July 26, 2010

No, no... your stupid project is DEAD

There are few things that amuse me quite as much as a completely delusional developer. Apparently, that's exactly who is developing 1155 Barton Springs. The project recently filed for bankruptcy which was, frankly, inevitable given the following description of the property location and pricing...

...4-story, 27 unit development on Barton Springs just east of Lamar adjacent to the train tracks, McDonalds, and Peter Pan Mini Golf. With pricing starting at $1,000,000, our original reaction was that "the project is a very odd combination of location and pricing that suggests a lack of experience in residential development."

The bolded section is, honestly, first rate comedy and completely spot on (I'd seriously like to offer my compliments to the author of the line for their brilliant subtlety). Yes, STARTING at $1,000,000. This project was as sure a sign of a top as that idiotic project at the corner of Riverside and the 35 frontage that was being priced starting at $750k. What kind of fucking waste of goddamn skin moron builds a project full of (asking price) $1m - $6m condo next to a fucking McDonalds? Apparently, one that's completely fuckall insanse...

Despite the setback, PPT Development LP principal Steffen Waltz said the $40 million development called 1155 Barton Springs is merely in hibernation, not dead."

Not for nothing, Steffen, but you're not going to get anyone to finance you. Period. You might as well have filed for dissolution because I don't think anyone's going to give you DIP to work through the 11, even with the super senior claim. So, you're toast. Don't feel bad, this is probably your first project and you can chalk it up to a learning experience. Granted, you could have found a cheaper way to gain knowledge, but at least now you know... don't buy at the fucking top. One other thing... your dream of those obnoxious sales prices ain't gonna happen. If you want to salvage, see below and restructure for more affordable units.

For all you other budding developers, make nice with a REALLY good LO (not some dipshit at one of the retail banks) and LISTEN to what they have to say. They know far more than you think and can be especially helpful to those of you involved in conversion projects that fucked up the FHA approval. And, for the love of all that's holy, don't develop an attitude or use the phrase 'I've never been through a transaction like this'. That just makes me want to put my foot up your stupid ass (and those of you who know me know that's what I'll do)... or decline the transaction and leave you to the tender mercies of BAC or WFC. And finally, ASK someone for advice BEFORE you decide to write a proposal based (not to mention, before you actually break ground) on sales of residential units in a non-warrantable property.

In other news from AustinTowers, there appears to be some positive news regarding condo sales downtown. The May YoY results show an increase in sales volume from 11 units in May 09 to 24 units in May 10. The average sales price was around $259k and the average days on market was 118, skewed in part by two units with a greater than one year time on the market. This is interesting because it tells us a couple of things...

1) The weak hands have shaken out. The only owners left are those holding on like grim death... they'll never let them go for a price they don't like and they have bloated credit cards and depleted investment accounts to prove they have the stones to stay in the game.
2) The average sales price indicates that the sweet spot in the downtown market is under $300k, significantly below the average in 2007-08 and very clearly shows the effects of new underwriting criteria.
3) The lower price point and the stability of it indicates long term buyers and a washout (finally) of the speculators.
4) This doesn't bode well for luxury developers, but it looks EXTRAORDINARILY strong for developers looking to bring in more affordable units. 2-3/1-2 units coming in under $300k will sell very fast and very close to ask.

With this data, I think I'm ready to call a bottom in the downtown market. While it will be a few more months before the MI companies pick up on it, it seems pretty clear that downtown has stabilized and is no longer in decline. Now, that should continue as long as it remains difficult for asshats who want to build projects near fast food restaurants to obtain construction financing.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 08, 2010

OMG! They really are everywhere!

I've long thought hipsters a plague unique to Austin. Oh, how wrong I was... no place is safe when hipsters are able to invade THE HAMPTONS.

Speaking of, I went and had drinks last night with a friend of mine at that bar in midtown that we're not supposed to tell other people about and there wasn't a single hipster inside. Could it be that the lousy economy is finally effecting them? Or are they all on Mixest trying to out obscure one another with shit music?

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

April 29, 2010

I know... it's horrible!

Yeah, I just noticed it a short while ago and can tell you that I am very, very angry. Like you, I feel that change is something to be feared.

Time Warner, was it really necessary to change the guide and DVR interface?!?!?! Can we switch back to the old way? Please?!?!

In other news, the US Supreme Court just took a big shit all over the separation of church and state. Apparently, we now have a bias toward Christianity. Oh, shit... I'm sorry... we're accommodating, not biased.

Thank you, again, to the Democrats who folded on Alito and Roberts. Seriously, y'all, good fucking work!

Posted by mcblogger at 11:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2010

Who the FUCK cares?

Yeah, police... you spent God only knows how much fucking time and money to nail 850 pounds of marijuana. Whoop-tee-fucking-doo.

I know it's not the fault of law enforcement, but at the end of the day they wasted time enforcing a law that will only keep some people in Central Texas from developing an unnatural love for Doritos, thinking Bob Marley is good and enjoying the smell of their own BO lightly masked with Patchouli.

Fuckall... can we PLEASE decriminalize marijuana?

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

April 13, 2010

Runoff elections TODAY

Y'all go vote... and just in case you're wondering for whom you should cast your ballot, here are our suggestions.

Go SAGE!

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

April 10, 2010

That explains the traffic

Apparently, Austin MSA now has just over 1.7 million residents and Travis County makes up a little over half of that at 1 million people. So, keep that in mind when you're cursing the asshole in front of you.

In comparison to other areas of Texas, we're about 25% of DFW, but relatively close in terms of core to core population. Which is a nice way of saying our suburbs haven't quite become the trashy sprawl-o-rama that dominates DFW. And if you're one of my readers in Plano or Carrollton, don't get mad at me for pointing out that you live in fucking Oklahomo.

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

April 07, 2010

Finally, a good reason to not text and drive...

According to this Australian video, something really awful happens when you text while driving...

Posted by mcblogger at 11:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 31, 2010

Haulin' Oats

Well I have just about had it with lawyerin' for a while. I won't go into it, but a big reason for my burnout of late has to do with this convoluted case where my client, a hot dog vendor, was shut out of a fetish porn convention and wanted me to file a petition for a writ of mandamus on his behalf. This long, exhausting story begins with me trying to explain to the client how writs of mandamus have nothing to do with peddling hot dogs or fetish porn, but you know how clients are. They watch one episode of "The Deep End" and they think they know all about the legal profession and what it's like to be a physically attractive member of Generation Y.

Anyway, the point is I don't wanna write about this week, or any week for that matter, in lawyerin'. But since there does seem to be a constituency for blogging about entertainment, especially the guilty pleasure variety, I thought I'd take a crack at writing an entertainment post.

Hall & Oates' music definitely falls into the category of guilty pleasure entertainment, and it just so happens I went to see them on Saturday at the Long Center. The Long Center is where people go to watch operas and stuff, so we put on our Sund'y-go-to-meetin' duds for the occasion. As it turned out, though, our experience during the concert made it feel more like we were catching a show at Emo's...or maybe the bleachers at Wrigley Field.

You see, there was this gaggle of Idiots sitting directly behind us...maybe 6 or 8 of them. I first had the sense it was going to be a long night when one of them loudly observed, as the band took the stage, that John Oates looked like Bobabooey from the Howard Stern Show. Apparently $100 tickets at the Long Center get you seats in the Bobabooey section. Had I known, I would have gladly paid an extra $25 each for an upgrade so that my wife and I could better enjoy the show from the Members Who Make Armpit Farting Noises Only section.

At first, it was just dimwitted banter that registered like white noise static, but then both Hall and Oates kept rudely drowning out their conversations with a bunch of damn music. So the drunkest, most inarticulate Idiot fought back by loudly braying "She's Gone" - offkey and off-rhythm - during the song of the same name's chorus. Every time it came up. Never noticed before just how many repeating choruses there were in "She's Gone".

When he and his date got too drunk and/or embarrassed to stick around, the others chimed in with a spirited debate about who owed whom a tequila shot. I shit thee not. I'm not filling in what I imagine they were shouting at each other over "Sarah Smile," 12 other people besides myself heard it loud and clear. Come to think of it, I'm more sure they were discussing whose turn it was to buy tequila shots than I am about Hall & Oates even playing "Sarah Smile." And that pisses me off, because it's one of my H&O faves. It was at this point we kindly asked them for the first time to keep it down to a low roar.

At that point several of the Algonquin Shooters decided to continue their repartee outside, presumably near the bar, but they left behind the last two Idiots. Both were Really Annoying Women who, left to their own devices and with nothing else to do besides listen to some band, then had to recap the whole night's events in that Really Annoying Woman-to-Woman manner of conversation. You know, the kind where they recount the most mundane exchange as if it possessed the same level of drama as the climactic courtroom scene in A Few Good Men ["...and I'm like 'you owe me a tequila shot?'"..."and she's like 'Um, no i don't?'"..."and then I was all like 'Um, yah, you do?"..."and she's all 'Did you order the Code Red?' - I know! - and I'm like 'Whatever. You can't handle the truth?'..."].

It wouldn't have been a problem, but they were both using their Really Annoying Women outside voices. That's when the people next to us spoke up - but this time the Last of the Idiots were told, rather than asked, to in effect, Shut-The-Fuck-Up. It worked, but by then we were 2/3 of the way done with the show. I can, however, tell you the encore numbers really rocked.

Posted by hbalczak at 10:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 18, 2010

Keep Austin Weird?

Yeah, I know we've got Leslie and a city council that acts as if the automobile is just a passing fad, but compared to San Francisco, folks, we're not even in the same league

An ex-vegan, hit with a pepper-laced pie while promoting her anti-vegetarian work at an anarchist book fair in San Francisco, says her assailants were cowards.

Lierre Keith, 45, stood at a lectern at Golden Gate Park's Hall of Flowers Saturday at the 15th annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair discussing her book, "The Vegetarian Myth," when three people in black hooded sweatshirts and masks ran from backstage, shouted, "Go vegan," and threw chili pepper-laced pies in her face, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday..

The North American Animal Liberation Press Office allegedly supported the attack, the Chronicle said.

Keith's assailants were "masked marvels" who "made their statement very eloquently and succinctly on behalf of the billions of animals she advocates killing," the newspaper reported the Press Office as saying.

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

March 14, 2010

Oh, yeah... welcome, new people.

It's once again time for SXSW so to all you new people, welcome. Please be kind to the natives as they may bite. Either that or they'll take your mobile from you and beat you with it. And please, under-fucking-stand that the 3G problems you're having are all AT&T, not because you're in Austin. If you just have to make an important call and your connection sounds like it's being filtered through a fish tank, take your network mode down to 2G. If you don't know how, meet me at Red's Porch on S Lamar today at 7:30 because I want to berate you for being a nebbish in front of your goddamn staff.

AND YES, WE ALL HATE AT&T.

For those of us natives wondering why the fuck we keep doing this, apparently there is a pretty big economic impact from SXSW. Well, not huge in comparison to the regional economy but decent... around $100mn annually. Of course, no one bothers to discover how much is spent by natives to deal with the inconvenience of SXSW. I can calculate my losses from yesterday alone which came to $12. Multiply that by 200k people and pretty soon we're talking about not much money.

So, whine away if you must or, if you can, avoid going north or south (depending on where you live) for a few days. For the rest of us, there's Ed Bluestein and CapTex since they seem to have discovered MoPac.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 18, 2010

So, Who Was This Douchebag?

Of course, this story is still breaking news, but it appears that Joseph Andrew Stack, the man who apparently crashed a small plane into a North Austin office building housing, among other tenants, the IRS, was one of those lunatics who spent considerable time and effort looking for "loopholes" in the law and convinced himself that he was exempt from paying taxes. He posted a rambling manifesto attempting to justify his twisted reasoning that read like Alex Jones dissecting the global conspiracy that screwed up his order at Starbucks. In the days to come some may try to understand, sympathize with, even justify the actions of this arsonist, this murderer, this terrorist. I won't be one of them. Fuck you Joe, and fuck the enablers and ideologues of our domestic terror movement.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 02:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 02, 2010

Aw Jeez

UT Jefe Bill "Leatherface" Powers sees shadow, decrees six more weeks of whining about demise of Cactus Cafe.

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

Gee, Ken, you seem to have missed something

Ken Herman, being the remarkably astute commentator that he wants everyone to think he is, has come across something that is, well, truly shocking.

SOMETIMES CAMPAIGNS SAY MEAN


THINGS ABOUT THEIR OPPONENTS

(ESPECIALLY DURING PRIMARIES) AND

AFTER THEY KISS AND MAKE UP

I know this revelation may come as a shock to people who aren't over the age of 6, but to the rest of us it's kinda par for the course. Ken, being enterprising, made it the meat of an entire column. And even used a quote from yours truly. What he left out were some even juicier quotes from a guy who recently went to work for someone he spent time criticizing. So, in an effort to help Ken out, here's some of the funny...

“Jason Stanford, spokesman for Democrat Chris Bell's campaign, is not impressed – and he doesn't think voters are either. "I haven't heard anyone saying he'd be a great governor," he says. "I think that he's a funny candidate and a hell of an author, but no one comes up [to me] and says, 'If we could only get Kinky Friedman into the governor's office.'" GOP strategist Miller says that Friedman will certainly attract welcome extra attention to the race but agrees that he's facing an uphill battle. "Initially, my view was that Kinky Friedman [would be] treated with humor, and treated lightly, unless and until he gets traction," he says. And Friedman's unlikely to get any traction the way he's campaigning now, says Stanford. "He hasn't gone any farther than to say, 'Hey, look at this!'" he says. In short, he says, Friedman is long on one-liners and short on any meaningful policy positions. "The easy part is convincing people [that Perry has] done a bad job," he says. "Step two is that you've got to convince voters that you know how to do better. And no one is really expecting that from Kinky Friedman."” Austin Chronicle

So he was incompetent then, but now he's suddenly competent? Any chance that change, which only you perceive, is because he's now writing you a check?

Bell campaign consultant Jason Stanford shakes off his candidate's failed run against Perry, muddied as the field was by the populist independent campaigns of Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Stray­horn. "There was a pervasive confusion about that race, but the issue was simple: If Dem­o­crats had voted for the Dem­o­crat, Chris Bell would be the governor," he argued. Austin Chronicle

So Kinky's to blame for Bell's loss? Or the voters?

Ken doesn't get into any of that which, in my opinion, is far more interesting. He also doesn't ask why Kinky's acting like he's never asked Farouk for money, even after he took more than $1.3 million through 2009 from Farouk and his business partner. He does ask why Shami would care about the race for Commissioner of Agriculture since he's a hair magnate. I guess Ken missed that Shami owns three ranches where he grows produce (olives, for one) that's used in the CHI organic line. Maybe that's why he's got an interest in supporting a competent candidate this time around.

Life's full of entirely too much, well, crap. Why is it so surprising to some that even the deadliest of political enemies can forge alliances once they realize they actually have a lot in common? Just look at Bob Bullock vs. everyone else at one time or another.


Posted by mcblogger at 10:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 11, 2010

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.

Posted by mcblogger at 07:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 08, 2010

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?

Posted by mcblogger at 09:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 19, 2009

Fatback to run against Rep. Donna Howard

Dan Neil, a former lineman for the Horns and the Denver Broncos, is now a salesman for a manufacturing firm. He'd also like to be the Republican candidate in HD 48 running against Representative Donna Howard in the 2010 general election.

Now, I'll give $50 cash to the first person who can give me a reasonable explanation as to why he's decided to run against Rep. Howard and what, exactly, would make him a better Representative for HD 48. Remember, it has to be reasonable.

This has the distinctive reek of a do-over of Ben 'Douche' Bentzin, without the millions. And the powerwashing nanny.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 30, 2009

40k? For that jackass?

So, the nasty old lady who refused to cooperate with a Travis County Constable is suing the county for her pain and suffering. Here's the footage...

The old bitch WAS being argumentative and belligerent. The officer was trying to ARREST her, she resisted and rather than break her hip or arm in what was clearly going to become a physical confrontation, he tased her. Not excessively or abusively. This is one of those instances where the whole thing was completely justified and the officer wasn't even being a dick which, for those of us who get to regularly see officers in our rear view, it was kind of unusual for Austin which is populated with a lot of dicks in law enforcement. Seriously, some of you guys need to dial down the aggression.

But back to Granny I'm-Getting-Back-In-My-Car ... the Travis County Commissioner's Court is giving her $40k? NO FUCKING WAY. Do not give this freakshow a dime and let her deal with the charges pending.

Come on, Commissioners!

Posted by mcblogger at 09:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 28, 2009

Teh vomit... it rises up my throat...

Just go read this and find out why the Schlockman is widely considered to be one of the worst dailies in the world.

I get that this was supposed to be tongue in cheek but it's just so fucking stupid that I had to say something. A LAME blog wouldn't have run this. It is, in fact, almost as pathetic as Gardner Selby's barely readable commentary pieces. You know, as long as we're offering honest assessments...

Posted by mcblogger at 02:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 26, 2009

With friends like this

While Austin Mayor Leffingwell and Council Member Morrison stood up, some laid down.

This from Save Town Lake:

Austin City Council votes to ignore Waterfront Overlay


Despite the recommendations of the Waterfront Overlay Task Force and hundreds of calls and emails from Austinites like you who are concerned about reckless development in the Lady Bird Lake view shed, the City Council voted with Houston developer Grayco last night.

On a 5-2 vote, the Council gave initial approval for Grayco to build it's "PUD," despite that the proposed buildings violate the Waterfront Overlay ordinance.

Approval of this PUD sets a dangerous precedent for future "exceptions" to the ordinances that protect Austin's unique character. If the Council can overrule these limits with a simple vote, the sky truly is the limit.


Thank you to Mayor Leffingwell and Council Member Morrison


We would like to thank Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council Member Laura Morrison for showing courage, vision, and leadership in the face of moneyed interests and voting against the Grayco PUD. Please support these officials who continue to uphold their promises to put Austin first.

Tell Council Members Riley and Spelman to keep their promises


This vote was especially disappointing because it would not have happened without the support of Council Members Chris Riley and Bill Spelman. Both members promised on the campaign trail that they would support the recommendations of the Waterfront Overlay Task Force.

Before the 2009 City Elections, when Austinites sent Members Riley and Spelman to the Council to represent them, the Austin Neighborhood Council sent all the candidates a questionnaire that included the following questions:

1. "Do you agree with the Waterfront Overlay Task Force (WOTF) findings that it is important to reestablish the waterfront overlay protections from the 1986 code that were removed in the 1999 plain English rewrite?"

2. "Will you push to codify and vote to reinstate the maximum height limits from the 1986 code such that they supersede any other provisions of the Land Development Code (including Planned Unit Developments (PUD) Districts, Planned Development Area (PDA) Combining Districts and Commercial Design Standards?"

3. "Will you oppose current rezoning requests if they violate the intent of the 1986 ordinance?"

Council Members Riley and Spelman answered "Yes" to all three questions.

Despite these campaign pledges, when first given the opportunity to live up to them, Riley and Spelman voted with the developers over the interests of Austin voters.

Riley's and Spelman's votes were, how do you say, aggravating
Mike Martinez - we're still holding out for hope
Shade and Cole - no big surprise, actually expected

So how do you think Perla Cavazos, or for that matter, Jennifer Kim would have voted. Guess we'll never know.

Seems, the tree-hugging, bleeding-hearts types who care more about fixing a community rather than tear it down are becoming less of a voice in this town. As they say, "That's progress".

Posted by Captain Kroc at 08:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 22, 2009

Asking the poor to foot the bill...

A few well meaning people have a problem with Austin Energy's plan to implement a climate change plan because it will increase prices for low income customers. Rep. Rodriguez has a very well written (and well thought out) smackdown.

What will the poor do down the road if we don't implement these changes and start spending money to delevop new technologies? We are already at Hubbert's Peak in terms of global oil production. That means that all that recently discovered natgas and all the coal we still have is going to have to increasingly be used for transportation needs. Which means that one way or another, energy prices are about to go up for everyone.

In the long run, adjusting for climate change and helping people during the transition is the safer, saner bet. And at the end of it will still be able to breathe!

Posted by mcblogger at 09:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 15, 2009

Attention WillCo D's : Find a candidate

PhotobucketToll road lovin' Rep. Dan Gattis has announced a run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Ogden (who has his own issues, if rumors are to be believed).

So, y'all have a mission... find someone to run against this freakshow. This isn't a partisan thing, Dan Gattis is a stuffed shirt with no business in the House, let alone the Senate.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2009

Stimulus dollars still planned for toll road

Oh come on...

Federal stimulus dollars, to the tune of $90 million, is going to build a portion of Manor Expressway, a toll road to be constructed by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. The road will connect US 183 to and from US 290.

The $90 million in funding was requested by the Texas Department of Transportation, on behalf of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Proponents say it will create 500 jobs. Opponents say the jobs are only temporary and having to pay to use the toll roads amount to a double tax.

Double? Try triple... people will be paying a gas tax, then a toll tax and (because the stimulus was borrowed money obtained by the Fed's) then income taxes. Three different taxes going to pay for the same ribbons of concrete.

Building toll roads with stimulus dollars is completely unacceptable.

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

September 01, 2009

Now this will jam me up...

Council gives prelim approval to banning text messaging while driving. On it's face, this isn't a bad idea... for everyone but me. What I'd also like to see is a ban on cell phone use without a handsfree device. I saw a close call Thursday afternoon on Parmer when someone on the phone swerved into the other lane... and continued despite the fact that the driver in that lane was honking like a mad.

Come on, He Who Stands Up To Toby... make that happen!

Posted by mcblogger at 09:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 30, 2009

The Schlockman offers some AWESOME advice

It's pretty awesome that the Statesman is so much in love with Democrats that they're urging them to run a full slate in the general election in 2010. That's one of the reasons Hank Gilbert (whom The Schlockman mistakenly referred to as a lesser-known candidate than Tom Schieffer who, until earlier in the year, no one even knew existed) is running. He's working on doing just that, finding a full field and doing the job that Tom Schieffer should have been doing since May.

This is party building at it's best and Tom's and it's clear Team Schieffer just can mount an effort to decide which fundraiser to use, let alone with whom to share the ticket. Apparently all he's been able to do is secure the endorsements of four good folks in the House which was done long before Gilbert became a factor in the race (just sayin', Ed Board).

It's remarkable that a paper that's been so staunchly Republican and so consistently wrong would even bother talking about the 2010 D primary. Still, it's great to see them finally right on something. Even if there's probably no way in hell they will endorse any of our candidates for the general election.

Oh, and just a note for Selby and Embry... you look kinda stupid pretending that Hank Gilbert is a non-entity. The man ran a campaign on less than 100k in 2006 and still managed to get more votes than any other Democratic executive office candidate. Since then, he's worked tirelessly all over the state and was a significant part of the reason the Republican drive to privatize infrastructure was shut down hard in the Special. I'll be the first to offer that he has a hard to climb to build the kind of cash on hand that Schieffer has, even if most of that is from loans. However, he knows that money cost him that election in 2006.

And he's not about to let that happen again.

Posted by mcblogger at 06:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2009

What I've been up to...

I'm sure you've noticed the paucity of posts today and for that I can only offer my apologies. I'm sure some of you are jonesing for a little profanity since you've been without all day long.

Sorry about that. I was kinda fucking busy living my fucking life. We cool?

It's not like there aren't 86,000 authors for this site who could have, I don't know, stepped up to the goddamn plate and written something. Meanwhile, the post I put up before going to bed is the one that was up ALL DAY LONG. And it kept making me feel like shit.

So, anyway, a brief accounting of my time...

  • I had breakfast here. You should do the same tomorrow since I'm repurchasing some of the stock I sold and would really a lot appreciate a Merry Christmas. REALLY. A LOT.
  • I was helping with this. More here, here, here and here. I'll be, once again, a never ending shill for Hank so you're going to have to get used to that. And the best part about this is that it all but guarantees 39% will be the R's standard bearer

    My favorite thing... from Swing State

    It looks like there'll be an alternative to Bush-backer Tom Schieffer and weirdo self-promoter Kinky Friedman in the Democratic primary after all: Hank Gilbert, a cattle rancher who lost the 2006 Agriculture Commissioner race (although he did do the best of any Dem statewide candidate that year), says he'll run.

    No. no... stop. You had me at weirdo self-promoter!

  • I did a ton of actual, you know, work at my real job. Which I still, remarkably, love despite the fact that financing real estate is still hard. So very, very hard.
  • I went to a Texas Tribune happy hour and met some of the really awesome who work there. Oh, and Evan Smith.

    I kid, I kid... actually, it was very cool and even without the little HH love, I was hella excited about this project. But I didn't tell them that until my drink had already been delivered. Evan even said he actually enjoyed McBlogger. I'm sure it was probably something The Mayor wrote. Or Krispy Kreme. Or FruitFly. Who have all been noticeably absent lately, right?

  • I'll try to do better tomorrow. Until then, havagoodun!

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 17, 2009

    Assholes On Bikes! The Biking Beast... all for you, ladies!

    A little something to lighten the mood...

    BikingBeast.jpgLadies and gay mens, I don't want y'all gettin' all a-flustered over this Grade A beefcake. There's more than enough to go around.

    This mook didn't really get in my way (I mean other than being in front of me at a left turn signal in a busy north central intersection). I just thought I would share his rather criminal dress sense.

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

    August 14, 2009

    My new favorite thing...

    A website that takes the irritation of real people and turns it into funny videos...

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

    What are you, a camel?

    Quit with the using of the water, K?

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 12, 2009

    Uhm. Yeah, I'm just gonna call bullshit right here

    The last units at the Bel Air condos on South Congress between the Ben White freeway and Stassney were auctioned over the past weekend. The larger two bedroom units went for up to $240,000.

    Just as a point of reference, you can buy a decent 3/2 in that area for less than $200,000. With a yard and more square footage. Granted, it's not brand new but it also doesn't have a view of a junkyard.

    The best part of the article...

    Winchell said the condo market in general has slowed nationally and locally over the past six to nine months.

    However, he said Austin doesn’t have a large excess supply of condo units compared with other markets.

    “I think Austin will be one of the first to recover,” he said.

    Larry Warshaw, a co-developer of several condo projects in and near downtown, including the Spring high-rise that opens this month, said in an e-mail that “qualified buyers are having no difficulty getting financing.”

    At Spring, he said, more than 100 buyers are expected to close on their units and move into the building within the next 10 to 90 days, “and virtually all of them have traditional Fannie Mae-approved residential financing in the $300,000 to $1 million range.”

    At the W Austin Hotel and Residences under construction downtown, developer Stratus Properties Inc. said that almost half of the 159 condos are under contract, representing $80 million in sales, and that no one has walked away from a contract. That project will be completed in December 2010, with the last condominiums finishing in May 2011.

    Oh. My. Where to begin... first off, we do have a lot of condos all over town so there's pretty decent supply. We also have a lot of Single Family Residential (SFR) units on the market and more on the way thanks to foreclosures. No, we're not the Inland Empire region of CA, but it's not the market here is breaking records to the upside. Needless to say, we're not going down the tubes but it's going to be a year or more before things are stable.

    As for the Spring, there have been some recent changes on the secondary market regarding acceptable condo projects, especially new construction. They may not effect these first closings, but they'll probably effect the ones immediately after. And how many of those units were financed by TBW?

    The best is the part from the W... no one is backing out of the contract yet? Big shocker since that money is (likely) non-refundable and you won't even know their intentions until December, 2010.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 08, 2009

    Come learn about what's really going on in DC

    Congressman Doggett, a rare master of event planning, is having a health care 'neighborhood office hours' event in about 30 minutes. It's sure to be lousy with those obnoxious teabaggers, so be sure you're prepared for a Silkwood shower later.

    CommunityCare, Rundberg Health Center - 825 E. Rundberg Lane

    If we're SOOPER lucky, Junior John will show up as well!

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

    August 03, 2009

    Running ssllooww with Barbara Bembry

    Well, it appears that our last remaining Republican elected official happens to have the slowest JP Court in Travis County...

    Not satisfied, Hendricks said he searched and found what he thought was a direct e-mail address. In his e-mail, Hendricks expressed frustration while acknowledging that Bembry's court was probably very busy.

    "I'm respectfully asking that you or someone on your staff provide me with an honest expectation of when my case might be heard," Hendricks wrote in closing.

    Neither Bembry nor anyone in her court answered the e-mail, he said.

    After Hendricks called July 15 — 331 days, or nearly 11 months after he filed his complaint — and was told by a clerk that a time frame for a court date could not be estimated, Hendricks called Statesman Watch.

    "It's frustrating," he said. "No one can give me an answer. She (Bembry) is an elected official, but it seems as though all I can do is not vote for her for re-election. I think I'm entitled to justice."

    Office managers for justices of the peace in Precincts 3 and 5 said someone filing a small claims case in their courts can expect to wait three to six months for a court date. Neither manager was willing to speculate on what would keep Hendricks' case from being scheduled for 11 months.

    Take a moment and go help out a fantastic attorney who has stepped up to the plate to take Judge Bembry on, Amy Clark Meachum.


    Posted by mcblogger at 02:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 01, 2009

    Dear Lloyd Doggett,

    Unless you desired to be surrounded by nutties shouting you down, next time you hold a “town hall meeting”, try to have it in a more controlled environment with moderators and, you know, get groups involved who support health care reform. Obama for Texas and the Travis County Democratic Party would have been a good start. But God-forbid, that would not be very bi-partisan.

    With several hundred in attendance, 90% being anti-government, teabaggers, nutters, birthers, imbeciles, d-bags, bullies, and libertarians(sorry, I already said nutters), you could not get out your message as shouts of socialist, ignorant, evil, and other unprintable terms, along with uncontrollable rants dominated what was supposed to be a civil debate.

    Hopefully, you realize that a concept of a unity of purpose endorsed by all people is now a mute point. So screw them.

    Also, the management at Randall’s at Brodie and Slaughter probably didn’t take kindly to screaming crazy people blocking the entrance to the store.

    Lloyd, you had to know that this was going to happen. An angry mob following you to your car certainly had to have you thinking about your safety.

    The good old days of people standing in line of a grocery store lobby to kiss your ring and complain that social security didn’t deliver their check this month must seem like a faint quaint memory.

    What is really sad is that there were people who have legitimate concerns about the current drafting but were not allowed to debate in a civil manner.

    Let’s go over this one more time. Fear-mongering created by corporate and conservative think-tanks flamed by Republican politicians and right-wing media for the benefit of insurance companies and pharmaceuticals.

    The framing, Lloyd, the framing.

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 02:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 31, 2009

    TX Sen Primary : Travis County shaping up to be a dogfight

    At the end of May I ran into Austin consulting guru David Butts. David was handing out John Sharp for Senate stickers and I asked him if we was really supporting Sharp or just being comical (a valid question since David has a wicked sense of humor). He told me he was really supporting Sharp and allowed me to snap this picture with the lackluster camera on my blackberry...

    butts.jpg

    At that point, I was ready to call Travis County for John Sharp in an potential Sharp v. Bill White fight. I'm glad I didn't since I ran into a force of nature last night by the name of Donna Beth McCormick. For those that don't know, if you want to run for anything in Travis County, Donna Beth is one of the people you talk to first. Along with David Butts, Richard Franklin, Eleanor Thompson and former Sen. Barrientos. She allowed me to take this picture of her at the John Lipscomb kickoff last night...

    donna beth.jpg

    Though the picture is ass (it's a poor photographer that blames his equipment and I will readily admit to being a poor photographer. I will also readily admit that phone cameras suck), that pin on her lapel is one of those fancy enameled Bill White pins. Score Team White in a brilliant counter to Team Sharp!

    So now Travis County is a toss up. I hate it when mom and dad disagree!


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

    July 28, 2009

    Just let him kill himself...

    In Austin yesterday, a man in the Barton Creek Greenbelt near MoPac and the 360 threatened to kill himself. With a gun. Meanwhile, the police decided it would be an AWESOME idea to shut down MoPac. During rush hour.

    So, really, next time could we just let the unstable people go on and kill themselves? Would have been a lot faster if a single cop had gone down just to watch the jerk and tell him what a loser he was and that it would probably be a good idea for him to kill himself.

    I feel this way and I wasn't even sitting in traffic. I'm just that pissed that the city basically shut down because of one, unstable, attention whore.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Oh, come on Randalls!

    So, this lady up in Round Rock is at a Randall's. She's standing at the deli counter when some guy runs by and steals her purse. She runs after the man, catching the attention of a Randall's employee who then runs after the thief. The police are called and eventually catch up to the employee and thief who is promptly arrested.

    The employee, within days, is fired.

    "We got (Welch) her purse back, all of her money, everything," Schafer said. "Then, the next day, my loss prevention unit from Randalls came in and said I was suspended without pay."

    A few days later, Schafer said, he was fired.

    Randalls spokeswoman Connie Yates said on Monday that, like all employees, Schafer had been trained not to pursue suspects in situations like the purse snatching. Instead, employees are told to focus on getting information for law enforcement officials.

    "The policy exists for the safety of our employees, customers and others who may be seriously injured in a chase," Yates said in a statement.

    You know, I get the policy. But this was an employee who actually did something good. Everyone who works at Randall's understands that their job is NOT to apprehend suspects. This was one guy, on his break, using his own initiative. And the company should be rewarding him, not firing him.

    And yeah, I shop at Randall's. If this guy doesn't get his job back, they've lost a customer.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 23, 2009

    LCRA and long range planning

    LCRA is looking at demand on it's resources more than doubling in the next 100 years... obviously, it'll cause some problems so they're looking at options to extend or increase their supplies of water.

    • Conservation:By far the cheapest technique outlined, it could slice demand by 40,000 to 80,000 acre-feet a year, at a cost of $110 million to $220 million, or close to $400 an acre-foot, to pay for education, incentive programs for homeowners and businesses to buy things like low-flow toilets, and increased enforcement of conservation rules, among other things.

    • Importing:Taking groundwater from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer and piping it to Travis County, a yield of 22,400 acre-feet per year, at a cost of $331 million, or $1,900 per acre-foot.

    • Desalination:Building a coastal plant to treat seawater and pipe it to Bay City, where it can be used to satisfy industrial demand and alleviate pressure on the Highland Lakes. Yielding 22,400 acre-feet per year, at a cost of $463 million, or $2,890 per acre-foot.

    • Dredging:Removing silt from the Highland Lakes, including the Sometimes Islands, to make the reservoirs larger. Yielding up to 746 acre-feet per year at a cost of as much as $263,000 per acre-foot, or $2.7 billion overall.

    • Reservoir:Building a reservoir in the lower basin and piping it up to Travis County, yielding up to 100,000 acre-feet, at a cost of $1.9 billion, or about $2,150 an acre-foot.

    The per-acre-foot costs of the options include 30 years in upkeep and operations and debt payments for each project. Many of the projects could take five to 10 years to build, the report said.

    Obvs, the wrench in the planning is alterations in weather patterns. Less rain and less snowfall in the mountains means less water. Period. One thing that caught my eye was reservoir construction... why would we build something down river from Austin then pipe back up? Why not use that water to supply the industrial facilities near Matagorda Bay?

    Just sayin' is all...

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

    July 08, 2009

    What will Oppel do, teach them to suck?

    The Statesman is reporting that former editor Rich Oppel will be going to work for Public Strategies. As for what he'll be doing there, Former W Adviser Dan Bartlett said he'd be one of six senior advisers.

    Oppel will be advising managers who hire PS on how to run an enterprise into the ground, maximize shareholder losses and generally suck at anything you set out to achieve. I mean, this is what he'll do if past performance is any guide.

    Does anyone else think this was a payback for the 2000 and 2004 Statesman endorsements of W?


    Posted by mcblogger at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 11, 2009

    Stimulus money being used for toll roads

    The biggest surprise of the week is that federal stimulus dollars are being spent on a tollway, specifically the unfinanceable 290E tollway.

    The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board's approval will add the projects to $107 million in stimulus money for the area that the Texas Transportation Commission awarded three months ago, the bulk of it for the planned U.S. 290 tollway in Northeast Austin.

    So, your income taxes, gas taxes AND toll taxes will be paying for this tollway. Nice, huh?

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

    Congratulations Team Lee!

    Via email today came word that Mayor-elect Leffingwell has selected the following people to serve on his staff...
    Mark Nathan, Nancy Williams, Matt Curtis, Amy Everhart, Janet Jackson. Congratulations and good luck to you all!

    In other city related news, we've heard that Ott had IT kill access to McBlogger from city computers. Can anyone confirm?

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 05, 2009

    In local news...

  • Scientists at UT are working on a cheap solar panel made of thin films deposited by a modified ink jet printer. It's not really exciting but it's kinda geeky-cool
  • Mother busted putting feces in small child's feeding tube.

    According to the affidavit, police interviewed McDonald, who confessed to wiping the end of the tube with feces.

    “McDonald advised that she knew her actions would cause her daughter to stay sick,” the affidavit said. “McDonald also explained that rubbing feces on her daughter’s line could cause her to become septic and that it could kill her.”

  • Posted by mcblogger at 03:36 PM | 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

    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 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

    May 13, 2009

    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

    May 11, 2009

    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

    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

    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 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

    April 30, 2009

    Does Brewster have swine flu?

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

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

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

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

    Photobucket

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

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

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

    We must burn the infected in a cleansing fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    April 28, 2009

    Apparently, the ACL organizers missed the 90's

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    April 27, 2009

    Vote For Meh

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 12:09 PM | TrackBack

    April 23, 2009

    How YOU should vote : Mayor

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

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

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

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

    Photobucket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    RTM's reimbursement payments are not reported properly.

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

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

    April 22, 2009

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

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

    So which is it?

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

    How YOU should vote : The other races

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Place Six - Flip A Fucking Coin

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

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

    Mayor McSleaze rants in the SuperSize

    Single member districts? Hell Yes!

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

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

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

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

    April 21, 2009

    How YOU should vote : Place One

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Supersize this entry to read Mayor McSleaze's thoughts


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

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

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

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

    ---McSleaze

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

    April 20, 2009

    How YOU should vote : Austin Council Races

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

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

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

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

    Time Warner drops tiered pricing

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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

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

    April 17, 2009

    TYD's are having a party!

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

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

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

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

    April 15, 2009

    dBags with teabags

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

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

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

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

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

    Pathetic...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    April 13, 2009

    In my time of need...

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

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

    So, yeah, thanks for nothing, freaks.

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

    April 10, 2009

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

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

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

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

    April 09, 2009

    SB 220 - Senate D's galatic fuck up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    April 04, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

    April 03, 2009

    My bad...

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

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

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

    April 02, 2009

    You're a loser, Brewster. A LOSER.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    So long, Time Warner

    Tiered pricing? Oh. Hell. No.

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

    (HT to K-T workin' the twitter)

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

    March 28, 2009

    Endorsements on a Saturday

    As of early January, I am now a member of CAD. Which is great, except for one thing... the city council endorsement meeting is today. At 10. In the morning.

    I will never understand why humanity just doesn't make a deal with itself to not have meetings before noon on Saturdays.


    Posted by mcblogger at 08:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 23, 2009

    Another Chemistry match

    fail owned pwned pictures
    see more pwn and owned pictures

    Hawt. Would someone kill me now?

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Shorter Ben Wear : Nichols column

    Sen. Nichols supported tolling before he was elected. He still supports tolling now. Sen. Nichols likes to dress fancy and he likes to privatize roads. He's written some new legislation that will make privatization less of a gang rape of Texas taxpayers and more of a date rape. With rohypnol.

    Seriously, Ben, did it ever occur to you to ask Nichols why he has such a laser like focus on making a shitty deal smell just less shitty, rather than admitting the error and killing the shitty deal? Is it a built in ideological bias or just stupidity?

    Oh, and just FYI for all you financial geniuses on the R side (and a few pro-PPP D's)... the State can sell bonds more cheaply than your good friends at Macquarie and Cintra. Which means their cost of capital is higher than ours. Now, given that indisputable fact, where exactly is the cost efficiency that the private partners will realize to offset their higher capital costs?

    This really is retarded. PPP is a waste of time searching for a transportation magic bullet. Y'all need to sac up and fix the problem rather than trying to make a bad situation slightly better.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 19, 2009

    That won't address the problem, Mikey

    Dell is releasing a new premium laptop line called RAMADA. Or maybe it's ADAMO. Yeah, actually that last one sounds like Admiral Adama from Battlestar Galactica which I'm certain is what the nerds in Round Rock were aiming for.

    It's premium because it costs far more than the normal Dell fare and has design features that supposedly will make it compete with Macs and HP's new VoodooEnvy line. Which is bullshit because deep down it'll still be the same shitty Dell you haven't been buying for years.

    You know what the problem is at that goddamn company? Their computers suck, their customer service is for shit and they managed to fuck up the only thing they did well... putting together a decent box at an affordable price. What the hell was so wrong with just sticking to what you do well?

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 18, 2009

    For Sister Ruth

    fail owned pwned pictures
    see more pwn and owned pictures

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 17, 2009

    Oh. Yeah. I just remembered about that...

    Well, at least now we know why we weren't on the Statesman's blog A-List...

    BOR is currently the number one with an hour to go. And we like K-T and Matt so it's all good in the 'hood. We're just glad it wasn't Eugene Sepulveda, who consistently manages to defy enjoyment, much like chutney.

    Oh, and to the peeps who sent in write in ballots, love ya lots!

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Things I won't be doing...

    As it turns out, I can't buy a ticket to the Deadmau5 show tomorrow until the night of which means I have to cab down there, wait while all the badges and wristbands go in, then maybe (possibly) I will get to go.

    So, I'm probably going to the show in SA instead. Oh, and to the little monkey working for Black who told me it would be OK if I didn't get in (because there were a bunch of other shows going on and I could go see one of them), I ONLY WANTED TO SEE DEADMAU5, not the other shitty bands.

    I leave you with this, my 2006 rant about SXSW. It's just as good today as it was then.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    I get to go to court

    About six weeks ago, I got a ticket for running a stop sign. My 'case' is set for an appearance docket tomorrow at which I will try to negotiate a settlement. And no, I'm not going to pay it... I didn't run the damn sign.

    So, if you're around Muni court tomorrow around 9:30, stop in and say hello.

    And Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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

    March 13, 2009

    Not exactly LIVE blogging

    Not that there's much reason for you to notice, but Austin360.com, the "entertainment" component of the Slag's cyber empire is running one of those internet polls on best Austin Blogger. A few things that I have noticed:

    For some reason they've managed to miss Austin's Angriest Blogger

    All the Blogs of Color are at the back of the list for some curious reason

    One of those blogs has been dead for almost a year

    Photobucket

    Now, don't get me wrong. I loved Pink Dome. It was one of the few blogs I actually read just about every day. But PD got a real job last spring and since then his blog has drifted abandoned, a Marie Celeste in HTML. You'd really think that a hip and happening crew like the Statesman's A-List people might have picked up on that by now.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 10:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 10, 2009

    Just what we need...

    Austin businessman Jack McDonald has decided he wants to run for CD10, because everyone knows being a Congressman is a cool gig. I think it's a mistake because I don't really think he brings anything to the table that isn't already being provided. By Rep. McCaul.

    No, I still think McCaul's a walking, talking douche. However, you aren't to beat him by being the 'businessman' candidate.

    But the 45-year-old lawyer-business, who’s ceo of Austin-based Perficient, said he and his wife, Carla, have been encouraged by Democrats, independents and Republicans who’d like to see someone with business experience in Congress at a time the national and international economy need attention.

    McDonald, who’s been involved in luring companies to Central Texas in roles with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and other civic ventures, said: “I’m in this race because I think we can do better than what we’ve got today. We need people in Washington that understand the way the real world works—-people who have created jobs, who have run a business… I don’t think we have that kind of leadership in Congress today.”

    While he wasn’t laying out an entire platform in our conversation, McDonald said he’d focus on setting politicies out of Washington promoting job creation by small businesses. He mentioned Small Business Administration loans, reduced capital gains taxes and steps that would promote capital and venture capital formation.

    GREAT. ANOTHER Chamber asshat who is in love with privatizing roads. Which is great because polling from last year shows the district is about 80% anti-toll. And talk about politically inept... the GACC is hated by almost exactly the same group of people he'll need to get through the primary.*

    Then there's that last paragraph. I'm all for enhanced SBA loans... I think it would be a great idea to open them up to conform to the needs to small business owners from microlending all the way to large scale expansion loans. Problem is, SBA lending is frozen like the rest of the economy. I'd love his ideas on how to unfreeze that lending.

    The real meat is his EARTH SHATTERING, GIMPTASTIC IDEA to cut capital gains taxes. Which really doesn't spur long term investment, it spurs short term speculation. Having just come out of a speculative bubble caused, in no small part, by reductions in capital gains taxation, it would be nice to hear something from someone running for office about how to avoid them. Not how to start the next one.

    No, Jack, Washington doesn't need your special brand of business savvy. And welcome to the Democratic Primary. I can't wait to meet you at endorsement meetings. This was just an A1 EXCELLENT way to enter the fray.

    This district ain't going to elect a blue dog, Jack. It'll either elect a Democrat or a Republican. Pick one and be that.

    *Just as a side note, I don't hate the Chamber when it's in the background. But when we disagree on something, they should REALLY just take my position. It's the right one, usually.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 09, 2009

    We're all imperfect...

    ... some just happen to be less perfect than others. Take the Statesman Ed Board, for example. Recently they took Councilmember Leffingwell to task for shit that he didn't do. So, he wrote a response. K-T has more.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 07, 2009

    Old Lady Is Missing Alert

    Last night I was on 183 heading home and noticed the Amber Alert signs where flashing... about MISSING ELDERLY IN GARLAND. Which is not at all unusual since 95% of the time the signs are going off because someone let their grandma out of the home and she's loose on LBJ. Or the 30 heading toward central Dallas.

    Seriously, when was the last time YOU saw the signs going off for a missing or abducted child?


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

    March 05, 2009

    Shorter Ben Wear

    The train was really pretty. And very red. And really fast. And a bunch of people will probably ride it.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 26, 2009

    Kelso nails Keller

    As it turns out, Judge Keller was late getting her response together for her judicial misconduct hearing. So she got an extension. Kelso beats her.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 25, 2009

    Leffingwell : Why I'm running...

    This part of an excellent post by Lee Leffingwell over at BOR on why he's running for Mayor.

    Photobucket After many months of consideration, the reason that I finally decided to run is pretty simple. I’m running because I believe I know the direction Austin needs to go at this critical crossroads, and I feel confident that I can help lead us in that direction.

    As of now, most of Austin hasn’t yet experienced the full impact of the national recession. But times are already very tough for lots of people in our community, and they seem likely to get worse before they get better.

    For City Hall – just like for any struggling Austin family – that means having less money to spend, but just as many basic expenses to cover. And like any family, City Hall now faces some very hard choices – choices that could help determine if Austin moves steadily in the direction of a healthy recovery, or swiftly in the direction of a deepening recession.

    I believe that right now we need a new leader in the mayor’s office who can and will stay focused on the fundamentals of our quality of life: jobs, traffic, public safety, social services, environmental protection, and effective, efficient basic services and infrastructure.

    I also believe our next mayor must be committed to building renewed trust between City Hall and the citizens of Austin. Austin city government should be more inclusive, more transparent, and more accountable, and there is some real work to do in the years ahead to make it so.

    I’ve said many times since announcing my candidacy for mayor last month that this race should be a contest of ideas for a city of ideas. That’s why I’ve laid out what I believe is the broadest and most specific platform of any candidate in the race to help us get through the tough times ahead and get back on track to a better future.

    There's more here...

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

    February 24, 2009

    Release The McCracken loses endorsement

    In a sad turn of events for RTM, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez has endorsed Lee Leffingwell...

    We’re very proud to announce that State Representative Eddie Rodriguez has endorsed Lee Leffingwell for Austin mayor. Eddie represents District 51 in the Texas House of Representatives, which encompasses most of East Austin, just south of MLK Boulevard.

    This presents a MARVELOUS opportunity to release this, our new picture of Brewster...


    McKraken.jpg

    You can totally tell this was done my someone other than me due to the fact that it betrays talent. And skill.

    In other news, RTM hosted some kind of a creative convergence thing. It's all about 'creatives', which is pretty much limited to people who call themselves creative because they are working on an 'awesome project that just needs a producer to believe in it'. Or at least that's what they say when they're tying up valuable outside tables at Red House while sipping on a beer FOR TWO HOURS, doodling on a blank page and chatting with a friend as an Umberto Eco book sits on the table, unopened. They also work in film, music, panhandling, selling shit on the Drag and food service.

    The event was held at Momo's. No information was available at post time regarding what was done with the 40-something single women that usually fill up Momo's while waiting for a drunk fratboy from J. Black's to accidentally stumble in because he thought it was The Ranch.

    I really tried to cover everyone with this post. If there was anyone I failed to offend, accept my apologies and please, keep coming back! We're sure to say something that will anger you in time!

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 17, 2009

    Business FAIL

    When the going gets tough, some go cycling on the 360.

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

    February 05, 2009

    Austin Mayor's Race, or, Teh Funny

  • My post about Brewster being shitty got me to thinking about Brewster and led me to create this horrid little Photoshop. I am truly sorry.

    tofu.jpg

    Well, I'm sorry about the quality. I'm spot on about the content.

  • Lee wins the public safety endorsements!

    Lee has proven through his steadfast support of Austin's public safety agencies, and particlarly it's public safety workers, that he is the right candidate for Mayor. He will face tough decisions with the struggling economy and he will have to work closely with firefighters, police officers and paramedics to ensure our outstanding public safety service delivery doesn't suffer. Lee has the skills and ability to see us through and the credibility needed to keep the confidence of Austin's public safety workers as they continue to be asked to do more with less.
    Stephen Truesdell President, Austin Firefighters' Association
  • Lee also rolled out a fab new website
  • And there's a new candidate for Mayor, Jesus Christ, Businessman.

    Seriously, go read that bio. All that's missing are lepers and turning water into wine. Well, I guess you could say the crucifixion is also missing but it's pretty early in the campaign season. He does look kinda cute in the pic on the website which is a mitigating factor.

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

    February 03, 2009

    McCain? Oh, bitch, you don't want to start name calling.

    You know, I've been putting off posting about this for more than a week, mostly because I've been busy with real work as opposed to Brewster who is busy taking credit for things he really didn't do. Oh, and changing his mind about where he stands on issues. However, I guess it's time to say something about it...

    “You may have heard that both of Brewster’s opponents have chosen to run on the John McCain campaign message: ‘a steady hand in troubled times.’ Brewster believes we need to expect more of Austin’s next mayor than simply trying to hunker down and weather the storm for a few years. In fact, that approach would cost us valuable time while other regions work to establish leadership in the emerging job sectors of the 21st Century Economy.”

    So now Lee is John McCain? What does that make you, Brewster? Sarah Palin? I mean, you're certainly not President Obama or anyone on the Democratic side. Actually, you really ARE a lot like Palin, always loving the attention, just like a stupid little puppy, and taking credit for things you didn't do while hiding from the crap you did.

    I've heard Brewster called a weathervane. I've heard him called a windsock. I've heard him called a flip-flop. All of these are accurate but I think the term that works even better is TOFU because of his ability to take on whatever message or issue the constituency he's talking to at the time cares about.

    And if there's one thing I know we need right now, it's innovation and leadership, with balls. Not a meat substitute.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Uniball and the Magic Smoking Crusade...

    Why is it that EVERY FUCKING ARTICLE about Lance Armstrong has to mention that he's a survivor of testicular cancer, especially when the article is about a smoking ban?

    Seriously, smoking doesn't give you ball cancer. Bad genetics and doping are usually the factors that cause testicular cancer. I just don't understand why it has to be mentioned in the same damn sentence. Take this one, for example, from an article about the roll out of the anti-smoking anywhere crusade...

    On Thursday, when seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong stood outside the Texas Capitol to tell supporters that he was calling on lawmakers to support a statewide smoking ban, about seven protesters held signs telling him to "butt out" or "Go back to France."

    The funny thing? This is an article about the protesters being treated unfairly by State Troopers, not about the ban or Lance Armstrong. The press falls all over this guy but really, everyone else is just sick of his shit. Of course, they're really going to enjoy him telling them that they can't have a drink and a cigarette at a bar.

    I'll let you all in on a little secret... we smoke to make the annoying losers like Lance Armstrong go away. We don't want you little pipsqueaks around, get it? If you've ever whined about a club or a bar being 'smokey', you're one of those people. People stopped inviting you out because, really, you're a goddamn drag.

    Just wanted you to know.

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

    January 28, 2009

    Did you ever see a 4-named Granny?

    I finally saw The Wrestler this past weekend and it met some pretty high expectations. Mickey Rourke put his heart and soul into this movie (even if maybe he was just playing himself) and nekkid Marisa Tomei on the big screen just never gets old (to hell with the losers at Cheeques, I'd still buy a dance, Marisa!).

    Today, as I pondered the ho-hum state of Austin's mayoral race, it hit me: The Wrestler's protagonist, Randy "The Ram" Robinson, is the perfect metaphor for Mayoral Candidate Carole Fournames Cougar Mellencamp Jingleheimerschmidt. For those of you who have seen the movie, consider the following:

    The Ram made a name and a career out of being a good faker;
    The Ram is 20 years past his prime but still mentally stuck in the Eighties;
    The Ram is only happy when he's putting on a show for a crowd;
    The Ram continues down the same path despite clear repeated signs it's time to quit;
    and finally....wait for it.....
    Randy "The Ram" Robinson's legal name is Robin Radzinski - THAT'S FIVE NAMES!

    Come to think of it, maybe a free-for-all-rasslin' match is just what the mayoral race needs. I've got no use for Carole as a politician, but I'd pay good money and close attention to see her climb the cornerpost and treat Release the McCracken to a Jersey-style Ram Jam. Lee Leffingwell would probably be more interesting if he wore a Lucha Libre mask, too.

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

    What everyone in Austin would like to know...

    Can we have some rain for, I don't know, a few weeks? Please?

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 23, 2009

    Endorsing Bowel Movement

    Eugene Sepulveda has decided to endorse Bowel Movement (whom you all affectionately know as Release The McCracken) for Mayor.

    I am suporting Brewster McCracken for mayor because he is a tireless worker with much vision and ambition. He's got the energy to work even longer hours than a man of his even relatively young age and he connects with voters in the progressive, business, youth, minority, LGBT and suburban communities. We don't always agree on all issues, but he explains his thoughts and his decision process always sounds fair. We especially need a hands on mayor as well as a visionary at this challenging time. For this and many other reasons, Brewster is the right man in the right place.

    Goddamn! Only in Austin would a respected community activist endorse RECA's bitch for mayor. Oh, and Eugene, as a member of the LGBT community, I can tell you Brewster connects about as well with us as a club to our heads.

    One last thing... if you really want to know what got me on this, it's

    We don't always agree on all issues, but he explains his thoughts and his decision process always sounds fair.

    You mean, when he explains his decision and the thought process that led to it, it sounds fair? Well, as long as it sounds fair. Because after all, appearance and attempt is far more important than actually, you know, doing something.


    Posted by mcblogger at 12:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 22, 2009

    Austin Home Sales

    Worse still in December but looking a lot better. Which means I'll be blogging a lot less because I'm going to be hella busy.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 21, 2009

    Release The McCracken drops the M bomb

    That's right, kids! Austin FAVORITE twerpy freelance copyrighter is back this time shilling for Release The McCracken. Well, not really shilling so much as acting like a Concerned Citizen asking RTM some 'random' questions. On some radio show that broadcasts Sunday nights when most are out having drinks (show McBlogger raising his hand) and apparently likes to have on the most loathsome people in the universe.

    Lisa Fritsch: Jason, welcome to KLBJ.

    PhotobucketJason Meeker: Thank you for having Brewster on tonight. That's great. I hope you have all the candidates on. I have a question for Brewster but it has something to do with something that Lee Leffingwell has put in his platform, and maybe he can illuminate us on this. Lee Leffingwell said something about he wanted to have a program where people could buy credits to offset their carbon emissions. Is this another thing that the politicians want to do to take more money out of our pockets? What is that?

    Brewster McCracken: Yeah, I'm not really sure about what he's talking about on that, Jason. And also I saw that he's saying he wants to have a $500 million dollar bond election in 12 months.

    Lisa Fritsch: Do you agree with that ?

    Brewster McCracken: No I don't. You know, we are having to freeze hiring at the City of Austin. People's family budgets are hurting. I don't think trying to do a massive bond election in 12 months makes sense. And the idea that Jason brings up, I think this is the wrong time to be socking people's pocketbooks. We need to be all hands on deck trying to create jobs for the future.

    Jason Meeker: Yeah, I think that's the way to go. I understand that there's a concern with green technologies and a green economy, but penalizing people or giving them this thing where they have to buy credits that obviously this credit is something to offset a cost somewhere else, I don't know, I think that needs some explanation, and I don't like it already.

    Lisa Fritsch: I don't think people are ready to be going to buy like a gift card to say you're a good person for the environment. I just don't think we are there yet at all.

    Jason Meeker: Thanks Brewster! Thanks for running for mayor!

    PhotobucketBrewster McCracken: Thanks, Jason. You know another area where Lee Leffingwell and I are different is that Lee was in favor of prohibiting homeowners from selling their homes until they got a government-approved energy upgrade on their home they were selling. I did not think that was a good idea. You know, I think that we should be helping people sell their homes not prohibiting them from doing it.

    Lisa Fritsch: Oh, the whole thing that you had to go through all these hoops to make sure your home was green enough in these areas. Wrong idea.

    Brewster McCracken: Yeah, I think it was, too.

    Is it just me or can you almost smell Brewster's cock on Jason's breath when reading this?

    So, let's rip into this...

    1) Brewster LOVED floating a bond to fund a light rail package nine months ago. What's changed his mind? Certainly not the economy, it must be that he's NOW RUNNING FOR MAYOR. I mean, come on... why worry about a project that's going to spur job growth and give Austin a much needed asset when you can score cheap political points talking about fiscal responsibility! Especially since the Fed's are about to shit money all over the country on projects JUST LIKE THIS. With leaders like Brewster it'll be no time at all until Round Rock is the most populous city in Austin metro.

    2) The carbon credit was, you know, an idea to do something to help the environment VOLUNTARILY. Like when we contract with AE to buy electricity from renewable sources. It's called a market solution and most capitalists LOVE it. So, the question now becomes, WHY DOES BREWSTER HATE CAPITALISM?

    3) As for the 'government-approved energy upgrade', that was what Brewster proposed when he co-sponsored the ACPP. It was Lee and others on Council who opposed that in favor of an energy audit to let homeowners know about energy deficiencies. Much like that time Lee and others supported taking some of Toby's power away and Brewster obsequiously gave in to the evil that is Toby.

    In the end, the only thing that's clear is that Brewster doesn't like his own ideas when they become inconvenient AND he likes to lie about where his opponent stands. He also thinks that working with the worst politician in Austin will help him, which is understandable since they both have the ability to turn a room full of undecideds into haters.

    (Tip o the hat to Karl-Thomas who was paying attention to the Statesman today)

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 20, 2009

    This week in the Credit Crunch

  • First, there's this in the NYT regarding forcing banks to lend.

    It was foolishly easy credit that got us into this mess. A government-mandated return to such lending is not a viable solution.

    Ordering the bankers to make loans is both simple and satisfying. But it will not fix the economy or the financial system.

    Now, I've seen my share of stupid pap in the NYT. Even Krugman's been guilty from time to time. However, this is just pure bullshit. NO ONE is asking the banks to return to their old bad habits. All anyone is asking is for them to get back to work lending to good credits, WHICH THEY AREN'T DOING. For example, last Friday my company and several others were forced to increase fees on conventional loans related to 'elevated' risk. However, this is so broad based that it hits every credit class and loan to value ratio. This flies in the face of Treasuries intention to buy MBS in the open market to increase demand to the level that rates fall into the mid-4% range.

    In other words, while rates might be falling, fees are increasing scrubbing out the net gain for the consumer.

    In the late 1980's there was a joke going around in Texas about a company called North Carolina National Bank which had taken over several insolvent thrifts. The logo was NCNB which was jokingly said to be an acronym for No Cash (for) No Body. The successor bank to NCNB is Bank of America which is sitting on a ton of government money.

    It is absolutely critical that credit be loosened for companies. It IS the only thing that will keep the recession from deepening. The bankers say they'll lend when the economy turns. What they don't seem to understand is that it can't turn without credit.

    What irritates me most is the assumption that people are staying out of bank stocks because of possible nationalization. If that's such a damn concern, why aren't these bankers doing everything in their power to make sure that doesn't occur? Frankly, not to put too fine a point on it, we the people delegate to the government the responsibility to charter and regulate banks to create a financial system that will benefit us all. Banks are not operating in good faith and, frankly, stocks be damned, it would be a good idea to put some fear into them by nationalizing one of them.

    Finally, while it's true you don't fix the sins of the past by continuing the bad behavior, you certainly don't go overboard and cut off the good behavior as well. The credit crunch, despite all the crap, is ongoing mostly because some chickenshit bankers are overreacting on the downside just as they did on the upside. In short, incompetent men and women like Ken Lewis at Bank of America are, in fact, making a bad situation a great deal worse.

  • Nouriel Roubini thinks there could be another $2.6 trillion in bank losses and that the banking system is, at present, insolvent.

    First off, I love Roubini but I think this is really offbase. Let's take derivatives off the table since most of the contracts have been unwound. So, you're left with the bad loans... now, with a bad credit, you will still have an underlying asset. Usually, in liquidation, you will recover up to 80%. Let's say recovery is only 50%. That means Roubini thinks that up to $7.2 trillion, about a third of all loans outstanding, will go bad. Which could happen if the economy really went into a tailspin. Problem is, it isn't. Commodities prices are in freefall which is lowering the cost of living creating a net wage increase for all those still employed. Unemployment stands, right now, most likely around 10% and may decay another 1% but not much beyond that. We have a stimulus plan which, while not much, WILL drive a return to growth and when that happens you'll see more of the money pour into wages and paying debts which will stem losses.

    Without those write downs, stability will return to the marketable assets and the balance sheets of the banks (that is, of course, if they start rebuilding their book of business by lending again) which effectively put a cap on further losses. To this point the banks have written down more than $1 trillion, mostly on paper losses unrealized due to market conditions. I think the losses will wind down this quarter and will cap at around $1.3 trillion.

  • In local news, Treaty Oak Bank applied for and has received TARP funds. Not a real big deal, except for the press release which was a real hoot from the perspective of spin control...

    “We are very pleased the Treasury Department determined our organization an attractive investment opportunity,” said Jeffrey Nash, president and CEO of Treaty Oak Bancorp and Treaty Oak Bank. “Our bank continues to grow requiring additional capital. We had not initially anticipated participating in the CPP Program but given our appetite for capital and the attractive terms of this issuance it was an easy decision for our board of directors when Treasury informed us they had selected our bank.”
  • Right now, Barack Obama is taking the Oath
  • Posted by mcblogger at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 19, 2009

    Austin Needs Lee!

    A few days ago I got an email from someone named Ted Siff asking me to support the effort to Draft Lee Leffingwell. Given how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE Release The McCracken, I thought to myself that maybe this is something I can get behind. But still, I hesitated... I was bound up by a feeling of dread not unlike the one you get immediately after placing an order at Taco Bell.

    What if Lee stands us up? What if, at the end of the night, we end up having to catch a ride with RTM?

    Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? I've always liked Lee better than Brewster and thank GOD he finally announced this past weekend! So now it's Brewster vs Lee with some other people playing supporting roles (Can't Let The Past Go, Fuckball and So Crazy I Eat My Own Dook). I've always liked just about every other human on the planet more than Brewster. Seriously, I think Brewster's campaign is less about a person who really wants to do something for Austin and more about one egomaniac and his desire to masturbate using an election.

    Which we think is pretty gross and will likely require us to take a Silkwood shower. Click here to donate to Lee!

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 16, 2009

    While I've been away...

    ...the Mayor's race and Council races have really gotten exciting. Well, exciting if you're a battery chicken. For the rest of us, it's pretty fucking boring.

  • Release the McCracken continues to make nice with RECA. REALLY nice.
  • Leffingwell is announcing for Mayor manana at 10. I won't be up (don't even bother calling me... my phone will be off). However, if I can find someone to take my money I will be writing a check.
  • Sam Osemene is running against Sheryl Cole. I'm going with Sam. By virtue of the fact that he's not Sheryl Cole who is about as worthless as a scotch and soda without the scotch.
  • Bill Spelman's race continues to be a real barn burner.
  • Fundraising goes well for just about everyone. Including, unfortunately, Carol Longname
  • I will be back tonight. Have a drink waiting for me.

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

    January 15, 2009

    Tollway traffic down in Centex

    Oh, Jesus H. Christ, Ben. This is a short term blip based on a temporary recession. This was the funny part

    Aside from any financial troubles existing roads might experience, does this tepid revenue mean that toll authorities in Austin might have trouble securing loans for the five other roads approved last year?

    "I don't think so," said Michael Walton , who holds the Ernest H. Cockrell chair in engineering at the University of Texas and is a transportation consultant. "I don't believe it's a significant long-term problem because we're in the early stages of development on those roads. As they become more of the economic fabric, then utilization will continue to grow."

    We ALL acknowledge we need roads and people are using the tollways. Granted not as much as the rosy projections may have led investors in the bonds to believe, but they are using them and that will increase over time. BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ONLY OPTION. The IB's LOVE these deals and they aren't going away any time soon, even if they have to be put on the backburner for a while due to the credit contraction. After all, where else can Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley get a government guaranteed high yield return? Certainly not in Treasuries.

    What Ben missed, again, was the central issue : How do we pay for the infrastructure we need? The argument has ALWAYS been about funding our infrastructure. Do we want tolls that soak a relative few or gas taxes that are affordable by many and more evenly distribute the cost of infrastructure to ALL beneficiaries of improved infrastructure?

    Some will tell you that it's unfair for the people in the central city to pay for infrastructure for rich suburbanites. You'll have to forgive them for not knowing that the average home sales prices in suburban counties are usually lower than those in the cities and that people live out there because it's what they can afford. Some of them, just FYI, don't even come into the city, while those in the city frequently drive out there (I'm one of them). Others will bitch and moan about congestion pricing as if it's some kind of panacea that will make traffic go away. Which it won't. It certainly hasn't improved the 405 in OC which, despite all the bullshit flying around in Austin, is still clogged like a fat guy's arteries.

    Frankly, I'm sick of the fucking debate and ready to let you poor people sit in goddamn traffic while I enjoy the Lexus lane. It's clear to me you're too goddamn stupid to get that you're voting against your own self-interest. It's also obvious that a lot of Democrats are in love with public private partnerships that are really more about government backstopping the losses of private investors who, in effect, put nothing at risk. Some of you electeds are so dazzled by the bankers from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that you're oblivious to the fact that these folks, though they did better than the people at Bear Stearns and Lehman, are only around because of the Government. They aren't wizards or geniuses. In fact, many of them were about two weeks from being bankrupt and unemployed.

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

    January 12, 2009

    A la recherche du temps askew

    So the word today is that Carole Strayhorn, who likes to be called "One Tough Grandma", wants to be mayor again. She held that office when I first came to Austin thirty years ago. I guess that would have made her One Tough Mutha back in those days, although most people I knew referred to her as Ms. Piggy. It's going to be very fashionable on the liberal blogs to trash her, but frankly, after eight years of Bush and six of Craddick, after Tom DeLay and redistricting and re-redistricting and re-re-redistricting, I'm afraid my inner pool of outrage and scorn is all dried up.

    Honestly, I think a person would have to be insane to want to serve on the Austin City Council. Carole should know better.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 06:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Yes. We know about Ms. Piggy

    For those of you who have asked... YES, we are aware that Carol Strayhorn will run for Mayor. Honestly, she hasn't announced yet and frankly we haven't really had enough time to generate anything that appropriately derisive.

    While you're waiting, we'd like to ask who you think is more attractive:

    Carol Longname

    Photobucket

    OR Ernest Borgnine

    Photobucket

    Answer in the comments, kids!

    UPDATE - The folks at BOR have been working on this...

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 11, 2009

    The O Store

    Apparently, Glen Maxey has opened a store at 1111 E. 11th Street where he is selling


    ALL THINGS OBAMA


    If you're not in Austin, please feel free to shop online.

    Yes, I know this has been open for two months. I've intended to post something about the store but I keep forgetting. And no, it's not because I'm getting old.

    Shut up, bitches.

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

    January 08, 2009

    If you're in the neighborhood

    Around lunch Tuesday, I found myself in Southern WilCo after a meeting broke up. I was, of course, STARVING and completely despondent. Where in this desolate wasteland will I find food that agrees with me, I wondered. And then, I saw it. From 183A, it was like a beacon.


    Carl's Jr.


    My hopes for a Chili Cheese Six were dashed though because the fucker is apparently not yet open. Still, it's there and soon something yummy will be in my stomach.

    (FD... I own stock in Carl's Jr.)

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

    January 07, 2009

    Dear Spelman Campaign

    PhotobucketFirst, I'm THRILLED to death you guys are running for Council and I can't tell you how much I appreciate the invite to your New Year's Eve Pre-Party which was postmarked January 2nd. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend because I can't travel back in time.

    Please accept my regrets and I hope you all have a smashing time!

    Sincerely,

    McB

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

    January 05, 2009

    McCracken me up...

    PhotobucketRelease the McCracken really is a tragicomic figure in Austin politics. No one really likes him. He has no base. Even his supporters dread him and usually are supporting him because they think he'll do nice things for them like get them zoning variances and not bother them too much about affordable housing in the CBD.

    We talked a bit about the Mayoral race a few months ago, mostly focusing on Levy and Carole Strayhorn OldCow. We did mention Brewster and used a picture of Gerald Daugherty instead of Brewster. It was an honest mistake... my picture db is set up by keyword. I typed in 'loathesome, austin' and that's what popped up. I'm ALL the time forgetting that McCracken is filed under 'shameless bottomfeeder, cocksucker, poliwhore, austin'.

    I should also mention that Brewster is a spineless cunt, among a class of men I like to call 'spineless cunts'. We'll never forget his ability to fall over himself to satisfy the completely unreasonable demands of The Demon Toby. And we'll also fondly remember Brewster's appointment to that CAMPO working group on mass transit which, coincidentally, did dickall to give us a real public transportation plan. The sad thing is, so many dipshits were on this 'working group' it's little wonder nothing got done. I can see Kirk actually trying to do something while Gerald picked lint out of his navel and Brewster and Krusee groomed one another like apes.

    For those of you who really thought Brewster couldn't sink any lower, prepare to be surprised. Now, as an attorney, one would think Brewster would understand the law. Oh, hell. Let's cut the bullshit... Brewster thinks he's got Lee hemmed in with this little stunt because he thinks the City Attorney will issue an opinion that agrees with his thinking. If that doesn't happen Brewster will look craven and cowardly. Actually, now that I think about it, that's what will happen regardless. And then Sarah Coppola HAD to get a quote from Levy the Lunatic.

    Former Texas Monthly publisher Mike Levy, who is considering a mayoral run, said Sunday: "If Lee wants to run, it really shouldn't matter if he announces a year or a day before the filing deadline. What I think should be important is whether or not candidates are talking about the issues, especially at a critical time like this for Austin city government."

    Run or don't run, Mike. Until you get off the fence, just say 'no comment' when asked for your opinion. It makes you sound like less than a dumbass. What's important is talking about the issues at a critical time like this? Why not just own your ignorance and tell the reporter you really don't understand the issue and can't comment intelligently. Retard.

    Kedron Touvell has his take on this at BOR. I should point out that Kedron ran against Brewster in 2006 and lost, mostly because he was unknown and underfunded. If only we'd known better.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    December 29, 2008

    No... here's what you're really pissed about.

    The Statesman has an editorial up admonishing the government not to bail out commercial real estate investors and owners. Because you can't bail out everyone.

    Actually, as a matter of fact, you really can because you NEVER bail out everyone, you bail out enough to stabilize the system. The most stunning thing to me is that the TARP and TAF have not spurred the banks to lend. There was always a chance that might not happen, but in the end I put the odds on that happening at pretty low because, after all, banks need spread income which they can't get without lending.

    Of course, on the upside and the downside, that hasn't happened. So, the Fed and Treasury should use one of their other tools. Nationalization.

    This needn't be a painful or difficult process, reminiscent of Chavez or the commies. All they have to do is put the banks into the hands of the FDIC and then FDIC can transfer to the Treasury. However, it has to be done in an obvious, deliberate way. And it needs to be done with the full knowledge of the boards and senior management at all the large banks in the US. They need to understand with absolute clarity that the government will continue this process until they start providing liquidity again.

    The reality is that people, even with the intervention of the Government and the sure and certain knowledge that the game is fixed, are still nervous. The only way to get them past that nervousness is to give them something to really be scared about.

    And then you won't have to bail out commercial real estate owners and investors. They'll be able to refinance which will help stop the vicious fire sale cycle and allow stability to set into the system.

    All this is going to happen. There is a time limit to how far a bear market can run and we're approaching the end, especially with this much cash on the sidelines.


    Posted by mcblogger at 12:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 23, 2008

    ENOUGH with the mulch piles

    New rule... no pile of mulch is to exceed 6 feet high and 10-12 feet wide.

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

    December 19, 2008

    Goodbye, Jennifer

    KT over at BOR posted this video

    of Jennifer's last performance at City Hall. Please take a moment to note her civility and that of Councilmembers Leffingwell, He Who Stands and Shade. Lee's "Thank you, Ms. Gale and very pleasant to see you again" brought tears to my eyes. She was always so very pleasant when I saw her.

    I will miss her a great deal, mostly because she was one of the funniest people I've ever met. Everything, in all of her speeches, has some sort of connection in her mind. To me, the connection was tenuous at best. I once referred to a speech she gave while campaigning for mayor in 2006 as a comedic tour de force. You can see what I'm talking about in the video above. Everything means something to her but to most it's a random collection of thoughts. To me, it's a brilliantly put together piece of performance art that's thoroughly enjoyable.

    I LIVED for endorsement meetings where she would be speaking. I repeatedly told people to video her. Some little idiot years ago told me I was mean for laughing. I told him, rather bluntly, that he was simply too stupid to get the joke.

    The funniest things we do or say are usually those we never intended to be funny. To Jennifer, her speeches made sense. But to someone like me, who loves the play of stream of consciousness in very serious settings, it was absolutely hysterical. The individual portions were proposals and ideas; some good, some really awful. It was the abrupt movement from banning styrofoam to decimating half of the buildings downtown that revealed brilliance.

    In another place and another time, Jennifer Gale would have been famous around the world. She probably would have wondered why, but I think she would have enjoyed the attention nonetheless.

    Godspeed, Jennifer. We're all richer for having known you.

    Please consider donating to House The Homeless.


    Posted by mcblogger at 02:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 08, 2008

    McCracken Releases Self

    PhotobucketIt what will surely be remembered as one of the most depressing events of 2008, Brewster today announced that he's a candidate to be Mayor. Of Austin, for those of you who are susceptible to wishful thinking and thought he'd moved and was running in another city.

    He made the announcement at Heliovolt, which was featured in this article in today's Statesman entitled Economic clouds gather over solar energy. The article was about the recession and how it effects solar power system manufacturers not, as you might expect, opportunistic politicos using them as a green springboard to higher office and a fatter ego, destroying them in the process.

    The article about Brewster mentions that She With The Many Names is running, Lee Leffingwell is running and Mike "If you thought Rich Oppel was crazy, watch me eat my own doodie" Levy is thinking about running.

    The only question I have is why Levy, Carol and Brewster aren't all in a boob hatch in a place where the days are short and mercy is for the weak? And kudos to the Statesman for pointing out some of Brewster's more interesting flip flops, like toll roads (for, against, then for again).

    Seriously, haven't these assholes done enough to Austin? Especially Brewster?

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    A different kind of drought

    In the Statesman's email this AM, there was a link to a story about the drought we're experiencing. When you clicked on it, it linked to this story. Just in case they pull it down, here's the screen cap...

    Photobucket

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 05, 2008

    An awesome idea for the Breckenridge tract

    Well, Mayor Wynn sees both sides when it comes to the Lyon's Municipal Golf Course. He sees the phat bank UT could make by selling off the land and he sees the argument of the neighborhood and the people who, you know, play golf there. They don't want a massive increase in traffic and the golfers really don't want to see some cheesy condo on the 8th hole green.

    So, I have a brilliant idea. Why don't we ask UT to set aside enough room to build a small driving range and a putt-putt course, along with a bunch of sub-par condo's? That way UT will get it's money, golfers will still have a spot where they can play a little small ball, and the neighbors won't have to worry about traffic.

    It's not like the condo's will sell. The ones downtown certainly aren't.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Hitting the skids

    What has been obvious to lenders for months is finally getting some attention from the Statesman. The condo market has hit the skids...

    PhotobucketSales at the four towers under construction — the Austonian, the Four Seasons Residences, Spring and W — have slowed to a crawl since the financial crisis exploded in August, although developers all say they have contracts for 45 percent or more of their units.

    "In the last two months, what we've seen in other parts of the country for the last two years has finally gripped the psyche of Austin," said Devlin McNamara, a vice president with Bank of America Mortgage, a preferred lender on many of the projects. "Everyone's so blown away by the volatility and uncertainty in the markets that they're hesitant to pull the trigger on anything at this point. ... They're mulling it over in their heads but won't actually commit to anything."

    Since Fannie Mae stopped approving condo projects, the market for mortgages on condominium projects has functionally dried up. While many lenders are still writing the loans (including me), we're doing so with many restrictions. Which means you gotta prove income and put some money down. The big surprise out there? A bunch of the units already sold were financed with... wait for it... OPTION ARMS. Those lovely loans will start to reset next year. For any that are based on LIBOR, it's going to cause some problems not to mention a forced recast when the loan balance exceeds the original loan amount by 10%.

    If those start to go bad, you could easily see a 50% drop in values on the existing units and the new units will sit vacant. For a while.

    Ironically, the one thing that may end up saving the market downtown is a steep price decline. There is tremendous demand for housing in the CBD, the problem even now are the prices. The smart developers who will end up riding this out are the ones who change to building affordable projects with prices under 280m, at least for the majority of the units. And it can be done.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 03, 2008

    I'd just like to take a moment to say thanks!

    PhotobucketI'd just like to take a moment to say thank you to our wonderful Republican Governor, Republican Lt. Governor and Republican controlled Legislature for their hard work making it exceedingly difficult to get around this state. In fact, your fiscal irresponsibility and failed leadership have given us what I enjoyed Sunday afternoon... a two hundred mile traffic jam.

    In case you were wondering, that works out to moving at 33 MPH on a freeway with a speed limit of 70 MPH. However, the only reason the average is so high is that for the limited amount of time there were three lanes, I was able to drive 90 or faster if people moved the hell out of my way. Much of the journey was at 10 miles an hour or less.

    So, yeah, I just wanted to say thanks for putting your ideology and retarded ideas first while making the needs of your constituents a very distant second.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 02, 2008

    Way to go, CAMPO!

    It takes HUEVOS, ginormous brass huevos, to break a promise to constituents. Which is exactly what you did yesterday.

    Transportation officials decided to create a financial marriage between two toll roads Monday, a move that could allow the U.S. 290 East tollway project to break ground sometime next year.

    The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board voted 15-3 to create a tollway system made up of the existing, and profitable, 183-A toll road in Cedar Park and U.S. 290 East, which based on projections will not have sufficient revenue to persuade investors to lend more than a half billion dollars to build it. The existing tollway, which opened in March 2007 and is making a profit of about $5 million a year, will in effect act as a co-signer for the new project.

    The U.S. 290 East project would cost $623.5 million, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says. It involves expanding 6.2 miles of the existing four-lane, divided highway between U.S. 183 in Northeast Austin and Parmer Lane just west of Manor. It would have six toll lanes and six free-to-drive frontage road lanes alongside.

    Some CAMPO members objected to the financial partnership Monday, saying it violates the intent of policies adopted in October 2007, when the board approved the U.S. 290 East project and four other potential toll roads. At that time, the board agreed that excess toll revenue from the five roads would be spent first in the general area of each road rather than being used for improvements far afield.

    We've just had an election and several of the people sitting on CAMPO are zombies. Why hold this vote with them on there? Why not wait until the new folks are on board?

    Of course, if you're going to do that why not just wait for the Feds... it's not like they won't be dumping a massive amount of funding into infrastructure in the next 6 months. Which means, we may not need to toll at all? Isn't it worth sitting things out for a bit?

    Granted, it's easy for y'all to vote to toll a road you rarely drive on.

    The funny comes from Mike The Moron...

    That will still be the case, according to the mobility authority, which operates 183-A and will build and operate U.S. 290 East. Given 183-A's profitable status, they say, no money would need to go from U.S. 290 East to 183-A.

    In fact, mobility authority Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein said no money is likely to go either direction. The authority says that preliminary traffic and revenue studies show that U.S. 290 East will be able to meet its debt payments and operating costs without any transfer of money from 183-A.

    However, investors normally require that toll road revenues be well beyond projected costs. A summary of the traffic analysis released Monday shows that, based on charging 20 cents a mile for U.S. 290 East, the road would make about a 30 percent profit — which Heiligenstein said was not high enough for the mobility authority to borrow the full amount needed to build U.S. 290 East without riding on the back of 183-A.

    Actually, Mike, none of the investors bought the traffic projections and JPM's projections, if the information I've received is correct, do not show enough traffic on the road to even cover the debt service. That's the real story which means you're either trying to willfully deceive or you're so far out of the loop that you really think it has something to do with running a 30% profit.

    Which means, if the projections are accurate, that some of Bob Lemon's constituents will be paying for a road in East Austin.

    Now, tell me how that's different from the gas tax? How is it better?

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 01, 2008

    My new favorite song

    If you're at work, be smart. Don't turn your speakers up. And don't play it with your boss behind you unless s/he has a sense of humor.

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

    November 24, 2008

    Mattox Funeral

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

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

    November 13, 2008

    Austin's Doucherific Mayoral Race!

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

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

    The Statesman, unfortunately, has even more...

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

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

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

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


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

    November 11, 2008

    Transportation : Goodbye, Sal and Filing Fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Help a brother out, yo!

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

    Click here to help David win!

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

    UT refuses to offer domestic partner benefits

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

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

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

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

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

    REALLY, UT?

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

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

    November 10, 2008

    The perfect housewarming gift

    No, really, isn't this cool?

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

    PSA : Kids, don't antagonize your parents

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

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

    November 05, 2008

    Bad? You don't know bad.

    Head Tricks

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

    November 04, 2008

    Funny times at the Driskill and internal numbers

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

    We also have some internal numbers...

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

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

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

    Like a badge of honor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Photobucket

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

    November 03, 2008

    Roundin' Up The TPA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    November 02, 2008

    Diana, you might want to change your church

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

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

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

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

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

    November 01, 2008

    UPDATE - RSB 2008

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

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

    October 30, 2008

    RSB 2008 : Ticket information

    I know you're excited about Red State Blues! We just got an update from the promoter and you can, apparently, get tix at TCDP coordinated HQ (11th@35) for $25. Online there's an additional charge so if you have a chance I'd run over to TCDP and pick up your tix!

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    In which we bid on the Statesman

    We are seriously considering a bid for the Statesman which is, as many of you are no doubt aware, being put out on the lawn (like knick-knacks from grandma's trip to Oklahoma) in Cox's garage sale of Texas media properties.

    We can report that will be submitting a cash and a securities offer that, to say the least, is impressive. For us. The securities (or, as our adviser calls them, 50 year IOU's) we are issuing as part of the transaction have a notational value in the hundreds of millions. Their current cash equivalent is $19.32 which we think is extraordinarily fair.

    And yes, Statesman staff, we'll be giving you all raises should our bid be chosen. Even you, Gardner.

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

    October 29, 2008

    KXAN.com gets a facelift

    Loves. It.

    Nice work, Charlie Ray & Co! And, to LIN, way to go making a deal with Time Warner. Pretty stupid to begin with since the ad revenue is way more important. And your problem there is NBC's shitty programming.

    It's easy to make phat bank when people are watching your shows.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 28, 2008

    RSB 2008 : A Concert For Change

    In what has been an historic year, Austin has stood out. We have been one of the largest, most supportive communities for Democrats in the country but this year the bright, shining star in the center of Texas got the attention of the nation. And Red State Blues is continuing that by sponsoring A Concert For Change next week.

    Red State Blues
    A Concert For Change
    A one night concert event that fuses the temperature of our historic political times with modern music for all to celebrate!




    Austin Music Hall
    Monday, November 3rd
    Doors Open for General Admission? at 7:00 pm




    Featuring
    Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
    James McMurtry
    Brownout
    General Admission $25.00?
    (tickets can be purchased online)




    VIP Reception Happy Hour
    5:30pm-7:00pm
    Musical Performance by Paris 49 with Special Guest Chrysta-Bell
    Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and cocktails
    VIP Reception ticket to concert is just $75.00
    (tickets can be purchased online)

    All proceeds will benefit the Travis County Democratic Party and the Sims Foundation, two very worthy causes both seeking to make Austin (and Travis County) a better place.

    For more information visit Red State Blues Concerts.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 23, 2008

    Vote NO on Prop 2

    If you live in Austin, you probably know that some of the peeps on Council voted to give tax incentives to a mall filled with high end retail because the developer whined that they just couldn't do it any other way. Flash forward a couple of years and there I am, able to finally go to Neiman's without a trip to Dallas.

    Wait... that wasn't my point. OK, it was about the tax incentives. Yeah, I think those were a super bad idea in the case of the Domain . However, PROP 2, which seeks to override those incentives, is the wrong way to go. For one thing, the Council has already changed the guidelines for incentives. For another, this ties the hands of the City so dramatically that the best analogy is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    I'm not a big fan of development incentives mostly because it skews the economics of a project and can lead, rapidly, to overbuilding beyond what the market will support. However, for large employers coming into Austin as part of a large development project, they are a necessity. Was it in appropriate to use them at the Domain? Yes. Does that mean we have to go overboard and tie the hands of our elected officials? No. We do that at the ballot box when we decide on whether to keep or replace them.

    We urge you to vote NO on Prop 2.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    October 21, 2008

    Good news in CD 10

    The Statesman has a good piece up about just how competitive CD 10 is...

    Now Democrats are giving McCaul his toughest challenge yet in the form of Washington County lawyer Larry Joe Doherty, the former star of a TV courtroom show.

    McCaul's district, which includes much of northern Travis County, stretches east along U.S. 290 to the western suburbs of Houston. Doherty can expect to run well in Democrat-friendly Travis County but will need to eat into McCaul's sizable advantage in the conservative areas near Houston and between the two big cities.

    Given Larry Joe's roots in the Houston area, it's likely that McCaul's advantage there will be cut down significantly from 2006. If the numbers hold, it should be enough (if LJD can hold on to Ankrum's voters in 2006) to elect LJD.

    Of course, this will help...

    McCaul is an engaging, interesting former prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. But his low profile and support for so much of the Bush administration program over his past two terms makes him an ill fit for Austin. That's one of the reasons we are endorsing Larry Joe Doherty for this seat.

    This is a particularly interesting endorsement given The Statesman's support in the past for McCaul. Of course, most of that was driven by the execrable Rich Oppel who lived in McCaul's colon when he was in town.

    Go help Larry Joe today!

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

    October 17, 2008

    The Chronic Awards...

    people other than us for being 'Best of Austin'.

    That (and Harry's pending lawsuit against them for ignoring us) aside, we're excited to see that several of our selections made it in this year, including BOR, Mike Martinez, Will Wynn and our accursed traffic. Eileen Smith got best local politics blogger which is very cool since she's one of the funniest people we know (we find her funny regardless of how much we've had to drink).

    All in all, you gave up only a few of the good places and wisely selected Teh Suck (Molotov? VERY clever, y'all!) to trap the people who will read this over the weekend and start overwhelming these places. I am, however, pissed you bitches gave up Wink. Now we'll have to fight for our dinner with someone from Cedar Park who more appropriately belongs at an Olive Garden. In Cedar Park.

    Click here to see all the awards... and the critics picks. We didn't get one of those, either. I blame Lee Nichols. And my content.

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 13, 2008

    Around Town : Jones gets endorsement; Eckhardt on CAMPO

  • Woodie Jones received the AAS endorsement for the CJ spot on the 3rd Court of Appeals. This comes as a huge surprise considering that Jones is by far the more qualified and capable candidate (not to mention having far more experience ON the Court than his opponent).

    Yeah, the Statesman endorsed a Democrat in a judicial race. Shocked the hell outta me, too.

  • Sam Houston and Linda Yanez picked up some important endorsements from the DMN and HousChron
  • In advance of tonight's CAMPO meeting, Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt released the following:

    Just over one year ago, at the height of public outcry over toll roads, the Policy Board of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) unanimously passed a set of covenants to govern the use of toll revenue collected from the Phase II toll roads. The covenants generally require that toll revenues stay within two miles of the road on which they were generated. The covenants allow for diversion of excess toll revenues from one toll road corridor to other projects only after specific public input and a 2/3 vote of the CAMPO Policy Board. Finally, the covenants require that tolls be reduced and eventually eliminated after the debt for the toll road has been retired and potential improvement projects within the corridor have been exhausted. On Monday, the CAMPO Policy Board will consider overturning some of these covenants, including the public meeting requirements.

    The first of the toll roads formerly known as Phase II is 290E, also known as the Manor Expressway. Because the project cannot stand on its own merits from a financing perspective the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) is proposing to “backstop” the debt financing of 290E with toll revenue from 183A through the creation of a “system.” In this system comprised of 290E and 183A, toll revenue and resultant debt capacity/obligation for both roads would be commingled and belong to the system, not to the transportation shed in which the user fees were collected. This diversion of revenue is exactly the circumstance the covenants were designed to address.

    Under this circumstance the public comment provisions in the covenants should kick in. But they haven’t. Although the covenants require that a Statement of Purpose be developed and that public hearings be held both region-wide and within the donor corridor, none of these steps have been taken by CAMPO. The CTRMA seeks to waive these requirements. Some have even suggested repealing the covenants entirely.

    No word on who would like to kill the covenants. Of course, it's probably the usual suspects, like Gerald Daugherty, who love them some toll roads and hate the pesky input from their constituents. If you live in Travis County Commissioner Precinct 3, help out Karen Huber today.

  • We've all known for quite some time that the SBOE is populated with a lot of Republican nuts. Take this mad old cow...

    Photobucket

    I know... the haircut does kind of remind me of a friend's mother who last sported that 'do in 1993. However, this isn't that mother. This is Gail 'Freakshow' Lowe who represents a swath of Texas stretching from the Hill Country to the Red River on the SBOE. She's just your normal, average, everyday lunatic who thinks:

    1)Evolution is a theory without understanding what a 'theory' means in natural sciences
    2)Teh Gays are Teh Bad
    3)Her opponents are not family friendly, whatever the hell that means

    Gail, this the SBOE not one of your nutter tent revivals. If you don't want to take the damn job seriously, then we'll surely find someone to replace you. I hate stupidity and incompetence and you are cursed with a plethora of both.


  • Posted by mcblogger at 10:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 12, 2008

    Don't have time to go to CAMPO

    Like many of you, I have a life and a job so I'll be unable to attend the CAMPO meeting tomorrow night. HOWEVER, they do have an email where you can let them know just how you feel. No on Item 7 on accepting the terms and conditions on the 290E tollway will work just fine.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 11, 2008

    Tolls : So what is CAMPO up to?

    On Monday, CAMPO's Transportation Policy Board will be meeting to discuss some some issues and make some decisions. Among them is the vote to accept the terms and conditions of the financing of the 290E Tollway. And therein lies the rub... apparently, even the rosy projections advanced by CTRMA and their friends at JP Morgan (the investment banking subsidiary of JP Morgan Chase) aren't enough to cover the debt service on the bonds used to finance the road. Which is a real problem in this market. I'd ask you to forget, for a moment, the fact that the credit markets are effectively frozen still, especially for road bonds. This'll all make sense in that context.

    Apparently, JPM is pricing the interest rate on the bonds to, what I would assume, a level that would allow them to carry the bonds on their balance sheet. But they are dangling a carrot. If CAMPO will agree to bind 290E AND 183A into the same project as part of a system then they'll reduce the interest rate. Of course, there's no word on the existing bonds used to finance the 183A road. Or the performance vs. projections of that road. What is known is that CAMPO is being asked to guarantee the bonds on 290E with revenue from 183A.

    Now, one of the arguments for toll roads is that they are financed by user fees (not evil taxes). The interesting thing in this situation is that 'user fees' from one population are being used to bolster the financing, in effect subsidizing, the users fees on another project. This would make sense if the two roads had user overlap. Or even if they were close to one another.

    These roads don't have overlapping user populations AND they are separated from one another by, well, most of Austin.

    And now, I have some questions...

    1) If we're not worried about 'user fees' being used to pay off projects where they were assessed, in effect spreading the burden evenly, why don't we spread it as evenly as possibly (and as cheaply for taxpayers) by increasing the gax tax?

    2) What about the money that TXDOT has been authorized to raise? Surely our legislators can find a way to get some of THAT money out of TXDOT to fund this project.

    CAMPO needs to realize this ISN'T the best time to raise money to build something. Whether the situation will cure in a week or a year, the reality is that 290E is not a pressing project especially given that it can't fund itself. Further, we're less than a month away from an election that is definitely going to change the legislative makeup of DC and possibly Austin. Everyone in politics knows that infrastructure is definitely needed and will be necessary to bring us out of this recession... and the mood has certainly shifted from financing that investment with tolls.

    CAMPO should table this until at least March, 2009. It's the only responsible thing to do.

    YES! I got through this entire post without calling you any of you names or deriding your intelligence. Don't think that'll continue, especially if you vote to approve these draconian terms and conditions. Simply put, and I mean no offense, none of you have a solid background in structured finance. Simply put, JP Morgan does NOT have the best interests of CAMPO in mind. You should dig VERY deeply into the structure of this and the covenants.

    CAMPO Transportation Policy Board
    Monday, October 13, 2008 at 6:00 p.m.
    University of Texas, Joe C. Thompson Conference Center, Room 2.102
    Dean Keeton and Red River, Austin, Texas

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 02, 2008

    No, no... you can SUCK MY BALLS, Best Buy

    Goddamn, what's a faggot gotta do to spend some money up in this beeyotch?!

    So, as some of you are aware, I changed jobs yet again. That's right, kids, I once again have a real office in Austin with a great view of the 360 which usually resembles a parking lot. However, we're short on computers so I went to buy one. No big deal, right? Just a simple 17" laptop (I need a ten key... you wouldn't understand). My first stop, Office Depot. They had one. It looked like a piece. I passed.

    Next stop, Best Buy. Service has never been a big deal at Best Buy which usually staffs from local high schools exclusively with the kids who are pissed as hell they have to work. They don't mind letting you know in oh-so-subtle ways that they really are disgruntled employees. I found one, couldn't get anyone to help me and decided to move to Fry's. My thought was, honestly, why did I even bother with these triflin' fools. Why didn't I just go to Fry's first?

    I went back to the overstocked laptop section and there were a plethora of desktop replacement options. I was giddy with the knowledge that, despite my previous errors, I was about to finally be able to drop some coin and leave with a new computer. I even found one of the scruffy nerds that work at Fry's and despite his lack of product knowledge and general "shit, I dunno" attitude, I finally settled on a computer. He ran back to his monitor to check inventory and came back to me

    Fry's Guy : Well, we have three in stock plus the floor model. However, those three are returns.
    McB : Returns?
    FG : (rolls eyes) Yeah, people brought them back.
    McB : (irritated) No? Really? I get that, but I'm wondering why they'd be back in inventory.
    FG : (shrugs shoulders) Dunno. Would you like one? Or I could pull the floor model but it wouldn't have the software. Or a box.
    McB : Let's see, one of the THREE computers have been returned for God knows what reason OR the floor model that everyone has slobbered all over for weeks?
    FG : It doesn't have software either.
    McB : Yeah, I got that. MMM. Let me weigh those options. (brief pause) No. Let me look around for another.

    We proceeded to check four more models and the story was a variation on the original one I wanted. I was CRUSHED. The salesman was nonplussed about the whole thing and, I think, annoyed that I'd eaten up so much of his wander-around-aimlessly-with-a-dazed-look time.

    I then went home and got on Best Buy online. I easily found the model I wanted and without stupid kids to screw up my purchase, I quickly gave up my credit card. There, I thought to myself, problem fucking solved. Fuck a bunch of retail.

    Well, at least that was how it was until this AM when I rec'd a note from BB telling me that they couldn't deliver to my address and that my order had been cancelled. Sorry! Folks, I get merchandise, overnights and all manner of crap delivered to me all the time and have for YEARS. Never once have I ever had an issue with my address. I, still wanting the computer, called the 800 number. I spoke with someone who transferred me to a dead line. I called back. By this time, I was a little annoyed but I thought what the hell... then I got on the phone with the bitch queen of telesales who informed me I'd made a stupid error in typing my address. I hadn't put SUITE in front of the unit and number.

    REALLY? About that time my voice did get a little elevated and she asked me to stop shouting. WHICH I WASN'T. I asked her if she could just revise the order. She said no. I asked her how long it would be before the money was returned to my account. She said a WEEK. And as I tried to explain to her that was unacceptable, bitch hung up on me. Those of you who know me know that when I get REALLY angry I speak in a very low voice, usually because I'm gritting my teeth.

    I then sent an email to Best Buy and told them I needed to get the order reset with SUITE added before my address or it needed to be canceled. They were kind enough to let me know that the order had already been canceled and thanks for shopping Best Buy online. I then wrote back, asking them to cancel all the other stuff I ordered. WHICH THEY THEN REFUSED TO DO because it was in process. Whatev.

    One call to the bank and that finished that.

    A word to the wise... Amazon.com. You may pay a little more but it's worth it not to have to deal with morons. And fuck a bunch of buy local.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    So long, KXAN

    Meh.

    The reality? NBC sucks except for 30 Rock and The Office. Which means KXAN's ad revenue is down. And they are trying to raise some revenue this way.

    To be honest, since we can get the shows online (and then you guys don't get any ad revenue) you might want to reconsider. I will miss Gossip Girl. YES, I'M ADMITTING I WATCH 'THAT GOSSIP GIRL SHOW'.

    XOXO


    Posted by mcblogger at 12:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    September 29, 2008

    Ben Wear and his Stupid Sunshine Sh*t

    I've actually noticed recently that the Statesman has improved a bit now that it's clear it can't depend on the Cox money teat for sustenance anymore. However, that improvement hasn't included Ben Wear who has to be one of the least curious people in Central Texas if his writing is any measure of the man.

    Today, Wear presents a nice little article about TXDOT selling debt. To build toll roads (
    which we'll pay for with our gas taxes AND tolls! The most expensive solution of all!). That we authorized almost five and two years ago. That they've sat on until THE WORST CREDIT CRISIS SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

    Which is totally an ideal time to sell debt into the market. It's the time when you are SURE to get the more advantageous rates. But Wear doesn't mention that (other than some not-at-all witty suicide quip). He doesn't ask anyone about it.

    Good to see everyone from the executive to the legislative to the media taking our need for infrastructure so seriously. It's a damn good thing you all have jobs either working for a failing enterprise (the Statesman) or one you are trying to drive into failure through your massive incompetence (State Government).

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 18, 2008

    Capitol Area Food Bank needs your help

    Click here for more information...As much as we might not want to acknowledge it, the food bank serves a lot of people in our community who need help. Not to mention some of our new friends, courtesy of Ike. Please help them out if you can.

    (H/T to Matt at BOR)

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 13, 2008

    Storm Of The Century Of The Week Bypasses Austin

    Damn. What am I going to do with this pallet of flashlight batteries?

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 12, 2008

    Dregs : No more kids for you and Hurricane! The Porno

  • Judge Baird (who I'm all the time greeting as "Charlie"... sorry, Judge Baird) gave a mother who was involved in the abuse of her child probation for 10 years. And one of the conditions of that probation was that she could not get pregnant or have another child.

    IMHO, that's a damn good idea in situations like this. And it'll be fun to see if it's upheld on appeal!

  • One of the people I work with made a comment today about wanting to offer his mouth to any cute boys from Galveston or Houston who decided to evacuate. And his home. In that order.

    q. Where's the evacuation point?
    a. In the back of your mouth and everyone's cumming.

  • Hava Goodun!

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 07, 2008

    Get it, Sister Ruth?

    I found this recently on Greek Tragedy...

    When people in my life preface what they’re about to say with, “you cannot write about this on your blog,” I pretty much always respond, “Don’t flatter yourself.” You’re not that important or interesting (even if you are). It’s the one thing in life we find so hard to believe: that no one notices or pays nearly as much attention to us as we do.

    Sister Ruth is ALL THE TIME doing this. Actually, many of you do. Seriously, when was the last time I wrote some weird detail of your life on the blog?

    Oh, that's right. NEVER.

    Here's how this goes... if I want to publish something I'll ask you.

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

    September 03, 2008

    Cypress to shut down Fab 2

    Cypress Semiconductor has decided to shut down Round Rock based Fab 2, the facility where it has produced semiconductors for more than 22 years. The shut down will result in the loss of more than 200 jobs...

    The company informed the Workforce Commission that it will close the plant in four stages, eliminating 211 engineering, administrative and operator jobs. In the first stage, the company will cut 67 jobs between Oct. 27 and Nov. 11. Then it will cut 57 jobs between Nov. 10 and Nov. 23, followed by more job cuts between Dec. 8 and Dec. 21. The final 45 job reductions are planned to occur in early 2009.

    Cypress said that the Round Rock plant used older manufacturing process technology to make less advanced chips.

    "It is simply more cost-effective to shift manufacturing elsewhere than to retool Fab 2," said Shahin Sharifzadeh, the company's manufacturing vice president, last year.

    One has to wonder if Cypress received any 'incentives' and how much Round Rock has benefited from them. As for me, good riddance Cypress. You're kind of a loser any way. While it hurts to let jobs go, hopefully Samsung or another company will pick them up. They seem to be doing well.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 28, 2008

    Stop Domain Subsidies about to go into the toilet

    According to this in the Statesman, the ballot language is set...

    Shall the City Charter be amended to prohibit the City from entering into future agreements to provide financial incentives in connection with the development or redevelopment of property that includes one or more retail uses, and to stop the City from providing financial incentives under certain existing agreements in connection with the development or redevelopment of property that includes one or more retail uses?

    And with that, I'd like to take my hat off and salute Stop Domain Subsidies... for thoroughly fucking this up. Y'all took a perfectly good opportunity and turned it into a giant, smelly dog turd. ONE OR MORE RETAIL USES?!?!! Why not just 86 all mixed use?!?! What a fabulous idea.

    Of course, the outcome of this was ENTIRELY predictable once Linda Curtis of Independent Texans got her stupid little rat brain involved in the effort. You may remember Linda as one of the masterminds (the Idiots Stall were the others) who told the Lege last session that SB 792 was great and then went and told everyone that it was a real moratorium on tolling and the TTC.

    Which, of course, it wasn't.

    You people are too incompetent to achieve anything. The fact that anyone listens to you is a testament to their own stupidity. Take a bow, Linda. Now you've managed to have a hand in the ruination of two important efforts.

    For many of us, SDS represented a necessary effort to stop tax payer funded subsidies for projects with questionable economics and job creation characteristics (i.e., retail). However, the language is now so broad that it includes some very necessary mixed use (residential, light commercial and retail) developments that are a key parts of the City's effort to establish Transit Oriented Developments.

    It's very disheartening to see this effort dragged down into worthlessness. So, yeah, you should vote against this miasma of an amendment to the city charter.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    I'm gonna keep using the 'R' word, but thanks!

    The Statesman ran this recently from a mother who doesn't like the free use of the word retard...

    This is not about censorship or political correctness. This is a civil rights issue. It's about the right to be treated with dignity and respect as a human being. The disability community is glad to have the opportunity for a public discourse about the R-word.

    So, you speak for the whole community? Allrighty...

    I shudder at even typing the N-word, though many have few reservations about using the word "retard." When I was a child, was used only to refer to people with actual intellectual disabilities. Now, however, the R-word has fallen into casual use.

    Many don't realize that people with intellectual disabilities are four to 10 times more likely to be victims of crimes. They might not know that people with intellectual disabilities were among the first victims of eugenics in Nazi Germany. Perhaps they don't realize that "termination" rates are between 89 percent and 94 percent for those diagnosed, in utero, with Down syndrome. Many families cite the cruel treatment by society as a reason for termination.

    WOW. I never even thought that someone would be such an ASSHAT as to completely separate the usage of the word ENTIRELY from the context. And throw in Nazi's, all at the same time.

    As a mom, even before having a child with a diagnosis, I realized how my views shaped my child and how powerful words can be. We avoid using the word "fat" in our household; instead we focus on what is "healthy." We avoid even using the word "stupid;" instead we discuss "smart" choices or "better" decisions.

    Stop using the R-word. You can educate other people about its harmful ramifications.

    I'm just gonna say this... when people use the word today, they aren't using it to describe someone with a mental health disability. Consider it synonymous with UNBELIEVABLY STUPID. I can't even remember the last time I heard it used to refer to someone who had a MHD. And quit whining about how offensive it is to you in general.

    I'm so sick of shit like this. Feel good, meaningless crap. What she wants she's unable to ask for which is a more perfect world where everyone treats everyone with dignity and respect. I get that. However, it's the impossible dream and frankly, we'd all be bored to hell.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 27, 2008

    Austin Chronicle Best Of...

    AUCHRON.jpgThe AusChron is once again running their 'Best of...' list. I've found the thing to be largely hit or miss mostly because these things seem loaded down vote-wise by granola fucks who think healthy food ROCKS and that Ginny's Little Longhorn is just unbelievably cool because they have Lone Star... and not much else.

    Not to mention that this ballot is arduous...ChronPeople, I salute you for taking the inputs from these ballots and turning them into awards. That's an assload of work. And I hope you're well compensated for it. Seriously, you deserve a fucking amazing party and the kind of bonus money that would make Paris Hilton blush.

    But back to the voting... Here's a link directly topolitics and personalities. And here are a few of our humble suggestions...

    Local Issue - Traffic Congestion/Mass Transit

    News Story - Toby's reign of EVIL ends

    Scandal - That Brewster is STILL on Council

    Elected Official - Will Wynn

    State Legislator - Eddie Rodriguez.

    Council Member - He Who Stands Up To Toby

    Unsung Behind-the-Scenester - Matt Curtis

    Job - Following behind Mindy Montford with one of her signs after the County Convention

    Public Service - Cleaning up shit? Somewhere? We really are not at all about this.

    Nonprofit Group - Human Rights Campaign

    Activist - Garry Brown

    Local Politics Blog - Your choice... we'd say go for us, but honestly while we are based in Austin, we write as much about the rest of the state and the country as we do about Austin. And the last time I checked, there are only about 500 people who are physically IN Austin who read us on a daily basis. I think more people read us in Dallas than here... and I HATE Dallas like a motherfucking rash.

    BOR would also be a good choice, as would EOW and TK.

    Local Politics Blogger - Eh, vote for Mayor McSleaze. I want to see him get angry if he wins.

    Grassroots Movement - Texans for Mark Thompson (seriously, WAS there a bigger surprise in the primary?!?!?!)

    Environmentalist - Marguerite Jones. The rest of those fools are triflin'.

    As for the rest of the ballot, feel free to fill out as much as you'd like. Just say nothing of that Place That Shall Not Be Named In Midtown Where You Can Still Smoke Inside. And tell them Trudy's is your favorite restaurant.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 25, 2008

    Really, Target? Really?

    Photobucket

    I'm guessing an overwhelming number of Target shoppers are retards who think plastic shopping bags are a swell idea for baby playtime.

    What the hell does that say about me since I shop at Target? Oh, and underneath... ideas for "ways to reuse this bag". Idea #1? A trash bin liner. Clever, these people who design the bags at Target.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The Transportation Daisy Chain

    A certain political consultant emailed the release of the Republican Leadership (now ain't that just one hell of an oxymoron?) regarding their willingness to work with one another. After reading it, I responded to him with

    Craddick sucks off Dewhearst sucks off Perry eats out Delisi sucks off Craddick?

    To which he responded

    I'd rather not have that image in my mind, but, yes, I think you have it about right.

    Here's the gist...

    Highlights of the new plan:

    Stop funding the Texas Department of Public Safety with gas tax funds, and divert those millions to road construction. DPS could instead be funded with general revenue tax funds.

    What an AWESOME idea, y'all! We've only been asking for it for years but it's good to see that you're finally doing what we told you to do. Next, find the revenue to fund DPS without the gas tax. Good luck with that, R's. WITHOUT taking away CHIP.

    Create a special Transportation Finance Corporation to allow Texas-based investment funds to directly invest in state transportation projects.

    Rutro! This is the kind of place where you people normally take a nosedive. Here's the inside skinny... the folks at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs (whatup, peeps!) are having problems selling toll bonds. Which means that road privatization has pretty much ground to a halt along with everything else in the debt markets, at least everything risky (read: toll revenue bonds). If Texas had issued tax-backed revenue bonds and indexed the gas tax (AS ADVISED YEARS AGO) they wouldn't have had any problems selling off the debt. However, toll bonds (much like subprime and Alt A mortgage credits) are questionable at best, valueless at worst. Which means nothing is selling and there's no way for Perry and his cronies at Zachry (and THEIR friends, Cintra (Bluebonnet)) to get the money to buy the roads. Burka has some great stuff up on just how successful road privatization has been. For investors.

    So, now that private money has evaporated to finance your questionable plans, you morons want to dip into the underfunded public pensions!??!?!?! Lemme guess, you'll be giving the investment banks a cut on that transaction to work as adviser, right? And, of course, Zachry will be brought in to manage everything and take a cut. Annually. So, what does that leave for the pension fund?

    Great idea, you guys! Precisely what I'd expect from folks with the intellectual capacity of sparrows.

    Authorize perhaps as much as $5 billion in bonds for additional highway construction projects. Voters approved a constitutional change in November 2007 to allow these bonds, but legislation is still needed to authorize them.

    Oh, those tax backed bonds! Yeah, you should totally issue those. Here's the thing, though... at some point, you R's are going to have to finally admit to folks you've been lying to them about the possibility of having economic growth, good public infrastructure and excellent services (schools, fire and police) all while paying less in taxes. Simply put, you've been selling (but not delivering) a free lunch. It's worked so far because no one's been real hungry. Now they're starving and they want something to eat.

    EOW nails it and picks up on what the Statesman (and other major media sources) have always missed. These aren't REAL solutions, it's a shell game designed to make it appear that something is happening... and to put off the day when the bill really comes due.

    The really wonderful post on all this comes from Paul Burka at Texas Monthly who lays it out beautifully.

    The reality that no one on the R side wants to admit is that their ideology is fundamentally flawed. In the real world, privatization does not always work to the benefit of consumers, especially in the absence of substantive GOVERNMENT oversight. An old school economic conservative can you tell you that. In fact, I've done it several times. We, unlike the ideologues running the government who've never really worked in business, know from first hand experience that private enterprise can be every bit as wasteful as big government.

    And we hate waste, whether it's Democratic or Republican. And crony capitalism is definitely waste.

    One last point, there appear to be those who still want to parrot the old estimate that our transportation funding shortfall is $80-100 bn. It's NOT. It's not even close especially when you aren't building TODAY for capacity you won't need until the late 2040's. As a side note, I'd also like to ask the Lege to set up an independent body, appointed by the LEADERSHIP from both parties in the Lege, to audit TXDOT and what they are paying suppliers. I find it UNBELIEVABLE that true road constructions costs have escalated more rapidly than anything other than gold bullion.

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

    August 21, 2008

    Krazy like a Keel

    Donna Keel, whose only distinguishing feature seems to be her decision to marry a Keel, is running for State Representative against Valinda Bolton way down southwest... in southwest Travis County. Developers love her, mostly because she views the environmentally sensitive area as nothing more than empty land on which endless mini-malls filled with dry cleaning shops, frozen yogurt stores and nail salons may be built. All those low wage retail jobs also mean she's a brill promoter of economic growth.

    No one ever said Donna was smart or a protector of the environment. On the smart thing, she did, after all, marry a Keel which is a small step above marrying a Manson. By virtue of the fact that the Keels haven't killed anyone. At least no one that we know of. What we do know is that her bother-in-law and winner of the 2008 LAMEST HAIRCUT IN THE WORLD is Terry Keel and he's the one forcing her to do this. Because, in his new role as parliamentarian, he wants a buddy since all CradDICK does is repeat him. One has to assume that Donna had met Terry prior to marrying the other Keel (the one who gave her the glam name). One has to wonder about the sanity of ANYONE willing to marry into that family with eyes wide open.

    Can you tell we don't like Terry? Oh, there's a reason... Terry has all the integrity of a homeless drunk, he'll do anything for a dollar, much as a drunk will for a bottle of MD20/20. From scuttling real ethics reform to helping Tom CradDICK stay in power, Terry was a miserable failure as a State Representative. Now he's firmly supporting his sister-in-law. Just what we need... feathered hair, part 2.

    On the environment, a massive concern for voters in the district, Donna Keel had this to say...

    Business Friendly Environment - Many businesses that were overtaxed and over regulated in other states are relocating to Texas. Many of those same states have responded by increasing taxes on the remaining businesses and individuals, perpetuating a vicious cycle .

    Oh, shit. I guess they forgot about being concerned about breathable air and drinkable water. My bad! Well, let's just address her economic stupidity for a moment, shall we? What she's saying here is that we need to keep business taxes low. I'm all for that. However, the Republicans she wants to join, the same ones who've been running Texas into the ground for more than 10 years, have made sure that business pays close to nothing in taxes to support the state that supports them. They use our roads, our schools, our police, fire and most definitely our courts. Yet they pay nothing to support the state. Oh, they provide some wonderful blue collar and minimum wage jobs (massive failure that IS Cabela's anyone?) but those jobs don't inject a massive amount of tax revenue either.

    The reality is that Texas is one of the few states where our elected officials are dumb enough to give up everything for bargain basement prices. And Donna, you want to be one of those people? REALLY?!??! I find that just infuriatingly stupid. However, looking at your resume it's clear that while you've had a B school education, you've never worked in private industry. So you don't know what the real world is like where we actually look for places with economic stability where the taxes may be a little higher, but government is operating efficiently and investing for the future.

    Republicans and Donna Keel are quite simply, bad salesman. They don't want partners that shoulder the burden of funding our state government and infrastructure and they don't understand that partnerships are built on shared sacrifice, trust and an understanding that long term profit is better than short term gain.

    They are creating, though their policies, a business class who've grown fat and happy sucking off the government teat without paying so much as a dime in taxes. So, in a situation like that, you have to ask if the economic 'growth' these companies bring in is worth the cost to our environment, if the economic gain exceeds the cost. The answer, for many of these companies, is NO. They cost us far more in health care, education, transportation, public safety, etc. than they provide in taxes. Which means they are drains on our economy and we'd be better off without them.

    Donna Keel doesn't know that. Which makes me wonder what, other than the way to the Comptroller's building, she does know.

    Finally, her stand on toll roads...

    Toll Roads – Austin absolutely needs to improve its infrastructure, particularly at the Y in Oak Hill. These improvements should be paid for with existing funds. I would only support tolls as an absolute last resort, never on existing roads or bridges( double taxation), and never as a source of revenue in perpetuity. Once a road is paid for, the toll should be removed.

    Sounds great, doesn't it? Many Republicans said the same thing in 2003... right before they voted for the bill that gave TXDOT the ability to privatize new AND existing roads as well as toll in perpetuity. Donna, further proving she has a shallow-puddle deep understanding of the issues, doesn't get that tolling is more expensive for Texans than any other financing solution. Note here she makes no mention of the gas tax which we already know would be the cheapest way to fund infrastructure. Probably because she can't do the cost per mile break down in her head to determine that she'll pay more on a per gallon basis with tolls than with the gas tax.

    As for 'removing the tolls', sure Donna. We've heard that from EVERY Republican at one time or another. We believed some of them. However, we're not going to blindly trust you since your brother-in-law helped put us in this mess to begin with. And he's one of your advisers and supporters, which to us means you have bad taste in both and even worse judgment.

    We can't afford another Keel. We need to KEEP VALINDA BOLTON.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 18, 2008

    Having drinks with Kelso

    Yes, Kelso, we agree with you... there are a bunch of lightweights at Forbes and the CDC.

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

    My dirty little secret...

    I love dogs... even chihuahua's, though I do make fun of them. And their owners.

    Cynthia Miller has, with the help of her two Maltese dogs (Lulu and Lolly), created a website dedicated to raising money for dog rescue and helping people who have rescued dogs. The site is based on a 'what if...' scenario involving Cynthia's credit cards, Lulu and Lolly's sense of wanderlust and a camera. And now it's grown to products and a blog... check it out when you have a chance!

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

    August 15, 2008

    (Not so) Great Ideas

    Bad Decision

    Mixing bourbon, vodka and gin with root beer (in my defense, I was 12)

    SUPER Bad Decision

    Making Chet Edwards the nominee of the Democratic Party for Vice-President.

    Seriously, I'm not going to go on some asinine rant about how Chet's not liberal enough. Or progressive enough. Or attractive enough. Or interesting enough. He's not enough of any of those things, but at the end of the day, he's perfect for Waco and it's environs. He's conservative, he's moderately attractive, boring as a motherfucker and basically a perfect fit to represent people who voted for Bush. Four times.

    And I'm certainly not going to beat up on a Democrat who can get re-elected, cycle after cycle, in the red territory most us only know as the asshole on the 35 between Austin and Dallas. Seriously, voting for the bankruptcy bill was THE right thing to do, mostly because those yokels are too stupid to realize he worked to restrict their Constitutional right to wipe the slate clean and get a fresh start in their lives. They're not too bright, much like their asshat Congressman.

    However, while all this not great, it's not the end of the world. Chet votes his district. However, there is one issue which makes Chettie boy as goddamn unacceptable as John McCain. On several occasions he's voted for actions and laws that were unconstitutional. He's voted to give up our rights, freedoms and disregarded his duties as a member of the United States House of Representatives. Needless to say, having a man so willing to surrender what makes us Americans a heartbeat away from the Presidency shouldn't make anyone excited.

    Of course, having the endlessly spineless Pelosi pulling strings for him also makes him pretty unacceptable. Let's face it... when the American people put the Democrats in the majority they expected the Executive Branch to be held accountable. They expected a restoration of the Constitutional power of Congress. They expected Democrats to stand up and say that prosecuting the War on Terror does not mean we have to abandon what makes the US the land of the free. I'm one of millions not willing to give up my privacy so Democrats in Congress can act tough and I'm certainly not one of these crazies who thinks an imperial Executive is a good thing. I was one of the millions who helped put Democrats into office in 2006 and we expected to see accountability in Washington.

    What we got, instead, were Democrats like Chet Edwards caving on issues large and small, joining with the minority Republicans to form a majority and pass bad legislation. Maybe that's why the approval rating for Congress is so low.

    I refuse to stand up and endorse a man who thinks compromising his Oath of Office is good politics. I won't do it for McCain and I certainly won't cut the Bastard Of The Brazos any slack for being a Democrat. If anything, he gets double black marks for voting give up what makes this country great to add perceived safety and security.

    And we all know what Benjamin Franklin had to say about those people.

    As for me, I'll just call him worthless... well, except for his work for Veterans. However, given his district, is it any wonder that someone looking to get re-elected would be a big believer in giving Veterans a voice? However, maybe that is the one thing he does purely because it's the right thing to do.

    Oh, and let's remember that the DMN has been Chet's biggest booster in Texas. You should keep in mind that in 2000 and 2004 the bright Ed Board at the DMN decided to endorse Bush over the Democratic nominee. The same people who see in Edwards the same things, apparently, that they saw in Bush.

    Don't say you weren't warned.


    Posted by mcblogger at 03:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Thanks Eileen.

    We're always thrilled to be called
    Photobucket


    Posted by mcblogger at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 14, 2008

    That smell...

    ...is ROMANCE in the air!

    Council Members Mike Martinez and Brewster McCracken are both engaged and plan to wed in November.

    McCracken, 42, proposed to fiance Sarah Groos, 29, in front of the McNay Art Museum in her hometown of San Antonio.

    Groos is a program manager at the LBJ Foundation. The two dated for a little more than 10 months.

    It will be the second marriage for McCracken and the first for Groos. McCracken said he and Groos enjoy many similar interests but admits she isn’t a big fan of politics, which could be a challenge given McCracken’s almost certain run for mayor next year.

    Politics is definitely in the blood of Martinez’s fiancée Lara Wendler, 41, who serves as chief of staff Texas Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston. Martinez, 39, said he and Wendler met four years ago and have dated seriously since last spring.

    He proposed in the living room of his East Austin home while his 10-year-old son captured the moment on camera. It will be a second marriage for Martinez and Wendler, a native Austinite.

    “We feel really, really good about it, and we’re really happy,” Martinez said.

    We at McBlogger would like to wish Councilman Martinez (or, as we like to call him, He Who Stands Up To Toby) all the best on his union. We are, to say the least, THRILLED for you!

    As for Release The McCracken, we have only a question for his bride-to-be... REALLY? BREWSTER? REALLY??!?!?!


    REALLY?!?!

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 10, 2008

    We're close to a deal to retake McBlogger

    "Our long national nightmare is over." Gerald Ford, President of the United States
    "Dude... they aren't going to cave. I'm offering to buy the damn thing back. " McBlogger to Mayor McSleaze


    Just wanted to let y'all know that we couldn't come to an agreement with ACC regarding working conditions. However, they have apparently been doing so poorly with their investment that they are willing to sell the blog back to us. We're currently negotiating the trade and it's complex. Eurodollar futures, credit default swaps and a derivative based on the future price of milk. In 2190. So, if on a bright summer day in 2190 we show up on your doorstep asking for room and board, the trade went the wrong way and we owe more than the US owes China.

    Of course, it could go the other way which would mean we will own the blog forevermore and we'll become thousandaires. Which is hella exciting.

    You should also know we'll be keeping some of the new talent, mostly because ACC is paying to get rid of them and they'll work for free. People like Rose Petal, Vinnie and Chandra.

    In the meantime, here's a little bit of our special, unique and altogether unerringly correct take on current events.

  • House Republicans continue their little stunt. Democrats like Prick Lampson (the cocksucker from CD22) continue to pander about Drill.Everywhere. Meanwhile nothing gets done to actually fix the motherfucking problem. Oh, and dipshit Obama, our fucktard candidate, can't keep his goddamn mouth from pandering almost as much as that senile old bastard. Almost. McCain has earned his own special place in hell... the man is demanding that Congress do something. Meanwhile, he's been an absentee Senator for damn near, what, a year? Fuck you, old man. AND GET OFF MY LAWN.

    While we're on the subject of ABC's dippy little poll, it's worth noting that the only thing the damn poll reveals is that Americans don't know a fucking thing energy policy or sustainability. It also shows that the Democrats are once again pandering to the lowest common denominator in a futile effort to try to deny the Republicans an issue... by playing to their strengths. From a strategy perspective, you can all eat out my asshole while I'm shitting out corn from last night.

    You know, I expect this kinda crap from the Republicans. But you Democrats are smarter and should know better. Instead, like the weak little bitches you are, you're folding up like lawn chairs. To hell with all of you. And especially you, Rep. Noriega. We're done with your ass and your shitty campaign. When y'all get a goddamn clue, run for something else. Until then, don't waste the fucking money if you're not going to run a real fucking campaign.

    Don't get me wrong, Democrats will probably have a big year in Texas anyway. Even Lampson and Noriega will more than likely win because the environment is just so toxic for Republicans... well, it is except for the wildcard energy bullshit that the Democrats refuse to stand firm on and the R's are rather effectively turning on them. However, none of you will win because of talent or skill. You'll be accidentally elected. Which, though not necessarily bad, will make a lot of you look better than you are. And give you a false sense of security.

    As for you staffers, frankly some of you suck balls. Actually, a lot of you suck balls. Some of your people will win but it won't happen because of any special talent you bring to the table.

    I'm tired of sing-song, party line bullshit. If it smells like shit, looks like shit and motherfucking tastes like shit then it's shit. Don't act like I've got to eat what you serve because the shit from the other side is so much worse. Your JOB is not to pander, it's to fucking lead and fuckall if almost every Democrat I support hasn't forgotten that and become about as clueless as the short bus Republicans. Some that is bad staffing and bad consulting. Some of it is bad candidates. However, the reason doesn't matter. What matters is fixing it NOW.

    If this were 1948 and you people were running Truman's campaign, we'd have elected Dewey. That's how bad you're doing and the fact that you'd bother to argue the point with me makes my case.

  • RUSSIA AND GEORGIA ARE AT WAR. While this little conflict has been mostly ignored by everyone, our own Mayor McSleaze has been keeping up with it. Meanwhile, the conventional press has been obsessed with John Edwards and where his dick has been which is interesting since he's never been a big moral crusader unlike Republicans who really love their condemnation of others... and their off the record pussy. And ass.
  • There is also this from the Washington Post...
    This administration will leave office having trashed the place -- and I'm not talking about a few "W's" pried loose from White House computer keyboards by the exiting Clinton crew. I'm referring to the myriad ways in which this administration, dismissive of the role of government, abused the enterprise it was entrusted with overseeing.

    My favorite sentence in the Goodling report sums up the hiring practices in the department's supposedly nonpartisan career ranks: "Tell Brad he can hire one more good American."

    This was the response by Goodling, who served as Justice's liaison with the White House, to a request from Bradley Schlozman, the interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Mo., to bring aboard a new prosecutor. "Good American" is Goodling's code for "Republican."

    Every victorious administration enjoys the legitimate spoils of government. The president is entitled to bring in his people -- those who have voted for him, written checks to him and back his policies. Every administration has its Goodlings, inexperienced punks who flaunt their authority as conspicuously as a West Wing badge.

    Most administrations find ways to keep the Goodlings under control and the grown-ups in charge. The trouble with this one is that it is riddled with Goodlings Gone Wild, incapable of or unwilling to distinguish between the proper pursuit of political aims and the responsible administration of government.

    To take one other recent example, the NASA inspector general found last month that press officers in the space agency "reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized" studies of global warming, toning down politically unwelcome conclusions. A news conference on global warming was postponed, according to a senior scientist, because the "administration does not want any negative environmental news before the [2004] election."

    So what's the deficit got to do with it? The deterioration of the nation's budgetary picture under the reckless stewardship of this administration is the fiscal equivalent of the Goodlingization of the executive branch. President Bush put adherence to Republican theology -- taxes must be cut -- over prudent governing.

    In February 2001, when the new president presented his first budget to Congress, he described the fiscal situation this way: "We have increased our budget at a responsible 4 percent, we have funded our priorities, we have paid down all the available debt, we have prepared for contingencies and we still have money left over."

    That happy situation, he said, justified -- no, necessitated-- a tax cut: "The growing surplus exists because taxes are too high and government is charging more than it needs. The people of America have been overcharged, and on their behalf, I am here asking for a refund."

    The next president will confront a far gloomier situation. The deficit, the administration's budget experts reported Monday, will be $482 billion -- a huge number that is probably a low-ball. Among other things, it assumes only $70 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    HAVE. A. GOODUN.


    Posted by mcblogger at 04:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 07, 2008

    There's something about Mary

    OMG! LOL! I'm sooooooo glad I don't live in Austin. So, last night late our boss comes in and bitches at us (Rose, Vinnie, myself, Chandrakant (who comes from India which is a whole other country or something where they do NOTHING but answer phones) and Ted about not posting enough. No big deal, I think... this posting stuff is kinda easy.

    I mean, you guys will read anything if I just publish it. After all, you've been reading this crap for a while. And you'll really like to hear about some of the cool stuff I have going on in my life. I haven't even told you guys about my collection of Dogs That Aren't Mine!

    Moronager (that's what I call the boss... it's a really clever combination of 'moron' and 'manager'. My Mom always said she didn't raise no dummie. Of course, she was looking at my brother when she said that, but I'm certain I was included as well) wanted us to post more 'local' stuff so I started reading the online edition of some newspaper in El Paso. Meanwhile, Moronager comes over and is doing that 'look over the shoulder and breathe heavily' thing that I can't stand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, I say, "Can I help you, Boss?" and he says "Yeah, why don't you go to the paper in Austin. That's where McBlogger is based, not El Paso."

    Oh. OK. FFFFIIIINNNNEEEE. Excuse the hell out of me for not knowing which part of Texas this stupid blog is in. So I go over to a newspaper in Austin and I gotta say, you guys have a good newspaper. Not a GREAT newspaper, but a pretty damn good one. Especially this Selby guy who is really very clever. However, you guys are hella nasty. TYPHOID?

    The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department is investigating about a dozen cases of possible typhus infection, most of them reported in Central Austin.

    The type of typhus found in Texas, murine typhus, is most commonly caused by rats and their fleas, but opossums and cats can also be involved in transmitting the disease, according to the Department of State Health Services Web site. People get it from an infected flea.

    And women named Mary who like to cook, Statesman! Way to leave that out. Aren't your health inspectors smart enough to check out the staff at restaurants? DUH!

    Watch out you people in Austin. Never know when you'll end up all sick and shit.

    Posted by SCAB at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 05, 2008

    Get well, Pat Crow!

    Last night we received word that Pat Crow, longtime operative here in Travis County, had successfully come through bypass surgery but suffered a stroke during the procedure.

    Those few of you who don't know Pat should just take our word that she's an exceptional person with a razor sharp mind, phenomenal wit and an easy, infectious laugh. You should also know that's she's one of few operatives in Travis County for whom we have genuine affection (we like and respect a whole bunch of you, but there are few we really love. Pat is one of them).

    Please keep Pat and her family in your thoughts and prayers.


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

    August 01, 2008

    Sen. Kirk Watson NAILS IT

    Here's a sample of today's WatsonWire...

    But the Mansion fire isn’t only a symbol. It’s a symptom of the self-interested neglect and mismanagement that have come to define those who purport to lead this state. While Texas is blessed with dedicated, hard working, public service-oriented employees, they have been denied the tools and leadership they need.

    Texas, and every Texan, deserves better. It’s time to demand a government that works.

    Read the rest here. Kirk, we need this from you... and we need you desperately to be a leader on transportation funding that won't leave the majority of the state in the slow lane.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 31, 2008

    Loving 101X

    I got up kinda late Saturday morning. OK, REALLY late. I was at a church thing the night before. Or having drinks with some great friends. You pick which one you believe/would rather believe.

    So, Saturday I was awakened by my trusty alarm and heard some intern talking about this great song that she loves.

    That intern has some good taste. Thank you, doll, for getting me up without Silverchair. Or Ghostland Observatory.

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

    July 29, 2008

    McCaul gets pwn'd

    A couple of boys are attending a school that a US Congressman doesn't like and labels a 'jihadist seminary' without knowing anything about it. He then makes sure, through some hitherto unknown mechanism available to members of Congress, that they are removed from the school.

    Who would dare to violate the religious and intellectual freedom of Americans? None other than our own Republican Congressman, Mikey McCaul (R - ClearChannel). Regardless of how pro- or anti-American this school is, their FATHER sent them there. Why did McCaul feel a need to violate the wishes of a parent? Will he be stepping in to assist other children who don't like the schools they are attending? Maybe even beat up on parents for sending their kids to bad summer camps?

    Finally, these kids were from ATLANTA, GEORGIA. Not Texas. It's great that Mikey can spend so much time working on violating the wishes of a parent who isn't even his constituent, but we'd love it if he'd start doing what WE, his actual constituents, would like him to do.

    Mean Rachel has more and some video.

    Oh, and it would be nice if you'd help us get rid of Mikey by throwing some support to Larry Joe!

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 28, 2008

    Why is CapMet hating on ACL?

    Once a year everyone thanks Cap Met for doing a good job for running the shuttle service during Austin City Limits. Especially people like me who can't avoid downtown (we like to drink) and really want to be able to catch our standard parking spaces. Without that shuttle, central would become a zoo of trashed out beaters parked two and three deep, a wonderland for the tow trucks but a nightmare for us. While I avoid ACL because I'm allergic to smelly people and hot environments without waitstaff, I'm a HOOOGE fan of that shuttle.

    Now Cap Met's Republican leadership and counsel are saying they can no longer provide this needed service because of Federal rules. But, transportation authorities in other cities say Cap Met can provide the service. Cities like Chicago and Boston.

    Now we are hearing from people affiliated with Austin City Limits that transit authorities in these other cities are indeed correct, that this sort of service is allowed under the guides and Cap Met's extreme view of the Federal regulations is more in line with that of hard right Republicans than reality.

    For years Cap Met has received applause and thanks for providing the shuttle service to move over 200,000 people in and out of the Zilker Park area. The staff has been welcoming and a helpful addition to the event. Plus, Capital Sports and Entertainment, the organizers of Austin City Limits, even pay a premium rate for the service. Of course, making money has never been the strong suit of the Republican leadership at Cap Met.

    One has to wonder if this is some kind of Republican reprisal for Capital Sports and Entertainment's strong support of Obama? One also has to wonder why the hell these incompetents are working at Cap Met. These are the same folks who think that the increase in ridership is not due to the increase in gas prices. Smart folks, these.

    And who are these people? The ones that come straight out of the offices of DeLay, Phil Graham, Dick Shelby and Ed Kuempel and view the City's needs through the lenses of cranky, conservative, people?

    Cap Met needs to immediately reverse its decision on providing shuttle service to Austin City Limits and its Board needs to consider removing the current management.

    Cap Met needs the good public relations of getting 200,000 new riders, not bad press making 200,000 fight over parking spaces, walk for miles and potentially destroy the future of Austin City Limits. Not to mention the hell they'll catch from the Downtown Business Alliance when my spending drops to zero that weekend.

    Don't laugh... I AM keeping several bars and restaurants afloat. And for those of you thinking this is all a bunch of partisan crap, keep in mind Democrats aren't running Cap Met. The Republicans ARE. It's high time competence, rather than ideological bullshit, made a comeback.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 26, 2008

    Shelly was IN TOWN?!?!?!?!

    As part of their continuing effort to remain relevant, conservabloggers had themselves a little convention, at the Renaissance in the Arboretum. Wonder if they had fun partying down at Friday's and Tangerine? No, wait... I really don't care.

    Speakers included Bob Novak (when ARE they going to finally let him die?) and Grover Norquist, the guy who says government is the root of all evil and that unfettered, unregulated commerce is always perfect. Grover can say things like that because he's only worked in government and government related services. He's uniquely UNQUALIFIED to offer anything of substance, which is probably why the ConRoots were able to get him to come talk to them.

    PhotobucketHowever, they also had... SHELLY! And what, you might be wondering, is Shelly on about today? Wachovia... apparently, their loss has nothing to do with poor underwriting. It has everything to do with management being concentrated currying favor with La Raza. No, I'm really not making this up.

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

    July 25, 2008

    Attention Austin Police!

    I spent more than 20 minutes Wednesday evening going from the Lamar bridge to the South First bridge on Cesar Chavez. Of course, there is a ton of construction going on CC. However, that wasn't the problem. The jam up was caused by idiot joggers running around Lake Lady Bird who just decided to ignore the GIANT SIGNS THAT CAN BE SEEN FROM SPACE telling them not to cross South First at Cesar Chavez.

    Austin Police... I LURVE you guys and only ask that you'd do me a favor. Wait on either side of the intersection and ticket the people who cross for jaywalking. PLEASE. It's obvs that people trying to hit them isn't going to deter them from jamming up traffic. That endorphin rush must be powerful and these people are JUNKIES. If they try to run away from you, taser them. Several times. For me, K?

    And to the jackass in the red shorts I was gunning for... it's a damn good thing you're fast, though I probably would have stopped before I hit you. Probably. I wish for you only two things:

    1) That you learn to read.
    2) That the cartilage in your knees and hips disintegrates.

    Jackass.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 24, 2008

    Were you wondering what was up at the NCSL?

    If you're curious about what's happening at the National Conference of State Legislators, the crew at KXAN has you covered.

    And no, I don't know what it's all about.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    We miss you, Garry Brown

    Hope you're OK and that you'll be back soon! One thing... 39% needs this to be a bigger emergency than it is so he can prove that his leadership is superior, even though we all know that he's a leader in the style of another great Republican, Herbert Hoover.

    Could you at least TRY and make your situation sound a little more dire? That way 39% won't look like an idiot for asking Washington for a preemptive disaster declaration.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 23, 2008

    Taking a moment to say thanks

    It's not often that we take time out of our busy lives to thank those who've done so much to us. In my case, I realized today just what a CLUSTERFUCK AT&T WIRELESS IS. In that vein, I offer the following:

    You take me offline, constantly
    Always desiring an EDGE connection, you leave me trapped on GPRS
    The way you dropped my calls SIX times yesterday was AWESOME
    And thank you for selectively making signal unavailable everywhere, but only when I need to make a call or send an email.

    Without AT&T in my life, things would so rock!

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

    July 19, 2008

    Surprise!

    Turns out that the surprise guest at the liberal Netroots Nation (formerly YearlyKos) convention was Al Gore.

    Meanwhile, the conservative counter-convention being held across town, American Bloggers Saving America From Americans (formerly Little Green Goofballs) had to settle for a surprise appearance from ManBearPig. All went well until the creature, apparently frightened by flashes from the audience's cameras, mauled Jonah Goldberg.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 11:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 18, 2008

    What math nerds grow up to smell like

    In a few short minutes I shall bravely overcome cocktail flu, venture downtown and go to Netroots Nation where I will moderate a panel. On sunshine laws.

    That's right, Netroots Nation is here and there are massive numbers of polinerds running around downtown like a tapeworms in someone's ... well, you get the idea. If you ever wondered what happened to that politically aware math nerd you knew in high school who was slightly malodorous, if you'll go hang out downtown you'll probably see him.

    Or her.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:19 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    July 17, 2008

    Time to clean house at CapMetro

    Yesterday, our transit agency announced the sudden departure of the Rail Director. This comes a week after a derailment of a rail car carrying Federal Transportation officials in town to sign off on the commuter train operation. No, I'm not joking. The damn thing went off the rails, which is the current destination of commuter and light rail in Austin if we don't remove all the losers at CapMetro and replace them with competent professionals.

    This also comes shortly after the flight of the Chairman, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. None of which were particularly a great loss.

    We need a good transit system now. I think everyone is screaming for it. And at a time that the city is demanding what Cap Met always said they could produce, they seem to be able to only screw up. Over and over and over again. Moreover, the remaining 'leadership' at CapMetro does anything but lead and seems uniquely incapable of doing anything right. They've lost the support of the rank and file personnel and now they should lose the support of the City and everyone else.

    Commuter Rail is neither on time nor on budget. This isn't surprising since its builder didn't deliver his last project, ABIA, on time or on budget. Sure they opened it on time, but it went through five years of extreme change orders.

    Who selected the same company who converted ABIA? Why none of there than the retarded senior level management at CapMetro. And where did they come from? Straight from federal and state Republican leadership. The same people who say we can drill for oil where there is none. The same folks who think you can keep kids from having sex by asking them not to, despite all evidence to the contrary. The same folks who brought us electricity deregulation, though thankfully that one didn't take hold here.

    We want public transit that works for this city. These Republicans seem hell bent on building a operation to hire their pals, give out sweetheart contracts, fly all over the country and play with our tax dollars. Enough is enough... it's time they be employed where they belong... nowhere.

    We need to immediately call for a replacement of the management of Cap Met. And we need to find a management that will take advantage of this demand from the city for good public transit that challenges us to change the way we think.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 08, 2008

    Travis County needs your help...

    TCDP's Coordinated Campaign is a much larger, more robust, effort than we've ever mounted. The aim is not only to use our resources to turn Travis County completely blue but to help with some of the surrounding areas and other key races around Texas.

    As such, the funding needs are a lot higher than they ever have been. And they need you to step up and help out. Rep. Naishtat has graciously agreed to match your contributions, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $15k. We all know gas is expensive and money is tight. However, you have opportunity to turn $10 into $20 for the campaign.

    Click here to help the effort to make Travis County (and Texas) the place we all know it can be!

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

    July 07, 2008

    Really, Boone?, TOD problems, $1 Trillion Deficit and more

  • Boone Pickens, one of the financiers responsible for the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry in 2004, is going back on his word to pay $1 mn to anyone who can refute the attacks. Boone, it's a $1mn and an "I'm Sorry". Just do it already
  • The Lakeline TOD, planned as part of the commuter rail line in Austin, has his a snag... one parcel of land developers were going to use may be foreclosed.

    At least 141 acres of the planned 326-acre Lakeline Station project, near U.S. 183 and RM 620, have been posted for foreclosure after California-based developer Pacific Summit Partners failed to make at least one quarterly payment to William Savage, the previous owner of the property.

    Savage, who sold the land in 2006, could not be reached for comment Thursday. Messages left for his attorney, Rick Hightower, were not returned.

    Pacific Summit principal Steve Levenson said his partnership missed a payment because of problems arranging financing and asked for an extension; Levenson didn't say when the payment had been due.

  • Bill Gross, manager director of PIMCO, has a letter of advice for Obama that positively spot on and very surprising coming from a Republican. In it, he clearly delineates where we are heading fiscally and puts forth that President Obama may be the first to run a $1 Trillion Annual Deficit.

    While the Republicans will blame you for years and label you “Trillion Dollar Obama” in future campaigns, there is in fact not much that you or any other President can do. You’ve inherited an asset-based economy whose well has been pumped nearly dry with lower and lower interest rates and lender of last resort liquidity provisions that have managed to support Ponzi-style prosperity in recent years. Foreign lenders have cooperated by purchasing Treasuries at yields which when combined with dollar depreciation have resulted in negative returns on their money. Even if these charades continue (and they may not), their stimulative effects – their magical powers to transform a 110-pound weakling into a Charles Atlas/Arnold Schwarzenegger mensch of an economy – are gone. What you need now is fiscal spending and lots of it. No ordinary Starbucks will do, Mr. President, you need to step up for a six-pack of Red Bull.

    Gross is uncannily accurate and has been talking for years about the profligate spending (and lax taxation) of Bush and the Republicans. What he presents in his letter is real and not altogether unlikely. However, it'll also go a long way to insuring that the future is far brighter for all Americans.

  • It appears Obama got a discounted mortgage, much like many Republicans and Democrats in the Congress. And, possibly, then Governor George W. Bush. Here's a newsflash for all you people out there not in the mortgage business... Some banks will give you a discounted rate on your mortgage in exchange for other banking business. My own company has a friends and family loan that is discounted from our published rates. It's a perk for working here. Get over it.
  • Is Chris Bell going to run in SD 17? It appears so, though the announcement has, again, been put off. Come on, Chris. Just RUN.
  • Once more, Warren Chisum is speaking about his intention to file his insane, two years to get divorced, bill. The Statesman calls it a bad idea. I agree with them and will go one step further... Chisum, you're a dumbass.
  • The NYT has an awesome editorial up about banning nuclear weapons and the renewed effort to do just that. Apparently, the movement has some surprising bipartisan support. We couldn't agree more.

    Two decades later, a who’s who of the national security establishment — George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry and Sam Nunn — is calling on the United States to lead a global campaign to devalue and eventually rid the world of nuclear weapons.

    None of these men (two former secretaries of state, a former secretary of defense and a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee) are given to casual utopianism — or anything casual. They are trying to shock sensibilities.

    In two opinion articles in The Wall Street Journal, they described a frightening new world of ever-expanding nuclear appetites, in which traditional deterrence no longer works. They argued that the only way for the United States to rally the cooperation it needs to confront such dangers is with a clear commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

    They called for backing that up with policies that have also long been anathema to hawks: including banning all nuclear testing, taking American and Russian missiles off of hair-trigger alert and agreement on “further substantial reductions” in both countries’ arsenals.

    “I do not believe we can do this as a demand by countries that have nuclear weapons to countries that do not,” Mr. Kissinger says.

    It is hard to see their proposals as anything but a rejection of President Bush’s failed nuclear weapons policy. Mr. Bush’s aides have spent eight years ridiculing arms control agreements as “old think” and denying any relationship between what America does with its own nuclear weapons and its obvious inability to constrain others’ behavior.

  • Jobsanger has some information up on Sen. Brimer's renewed effort to keep Wendy Davis off the ballot because it's, frankly, the only hope he has of holding that seat. Come on, Kim, why not let the voters decide?
  • On drilling OCS and ANWR, Hal at Half Empty, GETS it. Why doesn't Cornyn?
  • TX10 is definitely in play
  • Dobson v Obama... guess who wins? You know, Dobson is old as hell... when IS he going to die?
  • Posted by mcblogger at 12:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    GREAT Condo Ideas (now with even more alliteration)

    So by now I guess we've all had a chance to drive by Barton Springs Road and survey the utter devastation wrought by the Condo Crowd on a whole grove of oak trees. Grand, old oak trees, folks. We're talking trees so old that some of them bear marks where a youngish John McCain might have once carved himself out a pair of underwear.

    I kid, of course (Duh! There warn't no underwear to be worn in his day! And that's the way it was and he LIKED it!) But seriously folks, even if you haven't observed the Botanical Bosnia on Barton Springs Road, you've still probably noticed that there seems to be a compulsion these days in some circles to build condos EVERYGAWDAMWHERE within a five mile radius of downtown.

    As the Annihilation Abutting AustinJava and other akin architectural atrocities so audaciously amplify, a vast supply of urban condominiums in the $300K-and-up range is now Austin's paramount civic value. What does that portend for our fair Waterloo's future? Here are my guesses:

  • Condo Springs (screw the salamander - do you KNOW what you could get a square foot if you drained that sucker? Use the on-site sedimentary rocks for travertine flooring and your profit margin on this bitch goes up even higher.)


  • Deep Condo (not the bar, the swimming pool...but the bar will be convenient for the neighboring condo dwellers)


  • Condo Lake ("Lady Bird Lake" always sounded silly anyway and floating condos would be AWESOME!)


  • Urban Condo Colony (what if you ran off all those flying rodents and built a whole mess of upside down condos under the bridge? That would be cool.)


  • Mount Condo (Bet you can't find one person who even knows who this Bonnell character was anyway)


  • Condo-two-Condo-two (Scenic road, schmenic road. I say cut the number of lanes in half and build some more condos on the leftover space!)


  • Treaty Condo (AMLI finishes what that one crazy guy with the tree poison started back in '89)


  • The Condo of Texas Tower (every time a new condo building is built, it turns orange)


  • Rotunda Studios/Texas Capitominiums (What? You wanna keep it the way it is? Have you SEEN the pile of feculent legislation in that place?!?!?! The whole joint's just "tippin' for a flippin'," as we say in the condo biz, uh-ha-ha-ha *wink-n-point*)


  • Condo-By-Condo-West (International festival attracting condo developers and potential buyers from all over the world; over 8,000 condo sales presentations made in a week's time here in the Live Condo Capitol of the World)


  • and of course, the Crown Jewel of Austin's condofication...

  • Stevie Ray Vaughn-dos at Auditorium Shores...88 stories of condos in a gargantuous structure replicating the original, displaced statue. ("oh yes, we just moved in and we love it...where in the building are we? kind of up by where his shoulder is, pretty close to the neck of his guitar...some friends of ours bought a corner unit in the hat and the view up there is just breathtaking!")
  • Posted by hbalczak at 09:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 28, 2008

    Having some fun (at Brewster's expense)

    We're everywhere... including City Hall

    PhotobucketMayor Pro Tem is always given to the Council member with the most seniority which is, at the time, unfortunately Brewster. But, rumor has it, as of Monday there was not a Council member willing to make a "motion", or even "second" a motion, on Brewster's nomination to MPT. Awkwardly, the Mayor - who usually runs the meeting - had to act as a "second" to nominate the MPT.

    Now, here's the thing that really sucks... Despite the need to hold a vote, a full week before the inauguration ceremony and council election of MPT, Councilman McCracken moved into the Mayor Pro Tem office, creating anger in City Hall at his complete disregard for process.

    We at McBlogger fully expect Brewster to use the office of Mayor Pro Tem to relentlessly run for Mayor. Honestly, we're looking forward to it. It's always amusing to see Brewster masturbate his ego by jumping in front of the reporters who are desperately trying to escape from him.

    RELEASE THE MCCRACKEN!

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 27, 2008

    What you need to know

    1) San Marcos has a municipal airport.
    2) It is now on fire.
    3) I did not start it (I'm no where near SM at the moment).

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 26, 2008

    Something funny

    I Think I Just Went Too Far

    See more here... and if you're offended, you're a tard.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 25, 2008

    No. Really? You're Kidding me. Stop.

    Welcome to George Bush's economy... and just FYI, don't feel too bad for some of the poor, especially the rural poor. They've been voting Republican and they'll keep voting Republican.

    Actually, screw that. Feel bad for them anyway. You try to feed a family of four on minimum wage. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

    And thanks to the Statesman for pointing out the mind numbingly obvious. Really. I never would have guessed that someone would have problems surviving on a wage that, hourly, barely pays for a gallon of unleaded.

    Posted by mcblogger at 05:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Apple Annie's gets a loan

    The City has agreed to give a downtown restaurant/bakery/catering company a loan to keep it downtown. Before you get upset, read the details. It's a small part of their overall financial need and it's not forgivable.

    I do have a bit of a problem with the below market interest rate, but honestly, it achieves an objective... namely keeping a business and jobs downtown.

    Good work, y'all.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 20, 2008

    Anyone want to have dinner at Castle Hill?

    I've loved Castle Hill for years. I've taken people there for lunch, dinner and occasionally on some really awful dates. To hear that it's closing hurts.

    Castle Hill Cafe, the restaurant that became well known as an affordable fine-dining spot, is closing at the end of this month after more than two decades in business because the owner says it has become too expensive to operate with rising food and gas prices.

    "It's too hard, to be honest, way too hard for us," owner Cathe Dailey said Thursday. She said it seems like each day brings another cost increase in one or more items.

    Next week she will shut down the nearly 22-year-old restaurant and transform the space into an interior Mexican eatery with a full bar.

    Now I know how some of you folks felt about Las Manitas. Even though their food sucks ass.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    June 19, 2008

    Winning the stupid olympics

  • Even though there's very little cheap oil left, that didn't stop the Republican Pander Express from making it's way to Dallas to talk about their brill plan to deal with energy costs... drill. Lookit, there isn't enough in the ground that you can bring up in any cost effective way to reduce oil prices. You've got to stop speculation, then you have to develop real alternatives.

    PhotobucketThere is NOT some giant, trillion barrel reserve under the Rockies. Or ANWR. Or the Gulf. Oh sure, there's a ton of oil down there but it's expensive to bring up. Too expensive by far to help us out. So quit lying to people, Joe Barton. And lose some weight because you're getting hella fat. Assweavil.

    Hey MSM... ask Kay Granger what the per barrel cost will be to produce oil out of ANWR and how much it could realistically produce in a year. Watch the steam come out of her ears. Yes, Reporters, things really are that goddamn simple. Ask any analyst. Better yet, since you won't believe my blogging ass, ask Matt Simmons.

    WP has more including information on Burgess' little Energy Expo which just sounds precious. If you like pandering bullshit and lies. Someone go and tell us if he actually says prices will fall immediately.



  • Apparently, the R's had themselves an interesting vendor at their little convention.
  • And finally, there's this from our moribund friends on the right. Love y'all, but y'all have to understand. People hate you. Seriously, I love my Republican friends, mostly because even they hate the R electeds. Especially 39%.
  • Hava Goodun!

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

    The good news and the bad news

    PhotobucketThe good news is that Austin Energy apparently has 3GW of capacity to keep us airconditioned. The bad news? This is likely to be the hottest June on record.

    Austin has an average of 11 triple-digit days each year, but so far this year there have been 14, KVUE chief meteorologist Mark Murray said.

    "Right now, this is on track to be the warmest June in Austin history," Murray said.

    I hate you, Mark Murray. I really, really hate you.

    And yes, I know I said quit whining about the heat. Because it's Texas. But this is hella hot and it's way too early.

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

    Help Democrats TODAY

  • Today you have a chance to help Lt. Col. Noriega... click here to make him Sen. Boxer's Challenger! Keep in mind, Sen. Boxer was the 3rd highest vote recipient in the 2004 election, behind Bush and Kerry.
  • Take Sen. Watson's challenge and help the Travis County Coordinated Campaign
  • Posted by mcblogger at 12:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 18, 2008

    So, will CapMet be smart or dumb this time?

    CapMet has a number of plans for Light Rail projects (like the starter line from Downtown to Mueller) but they have to be approved by voters prior to starting. So, one has to ask... WITH NOVEMBER COMING UP, WILL CAPMET BE SMART AND PUT THIS ON THE BALLOT?

    I mean, it's not like there won't be a flood of progressives going to the polls in November. If ever there were a time to get voters to sign off on long range plans, this would be it. Everyone is feeling higher fuel prices and the voters that will show up in November will be ones who are very likely to vote for anything that will cut the Austin Metro's carbon footprint.

    SO DO IT ALREADY.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:20 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    June 17, 2008

    More good polling out of CD10

    Matt over at BOR has some details. When polling head to head with issues, LJD is beating McCaul. Which is some really good news.

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

    June 13, 2008

    In other news...

  • Round Rock will be getting an A&M Medical School. This one will be teaching human doctors, not animal doctors. I'm sure the graduates will have no problem finding gainful employment at an HMO or maybe a third world hospital
  • It's hot. And it's going to stay hot. Quit griping.
  • SoS Wilson is leaving to be a lobbyist at an energy company. I'm sorry, 'VP of Governmental Relations'. In his new job, he'll make far more money hitting up the contacts he's made over the years (while on the taxpayers dime) for legislation beneficial to his new employer and detrimental to the people of Texas.

    He'll also get a 401(k). Always nice to know that useless people can find gainful employment in the private sector. Even if they're only useful working the levers of government while there.

    What a douche

  • Kelso has a great idea for the Governor's Mansion
  • Hava Goodun!

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    What color cummerbund?

    While the Mayor and I anxiously await the victory coronation of El Cid, petitions addressing local energy, traffic, and immigration issues are being composed for presentation to Galindo on his first day as city councilman.

    1. Construct a nuclear power plant in Zilker Park. Relax already, the neighborhood associations will come to the rescue and compromise will allow the environmentalists to paint a giant peace sign on the cooling tower, and xeriscape the surroundings. There, don’t you feel better? Now, go back to your “Sex and the City” update before you stroke out.

    2. Make I35 a toll road from county line to county line. Again, don’t get your panties in a bind. A toll-free bike lane will be created down the middle. In a compromise with developers, the bicyclists will have to share the lane with beam-hauling semis and cement trucks traveling downtown to build more high rises. Hat’s off to the “Big Morph”

    So all you anti-toll road people go away, your making my head hurt. Jennifer Kim’s stance on toll roads didn’t help her, Kirk Watson is on the rise, and Dawnna Dukes is still alive and kicking. As for Sarah Eckhardt and Mark Strama – we won’t go there. Maybe you need to rethink that oust the louse strategy.

    3. Johnston High School. Forget about it. We’re sure Cid has contacts with detention center operators. Seriously, I’m getting tired of driving out to Taylor to protest. If East Austin activists chain themselves to the bike racks and go on a hunger strike, then maybe Cid will be forced to convert the school into real low-cost condos to house the workers who will do the labor in developing the 130 corridor.

    Of course, Richard Suttle will negotiate these deals with his Texas cornpone homespun charm and the compassionate conservativism that his “progressive” wife instilled in him. That sure sounds familiar.

    What is the point of this rant? When neighborhood associations and a loose coalition of a small number of activists are your last line of defense against developers who have all the time and money in the world, don’t expect a miracle from your city council members who are either overwhelmed by the onslaught or have their own agendas to nurture.

    Keep Austin Developed

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 07:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    June 10, 2008

    It wasn't me...

    Apparently, someone thought the Governor's Mansion remodel wasn't going too well. So, they decided to torch the place.

    One thing is absolutely certain... there is no possible way I could have done this. I complete my projects.

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

    June 06, 2008

    We went drinking

    And by WE, I mean I. AND I TRIED TO DRINK EVERY THING AT CEDAR DOOR.

    I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to absolutely no one. Except Eileen who came late after suffering through the Clinton party.

    I'm sorry for laughing at you.

    OH MY GOD, was I the only one freaking out a little at the number of people at the Blogger's Caucus last night? And, yes! I've already been informed that I was 'a little embarrassing'. I don't need you to remind me.

    Right now there's a song by Eazy E going through my head...

    I gotta get drunk before the day begins before my mother starts bitchin about ma friends

    To whoever 'supplemented' the tab last night at Cedar Door, my thanks.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 05, 2008

    Bottoms UP

    STILL MORE CONVENTION CRAP...

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The Convention Post We Can No Longer Avoid

    Right now, as I write this (and while I'm enjoying MY LAST BOWL OF CAUCUS CRUNCH ... THANK GOD), thousands of people are gleefully packing their bags in preparation for a trip to Austin for the Democratic State Convention. They are earnestly working through their tackiest accessories in an attempt to come up with the most repulsive thing they have which will let all who see them know that THEY ARE DEMOCRATS. Very, very tacky Democrats, but Democrats nonetheless.

    I'm not one of THOSE Democrats. I'm one of the "Oh my God, when can we get done with this so we can get to the bar" Democrats. I really don't look at the convention any differently than, say, Tuesday. But that's me. If you it's you as well, email me at mcblogger@mcblogger.com. I might tell you where we'll be drinking. Or I might email you porn. You wouldn't BELIEVE some of the japscat I have on my blackberry.

  • BOR has the breakdown on the caucuses and meetings. I'm thinking the energy, then transportation and then Stonewall so I can vote. I'd love to go the gun caucus but energy's a little more interesting right now. And I'm expecting no Democrat to advocate taking away my shotgun.
  • There is apparently a Chair's race. We're sticking with Boyd. Why? Because the other candidates haven't even mounted real campaigns for THEMSELVES. Needless to say, we're decidedly unimpressed.
  • Tim Kaine will be speaking. Yeah, THAT Tim Kaine. And no, goddamnit, I don't have to be nice. If he has not improved on his Shatneresque delivery, then you can expect me to heckle.
  • The Blogger's Party
  • See y'all this weekend!

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 04, 2008

    TXDOT, Tolls and riding off into the Sunset

    Some interesting things floating 'round the sphere...

  • Both Sal and EOW have the deets on the Sunset Commission's report. All in all, nothing terribly exciting and they're sticking with a Gubernatorial appointment to head the TXDOT, albeit shrinking the number to one person. We're continuing to think three elected officials would be better than any number of appointees, especially if elected to staggered terms.
  • 3 TXDOT officials plead guilty to taking bribes and rumors continue to circulate that Amadeo Saenz is involved.
  • TXDOT, after YEARS of ignoring Texas Democrats in Congress and spending lavishly (and illegally) on some of Tom Delay's former staffers turned lobbyists, is going hat in hand to those very same Representatives. A word of advice to the D's who are about feel the love... disregard it. Stomp on these people and create a federal law banning that unique form of corporate welfare known as the public private partnership
  • Is Perry contemplating a special session to kill 391 commissions (the citizen planning commissions that are right now creating very real problems for infrastructure privatization and the TTC)? In an election year? Are you kidding me? If he does, I'll put my money on the Lege being pissed and not doing much of anything. Which would be absolutely perfect for the Democrats running
  • Finally... proof that toll roads really are made of inferior materials and construction standards. I'll never drive over another toll bridge without thinking about disintegrating, substandard concrete
  • Can Sen. Hinjosa make TXDOT his bitch? One things for sure, he's actually achieving something unlike a certain fatass blowhard we could mention. Good thing the people of North Dallas have a choice this year.
  • Speaking of the Lege, it's pretty clear that 39% and TXDOT really aren't in a moderating mood...

    "While I am looking forward to addressing this issue [transportation] when the Legislature meets in 2009, " Perry said, "the state cannot afford to repeat 2007. Members of the Legislature must understand that 'no' is not a solution to this challenge. It is an abdication of responsibility." Perry made clear his determination to defend the renting of state right-of-way to private companies in exchange for a fee and building and operating a toll road.

    Actually, you ridiculous twerp, selling off your roads IS AN ABDICATION OF RESPONSIBILITY. Not only that, but you and your appointees are so incompetent or corrupt that you didn't even get us a good price. Probably because you're, again, either too incompetent or corrupt to calculate the present value of a revenue stream over time.

    This preceded their new Statement on Toll Projects which I'll take a moment to summarize and explain.

    1) Not selling the tolls roads... This is pretty dumb since a 50 or more year lease is widely considered a functional sale. In my industry, we call it a leasehold.
    2) No roads will be owned by foreign entities. No, but the leases will be held by them.
    3) We'll have a way to buy back the roads. Sure, but at what price? I don't expect the crack team at TXDOT to do a good job negotiating this. They're completely out of their element, just as former Commissioner Williamson clearly was.
    4) Tolls will be initially set by TXDOT, with formulas and government input for increases. Input isn't control. Nice try, Deidre, but only an idiot would fall for that turn of phrase.
    5) No restrictions or non-competes? I'll believe it when I see it, Deidre.
    6) Freeways not converted... but if we shrink down the freeway lanes to add a lane, we'll call that added capacity and we'll toll it

    This, my friends, is the translation. If you're dumb enough to fall for ANYTHING from this Commission, then you really don't deserve any spot at the table.

    All in all, this pretty solidly leaves corporate welfare proponents in the drivers seat and continues to ignore the most cost effective solution, which Burka NAILED.

    At the end of the day, this is so transparently a 'Let's give a perpetual revenue stream to a campaign contributor (ZACHRY)' that it surprises me so many 'fiscal conservatives' are in favor of it. Wonder if they're getting paid by Zachry as well. I already know 39% is.

  • Hava goodun!

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 03, 2008

    In which we endorse...

    Much like everyone else in Austin, we're endorsing Laura Morrison for City Council, Place Four.


    BECAUSE WE TRUST HER


    We can't say the same about her opponent, Cid Galindo. This little bit makes it very clear. You'll also notice this at the end...

    Morrison said residents have been getting push-poll phone calls — in which callers ask a question and then push a particular point of view — that are critical of her. Galindo said his campaign placed calls asking residents only whom they plan to vote for.

    Carl Tepper, president of the Small Business Group of Austin, said his group has placed calls asking voters if they're aware of Morrison's stance on the energy upgrades.

    Carl Tepper, it just so happens, is a Republican. Which is interesting since he's using his time and resources campaigning in a non-partisan race against a Democrat. It's also interesting since Galindo has made a big deal about being independent. Which, of course, naturally makes us wonder why a Republican would expend time and resources supporting Galindo. After watching our former Republican electeds screw things up, not to mention the ones currently in office, this an absolute deal killer for us.

    No, we're not at that point where we can afford to let even one Republican in. Right now, the only thing they are good at is mucking things up.

    The Statesman basically said Galindo was a single issue candidate. That issue is density which, as you know, we support. However, there have to be limits for it work and having a council member focused narrowly on high cost housing in the central city ignores the very real needs of the city as a whole (which does, for those who don't realize it, extend beyond SoCo/SoLa and Midtown). We love his plan to build town centers to the north and east, but that's already happening without him.

    While we'd absolutely adore having mass transit everywhere, it's not reality and won't be for a decade or more. That means we need roads and a rational traffic plan to alleviate our current choke points. Morrison, at least, has some solid ideas on things to do NOW with an eye on what needs to happen in the future. Galindo is focused on changing where people live which will take a lot of time and depends on infrastructure that does not yet exist. Needless to say, we're going with better ideas.

    And the better candidate. We urge you to support Laura Morrison in this race.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:37 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    June 02, 2008

    ...And sometimes, the press is REALLY stupid

    Here's a dreadful piece of journalism from R. A. Dyer of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. He leaves out...

    1) Deregulation has failed Texas consumers
    2) The excuses, regarding fuel costs, are irrelevant. If the standards to market entry are set so low that retailers end up being financially unable to manage their businesses (and, you know, HEDGE THEIR RISK) then clearly there is something wrong.
    3) This is related to excessive speculation in the energy market coupled with the decline in the dollar which is setting prices high for ALL natgas, even that produced domestically since we don't produce enough to meet domestic demand.
    4) The cheapest, most dependable electricity in the state is in two markets, SA Metro and Austin Metro. Neither deregulated.
    5) The price spikes are clearly indicative of market manipulation.

    Dyer, if you're going to write about something at least learn about it.

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

    May 27, 2008

    Helpful advice if you're buying a home

    The stupid things that home buyers, even those who have purchased one or more homes over decades, will do never cease to amaze me. So, let me give you some helpful hints that your broker will give you but that you'll ignore.

    1) Don't go buy ANYTHING, even with cash, prior to closing.

    You may not realize it but we can see when you go and look for a new car. That big screen TV you just got financed at Best Buy? We see that, too. Every time you add a payment to your monthly debt service, even if it's 'no interest, no payments for 12 months' we have to count it in your debt to income ratio. If that ratio is on the edge, even an additional $10 a month in debt payments can kick you from approve to decline. Wait until after your loan closes and funds to buy the new plasma and the giant pickup.

    As for spending cash, your approval may hinge on your verified assets. Spend too much out of that savings and it's good bye new two story McMansion in Pflugerville.

    Don't even get me started on what shopping for new credit will do to your credit score.

    JUST WAIT TO BUY THE STUFF YOU WANT.

    2) Don't plan to have the movers come an hour after your closing is scheduled to begin. You're just setting up for failure. And trust me, we think you're an idiot and don't really have a lot of sympathy for you. Especially if you've owned a house in the past.

    3) If you're a Realtor... GIVE YOUR LOAN OFFICERS TIME TO GET THEIR WORK DONE. Do NOT call every five minutes and bother them, the broker or the processor. Things don't happen instantaneously. And don't even think of calling the underwriter, unless you want to see how long we'll make you wait. Seriously, be patient and remind your clients that we're lending them hundreds of thousands of dollars and there's a lot of paperwork that has to get pushed. We won't leave them (or you) to twist in the wind but when there's a delay, don't act like the world will come to an end. It never does. Also, that plane that everyone is getting on about an hour after the scheduled closing? It's an American flight. It's delayed as well. Yeah, we're calling your bluff.

    4) Keep your checkstubs and W2's. Don't throw them away, then expect us to be able to approve you for credit. This isn't a little $5,000 credit card. WE'RE LENDING YOU MONEY TO BUY A HOUSE. Keep up with your income documentation so you can get it to us quickly.

    The number one thing that delays an on time closing is not the underwriter being slow. Or the originator. It's usually the borrower taking their sweet time to get necessary documentation in. Do yourself a favor and bring it all with you at initial application. Your loan officer will thank you.

    5) REALLY LOOK at what you're being offered. Banks really ARE more expensive than brokers and hidden behind that 'no closing cost' loan from the bank is some serious income from a higher interest rate. And usually, you're better off taking the fee deductions than the interest deductions on a higher interest rate over 30 years. If you want transparency, go to a broker.

    Finally, if you have problems just shoot me an email. I do this for a living and can you tell you if you're being screwed.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 24, 2008

    Happy Memorial Day

    Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend and take a moment to thank someone you know who served.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 21, 2008

    Leo Berman : The Prince of Hypocrisy

    Sal Costello has the story on Leo Berman's promise to kill the TTC next session...

    Mr. Costello:

    A number of legislators are committed to killing the TTC next session. Sen. Kevin Eltife and I have gone public with that commitment. Both of us will work hard toward that end.

    Sincerely,
    Leo Berman
    State Rep. District 6

    What little old Leo isn't saying is that he VOTED TO BUILD THE DAMN THING NOT ONCE BUT TWICE.


    TWICE

    We at McBlogger would like to welcome Berman to the fight against the TTC and toll roads. We'd like to start by asking him to commit to making the remaining sections of Loop 49 NON TOLL.

    Yeah, we knew he'd balk on that. Idiot.

    Berman, a word of advice. Don't grandstand on this. You vote and that's it. Hey, it's nice and all for you to finally be paying attention to your constituents, instead of CradDICK, but you need to know no one really likes you.

    Beside, you'll have very little power in January. You'll be part of the minority. Better be wise and join in with the Democrats on this. If you don't, a replacement will be easy to find in 2010. And I've already seen the oppo book on you.


    Posted by mcblogger at 02:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 20, 2008

    On ice cream and being 'social'

    You may have heard that I won Constable Bruce Elfant's Ice Cream Social. You know, since it was on CNN and all.

    MCBLOGGER MADE ICE CREAM??!?! WAS THERE BOOZE IN IT?

    Yes, I made ice cream. No there was no alcohol in it (it's not as easy as you think). And, as a result of all this, I now know that sarcasm tastes like dark chocolate, honey and honey roasted nuts swimming in heavy cream.

    Actually, that does sound about right.

    Constable Elfant said the event raised more than $5k for Do The Write Thing. So that's my charity 'thing' for the year. Stop sending me crap about these needy kids and their puppies. That's what incinerators are for.

    For my next embarrassing admission, yes, that was Barfly and I at Rain Saturday night dancing after they shut the bar (which we were protesting). If we knocked you over you really should have gotten out of our way.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 19, 2008

    Your guide to the new red light cameras

    Here's where they will be. At other places you can totally still RUN. THAT. LIGHT.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 18, 2008

    It's only a contract as long as we say it's a contract

    So there's a company called National Power Company (really imaginative, right?) that wrote contracts guaranteeing electricity at 11 cents /KWh to customers. They then discovered, much to their chagrin, that they'd mispriced their rates and should have been charging 15 cents per KWh. So, being responsible corporate citizens, they decided to eat the loss and honor the commitment to their customers.

    KIDDING! They totally rolled and fucked their customers in the pooper.

    There's a clause in their little 'contract' that says they can do that with 45 days notice and no early termination fee. ISN'T THAT AWESOME?!??!

    I know, right! I'm wondering if I can do that on my mortgage. Or my car. Or my credit cards. I mean, I know I agreed to pay these interest rates but seriously, yo! This shit is jamming me up and I need to drop it down.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 16, 2008

    Yay Tim Mahoney!

    Just noticed that Tim has secured his place on the ACC board. Congratulations, Tim!

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bless Junior John's Heart!

    Poor, stupid, pathetic idiot...

  • Cornyn's staff has been busy. First, there was this email

    Recent polls have claimed Senator Cornyn is in a much tighter race than many of you may have thought possible.

    We don’t put much validity in either poll, but Democrats certainly are. Liberal bloggers and Democrat partisans alike have pounced on the results, claiming they spell doom for Senator Cornyn this fall.

    The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, lead by liberal New York Senator Chuck Schumer, proclaimed in an email that the polls show “John Cornyn in serious trouble…”

    Ultra-liberal blogger Daily Kos, who commissioned and paid for the second poll, called the results “nothing short of remarkable,” and claimed they “hint that this may be a top-tier race before long…”

    No one can deny that our opponent and his allies are in desperate need of anything to help them raise resources and give national Democrats reason to invest untold millions into the race, and we must stop them.

    Please contribute $10, $25 or $50 to help debunk the myths our opponent and his liberal allies are trying to tell about Senator Cornyn.

    The facts are clear, the extreme left is energized and unscrupulous, and our opponent is shamelessly aligned with them and will say and do anything it takes to gain much needed relevance and resources.

    Your contribution of $10, $25 or $50 will go a long way towards setting the record straight. It will also send a loud and clear message to national Democrats that Texans won’t fall for their dirty tricks, deceit and deviousness.

    Please give what you can to make sure we re-elect John Cornyn and ensure our true Texas values are represented in Washington!

    This is funny as hell since Junior John already has a significant funding advantage over Noriega. Even with that money, we have two solid polls that make it clear this election is about getting rid of old caca. And of course Junior John is scared. Just watch this video which makes it pretty clear they ARE taking the polls seriously.

  • Then there was CA's Supreme Court saying that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional. Which prompted Cornyn to go into full tilt pander and start discussing (you knew it was coming) a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

    Thursday's California court ruling striking down that state's ban on gay marriage will spark a fresh push to add a nationwide ban to the U.S. Constitution, Texas Sen. John Cornyn said shortly after the ruling was announced.

    "It's certainly surprising. Many of us thought that the efforts to overturn the tradition marriage laws would be confined just to Massachusetts," said Mr. Cornyn, a chief backer of a push to enact a constitutional ban, which failed in 2004.

    The California Supreme Court issued a 4-3 ruling Thursday that overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage, finding that domestic partnerships laws are an inadequate substitute for allowing same-sex couples to enter into formal marriages.(DMN via Texas Blue)

    Here's the thing... I don't think, if the election were held today, that an anti-gay marriage amendment would pass in Texas again. Oh sure, folks in East and West Texas are just as homophobic as they always were (don't get mad at them, they don't know gay people and it's all strange and foreign to them). The difference is, THEY'RE ALL SICK OF PANDERING AND NONSENSE ISSUES. With gas near $4.00 a gallon, people know there are more important things to worry about. They also know that they can't afford six more years of fancy John Cornyn taking care of himself while he lets important business slide by.

  • Hava Goodun! Junior John sure as hell won't!

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 14, 2008

    Things you may have missed...

  • You know all that 'news' in the 'media' about people starving in exotic vacay destinations like Honduras? Turns out, the World Bank was largely responsible. Well, the World Bank with a heaping helping of Friedmanite ideology. Please note, this story comes from Bloomberg... hardly a bastion of liberal thought.
  • Texas has a surplus! Yay! Can we now, you know, BUILD THE ROADS THAT TXDOT SAID WE CAN'T AFFORD? And maybe fund CHIP? And how about ending tuition deregulation? How about putting money into our underfunded pensions?

    According to 39%'s spokespuppy, Leon, there's going to be more 'tax relief' which will end up like 39%'s last tax relief which netted me about 56 cents.

    "With a surplus of this magnitude, I know the governor believes we need to look at some sort of tax relief, whether it be on property taxes, business taxes or some type of actual rebate, like the federal government can do but we haven't been able to," Black said.

    ROCK! So, instead of making some good choices that will help us weather the next bad storm (or, in the case of infrastructure, actually help create economic activity and wealth), you're going to treat the surplus as a slush fund.

    39%, if you're handing out lulu's, can you please send me a case of Beefeater. I'm trying to perfect the Chelsea Sidecar and need the materials.

  • The Republicans are trying to fix the NRCC. The good news, at least for us, is that it appears to be working. If you mean 'fix' in the sense of neutering a pet. This should bode well for Skelly, Doherty and even Lampson (can you tell I'm working on that whole 'being derisive toward our candidates' thing?).
  • Ladies and gentleman... Rick Cofer with a rant on plastic bags
  • Hava goodun!

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    A minor request : Part 10089

    Would someone please put Adam Sandler and Mike Myers out of the universe's misery? Both have summer movies coming out that make it pretty clear that both are fighting one another to become the next Jerry Lewis. Why we'd need another isn't nearly as clear.

    So, yeah, if someone would help me out with this it would be great.

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

    May 11, 2008

    It makes us sad when you don't listen to us

    We do all this work maintaining this blog and in the end, rather than vote the way we tell you to vote, you go off and decide to vote for other people.

    It makes us really sad. If this were a Lifetime movie, we'd probably already have punched you out and broken your jaw. By now, no doubt, you'd be in the hospital and we'd be promising you that 'things will be different this time if you'll just stop making us so crazy'. Oh, and you should tell the police you fell down the stairs that don't exist in our house.

    But, alas, this isn't a Lifetime movie (you may have noticed the conspicuous absence of Meredith Baxter Birney. That's one HUGE diff between us and Lifetime). It's real life and y'all were VERY disappointing yesterday.

    Well, not really.

    Place 1 - Hello, Lee. We're honestly happy you're back. We supported Demling because we wanted some new blood. And the guy is, if scruffy, quite bright. At the very least, we're thrilled that Douchie McDouche will not be in a runoff with you. Yeah. The staff here is actually split over whether they hate Brewster or Meeker more.

    One last thing... you for mayor. That's a mistake. You looked miserable this time. Serve out the term and enjoy life.

    Place 3 - Howdy, Randi! We still don't completely trust you, but the children have completely disregarded our advice and decided that you'll be best in place 3. Now that you're in, you're going to have to make some of those hard choices about tolls that you avoided talking about during the election. Here's some advice...

    1) Don't listen to TXDOT - ask Kirk Watson about this one.
    2) Get the fuck outta Clarksville and go drive around town at rush hour. It'll give you an idea where the real jamups are... and how to fix them.
    3) There are many (Mike Dahmus) who will offer bad advice. Don't listen to them (Mike Dahmus).

    Place 4 - We didn't endorse either of the runoff people. We're going with Laura. More on this later.

    ACC - Tim Mahoney. WTF? You people even managed to fuck that up. Now you just have to go back and do it all over again.

    Needless to say, we're disappointed. We still love you, but we're disappointed. Don't worry, we'll be over it this afternoon.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:45 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    May 09, 2008

    Vote! Vote! Vote!

    For all of you that have been holding your breath waiting for City Elections to roll around YEAH for you they are almost here. Tomorrow is E Day for Austinites! If you still have'nt decided who to vote for you can get some great information here,here,and here.

    If you don't know where you should go to vote (DUH btw) you can visit this site to find out.

    While you are contemplating, watch a video!

    Posted by Lovelie99 at 12:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 08, 2008

    Debate-O-Rama (the City Council Ed)

    KXAN hosted a debate yesterday between the candidates for City Council. I haven't watched it yet, mostly because I've already made up my mind and can't deal with confusion today.

    Take a look at it here. Apparently, Kim v. Shade was pretty exciting.

    "I'm seeing there's a boldfaced lie come out of her mouth about what I supposedly promised according to some fictitious character," said Shade as she stood next to her Kim during the debate.

    "Even on Ms. Shade's Web site, there's a statement by the police union, and they said Ms. Shade is clearly supporting increasing resources in public safety," Kim said.

    The fight didn't stop with the two opponents. The fire and police unions have filed a complaint against Kim with the Public Utilities Commission. They said anonymous phone calls are against the law. Kim's campaign said they have already submitted the phone call script to the PUC and were told they have done nothing wrong.

    "I think its showing that either Jennifer Kim is running scared and getting desperate, or she's getting really bad advice," said Shade after the debate.

    A couple of things...

    1) Kim's not desperate... Shade hasn't built the broad base of support even among the activists that she really needs. Not everyone is sold and frankly, we like someone a little irascible in office. When the City Council is chummy things go off the rails quickly and fixing it is usually pretty damn expensive.

    2) The PUC signed off on the script. CASE CLOSED. Beside, I don't know anyone who's received this call. NOT A SOUL. So, by bitching and moaning about a call that wouldn't have had much of an impact, you're keeping it in the public eye. Now all anyone knows is that Kim's campaign made a call about Shade's 'commitment' to spend us more into the hole. Nice.

    Frankly, there is a limit to how much public safety we can afford. WE'RE THERE. I tell you what, take more police off traffic and put them on violent crime. God knows we could do with a few less working MoPac, 35, 183 and Ben White. SERIOUSLY.

    3) We're fed up with the public safety unions playing with the City Council races. They never seem to focus on the big picture and there HAS TO BE A BALANCE.

    Finally, if anyone does choose to watch the debate, will you please let me know how badly Meeker shoots himself in the foot?

    Posted by hbalczak at 11:25 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    May 02, 2008

    Booby Prize

    The phone rang. It was Sister Ruth.

    "I've just gotten the worst piece of political literature ever in my mailbox..."

    "Oh," I responded. "You got Randi Shade's mailer too."

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 01, 2008

    We tell you how you should vote (Austin City Council Ed.)

    Why bother calling them 'endorsements' when we really mean 'This is how you should vote'? The election is, of course, May 10th but that's a Saturday and it's right before Mother's Day so don't even bother waiting (EV locations here, Mobile Voting here).

    Place 1 - Demling - First Choice, followed by Leiffingwell.

    No votes for Meeker. I know that will come as a hooooooge surprise. This was nearly a unanimous vote. Except for Harry who voted for the man referred to by some as a human narcolepsy canon.

    Place 3 - Kim - First Choice, followed by no one.

    Randi, we love 'ya but we just don't completely trust 'ya. Jennifer can be a little impersonal and abrasive (who the hell isn't, especially on a SUNDAY MORNING WHEN I'M HUNG OVER AND NEED SOME EGGS AND HOTD, Julie) but she's also a terribly hard worker who has come together with some of her colleagues on the council to solve some serious problems. Policy wonk? Yep. And that, at this time, is what we need.

    Place 4 - Cravey - First Choice, followed by Morrison and Gale.

    We like Galindo as a person, but we find some of his ideology ridiculous and ideas patently absurd (community land trusts... great idea, an absolute motherfucker to finance. NOT a viable solution anytime in the next five to ten years). He needs some seasoning and a massive CTJ on housing in the central city. Morrison is a great lady who is very involved with the ANC... and apparently, not much else. Still, it's good that she IS involved especially since it pisses off Mike Dahmus and that always makes me laugh.

    There was one vote for Gale and no, it did not come from me. I thought she was far too serious as a candidate this time. I frankly miss the whimsy of her previous campaigns. I think those people in Dallas did something to her... they turned her into someone kinda serious.

    As for Osemene, we like you but there's MUCH less to city council than the Federalist Papers would have you believe. MUCH LESS.

    In case we're not getting through to you and you stubbornly insist on doing your own research, Phillip over at BOR has the resource page we totally would have created if we had the time (and actually, you know, cared about these people and their campaigns). Go check it out.

    But really, what we tell you should be enough.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Krusee arrested for DWI

    Long time readers (yes, there ARE 5 or 6 of you) know that there's no love lost between Mike Krusee and myself. I'd just as soon piss on him as say hello to him. Apparently, last night he got busted for a DWI. And no, I'm not doing cartwheels... this could well be a case of there but for the grace of God go I.

    While I don't know if he was drunk or not, I have some questions for the trooper... which came first? The 'erratic' driving OR the expired registration? I'm always suspicious when the reason for the stop is a registration sticker.

    The thing I find most repulsive about DWI laws is that they don't do a thing to keep real drunks off the streets. These are people with a compulsive disorder. They don't respond to punishment. Meanwhile, you've got the rest of worried about having more than 1 drink in 6 hours.

    And don't even get me started on the MADD mothers. I've lost friends in DWI accidents. They're dead. AND ALL YOUR STUPID LAWS HAVE DONE NOTHING TO BRING THEM BACK OR STOP MORE DEATHS FROM OCCURRING.

    To our friends in the Lege... can we PLEASE be rational and make some changes that might actually fix the problem,, rather than make criminals out of people who have a drink at happy hour? I don't know if that group will end up including Krusee or not but it does include a lot of us.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 30, 2008

    I listen to Rev. Wright as much as I listen to any preacher

    Rev. Wright does his little song and dance, pisses up the media's leg and predictably they throw a fit about the whole thing. Why the hell does anyone care what this idiot preacher has to say? Is he the one running for President? No? Ok, then WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU ALL KVETCHING ABOUT?!?!!

    I'm also sick of hearing how Clinton is behind the whole thing. It occurs to me that if the Clinton's were really as evil as some of you morons would have us believe, Bill never would have left office. What you really don't like is that Obama's preacher is a racist weirdo with delusional fantasies. Big deal. That makes him not much different from that freak Hagee whose ass is covered in soft kisses from that sycophantic loser, McCain.

    Not all clergy are stupid, but many of the loud obnoxious ones certainly are. I prefer my faith with VERY little religion. Mostly because I don't believe any man speaks for God. Certainly not Rev. Wright and definitely not that fatass Hagee.

    Maybe, just maybe, instead of focusing on what some asshole who claims to speak for God (or claims to have THE only legitimate interpretation of the Bible/Koran/Torah) has to say and playing guilt by association, why not take a moment to listen to the candidate?


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

    April 29, 2008

    The endless construction on Cesar Chavez

    If you, like me, are pretty sick of the bullshit construction on Cesar Chavez, the good news is that it will end by the end of the spring, according to Ben Wear. The bad news? Has the City EVER completed a road project on time?

    Anyone wanna bet that it'll still be going strong in August?

    On another note, does anyone have an idea when 5th Street will stop resembling a road in Kabul?

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    April 25, 2008

    A word of advice...

    WOW. Who knew there were so many dicks reading the blog? Yesterday, Lovelie99 posted this piece on the city council races. She obvs has some candidates she prefers more than others. In my opinion, she was far more gracious than some of you deserve. Frankly, heaping derision on some of you for even filing would be a great start.

    I love democracy. I hate people running for office as some kind of masturbatory exercise. Or business booster. For some of you, the mere fact that you continue to exist, despite my hopes and dreams, is offensive.

    So, in answer to your questions, WE (meaning the overall McBlogger staff) have not endorsed. We may do just individual endorsements. You'll know that's what it is because it'll have ENDORSEMENT and CITY COUNCIL in the title. It might be titled "Fred" or "That car that cut me off in traffic that time", but I doubt it because Sister Ruth claims it 'doesn't make any sense'. It's good that she got the nonsensical nature of those titles. It's bad that she doesn't understand metaphors. Needless to say, while she's on vacay, we don't want to trouble her with thinking.

    Hava goodun!

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    April 24, 2008

    Oh, I feel for you straight gals...

    This is a video of some lame shot by Mean Rachel at The Ranch. The Mayor recently mentioned their DEE-lightful music in this post on the city council candidates. Needless to say, the temptation to pay them for drinks is not, you know, overwhelming.

    A word of advice for you straight gals from my bar going (and bar trash dating) days, most of the obnoxious guys who hit on you know deep down that they've got as much of a chance with you as they do winning the lottery. What they really want, other than what would be, for you, an unsatisfying sexual experience, is a phone number. Give them one.

    Barfly and I always used Mr. Gatti's. She only got busted once and I never did.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    April 23, 2008

    Where's the party?

    Just a reminder... BOR is celebrating it's fifth birthday tomorrow at Schulz's.

    Oh, you know you're going. You don't really have plans so fuck off with the excuses.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    April 22, 2008

    City Council Forum: Notes Scribbled On A Napkin

    As our Fearless Leader has already reported, the McBlogger crew attended last week's Keep Austin Blue forum for city council candidates. I've finally gotten my notes back from the lab...

    Jason Meeker Memorable Quote: "I don't want to be know as the Angry Guy".
    Universal reaction: What an angry guy.

    Ken Weiss Makes me think of the goober working the register at Whataburger who gets all the orders wrong.

    Sam Osemene Possibly the only candidate this year who has actually read the Federalist Papers. Certainly the only one who finds the right to use a cell phone while driving supported therein.

    Lee Leffingwell A year or two ago I was called rude for yelling "Sit down and shut up, Lee!" at another public forum. Tonight I was even ruder by letting him speak. And speak. And speak. And speak. And speak. And speak. Actually, somewhere in there I ducked out to a nearby building site and watched some paint dry for a while until I regained the will to live. Good Lord, is there no way of stopping this human narcolepsy cannon from becoming Mayor next year?

    Cid Galindo Strongly supports the right to free chips and salsa; clueless about the Twelfth Cylon.

    Jennifer Gale Say what will about this perennial candidate, this year she OWNS the Clean Your Liver Issue.

    And finally, isn't it about time the city started licensing cover bands? I realize that the state shouldn't a priori judge original material, but how can any self-respecting Live Music Capital of the World not impose some kind of minimum standards on performing songs that everyone already knows? Whoever it was playing across the street at The Ranch... just dreadful. Too bad they didn't ape The Who and set their instruments on fire. Although in their case, it should have been how they opened their set.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 07:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 17, 2008

    City Council Candidates R Teh Phunnee

    The ugly stepchild to the Primary (at least this year) is the City Council Election. I capitalize that because really it's quite awful and distinctive. I've been to three candidate forums/endorsement meetings/ tedious wastes of time and there's only one thing of which I'm sure...

    Jason Meeker is a DOUCHE


    Of course, we'll have endorsements later as we get closer to the start of early voting. I will say this, after last night's KAB forum, I like all the candidates a lot more. You all were excellent in the face of an adverse condition, namely the drunken jr. copywriters from GSD&M. If it's any consolation, they probably won't have jobs much longer and will be moving to Dallas.

    I know, it totally makes me cry, too.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 15, 2008

    Everyone loves a party

    The crew at BOR are having a 5th Birthday Party for the blog and you're invited!

    April 24th Progressive hang out Scholz Beer Garten 8 p.m. until the music stops Featuring the music of House Leader Jim Dunnam and the Bad Precedents.

    Of course, some of you (like me) will be worried about the beer-only venue. If I can deal with it, so can you. Beside, they also have a marvelous selection of shitty wines!

    Happy Birthday, BOR!

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 10, 2008

    You're STILL here?

    Two years ago, the mother of some little freakshow (we'll call her Mama Freakshow) tried to sue MySpace because her special princess hooked up with some perv and MySpace DID NOTHING TO PREVENT IT. Because parenting Mama Freakshow's kid was not so much their job.

    Who knew?Oh, wait... I DID. So did a judge. Then another one. Now La Familia Freakshow is back, this time in FEDERAL APPEALS COURT fighting for the right to sue MySpace and make sure that they start protecting all the little fat girls who lie and say they are 18 so they can attract an older guy with a mullet and a 1986 Fiero. I'm sure that's it. It has nothing to do with that $30 million they hope to be awarded.

    Cause they're totally giving that money away. Just like I'm going to start 'sharing' and 'playing well with others'.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    April 09, 2008

    The runoff hath passed

    Yes, in case you (like most Texans) slept through it, yesterday was the joint primary runoff election. 1.55% of you turned out statewide. The rest of you slobs couldn't be bothered though I'm sure even if you had bothered to back away from the buffet long enough to vote, the results would not have been measurably different.

    In the RRC race, Thompson soundly beat Dale Henry. We did not endorse Thompson, so we are of course incredulous at his inexplicable win (you know, since our endorsed candidates in every other race won). We'd like to applaud Dale and Team Henry for running a good campaign and we'd like to extend our congratulations Thompson and urge him to use Dale, if he's willing, as a resource on the proper job of the RRC.

    In the DA's race, Lehmberg won. That's all I'm writing about this stupid race.

    On the R side, CradDICK had a good night with the defeat of Rep. West out in Odessa. He also earned some solid victories in other races around the state. Those seats will more than likely be won by Democrats in the fall but for now CradDICK appears to be a big winner. Phillip has an excellent analysis on these races.

    Lastly, we at McBlogger would like to say goodbye to Dracula-Cunt. Laterz, freakshow.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Saying goodbye...to friends and assholes

    Pink Dome has adjourned sine die...which makes me very unhappy. Alphonso Jackson resigned from HUD, which makes me extremely happy since I always thought he was a crony capitalist fucktard.

    On a lighter note, I'm still watching Bad Girls and laughing my ass off since during a show featuring some really nasty bitches, Time Life is advertising Christian music.

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

    April 08, 2008

    Anti-Death Penalty Fun

    Here are the deets...

    A Broken System – Crying out For Justice 2007 – 2008 National Speaking Tour In Austin, April 9, 2008 7 PM at UT, The Texas Union Chicano Culture Room, 4.206 Featuring Mothers of Texas Death Row Prisoners: Sandra Reed – mother of Rodney Reed Anna Terrell - mother of Reginald Blanton Lee Greenwood – mother of Joseph Nichols, killed March 7, 2007 Jeannine Scott – Wife of Michael Scott, in prison for life. A “Live From Death Row” Event, with a call from a death row prisoner. Something is wrong. What can we do? The first step to action is awareness. Come and hear these voices and together let's fight for justice. For more info: 494-0667 or cedpaustin@gmailcom

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Yes, we agree with you

    Kelso took a swipe at the TSA last week...

    Mandi Hamlin, 37, was having a hard time removing a nipple ring as she was going through airport security up in Lubbock. So a TSA agent handed her a pair of pliers to help her get the job done.

    If you had an uncle crazy enough to do something like that, would you let him in your house? I know I wouldn't. I'd try to have him committed.

    While Hamlin was behind a screen removing the nipple ring, she says, she could hear the male agents tittering. Now there's a Beavis and Butt-Head moment for you. Can't you hear them back there going, "Heh heh. Heh heh heh."

    Hamlin should have told the TSA to go suck an egg. Yes, I know she wouldn't be allowed on the plane unless she lost the nipple ring. And I can understand wanting to get out of Lubbock. Boy, can I. But not quite that badly. On the other hand, I could see somebody removing a nipple ring with a pair of pliers to get out of Midland.

    When you've got federal officials handing garage tools to passengers to mutilate themselves to get on an airplane, it's pretty obvious that we've lost our minds in this country when it comes to safety. And a nipple ring, for gosh sakes. Did the agent think Hamlin's nipple ring would explode?

    Did they think the nipple ring would explode? Probably. These are the same asshats who thought bottle water would explode.

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

    April 07, 2008

    Damn The Activist Judiciary!

    A Federal Judge has upheld the City's ban on smoking in bars. Where people go to drink. And meet other people. And have drinks with them. LIKE I DO.

    A federal appeals court today reinstated Austin’s smoking ban in all public places.

    A lower court had parts of overturned the ban, which was approved by Austin voters and took effect Sept. 1, 2005, claiming the law was impermissibly vague. The law had been challenged by several Austin bars, which claimed the ban hurt their business.

    But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a ruling filed Thursday but released today, said the law conformed to Constitutional provisions. The appeals court also voided an injunction barring Austin from enforcing the law.

    Laugh it up, Glen.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 06, 2008

    Roundin' up the TPA

    It's time for another Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up. The weekly round up is compiled from submissions submitted by member bloggers.

    Saturday, TXsharon of Bluedaze attended the Barnett Shale Expo and the lies told by John Tinterra, Texas Railroad Commission, in front of citizens who pay his salary and in front of his boss, Victor Carrillo, reminded TXS of a quote from Cold Mountain: "That man is so full of manure we could plant him and grow another one!".

    McBlogger's never been a big fan of tax abatements to lure new companies to Austin. He's even less thrilled with them when they are being used to entice developers, especially developers who can't seem to make their finances work without the abatements.

    Off the Kuff takes one last look at primary voting in Harris County, this time examining Democratic turnout by State Rep district.

    WCNews at Eye On Williamson previews the GOP runoff in HD-52, The Same Only Different.

    Over a thousand Harris County voters took "vote twice" too seriously, writes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

    Hal at Half Empty will vote in the Democratic primary runoff, to be sure, despite the fact that only one race will appear on his ballot. The tables are turned and the Republicans in CD 22 have a much more juicy decision to make. Oh, to be a Republican.

    Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News turned it over to his brother Jim for a few odd links as he was getting ready to be tired out at the third step of the Texas Two-Step. Earlier in the week Gary got his dander riled at racist media conservatives.

    nytexan at BlueBloggin tells us that keeping 378 delegates and 275 alternates under control is like herding cats in It’s Great To Be A Democrat In Texas at the Senatorial District 18, Bastrop County Convention.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 05, 2008

    This weekend in FUN!

  • Nothing on today? Hate toll roads and/or the TTC?
    Come join Hank Gilbert and the folks at TURF at the Capitol to let our leaders know that you don't want to pay through the nose for a road to nowhere!
  • Speaking of leadership, do you want to help support, even in a small way, changes at the top? Then take a moment today to give a few bucks to the TexBlog PAC. We're looking for 50 donors and $1500, the deadline is tonight and we're only 9 short! Help out some candidates and take action to end the corrupt leadership of Tom CradDICK!
  • Who IS Austin Political Report? Who cares? The site is good, well written and usually pretty well researched. Apparently, there is some controversy now regarding Terry Keel (R-Worthless Parliamentarian) allegedly supporting Mindy Montford. Montford says it's not true. Keel says it's not true. Keel goes on to act totally indignant about the whole thing...

    Keel said the report tarnished his reputation.

    "The intent was to set up a fraudulent Web site, be able to remain anonymous and make it appear that this was reporting," he said. "I don't care which candidate it's used against; I am not going to be a victim of fraud."

    Keel, you stupid bitch. YOU aren't the injured party. You destroyed your own reputation and credibility. Your former constituents mostly think of you much like they do gum on the bottom of an old shoe. Or dogshit. If anyone was injured, it's Mindy. Your precious reputation was worthless BEFORE anyone posted a damn thing about you. Oh, and as for your complaint against Fero, it's bullshit. Nothing more than your pathetic need to play some of sort of part in the process.

    And change that stupid haircut, 'tard.

  • Posted by mcblogger at 01:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 04, 2008

    The Beautiful People

    I recently signed up for news alerts from the Schlockman, mostly because people around me are all the time talking about local things and I'm constantly left out because I never pay attention to local news. I really need to know about the latest person shot by the Round Rock PD? Really? Along with the alerts come links to other bullshit from the paper, including stuff from Austin360 which is the Schlockman's effort to seem hip and cool.

    Funny that the NYT can send out Urban Eye and pull off a kind of effortless brilliance, even with a pic of Tori Spelling on the banner. The Schlockman, on the other hand, gives us the 'A List'. Seriously, if I were thinking about relo to Austin and I saw the 'A List', I'd start looking elsewhere. I know there are far more attractive people than this in Austin. I see them out all the time. They just weren't at the Beauty Bar on 27th March.

    And I can totally say all this because I'm a goddamn super model.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    April 03, 2008

    Here's where you're wrong

    The primaries this year threw a lot of people off, mostly because it was a much more significant event than anyone realized it would be. Everyone expected record turnout, but no one thought it would be as large as it was. I've waited a month for someone to point out the obvious and damn if it still hasn't happened. Then I read this retarded little analysis and thought "Goddamn, none of the mooks are going to say it". So, allow me.

    The Democratic Primary effectively sucked the life out of the majority Republican Party in Texas.

    There's a theory floating out there that somehow the non-partisan ParentPAC has lost it's strength. Here's the brill primary analysis...

    To make it even worse, best estimates put Parent PAC’s arch nemesis, pro-voucher supporter James Leininger, at 4-2 this primary cycle. And three of his four victories came against Parent PAC backed candidates.

    Here’s a closer look at Parent PAC’s primary cycle. In races where they put in 10,000 dollars or more, they managed a mere 2 - 5 record. In their marque race of the season, Parent PAC again targeted a top Craddick Lieutenant in Phil King, but this time they poured over 60,000 dollars into a poor showing with Joe Tison, who got rolled-up by 31 points. Jim Shepherd took 5,000 of their dollars and front-runner status into his quest to not make his run-off to replace Fred Hill. Likewise, Bob Leonard took 7,500 of their dollars only to get trounced by Mark Shelton. But I’m sure that was one they didn’t mind losing, this way Parent PAC is saved the awkward moment of having to chose in the general between Leonard and Democrat Dan Barrett, who they’ve donated to in the past.

    The El Paso duo of Moreno and Haggerty took a combined 16,000 Parent PAC dollars and flushed it down the toilet. All in all, in the ten races Parent PAC lost, totaling over 131,000 of their dollars, 6 were by ten points or more. But it’s not all bad news. It only took the badly bruised PAC just 161,000 dollars to squeeze out a 17 vote victory over Nathan Macias.

    First, there is a really good reason why some of these races were lost. Democrats pulled people out of the Republican primary all over Texas for the first time in decades. That's the only way Haggerty loses and it's not like that will be a CradDICK win. Moody's going to take that seat with ease in November. As for King, shit... I think even he sees Sean Penn when he looks in a mirror. Even if he survives November, he'll be bloodied, beaten down and shrunken under the weight of knowing that it's going to happen all over again in less than 2 years. I don't think those narrow shoulders can bear that kind of load.

    Of course, going into the primary, I like many thought it would be business as usual. But I'm a dumbass blogger. Some of these people are well paid political analysts who should have been able to see in the numbers the trouble ahead. My problem was in thinking this was only a slightly larger Pres primary with a 'slightly larger' universe of voters. I certainly never anticipated it would suck the life out of the Republican party and nothing I saw that night made me think differently. I mean, I live in Travis County. I'm used to dramatically outnumbering the Republicans at precinct conventions. What surprised me was that Democrats were doing it all over the state. And those numbers flipping over weakened the chances that challengers and good incumbents in the R primary had against CradDICK and Leininger opponents.

    Just like Grusendork in 2006, King would have gone down this year in the primary from crossover support. So, in large part for no real reason, Leininger looks like he's got his teeth back. But looks can be deceiving. He's still the same neutered dipshit he was just after the 2006 primaries. However, no one will see it until November.

    Many people are going to be surprised by how many races Democratic candidates win around the state with seemingly little support. It's because overnight March 4th, the Texas Democratic Party became THE 800 pound gorilla in the room.

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

    April 02, 2008

    One thing all candidates have in common

    Sister Ruth has a story she likes to tell about being on MoPac in traffic and seeing a bumper sticker that said "Dear Jesus : Please save me from your fan club". I feel the same about the candidates this cycle. It's not so much that y'all suck (some of you do, but only a few), it's your supporters that are, frankly, asshats.

    Y'all take a Klonopin and relax.

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

    This'll put Lamme's out of business

    Ever had a strawberry that tastes like white chocolate?

    PhotobucketIn the future, no natural food will taste as you remember it now. Because face it: fruits and vegetables are great. But if turnips tasted like Doritos, America wouldn't be so fat that our continent occasionally dips into the ocean, like arm floaties on a grown man.

    Tokyo company FCOM is learning how to change food as we know it. Instead of using genetic modification, they're utilizing techniques from other industrial processes. Through freeze-drying fruit, FCOM is then able to replace with water with flavor (or in the case of strawberries, water with white chocolate). But no, they haven't made cocao butter-based white chocolate into a health food.

    Or, how about an orange that tastes like yummy cheddar and is fortified with lithium (or Chantix if you, like Barfly and Sister Ruth, are quitting smoking)?

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

    April 01, 2008

    This is some bullshit

    In February, 2006 a teacher decided to wash out a child's mouth with soap. The child, of course, claimed that he'd been forced to drink soap. The grandparents decided to sue. They recently won.

    A state district court jury has awarded the family of a Sims Elementary School student whose teacher was accused of forcing him to drink liquid soap $15,000 in damages in a civil suit, according to court documents.

    Tony Lamaro Johnson and Juanita Johnson, grandparents of Tony Lamaro Johnson II, who is now 7, had sued Susan Miller-Smith, the boy's former teacher.

    Miller-Smith was accused of putting soap in Lamaro's mouth on Feb. 23, 2006.

    A Travis County grand jury later declined to charge Miller-Smith with a crime. She resigned from her job with the Austin Independent School District in March 2006, a district official said.

    On Friday, a jury in state district court awarded $5,000 for pain and mental anguish and $10,000 for future mental anguish, the documents said.

    Kudos to the GJ, but shit all over the retard jury in the suit. I can only imagine this whiny little fuck coming home complaining about this and Grandma and Grandpa Johnson falling over themselves to baby the poor little lamb.

    My mouth was all the time being washed out when I was a kid (I'm kinda slow on the uptake... plus, I kept thinking the bitch teachers were out of earshot) and it wasn't with liquid soap. IT WAS WITH LAVA. I complained about it once when I was 5. My father, being the brilliant jurist he is, decided to spank me because I'd obviously done something bad at school. That and he didn't like whining.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 28, 2008

    In case you were wondering...

    We're having something of a realignment at McBlogger. Frankly, things have been stale. Many of you have pointed that out (thanks for that, BTW) and you're right. We're sick of the constant campaigning. The endless candidate drives. The relentless bullshit.

    A word to the wise: Some of you running campaigns really shouldn't. Honestly, you suck at it and what you think is an impressive press hit is basically the political news equivalent of farting. YOU ARE BURNING US THE FUCK OUT. Quit with the daily emails... more than once a week and we're done with you. Seriously, not that much has happened.

    All this and the Mayor, Captain Kroc, Harry and I have been hella busy with our respective jobs, not mention helping out TCDP for the Convention tomorrow. So be patient, we're not going anywhere. We're just sharpening our teeth.

    We're also looking for some new writers to complement the fabulous people we are NOT WRITING for us now. So, if you feel like your writing is McBlogger Quality (laugh.it.up), please shoot me an email.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 27, 2008

    Gearing up for more voucher crap...

    The reality is that vouchers are not a panacea. They aren't even working where they've been tried.

    Voucher students' test scores in the year the study covered were roughly the same as public school students'; the study also found voucher students scored below the national average, between the 28th and 39th percentile, on national reading, math, and science tests.

    A frequent argument made against them, that the vouchers won't provide enough money to the poor to put their kids in anything but a parochial school, is in fact true. Even the Catholics can't run schools as cheap as the public education system which is really the crux of the entire 'how to improve education' debate. There are two things you need. One, is a change in what teachers are teaching and a return to a more formalistic curriculum. The other is more money.

    What? You too are tired of the kids getting a Wal Mart education? Well, here's what we need to do. Pump money into schools and restandardize the curriculum. The pennies we save by underfunding public education end up costing us billions in lost wages, productivity and taxes down the road. It's time for conservatives to realize that conservatism is about more than just cutting taxes and spending. It's about spending money on things that matter.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 25, 2008

    McBlogger's Comedy Tips, Part 1109

    FUNNY


    Tina Fey. A once-a-year birth control solution. Psychotic periods.Brilliance.

    NOT FUNNY


    Dogs. A child. A politician. A politician with dogs and a child. Cheese (in a can).

    I have no doubt that Mindy's tough enough to stand up to criminals. Rosemary is, too. However, unlike Rosemary, I have serious doubts about whether or not Mindy can stand up to her friends.

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

    March 24, 2008

    Take this 2,000 acre development and shove it!

    Let me preface this with the fact that I like development. Not just new construction or renovations of existing buildings, but economic development. I especially like the kind that promises to create a massive number of jobs in our community. There is, however, one thing that'll make me turn into a zero growth nut. That's when developers come 'round asking for tax breaks and abatements and claiming that it's the only way they can bring their project to Austin.

    Really? Do you want a virgin to consummate the deal as well?

    Seriously, this crap about Villa Muse is about as retarded as I've ever seen. First off, the developers are taking over 2,000 acres in a developing area of Travis County, which just happens to be part of Austin's ETJ. What the developers want is to have that removed from taxation and zoning requirements, effectively reverting the land back to county control and keeping it from being annexed by the city. Not to mention that it would keep it out of city environmental oversight, which is exactly why the city shot down the proposal.

    Some council members said the city could not be guaranteed that it would be able to eventually annex the property even if the developers signed an agreement. Leffingwell and Kim were also worried about the lack of environmental oversight of the floodplain remediation that would be necessary and the proposed construction of the studio so close to Gilleland Creek.

    All this, of course, has Dawnna Dukes all upset...

    Dukes wrote that Villa Muse would have been a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Central Texas area, especially Eastern Travis County.”

    “Your decision to deny the temporary release of Villa Muse from the city’s Extra Territorial Jurisdiction takes certain financing options off the table, thus making the project financially unfeasible” and probably ensuring its relocation to a different city, she wrote.

    Dukes said she questioned whether environmental concerns were the real reason the council members decided refused to support the project, given that the council is considering building a landfill and wastewater treatment plant in Eastern Travis County.

    She asked the council members to reconsider their decision: “This project will succeed somewhere in Texas. It would be ideal to have it here.”

    First off, Dawnna, it's a mixed us development not unlike The Domain whose developers WERE able to talk the city into questionable tax breaks(which folks are even now trying to get rid of). Therefore, it's nothing special. Oh, there's the 70k seat amphitheater that's a huge risk in a town where people will squeeze 100 per square foot into some shitty club to hear some shitty band play shitty music.

    And you're wrong, Dawnna. This project will only really succeed here. There really aren't too many other areas of Texas where this can succeed. Maybe in Irving and if the developers want to pick up and move to the artistic hotbed of Irving, they are more than welcome. Have at it, fellas!

    As for the project being financially unfeasible, you wouldn't know if it was or wasn't, Dawnna. If their margins were soooo thin that only a tax break put them into the black, then this is really a blessing in disguise. The City Council just saved us from another nightmare because if their finances were THAT flimsy, odds are the developers would have gone bust during construction. Three strikes of stupid on this, Dawnna...

    1) You chastise people who clearly have a better understanding of this than you.
    2) You fight hard for developers with questionable financing (and who, by the way, was underwriting this package? USB? Lehman? Southwest?).
    3) You talk about tax abatements as if they're some sort of economic panacea (which they aren't).

    Needless to say, this or something like it is going to happen in this area with or without the wonderful developers who've given Dawnna so much over the years. The developers, for their part, are of threatening to take their toys and move on...

    The backers of a proposed entertainment studio and production facility in eastern Travis County say they are negotiating with other Texas cities to move the project after Austin officials refused to temporarily release the project from its regulatory grasp.

    Villa Muse Vice President Paul Alvarado-Dykstra would not reveal which other cities the developers are negotiating with but said there was more than one and all were in Texas.

    "We haven't closed the door on Austin, but we kind of feel like Austin closed the door on us last Thursday," he said.

    Ahhh... so long, fuckball. Try playing your financial shell game with a muni that's controlled by short sighted stupid people.

    And here, my friends, is why I'm supporting Jennifer Kim for re-election...

    Last week, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, who represents the area, sent a scathing letter to Mayor Will Wynn and Council Members Betty Dunkerley, Jennifer Kim and Lee Leffingwell, all of whom voted against the release.

    Kim and Leffingwell said they were not surprised by the developers' decision to pursue other locations and are not inclined to revisit releasing the land anytime soon.

    "It is unfortunate that they are not going to locate here, but we need to make sure that we are protecting our environment and our quality of life," Kim said. "In this case, we couldn't assure that to our constituents."

    Translation... you aren't going to get something for nothing. If you want play in Austin, you have to pay just like everyone else. Either that or we'll steal your idea and do it ourselves.

    We're mean like that.

    Last point then I promise I'll move on to something exciting, the people who really get screwed with abatements are the existing property base. See, development needs infrastructure and services. Even if the developer is paying for the internal roads, power grid and water/wastewater systems, the external hookups will have to upgraded and city facilities will have to be ungraded to take care on the additional burden. That costs money and frankly I don't think any of us mind paying it.

    As long as the new development starts paying taxes just like the rest of us. If not, then you're wasting our time and our money. Come back when you have have the wherewithal to do things the right way.


    Posted by mcblogger at 10:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    March 22, 2008

    Is it just me...

    ...or has the Belmont gone lame? Last night I went there for drinks with some people and the goddamn band was making us sick. It's not that they were playing badly, it's that they were playing at all. And no, there weren't many people dancing.

    Why the FUCK does every bar in Austin think live music will help their sales?

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    March 21, 2008

    Runoff - Henry and Lehmberg

    Remember that primary a few weeks ago? Well, some of the candidates are in a runoff. Here are two you need to support:

    Dale Henry has secured the endorsement of Burnt Orange Report and a re-endorsement from Brains and Eggs.

    Here in Travis County, Rosemary Lehmberg recently received the endorsement of former DA candidate Gary Cobb. We urge you to support her. Because she rocks. And because... well, there's this on her opponent.

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

    March 20, 2008

    City Council Endorsement - ALGPC and SDA

    I got to see some of the candidates, hear some of their positions, smoke a cigarette out on the street (because of you goddamn asthmatics who banned smoking indoors) and finally find out who we endorsed.

    It was an exciting night down at the Commissioner's Court. At least I was excited. I'd been looking forward all day to seeing Jennifer Gale's first performance of the city endorsement season. Unfortunately, due to an unfortunate oversight on the part of SOMEONE at ALGPC, she wasn't invited. When I protested, the others in the audience, who have no appreciation for raw talent, kinda got irritated AND GROANED. It's a shame so many had to die, but I just couldn't see myself putting up with that kind of behavior. Well, that AND I was nicfitting like a motherfucker. I know, I quit... however, after the day I had I needed a damn cigarette. Cut me some slack, mother. YOU didn't have to deal with your admin asst threatening to quit. At 4:30 in the afternoon, natch.

    Though the membership rolls of both the Austin Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus and Stonewall Democrats of Austin were decimated, they did manage to make some great decisions... and some real mistakes.

    Place 1

    ALGPC - Leiffingwell
    SDA - No endorsement

    Place 3

    ALGPC - Shade
    SDA - Shade

    I voted for Kim in both and feel that a mistake was made. By letting so many clearly stupid people vote. I kid, I kid... I like Randi and think she's a nice lady. I just like Jennifer's tenacity better and think she's done a much better job than she's generally given credit for.

    Place4

    ALGPC - Morrison
    SDA - Morrison

    I gotta say, I'm disappointed Robin Cravey didn't get at least one.

    In other exciting city council endorsement news, BATPAC released their endorsements.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 18, 2008

    Roundin' up the TPA

    It is time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up. The round-up is compiled each week by the TPA based on submissions made by our member blogs and bloggers. This week's round-up was compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

    The leader of McBlogger's crack legal team has an interesting take on Gov. Spitzer's premium taste in hookers.

    TXsharon at Bluedaze asks if Texas Railroad Commission malpractice like this will cost you your life or only your health.

    WhosPlayin looks at plagiarism by a Republican candidate for city council: John Gorena, of Lewisville who lifted quite a bit of his website from a Democratic judicial candidate.

    Off the Kuff takes a look at downballot voting in the Democratic Primary in Harris County.

    WCNews at Eye On Williamson shines a light on the latest Texas GOP voucher scam in HD-52, Education Matters.

    Hal at Half Empty came across the latest production by the DSCC, and to his surprise and delight, found it was about (or going to be, eventually) our own senatorial candidate, Texas Democratic senatorial nominee Rick Noriega.

    Good luck unemployed people of Texas. The Texas Cloverleaf exposes Governor 39%'s recent appointment of GOP idealogue and fellow blogger, Tom Pauken, as the new chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission.

    CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme shows how Republicans shaft Texas workers on behalf of their business cronies. Insurance companies are forced to reveal medical data on perspective employees and unemployment insurance premiums are cut to give companies a 'tax break'.

    Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at a number of scorecards ranking Texas' Congressional Delegation in which Texas' Republicans score big, fat "F's" when it comes to children, families, the middle class, the environment, working Americans, and more.

    In "Bulletins from the front lines", PDiddie at Brains and Eggs advances some of the challenges the forthcoming Senate District conventions will face, with the expected huge turnout expected to overrun facilities and organizers.

    nytexan at BlueBloggin looks at the different delegate counts provided by the media and asks So You Think You Know The Delegate Count.

    Refinish69 at Doing My Part For The Left writes a Letter to Hillary.

    Fake Consultant takes a shot at predicting a perfect VP for Obama at Texas Kaos.

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

    Randi Shade likes queso (and, apparently, tolls)

    The city council elections are coming up May 10 and to say I'm excited would be like saying Tina Fey is mildly amusing. I'm ecstatic. Because of endorsement meetings with Jennifer Gale. That's right. That's what has me excited. You people that go to those meetings and bemoan the fact that you've got to listen to her are idiots with no appreciation for her unique comedic talents. Normally you'd have to pay cover and buy two drinks to get that kind of a show.

    I'm just thrilled to be quite honest and will try to make as many of her performances as possible. Of course, I will not be voting for her. I'll be voting for one of the other, less amusing though slightly more sane, nuts.

    McSleaze and I will be keeping a close watch on the candidates. Mostly because we want to see the moment when a candidate turns into a shit flinging monkey.

    Today though, we'd like to point you to a few things floating around, like poop in the toilet at that 7-11 in Round Rock I stopped at today. First off, there's David Mauro's breakdown of the candidates running this year. No Brewster isn't there so you'll not have a chance to vote against him. That's next year. This year we have these folks. Among them, Randi Shade and Cid Galindo stand out, kind of like a guy in a suit at Casino el Camino. Matt at BOR recently posted this piece about Randi and some of her contributors. Randi then posted this piece which is mostly interesting because of the back forth between m1ek, Sal Costello and Kedron Touvell. Oh, and me.

    Yeah, yeah... I know there are other issues besides the toll roads but can you think of one that effects as many issues as transportation infrastructure? Randi is coming across more and more as just another politico more interested in a short term fix than a long term solution that might take some work.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    March 12, 2008

    Montford receives one hell of an endorsement

    I don't think I've ever seen anything like this...

    Rosemary Lehmberg has been endorsed by Ronnie Earle as his hand picked replacement. She led the Public Integrity Unit for a time in Travis County and has been an assistant DA in Travis County for many years. She will continue on the policies of Ronnie Earle...policies that most Republicans are not fond of.
    For those Republicans that "crossed-over" to become Democrats this year, I ask you to vote in the runoff for Mindy Montford for Travis County DA. The Republicans do not have a candidate in the general election this year, so the winner of the Democrat Primary will be the new Travis County District Attorney. Put your new voting power as a Democrat to good use, and vote in the runoff for Mindy Montford.

    So, what Travis Monitor is (in effect) saying is that Montford will be more compliant to the Republicans? And that Rosemary Lehmberg will continue to prosecute political corruption, both Republican and Democratic? Are you saying that Republicans don't want to see public corruption prosecuted and Montford will sit on the prosecutions Republicans don't like? Would that include the one of Tom Delay? The same guy Democratic AND Republican Texans think is carnival scum?

    We're sticking with Rosemary.


    Posted by mcblogger at 09:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    CradDICK and Dewhearse SPRING into action

    You know, it DOES make me laugh a little to think of tweedle dee and tweedle dum 'springing into action' on anything. Far more likely that they'd be moving with all deliberate sloth. However, this time they are actually being aggressive on transportation funding... and it has nothing to do with tolling.

    The short letter — signed by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Tom Craddick, Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden and House Appropriations Chairman Warren Chisum — recommends that TxDOT borrow another $1.5 billion against future gas tax revenue to bridge a temporary financial tight spot. The Legislature, the letter promises, will make sure that some of the gas tax money now diverted to other, nonhighway-construction needs will be returned to the agency to back the bonds.

    Left unsaid? An increase of (and indexing) the gas tax which is what the majority of Texans want and what will likely happen as tolling falls completely off the cliff.

    TXDOT, predictably, shifted the response on the letter back to the Governor. Retard Rick's spokesman, Robert Black, said that 39% wasn't interested in any of this and that the Lege would have to reopen road privatization 'to the lowest bidder'.

    "What this letter is asking TxDOT to do is a two-year stopgap, two years of going further into debt," Black said. "A long-term solution comes first. Last year the Legislature came in and all they did was say 'no.' With the rate this state is growing and the needs and challenges we have in transportation, we can't afford to say 'no' anymore."

    Just as a side note, does Black rock or what? I mean, the guy goes to work for a terrible pig of a man who spends an inordinate amount of time pandering to every special interest that will listen and who may be one of the worst Governors in the history of the State of Texas. Seriously, when we look at his association with privatization interests and the political contributions from them coupled with his support for their cause... well, it looks an awful lot like corruption. And this is what Black has to work with. Robert, I know we used to make fun of you but I've developed a new kind of respect for you. What's your trick? Anti-anxiety meds with a vodka chaser?

    But back to the issue at hand... TXDOT's 'financial crises'. TXDOT said it was cutting all constructions projects because of a lack in future years of money to pay for them. Money that the Lege has simply not appropriated. Which is a bit like me saying I won't do my job now because I may or may not get my expense reimbursement in June, 2010. I got news for the folks at TXDOT... you let the Lege worry about your funding. You build the damn roads.

    I guess that's a big part of the problem with TXDOT right now. It's controlled by our idiot Governor, Retard Rick, and overly politicized. These folks don't really do their jobs, they don't know how. They're mostly political hacks. The other big problem is that THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO COUNT.

    TxDOT had announced the construction slowdown in November, citing inflation in construction costs and cutbacks in federal grants. In early February, at a hearing called by two Senate committees, TxDOT revealed that it had double-counted $1.1 billion in scheduling construction projects. That mistake, officials said at the time, had a lot to do with the crunch.

    The state auditor is now looking at TxDOT's finances.

    There's your funding gap, morons. GET. TO. WORK.

    And to our friends at the Lege who will no doubt read this, y'all need to go hyper aggressive against TXDOT. How about dismantling them next year and reconstituting the TTC to make it composed of statewide elected officials, like the RRC?

    Seriously, we can't afford to wait out Retard Rick. Hope Andrade alone could do some serious damage and not even realize it.


    Posted by mcblogger at 09:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 11, 2008

    Relevance and Unity

    One thing last Tuesday night made clear was that people are paying attention to Democrats. Recent polls indicate that more than 52% of people in the US are now calling themselves Democrats. None of this is good news to the Republican candidate who now has to convince people he even matters. Which, not surprisingly, even Texans are clearly indicating, he doesn't.

    While the Presidential race is going to continue and continue to draw attention, we in Texas have had our primary. We know, mostly, who our candidates are. Now is the time for unity. Frankly, I'm not all that jazzed about certain candidates who will represent us in November. However, the alternative is far, far worse.

    While we move in this direction, we should pay attention to runoff races. My two are the RRC race (between Dale Henry and some other guy) and the Travis County DA's race (I'm still for Rosemary). What's on your radar?

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Roundin' up the TPA

    It is time for the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

    Refinish69 joins John McClelland, Democratic nominee for Texas House District 64n in asking "Where's Myra"?

    Seems Shrub has a new title to add to his list. Torturer in Chief doesn't seem like one most people would want but then Shrub is a fool.

    Eye On Williamson wraps up Tuesday's primary. Dembones points out that Obama won Williamson County and SD 5, as well as the unprecedented turnout for the caucuses. WCNews has initial impressions and more impressions from the primary.

    Offt the Kuff has been busy poring through the data from Tuesday's primary, with posts about the blueing on Harris County, and a series on Republican crossover votes.

    The Texas Cloverleaf begs the question, who the hell is Mark Thompson? Is another dead dancer in our midst, or did voter apathy give us another odd run off?

    Where is Myra? State Rep Crownover is missing, and the Leaf wants you to watch a video to help locate her.

    PDiddie at Brains and Eggs wrote the advance story of Election Day in his precinct with "Today's agenda", and the postscript in "244".

    McBlogger had an exciting and mostly hateful Primary Week. Things kicked off with Mayor McSleaze's recap of the primary itself, while McBlogger took the time to bitchslap John McCain for taking an endorsement from some weird-o preacher in San Antonio and chastise adults for following the lead of a child. McBlogger finishes up the week with a plea for relief from a devastating force, Rachael Ray.

    BossKitty at BlueBloggin asks democrats to unite and explore Make It So! A Clinton-Obama ticket?

    WhosPlayin thanks his city's staff for the help in Tuesday's primaries, and wonders why the big deal about the use of the "M" word.

    John Coby at Bay Area Houston wonders When Hope turns into Whine.

    Vince at Capitol Annex starts taking a look at the March 4 primary, with the first of many Primary Postmortem posts.

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

    March 10, 2008

    I'll have water without the diazepam

    Feeling a little mellow? Maybe you find yourself developing erections without any provocation? Do you find that you're growing hair in weird places? It's nothing to worry about. It's probably just the pharmacological residue in your drinking water. Unless you live in Austin. Then it's just you being a freak.

    A vast array of pharmaceuticals - including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones - have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

    To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

    But the presence of so many prescription drugs - and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen - in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists about long-term consequences to human health.

    To expand a bit, we've got a lot of long term usage data about the effects of medicinal doses of Valium, for example. What we don't know are the longer term effects of near constant microdosages. Not to mention that some of these drugs are harmful to reproductive health at ANY dosage. The scary part? That bottled water you're drinking may not be safe either since most of it comes out of a tap.

    The good news? Those of us that live in Austin have no detectable levels of pharmacological residue in our water. The bad news? Austin's water has no detectable level of pharmacological res...

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 08, 2008

    Gore/Obama '08?

    According to Chris Crain, that may well be the outcome of a brokered convention. Stupid? Oh, fuck yeah. Chris, like most nutters, seems to think that if Obama doesn't get it the whole party will disintegrate. So he proposes a coup led by the superdelegates to install Gore in an attempt to maintain party unity.

    The only solution I see is for a group of wise superdelegates to begin a "draft Gore" movement, placing his name in nomination at the convention, and try to organize a large enough bloc of delegates to deny a majority to either Clinton or Obama ballot after ballot. After it becomes apparent that neither will get the nomination, I would hope Obama would throw his delegates to Al Gore, giving him the nomination.

    Gore is someone that the followers of both Obama and Clinton could get behind. Each faction would rather have Gore as the nominee than feel they had lost to their primary opponent. Feelings are that hard between these two camps. Gore just may be able to bridge these feelings as well as the fault lines in the party created by the two candidates.

    As a reward for throwing his delegates behind Gore, I hope Gore chooses Obama as his VP.

    This is the Gore/Obama version of the Gore/______ fantasy that's been making the speculative rounds since, oh, LAST SUMMER. Way to stay on top of things, Chris.

    The reality is that we've, in many ways, moved past Gore. There a supporters of both Clinton and Obama that would have a problem with Gore being forced on them from the top as in Crain's little elitist scenario. Of course, that doesn't stop him from predicting calamity should this deal not occur...

    Hillary Clinton's problem is that even if she wins big in all the remaining primaries, she will still trail Barack in pledged delegates. To win the nomination, she would have to convince superdelegates to overturn the will of voters, just as the U.S. Supreme Court did in appointing George W. Bush president in 2000.

    That result would poison the Democratic Party. Young people and African Americans would be angry, and the party would split in an ugly convention scene that would likely propel John McCain to victory. There is not enough time in the eight weeks between the convention and the November election to heal wounds and win. The irony is this is supposed to be a Democratic year -- and yet the Democrats are on a certain path to blow it.

    Barack Obama’s problem is that even though he will have the most pledged delegates at the convention, he is having a hard time tapping into the traditional Democratic base to close the deal.

    As someone in another forum pointed out to me recently, either way we lose a third. And I don't for a minute buy it. People are voting this year FOR a Democrat. Obvs, some have their preference and I can tell you right now that they WILL show up in November. Either way, there are going to be some people who'll have to vote for someone other than their preferred candidate. There's no way to avoid it. Quit crying about it, Chris.

    As if the whole article wasn't bad enough (in that annoying, back-of-hand-to-the-forehead, 'woe is me' way) he then drops the bomb on some of Clinton's adverts leading up to Tuesday.

    Additionally, Americans are showing once again that they can be stampeded by fear.

    Senator Clinton’s closing "3 a.m" ad was very effective, and Senator McCain is guaranteed to use the same tactic, probably just as effectively. And while Obama and Clinton battle each other for six months, McCain will define Obama however he wants to, so if the superdelegates nominate Obama, he will be so beaten up by Clinton and McCain, I think he will fail in the fall.

    Oh hell, that ad was WORTHLESS. If it didn't do as much as harm as good, I'd be surprised. For one thing, just from the professional perspective of people who actually produce television spots, it was bad. Like a cheesy attempt by a Democrat to copy a Republican. Whoever did should be shot for rank incompetence. Seriously, y'all, you folks are too nice to really pull off something like this.

    Hillary didn't win on Tuesday because of that retard ad. She won because many of us, WANT HER. Yes, we can is a hell of lot less powerful than YES WE WILL.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 05, 2008

    The Recap

    OK, so maybe I'm a little upset about the poor decision making on the part of some of you. Still there are some bright spots. For one thing, Hillary had a fabulous evening. Noriega is not in a runoff and one CradDICK D went down last night. Actually, CradDICK's money really didn't have as much of an impact as feared as Phillip points out. I'll go a little further out that Phillip on HD 78... I think this is a pickup in the general with Haggerty out of the way.

    Now, the bad news... Dale Henry IS in a runoff, with someone named Mark Thompson. CD 10 was bought and paid for by some self-financing from Larry Joe Doherty. Honestly, I'll vote for the guy but I'll hold my nose while I do it. There are some big issues where there is a little difference between LJD and McCaul. Maybe that will change, but for now I feel like we're putting up a DINO. I know from talking to people at my convention last night that people voted ballot placement or media. The few that saw Dan's ad voted for him. Most of them didn't, and those folks didn't have a decision making process that extending beyond "pick 'em" which they proudly admitted while festooned with presidential crap from head to toe. As predicted, the Presidential race sucked all the air and concern for the down ballot.

    The other massive disappointments were Maxey and Thompson. On Thompson, the Mayor has been on my ass for even thinking that he had a chance. Still, I had a lot of faith in Democratic voters especially to vote for their best interests. Maybe they did... but I fail to see how. The only people who have apparently benefited from Dawnna's reign have been members of her family and and a few developers with whom she has what can best be described as a special relationship. Maybe it is all a racial thing or even a homophobic thing.

    In Maxey's race there just aren't words. A Democrat who supports Republican voter ID laws will be our candidate. So much for Travis County being a progressive paradise.

    Sorry about the tone but there were some big races locally that really took me by surprise. One thing is sure, newspapers now have as much endorsement impact as the blogs. That is to say, nada.

    I'd seriously love to hear y'alls thoughts on all this. If you voted for some of these folks, tell us why. Email or the comments work great... if you're a trusted user your comment will appear without moderation. If not, I'll have to enable it but I promise I will.

    The one thing I feel certain of... the desire for change in Travis County didn't extend beyond the Presidential race.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 04, 2008

    Election Results

    Here's the Travis County results page...BOR also has a page up for results from around the state. We're going to do a recap manana. It's pretty clear Thompson lost and East Austin gets the Representative they deserve. I'm thoroughly disgusted by people who blatantly vote against their self interest.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 03, 2008

    In politics today...

  • Larry Joe Doherty is apparently distributing campaign lit that doesn't have a union bug on it or 'Printed In House'.
  • Things are getting really nasty in the Thompson vs. Dukes race for HD 46...First, the ethics complaint filed by a Dukes crony against Thompson has been dismissed. And then there is the ridiculous little lawsuit filed by Dukes' family against Thompson regarding the CTRMA's employment of Dukes' sister immediately before Dukes voted, as part of CAMPO, to turn control of Central Texas toll roads over to CTRMA.

    Sal over at Muckracker has brought this up a number of times. So have I. Why she declined to sue us is unknown. I mean, it's not like Sal and I are poor.

  • Laura Morrison's having an open house at her campaign office on Thursday after all this primary bullshit is over...Thursday, March 6th; 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm; 632 B North Lamar
  • Dukes Desperately Tries to Stop Thompson's Momentum: Has Family File Bogus Defamation Claim for Ad Based on Austin American-Statesman Reporting

    Just a day after the Texas Ethics Commission summarily dismissed a bogus ethics complaint filed by a known Dukes supporter against Democrat Brian Thompson, the Dukes family has filed a lawsuit against Thompson for a campaign ad that contains facts that were first published by the Austin American-Statesman in 2004.

    The advertisement over which the lawsuit has been filed can be viewed here.

    "I welcome the chance to have my day in court," said Brian Thompson, Democratic candidate for HD 46. "Since defamation cases allow for an open and extensive discovery process, I look forward to exploring Rep. Dukes's and Stacy Dukes-Rhone's alleged contracts and associations with numerous governmental entities around Austin."

    The baseless lawsuit takes issue with a campaign advertisement that criticizes Rep. Dukes for voting to toll roads while hiding her sister's $44,000 toll road contract.

    "Rep. Dukes's vote for toll roads and her sister's toll-road contract were well-established by the news media in Austin prior to this campaign," said Thompson.

    According to the Austin American-Statesman, Rep. Dukes was "feeling the heat for voting to approve a project that financially benefits her sister, Stacy Rhone." (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)

    With specific regard to whether a member of the Dukes family had a toll road contract, the Statesman makes a definitive and unambiguous statement:

    "As the American-Statesman's Ben Wear reported, Rhone holds a $44,000 contract with the general engineering company for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which will run the toll roads approved by CAMPO. Though officials with the general engineering contractor, HNTB, said Rhone started her public relations work in February this year, she did not sign a contract with HNTB until July 7, about a week before Dukes voted to pass the toll road plan."

    (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)

    The Statesman even called into question the suspicious timing of Dukes' sister's toll road contract: "The timing throws gasoline on a fire of suspicion about the toll roads." (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)

    The Statesman took Dukes to task for refusing to disclose the fact that her sister had a toll road contract:


    "It is her [Stacy Dukes-Rhone's] relationship to Dukes .... that has caused people to criticize the circumstances under which she got a contract with HNTB. That could have been avoided if Dukes had disclosed those details herself."

    (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)

    The Statesman offered two suggestions aimed directly at Rep. Dukes:

    "Members of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board should voluntarily and immediately disclose their potential conflicts of interest, and moreover, abstain from voting on matters that represent financial gain for themselves, business partners or family members."

    (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)


    "In the meantime, CAMPO members should publicly disclose their potential conflicts of interest, including those that involve siblings."

    (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)

    The facts are clear, and substantiate the ad.

    FACT: Rep. Dukes voted for toll roads.

    FACT: Rep. Dukes' sister had a $44,000 toll road contract.

    FACT: A sister is considered family.

    FACT: Rep. Dukes failed to disclose her sister's $44,000 toll road contract prior to voting for toll roads.

    FACT: Drivers all across Travis County are now paying tolls on toll roads that Rep. Dukes supported.

    In a previous version of the lawsuit that was leaked to the media before Thompson was actually served (which suggests that the true intent of the baseless lawsuit has more to do with trying to score political points than actually litigating a legitimate claim) the Dukes family attempted to sue Thompson for an ad that was not even his.

    According to a write-up on the Austin Chronicle web site, "The family of Rep. Dawnna Dukes seems to be trying to sue her primary opponent Brian Thompson for an attack ad he didn't have anything to do with."

    (Source: Austin Chronicle, "The Man Behind the Ad" available online here)

    The Chronicle confirms that the Thompson Campaign had nothing to do with the primary ad addressed in the leaked petition:


    "Now we've heard from the person who did create the ad: Sal Costello, the man behind the People for Efficient Transportation PAC (which runs AustinTollParty.com) and a perennial critic of Dukes, has weighed in. And yes, he confirms the ad the Dukes family quotes at great length in their complaint against Thompson is not a Thompson ad, but came from Costello's group, and is hosted on Costello's YouTube account. Isn't he worried that now he might get dragged into the legal battle? Not so much. "She's threatened to sue me personally, and it's always nonsense," said Costello."

    (Source: Austin Chronicle, "The Man Behind the Ad" available online here )

    For more information contact the campaign office at (512) 524-5682 or e-mail info@electbrianthompson.com

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

    March 02, 2008

    Roundin' up the TPA

    It is time again for the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

    Burnt Orange Report is covering all kinds of races this week. In addition to their notable endorsement of Obama and analysis of how he can win and his Presidential primary poll numbers, Matt Glazer has reported that State Rep. Kino Flores has some ethics violation troubles, beyond the $50,000 he received from Craddick supporters.

    Eye On Williamson has two posts on the upcoming Presidential Primary in Texas, Why I'm For Barack Obama and Barack can seal the deal in Williamson County. And locally, The Silly Season Is Upon Us - The WCGOP Machine Makes It's Choice.

    TXsharon at Bluedaze, while not a football fan, reports on illegal gifts of SuperBowl tickets to Phil King and Michael Williams. Considering that the most recent pipeline explosion sent flames 600 -700 feet into the air, we need Railroad Commissioners without conflicts making decisions that will keep Texans safe.

    WhosPlayin of WhosPlayin.com endorsed Obama for President and Aimlessness thinks Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia needs to go back to law school and get a refresher course on the U.S. Constitution. Talk about your "tortured" logic.

    Musings endorses Hillary Clinton for President,citing her toughness, service, compassion, ability to work across the aisle and her solutions-oriented approach to governing as reasons why she is the choice for a new direction in Washington.

    The Texas Cloverleaf digs up a report by the GAO that toll road public-private partnerships might not be the best thing for taxpayers. While at the same time, a new state rail system venture is brought back into the public spotlight in Texas.

    The Texas Cloverleaf gets its hide chapped when the Dallas Morning News endorses the primary opponent of Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. The endorsement is destroyed in typical Cloverleaf fashion.

    CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme wonders if James Leininger is giving up the fight for school vouchers, i.e. destroying public schools in favor a theocratic education. In any case, Leininger is distancing himself from Tom Craddick.

    Off the Kuff looks at the yard sign primary in his neighborhood.

    Team McBlogger has decided to swim against the tide and endorse Senator Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Primary. Then they compounded the good decision making with a trip to the opening of her Texas HQ in Austin to see Bill Clinton. You know, the guy who's married to the candidate. Apparently, a couple of thousand people also had the same idea.

    At Half Empty, with Edwards gone, Hal has thrown his support to Barack Obama. And, after a day of sAfter much soul searching, thought and input from great bloggers across the nation, Refinish69 has decided to endorse Obama for President in 2008.eething anger, Hal at Half Empty asks this question of the Republican Party of Texas, who are acting as surrogates for the John Cornyn senatorial campaign: Are you sure you want a dog in this hunt?

    After much soul searching, thought and input from great bloggers across the nation, Refinish69 has decided to endorse Obama for President in 2008.

    Open Source Dem at Brains and Eggs has`part two of "Texas in Play."

    BossKittyat BlueBloggin shows us that voting is still a major problem in this country considering Washington DC Has 10,000 Mystery Voters.

    Jaye at Winding Road in Urban Area endorses Hillary Clinton for President.

    John Coby's mom is for Hillary Clinton. "I can't remember when our country was in such a horrible situation considering the war in Iraq, our debt, our status in the world. My country is in trouble and I believe Hillary Clinton can begin to solve the problems beginning on day one."

    Vince at Capitol Annex notes that Marissa Marquez in House District 77 has been trashing bloggers, and endorses Hillary Clinton for president.

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

    March 01, 2008

    Color me impressed

    What many of you know is that we at Team McBlogger seldom unanimously agree on anything. Even when it comes to drinking we're wildly divergent. Some people prefer beer, others prefer real drinks. Obvs, the scotch drinkers are usually right. About everything. The gin and beer drinkers delude themselves into thinking they are right. Mostly because they're dumb (I offer, as evidence of their stupidity, their taste in alcoholic beverage).

    However, one thing we can all agree on is the need to acknowledge when one of our own does something incredible. Mike Nicholson has been hard at work for the Obama campaign making television spots. Really good spots.

    During elections we're inundated with bad TV ads. The good ones really stand out and the people that make those ads need to be acknowledged.

    Take a well deserved bow, Mike!

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

    February 29, 2008

    Matzo endorses Rick Reed; McBlogger spits scotch all over his dinner

    Normally, I'd be out to drinks on a Friday night. However, work was pretty evil today and after running errands I came back to finish up some stuff before going out later. While eating dinner I saw this and thus, the post.

    I like Rick Reed. I really think he's a nice guy. Now his campaign is crowing about being endorsed by this racist cracker.

    Photobucket“Rick Reed is the only candidate for Travis County District Attorney who has had the courage to stand up and candidly tell the voters of Travis County that, if elected, he will uniformly seek imprisonment for life without parole, rather than the death penalty, in all capital murder cases.”

    Now If you'll pardon me, I have a show to do and a fifth of Jamisons to choke down.

    This is what really angers me...

    “I am honored to have the endorsement of Kinky Friedman,” remarked Reed. “Kinky and I have both given considerable thought to this issue, he as a potential 2010 gubernatorial candidate, and I as a candidate for Travis County District Attorney.”

    OH REALLY, Rick? You're honored to have the endorsement of a man who made a joke about African-American children AND fucked up the Gubernatorial race last year, guaranteeing (with a little help from Team Bell and C4N3P) the re-election of 39%. If you're HONORED to have the endorsement of this douche then I seriously have to question your judgment.

    And I shit in Matzo's hat.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    UPDATE - CD10 : Endorsement Fun

    Dan Grant has been rolling on with the endorsements. He picked up the Tejano Democrats in Harris County and he picked up the Austin American Statesman. This is, of course, in addition to the plethora he's already received. He also picked up, earlier this week, the Houston Chronicle endorsement.

    U.S. Congress, District 10, Democrat Dan Grant - A graduate of the London School of Economics and Georgetown University, Grant has deep foreign policy experience earned as a U.S. Agency for International Development official in Afghanistan and Iraq. He favors an immediate pullout of the bulk of American troops from Iraq. Closer to home, Grant says his domestic priorities will be supporting policies geared to economic recovery and health care reform.

    Finally, I just heard that Dan had received the endorsement of long time Travis County DA, Ronnie Earle.

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

    Cornyn fights back (with a 28 gauge)

    Sorry, just couldn't resist another dig at an adult who claims to be a MAN and a TEXAN who hunts with a goddamn 28 gauge shotgun. What's the problem, princess? You afraid your shoulder will get sore? Of course, he's worried about more than that. He has to fight someone for re-election. Someone who's already making him his bitch. Which is why his dippy little campaign manager sent out an email talking about Rick going 'over the line'. See, Rick criticized his lame attempt to swiftboat him. He also thought Cornyn was pretty weak for voting against armor for our troops. Cornyn's not happy with that... he doesn't refute the fact that he voted against the armor, he just thinks Rick's mean for bringing it up. He'll of course claim this is patently untrue. Media Matters looked into it and concluded it was true. So did Vote Vets. None of that matters to Cornyn's campaign manager who thinks it's all really mean.

    Hon, this is Texas. EVERYTHING is over the line. Maybe you'd be more comfortable running a race in North Dakota.

    Lookit, R's. With every email you piss us and EVERY TEXAN off. You wanna play this as politics as usual, go ahead. However you're just going to come away beaten down like a baby seal. We're meaner than you and we know damn well this country and this state can't afford more of your mistakes. Our troops can't afford another WMD goose chase. Our people can't afford higher interest rates because you refuse to tax your buddies. Our economy can't handle your singular focus on high oil prices to help your friends in the energy industry.

    We're going to elect Rick. Period. We're going to bloody you while we do it. We're going to be ugly, nasty and downright mean. And the brill part is that all we have to do is tell the truth. We'll call out every lie and we'll make sure the rest of this state knows just what kind of a coward you are for voting to protect telcos and the President over the rights of your constituents.

    We'll never let them forget about their fancy Senator who hunts with a 28 gauge shotgun.

    While you're good and pissed off at Senator John Cornyn, go take his little poll.


    Posted by mcblogger at 12:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 28, 2008

    Hey Non-working slacker! Travis County needs YOU!

    Poll workers are needed to serve on Tuesday, March 4th. All poll workers to include Election Judges, Alternate Election Judges and Clerks must go through training provided by Travis Co. Elections.

    Trainings are being held both day and evenings now through Saturday.

    Pay is $7.00 an hour which is set by the office of the Texas Secretary of State.

    Please phone Travis Co. Elections at 854 - 9552.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Stupijectivity : Traditional Journalism's last refuge

    How many times have you heard someone in the press talk about how they must be objective, even in the face of blatantly false information? Basically, that they must present all sides of an issue?

    Think about this for example... under these rules, it would make sense to write an article about two groups of people you differ on what 2+2 equals.

    Some believe that 2+2=6. Others believe that 2+2=4.

    Simplistic? You betcha. Change it to this...

    Some believe that tax cuts increase government revenues. Other believe that tax cuts produce less revenue that would be obtained with no cuts.

    It's the same basic premise... one group believes that you get more than your inputs and receive a free lunch while another believes that you get exactly what you put in, no more, no less. The latter, in both cases is EMPIRICALLY right. That former 'argument' in the second example is pure supply side bullshit and it's completely wrong since it's based on the Laffer Curve and we're already taxing on the left part of the curve from which additional cuts equal diminished revenue.

    Welcome to the world of the stupijective.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Roundin' up the TPA

    This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

    TXsharon has a broken modem so Bluedaze is suffering but she managed to post about The RRC's approval of Atmos Energy's extravagant spending--bendover Texans. Also read about howPhil King meets Karma in Wise County and hear the horrendous sounds of the Barnett Shale.

    Off the Kuff offers his incomplete list of endorsements for the Democratic primaries, and for his birthday rounds up his complete list of candidate interviews.

    Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has blogged an eventful week or two climaxing with Paul Burka becoming a believer in the Obama Borg - Democrats can take back Texas. Wow.

    Over at McBlogger Mayor McSleaze commemorates Kirk Watson's Deer In The Headlights Moment while McBlogger, beverage in hand, watches the Debate and puts the smackdown on wingnuts still drinking the school voucher Kool-Aid

    The Texas Cloverleaf makes it back safely from Oklahoma City and discusses the National Stonewall Democrats meeting there, as well as the upcoming LGBT Presidential Town Hall in Dallas on Monday night.

    PDiddie at Brains and Eggs had a report on Obama's visit to Houston last Tuesday, and also noted the end of the Fidel Castro era in Cuba. Open Source Dem had part three of his "Texas in Play" series, entitled "Jim Crow Lives".

    Hal, who writes Half Empty, went to early vote last Wednesday and has some poll observations and some Fort Bend County stats.

    Bill Howell of StoutDemBlog reminds us of some Texas election history that is relevant for this year's Democratic Primary, in Don't Be Confused By Names.

    Muse was at the Bill Clinton fundraiser in Houston this week where she fulfilled a lifelong dream to touch him – handshake! She notes that not all college students are for Obama – witness the Daily Texan endorsement for Hillary. And, she receives an email where Obama encourages Republicans to crash the Democratic primary, to vote against the bad, scary Hillary. More Hillary stuff coming this week on musings!

    WhosPlayin tries to explain the "Obama Movement", and has a run-down of which Texas blogs are endorsing Clinton or Obama.

    Vince at Capitol Annex notes that the Texas Democratic Party has instructed county and precinct officials not to interpret election results for the media or political campaigns, and asks if national Democrats will still respect us (or call or visit) after March 4.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 27, 2008

    A word of advice... Keep your vote to yourself

    I've received a few emails today from good hearted people who wanted to let me know why they were voting against some of the endorsements we made.

    Keep in mind, I'd have absolutely no way of knowing HOW they voted, they could have lied to me or just kept their mouths shut. Nevertheless, they went out of their way to let me know about individual candidates where we differ.

    Frankly, I don't care. Vote for whom you want. We didn't publish (yes, WE, not just ME) endorsements as some kind of demand, we published them because they were the candidates we were supporting. Should you go with someone else, just keep it to yourself. We seriously DON'T NEED TO KNOW. And we're sure as hell not going to smooth things over and salve your conscience. If you did something you feel bad about, then feel bad about it.

    Don't look to us for redemption or forgiveness.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    February 22, 2008

    Loving me some Hillary

    Photobucket

    Hill's opening statement and her closing statement. Honestly, The Mayor and I were impressed and the crowd tonight was pretty clearly divided. We did, of course, differ on the impact of this statement...

    Hillary just said, "If your campaign is going to be based on words, I think they should be your own." Best line of the night. She added, "If you talk about change, it's not change you can believe in, it's change you can xerox." It's a good line, but... ooh. Ouch. Even the media didn't like that one.

    Does she have a tin ear? Or do people just love Obama and don't want to hear it?

    When she starts saying things like that, the first reaction is "there's a good line;" the second thing you think is, "ooh, I'm glad my wife isn't like that."

    For us, we were thinking..."Damn, I hope she gets to use something like that against Old Grandpa 100 Years In Iraq." Frankly, THAT'S the bite in the knife we need in this country. We need someone who cares enough about winning this election to pull out the stops and call bullshit.

    Obama came across as tired and irritable. Hillary had a sharp tongue and used it to great effect. The gooders watching the debate with us of course thought she was over the top. Get over it. Politics ain't an ice cream social in Texas. Feel good crap is only going to get you so far and then you better have something there. Obama's weak on that and that's where Hillary has her impact. She gets it. She knows how to fight and win.

    One last note... we got to see some OLD friends tonight, Mike, Melissa and Todd from our Austin For Kerry days. They're all about Obama. We love them anyway!

    (Photo : WMM - Taken at Guero's)

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    February 21, 2008

    It's crowded and I'm not liveblogging

    Mother Egans is packed like a package of tuna. Many old KAB people and some folks who are on the mail list who haven't been in months. Wow. The turnout is amazing all over town... Austin has effectively shut down to watch this debate (which may help explain the extraordinary EV turnout...more on that later).

    I'm quitting this now because liveblogging this from a BlackBerry is torture when there are two drinks in front of me.

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

    Debate-O-Rama

    As you no doubt are aware, the D Presidential candidates (GO HILLARY!) are in town tonight for a debate. I'll, of course, be watching at a bar with a scotch in one hand and a cigarette in the other that I'll be gesturing wildly with to show my support for HILLARY while other, lesser people (Obama people who drink beer, natch) will try to stay out of the way, lest they get burned.

    So who is covering all the madness? KXAN, of course! You can access their coverage here. They also have a cool new poll out showing a dead heat here in Texas.

    In other Presidential primary news some people endorsed Obama and Todd Hill over at BOR has a great piece up on the Obamathon in Dallas yesterday. Muse over at Musings is loving some Bill (so do I, but not in THAT way).

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Dan Grant and The Ad

    Here it is, boys and girls! Dan's television debut. I gotta say I love the endorsement contrast.

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

    Making the funny go away... The Watson Incident

    There are two rules in comedy:

    1) NEVER try to piggyback off another comic's work
    2) NEVER forget the first rule

    Hank Klinger and the always late to the party (to the point where they're hanging out with the dregs) TXGOP, sent out an email this AM about Kirk's little incident on MSNBC. The same one that ran out of funny about the time Kirk sent out an email OWNING the gaffe and making it just another part of who he is.

    We had three posts about this up by noon yesterday. It took the TXGOP almost 48 hours to get something mediocre out. Want to know why Republican's suck? Because they're stupid and slow and have all the comedic genius of Larry, The Cable Guy.

    You're lame, Hans. LLLAAAMMMEEEE!

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

    February 20, 2008

    Video of Watson v. Matthews

    We love Senator Watson but this is just some funny shit. Mostly because we're going for Sen. Clinton.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 19, 2008

    CD10 : NAIS on the brain

    Remember this post? It prompted this, this, this and this all in a very short timeframe. So what's the dealio?

    Well, for one thing, the information WAS up on Doherty's website. For another, KUT did pull it down after being asked by the Doherty campaign. The campaign itself has not, to my knowledge, distanced itself from the comment.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Dale Henry collecting the endorsements

    We've long said that Dale Henry is the most qualified person to serve on the Railroad Commission. Apparently, others are saying the same thing. First, there was the endorsement in the Austin Chronicle. Then Star-Telegram. Now the Brian/College Station Eagle.

    Add to them all the Daily Texan at UT. Nice work, Dale!

    Posted by barfly at 09:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 18, 2008

    Touble ahead for Dukes

    Matt's at BOR has been doing some great work keeping the spotlight on Dukes. now it turns out we haven't been the only ones looking at her. It appears that KEYE is also getting it on the action...

    Tonight at 10:00pm, investigative reporter Nanci Wilson of KEYE News will be airing an expose on Craddick Democrat, Dawnna Dukes. Yesterday, KEYE teased the story repeatedly. According to the previews aired yesterday, Dukes is running a defunct company that has accepted state dollars, her car has been repossessed, and subcontractors have sued her for non-payment.

    Perhaps she couldn't find a way to pay those bills with her campaign credit card.

    Tune in to KEYE Channel 42, or for cable subscribers on Channel 5 or in High Definition on 305 tonight at 10:00 to watch.

    And remember, Dukes's opponent Brian Thompson is having his final fundraiser tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Belmont on 6th. We are only $300 away from getting the $1,000 match from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous until the 8 day out report. Help raise $300 today.

    Could this be yet another in a series of questionable practices by Dukes? Can't wait to see what the people at KEYE have come up with.

    Finally, I'd just like to ask once again... where is that damn ethics report, Dawnna? It's been almost 10 weeks and nada.

    Posted by barfly at 02:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 16, 2008

    Clinton ... too many people

    Rep. Eddie R is speaking now. I can hear him but I can't see him because the event has split in two due to overcrowding... Too many people, too many fire marshalls.

    No joke.

    Everything's going smoothly and people are waiting patiently, but very enthusiastically for the President. If you're coming down, would you PLEASE bring me some scotch? I'm thirsty.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    If it talks like a Republican and thinks like a Republican

    It must be Nelda Wells-Spears. The reality, as Spears should know, is that illegal immigrants voting is a non-existent problem. However, requiring a photo ID to vote, instead of just a card, is a de facto POLL TAX. So then, the question becomes what does Spears have to gain from keeping the poorest among us from voting?

    In a time when gas is $3.00/gallon, why heap another cost on to the backs of our poor?

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 15, 2008

    ABA Judicial Preference Poll

    The Austin Bar Association (it's not what you think it is, trust me) has released their Judicial Preference poll...

    1: 98th District Court Robert D. Ettinger (D) 9.30%

    Andy Hathcock (D) 51.87%

    Rhonda Hurley (D) 38.83%

    2: 353rd District Court

    Madeleine Connor (D) 9.94%

    Scott Ozmun (D) 90.06%

    3: 427th District Court

    Jim Coronado (D) 72.69%

    Melissa Goodwin (R) 21.38%

    Karyl Anderson Krug (D) 5.93%

    4: County Court at Law No. 8

    Carlos H. Barrera (D) 43.35%

    John Lipscombe (D) 56.65%

    According to the release, this was a high turn out year.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 14, 2008

    AusChron endorsements

    Disappointment and joy, all mixed into one noxious cocktail. Think a manhattan made with cheap bourbon.

    US Senate - Rep. Noriega
    353rd Judicial District - Scott Ozmun
    District Attorney - Rosemary Lehmberg
    Railroad Commissioner - Dale Henry

    We couldn't agree more with these. However, it was the dual endorsements that began to show a trend toward the weak.

    CD10 - Dan Grant and Larry Joe Doherty

    They seem to like Dan and clearly found him to be more knowledgeable on the issues he'll face in Congress. However, they are buying to the hokey idea that Doherty's 'AwShucks' good ole boy manner will win votes and will charm what they perceive to be bunch of yokels in Houston metro and the mid-counties. Despite the fact that Dan is clearly doing well (at least in terms of endorsements) in Houston. And those people are anything but yokels.

    TAC - Glen Maxey and Nelda Spears

    Oh. Come. On. The TAC from Travis County has been MIA almost as much as Dawnna Dukes (who we'll get to in a moment). Glen is clearly the stronger candidate and a large part of the reason Travis County has a what they call a 94% voter registration rate.

    Not to mention their absolute lack of an endorsement of Judge Coronado who is clearly more qualified than his opponent. However, this pales in comparison to their endorsement of Dawnna Dukes for HD 46. There, they spend an inordinate amount of time chastising Thompson for criticizing Dukes' very bad votes including the one that led to many of the bad acts she was supposedly trying to stop, her vote to continue the corrupt Speakership of Tom Craddick. Without that vote, she wouldn't have needed to be such a "strong advocate of crucial social programs on the budget committee". Frankly, I think she could have done absolutely nothing and achieved the same effect. Everyone knows it was the rest of the caucus, NOT DUKES, who did the truly heavy lifting with the help of some Republican allies.

    While completely ignoring her absenteeism at critical times, they do chastise her for 'taking her constituents for granted'. What they fail to do is even take her to task for possibly profiting from legislation she helped to pass that also happened to benefit the film community. The same film community that helps make the Chronicle publisher Black's year during the SouthBySouthwest Festival.

    It should be noted that Thompson yesterday received the endorsement of the powerful League of Conservation Voters endorsement. Glad to see someone still putting thought into endorsements.

    UPDATE - This afternoon I was informed that Black was not involved in the decision to endorse Dukes. I apologize for the error but not for criticizing what was a tone-deaf endorsement.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    February 12, 2008

    The Debate

    Well, so there will be a presidential debate in Texas, here in Austin no less. If drinks are being served, we'll be happy to attend.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 11, 2008

    Notes on the TAC race

  • Oh, this isn't good at all. Recently, and after the recent Voter ID hearing, Nelda Wells Spears, our current TAC, was asked why she'd never taken the time to defend the right to vote in testimony to the Lege on their idiotic Voter ID bills. Her response is chilling...

    Ms. Spears response was shocking. She said she thought requiring ID and proof of citizenship when registering to vote was a great idea and something we needed.

    No one is sure if Nelda knows she was tacitly supporting Jim Crow laws and poll taxes. I would assume she does but lets be honest, so much has come out about her this cycle that it really wouldn't surprise me if she didn't realize she was actively supporting the disenfranchisement of minorities.

  • I didn't realize it but there IS a Republican who has filed to run against either Glen or Nelda, Don Zimmerman. His ass website can be found here. If you even think of voting for this guy you are out of your mind. Why? He takes publicity shots with people like Ron Paul and Gerald the Gargantuan. Oh, and he's a PaulTard, one of those people so in love with the Austrian School that they are blind to the fact that it's mostly a massive load. Of doodie.

    He also fought valiantly asked a bond issue that would have helped RRISD expand it's strained school system. He was operating under the assumption that portabuildings are good enough for the poor kids who have to go to public school. You're one hell of a guy, Zimmerman! Fighting to keep kids from going to good schools and receiving a good education. Here's a pic of him with his gross pals.


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

    There's a debate a comin'

    This Wednesday, Keep Austin Blue and the University Democrats will co-host a debate between Ray McMurrey and Rep. Rick Noriega. Here are the deets...

    The debate will be Wednesday, February 13th. Doors (Jester Center A121A) will open at 8:00 and the debate will start promptly at 8:15. Here's a link to maps of the area near Jester.

    The Brazos Garage is at the corner of MLK and Brazos, the Dobie Garage is at Whitis and 21st and there is a Central Lot at University and 20th and another at 20th and Whitis. Here is a map of the immediate vicinity.

    What is needed right now are some questions for the moderators (Karen Brooks of the DMN and Eileen Smith of Texas Monthly) to select. Please email yours here.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Endorsement vomit

    I thought I would wait and just do one post about all the recent endorsements out... It's like some rank tasting medicine. Better all at once.

  • Rick Noriega was endorsed on the D side of the US Senate race by the Texas State Teachers Assoc. over Ray McMurrey who is a teacher
  • CapCity YD's also announced their endorsements. I'd join this if I could find someone who'd take my money. I thought y'all loves alcoholic bloggers? Where's the love, Kim?
    U.S. Senate: Richard J. (Rick) Noriega
    U.S. House of Representatives, District 10: Dan Grant
    Texas Railroad Commissioner: Art Hall
    Texas Supreme Court, Seat 7: Sam Houston
    Texas Supreme Court, Seat 8: Susan Criss (in a runoff with Linda Reyna Yanez)
    Texas State Rep. Dist. 46: Brian T. Thompson (unanimously)
    353rd District Court Judge: Scott Ozmun
    427th District Court Judge: Jim Coronado
    Judge, 98th District Court: Andy Hathcock
    Judge, County Court at Law #8: John Lipscombe
    Travis County District Attorney: Rosemary Lehmberg (in a runoff with Gary Cobb)
    Travis County Tax Assessor/Collector: Glen Maxey
    Travis County Democratic Party Chair: Andy Brown
    Travis County Commissioner, Precinct 3: Karen Huber
    Travis County Constable, Precinct 1: Willie Joe Madison
    Travis County Constable, Precinct 2: Paul Labuda
    Travis County Constable, Precinct 3: Richard McCain
    Travis County Constable, Precinct 4: Maria Canchola
  • Dan Grant was endorsed by Rep. Senfronia Thompson. This is a huge deal for us, at least, because we love us some Senfronia!
  • Posted by mcblogger at 10:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 06, 2008

    The TXDOT hearing... doodie aflyin'

    Well, it's been interesting. First off was this article in the Star-T detailing out the problems with TXDOT's claims of poverty.

    Poor planning inside the Texas Department of Transportation -- and not a shortage of state or federal funding -- is to blame for an ongoing cash crunch that led the agency to stop most road work in 2008, members of two state Senate committees said.

    "I think we have an agency in turmoil. I think we have an agency in chaos," state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, said during a joint meeting of the Senate finance and transportation committees in Austin. "I think it's intellectually dishonest to blame Congress or the state Legislature for problems caused by poor planning."

    Then we moved on to the Trans hearing yesterday during which TXDOT got bitchslapped. Or did they? Sources have told us that members of the Senate Trans Committee met with TXDOT officials the day before the hearing a closed door session. Additionally, other's have called the Republicans on the commission 'chummy' with TXDOT officials during the meeting yesterday with the exception of Sen. Ogden who is really feeling the heat from anti-privatization forces. Not from the Stahls, of course, because they have lost all influence as a result of their sellout during the session last year on a toll moratorium.

    CapAnnex has their own take and a great quote from Zaffrini

    “The impression out there is that, really, this is a ploy to put pressure on us to go back to the toll road plan,” said Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, who said the Texas Department of Transportation is scheming to promote its own agenda.(DMN)

    Then there was this one from Ogden...

    “This is screwed up,” said Sen. Steve Ogden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “I understand how to do a cash flow statement. I understand how to do an income statement. This isn’t one of them. This is really bad.”

    EOW brings the point home by pointing out (again) that the Republicans who've stood in the way of gas tax increases repeatedly since 1993 are the ones who should bear the blame. These same folks then pushed through the privatization legislation in this first place.

    Finally, in what I'd like to call "To MOTO, with love", I'd like to take a moment to say THANK YOU to Sen.'s Watson and Zaffirini. Glad to know you guys are finally seeing through the bullshit and the lies. Welcome back to the light, kids!

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

    February 05, 2008

    Give Brian Some Love

    PhotobucketTravis County is the bluest county in Texas and on March 4th, voters have a chance to make it a TRUE BLUE Delegation in the Texas Legislature. Brian Thompson is running against Dawwna Dukes for District 46. Brian has received every major endorsement in the Travis County area and for good reason. He cares about the district and is willing to vote for the people of Texas instead of supporting Tom Craddick and his minions who have thrown children of SCHIP, stolen women's rights away each legislative session, sold out Texas land owners for the Trans Texas Corridor, and were instrumental in writing legalized discrimination into the Texas Constitution.

    Click here to help Brian beat Dawnna Dukes.

    Brian Thompson has been endorsed by the Texas Progressive Alliance. He has also been endorsed by :

    Austin Progressive Coalition
    University Democrats
    Victory Fund
    Central Austin Democrats
    Texas Environmental Democrats
    Southwest Austin Democrats
    Capital Area Progressive Democrats
    Teamsters Local 657
    Capital Area Asian American Democrats
    Austin Stonewall Democrats
    South Austin Democrats
    Austin Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus

    Brain has also been endorsed by Lon Burnam
    House District 80

    Lon Burnam is the only Democrat in the House who has voted against Craddick from the beginning. It is time we had more strong Democrats in the Texas Legislature who are not afraid to speak out against the autocratic rule of
    Tom Craddick and the devastation which is being wrought on Texas and our quality of life. The time has come to hold our elected officials accountable for their action and non-action when it comes to taking care of their districts and the rest of Texas.

    Brian is willing to work to make the quality of life better for all Texans and not just a select few. Teachers and students alike will have a strong advocate in the Ledge once Brian is elected. Women and children will not
    have to worry about their rights being stolen from them by the privileged who can buy their way out of any problem and are willing to let the rest of Texas suffer. Our retired teachers will not see Brian vote against a raise in their pension. Brian will be at the forefront leading the charge for changes and fighting injustice as an elected officials should be instead of skipping votes or voting the right way but not speaking out. It is time for strong leadership in HD46. Brian will be a welcome addition to some of the already strong voices for Texas and Travis County!

    Go help Brian today!

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 28, 2008

    Calling Bullshit : The Statesman loves 'GOTCHA!' reporting

    Here's a fun story... during a recent Ed Board meeting at the Statesman, the Board spent a large part of the meeting talking not about what the candidate would do if elected to the office for which they were running. No, they talked only about the candidate's personal life. The candidate was Glen Maxey who, in 2000, approached DA Earle for help with his then partner, Brian Eager. Eager was and is mentally ill and suffered from hallucinations combined with addiction problems. When he was arrested for a DWI as well as cocaine possession and faced jail time, Maxey went to Earle to explain that Eager was mentally ill and asked if there were any special treatment programs available through TDC. The DA, according to Maxey, didn't know anything about treatment for the mentally ill and went ahead with the prosecution, securing what they had requested... 5 years probation and 1 day of jail time. Eager received no treatment and was subsequently arrested and jailed again in 2003. Maxey and Eager have since split up and Maxey says he did not ask for 'special treatment' for Eager, other than about treatment programs for the mentally ill. Earle's recollection does not contradict this account since asking about treatment programs was, apparently to him, asking for a lesser punishment than his office was seeking.

    Now, it's well known the Statesman hates them some Glen so they aren't exactly an unbiased source. To be honest, I'm not really sure why the Statesman even endorses candidates since few people, if any, pay attention to them. As a sign of how seriously you should take them, Hank Gilbert who ran for Agriculture Commission was appalled that during HIS meeting with the board, Arnold Garcia appeared to fall asleep while Gilbert was discussing alternative energy crops, cane ethanol and how it could reshape Texas Agriculture and help us to kick the foreign oil habit. Todd Staples, his opponent, was a big fan of toll roads. The Statesman endorsed Staples.

    All that aside, are there any of us who can say we wouldn't ask for something similar for a loved one if we knew the DA? How much respect would you have for someone who didn't? For me, the answer is 'not much'. Despite the Statesman's sledgehammer attempt to paint Maxey as a politico demanding special treatment, all it really does is show that the man actually cares enough about people to try and get them help. I can't think of any better quality for candidate who, if elected, will have the power to foreclose on people.


    Posted by mcblogger at 12:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 26, 2008

    AFL-CIO endorses Grant

    Matt at BOR has the post up...very good news for Dan!

    In other Grant related news, it appears that Dan did have a role in the Kerry campaign in 2004. Which puts a lie to the rumors circulating around to the contrary.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 25, 2008

    Senator Watson talks to YOU

    Note from McBlogger: State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) was kind enough to write a guest blog for the Texas Progressive Alliance as we continue to push our TexRoots 2008 Slate of Candidates. Texas Progressive Alliance Blogs are publishing this guest blog today. We have a special place in our heart for this piece... click here to find out why. While we do get irritated with our Senator from Travis County from time to time, we do love him to death.

    A few months back, a certain progressive blogger took note of a piece I had published. This writer responded with an entry that was mostly complementary – I'd guess we agree about 90 percent of the time. But then, after hitting a point I thought was pretty inarguable, the writer called me a "MOTO."

    Most of you who read Texas' great progressive blogs probably know what a "MOTO" is. I, on the other hand, had to turn to my 18-year-old son (and pop culture crutch) Preston, who steered me to something called urbandictionary.com. There, I finally learned the truth:

    I am, it seems, a "Master Of The Obvious".

    It was kind of a frustrating revelation, partly because it's true. But if I've learned anything at all in my year as a State Senator, it's that what's so obvious to me (and to acronym-wielding bloggers) seems downright foreign to so many others – particularly the Republican leadership in the Texas Capitol.

    Here are just a few MOTO moments from the past few months:

    •It's wrong for a governor to use a 39 percent mandate to rig state agencies in ways that benefit corporate contributors, privatize public roads, and ignore the real health and educational needs of this state.

    •It's wrong for a lieutenant governor to wage a partisan campaign to ram through a voter screening bill that targets Hispanics and the elderly. It's worse to force a very ill senator set up a sick bed outside the Senate Chamber simply to block such a terrible, discriminatory proposal.

    •It's wrong for a speaker of the House to stand before a body of democratically elected officials who gave him his office, and then declare he has absolute power to ignore them.

    •It's wrong for Supreme Court justices to stretch campaign finance laws, or to ignore law and precedent in rulings that protect political contributors, or to take advantage of a politicized criminal justice process.

    •And it's very wrong for a high court judge to slam shut the doors of justice as early as possible, even when it means sending a man to his death.

    All pretty obvious, right? Well, not to the people who've run this state for all these years. And that's where we all have work to do.

    We are right. We are anxious to do great things for Texas, to restore opportunity, and to create reasons to hope for a better future.

    But we can't just know that. We can't just talk to ourselves.

    We can't assume it's obvious.

    We must make it apparent to anyone who cares about this state and where it's headed, and we must remind them of the most obvious statement of all: Texans cannot trust the Republican leadership.

    I'm talking about the political bosses, bullies, ideologues and figure heads that control the agenda, bury the opposition, and block any bill that runs counter to their dogma.

    I'm talking about the folks who are more interested in taking irresponsible pledges than in solving Texas' challenges, who will deny the most verifiable fact if it doesn't conform to their ideology, and who will embrace every budget trick before they level with Texans about what people are worth to them.

    I'm talking about the select group that's denied children health care at any cost, that's allowed our colleges and universities to become overcrowded, underfunded and inadequate, that's watched our highways deteriorate while forcing Texans to choose between crushing traffic and private toll roads, and that's denied and deferred environmental problems, leaving our children to fix them.

    Here's what's most obvious: only the Democratic Party will bring about the positive changes that Texans need and demand.

    That means we have to do all we can this year -- we must make it obvious -- that the people of Texas must challenge the so-called absolute power of the Republican leadership. Once we make MOTOs out of everyone, Texas will elect strong Democrats in 2008.

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

    January 23, 2008

    Loving Jennifer

    Ok, kids... local politics time. Councilmember Jennifer Kim is running for re-election this May. We've talked about some of her antics before but over the last year or so, she's become the kind of councilmember that many of us who supported Margot Clarke hoped she'd be. Yeah, she's had some pretty big PR gaffes but that's only because she doesn't have my head on her shoulders. Will's had them as well and I think many will remember Lee Leffingwell's captivating performance at DFT during the fight over the ballot propositions in 2006.

    Needless to say, our electeds at the muni level are human. Like the rest of us. Which means they screw up just like you and me. Sometimes to embarrassing effect.

    Beyond that though, Kim's stood up for Austinites time and time again. Her opponent, Randi Shade, seems like a reasonable and decent person. That being said she has a stink on her that won't go away. It's the same one that's starting to emanate from Will, that of tolls and overbuilding luxury condos downtown.

    If I'm elected, I'll work to solve our traffic problems, keep our air and water clean, keep Austin affordable for middle-class families, deliver reliable and efficient city services, and restore the community's trust and confidence in City Council Place 3. We can do better, and with your help we will.

    This all sounds great, but it's the SOS we get every cycle from candidates. 'Solve our traffic problems'? How'd you like to do that without money from the Lege? Keep Austin affordable for middle class families? OK, what part? Maybe plant all the middle class folks in the outlying areas while the Council and city staff work diligently to Manhattanize central (and no, this isn't an 'anti-density' rant... this is an anti-stratification rant, OK M1EK?).

    None of this is to say Randi's a bad person. However, it's pretty clear that she's fallen in with people that have convinced her they have the right answer. The same folks who have proven political poison for many. I'm talking about the Chamber and the people who control endorsements for the service unions. It isn't really the firefighters who endorsed Randi. It's the people who finance those organizations. The same folks also endorsed Cid Galindo. We talked about him here. He's also managed to raise $7,350 in contributions from just 22 people. Impressive isn't it? He says the donations are from a 'broad spectrum of Austinites'. I don't know about you, but I'd like to see any 22 people who could be called a 'broad spectrum of Austinites'.

    Shade and Galindo, while I'm sure they're nice people, as candidates are nothing more than the same old bullshit piled a little higher.

    And I'm goddamn tired of seeing tall piles of bullshit.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:14 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    January 21, 2008

    Tolls : More roads are on the way for WillCo and Travis

  • According to Sal, 290E's conversion from a free road to a tollway will begin this year, mostly because of a poor community response which was interpreted to mean that people supported the roads. As it turns out, not so much... the reality is, as usual in HD46, politics:

    I believe those early East Side meetings were contracted out to Rep. Dawnna Dukes sister, Stacey Rhone Dukes. Low income families were easily marginalized since advertising for the Phase II toll meetings was virtually nonexistent. Many East side families are pressed for time, some working two jobs, and have limited access to transportation, to attend public meetings in mass numbers. One of the public toll hearings I attended on the East side, in 2004, had less than 10 people show up, while West side hearings were often flooded - with hundreds.

    The East Side of Austin, known for low income families, currently has many times the double tax toll lane miles planned. When you also add 130 toll road, the disproportion is even more skewed, as East side residents would be "caged in" by toll roads. Federal law, Title VI (Environmental Justice) says must avoid disproportionately high economic effects on low-income populations. Title VI also states that we must “prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority populations and low-income populations.”

    Saddling the poorest part of our community with the biggest burden. Yep, that sounds like Dawnna!

  • EOW has some information up on the latest scheme to come from CTRMA ED Mike Heiligenstein and WillCo Pct 1 Commissioner Lisa Birkman, some kind of microconnector from RM620 to the 45 Tollway. Which makes me wonder why the hell Heiligenstein, much like Duke's sister, still has a job. I know Kirk reengineered CAMPO to load it down with WillCo people but even they can't continue to defend him. Most of them will be gone in the next two years, anyway.
  • Farm Bureau finally grows a pair! In 2006, Farm Bureau supported 39% and Todd Staples, two Republicans who have done a lot to trample the rights... of FB members. It finally appears as if Farm Bureau has finally had enough as a result of 39% veto of HB2006 last year.

    Dierschke: Yes, I was very surprised at the veto. It was inconceivable to us that the Governor that has stood in front of Farm Bureau members at dozens of meetings, who was professing his support for property rights, turned his back on farmers and ranchers and property owners.

    The reasons for the veto, what I’ve heard, really don’t ring true. We’ve heard some ridiculous numbers [of what it] would cost the state. But I really haven’t seen an official estimate when you come down to it...

    You can’t say to people, “We want our property, but we don’t want to pay for what it is actually worth.” We can’t have that in the state of Texas.

    We also heard from the Governor’s office that all the condemnation lawyers would benefit from the diminished access provision of House Bill 2006. That’s just nonsense. Actually, by more clearly defining the circumstances by which diminished access would apply, the need for lawyers would be much less.

    Then there was the ludicrous claim that House Bill 2006 did not apply to rural Texas. Tell that to the farmers and ranchers whose land is in the path of the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor.

    In fact, that is probably what the veto is about. For better or worse, the Governor has taken his legacy on the Trans-Texas Corridor. I think it is more likely that his legacy has already been defined by his property rights record, and it will not be favorable.

    Folks need to understand, though, that this is not just about the Trans-Texas Corridor. Anywhere, anyone in the state of Texas can have their property taken and be unfairly compensated.


  • Posted by mcblogger at 01:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 10, 2008

    Don't send them to Six Street!

    Austin has made Planet Out's list of the top 10 LGBT destinations around the globe for 2008. Which is kinda sad when you think about it...

    3. Austin, Texas Long known as one of the most livable, liberal and free-thinking spots in the country, the home of the University of Texas and the hip South by Southwest Music and Film Festival offers a rockin' music and club scene on Sixth Street, and an integrated -- and growing -- gay and lesbian community.

    PLEASE... Sixth Street? Did the mook who wrote this even visit? Sixth Street should be called Sicks Street, where everything smells like vomit from the binge drunks.

    Not that there's anything wrong with binge drinking...

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

    Jay Coxlie is yo mama

    (Word to the wise... be careful with the Cornyn links... not all of them go where you think they go)

    Apparently, someone tried to social engineer a schedule out of Sen. Cornyn's office and told them they were with McBlogger. Not so much, but to be honest I would have called to get a copy of it if someone had just asked. I'm as curious as the next guy about who Cornyn is sucking off up to for political donations.

    Yes, Senator Cornyn, we know fundraising has been tough. CradDICK is having the same problem. Really sorry about all that. It kills us. Really. Now, about that schedule, you can email that bad boy to mcblogger@mcblogger.com.

    All this makes me wonder if Selby's out of the loop on the R side or just not interested in doing stories that aren't fed to him. On a plate with a side of pork fat. The really interesting thing is that Sen. Cornyn's fundraising has been pretty lousy. We'll see it on paper soon enough. Maybe Gardner's waiting for that. He sure isn't interested in getting a URL right.

    It's WWW.MCBLOGGER.COM

    Lucky for Gardner that my server autocreates subdomains on the fly. Like this...

    www.senatorjohncornyn.mcblogger.com

    www.wgardnerselby.mcblogger.com

    www.tomcraddick.mcblogger.com

    Cool, no? Personally. I thought the whole thing was kind of a joke, much like Junior John's tenure in office. The sad thing is how the Cornyn people handled it... the boring nerds called Gardner. Had it been me, I would have sent a fake schedule. That would have been funny. Instead, the not-so-clever folks at Senator Cornyn's office decided to report it to Selby. Morons.

    ANYWAY, in other Cornyn related news, our Senator has agreed to debate that whacko Kilgore. Of course, they've yet to set a date and I'd be willing to bet $100 that one just won't come up prior to the primary. Because he'll have to be in Washington or something. Though, I have to admit... I'd love to see them out pander each other on their 'Christian' values. Especially since both of them are about as Christian as the Romans who crucified Jesus.

    Finally, we're going to have another episode of Cornyn The Author. In this edition, our very earnest but truly unfortunate Senator is talking about pecans which we're thinking he pronounces Pea-CANS. Because he's damn near a yankee (you did catch that he uses a 28 gauge shotgun, right?) and can't pronounce the word correctly anymore.

    Declared “the only tree nuts native to North America,” pecans appear early in the recorded history of Texas. Soon after landing on the Texas coast in 1528, explorer Cabeza de Vaca met the Mariame Indians—Native Americans who came to the lower Guadalupe River each fall “when the ripe nuts began to drop like manna,” according to historian Paul Schneider.

    Newly arriving Texas pioneers would later discover pecans to be a steadfast friend, creating enjoyment when other food was scarce.

    Early Texas publisher William A. Trenckmann remembered a childhood holiday season during the Civil War when the family Christmas tree was a “young wild peach tree.” Its ornaments included nuts and Christmas cookies created despite wartime shortages of wheat flour. “The baking was accomplished with corn meal and honey,” and “scalded peach kernels and shelled pecans were used for decorations.”

    The rest of the thing rambles on for a while about pecans in Texas history. Something about Governor Hogg wanting one at the head of his grave. Texas grows a lot of pecans (along with Georgia). Pecans are good for you (master of the obvious, this guy). Pecans are an important part of our history.

    See, I got that out in one paragraph. It took Senator John Cornyn paragraph after mind numbingly bad paragraph. My condensed version is way better. You'll die of boredom before you finish reading his tome.


    Posted by mcblogger at 12:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 08, 2008

    What do Larry Joe Doherty and Mitt Romney have in common?

    Apparently, a fundraiser. Via CapAnnex

    In a Republican primary, this wouldn’t make much difference. But, in a Democratic primary, it’s another story.

    However, the revelation that Larry Joe Doherty’s finance chair Jim McIngvale hosted a reception for Mitt Romney in mid-December could change the dynamic of the CD 10 primary–and not in Doherty’s favor.

    Not much of a political story but hey, it's a slow news day. LJD also did well, according to the campaign, in Q4 fundraising. What's surprising is that he's burned through more than 34% of his total funds, which included $100k from himself.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 06, 2008

    Austinite Of The Year, McBlogger style

    The other day, as I was stalking yet another foreigner who cut me off on MoPac, I realized there had to be a better way. I also started thinking about, aside from traffic, how blessed I am to live in Austin. One of the things that makes this city so amazing are the wonderful people we've elected to represent us. From the Bolton to Strama, there is some real talent and, dare I say it, genuine goodness to the people we've elected.

    Naturally, I thought of an award post. I talked to The Mayor about and he was less than enthusiastic. I mentioned that I wanted it to be Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and he perked up a bit. Then he read my original post which was all about the toll road vote and demanded (yes! DEMANDED) that I at least mention all the other good stuff Rep. Rodriguez has done. Like going to Ardmore, OK when the Democrats in the House broke quorum in 2003 in an effort to stop redistricting. He, and the others, exiled themselves to Oklahoma... the Cleveland of states... in an effort to stop the unprecedented mid-decade redistricting that gave the Republicans control of the Congressional delegation from Texas.

    Over the years, he's also worked hard to keep CHIP fully funded (unlike others we could mention), create real school finance reform, stop the insidious voter ID plans of that fatass Linda Harper-Brown and, in general, stymie all the bad policy coming from the opposite side of the political spectrum.

    That aside, what happened in October was something altogether different. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you believe in and to serve the citizens you represent. Never was that clearer to me than in October during CAMPO's vote on the Phase Two Toll Roads. There were a bunch of people who caved in to the Chamber (a politically devastating move) and there were a few who stood up and said 'Not to so much with this bullshit'.

    One of them was Rep. Eddie Rodriguez.

    We know for a fact Rep. Rodriguez was receiving a lot of outside pressure. Honestly, he could have voted for it and not hurt his chances at re-election. Yet he did what was right, something very uncommon in our coldly calculating politicians. As more and more of us begin paying attention and shining a light on things, this will hopefully become more common. Either that or we'll replace more people in elected office.

    For standing up for the people of Austin, we say thank you to our Austinite of the Year, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:31 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    December 28, 2007

    It's nice when smart people act, well, smart

    The AAS comes around on the gas tax...

    We talked about all this before and frankly, it's good to see the folks at the Statesman finally pull head out of ass and come to the same conclusion we and EOW reached more than a year ago. Here's some of the fun...

    The refusal of most state political leaders to even consider raising taxes, no matter how popular the use for the revenue or how obvious the need, is costing the state dearly. There’s no better example than local highways and the testy holiday exchange between state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and the Texas Department of Transportation.

    No one who travels the state’s highways, especially in and around its growing, prosperous cities, is unaware of the need for rebuilding and expanding existing roads, as well as building new ones. Central Texas is no exception.

    How to pay for that, though, has been a problem.

    Governors and most legislators since 1991 have refused to raise the 20-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax , even as inflation each year ate away at its value. In 2006, revenue from the state gasoline tax grew 2 percent, but highway construction costs leaped 25 percent, according to the transportation department.

    The exchange was the one between Watson and TXDOT regarding the lack of funds since the legislature killed the sale of public roads to private companies. Williamson and the other Transportation Commissioners are playing a dangerous game since public private partnerships are roundly hated by the public and the electeds know that. What's it all mean? There are some changes coming in the next session.

    Still, one thing did catch my eye. That bit about the 25% increase in construction costs last year. That number's from TXDOT. Which means it's highly suspect. But let's give the folks at TXDOT the benefit of the doubt (for now) and assume it's right. Exactly what does that mean? Maybe private subcontractors are bleeding the state dry? Maybe it's time for TXDOT to start doing it's own construction again? It's pretty damn clear that private companies are incapable of holding down costs.

    What TXDOT needs is some balls at the top, not people who'll bend taxpayers over and let them take it up the ass, courtesy of Zachry Construction. Which means the new Legislature, which convenes in January, 2009, better work on replacing the leadership at TXDOT AND finally fix transportation funding.

    EOW has some additional details on how Sen. Watson got screwed by TXDOT. While we feel bad for Kirk, we also think he shouldn't have made the deal in the first place. It was class A stupid and very politically inept. However, maybe my expectations were too high... it's pretty clear it's amateur hour at Kirk's office.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:06 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Help Maldonado

    Dig deep, my friends. Annie's List has agreed to match $15,000 raised by the Maldonado campaign by the end of the year. Go help her out!

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 26, 2007

    I'm frustrated when I can't sue

    I'm not really a litigation-happy person. Personally, about the only thing I care about in regard to lawyers is that they are back in their coffins by sunrise. I kid, I kid... well, at least I am about the 'care' part of that sentence. Attorneys have a nice way of fucking things up. Still, they are useful when you're threatened with 'legal action' or when you feel like making some asshat's life miserable. Which I wanted to do on Saturday.

    Unfortunately, the weak sister's over at Wiki have declined to supply me with an IP address. Bitches.

    So, whoever you are, you got a free skate this time. Enjoy it. If I ever find out who you are, you're going to want to spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder. Paybacks are a motherfucking bitch.

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

    December 21, 2007

    Gerry gets a D opponent

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketGerald Daugherty has finally drawn an opponent, Karen Huber. A SW Travis County resident who has grown more and more disgusted with Daugherty and his bullshit, Karen recently filed to run as a Democrat and will more than likely go on to mop the floor with Daugherty who richly deserves all the negative mailers she can send out.

    The man is a corpulent douchebag, shortsighted as hell and someone who frequently ignores his constituents, not to mention working diligently to make life hell for everyone else in Travis County.

    Good luck, Karen. Everyone here at McBlogger wishes you well. At the very least, you'll make the Commissioners Court more aesthetically pleasing.

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

    December 12, 2007

    Just what we need... a nutter on the City Council

    Yesterday, Cid Galindo announced his candidacy
    for Austin City Council, Place 4, the seat held by retiring Council member Red Tag Betty. His announcement statement includes such tired cliches as "we can grow the economy and protect the environment" and "we need to come together to find common ground." He also released a business community heavy supporter list which include individuals who've brought us gems like toll roads and million dollar condos no one I know can afford to live in. Well, that's not exactly true... I know some people who could afford them. It's just that none of them are dumb enough to buy one of them.

    What Cid's site does not mention are his ties to radical right wing ideologues. Part of Cid's resume includes his listing as President of the Galindo Group. A quick visit to their site reveals a prominent listing of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The same group that thinks tolls are great AND that creationism should be taught in school. As a scientific theory. They think it's positively wonderful that a foreign corporation will be siphoning money out of the pockets of Texans and sending it overseas. The same group whose answer to everything is 'PRIVATIZE IT' despite the widely available evidence that it's not a good idea for taxpayers. Because it increases net costs to taxpayers and provides little or no service improvement relative to the cost increase.

    The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is funded by the voucher obsessed, Republican mega-donor Jim Leininger, That may help explain their 'Let's Ignore Reality and Concentrate on what we hope will happen' ideology. Until recently, failed Republican and former Chairman of Appropriations Talmadge Heflin was an analyist of this
    nutter think tank before moving over to become the Executive Director of the Texas Republican Party. TPPF's other greatest hits include cutting funding to Medicaid, CHIP, and other necessary social services. Great folks, these people.

    Galindo's strong connections to the far right wing of the Republican Party doesn't end there. A quick look at the Federal Elections Commission and Texas Ethics Commission finds the Galindo family has given over $32,000 to
    Republicans including $10,000 to 39%. Who do you think will return the favor to buy the election for Galindo?

    Austin is a great town with some challenges ahead. Challenges we can meet but not by blindly following the failed Republican agenda. It's done the country and the state absolutely no good and it won't be good for Austin. Galindo may be a stellar guy, but he's obviously a ridiculous choice for the Austin City Council. Unless you want cuts in police, fire and other public services and believe all roads should be sold to the lowest bidder (provided that the bidder gives a lot to his campaign and those of his repulsive friends).


    Posted by mcblogger at 08:28 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    December 07, 2007

    Buy Toby's House

    Via the Statesman...

    In the market for a home? Futrell is looking for a buyer

    Austin City Manager Toby Futrell is retiring soon, so she and husband Don have put their Nortwest Austin home on the market.

    The 2,500-square-foot house, with four bedrooms and a big pool in the backyard, is on the market for $349,500.

    The Futrells have lived there since 1992. It was a significant upgrade from their first Central Texas house — a partly finished shell that became a five-year, do-it-yourself project.

    The City Council is on a fast track to name a replacement by Jan. 17.

    We've received word that Toby's portal to hell will not convey with the property. Apparently, she'll still be needing it.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 29, 2007

    Sign, sign, everywhere a sign...

    You know it's primary season when you start to see the political signs being put out all around town. Especially around Randall's where smart people go to early vote. And buy cigarettes.

    I know it's just around the corner and frankly, I'm ready. I love candidate signs, even ones like Red Tag Betty's and those stupid, skinny Gammage signs. What I don't love is seeing them too early. One candidate, Carlos Barerra , already has some of his signs up. Only problem is, TXDOT says you can't do that. Not until December 4th.

    Remind me...aren't judges supposed to, and please correct me if I'm reaching here, know the law?

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

    November 28, 2007

    New group formed to fuck up mass transit

    As if Cap Metro didn't have enough problems...

    CAMPO has decided to involve itself in mass transit by creating a new 'working group' composed of mostly retards so full of themselves and their stupid ideas that it's pretty clear no one takes the issue of moving Central Texans around seriously. Honestly, out of the names announced in Wear's article, only Wynn stands out as someone who could get things done, though we've recently been kind of shocked by his capitulation to The Evil. Honestly, if you wanted to do something to accelerate the development of mass transit in Austin metro, these are not the fuckos you'd task with the job:

  • Senator Kirk Watson - Oh, hell. He's too busy voting for toll roads that won't relieve congestion, lobbying the city for development lulu's and writing those asinine emails detailing the activities of his family. No joke, Kirk, I think it's gross as hell and frankly no one cares. Most people don't care about their own families and trust me, yours is even less important to them.

    Other than that, Kirk's not a bad guy. He just shouldn't be doing this. He should be working with Democrats in the House to get a good transportation funding bill ready for the 2009 Session.

  • Austin Councilmember Brewster 'Release the' McCracken - Every committee needs a weak sister and in Austin, Brewster is normally it. My only concern is that something of this scale and scope will obviously require a lot of face time in front of cameras and many working lunches with reporters. I only hope Brewster is up to the challenge. Personally, I think he is since what Brewster does best is promote Brewster (his second best talent is running from Toby). Of course, he'll forget about promoting mass transit development, but that's to be expected. Brewster is, after all, running for Mayor and he needs to remind people why they need him. You know, since many of his think he's more hindrance than help.
  • Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketTravis County Pct. 3 Commissioner Gerald Daugherty - Fuckall. This 'tard hates public transport more than he hates the 'goddamn commies' who he thinks we're still fighting. He's another political dead man walking... Daugherty wouldn't be missed if he lost his re-election next year which he probably will as part of a project to beautify the Commissioner's Court by removing him from it. Gerry, why don't you follow Mikey's lead and retire. God knows, it'll cause some tears. OF JOY.





  • Retiring State Representative Mike Krusee - OH. COME. ON. He's throwing in the towel and taking some time off from all the hard work he's done to privatize infrastructure in this state to benefit private corporations at the expense of Texas taxpayers. Why would he want to get into this? He's no more an advocate for public transportation than Gerry The Ogre. In fact, Krusee and Daugherty on this thing makes me think CAMPO isn't, in any way, serious about mass transportation.
  • Seriously, you people never thought about tasking Capital Metro with developing it's own working group from stakeholders and letting them develop a plan that addresses the needs of the citizens of Central Texas? If funding is the issue, then why the hell was everyone so excited about all the new funding that would come into Cap Metro from CAMPO's new toll roads?

    At a recent Keep Austin Blue meeting on transportation issues, someone brought up just this very thing. It's obvious that all the stakeholders need to come together and get something done. Cap Metro, given it's task of operating mass transit systems (including rail) should lead that effort. Not people like Brewster and Gerry The Ogre.

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

    Shut up, Will

    You know, normally I'd find this funny. Then I realized he's just being a titty baby. In the end, he didn't solve the problem and instead just wasted time acting like an asshole. Get back in your car, Will. Endure shitty traffic like the rest of us.

    Especially since you are one of the people pushing for (and benifitting from) all the construction that's causing our current traffic problems.

    (h/t to Pink Dome)

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 27, 2007

    Don’t come to my window, Melissa

    No, not that one. The one in question is Melissa Goodwin, who Governor 39% appointed as judge of the newly created 427th District Court in Travis County, and sacrificial lamb in next’s year election.

    Actually, we should thank Perry because she will get whipped like she did in last year’s JP race when Susan Steeg humiliated her. Why did she lose? Largely, Steeg was smarter, more experienced, better organized, and has great ideas on conducting court business. Goodwin’s part in defeat – well, she thinks she’s special.

    Last Saturday, the Statesman’s fluff piece about her reminds you of a Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce press release to the Austin Business Journal, or at least an affirmation piece in the Hyde Park Baptist Sunday bulletin. Seriously, is the Statesman hiring grads from Liberty or Regent?

    Goodwin says, “I don’t like to ask for help.” Her mother talks about her daughter’s independence coming from her European immigrant grandparents. Whatever.

    That 39% lifted her from the political garbage heap speaks volume about her “independence”. What do you expect from conservatives? The same old baloney – Everybody has to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, except them because there is always some special circumstance.

    Enjoy the sweetness, Melissa. By this time next year, you’ll be back on the heap.

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 05:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 18, 2007

    Why do you people even bother?

    Austin's malevolent City Manager, Toby Futrell, has survived another attempt by some members of the City Council to usurp some of her power.

    The issue was an obscure one but with obvious repercussions. Should city council members have the authority to hire the city’s attorney, who is currently appointed by… you guess it, the city manager? Lee Leffingwell and Mike Martinez said yes and suggested letting voters decide for ourselves next May. Even Jennifer Kim eventually signed on.

    Back in the pre-Futrell era, voters had rejected a similar proposal. But proponents were betting that Austin has had quite enough of Toby’s tyranny and that taking control over the city attorney who gives the city manager legal cover would be a good thing. You know, accountability, separation of powers, all that stuff.

    But don’t count on it. Sheryl Cole sprang to life long enough to lobby for keeping things as cozy as they are. Lame ducks Will Wynn and Betty Dunkerley were in her corner. Brewster McCracken’s vote gave them the majority, and the proposal died a quiet death.

    The issue was decided in a cage match that featured He Who Stands Up To Toby, fighting for his life along with the other strong council members while the weak ones (Brewster, Cole, Wynn and Red Tag Betty) caved in and were whimpering in the corner. Once the fighting was over, Brewster proudly removed one of his kidneys to present as a treat to Toby.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 09, 2007

    Do we really need a massive condo development on Lake Austin Blvd?

    Jennifer Kim is asking people in Austin to come out to the UT Regents meeting where they will be deciding the fate of the Breckenridge tract which includes the massive block of land bounded by Enfield, Exposition and Lake Austin Blvd.

    Oh, it's by the Randall's and Maudie's off LAB. You know damn well where it is.

    Personally, I think UT is trying to sell at the top and from a financial standpoint they are wise to do so. The city should then rezone the tract because more dense development is not optimal there.


    Posted by mcblogger at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 02, 2007

    The Bacheloser!

    The AusChron is asking people to vote for the least eligible bachelor in Austin.

    I love me some mean! And I totally voted for Rick (sorry, Rick... partially because he's almost a bloodsucking attorney. I would have voted for Harry but he's already married) mostly because of the plastic bag thing.

    What? Oh, come on! You know damn well you're not going to carry canvas and you'll be all the time bitching if his little plastic bag ban actually gets passed. Paper bags are for LIQUOR and nothing else. Because they suck.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 31, 2007

    Rules for trick or treating my house

    1) If you don't have a costume, fuck off you little twerp.

    2) If your costume is 'teen slut' without even a hint of irony, then fuck off skank.

    3) If you have obvious teenage acne, get a job you shiftless loser and buy your own candy.

    4) The greeting is 'trick or treat' not 'can I have some candy'. 'Tard.

    5) If you're old enough to drive WTF are you doing asking me for candy? Why aren't you out drive by egging your friends?

    6) Don't. Comment. On. My. Candy. I have good shit and bad shit. Say something and see which I give you.

    7) Yes. I'm drinking and smoking. Get over it.

    Happy Halloween!

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 24, 2007

    TPJ : Austin's Spendthrift City Council

    With the city council elections coming up next year, it's worth talking about all the great incentives that our marvelous city council has lavished on companies that promise to move or expand here. Simply put, as this TPJ report discovered, the incentives cost Austinites more than $100 mm and, as it turns out, weren't even necessary.

    In August, city development staff made a presentation to a subcommittee of the Austin City Council on existing incentive agreements. Council members wanted to review the effectiveness of this program. The presentation estimated that the city had committed itself to $80 million in development incentives. Yet a Texans for Public Justice review of the underlying agreements found that this estimate omitted at least $37 million of program costs, including subsidies from city-owned Austin Energy and rebates of city fees.

    The total $117 million cost of the city’s incentive deals is equal to the city giving away the average annual property-tax revenue for 128,635 homes.3 The city says it must divert some public funds from such public assets as parks, libraries and public safety programs to entice private businesses to generate jobs and economic growth.

    Yet the city counts torrid growth among its most urgent challenges and it even earmarked $5.4 million of its 2008 budget for managing this growth. For the foreseeable future, businesses will continue to invest in Austin en masse without a publicly subsidized handout. While depressed areas can make an argument for such incentives, does publicly subsidized growth constitute smart growth in the Live Music Capital of the World?

    Let's be honest... if the economy in Austin were in the toilet (it isn't) or our citizens were a bunch of uneducated trash (they aren't) or if Austin was a relatively high tax area (which it sooo isn't) then abatements would make sense. However, none of that is true and that's why giving the abatements just to give them is stupid, short sighted, and (probably the most offensive) VERY anti-capitalist.

    Check out the rest of the article for information on companies that either came here or expanded without the incentives. And of course, the most offensive of the abatements, the one for the Domain. Unfortunately, bad tax policy and ridiculous development incentives aren't limited to Austin. Even Hutto has been touched by them.

    EOW a few weeks ago posted about the City of Hutto granting a massive tax break to the Carmel Creek developer. The funniest thing is the idiot Hutto Mayor Love (via the AAS)...

    Hutto approves incentives to retail developments on a case-by-case basis, City Manager Ed Broussard said. The recently approved package provided the city leverage in reaching a separate agreement that gives it more control over landscaping, parks and other infrastructure on the site, he said.

    Giving up a portion of the sales tax was necessary for Hutto, Love said.

    “If the complex wasn’t there, what sales tax would we have?” he asked.M

    Hutto is rapidly expanding due to cheap housing and the higher relative cost of living in Travis and Southern WillCo. Since people are moving there, retail is going there as well. Because retail goes where the people are. Retail should never receive abatements. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

    Mayor Love, much like some of our leaders in Austin, you don't understand how and when incentives should be used. You're like very green salesman, willing to give up everything just to close the sale and then finding excuses as to why it was a great deal. Problem is, there's always someone better and smarter than you to burst your dumb little bubble.


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

    October 14, 2007

    Hope for the future

    We've talked a lot about transportation here with an emphasis on tolling and infrastructure privatization. Many of you around Texas and the nation have been able to follow what's going on in our corner of the world, even if you've felt a little left out or overwhelmed by some of the specifics. I know this because you've taken the time to email me and tell me that you're not following me on some of this stuff. 'Why are you so concerned with tolls?' is a common question.

    It's simple. Infrastructure privatization and tolls aren't a good deal for the citizens of Austin. It's more than likely not a good deal for you in your area. To recap, it's the most expensive option for funding infrastructure improvements, toll taxes are extremely regressive and it leaves open the door for infrastructure privatization.

    Which brings me to what happened last Monday night. Four people stood up for the people of Central Texas. One of them was Representative Eddie Rodriguez. Despite all the hype about tolls being the transportation panacea, Rep. Rodriguez made a decision based on research, common sense and what's best for his constituents.

    He also noticed that the plan, touted by the AAS, Chamber and a certain overreaching State Senator as relieving congestion, didn't do ANYTHING to relieve our current congestion points. In fact, even after these roads are built our congestion will get worse.

    In the wake of this, comes opinions out of the Statesman, which has been unabashed in their support of tolling, despite the fact that it doesn't fix our traffic problems. They spent a recent editorial lauding CAMPO and their great decision. Never mind the fact that they've been convinced that tolls are the only way by some really poor decision making. Their point has been 'indexing the gas tax would be best, but that's not going to happen so we have to take what we can get'. What they fail to mention is that the Lege is going to change dramatically as political power realigns in this state in 2008. They also fail to mention that should things change and TXDoT shift back to a bias for free roads, we can't undo what's done. In other words, CAMPO made a decision out of desperation and stupidity which we're all stuck paying.

    Well, some members of CAMPO did.

    A true public servant is someone who can withstand massive amounts of pressure from all sides and do the right thing. We know that Rep. Rodriguez was receiving the same pressure from members of the Chamber that Councilwoman Kim and the other 'no' votes received. On behalf of everyone here, thank you for standing up to it and doing what's best for all Central Texas. You voted not to tie Central Texas taxpayers to this ridiculous project. We won't forget that.

    Rodriguez is someone everyone in Texas should know. He's a leader, in the truest sense of the word. He's the future of the Democratic Party in Texas, one of many who'll be doing the heavy lifting to make our state a better place for all Texans.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 11, 2007

    Tolls : New lights making for some happy voters

    Gotta say, this comes as one hell of a surprise...

    That's also when new traffic lights on Texas 71 at Texas 130 were turned on. Before then, there was no light on Texas 71 between Ross Road east of Onion Creek and FM 973 near the airport, a stretch of about a mile and a half.

    The new luminous obstruction, according to some of the e-mails and calls I've been getting, initially added at least 15 minutes to some people's morning commute. One Bastrop resident says her commute ballooned from 30 minutes to 80 minutes or more. One person wrote, perhaps engaging in hyperbole, that the backup extended as far as 10 miles.

    What about the 'no new lights' promise from TXDoT's Bob Daigh and our representatives on CAMPO? Turns out, not so much...

    A couple of things stand out here. Wear, in his typically pedestrian way, wends around to it at the end. The light has to be there because there are no flyways from 71 to 130 and vice versa. As for why, I'm thinking it's probably too expensive and as we all know, TXDoT's hardly been a good steward of the public's funds... remember those flyways at 45/35? Same thing here. I guess TXDoT's retards think if they don't budget for it, we don't need it. As always, they are Johnny On-The-Spot with the most incomplete solution.

    Given all that, you have to put in lights because God knows they aren't going to spend money creating an express pass through for folks on TX 71 who've NEVER had to stop at this intersection before. Now, traffic on 71 is what some would call pretty heavy due to commuters. Traffic on 130 is non-existent for the most part. So what kind of sense does it make to have the lights going green on both roads for roughly the same amount of time? TXDoT never heard of a simple optical sensor? I have one in my garage they can use if they need it. It can trip the light and go green on 130 when a car shows up that needs to go east on 71. That makes much more sense than timing a light for nonexistent traffic.

    TXDoT is not only giving us an expensive solution, it's not even a complete solution. Great work, y'all! Thanks for angering people in Bastrop County and Eastern Travis County!

    Just for fun, in the wake of CAMPO's decision on Monday, comes a News 8 poll that doesn't bode well for those seeking re-election. I told you people were 'upset'


    Posted by mcblogger at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 09, 2007

    Tolls : CAMPO drops us in the grease, Eckhardt puts aloe on the burn

    You had to be there to believe it. The anti-toll faction even at this, the meeting to vote on the TIP which included few public comments, was still 50-55% of the crowd with the balance made up of folks who were either undecided or those who worked for the Chamber.

    It's rare, but not unknown, for me to see an organization with minimal political power decide to squander what little remains. All the Chamber has done is unify the anti-toll right with the left which already hated the Chamber and is functionally capable of electing their candidates anyway. I feel bad for the Chamber because they'll think they got their way (the TIP was going to pass with or without their dumb campaign) but really all they did was fully marginalize themselves into irrelevance, especially in west Austin. Their endorsement will be nice and poisonous.

    The vast majority of the anti-toll people at the CAMPO meeting last night weren't liberal Democrats. Most of them are moderate to conservative Republicans with a heavy salting of Libertarians. Traditionally, they are the pro-business folks a Chamber endorsement would appeal to. Not so much anymore. I saw three groups tonight taking pictures and gathering names of those who were part of TakeOnTraffic... they'll be looking for these people on ethics filings from now to eternity.

    So, the TIP passed and Senator Watson will get his toll roads. Here's the list of those that voted for all of them...

    Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, Texas Department of Transportation Austin district engineer Bob Daigh, Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, Austin City Council Member Betty Dunkerley, Kyle Mayor Miguel Gonzalez, state Rep. Mike Krusee, Cedar Park Mayor Bob Lemon, Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long, Round Rock Mayor Nyle Maxwell, Austin City Council Member Brewster McCracken, Georgetown Mayor Gary Nelon, former Austin Mayor Pro Tem John Trevino and Austin Mayor Will Wynn.

    Judge Biscoe looked as out of place as I've ever seen him. He won't last another cycle. Daugherty is in serious trouble and will likely be gone in 2008. Red Tag Betty is already gone, as is Brewster. Brewster tonight saw his political flame flashout and with it his hopes of being Mayor. No, Brewster, the Chamber can't help you. Truth be told, they didn't do anything for Will either (I worked on the campaign, they helped as much as they hurt). What got Wynn re-elected was the fact that Danny Thomas was a psycho homophobe and Jennifer Gale was, well, Jennifer Gale. Wanna see nasty, Brewster? Just wait for the endorsement meetings. People don't like you anyway and you've just given them another reason to treat you like shit.

    Will, you've been a real disappointment on this issue. We all see we need roads, but you let impatience get the better of you. That was stupid.

    As for the WilCo folks, Krusee's toast and Maxwell will join him in irrelevance. Cedar Park is a gray area for me but if the crowd tonight was any indication, I think Lemon is going to have issues as well.

    As for the others...

    Watson voted yes on four of them and recused himself on U.S. 290 East because he is a director of a bank with land along U.S. 290 East in Elgin. And Travis County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt voted yes on all but Texas 45 Southwest.

    Eckhardt voted yes as part of a deal to get amendments passed to the TIP (see below). Watson voted yes because he's a dumbass. To wit...

    "We're not left with the ability to just say no," Watson said after the meeting adjourned. "Because if we just say no, then we saddle our community and our children with even more congestion."

    Senator, enough with the hyperbole. You failed, along with your colleagues, to do anything about transportation funding last session so your talk about not being left with alternatives is worthless because you didn't do anything to create them. All those opposed were asking you to do was think about the long term impact of what you were doing and work hard for an alternative in 2009. You failed to even do that.

    We have long term transportation funding problems in this state and they have to be fixed. You don't accomplish that by caving into TXDoT and saddling taxpayers, most of whom are your very constituents, with mountains of debt serviced by exorbitant tolls. It's irresponsible and stupid, Kirk.

    Suprisingly, it's the no votes that were most interesting...

    "I do believe there is enough money to do some or all of these roads as free roads," said CAMPO board member Jeff Mills of Sunset Valley. "TxDOT just isn't going to do it."

    Mills voted against all five, as did Austin City Council Member Jennifer Kim, state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and Hays County Judge Elizabeth Sumter.

    Mad props to all those with the intelligence to stand up to TXDoT's plan and say 'NO'.

    Remember Eckhardt's yes vote? Here's why...

    The board also voted on a set of four "covenants" as amendments, setting out how excess revenue would be spent, stipulating that the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority would operate the roads and mandating that each road have as much or more free capacity as at present.

    Just so you know, this was ALL Eckhardt. She was the one that forced these amendments. Why? Because she knew as we all did that the TIP would pass. She tried to make it as palatable as possible. One of the amendments stipulated funding from tolls to fund public transportation expansion, something that I don't think anyone can complain about. This will, of course, be the silver lining in a very dark storm cloud. EOW has more on Eckhardt's vote. NONE of the other yes votes offered anything similar.

    The money quote comes from Krusee...

    "We took a year this time to make sure everyone knew what they were voting on and what the consequences would be," Krusee said.

    Yep. And now what comes next is inevitable. Which brings to mind an interesting conversation I had with one of the Chamber folks I happened to know. I explained to him that they'd really cut their own throats politically and that many of the people up on that stage wouldn't hold office after 2008 and 2010. He laughed and said something to the effect of 'Sal (Costello, head of the Austin Toll Party) didn't have the ability to be really effective'. I replied, 'Who said anything about Sal?'.

    Make no mistake, y'all made a lot of enemies last night. Common cause is a powerful force.

    Finally, there are two issues that have been bugging about this TIP.

    1) None of this, other than super expensive toll road at the Y in Oak Hill, does a damn thing to solve our current congestion issues which are primarily related to bottlenecks on existing freeways. It never occurred to CAMPO that we had some more pressing issues?

    2) If the toll revenue fails to be less than what's needed to service the debt used to build the roads, who's going to pay? Property taxes, anyone?

    Thanks a bunch CAMPO! You've just made tolling an issue all the way into the 2010 cycle.

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

    October 08, 2007

    Tolls : For anyone waffling on the TIP

    Via EOW comes word that of the public comments received to date, 75% have been anti-toll. Just a little something interesting for those of you about to vote on a massive infrastructure project this evening. The decision you make could potentially saddle us with BILLIONS in new taxes for the next 50 years and do little to alleviate the traffic problems we have now.

    Don't focus on how regressive the gas tax is. What you're thinking about doing is FAR more regressive as the tolls are more expensive and will effect us all.

    We're counting on you to do the right thing and tell TXDoT that their plan for Central Texas is unacceptable. I'm not going to lie, what we're asking you to do is not only kill this plan, but develop a better one. Neither will be easy. However, if you're the leaders you claim to be, it's exactly what you have to do.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 06, 2007

    Gross...

    There is a festival next Saturday. In Round Rock. As if that wasn't enough to get you up and on your way, I think this will pretty much do it.

    If you go, I want pictures. I've heard that Betty Brown and Bill Zedler will be competing.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 03, 2007

    Tolls : What CAMPO should fix...

    Talking with Sister Ruth and The Mayor Saturday it became clear that there are a few choke points on Austin roads that, if fixed, would make life in Central Texas much better. It also brings to mind a conversation I had with Rep. Eddie Rodriguez about the upcoming vote on October 8th. What do you fix? What projects make the most sense? How do you best spend the money we have NOW?

    Here are some ideas. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.

    1) Widen or deck MOPAC from 35th St to the 290 interchange
    2) Go with Fix 290's plan for the Y at Oak Hill
    3) Flyway from 183 to northbound 35
    4) Flyway from 290 to southbound 35
    5) Widen the ramp from MOPAC to eastbound 360
    6) Widen access from eastbound 360 to southbound MOPAC and build a flyway to northbound MOPAC

    Obviously, 1 and 6 are the most expensive and could potentially be budget busters. It would also be nice to complete 183 out to the airport. However, on a DAILY basis, these are the most frustrating parts of our infrastructure. You'll notice I left off 35. That was simple... the only way you're going to fix it is to pull traffic off it and the only way you'll do that is to kill the tolls on the 130. Any other solution is too expensive and utterly stupid.

    Sal has more on almost one billion we have to spend... and the games TXDoT is playing with it. While we're talking about TXDoT and more specifically our wonderful District Engineer, one question still remains... what about the missing DC's at 45 and 35 in Round Rock? If the flyways were budgeted but the holdup is the environmental clearance, when will that be done?

    Has ANYONE audited the 45/1 tollway? Where DID all that money disappear?

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 02, 2007

    Tolls : CAMPO's next step

    What happens next? Since the CAMPO meeting last month, we've all been wondering exactly what is going to happen on October 8th. Granted we're not as concerned with it as we are with, say, the return of Drawn Together on Comedy Central, but we are curious as to exactly how CAMPO is going to vote on the TIP.

    No, no... I mean the actual mechanism. I want to know if they are going to vote on the individual amendments or the TIP as one big project. Further, who'll make that decision and under what rules? Simply put, will the Chair (Senator Watson) be making all the decisions by fiat?

    It's clear from the recent TTI report that Austin is congested like a man with serious allergies when the cedar starts to pick up. Anyone who has to go anywhere during the morning or afternoon knows that. Personally, I find it amusing as hell that the Statesman chooses to pay so much attention to THIS TTI report and not to the one detailing gas tax indexing as the cheapest alternative to soaking taxpayers with tolls. Which brings us back 'round the mountain to where we began... how is all this going to happen?

    And will any of the members be allowed to bring motions?

    Why don't we get this settled out before we actually, you know, have the meeting. Oh, and please have the chamber mooks come on out again. It was a blast!

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

    October 01, 2007

    Meanwhile

    Sorry about the lack of posts today. We've been busy. While we're off doing exotic things like working, I'd like to know your thoughts on the following TV shows I just dreamed up...

    1) Urban Combat Driving
    2) Fat, Hairy Bitches (formerly known as America's Funniest Pet Moments)
    3) Ultimate Drinking Championship
    4) Buck Owens and George Jones : The Untold Story
    5) Extreme Electronics Challenge
    6) Screw 'Em
    7) What Judd Hirsch did last week

    I should sooo program for the fall 2008 schedule. At the very least, I know I could beat Fox and the CW.

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 26, 2007

    Men are STUPID

    I love my dry cleaner... they are convenient, friendly, consistent and while more expensive than others, they've made me a very happy customer. Until last week. That was when the guys came to work there.

    For more than a year, there has been only one woman working the front. She's always been friendly and fast as hell. In and out in 90 seconds, even when I had to use a card to pay. That all changed with the her removal a week ago and the introduction of the three stooges. Seriously, there are now three idiot men working the front. They don't know how to use the credit card machine. The first day they were there, all three of them got involved with some woman whose dress had been ruined by the cleaner. Meanwhile, the six other people waiting to pickup/drop off got really irritated. Seriously, it takes three guys to deal with one ruined dress?

    That day I was dropping up AND picking up. I quickly decided that dropping off probably wasn't a good bet. Jack Brown, here I come! actually crossed my mind. Which brings me to my point. Why are straight boys so fucking stupid?

    Posted by mcblogger at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 24, 2007

    Because Road Rage Wasn't Enough

    Sister Ruth has informed us that, upset at having to share the road with all you inconsiderate assholes who insist on taking up space on Mopac, she has now downloaded John Dean's latest book to her iPod and is listening to it during her daily commute. Let's just say it's not helping her mood.

    Be careful out there, Austin.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 07:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 19, 2007

    A modest proposal...

    I've had a particularly trying day, mostly due to people who were insufferably dumb. I came to the conclusion earlier this evening that Congress should pass a tax on stupid people that amounts to 110% of their income.

    I'm serious. I want to see how many of them pay it.


    Posted by mcblogger at 03:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 13, 2007

    Mike Martinez is the shit

    We salute Council Member Mike Martinez, or as he shall forever more be known at McBlogger,

    HE WHO STANDS UP TO TOBY!

    To overcome her anger, Toby then beat Jennifer Kim unconscious and ate Red Tag Betty's leg.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 12, 2007

    Crazy restauranteurs

    The Perez sisters are once again in the news, this time they may actually have soured Marriott on the hotel altogether...

    I'm sure these are very nice ladies and obviously well liked by people who frequent their restaurant. I'm not one of those people because I think it's overrated. I've noticed lots of places that have well known management tend to make up for mediocre food with excellent service and treating customers like family. I have a family. I'd rather someone treat me like any other schmuck off the street and serve good food. But that's just me.

    I was extremely pleased when they declined the loan from the city because I have real questions as to whether or not they actually needed it given their ownership of other buildings in town. That said, I'm dismayed as hell that these leaseholders are tying things up like this. The owner has already said he's selling the business and that should be it.

    Those of you who will be terribly upset by the demise of Las Manitas, should they decide to call it quits, will have few problems finding other (possibly better) mexican fare. Try El Arroyo. If you like Las Manitas you'll probably love it!

    Or maybe stop by HEB for an El Patio dinner from the frozen entree section. Either way.

    /derision

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 11, 2007

    When you love something you KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT

    There are many great restaurants in Austin, all of which are patronized by those who enjoy their delicious food. However, occasionally there is some mouthy bastard who wants to ruin it for all of us. He or she will crow endlessly about how good something is, causing a rush of people to that establishment and ruining the experience for those of us who already knew about the tasty goodness.

    Please. For the love of all that's good and decent in the world, if someone tells you about a good place and asks you to keep it quiet, shut up about it. Not doing so will cause irreparable harm to the rest of us. And we'll hate you for it. We'll hunt you down and kill you if you tell visitors from out of town.

    Say thank you to the server and tip well. Be polite. And keep your mouth shut.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Tolls : Release the McCracken!

    Yes, I went to the CAMPO meeting last night. Then had to leave because I was LAUGHING too hard at the folks from the Chamber who did mob the meeting, yet still weren't in the majority. One key for you Chamber folks... if you're going to stack a meeting, cut back on the paid people and the buttons.

    Specifically, I DIED laughing when some moron got up to speak and talked about the 242k people in Central Texas that have purchased TXTags basically supporting tolls. In fact, I wasn't the only one laughing. Further, I have one of those tags. So do MANY of my friends. None of us like the tolls, but we have the tags because we're going to use them and we're not stopping at some stupid booth. There are a lot of people who don't like the tolls who have the tags. These are the people who almost turned out Mike Krusee in 2006 and will succeed in 2008. Wanna talk about those voters, pal? They're angry. Not happy.

    Sal's account is here and very true. I arrived around 6:30 because I was busy underwriting loans. Unlike most of the people who have a vested interest in tolling, I was just an ordinary citizen who found a 6:00 pm start time a little unusual, mostly because at the last CAMPO meeting I attended, we waited FOREVER for the politico's to show up. I should have realized they were stacking the deck with the venue and the start time. By the time I got there, all speaker slots were filled. I was one of the 260+ people who filled out a comment card.

    I also found it unusual that so many of the speakers were pro-toll... until they started announcing who they were. Folks, don't be delusional. These people don't represent voters. If they did then Krusee would have won handily in 2006 and Karen Sonleitner wouldn't have been turned out. Stacking a meeting provides a false impression and it's one that at least one politico is buying hook, line and sinker...

    "I intend to vote for it, and I think it will pass," Austin City Council and CAMPO board member Brewster McCracken said Monday. McCracken supported the 2004 plan before developing doubts.

    "We have to make our decisions based on facts and based on the broadest common good," he said.

    Brewster, for those of you who have been living on Mars, is always free to talk to the press. He's also running for Mayor. Now that he's pissed up OHAN's leg on Phase 2, wanna bet he doesn't even make it into the runoff? I don't know what else I expected from an opportunist like McCracken who's only political conviction seems to be supporting what he perceives will help him, even if it means flip-flopping like a fish out of water.

    I remain stunned at the Chamber's support for the most expensive form of transportation financing we have at our disposal. These are smart people (I know some of them) and can't believe they are really this clueless on this issue, from a financial and political perspective. Talking to some people at the meeting, I came away with the impression that they were 'along for the ride', that the Chamber's leadership pushed the tolling issue and that the membership is more than a little angry. If I was running for office over the next few years, I would avoid the endorsement of the Chamber like the plague. It'll be about as effective as the Statesman's endorsement at driving voters FROM you.

    The folks who talked in support of Phase 2 don't know the political landscape or how things are going to change in 2009. All they see is an immediate need for roads. I see it, too... so did EVERYONE there. There was not a single person who said we DON'T need roads. The issue is how it's financed and tolls are the worst option. Much like children, they've been uninvolved with this for a while and now are ready to jump at anything. It's wiser to wait until the political situation changes and we get the legislation we need. Unless you like paying full price today for something you'll get a discount on in a little over a year.

    Here's to hoping that the remaining CAMPO board members are a little smarter than Mr. Political Suicide, Brewster McCracken. Brewster, sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought an idiot rather than open it and remove all doubt.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    September 09, 2007

    Tolls : Pissed at TakeOnTraffic? Try this...

    The folks at the Chamber of Commerce have gone one further with their Take On Traffic campaign. They are now putting up signs in public ROW. To say the least, it's annoying as hell and I'm not just talking about the butt-ugly logo. Always being one with an eye to maintaining the natural aesthetic of our frontage roads, I called the lovely people at 311 on my way to a friends tonight to report one of the offending signs. Alas, they weren't able to help me as the sign was on a state road. However, the operator was kind enough to transfer me to TXDoT. The person who answered sighed, made some comment about a lot of reports on those and said someone would be by on Monday to pick it up.

    Run your advertising on billboards. The rules apply to you, too.

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

    September 08, 2007

    Tolls : Buy in haste, repent at leisure

    CAMPO is meeting next Monday, September 10th, at the Capitol in the extension auditorium, E1.004. The meeting will start promptly at 6:00 or whenever Mike Krusee is able to make it on one of the time machines as he'll be driving in from WillCo where he'll be busy trying to find anyone who will support his re-election. I kid! He totally has supporters. He'll actually be spending most of the day looking for supporter #3.

    If you're entering from the Capitol building from the north, hit the elevators closest to you (before you get to the rotunda) and drop on down to E1. If you're coming from the south, just walk through the rotunda to the elevators in the north wing. As for parking, you're best bet is the garage at 1201 San Jacinto. It's 3 or 4 blocks to the Capitol from there but it's an easy walk.

    Now that the mundane details are out of the way, here's what you need to know. This ISN'T the vote on Phase 2. This is a meeting to hear public testimony and evaluate what TXDoT has said. The politicos call that accountability, but it's really a requirement of state law (though we did like your attempt to make it seem like you were being gracious, Gerald). Accountability is the word being used by the electeds which is good because it means they are listening. And they know what's at stake.

    The members of CAMPO are in a tough spot. On one side is TXDoT saying if you don't toll, you get no roads. On the other is the Austin Chamber whining about how much we need roads. As an aside, this is exactly the reason why I shun Chamber's of Commerce like I would a boy with a venereal disease. They are masters of the obvious, always late to the party and usually with the wrong solution. These are smart people (you don't rise in even a smaller, regional bank or title company without some modicum of intelligence) but they are none the less acting like impatient children ready to give up far more than needed for a system which by design will be inadequete. Phase 2 is a poor substitute for what's needed. Moreover, what CAMPO should be focused on is us.

    The always stupid Ray Perryman, in a op/ed a month ago, referred to the opposition of a 'vocal minority' to toll roads and that needs to be corrected. We aren't one big group. We're all independent of one another. We've all come to roughly the same conclusion which is that tolls are too expensive. We are the tip of the iceberg, just the most vocal and informed in the community. We represent the majority who want roads and have no problem paying reasonable taxes for them. We do, however, have a massive problem with tolls. Why?

    Because they are too expensive to consumers.

    200,000 commuters daily. 8 cents per day per commuter vs. $3.00 per day per commuter. That's the math. $16,000 from the pockets of Central Texas taxpayers vs. $600,000 per day. Which do you think is cheaper?

    Sounds incredible, right? The numbers are solid. Tolls include profits for private contractors. The gas tax does not. Granted, if the gas tax is indexed it will go up over time. But so will the tolls and their starting point is far higher. The other complaint about the gas tax is that it hits everyone. As we've discussed a number of times, so will the tolls. Seriously, there isn't a region in Texas that isn't getting toll roads and there isn't a freeway or highway in Texas that's not being considered for toll lanes. We're all going to pay, whether it's a gas tax or tolls. Wouldn't you rather pay the least?

    Yeah, so would I.

    Part of the mission of the Chamber's Take on Traffic is to reduce congestion. The only way to do that in Austin is to take traffic off 35 and the only way we're going to do that is to cut the tolls on 130. The only way that is going to happen is if CAMPO sends a message to the Lege that they aren't going to be bullied.

    Let me be clear... what CAMPO is tasked with is choosing to put Central Texas taxpayers into massive debt with extremely high costs or choosing to wait and see what changes come in January,2009. Is it too much to ask to err on the side of caution before you write a check we'll have to pay off over the next 100 years?

    Let the CAMPO board know what you think by clicking here...oh, and if you really want to rehash the TakeOnTraffic talking points, here they are.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 31, 2007

    Quit trying to kill McBlogger

    Some angry old man tried to kill me Tuesday afternoon. In one of these...

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    I was leaving Walgreens on Mesa where I'd just spent 15 minutes trying to find fragrance free lotion (I may be a fag, but I don't want to smell like green tea. Or oatmeal. Or some floral arrangement). As I was turning onto the driveway to get get back onto Mesa, in is coming Mr. Giant SUV who decided his vehicle needed the entire drive.

    Here's an idea... can we mandate that the elderly don't get to drive GIANT SUV's? I mean, if they have to take up the entire to road with them then clearly they can't be trusted.


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

    August 29, 2007

    CAMPO with the finger on the trigger to kill or move ahead with phase 2

    As many of you are no doubt aware, Austin Metro has become the great test tube for all the state's shitty transportation plans. Basically they, in cooperation with the Republicans in the Lege and Statewide office whose campaign contributors stand to benefit from significantly scaled up tolling, have engineered events to force the regional mobility authorities and planning organizations (like CAMPO) into accepting tolls, not as a last resort but as an only resort. To wit...

    "We need to be continuously very forthright and upfront," said Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, a CAMPO board member who opposed the 2004 toll plan, which ultimately died. "We don't have the dollars to do this without tolls."

    And people actually wonder why Gerald is soon to be the FORMER Commissioner for Precinct Three.

    Of course, The Evil Republican Plan doesn't excuse our none too brave members of CAMPO, most of whom still don't get it. Just FYI, I'll be at Keep Austin Blue's meetup on the 19th at Mother Egans and will be ready to discuss all this with you ad nausuem if you think the only reason I'm being harsh is because I'm on a blog. Trust me, I'm twice as nasty in real life. Drinks are at 6:30.

    After reading this article by Ben 'Will someone help me understand this' Wear, I have to ask, who runs CAMPO and has ultimate decision making authority? Our elected officials or TXDoT's Bob Daigh?

    The reality is that the members of CAMPO are going to have to find the guts to turn their backs on this plan and demand a public funding option from TXDoT and the Lege. No more whining, no more excuses. If they don't they are going to saddle EVERY Central Texas taxpayer with VASTLY higher transportation costs. And if the electeds on the CAMPO board think that won't end up on a opponent's mailer, think again. I'll pay for it if I have to.

    You all have to focus on a couple of things...
    1) The majority of the phase two roads are going to negatively effect the community in East Travis County. People who can least afford tolls.

    2) Tolls are VASTLY more expensive on ANY basis compared to publicly financed infrastructure with an indexed gas tax.

    3) This isn't one road that will effect relatively few people. These roads are all over Travis County, not to mention the expansion plans for 35 and MoPac. In short, it's going to hit everyone from the Downtown dweller to the Suburban soccer mom.

    4) The only way we can relieve traffic congestion on MoPac and 35 is to pull traffic off those roads. That means 130 and 183/71 have to be free.

    I'm asking you all, even you Gerald, to do the right thing and tell TXDoT to come up with some better options. We already know what they are and it's time to get them moving.


    Posted by mcblogger at 02:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    FAST APPROACHING : DAY-O-MCBLOGGER

    I'm turning 33. Yes, THIRTY THREE. Which, by the calculations of someone smart like Jessica Simpson, means I'm in my late 30's.

    This year, Day-O-McBlogger falls on a Sunday. We'll be having drinks. Actually, that entire weekend is going to be filled with debauchery. Or I might sponsor a quilting bee. Which I know my housemate will love given her affinity for old ladies and quilts. And quilts made by old ladies.

    Don't worry about it... you probably won't be invited, basically because you failed to get me a gift last year. So, I'm offering you the opportunity to buy me something this year. Who knows, it might even get you an invite to the 2008 festivities. It really depends on the gift. Here are some ideas...

  • A Moai from Easter Island. I know, I know... why would I want a giant stone head? To you, it's unimportant. What IS important is that I want one. If you must know, it's for a project.
  • The million round per minute gun. You know, for home defense.
  • A casino
  • A 3 ton wheel of Stilton
  • A device which will melt the croc's of anyone who comes within 10 feet of me wearing the ugly shoes. It should also cause a heart attack if the offender happens to come within 5 feet of me.
  • A video of Carrot Top being sodomized by a pony
  • A Nepalese baby, but only if Angelina Jolie doesn't have one yet
  • Mario Klintworth
  • But these are just suggestions... you get me what you feel like getting me, if anything. It's the thought that counts.

    Oh, and Talisker is fine, too.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 24, 2007

    Immigrant bashing

    I made it from Mopac and CapTex to Mesa and Steck today in 35 minutes. Not particularly impressive unless you realize that I started the journey at 5:16.

    I know, I know... you want the details. You're not getting them. I will, however, be signing autographs later. Who wouldn't want the autograph of the FASTEST HUMAN ALIVE?

    All this driving made me realize that Austin has a massive immigration problem and we have to fix it. All these awful foreigners driving badly on our streets and freeways are creating massive problems for all of us who want to maintain the quality of life that makes Austin special. That means we need immigration restrictions on these people. No, I'm not talking about those from south of the border. I like them. They usually drive OK and are generally pretty cool. They fit right in. It's the people from the rest of the US that piss me off.

    We have to make sure that people immigrating from another part of the US understand how Austin works. Either that or we need to adopt a nativist attitude and force them to move back from where they came. I don't want anyone to have to suffer the way I did trying to catch the flyway to MoPac from 183 and being cut off by some dick in a green pick up with South Carolina plates.

    It's not just the traffic, it's the jobs. Yes, even now, people from California or some place called 'Iowa' are stealing jobs that rightfully belong to neckbeards wearing Birks who have a cool dump in 78704. Now that I mention it, are there any cool dumps in 78704 or have they all been converted to fab new palaces for the recent arrivals who want travertine and granite covering every surface and demand exotic things like central air and heat? Do I really NEED another neighbor from Colorado? We've already lost Hyde Park to a non-Austinite ghetto. Must we lose Great Hills? Allandale? Northwest Hills? Westgate? Tarrytown?

    The madness has to stop. Our infrastructure can't afford these newcomers and their bad driving. Our prosperity depends on Austinites being able to obtain jobs far outside their realm of competence and for which they will always be late and leave early. How the hell is a recent grad supposed to compete against some starving immigrant from Ohio who shows up to work early and leaves late?

    And no, I don't want to discuss how hot it is. Look at a map. It's Texas. It's August. Go back to Maine if you're that miserable. We'll all be better off without your Subaru with the Kucinich stickers on MoPac.


    Posted by mcblogger at 08:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 21, 2007

    Go forth and bring us bus service

    Allow me to preface this by saying I, of all people, am not so much for the bus. However, I'm asking for one. One particular bus that can mean so much to the community. I'm asking for a broader Austin area 'party bus'. Like the one that UT kids get. So I don't have to sell a kidney for cab fare.

    The reality is that every weekend, around 2am - 4am, the traffic is pretty heavy on MoPac and 35. It's not people working the graveyard shift, it's drunks. I would say like me, but I take cabs. At $30 a pop, plus tip. Sure, I can afford it but it pisses me off every time. Especially when all they need to do is charge $10 for a ride each way on a bus.

    What say you, CapMetro? It'll be your only service that actually MAKES MONEY as well as the one that provides one hell of a community service. By keeping people from getting into tragic accidents...

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

    August 17, 2007

    Are you a puma?

    I got this from Urban Dictionary the other day...

    PUMA - An attractive woman in her late 20s or early 30s. She is a pre-cougar/urban cougar.

    Recently, the McBlogger staff and I were dining out while discussing the issues of the day (or, if you prefer, binge drinking while talking smack) and the word 'Cougar' popped up. We decided that Boob's is a cougar and Sister Ruth is not (it's because she's dowdy). I have since wondered exactly how to classify my sister, Barfly. I now know.

    Barfly is a puma. If you're a guy, see her looking at you and you wonder if you're man enough to handle her, you aren't. Trust me on this.

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

    August 16, 2007

    Trickle Down Politics

    Many times when you listen to the stump from representatives of candidates running for local office, you want to pinch yourself otherwise you’ll fall asleep from the tedium. So it’s interesting and out of the ordinary when you hear one of them say that people will die if the rep’s candidate, who currently holds the position, is not reelected.

    To call that tactic Rovian is disingenuous since by the time that slimy national campaign tactic filters down, it comes out crude, ineffective, and will most likely backfire. Not to mention silly.

    So what motivates a person to say such a thing? Does it come from the candidate, consultants, or is the person projecting?

    Though yesterday’s news, it seemed to fit with turd blossom’s impending departure and the AAS editorial on the Austin tax assessor’s race.

    The bigger issue about this race is the newspaper’s motive behind this editorial piece. What do we take from it? Well, maybe the writer was uninformed or at least didn’t do his homework on Glen Maxey’s contributions, had a questionable motive by trying to divide white liberals and African-American leaders (now that sounds Rovian), and seems to favor voter suppression by not acknowledging that Maxey’s updated and successful voter registration methods could reach parts of Travis County and the state that are in desperate need of the service.

    Note: This was supposed to be posted earlier in the week, but I’m still traumatized by the sight-seeing tour of Canyon Lake with the Mayor and Sister Ruth. I’ll be in therapy for years.

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 07:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 13, 2007

    People can be mean...

    From Craigslist (via The Austinist) Missed Connections

    One Goofy Council Person Free now, so says the paper So am I. You: wishy washy and politically driven Me: willing to put up with spinelessness You: always a comment for the media Me: okay with an amoral opportunist Let me know where we can meet * Location: Central Austin

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Stupid people say stupid things

    We've been known to talk about politics from time to time (you might have noticed) and one race has come to our attention. It's 7 months until the primary and already incendiary bullshit is flying in the race, this time courtesy of Arnold Garcia at the Statesman (hiding behind the 'Editorial Board'). On Friday, they printed a piece about what an easy, go-with-the-flow job Tax Assessor/Collector is and how Glen Maxey is dumb for saying he'd like to actually do something with the job. They've already had to print a correction...

    CORRECTION An editorial in Friday's editions mischaracterized the roles of the county clerk and tax assessor-collector in elections. The county clerk is responsible for printing ballots and securing polling places. The tax assessor-collector oversees voter registration and maintains the voter rolls.

    Arnold notes in his pedestrian swipe at Glen that what matters is the amount of time you have to spend to get your license plates renewed. A few things...

    A) It's called vehicle registration. You don't renew your plates. It's a sticker on the windsheild. They haven't had the plate stickers in a while, Arnold.
    B) The last time I went in, it was a pain in the ass. I waited and waited until someone finally told me about the convenient drive through. Which has one tiny sign that can't be seen unless you're on top of it.

    That office needs some help. Nelda's done an OK job, but it's time for someone better. And it's time we started having smoother elections.

    You'll no doubt hear some pretty wild bullshit out of Nelda's campaign if the past is any indicator (I'd get into it but Captain Kroc wants to take it on so you'll have to wait for his post). Keep one thing in mind when you hear that Nelda's a fantastic collector of tax revenues... the job comes with the power to FORECLOSE on the property of those that don't pay. That's a pretty big incentive to write a check.

    And don't get me started on gentrification in East Austin.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 10, 2007

    Yes. This is about Las Manitas...

    ...and it's not all that great food. The city, in it's infinite wisdom, has decided to give basically give all it's got in the business retention fund to help out Las Manitas in the form of a $750m forgivable loan.

    Nice.

    Boadicea has been doing a fantastic job covering this over at Texas Kaos (here and here), asking tough questions like why the hell are we giving a profitable business, that's known about this for almost a year and owns another building, a forgivable loan that will basically drain out the business retention fund?

    I know some of you love Las Manitas. It's because you know as much about mexican food as I do about cuneiform. The reality is that development downtown is going to displace some businesses. It doesn't mean they have to shut down, but it does mean that they might not be able to afford the rent without increasing prices. If it's worth it, they'll get away with it. I wonder if Las Manitas realized they wouldn't?


    Posted by mcblogger at 02:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 07, 2007

    Hutto loves them some water

    We talked about Hutto's insatiable thirst (and the handout to local politicos) last year. It appears something is finally being done. Via EOW...

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 18, 2007

    There are some ugly fucking people in the world

    I'm on my way back to Austin. Rather, I would be if AMERICAN AIRLINES actually flew on-time. I have to apologize about the pathetic paucity of posts (who says I can't be alliterative on less than 4 hours of sleep?!!?)from me over the last week or so. I resigned effective midnight, July 9th and started work for me new employer the next morning. Needless to say, things have been a little hectic. I know, I know... it seems like I'm moving around all the time. However, it was more money and less stress... who the hell wouldn't say yes? What're you, my loan officer?

    ANYWAY, I've been in Dallas for the last couple of days and am finally heading back to civilization and hopefully a return to normalcy or at least what passes for normalcy.

    With that out of the way, I'm sitting at DFW waiting on a plane to come in from Tampa so it can take me and some really fugly people back to Austin. Seriously, you should see some of these folks. No, not all of them but a few look like extras from Deliverance.

    I need a drink.

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 07, 2007

    It's 11:30, do you know where your blogger is?

    I'm at LaLa's one of the few decent bars left in Austin and its crowded as fuck. How the fuck did so many people find out about my little smoke filled paradise? More specifically...

    How the fuck did little Patty


    Rose find out about LaLa's

    Yes, that's right. Little non-drinking, non-smoking Patty Rose was at LaLa's tonight. Tying up a table drinking water with his gimp friends.

    OMG! Too many people (and a state rep) at LaLa's?!?!? What IS the world coming to??!?

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 06, 2007

    Tolls : Kirk Watson is a really decent guy

    You know, it's rare that a Senator who disagrees with so many of his colleagues will run interference for them, but that's exactly what Kirk is doing. This last session, there was a tremendous amount of momentum to rejuvenate transportation funding in this state and really address our problems. All that enthusiasm turned to shit by the end of the session because of two issues:

    1) Republicans are pussies when it comes to doing the right thing and raising the damn gas tax. They'd rather us all have to deal with unreasonably high corporate toll taxes.
    2) Republicans from DFW Metro are a bunch of fat candy asses (yeah, you Fatass McFaterson) when it comes to dealing with the RMA's who just happen to INTIMIDATE THEM.

    Still, Watson doesn't drop them in the grease. He takes time out of his busy summer schedule to pen an op/ed piece in the Schlockman basically saying we need to stop fighting over the 'funding tools' out our disposal and start making decisions. I couldn't agree more.

    If the environment was ever ripe for the creation of tools other than toll roads, it was during the past six months. It didn't happen. If you want less traffic and dislike toll roads, you should be disappointed.

    Instead, the state budget effectively decreased funding for the Department of Transportation, since it didn't provide enough money to keep up with double-digit inflation in the cost of road building. There was talk about raising the gas tax, or at least indexing it to inflation, and reducing the need for toll roads. But tax bills must start in the state House of Representatives, and a potential increase never made it to the floor.

    Note that he doesn't single out Krusee, CradDICK or that simpleton Chisum, all of whom played a roll in keeping that bill off the floor. And all of whom happen to be Republican. For those Republicans out there always pissed off about partisanship on the part of the Democrats, here's one Democrat who's not pointing fingers and assigning blame, no matter how richly that blame may be deserved.

    Kirk is, of course, right and honestly a bit of a MOTO for writing shit like this...

    It costs money to increase road capacity and enhance mobility. There are no free roads. And it will take generations to pay for our current needs — not to mention our future ones — using only the financing tools we've been given. That means we'll spend more and more of our lives sitting in traffic, and our children will have to fix the problems we'll leave them.

    I fear for our economy, our air quality and our quality of life if Central Texas becomes a gridlocked mess where every highway is like Interstate 35, every surface street is like Lamar Boulevard at rush hour, and every neighborhood needs speed bumps because so many drivers are desperate for a short cut.

    We have too much traffic. More people are coming. And they'll be driving cars.

    But more roads and road capacity are not coming for all of those people and cars — not without more money. And the only possibilities are gas taxes (which the Legislature has rejected), property taxes (which are unfair and already too high), toll roads and innovative growth strategies that give people options besides their cars.

    We all have a lot of work to do on this issue. We can't just pretend we can get something for nothing. Nor can we defer to an almost instinctive distaste for things like toll roads or land-use planning.

    It's time for us to honestly assess our needs and come together around tools that will meet them.

    Yes we need infrastructure. If you want to be brutally honest, we should have had this discussion in 1995. However, Laney and Bullock didn't want it and then Governor Bush was too hopped up on the exotic chemicals coming from Karl Rove's mouth to even think straight. However, we don't need to jump into a 40 year contract. We can more than afford to wait another year or two. Here are some suggestions for either the next session or, if by some miracle, a transportation special.

    1) Let the voters decide... indexed gas tax to meet transportation goals or STATE controlled and operated toll roads.
    2) Restructure TXDoT and make all transportation related offices elected, not appointed, including the metro and county levels.

    The first idea will put the decision in the hands of voters, not the Lege which is too full of stupid Republicans to ever acknowledge that taxes aren't a waste of money. It also eliminates the corporate middleman (that's called disintermediation for all you non-B school folks) who will exist not to protect taxpayers from liability, but instead to increase their liability while demanding hefty profits for a service that should be provided at cost.

    The second will make TXDoT more responsive to the people of this state. Plus, it creates a much more public platform from which a commissioner can call out the bad actions of the Lege. Or the Governor.

    The bottom line question was, is and should always be What is best for the people of Texas? The reality is that it's a broad based fuels tax that will allow the state to borrow at much cheaper rates than those available to private companies. This will allow TXDoT to dramatically expand the building of roads around the state, providing jobs and a massive amount of economic growth that will create the kind of broad-based prosperity Texans deserve. It'll also take care of pollution and traffic delays, which both Watson and I agree would be a good thing (I don't like sitting in traffic either, Kirk).

    The reality that Senator Watson is trying to make clear is that given the current republican-saturated nature of the Lege, none of this is likely to happen. We need to get him some help and we need to make sure that we don't jump from one bad situation to another.

    (h/t to EOW which has a slightly different take)

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    June 21, 2007

    Fucked up...

    from The AAS

    David Rivas Morales, a 41-year-old house painter, had hitched a ride home with a co-worker Tuesday night when, investigators say, the driver of the car accidentally struck a 2-year-old boy near an apartment complex parking lot.

    The driver got out of the Ford Taurus, which police say was surrounded by as many as 20 men, and was attacked by several of them, according to investigators.

    Morales got out to try to shield the driver. He was instead beaten to death.

    Austin police investigators said Wednesday that according to the handful of people they have interviewed, no one immediately around the car did anything to stop the attack.

    By the time an anonymous caller dialed 911 and the first officers arrived at the Booker T. Washington housing development shortly after 9:30 p.m., the crowd had dispersed, Austin police Cmdr. Harold Piatt said.

    The incident occurred about two blocks from where thousands of people gathered at Rosewood Park for the annual celebration of Juneteenth, marking the day slaves were emancipated in Texas in 1865.

    Hispanic and African American leaders, fearing that the incident would create racial tension because the victim was Hispanic and the assailants were believed to be black, urged people to keep their emotions in check. Investigators said they have no indication that the attack was racially motivated.

    "This is an anomaly for Austin," Piatt said. "When you have someone just beaten to death in a parking lot."

    Piatt said Wednesday that "at this point, we aren't aware that any person did anything to stop the assault or prevent the injuries."

    The 2-year-old, Michael Hosea Jr., was not seriously injured, authorities said.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 14, 2007

    TXU gets Oak Grove

    And Austin gets some motherfuckin' dirty air...

    The TCEQ has determined that the Oak Grove air permit will be protective of human health and the environment. This permit contains some of the cleanest emission standards ever set for a lignite power plant, and the plant will help meet Texas' near-term need for power."

    Uhmmm... lignite. The absolute dirtiest coal you can use and one of the dirtiest fuels, other than peat, on the planet. Hello, EPA non-attainment!

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 09, 2007

    down at The Pride

    Sitting at the Stonewall Dems booth at The Gay Pride right now. Mark McCulloch just told that Ann Richards is, in fact, alive and performing with the Austin Babtist Women.

    Damn y'all... Is it just me or is it hot as balls?

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

    May 30, 2007

    Mayor Wynn invites you to learn what Austin is doing about global warming

    Thanks to MC for passing this along!

    Mayor WILL WYNN Live: Global Warming Presentation Sunday, Jun 10 at Alamo Drafthouse Downtown 4:00 and 7:00pm

    The debate is over. Climate change is happening now. We're causing it. And if we don't fix it, the results will be catastrophic. "It's a global problem, but it's a local problem too. And our responses have to be both global and local," Mayor Will Wynn said back in February, when he announced the Austin Climate Protection Plan. "Austin has long been a national leader on energy efficiency, renewable power and innovative technologies. Now we need to push those efforts to the next level." This June, while your A/C is cranked high, don't turn on your oven (or microwave, if you cook like our bachelor Mayor does). Let the Alamo do the cooking (and the beer-pouring) and join us for this dramatic presentation.

    In January Mayor Wynn trained with Al Gore to give the slideshow the former Vice President made famous in his Academy Award winning movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Mayor Wynn has adapted that presentation and will tell us how Austin is leading the way in confronting the climate crisis.

    Mayor Wynn would like to encourage you all to familiarize yourselves with all sides of the issues and when you come to the presentation please bring a skeptic - if you know one.

    The Mayor's presentation will be free. However, we are expecting a huge demand for this timely presentation so if you wish to reserve a seat you may purchase a $5 food and beverage voucher to be used on the night of the show. All other seats will be first come/first served.



    For more information and to reserve your seat click here.

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

    May 26, 2007

    Remembering Terry Keel

    It's been so long since we've seen Terry Keel's butt ugly face that we have to admit it induced some laughter when Barfly and I got back from 28 Weeks Later (which ROCKS, by the way!) and I turned on the feed from the House.

    Barfly had never seen him before. Her comment was the funniest..."Cool timewarp hair. Very 80's nerd. He only gets laid by lake trash". As always, Barfly NAILS.IT.

    Terry Keel fooled everyone in Travis County into thinking he was a moderate for a long time. Then, when he realized the gig was up and that people had figured out his scam, he suddenly announced he wasn't running or re-election. I thought he was on some kind of a multi-year drunk until he popped up on my LCD last last night. Feeding CradDICK his lines, just like an understudy in the wings of a bad high school production of "Fiddler on the roof" (May God bless the Tsar and keep him far from us!). Honestly, at times we seriously wondered why he didn't just go on and shove his hand straight up CradDICK's ass. I guess we weren't the only ones.

    If something funny happens, we may blog it or we may not. Barfly and I are going 'shopping' for 'something'. The Mayor is keeping up with duckmouth's vain attempt to hold on to power. If he pulls this shit today, y'all should break quorum and fold into an automatic special. After last night, don't give in until he's off that dais.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 24, 2007

    COUNTY ATTORNEY STEALS ECKHARDT STAFFER

    The Travis County Attorney David Escamilla's office has swiped Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt's policy director Daniel Bradford for their Civil Litigation division. Sarah says, "I knew going in with a top notch staff that other folks would start luring them away – but I am very happy for Daniel. Besides, he's only two floors down!" The County Attorney was not available for comment.

    Needless to say, Commissioner Eckhardt is now looking for a skilled policy wonk and research person who is interested in working in a fast-paced, high energy, progressive office.

    Legislative writing skills, good communication and organizational skills, and quick research skills a must; sense of humor a plus.

    Job Description:

    Assists, advises and represents the Commissioner in the execution of her responsibilities in the operation of county government. Serves as liaison between other officials, county personnel, attorneys, boards, commissions, state and local government officials and the general public. Resolves problems and issues by conducting research, analyzing and developing action-oriented strategies, handling special projects and assisting constituents seeking information or assistance.

    * Reviews agenda items for commissioner and prepares or briefs the her on relevant issues.

    * Represents the commissioner at neighborhood meetings, community meetings, precinct meetings, commissioners court work sessions, city/state meetings or other key meetings by responding to constituents' needs and updating the official on issues affecting the County.

    * Prepares resolutions, proclamations, office correspondence; agenda requests; reviews incoming correspondence and recommends actions that require decisions.

    * Serves as advisor to the commissioner on policy issues.

    * Proposes, designs and organizes legal, technical or policy development research projects and coordinates with other offices to execute them.

    * Prepares office correspondence and departmental memos. Receives office visitors and officials and responds to telephone inquires.

    * May conduct field visits and prepare reports on findings related to projects and activities.

    * May serve as liaison to other governmental and nongovernmental agencies and organizations, and on boards and commissions.

    * Monitors Commissioners Court meetings and assists in related functions; coordinates departmental activities by informing all parties involved in proceedings.

    * Responds to constituents seeking information or assistance from the commissioner or county government.

    * May assure that the Commissioners Court complies with all open meetings requirements and postings requirements for work sessions, voting meetings and public hearings.

    * May review and resolve problems with contract, invoices and other official documents prior to official's signature.

    * Performs other job-related duties as assigned.

    If you are interested, please send your resume and a writing sample to Sandra Ramos at sandra@saraheckhardt.com by 5 p.m., Friday, June 1st.

    Seriously, I know some of y'all are out there looking for work... especially with the Lege about to end!

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 17, 2007

    HillCo hands Costello a megaphone

    Oh, I just can't believe this...

    In a response to a Muckraker blog article I published on 5/9/07 (see below), Hillco Partners, one of the most powerful lobby firms in Texas sent a letter to threaten me with a lawsuit.

    I see this threat letter as a deliberate attempt to squelch my freedom of speech by those who seek to shift our Texas freeways to tollways. HillCo is connected to Rep. Mike Krusee, Gov. Rick Perry and other toll road profiteers such as PBS&J, Goldman Sachs and Fluor.

    Seriously, HillCo, dumb move. Even if you win, you lose because it's going to shed light on a lot of stuff you may not want people to know about. You definitely don't want the public to know more about the brilliant transportation ideas for which you guys are lobbying. Because the more people know about tolling on the massive scale planned by TXDoT, the more they get pissed.

    I guess I should say thanks. You've just shined a spotlight on the plan to toll roads statewide.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    May 09, 2007

    Tolls : Commissioner Whitley the witless; Austin CoC still bringing the stupid

  • It's been a while since the FWST has run a pro-toll opinion piece, so I guess it was time they ran another one. With the same tired and stupid talking points but this time with a new semi-celebrity author. This time, it's B. Glen Whitley, one of the Republican Tarrant County Commissioners. I should say one of the soon to be politically dead because, much like Krusee, he's sticking to this toll road pap. The sad thing is that reading his retarded op/ed, I'm unsure if he's just naive, horrendously stupid or outright lying by omission.

    A transportation disaster is impending in Texas. Current funding sources will not allow us to maintain state highways, roads and bridges, let alone build needed infrastructure to serve our growing population.

    WOW. Glen's quite the master of the obvious, isn't he? You folks up in Tarrant County must have really been snowed to have elected Mr. Smartness here.

    Proposals to increase the gasoline tax to help pay for roads have come before the Legislature this year, but neither state nor federal officials have been inclined to raise the tax in the past. It would take a hefty boost of the current 20-cent-per-gallon state tax to put Texas transportation back on track.

    Lawmakers appear unlikely to raise the gas tax sufficiently to fund all of the needed transportation projects. The additional revenue for road construction must come from somewhere, or traffic congestion will continue to worsen.

    Actually, GoodBuddyGlen, it's your party that's holding up the bills down here in Austin. CradDICK won't let the one Krusee wrote (only to say he wrote one) out of committee. Why? Because the people who stand to make the most off tolls roads are also HUGE contributors to Republicans (I'd be willing to bet some even gave to you, right Glen?) and no one wants to upset that honey pot. Just think about Zachry... they stand to make billions over decades doing nothing but collecting tolls. That's quite the deal for a construction company.

    In the short term, building highway toll lanes might be the best option available to get North Texas traffic moving and keep it that way. Even then, there are no guarantees.

    Nobody likes toll roads, and nobody likes to sit in traffic.

    We now might have an opportunity to build additional lanes and roads more quickly, using public-private toll road partnership projects such as that planned for Texas 121.

    And there it is, boys and girls. Glenda makes his case for the wonderful public-private partnerships that are designed to rape the public. He even mentions the 121 in Dallas. Which is cool because that's an interesting case of just how bad the state is at selling off assets.

    One company has agreed to spend $5 billion for the right to build and lease the Texas 121 project, with the road reverting to the region when the lease expires in several decades. This agreement provides $2.1 billion in upfront money to the Metroplex for some of its current and future transportation needs.

    Some of these improvements in Tarrant County include Interstate 35, Loop 820, Airport Freeway and the anticipated freeway interchange that includes Interstate 635, Texas 114 and Texas 121 in Grapevine.

    Local transportation officials agreed to tolls, but only if the revenue generated stays in the region -- and only if other transportation dollars continue to flow to the region as before. We must oppose any attempt to use toll dollars outside of the region in which they are collected.

    That one company was the worst of the bids, yet the state accepted it, right? Sure gives me faith in their future. Next question, Glen... why do you like deferring taxes to our children? That's what that $2 bn up front payment amounts to since tolls are a tax. You don't think the tolls on 121 are going to be huge? Just wait. No private company does something for nothing.

    Lastly, ALL the money isn't staying in North Texas which is pretty easy to understand. It's going to a private company. If you wanted all the revenue to stay in North Texas, then you should not be for public-private partnerships because part of the revenue generated for the PRIVATE company by the PUBLIC infrastructure goes to their PROFIT, never to be seen by you again.

    Seriously, it's hard to tell if you're just stupid or really sociopathic. Given that you're a county commissioner, I'm betting it's the former.

    Seriously, Glen... come down here and have a drink with me so I can buy you a clue. Tolls are ALWAYS more expensive for consumers and the only people for whom tolls are a good idea are the corporations that stand to benefit from running them. We can slice and dice the math any way you'd like and I'll still win. Because I'm right.

  • Yet AGAIN the Austin Chamber of Commerce sent out a pro-toll road piece, designed (I've heard) by Karl Rove's old company. Just like the first one, it's deceptive as hell and completely worthless. Why? Because they present tolls as an option to drivers. What they don't tell you is that they are pretty much the only new roads going up AND the only expansion option on existing roads. So you'll be feeling the pinch, regardless. Nice work, y'all. If the truth isn't working for you, just lie, exaggerate and omit all the details.

    How much money have y'all wasted on this so far? Remind me never to go into business with y'all... I don't like going broke.

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

    May 03, 2007

    The end of another trip

    I flew out of BR (that's what the natives call it. The trashy natives... the cool kids pronounce Baton Rouge as 'Batunrouge') this afternoon around 6 and arrived in Houston a little early. The thing that sucks about a company that really prefers you take the cheapest flight is that you sometimes have lengthy layovers. I had more than three hours to kill before my flight back to Austin. So I called a great friend and fellow TPA member, Muse. Muse, as some of you no doubt know is a blogger of some note in Houston metro. She's also a girl, which makes her a 'girlblogger'. She doesn't like that term too much which is why I use it as often as possible. Here's the transcript of the call (seriously, I got it from the NSA)

    MuseGB: Hello?
    McB: Hey girlblogger! What's up?
    MuseGB: McBlogger? Oh, fuck. What do you want?
    McB: To see if you wanted to join me tonight? I've got a three hour
    layover at IAH before my flight to Austin. Wanna go have dinner?
    MuseGB: Yeah, like I want to drive all the way up there so I can have
    dinner with your loser ass.
    McB: I'm buying and it's your pick.
    MuseGB: You promise not to talk a lot or play with your food.
    McB: No, and most definitely not.
    MuseGB: Shit. OK... but if you ogle or proposition the waiter I'm outta there.
    McB: Deal.

    So, many drinks and an awesome dinner later, I'm got back to IAH just to make my flight. It's hot as hell in Terminal E here but I will say this... you folks in Houston know how to run security at an airport. I got outta security in no time. Y'all rock so much more than the losers in Dallas.


    Posted by mcblogger at 02:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 02, 2007

    Austin to be one fo the first to get 4G Wireless

    ROCK!

    When it's unrolled in DC and Chicago early next year it'll provide 2-4Mbps speeds for $55 a month, and it'll be open access. That means you won't be stuck in the "walled garden" of approved sites that some cellular web carriers put you in, and it'll provide open access to the Internet like your broadband account. If it's as reliable and as fast as they claim this has the potential to replace cable and DSL lines as people's connection of choice.

    That'll be just about the time I drop Cingular on it's ass. Seriously, am I the only one irritated that the service constantly is dialing down? I switch from EDGE to GPRS all the time and it's frustrating as hell.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 24, 2007

    Birthday time at McBlogger

    Today we celebrate the birthday of one of our nearest and dearest, Mayor McSleaze. It was an unusually cold and stormy March day in 1857 when he first entered the world and began his rise to dominance. From those humble beginnings, he's risen to preeminence as an owner of chemical companies, shoe manufacturing centers and animal rendering facilities around the world. The Third World. Where laws are lax and you're only a bribe away from pumping raw toxic effluent some villages drinking water. Eh, third legs and arms are occasionally helpful!

    His uncommon business sense has endeared him to all of us here at McBlogger, especially those of us he hasn't pressed into working on one of his 'projects'. Because we know the pitfalls of indentured servitude and we don't like to sign contracts in blood. We also remember just how vengeful The Mayor can be. None of us will forget his invention of the 'boy band' as vengeance for the UN Convention Against Poisoned Postage Stamp Adhesive of 1966. Every time we hear Backstreet Boys we shiver just a little at the pure, evil genius that is Mayor McSleaze.

    So, I hope you'll all join me in wishing The Mayor a happy sesquicentennial!

    Other Celebrity Birthdays today:

    Peyton Manning (1976)
    Louise Armstrong (1953)
    Fatty Arbuckle (1887)
    Steve McQueen (1930)
    A Giant Burning Building (1974)

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

    March 23, 2007

    I'm back, bitches! Now on to drinks... Hey, I gotta catch up with Barfly who has been in town for hours.

    And yes, American Airlines still sucks!

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

    I'm back, bitches! Now on to drinks... Hey, I gotta catch up with Barfly who has been in town for hours.

    And yes, American Airlines still sucks!

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

    March 16, 2007

    Thanks for coming, y'all!

    It's always great having so many foreigners in town for SXSW. As always, we're THRILLED about going through downtown and not being able to get a call through (or even send a fucking email) because 10,000 jackasses are 'checking in with the coast'. Seriously, from the bottom of my heart, it rocks to have y'all here. We're thinking next year there will finally be a critical mass of coastal dicks that will create a black hole of pretension from which no douche will escape.

    Until then, here are a few helpful hints...

  • 1) When you see me driving, get out of the way. When a light is green pedestrians become invisible. I'm cool like that. I usually don't see them when it's yellow either.

  • 2) Don't get all pissy when the bartender asks you how to make a cuba libre. It's not that we're a bunch of hicks, it's that we just call it a rum and coke with lime and think it's funny watching your ass act all upset and frustrated. Plus, some of you don't know what's in a cuba libre which is WAY funny to us.

  • 3) Yes, there are tons of great restaurants in Austin. However, I'd really like it if you stuck to those on Congress. Real people who, you know, live here, eat at the rest of them. SoCo is your domain. You can have Guerro's for now.

  • 4) No one here realizes how important you are. SO, you should act bored, put out and extremely irritated by everything. Talk in depth about what a hole Austin is compared to LA. It helps us understand that you are better than us. Don't get upset when someone takes your BlackBerry from you and hits you in the face with it. That's how Austinites say 'Hello'.

  • 5) DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE LESLIE. HE'S OUR FAVORITE TRANNY AND WE'RE KEEPING HIM. WE'LL CUT A MOTHERFUCKER SO DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT SHOPLIFTING HIM
  • Now, would you mind leaving? Oh, we understand that you've made the hotels and bars and 'services' happy, but it's time for you to move on.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 01, 2007

    Thoughts on Thursday

    1) What was up with the smell in Oak Hill a little after 11:00? It smelled like burning hair mixed with an animal fat rendering plant.

    2) You southsiders are fucked up drivers. Go faster,dicks.

    3) I have no idea what's going on in the Lege right now. I have a feeling some Republican (Shapiro) is trying to fuck public education and teachers with a strap-on made from sand paper.

    I don't like it, but then again the teachers unions kinda deserve it because they're stupid.

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

    Thoughts on Thursday

    1) What was up with the smell in Oak Hill a little after 11:00? It smelled like burning hair mixed with an animal fat rendering plant.

    2) You southsiders are fucked up drivers. Go faster,dicks.

    3) I have no idea what's going on in the Lege right now. I have a feeling some Republican (Shapiro) is trying to fuck public education and teachers with a strap-on made from sand paper.

    I don't like it, but then again the teachers unions kinda deserve it because they're stupid.

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

    February 23, 2007

    Privatize Bergstrom?

    Ok... one privatization idea that might make sense

    Mayor Will Wynn, at least, is convinced that the city should unload Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

    The airport's revenue was $9.6 million above its expenses last fiscal year, city Aviation Director Jim Smith said, and the city has averaged $8.9 million in net income annually since 2001. But federal law prohibits the city from using that money outside the airport site, instead requiring that it be plowed back into airport improvements.

    Governments nationwide have been entertaining offers for toll roads, state-run lotteries and airports from foreign investors awash in cash. Futrell said the city has received no airport lease proposal, verbally or in writing.

    Wynn said he has been lobbying his council peers for several months on the subject, picking up on a move by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to lease that city's Midway Airport.

    "There's no financial reason whatsoever for the city to own the airport, as by law we can make not one penny from its operations or even property rentals," Wynn said Tuesday. "So why not explore a sale or a long-term lease that could net us hundreds of millions of dollars upfront that we could put toward any number of community needs, such as transportation?"

    Of course, any 'lease' would have go to paying down the bonds used to finance the creation of ABIA. Honestly, this may be one of the few privatization ideas that makes sense.

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

    The Austin Chamber of Commerce loves them some tolls

    Recently I got a mailer from TakeOnTraffic.org, which is an education initiative funded by the Greater Austin CoC to inform the people of Austin that they need roads. Masters of the obvious, these folks.

    Tolls, tolls and more tolls appears to be on tap if the GACoC has their way. One has to wonder what they'll get out of it, especially since I'd be willing to bet most members of the CoC aren't so much for tolls... they just want traffic off the roads (we'll get to that in a bit). Most of the site is pretty worthless (the design's not bad... the information is. For example there is a lot of information about why we need roads. Which is pretty stupid because no one is arguing that point save maybe morons). The Transportation Funding section is the real meat of the site... the rest of it is as substantial and worthwhile as a rice cake.

    Gasoline taxes. This is the main source of revenue for highways right now. However, the state gas tax hasn’t been raised since 1991. With gas prices already reaching record highs, it’s unlikely that the state will ever raise this tax enough to pay for all of Texas’ unmet transportation needs.

    Yeah, not so much at record highs anymore and around current, lower