April 30, 2009

Ready To Panic?

Do YOU have swine flu?

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 03:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Quit whining. Do your job.

Hank Gilbert has a great post over at BOR regarding what's going on in the Lege on transportation.

HB 300 is out of committee and bound for calenders, then the floor. This is the TXDOT sunset bill which became an omnibus transportation bill with all the bells and whistles that everyone wanted. That's what Republicans do when they want a really nasty piece of constituent unfriendly legislation to pass... they give all the members a little something they want, then attach it to the bill. The members, when called on the carpet about it, then whine about how it had this one really good thing even though it had some really bad things in it. This is, of course, an admission of their wholesale failure to do their jobs to adequately fund transportation in this state. I'd rather they just get to work and fix the mess.

This, my friends, is some bullshit. NONE OF YOU LISTENED TO THE RECO'S OF THE DAMN SUNSET COMMITTEE. Gone is the statewide elected commissioner, replaced with yet another appointed commission. Even still, the really nasty stuff is coming out of the Senate, courtesy of the fatnesses, Sen. Carona and Sen. Nichols. Nichols, you may remember, was front and center with 39% during his rambling 10th Amendment speech. You can bet that's going to be a picture in some collateral sent out to his constituents that are supporting KBH.

On the Senate side, things have gone from bad to worse with transportation bill after bill being passed, none of them good and none of them get us any close to a rational solution. Many take us back. For instance, an amendment Sen. Nichols authored basically removes all oversight from the comprehensive development agreements that create the public private partnerships. See, right now CDA's are subject to oversight by the AG's office, Comptroller and an independent auditor. Nichols wants to remove all that bothersome crap and leave it all to TXDOT, the agency that made a ONE BILLION DOLLAR accounting error.

And then there's the transportation bank which will be used to credit enhance debt issued by the toll authorities. Read that last line one more time, then read this on AIG. Yeah, this motherfucker is going to leave our noses open for BILLIONS if not HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS. From Texas Monthly...

Subject to constitutional limitations, a transportation revolving fund can be used to provide loans or credit enhancement, or to serve as a reserve fund for debt financing or the cost of operation and maintenance. This would allow public and private entities, particularly local tolling authorities, to mitigate certain project financial risks which limit access to the capital markets, or to access additional financing for needed projects.

Just so you know, a 'credit enhancement' in the fixed income world is how you turn a really bad credit that's likely to default into a GORGEOUS prime credit that's likely to pay out perfectly. Sounds like magic, right? Nah, it's insurance. Let's say you have bad credit but your dad has great credit. He cosigns on a loan for you, thereby adding a credit enhancement to the note that insures payment of it... he's saying he'll pay if you don't. Voila! Instant credit enhancement for the creditor holding your loan.

This is, in effect, what this bank will be doing. The problem is, the enhancements won't be limited to true loss, nor will they be limited to face amount. To sell this junk without a tax backing it up, the bank will have to really juice the enhancement which will basically turn them into abnormal lottery tickets which will make the debt being issued to finance the toll roads VERY attractive.

Yeah, you read it right, abnormal lottery tickets. Unlike regular lottery tickets, these will pay, probably if the bonds don't even default... we'll have to see when the first tranche is sold. They'll pay using our tax dollars. Now, if you want a sweetheart deal like the bond investors and toll developers will be getting, just make your check payable to the Campaign to Re-elect Sen. Nichols and Sen. Carona.

Nichols, for his part, has received more money from toll road interests than any other Senator, just in case you thought I was being unnecessarily harsh. And, just FYI, NO SENATOR VOTED AGAINST THIS. Not a single Democrat.

But don't fear, boys and girls, the House D's may have some fun with all this.

Posted by mcblogger at 02:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Does Brewster have swine flu?

Take a look at this shitty little campaign vid from Team Brewster. Seriously, I'll wait for you to get back...

Aside from the content, which we'll get to in a moment, did you notice the sweating? What's up with that... it's like Nixon during the '60 Presidential debate. I know all drafthouse locations have AC, I've nearly been flash frozen by the one at the Village. So, the only reasonable explanation I could think of was that Brewster, you know, has the swine flu.

But that's kind of irrelevant since the message contained in the ad is a little more important. And that message, in case you missed it while Release the McCracken was beating you over the head with it, is that if Austin doesn't elect RTM, we're going to become like Saint Louis which is, according to RTM, a burnt out shell of a city. As you can imagine, some people in St. Louis didn't like that too much...

I mean, other than looking well fed and midwestern (which they clearly were) these people look normal as a damn Rockwell painting. And St. Louis' urban core, just FYI, looks like this...

Photobucket

Whatever, RTM... you've only got yourself to sell and, unfortunately for you, we already know that's a worthless item. In the end, your leadership didn't make Austin great... and it certainly won't make it greater. That's the problem with trying to sell yourself as the only candidate who can continue to make our lives awesome... people's lives were good here in Austin before you came along and they'll be fabulous once you're off council this summer.

This entire campaign has been little more than ego masturbation by Release the McCracken.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

We must burn the infected in a cleansing fire

Apparently, now there is someone with a case of swine flu in Austin. Please, rush to get masks and panic. Oh, it would also be super if you stayed away from work, the grocery store and, well, everything else.

With a probable case of swine flu reported Wednesday at the Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten Demonstration School in Austin, local officials held a news conference to activate their office of emergency management to monitor swine flu and gather information about it. The office will be open, for now, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will monitor and share information with agencies that include schools, law enforcement and health officials. Officials said they expect to see more cases of swine flu, and one reason is because they are looking for it.

And then there's the obligatory moto quote...

"I think there's a natural paranoid-type reaction," said Dr. Steve Berkowitz, chief medical officer at St. David's HealthCare, which operates hospitals in Travis and Williamson counties. But "there have been some horrendous epidemics in the past, and how do we know this will not be one of them? Of course, we really don't."

Berkowitz said the closing of Lucy Read in Austin was "very appropriate" and "smart." He and others said they expect the child's case to be confirmed soon.

No, Dr. Son Of Sam's Brother, no we don't know if this will be yet another horrendous epidemic which makes us even MORE paranoid. Can't imagine why, with such solid public health information, we'd be soooo paranoid. With speculation about how bad this could be coming from doctors, is it any wonder the masks will soon be out?

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

What's the Hold-up on SB 469, HB 742?

SB 469, HB 742

Dear Senators and Members of the House of Representatives:

What is the delay in approving either of the following bills to provide the needed legislation so that Disabled Veterans get their long awaited property tax exemptions? Seems to me that after waiting another 2 years this should have been on the fast track to being the first piece of legislation approved by both Senate and House and signed into law by Gov. Perry.

SB 469
Relating to an exemption from ad valorem taxation of the residence homesteads of certain totally disabled veterans and to the amount of the exemption from ad valorem taxation to which a disabled veteran is entitled based on disability rating.
4/23/2009 H Received from the Senate

HB 742
Relating to an exemption from ad valorem taxation of the residence homesteads of certain totally disabled veterans and to the amount of the exemption from ad valorem taxation to which a disabled veteran is entitled based on disability rating.
4/15/2009 H Committee report sent to Calendars

So, legislators, what is the delay?

Signed in disbelief!


Peter Stern

Posted by pstern at 01:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 29, 2009

Baghdad Bob Inhofe Hails Specter Defection

Ever-shrinking party a harbinger of coming Republican resurgence, says remarkably crazy Oklahoma Senator.

And that, boys and girls, is why you shouldn't lick toads just before going on television.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 06:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

uhm, yeah, but not so much

PW has a nice piece up on the number of whackjob R's in Texas who think we should secede. However, that's not the important piece...

The 2010 Texas gubernatorial race is no contest for Democrats, with either Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) easily beating Tom Schieffer (D).

This really comes as no surprise given that both Hutchison and Perry are well known in the state and Schieffer is unknown by 63% of the state. The striking thing was that quotas were assigned by registration, but the problem is we don't register party affiliation in Texas. Which means they're probably going off general election results when they should be going off 08 primary rolls. Wanna bet the numbers would have been a little different?

While we're still undecided on the 2010 D gubernatorial primary, we will say this... Schieffer, if he runs a tight, aggressive campaign, can beat either R. Perry because he's a douche and with the right pressure he'll collapse. Underneath the hair and bravado, there's nothing... no real conviction, no real faith in himself or the people of this State. Hutchison because she's a nitwit who can't make up her mind and will fall apart with a serious opponent... or show the world what an asshole she really is.

Burka's agitating for her switch parties. Were she to do that, she would win a hardfought Democratic Primary and then win overwhelmingly in the general. Not that I'm happy about it, but that's the way it would roll.

But Sen. Hutchison won't do that. Dead-enders never realize, until it's too late, that is what they are.

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

When the headline doesn't match the article

From the NYT regarding torture used by the Bush Administration...

Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

Here's what the memo actually says...

“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday. ... “I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given.” ... “The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means,” Admiral Blair said in a written statement issued last night. “The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.",/div>

Just sayin', for those asshats out there who will seize on this as a vindication of the policies created by the Bush Administration.

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

Texas Republican points out own failure

It's always nice when someone admits they, you know, fucked up. Take Sen. Hutchison, for example. She recently rolled out a bill in Congress that will allow states that pay more in gas taxes than they get back in federal highway revenue to stop sending that federal gas tax to DC. Sounds good, right?

Well, not so much. For one thing, in the past Texas has received more than we sent. That started to change as the makeup of the Congressional delegation changed. In short, the failure to get more highway funds into Texas is purely the failure of every single Texas Republican in Congress. They screwed us so they could build power for themselves. Our Republicans in Congress voted to give more to help their friends in tougher political environments than they brought back to Texas because they knew Texans wouldn't throw them out of office.

As a result, we haven't been getting enough and the it's purely a failure of the Republicans in our delegation. Remember that when you're voting for Representatives and (hopefully) a Senator in 2010.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A cornucopia of funny

Or, if you're stupid, a horn of plenty filled with amusing things like...

  • 39% has asked the Fed's for help with the drought. The RECORD drought. There are two funny things here, the most obvious being 39%'s having to ask Big Poppa O in DC for help. Like a tit baby. The second was this...

    Texas' current prolonged dry spell is among many to hit the state since the 1950s, said Travis Miller, associate head of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University. The most severe drought recorded in Texas history stretched from 1950 to 1957 . That drought caused agricultural damage equaling more than $3 billion, according to a 1959 report by the Texas Board of Water Engineers, or roughly $24 billion in 2008 dollars .

    Other serious droughts struck in 1996, 1998, 2000-02 and 2006, Miller said.

    Nah, the planet's not getting warmer. And there's no way it's altering weather patterns at all. I'm sure it's just coincidence that, other than the 50's drought, are next most serious droughts have all occurred in the last 13 years.

    And kudos to the Statesman for their artful subtlety.

  • 39% also asked the Fed's for help on the swine flu thing.

    Gov. Rick Perry has asked for 37,430 courses of anti-viral medicine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because of the swine flu outbreak.
  • Isn't it nice that we're actually part of a larger, more advanced country? That we can ask for money to help with disasters and disease?

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    April 28, 2009

    OK, Which One Of You Clowns Put LSD In The Water?

    How else can I explain this item from the Washington Times? Yes, it's a link to the Washington Times. Deal with it, m'kay?

    Gun owners attack Rush Limbaugh

    Rush Limbaugh's new pet project -- fighting animal cruelty for the Humane Society of the United States -- is riling sportsmen from coast to coast, prompting fears that the talkster typically supportive of gun rights is aiding a group they say has a secret agenda to end all hunting in America.

    Twenty-eight groups representing millions of hunters and sportsmen are demanding that the conservative radio commentator end his collaboration with the HSUS and stop "helping them to mainstream their image in the minds of reasonable people."

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 12:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Apparently, the ACL organizers missed the 90's

    The headliners for ACL have been announced and, really, it's a powerhouse lineup... if it was 1996.

    Pearl Jam, the Dave Matthews Band, the Beastie Boys, Kings of Leon, Ben Harper and Relentless7 , and Thievery Corporation.

    Let's have a contest... who sucks more, Kings of Leon or The Dave Matthews Band?

    In an age where superbands have functionally ceased to exist, the music scene is more fractured than the former Yugoslavia and individual music tastes vary so widely, are music festivals like ACL even relevant anymore?

    I would like to see Lily Allen... just to see if she'll be able to stand up during her entire set. But it's not worth $185 to me.

    The Mayor did want to know how they could have missed bringing Anal Cunt to the festival? Anyone?

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

    Making Friends with Senator Ellis

    Isn't it AWESOME how smoking can bring together such diverse and strange groups as this...

    Senator Rodney Ellis; Representative Myra Crownover; Cass Wheeler, retired CEO, American Heart Association; Mayor Jody Smith, City of Flower Mound; Bick Brown, owner of Hyde Park Bar & Grill, Austin; Reverend Leslie Smith, CEO Families Under Urban and Social Attack

    And REALLY, why should we let private property owners decide whether or not they want to allow smoking in their establishments? Why on earth would we even allow voters to decide this issue?! It really is better left to people like Croneover and Ellis, who are really, truly, paragons of excellent public service. We've even heard that Myra's been actually working this session.

    And, of course, it truly warms our hearts to see this bipartisan embrace of the MommyState!

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

    April 27, 2009

    NYC Mayor Panics As Plane Flies Over Manhatten

    Unless it is learned that Dick Cheney has been taking flying lessons, no reason to go apeshit, Bloomberg.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 06:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Gaffes? You sure you want to go there?

    Hans whatever-the-hell-his-name-is and the Republican Party of Texas have a little contest they're running for people who receive their emails to vote on Vice President Biden's best gaffes.

    In the spirit of stupid bullshit, we thought this was a great idea but that it would be infinitely funnier to pick out THE BEST REPUBLICAN GAFFES!

    1) Condi Rice - The Mushroom Cloud warning about nukes in Iraq that was a lie!
    2) VP Cheney - The lie that evidence exists linking Iraq and Al Qaida!
    3) President GW Bush - Mission Accomplished!
    4) President GW Bush - Is our children learning?
    5) President GW Bush - Bin Laden... dead or alive!
    6) Karl Rove - Permanent Republican Majority!
    7) VP Cheney - Deficits don't matter!
    8) ALL members of President Bush's admin - The Iraq invasion will pay for itself!
    9) President GW Bush - Iraq's different religious sects won't attack each other!
    10) 39% - Texas can secede.
    11) AG Wheelie Abbott - I'LL SUE!
    12) Comptroller Susan Combs - Let's change the computer system!
    13) Ag Commission Staples - Inspect the peanut butter plant? But why?

    Vote in the comments of email to mcblogger@mcblogger.com!


    Posted by mcblogger at 03:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Vote (again) For Obama

    The Republicans are trying to sandbag this online poll of President Obama's performance... click here to counter them.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Vote For Meh

    {Being Mayor McSleaze's minority report on the mayoral endorsement}

    Can it be that after enduring this endlessly uninteresting mayoral race since last fall we're likely doomed to an even less exciting runoff between two of the three carbon-based lifeforms mentioned below? O how sweet instead wouldst Death's kiss be!

    Carole (Insert last name of your choice here) For Austin? Having gained a lap on the Mayan calender, the former Austin mayor is trying to bring on the End Of Days by getting her old job back. Or maybe, just as she used every political office won in her long career as a stepping stone for something else, now that she's on the failure side of her political trajectory she's aiming to someday become chief lawn nazi for some homeowners' association. Those are the two theories I've entertained as to why the woman we all knew as Ms Piggy back in the days that our fair city was the hippest burg on the planet is running. Of course if you dig into the history of that time it's pretty easy to unearth the evidence of how hard Carole fought to deweird Austin back then. Especially memorable was her holy war to destroy the epicenter of the hippie-cosmic cowboy scene, the Armadillo World Headquarters. Palsy the hand that votes for this woman!

    That brings us to Brewster McCracken and Lee Leffingwell, the remaining members of this triumvirate of tedium. Honestly, I don't see any reason to recommend one over the other. McCracken has been on the council for two terms; Leffingwell was re-elected last year after first winning a seat in 2005. They're both part of Austin's barely functional, hardly representative municipal structure. Neither offers a dramatic new vision for the direction of the city; just the usual civic-minded boilerplate that gets recycled every time there's a fresh round of elections. They both opposed the charter amendments proposed several years ago which would have opened the workings of city government to public scrutiny. And this past February they both boldly decided to postpone deciding about the Wildflower Commons project. Unlike McCracken, Leffingwell is said to favor single-member districts; I'll believe it's for real when it happens.

    To be sure, Leffingwell has managed to win the endorsements of just about all the city employees unions and the Democratic clubs, while McCracken has found himself as popular as the guy wearing a Leon Trotsky t-shirt at Stalin's birthday party. Of course, he (McCracken) did win most of those clubs' endorsements running for re-election in 2006. Maybe he pissed in Jeff Jacks' latte since then. And what of these clubs, anyway? A few, it is true are somewhat active and can turn out a few of their membership to work for candidates. And then there are groups like Southwest Austin Democrats, which exists to stroke the ego of Albert Gonzales, the would-be Caudillo of Oak Hill. For the most part they lead harmless enough existences not unlike seventeen-year cicadas, which emerge only to reproduce and start another cycle of life. Likewise the cycle of endorsements and collection of membership dues.

    This has been an awful election with no real issues. The logical end to a city whose citizenry gets more concerned over plans to cut down a few trees than they do about the bums panhandling at every major intersection. McCracken or Leffingwell? I don't gve a flying fuck.


    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 12:09 PM | TrackBack

    You go, Sharon Killer! No, really, GO.

    The House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence will be holding a hearing today on whether or not to begin impeachment proceedings against Judge Keller. Go tell them what you think.

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

    How much could we lose on TARP?

    BW has a nice little gut-check piece to freak you out a little about potential losses in TARP.

    Ethisphere, a research think tank that examines whether companies can benefit from using ethical practices, created a TARP Index in December to track losses taxpayers are taking under the TARP program. Since TARP's inception on Oct. 7, 2008, the government has lost $104.2 billion (as of Apr. 10). The Treasury Dept. did not respond to questions about the losses so far.

    The index was created out of skepticism about a remark by Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) that TARP would turn out to be profitable for the government. "It rang hollow for us. [Gregg] was taking into account the imputed interest averaging across these investments," says Alex Brigham, Ethisphere's executive director. "You can get paid interest, but if you don't get your principal back, who cares?"

    The biggest losses under TARP as of Apr. 10, Ethisphere estimates, are $30 billion for AIG (AIG), $25 billion for Citigroup (C), and $2.4 billion for Wells Fargo (WFC). These loss calculations are based on stock price declines and each company's financial condition, says Stefan Linssen, managing editor of Ethisphere magazine and one of the lead research analysts for the TARP Index. The largest estimated gains under the program are $3.9 billion for Morgan Stanley (MS), $1.0 billion for Goldman Sachs (GS), and $125.2 million for Financial Institutions Inc. (FISI). These gains are based on those companies' higher stock prices, Linssen says.

    Now, ultimately, once regulation is restored and a measure of confidence returns, it's likely the government will recover a substantial amount of it's investment in AIG either by spinning it back to investors or selling it off in chunks. But will we get all of it out? Nah. The frictional cost of all this will be $100 bn or more. In the grand scheme of things, it's minor compared to a collapse in the economy. However, it still hurts.

    I still have some hope that government will end up making something off all this. However, I'll be satisfied with us just not going through another depression.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 26, 2009

    End my suffering. Have a child and name it Pickles

    For YEARS (no shit, literally years... almost a decade) I have been asking my friends who have recently announced that they're pregnant to name the child Pickles. The conversation usually goes something like this...

    Friend: I've got some news...I'm PREGNANT!
    McB: Congratulations! That's sooo awesome/great/amazing/cool! Would you do me a solid?
    Friend: You're not going to ask me to save the placenta for you, or something weird like that?
    McB: Ugh. No. I was wondering if you'd mind naming the child Pickles?
    Friend: McB, that's a pet name.
    McB: Well, YES, I guess it's historically been a pet name but I think it would make a super child name. It's just sitting out there waiting. Waiting for the right parents, brave enough to stand up to convention.
    Friend: Yeah. No, that's not going to happen.
    McB: What if I agreed to give some money to the kid's college fund?
    Friend: Uhm.... like how much were you thinking?
    McB: I don't know, maybe a sawbuck?
    Friend: Let me get this straight. You want me to give my child a pet name that will certainly lead to ridicule for the rest of his/her life in exchange for $10?
    McB: Yeah. I'll even throw in a pack of Costco diapers.
    Friend: I gotta go. I'll talk to you later.

    Needless to say, not a single 'friend' has been willing to do it. Not even the ones I got really nice wedding and baby shower presents for, even though they were far too tacky to appreciate the gift. Some have suggested that I somehow do this myself, as if I can obtain a uterus, have it installed and then be impregnated by someone who's not totally grossed out that I have a recently attached uterus. When I point this out they typically roll their eyes and mention surrogates or adoption. Morons. Adopted kids usually have names already and as for the brill surrogate idea, I'm guessing none of them saw Baby Mama? Or that Sally Field movie where she and her husband were trying to get a surrogate and the surrogate ended up killing her and taking her place*.

    Now that we have this really neat new feature Things we're blaming on You People, I can, you know, blame You People for being so horribly cruel that no one will dare name their child Pickles. Y'all suck. You're all a bunch of MONSTERS for being so horrible to innocent little children.

    *That may not be a real movie.


    Posted by mcblogger at 11:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 25, 2009

    Speaking of taxes...

    Here are a few things you may have missed...

  • Corporations are costing you and I and the states we live in by dodging their taxes. Here's the state by state breakdown... an extra $8 billion per year sure would help us build some roads, wouldn't it?
  • Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote this rather excellent piece about taxes and the right wing...
    6. "We have a patriotic duty to stand up against Washington taxes!" Just the opposite. We have a patriotic duty to pay taxes. As multi-billionaire Warrent Buffett put it, "If you stick me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru or someplace, you'll find out how much this talent is going to product in the wrong kind of soil. I will be struggling thirty years later." President Teddy Roosevelt made the case in 1906 when he argued in favor of continuing the inheritance tax. "The man of great wealth owes a particular obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government."

    An acquaintance from law school, now a partner in one of Washington's biggest and wealthiest law firms, explained to me one day over lunch how he and his partners use tax rules to create offsetting taxable gains and losses, and then allocate the gains to the firm's foreign partners who don't pay taxes in the United States. That way, they keep the losses here and shelter their income abroad. I noticed he had an American flag lapel pin. "You're supporting our troops," I said, referring to his pin. "Yup," he replied, entirely missing my point.

    True patriotism isn't cheap. It's about taking on a fair share of the burden of keeping America going.

  • Speaking of taxes and the right wing, it would do a lot of good for them to realize that many of them would lose out on federal money they depend on. If they were to secede and all.
  • New Jersey is better than Texas? As it turns out, yes when it comes to per capita income...

    Matthew Yglesias notes that Tom DeLay is under the strange misapprehension that Texas is rich thanks to its low taxes and lack of regulation.

    Just one minor issue: you really shouldn’t use median income, which can be distorted to the extent that inequality differs across states. You should instead use income per capita. As it happens, the comparison is even more striking. Texas, with its glorious free market regime and deeply incentive-creating 25 percent rate of health uninsurance, has a per capita income of $37,187; nanny-state New Jersey, with its oppressive taxes and regulation of everything (what it takes to get permission to cut down a dying tree … ), has a per capita income of $49,194.

    And that, really, is what should piss you off about the Republicans in Texas. They've made us fall behind NEW JERSEY.

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

    April 24, 2009

    The Peekaru Horror

    If you're unfamiliar with the Peekaru, consider yourself lucky. I recently saw one of these on a woman at the Arboretum and was shocked (shocked I tell you!) at just how ridiculous the damn thing looks. I was also pretty stunned because the woman and her child looked, well, kind of like this...

    Malkovich Peekaru.jpg

    See more here...

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Michele Bachmann helps Democrats?

    When it comes to fundraising, the answer is yes...

    PhotobucketEl Tinklenberg (D), who challenged Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) last year but lost, raised so much money in the final days of his election campaign that he couldn't spend it fast enough, according to CQ Politics.

    As a result, Tinklenberg just transferred $250,000 in leftover campaign funds to the DCCC.

    Thank YOU, Michele!

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    YES, I see your bra strap

    Now that the weather is warmer, some of you ladies like wearing your tank tops around with your bra straps showing. While we're all thankful that you've decided to contain the girls, the straps are kinda tacky. Which is why I'd like to have some of these with me to hand out.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    April 23, 2009

    Dumb. Hicks.

    This was bound to happen. However, we're sooo damn lucky it didn't happen first in Texas.

    Warren County, Ohio won't be getting new buses. The county commissioners rejected the over $350,000 from the federal stimulus package to upgrade their public transportation. Said commissioner Mike Kilburn, in a line straight out of an Onion article, "I’ll let Warren County go broke before taking any of Obama’s filthy money."

    The money was "specifically for transit improvements in rural areas to improve transportation for disabled people, seniors and others needing access to health care and educational opportunities." Of course, in a sign of compassion, Kilburn said, "I'm tired of paying for people who don't have." And then he waved to everyone around him to come watch him skull fuck a live puppy.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Nicely put, Charles Barkley

    Charles Barkley, just telling it like it is.

    "I mean, you look at this country now, we've got all these foreclosures, we've got all these people laid off. We should be behind him 110 percent, hoping he's successful," Barkley said. "And I just thought it was unpatriotic and basically B.S. for Rush Limbaugh and that idiot Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and all those idiots to not root for this guy."

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

    How YOU should vote : Mayor

    PhotobucketWe're sure it will come as a HOOOGE surprise, but we're telling you to go vote for Lee Leffingwell. As for denigrating Brewster, we're kinda bored with it (since we've hit it here, here and here). Especially with his ethical lapses which are summarized in the extended.

    As for Buttfloss, the guy is a genuine slumlord. Oh, sure, he makes a big deal about his home for musicians and his halfway houses which the city subsidizes. What he doesn't share at endorsement meetings are his fines for properties that are out of code.

    Oh, and Carole. LOVE your signs, sick to death of you. Your massive ego gave us another four years of 39% and yeah, we're not happy about that. Go fuck yourself... Austin doesn't need any more of your 'public service' fuckups. You have been a public douche for three decades and it's time to go-the-fuck-away.

    McSleaze will be posting his thoughts on the race later and he has a really interesting take on it that we, of course, will enjoy. You might enjoy it but it's going to depend on whether or not you mouth words as you read them. If you do then you probably won't get it.

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    These are just a few of the issues we found on RTM's Campaign Finance Report...

    He lists a $500 expense for renting out the Alamo Draft House for a fundraiser. It costs $2,100 to rent out the theater he did, and the owners are maxed out contributors.

    He only lists paying $100 in rent for the last three months for his campaign headquarters in the Village Shopping Center off Anderson Lane. Which is a super good deal that no one else is ever likely to get.

    There are no expenses listed for internet or phone service for his headquarters.

    He has been advertising on golf carts that give rides on 6th Street for several months. No expense listed.

    There are no payments listed to RTM's consultants, Christian Archer or Temo Figueroa.

    There are no payments listed to Constant Contact, the blast email service that RTM has been using (with a disclaimer that reads: " Mayor Pro Tem Brewster McCracken | City Hall | Austin | TX | 78701").

    There appear to be several instances of individuals giving more than $350.

    There is lots of missing employer / occupation data that is required for donors over $200.

    RTM's reimbursement payments are not reported properly.

    The PO BOX that RTM has been using for his campaign was paid for with funds from his officeholder account, which can't be used for campaign-related expenses. We're guessing he's also using this account to pay for Constant Contact. Which means we're all, in one small way, helping pay for RTM's campaign.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 22, 2009

    How YOU should vote : Seriously, no comments so far?

    Well, either you've all decided to vote as instructed or you're so incensed that you simply can't bring yourselves to type your insipid little thoughts into a comment box without smashing the keyboard.

    So which is it?

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Pity the bankers...

    As many of you know (because I've gone to great lengths to beat you over the head with the knowledge), I have little respect for the managerial class and even less for those in that class who run or work at money center banks. From the investment bankers all the way down to the trading floor, these are a group of people who've always been, in my opinion, far overpayed relative to the intrinsic value they bring to the table.

    Seriously, you tell me why I should be paying a 22 year old fresh faced BBA 7 figures to trade with my money? It just never made sense to me, especially now that we know those profits were all illusion (or in the case of AIG's Financial Products division, actual insurance fraud).

    Of course, there are some who just can't get used to the new world. Take this wife of a Wall St. CEO whose company received TARP funds. They've seen their nestegg disappear as most of it was in company stock. But, even more shocking, there is no remorse for the shareholders who trusted her husband to take care of their capital. And who are now broke, without the salary her husband still enjoys.

    Or these scheming little bitches in this article about the dry-up of bonuses and increased taxation. Here's a jewel from it...

    “No offense to Middle America, but if someone went to Columbia or Wharton, [even if] their company is a fumbling, mismanaged bank, why should they all of a sudden be paid the same as the guy down the block who delivers restaurant supplies for Sysco out of a huge, shiny truck?” e-mails an irate Citigroup executive to a colleague.

    None taken, DBag. I would like to point out though that the guy who delivers shit for Sysco actually makes money for his company. All you've done is lose money. Without the government, your hard work would have resulted in Citi's bankruptcy. Unarguably, the delivery guy provides far more to GDP than you.

    Oh, and on behalf of Citi shareholders around the world, you can go fuck yourself. Thanks for losing their goddamn money, asshole.

    Their anger takes many forms: There is rage at Obama for pushing to raise taxes (“The government wants me to be a slave!” says one hedge-fund analyst); rage at the masses who don’t understand that Wall Street’s high salaries fund New York’s budget (“We’re fucked,” says a former Lehman equities analyst, referring to the city); rage at the people who don’t “get” that Wall Street enables much of the rest of the economy to function (“JPMorgan and all these guys should go on strike—see what happens to the country without Wall Street,” says another hedge-funder).

    To the hedge fund analyst, speaking in hyperbole makes you look stupid. Now, run along before I ram a copy of Atlas Shrugged up your ass. This country enabled you to succeed and make money. Just like the rest of us, you'll pay your taxes to support it. As for the other hedge-funder, absent the government there wouldn't be a JP Morgan. As for what would happen to the country without Wall Street, as if you're all heading to a gulch somewhere with perpetual motion machines, don't flatter yourselves.

    With the advent of real time information services, talent no longer needs to be tied to lower and midtown Manhattan. Nor do we need the folks in Greenwich, CT. In Dallas, LA, Houston, Austin, SF, Portland, Seattle and Chicago there are tons of talented people who are ready to step up to the plate to provide financing to the people of this country. And they work cheaper than you do anyway. From community banks and credit unions to regional and superregional investment houses, we can replace all the supposed talent that got us into this mess. Not to mention, the B-schools nationally are churning out ever higher numbers of BBA's and MBA's.

    No, really, you won't be missed. Especially by shareholders who will be infinitely better off without you.


    Posted by mcblogger at 01:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    How YOU should vote : The other races

    These are the collected endorsements of the Author Team at McBlogger. We're really quite proud of them as you can tell by the extensive writes ups which include a brief bio on the candidates and their backgrounds, then a lengthy review of our decision and why we chose a certain way.

    Finally, we'd like to mention that, while we're not all that much for single member districts, we do think council should be expanded by 2-3 spots. We also think the gentleman's agreement is a load of shit that's outlived it's usefulness and is, in fact, pretty stupid.

    Place Two - He Who Stands Up To Toby. Councilmember Martinez has done a great job and is a real asset to us all. He deserves to be re-elected by a large percentage of the vote. And we think he will be.

    We would also like it if he bought us drinks when we next run into him around town. Just saying.

    Place Five - Despite the overwhelming number of choices, we're thrilled to be able to tell you to vote for Bill Spelman. Now, the other candidates in this race lobbied hard to get the nod. Some of them even offered bribes. Needless to say, it was a tough decision for us to make and tested our integrity. Which is funny because we didn't know we had any.

    In the end, the deciding factor was that Spelman was not imaginary and is, in fact, a real person. The other candidates were kinda 'not real'.

    Place Six - Flip A Fucking Coin

    We were supporters of Sheryl Cole during her initial run (when we should have been supporting Dwayne Lofton... we've been making up for it ever since). However, she's been lackluster at best, craven and sycophantic at worst, while on Council. That being said, her opponent, Sam Osemene, while a nice guy, seems a little too preoccupied by larger Constitutional issues of government rather than smaller ones. Which is interesting because the Austin City Council really doesn't deal much with larger Constitutional issues.

    Seriously, flip a coin before you go into Randall's to vote.

    Mayor McSleaze rants in the SuperSize

    Single member districts? Hell Yes!

    Austin city government as it stands is a self-perpetuating cabal of what Phillip Martin identified as the bikeway insiders. While the notion that electing the entire council at-large means that they all look out for the city as a whole might have still had some validity thirty years ago, Austin has long since grown past Ben White and Research Boulevards. And while the people who live in those neighborhoods may not be as hip as those who dwell in Hyde Park or 78704---might even shop at WalMart instead of insisting their lattes be fair trade---they still are entitled to representation.

    Austin's current system of unrepresentative government is not the fault of any individual, nor is changing it the responsibility of any single candidate. Candidates focus their efforts on the historic high-turnout precincts because that's where the votes are under the at-large system. But if, as is claimed, the council as currently elected is supposed to look out for the interests of the city as a whole, then it is their responsibility to ensure real, geographic representation for ALL the residents of this city, not just those approved of by the Austin Chronicle.

    One way or another, change will come to Austin's city government. I like to believe that we can be the authors of that change before it is imposed on us from outside.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Remember---No One Cares!

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 06:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 21, 2009

    A ratfucker says what?

    As if it wasn't bad enough that disgraced former Presidential adviser Karl Rove was relegated to commencement addresses in BFE, it's sad to say that the only place he can get published is the Wall Street Journal, the cornshit crusted asshole of American journalism.

    But, hell, that's what happens when you spend the last eight years lying to people. And printing anything that Stephen Moore actually takes the time to vomit out. Wait... this isn't where I was going, is it? That's right, this is about Karl Rove, the worlds most famous ratfucker.

    Now, you have to understand. Republicans have always been well served by their ratfuckers. Karl's just the latest in a long line that goes all the way back to the guys who helped out William McKinley. What made Karl so special was his aura of invincibility. See, people (and by people I mean the press) forgot that he used to make sloppy mistakes. That his instincts were wrong. They forgot that his rise to preeminence was more the result of the general trend toward conservatism in this country as the me-too boomers aged and accumulated political power.

    In short, the press made the mistake of confusing chicken salad with chicken shit.

    Unfortunately for Karl, Gen X and the millenials are rapidly moving the boomers aside. And despite the doe-eyed naïveté of the millenials, even they see through nasty partisan bullshit (my generation has always been cynical and nasty... we'd slash open Karl's fleshy throat just as soon as look at him, metaphorically speaking of course). So he's losing the base he could manipulate at the same time the population is shifting to people who are anything but respectful.

    We at McBlogger seriously are sorry for poor Karl. It takes some real balls to think that last week's teabagging was something other than a glorified circle jerk with a bunch of people whose only unifying characteristic is that they hate the black guy in the Oval Office.

    Build a movement on that shaky ground, Karl.

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

    How YOU should vote : Place One

    PhotobucketPerla Cavazos wins our endorsement because of her willingness to explore all options and commitment to making the Council (and the City) more proactive in handling the issues which seem to plague us year after year. Additionally, she is genuinely responsive to the needs of a the entire city and truly thinks of it as a whole, not just as 'Downtown plus some other places'.

    The fact that she looks like Eva Mendes compared to Chris Riley's Cryptkeeper definitely helped the straight boys who author here make their decision.

    While we like Chris and find him knowledgeable, we also found him stuck on several issues and dismissive of other solutions (not to mention more than a little didactic). He seems like the consummate policy wonk, fully aware of conventional wisdom and unwilling (or unable) to think outside the box to discover alternate solutions. Worse, he apparently has never thought it appropriate to question the CW or the assumptions that lead to it. That's not at all what Austin needs. We already have Sen. Watson.

    Perla's broad and deep knowledge base helped her during her six and half years as a senior policy analyst in the byzantine world of the Texas Senate. Her mastery of policy intricacies and political considerations there will enable her to translate easily to City Hall which is, obviously, a far calmer environment.

    Austin needs the dynamic, thoughtful and creative leadership of Perla Cavazos on the City Council.

    Oh and, again, she's fuckin' smokin' hawt!

    Supersize this entry to read Mayor McSleaze's thoughts


    I concur with McBlogger's endorsement of Perla Cavazos for Place One.

    Like the majority of Austin voters, I really haven't been paying much attention this year. But I like Perla, first, because she is smokin' hot, and I also think it would upset the apple cart a little to elect a Latina to one of the seats set aside for Whitey under the so-called "gentleman's agreement".

    Chris Riley? Mostly, I am upset by his yard signs. For one thing, they have one of those stylized urban skylines and I HATE those. They remind me of Greg Knappe's signs from 2005. Remember Greg Knappe? He was rumored to be developers' candidate back then. I wore out a pair of shoes blockwalking for Margot Clarke that year and damned if Jennifer Kim didn't end up stomping us in the runoff. Better her than Greg Knappe.

    Not only do Chris O'Riley's signs have a skyline on them, they also have on of those wave things that are so popular these days. I suppose it's supposed to make me think of Obama. Or maybe it's supposed to make me think of Pepsi. I'm confused. And the last thing we need in this city is a councilmember who promotes confusion.

    ---McSleaze

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 20, 2009

    How YOU should vote : Austin Council Races

    Endorsements are lame, especially when what we all mean is "Hey. Moron. This is who you should vote for. Those other people are trash". Seriously, is there is any doubt in anyone's mind that The Statesman didn't take us all for a bunch of double digit IQ's when they endorsed Release The McCracken. I don't know whether it's honest or if the ed board has taken up drinking during the day.

    Regardless, their endorsements were pretty much the standard fare from a paper that less than 10% of it's audience actually reads. A paper that's so worthless, the land underneath the building is worth more than the business that sits on it. A paper so worthless that year after inexplicable year they continue to employ talentless halfwits like Arnold Garcia who'd rather pick fights with people than report, you know, the fucking news.

    But really, enough about the 'tards at the Statesman and their pathetic endorsements. This is, at it's core, about us. In the next few days we're releasing the names of the people we feel you should be voting for. We may or may not spend some time tearing up the folks who didn't get the nod, so you can look forward to all that.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Time Warner drops tiered pricing

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    TWC, feel free to do this or not do this. I'm already planning a switch to DirecTV and I've already got an aircard. No, you're not going to throw a wrench into my fun.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Color me surprised

    The NSA's wiretapping program is apparently capturing (wait for it) telecommunications traffic (just a little longer) of American citizens in violation of the law.

    In case you were wondering how this could happen, the program installed equipment at access points across the country. Read the details here. They weren't, you know, tapping specific phones. They were tapping the entire internet, sifting through all the traffic (in effect, reading your emails and keeping track of which porn sites you like) and we're supposed to believe them that they were only looking at the stuff that was terrorism related.

    Needless to say, our Representatives and Senators were really stupid to think this COULD be limited, let alone would be limited.

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

    April 19, 2009

    Susan Roesgen ROCKS!

    Take a moment to watch this clip of Susan during her time at the teabagging event in Chicago which FOX edited to make it look just the way they wanted to line her up for attack

    The FOX anchor is really classic when she talks about the bipartisan nature of the protests (they weren't... it was Republicans only) and about the lie that they were grassroots events. We already know that was lie.

    And the asshole from MRC talking about the oral sex jokes simply is too stupid for words. After all, CNN and MSNBC didn't chose the word TEABAGGER to describe the protesters. It was Rep. Dick Armey who thought it was a great idea in some kind of weirdo Freudian slip.

    Now, Susan was trying, even in this clip, to get the guy to state his point. Which he never really did and not because Susan interrupted him. The fact of the matter is that he had NO POINT (and, to that dumbass, LINCOLN WAS THE FIRST PRESIDENT TO ASSES AN INCOME TAX). Neither did the crazy bitch in this video when she started ranting about not liking the way the government was spending 'her' money. Join the club, freakshow. I was pissed as hell at Bush and the Republicans for sinking us into a $3 trillion dollar hole in Iraq.

    Freakshow woman also got on Susan's ass for not talking to the normal people like her. Thing is, she's not any more normal or stable than this nutjob. Additionally, the media usually focuses on the wackier elements at a protest. How many times at a progressive event int he last 10 years have we seen signs to FREE MUMIA. Protests bring out the crazies.

    And those WERE the people teabagging this week. Not normal folks, crazies who think they know what they are talking about but, in reality, haven't a clue. How do I know? Watch as they go apoplectic when, in response to their statement that the income tax isn't constitutional, you politely point out that the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made it constitutional.

    Seriously, try it some time and then be prepared to wipe the spittle off your face.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    April 18, 2009

    State Of Play

    The movie was entertaining enough, but the main lesson that Team McBlogger takes away from this evening is that it's all fun and games until someone throws a chair.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 08:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    FRB-SF President Yellen - Lehman was a mistake

    While much has been said about the stupidity of letting Lehman Bros go into BK, Paulson and Geithner have never actually admitted that LEH's BK actually dramatically worsened very crisis they were trying to end.

    Until Janet Yellen finally said something. And no, there's isn't anyone still buying the stupid "we didn't have the legal authority" bullshit. Barclays was on the hook until the government refused to give them the same guarantees they gave JPMorgan Chase when it purchased Bear Stearns.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 17, 2009

    Rethinking book cover design

    The forum goons over at SomethingAwful decided it would be fun to trick people into reading... by making changes to the covers of books. Here's a sample of their work...

    Photobucket

    I might have actually read this in high school if the cover had looked like this...

    Photobucket

    See more here.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    TYD's are having a party!

    OK, maybe it's not so much a party as it is a convention at St. Ed's this weekend...

    TYD Convention runs from 9am Saturday the 18th to 12pm Sunday the 19th at St. Edwards University, 3001 S. Congress Ave., Austin in the Ragsdale Center. Guest speakers will include Bill White, John Sharp, Young Democrats of America president David Hardt, and BOR's KT Musselman, Matt Glazer, and Rachel Farris!

    For more information click here and for information on the Friday night drinks party, click here.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Defending 39%'s sedition

    First, there was That Obese Drug Addict who jumped up to support 39%. As if being defended by a blowhard from Florida with a sweet tooth for hillbilly heroin wasn't bad enough, 39% was also defended by disgraced former Rep. Tom Delay.

    Early in the morning there is nothing like the hilarity of being defended by a junkie and the poster boy for Republican corruption.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 16, 2009

    Those Who Recall History Are Condemned To Blog About It

    While tossing out rhetorical chunks of red meat to the double-digit IQ teabagger mob on Wednesday, Governor Knucklehead asserted

    Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that,

    Perry is, of course WRONG. The Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States (which I invite you to read) contains nothing about a right to withdraw from the Union. What it did include was that the Republic of Texas would be admitted as a State (skipping the territorial phase) and that

    said state when admitted into the Union, after ceding to the United States all public edifices, fortifications, barracks, ports and harbors, navy and navy yards, docks, magazines and armaments, and all other means pertaining to the public defense, belonging to the said Republic of Texas, shall retain funds, debts, taxes and dues of every kind which may belong to, or be due and owing to the said Republic; and shall also retain all the vacant and unappropriated lands lying within its limits, to be applied to the payment of the debts and liabilities of said Republic of Texas, and the residue of said lands, after discharging said debts and liabilities, to be disposed of as said State may direct; but in no event are said debts and liabilities to become a charge upon the Government of the United States.

    So Texas, unlike other states retained possession of its public lands, but also was still on the hook for all the debts of the Republic (which were considerable.) Further

    New States of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas and having sufficient population, may, hereafter by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution; and such states as may be formed out of the territory lying south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise Line, shall be admitted into the Union, with or without slavery, as the people of each State, asking admission shall desire; and in such State or States as shall be formed out of said territory, north of said Missouri Compromise Line, slavery, or involuntary servitude (except for crime) shall be prohibited.

    So we see that there actually is truth to the tale that Texas can divide into five states (unlike the pro-secession easy in/easy out myth). But this does need to be put into some context. Recall that Article IV Section 3 of the Federal Constitution already provides that, with the consent of Congress and a state's legislature, a new state can be carved out of an already-existing state. And prior to the Texas annexation, Kentucky had been formed out of the western reaches of Virginia and Maine had been a district of Massachusetts. So why the mention in the Joint Resolution?

    Well, the boundaries claimed by the Lone Star Republic were considerably greater than those of the Lone Star State we know today. map The land Congress was annexing included present-day New Mexico east of the Rio Grande as well as chunks of what are now Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming. I assert that the language on forming new states is there to clarify that any new state formed north of the Missouri Compromise Line would be a free state, while the question of slavery south of that line would be left to popular sovereignty.

    Slavery. The discussion of secession inevitably comes round to the only issue which has actually led to an experiment in destroying the Union. But I fear that this has already gone on at too great a length so I will end now and return to the discussion later.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 11:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    A storm is gathering...

    You may have already seen the NOM Gathering Storm ad. Today, we'd like to offer a counterpoint...

    see more at Shoot The Messenger and here.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    They shoot traitors, don't they?

    Imagine my pride and unsurpassed joy to see my Governor advocate, in a roundabout way, secession from the Union.

    Let us all pray that 39% does continue to go off the rails and ends up being prosecuted for treason against the United States. Until then, I would like to know what the Lege plans to do about all this. I mean the Democrats, of course, since it's clear from Senator Nichols and Rep. Berman that the Republicans have no problems actively supporting traitorous seditionists. Having a seditious Governor just don't sit well with us ordinary Texans. Until then, TB has some nice bits contrasting Perry then and now. It would seem that in addition to being a traitor, he's also a hypocrite who has no problem asking for Federal aid when he needs it.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    April 15, 2009

    dBags with teabags

    TEABAG LOGO.jpg... and I was right. Barely 400 people (News8Austin) showed up at City Hall for the Teabagging and fun. From the looks of the crowd, the majority of them were older folks on SS (hey, y'all, YOU DON'T PAY TAXES. I PAY FOR YOUR LIFE. JUST SAY THANK YOU AND MOVE ON) and the rest of them looked like, well, losers. Overfed and underread losers. Including the dbag in the white shirt smiling while holding a sign that says TAXED ENOUGH.

    Anyone wanna lay some money down on a bet that he doesn't pay more than 10k in taxes annually?

    But I digress, the point I would REALLY like to make is simply this... in 2007, more than 20k showed up to a rally for President Obama. That same year, more than 1k showed up to see Senator John Edwards. Last year, almost 4k showed up for a Saturday night rally for Hillary Clinton who wasn't even there.

    Today, just over 400 people showed up to protest the President and the Democrats. You guys soooo suck.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    First, fire the managers at the banks

    Seriously, this is pretty much spot on. Insofar as removing morons like Ken Lewis. As for bank liquidations, I'm not sure it's needed. We've moved beyond some of the liquidity problems at the banks... what we need now is to jump start securitization. The only way we can do that is to see some of this paper start to move. I prefer ripping into them since it's the least expensive option. But I don't think Larry Summers is going to opt for that since he put us on the hook for more than a trillion.

    It would also help if we could start driving some wage and employment growth. I don't know why but people have an easier time paying debts when they're actually, you know, making money.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Pathetic...

    TEABAG LOGO.jpgKarl-Thomas over at BOR has more details on the Austin Teabaggin' Event and I just have to say you guys are a bunch of morons.

    REP. WAYNE CHRISTIAN? Seriously, that guy? Old boy is a dirt leg. And Peggy Venable has to be the biggest clown of them all representing a stupidly named group called Americans For Prosperity. REALLY, PEGGY? There are Americans who are AGAINST prosperity? I'm going to start a group called Americans For Ignoring Peggy Venable And Her Asshat Allies (AFIPVAHAA, for those of you who are fond of acronyms).

    The funny thing about all this is that these people need the folks who will attend these rallies. They will need them if they have any hope of staying in power, a prospect that looks ever bleaker for 39%. What they also need to do is distract them from the fact that these speakers and the party they represent got us into this mess.

    And the Democrats are fixing it. Republicans fuck it up, Democrats come in and fix it.

    Finally, I hope the city and park cops will be on hand for the throwing of the teabags into Lake Lady Bird. Littering tickets seem more than appropriate and these people can certainly take the time to go fight the citation in municourt... after all, they have nothing better to do on a Wednesday than go to City Hall to listen to fucktards bleat on about the very people trying to save us from a Depression.

    Of course, that's nothing new for Republicans. They're great at using national catastrophes as campaign props. You know, look and act tough to hide the fact that you're thoroughly incompetent. It's worked wonders for Buttertroll.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Maybe declining money from the Feds...

    ...isn't such a good idea. You know what I'm saying?

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    April 14, 2009

    Pedernales Electric Cooperative Needs to Stand Spread-Eagle Against the Wall and be Frisked

    Why is so little being done to punish PEC perpetrators?

    by Peter Stern

    Unfortunately, there still are too many mirrors and too much smoke hovering around PEC. Legislators and the court system are taking too much time to make PEC and its former leadership accountable to its members. Stolen money needs to be returned to cooperative members with interest.

    PEC members have been ripped-off in the millions by former CEO and Board members. Maybe those former PEC “leaders” should be forced to provide restitution directly to coop members. Where is the justice? What happens after lawmakers adjourn the 81st Legislative Session? What relief is there for PEC members from their ongoing sky-high monthly electric bills? Why are wealthy CEO's and Directors treated differently by the courts than the rest of us?

    Maybe members should receive months of free electricity to make up for the incredible monetary theft and damage perpetrated by those former leaders, which also encouraged the current trust issues of PEC management and direction.

    We have a long way to go. Members still are getting ripped-off every month with the high cost of electricity provided by PEC.

    Recently we were told by PEC that it had entered contracts to provide “cheaper” electricity to its members starting in 2010.

    What about right now? How is PEC helping members to get more affordable costs of electricity?

    Apparently, we need lawmakers to provide more regulation over the electric industry, especially for cooperatives since these entities “march to the tune of a different drummer” than the rest of the industry. However, state lawmakers remain passive, by continuing to keep a “hands-off” status re: PEC and other electric cooperatives.

    The court system needs to rise-up and protect the people of Texas against corrupt leadership in the electric industry. Thus far, regarding PEC, courts have NOT acted honorably on behalf of the cooperative's members.

    Bottom-line is that electricity should be cheaper for most Texans and PEC in particular has a long way to go in making amends to its members before it can shake-off its long-time image of “rip-off artist”. Right now, the problem is in the hands of Texas lawmakers and state courts who do NOT have a good track record against the electric industry and doing what is right for the Texas community.

    .


    Posted by pstern at 08:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Dick Armey likes a little teabagging

    TEABAG LOGO.jpgAccording to Krugman, our good buddy former Rep. Dick Armey is really behind all this teabagging fun. With some generous support from some winger nutjobs who, to look at them, are queerer than the child that would result from the union of Charles Nelson Riley and Paul Lynde (it's you, Scaife).

    Matt found some cool stuff too regarding all the teabagging fun to be had tomorrow. Apparently, there is a website where you can see folks getting teabagged IN REAL TIME. Usually you have to go to a seedy bar in boys town for that kind of action (or subscribe to an expensive website, but I wouldn't know about such things). Needless to say, most fauxservatives are super pumped about all this man on man action. In fact, some of them are even creating partnerships so they can enjoy the teabagging with other like minded teabaggers.

    We all know that we will be steamy, sweaty, and hot on April 15, tax day, and hard at work to complete our taxes and will look for much needed relief. The GOP can provide that relief with a group tea bagging. All individuals who are interested in tea bagging can be provided a partner. "Tea bagging is best performed with two consenting tax paying adults" says the organizer of the event, Richard Head.

    Finally, Tom Tomorrow had this to offer (HT to PDiddie)
    View image

    The really ironic thing about all this is that these people who are sooo upset about the bailouts are mostly poor trash who don't pay a goddamn thing in taxes. So, tomorrow, while I'm working to pay for their Social Security benes and they're protesting the bailout which their failed ideology necessitated, I'll think about MY teabag. And how much I'd like to slap some of these tards in the face with it.

    Fucking trash.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    It would appear...

    ...from my most recent traffic tickets that maybe I could use this.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Roundin' Up The TPA

    It's time for another edition of the TExas Progressive Alliance's Weekly Round-Up.

    CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chismes noticed Fort Bend County was slapped by the DOJ for actual election integrity problems. Voters were illegally denied provisional ballots and Spanish speakers were not accommodated. Betty Brown probably wishes those voters would make life easier for English-speaking poll workers.

    BossKitty at TruthHugger cannot accept that Tax Laws, Tax Legislation and Lawmakers are ignorant to the fact that keeping the taxpayer clueless brings in more revenue. Built in vagueness and contradiction guarantee more tax dollars collected. This country has brainwashed its taxpayers, that it is easier to waste their money on sleazy preparers and tax software, than to learn what taxes are all about. Taxpayers are complicit in their own misery, even though the government really tries to make the facts available. Taxpayers are convinced that taxes are just a necessary evil ... "Death and Taxes". But today, Can You Trust Your Tax Software When It Can’t Keep Up.

    Neil at Texas Liberal posted a video using Franklin Roosevelt and George W. Bush dolls to illustrate the recent liberal ascendancy in the United States.

    We all had some fun at Rep. Betty Brown's expense last week, but Off the Kuff noted that there was a bill pending before Rep. Brown's Elections Committee that would actually help alleviate some of the problems that prevent eligible citizens from casting their ballots.

    At Texas Kaos, it's been a bemusing week of watching Glenn Beck prepare to storm the Alamo City with Tea Bags. But nothing could have prepared us for Rick Perry linking his fortunes with Beck after his gasoline drenched performance Apparently a primary threat in the Texas Republican Party means you double down on the batshit crazy lies. Who knew?

    Kim Jong Il wasn't the only person to fire a missile this week. McBlogger went ballistic over that dapper Senator Watson.

    The Employee Free Choice Act met the Democratic Senator from the Great State of Wal-Mart and is headed down to defeat as a result. PDiddie at Brains and
    Eggs
    has more on the Senate's caving in once again to the
    corporations.

    Asian American Action Fund Blog has extensive coverage of Betty Brown’s ridiculous questioning of Ramey Ko from our first report to Brown’s “apology” and Ko’s description of their conversation. In addition, there are link roundups of most coverage of the incident from the 9th and 10th. And don’t miss law professor Frank Wu’s exploration of the matter. We will provide further updates as this story continues to develop.

    Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at the 20 Republicans in the Texas House who voted against education benefits for veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The Texas Observer is no damn fun

    TO is apparently kinda upset that it was so easy for a guy to move from TCEQ to being a lobbyist for Waste Management. Not long after helping to push through their application to deposit radwaste in West Texas.

    And no, by radwaste, I'm not talking about MBS.

    Bunch of damn killjoys over at the Observer. What's next, y'all... forbidding political contributions from lobbyists?


    Posted by mcblogger at 10:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    McCain : Embrace Teh Gay

    McCain has begun urging the Republican Party to embrace equal rights for gays and lesbians. The questionable tranny's and indecisive bi's can fend for themselves, apparently...

    "At the most basic level, sexual orientation should not be a factor in how you are treated. If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti-gay rhetoric. As you can imagine, the road for gay Republicans hasn't been an easy one. Most seem to find the words 'homosexual' and "conservative" inherent contradictions, much the same way so many people can’t seem to reconcile fiscal conservatism and the big-tent philosophy of freedom and justice for all."

    Oh... I guess I should mention this wasn't Senator John McCain. It was his daughter, Meghan, who is proving to be quite the provocateur. As Republicans trend closer to Democrats, it'll be interesting to see how long it takes Ann Coulter's head to explode.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 13, 2009

    President Obama eases restrictions on Cuba

    It's not the end of the embargo, but it's a start...

    The White House is preparing to announce that it is abandoning longstanding restrictions on family travel, remittances and gifts to Cuba, and is also taking steps to open up telecommunications with the island, a significant shift in policy that fulfills a promise President Obama made during his election campaign.

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

    In my time of need...

    ...none of you bitches showed up to help. I hate you all.

    I guess, for most of you (SISTER RUTH) being somewhere at 8:30 in the morning was just too much to ask. However, I tapped my inner strength and resolve which enabled me to fight the man and get a ruling of NOT GUILTY from the court. And no, I chose not to defend myself in the style of disgraced former Governor Blagojevich.

    So, yeah, thanks for nothing, freaks.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:40 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Point, Counterpoint

    Chris over at Austin Contrarian has a counterpoint to my post last week regarding congestion pricing. After reading it, I think I understand his premise a little more which (and I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm getting it wrong) is that congestion pricing is as much about alleviating congestion as it is about changing behaviors.

    If that's the goal, then that's great. I don't agree with it, but congestion pricing will definitely do the trick. However, it's not the leisure driver or the soccer mom heading to HEB you have to worry about. It's the through traffic and people actually going to work that will be disrupted. And they'll change their behaviors by taking surface streets through neighborhoods. Well, maybe not the through folks but the others... yeah, if it's sit, pay a toll or work your way up a surface road, watch as more and more people do it. As Chris points out, we could argue endlessly about this and not get anywhere. I have just observational evidence because even my shortcuts to bypass the freeways are taking longer because there are more people using them. Still it is pointless to argue the point to a meaningful conclusion.

    Moving on to the 130, in a few months you'll offer an alternative to a clogged 35 but at a price. Whether the additional lanes are on 35 or not is irrelevant. Seriously, let's see what this accomplishes. This is the first time in Central Texas that we'll have a tolled alternative to a freeway. Let's see what it does to traffic because it will be a great case for adding tolled capacity to 35.

    The reason I've never really addressed induced demand is that much like the panacea of changing behaviors, I don't really buy it. Lookit, NTTA isn't building the Dallas North Tollway, for example, continuously north because they hope to drive development in the Sprawl (apologies to William Gibson). They're building out because there are people already out there and more are on their way. What people are trying to avoid with talk of induced demand, IMHO, is a real discussion about the pricing of land in the suburbs or close in rural areas relative to urban cores, not to mention the desirability of housing in those areas for certain consumers relative to what's available in the urban cores. I just think those issues are far bigger factors impacting sprawl than induced demand.

    Chris is spot on about one thing... while we may disagree on the mechanisms to improve transportation in Austin, we do both agree that it's essential we come up with something.


    Posted by mcblogger at 07:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Another take on Buttertroll as commencement speaker

    Yeah, this made me laugh. A lot.

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

    April 10, 2009

    Congestion pricing nonsense

    I've been reading up a bit on congestion pricing of roadway capacity, the holy grail for not only raising additional capital for infrastructure but for cutting traffic on our overburdened roadways. Chris Bradford over at Austin Contrarian has done some great work explaining the models and the assumed results.

    I just don't think I'm buying it. For one thing, there's this post about capacity actually creating congestion... note in the piece that time, population growth, etc. are irrelevant. The gist is that without a well developed limited access roadway (tollway, freeway, expressway) network and surface streets capable of moving the traffic rapidly off the system, additional capacity on one road will necessarily create additional congestion on another road. Here's the Austin based example...

    For example, TxDOT is pushing ahead with plans to increase the capacity of 290 from Manor west to 183 by making it a limited access toll road. But the increased traffic flow on 290 will push thousands of more cars onto congested 183, where, once there, they really have no option. What's worse, the "improvement" will feed thousands more cars into already hypercongested I35. It's quite likely that the extra congestion on the much busier I35 and 183 will swamp any time savings on 290.

    Uhm... not so much. The people who will use this route are already, you know, using it. There isn't a massive number of people clamoring for this improvement that aren't already using 290 (even the finance geeks said the traffic projections on this tollway were ass). Further, the reality of 35 and 183 is that traffic is going to continue to increase on these roads. It's going to get much worse as growth accelerates and therein lies the bigger issue. Texas has set it's taxes so low that immigrants (domestic and international) DO NOT pay for the increased burden they place on our infrastructure.

    What I'D like to see discussed is the overall impact of congestion on people and on the infrastructure that isn't tolled, like surface roads. We already see a large spike in traffic on Balcones, Expo, Lamar, etc. because congestion is so bad on Mopac and 35. What will happen when we start congestion pricing on certain lanes of these roads? How much of the traffic going to be in the neighborhoods?

    There is a local, real world proof for congestion pricing... 130. Once the 45SW connector between 130 and 35 near Creedmoor is complete, we will have a complete bypass to 35 through Austin metro. If we're really curious about all this, we should start keeping track of through traffic counts from 6-10 am and from 3-7pm from Georgetown through Onion Creek, then compare those numbers to post 45SW opening numbers.

    If 130 takes more than 5% of the traffic off the road, I'll be impressed. But I want to see data. I had the idea, not too long ago, of making 130 free during rush hour to pull through traffic off 35. While it would not have completely alleviated the congestion, it would have gone a long way toward making it manageable. But that's not going to happen because 130 has already been sold off.

    The other post from Chris that caught my eye was this one regarding congestion tolls on the last free bridges connecting Manhattan. Specifically...

    Let's look at the free bridges into Manhattan. They are perpetually congested. Pricing them properly would eliminate the congestion (most of the time). As O'Toole very well knows, this is the economically efficient solution.

    But congestion pricing does more than relieve congestion. Congestion pricing tells us when a road needs more capacity. Additional capacity costs money, and drivers are willing to pay only so much for it. That "so much" is exactly equal to the price they are willing to pay to avoid congestion. When the revenue collected by congestion pricing is low -- too low to finance new capacity -- we know we have enough capacity. Drivers aren't willing to pay for more, so building it would be wasteful.

    On the other hand, If a properly priced road starts generating "too much" revenue -- enough to cover the cost of expanding capacity -- then it's time to figure out how to add the capacity users are willing to pay for.

    It's the initial point I have a problem with... congestion pricing will eliminate congestion but not traffic which will find alternate routes. Manhattan's a bad point since your only other way onto the island in a car is via tolled bridge or tunnel. Still, you're not eliminating traffic, you're merely inconveniencing drivers by making them wait until the pricing declines or by forcing them to an alternate route. But it's not magic, traffic doesn't just disappear.

    Here in Austin, that means a lot of angry people driving through neighborhoods on surface streets.

    The debate on this needs to shift from 'cool' mechanisms and thought exercises to a realization that we all need to make some sacrifices to modernize our infrastructure. That's the best and most cost efficient way. It's going to be a combination of roads and rail. It's going to be expensive but it's something we can afford, especially if we want to continue economic expansion well into the 21st century.

    And how about this... let's work on improving our connector, feeder and surface road capacity. Getting people on and off the limited access roads will go a long way to relieving a lot more congestion than additional tolled capacity. As ANYONE who has been heading to NW via 35 and the connector to 183 can tell you, that thing was NOT built for the demand being placed on it. Then there's the two lane connector from MoPac to 183 north which shrinks down to one lane.

    Seriously, our biggest problem is bad fucking roadway design. Let's get that fixed, see what the problem is like then and at that time we can be open to pricing for congestion. Until then, it's all a meaningless intellectual exercise.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Muni court... oh, how I hate thee...

    My little citation for running a stop sign (which was based on the accusations of an officer who couldn't see the intersection clearly) is set for trial on Monday at 8:30 in the morning. Meanwhile, I'm still gathering information for my defense (no joke, I'm actually to doing some prep work for this) and asked for a continuance... which was denied.

    So, Monday morning bright and early I'll be in courtroom three in that horrible little building off 35 at 7th. Come in, say hello and watch me get pushed through the sausage grinder of municourt.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 09, 2009

    Betty Brown suggests Chinese restaurants rename menu items

    Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?

    God bless Betty Brown, who finds ordering things like Kung Pao Chicken and Moo Goo Gaipan confusing, if not outright embarrassing. And just who the hell was General Tso anyway? Wouldn't patriotic Americans feel more comfortable with General MacArthur Chicken?

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 10:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Still another Chemistry match

    fail owned pwned pictures
    see more pwn and owned pictures

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    SB 220 - Senate D's galatic fuck up.

    To start with, I should be honest. SB 220, or as it's been more aptly named by a number of folks, THE TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED CONVERSION OF PUBLIC ROADS TO TOLL ROADS BILL, passed the Senate with a vote of all 31 Senators last Wednesday. Not a single Democrat or Republican stood in opposition. Which really makes them all 39%'s bitch. Or Cintra-Zachry/Bluebonnet's, depending on who exactly is lubing them up.

    Our own Senator Watson, whom I've tried to give the benefit of the doubt, voted FOR this piece of legislation which allows TXDOT to very easily turn existing, taxpayer funded, public roads into a toll roads. It does nothing to fix the long term funding hole in Texas for infrastructure. It does make it infinitely easier to convert an existing highway into a toll road. Why would Senator Watson do such a thing? My guess would be it's because we need roads and rather than standing up for our long term interests, he's caving to the shallow desires of toll interests and the short sighted Greater Austin Chamber crowd dying to get the roads built as tollways now. Sounds great until you realize you can't just get out of this a few years later... this is one horrendous marriage we're going to be trapped in.

    I've given Senator Watson almost two weeks to just TELL US WHY he voted for the bill. He failed to respond, probably because he was working on another craptastic edition of his hokey 'what's up' email, the Watson Wire. Either that or he was thinking of taking another gutsy stand on giving poor kids insurance, which is really gutsy here in Austin where we give the homeless health insurance. Or, maybe he was just grandstanding on the budget. Speaking of, here's my favorite part...

    "It's just kicking the can down the road without making the structural changes we need to in the budget," said Watson.

    Yeah, no foolin' you, is there Kirk? Shame you couldn't pick up on how much 220 was doing, functionally, the same goddamn thing and soaking Texas taxpayers in the process.

    There's an old saying that Democrats are their own worst enemies. It's true as hell in this case as they are alienating the very voters they need to be swinging towards us. Good job, Senate D's! What, you really thought no one would notice? Or did you just buy Sen. Nichols sales pitch hook, line and sinker?

    The worst part is that you denied us an issue with which to browbeat Republicans in 2010. Now, you'll try to cover your ass by whining about bipartisanship and getting something done to help alleviate infrastructure problems. But it's all bullshit and you're a bunch of weak goddamn sisters who've done far too little research.

    Actually, that may be going a bit too far. We'll still beat the R's with it, but some of y'all are going to get hit as well. It's called collateral damage. And if you don't get hit with SB 220, you will sure as hell get hit with SB 17.

    You folks are supposed to be SMARTER than the Republicans. ACT LIKE IT.


    Posted by mcblogger at 09:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    April 08, 2009

    Werewolf of Austin

    Don't know nothing about no iambic pentameter


    I saw a werewolf with a taser in his hand
    Walking through the streets of SoCo in the rain
    He was looking for a place with immigrants
    Going to dish out that old conservative pain
    Werewolf of Austin

    If you see him tweeting around your bedroom door
    Better not let him in
    Another minority got executed late last night
    Werewolf of Austin again
    Werewolf of Austin

    He’s the hairy headed gent who ran amuck in Hearne
    Lately he’s been overheard in Manor
    Better stay away from him
    He’s a Bilderberger, Jim
    I’d like to meet his tailor
    Werewolf of Austin

    Well, I saw Rick Perry walking with a queen
    Doing the werewolf of Austin
    Again, I saw Perry walking with a queen
    Doing the werewolf of Austin
    I saw a werewolf drinking a mojito at Oil Can’s
    His hair was perfect
    Werewolf of Austin
    Adios Mofo

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 10:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Texas Lawmakers 'Not Seeing the Forest For the Trees'

    When can we deal with the REAL issues?

    Stop the bullshit and finance our roadways!

    In an Austin Statesman article we are told, "A half dozen senators, led by state Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, held a press conference this morning to bemoan the sorry state of transportation finances in Texas and push for Carona’s SB 855, which would allow metro area county commissions to ask local voters for added fees or taxes to build roads and rail. That bill may or may not come up this afternoon on the Senate floor."

    So, if that's the case, why do lawmakers continue to divert a large portion of gas tax revenues to other interests, e.g., higher education and DPS? Why don't they stop diverting tax dollars that are supposed to be used to build and maintain Texas roadways?

    In addition, let lawmakers divert money from general "slush" funds that go to their special interests and instead re-divert them to building and maintaining our roadways. There is a lot of money in state government that is NOT being used in maximum efficiency. We need to set REAL priorities and finance those adequately.

    For years lawmakers permitted TxDOT to advertise their toll roads using taxpayer dollars. The agency also used tax dollars to lobby the U.S. Congress for legislation that would have permitted toll roads on existing and already paid roadways.

    Other Texas agencies wasted millions of our tax dollars every year. We have money to build and maintain our roadways if we make it a priority.

    It's time legislators become more productive in their efforts to resolving the urgent issues. We need to get rid of this special interest "do-nothing" mentality.

    Texans must demand lawmakers provide the money needed for our roadways without initiating new taxes to do it. Use the money available first. Use part or all of the rainy day funds! Isn't it raining now? What are we saving it for?

    Peter Stern

    .

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

    REALLY, Betty Brown?

    Oh. Dear. Betty Brown.

    Voting against troops is sure to be hella popular in Henderson County. In the primary AND the general.

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

    Tea parties, Teabagging and a whole lotta funny

    tea.jpgApparently, the big new thing in the Republican party is teabagging at tea parties. They're having one in Austin on the 15th and 39% is going to be there. I wonder if Wayne Christian will be teabagging him. Or maybe Peggy Venable who, we hear, is hung like a cat. Shit you not, brother.

    It really shouldn't surprise anyone that 39% is so eager to take a cock and balls in the face.

    TEABAG FULL.jpgMEANWHILE, we'd like to urge you to print out this image and send to every Republican lawmaker who wants to grandstand about the economy during a crisis they helped, in large part, CREATE. We'd also like you to email the image to Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, That Obese Drug Addict, and Loofah Boy.

    Actually, forget printing this out... just email it to people. And spread the word. They seem to think teabagging is soooo much fun, let's show them what teabag really looks like so that maybe next time they'll be more careful when choosing their protest imagery.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 07, 2009

    Gay Marriage... Vermont steps into the fray

    Earlier today the Vermont Legislature voted to override the veto of Gov. Douglas and become the first state in the nation to allow gay marriage based on legislative action.

    Everyone should celebrate by buying some maple syrup, a pint of Ben and Jerry's and some flannel. Or a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4.

    In other gay marriage related news, there's this over at BOR. Seriously, this encapsulates the debate over gay marriage beautifully.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The old bastard is still corrupt

    So, it would appear that Sen. Ted 'Tubes' Stevens is going to have his conviction vacated because of prosecutorial misconduct. Which means the bubba's Bush had in place at Justice went a bit overboard.

    It does not, however, make him innocent which he is very much far from. OF COURSE, that hasn't stopped the not-so-bright folks in the AK Republican Party from demanding a new election to try and reclaim his seat.

    For them, I'd just like to make one small point : The voters of Alaska are, on balance, stupid. They elected that idiot Governor Palin, which alone speaks volumes. 10 years ago, FORMER Senator Stevens could have been video'd eating a baby and he still would have been reelected. Even if he'd taken the extra step of sending a copy of the DVD to every voter in the state.

    This election wasn't about his conviction. They already knew he was crooked and let him get away with it for a while. But they'd had enough.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    April 06, 2009

    Fiorina for Senate : Is this a joke?

    I seriously thought this might be a joke, but as it turns out it's true!

    We at McBlogger would like to go ahead and take a moment to offer our Congratulations to Senator Barbara Boxer on her now inevitable re-election in 2010.

    In other news, Hewlett-Packard employees are in the beginning stages of organizing a movement against failed former CEO Fiorina, known in Palo Alto as 'The Bitch Who Almost Destroyed Us'.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    What a bunch of damn bullshit...Part 2

    "The American public understands something must be askew if every single Republican votes against something."

    -- Minority Whip Eric Cantor, when asked by reporters why Republicans have said "no" to nearly everything the Democrats have proposed.

    This is a post about the deficit and the irrational thinking of Senators Nelson and Bayh. I included this quote from that twerp Cantor because the Republicans aren't principled when they talk about deficits. To a man and woman, they helped Bush turn a surplus into ever expanding deficits. Their sudden conversion to fiscal responsibility is craven and opportunistic. It's also EXACTLY the wrong thing, and the American people know it. This isn't about them, though. The Republicans in Congress are a lost cause and our only way through as a nation will involve removing them from office, cycle by cycle.

    This is about two Democrats who are thoroughly out of their minds if they think their path is the right one. We have seen, in stark relief, that we will be needing a lot more in terms of stimulus. And in terms of making desperately needed improvements and upgrades to our education, transportation and public safety infrastructure. Making these improvements gives us greater room for faster economic growth with low inflation which in turn helps cut the debt we build up now by running deficits.

    Real unemployment in this country is 12.5%-19%, depending on whose estimate is used off the BLS numbers. That makes this the worst economic downturn since the Depression. In an environment like this, your focus should be on alleviating pain and suffering while pushing every lever possible to build into a recovery. Which you can do with debt. It's this that has Bayh so worried:

    "[U]nder this budget, our national debt skyrockets from $11.1 trillion today to an estimated $17 trillion in 2014. As a percentage of our gross domestic product, it reaches a precarious 66.5 percent. The deficit remains larger than our projected economic growth, an unsustainable state of affairs. This budget will increase our borrowing from and dependence upon foreign nations. I cannot support such results. We can do better, and for the sake of our nation and our children’s future, we must."

    What is so stunning about this statement from Senator Bayh is just how utterly clueless it shows him to be. Whether willful or genuine ignorance is the reason, it's shocking coming from someone in a position of power. The projections to which Bayh refers are based on low or no growth over the next few years. They do not take into account resurgent economic growth or the effects of improved infrastructure on economic efficiency (which, by the way, allows the economy to grow at a rapid click with real wage growth and low inflation, kind of a Goldilocks economy we should be so lucky to enjoy).

    This is not the time to use scare tactics or play politics in a vain attempt to make yourself appear more important than your colleagues. It would be great if Bayh and Nelson would pick something else to stand out on.

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

    MOTO : Is Dave Carney really such a self important 'tard?

    Let this be the last thing we ever say about the 2006 Governors Race.

    At the Statesman, they are covering the Bell v. Perry suit regarding 39%'s efforts to hide the true identity of some of his donors. Embry has an article here about the suit, but the first link is to a blog entry that covers what Embry found in the depo. Here's the quote that caught my eye...

    “Chris Bell was so inept and had not gotten any traction, our real concern was that Kinky Friedman, who basically got outed as a fraud and a racist, was going to — was going to collapse and that that vote would go to Carole Strayhorn. And — because they had already rejected — you know, theoretically Democrats aren’t with a Democrat. They’ve already rejected him.

    So the theory would be that if Kinky collapsed, all that vote would go to Carole, and it’s very difficult to stop an independent candidate, you know, in that her resources to money was pretty significant as being the comptroller and some of her deep-pocket supporters. So we had a strategy to pump up Bell.

    In fact, at our state convention, Governor Perry, you know, started to talk about Chris Bell exclusively because we wanted to make him the bogeyman so Democrats would rally around him and that he wouldn’t collapse too far. At some point he wasn’t even a 15 — you know, 15 percent of the polls. We had to make him credible, so we made him our bogeyman so that Strayhorn wouldn’t get any traction from what we assumed would be the collapse of Friedman.

    Friedman did collapse, but not as much as, you know, we were worried if he ultimately, and so we’re, you know, in a five-way race. It was very difficult. But we had to prop up Bell as much as possible, and the thought was if Perry is worried about Bell, then the Democrats and independents, you know, that were left of center, would rally around Bell. It didn’t really work, but we did keep him up — prop him up so that, you know, Carole never got any traction.”

    Dave, no lie amigo, you are the biggest MOTO of all time. Focusing on Bell as your only 'true' challenger was your only shot not only to keep focus on him; It also neatly kept you from getting into the mud with Carole where she would have whupped 39%'s ass.

    It was your ONLY play and completely obvious. What makes this piece so unbelievable is that Carney seems quite proud of how clever he was when, in reality, he had no other option if he wanted to win. Even still and with the expenditure of more money than all the other candidates combined, Carney couldn't manage to get a sitting governor over 50%. Against a fuckwit 'humorist', a Congressman defeated in his own party's primary and a delusional Comptroller.

    The mistake the Democrats made was in not taking out a contract on Carole and Kinky.

    Oh... Dave, by the way, super nice work on the Speaker's race, pal.


    Posted by mcblogger at 09:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 05, 2009

    Larry Summers, Dbag

    PhotobucketUgh and What a dick.

    I've never liked Summers. While Rubin may have gone overboard on deregulation (as were the vast majority of economists during the 90's), Larry always went further. Uncomfortably so. While Rubin was an advocate for government running surpluses and paying doubt debt, Summers stuck to his Friedmanite roots, unconcerned about debt loads.

    President Obama has access to some of the most brilliant minds in economics and finance, yet he chooses Summers to chair the NCE. Instead of Volcker who is orders of magnitude more competent than Larry Summers.

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

    April 04, 2009

    NEW FEATURE! Things we're blaming on You People!

    Yes, we're all about giving you MORE at McBlogger. MORE facetiousness. MORE vitriol. MORE bile and yes, MORE blame.

    However, we're doing something a little different this time out. Instead of telling you about something horrible and who's to blame for it, we're going to use this topic to discuss something WE don't like. And then we'll blame you for it.

    PhotobucketIn this, our inaugural edition of Things we're blaming on You People, we turn to the weather. This afternoon, not long after we woke up, we went outside for a cigarette to discover that the humidity had ticked up. And we're reasonably certain it's the fault of You People.

    So think about that and maybe consider pulling some of the wetness out of the air, K.

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

    Self-funding candidate vs Self-funding candidate

    JackMac, which IS seriously what we're going to call him, has raised a bunch of money heading into the Democratic Primary in 2010 for the CD10 race. Which is kinda cool until you realize that his likely opponent, Rep. Mike McCaul, can also self-fund his campaign.

    Anyone have anything to get me excited about this guy? He seems like just another high tech gimp. What else is up with him? Seriously, ANYONE?!?!?

    Don't get me wrong, money's great but other than that, what does this guy have going on? He's not another of those CEO's who just knows once he gets to Congress he'll put it all right, is he? And there's no way in hell I'm supporting another goddamn blue dog. Those folks are pretty stupid and one couldn't win the district consistently anyway.

    So, seriously, anyone know anything?


    Posted by mcblogger at 11:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    April 03, 2009

    Gunning for TXDOT

    Ben Wear has the run down on some proposals regarding TXDOT and it's governing body, the appointed members of the Texas Transportation Commission. They range from horrible (eliminating the five members of the TTC and replacing with one appointed Commissioner) to pretty good, electing one statewide Commissioner to what, in my opinion, is the best... an body made up of 14 elected regional commissioners and one elected statewide.

    If go with the last option, Lege, can we please eliminate the MPO/RMA boards and just let the elected official make decisions?

    I'm currently giving 3:1 that nothing will get done. Any takers?

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    There goes the gayborhood

    OMG! World comes to an end! The breeders are moving into the Dallas gayborhood of Ceder Springs and the mo's are being displaced?

    It’s a little before 1 on a wednesday afternoon, and most customers at JR’s Bar & Grill on Cedar Springs aren’t ordering from the grill. TV screens play dance videos and at the bar ashtrays line up in parade formation. A man named Chris orders a Bushmills, neat. He’s an older guy, trim, tailored. He has called Oak Lawn his home for more than a decade. And no—sigh, eye roll—he’s not too happy about the ilume, the huge new retail and residential project going up on the corner of Cedar Springs and Douglas.

    “It’s going to bring”—beat—“people like you,” he says, with a laugh and a slap to let me know it’s nothing personal. “Suburbanites. Straight people. There goes the gayborhood.”

    Chris and a handful of older gay Cedar Springs loyalists aren’t happy about the ilume—and not just because the development eschews capitalization. Their concern is simple: is Cedar Springs about to become less gay? The answer—well, sure—won’t make them happy. But the more interesting question is, with more straights coming to Cedar Springs—to have a drink, to rent an apartment—what happens next?

    Historically, whether you’re talking about Dallas or New York or Chicago or even San Francisco, a pattern has developed with gay neighborhoods. Gays and lesbians create an entertainment and/or residential enclave so they have a place to call their own. The gentrification draws hip straight people and money. Rents and real estate values increase. Crowded out, gays and lesbians migrate to another area, fix it up, then get displaced. Which leads to complaints from folks like Chris.

    “Whineybags,” says Nancy Weinberger, a mainstay in the Perry Heights neighborhood and a member of the Oak Lawn Committee. “I understand not being thrilled about the additional traffic, but that’s progress, honey. And the developer has really tried to be sensitive to all the neighborhoods around. We can’t keep it like it’s 1950.”

    Well, AMEN, NancyPants! Things change and as the old saying goes, tough titty if you don't like it.

    I'd like to take a moment to welcome Chris and the other loyalists to the world the rest of us live in. We no longer separate ourselves into ghettos. Even our bars are spread out and, frankly, if you're drinking on a Wednesday at one in the afternoon, you are too old to be hanging out at the Crossroads. And you can't go to S4 anymore. I'll see you at Hideaway next time I'm in town.


    Posted by mcblogger at 10:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    My bad...

    In my post yesterday about the Mayor's race, I wrote that Release The McCracken hadn't been endorsed by any group. A fucking bitch lovely reader pointed out that he split the ALGPC endorsement with Lee Leffingwell.

    In our defense, we DID go to Brewster's website... he just didn't have it listed.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 02, 2009

    Tolls : A time to act

    Terri Hall over at TURF sent out an action alert earlier today. Take a moment to contact your Senator and ask them to oppose SB 404 and SB 17. Here's some background in case you needed additional information...

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Run, Hank! RUN!

    One thing is damn clear... we need a new Agriculture Commissioner.

    A disastrous mistake by the Texas Department of Agriculture raises questions about how well the agency is functioning under Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and could cast a pall over Staples’ future political aspirations.

    On Friday, the Associated Press reported that an inspector for the Texas Department of Agriculture failed to note that the Plainview operation of Peanut Corporation of America failed to note that the facility was operating without a state health permit in at least three visits to the plant prior to hundreds of people becoming ill after consuming the company’s products.

    Staples was elected in 2006 after defeating Hank Gilbert in the general election. It helped that he outspent Hank more than 20:1. Now, with higher name ID and a broad base of Republican support across the state that's willing to vote for at least one Democrat, he'd easily best Staples in a rematch.

    The only question is, WILL HE RUN?


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

    The bailout(s)

    CNN has a nice little table of the different facilities, guarantees and other elements of the overall effort to bailout the economy. And, while the overall number is large, we've only used about 25% of what's been set aside.

    Looking at this, the only thing that's obvious is that the government has allocated close to 75% of GDP to fix this. Given that, it would seem pretty stupid to bet against it. Because, simply put, even if they fuck up on certain things they are putting enough money in that eventually, even blindly, it will stabilize the economy.

    That's not to say I think the stock market is all good. What we're seeing now is a bear market rally and yeah, I'm selling a little into it. I want to see a retest at or near the lows. I want to know we're done.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    You're a loser, Brewster. A LOSER.

    For the title, I'd like to offer my apologies to everyone responsible for what everyone obviously considers one of the best movies of all time, Brewster's Millions. I want to apologize because anything comparing Release The McCracken to such an awesome movie is, well, kinda offensive.

    PhotobucketLast weekend, Brewster lost some endorsements including UDems, Central Austin Democrats and Southwest Austin Democrats. This means that, to date, no organization has endorsed Brewster. Which made me kinda sad for Brewster until I remembered that I only have empathy for people who don't suck and Brewster doesn't, you know, fall into that group.

    Then Brewster, apparently sensing the pressure from Lee and his team, decided to release some lame little video that was way too long about the differences between Brewster and Lee (as seen through the lens of Brewster's fecund little rat brain). Unfortunately, the video was viewed only 150 times because Brewster ripped the music in it from an artist who hadn't granted him permission. Here's what the artist had to say...

    "I'm a working musician, and I certainly don't appreciate having my music stolen," said Josh Ramstek, aka Captain Josh, of Orlando. "Everybody knows that Austin is one of America's great music towns, so I'm sure all the working musicians there will appreciate exactly how it makes me feel to learn that my song was used in somebody's campaign commercial without my permission. I'm not happy about it, to say the least."

    Captain Josh said he will play a benefit concert for Leffingwell in Austin at Leffingwell's downtown campaign headquarters as part of a scheduled tour through Texas in early May. "I don't know anything at all about the mayor's race in Austin," said Ramsteck , "but I do know that if one guy is willing to steal somebody's music for his campaign commercial, then I'm for the other guy." The benefit concert is set for 6 PM on Monday, May 4th.

    Seriously, y'all, can you think of a bigger campaign fail in recent memory? OTHER than Alaska Governor and former Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin?

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    FASB rewrites 157

    This has only needed to be done for, oh I don't know, MORE THAN A FUCKING YEAR. Seriously, it was fall of 2007 when we first started talking about this crap. Little did I know it would lead us to the worst recession since World War II.

    Under intense political pressure, the board that sets accounting rules in the United States will meet on Thursday to complete changes in accounting rules that are aimed at reducing the losses banks have been forced to report as the values of their mortgage-backed securities have crumbled.

    The changes, proposed two weeks ago after a Congressional hearing in which Robert H. Herz, the chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, was essentially ordered to change the rules or face Congressional action, are generally supported by banks, although some want the board to go even further.

    Oh, but before you get too excited at rationality's sudden return, here's what they're going to allow...

    The proposed rule interpretations deal with two issues in asset valuation. Banks are required to show some assets at market value, and report profits or losses based on changes in that value. Other assets may be reported at original cost, but if their value deteriorates they must be written down to market value if there is an “other than temporary impairment” in value.

    The banks argue that current market values are unreasonably low, reflecting distressed trading, and are producing values that are well below the amount that will eventually be realized.

    One change would allow banks much more room to conclude that inactive markets are distressed, allowing them to value the assets at what they believe they would be worth in a normal market. The other change would let banks avoid reporting some of the impairment losses on their income statements.

    Roughly translated, this allows the banks to mark the value of certain illiquid assets (like mortgage backed securities and CDO's that contain a wide variety of securitized paper in tranches that may (or may not) be performing) to whatever arbitrary value they like. No need to bother with cashflow analysis, actual vs. expected performance, credit quality or anything else. Just tell us what you think it's worth and that'll be fine.

    Investor groups are understandably pissed because now we'll have no idea how large the holes really are on the balance sheet. Meaning no one is going to know what these companies are really worth. Which also means few will be willing to invest and lend to them, further exacerbating the credit crunch.

    Can we PLEASE, at some point, start valuing off performance of these securities? I'll even throw in a carrot by letting y'all generate an estimate of value based on recovery in the non-performing assets. PLEASE?


    Posted by mcblogger at 08:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    So long, Time Warner

    Tiered pricing? Oh. Hell. No.

    Roll this and I'll not only get rid of your shitty internet access, I'll also trash your digital phone and your shitty cable.

    (HT to K-T workin' the twitter)

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 01, 2009

    I'm with her...

    Spot on, Bo.

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

    Microsoft's unprofessional and defective VISTA

    Office of the Texas Attorney General follows-up on my formal complaint to Senator Juan Hinojosa against Microsoft for ripping-off Texans with their unprofessional, defective and incompatible VISTA software. Letter of complaint posted below AG's response.

    Dear Mr. Stern:

    Thank you for contacting the Office of the Attorney General.

    Your letter has been forwarded to the Consumer Protection Division
    (CPD) for review. CPD monitors business practices and determines
    priorities for enforcement. When appropriate, CPD takes action to stop
    violations of Texas consumer protection laws. We appreciate your
    assistance in this effort. You may also wish to read the consumer
    protection section of our website for more information on the complaint
    process and for additional options at
    www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer.

    Again, thank you for writing.


    Katherine S. Wood
    Public Information and Assistance
    Office of the Attorney General of Texas


    From "Peter Stern" 3/31/2009 8:21 PM >>>
    Dear Sen. Hinojosa,

    I agree 100% with your assessment of Microsoft's VISTA software. You
    are correct that it is NOT worth it to switch; however, millions of
    Americans have no choice when they purchase(d) new computers that have
    the software on it.

    I am a Vietnam Veteran and was a Director of Information Services for
    state government and private industry. This is the worst software I
    have ever seen being purchased by consumers.

    Microsoft had no business placing VISTA on computers and putting the
    software on store displays.

    I filed a formal complaint with Microsoft [see attached] and Texas
    Attorney General Abbott's Office. Neither one has taken any action
    regarding my complaint on this software. Microsoft never even
    acknowledged my letter of complaint. It knows it has a defective
    product since already it is planning to release its new product Windows
    7.

    I asked Microsoft to send me a free copy of Windows XP to replace VISTA
    on my system. Microsoft did NOT respond to my request.

    The state must go after Microsoft on behalf of all the Texans who
    purchased this defective product. Texans must be provided software that
    works effectively and efficiently. After all, they paid for it.

    Please do something more aggressive regarding Microsoft and its
    unprofessional VISTA product. The Attorney General must go after
    Microsoft and force the company to reimburse Texans for their loss.

    Thank you for your consideration of this request.

    Respectfully yours,

    Peter Stern

    Posted by pstern at 09:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Enjoy your extra $33 or $66

    This month, the oh-so-good withholding tax miniholiday takes effect. I still don't know what kind of effect an extra $33-66 is supposed to have, but I sure hope it's not what we're hanging our hats for recovery on.

    I think I will use mine to buy a bottle of the scotch I like. I will, of course, have to put a little of my own money with it.

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

    Or, you could just say...

    ... you were a tremendous fuck up.

    Governor Palin, just face the fact that much like our own 39%, you really suck. You were only possible when it wasn't obvious how incompetent you really were. Now that we know just how retarded Republicans can be (and how intellectually bankrupt their ideas are), it's kinda hard to pull anything off.

    It sucks but we're awake now. And we're laughing at you. A lot.

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

    Securitization isn't the problem

    Krugman wrote something about securitization being the big problem. Ritholtz wrote a nice piece taking him to task.

    Do not forget that Securitization had been around for decades without major problems. And over the entire period of time in question, credit card loans, auto financing, and student loans were securitized without incident (other than expected cyclical recessionary downturns).

    The same can be said about derivatives. Handled properly, they are tools that serve a function. Let loose with no regulation/supervision/transparency/reserve requirements, you have the making of a disaster . . .

    We can even say the same about Mortgages. Would you draw the conclusion that because the lending industry made so many bad loans, that mortgages were the problem, and therefore we should do away with them? You have to look at the context in which the loans took place.

    Securitization is no different.

    Under normal circumstances, it works fine. And if we tweak a bit around the edges — make sure that securitizers cannot shed liability as easily as they have, and adjust incentive compensation away from the current hit & run style of faux profits but real bonuses, Securitization will work just fine.

    Like him, I frequently agree with Dr. Krugman, especially during Our Most Recent Financial Crises, brought to you by the folks who told you government wasn't the solution, it was the problem. Much like those folks, though, Paul is blaming the tools and not the users.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Republican? What's that?

    The Grand Old Party Just "Ain't Republican" Any More


    - by Peter Stern

    I've been a Republican since the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration --- for those of you too young or without a memory, that's since the 1950's --- and yes, I'm old!

    The current party just "ain't" the same. It's evolved --- or intelligently designed itself --- into something totally different. The old GOP believed in less government intervention into state affairs and people's lives.

    Call me "the last of the independent pioneers" or just plain ornery, but I don't want my government telling me how to live, what books and movies I can watch, that my kids have to pray in public school, or that my property can be seized by the government for development purposes.

    Perhaps the current GOP needs to change its name to something more contemporary and "catchy", something more in tune with its philosophies and platforms --- maybe like WWYMLU, short for the We Want You More Like Us Party.

    Or maybe a name like NEO-CON, short for Neo-Fascist Conservative Party. After all, when government believe it has the right to tell you and your neighbors unequivocally what you can and can not do, that nation goes from a Democratic Representative Republic to a Fascist orientation.

    But if you don't like the name change idea, how about if the "real" Republicans of the current GOP leave it to start their own older version of the Republican Party, you know, a platform like fiscal conservatism? They could become the OGOP, as in the Older Grand Old Party. Granted, it may be a bit much "old" in it and we all know the GOP needs new blood, but it makes the point and nostalgia is "in" these days.

    The main idea I am trying to convey is that during the past several decades the Republican Party has become into a totally different organism than its founders had intended, one that believes in more government control, an increase of taxing the lower income general public under the guise of "No New Taxes" and doing as little as possible to improve the overall quality of most American lives.

    In addition, the GOP has become the operating mechanism and party of the wealthy corporate sector. It has lost touch with and in the process virtually wiped-out middle America.

    Clearly, a political and historical view indicates that the GOP no longer maintains a true Republican platform and philosophy. This is an instance of when "...a rose is not a rose...".

    Former President Eisenhower must be shaking in his grave.

    But don't get me started on the Democrats!


    ---


    Posted by pstern at 05:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack