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June 16th, 2006:

My good deed of the day

I just finished setting up my mother-in-law with her DSL connection. She’s already marvelling at how much it beats the pants off of dialup. In the vernacular, this makes me a Good Boy. I’m taking the rest of the day off.

(And before anyone asks: Windows Update – set for Automatic; McAfee Virus Scan – up to date and set up for automatic update checking; Microsoft Defender – installed and configured. Did I miss anything?)

Lampson lambastes Congressional pay raise

Nick Lampson writes a letter to Fort Bend Now.

Congress should be ashamed of giving itself a raise at a time when our nation faces the largest debt and deficits in its history.

Our country is facing a real mess with skyrocketing deficits, wasteful spending, an over-committed military and unsecured border. But instead of working to fix the mess it has created, Congress is busy patting itself on the back with a pay raise. This is just plain wrong.

Members of Congress voted Tuesday to give themselves a $3,300-per-year pay raise despite the federal government’s record debt and deficits. With a debt of more than $9 trillion (more than $30,000 for every man, woman, and child in America) and a deficit of around $350 billion, there is a lot of talk in Washington about cutting waste. But talk is cheap. A $3,300 pay raise for 435 members of Congress is waste.

While members of Congress apparently believe they are doing a great job, they think much less of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2003, they voted against a $1,500 bonus for our troops in combat even as they went ahead with their own pay raise.

Every year, members of Congress continue to give themselves raises even as they short-change our troops, education, and health care and even as they run up the highest deficits and debt in history. It must stop.

While in Congress, I routinely voted for efforts to remove Congressional pay raises from the budget.

Texas has some 70,000 National Guard and Reserve troops. Many of them have taken huge pay cuts to go abroad and serve their country. It is unbelievable that members of Congress, who already make a nice salary, refuse to make a small sacrifice for their country. It shows a lack of commitment to getting this country back on track.

Well said. Link via Bay Area Houston.

The Astrodome Amusement Park

Hey, we may have found a use for the Astrodome:

The world’s largest indoor amusement park is coming to the Astrodome next week. With Astroworld gone the Astrodome is picking up the slack for summer fun.

[…]

Jerry Murphy says he expects to get 28 to 35 rides inside the dome. Work begins tomorrow and will be complete just before opening day. This is not Murphy’s the first indoor amusement park.

“We’ve done it in the Superdome in New Orleans for about 20-years and it’s been very successful. People have been able to come in out of the hot weather when it’s 90-100 degrees out, come and it’s cool and nice and they can ride all day long, and another thing we can give them a cheap ticket, you know, like 20-dollars for the whole day.”

Hey, sounds pretty good to me. Alas, it’s only temporary – from June 22 to July 4. If you’ve got any nostalgia at all for the Dome and/or Astroworld, I’d say you ought to consider checking it out. Link via Houstonist.

Lawsuit against Metro coming?

I’ve wondered before if the anti-rail-on-Richmond forces were going to put their money where their mouths are and file suit to force Metro to adhere to what they claim was clear ballot language that indicated the line would be built on Westpark. Now I see that KTRH is reporting such a suit may be in the works.

This week, attorney Andy Taylor asked Metro for copies of a study which may prove the transit authority initially intended to build the line down Westpark, then changed plans. A coalition that opposes Richmond rail believes that a 2003 referendum approved by voters calls for the line to be built on Westpark.

Andy Taylor! The man does get around. I’m not sure how the existence of such a study (if there was one) might affect whether or not the eventual ballot language stated or implied something that is not now being executed, but hey, that’s not my job. I can’t wait to see what clever theories Taylor comes up with this time. Thanks to blogHouston for the link.

Thank you, TDP

(Note: The following letter was signed by all members of the Texas Progressive Alliance and sent to the TDP office yesterday. We’re also posting it publicly to ensure that the good work done by Amber and Hector is properly lauded.)

Amber Moon, Communications Director
Hector Nieto, Deputy Communications Director
Texas Democratic Party
707 Rio Grande Street
Austin, Texas 78701

Dear Amber and Hector:

Over the past few months, you have done tremendous work to bring the Texas Democratic Party and the surging Texas netroots community together.

Specifically, we want to commend you for the accommodations you provided at the recently completed Texas Democratic Party Convention in Fort Worth. From the front row seating to free wi-fi access, you gave us tremendous access to an excellent convention. Most importantly, you treated us with the same respect you gave the traditional media.

The Texas blogging community may be an unconventional bunch. We don’t write for major dailies, and we can’t guarantee thousand dollar checks. We do, however, work tirelessly — as volunteers, as activists, as organizers, and as bloggers — to fight for the candidates and the people of our Texas Democratic Party.

Thanks, again, for all the work you did helping make the 2006 TDP convention a success, and we are eager to continue working together to help move Texas forward.

Sincerely,

The Texas Progressive Democratic Webloggers

Click the More link to see a list of signers. Or click here to read the letter in Spanish.

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Turn on ActBlue in Texas

As many of you know, ActBlue is the federal clearinghouse for donations to Democratic candidates, having channeled over $5.5 million to Dem contenders so far. But did you know, that with your help, you can activate it for Texas… for statewide, state house, and state senate candidates?

Together, Texas bloggers have agreed to help activate ActBlue for our state’s non-federal candidates by asking our readers to put us over the top. Normally, ActBlue asks each state to raise $10,000 before moving forward (Texas being at $4,500 so far). But we’ve got some good news for you from the people at ActBlue.

However, in doing some more preliminary research Texas turns out to be similar to some other states we’ve already done — so if we could break $5000 we’d be ready to move ahead with it. Would the texroots be able to help us out with the remaining $1000 by the end of the month?

As far as timeline, my aim would be to have everything ready to go as early in July as we can.

So we ask: Will you, the TexRoots get us over the $5,000 mark and activate ActBlue for all our state non-federal candidates? Do it here – donate today!

This is the most important thing you can do for the Hank Gilberts, Kristi Thibauts, and Goodwille Pierres of Texas as we move forward in unity to support our TexRoots candidates to be announced in the coming months by the Texas blogosphere.

(You’ll see posts like this elsewhere on the Texas progressive today. We’re all in this together. Please help if you can. Thanks very much.)