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Gays, Joan Baez, And Deserters Star At Town Hall  
User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1532 times:

Who: Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX) and *experts*
What: Town Hall Meeting
When: Thursday, August 25, 2005 at 7:00 PM
Where: A church in an uppity, historic neighborhood in Houston

Shelia Jackson Lee is a Democrat who represents Texas 18 in the United States House.

I have a few spare weeks in the Bayou City and decided to nix Happy Hour and my weekly session of playing poker at the home for the visually offensive for a Town Hall Meeting Hosted by Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee. This Town Hall Meeting was titled Iraq: Where Do We Go From Here?

I enjoy meeting politicians - I’ve met scores – and rarely pass an opportunity. And, of course, I enjoy primary sources. After all, these people make laws. So off I went.

Upon arriving a few minutes prior to 7PM, I was greeted by pink-veiled members of Code Pink reciting names of those KIA in Iraq.

Several tables were set up in the lobby by organizations such as the Harris County Democrat Party, Code Pink Houston, Democracy for Houston, and others. All had brochures and such and were asking for donations.

I settled in the front row - where signs reading Reserved for the disabled.

A man sat next to me. I can only conclude he was mentally disabled – more on that to come later. Between his non-stop incoherent babbling and disorganized armloads full of Lyndon LaRouche PAC materials flying everywhere, I wished I attended Happy Hour.

LaRouche Looney tried to knock me up for a donation within several minutes by saying “have you got five or ten dollars to spare.” I asked if he takes American Express Traveler’s Checks.

He asked what I do for a living. I told him I do things other people won’t do. He paused for a moment, gave me a confused look, and then continued his futile banter.

Between accosting every passer-by with his brochures, LaRouche Looney was babbling away about this country’s gave economic state, the consequences of NAFTA, South America, and how bad Dick Cheney wants to wage war with Iran.

I spent the next half hour making small talk with my other seatmate and those behind me. it was hard to do, with Looney interrupting “Cheney blah blah war blah blah Iran.” I would have been more than happy to have an intelligent discussion with Looney, but he seemed to have the attention span of mayonnaise.

Finally, a few people dressed in religious garb paraded up on stage. They proceeded to sing a knockoff of We Are The World. I first thought this was going to be a general welcome type religious hymn. But when I heard the line “We are gay and lesbian people” in the song – I thought WTF? Did I get the wrong address? And WTF does that have to do with Iraq?

A few demographics of the Town Hall Meeting:

Headcount:
200 (myself doing a very accurate estimate and 4 independent guesses)

Race:
90% White
10% Black, Hispanic, Asian and the venerable “other”

Age:
Dichotomy – either young (2000 or 2004 was probably the first Presidential Election they were eligible to vote) or AARP members.

Other observations:

• Crowd was well dressed
• Most I interacted with very well spoken
• Many GLBT crowd
• Presumably (I hate that word) high education level/high mobility

Shelia Jackson Lee took the stage and after a brief speech, introduced the panel of *experts.*

The Panel of *experts*

JEFF NORMAN – Independent Filmmaker, Exec Dir. Of US Tour of Duty. Bragged with no remorse about an incident in which he attempted to accost Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld outside the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills earlier this month. Secret Service agents intervened and Norman equated this to the Bush administration hiding from the truth and not wanting to answer questions.

TIM GOODRICH - USAF vet (Afghanistan), co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Norman and Goodrich showed a few film clips.

The first showed Goodrich and a Gold Star Dad protesting outside a Los Angeles Elementary school which General Tommy Franks was delivering a speech. After General Franks and aids entered a black SUV, a handful of protesters surrounded it, pounding on doors and windows. Two of the protesters (the Gold Star dad and another) stood in front of the SUV, preventing it from moving (eerily similar to that Unknown Rebel in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989).

Within a few minutes, the LAPD showed up and the party was over. Note: No weapons of any sort were brandished, the protesters backed off at the first sight of the LAPD.

At this scene, a woman said General Franks is “in there recruiting school children” pointing at the school. Goodrich stated parents were not notified of General Franks’ appearance at the school.

(I don’t know how the heck Goodrich and his band of protestors found out about it).

The second film clip was a series of alternating shots of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Most of these video clips were POTUS’ various pronunciations of nuclear and of the “we’re gonna smoke ‘em out” nature. Cheney’s clips consisted of him muted making gestures and ONE of him clearly saying Iraq has “weapons of mass destruction.”

NADIA McCAFFREY – Gold Star Mom, the mother of Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey, KIA in Iraq 22 JUN 04. She is a member of Gold Star Families for Peace and Military Families Speak Out.

MEL GOODMAN - Former CIA and State Dept. Official, vocal critic of the current administration, author of The Failure of Oversight, The Politicization of Intelligence, and The Danger of a Corporate Culture for Intelligence among other books. Has appeared on Nightline, Lehrer Newshour, and CNN. Currently a senior fellow for the Center for International Policy in Washington D.C.

AIMEE ALLISON - Conscientious Objector in the Persian Gulf War. Joined the Army for college money, but changed her mind. A self proclaimed military counselor who travels the country teaching other soldiers how to become conscientious objectors. Currently running for Oakland (CA) City Council.

CHAS DAVIS - Conscientious objector served 2 years in Korea. His two main grudges seem to be uranium’s half life of 4.8 billion years and his Commanding Officer’s tendency to frequent brothels (Yes, that’s what he spent his allotted time talking about).


Each spoke for 10 to 15 minutes, with SJL moderating and offering a few words between speakers.

During this time, there were two guest callers.


  • Cindy Sheehan called and was put on the loudspeaker. She briefly described her plight in Crawford and thanked the crowd for attending.

  • Joan Baez called and was also put on loudspeaker. She sang one of her hit songs then after a speech sang America The Beautiful.


SJL equated the anti-Iraq war movement to the Civil Rights Movement.

(Apples and auras, IMHO)

SJL and others circulated several petitions throughout the evening. Notable was SJL’s letter to President Bush urging media access to flag draped coffins and a petition pushing for a Department of Peace.

Into the evening, I noticed a young lady seated behind me holding a sign. The sign said Cheney Wants New 9/11.

Amiee Allison conducted herself is a very confident manner. She conveyed (in her mind) she is providing an invaluable service by traveling around the country helping soldiers obtain Conscious Objector status. By her tone and the way she handled herself, I would’ve thought she earned a chest full of metals. She received voracious applause and a standing ovation.

Nadia McCaffery (one of the Gold Star moms) - very even-keeled and accepting of the fact that her son was KIA. She is all for a timeline, looking forward.

Mel Goodman (CIA guy) - great speaker. Also for a timeline and very accepting of the fact we are in Iraq and looking forward.

These two did not spend time bitching nonstop about Bush/Cheney+Halliburton=Iraq.

Throughout speeches, Looney kept blurting out words and phrases, reacting to what SJL and other presenters said.

When the panel of *experts* finished presenting, SJL fielded questions. At this time, Lyndon Looney jumped from his seat, waving both of his arms, begging to get his question in first. Much to his disappointment, SJL chose someone else. She took several other questions before finally calling on Looney.

At this point, he broke into a two minute long monologue that was a summary of his rants. Although it dealt with issues such as South America, uranium, Iran, and Halliburton, I do not recall Iraq even being mentioned (the topic of this Town Hall). Of course, he answered his own question in this process.

SJL simply said “Mel, I’ll have you take that one.” (in reference to the former CIA analyst). Mel Goodman started to answer the opus quite eloquently. While speaking, Lonely interrupted with his same banter yet rephrased and was quickly met by loud jeers from the audience. Mel continued with a few more sentences, then diverted back to SJL, who took the next question.

A few other audience members asked brief questions such as “Why don’t we impeach President Bush?”

SJL answered that by saying the majority in Congress is not favorable of such.

The Q&A session then turned into other audience members saying “hi mom” and pitching their various (most would say delusional) causes.

The meeting then ventured outside for a candlelight vigil, not before an invitation to return to view more of Michael Moore wanna-be’s work after the pyrotechnics show.

I’d had enough and decided to call it a night. Cold beers were calling.

Upon leaving, Chas Davis was standing nearby. A man approached him, shook his hand, and said you are a hero.

I cannot find an appropriate phrase to describe the Town Hall Meeting other than absolutely mind-blowing.

Even more mind-blowing is a United States Member of Congress hosted these people – apparently she has no aspirations of higher office.

Out of the 200 in attendance – a show of hands at SJL’s request – SIX vets. Six out of 200.

In the lobby, organizers from various groups were voraciously soliciting donations. There was two 5-gallon bottles stuffed with various denomination bills – most of the $5, $10, and $20 variety.

Visible at the Town Hall Meeting were the following: one uniformed Houston Police Officer, one uniformed Harris County Sheriffs Deputy, and one very bulky guy in a suit. The HPD Officer stood professionally attentive near the stage, while the other two roved the church.

Speechless, I sucked back a few cold ones that evening.



[Edited 2005-08-30 00:03:09]

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSFOMEX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1514 times:

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
Speechless, I sucked back a few cold ones that evening.

Man, you are a brave one. You endured the whole meeting! Thank you for the "trip report," now we can get a better idea of why left-wing nuts will keep losing election after election.

Cheers.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20322 posts, RR: 63
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1505 times:

Quoting SFOMEX (Reply 1):
now we can get a better idea of why left-wing nuts will keep losing election after election.

Hrm, Sheila Jackson Lee has won six consecutive elections to the House of Representatives.

But she also seems to have a bit of an "attitude problem" (scroll to Reply #19):

Politicians Flying On Commercial Jets (by ACB777 Aug 25 2005 in Civil Aviation)



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11445 posts, RR: 76
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1488 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Dude...that's funny as hell. Kudos for going and listening. But you should know better than to spend any time pointing out inconsistencies.....

I do find it interesting that a group of people that desires diversity manage to have only 10% of the audience people other than white, in a state where caucasians are in the minority. Hmmmm.... oh crap...I just pointed out another inconsistency....sorry.

As far as SJL not aspiring to higher office.....well, you could say that she understands that that ain't happening, but she also understands that she's fairly impregnable in her district, so she does whatever the hell she feels like doing.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1448 times:

You have more gut and patience than I . . . I mighthave made it in the door, but would not have managed more than 15 minutes. Especially after find out about these examples:

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
AIMEE ALLISON - Conscientious Objector in the Persian Gulf War. Joined the Army for college money, but changed her mind. A self proclaimed military counselor who travels the country teaching other soldiers how to become conscientious objectors. Currently running for Oakland (CA) City Council.

CHAS DAVIS - Conscientious objector served 2 years in Korea. His two main grudges seem to be uranium’s half life of 4.8 billion years and his Commanding Officer’s tendency to frequent brothels (Yes, that’s what he spent his allotted time talking about).

Rather glad the military doesn't have to deal with those two looney's, there are enough of them as it is.

Pretty funny yet very sad. A shindig like this hosted by a member the United States Congress . . . hmmmm. Now that is sad.

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
organizers from various groups were voraciously soliciting donations.

And of course, the usual groups of fruitloops hangers on - ask Ms. Sheehan all about that . . . she's got loads of them surrounding her in Crawford. What a crock of crap.

Commendations to you though FlyingTexan the excellent 'trip' report, and the patience of a saint.


User currently offlineTedTAce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1440 times:

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
Speechless, I sucked back a few cold ones that evening.

So in other words you only delayed the inevitable..

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
decided to nix Happy Hour and my weekly session of playing poker at the home

Let me tell you something, unless it's to bounce our electoral system as we know it and flush all those money sucking assholes out of Washington DC, I'm NOT going to any rallies. Even then if it's a flush the pigs and 'oh by the way let's push our liberal agenda too', I am not going.

Our Democracy is a falicy and a fraud that is perpetuated by a pair of big money looser parties who are ONLY interested in ONE thing:MORE MONEY.


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29699 posts, RR: 59
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1417 times:

I am shocked....just shocked.

I could have sworn that Joan Baez choked to death on a ham sandwhich.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineHomer71 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 2239 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1365 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 6):
I could have sworn that Joan Baez choked to death on a ham sandwhich.

No, no, no, you're mistaken - it was one of that Wilson Phillips group, the fat one, I think Big grin



"On spaceship earth there are no passengers...only crew."
User currently offlineJetjack74 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 7387 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1346 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting Homer71 (Reply 7):
No, no, no, you're mistaken - it was one of that Wilson Phillips group, the fat one, I think

It was Momma Cass from The Mommas and the Papas that you're probably both thinking of.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
Hrm, Sheila Jackson Lee has won six consecutive elections to the House of Representatives

She keeps winning elections because she runs in a predominately black community in Texas where her constituants are loyal to her, runs on the same platform of promising to end the "slavery" in Texas. Running for a house seat pales in comparison to running for a Senate seat or the governorship. But she's the same kooky, ultra-lefty who is basically the hallmark of political irrelevance. She was the only dissenting vote on invading Afghanistan after 9/11.



Made from jets!
User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1319 times:

Thank you, everyone for comments so far. This was definitely an interesting outing.

SJL’s congressional seat is very safe. The latest redistricting just made it safer. She isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Texas 18 was held by Barbra Jordan and Mickey Leland. SJL reminded the audience several times of this.

She does have a bad habit of bitching at Continental personnel, demanding an upgrade simply because she is a MC. She has caused several widely reported scenes at DCA, boarding CO’s Houston flight.

And a statewide race – like a Gubernatorial or Senatorial race – is significantly higher profile than one for a House seat.


User currently offlineBhmbaglock From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 2698 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1311 times:

Out of curiosity, what would you have asked if she had picked you for a question?


Where are all of my respected members going?
User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1301 times:

Quoting Bhmbaglock (Reply 10):
Out of curiosity, what would you have asked if she had picked you for a question?

If she prefers boxers or briefs.


No, seriously, I was not hoping to get a question in. Had this been a general Town Hall Meeting, I would have asked a question relating to the current fight to get the restrictive, anti-competitive Wright Amendment repealed.

On the topic of Iraq, I would have asked a question about what she - as a MC - is doing to set timelines. Set timelines for everything – from the smallest thing like rebuilding a sewage system all the way up to withdrawal of our Troops.


User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1228 times:

Surprised this received so few responses, even though we’ve had a major natural disaster and many, many threads created around that.


If anyone has a response – please reply. I’m interested in what you have to say. Here I went to see a United States Congressperson and thoroughly reported on it. We have threads with 60+ replies just based on what someone thinks they heard.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20322 posts, RR: 63
Reply 13, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1219 times:

Quoting FlyingTexan (Reply 12):
Surprised this received so few responses

I forgot about this thread. I recall seeing her on CNN a couple of days after NOLA flooded, and then I've not seen her around.

I've checked her site a few times since the evacuation to Texas began, and haven't seen anything radical about her views, and think her proposal to give those in the disaster zone relief from the new bankruptcy laws reasonable.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 1212 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 13):
and think her proposal to give those in the disaster zone relief from the new bankruptcy laws reasonable.

Perhaps she could also focus on intervention from creditors that doesn't require filing of bankruptcy . . . a moratorium perhaps no the collection of debts for say a year from the date Katrina hit.

At least this way, some folks won't have to file bankruptcy and put that on their credit report for the next ten years. As well as allowing these folks to get back into the work force and perhaps put something towards their new homes - where ever those may be - without the concern of paying for existing debts for a period.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20322 posts, RR: 63
Reply 15, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 1207 times:

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 14):
Perhaps she could also focus on intervention from creditors that doesn't require filing of bankruptcy . . . a moratorium perhaps no the collection of debts for say a year from the date Katrina hit.

 thumbsup 

Some of the major lenders, such as the credit arms of GM and Ford announced automatic 60-day extensions for those in the disaster zone within a day or two of when Katrina hit. That was a first good move.

I also caught the end of a report on CNN this morning that there are rumblings of introducing a bill in Congress to exempt from penalties for making withdrawals from retirement accounts to invest in rebuilding.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 1202 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 15):
I also caught the end of a report on CNN this morning that there are rumblings of introducing a bill in Congress to exempt from penalties for making withdrawals from retirement accounts to invest in rebuilding.

Saw that as well.

Rather than allowing instant bankruptcy - which will hurt all of us eventually - we need to make provisions for the displaced persons to have a "year off" . . . or perhaps 18 months . . . to get their lives in order - or give them the opportunity to do so anyway . . . and then pick up where they left off.


User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1193 times:

More than your ability to sit through this boring meeting, I find your ability to write your magnum opus on it quite amazing. It must really have affected you in some odd way, if it made you write about it in such gory detail.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
Quoting SFOMEX (Reply 1):
now we can get a better idea of why left-wing nuts will keep losing election after election.

Hrm, Sheila Jackson Lee has won six consecutive elections to the House of Representatives.

As usual, facts have a way of shutting up even the noisiest empty vessel.


User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 1157 times:

Quoting Jaysit (Reply 17):
More than your ability to sit through this boring meeting, I find your ability to write your magnum opus on it quite amazing. It must really have affected you in some odd way, if it made you write about it in such gory detail.

Thank you so much for the kind compliment. Last year, I endured a grave injury/medical condition resulting in 6 week stay in the hospital. That made me a 100 times more patient than before.

At the Town Hall meeting I was surprised to see the deserters paraded around (especially receiving a standing ovation) and a focus on the Michael Moore knockoffs. Keep in mind, neither of the deserters saw time in the current Iraq campaign. When I got home, I looked up Allison on the internet. I caught an interview with her. She speaks of joining the Military for college money. She was startled upon learning how to fire a gun in training. WTF?

I definitely wanted to post something here. We have threads that are total shit that get 60+ replies.

[Edited 2005-09-16 17:56:50]

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