You may remember the Eddie Murphy movie called The Distinguished Gentleman (1992) in which Murphy plays a Florida con man who happens to share the same name of the recently deceased Congressman from his district--Thomas Jefferson Johnson. The Eddie Murphy character decides to run for Congress. For the rest of that story, you will have to rent the video.
Here in North Texas, life imitates art as two Johnsons square off against one another in the March Republican primary race for the 3rd Congressional district. Bob Johnson, a database consultant who ran for Congress as a Libertarian in Florida in 2004, has filed to run against the incumbent Sam Johnson. The challenger is critical of the incumbent's support for the war in Iraq and blames Republicans like Rep. Sam Johnson for voting to increase federal spending. Since winning election in 1991, Rep. Sam Johnson has not faced any serious opposition in either the primary or the general election. It will be interesting to see if it will be any different this year in the Johnson vs. Johnson race for Congress.
Darrell JordanDarrell Jordan informed the DallasBlog over the weekend that he will be taking a poll shortly, prior to deciding whether to run for Mayor of Dallas next year against Laura Miller. He is sounding more and more like a candidate for Mayor. Unlike the last election for Mayor of Dallas, there is no shortage of willing contenders lining up to run against Miller. The Mayor has lost much of her North Dallas support while the Black community is adamently opposed to her re-election. She also has very little backing from Hispanic leaders. Other would-be candidates for Mayor are City Councilman Gary Griffeth, former Councilman Max Wells, and Texas Instruments Executive Phil Ritter. The key to the race is which candidate can forge a broad enough coalition to defeat Miller. Jordan believes that he can put such a winning coalition together.
As Texas political junkies wait for Carole Strayhorn's expected announcement later today as to whether she will run for Governor as a Republican or as an independent, incumbent Governor Rick is launching his campaign for re-election with a 30 second TV ad during the Cotton Bowl game between Texas Tech and Alabama. Here is an excerpt from the Perry ad: "Our people are compassionate, our vision bold, our values strong. The best is yet to come. I'm proud of Texas. How 'bout you?"
Perry enters the campaign as the favorite. The two leading Democrats are Bob Gammage, who served in Congress and on the Texas Supreme Court, and former Congressman Chris Bell. Gammage is the favorite in that race. Kinky Friedman is running as an independent. That leaves Strayhorm as the only major candidate for Governor yet to declare her intentions as this story goes to press Monday morning.
What I see with a disaster and ensueing debacle such as hurricane Katrina is much more than just an end of the year reminiscence. New Orleans was a mistake waiting to happen and it seems as if we Americans are destined to learn our lessons the hard way. Broken state and local governments combined with a procrastinating federal government were as much to blame as any weather event to cause the ruin of this vital city.
What it also shows us (and the rest of the world by the way) is how vulnerable our big cities and economic infrastructure are. As I've pointed out in a previous blog, one small nuke in one of our major cities would reek havoc in more ways than just race and lost lives. Katrina sould be a wakeup call for all of us.
Southerners traditionally eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck. Sandra Lewis says black-eyed peas are good on the remaining 364 days a year too. She likes them served up in a non-traditional salad with rice, corn, and a spicy Southwestern dressing.
The Associated Press is reporting today that "one million cans of leftover drinking water" for hurricane victims were dumped,with much of it going to the Lake June Scrap Metals business in Dallas which drained the water into a local sewer. According to the AP story, most of the water was still good. The unused water had been stored in the Ft. Worth distribution center of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) before being dumped. FEMA spokesman Don Jacks said, "We didn't need it anymore."
Another example of your federal government hard at work for you.
With so much attention placed on the War in Iraq, we tend to forget that 19,000 American soldiers are serving in the war in Afghanistan. 99 American soldiers lost their lives there in 2005, nearly twice the number who were killed in 2004. In a visit to Afghanistan in December, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld said that he had authorized a reduction in US forces in that country from 19,000 to 16,000 this year. He indicated that an increase in NATO troops will make up the difference. There is still no word as to whether we are any closer to capturing or killing Osama bin Laden who is believed to be in the region, i.e., if he is still alive.