August 31, 2007

Jokes of My Father's : The Political Edition

Like most upper middle class baby-boomers, my father loves his email forwards. PinkDome posted a link to a site called My Right-Wing Dad, a blog featuring nothing but retarded emails from overfed and underinformed boomer dads around the country.

I wonder if they, like my dad, are just trying to piss off their offspring? See, Barfly let me in on his schtick after one particularly bad email I spent more than an hour refuting point-by-point. I felt like an idiot for days. Now, I mostly laugh at his forwards. And of course, I post them here. Let the cavalcade of fun begin!

One morning a blind bunny was hopping down the bunny trail, and he tripped over a large snake and fell, KerPlop, right on his twitchy little nose. "Oh, please excuse me!" said the bunny. "I didn't mean to trip over you, but I'm blind and can't see." "That's perfectly all right," replied the snake. "To be sure, it was my fault. I didn't mean to trip you, but I'm blind too, and I didn't see you coming. By the way, what kind of animal are you?" "Well, I really don't know," said the bunny. "I'm blind, and I've never seen myself. Maybe you could examine me and find out." So the snake felt the bunny all over, and he said, "Well, you're soft, and cuddly, and you have long silky ears, and a little fluffy tail and a dear twitchy little nose You must be a bunny rabbit!" The bunny said, "I can't thank you enough. But by the way, what kind of animal are you?" The snake replied that he didn't know, and the bunny agreed to examine him, and when the bunny was finished, the snake said, "Well, what kind of an animal am I?" The bunny had felt the snake all over, and he replied, "You're soft, you're cold, you're slippery, and you haven't got any balls...You must be a Democrat.

Sometimes it's just too easy... with the change of one word, this became one of the most offensive emails I've ever sent to my retardican friends.

Oh, and my dad.

(Please note, I will be in Dallas this weekend. I leave you to the tender mercies of Mayor McSleaze...)

Posted by mcblogger at 04:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Economy : Oh, well... this is a bad idea

The Fed has decided to cut Citi and BofA some slack... by allowing their depository subsidiaries to loan money to their brokerage group. Prep work for the cut off funds in the commercial paper market or the prelude to another depression?

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

Quit trying to kill McBlogger

Some angry old man tried to kill me Tuesday afternoon. In one of these...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I was leaving Walgreens on Mesa where I'd just spent 15 minutes trying to find fragrance free lotion (I may be a fag, but I don't want to smell like green tea. Or oatmeal. Or some floral arrangement). As I was turning onto the driveway to get get back onto Mesa, in is coming Mr. Giant SUV who decided his vehicle needed the entire drive.

Here's an idea... can we mandate that the elderly don't get to drive GIANT SUV's? I mean, if they have to take up the entire to road with them then clearly they can't be trusted.


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

In which two Republicans do something right

Well, at least half right...Bush is proposing expansion of FHA along the same lines we've already discussed. See how smart I am? Not really. Seriously, anyone in banking could have said the same thing. It's unfortunate that our douchebag of a Republican President has a better proposal for dealing with this than our Democratic candidates. Obama the Tard has decided to punish third party originators (known as brokers and small banks) because they are all to blame for the mess, in his ridiculous opinion. Which is really smart and all because these same folks are on a first name basis with tens of millions of voters.

Obama's proposal offers no real solution. Even if you want to collect penalties from brokers (which you can't do because more than 96% of them have never done anything illegal) they don't have the equity to pay the levy.

The only problem I still have with Bush on this issue is broadening the GSE's (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) which is something Congress will have to do and shove down his still stupid throat. At least HE got half of it right, unlike our Democratic candidates who flubbed this like a motherfucker.

Yes, there are two Republicans who've done something right. Perry finally gave in and commuted the sentence of Kenneth Foster.

Republicans doing something right... not too impressive when you consider that a broken clock is right at least twice a day.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PLEASE roll out the PR campaign. PLEASE!

Eye on Williamson has a great piece up on the Chron story detailing TXDoT's plans to use public funds to sell toll roads and the TTC to the public. I think this is a fabulous idea. The limited campaign that's been used to far has been tremendously successful at raising the TTC profile as well as galvanizing public opposition. This PR campaign will no doubt bring even more attention and criticism to it.

Sure, it's a waste of money as Rep. Chisum points out. Please note, this is probably the only time I will ever agree with Warren Chisum. I certainly hope Reagan and Nixon are enjoying the snowstorm in hell. However, for those of us opposed to privatization of infrastructure, it's a massive boon. This will finally put TXDoT's stupid plans in the spotlight on the mismanagement of transportation in this state going back to then-Governor George Bush.

And see, it's already starting...

Oh, and while you're at it, please tell us what a good idea it will be to toll existing lanes on interstates! People will LOVE that idea.

Roll on, TXDoT! You're making my job sooo much easier!

Posted by mcblogger at 08:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And... He's Off!

Ending months of fevered indifference, the laziest man alive Fred "Scrotum Face" Thompson has officially entered the contest to see who gets to be beaten to a pulp by Hillary Clinton in 2008. Republicans rejoice! At last an unpleasant cranky old white man is running!

Okay, maybe "running" is too active a verb. (Did I mention that Fred is the Laziest Man Alive?} So... walking. No, sauntering. Actually, the most appropriate metaphor is to say he's being transported in one of those sedan chairs once favored by oriental despots. If the bearers were stuffed.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 07:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2007

So what IS Brownie up to?

Unbelievable.

"I cannot believe it's been two years when I see how bad things are down there," Brown said in an interview yesterday. He said that he has not been back to New Orleans since Katrina -- "I haven't been invited" -- but he gets updates from people doing work there. Also, he's busy.

He has fashioned a career for himself as a disaster management consultant and public speaker. The image of him that remains -- the Brownie who did a heck of a job, who needed extra time for a meal at a crowded Baton Rouge restaurant while the situation at the Louisiana Superdome became more and more desperate -- is one he says he carries with him these days on the public speaking circuit.

Today, Brown splits his time between Washington, D.C., and Colorado, working as a disaster preparedness consultant for a number of corporations, including Cotton Cos., which works to restore wireless communications.

The man who was a miserable failure at managing the response to a disaster is now consulting with companies on how manage a disaster? What is this, a lost episode of Seinfeld?

Posted by mcblogger at 05:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tolls : Sometimes the adults have to step in

It's clear from the recent CAMPO meeting and the Statesman's most recent editorial that our leadership is ready to throw in the towel. Like children, they are incapable of seeing all the options on the field and seemingly unaware of the long term impact of their decisions. Immediate gratification and long term pain. If that isn't childish, I don't know what is.

Central Texans shouldn't kid themselves, there IS a cheaper alternative. However, as Eye on Williamson points out, it's going to require leadership from our elected officials...

I believe there is a choice and it’s not one that the AAS or many politicians, if any, have the courage to take on. It entails doing what the people want, not doing what it easy. It entails taking an tough stand, stepping our front, breaking down GOP talking points, and leading on this issue. If put to a public vote these politicians know the toll roads would fail, overwhelmingly. But they still proceed as if this is the only option.

The Statesman believes that an increase in the gas tax is unlikely, so CAMPO should go ahead and authorize the burdening of Central Texas taxpayers with paying off toll roads into infinity. Problem is, increasing the gas tax isn't unlikely if Democrats are able to retake the Lege next year. In short, we can afford to wait... we have this long... for a better solution that will benefit all Central Texans, not just those that stand to profit from toll roads. At the end of the day, the next session will not see two major obstacles to increasing the gas tax, Mike Krusee and Speaker Craddick, gone. That, in and of itself, means there is a major transportation funding policy shift coming.

If CAMPO is smart they'll realize this and lead the way to better future for all of us. If they don't, then everyone who votes for this plan will have problems getting re-elected. Yes, Kirk, even you. We like you, but we won't hesitate to recruit and fund a challenger to you in the primary. And she'll win.

Take a moment and let CAMPO know how you feel...

Posted by mcblogger at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

With fondest memories...

We would like to take the time to give our condolences to the family of Mayor McSleaze's wonderful friend, Leona Helmsley. The Mayor has decided to take a few days off to mourn the passing of his friend. Though their relationship was often tumultuous (their political arguments often led The Mayor (who supports Democrats) to rain blows down upon Leona (who loved Republicans) as she used a nail file to stab him in the feet and legs), they shared the kind of connection, friendship and feelings of superiority only enjoyed by the obscenely rich.

That, and McSleaze has always believed hanging out with people who are bigger assholes than yourself makes you look better. I think that's one of the reasons he tolerates me.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another 50 Bn? And your choice of AG? Not so much...

That stupid pig farmer is asking for another massive dose of funding to continue his party's colossal disaster known as the Iraqi Invasion, or less popularly, as Cheney's Bad.

The request -- which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- is expected to be announced after congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S. officials in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and the effect of the new strategy the U.S. military has pursued this year.

Let me get this straight (laugh it up, losers)... you want to spend more than $650 BILLION on 'defense and your wars' but we can't find the money for CHIP? Or the money to fix our crumbling infrastructure here at home? Come on. The reality is that if we don't do something now to improve the lives of all Americans, winning the war on terror will be meaningless since the entire country will be stuck in traffic, dying of some curable disease that they couldn't get treated because of a lack of health insurance.

Current estimates of infrastructure repairs and improvements NATIONWIDE amount to $700 BN over 10 years. Toss in another $50 BN and you can fund expansion of CHIP for more than 5 years as well. That money would directly and indirectly improve the economy and the lives of ordinary Americans for DECADES and create a massive economic expansion.

Instead, Bush wants to spend it on a war he can't win because he's not fighting it right. Give me $70 BN. I'll win the war on terror in two years. Bush is annually asking for 10 TIMES that and can't get the job done.

Priorities, George... priorities.

On top of his spendthrift request, we also have him demanding his own AG nominee...

Democratic Senate leaders have called on the White House to consult them closely during the selection process, but administration officials warned yesterday that the president intends to nominate an attorney general who agrees with his policies. "It is the president's prerogative to appoint someone who shares his views," a senior administration official said.

I don't care HOW good the candidate, if they don't say "I unequivocally support the Constitution of the United States, especially in matters where it is in conflict with the Executive Branch and I will faithfully cooperated with ALL Congressional Oversight activities" then turn them down. The United States can not afford another Bush crony in such an important office.That, and it's time to put dickhead in his place.

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

Forbes and Giuliani

Please excuse me... I'm just finding out about this, mostly because I pay as much attention to Rudy Giuliani as I do to Sister Ruth when she whines about how much I drink. Apparently, Steve Forbes, who (like Paris Hilton) is a recipient of the ovarian lottery, endorsed Rudy and joined his campaign as an economic adviser. Here's what happened back in March the endorsement came to life and Rudy was forced to embrace one of Steve's signature issues, the flat tax.

In 1996, when Mr. Forbes first ran for president, Mr. Giuliani, then the mayor of New York City, disparaged a flat tax in general and Mr. Forbes’s plan in particular. The Forbes plan called for a single tax rate above a certain income, instead of several rates based on income. Mr. Giuliani said that a central part of the proposal, eliminating deductions, would hurt taxpayers in urban areas and reduce tax revenues for populous cities and states.

“You’re giving them more authority, more autonomy, and you’re giving them less resources to deal with the problems,” he said then in an interview with CBS, calling the proposal “a mistake.”

He used stronger language on CNN a few days later, saying the Forbes plan “would really be a disaster.”

Eleven years later, Mr. Giuliani is the one running for president, and with a record on social issues to the left of most Republicans, he has been trying to appeal to fiscal conservatives. In those circles, the word of Mr. Forbes, the magazine executive who also ran for president in 2000, carries considerable weight.

These days, Mr. Giuliani calls himself an advocate of supply-side economics and tells audiences that he cut taxes and restrained spending as mayor. He said several times yesterday that the federal tax code should be vastly simpler.

We already knew Rudy was a giant whore (and no, I'm not talking about just his drag performances) but this is something entirely new. This is out and out pandering from the 'hero of 9/11'. Yeah, Rudy, I totally think you're brave. Fucko.

What disturbs me most about him is that there is a possibility he might win. And that has the potential to put Forbes, who is well known for his diminutive intellect and horribly written magazine, in a policy making position where he can help push through some of his other stupid ideas... like a return to the gold standard. Like most 'gold bugs' (so-called because they love gold and are as smart as insects), Forbes believes this is the only way to run a monetary system.

Seriously, it's a bad idea. I could spend a few paragraphs on why, like the fact that while fiat currency (like those in use EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD TODAY) can be inflationary at times, it can also just as easily be deflationary when needed. It's also far more responsive to demands for credit. The gold standard is based on a metal dug up out of the ground and removes the ability of a central bank to effectively act as a lender of last resort. Which means that when you have a credit crunch (which we have now) the Fed can't respond effectively to it. Currently, I think the situation we are in will lead to a shallow recession. Under the gold standard, it would have already started a deflationary death spiral into a depression.

How do I know? Because it's happened before. Throughout the 19th century. Which is why we dropped the gold standard in the 20th.

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

August 29, 2007

CAMPO with the finger on the trigger to kill or move ahead with phase 2

As many of you are no doubt aware, Austin Metro has become the great test tube for all the state's shitty transportation plans. Basically they, in cooperation with the Republicans in the Lege and Statewide office whose campaign contributors stand to benefit from significantly scaled up tolling, have engineered events to force the regional mobility authorities and planning organizations (like CAMPO) into accepting tolls, not as a last resort but as an only resort. To wit...

"We need to be continuously very forthright and upfront," said Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, a CAMPO board member who opposed the 2004 toll plan, which ultimately died. "We don't have the dollars to do this without tolls."

And people actually wonder why Gerald is soon to be the FORMER Commissioner for Precinct Three.

Of course, The Evil Republican Plan doesn't excuse our none too brave members of CAMPO, most of whom still don't get it. Just FYI, I'll be at Keep Austin Blue's meetup on the 19th at Mother Egans and will be ready to discuss all this with you ad nausuem if you think the only reason I'm being harsh is because I'm on a blog. Trust me, I'm twice as nasty in real life. Drinks are at 6:30.

After reading this article by Ben 'Will someone help me understand this' Wear, I have to ask, who runs CAMPO and has ultimate decision making authority? Our elected officials or TXDoT's Bob Daigh?

The reality is that the members of CAMPO are going to have to find the guts to turn their backs on this plan and demand a public funding option from TXDoT and the Lege. No more whining, no more excuses. If they don't they are going to saddle EVERY Central Texas taxpayer with VASTLY higher transportation costs. And if the electeds on the CAMPO board think that won't end up on a opponent's mailer, think again. I'll pay for it if I have to.

You all have to focus on a couple of things...
1) The majority of the phase two roads are going to negatively effect the community in East Travis County. People who can least afford tolls.

2) Tolls are VASTLY more expensive on ANY basis compared to publicly financed infrastructure with an indexed gas tax.

3) This isn't one road that will effect relatively few people. These roads are all over Travis County, not to mention the expansion plans for 35 and MoPac. In short, it's going to hit everyone from the Downtown dweller to the Suburban soccer mom.

4) The only way we can relieve traffic congestion on MoPac and 35 is to pull traffic off those roads. That means 130 and 183/71 have to be free.

I'm asking you all, even you Gerald, to do the right thing and tell TXDoT to come up with some better options. We already know what they are and it's time to get them moving.


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

Dan Grant invites you to a special screening...

Dan Grant to Host Special Advance Screening of "No End in Sight"

Thursday, August 30

7:00pm

Alamo Drafthouse Theater, South Lamar

1120 South Lamar

Congressional candidate Dan Grant will be speaking at a special advance screening of the Iraq war documentary "No End in Sight", on Thursday, August 30, at 7 PM, at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar location. He will be also be conducting a Q-and-A session after the screening.

Dan's experience on the ground in Iraq gives him a unique, insider's perspective on the war and its effects. While in Iraq, he was an advisor to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq for the Iraqi elections, and was a consultant to international military forces and local leaders in Baghdad, Basra, Fallujah, and Mosul.

No End In Sight is an award-winning, critically lauded documentary, and is the first film of its kind to chronicle the reasons behind Iraq’s descent into guerilla war, warlord rule, criminality and anarchy. Hailed as “without question the most important movie you are likely to see this year” by Time, the film is a jaw-dropping, insider’s tale of wholesale incompetence, recklessness and venality.

No End In Sight examines the manner in which the principal errors of U.S. policy – the use of insufficient troop levels, allowing the looting of Baghdad, the purging of professionals from the Iraqi government, and the disbanding of the Iraqi military – largely created the insurgency and chaos that engulf Iraq today. How did a group of men with little or no military experience, knowledge of the Arab world or personal experience in Iraq come to make such flagrantly debilitating decisions? The film dissects the people, issues and facts behind the Bush Administration’s decisions and their consequences on the ground to provide a powerful look into how arrogance and ignorance turned a military victory into a seemingly endless and deepening nightmare of a war.

Go to this link to purchase tickets online for the screening...


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

Noriega endorsed by some heavy hitters

OK, this impresses me...

(Houston, TX) — Texas Democratic icons Governor Dolph Briscoe, Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and State Senator Rodney Ellis, who briefly served as Lt. Governor as well, today joined Houston’s Paul Hobby in endorsing Rick Noriega as the next United States Senator from Texas.

Standing together at the George R. Brown Convention Center, where Noriega served as Incident Commander when the facility was turned into a shelter and emergency support network in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, these icons that represent over three decades of Texas leadership called for a restoration of forward looking leadership that responds to the needs of the people.

“What we have here today is more than a list of endorsements,” Noriega declared. "It is a history lesson that teaches us that Texas stands at its greatest when we plan for the future, bring people together, and hold our government accountable.”

Under the weather with a fever, Governor Dolph Briscoe, who occupied the Governor’s Mansion from 1973 – 1979, sent a written statement that paid tribute to Noriega’s service in the military and humanitarian leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. “These times call for a leader like Rick Noriega, a leader with character, a leader who understands Texans are not afraid of the future, and we’re not followers.”

State Senator Rodney Ellis recalled how Noriega has lived out the warrior’s ethos — leave no man behind — from the battlefield to the legislature and in the community. “In the legislature, Rick fought to all Texas children had health insurance. And here in this very building, the George R. Brown Convention Center, he proved that compassion is not a weakness, but part of the very fabric of who we are as Texans,” Ellis explained. “That’s the type of leadership we need in the United States Senate.”

Lt. Governor Bill Hobby, who served Texas from 1973 to 1991, spoke directly to Noriega’s appeal statewide, “It’s time for a US Senator who can bring Texans together,” Governor Hobby declared. “Rick Noriega earns respect for the strength of his convictions, for rejecting the politics of personal destruction, and for his courage to speak to a higher calling in all of us, “Hobby added.

Noriega openly questioned whether John Cornyn’s voting record reflects the values of ordinary Texans, noting that the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) rated Cornyn 85th out of 100 Senators in support for veterans and their families.

“The standard for leadership and service has been set by the gentlemen behind me; not by the man who occupies one of Texas’ two US Senate seats,” Noriega concluded.

Noriega promised that as his exploratory campaign continues to gain momentum, “Texans will get a chance to see the many faces and many perspectives that our campaign represents.”

Feel free to take a moment and drop some dough on Lt. Col. Noriega! Why wouldn't you want to support a guy who has the support of some of our oldest and most respected leaders... as well as many Texas Bloggers?

Posted by mcblogger at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Having fun with the Stonewall D's

I gotta hand it to the Dallas Delegation to the caucus. Y'all stood by your man on Saturday and it was clear you had a lot of respect for Shannon. What was also clear was that you were ready to put the organization behind the man.

That makes no sense.

Just to save you some curiosity, the Board of Texas Stonewall Democrats voted Saturday to send a letter to Shannon Bailey asking him to resign while his legal problems are ongoing. The Board did not follow up this action with a decision to remove him in 7 days should he refuse to resign. Basically, the board is now on record. The next step is Shannon's.

I gotta tell you, being in that room was tense. No one wanted to be there and everyone that was there to ask the board to remove him was pissed at Shannon for forcing them into that position. All summer, people have been asking Shannon to step down so as not to damage the organization or our position within the Texas Democratic Party. His steadfast refusal to acknowledge the political reality of his situation forced that meeting to happen.

It was not a mistake. We were not judging Shannon or his actions back in June and we know the legal system will work it's way to probably dismissing the charges against him. However, in the meantime, he's burning the credibility of the organization. And that can't be tolerated.


Posted by mcblogger at 09:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

FAST APPROACHING : DAY-O-MCBLOGGER

I'm turning 33. Yes, THIRTY THREE. Which, by the calculations of someone smart like Jessica Simpson, means I'm in my late 30's.

This year, Day-O-McBlogger falls on a Sunday. We'll be having drinks. Actually, that entire weekend is going to be filled with debauchery. Or I might sponsor a quilting bee. Which I know my housemate will love given her affinity for old ladies and quilts. And quilts made by old ladies.

Don't worry about it... you probably won't be invited, basically because you failed to get me a gift last year. So, I'm offering you the opportunity to buy me something this year. Who knows, it might even get you an invite to the 2008 festivities. It really depends on the gift. Here are some ideas...

  • A Moai from Easter Island. I know, I know... why would I want a giant stone head? To you, it's unimportant. What IS important is that I want one. If you must know, it's for a project.
  • The million round per minute gun. You know, for home defense.
  • A casino
  • A 3 ton wheel of Stilton
  • A device which will melt the croc's of anyone who comes within 10 feet of me wearing the ugly shoes. It should also cause a heart attack if the offender happens to come within 5 feet of me.
  • A video of Carrot Top being sodomized by a pony
  • A Nepalese baby, but only if Angelina Jolie doesn't have one yet
  • Mario Klintworth
  • But these are just suggestions... you get me what you feel like getting me, if anything. It's the thought that counts.

    Oh, and Talisker is fine, too.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 28, 2007

    You helped get us into this mess, cocksucker

    If you've ever wondered why people hate Ari Fleischer, here's the fucking reason...

    Douchebag, come to Texas sometime. I'd love to sit down with you and discuss all these weighty issues. I'd also like to take you out back and beat the holy fuck out of you. We're going to fix the mess you created in 2003, Ari, by bringing our troops the hell home and actually fighting a real war on terrorists since you and your President have failed to do so.

    Like with all Republican failures, it takes a Democrat to come along and fix it.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Economy : The Unthinkable

    The liquidity crises in the mortgage industry still has not abated, but it is slackening a bit. Here's the skinny:

  • Over the next two years, more than $2 Trillion in ARM's are going to reset. Most of these can be refinanced into fixed rate financing under Agency (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), or conventional conforming, guidelines. Most of the remainder can be refinanced into government insured (or guaranteed) programs, like FHA, USDA RD or VA.

  • The upside to this is that many people are going to find their mortgage payments going down. Which means, should the job market and wages remain stable, that consumers will have more disposable income with all other costs staying roughly the same. Any massive spikes in energy costs for example will, of course, suck up that money

  • The downside is that some will not be able to refinance. Those that can't afford the payments will default which will create a housing glut and depress values in many parts of the country. Most of this has already started and we should hit the worst of it around January, 2008. Keep in mind, nationally that means as many as 1 out of 300 homes will be in foreclosure. Thus, it's not enough to collapse the economy. It will be enough to create a recession.
  • All this is as things are now (how's that for bad writing). The nightmare scenario is that in the next 90 days the commercial paper market seizes up as the mortgage market has. If that happens, we're heading for another depression unless the Fed decides to liquefy the commercial paper market entirely. If that happens, you can expect the dollar to lose 30% of it's value vs. other world currencies.

    And a deep recession that won't be easy to recover from because it will have been caused by the very thing we're supposed to be able to depend on, the market. I guess no one ever explained to all those free market jackasses in the Republican party that sometimes markets break, mostly because they are made up of irrational humans.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    No bid contracts on the rise

    First rule of government spending under a Republican Administration : Why pay someone to do a job when you can hire a consultant at twice the price.

    Second rule : Don't bid the job out to multiple consultants, no-bid it, baby!

    And so, the Washington Post reports that more and more government contracts at being put out on a no-bid basis, creating an environment in which even the most ridiculously bad consultants can get hired and charge exorbitant fees. So much for fiscal conservatism from Republicans.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 27, 2007

    Afghan psychopaths go ballistic over "blasphemous" footballs

    You know, some days I feel sorry for people and other days I just wonder why we don't just get it over and drop the fucking Bomb.

    A demonstration has been held in south- east Afghanistan accusing US troops of insulting Islam after they distributed footballs bearing the name of Allah.

    The balls showed the Saudi Arabian flag which features the Koranic declaration of faith.

    The US military said the idea had been to give something for Afghan children to enjoy and they did not realise it would cause offence.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 08:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Dregs : TPA Round Up for 8/27

    It's time once again for the weekly Texas Progressive Alliance blog round-up. This week's round-up is brought to you by Vince from Capitol Annex.

    Getting this week's round-up off to a great start, we want to thank our friends over at the 50 State Blog Network for taking note of our round-up and mentioning it in their round-up.

    John at Bay Area Houston thinks it is time to drag Ari Fleisher out of town for using disabled vets in his pro-war commercials.

    After the space shuttle safely landed this week, Krazypuppy at Texas Kaos wonders "Who Does an Astronaut Have to Bleep to Get Some Attention From the Media?"

    At Bluedaze, TXsharon tell us that Barnett Shale drilling with it's insatiable thirst for fresh water is just another kind of blood for oil war. Barnett Shale Drilling: It's not sexy but Noriega for TX US Sen. is.

    Alexandra Pelosi screened her documentary "Friends of God" in Houston last Thursday, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has the report.

    WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the lawsuit filed against Round Rock Independent School District for allowing prayer at high school commencements in Graduation Prayer At Three RRISD High Schools Draws Lawsuit.

    Todd Hill at Burnt Orange Report talks impeachment. Funny thing is because independent Linda Curtis is working to "Impeach Perry".

    Stop Cornyn talks endorsements this week. Watts has picked up a few mayorial endorsements in the Valley and Lt. Col. Rick Noriega is getting the endorsement of some big statewide Democrats Monday. Our chances continue to look good in 2008.

    Steve Southwell at WhosPlayin.com finds himself agreeing with a Republican city councilman regarding the government's role in banning smoking in restaurants and bars.

    Vince at Capitol Annex continues his exploration of the last days of the 80th Texas Legislature and the events surrounding the resignations of the House Parliamentarians and uncovers a smoking gun--an opinion drafted by former Legislator and now-Parliamentarian Terry Keel days before he was appointed to the post.

    Muse muses about 8th graders--including her own--who are on the front lines of Texas' education accountability system.

    Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal asks some important questions concerning education and a forthcoming campaign for intelligent design in the classroom.

    Easter Lemming spots censorship and uncivil airwaves on Houston radio news. He relates that to the censored radio guest and himself become less conservative years ago when exposed to the Wall Street rape of employees in leveraged buyouts.

    McBlogger takes some time out of his far too busy schedule to bash all the immigrants in Austin.

    Half Empty writes about Rick Noriega's Enthusiastic Ovation at the SDEC quarterly meeting this past weekend.

    Off the Kuff asks how students can be expected to understand the debate over evolution and "intelligent design" when it's clear that neither SBOE members nor newspaper reporters really understand it.

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The Journal's really sliding downhill

    Apparently, the Journal has decided to throw in the towel altogether when it comes to journalistic integrity by letting shills write op/ed pieces. Said shills have, of course, questionable expertise in the subjects they write about. However, why should that stop them?

    Yeah, yeah... I'm a banker. What could I possibly know about healthcare? Quite a bit actually, from the standpoint of actually running a small business that provided healthcare to employees and from the public policy perspective as a taxpayer. That, and I'm about 10x's smarter than some idiot from the TPPF. Working for the TPPF means you're some combination of greedy and stupid. Why? Because if you weren't either of those things, you'd be working at the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

    Mary Stout is one of those people. Calling her a moron would be being gracious. Fucktard is more like it. Fucktard whore for the TPPF is even better.

    Mary's really full of ideological bullshit and rhetorical nonsense, the same rhetorical nonsense that allows Republicans to say

  • Tax cuts won't reduce revenue... they'll actually increase tax revenues!

  • Deficits don't matter

  • I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today
  • That last one was, of course, Wimpy from Popeye but you see the point. Anything that violates the neo-conservative worldview, no matter how much sense it might make, is automatically dismissed out of hand. Just take a look at CHIP.

    The conservatives would like you to believe it's a handout. What they really don't like about it is that government is better at running health insurance for hundreds of thousands of kids economically. Specifically, they don't like that this program has pulled some kids off private health care insurance... and saved the government and families millions. You and I both know that if CHIP were amended to allow people to choose from private insurance programs that government would pay for, even if such a program ended up costing three times as much as the government-run program, they'd be pleased as punch. Nevermind that it thoroughly screws over the taxpayer, which is why I find it impossible to believe anything that comes from these people.

    One of the reasons CHIP exists is because preventative care is LESS EXPENSIVE than emergency care which is invariably where those without insurance end up. Do you think your property taxes are high? Most of the reason is that hospitals have to treat everyone that comes in an ER. The indigent have their bills sent to the county and we end up paying for it through our property taxes. With the insurance and the preventative care, a condition which one may have is relatively inexpensive to either cure or treat. Without, it's extremely expensive because by the time it's bad enough to require a trip to the ER, it's automatically going to cost thousands.

    Basically, the neo-con view of this, advocated by Stout, is that it is better better to save $1 now by not providing cheap insurance and instead waiting to pay $4 down the road when the condition deteriorates to the point that it requires a hospital stay.

    That's some kind of logic, no?

    Now, don't get me wrong... I'm hardly a socialist. What I am is someone who can't stand waste and what neo-cons like Stout are advocating is just that, wasteful spending that will benefit large corporations at the expense of the taxpayer. Or, to put it more bluntly, it's corporate welfare, pure and simple.

    I do believe that there are some things the government is better at than private enterprise, and vice versa. Government is terrible at deciding how much soap to make and how many TV's need to be in stores. Government is good at building roads and holding down healthcare costs. That's the real crux of this matter... for-profit private insurance companies are too damn expensive because of overhead. When their SG&A expenses begin to approach that of government run programs, then I'm all for handing them over to private companies. The reality is that they aren't even close. Private insurers are bloated with VERY well paid senior and middle management. So much so , in fact, that I refuse to invest in them because they do not use shareholder capital efficiently.

    Oh, to be sure there is waste in any enterprise, be it one run by government or by private interests. That's a given. However, I'm always going to opt for the one that costs me less as a taxpayer and that is clearly the government run program. Just look at Medicare/Medicaid, the government run health insurance program that has the lowest overhead in the country.

    As for Stout's anecdotal evidence about the very minor amount of cheating in the program, I'd actually like to see some hard data on that. Further, I would like to see people who are abusing the system kicked out of it. Which acknowledges another reality... people cheat. It's what is done to stop them that matters. As for the folks who can afford, with sacrifice, far more expensive private insurance, I guess it's never occurred to Stout that they can either pay for that, or they can pay the electric bill which has been driven up dramatically by another TPPF pet project called 'utility deregulation' which was supposed to save consumers billions but has ended up COSTING much more than the old regulated system. Just another of their ridiculous and ill conceived policy failures. Taxpayers in this state can not afford more market based thinking from the TPPF.

    The bottom line is that this program works and is of economic benefit to taxpayers. However, the sense that this makes from a business perspective is just as important as the fact that it's the right damn thing to do for the children of the working poor in this country.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    So long, asshole

    el Presidente continues to clean house during August, when he thinks no one will see. Honestly, I'm just glad the brain dead, politically inept and ethically challenged son of a bitch is gone.

    Seriously, never in this country's history has one man been so dedicated to destroying the rule of law and riding rough shod over the Constitution. His term of office has been a black mark on our history and embarrassed every Texan. Try going back to law school, Albert, and concentrate on Constitutional law...

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 26, 2007

    Yikes!

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 06:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    For Shame, Ari...

    The Republicans are hell bent on pressing ahead with this 'stay the course/let the surge work' bullshit. So much so that they have created some of the most obscene commercials ever produced using wounded vets and the families of those we've lost.

    The common thread? We invaded Iraq because of terrorism. If we don't fight them there they will follow us here. We have to go on with the mission for the fallen. In one of the videos, a mother of a soldier killed in Iraq is used for propaganda purposes, ostensibly with her agreement.

    Mrs. Strong, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you actually believe what you're saying. Let me clue you in on something you're obviously not ready to face... Your son, like many others, died for a lie. Yes, he did free Iraq from Saddam Hussein. However, it wasn't to keep WMD's from being used against the US. It wasn't to take out those who perpetrated 9/11. It was the work of people, drunk on their ideology, who sought to remake the world as they saw fit using your son and many other brave American soldiers. That's what really happened. Our President lied to us. His advisors deliberately engineered evidence and outright lied about the threat posed by Iraq. The invasion was unnecessary. And the man responsible for 9/11 is still at large.

    Finally, Mrs. Strong, how many more have to die before you'll let your son go? How many more mothers have to bury their sons before you'll say enough is enough? Before you and others will admit that we don't belong in the middle of a civil war? You son and millions of men and women he served with have done their duty to their country. It's our duty to them, as civilians, to elect men and women who will put an end to this and bring them home.

    And for you, the shameless Mr. Fleischer, may you be reviled the world over as a shill par excellence. As someone who'd sell his own mother to make a buck. Enjoy your irrelevance.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 25, 2007

    Attention Whores in the News

    Living saint Cindy Sheehan joined Party of Slavery member Dennis Kucinich in a march to the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. "President" Bush, of course, was at his own pigfarm near Crawford, Texas, but the weather is so much nicer in Maine this time of year.

    The actual Bush-in-residence at Kennebunkport, former President George Herbert Walker Mifflin Stanley Porter Davis Bush, greeted the peaceniks with a request that they get the hell off of his lawn.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 05:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    When celebrities refuse to die

    Sometimes it's too easy...

    Apparently, Ted Nugent, at a recent concert, boldly told the audience of meatheads there to see him perform (wanna bet there was an overabundance of garbage men and relatively few doctors?) that Obama and Hillary should suck on his machine guns. He did this, of course, because sadly Ted lost his penis while he was doing a brief stint in gay porn in the early 90's. It was a truly tragi-comic rimming accident that only could have happened to the Nuge. Not having a penis, he invests his machine guns with his manhood. Thus, the comment. Don't feel too bad... it wasn't much of a loss if you know what I mean (girls talk, Ted).

    Of course, why on earth he'd want head from Obama and Hillary remains a mystery. I wouldn't let either of them near my cock. I would, however, fuck the shit out of Mitt Romney.

    What? Ever donkey punch someone? Trust me, it's not something you do to someone you really want to emotionally 'connect'.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Economy : Good news for housing

    Dodd is planning on bringing up statutory expansion of FHA (loan limits and loan to value ratios, aka, LTV's) in September when Congress returns. Depending on how fast this is implemented, this could be what ends up saving the US from a very deep recession.

    The House Financial Services Committee in June passed a bill that would give the FHA more latitude. Senate Banking Committee chairman and presidential candidate Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) canceled the scheduled markup of a related bill but said this week that he hopes to bring it up after the Senate returns in September.

    In a statement issued by his office yesterday, Dodd said he is working with committee members "to find common ground on this important issue."

    One question to be resolved is whether the FHA should be given flexibility to insure loans without a down payment.

    This, along with expansion of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are essential steps in shoring up the housing sector and maintaining homeownership in the US. Given that wage and job growth are anemic, it's not like US homeowners can bail themselves out. They've also been piling on debt (and so have the Brits, apparently) mostly so they can afford to maintain their lifestyles without increases in wages.

    This problem has been cooking since the 1970's. Why? Because real wages have declined since around that time. Which makes me want to reiterate why increasing the minimum wage is a good idea and non-inflationary. Simply, people get accustomed to spending a certain amount of money and once they've achieved what they perceive to be an adequate lifestyle, they tend to save any excess income. Over the last six years, it's been impossible to generate income over and above basic living. In some cases, basic living expenses for many aren't covered by wages.

    So what's a way to test this theory? Just look at back history. The last time the US had a good savings rate was the post-World War II boom. While we don't need another war like that, we do need return to some of the economic and fiscal policies of the time. Let's start with higher real wages, higher corporate taxes and high marginal tax rates.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 24, 2007

    Cocaine use falls in FL, symptom of the bad economy

    Ah, Florida... home of humidity, massive mosquitoes, the Shuttle and Disneyworld. Also home to sky-high cocaine use. At least, it used to be...

    Cocaine use in South Florida's workforce has experienced a sharp decline this year compared to 2006, mirroring a national trend that shows the drug's use at a 10-year low, a leading U.S. testing firm reports.

    ''The Miami-Fort Lauderdale area saw a dramatic decline of approximately 18.1 percent in cocaine positivity rates among workers,'' said Barry Sample, the director of science and technology for employee testing at Quest Diagnostics. ``This drop may suggest that employees in the area either are choosing not to use cocaine or lack access to the drug.''

    Nationwide, there was a 16 percent drop in positive workplace drug tests for cocaine in the first six months of the year, Quest announced Thursday.

    The Lyndhurst, N.J.,-based company compiled its report on 4.4 million drug tests conducted from January through June. The nationwide rate -- about one test in every 172 was positive for cocaine -- is the lowest in the 10 years since Quest began reporting cocaine in its testing index, a widely used benchmark.

    Yeah, had to see this coming... people spend less on drugs when they can't make their house payments and their income has failed to go up. Year after year. Finally, it's success in the war on drugs! Make people poor and they can't afford them!

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Ratcliffe... let me buy you a clue...

    R.G. Ratcliffe had an interesting piece in the Chron assaulting the conspiracy theories that purport to reveal the existence of plans to create a North American Union. He spends an inordinate amount of time talking about the conspiracies and gathering quotes from 39%'s Spokeskitty, Robert Black. What he should have been doing was researching the ports now under construction on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Or the roads leading from them and connecting them to the border with Texas near Laredo and the future southern terminus of 39%'s TTC-35.

    He might have also spent some time looking into the intermodal facilities planned for Dallas and Kansas City. He might have learned that while the NAU may be a long way off, the infrastructure is already being built for it. That's the real story that R.G. missed while searching for conspiracy theory comedy.

    Now, I'm all for infrastructure and commerce. I'm not for no custom checks from the Mexican Pacific Coast all the way up to KC.

    Seriously, R.G., let me buy you a drink at LaLa's sometime and fill you in on what you're missing. We can get the folks at Eye on Williamson to join us. They certainly get it.

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

    Calling Bullshit : For 100 people you couldn't get a warrant?

    McConnell admits that less than 100 people in the US are being wiretapped, as well as a few thousand overseas, because of terrorism related investigations.

    So, the question becomes, why did we have to gut the Fourth Amendment? It seems pretty clear than the courts are more than capable of handling warrants.

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

    Immigrant bashing

    I made it from Mopac and CapTex to Mesa and Steck today in 35 minutes. Not particularly impressive unless you realize that I started the journey at 5:16.

    I know, I know... you want the details. You're not getting them. I will, however, be signing autographs later. Who wouldn't want the autograph of the FASTEST HUMAN ALIVE?

    All this driving made me realize that Austin has a massive immigration problem and we have to fix it. All these awful foreigners driving badly on our streets and freeways are creating massive problems for all of us who want to maintain the quality of life that makes Austin special. That means we need immigration restrictions on these people. No, I'm not talking about those from south of the border. I like them. They usually drive OK and are generally pretty cool. They fit right in. It's the people from the rest of the US that piss me off.

    We have to make sure that people immigrating from another part of the US understand how Austin works. Either that or we need to adopt a nativist attitude and force them to move back from where they came. I don't want anyone to have to suffer the way I did trying to catch the flyway to MoPac from 183 and being cut off by some dick in a green pick up with South Carolina plates.

    It's not just the traffic, it's the jobs. Yes, even now, people from California or some place called 'Iowa' are stealing jobs that rightfully belong to neckbeards wearing Birks who have a cool dump in 78704. Now that I mention it, are there any cool dumps in 78704 or have they all been converted to fab new palaces for the recent arrivals who want travertine and granite covering every surface and demand exotic things like central air and heat? Do I really NEED another neighbor from Colorado? We've already lost Hyde Park to a non-Austinite ghetto. Must we lose Great Hills? Allandale? Northwest Hills? Westgate? Tarrytown?

    The madness has to stop. Our infrastructure can't afford these newcomers and their bad driving. Our prosperity depends on Austinites being able to obtain jobs far outside their realm of competence and for which they will always be late and leave early. How the hell is a recent grad supposed to compete against some starving immigrant from Ohio who shows up to work early and leaves late?

    And no, I don't want to discuss how hot it is. Look at a map. It's Texas. It's August. Go back to Maine if you're that miserable. We'll all be better off without your Subaru with the Kucinich stickers on MoPac.


    Posted by mcblogger at 08:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 23, 2007

    Even now the poor decisions continue...

    Via Forbes comes word that el Presidente has decided to veto a gas tax increase to repair the crumbling infrastructure in America. Why?

    Bush said in a White House press conference that he would prefer that members of Congress better prioritize how current tax revenues are spent before raising taxes. He said currently, members of Congress use revenue for their own personal priorities first, then distribute funds for infrastructure improvements.

    Yeah, Ted Stevens 'bridge to nowhere' was a really shitty project. Remind me which party he belongs to, Mr. President?

    OK, so you're the President and you're opposed to any tax increases that might actually accomplish something good for the country and boost the economy (seriously, look at the numbers... tax increases used to finance public works have a pretty good record of paying more than they cost in terms of economic activity). What ARE you for?

    President Bush said yesterday that he is considering a fresh plan to cut tax rates for U.S. corporations to make them more competitive around the world, an initiative that could further inflame a battle with the Democratic Congress over spending and taxes and help define the remainder of his tenure.

    More competitive? They already pay less in taxes here in the US than most of their competitors, not to mention the fact that cutting corporate taxes will exacerbate the hole in the budget that Republicanomics has already created. Corporations already pay less than 7% of the taxes in the US. Now the President wants to unload MORE of their responsibilities onto the middle class?

    Think I'm lying? Check out Daimler Benz's operations in Germany. Or Lever's in Britain. They pay WAY more in taxes than US companies and they are WAY more successful. People actually want a Mercedes, meanwhile GM can't make a decent car to save it's life.

    The President, again, took Congress to task for spending while not mentioning that more of the discretionary budget under Democrats is going to necessary programs, a dramatic change from all the crap the Republicans spent money on. If only there were someone to offer a counterpoint...

    "After six years of reckless spending in Washington, President Bush is the last person who should brag about fiscal responsibility," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). She accused the president of misrepresenting Democratic spending plans, which she said come in lower than his and have received some Republican support. And she said Bush wants "to spend $2,800 each second . . . to keep our troops in the middle of a civil war in Iraq."

    Thanks for that, Nancy. It's pretty clear to all of us out here in the real world that Bush knows as much about rational spending and fiscal responsibility as he does about winning a war on terror.

    I'll make you a deal, Mr. President... I'm all for cutting corporate taxes by 5% if we can eliminate all loopholes. Oh, and increase the capital gains tax rate to 30% for gains made with less than two years in an investment. It'll bring money into the government, boost corporate profitability because of decreased accounting overhead and provide stability in the markets because traders will be less likely to churn stocks to eke out a few percentage points.

    Wait. That'll never happen. It makes too much sense.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Tolls : A modest proposal that does not involve Carona gorging on Children

    The Statesman now thinks it's a good idea. At the federal level and we can only assume at the state level as well. Peter Stern loves it. So does Eye on Williamson.

    So, one has to wonder, why the hell the gas tax hasn't been indexed?

    There is a really simple explanation... it's a lack of courage and an inability to do the right thing, especially when it's most important. Save CHIP? Well, sort of. Save our infrastructure so that the economy can continue to grow? Sadly, no. Instead, Republicans in executive office and the Lege hide behind the non-existent 'need' for privatization and tolling. Which is why you're going to see so many Republican members of the Lege out of office next year.

    Think about that fatass Carona in Dallas. Go on, think about his twinkie-cream filled ass. Right now there are four Democrats thinking about getting in the race. Three of them actually look human, as opposed to Carona who looks like the human equivalent of a jelly doughnut.

    One of them will beat him in the general and there will be a new Senator from Dallas County. Which is my affectionate way of letting all of you know, Republicans and Democrats alike (but mostly you stupid, obstinate, inactive Republicans), that you're all expendable. And you're all threatened.

    You need to be worried because the groups and individuals aligning against you have money. And feet on the street. Republicans have been able to get away with the toll road bullshit because the industry groups that stand to benefit from them have been the only voices running PR. That's about to change.

    I gotta tell you, I'm pleased as punch. I love a good, bloody fight. Speaking of a fight, Pink Dome has some information up on the Democrat who is going to fuck Time Machine Krusee up. One has to wonder why Seabiscuit hasn't resigned yet. It almost makes me think he's kinda gutsy.

    Almost.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Dregs : Allstate gets slapped down; War Vet gets used and a new blog

  • EOW has the details on the insurance commission's (which has apparently grown balls) slap down of Allstate's rate hike...

    Allstate’s increase in home insurance rates was abruptly canceled by state Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin on Tuesday, just one day after the company announced it was raising them to cover potential increases in property losses.

    Besides rejecting the insurer’s proposed 5.9 percent statewide rate hike, the commissioner also slapped the company with a related order that blocks Allstate from raising premiums without prior approval from the Texas Department of Insurance. Only one other company – State Farm – is under such state supervision of its rates.

    Mr. Geeslin said he had no choice but to act quickly since Allstate announced Monday that it would immediately increase the cost of its homeowner policies as they came up for renewal.

    The reality is that Texans, compared to the rest of the nation, pay exorbitant rates while receiving less coverage. Of course, Allstate will threaten to leave... and the state should call their bluff and raise them self-insurance. Sorry, but if private companies can't get the job done better than the government, then why the hell do they even exist.

    Try again, Allstate

  • From Dungeon Diary comes word that our friend Ari Fleischer, formerly the President's shill, has decided to use a wounded Iraq Vet to promote a more positive attitude about the war. The only problem is the douchebag can't remember the guy's name.

    “What bothered me the most is that Ari Fleischer didn’t even know the guy’s name.” said Rieckhoff. “He’s willing to run a multi-million dollar campaign, utilizing the personal story of a soldier, and he couldn’t tell you on national TV what that soldier’s name is.”

    Nice, Ari.

  • Finally, there is a new website up documenting just how bad Republicans have been for Texas. Check it out to see if your state rep is among the worst

  • Posted by mcblogger at 01:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 22, 2007

    I need this for hunting season...

    This is MetalStorm, a new projectile weapon system that's solid state and capable of firing one million rounds per minute.

    With Duck season fast approaching, as well as my birthday, I think this would make the perfect gift. For you to give to me.

    (via DangerRoom)

    Posted by mcblogger at 06:08 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    Edwards having trouble in Iowa

    The WaPo has an article up about younger voters in Iowa turning to Clinton, Obama or even Guiliani instead of Edwards.

    But Ocheskey, 28, is no longer enthralled with the candidate she supported last time: former senator John Edwards of North Carolina.

    Instead, she's thrown him over for Sen. Barack Obama. "I decided right at the beginning of the campaign to support Barack Obama," said Ocheskey, a teacher in Des Moines.

    Under a thin layer of smoke that hung at the diner ceiling as dishes clanked and her friends fell quiet to listen to the political conversation, Ocheskey poured out the reasons for her conversion, all of them pertaining to what she described as Obama's strengths and fresh appeal rather than Edwards's weaknesses.

    This is bad news for Edwards who has held a lead in Iowa until recently. Now, according to multiple polls, the top three Democratic candidates are roughly polling equally, leaving virtually nothing for the second tier. Which I AM happy about because it's time for some of the lame-o's to go away.

    You probably noticed I mentioned Guiliani... Here's the quote...

    Now, (Wendy) Daniel said she is considering Obama, or maybe even former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the current Republican front-runner in national polls. "But if Hillary gets up there, I won't vote for her," she said emphatically. "I don't like her 'stand-by-your-man kind of girl who rides on her husband's coattails just to become president' thing. Maybe if she would have gotten a divorce and done everything for herself I would have thought about it."

    So you won't vote for someone who has worked hard to make her marriage work but you'll support a guy who divorced and abandoned his kids? You've got issues, Wendy.

    I still like Edwards despite his retarded views on what needs to be done to fix the lending industry. Mostly because of all the leading D candidates, his ideas aren't as terrible. These morons never thought of actually talking to someone in the industry?

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Economy : The Hedgies bitch and moan about taxes

    Lightseeker at Feet To Fire has a great post up about all the private equity and hedge fund fucko's who are bitching about finally having to pay regular income taxes on their income. See how that's unfair and all?

    Yeah, neither do I. Here's their reasoning...

    Tax-break supporters say fund managers deserve the low capital-gains rate because they contribute their ideas to the investment, and those ideas represent "sweat equity." Reformers say lots of people have ideas, such as chefs and scientists, but they still have to pay full taxes on their incomes.

    "There will be deals that don't get done. There will be entrepreneurs that won't get funded and turnarounds that won't get undertaken," said Rosenblum, who also is chairman of the Private Equity Council, an industry group.

    Yeah, Rosenblum, I'm gonna call bullshit right about here. Fact is, 'sweat equity' is nothing more than a nice way of saying 'I have no skin in the game and I still want to get paid'. The reality is, you guys exist ONLY because of imbalances in asset valuation (occasionally the market goes crazy and prices good assets as if they were going out of business... it's called 'panic') and super cheap money. There isn't anything innovative about it. It's the corporate equivalent of flipping a house. You go in, you make some improvements, tighten the balance sheet, and sell it all back to the public when the market calms down. Just as that type of investing is causing a great deal of problems in the housing industry, it will eventually cause problems in the entire economy. That's your contribution to the economy. Wow. We're so blessed to have you.

    Some in PE, namely the VC's who actually DO create wealth, aren't sold on the ideas of the company flippers.

    Denver venture capitalist William Stanfill disputed this argument, saying his colleagues have displayed a "chicken little" mentality. He noted venture capitalists are paid very well compared with other industries.

    It makes little sense to tax teachers, CEOs or surgeons at a higher rate than private equity executives, Stanford law professor Joseph Bankman said.

    No, it doesn't make sense. Match point to the guy from Stanford.

    All this comes at a time when people are starting to look closely at the third world-like income disparity that has permeated the US since Bush took office (we talked about this last week). Of course, not taxing PE and Hedge fund managers exacerbates this problem. Until we see growth on the lower end of the wage scale, the reality is that economy will NOT grow. It'll contract. It's happened before.

    We called it the Great Depression then.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Attorney General Greg Abbott loses Iraqi munitions

    Not really... the munitions are lost but we don't really know who lost them. So naturally we assumed it was Attorney General Greg Abbott who's all the time losing things. However, we think it might just be the Pentagon. From Reuters (via Somervell County Salon)

    The Pentagon cannot account for 190,000 AK-47 rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, or about half the weapons earmarked for soldiers and police, according to a government report.

    The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, said in a July 31 report to lawmakers that the Defense Department also cannot account for 135,000 items of body armor and 115,000 helmets reported to be issued to Iraqi forces as of September 22, 2005.

    The GAO said the Pentagon concurred with its findings and has begun a review to ensure full accountability for the program to train and equip Iraqi forces.

    "However, our review of the 2007 property books found continuing problems with missing and incomplete records," the GAO report said.

    No joke, I just want to know how y'all can be such colossal FUCKUPS?!?!?! FedEx and UPS manage to keep track of and move tons of shit all over the world daily, yet you people can't keep up with guns and body armor?

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

    August 21, 2007

    Jokes of My Father's : He's still on that shitty list

    My dad has somehow made it on a stupid ass political joke list. It's the one where he's sent 'great' jokes about Hillary, Ted Kennedy and Osama (stop me if you've heard this one before... they're on a boat...). I think every middle aged white guy in East Texas is on this list. The jokes are lame and most of the time I make the effort to let my dad know that while I applaud his efforts to make me laugh/piss me off, it would be better if the emails were actually funny/incendiary. They're mostly pretty lame, kinda like Bob Dole.

    An elderly man suffered a massive heart attack and his family drove

    wildly to get him to the emergency room.

    After what seemed like a very long wait, the E.R.

    Doctor appeared, wearing his scrubs and a long face.

    Sadly, he said, "I'm afraid he is brain-dead, but his heart is still beating."

    "Oh, dear God," cried his wife, her hands clasped against her cheeks

    with shock! "We've never had a Democrat in the family!"

    I copied it back to him with DEMOCRAT changed to REPUBLICAN. Feel free to do that as well. I'm sure you have a father or mother who would LOVE this. Because it's riotously funny and all.

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

    Oh, George... you just can't help beating up on the poor...

    The WaPo has the deets on the new administrative rules promulgated by the Administration to govern States' rollout of the child insurance program known as SCHIP. Here's a quote...

    Cindy Mann, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, said they "would effectively foreclose the opportunity for states to cover children in families with incomes of about $40,000 to $50,000 a year, depending on the size of family."

    This makes total sense because a family of four living on $40-50m/ year is rich, right? Always nice to see the President playing 'gotcha last' with the lives of children.

    Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said if the president were serious about enrolling the lowest-income children, the administration would allow states to sign up youngsters for SCHIP when they qualify for school-lunch and other federal programs.

    "States want to get these kids enrolled, and they will get them enrolled," said Emanuel, who helped create the program as a staff member in the Clinton administration. "I think states will see the letter for what it is, and that's a political ploy by the president. This is a political attempt by the administration to try to intimidate states."

    Rewrite the law, Rahm. Give the Administration ZERO flexibility on this and get these kids insured. The $1 we spend today insuring kids saves us $4 down the road. It's an excellent investment in the future of this country.

    It's also the right thing to do.

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

    Dregs : TPA Round Up

    Here is your Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up for the week of August 20, 2007. This week's installment is brought to you Vince from Capitol Annex. Vince deserves mad props for taking this on!

    Krazypuppy at Texas Kaos keeps track of What
    You Will Not Find at Laura Bush's Library
    .

    TXSharon at BlueDaze asks, "Would you make Osama Bin Ladin director of Homeland Security?" If the answer is no, read about
    who wants to protect our water in Barnett Shale: Devon wants to conserve our water? Like hell!

    Hal at Half Empty sees
    vultures flocking to pick over the bones of Tom DeLay's old seat.

    Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal exposes the hypocrisy of chickenhawk Republicans taking shots at Rick Noriega.

    Vince at Capitol Annex tells us about the
    coming storm surrounding implementation of religious viewpoint "anti-discrimination" policies
    in Texas schools to comply with a bill recently passed by the Texas Legislature.

    WCNews at Eye On Williamson points out the hypocrisy in sentencing in recent child molestation cases in Williamson County.

    PDidde at Brains and Eggs fries up a double order of e-Slate voting woes: an advance of the meeting over security issues with Houston Mayor Bill White and the Harris County (Republican) clerk; and the disappointing results of that meeting,including the news that the TDP lawsuit over "emphasis voting" was dismissed.

    Captain Kroc at McBlogger suggests the incumbent
    in the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector race is using a page or two from Turd Blossom's playbook
    .

    Boadicea at StopCornyn tells us about John Cornyn's Badge
    Of Fiscal Irresponsibility
    .

    CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme exposes another Republican minority district suppression scam - using immigration raids to minimize population counts for the 2010 census.

    Kuff at Off theKuff asks "How many felonies could you commit with
    an oyster
    ?"

    Glenn Smith at Burnt Orange Report gives a "political type's" perspective on the media's fascination with Karl Rove.

    The TRCC. The most expensive worthless Commission in Texas. At least according to John Coby at Bay Area Houston.

    Also, don't forget to check out these other great Texas Progressive Alliance blogs:
    People's Republic of Seabrook,
    Three Wise Men,
    Musings,
    Bay Area Houston,
    In The Pink Texas,
    Who's Playin?,
    Feet To The Fire,
    Easter Lemming Liberal News,
    Winding Road In Urban Area,
    Common Sense,
    B & B ,
    The Agonist,
    Texas Truth Serum.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Tina Fish with the stupid...

    Tina Fish, the Chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party, decided to attack Democratic Senatorial Candidate Mikal Watts. Now, you all know I'm for Noriega, mostly because he's a real man and I think he'll contrast nicely to Cornyn who is a little undead girl.

    Seriously, wouldn't you LOVE to see Cornyn in a cage match? With Zombie George Burns who would totally kick his ass? Ahhh, good times.

    But back to Tina Fish. She decided to waste her time playing in the Democratic Primary instead of worrying about her very real and pressing fundraising problems (that's the rumor making the rounds here in Austin) by attacking Watts for being a trial lawyer. As if that was a big secret.

    Now, I'm a banker. You wouldn't think I'd like trial lawyers, but I do (except when they get involved in politics beyond fundraising... they're bad at everything but). They serve an essential function in a capitalist economy with a absentee government... putting the brakes on some of the more outrageous abuses of consumers by corporations. Tina Fish of course, thinks corporations can do no wrong. Tell that to the people who lost pets because of tainted dog food, Tina. Food that the corporation that made it KNEW was bad.

    Do trial lawyers go too far? Sure, some... but on balance they, like most corporations, actually do a good job for their clients and customers. Of course, Tina Fish would rather focus on the negatives...

    Watts sued one of the world's largest automakers for millions of dollars, claiming that its product had caused serious injuries to occupants of the vehicle.

    Of course, what Tina Fish doesn't mention is that the folks in question were driving on some of those Firestone tires that had a nasty habit of disintegrating that Ford was all the time putting on Explorers. She did take the time to mention that the folks had ingested 'drugs' of some sort, as if that has anything to do with a badly manufactured tire or an automaker's decision to use those defective tires.

    What is it about Republicans that makes them hate trial lawyers until a tree falls on them and an insurance company won't give them the compensation they feel they deserve?

    Tell you what, Tina Fish...You worry about fixing your house (seriously, you've presided over the rapid decline of the Republican Party in Texas. You should worry about how YOU look as an ineffectual leader) and leave the Democratic Primary to Democrats. That way you'll at least have a fighting chance when next April rolls around and we're on your sorry ass.

    Oh, and do something about those horse teeth, you pedestrian slob.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Go forth and bring us bus service

    Allow me to preface this by saying I, of all people, am not so much for the bus. However, I'm asking for one. One particular bus that can mean so much to the community. I'm asking for a broader Austin area 'party bus'. Like the one that UT kids get. So I don't have to sell a kidney for cab fare.

    The reality is that every weekend, around 2am - 4am, the traffic is pretty heavy on MoPac and 35. It's not people working the graveyard shift, it's drunks. I would say like me, but I take cabs. At $30 a pop, plus tip. Sure, I can afford it but it pisses me off every time. Especially when all they need to do is charge $10 for a ride each way on a bus.

    What say you, CapMetro? It'll be your only service that actually MAKES MONEY as well as the one that provides one hell of a community service. By keeping people from getting into tragic accidents...

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

    If James Bond was a hobo

    ...this is what British Intelligence would be like.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 20, 2007

    These are your reasons?

    Watts is going around listing the reasons HE should the Democratic nominee...

    1. He (Mikal) has already put forward incredible effort through a constant travel and fundraising schedule, and will continue to do so.
    2. He can respond fast and well to the Karl Rove attack machine that will be coming with Cornyn’s campaign.
    3. He will compete and win in ALL areas of Texas, not just the historically Democratic areas.

    Let's do the point by point, shall we?

    1. You don't get bonus points for doing what every candidate does, which is traveling all over the state. If that were a significant voting issue we'd have AG Van Os and Ag Commissioner Gilbert because those guys busted ass traveling in 2006. Regardless, Noriega has been booking a lot of miles as well. It's not like this is something exclusive to Watts.

    2. Best equipped to respond to Rovian attacks? Hell, Watts thinks OUR criticism is mean. And we're pulling punches. Watts, through surrogates, is already whining about bloggers calling out some of his obvious flaws. If you can't handle us, do you really expect to be able to handle Rove? Noriega's already got a seasoned messaging team and they ARE ready for primetime.

    3 Any Democrat will compete in ALL areas of Texas. Why? Because people are pissed as hell at Republican incompetence and our rubber stamp Senator. Cornyn is going to have problems fundraising, not to mention getting people to blockwalk for him. Any Democrat can take advantage of that.

    What Watts leaves unsaid is that he enjoys none of Noriega's advantages (legislative experience, military experience, etc.). Its on those advantages Texas Democrats should be focusing, not on fundraising. Don't get me wrong, money is important, but over 7-8 million and things get lost in the shuffle. Noriega can raise that... maybe not as easily as Watts, but an important thing to remember is that should he be the nominee and turn on his internal money spigot, he unleashes the caps on Cornyn's fundraising. Noriega won't have that problem.

    One last thing... Noriega is going to have an easy time fundraising from the business community who are increasingly sick of Cornyn. That's like a one-two punch to the Republicans and an important thing to consider if money is your focus. Don't laugh... the RPT is already having problems raising money from traditional business sources and that's not going to stop anytime soon.

    When was the last time you heard of business in Texas willingly giving much money to a trial lawyer?

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Coming soon : Hoverboards

    Think skateboards are cool but you really want the next best thing? Think that Segway's are lame? Do you remember those badass hoverboard's from Back to the Future 2? So do the folks at Gizmodo who have the skinny on the start of the art in really cool personal transportation devices.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Camping... 2007

    (rec'd via email)

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    It's like 90 degrees... you gotta bring an AC? Maybe you should rethink the whole camping thing, or at least the time of year when you do it.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 19, 2007

    Apres Nelda, Le Deluge?

    Who would have guessed that a race for Tax Assessor-Collector could turn so nasty so quickly? And who would have imagined that in a race between Nelda Wells-Spears and Glen Maxey it would be Nelda flinging most all the poo so far?

    Of course, Wells-Spears has so far seemed above the fray, presumably spending her time going to church, visiting her grandchildren, and of course going to work every single day while sending her flying monkeys out to spread the slime. And slime it is. Why, to hear them tell it, if Maxey is elected taxes will cease to be collected, people will fall dead in the streets and civilization itself will be at risk. Who knows, even cats and dogs may start living together.

    The latest flying monkey is none other than (Hayes County resident) Charles Soechting, who was head of the Texas Democratic Party when the brilliant decision was made to not bother recruiting any credible statewide candidates for the 2006 elections. He resigned as chair before the end of his term, handing over power to Boyd Richie in a backroom deal. Richie of course continued the strategy of pretending there was no statewide ticket, resulting in a sweep for Governor 39% and the rest of his minions on the same day republicans in the other forty-nine states of the Federal Union got their asses whipped. Soechting now has the unbelieveable gall to write a letter on Nelda's stationary:

    Unfortunately, Glen Maxey says he's planning to run against Nelda in the primary next March. So now the Republicans are actively recruiting a candidate of their own in case Glenn (sic) wins our party's nomination. They are raising money and getting ready to turn what shouldn't even have been a race into an expensive campaign. The last thing they want is a partisan political consultant in charge of the county's voter rolls.

    That's a pretty impressive paragraph there, isn't it? Soechting manages to play both the "Partisan" card and the "Political consultant" card while insinuating that somehow or other Maxey can't be trusted. Nice work for a carpetbagger.

    Well, Chuck, here's what I have to say to you. Let's leave the Swiftboating to the Republicans, m'kay? And, rather than being frightened that the GOPers may be recruiting some sadsack candidate of their own, we Travis County Democrats feel like Colonel Sanders did while "recruiting" a chicken.

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

    Reason Number 998 why I love Kuffner

    Occasionally, if something strikes me as appropriate, I've been known to quote lines from movies. From time to time, when I'm out with Sister Ruth and Mayor McSleaze, I might even throw out something from one of my favorite comedies, Better Off Dead.I come from a place that assumes people I like/fear have seen some of the same things I have, so when I do this we share a laugh. Or at least I do which is all that really matters, especially if those I'm with at least nod and smile.

    Which the Mayor and Sister Ruth don't. Because THEY'VE NEVER SEEN THE MOVIE. Which, in the context of pop culture, is a bit like being unfamiliar with Citizen Kane. Or Gone With The Wind. I've gone so far as to call them culturally retarded and admonished them to rush off to the nearest Blockbuster to rent the movie. Which they've yet to do.

    Kuffner, on the other hand, HAS seen it. And that is why he will forever be one of the coolest person in the blogosphere.

    Gee, I'm really sorry your mom blew up, Ricky, guess she won't be able to eat any spicy foods for awhile.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 18, 2007

    McSleaze for TDP Chair!

    Uhm... yeah... we're still doing this thing! We're going to ride it this motherfucker straight into the ground!

    The Mayor has released his official campaign slogan:

    What's the worst that could


    happen?



    Needless to say, we're all REALLY excited here about the positive message of McSleaze's campaign. And the fact that he has a TON of money (literally, 2,000 lbs of $100 bills... just don't ask him where he got it!) that he's already committed to the TDP should he win.

    Of course, if he doesn't win... well, we'd rather not think about that. We heard about a small island that was somewhere in the Pacific that he offered to buy. Note that I refer to this island in the past tense.


    Posted by mcblogger at 10:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 17, 2007

    Are you a puma?

    I got this from Urban Dictionary the other day...

    PUMA - An attractive woman in her late 20s or early 30s. She is a pre-cougar/urban cougar.

    Recently, the McBlogger staff and I were dining out while discussing the issues of the day (or, if you prefer, binge drinking while talking smack) and the word 'Cougar' popped up. We decided that Boob's is a cougar and Sister Ruth is not (it's because she's dowdy). I have since wondered exactly how to classify my sister, Barfly. I now know.

    Barfly is a puma. If you're a guy, see her looking at you and you wonder if you're man enough to handle her, you aren't. Trust me on this.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    GM wising up?

    Apparently, the idiots from Detriot are finally getting serious about electric cars...

    According to this here self-produced news segment straight from the phallic Detroit tower of power that is the Renaissance Center, the General is really serious about testing the Chevy Volt electric car. And if they're serious about showing us how serious they are about testing the Volt and the E-Flex system, then maybe that means they're serious about building it too. Right? Well -- In addition to the knowledge the big automaker from 'merica is now working with their vendor A123 systems on testing Li-Ion battery systems we now know thanks to GM CEO Rick Wagoner, that yes, electric vehicles really are driven by electricity.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    FED cuts, stability ensues...

    The Federal Reserve today made an emergency policy change to reduce the discount rate by 50 bps. This is not as substantial as it seems, since the discount rate the rate that the Fed charges banks with performing assets who are facing margin calls. Had this been the funds rate, you'd see about 600 points on the Dow. The difference? The funds rate is that the rate set by the fed which banks can charge each other to maintain liquidity in the system, the discount rate is the rate at which certain financial institutions can borrow money from the Fed.

    Most people are saying this is 'symbolic', which is horseshit. The reality is that even the commercial paper (30,60 and 90 day money) market seized up like an engine without oil. What the Fed has has done is to remind everyone that THEY are the lender of last resort and they are paying attention.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 16, 2007

    Kuff and FDL have an idea...

    ...on how to welcome Karl Rove back to Texas. Additionally, NoriegaBlog has the skinny on the required income disclosures from the candidates and PDiddie has the update on the netroots efforts to raise money and support for Noriega... half way to the end of the Q, we're more than half way to the goal!

    Take a moment to give what you can and show your support for the next Senator from Texas!

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Can you fuck an iPhone?

    So, the iPhone is making for some unhappy interpersonal relationships...

    Wherein we used to actually interact with one another during cab rides or walks or, you know, dinner, now I sit there and watch him make love to that damn phone, his unblinking eyes glazed over with rapt-geek puppy love. Granted, he is still a warm body with a functioning penis. I do still have that. But mental stimulation, emotional support--all that he gives, in full, to his beloved little iPhone. I try to pull him back to me, but he just exclaims, "Look at it! It's so thin!" Right, I get it. I'm fat. Go fuck yourself. Actually, no: You can go fuck your skinny little phone.


    Posted by mcblogger at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Trickle Down Politics

    Many times when you listen to the stump from representatives of candidates running for local office, you want to pinch yourself otherwise you’ll fall asleep from the tedium. So it’s interesting and out of the ordinary when you hear one of them say that people will die if the rep’s candidate, who currently holds the position, is not reelected.

    To call that tactic Rovian is disingenuous since by the time that slimy national campaign tactic filters down, it comes out crude, ineffective, and will most likely backfire. Not to mention silly.

    So what motivates a person to say such a thing? Does it come from the candidate, consultants, or is the person projecting?

    Though yesterday’s news, it seemed to fit with turd blossom’s impending departure and the AAS editorial on the Austin tax assessor’s race.

    The bigger issue about this race is the newspaper’s motive behind this editorial piece. What do we take from it? Well, maybe the writer was uninformed or at least didn’t do his homework on Glen Maxey’s contributions, had a questionable motive by trying to divide white liberals and African-American leaders (now that sounds Rovian), and seems to favor voter suppression by not acknowledging that Maxey’s updated and successful voter registration methods could reach parts of Travis County and the state that are in desperate need of the service.

    Note: This was supposed to be posted earlier in the week, but I’m still traumatized by the sight-seeing tour of Canyon Lake with the Mayor and Sister Ruth. I’ll be in therapy for years.

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 07:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 15, 2007

    Even paying the audience wasn't enough?

    Today comes the sad news that awful Fox News Daily Show knock off was canceled. They couldn't even get people to watch after offering to pay them $15. Just to watch the TV.

    I'm crying. While I laugh.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Elaine vs. The Bloggers : like shit telling vomit it stinks

    The editor of the San Antonio Current, Elaine Wolff, the one who has slammed Draft Rick Noriega in several columns in the past few weeks, failed to disclose, until this week, that her husband contributed $2,300 to Mikal Watts. Not necessarily a big deal for a spouse to donate to a candidate. It is a big deal when the other spouse works for a major metro alternative paper and takes it upon herself to trash the opposition.

    Elaine didn't limit her integrity bypass to not disclosing this campaign contribution in the four previous articles she wrote about the Senate candidate, Mikal Watts (all which were mostly puff pieces and only pointed out the obvious negatives that any first time candidate has). She went after one of the other two candidates in the race, Rick Noriega. Wolff recently excoriated the blogosphere for supporting Noriega over Watts while 'pretending to maintain journalistic integrity'. Pretending? Doll, we post endorsements of ELECTED OFFICIALS FROM A GIANT WAX COCK. We've never made a claim to having any journalistic integrity. Of course, when WE support someone, we announce why and we disclose that up-fucking-front. Maybe, just maybe, we have some integrity. Certainly more than Elaine.

    As if shilling for hubby's beloved wasn't enough, Elaine has taken to upbraiding staff (some of whom are now FOMRER SA Current staff) for 'attacking' her husband's candidate, Watts. Her failure to remove herself from the editorial loop concerning a race in which her family was involved ultimately led to discord among her staff and
    one staffer--the one who made the initial discovery that Wolff's husband gave to Watts--ended up leaving the publication. Wolff never volunteered any information about her husband's associations with Watts before she posted on the bulletin boards of the SACurrent website last week. It was not information ever volunteered in her Current columns prior to last Friday.

    Wolff also allegedly took another SAC staffer to task for writing a derogatory piece about Watts. Wolff's husband is a zoning commissioner in San Antonio where Watts is now a political force. Could his aspirations help explain why Elaine is so concerned with what is written about Mikal Watts? Though I have no political aspirations, maybe I should so try this tack with the writers here that either aren't supporting Noriega or have decided to support Watts.

    Wolff has also allowed her husband to write pieces for the Current without disclosing that he is her husband or a political figure. Gee, we've never seen that happen, have we? What is it with Texas publications never fully disclosing information? Like the time we found out a commentator for the Star-Telegram shilling for toll roads wasn't so much an advocate, she was an interested party. Kind of like Elaine.

    You still want to talk about your vaunted 'journalistic integrity', Elaine? If so, let's also throw honesty into the mix.

    One last thing... we've not been mean to Watts, not the way we could be. Actually, none of bloggers who are supporting Noriega have been nearly as nasty as you've been toward us and the candidate we've chosen to support. That can rapidly change. Never pick a fight with someone meaner than you, Elaine.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 14, 2007

    The Taliban, like bad penny, keeps turning up

    The Taliban attacked a US base last Tuesday. In Afghanistan, just so we're clear. I point this out because we 'beat' these fuckers in 2001. So, my question is, why the fuck aren't all these assholes dead? These are, after all, the same dicks who sheltered bin Laden prior to and after 9/11. So, what's the deal?

    Oh, that's right. Bush decided to unofficially call it quits and diverted resources to the invasion of the one country on the Earth where we knew bin Laden WASN'T. So, not only have we failed to capture the man most responsible for 9/11, we've failed to get rid of the assholes who protected him, not to mention failing to secure the country we fought hard to free from them.

    The Taliban that attacked the US base didn't succeed, however the question remains : WHY THE HELL ARE ANY OF THEM STILL ALIVE?

    Posted by mcblogger at 06:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Jokes of My Father's : From his other list...

    A cop saw a car weaving all over the road and pulled it over. He walked up to the car and saw a nice-looking woman behind the wheel. There was a strong smell liquor on her breath.

    He said, 'I'm going to give you a breathalyzer test to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol.' She blew up the balloon and he walked it back to the police car. After a couple of minutes, he returned to her car and said, 'It looks like you've had a couple of stiff ones.'

    She replied, 'You mean it shows that, too?'

    Few things are as special as a nasty joke shared between father and son.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    ¿Quien Es Mas Reaganismo?

    So everyone on the dark side has been following the Ames spectacle from this past weekend. But now that the straws have all been polled, the bouncy castles have all been deflated, and the funnel-cake sugar-dust has cleared, GOP voters are right back to the same reality they've been facing the whole campaign season: a lack of inspiring candidates. Of course, everyone WANTS another Gipper, but who in this crowd measures up? Which of the candidates' qualities will GOP voters find most reminiscent of their beloved Saint Ronald? You decide:

    A. Rudy Giuliani's resentful children

    B. Mitt Romney's experiments with the "trickle-down" phenomenon

    C. John McCain's endearing dementia

    D. Fred Thompson's B-grade actor credentials

    Voting is open in the comments!

    Posted by hbalczak at 09:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 13, 2007

    Welcome to the new chair of the SBOE

    The new chair of the SBOE loves him some creationism and abstinence only sex ed. Which is PERFECT for a state that has one of the lowest levels of science literacy in the country and one of the highest levels of teenage STD's and pregnancy.

    Welcome, Mr. McLeroy. We're SOOO happy you're here. His appointment brings only one question to mind... what the hell did the children of Texas DO to piss off 39% so much that he appointed this asshat to such an important body?

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    People can be mean...

    From Craigslist (via The Austinist) Missed Connections

    One Goofy Council Person Free now, so says the paper So am I. You: wishy washy and politically driven Me: willing to put up with spinelessness You: always a comment for the media Me: okay with an amoral opportunist Let me know where we can meet * Location: Central Austin

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Stupid people say stupid things

    We've been known to talk about politics from time to time (you might have noticed) and one race has come to our attention. It's 7 months until the primary and already incendiary bullshit is flying in the race, this time courtesy of Arnold Garcia at the Statesman (hiding behind the 'Editorial Board'). On Friday, they printed a piece about what an easy, go-with-the-flow job Tax Assessor/Collector is and how Glen Maxey is dumb for saying he'd like to actually do something with the job. They've already had to print a correction...

    CORRECTION An editorial in Friday's editions mischaracterized the roles of the county clerk and tax assessor-collector in elections. The county clerk is responsible for printing ballots and securing polling places. The tax assessor-collector oversees voter registration and maintains the voter rolls.

    Arnold notes in his pedestrian swipe at Glen that what matters is the amount of time you have to spend to get your license plates renewed. A few things...

    A) It's called vehicle registration. You don't renew your plates. It's a sticker on the windsheild. They haven't had the plate stickers in a while, Arnold.
    B) The last time I went in, it was a pain in the ass. I waited and waited until someone finally told me about the convenient drive through. Which has one tiny sign that can't be seen unless you're on top of it.

    That office needs some help. Nelda's done an OK job, but it's time for someone better. And it's time we started having smoother elections.

    You'll no doubt hear some pretty wild bullshit out of Nelda's campaign if the past is any indicator (I'd get into it but Captain Kroc wants to take it on so you'll have to wait for his post). Keep one thing in mind when you hear that Nelda's a fantastic collector of tax revenues... the job comes with the power to FORECLOSE on the property of those that don't pay. That's a pretty big incentive to write a check.

    And don't get me started on gentrification in East Austin.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Dregs : Texas Blogger Round-Up

    It’s Monday, and that means it is time for this weeks Texas Progressive Alliance’s statewide round up. Matt Glazer over at Burnt Orange Report is giving Vince a break this week and has the best of the left from over a dozen progressive blogs.

    As always, the greatest hits are below the fold…

    Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff is suffering from a little Harry Balczak, enjoys a trip to the AFL-CIO Democratic Presidential debate...and interviews the candidates!

    North Texas Liberal reports on the rumor that Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Art Brender and Ft. Worth City Council Member Wendy Davis are going to square off for a chance to face unpopular Sen. Kim Brimer, R-District 10, in 2008.

    Marc shows us the Democrats have set their sights on SDD-10 and Tarrant County Democrats have reason to be optimistic.

    Matt Glazer at Burnt Orange Report is working for change. Bloggers and activists across the state have launch TexBlog PAC to usher in a new majority—a Democratic Majority.

    What do Republicans do when whistleblowers reveal their evil secrets?
    South Texas Chisme let’s us know they go after the whistleblowers, of course. Fixing the problem? Not an option. TYC goes after employees who report to the Texas legislature or to newspapers.

    Stace Medellin from DosCentavos is added to the Texas Kaos family. But never fear, DosCentavos will still be around for your reading pleasure! Stace begins his association with TK on Monday, August 13!

    Speaking of TexasKaos, this week the Presidential candidates sat down and answered questions from the LGBT community on Logo.

Texas Kaos'contributor Refinish69 writes just how far the LGBT rights fight has come in his post,
    GLBT History was Made Tonight & My Part in That History.

    Stop Cornyn highlights John Cornyn’s low lights. Sad thing is just how many bad votes he has made this past week.

    "Republicans For Rick Noriega?" Half Empty explores the origins of this movement.

    Musingsreports on Rick Noriega's visit to The Lake – firedoglake, that is!

    WCNews at Eye on Williamson asks What Did Senator Carona Expect? After caving to Ric Williamson during the legislative session Sen. John Carona can't believe Williamson isn't showing courtesy to him.

    Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has a local digest this time: In the event of a WMD attack our librarians will be sent in.

    Vince at Capitol Annex brings us news about protesters--who happened to have been paid operatives hired through a temporary agency—who tried to make noise at a fundraiser for Texas Supreme Court candidate Susan Criss.

    Who's more corrupt, Republicans or Democrats? Find out at Bluedaze, with TXsharon's Corruption in Government: Comprehensive List. Hint: Republicans = 204 – Democrats = 3.

    John Coby at Bay Area Houston simply calls the Republican Texas Ethics Commissioners incompetent after the disclosures of millions in undisclosed campaign expenditures.

    PDiddie at Brains and Eggs wrote the tongue-in-cheek advance of the Democratic presidential front-runner's visit to the Bayou City with The Nutcracker comes to H-Town.

    Steve at WhosPlayin? takes Congressman Michael Burgess
    (R - Lewisville) to task for fear-mongering about the trace amounts of mercury in energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs.

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

    August 12, 2007

    MOTO : EJ Dionne just doesn't get it

    (For those of you you listened to Meet the Bloggers today, here is the post to which I was referring. It wasn't until the broadcast that I realized I hadn't published it yet. I could blame work, but the reality is I forgot. Because I was out doing fun things with fun people)

    In the WaPo, EJ Dionne reveals the inside story of Congress' capitulation on wiretapping. Proving to be a master of the obvious, Dionne points out that Bush and Congressional Republicans forced the Democrats to either vote for the measure or be accused of being weak on terror. Duh. We got that, EJ. Wasn't hard to figure out the rationale.

    Only in Washington does this argument make sense. The reality is, everyone knows Bush's War on Terror is, as Newt Gingrich has pointed out, phony as hell and they aren't listening to him or the Republicans anymore. In fact, Bush's credibility on this is close to that of a child vehemently denying eating chocolate but whose hands are covered in the melted evidence.

    Because of this... irrational fear... a few Democrats caved and joined with the wannabe fascists in the Republican party to pass this abortion of our rights. As Dionne points out...

    But if legislation was needed, there were many ways to grant necessary authority while preserving real oversight. The Democrats got trapped, and they punted. The Republicans have never met a national security issue they're not willing to politicize. This is no way to run a superpower.

    You're right, EJ. Until the Democrats realize that it's not going to be easy, that they are going to have to face down the disastrous Commander in Chief and beat him soundly in a PR war, it's going to stay that way. Because of weak men like Chet Edwards and Nick Lampson who are too afraid to tell their conservative constituents the truth.

    Until the Democrats realize they will win, they won't even bother to fight. And that's sad as hell for those of us working our asses off to elect more of them.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Meet the bloggers!

    This should really fall under the heading of navel gazing, but what the hell... I'm going to be on Meet The Bloggers, a political round table you can listen to here.

    Don't tell... I'm totally drinking right now. Not because I want to look like a fool (come on... we knew that was a given) but because I was out until almost 4 and am hung-the-fuck-over.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 11, 2007

    NORIEGA KNOCKS IT OUT OF THE PARK

    The interview is done and it was, in a word, tremendous... go check it out here and while your at, show your support here for the next Senator from Texas!

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    One hour to go... NORIEGA LIVE!

    FDL is doing an interview with Rick Noriega at 1:00 today... go here to see the background and here to listen to the interview.

    While you're busily opening new tabs for all these links, why not open one here that will allow you to donate to Rick? Seriously, it doesn't have to be much, even as little as a dollar will do. However, it shows your support your the man who will help Democrats gain an overwhelming majority and RETIRE JOHN 'ZOMBIE' CORNYN!

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    TRS using crooks as consultants

    Managed by Republican appointees, the Teachers Retirement System is the state-run pension plan that supports the retirements of hundreds of thousands and men and women who made teaching our children their lives. From the Star-Telegram (via Somervell County Salon) comes word that some of the consultants hired by the morons 39% put in charge at TRS are in trouble with Federal regulators...

    Texas pension funds rely increasingly on outside consultants to handle complex investments, and one plan used advisers who faced accusations of misconduct by federal regulators and officials in other states.

    The Employees Retirement System of Texas, a $24 billion pension fund for state workers, uses two consultants who have run into trouble with regulators, including one that paid a $2.2 million fine, the Austin American-Statesman reported in Sunday's editions.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission had begun an informal inquiry into consultant Joseph Frohna when the Texas employee fund hired him and his firm, Cortina Asset Management in 2005. Frohna managed a portfolio of stocks for the fund until recently.

    On Friday, the SEC said it had sued Frohna for insider trading in 2002 and that he had agreed to pay a $2.2 million fine.

    Kathy Reissman, chief investment officer of the pension fund, said officials didn't know Frohna was under SEC scrutiny, although the probe was reported in the media.

    Good job there, 39%! What, you couldn't get some of the Enron accountants to take the job?

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 10, 2007

    Yes. This is about Las Manitas...

    ...and it's not all that great food. The city, in it's infinite wisdom, has decided to give basically give all it's got in the business retention fund to help out Las Manitas in the form of a $750m forgivable loan.

    Nice.

    Boadicea has been doing a fantastic job covering this over at Texas Kaos (here and here), asking tough questions like why the hell are we giving a profitable business, that's known about this for almost a year and owns another building, a forgivable loan that will basically drain out the business retention fund?

    I know some of you love Las Manitas. It's because you know as much about mexican food as I do about cuneiform. The reality is that development downtown is going to displace some businesses. It doesn't mean they have to shut down, but it does mean that they might not be able to afford the rent without increasing prices. If it's worth it, they'll get away with it. I wonder if Las Manitas realized they wouldn't?


    Posted by mcblogger at 02:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Sometimes markets break

    The madness known as a credit crunch has set in. This is a fun time when private markets essentially break down and everyone is too scared to do anything. We talked about this last week in relation to the collapse of one lender in particular. What I didn't say was that the private secondary market was illiquid. By 'illiquid' I mean there was no money in it, even for A credits. In short, private investors were too scared to buy anything.

    The only investors still reliably buying loans were the GSE's, known popularly as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which IS, in fact the reason they exist. President Bankruptcy (so known because of his business prowess) said yesterday that he saw no need for an expansion at Fannie and Freddie to buy mortgage backed securities (MBS) and credit default swaps (CDS) outside of their charter (like jumbos and some Alt-A, as well as expanding the amounts that could take in and hold). So, with them under the control of the infinitely stupid, the Fed was left with little choice but to step in and establish a floor to the market. Normally, Fannie and Freddie would be the lenders of last resort. Because of the President's stupidity, the Fed had to step in and buy $35 Billion just this morning in MBS.

    And that, my friends, is why you have government getting involved in private business. Occasionally, the markets collapse. That's a FACT that often is left out of the supply-side, get rich quick fantasies of the Republicans. When it happens, someone has to step in and make things work again. The reason organizations like the Federal Reserve and GSE's were created is to do just this... keep the market from getting too irrational.

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

    EBAY?!?!! That's all you have?

    El Presidente, in what will likely be remembered as one of his most asinine comments, rehashed 'The Economy is strong. Just look at EBay' talking point.

    “Twelve years ago, eBay did not exist,’’ the president said, noting that now it’s a $12-billion-a-year business. “eBay is an entpreneurial success story that has helped many Americans become entrepreneurs themselves.’’

    The president, who had lunch with economic advisers at the Treasury Department, will sit for an interview with Neil Cavuto of Fox News as well as news reporters specializing in economics today. Tomorrow, the president will head for Kennebunkport -- where the president and first lady will play host to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife for lunch Saturday. The French president and first lady are vacationing in New Hampshire.

    Cutting taxes boosts revenue, Bush said in his brief public remarks at Treasury, noting that the U.S. expects $167 billion more in tax revenues this year than last year “because the economy is strong.’’ Projecting that the federal budget deficit will drop to nearly $200 billion, he said the budget he proposes could eliminate the deficit in five years.

    “If the majority in Congress gets its way, the American people and small businesses will face a massive tax hike – it will amount to the largest tax increase in history,’’ said Bush, promising to veto any such bills. “I will use the veto to keep your taxes low and to keep federal spending under control.’’

    “We want this to be the land of dreamers and doers,’’ Bush said, adding, “I love… the idea that eBay didn’t exist 12 years ago, and now is a thriving enterprise.’’

    You're right, Mr. President. EBay was created during the administration of a truly great President, the one before you. Taxes were higher then, we were paying off federal debt, employment was great, there was a housing boom, and real wages were rising. The reason, dipshit, that EBay is doing so well know is that people are having to sell their belongings to stay afloat in your 'great economy'.

    You can't eat GDP, bitch. Your Dad found that out the hard way.

    As for tax revenues going up because of tax cuts, give me a break. Your tax cuts, which you and every other Republican promised in 2001 and 2003 wouldn't lead to deficits, have led exactly to deficits and an ever increasing federal debt. Which is putting upward pressure on interest rates.

    Why the hell am I surprised? This is, after all, from the same guy who thinks someone working three jobs to afford health care is great!

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 09, 2007

    Lieberman to endorse Republican Presidential nom?

    Jobsanger has a post up about whether or not Lieberman, ostensibly a Democrat, will endorse the Republican nominee for President next year. If that happens, will the Dems in Congress FINALLY shun his sorry ass? He's already abandoned Democrats on so many other issues, why bother allowing him to caucus with Senate Democrats?

    I mean come on... the guy has all the integrity of a used car salesman, what's the point of keeping him on board?

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Never fear, dipshit is here!

    President Bush had a little press conference this AM. I actually watched it. With my eyes.

    Yeah, you're damn right you owe me.

    He berated Congress for not passing his budget. He berated Congress for beating up on his friend, Al Gonzales. I know, who the fuck cares what he thinks?

    He also spent some time talking about the markets and the ongoing risk adjustment that's going on. He had this to say...

    The basic issue is liquidity, Is there enough liquidity to get the markets moving. I'm told there is enough liquidity

    Shit. You. Not.

    Right now there is an absence of buyers. It's not because there isn't enough money in the system (how much did M3 grow last year and so far this year?!?!!) or because of rates being too high. The problem is there are no buyers for certain securities. Which means Freddie and Fannie need to jump in and work through the assets now that the risk has been repriced. That is, after all, why the GSE's exist... to provide a stable market for home loans in the United States, especially in cases when the private markets break down.

    Oh, and someone tell him to stop using terms he clearly doesn't understand.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Tolls : Well, first you have to stop being a whiney bitch

    Senator Carona had a little 'transportation summit' during which he asked

    "What does it take to get TxDOT to listen to the will of the legislators?" he said. "It is a core attitude of arrogance that I believe still exists."

    Remind me who caved on tolling last session, Senator? Who was out beating everyone up to pass 792? Who was that?

    That's right, it was YOU!

    I thought, for a second, it was some other fat senator from Dallas but then I realized, there aren't any, other than your corpulent little self. What? You thought we'd forgotten about you? Not a chance Lard-o.

    Here's some advice if you'd like to be taken seriously (which is already hard enough given your status as a member of the Texas Legislature which is just a small step above Sonic car hop)... When you say you are going to do something, do it. Don't come back and say it was too hard or that you didn't have the power, you intimidate those that do until they cave in. Why? BECAUSE YOU'RE RIGHT. Had you been serious about shifting the gas tax, the House could have easily gone over Krusee and CradDICK's head to put that bill on the floor. You could have DECAPITATED TXDoT but you whimped out. Like the tame little fat man you are. So quit whining, Senator, and understand one fucking thing: NO ONE takes you seriously on this, least of all your constituents. It's little wonder Dick Williamson won't acknowledge you. I sure as fuck wouldn't.

    Of course, Carona wasn't the only one whining about all this...

    State senators Robert Nichols, R- Jacksonville, and Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, the only other committee members there, also fired shots.

    Nichols, who has served on the Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees TxDOT, said using availability payments would be like the state co-signing private loans.

    "I'm not so sure you have the ability to do that," he said.

    After Carona noted that he couldn't make TxDOT play nice but he sure could turn up the heat, Shapiro flashed a friendly smile and chimed in: "I think he speaks for most of us."

    Oh, Bob, we could never forget that you were a member of the Texas Transportation Commission when the decisions were made on the TTC and Toll taxes. We know you voted for it and you have all the credibility on this issue that Krusee and Carona have, probably less. You and Carona make quite a pair, the biggest bitches in the state, bent over without vasoline or a kiss by 39% and Dick Williamson.

    Flo, you'll want to stay out of this altogether. You've already earned a rough re-election thanks to vouchers.

    Speaking for TxDOT, Assistant Director Amadeo Saenz and Transportation Commissioner Fred Underwood emphasized there's a severe shortage of funds, which means toll roads are needed.

    "Texas is facing enormous and rapidly increasing transportation needs," Underwood said. "Achieving our goals will require a long-term program of investment in our transportation system by state, local governments and, we believe, by private participants."

    Carona said he wasn't directing his attacks at Underwood, saying he's too new on the commission to have caused problems, or Saenz, saying he thinks the world of him.

    Oh, Senator. Do you ever stop kissing ass? Can you honestly not separate a man from the post he occupies? Saenz may be a sweetheart, but he's he's also a large part of your problem in this capacity as a director at TXDoT. Nothing personal, but if you want to save your ample ass you're going to have to take down his.

    The one thing that has consistently shocked me with the Texas Lege is the assumption that the members deserve respect. Understand something... respect is EARNED. Quit acting like 'tards and maybe you'll get some. Y'all cut through the bullshit and get us moving the right way. The first step for all of you out there looking for action? Join TURF.

    (via EOW who rocks!)

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    It's All Over Now

    Like Absolute Zero, Absolute Stupid is one of those theoretical boundaries which can be approached, but never actually reached. But it's clear we're getting very, very close.

    Seriously, if Gore doesn't run, how can we catapult Kucinich to frontrunner?

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 05:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 08, 2007

    So, DESI's not all that secure. Who'd have thought...

    BradBlog recently visited the Diebold Election Systems, Inc. facility in Allen and found out that election equipment was anything but secure. Big shocker there. They also take the time to look into the he said/she said between CA and DESI regarding Cali's decertification of DESI's shitty election systems. And that's the real funny...

    But Diebold's never been one to let the truth stand in the way of making a buck and saving their asses. Here's the knowingly misleading statement [PDF] released by Diebold Election Systems, Inc. (DESI), including these choice quotes from President Dave Byrd on the morning after Bowen's announcement (and on the day of our friendly visit to Diebold):
    "Secretary Bowen’s top-to-bottom review was designed to ignore security procedures and protocols that are used during every election. Her team of hackers was given unfettered access to the equipment, the source code, and all other information on security features provided by DESI to the Secretary of State's office. And she refused to include in the review the current version of DESI’s touch screen software with enhanced security features."

    "Local election officials in California have put in place proper policies and procedures which compliment the security features of DESI’s voting solutions."

    Good lord. Aren't there any paid journalists out there who can dispatch this kind of horseshit? Guess not. So quickly:

    A) Bowen's "team of hackers" (actually, not hackers at all, but teams of some of the most respected computer scientists and security experts in the world) was not given any more access than Mr. Byrd or Mr. Bear has.

    B) They did not have access to the source code. You might want to read Bowen's decertification/recertification documents [PDF] for your own voting machines where she clearly states same. Just an example or two from those docs [emphasis added for easier viewing by the Byrds and Bears and paid journalists]...
    [W]ithout requiring access to Diebold source code, the Diebold Red Team members gained 'root access' to the voting system that allowed manipulation of every setting on the networking devices and on the election management server system...and...without accessing Diebold source code, were able to violate the physical security of every aspect of the TSx direct recording electronic voting machine under polling place conditions using tools found in a typical office.

    C) She did not "refuse to review the current version of DESI’s touch screen software with enhanced security features." As you know, this was a "Top-to-Bottom Review" of previously certified voting systems in CA. Your "enhanced security features" were not a part of that previously certified system. But as long as you bring it up, what are those "enhanced security features" needed for? You've been telling us for years that your systems used in many previous CA elections --- without your "enhanced security features" --- were perfectly secure? It's almost as if you were...lying or something?

    YOU SUCK, DIEBOLD. You're LOSERS. Either get out of the 'elections tabulation systems' market or sac up and design systems that are secure and work. Whatever you do, please stop whining.

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

    Overtime At Soldier Field

    So I'm in Chicago yesterday for my grandfather's birthday. Milo Balczak just turned 95. Big democrat, loves the Sox, but goes absolutely GAGA over Keith Olbermann's reporting on Countdown. Though for some reason, Grampa Milo persists in referring to him as "Kevin Overmeyer", no matter how many times we try to set him straight. Anyway, since i'm in town during the debate, i pull some strings through a client who owes me a favor and score front row seats at the Soldier Field debate. i also arrange it so Grampa Milo gets personally introduced to his media hero.

    It turns out I'm the one who gets the big surprise, though. Grampa Milo was a Teamster enforcer in his day. Fought alongside Hoffa and those guys. When i tell him we're going to the debate, he calls his AFL-CIO buddies and arranges a post-debate interview with all the candidates for his political junkie grandson. Can't keep an experience like that under a bushel, so i've transcribed the interview for your reading pleasure. But I'll tell you, I think these people were all still in their 'debate' frame of mind when we talked......

    ME: Thank you all for the opportunity. I don't want to waste your time so I'll just jump right in with the questions. Senator Clinton, in recent years we have seen Russia return to its old bullying form. There have been signs of their interference with democracy movements in neighboring republics such as Ukraine and today it was reported they may have fired some sort of test missile at the Republic of Georgia. How would a Clinton administration handle the Russian menace?

    CLINTON: Well let me say first of all that just because my campaign has accepted contributions from Vladimir Putin does not at all mean he'll have any influence in what i do as President. Russians - and even their lobbyists - are people too, and if they want to shower me with rubles and royalties from the Irkutsk pipeline it doesn't mean i might somehow feel obliged to return the favor some day. That said, the Russians only respect strength, and if America's looking for a craven, ruthless ice queen who can match the Russian Bear's amorality anti-scruple for anti-scruple, then I'm your gal.

    ME: Senator Obama, your response

    OBAMA:...Look,.....the notion......that you have to mirror your enemy in order to defeat your enemy...I reject that. If Osama turns up in St. Petersburg and Putin won't act, then of course, we will have to push the button. But first, you go through diplomatic channels, so it hopefully doesn't come to that.

    CLINTON: Let me just interject here that the Senator's suggestion that you can somehow just "push a button" i think reflects a certain naivete and lack of maturity. First, I would use an axe to smash the glass casing around the button and then type in the computer access code so that the button would work when I pushed it. One would hope that a candidate for President of the United States would understand that these kinds of things are necessary prior to just willy-nilly nuking a major nation.

    OBAMA: Oh yeah?? Well you voted to start the Iraq War and I didn't! Besides, you didn't listen to the part where I said we try diplomacy first.

    ME: Let's move on to another serious topic. Senator Dodd, the continent of Africa poses many of the daunting challenges facing the world in the 21st century, from the AIDS epidemic to third world poverty and Islamic fundamentalism and genocidal war. What do you propose the United States should do to address these problems?

    DODD: Well that's a complicated question here and one which, in my experience here in the Senate for the last 30 some odd years here, I have pondered often. My time in the Peace Corps here in the 60s taught me that there is no simple solution to all of Africa's problems here. But in my judgement, we ought try, at least, to engage our allies and the African nations toward a consensus resolution on each of those issues...uh, wait a second, i think my average just dropped on that last sentence..."here here here here"....there, that's better.

    ME: Senator Biden, you've served in the Senate for a considerable time as well, dealing with Africa and other foreign policy issues. What is your take on Africa?

    BIDEN: Thanks, Harry, and while i have the chance i'd like to welcome my good friend Senator Mike Gravel sitting next to you. We really missed you up there on the stage tonight, buddy, and may I also say that you seem especially lucid and pleasant today.

    ME: That's not Senator Gravel, that's Grampa Milo.

    BIDEN: Look, I know what it's like to be an 8-year-old Senegalese peasant with all four limbs cut off by insurgent guerillas and then lose your job at the diamond mine because your entire family died from Ebola and no one's left to fetch your malaria medicine or attach your prosthetic leg so you can hop the commute down a long sniper-infested dirt road nicknamed "Genocide Boulevard" by the locals. I've been there before, believe me. So believe me when I tell you that I'm the only person in this group who knows I'm right about everything.

    ME: I'm not sure I follow. Could you elaborate?

    BIDEN: (with a squinting smile) No. (pregnant pause, then mild chuckling among others)

    ME: Mmm-kay. Senator Edwards, I've heard from some of the other candidates on their foreign policy stances, but what I and everyone else who watches TV or reads newspapers wants to know is this: Why on earth would you spend $400 on a haircut and then turn around and let David Boniol be one of your key spokespeople? Did you SEE what that man had on tonight? what was with the plaid dress shirt? I mean really, appearance matters. How can you coordinate the entire federal government when you can't even coordinate your campaign manager's outfit?

    EDWARDS: Well what I'd really rather talk about is bold transformational change in health care in this country. So that we can provide for those, who are sick, of this nation. It's wrong that we have people in this country, who have lived 50something years with Elephant Man's Disease because they didn't have the insur-

    ME: -Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, we get it. Two Americas, transformational change, "Daddeh worked at the mee-ul in Narth Car-uh-lah-nuh", lobbyists are against meaningful reform, blablablabla. That still doesn't tell me why you spend a buttload on a haircut but then allow your manager to go on national TV wearing the same suit my Dad wore in our 1982 Olan Mills family photo.

    Governor Richardson, since health care came up, what would you do about our biggest domestic problems?

    RICHARDSON: I would use diplomacy. I would also make health care completely free to everybody AND lower taxes. My plan calls for full funding of preventive medical research, so that we can lower incidents of cancer, diabetes and other diseases. My plan also provides for free unlimited Krispy-Kremes and Marlboros for everybody at no extra cost to the taxpayer. When I'm president, we will lower the price of gas to a nickel a gallon and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Then we will look around and notice that this also solved the global warming problem. In regard to crime, my plan would do two things: (1) build 1,000 new prisons, (2) hire 1,000,000 new cops, (3) completely repeal all criminal laws so that people can do whatever they want to do without being burdened by a lot of government bureaucrats telling them what to do. Also, every single taxpayer in the United States would get a pony. If it turns out I need a Plan B, i'll simply ask myself, "What Would Whizzer White Do?" (WWWWD?)

    ME: Alright, last question to Congressman Kucinich. Despite your strong credentials as a left-of-center candidate on the issues, your candidacy doesn't seem to be gaining much traction. What are you doing to try and address that problem?

    KUCINICH: Well one thing I'm learning in talking to you and others is that people might be influenced by appearances. Toward that end, I'm doing what I can to appear more presidential. For example, tonight, you might notice that I'm wearing my Dad's shirt. The cuffs dwarf my dainty elfin hands but just the same I believe the overall effect shows that I'm a big boy who's capable of being the boss of everybody. Also, I'm trying to appeal more to the common man. Have you SEEN my wife?? Oh, and I've got a new text message. We're scrapping the 'text peace' thing we did in the South Carolina debate. That was lame. I'm now urging voters to text "boob" at 8008. once again, that's text "boob" at 8008.

    ME: Cool. Well, Grampa Milo is starting to doze, so I guess that's all our time. Thanks for participating, everybody.

    ----------------

    Well, I hope you enjoyed that as much as Grampa Milo and I did. This is Harry and Milo Balczak signing off from the Windy City.

    Posted by hbalczak at 09:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Tolls : More from Dumb Perryman

    The ever stupid Ray Perryman has once again surfaced to pimp for toll roads and EOW has a great post up taking his statements apart. As always, Ray fails to mention that tolls and public/private partnerships are THE most expensive way of funding our transportation infrastructure. Who can blame him? His livelihood is in part dependent on toll roads.

    One last thing Ray fails to mention in his horrible little op-ed piece... ROADS are needed to maintain and grow the economy in Texas. Whether they are toll-tax funded or gas tax funded is largely irrelevant, save for one fact. Tolls will take more out of the pockets of consumers than a gas tax. Which means that toll roads (like the TTC ) will actually TAKE money out of the economy that could be used by Texans for Texans.

    Again, it's forgivable since Ray doesn't want to bite the hand that, in part, feeds him.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 07, 2007

    Hutto loves them some water

    We talked about Hutto's insatiable thirst (and the handout to local politicos) last year. It appears something is finally being done. Via EOW...

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Weak sisters

    Congress, on Friday, approved warrantless wiretapping. Which is great and all because that was one of the issues that Democrats used in 2006. An issue which created broad support for Democrats across the country, mostly because people don't like the government eavesdropping without probable cause and, you know, a warrant. Which Bush was doing illegally. Now, Congress has made it legal. Probably not Constitutional, but legal.

    How DID this happen? Well, let's just say the Republicans continued to vote to make '1984' the real world and a few Democrats helped that along. Democrats like Chet Edwards and Nick Lampson who voted for the bill, ostensibly, because they are from conservative districts and their constituents demanded it. Demanded that the government be GIVEN unprecedented authority to tap your phones and listen into your conversations. Yeah, I'm totally buying that.

    This is about Bush's ridiculous failure in the war on terror and a LOT of Republicans and a few Democrats too scared of negative advertising. Everyone already knows that Bush is a fuckup. Everyone knows that He's failed abysmally. What they didn't know was just how willing the Congress would be to cave in and surrender OUR rights to an out of control executive.

    You were scared, Chet and Nick, and you got bad advice from staffers who are obviously just as out of touch with reality as the President. That makes you weak sisters. Here's to hoping you both have opponents in the primary that actually believe in the Constitution. You're not only bad Democrats, you're bad Americans. You've betrayed your constituents and the millions who've fought to protect and defend this country and it's Constitution. I would expect this from a Republican, but not from a Democrat.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Oh, yes. Let's overreact.

    Thank you, Senator Clinton, for stepping up to the plate and underwhelming the crowd. Even though you're thoroughly unqualified to address the issue, you took the time out of your busy schedule to talk about what you would do to fix the mortgage market:

  • Candy for the kids!

  • A $1bn pool to help borrowers in trouble

  • Beating up on the horrible, predatory brokers

  • No pre-payment penalties

  • Free puppies and kittens

  • Southern special... take you mind off your troubles with NASCAR or Monster Truck tix!
  • Obvs, the first one and the last two aren't real, they're palliatives and they would actually do as much as Clinton's plan. For one thing, the HelpPool... this could be eaten up in Kansas alone, forget about CA, TX, FL, NY AND THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. Even if it was large enough, you still are providing a leaky bandaid, not fixing the problem which is people in mortgages they can't afford because of resetting ARMs.

    How do you do that? It's called 'government insurance' and there is already a program in place that would, if modified slightly, allow people to refinance into more affordable mortgages. It's called FHA. Clinton would know that had she actually spent any time researching the issue. No, sorry... had her policy team actually spent time on the issue. Not only will it take care of the immediate problem, it's a long term solution that is largely self-financing and won't require taxpayers to take it on the chin.

    As for beating up on predatory brokers, GO FOR IT. Every broker and banker I know would love nothing more than to see the few scummy shitheels in the business forced out. However, don't do it by squeezing the shit out of good people... do it by fully funding enforcement of the codes on the books. Texas, for example, has an excellent regulatory team that is chronically underfunded. They have the tools necessary to force the bad actors out of business, but they don't have the manpower. Rather than create new set of burdensome and ultimately confusing laws and regs, why not just enforce the perfectly good ones you have on the books now?

    On the subject of pre-payment penalties, curbing abusive practices is a one page guidance letter from the Fed. However, eliminating them altogether will have a deleterious effect on the market and will end up driving up prices to consumers. Why? The debt market (which the mortgage market depends on) LOVES stability and will pay a premium for it. That means better rates for consumers. While this is well intentioned (you're trying to stop people from putting a 5 year pre-pay on someone with a 2 year ARM), you're going to end up hurting more people than you help. Pre-payment penalties also have a stabilizing effect on the real estate market because they put a damper on transactions known as flips which do a lot of damage to the overall values in an area when the pyramid finally collapses.

    Next time, why not actually talk to someone in the industry. They'll tell you that the market is in panic mode because of lax underwriting guidelines driven by Wall Street, too much liquidity in the market, too little wage growth which has caused higher slow pays and default rates than anticipated. They'll also tell you how to fix things the right way.

    Then you won't look like such an uninformed fool, Senator.


    Posted by mcblogger at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Loving me some Rick

    Why not head over to ActBlue! and throw a dollar (seriously, ONE DOLLAR you cheap bastard) to the man who impressed the hell out of everyone at Yearly Kos? To the guy who's just recently been added as an endorsed candidate of BlueAmerica?

    Put down the Krispy Kreme and drop a dollar to Rick!

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Dregs : TPA roundup

    It's Monday, and that means it is time once again for the Texas Progressive Alliance Weekly Blog Round-Up, where we review the best in Texas blogging from our various member blogs. This week's installment is brought to you by Vince at Capitol Annex.

    TxSharon at BlueDaze brings us an interesting story about drilling companies in Wise County getting caught lying about water usage. Sometimes, the truth just slips out as it did when an oil field worker told TXsharon the truth about water usage in
    Barnett Shale drilling: Depleting and polluting our water in Wise County, Texas.

    Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal asks " Will There Be Mercy For Kenneth Foster?"

    John C. at Bay Area Houston Blog tells us about the newest corporation and industry to exploit the Federal Arbitration Act-- Comcast, in Another
    Consumer Scam: Comcast Arbitration
    .

    If you want pictures of Rick Noriega at YearlyKos, Charles at Off The Kuff has them here.

    McBlogger at McBlogger looks at the mortgage industry brouhaha and decides the sky isn't falling after all.

    Easter Lemming does another of his Liberal News Digest's from progressive media. There really is a liberal news media, if you know where to look outside the mass media.

    WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts regarding Williamson County County Attorney Jana Duty filing a brief with AG Greg Abbott regarding whether County Judge and Commissioners can use outside counsel without the County Attorney's consent in County Attorney Asks AG Abbott For Opinion On Hiring Of Outside Legal Counsel.

    Hal at Half Empty points out that if you want quality education don't come to school bond issue meetings with box cutters.

    Vince at Capitol Annex
    takes a look at the briefs filed before the Attorney General in the opinion request on the power of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    South Texas Chisme tells how FEMA dollars are being used to shill for Allstate agents.

    And...Several Texas bloggers were also represented at Yearly Kos in Chicago, and did some great liveblogging. Here are some samples: Burnt Orange
    Report
    ; Muse from Musings was liveblogging all over the place, including at her blog where she brings us the ePluribus interview with Rick
    Noriega
    ; Markos
    of DailyKos' special endorsement of Rick Noriega
    ; a session on female bloggers; liveblogging of the the
    presidential forum
    ; and at Capitol Annex where she blogged more on the female blogger session here,
    the MSN-blog panel (also here,
    here,
    and here); and on the Local Blogging Round-Table at Musings.

    And, don’t forget about these other Texas Progressive Alliance Members:
    Three Wise Men,
    In The Pink Texas,
    Marc’s Miscellany,
    Common Sense,
    The Agonist,
    People’s Republic of Seabrook,
    B and B,
    Brains and Eggs,
    Texas Kaos,
    Feet To The Fire,
    and Who’s Playin’.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 06, 2007

    Murdoch buys Journal, everyone whines

    Despite WAY TOO MUCH self importance on the part of some members of the Bancroft family (some of whom said that Murdoch would DESTROY the 'quality' of the Journal...), Rupert Murdoch now has an agreement in place to purchase Dow Jones Co. and it's flagship newspaper, The Wall Street Journal.

    If you're asking "SO WHAT?" you're not alone. The only people I know who could really use what is basically the much fattened business section of any metro daily, already have access to Bloomberg. As for their opinions... if you really care about them, just watch Fox News. Or listen to a White House press briefing.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Another endless war... this time, the one on drugs

    The US and Mexico are close to inking another deal that will give Mexico US aid to continue fighting the money-wasting war on drugs. Mexico has been beset with violence, in the far north and south, caused by drug cartels clashing with the few law enforcement officials who aren't on the take.

    Think Chicago, 1930.

    Mexican President Felipe Calderón, locked in a bloody confrontation with drug cartels, is negotiating a counter-drug aid package with the Bush administration worth hundreds of millions of dollars, say several U.S. officials familiar with the discussions.

    Officials on both sides are working out the details of a package that resembles a similar plan for Colombia. The talks have been taking place quietly for several months and will be a central item on the agenda Aug. 20-21 when President Bush and Calderón are expected to meet in Québec.

    Mexican officials have been reluctant to go public with the discussions, mindful of the anti-U.S. sentiments harbored by many Mexicans. The conservative Calderón believes he has little choice but to enlist U.S. help given the cross-border nature of drug trafficking and the ruthlessness of Mexico's drug gangs, officials and observers told The Miami Herald.

    Most of the American officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic and because the details of the plan could change in coming weeks. In public, U.S. officials say little other than to acknowledge the discussions.

    ''We're working very closely with the Mexicans on counternarcotics on a variety of fronts and at all levels of government,'' said National Security Council spokeswoman Katherine Starr. ``Presidents Bush and Calderón look forward to discussing this and other issues when they meet in Canada in August.''

    But officials view the talks as a bold initiative by Calderón that underscores his resolve to tame drug-related violence -- most of it between rival cartels -- that has cost the lives of 3,000 Mexicans in the past year alone and forced the intervention of 20,000 federal troops.

    Of course, the plan still has to get through Congress, which will more than likely capitulate because of a few wayward dems (anyone seen Chettie? Nick?). And drop still more money into another financial black hole.

    End prohibition and fix your country, President Calderón.

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

    Stop an execution on August 30th

    Sean-Paul Kelley has a great piece up about stopping the execution of a man who helped someone murder his friend. See how I wrote that? It's gotta make you wonder why he'd be trying to stop that execution. Truth is, I wondered that myself until I read his article. You'll understand, too.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 05, 2007

    Once Again, The Homeland Secured

    Civil liberties took a beating over the weekend but at least Congress finally gets to take its summer vacation. The departing lawmakers showed they have no hard feelings towards Il Dunce despite all his criticism of them and granted Generalissimo Alberto Gonzalez ever-more expanded powers to wiretap without going through any messy formalities like pretending to pay lip service to quaint Eighteenth Century notions like Rule of Law.

    Although billed as part of the War on Terror, some experts question the effectiveness of the measure. Most Al Qaida cells are believed to have stopped using telephones and now communicate with one another through coded messages included in the news crawl on Fox News.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 02:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 04, 2007

    Bush schedules Minneapolis photo op

    Bullshit will be pumped up as bridges fall down.

    Seriously, fixing America's bridges is an expensive proposition. We might have to trim a year off Bush's War to pay for it.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 07:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 03, 2007

    Welcoming a new blog

    Welcome to the blog-o-sphere, Texas Cloverleaf! Glad to see you join us!

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

    No, June Katz, I DO NOT want my penis to be bigger

    and please, stop sending me this pic OVER and OVER again with the same gimpy girl.

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Just look at the 'tard, would you? I feel bad for laughing EVERY FUCKING TIME, yet still I laugh. Mostly because I only see this EIGHT THOUSAND TIMES PER DAY.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Tolls : Can we finally talk about infrastructure?

    So, a bridge collapsed in Minneapolis-St. Paul on Thursday. An aging, decrepit part of our interstate system failed during morning rush and may ultimately claim the lives of more than 30.

    Can we finally talk about making a real investment in our infrastructure? It's not like it doesn't need it. As Mark points out at BOR, Texas has almost 200 bridges that are rated the same as the 35W bridge in M-SP, structurally deficient. Of course, this didn't happen overnight. It's been going on more decades, the legacy of 'cut taxes and borrow' Republican policies that have left local, state and federal governments without the money to make improvements to the very systems that allow us to get from home to work. Or the grocery store. Or the hospital.

    The solution, recently, has been tolls and privatization, instead of raising the gas tax. Senator Watson even talked about it with the Aus Chron and pointed out that something has to be done...

    Watson wasn't around in 2003 for the original vote on the corridor and agreements with private companies to build toll roads. But he came to the Lege with voices ringing loudly in his ear -- those of his new constituents. "Part of the reason there is this vitriolic, partisan [no-toll or toll] debate is that we haven't had a thoughtful, systematic, transparent means of analyzing what we want to do," he says. "There are clearly two agreements in this community -- one, we are too badly congested, and two, we want it fixed. When we get to three -- how to do it -- now it's not as unanimous."

    What Watson understands and others (Krusee) don't is that we are BADLY in need of the equivalent of a Manhattan Project for transportation in this country. It's going to cost 600 Billion or more. Given that, doesn't it make sense to go with the cheapest option, the gas tax?

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    CradDICK, the biggest DICK in Austin

    Let's say you take over the job of someone who ostensibly like and respect. Let's say the company you work for wishes to honor your predecessor. Let's say you have control over that and decide to SHIT ALL OVER THE EVENT.

    What would that make you? To me, that would make you a giant dick. And that's exactly what (soon to be ex-)Speaker CradDICK is for 86ing former Speaker Laney's bust revealing ceremony. Via Vince at Capitol Annex...

    We all know that Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland) is less than ethical. Now, it seems he can’t even be polite.

    Sources tell Capitol Annex that House Speaker Tom Craddick has refused to allow any ceremony for the unveiling of the bust of former House Speaker Pete Laney in the annex of the Texas Capitol.

    Former Texas House Speakers including Gib Lewis and Billy Clayton have been honored by having their likenesses sculpted as bronze busts and placed in the capitol annex near the Capitol Cafeteria.

    And, each of the past several speakers was invited to small unveiling ceremonies when their busts were dedicated.

    Craddick has, however, refused to allow any honor for his predecessor.

    According to Capitol Annex’s sources, Rep. Toby Goolsby (R-Dallas) approached Speaker Craddick about a ceremony for Laney. Craddick reportedly replied with only the word, “no.” Goolsby reportedly persisted and Craddick consented that the bust could be placed by the others but forbid any ceremony and allegedly forbid anyone who knew about the placement of the bust from letting anyone know about its arrival or inciting anything to be done to mark the occasion.

    This is one of Craddick’s worst actions. It’s pure partisanship at its worst.

    Regardless of party or personal differences, a former speaker of the Texas House should be given his due just like other speakers were. There is a precedent and it should be followed. Craddick, will no doubt expect the same when his bust is dedicated in a couple of years—after he is voted out of the Speaker’s chair in 2009

    What IS it with the Republicans and their desire to shit all over the fine men and women who've served before them? I can't wait until CradDICK is a former Speaker. When his bust is revealed, I'm bringing a bag of dogshit to smear all over it.

    What? You weren't thinking of doing the same thing?

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 02, 2007

    Romney on the rampage

    So the former Massachusettes Governor spent time recently attacking his betters, also known as the Democratic candidates for President. Disregarding the fact that people, on balance, like Mike Gravel more than him, he launched into a diatribe against the three leading Democratic candidates who (wisely) farmed the comebacks to staff. Here's the Clinton bit...

    "Hillary Clinton just gave a speech the other day about her view on the economy. She said we have been an on-your-own society. She said it's time to get rid of that and replace that with shared responsibility and we're-in-it-together society," Romney told the crowd. "That's out with Adam Smith and in with Karl Marx."

    A Clinton spokeswoman shot back, challenging Romney's record.

    "Given how often Romney flip-flops, tomorrow he will be touting his membership in the Communist Party," Kathleen Strand said.

    Nicely done, Kathleen. Mitt, we ARE in it together. Adam Smith was never about EVERYTHING for me and NOTHING for you. Capitalism is about balance and the goals (an equitable distribution of wealth) are not that different than those of Marxism. It's the mechanism of the distribution (the market vs. the state) that's different. Only stupid private equity people would be unable to get that. What WAS it you did before you went into politics, Mitt?

    Then he went after Edwards...

    "To have someone like Senator Edwards stand up and say there's not a war on terror, that it's a Bush bumper sticker" is unacceptable, he said. "There is a war being waged by the terrorists. If I or any other Republican president is running this country, there will be a war waged on the terrorists."

    An Edwards spokeswoman said Romney's own vacillations should give voters pause.

    "It seems the only thing that Governor Romney has chosen to stand firm on is the misguided, out-of-touch belief that we should continue with George Bush's failed foreign policy in Iraq," Kate Bedingfield said.

    Gee... sure looks like the Democrats learned something from 2004. Mitt, you better hope you don't get the nomination. Even Dennis Kucinich would make you his bitch.

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The mortgage industry... what's going wrong?

    Sean-Paul has a good post up about the fallout in the mortgage business. While it's not completely accurate (true defaults are no where near as high as his estimate), it's a good piece detailing the problem in the business. We first commented on this in March and honestly, not much has changed. The weaker hands have continued to shake out and some of the larger players have had to ante up with additional equity (Bear Stearns with their hedge fund, GM with the GMAC-RFC sale) which they are by and large doing because the assets are performing.

    And that is the most stunning unreported fact. The loans are still performing. I asked the head of secondary marketing at my former employer point blank if he was going to cut Alt-A lending. Keep in mind, I used to work for one of the largest banks in the US and probably THE most conservative. Our Alt-A was almost as tight as conventional conforming. He told me that he foresaw no need because if the market wasn't there for a purchase, he'd hold the loans for sale and service them. Because they were performing perfectly.

    The issue with companies like AHM is that they weren't nearly as conservative in their underwriting as my former employer and they didn't have anything approaching the capital level. But that only scratches the surface... what happened to AHM was nothing short of rope-a-dope.

    Companies like AHM, which contrary to all the bullshit in the media was PRIMARILY a Conventional Conforming (Prime) and Alt-A lender, underwrote loans as part of a delegated correspondent relationship (with end investors who package the credits into mortgage backed securities) under the guidelines established BY the end investors. AHM used temporary money in the form of a warehouse line to fund it's loans until they are sold to one of those end investors. Those warehouse lines normally came from... wait for it... those same end investors. So, as the market tightened, and AHM was forced to repurchase some loans, they got stuck with loans that the end investors would no longer accept or would not pay as much for as they previously did. Since they were, in the opinion of management, good loans, they were held for sale. Problem is, when you are operating on a shoe string you can't do that for long. In their case, they could do it for less than 8 months. As the warehouse line filled up with unsaleable loans and the market didn't come back, the end investors whose sudden guidelines changes had caused all the problems in the first place, demanded additional equity to secure the warehouse line. When it didn't come, they pulled the plug.

    Now, does this mean there will be a depression? No. Wages are finally starting to lift a little which will provide the next leg of growth to the economy. Housing is going to feel still more pain and the weaker hands will continue to fold. Which is great news for people like me.

    And for those of you interested in buying a condo in downtown Austin... you'll want to wait for a bit. There hasn't been enough pain in that market and to be honest, the financing structures that sustained the market on the sale side no longer exist (try to get a nodoc option arm on a non-owner occupied condo). Fewer financing options means fewer buyers and when the market goes into into imbalance from few sellers and many buyers to the exact opposite, look out below.

    At the end of the day, the real winners are going to be the hedge funds who are stepping in and buying these companies for pennies on the dollar. They will end up paying millions for loans that should be worth billions. And homeowners will keep making those payments, month after month.

    There is ALWAYS a floor to the price of a given asset, a point at which buyers are plentiful.


    Posted by mcblogger at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Get it together, kids!

    Apparently, the Democrats are at odds with one another about energy legislation. Can y'all please stop acting like Republicans, work this out and get a good bill passed?

    Oh, and if ANY of you are listening to the Reps from Michigan or those in the pockets of oil producers, then you're dumb as fucking hell.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 01, 2007

    Jokes of My Father's : Sometimes they're gross

    The caption to this picture said "You want me to do WHAT?!?!" and asked you to focus on the look on the dog's face...

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Ewe. Dad's can be hella gross at times.

    Posted by mcblogger at 05:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The New Corporate Trend

    Please hold dear The United Corporations of America’s glorious solution to troublesome resources’ ungrateful demands for despicable pay raises from paternal, benevolent profit centers who must maintain discipline so to satisfy our individual needs.

    The Ministry of Kind and Understanding Corporatocracy reminds us that beloved leader Rupert Murdoch’s first editorial in the WSJ will rail against government’s burdensome regulations preventing employers from killing their employees.

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 03:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Wiretaps : Give me more!

    Oh, fucking hell. We first talked about this back at the end of 2005 when the NSA's warrantless wiretap program was first disclosed. Turns out, it was FAR broader than anyone thought

    Kate Martin, executive director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the new disclosures show that Gonzales and other administration officials have "repeatedly misled the Congress and the American public" about the extent of NSA surveillance efforts.

    "They have repeatedly tried to give the false impression that the surveillance was narrow and justified," Martin said. "Why did it take accusations of perjury before the DNI disclosed that there is indeed other, presumably broader and more questionable, surveillance?"

    All this comes out around the same time that the Administration is lobbying for (I kinda phoned it in, didn't I?) EXPANDED WIRETAP POWERS WITHOUT WARRANTS.


    Posted by mcblogger at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Turns out, Americans are pissed at the R's in Congress

    We've seen a number of polls saying the same thing... that Americans are pissed at Congress for not doing more to end the war and put a real check on the power of our out of control President. As we've noted here, it's not the Democrats, it's the Republicans who are the real problem. Apparently, they didn't get the message of the 2006 election which was that Americans are, by and large, tired of their horseshit.

    It's now obvious that Americans on the whole see things exactly the way we do...

    Do you approve or disapprove of the way (ITEM) are doing their job?

    7/21/07 Summary Table

    Approve Disapprove No opinion
    a. the Republicans in Congress 34 64 2
    b. the Democrats in Congress 46 51 2

    If things keep going the way they are, and Bush doesn't cancel the 2008 election through some ridiculous mechanism, we'll see a very Democratic Congress in January, 2009. Maybe then we can get something done.


    Posted by mcblogger at 07:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack