Gadabout Traveling Film Festival 2005
Hey everyone, sorry I didn't post this sooner. If you can make it to this event on short notice its totally worth it. These guys put on a great film festival showing movies that have been submitted to them from all over the country. Please come check it out!
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location:Radio Television Film building room 184
We went when it was in Ft Worth last year and it was all sorts of fun! come check it out!!http://www.gadaboutfilmfest.com/
A friend of mine writes for a newspaper in north Texas, the Wise County Messenger. She asked me for my thoughts about Kinky Friedman's announcement that he plans to run for Governor. My response follows.
I've been thinking about this for a few days now.
I've already called it for Kay Bailey Hutchison if she decides to run against Rick Perry on the GOP side, although I think it'll be a squeaker. Perry will browbeat Hutchison with abortion and Perry isn't well-liked to begin with, so that'll be a total bloodbath.
Former Rep Chris Bell has decided to run (or at least, that's what I hear), and he had a strong following before he was assassinated by redistricting and I don't think Turner will be a challenge in the Democratic primary.
Unless Martin Frost decides to run for the Democrats, which he won't, it'll be Kay Bailey Hutchison, Chris Bell, and Kinky Friedman. If Kinky could get signatures at any time and use those to get on the ballot, I think he'd have a shot at wrecking the field and, if the fight between Hutchison and Perry gets nasty enough, I think he may even have a chance at winning. Certainly, voting for gimmick candidates for Governor is in vogue these days.
However, I think Kinky's chances at actually winning will be destroyed by logistics. In order for him to get on the ballot, he has to collect signatures of people who DIDN'T vote in the primaries. If a voter votes in either the Republican or Democratic primary, their signature on the petition won't count. He'll need an excellent street team organization to disseminate his information and turn his run legitimate. If he doesn't have a strong organization already, his campaign will stall early and die.
The difficulty for an independant is that the really good foot soldiers in politics - the staff, the volunteers, the street teams, phone bankers, pollsters, etc - are strong party identifiers. He will be hard pressed to find veterans to add to his staff and volunteer corps as an independant.
Party identification also often means money, and I expect the Texas governors race to cost well into the millions.
So, to sum up - if he can build a good organization full of people who are not only good at what they do in politics but are also experienced, he has a good shot. If he doesn't already have most of his staff in line, he's toast.
I have written here about Alberto Gonzales and the process of his confirmation process in the Senate, but I have not written about what has been said during that process. I have had to opportunity to review the things that were said on both sides, and I feel as if there were some alarming elements contained therein.
The opposition raised the spectre of Abu Ghraib and the role Gonzales played as White House Counsel in his judgement concerning the legality of torture and how the American military should view the Geneva Conventions within the context of our current operations in the War on Terror.
Those for Gonzales, roundly comprised of Senate Republicans, spoke about Gonzales' humble beginnings, his distinguished career as a legal professional, and his sober judgement of the legality of using torture against enemies of the United States.
I watched Senator John Cornyn, representing my beloved state of Texas, deliver the following defense of Alberto Gonzales' counsel to the White House:
According to Article 4 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, though, only lawful combatants are eligible for POW protections. The Red Cross's own guidelines state that to earn POW status, combatants must satisfy all four conditions of lawful combat: being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carrying arms openly, and conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
Accordingly, Mr. Bush determined that the United States shall treat all detainees humanely, but that as a legal matter, neither al Qaeda nor the Taliban militia are legally entitled to the convention's protections. The former is not even a state, let alone a party to the Geneva Convention, while the latter does not comply with all four required conditions of lawful combat.
What disturbs me about this defense, regularly championed in the media on op-ed pages around our country and often espoused by Republican elected officials, is what it says about their shared perception of America's role in the world. It says that while we speak clearly of our commitment to freedom and regularly defend the individual human rights of people around the world, we are content to merely adhere to the letter of the law when exerting our considerable force.
If we, the United States of America, are to safeguard freedom and liberty around the world, we would do well to do better than we have to. We would do well to do more than what is strictly required. What message does this send to the rest of the world?
What our leaders and thinkers are saying when they invoke the strict legality of the Geneva Conventions is that they endorse torture to meet our needs if we can get away with it. They are saying that if an enemy does not meet a certain set of codified requirements, they do not deserve the protection of their basic human rights the Geneva Conventions afford. We are saying that they are not worthy of our mercy, only of our retribution.
It is not the accceptance and utilization of extreme measures in the face of imminent danger to American lives that should disturb us as citizens of this world, but rather the a policy of extreme measures writ large for application on the greater field of battle in the War in Iraq. The abject humliation and fear the Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib were exposed to had nothing to do with protecting American lives or national security - it was instead the total failure of human decency by those charged with not only protecting America but also defending the liberty of a people unable to claim it for themselves, and likewise charged with delivering the message and cause of freedom to the wider world. Charged, in fact, with deliverance itself.
This instance of action against what we as Americans believe in is what Senator Cornyn and his colleagues were defending. To say that Gonzales was charged not with deciding the morality of a policy but only the legality of that policy is indicative of a larger problem in a larger set of choices and administration. Alberto Gonzales answered to his client, and now George Bush wishes to make him the employee of the American people.
We can do better. We can engage in the selection of a slate of representative officials that take into consideration the larger consequences of the decisions they make. Alberto Gonzales has already enabled the United States government to come up short of our ideals and what we defend and instead to meet only our explicit legal obligations, as opposed to our greater humanitarian obligations to the world at large. He should not be allowed to do so again.
If we are to be stewards of liberty and messengers of freedom, if we are to end tyranny in the world at large, and if we are to be the shining beacon of humanity and democracy that we so emphatically seek to be, we not only can do better, we must do better.
I'm curious to see what websites everybody uses for news and political stuff. I'm not looking for anything too leftist, but something that actually has a bit of the scary "liberal media bias" would be nice. I currently read www.salon.com, which is a really good site, you'll know a lot of what's going on a few days before Yahoo posts it. It's free, but you have to sit through a 30 second ad every day if you want to access the entire site, or you can pay a membership. What other good places are there online?
This was just recently brought to my attention - before the opening bell of the Texas Legislature, anti-choice lawmakers introduced a bill (HB 16) to restrict women's access to
contraception at their local pharmacies. Representative Frank Corte wrote this bill which would givew pharmacists discretionary control over feminine reproductive health care. This bill is getting fast-tracked and has been referred to a committee before most other bills have even been heard.
HB 16 allows pharmacists, at their sole discretion, to override a physician's recommendation and refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and emergency contraception (EC). Even if a physician prescribed birth control pills to help prevent anemia, ovarian cancers, high cholesterol, or other medical reasons, a pharmacist could refuse to fill it.
EC is different from RU-486, the usual whipping boy of Anti-Choice legislators. EC is a high dose of ordinary birth control pills that can prevent pregnancy when taken after unprotected sex. RU-486 terminates an early pregnancy, a function which draws the ire of Anti-Choice advocates and spurns them to call it "the abortion pill".
According to prochoiceaction.org, EC has the potential to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in the United States by 50%. In the year 2000, emergency contraception prevented approximately 51,000 abortions. It is particularly important for rape survivors and for women whose contraception has failed.
TX HB 16 does not require that objecting pharmacists return the prescription to allow women to get it filled by another pharmacy, nor even refer the woman to another pharmacy that could fill her prescription.
Even if you don't live in Texas, I think its important for everyone to know what sorts of bile is cooking down here. If any of you remember from last year, a pharmacist in my hometown (Denton TX) refused to fill a prescription for birth control based on his personal beliefs.
Not only did the corporation (Eckerd) not take action against the pharmacist, but if you went to buy a paper the next day at that Eckerd, they had cut the stories concerning the phamacist's refusal out of every paper they carried.
If you live in Texas this probably doesn't surprise you, but the enablement of ideologues to impugn their will upon the general public should not be legislated.
This is the war Texas Democrats are fighting. Write your representative here.UPDATE:
An email address for Rep. Corte isn't posted, but there is a webform, which you can find here
Earlier this week I included my blog in a group of 553 publications
adamntly opposed to Gonzales' confirmation as Attorney General. This
will most likely be put to a floor vote this week, and the originator
of the list is asking for all of us to get the word out. All 553
publications will be asking its readers to call its Senators and tell
them that they want a NO vote on Gonzales for AG.
I know that with Texas it isn't likely to make much of a difference in
how the actual vote will go, but still, calling your elected official
and letting them know how you feel about this issues is a civic duty,
and in a matter as important as this it cannot be shirked, nor can
time be wasted.
I am also including this link -http://walkerw.casdracast.com/NoAG4AG-TX.pdf
- to a flyer proclaiming that "Torture is not an American value," and
listing the contact information for both Texas senators. In normal
circumstances against a less vicious opponent I would find the imagery
a little heavy-handed, but knowing that the GOP knows no bounds in its
craven pursuit of power, it is a necessary instrument in the battle of
I would also direct your attention here -http://walkerw.casdracast.com/no_ag_flyer.html
- this is a portal page with links to flyers for every state, so send
these out to your friends.
I plan on putting at least 20 of these up tomorrow.