January 31, 2008
Thank you, Free Market Foundation!
The Free Market Foundation, a group financed almost entirely by the same big businesses that have been bleeding Texans dry for years, has decided to take on the bipartisan Parent PAC. By talking about the TPA naming it's head, Carolyn Boyle, Texan Of The Year in 2006.
First, a word about the the FMF... some of their past hits include:
Of course, the TPA endorsed her because of her hard work not only to maintain the tradition of public education in Texas, but also because of her success in beating back the candidates the FMF loved. Our support for anything else is irrelevant to our endorsement of Boyles. So, we have to wonder if maybe the FMF is mad because we don't share their goal to kill public education in Texas. Oh well, sucks to be them.
One last thing... in FMF circles we are relatively unknown. The FMF has just pointed out all the member blogs of the TPA. We're not particularly fond of the FMF or their ilk and talk about their failures daily. And the FMF just pointed us out. Thanks, guys!
Texas in play?
Hal at Half Empty gives a some intellectual weight to a theory I've been telling people about for a while... that Texas, despite not being part of the Feb 5th mega-primary, may be THE primary for both the Republicans and Democratic candidates.
Bring me the sparkly
Apparently there is a diamond the size of a star. Well, it's the remnant of a star... the carbonized core that has crystallized to diamond. It's only 50 LY away and I really want it.
Get it for me, will ya? I want it before that bitch Liz Taylor tries to make it into a ring.
Dr. Patrick Johnson isn't so much for Democracy...
Apparently, he also thinks the country was founded a Christian Republic. Click here to see more of his delusional rant if you want some laughs.
January 30, 2008
Following up on Mr. McBlogger’s earlier post, John Edwards drops out of race.
His departure makes you wonder what voters, especially democratic-leaning ones want from a candidate and the party.
Has a corporatist mindset so indoctrinated this country , that even Democratic voters can no longer grasp that the term “working-class” is honorable and defines common good. Has the credo, “Looking out for number one”, overtaken “We are all in this together”.
Though Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are hardly progressives, this Rolling Stones article takes both to task on their conservative nature, even though much more so on Clinton.
Even saying that at least they’re not as conservative as Republican candidates misses the point.
A final punch at Thompson
Just like Fred, this video is tired, old and LAME especially when you consider that the majority of it was ripped from one of those retarded Chuck Norris emails.
Good riddance, hillbilly dipshit. You're a lousy actor, a failure of a Senator and I'm sure a bad lay.
Art Hall and a real conflict of interest
Let me first state that despite his age and his lack of skill as a politico, I'm voting for Dale Henry for RR Commissioner. He knows the oil and gas industry from the ground up and will do an excellent job both for industry and consumers. The RR Commission regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas and we've had nothing but industry rubber stamps on it. It's time that we have someone there who'll actually do a good job for Texans and our environment.
That said, I didn't have much of problem with his opponent. Until now. Last night in Decatur, during a candidate forum, Art Hall was asked a direct question about a possible conflict of interest should he win. Specifically, he was asked if it was a conflict of interest for his wife to work for Valero Energy, one of the companies he would be regulating if elected. He stated that it wasn't and he knew it wasn't because he contacted Valero and asked them.
Wait... Art, you contacted Valero and asked them, the company you'd be regulating, if it was a conflict of interest? Hall is a bright guy so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say it wasn't an issue of a lack of knowledge. So, then what was it? What is the explanation for contacting the wolf about whether or not it was OK to allow them to eat the sheep? Was it so easy to accept that her job (working on international issues for Valero) wouldn't be at risk should you vote the wrong way?
BUT, that's not all... the TTC is once again becoming a significant campaign issue and Art was asked directly about his support for tolls and the TTC. His response, to the say the least, was lacking. While the RRC won't have direct authority over privatizing our roads, it is a serious question for a candidate as it can show a willingness to privatize public assets at taxpayer expense. It's not clear where Hall stands on this and until it is, I'd feel a lot better not having him in office.
Shelly Whines... about 'liberal intolerance'
Oh, this is funny...
Now comes fascinating statistical evidence that the Left is indeed more hateful than the Right. Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks writes in the WSJ today about annual surveys that shed light on just how unhinged liberals really are:In 2004, the University of Michigan’s American National Election Studies (ANES) survey asked about 1,200 American adults to give their thermometer scores of various groups. People in this survey who called themselves “conservative” or “very conservative” did have a fairly low opinion of liberals — they gave them an average thermometer score of 39. The score that liberals give conservatives: 38. Looking only at people who said they are “extremely conservative” or “extremely liberal,” the right gave the left a score of 27; the left gives the right an icy 23. So much for the liberal tolerance edge.
WOW. A difference of one and a difference of four and suddenly, as if by magic, liberals are WAY more hateful that conservatives.
See, the problem with liberals is that they, on balance, tend to take attacks on little things, like the Constitution, very seriously. They tend to view those people as traitors and rightfully so. The question for Shelly is, why don't you?
Edwards and some R douchebag leave Presidential Race
First, let's just point out that every member of the Texas Supreme Court is a Republican. Second, lets remember that 'tort reform' was going to free up the courts and speed up decisions on cases. So, why is it taking so long (in some cases, YEARS) to get decisions out of the Court? Well, they're busy doing things... other than their jobs.
At a time when the Texas Supreme Court's backlog has reached record levels, Justice Paul Green spent a recent workday driving to Corpus Christi to speak to a group of appeals lawyers.
"It's 40 (degrees) and raining," Green said Friday from his cell phone. "Yes, I've got stuff to do at the office, but some of us like to do this."
Green, who wrote the fewest opinions — four — of the nine justices on the high court during the 2007 fiscal year, said it's important to get out of the office and talk about the court's work.
"If all of a sudden I said, I'll just stay in my chambers and work on opinions, I don't think people would like that," said Green, adding that he has a "bunch of cases" that are ready to be issued.
Uhm... I bet the people waiting on decisions WOULD LIKE IT VERY MUCH. You might remember, Green is one of the Justices facing ethics issues. Why not deal with the backlog, Paul. Then fix your ethics reports and pay your fines if there are any assessed. THEN you can go on your little speaking engagements.
January 29, 2008
Roundin' up the TPA
Another week, another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog Round-Up. This week's edition is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex, with thanks to Charles from Off The Kuff for assistance.
TXDOT has dug itself into quite a hole by using your money to lobby for the TTC and to pay for an advertising campaign to sell the wildly unpopular TTC to the citizens of Texas. McBlogger at McBlogger has the details and a great video.
Hal at Half Empty got his TI-83 out and ran the numbers on the Presidential Primaries. Conclusion? Texas has a chance to crown a king (or queen).
WhosPlayin? looks at the case of a teen brought up on charges for "huffing" hand sanitizer and is frustrated at the lack of discretion caused by "zero-tolerance" policies.
The action plan for Monday's FISA-with-telecom-immunity legislation is contained in PDid's post at Brains and Eggs. Don't strain your dialing finger, and don't forget to
call Senators Corndog and Hutch. It's a waste of time, yes, but they still need to hear from us.
Are you a MOTO? If not, you will be after reading State Sen. Kirk Watson's guest blog this week at Capitol Annex.
Dawnna Dukes is having problems getting volunteers. So, she's turned to Craigs List. While this is about as big a deal as how Ina Garten makes a tart tartine (with plums! OMG!), the funny is in the reaction from the Dukes campaign to questions about it. Well, that and the fact that an eight term incumbent can't find blockwalkers. I'm sure there's some way for some one to blame Glen Maxey for that.
In other Dukes news, someone has finally filed an ethics complaint against Dawnna over those credit card charges. According to Copelin over at the Statesman, Dukes has STILL not committed to correcting the reports prior to the primary. Watch them get filed on March 4th.
HD48 Republicans... in love with CradDICK?
Rep. Donna Howard is facing two Republicans who are vying to get beaten by her in November. One has out and out said he'd support CradDICK for Speaker, the other won't say one way or the other. More than likely, either will be taking money from CradDICK in the general.
Folks in HD 48 have a real choice...A Representative who actually, you know, represents them or one who more than likely will represent CradDICK. And Alan Sager who is supporting Pam Waggoner in the race. Remember Alan?
The supply side fallacy
Once more, the real world results of supply side economics are deficits and economic recession. Period. The Republicans have been talking about the declining deficits. However, they aren't declining anymore. Even before the fiscal 'stimulus' package is added on, the deficit was expected to hit around $250 bn this year.
Even without the stimulus package, the Congressional Budget Office is forecasting the deficit for 2008 will jump to $219 billion, up from last year's $163 billion. And CBO said its new estimate did not include still unapproved outlays for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will probably push the deficit to around $250 billion.
Which makes Bush's whining about less than 1% of the Federal budget (earmarks) less than genuine given that it's mostly his off the charts military spending that is driving up the federal deficit. Not the projects that Members of Congress put in the federal budget to do something for their districts.
January 28, 2008
FISA Telecom Amnesty goes down in flames
Good work, Democrats. Thank you for standing up for the Constitution.
FISA SHOWDOWN ALERT
The FISA bill is headed for a cloture vote in about 40 minutes in the Senate. Greenwald has a story up about it and FDL is going to be liveblogging it. We won't because we have day jobs. However, we will be making calls to Senators about it from our personal phones. You should as well!
Calling Bullshit : The Statesman loves 'GOTCHA!' reporting
Here's a fun story... during a recent Ed Board meeting at the Statesman, the Board spent a large part of the meeting talking not about what the candidate would do if elected to the office for which they were running. No, they talked only about the candidate's personal life. The candidate was Glen Maxey who, in 2000, approached DA Earle for help with his then partner, Brian Eager. Eager was and is mentally ill and suffered from hallucinations combined with addiction problems. When he was arrested for a DWI as well as cocaine possession and faced jail time, Maxey went to Earle to explain that Eager was mentally ill and asked if there were any special treatment programs available through TDC. The DA, according to Maxey, didn't know anything about treatment for the mentally ill and went ahead with the prosecution, securing what they had requested... 5 years probation and 1 day of jail time. Eager received no treatment and was subsequently arrested and jailed again in 2003. Maxey and Eager have since split up and Maxey says he did not ask for 'special treatment' for Eager, other than about treatment programs for the mentally ill. Earle's recollection does not contradict this account since asking about treatment programs was, apparently to him, asking for a lesser punishment than his office was seeking.
Now, it's well known the Statesman hates them some Glen so they aren't exactly an unbiased source. To be honest, I'm not really sure why the Statesman even endorses candidates since few people, if any, pay attention to them. As a sign of how seriously you should take them, Hank Gilbert who ran for Agriculture Commission was appalled that during HIS meeting with the board, Arnold Garcia appeared to fall asleep while Gilbert was discussing alternative energy crops, cane ethanol and how it could reshape Texas Agriculture and help us to kick the foreign oil habit. Todd Staples, his opponent, was a big fan of toll roads. The Statesman endorsed Staples.
All that aside, are there any of us who can say we wouldn't ask for something similar for a loved one if we knew the DA? How much respect would you have for someone who didn't? For me, the answer is 'not much'. Despite the Statesman's sledgehammer attempt to paint Maxey as a politico demanding special treatment, all it really does is show that the man actually cares enough about people to try and get them help. I can't think of any better quality for candidate who, if elected, will have the power to foreclose on people.
You know, I've been ready for the writer's strike to end for weeks now and still the evil producers let it continue, hoping to bend the writers to their will and regardless of the impact on us. What's it all over? Digital rights and royalties. See, whenever media is sold or distributed over the internet, producers, actors and directors get a cut. Notice that the people who actually write the script are left out of that. Yeah, doesn't seem fair to me, either. So, I'm all about letting the writers have what they want.
Here's my plea. If there's anyone out there with connections in the WGA, please ask them specifically which producers are dragging this out. Then we'll boycott anything they have done or will do in the future unless. they. cave.
It's bad enough that this has returned American Gladiators to television, now (according to Barfly) it's also cost me the rest of the season of 30 Rock. The only show I actually watch on network TV. Needless to say, I'm pissed and want to do anything I can to make a producer's life miserable.
January 27, 2008
More on Escobar's opponent
There's been a pretty lively discussion overt at BOR regarding Republicans running in the Democratic Primary. We talked about a specific race earlier today, that of Rep. Juan Escobar who's fighting off a challenge from Tara Rios Ybarra. Not only did she find the time in 2006 to donate $1,000 to the campaign of the douche who ran against Judge Hinojosa, she also had a spare moment to pose for a pic with him... and 39%.
Know your primary candidates, folks!
January 26, 2008
There Will Be Blood
Okay, we get it. Oilmen are ruthless. Who knew?
AFL-CIO endorses Grant
Matt at BOR has the post up...very good news for Dan!
In other Grant related news, it appears that Dan did have a role in the Kerry campaign in 2004. Which puts a lie to the rumors circulating around to the contrary.
January 25, 2008
Loving the news Edwards video
Telecom immunity again?
That's right, kids! Much like that horrible casserole your mother LOVED making as a child, telecom immunity is back. This time, the shriveled little troll Harry Reid has joined with Cracker McConnell to shove this through...Greenwald has the text of their convo on the floor yesterday...
We have to finish FISA this week. Everyone should be aware of that point. We have to finish it this week. I know there are important trips people want to take. We have the very important economic conference in Davos that Democrats and Republicans alike would like to go to.
I say, unless we finish the bill Thursday -- and we will not be able to get to it until tomorrow night-- unless we finish the bill on Thursday, then we are going to have to continue working this week until we finish this bill. We have to finish this bill. It is not fair to the House to jam them so that they have 1 day to act on this legislation.
If we finish it this week, I have spoken to the Speaker today and they will work to complete this matter next week. It would be to everyone's advantage if we had more time to do this.
I respect what the Republican leader has said, but everyone here should understand all weekend activities have to be put on hold until we finish this bill. Now, it is possible we could finish it fairly quickly. We are going to work from the Intelligence bill, and if amendments are offered that people don't like, I would suggest they move to table those amendments. Because if people think they are going to talk this to death, we are going to be in here all night. This is not something we are going to have a silent filibuster on. If someone wants to filibuster this bill, they are going to do it in the openness of the Senate.
No, no... that wasn't McConnell. That was OUR Majority Leader, Harry Reid. Makes you feel good to have a Democrat in the Senate who's working so hard to make the President's life easy. Who else but Harry Reid would take
We at McBlogger would like to take a moment to thank Senators Dodd, Feingold and Kennedy for standing up to the little old man from Nevada.
Have some fun... take a survey!
Tinafish and the TX GOP have decided to do a survey to find out what's really important to voters...
We are pleased to share with you today our next set of questions related to foreign policy. I'm certain that you are frightened like me at the thought of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama making these important decisions.
Remember that the results of these surveys will be provided directly to each presidential candidate. We want your voice to be heard right now even as the candidates are in other states.
Click here to take their little survey.
TOLLS : BUSTED!
Here's a bit of fun... at the TTC-69 Townhall in Hempstead, Hank Gilbert filmed Texas Transportation Commissioner Houghton ADMITTING to using taxpayer funds to lobby for the TTC in violation of state law. In this clip, Houghton admits to hiring a lobbyist in DC to lobby for more highway money for Texas.
He's right about that number. The problem is, we've been sending majority R delegations to Washington for years and getting nothing in return. See, that's what members of Congress from this state are supposed to do... get transportation dollars flowing in.
Way to go TURF and fantastic job to Hank Gilbert for leading this fight. For those of you who don't know, one of Hank's promises during the election was to stay on top of the TTC and tolling whether he won the election or not.
Good to see at least one guy who ran for office is keeping his promises. God knows Staples isn't.
Am I the only one...
...who wants to see this?
Senator Watson talks to YOU
Note from McBlogger: State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) was kind enough to write a guest blog for the Texas Progressive Alliance as we continue to push our TexRoots 2008 Slate of Candidates. Texas Progressive Alliance Blogs are publishing this guest blog today. We have a special place in our heart for this piece... click here to find out why. While we do get irritated with our Senator from Travis County from time to time, we do love him to death.
A few months back, a certain progressive blogger took note of a piece I had published. This writer responded with an entry that was mostly complementary – I'd guess we agree about 90 percent of the time. But then, after hitting a point I thought was pretty inarguable, the writer called me a "MOTO."
Most of you who read Texas' great progressive blogs probably know what a "MOTO" is. I, on the other hand, had to turn to my 18-year-old son (and pop culture crutch) Preston, who steered me to something called urbandictionary.com. There, I finally learned the truth:
I am, it seems, a "Master Of The Obvious".
It was kind of a frustrating revelation, partly because it's true. But if I've learned anything at all in my year as a State Senator, it's that what's so obvious to me (and to acronym-wielding bloggers) seems downright foreign to so many others – particularly the Republican leadership in the Texas Capitol.
Here are just a few MOTO moments from the past few months:
•It's wrong for a governor to use a 39 percent mandate to rig state agencies in ways that benefit corporate contributors, privatize public roads, and ignore the real health and educational needs of this state.
•It's wrong for a lieutenant governor to wage a partisan campaign to ram through a voter screening bill that targets Hispanics and the elderly. It's worse to force a very ill senator set up a sick bed outside the Senate Chamber simply to block such a terrible, discriminatory proposal.
•It's wrong for a speaker of the House to stand before a body of democratically elected officials who gave him his office, and then declare he has absolute power to ignore them.
•It's wrong for Supreme Court justices to stretch campaign finance laws, or to ignore law and precedent in rulings that protect political contributors, or to take advantage of a politicized criminal justice process.
•And it's very wrong for a high court judge to slam shut the doors of justice as early as possible, even when it means sending a man to his death.
All pretty obvious, right? Well, not to the people who've run this state for all these years. And that's where we all have work to do.
We are right. We are anxious to do great things for Texas, to restore opportunity, and to create reasons to hope for a better future.
But we can't just know that. We can't just talk to ourselves.
We can't assume it's obvious.
We must make it apparent to anyone who cares about this state and where it's headed, and we must remind them of the most obvious statement of all: Texans cannot trust the Republican leadership.
I'm talking about the political bosses, bullies, ideologues and figure heads that control the agenda, bury the opposition, and block any bill that runs counter to their dogma.
I'm talking about the folks who are more interested in taking irresponsible pledges than in solving Texas' challenges, who will deny the most verifiable fact if it doesn't conform to their ideology, and who will embrace every budget trick before they level with Texans about what people are worth to them.
I'm talking about the select group that's denied children health care at any cost, that's allowed our colleges and universities to become overcrowded, underfunded and inadequate, that's watched our highways deteriorate while forcing Texans to choose between crushing traffic and private toll roads, and that's denied and deferred environmental problems, leaving our children to fix them.
Here's what's most obvious: only the Democratic Party will bring about the positive changes that Texans need and demand.
That means we have to do all we can this year -- we must make it obvious -- that the people of Texas must challenge the so-called absolute power of the Republican leadership. Once we make MOTOs out of everyone, Texas will elect strong Democrats in 2008.
Perry's staff is in some hot water
Remember that guy who filed all those requests for emails from the Governor's office? Well, the first batch is in and they are a hoot.
One e-mail from former Secretary of State Jack Rains sparked a heated discussion about the possibility that former state Rep. Ron Wilson, D-Houston, could be appointed by Perry to a high-level state post, such as the Texas Department of Public Safety oversight commission or the University of Texas Board of Regents.
"I cannot imagine a worse Republican appointment," Rains wrote Perry's office Nov. 2. "I would hope every Republican will urge the governor to never consider this racist for any office."
Wilson is black. Last May, he briefly served as House deputy parliamentarian under Republican Speaker Tom Craddick.
After receiving a copy of the e-mail, Perry's appointments secretary, Ken Anderson, wrote back that Rains, a veteran power broker in Texas Republican circles, had been drinking when he wrote the message.
"Ron might be called many things, but racist is NOT one of them," Anderson wrote. "Jack must have written that late in the afternoon after coming back from one of his long liquid lunches."
Rains told the Star-Telegram he wanted an apology from Anderson.
"I don't know Mr. Anderson. I don't drink at lunch, and he doesn't know me very well or he wouldn't say something stupid like that. You may quote me on that," Rains said.
In one series of e-mail exchanges, aides passed around a news article about state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.
In the Texas Weekly article, one of Zaffirini's opponents, former Webb County Judge Louis Bruni, calls the longtime senator an "evil, vindictive, mean woman."
"Can you believe this quote?" Kathy Walt, Perry's deputy chief of staff, wrote in an e-mail to fellow top aides.
"Truth can be mean," Black responded.
Zaffirini called Black's comments "outrageous" and suggested he was angry that she helped lead a successful drive to restore millions of dollars in community college funding that Perry had vetoed last year.
Black declined to discuss the specifics of the exchanges or to say whether apologies would be forthcoming.
Let's see... you managed to call a member of your own party who was appointed by 39% to be Secretary of State no less, a drunk. Then you try to float the idea of appointing Ron Wilson to something which is, in and of itself, the sign of a VERY disturbed intellect. Then you call a State Senator an "evil, vindictive, mean woman".
Nice work, y'all!
January 24, 2008
Huckabee Wins Presidency
Fighting off avatars of monstrous flying beasts, an army of Pee Wee Herman clones, and a zombified Gypsy Rose Lee, Hope, Arkansas’ favorite dominionist wins the Second Life presidential race.
The outcome was still in doubt until Mike Huckabee beat back a late surge by Lee Mercer, who in typical fashion was confused by the results and started giving a victory speech, only to be stopped when an irate Al Sharpton tasered him.
Said Sharpton, “Good Lord, the man was setting back the civil rights movement 50 years, and was spouting more nonsense than me on my best days.”
The president-elect, who had been trailing Ron Paul early until the residents in this bizarre world figured out that Paul was even crazier than them, was holding his victory celebration in the five million square foot super mega-church built by San Antonio’s own dominionist, John Hagee.
His Vice-President running mate, resurrected poltergeist James Stockdale, was nowhere to be seen, but word filtered to Huckabee that Stockdale was still in mortal combat with Dungeon and Dragons aficionado Clement Manor.
Several months ago, Manor had tried to use the Paralytic Poison from Astral Stalker to force Huckabee to deplete his SL teleporting skills. In some quirk of cosmic dustup, the strategy interfaced with Second Life’s operating system, pulling the deceased Stockdale, whose afterlife was spent sailing his yacht with Playboy bunnies in a very calm and peaceful Gulf of Tonkin, through a dimensional rift. Needless to say, Stockdale was livid, and swore vengeance on Manor.
In his first speech since winning, Huckabee, who declared that his ulterior motive for winning was to cause an apocalyptic ending to Second Life, was cheered by all out-worlders who have grown increasingly hostile to this wasteful human endeavor.
Not to be outdone, a revived Mercer, said, “Scrumpdelicious attribution from protective regulate the giving of enforcement of exact moment of equivalent regarding federal autobiography through certification…..”
He was then vaporized.
Michael Bloomberg, along with running mate Mary Carey, had created a parallel candidacy with the slogan, “Bi-partisan and unity for bi-partisan and unity sake with emphasis on bi-partisan and unity… oh, and change too.”
However, the liaisons of community standards for SL invoked the “Big Six” rule on Carey who on campaign stops would clap twice and say “Strap-on, strap-off”, and then proceed to demonstrate the act. A bit of a rile developed from a great number of male residences who had marked hard core porn as their number one interest during the SL login process.
A fine candidate for President
Why don't the crazies ever file to run as a Republican? Oh... wait. Forgot about him.
Juan Escobar has an opponent with CradDICK connections
Well, it would appear that Juan Escobar's opponent is being helped by none other than Joe Garcia, the Republican Leininger lobbyist who is actively supporting Mindy Montford in the Democratic Primary. I met Mindy last night (Burberry shirt, Mindy) at UDems and honestly found her to be an intelligent person who would make a great DA. Anywhere BUT Travis County.
The unique nature of the Travis County DA's office makes this an important post in statewide politics. I'm sure there's no quid pro quo between her and her R supporters. However, politics is all about perception and the perception is damn hard to shake. Especially when you have a major supporter and contributor pushing hard to take out a good member of the Democratic Caucus in the House.
New sense of bipartisanship in DC dies
The WaPo has an article up about the rush to get a stimulus package through and the partisan 'cease-fire' that is even now beginning to break. The money quote on the economy comes from some minor R douche...
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) fired back, blaming the nation's economic ills on the Democratic-controlled Congress. "One year into a liberal Democrat majority in Congress, surprise, surprise, the economy is struggling," he said. "You don't need to apply liberal principles and policies on an economic slowdown that is being driven by liberal policies on Capitol Hill."
Uhm, Mike... the D's haven't been able to pass large parts of the economic plan that might have saved the citizens of this country because Bush keeps vetoing the legislation they've worked so hard on and you keep voting to sustain those vetoes. The economy HAS been struggling for years because the foolish ideologically driven policies of you and your party. If I were you, Mike, I would remember a piece of sage advice we've all heard from time to time : Better to be silent and thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.
According to several sources, the 'stimulus' package has the support it needs to go to the President. However, it's all smoke and mirrors. It'll be June before a taxpayer sees a check and those business tax cuts will be used for dividends, not job creation. The only difference between now and what the Republicans did in 2001 and 2003 is that the Democrats were intimately involved this time. Nice work, boys and girls. You all fail Econ101.
In other news...
Commission member Ted Houghton of El Paso was blunt about Perry’s influence.
“This is the governor’s program. If we go in and try to scrap some piece of his program, I think we’re going to have hell to pay with our boss, and that’s the governor,” Houghton said. “He was elected by the citizens, not us. We are an extension of what he believes.” (SAEN)
And here I was stupidly thinking y'all were serving the citizens of Texas, not the narrow interests of 39% and his campaign contributors. So much for the whole 'being a good public servant' thing. Now there are rumors about a replacement for Williamson being shoved down 39%'s throat that will make a lot of Democrats VERY happy.
But due to the support several of its members showed for Craddick during the unsuccessful challenge by Jim Pitts and later in the session, they have been tagged as Craddick Ds. Strother, who is also Dukes' campaign spokesman, called it "comparable to using a slur, whether it be a racial or sexual. It's a lowbrow way." Since no Democrat was running for speaker, he said, "The difference between Pitts and Craddick is different right-wingers blocking legislation." Still, several other members of the group have since distanced themselves; District 45's Patrick Rose went from seconding Craddick's speaker nomination at the opening of the last session to disavowing him on the floor by sine die.
So, now we're racists for not liking Dawnna. Oh hell, Colin. Why not make something else up about the differences between Pitts and CradDICK? The reality is, Pitt's would have been a much weaker Speaker than CradDICK and would have been forced by the Democrats to, for instance, fully fund CHIP. Thanks to Dawnna and the other members of the Iscariot Caucus, we got CradDICK again.
It's also worth noting that she affirmed she may still support CradDICK...
Even now, she says, she would not rule out backing Craddick as speaker again next session.
That should come as no surprise... after all, you never know when a client might need some help in the way of state taxpayer largess.
Roundin' up the TPA
It's time for another weekly roundup of Texas Progressive Alliance blogs. This week's roundup is brought to you by Steve at WhosPlayin while Vince recovers from his wild weekend of covering the AFL-CIO Convention
WhosPlayin takes a look at a spoof website that has turned a Denton County Commissioner's race ugly.
John Coby cautions Houston City Council about Houstonians for Responsible Growth.
BossKitty at Bluebloggin points out how Dick Cheney show his loyalty toward the people who are suppose to take a bullet for him; Secret Service Takes The Fall - Cheney Not To Be Inconvenienced
McBlogger looks at Rep Dawnna Dukes' conflict of interest in helping the film industry and wonders if she's truly non-committal in the Speaker's race.
The Texas Cloverleaf informs everyone about the TTC Townhall 2.0 hearings have begun. If you care where TTC 69 is going, you best attend for your voice to be heard.
Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News still can't believe what has happened to what was once Houston's premiere radio news source. The new Republican Propaganda Radio Network had Rush Limbaugh calling a spade a spade with expertise with using hoes. Gary provides alternatives for your radio listening and a contact link to KTRH 740 AM.
January 23, 2008
Big news on the the TURF front
This isn't good...as part of the discovery process in TURF's lawsuit against TXDOT, they've uncovered massive payments and retainers to lobbyists who were used to 'sell' toll roads to elected officials. Just to clarify, taxpayer dollars are being used to lobby elected officials to support something that taxpayers don't want. Check out the link for the names and amounts.
HD 52 Candidates in Review
EOW has a great piece up with help from the AAS beaking down the R candidates in HD 52. The one that will probably oppose Maldonado is Daniel, the Krusee clone. He loves him some tolls which will go over big with the toll loving people in HD 52.
Ok, kids... local politics time. Councilmember Jennifer Kim is running for re-election this May. We've talked about some of her antics before but over the last year or so, she's become the kind of councilmember that many of us who supported Margot Clarke hoped she'd be. Yeah, she's had some pretty big PR gaffes but that's only because she doesn't have my head on her shoulders. Will's had them as well and I think many will remember Lee Leffingwell's captivating performance at DFT during the fight over the ballot propositions in 2006.
Needless to say, our electeds at the muni level are human. Like the rest of us. Which means they screw up just like you and me. Sometimes to embarrassing effect.
Beyond that though, Kim's stood up for Austinites time and time again. Her opponent, Randi Shade, seems like a reasonable and decent person. That being said she has a stink on her that won't go away. It's the same one that's starting to emanate from Will, that of tolls and overbuilding luxury condos downtown.
If I'm elected, I'll work to solve our traffic problems, keep our air and water clean, keep Austin affordable for middle-class families, deliver reliable and efficient city services, and restore the community's trust and confidence in City Council Place 3. We can do better, and with your help we will.
This all sounds great, but it's the SOS we get every cycle from candidates. 'Solve our traffic problems'? How'd you like to do that without money from the Lege? Keep Austin affordable for middle class families? OK, what part? Maybe plant all the middle class folks in the outlying areas while the Council and city staff work diligently to Manhattanize central (and no, this isn't an 'anti-density' rant... this is an anti-stratification rant, OK M1EK?).
None of this is to say Randi's a bad person. However, it's pretty clear that she's fallen in with people that have convinced her they have the right answer. The same folks who have proven political poison for many. I'm talking about the Chamber and the people who control endorsements for the service unions. It isn't really the firefighters who endorsed Randi. It's the people who finance those organizations. The same folks also endorsed Cid Galindo. We talked about him here. He's also managed to raise $7,350 in contributions from just 22 people. Impressive isn't it? He says the donations are from a 'broad spectrum of Austinites'. I don't know about you, but I'd like to see any 22 people who could be called a 'broad spectrum of Austinites'.
Shade and Galindo, while I'm sure they're nice people, as candidates are nothing more than the same old bullshit piled a little higher.
And I'm goddamn tired of seeing tall piles of bullshit.
January 22, 2008
Ol' Scrotum Face Calls It Quits
Fred Thompson, who for some inexplicable reason was once considered a leading contender for the GOP Presidential nomination, ended his quest for the White House today. Well, "quest" might actually be too purposeful a term. What Fred (described as "dumb as hell" by Richard Nixon) did was more akin to wandering from room to room looking for... oh, damn. "Honey! what was I looking for again?"
Jeri, Thompson's trophy wife. expressed relief that the campaign was finally over and that now hubby no longer had an excuse to put off cleaning out the garage.
A Fundraiser for Mindy
There's a fundraiser for Mindy Montford next week... here are the deets:
Dear fellow friends: You are cordially invited to join Chuck Mains and Joe Garcia for a fundraising event for the election of
Mindy Montford Candidate for Travis County District Attorney
Tuesday, January 29th, 2008 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Ringside at Sullivan's 300 Colorado Street
Thank you for your consideration.
My problems with this...
Chuck Mains is a member of Senator Eltife's (R - Tyler) staff.
You know, I wasn't so much for this 'the Republicans are trying to sneak one in one us' paranoia going around, but now I'm all about it. Which is why I'm pointing you to this link from Vince.
Finally... am I the only one who has a problem with a DA named 'Mindy'? It's like a sheriff named 'Pickles'. Mindy, thrilled you got away from the monomaniacal McCracken. However, you're too close to some people who need to STAY THE FUCK OUT OF THIS RACE. Oh, and if anyone goes to the fundraiser, please let me know. I'll meet you for drinks later to debrief. And I'LL BUY.
Giuliani the vengeful dick
Bet you money someone in the Giuliani campaign gets fired for not killing this story in the NYT about Giuliani's tenure as Mayor of NYC. Let's just say he left a lot of bodies in his wake...
In August 1997, James Schillaci, a rough-hewn chauffeur from the Bronx, dialed Mayor Giuliani’s radio program on WABC-AM to complain about a red-light sting run by the police near the Bronx Zoo. When the call yielded no results, Mr. Schillaci turned to The Daily News, which then ran a photo of the red light and this front page headline: “GOTCHA!”
That morning, police officers appeared on Mr. Schillaci’s doorstep. What are you going to do, Mr. Schillaci asked, arrest me? He was joking, but the officers were not.
They slapped on handcuffs and took him to court on a 13-year-old traffic warrant. A judge threw out the charge. A police spokeswoman later read Mr. Schillaci’s decades-old criminal rap sheet to a reporter for The Daily News, a move of questionable legality because the state restricts how such information is released. She said, falsely, that he had been convicted of sodomy.
Then Mr. Giuliani took up the cudgel.
“Mr. Schillaci was posing as an altruistic whistle-blower,” the mayor told reporters at the time. “Maybe he’s dishonest enough to lie about police officers.”
Mr. Schillaci suffered an emotional breakdown, was briefly hospitalized and later received a $290,000 legal settlement from the city. “It really damaged me,” said Mr. Schillaci, now 60, massaging his face with thick hands. “I thought I was doing something good for once, my civic duty and all. Then he steps on me.”
Mr. Giuliani was a pugilist in a city of political brawlers. But far more than his predecessors, historians and politicians say, his toughness edged toward ruthlessnessand became a defining aspect of his mayoralty. One result: New York City spent at least $7 million in settling civil rights lawsuits and paying retaliatory damages during the Giuliani years.
After AIDS activists with Housing Works loudly challenged the mayor, city officials sabotaged the group’s application for a federal housing grant. A caseworker who spoke of missteps in the death of a child was fired. After unidentified city workers complained of pressure to hand contracts to Giuliani-favored organizations, investigators examined not the charges but the identity of the leakers.
“There were constant loyalty tests: ‘Will you shoot your brother?’ ” said Marilyn Gelber, who served as environmental commissioner under Mr. Giuliani. “People were marked for destruction for disloyal jokes.”
Mr. Giuliani paid careful attention to the art of political payback. When former Mayors Edward I. Koch and David N. Dinkins spoke publicly of Mr. Giuliani’s foibles, mayoral aides removed their official portraits from the ceremonial Blue Room at City Hall. Mr. Koch, who wrote a book titled “Giuliani: Nasty Man,” shrugs.
“David Dinkins and I are lucky that Rudy didn’t cast our portraits onto a bonfire along with the First Amendment, which he enjoyed violating daily,” Mr. Koch said in a recent interview.
Oh, yes... it gets better. Apparently, when Mayor 9/11 was contemplating a run against Hillary for Senate, Giuliani couldn't stand the thought of his successor being a political enemy. So, he spent millions on a campaign to alter the city charter that voters soundly rejected, 3-1. Read the whole article to find out just a few of the many things Mayor 9/11 did to enemies, real and perceived. The man made Nixon look perfectly forgiving and magnanimous.
The Oscars noms are out
Via the NYT
“No Country For Old Men,” about the ruthless aftermath of a botched drug deal, and “There Will Be Blood,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis as a scheming oil man in an epic about American capitalism, took the lead in the Oscar race with eight nominations each, including best picture and best director.
Meanwhile, “Michael Clayton,” a throwback thriller to the 1970s, starring George Clooney as a corporate fixer, received seven nominations, including nods for best picture, best actor (Mr. Clooney) and best supporting actress (Tilda Swinton). “Atonement,” the adaptation of Ian McEwan’s time-shifting, betrayal-filled novel, also captured seven nominations, including for best picture and best supporting actress (Saoirse Ronan).
I've no intention to see the dreary Atonement, but have seen Michael Clayton (loved it) and No Country For Old Men (excellent film). Have anyone seen There Will Be Blood yet?
Oh Really, TinaFish? You're this dumb?
The TXGOP sent out an email yesterday asserting that Rick Noriega 'accused Teachers of being in the cheap seats'. Seriously. What TinaFish didn't pick up on is that Lt. Col. Noriega was talking specifically about Ray McMurrey who has spent an inordinate amount of time in his campaign, and in his speech to the AFL-CIO convo on Saturday, basically trying (unsuccessfully) to tear down Noriega. Here's the quote which TinaFish included in VERY small print:
"It's easy to talk from the cheap seats when you haven't been in the trenches for a long time fighting for Texas families," Noriega said. (Kelly Shannon, “Noriega, McMurrey make cases to labor activists,” AP, January 19, 2008)
Go read the article and Vince's summary on Noriega's speech (which received a standing ovation, natch). The reality is that while Ray's been doing an admirable job teaching kids in his school, he hasn't been fighting some of the battles that Noriega's fought in the Texas House against Republicans like TinaFish. Battles to increase Teacher pay, for example.
All this brings to mind, though, just how bad Republicans like Noriega's eventual opponent Senator John Cornyn have been for Texas teachers. Here's one and here's another. Then there was this about Republicans trying to destroy the pensions that Teachers have been promised. Here's something about keeping Teachers from Social Security income they deserve. If memory serves, Senator John Cornyn actually voted for this along with the other Republicans in Congress from Texas.
I'd link more (there are eight pages of them over the last two years) but I think you understand as well as I do that the real people who want to keep Texas Teacher's in the 'cheap seats' are the Republicans. They've certainly been doing a good job of it so far.
Bush proposes plan, markets react badly
It's not all that surprising, given how stupid Bush's plan is, that the futures on all the major indices are way down right now ahead of tomorrow's trading. Overnight, oil closed around $88 which is great but a definite sign that markets are counting on recession. And joblessness. Which Bush's plan will do nothing to fix.
The reality is that giving myself a tax cut isn't going to do anything other than exacerbate the trade deficit. If one really wanted to jump in and save the economy, implementing the cap gains tax increase we've talked about would be a great first step in stabilizing prices and cutting of rampant speculation, without inefficient price controls. Then, increase taxes dramatically on corporations that have a wide disparity between those at the lowest end of the wage pool and those at the top. Sure, it'll cut corporate tax income a little, but it will more than make up for it with an increase in real wages (and the taxes paid on wages) and spur a consumer led economic boom.
Finally, any program that involves deficits MUST be used for things here. Build schools. Build roads. All of that puts real money into the economy and produces things we desperately need to keep the economy going.
But Republicans won't be interested in that. The only thing they seem to be good at is collapsing the economy.
January 21, 2008
Happy MLK Day 2008, Y'all!
First off, for all of you who don't have to work, I'm really envious. Working for an evil, capitalist bank is not so much fun on holidays. When you have to work. Phillip Martin over at BOR has a video up of Dr. King's 'I have a dream...' speech. It's well worth watching if for no other reason than just to see how far we've come... and how far we have to go.
On a sad note, DON'T use the day we set aside to remember Dr. King as a damn fundraising effort. It's tacky as hell. Nice job, Team Spears. One last thing, as for 'special agenda's', we all know what you're talking about. Oh, and don't worry about the mess, we're sending someone new to clean it up.
Tolls : More roads are on the way for WillCo and Travis
I believe those early East Side meetings were contracted out to Rep. Dawnna Dukes sister, Stacey Rhone Dukes. Low income families were easily marginalized since advertising for the Phase II toll meetings was virtually nonexistent. Many East side families are pressed for time, some working two jobs, and have limited access to transportation, to attend public meetings in mass numbers. One of the public toll hearings I attended on the East side, in 2004, had less than 10 people show up, while West side hearings were often flooded - with hundreds.
The East Side of Austin, known for low income families, currently has many times the double tax toll lane miles planned. When you also add 130 toll road, the disproportion is even more skewed, as East side residents would be "caged in" by toll roads. Federal law, Title VI (Environmental Justice) says must avoid disproportionately high economic effects on low-income populations. Title VI also states that we must “prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority populations and low-income populations.”
Saddling the poorest part of our community with the biggest burden. Yep, that sounds like Dawnna!
Dierschke: Yes, I was very surprised at the veto. It was inconceivable to us that the Governor that has stood in front of Farm Bureau members at dozens of meetings, who was professing his support for property rights, turned his back on farmers and ranchers and property owners.
The reasons for the veto, what I’ve heard, really don’t ring true. We’ve heard some ridiculous numbers [of what it] would cost the state. But I really haven’t seen an official estimate when you come down to it...
You can’t say to people, “We want our property, but we don’t want to pay for what it is actually worth.” We can’t have that in the state of Texas.
We also heard from the Governor’s office that all the condemnation lawyers would benefit from the diminished access provision of House Bill 2006. That’s just nonsense. Actually, by more clearly defining the circumstances by which diminished access would apply, the need for lawyers would be much less.
Then there was the ludicrous claim that House Bill 2006 did not apply to rural Texas. Tell that to the farmers and ranchers whose land is in the path of the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor.
In fact, that is probably what the veto is about. For better or worse, the Governor has taken his legacy on the Trans-Texas Corridor. I think it is more likely that his legacy has already been defined by his property rights record, and it will not be favorable.
Folks need to understand, though, that this is not just about the Trans-Texas Corridor. Anywhere, anyone in the state of Texas can have their property taken and be unfairly compensated.
Abbott continues the Republican tradition...
...of floating really bad ideas. Via EOW and Todd Hill at Burnt Orange comes some information you may have missed about Wheelie's proposal to privatize CHIP. With the help of the courts, which he expects to order parents to buy insurance.
Yep. If the parents can't afford to buy insurance, the state courts will order them to buy it, 'based on their ability to pay'. Which is funny since people who can afford insurance overwhelming HAVE insurance while those that can't, don't. Wheelie didn't say how he'd bridge the gap between an empty wallet and a court order. What's next, Wheelie? Debtors prisons?
Wheelie doesn't seem to get that CHIP works great when the money is available. However, it hasn't been because the Republican leadership in the Lege didn't want to appear soft on kids. So the federal funds they could have used to fully fund CHIP didn't get used. We lost that money thanks to inept ideologues and the people that keep in them in power.
Good job there, Abbott. Way to really get to the heart of the matter! With public servants like you, it'll be no time until we have a system that closely resembles a banana republic... completely private and far more expensive health insurance than ever before.
Tell you what, Wheelie. You find a private insurer that is as efficient as a government program and I'll be all for it. You can't, though, because one doesn't exist. They might, but only if those $1.2 bn executives were cut off. Until there are some financial controls put on out of control management teams, shareholders AND consumers will continue to take it on the chin. And privatization will continue to make as much sense as sticking your hand in a running garbage disposal.
January 20, 2008
Maldonado wins the fundraising race
Providing further proof that HD 52 is about to turn bright blue, Diana Maldonado's fundraising is dramatically outpacing that of her potential Republican opponents. In fact, she's raised more than twice as much as her Republican opponents. Combined.
January 19, 2008
Oh, my... this isn't at all good for Dawnna
Since the recent revelation that Dawnna's now uncommitted in the Speakers race (which is about as believable as me saying I have a 12" cock), we've been looking for an article in the Statesman regarding Dawnna's true intention to stand by her man and finally found it courtesy of a comment by Matt to a thread about Dawnna's fundraising.
A pro-Craddick Democrat, Rep. Dawnna Dukes of Austin, said she's sticking with him. She cited her success on measures offering incentives to companies to make movies and TV shows in Texas>
Yes, her legislative initiatives to help the film industry. Turns out, she stood to personally gain on that, according to CapAnnex...
Here’s a fact pattern that would make any 1st year law student with the intent of becoming a District Attorney froth at the mouth. And every bullet is footnoted so that you don’t have to take our word for it, you can see for yourself.
*Dukes’s company, DM Dukes & Associates, gets hired by a company named Catellus Development Group sometime during or before 2006. (1)
*Catellus is the developer who is redeveloping the old Robert Mueller Airport, in Dukes’s East Austin district.(2)
*Dukes is listed on Catellus brochures as a contact. (3)
*Dukes’s company, DM Dukes & Associates is listed on the Robert Meuller web site as a contact for Catellus. (4)
*Dukes attends neighborhood association meetings, not in her capacity as a State Representative, but in her capacity as an agent of Catellus.(5)
*One of the anchor tenants and crown jewels of the new Mueller Development is The Austin Film Society. (6)
*During the legislative session in 2007, Dukes passed HB 1634, a bill that provided a mechanism for $22 million in incentives for the film industry and the Austin Film Society.(7)
*Dukes and one of her Republican pals, Rick Perry, appeared together at a press conference and bill signing ceremony at the Austin Film Studios.(8)
*Dukes issues a press release bragging about her bill that explicitly states that her bill will benefit the Austin Film Studios. “Film Incentive legislation will not only benefit the Austin Film Studios presently located at Robert Mueller in District 46 but also the planned $2.5 billion Villa Muse studio development to be located in District 46.” (9)
*Dukes potentially violates Texas House Rules and the Texas Constitution by never disclosing her personal or business interest with Catellus Development.
*Article 3 Section 22 of the Texas Constitution requires “A member who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill, proposed, or pending before the Legislature, shall disclose the fact to the House, of which he is a member, and shall not vote thereon.”(10)
*Rule 5 Section 42 of the Texas House Rules sets out this same requirement
We are that the mainstream media has not picked up on this story!
Here you have an elected official working for a multi-million dollar developer as a consultant, who then goes and gets $22 million taxpayer dollars for an incentive program that benefits one of the developers anchor tenants.
Gee. And here we were thinking that she was at least smart enough just to steer the contracts to her sister. Go help Brian Thompson today.
Fighting back against the religious right
It appears that millions of Christians are making their way and deciding how to vote based on faith, not the opinions of Pat Robertson, James Dobson and the other lunatics who claim to speak for God.
Supporters say Miller's authentic, graceful approach to God has finally given a voice to their brand of Christianity. The book also debuted at a time when the emerging church movement -- which emphasizes the individual's faith experience and varied worship styles -- is flourishing, signaling a fertile audience for such religious musings among more socially liberal evangelicals.
Watching TBN one night on TV, Miller, 36, realized the conservative religious network was many people's baseline for Christianity. He wanted to change that.
"These people are absurd. I've been a Christian all my life and I don't even know Christians this weird," said the Portland, Ore.-based writer, who is single.
In his book, Miller describes his disdain for the "us vs. them" mentality between Christians and non-Christians.
"I felt, once again, that there was this underlying hostility for homosexuals and Democrats and, well, hippie types. I cannot tell you how much I did not want liberal or gay people to be my enemies. I liked them," he wrote. "The real issue in the Christian community was that (love) was conditional . . . You were loved in word, but there was, without question, a social commodity that was being withheld from you until you shaped up."
Weight Loss The Republican Way
Extra poundage competing for too much space on your pushcards? You could call Jenny... or you could just fire up Photoshop
HOUSTON - A mailer from a congressional candidate's campaign contains a photo of his head attached to an image of a different body that makes him look thinner.
The photo is presented as a true image of Dean Hrbacek, a Republican former mayor of Sugar Land. In reality, it is a computerized composite of Hrbacek's face and someone else's slimmer figure, in suit and tie, from neck to knee.
Hrbacek, a tax lawyer and accountant, did not immediately return a call to his campaign headquarters Friday by The Associated Press. He is seeking the nomination to run against Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson.
Hrbacek's campaign manager said the candidate had been too busy to have his photo taken. Chances are he'll have a lot more free time after the primary.
January 18, 2008
I think the important thing to ask about the recent tiger attack at the San Francisco zoo is: what have learned?
Clearly there's the lesson to be learned here," said zoo spokesman Sam Singer. "The lesson is that it's not a good idea to drink, it's not a good idea to be high on dope, and it's not a good idea to taunt a man-eating tiger."
THE MOTO quote of the month
From Bernanke's testimony yesterday:
"...high oil prices damp spending (economic activity) and push up inflation"
No shit, Ben.
Transportation funding in the spotlight...
Raising the gax tax is the answer to the transportation funding crisis? Color me surprised...From the DMN
A federal commission created by Congress called for big increases to the federal gas tax on Tuesday as part of a sweeping overhaul of how America builds and pays for its highways, bridges and transit systems.
The proposal for a 40-cent increase over five years touched off a stormy debate in Washington that is expected to last until at least 2009, when legislation governing scores of transportation programs expires and must be rewritten.
Gee whiz! Who would have thought that increasing the gas tax was a better idea than tolling? Oh, that's right. We've been through this, haven't we?
39% is VERY upset about all this, as is Empower Texas, which is little more than a poor man's Cato Institute. Here's 39%'s take...
“Raising taxes is seldom the right answer and sending more of Texans’ money to Washington, D.C. only to have it earmarked, redistributed to other states or locked into outmoded bureaucratic programs will do very little if anything to relieve congestion on Texas roads,” said Gov. Perry.
Uhm... Governor... for YEARS the Republicans from Texas in Congress let Texas get shortchanged on federal funding for roads. This is what is particularly sad about 39%. He's so stuck on his ideological bent and his need to funnel taxpayer money to his campaign contributors that even when a MOSTLY REPUBLICAN body thinks raising the gas tax is a good idea, he just can't accept it. Yeah, the group that issued the report was appointed by the Republican Congress in 2005 and was heavy with them...
Congress in 2005 created the — deep breath — National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission to help it understand what to do about the increasing financial starvation of the nation’s transportation system.
Congress in 2005, you’ll remember, was still controlled by Republicans, so the commission was hardly a nest of fuzzy-headed Demotaxers, right? Well, the commission put out its long-awaited study Tuesday. Its solution for the money shortage: raise more money. The board recommended basically a tripling of the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gas tax over the next five years, and suggested that states consider raising their gas taxes as well
One of the members of the commission, one of the ones who agreed that raising the gas tax was the best idea, was Paul Weyrich. He's one of the founders of the Heritage Foundation and has much better conservative credentials than 39%. At least Weyrich doesn't believe in crony capitalism.
Let's not forget that Perry's brill idea was to build massive tollways in the middle of nowhere, spending hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, rather that using our existing right of way. Nice work, 39%. Just a like a good Republican, you've managed to find the most expensive, least effective solution and you've done it in such a way that your cronies can benefit. Marvelous.
So now we have a Federal commission, chock full of conservative Republicans AND a bunch of Aggies at the TTI telling us raising the gas tax is the best way to fund transportation? What more do you want, 39%? For Jesus himself to come tell you that raising the damn tax is the right thing to do?
Landing a solid hit
The Thompson campaign's latest email details out just how many kids have been left off CHIP as a result of what Rep. Dukes and a bunch of Republicans did. Full text in the supersize
Meanwhile, Elise Hu over at KVUE has more on Dawnna's Republican-heavy finance report. Bill Miller and Hillco have been busy writing checks to keep Dawnna in the style to which she's become accustomed. She's also got a rather insignificant fundraising advantage... insignificant since, because of his late entry, Brian has put a chunk of his savings into the race which leaves them pretty evenly matched as far as cash on hand. And Brian's fundraising is just now getting into gear.
The really amusing part of Elise's article is that Dawnna is apparently uncommitted in the Speaker's race. She won't come out and commit to not voting for CradDICK, but her consultant says...
"Dawnna is uncommitted in the speaker's race. She has not signed a pledge card for any candidate. Any assumptions or assertions by Brian to the contrary are complete lies."
Uhm... yeah. Sure. Whatev. I guess the Speaker vote had a bit more traction than anticipated.
January HHSC Report Shows Dukes's Vote Against Fully Funding CHIP Leaves 3422 Travis County Children Without Health Care Thompson: "I'll never compromise the health care needs of Travis County kids" According to a recent report from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), at least 3422 Travis County children remain uninsured through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as a result of the draconian budget cuts enacted by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2003. When given the opportunity to rectify this injustice, Rep. Dawnna Dukes joined 74 House Republicans and seven Craddick Democrats to defeat a Democratic amendment that would have fully funded the Children's Health Insurance Program.
"Rep. Dukes's vote against fully funding the Children's Health Insurance Program is a perfect example of why her allegiance to Republican Speaker Tom Craddick is an issue in this campaign," said Brian Thompson, Democratic candidate for House District 46. "Rep. Dukes's vote against fully funding CHIP proves that pledging your absolute loyalty to this Republican Speaker means voting against the best interests of your district and denying at least 3422 Travis County children the health care they need."
Amendment 4 to House Bill 109 would have restored all of the children removed from CHIP in 2003 and would have reverted Texas to pre-2003 CHIP enrollment levels of at least 507,259 children by adding an estimated 200,000 kids back to the CHIP program.
"There are at least 3422 children in Travis County who will go to sleep tonight without health care because Rep. Dukes joined 74 Republicans and seven Craddick D's to vote against fully funding the Children's Health Insurance Program," Thompson said.
According to official HHSC statistics, 12,635 children in Travis County were enrolled in CHIP in September of 2003. Today, 3422 of those children still do not have health care coverage. The January, 2008, CHIP enrollment for Travis County was only 9,213, meaning Rep. Dukes's vote against fully funding CHIP continues to leave thousands of Travis County children uninsured.
One of the most pressing issues for East Austin families is health care for our children. Texas has the highest number of uninsured children in the nation at 1.5 million. More than half of the uninsured children in Texas are Hispanic. Of the 1.5 million children uninsured in Texas, approximately 850,000 of these children are eligible for CHIP or Medicaid.
"It is immoral to deny a child the health care he or she needs," Thompson said. "When my opponent voted against fully funding CHIP, she turned her back on at least 3422 kids in Travis County. If the people of HD 46 vote for change on March 4, I want them to know that I will never compromise the health care needs of Travis County kids."
Rep. Dukes's Record of Failure: denying children health care and voting against making more children eligible for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
* FACT: Rep. Dukes voted against fully funding CHIP. Rep. Dukes joined 74 House Republicans and 7 Craddick Democrats to kill a proposal that would have restored CHIP funding to the pre-2003 levels of at least 507,259 Texas kids. (Amendment No. 4 to HB 109, Record vote #267, Tuesday, April 3, 2007, HOUSE JOURNAL PAGE #1505)
* FACT: Rep. Dukes voted against making more families eligible for CHIP, twice. (Amendment No. 5 to HB 109, Record vote #268 on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, HOUSE JOURNAL PAGE #1506, and Amendment No. 6 to HB 109, Record vote #269 on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, HOUSE JOURNAL PAGE #1507)
* FACT: Rep. Dukes voted against allowing thousands of Texas children to qualify for CHIP. (Amendment No. 10 to HB 109, Record vote #271 on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, HOUSE JOURNAL PAGE #1511)
* FACT: Rep. Dukes voted against including enrollment and renewal policies that allow for coverage under the perinatal program. (Amendment No. 17 to HB 109, Record vote #274 on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, HOUSE JOURNAL PAGE #1515)
The Children's Health Insurance Program is designed for families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford health insurance for their children. The principal goal of CHIP is to provide primary and preventive care to the uninsured children of Texas families including children with special healthcare needs. CHIP is funded jointly at the federal and state level. For every $1.00 of funding provided by Texas, Texas receives a federal match of over $2.50. The CHIP program was put in place to support the working poor, not the unemployed. Fully funding CHIP is the right, moral, decent, and economically sensible thing to do.
Endorsements, The Recap
Wednesday night, most of Team McBlogger went to the megaendorsement meeting at the AFL-CIO here in Austin. YES! We're not only assholes with a blog, we're also voting members of many organizations that endorse candidates in primaries. We take our responsibilities very seriously. In fact, we needed to concentrate on our votes so we adjourned to a quieter place, The Cloak Room, to ponder the proper decisions.
After much deliberation, we had a consensus. Biden for President. I kid... We all voted for Kucinich because we're a bunch of nuts. On the rest of the candidates... well, let's just say the endorsements that came out were mostly representative of our votes. Either we're really smart or everyone is just as irritated as us.
Afterward, Sister Ruth and I made our way to Player's to hang out with the UDems who were being harassed by some crazy person to block walk for Dawnna Dukes. He was doing pretty well, which makes me wonder if maybe the coveted UDems endorsement will be split on HD 46. Before last night, I would have given it a 1 in 5 chance. Now, I'm giving it 50/50. It likely won't help given Thompson's sweep of the endorsements on Wednesday.
For those of you who haven't met her, Rosemary Lehmberg rocks. SR and I had a conversation with her before the kids got to Player's and she's very funny. Yeah, yeah... she's knowledgeable and competent, but she's also funny. That goes a long way with those of us who prefer our absurd political bullshit with a side of laughter. All I'm saying is that some of you people take yourselves WAY too seriously. At the end of the day, you're candidates. Which makes you decidedly less special than the person who brings me my drinks. Now get out of their way.
Finally, Dan Grant swept the clubs that endorsed in the CD10 race (along with an endorsement from Ted Ankrum). As did Rick Noriega. Maxey managed to nail a couple of the endorsements while Spears got SWAD which is understandable given that the founder of SWAD likes Glen about as much as I like lime in my scotch. Which is my nice way of saying get that damn fruit out of my drink.
January 17, 2008
Limbaugh doing some gardening?
Rush Limbaugh has found a way to combine two of his favorite topics, Sen Obama and gardening!
What's next, Rush? A minstrel show?
Bernanke and the magic stimulus package
You know, from the Democrats AND the Republicans there is nothing but bullshit flowing regarding economic stimulus and that what needs to happen. $10 bn for unemployment benefits. $30 bn for mortgages. $5 bn for lollipops and puppies. Everyone likes puppies.
It's all too little too late and it's mostly a band-aid, even if the Fed Chair is loving all over the plan right now. This money coming down the pipe for homeowners who were taken advantage of? That's only going to delay the inevitable... they need to refi and the only way they are going to be able to do that is substantive changes to FHA to allow these people to convert their subprime loan into a government insured loan at a lower interest rate. The problem isn't that these people can't pay a mortgage, it's that the 2/28 ARM they thought was such a good idea is turning into a nightmare and they have to get out it.
All this is really a sidenote to the real issue which is a complete lack of growth in real wages at a time when the cost of everything continues to escalate. For that, there is tax policy but the R's, regardless of common sense, will not let that through because it violates that supply side ideology of which they're so fond.
Here are some other things we need to think about doing... all this is spending, even if deficit financing is needed, that'll create jobs here boosting our economy and tax receipts.
Now, how to pay for it? Easy. Bring the marginal tax rate up on the upper bracket to 42% from 35% today and eliminate the capital gains tax cut which is really a boon for speculators that have been running wild in the commodities markets.
Do all this and you'll stabilize and begin to rebuild the middle class.
January 16, 2008
Oh, Hans... you're the little 'tard who could!
You gotta love the Republicans for their ability to stand up and keep flinging shit even when it's clear their own party is falling apart faster than Mayor 9/11's campaign. Via Capital Annex comes word that Hans Klinger (the R spokesperson) is putting out emails trashing Lt. Col. Noriega. Because that's what Republican's do... they shit all over vets.
Per Hans Klinger
Times are tough at “Camp Noriega,” as Noriega learns that being the Burnt Orange Report’s ‘chosen one’ ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. The passion and fervor of the netroots community hasn’t translated into fundraising success (according to his press release, Noriega’s fourth quarter 2007 contributions were a shocking 40% lower than the third quarter 2007), and the stress has lead to staff turnover and other miscues.
Staff turnover? Not really. The fundraising hit is bs, as Vince points out, but not just because of the Pres race. What Hans Klinger fails to mention, because he's either trying to hide it or is just being a douche, is that the fundraising totals were down a little because the campaign wasn't able to raise as much in Q4 as they did in Q3 when self-funded candidate Watts was in the race. See, the FEC gives candidates some slack when they are running against well-off candidates by increasing the amount of money they can take in from individual donors.
But I guess no one told Hans Klinger that. One has to wonder if anyone told him that the moribund party he was hired to work for is rapidly circling the drain.
TPA Endorsements, Round One
The TPA got together and has formally endorsed the following primary candidates going into the March 4th Primary Election.
To view the 2008 TexRoots slate, or to make an online contribution, please click here.
Vicki stands by her man
You gotta love it when people have the integrity to stand up and boldy declare they are FOR pay to play politics, greed and yes, a smattering of corruption. It shows gumption if nothing else, which is what Rep. Vicki Truitt is really all about. Well, that and rank stupidity...
"I have not seen or experienced the injustice that you write about," Truitt said, referring to journalists who she said have unfairly portrayed Craddick as a tyrant.
Rep. Truitt... a word of advice. You RUN from things that can hurt you. In case you didn't realize it, just the mere mention of CradDICK in a race has become enough to swing voters over to a Democrat. In a heavily Republican area. In fact, here in Texas he's become the equivalent of calling your opponent a librul. Texans hate CradDICK more than they hate libruls. Even the man's chief of staff is jumping ship.
Granted, you may well be safe. But then again, Moffat may make this an issue and pull that seat right out from under you. Just sayin' is all.
Sic Semper tyrannis?
It is one thing to dangle fuzzy dice from a rear view mirror, but decorating a truck's trailer hitch with a large pair of rubber testicles might be a bit much in Virginia.
State lawmaker Lionel Spruill introduced a bill Tuesday to ban displaying rubber replicas of male genitalia on vehicles, calling it a safety issue because it could distract other drivers.
He said the idea came from a constituent whose young daughter spotted an example of the trail hitch adornment and asked her father to explain it.
"'I didn't know what to tell her,'" Spruill said the constituent told him before Spruill vowed to stop such displays.
When rubber testicles are outlawed, only outlaws will have rubber testicles.
What Tom Cruise is up to RIGHT.THIS. MINUTE.
Apparently a clip of a 2004 Scientology recruitment film has hit the web that features Tom Cruise.
Now, I guess I like Tom just as much as the average American gal. Well... to be honest, I loved him in 'Magnolia', but I have to admit I'm not a huge fan. And I don't know jack shit about Scientology. I have never filled out some whacked out personality test, or been chased down the street by one of their indoctrinated victims. However, I don't think I have anything in my life so strangely disturbing, yet completely lame. Way to 'do something' Tom! Cheers!
January 15, 2008
Presidential Race...Is it just me?
I'm watching the D debate in Nevada right now. They are flashing up the big news that Romney has won Michigan (who cares?) and McCain has come in second (again, big deal). Meanwhile, Tim Russert is talking and it occurs to me that he's kind of an intentional mongo. Am I just being too harsh or is he really just a dumbass in a cheap suit?
If NBC is paying him more than $1000/wk, they are dramatically overpaying.
Meanwhile, the polling in Nevada is basically 30/30/30. Is there anyone out there who still thinks we'll be all done on the 5th of February? But what of the Republicans, you ask (why ARE you asking that)?
John McCain: 22 percent Rudy Giuliani: 18 percent Mike Huckabee: 16 percent Mitt Romney: 15 percent Fred Thompson: 11 percent Ron Paul: 6 percent Duncan Hunter: 1 percent
You know, when the front runner is at 22%, maybe you Republicans should start thinking about laying down for a nap this year.
A note about races in Travis County...
For those of you who were unaware, the R's have decided to run people against Representatives Bolton and Howard. Here's Burka's CW take on things...
Valinda Bolton (D) -- She won a Republican district in 06 but has serious opposition from Donna Keel, Terry's sister-in-law. A huge race.
Donna Howard (D) -- Like Bolton, Howard wrested her district from Rs in 06. She faces Leander school board member Pam Waggoner. Also huge.
Let's go with Bolton first. I know the Mayor and Captain Kroc will have more on this race. In the meantime, please keep in mind that Rep. Bolton beat a VERY well funded R in 2006 and the last name Keel means, after Terry's performance as Parliamentarian last May, corruption and part of the pay to play system. Everyone knows Keel will be supported by the Speaker and will no doubt follow his agenda which will make her about as popular in the district as someone trying to sell Amway in Lakeway. Let's also not forget that the massively unpopular Commissioner Daugherty is up for reelect this year and has a good D opponent. It'll be easier than ever for people in SW Travis County to vote for a solid D ticket.
As for Howard, actually, Todd Baxter did a fabulous job turning this district into a Democratic one. Not to mention that Donna's done a great job for her constituents given her options. I frankly can't believe there is a Republican dumb enough to take this on but I'm obvs wrong. Look for Pam to get spanked just like Ben Bentzin.
Just like Bush...
...not worth a damn...
via Lubbock Left
This week in the TPA
Here is what other Texas blogs are writing about. I expect you all to review these entries. This will be on the midterm and the grades will be mailed directly to your parents.This week's round-up was compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.
Muse found the potties at the Harris County D.A.’s office – right next to Chuck Rosenthal’s office – thereby making her qualified to be District Attorney (according to D.A. candidate Kelly Siegler). Muse 2012: Qualified and Potty Location Trained.
CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme notes that Kay 'Bye Bye' Bailey Hutchison is getting grief from the knuckle draggers in her own party for the recently passed fence amendment. Apparently, even a little bit of sanity must be stamped out by the Republican base.
Early Voting, Hal at Half Empty says, may just be something ALL Democrats need to consider this time, in order to avoid confusion at the polls when polling sites at schools are moved this coming March 4th.
The FairTax (Mike Huckabee's 30% national sales tax scheme), Texans for (Tort) Reform, and Houstonians for (Ir)Responsible Growth all have one billionaire in common: Leo Linbeck Jr. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs provides the 411 on his various conservative-populist activist fronts.
Jaye at Winding Road notes that these are the times that try Democratic souls.
Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News wants Obama or Clinton to pay the $2,000 and and establish a precedent of auditing and hand-counting machine counted ballots. The complete series of the New Hampshire results and reasons it why may be a good idea to audit is here.
Vince at Capitol Annex notes that Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott is testing the waters for his 2010 run for Lt. Governor with his asinine child insurance program.
John Coby at Bay Area Houston wonders why State Representative John Davis in HD129 was a no show in the local paper write up concerning the race. State Rep John Davis a no show in Clear Lake news.
LJD and The Case Of The Very Nasty Push Poll
You know, I'm a HUGE fan of push polls, especially when Democrats employ them against Republicans. Though I'm not much of a fan when used in a primary, I also realize they are sometimes a necessity. Only problem is, you better not get caught because the damn things backfire painfully. Let's hope they do for Larry Joe Doherty.
Many of us have been subjected in recent days to a telephone push poll paid for by Doherty in which he spreads personal smears about his primary opponent, Austin's own Dan Grant. This sleazy tactic is straight out of Karl Rove's playbook for negative campaigns. It's also sloppy as hell and everyone who knows Dan realizes it's about as far from the truth as one can get. In fact, much of it is the same crap that a certain former member of the SDEC has been spreading all over Austin. We've all heard it and we all know it's not true.
As far as I'm concerned, the push poll disqualifies Larry Joe for serious consideration as our representative in Congress, mostly because a real push poll would have been about real issues. Not, for example, a bunch of patently false information. That ain't the kind of strategy that's going to be beat the Congressman from Clear Channel.
This transgression is just the latest from the Houston lawyer and former TV judge. Earlier this month, Doherty’s dalliance with rightwing Congressman Lamar Smith was uncovered in a bizarre fundraiser for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Larry Joe’s own finance chairman, Jim ‘Mattress Mac” McIngvale, co-sponsored the fundraiser.
But it doesn’t end even there. Last fall, Austin Political Report uncovered a clip from the late Anna Nicole Smith’s reality show in which Larry Joe, the host of his own (cancelled) show on Fox, invites the troubled socialite to be a judge. Enough said about his judgment.
Serious times call for serious candidates. Larry Joe Doherty isn’t serious.
Check out Dan Grant’s plan for addressing the economic woes that McCaul and his allies in the White House are inflicting on low-income and middle-class families. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Congressman who wants to do something other than campaign. Badly?
January 14, 2008
Could Somebody 'Splain Something To Me Please?
What is this fascination some people have with the notion of a brokered national convention this year? Lord knows the primary system isn't perfect, and the result may or may not be to your liking... But the notion that the Boyd Richies and Matt Angles of the fifty states would go into a (nowadays smoke-free) room with the Beltway crowd and somehow anoint a nominee worthy of the hosannas of the progressive crowd seems as fantastic to me as the cargo cults of the South Seas.
So what DOES happen with that money?
Here's something you wouldn't know unless you had a toll tag : You have to keep a $10 balance at all times on your account. In fact, when you get below $10, it autodebits your account and 'replenishes' it. Normally, my balance is anywhere from $10 to $30.
I'd be willing to bet your is as well and therein lies the rub. While that money is sitting in the account, TXDOT is earning interest on it. What are they doing with the money? Funding their PR campaign to sell still more toll roads.
Still think it's crazy that TXDOT is looking for a funding mechanism independent of the Lege?
Motorists who use the TxTag electronic transponders to drive on Texas toll roads are having their accounts raided by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The agency requires a bare minimum of $10 be kept in any account at all times. If the balance falls below this level, TxDOT automatically charges the credit card on file $20. TxDOT then pockets the interest accumulated from the accounts linked to the 390,000 vehicles equipped with TxTags.
An average account generates about $1 in interest every year. Although $1 is not much, Texas tolling authorities have mailed motorists bills for 25 cents in alleged unpaid tolls and added penalties of $5.25 on anyone who ignored payment of the trivial amount.
For TxDOT, keeping the interest on the $9.8 million in motorist accounts generates about $400,000 in annual revenue. The money helps defray the cost of the multi-million dollar Keep Texas Moving public relations campaign designed to convince Texans of the need for more toll roads.
Anyone in the Lege wanna step in here? Maybe there's a reader out there who'd like to tell the Sunset Commission what you think about TXDOT's little funding scheme? Maybe get the Fed involved?
H/T to Muckraker
Brit's have some fun with Tom Delay
Tom Delay is pretty dumb. He tried telling a British audience that health care in America was great! Delay, specifically, said...
“By the way, there’s no one denied health care in America. There are 47 million people who don’t have health insurance, but no American is denied health care in America.”
The crowd, erupted in laughter. Because they're all smarter and more knowledgeable than Tom Delay. Oh, but there's more...
He began his speech by predicted that if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, he or she would seek to install a universal health care, similar to the system in Britain. The crown applauded thunderously!
The British have fabulous universal coverage that's so well liked even Thatcher, at the peak of her power, wouldn't dare dismantle it. And yes, you can still buy private coverage in the UK, just as you'd be able to do under a universal system here in the US.
Tom, it's bad enough that you embarrassed Texans when you were in Congress. Do you have to go overseas and make Americans as a whole look stupid? For some added fun, it looks like Former Representative DeLay has moved back to Texas. And here I thought that cold chill in the air was just a front.
Think nepotism in Texas is bad?
Try Singapore where there is a large sovereign fund being run by cronies and the relatives of cronies...
The stake was part of a broader expansion started in mid-2002 by the company’s executive director, Ho Ching, formerly head of government-owned Singapore Technologies and wife of Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong. Aimed at reviving Temasek’s financial performance in the wake of a recession, Temasek has since taken large stakes in banks as distant as India, China and the Standard Chartered Bank of Britain.
The Government Investment Corporation, known as G.I.C., is controlled by the state, and Singapore’s founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, is its chairman. His son, the current prime minister, is deputy chairman. Tony Tan, its executive director, is a former deputy prime minister.
Wonder when 39% will decide that his boy needs to be on the TTC? Or the ERS?
January 13, 2008
Now that's just stupid
So, he will continue his simple-minded, losing campaign and deny Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the one-on-one contest they deserve. If John Edwards stays in the race, he might, in the end, become nothing other than the Southern white man who stood in the way of the black man. And for that, he would deserve a lifetime of liberal condemnation.
Maybe Edwards is already not a factor in the campaign because Edwards voters would split evenly between Senators Obama and Clinton if Edwards dropped out. But we'll never know unless Edwards does the right thing and gets out of the way of the only two candidates who have a chance to get the nomination.
Where to begin... OK, let's jump in on the idea that Edwards is a racist and/or a sexist. First off, this is a race between Democrats and anyone who'd vote for Sen.'s Clinton or Obama because of a uterus or superficial features is no better than the person who won't vote for them because of those things. Sadly, there are a lot of them. Either that, or people really like palliatives such as Obama's 'message of hope' that we can easily have for a better future instead of actually, you know, working and sacrificing for it. As for Clinton, gimme a break... she's 'prepared and ready'. I wonder if she was on the team in the Clinton Administration that decided it would be good to let the refiners cut production capacity, one of the reasons gas is now more than $3.00/gal.
Next up, impossible for him to win... Edwards is beginning to edge higher in the national polls and this will likely continue. Plus, as many have pointed out, Edwards beats all the Republicans. Clinton is beaten by McCain and Huckabee. Isn't this about winning the White House?
Jane Smiley has a nice counterpoint to all of O'Donnell's crap and asks, simply, for him to shut up. I'll leave you with that and one more thing. If Edwards drops out, it isn't Hillary that will benefit.
January 12, 2008
Delegate counts and why Edwards isn't out yet
The WaPo has an article up about Edwards and the play going forward. To be honest, the thing is overwrought and over concerned about South Carolina and Nevada. However, it does point out that Edwards is not someone that can be ignored. Why? Because this isn't going to end in South Carolina or Nevada. Not by a long shot.
Keep one thing in mind... delegates will decide the nominee and right now Edwards is 5 behind Clinton and 6 behind Obama. Two contests down, and no one has even had a big screw up yet. Needless to say, much can change and, if things keep progressing as they have then my theory about Texas playing a far more substantial role could become reality.
Wouldn't it be funny if the D nomination came down to a state that hasn't voted for a Democratic candidate for President since 1976? Oh, how things change.
Fly the friendly skies
AA is, as part of a DHS test, mounting defensive laser systems on their jets. For all those shoulder mounted rockets being fired by terrawrists.
January 11, 2008
Rudy, You Might Want To Bid On This
This rarest of all artifacts, an actual tear from Madam Hillary Clinton's private, limited collection in an amber dram, is coveted by politicians and pundits alike for its potent campaign-reviving powers
MOTO : Sometimes people do risky things
Via Planet Out comes word that when youth are homeless, they engage in riskier sexual behavior. Which should be surprising to exactly no one.
...youth who have been homeless from one day to six months are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior while in nonfamily settings (e.g., a friend's home, abandoned buildings, or the street).
In this, the first study directed solely at newly homeless youth, the researchers reviewed such factors as socio-demographics, depression and substance abuse, coupled with structural factors such as living situations and their influence on sexual behavior.
According to researcher Enrique Rivero, the study tracked behavioral changes in 261 newly homeless youth in Los Angeles County between the ages of 12 and 20 over a two-year period. Subjects were interviewed six times at the beginning, and after three, six, 12, 18 and 24 months about depression, substance use, living situations, number of sexual partners, and condom use.
Stop me if you've heard this one before...
The recession is close... yeah, we knew that. We've known it for more than a year and frankly are a little shocked at how long it's taken to play out. So what's there to do?
If you're President George Bush, you cut taxes. Again. Because it's worked so well the last few times.
During the 'massive expansion' Bush LOVES to talk about, wage growth was minimal to non-existent. Inflation is up dramatically when you consider food and energy prices. Employment has been lousy and only rarely reaching even static employment levels (the level at which new jobs are available to those entering the workforce at age 18). The economy, for the vast majority of Americans, has not been good.Let's look at what should be done, shall we?
This will also stem the outflow of capital from the US and stabilize the dollar. A little known fact is that the 'rich', who've been given so much by the Republicans, have been diversifying their assets by buying non-dollar denominated securities. That tax cut that was supposed to generate jobs and massive growth (that never really materialized) generated money that actually went to buy eurobonds denominated in anything but dollars.
The remainder of the money should be used for a massive infrastructure investment program covering schools and roads. This will create a boom in the economy, further enrich and stabilize the middle class and fix what desperately needs to be fixed, our schools and roads.
Some of you will no doubt think this a little radical, however it's all market based and set to privatize. What's more, it fills in where private enterprise isn't... in risky, long term ventures. As for starving out speculation by taxing the hell out of it, if you can't see the benefit of that as a price stabilizing move then you're really stupid. Seriously, go sit over there and be by yourself.
A tax cut, George, ain't gonna cut it. The solution needs to be big, bold and actually fix the massive and looming problems we collectively face. A tax cut, in this environment, is like cutting off one's hand in and effort to stop a flesh wound from bleeding.
It works because eventually the patient bleeds-out and dies. Maybe that IS what President Bush would like to see happen.
These are both good plans, but they could use more money and more narrow targeting, not to mention addressing the deficit. As for the 'mortgage help', just allow people to refinance into FHA. You'll make the bond holders whole AND get these people into a mortgage they can afford. You'll actually fix the problem, rather than bandaiding it and the best part is it doesn't soak taxpayers since FHA pays for itself.
Kerry endorses Obama...
Long time readers know that I think Sen. John Kerry is a kind of a douche. When people talk about Democrats being able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, they are talking about the horrendous 2004 campaign. That being said, I do respect the man's service and appreciate what he does for the country in the Senate.
I also think his endorsement is largely meaningless, though I must admit I look forward to removing myself from his mailing list when the first one from the Obama campaign comes through. I may respect the man but I don't feel a need to vote for the person he endorses. If anything, it may have hardened my opposition. Which kinda makes this guy look stupid.
Aside from those two practical components, Kerry's support for Obama could have powerful symbolic weight as well. One of the central questions still surrounding Obama is whether he is up to the job of president, whether he carries the requisite experience after just a few years in the Senate to serve as commander in chief. Kerry, a decorated military man and experienced hand in foreign affairs, can help to validate that Obama is indeed up to the challenge.
"Rank and file Democrats view [Kerry] favorably and see him as a serious person," said one source close to the Massachusetts senator. "If he says Obama is 'ready' it will reassure many who were unsure."
No, it will make us think of the miserable 2004 campaign.
Cornyn debases himself for the telecoms
January 10, 2008
Another Damn Debate
Pull my finger... and get the hell off my lawn!
Yes. And I hated Jar-Jar as well
Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the Star Wars Guide to the Candidates, 2008
Man, I tell you what... you read Admiral Akbar's resume, take a look at his long career, his credentials, and it's amazingly clear how qualified he is to run a major government. What about his prescient snap evaluation... "It's a trap!" We sure could have used that in Iraq. Well-suited to command, noble, respected by his followers and his peers... but then, Akbar is from a place most people don't care about (Mon Calamari? Are you serious?) and looks vaguely ethnic... is he, I don't know... too fishy to be prez? Anyway, he deserves your vote. Who this Richardson cat is, I have no idea.
Kucinich as a Jar-Jar makes clicking the link worthwhile.
No mas with the DRM
Digitial Rights Management, the pesky bit of code added to digital files that keeps you, the consumer, from using them as you wish (or putting them on multiple devices) is officially dead. The last hold out, Sony BMG, threw in the towel recently. What's curious is the RIAA, of which Sony BMG is a financing member, continue to go after consumers for pulling music OFF THEIR CD'S AND ONTO THEIR COMPUTERS.
Not for P2P file sharing, for using music they've purchased on other devices they own. Exactly when can we finally do away with the litigous RIAA? Now that the music companies have given up on controlling us through coding, can they finally give up on controlling us through the courts? It would certainly be more profitable for them than their stupid lawsuits.
Don't send them to Six Street!
Austin has made Planet Out's list of the top 10 LGBT destinations around the globe for 2008. Which is kinda sad when you think about it...
3. Austin, Texas Long known as one of the most livable, liberal and free-thinking spots in the country, the home of the University of Texas and the hip South by Southwest Music and Film Festival offers a rockin' music and club scene on Sixth Street, and an integrated -- and growing -- gay and lesbian community.
PLEASE... Sixth Street? Did the mook who wrote this even visit? Sixth Street should be called Sicks Street, where everything smells like vomit from the binge drunks.
Not that there's anything wrong with binge drinking...
So, when is Dawnna gonna be done?
Remember that Rep. Dukes was gonna come clean on her ethics report and break down those credit card transactions? Well, as it turns out that hasn't happened yet. And the rumor is that they won't be done until sometime AFTER the primary.
I don't think that's true... I can't believe she'd do that. Wait. No, I totally can. But, just on the chance the rumor isn't true, let's have a contest to see who can come closest to guessing WHEN DAWNNA WILL HAVE HER ETHICS REPORT REFILED TO CORRECT HER ERRONEOUS FILING! First prize is a gift card to Houston's (what, you actually thought I'd eat with you? This is kinda awkward...frankly, the way you eat grosses me out). Second prize is a 'mystery in a sack'. A plastic bag to be precise. Third prize is a date with a guy named Mort (he goes both ways).
Have fun, kids! While you're at it, drop some money to Brian Thompson! Even $10 is a fair step toward taking a CradDICK supporter out of the pink dome.
Jay Coxlie is yo mama
(Word to the wise... be careful with the Cornyn links... not all of them go where you think they go)
Apparently, someone tried to social engineer a schedule out of Sen. Cornyn's office and told them they were with McBlogger. Not so much, but to be honest I would have called to get a copy of it if someone had just asked. I'm as curious as the next guy about who Cornyn is sucking
off up to for political donations.
Yes, Senator Cornyn, we know fundraising has been tough. CradDICK is having the same problem. Really sorry about all that. It kills us. Really. Now, about that schedule, you can email that bad boy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All this makes me wonder if Selby's out of the loop on the R side or just not interested in doing stories that aren't fed to him. On a plate with a side of pork fat. The really interesting thing is that Sen. Cornyn's fundraising has been pretty lousy. We'll see it on paper soon enough. Maybe Gardner's waiting for that. He sure isn't interested in getting a URL right.
Lucky for Gardner that my server autocreates subdomains on the fly. Like this...
Cool, no? Personally. I thought the whole thing was kind of a joke, much like Junior John's tenure in office. The sad thing is how the Cornyn people handled it... the boring nerds called Gardner. Had it been me, I would have sent a fake schedule. That would have been funny. Instead, the not-so-clever folks at Senator Cornyn's office decided to report it to Selby. Morons.
ANYWAY, in other Cornyn related news, our Senator has agreed to debate that whacko Kilgore. Of course, they've yet to set a date and I'd be willing to bet $100 that one just won't come up prior to the primary. Because he'll have to be in Washington or something. Though, I have to admit... I'd love to see them out pander each other on their 'Christian' values. Especially since both of them are about as Christian as the Romans who crucified Jesus.
Finally, we're going to have another episode of Cornyn The Author. In this edition, our very earnest but truly unfortunate Senator is talking about pecans which we're thinking he pronounces Pea-CANS. Because he's damn near a yankee (you did catch that he uses a 28 gauge shotgun, right?) and can't pronounce the word correctly anymore.
Declared “the only tree nuts native to North America,” pecans appear early in the recorded history of Texas. Soon after landing on the Texas coast in 1528, explorer Cabeza de Vaca met the Mariame Indians—Native Americans who came to the lower Guadalupe River each fall “when the ripe nuts began to drop like manna,” according to historian Paul Schneider.
Newly arriving Texas pioneers would later discover pecans to be a steadfast friend, creating enjoyment when other food was scarce.
Early Texas publisher William A. Trenckmann remembered a childhood holiday season during the Civil War when the family Christmas tree was a “young wild peach tree.” Its ornaments included nuts and Christmas cookies created despite wartime shortages of wheat flour. “The baking was accomplished with corn meal and honey,” and “scalded peach kernels and shelled pecans were used for decorations.”
The rest of the thing rambles on for a while about pecans in Texas history. Something about Governor Hogg wanting one at the head of his grave. Texas grows a lot of pecans (along with Georgia). Pecans are good for you (master of the obvious, this guy). Pecans are an important part of our history.
See, I got that out in one paragraph. It took Senator John Cornyn paragraph after mind numbingly bad paragraph. My condensed version is way better. You'll die of boredom before you finish reading his tome.
January 09, 2008
All Around the TPA This Week
It's time once again to bring back the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round up. This week's round-up was compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex, who offers a thousand apologies for it being tardy this week.
Off the Kuff asked a variety of interesting people to write a post for him called Looking Forward to 2008. Topics ranged from music and television to local, state, and national politics. The entire series, which wrapped up last week, can be found here.
In all the undignified events surrounding the Harris County District Attorney's office, the announcements on
KHOU-TV and KPRC-TV regarding assistant district attorney Kelly Seigler's run for her boss' job has taken the proverbial cake. Jaye at Winding Road in Urban Area notes that it is just charming that Ms. Seigler said on camera, that aspects of being district attorney "sucks." Nothing says "get to know me" the first time a voter may see a candidate like saying the job I want, "sucks!"
nytexan at BlueBloggin points out the newest GOP stunt to block the Senate and screw up another presidential election. With the primary season underway for the most important presidential race the Federal Election Commission has shut its doors.
It was a bad start to 2008 (if you happened to be a Republican), no matter if your name was Vicki Truitt, or Chuck Rosenthal, or Jared Woodfill, or Mitt Romney. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has more on the conservative misery.
Muse is only now able to get her bulls---t detector to quiet down after Harris County DA, Chuck "Romancethal" Rosenthal, told the Houston Chronicle that he was only sending romantic emails to his secretary because she had personal problems. Right (wink, wink, former FBI agent wife). What else happened? Pity sex?
Phillip at Burnt Orange Report takes a preliminary look at some numbers on filings for the Texas House, including the large number of Republicans that are facing both a primary and general election opponent.
Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal introduces the new slate of Denton County Democratic candidates, as revealed at a press conference promoting the strength of the local party with high hopes for 2008.
Capitol Annex (complete with a new look following a weekend redesign) tells us that a federal court has upheld Texas' moment of silence law passed for school children in 2003 and notes that another major lawsuit related to the new pledge to the state flag still looms.
The TexasCloverleaf cautions some to smoke 'em if they got 'em, but they still might go to jail. DFW area law enforcement is ignoring the new option to give citations to pot smokers.
Dodd : Two issues, one right and one wrong
Sen. Dodd has two items coming up this year, one is a reform of the horrendous 2005 Bankruptcy Act that made it extremely easy for lenders to foreclose on the homes of ordinary people, not to mention the millions with medical collections who would be forced to give up their homes should they be forced to file bankruptcy.
Let me put it this way... when a banker tells you that a bill which makes it hard for a person to declare bankruptcy is bad, then it's pretty damn bad. This was a Republican kiss to the credit card companies and collection agencies, two groups that aren't exactly beloved in the US (from McClatchy via Somervell County Salon)
In 2005, Congress passed a new law aimed at making it harder for people to file for bankruptcy and walk away from their debts.
With the tougher requirements, the number of bankruptcies declined in 2006 but surged by nearly 40 percent in 2007, according to statistics released Thursday. And experts predict the numbers will go higher this year.
The issue is gaining plenty of attention on Capitol Hill, where leading Democrats are proposing to roll back the landmark bankruptcy law. As the number of foreclosures rise, backers of an overhaul say it's needed to prevent more Americans from losing their homes.
"You ought to never lose your home in a bankruptcy proceeding," Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd said during a presidential debate in Iowa last month.
Here's a little illustration. Let's say you're married and your spouse catches something bad, but curable. They go in for very expensive treatment and are cured. Of course, you're left with massive medical bills, even if you have insurance. Normally, you'd declare bankruptcy if you're unable to work out a payment plan. Under the Republican law, the bankruptcy judge has very little leeway and can force you to liquidate your assets, including your home. See how much fun this is? Maybe you decide not to file BK but instead just ignore the bills. The collection company then decides to take you to court and they get a lien against your home, effectively giving them ownership. Needless to say, Dodd reworking this legislation is nothing but a good thing.
Unfortunately, we can't say the same for his version of the Home Ownership Protection and Preservation Act styled as S.2452. This legislation will, in effect, remove the majority of the originators from the market. Those that remain will either work for mega banks like BofA, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank OR they'll fold into mortgage banking companies. The fun part will be that what is transparent today, Yield Spread Premium, will be hidden forever since banks don't have to disclose what they make. This will, of course, make it more expensive for consumers AND remove capacity from the market at the precise time the market needs it. Click the link and see what I wrote about this mistake of a bill back in November. What I said then stands today and this thing, in it's current form, should be put in a drawer and forgotten.
Trust me, there are a few bad brokers and they are slowly but surely being removed from the marketplace. This bill won't accomplish the goal of cleaning up the origination market. All it will do is hide more from the consumer and increase their costs to buy a home. For those of you who think I'm self dealing (I'm a wholesale banker) more than half of my clients are banks. I'll just shift the rest over so this bill will have no impact on my business. It will be shitty deal for consumers.
And who's pushing this? Why none other than Wells Fargo, Bank of America and the other large banks who are tired of competing against the Third Party Originator (broker) market. Many of these banks have recently terminated their wholesale lending divisions in an effort to squeeze brokers and force consumers to their retail divisions. Further, they've been lobbying through community reinvestment groups for the elimination of brokers en masse. And the Democrats are actually falling for it.
Take a second, contact Senator Dodd today and let him know we love the Bankruptcy reform but hate the mortgage reform.
January 08, 2008
Paulites : Fox News Sucks and more Obama v. O'Reilly
The Ron Paul people have grown rather irritated with self-declared conservative news source, Fox News. PDiddie has the video of a group of Paul supporters following asshat Hannity that is really funny.
What do Larry Joe Doherty and Mitt Romney have in common?
Apparently, a fundraiser. Via CapAnnex
In a Republican primary, this wouldn’t make much difference. But, in a Democratic primary, it’s another story.
However, the revelation that Larry Joe Doherty’s finance chair Jim McIngvale hosted a reception for Mitt Romney in mid-December could change the dynamic of the CD 10 primary–and not in Doherty’s favor.
Not much of a political story but hey, it's a slow news day. LJD also did well, according to the campaign, in Q4 fundraising. What's surprising is that he's burned through more than 34% of his total funds, which included $100k from himself.
A tale of two Candidates
Ratcliffe has some video up of the Democratic event in Sun City - Georgetown last week. It features two of the Democratic candidate, Ray McMurrey and Rep. Rick Noriega. Go watch them as see what you think about them. My opinion has still not changed especially since McMurrey found it perfectly OK to waste some of the time he should be using to talk about himself to discuss 'party politics' and allude to Rick being the preferred candidate of the party leadership.
"This is not about who deserves the seat. This is not about who is connected to the party. This is not about the party bosses picking the next senator," McMurrey said.
William and Ray, how many times do you think I'll have to goddamn explain this before you pull your heads out of your goddamn asses and FUCKING LISTEN? The party leadership tried to get Rick out of the race when Watts was still in it. Myself and many others begged Rick to run and he finally made the decision even though some of the same leaders you deride were telling him not to run. Do you get it? There is no massive conspiracy... the netroots and the grassroots, the people for whom you claim to speak, asked REPRESENTATIVE RICK NORIEGA to run.
As for not giving you a chance, when did you announce your exploratory committee, Ray? In June? No, I would have remembered that. It was after Watts dropped out, wasn't it? If you were really serious about running, you need to start gathering support about 10 months out from the primary. So, what you're in effect asking for is a 'do-over' based on your lack of knowledge and skill? Not so much.
On the topic of issues, as we've discussed before, an issues page does not a candidate make. I would also say that you're probably closer on issues than you think. However, none of that will matter as you'll no doubt argue even the smallest difference.
Not to mention being completely irrational when it comes to troop withdrawal from Iraq. You and Richardson live in this fantasy world where no one will take potshots at the troops as they leave. Things have to gradual and they will take time.
What really pisses you off, Ray (or should) is that we all know more about the issues than you. And we're supporting another candidate.
New Edwards Ad
January 07, 2008
FISA coming back...
The Republicans and the Administration (along with, unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) are still pushing for FISA reform to take away your rights and gut the Constitution they've all sworn to uphold.
With a lot of help, Senator Dodd beat them back late last year. Now they're coming back. Just for shits and grins, I thought we'd recap something I found while doing some research last week. What the government wants to do is wiretap at least tens of millions of Americans. What they are doing, because they have credible intelligence, is wiretapping about 100.
What, of course, has never been explained is why they want to violate the privacy of millions. At the end of the day, they are hoping all of us will be more skeered of the terrarists than our government in the hands of the same people who brought you Gitmo! The Holiday Hotspot!. Actually, we're not scared of terrorists or the government.
$200 a barrell for oil?
Not yet and not likely barring some unforeseen event. Like the well heads in the Gwahar field being fused and shut off. Oh, and a nuke being dropped on the export facilities throughout the Persian Gulf.That's not stopping some speculators from bidding up futures on oil with a $200 strike...
Options to buy oil for $200 on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 10-fold in the past two months to 5,533 contracts, a record increase for any similar period. The contracts, the cheapest way to speculate in energy markets, appreciated 36 percent since early December as crude futures reached a record $100.09 on Jan. 3.
While analysts at Merrill Lynch & Co. and UBS AG say the slowing U.S. economy will lead to the biggest drop in prices since 2001, the options show some traders expect oil to rise for a seventh straight year. Demand will increase 2.5 percent in 2008, according to the International Energy Agency. U.S. inventories fell to a three-year low on Dec. 28. Production from Mexico is declining and Saudi Arabia is behind schedule in opening its newest field.
``One hundred dollars a barrel is actually 14.9 cents a cup, so we're still talking about oil being remarkably cheap,'' said Matthew R. Simmons, chairman of Simmons & Co. International, a Houston-based investment bank that focuses on energy. Inventories ``are tight as a drum and I don't see how we get out of this box,'' he said in a Bloomberg television interview last week. ``Demand clearly isn't starting to slow down.''
Simmons was one of the VERY few people in the late nineties talking about oil over $50/bbl when it was in the $20's. He was predicting a production peak in this decade and he may have been right. No, the current price is related more to weakness in the dollar and geopolitics than peak oil. Still, it is the reason oil should be between $50 and $60 just based off supply and demand.
Obama and doubt
The WaPo has an interesting article up about transformational change and doubts about Obama's ability (or any Democrat's for that matter) to bring it to fruition. The comedic thing in the article are the quotes from the R's, to wit...
"It's clear he is a phenomenon," said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a conservative scrapper who revels in Washington's partisan warfare. "He will use style and grace to achieve liberal goals, which is absolutely politically brilliant but intellectually dishonest."
What little Patty is upset about is that the majority of the Republican Party no longer agrees with his worldview and actually has more in common with Democrats. Those are the people who are being pulled into Obama and Edwards. They are the ones that will create a governing majority, a true mandate for taking the US into the 21st century. Patty's also mad because the old 'liberal' vs. 'conservative' labels no longer hold sway when progressives are an easy majority in this country. Just look at Iowa.
I'll be honest, I still think Obama is kind of lame but I do think he'll bring about some of the changes we all so desperately want. I think Edwards, with a strong populist message, will have more success and therein lies the difference between the two.
I'd rather more get done than fewer feelings get hurt. Pretty interesting times when, in a primary, the worst thing you can say about the other guy is that he's too nice. That's something the Republicans definitely can't say.
Polling in HD46
Wednesday night I got a call from one of my close friends in HD46 who asked me if I knew who was running a push poll in the district. We didn't get to talk long because I was with some great people having drinks, however, we talked again Saturday and he told me it wasn't a push poll.
We're speculating it was Dawnna trying to find out about her negatives. How deeply has information penetrated regarding the fact that most of her funding comes from Republicans like HillCo, for example. And how many people in the district know about her support of CradDICK.
It did not ask if people knew CradDICK was a Republican. It also didn't ask if they knew about her lack of support for fully funding CHIP. It also didn't ask how folks felt about tolling their freeways.
Wonder when that call is coming?
O'Reilly gets into it with Obama staffer
O’Reilly was trying to get access to Obama, who was unknowingly just working the rope line about ten feet in front of them. Nicholson, standing 6 foot, 8 inches in height and a veteran of Senator John Kerry's, D-Mass., 2004 campaign, was standing next to Obama, as his job calls for, and thus blocking O’Reilly’s cameraman from a clean shot of Obama.
So O’Reilly took things into his own hands…literally. He maneuvered around the steel gate barricade, yelled expletives at Nicholson, and called him "low class."
In an interview after the incident, Nicholson said, "He grabbed me with both arms and tried to push me out of the way."
Secret Service then stepped in and told O’Reilly to get back.
After the commotion, Obama shook hands with O’Reilly.
Nicholson, however, said he’d never seen anything like it.
"I've never seen a member of the press lay hands on a staffer before."
I wish Nicholson had hit him. In the face. HARD. And yes, all you wonderful political campaigns out there, that IS what he should have done. Then gut punched him. Someone needs to teach the man some manners.
January 06, 2008
Al Edwards still in love with Al Edwards
Via Whitmarsh's list comes a press release from Al Edwards the former Representative from Houston who hates him some cheerleaders and is, as we all know, a thoroughgoing loser. Remember? He lost to Borris Miles.
Honestly, I thought Edwards had killed himself with some cheap booze but apparently that didn't happen. One has to wonder if Sly Turner, who's enough of a dumbass to think he'll be Speaker, was also enough of a dumbass to ask Edwards to step in for a 2006 rematch against Miles.
I don't think it's possible for me to really deride this in the manner it deserves, but I'm willing to try. Full text of the release and my comments are in the supersize.
----- Original Message ----- From: Al Edwards Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2008 1:17 PM Subject: Democratic-Al Edwards-State Representative District 146
WTF is up with that subject?!?
"WE CAN DO BETTER!"
WE can, but you can't as you proved during your tenure as Representative. That's why the folks in your district sent Miles to Austin instead of you. They realized they could do better.
RE-ELECT AL EDWARDS on TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2008 as STATE REPRESENTATIVE for DISTRICT 146
Al Edwards will return to Texas Capitol with over 27 years of committed experience,
dignity, and integrity.
DIGNITY? Oh, fuckall, Al. You have to be kidding me! As for re-electing you, if the voters have already rid themselves of you but you want to come back, shouldn't you be asking them to 'elect' you?
The people in District 146 obviously need a 'strong Democrat', unfortunately, Al, you're neither. Oh, and it's a good idea to run spell check before you send things out.I am running for State Representative of District 146 again because I understand that redistricting will have a dramatic event on all of us. I know we need a strong Democrat to keep a Republican from controlling District 146. I want to help save and preserve TSU, Texas History more importantly Emancipation-JUNETEENTH and all of Texas culture. I am that unbiased individual who is willing to fight for the betterment of all citizens, especially for the improvement of our educational system. I have strived to reduce taxes and to protect every citizen form being abused by the eminent domain law. I am a strong supporter for the growth and development of the businesses in District 146.
Donations can be made to "Al Edwards Campaign." Volunteers please call 713.741.8800. www.aledwards.com, P.O. Box 321472, Houston, TX 77021
If I give you a quarter, will you promise to buy yourself a clue, Al?
Austinite Of The Year, McBlogger style
The other day, as I was stalking yet another foreigner who cut me off on MoPac, I realized there had to be a better way. I also started thinking about, aside from traffic, how blessed I am to live in Austin. One of the things that makes this city so amazing are the wonderful people we've elected to represent us. From the Bolton to Strama, there is some real talent and, dare I say it, genuine goodness to the people we've elected.
Naturally, I thought of an award post. I talked to The Mayor about and he was less than enthusiastic. I mentioned that I wanted it to be Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and he perked up a bit. Then he read my original post which was all about the toll road vote and demanded (yes! DEMANDED) that I at least mention all the other good stuff Rep. Rodriguez has done. Like going to Ardmore, OK when the Democrats in the House broke quorum in 2003 in an effort to stop redistricting. He, and the others, exiled themselves to Oklahoma... the Cleveland of states... in an effort to stop the unprecedented mid-decade redistricting that gave the Republicans control of the Congressional delegation from Texas.
Over the years, he's also worked hard to keep CHIP fully funded (unlike others we could mention), create real school finance reform, stop the insidious voter ID plans of that fatass Linda Harper-Brown and, in general, stymie all the bad policy coming from the opposite side of the political spectrum.
That aside, what happened in October was something altogether different. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you believe in and to serve the citizens you represent. Never was that clearer to me than in October during CAMPO's vote on the Phase Two Toll Roads. There were a bunch of people who caved in to the Chamber (a politically devastating move) and there were a few who stood up and said 'Not to so much with this bullshit'.
One of them was Rep. Eddie Rodriguez.
We know for a fact Rep. Rodriguez was receiving a lot of outside pressure. Honestly, he could have voted for it and not hurt his chances at re-election. Yet he did what was right, something very uncommon in our coldly calculating politicians. As more and more of us begin paying attention and shining a light on things, this will hopefully become more common. Either that or we'll replace more people in elected office.
For standing up for the people of Austin, we say thank you to our Austinite of the Year, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez.
January 05, 2008
Calling the election
So, I'm eating dinner before I go out (gotta have a base to dump scotch onto) and watching the Republican debate. The last Q was about energy and the price of oil.
The only one who made sense was Ron Paul. Shit. You. Not. He nailed the question by talking about the collapse in the dollar (though he missed that it was caused in large part by profligate deficit spending resulting from Bush's tax cuts and our trade deficit) and our aggressive posture in the middle east. Everyone else talked about supply and demand. Fred Thompson thinks that the windfall profits of the oil companies are just peachy since they've also had 'lawsuits'. He's not just, as The Mayor calls him, a scrotum face. He's also REALLY stupid which is saying something when you consider he's one of the R Presidential candidates.
All of them talked about capitalism vs. socialism, as if ANY of the Democrats were talking about socialism. It's REGULATED CAPITALISM, you asshats. Your talking points are as crappy as your cheap suits.
If Paul were going to be the Republican nominee, I'd be scared. He's not. He hasn't a prayer. Which leaves the rest of the losers. Any one of which would be hard pressed to beat Dennis Kucinich. I feel sorry for the Republican Party... these people have been pandering and lying for so long they just don't know the difference any more.
Not that it matters much. The only reason Huckabee won Iowa was because the non-religious nutters went to the D caucus. 2-1 and a Democrat gets elected with 60% of the popular vote and 400+ EV's.
Thank you, Canada
Maybe it is just me, but I always have to give this little shout out whenever I stumble across Howie Mandel, Martin Short, or that fucker from 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids'. I even have to say it whenever I hear that pretentious little whiner, Avril Lavigne. However, I think we all can agree that the major prize is Celine Dion. My reason is not the song from 'Titanic'. No, for me it will always be her grating, nasally voice on 'It's All Coming Back To Me Now', which got just as much airplay, or at least it seemed that way to me. I think that's why I enjoy this so much.
So whenever Celine kicks up my acid reflux, I just take a deep breath, and try to remember others that have come our way from the great white north. John Candy, Nelly Furtado, Ryan Gosling, Dan Akroyd, and, hell, even William Shatner.
And I guess we can all take a little Celine Dion in return for Samantha Bee.
January 04, 2008
Through The Bottom Of A Glass, Darkly
Dear Iowa Republicans,
I’ll put this in language even your tiny little Iowa brains can understand: What the f*** is wrong with you people?
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Use caution in a medical setting, 24 Dec 2007
By Dr. Brown (USA) - See all my reviews
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Nonetheless, one day I was using my Bic Crystal ballpoint pen, medium point, black, on rounds. On approach to the nurse station, a rather attractive young hire pointed out that I had a thermometer on my ear. I could only summon the wherewithal to observe that some arse must have my pen.
Please also note that the main difference between this instrument and a rectal thermometer is the taste.
Newsweek and the TTC
You know, it pisses me off when I have to link to something on World Net Daily. However, they are spot on regarding the NAFTA superhighway, known here in Texas as the TTC.
Hell, I don't think there is a conspiracy to combine all of North American into one super government. However, the road is real. In fact, despite all the bullshit from the Lege about a moratorium, Cintra is moving full speed ahead. Only now they are operating under a Texas DBA named 'Bluebonnet Infrastructure'. You know, you morons can change the name all you want, but it's still the same shitty road, with the same shitty funding mechanism and it's still going to be stopped.
So much for Carona's love affair with TXDOT. Way to get something accomplished, you fatass blow hard.
EOW also has some great information up about the appointees to the legislative study committee... no surprise, they're all pro-toll and pro-TTC. $100 says they'll find tolls the only way to fund our transportation infrastructure. Another $100 says no one in the press will call bullshit.
Michael Skelly v. A Douche Named Culberson
There's a dumbass named John Culberson in Congress right now who is embarrassing himself and his fellow Texans. It's because he's stupid and has, in the words of Michael Skelly, the man who has filed to run against him, "...Never Met A Problem He Couldn't Make Worse".
You thought I was just being tacky when I called him a dumbass, didn't you? Those of you in Houston metro know what I'm talking about. He's fucked up or attempted to fuck up light rail and mass transit in Houston more times than Britney's been pregnant. Is it any wonder so many in Houston hate him?
Cream Cheese votes for Cream Cheese
Huckabee's win in Iowa is not at all surprising. What is surprising is how outsized it was. The interesting thing to me is that Huckabee was considered my many Republicans to be an agent of change. Which is ironic since the same people who voted for him were the ones that voted for President Bush. And they looked like Huckabee... fat, dumb and with a religious zeal in their eyes that demands the US convert to some kind of theocracy.
Obama impressed me tonight. His speech was actually good and I gotta tell you, I was more impressed with him tonight than I have been thus far.
The win was deserved because the hard work the campaign did to move younger voters to the caucuses. That aside, he's still kinda lame and I'll be honest with you, the rhetoric regarding bringing us together isn't what worked. CHANGE worked and he had the money and talent to get the message out. Not to mention the fact that the man is a hell of a speaker. Still, the fact remains that Edwards set the agenda for this race and his second place finish with far less in terms of resources shows just how far his message has penetrated. It's fitting that in the video the word behind Obama was CHANGE. Ezra Klein nailed it...
But Edwards, running as a full-throated populist, set the agenda and finished second, ahead of the Clinton juggernaut. He said his role was to speak for the voiceless. He now barrels towards New Hampshire with ever more volume. And while his shot at the nomination is long at best, his candidacy, even if it fails, will have been far more successful than most.
Honestly, after all this, I'd be proud to work to elect any of the Democrats. The Republicans are just so pathetic, whiney and ridiculous. One of the leading lights of the conservative movement is very disturbed about Huckabee. He should be. Americans aren't going to elect a Baptist preacher.
Obama is right ... this election ISN'T about fear. Americans are sick of being told they should be afraid. This is about hope for a better future for us all. And the Democrats are the only ones talking about that.
January 03, 2008
This week in Gay
"One of the benefits of marriage is divorce," said Joyce Kauffman, a Boston divorce lawyer who has handled a dozen same-sex divorce cases. "But for a lot of couples, that benefit is very complicated and very costly in ways that heterosexual couples would never have to experience."
In the case of the doctor, she and her spouse each gave birth to a boy fathered by the same sperm donor. They then adopted one another's sons. Biologically, their children are half-siblings; legally, they are full brothers.
"Up to now, I've been lucky with the court," said the doctor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to prejudice her court case. "Giving birth to one of our children has given me leeway because judges often show a preference toward a biological mother. I've spoken to other lesbian women who were in a similar situation, except that they were not the biological mothers of their children, and, in my opinion, they were not treated as fairly by the court."
While the parties are litigating, a family court in Boston has come up with a Solomonic ruling, saying that each of the women can spend half the week alone in the family home with the children.
For same-sex couples, divorce can be financially ruinous. Heterosexual couples claim a tax deduction for alimony payments, but that benefit is not available to gay and lesbian spouses because the Internal Revenue Service does not recognize their marriages.
Divorce lawyers say that, while gay people making alimony payments are hurt the most by the IRS policy, their ex-spouses are also affected, because a tax deduction often provides an incentive for larger payments.
"In a straight context, alimony is an income stream from one person to another and tax-deductible to the person who is paying it," said David W. Eppley, a divorce lawyer with lesbian clients. "But in a gay divorce, there aren't two parties, there are three, and that third party is Uncle Sam."
GOV. HUCKABEE: I don't know whether people are born that way. People who are gay say that they're born that way. But one thing I know, that the behavior one practices is a choice. We may have certain tendencies, but how we behave and how we carry out our behavior
I don't know nothing about no science or genetics, but I do know that if you suck dick it's because you make a choice to suck dick. In other words, even if you are 'that way' you should refuse yourself any love or affection. So as to keep biblically pure and clean (at least according to Mike Huckabee).
-- but the important issue that I want to address, because I think when you bring up the faith question, Tim, I've been asked more about my faith than any person running for president. I'm OK with that. I hope I've answered these questions very candidly and very honestly. I think it's important for us to talk about it. But the most important thing is to find out, does our faith influence our public policy and how? I've never tried to rewrite science textbooks. I've never tried to come out with some way of imposing a doctrinaire Christian perspective in a way that is really against the Constitution. I've never done that. (The Advocate)
No, you haven't tried to rewrite science textbooks... you just tried to buy the ones that represented your belief system, not scientific reality. As for not "imposing a doctrinaire Christian perspective in a way that is really against the Constitution", that's a matter pf perspective and interpretation of the Constitution. I'm partial to the one that has been upheld for centuries by the Federal Courts, that there is a wall separating Church and State. You don't believe that, Mike. You think the US is a Christian Republic, like France or Germany. That ain't the case, hermano.
Have a good'un!
30% of Iraqi refugees fled during US 'Surge'
Of the refugees polled, 78 percent said they'd come from Baghdad, which has been the focus of military operations since the U.S. troop buildup began last February. Thirty-five percent said they'd fled between July and October, when U.S. troop strength peaked. Another 30 percent said they'd fled to Syria last year, as violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims intensified.
More than half the survey's participants said they'd received direct threats or had lived through bombings. Eleven percent had been assaulted and 6 percent had been kidnapped.
The number of refugees with missing or dead relatives has risen steadily in the past four years; 54 percent had dead or missing family members this year, up from 22 percent last year. Murder was cited as the No. 1 cause of death, listed in 78 percent of the cases in the U.N. survey. A majority of respondents, 62 percent, blamed sectarian militias for the deaths. Twenty-eight percent listed "unknown" and 2 percent listed "al Qaida."
So, the real success of the surge was removing 500k good people from the country and making them refugees?
Economic populism and just how off base the pundits are
David Sirota has a brill piece up at HuffPo regarding hor freaked out the pundits in DC are about Edwards and Huckabee...
Klein's silliness is eclipsed only by Stu Rothenberg - who reliably hands us the old adage that any candidates challenging the status quo will destroy America. Here's his take today:"[John Edwards] is also portraying himself as fighting for the middle class and able to appeal to swing voters and even Republicans in a general election...His approach to problems is likely to frighten many voters, including most middle class Americans and virtually all Republicans...Given the North Carolina Democrat's rhetoric and agenda, an Edwards Presidency would likely rip the nation apart - even further apart than Bush has torn it."
Rothenberg's entire career is predicated on his supposed ability to analyze polling data - which is stunning in juxtaposition to his statements today. After all, polls show Edwards performing the best of any Democrat against any Republican presidential candidate. More importantly, polls also show the vast majority of the country - including Republicans - behind his populist economic positions.
For instance, Edwards has staked his candidacy on guaranteeing health care to every American and on raising the minimum wage - two positions the majority of Americans - and a huge chunk of Republicans - strong support. As I noted in a 2005 Washington Post article, a 2005 public opinion survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center showed that about half the GOP's core voters support the "government guaranteeing health insurance for all citizens, even if it means raising taxes" and an astounding three-quarters support an increase in the minimum wage. Pew recently updated these numbers to show that 4 in 10 Republican voters nationally "favor universal health coverage, even if it means higher taxes."
Trade? Same thing. Edwards has been demanding an end to Washington's lobbyist-written, job-killing trade agenda - a demand that the majority of Americans (and Republicans) support. The Wall Street Journal was only the most recent publication to note this fact. "By a nearly two-to-one margin, Republican voters believe free trade is bad for the U.S. economy," the Journal noted, adding that voters in both parties want our trade policies reformed.
Knowing these number, it is difficult to understand how a professional poll-watcher like Rothenberg could say that an economic populist platform "is likely to frighten many voters, including most middle class Americans and virtually all Republicans." It is even more difficult to understand when you consider that the leading Republican candidate right now is Mike Huckabee - a guy being grossly outspent but who is nonetheless surging among Republican voters on the strength of his economic populist themes. In short, all of the actual facts point to exactly the opposite of Rothenberg's conclusions: That power-challenging economic populism is exciting most voters, including most middle class Americans and many Republicans.
The reality is that people are ANGRY and that's really what has the chattering class upset. It's not that they can't read the mood of the country, it's that they refuse to see it because they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. There's only one problem... sooner or later things have to change. If they'd changed in 2005 then we'd be talking about something entirely different. It didn't and the longer you drag on the shift back to economic rationality and a fair trade environment, the more massively dislocating the shift will become.
In other words, if you want to avoid a revolution, you want Edwards (for the D's) and, God help us, Huckabee (for the R's).
TPA's 2007 Roundup
2007 was a great year for the Texas Progressive Alliance and its many member blogs and bloggers.
In recognition of the excellent work done by our many bloggers we're treating you to a special New Year's edition of the TPA round-up. So, without further ado, here is your "Best of 2007" from the many bloggers of the Texas Progressive Alliance.
Eye on Williamson has been one of the state's leading blogs when it comes to covering toll road issues and State Representative Mike Krusee's career. EOW's top posts of 2007 included: Eye on Williamson on toll roads, The "New Way Forward" On Tolls, the coming demise of Mike Krusee in Krusee's Influence And Credibility Are Gone, Time For HD-52 To Start Over and a post on the ongoing battle between the citizens and the county government over a new landfill contract, The Landill, TCEQ Hearing & More Gattis Shenanigans .
The most popular posts from The Texas Blue in our first year included: Our running coverage of the 2008 Senate race. We kicked everything off with one of our inaugural pieces analyzing Cornyn's potential vulnerability in '08, in a piece picked up by the Washington Post. We then broke the code on Kos' "mystery candidate," revealing that it was Rep. Rick Noriega that Kos had in mind with his draft movement, and interviewed the Representative shortly before he declared his official candidacy. And we published some of the first information examining Mikal Watts' candidacy in what became the most read story on the Blue this year; In what also became one of our most-read pieces, we analyzed the role of money in statewide Texas campaigns, looking at the efforts taken by the statewide campaign of David Van Os to illustrate the need for money in politics, the proper role of a nascent state party organization, and the limits on the effectiveness of a political message that come from the inability to effectively spread that message due to the lack of funds to reach large numbers of Texans efficiently. This article led to a dialog with David Van Os, and to an interview with him shortly afterward where he voices his side of the issue; And finally, though two interviews have been mentioned already, our "Who's Blue" audio interview series also includes a number of other fascinating figures in Democratic politics, both statewide and across the nation. Some of the more notable interviews have been with four-star Army General and 2004 presidential candidate Wesley Clark, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, and current presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.
John Coby of Bay Area Houston documents what a team of anonymous citizens have accomplished to expose the Texas Ethics Commission as incompetent in the series Spending Campaign Cash. Their work uncovered $3million in undisclosed expenditures by Texas Legislators. The Series. KHOU in Houston featured their work in late December with their report Activist: State's campaign finance oversight out-of-focus.
News items covered by TXsharon on Bluedaze: An attempt to shame a Texas Granny who received the Peacemaker of the year award. The depletion of and pollution of our water due to the irresponsible and shocking use by the oil and gas industry including an explanation of Groundwater Conservation Districts and how they can help that was published in two Texas newspapers and the attempt by oil and gas to sabotage the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District. The failure of the Texas Railroad Commission to protect Texans. The protection money breakdown paid to Texas Railroad Commissioners by the oil and gas industry.
WhosPlayin's favorite posts of 2007 were all about ideas: Universal Health Care - You're Soaking In It in which he explains that we're already paying for universal health care. Why Democrats Oppose "Voter ID" Bills - an explanation for our conservative friends. Lastly, Fiscal Progressivism - Fiscal Conservatism with a Broader View.
Hal at Half Empty hemmed and hawed. How to decide which three of this year's postings merited special recognition? Then it dawned on him to mention the three postings about three singular events that he attended and posted photos about. Priceless! In reverse chronological order: The Fort Bend Democrats Have a Booth at the Fair. Then a summer fundraiser featuring TDP Chairman Boyd Richie. And last February The Fort Bend Democrats held a Love Fest for Rick and Melissa Noriega.
BlueBloggin', another new blog to the TPA in 2007, submits their best of 2007: nytexan pens an op-ed on The Christian March Against America; BossKitty has a poignant OpEd: All Answers Are Selfish And Shallow; and nytexan discusses how Mexico Get Texas Land Through Border Fence
Refinish69, at Doing My Part For The Left, takes a look back at the year and is still disgusted with Hypocrites, Toe Tapping Senators, and Knee Pad Presidents. While looking back at the year, who can forget Ann Coulter proving what a witch(usually spelled with a capital B) she is. Refinish69 also looks at Gay Pride and World AIDS Day again to explain some history about himself and the continuing need for Gay Voters to speak out.
One of Grand Moff Texan's too rare diaries is always a special delight for us at Texas Kaos. But a standout diary inspired by the ignorance of the beltway punditry really broke down Why We Blog, Or Broderism in my Rear-View Mirror. Read it, and be inspired as we kick off into the 2008 election cycle. As the wilder-than-usual Texas Legislative session came to a close, Boadicea highlighted a few particular items of interest in Personal Courage, Political Vendettas, and an Unexpected Outbreak of Spine. With his usual sharp eye and incisive writing, Krazypuppy noted the REAL importance of the Larry Craig scandal in Why Another GOP Sex Scandal Matters-It's Not the Queers, Either.
It's been a wild year at McBlogger. We've heard about 39%'s trip to meet the Bilderburgers. We've also had exclusive one on one interviews with the Democratic candidates. We've also taken time out to call on some of our friends to be quiet. Because they're being a pain in the ass. This year McBlogger turned two and like all two year olds you can expect tantrums mixed with an even larger dose of mischief. Like all children, though, you'll want to kill us but won't be able to because killing kids is wrong (so, so very wrong). You'll also find us precocious and irresistibly cute.
We at The North Texas Liberal had some trouble deciding on which posts were our absolute favorites of 2007! But we decided on a few standouts that seemed worthy of mentioning for a second time. First, a series on Shaquanda Cotton. Cotton is a fifteen-year-old African American girl from Paris, Texas. She was sentenced to up to seven years at the TYC for pushing a hall monitor at her school (the same judge that sentenced her gave a white girl that was convicted of burning down the family home to probation). Our coverage of Cotton garnered the attention of someone at the Lamar County DA's office who used some recycled talking points to trash Cotton and her mother. Despite all of this, after the mainstream media broke Cotton's story, she became a candidate for early release. By the end of March, it was official that she would be released from the TYC, and in April we showed a video of her reunion with her mother. Cotton has returned to school and wants to study to become a lawyer so she can fight future injustices. We continued our global warming coverage with our Planet Purgatory series, parts One and Two. In May, we heard that the global warming tipping point could be in only ten years' time. NASA scientist James Hansen, a tireless environment advocate who testified about global warming before the Congress back in the 1980s, explains the tipping point theory... the point of no return. But he also believes in prevention rather than adaptation. If you missed this one, check out the post... if you're concerned at all about the environment, you'll want to read it. We continued our global warming coverage with our Planet Purgatory series, parts One and Two. Lastly, we gave Sen. John Cornyn the credit he deserved when he finally stood right side of an issue. Despite a year of flops and fabrications, he said he would support seasonal workers through the H2-B visa program. But despite the efforts of Maryland Democrat Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the fix wasn't finalized before Congress broke for the winter holidays, leaving thousands of small business owners out in the cold this holiday season. When we spoke face-to-face with a legislative expert at Cornyn's DC office, we were told that the Texas senator would like to see comprehensive immigration reform and wouldn't lobby for the H2-B visas, though he supported seasonal workers, because he didn't want to piecemeal a fix for the immigration problem. So even though he stood with his constituents on the right side of the issue, in the end he let them down again.
Edmundo Rocha of Para Justicia y Libertad reports about two protests against the prison industrial complex used here in Texas to detain undocumented immigrants--the Houston
Processing Center in Houston and the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, TX. Prior to those reports, he reported on the suicide of David Ritcheson of Spring, TX, the Latino teen who was brutally beaten, tortured, and sodomized with a plastic pole by two white racist teenagers, David Henry Tuck and Keith Robert Turner.
Marc G., of Marc's Miscellany, analyzed Tom Craddick's preposterous claim that the speaker of the house can only be removed by impeachment. Marc also discussed Gov. Perry's controversial decision to veto the health insurance appropriation for community college employees.
Israel Behar-Ojalvo, PDiddie's father-in-law, passed away in March and Brains and Eggs had a post with photos in tribute. The Texas Youth Commission remains the worst scandal in Texas history, and that was apparent in April of last year. And in the matter of a few hours just before Labor Day, Alberto Gonzales, Phil Garner, and Tim Purpura all lost their jobs. Good riddance to a big bunch of losers. More like this in 2008, sure to come.
2007 was a heck of a year for Capitol Annex. Vince Leibowitz at Capitol Annex is most proud of his ground-breaking coverage of the saga surrounding the insurgency in the Texas House and Speaker Craddick's power grab, including Terry Keel's Troubling Memo (a smoking gun, for sure), and the saga surrounding the resignation of parliamentarian Denise Davis, which earned him a mention in (among other publications), Texas Lawyer. Coverage of the 80th Texas Legislature was also a major event for Capitol Annex, including a mind-numbing Liveblogging of debate on the General Appropriations Act, and a special video: Jodie Laubenberg Is Screaming.
It has been another exciting year at DosCentavos. I've tried to go over some of my better postings of the year and came up with three. DosCentavos wrote about his expectations for the 2007Lege Session. Beyond La Politica, we also know DosCentavos enjoys writing reviews on the latest releases in the Tejano and Mexican American music genre. This year, he received the honor of being asked by Los Lobos to rate their most recent release, The Town and The City. Finally, during the last Lege session, some Senators attempted to take up the debate on legalizing gambling to pay for education. DC tells us a few realities about higher education funding in the process.
Musings started the year concerned about science education in Texas (see: Warren Chisum, R-Dark Ages) and ended the year with some commentary about her friend, Chris Comer, being fired as Director of Science at the Texas Education Agency over her stand on evolution. In between it was all about Melissa and Rick Noriega.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes a church in El Paso falls victim to manipulation by a right wing cadre bent on world domination. CouldBeTrue then wonders what would have happened in a perfect Republican world when the Minnesota bridge collapsed. South Texas Chisme covers the wedge'em and hate'em campaign,, also known as Republican immigration strategy. Hispanics have taken note.
The Texas Cloverleaf, another blog new to the TPA this year, was a submission hold performed by professional wrestler Dean Malenko, which tied up his opponent's legs, much like a clover. We are designed to be one of those lefty progressive Democratic type political blogs. We live in North Texas, so expect a lot of DFW area stuff. But, we like the rest of the state, sometimes. Maybe even America. But don't push us! Politics is like a Texas Cloverleaf. It takes you in different directions, and ultimately will make you tap out! The series we are most proud of since forming in the summer of 2007 was the continued exposure of the outright lies and misleading statements coming from the pro-toll road crowd in Dallas during the Trinity Vote effort. Even though the referendum failed, we feel we did our part to help Dallas voters make an informed decision. Read the series here, here, here, here and here.
Best wishes for a happy 2008 from the Texas Progressive Alliance.
January 02, 2008
The Dog Ate My Paperwork
BOR brings us tidings that neither Dennis Kucinich nor Mike Gravel bothered to file their paperwork properly and will not appear on the March Primary ballot.
I guess some people aren't as serious about public service as Gene Kelly.
Shit tells vomit IT stinks
Via STC comes word that Perry is calling Bush out on fiscal conservatism while Governor...
Texans expressed surprise Friday at Rick Perry's public suggestion that his Republican predecessor as governor, George W. Bush, was never a fiscal conservative.
Perry stuck by his assessment as aides said he has been more of a fiscal watchdog than Bush. Figures kept by the Legislative Budget Board show spending increasing at about the same pace under each governor.
Edwards coming on strong...
The Iowa Caucus is manana and Edwards looks poised to repeat his strong 2004 performance. Recently, Ralph Nader announced his endorsement of Edwards which is, IMHO, kind of a double edged sword since many progressives still blame him for the 2000 debacle that gave us el Presidente Arbusto. I guess it will be telling to see how many progessives, greens and liberals heed Nader's call... or follow Denny The Fucktard to Obama.
The next endorsement is a little close to home. The Agonist, one of the major US blogs, has endorsed Edwards. The great part are the comments, specifically the one regarding what a 'hard worker' Obama is. Some of you may remember his questioning of Petraeus. That's a good example of why I think Obama is all hat and no cattle.
Just how good has the economy been?
We've known for a while that the economy hasn't been on all that great for the vast majority of Americans. The reality is that supply-side economics does exactly what it was always supposed to do... concentrate income and, as a consequence, wealth at the top. Here's a breakdown of the economic gains made from 2003-2005...
Bottom quintile: 2%
Next quintile: 2.4%
Middle quintile: 3.9%
Fourth quintile: 3.7%
Top quintile: 16%
Top 10%: 20.9%
Top 5%: 27.7%
Top 1%: 43.5%
71.2% of the income available in the United States went to 5% of the population. While no one ever said capitalism was fair, it has historically been a good way to create and distribute wealth across a large population. However, what we functionally have now isn't really capitalism, it's a form of pseudo-fascism with incredible amounts of government cooperation with industry, especially in terms of military spending. Whether the Republicans realize it or not, they've engaged in economic manipulation and a redistribution of wealth that is functionally impoverishing the vast majority of the people in this country.
The total income of the top 1.1 million households was $1.8 trillion, or 18.1 percent of the total income of all Americans, up from 14.3 percent of all income in 2003. The total 2005 income of the three million individual Americans at the top was roughly equal to that of the bottom 166 million Americans, analysis of the report showed.
The report is the latest to document the growing concentration of income at the top, a trend that President Bush said last January had been under way for more than 25 years.
Earlier reports, based on tax returns, showed that in 2005 the top 10 percent, top 1 percent and fractions of the top 1 percent enjoyed their greatest share of income since 1928 and 1929.
I suppose it's purely coincidental that the 'trend' toward a concentration of wealth at the top has run along with the rise of 'conservatism' and supply-side economics. And now, it's time to put the brakes on in a big way. This isn't about socialism, this is about re-regulating the 'free' market to stop the abuses, not impose restrictions on profits or make it difficult for people to make a living. It's about recreating the progressive tax system that helped make this country an economic powerhouse and created the middle class.
Now's the time for aggressive moves from the Democrats.
Lame endorses Lame
With the Iowa Caucus just a day away, we find out that the irrepressibly lame Kucinich has endorsed Obama.
It's exciting, isn't it? Well, maybe it is to the oatmeal-eating set.
Rich on Huckabee
The rabid hunger for change, it turns out, has made the very idea of experience as toxic as every other attribute of the Bush White House. The once-heralded notion of a C.E.O. presidency, overstocked with “tested” Washington and Fortune 500 executives like Cheney and Rumsfeld, is now in the toilet with Larry Craig. You couldn’t push the pendulum further in the other direction than by supporting a candidate like Mr. Huckabee, who is blatantly unprepared to be president and whose most impressive battle has been with his weight.
January 01, 2008
Oh, but I disagree
There are few conservative blogs I read, mostly because they are written by Michelle Malkin. Or people who wish they were Michelle Malkin. Urban Grounds is one I do read. While I may disagree with the guy who writes it, usually about 90% of the time, he writes well and at least makes an attempt to rationally argue his position. Except for two recent posts that got under my skin.
The Texas Progressive Alliance — is there nothing so sacred and respected by the military that the left isn’t willing to disgrace or desecrate? Maybe you could come up with some kind of heart-shaped, purple award for your alliance, too.
Rep. Noriega (who is also a Lt. Colonel in the Army National Guard) — you should know better. You should have politely declined the award, and used the opportunity to educate the Texas Progressive Alliance on what a Gold Star presentation really means.
In the comments, people pointed out the inanity of the post. I'll belabor the point by mentioning the following organizations that issue gold stars.
Elementary teachers all across the US.
The U.S. General Services Administration Gold Star Award for Excellence
Cygwin Gold Star award
UT at San Antonio
Police Officers and Hwy Patrolmen
My former employer, USBANK, which gives them out for years of service to the company.
None of these organizations are being disrespectful to the military families who've lost a loved one. Neither is the TPA. This kind of criticism makes it hard to tell if this was about politics or general outrage. I'm thinking it was the former.
The second post is about what those on the right like to call BUSH DERANGEMENT SYNDROME...
I was a Soldier in the U.S. Army during Bill Clinton’s Presidency. While I differed on much of what the man stood for, I understood that he was the President of my country. And he needed as much support and respect as that office deserved.
I’m not saying that Presidents shouldn’t be criticized nor scrutinized — but to do it in such a hateful and disrespectful manner the way the left has is another thing entirely. The rampant Bush Derangement Syndrome I’ve seen over the last 7 years has been sad, pathetic, and disheartening.
I really do doubt and question the patriotism of people who are filled with nothing but hate for our President. People who are actually rooting for his failure, his demise, and often his death.
You conservative commentators out there should never question the patriotism of myself or any other progressive because we don't like a man who refuses to uphold his oath of office and has damaged the United States so badly that it will take years to overcome the effects of his Presidency. We all respect the office and can differentiate between our animosity toward the man and our respect for the office. It's the kind of thinking that can enable us to hate the war and have the utmost respect for the troops who fight it. It's not their choice and at least they are upholding their oath which is more than I can say for their Commander in Chief.
Unlike members of the armed forces, civilians get to do that. They also get to try to limit the power of an out of control executive WHILE IN OFFICE. That's America,something that most learn in civics class.
Finally, there's been far too much bullshit spewed by the right about how much the left hates the troops. Y'all might be surprised that there progressives who fight tooth and nail to get Veterans home loans even when they are, at best, marginal borrowers. That send care packages to the troops. That actually give a damn about their safety in combat and want them home.
And yes, hate the irrational dry-drunk who sent them to invade a country that didn't attack us. We are all Americans. So, Robbie, given your love for the country, why the hell aren't you pissed as hell at Bush? The man has worked hard to dismantle the document that he swore to protect and defend.
I don't know about you, but I don't have a lot of respect for people who don't keep their goddamn word.