Monday, April 24, 2006
Southwest Texas Whistlestop Tour this week!
David and Rachel Van Os have put together a quick two-day courthouse-to-courthouse Whistlestop Tour this Wednesday and Thursday. If you're near any of the following towns, head down to the county courthouse and see what democracy looks like:
Wednesday April 26
9:00 a.m. Medina County Courthouse, Hondo
10:45 a.m. Uvalde County Courthouse, Uvalde
2:30 p.m. Kinney County Courthouse, Bracketville
4:00 p.m. Val Verde County Courthouse, Del Rio
Thursday April 27
9:00 a.m. Maverick County Courthouse, Eagle Pass
10:45 a.m. Dimmit County Courthouse, Carrizo Springs
11:45 a.m. Zavala County Courthouse, Crystal City
2:30 p.m. Frio County Courthouse, Pearsall
4:15 p.m. Atascosa County Courthouse, Jourdanton
posted by PDiddie at 8:29 PM
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Of Note from the Filibuster
Things I forgot about until watching the video I filmed for editting:
A lot of school tours happened that day. Stupidly thinking they may be interested in having the children briefly meet a candidate (cuz isn't that cool when you're a kid? no?), I would approach the adults in the group and briefly tell them about what David was doing and invite them over.
All of them said they were private schools, and showed little interest in the political system itself; they were there to look at the pretty building. One even said to me, "Oh, were a private school. We're going to agree with anything they pass. It always benefits us."
Not a joke.
And I forgot how appalled I was to learn that Texas allots nearly twice as much spending per inmate than pupil.
posted by snarko! at 4:50 PM
Best and Weirdest Moments from the Filibuster
Jim Dillon is a local self-employed carpenter who has attended both Filibusters and always brings a bullhorn, but it is rarely used; David prefers no microphones, no soapboxes -- in a word, no grandstanding, just exercising his right of free discourse on public grounds like the way it used to be.
But Governor Goodhair himself came out the front door of the Capitol around noon on Monday, heading for his black SUV, and Dillon turned on the bullhorn and accosted him verbally for the twenty-seconds-or-so walk from the steps to the vehicle.
In a polite way. "You're going to have to answer to the voters of Texas for your incompetence, Governor. Do you have anything to say to the citizens gathered here?" And stuff like that.
Governor MoFo only scurried faster to his car. He didn't stop or take questions (imagine that).
Second Best Moment(s):
David railing about the "silk-stockinged corporate lobbyists" as said lobbyists strolled past, trying not to look at us. This happened at least half a dozen times.
The afore-mentioned Jim Dillon -- his business card says that he is a "Christian Patriot" and a"Master Craftsman" -- announced his candidacy as a write-in candidate for Governor of Texas, and he filibustered the Filibuster until we asked him to stop. I don't think he mentioned anything about education during his 10 or so minutes, but he did recoin NCLB as "No Child's Behind Left Alone".
posted by PDiddie at 2:33 PM
The Real Dem Party's on the Lawn
As predicted by Rachel Barrios-Van Os, next morning Rick Perry's bodyguard-escourted chauffeur-driven tinted-window SUV, which has to drive only across the street and up the driveway from his fenced-in mansion (like can't he just walk?!), drove to the BACK of the building to drop him off to avoid us and others concerned for our teachers and children outside the front of the Capitol. What a guy.
Perry with his Blackberry and bodyguard
Perry's SUV behind David speaking.
My sunburn from the reportedly 101 degrees we bore yesterday has faded, but aggrevated by the chemical fertilizer they just sprayed on the lawn. David's hat has protected him well from such, as he firmly insisted it would, resisting suggestion he should move to shade where he wouldn't be as visible to the people--which he wanted to speak to.
We were joined briefly by an angry mother that pulled her son out of school that day to protest her son's educational future being dependent on the lottery, her message scrolled on a chalkboard she held up to oncoming traffic.
David has remained in great spirits despite lack of coffee. I was seriously impressed with how long Maria Luisa Alvarado (running for Lt. Gov.) and Larry Stallings (not even running in this district) remained with us into the night, despite needing to work in the morning. We celebrated his son and newest voter (just 18) Billy's birthday on the Capitol lawn with a chocolate cake in the wee hours, and later enjoyed "take back our government" music by supporter Rev. Vegan Stephen, who'd just gotten off a plane and came right over, at like 1AM.
Really if you attend the next Filibuster--scheduled for Cinco de Mayo--if you don't stay the night you miss the fun parts!
Best summary-of-problem quote I heard all night from supporter Barbara [paraphrased], "They say the educational problem can't be fixed by throwing money at it. I want to hear them say that AFTER they actually try it."
Daybreak was absolutely beautiful. Clouds skirted the sky, wistfully chasing each other while rays of light parted and backlit the Capitol like Mother Nature's own laser light show. The politicians mentioned by PD seemed surprised to see us this morning. "You're still here?!" was heard over and over again.
David stated that the AG should be taking a larger roll in advising the new plan, since the current system is deemed unconstitutional by our own courts.
More to come; blogger has a scheduled outage shortly...
posted by snarko! at 12:25 PM
Day Two was cooler
... at least, it wasn't 101 degrees, anyway.
After I posted Monday evening, Senator Eliot Shapleigh stopped by with us for about a half hour. And I believe I saw Senfronia Thompson also, with a group that paused for a few moments after leaving the Capitol. Was that you, Rep. Thompson? (I just want you to know that you're one of my heroes.)
We had a lively group well after dark, maybe twenty or so, and I lost altitude and crashed on the lawn, and Snarko got pictures -- I'm guessing with drool coming out of my mouth -- and we drew our first warning from the DPS for me being asleep on the lawn.
I can sleep almost anywhere. I'm like a dog in that respect. But I also sleep like a cat, which is to say that after a few minutes of rest I awake -- or am awakened -- alert and refreshed. So we soldiered on to dawn, and I got David to tell us a little Texas history regarding the founder of public education in Texas (and the namesake of my alma mater), Mirabeau B. Lamar.
You can read more at the Wiki link, but here are the things I did not know:
- Lamar and Sam Houston were bitter political enemies.
- Lamar sent five men to scout for a suitable location for the capital of the new Republic of Texas. His conditions were: a place of natural grandeur, one which was suitable for commercial water transportation, and a spot on the western frontier (which mostly ruled out the coastal areas). Two scouts returned with selections along the Colorado River-- at that time it was navigable all the way to the Gulf of Mexico -- and Lamar chose the one named Waterloo. It was very near where the Congress Street bridge -- the Mexican freetail bats' winter home -- crosses what Austinites call Town Lake today.
- The place named for the first true statesman of the fledgling Republic was indeed on the eastern edge of Comanche territory, which extended all the way to what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Comanche didn't care much for the white man and his settlements. Legend has it that Stephen F. negotiated a peace treaty with them (and other tribes who had raided the area) at the location where now stands the Treaty Oak.
I digress. Go to the links for more.
I gave in to Dr. Somnambulus around six a.m. and went back to the campaign office and flopped 'til about 8:30, then rushed back over to the Capitol with breakfast. David had regained strength and momentum and was railing about being dissed by R.G. Ratcliffe, who had walked past us a few minutes earlier and apparently pretended we weren't there. Colonel Ann Wright and a group of about half-a-dozen Cindy supporters passed, heading inside, and we all waved at each other.
As we approached the twenty-fourth hour, a lecturn and sound system was prepared on the south steps for the education rally hosted by The Metro Alliance and the Interfaith organizations of Texas. We joined their rally, where this impressive list of your favorites in the House all spoke:
They all visited with us and several greeted David warmly.
We wrapped around 12:30 --I missed the Feingold-Courage event, but Karl-T live-blogged it -- went to the scene of the big rally that night for lunch, and then I drove home, barely keeping awake.
The Statesman has a couple of snarky paragraphs here. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the The San Antonio Express-News blog also allegedly have posted something, but I cannot find either mention. If anyone does, send it and I'll update this post.
Back in a few minutes with a Best and Weirdest Moments.
Update: Here's a snip from Lisa Sandberg's post:
"People have come to see themselves as consumers or spectators of politics when in fact they're producers."
Van Os, who came dressed in jeans, a blue shirt, a navy vest and a white Stetson hat, is not one for soundbites. A guy who begins a speech on education by reading from the Texas Declaration of Independence of 1836 isn't likely to voice a quick fix for the state's school funding problems.
He's got plenty of well-wishers. He said Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, dropped by to see him, as did Rep. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio and Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio.
posted by PDiddie at 12:04 PM
Monday, April 17, 2006
Lots of nothing inside the Capitol...
... but it was hot outside (the conversation and the weather).
I'm sitting on the south steps, drafting the WiFi connection inside to post this. The sun has all but gone down and it's starting to feel mostly tolerable.
Special guests this afternoon included Kathi Thomas, Kirk Watson, Maria Luisa Alvarado (who joined us at 4 pm, saying she decided to "come outside to hear a real speaker") Richard Raymond, and on the sidewalk following adjournment, Garnet Coleman and Jim Dunnam.
The Stallings crew just joined us -- Larry, Diane, and Billy -- and will be taking a turn in a few minutes. DVO and MLA left briefly to go speak to the Northwest Austin Dems and have also just returned.
Really the biggest difference between this Filibuster and the first one (besides the heat, of course) is the presence of the silk-stocking set parading into and out of the Capitol. It's really quite disgusting after watching it for these hours. These are the people that your light company, your bank, your insurance company, and particularly your tobacco company -- if you have one -- have hired with the money you pay them to "protect their interests". Which have nothing to do with your interests, and especially nothing to do with public education in Texas. They have friends on the starboard side of these chambers, but those friends are spooked a little by the sea changes you've been noticing.
What's most interesting to me is how they pass by us-- a merry band of 6 to 12 -- trying hard to ignore us, but with an ear cocked for anything that might confirm their suspicions (I suppose). Governor Perry did exactly the same thing: walked out of the Capitol studying his Blackberry and ignoring our catcalls as he quickly climbed into his black SUV.
So to say that we have been noticed is an understatement.
John Sharp spent time in the House answering questions about the plan he's been working on -- Vince at Capitol Annex has it. The Senate mostly offered accolades to President pro tem Royce West today. One of the good guys, for sure.
Oh well, they've got 29 days left ...
David returns to say that the Lege is all over at the Governor's Mansion having cocktails. He thinks he might crash their party. I think he's joking, but stay tuned ...
I'll add links to this post later, and also try to figure out why Haloscan ate all the comments over at my place. My apologies for whatever that snafu turns out to be.
posted by PDiddie at 5:48 PM
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
David's Stance Against Paperless Voting Technology HOT
excerpt from Paperless Voting to be Declared Unconstitutional
by Tomtech :: DailyKos
Texas has a suffrage amendment in it's constitution.
In all elections by the people, the vote shall be by ballot, and the Legislature shall provide for the numbering of tickets and make such other regulations as may be necessary to detect and punish fraud and preserve the purity of the ballot box; and the Legislature shall provide by law for the registration of all voters. (Amended Aug. 11, 1891, and Nov. 8, 1966.) Paperless voting cannot fill these requirements. Where is the ballot, where is the numbering, where is the ballot box, and how does paperless voting fulfill these requirements?
There is one major problem preventing this declaration, but you can help make it happen.
Come below and I will tell you about the man who will make that declaration.
David Van Os, the Democratic Candidate for Attorney General, stated Tuesday night before a crowd of Democratic activists that he will make the declaration as soon as he takes office in January.
[update]David has a post concerning voting machines at his website from last November. Thanks to trykindness who talked to David and confirmed this. David also stated that he intends to file a lawsuit to challenge paperless voting.
The current Texas Attorney General is a Republican, who doesn't care about the constitution, or the people and we need to help David get him out of office.
David also has vowed to go after the Republican culture of corruption that permeates Texas politics. He also vowed to instigate anti-trust investigations against insurance and oil companies who continue to raise their prices while making record profits.
David is a lifelong progressive who has been active in grassroots politics for over 30 years. David won, Bill Moyers', Backbone Campaign "Spine Award" in 2005. READ FULL STORY >>
This DailyKos post is HOT, with 165 comments as of this post.
posted by snarko! at 10:26 AM
Friday, April 07, 2006
The News Stories Are Rolling In!
Check out coverage of the Northeast Texas Whistlestop Tour. >>
posted by snarko! at 1:07 PM
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
David gets mistaken for Kinky
Most of you know that David's been taking it to the streets the last few weeks ahead of his Filibuster for Education on April 17.
Last week when he was in Brownwood speaking to a handful of locals, a woman came out of the Brown County courthouse, scowled, went back in and returned a few minutes later with two burly sheriff's deputies. At this point, Rachel -- David's wife, accompanying him on the road trip -- was thinking there was going to be a confrontation; something along the lines of "You'll have to move off county property," or "Where's your permit for assembly" sort of thing.
Nothing happened with the deputies, but a truck soon pulled up and two more men got out and walked up to join the crowd listening to David.
David wrapped up his talk and the two fellows approached and asked to interview him for their local radio program. David eventually spent an hour on Brownwood talk radio.
As they prepared to leave the radio station, one of the hosts informed him that the woman at the courthouse (the county clerk, as it turns out) had called them to say that "Kinky Friedman" was outside and they ought to hustle over and get a scoop.
Must have been the beard and the cowboy hat.
The radio fellows emphasized that they were by no means let down by the fact that they got to spend some time with the next Attorney General of Texas.
And hey, I believe them.
posted by PDiddie at 7:48 PM