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Former House Speaker Jim Wright, who represented Fort Worth in Congress for 34 years before resigning during a storm of ethics allegations, has died. He was 92.
Wright was a man of perplexing and sharp contrasts. He was a street fighter/peacemaker, local politician/international leader and a consummate Democrat who offered his hand for bipartisanship.
...with his dramatic gesture, becoming the first House speaker in history to resign, Wright hoped to inspire an end to a time when “vilification becomes an accepted form of political debate, when negative campaigning becomes a full-time occupation, when members of both parties become self-appointed vigilantes carrying out personal vendettas against members of the other party,” he said in his resignation speech.

“All of us in both political parties must resolve to bring this period of mindless cannibalism to an end,” he said. “There has been enough of it.”

Members of both parties rose in a thunderous ovation.

Then nothing changed.

His issues in '46 look an awful lot like the issues of today - so we can say not much has changed in that regard, either.

Mr. Wright’s springboard into politics was the Young Democrats, which he helped organize to advocate a minimum wage, a world police force, medical care for the elderly and other controversial issues.

With “Red Scare” fears on the rise in postwar Texas, many staunch conservatives viewed the organization as a hotbed for radical thought. In a confrontation at a VFW Hall, a drunk called Mr. Wright a “commie sonofabitch” and Mr. Wright, the former Golden Glover, decked his antagonist with seven quick punches.

In 1946, Mr. Wright won election to the Texas House of Representatives from Parker County and quickly established himself as a liberal Don Quixote with ill-starred efforts to finance new social services by taxing big oil, gas and sulfur producers.

More history on the Gingrich/Wright fight

Newt Gingrich had an urgent warning for conservatives: Jim Wright, the Democratic speaker of the House, was out to destroy America.

It was April 1988, a month before Mr. Gingrich, an up-and-coming Republican congressman, shocked colleagues by pressing ethics charges against the powerful Mr. Wright. Now, he was singling out the speaker as a major obstacle in a coming “civil war” with liberals.

“This war has to be fought with a scale and a duration and a savagery that is only true of civil wars,” Mr. Gingrich said, in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation. He branded Mr. Wright as part of “the hard left,” whose members, he warned, “will try by chameleon-like actions to destroy our country.”

The brutal civil war Mr. Gingrich predicted did indeed come to pass, during a nearly decadelong conflict in which ethics charges were the primary weapon. Mr. Gingrich lodged a complaint against Mr. Wright, which cost the Democratic speaker his job. Democrats, in turn, bombarded Mr. Gingrich with accusations of ethical impropriety, which led to a $300,000 fine and a reprimand for bringing discredit to the House.
This spring [1989], in an extraordinary jolt to the usually somnolent politics of House Republicans, Gingrich leapt from his niche as a back-bench bomb thrower to the post of minority whip, a key position in a party leadership. His ascension changes the chemistry of politics on Capitol Hill and signals a dramatic new Republican strategy. After thirty-four years as the minority party in Congress, years of deep frustration, the Republicans seem ready to launch an all-out war on Democratic dominance, attacking the Democratic Party as a whole with the same spectacularly successful (if ungentle) tactics that George Bush's campaign managers used against Michael Dukakis in 1988.
On Tuesday, The New York Times gave prominent display on its op-ed page to an article written by one of Gingrich's most bitter Democratic foes, Representative Bill Alexander of Arkansas, who branded Gingrich a neo-McCarthyite and urged his colleagues to take up the fight against him. Then Gingrich and his wife, Marianne, met with reporters to answer charges (filed by Alexander) of possible improprieties in an unusual book-promotion deal --improprieties loosely similar to those with which Gingrich has charged Speaker Wright.
Gingrich had taken on Democrats almost from the moment he hit town, but in May 1988 he went after the big fish: the Speaker of the House. After spending months preparing his case against Wright, he filed charges of ethics violations with the House Committee on Standards of Official conduct.
Democrats considered it the height of hypocrisy for Gingrich to go after Wright for his peculiar book deal when Gingrich himself had made not one but two unusual book arrangements. The first was in 1977, before he actually won his seat, when he accepted $13,000 from his supporters to write a book that he never completed. The second case, involving Gingrich's 1984 manifesto for the Conservative Opportunity Society, concerned a unique arrangement by which twenty-one "investors" paid $5,000 each to a limited partnership, run by Mrs. Gingrich, to raise money to promote the book.

Many may recall the recent incident at the HS basketball game where students from a largely white HS that was playing a more diverse HS team held up signs in the bleachers saying "White" "Power".  There was some reasonable speculation that it could have been an accidental juxtaposition, as the sign holders were in different rows, and the signs were part of other signage messaging ("Jaguar Power" and "Navy" & "White"). Well, results of the school's investigation are in. It was on purpose.

An LISD spokeswoman called us to help us out. She tells Unfair Park that one student was reponsible for coordinating the "White Power" signage. The two individuals the superintendent referred to were the guy who coordinated the signs and the bus-shitter, respectively.

The two teams are in a play-off match up tonight, and no doubt will face more scrutiny than normal, from school leadership, the public, and the media. However, there will be NO signs, and statements from the school suggest there will not be any signs in the future, either.

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Well, I haven't been. And as far as I know, you probably haven't been either. But my local paper announced they've disabled commenting because somebody was. I know many news site comment areas are cesspools, but ours isn't totally without redeeming qualities. Besides, one of my favorite columnists posted a piece about a recent family medical emergency, and (like many others, I suspect) I wanted to post a comment of support and encouragement. Not the most pressing thing going on in the world these days, but still a sign of the times.

The Dallas Morning News was one of several large media and entertainment websites to briefly be attacked on Thanksgiving morning by hackers identifying themselves as the Syrian Electronic Army.
Websites of The Boston Globe, Canadian-based The Globe and Mail, The Independent in London and many others were affected by the attack on San Francisco-based Gigya, a service many large websites use to facilitate comments and social media logins.
The websites of British and North American media organizations and retailer Wal-Mart's Canadian unit were hacked on Thursday in a suspected attack by the Syrian Electronic Army, an amorphous hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Among media sites hit were London newspapers the Daily Telegraph, Independent and Evening Standard. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and New York Daily News also said they had fallen victim to the hack.
According to reports from users on Twitter the affected sites included those of CNBC, Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, OK magazine, the Evening Standard, PCWorld, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent.
SEA does not appear to have actually hacked the affected websites directly, but instead pulled off the attack through Gigya, a customer identity management platform used by a large number of brands.

Back in June I posted this diary -Pop the Corn. Conservative Think Tank Implodes (sexual misconduct?) in which we learned that

The National Center for Policy Analysis, Dallas’ most prominent conservative think tank, erupted Thursday in personnel and management squabbles.
President and CEO John Goodman, who has led the center since its creation in 1983, was fired in a unanimous vote of the board of directors, according to a statement issued by the center.
Fired Dallas think tank head John Goodman was dismissed after an investigation for sexual misconduct and “breach of fiduciary duty,” the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis announced Friday.
“We hoped to handle this in a professional manner, but Mr. Goodman’s actions require that we clarify the situation,” the center said in an unsigned statement.
Goodman called the accusation “not true,” but said he would not elaborate.
“I don’t want to go there,” he said. “It just gets too ugly.”

Well, seems they are recovering from that shameful episode. They have an exciting announcement - new leadership.

Allen West.

Yeah, this guy:

One of South Florida’s favorite conservative sons, former Representative Allen West, has announced he will be decamping from the Sunshine State.
West went on to distinguish himself by becoming one of the most outspoken loose cannons in the House. He asserted publicly that many of his colleagues were card-carrying communists, and made no secret that he packed a concealed sidearm when on maneuvers in the home district.

Yeah, this guy:

With Herman Cain and Sarah Palin standing behind him, the right-wing provocateur came out in full force at a town-hall event on Tuesday, claiming he’d “heard” up to 80 House Democrats were communists.
“Take your message of equality of achievement…You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.”
“If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.”
West lectured that liberal women “have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness.”
“I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.”

Yeah, this guy:

The commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division on Friday accepted a U.S. military investigator's recommendation and ordered administrative action against Lt. Col. Allen West, who was accused of using improper methods to force information out of an Iraqi detainee.
The case stems from an incident August 20 at a military base in Taji, just north of Baghdad, when West was interrogating an Iraqi policeman, who was believed to have information about a plot to assassinate West with an ambush on a U.S. convoy.
West said the policeman, Yahya Jhrodi Hamoody, was not cooperating with interrogators, so he watched four of his soldiers from the 220th Field Artillery Battalion beat the detainee on the head and body.

West said he also threatened to kill Hamoody. Military prosecutors say West followed up on that threat by taking the suspect outside, put him on the ground near a weapons clearing barrel and fired his 9 mm pistol into the barrel.

Good to see they have clarified their priorities I guess.

A student believed to have opened fire at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Friday morning is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to two law-enforcement sources.

Police have not released details, but there are reports of as many as seven other people shot about 10:45 a.m.

Twitter updates

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A head of state is coming to town, and they slam the door in his face. Several doors, in fact.

Seems Ugandan President Museveni (of the "kill the gays bill" fame) has planned a visit to North Texas, to include a religious service and a meeting with investors. They initiated a booking at the Irving Convention Center. Then they found that their chosen hotel, The Four Seasons, would not accommodate them. In fact, nobody in the area was willing to house the entourage. The Convention Center held the booking open for the agreed upon time, but since the group couldn't finalize the arrangements by the deadline they lost the venue also. They then approached the Gaylord Resort and Conference Center in Grapevine (A Marriott property), but that location indicated they couldn't accommodate the event either. Latest word is they may have found a private property somewhere.

Four Seasons in Irving cancels Ugandan president’s stay

GAYlord hotel will NOT host Museveni

Ugandan event at Irving Convention Center canceled

Museveni event moved to private venue in Allen

Ugandan nationals will be protesting his presence on Saturday and Sunday. Museveni will be at 1415 Stinson Road, Allen, 75002 on Sunday, Sept. 21 3-9 p.m. Protesters should arrive before 3 p.m. to greet his arrival.
According to Zillow the announced address is not exactly "a venue", but a large 4 bed-room home
Although other links suggest it may be a larger ranch property, with some outbuildings.

Recently my city (Dallas, TX) pulled out all the stops to try to land the Republican National Convention. Nearly half a million was spent, and the sales pitches included live elephants and the Dallas Cowboy's cheerleaders. In the end, though, the nod went to Cleveland, Ohio.  There were reasons given. Dallas couldn't commit to all of the preferred dates for the event. Ohio is a swing state. But this week, we got another take from a GOP insider. It was politics.

Ray Washburne, a Dallas businessman and the GOP’s national finance chairman, floated that notion in a July email to local organizers. Washburne, well-versed in the party’s internal machinations, said Dallas’ loss came down to maneuverings by top Ohio Republicans, Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.

“Senator Portman and Governor Kasich, who both would like to run for president, put a lot of pressure on the committee,” wrote Washburne, referring to the 13-member selection panel. “At the end of the day, it was all business, which is political business.”

So, if he's right, the Ohio Governor and Ohio Senator who might have Presidential aspirations trumped the Texas Governor and Texas Senator who clearly have Presidential aspirations. And if he's wrong, it still says how a major GOP mover and shaker (from Texas!) perceives the "importance" of the contestants from the two states.


She came home with us during a freak late snow storm on March 6, 2008.

The rest of her story is below the Itzl.

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Yes. It's all spelled out in this letter to the editor in my morning paper. And we can put an end to it. Just block the kids from having access to phones or internet service. It's an absolutely elegant theory. Classic in it's CT-ness, a veritable work of art. Enjoy.

Are our elected officials really that stupid? Do they really think that 50,000 children hopped on buses in Central America, traveled over 1,000 miles alone and ran across the Texas-Mexico border into the arms of waiting Border Patrol?


I believe these children traveled with their parents from their homes in Central America. They traveled north through Mexico using the government-supported express bus lines, created and dedicated to funnel refugees north without impacting Mexico.

The families are then escorted to the border to a location regularly patrolled by Border Patrol agents. The children are then told to run to the agents, claiming that they were abused. The parents are led to another route into the country. After the children are processed in, they wait to be settled into housing and then contact their parents, who have gotten false IDs and “volunteer” to adopt these needy children, fully supported by government checks.

These children need to be moved to federally funded orphanages. They should be isolated from telephones and Internet (not able to contact their parents, here in the U.S.). When the people in Central America see that the children are being separated from the abusive parents, they will stop their activities.

Comment thread is pretty good, too. Jump over the Itzl for ...snark? Or not?

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It will be interesting to see this story evolve.

The National Center for Policy Analysis, Dallas’ most prominent conservative think tank, erupted Thursday in personnel and management squabbles.

President and CEO John Goodman, who has led the center since its creation in 1983, was fired in a unanimous vote of the board of directors, according to a statement issued by the center.

Goodman and emeritus board member Pete du Pont, [former Republican governor of Delaware and presidential candidate,] meanwhile, issued a release announcing their “departure” from the organization.

Goodman said in a phone interview that other board members have also quit, and that both sides are turning to their lawyers and the prospect of a messy court dispute.

Goodman, 67, is best-known for promoting tax-protected health savings accounts as a way for consumers to pay a larger share of their medical expenses under high-deductible insurance plans.

But exactly what does unanimity mean? Ramesh Ponnuru confirms there is some confusion about that.

I called NCPA half an hour or so ago, and was told that its board had unanimously voted to dismiss Goodman because of “serious” misconduct.
Goodman called me back. “I’m afraid the NCPA is engaged in serious misconduct. But we are engaged in a legal struggle at the moment"....“There was a fight on the board, we had board members threatening to sue each other, board members threatening to sue me, it’s been a whirlwind. These things happen.”​
After talking to his lawyer, Goodman called back again to say, first, that the organization is now being run by a board that does not know how think tanks work and, second, that the underlying dispute involves illegal activities by NCPA “which I don’t want to get into right now.”

Official statements:
Press release from Goodman and du Pont, dated 6/12

DALLAS, June 12, 2014 PRNewswire -- Nationally renowned health care policy expert  John Goodman and former Delaware Governor Pete du Pont today announced their departure from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).  
Goodman founded the organization 31 years ago and du Pont joined the board 20 years ago. Together they built the organization and helped achieve some remarkable policy accomplishments:
Because off the NCPA's idea of Heath Savings Accounts, more than 30 million people are managing some of their own health care dollars.
Because of the NCPA's concept of the Roth IRA, more than $250 Billion in assets will never be taxed again.
Because of another NCPA initiative, 78 million baby boomers will be able to reach the retirement age and keep on working without losing Social Security benefits.
Because of an NCPA/Brookings Institution effort millions of workers are being automatically enrolled in 401(k) plans.
"Together, Governor du Pont and I established the National Center for Policy Analysis and built it into one of the nation's leading think tanks.  We are proud of the many policy achievements that we accomplished over the years and of our efforts to promote private free market alternatives to government regulation and control," said Goodman.  "I want to thank the outstanding NCPA staff for their hard work and dedication and wish them the best of luck in the future.  I look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead."
"It has been an honor to work with John and build NCPA into a nationally recognized public policy leader.  John is one of the foremost experts in health care policy in America, and I look forward to working with him again," said Governor du Pont.  "While it is unfortunate that our time at NCPA ended in a disagreement with the organization's board, we look forward to the future and what it holds."

Posted b NCPA

NCPA Severs Ties to John C. Goodman

June 13, 2014

NCPA: The National Center for Policy Analysis has terminated the employment of President and CEO John Goodman, effective immediately.

A statement issued by the organization said that the board’s vote to dismiss Goodman was unanimous. “Because this is a personnel issue, the details are and will remain confidential.”

The NCPA board of directors is actively reviewing highly qualified CEO candidates. In the interim Board Chair Jerry Mills, acting in concert with the Board, is taking on the leadership role.

According to the statement, “Our staff, commitment, capabilities and resources remain stronger than ever. We are proud of our ongoing projects and initiatives advocating private sector solutions to public policy problems and those will continue. You will be hearing more from our respected experts in Dallas and around the country in the coming months as we build on more than three decades of accomplishments.”

Please direct any questions to Catherine Daniell.
Fired Dallas think tank head John Goodman was dismissed after an investigation for sexual misconduct and “breach of fiduciary duty,” the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis announced Friday.
“We hoped to handle this in a professional manner, but Mr. Goodman’s actions require that we clarify the situation,” the center said in an unsigned statement.
Goodman called the accusation “not true,” but said he would not elaborate.
“I don’t want to go there,” he said. “It just gets too ugly.”

There is so much swirling around this story, including the inevitable partisan spin, that an important aspect may have gotten lost in the melee. That was brought home to me in something I read this morning.

One element of the debate surrounds the last video of Bergdahl before the prisoner exchange took place. By all reports that video showed that his condition had deteriorated substantially. Even after the Senate briefing where that video was shown, there are still objections that his health wasn't so bad that the administration couldn't have delayed 30 days in order to consult Congress on the decision.

The Obama Administration showed the Senate a classified Taliban "proof of life" video of Sgt. Bergdahl, but some lawmakers remain skeptical that his health was as dire as the Administration has claimed

However, what I read today suggests that the concern was not over his medical health, or his mental health. It was far more serious than that. What did I read? It's on the other side of the orange itzl.

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No time for a proper detailed diary, but...
The San Francisco man that is subject of a nationwide man hunt by the FBI, who found explosives materials during a search of his apartment, has apparently posted a suicide note to his Facebook page.

In an automated post by 42-year-old Ryan Chamberlain - which was timed to go out to his Facebook friends Monday morning - he talks about suffering with depression "for as long as I can recall" and bids farewell to family and friends.
The letter, titled "Goodbye," details issues with his mother, whom he calls a "religious addict certain that the Rapture is coming any day now," as well as a romantic heartbreak and the loss of a job. He mentions past traumas and disappointments, saying he was denied credit for helping Gavin Newsom during his successful 2003 mayoral campaign.
"A panicked update to my letter that should have posted by now," he wrote. "Nothing they're reporting is true. No 'stashes.' Not 'armed and dangerous.' No car 'rigged to explode.'

"I explored some ugly websites, a year-ish ago. I was depressed. I let Walter White get to me. I thought I was done. That's it. No one was ever in danger. And recently I was all better. I owe my friends and my girlfriend for that. But I guess I did enough for the damage to be done. I'm so sorry everyone."

More at the link

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