Saturday, July 31, 2004


It's been a real thrill watching the Democratic National Convention this week (especially with 50-60 fellow Dems here in LBK!) and feeling the high of the energy from all the great speakers the party has to offer - Clinton, Obama, Sharpton, Clark, Edwards, and finally even Kerry to name some of my own personal favorites. (Who were your favorite speakers at the convention?) But beyond the pure energy of watching other Democrats get excited about being Democrats, I am thrilled to see that now the Democratic Party is seriously fighting the battle over language. With the way the conservate propaganda machine has been operating for the past decade, we need to balance the language of political debate in our nation. From erudite-conservative-windbag William Safire on down through average-bully-conservative-windbags O'Reilly and Hannity to screaming-thug-conservative-windbag Rush Limbaugh, the RNC talking-points armada has successfully demonized words (like liberal), people (Clinton, anyone?), policies (reckless tax-and-spend!), and entire regions of the U.S. (e.g. the coasts) through careful choice of words and phrases to be repeated ad nauseum. Now it's clear that our wonderfully united Democratic Party has some positive, irrefutable language of it's own: WE CAN DO BETTER ... HOPE IS ON THE WAY ... ONE AMERICA ... A STRONGER AMERICA ...

I love it!

I plan to do my part in the language war by enforcing the positive meanings of applicable words and phrases that the RNC hasn't destroyed yet. Progressive. Populist. Civil liberties. Equality under the law. A clean environment. Social responsibility. (Which phrases am I forgetting?) Careful language usage is an everyday way to change the tone and blow away the RNC smokescreen from political discourse.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Boston Commons Sunday Demonstrations

Sunday morning heading toward Boston Commons on the T (subway) to see if I can interview some of the demonstrators.  There has been a lot of press here about security and containment of demonstrations.  The only free speech area near the Fleet Center looks like a batting cage with razor wire.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Live from Boston

We, Mary Hatfield and Sue Weninger, are in Boston today, Saturday, July 24, 2004 to attend the Democratic National Convention.  We'll be updating this blog several times a day so stay tuned. 

Friday, July 23, 2004

John Miller fundraiser and Kerry meetup Lubbock

Thursday p.m. was busy in Lubbock.  John Miller, running for state representative from District 83, was the guest of honor at a campaign fundraiser.  Lala's on Broadway was the scene for about 40 people to gather.  John's stump speech has been sharpened to a fine point: education education and education.  After Lala's it was time for the Kerry in 2004 meetup at Aromas.  Five NEW people there!  We had a good discussion about where to spend local money: buy Kerry yardsigns or contribute to local candidates?  Both sides won at the meetup.  What do you think?  Post in comments. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Outfoxed in Lubbock

Sunday, July 18, 6:00 p.m. 25 intrepid individuals gathered in Lubbock to watch Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism.  We also participated in the live online interactive conference with the film's creator Robert Greenwald and Air America Radio host Al Franken.   During the conference a map of the US was displayed on the computer monitor showing all the sites across the country participating.  We made Lubbock shine!  Also a brilliant circle spotlighted Midland and several in El Paso.  Bottom line: we want to sign on to the petition being filed with the Federal Trade Commission complaining about Fox's fraudulent use of the advertising slogan "Fair and Balanced".  We have a responsibility as citizens to keep our media honest.  When you see something in the media worthy of praise or complaint, let them know.  Let' s write letters and make all media interactive.   Report back here if you get any response. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Texas teachers' pay ranks 30th in nation

By April Castro
The Associated Press

AUSTIN - Teacher salaries in Texas rank significantly lower than the national average and 30th in the country, according to a study by the American Federation of Teachers.

The average pay in Texas was $39,972 in the 2002-03 school year, compared with the national average of $45,771. Texas' ranking did not change from the previous year, despite a 1.9 percent increase in average salaries.

Teachers' groups have pleaded for higher salaries and better health insurance benefits this year as Texas lawmakers grapple with overhauling the school funding system.

Texas teachers would rank even lower if health insurance benefits were considered, said John Cole, vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and president of the Texas Federation of Teachers. Last year, the Legislature cut a $1,000 health care stipend to $500. At the same time, health insurance premiums continued to rise, he said.

Texas employs about 276,000 teachers for 4.3 million students in 1,037 K-12 school districts.

Texas teachers fared slightly better than those in neighboring states: Arkansas ranked 44th; Louisiana, 45th; New Mexico, 46th; and Oklahoma, 50th. The District of Columbia was included in the count; South Dakota ranked last at 51st.

First-year teachers in Texas are in slightly better shape, with average beginning salaries ranking 17th nationally at $31,874.

The American Federation of Teachers, a 1.3 million-member union, gets its financial data from state education departments. The numbers do not take into account other factors, such as cost of living or inflation. The study did not consider teachers' experience, other than first-year teachers.

ONLINE: American Federation of Teachers,

Monday, July 12, 2004

What do Republicans want?

By Ed 

I am passing along some information that would stir up a lot of potential voters if they had these facts regarding the Texas Republican platform. If you would like for me to fax you the entire platform I would be happy to do so. Items of interest in the platform:
• The minimum wage law should be repealed and wages be determined by the free market (page 18).
• Abolish Internal Revenue Service and eliminate personal income tax, inheritance tax, gift tax, capital gains tax, corporate income tax, and payroll tax. These taxes would be replaced with a national retail sales tax (page 19).
• Evict United Nations from the United States and eliminate any further participation.
• Abolish the following national offices: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; Surgeon General; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Energy; Housing and Urban Development; Health and Human Services; Education; Commerce; Labor; National Endowment for the Arts and the Public Broadcasting System.
• Repeal government sponsored programs of early childhood development ages 0-5 including pre-school and kindergarten (page 16).
• Reject the establishment of any mechanism to process, license, record, register or monitor ownership of guns (page 7).
• Oppose the Endangered Species Act (page 4).
• Repeal Robin Hood (page 15).
• Repeal Hate Crime Law (page 8).

Note: post a comment if you want the full platform and I'll put you in touch with Ed. Sue. W.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I remember what we are trying to do....

I copied this from an article by William Rivers Pitt on truthout. Go to for the full text. "In an election like this, with the leadership we have [W and his cabal], the more an absolute moral code becomes involved, the easier pickings you are for the ruthless. This election is not about morals, about principles, but simply about who rules. This is how our leaders and their corporate masters think of it, and so we must. There is so much to worry about beyond control. When confronted by problems that cannot be immediately fixed, the only solution is to focus upon the problems which can be fixed. How about this for a solution: Win first. Then be good." This clears my mind and helps me work for D candidates that don't exactly suit me to a T, but they are a whole lot closer than any Rs. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Texas Ranks Dead Last in High School Graduates

This is taken from today's Texas House Democratic Caucus Monday Memo:
In a study released last week, we were told that Texas has the lowest percentage of high school graduates in the nation for the second straight year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 77 percent of Texans age 25 and older had a high school degree in 2003, the same percentage as 10 years ago when Texas ranked 39th nationally. Meanwhile, graduation rates have improved in other states so that now a record 85 percent of Americans have high school diplomas...State demographer Steve Murdock told the Houston Chronicle that Texas' ranking could harm the state's economy as less-educated people enter the work force. "The downside is Texas could be less competitive," he said. "It could be poorer because we know educational attainment is the best predictor of income." In 2002, the average salary for those with only high school diplomas was $27,280, while the average for dropouts was $18,826...If the state continues to rank dead last in the number of students who graduate...then no companies will want to set up shop in Texas. This is why any school finance proposal should look first at providing our schools with the funding necessary for all our children to obtain academic execllence ...
MY THOUGHTS: How can we continue to elect state representatives that sit idly by while our state continues to slip further and further behind? This is not a statistic that makes me proud to be a Texan.