Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Through the Years

Have you ever noticed that our views and feelings of Christmas can change over the years?  Sometimes Christmas is awesome and fun and exciting and then you grow up and Christmas is, well,  different.  Not necessarily bad, just different.  I think my Christmas experience began to change when I was about sixteen years old.  I don't think I ever shared this with my parents, although they may have noticed and graciously not said anything. 

Sure, I was a brat like most kids can be around that time of year.  My mom loves to tell the story about how one Christmas when I was about fourteen or fifteen, she decided to wrap my presents in one kind of paper and my sister's presents in a different kind of paper, without any names on them.  I promptly threw a fit.  Apparently, I made life so miserable for her, that she finally relented and put names on the packages.  So, you see, a total brat.

When I turned sixteen, I started to feel frustrated with the holiday and all of the expectations that were (and still are) placed on gift givers.  I started to get angry with people for not celebrating what I considered the true meaning of Christmas, which was the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  I used to feel out of control and helpless about the situation because I wanted to change the world's attitude and opinion of the most special holiday of the year.  I wouldn't even have called myself a Christian back then either, which is quite humorous, given my righteous indignation about the whole thing.

As I've gotten older, though, my frustration has given way to introspection and self examination.  Now, I know that doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun to do at what is supposed to be one of the most exciting and happiest holidays of the year, but I think it's necessary.  We are called as Christians to examine ourselves and our hearts on a regular basis, even when it isn't Christmas.  The thought alone that God would love this world enough to wrap his love in flesh and then sacrifice his son;  his one and only son so that we could live in heaven with him for all of eternity?  That, my friend, is the sort of thing spurs me on to want to be better, or to try to be better. 

Something else that happens when you think about God's love for us is that it makes you want to remove all impurity from your heart and mind and life and replace it with obedience and joy and happiness.  God gave us His son and His Word for our benefit, for our life to be lived abundantly, not to punish us or to hinder us.  He gave those things to us because he knows that we need limitations to protect our hearts from sin.

I pray that this Christmas night, as I sit here and type this, that you and your family are experiencing joy and peace and love.  Not because of the gifts that are under your tree, but because of the gifts that are around your tree.  Your family and friends are the real gifts in your lives.  Forget about the commercialization of the holiday, as I so fervently wished for the world as a teenager, and make it about a wonderful blessing of a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.  Merry Christmas to your family from mine. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Invite Jesus Everyday

Hello, readers!  Welcome back to The Political Chicken!  If you notice the title, it doesn't look very political, and it isn't.  This is a place where my politics and faith sometimes meet and I share about both of them, because I am a Christian. 

Let me set the stage for this blog post:
My family and I attend Second Baptist Church and we love it there.   We were at church recently and one of the youth pastors was leading us in a prayer honoring our Veterans, which was quite nice.  He used the word, 'invite' in his prayer, as in he was 'inviting' the Holy Spirit to our worship and into the hearts and lives of the Veterans.

For some reason that word, 'invite' really got to me.  I mean, it really struck a chord with me and I wanted to write about it and teach it to my kids immediately.  I was really excited!  I started thinking about how an invite is intentional.  You don't normally hand out invitations to something important like a wedding or a birthday party by accident, do you?  No, you're intentional and you're selective about who you're going to ask to attend.

So, in order to demonstrate this, I wrote on three index cards the words, 'You're Invited'.  I handed them out to my three boys as a way to invite them to our nightly devotional time.  At first, they looked at me like I was crazy.  "You're inviting us to home devotional, Mom?"  The mystery was kind of fun, actually.  I couldn't wait to reveal what I had been contemplating all day to share with them.

After dinner, we gathered together, each one with their invitations.  I asked them how it felt to be invited?  How did they feel the last time a friend invited them to a party?  I got the following responses:
"Special"
"Included"
"Welcomed"
"Wanted"
"Loved"

Yes, yes, and yes.  I was so happy because I felt that they really had grasped the concept of the invitation.  I also explained to them that in order to become Christians, you have to invite Jesus into your heart to rule and reign for the rest of your life.   My oldest son has done that already, but the other two have not.  I have faith that they will make that decision very soon.

I went one step further and reminded them that not only do we invite Jesus into our hearts to be Lord of our lives, but we need to make a conscious effort to invite Jesus into our heart and into our day EVERYDAY.  We can all get busy and stressed; at least I do.  That's usually when I have to stop and think if I had prayed and asked God to guide my day.  If the answer is 'no', then I have made an unwise decision. 

Asking God into your day and praying daily is always important, but it's especially important to do now that we are in the "most wonderful time of the year".  Like the song says, "with Holiday greetings and gay, happy meetings when friends come to call."  I hope you and your family have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Home School Mom: Keep Fighting the Good Fight

If you're a home school mom like me, and you're reading this, I hope this blog post encourages you.  I am a home school mom to three lovely boys.  My husband and I decided as a married couple years before we had children to home school them, one reason was because my husband was home schooled his entire school career.  We also wanted to direct the path our children's education; something we knew was more difficult to do if we chose public school.  We decided and made our plans for career choices accordingly. 

I love being a mom.  I was made for being a mom and the children God gave to me to take care of are perfect for me and their dad to parent; all part of God's design.  I also love being a teacher.  I like it when my kids ask for my help and we get through a lesson.  Yes, there are tears and struggles during the day, heck, sometimes my kids cry, too.

There are a million things going on in our house on any given day. We have chores to do and meals to cook and dishes to clean.  There is coffee to brew and drink and snacks to make and eat.  Sometimes one kid is up doing a chore like running the vacuum and the others are trying to study for a test.  Other days, mostly Wednesdays, we wash our sheets and the kids pile up the mattresses at the end of the stairs and jump off the landing on top of the pile of mattresses.  So THAT could also be happening.

Some days are GREAT at school because no one has a test to worry about or a paper to write.  We might even finish school before lunch sometimes and that's when you feel like a success.  You feel successful because you know that if they were in public school, they'd still be sitting at a desk dying to get up and release some of that bottled up energy.  Then, some days it feels like HOUSE ARREST!!!!  Lessons DRAAAAAG out because no one, including the teacher, wants to be there.  Everyone would rather be zoned out in front of the television or blogging on the computer.  Hmmmm.....

As I'm writing this, it's one of the days that seem to drag on and on.  I'm feeling frustrated and so is one of my boys, so  I wrapped my arm around his shoulder and said, "Are you upset because the day is seeming to take so long?"  He nodded his head yes.  Then I told him, "Honey, it's only one day.  Some days are smoother than others.  It's okay to have a day that takes a little longer than others."  And then I taught myself something while talking to him.  Don't you love it when God does that?  

I say all of that to say this; homeschooling and life is best when handled on a day by day basis.  While doing family devotion the other night, we came across this scripture in 2Timothy 4:7-8 that has helped me, and I'll share it with you now: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

You can take that to the bank, moms and dads.  When you feel like giving up, think on Paul's reminder to Timothy about fighting the good fight and keeping the faith.  We're all going to get that crown of glory.  Take things one day at a time.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Congress Has Never Met An Earmark They Didn't Like

Hello, my pretties!  Welcome back to TPC on the flip side of quite possibly the craziest election season EVAH!  I worked this election harder than I have ever worked one before.  I knocked on doors and phone banked and placed yard signs all throughout my precinct.  I was even able to recruit volunteers to work the election in my spare time.  Whew!

That said, I was thoroughly disappointed in the results of the county wide races here in Harris County.  We lost three very important positions, the utmost, in my opinion, was the Tax-Assessor Collector which was held by Republican incumbent Mike Sullivan.  Mike's office is in charge of keeping the voter rolls clean in Harris County and with the Democrats at the ready to steal elections, the fact that a Democrat won that seat makes it even easier for them to do so.

I know that I made no secret about not being a Trump supporter, however, I was personally thankful to see Hillary go down in flames.  With a Republican majority in Congress, we should be able to right the wrongs of an out of control leftist agenda, right?  Think again, kids.

I want to ask you a multiple choice question.  Not one week after the 2016 general election, Republicans in Congress are itching to:
a.)Reign in the federal government
b.)Repeal and replace Obamacare
c.)Repeal redundant laws and sunset government agencies
d.) Lift the ban on earmarks.
If you chose 'd', you're correct.  

Club for Growth doesn't think we should.  According to their president, David McIntosh, " “This is a test of whether Republicans are listening to the American people,” said Club for Growth president David McIntosh. “It’s been barely a week since voters sent a resounding rejection of Washington insider politics, and yet House Republicans are already on the verge of proving they’re tone deaf. Earmarks represent the worst of inside-the-beltway gamesmanship, by enticing Members to vote for big-government bills with the lure of getting tax dollars for big projects back in their districts. House Republicans banned earmarks in 2011, but some have been trying to get back their spending power ever since. Voters believed that Republicans would ‘drain the swamp,’ not redirect it for their own benefit."

Hmm, so you know me, I can't leave well enough alone, so I called Congressman Culberson's office to check with them the reason why they filed such a bill.  According to his office, "Line item appropriations would provide greater transparency and efficiency because the request would identify the congressperson and the project said money would be going financing."

Follow that with news that Speaker Ryan "...persuaded Republicans to postpone votes on bringing back legislative earmarks until 2017 after reminding members of President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington."  So, we can breathe a sigh of relief, right?  Not so fast.  Read on down the article from thehill.com and find this: "But while the votes have been delayed for now, it’s far from certain that Republicans will keep the earmark ban in place when a public vote is held next year."

So, if you're of the mind that lifting the ban on earmarks is not a good idea, then feel free to contact your Congressman.  If you happen to think that by using this tactic that it will help expedite the freeing up federal dollars for special requests and you like that idea, then also feel free to call your Congressman.  John Culberson can be reached at 713-682-8828.  Let him know how you feel about the issue, because he represents YOU and that is YOUR money they're spending.


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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Shop Local Businesses Because Evil CEO's or Something...

Do you see anything wrong with this sign?  It's a sign encouraging folks to shop local or shop small businesses.  Normally, I wouldn't either, because I think that shopping local and supporting small businesses is a good idea.

I am personally all about capitalism because, contrary to what the leftists say, capitalism does work.  

I also believe in the entrepreneur and the small business man or woman.  I believe it's the innovation of small businesses that has made America great.  The process of an idea taking shape into a product or service is amazing.  

However, what I do have a problem with is found within the first line of this sign.  "..you're not helping a CEO buy a third holiday home.."  Really?  This to me is saying that at some point, there is a thought that you've made enough money.  This also reminds me of the saying, "pay your fair share."  To those two comments, I have to ask, who says when you've made enough and who determines what a fair share is?  If your answer is 'the government', then you're reading the wrong blog.  


Now, I'd like to know what is so wrong with enough funds to buy a third vacation home?  Hell, I'd like to have enough funds to buy ONE vacation home!  What if the big corporation person has budgeted and saved and run the company efficiently enough to afford all of that real estate?  

Something else that folks seem to forget, the economy thrives because CEO's and corporate bosses have the money to buy vacation homes.  They create jobs by the purchases they are able to make and infuse the market with more cash because the people that they put to work are also able to have their own purchasing power.  It just makes sense.  

This reminds me of another blog I wrote titled, Keynes vs. Hayek: Round Two.  In it, I describe and share a video of the two dueling economists F.A. Hayek and John Maynard Keynes.  One quote that I love and that fits in with the theme of the economy and spending is this, "The economy's not a car, there's no engine to stall.  No expert can fix it, there's no 'it' at all.  The economy's us, we don't need a mechanic.  Put away the wrenches, the economy's organic."

So, yes, by all means, support local and small businesses if you so choose, but don't, as my friend Sean Murphy says, "Shop shame, the liberal way."  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Harris County Works Because of....YOU!

State Rep. Mike Schofield
"Texas' prosperity depends on Harris County Working."-State Representative Mike Schofield.  Great quote, but what does that mean to you and me?  How do we keep Harris County 'working'?

I'm glad you asked because I have written and written and written some more about this very thing.  I think it's a two part answer, but the first part is by getting involved. I have also talked and shared with others about getting involved in politics.  I'm sure I've reached saturation level with some of the people I know, but somehow, I'm not sure that's enough talking OR writing, for that matter.  Not enough of them have been moved to action by it, so I'm going to try once more.
 

Even for my activist brethren, arguing with one another on Facebook or Twitter about things is NOT going to change anything.  We can all talk about how screwed up things are for the United States.  Sure, that's true, things ARE screwed up.  However, it's going to take ACTION on the part of the activist and voter to make a difference.  Not just by informing themselves about the candidates and voting, although that IS an important step.  I'm talking about lacing up tennis shoes, slathering on sunscreen and knocking on a door, or two, or ten!

If block walking isn't your game, then find something that is.  Phone banking, while I find it to be as boring as can be, is easy and effective.  You can call from home or from your local party headquarters.  I'll even go one step further and give you a link to the schedule of phone banks and block walks here.  See?  That wasn't so bad, was it?

You can also become an election worker and devote one whole day to it.  There is some preparatory work involved, but it's easy and accessible.  Be a poll watcher.  Again, some work involved, but worth the effort to ensure that elections are free and fair.


The second part of the answer is that in order to keep Harris County 'working' we need to elect Republicans to local offices.  Did you know that the office of the president is less likely to affect your life than is your local judge?  Think about that for a minute.  Now, having said that, do you want a judge who's going to 'legislate from the bench' by being an activist judge, or do you want someone who's going to follow the law?  I know which one I want, and that's why I'm urging you to go to the polls this November and vote Republican all the way down to the bottom of the ballot.

So, why have I lumped these two things together, the two things that I personally feel will make Harris County 'work'?  Well, because during the 2008 presidential election, Harris County lost the judicial races by a razor thin margin.  I'll quote State Representative Mike Schofield again when he says that, "If Republicans had turned out just three more voters per precinct, we wouldn't have seen Republican judges swept out of office in 2008."   If there are three people registered in one household, that could just be ONE door to knock on!  I have personally decided that since I am able bodied, I'm going to try to make sure that doesn't happen again this election cycle.
Republican Judicial Candidates

You know, none of us are ever going to be 100% happy with the way things are in our government.  I'd be lying if I said we would ever by completely satisfied.  I'd also be lying if I said I didn't wish things were different.  I wish for a lot of things that won't ever happen:


Since sitting around and 'wishing' isn't going to change anything, past, present, or future, I'm doing what I can to change what's going on.
I hope you'll join me. Start by block walking or phone banking or working your polling place on election day. I can't stress enough how important it is to be involved locally. Local government 'works' because of you, the involved citizen.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Back To Home School

I should probably title this blog, "Buzzkill", because that's what I'm going to do to you; I'm going to kill your summer vacation buzz.  It's that time of year that all children plan to head back to school.  Since I am a home school mom, it's time to go back to home school.  That can raise anyone's anxiety level for sure, but if you're anything like me, you've been planning your return to home school for quite sometime.  I have a few tips and ideas for those home school moms who are planning on going back to school.

That might sound like an oxymoron since you do school at your house generally, and you're not technically going 'back' anywhere, but hear me out.  You are going back to a mindset and an action, although not necessarily a place.  So aside from the physicality of the return, let's talk about back to homeschooling.

I have been homeschooling for a while now, about eight years or so and for the me, the following have been successful in helping us to get through the school year.

-Designate a space in your house for school work.  If you can, I find that it works best if you have a room that you can designate to teach in.

-Decorate your space with appropriate items; maps, globes, instructional posters, etc.  That helps make it feel more like an actual classroom.

-Set a schedule and try to stick to it.  This one is hard, especially for me since I tend to be creative and want to wander off a bit.  Keep it loose, if that works better for you, but kids do need structure.

-Welcome your kids back to school with a welcome back note situated at their desk or place at the table for the first day at school.  I did this last year, and my middle son asked me if we would do that again.  I took that as a sign that it meant something special to him and I'm always looking for things to do to make my kids feel special.

-Recognize their achievements.  I have lots of awards certificates and I hand them out somewhat randomly so that they are unexpected little rewards and surprises for my kiddos.  They love them!

-Celebrate milestones like graduation!  We didn't celebrate a kindergarten graduation for any of my boys, but we decided to commemorate the end of fifth grade with a graduation.  We invited grandparents and a few neighbor kids over and had cake. We even read a speech to our son about his accomplishments and what made us proud of him.  It was a special day for not only him, but for the family as well.

-Give your home school a name.  We chose our name and even have a mascot.   Although we will never have an organized sports team, we are a team as a family and that is even more important than being on a soccer team or football team any day.


This is something that we haven't done yet, but I've seen before on Pinterest (ahem) that lots of public schools commemorate the fiftieth day of education by dressing up as the 50's; poodle skirts for girls and leather jackets and jeans for boys.   Also, when the 100th day of instruction passes, the school staff and students celebrate by dressing up as old people with wigs and mustaches and walkers, etc.  It looks like a lot of fun!

I hope I've helped to make your transition from summer time to school time just a bit easier!  Happy Teaching!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Uptown/Galleria TIRZ Terrorizes Traffic

Some time ago, I wrote an article in an effort to inform readers about how their tax dollars are being spent on improvement projects in and around the Galleria area.  Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones, or TIRZ were the target of my article titled, So What Is a TIRZ Anyway??.  Now it seems that there are more players involved in this game, and they're all too eager to spend MORE of your tax dollars on seemingly unnecessary projects, all seemingly in an effort to line their own pockets. 

Rewind to Monday, June 20th when a group of folks, the Uptown Property Owners PAC, who are in opposition to the project held a press conference.  The project is one in which the Uptown Management District has decided to widen Post Oak Boulevard by two lanes to build a dedicated bus lane.  It came to my attention yesterday (about an hour out) that there was going to be a press conference held outside of one of the affected properties to feel the impact of the proposed project, The Cosmopolitan at 1600 Post Oak Blvd.  I rushed down to film the presser to gather some more information in order to share it with you.  To save you from watching the video in its entirety, I have picked out a few highlights to help let you know what the folks opposing this project are hoping to accomplish.

According to a spokesperson for the group, former Channel 13 investigative reporter, Wayne Dolcefino that this group of citizens have some goals they hope to accomplish.  They are asking: 1) that the "project not go forward, first and foremost; and 2) that there be a temporary ban on permits for new high rise construction until a truly independent study is done of traffic and Emergency Response Times. There are plans to add 11 million square feet of property without doing anything to make the traffic better.  One other quick thing, the Uptown has announced that this bus project, which will run down the middle of the road here, is going to eliminate right turn lanes on Westheimer and San Felipe from Post Oak  This is going to make traffic worse, not better.  This is a tremendous waste of money and a project that is stained epically from the get-go."

The group represented at the press conference has also stated that they would like to take a survey of the residents living in the Uptown Galleria area to see if they will even take the bus, and they're challenging Mayor Turner to do this study.  The Uptown TIRZ...has raised (or taxed) over one hundred million dollars to build this bus project.  Jim Scarbourough of the Uptown Property Owners PAC is advocating that the money that was taxed or raised could be better used to fix flooding issues in Meyerland, etc.

The group has raised safety concerns that could arise with the bus lane addition, Emergency Response issues and the possibility of increased flooding in the area.  That's not all, though.  Here's where it gets juicy.

According to Dolcefino, "One other thing, my office filed a criminal complaint claiming that Uptown violated the Texas Open Meetings Act.  The DA is conducting a criminal investigation, I've spoken to them as late as Friday and they are reviewing the real estate contracts that have already been done.  One of the bizarre things about this project, besides the absolute idiocy of it, is that Uptown doesn't own the right of ways.  They own some, but most of the property they don't even own yet."

Oh, and one more thing, "Kendall Miller, the chairman of Uptown, is making millions of dollars on this deal; he's probably making it legally.  He should not be a guy that is involved.  Kendall Miller lobbied for the money from the feds and the state.  He was involved in executive meetings on this project.  He's on the Uptown Management District, he's on the TIRZ and the UVA.  It is a classic example of these kinds of conflicts.  The only company that's done a study on whether this bus project will work at all was Walter P. Moore.  That was the big so-called independent study.  Walter P. Moore is a contractor for Uptown, involved in making money if this project goes forward.  That's not independent, that's getting the answer you want to get.  A real independent study should be done, and in this case, by an out of town firm, I would suggest."

So, there you have it.  What can you do to help, you might be asking.  Call Mayor Turner's office at 713.837.0311 to ask him to put a stop to the project.  You can also go to their website, Save Uptown Houston and donate to their legal fund.  Not only that, but you can sign the online petition to help stop the project from going forward.  It's time to hold these un elected bureaucrats accountable, starting with the TIRZ and the Uptown Management District. 


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Simpson Wins Bid for Re-election: Proves to be a Referendum on Slates

Tuesday, May 24th, Paul Simpson, Harris County Republican Party Chairman won his bid for re-election after being forced into a run-off by slate mailer endorsed candidate Rick Ramos.  Simpson went into this race a bit behind the eight ball, if you will, coming in just slightly behind Ramos who garnered 39.81% of the vote during the March 1st primary.

Ramos was a virtual no-show prior to, during and after the primary election held on March 1st.  Never having been involved within the party structure prior to filing to run for the county chairman position, one of the few things he campaigned on was his ability to 'diversify' the Harris County GOP.  He also traveled around the county sharing the story of his Cuban-born father and the struggles he endured to make it to the United States to pursue the American dream.

During the run-off election, he was again, a no-show to ALL of the events held by various clubs and organizations.   No interviews, no forums and not a single yard sign or push card that I saw.  He seemed to be relying only on the power of the slate mailers.  Bad news for Ramos was that they just didn't come through for him this time.

The screen capture featured above is the election results from Harrisvotes.org.  This has to be one of my favorite pictures of all time.  Why, you ask?  It shows that Paul Simpson beat slate endorsed Rick Ramos in ALL three categories; Absentee, Early Voting AND Election Day!  This is a YUUUUGE blow to the momentum of the slates, and it proves that the slates CAN be beaten at their own game!

Steven Hotze's strategy, one of the more significant players in the slate mailer game, is generally to prey upon the absentee voters; the over 65-crowd who receive their ballot by mail, usually attached to a 'slate' of his recommendations.  Well, as you can see by the results, Hotze did not receive the desired effect.  Ramos was beaten almost two to one on absentee ballots.

So what can we attribute the Simpson win to, exactly?  The power of the grass roots army that rallied around Simpson, that's what!  He had teams organized at every meeting and every event.   Not only that, but Simpson had  phone bankers and block walkers going out during the week and every weekend leading up to election day.

The race had been virtually 'called' before even one precinct reported their results.  As County Judge Ed Emmet said at the Simpson victory party, "This is really unusual.  Normally, we don't declare a winner and introduce him before the first precinct reports.  But in this case, the voters have overwhelmingly said that Paul Simpson is the greatest Harris County Republican Party Chairman of all time."



So as you can see, the slates appear to be on life support.  I hope that across Harris County and the state of Texas that the grass roots will keep working together to deprive the slates of the influence they have had for such a long time.   Encourage voters to do their own research!  Remember, the people choose, not the slates!  Slam the door on the slates!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hey, Harris County, Throw the Slates in the Trash!

I've written about them before, and I'll write about them again.  I will keep reiterating as long as I have to in order to put a stop to these slate mailers that are put out every single election cycle. 

I have no problem with a group or an individual endorsing a candidate for office, it's just when you pay money to the endorsers, then, that's when I have a problem.

Terry Lowry's Link Letter, Steven Hotze's Conservative Republicans of Harris County AND Gary Polland's Texas Conservative Review are the three top offenders in the slate mailer category.  I am so sick and tired of these three top paid endorsers being the voice of the county.  Now, it's not entirely their fault, though.  Yes, there is some blame to go around here.

The electorate is by and large...uninformed!  If you mail them something like what the aforementioned three mailers do, the voting populous will follow those recommendations without question.  They feel that the endorsers have done the research and they trust their decisions.  I mean, it's a whole lot easier to take someone else's word about who to vote for instead of actually doing the homework necessary to elect a qualified candidate.

How do we end this practice?  In my opinion, it starts with you, the voter.  We have to continue to share the truth about these mailers and then we have to make them irrelevant.  How do we do that?  Simple; when you see those mailers in your mailbox, throw them out and do your own research on who is best suited to be elected.  Those mailers are counting on you not to do your own home work to decide who best represents you.  Prove them wrong!  I'll even help you get started.  If you need a sample ballot to see who and what you'll be voting on, head on over to Harris Votes.org.  On the home page you will see "Sample Ballot".  Click on that link and type in your information and you can take it from there and remember, the people choose, not the party!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xjfm64NS454

 Click on the photo to watch the video that I've made to see why the slate mailers need to be thrown away!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Grassroots Thrive Under Simpson Leadership

I hear a lot of people saying that they want to 'Take Back Our Party' without a real, clear, concise plan of how to do it.  Well, maybe they have a plan, but it involves egos and purity tests. 

I, for one, am not in agreement with those plans.  I think there are different ways to take back our party.  We can do that by attracting and retaining precinct chairs.  We can also build the party by training precinct chairs and activists and educating them on how to reach voters and turn out the vote. 


Paul Simpson, our current Harris County GOP Chairman has done the things necessary to grow the party; trained activists, focused on recruiting precinct chairs, and then utilized those same volunteers to increase the voter base.  I've included a picture for your reference to see how many NEW precinct chairs we had at Monday night's Executive Committee Meeting.  


May 16th Executive Committee Meeting
Paul is in the runoff election to remain in his county chairman position, and he needs your help and your vote.

Go to harrisvotes.org and find your polling place.  Early voting is going on NOW until Friday, May 20th and Election Day is May 24th.  If you want to see more action and efforts like what is depicted in the photo above, then you will elect Paul Simpson for GOP County Chairman!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy Fourth Birthday, Political Chicken!

I love writing.  I DO!  I love using words to tell stories and influence people and shape an argument around an issue or a candidate.  My all time favorite thing is not only writing, but looking back over what I've written the past FOUR years!  I love to see the ground I've covered and the issues I've discussed. My blog gives me more than just a place to inform the voting populous and share my opinion; it's almost like a personal catalog of my life, told to you through the blog medium.

That's right, The Political Chicken is four years old!  To be honest, I used to be embarrassed to tell people that I had a blog, because it seemed that everyone and their brother had a blog, right?   I could just hear the mental eye roll, "Oh, you've got a blog, huh?"  Well, here I am, still excited and PROUD now that I do have my own blog, a creative outlet for me and a way to vent to, share with and encourage you, the reader, the sharer and the fan.  So, thank you for your encouragement and your comments and even your criticisms.  Well, some of them.

Over the years as I've written my birthday celebration blogs, I've tried to liken the progress of my blog to the developmental stages of a child.  Like, what might a two year old be doing at this stage, etc.  Two year olds are kind of wobbly on their feet, toddling around and getting into everything.  The same could be said of this blog at the age of two.  Now looking at turning four, I ask myself, what would a four year old be doing that could be similar?  Four year olds like silliness, like funny, exaggerated stories, ask 'why' questions, and believes the only viewpoint is her own.  Hmmm...is there a correlation?   You decide.

There's been lots to do in and around the political world over the last year, and since I wrote my Happy Third Birthday, Political Chicken blog post, I've had some exciting things come my way.  One of the first opportunities that came my way earlier last year was a chance to have a position on the Texas Conservative View.  We are a group of women based out of Houston who meet and interview candidates.  We then publish our endorsements and findings on our website, eblasts and through mailers.  You should check it out at texasconservativeview.com.

Also, late last year, I made a few appearances on our local Fox 26 television station with a couple local activist friends to discuss not only the Republican debates, but the Democrat debate as well.  Tom Ziska was our moderator and we had a great time.  Fast forward to early this year, in February, to be exact, I was asked to appear on CNN New Day with Chris Cuomo not once, but TWICE!  I appeared there as a Cruz supporter (shock, I know) to give a prediction about the debate and returned to discuss the debate the next day.  THAT was fun!

Alright, enough about my glamorous, whirlwind life, let's get to the stats, shall we?  Coming in at number one, although it was published last year and sort of re-published again recently, is the blog titled, "State Republican Executive Committee to Select New State GOP Chair March 7th" has a whopping 772 views.  Coming in at a close second is the blog titled, Katy ISD: Got Debt?
That blog had 752 views.  Rounding out the top three with the most page views was the one titled Jared Woodfill: Tenet vs. Track Record which came in at 404 views.

One more time, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite articles.  This one appeared on Texas GOP Vote and once it was published, nearly crashed their server!  The title is While Texas Senate Debates Texas Abortion Bill, Let's Talk About Sex.  Off. The. Charts.  The pro-choice and lefties nearly lost their collective minds after I wrote that.  Now THAT was some fun.  Another article that I loved writing was the one that I wrote after a trip to FreedomWorks headquarters entitled, The FreedomWorks Obamacare Summit: Yes We Can...Defund It!  The last one of my favs comes from an inspirational YouTube Video; Keynes vs Hayek; Round Two.  The video mixes rap and acting and humor to educate folks!  Imagine!  And then go and watch it to see how great it is.

So there you have it!  Another trip around the sun for The Political Chicken!  I've said it before, and I'll say it again,  stay with me, this is just the beginning!  MUAH!



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Saving Texas One Municipality At a Time

With all of the political involvement I'm involved in, and all of the knowledge I have and am still collecting about the political process, I forget sometimes that not everyone else 'nerds out' about this stuff.  Like, how the convention process works at the district, state and national level.  Or how many elections there are during the year and how many taxing authorities we actually give our money to.

I think that as a movement, the tea party did a great job of grabbing the attention of the conservative electorate to look at the national stage of politics.  I mean, let's face it, there are plenty of things to try to watch there in Washington, D.C.  Then, we became more focused on the local levels of government, starting with the state house and senate.  It got even more focused on school boards and mud boards.  I'd like to narrow your focus even more.  Oh, yeah, it can be done.


There is a taxing authority, one that I just learned about a few years ago called an Emergency Service District.  There are fifteen Emergency Service Districts, or ESDs for short, in and around unincorporated Harris County.  The ESD's have a board of commissioners that are elected by the public.  Oh, that's news to you?  Well, yeah, me, too.  YOU have the opportunity to have a say in who represents you on this board.  You pay for these services on your property tax bill.  The elections are not well publicized, so you need to find out which ESD you reside in and do some research on the candidates.  If you go to this website, you should be able to find out which ESD you're zoned to and where to vote.

Yet another taxing authority that you may or may not have heard about is one that's specific to Harris County and has been in existence for 127 years!  That's right, readers, it's called Harris County Department of Education.  You also pay for this sneaky little tax when you pay your property taxes.  It's a negligible amount, but the fact that they collect taxes from every resident in Harris County adds up fast!  The sad part is, you've probably never even heard of them, and they'd like to keep it that way.  They also have a board of trustees, but they're chosen during the November general election, and if you vote straight ticket, no matter which 'ticket', you've probably never even paid attention.  Well, that's over now, you've got to look!  Click here for their website and information about the board.

In an effort to educate folks further, I came up with a tool to get voters informed about what exactly their elected officials did or are supposed to do.  Can you stand the excitement?  Stay with me.  The thinking was that if I educated enough people with that handout, that they could in turn, use that as a way to better vet the candidates running for that particular position.  I have published and re-published the information before, but I think it might be time to revisit that project from the past...

I mentioned convention earlier in this post, and that's a whole process unto itself.  Since it is so involved, I won't go into it in any depth here, but my friend Felicia Cravens wrote a blog with some really great information.  You can find the article here.

If you live in the Katy ISD School District, you'll also be heading to the polls on May 7th to vote in a board of trustee election. Find more information here about hours of operation and polling locations.

So, consider yourself locked and loaded with new-ish information to head to the polls on May 7th AND to state convention.  And don't forget the run-off election coming up on May 24th!  And if you, like every other person, are hoping to go to national convention, well, good luck!



  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Texas GOP Does Not Need A Gatekeeper


Notice the title?  Gatekeeper as defined by Wikipedia is this:  "A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something."   There are gatekeepers for all kinds of activities and clubs and even churches, for that matter, but since I'm involved in the political world, I'm thinking of the GOP.  I can think of a gatekeeper of the Republican party; actually I can think of a few of them.  Someone who thinks that the Republican party is an arm of the Baptist Church; where religiosity and exclusion meet.

You know the kind of person I'm talking about.  The kind of person who uses their Christianity and 'holier than thou' attitude as a weapon.  Who invokes the name of Jesus to instill fear in those who would oppose them.  Who ALWAYS paint their opponents as less than Christian or as not conservative enough.   Let me tell you something, I have a personal relationship with Jesus, and that's not the Jesus I know.

There's a saying that goes something like this, "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words."  Funny, it doesn't say anything about shouting others down and shoving the Bible down people's throats.  As I've said, I'm a Christian, and that's not the Jesus I know.  The Jesus I know is about love and compassion and grace and mercy.  "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"-Romans 2:4



This is MY blog and this is MY opinion.  So, take it or leave it.  However, it is my feeling that Jared Woodfill along with Steven Hotze are religious gatekeepers for the Republican party.  Or at least, they try to be.  They want to keep the 'riff-raff' from joining in the ranks of the Republican party, and I'm not even talking about elected officials.  I'm talking about activists, precinct chairs, you name it.  Anybody who doesn't agree with their opinion lock stock and barrel are sinners, and not to be included in the Republican
 process.

I've got news for you folks, we are ALL sinners, saved by grace, and while we're talking about sinners, let's remind ourselves who Jesus was often found in fellowship with.  Jesus didn't eat with the religious elite, remember? He didn't rub elbows with the Pharisees or with Pontius Pilate.   He ate with the sinners and tax collectors and the broken and the sick.   He was ALL inclusive.


Funny thing is that Jesus wasn't and still isn't about passing a purity test.  If you came with a desire to be changed, to accept his forgiveness and mercy and grace, you could and you still can.  If we elect Jared Woodfill as State Party Chair, there will be rules and purity tests for the activist who want to become involved.  Information will not be disseminated to all activists, but only to  a select 'worthy' few.  He will turn this party into a top down tool for his power the same way he treated the Harris County Republican Party.

No, the Texas GOP does not need a gatekeeper.  What it needs is a leader.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why We Must Never Elect Woodfill

Again, I know we're all busy trying to follow the national election, but there's another election, one that's mostly inside baseball for us local and statewide activists that's coming up at state convention; the position for State Party Chair.  What's that?  I'm glad you asked.
   
A quick job description of the position is as follows: 
The Republican Party Chair oversees day to day operations of the state party.  Also, he/she solicits financial contributions for party operations and in kind donations for candidates.  He or she presides over the State Republican Executive Committee Meetings as well as the State Conventions.  Implementing strategy for elections and working with candidates and growing the party.  Working with local and regional parties and elected officials.  He/she is also the face of the state party.

Sounds similar to what the county chair does for a county party, a position that was once held by Jared Woodfill, one in which he nearly ran our county party into the ground.  Thankfully, he was ousted by Paul Simpson; a longtime Republican activist, precinct chair, and champion of the grass roots activist.  Pretty much the opposite of Jared.  Now, Jared is vying for the position of State Party Chair...again.

Now, I could rehash everything that I've ever written about Jared and why he is the wrong choice for the role of State Party Chair, but I thought I would just link the articles that I'd written already, because, quite honestly, my opinion of him hasn't changed much. Consider this your Woodfill reader's digest:
State Republican Executive Committee to Elect New State GOP Chair March 7th

Jared Woodfill: Tenet vs. Track Record

And another gem of a blog that I wrote before Jared Woodfill was dutifully un-elected by Harris County was this one: 
Is Harris County Low Hanging Fruit For the Democrats?

Here's one last one for you, one that doesn't smack directly to Jared's lack of leadership as a county chairman, oh, wait, yes it does.  Check out The People Choose, Not the Party: Taking Back Harris County from the Slates .

Well, what are you waiting for?  You've got your homework, now get busy!





Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On to the Runoff-Simpson vs. Ramos

It's bound to happen.  Your favorite candidate is forced into a runoff election.  So now what?  You do this:
That's right, Paul Simpson, candidate for Harris County GOP Chairman was forced into a runoff by Hotze slate backed candidate Rick Ramos.  As you know, I've supported Simpson for the last six years and was a part of the campaign that led him to victory.  This time, in a contest with three candidates, two of whom were put up by Hotze, there was almost no way to a path to victory without a runoff.

I had a chance to read some of Rick Ramos' platform for his candidacy, and, I've got to tell ya, I had a good chuckle when I read some of the claims he made.  I'll list and debunk them here so you don't have to actually go to his website.  Ahem.
Rick will:
Stand up for the values that make our party great.  Hmmm...and Paul Simpson hasn't?  Paul has stood up numerous times for conservative values.  Paul is pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and pro-second amendment, and he's not afraid to share these values with the voting populous at large.  He appeared on FOX 26 to discuss Planned Parenthood.  He also responded to the Goforth shooting AND the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage.

Rick will hold Republican elected officials accountable when they fail to represent our Party Platform and conservative values.  Really?  What about fighting Democrats and holding off the advances of the left and Battleground Texas?  He hasn't even mentioned the fight that Harris County is involved in to maintain election integrity, etc.    He wants only to attack Republicans, which is something that Hotze endorses and encourages.  We don't need more circular firing squads.  More proof that Rick is just a puppet for Hotze.

A letter penned by Sara Tracey of The Link Letter, one of the paid slates that endorsed Rick for County Chair claims that, "...Rick has great plans to influence the African American community and Asian-American voters."  So, what about Texas Asian Republican Club (TARC), who has endorsed Paul for his bid for reelection?  Paul Simpson and many other activists and precinct chairs serve in BOTH the GOP AND TARC.  Paul has also recently made inroads with the conservative arm of the League of United Latin American Citizens, also known as LULAC.  Here he is just days ago at a LULAC council luncheon discussing our shared conservative values.
Paul at Conservative LULAC Council luncheon

"He believes the threat of ISIS is real and very close to our borders."  Okaaaaaay, and?  I didn't know that border security fell under the job description of GOP County Chair.

Another issue that Rick cares about is illegal drug use.  "...He is NOT in favor (of) legalizing marijuana, which he considers a 'gate-way' drug to other hard core, addictive drugs.  Rick promises to firmly appose any legislation that will promote or legalize the use of marijuana."   I'm not sure if the author is insinuating something here, but Paul Simpson is NOT for drug legalization either.

This to me is more proof that Rick has NO concept of what the job description of the Harris County GOP Chair even is.  The GOP Chairman position is there to facilitate the quarterly meetings, to represent the party and its values to the media, to recruit and train precinct chairs through the committee structure that exists, something that Rick also knows nothing about.  "The true measure of a leader is not how many followers he has but how many new leaders he develops."

Harris County GOP organizes in Pasadena
The county chairman also helps with get out the vote efforts around the county, one in which is larger than some states!  We just had a record turnout for the primary—higher than any of the last 10 GOP primaries.  Paul also worked with Ballot Security Chairman on tightening rules for voter assistance and by doing so, improved election integrity and cut down on voter fraud.  Can the same be said of his opponent?  His opponent didn't even go to the polls and vote himself, let alone work to improve election integrity.

Rick is part (a small part) of the "Take Our Party Back Movement", led by none other than Steven Hotze and Jared Woodfill, former Harris County GOP Chairman.  You remember Jared, the guy who left the party flat broke?  Hotze and company want to weaken the party, and they are doing that now, by putting up two candidates and forcing a runoff.  If Paul had won the election outright, he would have more time to fund raise for the party instead of campaigning for reelection.

So, if you want to "Take Our Party Back(wards), then please, vote for paid slate endorsed Rick Ramos.  If you want to keep the county party working, solvent and winning, (which I do) join me and reelect Paul Simpson for Harris County GOP Chairman.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

My Pick: Ted Cruz For President

Nobody loves an underdog story as much as I do, and Ted Cruz's story was that of an underdog in his bid for US Senate.  I supported him when he had 2% name ID in the polls against David Dewhurst back in 2012.  Dewhurst was predicted to win.  By a lot.  The grass roots rallied around Ted because we needed Ted in the Senate badly. 

We needed someone who would represent the values and the concerns of Texans and Ted Cruz was that man.  Now, as he makes his bid for President of the United States, we need a president that will represent the best interests, values and concerns of United States citizens and I still think that Ted Cruz is that man.

I hear you starting to shake your head in disagreement, and that's fine.  You're entitled to your own opinion, but let me finish.  Ted Cruz kept the promises he made to the people when he went to Washington, D.C.  He was and still is, the grass roots candidate. He has defended the constitution time and time again and referred to said document at his 'touchstone'.  "My touchstone for every question is the constitution."  Probably hadn't heard that from many if ANY of our current or former legislators.

He was and still is (to me) the rallying cry for the American people to be listened to and heard by their representatives.  He recognized the frustration of the people when he and his staff fashioned the hashtag #makedclisten.  Some folks claim that it was a 'fake' filibuster, but when Senator Rand Paul was there for his filibuster to delay the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ellen Kagan, Senators Cruz and Lee were right there with him, standing shoulder to shoulder to keep the confirmation of a legislate-from-the-bench, liberal justice from taking place.

I understand now, that folks want to call him 'establishment' and so on.  I'm curious what that word means to those who are calling him that.  To me, the establishment Republicans were the guys who didn't want to change anything about how politics were done in Washington, D.C.  They didn't want push back or questions from 'we the people', much less wanting us to be involved at all.

That has not been the case with Senator Cruz.  He has reached out to the grass roots to ask for help when the Senate wanted to usher in a bill to take away our second amendment rights.  He teamed up again with Senator Mike Lee to send a letter to his Senate colleagues regarding the second amendment rights and asked the grass roots to help support his efforts.  Here he is in a video, explaining how thankful he is for the help he received and what it was like to be yelled at by senior Senators for not being a 'squish'.  Hmmm...

I've heard complaints about Cruz saying that he can't build coalitions or bring teams together.  My friend Erin Anderson had this to say in response to the naysayers when the news broke that some of the Bush family was going to join the Cruz finance team, "Y'all, what did you think coalescing behind a candidate would look like? Of course people from other campaigns are now joining Team Cruz. You better believe he'll need and want support from all across the GOP spectrum in the general election. It doesn't means he's "selling out" - they are coming to him, and together they are broadening the coalition.
If you were for a more "moderate" candidate, doesn't this show "extremist" Cruz can work with others? If you're Team Trump, isn't this exactly the kind of deal-making your guy promises?"


Which brings me to my next point.  Now that he's made a run for President, he's been called all kinds of names; from liar to the establishment.  As a Ted Cruz supporter, now I'M establishment or a RINO, if you will.  What makes it wrong to support the candidate or the would-be incumbent when he or she actually does what he or she says they're going to do?  Are we still just a bunch of Outragers Anonymous, or are we actually looking for good and decent legislators?  Are we sending the wrong message to our legislators by never being satisfied with what they've done, saying that good isn't good enough?  I wonder.

I won't be deterred.  I haven't given up on the possibility that Ted Cruz will be the GOP nominee for President.  I'm still working at the grassroots levels of government and will continue to do so, because our future and our children's future is too important to quit.  As Ted Cruz signs in his photo pictured above, "The fight for Liberty never ends."

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Outragers Anonymous

The title of this blog used to apply to me, in that I was an outrager.  I was 'mad as hell and I wasn't going to take it anymore' when I first got involved in politics.  I was taking out my anger on any and all incumbent office holders.  They were, after all, the ones who got us into this mess in the first place, right?  Not entirely, and before you dismiss me and call me a RINO, let me explain.

I think that I have a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to office holders of any sort and I've done my share of anti-incumbent voting, BUT WITH REASON!  I think that if anyone is anti-anything whether it be anti-incumbent or anti-big government, they should have a reason for it, not just to be contrary or spiteful. 

Something that I'll give a nod to my good friend, Felicia Cravens on is her new project, Chaos Theory.  She came out with a short video, called Outragers Anonymous (hence the title of this blog) whereby it depicts those mad as hell folks, who might not even know they're doing it!  Those who constantly complain and make the office holders their enemy and where tea partiers and activists alike may have found common ground in the beginning of the movement.  That only gets you so far.

What'll get you farther, you ask?  Working on the problem, that's what!  I could go down the list of things to actually DO, but I've done that before.  I know that I'm personally doing what I can to influence voters and legislators alike, and it takes more than raging!  Remember, the first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem!

*Check out Free Radical Network's YouTube Channel for more Chaos Theory Fun!


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Trump Logic Translated into Mom Logic

For those of you who are supporting Trump and can't possibly understand why others don't join in with you, I'd like to explain it from a mom point of view.






"Kids, tonight, we're going to make homemade pizza for dinner!"
"Mom, you've never made homemade pizza before..."
"I know, but it's gonna be the most beautiful pizza you've ever seen!"
"We don't have any of the ingredients here at home, Mom."
"I know, but it's gonna be GREAT! It's gonna be better than Papa John's, Little Caesar's AND Ci Ci's Pizza! We're gonna make pizza great again!"
*sigh*



Please, go and vote on Tuesday, but NOT for Trump!