January 31, 2010
General David Petraeus, Commander of the US Central Command @$250,000
Sean Hannity, Fox News resident clown $20,000,000
Contact Fox and ask why their two-bit entertainer makes more money than the man responsible for protecting Hannity's freedom to act like a buffoon.
¿Quien es mas Loathsome?
The Beast's list of the Fifty Most Loathsome Americans of 2009 is out. Normally, this wouldn't count as a Texas story except look who snagged the coveted Number Five Spot. . .
5. Rick Perry
Charges: Perry is to justice what Jeff Dunham is to comedy. When the Texas Forensic Science Commission began reviewing the flawed ‘91 arson case against Cameron Todd Willingham, who was wrongly executed in 2004 for the murder of his three children, Perry responded by replacing 4 of the 9 Commission members with capital punishment enthusiasts to boost his electoral stock. He also riled his benighted base with the kind of secessionist rhetoric that would only seem hypocritical if Texas accepted federal stimulus money, which Perry decried, and hey, he only took $17 billion.
Exhibit A: “Texas is a unique place. When we came in the union in 1845 one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decide to do that.”
Sentence: Lethal injection.
Who could be even more (or slightly less) loathsome than Old Thirty-Nine Percent? Lookee here.
January 29, 2010
Three oh so very stupid people
I don't hate all Republicans. I don't even dislike all of them or think they're all stupid. But a very large number of R elected officials are, well, pretty fucking stupid. Recently I've started to actually think that Rep. Hensarling is coming out of his ideological shell and has finally realized that maybe a large part of what he's believed is, well, bullshit. It's always nice when people start acting like leaders instead of partisan hacks.
However, Jeb is kinda unique in the R caucus. There's still Rep. Gohmert from Tyler who, no shit, is worried that if DADT is repealed, he's going to be in a fox hole and some Teh Gay is going to try to make out with him. I think the motherfucker either doesn't own a mirror or, if he does, has somehow deluded himself into thinking he's irresistible to gay men. Here's what he looks like...
Louie, bubba, ain't nobody looking to hook up with you. I would be willing to bet even your wife makes you wear a paper bag to bed.
And of course, there are the three dipshits Belo decided to waste airtime on Friday night at 7 pm. I really don't have the mental energy to recap the whole stupid thing, especially since I've other things to do. However, here are a few of the things I noticed...
1) Hutchison finally was able to explain, if a little slowly, how that 2005 law Perry likes to tout actually makes it easier to force the conversion of free roads to toll roads. She did a clumsy job of explaining CDAs which isn't surprising because she supports them out of one side of her mouth, then criticizes Perry for them out of the other. Her answer on TXDOT funding was simply abysmal. No meat, no substance, no real solutions. She's old and tired.
2) Perry has officially lost the crazy crown. Well, kinda. His denial that his slush fund has been anything other than a failure actually prompted laughter from the people watching here. If this were a guy under psych eval, he'd be classified as massively delusional, probably as the result of a recent psychotic break. Someone get this mofo some thorazine, stat!
3) When you were in high school, you probably fell in love with Ayn Rand. You probably had friends that did the same. You also, by graduation, fell out of love with Ayn Rand and realized she was neither a brilliant philosopher nor a great writer. You figured out that she was over simplistic, sexually submissive, rather dull and unimaginative. Most of your friends did as well, except for one chick who was a lot like Rand. Debra Medina was that chick. She's a nurse turned small business woman who has made her living off medical billing which has absolutely nothing to do with the government. A government takeover of health care wouldn't be good for Debra Medina AT ALL. In fact, it would put her little parasitic business right out. Don't you love people who rail against the government yet are sucking off it's teat? Don't you also love people who've read just enough on a subject to make themselves look REALLY stupid when they discuss it with people who know far more? Like her AWESOME sales tax idea? Yeah. Fuckity nice that.
Frankly, the rest of the thing was pretty stupid. The Q&A was, well, like an episode of Jeopardy and largely useless in an age where the candidate, if they ever needed to know who the VERY FIRST GOVERNOR OF TEXAS WAS could look up J Pinckney Henderson (for whom Henderson County is named, just FYI) in less than 60 seconds. Even on a 2G mobile phone using T9. Kinda reminded me of this bit of ass at the Statesman that was really little more than Ken Herman playing LET'S BE A DICK TO THE LITTLE BROWN GUY WHO TALKS FUNNY BY ASKING QUESTIONS THE ANSWERS TO WHICH I WIKI'D 5 MINUTES BEFORE THE INTERVIEW. Dork.
The debate was a predictable waste of time. The panel did a great job for what it was... these were good, inquisitive, professional minds who were tasked with being panelists for a debate between liars and fools.
It's a lot like, I would assume, being a brilliant director forced by a studio to do a kids movie with dogs and cats.
Just FYI, I'm doing some policy work for Shami who is actually much smarter than Ken Herman. I feel pretty certain of that. It's also one of the reasons I've not been writing a lot about Shami on the blog. However, that little lynching on the Statesman's website deserved comment. I look forward to seeing Herman shoot similar gotcha footage with the other candidates.
This Can't Be Good
Headline on the Slag's website wonders
Scanners coming to Capitol?
Next session could be messier than a Gallagher show.
January 27, 2010
You keep being AWESOME, Ozzy
"Other people's memories of the stuff in this book might not be the same as mine. I ain't gonna argue with 'em. Over the past 40 years I've been loaded on booze, coke, acid, Quaaludes, glue, cough mixture, heroin, Rohypnol, Klonopin, Vicodin, and too many other heavy-duty substances to list in this footnote. On more than a few occasions I was on all of those at the same time."
Ozzy Osborne in the forward to his new autobiography, I AM OZZY.
January 26, 2010
Roundin' Up The TPA
The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates the city of New Orleans for its first Super Bowl as it provides an instant replay of its blog highlights for the week.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme sympathizes with Lamar Smith's constituents who were told they must contact Smith's office if they want him to stop illegally calling their cellphones. Smith's breaking the law and his solution is to make his constituents ask him to stop.
At Texas Vox we're pleased as punch to see that Austin isn't alone in preparing for a clean energy future; Portland General Electric plans to shut down its coal plant by 2020!
WhosPlayin reposted a article from 2007 about the corporation: Don't hate the player, change the game, which is especially apropos this week.
A Republican in Democrats clothing tries to ride into office in Dallas County. SDEC members and precinct chairs say no way to this Eagle Forum darling at The Texas Cloverleaf.
Citizens of Texas say &^%$ Governor Perry! for screwing up the state after 10 years. Add your own!
Right-wing bloggers gathered in Austin to worship Rick Perry's pistol. Seriously. Read the entire revolting display of sycophancy at Brains and Eggs.
BossKitty at TruthHugger is continually amazed at general ignorance concerning the actual words in the US Constitution. Interpretations abound from the mouths of people who have never read the document, or do not comprehend the words in context. Embellishments and fantasy surrounding this document are spoken every day. What is especially disturbing is how these fantasies infiltrate America's politics. To be elected in some regions, a politician must fertilize the fantasy. Perspective must return to how Americans regard the Law of the Land. American Theocracy divorces US Constitution, promotes terrorism.
Over at TexasKaos, Boadicea offers a little not so subtle advise to Democrats who find themselves unmanned by the events of last week. She calls it .Dear Democrats: Balls.. Trust me, you will like the video she found to illustrate her point!
Neil at Texas Liberal made note of the fact that just two months remain before his tenth wedding anniversary. Neil is damned glad about his marriage. Neil is not certain he could advocate for liberal causes if he did not have such a solid personal relationship in his life to help him manage his frequent anger at the world. The personal and the private are often connected in many ways that we may not often consider.
January 25, 2010
What a stupid asshole
Well, it turns out the President is falling for the fiscal conservative bullshit coming from Summers, Sen.'s Bayh and Conrad as well as a whole collection of other idiots who think they know best. He's decided to freeze discretionary spending at 2010 levels for the next three years.
IN THE MIDDLE OF A FUCKING RECESSION.
Now, of course we could blame the Republicans, Blue Dogs and Teabaggers for all this shit, but the reality is that at any given time, in any given situation, there are going to be stupid people who tell you to do stupid things. The task of a leader is to tell those people to fuck off because they're simply too stupid to understand what they're talking about. Instead, the President is going to try to placate them (it won't work, bullies always demand more) and here will be the result
1) We'll still have deficits... at this point, Bush tax cuts aside, the only thing creating the deficit IS the recession which has resulted in less people paying taxes.
2) We'll still have high unemployment
3) Even the nicest, most forgiving Democrats are going to say ENOUGH
4) Republicans will sweep the midterms
I'll be saying a prayer that this retarded idea was the result someone who will be thrown under the bus. I was so hopeful after Friday's speech... I'm still hoping the President has rediscovered hardball.
Supreme Court decision
Dan Patrick is still with us
January 24, 2010
Bin Laden claims credit for underwear bomber
If he really wanted to scare us, he would claim credit for Jay Leno.
January 22, 2010
Following Supreme Court ruling on corporate bucks, The Burger King declares "Le dejeuner, c'est moi"
Henceforth, Whopper only available his way. You'll eat it and like it, peasant.
SC says give till it hurts, Zachry!
Unbelievable... and I'd like to send a big shout out to the asshole D's who flipped and voted to approve Alito and Roberts. Seriously, wishing you nothing but the worst, fellas!
So what does this mean in Texas. My read? Corps can now run ads for or against candidates. Corps still can't give money directly to candidates. Sounds like no big deal, right? Re-read that first sentence and think about what Zachry American Infrastructures first ad for Perry will look like.
This may well spell the end of the conservative movement. Even they don't want this.
January 21, 2010
Judge Keller to skate?!?
OMG...The special master (read into THAT what you will) assigned to looking to Keller's behavior issued his findings today.
“Although Judge Keller’s conduct on that day was not exemplary, she did not engage in conduct so egregious that she should be removed from office,” Berchelmann said in his findings of fact . “Indeed, although Judge Keller’s actions did not help the situation, the majority of problems involving the Richard execution was the responsibility of the TDS.”
TDS, after recovering from burns received as a result of being dropped in the grease, issued this statement :
The Special Master blames TDS for failing to have the right person (a lawyer, not a paralegal) ask the right official (the judge secretly assigned to the case, not a clerk of the court or the CCA’s General Counsel) the right question (to keep the “court” open, not the “clerk’s office” open). Justice should not depend on such semantics. Shifting the responsibility to ensure access to justice away from the Court and to TDS is akin to blaming a paramedic for a car crash victim’s injuries. It is clear that Mr. Richard would not have been executed but for the violation of the CCA’s own execution day protocol and the decision to refuse to allow Mr. Richard to file his pleading after five o’clock. TDS made a reasonable inquiry through reasonable channels to ask the Court to accept a filing on the day of an execution on an issue that had no merit until that same morning. Judge Keller knew exactly what was being asked of her. She responded with an unequivocal “no” and closed the courthouse doors.
The judicial conduct panel can now decide to let her off, reprimand or remove her from the bench. Let's hope they realize the stupidity of the reco made by the special master.
January 20, 2010
You've heard it from me...
...now you can hear it from an economist. Current deficits are not a problem and should be far larger. We're in a recession which results in lower taxes at the same time government is spending much more. In fact, it's criminal that the Democrats have allowed the blue dogs and every Republican to browbeat them into spending less than needed to pull the country out the economic abyss.
And yeah, cutting taxes ain't going to do the trick. Sorry. You're as dumb as Debra Medina if you think that. And no, I don't want to hear your theories on the Constitution.
But back to deficit and debt mania. Digby thinks it's all about hurting social security which is pretty accurate considering that it's all coming from the Petey Peterson Foundation which we talked about almost a year ago. Let me save you all a lot of worry and prep you for discussions you may have some of the, shall we say, ill-informed members of your family : we do not have trillions of future liabilities for social security and medicare/medicaid. The reality is that we have an actuarial hole in the funding because people are living longer and there are fewer workers supporting too many beneficiaries. You fix that by increasing the retirement age (which really should have been done 20 years ago) and then by repealing the tax cuts of the last ten years.
The reality of our economic situation is that it's not as dire or disastrous as Peterson and his folks would think. We're running deficits now because of a number of factors...some out of our control and right now deficits are not our biggest concern. It's the economy, stupid, and if we do what Peterson wants, we'll be in the economic toilet for a long time.
Heck of a job, Brownie!
The polls hadn't even closed in the Massachusetts senate race when shots began to be exchanged by the traditional Democratic circular firing squad. "Martha Coakley was a terrible candidate!" "It was the fault of the DNC/DSCC/DLC/Tim Kaine/Harry Reid/Rahm Emanuel/Joe Lieberman!" "It was a referendum on Obama/health care reform/the economy!" "This never would have happened if Howard Dean was running things!" "The Obama Administration is over!"
Apparently the old saying is wrong. Failure can have many fathers too.
Left out of all the intramural poo flinging is the fact that Scott Brown ran a good campaign, talking to voters, winning them over, and getting them to the polls. Without that, none of Coakley's mistakes would have mattered.
Democrats need to take a chill pill and focus on getting some things accomplished this year. We still have commanding majorities in both houses of Congress. If the GOP is blocking progress, we need to fight them and make their obstructionism an issue in November. And Obama needs to step up to the podium more often and play the "fierce advocate" he claimed he would be. I always thought he was far more skilled as a speaker than as a nuts and bolts politician. It's way past time for him to be using that skill.
January 19, 2010
We're Number Four!
Interstate 35 through Austin ranks as Number Four on a list of our nation's most congested highways compiled by the popular politics and gardening blog The Daily Beast. Austin's mind-boggling 460 hours of congestion per week helped gain the honors, leaving all other Texas cities in the dust. The northbound Riverside Drive stretch was named as the worst spot. I'm usually not one to toot the local horn, but . . . SUCK IT, Houston!
Thank you, Kenneth Feinberg
It's always refreshing when something works. President Obama's pay czar decided that some at AIG didn't need to make more than 500k per year. Some of those people wrote him a letter and said they'd resign and pull far more in severance. Feinberg looked them in the eye and said, leave.
So one of them resigned and as of today, the company has not collapsed. As for whether or not she'll get her full severance pay out, that's still up in air. I really hope not... because she wouldn't have gotten it in the event of a bankruptcy (she would have been a WAY junior creditor).
The reality is that none of these people are too valuable to replace
Cornelius Hurley, director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law at Boston University, said no AIG employee was irreplaceable.
"We have been duped into thinking that these AIG employees have some kind of secret code that no other employee could discover if they were hired to replace them and therefore they are able to basically hold the company ransom," Hurley said.
Goddamn that do sound familiar, don't it? Sorry, couldn't resist the gratuitous high-five with myself from almost a year ago. As if that wasn't enough, here's the kicker to the whole thing (and I'm not really happy about this); Companies can pay more than the limits he sets but they have to do it in stock which really sucks for existing shareholders who are about to get diluted. As it turns out, the folks at AIG don't like the idea either. Why? Excellent question!
Or there was A.I.G.’s behind-closed-doors argument against Feinberg’s directive to pay its top people in large part with A.I.G. stock. The company’s reasoning? That the stock — trading briskly at the time at around $40 on the New York Stock Exchange — was actually worthless.
Reality is always way better than fiction, don't you agree? Wouldn't you also like to see some of these fuckwits out repairing a sidewalk with a sledge? Let them see what real work feels like and pays.
As I write this post, this song popped into my head...
I guess that means I better, you know, stop before I do something rash.
January 18, 2010
In what is truly one of the more comical things to come out from the R side the primary, Sen. Hutchison has decided to come out in favor of term limits. This is, of course, funny because she made a promise to voters in 1994 to only serve two terms in the US Senate, a promise she broke in 2006.
39%'s campaign said something retarded about it and the comedy was lost. But still, for a briefly shining moment, something funny happened. And then a moron who works with other morons chimed in.
Not so much with peak oil?
Now this is interesting... especially since it kinda drops cold water on the case for higher oil prices.
January 15, 2010
Fast and Faster
Within an hour of the end of the Republican Debate Lie, Farouk Shami had this out...
Responding to tonight's debate between Governor Rick Perry, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Debra Medina, Farouk Shami's campaign says that the debate was "a childish squabbling match to see who can be the most far right reactionary candidate."
Despite the argumentative nature of the debate with regard to Perry and Hutchison's voting records and prior communication, it appears that the three Republican candidates agree on most issues. For instance, all three candidates endorsed the same failed border policy, which has proven to be an unmitigated disaster. What we need is a candidate with a new approach that embraces an economic partnership with Mexico while cracking down on drug trafficking and gang violence.
Farouk Shami has stated previously, "things in Texas are heading in the wrong direction. The cost of health care and health insurance are out of control, the quality of basic public education is falling, and our air, land and water are under constant threat from polluters. We simply can't settle for more business as usual." Tonight's debate was more business as usual.
What really matters to the average Texan is the state's economy, whether or not they will have a job next month or next year, where their mortgage payment will come from, or what they're going to do when their unemployment benefits run out. Some 800,000 Texans are currently unemployed. We heard from one of them tonight during the debate. Farouk Shami has pledged to bring 100,000 new jobs to the state of Texas during his first two years of office, and he's backing up that pledge with 10 million dollars of his own money. Tonight, none of the Republicans offered a real solution to our record unemployment.
"After tonight's debate, I now feel that it is more important than ever for the other Democratic candidates for Governor to have the opportunity for meaningful dialogue," says Shami. "I hope Bill White will rethink his decision to not debate the other candidates in a public forum."
Bill White also had something to say, but just not quite as fast...
Governor Perry claimed: "I promised I would do everything I could to make this a state where people are proud to live and I think we've done that." I was proud to be a Texan before he was Governor and many of us will be more proud of our state when he's gone. We don't need a Governor who takes credit for all that is good about Texans. His attitude just shows that Perry has been in office too long.
I agree with Senator Hutchison that Texas future is at risk because we are failing to educate so many Texans. Dropout rates are among the highest in the nation and college tuition has been skyrocketing. Education is the biggest job of state government and the largest part of the state's budget. Education is an engine of economic growth and opportunity. How we invest in kids now will determine our economic future. And yet, in a one hour debate, Governor Perry never accepted accountability for the failures of public education or described how we could improve it and bring down skyrocketing college tuition rates. Our state deserves better than that.
Much of the debate consisted of complaints about the federal government, rather than solutions for Texas. I agree with some comments about federal intrusion, but under the Constitution the Governor of Texas does not control the federal government. Under Governor Perry, the State of Texas has time and time again imposed mandates cities and counties, and as Governor that is something I'd stop.
Elections, dear friends, are about drawing contrasts... Shami won the response game last night both on speed and clash.
January 14, 2010
A collection of incompetent retards
A few notes on the Republican Debate
1) KBH - No one aborts as child as it's being born. Just doesn't happen.
2) Perry - REALLY?!?!?! You love DoD? Come on, Governor... you also love Medicare and Medicaid or at least the part that comes from the Feds. Also, you were begging for TARP to pass. Quit lying you tan douchebag.
3) Medina - Your knowledge of the US Constitution is about as good as an aardvarks. Seriously, you don't know what you're talking about, especially when it comes to enumerated vs implied powers.
What's their answer to create jobs? CUT TAXES. Which is pretty stupid since the marginal utility of doing that would be bupkiss. REALLY. Not to mention that we couldn't fund schools or any public service (like DPS) or build roads. Debra goes one further into the crazy and wants to eliminate property taxes which, just FYI, has been the way primary way this state funded itself since it's inception. She wants to replace it with a sales tax. Dave Montgomery asked her how that would affect the poor (since, you know, a sales tax disproportionately effects the poor) and she said that it would create jobs and, I guess, magically eliminate the poor. Without educating them since there wouldn't be enough money for schools. Thanks a bunch for playing Debra Medina, RN (and also economist and Constitutional scholar).
And 39%... no one, not one of these assholes, called bullshit on the fact that we have the highest insurance rates int he country. And electricity rates. And teen pregnancy rates.
A collection of abject failures, incompetents and a fuckall crazy is what I watched Thursday night talking to one another. A complete goddamn waste of time.
In anticipation of the R debate...
... Wayne Slater at the DMN put out this lovely column about some funny moments from debates past. I think he was especially nice about Kinkhole's performance in the 2006 Gubernatorial debate when he was basically a drooling slob (in other words, he was himself).
Make sure you check your local listings for the debate tonight. Here in Austin, it's on at 7 on KVUE and News8. And I've already put some money on Medina to thoroughly fuck things up for the other two clowns.
Governor Johnny Come Lately wants an Amendment...
Gov. Rick Perry continues his criticism of Washington, proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to require Congress to balance the federal budget.
Perry said Thursday that federal spending is out of control, and unless it's reined in, it will ruin the country.
In a Wednesday appearance in Lubbock, Perry issued proposals that would make it difficult for the Legislature to raise taxes and would limit how much state spending could grow.
Lookit, this asshole has been in elected office for almost 30 years AND HE'S JUST NOW REALIZING THAT FEDERAL SPENDING IS A PROBLEM? A real MOTO, this guy. Gee, 39%, where were you when the R's were ramping up all this spending? When they passed a drug benefit that was basically a giant taxpayer handout to pharmaceutical companies? Where were YOU when Republicans abandoned the balanced budget which the
Democrats had left them and started massively issuing new debt to finance deficit spending?
I really, really hate a poltico who stands up and points fingers, especially when they were silent about things for so long. 39% is a fiscal conservative like I'm Jerry Falwell.
In other 39% news, he's also decided to not have Texas participate in a federal program that would have helped Texas increase educational standards. Nice work there, 39%.
January 13, 2010
Gold Star Texans - 2009
“Gold Star Texans” for 2009
Ramey Ko - Ramey Ko is an attorney and activist in Austin. He should be best known for his work in Asian Americans for Obama, but Republican stupidity assured us he will be best known as "the guy who held his cool while on the receiving end of a massive dose of both ignorance and racism from Betty Brown." With extreme professionalism, he tried to help Brown understand why it would behoove her and all Texans that voting rights for Asian Texans and all Texans not fall prey to bureaucratic errors creating name mismatches. Brown's ignorance/racism and Ko's cool reasonableness drew worldwide media attention. Watch the video of their exchange.
Calvin Tillman - Calvin is mayor of a tiny town at the epicenter of the Barnett Shale. Several industry giants seized DISH land and installed a several huge compressor stations and processing plants right next to neighborhoods. They built a crisscross of pipelines all through the town and on private property. He has taken a hard line with industry, crafting a strategy to get the most bang for his press releases.
Calvin and the DISH City Council spent @ 10% of their yearly budget for a private ambient air study. This is the first such study where the results were made public so that all citizens in the Barnett Shale area might benefit. The levels of toxins were amazingly high and many DISH residents are seriously ill but they are poor and do not have health insurance. Calvin worked with TDSHS and finally got them to agree to test DISH residents. This is the first time a state agency has tested residents for drilling toxins. Calvin travels to other areas and speaks about these issues. He has offered to speak and assist others and refuses any compensation for travel or time.
Calvin is largely responsible for TCEQ's changed policy, announced today, in responses to Barnett Shale air emissions. Also, he is a blogger.
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat and his Capitol Staff - While he may not be a native Texan, the work that Representative Naishtat has done for the State of Texas earns him a spot on the Texans of the Year List for 2009. Even with Voter ID putting a choke-hold on progress, Naishtat and his Capitol staff worked diligently to pass more legislation than any other member of the House during the 81st session. The Representative from Queens, who just completed his 10th session, has consistently proven himself to be an advocate for the sick and elderly, passing legislation that will create the Legislative Committee on Aging and ensuring Texas receives $15.2 million in Violence Against Women Act grants. We would be remiss in acknowledging Elliott Naishtat -- as the Representative is always quick to remind people -- without also recognizing his longtime staffers (Dorothy Browne, Nancy Walker and Judy Dale) who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help make Texas a better, safer place to live.
Texas Watchdog - Texas Watchdog had a role in breaking stories in the just completed Houston city elections. Though their work can, at times, be controversial, we welcome another online news organization to the Texas media landscape with our nomination of the group.
Hank Gilbert - For his continuing work to defeat infrastructure privatization schemes and working with Democrats and more than a few Republicans, he helped put a stop to CDA's this past session and handed Governor Perry and Commissioner Todd Staples a rare defeat.
January 12, 2010
Roundin' Up The TPA
With blue lips and chattering teeth, the Texas Progressive Alliance brings you a hot steaming mug of blog highlights for the week.
This week on Left of College Station: the filling deadline has ended and the primaries in the Brazos Valley are crowded with candidates. Also, a look at who tweets among the primary candidates for Texas Congressional District 17 and which does not want Left of College Station to follow their tweets. Teddy also takes a look at the modern day slavery of human trafficking, and how Houston has become one of the biggest hubs for the modern day slave trade. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines.
The Denton County candidates are ready to go at the Texas Cloverleaf.
Thinking and acting both locally and globally, Neil at Texas Liberal sent membership donations to both Greenpeace and the Democratic Women of Denton County.
After a noted anti-gay and Republican activist filed to run as a Democrat against an unchallenged incumbent GOP county commissioner, investigation determined that the man used the wrong address and was disqualified from the ballot. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has more on the story.
Bay Area Houston nominates Dave Wilson for the "Dripping with Hypocrisy" award with One Man. No Woman.
WhosPlayin has the story of a public servant who manages a $13 million facility, where he works for the taxpayer by day, and for the private club that rents the facility at night.
January 11, 2010
Mary Peters takes a job in the private sector. Finally.
Apparently, TXDOT is hosting some sort of event that gives them time to jerk off their favorite toll companies and contractors. This time they even pulled in Bush Transportation Secretary Mary Peters...
Under Gov. Rick Perry, Texas emerged as the leader among states in pursuing private toll roads but that momentum was halted last year, when the Legislature allowed the legal authority for most private toll roads in Texas to lapse.
"That moratorium on public private partnerships should be removed," she said. "The state of Texas should put that in abeyance. Restoring (private toll roads) here in Texas could show the federal government that you are really serious about tackling your own transportation problems."
No one, including our intrepid reporter at the DMN (Michael, buddy, I'm not letting you turn into Ben Wear... you gotta man up and start REALLY blogging), even bother to call bullshit on this. PPP's are NOT a good solution for transportation funding for a couple of reasons
1) Private companies can not, ever, raise debt as cheaply as a state. Period. Which automatically means the cost of any project undertaken by a PPP will be more expensive than anything the state will do.
2) These projects are contracted under provisions designed to take most of the risk off the project (and put it on the taxpayer) through forbidding or penalizing improvements to alternate routes and off the private partner (and put it on the taxpayer) by limiting their losses, limiting their percentage of the capital structure (usually to less than that of the state) and guaranteeing a profit to the private partner.
3) In the end, indexing the fuels tax will take care of inflation in construction and maintenance costs and allow the costs to be spread more equitably. In contrast, tolls are not only regressive (harder on the poor than the rich) they are abusive.
Add it all up and 'innovative solutions' like public private partnerships are the most expensive funding solution available for transportation. So, it's curious why old Mary (despite the fact that she really doesn't have all that great a background in banking... she's never worked in finance, only as a bureaucrat in Arizona and Washington, DC). I guess it really shouldn't come as a surprise that SHE'S WORKING FOR A COMPANY THAT STANDS TO BENEFIT FROM PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS (good catch, Michael)
Zachry American Infrastructure, in partnership with ACS, was chosen by TxDOT as the Master Developer for Interstate 69 in Texas. Zachry American Infrastructure partnered with Cintra to form SH 130 Concession Company, which is developing SH 130 segments 5 and 6.
Peters is now a paid consultant -- or "senior adviser" -- to Zachry American Infrastructure, a private toll road (and other infrastructure) developer affiliated with Zachry Construction, a Texas construction company founded in 1924. TxDOT tapped the infrasture development firm to provide a master plan for Interstate 69 in Texas, and the company joined with Cintra to develop SH 130 in Austin.
According to Peters, we need to repeal the moratorium to show DC we're interested in fixing our own problems and following the Federal lead to PPP's. Problem is, the tide is shifting in DC on PPP's. Everyone knows this could well be the next asset bubble to pop up and no one in anxious for that. Nevermind that how expensive these 'partnerships' are for taxpayers.
We're CERTAIN this is all Mary is concerned about. We're quite sure that there is no way her opinion is being influenced by the fact that she and her employer stand to take (not make) a bunch of money off taxpayers and the government officials (Hey TXDOT!) dumb enough to buy the snake oil they're selling.
I've been to all these places (except Qua)
Ever wonder which bars our drunks patronized just before their DWI arrest? Thanks to Austin PD, we have some answers.
I have my last drinks (plural, always plural) at many of these places BEFORE I GET IN A CAB. Because I don't want to be a statistic or a picture in that awful BUSTED newspaper.
January 08, 2010
A solution to NBC's Leno problem
As many of you have heard, NBC is having a time with the 10 pm slot now occupied by noted car collector and amateur comedian Jay Leno. NBC could bring back Kings WHICH WAS AWESOME, but I'm sure they will probably just do yet another series that Dick Wolf thought of while taking a megacrap after Thanksgiving dinner.
Dell to release shitty phone
Dell wants badly to be thought of as a maker of quality consumer electronics. Anyone remember that POS jukebox they put out a few years ago?
January 06, 2010
Fuck Kay, 39% and you, too.
Goddamn if the stupid doesn't just make me want to bury someone up to their neck in cement, cover their head in peanut butter and birdseed and let the birds have a snack. I get that there are stupid people in the world, but I hate opinionated ignorance more than anything else, except maybe American Idol and those ass orange sours that Judson Candies makes.
And here, friends, is some motherfucking opinionated ignorance.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not for Kay. I think she's losing it mentally, like borderline Alzheimers. Frankly, I don't care who wins the R primary because we can beat any of the candidates who've filed on that side. Even White can beat them. However, this bullshit excuse making about Perry just pisses me off.
First off, this bill that kept existing roads from being tolled was mostly bullshit... When Krusee and Staples shoved through 3588 (the bill that established the legal framework for the TTC and selling our roads) they fucked up on a few things. Much of that got 'fixed' in 05. The brilliant part about the 'local election' is that you're basically doing this with a gun to your head. TXDOT comes to you and says 'you either vote for this or you get no road or improvements'. When the mafia does something like that, it's illegal. What Staples, Krusee and 39% (as well as EVERY OTHER REPUBLICAN WHO VOTED FOR THIS) did is give TXDOT a gun and tell them to go use it on their constituents.
New lanes built within existing right of way could be tolled. Even more exciting, it could be wrapped into a CDA and effectively sold to a private company and you'd never know the details of that contract. Like the details that say the existing road has to be downgraded to a frontage road or the ones that say no road that runs even remotely parallel to the toll road can be upgraded or repaired.
Does Kay's ad suck? Oh, yeah. Unbelievable amounts of smelly ass. But it's not altogether wrong... our tax dollars paid for the ROW being used RIGHT NOW by SH 45, 1, 130 and roads in Harris County and North Texas. Future roads built within existing ROW can be tolled and even CDA'd through the newest bastard invention of the fucktard Houghton, pass through toll financing. Pay special attention to the fact that the 'private partner' assumes little to no risk and puts up very little of the capital raised by these 'innovative tools'. Remember, when you hear a Republican talk about Tolls, CDA's Public-Private Partnerships, Pass Through Financing or Innovative Financing Tools, it all means the exact same thing... CORPORATE WELFARE and a way to funnel your tax dollars to a private company.
One thing I'll say for progressive bloggers is that when our people fuck up, we call them on it. We don't get on our knees, unzip their pants and take their cocks into our mouths. Which is exactly what Republican bloggers, over and over again, keep fucking doing. What kind of a Texan makes excuses for people like Staples, Krusee, 39%?!?!?!?
January 04, 2010
So long, Kelly Fero
Sad news today... longtime Democratic consultant Kelly Fero passed way. We at McBlogger would like to offer our deepest sympathy to his family. So long, Kelly, and thanks for the laughs and support along the way!
Accoding to this story dolphins are actually close enough to humanity's intellectual prowess that we should consider granting them the status of "non-human persons".
Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence.
For example, a survey of dolphins found that by and large the aquatic mammals found the recent Hugh Grant/Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle Did You Hear About The Morgans? "vapid, lackluster".
No, it won't. And the President can go fuck himself
Given that the public dislikes the Senate bill--which, right now, looks like the only feasible framework for health reform--and that Americans probably won't be getting what they said they wanted in poll after poll throughout the health care debate--namely, a public option--it could be a challenge for Democrats to sell this bill to the American people once it's over and done with. But the debate over health care has worn on, and it wouldn't be too surprising to see a sigh of relief get expressed in poll results, with health care receiving a bump as it nears and achieves legislative completion.
Actually, no... that's not at all what's happening. The problem is that up until very recently the public option WAS going to have to happen. It wasn't until recently that Senator Reid decided to fold up. And the President is looking, as Jane says, at a strategy that brings his numbers up by dropping his base in the grease... it all appears to be going so well and will continue to do so until the moment of discontinuity when people realize they've been screwed and that there's no public option coming... just a mandate to buy health insurance.
Then watch the President's poll numbers become comparable to President Bush's numbers just prior to leaving office.