As we reported back in May, Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland) has paid his daughter $625,000 in "salary" from his campaign account, while simultaneously claiming the 37 year old as his dependent to receive state-paid health insurance.
Today we learn that an official ethics complaint has been filed against Craddick.
Scenario: Incumbent provincial legislator has a couple of problems: 1. Her brother killed a policeman while drunk driving, and she needs help to get him out of jail. She turns to an elected law enforcement officer to pull some strings to get him sprung. 2. She's up for re-election, but the opposition party looks pretty strong. She gets this same law enforcement officer to round up 5 of his deputies to go to a public park where the opposition candidate is going to hold a campaign event. These goons then look for the opposition supporters and tell them they are not allowed to campaign, carry signs, or wear campaign apparel in this public park. Three officers gang up on a mother and children, who happen to be the wife and daughters of the opposition candidate.
Answer: It was Texas, in 2008 unfortunately.
From a press release by the Chad Khan campaign today:
HARLESS' CAMPAIGN TREASURER SENDS HIS DEPUTIES TO HARASS VOTERS AT KHAN CAMPAIGN EVENT
HOUSTON—This past Sunday, an event hosted by Democratic Candidate for State Representative Chad Khan at Cypresswood Park was continually disrupted by deputies of Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman, a Republican.
Constable Hickman, who is also the campaign treasurer for Khan's opponent, State Rep. Patricia Harless, had five of his officers stationed at the park early Sunday morning. When Mr. Khan's wife arrived at the park with the couple's children around 11 a.m. Sunday, she was confronted by three of Constable Hickman's deputies. She was told by the deputy constables that she and her children would have to take off their Chad Khan campaign tee shirts or they would be escorted from the park.
In addition, the deputy constables attempted to forbid Khan from doing any campaigning in the park including displaying political signs, stickers, tee shirts, or giving speeches. They threatened both Chad Khan and his wife saying that if they did any campaigning in the park, they would be escorted from the park or arrested.
"This is a public park. Nowhere in Harris County's park regulations does it state that a political gathering can't be held in a public park," said Chad Khan. "From one in the afternoon until 6 p.m. Constable Hickman's deputies came and harassed myself, my wife, and those who gathered for my event four times. This was a blatant attempt by Constable Hickman's office to disrupt a lawful assembly," Khan said.
Khan held a similar event in the park in 2006; the event was not disrupted by the constables two years ago.
"I can't help but believe that this was politically motivated," said Khan. "After all, these deputies are working for my opponent's campaign treasurer, who was at Barbara Bush Library on Sunday working at the polling place. The fact that they were waiting for my family when they arrived at the park shows that this was well-planned by Constable Hickman's office," said Khan.
This isn't the first time Hickman has been in the spotlight for questionable activities related to his association with Rep. Harless. Earlier this year, he was criticized for supporting early release and parole for Harless' brother, Donald Fincher. Fincher was convicted of killing a deputy constable while driving drunk.
"This behavior is typical of the questionable judgment exercised by Constable Hickman and his office. That a sitting State Representative like Patricia Harless would want to be associated with someone who threatens to arrest a mother for wearing a campaign tee shirt in a public park--in front of her two young children, no less--should cause voters to question her judgment. First, she asked the Constable to help get her brother out of prison, now she is having him try to suppress her opponent's campaign rallies," Khan said. "It makes one wonder what she and Constable Hickman will try next," he continued.
What is it about Harris County that makes the Republican politicians down there so downright despicable? Is there something in the water? Perhaps the Barbara Bush library doesn't have a copy of the Constitution of the United States, with its guarantees of the right to freedom of speech and assembly?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Folks, the right-wing radicals can huff and puff all they want about so-called "socialism" and they can wallow in all the paranoia they want about people "grabbing their guns". But fascism is here today, alive and well in the Republican Party of Texas. When your free speech and your right to vote are under such a blatant and open attack as they have been in Harris county, that's what you need to worry about.
It is unfortunate that Barack Obama chose to use the words "Spread the wealth" when explaining the rationale for his tax plan to "Joe the Plumber". For those who haven't watched the whole exchange, you really should watch it, unplug your ears, and listen to what Obama is saying. Go ahead, I'll wait:
But truth and fact have never slowed down the GOP slime machine. Allegations of socialism and so-called "redistribution of wealth" have flown from the radical right wing.
I have just one question for you: Since when is it "socialism" to allow hard-working middle class people to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks instead of paying for an unnecessary tax cut for the wealthy?
John McCain worries about those who inherited their way into wealth like he and his wife. McCain worries about those who collect dividend checks for a living and already pay far lower tax rates than you do. These are people who rely on government protection to allow their gravy train to keep running, because they don't actually do anything. And John McCain wants the rest of us to pay higher taxes so they can keep their Bush tax cuts that they didn't ask for, that McCain didn't originally support, and that they don't need.
Republicans are hysterical about non-existent "handouts" that Obama would supposedly pass around, yet in fact, it's John McCain whose policies provide handouts at taxpayer expense. Consider McCain's plan to purchase bad mortgages at full face value, then refinance them based on current value. Not only is it a handout for banks, with a definite loss to the taxpayers up-front, but it's a handout to the irresponsible people who obtained mortgages they shouldn't have.
John McCain wants you to believe that if we take away the 3% tax cut for people earning more than $250,000 per year, those folks will stuff their money under matresses and quit earning and paying taxes. He wants you to believe that businesses decide not to expand because their taxes are too high. It's a good thing John McCain doesn't run a business because he would run it into the ground on stupidity like that. Taxes are based on income. Businesses ALWAYS work as hard as they can for more income.
Folks, whenever you hear Republicans squealing about something like this, just remember that whatever they say, it's always the opposite. To the GOP, truth and facts mean nothing: if you say it loud enough, you can say white is black, day is night, up is down, wrong is right.
In realtity, the GOP is just desperate to hold onto power, and will say anything. The truth is that when we all do well, we all earn more. We could cut taxes to nothing for the wealthy, but eventually if the working class has no money to spend, the economy stalls, and we all have a bad time of it. When "Joe the Plumber's" customers can afford to pay his bill, he does better.
(Pay no mind to the fact that Joe was caught lying, is not a licensed plumber, is behind on taxes, and is nowhere close to earning $250,000 or buying a business. He wants to believe that Obama will raise his taxes)
If you think Obama's proposed tax cuts for the middle class are a handout, and you earn less than $250,000 per year, you can go ahead and get out your checkbook and send YOUR savings back to the IRS. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.
Shorter Dianne Edmondson: “Oh yeah? Well…uh… at least our candidate is not… uh.. I mean I hear that your guy is … uh, well, he bats for the other team.”
Bless her poor old heart; it must be hard to be any sort of leader in the Republican Party these days. Denton County’s Republican Party chairwoman Dianne Edmondson wrote a letter that was published in today’s Denton Record Chronicle ostensibly to defend Republican incumbent State Representative Myra Crownover.
Crownover is being challenged for her seat by Democrat John McClelland, a local activist and personal friend of mine who has been actively engaged in Denton County politics for several years.
I find it interesting and somewhat enlightening as to the state of the GOP in Denton that Ms. Edmondson couldn’t point to one tangible thing Myra Crownover has done in her tenure. All that Edmondson could muster was “She’s approachable, she’s effective and she’s represented us well for eight years.“
This GOP gal was able to fire off two shots at John McClelland though, showing that she is both sadly misinformed, and not above seeking the homophobe bigot vote on behalf of her party.
First, she calls McClelland a “newcomer”, who “moved in just to run for this office.” Not only is it not true, but it’s a ludicrous thought: Lets see, I’ll buy this house and take out a 30 year mortgage just for the privilege of spending even more money I don’t have in hopes of winning an office that will interrupt my paid employment for half a year, while only paying $4,200 a year in salary. It’s true, John did buy a house in Denton County last year. He chose this area for the same reasons a lot of us choose to live here.
I was among those who twisted his arm after that move to consider running for State Representative.
Second, and more disturbingly, she resorts to pointing out John’s role as Chairman of the Denton County Stonewall Democrats: “Google it, folks, to see if the positions that this group advocates match up with your values.” For those who don’t know, Stonewall is a group of Democrats who work to increase the visibility of the Democratic Party to homosexuals who may not otherwise be politically aware. Though John doesn’t wear his gayness on his sleeve, he doesn’t hide his homosexuality, and he is not ashamed of it.
John has never aspired to be a “gay State Rep.”, but he does desire to serve you as a State Representative who happens to be gay. If you talk to John about the real issues affecting our district, you’ll hear about the need for serious focus on education and education funding. You’ll hear about jobs, economic development, and transportation, and protecting our air and water. You’ll hear about reining in a culture of pay-to-play and corruption in the legislature. You’ll hear about decreasing home insurance premiums for Texas homeowners and protecting homebuyers from unscrupulous builders. You’ll hear a lot of concern over Texas’ new income tax that Myra Crownover supported, and how it will affect small business owners. You’ll hear about how to make health care more affordable for Texans.
But of course, to talk about any of those things just reminds voters of how thoroughly the Republican “greed is good” and “Father Knows Best” ideology has been rejected by the reality of today’s economic disasters and educational system failures. And none of those topics particularly satisfies the salacious appetite of a bunch of repressed middle-aged narrow-minded Fox News watching bigots, who would much rather put all that “economy stuff” behind them and obsess over someone’s sexual orientation.
Bless her heart, poor Diane Edmondson. When the radical right-wing took over the Republican party and proved once and for all that it couldn’t govern, its candidates were little better than boorish ideologues, and its ideas were demonstrably wrong, she toed the line. And this just may be the year that voters say “Enough!” and Democrats take a few seats on her watch.
I am almost at a loss for words. Sarah Palin has redeemed herself with the debate? How is this possible, how is it possible that thinking people say that she did anything but what she has done? Again she simply repeats some talking points and behaves in a completely inappropriatate manner. Hillary Clinton had a moment of real emotion in New Hampshire. There were no tears, just that some emotion was clearly evident on her face. Can anyone remember what happened? She was mocked, relegated to the land of teary-eyed women, those that cannot and should not be in the political arena. It is a man's world, one for the toughest and smartest, and women competing here need tread carefully. Women are judged more harshly, expected to be smarter, tougher and stronger and certainly most successful female politicians do fit those standards. They are politicians that happen to be women.
So what has happened to these standards? In any profession do we expect to give quarter because the person we are dealing with is by chance a woman? Of course not, nor do women ask to be judged by a different standard, we ask only for the right to compete, not for the right to compete on our terms.
Sarah Palin is a mockery of all the women who have fought for the hard earned rights of women to be accepted as equally qualified. Now we are asked to accept this dilettante, as equal to those who have had to be smarter, quicker and in very way better, than many of their male counterparts. I haven't a clue as to whom she is, because if she is not reading prepared speeches or following prepared talking points, she sounds foolish. The behavior, she chooses to display is nearly childish. Is she yearning for a time we hope is now lost? Is it her desire to return to time when women were judged not by their ability, but by their skills at manipulation and coquettishness? I am appalled by her lack of knowledge in fact, by all facets I have learned of her life. She displays a genuine effort to live in a world that never really did exist. The harsh and repressed women of the pre sixties, are an ideal model only those who do not understand the depth of meaning behind the "cute" image. She denigrates all women with this behavior yet I fear that this is as real as she gets. She cannot allow herself much deep introspection for fear it may dislodge what is built on belief rather than substance. At a time of real crisis in our history I wonder why anyone would be supportive of this behavior; implied sexuality rather than intellect, which is a blatant form of prostitution. It is repellant than any woman could support this attempt to sell sexuality over intellect. Is her vocabulary so limited that she can only respond with meaningless silly words? I would not accept such abuse of the English language in a child, but am asked to do so in a person asking to be the next Vice President? "Well, gosh Mr. Putin, I just don't think we imperfect Americans can handle those terms, Gol darn it." Wouldn't that be some strategic diplomacy, that should earn us some needed respect. "You Betcha."
The only conclusion one can come to in this open and cruel derision of successful women, is a complete lack of respect for those of us who have developed our intellect and our skills. I suggest the women that are supporting this farce are doing so out of a misguided loyalty to a political party or a blind obedience to religious leaders. McCain's choice of Sarah Palin is a disgraceful display of his low opinion of women, there are some fine women in his party, yet he chooses cute over competent. It would indeed be sexist to judge her based on gender, but then just what is it she selling? *wink*
Mike Herrera's pain was growing as he walked into the emergency department of Parkland Memorial Hospital on a recent Friday evening.
He checked himself in and told a nurse about the stabbing sensation in his abdomen.
Then he took a chair and began to wait.
One hour passed. Then another. The sun set and rose while he sat, waiting.
It wasn't until the 58-year-old collapsed in an exam room – 19 hours after he was admitted – that the staff seemed to spring into action, his family says.
But it was too late. He had suffered a cardiac arrest.
Read on.. and then tell me again about how by default we all have access to health care because we can just "go to the emergency room".
Even with insurance, it's amazing how little some ER's can do. For instance when my youngest son broke his arm, I rushed him to Lewisville's E.R. Apparently they had nobody on staff who could properly set a broken bone, so they pumped him full of pain killer and had us transported via a pretty expensive ambulance ride to Children's, where a NURSE set his broken arm, and cast it.
Flash forward a couple of years, and I hear a story about another Lewisville mother who took her 14 year old son to the ER for a broken arm. Since she had recently gone through a divorce, this mother who had always paid her own way and done the responsible thing, had SCHIP coverage for her son.
Do you want to know what they did for him? They splinted his broken arm and told him he'd have to make an appointment with someone to get a cast. This woman called 10 different local doctors who do that kind of work and were listed on the insurance plan, and would you believe that even with insurance, not one of them would see the boy and cast his arm. She ended up having to borrow cash from a family member.
The Emergency Economic Stabilization passed the House and was signed into law today.
Mike Burgess took the low road, putting his re-election before the good of the country. That's okay Mike. Let the Democrats clean up after your messes. You get to sit back, secure in the knowledge that this thing passed, and our economy won't go swirling around the shitter for nearly as long as it would have otherwise. But you'll still get to claim it was bad, and when the natural consequences of your party's inaction over the last year play themselves out, you'll find a way to blame the Democrats.
Must be convenient to be freed from the labor of having to think for yourself and use logic and reason to solve a problem.