Luncheons for April, 2010

Democratic Candidate for Lieutenant Governor: Linda Chavez-Thompson

Monday, April 12th, 2010

linda chavez mugLinda Chavez-Thompson is an extraordinary person with extraordinary achievements. Born in 1944 in Lorenzo, Texas, at the age of ten she started working for thirty-cents an hour hoeing cotton. When she was in the ninth grade, she had to leave school to work full time to support her family. She picked cotton and cleaned homes to earn money for clothes and food for her family. But she also learned English and taught herself to read and write Spanish.

From those humble beginnings, Linda rose to serve as Executive Vice-President of the national AFL-CIO—the first woman and first Hispanic to be elected as an AFL-CIO officer. Through hard work, intelligence, compassion, and superb people-skills, Linda has excelled throughout her career.

In 1967, the Constitution Laborer’s Union in Lubbock, Texas, hired Linda as Secretary. Over the next 40 years, Linda built a remarkable career serving the nation’s workers. She was elected Executive Vice-President of the National AFL-CIO in 1995, and served in that position until she retired in 2007. Beginning in 1996, Linda headed the AFL-CIO’s policy-making group on immigration reform. She was instrumental in the federation’s dramatic reform efforts, culminating in the major changes in the federation’s immigration policy adopted in 2000. In 2003, President Sweeney appointed her to the AFL-CIO task force on organizing, and in 2004 she played a central role in the AFL-CIO’s federal electoral efforts.

Linda is a lifelong Democrat and her record of work for the Democratic Party has been exemplary. In 1992 and 1996, she was elected as a Democratic delegate pledged to Bill Clinton. In 1996, she was named honorary co-chair of Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign. In January 1997, Linda was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and she was re-elected to that position repeatedly, including to another four-year term in 2005.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Linda to his Race Advisory Board, and in 1998 he appointed her to the Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. In 2004, at the American Association of People with Disabilities’ Leadership Gala, Linda received an award that the organization named for her– the Linda Chavez-Thompson Award–to recognize her lifelong commitment to persons with disabilities and families within the labor movement.

Linda is a dynamic, powerful speaker. You won’t want to miss this program!

Super-Spectacular Door Prizes:

1. A t-shirt bearing the eloquent, succinct remarks of Vice President Joe Biden on the passage of health care reform.

2. Red Wassenich’s book, Keep Austin Weird –the best-selling book in the history of Austin, in certain neighborhoods.

3. Even more.

Cost: lunch is $15.00 for members, $20.00 for non-members

Parking: 816 Congress Avenue/IBC Bank parking garage. Enter the parking garage on 9th Street, between Colorado and Congress. Bring your ticket to the receptionist on the 7th floor and you will be given a coupon to use to exit the garage at no charge.

Reservation required: To reserve your seat, email jerben@herring-irwin.com or cherring@herring-irwin.com or call Chuck Herring or Judy Erben at 320-0665. Please tell us if you intend to bring a non-member guest and if you have any special dietary concerns. PLEASE MAKE RESERVATIONS BY 5:00 P.M. ON FRIDAY, APRIL 30. Seating to this event will definitely be limited.

About the Forum: The Forum meets monthly for lunch to hear Democratic speakers. Membership is $120/yr. Non-members may attend, but members have priority and receive discount prices for lunches.

Kathy Miller, Texas Freedom Network: The Texas Board of Education Did What?!!???

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Kathy Miller - low resWhich Thomas is Right for Texas: Jefferson or Aquinas? Look, for years we Texas Democrats have been drenched with buckets of humiliation tossed our way by friends in other states where schools still value such quaint concepts as facts and science. But really now–the Texas Board of Education is going to replace Thomas Jefferson with Thomas Aquinas??? The Austin American Statesman said that the currently dominant Republican majority “embraces ignorance with a religious fervor.” And, incredibly, that’s an understatement!

Among the other breathtaking lowlights of the Republican BOE vote on curriculum-standards changes at its March meeting:

  • Dropping references to the “Age of Enlightenment.” (Which apparently bypassed the Rs on this Board entirely.)
  • Limiting discussion of sex and gender issues in social studies. (BOE Member Cargill commented that those notions “allow students to go into the world of transvestites, transsexuals and God-knows-what-else.”)
  • Adding emphasis on gun rights in social studies. (“Class, write a 250-word essay comparing the relative social merits of the Glock .380 and the Smith & Wesson M&P .40.”)
  • Eliminating the requirement that schools teach about Hispanics who were at the Alamo.
  • Removing references to “capitalism,” so that now students will speak only of the “free-enterprise system.”
  • Deleting references to the “historically inaccurate” and apparently apocryphal “separation of church and state” doctrine. (Hence, the banishment of that despised leftist, Jefferson.)
  • Requiring study of the “unintended consequences” of the Great Society, affirmative action, and Title IX.
  • Requiring that students learn about Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association. And on and on and on.

So what’s a Democrat–or any Texan who has read a book, believes in truth, or has heard of an idea called “science”–supposed to do about the nightmarish absurdities proposed by the BOE? How can Texas public education be saved from the dire threat posed by these political-fringe, religious-right crackpots?
Kathy Miller is the Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network. Unfortunately for her, but fortunately for us, she is remarkably knowledgeable about the BOE. She’ll tell us exactly what has happened, what is scheduled to happen, and what we can do to rescue Texas school children from the BOE.
The BOE meets for its next public hearing and for the final vote on these bizarre curriculum standards on May 19-21. Don’t miss this Forum program!

Spectacular Door Prizes:

1. Copies of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. These make great gifts for graduating high school seniors this year. Next year, of course, graduates won’t have any idea what they are, if the BOE has its way. But some day these could be really valuable—again.

2. Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas. Soon to be on the BOE best-seller list. As you now know, Aquinas is more important for Americans than Thomas Jefferson. You’ve probably read a lot about the wrong Thomas, now read about the Right Thomas.

3. Red Wassenich’s Keep Austin Weird. Still a best-seller, even though Thomas Aquinas didn’t write a single word of it.

Cost: lunch is $15.00 for members, $20.00 for non-members.

Parking: 816 Congress Avenue/IBC Bank parking garage. Enter the parking garage on 9th Street, between Colorado and Congress. Bring your ticket to the receptionist on the 7th floor and you will receive a coupon to use to exit the garage at no charge.

Reservation required: To reserve your seat, email jerben@herring-irwin.com or cherring@herring-irwin.com or call Chuck Herring or Judy Erben at 320-0665. Please tell us if you intend to bring a non-member guest and if you have any special dietary concerns. PLEASE MAKE RESERVATIONS BY 10:00 A.M. ON MONDAY, APRIL 5. Seating to this event is limited.