That rush of voters we documented as the election day was winding down appeared to have no impact on the early vote deficit of Democratic candidates. The 20-point lead Republicans took from early voting was sustained on election day.
The Republicans were victorious this election. Working families will have to wait another two years for any possibility of a government that cares for them. Expect more corruption, less access to the courts, more imprisonment, less civil liberty, more poverty and homelessness.
The crew of crooked Republican officials for this blog to cover increased by one TLR-funded stooge, a man completely devoid of charisma whose first instinct is to lie and second is to attack, Larry Gonzales. Add to that list Charles “Dr. Creepy” Schwertner, a man whose single motivation for running for office was to fight health care reform at the state level. The future is bright for liberal bloggers who had been fretting over a shrinking beat.
We’ve been enjoying the summer a bit too much, neglecting our blogging duties for which we’re
so highly paid not compensated in any way.
Of course, there has been plenty going on, and we’ll get you caught up. So please stay tuned.
If you noticed that Eye On Williamson Was down for over the last couple of days, that’s because the server for the web site crashed. As you can see we’re back up now and all should be back to normal. Thanks to all those behind the scenes who got us back up and running so fast, you are truly appreciated.
As Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus writes to the members of the Texas House in the cover letter to the interim charges he laid out yesterday, “..these charges and the recommendations you develop will form the basis for major legislation we will consider next session”. The letter also made clear that some things were left out, “In the coming weeks, I intend to propose several additional items of statewide importance for the House to study.”
The interim charges include everything from efforts to manage feral hogs (which is a big problem), to whether blogs should be considered “political advertising”. All of the items from the Appropriations, Energy Resources, Environmental Regulations, Higher Education, Human Services, Natural Resources, Public Education and Redistricting Committees should be read in full.
But here are a few that caught my eye (EOW comments are in italics):
House Committee on Corrections
1. Examine implementation of the diversion pilot programs, juvenile case management system, and other policy and funding initiatives to determine whether the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and the Texas Youth Commission have adhered to legislative directive in implementing these programs, and the impact of these programs on commitments at the Texas Youth Commission.
House Committee on Elections
3. Examine the prevalence of fraud in Texas elections. Study new laws in other states regarding voter identification and recommend statutory changes necessary to ensure that only eligible voters can vote in Texas elections. (This is Voter ID. Read BOR’s take on this issue. Suffice it to say that Straus is unable to tell the right wing to give up on this.)
4. Review the Texas campaign finance law in judicial races in light of the recent United States Supreme Court decision Caperton v. Massey. (This case involves preventing a judge from hearing a case involving a person who has made campaign contributions to benefit the judge.)
House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics
2. Review the definition of “political advertising” and determine whether the definition should be expanded to include content contained in blogs and other types of Internet communications. (These links give some background on what this may be about, FTC’s New Rules for Bloggers: A Quick Guide, FTC idiocy, and The FTC & Bloggers: New Rules.)
House Committee on Land and Resource Management
2. Examine unresolved issues relating to eminent domain legislation introduced during the 81st Legislative Session. Monitor any pending litigation. (Still on the agenda even after passage of the Constitutional Amendment earlier this month.)
House Committee on Transportation
1. Monitor the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to ensure the agency is implementing recommended legislative, sunset, and Grant Thornton management audit changes.
2. Review the organization and operation of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Consider the relationship between MPOs and TxDOT regarding transportation planning and programming.
3. Study the practices and procedures used in the development of toll roads and make recommendations as necessary. (Toll roads are still on the agenda. Nothing here on the gas tax or transportation financing. Hopefully we will hear about that in the coming weeks.)
One interesting item is that there is nothing in the charges about gambling, gaming, slot machines, horse racing, and the like. The charges should be at least scanned for items of particular interest. Because as Straus wrote, they are the basis for the next legislative session in 2011. No matter who is Speaker, or who wins the statewide races next year, the effort and research put in on these issues, and those in the Senate when Lt. Gov. Dewhurst releases the charges for the Senate, are the frame which the 82nd Legislature will begin it’s work.
Over the past few months, JohnCarterWatch has been turning up the heat on our Congressional representative, John R. Carter (R-Round Rock). Jason Steed, the blogger behind JohnCarterWatch, recently announced that he would no longer write long-form posts on that blog due to time constraints.
Steed did promise to offer twitter updates (you do follow @profsteed, don’t you?), but this left us wanting more. The staff here at EyeOnWilliamson is sympathetic to the challenges of balancing personal and professional commitments with the demands of citizen journalism, so we asked if he would be interested in joining us here at Eye On Williamson. We’re pleased to announce that Steed agreed.
Our hope is that as a team, we can help Steed focus on what he does best — write pithy, scathing critiques of the hypocrisy and missteps of our feckless curmudgeon in the House — more efficiently. We’ll continue to report on the decline of the Williamson county Republican party and the corruption, cronyism and incompetence of their local elected officials.
Together, our shared goal is the replacement of our elected officials with politicians more responsive to the needs of working families. Please keep an eye out for future posts from Steed here and be sure to let him know in the comments how much you appreciate his voluntary efforts.
Yesterday the the “shield law” that will protect reporters from revealing confidential sources, Senate passes journalists’ shield law.
A long-debated journalistic shield law won Senate approval Tuesday, leaving the governor’s signature as the final test after the House signs off on some minor changes in the legislation.
The Texas Senate unanimously voted to give reporters limited protections from revealing confidential sources, notes and tapes in court. The House has also unanimously passed the legislation.
“This is a truly historic day,” said Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston. “After four years of sometimes intense debate, both the House and the Senate have agreed on the principle that the press plays a vitally important role in our democracy and must be protected from government intimidation.”
The Senate made some minor changes to language in the bill that the House must sign off on before it can go to Gov. Rick Perry.
San Antonio Democrat Trey Martinez Fischer, who proposed the shield law in the House, said he supports the changes made by Ellis on the Senate side.
Perry’s office did not take a position on the legislation.
“The governor looks forward to seeing the bill in its final form when it crosses his desk,” said Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for Perry.
Hopefully the governor will sign it soon. Also making its way through the legislature is a bill to afford the same protections to bloggers, or citizen journalists, as those in the traditional media. Muse has this report, Blogger Bill Heard in House Judiciary Committee Today.
Rep. Aaron Pena had his “blogger bill” – HB 4237 – heard in the Texas House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence today. Two outstanding Texas progressive bloggers testified in favor of the bill – Vince Leibowitz of Capitol Annex and Karl Thomas Musselman of Burnt Orange Report. Rep. Pena did a great job laying it out and closing it.
Leibowitz had this report from the hearing, Making The Case For House Bill 4237 (AKA The Blogger Bill). It just makes sense to give the same protections to bloggers, and online journalists, that are given to traditional journalists.
On March 9, 2005, wcnews kicked off Eye On Williamson with Here We Go. Over the years, the influence of Democrats in Williamson county has grown. We don’t consider it a coincidence.
Citizens, armed with information, have power. This blog has helped bring some of the worst actions of our all-Republican county government to light. One of our earliest and favorite targets, former State Rep. Mike Krusee, is now out of the legislature; replaced by Democrat Diana Maldonado. Democrats have narrowly missed defeating county commissioners in precincts 1 and 4. The party now has a full-time campaign office and will soon have a paid staff.
It has been an incredible four years, but if you thought that was good, then keep reading and find out what happens during the next four!
From the press release.
Harris County Coordinated Campaign Takes Top Honors; TexBlog PAC, Texans For Obama, Late Jim Mattox Named “Gold Stars” For Year
AUSTIN, TEXAS—The Texas Progressive Alliance Tuesday announced that the Harris County Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign had been named its “Texan of the Year” for 2008.
Also earning honors from the Alliance were Texans for Obama, TexBlog PAC, and the late Jim Mattox, who were each named “Gold Star Texans” for 2008.
Winning 27 of 34 countywide races in Texas’ most populous county didn’t happen overnight, and the Harris County Democratic Party’s Coordinated Campaign managed not only to win seats with quality candidates, but to increase Democratic voter turnout and revive the Democratic Party in Harris County.
“The Harris County Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign is a shining example of what is possible with the help and support of thousands of grassroots Democrats and a well-run party infrastructure,” said Texas Progressive Alliance Chair Vince Leibowitz. “Every person who knocked on doors, made phone calls, and volunteered in Harris County should be very proud of what they accomplished in 2008,” he continued.
The Harris County Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign is the Alliance’s fourth recipient of its “Texan of the Year Award.” The campaign joins former State Rep. Carter Casteel of New Braunfels, who won the award in 2005; Carolyn Boyle of Texas Parent PAC, who took home the honor in 2006; and the trio of State Reps. Garnet Coleman, Jim Dunnam, and Pete Gallego who shared the honor in 2007.
Also honored this year were the organizations Texans for Obama and TexBlog PAC along with the late Jim Mattox, the former Texas Attorney General who passed away on November 20.
The Texan of the Year Award is voted on annually by the members of the Texas Progressive Alliance, the largest state-level organization of bloggers, blogs, and Netroots activists in the United States.
Click “read the rest of the story for more in depth on the Texan of the Year and the “Gold Stars”. Read the rest of this entry �
EOW is taking some much needed time off for the Christmas season. There may be a post here or there but normal blogging will resume on Monday December 29th.
In the meantime check out Kuff’s piece on the latest in the race for Speaker.
Here’s the post, I Say Good-bye.
To all my friends, I say good-bye in this final post to my muckraker blog.
In 2004 I wondered if I could stop a toll tax on a 100% tax paid bridge near my home. Within a year, I found out that with a lot of hard work and a community of friends, together we could.
As is human nature, to always want more, I wanted to ax more freeway tolls from the Gov. Rick Perry/Sen. Kirk Watson double tax plans for Austin and Texas.
Success can take a toll on other areas of one’s life.
I would eat and sleep the fight for about four years, doing just enough to hold on to everything else as the months slipped away. A number of times that obsession came too close to taking my family and my home from me.
I decided to move on.
In early July we put our home up for sale and received a cash offer in 10 days. Part of the deal was a super fast closing. So within three weeks we went from a sign in the front yard to driving away in a U-Haul filled with everything we own towards Southern Illinois.
My new priorities are my health, my family and maximizing the efficiency of our 5 year old solar passive home.
I realized the other day that I moved from a city with 1,000,000 people to a town of 400.
There are moments that I feel some culture shock, but other than that, just about everything else is falling into place. Just day’s after moving here I created a rewarding working relationship with an organization in a nearby town that does great things for individuals and families in need.
I get to help my new community and I get paid for it.
To my past enemies: Those politicians who ignore the public will and have yet to be fired. I don’t wish evil on you. I don’t have to. I believe that the natural order of the world will take care of you just fine.
To all my great friends, I wish you all the best.
And, I say good-bye.
Thanks Sal!! Family and health are much more important. Good luck and good health.
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