December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

My cab is on the way and I started drinking a while back. Have fun and be safe tonight...DWI's are way more expensive than cabs, yo!

Posted by mcblogger at 06:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Weak sister

When I worked for a hedge fund, we used the phrase 'weak sister' to describe assets that were not performing well. That came to mind recently when I read this article at the El Paso Times. Norma Chavez is our weak sister

Her name was one of 84 remaining on a pledge list Craddick released Thursday. Before other Republican speaker candidates came forward, 109 House members were on that list.

Last week, Craddick told Chávez and state Rep. Chente Quintanilla that $43 million for the Texas Tech University medical school would be in the budget next year.

Money for the school has been in the budget before but has been cut out by House leaders. In 2005, the medical school money was stripped at the same time $13 million was appropriated to a clinic in Craddick's hometown.

Asked why she believes the money will stay in the budget this year, Chávez said, "I have (Craddick's) word this time, and in previous sessions there were broader discussions, not the commitment I see this time."

State Reps. Quintanilla, Pat Haggerty and Joe Pickett were on the older list supporting Craddick, but they did not appear as supporters Thursday.

Haggerty said he told Craddick he had not yet decided who would get his vote. He said he has been unsatisfied with current House leadership and would vote for the candidate who promised a more inclusive administration.

Craddick has a reputation for wielding vise-like control over the House and quickly stifling opposing viewpoints while forcing members to vote in line with his agenda.

Pickett and Quintanilla did not return repeated calls requesting comment on the speaker race.

State Rep. Paul Moreno, D-El Paso, said he planned to stick by Plano Republican McCall's bid to lead the House.

He said that money for the medical school would come no matter who leads the House but that his constituents and poorer Texans would benefit from less-partisan leadership. "That medical school (funding) is just wiggling a carrot, that's all," he said.

Norma... the loyalty? How about loyalty to your constituents, all of whom could, as Rep. Moreno elegantly put, benefit from less-partisan leadership? The money for the med school is finally going to come but after all the lies and bullshit, you're still going to stick with CradDICK? What's he have to do to get you stop carrying water for him Norma? Set your hair on fire?

Posted by mcblogger at 11:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 30, 2006

Hang high, Saddam; Bush cowers in Crawford

Regardless of what you think about Bush’s war of choice, the death of Hussein is welcome. Unfortunately, the time line of questionable decisions that got us to this point will go down as a dark period in U.S. history. Also, the potential for escalated violence due to his demise is real.

Only time will tell if his execution will initiate a positive or negative response from the Iraqis. The vast majority of the Iraqi people have had a huge burden lifted, but wasn’t that the idea behind the U.S. liberation.

You still have to question the timing. Why couldn’t this have waited till after the Kurds trial? Didn’t it seem hurried so as to take the heat off from the coverage of the worst sectarian violence since the U.S. invasion? Somehow you get the feeling that his execution is part of Bush’s “new” direction.

What will be the consequences? Hard to tell. Not to make light of this event, but less than an hour after his execution, Arab websites were advertising upcoming pictures and videos. Saddam as cottage industry? Some believe that Uncle Sam finally put down the old mangy family pit bull that had outlived its’ usefulness.

If we are putting people on trial for giving orders that led to the death of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, then maybe we should broaden our search. You might start by looking in Washington.

Oh, what the hell, let the conspiracy games begin.

Posted by Captain Kroc at 07:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wanna end the possibility of nuclear war?

Let's make sure that, in the event of a nuclear war, the leadership understands that it won't survive. All military leaders above the rank of Brigadier General and all civilian leaders including legislative and executive will be subject to automatic execution without trial.

There will be no leadership bunkers and those that exist currently should be dismantled.

If we can't get rid of the damn bombs, let's make sure the people who will make the decision to use them will die along with the rest of us, or be executed by the survivors. Seriously, what good would they be anyway in the world they ruined? After all, it will be their 'leadership' that led to the use of nukes.

I know, the Constitution would have to be amended. OK. I know that it sets up the possibility for a nasty coup, though the coup planner would probably be included on the list of those to executed. As for the compliance of other nations, I guess we could use Prompt Global Strike.

Maybe it is a useful program after all.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 29, 2006

From the cheap seats

Since I lack class and decorum, I’ll be the jerk to give a different take on Gerald Ford.

By pardoning Nixon, he stopped a much needed public debate to define appropriate presidential power, and the process to set clear legal standards by increasing transparency and accountability of all government. I don’t buy into the idea that Ford’s action healed a nation, stopped divisiveness, and restored confidence in our government. Considering what has transpired over the last 30 years, that pardon worked well, didn’t it?

Personally, I think the man was manipulated to pardon Nixon. With Cheney, Rumsfield, Greenspan, and Kissinger playing significant roles in his presidency, and with people like John Mitchell advising him the few years before he was elevated to Vice-President, Ford was probably constantly bombarded by a political ideology that cared little for moderation and bipartisanship.

The result of the bloodletting of the 1974 midterm election that saw vast numbers of Republicans voted out because of the pardon was a party purged of many who might have pushed back against the coming Glorious Reagan Revolution. No doubt, Reaganites wanted Nixon to be a faded memory by 1980. Having investigations that constantly kept Nixon and Republicans in the hot seat would have diminished Reagan and brought certain party operatives missed by Watergate out in the open. It would have halted the nascent neo-conservative movement.

Let’s not forget Ford’s conservative bona fides. He was a fierce partisan and protector of conservatism. He voted against public housing, the minimum wage, and repeal of the right-to-work law provision of the Taft-Hartley Act. He also led the failed effort to impeach Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. The reason? Because Douglas’s liberal leanings were an impeachable offense. He supported going into Laos and Cambodia, and the bombing of North Vietnam. Yes, he voted for the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, but the handwriting was already on the wall. How would his western Michigan constituents have reacted to a representative labeled as a bigot and racist? His ramblings about how his vetoes of spending bills would improve the economy were baloney.

Ford knew and practiced hard ball politics. You don’t become House leader of your party by putting on ice cream socials. As for presidential campaigning, he used the same methods as Reagan, the current doofus, and others by staying the high road and letting his VP nominee attack his opponent. Bob Dole said as much.

Though I don’t believe that there was any deal between him and Nixon, I do believe he thought what he was doing was best for conservatism. Instead of restoring confidence, he made it acceptable to bury our heads in the sand.

But considering the douche that was voted president in 1980, Ford did come across as a caring man of reason.

Posted by Captain Kroc at 08:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A Dildo interviews the Photobucket TOS 'tard

dildo.jpgThe Dildo, pissed about having to take ANOTHER picture, decided to talk to PhotoBucket about their 'Terms of Service' by interviewing the person at PhotoBucket (one Censor McCensorson ... what, you thought we'd post his/her real name?). Honestly, I thought the idea was dumber than a box of rocks but The Dildo persuaded me that it was, in fact, a fabulous idea. And by 'persuaded' I mean threatened to beat me to a point close to death, then comsmetically 'enhance' me until I looked like Dr. Hospital Bed. Not wanting to be fucking ugly, I graciously accepted The Dildo's more than reasonable proposal.

The Interview


D:Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I'll just go ahead an jump right in by asking you what it's like being such a douche.

CMcC: Well, I don't think of myself as a douche-

D: Your self image is largely irrelevant. You are, in fact, a douche. So how does that feel?

CMcC: I'd really rather not answer that.

D: Alright. What's it like sitting in a room being a censor?

CMcC: I don't really think of myself as a censor. I just do my job which is to monitor pictures stored by users for violations of our Terms of Service.

D: Do you even HAVE sex? I mean, come on... only someone pretty fucking lame and tight would have a problem with a picture of a dildo and shots of Britney's cooter. Have you ever been laid? Kissed a boy or a girl?

CMcC: They warned me you might get a little abusive...

D: "They" warned you? Who's "they"? As for abusive, you don't know the half of it. This is me being nice. You're lucky I haven't decided if I want to make you my bitch.

CMcC: Whatever that means.

D: How long have been a communist?

CMcC: What?

D: You heard the question...

CMcC: I'm not a communist.

D: Oh, I assumed you were since you have their flair for censoring the press. I noticed you also removed the image of the Todd Staples buttplug. What was wrong with that?

CMcC: It was another picture of a sexual nature that violated our ToS.

D: So it wasn't removed because it bore Todd Staples likeness?

CMcC: Hell no. That guy is a douche.

D: Well, we agree on that. Tell me what it's like to be a pedophile.

CMcC: (clearly uncomfortable) I'm not a pedophile...

D: Oops. My bad. That was a question for my Mark Foley interview.

CMcC: So, are we done here?

D: Sure, except for the part where I molest you in a number of different ways.

CMcC: I thought you were kidding about that.

D: So did I, but as it turns out not so much.

At this point the interview ends except for screaming, moaning and other noises commonly heard when someone is being fucked by a giant dildo from hell. I really hope I never have to do this again.

Posted by mcblogger at 04:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Yet another example of how full of shit Republicans are

One of the arguments against raising the minimum wage has been the supposed deleterious effect it will have on small businesses, most of whom are already paying over minimum wage. The cool thing about it? They never actually ASKED small businesses about this. Discover Financial Services actually did ask the question and 70% said they would be unaffected by an increase in the minimum wage. From the Statesman (via Jobsanger)

A rise in the U.S. minimum wage would have little effect on small-business labor costs, according to a survey of small-business owners by Discover Financial Services LLC.

According to Discover, 70 percent of the 1,000 small-business owners it surveyed said an increase in the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour would have no effect on labor costs. The minimum wage is $5.15 an hour.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An idea for making Texas schools better

Here's an idea for what to do with part of the giant mega surplus that will greet The Lege when it returns in January... supply computers to every student in Texas. Sounds expense, right? Not really and we can afford it. Project Inkwell is doing it now and it's working. From strategy+business

I will never forget a visit I made to a math classroom in an elementary school at Lemon Grove School District in San Diego, Calif. We were there in the spring, and a bar chart on the wall showed that each of the students had already finished the full year’s curriculum, months ahead of time. This is not an upscale, highly privileged district. Half of the kids are on the free lunch program, and English is not the native language of many of their families. (Thirty-seven languages are spoken in their homes.)

I had gone there with a theory that when students are given their own computers to use at school and at home, under the right conditions, “superlearners” will emerge. But we weren’t completely prepared for the overwhelming success that we found at Lemon Grove. We asked the math teacher about the potential for improving student performance. She smiled and pointed to the bar on the chart that represented the best achiever. “He’s already two years ahead of this class,” she said.

This is happening not just in San Diego, but in the other areas where it has been pushed. The US spent a ton of money wiring classrooms for broadband but no computers have yet materialized. That, among other things, has to change. If you're serious about remaking public schools, about really making them the best they can be and giving Texas kids a chance to learn, then this is something you need to read. With all the talk about bullshit vouchers people forget that we should be demanding more for our public schools, not expecting less.

I'm posting the entire thing in the supersize, just in case you have any issues at the site.

From Laptops to Backpacks
by Mark Anderson

I will never forget a visit I made to a math classroom in an elementary school at Lemon Grove School District in San Diego, Calif. We were there in the spring, and a bar chart on the wall showed that each of the students had already finished the full year’s curriculum, months ahead of time. This is not an upscale, highly privileged district. Half of the kids are on the free lunch program, and English is not the native language of many of their families. (Thirty-seven languages are spoken in their homes.)

I had gone there with a theory that when students are given their own computers to use at school and at home, under the right conditions, “superlearners” will emerge. But we weren’t completely prepared for the overwhelming success that we found at Lemon Grove. We asked the math teacher about the potential for improving student performance. She smiled and pointed to the bar on the chart that represented the best achiever. “He’s already two years ahead of this class,” she said.

We hope such stories will be typical of the future; they certainly are not typical of the past. Last May, Goldman Sachs International Vice Chairman Bob Hormats put into words (in a keynote address at the 2006 Strategic News Service [SNS] Future in Review conference) what many businesspeople know instinctively: Education can be a country’s greatest weakness in a globalized business environment.

We also know that simply throwing money at the problem does not help. Education funding in the U.S. has been climbing for decades, but reading scores continue to decline. Meanwhile, Western education systems are increasingly unable to produce enough candidates for high-value jobs, involving research and development, programming, engineering, and the like — jobs that increasingly go instead to candidates in India, China, and other developing regions. So what is the answer, and who can provide it?

These questions led me to form SNS Project Inkwell in 2003, a global consortium chartered to “accelerate the deployment of appropriate technologies onto K–12 desktops.” My cofounders and I believed that only technology could deliver a revolution in K–12 education. But not just any technology. Specifically, what is required can be expressed in a phrase: “one-to-one computing” — that is, the revolution that takes place in the classroom when each child owns his or her own PC. Yes, the devices have to be better designed than they are today — and much cheaper. That’s been our primary goal. And no, the device itself is not nearly as important as the training of educators for its proper use and introduction into schools. That’s a related goal, which we are working on right now.

Three long-range trends are coming together to make one-to-one computing particularly relevant now. First among them is computers in schools. During the Clinton administration, the U.S. spent $50 billion per year on wiring schools to the Internet. Each school launched its own computer lab, and kids learned to type. But in the end, it was an embarrassing showing: The government spent $200 billion bringing technology to schools during the 1990s without any noticeable improvement in learning or test performance.

It turns out that having a computer lab, or a PC on a teacher’s desk, or even one machine for every four students, is essentially worthless — in fact, it’s probably a distraction. As far as we can tell, real improvement takes place only in classrooms with a one-to-one computer/student ratio.

Hence the second trend: the movement toward providing individual children with computers. Its best-known incarnation is One Laptop per Child, the handiwork of MIT Media Lab pioneer Nicholas Negroponte and Logo programming language inventor Seymour Papert. But this program, according to Dr. Papert, does not include, or require, any educator training at all. Just plug in the machine and the education outcome should change. It turns out that this is not plausible. Without teacher training, computers cannot be introduced into classrooms effectively.

Fortunately, the third trend is a rise of interest, mostly unseen outside education circles, in better “staff development,” as educators call it. And when these three trends come together, here’s what we see:

• Schoolrooms self-organize into study pods (usually of four members), and students begin working and learning in teams. Learning is more project-based, with each student taking responsibility for a particular part of that project.

• During oral and written questioning, all children answer all problems at their computers, so it isn’t just the bright kids who jump in. The teacher can see how each child is doing and provide help in real time to those students who most need it. Students take their machines home at night and do homework on them in a connected environment (this, too, is part of the Inkwell goal). For students in needy homes, this is a great equalizer.

In a survey by the Greaves Group and the Hayes Connection, titled “America’s Digital Schools 2006: A Five-Year Forecast,” 88 percent of the schools operating one-to-one programs that tracked their academic outcomes reported “moderate to significant positive results.” The survey concluded: “It appears that properly implemented ubiquitous computing solutions can help improve student achievement to a significant degree.”

Former Maine Governor Angus King (who is now chair of the Inkwell Governor’s Committee) was a pioneer in understanding the power of one-to-one. In 2002, he ordered laptops for every seventh grader in his state — about 37,000 of them. Maine is currently in its fourth year of this program. “We realized early on that this was not just about education,” Governor King said. “This is about economic development.”

Massachusetts, Michigan, and South Dakota have similar statewide one-to-one programs. Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, and another 11 states are also now moving toward statewide implementations.

One-to-one computing could produce a windfall for computer makers. That’s why they will be motivated to tackle the performance and cost improvements required to make this concept a success. There are 54 million kindergarten through 12th-grade students in the U.S. alone. At a hypothetical technology budget of $1,200 per child — which includes not only the PCs but learning devices, servers, software, network, and training — there is a potential $64 billion in the Inkwell U.S. market. Apply this formula around the world, which we are doing, and the numbers grow much larger.

But to take advantage of this boon, computer makers will have to produce machines at reasonable prices that better meet the needs of students and teachers. We have more than 30 corporate members of Inkwell so far, and we are working to establish standards for machines that are simple, durable, and accessible to children. A typical Inkwell computer can outperform business laptops in a variety of measures, from higher survival rates in the classroom to less time lost to booting and support, with a lower total cost of ownership.

Even in an age of ever-tighter education budgets, the movement toward one-to-one PCs is inevitable. The success in states like Maine and districts like Lemon Grove is so dramatic that even if some educators resist, parents and politicians will surely overrule them. In fact, the revolution is under way: The Greaves/Hayes survey found that 24 percent of all U.S. education districts are already in the process of transitioning to Inkwell’s approach. Starting in schoolrooms, the magnitude of this change may be the catalyst that ushers in the next wave of lightweight computers, which will be associated less with the airplane seat of a business traveler, and more with a student’s backpack — and ultimately with a new style of lifelong learning that emerges on this new, near-ubiquitous platform

Posted by mcblogger at 11:20 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dude, where's my island?

Global warming claims it's first inhabited island ahead of schedule

Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

The reason it's not happening yet this far north is that the warming is mostly expanding water, consuming islands close to the equator. As the atmosphere continues to warm, the oceans will absorb more of the heat further north which will have the effect of swallowing up coastal areas in the northern hemisphere. Combine with melting sea ice and things could get very bad, quickly, for a lot of people in this country.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

CradDICK's got to go...

What can you say about a man like Tom Craddick? A man that makes Joe Stalin look perfectly reasonable. I kid. Stalin was actually much more reasonable. The guy's a dick, thoroughly unreasonable about everything and seemingly quite proud of it. Oh sure, he may look like a kindly, older gentleman but make no mistake; I think he'd love nothing more than to gut punch you over and over again. When you're doubled up on the floor, he'd probably like to kick you in the huevos. Then he'd feed you to pigs, I would assume, while feasting on the puppy you just brought home for the kids.

Can we all admit the State of Texas House of Representatives needs a new Speaker? Maybe one a little less petty and vindictive? I can, however some Democrats can not.

Some Democrats want him to remain Speaker. WTF is up with that? Oh sure, we know they've benefited from CradDICK's Speakership but they've had to carry water for a guy who balances the budget on the backs of children and thinks public eduction receives too much funding and needs to be privatized. That can't feel good, can it Kino Flores? Knowing that you're preserving your 'power' in the Lege, power that really isn't even yours (it's CradDICK's) by hurting your constituents? You aren't even IN a swing district.

There is a guy (sure, you already know this... I'm writing this for the slow children like myself who actually, you know, enjoyed Christmas) named Brian McCall who says he has the votes, even without the 'CradDICK Democrats!'. To be sure, CradDICK has probably made enough enemies in his own caucus to tip the balance with 60 Democrats. Because of the peculiar laws surrounding the election of Speaker, we won't be endorsing as a blog, nor will we be endorsing as the Texas Progressive Alliance. For myself, I'd like to see Speaker Thompson, however I know that I'm as likely to see that as I am Leslie, with wife and kids in tow, walking into the Great Hills Baptist Church. Which leaves us with CradDICK and McCall.

I, if I ever stooped to being a State Rep, would cast my vote for McCall. I can't believe I'm actually writing something nice about someone from Plano. I hate Plano. I'm not a big fan of Dallas in the first place and I hate, if I'm there, having to venture north of 635. When I was a kid, that was Oklahoma as far as my family was concerned... there was no reason to go there. A trip to the Galleria was really venturing out of mi madre's comfort zone. If we were bad, she made us go to Town East. However, she never made us go to Plano. I always assumed Plano was kinda like Mesquite. I still think it is. This is, for me, a little like hoping that Jethro Clampett is elected Speaker. Of course, it's better than Boss Hogg.

I've heard from too many of you on this issue and you should all know my position on this is adamantine. We need a new Speaker. I've heard that it could end up hurting Democrats in 2008 which is retarded since no one needs CradDICK to have a reason to vote against Republicans. Sure, it makes the job easier but you can still run and win with a solid strategy. Krusee almost lost because of Krusee. CradDICK could drop off the face of the earth and it wouldn't change the fact that as things stand now he'll be gone in 2008. It's the same for a lot of Republicans.

We also don't get anything from these CradDICK D's who are consistently voting against the interests of their districts on issues big and small. Their decision to support CradDICK flies in the face of common sense and is truly justifiable only in terms of their narrow self-interest. Texas deserves better.

No threats, no silly attempts at intimidation, just my sincere hope that when the votes are counted we'll have 68 Democrats on board with electing a new Speaker. I've given up on Turner. That, plus 8 Republicans, will put a new Speaker into the House. Today McCall pulled in Robert Talton. Quorum Report (via Kuff) has published a list of CradDICK supporters that seems highly suspect at best (Patrick Rose? Dawnna Dukes? Aaron Pena?) especially since it was released by CradDICK himself. Jim Pitts was also on the list but this afternoon he decided HE should be Speaker. I kinda like Jim, but this is dumb. Sweets...well, just no. I'm not sure where CradDICK's arm ends and your ass begins. Oh, I know, you've shown your 'independence' and that's nice and all. However, I'm a little nervous about all this (not to mention your position on air pollution) and would rather have someone Leininger tried to take out. Anyone who earned that kind of attention deserves a little love. Even if they are a Republican.

So, that leaves McCall. As for CradDICK, let's hope the members are smart enough to shun him in every way. Let the people of Midland suffer a little for a change.

Yeah, I wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire and I'd just drunk a bottle of Scotch. It's not hate, it's indifference. So long, asshole.


Posted by mcblogger at 01:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2006

Here's something the Lege could do to help homeowners

My job is to buy loans. It's exciting, it's fun and I get an expense account which rocks (it's kind of like being a lobbyist, except the people you're taking out actually need you as much as you need them). At least once a week I get a call from a client regarding the purchase of a loan in which the borrower would like to liquefy equity (AKA, a 'cashout') in their owner occupied property. Normally, these aren't that big a deal (despite the ridiculous home equity laws in Texas) and I deal with them all the time. The problem that crops up is if it's a multi-unit property, like a duplex. Did you know that if you buy a duplex in the state of Texas, live in one unit, homestead it and rent the other side it's almost impossible to borrow against the equity in it?

The reason is that no case law has been established to support the lender's ability to perfect title in the event of foreclosure. The law (50(a)6) doesn't specifically address it and Texas judges, when it comes to homesteads, are notoriously borrower friendly. Which makes people nervous about lending in Texas, period. Don't get me wrong, legal protections for homeowners are important. However, lenders have to be able to foreclose cleanly should the borrower not pay.

While this happens in the metro's more than the rural areas, it is an issue that affects a surprisingly large number of homeowners. Any legislators out there want to take a crack at fixing it?

Posted by mcblogger at 01:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stupid people doing stupid things at Whole Foods

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI really like Whole Foods. I don't usually buy anything there other than vitamins, cheese and occasionally a lunch, but I do like the stores. The people are always so friendly, even when I ask things like "Where ARE the Cape Cod chips?" and "Where's the goddamn Diet Dr. Pepper?" The store downtown rocks, however, the surface parking lot does not. Actually, that's not really fair. Let me be more specific:

The people turning into it from

5th suck.

Last Wednesday night I was heading to meet some bloggers for drinks and dinner (specifically, EOW and Muse). I would have even been on time had I not had to sit through the light at Lamar and 5th for three cycles because of retards trying to get into the surface lot at Whole Foods. Of course, I realize people have to buy groceries but you folks don't realize that the people behind you, as you take your sweet time entering the lot, are causing a jam up almost all the way back down 5th to El Arroyo. Yes, your Volvos and Toyotas, small though they may be, are in the way.

So what's the solution? Whole Foods in their wisdom built a garage for shoppers. So, in the future, why don't you use IT? Why even bother trying to look for that elusive spot in the surface lot? And for the love of all that's good and decent in the world, turn FAST off 5th. Don't make us all suffer because you need some weirdo cereal.

Either that, or maybe Whole Foods could just turn the damn lot into a park. Surface lots downtown are dumb.

Posted by mcblogger at 11:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Edwards announces he's going to announce

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 09:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

When Dolphins Attack

They say dolphins' intelligence rivals that of humans (or at least that of the Texas Legislature}. God help us if they ever develop nuclear weapons.

A New Zealand woman is in critical condition in hospital after being crushed by a dolphin that leaped on to her boat, media reported on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old woman had been watching from the bow of the small boat cruising among the marine mammals off the North Island's Coromandel Peninsula on Tuesday when the bottlenose dolphin landed on her, the New Zealand Herald said.

She suffered serious head injuries and was flown to hospital in Auckland.

The dolphin also smashed the boat's windshield and bow rails before jumping back into the ocean, witnesses told the Herald.

Remember, if a cow could eat you, it would.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 08:41 AM

December 27, 2006

Jerry Ford

Unlike Sister Ruth, I don't obsessively monitor the 24/7 news and propaganda channels. In fact, last night I dozed off watching some show on cable where they were counting down the top ten ways in which civilization could be wiped out in an afternoon (pleasant dreams!) so it wasn't until this morning that I heard President Ford had died.

I'm not going to spin some wild tale about Ford being a great president. He wasn't. But after the Great Presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson and Nixon, the wars and upheavals, the riots and assassinations, the last thing we needed was another Great President. We needed a chance to catch our breath and take stock of how the country had changed over the past decade and a half. Ford provided that breathing spell.

Gerald Ford was the last President from an earlier time, a time before fundamentalist religion began to slither into national politics, a time when it was possible to disagree with someone's politics without vilifying him. I mourn his passing, and the passing of his era.


Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Good job, Kirk Watson...

(McBlogger says: Hey! I'm finally back in my office and in front of the computer. It's been so long (4 days) that it feels like an eternity... especially when you're blogging from a BlackBerry. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to New Year's debauchery (or, as The Mayor and I like to call it, A Night Out With Sister Ruth))

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingWatson calls for a delay on the CAMPO Phase 2.

Watson, an Austin Democrat succeeding longtime state Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos in January, will be one of eight new or nearly new members of the 23-member Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board. Given that influx of inexperience, as well as a recent report indicating that increasing the state gas tax with inflation could eliminate the need for tolls on some roads, Watson said that CAMPO needs to step back.

And, as it considers further action on toll roads in general, Watson said, the CAMPO board needs to make sure "the people of Central Texas are treated like valued constituents, not just resources to be harvested."

Good to finally have a player on this board with the stature to pimp slap Krusee, who had this to say about the delay and a possible reorg of CAMPO

"I think a smaller board is a good thing because it's become unwieldy," said state Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Williamson County, a CAMPO board member and the chairman of the House Transportation Committee. "And some members clearly have not been interested in actively participating."

People don't want to participate? Well gee, Mike, I don't suppose that could have anything to do with how you've dictated terms and conditions to the board over the last few years. What was it again? 'Toll roads or no roads'? Wasn't that basically what you were telling folks?

You know, if I were running PR for Krusee I'd take away his mobile and make sure that all calls came through me. Then I'd never let him talk to the media. Every time he's quoted he comes across as an asshole.

Funny how reality always shows.

(photo credit to the Statesman, yo!)

Posted by mcblogger at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm falling for Edwards...

Here's what Political Insider had to say about Edwards 'campaign'...

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe subtext of the Edwards campaign will be that it's not enough to represent Americans who have been locked behind walls of power, you need to tear down those walls and deal head-on with issues of poverty, job creation and health care accessibility, the three prime impediments to expanding and strengthening the middle class. While others will try to craft the perfect Iraq policy, Edwards will take the more emotionally satisfying approach of bringing 40,000 troops home immediately and the rest as soon as possible.

In short, it will be 180 degrees from the Kerry/Edwards campaign of 2004, a campaign of pure emotional appeal and as little intellectualism as possible. Who knows if it will work, but there's no doubt that the Edwards' have put a great deal of thought behind this race and will be formidable, tough opponents that no one can take lightly.

I don't know if he'll make it through the primary. He's got an excellent chance I know for certain he'll run a better campaign than Hillary. For one thing, he'll win.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 26, 2006

Uhm... Sen.-Elect Brown... Habeas Corpus IS important

Amy Goodman, who writes for Democracy NOW (found viaAs Ohio Goes) did an interview with Senator-elect Brown...

AMY GOODMAN: Right before the election, you voted for the Military Commissions Act, which stripped habeas corpus. Why?

REP. SHERROD BROWN: I think that if we had done nothing, the prisoners would continue in Guantanamo Bay with no resolution. That will at least move the process forward. They’re either tried, or they’re freed. I didn’t think they should be given more rights than American troops who are court-martialed. I think we can fix that. I think we can make the bill better. I think we ought to go back and do that, come this year.

AMY GOODMAN: Restore habeas corpus?

REP. SHERROD BROWN: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: You would support that?

REP. SHERROD BROWN: I would support that.

AMY GOODMAN: Would you introduce that?

REP. SHERROD BROWN: Probably not.

AMY GOODMAN: Why not?

REP. SHERROD BROWN: Because I have other priorities.

AMY GOODMAN: What are your priorities?

REP. SHERROD BROWN: My priorities are a fair trade policy in this country, increasing the minimum wage, going after the drug companies for the way that they charge and their whole pricing structure that have put absolutely amazing drugs out of reach for so many Americans.

Senator Brown, you really need to make THIS a priority. It's a large part of the reason so many libertarians and republicans switched sides this cycle. Don't let them down!

Posted by mcblogger at 09:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 25, 2006

Okay, just one more then I swear I'm giving them up

Merry Christmas, suckers!

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

All I want for Christmas is a new Speaker of the House

Speaker Tom Craddick must be feeling a little uneasy. Why else would he bother using the ever-useful Round Heels in today's Slag to float a story predicting smooth sailing for his re-election plans?

The most important vote the Legislature will take when it convenes on January 9 is likely to be the election of the speaker. That choice will signal whether Texans can expect the Culture of Corruption to continue to dig the state further and further into last place in education, in health care, in every other category that connotes modern civilization; or a bipartisan effort to at least stop the digging and maybe even make a little progress toward getting out of the hole.

The previous speaker, Pete Laney, was widely haled as a "Speaker for all Texans". In contrast, Craddick's style has been termed "petty", "partisan", "vindictive", "dictatorial", "biased", "snake-like", "corrupt", "dishonest", "authoritarian", "biased", "hateful", "mean-spirited" and "disastrous". And that's just what his friends have to say.

The first challenge to Craddick's continued leadership came this spring when liberal icon Senfronia Thompson announced she would be a candidate for speaker. She is a great representative, a powerful orator, and has about as much chance of being elected by the republican-majority House as I do. Recently Plano republican Brian McCall announced his challenge to the regime, and for the moment he seems the leading challenger to Craddick.

The election of the Speaker is a very serious matter for the members of the House. The hand that wields the gavel wields power: supporters of the Speaker can expect good committee assignments and their legislation being heard on the floor, while enemies can be cast into outer darkness, their bills left to whither on the vine. I hope our legislators find the candidate and the courage to replace Tom Craddick on January 9. Texas has a lot of problems that need to be addressed. Overthrowing Craddick isn't the solution to the problems, but it is a precondition.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Merry Christmas

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingWe love all of you and wish you a wonderful Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, Festivus). We may not always like you (I'm looking at you, Republicans) but we do love you... especially when you get out of our way on the freeway. In the spirit of the season, I'll impart one essential piece of advice on last minute gift giving...

Cash and liquor ALWAYS rock. Even when the recipient is baptist (I know you bitches drink... don't lie). Reuben's/Twin has some great stuff on sale.

At least, that's what we heard. Just kinda sucks THAT THEY'RE CLOSED TODAY.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 24, 2006

but the employment agency is closed on Christmas


During the homily, my parish priest said to "Get rid of those things that hinder your experience of the joy of the Christmas spirit.

Posted by Captain Kroc at 09:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another one of those oh-so-funny YouTube things that are so popular these days

Way back when I was just a lad any sort of phrase or item of popular culture followed a predicatable arc from actually being "new" and thus "cool" to being "square" or "totally lame":

1. Actual teenagers use it
2. Rock musician uses it
3. Hollywood uses it
4. Johnny Carson uses it
5. Time Magazine uses it
6. The President uses it

I guess you know what to expect in the State of the Union this January.


Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 12:52 PM

Fun, new weapons at DoD (and corruption, too!)

Via The Somervell County Salon comes a tale of a new weapon in America's war on everyone else, euphemistically called Prompt Global Strike.

When the order comes, the sub shoots a 65-ton Trident II ballistic missile into the sky. Within 2 minutes, the missile is traveling at more than 20,000 ft. per second. Up and over the oceans and out of the atmosphere it soars for thousands of miles. At the top of its parabola, hanging in space, the Trident's four warheads separate and begin their screaming descent down toward the planet. Traveling as fast as 13,000 mph, the warheads are filled with scored tungsten rods with twice the strength of steel. Just above the target, the warheads detonate, showering the area with thousands of rods-each one up to 12 times as destructive as a .50-caliber bullet. Anything within 3000 sq. ft. of this whirling, metallic storm is obliterated.

From the time the order is given until the time the weapon reaches the target is no more than 60 minutes. Not bad, when you consider it takes me that long just to get through Costco most of the time.

While I agree, in theory, the US needs such a capability, my problem with this idea stems from the fact that this is a massively destabilizing weapons system. The worst part is that no one will know until AFTER impact that the payload is not nuclear. I'm sure other countries will just 'trust us' when they see us launching SLBM's.

Before we start thinking about spending money developing and deploying ANOTHER super expensive weapons system, can we please have an investigation of DoD CONTRACTORS?

The investigation by the Government Accountability Office, which released the report Tuesday, found that the Defense Department's inability to manage contractors effectively has hurt military operations and unit morale and cost the Pentagon money.

"With limited visibility over contractors, military commanders and other senior leaders cannot develop a complete picture of the extent to which they rely on contractors as an asset to support their operations," said the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress.

Perhaps the new Senator from Missouri will take up that task, just as one of her predecessors did so long ago.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 23, 2006

Accenture massacred

EOW tipped me off on this and LightSeeker over at Texas Kaos has more. Apparently, the contract has been severely redrawn to limit the responsibilities of the completely inept Accenture. The contract will allow the state to clawback some money and will hopefully get benefits restored to hundreds of thousands of our neediest citizens in relatively short order.

The director of HHS had this to say...

"What we found is that we didn't draw the line between vendor work and state work in the right place," said Albert Hawkins, the state's executive commissioner of health and human services.

After all the pain and suffering the outsourcing caused, this is all you have to say, Commissioner Hawkins?

My only regret is that this didn't come out during the campaign. If it had, the results may have been different. To all those Republicans who voted for Perry... can we acknowledge now, finally, that privatization is not always best and that real world implications should ALWAYS trump ideology?

It's called pragmatism and it rocks!

Posted by mcblogger at 01:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2006

Oh, damn it Mark Warner. No mas.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingA couple of different places are saying that Warner is thinking about getting back in the race a la Ross Perot in 1992. Dan Conley at Political Insider is reporting that horseface is indeed considering re-entry and Pink Lady was just about to spontaneously combust over the prospect of Warner coming again. I'm thrilled because I still have all this great art and tons of mean things to say about Mark Warner. Because I'm not from VA, I don't buy his bullshit and I think he looks like a horse. I bet his breath smells like pig ass as well and he probably double parks all the time.

Betcha I'LL never be invited to a Mark Warner liveblogging event!

When the hell are Democrats going to realize what Republicans were smart enough to get years ago? LOOKS MATTER. If I hear another moron whine about how we should look at someone's soul I'm going to puke blood. DO.THEY.LOOK.GOOD.ON.TV? Do they speak well or do they sound like Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley? Why can't Democratic primary voters for once focus as much on aesthetics as they do on the candidate's position on mango import subsidies and fair trade?

And not so much with Hillary's ugly ass either. Seriously, she and Carville should marry. Their kids would look like freaks from some kind of bizarre nuclear accident. What IS it with the ugly national Dems? We have good looking Dem's down here.

Posted by mcblogger at 03:26 PM | TrackBack

Who is this Serge I keep hearing about?

And what's so special about him that he's the only one who can fix up this Iraq mess? And if it's so important, why is the president waiting to ship him over there? Is he scared? Or just at some undisclosed location in a menage a trois with those slutty Bush twins?

Is this the same Serge who sent me this lovely poetic email?

Lackluster radioactive viagra, Godzilla of my pants defeated

Hi, I'm Serge, I'm looking for group mashed potato sex, can u help me?

Meet me here: married but looking

Honey, you had me at "Godzilla of my pants"!

Posted by sister ruth at 12:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bitch has a street named after her?

I gotta say, on the list of Things I Don't Get naming buildings, roads, aircraft carriers, etc. after people BEFORE they are dead is pretty high. There's a reason you wait on something like that... what if the person you're honoring turns out to be some kind of freak? Case in point, Cynthia McKinney has a street named after her. I like Cynthia. I think she's comical in the same way anyone who is basically batshit crazy is comical. I'm weird like that. Right on Target has alerted me to the fact that she DID have a street named after her. Now someone is trying to get her name removed from that street because

"She has a history of bad behavior and it's not reflected well upon the people of Georgia," Walker said.

Well, if the metric for naming something is reflecting well upon the people you serve, can we assume that no Republican will try to name crap after Connecticut native George W. Bush? I guess, if you have to name something after him, I'd be OK with a toilet. At the Bellmead Exxon.

(Welcome to the Tex-O-Sphere, RoT!)

Posted by mcblogger at 11:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iraq is sooo the new Vietnam

(via Think Progress) Connecticut native George Bush is taking a page from Nixon's play book... throw more troops at the quagmire and it's sure to do the trick!

Retired General Jack Keane is an “influential member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board” who met with President Bush last week to push his plan to send 40,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq. According to media reports, President Bush is leaning toward taking Keane’s advice.

In the most recent issue of the Weekly Standard, editor Fred Barnes lauds Keane’s plan. He explains that is an “application” of the “counterinsurgency approach” that was executed “so successfully” in Vietnam:

The Keane-Kagan plan is not revolutionary. Rather, it is an application of a counterinsurgency approach that has proved to be effective elsewhere, notably in Vietnam. There, Gen. Creighton Abrams cleared out the Viet Cong so successfully that the South Vietnamese government took control of the country. Only when Congress cut off funds to South Vietnam in 1974 were the North Vietnamese able to win.

Barnes is parroting the view of Henry Kissinger. Bob Woodward explained in his book, State of Denial:

Kissinger sensed wobbliness everywhere on Iraq, and he increasingly saw it through the prism of the Vietnam War. For Kissinger, the overriding lesson of Vietnam is to stick it out.

In his writing, speeches and private comments, Kissinger claimed that the United States had essentially won the war in 1972, only to lose it because of the weakened resolve of the public and Congress.


You know Iraq is going badly when people suggest the way to turn it around is to make it more like Vietnam.

But wait... there's more in the supersize...

UPDATE: Rick Perlstein explains why Kissinger was wrong:

To begin unraveling the true meaning of Kissinger’s advice to the White House, we have to go back to August 3, 1972. On that date, President Nixon repeated to the good doctor, his national security adviser, what he’d been saying in private since 1966: America’s war aim (standing up a pro-American and anti-Communist South Vietnamese government in Saigon) was a fantasy. “South Vietnam probably can never even survive anyway,” the president sighed. But a presidential election was coming up. He had long before promised he was removing the U.S. presence, more-or-less victoriously (though “victory” was a word Nixon, by then, wisely avoided; instead, he called it “peace with honor”).

It was Kissinger, who had been shuttling back and forth to Paris for peace negotiations with the enemy, who named the dilemma: “We’ve got to find some formula that holds the thing together a year or two, after which–after a year, Mr. President, Vietnam will be a backwater. If we settle it, say, this October, by January ‘74, no one will give a damn.” Thus was confirmed what historians would come to call the “decent interval” strategy. Having pledged to Saigon–and American conservatives–that Communist troops would not be allowed in South Vietnam after a peace deal was signed, Kissinger negotiated the opposite. “Peace is at hand,” he announced on the eve of the 1972 presidential election, in one of his rare appearances before the TV cameras. The United States left the following spring; the Communists moved in; Saigon fell.

That’s not how Nixon and Kissinger told the story, of course. They blamed the defeat on a combination of the liberal congressmen who refused to vote for continued aid to South Vietnam in 1974 and Saigon’s own unfortunate lack of will.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 21, 2006

Turkmenbashi croaks

Once upon a time there was a place called the Soviet Union, which was ruled by a series of evil dictators. Eventually they ended up with a not-so-evil dicator and after a few years the country fell apart. Some of the successor states, Russia and Ukraine for example, are somewhat familiar to Americans; others, like the stans of Central Asia, have remained much more obscure. These are to this day mostly run by evil dictators in the worst Soviet tradition; now the leader of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov has died, perhaps ending a bizarre cult of personality rivalling anything dreamt of by Kim Jong Il or Kinky Friedman.

Known as Turkmenbashi, or Father of all Turkmens, Niyazov was renowned for such peculiar acts as ordering citizens to get gold teeth extracted, outlawing opera and banning men from listening to car radios.

During a 21-year rule he turned his country into a hymn of praise to himself: kindergartens, towns, factories and a month of the year (January) were named Turkmenbashi. He erected a revolving gold statue of himself in the capital Ashgabat and giant billboards of the leader hung all over the country.

He often feigned embarrassment at the adulation. "I'm personally against seeing my pictures and statues in the streets - but it's what the people want," he once said.

But the pressure to worship the leader was relentless. Children in the gas-rich state were forced to learn his book of poetry, the Ruhnama, at school, and a copy of the book was sent into space for good measure.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 03:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Union of Concerned Scientists poops all over Bush

The UCS has released a periodic table to political interference in science. It's an interesting thing to play with, especially in light of the fact that the UCS declaration on behalf of 10,000 scientists has now been opened to people like you and me. You can sign on here and please, if you have a moment, tell EPA to stop destroying documents!

Posted by mcblogger at 02:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bridging the gap...

The lovely and always tactful (moreso than my obnoxious ass) Anna of Annatopia announced a project to bridge the gap between the netroots/grassroots here in Texas and the party heirarchy. Recently there have been a number of discussions on the lack of TDP support during the cycle for the statewide candidates. I have a wide range of opinions on this subject... there's just no way you can look at one candidate the same as another. Comparing Hank to Bell would be like comparing a Ford Diesel to a Honda Civic. Comparing the levels of support they received would be similarly useless... Bell raised and spent millions. Hank raised and spent less money than you'd pay for a moderately priced home in Jarrell. What can be compared is how people worked for them despite the fact that they were considered a loss from the day they won the primary.

My pet theory on why these arguments have sprung up is this: the reformers, the populists, and anyone *not* associated with the state institutions chose to buckle down and get to work after the convention. We decided to put aside our differences and support our candidates with time, money, and innovation. We expected our institutions to do the same. What we didn't know was that the institutionalists had gotten together back in 2005 and decided not to compete statewide in 2006. Apparently this was common knowledge within the power structure, but it caught many activists by surprise. Rather than cause a huge stink in the middle of campaign season, we held our tongues.

Not any more. The election is behind us. And while there was some progress made, it is my sense that the reformist wing of the party feels that this season was marked by missed opportunities, miscommunication, misfires, and misunderstandings.

This has been going mostly over at Kaos and BOR where frankly I've been happy to have it. I've read the comments on the threads and more than a few times got pissed enough to post something. The common denominator on the part of the consultants and those 'in the heirarchy' was that our statewide candidates were uniformly a joke (which isn't so much a 'reason' as it is a 'bullshit excuse').

They miss the point, which is that THEY were the people who got through the primary. I disliked Bell intensely after the primary. However, that didn't stop me from doing everything I could to help him win. I hear a lot about what TDP DID do in so far as promoting straight ticket voting in targeted House districts. That's great... but what else did you do? Where was the email to work on TrueBlueAction? Where was the email announcing early voting and the slate of candidates?

There are tons of things they could have been doing. I really don't want to get into here... my only interest is in making sure it doesn't happen again. I've worked with professionals and I've worked with amateurs. Often the two groups don't work well together because of mutual condescension. It's easy for me to work with them... I'm condescending to everyone. However, we need the two groups working together as equals. The best campaigns I've ever been part of mixed professional and volunteer efforts seemlessly. We need to spread that and this is a great first step.

Posted by mcblogger at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Republicans can't legislate for shit...

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIs Betty Brown senile and/or retarded? She's filed a bill to make it illegal for Teachers to use instant messaging to solicit sex from students cause you know it's rampant these days (if you're a regular viewer of Dateline NBC... )

I guess someone should tell Betty that it's already illegal and the law really didn't need to be amended since it already covered electronic communications (Betty amended it to include 'text messages' which alreadyfall under 'commerical online service'. However, she LOVES to amend things). This is one of those bills which Betty can take back to her constituents and say "This is what I've been doing". To which her constituents are going to say, "Where's our goddamn school funding? Where are my roads? Where's my property tax cut?"

Betty, you're truly a worthless waste of space. You'd be better off legislating less and napping more. Happy Holidays.

(via Capitol Annex)

Posted by mcblogger at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

She's running...

Honestly, I'm not excited about this... Hillary Clinton is running for President. From Taegan Goddard's Political Wire

According to ABC News, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) now says she would not have voted in 2002 to give President Bush the authority to attack Iraq "if she knew everything she knows now."

Clinton "has long been viewed as potentially vulnerable on her left flank with regards to the war in a Democratic nomination fight where primary voters and caucus-goers tend to represent the more liberal wing of the party." She "has made strides over the last year in speeches, committee hearings, letters to her constituents, and television appearances to criticize the Bush administration's general handling of the war and specifically calling for former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation."

She could have said this in 2004. Or 2005. Only now, with the primaries a little over a year away does she say what would have won Kerry the Presidency in 2004. The comical part is that Clinton is perceived as vulnerable on the left for never admitting this. I have news for the smart people at ABC... she's vulnerable period on this issue. In case you didn't know, THE COUNTRY is pissed as hell which is why Bush's numbers suck almost as much ass as a porn star.

What happens to you when you're in Washington? Does your IQ drop 40 or 50 points? Do they seriously not get this isn't 2004 and we're all upset about the lead up to the war and how Congress just kinda rolled over for Bush?

Posted by mcblogger at 08:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

Next stop for interest rates? Steady... then up

The rosy outlook in stocks for 2007 is based on an assumption that the Fed is going to beging to lower interest rates next year. Problem is, the President of the Dallas Fed thinks inflation is still an issue which means he is less than inclined to begin dropping rates...

Markets displayed little reaction to comments by Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert W. Fisher, who said in a speech Tuesday that inflation remains troublesome for the economy and that an increase in interest rates could be warranted.

I wouldn't mention this but for the fact that lower interest rates are already cooked into equity pricing. The market likes to trade six months out which means investors are, on balance, anticipating a drop in interest rates in the next few months. I'm not sold. You shouldn't be either.

Posted by mcblogger at 06:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cheney to testify?

This would be the first time in history a sitting Vice-President has had to testify in the criminal proceeding...

"We're calling the vice president," attorney Ted Wells said in court. Wells represents defendant I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who is charged with perjury and obstruction.
From the outside, it's hard to know which scenario is closest to the truth. But should a courtroom appearance by Cheney come to pass, it will be yet another dramatic twist in the long-running saga of the Plame affair--and one that will probably not play well for the White House.

Posted by mcblogger at 03:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Burka : Democrats will not be saved through demographics alone

Paul Burka is growing on me like a bad rash. First he's on point with the toll road crap, then he puiblishes this... an article detailing just how delusional Democrats are if they think that demographic changes alone will sweep them back into power.

Assuming that net immigration continues at the pace established in the last decade of the twentieth century, Hispanics will constitute 59.2 percent of the state’s population in 2040, Anglos but 23.9 percent. Long before then, Texas will be a Democratic stronghold again.

Or will it? Both the numbers and the anecdotal evidence suggest that Republicans are doing increasingly well with Hispanic voters here—so well, in fact, that the Democratic dream may be turning into a nightmare. This ought not to come as a surprise. The Hispanic population has become economically diverse. Even in South Texas, which lags behind the rest of the state economically, an upper middle class is emerging. But more than economics is involved. South Texas Democratic politics remains mired in the ways of the past—clan warfare, boss rule, and petty (and not-so-petty) corruption—and the Republican party has been the beneficiary.

I got this emailed to me from someone in Houston and posted the entire thing in the supersize. After you do that, click on his name and go read the interview with Dick Armey and his comments on that.

On DeLay: I always said Tom DeLay was a perfect example of somebody raised in the Legislature in Austin: somebody who's in business for himself, who has a very limited view of public policy, which I think he did, and a very self-centered view of public policy, which I think he did . . . In all the years I knew him, I don't ever remember Tom DeLay having an idea. I remember Tom DeLay saying, "I can tell you where the most vocal and militant people in our base expect us to do."

My comment: Sad to say, Armey's description of the kind of politician who is raised in the Legislature in Austin fits Rick Perry and Tom Craddick like a glove.

Minority Report

Argue all you want about the level of Hispanic turnout in the 2006 elections, but one thing is certain: Demographic inevitability alone won’t save the Democrats.

THE DAY OF RECKONING IS COMING. It could occur as soon as 2010, more likely by 2014, or perhaps as late as 2022, but nothing can prevent the moment when demographics takes over and the sleeping giant of Texas politics—the Hispanic vote—awakes at last and restores the Democratic party to its rightful hegemony.

Or at least that’s the dream. The stuff the dream is made of can be found in the projections of Texas’s population by state demographer Steve Murdock, at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Assuming that net immigration continues at the pace established in the last decade of the twentieth century, Hispanics will constitute 59.2 percent of the state’s population in 2040, Anglos but 23.9 percent. Long before then, Texas will be a Democratic stronghold again.

Or will it? Both the numbers and the anecdotal evidence suggest that Republicans are doing increasingly well with Hispanic voters here—so well, in fact, that the Democratic dream may be turning into a nightmare. This ought not to come as a surprise. The Hispanic population has become economically diverse. Even in South Texas, which lags behind the rest of the state economically, an upper middle class is emerging. But more than economics is involved. South Texas Democratic politics remains mired in the ways of the past—clan warfare, boss rule, and petty (and not-so-petty) corruption—and the Republican party has been the beneficiary.

The division of the Hispanic vote between the two major parties is one of the most crucial—and most disputed—statistics in Texas electoral politics. The William C. Velasquez Institute, in San Antonio, has long been regarded as the most authoritative source for how Hispanics are voting. But its exit polling of the recent gubernatorial race, based on 440 respondents in 32 selected precincts across the state, is simply not credible: Chris Bell, 39.5 percent; Carole Keeton Strayhorn, 28.6 percent; Kinky Friedman, 14.3 percent; and Rick Perry, 13.9 percent. Perry campaigned vigorously in South Texas. He had the support of eleven mayors (presumably Democratic, although the office is nonpartisan). Democratic sheriffs appeared in his TV ads on border security. A Dallas Morning News poll a few days before the election showed him getting 37 percent of the Hispanic vote. His actual performance in the big South Texas counties suggests that he did considerably better than the 13.9 percent in the Velasquez Institute’s exit poll. Perry got more votes in Cameron County than Bell did (the margin was only a few dozen votes, but he carried the county). He got approximately four thousand more votes than Bell in Nueces County. He lost Hidalgo County to Bell but still received 33.5 percent of the vote to Bell’s 42.67 percent. El Paso was even closer: Bell, 36.2 percent; Perry, 33.04 percent. Even in Webb County, Tony Sanchez’s home base, where Bell beat Perry by a two-to-one margin, Perry had 25 percent of the vote.

Granted, this is not a scientific analysis: There is no way to know how many Hispanics were represented in Perry’s total votes in these counties. But we do know from 2004 population estimates that Hispanics outnumber Anglos by approximately seven to one in Cameron County and by nine to one in Hidalgo County. To be competitive, Perry had to get a lot of Hispanic votes—a lot more than 13.9 percent.

The Velasquez Institute was not alone in doing exit polling in Texas. CNN and the Associated Press, among other national organizations, collaborated on far-more-extensive exit polling—2,090 respondents statewide. Their findings were considerably different from the Velasquez Institute’s: Bell, 41 percent; Perry, 31 percent; Strayhorn, 18 percent; and Friedman, 9 percent. What might account for the considerable variation? In 2004, when the Velasquez Institute gave George W. Bush a lower percentage of the Hispanic vote than most other polling organizations, critics suggested that the culprit might have been an unduly heavy reliance on inner-city precincts, which could have missed the move of upwardly mobile Hispanics to more-affluent areas, where, the theory goes, they are more likely to vote Republican.

Two questions emerge as crucial in the battle for the Hispanic vote in Texas: How do Hispanics vote, and why don’t they vote in greater numbers? Nationally, the increase in Hispanic voting is startling. The pollster John Zogby wrote recently that Hispanics constituted “5 percent of 95 million voters in 1996, 6 percent of 105 million voters in 2000, and 8.5 percent of 122 million voters in 2004.” Projecting to 2008, Zogby says, “With a highly competitive election and a heavy voter registration drive, we could be looking at an electorate that includes a Hispanic component amounting to 10 percent of 130 million voters.”

Imagine what might have happened in Texas had Hispanic participation grown by 65 percent over the past three election cycles. But it hasn’t. Mike Baselice, a well-regarded Republican pollster, says that the portion of the voting electorate that is Hispanic increases by roughly half of a percentage point every two years: for example, from 16.5 percent of the electorate in 2002 to 17 percent in 2004. At that rate, it will take sixteen years for the Hispanic vote to become a quarter of the electorate. And this was a lost year: Compared with the 2002 gubernatorial election, when Tony Sanchez headed the Democratic ticket, turnout in South Texas was dismal. Maverick County had a 15 percent turnout of registered voters, the lowest in the state, down from 26.5 percent in 2002. In Hidalgo County, the turnout dropped by a third; at 17 percent, it too was one of the lowest in the state. In Webb, the turnout was only 18 percent.

The low participation rate, particularly in traditional barrios, has been the subject of considerable discussion on the Internet. “What’s up with the decreasing Hispanic voter turnout [in Nueces County]?” asked a writer for the South Texas Chisme blog. “Blockwalkers were falling all over each other in the west-side precincts. Many of the low performing neighborhoods had 4 or 5 visits to each door.” But Republicans won three high-profile races in Nueces: county judge, sheriff, and court of appeals judge. Some of the explanations offered are obvious (the absence of a big name at the top of the Democratic ticket, strong Republican candidates at the local level), and others are familiar concerns (the perception in South Texas that the Democratic party took the border for granted when it was in power and still does, the grinding effect of poverty, which leads people to believe that voting benefits only the politicians, not the voters).

History and culture play a role as well. I learned a great deal about the history of Hispanic political involvement from the late Ruben Munguia, who, in addition to being Henry Cisneros’s uncle and political tutor, was one of a group of small-business owners who, in the years after World War II, first gave San Antonio’s West Side a voice in the affairs of the city. Munguia’s father was a printer in Mexico who came to San Antonio in the twenties when the successful Mexican Revolution turned left. “In Mexico,” Munguia once told me, “the government never did anything for you, it only did things to you.” That culture was transplanted to Texas, where the patrón system evolved, in which local political bosses exchanged favors (such as paying for funerals or arranging for a job) for votes. Straight-ticket Democratic votes. This was palanca (lever) politics: Vote Democrat and shut your eyes to what was going on. It was enforced by politiqueras, political workers (mostly female) who were, and still are, paid to get out the vote. Politics often took the form of a battle of clans in which power was an end in itself. Take over a county, a city, or a school board and you gained control of patronage: The “outs” got fired and the “ins” got hired. And so it went, decade after decade.

Democratic state representative Aaron Peña, of Edinburg, took on the subject of low Hispanic turnout in his blog, A Capitol Blog. “I am frequently asked why incumbent Court of Appeals judge Fred Hinojosa lost his race to [Republican] Rose Vela out of Corpus Christi,” he wrote. Peña mentioned the respect accorded the Vela name in South Texas and the growing number of Hispanics in the middle and upper middle classes. But he condemned “the sad legacy of South Texas boss or strongman politics which relied heavily on patrón-managed turnout rather than the advocacy of ideas.”

I called Peña to ask his opinion of the Velasquez Institute’s finding that Perry received only 13.9 percent of the Hispanic vote statewide. “That can’t be right,” he said. “Republicans are gaining ground. There has been a dramatic change in my lifetime of an educated middle and upper middle class, a tremendous growth in wealth. The banks are Hispanic friendly. There’s more capital available. This area is not hostile to Republicans. City leaders responded to Perry. Most Hispanics are socially conservative when it comes to gay marriage, respect for the military, and, if you’re older, abortion.” But Peña also assigns part of the blame for Hinojosa’s loss to “the historic neglect of the region by the state and national Democratic party.” There were no Democratic signs up, he said, but Perry and comptroller candidate Susan Combs went to Hidalgo County and put up signs. Even the politiqueras are no longer reliably Democratic; they’ll sell their services to the highest bidder.

Democrats are going to have to clean up their act or they are going to lose more and more races in South Texas. The older people who have lived under the patrón system all their lives are dying out. Younger, upwardly mobile Hispanics will not put up with it. The old ways will not go peacefully, but they will go. If Democrats ever hope to dominate this state again, they are going to have to recruit and elect clean candidates like Juan Garcia, a former Navy pilot and graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, who defeated an incumbent Republican in a legislative race in Corpus Christi. They are going to have to base their appeals to voters on issues, not party loyalty. Otherwise, Republicans will have every bit as much claim to the Hispanic vote as Democrats do.

Peña ended his blog post with “Only time will tell.” He might well have added: “And time is running out.”

Posted by mcblogger at 11:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush : Mistaking the will of the people...

I'm watching this asshat doing his little press conference. He's just been asked a question about how he feels in the context of the war and how LBJ physically aged (mostly because he wasn't sleeping) during Vietnam. "My heart breaks..." which follows up this article that David Corn posted in which the Connecticut native Bush said he sleeps better than you'd expect.

Prior to that, he was asked if he'd go against the will of the American people in listening to Democrats. He said that the will of the American people was to have bipartisanship in Washington. He's now seeing the election as a slap on the hand instead of the very real bitch slap it in fact was. He's still talking like he wasn't castrated in November.

Good to see bravado is alive and well at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Giant Boom, or What Almost Happened in Amarillo

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingApparently, things aren't going to so well at Pantex where they are tasked with dissembling cold war relics more popularly known as nuclear warheads. While taking apart a nuke during 2004, the plant took extraordinary risks with a device that could have incincerated the large Pantex nuclear facility, caused severe damage to Amarillo as well as contaminating a broad section of the Pandhandle.

Weekly reports have noted a series of violations of authorized procedures. On Nov. 27, the company was fined $110,000 for safety violations involving excessive force used in 2004 in disassembling a W56 nuclear bomb — an old design that lacks modern safety features.

Despite ordering an investigation, Bodman said that the Energy Department had "confidence that Pantex will continue its outstanding work, while keeping stringent safety and security policies in place."

So, basically, we have a situation where people are trying to take apart a nuclear weapon with a sledgehammer. Excellent. Instead of dealing with the problem and the contractor who is making people work 70 and 80 hour weeks, the Energy Dept. calls the work 'outstanding' and does fuck all to correct the problems.

This is all via NTL which tied the story in with a great one also in the LATimes regarding Connecticut native Bush's brill idea to make stolen nukes useless. Of course, the best thing would be to keep them out of the hands of terrorists in the first place. Though it may come as a suprise to you, someone else thought that as well

"The real threat is the uranium and plutonium materials that are spread across the country in totally inappropriate places and inadequate facilities," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington group that has long criticized security at Energy Department sites. "So, rather than fixing the problem they have, they are trying to fix a problem they don't have." ... "The secret to avoiding an unauthorized nuclear detonation is maintaining custody of the weapon," said Bob Peurifoy, a retired vice president at Sandia National Laboratory who helped to pioneer use controls during the Cold War.

If I were President, I'd listen to the guy from Sandia. Of course, I'm not which may explain why, instead of securing the facilities, the government is working ardently to make nukes 'terrorist safe' since they will surely end up with one eventually. Oh, and praising the work of a company that employs someone who takes apart a nuke kinda like Lennie would.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thank you, Dr. DiNovo and team...

Just wanted to pass along a note of thanks to Dr. DiNovo as well as TDP and all the other folks who worked to get him elected. As K-T over at BOR eloquently wrote

Still, most importantly, we'd like to thank Sally Smith, Tendra, and Tammy (campaign manager) plus Brian Pendleton and the TDP staff that came down for all their hard work and setting us bloggers up down here. DiNovo really performed well on election day and the late surge did it's work- it just wasn't quite enough to make it over the line. Still, this district is quickly changing and growing in population- a population change that is shifting Democratic. We'll be back. And soon enough, we'll take this one too.

Damn, right. No race is a waste of time and you run full out on every single one. Congratulations to everyone for a decent showing in a damn near impossible district. As for the members of Team McBlogger who were there... we'll talk on the conference call tomorrow. You did NOT conduct yourselves in the highest standards of McBlogger. I don't even think any of you were drinking until late in the day. What kind of bloggers are you?

Posted by mcblogger at 01:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

Boobs on the Ground in HD29

Team McBlogger is well represented in the GOTV effort for Dr. DiNovo in Pearland today. Thank you mcblogger for the unlimited travel expense account! You are the best. We have made you proud by contacting hundreds of voters today. And, when we tell them we are from Team McBlogger, all they want to know is "do you REALLY know mcblogger? Have you touched him? Is he cute?"

Once we get past all THAT, they are (mostly) glad we called, are surprised there is an election today and are thrilled to know where they can cast their vote for DiNovo.

If we win, we take all the credit. If we lose, it's not our fault we wasted mcblogger's fortune on this Pearland trip.

Posted by Boobilicious at 05:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

TXU runs afoul of the EPA and others

You might remember that 39% fast tracked some dirty coal plants to be built over the next few years. Apparently, they are already running into problems. Somervell County Salon posted some items of interest on this, specifically

In recent formal comments to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, regional EPA officials suggested that the state agency is not adequately taking into account the cumulative impact of the region’s proposed coal plants.

...In letters commenting on the permits for Lake Creek and Tradinghouse, EPA officials said more monitoring and analysis are needed to ensure the new plants don’t drive Waco and Robertson County into federal “nonattainment” status for ozone pollution.

“Due to the ozone attainment challenges in Texas, EPA is concerned about the cumulative impacts of the proposed new power plants, especially on ozone levels,” wrote Jeff Robinson, EPA air permits chief, in a six-page letter to the TCEQ on Nov. 27.

EPA officials also question whether TXU has proved that the pollution controls the company is proposing represent the “best available control technology,” as the Clean Air Act requires.

Of course, the EPA is still solidly under the thumb of Connecticut native George W. Bush so don't expect too much from them. Might have better luck with the next group that has had a great idea... cut off TXU's funding

The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) said it sent letters asking 54 financial institutions not to participate in lending TXU US$11 billion to fund construction of the plants.

According to RAN, the plants will produce 78 million tons of new carbon dioxide emissions per year, greater than the greenhouse-gas emissions of 21 US states or the entire emissions reduction commitment of Japan under the Kyoto Protocol.

TXU badly needs to rethink this entire project.

Posted by mcblogger at 03:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shapiro tries to pin D's in a corner and only points out Republican failure

Senator Florence Shapiro, in an effort to open the door to the destruction of the public schools, has filed a voucher bill to help out families of autistic children. The Democrats and everyone who cares about public schools, which serve the majority of Texas students well, are the real target... Shapiro only wants vouchers. Helping autistic kids isn't the real concern. If it was, they'd do something about the lack of programs in public schools.

And that, my friends, is the crux of the matter. The Republicans, pushed into this by Dr. Hospital Bed, have decided to make autistic kids their trojan horse. This is, of course, not long in following the efforts of another Republican, Smokey Joe Barton, to hold up funding for autism research. Sure, I totally believe Republican's care about autistic children. As much as they care about the poor and farmers.

Basically, it's the legislative equivalent of using a kid as a sheild. Real brave there, Flo.

The reality is that parents can send their kids to another school in a district if they can't get the services the child needs at the school they currently attend. Should those services not exist in the district, then the district HAS TO CREATE THEM.The real issue is that the schools don't have enough money to comply with all the laws and the blame for that lies solidly at the feet of Florence Shapiro and the other Republicans in the Lege who would rather exploit innocent kids THAN DO THEIR JOBS and fully fund the public schools.

Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, plans to push legislation allowing parents of autistic children to choose the best school setting for their child. "They have a very difficult time in a regular setting in a classroom," said Shapiro, who long has supported voucher systems. "I would like to see a choice program. ... It's what I think we should do for children with autism."

Again, Flo, these programs should exist WITHIN A DISTRICT. So the question becomes, if the programs don't exist, why not? Why aren't we working to correct that instead of finding yet another way to funnel tax dollars into private enterprise?

What amazes me about all this is that it all comes down to money. The Republicans think of public schools as a never ending pit into which money is sent, lost forever. The reality is that money DOES provide a better learning environment. Private schools are extremely expensive for a reason... it costs money to educate children. Maybe if the state upped the average spent per student to what students pay at ESD or St. Marks you'd see much better public schools.

That is what this should be about. Florence, why are you shirking your responsibilities to the kids in Collin County?

Posted by mcblogger at 01:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The perfect Christmas gift for that special woman in your life...

OK, I'm going to have to start recording SNL when I go out on Saturday...

Posted by barfly at 11:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

DiNovo... Go and take back HD-29

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting More on this here, here and here. We may be late to the party but we're with you in spirit. Go beat up another Republican and crush Craddick's hopes of being elected speaker!

Posted by mcblogger at 10:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Did Craddick commit perjury?

According to this article in the Texas Observer, it's possible. It appears that the TRMPAC transactions he claimed to know little about may be tied closer to him than anyone suspected.

It was an influential Austin lobbyist for the industry, Neal “Buddy” Jones, a friend of Craddick, who had arranged the meeting. Winkle wasn’t there just to discuss policy, though. At some point during the dinner, he handed Craddick an envelope containing a $100,000 check. ... But records recently obtained by the Observer suggest that Craddick was far more than simply a courier that night. It appears his office was involved in soliciting and collecting campaign money from Winkle and other special interests whose preferred legislation he would later push through the House.

Methinks it's time to start putting some pressure on members of the House to make sure he does not end up as Speaker. If pay to play is ever going to be stopped, Craddick can not occupy the dais.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wearing out my hole...

Another day, another article from Ben "Aren't Toll Roads Neat-o" Wear. This time, it's all about the traffic jamming up on the flyway from 45 to NB 35. Yeah, it's pretty bad and not suprising that TXDoT and their crack contractors, Zachry Construction, evidently didn't anticipate the problem. Ben thinks it might go away when the tolls start. I doubt it because people ARE going to use the toll roads. So, it'll get worse... and have the perverse effect of making traffic on 35 even more intollerable.

Then he goes on to talk about the opening of the northern terminus of 130. Yay. The southern part STILL isn't done but at least the connection to the 35 north of Georgetown is complete. At the opening Krusee opened his mouth and out spilled a world of stupid. To wit

State Rep. Mike Krusee, the Williamson County Republican who chairs the House Transportation Committee and has pushed toll roads as a solution to our snarled highways, was among the handful of speakers. He talked about how the tollways that already opened, particularly the spacious Texas 45 North east-west artery, are so fast he has found himself allotting way more time to get places than turns out to be necessary.

"I'm going to stop calling these things toll roads," Krusee said. "From now on, they're 'time machines.' "

Dum-tee-dee-tum-titilly-ter. What a douche. They aren't a time machines, Mikey. Here's a newsflash for the not-so-bright Representative from WillCo... limited access highways (whether free or toll) allow people to drive faster. The method of payment hasn't a damn thing to do with it. Wait... I just realized Mikey was making a joke. A tedious, lame, make-people-in-the-room uncomfortable joke, but a joke nonetheless.

Naishtat would never make a joke that bad. Even lame Todd Baxter wouldn't have made a joke that bad.

Regardless, I drive on the damn thing and I've no problem admitting that it is nice to not hit every light along 1325. My problem was never with the road, it was the retarded way Big Government Krusee mandated the funding. But now he says he's all for a gas tax. Let's see him do it.

(hat tip to EOW for taking the time to actually read Ben Wear)

Posted by mcblogger at 01:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bring the Funny

Seriously. Someone. Please Bring the Funny.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) will make the case for his presidential candidacy on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight.

Posted by spamburgler at 12:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 18, 2006

Feelings... nothing more than feelings...

James Boyce has a great piece up at the Huffington Post regarding what Democrats have to do in 2008 to win. The short version? Concentrate less on policy and more on appearance, public perception and most of all, how the electorate feels about the candidate.

Democrats spend millions on polling in Presidential Elections so they think they know what the people want. Then, the consultants tell the candidates that if they speak to these issues, they win. They spend millions more, minus the consultants cut, on commercials with speaking head candidates talking about the issues that the polling showed were important and then they focus group the commercials and then they march to victory.

How'd that theory work President Kerry?

When the moment calls to pull the lever in a Presidential election, it comes down to feelings, perceptions and emotions - it is not a purely logical decision and that's why the Republicans spend millions, tens of millions, smearing Democratic and Progressive leaders and selling the myths of their heroes. Which, by the way, works incredibly well. Not just on the majority of voters who are people who don't really pay attention but to many who do.

You should also check it out because it rips on Bob Shrum and I love anything that can do that AND make a solid point.

Posted by mcblogger at 05:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fort Worth and Tarrant County, you're about to get screwed

Way to vote Republican, losers. You're about to get toll roads out the ass according to Jobsanger. I thought central Texas was the only area getting screwed. I'm happy to know it's not.

Now they are doing something even worse. Fort Worth and Tarrant county officials have joined with state officials to push a proposal that would widen I-35W and Loop 820 with new TOLL LANES! It's not bad enough that these officials support that boondoggle called the Trans-Texas Corridor, now they want to build new toll lanes inside the county.

The funny thing is that the gas tax solution could be used to build roads here and there. If only people in Tarrant County would have been smart enough to vote for people who would have supported a better way to fund transportation in Texas.

The thing that really galls me about all this... TXDoT and the counties want a new funding source and they see toll roads as a way to do it. I can't stand self-funding beureaucracy.

Posted by mcblogger at 03:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The bloom is off the rose called Obama...

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingObama regrets land deal with a friend... now that said friend has been indicted. You know, this goes to the core of what I don't like about Obama. He doesn't OWN himself. Here's the skinny...

The WaPo has an article up (going for two pages no less) about a land deal involving Sen. Obama and an Illinois fundraiser and developer named Tony Rezko who has been indicted for influence peddling. The transaction? Apparently, Obama and Rezko's wife bought contiguous property in Chicago last year near UoC (Obama bought a large house, Mrs. Rezko bought the vacant lot next door). Obama then wanted to expand his yard, so he paid 1/6 of the price of the land for 1/6 of the land, more than double what an appraiser thought it was worth.

Does it look bad? If you think so, tell me why. Seriously. Other than the fact that this Rezko guy has been indicted for something UNRELATED to Sen. Obama, tell me what looks bad about this. I've heard of similar deals being struck in Hyde Park and Tarrytown. None of this is unusual in urban real estate. All of this occured BEFORE the indictment.

Which brings me to the point. This was a straight up deal. Sure, he overpaid for the land to a limited extent. The appraiser may have valued it at 40k+, but the reality is that Rezko might not have been willing to part with such a large chunk of the lot for that amount. In that case, the 100k Obama paid may have been a steal.

Which leaves me wondering what about all this Obama 'regrets'? Nothing illegal took place. Nothing even looks bad except to those with an overactive imagination (and mouths to match). Why not sac up and own this, Obama? And WaPo, I mean really... way to tie in a Democratic Senator with a bunch of bad, unrelated shit about Rezko. Nice work, Peter. Where were you in 1999 and 2000 when people were talking about some of Connecticut native George W. Bush's deals here in Texas?

Now that the first hit is in, and Obama caved, expect more to follow for the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time-Senator.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Christmas gifts for straight boys...

You know, it's hard for straight boys at times. If they want to get laid regularly, they need a 'fuckbuddy' or 'girlfriend'. Usually, the former morphs into the latter in kind of an ugly way. In much the same way that the adorable kid your mom has pictures of grew up to become your spastic ass. Now there is something to help alleviate the pain, the NUE Disposable Vagina

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Yes, it's amazing technology. It provides you with "at least 1% of the pleasure that woman gives". I know, I know... you're thinking 'Why would someone make a disposable vagina?' Well, as it turns out, they made it for a number of reasons. "Aren't you having ignorance sex? ... unprotected sex? Aren't you hurting your partner? How are your distant partner doing? NUE is seriously working to exterminate AID, SID, and Rape." Allow me to translate... If you're not good in bed, this is for you. It won't give you AIDS and you can't hurt the disposable vagina with your giant horsecock. Of course, the damn thing is only about 6" long so I don't really think that's a problem for most of the people who will use the disposable vagina. Oh, and if you're thinking of raping someone or in a long distance relationship (or both) this will help you get over that desire. Which is totally rad.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMoving on, for the computer nerd in your life there's this lovely USB powered pole dancer. What better way to say to that gross co-worker "Hey, pal. I know you're not getting any. Here's this." than with a pathetic caricature of a real girl? Yeah, he's helped you get your computer working again after your retarded ass downloaded a bunch of spyware. Show him that while you may think of him as a loser, you're all about the love (man).

The best part about USB pole dancer? No dollar bills accepted! WOOHOO! (hat tip to Gizmodo)

Merry Christmas, y'all!

Posted by mcblogger at 11:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tillman's family upset because they are 'atheist'

Oh, this is just too rich. Andy (can I call you Andy? No? OK, Andy) Sullivan has a great piece up about the death of Pat Tillman and his family's continuing search for answers. Apparently, according to the officer who led the first official inquiry, they just don't have Jesus in their lives.

[Lt. Col. Ralph] Kauzlarich, [formerly the Army officer who directed the first official inquiry,] now a battalion commanding officer at Fort Riley in Kansas, further suggested the Tillman family's unhappiness with the findings of past investigations might be because of the absence of a Christian faith in their lives.

Here's the money quote

[T]here [have] been numerous unfortunate cases of fratricide, and the parents have basically said, 'OK, it was an unfortunate accident.' And they let it go. So this is — I don't know, these people have a hard time letting it go. It may be because of their religious beliefs."

Be sure and re-read Kevin Tillman's letter and ponder one final question that Sullivan astutely asks... what IS happening to the military under President Bush?

Posted by mcblogger at 08:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

foe: an armed adversary (especially a member of an opposing military force); a personal enemy

In the Slag this morning:

Voucher foe takes new tack at Capitol

After a decade of failed campaign maneuvering, millionaire school voucher advocate James Leininger is trying a different tactic in his crusade for state-funded private-school vouchers.

The San Antonio businessman who gives millions to pro-voucher candidates is now going directly to lawmakers, touting a more public-school-friendly version of his perennially contentious push to spend taxpayer dollars on private-school tuition for low-income Texas students.

I haven't even had my second cup of coffee this morning, but I'm awake enough to know that calling Evil "Doc" Leininger a "voucher foe" is like describing Paris Hilton as "shy".

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 07:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Barr Bolts

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingBob Barr, former Congressman from Georgia, is leaving the Republican party for the Libertarian party

"It's something that's been bothering me for quite some time, the direction in which the party has been going more and more toward big government and disregard toward privacy and civil liberties," said Barr, 58, a lawyer and consultant living in Atlanta. "In terms of where the country needs to be going to get back to our constitutional roots … I've come to the conclusion that the only way to do that is to work with a party that practices what it preaches, and that is the Libertarian Party."

For those who are wondering, this is the same Bob Barr who wasted time working to impeach Clinton. Doesn't see so important now, does it Bob? While it's obvious that Republicans are losing people daily to the Libertarians, the Libertarian party as a whole continues to be populated primarily by anti-government lunatics like Texas' own Dr. No.

Does this signify a larger shift? Possibly, especially if one of the 'intellectual giants' of the Republican party (yes, I did crack up a little when I typed that), like Gingrich, leaves.

(Photo:AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Posted by mcblogger at 12:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 17, 2006

Dick Wolfe must be stopped

Word on the street is that the NBC crime drama mogul will roll out his new series Law and Order: SUV in January with a two hour special OJ: If I Drove It.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 11:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In which I pay for your marriage counseling...

... and hate every fucking minute of it. Seriously, if some jackass couple is getting state funded marriage counseling, shouldn't that be part of the public record? No, really, I want to see what the hell the problem is because now I'm going to be paying to help heal the rift thanks to Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Asshat) who has prefiled a Covenant Marriage bill that may actually pass this session.

Arlington state Rep. Bill Zedler stepped forward as the point man on the issue when he filed a bill this week that would allow couples to opt into such a marriage by attending state-paid premarital counseling. Should the union turn sour — as defined by adultery, physical or sexual abuse, felony conviction, or living separately for at least three years — couples would have to attend counseling and go through a two-year separation before a judge could hear the divorce case.

I have sooo many problems with this and they all stem from a belief that the more government gets involved with marriage, the worse it's going to be for the institution of marriage. NTL has an excellent write up on this and a Fort Worth Star-Telegram op-ed ripping it up.

Rep. Zedler, this is a dumb idea. Don't waste time in the Lege even arguing for it.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 16, 2006

Does cow milk make you retarded?

PinkDome is reporting that there is a retard out there who thinks that homosexuality is all about soy. Seriously, this moron thinks people are gay because of soy products.

Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products.

Yes, soy DOES contain estrogen. It's mostly digested but there you go. However, estrogen won't make you gay. It might make a little more effeminate, but it won't make you gay. Just as testesterone won't make women lesbians. Just as being a preacher doesn't make this guy any less of an idiot. I mean seriously, asians have been all about soy for hundreds of years and their birthrates sure as hell have held up.

By the way, Jim, your website sucks ass. Why don't you find a fag to update it?

Posted by mcblogger at 05:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I fucking HATE HALLMARK...

I feel like Hallmark is trying to turn me into a retard with their stupid commercials and inane musical cards. I hate the way the person who receives the card in the commercial always breaks into a 'genuine' smile when it plays a song. I can't be the only who feels this way... these cards are dumb, right?

Who the hell buys cards anyway? My grandparents used to buy and send them without fail, every brithday, Christmas, Easter, hell, I think they even sent them out for Veteran's Day. But no one I know buys and sends cards now. Everyone I know who even bothers to send out holiday cards is sending out those obnoxious photo cards, the ones with fam in front of the fireplace with the dog. Or in the backyard. Or at Sears.

Sorry to bug y'all with this. Just saw my third Hallmark commercial of the day and something snapped. I'm much better now. Really. Now I'm watching Cheryl Ladd as Grace Kelly. But that's another rant.

Posted by mcblogger at 02:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Who didn't see this one coming?

Company that built a border fence pleads guilty to hiring illegal immigrants

Didn't Nostradamus write a quatrain about it?

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 12:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"You could put an eye out!"

How many times did I hear that admonition! And while that may have been true, I never actually knew it to happen; no more than eating my vegetables meant I'd grow up to be President. Unlike today's children with their videogames and playdates, I remember a time of unregimented mayhem, of skinned knees and rock fights. Dangerous playground equipment that today would get people sued within an inch of their lives. And of course drooling over toys like the Authentic Johnny Reb Cannon.

Okay, okay, I know... dangerous toys are bad. Kids today are probably better off today being groomed as junior consumers than we were running around like a bunch of wild Native Americans. Still, what with people today being shot while standing in line to buy Playstations and Nintendo remote controls flying through the air busting things up {Hey! You could put an eye out!} I just can't help wondering if junior Einsteins weren't better off with the the U-238 Atomic Energy Lab.
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Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 08:40 AM

December 15, 2006

Class act...

As a follow up to this post, I'm taking a moment out of my busy drinkiing schedule to move a comment to an actual post...

Make no mistake, the lion’s share of the credit for the Democrats’ win in CD 23 goes to Ciro Rodriguez, his campaign team and volunteers, and the outstanding support provided by the combined effort of the DCCC, TX Democratic Party and the DNC. Enormous credit also goes to the hard and effective work by organized labor, Hispanic advocacy groups and the progressive community overall.

I am of course very proud of the work the Lone Star Project played to raise funds, conduct research, and help coordinate the tenacious fight against Tom DeLay’s mid decade redistricting scheme. The final stages of the Court battle alone cost well over $250,000. At a time when spirits were down, and DeLay was riding high, it was important that we fought back.

I founded the Lone Star Project with the strong belief that facts, presented clearly and forcefully, are one of the best ways to promote Democratic views, values and candidates to both the media and the voters. I am continually grateful to those who support the Lone Star Project’s goals.

I also strongly believe that when mistakes are made, they should be acknowledged and corrected. When rereading the Lone Star Project release, written quickly following Ciro’s victory, it has an unintended, but clearly immodest tone. I apologize and will work hard to do better.

Matt Angle
Director - Lone Star Project

You know, it takes balls to accept criticism and to post a comment like this. I already had a lot of respect for Angle professionally and with this I just developed a lot more for him personally. Next time, Matt, just email it to me. I'll be happy to put it on the main page.

Posted by mcblogger at 06:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dregs : Show Ceverha the door; Saint Arnolds wants to sell you beer

  • Matt over at BOR has more up on Bill Ceverha and his tenure at ERS. Apparently, it did even worse than others in it's peer group and returned less than 10% on invested capital. Pretty pathetic, Bill and Co. Matt's right, it's time for 39% to appoint some real people to ERS. How about Richard Rainwater... what's he up to these days?
  • Our favorite Alabama douche, Roy Moore, is at it again. This time he says that a muslim elected to Congress shouldn't be allowed to serve.

    Congress has the authority and should act to prohibit Ellison from taking the congressional oath today!

    One has to wonder if Moore, who claims to be a real live judge, has ever read the Constitution of the United States... I think there was something in there about religious tests? I know I read that somewhere... WHILE IN THE FOURTH GRADE.

  • Kuffner thinks that Saint Arnolds should be allowed to sell bottled beer to the public. As long as it's understood I won't be buying any, that's cool with me. All we have to do is get the Lege to change the stupid law. Anyone out there in Lege land listening?
  • Speaking of drinks... I'm out to do just that. But with scotch, not beer. Have a goodun!

    Posted by mcblogger at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Wal-Mart at Northcross

    Wal-Mart wants to move into Northcross Mall. The only problem is that no one in the area wants them there. Kuff, of all people, has a great post up about the ongoing situation. To be honest, it's only come to my attention in the week or two simply because I've been looking at houses in the area.

    Responsible Growth for Northcross is the group leading the charge against Wal-Mart and I for one hope they are successful. God forbid I buy a house in the area only to see the property value swifty collapse due it's proximity to the store.

    That and I think a big box retailer in the area is super off the mark. I don't understand why Lincoln, the owner of the property, hasn't taken the initiative and converted the entire complex to mixed use. Midtown Austin is a great area and it would be good to have some newer condo's there as well as light office space.

    For now, at least, the store is on hold. But, while Wal-Mart has said they will not do anything to the site yet, the developer is still free to begin converting it into a space suitable for Wal-Mart. That I would definitely have a problem with. RG4NC is right that this project NEVER should have been approved by the City without a zoning hearing. For that, the City needs to produce some answers and some heads from the administrative staff who approved this turkey without punting it to Zoning and Platting.

    Go ahead, council members... we've had to go through this with AMD's aquifer development and we're not going to take your lame excuses this time.


    Posted by mcblogger at 03:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    It would be nice if Ric Williamson would shut up. The stupid hurts my eyes.

    Where the fuck did 39% dig this damn cracker up? As always, EOW has our back with all things transportation funding related and today was no exception. Ben Wear finally got around to writing about the findings of the TTI and Ric had this to say

    “The individuals contracted to do that report were contracted to produce an intended result,” Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson said. “But this is a great thing to put on the table and say, ‘Let’s talk about this.’ “

    Really, Ric? You sure you want to say that experts were paid to reach specific conclusions? God, doesn't that sound familiar?

    Yeah, Ric. Let's talk about it. Let's talk a lot about it and pass a bill. Then next, let's scrap the Texas Transportation Commission and get TXDoT comfortable with the fact that they are not going to be a self funding entity through tolls. Period. I mean, who are they kidding with their ridiculous 'public-private partnerships' and 'innovative financing'? We're subsidizing the indebtedness of private companies involved in these projects AND paying off their bonds. What kind of sense does that make? Where's the risk to these companies?

    Then comes the revelation that TXDoT is paying the LOSING bidders on contracts, further reducing their risk. Think I'm joking? From the Texas Observer...

    The notion of paying the losers, Williamson agreed, is “nutty as a fruitcake.” But the department is bound by law to do it, he said, a law Williamson suggested might be a holdover from the era of big government.

    Actually, million-dollar parting gifts for the losers is a more recent Texas custom, courtesy of the huge 2003 transportation bill sponsored by Mike Krusee, a Republican state representative from Round Rock and chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

    True or false, Ric... My life would be better if you weren't involved in government. The answer is True for me and every other Texan, not to mention how much better it would be had Krusee not been re-elected, a situation I intend to work dilligently to correct in 2008. Which brings me to this...

    Despite the growing opposition, transportation officials haven’t detoured from their plans. “The Transportation Commission is using scare tactics and old-fashioned, mobster-type arm-twisting to further their gains,” says State Rep. Joe Pickett, an El Paso Democrat. Other state legislators and businessmen are also concerned about the toll projects, Pickett said, but they’re afraid to speak up because of the department’s enormous clout. “There isn’t anyone who will talk about it. If they’re in the business sector, they’ll get blacklisted. If it’s a state rep or senator like myself, they’ll get their projects cut.”

    Yeah, it's time to make some changes here in Austin... and moderate Republicans need to know that if they join with Democrats on this WE WILL NOT TARGET THEM. It's time to shut the door on this bullshit and that's going to require Democrats growing some balls. If they don't, take a look at what Parent PAC did to Grusendork. In 2008 and 2010, if you don't get on board with a repeal of 3588, you will face the same thing.

    The Lege has a chance next year to correct all this. Let's hope they take it.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    McCain works hard to self destruct, before he's even the nominee

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingJohn McCain doesn't like us. No, not McBlogger in particular, though I'm sure if he's been here he probably hates us (it's the drinking). He hates blogs in general. I guess it's because we see through his 'independent' 'maverick' bullshit and call him what he really is, an old suckup. Well, now he's taken his dislike of blogs to a whole new level...

    ...he has introduced legislation that would treat blogs like Internet service providers and hold them responsible for all activity in the comments sections and user profiles. Some highlights of the legislation:
    – Commercial websites and personal blogs “would be required to report illegal images or videos posted by their users or pay fines of up to $300,000.”
    – Internet service providers (ISPs) are already required to issue such reports, but under McCain’s legislation, bloggers with comment sections may face “even stiffer penalties” than ISPs.
    — Social networking sites will be forced to take “effective measures” — such as deleting user profiles — to remove any website that is “associated” with a sex offender. Sites may include not only Facebook and MySpace, but also Amazon.com, which permits author profiles and personal lists, and blogs like DailyKos, which allows users to sign up for personal diaries.
    Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that this proposal may be based more “on fear or political considerations rather than on the facts.” When he introduced his legislation to the Senate, McCain offered no evidence that children are being victimized by people who post comments on blogs.
    McCain’s legislation could deal a serious blow to the blogosphere. Lacking resources to police their sites, many individual blogs may have to shut down open discussion.

    McCain, you're a joke... a seriously bad, make-me-uncomfortable joke. That sound you hear is a car driving away from you. Inside, your hopes of being President. You flip-flop more than John Kerry at a McDonalds trying to decide what he wants to eat.

    You lose.

    To all elected officials... don't fuck with the internet. Seriously, it's a stupid, stupid move that always ends up making you look retarded.

    (hat tip to PinkDome)

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Thank you, Lon Burnam!

    Lon Burnam has filed a bill to find a way out of the horrible mess that has been known as utility deregulation.

    “My constituents, like millions of others across the state, are paying significantly more under deregulation, regardless of whether they have switched to a new provider,” said Rep. Burnam. “Electric deregulation in Texas has been incredibly one-sided; big companies are making billion dollar profits while households are paying record high electricity prices. While we need real reforms to the electric market now, it is essential we explore alternatives for the longer term. This bill would direct the PUC to do exactly that.”

    The bill is HB 395 and it's the best solution I've seen for ending the abuses of utility companies. Full text after the jump...

    LON BURNAM
    DISTRICT 90 • FORT WORTH
    December 15, 2006
    For Immediate Release Contact: Doug Lewin, 463-0740
    Burnam Files Bill To Investigate Way Out of Deregulation
    (Austin, TX) – Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Ft. Worth) filed House Bill 395 today which would
    require the Public Utility Commission to present a report with alternatives to the current
    system if, in the summer of 2008, Texas electricity prices are not at or below the national
    average. The report from the PUC would be due by the first day of the 2009 Legislative
    session.
    “My constituents, like millions of others across the state, are paying significantly more under
    deregulation, regardless of whether they have switched to a new provider,” said Rep. Burnam.
    “Electric deregulation in Texas has been incredibly one-sided; big companies are making billion
    dollar profits while households are paying record high electricity prices. While we need real reforms
    to the electric market now, it is essential we explore alternatives for the longer term. This bill would
    direct the PUC to do exactly that.”
    Prior to deregulation in 2002, residential electric rates in Texas were at or below the national
    average. Standard residential electricity rates in North Texas have increased over 80% since
    January 2002. Competitors’ rates have gone up 73% over the same period.
    “While the electric industry cites a Public Utility Commission study from earlier this year that
    calculated a potential savings for Texas consumers under deregulation, the study itself says
    calculations made were ‘fraught with uncertainties,’” Burnam said. “What’s not uncertain is
    that electric rates for my constituents have gone through the roof.”
    “The Legislature needs to act now to protect consumers. I talked to a doctor just today who told
    me he’s never had so many patients report that they are choosing between medication and electricity
    than he has this year,” Burnam added. “This bill helps prepare Texas to change direction if we
    continue down this road of ever increasing prices.”
    ###

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Way to go, Marc Campos. Nice and petty.

    So, 39% has decided to direct the TRS to invest money in the Emerging Technology Fund, basically a state-funded venture program with all the risk that implies. It's a bad idea, to be sure, and educators are rightly pissed as well. They are asking for help to fight it. Houston's Marc Campos responded this way:

    You know, it’s hard for Commentary to feel sorry for them. I’m talking about Texas teacher groups that are mad because Guv Dude is directing the state’s teacher pension fund investments. Well, teacher groups should have thought about this before they supported Lady Foghorn’s MI 2006. Rank and file teachers that are worried about their retirement checks ought to direct their ire at their leaders that followed Foghorn’s yellow brick road to nowhere. Ringing Da Bell would have been the better play. It looks like that teacher commercial wasn’t that effective after all.

    Trust me, I understand this kind of humor. I was sitting around election night contemplating an investment in TXI and Cintra. However, then reality sets in and even if people are dumb in an election it doesn't change the fact that bad policy is bad policy and you should do everything you can do defeat it. To sit back while someone who may not have stood with you in an election is fucked over is just petty.

    Yes, Marc, the teachers unions made a huge mistake endorsing Strayhorn but you have to remember that the regular teachers actually voted for Bell. They shouldn't have to pay for the mistake of their union leadership with their retirement incomes. Have a heart, hermano.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Healthcare...

    Ian Welsh has a post up at The Agonist about healthcare and specific plans to get American's insured. Specifically, a kind of weirdo Republican plan. It's an interesting post about a tough subject. You should take a look... honestly, I don't know if I buy the private vs. public arguments... one has to wonder if the program could be run by the government, kind of as an insurer of last resort with companies competing for implementation contracts. Of course, they'd need to be investigated... every single complaint and denial of service would have to scrutinized by inspectors trained to detect when a company is shirking it's responsibilities.

    First question on all this... are the health insurance companies making underwriting profits? If so then we have some bigger problems with health care than we realize. Insurer's make money in two ways... underwriting premiums and the float from retained premiums. See, part of the premiums you and you employer pay to insure you got into what's called float... think of it as an interest free loan from you to the insurer. The key is, at some point there is a going to be a liability for services rendered to you and payable by the insurer. However, until that comes they get to hang on to that money, invest it and shave a percentage or two off the return because part of it is going to be called at some point in the future to pay your medical bills.

    Underwriting premiums pay for the staff present, additions to the float(reserves) and losses in a given year. So, if the insurer has a massive number of claims, so much in fact that it dries up the capital available to it in a given year from premiums, it has to draw on the float. Maximum efficiency means that insurers should, because they are competing with one another, be operating on an underwriting basis as close as possible to breakeven (a savvy competitor with a massive float that consistently earns positive returns should be able to actually take recurring underwriting losses). However, if they are making enough in a year in premiums not only to add to float but to cover expenses and losses... well, then there is a big structural inefficiency in the system. Fix that, and possibly you can make the industry work again.

    One way you could do that is to increase taxes on underwriting profits to 95%, just like a REIT.

    Second question... if you go with a purely nationalized system, what happens to the public capital held by health insurers? What happens to creditors? What happens to the float? Maybe we could have the government absorb the liabilities over time and the float could be distributed to shareholders at current stock value?

    Third question... why do none of the proposals I've seen so far make any provision for prescription drugs? As we've seen with the Medicare 'drug benefit', it has to be addressed.

    Lots of questions, many possible answers and certainly enough brain power to find real, stable, long term solutions.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    No. No more money for nukes. No.

    Who's Playin' had a nice piece up on the next big stupid idea to come from the idiots in the White House and DoD... let's build more nukes!

    At a time when the United States is trying to convince Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclear weapons program, we should not be expanding our own.

    But building more nuclear bombs is exactly what the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) plans to do!

    The NNSA has proposed an expensive, dangerous, and unnecessary overhaul of the current nuclear complex, called Complex 2030. This overhaul would give the U.S. the ability to produce up to 125 nuclear weapons per year - a level comparable to Cold War levels - and would cost an exorbitant $150 billion. Contrary to its stated aim of downsizing the nuclear weapons infrastructure, the plan is a Trojan horse that would give the U.S. the ability to produce nuclear bombs indefinitely.

    And yes, there is a petition to stop the trainwreck of a program. Seriously, it's time to put this technology behind us, not advance it with new, more lethal devices. Take a moment and join me opposing this retarded initiative.

    Come on, we can think of better used for $150 Bn. I need my house painted, for one thing. With gold based paint. That would honestly make more sense than building more nukes.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Edwards wins...

    In a race against the current Republican favorite, John McCain (everyone knows Guiliani's going to fold), the only Democrat who would win is John Edwards. From MSNBC (via ELLN)

    Only 23 percent approve of Bush's handling of Iraq — his lowest mark on this question and an 11-point drop since the last NBC/Journal poll in late October.

    McCain leads Clinton by four points (47 to 43 percent) and Obama by five points (43 percent to 38 percent). But — in an interesting twist — the Arizona senator trails Edwards by two points (43 percent to 41 percent).

    I left in the first bit because I thought it was a hoot... Can we stop with the Hillary and Obama crap now?

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 14, 2006

    Am I the only one who likes 30 Rock?

    Seriously, I've started watching it on Thursday's and am LOVING it. Alec Baldwin is actually funny. I'm shocked but I actually like a show on network TV.

    However I'm not going to stick around for that ER trash. I'm going for drinks.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Leininger is at it again...

    Via the Somervell County Salon, Dr. Hospital Bed is once again all about the vouchers. Never mind the stunning defeat this year. Nevermind that his candidates lost. Nevermind that you can not save public schools (or education) with vouchers.

    This time, Leininger is answering his critics by offering a proposed compromise to allow public schools to keep a percentage of the money they'd otherwise lose when eligible students transfer. It would only apply to low-income students who meet certain qualifications.

    A Leininger spokesman says at least ten percent of the state spending per student -- about seven-thousand dollars -- would stay with the public school.

    He's just pushing ahead. I guess we, once again, will have to push back. Let's not forget that $6300 will not make much of a dent in private school tuition. In one semester, let alone a year. That'll mean that the thousands of people who take advantage of vouchers will bankrupt themselves to send their kids to private school. That's right, mom and dad, the voucher won't cover the tuition. That's the huge ass hole in this whole plan.

    I won't even bother to mention that private schools demand much more funding per student than public schools. Wait...Yeah, that's really the bottom line. It IS all about money and more money into schools will yield better results. It sure as hell works with private schools.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Christmas card from hell

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    Don't blame me for digging this up, blame Debutaunt (and Kuff)

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Another one?

    Another preacher resigns because of homosexuality. Is it just me or is this some kind of tiresome new trend so the evangelicals can draw attention to themselves?

    Now, the 54-year-old Barnes joins Haggard as a fallen evangelical minister who preached that homosexuality was a sin but grappled with a hidden life.

    "I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy," Barnes said in the 32- minute video, which church leaders permitted The Denver Post to view. "... I can't tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away."

    He still doesn't believe he was born with the gay but that it's because of some childhood event he can't recall. Anyone have the number for a shrink who specializes in false memory regression?

    The most comical part... the wife 'had no idea'.

    His wife said on the video that she didn't know about her husband's struggles until he confided in her last week. The couple has two daughters in their 20s.

    Char Barnes said she feels "like I'm living someone else's life" but was grateful her husband revealed himself. The couple said they hope to stay in Denver. Near the tape's end, Paul Barnes says, "This is what it is, it's right, and it's time."

    Hon, I guess you realize now that the buttplug really wasn't 'something for the car'.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    He told her she looked fat

    Maybe y'all saw this, but I missed it when it happened years ago. Apparently a women had an argument with her boyfriend. They ended the argument still screaming at each other and the boyfriend went to bed. The woman then took the step of coving her sleeping boyfriend's genitals in sterno and lighting them on fire.

    I thought everyone was supposed to be nice in Canada, eh?

    This all happened in April, 2001 so the woman has been tried and convicted. She was released pending sentencing which apparently takes as long for a pyro in Canada as it does for a sociopath here in the US. Unfortunately, she violated the release and will be spending the holidays in jail.

    Police arrested Andree Rene last week after she failed to turn up in court for sentencing arguments on a charge of aggravated assault. She was ordered Monday to remain in custody until her Jan. 8 sentencing hearing. Rene, who will turn 44 next week, was led into the courtroom in handcuffs. They were taken off briefly when she was questioned in the witness box.

    So, I guess poor impulse control and lover's quarrels aren't uniquely American.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Does anyone even still read Time?

    I got an email today about Dobson's latest article in Time Magazine. Yes, Dr. James Dobson. The man who claims to be Christian despite the fact that the only similarity between him and real Christians is that they both go to church. The similarities pretty much end there.

    Dr. Dobson in the most recent issue of Time claims that homosexual couples will make bad parents and he even presents 'scientific' evidence to back it up. Media Matters does a great job of slicing and dicing it, but the real jewel was in the email I got this AM...

    ...a letter written by New York University psychology professor Carol Gilligan blasts Focus on the Family's James Dobson for "distorting" her research in a recently released Time magazine article on Mary Cheney's pregnancy. The letter, provided by Truth Wins Out, articulates Gilligan's displeasure with Dobson's use of her research to underpin his conclusions that same-sex couples cannot provide a positive family environment in which to raise children. Her position is stated in no uncertain terms.

    That's right, his rigorous scientific examination was taken out of context. I know, I too was shocked by the news, since I've always considered Dobson such an ethical and honest person.

    Damn, if I keep telling lies like that I'm going to burst into flames, no?

    Time, why do you feel a need to give platform to his guy? He's not mainstream, he's a nut...

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    New solar startups and the quest for cheap, clean energy

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingFor everyone that thinks solar power is mostly useless, the people who shrunk computers from the size of buildings to the size of paperbacks are now working on making solar power more efficient.

    "Silicon Valley," Cinnamon says, "is moving from a place that uses silicon to make something that consumes energy to one that uses silicon to produce energy."

    My money's on them. Solar may not be where we need it to be today, in terms of efficiency and the overall manufacturing process, but it's only a matter of time.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The Death of Greed

    Actually, it's not the death as much as it is a new awareness of greed and a realization that income distribution under the Republicans is a large part of the reason for their losses in November.

    Things are going to get worse for them. Krugman tells why, as well has giving an excellent background on what's wrong with income distribution in the US. His tone is over negative in that things are already changing... the elections, for one, will long be perceived as a major shift in power. You're watching the end of the 80's, at long last.

    Ivan Boesky spent a lot of the 80's talking about how good greed was. He was wrong. Greed focuses people on short term gains at the expense of longer term profits and stability. That's about to change. It's worth noting that Warren Buffet was one of the leading voices against the 'greed is good' philosophy of the 80's. Even then, he was among the richest Americans. Now, he's the second richest American. It's worth noting that this died in the wool capitalist spoke out against the Republican tax cuts that have played such a significant role in retarding income growth in the US.

    There is a rising level of unionization in this country which is, on balance, a good thing. There's also a realization by the vast majority of the people in this country that they got fucked. That's why Bush's numbers haven't rebounded and won't... provided the Democrats do what they are supposed to do and NEVER let Bush take credit for the inevitable success. They must have a unified communications effort and they must step all over the President at every turn.

    In fact, the public perception needs to be that this country is being run from Congress. Bush clearly can't do the job.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 13, 2006

    How to do something nobody needs to do

    I don't know how, or why it happened. But, without warning, Google changed. No more the simple virginal expanse of white with nothing but a box for me to type in whatever my desire of the moment might be. Suddenly, there were links... to the sort of headlines that CNN deems worthy of my attention, a clock, and the "How To Of The Day". In this case, How To Fix A Dented Ping Pong Ball.

    Now friends, I can understand being frugal. The sentiment "waste not, want not" is not unknown to me. But Jesus Fucking Christ, the damn things are three for a buck! Live large, Scrooge! Next time you have a dented ping pong ball, get a new one!

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

    I like Senator Obama, but...

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    I've read about Sen. Obama's trip to New Hampshire. It seems like everyone had a great time. And that's nice. However, I think this quote sums up the trip (and my feelings) wonderfully:

    Some are: “He still has a lot more to prove to people here,” said New Hampshire Democratic state Rep.-elect Dan McKenna, after hearing Obama address a rapturous crowd of 1,500 party activists in Manchester on Sunday. “The next time he comes here, people will be looking for more substance.”
    The excitement over Obama is “great for the party, great for the country,” said State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro.But in almost the next breath he said, “All we’ve gotten from Barack is good looks, good rhetoric, and great publicity.”

    For all the hype, what do we know about the man? What do we know about where he wants to lead? Don't misunderstand, I like him as a Senator. I even think he might make an excellent VP candidate in 2008. HOWEVER, top of the ticket? We need more than style... we need substance.

    And no, I'm not talking about Hillary.


    Posted by mcblogger at 02:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Sometimes I want to scream too, Juan

    Juan Williams of NPR dresses down Brit Hume and Bill Kristol

    WILLIAMS: Squishy, impatient, you know, they’ll be in the land of milk and honey? What do you imagine, an American administration is coming in, Republican or Democrat, after President Bush that’s just going to lay down and run away like scared little —

    HUME: It will not be phrased that way. Listen, Juan, it’s very simple.

    WILLIAMS: This is really — sometimes i just want to scream. You guys have been going on since this thing began. I mean, you don’t give credit to people, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Barbara Lee, people who said from the start this is a mistake. You put them down. Now it’s everybody’s a surrender monkey or impatient or squeamish or weak. Why can’t you say, hey, there’s a real problem in Iraq?

    I'll go you one better, Juan. Why can't they just say 'We were wrong'?

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Calling Bullshit: In which Martin Frost hearts Matt Angle

    Let me preface with the fact that I have a lot of respect for Matt and for Congressman Frost. However, Congressman Frost is kind of a dumbass here and makes the Democratic victories here in Texas more about Matt Angle and the Lone Star Project than about the very real fact that Democrats worked their asses off and started converting folks. Go ahead, click the link and tell me this article doesn't make Matt out to be the Wizard?

    What he doesn't mention are the missed opportunities and mistakes. That being said, what Matt did with LSP and others did with their projects all contributed. However, making it all about one person is so goddamn irritating, Martin, that it makes me think much less of you.

    I wasn't going to write anything about this, but goddamn if there wasn't an email last night, mere hours after Ciro Rodriguez won, from LSP taking credit for the damn thing. Matt, I'm going to terminate my address on your fucking list if you don't stop with the auto-fellatio. Seriously, how much did LSP raise for Ciro? From my perspective, this was the candidate, DCCC, LULAC and MALDEF. LSP didn't even like the LULAC map that produced this district; now you're the ones responsible?

    The winners are never going to call bullshit, so it falls to us. Matt you do a hell of lot and there is no need to take credit for everything. It distracts from the real work ahead and breeds resentment among people who work really hard, cycle after cycle. People you're going to need at some point in the future.

    Sometimes, modesty is an asset.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:52 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Ciro's our Hero, Part 2

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAnd with that another Democrat is on his way to the House of Representatives. Congratulations to Representative-Elect Ciro Rodriguez and a huge thank you to the DCCC for taking a chance on Texas, True Blue Action, ALL the 2006 Democratic candidates here in Texas, the TDP, LULAC, MALDEF and most importantly the thousands of volunteers around the state and North America who worked hard to bring this seat home for Democrats.

    Muse has some great quotes up from folks regarding the race and lastly, I'd like you all to take the time to say goodbye to Republatino Representative Henry Bonilla. No mas with his ass.

    (thanks to Stace Medellin )

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    December 12, 2006

    Even reading about this hurts

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMom and dad decide to have their 10 year old boy circumcised. Kinda mean, I know, but it's apparently the 'in thing' for Malay Muslims. My only question is why did they have to select the Shakes McShaky of mohels?

    A medical assistant accidentally severed a 10-year old boy's penis during a botched circumcision at a private clinic in Malaysia's southern Johor state, a news report said Sunday.

    The boy was rushed to a real hospital where the part of his dick that was sliced off was reattached. No word on whether or not the penile reconstruction was successful.

    Posted by mcblogger at 06:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    ICE busts Swift... or at least some of their employees

    La Migra goes after the meat packing industry...

    Federal agents raided meat processing plants in six states Tuesday and arrested an unknown number of suspected illegal immigrants in an identity theft investigation, temporarily suspending operations at all six plants.

    The company employing the illegal's was quick to issue a statement

    “Swift has never condoned the employment of unauthorized workers, nor have we ever knowingly hired such individuals,” Swift & Co. President and CEO Sam Rovit said in a written statement.

    Since 1997, Swift has been using a government pilot program that confirms whether Social Security numbers are valid. Company officials have previously said one shortcoming may be in the program’s ability to detect when two people are trying to use the same number.

    WHAT? Then what's the point of the program??!?!

    Honestly, ID theft is a huge problem in this country, much larger than credit bureau's and the Federal government would like to acknowledge. I see it almost daily with residential loans here in Texas.

    While I'm not for beating up on illegals (they are, after all, working hard in this country), we do need to do something about the laws. I'm leaning more and more toward a guest worker program that allows an immigrant to work legally and at some point in the future qualify for citizenship. Couple it with a program that really punishes employers who hire illegals and you'll actually begin to tackle the problem. And it makes a hell of lot more sense than a wall.

    This would end the abusive practices of some employers, provide a real wage floor for labor in this country and eliminate the need for illegals to ruin someone's life with ID theft just to earn a living.

    The most interesting thing about all this? There's almost $500 billion sitting in Washington in payroll and SS taxes with no one's name attached to it. That's something I didn't know.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Star-Telegram's advice to bloggers...

    We assume they are talking about some other blog...

    The mostly anonymous criticism from bloggers -- a mixture of bombast, crude humor and frenzied groupthink -- was largely as meaningless as most of the bill itself.
    Many bloggers really should clean up their acts

    But then we stopped drinking for a bit and realized it was, in fact, all about us (or, possibly, that Pink Lady person). With that realization comes an admission... we're not about to take advice about how to behave from a newspaper that endorsed Todd Staples AND Connecticut native George W. Bush. That was far more vulgar than any obscenity we could possibly post.

    However, we will say thank you for acknowledging that we need the same protections they enjoy... even if we are a little too vulgar for delicate ears

    The Texas Legislature -- perhaps even led by Truitt, since she has partly plowed this ground already -- should change state libel law so that fair reporting and comment about the acts of public officials are protected, no matter the medium of their publication.

    Couldn't agree more and we'll be among the first to applaud her if she does. And, all kidding aside, the FWST is still the best newspaper in DFW. Way better than Paper City.

    (Ed note: The original post was in error regarding the Star-Telegram's endorsement in the Gubernatorial race. We apologize for the mistake)

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    CD 23 : It's close. Ciro can do it

    Today voters in the largest Congressional district in the United States will go to the polls to determine who will represent them for the next two years in Congress. BOR has a post up about momentum swinging to Ciro in these final hours and Half Empty is echoing the national press by calling it a toss up.

    Will it be Bonilla or Rodriguez? I'm going with Rodriguez. I'm a Democrat so there's that. However, the people in this district have absolutely no reason to vote for Bonilla, a man who has fought increases in the minimum wage while voting to increase his own salary. And what has Bonilla done to deserve the pay increases? He's been nothing more than a rubber stamp for an out of control President and a Republican party that is so out of touch with America that America showed them the door in November.

    Here's hoping that the voters of CD 23 return Rodriguez to Congress.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Another mugshot for your collection

    Sorry ladies, he's no Nick Nolte...
    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Hoosier Edward Bruce Tinsley, creator of the conservative comic strip Mallard Fillmore, was arrested in Columbus Dec. 4 and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence -- his second alcohol-related arrest in less that four months, according to the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department.

    Tinsley, 48, who lives in Columbus, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 -- almost twice the level at which an Indiana driver is considered intoxicated. He posted $755 bond.

    On Aug. 26, Tinsley was arrested for public intoxication, according to the sheriff's department.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 11:27 AM

    Ready for the Session?

    Blind hunters are the new sexy cheerleaders!

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 09:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Hell totally freezes over

    Last week I posted this about the fact that tolls are not a necessity for expanding our transportation infrastructure in Texas. Now comes word from the SAEN (via EOW) that Krusee has announced he's filing a bill to ( I kinda phoned it in, didn't I?) index the gas tax to the cost of highway construction which is one of the suggestions that the the two TTI folks made.

    Good idea, Mike. Why the hell you didn't think of it in 2003 when you helped shoved through 3588 is a mystery. Now all you have to do is repeal 3588 and start over. Do that and you might just have a shot at holding your seat in 2008.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Dregs : Dollar slides and Texas leads the nation in foreclosures

  • Bonddad has a fantastic post up regarding the slide in the dollar which is down, yet again. Greenspan thinks it's primarily related to the trade deficit and I'm inclined to agree. However, it should be noted that interest rates are also driving it as the perception remains that the US economy is weakening thus increasing the likelihood of rate decreases in the overnight Fed Funds rate.

    The short term solution is to return fiscal responsibility to Washington. This will have the double benefit of reducing new federal debt issuance and pull money out of the economy that is being used to grow our ever widening trade deficit.

    Of course, some of this will be self correcting in that eventually the dollar will weaken to the point that goods made in the US look cheap to foreign buyers. The only problem is that a lot of manufacturing capacity (both raw materials and finished goods) has been shipped overseas which means we don't make a whole lot that the world needs, other than food.

    The FOMC is meeting tomorrow. If they give guidance toward further tightening we could see a rebound in the dollar and, at some point thereafter, a drop in the value of Treasuries as long term rates begin to climb. At this point, that would be a welcome relief because it's better to accept higher rates now than later. If this drags on too much longer then you're going to see 70's style inflation mixed with early 80's style rates. And yeah, it'll suck.

    Last thing on this subject... everyone has ignored the fact that US companies have close to 1 trillion on their balance sheets. In cash. What are they going to do with it?

  • Texas is number one... in foreclosures.

    In Texas, 3,031 units were foreclosed and put up for sale in November. A total of 9,648 foreclosed units are on the market in the state, the second-highest number in the nation. In Michigan, 2,430 units were foreclosed and put up for sale in November.

    So much for that strong economy 39% was blabbing on about during the campaign.

  • Posted by mcblogger at 12:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 11, 2006

    One less question to ponder

    It's still way to early to predict who will win the Democratic nomination for President in 2008, but we now have a pretty good idea who will finish last.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 04:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Can we stop with the nutters who like to shoot people when they don't get their way?

    A guy who invented a toilet seat for trucks (like I could make it up) entered a law firm specializing in Intellectual Property and Patent law and began shooting people.

    Joe Jackson forced a security guard at gunpoint to take him up to the 38th floor offices of Wood, Phillips, Katz, Clark & Mortimer, which specialized in intellectual property and patents. He carried a revolver, knife and hammer in a large manila envelope and chained the office doors behind him, police said.

    Jackson, 59, told witnesses before he was shot that he had been cheated over a toilet he had invented for use in trucks, Police Superintendent Phil Cline said Saturday.

    Now, before we go any further, I'm not anti-gun. I love guns and have used them since I was a kid. I AM anti-crazy people with guns. However, I have no solution for that little problem. Anyone have any ideas? Or is the only real solution to accept that fact that a very few people in our society are going to have psychotic breaks at times and begin shooting people? Is that just the price we pay for the 2nd Amendment?

    I'm not saying that's a deal killer by any means. I'd rather get to keep my guns and live with a little more risk. Kinda like I'm not about to give up any rights to 'protect myself from terrorism'.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The ever-expanding blogosphere

    It's a common belief that ninety-five percent of bloggers are unemployed losers. In that spirit, we'd like to welcome
    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
    Tom "Bugsy" DeLay to the internets.

    Hmmmm, Do they have WiFi in prison?

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 02:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Rev. Dahmer?

    Could Jeffrey Dahmer have been a great evangelist?

    'He was growing (in faith) and he would have been a great influence on other inmates. He would have had a tremendous impact,' said the Rev. Roy Ratcliff, a Church of Christ minister who baptized Dahmer in a prison whirlpool tub in May 1994.

    The baptism took place about five months before Dahmer and another inmate were killed at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin by a third prisoner who clubbed them to death while they were on a bathroom cleaning detail.

    Ratcliff, who has recounted his months with Dahmer in a newly released book, 'Dark Journey, Deep Grace' (Leafwood Publishers), says the 34-year-old serial killer who killed 17 people between 1978 and 1991 was not the target of the kind of hate frequently aimed in prison at sex offenders.

    'I asked him and he said he got along fine,' Ratcliff said in an interview.

    DID NOT FEEL THREATENED

    'He didn't see himself as being hated by other inmates the way he was hated in the world.'

    The man who did kill Dahmer, Christopher Scarver, was a convicted murder and diagnosed psychopath who later said God had told him to carry our Dahmer's slaying.

    Asked if Dahmer, who was stone-faced and seemed devoid of empathy at his trial, had ever cried or shown deep emotion in his presence, Ratcliff said that while he never saw tears, Dahmer was not stone cold.

    'I saw emotion, how he felt about his mother and father, anger toward a lawyer representing his victims' families. But we didn't spend a lot of time talking about his crimes,' Ratcliff said.

    'We were focusing mainly on how to live a Christian life. There were times when he laughed, or was depressed. At the trial he was basically an object of hatred. He probably had to be quiet ... I think he was being defensive.'

    I don't know if this is a moving story of the success of faith, or one of the creepiest things I've ever read.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Berman and a side of crow...

    On Saturday I posted a request to State Rep. Berman to take his own life. I pulled it offline yesterday after hearing from several people that it was 'over the top' , 'in poor taste' , 'not funny'. It was the last one that really hurt. The guy who emailed about it being in poor taste was obviously a retard... you have read the blog, haven't you?

    Just to give y'all a heads up, I'm a huge fan of black comedy. Some of you are obviously not. Trust me, it was not your complaints or criticism that caused me to pull the post. I pulled it because The Mayor didn't like it and I trust his judgement as an editor... usually if he doesn't like something, it's bad.

    So, in case you were wondering about it, that's what happened to the 'Berman shoot yourself' post. And no, I wasn't serious, though I have to admit I wouldn't have shed a tear had Berman been found dead of a self-inflicted wound over the weekend. I don't like hypocrites and I despise people who forget that there are real issues with which Texans have to come to terms, in favor of ever more attention for their own stupid shit. Like a bill redefining citizenship.

    Of course, I'd have also been very happy if he'd just resigned.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Heal me...

    So, this guy has developed a device that helps heal bone faster.

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingQUT recent graduate Dr Gwynne Hannay has built a gadget capable of promoting bone cell formation in the laboratory.

    Dr Hannay said his device replicated the mechanical and electrical stimulants which occurred naturally in the body to repair fractured and broken bones.

    "This device is about trying to grow bone tissue in the same environment our body grows bones. I have taken bone cells and put them in the physical environment they would experience in the body, and then varied the stimulants to extract a beneficial environment for tissue growth," he said.

    Great. Neat. I never break bones. Where's the heal 'lung and liver' device, Mr. Scientist?!?!?!?

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 10, 2006

    I'm not one for dancing on graves...

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    ...but then again I'm not Chilean.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 02:07 PM

    Alas, Babylon

    When I first heard that Donald Rumsfeld would be ending his term as Secretary of Defense with a trip to Iraq, I confess that for a brief moment I thought he might be planning to lead a suicidal charge on al-Sadr's bunker, hoping to redeem a little honor by dying General Custer-style in a hail of jihadist bullets. But of course it was not to be. The worst defense secretary since John Floyd will just close things out with a final reality-denying, self-excusing speech; perhaps visit some old acquaintances:
    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
    Then it's back to DC to pick up his Medal of Freedom, which has become the regime's parting gift for its minions who have distinguished themselves by their efforts to destroy the country; and so to retirement, awaiting prison or a pardon.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 11:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 09, 2006

    Rejected "Daily Trauma" submissions

    I know you, like me, read Seventeen Magazine month after month. I have ever since my mother bought me a subscription when I was 17. What follows is a rejected "Daily Trauma" submission:

    Volleyball was starting and I had to get my physical. I was sitting there waiting in my hospital gown when the door opened. Instead of some crusty old doctor, the most gorgeous guy I've ever seen walked into the room. He looked more like a TV doctor than a real doctor! He started to check my vitals, and I felt my stomach start to flutter. He poked and prodded, and my stomach started turning flips. Doc Hottie started feeling my tummy. He pushed on my bellybutton and whammo-bammo! I bump-set-pooped all over the examining table! I was so embarrassed I just sprinted out of the room! Talk about a Spalding tattoo ... with diarrhea!
    —Tara, 16, San Diego

    See the rest of the freaks here at McSweeney's.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 08, 2006

    India Brings Down the Average

    I knew someone was holding down the worldwide average for penis size. God only knows the Chinese probably are doing the same but we'd never know it for their state sponsored media machine which advertises Hefty-bag sized condoms for all Chinamen.

    Condoms designed to meet international size specifications are too big for many Indian men as their penises fall short of what manufacturers had anticipated, an Indian study has found.

    The Indian Council of Medical Research, a leading state-run center, said its initial findings from a two-year study showed 60 percent of men in the financial capital Mumbai had penises about 2.4 cm (one inch) shorter than those condoms catered for.

    For a further 30 percent, the difference was at least 5 cm (two inches). A poor fit meant the prophylactics often didn't do the job they were bought for, and led to some tearing or slipping off during use.

    Posted by spamburgler at 04:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    FINAL - Ask A... Dildo that may or may not have been in Rick Perry's ass about dating

    (Ed. Note - We've had to use a new photo of The Dildo that may (or may not) have been up Rick Perry's ass. Apparently, the very image of The Dildo violated the Photobucket terms of service. Which is kinda dumb since it's was nothing more than an innocuous picture of The Dildo. It wasn't even threatening them. Which makes me wonder, if not out of fear, what DID cause them to pull the picture? Y'all think on that for a bit... in the meantime, enjoy The Dildo's advice and It's new visage)

    dildo.jpgThe Dildo returns to answer your questions about life, love and losing...

    Question

    Dildo, I've been with my husband for a while and have recently discovered that he really likes a finger up his ass while I'm blowing him. It's not that I mind, I'm just concerned that he may be a fag. Yours...LB in DC

    Answer


    Well, LB, I don't know what to tell you. I can't say if he's a fag or not as you've not given me nearly enough information. Has he asked for a three-way with another guy? That would be gay. Has he started listening to XM81? If so, he's probably a fag. However, most sexually aware guys (gay and straight) love some assplay so that in and of itself does not mean he's gay.


    Question


    Dildo: I think my girlfriend is cheating on me. Over the last couple of months she's all the time getting home late, usually smelling of alcohol and a guys cologne (it's definitely not mine) and making some lame excuse about working late. When we have sex she seems bored and I know she's faking her orgasm. I can also tell someone other than me has been there, usually earlier in the day. What do you think, with all your experience I should do? DC in WY



    Answer


    Well color me embarrassed! Yeah, she's cheating. My bad...


    Question


    Dildo Dear have you and Ricky been out drinking with George??



    Answer


    Fuck no. I only drink with people I like.


    Question


    How do I know if a first date went well? GB in Austin



    Answer



    Did you get laid? If yes, the date went well. If not, well then he/she isn't interested in you because your a pussy. Can I get his/her number?

    And so ends our most recent installment of Ask A... Dildo that may (or may not) have been up Rick Perry's ass about Dating. The Dildo will return... as soon as it feels a need to intimidate and belittle me.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The economy...What Democrats can do

  • Rewrite those insane bankruptcy laws and allow an exemption up to $400,000 for a primary residence.

  • Eliminate 'universal default'

  • Establish a national usury limit for credit cards and other debt. This would be similar to the Fed regulations that prohibit high-cost mortgages. Link the rate to a range above and variable with published interest rates
  • The economy is slowing. Make no mistake about that. Tax cuts won't help, so what's left? It's time to do something for the economic security of the middle class. These ideas would be a great first step.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Perry fucks over his supporters? Say it ain't so!

    Y'all are sooo fucked. Honestly, you'd have been better off voting for Bell. You wanted Mr. Build-A-Fence and instead you got Mr. Oh,-A-Fence-Is-Wrong. I still remember those commercials showing dipshit trying to butch up in front of 'the border'.

    “Strategic fencing in certain urban areas to direct the flow of traffic does make sense, but building a wall on the entire border is a preposterous idea,” he said.

    “The only thing a wall would possibly accomplish is to help the ladder business.”

    The Lone Star Times is patting itself on the back for predicting THIS.VERY.THING. Conservatives voted for Perry for many reasons but some of them voted for him strictly based on his Village People-like 'Get Tough' ads. As LST put it, y'all got punk'd.

    And that's what happens to stupid people.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Paybacks are a fucking bitch

    Bob Perry and our good friend Dr. Hospital-Bed-Medicare-Check became very public figures this cycle thanks to ParentPAC, Democratic blogs, print media and certainly their own stupidity. Unfortunately, we're going to see more and more from them and others like them.

    In a chapter worth the book’s price, the authors show that astronomical gains for the very wealthiest have opened up opportunities for the “passionate rich” to invest in the ideological extremes. The “swift-boating” of Kerry was not an aberration; it is the new status quo. Democratic victories and policies, if and when they happen, will certainly activate a right-wing backlash.

    The book that's referenced is Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches. It is, as the title suggests, an amazing study of political polarization related to high income inequality. The conlusion is, quite simply, that when income inequality is relatively low, bipartisanship is high. The reverse is true, as we're seeing today. The point with the quote above is to show that we can expect more of the same. And nastier. So, ladies and gentlemen, it's time you all sac up and make sure that everyone knows just what a bunch of arrogant fucks these folks are.

    These folks, and others like them, have worked hard to turn Texas into their version of a third world paradise. Let's all take some time in the coming years to thank them for it.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 07, 2006

    Farm Bureau's leadership is finally paying attention

    I've seen FB people. Not members, mind you... the management here in Austin that looks about as far removed from a farm as I do. For most of this year they've heard nothing but anger from their membership about FB Agfund endorsements this cycle and the fact that most of the people endorsed had a hand in EXPANDING eminent domain, especially as it pertains to transportation projects. Like the TTC.

    Somervell County Salon has a post up about the annual FB meeting this weekend and the discussion on eminent domain. Let's hope the membership remembers those endorsements and makes some big changes. Otherwise, Farm Bureau will have about as much pull in this state as Kinky Friedman.


    Posted by mcblogger at 05:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    In which Shelly loses her head... again.

    ELLN reported on the pajamahadeen going on and on upbraiding the AP on a story that went out on the wire regarding Shiite militia sacking a Sunni mosque, then setting it on fire, burning alive 6 people. The AP has gone back and sourced the story several times yet the conservative bloggers just won't believe it (it's because Tony Snow didn't tell them it was, in fact, real).

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingShelly is, as you might expect, livid. Of course, when she's not fawning over Connecticut native President Bush or Republicans in general, she's livid about something the Democrats have done. Or the media. Or the media AND the Democrats. Even if it's all in her head. I wonder if Sister Ruth's mobile is in there as well?

    I'm off topic, aren't I?

    Moving on, Shelly is livid about the whole thing. She's angry that the story that's been sourced and documented but which she claims is just not real, keeps getting press. It occurs to me that you could run into her on a street, tell her Hillary Clinton said the Earth was round and she would disagree. She even asked the AP to reveal the names of field correspondents to her:

    Last week, I asked the AP's media relations director Linda Wagner:

    Who were the two reporters who went back to the Hurriyah neighborhood around the Mustafa mosque to conduct the follow-up reporting?

    Here was her e-mail response:

    Michelle, We don't publicly identify reporters who work in the field in Iraq because it would endanger their lives. But both are reporters that we know well and who have worked for us for an extended period of time.

    Linda M. Wagner
    Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs
    Associated Press, Corporate Communications

    Shelly was unsatisfied by this response (bad Linda!) and DEMANDS. THE. NAMES. While I'm with Shelly on the whole 'MSM sucks' thing, she takes it a bit far in standing adamantly in doubt of anything they write. At least, that is, anything with which she disagrees.

    Way to keep the bila a-flowin', Shelly!


    Posted by mcblogger at 03:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    I see London! I see France!

    This may come as a shock to those who know me but I don't usually watch the Victoria's Secret fashion show. I don't think it should be of interest to gals on a first name basis with the pizza delivery guy. Not that I am
    a stranger to the store. Normally I try to get in and out as quickly as possible. You know, before the paranoia sets in, and I start to imagine that people are laughing at/judging me. Anyway, I decided to take a peek this year and what a sight it was!

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingFirst off, where the fuck is this chick going? I know that this show is all about fantasy and being sexy, but come on! It is a good fucking thing that they used satin for the skirt. Otherwise somebody might think she is heading somewhere super casual. Like a tractor pull.






    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image HostingThese two are super nice as well. I imagine when strutting in your undies it's important to work the accessories. To me it seemed like it was a re-visioning of Barberella, this time staged by ALCOA. Not that they don't look amazing. I admit it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever anyone might say, they are gorgeous even when they are clanking around in their bone suits. Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAnyway, you have to somewhat like a gal who can even make Justin Timberlake kinda look like a pervy tool.







    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe real piece of cake for me was the keyhole panties. I mean the image takes your breath away, does it not? I admit I sat there in glassy eyed awe. It suddenly hit me. As a single gal, I could not help but think 'So that is what I need! Yes sir! If I had a pair of those I would be in business!' I mean, WTF!?! Those panties combined with the boots should not be met with anything other than derisive laughter.

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThis demure little number sure is fetching. I don't know where she is going, but I hope it's to the nearest Krispy Kreme. Still, it's a interesting take on the muu muu. Who would have thought it? Those Victoria's Secret designers are true visionaries! Such range! Everything from 'tragic after school special' to 'just add riding crop'! Impressive!

    With so much to choose from , it was hard to pick a favorite. I have to
    go with a more classic look. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Check this garment out. Perfect in
    color and style! And, hey, what a muff, right?

    Posted by barfly at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Federal Drought Relief? From Republicans? HAHAHA

    The Republicans, still pissed about their loss in November, have decided to act like the titty babies they are and not pass any measure that would provide some relief to the millions of farmers and ranchers who are suffering under an unprecendented drought.

    I wonder if it ever occurs to folks in Lubbuttocks that they should have voted for Stenholm in 2004?

    (hat tip to Somervell County Salon)

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Oh the horror! Congress to be forced to work five days a week

    The new Congress hasn't been sworn in yet, but republicans are already whining about mean ol' tough grandma Nancy Pelosi's work ethic.

    For much of this election year, the legislative week started late Tuesday and ended by Thursday afternoon -- and that was during the relatively few weeks the House wasn't in recess.

    Next year, members of the House will be expected in the Capitol for votes each week by 6:30 p.m. Monday and will finish their business about 2 p.m. Friday

    Also, Congress must finish all its vegetables or no dessert.

    "Keeping us up here eats away at families," said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. "Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families -- that's what this says."

    Ironically, pro-torture Rep. Kingston did not comment on what effect keeping 160,000 American service people in Iraq might be having on their families.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 08:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Republicans : The terrorists won on November 7th

    Make no mistake, ladies and gentleman. Your vote for change, for responsibility and accountability was nothing more than a vote for the terrorists. So sayeth the President and the Vice President.


    via ELLN

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 06, 2006

    Selling the TTC

    Billboards for the TTC are rising in Houston. Take a look:

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Christof Spieler discovered this in midtown Houston which is nowhere near the TTC. In fact, the benefits touted on the billboard really have more to do with roads in general, rather than the TTC in particular:

    * The “less traffic” they’re referring to isn’t morning commuters, since the TTC avoids urban areas. In other words, there may be less traffic on your way to Dallas, but not on your way to work.

    * The “faster emergency evacuations” help you only once you get as far as the TTC, which will be far inland northwest of Houston.

    * Construction jobs are a stupid justification for any government program, especially when the construction industry is booming.

    * Unlike to the small print on the billboard says, this in not a “public service announcement.” It’s an ad for a controversial program being pushed through by the governor. Somehow, I don’t think Clear Channel is posting this out of the goodness of their hearts.

    Yeah, this won't blow up in anyone's face. You know, the more perfume they try to dump on this pig the nastier it begins to smell.

    (Kudo's to Kuff)

    Posted by mcblogger at 05:18 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Seriously, it works better than the spray

    While trying to cover up the smell of her flatulence while on a plane in flight, a woman decided to light a match. No, Dumb and Dumber fans, the plane didn't explode and yes it is a true story.

    The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened.

    The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.

    Y'all really thought I made that up, no? Retards...

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Dregs : Iraq Study Group report and HB129:The Rewrite!

  • The report from the Iraq Study Group was presented today and it does a great of finally cluing the clueless (Connecticut native George W. Bush) in about the reality on the groun in Iraq:

    The commission recommended the United States reduce "political, military or economic support" for Iraq if the government in Baghdad cannot make substantial progress toward providing for its own security. Portions of the report were obtained by The Associated Press.

    President Bush received the report in an early morning meeting at the White House with commission members. He pledged to treat each proposal seriously and act in a "timely fashion."

    Which means, I suppose, that it will be acted on sometime in 2015.

  • Rep. Vicki Truitt, author of the infamous HB129 which would have held bloggers responsible for libelous content without the protections enjoyed by print media, has announced she is rewriting the bill. Thanks, Vicki. Vince over at Capitol Annex has some suggestions on how you can do that so you aren't perceived as a hater. Vicki, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, said the bill was not about targeting blogs (yeah, right) but about.... identity theft. Uh huh. Let me allow Vicki to 'splain:

    Truitt said the bill stemmed from a talk with a constituent who had gone through a messy divorce. His ex-wife had put personal information about him on DontDateHimGirl.com, a Web site where women post photos and descriptions of men they say are dishonest or deceitful.

    Truitt said the bill was designed to allow people legal recourse if someone knowingly publishes information about them online that could lead to identity theft.

    So, Identity theft and the webequivalent of a ladies bathroom wall inspired the bill? Here's an idea... don't.legislate.the.internet. It's never going to work, y'all. Even China keeps failing at it and they're like 10x smarter than Republicans in the Lege.

    We at McBlogger look forward with eager anticipation to Vicki's do-over.


  • Posted by mcblogger at 02:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    A little Cheney in the works

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMary Cheney, daughter of Vice-President Dick Cheney (seriously, you didn't know that? You're pretty dumb) is great with child. Mary is the Cheney who suffers from The Lesbian. This is her first baby with partner, Heather Poe who is similarly afflicted by The Lesbian.

    No one knows the identity of the father though we do have OUR suspicions.

    I gotta say, I think it's wonderful that rich, white Republican lesbians can have kids while the party they've worked so hard to put together denies us (The Gays) the ability to adopt. Of course, if I had a womb... well, they'd probably ban me from using that as well.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Texan of the Year: Carolyn Boyle & Parent PAC

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMcBlogger, as a member of the Texas Progressive Alliance, is pleased to announce that the TPA Texan of the Year is Carolyn Boyle and ParentPAC. Tons of great Democrats and a few Independent Republicans were elected this year with their help. Overall, I can't think of a group that had a greater impact on the Texas electoral landscape this cycle.

    “Carolyn Boyle and Texas Parent PAC are the Davids who slew about 5 Goliaths. It shows that the electoral process in Texas still can work,” said State Rep.-Elect Juan Garcia.

    Well put, Juan! Honestly, this is a bipartisan group with only one goal... to force The Lege to do what's best for Texas schools. Excellent work, y'all!

    Full press release (with some great quotes) and a run down of the candidates ParentPAC endorsed in the supersize.

    The Texas Progressive Alliance has named Carolyn Boyle and Texas Parent PAC its “Texan of the Year” for 2006.

    The Alliance announced Boyle’s selection on Wednesday following several days of discussion and voting among writers, editors and owners of some of the state’s most prominent and often read progressive political blogsMore... Boyle and Texas Parent PAC were among more than 40 individuals and organizations initially nominated for the honor by the bloggers. The race for Texan of the Year was very close due to the many influential organizations and candidates that played a role in Texas politics during 2005.

    Other finalists who were neck-and-neck with Boyle and the Parent PAC included the Dallas County Democratic Party (for their transformation of the political landscape in Dallas County) and State Rep.-elect Juan Garcia (D-Corpus Christi), for the high quality campaign he waged leading to his defeat of Rep. Gene Seaman (R-Corpus Christi) in a tough district.

    The selection of Boyle and Texas Parent PAC recognizes the tremendous impact both Boyle--individually-- and the PAC had on Texas politics in 2006.

    Texas Parent PAC was founded in 2005 by Boyle, a former public relations executive who is well-known in the Texas Capitol as an advocate for Texas public schools.

    In the midst of an overly-partisan, anti-public education atmosphere that has engulfed the Texas Legislature since its takeover by Republicans in 2002, Texas Parent PAC has had in one election cycle as a great an impact as groups such as The Texas Association of Business, Texans For Lawsuit Reform, and Texans for a Republican Majority did in 2002.

    “Carolyn Boyle and Texas Parent PAC proved that you don’t have to be a prominent, wealthy donor to make positive changes in the Texas political landscape,” said San Antonio’s Matt Glazer, Senior Writer for Austin-based Burnt Orange Report and founder of Just Another Blog. “Overnight, Parent PAC became the most sought-after endorsement in Texas politics,” Glazer continued.

    “This election cycle, Carolyn Boyle and Texas Parent PAC showed that soccer moms and PTA dads speak as loud as the James Leininger’s and Bob Perry’s, and that the folks those guys have been helping get elected all these years aren’t doing the job when it comes top public education,” said Vince Leibowitz of Grand Saline, publisher of Capitol Annex.

    Candidates echoed similar sentiments. "Carolyn Boyle and Texas Parent PAC are the Davids who slew about 5 Goliaths. It shows that the electoral process in Texas still can work," said State Rep.-Elect Juan Garcia.

    During the 2006 Republican Primary, Parent PAC supported pro-education Republicans over voucher advocates and other candidates who have been on the wrong sides of many public education issues. The first jewel in Parent PAC’s crown this year came when Dianne Patrick defeated State Rep. Kent Grusendorf in House District 94. In defeating Grusendorf, Parent PAC not only defeated its top target in 15 races in which it was actively involved, it also brought down the powerful Chairman of the House Public Education Committee.

    During the general election, Parent PAC branched out, and supported Democrats as well, playing key roles in House District 118 where former school board member Joe Farias defeated Nelson Baldio, a former staffer for Kay Bailey Hutchison.

    In all, Parent PAC claims 11 victories between the primary and general election, including both Republicans and Democrats. The PAC raised money from more than 500 donors from across Texas.

    Parent PAC winners included:

    H.D. 32: Juan Garcia, D-Corpus Christi (defeated Rep. Gene Seaman)
    H.D. 47: Valinda Bolton, D-Austin (open seat)
    H.D. 48: Representative Donna Howard, D-Austin, (special election victory against Ben Bentzin in Feb.)
    H.D. 54: Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen (open seat)
    H.D. 71: Susan King, R-Abilene (open seat)
    H.D. 72: Drew Darby, R-San Angelo (defeated Rep. Scott Campbell in the primary)
    H.D. 85: Joe Heflin, D-Crosbyton (open seat of former Speaker Pete Laney)
    H.D. 94: Diane Patrick, R-Arlington (defeated Grusendorf in the primary)
    H.D. 101: Thomas Latham, R-Sunnyvale (defeated Rep. Elvira Reyna in the primary)
    H.D. 107: Allen Vaught, D-Dallas (defeated Rep. Bill Keffer, another House Public Education Committee member)
    H.D. 118: Joe Farias, D-San Antonio (open seat)
    H.D. 134: Ellen Cohen, D-Houston (defeated Rep. Martha Wong)

    ABOUT THE AWARD & THE ALLIANCE


    The award is in its second year. In 2005, The Texas Progressive Alliance’s Texan of the Year award was given to State Rep. Carter Casteel (R-New Braunfels) for her courageous fight against school vouchers and on behalf of Texas public schools. The award gained such notoriety following its inception, Casteel’s receipt of the award was actually used against her in print advertising by her opponents in the 2006 Republican Primary.

    The Texas Progressive Alliance includes more than 25 blogs and more than two dozen blog writers, editors and owners from across Texas. These blogs are: The Agonist, Annatopia, Bay Area Houston, Brains & Eggs, Burnt Orange Report, Casual Soap Box, Capitol Annex, Common Sense, District Sixer, Dos Centavos, Eye on Williamson County, Greg's Opinion, Half Empty, In The Pink Texas, The Jeffersonian, Just Another Blog, Kuff's World, McBlogger, Marc's Miscellany, MindSpeak, Musings, North Texas Liberal, Off The Kuff, People's Republic of Seabrook, Pink Dome, The Red State, South Texas Chisme, Texas KaOS, Truth Serum Blog, and Wyld Card.

    The Texas Progressive Alliance promotes the Texas Progressive Alliance BlogAds Network.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Taco Bell ditches one of the few organic ingredients in its food

    Sometimes this shit writes itself...

    Taco Bell on Wednesday ordered the removal of green onions from its 5,800 restaurants nationwide after samples appeared to have a harsh strain of E. coli. The fast-food chain, whose restaurants were linked to a recent outbreak of E. coli in three states, said preliminary testing by an independent lab found positive results for the strain.

    And with the green onions, only lettuce, tomatoes and sometimes beans remain as actually organic products in Taco Bell's food. The rest of it comes from a mix of chemicals made by ExxonMobile and turned into 'food' by the nice people at Monsanto.

    Apparently, the removal is all about the fact that some green onions made people sick. Right. Like that's the only thing at Taco Bell that could upset someone's stomach.

    "In an abundance of caution, we've decided to pull all green onions from our restaurants until we know conclusively whether they are the cause of the E.coli outbreak," said Greg Creed, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell.

    "We're leaving the rest of the menu intact", Greg went on to tell reporters, all of whom were eating Meximelts. "Our food is very healthy and nutritous. At Taco Bell we take the health and well being of their consumers very seriously. Except when we may or may not have poisoned them".

    The strangest thing about this story? It totally makes me want Taco Bell for lunch.


    Posted by mcblogger at 11:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Henry Bonilla (R-Douche) tries to distract from his nanny problem

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIn an effort to distract people from his latest scandel broken on BOR (here and here) regarding his hiring of an illegal immigrant, Henry Bonilla (the jackass Ciro Rodriguez is running to unseat) has decided to lie about Ciro. Vince over at Capitol Annex has the video embedded (I'm not gonna because it's just such a retarded commercial) that talks about Ciro's support for terrorists. The problem is, it isn't true.

    Which would make Bonilla a liar. Oh, like that's a suprise. The bill on which the commercial is based (HR 2121 from the 106th Congress) is about evidence in deportation proceedings, not releasing terrorists. The former FBI agent in the commercial is the former SA Chief of Police and worked in the SA field office. Big.Whoop.

    Let's not forget that the irredeemably stupid Bonilla has been nothing but a rubber stamp for the failed policies of Connecticut native George W. Bush. Remember Iraq? Bonilla was all for it. Remember wiretapping? That, too. Hell, if Connecticut native George W. Bush (who still claims to be from Texas) wanted to wipe his ass with the Bill of Rights and declare himself king, Henry Bonilla would probably tear it into strips to make it easier for him and place a crown upon his head while he's on the throne.

    Bonilla would LOVE for the voters of CD 23 to forget all this. The problem is, they aren't. Worse for Bonilla, they also know that when he talks about illegal immigration, he's talking out of his ass. Either that, or maybe he just doesn't feel like the rules apply to him.

    Gee, Henry. Starting to feel the pressure? It's no suprise. Ciro's like 10 times the man you are. Hell, my grandmother is more of a man than Henry Bonilla. She, at least, still has the ability to say no.

    (Picture of Henry Bonilla with a dumb look on his face courtesy of USAToday)

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    An Aggie says something right?

    Burka is reporting that during a recent meeting of the Study Commission on Transportation Financing, a transportation expert from Texas A&M said that it's 'not necessary to finance transportation with tolls'.

    Crazy Aggie says WHAT? This is the second time this year I've heard an Aggie make sense. The other time? When Hank Gilbert was speaking.

    I was thinking you'd have to increase the tax by 10 cents a gallon, however, Mr. Aggie Professor says I'm wrong. So, I'm going to listen to him:

    Don't raise the gasoline tax at all. Instead, index it and put the incremental revenue in the mobility fund, where it can be used to pay off bonds. And here's the bombshell: "Under this scenario," Ellis said, " it wouldn't be necessary to toll as a means of financing, although that's certainly an option."

    The index David Ellis is referring to is one based on costs for highway construction which inflates at .5% to 1.5% per year. You'd have to combine this with a bond sale (like THAT would be a problem) but it would give us the revenue we need to rebuild the infrastructure in Texas, expand employment and grow our economy at a super fast rate.

    All that without some super inflated toll to support private contractors. So much for that excuse from Krusee that tolls were the only way to finance roads. Now, the only question is whether or not the Lege will force TXDoT to go along with the dumb Republican toll road plan, or will the newly elected Democrats and independent Republicans force CradDICK and Krusee to back down?


    Posted by mcblogger at 01:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 05, 2006

    OMG... does photobucket suck or what?

    I posted this last week. As you can see, Britney's cooter apparently violated Photobucket's terms of service. I guess there is something in there about PWT snatch.

    Whatev. Try to do something nice for the breeder's and the lesbians and this is what I get. Thanks a lot, bitches.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    CradDICK's still protecting the rich?

    In 2005 Rep. Mike Villarreal filed a bill to require sales price disclosure to appraisal districts, allowing those districts to properly set their tax valuations not only on properties that have been sold but also on comparable properties in the area closer to reality. As things stand now, appraisal districts aren't supposed to use this information. So, I could theoretically buy a house in Highland Park for $1.5mm ( I DID say theoretically) and only pay taxes on a valuation of $1mm even though the market value of the house is clearly $1.5mm. Meanwhile, your poor ass is buying a $120k Main Street home in Georgetown and you're paying taxes on a valuation of ... $120k.

    It ROCKS being rich, don't it? Too bad this is only a hypothetical and neither of us are rich. Damnit, what's wrong with you?

    ANYWAY, Villarreal's bill died (big shocker) at the end of the 2005 Session and was not resurrected during the Special Sessions. A reporter with the SAEN decided to beat up on a CradDICK a little about that. I'm posting the whole thing in the supersize, but first my favorite except:

    FIRE: "You stated that although I confirmed in an editorial board visit with your paper that I am in favor of mandatory disclosure of sales price information, I am in fact against it."

    —To keep the factual record straight, this is what I said in the Nov. 18 column:

    "... during a meeting with the Express-News Editorial Board, Craddick expressed support for mandatory sale-price disclosure and implied that he would lead the House to pass a disclosure bill in the 2007 session.

    "I simply don't believe it."

    (hat tip to SoTX Chisme)

    Roddy Stinson: Craddick Fire: 'Much of what you wrote was not based on fact'

    Web Posted: 12/03/2006 02:14 AM CST


    San Antonio Express-News

    Ready, aim ...

    FIRE: "Dear Roddy, I read your Nov. 18 column, 'See Mike file and fight, watch Tom kill and eat (yum-yumm),' and I want to point out that much of what you wrote was not based on fact."

    —In an e-mail to this desk, Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick has taken exception to my insinuating that he, his Republican House henchmen and the high-dollar lobbyists who whisper in their ears will "crush" House Bill 133 — "An act relating to disclosure and use of sales price information for ad valorem tax purposes."

    The tax-equity bill, authored by San Antonio state Rep. Michael Villarreal, was recently filed in Austin prior to the January opening of the 80th Texas Legislature. It is similar to a mandatory-sale-price-disclosure measure pushed by Villarreal during the 2005 session.

    The Texas Senate overwhelmingly approved that bill before it died an inglorious, late-session death in the House.

    I contended then and believe today (as noted in the Nov. 18 column) that the legislative garroting could not have occurred without Speaker Craddick's behind-the-scenes blessing.

    FIRE: "You stated that although I confirmed in an editorial board visit with your paper that I am in favor of mandatory disclosure of sales price information, I am in fact against it."

    —To keep the factual record straight, this is what I said in the Nov. 18 column:

    "... during a meeting with the Express-News Editorial Board, Craddick expressed support for mandatory sale-price disclosure and implied that he would lead the House to pass a disclosure bill in the 2007 session.

    "I simply don't believe it."

    FIRE: "You go further to suggest that a bill introduced last session by Rep. Mike Villarreal was killed because of special interest groups' influence with me.

    "I supported mandatory sales price disclosure during the 78th (2003) and the 79th (2005) legislative sessions, and I will continue to do so in the 80th Legislature."

    —If I had a C-note for every time a Texas legislator claimed to "support" a bill that he privately opposed, I could retire a rich man.

    I'm as certain as sunrise that if the speaker had really wanted a tax-equity bill to pass in the 2003 or the 2005 session, mega-rich homeowners and commercial property owners would TODAY be reporting the true worth of their properties to county appraisers. And unfairly burdened middle-class homeowners would be sending less of their dwindling resources to the public treasury.

    Instead, those homeowners continue to pay millions of dollars in taxes that the state's wealthy property owners should be paying.

    FIRE: "I want to reiterate that I agree the lack of sales price information has led to an unsustainable imbalance in the appraisal process.

    "It is also my belief that more transparency will arm appraisal districts with the necessary tools to improve the accuracy of appraisals.

    "Thank you for your time."

    —Give the speaker credit for being nice and polite to a newspaper paragrapher who likened him to a crocodile.

    Will he manifest similar virtue in a sincere, all-out effort to bring transparency and balance to the state's appraising/taxing system?

    Having no ability to peer into Craddick's heart, I must take him at his word. Or not.

    On Nov. 18 — Not.

    On Dec. 3, in the wake of his response — Maybe.

    (I'm a sucker for niceness.)

    Caveat: During a phone conversation with a Craddick aide, I asked if the speaker would put House Bill 133 on a 30-day fast track to prevent it from being killed in the confusion that always occurs at the end of a session.

    Space limitation prevents me from reporting the many reasons the aide gave for NOT fast-tracking the legislation.

    A preview of delays and excuses to come?

    The beginning of another killed-quietly-in-the-House tale?

    My guesses: yes/yes.

    Except for "quietly."

    This time, "quiet" will not be an option.
    To contact Roddy Stinson, call (210) 250-3155 or e-mail rstinson@express-news.net. His column appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Can y'all do anything right?

    I guess I'm not the only one who noticed just how much was screwed up on the tollways. Thanks to EOW, I now know that Ben Wear has been getting messages about the missing flyways at the intersection of the 45 Tollway/35. And the missing flyways at 290/35 South. And the missing flyways at 183/35. And the missing flyways at 35/290 in midtown.

    Damn, is it just me or does NO one at TXDoT know how to design and build a freeway interchange?

    Apparently, the excuse I said they would use is actually only being used for the public freeway interchanges. The excuse for the 45 Tollway/35 interchange is actually more retarded than any of the excuses I've ever heard:

    No, said Bob Daigh, the Austin district engineer, but rather there was a bureaucratic snafu on getting environmental clearance on the four that remain unbuilt.

    OK, so rather than acknowledge the mistake and fix it, you've decided to stick with this BS? WOW. That's pretty ballsy, Mr. Daigh. I gotta hand it to you. You really know how to handle PR on a pretty colossal screwup. So, if it was just an oversight why not go ahead, get the clearances and build the flyways? I mean, it sounds like it wasn't money but simply a planning misstep. That's what YOU said, Mr. Daigh.

    Turns out, Mr. Daigh's just bullshitting. Of course, the ever hapless Wear misses the point (here's a quarter, Ben. Go buy yourself a clue) and goes on to write this in his insipid little column.

    As for when any of these phantom bridges might get built — at a cost of about $10 million to $15 million apiece — Daigh said none of them is in any of the agency's short-term financial plans. Other priorities. Daigh has said in the past that excess toll revenue from some of the proposed Austin turnpikes that we've all been arguing about would help raise money for more bridges.

    So, even though the money for the construction of the Tollway flyovers was allocated, it's mysteriously dissapeered? WTF, Mr. Daigh? What would have happened had the plans been filed? Are you saying the Tollway was MORE expensive than advertised? Huh?

    As for the rest of it, that excess toll revenue will pay for the flyways at the freeway interchanges, that's just not good enough, Mr. Daigh.

    It would appear that Austin is NOT well served by the TXDoT District Engineer. I mean, if the man can't be bothered to oversee a project until it's done and done right, on schedule and on budget, then maybe it's time we get a new DE. That's something I'd like to see the city council and our Travis County Legislators make happen.

    Let's not even talk about the projects TXDoT just recently killed.

    You know, from everything we've seen, it should be obvious that there should be some major changes in personnel and business practices at TXDoT. Next item on the list should be banning Zachry Construction from all future projects. They built the 45 Tollway and, IMHO, some or most of the blame lies with them.

    Didn't get the clearances??!?! That's like a loan officer saying, the day you're closing on your house, "Oops! I Forgot to order your appraisal".

    (as a side note, EOW has a great post up about an editorial in the SAEN eviscerating toll roads and Somervell County Salon is talking about the impact of the TTC on tractor-trailers. Both are great related pieces.)


    Posted by mcblogger at 10:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Friedman's still not getting it on Iraq

    WOW. To read Tom Friedman, you'd think we could just stay year after stupid year in Iraq.

    Given this, we need to face our real choices in Iraq, which are: 10 months or 10 years. Either we just get out of Iraq in a phased withdrawal over 10 months, and try to stabilize it some other way, or we accept the fact that the only way it will not be a failed state is if we start over and rebuild it from the ground up, which would take 10 years. This would require reinvading Iraq, with at least 150,000 more troops, crushing the Sunni and Shiite militias, controlling borders, and building Iraq’s institutions and political culture from scratch.

    He's right. Unfortunately, it's not our fight and while we can crush the militias, what we'll have to do to achieve that objective will forever alienate the Iraqi people, many of whom have FAMILY in those militias. Even now, today, Friedman just still doesn't get what a failure this has all been. Never forget Friedman was a supporter or the invasion and has remained steadfast. My take on this is that he's unbelievably obstinate at best, crazier than a bag of hammers at worst.

    Of course, via ELLN, there is another take on Mr. Friedman's column...

    In fact, the only thing America did wrong in its "effort to bring progressive politics or democracy to this region" was not coming down hard enough on this darky riff-raff: "Had we properly occupied the country, and begun political therapy, it is possible an American iron fist could have held Iraq together long enough to put it on a new course. But instead we created a vacuum by not deploying enough troops." Instead, we took it easy on them -- I mean, Jesus H. Jiminy Cricket Walker Christ, we only killed 600,000 of them; what kind of pussyfooting around is that? -- and look what happened. A Sunni insurgency sprang up, whose only goal -- whose ONLY goal, mind you -- was to make America look bad: "America must fail in its effort to bring progressive, etc., etc. America must fail – no matter how many Iraqis have to be killed, America must fail." What was their "only one goal" again, Tom? Oh yeah: America must fail. Not a single ding-dang one of them ornery critters ever had any other motive whatsoever to take up arms against an army of foreigners who had invaded and occupied their country.

    Honestly, when I read Friedman's piece I wasn't thinking it had racist overtones. However, reading the analysis linked above...

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    HILLARious campaign

    A group of rich Texas 'conservative' 'businessmen' have decided to not actually wait until Hillary is the Democratic candidate, but instead begin the swiftboating now. Which is tiresome as hell. Pink Lady at INPT and Vince at Capitol Annex both have this covered so, considering this is Hillary, I'm going to stick with a 'less it more' attitude and just refer to their coverage.

    It's because I can't stand Hillary but that's definitely in conflict with how much I loathe swiftboating tactics. I say they all suck.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 04, 2006

    Flying high...

    If you're like me (I'm soooo sorry if you are) you hate the inane magazines that airlines provide in the seatback as well as a ubiquitous SkyMall catalog. Apparently, we aren't alone.

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPenned by the comedy troupe Kasper Hauserthis parady of those banal catalogs is well worth the read. And I totally want a Llamacycle. Pick up a copy and see a few sample pages at Amazon.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    TXU steps in some dookey

    (Yeah, I normally would have posted 'shit', but the word 'dookey' is making me laugh today so I'm going with that instead)

    So TXU got it's coal plants fastracked for the low, low price (what is this, Crazy Eddie?) of 'contributions' to Rick Perry's 'FAVORITE charity'. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

    Turns out, some people aren't too happy about that and have decided to (gasp!) SUE IN A COURT OF LAW. I thought the Republicans banned the enviro's and common people from the courts? How the hell did this happen?!?!? How the hell could some goddamn tree huggers hold up one of the greatest power generation projects in history?

    Well, yeah... I guess it does pollute and you're right, there are newer, better technologies that can be used for coal driven power generation. However, they'll cut TXU's profit down. Yeah, I know that's a lie, too. Why? Well, let's do something simple...

    The energy industry is building, over the next 4-6 years, at least 12 plants in the state of Texas. We are currently running at 85-88% of production capacity on the grid and anticipated growth won't push us to 100% until sometime around 2018. However, ERCOT likes to have a 10% buffer, so we WILL need some new capacity... maybe a plant or two over the next 4-6 years. So, why would a company like TXU with a good management team that's dedicated to wringing every penny out of operations, decide to so dramatically expand capacity and why do it in Texas? There's actually an easy answer when you think about it... give yourself a moment then hit the supersize.

    Texas has the most lax environmental law and weakest regulators in the country. They are building their plants here where they don't have to worry about being tagged polluters, then shipping the power out of state. And all the people of Texas will get is asthma, mercury poisoning, and cancer.

    The best part of the article are the money qoutes from the sycophants for TXU and the industry lobby in DC:

    TXU spokeswoman Kimberly Morgan said Friday. “Lawsuits don’t clean the air. Investments in new technology will improve air quality.”

    Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council in Washington, D.C., a utility industry trade group, said the lawsuit is a predictable effort to delay or derail new power plants in Texas.

    “Unfortunately, lawsuits don’t generate power, and they don’t clean the air,” he said.

    You gotta get up pret-ty early in the morning to be able to suck cock as well as Kimberly and Scott. What Kimmy and Scotty don't know is that TXU runs their plants in 'dirty' mode all the time. Therefore, a new TXU plant that doesn't utilize new technology like gasification is going to be pollute the hell out of the air. Seriously, ask TXU for the service records on their generators... see how long they are in either start up or shut down. You might also want to check and see how much of their power generation comes during those times.

    Interesting stuff... all I'm saying.

    Thanks, Don Henley, for filing this suit! I may hate The Eagles but I love me some lawsuits that protect the environment...

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Excellent articles on China and India

    Two articles caught my eye today... one on China's budding relationship with Saudi Arabia and another on India becoming more attractive than China to international business. Both are worth the read when you have a chance.

    One has to wonder exactly how much the Saudi's will value their relationships when push comes to shove.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Ciro's our Hero

    Yeah, you like my mad rhyming skillz, right?

    Oh. I sooo dare you to say that to my face. I wouldn't hit you... I'd probably just make fun of your shoes.

    Texas 23 desperately needs a new Congressman. The one they have know, Henry Bonilla, can't seem to figure out that his job is not so much to be a rubber stamp for Connecticut native and current President George W. Bush. Let's not even talk about how much he cares about the people in his district and by people I mean those that aren't white and affluent. Seriously, the most hispanic thing about him is his last name.

    Ciro Rodriguez is the candidate who's running hard to remove Bonilla from Congress. No matter where you are in the US, you can help him out from the comfort of your home. You can donate (and I've yet to find a candidate you didn't like campaign contributions) or you can use TBA's online phone banking tool. It's a fantastic system that's helped a bunch of Democrats win in Texas this year.

    So, take a moment, go to the site, pick up your phone and call some people.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 03, 2006

    You missed our birthday (and so did we)

    Apparenly, McBlogger turned one a few days ago. On the 29th of November or, as we like to call it, Wednesday. Exciting stuff, no? So, we won't berate you for forgetting to take us out for drinks since The Mayor, Sister Ruth, Captian Kroc and I were out drinking anyway.

    Wait... aren't we always out drinking?

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Would someone please tell Darren Tate to get his ass in gear?

    Seriously, it's been a while since I first heard a rip of 'Perfect World'. Supposedly, Tate is releasing it in January. However, I want it NOW. Matt Darey has a copy of it, but I don't. Of course, Darey's show is broadcast on XM. I'm only broadcast when I call in to be a dick to Limbaugh. Darey also spins in clubs. I drink in clubs, but the last person who let me in a DJ booth just got a scotch spilled all over their vinyl. If you're out there... sorry about that again. My bad!

    It's because I'm a blogger, isn't it?

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    December 02, 2006

    Democracy for Texas fundraiser

    I don’t think McBlogger wants this site to be used as an electrical billboard to advertise events for our favorite groups, but I’m going to do it anyway because the significance of DFT compels me.

    During early 2003 when the Democratic Party, both in Texas and nationally, might have been at its’ lowest point, these people stepped forward and vigorously campaigned first for Howard Dean and later progressive candidates. Voter registration and GOTV is just one part of this organization. DFT put on Demfest 2005 and numerous other seminars and training for candidates, campaign staff, organizers, and volunteers. They have opened chapters throughout the state, and keep pushing the progressive cause. What some might not know is that they do such things as donate calling cards to the soldiers, and toys to the military families of Fort Hood, volunteer at food banks, and organize dinners and events for retirement communities for the poor – just to name a few of their activities.

    If you want to know true-blue and passionate grassroots, then know DFT.

    The event is Wednesday 12/6 from 7-10pm at Ruta Maya, 3601 South Congress, Austin. Suggested minimum donation is $10.00, students $5.00. Butch Hancock performs.

    If you cannot attend, I highly recommend going to the website – democracyfortexas.org – and contribute.

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 06:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Bad Fucking Taste

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    This is an ad for an MP3 player that is all over China right now. The text translates to

    Even if the world is destroy[ed] to dust, I still believe in music

    You know, I can deal with stupidiotic, self-important people who actually think they've got a chance at the Presidency. However, I'm having issues with an MP3 player that takes itself seriously. It's a fucking piece of metal and some memory.

    Next time, if you're using an American image, run it by an American. Just sayin' is all.

    (kudos to Gizmodo and yes, I think Newt's chances of being President are as good as my chances of landing a scorching hot boyfriend by Monday... )

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    I knew this day would come

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 07:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 01, 2006

    Dude! Where's my gas?

    Turns out, it was never made...

    The analysis, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, indicates that the (oil) industry slacked off supplying oil and gasoline during the prolonged price boom between early 1999 and last summer, when prices began to fall.

    That's right, folks. The AP's analysis shows that the oil industry was indeed restraining supply during the most recent price spike. This dovetails nicely with what we already knew about refining capacity being squeezed through a series of mergers beginning in the late 90's. In fact, the smart folks over at the AP picked up on that as well...

    Also, individual companies are freer to bottle up supplies without fear of losing business to competition, because fewer companies now control a production choke point: refining. Thanks to mergers, the top 10 companies now control three-quarters of national refining capacity, up from half in the early 1990s.

    "A handful of very large companies realize it's in their mutual interest to keep prices as high as possible," says Tyson Slocum, an energy expert at the consumer group Public Citizen, founded by Ralph Nader. "I don't think they're sitting around a table smoking cigars and price fixing, but I think there are sophisticated ways to manipulate the market."

    Can we now start talking about windfall taxes on oil company profits that are NOT used to expand refining and production? How about using the money generated to provide incentives to alternative energy companies for R&D as well as to increase production and build out distribution? What about helping manufacturers, (like GM, Ford and Chrysler) who have been hurt by higher energy prices, that increase fuel efficiency?

    Yeah, there's a lot that can happen. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, oil is trading at $62.46 up $1.47 and still trending higher. Better gas up now!

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    NOT SAFE FOR WORK - For the straight boys&lesbians

    Yeah, I know there are a few straight boys and lesbians who read McBlogger (hey Rawhide and Lucy). What you might not know is that most of the male writers ARE straight. It's part of my commitment to diversity and all that shit.

    Whatev. ANYWAY, I'm posting something that has apparently received more attention than I realized it would, Britney's cooter. I saw this earlier this week but didn't really care about it because I have like 10,000 more important things to think about than white trash cooter, know what I mean?

    In that spirit, what happens when you click the link is


    NOT SAFE FOR WORK.


    Seriously, don't even think about it.

    Gross, yo. You're really that interested in seeing Britney's vag? Whatever makes you raise up and get your masturbation on...

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Reality and toll roads...what you need to know

    Tolls are a derisive issue and they really shouldn't be. The problem is a perception that tolls are somehow cheaper/will do more/create jobs/will bring on the second coming of Christ. The reality is that toll roads are, at best, nothing more than corporate welfare for large construction companies at the expense of public infrastructure and at worst, a massive, inequitable tax increase.

    I'm not going to say you're an idiot for thinking tolls are a good idea. I'm going to say you're very misinformed. I actually know the math and economics (far better than most of the analysts... I used to work in risk management for a commodities trading firm, this stuff is a cake walk).

  • Ray Perryman runs a 'consulting company' in Waco. His primary duty seems to be analyzing the TTC and then pimping the shit out of it. To whit, he published this recently in the Waco Trib. Ray is a real master of the obvious who spends most of his time talking about how vital roads are to our economy. No shit, MOTO. The problems people have with the TTC (and which Ray doesn't seem to get... I guess, when you're paid to generate a report on the TTC, you kinda tend to gloss over the bad stuff) are manifold:

    1) The use of eminent domain to take property from landowners (VERY productive agricultural land) and hand it over as part of a leasehold to a foreign company.

    2) More expensive than a statewide gas tax increase

    3) the 'innovative public-private partnerships' are not really innovative or new. The only thing innovative about it is that Republicans have found a new way to funnel public money to private companies.

    You'll notice Ray doesn't really point out any of this and instead focuses on the economic impact of the TTC while failing to mention that ANY expansion of infrastructure in the 35 corridor will have a similar (or greater) economic impact. Either Ray doesn't want to acknowledge that, or he just doesn't see it. That makes him untrustworthy at best.

  • I mentioned the gas tax above... let's keep in mind that it hasn't been increased in more than a decade. During that time, usage of public infrastructure has risen dramatically. Here's a really simple way of looking at this... When I first set up my wireless network, I had one internet connection and usually just one computer online. I now have three, sometimes four computers running at the same time on my DSL line. It is obviously beginning to slow down a little, just like a freeway does when more people drive on it. SO, I had to invest in a second line just like we are now having to invest to expand our transportation infrastructure. Now, what makes more sense? To do it with tax dollars or Tolltax dollars? Even the most simplistic analysis (from me) and a good one (from EOW and Kuffner) shows that taxes are the way to go to keep the costs low for ALL consumers.
  • While we're talking about TXDoT's hyperinflated numbers for gas taxes (like 17 cents for Austin, 40 cents for SA Metro), let's keep in mind that those numbers include profits for a private developer over DECADES as well as a massive bond outlay in the 2040's. In short, they are dramatically inflated. In reality, the gax tax increase would be much cheaper (10 cents statewide).
  • Let's not forget the rosy projections that certain toll road analysts did in CO. Let's also not forget some of these same folks have been used by the Lege to justify their poor decision making.

    In “Roads to riches”, reporter Chuck Plunkett looks at 23 new turnpike projects nationwide, and discovers that in the vast majority of cases, the traffic and revenue estimates were wildly exaggerated.
  • Let's go back to Ray's column for a second. Infrastructure expansion is vital to the growth of the economy here in Texas. IN ALL REGIONS OF TEXAS. The urban areas will benefit from freeways to the suburbs, just as the rural areas will benefit. I live in Austin, however I have business in Round Rock, Georgetown and San Antonio at least once a week. I need to be able to get there quickly and safely. This will allow me to do my job, make very good money and pay my property and city sales taxes (Not to mention getting people out of the city faster makes my driving MUCH more pleasent). The one other thing you have to think about it is how much money is available in an economy. If a gas tax increase was put into effect it would have a relatively minor effect on consumers. Tolls, on the other hand are much more expensive and will force the people who pay them to spend less on other things. The reduces sales taxes and will end up hurting local economies. Reality is reality... what helps others is likely to help me (and you) as well.
  • And finally...

  • Paul Burka of Texas Monthly may be the first member of the MSM to actually get what a bad deal the TTC in particular and tolls in general ARE for Texans.

    He tells a great story of how our state government has ceded control of our transportation future to corporations, foreign and domestic. He quotes Sen. John Carona (R - Dallas), Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security, as saying this about CDA’s, “Within thrity years’ time, under existing comprehensive development agreements, we’ll bring free roads in this state to a condition of ruin.” Burka explains brilliantly here:

    The private companies that will build and operate the toll roads are in business to make a profit. In order to ensure that profit, they must have people who want to drive on their roads. And - here’s the rub - in order to be sure that people will want to drive on their roads, the CDAs with TxDOT will contain non-compete clauses that prohibit TxDOT from building new roads or upgrading existing highways. Any improvement to an existing highway that is not already planned at the time TxDOT enters into the contract is prohibited. That billion-dollar concession limits TxDOT’s ability to improve nearby secondary roads. How about adding extra lanes? Sorry, prohibited by the CDA. An HOV express lane? Not a chance. This is why Carona says that free roads will be reduced to ruin. TxDOT will no longer be able to respond to the transportation needs of the state, other than to say: If you don’t like the traffic, use the toll road.


  • It's time to make some decisions about transportation and the future of this state. None of them need to involve toll roads. They are a bad idea from every perspective.

    (MAD props to both EOW and Kuffner)

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Britney’s crotch

    Sometimes one picture is all it takes to capture a person’s past, present, and future.

    Unfortunately, our attention is not focused on Malachi Ritscher who self-immolated to protest the Iraqi War. The story has been slow to gain speed, but is finally starting to hit the nation’s conscience. His distracters are saying he was mentally ill, however if you dig a little bit deeper, especially like reading the Chicago Reader blog, you realize that he was very aware.

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 06:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack