Monday, June 25, 2012

Supreme Court Affirms 'Citizens United' Unlimited Billionaire Political Payola

The Washington Post

The Supreme Court has struck down a Montana ban on corporate political money, ruling 5 to 4 that the controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling applies to state and local elections.

The court broke in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock along the same lines as in the original Citizens United case, when the court ruled that corporate money is speech and thus corporations can spend unlimited amounts on elections.

“The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law,” the majority wrote. “There can be no serious doubt that it does.”
No arguments were heard; it was a summary reversal. “To the extent that there was any doubt from the original Citizens United decision broadly applies to state and local laws, that doubt is now gone,” said Marc Elias, a Democratic campaign lawyer. “To whatever extent that door was open a crack, that door is now closed.”

A 1912 Montana law barred direct corporate contributions to political parties and candidates — a response to the election interference of “copper kings.” Mark Twain wrote of one such mining giant in 1907, Sen. William Clark (D), “He is said to have bought legislatures and judges as other men buy food and raiment. By his example he has so excused and so sweetened corruption that in Montana it no longer has an offensive smell.” The state supreme court upheld that ban late last year in spite of Citizens United, saying Montana’s history of “rough contests for political and economic domination” gave the state a “unique and compelling interests” in limiting corporate influence on elections.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer wanted the Montana case heard, arguing that Citizens United should get new scrutiny in the light of its effect on campaign finance. In his original decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that independent campaign expenditures by corporations “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Ginsberg argued that the Montana case was an opportunity to reconsider “in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance.” But today’s ruling shows that the five justices who supported the original ruling have not budged.

Read the full article @ The Washington Post.

Supreme Court Upholds Key Part Of Arizona Anti-Latino Immigratant Law

The Supreme Court today upheld the "papers please" part of Arizona's illegal immigrant law in a 5-3 decision that allows police officers to ask about immigration status during stops.

The "papers please" part of the law, which never went into effect because of court challenges, can be immediately enforced in Arizona. Other parts of the law, including a provision that made it a state crime for illegal immigrants to seek work, will remain blocked, as the justices affirmed the federal government's supremacy over immigration policy.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court's swing vote, wrote the opinion, and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Conservative Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas partially dissented, saying the entire law or most of the law should have been upheld.

In the opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote that the federal government's "power to determine immigration policy is well settled." But he also sympathized with Arizona's burden in dealing with illegal immigrants.

"Arizona bears many of the consequences of unlawful im­migration," he wrote. "Hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens are apprehended in Arizona each year."
However, the justices found that Arizona cannot mete out their own state punishments for federal immigration crimes.

"Arizona may have under­standable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law," Kennedy writes in the opinion's conclusion.

Police immigration checks are allowed, however, only because state police would simply flag federal authorities, when the identify illegal immigrants.

Since the passage of Arizona's "papers, please" law, likely voters in Arizona have shifted their support to Democratic candidates in a "very substantive way," according to analysis by Public Policy Polling. That shift is largely due to energized (and probably angry) Latino voters, say Tom Jensen, PPP's director:

ACLU Press Release:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Obama Courts Hispanic Vote At NALEO Conference

A week after signing an executive order that bars the deportation of young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before they were 16 and have graduated from high school, President Obama today made a direct appeal to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference in Orlando, Florida.

Obama addressed the conference of Latino officials, just a day after the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, addressed the conference. Without mentioning Romney by name, the President drew a sharp distinction with his challenger on immigration, reminding the crowd of Romney’s opposition to the DREAM Act, the legislation derailed by Congressional Republicans that is intended to put many illegal immigrant students and veterans on a path to citizenship:

"Your speaker from yesterday has a different view. In his speech, he said that when he makes a promise to you, he’ll keep it. Well, he has promised to veto the DREAM Act, and we should take him at his word. I'm just saying."

Pres. Obama speaking at the NALEO
Annual Conference
June 22, 2012

Asked by pollsters, Latino voters overwhelmingly support Pres. Obama. So much so, in fact, that if Republicans can't pull some of that support back to their own party, Mitt Romney's chances of winning in November are close to zero.

Republicans' callous and deeply unpopular rhetoric against Latinos has created a serious rift between Latino Americans and the GOP.

This has the potential to be a serious problem for Romney and other Republicans on the Texas ballot this November given the staggering statistic that Hispanics now account for 38 percent of the Texas population -- and nearly 4 million Texas Latinos can vote.

This is probably why Texas Republicans are desperate to have their voter photo I.D. law in effect for the November 2012 Presidential Election. Up to 40 percent of Latino American citizens already registered to vote in some Texas counties do not have one of the limited selection of government issued photo I.D.'s needed to vote under this law. As I personally heard so many Republican voters comment when they checked-in to vote early for the Texas Primary last month, "we need that voter photo I.D. law enforced to keep the wrong people from voting."

Still, Texas Latinos historically have been apathetic about voting. The percentage of Latinos who vote has actually dropped over the past eight years. In 2004, roughly 42 percent of Latinos went to the polls, but that number dropped to 38 percent in 2008, falling to 22 percent in the 2010 election.

The newly elected Texas Democratic Party Chairman, Gilberto Hinojosa, says that the flaw in the party’s strategy over the last several years has been its focus on so-called independent voters, when Democrats should be courting the state’s sleeping Latino demographic giant.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Hispanic turnout is where we’re getting beat,” Hinojosa says. “Anything you want to look at with regards to the Democratic Party, it comes down to that. We’ve got African-Americans, the LGBT community, Asians, women. The one that’s under-performing in greatest numbers and the one that makes up the greatest number of potential voters is the Hispanic community.”

Texas Democrats could learn, Hinojosa says, from California, Nevada and Colorado Democrats' successes in turning out Latino voters in the 2010 election.

In a year in which the Tea Party was killing everyone else, all three states had big Democratic wins due to Latino support. “Nevada spent a lot of money, but they had a focused strategy, and Harry Reid won because of the large Latino voter turnout.”

California has a similar Latino voting population to Texas, but it consistently turns out higher numbers at the polls. Census Bureau figures show that in California, nearly 60 percent of eligible Latinos turn out to vote. The national average is about 50 percent.

The Texas Democratic Party has already started Hispanic outreach programs, like the Promesa Project, that uses a combination of online and grassroots techniques to recruit young Latinos as the party’s messengers to their families, and social networks to get out the Latino vote this November.

Will the Texas Democratic Party's new Latino outreach emphasis pushed by Hinojosa, combined with Latino voters' overwhelming support of Pres. Obama, on top of Latino antipathy for the GOP boost Latino voter turnout back to 42 percent, or more, of that demographic group? We will find out on Election Day, November 6.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Seaway Pipeline Risk To North Texas Water Supply

by Deborah Angell-Smith

Learn about the proposed Seaway Pipeline and the risk it poses to the North Texas water supply at a Democratic Network Educational Session, 10:45am this Sat. morning, June 23rd, at the John & Judy Gay Library in McKinney. (John & Judy Gay Library - 6861 El Dorado Parkway - Map)

Most of us have heard of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. This past November, a similar plan was announced to operate the Seaway pipeline, an existing 36-year old crude pipeline that passes through Collin, Grayson, Rockwall, and Kaufman counties, and crosses tributaries to Lake Lavon and other water sources supplying the DFW area.

In this plan, tar sands crude will travel 500-miles between Cushing, Oklahoma and refineries on the Gulf Coast. Tar sands is far more toxic, acidic, and corrosive than conventional crude since it has to be liquified with natural gas condensate and other chemicals to dilute it enough to push it through a highly pressurized pipeline.

The Seaway pipeline will be developed by Enbridge Inc., the operator responsible for the largest and most expensive tar sand spill in U.S. history, in a 50/50 partnership with Enterprise Partners. The toxic Enbridge spill on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan was due to a rupture in an aging, 43-year old repurposed pipeline, not unlike Seaway. Now, two years and $720 million later, people along the Kalamazoo are sick and their property is ruined.

DFW's already scarce water supply will be at risk with the transport of tar sands crude through this aging, repurposed pipeline. Join us this Saturday to learn more about Seaway and the actions we can take as citizens on this threat to our DFW water supply at our second Democratic Network Forum.

Our speaker will be Rita Beving, the North Texas organizer for Public Citizen. Her current focus is the Seaway and Keystone pipelines. She has more than 15 years activist experience on air and water issues. Rita also serves as the 391 consultant regarding the Keystone pipeline for the cities of Gallatin/Reklaw/Alto. In addition to her role as an activist, Rita operates a thriving antiques business. She is supported in all of her efforts by her husband, our good friend and former SDEC Committeeman, David Griggs.

We'll meet at the John & Judy Gay Library in McKinney, 6861 El Dorado Parkway, just east of Alma. It's centrally located in the county and a beautiful facility with plenty of room, so please bring interested friends and neighbors. Come for coffee and breakfast goodies at 10:45 am and the program will get started at 11. We'll wrap up by 1 pm and those who care to do so can adjourn to a nearby restaurant for lunch and continue the discussion.

If you're not able to come this Saturday, we hope you'll be able to join us at our next Forum. Our plan is to offer local residents opportunities to learn more about the issues that affect us right here in Collin County, and what we, as Democrats, are doing to make things better. We also hope to foster discussion groups in each of our local communities.

We invite your input on topics, speakers, format and other options - and encourage you to get involved in growing our network. We'll have sign-up and comment sheets at the event, but if you aren't able to attend, please e-mail us at, or call (469) 713-2031 to leave a voice message.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Social Media Caucus At The Democratic State Convention

by Michael Handley

Last week, at the 2012 Democratic State Convention in Houston, I attended the Social Media Caucus. This well attended panel discussion was chaired by Democratic activist and citizen editorialist, Rachel Farris (@meanrachel) who writes Mean Rachel, a popular progressive blog that covers perspective and satire on Texas and national politics.

Rachel kicked off the caucus by interviewing Texas State Senator Kirk Watson (@kirkpwatson) who explained how as a legislator and candidate he effectively uses Twitter and other social media to open and maintain discussions with his constituents.

Texas State Senator Kirk Watson and Rachel Farris discuss the Senator's #AskKW Twitter chat channel

Sen. Watson writes his own blog/e-newsletter the Watson Wire, and has a large following on both his political and personal Facebook pages.

His website – – is plugged into his Facebook and Twitter pages and he recently started experimenting with a comment function where, if people log in, they can leave their thoughts and questions, to which Senator Watson can respond.

Senator Watson understands that social media can be used to inform his constituents about the issues. But Sen. Watson is also learning that social media is even more powerful because it can be used as a two-way communication channel to have regular conversations with large numbers of voters at one time. Using Twitter, or other social media platforms, politicians like Senator Watson can have regular conversations with voters that are as effective as phone and door canvassing.

Unfortunately, candidates themselves do not have the time to call or visit many voters at home – one person at a time. And phone and door canvassing contact with individual voters is usually just a one-time conversation per election cycle. Recruiting enough volunteer or paid campaign workers to engage enough voters one by one to swing an election is also difficult – especially for first time novice candidates. Phone and door canvassing can only be done only one voter at a time, but using social media, politicians can converse with many people at a time, as Senator Watson discusses in the video.

Just as a candidate personally knocking on doors and making phone calls to talk to voters wins more votes than interns, volunteers or paid canvassers might win talking to people at those same homes, so a candidate personally engaging people in social media conversation will win more votes than novice volunteers tweeting. Additionally, the increasing prevalence of "cell phone- only" households is making traditional landline-based political canvassing activities obsolete.

When it comes to building relationships with voters, social media services like YouTube, iTunes Podcasts, Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter are communication channels that can be as effective as spending millions of dollars on traditional TV, Radio and Print media market buys. It is just as important to prepare a carefully thought out message communication plan for social media as it is for a multimillion dollar traditional TV, Radio and Print media market buy.

Tweeting is not just for candidates! Party leaders can just as effectively use Twitter, and other social media channels, to regularly engage in conversations with the base of Texas Democrats. Over time these conversations with grassroots Democrats can expand, motivate and empower Democrats to both support the party and vote on election day.

Next on the Social Media Caucus agenda after Senator Watson, Rachel moderated a social media panel discussion among professional and citizen journalists. from left Rachel Farris, Scott Braddock, Charles Kuffner and Michael Li

The panel (picture above from left) included Rachel Farris, Scott Braddock, (@scottbraddock) a well-known Texas radio journalist and commentator who also writes his Voice of Texas blog, Charles Kuffner (@kuff) who writes his Off the Kuff blog, Michael Li, (@mcpli) a Dallas lawyer who specializes in election law and who writes his Texas Redistricting blog, and Peter Salinas, Vice President of the Hidalgo County Young Democrats organization that uses Social Media for community outreach.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Message From TDP State Chair Gilberto Hinojosa

Fellow Texas Democrats:

I am so honored to have been chosen by you as your Chair of our Great Texas Democratic Party. The overwhelming support from our Party rank and file was humbling. Thank you so much!

I would like to thank Rachel Barrios Van Os and Fidel "Ace" Acevedo for their sacrifice in their race for Chair. I know that their love of our Democratic Party is what drove them in this back breaking pace of a statewide campaign. To both of you, congratulations for your commitment to our Party and know that we welcome your continued leadership and work in our Party.

The real work now begins. Much remains to be done. But knowing that, not only is our cause just and right, it is a cause that comes with Hope. As I have stressed to you throughout this campaign for a year and a half, there are more of "Us" than "Them". Our challenge is to assemble strategies that will ensure that Our Base is engaged, energized and involved in the electoral process. This is doable my friends - but not without a lot of hard work and smart thinking. But, if there is one thing that I am sure of it is that we are smarter than they are and the Republican assault on our families in Texas drives us to want to work harder than ever. Texas families are depending on us to succeed. We cannot fail - WE MUST NOT FAIL!!!

So let's get to work. Let's turn this thing around. And, let's bring the visionary, strong and compassionate leadership to our Great State that our families deserve.

And let's have some fun doing it, my friends!

Gilberto Hinojosa
Chair of the Texas Democratic Party

Monday, June 11, 2012

2012 TDP Platform Shows Progressive Direction

Last weekend 2012 Democratic State Convention delegates passed one of the most progressive party platforms ever contemplated by Texas Democrats. Delegates also overwhelmingly elected Judge Gilberto Hinojosa Texas Democratic Party Chair for the next two years.

Hinojosa told convention delegates that the party and the party's candidates must begin to offer the voters of Texas a clear choice to the extreme conservative policies of the Republican Party - and that includes clearly communicating the progressive values of the Democratic Party. At the convention, he shouted from the podium,

“This is a war, folks. This is a war that the Republicans have waged on our families in Texas and all across America, We are a compassionate people. We don’t believe in pulling up the ladder after we reach the top.”

Hinojosa said that while Republicans call Democrats un-American it is in truth Republicans who carried out un-American policies by cutting funding for public education, women's health care, denying citizens their right to vote and opposing civil rights protections for all sexual orientations.

Last November this Blog published an article, "The Texas Democratic Party Needs A New Direction." The article said in part,

"... Perhaps the idea that the TDP's voter base, outside of Austin, is pervasively very conservative - an idea still active espoused by long time Democratic political strategists - is no longer correct. Perhaps the idea that the party and it's candidates must continue to subscribe to conservative policy strategies, shunning all progressive/liberal policy positions, is a strategy that no longer works - even in Texas.

It is, perhaps, time for party leaders to seriously consider whether the party finds itself struggling to attract voters, raise money and attract new candidates, not because it's not conservative enough, but because the Democratic Party offers Texas voters no real and contrasting choice to the extreme conservative Republican brand of politics. ..."

The election of Judge Hinojosa, the party's first Hispanic chair, and TDP's 2012 platform demonstrates that "perhaps" our November 2011 article was prescient. The progressive 2012 platform advocates for controversial issues including calling for the end of the death penalty, decriminalization of marijuana, the legalization of same sex marriage, and more. Read the platform and decide for yourself - below the "more" jump:

Half Of Over-65s Regularly Use The Internet

As of April 2012, 53% of American adults age 65 and older use the internet or email, according to a Pew Research report.

Though these adults are still less likely than all other age groups to use the internet, the latest data represent the first time that half of seniors are going online. For most online seniors, internet use is a daily fixture in their lives.

Among internet users age 65 and older, 70% use the internet on a typical day. After several years of very little growth among this group, these gains are significant.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

State Senator Wendy Davis And Voter Photo ID

by Michael Handley and Linda Magid

Linda Magid (left) with Sen. Davis (D-10)Texas State Senator Wendy Davis attended the Texas Democratic Party Kick-Off Reception last Thursday night to celebrate the beginning of the State Democratic Convention for 2012.

Senator Davis had only earlier been deposed for the Texas Voter Photo I.D. case currently before the federal Washington DC Circuit Court.

When we spoke with Senator Davis at the reception she shared that lawyers for the Photo I.D. law tried to imply that because citizens of Texas want the law that it should be allowed.

It will come as no surprise that Davis refused to agree to that logic, stating that legislators are responsible to ensure that no laws are discriminatory and that the Texas Voter I.D. law that passed last year was clearly discriminatory.

Legislation passed by the Republican controlled Texas Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2011 (SB 14) requires that voters present one of a select and limited group of government issued photo I.D., which over 30% of some voting groups do not hold, before casting a ballot.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department or a federal court is required to pre-clear laws affecting voters before they go into effect in jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination -- and that includes Texas. The Texas Secretary of State’s (TxSOS) office made the preclearance filing for SB 14 to the U.S. Department Justice (USDOJ) on July 25, 2011. The state’s voter I.D. law is on hold awaiting review from a D.C. Circuit Court.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Judge Gilberto Hinojosa Elected Texas Democratic Party Chair

by Michael Handley

On the final day of the 2012 Democratic State Convention in Houston delegates overwhelmingly elected Judge Gilberto Hinojosa Texas Democratic Party Chair for the next two years.

Hinojosa, 59, is a former judge, county party leader and member of the Democratic National Committee. He is replacing outgoing chairman Boyd Richie, who announced in April 2011 that he would not seek another term after serving as party chair for six years.

Judge Hinojosa, who is the first Hispanic chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, intends to bring the kind of change to the TDP that will begin to offer the voters of Texas in all 254 counties a clear choice to the extreme conservative policies of the Republican Party - and that includes clearly communicating the progressive values of the Democratic Party. At the convention, he shouted from the stage,

“This is a war, folks. This is a war that the Republicans have waged on our families in Texas and all across America, We are a compassionate people. We don’t believe in pulling up the ladder after we reach the top.”

Hinojosa said that while Republicans call Democrats un-American it is in truth Republicans who carried out un-American policies by cutting funding for public education, women's health care, denying citizens their right to vote and opposing civil rights protections for all sexual orientations.

Hinojosa said Democrats need to begin believing they can win elections and stop allowing Republicans to define them us unpatriotic. "We as a party need to realize that there are more of us than there are of them - We have 70 percent of the people of Texas being beaten by 30 percent of the (Republican) people of Texas,” Hinojosa told convention delegates. "We believe that everyone in this great state deserves an equal chance ... and we can only do that if we win elections."

Judge Hinojosa, who is a lifelong Democrat, is passionate about rebuilding the Texas Democratic Party. When he announced his candidacy for party chair in June 2011 he said,
"I have decided to take on this campaign for Texas Democratic Party Chair because I believe that the people of the State of Texas deserve, and desperately need, to have a Democratic Party that will ensure that we elect fair minded, socially conscious, critical thinking and visionary Democrats to run this State, instead of the Republicans that are running it into the ditch. Texans cannot afford any less. TOO much is at stake. TOO much has been lost and we must turn things around before it's TOO late."

Judge Hinojosa interview with Texas Trib reporter Ross Ramsey.

Judge Hinojosa grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, attended what is now the University of Texas-Pan American, and obtained his law degree at Georgetown University.

He first worked as a lawyer for the Washington, D.C.-based Migrant Legal Action Program and then served as a Brownsville school trustee, a state district judge, a justice on the state's 13th Court of Appeals, on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and Cameron County Judge. Judge Hinojosa currently practices law in Brownsville.

(Click here to read more about Judge Hinojosa.)

Michael Handley is DBN Managing Editor and was a delegate to TDP State Convention. Michael also served on the TDP Convention Party Officer Nominations Committee that approved Judge Hinojosa's nomination, along with other party officers.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Heard In The Ladies Room At The Texas Democratic Convention - Day 1

by Barb Walters

Close to the end of day 1 at the Democratic Convention in Houston. Spent most of the day in the Ladies Room and met men and women from all over the state.

Michelle Petty is running for the Texas Supreme Court. All 9 on the court are Republicans and have been for years. Michelle shared examples of the kind of decisions they need to make.Supreme Court Candidate Michelle Petty and Barb Walters

The court has ruled that rape cases involving health care providers have to go under the medical malpractices act which limits their rights of recovery and makes it more difficult. Historically these have been personal injury cases. Vote Michelle.

Spent time getting to know James White who is running for Senate District 8 Committeeman. Committeeman Candidate James White and Barb WaltersPersonally I am endorsing James because he will work collaboratively with the SD8 Committeewoman and will work across the county line between Dallas and Collin. He spent time in the Ladies Room.

I met some union women from Wise County and Harris County and will learn more about what their political issues are during the "Labor of Love" session tomorrow.

My session on how to activate Democrats was well-received. Several people offered their ideas of what they do in their counties to activate Democrats -- like doing outreach to recruit precinct chairs, writing letters to the editor, and offering programs at meetings on important issues like same sex marriage. One button says: Democrats: Say I Do. Stonewall Democrats were distributing these at their reception asking us to put same sex marriage in the Democratic Party Platform.

I can say the Ladies Room was :"bubbly" with sparkling wine and sparkling conversation.

Barb Walters, CPLP
Texas Democratic Women of Collin County President

The Ladies' Room Hospitality Suite Schedule - Hilton Hotel Room 21029 west

Thursday, June 7th
  • 3 - 4:30 PM - Welcome Reception, Meet the RW leadership and members (Sponsored by ROADWomen)
  • 5 - 7 PM - Top 10 Ways to Activate Democrats! Workshop (Sponsored by the Democratic Women Collin County)
  • 8 - 10 PM - Stop by! Visit! Network! (Sponsored by Zeph Capo, Candidate for DND Committee)
Friday, June 8th
  • 8:30 - 10 AM - Breakfast and Organizational Meeting of The Progressive Democratic Women's Network (Sponsored by Texas Progressive Women)
  • 10:15 - 11 AM - Reception for Union Women. Host Andie Gardner (Sponsored by I.L.A. Local 1351 Port of Houston)
  • 11 - 1:30 PM - THE HIGH TEA PARTY! Honoring Non, Sissy Farenthold (Sponsored by Capital Area Democratic Women and National Women's Political Caucus-Texas)
  • 2 - 4 PM - Down Time with lemonde, cookies & relaxation (Visit and Network) or possibly function featuring Ann Johnson DS 17
  • 5 - 7 PM - Honoring Women's Health Champions. Special guest Melanie Linton, CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. (Sponsored by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast)
  • 7:30 - 10 PM - Champaign & Martini Reception "Friends of Education" with the smooth sounds of Carli Mosier & Taylormade (Sponsored by Zeph Capo, Candidate for DNC Committeeman, Hosted by Erica Graham, Candidate-Judge Harris County Civil Court at Law 1 and Linda Bridges, President of Texas AFT, Gayle Fallon, HFT, and Sherrie Matula, TSTA
Saturday, June 8th
  • 10:30 - 12 noon - "Flush Rush" and "Send Perry Packing" Farewell Event. Come sign petitions against Rush and Perry (Sponsored by I.L.A. Local 1351 Port of Houston and Vicinity

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Obama's New Ad And Romney's Dash For The Cash In Texas

A week after Texas GOP primary voters gave him the delegates needed for him to secure the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney comes to Texas looking for campaign cash. Romney is scheduled to deliver his core argument, "that he knows how to create jobs and as president he would revive the struggling economy," Tuesday afternoon at a Fort Worth office supply company. He then heads to a fundraiser at the old Belo Mansion in downtown Dallas on Tuesday night, before heading to fundraisers in San Antonio and Houston on Wednesday.

Texans have contributed more than $5.8 million to his 2012 campaign, and that doesn't include the millions of dollars in cash wealthy Republican have contributed to Romney-booster super PACs, including Restore Our Future and American Crossroads. The gate fee for Romney's Dallas fundraiser starts at $2,500 per person, and Donors who contribute $50,000, or motivate $200,000 from others, get a private reception with Romney.

We've Heard it All Before
Obama for America Television Ad

Meanwhile, President Obama's OFA campaign has placed a new television spot directly attacking Mitt Romney's core argument: that he knows how to create jobs and as president he would revive the struggling economy.

OFA's ad, which is running in nine battleground states, begins with a clip from Romney's campaign to become governor of Massachusetts and him saying that he knows how to create jobs. It then highlights that the state dropped to 47th for job creation under his tenure.

"One of the worst economic records in the country," a narrator says as headlines flash on the screen. The ad attacks Romney for losing twice the national average of manufacturing jobs and says he outsourced call center jobs to India.

The message: "Mitt Romney ran for governor of Massachusetts promising more jobs, decreased debt, and smaller government. By the time Romney left office, state debt had increased, the size of government had grown, and Massachusetts had fallen behind almost every other state in job creation. Romney economics didn't work then, and it won't work now."

The ad will run in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Voter Registration Cancellations

Houston Chronicle

More than 300,000 valid voters were notified they could be removed from Texas rolls from November 2008 to November 2010 - often because they were mistaken for someone else or failed to receive or respond to generic form letters, according to Houston Chronicle interviews and analysis of voter registration data.

Statewide, more than 1.5 million voters could be on the path to cancellation if they fail to vote or to update their records for two consecutive federal elections: One out of every 10 Texas voters' registration is currently suspended. Among voters under 30, the figure is about one in five.

Texas voter registration rates are among the lowest in the nation, but Texas pays nearly twice as much to cancel voters - 40 cents per cancellation - as it does to register new ones at 25 cents.

State and federal laws require the nation's voter rolls be regularly reviewed and cleaned to remove duplicates and eliminate voters who moved away or died. But across Texas, such "removals" rely on outdated computer programs, faulty procedures and voter responses to generic form letters, often resulting in the wrong people being sent cancellation notices, including new homeowners, college students, Texans who work abroad and folks with common names, a Chronicle review of cancellations shows.

The Secretary of State's office says it automatically cancels voters only when there is a "strong match" between a new registration and an older existing voter - such as full name, Social Security number and/or date of birth.

However, each year thousands of voters receive requests to verify voter information or be cancelled because they share the same name as a voter who died, got convicted of a crime or claimed to be a non-citizen to avoid jury duty.

In Harris County alone, more than 100,000 voters share their name with at least one other voter. The phenomenon is even more common among Hispanics.

Voters receive form letters generated by workers in county election offices that "therefore may be more subject to error," said Rich Parsons, a spokesman for the Secretary of State in emailed responses to the newspaper. Voters who fail to respond to form letters - or never receive them - get dropped.

Statewide, 21 percent of the people who received purge letters later proved they were valid voters, compared with 16 percent in Harris County, according to a Chronicle analysis of the latest U.S. Election Assistance Commission data. Other counties had higher percentages: 37 percent of voters who received removal letters in Galveston County were valid voters, 40 percent in Bexar County and 70 percent in Collin County.

Read the full story @ Houston Chronicle.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Texas State Democratic Convention And The SDEC

by Linda Magid

Delegates to the 2012 Democratic State Convention will assemble in Houston from Thursday, June 7 through Saturday June 9. One of the first items of state convention business that delegates will consider is who they will elect to serve on the State Democratic Executive Committee until the 2014 Democratic State Convention convenes.

But what is the State Democratic Executive Committee and what does it do, exactly?

TDP Chair Candidate Gilberto Hinojosa

By Michael Handley, DBN Managing Editor

Texas Democrats, who will attend the State Democratic Convention in Houston June 7-9, have an opportunity to change the direction of the party. Party chairman Boyd Richie is stepping down, and a new party chairman must be elected at the state convention on June 9th. Judge Gilberto Hinojosa is running to be the next chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, to bring that much needed change.

Last November this Blog published an article, "The Texas Democratic Party Needs A New Direction:"