Archive for June 25th, 2014

A local tweeter challenged CNN’s Dana Bash for saying on air last night that some Dem African Americans in Mississippi came out to vote for incumbent GOP Sen. Thad Cochran. Here is what the tweeter put out:

Sorry I disagree with @DanaBashCNN. Black folks DID NOT show up in a republican primary run off to vote for @SenThadCochran . Just no facts.


I would have to see the exit polling to validate such a bold statement.

I don’t know about that. As the polls were closing CNN had a camera crew at a few locations and interviewed African Americans exiting the polling places. They all said they were Dems and had voted for Cochran. I would call that live exit polling.

The local Dem Party put this out yesterday:

Are you ready for some LETICIA! signs?

The new Leticia Van de Putte for Lt. Governor signs are available for only $5.00 per sign at Harris County Democratic Party headquarters, 1445 North Loop West Suite 110, Houston, TX 77008-1654, 713-802-0085.

Lane Lewis, Chair

Be the first on your street to show your pride in and support of
Leticia for Texas Lt. Governor

I sure hope they don’t ask regular folks in the ‘hood to fork over $5 for a sign. I wish they didn’t have to do this.

Last night George Springer had a dinger go 441 feet smack dab into a Bud Patio diner’s main course. Name the only ‘Stro to hit three dingers in a game at Minute Maid Park?

Today is the anniversary of the Sen. Wendy Davis filibuster heard around the universe and there are a couple or so stories about running away from the A word – abortion.

Here is Lisa Falkenberg’s take today on the subject:

It’s hard to believe Wendy Davis’ filibuster was a year ago today. It seems a lifetime ago.

A lifetime ago that a roaring chorus of thousands shook a building made of granite.

A lifetime ago that Texans who may not have known the names of their senators became activists, camping out in the Capitol’s Renaissance Revival hallways, eating “freedom pizza” while waiting to testify against the latest legislative assault on abortion rights.

A lifetime ago that a petite blond senator in pink sneakers stood 13 hours without food, water, bathroom breaks, without even leaning on her desk, to battle the inevitable.

I stood on the floor of the Texas Senate that night as the clock ticked down the minutes until the session’s midnight end.

Davis was still standing, but Republicans were trying to stop her filibuster on technicalities. Finally, a gallery full of orange shirts had enough. The heretofore polite crowd rose to its feet and lifted its collective voice until everything else – the rules, the process, the lieutenant governor’s gavel – was drowned out.

After midnight, Republicans briefly declared victory. But it soon became clear that the bill had failed. At least for that night, it had failed.

It wasn’t the way democracy should work. But that made it no less profound. No less moving. No less than the most historic event I’ve ever witnessed.

And it was witnessed not just by those in the Senate chamber, but around the world on home computers and smartphones.

Davis’ words resonated with many. Her stand, even her shoes, became powerful symbols. That night started a movement – one that seemed unfazed by Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to call another special session that led to the bill’s passing.

What mattered is that Davis had fought. She had stood for Texas women. She had spoken.

But then something happened. The words stopped.

When the senator became the Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate – the brightest prospect the state’s Democrats have had in decades – she stopped talking about the issue that catapulted her to political stardom in the first place, mentioning it only rarely, and usually only when asked about it.

When she announced her candidacy, she avoided the word “abortion” like it was profane. The “issues” section of her website covers education, strong economy, government accountability and veterans – all important – but there’s no mention of women’s health care.

Law has taken its toll

Meanwhile, the law, which banned abortions after 20 weeks, required abortion facilities to meet standards for ambulatory surgical centers, and abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, has taken its toll. Advocates say it led to the closure of 21 clinics, which also provided birth control, pap smears and cancer screenings. More closures are expected.

Politically, Davis’ silence makes sense. Contrary to what Republican opponent Greg Abbott’s adviser thinks, Davis isn’t too stupid to run for governor. She’s studied the numbers. She knows that abortion doesn’t make good sound bites in the reddest state. She believes that talking about pre-K, and even open-carry legislation, is more productive. And she’s still badly trailing in the polls.

Hubbub contrived

No one is suggesting that Davis run only on this one complex, divisive issue – only that she acknowledge its existence every now and then. To use the podium and the celebrity to keep the momentum and the education going on the issue.

It’s possible to utter the “A” word without alienating. Focus on common ground: Keep reminding people that better funding for family planning is the first step toward reducing abortions.

Remind Texas women, particularly the younger ones who have never lived without reproductive rights, that we are losing them one law at a time.

Davis is scheduled to host an event Wednesday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the filibuster. But frankly, after her silence, the anniversary hubbub seems contrived.

You don’t just dust off a social movement because a year has passed and you need to raise money. The fire Davis lit has to be fed and tended if it’s going to spread. The Fort Worth senator may take for granted votes of those who already joined her cause. But what about the social liberals and moderates who haven’t joined Davis’ cause? What about the sympathetic but distracted voters who need to be deeply moved to get to the polls in November?

Rudderless movement

Some of her supporters agree with me and think Davis ought to dance with the ones that brung her. Others don’t. State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, a veteran advocate for women’s rights, says the movement hasn’t lost momentum. It’s just spread out.

“At some point, people want to see the results on bread and butter issues that affect their lives every day, like equal pay and minimum wage,” she added.

Thompson is right in saying abortion isn’t an everyday issue for most Texans. But neither is gay marriage or gun control. Reproductive liberty gets under our skin in the same way. We’re talking about constitutional rights.

Other Davis supporters say she has done enough talking about the issue. Indeed, who has talked more?

“There’s not a Texan alive who isn’t clear on her position on a woman’s right to choose,” Democratic consultant Harold Cook told me awhile back. “What more could she say?”

The problem, though, isn’t that we’re unclear. The problem is that we’re unmoved. And that’s no way to lead a movement.

Nice job Lisa Falkenberg!

There is a front page story in today’s Chron about our smelly water. The City of H-Town says it is “naturally occurring compounds.” Really! Well fix it! We’re not supposed to have smelly water! I’m betting not a single member of City Council gives it a mention at pop-off today.

Morgan Ensberg of course hit three dingers in a game against the Giants at The Yard back in May of 2005.

We left ten men on base last night. That explains our 3-2 loss. Really! Well fix it!

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