"Once abolish God and the government becomes the God." -G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Doggett's Campaign Tactics in Question as He Ducks Debate, Smears Opponent with Congressional Seat in Doubt

It's official. Lloyd Doggett did not show up to debate Dr. Donna Campbell on Friday for the congressional seat in District 25-TX. And frankly, no surprises here. Lloyd Doggett hates being challenged, questioned, and generally unappreciated for his ongoing efforts to solve all our problems with Washington spending. And now that the Cook Report has removed the seat from the Democrat's "safe" list (one of eight races suddenly up for grabs, including Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich), he has even more reason to worry.

I ask any independent voter, why re-elect an incumbent who is so inaccessible and unwilling to stand on their own record? Has Mr. Doggett become so entrenched in the swamps of Washington, he won't even make an appearance in front of an unbiased audience and face their questions? What type of lawyer and long-serving congressman ducks a debate with a doctor who has never run for political office before?

This has been typical of Doggett's campaign against Dr. Donna Campbell, an emergency room physician and small town mom with lots of grassroots support. He has repeatedly attempted to paint her as an extremist. Yes, we should all be frightened of our scary family doctors who attend t-ball games and Halloween parades for their adopted four year old daughters. Thank God there are bureaucrats in Washington protecting us from these extremists!

We already saw Mr. Doggett flee constituents at his own town hall on Obamacare last year. We saw him bash these same constituents on national TV with Chris Mathews. We heard him call the tea parties “a bitter brew” and “mob scene.” And then to rub the voters faces in it, he admitted he would have voted for Obamacare, opposed by a nearly 2 to 1 margin in Texas, “just based on it’s opposition."

He also ran a misleading TV ad this election cycle claiming to be against bailouts, in which the business he featured actually received millions in federal stimulus (in an update, I note that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which benefitted greatly from that kickback, contributed $10,000 to Doggett's campaign this year). Reports have also surfaced of using the University of Texas official student directory to spam students with campaign materials attacking Donna Campbell (a violation of the rules and regulations of The University of Texas Board of Regents, not to mention use of taxpayer dollars for partisan purposes). This is not the behavior of a statesman so much as the personality flaw of a desperate politician.

Last Saturday, Mr. Doggett refused Dr. Donna Campbell’s invitation for a debate. She had already secured the venue and was seeking his input for a moderator, but the 16 year Democrat incumbent laughed the invitation off as her trying “to get him to come to her tea party rally.” On Friday night, he officially failed to show at the event.

Campbell has posed a serious challenge to Lloyd Doggett in a blue district where few, if any Democrats have ever been challenged. And she's doing it without mainstream political help from the Republican Party. This is a rag-tag effort made up of independent individuals, many of whom have never been involved in a political race before.

If King Lloyd really finds that kind of peaceful dissent by the people frightening, then it's clear he's no longer fit to serve his constituents. He is running only for his career. Eighteen years is obviously too long in power.

Doggett may hide until Election Day, but the voters are waiting to call him out - especially those who don't live in downtown Austin. And that's a lot of voters in District 25.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Business Featured in Doggett's "No Bailout" Ad Actually Received Millions from Government

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, the 16 year incumbent of TX-25 (including a large portion of Austin), has released his first TV ad. I guess this means he’s decided to waste money, because progressive writers keep telling me his opponent, Republican Dr. Donna Campbell, has no chance of winning. So why is the Doggett camp making heavy media buys three weeks out? It just doesn’t add up - unless you accept the fact that Rep. Doggett’s seat is in jeopardy. Trust me, it is.

But you know what else is in jeopardy? Lloyd Doggett’s credibility (or what’s left of it). In his ad, Lloyd Doggett tours a solar panel installation training facility with the president of the company, Michael Kuhn of ImagineSolar. Here’s what Mr. Kuhn has to say about the job Lloyd Doggett is doing in Washington:
“Lloyd is a champion of job creation… I can actually run a small business. I can create jobs because of Lloyd Doggett.”
Now Michael Kuhn is definitely telling the truth, but not because Lloyd Doggett supports any type of free market, pro-growth policies. No, Mr. Doggett and the government have actually funded Mr. Kuhn’s private company to the tune of millions of dollars, thanks to the stimulus. ImagineSolar received some portion of a $4.8 million ARRA grant allocated through Workforce Solutions, although using resources like recovery.gov it’s hard to say exactly how much stayed with Workforce Solutions and how much Mr. Kuhn’s company received. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s the press release off the company’s own website.
AUSTIN – Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced nearly $100 million in green jobs training grants, as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The Austin Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (AEJATC), in partnership with Workforce Solutions–Capital Area and ImagineSolar, received $4,842,424 as one of 25 projects selected nationally – and one of only three in the State of Texas.
If my congressman got my company a check for millions of dollars, I’d appear in a TV ad supporting him, too. And I imagine ImagineSolar will see more grant money from the government if Doggett is re-elected. Of course, none of this is illegal, but it's unethical and not good for free enterprise. The biggest problem is Lloyd Doggett doesn’t disclose the information. The ad doesn’t say Michael Kuhn received stimulus money, and viewers aren’t privy to the conflict of interest. That’s disingenuous. The representative from Austin should have shot his commercial elsewhere and focused on supporters not on the government dole. You could almost say Lloyd bought their support.

This is taxpayer money seized from profitable companies and small businesses and redistributed to Democratic allies and special interest groups (in this case, inefficient solar energy) who then turn around and help them get re-elected. Just wait until cap-and-trade goes through. Middle class families will be paying higher energy bills so politicians can subsidize giant corporations like BP and GE, who will “invest” in alternative energy for the kickbacks. The Democrats haven’t just created an environment that’s bad for business. They’ve doubled down on crony capitalism, and they’re using the beneficiaries like Mr. Kuhn in testimonials to try and hoodwink the American people.

You might note that the theme of the ad is “no bailouts”, and yet here he is appearing with a company that in essence received a bailout. The only bailout I’m aware of Doggett opposing is the TARP under President Bush - and that was over 2 years ago. Since then, Lloyd voted to bailout the auto companies, the teachers unions, and actually, Wall Street - since the financial reform bill amounts to a permanent bailout of the banks without the messy TARP votes.

The Austin American Statesman may want to fact check this ad again. It’s misleading.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Is the Austin Chronicle Still Relevant?

Seriously. It's a fair question. And since the weekly "alternative" is sending readers here, thanks to this article (Stuff Like This Makes Your Face Twitch), why not gin up some discussion on the demise of the once-proud paper, which tends to have more advertising, less writing, and even less relevance with each passing year. Let me ask, fellow Austinites, when was the last time the Austin Chronicle turned you on to a really great local band or filmmaker practicing their craft right here in our city? Well, shouldn't they be?

It's a question worth posing given the wealth of overlooked, under-appreciated artists who call Austin home. Is the Austin Chronicle good for Austin artists?

The fact is both KGSR (though without Jody Denburg not nearly as much) and KLBJ-FM have done a better job of showcasing up-and-coming local talent than the Austin Chronicle. Case in point - Austin's own Deadman, fronted by Lockhart resident/producer/songwriter Steven Collins. If you've heard about Deadman, you certainly didn't hear about them in the Austin Chronicle. You heard about my little blog in the Austin Chronicle, but not about Austin's best live band. Why not?

Is it because they're not good enough or they don't work hard enough to earn critical reviews, an excuse editor Louis Black gave in a column last year about why so many Austin artists don't garner coverage in the Chronicle? Far from it.

Is it because they haven't done anything to stand out from the endless array of other bands in the Live Music Capital of the World? Hardly. If they're big enough to charge $20 a ticket and headline the Granada Theater in Dallas, they should be big enough for the Austin Chronicle. Their shows at the Saxon Pub are generally standing room only, and they currently have the 40th best selling album at Austin's iconic Waterloo Records (Deadman: Live at the Saxon Pub). A lot of people are talking about Deadman, but not the Chronicle, not even so much as a review.

In fact, if you are in town for the ACL Festival, do yourself a favor and catch their after-show party tonight at at the Saxon Pub. It might, just might be the best music you hear all day (key word: "hear"), not because Deadman is a better show than Pete Yorn and all the other ACL headliners, but because catching the soulful 6-piece band at an intimate venue like the Saxon is akin to experiencing Van Morrison or The Band during the height of their musical careers (see video below).

Years ago, I had a couple of buddies who made films in Austin. They were two of the most talented guys I've known. Often their films were rejected by South by Southwest, and they certainly never got any publicity from the Austin Chronicle, even after they got a short film into Sundance. Eventually, they moved out of town and made a feature-length film that also got into Sundance. They secured a studio deal and released another film. Now South by Southwest wants them every year and when they come back to Austin, the Johnny-come-lately Chronicle rolls out the red carpet and brags about their local roots - roots that were completely ignored when they actually lived and worked here.

Apparently, the only way to get the Austin Chronicle to notice you is to leave Austin and have success somewhere else. Doesn't that seem backwards? Does the Chronicle even know who the up-and-coming artists are in this town? Or is the Chronicle just an echo chamber to support those with causes they have in common, regardless of talent?

I know a lot of Austin musicians, singers, sculptors, painters, and filmmakers who could use a little more love from their hometown arts paper.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Father's Loss: Enduring Tragedy with Faith

I wanted to share these beautiful words received through a friend whose friend lost his daughter to a brain tumor recently. This is the blog the father posted 48 hours after experiencing the biggest loss of his life. His words are a testament to faith and the inner peace God can bring even during the worst of times. They are a reminder to live every day like it could be your last, value and love each other, and don't obsess over what you can't change. Easier said than done, but if this father can do it, we all can. Have a blessed Sunday.


The last 48 hours are a blur. We're home now, but without a piece of our family and a big piece of our heart. Our Ava went to be with Jesus. 10 weeks to the day of her diagnosis of GBM she was taken from here to heaven.
We were given something that most families don't have when they lose a loved one. Time. We spent the last 10 weeks with renewed intentionality and focus that gave Ava every bit of the picture we wanted her to have. We loved on her, played with her, took extra time with her and cared for her in a way that let us see her go, knowing that she knew how special God made her. The gift He gave us for 5 years is one that will never be taken away. With the end of her earthly life came the realization that I would do it all over again for those 5 years even if I knew the outcome.
Our Ava touched more lives for Jesus than most will. Her short time here was a gift. A gift to Lisa and me, her brother, and everyone who knew her or read about her through my written words. She was truly God's child while here and is truly God's child as she watches me write this through the tears only a father could shed. She marked me. She changed my heart. She made me more the man Jesus created me to be. I am thankful for her and to her.
I love Ava more than I can say. She was a gift, but she was not mine. She was God's while she was here and she is God's now. Her short life on earth is one I will carry with me until I see her again. I miss her so much already. The pain may fade, but her impact will only grow with time. I don't understand why, but I do understand God is bigger than I am and He knows.
Lisa and I are heartbroken and hurting, but we live with the absolute peace that she is in perfect peace. I wanted you all to hear it from me.I love her and I always will. My girl is loving life with all of us in heaven. Pray for us in the days ahead. Let that be your gift to us.