June 30, 2010

Much ado about bullshit

Last week, New Home Sales came in WAY lower than expected. In fact, they came in at the lowest level since 1963, when the sales number began to be recorded.

So, naturally, economists, bankers and investors all took this data rationally and understood that in the face of nine months of inventory and still more properties waiting for a stronger market to sell into, this is a really good number since people still need a place to live. Further, they realized that while the new home market may be REALLY slow, the overall economy is growing and adding jobs. With that, it's only a matter of time before housing ramps back up though it'll be a slow ramp (my own personal view is that housing prices have bottomed, absent spot declines in markets and sub-markets, but that reinflation probably won't occur until we start seeing some broad, not general, wage growth).

But, that's not really what happened... while people didn't exactly panic, it was clear from the number of assholes talking about a double dip recession that there are still precious few looking at the big picture.

Meanwhile, a bunch of stupid old men (seriously, I think all these people are intellectual pygmies, especially Alan Simpson who should be setting an appointment with Dr. Kevorkian, not worrying about the debt which he doesn't understand) are meetin' to save social security. The ironic thing is that many of them were involved with the first fix in 1983 that levied new, higher taxes but didn't separate the funds. Never mind the fact that with minor, actuarial changes to the program, the long term solvency can be fixed easily, with little pain. The short term problem is PRECISELY why, once we get out of this economic mess, we have to return to a balanced budget.

Greenspan, unsurprisingly, still doesn't fucking get it.


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June 29, 2010

RIP Sputnik

With all the convention activity going on and the reported recent passing of Gov. Briscoe and Sen. Byrd, it may have escaped notice that we also lost Sputnik this past week.

Sputnik, for anyone not familiar, was a regular fixture at the Capitol during legislative sessions and one of the most colorful characters in the building (a mighty high bar to clear, to be sure). Sputnik was a tireless and tenacious advocate for motorcyclists in Texas.

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Country FAIL

Two things crossed my path today... this from Bob Herbert

The June 28 cover story of Time magazine is headlined, “The Broken States of America.” As I’ve mentioned here several times, the states are facing a catastrophic fiscal situation that is short-circuiting essential services, pushing even more people out of work, and undermining the feeble national economic recovery.

As Time reported: “Schools, health services, libraries — and the salaries that go with them — are all on the chopping block as states and cities face their worst cash squeeze since the Great Depression.”

We are submitting to this debacle with the same pathetic lack of creativity and helpless mind-set that now seems to be the default position of Americans in the 21st century. We have become a nation that is good at destroying things — with wars overseas and mind-bogglingly self-destructive policies here at home — but that has lost sight of how to build and maintain a flourishing society. We’re dismantling our public school system and, incredibly, attacking our spectacularly successful system of higher education, which is the finest in the world.

How is it possible that we would let this happen?

We’ve got all kinds of sorry explanations for why we can’t do any of the things we need to do. The Democrats can’t get 60 votes in the Senate. Our budget deficits are too high. Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck might object.

Meanwhile, the greatness of the United States, which so many have taken for granted for so long, is steadily slipping away.

In an economic environment that is the worst since the Great Depression (and still only marginally better than that) WHY THE FUCK ARE WE EVEN HAVING A DISCUSSION ABOUT THE FEDS SHIFTING MONEY TO THE STATES?

Forget partisanship and bickering. Forget the damn debt. This is not an issue about which there should be any damn debate. This is the United States and, frankly, there isn't any problem we can't cover. And this is an EASY one! So, why is everyone playing politics with it?

Then I saw this piece

Barack H. Obama seems to be following W’s footsteps. He has failed — twice — to is rise to an occasion of great import. In the words of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, he has “wasted a good crisis” — for the second time. The financial collapse was a grand opportunity to undo three decades of misguided decision-making and radical deregulation. He chose to focus on . . . Health Care.

Now, we have another crisis — the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster. And yet again, we see another missed opportunity. The Oval Office speech last week was just that — a speech, filled with platitudes and mere words. Where was the challenge, the sense of national need, the urgency? It was the same tired energy speech [3] that, as The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has pointed out, every single president since Nixon [4] has given.

For the greatest orator of his generation, our president appears to be lacking in imagination.

What's so infuriating about this is that it reinforces the perceived weakness of Democrats. You can be thoughtful and appear decisive at the same time.

Yes, Mr. President, it is possible. And no, you don't have to dress in cowboy drag a la W to do it.


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June 28, 2010

Sen. Byrd and Governor Briscoe

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Sen. Byrd and Governor Briscoe today.

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June 26, 2010

Thank The Gods, The Nightmare Is Over!

We no longer have to give a rat's ass about soccer.

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Why yes, it's alwasy this humid here

If you're not in Corpus for the convention, then you probably don't know that it's really hot and very humid. According to one of our local experts, IT'S ALWAYS LIKE THIS. Which honestly makes me pretty sure that I won't be coming here ever again.

So far, there's extraordinarily little to report. The caucuses went fairly smoothly with the exception of SD 23 apparently which has always marched to the beat of it's own dysfunctional drummer. Our good friend Lila Valencia now has a seat on the SDEC which is about the only thing that surprising, though in a really good way.

So there's a chair race... Honestly, I'm going for Boyd. The changeover at TDP has been very positive over the last 4 years and I don't think the other folks really understand that while it's nice to pretend we can win without money, it's just not true. Ask me about 2006 sometime.

Then of course there are the speeches from the statewides that I'm looking forward to. Unfortunately, due to the death of his mother, Hank won't be here. Hpwever, Rep. Thompson has agreed to step in for him which is really, really cool.

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June 24, 2010

EVERYONE wants to drink with me...

Speaking of the Democratic Convention is Corpus, there is a lovely party Friday evening that's you're sure to enjoy, mostly because it's an open bar.

AND YOU'LL GET TO HAVE DRINKS WITH ME UNTIL I TELL YOU TO GO AWAY!

The TexBlog PAC party is Friday, June 25, 2010 at 8:30pm to midnight at Bourbon Street Bar & Grill (313 Chaparral Street Corpus Christi, TX). Admission is a sawbuck and it's so worth it, especially if you like to binge drink with other people who'll probably be in the room next to you at The Betty.

Brought to you by these very special sponsors who I love dearly for helping the PAC raise money for candidates this cycle.

Senator Leticia Van De Putte
Senator Kirk Watson
Senator Rodney Ellis
Representative Senfronia Thompson
Council Member Melissa Noriega
RepresentativeGarnet Coleman
Representative Ellen Cohen
Representative Jessica Farrar
Mayor Annise Parker
Ben Tulchin
Grant Martin

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Lately in Lawyerin'

Have you booked your room yet for the big state convention down in Corpus this weekend? I think a bunch of those shrimpers from Louisiana and Mi'Sippi have already made their way down the coast to more hydrous waters and taken up residence at the Omni. Both Omnis. That place wouldn't even accept my offer to pay 65% of their advertised nightly rate. And that was with Captain Kirk doing the talking and all the while striking his hilarious kung fu poses.

So I don't wanna hear about all the ecological disaster, decades of environmental destruction, devastated communities and lost ways of life, blablabla. Because this whole BP mess is now putting a kink in my weekend party plan.

Speaking of, I just heard about a piece o' lawyerin' that ties into all that. (The BP mess - not my weekend party plan....which, by the way, explicitly prohibits any lawyerin', and will hopefully not necessitate the solicitation of any lawyerin' from anybody else, either.) It seems that some in the petroleum industry - y'all might know it as the Awl Bidness - have had their oxen gored by the administration's moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling, and so have sued to have the moratorium lifted.

A federal district judge has now sided with them and granted a temporary injunction. In other words, the judge put a moratorium on the administration's moratorium. Kind of like when you're playing Strip Uno and two of your friends keep playing 'Reverse' cards back and forth against each other. Only with billions in petroleum revenue and the future of the Gulf of Mexico at stake rather than just the prospect of having to show your junk to people too wasted to remember the next day that you're a grow-er and not a show-er.

According to the court, the administration took a study limited to what went wrong at Deepwater Horizon, and used it to conclude that all deepwater drilling everywhere posed an imminent danger. (SIDEBAR: I smell some evidentiary mischaracterization here and maybe some confusion about the correct legal standard of review, but let's just go with it for purposes of this post). The court then scoffs at the Obama administration for wildly overreacting to a single isolated incident (in stark contrast to, say, the cautious and measured approach the Bush administration took in response to 9/11) and concludes the moratorium is "arbitrary and capricious."

This is a legally significant finding, because as anyone with a modicum of legal training knows, the Constitution don't allow no arbitrary and capricious laws up in here. Which is why we never have any. Honest we don't.

For those of you not familiar with the legal euphemism "arbitrary and capricious," it refers to when the government makes up a rule without really thinking it through first. Like if someone tried to blow up a plane with a shoebomb and the government reacted by deciding that we should, all of us, have to take off our shoes AND our belts at the airport EVERY time we fly ANYWHERE. Or that we should only carry liquids in quantities of 3 ounces or less because of the obvious safety threshold associated with that volume.

Then again, that kind of arbitrary and capricious thinking would only compromise civil liberties and not the Awl Bidness, so maybe courts would tolerate it. Priorities, you understand.

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June 23, 2010

Hank pwns Todd Staples

Hank has been scoring hit after hit on Toll Road Todd, the magical gnome of the TDA. Here's a brief run down of all the releases the campaign has sent out. Recently, BOR, Brains and Eggs, Dos Centavos and the Austin Chronicle had good write ups on the developing scandal with the decision to award a major TDA contract to an out of state corporation controlled by lobbyists.

Staples response was the relevy attacks made by Kinky Friedman in the primary. Since, you know, they HAVEN'T ALREADY SATURATED THE ELECTORATE. Just as a tip to Staples, you can run crappy oppo like this against an opponent who

1) Has tried to hide it (Hank never has and it's been public record for more than 10 years)
2) Has a difficult time explaining it (Hank can do it in 10 words or less)
3) Won't fight back

Staples, having met an inexperienced and woefully underfinanced Hank in 2006, continues to panic and throw everything against him. Unfortunately for Staples, the only candidate in this race landing hits is Hank who continuously makes Staples look ridiculous and, well, incompetent (which it's increasing clear, he is). Now Hank wants to know what Toll Road Todd is trying to hide...

In light of the scandal surrounding the $3 million dollar contract awarded to a questionable Kentucky non-profit by Staples and the Texas Department of Agriculture, Gilbert said voters need to know what Staples is trying to hide by failing to disclose his tax returns.

“We already know that Staples owns stock in at least two telecommunications companies that are partners with Connected Nation. The big question is, ‘what don’t we know,’” Gilbert said. “At a time when transparency in government and from our elected officials is demanded at every turn, the contrast between Todd Staples and an officeholder that is behaving in a transparent manner is like the difference between chicken salad and chicken–well, you know,” Gilbert concluded.

What kind of side income is Staples trying to hide? What kind of deals has he cut at the expense of Texas taxpayers, other than the ones we already know? Why is Staples hiding behind a 10 year old fight Hank had with the IRS rather than being a man and showing his returns?

What is Toll Road Todd hiding from voters now?


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June 22, 2010

There's a ridiculously EASY solution to this

There is still a crisis in small business lending. The contraction of 2007-2009 hasn't eased any for small and medium sized business. Banks say there are fewer seeking credit and those that are asking for loans aren't credit worthy.

That's a load of bullshit. The problem is, the enhanced guidelines being followed by the banks fail to take into account real world conditions and are overweighted toward hard asset financing vs working capital.

There is, of course, a really easy solution to this... we need to end programs that allow banks to buy Treasuries with deposits and soak up a very nice spread. It's time for them to start taking a little risk again. If they won't, the government should immediately open up a small business funding program and allow all originators of FHA loans that ability to originate loans under that program and sell the loans to the government. We have to get employers back into a position to expand and we can't do that without funding.

While we're on the subject of the economy, let's take a moment to more completely denigrate those calling for AusterityNOW! These are some of the same people who also believed in Drill Here, Drill Now (you know, the assholes blaming enviros for BP's colossal mistake in the Gulf) and are basically the teabaggers you see out, running their little teabagger errands, demanding services (like Medicare and Social Security with a fat COLA) all while bitching about how high their taxes are and making the 7% of the federal budget that's purely discretionary the bogeyman for all their financial problems.

OK, here's the deal fat, middle class boomers... you fucks have made taxes the central issue of your entire political lives as you got more and more conservative. You took your eyes of the ball that IS income and forget that to pay taxes you have to have some. The declining amount of disposable income you've been dealing with for years isn't because of taxes (most of you are paying the lowest tax rates in more than 60 years), it's because income growth in the US (for the lowest 97% of the economy, i.e., the vast majority of Americans) has been non-existent for more than 30 years. Sure, there were a few good years under Clinton but then he got a blowjob from some fat chick and then we got Bush who promptly put an end to the rebuilding of the middle class.

As an aside, it would be super if certain companies would actually pay their taxes like the rest of us do. That would certainly put a big hole in the deficit.

Now you're all whining about the federal deficit as if the massive deficits right now aren't keeping the economy from going into a deflationary death spiral. The latest bit of nonsense is this ridiculous piece from David Brooks (or, as we like to call him, the poor man's William F Buckley).

By 57 percent to 37 percent, voters in these districts embrace the proposition that “President Obama’s economic policies have run up a record federal deficit while failing to end the recession or slow the record pace of job losses.”

Instead of building faith in government, the events of 2009 and 2010 further undermined it. An absurdly low 6 percent of Americans acknowledge that the stimulus package created jobs, according to a New York Times/CBS survey.

Well of course these people think that. They've had a steady diet of just this kind of bullshit from conservative commentators doing their best impression of people far smarter than they. And these voters, overwhelmingly boomers, believe it. None of them look deeply into the talking points from the right and instead take in every breathless word from Rush Limbaugh as truth despite the fact that Rush knows dickall about, well, anything.

The reality is that absent the stimulus (which, because of the Republicans and a few weak ass Democrats, was far smaller than it needed to be) this country would have an unemployment rate pushing 15%. Without the so-called bailouts, we'd have unemployment in the high 20 percent range and we'd be in a sever depression. Have the Democrats done a piss poor job of messaging this? Hell yeah. Democrats need a solid round of completely justifiable self-aggrandizement.

Of course, Brooks doesn't stop there...

Bitterly and too late, Dr. Faustus acknowledged that after a period of overconsumption, Americans now see debt as the primary threat to their well-being. Dr. Faust and his fellow liberals may see themselves as the champions of the little guy, but in the new age of austerity, many voters see them as protectors of the special interests, as the guardians of the unaffordable promises.

Brooks, being an even bigger buffoon than Bill O'Reilly, never bothers to mention that the underlying assumption (deficit spending in a recession) is EXACTLY the right thing to do. He also never bothers to mention that if these people get their way, they can expect their benefits to be cut. Dramatically. And this little offer from Gates would be about $300 billion too little.

I think that's the best talking point to get these folks to refocus their efforts because they need to know... what they are demanding will end up forcing them to eat catfood in their golden years. And we still haven't accomplished any of what's needed to rectify the income inequality that's choking this country.

I leave you all with this from Jim Chanos. You won't know who he is, so I'll just say he's a really rich guy who got that way by making smart decisions and working hard.

“What I do have a problem with, personally, is the hedge fund industry or the private equity industry or the venture capital or the real estate –all private capital –asking for and still getting to some extent, lower tax rates on certain forms of income that I believe are income, not returns on capital, than say teachers, soldiers, fireman and policeman.”

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June 18, 2010

Roundin' Up The TPA

The Texas Progressive Alliance salutes that grand old high-flying flag as it brings you this week's blog roundup.

Off the Kuff takes a look at an alternate universe in which the DeLay-engineered re-redistricting of 2003 never took place.

Captain Kroc at McBlogger is not at all impressed with all the cross Atlantic chatter regarding British Petroleum and their oopsie in the Gulf.

Bay Area Houston says that the Republican party convention was invaded by dickheads.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders why a Hidalgo election is allowed to stand after so many fraud allegations.

The Republican Party of Texas is either under siege or on a crusade, depending on the POV of Dave Mann at the Texas Observer and Wayne Slater of the DMN. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs just thinks they're a bunch of gun-and-Bible-clinging bed-wetters.

TXsharon has a video of water from a private well that was contaminated from hydraulic fracturing a Devon Energy Barnett Shale gas well. Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

WhosPlayin has been analyzing discipline data obtained via open-records request from Lewisville ISD, and find finds that the data reported to TEA through the PEIMS system regarding fights and assaults might be vastly under-reported. (0 reported last year, but 750 so far this year by mid April.) TEA explains that districts may choose to report some of those incidents as "violation of local code of conduct".

Three Wise Men takes another look at the current outlook of national and state races in the midterms.

Libby Shaw over at TexasKaos shines a light on an article that really should get more attention. "....37 of the 64 judges in the Gulf region from Texas to Florida, have financial ties to big oil and gas." Check out the rest - Most Judges in Gulf Region Have Financial Ties to Oil and Gas.

Neil at Texas Liberal wrote about Renew Houston. This proposed ballot initiative for the 2010 Houston ballot would dedicate money for wastewater removal. Yet it is funded by regressive means, and appears to add no progressive green solutions to Houston's wastewater removal strategies.

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June 17, 2010

Smoky Joe Barton attempts to go down on Tony Hayward

During a hearing Thursday regarding BP's disaster in the Gulf, Representative Joe Barton (R - TXI) said that 'he was embarrassed that a private company was subjected to a shakedown' in reference to the deal cut on Wednesday between BP and the Obama Administration which will see the company put $20 billion into a fund to be managed by a third party to alleviate the costs associated with the disaster. The move was meant to assure those effected by the spill that BP would make good on it's promise to pay for their disaster.

This is really quite funny because even in the Greatest Group of Whores Ever Assembled (also known as the House Republican Caucus), Barton is a standout. He's long been on his knees for Texas Industries and willing to do anything for anyone who needs to dump their waste into the air, water or soil on which his constituents depend. Just ask anyone in management at XTO.

Yeah, Joe Barton is sleazy and borderline corrupt. The most shocking thing about Barton is that he makes Tom Daschle look like a decent public servant in comparison. It might help to think me less mean in my criticism if you knew that Barton's largest corporate donor base was Anadarko Petroleum which was a 25% partner in Deepwater Horizon, the rig drilling the gusher now flowing as much as 120k barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. Since 1989, more than $146,000 has come from Anadarko personnel and PACs.

Just so we're crystal, let's all take a moment and realize that BP went out of it's way to cut corners on this well. The decision to only partially line the well with concrete is just one of many that led not only to the disaster but to it's severity. Add in that BP has consistently lied about the size of the field (it's MASSIVE) and about the flow rate (it's ALWAYS been higher... Matt Simmons and other we're putting it in the 100k bbl/day range more than a month ago) and then combine all that with BP's abysmal safety record and you have a pretty clear indication of just how much BP cares about doing business the right way.

That $20 bn was letting them off cheap, despite the President's bullshit about an operational BP being better than a dead BP. Frankly, I think the government should nationalize all of BP's assets in the US and in accessible areas of the world and liquidate over time. This was absolutely willful negligence and Rep. Barton would like us to pay for it.

Fuck you, Joe. Right to hell.

PDiddy has more including a link to Barton's opponent.

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June 15, 2010

39% and his minions...

There is nothing more desperate than 39%'s campaign this year. Even the actions of Todd Staples, who is busily hiding everything he's been doing (or not doing), pale in comparison to the actions of Team 39% who have been breathlessly pimping a non-story for days. The latest comedy has been the attack on Bill White regarding an investment in a company that helped out during Hurricane Rita by supplying generators as a backup power source to a treatment plant that processed water for more than 600,000 people. 39%'s flacks breathlessly got on the phones and pimped the story like Heidi Fleiss trying to fill out a Saturday night.

The only problem with the story is that White made the investment AFTER the decision had been made to use the company. The media, to their credit, picked up on that rather quickly and realized that Team 39%'s efforts were the equivalent of shouting fire because they see an ashtray. That did not, however, stop them from properly pointing out just how disastrous the response was from a clearly unprepared White campaign.

White's folks haven't been real vocal, in contrast, regarding the actually smelly deals 39% made using Enterprise funds with campaign contributors, not to mention the pressure he's exerted directly and indirectly on certain processes at the state level to the benefit (again) of campaign contributors. They did have a nice little hit on 39%'s refusal to take the unemployment stimulus funds, supposedly because it would lead to higher taxes on business. Turns out, that was a lie, taxes went up and we were without the money the Feds would have returned to us (since it IS our tax dollars, after all). 39%, as it turns out, shoulda taken a page from Todd Staples re-election book and spread around some federal money or at least used to it do something other than balance the massive hole in the budget 39%'s incompetence put there. And pay for his nice rental mansion.

Then today, Team 39% came right off the rails when his staff thought it would be a good idea to have a press conf so they can, yet again, beat the dead horse regarding Bill White's investing prowess (which, as a side note, it's pretty clear that White's a hell of a lot better at managing money than 39%). The only problem is the morons had their little shindig at the Travis County Democratic Party's Coordinated Campaign where Bill White's campaign has space. Surely there would be no Democrats there.

While Jesus may love 39%, everyone else thinks he's an asshole, including Democrats in Travis County and they showed that today. Enjoy.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So, what replaces Twitter?

Patton Oswalt decided to set up a Twitter account. He's also committed to join whatever replaces it and was nice enough to post some of his predictions for services that stand a chance of being Twitter 2.0:

BlipBlap: Basically Twitter, but only 17 characters allowed, and no vowels. Xclnt!

Wh1ff: The first-ever "scent site" -- you update your status from an "odor board" of 170 different scents. "(Snnnnnnfff) Patton had chili for lunch and he's somewhere humid."

DanzaQuip: Every single status update on this site is first sent to Tony Danza's personal e-mail. He then decides which ones to post, and is the only one who can respond or comment. (*This site will replace the U.S. Post Office in 2027)

I leave you with one of his bits from the 90's that will sing to you if you (like me) grew up watching Bob Ross and Wm. Alexander on PBS...

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June 14, 2010

Your Daily Dose Of Panic

85% of Kids’ Drinks, Snacks Could Contain High Levels of Lead

...warns some bunch of busybody do-gooders.

Kids today have it easy. Back in my day, we literally had to lick the paint off the very walls to get our lead.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 02:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 13, 2010

Roundin' Up The TPA

The Texas Progressive Alliance is sitting in the shade with a cool drink as it brings you this week's blog roundup.

It's been a busy week in the Barnett Shale. TXsharon has the TCEQ Timeline of Deception posted which makes it more difficult for that agency to say, "Oops!" Just in time for summer droughts we find that hydraulic fracturing seems to be contaminating Barnett Shale water.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know why the Texas Medical Board takes a year to suspend a doctor caught jerking off repeatedly in front of his office staff? Just suspension?

Lightseeker over at TexasKaos comments on Rick Perry's management of the Texas state bureaucracy. In short, it is a study in incompetence. Or as I have said elsewhere, if you hate government then no one should be surprised when you can't govern. Check it out....An Open Letter to Rick Perry: TCEQ screws up, lies about it - Gov.Perry has full confidence in them .

WhosPlayin is doing a server move this weekend and may not be back up by Monday, but wanted to spread the word about plans by Williams Co. to put a centralized gas production wastewater collection facility in Lewisville..

Off the Kuff looks behind the numbers of the recent UT/Trib poll on the ACA and the public schools.

McBlogger has never been a fan of self-aggrandizing politicians which may explain his intense dislike of Todd Staples.

A federal judge in Houston wants all the lawsuits that will be filed against BP for damages associated with the Gulf oil disaster. Oh, and BP wants him to hear the cases as well. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs gathers some links on Judge Lynn Hughes.

Neil at Texas Liberal wondered how Houston Mayor Annise Parker, a Democrat, could cite an article calling Houston a successful model of urbanism for the nation when 47% of Houston kids live at or below the poverty level? It is time for liberals, progressives and Democrats to ask more of Mayor Parker.

Posted by mcblogger at 05:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is That A Dildo On Your Head Or Are You Just Happy To See Rick Perry?

Chances are pretty good that you've already seen this Texas Tribune image from the Texas GOP Confab, but we at Rancho McBlogger know our readers always appreciate a good dick joke...

Photobucket

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 11:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh my... but that's not the way math works

So the Libertarians had their conclave this weekend here in Austin and I missed it because I was too busy running errands and laughing at some of the rather generously fed folks in town for the ROT rally. I did see this piece in the Statesman that included this AWESOME quote from the Libertarians candidate for Governor.

"In a three-way race, more than 33 percent takes it. We can do this," Glass told attendees. "A chance like this does not come around very often and may not come around again in our lifetimes."

Using this logic, Chris Bell would have only needed 25% in 2006 (which he exceeded). So yeah, Kathie Glass, you'll need to go over 33%. In fact, I predict that the winner in this election will come in first.

Seriously, y'all, I'm really trying to be nice here... I LIKE the Libertarians. Their childish belief in the perfection of a market made up of imperfect humans aside (and yes, I get that Ayn Rand's seductive... but then you grow up and start reading better books that are well written and not wholly dependent on such stark contrasts), they're very much like Democrats when it comes to social issues. But y'all have got to learn to do electoral calculations and y'all just don't have the numbers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy y'all are in the race. It might actually sharpen up the other 39% and White.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 12, 2010

Wankers

Seems that Brits have their knickers in a twist about the USA’s criticism of British Petroleum. Some of them claim that this “anti-British rhetoric” is causing a severe drop in the company’s stock and that no dividends will be paid out to UK pension funds. Apparently, pensioners will be thrown out on the streets, and unable to have their pudding because they can no longer afford to eat their meat. Curse those damn socialist and their redistribution of wealth.

We sure didn’t hear this whining when we saved their asses from Hitler and the Nazis. If it were not for us, the Brits would be speaking German and mass producing Volkswagens.

Who needs these snotty tea-sippers? Are they too good for natty light? Hell, they don’t even allow guns. Then there is that uppity accent. We should kick all the Brits out of this country, or at least throw them in the Gulf to soak up the oil.

Now is the time to change our vocabulary to freedom muffins, freedom peas, freedom thermal unit, and you put freedom on the ball. We’ll show those limeys. Also, heard a rumor that Osama Bin Laden is hiding out in Buckingham Palace.

Yeah, this is silly. Just like the French bashing leading up to this country’s invasion of Iraq.
Like then, oil is the catalyst for rancorous rhetoric and rude behavior between allies.

The most vocal public figure is gaffe-prone conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson who is considered in many quarters, including the right, as a buffoon. He rode to victory behind a brilliant strategist who kept Johnson’s mouth shut, limited his public appearances, and was successful in getting out the vote.

Since Johnson seems to be manipulated by conservatives, and his anger is almost exclusively aimed at President Obama, would it be too outrageous to suggest that he is a proxy for GOP operatives across the pond who are whispering in his ear.


Posted by Captain Kroc at 09:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 11, 2010

Can we all just agree...

... that from now on anyone involved with foreign or economic policy in the Bush Administration gets a permanent "Oh, fuck off because you're a goddamn disaster" instead of listening to what they have to say?

Seriously, we need to stop giving these neocon and idiot assholes a place to speak. Like this moron and this one who was just in a debate with Wesley Clark over whether President Obama's foreign policy spells America's decline.

How many times do these mooks have to be wrong before we finally give them a collective 'MEH'?

Posted by mcblogger at 09:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2010

I'm so sorry, but you fail again Attorney General Greg Abbott

Our hapless Attorney General, Greg Abbott, has yet again failed to prosecute the voter fraud that he claims is rampant.

At what point can we stop calling Attorney General Greg Abbott's efforts in this area an attempt to prosecute voter fraud and start calling it what it is, minority vote suppression?

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

June 09, 2010

Palin endorses Fiorina

Quitter Governor Sarah Palin endorsed Carly Fiorina in the CA Senate race. Here's my favorite part...

Carly is the Commonsense Conservative that California needs and our country could sure use in these trying times. Most importantly, she’s running for the right reasons. She has an understanding that is sorely lacking in D.C. She’s not a career politician. She’s a businesswoman who has run a major corporation. She knows how to really incentivize job creation. Her fiscal conservatism is rooted in real life experience. She knows that when government grows, the private sector shrinks under the burden of debt and deficits. We can trust Carly to do the right thing for America’s economy and to make the principled decisions she has throughout her professional career.

Oh, sure... she's BRILLIANT at business. At her last real big job, as CEO of Hewlett Packard, she was best known for almost collapsing the company and, of course, making HWP shareholders poorer. Given that, is it any surprise that a failed Governor would endorse a failed CEO?

Fiorina is the penultimate symbol of what's wrong with American Capitalism... the celebrity CEO and the mostly worthless managerial class which has, since the 80's, been focused almost exclusively on making themselves rich at the expense of shareholders. Fiorina and her ilk are parasites on an economy they have been sucking dry for almost 40 years.

Help out Senator Boxer. She needs to crush Fiorina so, hopefully, she'll finally go away. Or write another book filled with her dumb ideas that lead, inevitably, to disaster.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2010

The deficit (right now) doesn't matter

With all that's going on, it's hard not to think that we're spending ourselves into fiscal oblivion. In the past, I've been a deficit hawk. There were a few of us who started bitching about the irresponsible tax cuts and debt increases coming from the past administration. Our point was not then (and isn't now) that we couldn't borrow the money, it's that it didn't make any sense at the time. What Bush and the Republicans in Congress did prior to 2006 was massively increase structural deficits to finance the operation of the government. The problem with that is, when a serious economic dislocation occurs, you need to be able to spend massively to make up for the shortfall in the private sector.

And that means lots of new debt. If we were already in deficit, it really starts to add up.

In effect, what the tax cuts did was double our debt without providing solid, broad economic growth and leave us in a hole. Then came the global credit crisis and the most severe recession in this country since the Depression. Unfortunately for all these new deficit hawks, they're getting it wrong (just like Pete Peterson). Now they're all clamoring for fiscal austerity.

OK, let me point out that this isn't new (we talked about it last year). Those same folks also said stimulus wouldn't work and it did (the most recent job report notwithstanding... but, take a second and remember WE TOLD YOU STIMULUS NEEDED TO BE LARGER). They also said that all this new debt would drive up interest rates (they were wrong, again), mostly because investors need to make returns on their money and there is precious little in the way of investments out there in fixed income world in terms of new issuance. Which means the government is the only game in town if you want a net positive return.

These new deficit hawks promoting austerity were wrong then and they are wrong now. This guy is right... spot on, completely, right. So is this guy.

Trumka made it very clear. “We have no short-term deficit problem.” We have a jobs problem, and we’re not doing a heck of a lot about it. And more is being done inside Washington to pay attention to the former than the latter. “The deficits facing our country right now are our jobs deficit and our infrastructure deficit.”

The deficit, right now, ain't the problem. Without a real economic recovery that's sustainable, tax receipts will never go up and we'll continue running structural deficits which will continue to add to the debt. The deficit will come down, on it's own, when we get the economy really moving. It's starting now and there are tons of positive signs. However, doing what the assholes want will crush that nascent recovery and then we'll have much larger problems.

Posted by mcblogger at 11:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2010

ZOMG!!! Is that J Lo's Ass?

Photobucket

No, it turns out it's just a hole in the ground.

Given that this happened a week or so ago, I wasn't even going to post this, but then last night I learned that McBlogger Himself had missed the story. So I'm doing this as a public service for any of the rest of you who may have spent all your time watching Bill White YouTube videos or Bad Girls Club or something.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 07:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2010

The jobs report... Reality is Reality...

The jobs report, in no uncertain terms, sucked. Obviously, it's prompted still more questions about additional jobs stimulus and whether the government should do more. Of course, had the stimulus been what was needed more than a year ago, all this would be a non-issue. But Democrats caved into the Republicans and we got their version of a stimulus plan in the name of bipartisanship.

Can we now say enough with bipartisanship and let's get on with doing what's best, politics be damned (though, in all honesty, if the D's are afraid of the R's attacking them for doing the right thing they need to think about a different line of work)?

It's time to correct the error and finish what's needed to recover, once and for all. We've tried the carrot, now it's got to be the whip to employers to get them back into hiring.

The 09 stimulus package, being way too small, was ineffective in a couple of areas, including changes to tax policy which benefited employers who hired additional workers. All in all, one of the more decent right wing economic ideas that nonetheless still doesn't work in the real world. Why? Well, as it turns out, employers make the decision to hire based on profits and expected future revenue, not taxes. Of course, I knew this years ago but Republicans are only now catching up. So are some of my dumber Democratic brethren.

So, we need a stimulus plan that heavily incents hiring and wage growth. At the same time, we need to remove incentives for outsourcing and change tax policy to effectively end the subsidy enjoyed by many companies for moving workers overseas. Additionally, capital gains and taxes on dividends (including those hidden as retained earnings) must go up and we need to begin closing corporate income tax loopholes... I'll even give them a reduced tax rate but no more escape hatches other than those for hiring Americans.

And I'm also a massive fan of a 45% tax rate on incomes exceeding $1mn individually and $1.5mn as a couple. Sorry, but y'all have had an effective tax rate of less than 20% for too long and it's time you paid your fair share like the rest of us.

I'm tired of hearing the President and Democrats talk about how much they want the economy back on track and then talking about the random, stupid things they are doing to achieve that goal (it's like you're all sharing Larry Summers rat brain) as if any of it will be effective. The time for half measures and playing nice while hoping for the best is over. We need leaders now who will do the right thing.

The current state of the economy is, entirely, exactly what was always bound to happen since policy shifted in this country toward Friedmanite ideas and a right wing ideology. It all looks great on paper, in theory, since it promised the proverbial free lunch. However, in the real world, it's a set of policies and ideas that will always lead to disaster.

If Democrats need some help explaining that, just let me know.


Posted by mcblogger at 02:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So done...

So, after installing a Windows service pack my speakers (which had been working perfectly) no longer work. Which is awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I'm done with Windows and Microsoft.

Yes, that's right... I'm moving to Mac as soon as I'm able to make the switch. I take it for granted that I will have problems with any computer. However, they seem to have a lot less. I just want to work, not deal with a bunch of piddly ass bullshit and requests for money for customer support. You made the shit, motherfuckers. It should work right from the get-go or don't release it.

Seriously, so done with you bitches.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:37 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 03, 2010

Something just stinks...

With a monomaniacal drive to draw attention to himself that would make even Eve Harrington blush, Todd Staples is all about Todd Staples. Recently, he's been out pimping a program at TDA (paid for by the Federal Government... I guess Todd's federalism alarm only goes off when it's a program he can't use to glorify himself) to feed underprivileged kids over the summer.

Of course, no one has a problem feeding needy kids during the summer. In fact, it's something that absolutely should be done and a program that Hank Gilbert heavily supports. What he's not in favor of is Todd's use of the program to promote himself. Ladies and gentleman, I give you The Texas Watchdog which landed on this story back in February...

"He is taking advantage of federal tax dollars that would be better spent feeding kids in the summertime," Hank Gilbert, (pictured at left) one of the Democrats running in the March primary and a staunch supporter of the federal school nutrition program in Texas. "We certainly will be talking about this as a campaign issue. I wish we could get legislation passed to prevent agency heads from doing this altogether during the election cycle."

No, no... you didn't misread. Todd Staples, in one of his more craven self-promotion schemes, is actually using federal money intended to feed needy kids to promote the program with television ads featuring (you had to see this coming) Todd Staples. Sure the program needs to be promoted, but did they really need to take money from it to shoot commercials featuring Staples? As it turns out, no...

Rodriguez said he had almost never seen a high-ranking agency head to do the ads himself. State Comptroller Susan Combs, who preceded Staples as agriculture commissioner, said she never served as a spokesperson for one of her programs, nor could she remember a previous commissioner doing it. The heads of the state food programs in Oklahoma and Arkansas said they have not done ads for their programs.

Andy Wilson, a researcher specializing in campaign finance issues for the liberal advocacy group Public Citizen, said the appearance of Staples himself in the ads raises ethical questions that get sharper at a time when Staples is trying to be re-elected. While the ads have no blatant political message, they offer considerable name recognition in places where voters don't even know the name of their own state representative, Wilson said.

"If we're feeding poor kids I want the state of Texas to get every federal tax dollar they can for it," Wilson said. "But Todd Staples doesn't need to be in those ads. I have real ethical issues with it."

Yeah, that's Todd Staples... taking $80,000 earmarked to feed kids so that he can shoot an ad for himself. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy election.

Posted by mcblogger at 08:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is 39% embarrassed about his failure?

Sharon over at BlueDaze has a nice post up with a timeline that neatly shows just how long (and how badly) TCEQ has failed to protect the citizens of this state. It's so bad that even Republican Congressman Burgess is spending some time pandering about the failure of the agency 39% has staffed with crazies so he can pay back campaign contributors (I'm looking at you, Harold
Simmons
).

So far, 39% has been pretty silent on TCEQ's absolute failure (let's not kid ourselves, this whole agency is an unmitigated clusterfuck that should be in a textbook for anyone who studies government entitled MASSIVE REPUBLICAN FAILURES CAUSED BY A FAULTY AND FRAUDULENT IDEOLOGY) and is, instead, enjoying his taxpayer funded rental manse out in Westlake where he's probably now having drinks on the back patio and getting ready to shoot at Helen Monroe, 47, who is out for a walk on the trails behind the house. 39% thinks she is a bear.

In his defense, Helen does have the brown hair.


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