Texas Democrat candidate won’t shake Obama’s hand

August 9, 2010

Some e-mail is more entertaining than others.

Linda Chavez-Thompson, the firebrand candidate for Texas Lieutenant Governor who has incumbent David Dewhurst so rattled he can’t debate her, was scheduled to introduce President Obama at an appearance in Austin today.

Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Gov. Linda Chavez-Thompson

Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Gov. Linda Chavez-Thompson, on the view screen, addressing the Texas Democratic Convention in June - photo by Ed Darrell

Chavez-Thompson might be expected to shake his hand first, but she said no.  Let her explain it:


As you may already know, President Obama came to Texas today. And no, I didn’t shake his hand.

I walked up straight to him, stared him in the eye, and greeted him with a warm abrazo (hug).  Because that’s the way you greet a fellow laborer.

And yes, I consider Barack Obama a laborer.  As I told the crowd while introducing the President at the DNC event:

“He’s taken on the economy.  He’s taken on health care.  He’s taken on Wall Street.  And he doesn’t back down.

What he does do, and Texans respect this, is extend his hand across the aisle in a spirit of bi-partisanship.  After all, the challenges Americans and Texas families face don ‘t come with a Party label on them.

But when his offer is not reciprocated, he does what any Texan would do. He does the work himself, because at the end of the day the work still has to get done.

There’s nothing brave about ignoring problems.  We had eight years of that.  Bravery is going out in the hot sun and doing the hard work it takes to make things grow.

And that’s coming from the daughter of a cotton sharecropper, so I know what I’m talking about.”

For too long Rick Perry and David Dewhurst have been ignoring the problems in Texas.  Today Texas has the highest share of minimum wage jobs in the country, and even the Texas Association Business has warned that we will not be able to compete for the higher paying jobs because too many students are walking out of high school without a diploma.

I’m traveling across Texas to hold Rick Perry and David Dewhurst accountable.  And believe me, this isn’t about politics — it’s a responsibility we all owe to our children and grandchildren.

I’ve never been afraid to go out into the hot sun and do the hard work it takes, but I need your help.  Your contribution of $25, $35, $50, or whatever you can afford will help me spread the word and let Texans  know what’s really at stake this election.

As I told the President when I welcomed him to Texas, I wasn’t just speaking for myself, but “for the millions of Texans who voices are too seldom heard.”

Please contribute what you can today and together we’ll make sure the voices of working Texans are heard.

Un abrazo a ti también,

Linda Chavez-Thompson

You might do well to send her campaign $5.00, or $500 if you can afford it.

Linda Chavez-Thompson wowed the 2010 Texas Democratic Convention - IMGP4286

Linda Chavez-Thompson wowed the 2010 Texas Democratic Convention in Corpus Christi - photo by Ed Darrell

Gulf fritillary on blue porterweed

August 9, 2010

Gulf fritillary on blue porterweed - photo by Ed Darrell - copy free with attribution IMGP4824

Gulf fritillary butterfly on blue porterweed, Dallas, Texas — photo by Ed Darrell — use free with attribution

A gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae (Linnaeus, 1758)) on blue porterweed, Stachytarpheta urticifolia, also known as blue rats tail, or nettleleaf velvetberry.  Dallas, Texas, August 9, 2010.

Gulf fritillary on blue porterweed - photo by Ed Darrell, use permitted with attribution IMGP4820

This fritillary hung around for a few minutes.

Kathryn plants butterfly-attracting plants — a concept that was new to me when she introduced it at our home in Cheverly, Maryland, with several plants that acted like butterfly magnets, to my astonished delight.  We first ran into the brilliant orange gulf fritillaries in 1988 or 1989 here in Dallas.  For the past few summers, fritillaries have not been frequent visitors in our yard.

Kathryn stepped up the butterfly plantings this spring, including passion vine (Passiflora incarnata).  The passion vine twines toward one of the bird feeders, but in the past week or so has been losing leaves — to caterpillars of the gulf fritillary, it turns out.  Blue porterweed attracts all sorts of butterflies, but the fritillaries have been rather common, no doubt hoping to give their progeny a little boost with the passion vine, their favored food.

Butterfly afficianadoes in Dallas are urged to plant milkweed and butterfly bush to help the monarchs, whose populations are stressed by the recent cold winter, dramatic reductions in habitat, and destruction of their sanctuary trees in Mexico where they migrate each winter.  But all butterflies could use some habitat help, I think.  The rewards are great.

Gulf fritillary on blue porterweed - photo by Ed Darrell, use permitted with attribution - IMGP4822

Gulf fritillary on blue porterweed, catching the morning sun

Gulf fritillary butterfly on blue porterweed - photo by Ed Darrell, use permitted with attribution - IMGP4823

Butterfly plantings will attract butterflies, guaranteed. Gulf fritillary enjoys some blue porterweed nectar.

Geography quiz: Which Midwest city is this?

August 9, 2010

Quick quiz:  Can you identify this Midwest American city?

Mystery Midwest city from the air

Can you identify the city shown in this photo? Photo by James Darrell, flying to DFW from ATL. (Click for larger view)

Can you identify this Midwest city?  The photo was taken about an hour outside of DFW International, flying in from Atlanta Hartsfield.  North in on the right side of the photo.  My quick guess was Oklahoma City, but that was when I thought the departure city was Milwaukee (it could still be OKC).

Can you shed some light, and tell why you think it’s that city?

Night flying is cool.  While I enjoy flying any time, I really enjoy the views from an airplane at night.

Somewhere in the trunk of film-that-may-one-day-be-digitized, I have several photos of smaller cities along the Wasatch Front in Utah, taken during campaigns and business trips in the 1970s and 1980s.  At one time I had a list of the cities in the shots, but that list is long gone.  I wonder whether I could identify those cities today?

Historically, it would be interesting, since most of those small towns now are sizable suburb cities.

Chicago lays out in an orange grid of glowing citrine gemstones at night.  New York City dazzles from 2,000 feet, looking better than any movie you’ve ever seen, and glowing.  Dallas presents a colored outline against the black sky when you come in for a landing (or Fort Worth, with more white lights, if you’re on the west side of the aircraft coming in).  Salt Lake City sparkles and spreads up the mountains and canyons.  St. Louis is neat rows of lighted pathways broken by the snaking Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.  Washington, D.C. is a Shining City on a Hill spectacular when the weather is clear, coming down the Potomac River to National (now Reagan).

Which city is this one, above?

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