Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Funnies on Monday

A recurrence of vertigo took me down yesterday (but it can't keep me down). Here are your non-Kennedy comics ...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Setting a date for a special Senate election

It's going to be a real special, and it's going to favor the guy who gets to pick when -- the governor. Harvey Kronberg's got the goods:

The Lege in recent years has chipped away at the number of uniform election dates to the point where only two now exist – in May and in November. That trend could end up playing a factor in when the special election to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat might occur.

The next two uniform election dates are Nov. 3 and May 8. To meet the earlier deadline, Hutchison would have to resign her seat and Gov. Rick Perry would have to issue an election proclamation by Sept. 28.

Several factors would argue against Hutchison resigning so soon. The first is that her “no” vote is needed by Republicans in Washington on health care and cap and trade legislation. The other consideration is more local. Republicans don’t want a Senate special election to fall on the November election date because it coincides with contested municipal elections in Houston. That would give Houston Mayor Bill White a boost, possibly enough to lift him into a runoff.

It would also seem that May is out as an option as well, if just for Perry to avoid the politics of a multi-candidate Senate election from spilling into his primary war with Hutchison.

Those factors would seem to argue for a later resignation, perhaps in October, and an emergency special election. Perry has almost carte blanche when setting an election date if he deems an emergency justifies holding the election on a non-uniform date.

Hutchison has indicated she will leave in the fall, which to me would preclude both November '09 and certainly May '10. But Harvey suggests ...

Some thinking has it that Perry would call the special election between Thanksgiving and Christmas with a runoff in early January. An early special election would play to the advantage of the best funded candidate -- presumably Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. Plus, conventional wisdom has always held that Republicans enjoy an inherent advantage in turning their voters out in special elections, even if they are not in holiday seasons.

I would have thought January for a February runoff personally, but an election during the holiday season is certainly no oddity. In SD-17's special, held on the traditional November election day last year, the runoff was on December 16. And getting this out of the way by January lets everyone focus on the March party primaries.

Some interesting scuttlebutt regarding other statewide candidates is beginning to bubble up, and our blogger's alliance has a conference call with Hank Gilbert coming Saturday morning. So a regular posting schedule around here is forthcoming.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The thirteen (or so) holdouts on the public option


Two crucial questions hang over the Senate. Will it pass Democrat-only health care reforms? And can a public option survive the whims of the so-called budget reconciliation process? If the answer to both questions is yes, then the public option could survive in the stasis-oriented upper chamber. But if the answer to the second question is "no," then the Democrats will a lot of whipping to do.

Go read the article. Here's how I think it goes (today):

The ayes will ultimately include Warner of VA, Tester of MN, Pryor of AR, and Begich of AK for a total of 51. Add Nelson of FL as a likely yes.

The nays will be Landrieu of LA, Lieberman of CT, Bayh of IN, Lincoln of AR, Nelson of NE, and most all of the rest of those assholes, including Baucus and Conrad.

Even with 99 senators the headcount necessary to suspend debate, i.e. end a Republican filibuster, remains 60. Only if the number of Senators "duly chosen and sworn" becomes 98 would the three-fifths majority needed be reduced to 59.

So the real question is whether some of the nays will vote for cloture. This is why the eventual Massachusetts appointee, and how long it takes to get that person 'chosen' and sworn, is important also. And whether there will be public outcry sufficient to force one or two members of the GOP to relent on their blockage of healthcare reform.

In short, the final battle remains in the hands of the people.

Update: Since I prepared most of this post on Wednesday, Chris Bowers of Open Left today has revised his whip count and observes that no Democratic senator has specifically stated opposition to the public option. Since Lieberman isn't a Democrat -- that is not hyperbole; he is both technically and obviously an independent -- he doesn't count. Besides Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, the most confirmed fence-sitters are those Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee: Max Baucus, Tom Carper, Kent Conrad, Bill Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and Ron Wyden. Because, as Bowers notes ...

(T)hose Senators are still in a position to pass a bill out of that committee without a public option, while Senators not on the Finance Committee are not. If you are in a position to avoid a vote on the public option ever happening, then simply saying you will not vote against a public option isn't good enough(.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Toons honoring Teddy

Hank Gilbert for Governor

The second highest vote-getting Democrat from the 2006 elections, agriculture commissioner nominee Hank Gilbert, said Wednesday he plans to join the fight for his party's gubernatorial nomination.

Gilbert, 49, a Tyler-area rancher, received 42 percent of the vote in his race against Republican Todd Staples for agriculture commissioner.

In the current governor's race, Gilbert said he can bridge the gap between Democrats and moderate Republicans who are “disgusted” with incumbent Rick Perry's service. Gilbert said he does not believe U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison can defeat Perry in the GOP primary.

He changed his mind about running for agriculture commissioner after hearing Tom Schieffer speak at the East Texas Democratic Summit. (If you have heard both men speak then you know how effin' funny that is.)

Gilbert's entry into the race became another potential stumbling block for Fort Worth businessman Tom Schieffer, who received endorsements Wednesday from some of the top state House Democratic leaders.

They included Reps. Garnet Coleman and Jessica Farrar of Houston, Jim Dunnam of Waco, and Pete Gallego of Alpine. The group said Schieffer will be able to govern the state by bringing Democrats and Republicans together.

Like Rachel, I think that this endorsement announcement was poorly timed -- it came yesterday when the news cycle was devoted to the passing of Ted Kennedy, and it was a lousy attempt to step on Gilbert's announcement (which occurred before Kennedy's death) -- and not particularly well-thought-out. Why exactly would the Texas House leadership feel the need to endorse Schieffer yesterday? It smacks of old-school patronage, something I hoped at least some of those people weren't so susceptible to.

So now Texas Democrats have Schieffer, Gilbert, Mark Thompson, and likely Kinky Friedman and Felix Alvarado running for governor. Barbara Radnofsky has announced for attorney general, and Jeff Weems is running for the Texas Railroad Commission. Who's going to run for lieutenant governor? Comptroller? GLO? Ag commish? State supreme court?

C'mon people; it's a week before Labor Day weekend and we need some brave souls to step up and take on the Republican monolith. I realize that recruiting candidates is the state party chairman's job (and we all know what a fabulous job he's doing). And certainly that massive recruiting effort will translate into significant support once the campaign for 2010 is in full swing ...

Still, if this is another cycle where the so-called insiders focus solely on a couple of Texas House races with the hope of retaking that chamber ... good luck with that. That will really motivate the base.

Update: Take note of Selby's speculation.

Update II: Kinky's getting in. Official announcement next week.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Last Week's Wrangle

Coming a little later than usual here due to offline impositions previously mentioned. Here is this week's roundup of blog highlights.

From TXsharon at Bluedaze, EPA testing has now confirmed wells are contaminated with various substances connected with gas drilling--proof that hydraulic fracturing contaminates our drinking water. Even Motley Fool supports the FRAC Act and says industry is "crying wolf."

Should Texans care about NJ? The Texas Cloverleaf examines why the GOP thinks we should.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme says a 'Wise Latina' kicks Republican butt once again.

For a long time it has been universally agreed upon that people should engage in end-of-life planning, at least until right-wing pundits made such discussions a target of their battle against health care reform. Xanthippas at Three Wise Men takes aim at these critics, and the very real harm they do to people with their dishonest and partisan attacks.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows why everyone must call their House representatives and senators because It's time to treat America's health care emergency.

Off the Kuff spent the week following the Sharon Keller trial. He wasn't impressed by her defense.

Over at TexasKaos, jaxpagan gets us the scoop on Ted Poe's town hall meeting in a funeral parlor. Snark , with a wicked point!

At McBlogger, Harry Balczak takes a few moments to tell us what he thinks about Whole Foods and its 'health care for all' hating CEO.

Neil at Texas Liberal is back from a two-week vacation that took him to Chicago, Kenosha, Wisconsin, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio and northern Kentucky. This itinerary is consistent with a post he made earlier this summer encouraging folks to visit the industrial midwest. With vacation over, it's time now to think of school and swine flu. It sure would help if more working people had paid sick days to help manage getting sick themselves and having kids sick at home.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston has some questions to ask Congressman Pete Olson at his town hall mtg on Aug 29.

Some of the very worst of Texas was on full display last week, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs documented the atrocities.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is still appalled at the chaos and conflict demonstrated by a Bi-Polar America trying to decide Who is Worthy of a Healthy Life and Who is Not.

Edward Kennedy 1932 - 2009

Our lion sleeps now.

Edward Kennedy leaves Rice University during a visit to local college campuses to campaign for his brother John F. Kennedy, Oct. 1960.

"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die."

“An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States senator of our time.” -- President Barack Obama

"(He) need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved... him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In Miami

...for the funeral service for Mrs. Diddie's mother, Nilda Behar-Ojalvo. Somewhat light and irregular posting ahead without the laptop, but a nice business center at the Hilton Maimi Airport makes this one possible.

(Thanks in advance for your kind wishes.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

More examples of Texas' worst on display

-- Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane, speaking at a "rally" of energy industry employees bussed to the event on company time, attacked climate change legislation pending in Congress, saying "We need to preserve this way of life," apparently referring not to his status as a billionaire but to low-cost fuel.

Among some of the actual activists denied entry were the conservatives associated with Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, who were turned away for carrying American flags.

Watch the video, courtesy TexasVox:

The American Petroleum Institute is "organizing" these Astroturf events across the country.

Update: More must see-video in these two posts from TexasVox.

-- The State Board of Education embarrasses us all once again.

Texas high school students would learn about such significant individuals and milestones of conservative politics as Newt Gingrich and the rise of the Moral Majority — but nothing about liberals — under the first draft of new standards for public school history textbooks. ...

The standards, which the board will decide next spring, will influence new history, civics and geography textbooks.

The first draft for proposed standards in United States History Studies Since Reconstruction says students should be expected “to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority.”

Remarkably, among those feeling shamed number some Republican members of the SBOE (beware the irony at the end of the excerpt):

“It is hard to believe that a majority of the writing team would approve of such wording,” said Terri Leo, R-Spring. “It's not even a representative selection of the conservative movement, and it is inappropriate.”

Another board conservative, Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, thinks students should study both sides to “see what the differences are and be able to define those differences.”

He would add James Dobson's Focus on the Family, conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to the list of conservatives. Others have proposed adding talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the National Rifle Association.

Earlier this year, as ThinkProgress noted, a panel of right-wing “experts” produced a report urging the committee to remove biographies of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Stephen F. Austin, and César Chávez and replace them with the “motivational role the Bible and the Christian faith played in the settling of the original colonies.”

Earlier this week, Keith Olbermann noted that Christianity is now required curricula in Texas public schools, courtesy the Texas legislature and attorney general Greg Abbott.

And the cries for Texas secession grow louder -- from the rest of the United States.

Friday Health Care Reform Funnies

Killer's defense rests

Hard to characterize this obnoxious aggression as "defense":

“Judge Keller didn't close the court to anybody,” said Chip Babcock, Keller's attorney. “Michael Richard's lawyers never knocked on the right doors and they gave up.”

Screw you, Chip. Right in your Swiss bank account.

See, that's the problem with people who think they're above the law, that favor judicial procedure over actual justice.

If the facts are as reported, Judge Keller should be removed from the bench. It would show monumental callousness, as well as a fundamental misunderstanding of justice, for a judge to think that a brief delay in closing a court office should take precedence over a motion that raises constitutional objections to an execution. If the facts have been misreported, the impeachment process would allow Judge Keller to set the record straight.

Impeaching a judge is not a step a legislature should take lightly. It is important that judges be insulated from political pressures so they have the independence necessary to administer justice fairly. But judges cannot be allowed to use their extraordinary discretion to deny litigants the fundamentals of due process. That is especially true if the stakes are literally life or death.

Really though, to be fair to Keller, she's just following Supreme Court precedent.

The outcome here won't be known for weeks, even months, but to expect anything more than a whitewash by the ethics panel would simply be naive.

This is Texas, after all.

Update: Charlie's got a good take and some excellent linkage.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lunch with Tom Schieffer

Yesterday our Houston confederation of progressive bloggers -- Charles, Martha, Jaye, Stace, Greg, John, Neil, David and me -- met with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Schieffer and his communications director (and former Chron hand) Clay Robison.

While I posted this earlier regarding my opinion of the current standings in the race for governor, I found Schieffer hard not to like personally in our two-hour conversation. He has this little Bush problem, though, and nothing I have heard him say yet enables him to get past it. He's earnest and sincere and has some good ideas about what Texas needs to focus on -- education, economy, health care -- that need some fleshing out as to specifics. He's also not visibly perturbed about being challenged on his Democratic bona fides; in fact seems bemused by it. One remark that he made stood out to me in terms of casting aspersions against a primary rival, and that was, quote: "If Democrats nominate someone that does not scare people ...". I couldn't really place the person this was aimed at. Kinky, perhaps? I don't think Kinky scares anyone at all. Ronnie Earle? Earle would energize a Democratic base like Schieffer never will (of course, he'll also add a little gas to the Republican fire -- if you'll be able to tell from all the other crap they'll be throwing on the flames). Who have Democrats nominated in recent years that "scared" people?

My question to him was a hypothetical -- assuming it was offered, would he welcome a W endorsement of his candidacy in the general election -- that Schieffer deftly brushed aside with "He's not going to endorse me". Fair enough, but will you take a large donation from him? Will you ask him to call his sizable donor list on your behalf -- especially if Perry is once again the GOP nominee? Bush owes you a favor somewhere along the line, in my book.

Greg has posted his thoughts about it here, and David also has his take. Update: Kuffner sees it the same as the rest of us.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The death panel will be embalmed

Rep. Ted Poe will hold a town hall meeting at Brookside Funeral Home on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. with the primary focus being health care reform.

Can the GOP finally be laid to rest?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Texas Supreme Court candidates wanted

One of the most odious results of fifteen years' worth of 100% lockstep Republican rulership in Deep-In-The-Hearta is the 9-0 "majority" of corporate lackeys serving on the Texas Supreme Court. Thanks once again to Harvey Kronberg's Quorum Report for reporting the apparent second vacancy on the state's highest bench:

QR learned today that Justice Scott Brister has submitted a resignation letter and will be off the Texas Supreme Court in the not too distant future.

Brister’s resignation follows Justice Harriet O’Neill’s announcement that she would not seek re-election when her term expires.

Brister was appointed to the Court by Governor Rick Perry in 2003 and won an election in his own right in 2004. His term expires at the end of next year. By resigning, he gives the Governor an opportunity to appoint a replacement who would then run as an incumbent.

Republicans are lining up to fill those slots. Where are the Democratic judicial candidates?

Justice Rebecca Simmons, currently serving on the Texas Fourth Court of Appeals, announced today she is seeking election to place 3 on the Texas Supreme Court, a position held by Justice Harriet O’Neill who recently announced that she will not seek re-election to the court when her term expires at the end of 2010. Justice Rebecca Simmons was appointed to the Fourth Court of Appeals in May 2005 and subsequently elected in 2006. Prior to her appointment, she served as district judge of the 408th Judicial District Court in Bexar County.

Tex Parte also has this news:

Two other Republicans, Dallas’ 5th Court of Appeals Justice Jim Moseley and Eastland’s 11th Court of Appeals Justice Rick Strange, also have said they plan to run for O’Neill’s seat.

Let's see, do Democrats have anyone who could run for the Fourth Court of Appeals slot Simmons is vacating? I wonder, wonder who ...

Break a leg, Tom

I want to see the baggy-legged pants and hear the chants of "Hammer, Hammer, Hammer" ...

Former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay will join 15 celebrities from the worlds of entertainment and sports in kicking up their heels on the new season of Dancing With the Stars.

The jokes will write themselves, of course, so be sure and tune in the late-night comedians for their takes. "Dancing Behind Bars" will likely be heard more than once. (Oh yeah, I almost forgot that there's a very good reason why DeLay isn't in jail yet.) Personally, I suspect he dances exactly like he used to govern -- stomping all over everyone else as he shuffles unceremoniously out the door.

I still won't ever be tuning in this most ridiculous of shlock teevee.

Tropical Storm Watch Wrangle

Keep your eye on the Gulf now that we've entered the high season for possible hurricanes. It's also time to watch preseason NFL football, but the Texas Progressive Alliance is always in midseason form. Here are this week's blog highlights.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders why we put up with temper tantrums and intimidation from the far right. Everyone should have their say in our democracy.

Off the Kuff takes a look at the at-large city council races in Houston.

BossKitty at TruthHugger has been awakened from slumber by the nightmare of the health care reform debacle. Look who's causing all the trouble and who's being thrown to the wolves in Without Health Options, Where Is Your Voice?

Over at TexasKaos, lightseeker connects the dots between the fear mongering, health care reform, and history. He throws in the return of the militias for good measure. If armed and frightened groups are reappearing in Iowa, how long before they show up in Texas. You do remember the Republic of Texas movement, don't you? See it all in Fear, Health Care and History: A Reflection Updated! - Return of the militias

Harry Balczak at McBlogger begins a new feature, This Week In Lawyerin', in which he'll take a look at some arcane legal concept and educate you on it. This week, what to do when caught with kiddie porn.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows that nothing will change no matter who is the GOP nominee for governor in 201:, Kay, Rick and the Trans-Texas Corridor -- nothing new here.

Rachel Maddow vs. Dick Armey on Press the Meat Sunday morning was previewed and then summarized by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs. It so happens that even Joe Scarborough thinks Armey is a douchebag.

Neil at Texas Liberal is vacationing in Cincinnati. The police department there staged a "blue flu" last week where some members of the force called in sick even though they weren't. They are upset over possible layoffs. Yet they are not so concerned about this prospect that they are willing to make some minor contract concessions in order to help the city of Cincinnati with a budget deficit. It's the same old story with the CPD; they expect you to do what they say, but they have a hard time doing what they are told to do and a hard time caring about fellow city employees.

DosCentavos reports on the happenings in HD-127 now that Joe Crabb is finally retiring. He's also running a poll, so check it out!

Nat-Wu at Three Wise Men is not so impressed with the new Calvinists "manly" Jesus.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chief Joseph Medicine Crow

A 95-year-old Crow Indian who went into battle wearing war paint under his World War II uniform has been awarded the nation's highest civilian honor.

Wearing a traditional headdress, Joe Medicine Crow on Wednesday received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House. The award was clasped around his neck by President Barack Obama.

"Dr. Medicine Crow's life reflects not only the warrior spirit of the Crow people, but America's highest ideals," Obama said as he introduced him and called him "a good man" in the Crow language.

Medicine Crow broke tradition and briefly spoke after Obama gave him the medal, telling the president he was "highly honored" to receive it. ...

The president met Medicine Crow during a campaign stop last year when Obama, then a U.S. senator, was adopted as an honorary member of the Crow tribe.

In 1939, Medicine Crow became the first of his tribe to receive a master's degree, in anthropology. He is the oldest member of the Crow and the tribe's sole surviving war chief — an honor bestowed for a series of accomplishments during World War II, including hand-to-hand combat with a German soldier whose life Medicine Crow spared.

After the war, he became tribal historian for the Crow and lectured extensively on the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Medicine Crow's grandfather served as a scout for the doomed forces of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.

Sunday Funnies (Obamanation edition)

Rachel Maddow vs. Dick Armey (even Joe Scarborough thinks he's a scumbag)

On shortly here in H-Town will be a Press the Meat edition featuring Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and Dick Armey, former House majority leader and also formerly of the law firm DLA Piper. Maddow exposed the "grassroot" efforts of the conservative group FreedomWorks and their connections to DLA Piper, Armey's employer until a few days ago. But HuffPo has another side of the story ...

It was one of those ugly Washington stories that everybody knows about but almost nobody talks about. Joe Scarborough, to his credit, went on the record. In his 2004 Washington memoir, Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day, Scarborough provides a chilling portrait of the man who leads FreedomWorks, the organization now promoting brownshirt disruptions at town halls across America.

Before he headed Freedomworks, Dick Armey was House Majority Leader. According to Scarborough, Armey was bereft of common decency, a shameless liar who betrayed his colleagues. Armey worked hard to destroy the career of a young reporter. After that reporter's suicide, Armey helped spread rumors about a gay affair between the reporter and Bill Paxon, a congressman who angled to replace Armey as House Leader. Paxon immediately retired from politics, while Armey stayed on. It seemed a life-imitates-art reenactment of the 1959 potboiler, Advice and Consent.

If Scarborough was disgusted by Armey, his Republican colleagues seemed unfazed. They kept Armey in his leadership post until 2003. Character is destiny, and Scarborough's portrait of Armey may foreshadow the ugly tactics of the teabagging crowd that attempts to shout down the healthcare debate.

In the book, Scarborough outs himself as the confidential source for Sandy Hume's blockbuster article for The Hill, which recounted the behind-the-scenes drama of an aborted Republican coup. In July 1997, G.O.P House members, including Scarborough, were fed up with House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who proved to be incompetent when it came to working with people or getting things done. The planned putsch by some twenty-odd renegade members failed because of a last-minute betrayal by House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who turned on his colleagues after learning that Bill Paxon, not Armey, was designated to succeed Gingrich.

More on the suicide of Brit Hume's son, Sandy, the gay slur against he and Armey rival Bill Paxon which allegedly resulted in the self-inflicted death of the younger Hume, and the backstory of all this occurring during l'affaire Clinton-Lewinsky.

Meet the Press this morning might get really interesting, don't you think?


Rachel Maddow appeared on "Meet the Press" for the first time on Sunday, August 16th. On a panel with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the MSNBC host more than held her own.

When Armey said he took no responsibility "whatsoever" for the virulent protests against President Obama and compared it to running an ad comparing President Bush to Hitler, Maddow pointed out that that never actually happened. Later she elaborated, pointing out that major conservative groups had speakers going around the country comparing Obama to Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin and asking supporters to put the fear of God in their congresspeople. When Armey said that he denounced violence, Maddow pointed out that his organization, FreedomWorks, was in a coalition whose website was promoting the violent fight at a Tampa town hall as a good thing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Weekly Wrangle

The Congress may be in recess, but the Texas Progressive Alliance is always in session. Here's the weekly roundup of blog highlights.

Off the Kuff takes a closer look at the crimefighting plan of Houston mayoral candidate Annise Parker.

Citizen Sarah at Texas Vox dances with glee as new San Antonio nuclear group Energia Mia rains on CPS' nuclear parade.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson encourages everyone to get involved in lobbying their elected officials and engaging in the political process in You get out of it what you put into it.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme says John Cornyn is full of sh*t!

Neil at Texas Liberal is in Chicago. He has no notion of how to insert a link in an e-mail with the Wordpress iPhone application. Neil hopes you and yours are having a nice summer. Neil will be visiting the Indiana State Fair this week. He'll be the guy in a Houston Astros hat. (Note: link to Neil's site inserted by link roundup editor.)

The Texas Cloverleaf looks at why whitey in Denton County is scared of ACORN.

Over at McBlogger, Mayor McSleaze is having some issues with churches that closely resemble Vegas casinos.

Following his return from North Korea with two American journalists, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs came to the realization that Bill Clinton is The Most Interesting Man in the World.

Over at TexasKaos, Libby Shaw gives us chapter and verse on the "Obstructionist Politicians on the Take and Corporate Teabaggers who are attempting to sabotage health care reform. Well worth the read and viewing.....

WhosPlayin reports on an eventful week in North Texas: Drafted Congressional candidate Jennifer Giles attended a town hall meeting for Rep. Michael Burgess and asked a question that earned her some air time on CNN.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Make your very own Kenyan birth certificate!

Look, here's Glen Beck's ...

Make your own.

Bill Clinton is The Most Interesting Man in the World.

He makes Chuck Norris cry simply by biting his lower lip.

His blood is carbonated. He has no 'off' switch.

He lives vicariously through himself. He had an awkward moment once ... just to see what it felt like.

He can speak French ... in Russian.

He doesn't always drink beer. But when he does ... it's Billy Beer.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Weekly Wrangle

Here we are in August, there has yet to be a named disturbance in the tropics (knock on wood) and it's time for another Texas Progressive Alliance blog roundup.

TXsharon at BlueDaze needs your help to expose this dirty video.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme calls out KBH and the GOP for using racism and the NRA to get out the vote in 2010. Having a competent, experienced Latina judge? Not important.

Off the Kuff reminds us that Governor Perry's consistently wrong decisions regarding unemployment insurance will cost the state two billion dollars, maybe more.

McBlogger takes a look at a lawsuit against TRS and discovers losses, possible corruption and a nightmarish problem for the Republicans in 2010.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston says you better think before you trust a Republican with your family's health care.

Mean Rachel decides that Democratic gubernatorial candidate is still too Bush League for her tastes.

Our governor is living the life of the rich and famous. He does so on our dime and on the "dimes" of his fat cat contributors. Libby Shaw gives us the ugly details over at TexasKaos: Our Kept Governor to the Unemployed: Eat Cake.

Why did Ciro Rodriguez vote against the Waxman-Markey climate change bill and then suddenly flee the House? And why is he taking grip-and-grin meetings with David Dewhurst? PDiddie at Brains and Eggs would really like to know.

Vince at Capitol Annex tells why he believes that the smart money is on Rick Perry picking David Dewhurst to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison if she resigns before the end of the year.

Neil at Texas Liberal posted a video he made that will take only 39 seconds your life to watch. He also made a post marking the third anniversary of his blog. Texas Liberal has run 1500 page views a day so far this year and had racked-up over 725,000 views since it began. Thank you blog reading public!

WhosPlayin notes that the city of Lewisville is cancelling its Cinco de Mayo celebration for 2010 due to budgetary concerns.

Dembones at Eye On Williamson points out Congressman John Carter's latest nuttiness: Franking Commission draws the line on Rep. Carter.

Mike Thomas at Rhetoric & Rhythm reviews Debra Medina's campaign video and deems her the Sarah Palin of South Texas.

Teddy of Left of College Station was forced to evacuate his home in Bryan due to a warehouse fire that was burning toxic materials, but was able to return the next day. Before the evacuation Teddy was able to write about Michael Vick’s return to the NFL, and whether or not he deserves a second chance. LoCS also covers the local and progressive events in the Bryan-College Station area this month.

If nuclear power companies are already having trouble with their credit ratings, why are Texans rushing to throw them billions for plants that even the builders can't finance themselves? Good question, says Citizen Sarah at Texas Vox.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday Funnies

What DID make Ciro run?

Fear? Shame? This guy needs to be broomed in a Democratic primary (again).

On the floor of the U. S. House of Representatives, the tension was palpable.

After weeks of intense negotiations over the climate-change bill, during which the energy lobbies had exerted tremendous pressure on individual representatives, who were also feeling the heat from their engaged constituents, the final vote on the Waxman-Markey bill occurred on Friday, June 26.

The Democratic leadership knew that the final vote would be very close, and knew they must have a victory, leading Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be a constant force on the floor, tallying votes, confirming commitments, twisting arms; President Obama was also on The Hill speaking to as many undecided or recalcitrant representatives as would meet with him.

A Democratic legislator the leadership did not think they needed to worry about was Ciro Rodriguez of the Texas 23rd District. When Speaker Pelosi had polled him prior to the vote, he indicated he would vote “yes” on the measure, supporting his party’s longstanding commitment to enact much-needed legislation to begin to combat the effects of global warming.

He did not tell her the truth. When the time came to vote, instead he opposed the legislation, and then hustled off the crowded floor. Bedlam erupted. After Rodriguez sprinted out of the chamber, frustrated floor managers shouted after him and dispatched a search party. Politico blogger Glenn Thrush captured the high drama:

At one point, New York Rep. Anthony Weiner bounced from a huddle of leadership members and began calling the rep's name, like a wayward toddler, as he scanned the Speaker's Lobby and the adjacent balcony. “[Rodriguez] cast his 'no' and then ran the hell out of there," said a member of the whipping team, still steaming after the vote. "We tried him at his office and they said he was gone."

Why did Rodriguez say one thing and do another? Why did the former social worker not own up to his negative opinion about the legislation as a host of other Democrats had done? And why, like a child caught in the act, did he bolt from the floor - thereby compounding his guilt?

At one time Ciro was one of the best progressives in the House. That was during his first stint in Congress, from '97 to '05, when he represented CD 28. After Tom DeLay's redistricting, Ciro was defeated in a Democratic primary by fellow Blue Dog (and Bush lapdog) Henry Cuellar by a whopping 58 votes.

It was a tremendous victory in a run-off over incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla in December, 2006 that sent Ciro back to Congress. Barbara Radnofsky hosted a fundraiser at her home here in Houston that was attended by David Van Os, Glen Maxey, and perhaps fifty others. One of the proudest Democratic moments of that year was watching two Texas Dems defeated by redistricting -- Nick Lampson was the other -- return to the House of Representatives.

In my humble O, Rodriguez has done almost nothing since to merit that renewal.

Let's hope a real Democrat challenges this Blue Dog turncoat in 2010.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Vasquez reassigns his elections-office problema

Ed Johnson, Harris County elections official for hire to Republicans seeking insider information, finally loses his day job. Kinda:

The battle over alleged voter registration hijinks in the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector office took another turn today when Leo Vasquez reportedly removed Ed Johnson from his job as Associate Voter Registrar and reassigned him to Communications.

Johnson, along with State Rep. Dwayne Bohac has been the subject of a series of investigative pieces by the Democratically funded Lone Star Project out of Washington, D.C. LSP's allegations took a decidedly more serious turn yesterday when they questioned whether the Johnson-Bohac political consulting firm had improperly obtained drivers license data for their voter files.

Bohac has not returned our call seeking comment.

Matt Angle has been hard on this case:

The Lone Star Project’s exposure of the ongoing scandal in the Harris County Elections Office clearly spooked Republican State Representative Dwayne Bohac (HD138 – Houston). When the story broke, Bohac suspiciously pulled down his campaign consulting firm website and, since then, has refused to answer any questions regarding his ties to the Elections Office or his firm’s work for local Republicans officeholders like State Representative Ken Legler (HD144) and Congressman Michael McCaul (CD10).

Why has Dwayne Bohac “gone to ground” and hidden from the media?

Maybe because of this:

Dwayne Bohac must either produce evidence that CDS obtained Texas Drivers License records from a source other than the Harris County Elections office OR admit that he lied to clients and did not enhance their voter data with driver license records. Otherwise, Dwayne Bohac and Ed Johnson conspired to illegally obtain Texas Driver License records and use them for commercial political purposes which is a violation under the Texas Transportation Code, Sec. 730.013, and the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act of 1994.

More stink to come out about this.

Dewhurst courts Texas Blue Dogs


Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appears to have the support of at least two Congressional Democrats as a potential appointment to an open seat for U.S. Senate: Chet Edwards (Waco) and Ciro Rodriguez (San Antonio).

Dewhurst spent Thursday afternoon chatting with the two Democrats in the halls of the U.S. Capitol Building. They ran through issues ranging from the Hispanic vote to the partisan breakdown of Texas to Dewhurst’s chances of success in running for the Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison (R).

Dewhurst has not-so-quietly been ramping up a campaign to replace Hutchison, who confirmed Wednesday that she will resign her seat this fall to run for Texas governor. She plans to formally announce her 2010 gubernatorial run next month.

Certainly seems to make Vince's scenario more plausible. Chet and Ciro seem to have been sought out for a blessing, which is just nauseating.

I owe a long post on my disgust with conservative Democrats, particularly our flea-bitten breed here in Deep-In-The-Hearta, and I hope I can get it done without strangling one of them.

Update: More of this from Burka:

Both Green and Edwards thought the leadership made a mistake by taking up the global warming bill before health care. “A lot of House members think it was wrong to do energy first,” Green said. “Polling it, it [global warming] is not a big issue in my district. Air quality is a big issue.” He was particularly annoyed that multinational energy corporations get a better deal from the European community than from our own Congress. Edwards said of the emphasis on energy, “It was a mistake. Why would you put a bill whose impact is 20 years from now ahead of a bill that deals with a system [health care] that is unsustainable now?” The decision to go with energy was made by Nancy Pelosi — it was her top priority — and by Obama, who wanted to have talking points at the G-8 conference.

Paul Burka, Gene Green, and Chet Edwards are three of the most massive douchebags in the entire state of Texas.