July 31, 2009

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

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


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

donna beth.jpg

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

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

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

Reversing Reagan...

Yeah, it needs to happen. And we'll all (even the rich) be better off when it does.

The Reagan Revolution didn't help the country, it helped about 7% of this country get very wealthy while income for the other 93% stagnated. If that doesn't reverse, we're headed for a disaster that will make this country weaker than France.

Kuff has more on what's happening on a local level with property taxes in the Houston area. It points out something fundamental... the obsession with ever lower taxes has led our schools, roads and many other basic pieces of infrastructure to deteriorate. As a result, we're now having to cut back on already reduced services. And then people wonder why things are bad.

The fault is just as much with the Republicans as it is with the Democrats and I'm not just talking about the ardent tax cutters. Don't get me wrong, selling the voting public on the free lunch that is a tax cut is cynical and fundamentally traitorous. However, the ones who know this on both sides and say nothing... well, they're even lower.

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July 30, 2009

A new Prince of Peace?

Via Alternet comes something funny from Newsweek, a proposal that President Obama make President Bush (the asshole we just got rid of) a US envoy to the Middle East.

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TDP calls out Sen. Hutchison on Sotomayor

Sen. Hutchison Breaks Promise, Opposes Sotomayor

I'd just like to add my thanks to TDP for addressing this head on and my laughter at Sen. Hutchison for being played. Again.

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Why is gas still so high?

It's the speculation, stupid.

Gasoline futures on Nymex have risen every day since July 13 and prices have jumped 28 cents in less than two weeks.

"There's just a crowd behavior, and it's forcing prices above what it should be," said Fred Rozell, retail pricing director at Oil Price Information Service. "People are acting emotionally."

Crude prices also rallied this week as the Dow Jones industrial average increased 11 percent in the last nine days and passed the 9,000 mark for the first time since January.

We talked about this here, here, here and here. Oh, and just in case you were thinking I'm out in left field, the CFTC is about to reverse it's ruling last year. And say that yes, indeed, speculation drove up prices.

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July 29, 2009

Stupid talking points

As part of the healthcare/surtax debate, a silly little theme has risen regarding who will be affected by this surtax. The Republicans say it'll be small business, which really shouldn't surprise anyone because they're kinda known for lying.

Since the overwhelming majority of small business owners earn far less than $280,000, few “entrepreneurs that run these small businesses” will be affected by the tax. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities pointed out, “only 1.9 percent of filers with any small-business income are projected to face either of the top two income tax rates in 2009.” In fact, of people who file most of their income from their own business, “more than half have income below $30,000 and 80 percent make less than $100,000.” The few business owners who do qualify for the new tax should be able to afford it. Pat Garofalo explains that “no one likes paying higher taxes” but a household earning more than $350,000 “is not a household that is barely scraping by.”

The other lie is that the rich will leave if they suddenly have to start paying taxes more in line with their income. The talking point uses Maryland which enacted a high-income tax and has seen high income earners dwindle from their tax rolls. Of course, the Republicans say, this is because those folks are moving. However, as this article in Newsweek points out, that's not really the case... those people simply aren't earning as much as they did.

We are not, under any scenario, talking about taxes exceeding those that existed under Clinton. When we had a booming economy, low energy prices and government surpluses. The fact of the matter is that Republican ideology and economic thinking (the so-called supply side) is all a sham. Theoretically and empirically, the ideas of Milton Friedman as applied to tax rates rates under 45% is worthless.

In point of fact, sometimes too low a tax rate can be a disaster for a country and it's economy. Most of us learned that over the last eight years. Rep. Polis notwithstanding.

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Salon wants you to know...

... what's happening to the losers who brought us Sarah Palin.

Disaster is often followed by recrimination, a bitter aspect of human nature that can be observed among the Republicans as the Sarah Palin fiasco continues to unfold. The Alaska governor's surprise resignation, amid negative press coverage in Vanity Fair and elsewhere, suddenly revived dormant feuding among campaign operatives and conservative media figures -- notably between Steve Schmidt, the former campaign manager, and Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard editor and Fox News commentator.

In ordinary circumstances, all their bitchy backbiting, spinning and fabricating would be of little interest except as comic entertainment for political junkies. Who first called Palin a "diva"? Who insinuated that she might suffer from postpartum depression? Who searched computer files to find out which staffer was leaking these bilious tidbits to the press? And who cares now, eight months later, except for these losers?

Plainly there is no reason why anyone should care, except for one small nagging concern. It is worth remembering that these are the same people who chose Palin, a manifestly unqualified and incompetent politician unable to string together a series of coherent sentences, as the potential presidential successor to a 72-year-old cancer survivor. So it would be refreshing and salubrious to see the perpetrators of that contemptuous and cynical tactic held accountable for endangering the country.

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July 28, 2009

Just let him kill himself...

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

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

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

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

Oh, come on Randalls!

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

The employee, within days, is fired.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 27, 2009

Who We Are

In the United States of America--the most advanced civilization ever to grace planet Earth--no family should have to put a jar on the counter of 7-11 to collect nickels and dimes to pay for their kid's leukemia treatments. We can do better than that. We ARE better than that.

Posted by Krispy_Kreme at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rep. Polis, I'm gonna need my money back. Thanks.

So earlier this year Rep. Jared Polis was in Austin for the Texas Stonewall meeting. I went to a fundraiser for him at Parkside and, thinking he was a going to be a good Congressman, I gave him $50. Granted, not a lot (for him or me). However, it was my money, contributed in good faith to a man I thought would help solve the problems facing this country.

And I want it back.

Congressman Polis, If you're going to lead this bullshit, then I'm going to need that money back. There IS a class war and it's being fought by the rich against the poor and middle class, not vice versa. The biggest lie ever told was that the rich were ever not in control of this country. They've managed to convince a majority that any public option health plan is socialism. Which is funny because it's basically just putting people on Medicare/Medicaid.

They've also worked hard to convince people that the rich are getting soaked. How much will someone making $1mn per year pay in extra taxes? $9,000. That's the horrible burden we're putting on folks that absorb a disproportionate amount of income and control an outsized amount of the nations wealth. What these folks would spend on a really nice brunch (just ask the folks at Bagatelle in NYC) would allow us to fix health care in the US.

People have also heard a lot of crap about how horrible medicine is in Canada (which is completely untrue) and about how many Canadians come to the US for care (it's not many... MORE CALIFORNIANS GO TO MEXICO FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE). However, none of that stops the talking heads in the Republican Party who are eager to fuck this up, not to prevent harm but simply for a political victory.

Completely left out of this debate is the fact that under the Democrats' reform proposal, doctors will choose the course of treatment for patients, not some insurance company bureaucrat. Or that it will cut out the waste in the private insurance oligopoly (don't kid yourself, what we have now isn't a free market). Or that it will stop self-dealing by doctors profiting from the care they prescribe for patients.

And Rep. Polis, like the Republicans and more than a few Democrats, is helping to destroy the best ideas and finest solutions. Just another rich guy looking to preserve his ridiculously low taxes and hoping to shift the burden to people poorer than himself. Let's not forget, Rep. Polis probably pays less in taxes as a percentage of total income than you or I.

So, Jared, I'd like my money back. You can self-finance when you run for re-election.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rewriting Palin

The lovely people over at Vanity Fair took Sarah Palin's 'You won't have Sarah Palin to kick around anymore' speech and, well, edited it. Into a seriously good speech. Which makes me REALLY happy they aren't Republican speechwriters.

Posted by mcblogger at 08:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 26, 2009

You Are My Wife...Goodbye, City Life

I live in the country. Like, the sticks. The toolies. Hooterville.

This is not really by choice. Krispy Dude and I for many years lived in a nice little suburb of Dallas, where minivans and soccer fields and "My child is an honor student" bumper stickers were hoisted and waved almost as fervently as the ubiquitous flag, and if you weren't a by-God-stick-up-the-ass-America-first Republican, you'd better pretend you were. When in Rome, bitches. It put a strain on our life force, although I was better able to deal with it because I am, at heart, a city girl who likes her Designer Shoe Warehouse and her Borders Books and her Whole Foods and Central Market and yoga studios and Paciugo Gelato. And did I mention Designer Shoe Warehouse?

Krispy Dude couldn't give a shit about shoes and yoga and ice cream, and every day, he lost another little piece of his bad self to pretense and shallowness and babies on board and worshiping at the First United Church of Line Up, Sign Up and Shut Up You Corporate Whores and Your Trophy Wives. This is how our conversations went every morning:

Krispy Dude: Morning sweetie. Did you sleep well?
Krispy Kreme: Morning...I did sleep well. Coffee ready?
KD: It just finished brewing. My soul is dying.
KK: Mmmm hmmm.... paper here?

You can only listen to someone's soul die for so long before you gotta either put a stake in that sucker to put it out of its misery, or take steps to revive the bitch. So, with my very wary assent, Krispy Dude found a house, sorely in need of renovation, but on a pretty kick-ass piece of land--albeit in the fricking toolies. And here we are. On the up side, I have room for my six retard dogs to run and play and chase hawks and bark at owls and laze on the front porch like something out of the Beverly Hillbillies, before the "Beverly" part.

However, on the down side, here's a sample of what I've been subjected to over the last four years:

(1) The creek that borders our property floods after heavy rains. One particularly bad flood, at 3:00 a.m., in the pouring rain, leads to city girl moving farm equipment and other assorted shit from the shed to higher ground. In the rain. In the dark. With the creek rising.

(2) A dog gets out of the fenced-in yard. She is eaten by coyotes. Ironically, her name was Lucky. No it wasn't, but it makes a sad story slightly less sad.

(3) Armadillos destroy my flower beds and landscaping. Which I spend thousands of hours and hundreds of dollars and much energy and TLC to create and nurture and tend. This occurs time and time and fucking time again. Live traps are purchased. Then animal repellant is purchased. Then lethal traps are purchased. And the armadillos live to fight another day, giving the finger to the traps and crapping in the repellant and high fiving each other and mooning the house after they finish tearing the cute little vincas to high holy hell while we sleep unaware inside.

(4) Africanized honey bees invade the barn. (Yes, we have a barn.) Africanized honey bees do not like lawn mowers or the people riding them. Africanized honey bees have painful stings. The Africanized honey bees are summarily exterminated. The Africanized honey bees return, and like the armadillos, pretty much send a honey-flavored "Fuck You, We Ain't Leaving" to the current residents of the property. I no longer mow by the barn. I believe that means that the terrorists have won.

(5) The septic system, apparently installed a million years ago, during the Jurassic and shortly after outhouses fell out of fashion, fails. There is poo in the back yard. Lots and lots of poo. A new, and oh-so-holy-Jesus expensive, septic system is installed, about 500 feet deep, or perhaps in China. Who knows. There is no longer poo in the back yard, as far as I can tell, but now there is a mountain of dirt back there. Lots and lots of dirt.

(6) Copperheads take a cue from the bees and decide to make a play for the property. They bring in reinforcements daily. Many of their troops sacrifice their lives to the business end of a hoe, while many more simply hide under that big stack of decaying lumber, you know the one that Krispy Dude decided he could not part with and might use for something one day and stores in the same place I store my garden tools.

(7) Two dogs are bitten by these marauding copperheads, who I envision having little eye patches and tattoos of fangs dripping blood, because they are badass copperheads. This bite results in a midnight drive, about an hour from door to door, to Arlington and the closest emergency vet. The dogs live, the dogs do not learn. The dogs continue to fuck with the copperheads.

(8) Beavers get into the yard from the creek, and proceed to dine on every tree within 50 feet of the water. Barbed wire is now wrapped around the base of all our trees, our feeble and sad and shaky-voiced attempt to shout "No, fuck you!" back at Nature. The barbed wire is not attractive. The barbed wire makes our yard resemble Buchenwald.

(9) Global warming = a bumper crop of poison ivy. Poison ivy fucking everywhere. In order to work in the yard, a Hazmat uniform is required. This also assists in protecting my happy ass from the abundant chiggers, mosquitoes, copperheads, and wolf spiders. And here's a tip...don't ever let anyone tell you that wolf spiders don't bite. Oh, they bite, bitches. They bite.

(10) There is a brown recluse invasion in the barn. Krispy Dude is now morbidly fascinated with brown recli. He purchased a little "Bug Viewer" which I privately believe was designed for the pre-K set to look at caterpillars, but he religiously scoops up every six legged insect (yeah, I know...spiders aren't insects...just go with it, 'K?) and peers at it through the magnifier on his Lil' Tykes Bug Box until he's satisfied that it is, or is not, a brown recluse. Then he kills it. Why does he do this? Is he keeping score? Recluse 25, Wolf Spider 18, Fuzzy Black Spider with White Spot 8, Lint 3.

As I said, just a sample of life out here. And I didn't even mention the next-door neighbor who raises camels and zebras and how refreshing that is on a hot summer day. The Lisa Douglas in me tries REALLY hard to be a good sport, and Ol-eeee-vaaaa is pretty understanding, but two days ago Dog #6 headed downstairs early in the a.m. before we were fully awake and proceeded to set up a Wild Ass Barking Frenzy concession, (motto: "Second Frenzy Is Free") in the kitchen. I warned Krispy Dude right then that if I found anything in the kitchen with wings, claws, fangs, or eye patches, that his recently resuscitated soul would immediately be on life support.

Picture 079

Posted by Krispy_Kreme at 11:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

If health care reform and the public option go down in flames, it will, in large measure, be due to the Blue Dogs and their ability to carry water for their corporate donors. Well, that and the leadership's willingness not to stomp on them (looking at you, Hoyer) combined with President Obama yet again hoping to 'change' politics and create 'bipartisanship'.

How many reforms have to go down in flames before this President realizes he's not only losing the country, he's losing his party. That HE needs to work to get things done and that not having clearly defined goals leads to confusion. That not forcing issues just kills us all. That he needs to be persuading voters all over the country, not giving press conferences from the White House.

But, back to the Blue Dogs... Why do we elect these cocksuckers? They'll have aggressive R opposition, so why don't real Democrats in these districts just not vote for these assholes? It's pretty clear right now, they aren't voting their districts... they're voting to get contributions to aid their re-election. So, why let these assholes dilute the brand?

LET THEM DIE. It's should be CRYSTAL fucking clear that a moderate or liberal (what few are left) Republican is a damn site better than a Blue Dog as far as getting something done. And then, when they vote for D bills, it's bipartisanship.

I'm not saying vote for the Republican, just don't vote for a Democrat who walks, talks and acts like a Republican. Throw them under the fucking bus.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 24, 2009

Hamburger madness

The NYT almost a month ago... and Texas Monthly now.

Why is it that every summer we have to have multiple articles about hamburgers?

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TABC speaks

And the fallout from the June Rainbow Lounge raid continues. TABC has finally decided to get out in front of the mess...

“I don’t think you have to dig very deep to figure out that TABC has violated some of their policies,” Steen said. “We know that, and I apologize for that. Like I said in my original press release, we have in the past and we will in the future act very swiftly in making sure that those issues are corrected. It’s real clear that however it is that we were doing business that night is not the typical TABC. ... I have good policy in place, I have good training in place, and I have good supervision in place to ensure that things like this don’t happen.”

Steen said if the two agents, who are on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation, sought approval from the supervisor before the Rainbow Lounge inspection, it shouldn’t have been granted. The agents were accompanied by six Fort Worth police officers.

Steen said he doesn’t think there was sufficient cause for the inspection, which apparently was based on the fact that one person had been arrested for public intoxication at the Rainbow Lounge on Thursday, June 25. Steen also indicated that the eight law enforcement officers and the paddy wagon that were present likely constituted an excessive show of force.

“You can read that policy and you can figure out really quickly, TABC shouldn’t have even been there,” Steen said. “If our guys would have followed the damn policy, we wouldn’t even have been there. … We have these conversations all the time, and we don’t participate in those kinds of inspections when there’s not probable cause or reasonable suspicion or some public safety matter to be inspected.”

Goddamn, son, only took you 18 days to get out and say something? Well, I gotta tell you while your timing is for shit, your message is loud, clear and unequivocal. And it's appreciated. It won't stop the inevitable civil suits but it will stop the public perception that the Agency is out of control. And yeah, some of us were worried about that.

Next time something like this happens (and you know it will), you might want to jump on this THE NEXT DAY. Just a suggestion...

Posted by mcblogger at 09:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 23, 2009

I am TOTALLY buying this t-shirt. And when someone gives me a snotty look or makes a comment about how I shouldn't wear profanity, or attempts to reprimand or scold me, or gives me any kind of shit, blah blah blah, I'm going to pretend I'm from a foreign land, point to the front of the shirt with a "don't blame me!" look on my face, speak in a vaguely Norwegianish, Russianish, Palinish accent, and say, "No English, no English! Garage sale! Cheap!"

Fuck Shirt.jpg

Posted by Krispy_Kreme at 10:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

LCRA and long range planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just sayin' is all...

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

July 22, 2009

Mad props to Goldman Sachs

Yo! GS! Way to bust through the earnings estimates!!

And my thanks to the Fed's for the part they played in this. When I retire, I'll remember you all fondly. For now, I'm selling most of my stock. I don't believe these numbers are sustainable and I don't trust the management who are allowing the traders to run a overaggressive trading strategy.

I want to see Goldman go back to it's banker roots. When I see that, I'm back in at any price. Right now, though, the risk of loss is far too great.

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

TTF is on the book!


Seriously, don't y'all think the Texas Testosterone Festival would be more appropriately named the FUCK YEAH FEST? Maybe followed with a fist pump into the air and screaming STEVE HOLT?

Posted by mcblogger at 09:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2009

Putting another face on DADT

Go read this and tell me that there's a reason for DADT.

As he looks back on his career in a volunteer force that is largely composed of men and women who are married, a philosophical Alva knows its risks and sees dysfunction amid the high stress of war. Spouses and kids have seen their loved ones deploy for Iraq and Afghanistan again and again, but they enjoy the cushion of a fine-tuned support system.

Service to the nation is full of difficulties for gay troops as well, but their partners and children are largely unseen. They have no right to join support networks like family readiness groups, or to receive counseling and medical care. Some don't show up for ceremonies as partners deploy and return from war for fear of jeopardizing their careers.

“When all the buses are lined up to take all the soldiers, Marines or whatever, to get on the planes, you have all your family members there,” he said. “Same-sex partners aren't even going to the tarmac or the staging area to say goodbye because of that fear.”

There's no doubt in his mind that some of the thousands of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were gay.

What Alva finds perhaps most galling and unjust is the lack of support that gays have when their partner has died for their country.

“Some of them actually had partners back home who were of same-sex relationships, and hopefully they were in contact with that other person's family, because who was going to call and give them the knock on the door and say, ‘By the way, your loved one has died'? No one.”

Lives unseen, unheard

Facing the truth

Back to war

Posted by mcblogger at 03:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is it wrong? Tour de France edition

I just read this article from AP that makes it pretty clear Lance Armstrong isn't going to win the TDF this year. Which, frankly, made me so happy I'm ready to be NICE to people today!


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July 20, 2009

Please Give the Man Some Health Care

And the health care debate rages on. I am so totally down with a public option that even Marxists think I'm a leftie. A lot of this support for universal health care has to do with my little adventure a year ago at Large County Hospital in Dallas. I'm relatively sure that county hospitals across the land are all equally cheerful and invite the same sort of cultured and genteel clientele, but if you know anything about county hospitals in Dallas, you know one of Dante's circles is called "Parkland."

A little over a year ago, Krispy Dude was stricken by the karmic meteor known as Random Violent and Incapacitating Accident, which planted his happy ass in Parkland for almost two weeks. This was a not a fun time. And the deets of his incapacitation, hereafter known as The Unpleasantness, are best left on the cutting room floor.

But the Disneyland experience of Parkland itself cannot be underestimated...it is a sort of Land of the Lost, with stethoscopes. You have your gunshot victims, your stabbing victims, your car accident victims, your domestic violence victims, a whole fucking Mall of America-sized wing devoted to headed-straight-for-welfare-teen moms, and your little assorted and sundry junkies homing in on the methadone clinic.

So this one night, really late--I'm talking like 11:00 p.m. late--I'm leaving Krispy Dude's room on the eighth floor to head to my car and home. I've been waiting for what seems like hours/days/weeks/a fucking really long time for the elevator, and imagining in my head that the elevator is so slow because it is not run by some sophisticated system of electronics and gears and technological wizardry, but instead is managed by a hunchbacked dwarf with a rope and some pulleys in a bell tower somewhere...that or one of those big round wheel-like things that you hook horses to and they walk around and around and around in circles for their whole lives, pulling or pushing or grinding or turning some lever or wheel or pulley.

Finally, the elevator arrives and I'm so tired I step on without thinking or paying attention...only to find myself face-to-face with Scary Junkie. Scary Junkie has clearly just come from the methadone clinic or the pharmacy or somewhere where there are A LOT of drugs, and he is very, VERY pissed that he did not receive any of this bounty. At this point, it is far too late for me to get off the elevator...I'm already inside and have reached for the "1" button. Yeah, yeah...if I had bigger balls, I could easily have turned around and walked out because the God damned elevator door was as slow to close as the thing was slow to arrive. But I do not have balls that big. I was raised a nice southern girl, and to exit an elevator because Scary Junkie is the lone tenant, well...that would be RUDE, and rudeness in the south is pretty much an unforgiveable.

So, I made myself as teeny and unassuming and invisible as possible and snuck over to hide in the far corner of the elevator, way the hell away from Scary Junkie, and cursed the system that put Krispy Dude on the EIGHTH FUCKING FLOOR. And of course it took no time at all for Scary Junkie to begin his routine, at which point it became clear that he was Scary ANGRY Junkie. He started his rant, his eyes wild and his six-haired goatee just fucking fascinating to watch as he addressed me, his dead grandmother, and the pretty pink unicorn with the rainbow colored tail standing in front of him. "Those motherfucking doctors gave my motherfucking girlfriend a motherfucking shot of methadone and they DID NOT GIVE ME MY MOTHERFUCKING SHOT TOO! THEY ARE MOTHERFUCKERS!"

And I'm standing there, mouth frozen in this ridiculous rictus grin like I'm either (a) totally happy for his girlfriend who did indeed receive her motherfucking shot, or (b) totally finding his not-getting-a-motherfucking-shot situation hilarious, and my brain is screaming to itself, "What if he thinks it's (b)?!? What if he thinks it's (b)?! Stop with the smiling, you pathetic chickenshit--eyes front, EYES FRONT!!" And even the religious skeptic that is me is suddenly praying as hard as I can that the fucking dwarf with the rope in the bell tower has not gone on break, because the elevator is moving so slowly it's leaving a slime trail.

Scary Junkie's rant continues for floor after floor as we descend, while over in the corner my smile and prayers and screaming brain have rendered me practically catatonic. Finally--finally--the little "1" above the door lights up and a bell dings and the God damned doors crawl open like lava running uphill. I'm still crouched in the corner and while I desperately want to claw those doors apart and run like hell, I decide again that it would be rude, not to mention the fact that in order to accomplish this, I would have to hurdle an addict so wound up, gesticulating and gyrating so wildly, that Joe Cocker would be in awe. Probably best, I figure at this point--brain returning to normal function now that safety and a uniformed guard are in sight--to let Scary Junkie get off the elevator first, which I do...but before he leaves, he turns around and with those little bubbles of rant-spit collecting in the corners of his mouth, he screams at me and the unicorn, "I AM GOING TO SUE EVERY MOTHERFUCKING DOCTOR IN THIS PLACE FOR NOT GIVING ME MY SHOT!!!!!!!"

And because I have no balls, I wait until he is far, far away before I give him a cheerful wave and wish him good luck with all that.

Posted by Krispy_Kreme at 09:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Our Energy Future

This is kind of amateur hour, but it's still an interesting read, especially as we come ever closer to the steady decline of oil production globally. The thing that gets me about this is that it misses two important things...

1) Biofuels, especially in currently non-agriculturally productive land
2) Batteries. As someone in the comments noted, the author forgot, well, advanced batteries

Honestly, I get a real laugh out of pieces like this written as if the only tech we'll have access to is that which is available today. Yes, we need to plan for the future but we also need to plan advancement and invest in research. Planning like this would have led us to abandon the internal combustion engine in the 1890's in favor of steam engines.

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

July 19, 2009

Chrysler and its connections have deceived the American people, Congress and at least 2 Administrations!

by Peter Stern


It is unconscionable and then we bailed them out, let them go bankrupt and give them more bail-outs?

Let the public beware! Follow the money trail!

Dear President Obama, Administration and Congress:

How did you let Chrysler, et. al., get away from you people? There is no accountability to the American people. There is no punishment to those who deserve it.

(...with thanks to Steve, Sandie and others re: help with various links on this issue...)

FYI,Cerberus in ancient mythology was a ferocious 3-headed dog

Subject: More on Chrysler and its connections...!

There is a little known fact about Chrysler ownership that is not publicized or even mentioned in the press. Until bankruptcy Chrysler was owned by Cerberus Capital Management, who bought the Chrysler assets from Daimler Benz. The Chairman of Cerebus is a guy named John Snow. Snow was W. Bush's secretary of Treasury in the first two years of Bush's first term. He resigned in two years and became CEO of Cerberus. Cerberus soon took over Chrysler.

If that isn't political enough, check this out. The Chairman of the company's international unit, Cerberus Global, is non other than Dan Quayle.

Since Cerberus is a private company and not publicly traded, they don't have to expose a lot of financials to the press. I got this information because I was interested in who the hell is Cerberus? Even private companies have to submit a 25K report which is registered with Hoovers and this information is available with some digging on the net. Which I did out of curiosity.

I don't know what all this means exactly but Chrysler took the bailout money before declaring bankruptcy. Cerberus also owns GMAC which is the financial arm of GM. But the big puzzler is why doesn't the press pick up on this??

Check this org chart out and you can see how protected they are by all the layers of organization.


John Snow: http://www.ask.com/bar?q=%22John+Snow%22&page=1&qsrc=0&ab=2&u=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FJohn_W._Snow

Dan Quayle: Dan Quayle is Chairman of an international division of Cerberus Capital Management, a multi-billion dollar private equity firm, and president of Quayle and Associates. He is an Honorary Trustee Emeritus of the Hudson Institute Dan Quayle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Global Politician - Economy: Cerberus Acquisition of Chrysler Makes Little Sense
Economy: Cerberus Acquisition of Chrysler Makes Little Sense

Prof. Peter Morici - 2/21/2008

Cerberus will acquire control of the Chrysler Group from DaimlerChrysler. Cerberus will pay $7.4 billion for 80.1 percent of Chrysler Group and assume the North American Automakers™ pension and health care liabilities. Daimler would retain 19.9 percent ownership.

This arrangement fails to address Chrysler's fundamental competitiveness problems on three fronts.

First, the legacy health care costs impose a severe disadvantage on Chrysler. None of the Detroit Three can carry these liabilities and produce vehicles equal in quality and content to the North American transplants of Asian manufacturers.

Although the United Autoworkers Union has surprised observers by endorsing the acquisition, it is not clear how the legacy health care costs can be wholly removed from the cost of building vehicles without Cerberus sinking billions in new funds and partially frustrating the claims of present and future retirees.

Given the tough competition and slim profit margins that characterize the U.S. and global auto markets, whatever residual claims remain would come back to haunt the new company.

Second, the legacy costs aside, the company carries substantial labor cost disadvantages owing to work rules, job classifications and other elements of the UAW contract that raise the hourly cost of labor at Chrysler above those at Toyota and other North American facilities of Asian manufacturers.

Despite Cerberus's strong track record of cutting costs in other firms it has acquired, the concession accepted by the UAW in deals with Chrysler, Ford and GM indicate a Cerberus-UAW deal will not completely and adequately align non-legacy labor costs with Toyota and other transplants in the United States. Without that, Chrysler engineers would have to be superior in every way to Japanese and Korean engineers, which is absolutely inconceivable.

Third, the new company will still be tethered to Daimler in elements of vehicle development, which is why Daimler retains 20 percent ownership. Mercedes and Chrysler enjoy some of the worst reliability and quality records in their classes of cars. A continued alliance would preserve some of the worst elements of the failed merger. Daimler has failed to put a good product on the road in North America, and a continued permanent alliance with Daimler would be foolish.

The additional capital Cerberus will put into Chrysler could be invested by DaimlerChrysler but Daimler chose not to invest such funds, because Chrysler is not a good bet. Cerberus has not demonstrated how it changes Chrysler's fundamental matrix of liabilities.

Prof. Peter Morici teaches at Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland.

Cerberus - Press Releases Public Statements (Snow has been with them since 2006)

(July 18, 2007) Prepared Remarks of John W. Snow Before the National Press Club

(July 11, 2007) Prepared Remarks of John W. Snow Before the Detroit Economic Club

(June 19, 2007) Cerberus Capital Management Acquires Torex Retail

(May 14, 2007) Cerberus Takes Over Majority Interest In Chrysler Group

(January 23, 2007) Handelsblatt Europe Op-ed "In Praise of Europe's Growth" by John W. Snow

(October 19, 2006) Cerberus Capital Management Appoints John W. Snow as Chairman

(April 3, 2006) GM Reaches Agreement to Sell Controlling Stake in GMAC

Look at this one: Cerberus to boost Aozora stake by $416 million- Global Markets-Markets-The Economic Times (Indian Bank)

Cerberus to boost Aozora stake by $416 million

3 Mar 2008, 1443 hrs, REUTERS

TOKYO: US private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management will pay up to $416 million to raise its stake in Japan's Aozora Bank Ltd to nearly 46

per cent, soon after the midsize lender cut its earnings outlook on subprime losses.

Cerberus, which currently holds almost 38 per cent of the bank, will pay as much as 42.9 billion yen ($416 million) to boost its stake by 8 percentage points, Aozora said in a statement, adding that it supported the bid.

The private equity firm will bid 325 yen per Aozora share, a premium of 17.8 per cent on Aozora's closing price of 276 yen on Monday.

The increased investment comes a little more than a month after Aozora said it would miss its full-year profit target by 58 per cent, hurt by $300 million in losses on investments linked to the US subprime mortgage market

Cerberus took Aozora public in 2006 after acquiring its failed predecessor, Nippon Credit Bank.

The increase in investment mirrors a similar move by US buyout firm J C Flowers & Co LLC late last year. Flowers, which revived Aozora rival Shinsei Bank, in November bid about $1.8 billion for almost a third of that bank.

What is the President going to do about it? What is Congress going to do? What will the American people do? What about the Judicial sector?


Peter Stern of Driftwood, Texas, , a former director of information services, university professor and public school administrator, is a political writer well-known and published frequently throughout the Texas community and nationwide. He is a Disabled Vietnam Veteran and holds three post-graduate degrees.

Posted by pstern at 08:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cougar Town

Courteney Cox’s 15 minutes is now at 25 years. After making an appearance in 1984 on Bruce Springsteen’s video “Dancing in the Dark”, where she catches the Boss’s eye in a supposedly unrehearsed moment and brought on stage during a live performance, the “it girl” went on to stardom in that dreadful “Friends” sitcom and the semi-humorous “Scream” franchise. Now, she has transformed into the “it woman” in the upcoming series “Cougar Town” about, you know, older women, younger men. I think most of us realize that television was evolving into this.

I bring this up to dispel the wild rumor that is quickly circulating among progressive blogs.

Sister Ruth does not make a cameo.

Posted by Captain Kroc at 03:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Quitter Sarah Palin is Hustling $$$$ for the 2012 Presidential Election

Palin PAC is Trying to Build a War Chest

by Peter Stern

With more than 3 years to go it seems not too early to start collecting money for the 2012 Presidential Election, but what Americans want a quitter to run for President? Apparently, many still do. Palin is an ongoing mistake at best.

Palin simply quit halfway through her term as Governor of Alaska, letting down the people of the largest American state. Perhaps her conservative followers believe God told her to do it? Or, maybe she is hearing and listening to voices no one else can hear?

Basically, Palin quit in order to raise contributions for her questionable run for President in 2012. Her Palin PAC has announced it has raised $732,867 in the first half of 2009. If you care to sign up for a moron, you can visit HERE.

Apparently the National GOP has not learned its lesson. Having Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee is a self-fulfilling prophecy of failing.

Neither Republicans or Democrats sincerely want to do what is best for the American community. The poor quality of candidates highlights that fact.

Most hardworking Americans are now hardly-working Americans thanks to the 2-party rule that cares only for wealthy special interests who continue to purchase the best government money can buy. The majority of Americans don't matter any more.

In a short time the economic chaos will throw more families into the streets without jobs, homes or cars. The firing of police and firefighters will increase the economic decay until some sort of anarchy will prevail. What other alternative is there if our own government refuses to provide stimulus money directly to the majority? There is no money, no jobs, no more unemployment for millions who already have had benefits extended twice, more foreclosures and more debt.

No doubt if the government continues to ignore a more direct monetary process to the people, along with new jobs, anarchy and civil disobedience will emerge.


Posted by pstern at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If You Love It, Set It Free...

if it comes back, yadda yadda. Yeah, so I only posted about 3 times before I pussied out, but I'm back. Get ready to be entertained.

So here's the dealio. I have six dogs. (Yeah, I know.) They are not show dogs or champion dogs or handbag accessory dogs or dogs that I breed for fun and profit. They are cast off, thrown away, dumped-on-the-side-of-the-road retard dogs. But I love 'em and as a result of this doggie love, I let them all sleep in the bedroom with me and Krispy Dude on their little Costco doggie beds, surrounding my bed. It's a fricking minefield and I DO NOT get up to pee in the middle of the night because someone will get a foot in the head or worse.

The dog who sleeps next to my side of the bed, at the head of the bed, sits at the top of Mount Retard. There is something seriously wrong with this dog, but she is a badass Doberman, so she gets points for that.

Several nights ago, Badass Doberman woke me up at around 4:00 a.m., scratching and clawing and rummaging her snoot around in the middle of her doggie bed like the fricking thing was full of bees or something. Not wanting to wake Krispy Dude, I grabbed my little book light and started shining it on Badass Doberman's bed to see what the hell...

Turns out, Badass had a tiny case of the farts and accidentally let loose a little dry turd that was parked in the middle of her bed. While I'm watching her with my little book light (imagine that scene), she's using her nose to try to roll that turd up out of the middle of her bed and off it so she doesn't have to sleep in her own crap. When the nose thing fails, she picks up Mr. Turd in her mouth, but even a retard recognizes shit and she promptly spits that baby right back from whence it came. So, then the nose thing starts again. The turd gets rolled almost to the edge of her bed, then Badass loses it and it rolls back to the middle again. Then we do the mouth thing followed quickly by the "Yikes! That's shit!" thing, then the sisyphean nose thing--over and over again.

How long this lasts I have no idea, but I'm laughing my ass off at poor old Badass until I finally get sleepy and take pity on her. I picked up doody ball with a wad of bedside Kleenex and flushed it. Yes, I did have to brave the minefield of sleeping dogs, but what the hell else was I gonna do with that little raggedy ass turd that had been rolled so much it was smooth as a marble?

Posted by Krispy_Kreme at 01:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 18, 2009

I do not think this means what you think it means...

Ditto, Pam. Of all the ridiculous excuses that have been made for not ending DADT, this one takes the cake. We can't let LGBT Americans serve because some of the Straight Americans they'll be serving with might just go whack and kill them?

That's the kind of logic that makes sense only after huffing paint. As anyone opposed to killing DADT would probably know.

Posted by mcblogger at 03:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 17, 2009

McBlogger presents...

... things to say during sex...


Posted by mcblogger at 02:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Arbortion is wrong

Ladies and Gentleman, it gives me no pleasure to call out a friend, but Muse is an arbortionist. What's worse, she's a former Austinite who frankly should know better.

We at McBlogger are very disappointed in our friend and blogging colleague.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2009

CA vs. TX

Much has been made of this article in The Economist regarding TX 'overtaking' CA as the premier state in the country. It's bullshit (not that I'm not a fan of Texas exceptionalism, but there's little to be proud of these days).

1) Our business climate is AWESOME because we welcome any enterprise to this state, let them use our resources and infrastructure AND give them tax abatements on top of not making them really contribute much of anything. Plus, if you're really lucky, your business can even get money from 39%'s slush fund.

2) Our schools (public and private from the elementary level to university) are seriously behind. For the love of God, we're actually wondering if kids should be taught whether or not the Earth is 6000 years old.

3) Taxes are low. Tell that to property owners. And anyone who buys something. At least people in CA get to deduct what they pay in state income tax from what they pay the Feds. In Texas, ordinary citizens shoulder the burden exclusively. In other states, it's usually aided by business.

4) Regulation is lax in Texas compared to CA... no shit. Just ask refiners along the coast. People in CA actually complain about toxic releases and flares.

5) The budget in Texas is balanced. It's true, but it's only true because of $12bn from the Feds.

Very little mention was made of the regressive tax structure, our crumbling and woefully inadequate infrastructure (or of the desire of some to sell it off, in some cases with taxpayer subsidies), our super high electric and insurance rates and the list goes on and on.

California's problems are largely of their own anti-tax design. It's when citizens decide they don't want to pay for the services they use. Combine that with a massive recession and an overextended housing market and CA today looks, well, a lot like Texas in the 80's. But, even still, they're way better in a lot of categories.

I write this not to shit on the state I love but because I don't want people crowing about this. We should be doing much better, but we can't because 39% and the Republicans have been a miserable failure. Remember that while you write your check for your electric bill. And insurance bill. And property tax bill. Think real hard about it when you're sitting in traffic on a freeway that's basically the same as they day it was opened.

Posted by mcblogger at 02:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Another look at electricity deregulation

No, don't worry... it's still a massive, unalloyed failure as Coby points out in this well done post.

Posted by mcblogger at 11:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2009

When you don't know why

The shrink is in

Ok, time to mellow. Keep it in the background and go play

Posted by Captain Kroc at 10:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Stupid Peter Boockvar

While I like MillerTabak for the most part, I do not like Peter Boockvar. Peter LOVES going on TV to talk about, well, economics and his take on the course we're on. I saw him on Bloomberg this afternoon talking about 'how the economy has to deleverage' which is essentially the same thing he's been saying since before the TARP was put into place.

This afternoon Peter brought up consumer refinancing at lower rates which the Fed and government programs have made possible. Peter doesn't think this does much good because he thinks the debt should be, in a word he's fond of using, extinguished. The mechanism to bring this about remains a mystery as does what Peter expects Americans to do while this delevering is ongoing since it will cause explosive deflation with a concomitant depression (assets decrease in value along with goods and services meaning businesses run constantly in the red and the workforce contracts... basically, the Great Depression on steroids. With an HGH booster).

Here's the thing... whether you are paying off or refinancing debt, you are increasing your disposable income. In this environment, it keeps the consumer basis of the economy from falling off a cliff and increases savings. Savings that, in effect, delevers consumer balance sheets without having to liquidate assets or cause a panic. Employment, while diminished, doesn't implode. Neither do prices for goods and services as everyone is given some breathing room. As banks regain confidence in the performance of their books, and investors in the performance of asset backed securities, credit for expansion becomes available again and asset prices start to increase which in turn takes even more pressure off consumer balance sheets.

The caveat to all this is that income is also dropping which, even with refinancing, puts pressure on the ability of save or spend. However, the rate of decline in consumer spending has decelerated and the savings rate is much higher than the loss in incomes.

What we're going to see next is a pickup in hiring as manufacturers gear up to meet decreased demand (sounds stupid but our demand right now for many items outstrips production. Prices haven't gone up because we have inventories still to sell... that reverses around August). As those workers come back on, they'll start spending again, further driving the economy. In the end, it all comes back to normal over the next two to three years. We would nominally increase GDP to pre-recession levels quickly but we won't this time because of ... the very delevering that Boockvar says is so essential.

I think it's going to be 2011 before we return to 2007 levels of GDP. However, it's going to be a more productive economy with a much stronger balance sheet. But, I'm sure, Boockvar will still find something he doesn't like in it.

Posted by mcblogger at 03:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vote, Dammit!

Who will be the Hot Slut of the Month on Dlisted? YOU tell me. Go here to vote!

Posted by mcblogger at 02:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Green Exxon?

Not really, but it's a start...

ExxonMobil and biotech firm Synthetic Genomics (SGI) announced on Tuesday a new alliance to rproduce alternative fuel made from photosynthetic algae. ExxonMobil expects to spend more than $600 million on the project--$300 million internally and another $300 million to SGI if key R&D milestones are met.

Under the partnership, SGI will research and develop systems to grow large amounts of algae and convert them into biofuels. ExxonMobil will provide engineering and scientific talent throughout different phases of the project, from increasing the level of algae production to manufacturing the final product.

"Meeting the world's growing energy demands will require a multitude of technologies and energy sources," said Emil Jacobs, vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. "We believe that biofuel produced by algae could be a meaningful part of the solution in the future if our efforts result in an economically viable, low net carbon emission transportation fuel."

What's funny about this is that Exxon in the ealy 80's funded a successful algae program. I wonder if Ventner and Co. will have access to that research...If not, they can email me because I have it.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Accountability and Apologies

PhotobucketZack Parsons over at Something Awful did an amazing thing when he wrote this article apologizing for the part that SA had played in being part of the 'mean media' that forced Governor Palin (who, it turns out, was a counting newscaster) to resign.

Sarah Palin, I would like to personally take this opportunity to apologize for Something Awful's role in your decision to step down. Over the years we have produced millions of words of left-wing hatred for innocent teenage daughters and children with disabilities. We hired a hockey-playing ne'er do well claiming to be Trig's father to write articles in which he describes crossing the sex line with most of your family. I am so sorry for letting that monster have a column here.

I would also like to apologize for the dozens of Photoshopped pictures of you and Trig on our forums. I know that of all of our hate content, these upset you in particular. You aren't the first governor to resign because of a mean Photoshop and I am certain you will not be the the last. I hope you can find it in your Christian heart to forgive us for making light of Trig's disability. I completely agree with what you said in your speech today: The world needs more Trigs.

You hear that, pregnant women of the world? The bar is officially open.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise that some of Palin's supporters took the apology the wrong way. So Parsons', being the man he is, answered them. And yeah, it's worth reading the whole thing.

You are and inspiration to us all, Zack Parsons.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2009

Thank you, Senator Whitehouse

During the Sotomayor confirmation hearing, Sen. Whitehouse had his fill of the talk of activist judges coming from legal luminaries like Sen. Cornyn...

The "umpire" analogy is belied by Chief Justice Roberts, though he cast himself as an "umpire" during his confirmation hearings. Jeffrey Toobin, a well-respected legal commentator, has recently reported that "[i]n every major case since he became the nation's seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff." Some umpire. And is it a coincidence that this pattern, to continue Toobin's quote, "has served the interests, and reflected the values of the contemporary Republican party"? Some coincidence.

For all the talk of "modesty" and "restraint," the right wing Justices of the Court have a striking record of ignoring precedent, overturning congressional statutes, limiting constitutional protections, and discovering new constitutional rights: the infamous Ledbetter decision, for instance; the Louisville and Seattle integration cases; the first limitation on Roe v. Wade that outright disregards the woman's health and safety; and the DC Heller decision, discovering a constitutional right to own guns that the Court had not previously noticed in 220 years. Some "balls and strikes." Over and over, news reporting discusses "fundamental changes in the law" wrought by the Roberts Court's right wing flank. The Roberts Court has not kept the promises of modesty or humility made when President Bush nominated Justices Roberts and Alito.

So, Judge Sotomayor, I'd like to avoid codewords, and look for a simple pledge from you during these hearings: that you will respect the role of Congress as representatives of the American people.

It sure would be AWESOME for some of the Dems who voted to confirm Justice Alito and CJ Roberts to finally admit they made a mistake *cough*Joe Lieberman*cough*.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's time to bail out the bailout!

By now I'm sure you've all heard pundits on both sides discussing the bailout. Well, the truth of the matter is we can never know how bad things would have gotten without it. My guess would be, had Bush not acted quickly to save the financial industry (hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day!) and had Obama not acted to pass the first stimulus package, we would be in a deep and dark depression. I would assert that today we'd have 25% unemployment, the financial markets would have ceased to function and we'd have absolute mass hysteria. Instead, we are left with almost 10% unemployment, financial markets that are recovering and yes, still mass hysteria. At this point, the primary problem we face is consumer confidence.

When the first bailout happened, nobody was writing about us being on the edge of a great depression. Nobody realized JUST how close to the edge we really were. So we reacted to avert a major recession. Because things were so bad, instead we GOT a major recession and averted a major depression. Now is the time to help aid our ascent out of this mess and to treat the real problem. Sitting back and doing nothing is negligence at best and absolute meanness at worst (people ARE suffering).

So, how do we do it? Well, we need to spend a bucket of money. On what, you may ask. Well, what's a big problem we are currently facing. Oh, ENERGY. The "cap and trade" bill that passed the House has been watered down so much it is currently USELESS. PLUS, and this is most important, it is a "free market" solution to the problem. However, some problems the state faces are "bigger" than the market can handle. What we need is a NEW solution. The government has the ability, if it so choses, to change the paradigm completely and create unlimited "free" energy. Here's how:

Step one: immediately build wind farms in as many locations as are feasiblle.

Step two: create a tax nullifying the price for businesses and people to install solar panels on their houses.

Step three: contemplate building nuclear facilities in places where wind and solar are not feasible.

Step four: massively upgrade the electric grid to allow for distributed power creation so people can feed into the grid as well as take and, hopefully, the grid can become 100% self sustaining without the use of coal OR natural gas plants.

Step five: GIVE THE ENERGY AWAY. Yes, you heard that right. It's the single biggest business AND consumer "tax cut" EVER. No more electric bill... EVER.

Furthermore, since we have a problem with car emmisions, let's build biofuel "farms" and refineries across this country. Our goal should be to allow algea to COMPLETELY replace oil. Again, GIVE THE STUFF AWAY. Not paying for gas would be the SECOND biggest "tax cut" for businesses and consumers ever.

This plan stimulates the economy now (can you imagine how many jobs would go into all of this building) PLUS gives us a MONUMENTAL comeptitive advantage in the global marketplace in years to come.

Uh oh, what about the boogy man, the national debt. I'll stipulate, it's a PROBLEM. HOWEVER, we will NOT fix the deficit in the short term or debt in the long term by allowing tax revenues to stay as low as they are now by prolonging this recession. If we do this plan, we will ensure in 5-10 years our tax revenues will SKYROCKET as people use this newfound energy independence to increase consumption AND productivity. Plus, combined with nationalized healthcare, we will once again become the single best place to make stuff in the WORLD, thus increasing export revenue. In short, we're taking out a loan today to create a return on investment that pays the loan off PLUS pays off all of the debt we had before. Oh, and it solves for the current Great Recession.

So, congress, DO THIS. DO IT NOW. Don't be wimps! It's time to be BOLD and think BIG. JFK and FDR both did! Why can't you!

Posted by MasterConsultant at 09:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 13, 2009

STFU, Burka...

Goddamn, if it ain't one thing, it's a-fucking-nother with that motherfucker Burka. Now he's talking about how badly Team Hutchison is running and giving them issue advice.

Senator and Hans, y'all please just ignore Burka. He's cranky about God knows what. Y'all are doing exceeding well and I hear your fundraiser in Athens this weekend was a smashing success. You're making all the right moves so just keep going in that direction. xxoo, McB.

As for you, Burka... find something else to talk about.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Hoax of Building Border Walls: maybe the government really wants illegals

by Peter Stern

It is estimated that the U.S. has an illegal immigrant population of 19 million. A large portion of that number is from Mexico. Most illegal Mexican immigrants come to find a better life, jobs and human rights. Consequently, we may consider that there would be no need for illegal Mexican immigrants to come to the U.S. if their needs were fulfilled in Mexico.

The U.S. could "persuade" the Government of Mexico to provide its citizens with a better way of life, e.g., better paying jobs and encourage human rights. It seems our own government does so haphazardly in places overseas, e.g., Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, etc., but never that much in Mexico. In fact, during the past decade our own rights as citizens of the U.S. have been manipulated and jeopardized by profiteers who seem to hold our lawmakers in their pockets.

Historically, border walls do not work, at least for the long term. For many years the Berlin Wall created a division of East and West Germany; finally it was torn down. Not even The Great Wall of China (parts of which are 25 feet high) could keep out invaders indefinitely and within many parts of the Great Wall are the "buried" remains --- the hearts and souls --- of millions of workers who died building it. However, we are told that the Great Wall failed, especially in "1644, when the gates at Shanhaiguan were opened by Wu Sangui, a Ming border general who disliked the activities of rulers of the Shun Dynasty. The Manchus quickly seized Beijing, and defeated the newly founded Shun Dynasty and remaining Ming resistance, to establish the Qing Dynasty." It also took millions of guards to monitor the Great Wall. So, these days some in the U.S. may say a positive aspect of building border walls is to create new jobs. Even "more jobs" is not a good enough reason to build border walls.

Border walls send out a terrible message. It is received by humans and animals, who are forced to accept them as a new part of life, which then creates many other difficult issues. Walls create unnatural prisons that force different patterns of living and create additional "walls" of hate and fear. The world does not need more "walls" along various borders. Along the border, walls between the U.S. and Mexico, depriving access to the Rio Grande River for humans (e.g., farmers, ranchers) and animals is another difficult issue.

However, even if the American people managed to persuade Washington officials to approach the Mexican government to provide its citizens with jobs, human rights and a better standard of living, will that government move to do so? It's doubtful.

And what if we persuade Congress to remove all border walls along our two nations? Would that benefit both nations significantly? That's doubtful too.

We have 19 million immigrants who have arrived in the U.S. illegally. They have all committed a crime. To do nothing about this illegal population is to permit the crime. What do we do about this illegal population? Permit them to remain? Encourage more illegal movement? Why then do we have immigration laws and regulations? These are tough questions to answer.

While most of the Mexicans who come into the U.S. illegally arrive at great risk seeking jobs, better living conditions and better lives for themselves and their families, there also is a small percentage of that population who arrive with criminal records and intent, who then work in the shadows of freedom as parasites within our society. While certainly not the majority nor even a large number who come, they become part of an unaccountable negative infringement on our daily lives.

However, contrary to popular belief, illegal immigrants are paying U.S. taxes. How many pay and how much they are paying is not clear. In reality, the illegal population in this nation pays a large chunk of social security taxes. In fact, for this and other reasons our government may secretly want more illegals. So why then build and maintain those border walls?

Bottom-line is that why build border walls if they are a detriment and how do we get the Mexican government to provide its citizens with a better life so that the ever-increasing population does not continue to enter the U.S. illegally?

The direction is not clear. We can communicate to our lawmakers that they should contact the Mexican government to initiate positive change, pushing for human rights; however, the history of that nation highlights that the Mexican government owns production and reaps vast fortunes at a large cost to its people. How do we force change that certainly will impede the future fortunes of the Mexican government and wealthy private citizens, change that will cut its profiteering?

Furthermore, how do we encourage our government to enforce our immigration laws? We can't even get our own government to enforce punishment (already provided for in our immigration laws) on American companies who hire illegal immigrants and who force that population to work in hostile conditions, with no benefits and at cheaper wages then are offered to U.S. citizens? Now that there are 19 million illegal immigrants living and working in the U.S. is it practical, and would we be able to enforce our immigration laws, to extradite that huge number? And at what cost [dollars, self sense of worth and world image] to do so?

We can also question our success in pushing for democracy and human rights in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other areas of the world [Africa, Far East]. After we leave that region will the governments we have helped support provide their respective populations with long-needed human rights and jobs with reasonable wages? It is doubtful.

Until we consider appropriately how to engage the Mexican government to change its historical and abusive political, social and economic ways, the population of that nation will continue to be undermined and treated poorly by their own government. They will continue to do anything and risk everything to leave their land of poverty and enslavement to search out better lives, under the dark of night, to live and work illegally here in the U.S. It is a vicious cycle that must be stopped, but how to do so intelligently and successfully remains a question.

So, what is the real purpose for building border walls? Do border walls serve a legitimate, positive purpose? Or do they send out a signal of hate and desperation?

Do border walls really work? No. They work only for the companies and people that build them, via earning money to do it. Otherwise, "Walls are for climbing over, digging under, or going through."


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

We all love conspiracy theories...

...and here are some really stupid ones that people think control the world.

H/T to Adam @ TWM

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

July 12, 2009

Has this ever happened to you?

No, this isn't me advocating for what I'm sure will be an unparalleled clusterfuck of a browser. But you gotta admit this is a good ad.

Posted by mcblogger at 04:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 11, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 10, 2009

The RPT and their stupid emails

Not for nothing, but the Republicans in Texas have always had pretty shitty communication skills. From the appallingly retarded Tina Fish to the incoherent bullshit flowing forth from the gaping maw of 39%'s overscripted mouth like a river flush with water from the spring thaw, there just isn't anyone even worth beating up on.

Except for Hans Klinger who has now gone to live in Sen. Kay Bailey 'Shred those docs, bitch' Hutchison's colon. Hans, bubie, we miss you. At least you tempered your bullshit somewhat. Whoever is over their now, well, is just like the stuff clogging up a fat man's colon after a visit to Golden Corral.

The first thing up in their insipid little email is this Gallup poll which supposedly shows that the country is becoming more conservative. The reality is that it's the Republicans who are becoming more conservative. A majority of Americans either stayed the same or grew more liberal. Also of note is Gallup's use of the word 'liberal' which has, over the last few decades, taken on a decidedly pejorative connotation. If Gallup were after an accurate sample, why use it? The other poll is this one from Rasmussen which shows the President's astronomically high approval rating finally starting to drop a little. Which isn't really surprising considering his prevarication on health care reform, for example.

The Republicans also fail to mention 1) That Republicans in Congress still have approval ratings in the 20's. Even The Evil Demon Pelosi has a higher approval rating than the Congressional Republicans which has really got to be burning Tina Fish up and 2) That the average age of self identified Republicans is significantly higher than that of Democrats.

Then, there's this about the coup in Honduras which is based, in turn, on another blog which is based on a blog at the WSJ. All this in an effort to paint President Obama as clueless without even mentioning that the democratically elected president of Honduras was ousted by military forces. According to the WSJ, the Supreme Court of Honduras ordered all this which is interesting since President Zelaya wasn't impeached and there are serious questions as to the legality of any order given the military by the SC. Finally, the results of the election held to eliminate the one-term limit are still not known. In short, no one knows what the Honduran's want. A few wealthy members of the Honduran Congress, acting in concert with military leaders, effectively took control of a third world country.

And why would the WSJ be so eager to cast Zelaya as Chavez, part two? Let's just say he wasn't a big fan of allowing Bechtel to control water resources and then sell the water to the Honduran people. For example. He wasn't, in the parlance of the WSJ, pro-business.

But why should reality matter when it's soooo much more fun to live in this fantasy world where President Obama is the devil and all evil flows from him. Or a world in which he's woefully inadequate and extraordinarily ignorant. The story from the Republican's changes from situation to situation.

Posted by mcblogger at 04:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Did Carnival give him this advice?

Apparently, last December an Ohio firefighter decided to take a cruise. The only thing holding him back were his two dogs which were going to cost a lot of money to board. What to do?

Columbus firefighter David P. Santuomo, 43, took Sloopy and Skeeter to his home's basement, suspended them from a pipe near the ceiling and fired at least 11 shots from a .22-caliber rifle fitted with a homemade silencer, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Ron J. O'Brien said.

OK, so after the shock of his final solution wears off, you have to be asking yourself how the hell he got busted. If you already thought this asshole was scum, get ready...

Santuomo then wrapped the carcasses in plastic and dumped them in a trash bin behind Firehouse 27, where he worked, O'Brien said. ... Miller said appalled fellow firefighters turned Santuomo in to authorities. "There were reports that he was bragging about this," she said.

So, yeah, douchebag gets to pay a fine and spend 90 days in jail. His attorney had this to say about the story and the deadbeat (really, two Chapter 7 bankruptcies and one foreclosure?!??! This guy is a mortgage underwriters worst nightmare) whose actions created it...

"It, of course, was a heinous act, and it's an act for which he's sorry and has accepted responsibility," Shamansky said of the dog killings. "He's been punished appropriately, and I think it's now time for the public to practice what they preach and show a little forgiveness and mercy. Maybe that might be a novel approach."

Yeah, I think the only 90 days in jail is about all the forgiveness and mercy we in society can muster at this point. Let's be real here for a second... all he had to do is take the dogs down to the humane society and at least give them a shot at adoption.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NYC Prep

Ok, so does anyone absolutely HATE this show as much as I do? If so, do they still watch every episode like I do? I must admit, in the opening episode, when they did a teaser about a funeral I was like, HELL YES, ONE OF THESE KIDS DIES!!!! Then, last week it was the poor innocent DOG that passed away. Talk about a letdown. When I said I wanted one of those bitches to suffer, I did NOT mean a female dog, thankyouverymuch!

Oh, and making fun of Texas?!!? REALLY?!? You all think you can judge TEXAS?! You all stay on your overcrowded smelly island and we'll take a landmass bigger than France.

Ok, onto the characters, also known as America's Least Wanted List:

Sebastian: Douchebag, but honestly I like him more than Cole, so Taylor, either date this one or, I don't know, DATE NEITHER!

PC: I think he'll be FAR happier once he comes out of the closet all the way. He has potential to one day be cool.

Jessie: Umm, HORSEFACE. Seriously, does anyone else CRINGE when they see her face. Something is SERIOUSLY deformed about her. Fashion isn't the industry you belong in, you should go into plastic surgery to get some free comps!

Kelli: If this girl were a river, she'd be the Red River, cause there's no freaking water! She's the most shallow person in existance. Ever. Plus, her parents ought to, I don't know, at least LIVE IN THE SAME CITY AS HER! Isn't that child neglect?!?!?

Camille: We arrive at SATAN. Yes, the most EVIL being alive. Period. I almost wish I was a Harvard Alumni just so I could start a facebook group petititioning the school NOT to accept her and threatening to cut off all donations if they do. Ruining her life would give me great pleasure.

Taylor: Wow, a good normal person. Refreshing. GET AWAY FROM THOSE PREP SCHOOL KIDS, THEY ARE EVIL! :)

And yes, I do have too much time on my hands to get so worked up over this show!

Posted by MasterConsultant at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ben Wear asks a question

Ben Wear has a column in the Statesman asking what happened to the privatization/toll agenda we've been fighting over this session. See, what was so easy during the session became an unsupportable nightmare in the special.

Here's his take...

Remember, this same committee voted for the same changes to the law about seven weeks ago.

Why was it a safe vote in May and a dangerous vote in July?

Back then there were thousands of bills up for consideration, and thus the attention of the public and the press was fragmented. Transportation insiders, anti-toll activists and the few transportation writers for major dailies were paying attention to this. But most people weren't.

Now, with only three subjects on the special session call, and no controversy on two of them, that left the entire focus on this one bill. On legislators voting to allow private toll roads, potentially operated by (and sending profits eventually to) foreign companies like Spanish toll road builder Cintra. On lawmakers in effect undoing a moratorium on most such contracts that they voted for in 2007.

So, why not just bring it up and vote against it? Well, that could then be used against lawmakers later by an opponent saying they'd voted against badly needed roads. And it would be a vote against Gov. Rick Perry, who wanted to extend the authority for private toll roads. A vote against Perry, who has enthusiastically wielded his veto pen through the years.

Of course, presumably somewhere amid all this there is the "right" position to take on this issue — even if what is deemed right might vary from lawmaker to lawmaker — rather than the "safe" position.

He just left out one important detail... there was only one real anti-privatization action group that actually mobilized people during the session to email and call. That was TURF. The others, if they bothered to care at all, did little. Which was about what they did in 2007.

What happened this session was the result of Terri Hall and Hank Gilbert, a Republican and Democrat working together to force the Lege to kill this disastrous policy. Who knew it was so easy to burn up phones when you have hundreds of thousands of Texans on the same side.

If 39% and the Republicans are serious about Moving Texas Forward, then they're going to have to get comfortable with the fact that the only option is public funding through an indexed fuels tax. We can toll in limited situations, where it makes sense provided the toll goes away once the financing is paid. But no mas with the privatization. It's just not a good deal for Texans.

Will 39% and the Republicans still try to sell privatization this cycle? Oh, that would really would be too much to ask... especially if it's the guise of 'building the roads Texans need'. Please, God, let it be so!

Posted by mcblogger at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2009

Please, feel free to become our friend

You may have noticed that McBlogger has joined the ranks of Facebook networked blogs. You hadn't? Oh, well it's probably because you didn't look far enough down on the sidebar. To the right of what you're reading now.

Feel free to follow us on Teh Facebook and you might even win $1000 in gasoline!

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

Ahoy, dapper gent!

Hello Loverman! You hot, steamy, delicious, hetero mansicle! Who could doubt your hedonistic draw? Your sexual prowess? NOBODY! Yet, lately you feel unfulfilled. No one understands you. Nobody sees the petri dish depth of your soul. You may double check your life, but everything is great. You have the latest Emporio Armani slim fit shirt, the Rogaine is kicking in, and Kings of Leon have finally hit the mainstream. But something is missing. You feel off your game. Don't worry. The Prophet, Ashton Kutcher, has a movie just for you and your Axe Body Spray soaked existence (The bitches love it!)! This film is so good it encapsulates your very essence!

Yeah man! All you need is a neck scarf and a pair of skinny suspenders, and you'll be irresistible man candy once more! Shit, you'll have your pick of all the emaciated models with obvious self-esteem and daddy issues! And once you've got one, brother, you can take her back to your king sized water bed covered in black and white checkered sheets, and give her the 2 minute ride of her life! Hell yeah!!! Everything's going to be okay. Ashton's got your back.

Posted by barfly at 03:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This is why you're fat

Photobucket No joke, this is totally why you're fat. And just in case you were wondering, that white shit ain't cheese... it's garlic butter, fattie.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

David Barton screws up history (again) and an URGENT SBOE appeal

For some insane reason, David Barton, the ethically questionable evangelical with a penchant for reinforcing his own beliefs with made up quotes, has done an evaluation on social studies curricula in Texas. Which Vince over at Capitol Annex neatly and thoroughly destroyed here and here.

The most troubling part of Barton's evaluation was his concentration on the Declaration of Independence and his false assertion that it is the founding document of this country. In actuality, the Declaration separated 13 colonies from the rule of the British Crown. It did not establish the United States which would not happen for another 12 years until the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified. The government of the United States did not even begin functioning until March, 1789.

Further, he asserts incorrectly that moral law is the basis of law in the United States, a fallacy promoted by many evangelicals but thoroughly dismissed by the courts and the Constitution.

Please take moment to read Vince's excellent work. And while you're in the mood to click on links, go here and ask 39% NOT to appoint that moron Dunbar as chair of the SBOE.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Federal Spending, in a lovely pie chart

For those of you looking for a 'fun', yet easy way to visualize Federal spending, here you go.

Thank you, Obama Administration!

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

Fun with unemployment!

The crew over at Three Wise Men have been lamenting the sorry state of employment in the US. The numbers do not look at all good with close to 17% being either unemployed or underemployed. The topline looks bad but underneath things are far worse as the length of time it's taking for the unemployed to find new work is, in many cases, stretching beyond six months.

Which leads to the question, how are we going to dig ourselves out of the hole we're in with reduced industries coming out of this recession?

The answer is not at all simple, but here's a simplistic explanation of what will happen... we'll do it by expanding enterprises already in existence and creating new ones.

Already we're seeing migration of those employed in financial services in New York out of the city and to places like Austin, Kansas City and Dallas where they are staffing up small and medium sized banks. No, the money's not as good but the quality of life is far better. The same thing is playing out in a number of different industries on a very small scale now. Watch as the recovery begins to take hold and it continues to expand.

The reality is that we're going to see a weaker dollar over time. It should be far lower now, but there are issues with the large private and central banks globally that have a lot of their capital tied up in dollar denominated assets. They can't dump dollars without negatively impacting those assets and the capital. So we'll likely be on a long slow slide for a while.

That's bad for imports and good for exports. That, coupled with a weak job market, will bring back manufacturing jobs in the US. And, of course, there is infrastructure reconstruction and the transition to green energy, both of which will require enormous numbers of people.

Over the last thirty years, since the Reagan Revolution, we've seen a decline in manufacturing in this country. That will start to turn and create jobs. There is a chance we could actually see some real wage growth again in this country especially if the tax laws are altered to favor increased payments to labor. This trend could also gain significant strength if China is successful in it's drive to develop a real consumer economy.

Certainly things look bleak now for many. But nothing goes down forever and there is a genuine chance that we'll come through this far stronger than we have been in a long time.

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

July 08, 2009

I Found Your Leg: Elizabeth Ames Jones Stole It!

If you take a look at this Victoria's Secret ad, it very much looks like someone has stolen the model's leg. Who stole it? Where did it go?

Clearly the culprit is Texas Railroad Commissioner and current "omg i'm totally running for u.s. senate if kay bailey hutchison resigns, me too, me too, hey why is no one paying attention to me" Republican candidate Elizabeth Ames Jones.

She stole her leg, and inserted it into her neck. OMG, not even joking this shit is real.


Posted by spamburgler at 08:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Really? You want that on your body?


The write up was the best part...

The day I saw that video of the Dramatic Gopher (or whatever it was called), I also saw a t-shirt for sale featuring the likeness of said intense rodent. And I thought Look at these idiots, putting all their eggs in a fad basket that will last five seconds tops. I hope they didn’t print too many of these things, because you can’t bank on every stupid, flash-in-the pan Internet meme that comes along. Some things just don’t last long enough to sustain merchandising.

This person bought that shirt.

You know there is someone out there with a tat of the Goatse.cx receiver.

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

What will Oppel do, teach them to suck?

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

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

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

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

Healthcare reform : No, I don't think I'll help you at all.

Blue Cross Blue Shield sent out an email asking people to contact their Rep in Congress and ask them to vote against the public option. Because they can't compete with a well run government program. Send them an email by clicking here and let them know that you hate them more than you fear the bogeyman of a government run healthcare program.

Steve over at Who's Playin' graciously rewrote the letter...

Dear sucker, we very much like colluding with our "competitors" in Texas to bleed you dry for every last dollar you can possibly part with in exchange for our health insurance.

We've been doing this a long time, and we have it down to an art. If the government gets involved in competing with us, we won't be able to keep jacking up your rates each year, even though you're not getting any healthier. We're scared they may do such a good job, that you and your employer will give us the finger.

Flatly put, we can't stand real competition, so we would like to take the opportunity to simultaneously intimidate you and induce fear, uncertainty, and doubt to convince you that you really don't want the reforms you thought you wanted. We would also like you to contact your Member of Congress so that they can go to town hall meetings this summer and claim that you already like your expensive health care plan.

Please ask your Represenative to vote for a plan that throws money at companies like ours to offer our same crappy product to everyone. (As long as this "everyone" only consists of healthy young single people with no children or pre-existing conditions, or a uterus.

Also, if there's a way that we could wiggle out of those pesky state regulations that require us to cover conditions that our marketing people don't know how to sell insurance for, we would like that too.

Posted by mcblogger at 11:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2009

Rainbow Lounge : Ain't this just some bullshit

Like Todd over at BOR, I'm sick to death of the 'the gays grabbed our crotches, so we arrested some of them' BS that's been floating around since the first published accounts from police reports last Sunday. None of the patrons at the bar that night have been able to corroborate this account and questions have surfaced as to who authored the report (TABC or FWPD) and if any of the other officers can verify the account.

Further, while it's great to see FWPD Chief Halstead's commitment to better relations with the GLBT citizens his department serves and his decision not to carry out any further joint operations with TABC until the full investigation is complete, it all begins to feel like a gloss-over intended to silence critics. The reality is that something triggered this raid and no one has been able to answer the question as to what that was specifically... the 'disgruntled employee' is absolute bullshit. If TABC is making investigation calls based on 'disgruntled employees' then it has become the law enforcement agency equivalent of Gladys Kravitz. As such, it would need to be dismantled post haste and it's responsibilities handed over to a more professional organization like DPS (I say that, not at all, tongue and cheek because the problems at DPS are exclusive to the shitty leadership at the top and for that, we have to blame 39%).

So, how about we start at the beginning with some real answers and find out if any of the TABC officers involved have a history of being overly aggressive during raids. Let's really look at this and see if there are patterns. I and many others want to know why this bar was raided after being open for a week. No vague BS, real answers.

Either that or sooner or later some of you are going to fry. Had any of you pulled this shit on Sixth Street here in Austin, you'd have been gone within days. What these agents have done calls into question the integrity of an entire state agency.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Promoting some harmony...

Posted by mcblogger at 11:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Healthcare Reform and Reality

Unlike the HillaryCare fiasco in the '90's, the hardest hitting ads are coming from groups that support the public option plan. And they're targeting weak, insurance defending Dems in the Senate, like Sen. Blanche Lincoln...

The HYSTERICAL thing about this is that ole Blanche thinks that private insurance can't compete with a government run program, which it can't because the private insurance companies can't compete with that kind of efficiency. Forget about the bs arguments from the R's, look at the numbers. SG&A for an insurer is 30+%, for Medicare it's 3%. The President also made a point about this.

Oh, and on the subject of the 'private market', in Sen. Lincoln's state of Arkansas, one insurer controls 75% of the health insurance market. It is any wonder that premiums there have increased more the 500%? No, because you have a monopoly in Arkansas and the company is squeezing the market dry.

But McBlogger, I hear you thinking... What if that one insurer is just sooo awesome that they naturally own the market? What if the other companies are actually more expensive? Well, that would depend on hospital ownership and service provider (doctors, clinic, etc). In other words, not all insurers get the same price especially when one of them OWNS the hospital.

A true public competitor, an insurer that's open to everyone and run by the government, is what we need and I agree with Krugman... any option that doesn't include this is doomed to failure and we'll be stuck in the same mess. Eye on Williamson happens to think the same thing. It's funny how smart people usually come to the same conclusions.

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

July 06, 2009

What a statesman is The Dew

Actually, what a cocksucking piece of shit, but in this lovely article he's a real statesman in the mold of George Wallace.

“If the Senate job came open, I would probably give it a hard look,” he said. “I think that seat needs to stay in Republican hands.”

“I’m not trying to be partisan, but I think it’s probably in the Senate, in America’s best interest, if there’s a healthy balance of Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Republicans that are policy oriented and can stand up and say respectfully that they applaud the goal but there are perhaps better ways to get there that don’t do as much damage to the economy and cost as much in new taxes to the citizens of America.”

Oh, sure. Why would Texas want at least one Senator from the majority party? How foolish of Texans to actually want to have a voice with the majority!

As for not being partisan, Dewby, you kinda sealed the deal on that with the voter ID bullshit y'all pulled at the start of the session that caused it's ultimate demise. It was, in fact, the reason y'all had to come back for a special session.

Let's also remember that there was some HUGE losers from the special, not the least of which was Dewhurst himself, when privatization went down in flames and the asinine revolving fund died. Which means he doesn't have the juice he once did... and even if he DOES decide to run for re-elect, he faces an uphill battle in some of the areas where he's historically done well. It's fallout from not actually leading on transportation and it's going to hurt him, just like it'll hurt 39%.

Posted by mcblogger at 11:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2009


Sad news, friends...

A federal advisory panel voted narrowly on Tuesday to recommend a ban on Percocet and Vicodin, two of the most popular prescription painkillers in the world, because of their effects on the liver.

The two drugs combine a narcotic with acetaminophen, the ingredient found in popular over-the-counter products like Tylenol and Excedrin. High doses of acetaminophen are a leading cause of liver damage, and the panel noted that patients who take Percocet and Vicodin for long periods often need higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect.

Oh, well, there's still Darvon.

Posted by mcblogger at 04:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 04, 2009

On Krauthammer, Obama and even Bush

Has Obama's Shelf-Life Expired?

These days well-known political commentator and Washington Post op-ed columnist Charles Krauthammer is making the rounds "respectfully" chastising U.S. President Barack Obama and the current administration. Krauthammer is a gifted and intelligent writer and it is apparent that while he respects President Obama's personal and political skills, he questions the President's real focus and objectives. Personally, I think all Americans should question the focus and objectives of each president. However, Americans should find many of Krauthammer's opinions in his recent speech on Obama questionable, if not obtuse.


That stated, Krauthammer does make quite a few good points about Obama. In his recent speech and opinion piece "Obama in Bush Clothing" he points out several of Obama's hypocrisies and doing what he refers to as the "Obama three-step", which is to "(a) excoriate the Bush policy, (b) ostentatiously unveil cosmetic changes, (c) adopt the Bush policy."


It is true that Obama has performed a "two-step" in front of Americans, by promising to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but instead then increasing military movement in Afghanistan. He also told the public he would close down the prison in Guantanamo Bay, but now is keeping it open. He swore to provide millions of new jobs, but so far has fallen short of his promise.

I am very familiar with Krauthammer's history and writings, and I think the gist of what he is saying is about Obama is incorrect. I can't see how receiving the auto and finance industry bail-out is "a bonus" as Obama continued the Bush policy of providing "bail-outs" to them. Wall Street, the auto industry and special interest unions are NOT going to let Obama & administration manage and operate their sectors. That's just not going to happen.

I also disagree with Krauthammer in that I believe it is a good idea to extend the program of Medicare to all Americans. While Medicare is administrated by the government, it is operated chiefly by private industry who still are making a fortune from it --- not as much as the private sector makes from its private plans, but not too shabby. To be a successful program, some modifications [tweaks] are needed. Paying for it will have to be from taxes, e.g., increasing the Medicare Tax on salaries by employees, have employers pay some of the taxes and provide a Medicare Fund to draw the money as needed. Nobody likes paying taxes; however, the money for health care needs to come from somewhere.

Could Obama lose in the next election? Yes, but it would depend on the results of his current efforts and who the GOP has to run against him. The fact that the current big 3 are Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney does not provide the GOP with a tangible opponent against Obama.

Will a 10-percent unemployment rate kill Obama's chances in 2012? I don't think so because it depends on what he does after that. If unemployment increases even to 12 percent at first, Obama has 3 years to bring down the numbers. By the time he runs for reelection, the unemployment issue will have passed. He is working on providing stimulus packages into the economy, but our government is set up to make changes slowly.

Consequently, the MILLION$ already approved and provided for various industries have not yet actually been dispersed to them, so the economy is getting worse. Once the monies have been received and used by the industries we will see the economy improving, but it still will be a slow improvement. While I don't agree with many of the bail-outs, these were initiated by the Bush administration and Obama has built onto them. I don't see that as "a bonus".

I think a bigger factor in the possible demise of Obama is his stance and management of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea. I think his handling of all those issues can kill his chances of being reelected.

As for Krauthammer, he is a good writer but as all good writers he bends a lot of his so-called facts to underscore his opinion, which may be true or not. Let's not forget that Krauthammer was one the consultants for Bush's inauguration speech.


I also disagree with Krauthammer's perspective of how Bush will be remembered for his presidency. He says that Bush kept us safe after 9/11 for 6 1/2 years more than people thought. He also says that Bush will be remembered more for having disabled a hostile Iraq and having that nation turn from a hostile enemy into a world ally. I can see how twisted minds can do that, but in my own opinion, they would be wrong. In many ways our relationship with Iraq and the rest of the world has become more unstable, e.g., those nations I mentioned above with respect to Obama.


I know our economy and unemployment are in shaky shape, but I really believe that once the money allocated is directly injected into the economy it will turn around. It has started to stabilize already for the most part. I would like to see more of a focus on creating jobs. I have written to Obama about that. I also believe that in part unemployment and health care are the 2 top issues. Obama knows that as well. I hope he deals with these more quickly, but he also has to deal with a hostile GOP, He is trying to work with GOP party members, but there is a lot of resistance and he needs to do whatever necessary to resolve these issues more quickly --- with or without GOP support.

As for our military focus, we need to get out of the Middle East, but that won't happen. Too many corporations have invested in that area and to withdraw completely will affect their profits and our own economy again. I also don't believe that Middle East nations would sit down together at a table to iron-out their differences, although most, if not all, want the U.S. to leave.

So, while Krauthammer is indeed an intelligent and gifted writer, Americans should question many of his opinions and comments regarding Obama and Bush. As Krauthammer himself often states to others re: Obama, "Don't listen to what he says, watch what he does." Readers have to make up their own minds about Krauthammer in much the same way.


Peter Stern of Driftwood, Texas, , a former director of information services, university professor and public school administrator, is a political writer well-known and published frequently throughout the Texas community and nationwide. He is a Disabled Vietnam Veteran and holds three post-graduate degrees.

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Looking for a pet?

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It's the pic juxtaposed with the dog's name that really makes it art, no?

Happy Independence Day everyone!

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July 03, 2009

Roundin' Up The TPA

It's Fourth of July week, and so it's time for an extra-patriotic rendition of the Texas Progressive Alliance blog roundup.

Off the Kuff takes a look at the latest Lyceum poll on the Governor and Senate races in Texas.

Neil at Texas Liberal suggests that instead of blowing of your fingers lighting fireworks--during a drought in Harris County no less---that maybe you would be better off reading a book instead.

With 2010 spinning up, it's funny to watch all the different players already on the field line up to take their first hits. McBlogger, of course, thinks they're all deeply in need of a little advice which he graciously provides (with surprisingly sparse use of profanity)!

WCNews & Dembones at Eye On Williamson post on the latest controversy involving the Williamson County Commissioners Court, Budget officer not just a good idea, it's the law.

John at Bay Area Houston says Turn out the lights, the family values party is over.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks online Texas Republican commentary on Mark Sanford is interesting.

The similarities between Mark Sanford and Ray Bolger (as the Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz") are just too weird, notes PDidde at Brains and Eggs.

The wise men are willing to pay a tax on their favorite junk food to pay for health care reform.

WhosPlayin.com Video bring you EXTREME Congressional Town Hall - Special "Losing our freedoms" edition, sponsored by Prozac.

Over at TexasKaos, Libby Shaw calls our attention to Confessions of a Former Health Insurance Exec: "We Dump the Sick". Who knew? All the posturing , hypocritical , offers of self-reform and insurance relief are just so much bogus cover up for an industry too greedy to ever be trusted to regulate themselves!

The Texas Cloverleaf discusses gay pride, bar raids, and millions of gays marching in DFW this past weekend during the 40th anniversary of Stonewall.

Burnt Orange Report covers TX-10 Congressional candidate Jack McDonald's campaign expansion in the Austin area.

Texas Vox reports on Texas' record setting energy consumption and the need for renewable peak energy over boring old baseload from coal, gas, and nuclear.

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Palin Quits

Announces plan to hike Appalachian Trail.

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Draft Earle : But Paul, we want to win this time!

Barely 72 hours into Draft Earle and so far there has been press coverage all over the state. And now, Burka whose crystal ball seems ever focused on 1994 when it comes to Democratic prospects in Texas, has said it's a dead candidacy. Which is funny coming from someone like Paul 'There's No Way Craddick Loses The Speakership' Burka. Now, we all make mistakes from time to time and I'm no exception. However, instead of focusing on the future and what's possible, Burka focuses on an old battle, namely Earle vs. Hutchison.

What Burka leaves out is the tremendous latitude this affords Team Earle to talk about something KBH doesn't ever want to think about again. Let's be real for a moment and remember that two Texas Grand Juries thought there was enough evidence to indict her. The first time, Sen. Hairdo's attorney got the indictment dismissed on a technicality. The second time resulted in a clusterfuck of an acquittal that rested on the highly questionable decision of a judge in Fort Worth that no one (least of all Burka) seems to remember accurately.

During pre-trial, Judge Onion and Earle clashed over admissibility of evidence that was the nail in Hutchison's coffin. Thinking that the Judge wouldn't allow the evidence and knowing that without it the jury would likely acquit (making it impossible to re-indict her for what she'd done), Earle motioned to dismiss. Judge Onion, in what has to be considered a questionable (at best) act of judicial fiat, empaneled the jury and ordered them to acquit Hutchison, rather than allow the charges dismissed. Keep in mind that the only reason this ended up in Judge Onion's court was that Hutchison's attorney venue-shopped... he wanted THIS judge for a reason.

Judge Onion later claimed he would have allowed the evidence which makes one wonder about his pretrial decision not to rule on it's admissibility. Earle's decision to ask for a dismissal was based exclusively on the prospect of justice being done against an elected official who, evidence indicated, was corrupt. Not some kind of a mistake.

Now, the awesome thing about a Earle v. Hutchison matchup is that there's no Judge Onion this time and once people get to know the REAL Sen. Hutchison, there's no amount of makeup that'll help. That's what 'experts' like Burka are missing. That's a battle that Earle is uniquely positioned to fight and win.

Further, there is once again this idea that Democrats need a moderate, Republican-lite candidate who can convince middle aged white guys in the burbs to vote for a Democrat. We've been trying that for the better part of a decade and hasn't worked. The current crop of candidates in the D primary don't have that combination of balls to the wall brilliance and, in equal measure, grit that sells with Texas voters. Real Texans have been voting for faux Texans for so long, when they see the real thing they'll jump at the opportunity to support them. And that, my friends, is Ronnie Earle, a Democrat who's fiscally conservative, socially libertarian just like the majority of Texans.

As for the Delay prosecution, maybe Burka should take a look at some of Delay's polling numbers statewide. He's pretty roundly reviled among Republicans and Democrats alike because of his links to Abramoff and other lobbyists. Delay is the poster child for what's wrong with Washington and Earle was the man who helped bring him down. And you really think that's going to hurt him with crossover voters? You're kidding me, right?

I've been a part of a statewide race. I know what works and what doesn't. I've seen overfunded candidates lose worse than my guy who was outspent more than 22:1. Needless to say, you learn pretty early on that candidate selection is the important part of a campaign. Oh, sure, money and organization are essential but the initial decision is THE single most important. It's the equivalent of 'making your money on the buy' when flipping a house.

There is such a thing as a natural and Ronnie Earle is one of them. The rest of the players on the field may be impressive in their own spheres, but they suck in this one. Statewide races require a hell of a lot more.

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Rove calls out someone

Noted douchebag, buttertroll and ratfucker Karl Rove called someone dour AND IT WASN'T FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK 'CALL ME DICK' CHENEY.

It was Maureen Dowd. Of all the people in the world to get into a pissing match with, this one has got to be the dubest he could have possibly picked.

My only hope is that the fight will get so bitter, so nasty that they'll kill one another, a la War of the Roses.

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July 02, 2009

Fools and their money...

...never stay together for long. From QR:

PhotobucketU.S. Senate candidate Roger Williams reports that he raised more than $400,000 at a Saturday fundraiser in Weatherford. The former Secretary of State is exploring a run for the Senate seat when (or if) incumbent Kay Bailey Hutchison steps down to pursue the office of Governor.

Based on his campaign’s release, Williams now appears satisfied that he can mount a successful campaign. “This event was one of the final major events in the exploratory phase of my campaign. In this phase, I am testing the water,” said Williams. “Based on what I saw on Saturday, the water is just right for diving in.”

Among the luminaries at Williams’ event were: former Dallas Cowboys players Bob Lilly and Rayfield Wright, former football announcer Pat Summerall, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) and boxing promoter Don King.

Keep throwin' money down the rabbit hole, R's!

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Hasselbeck : Plagiarist

No joke, The View's Elisabeth Hasselbeck copied a cookbook...

A lawsuit in federal court in Massachusetts alleges that Hasselbeck lifted "word for word" content from a book on celiac disease written by a self-published author on Cape Cod.

Hasselbeck's book, "The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide," has appeared over the past month on several best-seller lists.

Author Susan Hassett filed the lawsuit Monday, saying she sent Hasselbeck a copy of her "Living With Celiac Disease" book as a courtesy after the TV celebrity disclosed she had the illness last year.

The lawsuit says Hasselbeck's book reproduces lists of grains containing gluten along with scientific names of the grains.

Hasselbeck's book "includes dozens of paraphrased as well as word for word regurgitations of phrases" from Hassett's book, the lawsuit claims, but it doesn't cite specific examples.

It's funny, actually, because I've just begun work on a cookbook demystifying french cooking. I'm calling it Perfecting the Skill of Cooking French Cuisine. Look for it on Amazon literally any day now.

Good Appetite!

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July 01, 2009

Draft Ronnie Earle!

draft ronnie.jpgI found this site tonight on Facebook and am extremely excited. I think Ronnie Earle has the perfect combination of intelligence and personality to really impress people all over the state and take the Office of Governor back for real Texans! Vince has a post up about this Draft over at Capitol Annex.

One of the reasons I like Earle is the fire and passion he brings to everything he does. He's the kind of candidate who won't let Republicans in this state know that it's OK for them to vote for a Democrat, he's the kind of man who can convince them the Republicans are full of shit, with a smile on his face and a beer in his hand.

Click the link and let's get ready to beat some 39% (or KBH) ass in 2010! It's time for REAL leadership in Austin! Run, Ronnie, Run!

For those of you wringing your hands over such a partisan choice, keep in mind that Earle prosecuted Tom Delay, a man universally reviled by Republicans and Democrats for his corruption and deep ties to lobbyists (Abramoff ringing a bell?). I'd say some other nasty things about 'worrying' and being 'stupid' and thinking that the Austin bubble represents Texas, but I'm under the impression that some of your are persuadable.

So get on board or get the goddamn hell out of the motherfucking way.

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Dukes Campaign Reports

So, finally, we can see just what was on those credit cards she's been hiding from us... drumroll please...

New details in Dukes' corrected reports show that she used campaign funds for gifts for constituents from Family Christian Stores, fees for the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, gas from Chevron and utilities from the City of Austin.

Umm, WHAT?! Sorority fees are a campaign expense? REALLY? Something about that doesn't pass the smell test!

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What really happened at the Rainbow Lounge?

Early Sunday morning, 40 years after the Stonewall Riots, TABC and Fort Worth PD raided a gay bar in Fort Worth. A few things were strange... the bar had only been open for a week and it was clear from the get-go, this raid wasn't about service at the bar. It was about harassing the patrons of the bar. Asterisk has a detailed account of what happened that night pieced together from multiple sources.

Normally when there's a raid on an establishment that's been overserving, TABC is looking to arrest servers and bar tenders who are violating regs. That didn't happen. Instead, they arrested patrons on the flimsiest of charges, Public Intox. To see how vague the law is, take a look here. This gives law enforcement an enormous amount of latitude, something the courts usually take into account on contested PI charges. PI is used as frequently against the violent as it is against the non-violent. To get arrested for PI, you need only be walking down the street after a drink or two. That's how easy it is.

According to the account, the raid was based on the report of a 'disgruntled employee'. Now, the bar had been open for a week so that was a weak excuse. Further, taking the word of a 'disgruntled employee' makes about as much sense as me asking one of my exes to write a profile for me on a dating site.

Fortunately, it looks like political leaders in Fort Worth are asking questions and trying to investigate the true nature of this raid. These officers have just cost the city, in terms of bad PR and lawsuits, probably a couple of million dollars. Whatever your feelings on gays and lesbians, ANY taxpayer should be pissed as hell about these officers going commando on the taxpayer's dime.

Additionally, Fort Worth's PD Chief Jeff Halstead has promised to look into the 'inspection' and determine what happened. From reports he's received, it appears that the TABC agents were the bad actors in the all this.

"Why didn’t they do something?" asked Elizabeth Pax, ambassador for Queer Liberaction, a Dallas-based advocacy group. "Why didn’t your officers speak up?"

One Fort Worth officer made an initial call for assistance early on, Halstead said. Investigators think that call took place while Gibson was being injured, Halstead said.

Once patrons confronted the officers, Halstead said, the bar check took on a very different tone.

Halstead asked again for people who were at the Rainbow Lounge to come forward and tell police what they saw.

He said that the department had received about 500 calls but that only two were from people who had been at the bar. Investigators need to hear from witnesses, not just from people who want to complain, he said.

Halstead promised that he will work to employ a liaison between police and the gay community.

"We’ve got to work together," Halstead said. "Be patient, and you will see that this is just not lip service. I will meet with you wherever you want to meet. I will go to your restaurants, your house, we can eat barbecue, whatever you want to do. But we’ve got to talk.

"We will heal beyond this."

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I love ice cream treats!

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