Chris BellAnother interesting endorsement today in the ayem paper. The DMN likes Chris Bell, the fresh face in the Democratic primary for governor, over longtime pol Bob Gammage. The ed board prefers Bell's "pragmatic tone on issues like school funding that would position Democrats in the center" and feels he would work better with Republicans. Gammage, who has sat in various political chairs -- legislator, congressman and Supreme Court justice -- appears too progressive, too old-school Democrat. Gammage, however, seems to be attracting much of what's left of the Democrat loyalists, although many say they'll support Bell if he gets the nomination. Will it matter? Who knows. Dean Barkley, campaign manager for independent candidate Kinky Friedman, said last week in Dallas he has never seen a state Democratic party so down and out as the one in Texas.
Paul HackettThe New York Times reports today that, less than a year after Democratic leaders recruited him to run for the U.S. Senate in Ohio as a Democrat, Iraqi war vet Paul Hackett has been unceremoniously dumped by Senate Democratic leaders in favor of an incumbent Democratic Congressman Sherrod Brown.
The Democratic nominee will face incumbent Republican Mike DeWine in November.
Hackett ran a very strong race for Congress in a special election last year in what was thought to be a solid Republican district and was recruited by Democrats to run for the U.S. Senate this year.
In bowing out of the U.S. Senate race yesterday, Hackett had this to say: "This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me." Hackett fingered Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and Sen. Harry Reid as being behind the effort to force him out of the race, according to the Times.
The Iraqi war vet indicated that the Democratic leaders wanted him to run again for Congress instead. But, Hackett said that he had already given his word to other Democratic candidates in that race that he wouldn’t run against them. Hackett was quoted as saying in the Times: "The Party keeps saying for me not to worry about those promises because in politics they are broken all the time. I don’t work that way. My word is my bond."
The Democrats have made a major effort to recruit Iraqi and Vietnam vets to run on the Democratic thicket this year with Hackett and Vietnam Veteran Jim Webb (recruited to run for the U.S. Senate in Virginia) being the most notable examples. Given the treatment Hackett has received, other vets may have second thoughts about running as Democrats going forward. To read the complete New York Times story, link here (registration required.)
Harry Whittington, the 78-year-old Texas lawyer shot by Vice President Dick Cheney Saturday during a South Texas hunting trip, has suffered a minorheart attack, the Associated Press has reported. Whittington has some birdshot in his heart and a Corpus Christi hospital administrator said he had the heart attack early Tuesday while being evaluated.
Like the Armstrong family, on whose ranch the quail hunt took place, Whittington is a longtime Texas Republican who has been close to governors and presidentsand was well known among political leaders and activists. He owns the Vaughn building in Austin, which has hosted Republican campaign headquarters for decades. George W. Bush used the building for his gubernatorial campaigns, current Texas Gov. Rick Perry has an office there now, and Karl Rove, former Gov. Bush's political guru, used to have an office there, the AP reported.
But Whittington has been involved in Texas politics going back to the 1960s, when he worked on John Tower's campaign for Senate. In the 1980s, Republican Gov. Bill Clements appointed him to the old Texas Board of Corrections, which oversaw a state prison system that had been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. In 1999, he was named by Bush to lead the Texas Funeral Services Commission. He has served on other state boards and worked with other troubled agencies.
Whittington was reported to be in stable condition at Christus Spohn Hospital.
We recently had a lengthy talk with Mike Modano. Now, our conversation pre-dates the recent NHL gambling scandal. But in terms of the intellectual muscle of the world of hockey, the conversation is still revealing (oh, and funny, too). Check out 'The School of Fish'':
Far more interesting than the fact that Vice President Dick Cheney owed Texas Parks and Wildlife $7 for another hunting stamp (DMN headline) was the information revealed in the New York Times story this morning that hunting hostess Katharine Armstrong is a lobbyist. Oh yes, the daughter of one of Texas’ most notable Republican families, is also a public relations consultant. She’s the one who notified the Corpus Christi newspaper Sunday morning of the hunting accident that is now being depicted as a PR debacle in Washington.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan was peppered with questions at a Monday press conference about the delay in notification of the incident and why the news did not emanate from the vice president’s office.
Ms. Armstrong, who has been listed as the owner of the ranch made famous in political circles by her parents, Anne and Tobin Armstrong, is identified in Ray Sasser’s DMN story as a Dallas businesswoman but not identified in the page 1 story that leads with the hunting stamp. The Times, meanwhile, calls her a lobbyist and longtime friend of Mr. Cheney and says her lobbying clients include several that do business with the federal government. However, it reports, “she said she did not believe that she had ever lobbied Mr. Cheney.”
Ms. Armstrong declined to list her lobbying clients to The Times, but public documents showed that she registered in 2004 as a lobbyist for Parsons, an engineering and construction firm that has done extensive work in Iraq. The story also lists other Washington and Texas clients.
The Armstrong family is famous in Texas political circles for helping to grow the state GOP. The Armstrongs have been called second only to the Bush family in Texas Republican politics. Anne and Tobin Armstrong were Republican activists when historians say that Texas Republicans could meet in a telephone booth. In the early 1970s, Anne Armstrong -- "mommy" to Katharine -- was cochairman of the Republican National Committee and was appointed ambassador to the Court of St. James.
The late Mr. Armstrong served for free in the first administration (1978-1982) of former Gov. Bill Clements as appointments secretary. He was responsible for infusing Texas government with Republican activists after a century of Democrats in power, recommending the appointment of thousands of Texans to state boards and commissions -- which is one of the biggest powers of a Texas governor.
Over the years, the family has kept up with political friends and associates, as indicated by the weekend quail hunt. One participant, who President George W. Bush appointed ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Pamela Pitzer Willeford, is the wife of former Texas Republican State Chairman George Willeford.
Politics really is a small, small world, after all.
According to the Pew Research Center's Project on the American Life Cupid has a lot of targets but not many of them care if he shoots their direction or not. The survey says that while 43% of American adults of all ages are not married (83 million) only 16% are actively seeking to meet someone. And the odds aren't too good for those who are looking. It seems that while 23% of single men are actively looking only 9% of the women give a hoot. Apparently too many women have met that 23% of the men and they fall short. It seems that Cupid may have a seminar opportunity on shaping up.
There are 2006 Bond Program hearings tonight and almost every night this week, running into next week, but time is running out. These meetings will help shape, should the bond package pass in November, the size of the bond, how much it will affect your property taxes, and what it should be spent on.
DallasBlog will be there - will you? (Check out the time and places on our handy-dandy, super-nifty "BOND" button up there to your right, second row of dark green buttons.) Get your voice heard.
I don’t usually read the News editorials, but I made an exception today when I saw an editorial headline about the Mercantile tax deal.
Since our own columnist Rufus Shaw was writing a column today about the same deal, I wondered what the News had to say on the subject. The DMN essentially concludes that, while it was a very expensive deal, the city should stay the course now that the City Council has approved it. My question is: Do we have any other choice?
The Editorial doesn’t mention the lead role that Mayor Miller played negotiating that agreement. Mr. Shaw views it as a bad deal for the taxpayers. To get Rufus Shaw’s take on the Merc deal, click here.
I also had a reaction to the other two editorials in the News today. The News endorsed the education Establishment candidate Diane Patrick against the conservative, incumbent, Kent Grusendorf in the Republican primary race for State Representative in Arlington. No surprise here – the News typically favors the liberal Republican over the conservative Republican whenever the liberal has a chance of winning.
Finally, in endorsing a Democrat in House District 108 by the name of Tom Malin, the reason given is that this district "deserves ready-to-rock leadership". Will someone please explain to me what that means?