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by Special to    Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 02:04 PM
Statement of Matthew J. Griffing, Vice Chairman for Legislative Affairs for YCT:

“Conservative activists should be outraged at the mean spirited and shamefully deceiving ‘Texas Shark Watch’ website and its nonsensical report issued by Texans for Texas, a group run by Janelle Shepard. The report's basic contention is that conservatives are at risk of becoming ‘homeless,’ because some Republican candidates and officeholders receive support from trial attorneys who represent individual plaintiffs.

It is not shocking to see Shepard bashing trial attorneys. She is sympathetic to narrow business interests that have utter contempt for the civil justice system, because it is a forum in which ordinary individuals can hold them accountable for wrongdoing. Plaintiffs' attorneys enable individuals to use that system.

What is shocking is who Shepard targets - State Representatives Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), Robert Talton (R-Pasadena), and Charlie Howard (R-Sugar Land). To Shepard, they are evidence of how trial attorney influence can weaken conservatives' strength within the Republican Party.

The Young Conservatives of Texas is a nonpartisan grassroots organization that publishes ratings based on each legislator's voting record on a broad range of issues. Members who score over 90 percent over the course of their career make the ‘Historic Honor Roll.’ Of the 181 state legislators, only 10 are on the Historic Honor Roll. Representatives Hughes, Talton, and Howard are three of them.

YCT's ratings support what anyone who follows the Legislature knows - all three of these members are in an elite class of grassroots, ideological conservatives. They are pro-business fiscal conservatives, but they have not forgotten that they represent real people first. Accordingly, they have taken the lead on conservative issues that the ‘money crowd’ that Shepard adores could not care less about.

Talton has been fighting racial preferences and the homosexual agenda for twelve years. Howard has been a powerful force to keep the corrupt casino gambling industry out of Texas. Hughes was one of a small group of conservatives who took on a leadership-backed quasi-state income tax in 2005.”

Of course, all three promote meaningful education reform, favor reasonable immigration reform, zealously fight wasteful spending, and passionately defend innocent human life with every fiber of their being. By attacking Hughes, Talton, and Howard, Shepard could not have found more evidence to disprove her point if she tried.

In contrast to these members' principled positions, the Texas Alliance for Patient Access - a tort reform group that pushed for the caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases - actively opposed pro-life legislation. Specifically, their lobbyist actively tried to kill the Prenatal Protection Act, which allowed mothers to get justice for their unborn children when they are killed or injured by another's misconduct.

The real danger to grassroots conservatism is not from trial attorneys or their money. The real danger comes from narrow and well-financed business interests that would prefer to shift the Republican Party's focus toward protecting their bottom line through corporate welfare and civil protections and away from grassroots conservative issues that affect real people and their families. Representatives Hughes, Talton, and Howard understand this, and that is why they are in Shepard's crosshairs.

Finally, since Shepard is criticizing these members for having support from some trial attorneys, how about if Shepard discloses who has donated to her cause? It is probably the usual suspects, but the fact that she refuses to make that disclosure while defaming and personally attacking these honorable, conservative members is the height of hypocrisy."

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by Special to    Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 01:53 PM

The Sunday Houston Chronicle ran a lengthy story by Lisa Falkenberg on the Perry Administration’s response to the Katrina disaster as reflected in the emails of Perry staffers. The Chronicle used the state’s Public Information Act to force the release of the documents.

The Dallas Morning News ran an AP version of the story and left out comments Dallasites might find interesting about the Perry staffers’ views of Laura Miller. Here are just a few samples: (Note that the emails contain some typos and spelling errors.)

"A Sept. 3 story in the Dallas Morning News about the city’s struggle to find room for evacuees infuriated Perry’s staff. Outspoken Dallas Mayor Laura Miller was quoted as saying Perry had done nothing to help, besides showing up for a photo opportunity. ‘This story is unbelievable,’ Walt wrote staff, ‘so much whining and nay-saying.’ ‘In my opinion, the story makes them look like (expletive),’ Delisi responded. ‘For cities as wealthy as those in the metroplex, the kind of rhetoric is underwhelming.’"

"Late that night, Miller a Democrat in a nonpartisan post, was quoted in another Morning News story reiterating her complaints about evacuee overload in Dallas. ‘My advice to laura miller: stop talking to the press. She’s making herslef look terrible,’ Delisi wrote. ‘Any faint hope she may have been clinging to for a statewide run is now gone,’ deputy press secretary Robert Black wrote. ‘The moment came to be a leader and she met it with a whine and a complaint.’ ‘That is most poetic,’ Delisi responded. Miller did not return a telephone call to the Chronicle."

See what people miss by reading the News and not DallasBlog. The complete Houston Chronicle story regarding Katrina emails can be found here at the Houston Chronicle site:

Perry Staffers' Email Recorded Katrina Turmoil  

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by Special to    Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 01:50 PM

Karl Rove
At a time when Republican officials are increasingly nervous about an upcoming election cycle in which they could lose control of the Congress and the statehouses to the Democrats, Karl Rove sought to rally the Republican faithful at a meeting of the Republican National Committee (RNC) held at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.

In a speech to the RNC, Rove sounded the themes which Republicans are expected to use in the fall elections. He signaled that, once again, the centerpiece of the upcoming campaign is expected to be: which party is more effective in fighting the war against terror?

That approach by Rove proved effective in the 2002 and 2004 election cycles as Republicans maintained control of Congress and President Bush was re-elected. With more Americans turning against the War in Iraq and with the Washington lobbyist scandal ensnaring a number of prominent Republicans, will Rove’s plan for victory work this time?

While it is still early in the campaign season, all indications are that it will be a much harder sell for Republicans in 2006. Moreover, Rove himself is likely to become an issue in this year’s campaign. According to columnist Bob Novak, "a national survey by pollster Mark Penn shows two-to-one sentiment that not only Rep. Tom DeLay but also presidential advisor Karl Rove should resign from office."

The poll, conducted for the Democratic Leadership Council, "showed 59 percent felt Rove should quit while 25 percent said he should not." Even among Republicans, "35 percent said Rove should go and 43 percent said that he should stay."

2006 is shaping up to be a tough year for Karl Rove and the Republican Party.

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KOBE: MVP or Side Show
by Bill DeOre    Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 01:37 PM

Pass out cigars and drinks for the house! LA's one-man side show was back in action last night proving that he really doesn't need those other guys on his team. While Kobe Bryant's eighty-one points may be a milestone of really proves nothing that most of us don't already know...Kobe Bryant is a helluva player.

What's more telling here, though, is that the over-hyped Bryant wouldn't understand the concept of team play if it kicked him in his over-the-knee shorts. How many times do you have to have your hands on the ball to score eighty-one points in four quarters?

Truth be known, Bryant's teammates seem perfectly fine with the idea of riding his shoulders into the playoff sunset. If it takes Kobe's excessive point gathering to win, what does this really say about the other players? Those that doubt my premise need to ask themselves where Phil Jackson's Lakers would be if the Kobemeister came up lame for say, ten games. Would the rest of the squad be able to pick up the slack?

Last night's game with Toronto was not a total would a Kobe-less Laker team have fared under those circumstances? Are the LA Lakers lucky to have Kobe Bryant? ...Obviously. As long as the one-man show stays healthy.

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by Trey Garrison    Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 10:19 AM

If Casinos Allowed, Dallas is Prepared
By Anna M. Tinsley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

Jan. 22--Dallas Mayor Laura Miller is reviving the debate over bringing casinos to Texas and possibly the Metroplex, an issue that traditionally gets snuffed out in the Legislature.

Past proposals have been to expand gambling, bringing in casinos and legalizing video slot machines, to help fund pressing state needs such as public education.

Prime locations discussed have included Fort Worth's historic Stockyards or Cultural District, as well as obsolete sports venues in Dallas and Houston.

Miller said last week that if state lawmakers allow casinos in Texas, Reunion Arena would be a prime site for them.

Dallas leaders are talking to developers about building entertainment attractions in that portion of downtown.

"There's the possibility of knocking down Reunion Arena and building something else," said Meranda Carter Cohn, the mayor's public-information officer. "Mayor Miller would be open to the possibility of bringing something like a casino in.

"It seems that nearly every year, the Legislature considers whether to make gambling legal," she said. "It's getting closer and closer [to the 2007 session], and it might get passed. It all depends on Austin."

Get the full story here.

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BLOG: Chincy state hospital funding leaves mentally incompent defendants stranded
by Trey Garrison    Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 10:00 AM

Scott Henson, author of one of the best legal issues blogs in Texas, Grits for Breakfast, has a great item about the problem of the state's overcrowded, underfunded mental hospitals creating a logjam for mentally ill defendants in the court system right here.

I can't speak for the legal aspects, but my wife is in the psychiatric field, and they've had to send state psychiatric patients from the Dallas area to hospitals as far as three hours away in West Texas.

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by Trey Garrison    Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 09:48 AM

Jury selection for the capital trial of Andrew Wamsley starts this week.

Prosectors say Wamsley arranged to have his parents, Rick and Suzy Wamsley of Manfield, stabbed and shot to death in December 2003 for their large life insurance policy.

Chelsea Richarson, who had a romantic relationship with Andrew Wamsley, has already been found guilty in the murder and sentenced to execution.

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DALLAS CITY HALL, Jan. 23 - Council Committee Briefings Day
by Trey Garrison    Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 09:38 AM

It's committee briefings day, and financial issues, transportation and quality of life issues top the agenda.

The Finance, Audit & Accountability Committee meets today at 9:30 a.m. Agenda items include:

*Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Joint Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2006A
*Downtown TIF Revenue Bonds - Authorization to Proceed
*Financial Advisor Contract
*Dallas Performing Arts Cultural Facilities Corporation
* Proposed Revisions to License Procedures Update

The Quality of Life Committee meets at noon. Agenda items include:

*Dallas Performing Arts Cultural Facilitates Corporation (this is the same briefing as for Finance, Audit & Accountability Committee)
*Update: Proposed Changes to License Procedures and Fees
*Housing for the Homeless
*Overview of TXDOT's Responsibilities for Roadside Maintenance
*After School Programs

The Transportation and Environment Committee meeting is at 2 p.m. The agenda covers:

*TxDOT Statewide Transportation Enhancement Program Call for Projects
*RTC Local Air Quality Call for Projects

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by Mike Fisher    Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 12:02 AM

The Fish conjures up one of his favorite Cowboys anecdotes -- the NAACP vs. Jerry Jones -- and wonders what the 'right' number of black coaches in the NFL would be:

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by Special to    Sun, Jan 22, 2006, 11:10 PM

226177-254124-thumbnail.jpgLast Thursday the Dallas Morning News published an editorial suggesting that "Confederate Heroes Day" was "archaic," "retro," and "silly.  The News noted that no less a Texas hero than Sam Houston resigned the governorship of Texas rather than swear an oath to the Confederacy.  The paper suggested the legislature honor Houston by "ditching Confederate Heroes Day."  Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson submitted the following op/ed piece taking the opposite view.    Click here to read more ...

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