Friday, September 28, 2007

VoteVets Support Rick Noriega

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:

Thursday, September 27th, 2007 James Aldrete, 512-751-3448

Leading Veteran political organization for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans endorses Rick Noriega for Senate

VoteVets.org makes Texas the battleground on ending the War in Iraq

(Houston, TX) — VoteVets.org, the leading political organization for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, today endorsed the U.S. Senate candidacy of Rick Noriega in his effort to unseat incumbent Republican John Cornyn.

Founded in 2006 by Iraq War Veterans Jon Soltz and Jeremy Broussard, VoteVets.org has endorsed eight candidates, both Democrats and Republicans, and held 11 Members of Congress accountable for failing to provide body armor and health care to active service members. The organization’s Board of Advisors includes respected veterans who speak from experience, including General Wesley K. Clark (ret.) and former Senator Bob Kerrey.

“As an Afghanistan veteran, you are keenly aware that the current course we are on has not only brought our fine Army and Marine Corps to the breaking point, but has endangered our security,” Soltz wrote in his letter to Noriega, noting the growing threat of al Qaeda once again in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “The dose of reality you will bring to the floor of the Senate couldn’t come at a more important time.”

Noriega, who serves as a Lt. Col. in the National Guard, has been an outspoken critic of the Administration’s policies in Iraq, and John Cornyn’s failed leadership. “The problem is, we hold a private in the US Army to a higher level of accountability than the junior Senator from the state of Texas,” Noriega stated. “Real Texans don't vote against giving troops time home with their families. I've had the privilege of serving shoulder-to-shoulder with our men and women in uniform, and I'm ready to lead the fight in the US Senate to end this war."

Soltz, in his letter, called John Cornyn “one of the weakest voices on troops’ and veterans’ issues,” and noting his refusal to allow our military to refit and rearm along with his votes against care for veterans, he added “Texans have little to be proud of when it comes to John Cornyn’s record on veterans and troops.” The endorsement from VoteVets.org follows on the heels of the endorsement by the State Association of Fire Fighters, and a growing number of Democratic leaders supporting Noriega’s candidacy to represent the State of Texas in the United States Senate.

— 30 —


September 27, 2007

State Rep. Rick Noriega
Rick Noriega for US Senate Campaign
PO Box 231163
Houston, TX 77223


Dear Representative Noriega,

I am writing to inform you that VoteVets.org PAC has decided to endorse your campaign for the United States Senate. Congratulations! As you know, VoteVets.org PAC is the leading political organization of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, representing the voices of thousands who served with us in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

At this crucial time in the course of our nation, the Senate is in dire need of a new voice from the Afghanistan and Iraq veterans’ community. We believe, as Senator from Texas, you will not just represent your state well, but will stand out as one of the strongest and most credible voices in support of our fellow troops and veterans, and the military.

As an Afghanistan veteran, you are keenly and personally aware that the current course we are on has not only brought our fine Army and Marine Corp to the breaking point, but has endangered our security, as al Qaeda has been able to reconstitute and strengthen itself in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The dose of reality that you will bring to the floor of the Senate couldn’t come at a more important time.

Unfortunately for Texans, one of the weakest voices on troops’ and veterans’ issues has been John Cornyn. Whether it’s his steadfast refusal to allow our military time to refit and rearm for the long fight against terror ahead, or his votes against care for veterans, Texas has little to be proud of when it comes to John Cornyn’s record on the veterans and troops. We know, however, you will be our champion.

We firmly believe that Texas, our military, our veterans, and the nation will be strongly served by having you on the floor of the United States Senate. We’re pleased, therefore, to offer you our enthusiastic endorsement.

Best of luck in your campaign!

Sincerely,


Jon Soltz
Iraq War Veteran
Chairman, VoteVets.org

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mikal Watts Buys Google

No, not really. But imagine my surprise when I was checking out my blog today and I saw an ad for Mikal Watts. Ironic, ya think?

He probably can't actually buy Google, but he's definitely supported it well, being plastered up on every single major blog and website I go to. It seems that he's tacking himself up next to every time Rick Noriega is mentioned anywhere. It's almost creepy.

Here are just a few examples I've rounded up today:
LeftyBlogs (Red background)
Google Search for "Rick Noriega" (White background)
Daily Kos (Orange Writing)
Burnt Orange Report (Orange Background)
MY OWN BLOG! (Bluish background)

For the purposes of humor, I'll leave up the Mikal Watts ads. It costs him money every time you see one!

New Poll: Noriega Takes All That Want Cornyn Replaced

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 9/24-26. Likely voters. MoE 4%

If the 2008 election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you to reelect John Cornyn, would you consider voting for another candidate, or would you vote to replace Cornyn?

Reelect 40
Consider 15
Replace 35

If 2008 election for U.S. Senate were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Rick Noriega, the Democrat, and John Cornyn, the Republican?

Cornyn (R) 51
Noriega (D) 35

So we're taking the same percentage that want change in Washington for Texas. The difference falls in that fact that middle ground where most are still leaning towards Cornyn.

Also, Cornyn polls poorly among senior citizens - a strong voting population. We'll have to keep an eye on this, and swing more of the "cosnder" and "reelect" votes over to our side.

Note that in January 2006, a Rasmussen poll said this:

TEXAS SURVEY of 500 likely voters

Thursday, January 5, 2006

1* Now... If the election for Senator were held today, would you vote for Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison or for Democrat Barbara Ann Radnofsky?

65% Hutchison
24% Radnofsky
4% some other candidate
6% not sure

So we're 11 points up with three months to get to that same point in the election cycle. Let's keep that momentum!

You're Invited! Rick Noriega Reception in San Antonio

Please Join

Eddie Alderete
Hon. Joe Bernal
Gina Castenaeda
Hon. Joaquin Castro
Hon. Henry Cisneros
Hon. Mary Alice Cisneros
Hon. Trey Martinez Fischer
Hon. Pete Gallego
Dr. Cha Guzman
Andy Hernandez
Hon. Charlie Urbina Jones
Ernest J. Martinez
Gerardo Menchaca
Henry R. Munoz III
Gilberto Ocañas
Hon. Justin Rodriguez
Hon. Sylvia Romo
Hon. Elliot Shapleigh
Hon. Mike Villarreal
Hon. Leticia Van De Putte

For a reception in support of
State Rep. &
Army Lt. Col. Rick Noriega
and his exploratory campaign for US Senate

Friday, September 28th
Noon-1:30 p.m.

La Margarita Restaurant
120 Produce Row
San Antonio Texas


$2,300 ~ Patron
$1000 ~ Host
$500 ~ Sponsor
$250 ~ Friend

Please make checks payable to “Rick Noriega for Senate”

For more information or to RSVP,

please contact Cathy Rivera at 713-337-0068 or email rsvp@landslidevictories.net

(h/t Walker Report)

Navy To Spend $600K to Cover-Up Swastika-Shaped Buildings

From the New York Times, an aerial view of these Navy Barracks near San Diego, California show the shape without question. The resemblance went unnoticed for decades, as the area was off-limits to commercial aircraft, and was only recently noticed with the assistance of Google Earth.

The Navy became aware of the situation after the groundbreaking, butPublish Post decided not to do anything about it, as they thought it wouldn't be noticed.

The Anti-Defamation League in San Diego has objected to the shape of the buildings.

“We told the Navy this was an incredibly inappropriate shape for a structure on a military installation,” said Morris S. Casuto, regional director of the organization. He added, however, that his group “never ascribed evil intent to the structures’ design.”

Mr. Casuto praised the Navy for recognizing the problem and “doing the right thing.”

The $600,000 for the changes is included in the Navy’s approved 2008 budget.

70 Mile Border Wall: Bad for Environment!

This Brownsville Herald photo shows a palm in the Sabal Palm Audubon Center and Sanctuary (from Audubon Texas):

This 557-acre sanctuary lies approximately ten miles south of Brownsville, along the southern most bend of the Rio Grande. The sanctuary contains the largest remaining tract of Sabal Palm forest that once blanketed the Rio Grande Delta. Two hundred and eighty-nine species of birds have been recorded at the site, and diversity of species using the area is high in all seasons of the year.

Sabal Palm is one of six breeding area for the highly threatened Brownsville Common Yellowthroat. The sanctuary provides stop-over habitat for a variety of circum-gulf neotropical-nearctic migratory songbirds including Bell’s Vireo, Golden-winged Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Painted Bunting and Dickcissel.

And according to the Brownsville Herald, as much as 75% of the protected lands in the Rio Grande could see a direct impact from the wall. Migratory birds flight patterns would be disrupted, and animals access to the water could be impeded.

“The fence is going to be bad for the refuge and for wildlife,” said Jim Chapman, president of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Group of the Sierra Club. “Our biggest concern is that it’s a barrier to animals, keeping them from crossing to the river. It’s likely to impact endangered and non-endangered species.”

The US Customs and Border Control is seeking public comments for the assessment until Oct. 15. Comments can be submitted by mail, e-mail, fax or on the Web until that date.

(a) Electronically through the website at: www.BorderFenceNEPA.com;
(b) By email to: RGVcomments@BorderFenceNEPA.com;
(c) By mail to: Rio Grande Valley Tactical Infrastructure EIS, c/o e2M, 2751 Prosperity Avenue, Suite 200, Fairfax, Virginia 22031; or
(d) By fax to: (757) 282-7697.

Rick Noriega Takes $100K on ActBlue

With nearly 1,000 contributors, Rick has garnered over $100K in contributions on ActBlue, with all but 15% from Netroots for Noriega.

In fact, I'm so excited, any word you click in this post will bring you to the ActBlue contribution page.

Make your contribution today!

Mikal Watts: So Rich, He Redefines Rich!

This from a Wall Street Journal piece about Watts and Bayer:

Midway through the trial, Mr. Watts e-mailed Bayer lawyers suggesting they fly to his Texas ranch over a weekend. He provided the coordinates of his airstrip. Bayer's Mr. Lykos says he was dumbfounded, telling Mr. Beck: "I've just changed my definition of rich. It's not just having your own airplane but having your own airport."
For the record, Mikal has two airplanes.

Lawyers Weigh In in Watts' Judge-Buying

Originally posted over at overlawyered, lawyers and the law community are now weighing in about Mikal Watts' judge-buying scandal.

Invoking these comments:

If I ever received a letter like that, invoking either friendship or donations, it would go straight to the disciplinary committee. (Eric @ New York Personal Injury Law Blog)

My first stop would be every newspaper office I could think of. Then the disciplinary committee. (John Burgess)

But with a letter making such threats, to actually leave written eveidence of such things: could you give Mr. Watts a poke from something beyond the (in Texas, completely useless, see previous post) disciplinary comittee? Is there no "judge tampering" equivalent of the jury tampering charge? (Griffin3)

This strikes me as a fairly clear violation of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. See Rule 8.04(a)(5) (prohibiting lawyers from "stat[ing] or imply[ing] an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official"). Watts's comments concerning his firm's contributions to the justices logically could serve no other purpose than to imply improper influence. (The Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk)
It's also since been picked up by other law blogs:
Another reason not to popularly elect judges--ever, anywhere. - What About Clients
If you're not reading Overlawyered... - Point of Law

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

(GASP!) Texas is Above Average...in Education!

According to the Statesman:

Texas fourth- and eighth-grade students have made large gains in math in the past 15 years, but more moderate progress in reading, according to federal test results released Tuesday.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card, offers a state-by-state view of fourth- and eighth-grade student performance in the two core subject areas.

On average, students in Texas performed as well or better than their peers across the nation. The average Texas eighth-grade math score this year was 286 on a scale of 500, up 28 points since 1990 and six points higher than this year's national average. The eighth-grade reading score this year was 261, not significantly different from the 1998 score and the same as the national average.

Critics of No Child Left Behind, including Monty Neill, co-executive director of the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing in Cambridge, Mass., said the test results show that progress has slowed since the 2001 law took effect.

"This happened despite the fact that curriculum narrowed in many schools to little more than test preparation in reading and math," Neill said.

Rick Noriega: A+ on Environmental Record

The Texas League of Conservation Voters has just released their Legislative Scorecard for 2007 which ranks my favorite Texas House of Representatives member, Rick Noriega, with an A+ on environmental issues.

The league works to "preserve and enhance the quality of life of Texans by making conservation a top priority with Texas elected officials, political candidates, and voters," and lists its recommendations and observations of state legislators by voting record in each legislative session. Melissa Noriega, my second favorite member of the Texas House, also scored an A+ for her work in 2005.

A look at the scores:
Average House score: 56% (C)
Avg. Republican score: 32% (F)
Avg. Democratic score: 84% (A)

Perfect 100s: 11
Overachievers (A+): 36 - includes Rick
Failures (F): 56

House Republicans over 50%: 2
House Democrats below 50%: 3

Highest Republican score: Kirk England (69%)
Lowest Democratic Score: Joe Pickett: (37%)

Is This Mikal Watts Photo Racially Insensitive?

Fifty years ago yesterday, the Little Rock Nine bravely marched into a previously all-white schoolhouse, demanding equality for themselves, and blacks across America. They stood proudly, and showed us that those kids had the power and determination to stand up for what's right, but after five decades, what are the results?

Last week, tens of thousands of supporters rallied around the Jena-6, a group of six black teens that were involved in a fight after another sat under the "white tree" at their high school campus. Nooses were hung from that tree, which led to tensions at the school, erupting in a fight where one white student was injured. The black teens were charged with attempted second-degree murder.

This week, a black-faced lawn ornament that was tied by a noose to a mailbox with a chain around its ankle made news in Toledo, Ohio for being racist. The homeowner claims it had been there for years without causing a disturbance, but Lefty Blogs has a Glass City Jungle post ranked at #1 for the week.

Tomorrow, The "All American Presidential Forum" will air on PBS focusing on minority issues and hosted by black talk show host Tavis Smiley. None of the top republican presidential candidates planned to attend. It seems like republicans want to have black votes, but aren't actually exerting any effort to get them. (TxSharon: We don't have time for your black ass but we'd appreciate your vote)

Locally, although not nearly as serious as The Little Rock Nine, The Jena-6, the black-face lawn ornament or even the republicans opting out of discussions about black issues is Mikal Watts' unveiling of his new website which features a link to his flickr account with the photo below:When there was a brief discussion about the photo last week among the Texas blogosphere, one of the bloggers printed out a screenshot and took it into a meeting he was conducting. By chance, it was made up of 21 black people--all factory workers.

He says:

The response was, "ok," when I just held it up and passed it around (a copy without the caption) and said, "I'm doing a little personal test. Tell me what you think of this picture." Then I told them who it was, as nobody knew.

Then the response was, "oh" and "oh, really?" and one, "interesting." Then I passed around one that showed them the caption, and the response ranged from "what an idiot to call us 'last'," to "yeah, blacks are ALWAYS last to politicians, tell me who that is again because I'm not voting for him."

Black voters often look for it [racism] when it's not [overtly] there. I was astounded by the results of my little "focus group," which ranged in age from about 29 to about 68.

Maybe that's East Texas black people, maybe it's not. Maybe it's factory workers, maybe it's union people...Maybe to the rest of us, we say "huh," but I believe that black voters--the not overly-political, average voters, who might know how/why politics is done, see something different than we do.

I feel like Watts really shows us how carelessly he expresses how he considers us minorities: "Meeting every last voter" - as if we stand out on the periphery of society where we lack wealth and education. Perhaps we're the last voters, because we're less likely to show up, and Mikal is making an "extra effort" to find us where we may lurk and extend us that handshake to pull us back into civilized voting society?

It's like you're showing off that you delved into our picnics and really got to know us. It almost reminds me of Steven Colbert's black friend, or when George Costanza realized he didn't have any black friends, and solicited his exterminator to dinner with him, just to show that he had at least one, except Mikal, this is far less funny.

If it's a serious effort to come out to understand us, it's appreciated. Attend a forum, really listen to what we have to say. Better yet, don't even realize that we're different, because we're really not. We have mothers and fathers that are looking to retire, sons and daughters planning for college. We pay taxes. We're actually a lot like you.

You and your staff might not have intended it to be taken this way, but such a fleeting carelessness, to those of us who may be less fortunate and "different from you", truly shows how you feel about us in your possible future constituency. If that's the case, count me out. I'm voting for Rick - he's one of us.

Just so you know, like my photo of Joe Lieberman doesn't mean he hates handicapped people, I'm sure you're not really a racist. Just be more careful, please?
View the original flickr photo | Learn about Lieberman's parking job

Patriot Guard Rides in Honor of Sgt. Omar Mora

From The Lone Star Times:

There were around 160 motorcycles, trikes and support vehicles that assembled at the football stadium in Texas City Saturday to honor Sgt. Omar Mora, who was killed in a vehicle accident in Baghdad on September 10, 2007. It was a cool, crisp morning with clear skies. The cool breeze did not last long.

...

The non-flag bikes led the way to the church, arriving at 9 am as planned. We set up flag lines in front of and to the south of the church, near the parking area. As always in Texas City, there was a large LEO presence, including two fire engines.

...

There were more media at this funeral than most I’ve been too, probably because of his participation in the Op-Ed in the NY Times and the possibility of protesters showing up. Since the Patriot Guard was formed, the protests are rare and when they do come, they are minimized by the overwhelming presence of men and women standing silently, blocking the family’s view of them. No protesters came.

...

During the funeral the non-flag bikes proceeded to Forest Park Cemetery to set up the flag line. After the funeral was complete, we led the way to the cemetery, following one of the fire engines and several LEO’s. We left the church and turned on 9th Ave, the main street through Texas City. We passed many businesses on the way and hundreds of people lined the streets to honor Sgt. Mora’s sacrifice.

We then proceeded up I-45 and once again, cars were pulled over on the opposite side of the freeway and the occupants standing outside their vehicles in honor. Every overpass was filled with people silently holding flags or signs in support of Sgt. Mora.

...

Regardless of your politics or your position on our occupation of Iraq, when one of our soldiers dies in the line of duty, we should honor them. The Patriot Guard always obtains the permission of the families, we never just show up. As Johnny D says, we are not the focus of the day; we are simply there to honor the soldier.

Texas Rep. Rick Noriega (D) and his wife Melissa released a tribute to Sgt. Mora that included these words:

The rising number of casualties strike a chord in even the most hardened among us, and the loss felt as each soldier passes does not diminish. Omar and his brothers in uniform will be missed, and must be remembered.

Voicing one’s opinion, especially from a soldier, is very difficult when ‘management’ is wrong. Omar, and his fellow soldiers had a better understanding of the cultural matrix in Iraq than what gets reported by the media, he had walked the walk. He spoke from experience when they said “we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear.”

There is another manifestation of bravery that for those in uniform is a matter of course, but takes on special meaning among civilians who do not have to follow a chain of command … the courage to listen. It’s time our political leaders listen to the insights of Sergeant Mora, his fellow soldiers, and the reality in Iraq reported by every objective analysis from the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group to the recent GAO reports.

There are those that were angry that Sgt. Mora dared to speak out against the occupation. They miss the point. If anyone should have a voice, not the only voice but a loud voice, it should be the men and women that we, as a country, put in harm’s way. Having an opinion contrary to the policy that sent them to a foreign land doesn’t mean that they are less worthy or unpatriotic. If anyone thinks that the men and women that had the courage to put their names on this Op-Ed were not and are not true to their mission, here is the last line of that piece.

“We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.”

And see it through he did. Thank you, Sgt. Omar Mora, for your service and your sacrifice.

Read The Full Post

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NoriegaBlog Poll: 66% Won't Consider Anti-Choice Candidate

In our not-so-scientific poll of 36 readers of NoriegaBlog, fully 66% (24) of them would not even consider endorsing a candidate that was pro-life. Of the remaining 12 voters, six said it depends on who the candidate was, and the other six didn't care either way. Knowing that Cornyn and Watts staff regularly check this blog, that's not so surprising, but I digress...

Of course the results of this poll could be an unwelcome wake up call to Mikal Watts who recently told Democracy for Texas in a questionnaire, "my position is that I’m opposed to abortion except in cases of rape and incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk," which is almost the exact phrasing of Bush, McCain, Romney, Giuliani, Cornyn and Abbott, among others.

Rick Noriega at The University of North Texas TONIGHT!

(via WhosPlayin)

State Rep. Rick Noriega, Candidate for United States Senate, is coming to the University of North Texas on Tuesday, September 25 in an event co-hosted by The College Democrats and UNT LULAC council #4789. The event will start at 7:00 in the Lyceum with a presentation on the Dream Act, a bill that State Rep. Noriega wrote while he was in the the Texas House.

At 8:00, Noriega will begin his speech, informing campus students as to why he should be the next senator from the state of Texas. A Question and Answer session will follow, so you can find out his position on almost any issue.

This will be a hot race next fall, so use this opportunity to learn about the candidate so you can have an informed voice when you vote.

*LULAC is a non-partisan organization that has not endorsed any candidate for political office
Sincerely,
Joseph Vogus
President of the College Democrats of North Texas

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rick Thanks YOU... the Netroots!



"Now with this new dimension in American politics, netroots, it allows for regular folks like myself, who have devoted their lives to public service to step forward and offer themselves up for higher office.

"No longer do you have to be a celebrity or a self-financed millionaire to offer yourself up for higher office.

"The netroots in large part has leveled the playing field."

"The netroots component is going to be a critical piece of us defeating John Cornyn and getting the state and nation back on track after this administration has so misled us."

Rick Noriega Takes 78.4% In Poll

Democracy for America poll last week was completely and unquestionably pwned by Rick Noriega.

This week, democrats from across Texas joined the members of Democracy for Texas in their first endorsement poll in the organization's history.

Here's an email from Democracy for Texas:

Subject line: And the DFT endorsement goes to….

You have spoken loud and clear. With overwhelming support from all over the State, Rick Noriega is the stand-out choice of the grassroots to face John Cornyn in the race for the U.S. Senate. The final results are:

All Voters DFT Members Before Poll
Noriega 78.4% 86.2%
Watts 21.6 13.8

Total votes cast: 1,931 *

We're excited that our first endorsement is for such a terrific candidate, one who drew comments such as these:

"I am extremely impressed with Rick Noriega's clarity of thought and purpose as well as his passion and organization."

"Rick is the right man at the right time."

"Rick Noriega is the candidate supported by grassroots Texans all across our State because he is the candidate who has the integrity to represent all Texans…"

"…Rick is tough enough to stand toe to toe with any Republican…"

"Rick Noriega has "walked the walk" and has a progressive voting record to show for it!"

Over the coming months, we'll give you ideas of how you can help Rick in his campaign. Right now, the best way you can help is to sign up on his website and make a contribution before the end of the quarter on September 30.

Join the Noriega for Senate campaign here.

Make a donation here.

We appreciate the thoughtful answers of both candidates to our questionnaire. And many thanks to all of you who took the time to read their answers and vote, especially those who made a contribution to help us defray the cost of the poll.

We look forward to an exciting primary season and to sending John Cornyn home in November!

Your DFT Steering Committee –

Erik Azulay, Glen Maxey, Mark McCulloch, Karl-Thomas Musselman, and Fran Vincent

P.S. Marla Camp, one of the founders of Democracy for Texas, is on sabbatical from the Steering Committee while she focuses on her successful new magazine, Edible Austin. Marla will continue to be involved in DFT, and we look forward to having her back in a leadership position as soon as possible.

* In order to address concerns expressed by some participants about the elimination of questionable votes, we have counted all (including those in question) votes except those that were clearly duplicates, those cast after the deadline, and a handful from out of state.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Noriega Expected To Win DFT Poll

Formal results won't be released until Monday (here), but with the trends that have been released, NoriegaBlog is confident in calling this poll for Rick Noriega, who has had a significant lead over Mikal Watts since the polling began. Here are the official tallies (percents only, to avoid ballot stuffing).

Wednesday Noon Update:
Rick Noriega- 78%
Mikal Watts- 22%

Thursday Noon Update:
Rick Noriega- 82%
Mikal Watts- 18%

Friday Noon Update:
Rick Noriega- 74%
Mikal Watts- 26%

Saturday Noon Update:
Rick Noriega- 77%
Mikal Watts- 23%

We'll wait for the official word Monday! Thanks Democracy for Texas!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Melissa Explains Perry Contributions

In post last week from Hugh at Brazos Democrat, he talks about meeting Rick:

I asked him what, if anything , he planned to do about the problem with the Bob Perry money. “What problem?” he said with a feigned look of surprise on his face, as if I were asking him about a five dollar donation from the little old lady down the street. I have little patience for this kind of passive aggressive indirectness. He wanted to pretend that there was no reason for anyone to question him about this money...

Melissa on the other hand spent much more time speaking to me. She listened and explained how they came about getting money from Perry.
In a letter, Melissa elaborates:
Dear Hugh,

May I clarify just a little? The donation from Perry I was referring to was in Fall 2004, which was not my Council race. Rick was in Afghanistan and didn't know about any donations.

I was alone, running back and forth between Austin and Houston, going into Rick's district office after a full day at work, and trying to raise money.

Rick had left for A-stan fairly abruptly, and our campaign dollars had been exhausted in a ugly fight over Alma Allen's seat--Rick had been involved in that race quite heavily, and we had no money. Normally a rep would recharge his campaign funds with a few fundraisers and move on, but I was left alone with this as just one of several challenges.

I did several fundraisers in Houston and in Austin, with the help of some of the state senators. During that time, a check came from Mr. Perry.

I asked the senators what I should do with it--I was surprised, because he did not normally give to D's, best I knew. I might also remind you that the Kerry/Perry swiftboat relationship was not particularly clear at this point. Mr. Perry is a businessman in Houston, and most electeds probably have a relationship of some kind with him.

I don't think I even asked Rick about it. I was truly petrified that if he got distracted by anything, he would die. That sounds melodramatic, but I don't know how to say it any other way. Folks applaud my performance in Austin, and my time there did give me the courage to run for city council, but my motivation was pretty basic--if Rick was worried about his House seat, he could make a mistake in some split second and die.

I have been astounded by all the Perry stuff--if we had a check from him any earlier than 2004, I don't remember it--because it was a time folks were really trying to help us; the Ausin lobby, both R and D were rousting money up, both R and D reps were calling and offering help.

We were in the news a lot; it was a tough time, and it was different than any other political experience I have ever had. It showed me what Texans are made of.

Bless you, Hugh, you got up in my husband's face, whether you meant to or not. Would he say to you (or to the bloggers as a group?) that his wife made the decision to keep whatever contributions were sent to us at a difficult, difficult time? I think not...

It is a shame ya'll had a tough interaction. Rick is a rock, and honorable warrior. I know him when he is sick, cranky, sad or any other way, and I would trust him with my life. He is strong and tough and in the fight of his life, and you are asking him about something that went on while he was gone. Something I am responsible for, not him.

My first personal interaction with Mr. Perry was at the GRB during Katrina: he kissed my hand and told me and my son that "Daddy was a hero" and he admired him. He refused to support at least one R that I know of against me, and he contributed to my campaign. City Council in Houston is a nonpartisan race, and I was in a special election that NO one thought a Democrat could win at Christmas, and I won.

Rick has a voting record, and I do, too. We have done our best to serve honorably and feel priviliged to have done so. We have worked hard and supported things we believe in, sacrificed family time and been terrified for weeks on end that we would never see each other again.

Mikal Watts has sued people.

Repectfully submitted,

Melissa Noriega

Watts Supporters Caught Stuffing Ballot Box

That's right. Over 100 Mikal Watts' votes from two IP addresses, one of them verified to be from the San Antonio area, has been stuffing the Democracy For America Senate Endorsement Poll. None of them had physical addresses (respondents are required to live in Texas), or comments to verify they were actual people.

From Karl-Thomas Musselman, DFT Webguru on BOR:

I don't know who you are but you are doing a disservice to your candidate and the integrity of the poll. All of your votes will be thrown out. As the operator of the poll (in my role as DFT's webmaster), I've implemented additional measures on our recently upgraded account to preemptively block this behavior on behalf of either candidate.

The Democracy for Texas steering committee is taking this poll seriously and we have been impressed by the response to date- both in number and in the passion of the canddiates' supporters. We look forward to hearing from more of our members and other legitimate Texas voters.

More from Burnt Orange Report

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Noriega or Watts Would Have a Tough Time Against Cornyn

This according to a new Rasmussen poll released by Fox-7 in Austin. The poll used automated calling among 500 likely voters, and found that Noriega would do just slightly better than Watts at this point in the race, but Cornyn is currently favored.

Cornyn 53% Rick Noriega 30%
Cornyn 52% Mikal Watts 28%

So what does this mean? We've still got quite a battle ahead of us! At this stage in the Ned Lamont race, he wasn't a candidate, and came out to beat Lieberman in the primary, so it's not an hopeless battle!

In the mean time, check out Rick's Website for what you can do to help, information to print out and distribute, or how to get signatures to support our candidate!

Cornyn <3's Petraeus

We saw it coming when Cornyn stood up for Petraeus on CNN last week, becoming BFF's, but as the Senate considers legislation that can determine the future direction of the Iraq War (i.e. Webb's Dwell Time Amendment), Cornyn will actually take the time to formally write up a Senate resolution... condemning a newspaper ad.

Our men and women, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters are stuck in a quagmire of a war overseas, and Cornyn wants to sit in his corner and have a pity party for himself.

Join Rick Noriega and me as we tell Cornyn to move on from MoveOn, and that there are more important things that we should be taking the time to consider in the Senate chambers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

We Want YOU... To Vote!

In case you thought I was joking the first time around, we SERIOUSLY want you to vote in the Democracy for Texas Poll. DFT wants an accurate gauge of Democrats in Texas. Who would you want as your next Democratic nominee for the US Senate from Texas? You have until Saturday, but why wait?

VOTE NOW!

Will Cornyn Support Troop Time-Off?

Senator Webb describes why it's important to give troops enough time at home in an email from Daily Kos:

"We will be offering an amendment that requires our troops have a 1:1 deployment-to-dwell ratio for active units and members. This is a minimum floor. The Department of Defense's historic policy and current goal is a ratio of 1:2. Currently, Army units are deployed for 15 months with 12 months at home..."

"This Dwell Time Amendment provides a safety net under our troops. However long a servicemember has been deployed, they deserve at least that much time at home. It is a very simple, common sense amendment."

"In July, my amendment received 56 votes. We need just 4 more votes this time to pass this amendment, and I am asking for your help."

Given that John "Corn/Lap-Dog" Cornyn recently staunchly defended Petraeus on CNN, Cornyn not-surprisingly voted in July against giving our troops more time off at home. Both democratic challengers, Rick Noriega and Mikal Watts, support troop withdrawal, with Noriega specifically stating his support of the Webb-Hegel Amendment in a recently released DFT Questionnaire.

But until we can get Rick Noriega in office, we're stuck with Corn-Dog antics. Perhaps we can at least get him to see the light. You can fill out an automated form by following this link, or contact Cornyn's office directly at any of the numbers provided on his website.

Craig Makes Surprise Return to Capitol Hill, Cornyn Still Supporting!

Twelve days before his "intended" resignation, Larry Craig surprises many colleagues by ducking into a policy lunch, before joining the Republicans in the chamber.

"Senators and aides were caught off-guard by the embattled conservative’s appearance in a chamber where many had expected the stigma of a gay sex sting arrest to keep Craig away for good," according to The Hill.

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), vice chairman of the GOP conference, has stayed mum on the scandal due to the Ethics Committee investigation he may have to help steer against Craig if the Idahoan hangs on to his seat. But Cornyn was supportive with a kind word for Craig on Tuesday, telling reporters that he told Craig, “My family and I are praying for you.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mikal Watts and Karl Rove... Twins Separated at Birth?

So I thought about this little comparison when Mikal Watts spouted off at a UT University Democrat after a question. Here's the exchange:

Q: I read in the Houston Chronicle that in a trial you were in, one time you paid off judges to alter the effects of that. Can you -- do you have anything to say about that?

A: Yeah, well, I guess the Karl Rove truck begins. Let me just tell you something. The people that we are going up against will swift boat you all day long, and they will continue to swift boat you, and I can assure you of a couple things. The people that we’re going up against -- you better be ready to win. If you’re going to a knife fight, don’t let the other guy have the big knife. I can assure you that for the last 20 years, I have fought the fights against the large corporations. I have fought the fights for the people who that weren’t flamethrowers -- on behalf of the people of Texas that frankly are lucky that they have a match. And we have got to be ready. Because I don’t care about what they’re gonna make up this time, what they’re gonna make up next time, it’s coming, and we’ve got to be ready to fight back.

Notice that Watts never actually answers the question about paying off judges. But better yet, what do you think Mike meant in his knife analogy? Basically that he has more money? Thanks for letting me know. I wasn't sure after I read you made $40M last year, compared to Rick's $175K over 18 months?

Even an international student at UT had the same takeaway: "You know that thing about having a big knife when you go into a fight? I think what he was saying that he has a lot of money and he can afford to buy judges." (TXsharon @ TKaos)

I guess that is your best talking point, that you have the actual bankrolls that could beat Cornyn - so I offer this: combine your strengths. Rick has the qualifications, experience, and leadership that a Senator needs. Let's combine that with your fundraising prowess, and get Rick elected, no?

Anyways, I thought it was at least somewhat humorous that the "person in politics" I thought looked like Karl Rove was Mikal Watts himself! (see top photos). They could have been brothers! The bottom two photos compare Mike to David Koechner. You might recognize him in the cowboy hat... below (Thanks to Max Cardenas for noticing that):

NEWS ALERT: Watts Has Taken On Large Corporations... And Won!

So 'watt' is there to know about Watts? Apparently he's a trial layer, and has taken on some of the biggest corporations in the world... oh, and he graduated with his undergrad and law degree in four years. We all knew this from his website video, but I wanted to look more into his beliefs, his experience, and just to get more of an understanding of the man. Here's what he shared with Democracy for Texas. (Here's Rick's)

1) Who are you? Why should we like you?

Watts: I have taken on some of the biggest corporations in the world–and I have won.
Noriega: I’m just a father and husband who believes that public service is what you do to make life better for my family and my country.

4) List five things you’ve done that define you as a community leader and/or an agent of change.
Watts: 1. Took on some of the biggest corporations in the world...
Noriega: Improving public education by passing the teacher pay raise over the objection of the House leadership.

7) Tell us something important about yourself that we won’t find on your website.
Watts:
Graduating from the University of Texas and the University of Texas Law School in 2 years each reaffirmed what my mother taught me. The values of hard work, commitment and passion can overcome any obstacle. These values are what led me to take on some of the biggest corporations in the world.
Noriega: I’m a good cook. I worked on economic development issues for CenterPoint energy by creating jobs and opening up opportunities for Texas businesses. I earned a grey belt at the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

And there you have it. Rick is a father and a husband, worked for education in Texas, and a good cook. He's worked for economic development and creating jobs, and even has a grey belt in martial arts. Mikal Watts? Well he took on some of the biggest corporations in the world....and won, I won't be writing home about it.

PS: Believe it or not, Watts likes to talk about himself...
Word Count from their Democracy for Texas Statements:

Watts:
"I" or "me"-47 times
"us" or "we"-12 times
"Texas"-7 times
"change"-0 times

Noriega:
"I" or "me"-37 times
"us" or "we"-21 times
"Texas"-12 times
"change"-2 times

Vote For Rick... TODAY!

DFT Announces Senate Endorsement Poll

John Cornyn has been on the wrong side of countless issues that are critical to Texans in general and DFT supporters in particular. Beyond that, well, he’s just an embarrassment. But we’re not telling you something you didn’t already know, right?

Democracy for Texas has never endorsed a candidate for public office. But this race is too important to the future of our state and our country not to put all of our resources behind the candidate we feel best represents our “socially progressive, fiscally responsible” philosophy.

Two candidates - State Representative Rick Noriega and Mikal Watts - are running to be the Democratic nominee to oppose Cornyn. Which one should get DFT’s support?

Both candidates submitted answers to a DFT Issues Questionnaire, linked below.

NoriegaBlogger Contributes Full Day's Wages to Campaign

...NoriegaBlogger and girlfriend watch VHS's and eat ramen for the next four dates.

So we've talked about exactly how "un-wealthy" yours truly, NoriegaBlogger is, and how Mikal Watts makes in eight hours, what I do in an entire year, but I'm happy to announce my largest contribution to date for Rick Noriega to date: a full day's wages - pretax even: $101.37.

Rick is definitely worth a day's pay to have in the Senate. I hope you'll agree. Click the boots on the right -->

Watts' Judge-Buying Shows Need for Judicial Reform

According to an Express News article, a statewide 1999 survey commissioned by the Texas Supreme Court and the State Bar of Texas found that 48 percent of judges said campaign contributions "have a fairly significant influence on judicial decisions."

Some 69 percent of court personnel and 79 percent of lawyers surveyed said they believed campaign contributions affect judicial decisions.

Of course, this was brought to light with Mikal Watts' touting of "heavy" financial support for area judges, convincing at least one legal opponent to settle out of court.

Cameron County Delegation Hops On The Noriega Express!

Rick picked up the endorsements of the Cameron County Legislative Delegation last week, according to the Rio Grande Guardian. A fundraiser was held at the Valley International Country Club.

“I have known Rick Noriega for about 25 years,” said state Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, introducing his House colleague to those at the fundraiser. “He’s about as solid a human being, as solid a husband, as solid a father, as solid a leader as you could possibly be.


State Rep Eddie Lucio spent the day taking Noriega to meet community leaders in Harlingen. “He was received so well,” Lucio told the audience. Lucio also urged Cameron County voters to show up on Election Day to help get Noriega elected. “We only vote, folks, down here 14, 15, 16 percent. That is not empowering your elected officials. Let’s make it a point to vote in huge numbers.”

I’m concerned that a pro-life trial lawyer is going to have a hard time winning,” Oliveira said, referring to Watts. He said that in Noriega, Texans could vote for a decorated colonel in the National Guard, who had served in Afghanistan and spent 12 years in House learning about education and roads.

“We’ve got a guy who can walk into the United States Senate and probably teach them a thing or two and not somebody who needs to go up there on training wheels; who has no sense of public service.”

In his remarks, Noriega blasted Cornyn over his vote for a border wall, his vote against giving combat troops as much time away from battle as they spent in Iraq, and for voting against enrolling more children in SCHIP. “That does not represent the values of us as Tejanos, as Texans, and as Americans. That does not,” Noriega said.

Noriega said the state and the country were at a crossroads. And, he said he was looking forward to representing the values South Texans cared about. “It’s not about me at all. It is about us as a state and us as a country. I’m not going to win this race. We are going to win this race,” he said.

Watts Self-Contribution Up To $7.5 MILLION!

That's right. Daddy Wattsbucks has now contributed another $3.7M to himself, bringing his total to $7.5M self-contributed wattsbucks. See Below:

Watts loans $3.7 million more to campaign

Associated Press - September 13, 2007 4:25 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney Mikal Watts loaned his Democratic primary campaign $3.7 million in his bid to ultimately unseat Republican Senator John Cornyn in 2008.

The latest loan, announced today, raises to $7.5 million the total personal money Watts has put toward his campaign for the Democratic nomination. He raised an additional $1.1 million in June, bringing his total for his campaign to $8.6 million.

Watts reported substantial personal wealth earlier this month, including $40 million in earnings over about 18 months. He has said he would spend $10 million of his own money on the campaign.

Cornyn is seeking his second 6-year term and is expected to be unopposed in the Republican primary. Democrats nationally have said they consider him vulnerable, although all Texas' statewide elected offices are held by Republicans.

This is even more of a reason to contribute to Rick. Click the boots on the right -->

Noriega Stand With Family of Fallen Soldier: Sgt. Omar Mora

A Tribute to the Courage of Sgt. Omar Mora (1979-2007)

A Statement from Lt. Col. Rick Noriega

Yesterday, the greater Houston area lost another of its sons in uniform. US Army Sergeant Omar Mora died in a rollover accident while serving in his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Melissa and I extend our deepest condolences to the Mora family, especially his wife and his 5 year old daughter, as well as to the families of the six other soldiers who died in the accident with him. The rising number of casualties strike a chord in even the most hardened among us, and the loss felt as each soldier passes does not diminish. Omar and his brothers in uniform will be missed, and must be remembered.

Omar honored his parents, staying in contact with them regularly. A good son, he let them know he was safe and looking forward to returning home. Omar followed his mother's advice, and honored his God, never losing his faith. And Omar honored his country, not only serving voluntarily and tackling each task he was assigned, but by having the courage to speak out and voice his opinion that our nation's military presence in Iraq was no longer a war of liberation, but an occupation in the midst of a civil war between religious sects.

Omar voiced his concerns in an op-ed to the New York Times on August 19, written along with six other airborne soldiers ... one who died along with him in the accident, another who was shot in the head and is in critical condition.

It is the right of every citizen to speak their mind, as Omar's brother Roger told the Houston Chronicle -- a right that belongs to civilian and soldier alike, regardless of rank. Voicing one's opinion, especially from a soldier, is very difficult when 'management' is wrong. Omar, and his fellow soldiers had a better understanding of the cultural matrix in Iraq than what gets reported by the media, he had walked the walk. He spoke from experience when they said "we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear."

There is another manifestation of bravery that for those in uniform is a matter of course, but takes on special meaning among civilians who do not have to follow a chain of command ... the courage to listen. It's time our political leaders listen to the insights of Sergeant Mora, his fellow soldiers, and the reality in Iraq reported by every objective analysis from the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group to the recent GAO reports.

Sergeant Mora and his soldiers concluded their editorial by making clear "as committed soldiers, we will see this mission through." He lived up to his word. Now the challenge lies with the rest of us to listen and bring this mismanaged war to an end.

Because of extended deployments, Sergeant Mora was serving his 2nd tour in Iraq with the prestigious 82nd Airborne Division.

Even More from Watts at University Democrats

I thought we had it all when we got our report from Jess Faerman, UT University Democrats member about how Mikal Watts was received, but check out this comment from a sign-in form at RickNoriega.com:

After seeing Mikal Watts speak at the second University Democrats meeting of the fall semester and watching him dodge every bullet that students shot his way on TRUE democratic issues, I knew my vote would be for Rick Noriega.

Watts seems to have only one thing in common with Democrats: he wants to end the war in Iraq. He doesn't support gay marriage, he is not pro-choice, and he has been accused of paying off people to sway trials his way, and from his disposition, I got the same vibe.

Noriega came directly to me and shook my hand, regardless of the fact that I am 4 foot 11 and look like I should not be yet in college, regardless of whether my clothes indicated I had more money than the people sitting next to me.

Watts greeted everyone to the left of me, everyone to the right of me, then when I gave him the look letting him know I realized his character, he, for the sake of trying to not let people in, shook my hand half-heartedly.

He did not answer any questions presented to him, instead quickly attacked Senator John Cornyn, leaving everyone wondering what his actual views were... but everyone knew they weren't that of any yellow-dog Democrat. Not to mention the fact that he spent 1/4 of his time bragging about himself.
BurkaBlog has a play-by-play about how Watts didn't do so hot.

Rick Noriega Wants to Lead From the Front!



Rick took a few moments last week to discuss what he thought about John Cornyn's support General David Patraeus, and the troop surge.

Mikal Watts' Judge Buying - Grounds For Disbarment?

According to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct:

8.04 (a) A lawyer shall not... (5) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official
If we backtrack to see where Watts has claimed an advantage because of his and his firm's "heavy" financial support to court judges, how can that NOT be a grounds for at least some sort of action.

Recently unearthed, though, is a new series of emails between Watts and his chums about how to meet, and how to coordinate their millions to best buy seats on the court. In "A Plot To Control The Bench," El Defenzor posts full emails between Mikal Watts and other area attorneys. With a subject line of Keeping Our Power Dry on the 148, the attorneys collude to hand-pick the best candidates:
What does everyone think about a meeting two Fridays from now to discuss a plan of action? - Mikal Watts, Watts Law Firm

We operate with a lot more clout and effectiveness when we operate together. - Mikal Watts, Watts Law Firm

I am also in trial and also agree entirely. - William Edwards, Edwards Law Firm

I want everyone to be spending money on the same candidate for the 148th. - Doug Allison, Law Offices of Doug Allison

Sounds good. - Jim Ragan, Law Office of Jim Ragan

By the way, it is my understanding that both Elbert Ocanas and David Huerta would only run for the 148th if Marisela did NOT. - David Bright, Watts Law Firm

sounds good. - David Rumley, Wigington Rumley LLP
Which makes me wonder about...
col·lu·sion [kuh-loo-zhuhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun
1.a secret agreement, esp. for fraudulent or treacherous purposes; conspiracy: Some of his employees were acting in collusion to rob him.
2.Law. a secret understanding between two or more persons to gain something illegally, to defraud another of his or her rights, or to appear as adversaries though in agreement: collusion of husband and wife to obtain a divorce.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.


So at the very least, a solid group of affluent Corpus Christi lawyers are working together to get judges elected, and at least one, Mikal Watts, has used that fact to persuade legal opponents to settle out of court. If not illegal, it's unethical at best. Trial lawyers typically claim they stand for the common guy against large corporations, but at the cost of justice in our courts, I'm not sure that's a fair trade.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Watts He Talkin' About? Mikal Watts Inconsistent on Issues...

You read last week about Rick Noriega: Huge Hit at UT UDems Meeting! but competitor Mikal Watts didn't seem to do so well in front of a crowd of about 100 of the University of Texas Democrats last Wednesday (half the number who turned out for Rick).

"Most realized he was skirting answers," said Jess Faerman, University Democrats member. She had asked Watts about his stance on abortion - one that has not taken well to most staunch democrats. When asked about whether he would vote against choice, "he claims that he'd walk and not vote...he totally dodged that [question about choice]."

About gay rights, "he wasn't really being specific," said Faerman. He claimed he was for equal rights for gays - just not marriage and such. Returning briefly to the abortion issue Watts stood in favor of stem cell research, even with his belief of when he believes life begins. "If he is consistent with that he wouldnt be pro embryonic stem cell. He just didn't make sense. I found inconsistencies all over the place," says Faerman.

She did say that Watts was a better speaker and seemed to talk about more about the issues than Rick, but that Watts just seemed to have more inconsistencies throughout his speech, and avoided questions on the issues. Capital Area Democrats and University Democrats are planning on making an endorsement in this race, and according to this UDems member, it may be a close one.

Watts' campaign called it an "ambush:"

...it didn’t take long for the San Antonio lawyer to realize he’d stumbled into an ambush at his alma mater in Austin. After pitching his maiden campaign as a political candidate to about 200 members of the University Democrats - a group to which he belonged as a UT student - Watts found himself fielding a series of pointed questions that appeared to be aimed at making him look like a Democrat in name only.
Two independent sources I had said about 100 in attendance, but more importantly, Mike, these are democrats here talking to you. They're not ambushing you, it wasn't a setup. they're raising true concerns that democrats across the state are asking. Who are you, why are you anti-choice, and why did you contribute to judges presiding over your cases? If you're unable to answer these basic questions, you have no idea what's ahead of you. As for being labeled a DINO (Democrat in name only), at least one UDems member felt the same sentiment, saying "part of me says he'll cross party lines...these inconsistencies are so weird."

More coverage from Hal

Rick Noriega... Worth $72,012!

That's right! 800 donors think that Rick Noriega in the Texas Senate Seat in DC is worth $72,012. I think it's worth more! Rick stands for real change, experience, and leadership. Can we hit 900 by the end of the week? Click to donate along the right -->

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rick on Record about Bloggers

"The netroots is a...powerful force for change"

September 14th, 2007

Rick Noriega, who is exploring a run for the U.S. Senate, made the following statement in response to Texas Republican Party political director Hans Klingler’s comments in Wednesday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

“Mr. Klingler’s characterization of bloggers as an echo chamber, rather than a grassroots movement, sounds a lot like whistling past the graveyard,” Noriega said.

“Far from an echo chamber, progressive bloggers in Texas and across the country are opening the door for millions of Americans to participate in the political process. Specifically, the Texas ‘netroots’ is one of the three largest Democratic state blogging communities with over 100,000 page views a week. The ‘netroots’ is the new grassroots in American politics, and is becoming a powerful force for change.”

“As our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line every day in Iraq and Afghanistan, the blogosphere has played a valuable role in our democracy by forcing elected officials and the news media to be accountable for what they say and do.”

“I am honored to have the support of many bloggers from across the great state of Texas and this country, and am proud of their efforts to restore accountability in government and engage millions of Americans in our democracy.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rick's Boo-Boo

It seems that Rick has made some unfortunate comments with regards to bloggers.

Here's the quote with none of the surrounding context from R.G. Ratcliffe:

"We've seen talk radio become an organizing tool for the die-hard right, while liberals are credited with turning the blogosphere into a political weapon. Each of those media has a targeted demographic group and works them into an ideological lather," Noriega said.

"This, I believe, is damaging to the political culture in this country."

All I can say is that comments like this are commonly completely blown out of proportion and that I still support Rick. He's discussed the issues on FDL, and has come out to answer questions about what happened, and I know of no Texas bloggers that have peeled away from Rick.

Here's coverage from around Texas:
http://eyeonwilliamson.org/?p=1488
http://www.offthekuff.com/mt/archives/010169.html#010169
http://txsharon.blogspot.com/2007/09/watt-spin-and-rg-ratcliffe-falls-in.html
http://www.mcblogger.com/archives/2007/09/noriega_out_of.html
http://stxc.blogspot.com/2007/09/political-hits-noriega-and-blogs.html
http://burntorangereport.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=4050
Sloppy Reporting Rears Its Ugly Head in TX-Senate Race

Hal at Half Empty wondered who in the H-E-double-Hockey Sticks pays R.G. Ratcliffe for his journalistic abilities? He challenged him here . Off to summer school RG.


More to come later.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Rick Noriega: Huge Hit at UT UDems Meeting!

We told you about two appearances that our next Senator from Texas, Rick Noriega made last Wednesday. I was unable to attend personally, but "Jazzy" Jess Faerman, UT UDems member Austin-area minor political celebrity, was front and center for Rick's speech. From this photo, you can tell that the entire lecture hall (capacity:200) is completely full, and was standing room only.

From The Daily Texan:

Noriega addressed the University Democrats, who are supporting his campaign, said President Benjamin Trotter, a government sophomore.
"He really needs to capture the youth because we are a working force," Trotter said. "We're powerful in the Austin community and when we give our endorsement, it means something."Less than two hours earlier, over 150 turned out at Scholz's Beer Garten to hear Rick at a Democracy for Texas event. Over 300 people in a day, and we still have a full year to go before the election!

"He's gaining a lot of grassroots support," says Fran Vincent of DFT. "We're a grassroots organization, so it just makes sense."

From The Daily Texan:
As the sun began to set, Noriega jumped on the stage at Scholz's and opened his speech by criticizing Bush's positive outlook on progress in Iraq. He then segued into the idea that politicians in Washington are merely for show and "don't get anything done," he said.

"We need work horses in D.C., not show horses," he said.

Introducing: Rick Noriega, Frontrunner.

Thats right. Rick leads the a new IVR poll in general, but also in every demographic subset of gender and ethnicity (note: before Reichstadt's withdrawal). Over half polled are undecided, but of those with an opinion, Noriega takes 58% (Watts 30%, Richstadt 12%). (graphic from Burnt Orange Report). This from IVR:


Noriega was the clear leader among those who had a preference, with 27% to Watts' 14% and Reichstadt's 6%. The Houston area was strong for Noriega with about 50% of the vote despite 38% undecided. The Corpus Christi area had similar numbers, but with Watts in the lead. San Antonio and DFW were about 2/3 undecided, with Watts and Noriega about even. Austin was also 2/3 undecided, but with a 7-1 lead for Noriega. El Paso was close to the state average, while the LRGV gave Noriega a 40% to 23% lead with 34% undecided.

Excluding undecided and breaking the results into subsets by combination of gender and ethnicity, and then comparing Noriega's percentage to Watts' percentage, Noriega led in every category. His strongest showing was among Latino women, who gave him 2.9 'votes' for every one of Watts'. The closest subset was white women, who gave Noriega 1.2 times as many 'votes.' This was also the subset with the highest undecided - 58%. The lowest undecided was among Latino men, with 39%, who gave Noriega his second smallest lead with 1.6x. Many of these slices contain very small samples, so take them with a grain of salt.

8/29-30, 489 polled, 4.5% MoE
Combine that with ActBlue's Activity Report for August:
August is over so it's time for a monthly stats round-up of what's been happening in Democratic online fundraising over ActBlue. Let's dive into some data- (change from prior month in parentheses).

Total Amount Contributed: $1,039,376.72 (+$396,938)
Total # of Contributions: 14,648 (+5,004)
Average Contribution Size: $70.96 (+$4.35)

Total # of Recipient Campaigns & Committees: 419 (+ 67)

Here are the Top 10 Recipients by amounts received through ActBlue in August.


Name Amount Office

John Edwards $214,180.51 President

Darcy Burner $105,202.18 WA-08

Niki Tsongas $48,616.00 MA-05

Rick Noriega $39,696.13 TX-Sen

Jamie Eldridge $30,122.35 MA-05

Jeff Merkley $27,581.67 OR-Sen

Jared Polis $25,153.00 CO-02

Russ Warner $21,118.87 CA-26

San Diego Democratic Party $18,119.00 County

Joe Alioto Veronese $16,505.00 CA-SD-03

Here are the Top 10 Recipients by # of donors through ActBlue in August.
Name Donors Office
John Edwards 3,182 President
Darcy Burner 2,950 WA-08
Rick Noriega 539 TX-Sen
Daniel Biss 358 IL-HD-17
Dennis Kucinich 274 President
Jamie Eldridge 270 MA-05
San Diego Democratic Party 251 County
Jeff Merkley 245 OR-Sen
Al Franken 241 MN-Sen
BlogPAC 216 PAC

And here are the Top 5 fundraising pages by number of donors (excluding pages used by candidates solely to collect contributions directly from campaign websites).


Fundraising Page Raised Donors Avg.

Burn Bush for Burner $87,682.54 2429 $36.09

Blue America '08 $24,525.30 372 $20.00

Blue Majority $16,265.42 349 $23.07

Netroots for Rick Noriega for Senate $30,849.16 324 $95.21

Brotherhood 2.0 for Daniel Biss $1,673.00 210 $7.96

So, There you have it. Rick is scoring in the top four spots in each category. Check out the average donation amount at the Netroots for Rick page: $95.21. That's nearly three times larger than any other average on that top list. Rick's making appearances, sharing his story, and working to make a change. I'm happy to introduce: Rick Noriega, Frontrunner.