Friday, July 07, 2006

Corteing Trouble

Poor Frank. He can't just help staying out of trouble. Even when he is half a planet away. But maybe that's the plan -- he can blame this latest transgression on his staff slacking off in his absence.

Our Boy Frank gots yet another failing grade. This time for not disclosing the employers and occupations of all donors who contribute $500 or more in a reporting period (a campaign finance law that was enacted in 2003 by the very Lege he is a member of) since 2004.

This confuses the LarryForLege campaign mightily for a few reasons.

1) We haven't ever gotten a donation that big. Probably wouldn't know what to do with it if we did. But judging by the money Frank raised in his last election, if every single donation was over $500 dollars it would still only be 140 entries to report. This isn't national or even state level politics, y'all. How hard could 140 be?

2) As the editorial linked above points out, there is no extra burdern here. Not even the aforementioned mythical 140 entries. The Texas Ethics Commission already requires candidates to disclose the name and address of anyone who contributes $50 or more. LittleLarry and TreasurerTerry have been following this rule faithfully...whether the donation is over or under $50.00 If these two old Army loggies can manage to keep spreadsheets, compare and contrast them, and get their reports to the Ethics Commission on time, why can't Corte's well-oiled political machine manage the same?

3) It isn't like you have to work that hard to keep the money without the information. If they don't have the employer and occupation listed, the campaign only has to document an oral or written request for the missing information some time within 30 days of receiving the contribution. Now, our own general campaign rule on missing information has been to issue a written request and if we don't hear back with the needed information we send back the money. Call us starry-eyed innocents, but we're working hard to stay as faithful to the idea on running an honest campaign. The term my counseling professors always use is aspirational ethics. And it was a question on the mid-term, dontcha know. But all Frank & Co. have to do is give it the old college try. That one was on the mid-term as well. It's called mandatory ethics.

But apparently some people think mandatory just doesn't apply to them.

The editorial put it bluntly:

The purpose of this requirement was simple: To make it easier for the public to discern what role businesses and special interests are playing in elections.

So what's Frank hidin' this time?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Where Were You Forty Years Ago Today?

Well, Candidate Larry called me up from his cell phone on the way home just now, and asked me if I knew where he was 40 years ago today. I thought a bit; I kinda got the impression it was important to him that I know this answer. As I was thinking, I kept up a bit of patter, but all the while, I was processing what I knew of his life before I met him. I realized he was 18, he had just graduated from Tascosa High School in Amarillo, and it was in 1966. Then I remembered - at the height of the Vietnamese War, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, and this day 40 years ago was his report date.

Larry is generally a cheerful, positive guy. He has a sunny disposition. No dark moods and depressions linger around that man. So I was surprised that his memory of a gloomy and fearful time would surface, and that he would mark such an anniversary. He still speaks of that time little, and can find nothing humorous to recount from those days. They ate every meal sitting at attention, there were no condiments like ketchup, not even salt and pepper. They had 2 uniforms (including underwear), that they were required to keep clean, so if they were doing night maneuvers in the mud, they came back to the barracks at 2 AM and hand-washed their clothes. He got less sleep in Marine Corps Boot Camp in 1966 than he did during the Gulf War, when he was up through the night a few times a week and was lucky to get 4 hours of sleep.

I remember when we were stationed at Army posts with basic training or AIT, and seeing those young kids marching in formation to the pay phones on Saturdays, if they were not marching off some infraction in the yard; and waiting in line with two hundred other young troops to make one 3 minute call to their loved ones. I remember seeing them break down in church, weeping from anxiety and exhaustion.

And I think of them today, gathering up the body parts of their friends, wondering why, really, they are in such a situation in Iraq. It would be understandable to me, I think, if these youngsters were fighting an entity that actually threatened the US. I would not feel the shame I feel at their predicament if I thought they were sacrificing their youth and innocence for America. But they are suffering, not on behalf of our country, but on behalf of a corrupt and careless government; on behalf of the whims of adventurers who would no more serve in the peacetime military than would Paris Hilton, let alone in actual battle. They are sacrificing for cowards playing Risk, but who are using real humans to make it more interesting, after which they go have a few martinis and a steak and plan their next golf junket.

I really wonder how they sleep at night. I know it will be a tough night for Larry, remembering how he was thrown into the Marine Corps maw forty years ago; and thinking of how corrupt chicken hawks are mis-using this generation of young men and women soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

I think I'm going to put on a bumper sticker I've been saving since Demfest last year. It says, "Draft The Twins".

True Americans

The original "True American" email foward, was sent to me, altered, with the following message. And with the author's permission I'm posting it here to share with everyone. If you have any rewrites you would like to add yourself, please do send them along to Vivian's email address posted at the end of this entry!

I received another version of this in email. That version did not sit well with me, as it's statements required me to ignore the rights of someone else, in order to agree. So, I rewrote it. Send me your rewrites.


You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: It never occurred to you to be offended by the practice or non-practice of religion, anyone's religion.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You've always protested the enforcement of any religion or religious behavior on anyone..

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You accept everyone's practice of all traditional holidays, wherever they came from and whatever their family believes or has as a tradition.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You respect everyone's right to practice their religion privately and not publicly inflict your beliefs on everyone else .

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You respect the song and flags of the nation you are a citizen of, and those of any other nation you are visiting or hosting.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You treat all vets with the respect they earned by service wherever and whenever that service was performed..

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You see something wrong and you do not keep quiet through fear or intimidation.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You respect everyone and require your kids and friends to do the same.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You'd use your resources to help anyone in times of need.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You understand and accept that America is a free land of diversity and acceptance of the rights of everyone to make better lives for themselves and their families.

American does not mean Christian, Baptist, Islam, Catholic, Presbyterian, Pentecost, Mormon, or any other religion.
American does not mean white, black, red, brown or any other skin tone or color.
American does not mean male, female, transgendered or any other biology.
American does not mean sex, however it is enjoyed or ignored.
American is not only a choice, it is a concept, an idea, a dream.

American does not mean anything but Freedom and the responsibilities that go with that freedom.

Freedom to be the greatest nation in the world because we encourage the inventiveness and creativity that comes with diversity.
Responsibility to protect the members of those diverse groups, Americans.

Freedom to be the strongest and most respected nation in the world because with free-thinking comes wonderful ideas and possibilities.
Responsibility to protect these free-thinkers, Americans.

Freedom to celebrate the many ways of worship because with spirituality comes a respect and love for family, however that family is constructed or born.
Responsibility to protect those American families.

Freedom to agree and to disagree.
Responsibility to do this peacably and without hurt.
Responsibility to protect other's freedom to disagree with us.

Freedom to be safe, and to live and raise our families as we see best without interference.
Responsibility to be willing to protect that safety with our votes, our politics, our behavior, our selves.
Responsibility to ask for help and an expectation that help will be offered.
Responsibility to behave as thinking, reasoning, respectful adults, always, regardless the provocation or circumstance.

Freedom to associate freely and speak/write our minds about any subject we desire.
Responsibility to require these responsibilities of our friends and to teach them to our children.

Freedom is not free. We must all work every minute of every day to prevent it from becoming eroded, corroded or tarnished by the temptation to misuse a freedom in a way that might cause a limit on the same freedom belonging to someone else.

--Vivian Nelson

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Arthur And The Witch: A Fable

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question:
What do women really want?

Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer.

But the price would be high; as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first.

The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend! !

Young Arthur was horrified. How could he ask his friend to marry this hunchbacked and hideous woman? She had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, and made obscene noises and gestures on a constant basis. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.

He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur's question thus:

What a woman really wants, she to be in charge of her own life

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared.

And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But the sight awaited him, was nothing like what he expected. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked how this came to be.

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would offer him a gift. She could appear as her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.

Which would he prefer?

Beautiful during the day...or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch?

Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

What would YOU do?

Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself.

Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Now, all good fables have a moral and the moral of this story is that if you don't let a woman make her own choices?

Things are going to get UGLY.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Shake It Down Now

Here is a little 4th of July playlist for everyone who enjoyed the Bulldog Dem mix so much!

Living In America -- James Brown
Born In The USA -- Bruce Springsteen
American Woman -- Lenny Kravitz
Rockin In The USA -- John Mellancamp
American Pie -- Don McClean
American Baby -- Dave Matthews Band
4th Of July -- Robert Earl Keen
American Girl -- Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers

Any others to add? Comments section is open!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Swinging Off The Tail Of The J

Originally uploaded by faithwearspurple.
Have you ever heard of the Davies J-Curve theory? Yeah, me either until just recently. Essentially, and you can read a bit more about it here, the Davies J-Curve theory is a theory of revolution and uprising from a sociological perspective.

Here’s the thing about revolution and why people revolt:

It isn’t for political ideology or religion freedom or being beaten down by The Man one time too many.

Revolution occurs when a society’s citizens enjoy a time period of increased prosperity and well-being and then find it all snatched away.

Really, it’s surprising that the Bush administration’s whole Wag The Dog spin campaign clunked along for as long as it has. But, as Davies showed, Rove’s fear and terror campaign was doomed from the start; kinda like trying to create a Marxist society in an agriculturally-based economy such as Russia. No matter how hard you try, you really didn’t have the core ingredients you needed to start with.

This is why Americans are getting so damn mad. This is why I get emails from people in the district telling me they are going to vote against every incumbent on the ballot and what can they do to help support the Bulldog Dems.

People are willing to work hard to improve their quality of life. Americans are, historically and currently, known for pulling themselves up by the bootstaps and earning their prosperity. The Clinton administration understood this and made opportunities available for Americans to suceed. The Bush administration snatched them all away in order to give handouts to those who were already prosperous.

The Davies J-Curve is named such because a time of prosperity followed by sudden collapse looks like an upside down J when graphed. And here we are, swinging off the tail of the J just waiting for the revolution to begin.

And our battle cry?

November 7th Is Just The Beginning.

Ya Basta indeed, MizYucca.