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January 1st, 2005:

Soechting comments

Texas Democratic Party Chair Charles Soechting left the following comment in my post on his statement about Talmadge Heflin. I still disagree with him on this, but as that post is a couple of days old, I wanted to make sure folks got to see what he had to say:

Charles, I have been out of town for a few days but saw your post when I got back. First, as I read history and how it affected America in the 50’s, guys like McCarthy got a free pass because people didn’t call their hand when they made false, baseless accusations. In the meantime in addition to the hundreds of lives that were destroyed by this kind of Tom DeLay sponsored hate, our country suffered until courageous men and women stood up and fought back. I had the honor of meeting and coming to know John Henry Faulk extremely well in the late 60’s and into the 70’s. He was one who stood strong and fought back. I know that were he alive today he would be telling me ” You get ’em Charlie and you keep telling the world what a bunch of crooks they are.” Charles, Andy Taylor’s actions do remind me of Joe McCarthy and all of the evil that went with him. Rather than tone my views down, I will do a better job making sure that everyone knows where the Texas Democratic Party and it’s Chair stand on the important issues affecting this state and country.

Like I say, I still disagree with his choice here, but I appreciate his feedback. I also want to stress that I think he’s hit on all the right rhetorical points in his original statement, just with language that I myself would not have used.

Happy New Tax Break!

I think this is the first article I’ve read about babies born at this time of year that talks about the tax advantages of December babies.

In the final days of 2004, Houston delivery rooms were filled with parents fawning over their new bundles of joy and counting the small bundles of cash they won’t have to send to Uncle Sam in April.

By delivering before today, these parents qualify for a $1,000 federal income tax credit, and $3,100 of their earnings are exempt from taxes.

Most of the pre-Jan. 1 births resulted from good timing, doctors say. But some parents weren’t bashful about asking for a little extra help in beating the deadline.

“There is some pressure exerted to try to have the baby before the end of the year … to get the tax break,” said Dr. Geoffrey Schnider.

Schnider said he’s usually willing to accommodate, as long as it’s safe.

“So-called ‘social’ inductions are done if the cervix is, quote, ‘ripe,’ but we never do it if there is any potential danger to the baby or mom,” he said.

As a result, hospital maternity wards tend to get busier in the final days of the year, Schnider said.

“There is a flurry in the elective Caesarean sections,” he said. “I think I have two patients left for this month, one who’s on her way in right now.”

There’s no mention of the “First Baby” for 2005 anywhere. Maybe no one was willing to hold off until after midnight this time around.

Perry aide fibbed about meetings

New Year, same old stories.

Months before a construction company won a multibillion-dollar road deal in Texas, a man who had worked for the company before becoming a top aide to Gov. Rick Perry met at least five times with state transportation officials on behalf of the Spanish company, state records show.

Dan Shelley, who is now the governor’s legislative director, declined to comment on the meetings.

The meetings were documented in visitor sign-in sheets at the Transportation Department’s Austin headquarters.

State Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson, a Perry appointee, previously said that he recalled only one meeting with Shelley on behalf of Cintra. He said the other meetings were with department staffers.

He distinguished between meetings that Shelley had with department staff who recommended Cintra and the final decision-makers on the Texas Transportation Commission..

A spokesman for Perry said Shelley’s activities did not constitute lobbying, and he reiterated that Shelley and the rest of the governor’s staff had no role in the awarding of the $7.2 billion contract.

And on we go into 2005.

One, two, three, what are we blogging for?

Happy New Year everyone! Among other things, today marks my third anniversary as a blogger. I’ve seen better political years than 2004, but it was pretty darned good to me personally, and I wish that same kind of success and happiness to everyone out there.