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Happy 231st Birthday, Marines!

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/11/10 19:09:51 (1266 reads)

Today is November 10th, 2006, and it is the U.S. Marine Corps' 231st birthday.

As is tradition, here is the Commandant's message:









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Michael Burgess ignores Air Traffic Controllers

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/11/10 18:28:17 (1734 reads)

Another public letter to Michael Burgess from yet another peeved constituent:

Dear Congressman Burgess,

Congratulations on your re-election to U.S. Congress.

I had received a (mass) e-mail from you over a week ago, campaigning for your re-election, and wanted to respond to you then but decided to wait until after the election when I would have more to say. And boy, do I have more to say.

You probably don't remember, but I had contacted you back in June of this year concerning a matter between the FAA and the Air Traffic Controllers. A bill introduced in the house, H.R. 5449, would have ensured fair negotiations between the two parties instead of a forced, one-sided contract by the FAA which would all but guarantee the early retirement of nearly 4000 eligible Air Traffic Controllers by the end of 2007, causing a severe shortage, because of the financial penalties and demoralizing work rules hammered upon these highly skilled, dedicated professions. The bill was supported overwhelming by the House but was not enough to meet the 2/3's required to pass the bill, as set by the Speaker of the House.

YOUR vote, even after many pleas via e-mail and phone calls, was an astonishing NAY. As I had advised in a follow-up letter to you, my husband is an Air Traffic Controller and we, along with other members of NATCA, would be taking into consideration the actions of our elected officials over this important issue come election time. My husband even invited you to tour the Fort Worth (air traffic control) Center as his personal guest so that you would have any opportunity to see first hand what it's like to be an Air Traffic Controller. Not surprisingly, there was no response from you.

Aside from that, virtually EVERY petition or request I have ever sent you on ANY issue was answered back with some lame excuse as to why you opposed it, rubber-stamping the Bush agenda, rather than standing up and doing what was best for middle-class American. And now you are no doubt extremely disappointed that the Democrats have completely swept control of Congress, but as they say... WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND.

And although there was little chance of you NOT winning your own re-election, given the disproportionate amount of money you had to work with over your challenger, it gave me great satisfaction to support and vote for candidate Tim Barnwell. I admire Mr. Barnwell as he has worked tirelessly and given up his own substantial earnings for over a year in order to campaign full-time for what he believes is best for this district and the American people, against the odds and without big corporate or special interest money. I only wish there were more honest and courageous candidates like him.

From here on out, I will NOT be contacting you with petitions and/or requests as I have found that those efforts only fall on a deaf ear. But this election should be a wake up call to you that, although you may fit in with the 'good ole boy' mentality here in Texas, you are completely out of touch with mainstream America.

Hopefully, this will send a clear message to the Republican Party -- for their actions and inactions over the last several years -- that you can fool the American people for awhile, but you can't fool them forever. Sooner or later truth always prevails. Good luck in your political life.


Linda Booth
North Richland Hills, TX

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Why Vote?

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/11/7 6:29:49 (714 reads)

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Interview with Barbara Ann Radnofsky for U.S. Senate

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/11/6 14:42:42 (1158 reads)

Recently, you may have read my FAKE post-debate interview with Kay Bailey Hutchison. That was just for fun, but now we have a REAL interview with Barbara Ann Radnofsky - the most qualified candidate for Senate. She's running against Kay Bailey Hutchison.

WhosPlayin: Barbara Ann, thank you tremendously for taking time out of your schedule to share your thoughts with our readers. You've been quite a busy lady - are there any cities left in Texas that you haven't visited? What's the total trip count up to now?

Barbara Ann: We're driving back from 562, in San Antonio!

WhosPlayin: And you must be getting an ear-full from people at each stop. Which issues are people approaching you with the most?

Barbara Ann: 1. Iraq 2. Economy and wasting our taxpayer dollars 3. Health care

WhosPlayin: How often do you hear from citizens of the opposite political persuasion? Do you still see any common ground, or are things just too divisive for constructive conversation?

Barbara Ann: I hear from Republicans and Independents all the time, because I reach out to them. There's lots of common ground.

WhosPlayin: I know from hearing you speak that you are a woman of faith. You work with the Anti-Defamation League as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation (an organization with broad ecumenical interest to Jews, Christians, and other Scholars). Would you care to share a bit about how your religion has played a role in your values and your life's mission, and how it might serve to guide you in your policy decisions?

Barbara Ann: I am a deeply spiritual person and believe in the golden rule. Favorite biblical phrases and stories always motivate me. You won't be surprised I love the story of David and Goliath.

WhosPlayin: The Republicans piously rant about "restoring family values". In fact, their platform for 2006 states:
Christian Nation - America is a Christian nation, founded on Judeo-Christian principles. We affirm the constitutional right of all individuals to worship in the religion of their choice.
Yet the policies and budgetary priorities that your opponent and other Republicans have supported seem anything but family friendly or "Judeo-Christian". Why do you think prominent religious leaders and the American public have failed to call them on it? Is it the "wedge" issues, or are the American people really buying this?

Barbara Ann: I'd speculate unnecessarily on motives of that. Folks ache for common ground and civility. One of my favorite sayings from Hillel comes to mind: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me. But if I am only for myself, who am I? And, if not now, when?"

WhosPlayin: A majority of Americans now seem to think the war with Iraq was a mistake. Republicans like your opponent, Kay Bailey Hutchison, still try to link Iraq with 9/11 and W.M.D.s. They've likened dissent to disloyalty, and seem to have framed the issue as if there are only two options: "Finish the Job" (whatever that is) or "Cut-and-run". Now the situation in Iraq is getting worse by the day, and our presence there may be contributing. How can we extricate our troops in the most honorable way, with the least loss of life and liberty for Americans and Iraqis?

Barbara Ann: We should set goals, a timetable, and withdraw. Our presence de-stabilizes Iraq. We must provide proper equipment (including helmets and armor) to the troops there, who lack proper protection.
Senator Hutchison believes that we can not even think about leaving Iraq until the country is stabilized. Senator Hutchison is promising perpetual war. My opponent recently admitted that she did not read the 90-page classified version intelligence assessment on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The 90-page classified version intelligence assessment Sen. Bob Graham begged his colleagues to read concerned weapons of mass destruction. The document was the only national intelligence estimate requested on Iraq's WMD before the war, and was not created until Sen. Graham requested it in September, 2002.
Please take a look at my essays "No Penalty for Being Wrong" and "No More Iraqs" on the news section of

WhosPlayin: As a Gulf-War I era veteran, myself, I pay close attention to veterans issues. I know that Kay Bailey Hutchison serves on the Veterans' Affairs committee, but I don't feel a lot of love. Your press release at shows a few of her transgressions. I know that Gulf-War veterans who served in the region are dying and becoming permanently disabled at a rate double that of veterans like myself who served state-side. Gulf-War Syndrome and exposure to depleted uranium are implicated. Now we have troops coming back from the region in larger numbers with serious injuries and PTSD. If you're elected, how do you not only make things right for our veterans, but make sure that they don't have to keep fighting each time the Congress passes a budget for the year?

Barbara Ann: The key is to elect someone who will fight for the priority of assure funding mechanism for the Veterans Administration. We must also:

  • Authorize and fully fund a VA hospital south of San Antonio
  • Give Group 8 veterans medical benefits
  • Adopt a new GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century
  • End the widow's tax and disability/pension offsets, requiring forfeiture of earned benefits
  • Restore staffing cutbacks in counselors, nurses, and other primary care providers
  • Reform veterans' death benefit and combat disability-related compensation
  • Eliminate unfair and unscrupulous lending practices targeted at veterans and military service personnel
The most recent Rio Grande Guardian news article explores indepth the funding issue, it is posted at in the news section.

WhosPlayin: I have to ask you this for the benefit of other bloggers who have been so vigilant in trying to get out the word about the dangers to our troops and to civilians. of the depleted uranium munitions that we're using in Iraq: At a time when our president is posturing for a new war against Iran over their enrichment of uranium, we're actually shooting the radioactive byproduct of that process as bullets. Would you support a moratorium on the further usage of depleted uranium projectiles, or at least a serious study of the "collateral damage" that this dangerous substance is causing?

Barbara Ann: Yes. And, if we're to expose our troops, we must have proper screening.

WhosPlayin: There are just so many issues right now on the national level, that it's difficult to really cover them all. I appreciate that you've spent a lot of time putting together an issues chart on your website. I'd like to give you an opportunity to talk to our readers about any issues I haven't covered above, that you feel are important to discuss. What else would you like to tell our readers about the issues?

Barbara Ann: The waste of our tax payer dollars (as Texas ranks last in government largesse and 49th in per capita transportation spending, which goes to wasteful projects, like Alaskan bridges to nowhere) threatens our future, our children's future and our national security.

My legislative priorities include fiscal responsibility, education, and health care. Education and insurance reform reduce waste, save billions, avoid disease, and lower taxes. Health care reform will also ensure our ability to respond to bio-terror attacks.

I'm the daughter and granddaughter of injured veterans, and we need a G.I. Bill of Rights for the 21st century. Please see the issues chart for more details on my positions and proposals at

We must attack corruption and special interests, eliminate the wasteful earmark system, and make our Congress people accountable for their conduct including no automatic pay raises and no special benefit and pension/insurance system.

WhosPlayin: What would you say to those people out there who would consider themselves Republicans but feel disenfranchised from their party? Why should they vote for you - or any Democrat for that matter?

Barbara Ann: My election will restore balance, credibility, fiscal responsibility and effective representation to Texans in the United States Senate. As a mother of three, wife, teacher, lawyer and mediator, I'm a professional problem solver who knows how to represent people, how to fight for people and how to bring people together.

WhosPlayin: Anything else that you'd like our readers to know about yourself?

Barbara Ann: Texans trust me to stop wasting our tax payer dollars, to honor the promises to the brave men and women who have served our country, to eliminate the alternate minimum tax that is hurting the middle class and to advocate for Texas farmers and ranchers and bring home the drought and wildfire relief they need. I am an advocate of education and insurance reforms which will reduce waste, save billions, avoid disease, and lower taxes. Health care reform will also ensure our ability to respond to bio-terror attacks. I'm the daughter and granddaughter of injured veterans, and believe we need a G.I. Bill of Rights for the 21st Century. I've been given an A rating by the NRA and will fight to protect the constitution including the Second Amendment.

My opponent refuses to pledge to stay 6 years in the senate if elected. She has given every indication that she will cut and run from her senate service. The senior senator from Texas believes perjury is a mere technicality, she will not take a stand on outlawing horse slaughter, she has proven over her 13 years in the senate that she is a liberal spender, and she has voted to rubberstamp failed Bush Administration policies 95.6% of the time.

Under Hutchison's 13 year senate career, Texas ranks first in uninsured children, first in high school drop outs, 41st in federal funding, and drought and wildfire relief has been delayed for two years. The problems that Texas and our nation face can be solved but we need a leader in the senate who has a track record of solving problems. My opponent is not a problem solver.

WhosPlayin: Barbara, thank you so much for your time. We know that you're really busy and we wish you the best of luck.

WhosPlayin is Proud to endorse Barbara Ann Radnofsky for U.S. Senate

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Why you should NOT re-elect Michael Burgess to U.S. Congress

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/11/5 14:38:34 (1674 reads)

Why you should NOT re-elect Michael Burgess to U.S. Congress

Michael Burgess is a Medical Doctor (OB-GYN), and he wants you to know it. His first campaign slogan was "Let's put a doctor in the House." His re-election slogan is "Let's keep a doctor in the House". It's a cute slogan, and it begs the listener to infer that since he can "fix" female problems and deliver babies, that he's the right guy to fix our derelict Congress and deliver a better America.

Unfortunately, it's not true. His voting record has proven it. Though he may be an accomplished doctor, he's an ineffective member of Congress who has shown us that even intelligent people can be very, very wrong minded on certain things.

There are several major categories of reasons why Michael Burgess is bad for North Texas and does not represent the views of the majority:

1. He is a far-right neo-conservative extremist, not a moderate. He's made no effort to distance himself from the divisive and extremist policies that lack the support of the silent majority.

2. Like too many other members of Congress, he is V.U.I: Voting Under the Influence. The corporate special interests that funnel money into his campaign get what they want at the expense of his constituents' interest.

3. He has used his tenure as a fundraising opportunity for himself and other notorious figures, such as Tom Delay, and Katherine Harris.


Neo-Conservative Extremist

When one speaks to Michael Burgess, and hears him pay lip service to social and environmental issues, you might get the mistaken impression that he's got some populist leaning. At his town hall meetings and in his letters, he goes out of his way to look and sound less partisan, but it's simply not true. Here are a few facts to illustrate my point:
  • Burgess was one of only 20 out of 435 members of Congress that voted to keep weakened ethics rules in place so that Tom Delay could keep his status as majority leader, even after being indicted.
  • Burgess has taken $15,000 from Tom Delay's PAC, and $15,000 from Roy Blunt's PAC for his own campaigns, no doubt exchanging favors, voting with Tom Delay 94% of the time.
  • Burgess contributed to $10,000 Tom Delay's legal defense fund. Until it was recently exposed, Burgess had photos of Tom Delay on his congressional website, and photos of himself with Tom Delay on his campaign website.
  • Regarding the power of the President, and Congress' role in keeping that power in check, Burgess stated: "In today's dangerous world is it necessary or desirable to have strong executive branch? I submit the answer to that question is yes, and that means Congress has an obligation to also manifest strength in these areas."
  • Burgess votes along Republican party lines 97% of the time.
  • Burgess proposes a "flat tax" that would raise taxes on the poor and lower them for the rich.
  • Burgess took $1000 in campaign contributions from convicted ex-congressman Duke Cunningham.

Voting Under the Influence

Michael Burgess is brainwashed by the corporate lobbyists that line up to hand him checks and tell him what he should believe.

  • Burgess received over $60,000 in campaign money from the oil industry, so at a time when oil companies were posting record profits and gouging Americans with $3 per gallon gasoline, he voted for $8.5 billion in tax cuts and incentives for them.
  • Having received over $60,000 in campaign money from big drug interests, Burgess voted for the disastrous Medicare part D plan that forbids the government from negotiating prices with the drug companies. This will cost the taxpayers and our seniors billions, and put it in the hands of the drug companies - in which he happens to own stocks. He also voted against allowing Americans to save money by re-importing drugs from Canada. He continues to defend his position.
  • Burgess voted to allow federal loans to American companies that have escaped paying U.S. taxes by moving offshore.
  • Burgess voted to strip overtime protection from millions of workers.
  • The Consumers Union (publishers of Consumer Reports) as well as the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy both scored Burgess a 0 for his anti-consumer votes.

Using his Tenure as a Fund Raiser

  • Spent over $100,000 this election cycle just to raise campaign funds.
  • Only will have worked 72 legislative days in Congress.

Does NOT Support our Troops

  • Opposed expanding access to TRICARE - the military's health-care insurance program to the families of deployed reservists and guard members, leaving many families not only without their breadwinner, but without health insurance.
  • Voted against a $1,500 bonus for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Voted against the Depleted Uranium Screening and Testing Act of 2005, which would detect if our troops have been exposed to the deadly dust and smoke particles from these munitions. Many veterans of Gulf War I have died from exposure. This time we have more veterans, and more depleted uranium.
  • The Disabled American Veterans gave Burgess a 0% rating for his failure to support our veterans.Supports President Bush's "stay the course" failed strategy in Iraq, which has contributed to many more of our troops being killed and maimed.
  • The IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) scored Burgess C- in their report card.

Does NOT Protect the Environment

Despite driving a hybrid car with a yellow ribbon magnet on it, his record on the environment is atrocious as his record on supporting our troops:

  • Voted 6 times to allow dangerous and damaging oil drilling in the environmentally sensitive Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, even though it would accomplish almost nothing in terms of energy independence.
  • Received a 5 thumbs-down rating from the Sierra Club in their 2006 Congressional score card.
  • He thinks Washington shouldn't dictate environmental regulations, but that "local interests and governments" should do it. Perhaps these local interests might include TXU, Texas' largest operator of coal-fired power plants, who have given Burgess $17,000 in contributions.
  • Voted for a massive sell-off of public lands to mining companies
  • Voted against bi-partisan reform of the Endangered Species Act
  • Voted to protect the manufacturers of MTBE, a dangerous and possibly carcinogenic gasoline additive that now pollutes nearly 2000 water systems in 29 states, exposing as many as 45 million people to it.

Need more? Want some sources? Read on...

This message not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. This is an editorial statement from We endorse Tim Barnwell for U.S. Congress but encourage everyone to do their own research and make an informed vote on November 7th

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TX Attorney General Greg Abbott unlawfully uses your tax dollars to campaign.

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/10/28 14:40:41 (2430 reads)

WFAA News ran a story last on last night's 10 pm news about Attorney General Greg Abbott's use of taxpayer funded TV crews shooting footage for "publicity purposes" which he then later used in his campaign commercials.

See the video from channel 8: ... php?vidId=97952&catId=104

Greg Abbott does a lot of horn tooting about being "tough on crime", but he ignores the other parts of his job, such as:
- Protecting consumers from predatory and/or monopolistic corporate interests
- Enforcing child support. (He loves to trot out children in front of cameras, but to him, they're all just statistics for his campaign)
- Serving as a check on the power of the Texas Governor and Legislature when they violate the state law and constitution.

Here's what Abbott's opponent, Democrat David Van Os, had to say about it:


The "good guy" image of himself that Greg Abbott is spending millions of dollars to promote is phonier than a three-dollar bill. Beneath the glossy campaign ads, he's a thief and a hypocrite, and his claim to be such a nice guy is a pack of lies.

Abbott has been caught red-handed using film produced by state employees on state equipment and on state time in his campaign commercials and in his campaign website. WFAA-TV laid out the undeniable evidence in its 10:00 news on October 27. Anyone with an Internet connection can view the story at

The WFAA report also reveals that Abbott set up an expensive video department in the AG's office on tax dollars so he could produce films for his grandstanding at the taxpayers' expense.

Greg Abbott is a state employee. State law prohibits state employees from using state resources for political purposes. It's stealing the taxpayers' money.


There's no difference between stealing a penny and stealing a dollar; cheating on a test or cheating in an election; little white lies or whoppers.

Greg Abbott has proven by this action and probably others, that he feels an entitlement to his public office, the state's and people's equipment, facilities and employees, as if it were all his personal property.

Greg Abbott is so sure of his entitlement to public office, he thinks he has a special privilege to steal public equipment and resources to promote himself. If he doesn't apply the law to himself, then he'll also selectively enforce the law -- and that is what he does.

He gives free passes to big campaign contributors through non-enforcement of consumer protection laws; but enforces the law vigorously against those who are defenseless and usually penniless.

He garnishes a child's bank account so he can get a statistic claiming he's collected child support -- by taking the money from the very child the money was intended for. The child is just a number, not even a name.

He calls himself the holy defender of the Ten Commandments while trampling on its injunctions not to steal, lie, or idolize himself.

In this campaign he calls himself the patriotic defender of the Pledge of Allegiance while disgracing our nation's fundamental value that government belongs to the people.

We the people have got to take our government back from corruption under any name, whether that's Greg Abbott, any other Republican, Democrat or Independent. The Law is the Law.

~David Van Os

I have personally met and spent time with David Van Os, and heard him speak on multiple occasions. I can attest that he'll be tough on crime, INCLUDING the white collar corporate crime that costs us all. David Van Os has backbone, and will be nobody's lap dog. He's shown that he's willing to break ranks with his own party if necessary.

David Van Os has sworn that he'll do everything within his power to stop the Trans-Texas Corridor

For these reasons, WhosPlayin endorses David Van Os for the office of Texas Attorney General in 2006.

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Dallas Morning News Bias shows again: John McLeod strikes back

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/10/26 22:04:13 (2637 reads)

If you read my blog recently, you've seen my response to the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board's almost slanderous statements about Tim Barnwell

Now the Dallas Morning News has done it again with Democratic Candidate John McLeod, not only recommending Myra Crownover - the Legislature's most useless piece of furniture. Again, their misrepresentation of the challenger's position and their unresearched assertions show that they take their jobs lightly, and view elections not as the hallmark of Democracy in America, but rather as a popularity contest.

Here's what John McLeod had to say in response to their B.S. Note how much more eloquently John puts it than I did in my response for Mr. Barnwell:

From: John McLeod, Democratic Candidate for State Representative District 64
To:George Rodrigue, Vice President/Managing Editor
Keven Ann Willey, Vice President/Editorial Page Editor
William McKenzie, Associate Editor

I was disappointed to read in your October 6th edition that your editorial board had decided not to endorse my campaign for Texas State Representative. I am writing you today because I believe that those who hold and seek public office have a fiduciary responsibility not only to comport ourselves in an ethical manner, but also to speak up for ourselves, our constituents, and the electoral process when others have failed to meet those standards. While the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News is certainly free to endorse candidates as they see fit, in doing so you accept the burden of responsibility to competently research the differences between candidates and to accurately represent their statements and positions. I am sad to say that in this column not only were my statements misrepresented from the four minute phone interview that I participated in with Bill McKenzie, but the statements concerning my opponent are so far from reflecting reality that even the most minor fact checking would have called them into question. In describing my positions the article stated:

"But he doesn't support the business tax to fund schools and doesn't think local communities should vote now on a sales tax for a regional transit system."

My actual answer to these inquires was that I do support a business tax system, as I previously stated in the Dallas Morning News online questionnaire, but I believe that the revenue derived from this source should be used to add badly needed funds to our school system. My opponent voted that not $1 of this revenue would be used to increase funding to our schools. For that reason I would take issue with your description that this tax funds our schools, as it was intended to fund a property tax reduction which is a related but different issue. While Texas homeowners were promised a $2,000 a year property tax break your paper reported on September 30th on an article written by Wayne Slater that in fact the savings will be closer to $7 a month. Our schools badly need additional funds to provide our children a world class education, and Texas homeowners are in need of real property tax relief, but this business tax has failed to accomplish either. I also am not opposed to local communities voting on a sales tax for a regional transit system, but instead stated that to really address our transit needs we need to create a unified coherent regional transit authority and plan to insure adequate planning and efficient use the tax dollars paid by hard working North Texans.

There are a number of statements concerning my opponent that one could take issue with but the most glaring were:

"She's also sensible on the environment." and ".is the kind of independent Republican Texans need in Austin."

While sensible is a fairly subjective term I find it odd that the column would describe someone with a 0% approval rating from both the Sierra Club and the Texas League of Conservation Voters as sensible on the environment. Generally when non-partisan environmental groups award you their worst possible rating they are saying you have failed to exercise any leadership on the environment, a point which Texas League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Colin Leyden made clear to me when his organization endorsed me. I also agree that Texas badly needs independent legislators, but as my opponent has voted with Speaker Tom Craddick and the Republican majority in nearly every instance, and rarely writes legislation of her own, I can't say what or who she is independent of other than the interests of hardworking Denton County families. Instead the record shows that she has followed the her party faithfully down every bad idea including cutting the Children's Health Insurance Program which has put over 200,000 Texas children out of access to healthcare and cost the state of Texas $883,000,000.00 in federal funding.

What the Texas Legislature and the people of Texas need so desperately today is a fair and open discussion of our needs and the appropriate role of government in our lives. The 80th Legislature has critical issues to consider including rising health care expenses, failing schools, and ethics reform which will determine whether the people of Texas should expect a prosperous future, or whether this great and proud state will continue to decline. With so much hanging in the balance the people of North Texas deserve more than four minute phone interviews, twisted statement, and the absence of due diligence in research when endorsing candidates. It is my hope that in the future North Texans can expect better of the Dallas Morning News editorial board. Thank you for your consideration.


John McLeod
Democrat for State Representative District 64

John McLeod is a very intelligent man who brings a lot to Texans in district 64. Whosplayin interviewed him as part of our Elections 2006 Special Coverage

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Early Voting in Texas - VOTE NOW!!!

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/10/23 22:26:04 (4459 reads)

Note: This is an OLD post from 2006. Click here for 2008 early voting locations in Denton County

This is just a reminder that Early voting begins in Texas today (Monday, October 23rd, and goes through Friday, Nov 3rd).

The most convenient time for everyone to vote will be on the weekend.

If you live in Denton County, then you can find your Denton County Voting Locations here, along with a List of National and Texas candidates.

The weekend voting hours on Saturday are from 7am to 7pm in Denton County - I expect it's probably the same where you are. It's the easiest day to vote.

With so many days and times to vote, there is no excuse. If you have time to read this, you've got time to look up your local candidates and make your list. If you have kids, please take them with you. They may get a little bored, but it's a good time to teach them a civics lesson.

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Dallas Morning News Editorial Board Epitomizes Conservative Bias

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/10/17 22:48:54 (2778 reads)

The Dallas Morning News, today as expected endorsed Rep. Michael Burgess for re-election to U.S. Congress in District 26. Said his Democratic challenger, Tim Barnwell: "It was a foregone conclusion that they were going to recommend the Republican incumbent. I just was surprised that a professional news organization could offer such little substance in the explanation of their reasoning." When asked why he attended the Editorial Board interview, Barnwell responded: "I'm a serious candidate, and I think the voters of District 26 deserve to have every opportunity to hear my views, and compare and contrast them with the views and votes of my opponent. Failing to show up would have been as dishonorable as Michael Burgess' non-response to the League of Women Voters' candidate survey." Touché!

Here's the largest quote I can legally call "fair use" without copying the whole vapid thing, which can be found here.

With Medicare and Medicaid sorely in need of Washington's attention, it helps to have a doctor in the House.
That's one reason we're recommending Rep. Michael Burgess, 55, for re-election.
<snip>(Some drivel where DMN asserts that because of the healthcare crisis, it's good for a doctor to be a legislator)
[Burgess] has tried to find alternative ways to insure the uninsured, such as making it easier for businesses to pool together and buy insurance for employees.
<snip>(A paragraph where DMN feigns an attempt to say something negative about Burgess: that he opposes the Hutchison-Pence "compromise" immigration bill. DMN hopes he'll be more "open". Yeah, right.)
That said, the Democratic challenger, Tim Barnwell, 56, of Providence Village, was disturbingly short on solutions. He criticized the idea of a guest worker program, saying the former bracero program hadn't worked, but failed to offer alternatives. The fact that the small-business consultant is currently unemployed also undermines our confidence in his stature for the job.

Not only does this article repeat Burgess's tired campaign slogan of "[keep] a doctor in the house", but it glosses over Burgess's repeated anti-middle-class and anti-consumer votes that have contributed to the health-care crisis in this country, such as the Medicare Part D drug price negotiations ban. Burgess also voted for the ruinous "Association Health Plans" which have been roundly rejected by pro-consumer organizations.

Even worse, it boldly attacks Mr. Barnwell on two fronts that the Editorial Board knows are not legitimate. Replied Mr. Barnwell: "We were told several times that the board’s time was limited so I presented an abbreviated version of my Four Point Plan on Immigration Reform, and they say I was 'short on solutions'. Perhaps they were waiting for a Five Point Plan? Pray tell, how many points must one make?" Barnwell's Four Point Plan on Immigration Reform is available online at ... /four_point_plan.php#more

The most disingenuous part was DMN's assertion that Barnwell is unemployed. Running a Congressional campaign is a full-time job. Having sacrificed paid employment for the patriotic calling of running for U.S. Congress - Barnwell has missed out on well over six figures in income, and has put up over $10k of his own money for this campaign, having not received a dime from the national Democratic organizations.

The Editorial Board should know that a private citizen, non-insider, who doesn't have hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate money to throw around like Burgess does, would find it necessary to forego employment and focus on the campaign full-time. Burgess, who has raised over $720,000 spent about $100,000 just on fundraising consulting with one of his consulting firms. Burgess can afford to have a paid campaign staff.

Tim Barnwell must write his own material, do his own research, make MANY more public appearances than the incumbent, make his own fundraising calls, and rely on volunteers for as much as possible. In fact, almost all of Barnwell's outside campaign funding has come from individuals in small contributions of $50 and under.

To say that Barnwell is "unemployed" is to imply to the reader that he was looking for work, but unable to find it. It's a statement engineered to make the reader think that Barnwell has less worth. It is a statement that shows the ivory-tower contempt that DMN Editorial board has for the non-connected everyday citizen, would-be public servant who sacrifices for the good of their country.

If Tim Barnwell wins this election, he and his family will be making a sacrifice, compared to the salary he could otherwise get as a mediator and consultant with his level of education. Unlike Michael Burgess, Tim Barnwell will not use his Congressional tenure as a fundraising opportunity. Also unlike Burgess, Barnwell says he will divest of any personal stock holdings prior to taking office to avoid conflicts of interest, such as Burgess's ethical lapse when voting for the Medicare Part D plan which prohibits government drug cost negotiation.

One doesn't need to be a doctor to fix our healthcare system: One needs to have some courage. One can start by refusing campaign contributions from Healthcare PACs, Pharma PACs, and Insurance PACs. Barnwell will work for universal single-payer healthcare that combines the best of free-market economics with efficient government negotiation and payment. Insurance companies will fight it to the death, because for some of these parasitic middlemen, it will mean death. Barnwell says he's not for sale, and he means it. He'll take no money from corporate PACs in these industries. I'm going to hold him to it. (Tim - if you're reading this, know I'll chain-whip you if I ever catch you with a Pharma check that's intact - with no knocked-out lobbyist on the floor next to it.) Further, if Barnwell wins, there will be an additional "unemployed" doctor who can go out and continue his practice.

Tim Barnwell may be stoic about the DMN's blatant bias, but I'm flat out angry, and I offer this message to them: D magazine recently had a great article explaining how you can get your newspaper fixed, and turn it around into a relevant and profitable venture that can survive. You should focus on that. The fact that you've recommended 100% incumbents in your Congressional races so far (Districts 3, 6, 12, 17, 26, and 32), even as polls show that 57% of people believe we should replace most incumbents in Congress would be evidence enough that you spent less time on your "recommendation" than I've spent on this rebuttal. This shallow attempt at editorial influence is a reflection of the lack of care shown in your political reporting on a daily basis. For this reason, I look forward to the day when I can purchase the "Dallas Star Telegram" and read something I haven't already heard on TV, or read in the national rags, or even blogs.

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Q&A about Christian Zionism

The Editor's Column
Posted by Irving Hall on 2006/10/9 23:48:06 (1442 reads)

What Is Christian Zionism?

Ten Questions and Answers
by Irving Wesley Hall

1. When you speak of Christian Zionists, can you give us some American examples?

That's easy because the Christian Zionist movement is almost 100% "Made in the USA." It was a fringe movement inside American Christianity until the 1970's. Nowadays it is hard to name one prominent televangelist who isn't a Christian Zionist.

Many leading Republican politicians pursue its agenda as well. The Reverend s Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell are Christian Zionists-or dispensationalists-as their theology is called. But we can get into that later.

Prominent Christian Zionist politicians include Republicans Tom DeLay, Ralph Reed, and President George W. Bush.

2. You mean all of those men agree on religion?

They may have differences. All Christians do. But they agree on at least three theological points with powerful political implications:

1. Unconditional support for Israel's hawks,
2. The imminence of the final war of Armageddon, and
3. The belief that born-again Christians will go to Heaven without dying in what is called the Rapture.

* * *

First they agree that Christians have an overriding obligation to support the policies of the Zionist state of Israel. Zionism is the ideology of Israel as a racially pure Jewish state established on colonized Arab land. Zionism justifies the Jewish state's continual territorial expansion. It encourages Jews from all over the world to immigrate to Israel and settle on land seized from the native Arab population.

That's why dispensationalists are called Christian Zionists.

Second, Christian Zionists agree on the inevitability of Armageddon, most likely through a worldwide nuclear war that will kill the majority of us living on earth. Most Christian Zionists expect Armageddon in their lifetimes after most Jews have "returned" to Israel. The ingathering of the Jews in the Holy Land is the critical event in an elaborate "End Times" scenario that dispensationalists piece together from verses lifted from several books in the Bible. We can get into that later.

Third, these folks expect to escape the horrors that they believe are predicted in the Bible. Based on several misinterpreted Bible passages they believe their born-again elite will be whisked away to Heaven in an event they call the Rapture. We can discuss the passages if we have time.

3. How many Americans agree with this Biblical interpretation?

Tens of millions of Christian Evangelicals accept some of the tenets of dispensationalism, although they may not accept all or even know the word.

But, before we go on, I want to emphasize two points.

First, the overwhelming majority of Christians in the world disagree with this interpretation of the Bible. It does not represent the views of American Catholics, most American Protestant denominations, or all American Evangelicals.

Second, these interpretations of the Bible not only represent a radical break with traditional Christianity, but they are also relatively new.

* * *

Israel was founded only sixty years ago.

Nuclear Armageddon gained currency after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The horrible idea that God plans to destroy the world in this way was first popularized by Hal Lindsey in his best seller, Late Great Planet Earth, thirty-five years ago.

Anglican minister and Bible scholar Stephen Sizer points out that the publication of Lindsey's book in the early 'seventies and the subsequent business success of fire-and-brimstone TV preachers launched modern Christian Zionism.

The televangelists' audience has been estimated to be larger than the circulation of Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times combined.

One survey found 60-70 million or 20-25% of Americans believe in the Rapture. Unqualified support for Israel among Americans is highest among Jews and Christian Evangelicals. One poll found 39% of Americans believe that when the Bible describes the earth being destroyed by fire it means the inevitability of a worldwide nuclear war.

4. What is the connection between organized Christian Zionism and Zionism?

They've been joined at the hip since Israel's 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel tripled it territory through the military conquest of its neighbors and became an occupying power over millions of native Palestinians.

* * *

When hawkish Israeli leaders like Benyamin Netanyahu visit the United States they brief Christian Zionist leaders. Reverend John Hagee boasts that his followers sent millions of dollars to relocate Russian Jews to lands stolen from Palestinians. Despite the violence in the Middle East, American Christians sustain Israel's tourism industry. The government of Israel reportedly gave Reverend Jerry Falwell a private Lear Jet.

When Ariel Sharon's army invaded the Palestinian territories in 2002, President George W. Bush publicly demanded that Israel withdraw. Bush had both political authority and financial leverage, because the United States gives 3 billion dollars in mostly military aid to Israel every year -more than to any other country.

However, Ariel Sharon thumbed his nose at Bush, and the president backed down.

Why? Christian Zionist preachers mobilized their flocks to flood the White House with hundreds of thousands of letters and emails supporting Israel's Biblical right to drive out the native Palestinians.

Pat Robertson recently suggested that God punished previous Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with an incapacitating stroke because Sharon withdrew some Jewish settlers from Gaza.

5. Are you saying a minority of American Christians are dictating United States foreign policy?

In the Middle East, yes-with the help of the so-called Israel Lobby or American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. The Christian Zionists do not represent most American Christians, and the Israel Lobby doesn't represent the interests of most American Jews or the majority of Israeli citizens.

Most Christians, Jewish Americans, and Israelis support a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with Israel,

* * *

If you doubt the power of the Christian Zionist and Zionist lobbies, just look at the recent lopsided Congressional vote in support of Israel's devastating aggression against its democratic neighbor, Lebanon. You can be sure that AIPAC's wealthy donors will punish the nine Congress people who refused to go along.

To understand the power internationally of this American alliance, just recall how long the United States defied unanimous world opinion in the United Nations for a ceasefire in Lebanon. The U.S. threatened its veto power for 34 days to allow Israel to pulverize Lebanon's Muslim and Christian communities.

If you want an example of this alliance's "Judeo-Christian values" look at the over one million unexploded cluster bombs that Israel sowed in Lebanese homes, villages, and farms. These will continue to kill and maim Lebanese farmers and children for decades.

6. So what's the difference between the mainstream Christian interpretation of the Bible and that of Christian Zionists?

We probably have time for only three examples. Listeners can find a list of scholarly books on my website for more.

First, dispensationalists believe that all the verses in the Bible are not only literally true, but equal in significance. Second, Christian Zionists, unlike Biblical scholars, confuse Biblical prophecy with prediction. Third, televangelists display a willful ignorance of centuries of serious Christian scholarship.

As I mentioned, dispensationalism represents a uniquely American and offbeat approach to Scripture. The most convincing critics of Christian Zionism are devout Christian scholars, some of them former dispensationalists.

* * *

First, the belief that every word in the Bible is literally true is relatively new historically. It gained prominence in the 1920's with the coining of the new word "fundamentalism" around the Scopes "monkey trial" in Tennessee.

More important, dispensationalists-just one school of fundamentalists-assert that every word or phrase in the Bible is potentially of equal value to every other. Any verse can be cherry-picked to create a brand new End Timer narrative that violates both the letter and spirit of the original contexts.

For example, an obscure passage in Daniel or an allegorical reference in Revelation is given greater weight than the Golden Rule or Sermon on the Mount. It's as if an inexperienced chef thumbed through a cookbook and selected a few ingredients from many recipes. The result could be a deadly concoction.

Second, televangelists and pop writers like Hal Lindsey and the authors of the Left Behind series break with centuries of Biblical scholarship when they assert that prophecies made thousands of years ago by ancient sages fell into a time warp just for modern preachers.

Today's Christian Zionists carefully select prophecies out of context and transform them into predictions--something entirely different. They claim that these Scriptural passages mysteriously waited thousands of years for a few dozen wealthy American televangelists to manipulate in order to explain current events as part of some secret and hair-raising divine plan.

Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel did not pretend to be Nostradamus. Biblical prophets were God-fearing social critics of the religious and political leaders of their time. Their prophecies were comparable to the warnings of many Americans in 2001 that if the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq our troops would wind up in a quagmire, stir up Muslim hatred, and inspire many more terrorists.

If the Bush Administration had only listened to us, then. . . Well sometimes folks listened to the Biblical prophets and sometimes they didn't.

Most Biblical scholars consider the Bible a closed system. All prophecies were fulfilled or avoided within the Bible's own framework. In fact Christians have traditionally used the fulfillment of prophecy and the performance of miracles as proof of divine inspiration.

Third, these TV preachers are ignorant of the rich tradition of Bible scholarship. They preach as though the Bible were written in English under God's direction simultaneously with the events described. Christian scholars have proved incontrovertibly that the Bible is a collection of stories, many from pre-literate oral traditions from all over the ancient world.

Scrolls and documents underwent countless transcriptions by unknown agents and changed through translations from Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin based upon the contemporary meanings of words that reflected the social structures of the times. Even the latest New International Version of the English-language Bible underwent hundreds of changes, some significant, as a result of ongoing scholarship. Clearly the changed passages could not have literally true both before and after.

7. So what kind of people originally devised this approach to Scripture?

The fathers of dispensationalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (there were no women) were mostly lonely misanthropes. Each man was convinced that he alone understood the true meaning of the Bible. Every other Christian in the world was not only wrong, but deluded by Satanic forces.

John Nelson Darby, an Irishman who preached in the United States after 1830, is considered the founder of the system. Reverend Edward Irving promoted the Rapture around the same time. Cyrus Ingersoll Scofield codified the separate earthly and heavenly paths of Jews and Christians in the early 1900s. His Scofield Bible is the dispensationalists' classic reference work.

* * *

As the dispensationalist system evolved over time each new interpreter claimed to have been the first to discover the true meaning of the Bible. He rarely gave credit to those from whom he had inherited his ideas. As Reverend Stephen Sizer notes, this was especially the case with Hal Lindsey.

Because the founders of the doctrine condemned all other Christians as apostates in league with the Devil, they were especially attracted to the doctrine of original sin. That's the essence of "dispensationalism."

What is a "dispensation"?

According to the Scofield system, a dispensation is one of seven periods in the Bible in which God orders the Jews to do something that the deity knows they will not do so that He will have to punish them. The seven cycles or dispensations (most in Genesis) include the banishment from the Garden of Eden, Noah's worldwide flood, the several exiles of the Hebrew people, and the punishment of the Jews for rejecting Christ.

This negative view of both human nature and God explains why dispensationalists prefer the vengeful God of the Old Testament to the loving God of the New Testament. These fundamentalists find the "Shalt Nots" of Leviticus more appealing than the "Blesseds" of the Sermon on the Mount. They love the primitive "eye for an eye" rather than the enlightened "turning the other cheek."

This explains why Christian Zionists are so eager to post the punitive Ten Commandments in public places. What was the last time you heard of fundamentalists agitating to post the Golden Rule?

Unfortunately for us Americans, these "Judeo-Christian" values are easily manipulated by a Republican administration whose wealthy supporters profit from war and preach fear, mistrust, and vengeance instead of Christian love, respect, and forgiveness.

The idea that all the bad things human beings are doing to the planet and each other are part of God's plan, and that good people can escape the consequences by flying off to heaven at the last moment is very dangerous.

Traditional Christians want to halt global warming, end the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and use the money to address deepening world poverty that breeds terrorism.

Not the Christian Zionists. They say "Bring 'em on!"

8. Where in the Bible do they find the Rapture, Armageddon, and support for Israel's policies?

The Oxford Bible Encyclopedia was compiled by the most reputable Christian scholars in the world. There is no entry for "Rapture." Lutheran scholar Barbara Rossing points out that the Rapture would require Jesus to return not once but twice. The Rapture is based on a misreading of the description of the second coming in Thessalonians and Matthew ignorance of the meaning of the Greek word for "meet."

In her wonderful little book, The Rapture Exposed, she describes the Book of Revelation as part of an allegorical tradition long familiar to serous Biblical scholars. Any attempt to read into Revelation any predictions, especially about 21st Century events is not only ridiculous, but violates the Bible's last book's optimistic message of the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, symbolized by the victorious Lamb.

Christian Zionists cite several early passages in Genesis to justify 21st Century American support for Israel's illegal conquest and occupation of Arab lands and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Most of the world's Christian denominations condemn these policies as contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

There is a tragic irony that many Palestinians are Christians. Some still speak Aramaic, the native language of Jesus of Nazareth. Furthermore, the world would be a living hell if all of us demanded to own the real estate that God "granted" our ancestors four thousand years ago.

* * *

Israel's claims hinge on an ambiguous promise Jehovah made to Abraham in Genesis. However "recovered" dispensationalist Dewey Beegle, Professor of Old Testament at Wesley Theological Seminary, pointed out that the boundaries of the "promised land" shifted dramatically in the Old Testament.

The promise was conditional and the conditions were never met. The Hebrew word that is translated into English as "forever" appears elsewhere to mean a much shorter period of time. Does "descendants" include European non-Semitic Jews?

Several events in the Old Testament suggest the original promise was fulfilled. Furthermore, both Jesus and Paul replaced the notions of the "Chosen People" and the territorial "promised land" with the domain of universal Christianity.

Until the advent of modern Zionism, Judaism itself accepted the assimilation of Jews into Gentile society all over the world. Most Holocaust survivors did not want to immigrate to Palestine, and most of the world's Jews clearly do not want to live in Israel. They oppose the expansionist Zionist settler movement and want Israel to live in peace with its neighbors within fixed borders.

9. So you reject the charge that critics of Christian Zionism and Zionism are anti-Semitic?

As far as I know, I was the first high school teacher to make the Holocaust a fixed part of a public school curriculum. That was forty years ago.

Actually Christian Zionism is profoundly anti-Semitic and has been from its infancy. Christian Zionists believe that no Jews will ever go to heaven unless they become born-again Christians.

There is only one reason why dispensationalists contribute millions to send the Jews back to Israel. According to their bizarre "prophetic" playbook, if the Jews don't go back to Israel, where they will be killed, the Christian Zionists can't go to heaven without dying.

* * *

According to the dispensationalist End Time scenario, the Jews must blow up the mosques on the Temple Mount, rebuild their own temple, make a pact with the Devil, and worship him for three-and-a-half years.

Then Jesus will return and slaughter the Jews, and many million Gentiles, in the battle of Armageddon. Of the 12-15 million Jewish people now in the world, only 144,000 will survive. These Jews will all convert to Christianity.

Now that's a Holocaust fantasy that would turn Adolf Hitler green with envy!

The Christian Zionists are the most powerful anti-Semitic movement in the world. By contrast, until the foundation of the state of Israel, Islamic countries have traditionally been hospitable to Jews and Christians.

For instance, in his recent speech to the United Nations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised both Moses and Jesus as prophets. 25,000 Jews live peacefully in Iran today and practice their religion with government encouragement. Despite their small numbers, there is a Jewish seat in the Iranian parliament.

10. Don't the Zionists in Israel and AIPAC know about Christian Zionist anti-Semitism?

Of course they do. The Christian Zionist scenario is no secret. Simply watch the televangelists or read their best sellers. The Zionist movers and shakers of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee know this crackpot scheme by heart.

Why do Zionists overlook the fate that Christian Zionists have in store for them? Political expediency. For the Christians, Jews are sacrificial lambs. For the Jews, Christians, are useful idiots.

* * *

I don't equate Zionism with Judaism or Christian Zionism with Christianity. Wealthy Zionists and Christian Zionists are cynically using each other for selfish political and financial purposes.

Both Zionist American and Christian televangelist millionaires have huge investments in the military industrial complex and other sections of corporate America. They benefit from Bush's tax policies and his fear-based military adventures abroad.

In exchange the Republicans benefit at election time.

By focusing Christian voters exclusively on lifestyle and religious issues at the ballot box (like Israel, abortion, and homosexuality), the Republicans have conned millions of Americans into voting against their own economic and political self-interest. Tax cuts for rich Jewish Americans and millionaire televangelists channel public funds away from universal health care, investment in education, and expanding social security.

Borrowing from the rest of the world to finance eternal wars for Israel against so-called "Islamic Fascism" is rapidly destroying our economy. The brutal wars of attrition in Palestine Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and, possibly, Iran cost us more than ten million dollars an hour.

The United States currently borrows from Japanese and Chinese bankers $2.2 billion dollars a day just to pay the interest on the deepening trade and budget deficits. Massive military spending and the wholesale transfer of wealth to America's very rich now comprise 2/3rds of the world's savings.

Clearly the imminent world economic collapse will dwarf the "depression" of the 1930's. And most of America's Christian and Jewish working people will suffer in ways we can barely imagine. Will they blame God or neo-conservatives and televangelists?

Christian Zionism is an insane death cult. Israel's militarism may eventually prove suicidal. Unfortunately everyone in the world has been hijacked into these folks' dark cult.

Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons. Its arsenal contains hundreds of nuclear warheads that can be launched from air, land, sea, and underwater. What if a Zionist crazy seizes power in Israel?

The United States has long possessed enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the world. Imagine a Christian Zionist president who believes he is above the law with his finger on the trigger? Supposing God tells him he should attack Iran with nuclear weapons without consulting Congress or the American people?

The Christian Zionist-Zionist-corporate Republican agenda threatens us all. The forces behind the alliance are small but very powerful. When most Jewish Americans discover the depth of Christian Zionist anti-Semitism, they will denounce its spokesmen.

When most Christians who support George W. Bush's policies take the time to examine the methodology of dispensationalism they will reject this pernicious theology as so many Evangelicals have already done.

Time is short. Christian Zionists in the United States and Zionists in Israel can easily produce a self-fulfilling prophecy that will destroy all of humanity and reduce God's sweet earth to a smoking cinder.

* * *

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