Skip to main content


I've looked and looked, but cannot find a petition to sign.

Affordable Stare Act (2015)

For Immediate Release

MADISON, Wisconsin - April 1, 2015 - Ballotpedia, the definitive online encyclopedia for U.S. Politics, announced a partnership with the White House and Congressional leadership today. Ballotpedia staffers worked around the clock to draft new legislation that would dramatically lower the costs and increase availability of skull-penetrating eye contact for all Americans. Known as the Affordable Stare Act (ASA), the legislation has garnered unprecedented bipartisan support on Capitol Hill and is expected to be passed by Congress in the next few days and signed into law by President Obama within a week.

“The folks at Ballotpedia have done exactly what President Obama has been asking Americans to do - recognize a need in our society and step up to do something about it,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest in his morning briefing today. “The lack of high-quality stares in the United States today has gone unnoticed long enough. It’s our pleasure to work with Ballotpedia to make this much-needed legislation a reality as quickly as possible.”

Details of the 16,403-page bill are still emerging, but an initial reading shows the ASA will use federal money from a new tax on sales of eyeglasses and contact lenses to fund State-based public programs offering free “no-blink” training, courses on advanced topics like “passive gaze deflection,” and staring contests.

http://ballotpedia.org/Affordable_Stare_Act_(2015) (Be sure to click through for the pics.)
Continue Reading
Banner for Kitchen Table Kibitzing

In November 2013, a hardworking man stood up for farmers against the worst of the sharks in the Shark Tank. Johnny Georges had only been marketing his Tree T-Pee water containment system in a 5-county area in Florida, but wanted "to promote water conservation world wide" and needed the sharks' help to grow his business.

As the sharks prodded him to raise his price per unit, though, it seemed unlikely they would make a deal. At the end, Johnny's eyes fill with tears as he talks about what his father taught him. If you haven't see this already, I thought y'all might enjoy watching tonight.

Continue Reading
Texas Kos banner
We have lined up yet another fantastic speaker for our kossack meetup in Austin on Saturday, February 28th! Longtime-kossack Katherine Haenschen, editor and publisher of the Burnt Orange Report, is joining us to share some of her insights regarding the current state of Texas politics. Known here as kath25, she has quite an impressive bio:
Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She has previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Austin. In addition to serving as the president of Austin Young Democrats, she is also UCONN's #1 fan in Texas.
My personal favorite of Katherine's recent posts at BOR is In Which We Join The Blame Game and Criticize Democrats Who Tried In Texas. Here's how she begins:
There’s been a lot of Democratic finger-pointing in Texas over the past week. I open my newspaper or my newsfeed and I see a pretty aggressive effort to assign blame to a bunch of people that worked really hard over the last six months to two years to a lifetime to try and change this state.
Yep, this was posted one week after the November 2014 election, and she accurately sums up most of what I was seeing as well. And then she proceeds to recognize the efforts of so many organizations whose volunteers and staff tried to elect Democrats in Texas last year. I was literally cheering by the time I got to her conclusion:
Far too many people appear excessively eager to condemn the hard, sweaty work of others who left it all out on the field. It never fails to amuse me to see who magically appears for the circle-jerking firing squad pointed at people that busted their asses to do meaningful work.

Sure, there are some serious questions about the outcome of this cycle that need to be addressed — so that we can all learn and do better next time. But I fail to see the value in personal attacks on people who have probably not slept more than 5 consecutive hours since Labor Day.

Was there no way for individuals who are so critical now to contribute meaningfully to anything on the ballot anywhere in Texas or nationally? If the existing organizations fail to suit one’s fancy, there’s nothing stopping anyone from starting their own effort and making a difference at the precinct, district, or county level, before moving on from there.
[....]
Believing in a better world in which every Texan is given a chance to succeed is hard. We haven’t seen much of that from our state government in the last two decades. Doing the work to change that is hard. Tearing down those who do it is easy.

So thanks to everyone who left it out there on the field for progressives and Democrats. All of us at Burnt Orange Report respect and admire your courage and commitment to our candidates. You and your energy are what will keep this movement moving forward, and why we will — eventually — prevail.

Yes, we will. I am looking forward to hearing what Katherine has to say at our meetup.

In case you missed our previous Texas Meetup diaries, our other speakers are equally fantastic:

  • Meteor Blades will speak about the power of precinct organizing to GOTV.
  • Denise Oliver-Velez will talk about the importance of registering, and motivating and mobilizing young voters (especially young people of color) - and her experience with helping them understand how voting directly affects their lives.
  • Egberto Willies will share what he has learned about blogging to attract the maximum number of eyeballs to your message.
  • navajo will offer pointers for maximizing the DK forum and growing groups.

We hope you're able to join us in Austin on February 28. All Kossacks are welcome, including out-of-staters. And if you're in a part of Texas that does not currently have a Daily Kos group, this would be the perfect opportunity to meet with other Kossacks and maybe even develop a plan to start a group yourself!

Because Daily Kos is sponsoring the lunch and seminar room, there is no charge to attend the event itself. But space is limited, so you must RSVP to attend. Just post a comment or kosmail me to RSVP.

Continue Reading
Banner for Kitchen Table Kibitzing


I thought that this article was interesting and a beautiful distraction, and hope that everyone enjoys the beautiful orchid pics at the link: Orchidelirium, an Obsession with Orchids, Has Lasted for Centuries. For those like me who didn't know that such a thing as orchidelirium exists:
Orchids have long been the subject of intense scientific interest and at times, emotional obsession. "When a man falls in love with orchids, he'll do anything to possess the one he wants. It's like chasing a green-eyed woman or taking cocaine. . . it's a sort of madness," proclaims an orchid hunter in Susan Orlean’s bestselling book The Orchid Thief. This level of devotion has inspired significant investment in the flower throughout history, even motivating scientific breakthroughs that have made the once-elusive bloom plentiful and affordable enough for the everyday person.

Prior to advances in the last century, however, orchids were exclusively the purview of the elite. During the 1800s, a fascination for collecting the flowers erupted into hysteria. The craze, dubbed "orchidelirium," produced prices in the thousands of dollars. Special hunters were employed to track down exotic varieties in the wild and bring them to collectors, keen to display them in ornate, private greenhouses.

"Back in those days," says the Smithsonian's orchid specialist Tom Mirenda and curator of a new show that opened this week at the National Museum of Natural History, "orchids were for the rich, even royalty." Orchids in the wild, he says, were seen as "one-of-a-kind, true rarities."

Thus far, they have only Tweeted one pic, which I posted below.
Continue Reading
Diary header banner for Daily Kos Inoculation Project diaries.
Solid science education is the best inoculation against ignorance.
The Inoculation Project, founded in 2009 by hyperbolic pants explosion, is a group of Kossacks who gather weekly to combat the anti-science push in conservative America by providing direct funding to science and math projects in red state classrooms. Our conduit is DonorsChoose.org, a fifteen-year-old organization rated highly by both Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau. Here's a little introductory video about DonorsChoose. DonorsChoose.org allows you to make direct contributions to specific, vetted projects in public school classrooms, resulting in tremendous and immediate impacts from small dollar donations. Each week, we focus on funding a single small-dollar project at a time, in a traditionally red state classroom and preferably in a high-poverty district.

DNA_Overview2tyson science literacy quotegalaxy system arp 274
Look for us every SUNDAY morning at 10 AM ET/ 7 AM PT.
Continue Reading
Table with yellow teapot and cloth embroidered with blue flowers

Thought y'all might enjoy a video that should've been named "Dogged Determination."

Continue Reading
Texas Kos banner
Last month, Chrislove announced that we are planning our second statewide meet-up, and why:
Now that we have mostly recovered from the immediate effects of Election Day, Texas progressives have work to do. We knew from the beginning that efforts to flip the state would be a long-term project, and just as Republicans didn't take control overnight, we are not going to retake Texas without a long, hard fight. Now is the time to pull together, talk, plan, but most of all, never lose hope.

[...] Every cog, every organizing effort, every activist outlet in our Texas progressive movement matters, and Daily Kos plays an important role in our future as a battleground state. There are many of us Kossacks in Texas, both vocal and lurking (and somewhere in between), and we hope to bring even more into our shared struggle. Here in Houston, the Houston Area Kossacks group has served as an activist launching pad for several of us. While our metro area is too sprawling to have effective group activist events, our meet-ups have served as a clearinghouse for sharing information, and many of us have become much more active in our own areas of the city. And that should really be the point of any Daily Kos group--after all, we are here to elect more and better Democrats.

In the spring, we want to bring together Kossacks from across the state and region so we can lift each other up, share strategies, inspire and become inspired, and keep up the momentum toward tipping the balance of power in Texas. All while meeting new people and forging new friendships with our fellow Kossacks, of course.

We decided on Saturday 2/28 in Austin for our main meet-up based on the input we received as well as on the date for the annual Zilker Park Kite Festival, which begins around 11:00am on Sunday 3/1 and was an enjoyable part of our last statewide meet-up.

The next thing we knew, though, navajo had swooped in offering to come visit with us again as well as official support for our event from Daily Kos, and we gratefully accepted!

Continue Reading

A magazine cover has never before made me as angry as Texas Monthly's cover featuring state Senator Wendy Davis as the winner of their "Bum Steer" award. So congrats, Texas Monthly, for descending to a new low this month and for doing your utmost to contribute to the poisoning of political discourse in our state.

As an antidote, though, I highly recommend Andrea Grimes' brilliant takedown: Let’s Talk About That Wendy Davis Cover of ‘Texas Monthly.’

[refresh the page if you cannot see the Tweet above]

Grimes begins by talking about the hope that Wendy's pink sneakers, the ones that she wore while standing and filibustering for 13 hours in June 2013, represent for so many Texas women. As y'all may recall, Senate rules required that she stand the entire time, have nothing to drink or to eat, and talk about relevant matters (not read from Green Eggs and Ham). I am still in awe that Wendy had the stamina to do that.

After then reviewing the tradition behind the "bum steer" award, Grimes turns her attention to the magazine cover that accompanies this year's award:

But this magazine cover, y’all. This magazine cover is something else. Just months after Texas Monthly lauded Davis as a potentially serious political threat—along with San Antonio’s Joaquin and Julian Castro—under the headline “Game On?“, the magazine flung her into a cow pasture in an act of pure, derisive mockery. All for the crime of running for office and losing.

And, perhaps more pointedly, for the crime of running for office as a woman. The cover follows a long bipartisan tradition of deeply misogynistic mainstream portrayals of women who work in politics. The tropes are easy enough to name: Sarah Palin as a dippy pin-up, Hillary Clinton as a ball-busting bitch, Condoleezza Rice suffering the double-whammy of racism and sexism as a GOP line-toeing mammy. When it comes to Davis, this cover—like many other less sleekly produced Davis renderings, from “Abortion Barbie,” to made-up Wendy condoms, to a variety of takes on the fact that she attended Harvard while married to a human man—doesn’t just caricature her. It portrays her as ugly, weak, self-absorbed and prissy. Whatever the failures of her campaign, those are not traits Davis possesses.

Be sure to click through to the links that Grimes has provided. If you haven't been keeping up with the woman haters' attacks, they're jaw-dropping.
Continue Reading
Diary header banner for Daily Kos Inoculation Project diaries.
Solid science education is the best inoculation against ignorance.
The Inoculation Project, founded in 2009 by hyperbolic pants explosion, is a group of Kossacks who gather weekly to combat the anti-science push in conservative America by providing direct funding to science and math projects in red state classrooms. Our conduit is DonorsChoose.org, a fourteen-year-old organization rated highly by both Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau. Here's a little introductory video about DonorsChoose. DonorsChoose.org allows you to make direct contributions to specific, vetted projects in public school classrooms, resulting in tremendous and immediate impacts from small dollar donations. Each week, we focus on funding a single small-dollar project at a time, in a traditionally red state classroom and preferably in a high-poverty district.

DNA_Overview2tyson science literacy quotegalaxy system arp 274
Look for us every SUNDAY morning at 10 AM ET/ 7 AM PT.
Continue Reading

Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 05:00 PM PST

Kitchen Table Kibitzing: 11/24/14

by nomandates

For some unexplained reason, we are being forced to wait until 8:00pm Central tonight to find out whether the grand jury has decided to indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. It is difficult to think about anything else at the moment.

Continue Reading

Mon Nov 10, 2014 at 05:26 PM PST

Hammering at the Rock

by nomandates

As most of you already know, state Senator Wendy Davis will not be the next governor of Texas despite the efforts of so many, including those at Daily Kos who applauded her courage and stamina in filibustering for 13 hours and then supported her throughout her campaign. I am grateful to all who stood with us as we fought to take back our state from the Republican Tea Party of Texas. Thank you so much.

In all of the chaos that is Election Day, I thought that you might have missed hearing Wendy's heartfelt speech to supporters that night. In it, she acknowledges that, of course, we are all disappointed, and why:

Voices that had been held down and pent up for decades all through this state cried out and demanded to be heard in the most incredible exercise in democracy and determination and just plain old raw fight that this state has seen in decades.
Yes, we did. And we're not about to sit down and shut up now.
Continue Reading
With only three weekends remaining to get out the vote (GOTV) for the November 4th Election, every weekend must be a Weekend of Action if Texas Democrats are going to elect Wendy Davis as our next governor and Leticia Van de Putte as our next lieutenant governor, plus all of our other qualified and endorsed statewide candidates, plus our downballot candidates.

So last Monday, Chrislove announced that we won't have our usual Houston Area Kossacks meet-up this month; instead, we are encouraging everyone to volunteer to help GOTV:

The designated TexKos Weekend of Action will be the last weekend of the month: October 25-26. [...] During the Weekend of Action, we strongly encourage every single Texas Kossack to do something with Battleground Texas, whether it is making phone calls or walking door to door. It doesn't have to be all weekend, although the more activism you can do the better. If it's only a few hours, it's still something toward prying Texas out of the grips of Republicans. Then, either nomandates or I will be posting a diary on Monday reporting on our Weekend of Action here in Houston and asking everybody else from around the state to report how it went in their neck of the woods.

Of course, this TexKos Weekend of Action should not be taken to mean that every weekend (and, indeed, every day) should not be action-filled. That's why, leading up to our big Weekend of Action, nomandates and I will be posting diaries every Monday in October asking Texas Kossacks to report back about how their weekends went. But we know people are busy. We know that not everybody can devote every weekend to this election. So we ask that, if you can't do anything the rest of the month, at least try to participate in whatever way you can in our Weekend of Action on October 25-26.

We know, though, that some volunteers are already committed to helping elect various Texas Democratic candidates and that some Kossacks who live outside our state are huge Wendy supporters, so our call to action has been modified to reflect that:

During the Weekend of Action, we strongly encourage every single Texas Kossack or Wendy Davis supporter to do something with Battleground Texas or with a Texas Democratic candidate's campaign, whether it is making phone calls or walking door to door.

Continue Reading
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.

RSS

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site