May 31, 2009

In an Unethical and Despicable Move, Lawmakers Cover the Governor's Butt

Lawmakers Cover the Governor's Butt

Legislators changed the law to overturn the court decision that Perry must open his travel records to the public.

According to an article in the Austin American-Statesman,

"In a swift last-minute change, the Texas House and Senate today approved changing state law to allow most travel records concerning Gov. Rick Perry’s bodyguards to remain secret — three days after a state appeals court ordered them made public.

State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, said House and Senate negotiators added wording in the final version of House Bill 1068 to overturn a Third Court of Appeals decision on Friday."


Click here to read the entire article.

Lawmakers can't get anything done to benefit the Texas community, but they sure can band together to cover for Gov. Rick Perry.

This is what I have stated for years. Sen. Jeff Wentworth is as corrupt and unethical a politician as they come. So are most other long-time incumbent lawmakers. It is time Texans vote out these corrupt politicos.

What are they all afraid of? That the people can openly see how corrupt and unethical they are? This manipulation of the judicial system and changing the law publicly shows Texans exactly why so little gets done in the Texas Legislature to benefit most Texans.

What lawmakers have done is unethical and despicable.

Vote out these special interest incumbent bums in the next several elections!

- Peter Stern

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Posted by pstern at 10:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Phone House Reps to KILL HB 300 after 12 PM Today!

BREAKING NEWS!!!

URGENT!!!

Phone House Representatives to KILL HB 300 after 12 PM Sunday [today]

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If you don't want infinite and costly tolls all over Texas I'd advise you all to do as this notification tells you.
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Texans Deserve Better! Thanks.
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P
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Reprinted with permission of TURF and Texans Against Toll Roads:
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Please Call or Fax your Lawmakers starting at Noon on Sunday to Kill Bill 300! & send this along to everyone you know!

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TexansAgainstTolls.com
TexasTURF.org

--- On Sat, 5/30/09, Robert Morrow wrote:

Folks, we are having a BIG impact on killing HB 300. We have a chance of a big victory by stopping this Frankenstein, 2,000 page toll road bill. We either need you at the State Capital tomorrow Sunday, 4PM or at home making calls especially to House Democratic leaders asking them to kill HB 300.
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Robert Morrow Cell 512-496-1293
Terri Hall of TURF 210-275-0640
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HELP NEEDED AT CAPITOL TODAY [Sunday]
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Just got word that the soonest the Legislature can take up HB 300 for final passage is 4:30 PM tomorrow (I'm relieved it doesn't interfere with church!). They must pass it by midnight (unless they suspend the rules, which could happen the way they've been going). So this is our window of time when we could use all the help we can get in Austin pulling members off the floor outside the 2nd floor House chamber, and asking them to KILL HB 300 and pass the safety net bill, HB 1959, which moves TxDOT's sunset to next session under a new Governor. A special session will just get us back in this same mess, with a bill that DOES NOT reform TxDOT, curb tolling, etc. because the Governor will not sign it. It could reap an even WORSE piece of legislation since the lobbyists will have more time to work the House.
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- Robert Morrow
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Those who are able to help, please let me know via email and plan to meet me outside the House chamber on the 2nd floor of the main Capitol building at 4 PM (to give us time to inform you of what's still in the bill and to review our talking points).
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- Terri Hall
(210) 275-0640

To find the phone number and Contact your Representative, go to this link:

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/welcome.php

The phone number of your Rep click on his/her name and it will be on the Rep's web page contact info.

Thank you all.

Peter Stern

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

May 30, 2009

How much would you pay...

... for the autobiography of the most hated Vice President since Spiro Agnew?

"A person familiar with discussions Mr. Cheney has had with publishers said he was seeking more than $2 million for his advance. That sum may prove hard to get in this economic climate, especially given his generally low approval ratings, which publishers view as a potential -- but not certain -- harbinger for sales."

We'd be THRILLED to offer Vice President Cheney $198.56 for this book. In coupons. Only as long as he can come up with a reasonable refutation of this.

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

May 29, 2009

YAY!

Today I took my life into my hands, and went to the WalMart in a small East Texas town on a Friday afternoon. I usually avoid the place like the plague since it is regularly filled with mouth breathers, religio-political fanatics, and unfortunate genetic mishaps. On a normal afternoon, you might see a few of these people.

Friday afternoon it becomes their mother ship.

Designing_women_cast.jpgIt kinda reminds me of a mix between the original Dawn of the Dead, a Fox news telecast, and Dogpatch. And it seemed even worse today. Of course, that is because all of them need their very own copy of 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop' for the weekend. After dodging the scantily clad obese women and their sticky children, I was able to emerge with what I have waited so long for... the first season of 'Designing Women'! FINALLY! It sure took them long enough to release it! Was it worth the trip? You bet! And it seems the second season will be out in August. I guess that might mean another trip, but I can do! it. At least for the seasons with the original cast. I loves it!

Posted by barfly at 07:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh, how 2001

OMG, the Taliban is detonating bombs in Pakistan and threatening more bombs to be detonated unless Pakistan's military quits fighting them and gives them several provinces. And a Krispy Kreme franchise*. This has been going on for a few weeks since the Taliban decided that they weren't satisfied with controlling the massive portion of Afghanistan that Americans didn't control. And that bombing those American strongholds was getting b-o-r-i-n-g.

Not for nothing, but we've been at war with these bastards for, what, EIGHT YEARS? Why the fuck aren't they all dead? I mean, we have the strongest, best trained, best funded military in the world... how the hell are any of them still breathing? I guess the only possible answer is that the leadership in the US (President Bush, VP Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest) were absolutely worthless.

No, this isn't just another diatribe about the failures of the past Administration. I just wanted to remind everyone of what a miserable failure President Bush was, but you probably already know that because of your repossessed car, foreclosed home and lost job. I also wanted to take a second to think about ways to end all this. The problem is, there isn't a quick and dirty solution. In fact, you're fighting people who are prepared to die. So, why not grant them their wish?

Seriously, give up on the economic reforms. In fact, give up on anything. The only real solution is to turn everyone against the Taliban and the only way to do that is with money. So, give $10,000 to ANY Pakistani or Afghani who brings you the head of a member of the Taliban.

That's gotta be a hell of lot cheaper, anyway.

*This is the first of what will be MANY gratuitous plugs for companies that I own stock in.

Posted by mcblogger at 03:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Things you may have missed : Levi's loves Teh Gays, Holy Sheet and more

  • Levi Strauss (which is a company not related to the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives) has announced it's support for the white knot campaign supporting marriage equality for Teh Gays. We are sure this will mean that the Family Research Council will begin burning jeans in the streets.
  • Speaking of the FRC, they're asking people to pray. For Teh Gays to continue living in sin
  • Income disparity has been a MASSIVE problem in this country, caused mostly by adherence to supply side orthodoxy and a conservative push to destroy education. The real question, though, is how much of this income concentration should we tax? Case in point, the massive incomes made by Wall Streeters based on profits that weren't real. I'm not even remotely sold, because like everyone else these folks played by the rules set up by their companies. Should things change going forward, absolutely. However, unless they falsified transactions (like Enron) or they knowingly overwrote their capacity (like AIG's FP group in London), there's not really much you can legally do.

    For me, I'm fine with some massive changes in the tax code. And this, unless you have some positive way to exempt the poor, ain't it. Seriously, I've heard the arguments that the poor can pay the tax, then receive a refund later. But that's not possible for people who are living hand to mouth to begin with. Unless you can exempt them from the tax at purchase, then this is a non-starter.

  • The next problem for the banks... bringing Off Balance Sheet entities (or Special Purpose Entities-SPE's)back on to the balance sheet. I honestly don't think this is going to be that big a problem since the banks have, since 2007, had to funnel over a lot money to the SPE's just to keep them afloat. That's not to say it won't be problem at all.
  • Christian Lacroix files for bankruptcy. The fashion house, not the man.
  • Posted by mcblogger at 11:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    I have no idea what this is about...

    ... but I LOVE it. Very nice. If someone would like to explain El Paso BS to me, I'd love to hear all about it.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Watching Rep. Culberson self destruct...

    ... is almost as fun as watching the neighbor I hate run over his own garbage can and then be forced to pick up the contents from the street.

    Go see it for yourself.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 28, 2009

    Are they stupid at the RPT?

    My God, would someone please buy the Republican Party of Texas a goddamn clue? I'll be happy to chip in $100 to the effort. I got an email from them this morning asking list recipients to kill HB 300, which is an awesome idea. In fact, I was so blown away I decided to read it thinking they couldn't possibly be agreeing with me.

    They weren't. Their opposition to the bill is based on SB 855, not on privatization. Not on the Transportation Bank. Not on the MOUNTAIN of other bad crap in the stupid bill. They want everyone to call the House conferees and browbeat them into killing the gas tax but LEAVE THE REST OF THE BILL INTACT.

    It surprises me that the RPT would be OK with allowing TXDOT to gamble with money from the pension funds and leaving taxpayers on the hook for corporate welfare. It's stunning to me that they would be so grandly dismissive of their base in East Texas who are adamantly opposed to TTC 69.

    But, I guess I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Not only does this have the potentional to kill this bill, it also gives Democrats a ton of good hits for the general in 2010. For that, I guess I should say 'Thank You, RPT!'

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Mark Campos is spot on...

    ... about Kinky.

    I'll just add that we think Kinky is pretty gross. And we want to see him not run because it'll be a disaster.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Senate D's, HAVE YOU LOST YOUR GODDAMN MINDS?

    Last night I asked people to please contact their State Representative's and ask them to vote against HB 300, the TXDOT sunset bill. All session I've fought, successfully and unsuccessfully, to stop some of the worst transportation bills coming out, most of which seem to have originated with Senators Nichols and Carona. Now, just so you know, both are bad for transportation in this state but Nichols is really the worst of the two.

    Nichols likes to lie to his constituents (just ask him about TTC69). And they're finding out about it. Sucks to be him, but who really cares? It's not like he's all that bright to begin with. He was dumb enough to get caught immediately behind 39% in that stupid, rambling speech about the 10th Amendment and State's Rights that 39% delivered just before asking the Fed's for help with swine flu. One hell of a move to appeal the KBH folks in his district, right? But I digress... Nichols and his flexible relationship with the truth.

    He's told a number of you Senators that the ban on toll roads remains intact in HB 300. That's a lie. In fact, PPP's get strengthened as a result of this bill, not eliminated. Make no mistake, PPP's are a bad deal for Texas. In privatization, the state and taxpayers always end up losing out. This was, is and always will be reality. Needless to say, some of you better spend the next few days actually reading HB 300. Parts of it actually make it easier to convert a highway to a private toll road. And remember that horrible, jackass idea from hell, the Transportation Bank? It's still there.

    Some of you also might want to reconsider your signatures on this. Frankly, considering that I and others supported 855 and we were pushing back on massive Republican opposition to 855, this just pisses me off so goddamn bad I can't really think straight right now.

    None of you need friends like Senators Carona and Nichols. And you all better take a fucking moment to realize that bloggers aren't the enemy.

    (MASSIVE hat tip to EOW for the pickup)

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Hans Klinger gets bitchslapped

    Phillip over at BOR took a moment to school Hans Klinger of the Hutchison 'campaign'.

    PhotobucketThe best way to stop your "campaign" (can we even call it that if Senator Hutchison lives in D.C.?) from spinning is to make a decision. Tell that to your boss. Tell her to own a decision for once in her life.

    Tell her to act like an elected official. Tell her to act like a leader. Tell her to act like she wants to be Governor. Tell her to act like she cares about the people in Texas that aren't herself, her family, and her fundraisers.

    To help make a decision, it would be useful if you learned the difference between "will" and "may." As the Houston Chronicle reported, though, that seems difficult for your campaign -- especially when you issue conflicting statements

    Is it just me or is it clear that Hans and Old Lady Kay aren't even remotely up to this campaign?

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 27, 2009

    URGENT Kill HB 300 tonight!

    HB 300, the TXDOT sunset bill, has been so larded up with bullshit in the Senate that the damn thing is even worse than what we have now. In short, it'll turn TXDOT into an uncontrollable monster thanks to Sen. Nichols (who has been lying to anyone who'll listen that it's killing toll roads), Sen. Carona and Sen. Ogden.

    So, the House has got to kill it. Please contact your State Representative (lookup here) as soon as possible. Ask them to vote for the TXDOT safety net bill, NOT HB 300.

    We have real transportation problems that need real solutions. HB 300 just creates more problems.

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

    While the House burns...

    ... it's good to know Speaker Straus is worrying about his re-election to Speaker in 2011.

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

    Going down with SBOE's McLeroy

    According to Muse, there are now enough votes in the Senate to crush the hopes and dreams of dentist Don McLeroy to continue to use the minds of millions of Texas school children as his ideological cockwipe.

    Which does, as you can imagine, fill me with joy and happiness at the victory of common sense over political crap and pseudoreligious garbage.

    Unfortunately, some people just can't take the beating they richly deserve and slink off into the sunset. SOME people have to double down on their loser hand. What AM I talking about? Well, the rumor that 39% intends to nominate fruitcake attorney Cynthia Dunbar should McLeroy not be confirmed by the Senate. Her distinguishing feature is that she's even crazier than McLeroy (though both are one baby step up on the evolutionary ladder from shit flinging monkeys). Seriously, try reading her incomprehensible tome on the separation of church and state, a long settled (since, what, 1802) legal doctrine in which Dunbar, an attorney, doesn't believe.

    Go ahead, 39%... nominate her and watch as the Senate sends you another love letter instructing you as to what you can do with your nominee.


    Posted by mcblogger at 01:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Having fun with NAIS

    SCS had a great time at a conference here in Austin put on by USDA regarding the National Animal ID System. And they even have some video to prove it.

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

    It's about time, FTC

    Finally, the FTC is going to do something about the auto warranty crooks who keep calling.

    "This is one of the most aggressive telemarketing schemes the FTC has ever encountered," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "I'm not sure which is worse, the abusive telemarketing tactics of these companies, or the way they try to deceive people once they get them on the phone. Either way, we intend to shut them down."

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Calling Bullshit : Let's fix Social Security now

    Ditto.

    I can only add that the situation looks far more grave than it is considering that it's based off current depressed tax receipts projected into the future. Further, stronger overall economic growth and far better wage growth will, with a few minor systemic changes like a slight increase in the benefits age for those under 40 and eliminating the income cap, largely eliminate the problem.

    This problem is far easier to fix than anyone in DC actually realizes. Of course, it would help if the fourth estate could understand something more complex than talking points.

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

    May 26, 2009

    Voter ID and the death of this session

    Everyone knew this was going to be a largely acrimonious session of the Lege when the Senate voted to suspend the rules when it came to Voter ID legislation. Let's be clear, this legislation is not about protecting the integrity of the vote, it's about disenfranchising the poor and the elderly, and that's me being nice about it. If you really want to be honest, it's about keeping the blacks and browns from voting.

    So, is it little surprise that since the Republicans are recalcitrant on this issue that Democrats are holding their ground on letting everything else die? As Even Smith neatly points out, no it isn't.

    But what about the polls, McB, that say 70% of Texans support Voter ID? Well, first off, this poll didn't gauge importance ... the reality is that this a voting issue for less than 5% of Texans and they all vote Republican anyway. Second, this was a push poll with questions geared to generate a response. How the hell do you think they got 70% of Texans to agree on anything? Give me 15k for a poll and I'll show you one that indicates that 70% of Texans believe their mama's should be in jail.

    The session is ending badly in the House because the Speaker and the Republicans refuse to put this silly, stupid legislation aside and take up other bills. Which leaves the Democrats with no choice but to use the process to protect the voting rights of the elderly and poor.

    And, Speaker Straus, blaming the Democrats for YOUR inability to control YOUR caucus is really stupid.

    UPDATE There's a nice post over at EOW on the clusterfuck the session has become. Included in it is some speculation from Rep. Dunnam that the Republicans real objective is the hold up insurance reform by putting forth a bill no one can justify. And, honestly, given the fact that the Democrats offered to suspend the rules and take up insurance reform AHEAD of voter ID, it's looking like that's exactly what this is all about.

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

    Wasting away near Andrews

    A little over a month ago, we pointed you to an article over at The Observer in which they complained about a douchebag who left TCEQ to become a lobbyist for Waste Control, not long after overriding the professionals at the agency (he was a mere political appointee, by 39% natch) and giving Waste Control a permit for a dump in West Texas.

    As it turns out, there's a little more to the story. See, the whole reason the dump out near Andrews (which, just for kicks, was financed BY the voters there who recently and just barely passed a $75 million bond) exists is because of the hard work of Texas Legislators like Rep. Myra Crownover, Rep. Betty Brown and our favorite fatass (next to Sen. Carona), Rep. Linda Harper Brown. See, Harold Simmons, the investor who controls Waste Control, needed some legislation passed back in 2003 to be able to use the dump site to deposit rad waste. Seriously, RADIOACTIVE WASTE. The Representatives also got big, big checks for their campaign accounts from Mr. Simmons.

    What the Legislature couldn't do for Simmons was get a permit from TCEQ which the staff at the agency, of course, recommended against because they didn't think it was a good idea for hazardous waste to be so close to the Ogallala Aquifer. Of course, the radwaste won't be the only thing dumped out at the site. It'll also be receiving dredged sediment from the Hudson River that is shot through and through with PCBs.

    And that's where this douchebag, Glenn Shankle, comes in. Prior to overriding the TCEQ staff, he met with former Republican Congressman Kent Hance (who's an investor in WC) and other folks from WC about their application. And no one will ever know if any of them made him a promise of money or job after he left TCEQ. But, you have to admit, THIS DOESN'T PASS THE MOTHERFUCKING SMELL TEST.

    And neither will the crap being dumped out new Andrews.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Goodbye, TRCC

    One of the few bright spots from this legislative session has to be the end of the Texas Residential Construction Commission.

    Make no mistake, letting this Commission die and restoring access to the courts for homeowners who've been wronged is an unalloyed good thing.

    Good work, John!

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

    May 25, 2009

    Oh, let's all freak out...

    So, North Korea tests another nuke. Big fucking deal. It's not like they can use it, since if they do they'll be annihilated in minutes by American and Chinese forces. Sorry, that's just the way it goes.

    So, again, rattle your fucking sabers, poor people. You may have nukes but you're still starving.

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

    May 24, 2009

    Maybe I'm Getting Old...

    But after watching the rollout of Dick Cheney as the new Spokesman for Evil over the last couple of weeks, I can't help reminiscing over how warm and cuddly Edward Teller was.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 08:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 23, 2009

    Uhm, yeah... it would really help if y'all could get things right

    Not for nothing but a little research really wouldn't kill Republicans (or Ben Wear*). First up is Rep. John Carter who mistakenly thought cap and trade would COST Texas electric users $20 bn per year. It will actually SAVE Texans $20 bn per year.

    Then there's this. And I really don't know how I can top the ignorance here. Oh, sure, it's unintended funny but I just have to ask... REALLY?

    I can't WAIT until Rep. Bonner or Rep. Brown (who is throwing her own little nutty about worthless Voter ID) decide to explain the culture of Teh Gays.

    *Just as a side note, and not to pick on poor Ben, but his reporting is lackluster and puddle deep. Reading his pieces on transportation over the last few years has been enlightening in so far as revealing how far someone will go to avoid ever looking deeper into, well, anything.

    I've often wondered if Wear was really a head of cabbage. I'm sure he's a hell of a guy, but he's a stenographer. Not a reporter.

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

    May 22, 2009

    In honor of the new Star Trek movie...

    ... I give you this.

    Star Trek

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Really? Again with this idiot?

    Word on the street is that SBOE Chair McLeroy's nom is coming to the floor of the Senate. BOR, Musings (here and here) and Bay Area Houston have coverage up. TFN has this piece. The key quote from it...

    It’s McLeroy who told the New York Times that he sees two systems of science, one “naturalist” and the other “creationist.” It’s McLeroy who has said he wants to redefine science to include supernatural explanations. It’s McLeroy who has strongly endorsed a book that says parents who want their children to learn about evolution are “monsters” and that clergy who see no conflict between their faith and science are “morons.” It’s McLeroy who has said he was one of only “four really conservative, orthodox Christians on the board” who opposed science textbooks in 2003 that didn’t challenge evolution.

    Now, I've never really understood why faith and the world we live in have to collide. I've never had a problem keeping them separate. As you can tell, Dr. McLeroy does have a massive problem differentiating between the two, specifically when it comes to education. Dogmatic religious thought and education are two things that should never mix, yet Dr. McLeroy seems hellbent on putting them together in a cocktail mixer and then shaking the hell out of them. What comes out is a noxious blend of religion mixed into our educational standards that kills education the ability of educators in this state to properly prepare our children for the future.

    Muse has phone numbers for all the Senators here. Give one or more a call and let them know that science should be science and Dr. McLeroy should be doing anything but chairing the State Board tasked with creating educational standards for the children of Texas.

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

    Come on, Lege!

    With 404 and 17 coming to the floor, all you need a little wake up call. You don't want to be on the team with Carona and Nichols.

    OPEN LETTER TO THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE

    Quit putting lipstick on your pig!

    DATELINE MADRID, May 22, 2009 (A day that will go down in infamy?) - It is insulting to impugn Texans' intelligence by pretending that the private toll contract for I-69 (officially called Comprehensive Development Agreement) that both foreign and domestic interests alike are pushing the State to sign is NOT part of the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC). Today, the Texas Legislature may vote to seal its fate as the politicians who sold Texas highways to the highest bidder with its eyes wide open, despite near universal outrage by ordinary Texans.

    You tried to dupe the public into thinking the Trans Texas Corridor is "DEAD," but all we have to do is follow the money to find out your true intentions. As the battle over handing our highways to foreign toll operators has continued to heat-up, some lawmakers have tried to quell their colleagues and their constituents' natural apprehension by making them believe that signing the Trans Texas Corridor contract to privatize our public roadways is simply upgrading Hwy 77 to interstate I-69. But we know better. As long as Rick Perry still occupies the Governor's office, we live by the old adage: "Trust but verify."

    Both TxDOT and the private concessionaire, Iridium/ACS, use I-69 and TTC-69 interchangeably (until the Trans Texas Corridor brand name became radioactive). The official designation by Congress since 1995 calls the project "high priority corridors 18 and 20" and it has referred to it as an international trade corridor. Amendment #2 to SB 17 in committee referred to high priority corridors 18 and 20. The project has also been called "corridor of the future," NAFTA Superhighway, and more. Regardless of the official name, Texans know the TTC when they see it, so quit trying to put lipstick on your pig.

    The news release dated June 26, 2008 from Madrid specifically calls the project the Trans Texas Corridor project I-69/TTC-69 and states ACS will choose the route, develop the timelines, and priority activities for the ENTIRE 1,000 km CORRIDOR for the next 50 years, not simply upgrading Hwy 77 to an interstate in the valley. Hwy 77 is called the "first route."

    The news release further further states:

    1) ACS Infrastructures Development, the North American branch of Iridium, the concession development company of ACS, and the Texan concessionaire Zachry American Infrastructure have become the successful bidders for the design, planning and development, as strategic partners of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), of the I-69/TTC infrastructure corridor for the next 50 years.

    2) The I-69/TTC (Trans Texas Corridor) will connect the Mexican border with the Gulf of Mexico coastline, Houston and major industrial and logistics centres in Texas with the north of the country.

    3) The I-69/TTC development project includes, in its initial design, the construction of a 1,000 kilometre network of highways and roads as well as railway lines. Based on this, ACS and Zachry will draft a Master Plan with the Texas Department of Transportation to establish the priority activities as well as the form and deadlines for their execution.

    4) With the award of this project, ACS and Zachry, the largest construction group in the State of Texas, have become strategic partners of the Texas Department of Transportation and shall propose the development of specific projects and activities for which they will have a preferential negotiation option without public tender.

    5) In fact, the consortium is already considering the renewal of a first route whose concession will be negotiated with the Texas Department of Transportation, the US 77, which shall include the construction of a series of highways under concession regime connecting to it and which shall require an investment of 2,500 million dollars.

    DO NOT vote to re-authorize CDAs. SB 404 and SB 17 are mere window dressing for the Trans Texas Corridor and the sale of our public highways, our lifelines for daily living, to foreign interests. Texans don't want it, and are hopping mad the Legislature is still pursuing this despite the public outcry. I have not met ONE Texan who is FOR this (notwithstanding the highway lobby). Texans won't soon forget paying homage to Cintra or ACS to get to work for the next 50 YEARS! It's simply, UN-Texan!

    Terri Hall is the Founder of Texas TURF. TURF is a non-partisan grassroots group of citizens concerned about toll road policy and the Trans Texas Corridor. TURF promotes non-toll transportation solutions. For more information, please visit their web site at: www.TexasTURF.org.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Voter ID Bill is the Catalyst for all others

    And so it comes to light...

    Voter ID Bill is the Catalyst for all others


    That's the game the GOP is playing with our tax dollars in Texas. If you want other bills to get approved agree first to the Voter ID bill.

    Despicable politics!

    P

    Posted by pstern at 10:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Stop me if you've heard this one before

    Senator Nichols and Senator Carona walk into a bar with some guy from Zachry. They immediately make a deal with the owner to take a cover at the door in exchange for a large cash payment up front. They then start collecting a pretty high cover at the door and soon the owner realizes that the payment he took up front doesn't really make up for the lost business. Worse, the agreement he signed states that he has to pay THEM in the event that there aren't enough people willing to pay the cover.

    OK, so it's not a really funny joke but it's pretty close to what's going on in the Lege with privatization. SB's 17 and 404 come to the House today for (what we hope) will be a one time only performance. We also hope they'll be booed out by the members. Or, at least, the House Democrats.

    Because I want to beat the hell out of the Republicans with this vote next year. Feel free to contact your Rep and ask them to vote no...

    512-463-4630 and ask for your State Representative OR email them at firstname.lastname@house.state.tx.us

    And yes, for those of you in the Lege, this DOES override the privatization moratorium. Forget what you've heard from Senators Nichols and Carona.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    A Quarter BILLION Dollars For Frigging Bike Lanes?

    This is fucking insane.

    According to the city, less than 1 percent of people in Austin ride their bikes to work.

    Under the updated bike plan, the city wants 5 percent of people to ride their bikes to work.

    The other ninety-five percent will be praying that the bikers' desks are all downwind.

    A better use for the money would be to build a giant abattoir at the end of the Town Lake Bike Bridge to Nowhere and eliminate the bike problem once and for all.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 08:26 AM | TrackBack

    May 21, 2009

    America's Health Care Crisis

    Americans are Crumbling Under Excessive Health Care Premium Costs

    - by Peter Stern


    Is it too late to help Americans? Is the damage done?

    According to a report by Families USA, April 2009 it is urgent that health care must be made more affordable for all families, regardless of income.

    The diagnosis from the report outlines a dismal view of the current health care system:


    "Long before the current economic crisis began, Americans were already straining under the burden of two related trends: shrinking coverage and rising health care costs. Over the last decade, millions of Americans have joined the ranks of the uninsured, and millions more have become underinsured as the value of their coverage has declined. At the same time, health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs have risen steadily, and the number of families who are facing unmanageably high health care costs has grown. Left unchecked, health care costs will keep going up, forcing more and more American families into debt—and even into bankruptcy and foreclosure.

    To better understand the magnitude of the health care cost crisis, Families USA commissioned The Lewin Group to analyze data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Census Bureau that reveal how many Americans face very high health care costs. This analysis allowed us to determine how many non-elderly people are in families that will spend more than 10 percent of their pre-tax income, and more than 25 percent of their pre-tax income, on health care in 2009.

    Our analysis paints a stark picture: Nearly one in four Americans under the age of 65—some 64.4 million people—will spend more than 10 percent of their family income on health care in 2009. The vast majority of these people (82.6 percent) have health insurance. And 18.7 million non-elderly Americans—more than three-quarters of whom have health insurance—are in families that will spend more than 25 percent of their income on health care in 2009."



    To read more about this report and its findings, see the article:


    The amazing, if not disgusting, point is that health care premiums have risen more than 6 times faster than wages. Add to that the increasing number of unemployed Americans and also companies who have stopped or cut-back on covering their employees and you have a major contagion of an escalating number of Americans who 1) are not insured, 2) can no longer afford to maintain their coverage and 3) are paying up to 30 percent of their pre-taxed income to keep their family insured.

    You don't have to be Einstein to determine that the negative forces have cancelled the worth and success of our health care system and that another more affordable health care system is needed.

    Will lawmakers and the health care industry learn quickly enough, or will we soon have a similar as occurred within the financial sector, another decay of one of our infrastructures? What happens to private insurance when the government must provide alternative health care services to all those Americans to whom the current antiquated health care system crumbles to the Earth in a pile of dust?

    Apparently, Americans will not have to wait too long to find out.

    .

    Posted by pstern at 08:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    This should really be the theme music to The Bad Girls Club

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The Republican Party of Texas... completely in the bag for privatization interests

    SB 855 is up today which will allow the state to index the gas tax and give MPOs the ability to raise the local gas tax within their area by no more than 10 cents per gallon. The Republican Party is, of course, panicking.

    While it's true no one likes their taxes increased, EVERYONE realizes we need roads. Lots of them and we need to improve the ones we have. Everyone, except the Republican Party of Texas, realizes that roads cost money. Well, that's not true... the R's realize roads cost money. That's why they want to sell off your roads, convert them to toll and then build more toll roads with the proceeds.

    That's called progress, friend. At least here in Texas they call it progress. In other states, they call it 'extortion' and 'political corruption'.

    Just to show you how stupid this is... the RPT claims this increase, which won't be a full 25 cents anyway (I know, shocking that the Republican Party of Texas would lie. It's almost as disappointing as finding out that Santa's not real or that the bartender you've been flirting with all night and thought was flirting back, bats for the other team), will cost jobs and cause costs to go up. Which is funny because the last time we increased the gas tax, the State of Texas boomed for a decade. And D's controlled the Legislature.

    Take a moment to think about that. The last time the State did really well economically was when we had a Democratic Legislature.

    The Republicans also failed to mention that the gas tax per mile would be less than a penny. Under some of their plans, it would be as much as $1.00 in toll taxes. PER MILE.

    Call 512-463-4630, ask for your State Rep and ask them to please vote YES on SB 855.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    ...And leading the charge against health care reform is...

    ...none other than Rick Scott, the disgraced former CEO of Columbia/HCA. It always makes me feel good when people who were forced out by shareholders (oh, I don't know... CARLY FIORINA is an example, if you press me for one) rise up to yet again foul public debate with nonsense.

    Seriously, am I the only shareholder who'd like to gut the managerial class? Or, at the very least, the compensation committee's that keep giving our wealth to assholes like Fiorina and Scott? This dovetails rather nicely with Scott whose service at Columbia/HCA almost demolished the company. Now he feels like he's an expert on health care. Now, I won't quarrel that he's an expert at losing shareholder equity. But health care? Dbag can't even quote accurate stats on the number of doctors that take medicare/medicaid.

    Rick currently runs a network of storefront quack shacks which helps explain why he's against health care reform. If we do something to fix health care, Rick's little enterprise dies. Glenn Smith nails it...

    I jumped Rick Scott for the obvious. He's a crook. He helped cause the health care crisis. Turning to him for a solution would be like turning to Bernie Madoff to solve the economic crisis. Scott claims a public health care plan will ration care and put bureaucrats in charge of our health care. I said the obvious, today it's un-accountable, un-elected, invisible private insurance accountants and pencil-pushers who are in charge of our lives, our health.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 20, 2009

    Roundin' Up The TPA

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

    At Bluedaze, TXsharon asks: What are the chances that an industry in charge of conducting its own testing to determine waste disposal methods will find toxin levels too high if that means disposal of the waste will be more
    costly? Landfarms: Spreading Toxic Drilling Waste on Farmland. With VIDEO.

    BossKitty at TruthHugger sees lessons never learned ... it is NOT about religion, ya'll! How does it fit that US Military crusader evangelists want to save these souls right before we blow them away. How can we justify putting Mulims on death row, by their own people, just because we convinced them to become APOSTATES?! General Order Number One, Forbid Proselytizing – Evangelists Cannot Protect Murtads - Wars fought using 12th century religious mentality means that civilization has made two steps backwards!

    Mean Rachel is reminded on Mother's Day of children, the lack thereof and why The Pill should be available over the counter.

    CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know how can Rick Perry brag about how well Texas is doing when over 22% of our children face hunger every day?

    Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News showed a video from the Texas
    Freedom Network
    of our own Texas Department of Miseducation in action.

    WhosPlayin covered the Denton County Democrats' election of a new County Chair, after previous chairman Neil Durrance resigned to run for U.S. Congress in District 26 in 2010.

    The bad news is that unemployment keeps rising in Texas. The good news is that means there's more federal stimulus money available for unemployment insurance, if the Lege and Governor Perry take it. Off the Kuff has the details.

    WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the latest stunt by our member of Congress, AusChron asks a question about Rep. John Carter - is he a nutball?

    Neil at Texas Liberal is very glad that the left won a big election victory in India, Strong Victory For Center-Left Congress Party In India—World’s Two Largest Democracies Now Firmly Reject Conservatives, and that now the world's two largest democracies have firmly rejected conservatives.

    Harry Balczak is a little upset. Come by McBlogger so you to can understand how much he hates the idea of Texas becoming so $%@*$%%^ puritanical.

    John Coby at Bay Area Houston says it is Time to Sunset Bob Perry's Builder Commission.

    This week Teddy at Left of College Stationcovers President Obama’s decision to continue to use the Bush Administration “con-missions” to prosecute detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Also, Wednesday Teddy will be a co-host of Biased Transmission, a progressive talk radio show on the community radio station 89.1FM KEOS. This week Jim Olson, Texas A&M University Senior Lecturer and CIA-Officer-in-Residence, will return to the show to discuss the “enhanced interrogations” used during the Bush Administration.

    Over at TexasKaos, liberaltexan takes on the Obama administration's decision to continue the military Con-Missions. He seems to believe we should, like, trust our own judicial institutions and not make up new, untested ones with no demonstration of necessity or superiority.. See his diary, President Obama to Continue Con-Missions…

    Xanthippas at Three Wise Men takes heed of journalist Ahmed Rashid's warnings about Pakistan, which teeters on the brink of chaos.

    Good ol' boy Gene Green got real scared by some progressive activists who came to his office this past week. PDiddie recounted the poor Congressman's terror at Brains and Eggs.

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

    As you can imagine...

    ...I'm crying some really super big tears right now. Huge ones. Really.

    Just a couple of things...

    1) We have a ban on smoking in even bars and restaurants here in Austin. It passed with barely 52%. Still, the most popular places are ones that have either ignored the ban or have patios.

    2) If you go to a bar or a restaurant that's abnormally smokey and you don't like smoke, why on earth would you go back?

    3) Same thing if you're a non-smoking employee of a bar... seriously? It's not like tending bar or waiting on tables is a skill dependent on working at a particular bar or restaurant.

    I like going to places that, like The Bar In Midtown The Name Of Which Shall Not Be Repeated, allow smoking. Others do not and I usually don't invite those people out when I'm going. That's my choice and theirs. I will never understand why it can't be left to that... choice.

    Oh and this one little bit of hyperbole caught my eye...

    Advocacy groups like Smoke Free Texas vows to continue their fight as they look forward to the 2011 session. "Two years from now, when the Legislature returns," Smoke Free Texas member and government relations director for the Texas High Plains Division of the American Cancer Society James Gray said in a statement, "more states will be smoke-free, more Texas communities will have passed local moke-free ordinances - and thousands more Texans will be ill or dead from secondhand smoke exposure."

    Oh, fuckall James.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 19, 2009

    Shut the door on Bob Perry and his TRCC

    The Texas Residential Construction Commission has been, since it's inception, an absolute disaster. So why is Rep. McClendon trying to save it?

    In response to the concerns of the Sunset Commission, House Bill 2295 by Representative McClendon (D-San Antonio) has been filed. According to the rules of the Sunset Commission, if this “sunset” bill is not signed into law, the TRCC will be abolished. The bill has passed the House and is currently lingering in the Senate with time running out in the legislative session. ... HB2295 continues to deceive. The bill calls for licensing of home builders, but exempts over 28,000 builders currently registered with the TRCC. The licensing oversight will be controlled by the TRCC an agency with 6 years of failure, instead of by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation with 100 years of outstanding service and experience in oversight. And the requirements for licensing are nothing more than paying a fee, taking 8 hours of training, and passing a test administered by the inexperienced TRCC.

    The mandatory State Sponsored Inspection and Resolution Process (SIRP), a process to help mediate complaints, continues to be a convoluted, complicated, legal nightmare that requires legal assistance to navigate. The bill offers an optional, extremely expensive mediation process chock full of legal loopholes that will do more harm than good for the consumer. The bill also reduces the time required to complete the SIRP, but does nothing to reduce its overwhelming complexity and legal ramifications.

    John Coby has more over at Bay Area Houston... it's time to put this miserable excuse for a regulatory agency to death and give homeowners full access to the courts.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    ACTION ALERT - Keep The Privatization Moratorium

    Once again, we have to call up to the Lege... the Cap switchboard is 512-463-4630 and ask for your State Representative. When someone in their office answers please let them know your name and that you're calling to ask the Representative to VOTE NO ON SB 404 AND SB 17.

    Please follow up with an email to them using the following format firstname.lastname@house.state.tx.us.

    Take 30 seconds to make sure that TXDOT can't sell our roads!

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Oh... this is why indexing of the gas tax will fail...

    No, it's not because it won't bring in enough money (it will... at least as long as we continue to use liquid fuels), in point of fact indexing the gas tax will actually fill the funding hole at TXDOT without raping tax payers and will help control the prices charged by contractors since it will tie the funding to actual costs, not inflated prices.

    But, alas, it won't pass, because of these folks: Texas Public Policy Foundation, Texas Eagle Forum, Texans for Fiscal
    Responsibility, Americans for Prosperity, and the Free Market Foundation.

    Legislation approved by the committee during the past 24 hours--House Bill 9 and Senate Bill 855--permits a 15-cent statewide increase of the gas tax within 10 years, as well as a new 10-cent-per-gallon local gas tax. This represents a potential 25-cent increase per gallon, on top of the current 20-cent gas tax--a whopping 125 percent increase within 10 years. While these measures require voter approval, the organizations listed above reject the flawed notion that requiring voter approval makes this measure acceptable.

    Now, these groups are all about the crazy. For one thing, you can tell that's the case by the last sentence in which they decide that just because we, the voters, WANT this it's still not OK. They also seem to think there are endless streams of money available from the taxes we already pay and that, somehow, just eliminating waste will do the trick. Now, I won't argue there is waste in government... there is waste in ANY human endeavor, private or public. However, it won't give you enough money to do anything significant. Period. Cutting, say, $100 mn from the state budget just isn't going to get us a rebuilt 35 Freeway. Sorry. Actually, in Texas today, it really won't pay for much since many of our cities have larger budgets. That's like the budget for a 4A school district.

    But thanks y'all for trying.

    These groups all, at one point or another, supported privatization and toll taxes, which are the ultimate redistribution of wealth. Most of them still do, though we've heard that Cathy over at the Eagle Forum has found the light and decided that we shouldn't privatize. We'll definitely believe that when we see it. The reality, as most of these folks know but won't acknowledge, is that indexing the gas tax won't even restore the buying power the tax had in 1992. All it will do is keep it from losing value going forward. However, that hasn't stopped Peggy Venable from going for a dip in the deep end...

    "These bills permit a 125 percent increase in the gasoline taxes paid by Texas drivers," said Peggy Venable, Director of Americans for Prosperity-Texas. "Legislators are holding onto the false notion that by requiring voter approval they are absolving themselves of the reality that this permits a colossal tax increase that is going to impose a tremendous burden on Texas families and businesses.

    That's still better than the 1000% increase that tolls and privatization will give us. Oh, and just for Peggy, a little lesson in inflation... If you tax something at a constant rate (say, I don't know, 18 cents per gallon of gasoline) inflation will eventually eat up the spending power represented by that 18 cents. Basically, the entity receiving the tax money loses buying power and the consumers paying the tax actually see the tax, as a percentage of their income, DECREASE.

    All indexing the gas tax is going to do is hold the value of the tax stable so that TXDOT can actually build some roads and taxpayers won't get drowned paying more than $1.00 per mile in toll taxes.

    As for allowing the locals to decide their tax rate, these folks are scared to death that their anti-tax screeds are finally beginning to smell like the bullshit from which they are made. Most people aren't anti-tax, they just don't want their money wasted. Like it is on 39%'s slush fund which, it should be noted, is supported by these folks and is pulling taxpayer money away from far more necessary objectives. Now, you have to ask yourselves, why these folks all have their panties in a twist over a minor increase in the gas tax which won't even restore it to the spending power it had in the 1990's and not upset at all about 39%'s slush fund which has done dickall to create jobs in this state.

    I'm sick of so-called public policy groups that fall over themselves to screw tax payers and try to hide their agendas (and those of their masters) behind a facade of caring about the people of this State who, year after year, get screwed by the bad ideas they shill for. And I'm sure as hell not going to listen to an asshat like Peggy Venable who has never even had a real job to speak of, at least not one in private enterprise. All I could find about her was that she's spent most of her life working in government in positions that were, wait for it, funded by taxpayers. The same government she says is too big and intrusive. I wonder if it was when she was a part of it.

    Finally, EOW reminded me of this post about the gas tax vs. toll taxes. I also wanted to point to some of the pieces we've done on TXDOT's funding gap projection (the difference between money available for infrastructure vs. the needed project costs). As this debate has gone on, year after seemingly endless year, no one seems to be having the discussion regarding the politicization of TXDOT by 39% and their outright lies about their funding needs. I thought sunset would finally provide that opportunity but no one stepped up to have that discussion. So infrastructure, the most important issue in our state right now and the foundation of our economy, is taking a back seat to voter ID and the other petty, stupid and childish issues that folks like Peggy Venable are dumb enough to think are important.


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

    May 18, 2009

    2010 Texas Gubernatorial Election

    Gov. Rick Perry Does NOT Deserve a 3rd Term

    Will Perry Finally Hit the Road?


    During the past 7 years of his reign Gov. Perry mercilessly and maliciously has "flim-flammed" the good people of Texas.

    Perry is another leader in power with political muscle and clout who abuses and takes advantage of his position and of hardworking Texans. And that's exactly what Perry has done since the first day he took over George Walker Bush's place in the Governor's Mansion when the latter evacuated Texas for Washington D.C.

    During the past 7 years Gov. Rick "Special Interest" Perry did NOT lift a finger to help hardworking Texans. In fact, he did a lot to hurt them -- where it REALLY hurts -- in their wallets!

    So, you may say, "What did Perry do that was so bad?"

    Well, here you go! read further...
    .

    · Perry promised to help homeowners get relief from high taxes; however, during the past 7 years property taxes have sky-rocketed more than 800 percent for homeowners in some districts

    · Perry promised to help Texas homeowners with high insurance costs; however, 4 years ago home insurance premiums doubled overnight due to lax legislation and officials looking the other way and currently Texans pay the highest premiums in the nation

    · When home insurance premiums doubled, the governor and [at that time] Texas Insurance Commissioner Jose Montemayor and later current TDI Commission Mike Geeslin promised to force the insurance industry to reimburse homeowners at least 10 percent of the recent 100 percent jump in costs -- has anyone gotten a check back from an insurance company -- except for the industry's campaign contributions to our special interest officials?

    · Approximately 4 years ago, the governor put on his 10-gallon white Stetson and "galloped" around Texas pushing legislation to eliminate "frivolous" medical malpractice lawsuits with the promise that doing so would lower medical and health care costs; however, after voters took him for his word and voted for the legislation costs are still high and are continuing to rise

    · Four years ago Perry cut important social services, including children's healthcare, to balance the state budget; one year later, he replaced some of the funding for these programs while boasting that he increased health care tax dollars for more Texas children --- Perry's claim was bogus!

    · During the first few years of his gubernatorial career Perry resolutely proclaimed that public education was NOT in crisis -- two years later, under severe public pressure, he admitted there was a financing problem and called for two special sessions on public education that went nowhere; part of the reason that nothing was accomplished was Perry's poor leadership

    · Perry illogically wanted to finance public education with taxes on "Gentlemen's Clubs" and neither Republicans nor Democrats voted to do so

    · Year after year Perry and "his band of merry legislators" have diverted more of the state's responsibility to finance education onto local county governments, who in turn placed the burden onto already struggling homeowners

    · Why did Perry promise Texans that deregulating the electric industry would translate into less costly monthly electric bills from a more competitive industry? In reality, currently monthly electric costs for Texans are the highest ever in the state's history

    · Perry promised that ALL businesses will pay a FAIR business tax that would replace the antiquated, unfair and loop-holed Business Franchise Tax; however; in truth many small businesses are being targeted unfairly and are overburdened by the new business tax and still these taxes do NOT provide a fair share of revenue to finance public education

    · Perry, legislators and appointed officials promoted a Teacher Incentive Plan to focus on getting students to pass the state exam(s) as the measure of success; our children are NOT commodities on an assembly line and such a ludicrous piece-work pay incentive is an insult to teachers and their honorable profession -- furthermore, if the state provided teachers with a more professional and reasonable salary with adequate benefits there would be no economic reason to provide extra perks via an incentive program that won't work for educating our children

    · Four years ago, after forcing teachers to accept pay cuts and the loss many of their health and retirement benefits, Perry and officials returned a small share of that money and claimed they increased teacher pay an average of $2,000 per teacher --- another bogus claim by Perry!

    · Perry lobbied for deregulating higher education with the promise that it would lower tuition costs; after the legislation was passed by voters, the University of Texas has increased tuition at least 4 times and is considering another increase --- other colleges and universities followed suit and currently tuition continues to increase

    · Perry continues to promise Texans "NO NEW TAXES," but continues to push his toll road agenda --- what are toll roads if not new taxes? In addition, Perry maintained the freeze on gasoline taxes and gave TxDOT his approval to spend tax dollars however it needed to push toll roads. TxDOT became a runaway state agency and was provided omnipotent powers by Perry's legislative cohorts. In addition, gas tax revenues still are being diverted to other interests, including higher education institutions and the Department of Public Safety. Gasoline tax revenue must be used to build and maintain our roadways!

    Overall, Gov. Rick Perry has been "a VERY bad man" for most Texans and their families. The Governor's wealthy campaign contributors and big business constituents have made higher profits and more money by abusing the pockets of most Texans.

    Currently Perry is supporting and approving what he deems "positive" things, e.g., more affordable low income housing, freeing up some tax dollars so low income folks can get homes, creating some jobs here and there, and he even mouthed-off about secession from the U.S. --- although he did a quick turn-around on that public statement.

    "So," you may say, "what's wrong with that?"

    Well, I'll tell you ----

    The former comedienne and actress Mae West once defined a "Fox is a Wolf bringing gifts." This definition may be applied to our governor's self-proclaimed efforts on behalf of the people of Texas.

    Remember, 2010 is a reelection year for Gov. Rick Perry. With only 17 months left of his term as governor, he is already feeling the pressure by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's efforts to win in the GOP Primary. Perry has nothing to lose and has everything to gain by driving home this "Good Governor" impression in the people's minds just before the election.

    The circus magnate P.T. Barnum stated that, "There's a sucker born every minute." And that exactly is what our governor is hoping... that the majority of Texans are suckers.

    In November 2010 voters need to make a strong statement to the governor. We know what he has and has not accomplished during his lackluster 7-year reign.

    We know all the promises he made to us and how few he has honored.

    We know how his poor leadership of the Texas Legislature has hurt hardworking Texans and their families.

    But most of all, we are NOT suckers!

    We must NOT permit Perry to scam another 4-year term that will cause further harm to future generations of Texans.

    It's time to "Make Perry take a Hike!" Sounds like a great bumper-sticker!


    ***

    - by Peter Stern

    Posted by pstern at 07:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    A different view on drug legalization

    I've long been a fan of legalizing most narcotics, not because I want to use them but because it would cut down on crime and violence related to narocotrafficking. Here's a well done counterpoint to that idea.

    There may be good reasons for legalizing some or all drugs, and in a libertarian vacuum perhaps there is a compelling case that individuals should be free to ingest whatever poisons their mind and bodies desire provided that the government is not required to pick up the costs from the inevitable wreckage in their addicted lives. However, the notion that legalization will remove the involvement of the drug cartels and other organized crime groups simply is preposterous.

    The fact is that not only did the repeal of Prohibition fail to eliminate the Mafia in America but it failed even to eliminate the role of the Mafia in the liquor business. For decades after Prohibition organized crime groups controlled neighborhood bars, liquor distributors and licensing boards. Indeed, just last February federal prosecutors in New York City indicted several members and associates of the Genovese crime family for allegedly taking "an ownership interest in a Manhattan bar after its owner could not keep up with weekly interest payments on a series of loans totaling approximately $100,000," and "transporting across state lines eighteen cases of premium vodka that they understood to be stolen." Moreover, from the 1930s through the 1980s there were violent struggles involving murders and arson within and among the Mafia families in American cities for control of the liquor and bar businesses which further provide opportunities for illicit money laundering, drug distribution and profit skimming operations.

    Yeah, I'm not so much sold. For one thing, there is far more legitimate activity now in the liquor business than illegitimate. That wasn't the case during Prohibition when it was all illegal and the mod controlled much of it. Same thing here. The narcos could not maintain control of a legalized and controlled narcotics industry.

    As for the argument that it would lead to greater numbers of addicts, given the ease of obtaining drugs now, this seems like the most ridiculous arguments to be made. Frankly, not everyone is the same and addicts, regardless of how tough you make it for them to get a fix, are going to get what they 'need'. All you're doing by keeping drugs illegal is maintaining a far-too-large prison population and enriching some very nasty people.

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

    May 17, 2009

    In which he drops Phil Gramm in the grease...

    Thank you, Prof. Galbraith. While I may disagree with you on the value of reduced documentation loans (which DO make sense in limited situations), this entire piece is largely spot on.

    And the Lyceum is retarded for giving Dick Armey a platform to speak. The man is a lunatic and a moron, even more so than the ridiculous Phil Gramm. It's not so much that I mind people who disagree with me as much as I really fucking hate people who are extraordinarily stupid yet speak as though they know what they are talking about.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 16, 2009

    ALL the time I'm doing this at 2 am

    Photobucket

    What? Don't look at me that way. I was referring to calling a cab. Dumbass.

    (Flickr via Queerty)

    Posted by mcblogger at 05:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 15, 2009

    Asshole Pedestrians With Carts

    In honor of Bike Back To Your Office While Suffering From Shitty Food day, the rest of us here at McBlogger Enterprises would like to commemorate this day with a new series- Asshole Pedestrians with Carts. Specifically homeless pedestrians. Angry ones.

    While others might have to suffer through a few more excruciatingly long seconds to take a right hand turn by driving on the shoulder illegally where the bicyclists are trying to stay out of the way and letting the rest of the traffic tool by at 70mph... and others have to suffer from drivers using those asshat bluetooth devices... some of us have to suffer from attacks by homeless pedestrians who ram their motherfucking carts into our bicycles on the sidewalk.

    Like tonight, somewhere around 5th and San Jacinto when a homeless, dare we say, strung out woman did not like the fact that we were idling on the sidewalk corner FOLLOWING THE LAW TO WAIT FOR THE LIGHT TO CHANGE.

    Quote: "Why are you trying to buy candy in the ghetto? Sitting all high and mighty on your bike, I'll motherfucking run you over Big Chief!"

    And then proceeded to RAM MY BIKE with her wild eyes and cart. WTF??? Ghetto? Candy? BIG CHIEF??

    God DAMMIT asshole pedestrians with their carts. Next time I'm gonna run them over.

    homelesscart.jpg

    Posted by spamburgler at 09:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Douchebags in Cars!

    In recognition of National Bike to Work Day, we here at McBlogger Enterprises are proud to unveil our latest feature, Douchebag in Cars, or DICs. This feature will highlight those special drivers who have conspired to make our world a shittier place, from fucking up our planet with greenhouse gas and smog emissions, to contributing to the epidemic of obesity that causes 80% of our population to be totally unfuckable, and to causing us to get involved in $3 trillion wars over oil. Oh yeah, and there's that torture thing.


    dics.jpg


    Today's specimen is a special type of douchebag (in car), the gelled dude with a bluetooth headset. Versatile, this creature is able to reach heights of douchiness in all environments, but in a car he is especially dangerous. Jetting down the street at 80 mph with the top down and a hooker's mouth on his cock, this DIC is oblivious to the toddler on a trike he ran over 3 blocks ago. His only concern is that onlookers realize that he is kind of a big deal. Experts recommend that if you should encounter a gelled dude with a bluetooth headset, he can be neutralized only with heavy doses of Huey Lewis and the News.


    Don't forget to join us for next week's DIC, Compensating Redneck in Monster Pick-up Truck!

    Posted by The Mean Green at 04:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Mom Celebrity Translator

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

    How much is enough?

    Take a deep breath, go pour yourself a drink and read this article over at the Observer on payday lending.

    Aren't you glad I made you get the drink? The thing is this... how much is enough? These are the ultimate in secured loans, secured either by an auto title or a postdated check from the borrower. There's little if any chance the borrower will default especially in the case of the check because the next step for a dishonored check is the county attorney. Still, our electeds have allowed these companies to charge interest that would, frankly, make even Satan blush. And session after session, the Lege let's it happen.

    Well, the REPUBLICANS in the Lege let it happen. The few Democrats who love the payday people could easily be shamed into signing off on regulation. The Republicans, obviously, can not.

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

    May 14, 2009

    Assholes On Bikes!

    I am extremely pleased to be able to bring you a new feature, Assholes On Bikes. There are some of you who will, no doubt be a little offended by this. What's awesome about that is that I don't care! This is a feature that will give you, the reader, an up-close look at the people who choose pedal power over horsepower... and usually manage to fuck up my day in one way or another. Up first, these two dbags. They were riding on 360, on the shoulder, and held me up from making a turn for 20 seconds.

    asshole on a bike1.jpg

    Petty? Fuck yeah it is! That's McB, bitch!

    Lookit, it's not that I hate cyclists. It's that I'm pissed as hell you guys choose to ignore the rules the rest of us, in cars and on foot, have to observe. Sure it's not all of you but it's so many of you that, frankly, we can't tell the difference. Actually, I guess we can put the blame on the 'pro' cyclists dressed as billboards who, for one reason or another, can't be bothered to actually stop at stop signs because it will break their fantasy of being Lance The Shitheel in the Tour de Shitty Country In Europe.

    Vive le retard!

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Roundin' Up The TPA

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

    The city of DISH, TX is one of several municipalities that have already adopted a resolution calling for the repeal of Big Oil's exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act. TXsharon gives DISH a high-five and hopes your group, organization, club, city or county will do the same, at

    CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad the internets have Texas Progressive Alliance! The Republicans have their house of cards and a batsh*t crazy base.

    BossKitty at TruthHugger sees danger in the watered down, dumbed down attempt to educate students by committee. Sanitized History, Truth or Consequences is an example of why education needs serious attention.

    Houston political reporter Jane Ely passed away this week. PDiddie collected some recollections of her life at Brains and Eggs.

    WhosPlayin was totally absorbed in the municipal elections in Lewisville, and was glad to see conservative radio talk host Winston Edmondson soundly defeated by 30 points in his bid to turn Lewisville into the next Farmers Branch.

    Is it a good idea to give TXDOT it's own taxpayer funded investment bank? Yeah, McBlogger doesn't think so, either.

    Over at TexasKaos, lightseeker thinks it is time to reconsider moral absolutism in politics. He talks about how Obama made progress on this issue nationally and how his tatics may apply in Texas. Check out his posting:Moral Absolutism and Politics - What Obama's Victory Has to Say to Texas Progressives

    Off the Kuff takes a look at the latest polls in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

    WCNews at Eye On Williamson has a wrap-up of the action taken on the TxDOT Sunset bill in the House last week, CDA/PPP’s kicked to House Transportation Committee.

    Neil at Texas Liberal writes that using Twitter in politics may well have the effect of further isolating a narrow elite from the larger mass of folks.

    Vince at Capitol Annex discusses the rightwing's email lobbying campaign against legislation that would have subjected the State Board of Education to Sunset review provisions.

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

    A *&$!@# Proposal

    Well You People are at it again. It seems like every time I check the news, some do-gooder wants to ban smoking everywhere, always; or lower the legal intoxication BAC threshold to "any"; or levy a surcharge on establishments profiting from the viewing of nekkid breastesses. But what's really rich is how You People always make it into a fiscal issue instead of just admitting you want to legislate a return to Puritanism.

    This week, the designated pinata of vice appears to be smokeless tobacco. The Lege is kicking around the idea of taxing into oblivion all the "Skoal Brothahs" (remember that Earl Campbell commercial back in the day?...No?...just me?...greenhorned whippersnappers, all of you). Proceeds would go toward a program designed to lure more doctors to live and practice in BFE (the original bill said "rural areas" but the committee substitute changed it to "BFE").

    You see the obvious connection there, right? The hinterlands would be utterly lousy with M.D.s but for all the terbackey-chewin' that goes on out there. It is a well-known scientifical fact that people with medical degrees find snuff to be icky, so it's only fair. And if that's not readily apparent to you, you're probably one of those people who goes to a titty bar and ends up sexually assaulting people. Which is why the Lege had to pass the Ta-Ta Tassle Tax a few years ago.

    Now I don't look favorably upon this approach to governing, but it seems i'm in the minority here. So in the spirit of if-you-can't-lick-'em-join-em', i offer a modest proposal: The Texas Swear Jar Act. What this state needs is a goddamn tax on profanity.

    Think about it, if You People have your way, we will have a state full of stone sober, sexually repressed citizens going through tobacco withdrawal. You think they're going to cuss less than they do now? F@#$ No! If we enact the Texas Swear Jar Act, we'll have a budget surplus in no time. This M@#$erF@#$%ing blog post alone could fund social studies textbooks for an entire classroom. S*#@, i'm feeling generous so I'll keep up this @#$@#$%@#$%!#$% commentary. There - that little tirade just bought a new !@#$!@# T.V. for one of the prison rec rooms in Huntsville. I'm sure those poor F@#$%ers in prison appreciate it and I feel a lot better having gotten something off my chest.

    My fellow A@$holes, Harry Balczak asks you to write your legislators today to urge passage of the Texas Swear Jar Act forthwith. Our state's roads, prisons, parks and schools need your help. Indeed, the G@#D@#$ schoolchildren of Texas are counting on us. We can't let those little F@#$ers down, can we?

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

    May 13, 2009

    CSHB 9, HJR 9 or whatever we're calling it at this point

    CSHB 9, the gas tax bill everyone is excited about (here's the DMN and FWST coverage) isn't all it's cracked up to be...

    First off, the bill diverts money from the gas tax to rail with little or no oversight. Will the projects pull traffic off our congested roads? Who knows. Obviously, no one will have a problem with building rail that increases net capacity on our roads. However, there's nothing here to make sure that happens, clearing the way for RMA vanity projects, funded by the gas tax, which do little to alleviate congestion.

    Section 222.073 is where the fun really begins... it puts the extra money raised with the local option gas tax into the Texas Infrastructure bank and some private banks, to maximize 'private participation' and leverage public money. Which is a back door way of saying 'fund public-private partnerships' or private toll roads. With gas tax revenue. Which is REALLY awesome.

    All this if voters in the counties that make up the MPO vote for as much as a 10 cent increase in the gas tax. Oh, and individual counties can opt out if their voters don't approve, which creates a lovely swiss cheese overlay for increased gas taxes funding projects even in deadbeat counties.

    Wrapped up in all this is a constitutional amendment to index the statewide gas tax which people have been asking for FOREVER. Now, there is a cap maxing out at 5% per year and no higher than 3 cents per biennium, which isn't terrible. However, the focus on the PPI vs. actual construction costs could create problems as construction costs tend to be more volatile than PPI.

    Now, there is something interesting in all that Sen. Carona's office (and the Senator himself) are busy telling every reporter in earshot that there is a prohibition in this legislation that keeps gas tax money from funding PPP's and toll roads. Of course, to this point, no one has been able to find that language in the bill.

    However, the crap about the infrastructure bank was hella easy to find. Oh, and we still have a problem with Carona's bank in that it's a really, really stupid idea. Again, no one in the Senate has any idea how much trouble the folks who will be running this 'bank' can get into. AIG and Lehman didn't either and now they're both broke.

    Are we sure we want to give a very few the power to bankrupt the entire State of Texas? Of course not... so why is the Texas Senate, and more specifically Senators Carona, Nichols and Ogden, so hell bent on doing just that?

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Being social. Eating ice cream.

    Every year, Travis County Constable Bruce Elfant has an ice cream social to raise money for his campaign war chest since there's always the chance that at some point in the distant future he'll draw a Republican opponent. Since that chance is so slim it would make a long shot junky drool, Constable Elfant usually gives the money to a charity, this year it's the Safe Start Fund For Family Drug Treatment (say that three times fast while spinning).

    People from all over the county make ice cream for the event and those who attend vote on their favorite flavor.

    Having won the last TWO




    years,

    I have decided not to compete so as to give one of you other people the opportunity to win. Nice of me, right? The social will be at the AFL-CIO Auditorium @ 1102 Lavaca this Sunday (the 17th for those who are trying to tie dates to days of the week) from 3 to 5. It promises to be an exciting event.


    Posted by mcblogger at 10:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Brilliant, Wanda... simply marvelous!

    While everyone in Washington is running away from Wanda Sykes, we'd like to take a moment to thank her for her brilliant performance. The bit about Limbaugh, which everyone seems so worried about, was hysterical.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 12, 2009

    Take a moment to save your roads

    SB 220 is trapped in the House Transportation Committee... which is exactly where it needs to die. This is the bill that, no joke, makes is EASIER for TXDOT to convert existing highways into toll roads. Please, take a moment to send this message

    Please leave SB 220 in committee. The House just voted for the RIGHT wording, Leibowitz's HB 13 amendment that was successfully attached to the TxDOT Sunset Bill, HB 300. NO to SB 220. Yes to the Leibowitz amendment in HB 300 becoming law.

    To these email addresses...

    craig.chickATspeaker.state.tx.us and house_thcATtexasturf.org

    We have a long way to go until the end of the session to throw a wrench into the privatization of our roads and this is just one more step.

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

    That crying you hear...

    ... is coming from abstinence-only sex ed advocates and those dependent on the funding of abstinence-only sex ed programs. As it turns out, President Obama is an accomplished magician and he performed a trick wherein he made a lot of their funding disappear.

    Because, as it turns out, their programs were worthless.

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

    What do we do with the Unemployed?

    .


    It's a simple question, but....?

    There are millions of unemployed Americans.

    There are millions of Americans on unemployment insurance benefits.

    There are millions of Americans on extended unemployment insurance benefits.

    There are millions of Americans who no longer can receive unemployment insurance benefits.

    So, where are the jobs or additional extended unemployment insurance benefits for these and the millions more who soon will run out of extended benefits?

    What do we do with the Unemployed?


    - Peter Stern

    .

    Posted by pstern at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Getting it exactly wrong...

    WOW. I didn't think anything could top HB 3588 from the 2003 session but HB 300 not only tops it, it exceeds it. We have a lot to cover here including the people on whom you should assign the blame. These folks really need a lot of shame and ridicule heaped upon them. Especially that twerpy Rep. Phillips from Sherman who looks like a junior version of fatass Sen. Carona.

    Rep. Isett and Phillips, with Trans Chair Pickett's blessing, snuck in an amendment to the TXDOT Sunset bill that would extend PPP's well into 2015. Further it would make it easier for TXDOT to privatize our roads, even though there is no way a private entity can run the road cheaper than the State of Texas. Of course, one has to wonder why the hell, if privatization is sooo awesome, we didn't just privatize TXDOT entirely and fire everyone at the Agency? Why leave them intact? Such questions, of course, never get asked because they lead to uncomfortable answers. So do questions about what really is the best way of funding transportation in this state... private or public taxes. The answer is always public taxes. From one of Burka's pieces...

    I received an e-mail from a person who is very familiar with TxDOT’s problems, political and practical. The e-mail made the following points:

    1. Aside from the Trans-Texas Corridor issue, the frustration members feel toward TxDOT is that the agency doesn’t deliver the projects they want.

    2. Both chambers passed budgets that don’t meet TxDOT’s current obligations. The agency says that money for new construction will run out by 2012.

    3. Both chambers have passed bills to increase diversions from gas tax revenue.

    4. Although TxDOT officials have stated repeatedly that gas tax revenue is declining, the Legislature has done nothing (except authorize bonds, which means borrowing money) to seek new revenue.

    The stalemate on this is political. The way to break it is to raise motor fuels taxes, issue bonds based on the revenue, and index the tax to inflation, with a cap on the increase. The governor could break the impasse by coming out for a gasoline tax increase. He’s not going to do it. The governor and the agency continue to press for comprehensive development agreements for toll roads as the funding solution. The Legislature and the public hate the idea of privatizing highways. They are not going to give in to the pressure for more toll roads, especially if it means privatization. This leads to the final point in the e-mail:

    5. At this rate, it doesn’t matter what they do in Sunset, without the money to fund the system, it really doesn’t matter.

    The bill to increase the size of the Trans Commission to 15 elected representatives is actually a good one despite what Burka and the DMN think. In reality, the cause of all this are the appointed commissioners who serve only one master, Governor Perry. They've spent almost a decade working hard to convince the Lege that privatization is the only way we can fund roads. It's worked so well they've even managed to convince a few Democrats like Rep. Pickett and Sen. Watson. Pickett I can understand because from all reports he's so desperate for infrastructure in El Paso he'll blow anyone to get it. I guess we now know that 'anyone' includes lobbyists for privatization interests and leadership at TXDOT. Sen. Watson just wants to be able to write in the Watson Wire that he's doing something (anything!) to alleviate traffic, even if it is going to stick us with a hefty tab for the next 50 years. Needless to say, the appointed commission has been a disaster.

    Also, changing the commission over to three from the Governor and one each from the Speaker and the Lt. Gov doesn't do much in so far as giving people a focus for transportation issues. Rep. Leibowitz's plan does that and creates a far more responsive agency which isn't saying much considering what we have now which is basically a legalized version of the mob.

    Burka did nail it on the final bill though...

    I overlooked one other significant change to the bill (and no doubt there are others). Amendment 134 extended the authority for Comprehensive Development Agreements — that is, privatized roads. The authority was extended to 2015. This was done in spite of representations that the bill would not deal with methods of financing roads. This was a breach of faith with the overwhelming majority of members who have concerns about TxDOT. The Senate should substitute the original Sunset bill for the House bill and start over.

    Now the focus shifts to the Senate where a bunch of bills are coming up...including the awesome one to turn TXDOT into a combo of Lehman and AIG. The bills are SB 220, 404, 1350 and 1669. Every one of them should be defeated but probably won't because the D's in the Senate are overwhelmed by Sen. Nichols' limited intellect and Sen. Carona's fatness. Which says a lot about them. Of course, it says far more about the Republicans in the Senate, a massive collection of cowards and ego maniacs (and egomaniacal cowards). Speaking of, where's Dan Patrick? For someone up everyone's ass on his insipid little radio show, you'd think he'd be railing against the fact that if all this passes Texans are going to get a far larger tax bill than that which would accompany an indexed gas tax. And that's without even counting the sure to materialize losses from the enhancements written by the Transportation Revolving Fund.

    The ultimate in foolishness are the idiots in the Lege who have convinced themselves that privatization is the only way. And to this group of uncritical thinkers, my thanks. With your ignorance and my GS stock, I'll be able to retire right about the time things really go off the rails here in Texas and move to a state where the electeds are a little less clueless.

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

    May 11, 2009

    Making Nice

    President Obama is working even greater cooperation between the US, Afghanistan (the parts the Taliban doesn't control) and Pakistan (the parts the Taliban doesn't control).

    Which is good and hopefully lead to another post about Afghanistan and Pakistan that doesn't require the parenthetical parts.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Jury Doodie

    Apparently, the wheel of fortune has turned onto me once more and it's time for me to do my civic duty and sit in judgment of one of my fellow citizens.

    Or, find a way to get out of it.

    Apparently, I can appear online via Second Life avatar OR I can show up IRL about a week from now. I'm also thrilled that I don't have to go downtown for this. I am not thrilled that, once more, there will be no bar and no smoking lounge. Needless to say, I'm giving 6:1 odds on the victory of 'show up online' vs. 'go in person' both of which are even now engaged in a no-rules cage match in my head.

    Seriously, I'm hardly the person you want in a jury box (aren't you terribly proud of me for not making a box joke?). Just sayin' this may be one of those rare instances when people who shuffle around in slippers and talk to their cats may be better suited to the task. After all, I'm sure they've seen FAR more Law and Order than I have.

    Anyone have ideas as to which (OL v. IRL) is more likely to get me outta this?

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Going Coleman

    Shortly after Election Day 2008, Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, whom early returns gave a narrow lead, urged his opponent Al Franken to concede and save the taxpayers the expense of a legally-mandated recount. Of course, as the post-election counting and recounting and challenges proceeded, it was Franken who collected the most votes. Now it's Coleman who's decided that maybe this democracy thing isn't such a hot idea after all and is dragging the matter out in the courts, hoping perhaps that an errant asteroid will smash into the planet before Al Franken can be seated.

    It is extremely disconcerting that the first reaction coming out of the Leffingwell camp to the Saturday election results was that Brewster McCracken should concede and save the taxpayers the expense of a runoff election. Now, I don't blame Leffingwell for wanting to avoid a runoff. He does have a commanding lead, falling just three points short of grabbing the brass ring. But there are some funny things about Austin politics. Turnout usually falls dramatically for runoff elections. It's certainly not unknown for the supporters of the leader in the general election to decide that their guy has it "in the bag" and not bother to show up at the polls a second time. (Just ask Margot Clarke about 2005.) What about the citizens who voted for Carole Strayhorn? Do we just conclude "they're just Republicans who would never vote for any Democrat" and scratch them off the list?

    No. This is America, and we decide these things by voting. Our City Charter requires that our Mayor be elected by a majority of the votes cast and we should live up to that. Shame---SHAME---on those who tell us that democracy is just an expensive boondoggle we should discard to save a few bucks.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 08:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    May 10, 2009

    OMG! LOL! That's soooo AWESOME!

    Funniest thing I've seen all day...

    McCracken is going to have to revisit his position on corporate subsidies, or he’ll never get the support of Brian Rodgers and Linda Curtis powerhouse mailing list and website. He needs to do some soul searching here and have a one on one with Brian (who should have run for Mayor because he’s the Austinite most deserving and qualified for this post). He doesn’t stand a chance without the support of this major power broker who delivered the votes in the StopDomain referendum and supported Carole Keeton Strayhorn.

    Except that they lost. On both items. WRT to Strayhorn, they came in third.

    Oh, there will be a lot more on this entire post but I HAD to say something about this. Rogers, like many members of RG4N, has a unique ability to turn supporters into people who'd really rather help fight AGAINST him. I was one of them and now, frankly, I CAN'T WAIT TO SHOP AT THAT AWESOME NEW WAL-MART ON ANDERSON. Also, I LOVE my new slides that I bought from NM at the Domain.

    As for Linda Curtis, if the moron could figure out what the hell she was doing, I'd pay attention. But she can't. She's an ineffectual idiot wasting the time of good people who would be better off listening to saner and smarter people. Linda, like a lot of half-assed 'movement' leaders, gets out in front of something that may have been worthwhile... and fucks it all up. She and the Stalls, for one thing, were so completely ineffectual on efforts to really fix the transportation mess in this state that it's a wonder I don't have part of the TTC running through my living room. Their cowtowing to douchebags like Sen.'s Carona and Nichols is now well known and part of the reason we are still fighting over the TTC and toll financing this session.

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

    How to Fight Your Home Appraisal Increases

    by Peter Stern


    At least for the past 7 years many homeowners have been over-appraised and therefore overtaxed by local districts.

    Homeowners do NOT have to accept the [first] proposed value increase.

    The best thing to do first [once you received your proposed appraisal] is to phone and/or meet with your district’s appraiser to discuss the proposed increase. You are legally entitled to ask for the 3 comparables used by the appraiser when computing the appraisal. When meeting with the appraiser be sure to bring to the meeting ANY documents, photos, etc., to show why your home/property is NOT valued at the proposed increase.

    If you can’t work things out to your satisfaction, you have the right to file a formal protest with the ARB. Be aware that you must file the formal protest WITHIN 2 WEEKS OF RECEIVING YOUR PROPOSED APPRAISAL INCREASE STATEMENT.

    Along with the district’s statement mailed out each year is a copy of your rights and the steps you need to take to work out an agreement or to file a formal protest with the ARB.

    Lastly, and very importantly, speak to your district office without anger or emotions. Provide ONLY the facts, documentation, photos, and at least one good reason why your property value should be less than the one proposed. Most of the time you will receive a positive outcome.

    Of course, the last option is to hire a reputable attorney, with successful experience in your district, to represent you before the ARB.

    There is still one more option available to you after the ARB hearing. You may file a case in county court. Do NOT do this without an attorney.

    Good luck!


    .


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

    No, no... it's not that. I really do think you're a retard.

    I have a friend we'll call Dave but whose real name is Ken. Dave is kind of a pretentious jackass who talks about going to fabulous events like gallery openings and book readings and fundraisers that are very expensive (he gets to go to these because of his magical check writing ability... dumbass thinks it's all because they like him). Dave lives in OC but acts like he lives in LA. Honestly, once you're on the 405 there's really not much of a difference between the two... the southland all kind of blends together. However, while people in OC might say they live in LA, people in LA would beat you to death if you mistake them for someone from OC.

    I've seen it happen. I have blood stained jeans to prove it.

    Dave also, like oh so many in OC, is a Republican which is funny because he's also a sistah. A deeply closeted sistah, but a cocksucking, assmunching, buttfucking sistah nonetheless. When we both worked for the same bank, Dave liked to pretend he was straight which was funny as hell to me and a lot of others because, well, the boy had a vag. I can, if pressed, pass for straight. Dave couldn't. Ever. Needless to say, it was kind of comical when he tried to talk to the straight guys about chicks and stuff and sports.

    Last year, Dave developed a crush on Republican heartthrob Mr. The Plumber. Unbeknown to Dave, Mr. The Plumber doesn't like the gays. At all.

    "People don't understand the dictionary — it's called queer," Wurzelbacher told Christianity Today in an interview published this week. "Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do — what man and woman are for."

    He added, "I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they're people, and they're going to do their thing."

    So. Much. Here... First, I'll be honest and admit I've never really understood the dictionary. People have forEVER been telling me that I'm simply too stupid to comprehend a reference guide that gives definitions for a vast number of words which are all, conveniently, arranged alphabetically.

    As for queer being a slur, like so many things it depends on tone and inflection of the speaker. It's a lot like the word 'nigger'. When you say it with a smile in a friendly tone of voice to a black person, like "It's soooo good to see you! How are you doing, you old nigger!" Black people just, you know, fucking LOVE it. Same with The Gays and queer. Or faggot which is another word that is not, at all, offensive when someone who is not a faggot uses it to refer to someone who is The Gay. Really, people should completely feel comfortable using words that used to be considered extremely pejorative. As long as you say them nicely, it's all good. Score one, Mr. The Plumber.

    Now as for not letting The Gays play with his kids, that's a tough one. On the one hand, The Gays usually love children. On the other hand, they just can't stop themselves from LOVING the children. It's a sickness which is why the overwhelming number of pedophiles (lovers of children) are The Gay. Mr. The Plumber, being extremely wise and knowledgeable, just wants to protect his little plumbers. Chalk another one up for Mr. The Plumber, 2-0.

    Now, on the subject of what men and women are for, I think what Mr. The Plumber means is that God specifically says that women are for the pleasure of men. More to the point, you ladies are only here to satisfy the raw sexual urges of Mr. The Plumber. So, you all have that to look forward to. SCORE, Mr. The Plumber, 3-0.

    Finally, it's great to know that Mr. The Plumber has some friends that are actually The Gay. It always makes me feel better if, when people say offensive things about different groups of people, they will just let us know that they have friends in that group. It also shows that Mr. The Plumber has a great depth of knowledge about The Gays.

    I sent this to Dave and his response was that I needed to stop rubbing McCain's loss in his face. I told Dave that wouldn't happen because, much like a dog that shit in the house, he has to be trained. And he really needs to do a better job picking his objet de masturbation.


    Posted by mcblogger at 09:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Election Results

    Is it me, or does Mike Martinez look really jealous in this photo? Of Julie.


    mike.jpg


    Oh, and btw all of us here at Team McBlogger are SUPER pleased with the results of the election. Especially Chris Riley's win and his new plan to ban polluting cars and trucks from city roads.

    Not for nothing but this represents the views only of TMG and, I assume, Spamburgler. They were two dissenters on our Place 1 selection of the AWESOME Perla Cavazos. The Mayor and I are seriously considering selling them either into some kind of forced labor thing or exiling them to St. Helena where they will be forced to live out their lives in what is, essentially, a giant speaker that will play nothing but the collected speeches and standup comedy of Kinky Friedman.-McB

    Posted by The Mean Green at 06:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Release The Concession!

    Well, it's over. Leffingwell came in just shy of 50% and Release The McCracken came in a distant second. So now we're all left wondering... will RTM really demand a runoff?

    In other news, a Perla Cavazos did not win. The lame running for Place 1 won. And yes, it's something we will definitely be blaming on You People. In fact, in honor of our new city councilmember, we're going to be inaugurating a new feature on McBlogger, Assholes On Bikes.


    Posted by mcblogger at 01:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 09, 2009

    Saying goodbye to Judge Ozmun

    It's amazing how many people knew and loved Judge Ozmun. Yesterday, I got texts and emails from people all over Austin letting me know he had passed away. To say the man was beloved here is an understatement.

    He will be missed by many in Austin and Travis County. On behalf of everyone at McBlogger I'd like to extend our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.


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

    May 08, 2009

    Scummin' it up with The Brew

    Photobucket

    Just when you thought it really wasn't possible for RTM to sink lower than he already had, the nasty little snatch in cooperation with Responsible Growth for Northcross is running a push poll against Leffingwell

    Just got a negative robo-call from a group identifying themselves as Responsible Growth for Northcross. it was NASTY -- it attacked Lee and accused him of taking money from Clayton Williams, putting developers over voters, said that Lee doesn't listen...

    It then went on to praise Brewster as a progressive who has the support of the film and clean energy industry.

    Hmmm... let me think. Brewster's votes on tolls certainly weren't progressive. Actually, none of his transportation votes were what you might call progressive. That alone puts him pretty solidly in the developers camp, not to mention the hip pocket of the Chamber of Commerce. And let's not forget, Release The McCracken never stuck his neck out for Northcross. I wouldn't be surprised if RTM had stock in Wal Mart.

    Now, there's something to be said for taking money from someone as classically retarded as Claytie Williams. It's really pretty smart, especially when you know that Lee is like Clayton Williams about as much as Brewster is like Mike Martinez. Which is to say not at all. I'm all about politico's taking money from stupid people to do good things. Lee obviously feels the same way.

    Oh, and while we're on the subject of campaign contributors, let's talk about one of Brew's in particular that caught my eye... from our former City Manager, The Demon Toby Futrell. On the sheer evil scale of 1-10, Claytie Williams is a bumbling two. Toby is a 15. Let's all remember that Toby was all in love with the Domain subsidies and converting Northcross into a Wal Mart. Let's also remember that Release The McCracken made a habit out of being Toby's bitch.

    Finally, someone reminded me that there's yet another connection to Claytie Williams in all this... His campaign co-chair way back in 90 was none other than former Comptroller and current Mayoral candidate Carol Keeton Rylander McClelland Strayhorn. And, no, she didn't resign when he jokingly suggested she enjoy being raped.

    One has to wonder why Brew, if he were really so offended, would focus on a check instead of Carol's silence.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Yes, it's juvenile...

    fail owned pwned pictures
    see more pwn and owned pictures

    But seriously, you're going to sit there and tell me you didn't laugh. Even a little?

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    A bunch of little piggies

    Or, as we've been calling them, the Blue Dogs...

    U.S. Representative Jim Marshall is a Georgia Democrat and a member of his party’s Blue Dog Coalition, a group of lawmakers bound by a desire to restrain federal spending. The Blue Dogs have something else in common: a fondness for funding pet projects.

    Marshall alone requested more than $12 billion worth of the so-called earmarks in the 2010 federal budget. His proposals range from $388,850 to aid 14 local farmers’ markets to $4.2 billion to purchase C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft.

    ahem... it would be GREAT if you guys could just, you know, start being REAL Democrats and quit being hypocritical pseudo-Republicans.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The Humphreys. Oh, yeah, you bitches are taking the fall for them

    I'm watching Gossip Girl*, loving every minute of it... except for those goddamn annoying Humphreys. My notes...

    1) Eric is getting HAWT. Yeah, I know he's chicken and I'm normally not at all about Col. Sanders, but he's cute.

    2) BLAIR, you fucktard. Chuck is a nebbish and Nate is a Tommy Hilfiger ad. Why the hell would you not move in with him?

    3) Lily, are you SURE you really want to marry Rufus?

    4) Rufus, wouldn't you feel more comfortable marrying a cafeteria waitress from Rockaway? Who chain smokes Newports?

    5) Nate, you really need to rethink Blair. Oh, and I'm not seeing anyone right now. Just gonna put that out there.

    6) Georgina? REALLY?

    7) Serena, I would have blown Gabriel. In fact, I still would. I'd even let him talk about that lame WiFi for poor people in Africa thing while I was doing it. Just one thing though and this isn't meant to imply that you or the rest of the people on the show are stupid, but poor people in Africa don't have computers so WiFi is, for them, kinda useless. You know what I'm saying?

    8) Lily, seriously, wouldn't you really rather marry someone (ANYONE) else? I mean, this guy is so full of himself that he can't even take money to put his kid through school from someone he supposedly loves. I mean, you could marry Chuck and I'd be OK with that.

    9) Dan, it would be a AWESOME if you could learn to keep your mouth shut. Would you do us all a favor and step into traffic on the FDR?

    It's become clear that the real weak point of The Girl is the Humphrey Family. Obvs, we'd like to keep Jenny but if getting rid of Rufus and Dan means she has to go as well, then that's a tradeoff we can accept. Until they go, we're blaming it on You People. You're sucking up a perfectly good television program.

    *YES. I'm just now catching up to Monday's DVR recordings. I had things to do this week like living my life and entertaining my corporate overlords.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 07, 2009

    ACTION ALERT - STOP TRANS PRIVATIZATION

    HB 300 is up today in the House. Please call the Capitol switchboard at 512-463-4630, ask for your State Representative and ask them to vote against Rep. Menendez's amendment to reauthorize CDA's and Public Private Partnerships!

    This amendment will continue to allow TXDOT to privatize our infrastructure to the tune of billions for private developers and a MUCH higher tax burden on all Texans. PLEASE, take three minutes and as your Rep to vote against this amendment.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    A Mother's Day gift guide

    This is from one of my favorite new blogs, Food Network Humor. They went to the trouble of posting a gift guide for you in your effort to please your unpleasable mother.

    Yeah, she really does hate you. It's because of that horrible thing you gave her when you were 16.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 06, 2009

    Using Lehman as a blueprint for TXDOT

    I think it's a super good idea to give the State the ability to create their own investment bank. With all the good people out of work as a result of the financial meltdown most of them played a part in causing, we're sure to get some top notch talent, like the folks from AIG Financial Products Group in London who overwrote their capacity by something like trillions of dollars.

    As you could probably tell, I'm a little disturbed about the craptastic Transportation Bank that Senators Carona, Ogden and Nichols are creaming themselves over. I get like that when people, we'll call them SENATORS, think they're being clever but are, in reality, making some really stupid decisions. If some of the worlds best run and managed (as laughable as that may be) insurance and financial companies got themselves into trouble with credit enhancements. Which leads me to ask what makes the Texas Senate think that this Transportation Revolving Fund is going to be different? It is, after all, going to be doing the exact same thing as an investment bank. The only difference is it'll be taxpayer money at risk. The other important difference is that, much like the SBOE, it'll be run by incompetent appointees instead of incompetent privately hired bankers.

    How can I be sure they'll be incompetent? Well, 39% will be making the appointments... and he wouldn't know a good investment banker from a used car salesman.

    Just let that, for a moment, sink in. This is a taxpayer funded bank that, in some cases, will have access to funding from the state run pension plans. See, if they can't get private investors interested, they can just pull money from the pensions. And, of course, taxpayers will ultimately be on the hook when this does, inevitably, fail.

    Sorry, it's not that I don't have a sense of optimism about this proposal. I think it could work in a perfect world, one in which the law of unintended consequences doesn't exist. However, our Senators are like children playing with nukes. Seriously, and this isn't to be mean but, EVERY SINGLE STATE SENATOR IS MASSIVELY OUT OF THEIR DEPTH ON THIS. And no, that's not at all an unfair criticism.

    I'm not calling you stupid, just ill informed and incapable of even understanding just how far off the rails this thing could go in a relatively short period of time.

    You really want to get a look at how badly this could all go? Take a look at this NYT piece on Lehman Bros. When they couldn't sell anymore they started using their own money, just like the revolving fund. And when things went south because they weren't pricing things properly, the entire company got pulled down. That's what will happen here and Lehman was relatively good about not writing enhancements on the debt they sold. Orange County, CA is another case that could readily be duplicated by this revolving fund. Only with us, if we include pension money, we could be looking at hundreds of billions in losses.

    The most ridiculous thing about all this is that it's a bandaid on the real problem... it's covering it over and hoping it will go away without fixing it. EOW has piece up about Rep. Pickett's desire to change over the local option tax/toll plan and make it at the MPO level which would keep WilCo from having a lower gas tax than Travis Co. This is better that the local option but it's still only a stop-gap measure for the real solution, indexing the state gas tax.

    It would be great if we could get past political orthodoxy and ideological purity (taxes are not, as some of you think, always bad or confiscatory... tolls are a tax and you love those). It would also be great if y'all were more interested in your constituents than your campaign contributors. But neither is possible, so the issue will never get resolved as you people maneuver and manipulate to try and find still more esoteric solutions.


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

    I just... you know... well, maybe not...

    Yeah, I don't know what to say either.

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

    Your mom and dad may not be comfortable with gay marriage

    ...but the rest of the country is. Well, at least with marriage or the civil union equivalent...

    In the second type of poll -- the "three-way" poll where the respondent may pick civil unions rather than marriage or nothing -- support for gay marriage is typically slightly lower, as about 5-10 percent of respondents appear to have a preference order of civil unions > gay marriage > nothing, where gay marriage is preferred to nothing, but civil unions are preferred to both alternatives. Gay marriage had yet to poll a plurality in this type of survey either -- until this week, when a CBS/NYT poll put support for full marriage rights at 42 percent, versus 25 percent for civil unions and 28 percent for no legal recognition. This represents a significant increase from an identical CBS/NYT poll in March, where the numbers were 33 percent for marriage, 27 percent for civil unions, and 35 percent for no recognition.

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 05, 2009

    Not a fucking chance, 41...

    Apparently, Bush 41 (who I once supported.... what? I was a kid and didn't know better. PLUS, compared to his kid, he was a Democrat) thinks that there's some future, in politics, for members of the Bush family.

    "Maybe Jeb someday. I want to see Jeb in there." George P. Bush, Jeb's son, "wants to do something. I think he might."

    No. Not at all. We've had two of you assholes and that's more than enough.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    The Bad Girls Club is casting here

    For all the skanques who read McB (the FEMALE ones), you need to check this out. BGC is one of my favorite programs... it's a hilarious mix of Red Neck Wedding and The Ricky Lake Show. HAWT!

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

    Guess what... things aren't going well in Pakistan

    Looks like our friends the Taliban (who were supposed to be all dead by now but, in a weird twist, aren't) are pretty close to realizing their dream of taking over a second country.

    Oh, and the one about having nukes, too.

    Initially, Buner was a hard place for the Taliban to crack. When they attacked a police station in the valley district last year, the resistance was fearless. Local people picked up rifles, pistols and daggers, hunted down the militants and killed six of them.

    But it was not to last. In short order this past week the Taliban captured Buner, a strategically vital district just 60 miles northwest of the capital, Islamabad. The militants flooded in by the hundreds, startling Pakistani and American officials with the speed of their advance.

    The lesson of Buner, local politicians and residents say, is that the dynamic of the Taliban insurgency, as methodical and slow-building as it has been, can change suddenly, and the tactics used by the Taliban can be replicated elsewhere.

    The Taliban took over Buner through both force and guile — awakening sleeping sympathizers, leveraging political allies, pretending at peace talks and then crushing what was left of their opponents, according to the politicians and the residents interviewed.

    Though some of the militants have since pulled back, they still command the high points of Buner and have fanned out to districts even closer to the capital.

    That Buner fell should be no surprise, local people say. Last fall, the inspector general of police in North-West Frontier Province, Malik Naveed Khan, complained that his officers were being attacked and killed by the hundreds.

    Mr. Khan was so desperate — and had been so thoroughly abandoned by the military and the government — that he was relying on citizen posses like the one that stood up to the Taliban last August.

    Today, the hopes that those civilian militias inspired are gone, brushed away by the realization that Pakistanis can do little to stem the Taliban advance if their government and military will not help them.

    The people of Buner got nothing for their bravery. In December, the Taliban retaliated for the brazenness of the resistance in the district, sending a suicide bomber to disrupt voting during a by-election. More than 30 people were killed and scores were wounded.

    Of course, it gets worse. The T have people inside the government and who knows how many in the military. Considering the weakness of Pakistani command and control, it's only a matter of time until they are in control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Of course, I don't want to alarm you and keep you from being overconcerned about swine flu.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Attention anti-smoking forces : I still win, bitches.

    You will NEVER bring down Altria. Which means you'll never be able to stop my dream of retiring way early.

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 04, 2009

    I Believe I Smell A Wagging Dog: Slam Poetry Night At The Crazy House

    Some wag observed that it used to be said that a million monkeys typing randomly might produce King Lear by sheer chance; thanks to the Internet we now know that isn't true.

    However, if one peruses the comments sections on news sites, one does come across gems which, while they might not measure up to the Bard of Avon's work, could do service on Poetry Night at the local looney bin.

    Orwell's gang littering themselves all over the place.
    No hope while everyone stands idly by-
    AND I MEAN IDLE, or is that IDOLS, TWILIGHT OF...
    these are the spawnings of genocide and greed.
    When will these jackals answer for themselves??
    Indian blood will forever cry from the ground
    for the absolute blasphemy these "men" and oh yes,
    these "women" have done to our people and land.
    Government?? Criminals and liars.
    Wasichu! Read a book America!!!!!!!
    or listen to TVZ for Christ's sake...

    "I don't mind a good knife fight," he said.
    ------ er, ¿quien es mas macho?
    welcome home "house of death" juan.
    ¿sleeping well?

    You’ll only take 1!
    But there are 12 million that need you.
    I don’t listen to AM radio- it’s mostly in Spanish.

    Oh for goodness sakes, you “green” people pipe down.
    There’s plenty of that left - the mall is surrounded by trees.
    What they need is a Cinnabun and one of them pretzel places.
    I’ve been telling the manager that for months.
    They could have saved themselves already.
    Maybe it’s not too late…

    just like the business environment.
    the keys to success are:
    don't speak unless spoken to,
    don't question authority,
    and do trust the decision-makers.
    wearing suits to cover up incompetency
    and laziness is also highly suggested

    I wish all mean people would die.
    I am so sick of mean people.
    You are not cute, you are mean.

    benny2, why don't you include,
    the bush's the rageans
    the 'chenny', 'rush',
    ricky p,you moron

    Oh my sweet God!
    What did Texas do
    to deserve such a fool
    as Rick Perry
    for governor?

    Psy Ops of the most desperate order.
    Have you been adequately distracted from the Queen's Bankers?
    And, That Iranian stooge is here to keep that Israeli game going.
    Left to our own devices, we wouldn't care at all what happens in or to the UK or Israel
    Yes, it's all about the wealth they steal from Americans by controlling our Media, Government and Currency.
    And now YouTube, my last refuge is gone.

    Dream on.
    I'm gonna reboot & see whats happens

    Keep your heads up Austinians.
    I believe I smell a wagging dog.
    Watch the state cap. and D.C. carefully
    also one might have to really dig through
    the cooperative news media
    (sorry Austin that includes the American-Statesman)
    to find what is really out there in the fog,
    there must be something in the wings
    our elected "statesmen"
    and newly appointed rock star
    don't want us to see.
    All hail the Czar!

    the the shoes are droping
    more everyday and the more
    the steels and limbaughs
    and the morons on fox news
    keep it up they will keep
    droping things has change
    and they can't stand the idea
    that people have woke up

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

    Oh. Michelle... bless your heart!

    Recently, Michelle Bachmann has said some really stupid things. First, there was the hoot-smalley flap in which Michelle, who apparently slept through multiple history and economics classes, blamed FDR for the 'Hoot-Smalley' tariff which he supposedly signed into law. There is no such bill, but the crew at FDL thinks it has something to do with her white zin preference.

    For those of you interested in the historical record, SMOOT-HAWLEY tariff was authored by two Republicans, passed into law by a Republican Congress and signed into law by Republican Herbert Hoover. But Michelle did get something right... it spurred the depression to go even deeper. It also played a small part in electing FDR since he campaigned for it's repeal.

    Nevertheless, Michelle decided to press on and that SAME day she declared that it was surely more than coincidence that the last time swine flu popped up there was another Democrat in the White House, Jimmy Carter. Which may be true in an alternate reality but it's not in this one. In fact, the swine flu popped up in 1976 and Gerald Ford was President that whole year. And he had scads of people vaccinated which turned out to be a super bad idea that ended up paralyzing a bunch of them.

    There was this letter in the Minneapolis StarTrib. It's pretty funny but the real hilarity is in the comments which are all anti-Michelle....

    Crazy?
    People thought Katherine Harris in FL was crazy. Compared to Michelle Bachman, she now appears to have been very sane. I hope the people in Bachman's district are happy to have added her to making MN a laughing stock. Between her & Norm I know when planes fly over MN the passengers & crew must errupt in laughter. Thanks a lot Dumb & Dumber

    Yes, we do. Every single time we even think about MN, we laugh a little bit.

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

    Perry Accepts "Bribes"

    Accepts "Bribes" from his Appointees!

    Big surprise!

    “Gov. Rick Perry has accepted nearly $5 million in political campaign donations from people he appointed to state boards and commissions, including some in plum jobs that set policy for state universities, parks and roads, records show. Nearly half the appointee donations came from people serving as higher education regents, including more than $840,000 from those at the University of Texas System, according to a Houston Chronicle review of campaign-finance records.” Houston Chronicle

    All in all, Texans are better off without this lackluster, special interest governor.
    .

    Posted by pstern at 08:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 02, 2009

    Having some fun with Dr. McLeroy

    The Texas Observer has some great stuff up about the comical buffoon many of us know as the Chairman of the State Board Of Education.

    Sadly, Dr. McLeroy won't be chairing the SBOE any more.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 01, 2009

    How much blame does the Fed deserve for the credit collapse?

    Food for thought...

    One of the Fed’s biggest blind spots has been its failure to recognise the problems that huge financial conglomerates would pose for financial stability – including their key role in the current debt overload. The Fed allowed the Glass-Steagall Act to succumb without appreciating the negative consequences of allowing investment and commercial banks to be put together. Within two decades or so, financial conglomerates have come to utterly dominate financial markets and financial behaviour. But monetary policymakers failed to recognise that these behemoths were honeycombed with conflicts of interest that interfered with effective credit allocation.

    Nor did the Fed recognise the crucial role that the large financial conglomerates have played in changing the public’s perception of liquidity. Traditionally, liquidity was an asset-based concept. But this shifted to the liability side, as liquidity came to be virtually synonymous with easy borrowing. That would not have happened without the marketing efforts of large institutions.

    My second major concern about the conduct of monetary policy is the Fed’s prevailing economic libertarianism. At the heart of this economic dogma is the belief that markets know best and that those who compete well will prosper, while those who do not will fail.

    How did this affect the Fed’s actions and behaviour? First, it explains to a large extent why the Fed did not strongly oppose the removal of Glass-Steagall restrictions.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Sister Ruth's new car

    You may have heard that Sister Ruth recently went to work for a company that's doing something for the environment (she tried to explain it once but we lost interest after "Basically, what we do is...."). Here is her new car

    fail owned pwned pictures
    see more pwn and owned pictures

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Transportation infrastructure costs drop...

    In December, 2007 I posted this questioning TXDOT's statement that infrastructure construction costs had increased by 25%. In a YEAR. From the Comptroller's office (via EOW) comes word that, OMG, TXDOT overestimated the costs. As it turns out, projects are coming in about 20% cheaper...

    Bids for new construction are running about 20 percent cheaper than the state’s estimates.

    One reason is that state engineers use a 12-month rolling average of costs in their estimates. The projects being bid today were designed months ago.

    The pre-recession estimates don’t fully reflect the cheaper prices for gasoline, asphalt and labor that appear in the latest bids.

    Still, Barton said, “It’s a buyer’s market.”

    REALLY? No one thought that maybe, just maybe, with oil not at $150/bbl that asphalt, which is made from oil, would be cheaper? That it would be cheaper because the raw material it is made from (oil) is cheaper and that there would also be more of it since there was now no economic benefit to putting the asphalt in a coker to crack out what little gasoline you could now that gas is $2/gal?

    Concrete and steel are also cheaper... that's because China isn't rebuilding Beijing for the 2008 Olympics anymore.

    Question... did you guys ever even consider holding inventory, especially as volatile as commodity prices are, and dollar cost averaging?!?!?

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack