Monday, January 08, 2007

Back to say I told you so...

Why don't you people listen to me?



You might have heard the news about Nick Lampson pushing through a disgusting Tom DeLay-created earkmark that creates a $1.5 billion oil slush fund. And doing so after slamming the program during his campaign, with me and other Fort Bend Democrat volunteers at his side. He argued that the program "should be required to be debated publicly," and condemned DeLay's dirty tactics. Two months later, in the middle of the campaign, Nick snuck off to D.C. to help kill any public debate on the program.

I'll spare you my serious outrage for the moment - You can read about my feelings of betrayal on Fort Bend Now if you are so inclined, including my rather hillarious smackdowns of not only the corrupt former Sugar Land councilman Brian Gaston, but also the grown man who takes kickbacks and co-habitates with Mr. Gaston, as well as a very confused and bitter oil man.

But I did want to revive this little diary for a moment and point out that if you had listened to me and elected Giannibicego Hoa Tran to Congress, we could have had a $1.5 billion earmark to subsidize herbal remedies for "bird flu anthrax heart attacks from nuclear bomb pollutions air ingested poisons."

Seriously, it's like Nick Lampson WANTS me to die of bird flu anthrax heart attacks...



School starts in ten days, but I'll try my best not to be a stranger.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The View From 22 Wrap Up


Nick Lampson : Despite all the hell I gave him, he's gonna
be a great congressman for Fort Bend...


Sorry I've been so late at providing a post-election wrap up. I had a Title VII brief due the week of the election, and this week I have oral arguments. In addition, I've had a bit of a tragic week - Our cat Gonzo passed away after a short struggle with leukemia.

But at least the election provided me with some happiness. First and most obviously, I will now have a Democratic congressman. Secondly, the nation followed suit and elected Democrats across the board. Lastly, local elections provided me with the statistical proof to know our efforts are working. I now know that in my adult life, Fort Bend County will not be ruled by Republicans. 2004 was not a fluke - This county, recently a 60%+ GOP fortress, is becoming Democratic. November 7th was a watershed day for our county and our nation. And given the news of the imminent redeployment from Iraq, it was also a watershed day for the planet.


Veronica Torres, Farhan Shamsi, and Rudy Velasquez, three
of the many admirable candidates I had the chance
to work with
this year.


I had been hopeful that the Democratic tidal wave might be enough to push one of our candidates into county-wide office. It was a total long-shot, especially in a non-presidential year - the numbers aren't quite there yet - but now I can confirm that it is in the realm of realism.

You may have noticed that you don't see much bragging from the other side. And that's because they are looking at the same numbers I am. And it's not a pretty sight for local Republicans. Check out the results for statewide races (in Fort Bend) versus countywide races:


STATE-WIDE RACES:

Huchison........57,523
Radnofsky.......37,590

Dewhurst........55,129
Alvarado.........38,778

Abbot..............56,946
Van Os............37,717

Combs.............55,408
Head...............38,748


COUNTY-WIDE RACES:

Elliot..............51,197
Torres............43,534

Council..........52,149
Sane...............42,997


Childers.........52,146
Velasquez......42,477

Elliot..............51,960
Hollan............42,265


So what do we see? Local Republicans under-performed their state-wide ballotmates by between 6,000-3,000 votes (around 5%). Conversely, we picked up those votes. Republican votes. A 3,500 vote swing is now all that stands between victory or defeat in Fort Bend County.

And while we were wildly successful at persuading Republicans to split their ticket on these downballot races, we also continue to be one of the only counties in Texas where new Democratic votes are outpacing new Republican votes. Furthermore, straight ticket Democrat votes increased by 7,000 from 2002!

In traditionally GOP Precinct 1, Fort Bend Democrats were able to raise Democratic performance to over 47% of the vote! By '08, we will easily have Pct 1 back in blue. I hope Tom Stavinoha has a good retirement package...Or take a look at Sugar Land - Our candidates got 40% in Sugar Creek! Yes, this Sugar Creek. I made a prediction back in August after seeing the dynamics of this election season take shape - "This county will home to some of the most competitive and interesting races of the next decade of Texas politics."

I also remain stunned at just how effective and influential our blogs became, much to the chagrin of the local GOP. It all started as mere campaign diaries and reading fodder for our activists. But before we knew it, our most faithful readers were our Republican opponents, who were all too willing to allow us to frame the local debate and dictate the content of their messages. In the end, my blog gave me daily access to the mind of every local Republican from Shelley Sekula Gibbs on down to Mrs. Sex on the Beach. And it was fun. It was an odd felling to have TV and newspaper reporters say "Oh, you're Mark from The View From 22!" or to have politicians ask me if Robert Talton really brought cookies.

Now the bad news: How did we fall short this year? Well, lets look at turnout by Commissioner's precinct:

Pct 1 (Votes about even GOP-DEM) - 21,815

Pct 2 (Votes 80%+ DEM) - 19,644

Pct 3 (Votes 70% GOP) - 32,970

Pct 4 (Votes 55% GOP) - 26,082


And that's the election, folks.

It has been common knowledge for years that the "official" Fort Bend Democratic Party is severely dysfunctional. Yet this year's turnout shows the depth of the problem. The Fort Bend Democrats Club is mainly a Pct 1 & 4 organization. Pct 2 leaders are extremely territorial. As such, we tend to leave Pct 2 operations to the "official" party.

We thought we could count on increased turnout this year in Pct 2. After all, Commissioner Prestage and Representative Olivio were finally in contested races. We were dead wrong. While Pct 2 turnout is slightly up compared to 2002, this is due to realignment and new voting precincts being added to Prestage's territory. On a voting precinct by precinct basis, every key precinct in Pct 2 saw DECREASED turnout compared to 2002. In other words, the local party under Felicia Farrar accomplished a better turnout than this year's effort. Anyone vaguely familiar with the recent history of the Fort Bend Democratic Party knows exactly how shameful that is.

Had Pct 2 experienced a healthy increase in turnout instead of a shocking decrease, we might be closing in on recount territory right now.

In my future as an activist, I will not make the same mistake again by assuming the "official" party will do something (anything!) in Pct 2. And on a similar note, never let anyone tell you that you aren't an "official" Democrat. If you put a sign in your yard, or told a neighbor to vote blue, than you are an official Democrat. If you believe in the principles of progressivism, than you are an official Democrat. And if you worked your butt off for Democratic candidates this year, you are an official Democrat.



I want to thank all of the Democrats that did work their butts off. There are too many fair-weather Democrats in this county, too many "official" folks who show up at our events when Chris Bell or Paul Begala have been invited, but are nowhere to be found when real work needs to be done. But there are so many of you out there who poured your heart and soul into this campaign, and you are the official Democrats.



You know who you are, and I have one more message for you: Your party still needs you, because your party needs leaders.

Also, I want to thank local weirdo Greg Aydt for everything he did to help Nick Lampson achieve a slim majority in CD22. You see, turnout of Asian and especially Muslim voters in Pct 3 went through the roof this year. What was usually a 75% GOP area was knocked down to 69% this year. Without Mr. Aydt's efforts to energize the Muslim vote, Nick Lampson might have finished below 50%.



Some labeled Farhan Shamsi's campaign in Pct 3 a fool's errand, but his efforts tore away at a piece of the GOP fortress. He gave his voice to the maligned, and emerged as one of the true heroes of this campaign. His efforts, along with those of the grassroots activists of the Katy New Area Democrats Organization (KANDO), are true expressions of Howard Dean's 50-State strategy. As Democrats, we need to fight for every vote in every precinct. Using smarter databasing (and lasers!), we can finally do productive work in a 20-15% Democrat neighborhood.


Carmen and Rhonda of KANDO

Thinking back, it's funny how this all began with the struggle to rid ourselves of Tom DeLay and the stink of corruption. In that fight, we won victory back in August. And if that victory wasn't amazing enough, we can now take back DeLay's home county with a swing of 3,500 votes. It boggles the mind.

In the fall of 2008, I will be finishing my final semester at STCL. I can think of no better graduation present than a Blue Fort Bend.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Osama has his eye on Fort Bend's District Clerk Race...

Despite claiming he was too busy, Andy Meyers must have found some cheap labor or something, because the weird signs went up everywhere last night:





I didn't know Annie Elliot was so key to the war on terror...And why does she hate the color blue? Probably because Republicans hate the troops. And puppies. Your puppies.

Apparently some of our members added decoration:




If you can, go chip a few bucks here at the last minute to help counter these hate signs. A few hundred more robocalls may make the difference.


****************************************************


Bill Maher laid out how Democrats should respond to Andy Meyers:



1. When they say Democrats will raise taxes, you say, "We have to, because someone spent all the money in the world cutting Paris Hilton's taxes and not killing Osama bin Laden." In just six years, the national debt has doubled. You can't keep spending money you don't take in; that's not even elementary economics, it's just called "Don't be Michael Jackson."

2. When they say the terrorists want the Democrats to win, you say, "Are you insane?" George Bush has been a terrorist's wet dream. He inflames radical hatred against America, and then runs on offering to protect us from it. It's like a guy throwing shit on you and then selling you relief from the flies.

3. When they say "Cut and Run" or "Defeat-ocrat," you say, "Bush lost the war, period." All this nonsense about, "The violence is getting worse over there because they're trying to influence the election," no, it's getting worse because you drew up the postwar plans on the back of a cocktail napkin at Applebee's. And of course Democrats want to win, but that's impossible now that you've ethnically cleansed the place by making it unlivable — just like you did with New Orleans.


When it comes to slogans, the only one I'm prepared to accept from the opposition is, "The Republican Party: We're sorry."


****************************************************

Saturday, November 04, 2006

GOP Newspaper Endorses our Clerk Candidate

So I began my morning by hanging out with Chris Bell and a packed house full of Democrats eating hamburgers. We had a quick pep rally, and then sent our soldiers out with phone and walking lists. I spent the last four hours walking the streets of North Richmond talking to people about hometown "It"-Girl Veronica Torres and her campaign for District Clerk.



Well, I return to our office to find out that Veronica has been endorsed today by the Fort Bend Herald, the stridently pro-Republican newspaper on the west side of county. This is HUGE. In fact, our campaign director made the comment, "This will be the first time I vote for a candidate endorsed by the Herald!"

I now hear that Annie Elliot is offering a reward to "anyone who can document who is stealing her endorsements."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Me Say War...

I'm a bit busy today, so I'll let the late Robert Nesta Marley speak for me:


Until the philosophy which holds one race superior
And another
Inferior
Is finally
And permanently
Discredited
And abandoned
Everywhere is war
This is war.

That until there is no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man's skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes
I've got to say war.

That until the basic human rights
Are equally guaranteed to all,
Without regard to race
Me say war.

That until that day
The dream of lasting peace,
World citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
But never attained
Now everywhere is war - This a war!

Of good over evil -
Good over evil, yeah!
Good over evil -
Good over evil, yeah!
Good over evil.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ugly Signs of the Time (Metaphorically and Otherwise)



First of all, read up on the disgusting signs paid for Fort Bend Commissioner Andy Meyers. They are simply unreal. Also, read his pathetic defense on the local news site. Pictured above is one of the least offensive versions. Meyers also bought some signs that said: "Encourage Terrorists - Vote Democrat."

While he claimed to be acting for the benefit of the local county-wide candidates, he has yet to properly explain what a county treasurer, a local judge, a district clerk, or a JP have to do with terrorism or border patrol.

And to show that his hate of civil conduct knows no bounds, signs were placed on T-posts bought and installed by Bob Smither. Bob's signs were ripped off the posts, thrown the ground, and replaced with these 4x8 hate signs:



Mr. Smither has already responded. He didn't waste time addressing Meyers, who is so low to the ground, snakes glide over him like ice. Instead, he wrote a letter to Shelley Sekula Gibbs, calling her to denounce the vandalism of his signs by her campaign activists.


Meyers, loathsome goon

It's hard to keep my cool in the face of this kind of inflamatory sickness. Mr. Meyer's attempt at civil discourse is toxic; he fouls my air simply by breathing. And Andy, if you're reading this, know that you and your buddy Hebert are next on the Had Enough Hit List.


**********************************************************


Markum, self-righteous
fear-mongerer


Speaking of things that are foul, my friend Hal was recently mentioned on a blog run by a Republican consultant and activist in Galveston county named Onzelo Markum. This closed-minded Islamophobe cites one of Hal's recent posts as a reason not to vote for Democrats. His rationale? Nick Lampson greeted the crowd at South Asian political forum with the traditional greeting "God be with you" in Arabic. For this reason, he says "we can't afford to put Nick Lampson back in Congress."

Yes folks, it has gotten THAT bad.


**********************************************************

And on the subject of rabid Islamophobia, I have some news on the Greg Aydt saga, the GOP elected official and Sekula Gibbs activist who routinely publishes hate speech. Many of you have written me expressing bewilderment at Mr. Aydt's hateful racist rants, and also mentioned how you wished that we could get these words in front of every Muslim voter.

Well, Farhan Shamsi, Muslim-American Democrat, community activist, and candidate for JP, decided to make it happen. I am proud to announce that this mailer is being sent to every registered Muslim voter in CD22. Farhan was deeply shaken by Mr. Aydt's rants. Feeling that the Democratic leaders have a duty to stand up and expose racism in our public officials, Farhan took action.

FRONT:
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

BACK:
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Monday, October 30, 2006

Weekend Report: Bush, Pencils, Polls, Cave Trolls



Bush comes to Sugar Land, messes up...

Bush speaks in Sugar Land, tells the crowd to bring pencils into the voting booth with them to write-in Shelley. And he's dead serious. Nobody told him about eSlates. You could hear murmurs of uncomfortable laughter, and the look on Shelley's face was priceless. When Bush screwed up the guy's name in Iowa a couple of days ago, I was wondering how he would embarrass himself here. Bravo, George. I salute your ability to defy the pundits and screw up in ways we could never imagine.


***********************************

Why Not: "WriteIn-
ShelleySekula-Gibbs-
ForUnitedStatesCongress-
InTexas22.com???"



Funny story - Someone I know owns "www.WriteInShelley.com." That's why Shelley's site is "writeshelly.com." We never did come up with anything to do with it, and just parked it on that Landover Baptist Church parody site. But my brother suggested that we do an instructional write-in video: We'd get an eSlate, put clear contact paper on it, and then film a voter with a magic marker writing Shelley's name on the face of the eSlate. It would've been brilliant, but there's never enough time, and plenty more to do.


************************************

BE AFRAID! IT'S THE NEW CD22 POLL!


Calm the villagers: I think it's mostly overblown. Here's the Chronicle story. I got a PDF of the full thing. Crunch the numbers down and ID'd Shelley support is around 28% to Lampson's 35%. Lots of declared undecideds. The poll also slightly oversamples Republicans, and any lengthy poll of this nature skews a bit GOP in these parts. But there is one number you cannot ignore, and I'm furious about it:

QUESTION: Can you name any of the candidates for CD22?



Shelley's name ID is at 44%. Lampson's is at 40%.

Hmmm, I wonder why that is? Maybe because in every Republican home in CD22 sits a large pile of tacky dishonest mailers with Shelley's name on them, paid for by Nick Lampson and the DCCC. $3 million dollars, and your name ID is lower than your Write-In opponent.

I covered the terrible immigration and medicare mailers. But there have been at least four more different mailers, and one weird one for Don Richardson that hit the same houses. One of the new ads accuses Shelley of "raising your water rates." This was sent all over Fort Bend County, where Shelley and City Council have nothing to do with water rates. Then of course there's the recent conservative chest thumping by Lampson, talking about the NRA, sending troops to the border, and staying the course in Iraq.

Have we not learned the lesson? When given a choice between a Republican and someone who talks like a Republican, voters pick the Republican every time. I cannot abide a campaign that runs against it's base.

But at least we have some good news locally: Our previous District Clerk, Republican Glory Hopkins, has endorsed Veronica Torres for Clerk.


************************************

I can sue a GOP elected official? Yes, Virigina, there is a Santa Claus...

So Greg Aydt, racial slur-lobbing Islamophobic GOP elected official, has been trying for weeks to get his photo off of my website. Play catch up on this hysterical story by clicking here.

He's been sending "cease and desist" requests all over the tubes of the internets. And finally I hear from my hosts here at Blogger. Anyway, after some discussion with the Google/Blogger team, they felt that even though the picture was not on their server, they would rather I not show the picture until I can send them a 512(g)(2) form asserting my rights under fair use. Which seems kinda pointless since this blog is going dark for good in about eight days. In the meantime, I won't be showing the picture, just linking to it on a external (non-Blogger) server. So for a visual on this page, I've substituted this picture:



Not a picture of Greg Aydt, GOP elected official. This is actually
a cave troll from Lord of the Rings. Unlike Aydt, cave trolls
are totally awesome, as you see in this short clip. Mr. Aydt's
photo can be found on the FortBendPolitics.com server.


One especially helpful guy, who had read the posts and found Aydt both hilarious and disgusting, suggested I look at the following provision in the Blogger copyright regulations, telling me it was the method Aydt used to make his request to remove the picture:


"To file a notice of infringement with us, you must provide a written communication that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights. Indeed, in a recent case (please see Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Inc. for more information), a company that sent an infringement notification seeking removal of online materials that were protected by the fair use doctrine was ordered to pay such costs and attorneys fees. The company agreed to pay over $100,000. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney."


Maybe he should've taken their advice. The OPG suit was a test case for the new Digital Copyright Act: Diebold sent out "ceast and desist" requests to various blog ISPs requesting removal of photos of Diebold documents relating to voting machines. However, since their publication was made by non-profit blogs engaged in public political debate, the use of the pictures was allowed by fair use. For attempting to disrupt this protected speech, Diebold was hit with punative damages and forced to pay attorney's fees.

Mr. Aydt has been informed repeatedly that I am asserting the right to publish his photo under fair use. He cannot make a good faith representation that he was unaware of my claim. In short, I have a valid cause of action against a GOP elected official!

Alas, I have no special damages to claim...And while the comedic and ironic value of the posts are lessened by the photo's absence, I've always been told my sense of humor is priceless - i.e. - Nobody would give me a dime for it. But I do know some attorneys well versed in fair use doctrine that could sure use some fees for helping me secure a nominal judgment. Especially for a lawsuit involving a photo used in the outing of a GOP official publishing racist rants.

I'm going to do a story a day or two before Election Day about another big development in my quest to expose this hateful man in the midst of the local GOP leadership. I was thinking it would conclude the Aydt story nicely, but who knows now? You could be reading about us in Federal Court next spring...Stranger things have happened!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sekula Gibbs: When you gotta go, you gotta go...



Poor Shelley has a very small bladder. But does that give her an exemption from election laws?

She walked past a distance marker and illegally entered an early voting location. To use the restroom. And then decided to hang around a bit. She walked into the voting area, introduced herself to election judges, and spoke to them about turnout. Then she walked over towards the E-Slate machines and took a peek at some people voting.

And now here's the important part: Shelley is the only candidate who can tell if you're voting for her by watching you vote from a distance. And she just couldn't help herself. She just had to see if Republicans were spinning that wheel and dialing her name in.

Bless her heart, she is such a walking faux paus...



******************************



On the subject of another embarrassing candidate in the CD22 race, I got a few weird hits today: Four separate users from the Disney.com server searching for Dr. Giannibicego Hoa Tran. They hit my recent post about Dr. Tran's incredibly wacky platform.

And the folks at Disney aren't the only ones interested in Dr. Tran. Apparently "Le Groupe Videotron" in Quebec are also researching the good doctor.

Could it have anything to do with "cured danger disease attack from NUCLEAR toxics chemicals in airborn Anthrax, Bird Flu, Heart Cancers, Lung flu?" Your guess is as good as mine...

But you might want to start your research here.

Shelley Sekula Gibbs, the NRCC, and Stevie Wonder




So I know an audio guy named David who has made it his special project to record all the political calls he gets during this election cycle. His recording of the bizarre Gibb's push poll made the rounds a few weeks back, even finding its way onto Bob Smither's website. But now he's got a new one, and it's amazingly strange.





This week, he recorded another extremely bizarre call he received on behalf of Shelley Sekula Gibbs. The call features a young out-of-state telemarketer fumbling her way through instructions on how to vote for Gibbs. But when she's done, my friend David starts hitting her with questions she can't answer. The call is filled with insanely long awkward pauses, shifting excuses, and strange background noises of people screaming. My theory is that the call company is using a cheap VOIP system, and that if you don't hang up, they can't move on to the next call. Their only option is to pull the plug on the system and do a full reset, which is a last resort.





The caller tries to do everything to cover up who is funding the calls, but finally admits that it is the Nat'l Republican Congressional Committee, after first claiming she works for "Independant Research Firm." And there's the rub - If the NRCC is calling, they can't legally ask you to support any specific candidate. This call skates the very edge of campaign finance laws, and when the GOP caller is pressed on details, signs of panic emerge (like the screaming), and towards the end, a supervisor obviously throws a short script with a legal disclaimer in front of her.

Anyway, the call is very weird and uncomfortable, and filled with huge silences.



The Republican party could save their volunteers a lot of awkward moments if they would just pony up and buy some Hold Muzak(TM). So I did it for them. Look how much more professional the call sounds when you fill the silences with a tranquil instrumental version of Stevie Wonder's 1984 smash hit, "I Just Called to Say I Love You." Click here to hear the new and improved version. It's about three minutes long. The first minute is the RCCC script being read, but the fun begins when David starts asking questions...

Or click here to hear the original with long awkward periods of silence.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Annie Elliot, the Hamburglar, Mayor Adam West, and the Bard of Stratford-on-Avon

Drop a dime, get a dime.




That's right...A little ring-ring can score you some bling-bling. And you better believe I'm about to cash in, because I have exclusive photographic evidence of the sign thief in action:





I didn't get his name, but I do believe he called out the words "Robble, robble!"


(pause satire)

I just want to take this opportunity to point out that this is the same Annie Elliot who was named in a recent lawsuit as taking illegal campaign contributions in return for prosecutorial favors given by her husband. The next day, the office of one of the attorneys who filed the brief was maliciously vandalized, including the destruction of political signs and the desecration of a memorial.

So there's irony here as well.

(resume satire)


I can't help but being reminded of a scene from Family Guy:




Mayor Adam West: MY GOD! Somebody's stealing my water!

Meg: It just went down the drain.

Mayor Adam West: They're crafty I tell you. It happens when you least expect it.

[Waters plant.]

Mayor Adam West: SHOW YOURSELVES, DAMN YOU! I've been investigating them for months. It has cost $150,000 dollars of the taxpayers' money, but I'll find the culprits if it costs me a million.

Meg: You know, I think I have my story.

Mayor Adam West: You can't print that! It'll compromise my entire investigation! Thank God she's just a figment of my imagination...



And for those that don't watch TV, there's a bit of Shakespeare with a similar message:

"Oh God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains!"

Cassio was speaking of liquor, but there's nothing like a good double entendre to brighten my day...And yes, I've read Othello. Don't look so shocked.