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August 20, 2009

Obama's unlikely allies on Afghan war: GOP conservatives

As Afghans head to the polls, Americans are becoming more convinced that their war in Afghanistan isn't worth the costs. But President Obama has unlikely allies: conservative Republicans. Liberal Democratic support, on the other hand, has been cut in half since the Spring.

Question for our readers: How much of the GOP support is due to Obama's hawkish policy and how much is the legacy of Afghanistan as "George Bush's war"?

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Posted by Richard Dunham at 10:00 AM in , , | Comments (0)

John Cornyn: Texas' low-tax philosophy needed in DC

Texas on the Potomac regularly publishes guest commentary from across the political spectrum. Today, we welcome a Guest Blog from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Senate photo
Sen. John Cornyn

This weekend, Texans will benefit from our annual Back to School Sales Tax holiday. Millions of working parents will be able to prepare their children for the upcoming school year, while getting a break from state and local sales taxes. Since 1999, our annual sales tax holiday has saved Texans nearly half a billion dollars.

This sales tax holiday is just one way Texas keeps taxes low. According to the Tax Foundation, our state and local taxes are only the 43rd highest in the nation. Low taxes have helped keep our economy moving forward against the headwind of the national recession. Texas was responsible for 70 percent of all the net new job growth in America last year, and our unemployment rate remains nearly two points below the national average.

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I believe that the low-tax leadership of Texas should drive fiscal policy in Washington. That's why I helped reinstate the federal deduction for state and local sales taxes in 2004, which provides more than $1 billion in federal tax relief to Texans annually. Currently Congress must renew this deduction every year, so now I am working to make this deduction permanent.

Low taxes are also the best economic stimulus available. During the debate on the stimulus bill six months ago, I offered an amendment to provide every taxpayer, including small businesses, with tax relief. This and other common-sense alternatives were rejected then, but they remain available now. By keeping taxes low and spending in check, we can turn America's economy around, without burdening future generations with trillions in unnecessary debt.

Posted by Richard Dunham at 09:00 AM in , | Comments (0)

News Links: C.I.A. hired Blackwater for secret program

Blackwater AFP.jpg
AFP photo
File photo shows contractors of the US private security firm Blackwater in Baghdad in 2005. The CIA hired the security firm Blackwater in 2004 as part of its secret program to find and kill Al Qaeda leaders, US media said Thursday, citing current and former intelligence officials.

Welcome to the Texas on the Potomac news links. We will offer Texas links, "Potomac" links for Washington stories and Texas blog links to give you a sampling of the best of Texas political blogs. Please feel free to e-mail us with link suggestions -- if you see something particularly good.

Texas Links

San Diego school chief likely pick at HISD {Houston Chronicle}

Perry still not convinced that Hutchison will stay in the race {Fort Worth Star-Telegram}

Judge stands by action on execution {San Antonio Express-News}

Potomac Links

C.I.A. sought Blackwater's help in plan to kill Jihadists {New York Times}

New Rx for health plan: split bill {Wall Street Journal}

Sen. Kennedy wants state sucession law changed {The Hill}

Texas Blog Links

Dog day afternoons: Kay and Rick on the porch {Burnt Orange Report}

Texas Railroad Commission chairman wants Senate appointment {PoliTex}

Posted by Amy D'Onofrio at 07:50 AM in | Comments (0)

Today in Texas History: Peace--finally--between U.S. and Texas

Andrew Johnson.gifOfficial White House portrait of President Andrew Johnson

On this date in 1866, President Andrew Johnson officially ended the Civil War by issuing a proclamation of peace between the United States and Texas.

President Johnson declared that "the insurrection in the State of Texas has been completely and everywhere suppressed and ended."

With Johnson's announcement, Texas became the last Confederate state to be brought under Union control following the bloodiest conflict in American history.

Months prior, on April 2, 1866, Johnson had declared a state of peace between the U.S. and the other ten Confederate states. Texas -- the former Lone Star Republic -- was the lone holdout.

Consistent with Texas' continuing resistance, the last land battle of the Civil War took place at Palmito Ranch near Brownsville on May 13, 1865, more than a month after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.

Posted by Richard Dunham at 12:01 AM in | Comments (0)

August 19, 2009

Where Are They Now? Charlie Stenholm

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Congressional photo
Charlie Stenholm

Every Wednesday, Texas on the Potomac presents "Where are they now?" Each week, we update you on the whereabouts of a Texan who played a role in national politics and policy. Our subject today is Charlie Stenholm.

Texan on the Potomac: Charlie Stenholm
Age: 70
Job on the Potomac: Representative for the 17th district of Texas, 1979 to 2005.

Early Life: Charles W. Stenholm was born in Stamford, Texas on October 26, 1938.

He graduated from Stamford High School in 1957 and then earned his Associate of Science degree from Tarleton State Junior College in Stephenville in 1959.

In 1961 Stenholm was married to a classmate, Cindy Watson, and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education from Texas Tech University. A year later he had his Master's in the subject.

After graduating Stenholm taught agriculture at a high school and helped his father grow cotton and wheat, and raise cattle.

During this time Stenholm became a lobbyist for Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association, and his first trip to Washington was on their behalf.

Stenholm said he had never dreamed of running for Congress, but his lobbying work caused those around him to suggest he go into politics.

In 1978 Stenholm ran for the 17th Congressional district as a Democrat. His work for a co-op prompted one primary foe to label the conservative Stenholm a Socialist.

"We shocked everybody, we shocked ourselves," Stenholm said of winning the seat.

Public Life: In his 26 years in Congress, Stenholm became known for being a conservative Democrat and his work supporting agriculture.

During Ronald Reagan's presidency, Stenholm organized conservative Southern Democrats to help enact Reagan's tax policies, a group known as the Boll Weevils.

In 1995 he helped found the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, made up of conservative Democrats.

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Stenholm was also a ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture during his last eight years in Congress.

He had hoped to become the next chairman of the committee, but the 2003 redistricting of Texas led by then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay drastically impacted Stenholm's re-election bid.

"It made life very difficult," Stenholm said of the redistricting. With his district split up, he decided to run in the 19th district, up against Republican incumbent Randy Neugebauer.

Stenholm said he wasn't ready to retire--his plan was to do so after 2008. While his campaign had the money it needed, he said "there was no possible way to win."

Stenholm said DeLay and other Republicans accomplished what they wanted, and he did not consider running for Congress the next time around.

"There was no way to run in West Texas as a Democrat. We had a great run, no regrets."

For an update on Charlie Stenholm's current work, click on the "continue reading" link immediately below.

Continue reading "Where Are They Now? Charlie Stenholm"

Posted by Amy D'Onofrio at 06:00 PM in | Comments (0)

How much 'stimulus' aid are Texas schools getting?

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As the new school year approaches, the Obama administration is trying to highlight federal "stimulus" funds that have gone to each state for education. Here is the list for Texas:

Chronicle photo by Karen Warren
The eyes of students are upon us. A little boy looks into the doorway before the start of the La Rosa Family Services HISD Back to School event, at Park Place Elementary School, Aug. 15.

• • •

State Fiscal Stabilization Funds:
This one-time appropriation of $53.6 billion distributes money directly to states to help support education and other public services. Funds can be used to stabilize state and local government budgets to prevent cuts to educational resources and teachers, as well as to modernize or repair school and college facilities.

Texas awarded: $2,900,848,012

• • •

Education Technology Grants:
The goal of the grants program is to help every student be technologically literate by the end of eighth grade. Also, the $650 million in additional funding to the program will be used to integrate technology, teacher training and curriculum development.

Texas awarded: $59,515,765

• • •

Impact Aid Funds:
This program, which helps local school districts that have lost property tax revenue or have increased expenditures due to the presence of tax-exempt federal property, is receiving an additional $100 million in funding that can be used for various aspects of construction of school facilities, from the preparation of drawings, to building and inspecting facilities.

Texas awarded: $6,760,548

• • •

Title I, Part A- Supporting Low-Income Schools:
To support schools with high concentrations of students from families living in poverty, $10 billion in additional Title I, Part A funds are going to state education agencies and local education agencies.

Texas awarded: $474,368,891

Arne Duncan CHI.jpg
Department of Education photo
Education Secretary Arne Duncan meets with low-income students in Chicago.

IDEA Grants, Parts B & C - Improving Special Education Programs:
$12.2 billion in additional funding for Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will go to state and local education agencies. Part B provides funds to educational agencies to help them ensure that children with disabilities have access to a free public education that meets their needs. Part C provides funds to designated state agencies to implement interagency programs and to make early intervention services available to disabled infants, toddlers, and their families.

Texas awarded: $504,691,646

• • •

Vocational Rehabilitation Funds:
$540 million in additional funding is for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants program. The program provides grants to states to help individuals with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment.

Texas awarded: $22,405,484

• • •

Independent Living Services Fund:
Independent Living (IL) programs are receiving an additional $140 million in funding. The IL programs support services to individuals with significant disabilities and older individuals who are blind to help them live independently. Programs also promote the inclusion of disabled individuals into mainstream American society.

Texas awarded: $3,342,896

• • •

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Funds:
The McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth program is receiving $70 million to assist states and local educational agencies address the educational and related needs of homeless children and youth. The program's goal is to ensure that homeless children are enrolled and attend school.

Texas awarded: $5,547,622

Chronicle photo by Melissa Phillip
Dolly Li of Brooklyn, left, waits in a long line with her mother, Lilly Li, right, for an elevator as she moves into Duncan College at Rice University on Aug. 16.

Pell Grant Funds:
The Federal Pell Grant Program is receiving $17.1 billion in additional funds to provide need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post baccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. The maximum Pell award has been increased by the Department of Education from $4,731 to $5,350 because of the extra funding.

Awarded: $568,163,152 to students attending schools in Texas. Awards are based on student applications.

• • •

Work Study Funds:
The Work-Study program gives colleges and universities funding to provide jobs to students to help them pay tuition and living expenses. An additional $200 million is being provided to the program.

Awarded: $10,035,771 to students attending schools in Texas. Funds are distributed to qualifying schools which select students based on financial need.

Posted by Amy D'Onofrio at 04:22 PM in , | Comments (0)

Napolitano to host White House immigration 'summit'

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AP photo
President Obama has given Homeland Security Janet Napolitano the task of piecing together a bipartisan bill on immigration.

The White House has scheduled a mini-summit on immigration tomorrow -- the first public session on the controversial subject since President Obama declared in Mexico that comprehensive reform was unlikely to be approved this year.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the administration's designated point person on immigration legislation, will meet with 130 immigrant advocates, business and labor leaders and law enforcement officials to discuss immigration policy.

Immigration-rights groups have ramped up their pressure on the administration in the weeks since Obama declared that he had too many major legislative initiatives to deal with this year to win final passage of an immigration policy overhaul, too.

"Obama is committed to reform," said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, a pro-immigration group, "and a brief delay is understandable. But unless he delivers on his promise of action the political consequences in 2010 could be significant."

Obama has assigned Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona, with the task of piecing together bipartisan immigration legislation that can win support from business and labor. However, immigrant rights groups have been increasingly vocal in their criticism of Napolitano for continuing enforcement tactics previously used by the Bush administration.

"We expect a real commitment from the Secretary of Homeland Security to step up and be the main salesman on immigration reform," said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, an immigrant advocacy group, who will be attending the meeting. "She has been appointed by the President to quarterback efforts to revamp our immigration system and we need her to assert her leadership and build the public and legislative support needed to carry comprehensive immigration reform across the finish line."

Sharry says that a White House failure to pass comprehensive reform could dishearten Hispanic voters.

"It's not that Latino immigrants and their loved ones will suddenly vote for a Republican Party that seems bent on giving Hispanic voters the back of the hand at every turn, but that it will be difficult to mobilize them to come out in the record numbers of 2008 if fervent hopes turned into dashed ones," Sharry said.

Posted by Richard Dunham at 01:31 PM in | Comments (0)

Everybody knows 'death panels' don't exist--except Republicans and Southerners

Death panel chart.jpg
Graphic by Richard S. Dunham

The No. 1 "urban legend" of the health-care reform debate is the talk of "death panels" that will decide whether Granny will be allowed to live or condemned to die without medical care.

It's just not in any of the proposals.

But it says something about the level of distrust that exists in certain corners of America that a lot of people still insist that Democrats would mandate "death panels" -- or say they're still unsure where the truth lies.

Two groups are most skeptical of the insistence by the mainstream media, the White House and almost every member of Congress that there are no "death panels" designed to root out "unproductive" humans: grassroots Republicans and Southerners.

Just 43 percent of Republicans say there definitely are no "death panels." Another 26 percent insist that there are. And 31 percent aren't sure.

While 91 percent of Northerners, 81 percent of Midwesterners and 78 percent of Westerners declare that the "death panel" talk is untrue, only 46 percent of Southerners are so certain.

Nationally, just 11 percent of Americans are convinced that "death panels" are real. Men are more likely than women to buy it, and older people are more likely than younger ones.

The Daily Kos/Research 2000 Poll was conducted from Aug. 10-13.

Posted by Richard Dunham at 10:56 AM in , | Comments (0)

Obesity could cost Texas $15.6 billion next year

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Houston Chronicle cartoon by Nick Anderson

Obesity is the elephant in the room of health care reform, a public health catastrophe that kills well over 100,000 Americans a year, may cost Texas $15.6 billion next year in health care costs and lost productivity, and promises to shorten U.S. life expectancy for the first time since the Civil War.

Whatever Washington does this year to try to lower medical spending almost certainly will be swamped by the nation's rising weight.

Obesity lurks behind the top chronic illnesses -- heart disease, diabetes, stroke and colon, breast and prostate cancers, among many others -- whose treatments routinely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In two decades the obesity rate in Texas has more than doubled -- 29 percent of Texans in 2007 were obese.

Every third child born in 2000 is likely to wind up diabetic. Obesity strikes hardest at the poor and minorities; black women are nearly 40 percent more likely to contract heart disease than white women. Two out of three adults are overweight in Texas and nationwide.

Continue reading "Obesity could cost Texas $15.6 billion next year"

Posted by Amy D'Onofrio at 09:00 AM in | Comments (0)

News Links: Official buildings targeted in Iraq bombings

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AP photo
A man reacts as fire fighters respond to a bombing at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, center, in Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 19. A series of explosions struck the Iraqi capital Wednesday, targeting primarily government and commercial buildings, killing more than a dozen people and wounding more than 100 others, Iraqi officials said.

Welcome to the Texas on the Potomac news links. We will offer Texas links, "Potomac" links for Washington stories and Texas blog links to give you a sampling of the best of Texas political blogs. Please feel free to e-mail us with link suggestions -- if you see something particularly good.

Texas Links

White cuts into mayoral time for Senate campaign {Houston Chronicle}

Dallas key in governor's race as Hutchison kicks off run {Dallas Morning News}

Judge accused of judicial misconduct tells her side of the story {San Antonio Express-News}

Potomac Links

At least 75 killed in series of attacks in Baghdad {New York Times}

Health-care debate's path caught Obama by surprise {Washington Post}

PhRMA defends itself from Boehner criticism {The Hill}

Texas Blog Links

Ex-GOP chair says Perry risks losing {PoliTex}

Hutchison embraces endorsement from Dick Armey {Burnt Orange Report}

Posted by Amy D'Onofrio at 07:45 AM in | Comments (0)

Today in Texas History: Lawman kills John Wesley Hardin

City of El Paso
El Paso constable John Selman

On this date in 1895, a crooked constable named John Selman killed the notorious mass murderer John Wesley Hardin in a gunfight at El Paso's Acme Saloon.

Hardin was born in 1853 in Bonham and was known for his violent personality at a young age. In 1867 he stabbed another youth in a schoolyard squabble, and at age 15 he shot and killed a man during an argument.

In the fall of 1868 he claimed to have killed three Union soldiers and another soldier the next year. As he made his way up the Chisholm Trail, Hardin killed at least ten men and then four more upon returning to Gonzales County.

Texas Rangers tracked him down and captured him in Pensacola, Fla., in 1877. Hardin was tried for murder, convicted, and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

He was pardoned in 1894.

Hardin had been studying law while in prison. After his release, he was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Gonzales County and then in El Paso.

In El Paso, he began seeing a woman married to one of his clients. When the husband found out about the affair, Hardin hired several law officials to kill him.

Constable Selman, an Arkansas native, was one of the hired killers, and was rumored to have killed Hardin because Hardin never paid him. Selman was tried for Hardin's murder but released when the trial ended in a hung jury.

Selman died shortly thereafter in a gunfight.

Hardin and Selman are both buried in El Paso's Concordia Cemetery.

Posted by Richard Dunham at 07:31 AM in | Comments (0)

August 18, 2009

War in Waco: Hutchison allies blockade Perry truck

The 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary is off to a slam-bang start. Not only are the Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison blasting each other rhetorically -- they've taken their war on the road.

Tuesday featured the battle of Waco. Photographer Bob Daemmrich, who witnessed the showdown on Pleasant Street -- yes, Pleasant Street -- snapped the photo below and sent us details of the incident.

According to Bob, Perry's mobile billboard -- tweaking the senator as "Kay Bailout Hutchison" -- arrived outside KBH's event at the Tejas Logistics warehouse complex in Waco. About 20 minutes later, a squadron of semi trucks pulled up in the street and completely blockaded the Perry pranksters so the mobile banner couldn't go anywhere or be seen from the warehouse.

Once Hutchison finished her speech, the trucks freed the mobile billboard.

Here's our Texas on the Potomac analysis of the battlefield:

war in waco.jpg
Photograph by Bob Daemmrich. Informational graphic by Richard S. Dunham
Don't mess with Texas. Texas gubernatorial rivals, that is. And it's only August!

Posted by Richard Dunham at 10:41 PM in , | Comments (0)

Rick's Picks: Our favorite political links (newly updated)

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Chronicle photo by Hailey Branson
President Obama didn't pick Rick (left) at his most recent press conference. Maybe next time.

The web provides us all with a limitless menu of opportunities for news and information. But your time is valuable, and you can't afford to waste it on substandard -- or unreliable -- sites. Here are some of our favorite sources for political news, analysis and commentary. If you'd like to nominate your favorite link for inclusion on a future list, please email us by clicking here. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

The Drudge Report. The granddaddy of all political web sites. It's indispensible--and we like it even more when it links to us. Thanks, Matt!
National Review Online's blog row. A powerhouse line-up of conservative thought.
Redstate.com. Smart updates and interesting tidbits for Red America.

The Huffington Post. This popular site provides light as well as heat. Lots of fresh content and scoops. We appreciate their links to us, too. Thanks, Arianna.
Talking Points Memo. A good combination of news digest and intelligent commentary.
NDN Blog. This is a smart, cutting-edge progressive site with first-rate analysis and provocative policy discussion. It has some of the best work out there on Hispanic political trends.

obameter.gifKeeping track of the new president's promises -- and health-reform whoppers.

RealClearPolitics.The best site on the web for aggregation of the latest polls and trend stories.
Pollster.com. Find smart analysis of polling results (and a great blog) here.
Politifact. This nonpartisan, Pulitzer Prize-winning site will keep you up to date on Barack Obama's campaign promises (via The Obameter) and health-care reform facts and fiction.

CNN Politics. Comprehensive and diverse, this has more breaking news and multimedia information than any other network site. Need the latest political news? Look here. Need a laugh? You can find that here, too. Some bloviation and personality-worship, but lots of news.
Washington Post politics. Some of the best blogs in the mainstream media. And some of the best political reporters in daily journalism.
C-SPAN. Whether it's an election year or not, come to C-SPAN to see politics in the raw, without commentary or spin.

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Here's The Sleuth.

The Plum Line. Greg Sargent's blog on WashingtonPost.com breaks news all the time and has insightful analysis. Terrific!
Mary Ann Akers' "The Sleuth." The best politico gossip and behind-the-scenes scoop in political journalism. Reliable and fun to read.
Mike Allen's Playbook. This blog on Politico, famous for his dogged reporting and deep sources, is a must-read in the nation's capital.
Beltway Confidential. She's baaaaaaaaaack! Former Houston Chronicle White House correspondent Julie Mason teams up with other Washington Examiner reporters on a blog with a name familiar to chron.com readers.
NBC's "First Read on Politics". A fast read and a consistently good read. Read First Read.
Gary Langer's "The Numbers." ABC TV's chief pollster has consistently smart analysis of public opinion and timely takes on breaking news.

Ken Rudin is NPR's Political Junkie..

Ken Rudin's Political Junkie Great stuff for political junkies. And there's a big bonus: In addition to interesting trivia and clever writing, it's illustrated with samples from Rudin's own spectacular political button collection.
Lynn Sweet blog. The Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief may be Washington's leading Obama expert. Her blog is timely and often hard-edged.

Texas Politics. News and analysis from the Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News Austin bureau.
Texas Weekly. The best weekly overview of Texas politics. You have to pay, but it's worth it. It was bought recently by Texas Tribune, which will debut this fall
PoliTex. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram does a very nice job with a political blog that covers Texas political developments in Washington, Austin and the Metroplex. Good photos, good writing, frequent updates.
Houston Politics. Regular updates on Houston politics from the Houston Chronicle metro staff.
Off the Kuff. A great source for commentary on Houston and Texas politics.

Eileen Smith is In the Pink.

In the Pink Texas. Lively and fun. The Pink Lady, Eileen Smith, did such a good job that Texas Monthly hired her.
Jonathan Gurwitz. The San Antonio Express-News' conservative columnist might be the Lone Star State's most cogent commentator on the Right.
Brains and Eggs. From "Deep-in-the-Hearta, Texas," it's a smart, sassy liberal blog that exists "because Jesus never rode an elephant." Nice Texas blog links, too.
Burnt Orange Report. Get the latest news with a Democratic bent.
Lone Star Times. A nice mix of Texas political news, strong opinion and timely (sometimes humorous) photos.

Posted by Richard Dunham at 05:55 PM in | Comments (0)

Did you know that Bob Novak's widow is from Texas?

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Conservative columnist Bob Novak, affectionately known as the "Prince of Darkness," was married to a Texan. Novak's widow Geraldine is from Hill County. (She worked as a secretary in the office of future President Lyndon B. Johnson.)

novaks.jpgTexan-by-marriage: Bob and Geraldine Novak attend a black-tie dinner at the National Press Club, accompanied by 1961 NPC President John Cosgrove.

Here are statements from the state's two senators reacting to his death today from brain cancer:

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Dallas:

"Bob Novak was an influential figure in the world of journalism where news and politics intersected. He was a masterful - and often unapologetic - story teller and reporter. He leaves behind a legendary body of work and will inspire generations of journalists. During his life, he was fortunate to spend time in Texas in his wife Geraldine's hometown of Hillsboro. My thoughts and prayers are with the Novak family."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-San Antonio:

"A legend in investigative journalism, Robert Novak will be remembered for his dogged search for the bottom line, his knack for writing, and a colorful history of reporting and commentary that spanned multiple wars, political scandals, and historic hearings. His unique and varied experience and his fierce dedication to his field will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Geraldine, and the rest of the Novak family."

Posted by Richard Dunham at 05:15 PM in | Comments (0)

How bitter is health debate? Woman yells "Heil Hitler" at Jewish man extolling Israeli care

It spooked more than a few Houstonians when opponents of health-care reform brought posters of Barack Obama weaing a Hitler mustache to a town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

And then there was the Nazi S.S. logo on a poster at one of Rep. Lloyd Doggett's forums in Austin.

Hitler photo.jpg
Chronicle photo
Anti-Obama demonstrators in Houston carry posters likening the U.S. president to the Nazi tyrant.

But this one tops them all. At a Nevada meeting on health care, an angry foe of Obama-style reform yelled "Heil Hitler" at a Jewish man who was praising Israel's national system of health care for its military veterans. When the man shouted back "shame on you," she mocked him as a whiner by making sounds like a baby crying.

This is debate?

• • •

Do any of our Texas on the Potomac readers remember any other Nazi-themed incidents during the health-care debate?

• • •

What do you think: Are we making too big a deal out of the use of Hitler-esque imagery, or do you believe these Third Reich allusions are beyond the pale?

Posted by Richard Dunham at 03:15 PM in | Comments (0)

Celebrities, politicians react to DeLay's 'Dancing' role

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Collage of AP, ABC photos
Former "Dancing with the Stars" contestants Jerry Springer and Tucker Carlson, and actor Spencer Garrett, who is portraying Tom DeLay in an upcoming film, comment on DeLay's dancing.

Statement from talk-show host (and recovering politician) Jerry Springer, a former contestant on the show:
"It was a great experience for me, and I wish him only the best."

Tucker Carlson, a contestant on the show in 2006:
"That's bizarre," Carlson said when he learned DeLay would be dancing, according to Politico.

Carlson also e-mailed Politico this advice to pass along to DeLay:
"1) Go all the way. As long as you're doing it, there's no reason to hold back. Embrace the skintight polyester pants, high-heel shoes and codpiece. Silence the inner voice that reminds you how ridiculous you look and commands you to flee to an obscure foreign country. It's 'Dancing With the Stars.' You can't be too flamboyant. Pirouette like Nureyev, and enjoy it.
2) Never Google yourself again."

Spencer Garrett, actor who plays Tom DeLay in "Casino Jack," scheduled for release in 2010:

"It's 'Hammer' time! Priceless. Where but in America, the land of opportunity, can one go from being an exterminator in Texas, to the most powerful man in the House or Representatives ... to ... a reality TV show? They called him 'The Hammer' on the Hill. Let's hope he leaves his hammer in the green room or Donny Osmond will clean his cha cha!

"Seriously --- he's proven to be a tough and resilient character. If he's as tenacious on the dance floor as he was on the House floor, I have no doubt he will do quite well."

DWTS host Tom Bergeron:
"He better not try redistricting in the ballroom," he joked.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:"I'm interested to see whether Tom DeLay can dance."

Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Gray:"At least here he'll just be dancing on the toes of his partner instead of trampling all over democracy."

Former Texas Rep. Chris Bell, who was redistricted out of a congressional seat by DeLay:
"I hope he'll work out a number to "Jailhouse Rock."

Bell says this is proof that DeLay has given up on any political comeback, according to Houston's ABC station.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas:
"It's going to be interesting. I hope he's lost a few pounds."

Posted by Amy D'Onofrio at 11:48 AM in | Comments (0)

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