June 30, 2009

Crush the TTC and Toll Road Agendas at the Capitol

Wednesday starts the Special Interest Special Session

Reprinted by Peter Stern with permission from Terri Hall and TURF


Contact: Hank Gilbert, Board Member, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF), President of Piney Woods Subregional Planning Commission, (903) 570-3613, WEB: www.TexasTURF.org

Legislature poised to pass largest tax increase in Texas history, sell roads to foreign corporations

Texans reject quick fix, ask lawmakers to slow down and get it right

Austin, TX, July 1, 2009 – The Texas Legislature, at the behest of Texas Governor Rick Perry, convenes Wednesday for a Special Session in order to ram through three bills that will affect Texans for generations. Concerned citizens are hopping mad about lawmakers’ rush to get home for the 4th of July holiday rather than give due consideration to what some have dubbed the largest tax increase in Texas history, selling Texas highways to PRIVATE foreign corporations that charge 75 cents PER MILE in new toll taxes to access PUBLIC roads.

On Wednesday morning, Texans will converge at the capitol to demand Perry’s controversial and virtually universally detested road privatization schemes die a natural death August 31 as scheduled, which will also KILL the mechanism to build the Trans Texas Corridor.

What: Press conference on the citizens’ transportation agenda

Who: The people of Texas through Texas TURF, a non-partisan, grassroots group defending citizens’ concerns with toll roads & Trans Texas Corridor

When: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 9:00 am

Where: South steps of the Texas capitol, Austin, TX


In 2007 by a combined vote of 169-5, the Texas Legislature passed a bill, SB 792, to put a moratorium on private toll contracts, called comprehensive development agreements (or CDAs) that privatize and sell Texas highways to the highest bidder. The moratorium ends August 31, 2009, and CDAs, except for approximately a dozen projects that were exempted, sunset with it. CDAs are the primary vehicle used to construct the Trans Texas Corridor.


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June 29, 2009

100% Disabled Veterans May Apply for Their Total Residential Property Exemptions

Veterans can apply now!

Now that Texas Legislators approved the bill for total home property tax exemptions for 100% Disabled Veterans and Gov. Perry signed the bill into law, the Texas Comptroller's Office is offering a download of the application form.

A 100% Disabled Veteran must complete the application and attach a copy of the letter sent to the veteran by the VA that documents the percent of disability to the appraisal office of the homeowner's district.

Read the directions carefully and note that the application may be completed online but is temporary and must be copied to a printer before closing the site. It will NOT be saved online.

You can go to the site by clicking HERE

--- Peter Stern

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June 26, 2009

July 4th Has a Vivid Memory

The Freedom We Won is Still the Freedom We Must Continue to Fight For

by Peter Stern

July 4th 1776 is the victorious celebration of the American Revolution, when the King of England's oppressive rule was overthrown by American colonists.

Today it's good for Americans to remember that time period and the real reason we broke away from such an autocratic ruler:

"No taxation without representation" means you can't be taxed without fair representation and agreeing to it

Freedom of speech

Freedom of religion

Freedom to become educated and to do whatever you want to do as long as it's legal

Freedom to read whatever you want to

Freedom to buy a home and not lose it to foreclosure due to sky-high property taxes and a depressive economy

Freedom to run for political office without having to pay astronomical fees to do so, nor by being bought out by wealthy special interests

The new American government of the Thirteen Colonies would refuse to go into the sort of debt that the George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama administrations undertook for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and reconstruction -- $300 Billion!

President George Washington believed in tending to American needs with a more isolationist policy regarding our world neighbors; perhaps he was on to something

Veterans of the Revolutionary War were taken care of by the new American government; our government needs to step-up and do the same

American patriotism was for wealthy, middle class and poor alike.

On July 4th it is important to remember why Americans really celebrate this event in our history and it is equally important to recall the reasons we decided to separate from England and the King's autocratic rule --- including the oppressive taxation prevalent during those times for the King's special interests.

We must remember and honor our Veterans who continue to die to protect America from its enemies and that our tax dollars must go to provide returning Veterans with the services and health care programs they need to be well and to continue to be productive members of our society.

Lastly, we must ensure that our forefathers didn't fight and die in vain.

We must ensure that our government never loses sight of the fact that our officials are in their positions as representatives "of the people, by the people and for the people."

These days it appears that our President and Congress constantly must be reminded of this fact.


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June 12, 2009

Suicide: a painful national and local community issue

Veterans are hit hardest

The media tells us little regarding suicide unless it occurs to a famous individual.

The truth is that suicides occur all too frequently within our society. There has been an increase of teenage suicides and among our elderly population, but the most dramatic increase in suicide has occurred with our returning Veteran population --- but we don't hear about it on the news.

The media was all too quick to jump on the recent possible suicide of actor David Carradine when he was found hung in a Thailand hotel. Too quick because authorities now believe it looks like the actor may have been murdered. Unfortunately, no one is notified that many of our Veterans are having problems reentering our society after serving our nation.
Why aren’t the media writing about the increasing high rate of suicide by our returning Veterans? The suicide rate is the highest among that population than ever before. It’s time we recognize the problem and do something about it.

The increase of suicide by our Veteran population is not just a problem for the federal government, it is a local problem as well and state lawmakers should be doing everything possible to provide needed services, including counseling to help our returning veterans in readjusting to civilian life. As a Disabled Veteran myself, I can tell you that it is not an easy task to acclimate back into our culture after being in a war zone for long periods far away from civilization and loved ones. It is a heck of a return journey.

Reentry is especially difficult during these hard economic times, where Veterans especially have a tough time finding employment. Outsourcing, layoffs and immigrant cheaper labor have taken a toll on available, well-paying jobs for Americans. It is no secret that Americans need jobs and it should not take this long to generate jobs for those who need and want them.

Perhaps the dismal job market is hardest for our returning Veterans because in addition to readjusting to civilian life, there are fewer jobs available for them.

Isn't it time we provide our Veterans with the services they need and improve job availability, along with a viable means to follow-up on their reentry into American communities? Suicide is a painful alternative and it hurts everyone in our community.

--- Peter Stern


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December 02, 2008

PSA : Speaking Authoritatively

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

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

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

Right, Paul?

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November 25, 2008

PSA : Hiring a hitman

PhotobucketFrom time to time, we've had to use someone to 'take out the trash'. It's usually quick, clean and so easy for us that we're all the time wondering why we don't have more people 'retired'.

Think we're kidding? When was the last time you saw Jimmy Hoffa? Or JFK?

One thing we know is that we don't write anything down. And we sure as hell don't use OUR mobiles. You use throw-aways and you certainly don't text message instructions. We always assume the staff will take care of the details.

Oh... and don't be from Oklahoma.

(Too soon for a Kennedy joke?)

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November 10, 2008

PSA : Kids, don't antagonize your parents

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

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September 24, 2008

I KNEW IT! Clay Aiken Trips Gaydar

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

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

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


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September 06, 2008

Harry Balczak's Reminder To You People II: Flip-Flop Boogaloo

Hello. Balczak here. Been awhile since You People have been reminded of what you did just four short years ago. If nothing else, some of You People probably need a gentle nudge from the peaceful slumber induced by Joementum Loserman's speech the other night. Geez, what happened, y'all? Four years ago, your token defector was firebreathing, duel-challenging, crazier-than-a-shithouse-rat Zell Miller. This year, we get Droopy Dawg after someone spiked his oatmeal with downers.

To put things in historical perspective, just four short years ago, Sarah Palin was still only Mayor of Hooterville, bravely defending its townsfolk from polar bears, books, and recalcitrant librarians. John McCain was out on the campaign trail whoring out for the candidate who, only four short years before that, punked out McCain in true, first-day-in-the-cellblock fashion (you say "maverick", I say "prison bitch", let's call the whole thing off). Barack Obama was busting out on the national scene in a soaring convention speech and went on to win a landslide Senate victory. Joe Biden was calling out the Bush administration for its Iraq fuckups on a seemingly weekly basis.

So now, two points for You People to remember about the last election when you're thinking about this one.

First, You People need to remember that four years ago, Republican convention delegates sported purple band-aids to mock the military service of John Kerry in Vietnam. Tonight, however, You People all choked up as John McCain heavily pimped his Vietnam POW story. Now imagine, as you recall how choked up you were listening to that speech, if Democratic delegates had mocked McCain the way some of You People mocked Kerry. Imagine Democratic delegates tossing torn paper airplanes across the convention floor, or tossing around those little plastic toy paratroopers. Hard to imagine something so offensive, right?

This is just a microcosm of the larger point You People need to be reminded of: one party truly respects veterans and one party decides whether to salute our veterans or flip them off based on what's politically convenient. Barack Obama has fought to improve conditions at Walter Reed. Both in the White House AND Congress, Republicans have fought to cut veteran benefits and services, all the while demanding that those same veterans sacrifice far beyond what anyone could have reasonably expected when they signed up for duty. For You People with fossilized ideology from 1980, the GOP treatment of veterans reflects the same something-for-nothing ethic as the proverbial welfare queen not working but expecting a lavish welfare check and a brand new Cadillac. If you've voted for them, you've shit on vets, too.

Second, You People sat and heard John McCain tell you last night that he has found religion and seen the light. He wants change! He rejects the last 8 years. Who Bush? George Do-Whut? This from the man who voted with Bush 90 PERCENT OF THE TIME. Four years ago, You People called that sort of shift a 'Flip-Flop'. You People were decidedly against Flip Flopping. Therefore, you are bound by your own principles to vote against McCain. To do otherwise would make you a Flip-Flopper.

Of course, some of You People have come around the last four years and now recognize that maybe change can be a good thing, especially if we're talking about the economy. For this group, I leave You People with a riddle: What's the difference between John McCain and a dollar bill?

A dollar bill will at least get you four quarters of change.

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April 24, 2008

Time To Make A Decision...

For those of us who have been following the candidates who threw their name's in the hat (some very thoughtlessly) for Austin city positions it's time to put all of our knowledge to good use and make a decision. Yes it is that time again, early voting starts this coming Monday, April 28 and election day is just around the corner on May 10.

So many of us sat through hours worth of candidate forums...ew...At the time it may have felt like we were simply participating in self defeating, even destructive behavior which did little more than suck the life out of us leaving us disturbed and less knowledgable than when we arrived...it did give us some very useful information on just who we should avoid on our trip to the polls next week.

That said, there are a few candidates amongst the bunch of nuts who actually merit some attention and most definitely our votes. Also check out the Austinist.com for some extra great info!

Check out these great candidates, make a good decision and by all means vote at your own risk!

Place 4
Robin Cravey
Cid Galindo
Laura Morrison
Jennifer Gale
Ken Vasseau
Sam Osemene

Place 1
Allen Demling
Lee Leffingwell
Jason Meeker

Place 3
Jennifer Kim
Randi Shade
Ken Weiss

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July 01, 2007

It's not magic, it's SCIENCE!

Imagine being able to light a lamp... without wires! From the Chron

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers announced last week they had made a 60-watt light bulb glow by sending it energy wirelessly, potentially previewing a future in which cell phones and other gadgets get juice without having to be plugged in.

The breakthrough, disclosed in Science Express, an online publication of the journal Science, is being called "WiTricity" by the scientists.

The concept of sending power wirelessly isn't new, but its wide-scale use has been dismissed as inefficient because electromagnetic energy generated by the charging device would radiate in all directions.

Last fall, though, MIT physics professor Marin Soljacic explained how to transfer the power with specially tuned waves. The key is to get the charging device and a gadget to resonate at the same frequency -- allowing them to efficiently exchange energy.

It's similar to how an opera star can break a wine glass that happens to resonate at the same frequency as her voice. In fact, the concept is so basic in physics that inventor Nikola Tesla sought a century ago to build a huge tower on Long Island that would wirelessly beam power along with communications.

The new step described in Science was that the MIT team put the concept into action. The scientists lit a 60-watt bulb that was 7 feet away from the power-generating appliance.

The development raises the prospect that we might eliminate some of the clutter of cables in our evermore electronic world.

Yeah. I think I'll stick with shielded cables.

(via Jobsanger and Kuff)

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April 19, 2007

PSA : DON'T block Joe Pesci's driveway

Turns out that Robbie Williams lives next door to Joe Pesci. I never thought I'd hear of stranger, more dissimilar neighbors than myself and the freaks who live next door to me. They are working hard to make their house look like a crack den, despite the efforts of our HOA. Still, Robbie Williams and Joe Pesci?

Apparently, Robbie wanted to have some friends over for a soccer game. One of the players decided to park his car in a way that partially blocked Pesci's driveway.

The Goodfellas actor lives next door to the former Take That singer in the Hollywood Hills and was furious when he realised where one of Williams' pals had parked.

Williams had invited a host of his English pals to play soccer at his home, which had its own full-sized football pitch, and did not have enough driveway space to accommodate all their vehicles, much to the disdain of Pesci.

British newspaper Daily Mirror reports Pesci stormed out of his home, brandishing a golf club and shouting, "Which one of you mother****ers blocked my drive? If you don't move in 30 seconds, I'm gonna smash your windscreen."
A friend of Williams said: "At first, Robbie stood there smirking when Pesci bounded over waving a club. But he quickly realised the seriousness of the situation and ordered his pals to move their cars.

"Robbie has never had any sort of dispute with his neighbours before and has now given his mates strict instructions to steer clear of Pesci's driveway."

It's been a while since we at McBlogger have done a PSA on things not to do. So, here's a list...

1) Don't take dieting tips from Linda Harper-Brown
2) Don't take Leo Berman on a trip to South Texas
3) Don't trust Tom CradDICK
4) Don't block the bar. I mean, really, this one should be self-evident but it's surprising how many of you don't get it
5) Always wear underwear. Especially if you're going out for the night with Paris Hilton.

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January 04, 2007

Going Hunting?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting This is the DREAD Weapon System which is being developed for the DoD. It's capable of firing out 120,000 rounds per minute (either .308 and .50 caliber round metal balls) all at 8000 feet per second. An M-16 rifle fires its ammunition at 3200 fps, and can only shoot 900 rounds per minute. This one will cut down a forest, or a platoon.

This is totally the thing for the duck hunter in your life... you know, for Christmas, 2007?

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November 20, 2006

NOOOO... What IS it with you people and concho belts?

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI've never been a big fan of the concho belt on men. I know this will come as a suprise to some of you. A few of you will think I've been hiding this dreadful secret for years... I mean, how horrible is it that native Texan can't stand the belts that so many of his fellow citizens wear?

Actually, if you stop and think about it, it's not that big a deal. Regardless, the belts are stupid and I stopped caring what others thought around the time a group of my former 'friends' tried to have an 'intervention'.

It all started over two weeks ago when I was returning from a trip to an undisclosed location in the midwest. We had problems with a plane and I got bumped to a flight to Houston to THEN board one to Austin. Sucks? To be sure. When I was on line trying to get out of the aluminum tube the people at NWA have the nerve to call an airplane, I was trapped behind the family who looked like they'd been carved out of a bar of Ivory soap. They were also slow as hell getting their shit out of the overheads and I was on the phone from the moment we landed (yeah, I'm one of those people. Didn't we discuss this?) so for a few moments they overheard my conversation in which I called someone we were talking about an asshole. I know, I know... I was really irritated, it was a long day but still I shouldn't have said it in front of the kids. I apologized to the father who didn't even turn around, he just shook his head like I was a bad boy.

Which made me instantly regret that I'd apologized. Fuck his condescending ass.

About that time I glanced down and saw he was wearing a concho belt. Not only does he have to deal with his delicate ears hearing bad words like asshole, he has the added humiliation of being a man wearing a concho belt. With khakis and a pair of tassled loafers.

There are some strange people in Houston metro.

Since then I've made a conscious effort to be a little more observant about what people are wearing to keep their pants up. And I can tell you, we have some problems... even here in Austin, there are men who think concho belts are a great idea. I saw six of them on Friday alone and it's not like I was in northeast Austin on my way to Manor or Elgin.

So I thought I'd ask you guys what you thought was going on. Am I overreacting?

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