Monday, June 29, 2009

Pre-Fourth Wrangle

Time for an extra-patriotic rendition of the Texas Progressive Alliance weekly blog post roundup.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Three Wise Men are willing to pay a tax on their favorite junk food to pay for health care reform.'s video bring you EXTREME Congressional Town Hall -- Special "Losing our freedoms" edition, sponsored by Prozac.

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

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

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

Friday, June 26, 2009

Farrah Fawcett 1947 - 2009 and Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009

More to write about these two '70's icons -- they were closer to equal in pop culture influence than my teevee is currently demonstrating -- when I have time to write about it.

For now, there is a definite emptiness I feel when I look at their images and consider all that they were at the apex of my youth. There is a scene in Saturday Night Fever where John Travolta is looking in the mirror, feathering his hair with the blowdryer (I used to be able to do that). Reflected in the mirror is that poster of Farrah. You know the one: all hair and teeth and nipples. My younger brother had one up in the bedroom we shared. The Bee Gees and Michael Jackson and the discos were my generation's Twitter. We social-networked on the dance floor.

Jackson and I were just one month apart, age-wise. Farrah, you know by now, grew up in Corpus and went to UT, where men -- well, boys I suppose -- lined up at her dorm to ask her out.

Respect and links to others and pictures to be posted later.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

And starring Mark Sanford as Ray Bolger

I'm afraid there's no denyin'

I can't say I'm not lyin'
I'm just a hypocrite!

(de-dee, de-dee-dee-dee-dee)

I went to Argentina
To see my señorita,
And I stepped into some shit!

How about a second verse?

There's no need to search that mountain,
I'm not naked in some fountain,
I'm sorry for bein' gone.

I just went south of the border,
Cuz I have a brain disorder,
I just had to get it on.

So I left my wife and children,
because I'm ethic-ally barren
And I had some on the side.

You would think that I would suffer
And the media somewhat rougher.
Good thing I'm Republican.

(Shamelessly ripped off from here)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hiking the Appalachian Trail in the nude isn't exotic enough?

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is telling a newspaper that he was in Argentina during his unexplained 5-day absence, not hiking along the Appalachian Trail as his office previously said.

The Republican told The State newspaper in South Carolina that he arrived at the Atlanta airport today.

Sanford says he decided at the last minute to go to the South American country. The governor says he had considered hiking on the Appalachian Trail but wanted to do something “exotic.”

Let's just hope, for the sake of saving what may remain of conservative Republican face, that it was a woman he was with and not a man. Still, even the Republicans in South Carolina may not get over it any time soon:

"Lies. Lies. Lies. That's all we get from his staff. That's all we get from his people. That's all we get from him," said state Sen. Jake Knotts, R-West Columbia. "Why all the big cover-up?"

Why indeed.

The (still hot) Weekly Wrangle

Your grass turned brown? Water rationing keeping you from saving it? Is your air conditioning unit in its last throes, if you will? Well sit back and relax; you'll always have the best of the Texas Progressive Alliance to keep you cool.

President Obama, Bill White, and John Sharp are all in the same sinking DOMA boat. The Texas Cloverleaf comes off of hiatus to tell you why.

CouldBeTrue from South Texas Chisme cheers the impeachment of Judge Kent. Four articles passed without a single nay. Let's hope the Senate is through with him by August.

BossKitty at TruthHugger finally signed up for Twitter to get updates on the Iran protests. What a day of drama and emotion it brought: Icons and Martyrs: All Day On Twitter Watching Iran. But he was really meaning to highlight the regressive influences causing upheaval in personal lives, especially in Texas: Immigration Policies and Gay Rights Contradictions.

Unlike Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign, Neil at Texas Liberal makes a promise he'll keep -- He'll never cheat on his wife! Also, Neil sings the Damned's Wait For The Blackout at the Houston Ship Channel.

Off the Kuff takes a look, then a second look, at the bills Governor Perry vetoed.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson knows in order to solve big problems it takes leadership. Who is willing to lead, who has enough LBJ in them?

Castle Hills Democrats heard candidates Tom Schieffer, John Sharp, Bill White, and Neil Durrance speak at the two-county Fish Fry in north Texas. The blogger reviews their messages -- and reports on feedback from the Dems in the audience.

WhosPlayin investigated the claim by a former Lewisville mayoral candidate that the city is hiring illegal aliens for its road projects because one of its contractors doesn't yet use the E-Verify program.

Teddy at Left of College Station writes about escorting at Planned Parenthood and how what happens in Kansas doesn't stay in Kansas. Also a report from the T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Facility and the protest on Saturday (including exclusive photographs).

Big Gas wants you to believe that regulating hydraulic fracturing is a state's rights issue. The truth: Only one state in the US regulates hydraulic fracturing. TXsharon busts the Big Gas bubble again on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Citizen groups opposed to new coal plants being built in Robertson County and near Victoria were given a chance to intervene last week when two of the 12 newly proposed coal plants in Texas had preliminary hearings for their waste water permits. Check out the video over at Public Citizen's Texas Vox.

Over at TexasKaos, Libby Shaw tells us that Dumb, Self-serving Politicians Make Dumb, Self-serving Decisions. What a surprise that Governor Goodhair takes the starring role in this little drama. Check out the details.

Do you love the Real Housewives on Bravo? Were you a little less than impressed by the NJ version? So was Barfly over at McBlogger.

Sunday Funnies (yes, on Wednesday)

I enjoyed my time away, did you? As always, click on the toon for a bigger, more readable view:

Monday, June 15, 2009

The (hot) Weekly Wrangle

That would be the temperature as well as the quality of information contained in the best of the Texas Progressive Alliance blog posts for the week.

TXsharon can't choose one post this week! It's a toss up between the aerial video view of Barnett Shale Industrial Wasteland Texas or the Barnett Shale drilling-induced earthquakes or Erin Brockovich does Midland or the governmental warnings about defective pipeline materials on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Xanthippas at Three Wise Men blogs about how utterly ridiculous it is for us to pay a tiny South Pacific nation to take Guantanamo Bay detainees because we are a nation of bed-wetting, pearl-clutching morons.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson analyzes what might possibly happen in the upcoming special session in Perry calls a special -- what gets done is up to him.

Off the Kuff looks at a Lone Star Project report on state rep. Dwayne Bohac and his questionable relationship with an employee of the Harris County tax assessor's office.

BossKitty at TruthHugger sees a growing pandemic of hate that erupts in violence. See the diagnosis: Scapegoat Lessons: Holocaust Museum ‘Act Of Cowardice’.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad that Judge Kent is going to jail. Too bad his sentence wasn't longer. CBT can hardly wait to see his impeachment hearing in the senate.

This week, McBlogger finds out that the 290E tollway will be built using stimulus dollars. Which means Austinites will pay three different taxes to support this road.

John at Bay Area Houston wonders about the lack of diversity at the Nancy Pelosi event in Houston.

Citizen Sarah at Texas Vox wonders if the specter of Texas losing its leadership role creating clean energy jobs is scary enough to address in a special session.

George at The Texas Blue thinks that forced arbitration with credit card and cell phone companies is fundamentally unjust, but forced arbitration in a rape case is just disgusting.

Teddy at Left of College Station reports on whether or not America is actually becoming more “pro-life” and looks deeper into the polls to find that opinions on reproductive rights are much more complicated, and also covers this week in the headlines.

Neil at Texas Liberal writes about Juneteenth. Juneteeth is June 19th and it has a Galveston origin.

Midland's chromium 6 contamination got more linkage from PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Over at TexasKaos, liberaltexan asks, what exactly does the latest abortion survey mean? He answers not much new, since it does a poor job of asking the question and sorting out the nuances of public opinion. See the rest here: Are More Americans Pro-Life?

Justin at AAA-Fund Blog took some time to remember Tim Russert.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Closing ranks behind a scandal

Leo Vasquez, Harris County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar, issued a statement that dismissed complaints that Johnson’s job, which can include approving or rejecting voter applications, conflicts with his side business.

“Ed Johnson is an honorable man,” Vasquez said. “It is slanderous and absolutely reprehensible to suggest without evidence that he is involved in inappropriate activity with regard to voter registration in Harris County.”

Bullshit, Leo. You squeal like a stuck pig every single time somebody shows you the dirt under your fingernails. You're a hack. A token Latin hack, at that.

Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos’ campaign paid more than $7,000 last year to CDS. She said late Wednesday her campaign hired CDS for targeted campaign mailers but she did not know about Johnson’s job with the county.

She insisted she saw no compromise of the elections office’s mission.

“I saw no conflict,” Lykos said.

Now that's the kind of hypocrisy Harris County Republicans are more accustomed to: blind injustice.

Gee, ya think there's any chance Attorney General Greg Abbott will investigate?

Huckabee's "mushy middle"

Great news; the Republicans are still not getting it:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee warned Republicans Wednesday against moving to the "mushy middle," arguing that only clearly stated conservative policies can bring the party back to power. ...

"I hear people who give advice that the Republicans need to moderate. They need to be a little more to the left," Huckabee said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It sounds like advice that Democrats would give to us so that we'd never win another election ever."

Some argue that Republicans have lost Congress and the White House because they've turned the party over to social and religious conservatives, driving away moderates and independents. Huckabee made precisely the opposite argument.

"It's when they move to the mushy middle and get squishy that they get beat," he said.

Pastor Mike, patron saint of adult onset diabetes, he of the big mushy middle himself -- having lost all that weight -- is readying himself for a run in 2012. He's got to sound as tough as Newt and Dick, though, so he's throwing his own (stir-fried lightly) red meat to the mad-dog base.

You remember the right-wing base; they shoot doctors and museum guards, don't they.

"Historically, the way we've found our way back to winning, having clear convictions that are conservative and then when elected, act like it," he said. "In every election, when Republicans have had clarity of convictions and those convictions were conservative, they win."

He warned that many Republicans have gone astray by buying into President Barack Obama's big-spending effort to stimulate the economy, a move he called "a big, colossal, utterly disastrous mistake.

"Our Republicans have culpability in that," Huckabee said. "There were some people who questioned whether I was really conservative. I don't want to hear, ever, people ever again talk about how conservative they are if they supported that."

Now that last line there sounds like a shot at Kay Bailey.

Which reminds why Governor MoFo is going to whip her next spring, even with one arm in a sling.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Midland's water contaminated

Erin Brockovich is on it:

"I never thought I'd see another Hinkley, California," Brockovich told CBS News from Midland, Texas, “but I’m afraid I might be wrong."

Hexavalent chromium, Brockovich said, is now being found in significant amounts in the water of over 40 homes in Midland.

"The only difference between here and Hinkley," Brockovich said, "is that I saw higher levels here than I saw in Hinkley."

Midland resident Kay Saythre knew something was wrong, and asked Brockovich to investigate.

"We didn’t really understand why the water was yellow when we filled the pool," Saythre said.

She also conducted a town hall meeting there last night:

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing — green water,” Brockovich, now president of Brockovich Research and Consulting, told a crowd of concerned homeowners and neighbors at the Midland County Horseshoe Arena.

The water looked like Gatorade coming out of the tap at one home near the most hard-hit area of County Road 112. The levels of hexavalent chromium in the wells is the highest she’s ever seen.

Drilling company Schlumberger is the suspected culprit.

Bob Bowcock, Brockovich’s chief environmental investigator, said in his research he has learned the state tested some wells in the area in February 2006 and found the levels to be at 2,600 parts per billion (ppb), well above the 100 ppb safety threshold. However, an error was made and not one of the homeowners was notified of the problem.

Now three years later, some of those levels measure at 5,000 ppb and higher.

“What people are pulling out of their water today, I wouldn’t give to my dogs. Or rats I wanted to kill in my attic,” he said.

There's a website set up for the area's residents.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Conflict of interest in Harris County's voter registration office

You actually thought that when Paul Bettencourt suddenly resigned, and the Texas Democratic Party's lawsuit revealed his voter registration shenanigans (recall the Wite-Out Caper?) that they were cleaning up their act over there? Well, you were wrong:

"This is as blatant a case of election corruption that I have seen,” said Matt Angle of the Lone Star Project, a Democrat activist group.

The Lone Star Project’s complaint revolves around Ed Johnson.

Johnson is the associate voter registrar at the Harris County Tax Assessor Collectors office, but according to state documents, that's just his day job. Johnson is also a paid director of a small company that provides voter data to Republican candidates for office. That company, Campaign Data Systems, billed at least $140,000 in 2008.

"It gets to the fundamental rights in a democracy and that is the right to participate in an election. You've got an individual who has got a partisan axe to grind and that person is determining who gets to vote and who doesn't," Angle said.

No one from the Assessor-Collector's office would comment on the accusation. According to them, this is because a lawsuit against the office that was filed after last year’s General Election could be affected.

As usual, it's not so much the crime as the cover-up:

"The fact that it has a (negative) appearance could have a chilling effect on voter’s confidence," said 11 News Political Expert Bob Stein

Stein says that there is no sign of any legal ethics violation from the documents he has seen, but they could be viewed negatively.

"I think that these are legitimate activities, partisan activities none the less. But the fact that he is not disclosing them and did not think to disclose them, probably raises questions whether he even thought it might be embarrassing to his employer," Stein said.

Already some political adversaries are speaking out.

"That is corruption by definition. You shouldn't have election officials that moonlight as partisan political hacks,” Angle said.

Stein would not go that far, but did say that “at the very least, it was a very embarrassing and awkward position."

Ed Johnson -- recall his testimony on Voter ID, and that of his consort George Hammerlein during the last legislative session -- has to be fired immediately by tax assessor-collector Leo Vasquez. And that would be only a necessary first step.

Charles Kuffner elaborates on the incriminating connection: Johnson's moonlight employer is owned by Rep. Dwayne Bohac. Bohac, like most of the rest of the hard-right in the Texas Lege, humped Voter ID to the detriment of thousands of pieces of important legislation.

And that's the latest accomplishment brought to you once again by the alumni of the Tom DeLay School of Advanced Political Corruption.

Update: See the KHOU video report. And read the Lone Star Project's comprehensive report on the entire sordid affair.

The Weekly Wrangle

The kids are out of school, the temperatures are climbing, the SDEC just met last weekend and accomplished absolutely nothing, and the Texas Progressive Alliance has another blog post round-up. This week's compilation was performed by George Nasser of the Texas Blue.

Neil at Texas Liberal writes about the relocation of the National Cash Register company from Dayton, Ohio to Georgia. Treating people like dirt for 200 years gives Southern states an advantage in creating a so-called "business friendly" low-tax low-wage climate.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is so amazed at the short-sighted policies our state and country continue to pursue. "Buy American" is a path to destruction, as she notes in Isolationist Trends Protect US From Reality.

Lamar Smith wins South Texas Chisme's asshat of the week award. Hyper-partisan Smith thinks all media should be like Fox News.

Who would have thought that an otherwise obscure bill about granting homestead exemptions to folks who lost their house in Hurricane Ike would become the most controversial issue in the first week post-sine die, including a threat by the Land Commissioner to refuse to follow the law if it gets signed by the Governor? Off the Kuff has the details.

Citizen Sarah over at Texas Vox sheds a tear over good environmental bills lost this legislature ... so much for the "solar session".

Burnt Orange Report writer Todd Hill has been selected as an Archer Fellow by UT-Arlington and will be headed to Washington DC in 2010 for a semester.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at the former Tyler mayor looking to replace state representative Leo Berman.

Over at TexasKaos, liberaltexan argues that even Christians at Liberty University should be able to dissent. What a radical idea!

A Devon official strongly suspects a connection between recent North Texas earthquakes and the widespread hydraulic fracturing. Devon and other operators are leaving their mark on TXsharon's statcounter. She wonders what they are so worried about on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Teddy at Left of College Station reports on the College Station red light camera debate, and covers the week in headlines.

Bay Area Houston has the scoop on Perry calling a special session on Voter ID.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the excellent first session for Williamson County's Democratic state representative: Diana Maldonado -- Freshman of the Year.

Robert Reich describes how Big Pharma and Big Insurance plan to kill the public health care option, excerpted at Brains and Eggs.

WhosPlayin has AARP's call for Michael Burgess to act decisively on health care.

This week, McBlogger takes a look at some fashion advice from Details.

Lastly, The Texas Blue looks at the big winners and losers of this year's legislative session in Sine Die: The Aftermath.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Richard Shelby claims the 'Douchebag of the Week'

An unbelievable performance from the senior senator from Alabama:

Jed Lewison picks out the highlights if you can't stand to listen to them:
  • The Obama administration is "obviously" turning America into a socialist nation.
  • "No doubt we're going to government intervention everywhere, government ownership."
  • It all started when Obama bailed out the banks last fall. (Yes, that was when Obama was a candidate and Bush was president, a fact Shelby later acknowledged.)
  • Obama is "destroying the best health care system the world has ever known" by creating an alternative to private health insurance companies.
  • Obama will "destroy the marketplace for health care" and the "American people better be careful in what they want."

Yes we had, Senator Shelby. And what this American person wants and what you want could not be further removed from each other than if I were you and you were RuPaul.

Update: The "best healthcare system the world has ever known" is in 37th place.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Funnies: Some dare call it terrorism

Key Figures in Global Battle Against Illegal Arms Trade Lost in Air France Crash

ARGENTINA: Argentine campaigner Pablo Dreyfus and Swiss colleague Ronald Dreyer battled South American arms and drug trafficking

Amid the media frenzy and speculation over the disappearance of Air France's ill-fated Flight 447, the loss of two of the world's most prominent figures in the war on the illegal arms trade and international drug trafficking has been virtually overlooked.

Pablo Dreyfus, a 39-year-old Argentine who was traveling with his wife Ana Carolina Rodrigues aboard the doomed flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, had worked tirelessly with the Brazilian authorities to stem the flow of arms and ammunition that for years has fuelled the bloody turf wars waged by drug gangs in Rio's sprawling favelas.

Also travelling with Dreyfus on the doomed flight was his friend and colleague Ronald Dreyer, a Swiss diplomat and co-ordinator of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence who had worked with UN missions in El Salvador, Mozambique, Azerbaijan, Kosovo and Angola. Both men were consultants at the Small Arms Survey, an independent think tank based at Geneva's Graduate Institute of International Studies. The Survey said on its website that Dryer had helped mobilise the support of more than 100 countries to the cause of disarmament and development.

It is always amazing to me that sometimes the unfortunate circumstances of airplane disasters claim the prominent as well as the anonymous as victims.

Though his focus was on Latin America, Dreyfus also advised the government of Mozambique and at the time of his death was preparing to do the same for the government of Angola, where stockpiles of weapons left over from the civil war continue to pose a security problem.

Dreyfus and Dreyer were on their way to Geneva to present the latest edition of the Small Arms Survey handbook, of which Dreyfus was a joint editor. It was to have been their latest step in their relentless fight against evil.

Sunday Funnies: Sotomayor Derangement Syndrome

How Pharma and Insurance intend to kill the public option

Robert Reich:

I'ved poked around Washington today, talking with friends on the Hill who confirm the worst: Big Pharma and Big Insurance are gaining ground in their campaign to kill the public option in the emerging health care bill.

You know why, of course. They don't want a public option that would compete with private insurers and use its bargaining power to negotiate better rates with drug companies. They argue that would be unfair. Unfair? Unfair to give more people better health care at lower cost? To Pharma and Insurance, "unfair" is anything that undermines their profits.

So they're pulling out all the stops -- pushing Democrats and a handful of so-called "moderate" Republicans who say they're in favor of a public option to support legislation that would include it in name only. One of their proposals is to break up the public option into small pieces under multiple regional third-party administrators that would have little or no bargaining leverage. A second is to give the public option to the states where Big Pharma and Big Insurance can easily buy off legislators and officials, as they've been doing for years. A third is bind the public plan to the same rules private insurers have already wangled, thereby making it impossible for the public plan to put competitive pressure on the insurers.

That sorry-ass Max Baucus is behind this. The Democrats are more dishonest than the Republicans in this regard; at least the GOP is straight-up about their intentions. Mitch McConnell: "The key to a bipartisan bill is to not have a government plan in the bill, no matter what it's called ... When I say no government plan, I mean no government plan. Not something described some other way, not something that gets us to the same place by indirection. No government plan." The Blue Dogs will put together a Potempkin bill which looks like a public option, but as a practical matter won't be -- their modus operandi in other policy matters.

All this will be decided within days or weeks. And once those who want to kill the public option without their fingerprints on the murder weapon begin to agree on a proposal -- Snowe's "trigger" or any other -- the public option will be very hard to revive. The White House must now insist on a genuine public option. And you, dear reader, must insist as well.

This is it, folks. The concrete is being mixed and about to be poured. And after it's poured and hardens, universal health care will be with us for years to come in whatever form it now takes. Let your representative and senators know you want a public option without conditions or triggers -- one that gives the public insurer bargaining leverage over drug companies, and pushes insurers to do what they've promised to do. Don't wait until the concrete hardens and we've lost this battle.

We remain silent at our peril.

A smart electricity grid

Catching up on posting with some excerpts of things found of interest:

More than a century after Edison invented a reliable light bulb, the nation's electricity distribution system, an aging spider web of power lines, is poised to move into the digital age.

The "smart grid" has become the buzz of the electric power industry, at the White House and among members of Congress. President Barack Obama says it's essential to boost development of wind and solar power, get people to use less energy and to tackle climate change.

What smart grid visionaries see coming are home thermostats and appliances that adjust automatically depending on the cost of power; where a water heater may get juice from a neighbor's rooftop solar panel; and where on a scorching hot day a plug-in hybrid electric car charges one minute and the next sends electricity back to the grid to help head off a brownout

It is where utilities get instant feedback on a transformer outage, shift easily among energy sources, integrating wind and solar energy with electricity from coal-burning power plants, and go into homes and businesses to automatically adjust power use based on prearranged agreements.

"It's the marriage of information technology and automation technology with the existing electricity network. This is the energy Internet," said Bob Gilligan, vice president for transmission at GE Energy, which is aggressively pursuing smart grid development. "There are going to be applications 10 years from now that you and I have no idea that we're going to want or need or think are essential to our lives."

Hundreds of technology companies and almost every major electric utility company see smart grid as the future. That interest got a boost with the availability of $4.5 billion in federal economic recovery money for smart grid technology.

But smart grid won't be cheap; cost estimates run as high as $75 billion. Who's going to pay the bill? Will consumers get the payback they are promised? Might "smart meters" be too intrusive? Could an end-to-end computerization of the grid increase the risk of cyberattacks?

More here.

Sunday Funnies

Regular posting to resume eventually.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Rick Santorum's marriage counseling

A "Douchebag" finalist for certain:

And because you wouldn't believe it if I didn't repeat it, here's a partial transcript:

Number one, I think it's great that the president has a date night with his wife. He's a role model. He's a role model in particular, whether he likes it or not, in the African-American community.

And you have an African-American community, particularly in the poor inner city areas, we're looking at out of wedlock birthrates in three quarters to 75 percent (sic) of children being born out of wedlock. Marriage is an institution that's a bridge too far for too many African-American woman and is not desirable among African-American males.

That particular stereotype is a few centuries old: that black men are sexually deviant and irresponsible and thus to blame for the existence of the black underclass -- as opposed to, say, blatant structural racism, the lack of support for all poor people (black, white, red, men, women, children), a legacy of violence and discrimination, etc., etc.

But marriage is an institution that is "not desirable" for African-American men? Really?

Nice to know that social conservatives can profoundly embarrass themselves and the GOP even when talking about something as trivial as the Obama's date night.

Who is capable of topping that this week? It's only Wednesday ...

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Weekly Wrangle

This week from the Texas Progressive Alliance blogs, emission from drilling are more than cars and airports, women are running things in Denton County, Liberty University Democrats lose their recognition, President Obama's political coalition leaves out the far-right and the poor, and much more.

This week’s round-up was compiled by Teddy from Left of College Station.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston notes that Rick Perry signed a bill to stop electricity deregulation in East Texas while we poor saps continue to be screwed with high electricity rates.

On Bluedaze: Barnett Shale operators continued to endanger public health and safety by ignoring the peer-reviewed study that showed emission from drilling were more than all the cars and airports in the DFW area. Now the TCEQ data supports the findings. Smog-forming nitrogen oxides and volatile organic emissions for the entire 19-counties of the Barnett Shale area are approximately 200 tons per day.

Jesus Hussein Christ, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs agrees with John Cornyn.

Castle Hills Democrats proclaims that, in Denton County, "The Women Are Running Things Now".

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that Republican ambition is messing with Perry, Hutchison and Cornyn. Who cares about Hispanic or female voters?

DosCentavos is no longer a Blogspot blog but now at, exclusively!

WCNews at Eye On Williamson points out the important issues that are being neglected as the 81st Legislative Session winds down: Lack of leadership in Texas is painfully obvious.

Teddy at Left of College Station writes about the sexist and racist attacks by the usual conservative voices on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, and on Liberty University’s decision to no longer recognize the College Democrats as an official student organization because of their endorsement of pro-choice and pro-gay rights candidates.

McBlogger takes another look at the dump near Andrews after he finds out it'll be taking not just radioactive waste, but PCB saturated dirt from the Hudson Valley. In New York.

Off the Kuff takes a look at a wrench in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary named Leo Berman.

At Texas Kaos, Lightseeker asks the question: What do the powerful do when reform is eminent? (Hint, there's a lotta money to be made in fake reforms ...)

Neil at Texas Liberal says that President Obama's political coalition leaves out the far-right and and the most poor. Neil also reports that he will be master of ceremonies at a huge punk rock blast in Cincinnati this coming August 15.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is appalled at the short-sighted vision of of Texas politicians. If you donate to their campaign, you are free to destroy the land, air and water of a great state. You can have the blessings of all the state and federal agencies you need to pull off a hazardous trick. It's all posted in Rick Perry and Friends Welcome Toxic Burritos.

General Motors quietly slips into BK

A little later today:

General Motors Corp., the world’s largest automaker for 77 years, will file for bankruptcy today, a landmark for an industry that defined American economic might. The filing, which GM executives said last year wouldn’t happen, marks the plunge of a company that used to make more than half the cars bought in the U.S., including the Corvette, the Cadillac and the Pontiac GTO.

Word has been leaking out since last week to soften the blow to the American psyche. From $40 a share to 75 cents over the past two years.

The “new GM” will get $30.1 billion in bankruptcy financing from the government, and the Treasury “does not anticipate providing any additional assistance” after that, the Obama administration said Sunday in a statement. The federal government will have a 60 percent equity stake in the retooled automaker, and 12 percent will be held by the Canadian government, which is lending $9.5 billion to the company.

Everybody takes a hit:

The United Auto Workers’ health trust fund for retirees, which is owed $20 billion by GM, will be replaced by a new entity that will own 17.5 percent of the new company with warrants to purchase an additional 2.5 percent. Bondholders and other creditors would get a 10 percent stake in the new GM, with warrants for an additional 15 percent, in exchange for $27.1 billion unsecured debt.

Administration officials said GM will have to comply with executive compensation limits the Treasury announced in February for financial institutions that receive more than $500 million in federal funds, as well as the so-called Dodd Amendment. The provision is named after Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, who attached the pay restrictions to the $787 billion economic stimulus bill Congress passed on Feb. 13.

Those restrictions place a $500,000 salary cap on the top five executives at banks, and the 20 most highly paid employees below them, and require them to forgo cash bonuses.

Good luck to a leaner, meaner General Bull Moose.

Freak Right assassinates clinic physician

If this guy weren't Christian and Caucasian and Kansan, we would be calling him a terrorist and all of his friends a terror cell:

The suspect in custody for the slaying of Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller was a member of an anti-government group in the 1990s and a staunch opponent of abortion.

Scott P. Roeder, 51, of Merriam, Kan., a Kansas City suburb, was arrested on Interstate 35 near Gardner in suburban Johnson County, Kan., about three hours after the shooting. Tiller was shot to death around 10 a.m. inside Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita.

In the rear window of the 1993 blue Ford Taurus that he was driving was a red rose, a symbol often used by abortion opponents. On the rear of his car was a Christian fish symbol with the word "Jesus" inside.

Those who know Roeder said he believed that killing abortion doctors was an act of justifiable homicide.

Ah, another Army of God lemming. Dr. Tiller was killed as he handed out programs at the conclusion of his church's service.

"I know that he believed in justifiable homicide," said Regina Dinwiddie, a Kansas City anti-abortion activist who made headlines in 1995 when she was ordered by a federal judge to stop using a bullhorn within 500 feet of any abortion clinic. "I know he very strongly believed that abortion was murder and that you ought to defend the little ones, both born and unborn."

Dinwiddie said she met Roeder while picketing outside the Kansas City Planned Parenthood clinic in 1996. Roeder walked into the clinic and asked to see the doctor, Robert Crist, she said.

"Robert Crist came out and he stared at him for approximately 45 seconds," she said. "Then [Roeder] said, 'I've seen you now.' Then he turned his back and walked away, and they were scared to death. On the way out, he gave me a great big hug and he said, 'I've seen you in the newspaper. I just love what you're doing.'"


Isn't that lovely. Make an obvious threat to a doctor, then enjoy a hug with a fellow "activist". Go visit someone who went to prison for shooting Dr. Tiller, and just happen to meet his future killer.

What a tight little goddamn family they have. I wonder how many of the people issuing statements condemning this murder have shaken this guy's hand or exchanged a "great big hug" with this bomb-making, government-hating anti-abortion terrorist.

Kind of tempted to suspend my objection to the death penalty in this case, but if I did that would make me as barbaric as them. So let's settle for prosecution of Roeder for murder in the first and all of his "sympathizers" for conspiracy under federal terrorism legislation.

If they are not punished, then their sleeper cells all across the nation will be emboldened to strike again.