Monday, December 31, 2007

And DOWN the backstretch they come

I enjoyed this after spending a few days last week at Delta Downs:

The horses are in the starting gate for the Iowa Caucuses.


Southern Man takes the lead with First Lady on the inside. Chicago Kid is close up in third. Senor Ambassador stumbled a bit coming out of the gate and runs several lengths back in fourth with Talk Show Joe close behind. Further back to Little Big Man and Connecticut Yankee.

Oh Oh! Baked Alaskan has veered off the track and appears to be racing the outrider's pony.

As they round the clubhouse turn, First Lady pulls away from Southern Man opening up a three-length lead. The time in the first quarter is a blistering :22.2 seconds.

Down the backstretch, First Lady still in front, Southern Man a close second and Chicago Kid begins to make up ground. Further back, Senor Ambassador and Talk Show Joe are moving up, vying for fourth place with Little Big Man close behind. Connecticut Yankee is in sixth. The outrider has straightened out Baked Alaskan and he is now rounding the clubhouse turn -- don't worry folks, he's alright, just a little confused.

As they round the turn and head for home...





Now isn't this exciting!

And starring Chuck Rosenthal as Larry Craig

"GOP Implosions for $500, Alex":

-- Which Republican official refuses to resign at the behest of party leadership due to yet another embarrassing sex scandal?

That would be both of 'em, of course. Only the orifices have been changed, and not to protect the innocent.

Behold the man who believes he has the powah to do something about this sordid mess, HCRP chairman Jared Woodfill:

Note the Pat Riley 'do, the diamond-encrusted Rolex and cufflinks, the solid wood hammer he threatens to bring down hard upon the wild willy of one Chuck Rosenthal, soon-to-be-former incumbent district attorney of Harris County.

(Note the geographical instructions for confused Republicans in the background behind him.)

This a true man of the people. A man who rules with impartiality, fairness, and sober jurisprudence. A man of respect, authority, and unquestioned influence.

"What part of 'no' don't you understand?" Rosenthal asked party chairman Jared Woodfill, according to County Judge Ed Emmett, who attended the emergency meeting.

After the four-hour, closed-door meeting that included questioning of Rosenthal, 15 members of the party's Advisory Committee voted unanimously to urge him to withdraw from the March 4 Republican primary for district attorney.

"The consensus was this is a position of high trust, and when this position is questioned, when this position is breached, we feel like it's important that we make a change," Woodfill said.

But Rosenthal, exiting the Greenway Plaza meeting about a half-hour before the it ended, said, "I'm going to run for district attorney and I am going to win."

He said he did not know if he will have an opponent in the Republican primary.

"I certainly hope not. I don't think they've got anybody with the qualifications to run against me," Rosenthal added.

Oh. Well, sorry about that, Jared. Maybe you could call for backup? Reinforcements? A higher power (and no, we ain't talkin' 'bout God)?

(Judge Ed) Emmett, the chief county government official, could be seen discussing the situation with Rosenthal in a side room while the party leaders continued their meeting. Rosenthal frequently raised his arms and gestured during his discussions with the county judge and the party chairman.

Emmett said the GOP activists made the right decision in calling for Rosenthal to step down.

"At this point he is damaged goods, and the party is reflecting that," Emmett said.

But you couldn't talk sense into him either, could you Judge?

The important thing to keep in mind is that this really isn't about Rosenthal's moral failings, it's about his competence as a manager. Any corporate position of this grade would have policies in place preventing not just the undue fraternization of supervisors and subordinates, but also the ethical violation of having one's former girlfriend on the county payroll at twice the salary of comparable positions, along with a company car and expenses.

Moral turpitude, I believe it's called.

And some people would have the dignity to step aside when their lapses in judgment were publicly revealed. But hey, it's still a free country (allegedly), so Chuck can do what he wants and damn the torpedos.

I'm starting to feel bad for the Republicans. No really, I am. If I were still a Republican at this point (and for the record, I quit the Kool-Aid a long time ago -- after Iran-contra), I would run away to the beach and spend the rest of the next eleven months sipping a paper umbrella cocktail, slowly passing my metal detector from side to side, scooting a few dominoes and maybe some shuffleboard, trying hard to keep ignoring the signs of the impending tsunami.

Live out my remaining time dreaming of the good ol' days, when Tom DeLay's collapse was the worst thing that could have ever been.

Not so much resolutions ...

... as they are dream wishes:

  1. That Anton Scalia be impeached and removed from the U.S. Supreme Court for willfully interfering with the 2000 presidential election through the fraudulent temporary restraining order he issued to stop the Florida recount that the Florida Supreme Court ordered under Florida law;

  2. That Dick Cheney and George W. Bush as co-defendants be impeached and removed from office in a dual proceeding on the grounds of multiple occasions of willful defiance of the Constitution, including but not limited to willful disregard of the Bill of Rights, and willful disregard of the Constitutional limitations on powers of the executive branch, and multiple criminal offenses including but not limited to willfully lying to Congress and the public on multiple occasions in order to induce the passage of legislation to authorize the Iraq war and occupation;

  3. That the new President appoint Congressman and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Doggett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy resulting from Scalia's removal from office;

  4. That Clarence Thomas resign from the Supreme Court in protest and the new President appoint attorney and Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. to the resulting vacancy;

  5. That Congress repeal all legislation authorizing the use of American military forces in Iraq and require the Joint Chiefs of Staff to withdraw all American military forces from Iraq, with the withdrawal to commence within no later than 24 hours after the enactment of the legislation and to be completed within no more than 90 days;

  6. That all authorization, permission, and/or contracts for American citizens and companies to conduct military, paramilitary, or security operations in Iraq be canceled;

  7. That Congress repeal the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and all similar post-9/11 legislation authorizing greater governmental authority over the liberty and freedom of human beings; 7A. That the FISA Act be repealed and the authority to issue or disapprove search warrants in all cases including electronic eavesdropping be returned to the regular judiciary under the strict standards of the Fourth Amendment;

  8. That the new President renounce all "signing statements" written during the presidency of George W. Bush;

  9. That all detainees at Guantanamo Bay and all other facilities of the United States be either charged with criminal offenses within 24 hours or released from detention;

  10. That new antitrust and anti-monopoly statutes be enacted to outlaw the huge new combinations and conglomerations of capital;

  11. That the National Labor Relations Act be repealed and replaced with a new and more meaningful charter for the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively pursuant to the First and Thirteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution;

  12. That the U.S. Supreme Court overrule its 19th century County of Santa Clara decision that erroneously pronounced corporations to be persons within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment;

  13. That the Texas courts restore full meaning to Article 3 Section 51 of the Texas Constitution as to prohibit all usages of public authority for private gain;

  14. That the people of Texas amend the Texas Constitution so as to repeal the 2003 amendment of the Open Courts provision, Article 1 Section 13, and restore the fundamental rights of the people to open courts with full remedies for all legal wrongs;

  15. That the people of Texas repeal Article 1 Section 32 of the Texas Constitution that was added in 2005 to interfere with fundamental personal liberty and privacy by prohibiting legal recognition for certain domestic partnerships between consenting adults;

  16. That the people of Texas amend the Texas Constitution so as to prohibit all usage of forcible eminent domain for economic development or other private economic gain, with no exceptions;

  17. That the people of Texas amend the Texas Constitution so as to require approval by referendum of the voters residing in a county for the construction of any toll road or part thereof in the county and for the continued maintenance of any existing toll road or part thereof in the county;

  18. That the people of Texas amend the Texas Constitution so as to require democratic elections by the voters of every governing member of every governmental body at every level of government that possesses the authority to make final decisions to spend public money or wield public authority;

  19. That all public officials conduct themselves with the knowledge that in a democracy every citizen is a 100 percent equal co-owner of the government and that public officials hold office only for the benefit of the public and with the permission of the public as stewards for the public trust; and

  20. That all politicians renounce the philosophy of spin and adopt the philosophy of say what you mean and mean what you say.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

In Harris County, DA stands for Dumb Ass

A few samples from around the Tubes regarding the escapades of Harris County's district attorney, Chuck Rosenthal:

As district attorney of a county with a population of four million, more than that of several states, Mr. Rosenthal also presides over the country’s busiest capital punishment establishment, which has sent 100 convicted murderers to their deaths since 1976.

Following in the footsteps of former congressman Mark Foley, it seems like Harris County’s District Attorney, Chuck Rosenthal, forgot emails are forever. Especially those emails you send from your County-owned computer. What part of “open records” do you not understand?? What part of “fidelity” and “adultery” do you not understand?

Dumb, Chuck. Really. Dumb.

What makes us want to up chuck, Chuck, are the mash notes emailed to your former mistress and current Executive Assistant, Kerry Stevens, some of which were printed in today’s Houston Chronicle. ...

This statement from Rosenthal:

Recently some Harris County District Attorney inner (sic) office emails have been released in the media.

I understand that I have said some things that have caused pain and difficulty for my family, my coworkers and friends. I deeply regret having said those things. Moreover, I am sorry for the problems I have caused anyone.

I also understand that sometimes things happen for a purpose. This event has served as a wake-up call to me to get my house in order both literally and figuratively.

Romeo, you’d best take your pants to the tailors and get those faulty zippers replaced. Again.

One of our usually reliable sources in Houston said to watch for Chuck’s resignation announcement. While we agree wholeheartedly that he needs to resign because his actions reflect his lack of personal integrity which; therefore, reflects poorly upon the integrity of his DA’s office, we’ll wait and see. We’re five days away from the filing deadline.

Five days can be an awfully loooong time in Texas politics.

"nonewsisgoodnews", commenting on the story at the Chron:

Why is anyone surprised Rosenthal put his (former???) girlfriend on the public payroll at about double the going rate for her "official" duties? This is the same guy that went to the jail to interview a defendant by claiming he was a defense attorney. The same guy who invited an attorney to bring his client to his office for a "private" meeting, and then planted a "bug" in a clock so that he could listen in to private discussions between the attorney and his client.

His biggest claim to fame was that when the federal building in Oklahoma City was blown up, he celebrated by getting drunk at his desk, and then set off firecrackers in the District Attorney's building. He had a heck of a laugh as terrified prosecutors scrambled down the stairwells in fear of their lives.

But, he is immune to critics. He goes to all Republican party gatherings with a bracelet that says "WWJD"...What Would Jesus Do?" Among the Republican faithful, that bracelet means you are free to do what ever you want.

And finally the translated statement from Rosenthal, courtesy Bay Area John:

Recently some Harris County District Attorney inner office emails have been released in the media. It makes me look like a hypocrite which lately is not hard to do in the Republican party.

I understand that I have said some things that have caused pain and difficulty for my family, like writing an email that said I wanted to kiss my secretary behind her right ear when in fact her left ear is just as luscious. Or wanting to caress her firm supple breasteses. (Ok I didnt write that, but I did think it) I deeply regret having said those things although I had quite a woody when I did.

I also understand that sometimes things happen for a purpose. Maybe this will encourage my wife to leave my sorry ass, or for the Harris County Republican Party to denounce my adulterous behavior and demand my resignation. But I am not going to hold my breath since Jared Woodfill is a big wuss and won't do diddly squat. In fact maybe Jared should resign.

This event should serve as a wake-up call to the voters of Harris County concerning the lack of ethics, intelligence, and Christian family values of the Gross Old hyPocrite party.

Charles "The Horny and Incredibly Stupid" Rosenthal
Soon to be Former Harris County District Attorney

Friday, December 28, 2007

Terrified Huckabee demands immediate border wall construction

The only thing faster than Huck's rise in the polls has been his remarkable talent for shooting himself in the foot:

Mike Huckabee used the volatile situation in Pakistan Friday to make an argument for building a fence on the American border with Mexico and found himself trying to explain a series of remarks about Pakistanis and their nation.

On Thursday night he told reporters in Orlando, Fla.: “We ought to have an immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders and particularly to make sure if there’s any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country.”

Yes, that's exactly what 'we' ought to do, Mike. Double-check the IDs and nationality of every single one of those "illegals" pouring over the border.

On Friday, in Pella, Iowa, he expanded on those remarks.

“When I say single them out I am making the observation that we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border,” he told reporters in Pella. “And in light of what is happening in Pakistan it ought to give us pause as to why are so many illegals coming across these borders.”

Wrong again, Huckster:

In fact, far more illegal immigrants come from the Philippines, Korea, China and Vietnam, according to recent estimates from the Department of Homeland Security.

Asked how a border fence would help keep out Pakistani immigrants, Mr. Huckabee argued that airplane security was already strong, but that security at the southern United States border was dangerously weak.

“The fact is that the immigration issue is not so much about people coming to pick lettuce or make beds, it’s about someone coming with a shoulder-fired missile,” he said.

Obviously 'we' had better to go to Orange Alert.

This flip-flop on immigration (coincidentally coming in the wake of Tom Tancredo's withdrawal) surprises and disappoints a LULAC official who once worked with Huck:

Hispanic activists in Arkansas who viewed former Gov. Mike Huckabee as a voice of moderation on illegal immigration say they've been taken aback by the hard-line stance he's adopted.

While governor, Huckabee gained favor with Hispanic leaders by denouncing a high-profile federal immigration raid and suggesting some anti-illegal immigration measures were driven by racism. He advocated making children of illegal immigrants eligible for college scholarships.

Huckabee's Republican presidential rivals have tried to make an issue of the scholarship plan, portraying him as soft on illegal immigration. Huckabee responded this month by unveiling a plan to seal the Mexican border, hire more agents to patrol it and make illegal immigrants go home before they could apply to return to this country.

"He's trying to be tougher on immigration than we've ever seen him before," said Carlos Cervantes, the Arkansas director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. " ... I don't see that he's willing to work with us now."

And also underscores a number of Hucko's embarrassing gaffes (including this hilarious "eastern borders with Afghanistan" mistake):

The sudden emergency in Pakistan and Huckabee’s response come at a time when he has come under increasing scrutiny from opponents for his lack of fluency in foreign policy issues, and the situation in Pakistan appeared to have challenged him.

“We have seen what happens in the Musharraf government,” Huckabee said on MSNBC. “He has told us he does not have enough control of those eastern borders near Afghanistan to be able go after the terrorists. But on the other hand, did he not want us going in, so what do we do?” Those borders are actually on the west, not the east.

Further, he offered an Orlando crowd his “apologies for what has happened in Pakistan.” His aides said later that he meant to say “sympathies.” He also said he was worried about martial law “continuing” in Pakistan, although Musharraf lifted the state of emergency on Dec. 15. His campaign told CBS News that his statement was not a blunder.

Stace awards Huck the Tancrazy. I heartily concur.

Update (12/29): Lone Star Times, my favorite right-wing blog -- seriously -- has more on Huck's foibles that include John Bolton and Condi Rice having to straighten him out.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The hate never takes a break

... not even on Christmas:

-- "I'm a racist POS, so are all my commenters, and we lovin' every minute of it"

-- "Schadenfreude San Fran Style". An excerpt:

San Francisco, like many libtard outposts, has made it extremely difficult for large chain stores to operate in the city. Libtards think that they must put up barriers to successful businesses, in order to protect "Mom and Pop" businesses from actually having to compete in the marketplace. Well, this Christmas, the chickens came home to roost. Seems that San Franciscoans are having a hard time finding the popular toys this season, because none of the Mom and Pop stores carry them.

"San Franciscoans"? If the link wasn't broken we might be able to understand what this goon is trying to say. On the other hand, maybe not.

Some people need to recognize when they are just too stupid to blog. This is one of those people.

-- Still fighting the War on Christmas, even on Christmas. Maybe he's getting a jump on next year.

-- This poor fool consistently demonstrates the most twisted logic on the InnerTubes. Christmas Day's sample:

Evan's (sic) argument makes no sense. You can't even apply for welfare without an ID. So why would voting "skew" against Democrats. There is only one good reason. It skews against voter fraud and Democrats think they need it to succeed at the ballot box. The idea that requiring an ID would stop a valid voter is absurd and preposterous. It starts with the ludicrous premise that requiring an ID is exclusionary. There is no credible evidence that it is. To the extent that it might be, the laws permit affidavits. Anybody can get an ID card, even terrorist. The requirement just makes it inconvenient to vote more than once are vote for someone else without going to extra trouble. The only reason to oppose voter IDs is to facilitate election fraud.

A conclusion reached on the forests of evidence completely the opposite of all the experts (sort of like global warming, the casus belli for Iraq, etc.). No wonder this fellow is a "former general counsel". Between his active retirement building furniture and studying military history, Merv finds time for twenty posts a day, sampling the worst the Right has to offer and making observations of the pretzel logic variety. Occasional entertainment, mostly dross.

-- The most consistently noxious local rightie posted this frothing diatribe two days before Christmas (so we should be thankful he was able to empty his spleen on the Lord's day):

It seems the only thing the left despises more than Soldiers is Christians. So I can see why this picture would drive them insane.

Previously challenged Ezra Klein to a fight, also called out Rick Noriega for his Gold Star award (a theme initiated by this conservative blogger, and similarly rebuked in his comments). Those were actually two of Rob's least vile posts. He elicits considerably more in the way of mocking laughter than he does outrage, which likely makes him even more bitter.

Well, that's all the gall my bladder can process for a while. We're off to Lose-iana for a couple of days to watch the ponies and arm the bandits. Play nicely with your toys and don't bother Mommy and Daddy while they worry about how all this Christmas is going to be paid for.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Season's Greetings

Because Jesus never rode an elephant.

Back with a year-end Wrangle sometime after Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

More Sunday Funnies

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, John Cornyn gave to me ...

... and you, and all the rest of us in Texas:

*deep inhale*

Twelve lapdog cronies, eleven forgotten military bases, ten (million) sick kids, nine fired US Attorneys, eight Children Left Behind, seven undetected WMDs, six hurricane-ravaged homes ...

Five Border Fence Lies ...

Four undisclosed earmarks, three disenfranchised voters, two abandoned veterans, and some partisanship and demogoguery.

And thanks to the TCD (hat tip BOR) we have additional verification that the Junior Senator is The Grinch:

Good Time Charlie's War

I never gave too much thought to Charlie Wilson, all those years growing up with him as my Congressman, even though it was about the same time I was doing all that partying of my own. My parties were good, just not as good as his:

In the summer of 1980, Wilson traveled to Las Vegas with a girlfriend, who happened to be a Playboy cover girl, and he somehow ended up in a hot tub at Caesars Palace with two naked showgirls.

"The girls had cocaine, and the music was loud," Wilson told the late George Crile, author of the 2003 book "Charlie Wilson's War," which inspired the movie. "It was total happiness. And both of them had 10 long, red fingernails with an endless supply of beautiful white powder. . . . The feds spent a million bucks trying to figure out whether, when those fingernails passed under my nose, did I inhale or exhale, and I ain't telling."

Those "feds" were led by Rudolph Giuliani, then a young Justice Department attorney, heading an investigation into drug use on Capitol Hill. When news of the probe leaked, Wilson denied that he'd used cocaine. Then he added a promise that was pure Wilson: "I won't blame booze and I won't suddenly find Jesus." ...

But his troubles weren't over. A month later, driving in a condition he later described as "drunker than [bleep]," Wilson lost control of his Lincoln Continental on the Key Bridge, smacked into a Mazda, then drove away. A witness reported his license number to the police, and he was busted for hit-and-run driving.

Divorce, dope, drunk driving: As the 1984 election approached, the experts figured the voters of East Texas might decide to replace Wilson with someone a bit less, um, colorful.

But the experts were wrong, as they often are, and the God-fearing people of East Texas reelected Wilson in 1984 -- and five times after that.

Yeah, ol' Good Time Charlie didn't leave Congress until 1996, after the Newties came into power. Hollywood has made a pretty good movie about him, a satirical comedy mostly. As such it's still too bad the movie is missing -- as with most Hollywood productions -- a couple of elements of accuracy:

In the latter half of the movie, there is one big lie and one item of anti-Afghan propaganda. The lie is that U.S. support to the mujahiddin went only to the faction led by Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Afghan leader who was assassinated on Sept. 9, 2001. I spoke with Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Texas, in 2002, at which time he called Massoud "a Russian collaborator." I find it disingenuous that Wilson and his Hollywood biographers now want to throw their arms around him. (Note: George Crile's book does not make this false claim.) Moreover, if this movie succeeds in convincing Americans that the U.S. support went to Ahmad Shah Massoud alone, it will have effectively let the CIA and Wilson off the hook for their contribution to the circumstances leading up to 9/11. During the 1980s, Wilson engineered the appropriation of approximately $3.5 billion to help the Afghans fight the Soviets. According to Milt Bearden, CIA chief of station to Pakistan, Massoud received less than 1 percent of it.

More explanation here. Continuing:

In the same scene in the movie as the misinformation about Massoud is a propagandistic joke deeply offensive to Afghans. This joke (coupled with the Massoud "inaccuracy") is the reason that the Afghan Embassy is boycotting Charlie Wilson's War.

The joke is: "When a Tajik man wants to make love to a woman, his first choice is a Pashtun man."

Why is this propagandistic? Because it supports the idea that Afghans are just too tribal to get along. They've always fought each other. As Wilson once said to me, "You put two Afghans in a room, you end up with seven factions." The trouble with this idea is that Afghanistan has been a cohesive nation for several hundred years.

So who wants the world to believe that Afghans can't get along? Pakistan. The reason for this is the Durrand Line. The Durrand Line is the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and it is not very stable. There are Pashtun tribal regions on both sides of the border, and at some point since the establishment of Pakistan (about 60 years ago), it was suggested that the Pashtuns on both sides of the border should unite to create Pashtunistan. This idea makes the government of Pakistan very nervous. In response, they threw their support to Gulbaddin Hekmatyar in the 1980s, because he agreed not to dispute the border, but also because he was deeply feared and disliked by Afghans, and would thus continue to be reliant on Pakistan as his source of power. Pakistan then convinced the CIA, to the cumulative tune of about $1.5 billion, that Gulbaddin was the guy best suited to whoop-ass against the Soviet Union. Later, during the mid 1990s, when he failed to control Afghanistan on their behalf, Pakistan nurtured the Taliban into power.

So why were these two offenses included in this movie?

1. The Massoud "inaccuracy" was included because Tom Hanks "just can't deal with this 9/11 thing"; and because Wilson and Joanne Herring (played by Julia Roberts in the movie) threatened legal action after reading an earlier, more honest, draft of the screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. Herring was Pakistan's honorary consul to the United States in the 1980s, and as such, enlisted Wilson into supporting the cause of the Afghans. Neither Wilson nor Herring wants history to remember them for their contribution to the events that culminated in 9/11.

2. The really bad joke was included because, when Wilson retired from the House of Representatives, he was so copasetic to Pakistani views that he went to work for Pakistan as their lobbyist -- at the rate of $360,000 per year. Not bad for an old skirt-chasin' boozer.

Sunday Funnies

Friday, December 21, 2007

The GOP's fissures (and a possible brokered convention)

I would really like to be blogging more about the Democratic's presidential candidates, but the Repukes are just too entertaining to ignore.

This is the kind of fantastical speculation I enjoy making, as well as reading -- and it's certainly on the minds of quite a few conservatives, you can bet. First, BooMan, and the backstory has to do with John McCain's lawyering up over his relationship with that Washington lobbyist (no, it's not sexual; just click over for the explanation then pick it back up here):

If John McCain does not emerge as the Republican nominee, there's a good likelihood that the GOP is going to be in for a long, strange ride. Let's walk though this.

If Mike Huckabee wins in Iowa, I expect McCain to surge ahead of Romney in New Hampshire and win that state. This will set up a death match between McCain and Huckabee that will go down to the wire. Giuliani could conceivably get into the mix by winning Florida, but he seems too damaged by recent scandals to have much hope. Fred Thompson will go nowhere.

But if McCain has some bad news in the next three weeks that prevents him from capitalizing on a Huckabee win in Iowa, then Romney will likely prevail in the Granite State. We could easily see McCain, Thompson, and Duncan Hunter drop out after New Hampshire or South Carolina. We could see Giuliani drop out after Florida. And we'll be left with Huckabee, Romney, and Ron Paul. And Ron Paul will have enough money to compete everywhere on Super Duper Tuesday, while Huckabee will not, and Romney will have to spend his own fortune.

Even in this scenario, I do not expect Ron Paul to win the nomination, or even any states (although he could win a couple). But he could easily rack up a fifth of the available delegates in a three-way race. Imagine the Republican convention if Ron Paul has the third biggest block of delegates.

Let's go even further here. Assuming that Romney's delegates are more Mormon than his overall universe of support and that Huckabee's delegates are more Southern Baptist than his overall universe of support, and that Ron Paul's delegates are... well... the most enthusiastic and dedicated of Ron Paul's supporters... the Minneapolis convention is going to be a assembly of the cultural fringe. It's hard to picture your average Martha's Vineyard Republican fitting in, exactly.

The Democratic competition is no less fluid, but all the candidates are at least culturally acceptable to the whole range of the Democratic electorate. Our convention will be one big inclusive feel-good party no matter who wins the nomination.

I guess my question is: what will it mean for the GOP over the short to medium term if their convention is completely dominated by Huckabee, Romney, and Paul supporters?

Why, it could mean a brokered convention and perhaps a Newt Gingrich nomination. That kind of deal precludes Paul running third party, especially if he gets promised some plum Cabinet job like Secretary of Commerce. Romney becomes the vice-presidential nominee strictly on the basis of his money, and Huckabee gets to be Secretary of Christianity Implementation.

Maybe Dubya could be a uniter and not a divider after all.

As one of BT's commenters notes, our worst-case November scenario is Hillary Clinton vs. John McCain, and I would add 'with no third-party conservative candidate'. Our generic best-case is anybody vs. Huckabee.

And since this post is about the Repugs, I'm sure I forgot to mention that John Edwards is surging in Iowa while Hillary and Obama beat each other up.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tancredo self-deports

Ha Ha Ha Ha.

Run third party, you lunatic, and let's see exactly how much support your one-issue candidacy actually has.

It has been demonstrated repeatedly, most recently this week in the suburbs of Fort Worth, that immigration is wedging the Republican base. Even Karl Rove and Dubya know it's a loser, yet still the Nativists wail and gnash their teeth.

Keep at it for at least another year, please. Make illegal immigration the core issue in every single statehouse, Congressional, and Senate and judicial race on the ballot.

Pretty please. Morons.

Update: (12/22): Welcome Lone Star Diary click-overs (all three of you)! You're exactly who I'm talking to -- but only if you completely agree with the moron who runs that one-note blog. Happy Holidays!

Last-minute Christmas shopping postpourri

-- at last night's HCDP Holiday Party, I met Dan Grant and Michael Skelly and Bert Moser (another of our highly qualified candidates for justice on the 14th Court of Appeals) and Dale Henry, whose campaign has this pretty excellent video up:

Unfortunately I also got word that one of my favorite judicial candidates from the last cycle, Chuck Silverman, was not going to make the race this time.

-- We have a candidate for Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court: Jim Jordan of Dallas.

Update (12/21): Jordan's bio (courtesy Quorum Report's Daily Buzz, their emphasis):

Jordan, a veteran civil defense attorney and past member of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, noted a serious backlog in cases at the state’s highest court. "They are failing to do their work as the backlog in cases has reached record levels."

Jordan, who currently presides over the 160th District Court in Dallas, is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law — a certification earned by less than 2% of Texas Lawyers.

"When the system is broken, the responsibility must fall on the leader," Jordan noted, explaining his decision to seek the Chief Justice position. "I am running for Chief Justice because this Court has lost its way. Instead of upholding the law, it is advancing an ideology," Jordan added, referring to a recent study released by a University of Texas law professor that criticized the court for routinely exceeding its Constitutional authority, ignoring the role of juries, and using the bench to make policy instead of deciding questions of law.

Jordan, who first presided over the 44th District Court in Dallas, was a partner with the firm Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller before returning to the bench. In 2006, he won election to the 160th District Court.

Jordan caught the Dallas County blue wave in 2006 and hopes to repeat the feat statewide next year. I of course think he's onto something.

-- Pooty Poot is TIME's Man. Well, "I" can't win every year (and neither can "you").

-- Nope, nobody cares what Joe Lieberman does any more. And I mean Nooooobody.

-- How the Iowa caucuses work, and why John Edwards will win: because he's almost everybody's second choice (and why Hillary will trail -- because she is nearly no one's).

-- A Mafia museum in Vegas. Can't wait to see it.

-- The NSA has real-time access to your e-mail. Yes, yours. In my case they probably think I have both ED and a small penis, not to mention being a Wall Street penny stock tycoon and an important business associate of several Nigerian concerns.

A master's degree in Creation Science

When it comes to the Texas Education Agency, you CAN make this shit up (and, sadly, it will be accurate):

A Texas higher education panel has recommended allowing a Bible-based group called the Institute for Creation Research to offer online master’s degrees in science education.

The "Institute for Creation Research". Their library and archives consist of one book.

The state’s commissioner of higher education, Raymund A. Paredes, said late Monday that he was aware of the institute’s opposition to evolution but was withholding judgment until the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board meets Jan. 24 to rule on the recommendation, made last Friday, by the board’s certification advisory council.

Henry Morris III, the chief executive of the Institute for Creation Research, said Tuesday that the proposed curriculum, taught in California, used faculty and textbooks “from all the top schools” along with, he said, the “value added” of challenges to standard teachings of evolution.

“Where the difference is, we provide both sides of the story,” Mr. Morris said. On its Web site, the institute declares, “All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the creation week” and says it “equips believers with evidences of the Bible’s accuracy and authority through scientific research, educational programs, and media presentations, all conducted within a thoroughly biblical framework.”

It also says “the harmful consequences of evolutionary thinking on families and society (abortion, promiscuity, drug abuse, homosexuality and many others) are evident all around us.”

"Both sides of the story". Aha. Fair and balanced. Note that the critical thinking comes in when they survey the evidence "all around us". Wait, it gets better:

Asked how the institute could educate students to teach science, Dr. Paredes, who holds a doctorate in American civilization from the University of Texas and served 10 years as vice chancellor for academic development at the University of California, said, “I don’t know. I’m not a scientist.”

He said he had no ready explanation for the panel’s recommendation. “I asked about the decision,” Dr. Paredes said Monday in a phone interview from Austin. “I got a three-inch-thick folder an hour ago. We’re going to give it a full review.” But, he said, “If it’s approved, we’ll make sure it’s of high quality.”

Approval would allow the institute, which moved to Dallas this year from near San Diego, to offer the online graduate program almost immediately while seeking accreditation from national academic authorities like the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges within two years.

This comes, as you may recall, on the heels of this:

The action comes weeks after the Texas Education Agency’s director of science, Christine Castillo Comer, lost her job after superiors accused her of displaying bias against creationism and failing to be “neutral” over the teaching of evolution. ...

Last month, in a sign that Texas was being drawn deeper into creationism controversy, Ms. Comer, 57, was put under pressure to resign as science director after forwarding an e-mail message about a talk by a creationism critic, Barbara Forrest, a professor at Southeastern Louisiana State University.

Lizzette Reynolds, a deputy commissioner who called for Ms. Comer’s dismissal, later told The Austin American-Statesman she was surprised she resigned. Ms. Reynolds did not respond to a message left at her office.

The Texas Education commissioner, Robert Scott, told The Dallas Morning News that Ms. Comer was not forced out over the message, adding, “You can be in favor of science without bashing people’s faith.” He did not return phone calls to his office.

Ms. Comer said the commissioner should show her where she was bashing anyone’s faith. “He just doesn’t get it,” she said.

Res ipsa loquitur. And rather than add any editorial comment to the news above, let me simply say that I believe it's time Texas had a post-baccalaureate degree program in Pastafarianism. Who's with me?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another Democrat elected to the Texas House (from a formerly GOP district)

Harvey Kronberg:


Democrat Dan Barrett leads HD 97 runoff with 52.74 percent of vote. Holds a 538-vote lead over Republican Mark Shelton.

A few boxes remain to be counted, but the spread between Dan Barrett and Mark Shelton has held steady all evening.

Although Barrett was the top vote getter in the first round of the special election, few thought he would win the runoff against the GOP candidate who presumably would have the Republican base united behind him.

The Democrat takes the seat of one of the Speaker's most loyal backers, retired state Rep. Anna Mowery. Barrett won't have much time to rest as he will have to defend his seat in the November general elections.

Harvey manages to find the only downbeat thing to say about the outcome: Barrett may not ever get to sit in the chair in the Capitol unless Governor 39% calls a special session before January 2009, because he must stand again for election in eleven months. But the repudiation of Texas House Republicans and their leader continues to be demonstrated at the ballot box.

Burnt Orange called it early and had the superior play-by-play. Boyd Richie states the game plain:

"I congratulate our newest Democratic State Representative Dan Barrett on his victory in House District 97. In an election marred with dirty tricks and Craddick cronies, Dan ran as an independent voice, who could be trusted to stand up against Tom Craddick's special interest agenda and fight for the best interests of Texas families.

Dan Barrett won in a district drawn by Republicans to elect a Republican, and his victory is a slap in the face to Speaker Tom Craddick and the failed Republican leadership in this state. Voters have sent a message that they are tired of "business as usual" in Austin and want leaders who will replace the pay-to-play politics of the Republican Party with a state government that works for all Texans."

Update (12/19): Paul Burka was waaaaaaaaaaay wrong. And graciously admits his error while explaining how he made it, through large bites of humble pie. Be sure to read all the comments. Kuffner adds some more, including an excerpt from Bud Kennedy at the Startlegram that detailed the Shelton losing situation on the ground.

And about my local judicials

This past weekend I attended a workshop on "How to be a Delegate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention", at which several of my local judicial candidates were in attendance, working the room for support. Here's a bit about each of the ones I visited with:

Bruce Mosier
, 190th civil district court. With forty years of experience as a litigator and mediator, a board-certified attorney in commercial and residential real estate law, and a long history of Democratic activism, Mosier tries again for the civil court place he barely missed in 2006. He counts as supporters Sheila Jackson Lee, state Sens. John Whitmire and Mario Gallegos, and state Rep. Jessica Farrar. Here's what my blog hermano Greg Wythe said about Mosier in 2004:

One of the comments John Kerry made in the debates about judges was a well taken point: the sign of a good judge is that when you read the final opinion or ruling, you don't know which party the author was .... you just know it was fair and well reasoned. Those two qualities, Bruce Mosier possesses in great abundance over the Rubber Stamp appointment of Governor Perry.

Martin Siegel, 14th Court of Appeals. Siegel is running for an associate justice position on the 14th, which covers Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend and seven more counties in southeast Texas. Siegel served as an assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of New York and as special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee (where he worked on election reform, the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, criminal justice, immigration and other issues). In 2006, Siegel successfully represented the Texas Democratic Party in its suit to prevent the Republican Party of Texas from replacing Tom DeLay on the general election ballot for Congress following DeLay's withdrawal as a candidate. Siegel wrote the TDP's briefs in the Fifth Circuit on an expedited schedule and co-argued the appeal, resulting in the well-known victory for the TDP (which ultimately gave us Nick Lampson in the 22nd Congressional district).

Larry Weiman, 80th civil district court. Weiman is another of our returning judicial candidates, having garnered 48% in his 2006 run (just so you're clear on the size of Harris County's electorate, that 48% was 263,507 votes). Weiman's reputation as a potential jurist is so solid that Republicans recruited him to run in past elections, but with a long family history as a Yellow Dog Democrat, he declined to do so.

Fred Cook, 215th civil district court. Cook is also a Democratic activist, having served as chair of his precinct and election judge for the past four years. But it's his 25 years as a litigator, a past director of the Houston Bar Association's litigation division, and the AV rating from Martindale Hubbard -- the highest possible peer rating for ethics and legal ability -- that distinguishes his candidacy.

Harold J Landreneau, Justice of the Peace 1-1. Landreneau is running for the JP position that represents my area, having served the court as chief clerk for the past 8 years. In addition to being an attorney he's also an ASFCME member and formerly a vice-president for the Heights Area Democrats. A lifelong Democrat, he traveled to New Hampshire in 2000 to volunteer for Al Gore's presidential campaign there.

I'll be profiling more of my favorite judicials running in 2008, from Susan Criss to Leslie Taylor to Mike Englehart to Chuck Silverman to Al Bennett to Goodwille Pierre.

Dale Henry for the Texas Railroad Commission

In more favorite candidate news today, one of mine from the 2006 cycle announced his bid for the TRC: Dale Henry.

“The (Texas Railroad) Commissioners have just stuck their head in the sand when it comes to public safety and our environment. As a result of their failure to use their statutory authority to require gas companies to replace faulty couplings in the Dallas area, two elderly Texans have died. And, the commission has simply looked the other way as saltwater injection wells have polluted the water supply up and down the Barnett Shale region in North Texas and in other areas of the state,” Henry said.

My blog hermana TxSharon has covered the topic Barnett Shale pollution extensively. More on the oil and gas man who's concerned about the environment:

“It is pretty hard to properly regulate the oil and gas industry when you are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from their political action committees and executives,” Henry said. “The Railroad Commission doesn’t rule for the public anymore, they rule for the people lining their campaign warchests. I will work to get legislation passed to prohibit Railroad Commissioners from taking money from the industries the Commission is supposed to regulate,” he said.

Here's Dale speaking at the Texas Democratic Party's 2006 convention:

Henry is by far the best choice for progressives in the March 2008 Democratic primary for the Texas Railroad Commission.

Michael Skelly for Congress, 7th District

My district.

Ever since Mrs. Diddie and I moved into CD-07 earlier this year, we've searched for the candidate to to take on John Cumbersome. I asked Barbara Radnofsky at a meeting of Cy-Fair Democrats if she was was going to run, and she said, "No. Are you?"

Very funny, Bar.

I kept hearing that Jim Henley, the challenger in '06, was in, then out. I took a lunch meeting just last month with a fellow who said he was running; he still is, just not as a Dem. And I had heard something about an executive with a wind energy company who was born in Ireland, who served in the Peace Corps and spoke fluent Spanish, and who was capable of self-funding a run for Congress, but I couldn't figure out who it was.

Today, in my inbox (and in the Chronicle) I got my answer:

Skelly, of West University Place, is chief development officer for Horizon Wind, which investor Michael Zilkha of Houston and his father, Selim, bought about seven years ago for $6 million. This year a Portuguese utility company bought the firm for about $2.2 billion.

Brought to the United States as a child after being born to Irish parents in England, Skelly would not discuss how much money he will put into his campaign. Candidates can spend an unlimited amount on their own behalf, and in past Houston-area campaigns some have laid out more than $3 million to get elected.

He obviously is familiar with his opponent:

Culberson, he said, has "never met a problem he couldn't make worse." Skelly said the congressman has failed to work with local government officials to help solve mass transit problems, for example.

Which naturally can't be said of the incumbent:

"Who?" Culberson said today when asked by telephone about Skelly's candidacy for the November general election. Moments later he said Skelly's remarks are "pretty standard boilerplate Nancy Pelosi liberal Democratic spin."

Culberson, 49, said he never takes an election victory for granted, but "will continue to stay focused on doing the job I have done for the people of District 7 which they clearly approve of."

Clearly not. Just read the comments at the Chron link. Then again, Congressman Culberson is molded in the image of his idol, Tom DeLay; he's ignorant, ideological, and built to stay that way.

It sure will be nice to have some actual representation in DC in about a year. Charles Kuffner's post from last year is instructive as regards the math associated with a successful Democratic challenge in the district. I'll let Skelly finish the introduction of himself:

Ron Paul quotes Sinclair Lewis

Faux news anchors' heads explode:

His response to Mike Huckabee's ad portraying the former Arkansas governor as the Chosen One was to employ the phrase that used to be this blog's signature: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."

I speak from personal experience, Dr. No: calling it fascism exposes you to backlash. Too many Americans don't know what fascism is and wouldn't recognize it if they did. It's right in front of their eyes but they just cannot see it. The fact that George W Bush refers to 'the terrists' as "Islamofascists" is one big clue to the depth of American ignorance on the topic.

It doesn't matter how much money you raise, Mr. Paul, you're never going to get the Republican nomination telling them the brutal truth. Oh yeah, your crossover appeal, what with that abolishing Social Security/free trade/life begins at conception thingie: that's not gonna fly either.

The Libertarians need you badly, though. It's where you belong.

Presidents' Heads in Pearland

There's an online presidential poll that needs your input, please. Somewhat outside the mainstream for this time of the year.

(Pearland, regular readers here may recall, is nestled in the gumbo mud of the Texas coastal plain five miles to the south of Houston, and is also the home of Bobby Eberle, he of Talon News/Jeff Gannon fame (in addition to serving as the vice-chairman of the Republican Party of Texas). Pearland also claims as city councilman one Kevin Cole, who defended Tom DeLay in a rather humorous e-mail to back when DeLay was still defensible to many Republicans. Cole was a deacon of the First Baptist Church of Pearland, which was the launching pad for Pastor Rick Scarborough of Vision America, a man of God working hard to inherit the mantle vacated by Jerry Falwell.)

My Five were Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and LBJ, and in the comments I added that the only bushes that needed to be on display were the tightly trimmed shrubs lining the entrance to the park.

Monday, December 17, 2007

John Edwards and Iowa.

For months, Edwards has been rounding up support in the state's rural precincts where the front runners have paid less attention. While Obama and Clinton have drawn crowds in the thousands in places like Des Moines and Ames, Edwards has been winning over people in tiny towns like Sac City (population: 2,189). That's important, the strategists say, because under Iowa's arcane caucus rules, a precinct where 25 people show up to vote gets the same number of delegates as a place that packs in 2,500. In other words, even if he loses to Obama and Clinton in the state's bigger cities, he can still win by wrapping up smaller, far-flung precincts that other candidates have ignored. "The bulk of our support is in small and medium counties," says Jennifer O'Malley, Edwards's Iowa state director. O'Malley says Edwards has visited all 99 counties in the state; the campaign has so far trained captains covering 90 percent of all 1,781 precincts.

Tonight I participated in a conference call with Edwards supporters across the state of Texas; Fred Baron, David Bonior, Chris Bell and others gave updates and asked for (and volunteered to) help. Perhaps the most revealing thing to me is that the campaign is so encouraged by the momentum building in the Hawkeye State that their foremost request was for volunteers to spend any available time in New Hampshire.

Edwards is going to win the Iowa caucuses. Mark it.

Reid backs down, pulls FISA bill

Thanks to everyone who budged the machinery of democracy today:

Harry Reid just announced on the floor that he intends to table debate on the FISA overhaul legislation until January.

This is an important development and will hopefully allow the opposition to telco amnesty to convince enough Senators that providing blanket immunity to these companies who broke the law really doesn't do much to keep us safe.

Earlier, our Liberal Lion noted:

The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retro-active immunity. No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he's willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.

Update: the video of the above ...

And while their offices indicated they opposed the bill and supported Senator Dodd's filibuster, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, (and John McCain too, for that matter) were nowhere near the Senate chamber today. All of them stayed on the campaign trail -- the Democrats in Iowa.

Chris Dodd -- by his actions and his words -- deserves fresh consideration from those who remain undecided about whom to support for President.

Update: here's his message, recorded shortly after the end of the session ...

FISA-with-immunity bill update

"Good morning, I'm calling Senator Obama/Clinton/Biden to ask him/her to represent the hundred of thousands of Texas Democrats like myself who have no representation in the United States Senate to oppose the FISA bill containing retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies, to be considered today."

"Thank you."

T'was-the-week-before Wrangle

And all through the 'sphere
Not a blogger was stirring
(They drank too much beer.)

Vince does me one better:

It's beginning to look a lot like Monday
every where you go,
Take a look at the blogs and posts glistening once mo',
with threads and comments beaming all aglow.

It's beginning to look a lot like Monday
Round-ups on ev'ry blog
but the prettiest sight to see is the posting that will be
from your fave-rite blog....

Enjoy this week's Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

Fred Thompson couldn't make the ballot in Delaware because of FIVE HUNDRED SIGNATURES. Mayor McSleaze at McBlogger thinks that's pretty pathetic. You will as well.

Eddie at Burnt Orange Report writes about a precedent-setting case in the Sixth District Court of Appeals which gives helps a Paris, Texas blogger preserve his or her anonymity.

How I became a "far-left-radical with a socialist agenda" etc. On Bluedaze by TXsharon.

While Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News had a sick mouse, the world moved on.

Choo choo!! That's the sound of cleaner air at The Texas Cloverleaf. Ninety-eight new and more environmentally friendly trains are running in Texas. But did taxpayers really have to front the money?

Bay Area Houston wonders why NASA contractors are limiting their employees' constitutional rights while receiving billions of dollars of government funding.

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that AG Greg Abbott has handed Speaker Tom Craddick an early Christmas present in the form of an opinion that gives him carte blanche -- and even emasculates impeachment.

Muse discovers a list of 300+ women political bloggers! Female bloggers are playing a powerful role in this presidential election cycle -- and are increasingly recognized for this. Texas bloggers are on the list. Check it out!

In his piece titled John Cornyn Files for Senate, Hal at Half Empty entertains the notion that the junior senator is really looking for an elusive seat on the US Supreme Court.

Stace at DosCentavos tells us about the newest Pew Center poll! It's no wonder many Citizen-Latinos (and especially undocumented folks) are feeling like people without a country.

Eye on Williamson posts on Brian Ruiz, Rep. John Carter's opponent in TX-31, and two of Carter's recent votes in Ruiz and Carter's (R-Exxon Mobil) Circle .

An activist action plan for the FISA-with-telecom immunity bill, coming up on Monday in the Senate, is posted by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

And, last but not least, don't forget about Dan Barrett in House District 97, who has been endorsed by the Texas Progressive Alliance in his special election runoff. Matt at Burnt Orange Report has a great post about the race here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Evening Funnies

Retroactive immunity for whatever crimes you (may) have committed.

I'll take it. How about you?

Do the American people deserve to know, not every specific, but the extent to which their rights were violated? Do they have a right to know what the legal basis was that the telecommunications corporations relied upon when they decided to help the government violate the law?

Do we have to ask the non-thinking conservative's question of AT&T et. al. : "Whaddaya got to hide?"

And did you know that Chris Dodd, the only Senator who has consistently fought against FISA-with-telecom-immunity, lost the race for Senate majority leader by one vote to Harry Reid? (I didn't.)

Do something about this bill today. And tomorrow. This is a moment for leadership on the part of the people running for president who get to vote in the Senate on this bill tomorrow. And a test of their loyalty to the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution, which carries a fourth amendment they would do well to refresh themselves with:

Privacy apart, this president's defiance of statutes by the dozens is constitutionally alarming. But the matter goes deeper still. Even if Congress were to repeal the laws securing telephone privacy, or if phone companies found loopholes to slip through when pressured by government, the Constitution's Fourth Amendment shield for ''the right of the people to be secure" from ''unreasonable searches" is a shield for all seasons, one that a lawless president, a spineless Congress, and a complacent majority of citizens -- who are conditioned to a government operating under a shroud of secrecy while individuals live out their lives in fishbowls -- cannot be permitted to destroy, for the rest of us and our children.

If Ron Paul would give Mike Huckabee all his money ...

then maybe the goofball Republicans could have a chance at holding onto the White House:

Once considered a minor candidate in a large field of candidates, Paul is now close to breaking a $12 million fundraising goal for the final quarter of the year as his volunteers stage an Internet money-raising event Sunday tied to the anniversary of the 1773 Boston Tea Party.

Paul, the only candidate to release up-to-the-minute tallies of campaign receipts, has raised $11.4 million for this three-month period.

If the Texas lawmaker beats his target, he will have raked in more campaign cash than the other GOP contenders did at the end of the latest reporting period, including early front-runner Rudy Giuliani, who raised $11.6 million.

Anthony Corrado, a campaign finance expert at Colby College in Maine, said that Paul could well end up leading the GOP presidential pack in fundraising for the final quarter, which ends Dec. 31.

"Ron Paul has had remarkable success raising money this year," said Corrado.

Poor Huck; he's got ephemeral "polling support" but no caysh:

Until today, Huckabee's homepage had a "December 15th" goal of $1,150,000. Then today, perhaps as they saw it might not make it, they changed it to a "December" goal! This means it appears that they've nearly accomplished their goal in half the time, when in fact they failed to meet the original one!

Paul will likely raise $4 or 5 million bucks today; Huckabee can't raise a million in a month.

Will Huck get the dough if he winds up at the top of the conservative scrum? Sure. But Republicans are right to fear his nomination. He would be crushed next November.

I think Paul's fundraising and national grassroots appeal is certainly real. His endorsement of the eventual nominee will be coveted. A spot as vice-president on the GOP ticket is plausible. Paul is literally the only Republican candidate generating any real excitement, and has already reached the point of significant viability. Just not as the party's nominee for president.

Paul would destroy the Republicans by running as a Libertarian at this point, with still no better chance of getting elected than if he happened to wind up the GOP standard-bearer. He is, similar to the blimp pictured in the link above, inflating rapidly to the role of kingmaker, well-positioned to make considerable demands of the nominee. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing -- today --, because Paul is the anti-neoconservative. His influence as potentially the vice-president could bring a quick end to the folly in Iraq, prevent war with Iran, and close the sad chapter of 21st-century American neo-imperialism executed by the Bushies.

There's considerable independent and crossover appeal in a McCain-Paul ticket, IMHO. They might even be a less nasty bunch to go against in a general.

Nope. Sorry. That last sentence is just too unrealistic.

Update (12/17): Six mmmmmmillion dollars yesterday. From 30,000 donors. He's gone past $18 million for the quarter.

IOKIYAR (and it's not a blowjob in a blue dress)

‘Sleeping with the boss’ common at KBR in Iraq:

Working in Iraq wasn't always an adventure for Linda Lindsey.

"If you wanted to get a promotion you didn't necessarily have to have the qualifications,” remembered Lindsey, a former KBR contractor. “You just needed to be sleeping with the person who was doing the hiring.”

Let's pause here a moment and review The Rules (Republican version 2.008):

Continuing ...

Though she did not know Jamie Leigh Jones, the young KBR contractor who says she was drugged and gang raped by colleagues, Lindsey said Jones’ allegations are not surprising.

“Where I was at and when I was there it was very, very upsetting,” Lindsey recalled.

In a sworn affidavit for the Jones case, Lindsey said: “I saw rampant sexual harassment and discrimination."

“Well, first of all, a boss saying that he hired a woman because she told him that she puts out," she added.

Her affidavit also said: "When anyone would report an incident of abuse or harassment, they would be threatened with a transfer to a more dangerous location."

Lindsey said complaints made it back to KBR's Houston headquarters, but the people causing problems in Iraq were never removed.

That left many women workers, Lindsey said, feeling helpless.

If you're a "fat, lazy, and old" (his lawyer's words, not mine) white man who shoots two people in the back with a 12-gauge, or a male KBR employee in Iraq, donchyoo worry 'bout a thing. But if you're anybody else, you're fucked. Wrong place/wrong time/wrong color/wrong political philosophy; raped, tortured, killed, too bad for you.

Makes a person wonder why he would be concerned about something as relatively inconsequential as whether his vote counts or not.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, December 15, 2007

2004 election "could" have been stolen: Ohio SOS

Thank goodness we found out just in time to prevent it from happening again.

Ohio's Secretary of State announced (yesterday) that a $1.9 million official study shows that "critical security failures" are embedded throughout the voting systems in the state that decided the 2004 election. Those failures, she says, "could impact the integrity of elections in the Buckeye State." They have rendered Ohio's vote counts "vulnerable" to manipulation and theft by "fairly simple techniques."

Indeed, she says, "the tools needed to compromise an accurate vote count could be as simple as tampering with the paper audit trail connector or using a magnet and a personal digital assistant."

In other words, Ohio's top election official has finally confirmed that the 2004 election could have been easily stolen.

It's just nice that three years and nearly two million dollars later we finally have confirmation, isn't it?

(Ohio SOS Jennifer) Brunner is calling for widespread changes to the way Ohio casts and counts its ballots. Her announcement follows moves by California Secretary of State Deborah Bowen to disqualify electronic voting machines in the nation's biggest state.

In tandem, these two reports add a critical state-based dimension to the growing mountain of evidence that the US electoral system is rife with insecurities. Reports from the Brennan Center, the Carter-Baker Commission, the Government Accountability Office, the Conyers Committee Task Force Report, Princeton University and others have offered differing perspectives that add up to the same conclusion.

Paging Bill White. Mr. White, please pick up the white discourtesy phone for a clue ...

Now why was this Ohio business such a big deal again?

Brunner is the Democratic successor to Republican J. Kenneth Blackwell, who administered the 2004 election as Secretary of State while also serving as state co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign. The report comes as part of her pledge to guarantee a fair and reliable vote count in the upcoming 2008 presidential election.

Under Blackwell, Ohio spent some $100 million installing electronic voting machines as part of the Help America Vote Act, passed by Congress in the wake of the scandals surrounding the 2000 election. Former Ohio Congressman Bob Ney, HAVA's principle author, now resides in a federal prison, in part for illegalities surrounding his dealings with voting machine companies.

Blackwell, who was defeated in a 2006 race for the Ohio governorship, outsourced web hosting responsibilities for the 2004 vote count to a programming firm that also programmed the web site for the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. Blackwell's chosen host site for the state's vote count was in the basement of the Old Pioneer Bank Building in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the servers for the Republican National Committee, and the Bush White House, were also located.

Oh yeah. Corrupt Republicans hard at work subverting democracy. Seems like I've heard about that before.

Update: Rhymes with Right has a respectable opinion from that side.