canada.

From the CBC (emphasis mine):
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz vowed months ago to renounce his Canadian citizenship by the end of 2013. It's now 2014, and the Calgary-born Republican lawmaker is still a dual citizen.

"I have retained counsel that is preparing the paperwork to renounce the citizenship," the junior Texas senator, who's eyeing a run for president in 2016, said in a recent interview with the Dallas Morning News.

He didn't dispute holding dual citizenship: "Not at this point," Cruz told the paper.

That's confounding Canadian immigration lawyers. Renouncing Canadian citizenship, they say, is a simple, quick and straightforward process — there's even an online, four-page PDF form on the Government of Canada website to get the ball rolling without the help of lawyers.

"Unless there's a security issue that hasn't been disclosed, unless there's a mental health issue that hasn't been disclosed, there's no reason for anything other than a lickety-split process to occur," Richard Kurland, a Vancouver-based immigration attorney, said in an interview Friday.

"If he's attempting to bring our system into disrepute by suggesting it's lengthy and complex, it's just not true. Revocation is one of the fastest processes in our system."
In case you're curious, a link to the actual form is here.