August 08, 2010

The move...

Yes, we're still moving... for at least another week, this site will continue to load but there will be no new posts. Please click here for the new site and DO NOT update your links as the new site will be moved to the root in the next few days.

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December 02, 2009

Bigotry hides behind Scripture in NY

This is just sad... especially this Rabbi

Demonstrators on both sides of the issue were relatively scarce in the Capitol on Wednesday. A small group of Orthodox Jews gathered outside the Senate chamber, one of them holding a sign that read “Gay Union/A Rebellion Against the Almighty.”

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss of Monsey, N.Y., said he traveled to Albany to remind the Senate “that the world belongs to the Almighty, and they have to reckon with his rules and his law.”

Would someone in NY take a second and remind the Rabbi that he

a) Doesn't actually speak for the Almighty
b) Not everyone believes in what he perceives to be the Almighty
c) Doesn't make laws in this country, people do for themselves. You choose personally whether or not to follow the laws of the Almighty but you CAN NOT force others to follow those laws.
d) Not everyone believes in the same laws as laid out by his interpretation of the dictates of what he calls the Almighty. Some of us love some bacon and shellfish. And bacon wrapped shellfish (grilled or fried, either way).

And to our weak sister from the Bronx, a pox on you and I wish an El Pollo Loco would open next door to your home.

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November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving and helping those in need...

With all the crap flying about in my professional life (you may have heard that banking's not doing all that well right now unless, of course, you work for a company whose name rhymes with soldman gachs) and all the stupid speculation on the Democratic ticket, it's easy to forget there are a lot of people REALLY hurting this Thanksgiving.

Hank Gilbert reminded me of that today and here are some links to organizations around the state (scroll to the bottom of the page) that are helping put food on Texans' tables this Thanksgiving. Please, instead of giving money to any candidate, send a few bucks or some food to these hardworking people who are doing everything they can to make the holidays a little less tough for our friends and neighbors.

Y'all have a great Thanksgiving and remember things always get better... it may take a while, but everything turns around!

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October 14, 2009

It's worth noting...

As a follow up to the Mayor's piece this AM, I'd like to take a little time to spill some reality on the speculation and innuendo. The TTC is a really minor part of Hank Gilbert's campaign. Actually, it was even in 2006. The broader issues are eminent domain abuse and infrastructure privatization, two VERY important issues in Texas. TTC was merely the most glaringly offensive symbol of both.

Maybe the Mayor doesn't give a crap about being on the hook for billions to a private company as a taxpayer in this state. But many of us do.

Hank cofounded TURF which now has almost 300,000 members and working with ASL has managed to delay or fully stop a lot of bad public policy. Keep in mind, EVERY Democrat and more than a few Republicans voted to do exactly what TURF had been lobbying them to do during the last legislative session. People in Washington talk about bipartisanship and accomplish nothing while Hank is actually doing something, with those on the opposite side of the political spectrum, to stop a mountain of bad policy. And McSleaze wants to compare THAT with Rick Perry leading some sort of secessionist chant at a teabagger party? Sorry if I don't draw the connection... I haven't had my daily cup 'o crazy.

The Mayor would rather make this all about some guilt-by-association thing, as if working with Republicans to accomplish something worthwhile were anything other than an unalloyed good thing. It would be great if Democrats acting alone could accomplish everything. I for one am proud to support someone smart enough to build a coalition to actually do something other than bitch and moan or, like the other candidates in the Democratic primary, ignore the issue altogether.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 04, 2009

Texas Politics in Crisis

.
Changing Texas Politics

Whatever happened to "...government of the people, by the people, and for the people." ?

What does it take to provide good government for the People of Texas? The decade long legislative inertia has permitted the dominant urgent issues to fester and grow. Special interests and political partisan gaming are the norm in the Texas Legislature. Old habits die hard.

Perhaps, the days are forever gone when the House and Senate work in the best interests of the people of Texas.

Certainly, the only possible solution to this once every 2-year catastrophe [legislative session] would be to provide real quality salaries to lawmakers and prohibit all private campaign contributions. Maybe then our lawmakers can return to the extinct art of making laws to protect and better the lives of all Texans, instead of continuing the political partisan game playing and special interest pandering. Since lawmakers won't change this on their own, once again it becomes the responsibility of Texas voters and taxpayers to demand it from their legislators.

Will it ever happen? Probably not in our lifetime.


-- Peter Stern

.


Posted by pstern at 06:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 29, 2009

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

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

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

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

    April 24, 2009

    YES, I see your bra strap

    Now that the weather is warmer, some of you ladies like wearing your tank tops around with your bra straps showing. While we're all thankful that you've decided to contain the girls, the straps are kinda tacky. Which is why I'd like to have some of these with me to hand out.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    March 12, 2009

    On growing up... and how much it fucking sucks.

    Last year I missed Ultra because of the County Convention. As you may recall, I was pretty resentful. At least, I was until I heard from some of my friends who went and, well, it just wasn't as much fun as it had been in the past. I thought they were just trying to make me feel better... but as it turns out when you get older SRO events aren't so much fun. Especially when they're outdoors.

    Stacy, one of my friends in OC who was once a 'STAR' with me at a lender that shall remain nameless, was one of the people who went last year. I sent her an email about a week ago just to see how things were going and if she wanted to go this year...this is the response I got back today:

    "As for UMF, If we were 22 again, it might be fun. But listening to Erin bitch and whine last year was more than I could take. I actually agreed with most of her complaints, it really wasn't just her being a pain. We only made one ap because we were actually tired. And the RBV didn't come close to helping.

    I'm going to pass. I never liked Miami much anyway."

    It's funny, but I get this. I feel like I want to go. But do I seriously want to spend $1000 for a weekend which will necessitate a week off from work when I return to recover? Getting old sucks balls. So, for one of the first times ever, I'm going to try to go see something DURING SXSW.

    Anyone else want to go see Deadmau5 at La Zona Rosa next Wednesday?

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    November 09, 2008

    WTF?

    I mean, really?

    A man who police believe was shot and killed by his 8-year-old son had consulted a Roman Catholic priest about whether the boy should handle guns and had taught him how to use a rifle, the clergyman said Saturday. ... In a sign of the emotional and legal complexities of the case, police are pushing to have the boy tried as an adult even as they investigate possible abuse, Melnick said. If convicted as a minor, the boy could be sent to juvenile detention until he turns 18.

    Where do you begin with something like this?

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 24, 2008

    I KNEW IT! Clay Aiken Trips Gaydar

    As if this post was not foretelling. American Idol pop-singer Clay Aiken has finally come out as gay.

    Will Young could beat his ass any day. Actually, I take that back. Forget Clay's ass, really, forget it. Young can beat mine instead.

    In the meantime, please enjoy this picture, yet again.

    THAT IS ALL.

    Posted by spamburgler at 02:26 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    August 04, 2008

    May The Lord Bless The Tsar And Keep Him Far From Us

    Three days after McBlogger's original post, I'm still astonished by Homeland Security honcho Chertoff's remarks about the policy allowing the indefinite detention of laptops, flash drives, papers, and other "storage devices" seized from travellers at our borders.

    ..."The most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices." Searches have uncovered "violent jihadist materials" as well as images of child pornography...

    "Violent jihadist materials"? Does al Qaeda have some knock-off video game called Grand Theft Camel? And while kiddie porn will find few friends, exactly what sort of a threat does it pose to the security of the Republic? Remember when Republicans were all about getting government "off our backs". not about expanding powers of search and seizure? Where are all those "strict constructionists" these days, anyway?

    Even more chilling is the information from the original linked article that

    The policies cover "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form," including hard drives, flash drives, cellphones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover "all papers and other written documentation," including books, pamphlets and "written materials commonly referred to as 'pocket trash' or 'pocket litter.' "

    And that got me to wondering. Where had I run across this sort of paranoia, this fear of words which might be smuggled, like a contagion, across borders. And then I remembered. Among the books in the McSleaze library is a copy of the 1914 Baedeker guide for travellers to Russia, which warns prospective visitors

    Books in large quantities are submitted to a censor. Travellers should avoid works of a political, social, or historical nature.

    Unprinted paper only should be used for packing, to avoid any cause of suspicion.

    Russia, of course, was in those days regarded as a tyranny. A few years later, the tsars were gone and the Bolsheviks erected a tyranny of their own. Now they are gone and what is modern Russia? Well, certainly a state where ruler, a former bigshot in the secret police, hand-picks his successor and still seems to be running the place is no Smileygrad. And America? I can't help but recall something Lincoln wrote to an associate in 1855, while still a rather obscure Illinois lawyer. And to put this in some sort of context, Lincoln was commenting on the Know-Nothings, antebellum America's precursors of Lou Dobbs:

    I am not a Know-Nothing--that is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of the negroes be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read, 'all men are created equal except negroes and foreigners and Catholics.' When it comes to that, I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty--to Russia for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

    One wonders how the Great Emancipator would rate American despotism, vintage 2008.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 07:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 13, 2008

    I'm out...

    Today is Sister Ruth's birthday. She's 23. We're all terribly happy for her. There's a big party for her tonight THAT I'M GOING TO MISS. Because I have to go to Dallas for work.

    While I'm deeply saddened at missing her special day, I'm hella thrilled to be going to Dallas. I love me some Dallas. Especially Irving. It's neat.

    Yeah, I've been drinking.

    Posted by mcblogger at 05:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 26, 2008

    A thought and some sad news...

  • While I think cabrito is gross, there are some who love it. In case you're wondering, every time I've had it, it's been greasy and pretty nasty
  • RIP, Mr. Pollack

    PhotobucketSydney Pollack, a Hollywood mainstay as director, producer and sometime actor whose star-laden movies like "The Way We Were," "Tootsie" and "Out of Africa" were among the most successful of the 1970s and '80s, died on Monday evening at his home in Los Angeles. He was 73.









  • Posted by mcblogger at 08:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 06, 2008

    Bomb in Times Square prompts yawns

    Photobucket

    This is the front page of the NYT website. At the bottom is a link to this article about a small explosive that went off in Times Square this AM. Oh... have things have changed. The subject of the attack? A US Armed Forces recruiting station which pisses me off. However, at least it's not prompting a full on 'terrawrist' alert and an increase, by the skeletal Chertoff, in the risk of attack level or whatever he's calling his little color chart.

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

    December 27, 2007

    Consumer Alert

    Better check your checkcards, boys and girls...

    I have three accounts I spend money out of. Two checking and one savings. I have one checking account with Compass here in Austin. I rarely check the online system, so things can go for days before I notice something is up. Last week someone called WWW.VOIPAX.DE KAARST charged me for $15.60. Not knowing who they were, I went down to Compass and asked about it. They didn't know, but gave me a wonderful slip of paper detailing out how to talk to their 'un-authorized transaction' dept. I just got off the phone with them since there have been 6 charges today from someone called WORLDWIDE GLUCKSMANN T VENEZUELADEBIT. Which brings the total to $500 that is now missing from my checking account here in Austin.

    6 charges in one day from the same source and the nice folks at Compass didn't get a teensy bit suspicious?

    Compass says it will be 7-10 days before it's resolved. I have money (in other acounts) and credit, so I'll be OK. HOWEVER, there are many out there who don't. So, you might want to take a peek at your checkcard transactions online.

    Oh, and doesn't Compass suck, yo? Methinks I need to find a new bank.

    Posted by mcblogger at 06:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    November 22, 2007

    "You'll eat it and you'll like it..."

    Yep, the first threat of the day has been leveled! We're all having a brill Thanksgiving. How about you?

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 02, 2007

    What do Larry Craig and Shannon Bailey have in common?

    They have both decided to stay in office...Larry's decided that he's going to see where his appeal goes. Yesterday, the Texas Stonewall Caucus had a General Membership meeting and a last minute vote to remove Shannon, who refused the request of the board to resign, failed to obtain a 2/3 majority. For a recap, reread the entry for the August meeting.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 25, 2007

    You don't know me...

    Just a note to some of our readers... Over the last couple of weeks I've received emails from readers taking me to task for referring to myself as an asshole, among other things. Just to let y'all know, I don't have a self-esteem problem. Truly, I'm very confident in (and comfortable with) who I am. Occasionally, I'll make self-deprecating comments because I'm really a dork. We all are. Seriously, everyone does about 20 stupid things a day and I do about 25. And when I catch myself doing something retarded, I laugh at myself... BECAUSE IT'S FUNNY. If I don't laugh at myself when I trip and fall down,for example, then how can I laugh at someone when they trip and fall down?

    Which brings me to my final point. When I refer to myself as an asshole in real life, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't hide behind the blog and that I am, in fact, much nicer here than out there. Just ask The Mayor... I can be way unpleasant in the real world.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    September 14, 2007

    If there is a hell...

    ... then surely it is Marriott Hotel. They no longer allow smoking. I found this out when trying to get my non-smoking room changed to a smoking room. DENIED!

    I then called corporate travel and told them to NEVER book me into a Marriott again.

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 28, 2007

    Are jury verdicts in civil trials irrelevant?

    According to the ultra-conservative Texas Supreme Court, you bet... if they disagree with the verdict even if it was based on sound legal ground. Way to turn the appeals process on it's head...

    Reversing a multimillion dollar judgment is not out of character for a court packed with conservative judges, six of them appointed by Gov. Rick Perry before winning pro forma elections. But the legal reasoning that the slim majority used to justify its ruling was so alarming—and sets such an unappetizing precedent—that it has spawned incredulity in Texas legal circles. In effect, the court reviewed the evidence and decided the jury was wrong. It was a remarkable reach beyond the court’s usual exercise of power.

    Ordinarily, appeals courts give great deference to a jury’s conclusions. Jurors, after all, are the ones who hear the witnesses, review evidence, and deliberate the case. A court usually has a compelling reason when it decides to disregard the jury’s conclusions.

    What that reason might be is not clear in this case. More than a few scholars argue that the state Supreme Court doesn’t have a sound legal principle with which to justify its decision. Worse, they fear it opens the door for other Texas courts to begin arbitrarily tossing aside jury verdicts with which they disagree. If the high court continues on this course, they say, the constitutional right to a civil jury trial could be in jeopardy.

    Pinche Tejano has more on the judges up for re-election next year. These folks need to be shown the door, post haste.

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

    May 23, 2007

    Who killed JFK?

    Brains and Eggs has a post up about Howard Hunt's accusation that LBJ was behind the Kennedy Assassination. The Kennedy pseudo-family member, Pink Lady, is all wrapped up in a new report that says the assassination had to be the work of multiple shooters, which would mean it was a conspiracy by default.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, everyone that was probably involved with it is now dead.

    Is it just me or is speculation about who was involved in the Kennedy Assassination kinda like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?

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

    March 21, 2007

    I hate TSA (and American Airlines, too)

    My company was only able to get me a flight connecting through Dallas for reasons that have not been explained. I caught the Austin to Dallas leg with no problems, only to miss the connector to my final destination. Why?

    Because I needed a cigarette and TSA sucks ASS.

    My flight from Austin was a bit late but I still had 50 minutes to kill before the next one left. So, I went outside for a cigarette. Lest you think me a slow smoker, rest assured I can suck one down in under 7 minutes. However, I DID NOT anticipate how slow security at DFW would be. Bitch behind the xray conveyor looked at EVERYTHING 3 times.

    I finally pulled one of the TSA mooks aside to tell them my plane was leaving in 15 MINUTES and would she please call to the gate to let them know I was on my way, to which she replied, "Oh, we don't work with the airlines and we have no way to do that". Thanks a lot, Debbie Dumbass.

    I finally got to the head of the class and was able to get through. I then quickly threw my shit back in my carryon and ran to the gate. My flight wasn't leaving for another 7 minutes, tight but nothing horrible. Unless you are flying American.

    Needless to say, I got to the gate 6 minutes before departure only to watch the plane pulling away. Fucking assholes.

    So, I'm sitting here patiently waiting for the next available flight. Seething while I look at some stupid freak woman with a sunflower (just one) embrodiered on the back of her shirt.

    TSA makes travel a pain in the ass and American Airlines is helping them. I hate you guys.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    I hate TSA (and American Airlines, too)

    My company was only able to get me a flight connecting through Dallas for reasons that have not been explained. I caught the Austin to Dallas leg with no problems, only to miss the connector to my final destination. Why?

    Because I needed a cigarette and TSA sucks ASS.

    My flight from Austin was a bit late but I still had 50 minutes to kill before the next one left. So, I went outside for a cigarette. Lest you think me a slow smoker, rest assured I can suck one down in under 7 minutes. However, I DID NOT anticipate how slow security at DFW would be. Bitch behind the xray conveyor looked at EVERYTHING 3 times.

    I finally pulled one of the TSA mooks aside to tell them my plane was leaving in 15 MINUTES and would she please call to the gate to let them know I was on my way, to which she replied, "Oh, we don't work with the airlines and we have no way to do that". Thanks a lot, Debbie Dumbass.

    I finally got to the head of the class and was able to get through. I then quickly threw my shit back in my carryon and ran to the gate. My flight wasn't leaving for another 7 minutes, tight but nothing horrible. Unless you are flying American.

    Needless to say, I got to the gate 6 minutes before departure only to watch the plane pulling away. Fucking assholes.

    So, I'm sitting here patiently waiting for the next available flight. Seething while I look at some stupid freak woman with a sunflower (just one) embrodiered on the back of her shirt.

    TSA makes travel a pain in the ass and American Airlines is helping them. I hate you guys.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    March 09, 2007

    I'm a little slow this morning...

    Sorry about the delay in getting posts up... I'm a little under the weather due to a wicked bad case of cocktail flu. I'm not sure WHAT The Mayor is doing, but I suspect it has something to do with telephones. Or maybe it has something to do with accounting.

    Seriously, we don't know WTF The Mayor does when he's not posting, which is like 98% of the time. Sister Ruth had a theory about cars and some kind of lube. And, when she shared that theory, Sister Ruth creeped me out for the MILLIONTH time.

    I'm wanting to bitch about the TYC thing but really, how many times can you say PERRY IS RESPONSIBLE, PERRY FUCKED UP? The buck on this one stops with 39%. While we enjoyed the lame attempts of TYC & Perry Staffers to drop the Senate in the grease, it's only because they're just fuckall pathetic and we like to laugh at pathetic performances. Their incompetence is acceptable only in comparison to 39%'s.

    When I shift blame, people don't even realize it. They end up thinking they screwed up. You people are thoroughly amateur. I can't wait until I see a resume from one of these mooks. No way y'all are getting hired... you make way more trouble for yourselves than you should.

    At the very least, I haven't been able to make fun of Chris Bell yet and the temptation is killing me, especially after the PAC email.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 07, 2007

    It's official... we're causing global warming

    "I feel that it is inappropriate for the state to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions due to the highly speculative arguments that it may contribute to global warming. As the Star-Telegram correctly noted, I think the global warming theory is bad science." - State Rep. Phil King

    Ok, Phil, I think this pretty much settles the fallacy that the arguments regarding the contribution of man-made CO2 emissions are 'speculative'. They are fact, dumbass, even the if they aren't published in the Star-Telegram.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of hundreds of scientists from 113 countries, said that based on new research over the last six years, it is 90 percent certain that human-generated greenhouse gases account for most of the global rise in temperatures over the past half-century.

    So, what do we do now? Surely it's a good idea to go with clean coal and gen 4 nuclear as a first step, then move to pure renewables like wind and advanced solar. All the while we can make some dramatic improvements to efficiency and conservation. The sure thing is that it'll take all kinds of solutions to get us past this. One is, as Hank Gilbert talked about, using biofuels derived from crops like miscanthus. For one thing, it's easier to grow in Texas than corn and doesn't require nearly as much water to grow or process into fuel.

    Unfortunately, the lead on biofuels is going to Illinois and California. Way to go, Texas Dept. of Agriculture!

    Since Phil and his pals won't be able to whine about speculative science anymore, they'll now start whining about how expensive it will be and that it will destroy the economy. That won't play either.

    Forcing power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will not make consumers - or in most cases the power plants themselves - feel a pinch in their pocketbooks, according to a study released Thursday.

    Economists from the University of Maryland, Towson University and a Washington think tank, Resources for the Future, said the overall affect on Maryland's economy will be slightly positive when Maryland joins the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in June.

    "We concluded that there is a modest positive effect, it will actually lower a consumers electricity bill by about $22 dollars per year," said Steve Gabriel, co-principal investigator at the University of Maryland. "We can breathe a sigh of relief. Actually, we can breathe better, because that, after all, is the intent of the program."

    We know the problem is big. We know what we need to do. We know that doing it won't break us. SO LET'S DO IT, SENATOR.

    Posted by mcblogger at 05:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 14, 2007

    Giant Red TX Cock penetrates as far north as IL

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Do the weather people even realize how porno-like their graphics occasionally appear?

    By the way, am I the only one disappointed in the coverage of the

    GIANT WINTER STORM

    on TV? It seems like no one is paying attention to it. Also, check this out for an idea of just how unusual this storm is... not to mention a tornado in San Marcos. We aren't supposed to have tornadoes in January. Isn't extreme weather due to global warming a blast?

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

    January 12, 2007

    Saying goodbye...

    As many of you no doubt know, BOR's Karl-Thomas Musselman is leaving today for Massachusetts to go work with Act Blue, where he will slowly run the company into the ground. I kid, he'll actually do it quite quickly.

    Have fun in Boston, K-T! Send us some pictures of the green shag carpeting!

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 23, 2006

    Tulia Attorney - Innocence Projects must be careful

    Grits for Breakfast has a great piece up about Innocence Projects and how they must be careful how they approach their cases, in terms of restricting or eliminating the ability to pursue civil claims.

    He described a case where defendant's attorneys, in their appellate briefs, laid the whole fault for the defendant's wrongful conviction at the feet of the prosecutors. Unfortunately for their client, prosecutors have nearly complete immunity, so after he was found innocent the poor fellow couldn't pursue civil damages. Blackburn said there was plenty of room in the case to preseve the idea that police may have also been at fault, but that criminal defense attorneys didn't understand why they should nuance such claims - they weren't thinking ahead to what the civil litigation would look like if their client won.

    Harry? Anything you'd like to add?

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:56 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    October 01, 2006

    A page from Roman history

    Just about everyone knows (at least thinks they know) something about the fall of the Roman Empire. Far fewer recall that before the days of the emperors the Roman Republic had grown, prospered, and even managed to bury many of its enemies. Eventually the republic ended in decades of civil war and dictatorship before power was concentrated in an individual as other governmental institutions withered away. Writing in a NYT Op-Ed column, Robert Harris recounts a situation with distressing parallels to events in our own time.

    Pirates had attacked Rome's seaport of Ostia...

    But such was the panic that ensued after Ostia that the people were willing to compromise these rights. The greatest soldier in Rome, the 38-year-old Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (better known to posterity as Pompey the Great) arranged for a lieutenant of his, the tribune Aulus Gabinius, to rise in the Roman Forum and propose an astonishing new law.

    "Pompey was to be given not only the supreme naval command but what amounted in fact to an absolute authority and uncontrolled power over everyone," the Greek historian Plutarch wrote. "There were not many places in the Roman world that were not included within these limits."

    Pompey eventually received almost the entire contents of the Roman Treasury — 144 million sesterces — to pay for his "war on terror," which included building a fleet of 500 ships and raising an army of 120,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry. Such an accumulation of power was unprecedented, and there was literally a riot in the Senate when the bill was debated.

    Nevertheless, at a tumultuous mass meeting in the center of Rome, Pompey's opponents were cowed into submission, the Lex Gabinia passed (illegally), and he was given his power. In the end, once he put to sea, it took less than three months to sweep the pirates from the entire Mediterranean. Even allowing for Pompey's genius as a military strategist, the suspicion arises that if the pirates could be defeated so swiftly, they could hardly have been such a grievous threat in the first place.

    But what relevance can the politics of two millenia ago have for us today? Consider this. A couple of centuries ago, when the Founders were launching their own political experiment, there really wasn't much material out there on republics. They knew of the Greeks, the Romans, and the ENglish Civil War of the 1640s; all of which had ended in military dictatorshop of one kind or another leading back to monarchy. They were careful to craft a system of checks and balances that would preserve our basic institutions and liberties from one generation to the next. Any time we diminish any part of what they fashioned for us we risk writing the final chapter in the history of our own republic.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 01:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    September 16, 2006

    Saying goodbye to heroes

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    I have to come right out and admit that I don't do grief well. And while it seems that every person you talk to in Austin has their own personal Ann Richards story, I got nothing. I never ran into her in a hallway during the 1988 Democratic Convention, was never in an elevator with her, and was certainly never the recipient of any of her sage, folksy advice. All I've got is this.

    Sister Ruth and I were at the Capitol early this morning to pay our last respects to Ann Richards. Well, not so early that we saw the DPS carry the casket into the building, and not so early that we could add a Bill Clinton sighting into our logbooks. But early enough that there was half an hour or more to wait before they opened the doors and let is file slowly around the rotunda. We ran into some friends and passed the time talking. Sister Ruth spoke about how we are all unready for our heroes to pass on, especially when we look around our own generation unable to discern who might take their places

    As it happened, there were actually two events going on. While hundreds lined up to mourn Governor Richards, the Capitol was also the starting point for a parade commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Austin Independent School DIstrict, and all the marching bands and drill teams were forming up in the great circular drive that circles the Capitol to await their turn to march down Congress Avenue. And so there were two lines of people, one solemn, the other celebratory. I think that former school teacher Ann Richards, our last governor who actually cared about public education would have smiled at the juxtaposition.

    Farewell, Ann. Your leaving us hurts more than I can say.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 09:30 PM