November 28, 2008

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas

Feeling jolly, punk?

Accused Attacker Beaten With Candy Cane

A man who allegedly threatened neighbors with a knife on Thanksgiving was beaten with a large decorative candy cane wielded by a bystander, Sacramento police said.

The incident began in Del Paso Heights when Donald Kercell, 49, became drunk and then got angry, Sgt. Norm Leong said.

Leong said Kercell swung the knife and went after some people, adding that some of those being chased suffered minor injuries.

A bystander picked up a 2-foot-long candy cane decoration, smacked Kercell with it and disarmed him, Leong said.

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November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Photobucket

Seriously, y'all, havagoodun!

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November 26, 2008

BlackBerry Storm FAIL

Now, I can't say that RIM hasn't made some excellent stuff in the BlackBerry product line, it really had. And when I was debating whether to get a BlackBerry or iPhone I was MIGHTY tempted to go BlackBerry because of that clickable qwerty keyboard. Let me repeat, that was a good thing.

But in an attempt to compete with Apple's iPhone, and go buttonless with the BlackBerry Storm... let's just say that RIM hasn't taken the world by Storm. In fact, much the opposite as Gizmodo, WIRED, and others were not impressed.

But the best line of what could quite possibly be called an epic Storm Fail comes from the NYT.

Until then, maybe Storm isn’t such a bad name for this phone. After all — it’s dark, sodden and unpredictable.

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Jokes of My Father's : Reading signs

Political Promises.jpg

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It's official... Energy Deregulation failed

Coby and Vince have more on the reports out recently detailing the absolute failure of electricity deregulation in Texas. Which comes as a huge shock to us.

So why make a big deal out of it anymore? Texans in deregulation markets are getting screwed. It is plain and simple, but instead of standing up and demanding that promises of lower rates be kept, they instead tuck tail and pay twice as much as they were paying. Without question.

According to a press conference by Governor Rick Perry:

"There is no reason to consider re-regulating the electricity market even though rates have soared. The consumers of Texas are dumber than turkeys in a rain storm and they aren't complaining, so I ain't doing nothing."

Ok. Perry didn't really say that, but he should. Texas consumers are dumber than dirt. Maybe they will get off their dumb ass and demand to re-regulate the industry or at least hold someone accountable.

Those of us who have voiced our opinions would appreciate it.

This will be an issue in 2010. While people are comfortable paying their electric bill monthly and don't really understand they COULD have it better, as soon as they find out they're going to be mad. And they'll find the Republicans an easy target.

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November 25, 2008

Roundin' Up The TPA

It's time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's Weekly Blog Round-Up. This is your pre-Thanksgiving edition, so enjoy it while you bake your pumpkin pies, stuff your turkey, or whatever your holiday traditions are.

jobsanger notes that some racists seem to think this election gives them permission to once again publicly display their sick beliefs in Racist Reaction To The Election.

The Texas Cloverleaf discusses the upcoming study that may result in a mileage based user fee rather than a gas tax for drivers in the US.

John Coby at reports the Texas Ethics Commission Fines State Representative Carl Isett $25,000

BossKitty at TruthHugger watches, with the rest of the world, America: A Spectator Sport or Soap Opera

Off the Kuff analyzes the precinct data for Harris County and declares the coordinated effort to get out the Democratic vote there a success, and that the Democratic base was everywhere you looked.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme claims the religious right exposes its dark underbelly with opposition to Prop 8.

McBlogger takes a moment to talk about the deficit, the economy and bailing us out. Because it's, you know, important.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson post on the issues the Texas GOP is grappling with post election in, The GOP brand is tarnished in Texas.

Barnett Shale Radioactive Waste is Bone-Seeking Carcinogen When Airborne and Has 1622 Year Half-Life TXsharon at Bluedaze.

Environment and education have been greatly on the mind of the Texas Kaos community this week. Front pager TxSharon gave us a heads up on Brett Shipp's expose of the Texas Railroad Commission on Bill Moyers Journal Friday, and diarist liberaltexan kept an eye on a Faith Based Initiative: Fundamentalist Religious Attack on Science in Texas.

Neil at Texas Liberal says that Galveston was a disaster before as well as after Hurricane Ike.

Vince at Capitol Annex poses a couple of questions about Tom Craddick's Secret Police and asks exactly why former State Rep. and ex-deputy parliamentarian Ron Wilson is running around the capitol with Parliamentarian Terry Keel and serving as a media escort/hatchet man for the Speaker.

The Texas Blue looks at how Tom DeLay's gerrymandering of the state has actually made Texas weaker on the national level than a fair apportionment would have.

The passing of Jim Mattox prompted a few reminiscences from Texas bloggers and corporate media. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs assembled a few, ahead of Monday's memorial service.

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Which is better?

The original...or the cleaned up remake?

Anomaly's Greatest Hits for Christians

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uhm...GM planning what?!?

GM to invest $1bn in Federal aid in BRAZIL?!?!

Help Ford, help Chrysler, but FUCK GM. Let them go down the goddamn tubes. It's a global economy and money gets thrown all over the place. Some of the money used to let AIG work through it's funding problems is probably maintaining a job in Hong Kong or Singapore. From that perspective, this is much ado about nothing.

HOWEVER, this is symptomatic of the retarded management in place at GM. This kind of a PR gaffe should bring down the entire company. Seriously, save Ford and Chrysler, but collapse GM and sell the pieces. The company is snakebit.

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This is fucking weak...

The President-Elect has apparently decided that change equals more of the same. Or, in the case of his nascent economic recovery plan, change equals not doing much at all.

President-elect Barack Obama announces he has directed his economic team to assemble an Economic Recovery Plan that will save or create 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011.

WOW. 2.5 million jobs?!?!? That sounds like a lot until you realize that population growth creates more than 150k more workers EVERY MONTH. Which means that while President Obama is busily creating 2.5 million jobs, that will leave 1.1mn more people out of work than right now. So, if he's not interested in actually growing employment, what IS he planning? For one thing, there's a rumor that he's planning to appoint Larry Summers as Fed Chair. Ian rather neatly points out that it's a really, really, REALLY bad decision.

This is disappointing as hell considering how many economists are saying we need some significant stimulus and we need it sooner, rather than later. Geithner was a good start, but more is necessary to foreclose the possibility of disaster.

And yeah, I used 'foreclose' for a reason in that sentence.

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PSA : Hiring a hitman

PhotobucketFrom time to time, we've had to use someone to 'take out the trash'. It's usually quick, clean and so easy for us that we're all the time wondering why we don't have more people 'retired'.

Think we're kidding? When was the last time you saw Jimmy Hoffa? Or JFK?

One thing we know is that we don't write anything down. And we sure as hell don't use OUR mobiles. You use throw-aways and you certainly don't text message instructions. We always assume the staff will take care of the details.

Oh... and don't be from Oklahoma.

(Too soon for a Kennedy joke?)


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November 24, 2008

Joe The Plumber : The Autobiography

Joe the Plumber is, along with some other guy, writing a book. Mr. The Plumber's book, due December 1st, will be 300 pages long and divided into two sections. The first will be Joe's life, his journey and his rise to accidental celebrity (26 pages... seriously, is there anything about this guy that can't fit in 26 pages) and the balance being a rehash of the same old 'conservative' bullshit that's been spewed by every Republican candidate in the US since 1980.

PhotobucketJoe the Plumber, a.k.a. Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, the Ohio voter who became a celebrity in the last, heady weeks of the election, has signed a book deal with small, Texas-based publisher PearlGate Publishing. Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream, as it will be called, will "address Mr. Wurzelbacher’s ideas about American values," according to the Times, and be co-written with Thomas N. Tabback, the author of a ridiculous-sounding Christian novel also published by PearlGate. The Times cites an interview with Fox News in which JTP said he could have gone with a larger publisher, “But they don’t need the help. They are already rich. So that’s spreading the wealth to me.” The book will be published December 1, an amazingly quick turnaround time, which indicates that probably Joe the Plumber doesn't have a problem spreading the wealth to China, either.

I know I'm going to get this book from at least three people this Christmas. It won't be funny. All it will prove is that the people who give it to me have too much money on their hands.

Yeah, I'd really rather have a gift card.

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Pissed off about Lieberman?

If you're angry that Joe Lieberman basically got to fuck the Democratic Party and get away with it, do more than bitch. Click here and DO SOMETHING.

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One Last "F*@# You, Amer'ca"

In these heady days of post-election afterglow, it's easy to get caught up in the moment. Folks, it don't get no better than this, as the beer commercial used to say. Breathe in, drink deep and gloat loudly in this historic victory.

But here's the thing. Remember the end of Star Wars? The theme song is playing in the background at full blast, Leia, Han and Luke are blinged out and smiley, Chewy lets out a proud "Rrrrraahhhhwwwww!" and R2 and Threepio are all polished and WD-40'd up. That's the kind of moment we're in now. But remember what happened next in the Star Wars series? Betrayal, deep-freezing, hand-severing, one serious bout of who's-yer-daddy mindfucking, and lest we forget, Yoda's awful homecooking. It took 6 years and 2 sequels for things to break in favor of the good guys again. And that was in the movies.

Now I'm only pointing out here that we're going to face some troubles soon no matter who our president is going to be. So let's not elevate the man to Messianic status just yet. Because that always ends badly anyway. See, e.g. "Jesus Christ Superstar." The point here is that the afterglow is soon to give way to some harsh realities about the state of our nation after 8 years of Bush/GOP rule.

On that note, it appears the current Douche-in-Chief is doing his best to keep trashing the joint even on his way out the door. Brother Froomkin at WaPo has the deets here. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2008/11/20/BL2008112001934.html?hpid=opinionsbox1 (sidenote: God Bless Dan Froomkin. He was calling out the Bu'shit long before it came into vogue among mainstream media types. 'Tis a pity his work is tethered to such increasingly unpopular and irrelevant subject matter.)

To summarize, Bush is using his 11th hour to ramrod through as many destructive regulatory changes as possible so they can't be easily undone by the regime change. Folks, this guy is like the deadbeat tenant who responds to an eviction notice by pouring concrete down the plumbing, taking a dump in all the closets, and inviting over some crackheads for one last meth-fueled orgy around a living room bonfire. They's gonna be needles, poop and scorched wallpaper waiting for the next guy is all's I'm sayin'.

Yep. Elections have consequences...sometimes even after the next election has already taken place. But I'll finally stop razzing You People about 2004 now....
CUZ WE WON THIS ONE, BITCHES!!

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Mattox Funeral

Jim Mattox's funeral will be at First Baptist Church at 11:00. Here's a link to the guestbook.

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Democrats are much better Republicans

Photobucket This is a GDP growth chart under different Administrations over the last 70 years from Brad DeLong's blog. Actually, he has a bunch more charts over there that are very interesting in so far as pointing out that Democrats are far better for the economy than Republicans.

Over at Slate, there is a great article about sub-prime lenders who are still in business. We call them the good guys. Their down payment guidelines are very lax but everything else is just as tight as tight as A paper. And their default ratios are even lower.

See, I keep telling y'all I know more than Larry Kudlow. He was wrong on who's best for the economy and the CRA.

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November 23, 2008

The SBOE : Still chock full of nuts

Like an Almond Joy, the State Board of Education is full of nuts. From McLeroy (who claims to be a dentist... I'm guessing from the Dr. Christian Szell School of Dentistry) to Dunbar, religious right Republicans have managed to stack up quite a majority on the SBOE. TFN, having recently released a survey of teachers and professors regarding evolution (the result? More than 90% support the teaching of it exclusively in schools), was liveblogging the SBOE meeting yesterday.

From what I can tell, it's pretty clear that Boardmembers were completely unconcerned with what those far better educated than themselves had to say. It was abundantly clear that these folks were mentally calcified into their own belief system and grasping at straws (the Discovery Institute? REALLY?!?!?) for any way to refute arguments made by speakers throughout the day who advocated the teaching of evolution as science, without prevarication.

My favorite line...

5:37 p.m. - The pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Shiner, TX just told the board to leave the religion to him and keep it out of the classroom. I think we can all raise a tall glass of Shiner Bock to that!

And that's the bottom line... this is about putting the religious beliefs of a few into schools and being taught to all our children. I certainly, were I a parent, would not want my children taught the lunatic belief system of Cynthia Dunbar. I would want my children to be taught real, unadulterated science.

And there are no doubts or weaknesses in evolution. Period. It's not that we don't want to see them, 'Dr.' McLeroy... it's that none of what you and your fellow creationists have to say makes any sense. There are gaps in the fossil record, but there are no gaps in the theory.

It's clear these sad, sad little people have pretty weak faith. Otherwise, they wouldn't spend so much time and energy trying to see something that clearly isn't there. Faith is about not having any proof. Which makes these folks pretty weak Christians.

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End the pain

From an email sent by someone clearly upset about his evaporating 401(k)

Back in 1929 Financial Crash it was said that some Wall Street Stockbrokers and Bankers JUMPED from their office windows and committed suicide when confronted with the news of their firms and clients financial ruin . . . Many people were said to almost feel a little sorry for them . . . . . .

In 2008 the attitude has changed somewhat:

jump.jpg


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November 22, 2008

This looks cool...

Just click here. And yes, it's safe for work.

And here's a pic of the new ship.

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That's rrriiiighhhtt, bitches! I like me some Star Trek.

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November 21, 2008

It's Geithner. We hope.

PhotobucketThe rumor floating around is that President-Elect Obama has chosen NY Fed President Timothy Geithner to be Secretary of the Treasury. We, like the market, could not be happier.

Well, we could but it would take Bob Rubin to do that. While he may not have been the staunchest of supporters for regulation, his focus on fiscal responsibility was perfect. And he's come around on regulation, too. However, since he decided he'd had enough, we're pleased Geithner will be picked as opposed to Larry Summers.

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So That's What the "Members" Lounge is For...

With all the hubbub about the renovations of the Members Lounge at the capitol, one wonders what goes on in there. Maybe little Ricky Perry has some bad memories and is looking out for his political mates.


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This crazy market

Seriously, I don't know what else to say. When the CDS market is saying Berkshire Hathaway is more likely to default than Citi, then people have just gone out of their damn minds.

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Why yes, Mr. Cheney, deficits DO matter

This is a video for IOUSA. It's well produced and eye opening for those of you who may not understand federal spending, the national debt and our future obligations. Yes, we've talked about this a number of times, however, you could always do with a refresher course.

Sure, there are a number of holes, however the gist (the US needs to make some changes) is spot on. So what's to be done?

While the issue is complex it's far from intractable. And we can deal with it. First off, there have to be caps on Federal spending. For one thing, our defense spending is just out of control and has to be scaled back dramatically. Cutting DoD by 50% would functionally eliminate the deficit without any changes to tax policy. Even then, we'd still be spending dramatically more on defense than many of the largest countries on the planet. Combined.

Next up, we need some rationality on SS. The bottom line is that with health care most Americans live far longer than they did when the program was created. It's time to raise the retirement age to 68. That step alone will go a long way to eliminating the long term funding gap in SS and that age needs to be increased over time to compensate for people living longer.

As for Medicare, it's more of a problem and will probably be fixed as part of a national reform of health care. Part D, the horrendous drug benefit, can be dramatically improved just by allowing the government to negotiate prices.

Now we come to taxes. Income taxes are going to have to go up, mostly on the wealthy and upper middle class. It doesn't need to be a dramatic increase (as the movie suggests). Frankly, the closer you get to a 50% marginal rate it depresses the capacity of the economy grow. Ideally, you don't want to see a top marginal rate above 45%. Combine that with eliminating the cap on SS and many of our problems get fixed.

There are a couple of things on which we need to spend money and before we can get to the good times (running surpluses again), we have to make some substantial investments in alternative transportation fuels (cutting the money we send overseas) and in infrastructure like schools, roads and public safety. Even if we have to run massive deficits (I'm thinking at least $1 trillion in new debt), this money will provide us with the infrastructure and energy solutions for the next leg of economic growth. That will complete the balance and should help finally reignite wage growth.

All this can, of course, very easily be undone in about eight years with the return of fiscal irresponsibility. For 30 years people like Dick Cheney, George Bush, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry and Ronald Reagan have told Americans that tax cuts will pay for themselves. They don't and they never have.

This is the reckoning and it's time we all stood up and made those who would return us to fiscal insanity are always shouted back down.

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November 20, 2008

My Reaction to McCain Losing the Presidency

It went something similar to this.


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School is fun

Paleontology

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Roundin' Up The TPA

It's time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up.

Barfly at McBlogger takes a moment to remind all of us that we better not fu*k with Barbie.

Ruth Jones McClendon gets the Speaker's race dangerously wrong says CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at the race for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and provides answers to two important questions: is a secret ballot legal and will a secret ballot doom Tom Craddick?

Phillip at BOR counts heads for the Speaker votes, and finds that Craddick's ceiling of support is much lower than most realize.

The Texas Cloverleaf attempts to stop the H8 in Denton, with over 120 people; and explains why the marriage amendment in Texas, and other states, is not valid.

TxSharon atTexas Kaos warns of what should be unthinkable, but in too many Texas towns and cities is a real danger: Imagine If This Pipeline Explosion Happened In Your Front Yard.

Dembones at Eye On Williamson maps the Democratic resurgence in Williamson County in The color purple.

jobsanger looks at a change coming to the Democratic Party in Dean To Resign as DNC Head, and another change that is needed when he has his 1st Disagreement With Obama over kicking Lieberman out of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Neil at Texas Liberal posted this week on the subject of Ass Headed Demons. An upcoming new feature on Texas Liberal is going to be the Ass Headed Demon list. Stay tuned and see who makes the list. It might someday even be you!

Off the Kuff analyzes where and when the vote was in Harris County.

Donna at Texas Education ponders her future as a Catholic in these days of Eucharastic litmus tests.

BossKitty at TruthHugger recognizes that Disasters Increase BioHazards - Global Health Is Personal and sees the media flashing more stories about "green living" "low carbon footprint" and "fuel economy". But underlying all that, is the unspoken reality that floods, fires, earthquakes, etc, unearth buried hazards from past and present irresponsible behavior, and are seeping back into our lives.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston says Stephanie Simmons was a candidate for State Senator in Texas Senate District 17 running as a so-called "Democrat", but her campaign donations say otherwise. See Raising Campaign Cash 2008: Stephanie Simmons.

The week-long drama of Paul Bettencourt's continuing attempts to suppress the last of the Harris County votes, the Texas Democratic Party's legal action against him, and the anticlimactic outcome was dutifully chronicled by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Looks like the neocon flamethrowers in the media barely waited for the ink to dry on Election Day results to commence with their right-wing fabrications. The Texas Blue takes a look at the first salvo.

Over 300 protests took place over the weekend against California's Proposition 8, which reversed marriage equality in that state. North Texas Liberal has stories and photos from the protest march that took place in Washington, D.C.

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Elections have consequences...

PhotobucketHere's a great article about infrastructure investments as part of the economic recovery. The author wants a chunk of those funds for Houston.

Which will happen. But probably only enough to resurface 610.

You idiots kept your congressional Republicans. While you bucking the trend is really irrelevant to national politics, it sure would have been nice to have a congressional delegation from Houston made up exclusively of those in the MAJORITY. Dos Greens and Sheila (what's my name?) Jackson (that's right, bitch!) Lee will have to work their asses off to make up for Olson and the other losers.

We might have had some good luck if Texas had elected Rick Noriega. Frankly, I'll be surprised if we can get back 80% of what we send to Washington in transportation taxes.

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November 19, 2008

Best. Editorial. Ever

Something has definitely changed at the Statesman.

PhotobucketIt is shameful that Cynthia Dunbar is overseeing public education in Texas. She is an embarrassment who has brought heaping amounts of ridicule to this state.

Who is Cynthia Dunbar? She is an elected member of the State Board of Education, representing parts of Austin and Travis County. And she is author of a bizarre attack on President-elect Barack Obama published on the Christian Worldview Network.

In it, Dunbar says there will be a terrorist attack on America "by those with whom Obama truly sympathizes to take down the America that is [a] threat to tyranny." She goes on in the pre-election rant to say Obama will use that attack to declare martial law and expand his powers.

"I sincerely believe that an Obama Administration would ultimately mean one thing the end of America as we know her," Dunbar wrote. "(W)e know all too well the attack this great Country undergoes on a daily basis from our own militant leftist Judicial Branch. Can you imagine how much worse this will get with Obama appointees?"

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Speaker's Race : The bullshit be a-flyin'

Yet ANOTHER R has filed, Solomons, and Kuff has the deets. Which brings the total number of Republican speaker candidates to 1,908. Which means the R's are pretty well fractured.

The D's on the other hand, are hanging together according to Phillip at BOR. Considering that we're more than six weeks out from this thing, it's unlikely to get settled now and it's unlikely anyone will be able to announce they're the winner until sometime around Christmas.

All this comes down to a coalition to beat Craddick. Phillip puts his absolute top at 71 with Craddick D's. Which means one of the opposition candidates has to get to 72 and it'll be the Democrats (with a block of 64), if Fatass wins, who will decide which R gets the chair. If she doesn't then it will be a minority of R's who decide which D becomes speaker.

My money is still on Merritt. For one thing, he's well known and liked by the members from East Texas. He's a solid guy who can be trusted to run the House for the members rather than the lobby and he's already helped some fend off challenges from Craddick acolytes.

If anyone is hearing anything different, post it up in the comments.

One last thing, according to a comment Colin Struther left at BOR, Turner's candidacy is basically a pass through to Craddick.

turner candidacy isn't real

it is a placeholder for Democrats that want to vote for craddick.

by pledging their allegiance to sly, when forced to choose between 2 repubs they can say that the guy they pledged to asked them to follow him and as a result he is speaker pro tem.

any pledge to turner should be rightfully considered a commitment to craddick.

sly's candidacy just isn't real and i've found no evidence to the contrary.

This doesn't come as a big shock since Turner has basically taken up residence inside Craddick's colon since late 2002. Phillip doesn't think that's the case at all. He seems to think that Turner's candidacy is somehow real. You'll have to excuse Phillip. He's in Boston right now enjoying the era of good feelings and has forgotten what it's like to live in a state desperately in need of regime change.


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Quit with the drugs

Tripping Balls

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November 18, 2008

Things you may have missed : Mauro, Bell and more

  • David's in second and has some momentum. Click here to vote on giving a Texan the scholarship!
  • The date for the runoff in SD 17 has been set. Kuff has more here and Muse has links to the campaign and maps to the offices here. No matter where you are in the state, there is something you can do. Give money, phone bank, email your friends in Houston, something.

    Go Chris!

    Photobucket

  • Krusee's DWI case is dismissed.
  • Speaking of WilCo, I give you Diana Maldonado on the TTC...

    “I would obviously support anything that would repeal the Trans-Texas Corridor. We already have (S.H. 130), which is serving its purpose so … if the bill continues to go through, I will support it,” Maldonado said. (Taylor Daily Press)
  • Havagoodun!

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    That first mistake...

    Two weeks after the election that made him the President-Elect, Sen. Obama helped use his influence to make sure Sen. Lieberman didn't receive anything other than a slap on the wrist for being a douchebag.

    Photobucket“He’s part of this caucus,” the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said after the Democratic caucus voted behind closed doors. “We are not looking back. We are looking forward.”

    Mr. Lieberman, who had angered many Democrats by campaigning for Mr. McCain, his longtime friend, emerged from the private session looking pleased. He called the result “fair and forward-looking” and one of “reconciliation and not retribution.”

    He said he was looking forward to working with President-elect Barack Obama — whom he criticized during the campaign — “to keep the American people secure at home” as well as abroad.

    Before the meeting, Mr. Lieberman said he was optimistic. “I’m going into a roomful of friends,” he told The Associated Press

    Jane has her take on it here... I think there's an element of 'fuck them, this is our decision' in this but I don't think it's the whole story. I think this is Obama genuinely being dumb enough to think this motherfucker won't bite him in the ass. I'm almost certain some kind of a deal was made. If that's the case, then it's only a matter of time until Lieberman breaks the promise.

    Is it any wonder the vast majority of Americans think Joe sucks?


    Posted by mcblogger at 01:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    About GM

    Well, there's no shortage of opinions today out about GM. WhosPlayin' has a good (if simplistic) piece. Andrew Sorkin's article over at DealBook is beating the hell out of the unions and advocating the elimination of management as the US forces the company in bankruptcy.

    While this may surprise you given my vocation, I'm with Sorkin. Chapter 11 is necessary.

    First, let's head back to WP as it neatly points out that in the case of the automakers, things aren't as cut and dry as we'd like.

    More important still is the opportunity cost of saving the automakers. It is suggested that millions of jobs might be lost if the firms folded. That may well be true, but those workers would not remain unemployed forever.

    While this is true, the intermediate term pain will be very heavy and the effects cascade through the economy. You can't just scrub out the automakers and their payroll without causing dislocation nationally. For instance, the Big Three dealerships here in Central Texas provide for sales and property taxes, revenue that would have to be replaced if the companies were liquidated. That's just one of the effects from liquidating the automakers. Don't forget up to 10% of our workforce out of work as a result. That, plus our already high unemployment, would be a one two punch taking us directly into depression.

    Nah, the best thing to do is for the government to force them into a Chapter 11 re-org. But with a catch... 40% of the equity when the company returns to the public markets must be reserved with 20% to current shareholders of record on the date of the bankruptcy and the remaining 20% to the pension plans to make certain there is no cut to pensions. This will make it easier for workers to take the necessary cuts in benefits (sorry, you'll have the same crappy health insurance we all have) and slight cuts in pay to stabilize the company. Allowing existing shareholders to benefit post restructuring will make sure that pension funds nationally that carry GM stock will be able to benefit from a resurgent auto industry.

    Then, it's gotta be restructured.

    I'm all for merging GM and Chrysler but the brand strategy Sorkin lays out is incomplete...

    Both companies would have to jettison brands — lots of them. In the case of G.M., frankly, the only ones worth saving are Cadillac, Chevy and Buick. (Buick? Yes. Despite its lackluster sales and fuddy-duddy image in the United States, it’s a huge seller in China.)

    That means Saturn, Pontiac, GMC and Saab would all disappear. Deutsche Bank estimates that reducing G.M.’s brands from eight to three would bring down the company’s cost base by $5 billion annually. If you’re able to shut the dealerships too, lop off another $4 billion. Chrysler is an even sadder situation: the only brand with any value is Jeep. Its Dodge Ram truck lineup could be merged with Chevy, which would also pick up pieces of the GMC business. And Chrysler’s minivan business could be combined into the Chevy brand as well.

    Saab and Saturn should be merged and model numbers reduced. Saab is, oddly enough, a great brand. As for Chrysler, Pontiac and Dodge? Kill them.

    Some of you will no doubt think I'm crazy with only 'slight' paycuts. For one thing, this is temporary measure to boost earnings to pay off debt and rebuild the pension plan and you don't have to make massive cuts to achieve that objective when you're not paying a dividend. Once the company is restructured, with new management in place and a manageable debt load, you take it public again and with the money raised overfund the pension plan to 105% of obligations assuming a 5% asset growth rate. If there's any left over, cut pay down debt. GM has gotten itself into this mess in part by ignoring the pension plan that it's been underfunding for 30 years. But that's just part of the problem... the rest of it is management.

    For them, there should be nothing.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    ImmiGRATING on my last nerve

    PhotobucketVince has an excellent recap up for all the shiteriffic legislation that Leo Berman has filed to usher in what promises to be a truly vile session of the Lege. The bills are mostly unconstitutional and will only end up, if they pass, costing the state money to defend until they are ultimately struck down. It's really little more than politics as usual from a douche you could best serve his constituents (and all Texans) by sticking a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger. My favorite...

    Might As Well Call It A Tax On Businesses. HB 266 would require that no government agency, city, etc., enter into a contract with a private business unless that business participates in an electronic status verification system to verify the citizenship of all of its employees. Such programs can be very costly, and would prohibit a lot of small businesses from doing business with the government simply because they can’t afford the cost. An affidavit certifying that they’ve checked the papers/Social Security Cards of all their employees would be far more efficient, although is still unnecessary.

    I'm certain this will go well with Chambers of Commerce across the state.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 17, 2008

    One of these douchebags is pissed at Palin

    Via CNN comes word that one of these people is mad at Sarah Palin because it appeared like she was assuming the mantle of leader in the Republican Party.
    Photobucket
    Am I the only one who thinks it was 39%? You know, the guy who wants national office so bad his little, incompetent, rat brain does cartwheels at the thought?

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    You SUCK : Sen. Richard Shelby edition

    PhotobucketOn Bloomberg Sen. Richard Shelby, when asked if he would support forcing the automakers in Chapter 11 and having the Government carry the DIP, responded that if they went into bankruptcy, the bankruptcy judge would have "a lot of latitude".

    Which did not, of course, ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION. What's more, it was clear that he didn't even understand debtor in possession financing as part of a Chpt. 11 restructuring.

    Can we please nuke Ala-fucking-bama? They produce too many stupid people and send the dumbest of the dumb to Washington.

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

    Economy : More fun to come

    Over the last four years, hedge and private equity funds have taken on a lot of debt they've used to buy companies to which they've then transferred that debt. And a lot of it is coming due fairly soon, during the worst credit freeze since the Great Depression.

    “The dangling other shoe is now about to drop,” said Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean of the Yale School of Management.

    When the economy was booming, the firms made huge profits by cutting costs at their new acquisitions, improving operations and then turning around and selling them. In 2007, at the height of the bubble, such deals totaled $796 billion, or more than 16 percent of the $4.83 trillion in all the deals made globally that year, according to data from Dealogic.

    Firms like the Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, faced an image problem at the height of the bubble for excessive compensation and beneficial tax treatment, but their returns were so high that even investors like pension funds were drawn in. Now these firms, built on enormous amounts of debt, are being forced to go back to the financial markets just as those markets have nearly frozen up.

    If history is any guide, the worst may be yet to come. Steven N. Kaplan, a professor at University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, found that nearly 30 percent of all big public-to-private deals made from 1986 to 1989 defaulted.

    Without access to credit, many of these companies will be unable to pay their existing creditors, constituting a default event which will probably force them into bankruptcy where the funds will lose their equity. While this may seem like a wonderful solution, that equity really belongs to shareholders IN those funds. Pension funds, university endowments, insurance companies and the list goes on and on of the organizations that ostensibly invest for the future of ordinary people that will be hurt if these companies go under.

    Now, maybe, would be a good time to start regulating private equity?

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

    November 16, 2008

    Speaker's Race : My money is on Merritt

    PhotobucketPhillip over at BOR (here, here and here) has been doing a good job keeping up with the Speaker's race and the reality is that people, even more than after the 2006 cycle, are paying attention to what happens. Gardner Selby had this over at The Statesman on the race and how Democrats could fuck it up, which is entirely possible. However, there was a funny bit from the article...

    Craddick hasn't declared victory. But a consultant to the committee that backed Republican House incumbents in the elections calls the race over. Dave Carney said of Craddick: "I don't think there's any doubt he survives."

    Carney noted what most at the Capitol know: If a challenger had the votes to take Craddick, he or she would have held an "I'm King" press conference.

    ...

    Carney, though, plays down anti-Craddick sentiment as "driven by guys sitting around in their underwear" writing political blogs.

    Now, before you get all wound up, you should really ignore the unmitigated failure that is Dave Carney. Oh, and Dave, I don't sit around in my underwear. Sorry to bust that little fantasy for you but you'll just have to find something else to think about when you jerk off.

    Here's how this plays out... there are three serious R (Craddick, Keffer and Merritt) candidates. Everyone else is a waste of time. As for the D's, unless Linda Fatass loses the recount, there's a very slim chance that there will be a Democratic Speaker. Even if it were possible, Hochberg would likely be the only one they could settle on. In this scenario, the D's can get enough R's to replace the Craddick D's.

    For now, let's concentrate on the R's... Craddick is obviously a non-starter but he'll probably pull 35-45 votes, as much as 55 with certain Democrats like Turner and Edwards who ostensibly support Turner but will likely shift to their old buddy Craddick. Which makes him the big shit right now. Any other challenger is going to have to pull together a coalition of the R's and the D's to make this work.

    I don't think Hochberg can hold the R's. Which means this is one of those shitty times when if progress is to be made, it's going to have to be Democrats who give in. And their choice is Merritt or Keffer. There's already a rumor that the 20/20 folks are supporting Keffer. There's also a rumor that's a lie. Personally, I'm inclined to believe the latter since Keffer really isn't much better than Craddick. And those folks know it.

    Which leaves Merritt in the enviable position of being less of a son of a bitch than the others. And once everyone on the anti-Craddick side gets that they have to get to 60, at least, there's going to be a come to Jesus and I have a feeling Merritt's going to walk out with the votes.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 15, 2008

    This just in...

    PhotobucketTHIS GUY LIES.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 14, 2008

    ...And it's Congressman, please.

    Ted Haggard

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

    Where are the bees?

    Normally, I'd be thrilled by diminished numbers of flying insects that have the capacity to sting. However, in this case, it's kind scary.

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

    It's Barbie, Bitch!

    It seems that even Barbie is on the war path these days. And Barbie don't play! Apparently, the fuckwad that gave birth to the abomination that is Bratz, did so on Mattel company time. In fact, Mattel won a $100 million dollar lawsuit in August. But is that enough? No way! Barbie wants BLOOD!

    L9639_9993_main.jpg
    Attorneys for Mattel Inc. (MAT, Fortune 500), the world's largest toy maker, are scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson on Monday and ask him to ban competitor MGA Entertainment Inc. from making the pouty-lipped Bratz dolls. They also want all Bratz products impounded and destroyed.

    Frankly, I am on Barbie's side. Just because Barbie rocks! She's the kinda gal one can root for. The type of gal that can find herself in crazy situations, all the while dating a man with no dick. Who's without empathy?

    I also dislike Bratz. I find them distressingly tacky and inane. The world will not be poorer for their absence when Barbie takes them out. Yep, I've got a stake for when Jade's spunky little head starts to roll. Now, I am aware that I'm in the minority on this. It's a Bratz universe. McBlogger and my young cousins LOVE this shit, much to our chagrin. And, indeed, I see Bratz permeating several things in pop culture. For example, the actresses on the new '90210' are the living epitome. Am I the only one who thinks that the shoes look like they weigh more than the actresses wearing them?

    Anyway, if you are a Bratz fan, it might not be a bad idea to pick one up asap. Just in case they are going the way of the dodo.

    Posted by barfly at 12:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Racist, homophobic and stupid (or, The Electorate)

    There are two stories that are kinda funny from last week in the same way that a mother killing her children is funny. Which is to say, it's not really funny at all. It's more of a 'tilt your head in confusion' moment.

    First off, while President-Elect Obama was winning Florida, a measure on the ballot to repeal an old FL law that prohibited Asians from owning property failed. No joke, a majority of voters in Florida voted FOR a black guy for President, then decided to keep Asians from owning homes. And minimalls.

    The group’s president, William Gheen, did not respond to e-mail messages seeking comment but Enos Schera, 81, who posted the message, said that he was “1,000 percent” satisfied that the law remained in place.

    He is a founder of Citizens of Dade United, a Miami group opposing illegal immigration, and he said he knew the provision’s history but hoped that keeping it on the books would encourage lawmakers to prevent all illegal immigrants from owning property.

    “They’re buying up the whole country,” he said.

    I guess it's kinda belaboring the point to remind Enos that for someone to buy, someone must sell. Unless we're talking about some branch of the Yakuza that's gone seriously off the reservation by buying residential real estate instead of their more usual activities.

    And of course, a whole bunch of Obama supporters and Republicans got together and decided to keep the gays from getting married. IN CALIFORNIA. And Florida. And Arizona.

    One step forward and a whole lotta steps back...

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Our apologies...

    Yesterday, we posted this about the Mayor's race. In the post, we accidentally used a picture of de-Elected Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty for Release The McCracken. This picture.

    Photobucket

    The mistake was pointed out by our good friend Mike Dahmus whom we'd like thank. Here is the most current picture of McCracken we have on file

    Photobucket

    And this, we think, is a picture of Mike Levy...

    Photobucket

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 13, 2008

    Roundin' Up The TPA - Election Edition

    It's time for another Texas Progressive Alliance weekly blog round-up--but with a twist. In this edition, TPA member blogs bring you some of their best posts from the last year of election coverage. Enjoy this trip down memory lane, courtesy of the TPA.

    Muse enjoyed all things Hillary leading up to the March 4th Texas Primary. There was the Hillary endorsement post that made her mom cry. A high point was the event where Muse fulfilled her lifelong dream to touch Bill Clinton. (Little did she know there would be a more up close and personal opportunity.) She got to see Hillary four times in person, including this event. Even her Prius got in the act: Prius Owners for Hillary!

    BossKitty at TruthHugger is angry that Sarah Palin's nasty rhetoric has ignited hateful fallout, she let the white Supremacist Genie Out Of The Bottle, Thanks Sarah - There are still 'stone aged' creatures marching around calling themselves Christians, wearing NAZI paraphernalia! Woe be to anyone who would harm the first family of America! On a more personal note, BossKitty has ideas about what to do when you lose your job ... but, the most daunting agenda on our plate is that our New America Must Reduce It’s Seven Deadly Sins if we want to survive as a nation.

    Brains and Eggs had the good, the bad, the ugly, and some TBD in a series of election postmortems, and then a little more of each. PDiddie wrapped last week with the finger-pointing and recriminations that marked the last throes of the McCain-Palin campaign, which included an luxury undergarment update.

    It's been a tumultuous week for everyone, but at McBlogger it was remarkably calm. We're chalking it up to a change in prescription medications. First up was Donna Keel attacking Austin Interfaith. Then there was an attack on Diana Maldonado by her parish priest and, for us, that was enough religion for all week. The funniest thing we saw was a commercial shot by former celebrities going after Al Franken that made us want to move to Minnesota and vote for him. There was also some funny about people upset that they weren't getting help from the Federal Government, even though they didn't need it. Wrapping everything up was our final farewell to those who loved them some Austin Proposition 2.

    Justin at AAA-Fund Blog covered the presidential primacaucus in Texas including Clinton’s sweep of Asian American surrogates and both candidates' Asian American outreach . Justin also scolded Hubert Vo, evaluated Noriega’s immigration plan, and was amazed that both Barack Obama and Sherrie Matula were "That Ones."

    Off the Kuff has some early observations about what happened on Election Day, plus a look at turnout figures and statewide trends.

    At Texas Kaos, the bitter and the sweet mix together as we look back on an amazing rollercoaster of an election season. While it looked like there was a contest for the U.S. Senate nomination, Boadicea put together Rick's answers for Democracy for Texas to paint a picture of the candidate, This is Rick Noriega-Texas Progressive Leader Covering the snark beat, our friend from the Soggy North, Fake Consultant, gave some pointers to a hockey mom thrust onto the national stageOn Dressing for Success, Part One, or, How Much is Armani, Anyway? and followed up with more helpful tips in On Dressing for Success, Part Two, Or, We Costume Palin… for 2/3 off! Lightseeker took a reasoned and sober look at a more serious element this election: Respecting Life, Making Hard Choices and finally makes the point that the Nov 4 vote was not an ending, but a beginning, Looking Now, Looking Forward.

    Ah the memories at The Texas Cloverleaf during the 2008 election season. The candidates would make their case on WWE Monday Night Raw. We learned that McCain would lose early on, with our own Congressman Michael Burgess advising him on healthcare. We wished Governor Palin well on her first Grandparents Day. We learned Texas Republicans can't figure out education, much less spell it correctly. But we finally came out on top with Barack Obama, and some mixed Texas results. Here is to a classic 2008!

    Vince Leibowitz of Capitol Annex focused a considerable amount of energy this cycle covering Texas Democrats' attempts to retake the Texas House of Representatives. From racist mailers and decitful TV ads in Dallas and Houston area House districts to the battle to unseat Texas' most ethically compromised legislator, down to catching Republicans telling blatant lies, this was a busy cycle in Texas. In the primary, he was one of a few Texas bloggers who supported Senator Hillary Clinton, and offered her this open letter when she left the race.

    Neil at Texas Liberal offers up his post on early voting in Downtown Houston. The post tells what Democrats Neil enjoyed voting for and also has colorful pictures that will please the eye.

    CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme debunks 10 Republican excuses.

    In the 2008 primary and election, Jobsanger continued his penchant for supporting losing candidates by backing Bill Richardson, Rick Noriega, Sherrie Matula and Nancy Moffatt, before finally breaking through with a winner in Barack Obama.

    What a long strange journey it has been for the Easter Lemming. Gary has started pushing for a poll-workers union after working the primary and then another election this Spring. He found out people read blogs about as much as newspapers! Guess who the Easter Lemming supported? And finally, he ended too tired to party but not too tired to blog with a special mention that MoveOn.Org is bigger and more important than the NRA in politics now.

    It is the Monday after the election, and that means it is time for another Texas Progressive Alliance weekly blog round-up--but with a twist. In this edition, TPA member blogs bring you some of their best posts from the last year of election coverage. Enjoy this trip down memory lane, courtesy of the TPA.

    Muse enjoyed all things Hillary leading up to the March 4th Texas Primary. There was the Hillary endorsement post that made her mom cry. A high point was the event where Muse fulfilled her lifelong dream to touch Bill Clinton. (Little did she know there would be a more up close and personal opportunity.) She got to see Hillary four times in person, including this event. Even her Prius got in the act: Prius Owners for Hillary!

    BossKitty at TruthHugger is angry that Sarah Palin's nasty rhetoric has ignited hateful fallout, she let the white Supremacist Genie Out Of The Bottle, Thanks Sarah - There are still 'stone aged' creatures marching around calling themselves Christians, wearing NAZI paraphernalia! Woe be to anyone who would harm the first family of America! On a more personal note, BossKitty has ideas about what to do when you lose your job ... but, the most daunting agenda on our plate is that our New America Must Reduce It’s Seven Deadly Sins if we want to survive as a nation.

    Brains and Eggs had the good, the bad, the ugly, and some TBD in a series of election postmortems, and then a little more of each. PDiddie wrapped last week with the finger-pointing and recriminations that marked the last throes of the McCain-Palin campaign, which included an luxury undergarment update.

    It's been a tumultuous week for everyone, but at McBlogger it was remarkably calm. We're chalking it up to a change in prescription medications. First up was Donna Keel attacking Austin Interfaith. Then there was an attack on Diana Maldonado by her parish priest and, for us, that was enough religion for all week. The funniest thing we saw was a commercial shot by former celebrities going after Al Franken that made us want to move to Minnesota and vote for him. There was also some funny about people upset that they weren't getting help from the Federal Government, even though they didn't need it. Wrapping everything up was our final farewell to those who loved them some Austin Proposition 2.

    Justin at AAA-Fund Blog covered the presidential primacaucus in Texas including Clinton’s sweep of Asian American surrogates and both candidates' Asian American outreach . Justin also scolded Hubert Vo, evaluated Noriega’s immigration plan, and was amazed that both Barack Obama and Sherrie Matula were "That Ones."

    Off the Kuff has some early observations about what happened on Election Day, plus a look at turnout figures and statewide trends.

    At Texas Kaos, the bitter and the sweet mix together as we look back on an amazing rollercoaster of an election season. While it looked like there was a contest for the U.S. Senate nomination, Boadicea put together Rick's answers for Democracy for Texas to paint a picture of the candidate, This is Rick Noriega-Texas Progressive Leader Covering the snark beat, our friend from the Soggy North, Fake Consultant, gave some pointers to a hockey mom thrust onto the national stageOn Dressing for Success, Part One, or, How Much is Armani, Anyway? and followed up with more helpful tips in On Dressing for Success, Part Two, Or, We Costume Palin… for 2/3 off! Lightseeker took a reasoned and sober look at a more serious element this election: Respecting Life, Making Hard Choices and finally makes the point that the Nov 4 vote was not an ending, but a beginning, Looking Now, Looking Forward.

    Ah the memories at The Texas Cloverleaf during the 2008 election season. The candidates would make their case on WWE Monday Night Raw. We learned that McCain would lose early on, with our own Congressman Michael Burgess advising him on healthcare. We wished Governor Palin well on her first Grandparents Day. We learned Texas Republicans can't figure out education, much less spell it correctly. But we finally came out on top with Barack Obama, and some mixed Texas results. Here is to a classic 2008!

    Vince Leibowitz of Capitol Annex focused a considerable amount of energy this cycle covering Texas Democrats' attempts to retake the Texas House of Representatives. From racist mailers and decitful TV ads in Dallas and Houston area House districts to the battle to unseat Texas' most ethically compromised legislator, down to catching Republicans telling blatant lies, this was a busy cycle in Texas. In the primary, he was one of a few Texas bloggers who supported Senator Hillary Clinton, and offered her this open letter when she left the race.

    Neil at Texas Liberal offers up his post on early voting in Downtown Houston. The post tells what Democrats Neil enjoyed voting for and also has colorful pictures that will please the eye.

    CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme debunks 10 Republican excuses.

    In the 2008 primary and election, Jobsanger continued his penchant for supporting losing candidates by backing Bill Richardson, Rick Noriega, Sherrie Matula and Nancy Moffatt, before finally breaking through with a winner in Barack Obama.

    What a long strange journey it has been for the Easter Lemming. Gary has started pushing for a poll-workers union after working the primary and then another election this Spring. He found out people read blogs about as much as newspapers! Guess who the Easter Lemming supported? And finally, he ended too tired to party but not too tired to blog with a special mention that MoveOn.Org is bigger and more important than the NRA in politics now.

    Hope you caught the Texas Blue on Election Day -- we did a "heckuva job" picking out the states that would and wouldn't matter for an Obama victory on Election Day. We also ran down the biggest federal, statewide and local results of E-D in our Election Day '08 executive summary, checked out how the fight for the Democrats' 75th seat in the Texas House is looking, and did some deconstruction of why the Republicans were never going to win the presidential election, Sarah Palin or no Sarah Palin.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Go help Chris Bell!

    We still have one more race to win...Chris Bell's in SD 17.

    Come to a meeting to see how YOU can help
    Friday, Nov. 14, 7:00pm @ Pappas BBQ - 7007 Hwy 59S at Bellaire Blvd
    Make sure that every precinct is represented by at least ONE person but the more the better!

    Hope to see you there!!!
    RSVP by replying to Bert Anson, SD17 Chair, at sd17hcdp@gmail.com so we are sure to have enough handouts

    Questions: Bert Anson 713-667-5250 bertanson@yahoo.com or John Gorczynski 713-667-8990 johng@chrisbell.com

    ***If you cannot attend the meeting at Pappas BBQ on Friday evening, you can still contact the campaign DIRECTLY to help. (713) 667-8990, 4019 S. Braeswood @ Stella Link, 77025, 9:AM - 9:PM Even if you do not live in Senate 17, you can help.***

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    MOTO : No! Really?

    The NYT has a story up titled Near-Flawless Run Is Credited in Victory. Of course, it's about Obama's beat down of McCain last week.

    I was just wondering how many terribly run campaigns can be Credited in Victory? Or Super Lucky/Unlucky Situation Credited in Victory/Loss.

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

    Austin's Doucherific Mayoral Race!

    PhotobucketThe Austin mayoral race is shaping up to be a clusterfuck of galactic proportions. First off we have Release The McCracken who is already in superpander mode and will be coming soon to a meeting you're at where he will tell you he's all about ____fill in the issue you care about here____ . No, he's not and he'll turn on it if elected like that fish you had for dinner.

    PhotobucketNext up, Strayhorn. NFS, Carole of the Four Names is considering running for her old job. She was Mayor of Austin from 77-83 when we were much smaller. So, obviously we need her back since she's sooooooo much like Austin, old and small. Wait. We're neither which means she's NOTHING LIKE AUSTIN. Carole was a Democrat, then she became a Republican. Now she's a caricature and a cautionary tale for Kay Bailey as she seeks to beat 39% in the 2010 R primary. Many Democrats think Carole is the reason Chris Bell lost in 2006. Which means, at this point, she's absolutely not beloved in this town.

    The Statesman, unfortunately, has even more...

    Current Council Members Lee Leffingwell and Brewster McCracken are considering runs for mayor. So is Mike Levy, founder and former publisher of Texas Monthly. Two other potential candidates — former Council Members Bill Spelman and Jackie Goodman — have already backed away from the race.
    ...
    Perennial candidate Jennifer Gale has already said she plans to run for mayor, and Austin resident Josiah Ingalls has filed paperwork at the clerk's office appointing himself treasurer of his mayoral campaign. They are the only candidates besides Strayhorn who have filed with the clerk's office.

    MIKE FUCKING LEVY. You have got to be kidding me... the asshole who spent so much money, time and energy making Margot Clarke's life hell? The one who has a secret crush on Maxey and thinks Teh Gays are Teh Suck? Exactly what Austin needs. The leadership of a freak.

    If Leffingwell doesn't file I'm voting for Jennifer Gale. Either that, or I'LL file just to fuck the whole thing up. Mostly because I can't stand Strayhorn, Levy and Release the McCracken. Such pathetic people deserve nothing but brutal honesty and I'd gladly be the one to offer the critique, especially on Levy who can't seem to get it through his little rat brain that businesses relocate to Austin because of QoL issues and the workforce, basically everything Levy thinks is wrong with Austin.

    I can see Mike's slogan now... Austin! Much better without all the pesky Austinites!


    Posted by mcblogger at 11:04 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    November 12, 2008

    Tina Fish for Chair

    Photobucket Last week Barack Obama won the election and became the President-Elect of the United States. This picture of Tina Fish has absolutely nothing to do with that, but it is the reason why I was silent on this.

    Oh, PLEASE, national Republicans! Make Teh Crazy your leader! PLEASE!

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

    Bush v Obama

    While Bush is busy with new Executive Orders allowing polluters to unload toxins into our air and water...

    The Great Deregulator wishes to pass such laws that “would allow current emissions at a power plant to match the highest levels produced by that plant, overturning a rule that more strictly limits such emission increases.”

    President Bush “would ease limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants near national parks,” and “allow increased emissions from oil refineries, chemical factories and other industrial plants with complex manufacturing operations.”

    The implications are significant for the American people. These news rules would condemn us to dirtier polluted air for years to come. This is all in the interest of big business.

    There is no secret that President Bush has done more harm then good to the United States with his policies of deregulation and apparently he is not stopping just because his tenure is about to be over.

    ...and the President-Elect is already readying a counterpunch to take effect the day HE becomes President.

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

    November 11, 2008

    Transportation : Goodbye, Sal and Filing Fun

  • So long, Sal and have fun in IL. We'll keep up the good fight... though we're hoping to work with Sen. Watson. But we promise, we'll never work with Perry or Deidre. We don't suffer fools.
  • Vince has a very nice run down of the Transportation Bills that have been filed. Our faves...

    HB 12 by State Rep. David Leibowitz (D-San Antonio): Would expand the Texas Transportation Commission to 15 members and require that those members be elected by voters.

    HB 11 by David Leibowitz (D-San Antonio): repeals the authority of the Texas Department of Transportation to establish or operate the Trans-Texas Corridor.

    Senators Carona and Nichols also filed some bills today that were largely sops to people who want to kills tolls and the TTC but won't really do much of anything.

    Wait... that's unfair. I should point out that I'm making that statement based on previous actions. Who knows, maybe they are serious about transportation this time? If so, it's only taken them 6 years.

    One of Carona's bills hands to the Comptroller the ability to reset the gas tax based on construction cost inflation. Honestly, we've been waiting for this for a while, so we're going to withhold judgment. It should pass, but I doubt there are enough people in the Lege bright enough to see that they are punting the issue to another party and taking it off their plate for good.

  • Posted by mcblogger at 02:53 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Election Fallout Fun

    McBlogger was to post this last week, however, HE saw fit to wait. So, I'm doing it. Most of you know I'm in Northeast Texas near Dallas. This is a letter I sent McBlogger the day after the election...

    Yes, I am trying to keep my mouth shut today, and focus on the inner peace that winning brings. Already today I have witnessed every person I work with, save Lydia, audibly query whether pondering Obama's assassination makes you a bad person. Like it is really a question of whether you should want that. For real. Shellie stated that McCain won the popular vote until my search on yahoo corrected her. She said that she is completely floored by that. In fact, she also said that the only thing keeping her from opening a vein is that once somebody shoots Obama, then we will have Biden, whom she said was 'okay'. Photobucket

    Lunch was spent likening Obama to Lenin, Hitler, and Castro. When I informed them that his victory has been attributed to college educated white voters, Ted said that they did not take history. Ted stated that Obama is just like the "sand niggers that we are fighting overseas". The word nigger is very popular today. Doreen said that they just don't know. That they are voting in the now and not looking to the future. Of course she finds it plausible that Obama might be the antichrist. Oh, and socialist. I almost asked her what she thought a socialist was, but I thought it would turn ugly.

    Sorry, just had to vent a little. I know I should just feel sorry for them. I mean, really, they loved Sarah Palin. Like, no joke. It just gets a little tough to take at times. Sad to say, but I was actually somewhat relieved when Shellie moved the conversation to an alarmingly cruel story involving her, Jack In The Box, and a short bus full of special needs children in helmets. Yeah, it was getting that bad. I think I am going to stay in my office this afternoon.

    There you have it, a view from a county where the population is fighting common sense and what's best for the nation tooth and fucking nail.

    Posted by barfly at 12:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Veteran's Day

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    Take a moment to thank a Veteran for their service and remember those who gave their lives in service to their Country.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Help a brother out, yo!

    Austin's own David Mauro who writes at Burnt Orange Report is up for some kind of blogging scholarship thing. I don't really know what it's all about, but I know David and he seems to think this is something he needs. And really, that's all YOU need to know.

    Click here to help David win!

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    UT refuses to offer domestic partner benefits

    Apparently, UT has decided that it 'can't' offer domestic partner benefits because of state law. Which is pretty funny since the City of Austin and my employer do.

    With more than 80,000 employees, the University of Texas is one of the largest employers in the state. None of these employees are given the option of domestic partner benefits.

    On top of watching states around the nation give in to bigotry, UT employees, living in a state that already has a Defense of Marriage Act in place, cannot even offer their partners health protection. It would be a tragedy if, while the battle for marriage rages in blue states, the families of gay and lesbian couples in the red states were left completely unprotected.

    The costs are already apparent, as the story of John Clark, a UT professor, shows: "When I received a generous offer from Case Western Reserve that included a substantial salary increase and full domestic partner benefits for Michael Larvey, my partner of 29 years, I was sorely tempted to leave UT. But it was Michael who insisted that I shouldn't disrupt my academic life for his sake. As a self-employed designer, he was paying about $400 per month for health insurance that offered no physician, no prescription plan, and an 80-20 payout after meeting a $5,000 deductible. In fact, when the insurance company raised the premium in October of last year, he decided to go to a 50-50 plan to save $100 per month. In December he went into congestive heart failure and into the hospital twice. [He had two operations.] The second operation (the procedure alone costing $70,000) helped enormously and put him on the mend, but we faced huge medical bills.Two lessons to this bitter tale: 1) If Michael had been paying for UT-Select [The University of Texas medical insurance], he would have had a primary care physician who could have detected the problem before it got so grave; 2) the salary increase I got in my counteroffer from UT didn't help much when it came to Michael's medical bills; they devastated our finances."

    Campus groups met with University President Powers, imploring him to offer these benefits – he said he would 'look into it', and returned later citing Texas insurance code that defined couples only as a man and a woman. Yet other universities, with similar laws on the books, have found ways to offer DPB to their employees. President Powers is not exploring these options.

    REALLY, UT?

    Please take a moment to let UT President Douche Von Doucherson know his excuse is bullshit.

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

    November 10, 2008

    Sad news...

    PhotobucketApparently, Linda Harper-Brown (R - Twinkies) has won re-election in HD-105.

    She will next be appearing in the House wearing the dreaded caftan sometime after Christmas.

    Seriously, this a bummer. You guys up in 105 where sooooo close to sending her back to the buffet where she was grazing before the Republicans found her.

    Next time work harder.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    The perfect housewarming gift

    No, really, isn't this cool?

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

    Al Edwards v2.0 vs Al Edwards v1.0

    Meet the new Al Edwards. Same as the old Al Edwards.
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    Except this one is fatter.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    PSA : Kids, don't antagonize your parents

    We at McBlogger are in the mood to give back to our community and this time, it's totally not court ordered!!! In that spirit, we'd like to let you little ones reading us know that it's a super bad idea to make your mommy mad. Ok?

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    What NOT to do with your free time


    Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

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

    November 09, 2008

    Hangin' on with Joe Lieberman

    Joe Lieberman is hanging on to his committee chairmanship like a puppy does a sock... by his teeth.

    Let's not spend any time returning to Lieberman's past betrayals or assholish acts. I think we all remember them rather well and I think we can all agree that Sen. Reid is on the right track. However, what infuriates me is this...

    Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) ... said he disagreed with stripping Lieberman of his chair. "No, I don't think there should be retribution," he said. "I think reconciliation is in order, not revenge or retribution."

    Bayh suggested that Lieberman apologize and "let bygones be bygones."

    Sen. Bayh, if I may ask, HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES DOES SOMEONE HAVE TO KICK YOU IN THE GODDAMN TEETH BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO FUCK THEM UP?

    THIS is why people consider Democrats weak. It's one thing to reconcile with someone who has wronged you but can still be trusted. It's another to reconcile with someone who'd hurt themselves just to fuck you. And let's not forget, Joe has been WORTHLESS as a the Chair of Homeland Security and Gov't. Oversight...

    As chairman of this committee for the last two years, Lieberman decided not to pursue any accusations of wrongdoing against the Bush administration. Lieberman's House counterpart -- Rep. Henry Waxman's Oversight Committee -- was a vigilant watchdog, holding hearings, issuing subpoenas, and launching multiple investigations. Lieberman preferred to let his committee do no real work at all. It was arguably the most pathetic display of this Congress.

    And yet, now Lieberman acts as if keeping this chairmanship is the single most important part of his public life. Why would he be so desperate to keep the gavel of a committee he hasn't used? I'll let you in on a secret: he wants to start using the power of this committee against Obama.

    Lieberman didn't want to hold Bush accountable, but he seems exceedingly anxious to keep the committee that would go after Obama with a vengeance, effectively becoming a Waxman-like figure -- holding hearings, issuing subpoenas, and launching investigations against the Democratic president.

    So, he won't investigate the illegal actions of an out of control President but he will try to hurt the guy we just hired to fix things and restore the Presidency?

    NO MORE JOE!

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    WTF?

    I mean, really?

    A man who police believe was shot and killed by his 8-year-old son had consulted a Roman Catholic priest about whether the boy should handle guns and had taught him how to use a rifle, the clergyman said Saturday. ... In a sign of the emotional and legal complexities of the case, police are pushing to have the boy tried as an adult even as they investigate possible abuse, Melnick said. If convicted as a minor, the boy could be sent to juvenile detention until he turns 18.

    Where do you begin with something like this?

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

    November 08, 2008

    Election map of the US by counties

    Just look at all that lovely blue, even in the South...
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    (via the NYT)

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Why, yes. Losing IS for losers

    Photobucket

    Seriously, I'm not even trying to gloat but y'all make it easy. In 2010, we are going to mop the floor with you dipshits. Kay Bailey, if she actually steps up this time to run, will come through the general so bruised and damaged that she'll be worthless for her one term.

    Doubt it? You had the best of all possible worlds for Republicans here in Texas in 2008. Even still, you bitches lost ground and came far closer than you should have.

    Watch as we bring your irresponsible and questionable leadership to an end.

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

    November 07, 2008

    The Lunatic Round

    Apparently, some church in Ft. Worth is debating, in a one sided format, the relative merits of intelligent design vs. THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION.

    The Discovery Institute, the whacko's who think humans and dinosaurs walked the Earth together that the oil is created by magical rocks, will be putting the whole thing on. There, obviously, won't be one shred of science that's peer reviewed by anyone considered an expert in, you know, science, but it will have been approved by Dr. Hagee.

    If you're going, don't absorb too much nutty!

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Treasury Sec'y : We're not alone in hating on Summers

    PhotobucketApparently, we aren't alone in disliking Larry Summers as Treasury Sec'y.

    It will not be easy to pick up the pieces and get the economy back on its feet, but we would be going in the wrong direction to put one of the people responsible for getting us in this mess in the top economic position in the Obama administration.

    To put it more clearly, anyone so closely aligned to Milton Friedman = super bad choice.

    A few have also mentioned Paul Krugman. While we love us some Paul, he's a master of theory but he's light on market mechanics which is exactly what we don't need at Treasury right now. We pointed it out here. And we aren't the only ones.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The Economy, or, From the toilet to the sewer

    The unemployment rate in the US has now reached levels not seen since 1994 and is expected to continue to climb. The White House, for it's part, is still not real comfortable confronting reality...

    On Friday, a spokeswoman for President Bush, Dana Perino, called the employment numbers “a stark reminder of how critical it is we keep focused on utilizing” the programs that Washington has put in place, including a $700 billion bailout of the financial system.

    “We know what the main problems are — tight credit and housing markets — and we have the tools to solve them,” Ms. Perino said. “The programs we’re putting in place will improve the flow of credit to consumers and businesses that will spur economic growth, job creation, and stabilization of our financial markets.”

    A year ago, that was the problem. What has been put in place doesn't prevent a recession, it merely prevents a widespread collapse and a resulting depression. We're out of the woods there. However, we're entering a very dangerous time with unemployment creeping ever higher. Of course, these rates HAVE been high for years. We just haven't seen them because BLS has been politicized and the numbers were massaged.

    Typically, unemployment is a lagging indicator. First you see credit tightening, then businesses pulling back, then consumers, then layoffs and escalating unemployment followed by renewed growth. In other words, this is the crescendo. However, this doesn't mean things won't get worse before they get better. To wit...

    Many economists expect this picture to worsen as the consequences of the global financial crisis ripple out to businesses and households. Though the $700 billion taxpayer-financed bailout has staved off fears of an imminent collapse and restored some order to the financial system, it has not persuaded banks to lend freely. Credit remains tight for businesses and homeowners.

    OK, one way or another we have to get money back into the economy. If banks won't lend, then the government may do well to start lending itself or do a far larger stimulus package to reinflate the economy and kick start growth. We can worry about the resultant inflation once we are past the risk of deflationary death spiral. Inflation is easy to cure compared to deflation.

    My personal preference is to dump $1.5 trillion over 5 years into infrastructure. Schools, roads, public transport, etc. all need improvement and those improvements are expensive. For one thing, it lessens the budgetary constraints on the states and munis. For another, it drives job and wage growth from the lowest levels which creates a solid base from which to expand the economy dramatically over the next 20 years. Given the global financial crisis, the government can obtain this funding at very attractive interest rates.

    The long term prescription is wage growth at the bottom which will, in turn, drive up savings rates. Which is why tax policy at the corporate level needs to change dramatically.

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

    Recount

    Just for grins, the peeps at Texas Monthly have a nice little piece on the R perspective from the folks that worked on the Bush campaign.

    After the disaster that has been President Bush, it would have been nice to have a little contrition from these people. Of course, it would have been totally out of character, but it would have been nice.

    Ladies and gentleman, I give you the team whose actions turned me into an ardent Democrat.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 06, 2008

    But I NEED it...

    Photobucket

    This is the new BlackBerry Bold. Yes, it does look pretty. Of course, the screen looks fabulous. I know, the interface looks clean and user friendly. However, it's soooo much more.

    OK. You're right. I don't need it any more than I need new clothes. But I want it like a junkie wants another ride on the H train. And the assholes at AT&T are DENYING me. Haters.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bloomberg : Emanuel accepts COS spot, Bair at FDIC

    PhotobucketPer Bloomberg, Rahm Emanuel has accepted the position of Chief of Staff in the Obama Administration.

    In other Obama Admin news, Rep. Frank is saying that FDIC Chair Sheila Bair will play an important role in the Administration which comes as very good news.

    As for Treasury, former Secretary Bob Rubin has declined to return to the department he ran so well in the 90's. Instead...

    The two leading contenders for Treasury secretary continue to be Lawrence Summers, who held the post in Clinton's Cabinet, and Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve bank.

    I don't like Larry Summers and never have. Geithner would be a great choice but given what he's gone through over the last year as NY Fed President have probably forever turned him from government service.


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

    Election thoughts and apologies

    Just wanted to put something up regarding our rather light posting yesterday and today. For one thing, we've been busy. For another, we've still got a lovely case of cocktail flu. That tends to happen when you drink an entire bottle of scotch.

    Anyway, there a few things we'd like to say we're happy about...

  • Maldonado in WilCo. We called this seat a long time ago, but the reality is that they threw everything they could at Diana and she beat it. But that's only part of the story... in almost every race Democrats competed in, they came close to winning or continued to build support.
  • Huber beat Daugherty
  • Oh, yeah... and Richard Morrison is now a county commissioner in Fort Bend County.

    There are a bunch more but I have a million things I have to deal with. So, enjoy your Thursday.

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

    November 05, 2008

    Bad? You don't know bad.

    Head Tricks

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

    Failure...

    Photobucket

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

    November 04, 2008

    Election results?

    Go look here...

    Seriously, K-T is WORKING this shit and I'll be buying him a drink for keeping up with this. We're having drinks. And crying over the Texas House. And our Congressional delegation.

    Don't get us wrong. We're THRILLED with Congress and the Presidency. Just sad at how fucked up Texas is. The tendency is to blame the candidates. However, we KNOW who to blame. And some of you staffers need to know our knives are long.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    We're doing a dance for Liddy Dole...

    ... to bring on her defeat.

    And Saxby Chambliss...

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

    PROJECTIONS - Warner in VA, GA too close to call

    MSNBC just called VA Senate for Mark Warner. Eileen is wet like a water park. Also, they are calling Georgia too close to call which pisses me off since I want Saxby Chambliss to lose. Badly and early.

    Posted by mcblogger at 06:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Funny times at the Driskill and internal numbers

    Team McBlogger (well, most of it) is ensconced at the Driskill having drinks and working the phones. Well, we're having drinks.

    We also have some internal numbers...

    Up 7 in Colorado 9 in Nevada 5 indiana 5 NC 5 Virginia 8 New Mexico 21 NH 18 mich 2 MO

    Don't ask where we got them. We will KILL you before we tell.

    Posted by mcblogger at 06:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    A funny thing happened while surfing the net

    The funniest thing just happened. I was surfing the net, looking for the nuttiest rightwing evangelical tinfoilhattery about Obama I could find, when I see this.

    Well at first, I laughed my ass off, because I had just kind of scanned over the article and thought Rep. Dunbar was claiming that Obama would legalize Martians once he took office. Crazy batshit fundamentalist nonsense right?

    Then I re-read it and realize it's only really claiming that Obama intends to impose Martial Law when he becomes president. Well DUH! Geez, lady. Talk about stating the obvious. We've all known that for months. Why else would he be doing so well in all the polls?


    Posted by hbalczak at 03:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    A bailout plan for Boone

    PhotobucketI hate Boone Pickens, mostly because I always thought he was little more than an amateur hour promoter who got lucky, not a brilliant businessman who managed to build a successful company. In short, I've always thought of him as someone whose only real talent was in confusing brains with luck. And in giving gifts he could take advantage of.

    And lookit, I was right.

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

    Teh Market... it speaks...

    It says it lurves some Obama

    Photobucket

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Like a badge of honor

    We are, apparently, not progressive. This will, of course, come as a GREAT BIG SHOCK to those of you who thought we were slaves to ideology rather than intelligent people capable of rational decision making based on actual, you know, facts.

    Some site-related issues: I've added and subtracted on the blogroll.

    It turns out McBlogger is not a progressive. Just a loud and annoying moderate Democrat who happens to be gay and likes to carry water for corporate-interests in the name of Greater Corporatism. Oh well. They don't need my traffic anyway.

    All this because of our decision to vote no on Austin Proposition Two. The HYSTERICAL thing is that this could have been done in August when we very clearly laid out not only our opposition but pointed out what a raving lunatic FUCKTARD Linda Curtis was (and, we're sure, still is).

    Colin, I'll go with you on the loud part, but annoying? Only to people who get their panties in a twist when we don't completely agree with them. As for the 'gay' thing, well, the authors here are gay and straight (I know! Isn't it WILD that we mix people of DIFFERENT SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS?!?!?!? I just know that Father Joel will have something to say about all that) and frankly, we're a little confused why it would even be mentioned.

    So, Colin, we'll be happy to be delisted from your blog since being part of it apparently requires 100% agreement with Colin Kalmbacher Thought. Which would make us dumb if you were actually right about things. We'll wear the delisting like a badge of fucking honor and proudly display it.

    And, just for good measure, all of you 'good' progressives out there upset about us not being for this silly proposition (and vaguely threatening us about going against 'The Party') can kiss our collective asses. YOU'RE WRONG ON THIS. Next time, do a better job writing your proposition. Or, to put it another way, please enjoy this visual aid...

    Photobucket

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 03, 2008

    In which TXDOT does something right

    image_7732257.jpg

    FINALLY.And without tolls!

    The Ben White Boulevard/Interstate 35 interchange in South Austin, which has frustrated commuters for years because its four southern bridges remain undone, would be completed under a proposal the Texas Transportation Commission will vote on Thursday . Construction could begin in about a year, but no completion date has been determined.

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

    BUT WHAT ABOUT ME?!?!?!?!?

    According to the NYT, some of you morons are upset that people are getting help to keep their homes.

    An airline pilot who lives outside Norwich, Conn., Mr. Lawrence has a traditional 30-year mortgage that he has no trouble paying every month. But, thanks to the plunging real estate market, he owes more on his house than it is worth, like millions of other people.

    If the banks, which frequently lent irresponsibly, and many homeowners, who often borrowed irresponsibly, are getting government assistance, Mr. Lawrence says he believes sober souls like himself are also due a break.

    “Why am I being punished for having bought a house I could afford?” he asked. “I am beginning to think I would have rocks in my head if I keep paying my mortgage.”

    OK, Mr. Lawrence... here's THE DEAL. Your credit is good. THAT'S what you get for not needing this bailout. More than likely, you won't have to give up a percentage of your equity. AND, while you're underwater now, if this keeps up and we don't start helping some of the people hardest hit, you're going to go a lot more underwater and probably lose your job. You dumbass, it's not like this solves just one problem. It takes care of a myriad of problems.

    MEMEMEMEMEMMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMMEMEMEMEMEMEMME.

    THAT, my friends, is one of the biggest problems with this country. A focus on selfishness to the exclusion of all else, even thought you'll clearly benefit from being a little less self-absorbed. Watch Mr. Lawrence's airline lay people off and see how long it takes him to start asking for help.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Where DID you find these losers?

    Seriously, I thought Victoria Jackson was dead.

    It's sad when Stephen Baldwin is the biggest name you can get to shoot a commercial. The only thing notable about these people is that they are all marginally successful character actors with little talent making scale in an industry where even bad caterers earn millions.

    Oh Victoria, you sucked on SNL, too. And Norm, you were my least favorite character from the loathsome Cheers.

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

    Roundin' Up The TPA

    It is Monday, November 3, 2008. In less than 24 hours, the United States will have elected a new President and Texas will send Rick Noriega to the U.S. Senate and a host of new State Representatives and Senators to Austin.

    In the meantime, here is your Election Eve edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly roundup.

    Bradley from North Texas Liberal lets us know that you should be careful not to lose your vote if you have to use an electronic voting machine, like TV personality Oprah Winfrey almost did.

    jobsanger believes an avalanche of new voters could produce some surprises on election day, including the possibility that Georgia will turn blue, and even though an amazing 23% of Texans think Obama is muslim, a huge turnout in the urban areas and South Texas could produce some surprises in Texas, and early voting totals show this is happening.

    Justin at AAA-Fund Blog is glad that 60% of Asian Americans polled in Harris County support the Democrats. He also is glad that voting this year was not a chore as it often feels. Justinurges everyone to support AAA-Fund's five Texas endorsees: Rick Noriega, Al Green, Nick Lampson, Hubert Vo, and Sandra VuLe.

    It's been an exciting week for Democrats. First up was Hank Gilbert asking a Cornyn staffer to take a walk from a Rick Noriega event. Then there was Texas Blogger (and current TPA Chair) Vince Leibowitz spanking the Mike McCaul campaign for their amateurish content theft. Finally, we at McBlogger received word that Dr. Dobson had traveled to the future and didn't like what he saw. Which is something you'll probably love.

    The Texas Cloverleaf notes that
    Barack Obama leads John McCain in fundraising in Denton County of all places!
    In nonpartisan news, while Obama is raising money, Ron Natinsky is spending it. The Dallas City Councilmember is spending your tax dollars on trinkets bearing his name. In shocking news, a 9 year old is electrocuted by a McCain-Palin yard sign. No, we couldn't make this stuff up if we wanted to.


    Vince at Capitol Annex tells us how State Rep. John Davis (R-Clear Lake) is sending out his wife to attack Netroots backed candidate Sherrie Matula (D-Houston). In return, he opens John Davis' own personal Pandora's Box and tells the world about Davis' record.

    The Texas Cloverleaf notes that Barack Obama leads John McCain in fundraising in Denton County of all places! In nonpartisan news, while Obama is raising money, Ron Natinsky is spending it. The Dallas City Councilmember is spending your tax dollars on trinkets bearing his name. In shocking news, No, we couldn't make this stuff up if we wanted to.

    After record breaking early voting in Williamson County, Eye On Williamson is ready for the general election. The HD-52 race has been the focus of attention this election cycle. The issues concerning voters in HD-52 include the Trans-Texas Corridor, insurance reform, and the economy. No matter the issue Diana Maldonado is the best choice in HD-52.

    WhosPlayin looks at the early voting turnout in Texas' 26th Congressional District, and thinks Ken Leach just might be able to upset incumbent Michael Burgess. WhosPlayin asks you to guess whether this incident of political suppression happened in Liberia or Texas. (Hint: It was Harris County, Texas.) Most of all, WhosPlayin wants Denton County residents to get to the polls and VOTE!

    Off the Kuff takes his last looks at early voting, and makes fun of some whining by Republican enablers Texans for Lawsuit Reform.

    El Paso is going Democratic in a big way. As El Paso goes so should South Texas. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is looking for a blue, blue
    Thanksgiving!

    BossKitty at TruthHugger is laments pre-election jitters, Oh The Stress Of It All - Op Ed, and how many years will it take to recover because, Divided We Fall.

    Neil at Texas Liberal says think about the future when you vote. Don't be like Galveston voters who in 1886, 14 years before the 1900 hurricane, voted no on building a seawall. Texas Liberal also offers up a post on how Texans have voted for President since 1948, and, finally, submits for your review some election predictions.

    Over at TexasKoas, TxSharon tells us that somebody is finally looking at the Barnett Shale Gas Wells . Its called accountability and its about time.

    boadicea provides some excellent resources/talking points on the ACORN non-story. Give a look.

    Txsharon kicks off a lively debate on the the training of 4000 troops in the use of non-lethal weapons for possible domestic use.

    Texas politics is screwed up for at least two obvious reasons this week: because Tom Craddick has his debates sponsored by AT&T -- complete with a lobbyist on the panel, and because 23% of all Texans think Barack Obama is a Muslim. The sad details at Brains and Eggs.

    Nat-Wu discusses the long tradition in the Republican of crying wolf about voter fraud in an effort to minorities from legitimately exercising their right to vote, and Xanthippas rips into anti-woman bloggers for brewing up a faux controversy over their DART bus ads.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Feeling the economic pinch?

    We're here to help. Well, actually, UrbZen is here to help. Well, when you really dig down to it Apartment Living is here to help but UrbZen made some brill comments.

    3. Trade things you don’t want with friends, neighbors, relatives. Like your wife.

    9. Paper towels are expensive. Use washable cloth dish towels instead.
    Toilet paper is expensive, too.

    16. Consider cutting your family’s hair yourself.
    Because they don’t hate you enough already.

    24. Learn about the many bargains at ‘no frills’ discount stores.
    Like the guy who sells Prada out of his van in Riverside.


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

    November 02, 2008

    Diana, you might want to change your church

    PhotobucketRunning right up to the line separating the public from the spiritual (AKA, the separation of church and state), Father McNeil at St. William Parish in RR has issued a letter to all parishioners reminding them of their obligation as good Catholics not to vote for those who support abortion. The letter is clearly targeted at Diana Maldonado.

    Please note, this is NOT a letter coming from Joel McNeil, this is a letter coming from Father Joel McNeil of the St. William Parish.

    The letter also makes mention of the 'redefinition of marriage', a homophobic rhetorical device designed to give otherwise nice people a reason to discriminate at the ballot box. Maldonado has, at no point, indicated her support for equality for gays and lesbians in unions under state law only. So, we have to ask, why DID Father McNeil choose to throw that in? No one is asking him to perform gay marriage ceremonies. The Catholic Church doesn't recognize them. That absolutely would not change, even if there were changes in Federal law. It's that whole 'separation of church and state' thing.

    I'll withhold additional comment on this. I think something from Captain Kroc may be more appropriate since he is our resident Catholic.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Manipulating the market

    Photobucket(I lost track of this post which was originally written at the beginning of September. Thought it was kinda interesting in light of the current price of oil)

    Would it surprise you to know, that refining capacity utilization has dropped since 2004? Would it also surprise you to know that idle refining capacity has INCREASED year over year? It has.

    In other words, refiners (even those that have the capacity to produce more gasoline, aren't producing more gasoline. Surely it must be a conspiracy, right? No. It is, however, a rather elegant proof that the price of crude for spot delivery has become completely disconnected from reality and is being driven by, wait for it, speculation.

    Nominally, with oil at 140.00/bbl, you'd see unleaded close to $6/gal. It's $4 and likely to remain there as long as oil is over $100/bbl because the refiners simply can not move the gas at more than $4. Even at this level, you're seeing significant demand destruction from people changing habits. Give it another 6 months and you'll see permanent destruction as new habits become the norm and effect of all those new small cars starts to be felt. You wanna see oil use drop 20% in a year? Just hang on.

    There are a few notes of interest on this. First, this from Krugman. Normally, I love me some Paul but he's just wrong. Yes, the models show that prices are not being driven by speculation because, nominally, you'd see supply increase. That will happen, but it takes longer to see it in a chart. Demand for oil though is, in the short term, relatively inelastic. However, even given it's necessity to daily life, people are making do with less. So demand has gone down (albeit slightly) and supply has remained roughly constant... yet oil has tacked on an additional $25/bbl.

    The second note... Katrina took offline a massive amount of refining capacity and crude production. That was the first reason for a spike in gas prices. We've never seen prices go back down even with capacity restored. Which means refiners are getting pinched between what they can sell and what they are paying for crude feedstock. That kind of margin compression leads me, again, to the inescapable conclusion that the spot market is suffering from a speculative bubble.

    Finally, the most irritating defense of the 'no-speculative-bubble' crowd is that it assumes, based on immediate demand/supply information, that there is no bubble. Ask what factors originally increased the cost of the oil and you get a hodge podge of answer's. One spike, from 70 to over 80 more than a year ago, was caused by something Bush said about Iran. It never went back down. Which means specious news is being used to drive the price, not to mention the weak dollar, to ever higher levels. Meanwhile, the fundamentals are seriously beginning to look like crap, even with artificial demand from speculators and the IB's (some of whom are, if rumors are to be believed, stockpiling crude)

    Personally, while I think there is a bubble, because of weakness in the dollar the lowest it will probably go is around $90. However, there are some very good biofuel alternatives that could easily, in 12-18 months, replace all the traditional petroleum we use. And they can be produced for around $30/bbl. Oh... and none of them involve corn or soybeans.

    See why I think gas will be around $1.50/gal in the next five years?


    Posted by mcblogger at 11:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 01, 2008

    Donna Keel accuses Austin Interfaith of conspiracy

    Austin Interfaith, a non-partisan organization that for years has helped the poor, but more recently has also found itself with advocating for the middle-class, was accused by Donna Keel, Republican candidate for Texas State Representative District 47 for conspiring with the Democratic Party and her Democratic opponent Valinda Bolton.

    The multi-religious group who sponsored a local candidate accountability session last week at St. Thomas More Catholic Church had invited Keel to participate. In fairness to the invited candidates, Austin Interfaith sits down with the candidates well before the session to go over the issues and format to give them a chance to formulate their answers. The organization, after extensive research and asking constituents of the districts, stated that the most important issues were those that involved education, healthcare, job creation, and law enforcement. These were the issues that AI would ask questions to the candidates at the session.

    Keel, who did attend the pre-forum sitdown but not the public session, accused the group of slanting these issues towards her opponent. Disregarding constituent’s main concerns, Keel wanted abortion to be the overriding issue.

    But showing disrespect for an organization that has never endorsed a party and a candidate, and has a reputation for addressing public issues that affect families and neighborhoods was not enough of a slap from Keel. She proceeded to rifle off letters of condemnation to the four congregation leaders who helped AI sponsor the event, and to the Austin Catholic Diocese. There were reports that she attempted to convince the republican candidates for county commissioner and Texas State House District 48 and 50 not to attend.

    The Catholic Diocese responded by saying they fully supported Austin Interfaith and that there are groups within the church that already address the abortion issue.

    Interesting that Keel would attack a group who takes a faith-based approach to community problems and whose hostile and personal attacks against her opponent is counter to Christian beliefs.

    Her actions seem to imply a disregard for the well-being of families in the district, and a lack of knowledge of the issues that the constituents desire to be addressed.

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 10:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Harry Balczak's Reminder To You People, Part 3

    PhotobucketWell folks, I guess it's about time for the finale to this series of installments. Well, maybe not the final finale, because if I know You People, you're going to need continual reminders about all the boneheaded political choices you're known to make.

    Suffice it to say this will be the final installment in the Election '08 Trilogy of the Harry Balczak's Reminder to You People Series (A Balczak Media, L.L.C. Production, all rights reserved, void where prohibited,...and other boilerplate stuff you've been programmed to scan past without reading). I'll admit, this one's tough to write, because to your credit, a lot of You People have really come around lately in a way I didn't think was possible.

    What was it? The negative balance in your 401k giving you nightmares of destitution in your Golden Years? Imagine the shame of having to wash dishes to cover your bill at Luby's, or the torment of having to order biscuits WITHOUT GRAVY at the Cracker Barrel (incidentally, I like to call that establishment "the Honky Bin" - get it? tee hee hee). Winnebago Schminnebago indeed.

    Or maybe it's that an economic shitstorm of these proportions brings into sharp focus what most of You People usually can't see: that most of us are much closer to being jobless and broke than we are to being insanely wealthy and "burdened" with a punishing 38 percent tax rate ("ummm, lessee.....point thirty-eight times unfathomable fuckloads equals.....shit! i'm going to have to start rationing my Dom Perignon baths! There goes my plan to buy a plumbing company, too....").

    Erie-guardless, You People have given me a glimmer of hope. And for that, I thank you. Just the same, I'm not letting you off that easy. Because you see, even as you look hopefully to the future under new leadership, THE CURRENT LEADERSHIP (if you can call it that) IS WORKING 24/7 TO PERPETUATE AND WORSEN THE PROFOUND AND HISTORIC UPFUCKEDNESS OF THE STATUS QUO.

    Hence the old saying, "Elections have consequences". In this case, we can thank You People for the consequences.

    This administration is like the girlfriend/boyfriend you never should have gone out with in the first place, and never should have stayed with after you caught them cheating, and then they leave you an STD on their way out the door so you'll always remember them. There is a giant Q-tip in our nation's future, is what I'm saying. And it's going to sting a little, my friends (damn you, John McCain, for permanently ruining a perfectly good rhetorical crutch).

    So You People should remember, as the take-away lesson of this decade, that qualities like competency, intellect and a genuine concern for the public good are positive qualities to have in a president. Hell, if You People made every day choices according to the same principles you used to vote with back in 2004, Joe would be your Plumber. And there would be a Port-a-John in your backyard next to the kids' swingset. Which would be in a collapsed heap of rusting aluminum because you didn't cotton to those fancy assembly instructions written by eggheaded elitists who make lousy drinkin' buddies.

    But let's not dwell in the past. For now, I'm content to remind You People who have come around that you need to get your ass out there and get it right this time at the polls. As for the rest of You People, don't forget to cast your vote on Wednesday, November 5th.

    Posted by hbalczak at 12:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    UPDATE - RSB 2008

    The Concert For Change is still on but the location has changed from AMH to La Zona Rosa! We hope to see you there!

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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