Monday, August 21, 2006

Update: Nelson Balido takes almost $40,000 from Delay TRMPAC

According to the Texas Ethics Commission's records, Balido has accepted approxiately $39,000 from DeLay's TRMPAC. This looks worse than I thought. $39,000 is a ton of money--and is the bulk of Balido's current money.

The link between Balido and DeLay is strong and unmistakable...

UT Austin Ranks as Top Party School

The Longhorns apparently know how to party. But apparently, the BYU campus is pretty sedate. Read more here.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Spurs Tony Parker Breaks Finger

..and can't play for France's basketball team at the world championships LAst night, the US team, led by LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony beat Puerto Rico, 111-100. More on Parker--let's pray this injury doesnt affect his regular season:

San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker will not play for France in the world championship after being diagnosed with a broken finger.

Parker injured his finger in an exhibition game against Brazil on Tuesday in China.

He practiced Thursday with his finger bandaged and was in some pain," said Fabrice Canet, the team's press officer. "He wanted to stay but will return to the United States at the request of the Spurs."
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Cliff Puchalski, a Spurs spokesman, said the team would have no comment until team doctors could look at Parker's finger.

"It really is very disappointing and tough to swallow because I felt in great shape before I got hurt against Brazil," Parker said.


Snakes on a Plane: Reviews

It's incredible that Snakes on a Plane's average critical review on Yahoo is a "B-," which is actually quite respectable considering that's the same grade that Pirates of the Carribean got. In any case, here are some of the funnier user reviews form Yahoo's movie page on SoaP:

Makes Poseidon look Oscar-worthy
by billthecat1999 (movies profile) Aug 18, 2006
165 of 484 people found this review helpful

They figured in today's movie market they would only earn 60 mil total, perhaps, so they had to make this for 6 mil to make a profit, and it shows.

TV movies have better quality. This movie is not scary, has no plot, is cheesy, with an idiotic script. It has graphic sex scenes, but if that's what you want, I think $9 a pop is still too much for just that--just go rent Cabin Fever. This movie was far lamer than even that one.

This is THE worst movie I have ever seen, bar NONE. Sammy, Sammy--who has the dirt on you to cause you to make THIS??? I DID get my money back.

could make better film of 4 yr old catching snake
by texasflyer553 (movies profile) Aug 18, 2006
6 of 17 people found this review helpful

What can i say...I have a very limited vocabulary after watching this movie....What is a better word for worse suckage ever????I should have known better!!!!!When a movie can't even make the trailers look good.......there is a problem....I won the tickets and it was still too expensive to go see.....total waste of money and time.....People that say it is a movie that you can turn your brain off...make me wonder if they ever had them on???The acting is very poor...the story line is horrible.....think about it snakes on a plane......just about says it all....
this movie DELIVERS
by nprimex1 (movies profile) Aug 18, 2006
17 of 40 people found this review helpful

hot chicks
sex/nudity
non-stop action
gruesome
nothing held back
samuel l jackson

ON A MOTHERFN PLANE.

Maybe the internet hype helped me through the movie, but it was really awesome, had the audience screaming the entire way.

go watch it, it simply delivers pure entertainment

Friday, August 18, 2006

Nelson Balido and Tom Delay: Delay's Money Funds Balido's Campaign

Apparently so. According to this DailyKos post, Balido has funded his campaign with questionable money from Delay's TRMPAC--the same PAC that ended up getting Delay indicted for accepting illegal corporate contributions. It looks like Balido has the same problem Bonilla has--both of them cozied up to Delay to try to advance their political careers, and both may pay a huge political price for their close ties to DeLay. Here's an excerpt:

According to this article, Balido is one of several Texas State Representatives who received contributions from Tom Delay's TRMPAC. Of course, Delay was indicted for illegally accepting corporate funds through the TRMPAC.


According to this Express-News article, one of the largest contributors to Balido's campaign is Bob Perry, the organizer of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Balido also has accepted campaign contributions from contributor James Leininger, a wealthy Texas Republican who supports candidates who oppose abortion rights.


It is unclear whether the issue of drugs will re-emerge in the 2004 campaign. During the 2002 campaign, Balido publicly acknowledged that he pled guilty to possession of an illegal substance on the Jack Riccardi show in October 2002, on KTSA 550 radio in San Antonio.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Did Nelson Balido Receive Money From Tom Delay-Group?

Apparently, Nelson Balido, who is challenging incumbent Joaquin Castro for the 125th district seat, took money from a group affiliated with Delay's Texans for a Republican Majority in 2004.

DeLay had created Texans for a Republican Majority to help elect more Republicans to the Legislature. The ultimate goal was to get elected the first Republican speaker in more than a century and to give DeLay a second chance of getting a more Republican-friendly map for the Texas congressional delegation.

In 2001, when Democrats controlled the House, lawmakers failed to draw a new map after the 2000 census. The job was then handed to a panel of federal judges, who drew a map that resulted in a 17-15 Democratic majority in the state's congressional delegation.

For the 2002 elections, DeLay's Republican Majority group raised $1.5 million for legislative campaigns, including $600,000 in corporate donations, largely from Washington, D.C.

By August, DeLay's Washington, D.C., fund-raiser, Warren Robold, had approached Union Pacific about supporting the political committee's slate of 23 legislative candidates. The railroad agreed to donate money to 11 of them but insisted on giving the money directly to the candidates and not through the Republican committee.


Kathryn Blackwell, director of Union Pacific's corporate communications, said Union Pacific wanted the candidates to know where the money was coming from. She said Texans for Republican Majority wanted to share the credit by having one of its directors accompany Union Pacific lobbyist Ron Olson with the checks.

Apparently, DeLay's group got its money to Balido and other state GOP candidates:

Craig McDonald with Texans for Public Justice, a group that monitors campaign finances, said Craddick and DeLay both had reasons for House candidates to think they were instrumental in helping them win their elections.

"They both got what they wanted," McDonald said. "Craddick got to be speaker and Tom DeLay got a new (congressional) map."

Donations In October 2002, Texans for a Republican Majority sent the following checks to then-speaker candidate Tom Craddick to distribute to Republican legislative candidates:

Dan Flynn of Van $1,000; Betty Brown of Terrell $18,000; Byron Cook of Corsicana $10,000; Mike Hamilton of Mauriceville $10,000; Glenda Dawson of Pearland $10,000; Rick Green of Dripping Springs $10,000; Todd Baxter of Austin $1,000; Jack Stick of Austin $10,000; Holt Getterman of Waco $20,000; Rick Hardcastle of Vernon $10,000; Martha Wong of Houston $20,000; Dwayne Bohac of Houston $10,000; Gene Seaman of Corpus Christi $10,000; Larry Taylor of Friendswood $12,000.

Union Pacific's Fund for Effective Government committee donated these amounts. The railroad's Austin lobbyist distributed some of the checks, and Craddick handled the rest.

Nelson Balido of San Antonio $2,000; Byron Cook of Corsicana $2,000; Wayne Christian of Center $2,000; Rick Green of Dripping Springs $2,000; Eddie Shauberger of Liberty $2,000; Todd Baxter of Austin $2,000; Sid Miller of Stephenville $2,000; Martha Wong of Houston $4,000; Rick Hardcastle of Vernon $3,000; Carl Isett of Lubbock $2,000.


This is not good news for Balido. Anyone connected to Delay is in big trouble this November, and Balido's connection to DeLay will definitely be a liability.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Ciro Rodriguez to Run for TX-23

It's official, after days of "touring" the newly redrawn 23rd congressional district, Ciro will be running against Bonilla. Julian Castro, the former councilman and mayoral candidate, has opted not to run, although many in the district were asking him to run:

"I appreciate the interest in my candidacy," Castro said, "but I will not be a candidate in this race."

He declined further comment, except to say: "If there's a race I'm looking forward to, it's the 2009 mayor's race."

It's going to be tough for Ciro to beat Bonilla, let alone make it to a runoff, especially if a moderate Democrat like Pete Gallego enters the race. It'll be next to impossible if Ciro has to compete with other candidates from Bexar County or San Antonio, who will end up splitting Democratic support in this part of the district. Ciro doesn't have much money left and it's doubtful if donors will line up to back the two-time loser, who lost his second consecutive primary race this past March. If he loses again this time, he may set the record for most consecutive losses in such a short period of time.

I still think Castro could have beaten everyone, BTW.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Santorum's Staff Gathered Signatures for Green Party Candidate

Unbelievable. Apparently this is what Santorum hires interns to do--work for the Green party:

Six staffers on Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign - including an intern who tailed Democratic candidate Bob Casey Jr. in a duck costume - collected voter signatures to help place the Green Party on the fall ballot.

The intern, petitions show, collected signatures from voters in five counties in one day.

T.J. Rooney, the state Democratic Party chairman, and other Democrats disclosed details of the petition drive that they said offered further evidence of involvement from Santorum supporters to get Carl Romanelli, the Green Party's Senate candidate, on the ballot. Not only did Santorum aides help collect signatures for Romanelli, but Republicans and Santorum supporters put more than $60,000 into the petition drive.

It's examples such as the apparent one-person, five-county petition tour - plus unregistered voters, multiple signatures by the same person, and fake names - that could form the basis of a challenge, Rooney said. John Michael Glick - the Santorum intern who has worn a duck costume to hound Casey for "ducking" issues - appeared to have collected signatures in Beaver, Washington, Fayette, Juniata, and Schuylkill Counties, Rooney said.

"It's un-ducking-believable," he said. "Instead of his duck attire, one has to ask if he wore a Superman costume that day."

**
A duck costume? Oh my...how desperate is Santorum getting these days?

Update: Texas Kaos Post on Julian Castro, Bonilla and CD-23

Texas Kaos has a journal up today about the CD-23 race--read it below:

Rahm Emanuel, DCCC Should Back Julian Castro in TX-23
by: jryan86
Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 09:49:16 AM MDT
(Cross-posted at DailyKos.)

The DCCC should back former city councilman and San Antonio mayoral candidate Julian Castro because frankly, Julian is the only Democrat in the district capable of beating Henry Bonilla. A rising star in the Democratic party in Texas, Julian has the credentials, the charisma, the experience and the grassroots operation to win in November in TX-23. His personal story is also very compelling--he was raised by a single mother with limited finances in San Antonio, and went on from these humble beginnings to attend Stanford University and then Harvard Law School. After working for less than a year at a major law firm, he chose to take a huge pay cut and serve his constituents, getting elected to the San Antonio City Council in 2001 and re-elected in 2003. He narrowly lost his race for Mayor in 2005, winning almost 49 percent of the vote in a strong grassroots campaign with a massive GOTV and field operation.

If there ever was a golden opportunity to pick-up another seat in this year's House races, TX-23 is it. Bonilla's in the pocket of the oil and gas industry, and more significantly, Bonilla has very close ties to Tom DeLay.

jryan86 :: Rahm Emanuel, DCCC Should Back Julian Castro in TX-23
First, as the 2004 DeLay-Abramoff scandal started unfolding, Henry Bonilla actually introduced a House rule that would allow DeLay on to stay on in the House EVEN if he was INDICTED. Bonilla also voted for weakening House ethics rules when DeLay proposed such changes as majority leader.

In addition, even after learning about DeLay's scandals, Bonilla continued to be one of his staunchest defenders. Read this statement from Bonilla, from AEI's own website:

Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas): "I am so happy to introduce one of the greatest leaders that this nation has ever seen, the most--one of the most honorable Americans that I've ever had the privilege of knowing and serving with, a good man, a compassionate man, a person who truly cares about his colleagues, his family, and the future of this country. I give you our wonderful Majority Leader, Tom DeLay."

On top of all of this, Bonilla accepted more than 22,000 from Delay's ARMPAC, and voted with DeLay 93% of the time, according to the DCCC's own website on Bonilla. If Dems keep hammering on the the Delay-Bonilla connection through media buys, Bonilla is very beatable.

But it's also going to require a huge grassroots, GOTV operation on the ground in San Antonio and Bexar County, which is now the real heart of CD-23 (57% of the electorate). Take a look at yesterday's article by San Antonio Express-News political reporter Jaime Castillo, who provides a solid assessment of the race, and argues that Dems should unify behind one candidate:

That's why it will be absolutely critical for local Democrats to show rare discipline by uniting behind one candidate in a race that amounts to a two-month free-for-all once the ballot is certified Sept. 6. If two or three Democrats get into the Nov. 7 race, they will lose. Pure and simple.Most Democratic insiders think the ideal candidate would be a young Hispanic with strong name identification who has the potential to dominate the South Side and pull just enough votes from Bonilla in his more Republican-leaning Northwest Bexar base.

Democrats believe the "right" candidate can attract the kind of national support from unions and other party sources that will be necessary to give Bonilla a run for his money.

The only candidate that matches Castillo's description here is Julian Castro. Frankly, Julian Castro is the only candidate capable of fielding a strong GOTV--consider that he won almost 49% of the vote in last year's mayoral race after being outspent almost 2 1/2 to 1 (Phil Hardberger had more than a million); still, Castro was able to raise an impressive $700,000 with spending caps in place. And Castillo knows it too--suggesting that Castro is the leading and strongest candidate, far stronger than Ciro Rodriguez:

"Rodriguez, now a two-time loser to U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, is widely considered to be an honest man who was a loyal foot soldier for Democrats. But he's begun to take on the look of a fading horse, and it's doubtful that his candidacy would excite national donors.

That leaves the Democrats' stable of area politicos, all of whom would be taking a calculated risk by getting into the race. Former City Councilman Julián Castro is strongly considering a bid, but it would mean giving up his pursuit of the mayor's office in 2009.

Again, as Castillo points out, the "right" candidate here for the Dems is someone from Bexar County--and he's completely right: A Dem outside of Bexar County CANNOT beat Bonilla, period. Bonilla knows this--he realizes that he's very weak and vulnerable in Bexar County in the South Side of San Antonio in CD-23, and is desperately trying to re-connect with an area he hasn't campaigned in a long time, as Castillo notes:

Bonilla isn't taking the challenge lying down. He is already out telling his own South Side story, reminding people where he grew up and where his mother still lives.

But most Democrats think his support in the southern sector of the county will be soft. Party loyalists think they merely need to remind South Siders that Bonilla has steadfastly stood by polarizing former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the architect of the controversial Texas redistricting who is now in the midst of a serious ethics scandal.

And given that the district is now 61% Latino, the DCCC should back Julian Castro because he has a proven track record of mobilizing Latino support and getting them out to vote. This article demonstrates Castro's ability to mobilize an effective grassroots campaign and GOTV--Castro was able to win almost 70 percent of the Latino vote in the last mayoral campaign, despite being outspent by his millionaire opponent by more than 2 1/2 to one.

Frankly, the Hardberger campaign was surprised at how strong Castro's GOTV was, with Castro beating Hardberger by almost 5,000 votes on election day (though he lost by a larger margin in the early vote). After that campaign, I remember thinking that if Castro had been given financial support from the party or some outside source, he would have been unstoppable (but of course, it was a nonpartisan race).

Fortunately, only one year later, the Democratic party now has a golden opportunity to invest in a candidate with the best name recognition and the best grassroots, GOTV field operation in San Antonio and Bexar County. And with the strong financial backing of the DCCC, Julian Castro will be able to defeat Bonilla in San Antonio by a considerable margin, and hold his own elsewhere in Bexar County.

So if Rahm and the DCCC want to ensure that Dems take back the House this fall, why not invest in the strongest Bexar County Democratic candidate in the newly redrawn, highly competitive, TX-23? If things start getting close, TX-23 may become a must-win seat. Winning yet another competitive race, especially in Texas, would solidify Democrats' chances of taking back the House.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Reuters drops Lebanese photographer over fraud

In the latest news from Lebanon and Israel, Reuters announced it will be dropping a Lebanese photographer for doctoring the image of the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike on Beirut.

The photograph by Adnan Hajj, which was published on news websites on Saturday, showed thick black smoke rising above buildings in the Lebanese capital after an Israeli air raid in the war with the Shiite Islamic group Hezbollah, now in its fourth week.

ABC News Online did publish the manipulated picture but has since replaced it with the unaltered image.

Reuters withdrew the doctored image on Sunday and replaced it with the unaltered photograph after several news blogs said it had been manipulated using Photoshop software to show more smoke.

For a graphical illustration about how the Lebanese photographer doctored the photos, click here. Man, pretty soon it's going to get hard to tell real from fake (if it isn't already)




Henry Bonilla's Defense of Tom-Delay

The Congressman Julian site has a great post covering the close relationship between Henry Bonilla and DeLay. Bonilla has been one of the staunchest defenders of DeLay since the DeLay-Abramoff scandal started unfolding in 2004. Here's more from that site:

CD-23 in Texas should be a slam-dunk for Julian Castro in November. The key to victory is really simple–Bonilla was one of Tom Delay’s best buddies. Need more evidence? Check out this statement made by Henry, posted at AEI:

Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas): “I am so happy to introduce one of the greatest leaders that this nation has ever seen, the most–one of the most honorable Americans that I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing and serving with, a good man, a compassionate man, a person who truly cares about his colleagues, his family, and the future of this country. I give you our wonderful Majority Leader, Tom DeLay.

The post also talks about how Bonilla helped change the House rules to allow DeLay to stay on longer, even if he was indicted later on:

Go back to 2004, when the DeLay-Abramoff scandal was just unfolding. In an unbelievable move, the Republicans changed the rules to allow DeLay to hold on to power longer, even if he was indicted:

House Republicans showed their appreciation of the majority leader by approving a rule change that could enable DeLay to retain his leadership post if he is indicted by a Texas grand jury on state political corruption charges.

And good ol’ Henry Bonilla was there to defend his buddy DeLay yet again:

Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-Texas, said that under the change embraced Wednesday, the House Republican Steering Committee would have 30 legislative days to review a felony indictment and recommend to all House Republicans whether a lawmaker who is charged could remain as a committee chairman or leader…

Bonilla said there was no vote count taken in the closed meeting but said the proposal passed overwhelmingly.

“This takes the power away from any partisan crackpot district attorney who may want to indict” party leaders and make a name for himself, Bonilla said.

"Partisan crackpot district attorney?" Sounds like code for basically taking away and legal accountability or punishment for corrupt congressman.

In any case, with this strong a tie to DeLay, Bonilla's in a lot of trouble, and is going to have a rou go of it given that the district actually got back some Latino voters, who Bonilla doesn't seem to connect with.

Whither Rahm and the DCCC in CD-23, Texas?

There's a great post up on Daily Kos about the need for Rahm Emanuel to step in early and back a strong, Bexar county Democrat in TX-23. Here's an excerpt:

Has the DCCC fallen asleep at the wheel in the race for the 23rd Congressional District in Texas? Presently, the DCCC is considering making a substantial investment in about 30 of the most competitive House races nationwide. I've got news for them--CD 23 in Texas figures to be a highly competitive, if not one of the MOST competitive House races in the Southwest.

The main thing that the DCCC needs to understand is that only a Bexar County (San Antonio) Democrat can win this race. Just look at the numbers in the newly redrawn district--57 percent of the Voting Age Population of the CD-23 is in Bexar County. Check out this analysis:

Under the new map, Mr. Bonilla's district includes the heavily Hispanic and Democratic neighborhoods of southern Bexar County. It also will be more evenly divided between Democratic and Republican voters.

This means that the overwhelming percentage of Democratic votes will come from Bexar County, and not the more sparsely-populated, western portion of the district.

So that basically leaves Ciro and Julian. And if I'm Rahm Emanuel, I would not back a candidate fresh off 2 consecutive losses in congressional campaigns. This is looking more and more like a Castro-Bonilla race in November.


Floyd Landis to Lose Tour de France Title; Pereiro to be Declared Victor?

http://www.caixagalicia.es/Nuevo_netclub/wvio004m_not1104490260.jpgLandis could face a two-year ban. (Getty)
It's official--Landis officially tested positive in his "B" test or backup test for testosterone-epitestosterone ratio, and it looks like he's going to be stripped of his Tour de France title and banned from cycling:

"Landis was discredited and disowned in short order Saturday when elevated levels of testosterone showed up in his "B" or second doping sample -- as it did in the initial "A" sample released last week.

The samples also contained synthetic testosterone, indicating that it came from an outside source."


What makes this story so sad is that Landis and his lawyer tried to lie to the media and the Tour de France earlier by making up a phony story about his own body having naturally high levels of testosterone:

And the 30-year-old cyclist said Friday that he would undergo additional testing to prove that "the levels that I've had during the Tour and all my career are natural and produced by my own organism."

Inexplicably, Landis continues to stick with his story--man, just confess and come clean and end this saga. Here's more:

If stripped of the title, Landis would become the first winner in the 103-year history of cycling's premier race to lose his Tour crown over doping allegations.

Landis again denied cheating.

"I have never taken any banned substance, including testosterone," he said in a statement. "I was the strongest man at the Tour de France, and that is why I am the champion.


Unfortunately for Landis, the Tour is no longer buying the story:

But the Tour itself wasted no time in distancing itself from the American.

"It goes without saying that for us Floyd Landis is no longer the winner of the 2006 Tour de France," race director Christian Prudhomme told The Associated Press.


Prudhomme said runner-up Oscar Pereiro likely would be declared the new winner.

"We can't imagine a different outcome," he said.

And now Pereiro is preparing to be declared victor:

Reached in his hometown of Vigo, Spain, Pereiro saw it shaping up that way, too.

"Now I consider myself the winner," he said, while acknowledging that the final decision was up to the UCI and subject to a legal challenge by Landis.

Pereiro said he regretted not being able to celebrate properly -- in Paris, wearing the winner's yellow jersey.

"I would have liked to have lived that day, it would have been the best day of my life, as a sportsman," he said.


Federer-Hewitt Rally

Greatest rally ever in tennis? From the Indian Wells tourney...

Raymond to Challenge Cuellar?

I read about this rumor on the DailyKos, but have yet to hear whether Richard Raymond will challenge Cuellar. Remember, even though Cuellar won the Democratic primary, the court's redistricting ruling basically re-starts everything, so it could be a free-for-all..

Anyone have more info on this one?

Draft Julian Castro Websites

I just heard that a group of college students in San Antonio are organizing a "Draft Julian" campaign and website. It's good to see some excitement in a congressional race in CD-23 after so long--if anything, the Court's decision has made things more competitive and exciting.

There's also a new blog up called Congressman Julian that's up and running, which appears to be the work of some bloggers in South Texas, but not sure.

I'll update when I learn more about the first site.