December 31, 2008

From your fingers to God's eyes

Amen, Kirk.

And we must be more open and honest about how we raise money and make the investments for our future.

Absolutely. It's time people stop seeing taxes as wasted money and begin to understand that it's an investment in the future success of our state.

Posted by mcblogger at 02:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So, kids have sex? You don't say...

As it turns out, abstinence pledges don't work. We kinda knew about that. Then we knew about it again. Even this year, we got to see it vividly.

Can y'all now stop with the creepy daddy's little virgin crap? If you really want to keep your little ones pure, may we suggest making them unattractive by force feeding them Krispy Kreme? Since we have a lot of stock in KK (full disclosure, yo!), we'd really appreciate it and the extra fat and acne will definitely make sure that your little girl never gets asked out by anyone. Except, maybe, Duckie.

Of course, there are always those who will say the study was flawed. Today it's Kathryn Lopez of Townhall and the National Review Online who takes issue with an objective report on just how fatally flawed her ideological position really is.

The National Abstinence Education Association disputed the whole premise of the study, using this obvious tack. Its executive director, Valerie Huber, remarked to me in an e-mail interview: "The author inaccurately equates the holistic breadth of an abstinence education program to the one-time event of a virginity pledge. A pledge and an abstinence program are not synonymous."

Yeah, but not really. See, the study looked at just those MOST COMMITTED to the abstinence only programs, those who actually make the promise to stay virgins until married. The result? There was no difference between those who did make the pledge and those who did not, in so far as actually having premarital sex. The only difference was that those who actually received some balanced sexed were far more likely to use condoms.

Kathryn and other fat, 35 year old virgins want to make this all about a corrupt culture and talk about wanting to treat teenagers with dignity and respect. I can agree with that, I just think it's more respectful to give teenagers all the facts and trust them to make the right decision, rather than force them to make a promise many of them will never keep.

What's wrong, Kathryn, with empowering teenagers with the facts? It really makes no difference in terms of whether or not they will engage in premarital intercourse. It will, however, make a tremendous difference in terms of their safety and preventing unwanted pregnancies.

At the end of the day, unattractive people like Kathryn can't understand why, for many teens, this is such a difficult promise to keep. People like them were never confronted with the opportunity.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In which the US collapses

According to some Russian douche, the US is going to break up. Here's the new map...


Texas a part of Mexico again? Sure. I can totally see that happening. It's about as likely as Texas being joined into a new, smaller union with the likes of LA, AL and MS.

Posted by mcblogger at 08:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 30, 2008

Dummer with Hummer

While the big-ass-fucking-fusion-laser has got me rolling higher than a hippie, this image satisfies me.



Posted by spamburgler at 09:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The first step...

...toward practical fusion.

PhotobucketIn the spring, a team will begin attempts to ignite a tiny man-made star inside a laboratory and trigger a thermonuclear reaction.

Its goal is to generate temperatures of more than 100 million degrees Celsius and pressures billions of times higher than those found anywhere else on earth, from a speck of fuel little bigger than a pinhead. If successful, the experiment will mark the first step towards building a practical nuclear fusion power station and a source of almost limitless energy.

The resulting explosion should generate 10 times the energy used to ignite it. While this is still not practical for commercial applications, it's a good first step toward a working fusion reactor.

Posted by mcblogger at 02:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why you spend like a drunken sailor... an environment like the one we're in. This is a great piece from John Mauldin discussing the velocity of money, how much it's dropped off and how much more money you have to put into the system in order to compensate and stop deflation.

This is why all of you who may be worried about inflation really better wise up and understand that the much larger problem, especially right now, is deflation. In other words, get off Washington's back. They really ARE doing what needs to be done.

And yes, it's long. Sometimes things worth knowing can't be condensed into a paragraph.

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

So much for love thy neighbor...

This is just disturbing and yes, something REALLY needs to be done. This was an absolute breakdown of law and order and these people have got to be punished.

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

December 29, 2008

Oh, Pauli...

EOW has a nice summary piece up about Burka's post tearing down a John Sharp Senate run. Now, I like John Sharp, but Burka is quite possibly right about his inability to run a good race.

Honestly, I can say that about a lot of Democrats. What Burka and many others aren't ready for is a real, funded, total war campaign with a candidate who can get away with calling his opponent a son of a bitch in front of a bunch of little old ladies. I know of a few candidates like that.

And I know of a few campaigns on the 2010 horizon that are going to be just like that. Sharp has the potential to be that, but I don't think he will. I don't think he's got the desire to stab his opponent in the gut, have him made into chili and then serve him to guests.

But I could be wrong.

Posted by mcblogger at 02:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missing the point at the NYT

This is one of the dumber articles on the credit crisis I've seen published so far. In this one, it's all about Bush's focus on expanding homeownership.

Of course, that had little if anything to do with it. His desire to expand homeownership and the increase in it was more coincidence than result of a detailed and well thought out plan. Further, the article completely misses the ability of the IB's to lever to infinity on short term debt that, when it dried up, froze their access to funding. Without that funding, their capital structures and leverage were unsustainable and they collapsed. As they collapsed, it constituted a credit event which triggered counterparty claims on CDS and triggered (for example) AIG's need to raise collateral which would have forced them to sell already depressed securities into an already depressed market.

All this was because someone lied about their income? Or bought more house than they could afford? No, the credit markets collapsed because no one ever reserved for losses and a bubble was created by cheap money, largely unregulated. Not to mention the fact that many people paid A credit prices for C credit risks, a poor proposition in the best of times.

This was, purely and simply, a lack of regulation and common sense on the part of regulators and the players, many of whom are taking home large bonuses even this year. It was in that environment that a few defaults can lead to more and more defaults and ever larger, more robust losses that eventually overwhelm an individual bank or even an economy.

It would be AWESOME if some members of the so-called financial press would actually, you know, get it right.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 26, 2008

Structured by cows

Tonight, as I was surfing the tube for ANOTHER show about dysfunctional young women who should be committed rather than having their moronic attitudes featured as some kind of acceptable behavior, I stopped at NOW on PBS and watched their take on the financial meltdown.

Make 30 minutes for yourself

Posted by Captain Kroc at 09:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 23, 2008

Thank you, Melissa Etheridge...

Melissa Etheridge posted something really wonderful up at Huffington Post about us all coming together around Obama. Plus, she says that Rick Warren takes back a lot of the nasty things he said about gays and lesbians...

I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say "In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him." They gave him my phone number. On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn't sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn't want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife's struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine.

Fine, Melissa... just as soon as he decides to say this publicly and apologize, I'll be more than happy to let bygones be bygones.

So, Mel, just call up your good friend the Rev and let him know we're all good if he'll just apologize for comparing me to a goddamn pedophile. I don't need it one on one, how about YouTube? It certainly worked well enough for him when he was preaching lies and hatred.

Posted by mcblogger at 02:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oops, Nevermind

I have to admit that until the recent brouhaha I thought Rick Warren was a marine biologist in the Jacques Cousteau tradition. Then I got new glasses and found out his book wasn't The Porpoise-Driven Life.

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

ENOUGH with the mulch piles

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

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

Dick Cheney found to really be a dick

Does this surprise anyone?

Host Chris Wallace also asked Cheney if he was bothered by his outgoing approval ratings - a dismal 29 percent.

"We didn't set out to achieve the highest level of polls that we could during this administration," Cheney said. "Eventually you wear out your welcome in this business."

Yeah. Of course, starting wars against the wrong people, bankrupting the country and, in general, trying to dismantle the rule of law in your home country will make people hate you a little more.

Woe be to any company who puts you on the board.

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

December 22, 2008

A letter to y'all from Rick Warren's Gay Friend

PhotobucketFirst up, mad props to the peeps at McB for giving me a chance to post. It's been a while since I've done anything online other than checking email. My husband and I just adopted a beautiful baby girl from Sudan and we've been hella busy adjusting to being parents.

In answer to the question burning up your brain, I became friends with Rick Warren when Saddleback was this piddly little church. He was a nice guy, he knew I was gay and didn't really have a problem with that. However, in the last few years, it's become clear that was all a lie. Either that or he's changed in pretty big ways. I choose to believe it's the latter. He obviously has some big issues with the gays that he's clearly not enough of a man to come to me with. Probably because he knows I'll give him hell about his fat ass, LOL. But seriously, the Rick Warren of years ago is not the Rick Warren of today. And like many, I'm pissed as hell at PE Obama for inviting him to the Inaugural.

I decided to come forward after seeing Rick on Dateline NBC Friday night. Now, I know you're probably wondering what I was doing home on Friday and what the hell I was doing watching NBC. For that, I will only make reference to our daughter ... let's just say that newborns don't afford you a lot of time to go out to dinner with friends or, well, anyone. My husband and I stay in a lot and the TV was stuck on NBC from when we turned it off the night before after 30 Rock.

While we're eating dinner there appears Rick's corpulent face, spewing all kinds of crazy. Three different types of laws in Leviticus? Come on, Rick, that's a load of bullshit. Then, there was endless pimping of his retarded little book of retread 'feel good' philosophy cribbed from a self help class and how much he loves God (which is, according to Rick, hand in hand with not believing in evolution without even considering if maybe evolution was the mechanism God used). He also threw in video of all his good work in Africa, which is really more about proselytizing and less about helping people with AIDS, just FYI. The reporter at one point cornered him on the genetic origin of homosexuality. And Rick dove into resisting impulses. The reporter, to her credit, pressed him on it and Rick did what Rick always does when backed into a rhetorical corner... He pulled out the "One of my friends is gay... " Card, a rather dumb device through which he offered, anecdotally, that all gay men want to have sex with every other man. Including him. He knows this because I told him so.

Rick, you need to check your goddamn ego. We may be friends, but don't ever, even for a moment, think that gives you the right to speak for me. As for your delusional fantasy that I probably want to have sex with you, allow me to disabuse you of that notion right now. You're fat, ugly and as I've mentioned to you a number of times, you always look greasy.

That conversation we had was 20 years ago when I was 21, five years before I met the man of my dreams with whom I've lived for the last fifteen years. In a monogamous relationship. We got married just last year and now there is a legal question about our union. We didn't ask to be married in your church. We accept that you don't think our marriage is legitimate in the eyes of God. All we wanted was equality under the law. And you and those like you denied us that right.

People change a lot in 20 years. Just as I no longer want to have sex with every man who crosses my path, it's obvious that Rick no longer believe in tolerance and fairness in the greater society as a whole.

And PE Obama? Take a moment to read this.

Posted by rickwarren at 02:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Just one more thing...

...other than the economy that Obama will have to fix.

The Environmental Protection Agency ruled yesterday that new power plants are not required to install technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, rejecting an argument from environmental groups.

The ruling, in a memorandum signed by EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, turns on a seemingly arcane regulatory question that could govern the future of new fossil fuel-burning buildings and power plants under the Clean Air Act.

During the Bush administration, the EPA has rejected the idea that greenhouse gases should be regulated like soot, smog precursors and other kinds of air pollution, despite an April 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said carbon dioxide fit the definition of a pollutant that could be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

In case you're wondering, it's bending the country over and fucking it right here at the end that really pisses me off. It would be great if someone would prosecute this cocksucker.

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

December 21, 2008

What's One More Bailout?

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 04:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2008

All I want for Christmas

This book.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2008

39% is a...

... failure. And it's detailed. Here.

Posted by mcblogger at 04:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Goodbye, Jennifer

KT over at BOR posted this video

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please consider donating to House The Homeless.

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

eHarmony rejection...

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This one I can at least understand...

Posted by mcblogger at 12:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Obama on Warren Selection

This really pisses me off and his bullshit about 'disagreeing without being disagreeable' would go a lot further if Warren weren't quite to fervent in his desire to take away the rights of a large percentage of the population. One has to wonder if the President-elect would so blithely dismiss our very understandable anger if Warren were preaching to return African-Americans to slavery.

Two things, however, come to mind...

1) I'm glad I didn't vote for the son of a bitch in the primary.
2) I'm glad I voted for him in the general because McCain was STILL worse.

This was a crass political move against a group he knows he can marginalize. If anyone out there is dumb enough to still believe his bullshit, I'll be happy to introduce my foot to your ass.

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

December 18, 2008

New BSG vid

Photobucket We love us some Battlestar Galactica. And, like you, we've been irritated at the delay in the final episodes but that's mitigated a little bit by these new webisodes. Check out the first video and pay close attention around 1:30.

Awww, Felix!

Posted by mcblogger at 08:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

CRA... the talking point that just won't die.

Seriously, R's, get a new talking point.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This? This is hope?

Rick Warren will be giving the invocation at the Inaugural. This Rick Warren.

Here’s Rick’s FOX commentary:

Hannity: Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust, wants to wipe Israel off the map, is seeking nuclear weapons…I think we need to take him out.


HANNITY: Am I advocating something dark, evil, or something righteous?

WARREN: Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped. And I believe…

HANNITY: By force?

WARREN: Well, if necessary. In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers…

Just in case you were wondering, he considers the gays evil as well. It's funny what you can consider evil if you just put your mind to it.

Thanks, Mr. President-elect.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 17, 2008

Austin Is A Little Less Weird Today

Beloved crackpot and perennial candidate Jennifer Gale has died, reports the paper.

I will miss her and I am sure I'm not alone.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 04:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Economy : What's next?

PhotobucketThis is gonna have to be somewhat short due to a meeting this AM and far too many things to do.

First up, the Fed's decision to drop the Funds rate to 25 bps is not unexpected but it is a little irritating and tells me two things:

1) Paulson is a pussy
2) Bernanke is a cunt

You do this, if you're the Fed, to provide liquidity to the banks so they can rebuild their balance sheets (we're about 60% of the way there) and start lending again. Of course, that's what the Fed and Treasury have been doing this entire time, with every rate cut and TARP purchase and TAF usage. And banks have, in turn, decided to continue to tighten the screws on businesses and consumers. As a result, unemployment is rising sharply, consumers have frozen spending, businesses are pulling back (they couldn't get capital now anyway) and we're staring at a very deep recession. I guess we should be happy it's not going to be a depression, right?

Wrong. If the banks don't move off dead center, all that has transpired will be pretty worthless. Which means the Fed and Treasury need to do one of two things...

1) Nationalize as many big banks as it takes to turn the spigot back on. This, honestly, is my favorite because it has the potential to squeeze the hell out of these glib CEO's. Call Citi and BofA and tell them, "You either lend or we wipe out your equity. And your pay package. And you can sue the Federal Government."

2) Inflate the money supply but not by issuing debt. Just print more. This one is dangerous like a motherfucker because it leaves nothing on the table and devalues the dollar. Depending on what happens overseas, that could lead to a flight from dollar denominated assets leaving us with far higher rates over time. It would boost export income and would alleviate our real BOP issues (we're selling more overseas and paying off past debts with nominally cheaper dollars). However, there are already so many dollars out there that when asset prices stabilize and increase, we're going to have (in effect) the same issue. This is, in effect, like pouring gasoline on the fire. Krugman and Mankiw think it can be managed. I think they're crazy.

Neither Krugman or Mankiw would be especially comfortable with option one because both are operating under the illusion that you can, through elegant measures like printing money, bully the banks. I prefer the more direct approach that creates real consequences. Neither understand that the 'free market' is functionally dead. We're back to managed capitalism in the US because it's clear that greed overrides common sense. We're not heading toward socialism but our latest flirtation with laissez-faire has failed, just like the others. The laws R's and some D's have spent the last three decade dismantling, as it turns out, were absolutely necessary. Who knew?

Mankiw's uncomfortability with admitting error is especially clear in light of his disdain for new federal spending as it will burden our children. Please. Greg, in the abstract, is absolutely right. However, this is about stimulus and infrastructure investment. Personally, I don't think we need stimulus I think we need to spur the banks to loosen guides and lend some of this cheap money they've been given. They can then rebuild their balance sheets with the spread income, consumers will lower debt burdens and business will have the operating and expansion capital they need. That's why I like Option 1. Option 2 leads to a banana republic.

As for Mankiw's dislike of other federal spending, I have only this to say... BITCH, WE NEEDS US TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE. If you're so worried about the debt burden on your damn kids, think about how much more expensive building these roads will be in 2020 or 2030. We spend a trillion dollars and for that money we modernize our infrastructure for the next 20 years? It's a bargain and you should be looking at it that way, especially since all this debt being issued to finance it is functionally free.

Right now, Housing is starting to turn. We still don't have a solid loan mod platform but prices are beginning to stabilize and the refi market has gone through the roof, mostly because the Fed and Treasury have been buying MBS dropping interest rates on home loans for consumers. Those rates got passed through because there are alternatives to banks for mortgages. Not so with most other types of borrowing. Given that, it's time the Fed and Treasury start acting like they have a pair and beat the fuck out of morons like Ken Lewis.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is it Coldplay or Another Band Warmed Over?

PhotobucketSo it looks like Coldplay has been caught plagiarizing another band's material. listen to this comparison and it's pretty clear that Colplay didn't come up with this stuff on their own.

What remains a mystery is why the original artist spoke up when they could have otherwise gotten away with writing a song so crappy that Coldplay saw fit to plagiarize it.

Posted by hbalczak at 07:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Chris Bell's Statement on SD 17

"I entered this race because I truly believe it is vital for us to change the overall direction of our state. Though we came up short tonight, I am very proud of the campaign we have run - a campaign that focused on the issues that matter to the people of Texas and Senate District 17.

I traveled across this district and visited with so many of its residents about the concerns they face. It only reinforced my belief that in order to create a brighter future for our kids, we must act now to implement real education and health care reform.

I want to thank all of my supporters and campaign volunteers who worked tirelessly to bring real reform to the Texas Senate. We could not have made it without your time, energy and commitment to this campaign and to the future of Texas."

Thank you for running, Chris. While the result may not have been what we desired, we can't thank you enough for stepping up on the plate.

Posted by mcblogger at 06:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 16, 2008

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Okay Chris, no more campaigns, M'kay?

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 09:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Michael Williams run for Senate

PhotobucketMichael Williams, who was just re-elected to the Texas Railroad Commission, announced today that he would like to run for US Senate if Kay Bailey resigns.

In other news, similar announcements were made by

A sack of dirt
A potted plant
My mother
A bottle of Welch's concord grape juice
A book about the work of Salvador Dali
The clock on my desk at also tells the temperature immediately around my desk
An iPhone
A lit cigarette thrown out of a car moving at 70 on MoPac

... all of which stand more of a chance of getting elected to US Senate than the idiot Michael Williams. Mikey, let me clue you in, the racist crackers in East Texas who DIDN'T vote for Obama because he was black had no idea you were.

Get it, moron?

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

How does it feel?

This was passed along over the weekend by Carl Whitmarsh.

I have a question for all those working-class Democrats -- especially the ones employed directly or indirectly by the U.S. auto industry -- who in the 80s became so-called "Reagan Democrats" and voted Republican for the next 20 years. The question is this: Given the "fuck you" attitude being contemptuously displayed by Senate Republicans where it concerns a rescue plan for your industry, your job, your life, how do you feel now about your abandonment of the Democratic Party? Huh? Got an answer? Nothing deep. Just a quick sentence or two would do. I mean, how does it feel to have spent all those years voting your bigotry and your willful political ignorance and your sheep-like need to be manipulated by the thugs who infest right-wing talk radio, and now that your whole life is collapsing because of the policies of these Republicans (who never gave a shit about you anyway) you get to watch and listen as they kick you and your family to the curb and say, naw, we don't think the "taxpayers" wanna bail out the auto industry; we don't care if another three or four million more families head for the homeless shelters and food stamp offices.

There's more at the link. Yes, it's harsh but it is spot on. People need to really think before they go into a polling place.

Posted by mcblogger at 11:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's No Penguin Toss, But For Those Who Are Bored At Work...

...and really, aren't we all?

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 08:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 15, 2008

Why does Debbie Riddle's breath smell like my poop?

We LOVE Debbie Riddle in much the same way we love cancer. And the herp. And HIV. And genocide.

OK, you got us... we don't really LOVE Debbie Riddle so much as think she's a massive incompetent who only gets elected because she has an R after her name. Now, she's going after 'illegals' which is code for 'messicans'.

All I have to say to that is...



THAT, my firends, is the reality. The overwhelming majority of these people come here for a better life and they work hard. They certainly work harder than a retarded State Representative from Houston. And they work hard mowing my fucking yard. Of course, they also do other things but that's the immediate impact on MY life.

Tell you what, Debbie Dumbass, as soon as you climb your ass up on a freeway overpass during construction in August and work a full day, you can talk about 'keeping the illegals out'. Until then, shut your fucking mouth before these folks DO decide to go home and we're left with an employment crunch.

Not that you'd know what that is, but it's BAD. We don't want that. OK, Debbie?

Debbie Riddle, so stupid she thought TacoBell was a phone company in Mexico.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How to not win an election

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Posted by mcblogger at 12:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No, you can't look at my laptop

More than two years ago we talked about unreasonable searches being performed at the ports of entry into the United States. It turns out, that's all about to change. Finally.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 14, 2008

SD 17 : NOW is the time

Election Day is Tuesday and the Republicans are desperate, as shown by Joan Huffman's decision to throw integrity and ethics out the proverbial window.

  • First off, she decided to hold a barbecue at one of the early voting locations which is a pretty clear cut violation of election law.
  • Next up, her decision to sell herself to special interests. Her biggest contributors so far are Bob Perry (who likes to contribute to Republicans who will help him with lawsuits from homeowner's he's screwed over) and the insurance lobby which represents the folks who have driven up premiums in this state to some of the highest levels in the nation. One has to wonder what Huffman had to promise to get those bucks
  • Finally, dear Joan has been using a service to smear-dial Chris Bell by calling Democratic voters at odd hours of the night to tell them about some sort of vague ethics issue without naming a candidate or disclosing her own ethics issues.
  • Chris Bell needs you help. And Texans need Chris Bell in that Senate seat!

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


    They're finally throwing stuff at Americans in Baghdad, but it's still not flowers and chocolates...

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 01:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Around Texas

  • PhotobucketRon Kirk for Transportation Secretary? He wasn't a great Mayor of Dallas. He wasn't a good Senate candidate. Now the President-elect wants to put him in charge of the Transportation Department? Let's keep in mind this is the same Ron Kirk who thinks tolls are just nifty. His point is the same one most of the 'thinking liberals' make, namely that gas taxes disproportionately effect the poor. What these well intentioned people never pick up on is that when you're tolling damn near every road, you drive up the costs for all consumers creating the very problem your tolls were meant to avoid. Either in terms of paying the toll or sitting in traffic on a surface road or increased costs at stores that sell good transported by trucks that paid the tolls, the poor (even those who don't drive) end up getting soaked. As Democrats, we've always been pragmatic when looking at problems, costs associated with those problems and how best to fund them.

    Unfortunately, it's become accepted as gospel that tolls are the best funding solution in Democratic circles, no matter how wrong that thesis is. Kirk is a part of that problem and that makes him a very unsuitable choice.

    The reality is we need someone dedicated to transportation who can come at our infrastructure problems with innovative, multimodal solutions. We need someone who can recommend sensible, long term financial structures not someone who will simply kick the can down the road, soaking taxpayers in the process.

  • PhotobucketElizabeth Ames Jones has decided to run for Senate. Lucky, aren't we?

    Am I the only one who thinks this bitch is the candidate equivalent of fruitcake? Pretty but absolutely worthless? And trust me, this isn't a Democrat vs. Republican thing. This bitch is as dumb as a box of fucking rocks. Click the goddamn links.

  • For you Dallasites, there's a delay in the plans to reconstruct LBJ. Apparently, the firms need some more time to figure out how to dig out 6 additional toll lanes underneath the freeway. And rebuild the free part of the road. I feel for y'all... you're actually going to have to use surface roads for about five years.

    Oh and the Trinity Toll Road is kinda moving forward. But not really.

  • Austin has low electric rates. Who knew?
  • Posted by mcblogger at 11:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 13, 2008

    Who's Afraid Of KBH?

    The answer seems to be pretty much everyone these days. Working off the premise that Kay Bailey Hutchison will resign her Senate seat to challenge Governor For Life Rick Perry in the 2010 Republican Primary, would-be senators have been lining up like WalMart shoppers to replace her. Numbered among that host are two prominent Democrats formerly mentioned as possible gubernatorial prospects, former Comptroller John Sharp and Bill White, Mayor of Houston.

    Assuming that KBH actually does resign (and remember that we've been through her "running for governor" thing before in 2006) the seat will be filled in a special election. No parties, no primaries, just a ballot with a dozen or more candidates. Anyone with money and name recognition would have a chance to make it at least as far as the almost-inevitable runoff.

    Of course, this brings up the question of who the Texas Democrats will run for governor, a race where our prospects for winning don't look so good at the moment. Two years ago, Chris Bell remarked that even a corpse running on the Democratic ticket would poll at least 31 percent; of course, when the votes were counted the New Mainstream maven received just a shade less than thirty. (In 1998, Gary Mauro's doomed campaign against George W Bush actually did reach 31.)

    What to do, what to do? In the absence of a serious effort by a credible Texas Democrat to take on (presumably) KBH for the governorship, what is our true strategy? The bad news is that we cannot actually run a corpse. (I was hoping for Sam Houston. No, not the 2008 judicial candidate, I'm talking Hero of San Jacinto. After all, he actually had been governor and senator as well as general and President of the Republic. They just don't make resumes like that anymore) Do we prevail on another party loyalist like Mauro to take a bullet for the team?

    No, I think our solution is to draft a challenger who already has experience running (and losing) to Hutchison, perennial candidate Gene Kelly. In the 2002 senate race he received 32.34% of the vote against KBH (just a few points less than Radnofsky managed six years later.) To the extent that he refuses all campaign contributions we can consider him self-financed and by doing no campaigning and shying away from the media the hard-working TDP staff can focus on winning Democratic control of the Texas House.

    Gene Kelly 2010! Why the hell not?

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 09:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    December 12, 2008

    Stupid isn't only a Texas thing

    Ladies and Gentleman, I give you New Jersey where they built a commuter rail station... with no where for commuters to park their cars.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    So, I hear there's this Senate seat available, but it's pricey!

    Who's an idiot scumbag with a really bad sense of propriety, decency and ethics? Oh, and some hellishly bad hair?



    Sure, he was trying to parlay his ability to appoint Sen. Obama's replacement into money. Or a job. Or something nice for his wife. Wouldn't you? No? Yeah, me neither. And just before you think this douche can't sink any lower, there's this...

    For example, according to the affidavit, Mr. Blagojevich discussed whether he could strip a Chicago children’s hospital of $8 million in state money after a hospital executive declined to make a $50,000 contribution. He also discussed withholding state assistance from the financially struggling Tribune Company, which owns The Chicago Tribune, unless the newspaper dismissed unfriendly editorial writers.

    Oh, and for all you Republicans out there feeling holier than thou, Governor Ryan (a Republican), Blagojevich's predecessor, is now serving a 6 year sentence for public corruption at the Club Fed in Terre Haute.

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

    Get. Out. Of. My. Way.

    As someone who is constantly stymied by slower drivers who tie up the left lane because they are:

    1) Going the speed limit and that's perfectly fine for everyone. I like to call these people the Community Cops. I hope they all get eyeball headaches every afternoon. At 3:00.

    2) People going 5 miles over the limit who think they are being dangerous while trying to pass someone.

    3) People going 10 miles over the limit who think they are badass. These are usually college or high school kids in their giant trucks or SUVs who have no concept of other people. This group also includes hicks whose egos simply can not take the defeat of being passed on the freeway.

    and finally...

    4) People who get into the left lane then drive at exactly the same speed as the people in the right lane. These people I hate with the heat of a thousand suns.

    Imagine my happiness when I found that in Washington and other states they are now fining people who drive too slow in the left lane. Or linger there.

    Until the Lege can pass something similar, I'll be buying this.

    Posted by mcblogger at 10:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Picture a family...

    ... who returns home to find out that their home had been burglarized. They decide to call the sheriff's dept. and the dispatcher promptly sends a deputy who decides to treat them like criminals.

    Unbelievable, right? As it turns out, this happened in Houston.

    Then the deputy noticed his sister's Kirpan, a small ceremonial knife she wears sheathed on her hip.

    The Kirpan is a religious article mandated by the Sikh faith, explained Kawaljeet Kaur, 35. "It's a constant reminder to me that I need to promote justice for all," she said.

    The deputy "freaked out," Singh said.

    "Before you know it, he has a taser pointed at her forehead, he's calling for backup, he's raising his voice, like, 'Shut up, shut up! '"

    "I told him, you know, I'm a law-abiding citizen," Kaur said. "Treat me with respect."

    She offered to leave the room if the Kirpan upset him, but pointed out that it was her constitutional right to practice her religion in her own home.

    "He said, 'I don't care about that,' " Singh remembered.

    He said the situation deteriorated when other deputies arrived and began handcuffing family members, including Kaur's 60-year-old mother.

    "They were using the f-word, and we had an 8-year-old in the house," Singh said.

    Most kirpans, just FYI, are about as dangerous as butter knives. Any deputy who was so intimidated by a small woman with a knife doesn't need to be in uniform. Not to mention one that can't even do his job properly.

    (H/T to STC)

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

    December 11, 2008

    Just a little something lighthearted

    Yes, it's really Jumping in Art Museums.


    Posted by mcblogger at 12:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Kicking Ken Lewis in the head, or, What I'd like to be doing

    Ken Lewis, as many of you don't know, is the CEO of Bank of America. He's the asshole that soaked BofA shareholders (a group which mercifully doesn't include me) to the tune of $50 bn for Merrill Lynch which was, conservatively, worth $20bn at the time.

    Now he's going around talking about 'no sunshine' in the economy until the second half of next year.

    Ken Lewis, CEO at BofA ... said he was hopeful conditions would improve in the second half of next year. He sees no bright spots for the economy before then.

    “Times are really tough, and we don’t see any short-term rays of sunshine,” he told the more than 600 attendees at the Westin Charlotte hotel. When the panel was asked for advice on how to get through the next six months, Lewis recommended a conservative strategy of hoarding cash and capital and waiting for the storm to pass. “Think of getting through this as the primary objective,” he said.

    It's one thing for someone like Peter Schiff to bleat on endlessly about how bad things are. It's quite another when it's Ken Lewis, the head of a global bank that holds 10% of the deposit base in the US. While the government has gone out of it's way to pump money into the economy to keep us out of a deflationary spiral, here's Ken Lewis, dumbest of the dumb, telling everyone to hoard cash under their mattress.

    Not to mention that a bank that doesn't lend is a worthless thing. It really depresses income and earnings. Which means poorer shareholders. But that's OK, Ken's got your back. He'll make you money magically in the second half of the year. The unicorn told him that was when things would turn.

    No, Ken, things will improve pretty dramatically and pretty quickly next quarter. And when BofA misses the boat, one has to wonder how long your board will keep you on. Especially after overpaying for an asset by $30 billion.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Help Chris Bell!

    Don't forget, we have one more Democrat to elect! In SD 17, Chris Bell is fighting to beat some nightmare woman from hell who apparently casually conflates the Bible with the Constitution.

    And no, it's not Cynthia Nutbar.

    Needless to say, our work is not done until we put one more Democrat in the Texas Senate. Click here to donate. Click here to volunteer.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    This week in Teh Gay

  • Wednesday was a Day Without Gays, where gays took the day off to protest Prop 8. Or the return of polyester, I wasn't really sure since I didn't get the memo. PDiddie has more which is funny since he's not Teh Gay and seems to know more about what's going on with my team than I.

    On the subject of Prop 8, here are some good protest pics




  • Mike Huckabee was recently on The Daily Show where he got spanked by Jon Stewart. Huckabee wanted to, at one point, make it clear that he was not a homophobe which is exceedingly difficult when you're speaking out against equal rights for gays and lesbians. And, in the case of Prop 8, openly discriminating against them.

    My favorite part is when Stewart asks Huckabee when HE decided not to be gay.

  • Apparently, Teh Gays all need to be in 'education's camps. So say a couple of amateur hour politicos up in Oklahoma. A word of advice for the peeps up in OK, people who scream the loudest about how horrible Teh Gays are usually...

    1) Know only one gay person
    2) Are gay themselves
    3) Are still getting over being rejected by the person in point 1

    Just in case you think I'm exaggerating this...

    We have to get rid of that and start curing those sinners. It's past time that this nation stopped placating sin and start putting them in education programs. Courts can force drug offenders into treatment centers and violent people into anger management. There's no reason our courts can't do that with homos.

    Sure thing... tell you what, you come on down to Texas and pick me up, K? I promise, I won't shoot you with my shotgun, I'll just beat the fucking hell out of you in my front lawn.

    And yeah, you slimy hick, I can do it.

  • Posted by mcblogger at 09:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 10, 2008

    But the laugh

    One of the most underappreciated lines from a movie is this exchange between John Travolta and Fran Drescher in Saturday Night Fever.

    Connie: So, are you as good in bed as you are on that dance floor?
    Tony Manero: You know, Connie, if you're as good in bed as you are on the dance floor, then you're one lousy fuck.
    Connie: Then how come they always send me flowers the next morning?
    Tony Manero: I dunno. Maybe they thought you was dead.

    I always thought she was attractive and funny, but senatorial material? Why the hell not, considering some of the dumbasses we’ve had and still have. Senator Box Turtle comes to mind.

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 05:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Will someone please put Michael Moore out of our misery?

    According to Political Wire, Michael Moore has decided he's going to make a movie about the financial crisis. Before we're even out of it.

    It goes without saying that he'll largely miss the point, just like David Corn did. The thing that sucks is that this shouldn't be based on the very real greed or supposedly toxic financial instruments. Instead, he should be focusing on wage growth and wealth concentration/stratification.

    Anyone wanna bet $100 that doesn't make it into the movie? Betcha another $100 that at least 30 minutes are spent on greedy subprime lenders without even looking at the bad credit or undocumentable income of the borrowers who applied for and wanted those subprime loans. Why? Because it's easier to explain, even if it is wrong.

    And Michael's never been one to let facts get in the way of his narrative.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Sure, cut them off...

    What do YOU think will happen when you shrink consumer credit by almost half?

    The U.S. credit card industry may pull back well over $2 trillion of lines over the next 18 months due to risk aversion and regulatory changes, leading to sharp declines in consumer spending, prominent banking analyst Meredith Whitney said. ... "In other words, we expect available consumer liquidity in the form or credit-card lines to decline by 45 percent." SOURCE

    This will really curb consumer spending and send us into a big deflationary spiral. If you've ever seen someone trying to clean up from a heroin addiction, this will be like reliving fun times.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


    PhotobucketPRAISE JESUS!

    PD seems to think it was an unfortunate drinking accident. I prefer to think it was the result of some rather aggressive fellatio that resulted in her decalcified bones crumbling under pressure.

    However it happened, I just gotta say thanks, Big Guy!

    Posted by mcblogger at 01:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Vitter, Ensign, Coburn and Shelby are in a bus...

    ... wouldn't it be great if the bus went off a cliff? Metaphorically speaking, that was what happened in their press conference today opposing the auto bailout.

    What these bitches are talking about is union busting. And none of them know what the hell they are talking about, in so far as a bankruptcy filing. Americans will NOT buy cars from a company in BK, period. This isn't conjecture, it's fact. Add in that no one will carry the debtor in possession financing and you have a recipe for disaster if these companies have to declare BK.

    It shouldn't surprise me that Republicans are this stupid. But it does. What's most galling is Shelby, who is obviously shilling for the automakers who call his state home, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Toyota and Honda. He has a vested interest in seeing the big three go down the tubes. It'll mean his foreign constituents will make more money since they'll have less competition.

    And where, pray tell, are OUR Senators Hutchinson and Cornyn? Where are they to fight for the GM plant in Arlington?

    I'm all for reorganizing these companies and for basically eliminating the top four layers of management. Because that's the kind of restructuring these companies need. What the R's want is for the unions to be broken in Bankruptcy court and that isn't the way to fix these companies. This is a microcosm for what's wrong with this county with lousy management never getting fired while ordinary workers end up taking a beating. And they want to rape the pension funds?

    And now Max Baucus comes out and says he's opposed to the auto bailout which just makes me so mad. Why won't anyone in the Capitol on the D side take on Ensign and that moron Shelby? They are intellectual pygmies hellbent on their own self interest rather than what's best for the country.

    Am I thrilled about the auto czar? No. However, I also know that if we're going to do this, we need someone to oversee taxpayer investment. And we do need to do this. This is a tipping point and a bunch of southern Senators are hell bent on taking us over the edge.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Nerd funny

    In which fractional reserve banking is explained (for those who didn't pick it up in It's A Wonderful Life).

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    10% delinquent or in foreclosure

    Not good. While 31% of US homeowners have no mortgage, of those that do, around 10% delinquent.

    Now, before you panic, this includes everyone from those 30 days late to those in foreclosure. And no, this isn't anywhere near as bad as the Great Depression.

    And this certainly didn't help... especially since this number is understated by around 2-3%.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Thank God for the Gays

    Otherwise, who else would bring us such hot entertainment as this?

    Posted by spamburgler at 02:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    December 09, 2008

    A place you don't wanna be...

    Take a look at this video, then come back.

    Don't worry, I'll wait.

    A friend sent it to me along with the comment that if her boyfriend bought her jewelry from Penny's HE'D be in the doghouse.

    Posted by mcblogger at 11:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Roundin' Up The TPA

    It is time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's Weekly Round-Up. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

    The long held assumption that Texas was safely red seems to be taking a few hits, notes Lightseeker at Texas Kaos, in Trouble in Red Paradise?

    DosCentavos expands on comments from LatinaListaon the one tool that Latinos have failed to use to get ahead in politics, business, etc.

    CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme warns us that Republican agitators are on the loose making stuff up for their wedge'em and hate'em crusades. Are there enough Hispanics in top roles? What will happen for Rick Noriega and Juan Garcia?

    According to jobsanger, the War on Christmas is alive and well. Another Volley In "War On Christmas has been fired, this time from the heartland of America, as an Iowa publisher is selling christmas cards for atheists.

    Off the Kuff takes a look that Hill Research Consultants poll that says the Republican brand is eroding in Texas.

    John Coby at Bay Area Houston says Speaker Tom Craddick Can't have his cake and health care too concerning how Craddick fought for health care for his adult well to do daughter while fighting to deny health care to poor kids.

    McBlogger's latest rant on the state of traffic in Texas prompted this little bit of comeuppance from Mayor McSleaze.

    Vince at Capitol Annex notes that Houston Mayor Bill White is expected to announce his plans in regard to 2010 this week.

    BossKitty at TruthHugger is angry that the Texas Republican Party, in general, has favored BIG Business, including Medical Corporations who see the sick as dollar signs. Texas looks like it leads the pack in putting dollars above life quality. Texas needs to reinstate the Hippocratic oath and throw out the Hypocritical oath it has been following. US Health Care Plunges, Texas Drops 9 Points

    Dembones at Eye On Williamson analyzes the recent poll that's causing a stir Texas GOP In Panic Over Recent Poll.

    The kinder, gentler Kay Bailey Hutchison -- with a little help from her pal Karl Rove -- is trotting out for display. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has the revoltin' development.

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

    A Tasty Investment Tip

    I was going to name this post "Liquor? I Hardly Even Know Her!"...but that wouldn't have been funny OR accurate.

    It might interest some of you wary investors out there to know that the maker of Jack Daniels and Finlandia Vodka is making money hand over fist in this economy. Seems there's nothing like the hard stuff to help people brace for soup lines and barrel apparel.

    There's also some anecdotal evidence that liquor stocks respond favorably to good news as well. Rumor has it that William Grant & Sons, Ltd., maker of Hendrick's Gin, experienced an extraordinary spike in their stock price just after Election Day.

    Posted by hbalczak at 10:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 08, 2008

    Scapegoating the CRA : Don't believe me

    I've said a number of times that the conservative talking point that the CRA led to the subprime debacle was complete garbage. Some of you still want to argue the point with me. Ladies and Gentleman, I give the Republican head of the FDIC, Sheila Bair...

    “I want to give you my verdict on CRA: NOT guilty,” said FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, according to a press release by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Before the Consumer Federation of America, Bair said Thursday she wanted to clear up the “myth” that the Community Reinvestment Act caused the financial crisis — and she set out to do so with vigor.

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

    McCracken Releases Self

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Answering the Bell

  • KT has more on the Houston Chronicle's endorsement of Chris Bell in SD-17.
  • The lovely and talented Muse has a great post up about Chris Bell's newest ad which provides a nice contrast between him and his Republican opponent. Give it a watch.
  • Chris still needs your help! To donate, click here. To volunteer, click here. And yes, you can do both.

    Early voting information is here.

  • Posted by mcblogger at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    A different kind of drought

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


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

    Pret-a-porter with Cynthia Dunbar

    Oh, my.

    Yeah, I think I'll let the elegance of Cynthia herself carry this post.

    Dunbar (on p. 100) calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” She charges that the establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical” because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children (p. 103). Dunbar, who has home-schooled her children and sent them to private schools, bases that charge on her belief that “the underlying authority for our constitutional form of government stems directly from biblical precedents.” (p. xv)

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:05 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 07, 2008

    The Learning Curve

    So what’s the new game in town?

    While the travesty we call the Texas governor’s campaign seems to have commenced along with local Austin political pundits starting to handicap the mayoral farce and the lege soon to be in session before you have a chance to escape town, the election that should be on our radar is the Texas School Board of Education.

    Some think now is too early to worry about this race, but these same people have to realize that the 15 elected members of the SBOE have the potential of having more impact than state legislatures on Texas’ future.

    Of course, evolution vs. creationism is the headliner act, but there are a number of other reasons to boot many of the current batch. Count on to have much more on this topic in the coming months. I do want to point out that if the creationists were smart, “teaching the controversy” is something they really don’t want to push since it would expose the fallibility of the Bible.

    So what kind of candidate do we want?

    1. Someone who can suffer fools gladly, because there is going to be a lot of – how to say this - intellectually-challenged people involved in these races.
    2. Won’t alienate people with their personality, or lack of.
    3. Won’t get bogged down in minutiae on the campaign trail.
    4. Someone who will listen and heed good advice, and distance themselves from bad consultants and campaign staffers.
    5. Maybe a woman. Perception plays a major role in campaigns.

    There is a caveat. Some of these races could be expensive, and experienced, qualified fundraisers will be needed.

    Now for the trench warfare. The coalition of scientists known as Texas Citizens for Science, or for that matter any scientist or science-based organization that provides the academic heft in this matter, will have to step-up or maybe step-down by creating an arm that will phone bank, blockwalk, fundraise, data entry, volunteer recruitment, and the rest of the foot soldier, rank and file activities needed to elect candidates.

    I can’t think of any better organization to help these scientists than the Texas Freedom Network.

    Also, any coordinated campaign will have to make this a big component.

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 04:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Earthrise in HDTV

    Courtesy of JAXA...

    Earthrise is about 1:40 in.

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

    Is That A Filibuster In Your Pocket...

    About all I could think when this picture of Obama's speechwriter Jon Favreau partying with a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton...
    It's probably a good thing Flat Howard can't talk!

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 06, 2008

    Understanding CDS

    This is a really good piece on the CDS market. While the conclusions reached (that these were horrible instruments) is wrong, the explanations are extremely good.

    Watch CBS Videos Online

    CDS, when issued by a counterparty that actually has the capital to back the security, are a very good way of insuring performance on a credit. The problem here is that a lack of regulation meant that anyone could write CDS regardless of their capitalization and they didn't have to adequately reserve against future losses.

    Couple this with an industry that was hellbent on larger and larger volumes of credits (in this case, mortgages) all of which were 'credit enhanced' with CDS and you have a situation where credit is issued without regard to creditworthiness which was OK because ultimately it was going to be backed up with CDS.

    "We make the loans because we can insure the loans".

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    What's going on in Houston? Help Bell, Trautman

  • PhotobucketHELP CHRIS BELL! The race to win SD 17 is on and EDay is a little over a week and a half away and early voting has started (click here for locations). Click here if you live outside the district but would like to phonebank. Click here to donate to the campaign... I know, it's close to Christmas but you can give a few bucks. And to volunteer, click here.

    This is the last race in Texas and winning this one gets us one step closer to winning back the Senate. This session is going to be critical for all Texans and Texas needs Chris Bell in that seat.

  • The balls out crazy Paul Bettencourt has resigned which is really a great thing for Harris County since they won't have to worry about him spending millions to fight non-existent voter fraud. Of course, this does come less than a month after he was reelected. Which makes him a MEGA douche. Annie's List is putting Diane Trautman out there. Let's see if we can help her out!
  • Posted by mcblogger at 01:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 05, 2008

    An awesome idea for the Breckenridge tract

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

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

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

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

    Oil : How low do we go...

    This is one of the best pieces written on the oil market and the current position. The reality is that speculation was driving up prices (we talked about this) in concert with the weak dollar. I wrote that piece in May assuming that the world wouldn't fall apart and that demand wouldn't deteriorate as fast it did.

    Let me be frank... anyone who claims the drop in oil prices happened exactly as they predicted is lying to you. NO ONE anticipated demand destruction on the level we've seen this year with year over year declines of 5-10% in aggregate demand. That is a huge number. And while that depressed prices and deflated the bubble, the rest of the decline is purely related to the rise in the dollar. In my piece from May I thought that would only happen with restored fiscal policy. Turns out, all we needed was a collapse in the financial sector and a flight into dollars and dollar denominated assets to bring the dollar back up and drop the hell out of oil prices.

    Now, with supply high and demand unlikely to rise up to meet it as people continue to transition to cars and trucks that require less oil, the likelihood of a quick rise (despite the prognostications of commodities permabull Jim Rogers) is non-existent save speculation or a dramatic deterioration of the dollar. Even those may not be enough to return prices to the 90's/bbl. The reality is that the runup in prices was more about our dependence on oil than our demand for oil coupled with a speculative frenzy. The frenzy drove prices up and our dependence kept us buying because we couldn't reduce demand fast enough to compensate. The problem with demand destruction is that it takes longer to play out than a price spike... which means the demand fundamentals are going to continue to drop.

    At least we were right about one thing... once speculation was broken, the price did collapse. That being said, even we are stunned by this decline.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Hitting the skids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Assigning blame

    Digby has Limbaugh's take on the Big Three's trip to Washington. Limbaugh is, of course, blaming the Democrats.

    PhotobucketI have some questions. You know, Pelosi, Reid, that crowd, they sent the auto execs home yesterday and they said, "You come back with a plan. We don't have the votes and you're not going to make us look bad. It sends a bad signal to the American people. We don't have the votes. So you come back with a plan. You tell us what you want for the $25 billion." Okay, I have some questions for the people like Pelosi and Reid and these other liberal hacks, just tough questions for you to ponder. With gasoline prices now under two bucks in most places and dropping, and the price of oil (I checked it right before the program) below $50 now ($49 a barrel it was earlier today.) So with the gas price under two bucks and oil plummeting, what would you say, Pelosi and Reid, if the car companies could become profitable by selling SUVs or go broke by turning out the green cars that you're going to demand they make? What would you say, Pelosi and Reid, if the best auto executive in the world could come in and fix the Detroit problem but he demands a hundred million dollars a year in income? Would you insist that they hire somebody who has no clue what they're doing and earns less than $400,000?

    Lookit, Limbaugh and his ilk have always found it easier to carp than offer real solutions. They have none which is par for the course with the unimaginative who refuse to think. Instead, they offer criticism and angry commentary that, frankly, is nigh unto incoherent. The problem with the auto industry has never been that they were making what Washington demanded, the problem was their planning and long term strategy was wrong. As oil prices increased, they never shifted gears. As the market transitioned to a recession, they never altered to more affordable cars or sought out cheap long term debt to bolster their capital structure. Now the problem is very dramatic as wages are cut, incomes drop and fewer people are buying cars.

    Their failure was a failure of management. For 30 years, they underfunded their pension plans. For thirty years they've been losing business to competitors who are just as large but far better at designing, building and selling what the market wants. Their failure is not the failure of liberal ideology, it's the failure of their leaders to adequately build for the future. They can blame CAFE, unions and anyone else they want but the failure is theirs.

    Despite having some of the best paid managers and CEO's in history. So, no, I would say that managerial talent is not worth $100mn per year. I'd put it at about $500k. Limbaugh is clearly a very poor businessman if he'd overpay THAT dramatically. But then again, people like Limbaugh often do things like that when it's not their money.

    There's one ally Democrats in Congress have on CEO pay and that's the millions of small investors like myself (those with net worth less than $1mn) who wholeheartedly agree with caps on CEO pay. In fact, we'd like to see caps on ALL executive and managerial pay. Unions and low level employees aren't bleeding us, as owners, dry. It's the management that is always to blame.

    And I'm all for creating problems for those parasites like Carly Fiorina who is best known for making Hewlett-Packard shareholders poor.

    Limbaugh's rant blaming the Democrats is not unlike the one being circulated by some in the media regarding the cause of the mortgage crisis. From the WSJ to the WaPo, there has been a lot written about the CRA being to blame which isn't even remotely true.

    While the issues are complex and ongoing, the bottom line is that a lack of regulation allowed people to create securities which hid the underlying risk. Subprime credits were packaged and credit enhanced to turn them into A credits. Investors looked the other way because whether it was A paper or subprime, they thought they were safe as houses since people always pay their mortgages. Well, they do as long as they have a wage. When all the equity they had accumulated has been used to offset the fact that borrowers wages hadn't really grown, they stopped paying their bills.

    The CRA requirements, for the last damn time, CAN NOT be satisfied with subprime loans. This isn't a point of disagreement I have with the WSJ, this is me saying they are completely wrong.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 04, 2008

    Roundin' Up The TPA

    Now that the turkey has been eaten and your holiday decorations are up--or at least out of the garage--it is time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly round-up.

    The Texas Cloverleaf looks at the large donors from DFW who supported Prop 8. Over $335,000 went to California from 59 individuals. Time to consider the DFW Black List!

    John Coby at Bay Area Houston is giving thanks to the GOP .

    jobsanger looks at the $7.5 million of sales tax money that Wal-Mart gets to keep every year here in Texas, and says it is time to cap the amount of tax money a business may keep to cover the cost of collecting the tax in I Learned Something New & I Don't Like It.

    CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme wonders how hard can it be to elect someone other than Tom Craddick Speaker of the House? Geeez!

    Stace Medellin at DosCentavos reminds us why guest worker programs will fail with a story on Braceros still trying to collect monies owed themby Mexico after decades.

    Toni at WhosPlayin took some time off from political work to take in a bilingual performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Fort Worth by Teatro De La Rosa, and offers her review.

    North Texas Liberal wonders why Democrats are so anxious to throw former President Bill Clinton under the bus.

    The Burnt Orange Report takes a look at Austin activism and the Austin Prop 8 Blacklist.

    If sometimes you feel like a nut, McBlogger reports you'll be right at home on the State Board of Education.

    BossKitty at TruthHugger reflects how Bush tried and failed to show the world a morally superior nation, instead, he showed the world what hypocritical horse's asses we really are, and Why America Is No Longer THE Role Model - Op Ed

    Off the Kuff continues his analysis of Harris County precinct data with a look at HD133, the microcosm of the county.

    Neil at Texas Liberal is a big time player who drinks expensive scotch and gambles at first class casinos.

    Dembones at Eye On Williamson takes Gov. Rick Perry to task for defending Texas polluters.

    PDiddie gave thanks for illegal immigrants, the inanity of Jared Woodfill, and the life and memory of Jim Mattox at Brains and Eggs.

    Over at TexasKaos, Txsharon explains how Cheney Helped Halliburton Hide Secrets About Dangerous Chemicals in YOUR Drinking Water. . As she reports,

    The oil and gas industry is the only industry in America that is allowed by EPA to inject KNOWN hazardous material-unchecked-directly into or adjacent to underground drinking water supplies.

    EARTHWORKS-Hydraulic Fracturing of Oil and Gas Wells

    Vince at Capitol Annex notes that a state district judge has ruled that he does not have jurisdiction to rule on a case related to the House District 105 recount.

    Posted by mcblogger at 07:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Saying goodbye to SIV's

    First off, anyone who refers to an investment security as toxic is really quite clueless. Over here is the article about Citi unwinding the last of their Structured Investment Vehicles. The SIV was a creature of an easy credit environment but their overall business plan was not unlike that of banks for hundreds of years. Basically, you hold money from depositors and agree to pay them a small amount of interest for their business. Then you lend it back out at higher rates. The difference you get to keep.

    The problem with SIVs is that rather than use relatively stable deposits, they used short term borrowing in the form of, for instance, commercial paper which had to be refinanced on terms of 30, 60 or 90 days. When that money dried up, there was no cheap replacement capital and as they had to pay off what were essentially IOU's, they eliminated their equity. And then began an asset firesale which dropped the value of the assets held still further.

    I can not write this too many times... there is no such thing as a toxic security. There are only toxic prices.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 03, 2008

    Vidor Forum

    Who knew? At first, I thought this was an Onion parody.

    Don't know what post is weider - Interracial Couple Moving To Vidor or Nude photos were of cop's girlfriend

    Xcntrik InVidor-you rock in that mellow kind of way

    Posted by Captain Kroc at 09:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Speaking in tongues

    PDiddie and WCNews have some goodness up about the Speaker's race. Phillip has updated numbers on Craddick/Not Craddick votes.

    Finally, Coby has a great post about the ethics complaint filed against Craddick for funneling money to his kid... and keeping her on his taxpayer funded health insurance.

    PhotobucketOver the last few months State Representatives Eissler and Isett have been heavily fined by the Texas Ethics Commission for using their campaign cash to pay their spouses and dependents for services. They both claimed ignorance and at least one claimed House Speaker Craddick was doing it also. And for good reason.

    Craddick has paid his daughter Christi over $650,000 since 2003 for "salary", $133,000 in 2007 and $110,000 for the first 10 monts of 2008. As Isett and Eissler has learned, the Ethics Commission rules prohibits payments to

    My daddy never paid me that well. Probably because I'm all the time stuck in traffic. Or speeding.

    Posted by mcblogger at 08:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    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

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

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

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

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

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

    It's AWESOME when R's self destruct

    PhotobucketOver at FDL, Blue Texan caught us up on Sen. Saxby Chambliss who is apparently trying to prove that he is absolutely clueless. Just FYI, a recession is two quarters of contraction in GDP.

    In other news, Republican freakshow Sarah Palin spent the day in Georgia campaigning for Chambliss. Apparently, it did some good since the idiotic people of Georgia have re-elected Chambliss.

    Mr. Chambliss, 65, a pro-business conservative, campaigned in the runoff on a platform of limiting Mr. Obama’s ability to pass legislation in a Democratic-controlled Congress, and many voters interviewed Tuesday said thebalance of power in the Senate had been an important factor in their choice of a candidate.

    “If you can’t have a little back-and-forth arguing between the parties, then the party in power will make mistakes,” said Ron Zukowski, a computer expert in Atlanta who voted for Mr. Chambliss. “This was my chance to say no, and I said no. ”

    First off, Chambliss is pro-business as long as they are massive multinationals. Second, Mr. Zukowski, it's great that you're a computer expert and really sad that you are so stupid as a voter. Just wait until Mr. Chambliss votes to make it easier for your employer to ship your job overseas.

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

    December 02, 2008

    PSA : Speaking Authoritatively

    As part of our ongoing series of PSA's, we'd like to offer the following...

    Now, where did George Will go wrong? Possibly not having a full command of the economic history of the Great Depression? Maybe having a worldview driven less by reality and more by ideology? Using that worldview to draw conclusions that don't fit facts?

    If you answered all of the above, you're absolutely right. If you're going to speak authoritatively, it helps to know what the fuck you're talking about. And don't quibble with Nobel winners. If you are right, they'll never admit it anyway.

    Right, Paul?

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    We'll miss you, Tanta...

    Tanta (Doris Dungey) who posted at Calculated Risk on all things mortgage related, has passed. Tanta was one of the few people active in the blogosphere who consistently posted accurate information about the meltdown in the credit markets. As things continued to deteriorate beyond rational expectations, I looked to her for a gut check on damn near a daily basis.

    Most of all, I will deeply miss her ripping up the awful Gretchen Morgenson at the NYT. Check here and here for two classic pieces that rather neatly show just how brilliant Tanta was.

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

    Two for one

    Canadian airlines, by court order, must now give those addicted to the buffet two seats for the price of one.

    Obese people have the right to two seats for the price of one on flights within Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Thursday.

    The high court declined to hear an appeal by Canadian airlines of a decision by the Canadian Transportation Agency that people who are "functionally disabled by obesity" deserve to have two seats for one fare.

    The airlines had lost an appeal at the Federal Court of Appeal in May and had sought to launch a fresh appeal at the Supreme Court. The court's decision not to hear a new appeal means the one-person-one-fare policy stands.

    In related news, we've heard that Linda Harper-Brown will soon be relocating to Winnipeg.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Way to go, CAMPO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The funny comes from Mike The Moron...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    No more checks from Bo

    PhotobucketPilgrim's Pride has filed for bankruptcy protection. No word has been received on what Bo is going to do now that his equity has been scrubbed out.

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

    December 01, 2008

    Gee, Governor...

    I thought the Conservative paradise you've been telling us Texas is didn't need help from the Feds.

    Gov. Rick Perry lashed out at the federal government Thursday, calling its efforts to help Texas recover from Hurricane Ike "underwhelming" and "irritating."

    Perry said that more than two months after the Sept. 13 storm hit, Texas is still not getting the federal help it needs — particularly on paying for debris removal from affected counties and finding housing.

    So Texas is taking matters into its own hands and creating the Governor's Commission for Disaster Recovery and Renewal, Perry said at a news conference.

    Watch as what 39% does ends up screwing things up even more.

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

    Obama's Economic Team

    The WaPo has a good article up about the economic team that the President-elect is setting up and to be honest, I'm blown away by the quality of the people. Even Larry Summers.

    To fashion the government's response, Obama has turned to people who have been associated with more market-oriented approaches. Timothy F. Geithner, 47, Obama's choice for Treasury secretary, is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and has been a key player in negotiations aimed at saving some of the nation's largest financial institutions.

    Lawrence H. Summers, whom Obama tapped to direct his National Economic Council, served eight years in the Clinton administration, including a year and a half as Treasury secretary. He has argued that the economic boom enjoyed during much of Clinton's presidency was largely a consequence of shrinking federal deficits.

    Both Summers and Geithner are proteges of Robert E. Rubin, Summers's predecessor as Treasury secretary and current Citigroup director and counselor, whose views in favor of free trade, deregulation and reduced deficits have come to define the economic approach of the Clinton years.

    Christina D. Romer, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley who is an expert on tax policy and the nation's recovery from the Depression, has been selected to lead Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. "She has the principal required characteristic of a CEA chair: the ability to clearly explain unpleasant and somewhat complex truths about the world to powerful people without making them mad," said Bradford DeLong, another Berkeley economist.

    "These are great choices," said Doug Roberts, chief investment strategist for, an investment research firm. "Right now, economics is the key thing. He is looking for experienced technocrats, despite the fact that some come from the right or the left."

    What's even more heartening are the specifics. No more bullshit about how raising the minimum wage will kill jobs (It never does. It gets the marginally employed back to work). Massive infrastructure spending to repair our existing roads and build new ones, not to mention dramatically expanding public transportation, providing not only a jumpstart to job growth, but the foundation for the next leg of economic expansion.

    I still think the job growth targets are weak. However, I'm feeling a little better about the direction in which things are heading, especially with Paul Volker taking on a leadership role.

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

    My new favorite song

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

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

    Center-right in my ass

    David Sirota wrote before the election that the race would be on, if Obama won as handily as he did, to redefine the US from a conservative nation to a center-right nation. Turns out he was spot on.

    Photobucket When I wrote my first column about the "center-right nation" and subsequently launched the "Center-Right Nation Watch" series on this blog I predicted that the news media would actually increase its usage of this term after Obama won. I did a Lexis-Nexis search of the term, and was the first to note the trend and make the prediction that "if Obama wins, expect more frantic talk from the fringe about how electing a black man billed as an Islamic Karl Marx obviously means our country is more conservative than ever."

    Feeling like I was out on a limb (and remember, this was almost 2 weeks before a group of major progressive pundits belatedly started writing about the trend), I asked a friend out here in Denver who works with a company called Trendrr to officially track whether my prediction was right - and you can see from the results above, it was - more so than I ever expected.

    As the graph shows, the use of the exact term "center-right nation" spiked immediately after election day (point "0" is the day my column published, point "1" is election day).

    While it's true - this trend study doesn't tell us how many of the "center-right nation" references are saying this is "not a center-right nation." But a look through Lexis-Nexis shows it's safe to assume that the vast majority of these references are asserting this is a "center-right nation."

    Even the NYT got in on the act as if making pragmatic decisions were some kind of an indication of a move to the center-right rather than just good decision making in the case of Geithner at Treasury and Clinton at State.

    Of course, the media is far more conservative than the electorate. The percentage of young, well known media personalities, pundits and reporters is not the same as the percentage of younger people in the electorate. That will change as people like Tweety die off or become increasingly irrelevant.

    Until then, feel free to point out how badly they are misreading the mood in this country.

    (via Digby)

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