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Denton County Democrats Unity Rally Photo Montage

Miscellaneous
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2008/7/2 13:37:13 (1217 reads)

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Homeless Veterans

Get Involved! - Rise to Your Higher Self
Posted by Kit on 2008/7/2 13:15:53 (1228 reads)

Just lifed this off the CNN newsfeed. Since Friday is the fourth of July maybe we can remember that soldiers got us that one too. Support our troops - till they get home, that is.

CNN) -- "I can't find the right words to describe when you are
homeless," says Iraq war veteran Joseph Jacobo. "You see the end of your life right there. What am I going to do, what am I going to eat?"

War trauma sends many veterans to the streets where they beg for survival.

Jacobo is one of an increasing number of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who come home to life on the street. The Department of Veterans Affairs is fighting to find them homes.

Veterans make up almost a quarter of the homeless population in the United States. The government says there are as many as 200,000 homeless veterans; the majority served in the Vietnam War. Some served in Korea or even World War II. About 2,000 served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The VA and several nongovernmental organizations have created programs that address the special needs of today's veterans returning from war. In addition to treating physical and mental injuries, there are career centers and counseling programs. But the VA still expects the homeless rate among the nation's newest veterans to rise because of the violent nature of combat seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Officials say many more Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer post-traumatic stress disorder than veterans of previous wars. The government says PTSD is one of the leading causes of homelessness among veterans.

"They come back, and they are having night trauma, they are having difficulty sleeping. They are feeling alienated," says Peter Dougherty, the director of homeless programs for the VA.

The VA says 70 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan saw some form of combat, either through firefights, rocket attacks or the most common strikes on troops -- roadside bomb attacks on their vehicle.

Jacobo spent more than a year as an Army mechanic in Iraq between 2004 and 2006. He saw many of his fellow soldiers killed during attacks on his base. He suffers from PTSD and found himself homeless after being discharged from the Army in 2006, but recently moved into a VA-funded shelter in Washington.

Until he found the VA facility, he was sleeping in laundry rooms and washing himself in fast food restrooms until he would be kicked out.

Jacobo says he speaks to many veterans from Vietnam who say that if the programs veterans receive today were available to them, they would most likely not be homeless.

"Where would I be if it was not for this place? Where would I get a job to give an address to an employer? They have phones here where you can make calls, so this is the step every veteran needs to have. A place for an address, a phone where you can be contacted and this is really good," says Jacobo.

The VA and organizations that help veterans are trying to reach out to those who may not know there is help available or are not interested in assistance. Social workers walk the streets and scour soup kitchens looking for vets who might need help, working with organizations that offer shelter or medical assistance.

"Because we are convinced, and we know that the earlier the intervention happens, particularly when it is related to PTSD, the better the prognosis is for recovery," Dougherty says.

"Unfortunately, we have learned much to our detriment when we didn't recognize PTSD as an illness that people suffer with it for decades, and when they tried to get it addressed, it was a much longer and more difficult process to get that readjustment," Dougherty says.

While the VA is prepared for a rise in homeless veterans, it is taking a measured approach. Based on statistics from around the country, the number of homeless veterans is increasing slowly, which the VA attributes to the programs already in place.

Dougherty says the outlook is good for future veterans.

"We are also increasing significantly the level of services we provide, not only in homeless programs, but we are really focused more on the prevention of these veterans from ever becoming homeless in the first place," he said.

***************************
Can someome Please tell me why the candidates don't talk about this.

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Holy crap

Miscellaneous
Posted by txdemjen on 2008/7/2 10:33:53 (1173 reads)

Every time I take a small break from politics, my re-entry seems like a Polar Bear Club plunge into a frosty lake in January. I swear I’m better off just staying in so I’m used to it and the shock doesn’t threaten cardiac arrest.

I had a lovely weekend playing with friends and family, giving my news frenzied brain a nap and finally working instead on my atrophying muscles normally dormant during long stints at a desk behind a computer. I’m starting to understand those annoyingly happy, vapid “I’m not into politics” people who jog. Yes, ignorance is bliss. See? I’m still putting off getting to the politics with two inane introductions that haven’t come close to the point.

Fine. I’ll just spew out the top three that rudely woke me from my pleasant political slumber: TX Supreme Court thinks exorcism is A-OK. Craig and Vitter co-sponsor Marriage Protection Act. Obama veers right, waaaaay right. I had been sucking up my disagreement and disappointment on FISA, NAFTA (depending on the day), and the death penalty but but but, wha?? Faith-Based Initiatives?? Are you kidding me?

And there’s the zero degree, ball shrinking, nipple petrifying, lung collapsing final descent into brain death plunge.

I know you’re trying to beat a Muslim rap, but I thought Rev. Wright pretty much sealed that deal. I know the bottom line is you’re a politician trying to appeal to “one America” and gently coax those scared, snarling animals who call themselves Evangelicals out of the corner they put themselves in, but you’ve gone too far, Dr. Dolittle.

Advertising “America: Now with 10% more Theocracy!” ain’t gonna throw you over the top in the general election. You might get a small percentage of the Bible Belters crossing over to you, but unless you start tossing out anti-choice and anti-gay and creationism and school prayer sound bites, you are not growing any kind of new base. You’re just hacking away at the one you already had.

I really do understand the need to play to middle, as I am the middle in many respects, but you missed your Middletown exit here and veered way off course. You know damn well that the government has no business paying churches to help clean up our problems. Don’t give me that patronizing, “all hands on deck,” and “we won’t ‘allow’ them to proselytize or discriminate” BS either. First, it’s impossible or costly at best, to regulate. Second, you’re a liberal, right? At least still a Democrat? Then why so shy about using taxpayer money to fund the previously successful programs that were gutted for Faith-Based Initiatives? Please explain how adding churches to government programs and monitoring them is less bureaucratic and more effective and noncontroversial than simply working with current non-religious federal, state, and local programs.

Faith-base initiatives are a good way to buy votes, though. I’ll give you that. Promising money to churches and religious organizations who have incredible power over their congregations is a great inroad. Oh yeah, they’re not “allowed” to influence people’s votes. Silly me for thinking they do anyway.

Ultimately, it is a dangerous enmeshment of Church and State. Government pays churches to help people. Churches don’t have to proselytize to gain loyalty. The help is inherent proselytizing. It’s also a clear message that MORAL = RELIGIOUS and that only religious institutions care about helping people. Way to embolden the small percentage of anti-constitutionalists who are just aching to “dispel the myth of separation of church and state.” Why not just let them cover public school textbooks with the Ten Commandments and erect crosses on our courthouse squares right now and get it over with already. I’m looking forward to the ensuing Christian America Holy War over whose brand to follow. My money’s on the Mormons. Nothing screams patriotism better than your own domestic Jesus.

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Sense of Security or Superority?

The Nimrods Never Cease to Amaze Me
Posted by Kit on 2008/7/2 10:18:03 (918 reads)

I have noticed some changes, lately. In my neighborhood it seems few of us have either the time or desire to do yard work. It is hired out. Not really that unusual, many people all over the country do the same. What is different are the people that do the work. Over a year of fear and hate mongering in this country has shown that even those willingly to do our labor cheaply can be replaced. Once rightly proud Mexican-Americans now bow their head, or at least their eyes as they pass by. I feel ashamed.

I grew-up in San Antonio, Texas. I never really thought of it as a unique American city, more a unique Mexican-American city. I thought, as younger person that the people were kind to allow us to share in their culture and life style. Even San Antonio seems to have lost much of that charm, just another dirty sprawling American city, eager to ignore and trample the less fortunate.

It seems tragic how stupid Americans have become since 9/11. Like December 7, 1941, the day will live in infamy. Do we have to as well? FDR told the people of America “all we have to fear is fear is itself” Bush told us to be afraid - very afraid. So we believe that, the way forward is with fear and hatred? I strongly disagree. The way forward is to understand the truth of what happened. We must remember to understand that the people that brought horror to our door are not all of the people of the Middle East. Just a group of malcontents that have been given more of a potence than they deserve. Fear always brings forth the worst of us. With fear come ignorance and hatred. Can anyone think clearly when filled with hate?

Before there was a USA, Mexicans traveled freely across the borderland areas. I can’t help but wonder, if Mexicans were Anglos, would we still be making all this fuss? Funny how that xenophobia crops up, just when we tell ourselves how balanced and accepting our society is, we find new demons. But really the Mexicans, haven’t we enjoyed their help for many years now, working in the fields at horrible wages, cleaning our homes, doing yard work and many other jobs Americans don’t really want to do; yet have to be done.

The question of border safety is a legitimate one. So why are we ignoring the very real threats? Our ports have been the sites for imports of questionable products and illegal goods for some time now. Since 9/11 I doubt that I could count the number of times I have read or seen reports on the quagmire of the lack of security around out ports.

Then there is our infrastructure, places that need a functional security, has that changed since 9/11, not at all. This nation has existed with open borders for all of its history, now it seems that must change. If that is a mandate by the American people, then let us demand that from our government. We don’t need scapegoats and objects of fear to muster some will. We are Americans, let us begin to act like it. This nation is now wanting to call itself a Christian nation, doesn’t that above all else mean compassion?

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Marriage Protection Act Finds Perfect Sponsors

The Nimrods Never Cease to Amaze Me
Posted by txdemjen on 2008/7/2 8:20:01 (804 reads)

Thankfully for the wingnuts their two paragons of heterosexual commitment, Larry Craig and David Vitter, have stepped up to co-sponsor the Marriage Protection Act in the Senate. Please send your letters of support to:


Minneapolis Intl' Airport
Gate 9B, Men's Restroom
Wide Stance "I'm not Gay" Stall
Attn: Larry Craig

and

Washington Hilton
DC Madam Suite
"Family Man" Bedroom
Attn: David Vitter

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Cornyn Staffer Anonymously Shilling For Boss in Blogs

The Nimrods Never Cease to Amaze Me
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2008/7/1 21:54:52 (933 reads)

KVUE covered the story of one David Beckwith, a.k.a. "Buck Smith" who was shilling for boss John Cornyn in political blogs like Burnt Orange Report.


Read more at Burnt Orange Report

And Boudicea of Texas Kaos has a few words

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Poll Results - For Whom We Will Raise Money

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2008/7/1 8:40:45 (1263 reads)

Goal ThermometerOur goal at WhosPlayin is to raise $1000 this season for our Democratic candidates in the November election. We recently conducted a little poll to see who our readers would like us to support:

See Poll Results

So, our winners are Ken Leach, Rick Noriega, and John McClelland - in that order. Since Ken Leach took the most votes, I'll throw an extra $50 his way. (Right after next payday...)

Ken Leach

Ken Leach is running for U.S. Representative in the 26th district of Texas, which covers most of Denton County, and parts of Cooke and Tarrant Counties. This district is currently misrepresented by Michael Burgess, who apparently thinks that our coin and currency should be changed to say "In Ayn Rand we Trust".

Burgess has consistently voted the exact opposite of what would benefit his largely middle-class district, consistently putting the interests of Big Oil, telecoms, Big Pharma, Big Insurance and in general the corporate aristocracy before the interest of his constituents. Burgess continues to maintain that President Bush is the greatest President ever. Most importantly, Burgess is a sponsor on a joint resolution of Congress that calls for an act of war on Iran.

Contribute to Ken Leach: $

Rick Noriega

Rick Noriega is running for U.S. Senate for the State of Texas. If elected, he would take the seat of incumbent junior Senator John Cornyn (a.k.a. "Big Bad John") When it comes to Republicans, Cornyn represents the far-right of the far-right wing. Genghis Khan thinks Cornyn is a "wing nut". Cornyn's votes have been consistently with whatever large corporation or industry is willing to fund his campaign, and consistently against the economic and social interests of Texans. He voted against the minimum wage increase. He voted against body armor for our troops in Iraq. Cornyn has consistently voted against benefits for our returning troops. Cornyn has called for legislated bigotry against gays. The list goes on and on...

While John Cornyn has been busy playing dress-up and trying to "talk the talk", Lt. Colonel Rick Noriega has walked the walk. An accomplished State Representative, Harvard graduate, and Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army National Guard, who served in Afghanistan, and as an incident commander in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While Cornyn and the other chickenhawks sit in their echo chambers or go for their dog and pony shows to visit our troops, Noriega has had his boots on the ground and knows the real story.

Contribute to Rick Noriega: $


John McClelland

John McClelland is running for State Representative in the 64th House District of Texas, which comprises about half of Denton County. The seat is currently "occupied" by Republican Myra Crownover, who inherited the office after her husband Ronnie's death some years ago. Crownover is "in bed" with embattled House Speaker Tom Craddick's team. She lives to help pollute our state, whether with radioactive waste, or by giving oil companies carte blanche. McClelland is a hard-working local activist who makes his living in international logistics.

Contribute to John McClelland: $


WhosPlayin is proud to endorse all 3 of these men, and we ask our readers to take just a couple of minutes, get out your credit card, and show these patriots some love! Even if you can only give a few dollars, it's time to get some skin in the game.

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Democratic Congressional Candidates Tell GOP Stop the Bull on Oil

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2008/7/1 7:40:05 (1032 reads)

Today in Dallas, Democratic U.S. Congressional candidates Tom Daley (CD-3), Glenn Melancon (CD-4), Tom Love (CD-24), Ken Leach (CD-26), and Eric Roberson (CD-32) will hold a press conference to tell their GOP opponents "Stop the Bull, Tell the Truth about Oil".

As you may recall, 4 local GOP Members of Congress recently held a press conference in a closed Tom Thumb grocery store, safely out of reach of real voters. The incumbents pressed for more of the same old policy of "drill, drill, drill" without regard to the economics or environmental consequences.

The Democrats will present their 4 point plan to solving the Oil Mess:

1. Shut down loopholes in commodities markets by restoring historic rules.

2. Return strength to the American dollar by moving towards a balanced budget.

3. Enact legislation to increase the supply of American oil by enacting "Use it or lose it" legislation for leases on public lands

4. Work on lowering demand for oil by using market incentives for development of alternative sources of vehicle power.

Unlike our Republican legislators who were afraid to face their constituents in an unscripted environment, these Democratic candidates will be talking to gas customers, pumping gas, and checking tire pressure for people.

How about that - even before they get elected, they will have done more for North Texans at the pump than our incumbents from the Grand Oil Party.

We'll try to have more on the event, and post some video if we can get it.

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TexBlogs Endorsement of Sherrie Matula

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2008/7/1 7:22:22 (769 reads)

On Friday, TexBlog PAC endorsed Sherrie Matula (D-Houston), who is running against State Rep. John Davis (R-Clear Lake). The endorsement came with a $5,000 check to Matula's campaign made up of donations made mostly by Netroots activists and blog readers.

Matula's race represents one of those races that a lot of folks in the "bricks and mortar political establishment" may have underestimated in the early part of this year. However, this district is ripe for a flip. Matula laid the groundwork for this year's campaign with a respectable general election showing in 2006 and her "Apple Corps" team of volunteers and on-the-ground activists has worked very hard this year to register new voters, identify Democratic voters in the district, and conducting GOTV.

This race, however, is one where the Netroots have consistently seen the potential for defeating incumbent John Davis (a legislator who Texas Monthly appropriately deemed "furniture") and the value in Matula's traditional and online campaign operations.

Sherrie Matula is a longtime public school educator and science education consultant who served two terms on the Board of Trustees of Clear Creek Independent School District. She's served on the board of the Texas State Teachers Association, and has a very impressive resume. She will bring to the Texas House of Representatives a wide array of knowledge and experience, especially on education issues.

Too, Matula is running against arguably one of the most pathetic, ineffective, corrupt, pieces of GOP furniture to hold a seat in the Texas Legislature. State Rep. John Davis is a prime target for progressives this cycle, and the Netroots has long had its eye on him. Why? Here is a small sampling:

Ethically Challenged. John Davis is one of the state's more ethically-challenged State Reps. Remember when he spent campaign cash on a pair of $1,500 boots? Or when he failed to itemize over $48,000 in American Express card purchases (and got hammered by the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to do so)?

Against Schools, Children & Education. John Davis has cast a lot of votes against schools, children, and Education. For starters, he voted for tuition deregulation and then had the audacity to say that 44% increases in college tuition costs are "not unreasonable". As a result of Davis' vote (combined with the votes of many other Republicans), it has become very difficult for middle class families to afford to send their kids to college because tuition costs are skyrocketing. Davis voted to slash funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, and help create the "permanent wall" that kept kids off CHIP. Of course, after Sherrie Matula held Davis accountable for this vote in 2006, he quickly changed his tune and became "for" CHIP after he was "against" CHIP. Of course, by then it was too late and thousands of Texas children had suffered as a result of his vote. Davis has also voted time and time again against everything from teachers, teacher retirement, childhood immunization programs, and anti-discrimination measures to help school children. John Davis even put the interests of one of his big financial supporters, Houston Home builder Bob Perry, above middle class students who want a college education when it came time to cast votes on the Appropriations Bill on the House floor!

Anti-Environment. For a State Representative that actually has to breathe the air in Houston, Davis is solidly against clean air. He's time and again voted against improving the air quality in his own district. Here is some of what Davis actually has to say about this topic:


“It’s much cleaner than it was 20-30 years ago. I believe we are on the right track. I don’t want to choke off industry.

You can also watch a YouTube of Davis actually making that statement here.

Pay To Play. Even in the pay-to-play culture of the Texas House's Republican Caucus, Davis stands out as among the worst offenders in terms of taking money from corporate PACs and lobbyists and then giving them the keys to the legislative candy store. Davis has taken money from Center Point Energy, Reliant Energy, and TXU--all the while never casting a vote to give Texans meaningful relief from out-of-control utility bills.

He took money from a lobbyist for Accenture, and then voted for legislation that allowed Accenture to take over and operate health and human services call centers. It led to the worst social services disaster in Texas history.

Who else has Davis taken money from? Dow Chemical, Blue Cross Blue Shield, AT&T, Cigna, Aetna, Chevron, Marathon, and Merck--just to name a few.

Davis has even taken money from H.B. Zachry construction's PAC--and voted for bills that promoted the Trans-Texas Corridor.

There is no one that Davis won't take money from.

It's time for a change in HD 129. Sherrie Matula is the change we need in the Texas House. Help her campaign today, and help TexBlog PAC support more candidates like Sherrie.

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Alternative Energy, Step 1: Quit Interfering!

Links, Thoughts, and Open Thread
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2008/6/29 8:56:56 (955 reads)

According to this New York Times Article, solar power plants in the west have been put on hold for two years for an environmental impact study.

Gee, that's nice. I'm so glad that the Bush administration chooses this clean technology to decide to try out environmentalism. And they accuse the left of using it as an obstructionist tactic.

Take a look at how environmentally damaging that oil can be. You have to have a huge plot of land with pits full of toxic water and mud. You drill a hole a mile or two into the ground and bring up radioactive materials and toxic byproducts. Then you have to have a pipeline. You have to bury these things, and they sometimes leak. You have to have truck traffic to haul saltwater, which has to then be injected back into the earth.

If anything should require careful study, it's an oil drilling project.

But here, we have a relatively inert technology. You have solar panels or you have mirrors and a boiler. And then you have to string power lines. That's the biggest part.

Look, I'm all for studying environmental impact. And I don't believe that corporations are "entitled" to use public lands. But in light of the fact that Michael Chertoff suspended dozens of federal laws, including environmental laws to build that damned fence, this just doesn't smell right.

At the very least, the government needs to expedite the studies.

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