Archive for September, 2012

Appeals court upholds open meetings law

A federal court has decided to uphold the Texas Open Meetings Law.

The three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a group of local officials from across the state Tuesday.

The local officials argued that the Open Meetings Act stifled their free speech because it prohibits government officials from gathering to deliberate secretly.

A U.S. district judge disagreed and ruled against them back in 2009, which led to them filing an appeal, but the appeals court affirmed the district court’s ruling.

Lawmakers remember former GOP Chairman Frederick Meyer

Republicans are mourning the loss of former state party chairman, Frederick Meyer. Meyer passed away today in Dallas at the age of 84. Meyer was a businessman, and served as the State Party Chairman from 1988-1994.

Current Republican Part of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri released this statement, today:

"I was saddened to learn of the passing of former State Chairman Fred Meyer. When I was on the State Republican Executive Committee, Fred was the well-respected Chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party and building a strong organization in the Metroplex. I also well remember his time as State Chairman, as he had an excellent reputation for building up the Party’s infrastructure and taking care of the nuts and bolts of the political operations."

"I am most appreciative of the fact that since I have been State Chairman, Fred was very supportive of my efforts and that of the Party. He was one of the hosts for our Dallas County fundraiser and I have had the chance to visit with him multiple times since. I am particularly glad that a short time ago, I had an opportunity to visit with him at length. On behalf of all those that are active in the Party, I expressed to him how much we have all appreciated him and how his work laid the groundwork for where the Republican Party is today. He was a great American and patriot, and he will be missed."

This is Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst’s statement:

"We’ve lost a great Texan. Fred was a close friend, a stalwart businessman, and an incomparable leader in making Texas a conservative powerhouse. His tireless devotion to helping the business and political community, along with his generous philanthropy, should serve as a model for all Texans’ civic efforts. Tricia and I send our deepest condolences to the Meyer family and they will be in our thoughts and prayers."

Here is the statement released by former President George W. Bush

"Laura and I mourn the loss of our dear friend Fred Meyer. Fred helped build the Republican party in Texas, and we are grateful for his contributions to the Lone Star State. Our thoughts and prayers are with Barbara and their children."

Gov. Perry blasts new Fed stimulus plan; calls for Bernanke’s resignation

Governor Rick Perry is renewing his calls for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to resign, in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s new emergency stimulus program. Perry called the Fed’s ‘quantitative easing’ plan to buy $40 billion dollars a month in assets "shocking, even by Washington standards." The plan, announced today, would entail buying mortgage-backed securities in an effort to make home buying more affordable.

In a statement today, Chairman Ben Bernanke said "The new MBS purchases—combined with the existing maturity extension program and the continued reinvestment of principal payments from agency debt and agency MBS already on our balance sheet—will result in an increase in our holdings of longer term securities of about $85 billion each month for the remainder of the year."

Gov. Perry, who has called Bernanke ‘treasonous’ in the past, fired back at the announcement. His office issued a statement, saying:

"Not only is QE3 no solution to our economic woes, it represents a huge step backward. While it might provide a temporary boost – or at least maintain the sluggish status quo – before the November elections, it will add untold billions of dollars to the Fed’s balance sheet to give the illusion of an improving economy. Yet the Chairman knows full well that the economy continues to be dragged down by incompetent leadership in Washington that has us stuck, in his own words, on an “unsustainable fiscal path.”

In essence, this is the mother of all bailouts – with Mr. Bernanke throwing trillions of dollars at the economy to cover up Washington’s fiscal failures. But this bailout has potentially devastating long-term consequences in the form of a weaker dollar and the increased likelihood of inflation. And, not coincidentally, we have seen rising commodity prices in recent years even as real incomes are declining – making life in the middle class all the more difficult.

Last year, I suggested that Mr. Bernanke should resign. Now, I believe even more strongly that he should go, and take his failed policies with him.”

Colorful characters crowd Charlotte streets outside convention

It’s a festive scene outside the Time Warner Cable Arena here in Charlotte. Thousands of delegates, Obama supporters and vendors crowd the streets before and after each day’s convention session.

It’s vastly different than the vibe outside Republicans’ convention in Tampa, where the streets were mostly deserted during non-convention times. Being in both cities, we did notice that the security perimeter may have played a part in the crowd control. The zone in Tampa stretched several blocks around the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and popular hot-spots like the CNN Grill were hidden within. Here in Charlotte, security is set up closer to the arena, and CNN and MSNBC’s set-ups are highly visible in the Uptown Epicenter, visible to anyone walking by.

In both cities, delegates could be seen wearing their support for their candidates on their sleeves. While the Republicans opted for matching shirts and hats identifying their delegations, the Democrats are much less uniform; but certainly no less spirited.

Below is a slideshow from the sights outside the arena, today:

State Sen. Rodney Ellis talks current strategy of the Democratic Party

State Senator Rodney Ellis stopped by our Capital Tonight set at the Democratic National Convention to talk about the current strategy of the Democratic Party.

Watch the entire interview in the video above.

State Rep. Mark Strama talks inspiration and early days in politics

State Representative Mark Strama sat down with YNN’s Paul Brown to discuss his inspiration in politics and what led him into the world of public service.

Watch the entire interview in the video below.

Michelle Obama shares message with DNCC caucuses

First Lady Michelle Obama is riding a wave of popular support in Charlotte, following what most are calling a home run speech last night.

There wasn’t much time for the delegates’ excitement to wear off. Hundreds lined up at the Charlotte Convention Center for a second opportunity to see the First Lady in person. She attended both the Black and Hispanic caucus meetings.

Mrs. Obama followed up on many of the themes from her prime time address. She touted her husband’s stance on health care reform, women’s rights, the auto industry and small business.

Perhaps more than anything, though, Obama stressed the importance of getting out the vote in swing states; and urged those who don’t live in swing states to visit some. Fundraising is also of upmost importance. She told the Hispanic caucus, "If you can afford to write a check, then write a check. If you’ve written a check and you haven’t maxed out, max out."

Supporters we spoke with said not only do they adore President Obama’s policies, but they have a special affinity for the first lady. "She’s flawless, and she represents everybody in America," said delegate Janice Flemons. "She a mom, she’s a wife, she’s professional, she went to college. She is everything."

Below is a slideshow of Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Convention address, as well as her appearance at the Hispanic caucus, Wednesday.

Houston Mayor praises gay marriage platform

The first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, Annise Parker of Houston, is celebrating the Democratic party platform which formally recognizes marriage equality for the first time.

Mayor Parker sat down with Paul Brown to discuss the platform change and why so many Texas Mayors are Democrats, despite the Republican hold on the state.

Sen. Van de Putte talks Obama’s chances, school vouchers at DNC

"Capital Tonight’s" Paul Brown sat down with Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte in Charlotte, Tuesday, at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Sen. Van de Putte is taking a more relaxed role during this year’s convention, after co-chairing the DNC in 2008. Watch the video below to hear the senator talk about her experience in Charlotte, plus, her take on the fight over education funding which is on the horizon for the Texas legislature.

Texas dems residing in rustic water park resort

Much like their Republican counterparts, the Texas delegation at the Democratic National Convention is housed at a resort far from the convention location.

While Texas republicans enjoyed a luxury spa retreat, the democrats are staying at a Concord, NC lodge style resort, complete with an indoor water park. They’re staying at the Great Wolf Lodge, about half an hour north of Uptown Charlotte. The loge is guarded by two giant wolves, outside. Inside, meanwhile, red, white and blue banners and balloons hang from the log walls and antler-chandeliers, right along side huge fire places and likenesses (we think!) of stuffed bears and wolves.

Click below for some photos from the delegates’ hotel: