May 31, 2008
Patron Saint for McBlogger
Being a religious group, it’s hard to believe that this blog does not have a patron saint. With that in mind, and risking eternal damnation of my soul, here is my suggestion.
St. Catherine of Siena. Why Cat?
According to this source and verified by others,
“St Catherine deliberately told popes, queens and kings how to behave. She was spontaneous, unafraid of authority, and fearless in the face of death.”(that facing death thing is beyond our scope, but we’ll sign off on the concept)
As for her manner of speaking, this is her rebuke to some people who she didn’t care for –
“What made you do this? You are flowers who shed no perfume, but stench that makes the whole world reek.”Outstanding!
As an added bonus, her patronage includes the television. How can a 14th century person be noted for that item? Many of her visions were projected on walls. Would she like “My Big Red Neck Wedding” or “World Wrestling Entertainment Raw”? Who knows, but she would absolutely conjure up deadly plagues if she saw “The Hills”.
Scottie Has Hope!
Leave it to Scott "Master of the Obvious" McClellan to not only tell us that the President was wrong in getting us into the war in Iraq, but to point out something else that is true:
"Some of what Obama says, his overall message, is very similar to the one we ran on in 2000 about changing the way Washington works and what I had so much hope in," said McClellan, who became the White House press secretary in 2003 after serving as spokesman for President Bush when he was the governor of Texas.
May 30, 2008
Tony Blair... you're no Jimmy Carter. You're not even a Bill Clinton. You're a poor man's Anthony Eden.
When will Rove do the right thing...
...and put a gun in his mouth?
May 29, 2008
Inflation and the next big bull market
First off, the bad news. Inflation, using historical calculations, is running at 11%. That's pretty bad. What's worse is that high inflation tends to kick up interest rates dramatically. So get ready to pay more for those credit cards.
The good part? High inflation periods usually depress the cost of financial assets, especially equities. And it's always a buying opportunity. For one thing, high commodity prices lead to periods of rapid growth in the supply of those commodities either through new technologies or expanded production. ALWAYS. Humans adapt and grow around constraints.
Nothing lasts forever, boys and girls, frankly I'm thrilled at the prospect of being able to buy some good stocks at a nice discount. You should be as well.
Roundin' up the TPA
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders how the Webb County elections administrator can claim one recount where the votes didn't change vindicates their work on the Sheriff's recount where 160 votes flipped.
BossKitty at BlueBloggin tell us how truck owners and operators are delving into long-ignored gas saving subjects like aerodynamics, slower cruising speeds and all the snake oil scams to increase mileage. This could lower your food prices and consumables; Ten mpg is now feasible … may save you money!
Vince at Capitol Annex notes that the word around Austin is that Rick Perry is planning on calling a Special Session of the Texas Legislature prior to the November elections. You won't believe why.
Chris Bell is widely rumored to be considering a run for the Texas Senate seat being vacated by Kyle Janek, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs joins the call to encourage him to do so.
Social wing nuts are up to their old tricks, as the TX State Board of Education give the finger to teachers and parents alike this past week. On a 9-6 vote, your kids get a decade's worth of grammar lessons etched on a napkin.
Lightseeker of Texas Kaos takes on the question of what to do with all these new Democratic/Progressive activists and voters? Are they doomed to grow quickly disillusioned, retreating into political cynicsm again ? What can be done to keep the momentum for change going? What's going on in your precinct to organize for November?
Gary D at Easter Lemming Liberal News last week blasted Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Michael Williams, Texas Monthly Blogger Paul Burka and Senator John 'Forget the Alamo' Cornyn because he is not bitter but sometimes he gets angry.
Don't forget to check out all the Texas Progressive Alliance blogs:
B & B
Bay Area Houston
Brains & Eggs
Burnt Orange Report
Doing My Part For The Left
Easter Lemming Liberal News
Eye on Williamson
Feet To Fire
Grassroots News U Can Use
In The Pink Texas
North Texas Liberal
Off The Kuff
Para Justicia y Libertad
South Texas Chisme
Texas Truth Serum
The Caucus Blog
The Texas Blue
The Texas Clover Leaf
Three Wise Men
May 28, 2008
A Church for All
Anyone over 40 or who lived in a small town remembers a time when just about every business was closed on a Sunday. We can debate the merits, but this was the day when a person could recharge his or her batteries, and spend time with family and friends.
Some – actually just me, but I’m looking for others to take up the cause - have advocated that the only places open on Sunday should be churches and bars. That pretty well covers the entire population, and take cares of those messy constitutional issues. Here’s hoping that the Mayor will have a resolution ready for the 2010 convention.
Well, it seems somebody has gotten ahead of the curve. The place is not technically a church, but it is a start, and like all great ideas, there will be improvement.
Though we first have human and civil rights to uphold and discrimination to overcome, when Mr. McBlogger marries the man of his dreams, we are not going to attend in some stuffy old JP chamber or cheesy Las Vegas wedding chapel, but a church with an open bar.
Really, FloShap? Really?
Bryan Eppstein, a consultant to Shapiro, says, “At this time it’s just an interest in running and it’s a growing interest.” Eppstein also threw in the obligatory “she’s getting encouraged to run” bit.
Yes, I know this is almost a month old. Much like a nasty wine, I had to let it breathe for a while before I could stand to drink it. Honestly, I don't know if it's possible to heap the kind of derision on this that it deserves. But I'll try. Because Flo's just that big a loser.
On second thought, I'm just not up to the task. Of all the inane 'moves' I've heard politicians plan, this one is near the top of the list.
Good to see OUR politicos aren't the only stupid ones
Remember that dumbass idea to drop the gas tax? Remember how dumb we thought our politicos were for thinking up such a stupid idea? Remember when we longed for those intelligent and urbane European electeds who would never propose something so crass and stupid?
As it turns out, they're just as dumb. Or at least, French President Sarkozy is.
Pandering has now made the great leap over the Atlantic!
May 27, 2008
Helpful advice if you're buying a home
The stupid things that home buyers, even those who have purchased one or more homes over decades, will do never cease to amaze me. So, let me give you some helpful hints that your broker will give you but that you'll ignore.
1) Don't go buy ANYTHING, even with cash, prior to closing.
You may not realize it but we can see when you go and look for a new car. That big screen TV you just got financed at Best Buy? We see that, too. Every time you add a payment to your monthly debt service, even if it's 'no interest, no payments for 12 months' we have to count it in your debt to income ratio. If that ratio is on the edge, even an additional $10 a month in debt payments can kick you from approve to decline. Wait until after your loan closes and funds to buy the new plasma and the giant pickup.
As for spending cash, your approval may hinge on your verified assets. Spend too much out of that savings and it's good bye new two story McMansion in Pflugerville.
Don't even get me started on what shopping for new credit will do to your credit score.
JUST WAIT TO BUY THE STUFF YOU WANT.
2) Don't plan to have the movers come an hour after your closing is scheduled to begin. You're just setting up for failure. And trust me, we think you're an idiot and don't really have a lot of sympathy for you. Especially if you've owned a house in the past.
3) If you're a Realtor... GIVE YOUR LOAN OFFICERS TIME TO GET THEIR WORK DONE. Do NOT call every five minutes and bother them, the broker or the processor. Things don't happen instantaneously. And don't even think of calling the underwriter, unless you want to see how long we'll make you wait. Seriously, be patient and remind your clients that we're lending them hundreds of thousands of dollars and there's a lot of paperwork that has to get pushed. We won't leave them (or you) to twist in the wind but when there's a delay, don't act like the world will come to an end. It never does. Also, that plane that everyone is getting on about an hour after the scheduled closing? It's an American flight. It's delayed as well. Yeah, we're calling your bluff.
4) Keep your checkstubs and W2's. Don't throw them away, then expect us to be able to approve you for credit. This isn't a little $5,000 credit card. WE'RE LENDING YOU MONEY TO BUY A HOUSE. Keep up with your income documentation so you can get it to us quickly.
The number one thing that delays an on time closing is not the underwriter being slow. Or the originator. It's usually the borrower taking their sweet time to get necessary documentation in. Do yourself a favor and bring it all with you at initial application. Your loan officer will thank you.
5) REALLY LOOK at what you're being offered. Banks really ARE more expensive than brokers and hidden behind that 'no closing cost' loan from the bank is some serious income from a higher interest rate. And usually, you're better off taking the fee deductions than the interest deductions on a higher interest rate over 30 years. If you want transparency, go to a broker.
Finally, if you have problems just shoot me an email. I do this for a living and can you tell you if you're being screwed.
May 26, 2008
A thought and some sad news...
May 25, 2008
Energy and Reality (Or, What to do about high gas prices)
With gas prices approaching or exceeding $4.00 all over the country, it's pretty obvious we're all in for some rough times. I know I've had to make sacrifices (moving from Grand Marnier to Cointreau) and I'm sure you've had to make adjustments as well. Like getting the kids to like cat food instead of Cheerios.
Politically, it's the Democrats year as long as gas stays above $3.00/gal. Actually, I think the pain threshold is probably around $2.50/gal. That being said, this isn't a post about high gas prices and hurray for Democrats in November. This is about what the hell we're going to do.
This is going to be a little different from my usual posts. This is policy and not terribly exciting. I'm going to break things down into two areas of focus... what to do in the short term and long term fixes. Obvs, this issue touches on a hundred issues and disciplines, so please bear with me. While it may not be readily apparent where I'm heading, I promise it'll all come together.
The Short Term Solution
People are hurting now and something has to be done. Sure, it's great to focus on CAFE standards and expanding public transportation. Both of those things have to be done, but before they'll start affecting things, gas will be $9.00/gal. Both of these take years to cycle through the economy.
What? You doubt me? Think about hybrids and diesels. Both are available now and have been for about 4-5 years. Still, they haven't made a dent in demand. Because people are pretty strapped right now and spending money on a car is, for many, impossible. That being said, what do we do?
Remember that thing about disparate ideas coming together? Here it is. Basically, in the energy markets right now there is a tremendous amount of money sloshing around due to lax policy from the Fed. That's creating inflationary pressures in various classes of investments which is especially evident in commodities. Low capital gains taxes are making it extremely easy for people to trade the market and constantly make profits. Who wouldn't like to be able to invest $1 mn and come away in 6 months or less with $10 mn? Oh, and pay practically nothing in tax?
Low capital gains and lax monetary policy are driving speculation in the energy markets. The only way to stop it is to tax the hell out of it and starve out the short term traders. That will deflate the bubble and take us down to around $95/bbl.
The second part, balancing the federal budget, will help to stabilize the dollar and lead to it's reappreciation. That should strip about $20-35 out of the price of oil, taking us down to a far more manageable $60-75/bbl. YES, it will mean raising taxes. Get used to it. We've been paying in the minimum for years and as a result our infrastructure is crumbling, our schools are deteriorating and our currency is in functional freefall. It's about time liberals AND conservatives come together and realize we need to make some investments in the future.
The next part is a little more tricky...
The Long Term Solution
We've now got oil down to more affordable levels and we didn't even have to go begging the Saudi's. So why isn't it back down in the $20's? Simple. There's still instability in many areas of the world where we get oil and demand is still high. That's the dirty little secret... we've apparently reached global peak and new discoveries aren't offsetting declines in major fields. In other words, while we're not running out of oil, we're running out of cheap, plentiful easily marketed oil. Which means we have to do something now before we go through something analogous to the worst of the 70's dystopia movies.
We could start drilling in ANWR. It contains about as much oil as we use in 18 months and the costs to produce it full out could top $75/bbl. Not exactly a bargain and it's not a long term solution, despite what the R's may have told you. And everyone else.
What about shale oil in the Rockies? Sure. There's a ton of oil trapped in shales, but the cost to produce will easily top $90/bbl. Why do you think none of the major integrated oils are clamoring over the prospect? Oh, yeah, and it also tears up the mountains. And pollutes the hell out of the environment BEFORE you've even had a chance to refine the first gallon of gas.
Oh, but the Athabasca oil sands (not to mention those in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt) are our savior, right? Sure, the oil there's being produced for around $30-40/bbl. Which is fantastic until you realize the environmental damage that's done to get at that oil. That, and it's not exactly the yummy West Texas Intermediate Equivalent that we've all come to know and love. Nah, this a dead end with escalating costs and nasty environmental effects.
All of the 'solutions' mentioned above do nothing but exacerbate the increase in atmospheric carbon. Even in the case of Athabasca, where they are using nuclear power, just pulling the oil up releases carbon. Before you even refine a gallon of gas, you're already increasing the carbon load.
The only solid long term solution is biofuels. Forget soya diesel and corn ethanol, two biofuels that are about as useless as tits on a boar. The future is cellulosic ethanol made from miscanthus and biodiesel made from cassava. The best solution is algae and cyanobacteria. However, there's a lot of land that should be converted from corn and cotton production (hello West Texas) to biofuels. And you can do it in a way that will lessen water requirements and make farming more dependable and profitable. Still, the biofuel panacea is going to be either cyanobacteria or algae held in suspension and contained in mile after mile of snaking tubes.
The best part? While it's making the transportation fuel, it's also scrubbing the atmosphere of CO2. You could even sequester CO2 from utility plants to juice growth. All around, it's THE solution, at least until we have practical fusion, solar panels with 70% efficiency that are commercially produced and ultra high density capacitors and batteries. While this doesn't do a lot to get rid of the carbon already floating around, it does put a stop to emissions growth. At that point, the environment will take care of the rest.
Now that we have the blue sky solution, how the hell do we implement it. Therein lies the rub... it's not easy and it'll take the kind of political acumen that few in Washington have. On our side. The Republicans are absolutely hopeless, bleating on as they are about offshore drilling, ANWR and shale.
For one thing, increasing the capital gains rate is going to make the investment banks and hedge funds very angry. Short term gains are their bread and butter, they're rich and they love donating money. And spending some of it on lobbyists. Still, our long term prosperity depends on shifting from a focus on short term to long term gains. In all honesty, if we allow them to buy into what's going to be the next big growth industry, they'll fall into line. And that's the key... the horse trading on this is going to be an absolute nightmare and the reality is that it's going to require getting everyone to buy in. Most of the integrated oils will, but Exxon will be unhappy with any solution.
That's where the power of government comes into play. Until now, it's been used to hold back advances in public policy that will benefit the country. This time, we can use to play hardball with those companies that are uncooperative. Don't like our solution? Forget about patent protection, for example.
The market is eventually going to go with this solution. However, it'll take them 20-30 years. That's why we need the government to step in and force the market's hand. This is going to require some monstrously intelligent people. The good news is, we have them. The bad news is that most of them are narrowly focused on one solution, not to mention that the vast majority of them have extraordinarily shallow knowledge bases. They're going to have to stop listening exclusively to the echo chamber composed of their fellow classmates from grad school.
Finally, what's all this going to cost? My estimates are upwards of $2 trillion after you hand out all the lulu's and get everyone happy with the outcome. You can do it now, but that kind of borrowing in addition to current fiscal insanity would promptly drive interest rates up to 12% or more. That would put consumer rates in the 17-20% range which would effectively kill commerce in the US. And employment. That's where that whole fiscal responsibility thing comes from and the certain knowledge that this will have to gradual so as not to cause a sudden shock to an already shaky financial system.
Of course, there's something else that makes the cost palatable. Biofuels keep our existing infrastructure mostly in place which reduces the cost to build out the production facilities. It also creates jobs which we desperately need, it lowers the cost of transportation fuel AND strengthens the dollar just from the simple fact that we'll not have to send as many of them out of the country to buy energy.
There will be moaning and whining about this from all sides. We'll have to ignore it, especially when it comes from the National Review, The Washington Times and R candidates. Eventually though, it'll become evident that this is a good solution that will readily benefit everyone.
May 24, 2008
Hillary Supporters: The Weaker Sex
We are emotional because the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says so. They forgot to mention hysterical. Because of all the hysterectomies. And weepy. And, unable to fix our own toilets. Or, take out the trash.
Sadly, we are emotional, bitchy, screechy, cry babies. Alternately, if we are men, we are weak, pathetic, bitter and unintelligent.
But Obama can't afford to move too quickly toward the general election, or he will risk alienating Clinton supporters who are already emotional about the likelihood of their chosen candidate's closely fought defeat.
Save us, Obama!
Happy Memorial Day
Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend and take a moment to thank someone you know who served.
May 23, 2008
Together We Can Take All Of Hillary's Comments Out Of Context
Interesting that RFK, Jr. knows what HRC was saying. The statement below speaks for itself.
Robert Kennedy Jr. issued the following statement this evening:
“It is clear from the context that Hillary was invoking a familiar political circumstance in order to support her decision to stay in the race through June. I have heard her make this reference before, also citing her husband's 1992 race, both of which were hard fought through June. I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense.”
The Republicans beg for money
I'm on the RPT's email list (YAY ME!) and just got this today. It's inline with their other emails, which Coby over at BAH has been tracking (here and here). Today's missive is from TinaFish herself, Empress of all the Republicans. I decided to translate from Republicanese to English but if you want to see the raw text, it's in the supersize.
You love you some Barack Obama, but we're still going to stick to the lame talking point that he insulted everyone in Texas when he told a group of San Francisco donors...
“People in small towns cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
We know, we're pulling things way the hell out of context, but there are still like 20 of you out there who will send us a few bucks every time we mail this shit out. Y'all are like little human ATM's and we love you for it. Especially because we're broke and could really use the money. As offensive as our pandering is, the mainstream media is totally passing it up and focusing on dumb shit Obama said. Kinda like us.
Michelle Obama’s out of context comments from earlier this year are still making headlines mostly because we keep screaming that they were 'un-American'. You know what else is un-American? Making us eat at motherfucking Taco Bell which is all we can afford right now.
“For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback.”
Yeah, we know we're stretching this like Linda Harper-Brown trying to wedge into a girdle, but damn! We gotta do something! Sure, we're embarrassed by her honesty (and even know how she feels ... we have been, after all, the ones dismissing 'hope' for almost 30 years and focusing on pandering and hatred), but Obama’s campaign kept explaining how we and the media were taking this out of context (which we really are all the time doing). AND YOU KEEP LISTENING TO HIM! DON'T YOU REALIZE HE'S BLACK?!?!?! WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!?!?!
And we’ve all heard the sickening comments of Obama’s minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright (it's a strategy we call Fun With Partial Quotes). We know you've heard them because we've been like a goddamn broken record with that shit. Once again, we're hoping it'll shake the money tree so we can make rent this month. At first Obama dismissed Rev. Wright’s comments. That's when we smelled blood in the water. Then the Democrats did the unthinkable... they brought up McCain's support from that psycho Hagee. AND YOU LISTENED TO THEM? What do we have to do? Fake a terrorist incident to get you people to pay attention to us?!?!?!
Sucker, I refuse to sit back and watch you keep your money. I NEED a lot of it and frankly, it'll help me more than it will you. We keep trying to make you understand that Barack Obama and his allies are trying to tear down everything we hold so dear. You just refuse to believe us. That makes us mad. Especially because if you keep your money we'll be poor. And we CAN'T have that.
If you agree, then I urge you to make a special emergency contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more to our Republican Party of Texas today. Seriously, I had to eat chili out of a can today and it was hella gross. This is really an emergency.
Not only are you and I in a battle for control of the White House (with us on one side and the rest of the country on the other), the United States Senate and the House of Representatives…
We’re in a battle for the survival of that conservative bullshit you've been buying from us for 30 years, too. Don't make us retool our message and strategy... we REALLY don't want to. That takes work and we're nothing if not lazy.
Here in Texas we don’t “cling” to anything (except your money), but we are guided by faith (in your stupidity) and believe deeply in the time-honored values (like taking your donations) that have made this nation the greatest on the face of the Earth. Well, it was before we took over and let our friends come and rape everything. Thank you all so much for voting for Perry in 2006. Now we can give back to the Spanish some of what we took from them. Viva La Reconquista!
But the Democrats clearly have quite a different view of the world than you or I. They keep fighting diligently for your rights and freedoms, not to mention your economic security. And unless you give us money now, they're likely to win overwhelmingly in November. And then we'll have to find real jobs and our skills are kinda the suck.
Through literature drops, and calls and targeted mailings to undecided voters, your special emergency gift of money will help us expose just how nasty and stupid we can be. It'll also help pay our tab at Ruth's Chris.
And if you can help now, we’ll have the funds for that awesome vacay we've been planning to Bali. It'll also, if there's any left over, contrast our so-called conservative values with the strong, all-American ideals of the Obama Democrats.
Together, we’ll stop the Obama Democrats from disrupting our stranglehold on power and corruption. With your money, we'll also be able to pay off the bills the Speaker ran up redecorating his apartment. And pay off our Amex.
Thanks and God Bless,
TinaFish, State Chairman
P.S. I’m sure you’re shocked and appalled by how craven we are. We know you're impressed by the ideas being put forth by Barack Obama and his campaign. I am, too. But really, we have do something about it as we can't allow you people to think for yourselves. Will you help me protect my privileged position by making a special gift to the Republican Party of Texas?
Support our conservative ideals - Support RPT Today!
Barack Obama insulted everyone in Texas when he told a group of left-wing San Francisco donors...
“People in small towns cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
As offensive as that shocking statement is, the mainstream media dismissed Obama’s ideas because they share his views.
Michelle Obama’s anti-American comments from earlier this year are still making headlines.
“For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback.”
Embarrassed by her candor, Obama’s campaign tried to divert attention by saying that her remarks were taken out of context.
And we’ve all heard the sickening comments of Obama’s minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. At first Obama dismissed Rev. Wright’s comments. But only recently, bowing to political pressure, has he criticized them.
Friend, I refuse to sit back and watch the unchallenged agenda and words of Barack Obama and his allies tear down everything we hold so dear.
If you agree, then I urge you to make a special emergency contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more to our Republican Party of Texas today.
Not only are you and I in a battle for control of the White House, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives…
We’re in a battle for the survival of our common-sense conservative ideals, too.
Here in Texas we don’t “cling” to anything, but we are guided by faith and believe deeply in the time-honored values that have made this nation the greatest on the face of the Earth.
But the Democrats clearly have quite a different view of the world than you or I. And unless you want to see them seize total control of our federal government, Texas Republicans must step up to the plate like never before.
Through literature drops, and calls and targeted mailings to undecided voters, your special emergency gift of will help us expose the liberal Obama agenda for all Texans to see.
And if you can help now, we’ll have the funds for media opportunities that contrast our timeless conservative values with the radical, anti-American bias of the Obama Democrats.
Together, we’ll stop the Obama Democrats from ruining everything that has made Texas and America great.
Thanks and God Bless,
Tina J. Benkiser
Tina J. Benkiser, State Chairman
P.S. I’m sure you’re shocked and appalled by some of the ideas being put forth by Barack Obama and his campaign. I am, too. Let’s do something about it. Will you help me protect our conservative cause and make a special gift to the Republican Party of Texas?
People die every single day...
Why aren't any of them that lying sack of shit Rick Santorum?
We get it, Rick. You don't like the homo's. Why not just say that rather than make up some ridiculous lie (that's easily discovered) about how gay marriage has 'destroyed' Norway? It'll stop me from claiming that 30% of the time your awful haircut turns 25% of the women who see it into lesbians.
Don't anger the mathematician
Verizon's customer service has never been what you'd want to call 'good'. It wasn't when they were my mobile carrier and I'm guessing they haven't been so good for this guy...
May 22, 2008
Dear Kevin McLaughlin
Hey Kev (or, is it is Kevster, Kevina or Kevaroonie?)!
We've never really talked and frankly, this is hella awkward. Obvs, no one is giving you the advice you need to be a good Republican spokespuppy in this day and age. You really need to sit down and have some drinks with Scotty McClellan... if he's not still curled up in the fetal position rocking back and forth.
If I may be so bold, you might find more gainful employment in another area. You kinda suck at the whole 'defending your boss' thing. Now, of course, we're willing to acknowledge that your boss is a waste of skin. And hair. And teeth. And air. But honestly, you don't have to make it EASY for us to tear him down by calling Sen. Webb and Lt. Col. Noriega members of the 'Anti-War Crowd'. These two guys served in war. Your boss didn't. You've just allowed everyone and their dog to make that contrast over and over again in the context of rebutting your retarded remarks. The opponent of your boss actually SERVED in Afghanistan. Meanwhile your boss was out hunting with a ladies shotgun.
Then, of course, there is Cornyn's lack of support for the 21st Century GI Bill which would help our troops returning from war. Your boss is saying he doesn't like it because it spends too much money. Which is funny because he wasn't worried about that when we voted to cut the hell out of capital gains taxes which benefited the wealthy and turned the focus of our equity and commodity markets from investment to speculation. Guess which will cost taxpayers more?
On second thought, you REALLY shouldn't go there because I'll shred the amateurish talking points you've diligently memorized from Heritage and the AEI.
Here's the thing... Cornyn is going to lose and you'll be out of a job. If you go down with the ship (or, in this case, the walking dead) you could be out of work for a while. And welfare isn't what it used to be so you'll be pretty much broke (ask former AG Gonzales). Best idea is to get out while you can. Before you flub up even worse.
Help Them Help You
Thursday, May 22, 5 - 7 PM
Aquarelle Restaurant, 606 Rio Grande Street, Austin
hors d'oeuvres & refreshments
Requested Donation:$50 (but all contributions gratefully accepted)
Sponsorships$2,500, $1,000, $500, $250, $125
For information: 512-535-1235
Or, if you're a good person, you could just click here to donate. I first met Sherrie in 2006 and LOVE her.
Until we put these two in the House, they can't do much for you other than complain. Help elect them today by throwing them even $5. You really will feel better about your self. And maybe women (or men) will want to meet you and get to know you 'in a special way'.
I'm not promising anything but I'll admit I'm more inclined to view someone's advances favorably if they give money to good causes, like Democratic Candidates. If they give money to the GOP, they're worthy of a donkey punch. See how that works?
A fat douche says what?
Ladies and Gentleman, I give you a clearly delusional Rush Limbaugh
“I don't think my ‘profile’ needed elevation because it never waned with my audience and my audience is for whom I do my show,” Limbaugh wrote. “Not the MSM. So when the MSM decides to acknowledge my existence it doesn't mean anything to me.”
A couple of things... I'm thinking he's back on the drugs. I also think he's desperate to remain relevant to his dwindling audience (and it is dwindling, a fact which he refuses to acknowledge). All in all, it's funny as hell.
May 21, 2008
Leo Berman : The Prince of Hypocrisy
Sal Costello has the story on Leo Berman's promise to kill the TTC next session...
A number of legislators are committed to killing the TTC next session. Sen. Kevin Eltife and I have gone public with that commitment. Both of us will work hard toward that end.
State Rep. District 6
What little old Leo isn't saying is that he VOTED TO BUILD THE DAMN THING NOT ONCE BUT TWICE.
We at McBlogger would like to welcome Berman to the fight against the TTC and toll roads. We'd like to start by asking him to commit to making the remaining sections of Loop 49 NON TOLL.
Yeah, we knew he'd balk on that. Idiot.
Berman, a word of advice. Don't grandstand on this. You vote and that's it. Hey, it's nice and all for you to finally be paying attention to your constituents, instead of CradDICK, but you need to know no one really likes you.
Beside, you'll have very little power in January. You'll be part of the minority. Better be wise and join in with the Democrats on this. If you don't, a replacement will be easy to find in 2010. And I've already seen the oppo book on you.
We're done with you
Is 2008 a transformative year? It's hard to say but I'm thinking that in 20 years we'll look back and see that this was the year where things started to change. No, it's not about Obama or Clinton or the lackluster Democratic Congress constantly stymied by incompetent and petty Republicans and a childish President completely out of touch with the country he leads.
It's about people waking up and realizing that the 'conservative' agenda of the radical right over the last 28 years was a massive, unadulterated failure, as much if not more than the Great Society which did much but ultimately failed to achieve the goals set for it.
Reality is a bitch as many are learning on a daily basis when they go to fill up the gas tank or when they try desperately to figure out how they will be able to feed their family. In the harsh light of that reality, two men getting married thousands of miles away is pretty irrelevant. Worry about abortions, the number of which was always grossly exaggerated, is a distant second to how to buy the $7 box of Cheerios. The realization that constant tax cuts lead to deficits and higher interest rates, not to mention a massive failure to invest in our future through new infrastructure, has certainly hit many like a bag of hammers. Every month when the credit card bills come.
Burka on Sunday posted a memo from some R Congressman who understands just a small fraction of what's happening. Even Rove is apparently getting it. Their solution? Pound on the Democrats about gas prices by pointing out that they don't support drilling in ANWR (with a projected production cost of $50-60/bbl and not enough of it to affect prices) and destruction of the Rocky Mountains to get at oil shale (at a cost of more than $90/bbl and, even when combined with ANWR, not enough to affect prices).
See how I did that? I'm one blogger, I don't work in the energy sector and even I know how ridiculous the Republicans (especially Cornyn and Hutchison) are on energy policy and what needs to happen to fix the constantly accelerating consumer costs. This isn't hard to understand unless you're incapable of looking at things through anything other than a partisan, ideologically tinted, glass.
On the economy and tax cuts, the Republicans are decimated by Democrats. On National Security, they poll better but still heavily damaged. Just wait until Americans learn just how much of Afghanistan we really control. The R Congressman Burka posted about wants to talk about FISA, especially if there's another terrorist attack (a prospect he views with glee as he's of the opinion it will help Republican chances in November). For the FISA debate, feel free to bring it up. It's not like we aren't ready. By the time that debate is over, the American people will be looking for convictions of those in the Administration who aided and abetted the illegal wiretapping.
There is a baseline from which things will stabilize for the Republicans. We've yet to reach it. You'll see the crescendo this year when angry people confront Republican candidates loudly and unyieldingly. Once one voice is heard, others will chime in and soon it will become a chorus. Many of you are incredibly weak people who have never faced a really angry crowd. You're going to get to this year and, frankly, you deserve every bit of the verbal and written abuse coming to you.
May 20, 2008
Really, Michael? Really?
Texas Railroad Commission Chair Michael Williams isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, nor is he the dullest. In fact, he's not a knife at all. He's a rusty bottle opener in a world full of twist offs and every bit as worthless.
There's been a lot of action regarding the RRC in the last couple of weeks. As always, TXSharon over at BlueDaze is keeping a watch on coverage around the 'sphere.
For my part, Williams' defense of big oil's record profits betrays a stunning naivete at best, willful ignorance (or a willingness to lie) at worst.
Who’s getting fat from higher crude oil and gasoline prices?
The Saudi, Russian, Venezuelan, etc. nationalized oil companies. They own 75% of the world’s crude oil reserves. Exxon, the veritable villain for high gasoline prices, controls less than 3% of world reserves.
The pump price is comprised of four components. The main one is the cost of crude oil. As a share of the retail price we pay at the pump, the cost of crude oil has risen dramatically to historic levels since 2000.
Which means the Saudi royal family, Chavez and others are making money hand over fist as the recipients of the lion’s share of what we pay at the pump
For Mikey to be right, Exxon and the other integrated oils (that's the technically correct name for oil companies that control everything from production/sourcing all the way to consumer sales/marketing) would have to be buying oil at NYMEX spot prices. And we all know that's not happening. Why? BECAUSE THEY'RE STILL MAKING A PROFIT. You see, all these large oil companies have extensive long term contracts with suppliers like, for instance, Saudi Aramco. Not to mention the fields around the world they control where they pay royalties as low at 15% at a contracted price.
This brings their cost of crude to significantly less than $130/bbl. I'd put it closer to $58-65/bbl on average. There's probably a clause in the contract that puts it in a band based on spot, probably no more than 75% of spot and no less than 50% of spot.
You and I, however, don't get the benefit of this great deal. We get to pay spot prices because we're instant, on-demand (not contract) consumers. I'll even go Mikey one better and tell him that I don't expect Exxon to sell me gas based on their cost of crude. I know I'm a consumer and I have little or no bargaining power so I'm not gonna even whine about that.
I will scream at the top of my lungs about their tax breaks and credits. Oh yeah, that's pretty useless to us, especially since these companies are making billions PER QUARTER and can easily afford to prospect for more crude*. Mikey doesn't address that. He does go on to some really, really, funny stuff...
• Distribution and marketing costs and profits slid from a high of 13% in 2000 to about 8% today; and
• Refining costs and profits have remained at about 8% from 2000 through 2008.
He means as a percentage of the price at the pump. Refining costs have remained constant at about 8%. So, in 2000 it was roughly 9 cents/gallon and now it's more than 33 cents/ gallon. What changed? It's not like some super new and expensive refining process has been invented. It's not like they refiners are paying their employees much more.
It's profit. Pure and simple. Part of me wonders if even Mikey believes this crap. As for the distribution, lets keep in mind that the oils now own a much larger number of service stations than they did in 2000 and have shut down a large number as well. They control the retail channel and have squeezed margins to starve out independent convenience stores. Oh, and while the percentage may have changed, the dollar amount today is still higher... 13.9 cents in 2000 per gallon vs. 29.6 cents today. How's that for a nice inflation adjusted return?
Is this REALLY the best you Republicans can do? Really? Tina Fish, is this the man you want to be your standard bearer? Someone who's either too dumb to get how capitalism works or lies just for the hell of it?
My prediction? No one in the real world is dumb enough to believe Williams. And they're going to turn on him on November. And I'll laugh and laugh.
*On the subject of exploration, the integrated oils aren't doing a lot of prospecting because they know what Matt Simmons over in Houston has known for a while. We're running out of cheap, readily exploitable oil. These profits the oils are piling on are going to be used for something and I'm damn sure it won't be drilling a dry hole in West Texas. Which means their tax cuts need to be repealed. Bless Mikey's heart, I bet he hasn't even come to that conclusion. Poor dumb thing is probably waiting for the next strike near Humble.
On ice cream and being 'social'
You may have heard that I won Constable Bruce Elfant's Ice Cream Social. You know, since it was on CNN and all.
MCBLOGGER MADE ICE CREAM??!?! WAS THERE BOOZE IN IT?
Yes, I made ice cream. No there was no alcohol in it (it's not as easy as you think). And, as a result of all this, I now know that sarcasm tastes like dark chocolate, honey and honey roasted nuts swimming in heavy cream.
Actually, that does sound about right.
Constable Elfant said the event raised more than $5k for Do The Write Thing. So that's my charity 'thing' for the year. Stop sending me crap about these needy kids and their puppies. That's what incinerators are for.
For my next embarrassing admission, yes, that was Barfly and I at Rain Saturday night dancing after they shut the bar (which we were protesting). If we knocked you over you really should have gotten out of our way.
A duck is a duck is a duck
The Institute for Legal Reform is a new organization dedicated to changes at the national level to restrict what they think of as frivolous lawsuits.
What no one from any of these groups has ever been able to explain to me is how you tell a father who sued a doctor with a history of substance abuse who, while inebriated, operated on and killed his daughter, that his lawsuit is frivolous?
Here in Texas, we've had 'tort reform' which has allowed us to 'stop lawsuit abuse' for years. It's meant that corporations can mistreat their customers as much as they'd like with no fear of reprisals. It's meant that insurance companies can increase their profits astronomically while doctors continue to pay through the nose and the cost of health care is still unbelievably high.
In other words, it's failed to do anything... except keep consumers from suing when they've been wronged. Oh, but they can go to the State regulators, right? That's pretty funny considering that most of them are industry shills appointed by a Republican Governor (39%) who's been taking money from these business and industry groups for years.
Oh, but don't take my word for it... go visit the nice people here.
As for the new organization, you'll see their commercials soon. They are all about the small business owners who've been 'hurt' by 'lawsuit' abuse. I think they should be hurt by a consumer boycott. This group isn't funded by small business owners... it's funded by big business and the insurance industry. And any small business owner dumb enough to get sucked into this deserves to have some problems.
May 19, 2008
Your guide to the new red light cameras
Here's where they will be. At other places you can totally still RUN. THAT. LIGHT.
May 18, 2008
Roundin' up the TPA
It's another week (no, really) and that means it's time to show some love for the best posts from the members of the Texas Progressive Alliance for the preceding week. Check out the best that the Alliance has to offer, brought to you this week by refinish69 at Doing My Part For The Left.
McBlogger has some advice for State Delegates aspiring to a seat on the floor in Denver.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme says all the fuss over 'wrongful' healthcare benefits in Brownsville, Corpus Christi and the Texas House is misplaced. Universal healthcare makes that problem disappear!
The Texas Cloverleaf looks at right wing blowhards on tour, coming to a local amphitheater near you.
WhosPlayin notes that along with many more Republicans, Michael Burgess (TX-26) voted AGAINST supporting Mothers Day.
The sinkhole in Liberty County catches PDiddie's attention -- not literally, thankfully -- and he blogs about it at Brains and Eggs in "Rural Texas finally
collapses from GOP 'Leadership' ".
Vince Leibowitz at Capitol Annex ponders the civil liberties thicket that Texas AG Greg Abbott could wander in to if he allows the Texas Lottery Commission to use the electronic strip on Texas driver's licenses to verify the age of gamblers at lottery vending machines.
nytexan at BlueBloggin points out Racism In The Secret Service and asks how can the Secret Service perform their jobs when supervisors write and send racist emails to one another regarding interracial sex, killing Jessie Jackson and his wife and ridiculing African American slang.
Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News talked to a friend of his that received a GOP Push-Poll against local Democratic judges in GOP running Scared in Harris County. He also wondered if this picture is of a Pasadena neighbor who can't spell.
Lightseeker takes a look at What Rick Perry Promised, What the Republicans Delivered over at Texas Kaos.
Don't forget to check out all the Texas Progressive Alliance blogs, too:
Brains & Eggs
Burnt Orange Report
Doing My Part For The Left
Easter Lemming Liberal News
Eye on Williamson
Feet To Fire
Grassroots News U Can Use
It's only a contract as long as we say it's a contract
So there's a company called National Power Company (really imaginative, right?) that wrote contracts guaranteeing electricity at 11 cents /KWh to customers. They then discovered, much to their chagrin, that they'd mispriced their rates and should have been charging 15 cents per KWh. So, being responsible corporate citizens, they decided to eat the loss and honor the commitment to their customers.
There's a clause in their little 'contract' that says they can do that with 45 days notice and no early termination fee. ISN'T THAT AWESOME?!??!
I know, right! I'm wondering if I can do that on my mortgage. Or my car. Or my credit cards. I mean, I know I agreed to pay these interest rates but seriously, yo! This shit is jamming me up and I need to drop it down.
May 17, 2008
"Multi -Talented" is the Key Word...
"Craigs List Job Posting" OR "Request for Prostitution...?" I think this guy missed the personals section of the website and placed it under ligitimate job's. Oops! For me the AND/OR option in regard to the resume/picture request did it for me.
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 2008-05-15, 10:20AM CDT
I am seeking a versatile, intelligent and hard working assistant to help me run my businesses and homes. Duties include writing ads and letters, errands, shopping, organizing, business paperwork, coordinating landscapers and cleaners, etc., dog sitting and more. Cooking and meal preparation skills are a big plus. Please send resume, letter of introduction and/or photo to: email@example.com.
Back on the Block
Embedded players are for shit...Watch the funny here.
Yep, The New Kids On The Block are not quite so new. In fact, viewing this appearance both saddened and amused me. I must admit that I have never been a fan. I guess I blame them for the rash of painted denim that plagued my junior high during their heyday. I had a friend whose mother painted the New Kids on the backs of denim jackets in all their sparkling bedazzled glory. Sound garish and gaudy? You bet! But they did go perfectly with those huge hoop earrings from Claire's. I can remember being trapped in her blue minivan on a long car ride forced to listen to 'Hangin Tough' in it's entirety. I tried to count all of the times they said girl, but lost count at 96. Anyway, cheers to the Kids, and best wishes picking the carcass of boy band fame clean. Especially Donnie.
May 16, 2008
Barney Frank doesn't suck
Barney Frank has been earning some high praise from some of the asshats in the White House who call him (no joke) 'SCARY SMART'.
Uhm. Fellas. It's not that he's all THAT smart, it's that you're really ALL THAT DUMB.
A veteran of parliamentary battles, Mr. Frank is a master of procedural weaponry. When a tactic by Republicans backfired and stripped out provisions that they had wanted, Mr. Frank initially refused to let them fix it.
“If you want to look at this as one big circus, today is the day that the gentleman from Alabama gets to clean up after the elephants,” he said, referring to Representative Spencer Bachus, the ranking Republican on his committee. “And I mean elephants.”
During debate on the bill, a measure to provide debt relief to impoverished countries, he won praise from Republicans.
“Barney has been very fair,” said Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California and one of the most conservative members of the House. “I think that I have been treated more fairly, and a number of my Republican colleagues have been treated more fairly, since the Democrats have become the majority than I was treated by my own leadership.”
Mr. Frank politely interjected, “I know the gentleman joins me in looking forward to continued years of such treatment.”
Then there's this...
Other times, though, Mr. Frank’s impatience and sharp tongue take over.
When Representative Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, criticized a component of the housing bill that would give money to local governments to buy and repair foreclosed properties, saying it would not protect homeowners from foreclosure, Mr. Frank fired back that preventing foreclosures was the goal of a different bill.
“The notion that this bill doesn’t keep people out of foreclosure is true,” he said. “It doesn’t combat global warming. It doesn’t get troops out of Iraq. It won’t help me lose weight. There are a lot of things this bill won’t do that I very much want to do. None of them are a reason to vote against a bill that doesn’t do what it doesn’t say it’s going to do but does what it does. What it does is go to the aid of cities that have been victimized.”
While I'm still pissed about some of his dumbass attempts to drop mortgage brokers in the grease, I am impressed that he's at least trying to make something happen. It's a far cry from the underwhelming attempts by the White House to alleviate the problems we face as a nation.
Yay Tim Mahoney!
Just noticed that Tim has secured his place on the ACC board. Congratulations, Tim!
Bless Junior John's Heart!
Poor, stupid, pathetic idiot...
Recent polls have claimed Senator Cornyn is in a much tighter race than many of you may have thought possible.
We don’t put much validity in either poll, but Democrats certainly are. Liberal bloggers and Democrat partisans alike have pounced on the results, claiming they spell doom for Senator Cornyn this fall.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, lead by liberal New York Senator Chuck Schumer, proclaimed in an email that the polls show “John Cornyn in serious trouble…”
Ultra-liberal blogger Daily Kos, who commissioned and paid for the second poll, called the results “nothing short of remarkable,” and claimed they “hint that this may be a top-tier race before long…”
No one can deny that our opponent and his allies are in desperate need of anything to help them raise resources and give national Democrats reason to invest untold millions into the race, and we must stop them.
Please contribute $10, $25 or $50 to help debunk the myths our opponent and his liberal allies are trying to tell about Senator Cornyn.
The facts are clear, the extreme left is energized and unscrupulous, and our opponent is shamelessly aligned with them and will say and do anything it takes to gain much needed relevance and resources.
Your contribution of $10, $25 or $50 will go a long way towards setting the record straight. It will also send a loud and clear message to national Democrats that Texans won’t fall for their dirty tricks, deceit and deviousness.
Please give what you can to make sure we re-elect John Cornyn and ensure our true Texas values are represented in Washington!
This is funny as hell since Junior John already has a significant funding advantage over Noriega. Even with that money, we have two solid polls that make it clear this election is about getting rid of old caca. And of course Junior John is scared. Just watch this video which makes it pretty clear they ARE taking the polls seriously.
Thursday's California court ruling striking down that state's ban on gay marriage will spark a fresh push to add a nationwide ban to the U.S. Constitution, Texas Sen. John Cornyn said shortly after the ruling was announced.
"It's certainly surprising. Many of us thought that the efforts to overturn the tradition marriage laws would be confined just to Massachusetts," said Mr. Cornyn, a chief backer of a push to enact a constitutional ban, which failed in 2004.
The California Supreme Court issued a 4-3 ruling Thursday that overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage, finding that domestic partnerships laws are an inadequate substitute for allowing same-sex couples to enter into formal marriages.(DMN via Texas Blue)
Here's the thing... I don't think, if the election were held today, that an anti-gay marriage amendment would pass in Texas again. Oh sure, folks in East and West Texas are just as homophobic as they always were (don't get mad at them, they don't know gay people and it's all strange and foreign to them). The difference is, THEY'RE ALL SICK OF PANDERING AND NONSENSE ISSUES. With gas near $4.00 a gallon, people know there are more important things to worry about. They also know that they can't afford six more years of fancy John Cornyn taking care of himself while he lets important business slide by.
Hava Goodun! Junior John sure as hell won't!
No, really, that'll be enough from the corpulent member from Houston
In a striking example of douchebagery, Rep. Culberson of Texas decided to speak out on all the horrible earmarks and pork barrel spending in the defense bill. He had his talking points down and was laying them out in his own irritating way. His plan was flawless, save for one critical problem.
THERE WASN'T ANY PORK IN THE BILL
Still, that alone would not have derailed him. What ended up causing his embarrassment was a Democrat who'd had enough. Take a bow, Rep. Obey! You've earned it. Kos has the transcript and the footage.
And make sure, if you have some time, to drop a few dollars to Michael Skelly who's running to rid the Texas delegation of this embarrassment.
May 15, 2008
Are you serious...
When will these people STOP?
Other uses for empty downtown condos
Yes, we've been wondering what would become of those
foreclosures condos downtown. It's good to know that some of the developers are making good use of their buildings. In an effort to keep floating their financing.
Does it still smell like cowshit in Amarillo?
If not, I'm totally thinking of moving there.
May 14, 2008
Things you may have missed...
According to 39%'s spokespuppy, Leon, there's going to be more 'tax relief' which will end up like 39%'s last tax relief which netted me about 56 cents.
"With a surplus of this magnitude, I know the governor believes we need to look at some sort of tax relief, whether it be on property taxes, business taxes or some type of actual rebate, like the federal government can do but we haven't been able to," Black said.
ROCK! So, instead of making some good choices that will help us weather the next bad storm (or, in the case of infrastructure, actually help create economic activity and wealth), you're going to treat the surplus as a slush fund.
39%, if you're handing out lulu's, can you please send me a case of Beefeater. I'm trying to perfect the Chelsea Sidecar and need the materials.
A minor request : Part 10089
Would someone please put Adam Sandler and Mike Myers out of the universe's misery? Both have summer movies coming out that make it pretty clear that both are fighting one another to become the next Jerry Lewis. Why we'd need another isn't nearly as clear.
So, yeah, if someone would help me out with this it would be great.
Defending Obama... Again.
You know, some of you so busily tracking 'how Obama can definitely win the nomination' and projecting an easy win in November need to understand that victory is far from assured. In fact, if you're telling yourself that 'Hope Changes Everything', then come closer and let me hit you. In the head.
I do that from time to time with stupid people who refuse to realize there's nothing new under the sun.
Many of you are worried about quasi-racist attacks that imply Sen. Obama is some sort of ultra-black nationalist. Or a strident Muslim. Or the love child of Malcolm X and Mary Tyler Moore. Just to alleviate some of your worry and concern, these are stupid things you don't need to worry about. They'll persuade 5% of the electorate and those people weren't going to vote for him anyway.
I couldn’t vote for you — but not because of your funny name or your lunatic pastor. I couldn’t vote for you because you say we should raise taxes (even on the rich, who I’m convinced already pay too much), and because you say we should abandon Iraq (which I’m convinced would be surrendering a war we must win), and because you don’t respect the Second Amendment (which I’m convinced should disqualify any politician from any office).
Still, I’ve liked your message of unity and your ability to inspire. And, since your rise I’ve hunted, quite frantically, for young conservative leaders with your talent. (To my relief, I found Bobby Jindal.)
Whoa. Where to begin... First off, Taxes. Will's obvs unaware that the rich pay less than him or me. Wait. What am I thinking? HE'S a newspaper columnist and they don't make shit. Let me rephrase...
THE RICH PAY LESS THAN ME.
On average, the rich pay around 18-20% of their income in taxes. On average, most of us pay 25-30%. Which makes our current tax system regressive, not progressive. However, let's forget all that for a second and just acknowledge one critical reality. We need a massive amount of investment in public infrastructure and services. From public schools to mass transit, we need to set ourselves up for the next 30-50 years of economic growth. That means higher taxes. Why would we want to pay higher taxes? Because that investment in our future makes sure that we're able to enjoy prosperity in 2025. That's what this debate is about... higher taxes and long term prosperity and growth or lower taxes and poverty well into the future.
And don't get me started on higher taxes being necessary just to balance the budget. But then, Will's a Republican so he's not real concerned with balancing the books... why should he be when he can keep running up Daddy's credit card? I love it when 'fiscal conservatives' are more worried about taxes than the deficit. I guess no one ever bothered to explain the linkage between interest rates, federal debt and real disposable income. I should throw the value of the dollar and oil prices in there as well but I don't want to fry little Will's rat brain.
As for abandoning Iraq, what's left to achieve? A military force is good at one thing... eliminating an enemy. Ours did that. Everything that has followed has been a waste of time. Still, none of us can turn our back on Bush's mistake. However, that doesn't mean we have to be trapped there for a generation. It's time for the Iraqi's to stand up and the only way that will happen is if we start to leave.
On the subject of the Second Amendment, why not use the Fourth Amendment as your yardstick for holding public office? Bush has trampled all over that one. Or the First which Bush has also used to neatly wipe his ass? Just curious, but what I really want to know is exactly WHERE Sen. Obama talked about not respecting the Second Amendment. Will would be the only one who has the story since I couldn't find anything except a speculative "what if..." work of fiction masquerading as news on NewsMax. So, Will's made the accusation, now we want to see his evidence. Cough it up, Manly.
As for finding Bobby Jindal, I wouldn't get too excited, Will. He's way more our style than yours. For one thing, he's not a nut.
Just in case you thought Will was done, he goes on to discuss some areas where he's been disappointed with Obama...
First came your wife’s comment about being proud of America for the first time — conveniently, right after you started winning primaries. Then came your own words about your grandmother, who is just a “typical white person” — a racist, or at least someone with racist tendencies. (I’m a “typical white person,” I suppose, and I’m no racist. In fact, little makes me angrier than when it’s insinuated I am.)
Don't you just know that Will's the kind of guy who has said "some of my best friends are black" in the past to deflect calls that he's a bit of a racist?
The rest of his piece is a rambling defense of small town America from someone who obviously views the world in start black and white. It's also clear he's completely unfamiliar with Peyton Place. Still, followers of the Obamessiah, this is the kind of attack you're going to have to learn to defend against.
That's why I'm supporting Clinton. There's a reason this little prick hates her and it's because she'd eat him alive.
May 13, 2008
JUST like a football game...
Making fun of Chris Matthews and Tim Russert is surprisingly easy. However, some manage to screw it up. Much like McBlogger with his Chris Matthews impersonation which is analogous to a bad blow job. You had high hopes at the beginning, maybe you were even anxious with anticipation. But then, well... there were teeth and in the end you find yourself just praying it will be over soon.
What? Too graphic? Sorry about that...
These people have created the best satire of MTP and Hardball I've ever seen. Here's an excerpt:
Chris: Let’s bring on Tim Russert here. Tim, don’t you think this election is just like a great FOOTBALL GAME?
Tim: You said it. A real barnburner, Chris.
Tim: You know, it reminds me a lot of when my dad, BIG RUSS, and I watched Bills games together. Just one of those real back-and-forth games. You had Jim Kelly, the great, All-pro quarterback. And you had Thurman Thomas, the wonderful running back. Those were real competitions. And that’s what we have here. A REAL competition. With Barack Obama, whose this sort of great, unpolished talent. Very much like Vince Young, the quarterback down in Tennessee.
Chris: I agree. I think he’s just like Vince Young, right down to the gay throwing motion. This REALLY is astounding. I’ve always said politics is just like football, and it’s showing here.
Tim: Actually Chris, you have deviated from that platform on occasion. I have a quote here that YOU gave to MSNBC just two months earlier where you said, quote: “I think this election is just like a GREAT HEAVYWEIGHT BOXING MATCH,” unquote. So you said boxing match back then, and now you’re saying football. How do you reconcile those two positions?
Chris: HA! That’s amazing, Tim! God, you’re just like a GREAT TENNIS PLAYER! Always volleying back and forth with all kinds of moves. It’s amazing! Let’s bring on Senator Clinton here for a moment. Senator Clinton, don’t you think you’re just like BILL BELICHICK? Always scheming, sort of seeking out that winning edge any way you can find it? In fact, don’t you and your husband combine to represent Belichick perfectly, with your knack for evil plotting and your husband’s penchant for hot cougar tail?
Seriously, you'll want to read the whole thing.
May 12, 2008
Today I was happily driving along listening intently to what was going on around the world and landed smack dab in the middle of some honest to god bullshit. (I know this is a surprising occurence in this day and age) Anyway, CNN was chit chatting along about the country is broke, $120 a barrell blah blah blah, the usual....AND THEN...They played clips from and interview they did with a guy leaving a foodbank (in New York I believe). Anyway, they were discussing how many of the people they are finding at the foodbank these days are far from the "typical" foodbank candidate... Typical meaning, jobless, carless, uneducated etc. Well this man happened to have a college education, a home, a car and a job however, he is still unable to make ends meet, something most of us can relate to more often than we would like to admit. The story went on to discuss that many Americans right now look comfortable and collected on the surface, they live in nice homes, their kids drive BMW's to school with iPods shoved in their ears but come home to NO FOOD!!! WTF is that??? I will tell you what it is...RIDICULOUS!!! Do they truly value the appearance of being "upper crust" above making decisions like saving MONEY and EATING??? I cant imagine being so stupid, not in a million years. Stories like this are humiliating and disgraceful to our country. If you act like that, shame on you, starve starve starve away. Keep your grimy hands off food that people actually need!!!
What's wrong with working to 90?
George Will can't understand why some of you people think you should be able to retire. Didn't you know, that's the kind of thing best left to the idle rich? After all, you'd probably just putter around the house. Or play with your grandkids.
May 11, 2008
It makes us sad when you don't listen to us
It makes us really sad. If this were a Lifetime movie, we'd probably already have punched you out and broken your jaw. By now, no doubt, you'd be in the hospital and we'd be promising you that 'things will be different this time if you'll just stop making us so crazy'. Oh, and you should tell the police you fell down the stairs that don't exist in our house.
But, alas, this isn't a Lifetime movie (you may have noticed the conspicuous absence of Meredith Baxter Birney. That's one HUGE diff between us and Lifetime). It's real life and y'all were VERY disappointing yesterday.
Well, not really.
Place 1 - Hello, Lee. We're honestly happy you're back. We supported Demling because we wanted some new blood. And the guy is, if scruffy, quite bright. At the very least, we're thrilled that Douchie McDouche will not be in a runoff with you. Yeah. The staff here is actually split over whether they hate Brewster or Meeker more.
One last thing... you for mayor. That's a mistake. You looked miserable this time. Serve out the term and enjoy life.
Place 3 - Howdy, Randi! We still don't completely trust you, but the children have completely disregarded our advice and decided that you'll be best in place 3. Now that you're in, you're going to have to make some of those hard choices about tolls that you avoided talking about during the election. Here's some advice...
1) Don't listen to TXDOT - ask Kirk Watson about this one.
2) Get the fuck outta Clarksville and go drive around town at rush hour. It'll give you an idea where the real jamups are... and how to fix them.
3) There are many (Mike Dahmus) who will offer bad advice. Don't listen to them (Mike Dahmus).
Place 4 - We didn't endorse either of the runoff people. We're going with Laura. More on this later.
ACC - Tim Mahoney. WTF? You people even managed to fuck that up. Now you just have to go back and do it all over again.
Needless to say, we're disappointed. We still love you, but we're disappointed. Don't worry, we'll be over it this afternoon.
May 09, 2008
Vote! Vote! Vote!
For all of you that have been holding your breath waiting for City Elections to roll around YEAH for you they are almost here. Tomorrow is E Day for Austinites! If you still have'nt decided who to vote for you can get some great information here,here,and here.
If you don't know where you should go to vote (DUH btw) you can visit this site to find out.
While you are contemplating, watch a video!
Roundin' up the TPA
It's time for the Texas Progressive Alliance Weekly Blog Round-Up.
CouldBeTrue from South Texas Chisme notes Republican-run government favors crony money over Texans' health. Asarco, a proven polluter, is given a permit to start polluting again and Abbott says lead poisoning landlords have a right to privacy.
WhosPlayin writes about the disturbing trend for hospitals to require payment up front for expensive services like chemotherapy. Even "non-profit" hospitals like U.T.'s M.D. Anderson are doing this, even while reducing free care and racking up huge surpluses.
The Texas Cloverleaf wonders why Governor 39% appointed a policy nerd to chair the Transportation Commission, rather than someone who knows anything about roads. Cronyism perhaps?
McBlogger take a moment to talk about the state of the TTC and Guv. 39%'s appointments to the Transportation Commission.
Vince at Capitol Annex shows another example of Voter ID Idiocy, this time highlighting an editorial from the Texarkana Gazette's pseudo-ivory-tower-intellectual editorial board and explains why such thinking is typical of suburban newspaper editors.
May 08, 2008
Ethics panel dismisses Vitter complaint
Ethics committee says alleged conduct, if proven true, would be "reprehensible" but not really that big a deal. No word yet on the accusations of selling children, harvesting organs from the poor or cockfighting.
read more | digg story
Debate-O-Rama (the City Council Ed)
KXAN hosted a debate yesterday between the candidates for City Council. I haven't watched it yet, mostly because I've already made up my mind and can't deal with confusion today.
Take a look at it here. Apparently, Kim v. Shade was pretty exciting.
"I'm seeing there's a boldfaced lie come out of her mouth about what I supposedly promised according to some fictitious character," said Shade as she stood next to her Kim during the debate.
"Even on Ms. Shade's Web site, there's a statement by the police union, and they said Ms. Shade is clearly supporting increasing resources in public safety," Kim said.
The fight didn't stop with the two opponents. The fire and police unions have filed a complaint against Kim with the Public Utilities Commission. They said anonymous phone calls are against the law. Kim's campaign said they have already submitted the phone call script to the PUC and were told they have done nothing wrong.
"I think its showing that either Jennifer Kim is running scared and getting desperate, or she's getting really bad advice," said Shade after the debate.
A couple of things...
1) Kim's not desperate... Shade hasn't built the broad base of support even among the activists that she really needs. Not everyone is sold and frankly, we like someone a little irascible in office. When the City Council is chummy things go off the rails quickly and fixing it is usually pretty damn expensive.
2) The PUC signed off on the script. CASE CLOSED. Beside, I don't know anyone who's received this call. NOT A SOUL. So, by bitching and moaning about a call that wouldn't have had much of an impact, you're keeping it in the public eye. Now all anyone knows is that Kim's campaign made a call about Shade's 'commitment' to spend us more into the hole. Nice.
Frankly, there is a limit to how much public safety we can afford. WE'RE THERE. I tell you what, take more police off traffic and put them on violent crime. God knows we could do with a few less working MoPac, 35, 183 and Ben White. SERIOUSLY.
3) We're fed up with the public safety unions playing with the City Council races. They never seem to focus on the big picture and there HAS TO BE A BALANCE.
Finally, if anyone does choose to watch the debate, will you please let me know how badly Meeker shoots himself in the foot?
Crushing Dreams : I'm totally going to be a nominee to national!
So you went to your precinct convention, got a spot at county and from there managed to finagle a delegate seat at state. Congratulations. You're like the other 500+ of us in SD14. Welcome. Here are a few tips
1) Most of the people there (even some of the volunteers) will be delegates. Seriously, you're nothing special, so drop the 'tude.
2) Don't act like you know everything. If you have a question, just ask. Please don't bullshit your way through it.
3) Don't be crushed when your dream of going to Denver dies in the caucus. Oh, and yeah... that IS what's going to happen.
Over the last few weeks I've rec'd emails and snail mail from people I don't know and have never seen at anything who are DEDICATED to running for national delegate. And by God, they think THEY and they alone deserve the slot. Even though prior to the primary this year, no one even knew they existed.
Yeah... if this is your first real involvement no one is going to vote for you. There's a bunch of other people who been active and involved for 10, 20, 30 or, in some cases, 40 years. While we're thrilled you're helping out now, you're kind of Johnny (or Jane) Come Lately. And we're not sending you to national.
Let me let you all in on a secret... The delegate slots will be decided before we walk into the caucus. Don't get mad... it's a meritocracy and you just haven't done as much as others. Don't get depressed and don't get angry. This is just the way it works. Stay active, stay involved and don't be petty. We need you because, frankly, some of us are getting pretty burned out.
We know this message won't dissuade you from running. But, if we could ask a favor, don't give a speech. It's just holding us up from getting to the bar Friday night and the booze I'll have with me isn't going to last us all evening.
May 07, 2008
Cuz I'm Always Down For A Guuud Time!!!
So who does'nt love this? Imagine, it's Tuesday afternoon, you are driving around downtown looking for a good spot for wings and beer attempting to temporarily dodge campaign madness ...Well! Lo and behold, there on the I-35 Frontage Road at 11th Street there stand good ol Sam Osemene (For Austin City Council Place Something or Other) (see doesntreallymatter.com) or (The Federalist Papers) standing there in all his glorious political manhood waving one of his campaign signs. Good spot Sam!
Austinites like wings and beer on Tuesday afternoons and there is none of that at 35 and 11th...
McCain and Cornyn stand up to put down Vets
WOW. And you only thought Hillary was going a little tone deaf. As many of you already know, the GI benefits to which veterans are entitled have been shrinking for a number of years, so Senator Webb decided to do something about it and even managed to line up bipartisan support.
Two Republicans noticeably absent? Why none other than John McCain and our own John 'I hunt with a 28 gauge' Cornyn. McCain put up his own, woefully inadequate bill that the President likes. Because it spends $4 billion less than Webb's bill. And doesn't provide nearly as much for the people who are actually, you know, fighting the war on terra. Cornyn just likes screwing over vets, we suppose. We can't think of any other rationale since he's been wholly unconcerned with fiscal responsibility. President Bush is using that excuse which is kind of like a serial killer claiming to be worried about abortion.
As for McCain, there's no excuse. These men and women are worth whatever money we have to spend. If y'all hadn't focused so much on handouts to the oil companies, we wouldn't have to worry about paying for it. If you'd get out of the way and return taxes to where they should be, we'd easily have the money.
Or if we just stopped wasting BILLIONS in Iraq.
May 06, 2008
Oh, Cornyn... Really? This is what you want to talk about?
OMG... you know, you're not a good Senator. You were a piss poor AG. You're a terrible columnist and now we can add bad natural science teacher.
May 05, 2008
Noriega within FOUR POINTS of Cornyn?
According to Rasmussen... yes. Even HRC and Obama are within a few points of McCain in Texas putting us solidly in play.
Keep in mind, Noriega is a relative unknown with little name ID. This is a PARTY ID poll and it's clear that whatever advantage the R's had in the past has evaporated under the heat of rank incompetence.
OMG! No! Say it ain't so, WaPo!
Apparently, in a SHOCKING development, an industry group sponsored a study and that study was used by the FDA and EPA to determine that a plastic additive was safe.
I know, my faith in our current unregulated government is shaken. TO.IT'S.CORE.
In other news of the obvious, a Texans for Lawsuit Reform (the morons who gave us unlimited corporate power) study showed that lawsuit reform has been good for 'Texas'. I guess by 'Texas' they mean 'Corporations'.
May 04, 2008
Rumor : Farm Bureau to support KBH?
There is a rumor circulating that Farm Bureau, after supporting 39% in 2006, intends to support KBH in the 2010 Republican Primary. This should surprise no one given FB's opposition to 39%'s TTC. What surprised all of us was that they supported him in the first place.
No, no... I won't tell you where I heard it. Don't even ask.
May 03, 2008
Ted Nugent's Mangina
In January, 2007 we posted this about Ted Nugent. Last week, Vince with Capitol Annex emailed to let me know that we were only #2 on a Google search of 'Ted Nugent' and 'mangina'. We are, of course, planning to sue Google.
And yes, I was surprised to learn that 'Mangina' is apparently a real last name. I bet that guy NEVER got beaten up when he was a kid. Not once.
May 02, 2008
Roundin' up the TPA
WhosPlayin resumes his watch on GOP Congressman Michael Burgess, and joins North Texas Liberal in rejecting his "flat tax" proposal as a tax increase on the middle class.
Hal at Half Empty wonders why Texas' junior senator, John Cornyn, doesn't support our troops.
Over at McBlogger, Captain Kroc has a real problem with some of the concessions the City made to a certain developer looking to build condos on Lake Lady Bird.
The Texas Cloverleaf promotes a story about more shenanigans in the Texas Youth Commission, this time forcing a Denton County superintendent to quit before she is fired.
Last week, KUHT (PBS Channel 8) in Houston ran a special on immigration and public attitudes towards it called Houston Have Your Say, which included public officials, activists, ordinary citizens, and a couple of bloggers. Off the Kuff was one of those bloggers, and he wrote about his impressions here.
The phone rang. It was Sister Ruth.
"I've just gotten the worst piece of political literature ever in my mailbox..."
"Oh," I responded. "You got Randi Shade's mailer too."
Cocktail Flu and early conference calls
It's been a rough morning at McBlogger HQ. We overdid things last night first at the SFA, then at the Alamo where we went to see The Beast Within.
I probably wouldn't have had quite so much had I known that the downtown Alamo has a LIQUOR LICENSE, making it a vast improvement over all the Alamo's in existence and those that came before. And now we don't have to sneak in a flask.
Quit judging me.
Truth be told, it's less alcohol and more lack of sleep since I had a conference call that started at 7:00.
YES. I can go to bed at 3:00 and wake up at 6:30. I'm cool like that. And by cool, I mean ready to bitchslap folks for even minor infractions.
May 01, 2008
Most of you are aware that Jason Meeker is not one of my favorite candidates, in fact if it were up to me he would not be allowed to run for anything...ever... My own unique interpretation of Meeker the Gleekers Ridiculous Campaign Circus is that he is not only into self defeating behavior but he is in fact getting off on his own ignorant, irritating and thoughtless actions.... It's ok Jason many of us are enjoying it to...
Jasons Latest! InFactDaily.Com
Small dramas continue in Place 1 race . . . Political consultant Mark Nathan of Austin Strategies was annoyed to find that someone had put a campaign sign in his yard without his permission. The fact that the sign was for Place 1 candidate Jason Meeker did not set very well, either – Nathan is a consultant for Place 1 incumbent Lee Leffingwell. Accordingly, Nathan fired off an email to Meeker: “I'm writing to let you know that you just put up one of your large 4' x 6' signs on my property at 1627 Barton Springs Road, obviously without my permission,” Nathan wrote. “Putting up a 4' x 6' sign without permission on the property of your opponent's campaign manager is a truly unique strategy! As it happens, while I was taking your sign down, I noticed that it doesn't have any of the legally required disclaimer language on it.” After informing Meeker of the law, and making a request that he remove the signs, Nathan continued, “I appreciate that you are a first-time candidate, and, according to today's news accounts, that you have not been able to raise sufficient funds to retain a campaign manager who might have helped you become familiar with the basic state and city laws governing political campaign advertising.” He also asked for Meeker’s plans to remedy the problems with his campaign signs, and of course, an apology . .
We tell you how you should vote (Austin City Council Ed.)
Why bother calling them 'endorsements' when we really mean 'This is how you should vote'? The election is, of course, May 10th but that's a Saturday and it's right before Mother's Day so don't even bother waiting (EV locations here, Mobile Voting here).
Place 1 - Demling - First Choice, followed by Leiffingwell.
No votes for Meeker. I know that will come as a hooooooge surprise. This was nearly a unanimous vote. Except for Harry who voted for the man referred to by some as a human narcolepsy canon.
Place 3 - Kim - First Choice, followed by no one.
Randi, we love 'ya but we just don't completely trust 'ya. Jennifer can be a little impersonal and abrasive (who the hell isn't, especially on a SUNDAY MORNING WHEN I'M HUNG OVER AND NEED SOME EGGS AND HOTD, Julie) but she's also a terribly hard worker who has come together with some of her colleagues on the council to solve some serious problems. Policy wonk? Yep. And that, at this time, is what we need.
Place 4 - Cravey - First Choice, followed by Morrison and Gale.
We like Galindo as a person, but we find some of his ideology ridiculous and ideas patently absurd (community land trusts... great idea, an absolute motherfucker to finance. NOT a viable solution anytime in the next five to ten years). He needs some seasoning and a massive CTJ on housing in the central city. Morrison is a great lady who is very involved with the ANC... and apparently, not much else. Still, it's good that she IS involved especially since it pisses off Mike Dahmus and that always makes me laugh.
There was one vote for Gale and no, it did not come from me. I thought she was far too serious as a candidate this time. I frankly miss the whimsy of her previous campaigns. I think those people in Dallas did something to her... they turned her into someone kinda serious.
As for Osemene, we like you but there's MUCH less to city council than the Federalist Papers would have you believe. MUCH LESS.
In case we're not getting through to you and you stubbornly insist on doing your own research, Phillip over at BOR has the resource page we totally would have created if we had the time (and actually, you know, cared about these people and their campaigns). Go check it out.
But really, what we tell you should be enough.
Krusee arrested for DWI
Long time readers (yes, there ARE 5 or 6 of you) know that there's no love lost between Mike Krusee and myself. I'd just as soon piss on him as say hello to him. Apparently, last night he got busted for a DWI. And no, I'm not doing cartwheels... this could well be a case of there but for the grace of God go I.
While I don't know if he was drunk or not, I have some questions for the trooper... which came first? The 'erratic' driving OR the expired registration? I'm always suspicious when the reason for the stop is a registration sticker.
The thing I find most repulsive about DWI laws is that they don't do a thing to keep real drunks off the streets. These are people with a compulsive disorder. They don't respond to punishment. Meanwhile, you've got the rest of worried about having more than 1 drink in 6 hours.
And don't even get me started on the MADD mothers. I've lost friends in DWI accidents. They're dead. AND ALL YOUR STUPID LAWS HAVE DONE NOTHING TO BRING THEM BACK OR STOP MORE DEATHS FROM OCCURRING.
To our friends in the Lege... can we PLEASE be rational and make some changes that might actually fix the problem,, rather than make criminals out of people who have a drink at happy hour? I don't know if that group will end up including Krusee or not but it does include a lot of us.
39% brings forth new sacrificial lambs
39% has appointed some new folks to the Texas Transportation Commission. Deirdre Delisi, the mastermind behind 39% plurality win in 2006, will be joining the commission as Chairman, replacing Hope Andrade who'd been filling the position since Dick Williamson passed away at the end of last year. During Hope's tenure, the Trans Dept. ran a series of public meetings regarding TTC-69 that actually drove down public acceptance of the TTC concept (I know, I didn't think it was possible, either).
Some guy named Bill Meadows will also be joining the Commission. He's a former city councilman from Fort Worth (so what), businessman (insurance salesman, natch) and member of the North Texas Tollway Authority (there's the money!).
So, 39% is really showing his willingness to work with the Lege... he's appointed one of his political advisers (who, it should be noted, just happens to be from TENNESSEE) and a toller to the Commission which oversees transportation in Texas. That should speak to the Lege and the words they hear should be "Fuck You". I mean, unless they hadn't already picked up on that with his headstrong commitment to road privatization.
In other transportation news, apparently high gas prices are causing problems for the tollways. The same tollways that haven't come close to meeting their expectations. Which is really sad considering that even the projections left TXDOT (and by default, Texas taxpayers) in the hole by almost $1 Billion.
Exactly what IS good about toll roads? They don't pay for themselves, they don't benefit consumers, they aren't providing a massive windfall. So, nothing.
Can we start talking now about real transportation funding solutions instead of the ones that help out campaign contributers to 39% and the Republicans? Can we then start using that money not just to build roads, but also to expand public transportation infrastructure? Can I PLEASE have a fucking flyway from Ben White to SB 35??!?!?!?!?!
I've got gas (tax relief) like a mother!
So, Sen McThuselah proposes a gas tax holiday during the summer without proposing any way to pay for it. I know. It IS rather shocking that I've already given up on calling him Olden Times. I blame the media. And Hillary. Speaking of, she decided to AGREE with McThuselah about the gas tax holiday.
But wait... before you jump all over her for bad economic policy, at least she bothered to pay for it. That's a huge step up from McThuselah who apparently thinks his road to the White House should be paved with promises of FREE MONEY (cue Matthew Lesko). Of course, a gas tax holiday is just going to end up in Exxon's quarterly dividend (that's when GIANT oil companies send shareholders, the owners, some of the profit. It's one of only four times a year my father smiles) which kind of mitigates that whole 'we're helping people thing' since the savings won't, you know, be passed on to people.
Pandering? Yes. An empty gesture? Absolutely. Should they be focusing on this or this? Sure... well, that is, if you wanted to actually mitigate the economic costs of high fuel prices and stop using food to make fuel.
Meanwhile, Clinton and McCain criticized Obama for not going along with their little scheme.
Would someone please tell the Clinton folks that Obama is right? That'd be great! And then, could you fire the idiot on her policy team that keeps copying shit McCain does? It's embarrassing to those of us who, you know, SUPPORT HER.