Monday, December 23, 2013

A Little Campaign Hypocrisy via Email

Today I received an email plea for a campaign donation.  This is a daily occurrence for me so that is not the surprising part.  The surprising part was the suggestion from this campaign - a Republican candidate for a statewide office - to talk to my friends and family this holiday season about the candidate and ask for their vote.  

"Can you help by making a contribution of $50, $100 or $200 to us today?  And over the holidays, as you visit with friends and family, will you consider sharing with them about our campaign and asking them to be sure to vote for  (insert candidate name here) in the March 4 Republican Primary?"

Does that sound familiar?

Of course it does.  This is the same suggestion made by Team Obama to talk up the virtues of Obamacare and encourage everyone to sign up for it as you sit around with family and friends this holiday season.  

Those who do not support the government take-over of 1/6 of our national economy and the determination of this Presidential administration to put private health insurance companies out of business in favor of a single payer system mocked and jeered this action from Team Obama.  

Pot/kettle, people.

Let's leave the politics out of the holidays.  Let friends and family gather and give it all a rest.

Justine Sacco Apologizes for Tweet

The communications executive fired for tweeting really ignorant and racist remarks as she flew to Africa mentioned in my last post has now apologized.  I offer this as an update.

Justine Sacco, formerly a PR executive for the Internet giant InterActive Corp., which owns popular websites like,, and Vimeo, was fired over a tweet that came from her account on Friday that read: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"
Here is her apology:

"Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet," Sacco said. "There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand."For being insensitive to this crisis -- which does not discriminate by race, gender or sexual orientation, but which terrifies us all uniformly -- and to the millions of people living with the virus, I am ashamed."This is my father's country, and I was born here. I cherish my ties to South Africa and my frequent visits, but I am in anguish knowing that my remarks have caused pain to so many people here; my family, friends and fellow South Africans. I am very sorry for the pain I caused." 

Did you see that?  Her father is South African and she was born there.  Wow. That adds a whole new level of disgusting depth to the remarks.

I give her this, though.  She issued a real apology.  It seems apologizing is a lost art today.  How many times have we seen an apology that consisted of the words "I'm sorry is anyone was offended"?  That is not an apology.  That is someone caught in a dumb remark and acting as though he/she recognizes it was a mistake.  

It would be far more honest to admit remorse for being caught.

So, kudos to this woman for doing a decent apology that at least sounds as though some thought was put into her words.  It seems heartfelt.

She is a communications specialist, though, so we can only hope it is sincere.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mayor Parker Steps Into Duck Dynasty Controversy

Sometimes our words get us into trouble.  The non-stop chatter on social media is a landmine for potential displays of ugly and/or ignorant statements.  When a person in public office or a big corporate position misbehaves on social media, the consequences are apparent quickly and publicly.

I've chosen to not write about the whole Duck Dynasty patriarch's GQ magazine interview and the conflict with A&E channel executives because so much of it is overwrought and mislabeled as a violation of the man's First Amendment right to free speech.  I see it as a business decision.  I also think A&E knew that the man has spoken less than graciously about gays using biblical beliefs as his guide - I saw a video of him in 2010 doing that - and so it could not have been a surprise.  This is a big, corporate entertainment channel, owned by Disney, with lawyers and contracts and script ideas at their disposal.  Enough already.  There are real problems in the world.

So, along comes Ms. Justine Sacco, a PR executive employed by  InterActive Corp (IAC) and the tweet that stunned the world.  IAC  "  which owns popular websites like OkCupid,, CollegeHumor, The Daily Beast and Vimeo", according to this piece, is reported to have now fired Ms. Sacco.  Here is the tweet:

"Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

So, yeah, that didn't go over so well.  Somehow this public relations executive managed to sound both ignorant and racist in just four short sentences.  It is such an offensive mish mash that local news broadcast anchors would only put the tweet up on the screen and refused to read the whole thing outloud.  

Her employer put out a quick response:
This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.

Ms. Sacco now finds herself among the unemployed.

A public relations executive for the prominent New York-based Internet media company IAC lost her job on Saturday after she posted a message joking about AIDS in Africa and race on her Twitter account, sparking an online furor. 

Her Twitter account?  Deleted.  Long flight home from Africa, I'm guessing.

Then, from the elected officials arena, the mayor of my own city decided to weigh in on the Duck Dynasty brouhaha with her own bit of gracelessness.  

Houston Mayor Annise Parker on Saturday took a shot at "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson, calling the backwood baron of duck calls and reality TV star a "redneck wingnut" in relation to his views on homosexuality.Parker, in a midday tweet, called Robertson's views "completely irrelevant," following on a remark she made to John Wright, publisher of Lone Star Q, a Texas-based blog focused on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues."I've been a gay community activist since the mid-70s," Wright quoted Parker as saying. "It was a very different time. We were fighting to keep people out of jails and mental hospitals. What some redneck wingnut has to say about the GLBT community is completely irrelevant."Parker followed the Friday quip with a tweet Saturday. "I was serious. Who cares?" Parker wrote on her official mayoral Twitter account, followed by nearly 25,000.

"Who cares?"  Kinda puts Hillary Clinton's infamous "What does it really matter?" tone deaf and flippant remark back into a person's mind, doesn't it?  We need better from the mayor of our nation's fourth largest city.  As an elected official, working for all of the people of the City of Houston, not just the ones she chooses to work for, she would do well to remember to act as a professional.  We deserve better dialogue than "redneck wingnut".

We need respectful dialogue brought back into politics.  The recent election cycles here in Houston have been hideous, frankly, with far more personal destruction attacks used in campaigns than arguments on policy and issues.  Some politicians now sound little better than common street thugs. Disagree with the candidate on his/her qualifications or rhetoric? That candidate and surrogates will go after the dissenter personally and publicly.

Politics 101 teaches that politics is the art of persuasion.  Who is persuaded with this comment?

Be worthy of the office or position you hold.  Lead by example.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Endangered Democrats Feeling the Obamacare Heat

Lousiana's Senior Senator (Democrat), Mary Landrieu, is feeling the heat from the fall-out of implementation of Obamacare.  She's up for re-election in 2014 and considered to be one of the most vulnerable.

Small business, in particular, are weighing in against Landrieu and other Democrats who forced Obamacare on the American consumer on a party line vote.  The irony? Landrieu chairs the Small Business Committee:
Sen. Mary Landrieu, Who Chairs The Small Business Committee, Boasts On Her Senate Website That “She Is Leading Efforts To Ensure All Small Businesses Have Access To…Superior Health Insurance At A Low Cost.” “As chair of the Small Business Committee, she is leading efforts to ensure all small businesses have access to capital and contracts, superior health insurance at a low cost and the resources needed to help boost our economy and guarantee America’s competiveness in the global marketplace. (“Biography,”, Accessed 12/17/13)
In 2009, Landrieu Insisted That ObamaCare “Drives Down Costs And Expands Affordable Health Care Choices For Millions Of Families And Small Businesses.”LANDRIEU: “I am voting for this bill because it achieves the goals I laid out at the beginning of this debate: it drives down costs and expands affordable health care choices for millions of families and small businesses in Louisiana and around the nation.  Any claim to the contrary, is a pathetic lie meant to derail this bill, a tactic that was all too common during this debate.” (Sen. Mary Landrieu, Congressional Record, 12/22/09, S13736) 

In typical Landrieu arrogance mode, she asserts she would support a vote for Obamacare again!

MARY LANDRIEU: The Affordable Care Act as I said, the bill itself, has very good concepts. And yes, I would support it again. But that doesn’t excuse the poor rollout of what should have happened. There should not have been a glitch in the software.

And in Arkansas -

According to the last polling results, Senator Mark Pryor has a 7 point deficit running against Republican challenger Rep Tom Cotton.
Plus this:

Cotton is ahead among independents by 21 points and among women by 4 points.

Small businesses in Arkansas are not happy with Senator Pryor and are running this ad in the state during the holiday season:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Donate Wisely This Holiday Season

I received this in an email from a friend.  This is very interesting information to have when you write a check to those soliciting funds this holiday season.  Donate wisely.  Do the most good with the dollars you donate!

As you open your pockets to do a good thing and make yourself feel good, please keep the following facts in mind: ----------------------------
The American Red Cross
President and CEO Marsha J. Evans'
salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses
It is called the March of Dimes because
only a dime for every 1 dollar is given to the needy.
The United Way
President Brian Gallagher
receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.
CEO Caryl M. Stern receives
$1,200,000 per year (100k permonth) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE.
Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause.
GOODWILL CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year.
Goodwill is a very catchy name for his business.
You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT. 
He pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage! Nice Guy. 
$0.00 goes to help anyone! 
Stop giving to this man.
Instead, give it to ANY OF THE FOLLOWING
The Salvation Army
Commissioner, Todd Bassett receives a small salary of only
$13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization.
96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.
The American Legion
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. 
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Veterans of Foreign Wars
National Commander receives a$0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Disabled American Veterans
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. 
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Military Order of Purple Hearts
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. 
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Vietnam Veterans AssociationNational Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
Make a Wish: For children's last wishes.
100% goes to funding trips or special wishes for a dying child.
St. Jude Research Hospital
100% goes towards funding and helping Children with Cancer who have no insurance and cannot afford to pay.
Ronald McDonald Houses
All monies go to running the houses for parents who have critical Children in the hospital.
100% goes to h ousing, and feeding the families.
Lions Club International

Sunday, December 08, 2013

United Republicans of Harris County Begins Endorsement Process

The endorsement process has begun for the Board of Directors of United Republicans of Harris County.  As a reminder, United Republicans of Harris County (URHC) is the only endorsement slate offered to Harris County voters which DOES NOT participate in the pay for play system. URHC accepts no contributions in exchange for endorsements of any candidate running for county wide or state wide office.

From the website:
United Republicans has been a much recognized part of the Republican Primary with our extensive endorsement process.  In the hope of providing ethical and well qualified nominees for our Party, our endorsements are much sought after by candidates running for office.  Our hands on process of interviewing candidates in person and providing them with questionnaires regarding their qualifications makes us unique to the political process.  We are the ONLY such organization in Harris County that has continually and consistently provided a venue for candidates to be considered fairly based on merit, qualifications, and participation in the Republican Party.  We are the ONLY organization in Harris County to interview candidates in person as part of our selection process.  Our Board Members literally spend hours researching candidates before endorsements are issued in order to provide you the voter with the best possible recommendations.  We are proud of our accomplishment of being the only endorsing entity in Harris County to have chosen the WinningCongressional Candidate in all of the open Congressional seats in our greater Houston region.
URHC is beginning first with those candidates seeking state wide office, then following with those seeking county wide office in the personal interview process.

URHC is committed to providing an alternative to the corrupt pay for play system currently dominating county politics.  The system has shrunk the Republican party into an environment of a handful of men who make big bucks at the expense of candidates.  The system also produces lazy campaigning - if all a candidate thinks he/she has to do is pay for endorsements from those running the show, why go out and ask for votes?  Why go out and get to know those who will be affected by your office?

This system also discourages intelligent, ethical, forward thinking individuals from running for office.  The vicious cycle must be broken.

Stay tuned.  The endorsement/interviewing process takes lots of hours and research from the Board of Directors, who conduct the interviews and vote on the endorsements brought forward.

I am a member of the Board of Directors of United Republicans of Harris County.