Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Where is the "care" in health care?

What is happening to the healthiest country in the world? I just finished reading an article in which Dr. Barbara Starfield of John Hopkins states, "The fact is that the U.S. population does not have anywhere near the best health in the world". "Of 13 countries in a recent comparison, the United States ranks an average of 12th (second from the bottom) for 16 available health indicators."

She said the U.S. came in 13th, dead last, in terms of low birth weight percentages; 13th for neonatal mortality and infant mortality over all; 13th for years of potential life lost (excluding external causes); 11th for life expectancy at the age of 1 for females and 12th for males; and 10th for life expectancy at the age of 15 for females and 12th for males.

I also listened to Texas Comptroller Carol Keeton Rylander on PBS this Sunday tell us that Texas ranks dead last in number of insured adults and deal last in number of insured children.

Why is there no uproar from our communities?

In a country and state that has healthcare technology that is astounding, how can we sit idly by while infant mortality rises and vaccination rates decrease?

We should ask every elected official, every time we see him, what is being done to stop this terrible trend.

Monday, June 28, 2004

A-J Editorial and animal "by products"

I heard Elaine King Miller speak at Friday's TDW South Plains meeting in Lubbock. She's the Democratic candidate for state senate from SD 31. She talked about animal waste in the Panhandle, in her case pig waste poured into vast lagoons separated from the aquifer by a sheet of plastic as thick as a good garbage bag. So when I saw the A-J this morning hailing welcome to dairy farms in Hale County, I began to wonder what they do with the cow waste. King Miller made clear that she's all for the economic development these operations bring to West Texas, but asks what effect 13 times Amarillo's annual human waste just poured out onto the ground might have on our water supply, asks can't something else be done with this by product of hog operations. Please, will a knowledgeable person out there let us know what we can do with these animal by products to protect the water supply. Thanks.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Caravans - the talk of West Texas

I just telephoned Pam Brink, the originator of the West Texas Caravan in 2002. Looks like caravaning is becoming a big idea. Charlie Stenholm did one last Saturday and John Miller (Dist. 83 candidate) is planning one. Would anyone be interested in a workshop on the subject? How to launch a caravan in 1 easy lesson. If so, let me hear from you and we'll get it organized. Pam has a lot of rich experience to share with all who contemplate such an adventure.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Convention Caucus a Success

The convention is over and now we debrief. The Coalition caucus was a tremendous success with about 35 people in attendance. It was wonderful to add members from Amarillo and El Paso. Below are minutes taken by Cass Callaway acting secretary. I'd like to see some comments on the caucus. Talk to me. Sue. W.

West Texas Coalition of Democrats Caucus Meeting Minutes
2004 Texas Democratic Convention – Houston, Texas
Friday, June 18, 2004 – 11:00 AM

The meeting came to order shortly after 11:00 AM, in Room 318 of the Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.

Sue Weninger, Treasurer of WTCD, presided over the meeting and Cass Callaway assisting.

Officers Pam Brink, Linda McGonagil, and Linda Shoemaker were absent.

Weninger began with several introductions and a personal greeting.

The previous meeting minutes were read and recorded, with Kathy Hall making the motion for approval of the minutes, Irma Guerrero seconding.

The motion to approve the previous meeting minutes passed.

Weninger then began to read President Pam Brink’s message. Weninger paused for a question and discussion on how WTCD could assist a group of El Pasoans in their effort to aid New Mexico in November. Several attendees supported the idea of helping win NM’s electoral votes, instead of a Texas presidential election battle. Other attendees argued resources and labor should remain in West Texas, and not to go to NM in order to build Democrat chances in 2006 and beyond. Weninger wrapped up the discussion by pledging WTCD support for both strategies, including mail lists, names of important point people, and other WTCD institutional support.

The meeting then heard candidate Roland Graves speak about his run for the Texas House of Representatives.

Returning to the President’s Message, Weninger fielded questions from the crowd about blogging. Weninger solicited blog editors, with Kathy Hall, Johnnie Jones and Vickie Smith accepting to write the blog for one day each week.

The meeting then heard from Jeff Benson, campaign manager for Congressman Charlie Stenholm.

Weninger then returned to the President’s message, urging the attendees to support Betty Richie for DNC.

Weninger then reported on the 2002 West Texas Caravan.

During Weninger’s report, Linda DeLeon requested that she and a paper doll be photographed, the paper doll, representing a young woman who was unable to make it to the Convention. DeLeon was traveling with the doll and sending the pictures home to the unfortunate young woman who couldn’t make it to Houston.

Then, Weninger presented John Jones, candidate for SD 31 Committeeman for a few words, then Roberta Hicks, candidate for SD31 Commiteewoman, then Ron Michulka for SD28 Commiteeman. John Jones also presented his opponent who was absent, George Dowlen for SD31 Committeeman.

Weninger then held officer elections, with Mary Hatfield as nominations chair.

Pam Brink was elected President.

Linda McGonagil was elected Vice President.

Martha Hulsey was elected Secretary.

Sue Weninger was elected Treasurer.

All officers were unopposed.

After elections, Weninger offered the floor for announcements. Mary Nell, a former candidate for Congress in West Texas, encouraged everyone to seek office, to demand a Democrat voice in every election. Nell described how much she enjoyed her Congressional run, with the help of Pam Brink, and how she didn’t regret running, even after a tough loss.

Sue Weninger commented that another purpose of the WTCD will be to identify candidates for office from West Texas. She said that we would work hard to find a gubernatorial candidate, and that “we don’t know who she is yet, but we’ll find her.”

After Nell, Cass Callaway spoke, to acknowledge the changing of the tides in West Texas, and to encourage everyone to make their presence known. Democrat visibility, he recommended, is effective, citing a recent Senate runoff election where visibility boosted turnout in rural counties.

Then Weninger accepted a motion to adjourn, and closed the meeting.

Meeting minutes recorded by Cass Callaway. For questions or
clarifications, please email c_callaway@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Stenholm for Congress meetup Monday June 28

The Charlie Stenholm for Congress June meetup in Lubbock will happen Monday the 28th. Come to the Lubbock Inn, Red Raider Room, at 7p.m. See you there. Sue.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

TDW South Plains June 2004 Meeting Notice

Texas Democratic Women – South Plains

June 25, 2004, 11:30 a.m. to eat, 12:00 noon to meet
Furrs Family Dining, 6001 Slide Road, Lubbock

June Program: Pat Smith on E-voting -- Many of you wanted to hear more about black box voting from Pat after her 5-minute presentation in April. She’s back and she has thirty minutes this time. We can really dig into this critical and controversial subject. We’ll also hear about the state convention from our many delegates just back from Houston.

July meeting and program rescheduled. Because a couple of our members may be delegates to the Democratic National Convention in late July, the executive committee moved the July meeting from the last Friday (30th) to July 23. This change is for one month only (return to last Friday in August). We’ll preview the national convention.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Houston bound...

I'm leaving tomorrow morning for my first state party convention. I'll be very excited to greet you all at the West Texas Coalition of Democrats caucus on Friday, 11 a.m., room 318CD. We're going to roll out this blog and open it up to those of you out there who have something to say to everyone in West Texas, well everyone with a computer and this url. Will you please publicize this blog amongst your friends??? In the meantime, I've been doing some work with the Charlie Stenholm campaign (helping organize the meetup in Lubbock). In closing I'll just post this paragraph from the www.stenholm.org website -- need another reason to campaign your hearts out for him?

“I’ve got more fire in the belly for this one than I ever have before,” explained the Congressman. “It’s a crying shame that the partisan politicians in Washington and Austin tried to take representation away from West Texas. But we’re going to win this campaign and keep our influence and seniority in Congress to provide the best representation for the South Plains and the Big Country.”

Go! Charlie!!