Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jesus Hussein Christ, I agree with John Cornyn

"I think it's terrible... This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent."

Cornyn dismissed Limbaugh and Gingrich, adding: "Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it's appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it's wrong."

Corndog, whose charge this cycle includes getting more Republicans elected to the Senate, is awake and smelling the coffee. The RNC (Rush, Newt, Cheney) is demonstrating high douchebaggery with every broadcast utterance for the past week, but it's all for naught and Cornyn knows it. The Grand Obsolete Party cannot so much as muster a filibuster in the Senate, nor can they allow Sotomayor to sail to confirmation without looking flaccid. So they are boxed in with their base, struggling to placate the radicals who are shrinking the party.

The squeals of "racist" drive more independents and swing voters away in droves. The lesser insults are doing the same thing. The most hilarious assertion flung from the herd of Irrelephants came from former Bush brain Karl Rove, who knows people who went to Yale and Harvard who weren't all that smart, nyuck nyuck. Rove and Limbaugh -- neither of whom could complete a baccalaureate program at second-rate colleges -- calling a Harvard Phi Beta Kappa unintelligent has to be as high as hypocrisy can stretch.

But I bet they can beat that next week.

Anyway, kudos to Cornyn for speaking out against the unelected leadership of his party and calling for civility in the consideration of Judge Sotomayor's appointment to the SCOTUS. And let's see If Limbaugh bashes him on the radio on Monday.

Sunday Funnies

Thursday, May 28, 2009

John Culberson's bid for the "Douchebag"

It's going to take a super-human effort for anyone to top him this week. Let's go to the videotape -- and keep an eye on his gestures:

Update: Susan's Big Blue Butt piles on.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chubbed to death

Good news: Voter ID died quietly last night. Bad news: So did unemployment insurance funds of $555 million in federal stimulus dollars to be extended to the 200,000 Texans who are unemployed.

Republicans paid a little back for being bamboozled on the single greatest issue facing Texans today by talking the UEI extension to death last night:

Expanded jobless benefits for laid-off Texans, more health insurance for thousands of low-income children and reform of windstorm insurance rates for coastal residents all were in peril of dying Tuesday because of the lingering House battle over voter identification legislation.

A final clash at midnight killed both the voter identification measure as well as the unemployment benefits expansion. The legislation to help average Texans through children’s health and windstorm insurance also appeared to be dead, but those issues have a better chance at resurrection before the session ends June 1. ...

Democrats dropped their delay tactics shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday as Speaker Pro Tempore Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, announced: “We’re going to rock and roll for awhile.” The Democrats brought up the unemployment benefits bill at about 11:35 p.m., but Republicans kept the debate going until they could kill it on the midnight deadline.

Dead legislation: a bill to legalize concealed handguns on college campuses.

Presumed dead: a requirement that women sign a waiver to decline a sonogram before having an abortion.

Critically ill: an expansion of the state’s unemployment insurance system to obtain $555 million in federal stimulus funds. The legislation was set to be next on the House agenda if the extended debate on the non-controversial bills ever ended.

Most of these deaths were a relief. The exception, obviously, was what had Friendswood Republican Larry Taylor grinning from ear to ear very early this morning:

Well, if Rick Perry, Joe Straus, David Dewhurst and their GOP conspirators couldn't successfully deny the vote to hundreds of thousands of Texans, they succeeded in denying them unemployment benefits.

I've seen a lot of black-hearted things in the Capitol, but I've never been as disgusted as I was when I saw GOP House Caucus Chair Larry Taylor grinning like the Cheshire Cat as Straus and his henchmen used the very device they'd been whining about -- slow talking -- to kill the unemployment insurance bill.

They were grinning like cats, but they were behaving like wee, witless errand-folk for Perry. Perry opposed the UI bill because he had to object to something in the federal stimulus package. Refusing a few hundred million from Barack Obama seemed just the ticket to raise his creep-cred with the far right. Even if it raised taxes on businesses about $700 million. Even if it increased the suffering of 200,000 Texans who've lost their jobs because G.W. Bush and Perry almost destroyed the economy.

Joe Straus has spent the entire legislative session in an undisclosed location, abdicating the Speaker's dais to the pro-tem, Galveston Democrat Craig Eiland. With the voter ID bill scheduled first on the legislative calendar last week, the GOP refused compromises from Democrats to consider other bills ahead of it, and that's when the filibuster began. Taylor again with the script straight from Limbaugh:

At one point, Taylor, the Republican leader, said compromising with the Democrats would be like negotiating with "kidnappers or terrorists." He hastened to add that he wasn't likening Democrats to criminals but compared them to "whiny kids throwing a fit on the floor."

Ah, the art of diplomacy. Taylor just never learned how to color within the lines.

Can you spell "special session"? I knew you could.

Update: Grits for Breakfast has more, specifically on the criminal justice legislation which passed gently into that good night.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Post-Memorial Day Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance weekly blog roundup comes a day later than usual due to some excessive celebrating. Here are the highlights:

WhosPlayin only had Random Thoughts this week, but guest blogger Calvin Tillman -- mayor of Dish, TX -- weighed in with his thoughts on the Stacked Deck being dealt by the Texas Railroad Commission and their bias towards the interests of the oil and gas companies.

At Left of College Station, Teddy reports on the recent increase in violence, the withdrawal of troops, and the possibility of what could happen in the war that has vanished from public debate: the fading war in Iraq.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme says the Voter ID debacle demonstrates the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Off the Kuff takes a look at a battle between cities and some legislators over red light cameras.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the great job his Democratic state representative in HD-52 is doing this session in Diana Maldonado's Legislation.

TXsharon asked you to help Close the Halliburton Loophole and it looks like it's working, but don't let up on the pressure yet. From Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS

New TPA member blog Castle Hills Democrats ran a satire piece by the blogger's good friend Melinda, poking fun at those who say they're Tired of Big Government.

Neil at Texas Liberal has been accepted as a member of the Academy of Political Science. Also, Neil finds that Houston's District H Council special election makes him ill.

This week, the Republican's sent out an email asking people to fight... for toll roads. McBlogger, predictably, thought their arguments were pretty weak.

Rick Carney, Gov. Suckseed's political consultant, likened efforts to broaden the appeal of the Texas Republican Party "becoming a whorehouse", and for some reason several of Kay Bailey's female supporters took offense. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs pops the corn and documents the atrocity.

Over at TexasKaos, TxSharon begs Congress to Close the Halliburton Loophole. She explains that the drilling industry is the only industry allowed to pump toxics into our water sources without special permission.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is totally pissed off that Republicans continue to take paranoid revenge on Democracy when it comes to serious legislation. They play dirty and spiteful games to get their pet projects injected into serious bills to help battered American retirees: Retiring Early In Self Defense Could Be A Mistake.

Leo Berman for Governor (LMAO)

Bad news for Rick Perry:

With plans to join the GOP primary with Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, said today he wil announce as a candidate for governor the week of July 4.

"I want to run for governor because there's one major problem in this state that no one seems to be addressing, and in of fact they are completely avoiding it, and that was quite evident in this legislative session as well, and that's the question of illegal aliens in Texas."

Go see the video from RG Ratcliffe at the Chron here.

Leo Berman is a big favorite of ours here in the Texas progressive blogosphere. This is the kind of excitement I was hoping for just last week.

I think Leo is probably good for about 15-20% of the primary vote, all of it coming out of Governor Suckseed's hide. Which makes Kay Bailey a prohibitive favorite, though it would still be fascinating to see a run-off between her and either one of Perry and Berman.

I better order another tractor trailer load of Orville Redenbacher right away.

It's Sotomayor for the Supreme Court

According to the AP, about 15 minutes ago:

Officials tell The Associated Press that President Barack Obama intends to nominate federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor (SUHN’-ya soh-toh-my-YOR’) as the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court.

Sotomayor, 54, would succeed retiring Justice David Souter if confirmed by the Senate. The officials spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because Obama has not yet announced his decision.

This choice pleases me, several million other Democrats (including most Latinos), and will likely spur Jon Kyl of Arizona to a filibuster.

Update: My humble O is that a flibuster would continue the electoral hari-kari the Republicans have been practicing for some time now. Kyl in particular would be at the tip of the spear in the Grand Canyon state, though he was just re-elected in 2006 with 79.3% of the vote. But that leaves his next re-election bid to come in 2012 -- when he's on the ballot underneath Barack Obama.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What Memorial Day really means

Paul Rieckhoff, of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America:

While people are lighting up their grills, or spending a day off at the beach, it's important to remember the real reason for today's holiday.

Today marks a solemn day of remembrance for the more than 1 million American heroes of all generations who gave the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefields, defending our country.

To me, Memorial Day means paying tribute to heroes like Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his selfless bravery. In the mountains of Afghanistan, Lt. Murphy's team was discovered and assaulted by more than 30 Taliban fighters. The ensuing firefight left one member of the team dead, and the other three injured.

Murphy was mortally wounded as he fought his way to an unsheltered position where he could transmit a call for support. But he fought on, requesting immediate support for his team. He gave his life to save his comrades.

There are no words that can adequately express our debt to the men and women of all generations who have paid the ultimate price in service of our nation. But we should take the time to honor their sacrifice today, and every day of the year.

I spent some time in the cemetery yesterday, looking at the red, white and blue flowers, and the tiny American flags gracing the headstones. One I walked past was a veteran of the Spanish-American war. He had been born in 1869, and he passed in 1940. As I pondered his life, it occurred to me that he probably knew men who fought in the Civil War, maybe even at the Alamo. He fought in the army with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders and the charge up San Juan Hill. He may have avoided WWI, but lived through most of the Great Depression and perhaps read newspaper headlines (generated by that old war mongerer W.R. Hearst) about the rise of the German Reich. He witnessed the transformation of the American economy from agrarian to industrial, the birth of the automobile, the dawn of the petroleum age.

Say a word of thanks to a vet today, and pay some small tribute to their service and their life.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Chub-by lovin'

Just like he promised he would when he was boosted to power, rookie Republican Speaker Joe Straus has let the (Texas) House rule itself for the last five months. Now, the 150-member chamber is coming unraveled.

The House has been stuck in partisan gridlock for three days, and with just a week left in the legislative session, bills are dying by the minute. ...

Straus has been largely absent from the House speaker's rostrum as Democrats have seized control of the agenda. They've done it with a maneuver known as chubbing, which uses the rules to run out the clock.

Their strategy is to block a divisive voter ID bill. So far, it's working.

Start with one House evenly divided, add a weak Speaker, fold in a partisan Voter ID bill, blend on medium-high for about twelve weeks, chill and serve. Progress in these waning days of the legislative session -- such as it usually is -- has ground to a standstill. Which is never a bad thing when it comes to the Lege.

Oh yeah, throw in a dash of Republican whining ...

"It's really unfortunate that (Democrats) have taken these measures," said Rep. Larry Taylor, chairman of the House Republican Caucus. "There are a lot of contentious bills that we deal with, but we never go to this extreme ... It's unfathomable to me the level of effort they've taken to avoid this issue. They've stopped the whole process."

But, the Democrats are playing by the rules, Taylor said, making Straus powerless to end the gridlock. ...

As the Democrats prattled on over a tedious list of local and uncontested bills, they pushed weightier legislation like college tuition relief and insurance reform closer to demise with a Tuesday deadline. The rules could be suspended to take up any legislation out of order, but it would require a two-thirds majority. Republicans have rejected the offer to take up any bill out of order and Straus has refused to facilitate any efforts to do so.


The speaker, who began his job in January, made it clear that he is taking a hands-off approach to leading the House. It presents a stark contrast to the long shadow cast by his predecessor, Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, whose iron-fisted approach eventually led to his ouster a few months ago.

Straus "was hired not to cast a long shadow and I don't think he's got any political capital to spend," said Harvey Kronberg, editor of the state politics Web site Quorum Report.

But, with the House narrowly split in a 76-74 Republican majority, Kronberg said it would be difficult for any speaker to avoid such partisan meltdown over the effort to require voters to furnish more identification before being allowed to cast a ballot at election time.

And there you have it. The Republicans, with both the gavel and the threadbare majority but lacking anything resembling a mandate or a will to govern, are powerless to advance any legislation without compromising on Voter ID. But compromise is the stuff of conservative weakness, as we all know. The impasse threatens the, ah, 'agenda' of a certain secessionist:

Perhaps state lawmakers are fatigued by Gov. Rick Perry’s long tenure or maybe they’re just balking at his leadership, but the Republican-led Legislature this year has turned its back repeatedly on the governor’s decisions and policy positions.

The Senate has rejected a Perry appointee to the parole board as incompetent for the job. His nominee for Board of Education chairman is in grave danger. The House last month stripped Perry’s office of most of its funding in the budget debate, and the money had to be restored in a joint conference committee.

House lawmakers also voted to abolish the Texas Department of Transportation, which is chaired by Perry’s former chief of staff, and replace it with an elected commission. Not to mention the controversial $555 million in federal stimulus money that Perry wants to reject and lawmakers seemed poised to accept.

And there's also the death of "Swift Boat" Bob Perry's TRCC, which my blog buddy John Coby and others are celebrating.

Gee, most people would say that's a lousy record. But after decades of governance like this, that pretty much the entire conservative mission has been stopped qualifies as a tremendous victory for working-class Texans.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Perry flack: GOP cannot be "best little whorehouse in Texas"

"You're just a dirty ol' whore, arncha."

Governor Suckseed's political consultant, Rick Carney:
Carney said he agreed the Republican Party needed to attract new voters. But, he added, "that doesn't mean you take your principles and throw them out the door and become a whorehouse and let anybody in who wants to come in, regardless."

Now this is hardly the stuff of legend, especially for a cunning linguist like Rick Perry (remember that he apprenticed for years at Dubya's knee), but as it turns out several "prominent GOP women" -- let me pause to dab the corners of my mouth with my linen napkin and purse my lips tightly -- gasped and fainted at the remark:

"As businesswomen, community leaders and mothers, it is always concerning and disheartening when we see people resort to behavior aimed at belittling women. Therefore, you cannot imagine how appalling it was to see your campaign's chief strategist liken our Senior Senator's primary campaign to 'opening the doors of a whorehouse.'"

Who are these horrified ladies?

Why, glad you asked. They include Denise McNamara of Dallas, Kris Anne Vogelpohl of Galveston, Lisa Nowlin of Lubbock, Rosalind Redfern Grover of Midland, Jacque Allen of Wichita Falls and Betsy Lake and Penny Butler of Houston. Apparently they form the core of the Kay Bailey Resistance Movement. More from Lady McNamara ...

McNamara's letter accused Perry of engaging in "slash and burn rhetoric." And she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that it's not the first time Perry's campaign has resorted to name-calling.

"It just shows, to me, a lack of class," said McNamara. "This kind of remark should ostracize social conservatives and people who appreciate civility in politics."


McNamara, a former national party committeewoman, said Hutchison has tried to refrain from attacking Perry because of his role as Texas' leader during the five-month legislative session that began in January.

"That's about to wrap up," McNamara said, predicting Hutchison will soon move into full campaign mode.

Which no doubt includes watching her carefully peel off her elbow-length silk gloves, adjust her frozen coiffure, and shake her finger seven times in Suckseed's general direction.

Maybe this Republican primary will eventually be entertaining -- beyond that "civility in politics" sniff, anyway -- but we're not quite there yet.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Let's just give Dick this week's Douchie

... and be done with it. Five deferments and "other priorities during Vietnam" vs. Navy SEAL and SERE school graduate. Think I'm going with the soldier.

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everybody. Don't over-grill the steaks, be sure and thank a veteran (like Jesse Ventura, even) and don't shoot anybody in the face.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stimulus money to be used to repair Governor's Mansion

At least it's a shovel-ready project:

While Gov. Rick Perry is criticizing Washington bailouts, state lawmakers are planning to use $11 million in federal stimulus money to help rebuild the badly burned Texas Governor's Mansion.

Approximately $10 million in state tax money will also be spent on a renovation, which is expected to cost about $20 million, officials said Thursday. A House-Senate committee agreed on the expenditures late Wednesday night.

The mansion was burned in an arson fire last summer.

Perry has railed against federal bailouts and what he called the free-spending, power-hungry ways of Washington. In January, he said Texas was endangered by Uncle Sam's "audacity."

Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle released a short, written statement late Thursday when asked about using stimulus money to renovate the mansion.

"We are continuing to work with lawmakers on the budget," she said.

Secede much?

The governor has been living in a three-story, limestone home with a heated pool, an outdoor cabana and a guest house.

The state is paying some $9,900-a-month in rent while the Governor's Mansion undergoes renovations, records show.

It's just completely within character for the irony to be lost on this guy.

Tom Tomorrow speaks for me

... as well as many of the torture apologists I seem to encounter (click for a larger image):

I'm getting pretty disgusted with the fact that I cannot seem to hear any honest political dialogue with the exception of cartoonists, comedians, a few people on MSNBC and a handful of bloggers.

The fascination with claptrap like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars serves as nothing but a collective "lalala I can't hear from you" from the hoi polloi, and it makes me sick to my stomach.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Michael Steele: Change the GOP cannot believe in

Michael Steele is presenting the Republican party's make-over in this "change is a teabag douchebag" address:

Sad and yet hilarious. Remember eight years ago when the conservatives were saying Howard Dean might say something untoward?

Michael Steele is so lame he cannot even be a decent douchebag. But because the Cheneys are taking the week off ...

Surely someone on the Right will stand up and claim this week's prize. Who's out there? Hannity? Coulter? Malkin? Don't let your side down now.

Newt? Sarah? Billo? Hello?

Your party needs you. Represent.

While we wait for a response, let's go ahead and put Harry Reid on the "Douchebag of the Week" list for agreeing with his Oklahoma Republican colleague, Jim Inhofe, that we can't close Guantanamo because that would mean we would have to put 'terrorists' in American prisons. And that is unacceptable.

Harry Reid -- like all the Republicans -- is terrified of those terrible 'terrists' in Guantanamo being held in a prison in this country. I'm not sure why; maybe because they might break out, or get out because they haven't committed any crime, or because they might convert our nice American prisoners to Islam and terrorism or maybe because we would have to finally give them those pesky "rights" like due process or free speech or something.

*slaps forehead*

Harry Reid is the weakest Senate majority leader I can ever imagine.

Monday, May 18, 2009

And the Douchie goes to ...

Liz Cheney, for her magnanimous sack of BS accusing the President of the United States of supporting the terrorists, and calling him "un-American":

Somebody take this horribly delusional person outside and shoot her for treason, or just for having a brain that has gone bad. Or something. Anything.

Honorable mention goes to our very own Governor Suckseed, for continuing to milk a dead horse (click on this one; it goes to Steven Colbert):

If Rick Perry can find a new shtick, he's liable to earn membership in the Douchebag Hall of Fame.

The Weekly Wrangle

Here's this week's edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog post round-up.

At Bluedaze, TXsharon asks: What are the chances that an industry in charge of conducting its own testing to determine waste disposal methods will find toxin levels too high if that means disposal of the waste will be more costly? Read Landfarms: Spreading Toxic Drilling Waste on Farmland (with video).

BossKitty at TruthHugger sees lessons never learned ... it is NOT about religion, ya'll! How does it fit that US military crusader evangelists want to save these souls right before we blow them away. How can we justify putting Muslims on death row, by their own people, just because we convinced them to become APOSTATES?! General Order Number One, Forbid Proselytizing -- Evangelists Cannot Protect Murtads. Wars fought using 12th-century religious mentality means that civilization has taken two steps backwards!

Mean Rachel is reminded on Mother's Day of children, the lack thereof and why the pill should be available over the counter.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know how can Rick Perry brag about how well Texas is doing when over 22% of our children face hunger every day?

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News showed a video from the Texas Freedom Network of our own Texas Department of Miseducation in action.

WhosPlayin covered the Denton County Democrats' election of a new county chair, after previous chairman Neil Durrance resigned to run for U.S. Congress in District 26 in 2010.

The bad news is that unemployment keeps rising in Texas. The good news is that means there's more federal stimulus money available for unemployment insurance, if the Lege and Governor Perry take it. Off the Kuff has the details.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the latest stunt by our member of Congress, AusChron asks a question about Rep. John Carter -- is he a nutball?

Neil at Texas Liberal is very glad that the left won a big election victory in India: Strong Victory For Center-Left Congress Party In India --World's Two Largest Democracies Now Firmly Reject Conservatives.

Harry Balczak is a little upset. Come by McBlogger so you to can understand how much he hates the idea of Texas becoming so $%@*$%%^ puritanical.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston says it is time to sunset Bob Perry's Builder Commission.

This week Teddy at Left of College Station covers President Obama's decision to continue to use the Bush administration commissions to prosecute detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Also, Wednesday Teddy will be a co-host of Biased Transmission, a progressive talk radio show on the community radio station 89.1FM KEOS. This week Jim Olson, Texas A&M University senior lecturer and CIA-officer-in-residence, will return to the show to discuss the "enhanced interrogations" used during the Bush Administration.

Over at TexasKaos, liberaltexan takes on the Obama administration's decision to continue the military Con-Missions. He seems to believe we should, like, trust our own judicial institutions and not make up new, untested ones with no demonstration of necessity or superiority. See his diary, President Obama to Continue Con-Missions.

Xanthippas at Three Wise Men takes heed of journalist Ahmed Rashid's warnings about Pakistan, which teeters on the brink of chaos.

Good ol' boy Gene Green got real scared by some progressive activists who came to his office this past week. PDiddie recounted the poor Congressman's terror at Brains and Eggs.

And lastly but not leastly, Citizen Sarah over at Texas Vox, one of the newest members of TPA, celebrates a victory for renewable energy as the Senate passes through a non-wind renewable portfolio standard. Translation from green geek speech: Lots more solar power for Texas!

Thanks, Rockets

It was a great run. We knew that Kobe's crew was probably a little too much ...

... but you sure threw a scare into them.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

McChrystal and Pelosi (and Obama and Tillman and torture and Afghanistan)

First an introduction if you haven't met:

Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the ascetic who is set to become the new top American commander in Afghanistan, usually eats just one meal a day, in the evening, to avoid sluggishness.

He is known for operating on a few hours’ sleep and for running to and from work while listening to audio books on an iPod. In Iraq, where he oversaw secret commando operations for five years, former intelligence officials say that he had an encyclopedic, even obsessive, knowledge about the lives of terrorists, and that he pushed his ranks aggressively to kill as many of them as possible.

But General McChrystal has also moved easily from the dark world to the light. Fellow officers on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he is director, and former colleagues at the Council on Foreign Relations describe him as a warrior-scholar, comfortable with diplomats, politicians and the military man who would help promote him to his new job.


Most of what General McChrystal has done over a 33-year career remains classified, including service between 2003 and 2008 as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, an elite unit so clandestine that the Pentagon for years refused to acknowledge its existence. But former C.I.A. officials say that General McChrystal was among those who, with the C.I.A., pushed hard for a secret joint operation in the tribal region of Pakistan in 2005 aimed at capturing or killing Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s deputy.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld canceled the operation at the last minute, saying it was too risky and was based on what he considered questionable intelligence, a move that former intelligence officials say General McChrystal found maddening.

When General McChrystal took over the Joint Special Operations Command in 2003, he inherited an insular, shadowy commando force with a reputation for spurning partnerships with other military and intelligence organizations. But over the next five years he worked hard, his colleagues say, to build close relationships with the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. He won praise from C.I.A. officers, many of whom had stormy relationships with commanders running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...

As head of the command, which oversees the elite Delta Force and units of the Navy Seals, General McChrystal was based at Fort Bragg, N.C. But he spent much of his time in Iraq commanding secret missions. Most of his operations were conducted at night, but General McChrystal, described nearly universally as a driven workaholic, was up for most of the day as well.

Now from another fellow named Stan:

That was a P-4 ("personal for") Memo from General McChrystal passing along to POTUS (President of the United States) that the phony-baloney story about the circumstances of Pat Tillman's death could not hold up. The memo was sent less than a week after Pat was killed; and when you read it carefully -- if you can understand this bastardized legal-military-publicity-speak -- it says not only that the author had been involved in the concealment of the circumstances, that he had himself participated in the fraud as one of the approving-signatories for a Silver Star award with demonstrably false statements about the incident.


Obama has his sights on Pakistan -- nuclear Cambodia, for Vietnam-analogy fans -- and the nomination of McChrystal means that Special Operations will run the show (as they did in the early phases of Vietnam).


McChrystal ran Task Force 6-26, which became temporarily famous after the killing of Abu Masab al-Zarqawi, a boogyman figure cultivated by the US military and media complex. What made TF 6-26 infamous was their activity in Camp Nama, Iraq: torture. Massive, systematic, sustained torture, by special operators, under the supervision of Stanley McChrystal, this deceptively soft-spoken officer.

The camp in Baghdad was used almost exclusively for the torture of detainees. The torture went on before, during, and after the scandal at Abu Ghraib. Detainees were killed by their torturers, members of the most elite units in the US armed forces. Almost in celebration of the activity of the camp, placards were hung that said, "No Blood, No Foul," meaning if you don't make them bleed, you can't be charged with the crimes you are committing.

What's this about Camp Nama?

... This was Camp Nama, the home of Task Force 121, the Special Ops team that chased Osama bin Laden and caught Saddam Hussein and would ultimately locate and kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the self-described leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. It was Rumsfeld's baby, the Platonic ideal of his fast and mobile army. From its size to its mission, everything about it was and remains an official secret. Except for the concertina wire, Camp Nama was a nondescript cluster of buildings.

The only thing Jeff knew about Camp Nama was that he'd be able to wear civilian clothes and interrogate "high value" prisoners. In order to get to the second step, he had to go through hours of psychological tests to ensure his fitness for the job.

Nama, it is said, stood for Nasty Ass Military Area. Jeff says there was a maverick, high-speed feeling to the place. Some of the interrogators had beards and long hair and everyone used only first names, even the officers. "When you ask somebody their name, they don't offer up the last name," Jeff says. "When they gave you their name it probably wasn't their real name anyway." ...

It was a point of pride that the Red Cross would never be allowed in the door, Jeff says. This is important because it defied the Geneva Conventions, which require that the Red Cross have access to military prisons. "Once, somebody brought it up with the colonel. 'Will they ever be allowed in here?' And he said absolutely not. He had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there's no way that the Red Cross could get in — they won't have access and they never will. This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating, even Army investigators."

Note the date on that article. Here's a bit from Andrew Sullivan. Keep in mind -- if you have read more than just the excerpts I have posted -- that both Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld were big fans of Stan McChrystal and TF 6-26 and 121 and the rest.

Its motto: "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." McChrystal appears to be the anti-Petraeus. No wonder Cheney loves him. But why then did Obama pick him for Afghanistan? In the wake of horrifying news of unintended civilian casualties, in a war where the US is already intensely unpopular, Obama has picked a leader who can be directly linked to the worst images and incidents of prisoner torture and abuse under Bush.

And one can't help but wonder at the same time: is McChrystal the reason for the sudden volte-face on the abuse photos?

Let's wrap this up with the moneyshot from Stan Goff ...

Impunity. McChrystal represents a culture of impunity.

Pelosi does, too. Be honest.


Obama's support for McChrystal will be matched by Pelosi's support for McChrystal, and they will be mixed up in all this, seeking non-accountability as relentlessly as any Rumsfeld or McChrystal.

Stanley McChrystal is mixed up in all this, and not necessarily as a proselytizer. He's just mixed up in it, because this tendency in the military and his personal career happen to correspond in time and space. What both of them are is killers. They have made professional careers out of killing, and their units were not the little Special Forces A-Detachments with their peculiar linguists and trainers. These guys -- Boykin, McChrystal -- worked in "direct action" units. Rangers. Delta. JSOC. Direct action is another euphemism. It means destroying something, someone, someones.

Now it seems we are training a generation of people to torture; and I wonder if the crazy ideas are leading people to torture others, or if torturing others is the perverted origin of the penchant for male death-cult thinking.

The practice in question here, finally, is torture.

That's where Boykin and McChrystal collaborated in Iraq. A torture camp.

That's what has Pelosi on the spot now, too. Or the CIA. Or both.


What does torture say about us; and what does what we say about torture say about us?

I already know the answer to that question, and so does Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. The real question is why don't they give a damn.

And the answer to that is: impunity.

24-carat stupidity

I think I'll comment on this just because it apparently pisses this ignorant bitch off:

No matter how hard President Obama tries to turn the page on the previous administration, he can’t. Until there is true transparency and true accountability, revelations of that unresolved eight-year nightmare will keep raining down drip by drip, disrupting the new administration’s high ambitions.

That’s why the president’s flip-flop on the release of detainee abuse photos — whatever his motivation — is a fool’s errand. The pictures will eventually emerge anyway, either because of leaks (if they haven’t started already) or because the federal appeals court decision upholding their release remains in force. And here’s a bet: These images will not prove the most shocking evidence of Bush administration sins still to come.

I've been hearing "We did worse things than that at my fraternity initiation" for years. From relatives. Well, obviously those idiots must have missed seeing the photos of the corpses, because even fraternity brothers get prosecuted for murder.

Not sure where Gold-Plated Witch falls on the sodomizing of the children at Abu Ghraib, beyond "it worked".

Don't be stupid like her and stop at the first paragraph; read the entire Rich commentary.

Torturers and supporters blame Pelosi for not stopping them

"There's nothing wrong with torture, but Nancy Pelosi knew about it!"

Never underestimate the ability of conservatives to torture logic. Let's go to the MoDo:

(A) lot of the hoo-ha around Pelosi makes it sound as if she knew stuff that no one else had any inkling of, when in fact the entire world had a pretty good idea of what was happening. The Bushies plied their dark arts in broad daylight. Besides, the question of what Pelosi knew or didn’t, or when she did or didn’t know, is irrelevant to how W. and Cheney broke the law and authorized torture.

B-B-B-But Nancy was briefed. Indeed she was -- though the details of precisely what remain cloudy. The timing isn't in dispute, however: It was 2002. And Nancy Pelosi was the ranking minority member of the House Intelligence committee. Dennis Hastert was Speaker. Porter Goss (he went on to head the CIA, you will recall) was the chairman of that committee. Hastert lobbies for the Turkish government now, and Goss is "an active speaker on the lecture circuit".

Pesky things, them facts.

If we actually had did have a "liberal" media, it wouldn't be necessary for bloggers to point out hypocrisy this vile.

Now let's be clear: I don't like Pelosi. I think she is far too politically calculating and prevaricating for my approval. And I frankly consider her to be a lousy leader of Congressional Democrats. (I'll have a post later today that goes into greater detail about my personal beef with Madam Speaker.)

But that the Republicans have raised their collective voices to a screech about her as the issue is nothing more than the same old shit from them.

"Please stop torturing us, Dick!"

Calvin Borel's Triple Crown

Calvin Borel atop Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra, the first female to win the race since 1924.

The last leg of racing's Triple Crown runs in three weeks at New York's Belmont race track. And whether or not he rides Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird -- whose late charge nearly clipped Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness -- Calvin Borel has already won life's race.

“You don’t forget the people who brung you here,” Borel said. “Just cause I’ve gotten on a million-dollar horse doesn’t mean I can’t still get on a $5,000 one.” ...

It has been the rhythm of his life since he began his apprenticeship in Vinton, La., where Cecil had a stable of 60 horses at Delta Downs. Borel remains Boo, short for Boo-Boo, which his parents, Clovis and Ella, thought they had made when their fifth son was born. On the racetrack, he is called Bo-Rail for his insistence on taking the shortest route.

Borel learned the business from the ground up, mucking out stalls, changing horses’ bandages, rubbing their legs, working them out in the mornings and racing them in the afternoons. Fourteen-hour days were the norm, and Cecil was a demanding teacher.

“We didn’t have much book education,” Cecil Borel said. “But we’ve worked very hard. I’m proud that Calvin has earned everything he’s gotten.”

When Borel broke ribs, punctured a lung and had his spleen removed after a spill at Evangeline Downs in Lafayette, La., Cecil was among the first to comfort him. When Borel returned to the track, however, Cecil put him on the same horse, a filly named Miss Touchdown, for his first race.

They won.

Sunday Funnies

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Douchie" entries: Liz Cheney, Bill O'Reilly, Joe Barton again

Dick's little girl goes to bat for Dad:

Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz told Fox that she believes the Obama administration is only "interested in releasing things that really paint America in a negative light." In Cheney's view, the White House has decided "to side with the terrorists" by putting "information out that hurts American soldiers." Cheney also questioned whether the President really cares about American troops.

The apple fell right next to the tree. You stay classy, little lady.

It almost doesn't seem fair to include Billo the Clown in "Douchebag" competition since he is so overpowering on a daily basis. "Douchies" really ought to be for the occasional ignominious outburst by someone who generally knows precisely what they are prevaricating. But since he invoked Nazis (and thus Godwin's Law) he gets an honorable mention.

Here we link Keith Olbermann with the blow-by-blow smackdown of O'Reilly:

There is a transcript here.

And finally, inaugural week runner-up Smokey Joe Barton gets in on the "Douchebag"action again this week, with his conflation that CO2 exhaled by people is the same thing as CO2 emitted by chemical plants (via Think Progress):

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), known as “Smokey Joe” for his efforts on behalf of big polluters, is one of Congress’s most aggressive deniers of man-made climate change. For instance, in March, he said that the climate is changing “for natural variation reasons” and that to deal with it, humans should just “get shade.”

In a new interview with Newsmax, Barton continued his nonsensical approach to the issue, claiming that the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate carbon dioxide would potentially “close down the New York and Boston marathons“:

Barton says the average healthy adult exhales between four-tenths of a ton and seven-tenths of a ton of CO2 a year.

“So if you put 20,000 marathoners into a confined area, you could consider that a single source of pollution, and you could regulate it,” Barton says. “The key would be whether the EPA said that 20,000 people running the same route was one source or not.”

One indication that the EPA likely would consider 20,000 runners a single source of pollution is that the agency is trying to regulate waste-water runoff and emissions of drilling rigs in oil fields by attempting to define entire areas as a single source of pollution, Barton says.

A common conservative attack against addressing greenhouse gas emissions is to say that there are natural sources of CO2, so if we regulate industry we would have to regulate those sources as well. But this is straw man argument. As the the EPA notes, it is industrial sources of CO2, not natural sources, that “have increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere“:

Natural sources of CO2 occur within the carbon cycle where billions of tons of atmospheric CO2 are removed from the atmosphere by oceans and growing plants, also known as ‘sinks,’ and are emitted back into the atmosphere annually through natural processes also known as ‘sources.’ When in balance, the total carbon dioxide emissions and removals from the entire carbon cycle are roughly equal.

Since the Industrial Revolution in the 1700’s, human activities, such as the burning of oil, coal and gas, and deforestation, have increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. In 2005, global atmospheric concentrations of CO2 were 35% higher than they were before the Industrial Revolution.

In the interview, Barton mocked the EPA’s recent declaration that carbon dioxide was a pollutant that endangers public health and welfare. “There’s never been anybody who’s been treated in an emergency room for CO2 poisoning. It doesn’t cause asthma; it doesn’t cause your eyes to water; it doesn’t cause cancer.”

Of course, the EPA declared CO2 a threat to public health because of the catastrophic consequences of climate change, not because it is a carcinogen.

Who's your favorite Douchebag so far this week? Remember: no votes for Liz Cheney's pop; we want him to keep running his mouth.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quackery in Obama's health care proposal

President Obama on Monday praised health care industry groups for coming together to try and cut $2 trillion in expenses over the next decade to slow the rising cost of medical care.

At a White House news conference flanked by industry officials, Obama called the meeting of officials "who often fought with each other" a "historic day, a watershed event in the long quest for health care reform."

Bullshit. $2 trillion can be "saved" in healthcare costs? What is being lost? Healthcare profits? Research?

"If these savings are truly achieved, this may be the most significant development on the path to health care reform," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, which advocates for expanded health care coverage. "It would cut health costs for families and businesses, and it would enable adequate subsidies to be offered so that everyone has access to quality affordable health care."

Six medical trade groups, including the American Medical Association and America's Health Insurance Plans, which represents health insurance companies, have agreed to the cost-cutting. Health care costs would continue to rise, just not as quickly.

That last sentence still isn't a satisfactory explanation. Jeffrey Young at The Atlantic shares my skepticism:

Organizations representing the biggest players in the health care market promised President Obama on Monday that they'd find ways to cut national health spending by an astonishing $2 trillion over the next 10 years. Later that day, executives from these industries told the press that their companies' bottom lines would not suffer as a result. Whatever happened to Alfred E. Neuman's Cosmic Health Care Equation?

Among other things, this seems to be the latest example of health care industry lobbyists and executives trying to reassure investors that the sweeping reform plan being assembled by the Obama administration and the Democratically controlled Congress isn't going to put them out of business.

I'm still a great deal less concerned about the impact of this on the companies' stock prices, but that's just me.

At a press briefing in Washington Monday, health care executives were asked to explain how, for example, physicians and hospitals could maintain their incomes if spending were $2 trillion less over 10 years.

"I do believe that these savings can be achieved without detrimental impact on all of the groups that you described," Thomas Priselac, the president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Health System said. "It will be important as we go through this reform that the payments that are provided be adequate for people to do what it is we're talking about in a new and different system."

Here's what Jay Gellert, President and CEO of the insurance company Health Net said: "I think we believe that we can do it without undermining the viability" private health care companies, he said. "The unique opportunity that we have now is to provide care to 40 or 50 million people if we successfully do this."

"I think that overall, that the efficiencies we'll bring will more than make up for the cuts, for the savings that we gain," Gellert said.

There's that smell of feces again. Besides the two corporate titans listed above, the assembled participants included PhRMA President (and former Congressman) Billy Tauzin, the heads of Merck, Kaiser, and the AMA, and SEIU chief Andy Stern.

I'm almost as disappointed in Stern helping peddle this crock as I am Obama.

Gene Green: still scared of progressives

Every time I start to like ol' Gene, he screws it up:

Representatives from a number of Houston organizations held a press conference and rally near Congressman Gene Green's east Houston office, after being prevented from doing so on the property where his office is located.

The group at the press conference today included religious, community, educational, and labor leaders, teachers and students, environmentalists, scientists, health professionals, and small business owners. ...

Following the event, one of the attendees tried to deliver a letter to Rep. Green's office stating her concerns, but was prevented from even going up to the office by the building security guard.

The group had tried to meet with Green or his chief of staff on March 2, when Green was in town, but he told the group something had come up and he had to leave town the morning of the meeting, and a substitute meeting with his chief of staff was canceled because that person was not available either.

Before the press conference yesterday, Bill Crosier and Ron Hayden went up to Green's office on the 4th floor at 11811 East Freeway to let his staff know they were here and invite them to attend, but found the door locked. Rep. Green had been previously invited to join the group at the press conference. A note on the door said the office was closed today because the staff was at a senior activity.

Crosier and Hayden were met by a security guard who asked if they were there for the "protest". They replied they were there for a press conference, not a protest, and hoped representatives of Rep. Green's office would be in attendance because his constituents wanted him to know how they felt about impending climate change legislation. They asked if the press conference could be held in the atrium of the building and were told no. They then asked if it could be held outside the building on the east or west sides, and were told no. The guard said the building management had been contacted by Green's office and the management said they could not hold the press conference anywhere on the property, not even on the parking lot.

Once outside, the guard and Officer Joseph C. Cram, with the Criminal Intelligence Division of the Houston Police Department, both told the group that they could not hold the press conference or any event anywhere on the property. Other police also arrived, apparently concerned about the event as well.

The group then moved to the parking lot of an adjacent property.

Good ol' boy Gene is on the House Energy and Commerce committee (chaired by Henry Waxman of California). The committee is holding hearings regarding climate change legislation under consideration by Congress.

So you would think ol' Gene might be interested in some input from some of his constituents. Well, he is, it's just that he thinks his only constituents are five refineries and "more chemical plants than (he) can count":

"I’d like to vote for a bill,” Green said. “But I’m not going to vote for one unless I think it’s going to be good for the area I represent.”...

Green has told congressional leaders and President Barack Obama that some carbon dioxide emission allowances will have to be given for free to refiners in order to win his support.

Green has become the main lawmaker pushing for free allowances for refiners, as one of just four Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee representing states with big refining operations. The others are Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La., Charlie Gonzalez, D-Texas, and Jim Matheson, D-Utah.

Maybe we should let ol' Gene know that there are some concerned citizens who have to breathe the air that comes out of his district.

Ol' Gene is just one of those old-timers who's a little bit scared of "libruls". It's a mild, moderate case of fear and loathing, the kind you see more often in acute and chronic conservatism.

Maybe a dose of contested primary could cure that.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Showdown looming on voter ID bill

The bill requiring personal identification at Texas polls in order to be able to cast a ballot was passed out of its legislative committee today with the Republican chairman predicting its defeat.

Capitol Annex reports that a Democrat -- Joe Heflin -- helped vote the bill onto the floor. But Todd Smith still doesn't think it will pass:

"I just don't think the votes are there."

"It's pretty clear you can pass a bill like the Senate passed out when you have a 19-12 majority. It's not clear that you can pass that or anything else on this subject with a 76-74 majority in which we have some very independently minded people who make up those marginal votes," said Smith.

So far, Smith's efforts to find a bipartisan compromise have failed.

"You have to have significant numbers of people on both sides of the aisle accept the notion that it's going to be something other than a partisan cram-down," Smith said.

Many Republicans have said they will support the bill only if it contains tough photo identification requirements, while Democrats have said they want additional voter identification documents as well as expanded voter registration efforts. The Democrats control the field because several moderate Republicans are likely to vote against the bill, giving the Democrats a majority to kill it.

"Unless we develop a more pragmatic approach member by member and a stronger desire to reach some bipartisan compromise, then my guess is it's somewhat less than 50 percent to pass a bill," Smith said. "It's clear some members are interested in making a statement. They're not interested in passing a bill."

Lots of others have covered this in the run-up to next week's showdown. See also Rep. Aaron Pena's blog, Elise Hu at Political Junkie, DMN's Trail Blazers, and Gardner Selby's Postcards from the Lege. Update: And Burnt Orange.

Update II: The TDP press release lines up both Smith and Speaker Joe Straus in its sights:

... Smith had stated that the Voter ID bill should expand access and not take effect immediately, while the Senate bill does nothing to expand access and would take effect immediately.

A look at Chairman Smith’s statements:

· "It is my intent to have a part of the legislation that is intended to assure that the net effect of the legislation is to expand access and not restrict it." [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 4/22/09].

· "It's not something that's going to take effect immediately." [San Angelo Standard-Times, 3/29/09].

“Todd Smith may talk a good game, but when pressured by the right-wing of his party, he allowed a bill to move forward even though it failed the standards he set in committee hearings and public statements,” observed Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Ruben Hernandez. “Smith has punted his principles and soon Texans will see if Speaker Straus will fumble his opportunity to prove that he is a leader who will not allow the priorities of the Texas House to be dictated by a narrow partisan agenda.”

Update III: And Kuffner ...

The alleged "problem" that this bill is supposed to address is rarer than getting hit by lightning while being eaten by a shark, yet it's been deemed the single most important issue facing Texas today by those who fear for their electoral future if those damn voters can't be stopped. One certainly could have put forth a bill that would have genuinely addressed legitimate issues, ranging from verifiable audit trails to obstacles to getting registered to actual fraud involving absentee ballots, but Smith's Republican colleagues have never been interested in passing such a bill, as they have made perfectly clear. Given all this, the most sensible thing to do would have been to conclude that there are many more pressing issues that require the Lege's attention, but that wasn't gonna happen, either. So from the GOP's perspective, they either get a half a loaf, ot they get what they think will be a juicy campaign issue, or possibly both. You have to give them credit for keeping on with the wedge issues in the age of Obama, for however much longer that will work. I suppose if your piano only has one key, you play that note for all it's worth and hope nobody notices how monotonic you are.

Update IV
: From Harvey Kronberg, on Heflin's aye ...

In the wake of today’s committee vote on Voter ID, some members of the Democratic caucus are expressing dismay with Joe Heflin’s vote to kick out the bill. One Democratic lawmaker, who asked that he not be named, said the caucus was unhappy with the Crosbyton Democrat for giving Republicans the opportunity to say that Voter ID had bipartisan support in committee.

Democrats acknowledge that Heflin could not have stopped the bill, because Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) presumably would have voted aye if he became the deciding vote. As it was, Heflin’s aye vote gave Bonnen the cover to vote against a bill that he considered not strong enough.

For his part, Heflin disagreed with his colleague’s assessment, saying that he made plain his disappointment with the bill when he voted today. He said that people in his district want a Voter ID bill so he was voting his district by supporting the Senate version of the Voter ID bill today.

Classic Wanda

Not over the top at all.


Wanda Sykes' comedy routine at the White House Correspondent's Dinner was really offensive. In it, Sykes suggested that conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is supported by Hamas, and that Islamists are "constantly issuing Limbaugh talking points." She joked about terrorists supporting conservatives in general, suggesting that recent violent events in Iraq are attempts by terrorists to swing the upcoming midterm elections in favor of Republicans.

Then she got really personal. She joked that Limbaugh was a racist who doesn't want black people to "escap[e] the underclass." She accused him of being responsible for killing "a million babies a year," and aired her friend's theory that Limbaugh himself was a terrorist attack," a followup to 9/11. She also, most disgustingly, said that if conservatives kept apologizing to Limbaugh, they'd eventually contract "anal poisoning." She wondered when Republicans would finally stop "bending over and grabbing their ankles" for Limbaugh, and finally concluded that Limbaugh was just a "bad guy."

Oh wait. Wanda Sykes didn't say any of these things. These are things Rush Limbaugh has said about Obama or other Democrats in the past year, the kind of statements few reporters found offensive enough to write about, despite the fact that most of them were said with the utmost seriousness. And while Sykes is a mere comedian whose influence on the Democratic Party is negligible, Limbaugh's influence in the party is so great that Republican leaders can't even criticize him without having to issue apologies after the fact.

Post Cinco de Mom-o Wrangle

Time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly round-up.

The city of DISH, TX is one of several municipalities that have already adopted a resolution calling for the repeal of Big Oil's exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act. TXsharon gives DISH a high-five and hopes your group, organization, club, city or county will do the same, at Bluedaze.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad the internets have Texas Progressive Alliance! The Republicans have their house of cards and a batsh*t crazy base.

BossKitty at TruthHugger sees danger in the watered down, dumbed down attempt to educate students by committee. Sanitized History, Truth or Consequences is an example of why education needs serious attention.

Houston political reporter Jane Ely passed away this week. PDiddie collected some recollections of her life at Brains and Eggs.

WhosPlayin was totally absorbed in the municipal elections in Lewisville, and was glad to see conservative radio talk host Winston Edmondson soundly defeated by 30 points in his bid to turn Lewisville into the next Farmers Branch.

Is it a good idea to give TXDOT it's own taxpayer funded investment bank? Yeah, McBlogger doesn't think so, either.

Over at TexasKaos, lightseeker thinks it is time to reconsider moral absolutism in politics. He talks about how Obama made progress on this issue nationally and how his tactics may apply in Texas. Check out his posting:Moral Absolutism and Politics - What Obama's Victory Has to Say to Texas Progressives

Off the Kuff takes a look at the latest polls in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson has a wrap-up of the action taken on the TxDOT Sunset bill in the House last week: CDA/PPP’s kicked to House Transportation Committee.

Neil at Texas Liberal writes that using Twitter in politics may well have the effect of further isolating a narrow elite from the larger mass of folks.

Vince at Capitol Annex discusses the right wing's e-mail lobbying campaign against legislation that would have subjected the State Board of Education to sunset review provisions.

And Teddy (aka Liberal Texan) at Left of College Station is back after a month-long hiatus and blogging as one of the newest members of the Texas Progressive Alliance. This past week he covered the Bryan city council election (despite being uncontested) and the College Station city council election campaign for Place 4 and Place 6.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lazarus has nothing on the Rockets

Aaron Brooks danced about the middle of the floor, his red-hot right hand raised and held above his head as the 18,313 at Toyota Center roared at levels they have rarely reached before.

Brooks had just thrown himself hard to the court in pursuit of a loose ball, tearing it away from Trevor Ariza before getting up to nail a 3-pointer for a 27-point Rockets lead that inspired even Phil Jackson to halt things with a timeout, the only way the Lakers could stop the Rockets all afternoon.

Reeling hours earlier from the loss of center Yao Ming for the season, the Rockets took it out on the Lakers, dominating the game from the start to take a stunning 99-87 win to send the Western Conference semifinals back to Los Angeles tied two games apiece.

Whatever else they do or don't accomplish this season, the Rockets have already earned -- with their Game 1 upset in LA, and this win without Yao today -- an A-plus in determination, heart, and guts.