June 13, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 11, 2010

Can we all just agree...

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

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

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

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May 11, 2010

Shut it, Teabaggers!

While the teabaggers are bitching and moaning about their taxes, USA Today and CNN both have found out that taxes now are lower than they have been at any time since 1950, before most of these people were even born.

So, how about it, Teabaggers? You want to maybe cut the black guy a little slack BECAUSE HE GOT HANDED ONE FUCKING HELL OF A SHITTY DEAL AND HAS DONE A PRETTY GOOD JOB?

Taxed Enough Already... indeed. As for your bullshit about spending, more than half the federal budget is Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. The other half is 90% interest on our existing debt and Defense spending. So, if we can't cut SS and M/M, how about we cut DoD?

(H/T to Katherine)

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February 11, 2010

Ag Comm Race : The Statesman vs. The DMN

We discussed the pathetic reporting out of the DMN Tuesday, but yesterday's mess was even worse. Jessica Myers, the intrepid reporter covering the Democratic primary race for Commissioner of Agriculture (and whose last beat was Frisco ISD, no joke), ain't the sharpest in the world. In fact, her irrational slant in the race (Friedman vs. Gilbert) has been surprising to many of us who were actually starting to like the DMN again. Here's the piece that caught my eye today...

"It should be an interesting and new experience for him to endorse a Democrat," said campaign adviser Mike Lavigne in the statement. He accused Friedman of previously endorsing Republicans George W. Bush, Lamar Smith and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Actually, Jessica, it wasn't an accusation. It's documented fact, much like Kinky calling Katrina evacuees in Houston 'a bunch of crackdealers and thugs'. Be slanted all you want, the rest of us know the truth and understand that, on balance, you're not doing a great job even for a blogger.

Compare and contrast that with Asher Price at the Statesman.

Friedman says he has no plans to square off against Gilbert.

"My heart's not in an intramural battle between Democrats," said Friedman, who has won endorsements from former Democratic agriculture commissioner Jim Hightower and The Dallas Morning News.

Which, I suppose, is why his campaign sends out nasty, almost daily blasts about Hank.

But after running for governor as an independent in 2006, Friedman might have a hard time persuading most Democrats to vote for him.

"I don't think Kinky Friedman will ultimately be taken seriously because people do not seriously see him as agricultural commissioner," said Ed Martin, former director of the Texas Democratic Party, who said he is not working for either campaign.

Gilbert, a rancher, is "obviously qualified," said Martin, and Democrats have a "better opportunity (in the general election) with somebody who could seriously address the issues with the office."

Some Democrats want nothing to do with Friedman, who they say acted as a spoiler for Democratic candidate Chris Bell in 2006 and appears to be a self-promoter.

"He likes dogs more than he likes people in Kerr County," Marguerite Jones, an Austinite who lived in Kerr County, said at a confab of local Democrats at Scholz Garten in January. "He changes with the winds. He's a personality, but he's not a candidate. He's a character. He's not serious."

Gilbert said he's concentrating on a general election with Staples, who, he says "has trimmed down the agency till things are falling into cracks."

In one piece, the Statesman better captured this race than the DMN has with articles and almost daily blog posts. It all comes down to this... an incompetent comedian who is busy selling books, cigars and salsa vs a rancher who has spent his entire professional life in Agriculture. A non-Democrat running in the Democratic primary vs a life long Democrat. A man who will depress Democratic turnout in November vs a man with a proven track record of rallying Democrats and pulling in Independents and moderate Republicans, in every corner of the state.

That's the story. Only an asshat could miss it.


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December 28, 2009

So, another terrorist?

Sorry about the light posting, you know how it is... having a life sometimes interferes with the blog.

What we missed was a terrorist trying to blow up a plan on approach to Detroit. Then another one tried to do the same thing. Both failed.

Two points here...

1) How exactly, given the asinine levels of security we've been forced to deal with since 9/11, did this happen?

2) If the aforementioned security was inadequate, why don't we just ditch the whole damn thing and start over with air marshals? With tasers or some kind of gun that can kill but not puncture the airframe? Or, simply, isn't it clear at this point that we're all kinda hyperaware of terrorism and ready to beat ANY motherfucker down who tries to blow us up while traveling in an aluminum tube?

Representative Peter King of New York, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, was critical of he Obama administration as well as Ms. Napolitano, who said repeatedly on the Sunday programs that the system had “worked” because passengers jumped on Mr. Abdulmutallab as he tried to ignite a highly explosive powder mixture, PETN, also called pentaerythritol tetranitrate, that he had taped to his leg.

WOW. Que the politicos with the dumbest bullshit of all. Rep. King will, of course, demand tougher security screenings and try to drop the President in the grease which will earn Rep. King a hearty "GO FUCK YOURSELF" from people all over this country. As for HSS Napolitano, the system, with all due respect, fucking failed. A terrorist with a bomb got an a plane bound for the US. Period. What the passengers did was exactly what they were going to do and what some tried to do even on 9/11. Simply put, woe be to any terrorist who tries to fuck with a plane full of Americans.

To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised this particular asshole made it to the ground alive. I know if I had been on that flight, I would have tried has hard as I could to crack his skull open. I'm not generally violent, but when someone tries to fuck with my life I have a nasty reaction to it.

Terrorism will never stop. Period. It never has. Particular terrorist movements end up destabilizing when both sides agree to compromise and end up reaching a peaceful solution. Obviously, we aren't there yet. So, we need to show the terrorists and their families that Americans aren't soft. Americans are way fucking meaner than our military and if you try to kill us on a plane, WE'LL catch you. If you're lucky, you might make it to the ground alive and receive the benefit of our criminal justice system. But it's really more likely we'll kill you in flight.

And if that happens all the broadcast networks should be forced to carry footage of what the passengers did to the body. The message needs to get through, don't bring your bullshit here. You'll fail. And our citizens will kill you. And every passenger involved in such an action should receive immunity from prosecution and be held harmless from any civil action.

Yeah, maybe it is vigilante justice. Let's see how you feel about it when at 30k feet someone decides to blow up the plane you're on.


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November 13, 2009

Kay Bailey concedes to 39%

PhotobucketSenator Support Hose decided today NOT to resign prior to the primary. Instead, she's decided to continue her project in the Senate which consists, primarily, of fucking things up for her constituents. And wasting her contributors money in a vain attempt to beat 39% who will, because of this, beat her like she owes him money.

I find it interesting that this comes not long after Hank Gilbert's campaign rolled Kay's Magic 8 Ball. I also loved Hank's comment...

Anyone who says they are shocked by her announcement hasn't followed the lengthy trail of broken promises she's left in her wake, starting with her promise to serve only two terms. She is an unreliable and undependable public servant who dodges and weaves as it suits her political ambitions. Senator Hutchison has left her supporters and contributors holding the bag.

Cause and effect? Certainly didn't hurt. I do think it's funny that, once again, Gilbert's campaign is the only one with a pulse, hitting Republicans hard. And Hank even had time today to go live in the comments on a post at Kos regarding his LGBT policy.

B team member Tom Schieffer was busy telling that retarded little story about his tux while Kinky was trying to con someone into buying one of his books by promising that it was really written by someone with talent. Farouk Shami was busy scribbling out checks to every Democratic club in the state of Texas in a sad attempt to make up for years of neglect. Just like my mother. Which reminds me, if you have a Democratic club (especially one that endorses) you need to hop on the gravy train soon. I just set up three new clubs last week and am looking forward to making enough to have a very merry Christmas (Thanks Farouk! I can even say it like Ms. Texas, it's really something in real life).

39%, meanwhile, celebrated his rapidly approaching victory in the R primary with a 'close friend' at Charlies.

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September 30, 2009

Talk, bluster and bullshit : Right wing cowardice shows up in force

Media Matters put out this today regarding the virulent right wing press (blogs, print and broadcast) who are all talking about revolution and military coups against the President and the Government. Here's a representative sample of what has them so upset...

Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a "family intervention," with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.

Military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for "fundamental change" toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible. [Newsmax.com, 9/29/09]

Let's move past the fact that the majority of the brass is Democratic or democratic leaning... by an overwhelming number, they are almost uniform in their support for civilian control of the military and it's Constitutional basis. Needless to say, this is stupid wishful thinking. The comedy here is that these very same generals would lead the fight against domestic terrorists bent on the overthrow of the US. Here's another sampling, this time from Michael Savage...

Let me talk specifically. The white male in particular -- the one without connections, the one without money -- has nothing to lose, and you haven't seen him yet. You haven't seen him explode in this country, and he's still a majority, by the way. In case you don't know it. He is still the majority. No one speaks for him. Everyone craps on him. People use him for cannon fodder. And he has no voice whatsoever. He has nobody speaking for him.

So he goes to these extreme fighting events. Take a look at them, and you'll see what the white male is capable of. And you're going to find out that if you keep pushing this country around, you'll find out that there's an ugly side to the white male that has been suppressed for probably 30 years right now, but it really has never gone away.[Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation, 8/21/09]

Actually, no. Aside from the occasional maladjusted buttplug with a gun, an itchy trigger finger and a grudge, none of these folks are going to do a damn thing. Because they're too busy watching the next UFC match on SPIKE. Oh, sure, much like their leaders Beck and Savage (the human equivalent of the action of a dog vomiting, with apologies to Barfly), they'll moan and whine, but they won't do a fucking thing. Because they're stupid, lazy and cowardly. Just like their media leaders. These people are whiners... about their jobs, their lives and their tiny dicks. They're so soft they wouldn't have a chance in a real totalitarian state. They'd give up any amount of freedom for a lifetime porn channel subscription, a supply of Pepsi and some fried chicken.

Growing up in East Texas, when someone got mouthy they usually got punched. I'm offering, on behalf of the country, to do that to these windbags. Same with you Chuck Norris, though I'm sure your training and experience will probably kick my ass... but I promise you, it'll be fight you'll never forget and I will make you bleed. I promise, Chuck Norris, that at the very least I'll beat enough sense into that you'll stop talking about being 'the President of Texas'.

Seriously, come on bitches. You're so goddamn tough, come on to town and let's throw down.


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September 18, 2009

If you were already rich...

The Bush Administration really did provide some incredible wage growth... just not for you, me and certainly not for everyone we know. No, it was pretty much limited to the rich people.

This really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone... concentrating wealth and economic gain to the very top earners/asset holders is a feature (not a bug) of supply-side economics and ideologically Republican tax policy.

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September 17, 2009

Kickin' it with Socialist Congressman Kevin Brady

Apparently, Congressman Kevin Brady (who just happens to be from Texas, which makes us really angry) was upset that some of his fellow Republicans, this time in their Teabagger drag, were inconvenienced by public transportation because that had to wait for trains. Some of them even had to take cabs, which is really just intolerable for a privatization advocate like Kevin Brady.

It's also pretty clear that Kevin Brady is pretty stupid. Oh, and Kevin Brady is a stupid name. Just sayin'.

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September 01, 2009

I love you John Coby!

Coby went to Rep. Olson's little townhall and here is his report. He also shot some video... not long after the video ends, Olson shut down the townhall when he realized his lies weren't selling. Then there's this...

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Thank you, John!

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August 28, 2009

Calling Bullshit : We're going to need to boycott Whirlpool

Whirlpool today announced that it was closing a plant in Indiana, laying off 1100 workers, in an effort to 'trim production capacity'.

Whirlpool Corp. announced Friday it will close its Evansville, Ind., factory next year, moving the plant's production of top-freezer refrigerators to a facility in Mexico.

Citing the need to trim manufacturing capacity, Whirlpool said the mid-2010 plant closure will eliminate 1,100 full-time jobs.

Whirlpool /quotes/comstock/13*!whr/quotes/nls/whr (WHR 66.09, +1.55, +2.40%) , like most manufacturers, has seen its sales slump over the past year as a global economic recession and housing market slump hurt demand for home appliances. Whirlpool's latest revenue numbers show sales in the second quarter fell 18% to $4.17 billion from the second quarter of 2008.

Closing the Evansville plant is part of Whirlpool's ongoing drive to consolidate its North American manufacturing operations.

The company said it is also considering relocating its Evansville refrigeration product development center, a move that would affect another 300 jobs. "A decision is expected in the near future," the company said.

Trim production capacity? Nah, you're moving jobs to a cheaper labor environment. How much cheaper is it really? Will the cheaper labor offset higher transport costs and brand damage? And by brand damage I mean me and everyone who reads this telling everyone they know not to buy your products? How much do you think your stock price will take a hit when your sales start to crash?

Seriously, how the hell is the country supposed to come out of the recession without jobs?

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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.

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July 11, 2009

It's because of the mongrelization of the white man, right?

This was from our good friend Ramey Ko who manages to catch some really tragic and, well, just a little fucked up, shit.

From a recent ep of Fox and Friends which. apparently, someone over at Gawker takes one for the team to watch...

Kilmeade and two colleagues were discussing a study that, based on research done in Finland and Sweden, showed people who stay married are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's. Kilmeade questioned the results, though, saying, "We are -- we keep marrying other species and other ethnics and other ..."

At this point, his co-host tried to -- in that jokey morning show way -- tell Kilmeade he needed to shut up, and quick, for his own sake. But he didn't get the message, adding, "See, the problem is the Swedes have pure genes. Because they marry other Swedes .... Finns marry other Finns, so they have a pure society."

Click the link so you can see the footage in all it's awesomeness.

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June 30, 2009

Toll Me Another Story

"Toll" is just another dirty 4-letter word


Telling people not to use toll roads if they don't want to and then building them is almost like telling people not to breathe if they don't want to. They are going to be hurt.

Why? Because we all will be paying toll road TAXES even if we "don't use them".

How? We will pay the extra tolls at the cash register when we purchase goods and services because businesses will divert their toll costs onto the consumer. It's common-sense.

In addition, toll roads are long-term debts that our children's grandchildren will continue to pay.

Lastly, if you think toll roads are the panacea for all our roadway, traffic and pollution ills, you are grossly mistaken. Just look at the long-time toll roads in tolling meccas like CA, NY, FL, etc., and you will see that not only do they still have the same issues and problems, but new ones have been created directly due to the building and maintenance of toll roads and plazas.

Another issue is that of Eminent Domain. Thanks to lackluster laws created by lawmakers and their wealthy special interests, property owners will NOT be compensated properly for the taking of their land.

Obviously, there are MANY reasons NOT to approve toll roads throughout Texas, but the main reasons are that toll roads are NOT cost-effective and why should Texans provide wealthy special interests with more avenues for profiteering at our expense?

The special session starts Wednesday July 1st. Contact your state lawmakers and tell them you do NOT want toll roads and to vote AGAINST private toll road leases and any other pro-toll agendas.

Contacts:

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

Senate: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/Members.htm


----

Peter Stern

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June 29, 2009

Gov. Rick Perry Lies to Texans About Home Insurance Premium Costs

Perry is a lying sack of manure

by Peter Stern


We need to ask ourselves, "Why?" [...do Texans continue to pay the highest home insurance premiums in the nation.]

Five years ago with Gov. Rick Perry, then Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner Jose Montemayor, and legislators "looking the other way," lax insurance legislation permitted the industry to double overnight the premiums paid by Texas homeowners. Bear in mind that Gov. Perry will have a tough battle for reelection in 2010 from fellow Republican, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Texans now have some "clout" to demand the governor do something before the election.

In 2004 and during the previous several years, the insurance industry had been experiencing a hard market and was losing revenue; we were told it was caused by excessive claims due to storms, winds, flooding, hail, and mold. The industry collectively had called upon the state informally to help with correcting the market, but few listened to its pleas.

As in many previous years of hard markets, the insurance industry elected to act independently on the problem without waiting any longer for government interaction on its behalf. Virtually overnight, it then over-corrected the market by doubling home insurance premiums. Texas homeowners are still paying those doubled premiums.

In some instances, the industry decreased the coverage and still increased the premiums significantly.

Initially, the reaction of homeowners was disbelief and then anger. Many contacted the offices of the governor, TDI, and various legislators. They were told publicly by Gov. Perry and his appointee Comm. Montemayor that by the next year, the insurance industry would refund up to 14 percent of the increased premiums. To date, that has never occurred. Homeowners must have forgotten the promises made by Perry, Montemayor and now TDI Commissioner Mike Geeslin.

So, now it's been 5 years of insurance over-compensation and profiteering, while premiums still are doubled! Texans still are being lied to, while the governor and state officials continue to permit the insurance industry in Texas to maintain the highest home insurance premiums anywhere else in the nation.

Currently, we are in the middle of the 3rd fiscal business quarter of year 2009 and are in a softer market. The industry has been reaping substantial profits for the past several years and is still content to keep premiums at this highest-ever level.

Despite high revenues, there is no sign of legislators providing more oversight and/or regulations on the insurance market, nor is the industry on its own considering lowering the premiums of home insurance to a more reasonable amount.

Periodically, when public opinion and discontent require it, Perry gives the issue some lip service and feigns to leave it up to the Legislature to consider, but no one seriously acts on behalf of overburdened Texas homeowners. With ever-increasing property values via appraisal creep generating escalating taxes annually (whether or not appropriate), home insurance may be a close second as the cause of the record number of foreclosure throughout the state.

Apparently, unless Texans pound on the gubernatorial and legislative doors, communicating via phone and letters that home insurance relief is needed now, no one will do anything about it and Texas homeowners will continue to pay the highest premium costs anywhere in the nation. We can NOT depend on the governor, legislators, current TDI Commissioner Mike Geeslin, or the insurance industry to offer homeowners relief. To them, the sweet smell of profits overrides the stench of decay from the American Dream of owning your own home becoming a nightmare for most of us.

We either can remain the docile sheep officials want us to be, or we can move on correcting this unacceptable series of insurance events.

DEMAND REDUCTIONS IN PREMIUM COSTS WITHOUT REDUCING COVERAGE!!!

Naturally, an easier option for fed-up Texans is to vote-out Gov. Rick Perry in the 2010 GOP Gubernatorial Primary, by voting-in fellow Republican opponent Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Texas taxpayers finally have a viable option in lowering their home insurance premiums by removing a lying and deceitful special interest governor from office.

---


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June 20, 2009

The PEC Food Chain

To protect and to serve?


One question: Why did it take so long for all this greed, power and corruption to surface and steps taken to punish offenders?

Many had to enable these actions. I have been writing about PEC for the past 6 years and no one wanted to act on this issue, e.g., the governor, lawmakers, PUC, various DA's, the AG, etc. Those folks are as guilty as are the vermin being tried and also as the ones who still sit as Directors of PEC, who are still manipulating PEC policy and dictating actions.

It's time to deal with this nonsense correctly. It still is not being done.


--- Peter Stern


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June 18, 2009

Texas Governor Rick Perry & Eminent Domain

by Peter Stern


Slime-Ball Perry Rides Again!

Governor Rick Perry is scamming the people of Texas (again).

Perry's recent Press Release conveys the message that he signed an eminent domain bill HJR 14 that gives Texans the right to vote in November on this proposed amendment to protect their homes and property from being taken by the government and given to someone else.

This is more Perry posturing. The Texas Governor does NOT have to sign for a prospective amendment to go to a public vote. If a majority of the Texas Congress {which it did on this bill] approves a proposed amendment it goes directly [NOT TO THE Governor] to the Secretary of State who will place it on the ballot in the next amendment election.

Of course Perry [via his spokesperson] will say that in 2005 he signed an eminent domain bill, but it was bogus --- NOT in the best interests of the people.

In 2007 he vetoed another eminent domain bill because it would have forced government or special interests to pay a more fair. and reasonable reimbursement to property owners for land taken from them.

Now he is back to the BS that he is pro-eminent domain. He is so full of crap it's pathetic.

Perry is using this eminent domain issue to try to build support for his reelection. This behavior underscores Perry's irresponsible behavior, his under-handed methodology in his gubernatorial rule and his lack of ethics. Clearly, Texans need to vote in another candidate for governor in November of 2010.

---

Peter Stern of Driftwood, TX is a political writer well-known and published frequently throughout the Texas community and nationwide. He is a Vietnam-era Disabled Veteran and holds three post-graduate degrees. You may contact Peter Stern at: pstern@austin.rr.com

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June 16, 2009

Governor Rick Perry Continues to "flim-flam" Texans and the Media

The bullshit continues to flow...

Governor Rick Perry Continues to "flim-flam" Texans and the Media


The question is "How long will Texans permit Perry to get away with it?"

Hopefully, Texans had enough and in 2010 will vote in some other candidate. It is long overdue to replace Perry.

Here, Perry and his PR try to persuade us that he is doing what is best for Texans:


"IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Texas Ranked Best State for Business by Directorship Magazine


What puts Texas first? It has a pro-business tax climate that ranks third, a low cost of living, a relatively solid economy, and a litigation environment that ranks 10th on our list. Texas also ranks first in the number of Fortune 500 companies located there. We used the Fortune rankings as one measure of attractiveness to large companies and an indication of strong infrastructure. Texas’ central location and time zone also make it an ideal hub, especially for companies with a national distribution or customer footprint. Recently, companies such as Toyota and Caterpillar have located portions of their business in Texas. “Our commitment to low taxes, predictable regulations, and a fair tort system are setting an example for the nation and creating a magnetic force for the businesses and jobs that are vital to maintaining Texas’ competitive advantage in the global marketplace,” says Texas Governor Rick Perry."

Texans pay low taxes? What Texas is Perry talking about? The one that he has seceding from the United States?


FYI, home foreclosures in Texas are at the highest rate ever. Property taxes continue to escalate every year and homeowners also pay the highest insurance premiums anywhere in the nation.

As for companies doing so well here, this past year Dell Computers lost 40% of its business profit, the auto industry, e.g., Toyota, GM, Chrysler has significantly decreased sales. In addition, GM closed many of its Texas dealerships, etc., etc. Sales tax income is also at a record low.

All in all, Gov. Perry is far from being truthful. Business is not doing so great in Texas either.

Once again "Pandering" Perry is lying to his constituents and the media. In addition, Perry has set the pace of lackluster and inept leadership for the Texas Legislature, which appears to do less for the Texas community in each successive legislative session.

If lying was a criminal offense, Perry would be in court defending his reckless and irresponsible actions. Instead, he is the governor of the largest state inside the continental U.S. who continues to deceive the public and media.

The Year 2010 election is the means for finally getting rid of this pathetic excuse for a governor. Hopefully, Texas voters will rise up to the occasion.

--- Peter Stern

.


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June 01, 2009

Calling Bullshit : The hunt for domestic terrorists

First off, as a primer, go read this. Then, take a look at this.

No, this isn't a See, I Was Right post, mostly because I'm wrong about so much shit that crowing about one of the times I was right is a little, well, obnoxious. I wanted to point those two items out because it dovetails with this over at Hullabaloo about still more domestic terrorists. Who happen to also be poor and black.

This all begs the question, is the FBI actually investigating terrorist activity in the US or trying to create it so they can bust the alleged perps? Hey, don't get me wrong, I like entrapment as much as the next guy. However, this is a waste of time and money. Is this REALLY the best way our resources can be spent? If so, we should ditch and just begin preparing for the aftermath of the next terrorist attack on US soil because we sure as hell won't be able to prevent it.

What the hell ever happened to infiltration? Wasn't that how we usually busted up mafia families?


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May 31, 2009

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

Lawmakers Cover the Governor's Butt

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

According to an article in the Austin American-Statesman,

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

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


Click here to read the entire article.

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

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

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

What lawmakers have done is unethical and despicable.

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

- Peter Stern

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

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

BREAKING NEWS!!!

URGENT!!!

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

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

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TexansAgainstTolls.com
TexasTURF.org

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you all.

Peter Stern

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

May 27, 2009

Calling Bullshit : Let's fix Social Security now

Ditto.

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

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

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

May 22, 2009

Voter ID Bill is the Catalyst for all others

And so it comes to light...

Voter ID Bill is the Catalyst for all others


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

Despicable politics!

P

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

May 04, 2009

Perry Accepts "Bribes"

Accepts "Bribes" from his Appointees!

Big surprise!

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

All in all, Texans are better off without this lackluster, special interest governor.
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Posted by pstern at 08:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 30, 2009

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

SB 469, HB 742

Dear Senators and Members of the House of Representatives:

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

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

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

So, legislators, what is the delay?

Signed in disbelief!


Peter Stern

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

April 14, 2009

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

Why is so little being done to punish PEC perpetrators?

by Peter Stern

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 08, 2009

Texas Lawmakers 'Not Seeing the Forest For the Trees'

When can we deal with the REAL issues?

Stop the bullshit and finance our roadways!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Stern

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

April 01, 2009

Microsoft's unprofessional and defective VISTA

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

Dear Mr. Stern:

Thank you for contacting the Office of the Attorney General.

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

Again, thank you for writing.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Respectfully yours,

Peter Stern

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

March 18, 2009

Calling Bullshit : AIG

Over the last few days I've talked a lot about AIG (here, here and here). Today is the day when Liddy comes to Congress and tries to pull his ass out of the crack.

I don't think he can do it because he's wrong. Paying these bonuses is not legally necessary (second opinions here and here) and I've always found the excuses that 'we need these 'experts' to unwind these books' lacking because these contracts are not impossible to figure out. In many cases they aren't even difficult... and we're not talking about trillions in losses.

Basically, everything you've heard about the necessity of keeping these people happy is bullshit. Forget about sanctity of contract (which is, IMHO, the best argument had these guys not brought down the company, thereby creating cause for termination) the larger issue we've heard about for days is that without these people it may cost hundreds of billions or even trillions to unwind AIG's derivative book.

Which is funny as hell to me since they were saying the same thing about Lehman when it unwound it's D book. First there was LEH's $9 trillion in rate swaps which unwound less than a month after the bankruptcy for $6 BILLION. Less than 1% of the notational velue. But that wasn't the big issue... it's was the $400 bn in default swaps written on Lehman that were set to settle... and it cost a little over $5 billion.

The settlement follows an auction of Lehman’s debt earlier this month after the investment firm sought bankruptcy protection on Sept. 15. The debt was priced at a little above 8 cents on the dollar, leaving companies and funds that insured these debts against default responsible for the remainder.

Many companies and funds held positions on both sides of the trades in Lehman’s credit default swaps, and in most cases those positions appeared to cancel themselves out.

Wall Street had been concerned that sellers of credit-default swaps on Lehman’s debt could be exposed to hundreds of billions of dollars in losses.

In other words, unwinding a comparable book and derivatives on the failure of a large firm resulted, combined, in less than $12 billion in losses. On more than NINE TRILLION in notational value. If the AIG guys bail, why not call the former Lehman traders who unwound their book?

These arguments are thoroughly bullshit. These instruments, while somewhat esoteric, are not impossible to figure out. At the end of the day, they're insurance policies, nothing more. And the guys who wrote and traded them should be less worried about a bonus than they should be about jail.

I don't want to hear anything else from Summers. Or Liddy. Or Geithner. Or President Obama about how, though distasteful, this has to be done. It doesn't and these men are lying when they otherwise.

Congress needs to man up and tear this motherfucker down. While Lehman's BK was a disaster, it wasn't because of their derivatives book. And AIG's won't kill us either.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 30, 2009

Cap'n Kroc, you ignorant slut.

Where to begin? I'm so pissed off that I feel compelled to use enumerated points...

1. First off, buddy, your storied franchise shares a bloodline with the Cardinals. Both teams have plenty of sad sack franchise history. (See, e.g. Steelers pre-1972 and most of the 80s) So come the hell down from your high horse.


2. ...Or should that be high zebra? Because let's be honest, if it weren't for the black and white bailing out the black and gold at every critical juncture, the Rooneys would be in the same boat as the Bidwills. The Immaculate Reception, the "tripping" call on Benny Barnes in Super Bowl XIII, Mike Renfro's unscored touchdown catch in the 1980 AFC Championship game, and the entirety of Super Bowl XL - you don't win ANY of these games without some pretty shameless and heavyhanded help from the refs. Forget Bradshaw, Swann, Greene, Lambert, Roethlisberger and Ward. The REAL heroes of the Steeler franchise are guys like Fred Swearingen and Bill Leavy. Can't wait to see what bullshit call your henchmen come up with THIS year to keep propping up the legend.


3. You forgot a few important names besides Conrad Dobler. Men like Jim Hart, Ottis Anderson, Terry Metcalf, Dan Dierdorf, Mel Gray, Roger Wehrli...I think you get my point.


4. Here's one more: Pat Tillman.


5. Pierogies, schmierogies - you know who has even BETTER pierogies than Pittsburgh? Chicago, that's who - ORIGINAL HOME OF THE CARDINALS, BABY. This is the year for Chicago's favorite sons: Obama and the Cardinals. I'll bet Gramma Balczak's pierogies on that and skip 6 through 10 so I can end on....


11. Larry Fitzgerald, bitches. Larry Fitzgerald.

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

January 23, 2009

Conventional Wisdom

SOMEONE at BOR wrote a nice piece about conventional wisdom and singled out Texas Monthly when, frankly, you could have tagged any number of pundits and journalists around the state. I figured I'd throw some more gas into the fire and give you a few points to consider...

1) The idiot Democrats of old are no mas. Those still around are definitely shaping up to fight more aggressively (Sharp).

2) The Democratic Party, at a statewide level, finally has it's act together and is moving forward.

3) There are a number of candidates who are going to run in 2010 who will win. Hank Gilbert will be one of them.

2008 was THE highwater mark for Texas Republicans. The economy here isn't that bad and there was a black man on top of the ticket, a sure way to drive R turnout. Even with that and resources to waste, Democrats edged into the 40's. In 2010, they'll pull pluralities and that's the ballgame. Even President Obama managed to get within 10 points of a Republican Presidential candidate. Who was white.

Do you folks REALLY not get how fucked Texas Republicans are?

Posted by mcblogger at 02:50 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 07, 2009

Stimulus, post-partisanship and shitting blood

Even in 2007 during his irritating announcement, non-announcement phase I liked Obama. HOWEVER, I hated the retarded bullshit about 'the coarseness of our politics'. I hated, even more, the dimwitted fools who diligently tried to convince me that he was REALLY was just so awesome that Republicans would work with him and be his friend; that he would persuade them.

Oh, how much I agree with Barney Frank...

I think he overestimates his ability to take people — particularly our colleagues on the Right — and sort of charm them into being nice. I know he talks about being post-partisan. But I’ve worked frankly with Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and the current Republican leadership. … When he talks about being post partisan, having seen these people and knowing what they would do in that situation, I suffer from post partisan depression.

This is, of course, all about the stimulus package. Krugman has pointed out that the plan rolled out does too much on the tax cut side and too little on the actual, you know, infrastructure and job building side. Why on Earth would Obama do that? why to get the support of Republicans in the Senate like everyone's favorite obstructionist, Mitch McConnell

Look, Republicans are not going to come on board. Make 40% of the package tax cuts, they’ll demand 100%. Then they’ll start the thing about how you can’t cut taxes on people who don’t pay taxes (with only income taxes counting, of course) and demand that the plan focus on the affluent. Then they’ll demand cuts in corporate taxes. And Mitch McConnell is already saying that state and local governments should get loans, not aid — which would undermine that part of the plan, too.

While it's true that infrastructure spending takes longer to hit the economy than tax cuts, the velocity of infrastructure spending is FAR higher. Further, it leaves behind hard assets that will be desperately needed for the next leg of economic growth. Just in case you think Pauli is wrong, take a look at this work (and here's something else for good measure).

Tax cuts are going to spur some spending but it's going to be on imports and the balance will be saved or used to pay down debt. This would be great if you were talking about $2000 or more per individual. However, we're talking about $500. And this is all to get the economy moving again while the little bit of infrastructure spending takes effect.

Which is, simply, CRAPTASTIC. Lookit, what's really dragging on the economy is all the money on the sidelines. The Fed's have done a great job of stop gapping it but at some point banks have got to get back to lending. What Obama needs to be talking about is, on the afternoon of January 20th, nationalizing Bank of America as a warning to every other bank in the US to quit acting like scared children and get back to work. With credit loosened, people will start to get comfortable and start spending. That spending will drive job creation and we won't have to give everyone a stupid tax cut that will amount to $40 per paycheck and do fuckall to stimulate real economic growth.

DDay has this take and it's spot on. Obama promised, Obama delivers stupidly. And, as an added bonus, it's all to chase after some insanely stupid bipartisan agenda he doesn't need.

What's most dangerous about this is the effort to corral 75-80% support just for the sake of doing so. Not only is it unlikely, it will end up really eroding Obama's ability to draw on popular support to govern.

One last point... when Obama talked about cutting taxes on the middle class, I thought he was talking about increasing deductions, maybe lowering the rates. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought it would all be about giving me an extra $500 which I'll use to buy something from another country out of spite.

I absolutely can not believe this is what the team he assembled came up with. It's just too stupid. And then, you have the deficit hawks (like, again, McConnell) who are screaming about the debt burden "we're putting on our children" which is funny as hell because they were completely unconcerned with deficits and debt from 2001 until now. But still, let's look at this burden.

We are going to finance job creation and infrastructure improvement (which will hopefully be much more robust than currently envisioned) at historically low rates. That's right, folks, people are effective PAYING the Federal Government to take their money. Why? Because in a deflationary spiral, where everything loses value, your focus changes from making money to just preserving. And the way you do that is in government securities.

Sure, we'll have to pay this money back but we're paying for it at a rate of interest that's less than long term inflation. It's free money and we'd be stupid not to take it. The hawks, Democrats and Republicans both, ARE COMPLETELY IGNORANT OF MODERN FINANCE. Frankly, they're almost as stupid as the asshats bleating on about tax cuts as a panacea.

The bottom line is that what's being proposed here is like crushing up glass and putting it in a meal. Sure, it'll fill you up and you won't be hungry, but within an hour or so you're going to be shitting blood.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 03, 2008

Oh, harumph!

chill pillMaybe it's bad form to call out McBlogger on his very own blog, but his latest tantrum about traffic really crosses the boundary into insanity. Of course, I know we're all shocked... shocked that is, that traffic would be heavy at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. And while I'm no particular fan of "our wonderful Republican Governor, Republican Lt. Governor and Republican controlled Legislature", I really don't understand why they get the blame for infringing on McBlogger's apparently god-given right to drive 90 or faster if people moved the hell out of my way. It seems to me that McBlogger has more of a beef with James the First, for letting a group of annoying religious separatists found the colony that gave birth to the event in the first place. Or Squanto, the Wampanoag without whose advice and friendship the colonists probably would have died of starvation and disease (to say nothing of hostile natives.) Or Abraham Lincoln, who proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday.

McBlogger, chill out dude, turn your satellite radio up, and deal with traffic like a grownup.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 02:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 16, 2008

Immigration now detaining US citizens; Law enforcement spying

Oh, this is just insane...

On its Web site, the American Immigration Law Foundation has summarized at least 10 lawsuits stemming from the raids, including the case of 7-year-old Kebin Reyes, a U.S. citizen who was held for hours when agents raided his home in the San Francisco Bay area and held his father, Noe, on suspicion of entering the country illegally. In June, the government agreed to a $30,000 settlement, according to the foundation.

So, let me get this straight... you automatically think anyone with brown skin MIGHT be an illegal immigrant? And your mistakes are costing us, TAXPAYERS, $30k a pop?!?!?!

I want these morons fired. From top to bottom, these assholes need to be canned and replaced by people who know how to enforce the law without getting us sued.

And while we're talking about law enforcement, let's talk about DOJ's new spying rules.

Quietly unveiled late last month, the proposal is part of a flurry of domestic intelligence changes issued and planned by the Bush administration in its waning months. They include a recent executive order that guides the reorganization of federal spy agencies and a pending Justice Department overhaul of FBI procedures for gathering intelligence and investigating terrorism cases within U.S. borders.

Taken together, critics in Congress and elsewhere say, the moves are intended to lock in policies for Bush's successor and to enshrine controversial post-Sept. 11 approaches that some say have fed the greatest expansion of executive authority since the Watergate era.

Tell you what, why don't we just follow the Constitution, let the current law stand and not create a national network of internal government spies. Frankly, I love police officers, but I certainly don't trust them to gather intelligence on terrorists.

Seriously, let's not be fucktards about this and let's NOT be so terribly skeered of the terrarists.

Posted by mcblogger at 02:08 PM | 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

February 20, 2008

Killing a satellite

Oh, if this is just another excuse to test an ASAT weapon then I'm gonna be super disappointed. We'll also look like losers if it doesn't work.

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

February 07, 2008

Is That A Hypocritical Sack Of Shit On TV, Or Is It Just Michael Moore?

About a minute into this clip, the filmmaker proclaims that his morals as a Catholic preclude him from voting for Hillary Clinton, because, in case you haven't heard, she voted for a war. (WARNING: Contains Larry King)

Of course, Moore's concern for his soul didn't preclude him from supporting General Wesley Clark in the 2004 primaries. Having been a general, one could say that Clark had actually been in the war business: after all, he did conduct NATO's aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo crisis. And in the 2004 general election, Moore campaigned for John Kerry, who had sat in the Senate and cast the same Yes vote on the Iraq War Resolution that Hillary Clinton did. Kerry even promised to do a better job of fighting that war, unlike Clinton's current vow to end it.

And while we're on the subject of the fashionable left, you may recall that last week the "progressive" PAC MoveOn.org rushed to climb on the Obama endorsement bandwagon. The last time they had been in the news was last September, when they ran their controversial "General Betray Us" ad, which led to our own Senator Boxturtle's resolution condemning the group. One of the Senators who voted against the measure was Hillary Clinton. Mr. Audacity of Hope? Recorded as "Not Voting". Fine job of remembering who has stood with you in the past, and who ducked out of the room, guys!

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

January 12, 2008

Fly the friendly skies

AA is, as part of a DHS test, mounting defensive laser systems on their jets. For all those shoulder mounted rockets being fired by terrawrists.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 04, 2007

Vets being shoved aside

This is some bullshit...Apparently, the numbers of Veterans arrested for drug and alcohol abuse in Travis Count have jumped dramatically. That's the obvious issue but the underlying cause is far more disturbing.

Because of the symptoms with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other psychiatric problems developed while in combat, veterans have succumbed to alcohol or drug abuse. This is frequently an attempt to self medicate the pain. This typically results in a dishonorable discharge, which denies any veteran VA benefits. As such veterans are thrown into the civilian population, their drug and alcohol abuse continues, yet they have no way to seek treatment for the abuse and/or their severe psychiatric problems. Furthermore, it is very difficult for veterans with dishonorable discharges to gain employment. Thus the downward spiral continues with no apparent way out.

The second problem is equally bad, but much more despicable. What is happening is that veterans returning from combat deployments take the right steps to receive treatment for PTSD and other lingering mental issues. In some of these instances, the military has pressured (coerced) the service members to sign a document stating that their mental condition was pre-existing. Such veterans are then discharged, and again denied access to VA benefits (because their disability is classified as existing prior to the military). The two primary ways these service members have been so coerced are:

1) Military members are threatened with disciplinary action. Their fragile psychiatric condition makes it very difficult for them to challenge this threat. In addition, they are pressured into signing such papers, with the "promise" that once signed, they will be discharged, and not be in further trouble. (They of course cannot get in legal trouble for having a psychiatric disorder, though when so pressured, they do not realize that this is the case).

2) The second form of coercion involves a horrible play on the condition of the service member. They are told that if they do not sign the document, their discharge will take longer. The nature of their illness is often such that they see the military as a cause of their pain, and are willing to sign away their benefits so that they can be immediately discharged.

This is a real problem nationally that's leading to extremely high suicide rates among our returning troops. The sad part is that it seems to be directed from the Administration down through DoD to classify as many Vets as possible this way to cut down on benefit payments over the next 50-60 years.

This is an absolutely inexcusable situation and one which people in liberal Austin seem to be taking seriously and working to address. The only question is why Republicans think their support of the troops begins and ends with the magnetic ribbon on their car? Is it any wonder that recruitment is going so badly?


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

December 02, 2007

Everyone Hates Rahm

We at McBlogger have long thought the strategy of Democrats moving to the right on issues was a stupid one. The reasoning is that if the difference is between an R and a D who both think the same way on key issues, people go with the stronger, more believable candidate who is usually (but not always) an R. It's not that the D is a bad person, it's that you can usually tell they don't really believe what they are saying when they advocate strident right wing positions.

Dos Centavos agrees and calls bullshit on Rahm Emmanuel's strategy of playing to the right on immigration.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 28, 2007

Seriously...WTF!?

I have one question...what is the point of a public university system that costs more to attend than Harvard?

You think I'm joking? Under the proposed tuition hikes, it will cost more for a non-resident to attend UT Law than Harvard. Here are the numbers:

Harvard Law Tuition................$38,490 per year.
Yale Law Tuition.....................$40,900 per year.

Recommended UT Tuition

Non-resident Law '08-'09........$39,130 per year.
Non-resident Law '09-'10........$44,214 per year.

Now, here is what you get for your money.

Harvard
Average first year class size - 80.
Student to faculty ratio - 10.5 to 1.

Yale
Average first year class size - 62.
Student to faculty ratio - 7.3 to 1.

UT Austin
Average first year class size - 112.
Student to faculty ratio -14 to 1.

Considering these factors, UT should cost 55% less, since the class sizes are 55% bigger than Yale.

Therefore, the max tuition should be $40,900*.55= $22,495!!!

I could go on and on, but I guess this really is a society lacking equality. Maybe the idea of having balanced power is driving those in power to stifle the education of pretty much anyone not filthy rich.

Education should be available to anyone who wants it, and our states' failure to make education universally available clearly demonstrates a critically confused value system. "Republicans are the value party," my Ass!

OK, I'm stopping or else this will quickly deteriorate into an ugly rant.

So like I said, Seriously - WHAT THE FUCK!?

"For the people my ass!"
-Closet Purist

Posted by Closet Purist at 11:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 12, 2007

Blackwater has it's own CIA

What the hell is Prince doing over there, duplicating the national security apparatus of the United States?

The operation, Total Intelligence Solutions, has assembled a roster of former spooks -- high-ranking figures from agencies such as the CIA and defense intelligence -- that mirrors the slate of former military officials who run Blackwater. Its chairman is Cofer Black, the former head of counterterrorism at CIA known for his leading role in many of the agency's more controversial programs, including the rendition and interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects and the detention of some of them in secret prisons overseas.

Its chief executive is Robert Richer, a former CIA associate deputy director of operations who was heavily involved in running the agency's role in the Iraq war.

So Prince has the guy who gave us extraordinary rendition and the guy who brought us brilliant intel in Iraq. Is anyone actually contracting with this company?

Posted by mcblogger at 01:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 01, 2007

Calling Bullshit : 100,000 people on flight restrictions?

Oh, this is just a load of crap.

The freedom to travel of more than 100,000 Americans placed on "watch" and "no fly" lists is being restricted by the Bush-Cheney regime.

Citizens who have done no more than criticize the president are being banned from airline flights, harassed at airports, strip searched, roughed up and even imprisoned, feminist author and political activist Naomi Wolf reports in her new book, "The End of America."(Chelsea Green Publishing)

"Making it more difficult for people out of favor with the state to travel back and forth across borders is a classic part of the fascist playbook," Wolf says. She noticed starting in 2002 that "almost every time I sought to board a domestic airline flight, I was called aside by the Transportation Security Administration(TSA) and given a more thorough search."

During one preboarding search, a TSA agent told her "You're on the list" and Wolf learned it is not a list of suspected terrorists but of journalists, academics, activists, and politicians "who have criticized the White House."

OK, Congress... here's a reason for impeachment.

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

Calling Bullshit : 100,000 people on flight restrictions?

Oh, this is just a load of crap.

The freedom to travel of more than 100,000 Americans placed on "watch" and "no fly" lists is being restricted by the Bush-Cheney regime.

Citizens who have done no more than criticize the president are being banned from airline flights, harassed at airports, strip searched, roughed up and even imprisoned, feminist author and political activist Naomi Wolf reports in her new book, "The End of America."(Chelsea Green Publishing)

"Making it more difficult for people out of favor with the state to travel back and forth across borders is a classic part of the fascist playbook," Wolf says. She noticed starting in 2002 that "almost every time I sought to board a domestic airline flight, I was called aside by the Transportation Security Administration(TSA) and given a more thorough search."

During one preboarding search, a TSA agent told her "You're on the list" and Wolf learned it is not a list of suspected terrorists but of journalists, academics, activists, and politicians "who have criticized the White House."

OK, Congress... here's a reason for impeachment.

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

October 26, 2007

The Jena 6 : When not everything is as it appears

I've held off on posting anything about this because it was hard to get my head around some things. In fact, it still is. Granted, every place in this country has it's share of racist assholes, from Louisiana to Michigan (trust me, they're there) racism is national thing. However, it certainly seemed like a lot of them were living in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. An 'all-white tree'? Noose being used for decoration? Kids getting in fights because of color? Kids being indicted for attempted second-degree murder?

The biggest issue I had was simple... why were SIX kids beating ONE kid unconscious? Frankly, I don't care about the provocation. Six on one may be great for sex (no, I've never tried it) but not so much for a fight.

The Christian Science Monitor ran an article from someone who actually lives in Jena and writes for the Jena paper. After reading it, I'm almost certain that while well intentioned, he's a little clueless about how things are for blacks in Jena. The picture he paints is one of everyone being go-along, get-along which I don't think may be wholly accurate. The excuse regarding the noose hanging from a tree is really interesting...

Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students. An investigation by school officials, police, and an FBI agent revealed the true motivation behind the placing of two nooses in the tree the day after the assembly. According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of "Lonesome Dove.") The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history. When informed of this history by school officials, they became visibly remorseful because they had many black friends. Another myth concerns their punishment, which was not a three-day suspension, but rather nine days at an alternative facility followed by two weeks of in-school suspension, Saturday detentions, attendance at Discipline Court, and evaluation by licensed mental-health professionals. The students who hung the nooses have not publicly come forward to give their version of events.

Lonesome Dove? Yeah, right. However, this is where he starts making a good point... these kids got punished, despite their ridiculous story about razzing their shit-kicker friends, far worse than what was reported by the media which made it sound like they got a slap on the wrist.

Then there was the DA who 'threatened' the black students...

Myth 4: DA's Threat to Black Students. When District Attorney Reed Walters spoke to Jena High students at an assembly in September, he did not tell black students that he could make their life miserable with "the stroke of a pen." Instead, according to Walters, "two or three girls, white girls, were chit-chatting on their cellphones or playing with their cellphones right in the middle of my dissertation. I got a little irritated at them and said, 'Pay attention to me. I am right now having to deal with an aggravated rape case where I've got to decide whether the death penalty applies or not.' I said, 'Look, I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. With the stroke of a pen I can make your life miserable so I want you to call me before you do something stupid.'"

Mr. Walters had been called to the assembly by police, who had been at the school earlier that day dealing with some students who were causing disturbances. Teachers and students have confirmed Walters's version of events.

Stupid thing to say? Oh hell yeah, but largely typical of a powertripping asshole. Racist? Maybe or maybe not. You really can't tell from the accurate version of events. You could make the case for him being racist from his seeking attempted murder indictments for the six black kids. However, you could also say he was doing it because of the brutality of the attack which seems just as, on balance, likely. And the reality is, not all these kids were the saints they were made out to be...

Myth 10: Jena 6 as Model Youth. While some members were simply caught up in the moment, others had criminal records. Bell had at least four prior violent-crime arrests before the December attack, and was on probation during most of this year.

Bell is the one whose conviction was just overturned. Note these are arrests, not convictions. Juvenile records are usually kept closed so we don't know his conviction history. He was, coincidentally, the kid who started the attack.

Myth 11: Jena Is One of the Most Racist Towns in America. Actually, Jena is a wonderful place to live for both whites and blacks. The media's distortion and outright lies concerning the case have given this rural Louisiana town a label it doesn't deserve.

Myth 12: Two Levels of Justice. Outside protesters were convinced that the prosecution of the Jena 6 was proof of a racially biased system of justice. But the US Justice Department's investigation found no evidence to support such a claim. In fact, the percentage of blacks and whites prosecuted matches the parish's population statistics.

11 may be true, but coming from a white newspaper reporter it's hardly evidence. Just as the ultra rich think the economy is great and that gas price increases are nuisance, white folks in a small town usually don't see just how bad things are for their black neighbors. As for 12, who could argue with the Bush Justice Dept. Honestly, I'm surprised they had the staff to send out to investigate.

At the end of the day I still have questions. However, I finally have some answers and a clearer narrative. I know there is still racism in this country. And I know some will use it as a reason for violence.

Posted by mcblogger at 06:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2007

Way to support the troops, Zombie Breath!

McBlogger reminded me of this item on HuffPo.

The Huffington Post has learned that Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, will introduce a sense of the Senate resolution Thursday criticizing MoveOn.org's recent advertisement in the New York Times. The ad called into question the credibility of Lt. General David Petraeus, suggesting the pseudonym "Betray Us."

Cornyn's amendment proclaims that the general "deserves the full support of the Senate." The MoveOn advertisement, Cornyn's legislation states, not only "impugns the honor and integrity of General Petraeus," but "all the members of the United State Armed forces."

Perhaps in hopes of gaining support for his amendment, Cornyn's measure would also "reaffirm support for all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces."

On Wednesday, Cornyn showed his support for the troops by voting to sustain a GOP filibuster of the Webb Amendment, which would have required combat soldiers to receive equal time Stateside in between combat tours in Bush's War. "Too much luxury for our fighting men and women!" sez the Endless War Caucus. "And we don't have enough troops so we'd either have to bring back the draft or withdraw!"

Dear, dear. Why make those hard choices when you can send the same troops back over and over again, systematically wrecking the Army in the process?

For someone who is so concerned about the honor and integrity of a single general, I'm amazed that Cornyn has never introduced a bill condemning the delegates to the 2004 Republican National Convention who thought it cute to adorn themselves in Purple Heart bandaids, as modeled by this doughy fuck:
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Strange, isn't it, that human garbage like John Cornyn and the rest of his despicable cohort can get so angered about word play on the name of a general, but when it comes to actual soldiers being hit by actual flying bits of metal, war is just a fucking joke.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 07:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 24, 2007

Calling Bullshit : For 100 people you couldn't get a warrant?

McConnell admits that less than 100 people in the US are being wiretapped, as well as a few thousand overseas, because of terrorism related investigations.

So, the question becomes, why did we have to gut the Fourth Amendment? It seems pretty clear than the courts are more than capable of handling warrants.

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

May 31, 2007

Questionable Career Move

You know, if I was getting out of the "Attention Whore" business, I'm not sure I'd be doing this.

Anti-war icon Cindy Sheehan has gone public on her support for the 9/11 truth movement after she told a radio show that the collapse of the twin towers looked like a controlled demolition and that there should be a new investigation into the terrorist attacks.

Sheehan, who made headlines this week after she distanced herself from the Democratic party and the establishment left, joined Alex Jones to share her views on her skepticism towards the official 9/11 story.

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

May 27, 2007

100th Anniversary of the Birth of Draft Dodger Marion Morrison

Yesterday, more than a few news sources took a hero-worship approach on Morrison; some even called him the real deal. The real deal?

He had a fake name, fake persona, played fake characters in fake movies with fake storylines and fake scenarios. Of course, to the right-wing nutters, saying this about Morrison could be worse than accusing Ronnie Raygun of molestation.

Is it necessary to bring this up? I think it is.

But whatever roles he played or movies he performed in are trivial to what made up the rest of his life.

Foremost is choosing his career over service during WWII. All the excuses used to justify his decision ring hollow as the biggest stars of Hollywood, who could have used the same reasons, signed up for military service.

He certainly was a template for all those future chickenhawks who said they could better serve their country by “debating” the glories of war rather than serve.

Let’s not forget Morrison’s other shining moments that ended up on the wrong side of history:
- supported the House Un-American Activities Committee
- influential in having American screenwriter and film producer Carl Foreman blacklisted
- supported the Vietnam War
- gave campaign contributions to George Wallace
- campaigned for Dick Nixon
- justified genocide against Native Americans
- claimed African-Americans were not smart enough to run the government

This list could be a profile of a radicalized white supremacist entrenched in a high security compound in Idaho.

Maybe the most damaging aspect of his life was the influence he has exerted on today’s generation. People born after his death think Morrison is an American icon to be emulated.

I take no pleasure in doing a smackdown on John Wayne because there is evidence that in his later years he regretted his decision not to serve, and there was some stirring from him to understand the solidarity of the human spirit; however, it seems the only things taken from his life are bravado without wisdom, and stunted intellectual discernment. Two traits found in contemporary conservative mentality.

Posted by Captain Kroc at 05:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 05, 2007

Baby showers are the new suck

Tammy Wynette was right when she sang that sometimes it's hard to be a woman. You guys gets a total fucking free skate when it comes to one of life's true horrors, the baby shower! Now, I think I am just as girly as some women. I like high heels, cosmetics, Steel Magnolias, etc. However, I would rather take a strong beating
than attend a wedding or baby shower. Yeah, I like to celebrate my friends life choices, but can I send the gift by mail? I will spend more on it if it absolves me from attending. WTF could it hurt?

Until recently, I hadn't gone to one of these estrogen festivals since 1996. However, the preggers in question is a great friend with whom I once danced drunk in a cage. I can remember with great nostalgia her first girl fight where she introduced a girls face to the side of a Chevrolet truck. Oh the memories! So I felt obligated to attend. My best friend was invited as well but she had the flu. Lucky bitch. So I was solo as I stumbled around land mines, otherwise known as 'friends from high school'. A couple were cool. However, the vast majority were not. I came to the conclusion that when asked 'So, where are you living now?' , I will respond with 'Why? Are you coming over?'. Women are too fucking nosy. I'm sorry, I never ask those idiotic questions. I just don't fucking care. Oh, and if I get asked 'So, sell any houses lately?', I'm going to stab that motherfucker in the eye with an ice pick. I am going to carry one solely for that purpose.

Anyway, my friend got a lot of crap and I guess that is what really matters (drinks sure as hell didn't... there wasn't a drop to be found). I just wish she could have received her loot without having to listen to the reasons that something called Butt Paste totally rocks. I am just not part of that club (nor am I part of the 'I'm pregnant and not drinking' club. However, it did get me thinking. If I was ever to find myself in that position, how would I handle it? One can never be certain of such things, but I think this is what the invitations would look like.

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January 25, 2007

Calling Bullshit : Kinky for Senate, 2008

Laura Stromberg, you are no Kelly Fero.

There's a fresh round of rumors today that Kinky Friedman may be mulling a run against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.

People of both parties have been in touch with him, said Laura Stromberg, who was Friedman's spokeswoman during his independent bid for governor.

"He's not calling them. They're coming to him," she said.

Friedman, who is finishing up his book on his race for governor, has said if he ran again, it likely would be under a major-party label given the obstacles facing an independent candidate.

Today, he said, "I think all options are on the table, but I certainly haven't given a lot of thought to running for anything. I've talked with some Republicans and some Democrats about various possibilities."

Even Kelly wouldn't try to pull off bullshit like this. While the Republicans are indeed desperate to get Cornyn out of the way, there is no way in hell anyone would seriously consider Kinky in an R primary. And the Democrats... oh, yeah. WE'RE just starving for some more Kinky.

This IS the bullshit rumor of the month.

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

January 16, 2007

Calling Bullshit : Obama announces (and navel gazes)

Here's the video...

Our biggest problem is the smallness of our politics? With that one simple message and his announcement/non-announcement (No plans? No info? You're not going to talk until FEBRUARY?), Senator Obama shows brilliantly why he's the wrong choice to be the Democratic nominee. Yes, I know many progressives will disagree with me. I'm not saying Sen. Obama is a bad guy, in fact I think given a few years he could develop into the leader I know he can be. However, I've not seen any evidence of it. Seriously, watch the video and really listen to the words... he chalks everything up to partisanship, which, to everyone other than Sen. Obama, IS political reality in this country. Always has been, always will be. We're in the middle of what amounts to a battle for the soul of the United States against ideologues (as opposed to certain Republicans who've seen the light and have been voting with the Democrats) and Sen. Obama wants to make it all about partisanship.

Not so much, hermano.

This is exactly the kind of meaningless political pap he's been spewing for months. It's a salve and doesn't really cure any of the rifts in this county. It's the kind of feel good bullshit that pollsters say people love but, in reality, everyone with a brain sees through like a plate glass window.Where's the heart? Where's the soul? People want passion. Where the hell is yours?

WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE OUR PRESIDENT, SENATOR OBAMA? What do you hope to achieve, aside from tea parties with Radical Republicans? Do you really think by taking this presumed 'high road' they won't line up to take a piece out of you?

This guy makes me think of Kerry more and more each day. 2004 Kerry. He'll do well in a primary and get crushed in the general when the media finally asks him THE question.

He's right about one thing... the grassroots are pointing in the direction of a win. Edwards is paying attention... why isn't Obama?

Posted by mcblogger at 02:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 03, 2007

Tolls, TX DoT and stupid

Beginning Friday, TXDoT will asses the tolls on 45/1. In anticipation, I thought it would be fun to take a look at how good their billing systems are. Apparently, they have been mailing bills for 25 cents (the bills, not counting paper, actually cots 30.8 cents in postage to send) and billing people who've never actually used the roads. Of course, all new systems have bugs and anything this ridiculously complex is sure to have some as well. Especially when you don't build toll booths on the fucking road and instead decide to automate the entire process.

Lazy is what many would call it. I would be included in that many. These idiots never heard of an automated kiosk? I love the ones at theaters and... what are those machines that spit out money? ATM's?

Billing issues are already plaguing the toll road systems while TXDoT is lobbying for higher toll limits, government backing for the bonds that private companies will sell to finance the roads and, of course, the ability to convert freeways into toll roads.

Under the guise of such a flowerly reporting entitled "Forward Momentum: Recommendations to reduce congestion, enhance safety, expand economic opportunity, improve air quality, and enhance the value of Texas' transportation assets. A report to the 110th Congress, 1st Session" dated January 25 2007", TxDOT proposes that private equity become the primary resource for funding of highways. Note this is not only designated for new highways. The plan calls for "states to be able to buy back interstate segments by reimbursing the federal government its past contributions." Essentially, the state will be able to toll existing highways.

Getting extremely obvious that TXDoT is really angling for a permanent funding source, not tied to the Lege to become a self-funding bureaucracy. Which should make exactly no one happy, but is apparently what the Republicans have always had in mind.

I'm never entirely comfortable when a government entity doesn't have to go to elected officials and ask for money. I'm also not please with having to cover the profit of a private company which is more expensive than if TXDoT ran the roads themselves (some are run by TXDoT, some are not). What irritates most about this plan is that it's an endless toll. There will never be a time when the toll goes away because TXDoT wants the income, in perpetuity.

AAA now says that 'the public' prefers tolls to gas taxes. Of course, no detail is provided and it's odd that this would come out of AAA since AAA has traditionally opposed toll roads. Given that, I'm calling bullshit. I want to see the crosstabs and I want to see the how the questions were structured. It's pretty clear from what we've seen in Texas that when people actually see the cost comparison, gas taxes are ALWAYS the better option that the public supports.

Which is it, AAA?

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

December 13, 2006

Calling Bullshit: In which Martin Frost hearts Matt Angle

Let me preface with the fact that I have a lot of respect for Matt and for Congressman Frost. However, Congressman Frost is kind of a dumbass here and makes the Democratic victories here in Texas more about Matt Angle and the Lone Star Project than about the very real fact that Democrats worked their asses off and started converting folks. Go ahead, click the link and tell me this article doesn't make Matt out to be the Wizard?

What he doesn't mention are the missed opportunities and mistakes. That being said, what Matt did with LSP and others did with their projects all contributed. However, making it all about one person is so goddamn irritating, Martin, that it makes me think much less of you.

I wasn't going to write anything about this, but goddamn if there wasn't an email last night, mere hours after Ciro Rodriguez won, from LSP taking credit for the damn thing. Matt, I'm going to terminate my address on your fucking list if you don't stop with the auto-fellatio. Seriously, how much did LSP raise for Ciro? From my perspective, this was the candidate, DCCC, LULAC and MALDEF. LSP didn't even like the LULAC map that produced this district; now you're the ones responsible?

The winners are never going to call bullshit, so it falls to us. Matt you do a hell of lot and there is no need to take credit for everything. It distracts from the real work ahead and breeds resentment among people who work really hard, cycle after cycle. People you're going to need at some point in the future.

Sometimes, modesty is an asset.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:52 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack