Friday, August 25, 2006
Just for a good laugh--we all need one.
George Bush and Senator McCain went camping in the Iraqi desert surrounded by American trained Iraqi police and American trained Iraqi Soldiers. After they got their tent all set up, both men fell sound asleep, having been assured by Rumsfeldt, before leaving Washington, that the Iraqi Troops were almost as good as American Troops and police.
Some hours later, McCain woke up Bush and said, "Mr. President., please wake up." Then McCain looked toward the sky and continued, "What do you see?"
Bush replied, "Why, I see millions of stars. It's almost as good as bein' back home on the ranch in Crawford."
"What does that tell you?" asked McCain.
Bush cogitates and ponders for a minute then says, "Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Now ain't that just somethin'? And them damn Liberal Democrats think I ain't got it all up here." He taps the side of his head and grins as he asks McCain, "What's it tell you?"
McCain immediately responded "You are dumber then buffalo shit, George. Somebody stole the tent!
Iraq looting portends handover trouble
By HAIDAR HANI, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 12 minutes ago
AMARAH, Iraq - Iraqis looted a military base vacated by British troops and stripped it of virtually everything removable on Friday, an indication of possible future trouble for U.S.-led coalition forces hoping to hand over security gradually to the Iraqi government.
Men, some with their faces covered, ripped corrugated metal from roofs, carried off metal pipes and backed trucks into building entrances to load them with wooden planks. Many also took away doors and window frames from Camp Abu Naji.
Click here to read the rest of the article.
Now, What's that all the Republicans are talking about? About how the Iraqi army and police have made so much progress?
BUT, isn't this the same kind of looting that took place right after the "coalition" forces took the surrender of the Iraqi army and dispersed it.
Something of a paradox here.
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Radnofsky to Hutchison: Its a federal issue
August 25, 2006
Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate Barbara Ann Radnofsky responded today to her opponents claims about immigration being a local issue.
When my opponent said through her spokesman that immigration enforcement was a local issue, I strenuously disagreed. We need to recognize that immigration is a federal not a local issue."
Sen. Hutchison believes that we should deal with immigration by shifting costs and enforcement onto local government. Her first wacky proposal took volunteer peace officers with no coordination or border patrol training, and would have had them serve as border patrol, depriving communities of their law enforcement with no compensation. Communities, clergy, and individuals all protested the harms of the bill, which she defended by emphasizing that, since it was voluntary, no one need comply. This must be one of the few times in history that a legislator has proposed a solution to a problem and then defended its flaws by saying, in essence, just kidding.
In a senate floor speech on October 5, Sen. Hutchison explained her philosophy on immigration as a local issue: Enforcing the laws of our country should not be confined to federal authorities when the illegal behavior specifically impacts the state and local communities.i This philosophy would turn every federal issue into a local obligation, and Hutchisons camp took it even farther by saying that immigration enforcement becomes a local obligation even when dealing with priority sites involving national security."ii
My opponents dangerous, unworkable, and radical approach to immigration has been followed up by underfunding the states immigration efforts, strapping Texas overburdened taxpayers, law enforcement, and communities even as her proposals saddle them with limitless enforcement responsibilities. Sen. Hutchison failed to secure a fair share of enforcement and incarceration dollars for Texas, with its long border and the nations worst problem with illegal immigration, garnering only a fraction of the $405 million in State Criminal Alien assistance payments despite the states overwhelming need."iii
I continue to emphasize that we need to stop targeting legal trade and instead target drugs, security, and illegal trade. We need a valid system of workplace enforcement laws, and greater federal funding and responsibilities for immigration. My opponent wants none of these things, and she lacks the ability to put her latest wacky self-deportation idea into a bill and test it in the legislative process. She is mindful that her own party doesnt support this unworkable proposal and that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff distanced himself from self-deportation by refusing to endorse it.iv
See Radnofskys issues chart on her website for details on proposal, positions, and her opponents record on immigration.
i. Congressional Record, October 5, 2005, S 1823
ii. Brownsville Herald, December 18, 2005. This story quoted spokesman Chris Paulitz speaking for Hutchison, dismissing work site enforcement, even at the priority locations involving national security, as not the issue, and when asked about the estimated 11 million undocumented people already in the country, Paulitz said work site enforcement was a local issue.
iii. Dallas Morning News, November 27, 2005r
iv. August 25, 2006, World Net Daily
Barbara Ann Radnofsky US Senate 2006
phone: 713-858-6256 Barbara Ann Radnofsky US Senate 2006
Hmmm, everyone should read my previous message on the subject.
Ms. Radnofsky got a good start, but doesn't take it quite far enough.
Hutcheson, of course, will go along with whatever big business tells her. That means status Quo and let the cheap labor alone except for some good sound and video shots of a few dozen illegals getting shuffled back across the border.
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Immigration and Rhetoric
Surprised I said that?
I've got a good reason.
As Long as a person can receive a great deal more money for their labor in any location than the one in which they currently reside they are going to move toward the money.
I'm fed up with the "stop the immigrants" political rhetoric. If there weren't jobs, they wouldn't cross borders. I don't care about the "needed stoop labor" moaning of many of our business sectors. As long as the jobs are there, people wanting a better life are going to get around any wall or patrol.
Let's take advantage of the immutable truth I've stated above. Have the government issue licenses to businesses and even private citizens who wish to hire illegal immigrants without having to pay social security or have any later stigma attached to their act.
Each license would have a monthly fee of $100 per illegal employee (quite reasonable.) The license would clearly state that the holder employer must withhold income tax from the employees paycheck and forward that money to the IRS, monthly, using the License number.
Most importantly, not having a license for each employee must carry large fines and possible criminal action. This must be stated on each license as well as being on the law books.
Anyone have a better idea?
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Texas Judge Renews Criticism In Case of Missing Silicosis X-Rays
By JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the New York Sun
August 24, 2006
A federal judge assigned to oversee litigation regarding a lung disease, silicosis, is again criticizing the attorney general of Texas for seizing thousands of X-rays that are key to the cases.
"The Office of the Texas Attorney General's disregard of this court's orders may demonstrate an unfamiliarity with the United States Constitution," Judge Janis Jack of Corpus Christi wrote in an order dated Tuesday. "The Texas Attorney General had no authority, even if sanctioned by a Texas state court, to remove documents … without the permission of this court."
The clash between Judge Jack and the Texas prosecutor, Greg Abbott, was first reported by The New York Sun.
On June 23, armed investigators from Mr. Abbott's office used a county grand jury subpoena to seize thousands of X-rays and other records gathered by Judge Jack from silicosis lawsuits across the country. Judge Jack said many of the suits were fraudulently "manufactured" by attorneys and a small group of physicians.
Mr. Abbott's office claims it returned all the records after learning of Judge Jack's ire, but a court-ordered tally determined that 152 X-rays were missing. The manager of the company storing the records for the court found them in some disarray after the seizure, the Corpus Christi Times reported yesterday.
Judge Jack ordered Mr. Abbott to identify the staff members responsible for the seizure and to provide a full accounting of who had access to the records while they were out of the court's control.
A spokesman for Mr. Abbott, Jerry Strickland, said detailed affidavits about the handling of the records were already filed and that there were indications that records were of missing even before the Texas officials became involved. "Every document obtained by this office was returned," the spokesman said.
I do wonder why this news story got more play in New York than it has in Texas.
Or, who is getting the money?
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Chris Bell on Fighting the Trans Texas Corridor
In 2001, state Comptroller Carole Strayhorn officially recommended that Texas “build more toll roads” all across the state. In 2003, Rick Perry took her up on that recommendation when he rammed through the bill creating the Trans Texas Corridor, a $184 billion land grab that will go down as one of the largest boondoggles in our state’s history. The toll road plan recommended by Strayhorn and passed by Perry will destroy almost 1.5 million acres of prime farmland and will strip Texas landowners of over 150 square miles of privately owned property. All so that Rick Perry could hand out billions of dollars in sweetheart deals to some of his biggest campaign contributors.
I think it’s time we applied something as radical as common sense to this debacle.
Common sense tells us that awarding billion-dollar contracts to major contributors and revolving-door lobbyists just flat out smells. Common sense tells us that it doesn’t pay to pave over millions of acres of some of the world’s richest agricultural land. And common decency tells us that it’s just plan wrong for the government to seize hundreds of square miles of private land and give it to a foreign corporation looking to make a profit on the backs of Texas commuters.
The Trans Texas Corridor is a case study in corruption and cronyism, and one of my first acts as governor would be slamming the brakes on the whole plan and dragging it back into the public light. This deal would never hold up in the light of day. This is corruption you could see from space. Rick Perry just can’t justify giving billion dollar sweetheart deals to his largest contributors. And Carole Strayhorn can pound the podium as loudly as she wants, but she can’t change the fact that it was her staunch and vocal support of toll roads that helped put this ball in motion in the first place. Our leaders have sold us out to the highest bidder, and we need new leaders in Austin if we want to get serious about ending the culture of corruption and cleaning up the Capitol.
Posted by Terry D. Barhorst
Radnofsky Responds to Opponent's Immigration Tour
August 24, 2006
Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate from Texas, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, responded to her opponent’s immigration tour to the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Radnofsky: “My proposals for immigration reform are serious and workable and are described in detail on my issues chart at www.radnofsky.com. My opponent’s latest ‘self-deportation’ plan is unworkable and unrealistic. Illegal immigrants in this country will not self-deport simply because Sen. Hutchison asks them to. Her wacky partial-fencing proposal has been criticized by head of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, who labeled fencing, ‘phenomenally expensive’ and noted in a Dec. 2, 2005 AP story that ‘it wouldn't be particularly effective.’ Her idea for a border wall with holes in it was called a waste of money by her hometown newspaper, the Dallas Morning News.
“Chertoff pointedly noted that this visit to Texas did not mean he endorses my opponent’s plan, and he was dismissive of her round-em-up strategy in 2005, saying ‘The cost of identifying all those people and sending them back would be stupendous. It would be billions and billions of dollars.’”
Radnofsky continued: “We must develop a comprehensive strategy that encourages rather than discourages legal trade between Mexico and Texas, recognizing the harms created by short-sighted trade agreements. NAFTA and CAFTA have attracted millions of illegal immigrants into this country. The U.S. has lost 3 million jobs in manufacturing alone since NAFTA’s passage—one in 6 jobs in that sector. NAFTA supporters claimed that the deal would create a $9 billion trade surplus with Mexico within two years. However the US actually built a $15 billion trade deficit with Mexico in that time period—a figure that has more than doubled in ensuing years."
“Integrated homeland security must train and equip first responders to manage the consequences of disasters and attack, and adopt health care reforms to deter bio-terror attacks, strengthen public health systems and require cooperation and communication between federal/state/local entities and the private sector. Piecemeal, poorly planned, grandstanding wacky proposals like those offered by my opponent do nothing to promote security or progress.”
Radnofsky’s proposals and positions on immigration are detailed on the campaign issues chart on the web site, www.radnofsky.com.
References:Associated Press, December 2, 2005
Fox News, November 28, 2005
Barbara Ann Radnofsky US Senate 2006
Barbara Ann Radnofsky US Senate 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Lawmaker wants limits on contributions waived
By SUZANNE GAMBOAAssociated Press
WASHINGTON — A Texas congressman wants limits on campaign contributions waived for some of his donors now that his district was declared unconstitutional and his primary voided.
U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-Texas, is seeking his eighth term in a competitive Nov. 7 special election that already has drawn two Democratic challengers. His re-election in District 23 became less certain in June when the Supreme Court ruled the 2003 Legislature violated Hispanics' voting rights when it redrew his district.
Donors can give a maximum $2,100 per election and some of had already reached that limit. But Bonilla says tallies should be restarted as though the donors who've given the maximum had never given him any money. The Federal Election Commission scheduled a meeting Aug. 29 to consider his question.
Click Here for entire Article.
Terry's Comment: Bonilla's Republican donors have already given him a War chest far larger than his Democratic opponents have. I do wonder if these donors are aware of the fact that Bonilla might be building himself a retirement cache to use after he loses.
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Bush seeks better health care cost info
Tue Aug 22, 11:49 AM ET
WASHINGTON - Customers shop around when they buy an airline ticket or a new car, so why not when they need a hip replacement or treatment for a sore throat? An executive order being signed Tuesday by President Bush is designed to help people make more informed decisions about doctors and hospitals.
Click her to read whole article.
Somebody needs to clue Bush into reality again. Those that don't have Insurance can hardly afford ANY health care. Those lucky enough to have Insurance are limited to the insurance companys' pet doctors and Hospitals.
So, what's the point?
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
$46 million in dedicated funds held up
STAR-TELEGRAM AUSTIN BUREAU
AUSTIN — An additional $46 million in dedicated hunting and fishing fees has been withheld from the cash-strapped Texas parks system by state lawmakers, despite pleas from an agency facing scores of layoffs, deteriorating facilities and the proposed sale of 400 acres of parkland near Fort Worth, top park officials said Monday.
Lawmakers and Gov. Rick Perry have already come under fire for withholding funds generated from the sale of specialty conservation license plates and for capping a sporting goods tax dedicated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Parks and wildlife officials say the $46 million can’t be spent directly on parks but only on game wardens, law enforcement and other activities related to wildlife preservation. Agency officials have requested much of the unappropriated money from legislative budget writers, but so far the requests have gone unheeded.
“We have asked for a little extra help,” said Gene McCarty, deputy executive director of the agency. “We have a lot of vehicles that need to be replaced. . . . I have a real obligation to keep my people in decent equipment to respond to needs.”
The latest revelations come after recent Star-Telegram findings that park facilities are closed and operations have been curtailed throughout the 600,000-acre system — all the result of financial neglect by Texas lawmakers.
The unspent $46 million is part of a state fund that includes revenue from hunting and fishing licenses, boat registration fees and federal taxes on hunting and fishing gear. About $90 million from state sources flows into the fund each year, plus millions more from federal sources.
The Legislature has used some of that money to help shore up the agency’s $155 million annual budget. However, lawmakers also have held part of it back each year in an apparent accounting maneuver to help balance the state’s overall budget — leaving the $46 million balance.
An official with the Texas comptroller’s office said the practice is common in state government.
A top legislative budget writer recently told the Star-Telegram that the practice probably will continue. “We will be looking at all of these dedicated accounts next session,” said state Rep. Jim Pitts, chairman of the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee.
Meanwhile, the stewardship of public lands continued to roil the Texas governor’s race Monday, with Democratic challenger Chris Bell calling for Perry to take money from a special business fund he controls and use it on parks.
Bell also accused the Republican governor and the Legislature of playing a “shell game” by not appropriating the unused parks and wildlife funds.
“It’s our money and not using it for the stated purpose is fraud,” Bell said. “Sportsmen are some of the best conservationists that Texas has, and they gladly pay that money because they think it goes to fund game wardens and hunting and fishing areas.”
But a spokesman for Perry said the governor also opposes diverting dedicated funds. “He believes that if the Legislature is going to have a dedicated fund for a special purpose, then the money should go to that purpose or the tax should go away,” said spokesman Robert Black.
Black also rejected the call by Bell to redirect money from the governor’s business fund, known as the Texas Enterprise Fund, to use on parks. Perry has spent millions from the fund to lure businesses to Texas.
Black said Perry wants to find extra money for parks when the Legislature convenes in January, but not from the Enterprise Fund. “It sounds like Chris Bell wants to cut off his nose to spite his face — he wants to sacrifice job creation for parks,” said Black.
Bell also criticized Perry for the proposed sale of 400 acres of parkland at Eagle Mountain Lake near Fort Worth. Bell called for a moratorium on the sale or privatization of all parkland at least until the Legislature reconvenes in January.
Perry authorized the Eagle Mountain sale in a letter from his office Dec. 19. As a condition, Perry’s budget director said that all proceeds must go back to the parks department and that the agency must maintain mineral rights.
But Bell said that given the track record of Perry and the Legislature, he doesn’t put much faith in that pledge. “Where’s the guarantee?” asked Bell.
A spokeswoman for the governor said Perry consented to the Eagle Mountain Lake sale only after the property went unused for several years. When asked whether the governor still supports it, she said the decision is now up to Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.
But spokeswoman Kathy Walt also said “the governor is interested in hearing all the options from the local community, from the parks commission . . . and that ultimately a decision that is in the best interest of the state and the community that uses the parks land in that area is reached.”
A spokesman for Patterson said the agency may still find a buyer for all or part of the Fort Worth property, although the transaction has been put on hold temporarily at the request of Parks and Wildlife Commission Chairman Joseph Fitzsimons, who has asked for a 120-day delay.
Fitzsimons said he requested the postponement to work out a possible deal to preserve the Eagle Mountain Lake property as a park.
Hairy Perry is at it again. It the old Republican Hoorah for profits and to Hell with the Texas people.
Chris Bell appears to be the only candidate with enough gumption to confront Perry and the Republican dominated Legistlature on this issue.
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Monday, August 21, 2006
A quick correction of G.W.BUSH
I Quote Mr. Bush: "The Iraq war is "straining the psyche of our country" but leaving now would be a disaster."
In truth, the invasion of Iraq was the disaster.
What people throughout the grief ridden country of Iraq and our own are experiencing now is the aftermath of that ignorant rush to military action. The Psyche--meaning soul or spirit--of our country is being placed in jeopardy by an administration that holds Power and Profit in much higher regard than any need for soul or spirit.
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Perry's road revolution could take electoral toll
Governor emphasis on tollways, private road-builders has generated urban and rural unrest
By Ben WearAMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFFSunday, August 20, 2006
An earlier version of this story contained an error. Go to our Corrections page for a full explanation.
Rick Perry's political problem with transportation, to the extent that he has one, may be that he's trying to douse a fire in 2006 that won't ignite for another 10 to 20 years.
Duane A. LavertyWACO TRIBUNE HERALD
Gubernatorial rival Carole Keeton Strayhorn, speaking last month in Waco at a public hearing on Trans-Texas Corridor-35, doesn't mince words on the issue: 'I will not as governor support a toll road.'
As governor, Rick Perry is shifting how Texas pays for new roads: not with taxes but with tolls and private road operators. 'If someone has a better idea . . . please lay out that plan,' he says.
His critics say, no, the problem is that Perry wants to charge us for the water.
What isn't in dispute is that the Republican governor and his appointees over the past six years have turned Texas transportation on its head, moving the state from financing public roads solely with taxes to a system that would be heavily dependent on tolls and private road operators.
What has this revolution in transportation policy earned Perry, who faces re-election this fall? Well, precious few plaudits from the general public, although the business community and the road construction industry have been solidly in his corner.
His policies have birthed several grass-roots groups committed to snuffing out Perry's toll plans and, while they're at it, his political career. The nascent Trans-Texas Corridor twin to Interstate 35, and the prospect that thousands of acres would have to be purchased to build it, have taken an undetermined chunk out of Perry's natural base of support in agricultural Texas.
And the Perry transportation agenda has handed his three principal challengers a hefty political club to wield as they campaign for his job.
"That's why you don't see a lot of big changes in public policy, because they are risky," said Robert Poole, director of transportation studies for the California-based Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank. "It may be that the general public isn't yet persuaded that this is a crisis. In day-to-day, average-person political terms, traffic congestion may not be bad enough yet."
Perry, with his famously well-coiffed look and perfectly tailored suits, surely doesn't look the part of a revolutionary, and he rejects that characterization. But he acknowledges that transportation is the area where he made the most "wide-sweeping" changes.
Perry declared the gasoline tax a lame duck, dismissing talk of raising it. Perry and his allies decreed that all new road projects would be evaluated for tolls. They contemplated slapping tolls on existing roads, then backed off after a public outcry.
Perry in early 2002 outlined what seemed to be a pie-in-the-sky plan for 4,000 miles of rural toll roads called the Trans-Texas Corridor. After hearing people scoff for more than two years, Perry introduced some Spaniards who said they'd spend $7.2 billion on the first 300-mile piece, including a $1.2 billion payment to the state. And Perry's Department of Transportation declared Texas "open for business," inviting private companies — foreign or domestic — to privately finance and operate the next generation of Texas expressways and railroads.
Read the complete article at: http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/08/20transgov.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=52
Terry's Comment: If everyone hasn't figured it out already, the above is another representative article on the Republican Party stance and their "P over P" heritage. "P over P" = Profit over People.
Terry D Barhorst Sr.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Zachry Complains to Radnofsky Campaign
August 20, 2006
Zachry Construction Complains to Radnofsky Campaign Vicky Waddy, spokeswoman for Zachry Construction, the highway construction giant whose family members and political action committee constitute one of Sen. Hutchison's largest contributors, complained to Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Barbara Ann Radnofsky over Radnofsky's coverage of the company in press releases concerning the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Radnofsky's campaign manager Seth Davidson explained: "Zachry Construction called and was extremely upset. They demanded to know 'What is the purpose of using the Zachry name in your campaign release? And, what is the reference to Rockwall--we don't even have any projects in Rockwall right now.'"
Radnofsky, returning from three days in Rockwall, where she and other citizens turned out in force for the last Trans-Texas Corridor public hearing, responded to Zachry:
"Zachry Construction Company received $987,436,908 from TxDOT in contracts, ranking second in money contracts awarded between January, 2001 and December, 2004. The Zachry family and the Zachry PAC donated massively to my opponent, who voted for tolling projects in the federal highway bill and who has spoken publicly about wanting to build the Trans-Texas Corridor. She's wrong. We don't need this corrupt, wasteful, highway tolling project. We need a modern transportation policy for Texas and a free highway system.
"Sen. Hutchison should return the many thousands of dollars she has received during this election cycle from Zachry-related interests, and the even larger amounts she received from other entities standing to benefit from the Trans-Texas Corridor."
The Radnofsky releases were sent in connection with the Rockwall hearing on the Trans-Texas Corridor, a 50-year plus project that creates eight massive toll roads cutting swaths throughout Texas, in large part by taking private land from citizens, by privatizing the core of the state's transportation system, and by tolling drivers to pay for the $183.5 billion project.
Radnofsky continued: "The concession contract I discussed in Rockwall, sections five and six of the Highway 130 project, for example, greatly favors the Cintra-Zachry team, which will receive the lion's share of profits. The negotiators for this contract quite literally gave away the farm--only it wasn't theirs to give.
"Texans cannot afford these corrupt concession contracts, negotiated in secret and planned across Texas on a scale that boggles the imagination, taking private property and taxing Texans with tolls for roads that will be obsolete by the time they are completed."
Zachry Construction's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families rank #7 in donations to the Hutchison campaign, having given $25,600 during this election cycle. (Source: OpenSecrets.org).
The campaign press releases triggering Zachry's reaction are available at http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=ddvwwxbab.0.arsbhpbab.zuw9dpbab.27247&ts=S0201&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.radnofsky.com.
Barbara Ann Radnofsky US Senate 2006
Barbara Ann Radnofsky US Senate 2006
Posted By Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Friedman Says Willie Nelson Should Lead State Energy Efforts
UPDATE: 8/18/2006 4:36:09 FORT WORTH, Texas
(AP) - Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman on Friday reiterated his top pick to implement his energy plan that emphasizes renewable sources: Willie Nelson. Friedman said the country singer/songwriter and benefactor of biodiesel was a natural choice to lead a state energy department or commission, which he wants to create. He also said Nelson "would never have his hand in Texas' pocket." "My plan is to appoint the best people I can find, get out of the way and let them work ... people whose only agenda is to do the right thing for the people of Texas," Friedman told the Fort Worth Rotary Club. "... I really believe that musicians can better run this state than politicians." A Texas biodiesel supplier partnered with Nelson to develop the BioWillie brand of the clean-burning fuel for truckers. It is made from used vegetable oils or soybeans and is blended with diesel, and does not require modification to diesel engines. Nelson is on the board of directors of Dallas-based Earth Biofuels, which produces biodiesel and is the exclusive distributor of Nelson's signature brand of biodiesel. Nelson did not immediately return calls seeking comment Friday. Friedman, who unveiled his energy plan Thursday, said he plans to have 35,000 school buses running on biodiesel fuel, as well as his own vehicle. He said as it catches on, some 7 percent or 8 percent of Texans will be trying biodiesel, resulting in lower prices at gas stations because of supply and demand. "What you're going to see is Texas finally leading the way instead of following behind all the time, being first in something besides executions, toll roads and property taxes," he said. The other gubernatorial candidates running Nov. 7 are Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Democrat Chris Bell, independent candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the state comptroller, and Libertarian James Werner. Friedman said Perry, Bell and Strayhorn have a combined 89 years of political experience among them. "I think politics is the only field in which the more experience you have, the worse you get," Friedman told the crowd of about 300, which roared with laughter throughout his speech. "So I think it's time we had a non-politician as governor."
And just think about this....This Kinky person may steal enough votes to allow the Republicans to keep the Governor's Mansion.
Terry D. Barhorst
Trans-Texas Corridor firm hires ex-Perry aide
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
DALLAS — Republican Gov. Rick Perry's former liaison to the Legislature is working once again for the Spanish company that won the rights to develop the state's $7 billion Trans-Texas Corridor toll road project.
Lobbyist Dan Shelley worked for the firm as a consultant just before he went to the governor's office, a connection first revealed in 2004.
State officials denied any connection between that circumstance and the decision, three months later, to award Cintra-Zachry the huge highway contract. Now Shelley has left the governor's office, and he and his daughter have large contracts to lobby for the road builder, The Dallas Morning News reported today.
This week, Shelley had planned to take four state lawmakers on a four-day, all-expense-paid trip to Canada. But the trip was abruptly postponed by the state transportation department after the newspaper asked questions about it.
A call to Shelley seeking comment was returned by Rossanna Salazar, an Austin spokeswoman for Madrid-based Cintra, who said Shelley's contract with the company prohibits him from discussing his work with news reporters. Salazar confirmed that Shelley was helping to arrange the fact-finding trip to visit a Cintra toll road near Toronto.
"Dan Shelley was going to cover those costs" for the lawmakers' expenses, Salazar said. "He would have had to publicly report those costs to the Texas Ethics Commission."
Texas law does not restrict former gubernatorial staffers from lobbying, but Perry has instituted his own rule for former high-level staffers. They can lobby the Legislature and state agencies but are banned from lobbying the governor's office for a year, or until the end of the first legislative session after they've left, whichever is longer.
"Governor Perry has the strongest ethics policy that any Texas governor has ever had," said Kathy Walt, Perry's spokeswoman.
The Canadian trip was to include a visit to Cintra's state-of-the-art Highway 407 Electronic Toll Road. Interviews with Ontario government officials also were scheduled.
Among the lawmakers included were Rep. Mike Krusee, the Round Rock Republican who heads the House Transportation Committee, and three members of the Senate committee that writes the state budget: Democrats Royce West of Dallas and John Whitmire of Houston, along with Republican Kim Brimer of Fort Worth.
Several top employees of the Texas Department of Transportation also were to go on the trip, but the agency was to pay their way. Transportation department officials said they postponed the trip because a more pressing duty arose.
Though the payment of trip expenses for legislators by Cintra would have been legal, companies stand to gain by having lawmakers' undivided attention for several days, said Tom "Smitty" Smith, director of Public Citizen of Texas, a watchdog group. Lawmakers should use their campaign funds for such expenses, Smith said.
"That's preferable from taking money from corporations that stand to make billions in the continuation of this Trans-Texas Corridor project," he said.
Shelley resigned his state job in September and struck a lobbying deal with Cintra worth between $50,000 and $100,000 to work from March through the end of this year. His daughter and lobbying partner, Jennifer Shelley-Rodriguez, will earn between $25,000 and $50,000 from the company over the same period, state records show.
The Trans-Texas Corridor is Perry's vision for a statewide network of toll roads, rail lines and utility lines to improve transportation for the next 50 years. Cintra-Zachry won the development rights in 2004 to the first corridor section, which will parallel Interstate 35.
The corridor has become an issue in the governor's race, as independent candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn has tried to capitalize on opposition from landowners and others to the project.
When Shelley worked for Cintra before, he never registered as a lobbyist. Instead, he worked nine months as an unregulated "consultant" trying to generate business for the company in Texas.
At the time, the governor's office said Shelley was never paid by the company, because his fees were to be based on any deals closed. They said that when he left the firm before the contract was complete, he gave up the right to such fees.
The director of Texans for Public Justice, a group that tracks money in politics, said the Shelley case demonstrates that the policy and the law both need tightening to prevent "the revolving lobby door."
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