Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend as it brings you this week's blog roundup.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy asks if Don't Ask, Don't Tell could be coming to an end, and also covers the week in headlines. Teddy at will be looking back this week at highlights from Left of College Station's first two years of blogging, and will be taking the month of June off from blogging. Look for more in-depth coverage of politics and social commentary in July, including extensive research and investigations. Thanks to the Texas Progressive Alliance for supporting political and social thought to the Left of College Station.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson points out that even though there's been another audit of TxDOT, nothing will change until Texas gets a new governor: TxDOT's management audit, we've heard it all before.

Harris County is considering creating an elections administration department with a non-partisan, unelected appointee at the helm. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is in favor of it, but irregular contributor OpenSourceDem is not.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is tired of racist, Republican fearmongerers driving poor policy decisions on the border.

Off the Kuff took a close look at the UT/Texas Trib poll of the governor's race.

WhosPlayin hopes everyone has a nice Memorial Day, and has a message of gratitude and remembrance of those who have fallen in the service of our country.

A Houston right-wing talk show host and former Houston city council member calls for bombing of a mosque. Bay Area Houston has an opinion. Imagine that.

Asian American Action Fund Blog's Justin invites everyone to Houston to attend the OCA National Convention June 17-20. Festivities include panel discussions, awards gala, and free Starry Night Market and Film Festival. Eric Byler and Coffee Party founder Annabel Park's immigration documentary "9500 Liberty" will be shown.

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw helps us understand Rick Perry's complaints about the EPA taking over the permitting process from the toothless Minerals Management Service, I mean the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Surprisingly enough, Mr. "Act of God" is upset he can't continue his business first, second and always approach to environmental regulations. Take at look, at Governor Perry to the EPA: Back Off.

Neil at Texas Liberal offered up a 58-second video where he listed eight points about democracy while standing in front of a car demolition lot near the Houston Ship Channel. Every place is the right place to talk about freedom.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Dennis Hopper 1936 - 2010

Dennis Hopper — actor (Rebel Without a Cause, Blue Velvet), director (Easy Rider, Colors), screenwriter, photographer, painter, hellraiser, raconteur, and no-bull Hollywood legend — died of prostate cancer at his house in Venice Beach, in Los Angeles (yesterday). He was 74.

Hopper may have had the surest hand on the zeitgeist of anyone in Hollywood, putting his fingerprints on a series of iconic, era-defining pictures. He played a supporting role in the ultimate '50s teen drama, Rebel Without a Cause (1955); legitimized hippies on film (and in Hollywood's power structure) with Easy Rider (1969); contributed a memorable cameo as a crazed journalist to Francis Ford Coppola's New Hollywood apotheosis Apocalypse Now (1979); concocted one of the scariest of all screen villains as Frank Booth in David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986); directed the gang drama Colors (1988) with its hit title track by Ice-T just as L.A.'s Bloods and Crips were making news; and completely stole the blockbuster Speed (1994) as the bad guy. Later in life he became a widely exhibited photographer and published collections of his images.

He was a member of a small cadre of baby boomers who changed the cinema industry in the '60's.

With its portrait of counterculture heroes raising their middle fingers to the uptight middle-class hypocrisies, "Easy Rider" became the cinematic symbol of the 1960s, a celluloid anthem to freedom, macho bravado and anti-establishment rebellion. As a low-budget independent film that earned huge amounts of money, it also triggered a seismic shift in Hollywood, which began eagerly to court the youth market and look for similarly disreputable properties to co-opt.

My favorite recent role was that of Huey Walker in Flashback, a film which managed to satire the '60's at every plot turn. Keifer Sutherland's role as son-of-flower-children-turned-FBI-agent in hot pursuit of Hopper's Abby Hoffman-ish Walker is hilarious. More from the Rolling Stone link:

Hopper spent the '90s and '00s in a reliable niche as a hipster emeritus, frequently appearing on talk shows and playing a wide range of roles, though in Blue Velvet's wake he was most frequently identified with villain roles.

The alcoholic coach in Hoosiers, the intergalactic contraband hauler in Space Truckers, the band manager in White Star ... even his minorly freaky roles were legend. Concluding from the WaPo link:

As the sexually compulsive, pathologically troubled villain Frank Booth, Hopper -- three years clean and sober -- found a way to combine the knife-edge madness he had always possessed with newfound powers of control and discipline.

Hopper left the planet too soon, but it was still gratifying to see him turn what could have been a career of flameouts and sad self-destruction into a triumph of endurance. Now that he's gone, he has left behind a generation of actors who grasp at his wildness with mannerisms and empty emoting, but who can never reach that precise alchemy of derangement and focus that Hopper embodied at his best. ... It's an irony Hopper himself surely appreciated that the man who embodied antiauthoritarianism at its most anarchic finally realized his best artistic self when he embraced self-control.

Update: It's kind of difficult to picture Hopper, Art Linkletter, and Gary Coleman all going anywhere together ... and of course, maybe they didn't.

College World Series update

The Lamar University baseball team continued its hit parade Saturday in a Southland Conference tournament championship-clinching game.

The Cardinals tallied a season-high 22 hits and rolled to a 17-7 victory against Texas State in the conference championship game at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi. ...

The conference tournament championship is Lamar's third in the Southland, fifth overall and its first since 2004. By winning, the Cardinals are automatically qualified for the 64-team NCAA tournament. The tournament field will be announced at 11:30 a.m. Monday on ESPN.

Lamar entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed but won four straight tournament games. Lamar's last three victories came against teams against which Lamar failed to win in seven regular season games.
After scoring 53 runs in the first three days of the tournament — all wins — top-seeded Rice was stymied by the Southern Mississippi duo of Todd McInnis, the two-time C-USA Pitcher of the Year, and Scott Copeland, who hasn’t lost yet this season and was working on two days of rest.

After playing nearly flawlessly for three days, the Owls were merely mortal in a 7-4 loss. ...

Two errors, four unearned runs and 10 runners left on base mean that, for the only the second time in the last five years, the conference trophy doesn’t reside with Rice (38-21). The Golden Eagles (35-22), jubilant after Diego Seastrunk’s groundout to first base for the final out, earned the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Back in February when I watched my undefeated Cardinals whip the winless Owls, I figured the team was destined for big things. But they had a terrible regular season, while Rice returned to their normal, dominant selves. This upset victory in their conference tournament, and Rice's fade in theirs, was another reversal of fortune for both teams. Rice may still make the CWS as an at-large representative on the strength of a 38-21 record and their storied reputation.

And hopefully there will be some regional and super-regional games nearby to attend.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Maddow's "That was Then, This is Then"

Via David Ortez and others, Rachel Maddow's segment here exposes the oil industry as woefully unprepared for underwater well blowouts. As they have been for more than thirty-one years, the last time something much like this happened.

Maddow is doing some of the best reporting on television, and her show has become a must-DVR for me.

Happy Mem Day everyone

Don't forget the reason for the season. We all get to grill and shop and sun because of men like Lieutenant Finn:

Retired Navy Lt. John Finn - the first American to receive the nation's highest military award for defending sailors under a torrent of gunfire during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor - died Thursday. He was 100.

Finn was the oldest of 97 Medal of Honor recipients from World War II still living. He died at a nursing home for veterans in Chula Vista, outside San Diego, according to a Navy statement.

Despite head wounds and other injuries, Finn, the chief of ordnance for an air squadron, continuously fired a .50-caliber machine gun from an exposed position as bullets and bombs pounded the Naval Air Station at Kaneohe Bay in Oahu. He then supervised the rearming of returning American planes.

"Here they're paying you for doing your duty, and that's what I did," Finn told The Associated Press before his 100th birthday. "I never intended to be a hero. But on Dec. 7, by God, we're in a war."

I'd like to quote from his citation.

For extraordinary heroism, distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kanoehe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lieutenant Finn promptly secured and manned a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machine-gun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy's fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first-aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

They don't make 'em like that any more. RIP.

Rand Justice for All (another bad week for freedom)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

OpenSourceDem on a Harris County elections administrator

Occasional contributor OpenSourceDem is responding to this post of mine.

When you realize that Sir Thomas More was pretty much a creep (before becoming a Saint on a legal technicality), you may not be in favor of a “utopian ... non-partisan, unelected official” running elections.

Um, that would be like the county jails, toll roads, sports stadiums, and drainage ditches.  Think about it!

Here is a practical alternative to an Elections Administrator who would be accountable to ... nobody:

Diane Trautman is Tax Assessor-Collector and focuses on tax matters, countering the endless, high-pitched whine from Dan Patrick and Paul Bettencourt, who are both still on the air. Here’s a clue: “Uniform taxation of real property ad valorem” is progressive, popular, and very, very constitutional. And here’s another clue: To do that the Tax Office needs to manage the property records efficiently and impose a “stamp tax”, not to raise revenue so much as to force disclosure of transaction prices.

Ann Harris Bennett is County Clerk and manages elections, including voter registration and history records, responsibly.

Loren Jackson manages the Jury Wheel and provides for the security of personal identity and integrity of property data across all county and state database systems that now, by design, expose Harris County citizens to criminal identity theft, discriminatory pricing, disenfranchisement, and official oppression.

All of the government data and meta-data -- save for keys and valuable or derogatory personal information that is not necessarily or legitimately in the public domain -- should be open and well documented publicly and professionally. To assure this, database and tabulation technology should fall under the routine auspices of a non-partisan and technically proficient county Testing and Audit Board, as well as subject to periodic involvement of non-partisan election officials and workers.

This is not utopian. It is very practical and basically how things worked when Houston was a “bi-racial city in which the rule of white, male (lawyers) was taken for granted”.  That is a quotation from Steven Klineberg from Tuesday night's Brown Bag ... well, except for the lawyer part.  What has happened since then is that as Houston and Harris County have become more “diverse” racially, the white, male (lawyers) have retreated behind legalism, bureaucracy, and police-powers to maintain their control and privileges by replacing pervasively crude, racial discrimination throughout local government and commerce with even more pervasively sophisticated, computer-mediated, economic discrimination throughout local government and commerce.

The result is right-wing and left-wing intellectuals arguing over the literary heritage of Ayn Rand while white, male (lawyers) extract more monopoly rent from government concessions and share it among themselves. What we have here today is one political establishment (bi-partisan!) and a criminal financial superstructure together with a criminal underground economy made palatable by bread, circuses, cute puppies, and mumbo jumbo for a majority-minority middle-class of working families.

Net, net: this gets us a lot of elections and not many voters -- the highest incarceration and lowest political participation rates of cities in our league. It does not get us to republican democracy by any stretch of definitions or imagination.

You can stay in Utopia, but I’m going to Texas!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An elections administrator for Harris County (?)

Harris County should consider appointing a bureaucrat to take over election duties from two elected officials who currently split the job, County Judge Ed Emmett said.

Emmett said he plans to ask Commissioners Court next month or in July to authorize a study of the costs and consequences of such a change.

Harris County's tax assessor-collector registers voters, a job that accompanied its duty to collect poll taxes. The county clerk runs elections. Both are elected.

Thus, taking voter registration out of the tax assessor/collector's office and elections management out of the county clerk's office and combining them into an elections administration department, under the supervision of an appointed county official, is the idea. And I like it.

Proponents of an elections czar say an appointee would be insulated from accusations and lawsuits alleging partisanship in carrying out the duties of the office.

In late 2008, the state Democratic Party said in a lawsuit that then-Tax Assessor Paul Bettencourt, a Republican, had illegally blocked thousands of people from registering to vote. The lawsuit was settled last fall. Bettencourt resigned in December 2008 to work in the private sector, just weeks after being elected to a third four-year term.

“The Democrats' lawsuit against the tax office and Paul Bettencourt's abrupt departure were game changers,” Emmett said. “It brought to everybody's attention that any time you have partisan offices running elections, you're just sort of leaving yourself open to lawsuits.”

The legacy of Quittencourt. He now runs a company that negotiates with the Harris County Appraisal District to get property taxes lowered for homeowners, marking time for his next electoral opportunity.  Continuing with Chris Moran at the Chron ...

There was talk of tinkering with the county's elections machinery at the time. County Clerk Beverly Kaufman and newly appointed Tax Assessor-Collector Leo Vasquez opposed it. No formal proposal emerged.

“I was glad because I didn't want to lose a lot of my people,” Kaufman said.

But Kaufman is retiring, and her endorsed successor lost the March primary election for the nomination to succeed her. Vasquez lost his Republican primary.

That opens a window for proponents in which they can largely avoid the turf war over taking money, people and power from the tax assessor and clerk. Kaufman herself restarted talk of an administrator when she sent Emmett information about it a month ago. Now that she is leaving office she supports an elections administrator, she said.

“This is the ideal time, when you're not pulling the rug out from somebody that's already doing it,” she said.

No incumbent owns any turf to lose, but the challengers bidding to replace them are howling:

Democrat Ann Harris Bennett and Republican Stan Stanart, the November candidates to succeed Kaufman, both said they oppose an elections administrator.

“The voters don't have any way of removing (an appointee) when they're not happy with the performance,” Stanart said.

Democratic tax-assessor candidate Diane Trautman agreed with Stanart, though her released statement had a more partisan bent.

“Now that his hand-picked appointee for tax assessor and Beverly Kaufman's chosen successor for county clerk have been rejected by voters, Ed Emmett wants to change the rules,” Trautman said. “He wants to make sure that the next time he appoints someone to oversee elections processes in Harris County, that person cannot be removed by the voters.”

Republican tax-assessor candidate Don Sumners said, “It's not broken. We don't need to fix it.” He said he suspects the plan is retaliation for his past public criticism of Commissioners Court.

The partisan PDiddie would love for this crucial bit of democracy to fall under the control of Diane Trautman and Ann Harris Bennett. But the (perhaps utopian) idea of a non-partisan, unelected official has great appeal -- assuming it could actually happen.

Statewide, an administrator is used in 77 of the 254 counties, including Bexar, Dallas, El Paso and Tarrant. By state law, an election commission consisting of the county judge, the tax assessor, the county clerk and the heads of the local political parties hires and fires an elections administrator.

The leaders of the county's Republican and Democratic parties condemned the idea.

GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill said the party took a stand against an administrator two years ago. “It's another level of bureaucracy that we didn't need,” Woodfill said.

Democratic Chairman Gerry Birnberg said there is no party position on the matter but that he may take it up if the idea gets traction at Commissioners Court.

Charles Kuffner has more, including these questions:

Does this person have to be periodically re-appointed, or re-confirmed? Under what conditions can he or she be fired? How can you isolate this person from political pressure, yet ensure they are accountable?

All important considerations. I think my condition would be someone with prior metro county experience outside of Texas -- thus somewhat removed from the Republican Party of Texas' unique view on what constitutes free and fair elections. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Greg Abbott. Update: ... and so is Kuffner.

Green Party submits petitions to qualify for Texas ballot

*As a Democratic precinct chair I cannot -- and do not -- endorse or support any of the Green Party candidates.

There were no TV cameras Monday in front of the Texas Secretary of State's office building south of the Capitol. No crowd of cheering supporters. But statewide coordinator Kat Swift with the Green Party of Texas says the dozen or so boxes filled with signed petitions spoke louder than a roaring crowd.

Swift: "And we have with us 93,000 petitions roughly of Texas voters, who did not vote in the primary, who want to see the Green Party on the ballot."

That's more than double the 44,000 signatures needed to get a political party on the Texas ballot.


Beyond that, it costs real money -- from $100,000 to $500,000 to pay a company to collect the signatures. That's where the Free and Equal Elections Foundation stepped in. Christina Tobin is founder and chair of the non-partisan foundation.

Tobin: "What we do is we gather signatures for candidates nationwide across the political spectrum. From Greens to Libertarians to Constitution to disenfranchised Democrats and Republicans."

And in Texas, the group also helped the Green Party raise the money needed to pay for the signature collection. Richard Winger edits the website Ballot Access News, a clearing house for information from across the country. He says Texas is considered one of the five hardest states to get on the ballot, basing his claim on the 2008 presidential election.


Meanwhile, the Secretary of State's office says it will validate the signatures and have an official ruling of whether the Green party made the statewide ballot sometime in the middle of June.

More from the Independent Political Report:

Assuming they get on the ballot, the list of candidates who will qualify for the ballot is as follows:

Bart Boyce Governor
Deb Shafto Governor
Herb Gonzales, Jr Lieutenant Governor
Edward Lindsay Comptroller of Public Accounts
Art Browning Railroad Commissioner
Jim Howe US Congress, District 11
Ed Scharf US Congress, District 23
Paul Cardwell State Board of Education, District 9
Ryan Seward State Representative, District 94
Joel West State Representative, District 144
Don Cook County Clerk, Harris County
Roger Baker County Clerk, Travis County
Earl Lyons County Clerk, Bexar County
kat swift County Commissioner, Pct 2, Bexar County
Chuck Robinson Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Place 1, Bexar County
Joy Vidheecharoen-Glatz Justice of the Peace, Pct 3, Dallas County
Jeffrey Dale Glatz County Surveyor, Dallas County
Esther Choi County Clerk, Dallas County

Don't miss the comments at that link. Shafto and Cook, you may recall, ran as Houston city council candidates under the Progressive Coalition banner in last November's municipal elections.

Here's a bit from the afore-mentioned Ballot Access News:

This is only the second time that the Texas Green Party has submitted enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The first time was in 2000, and the party polled enough votes in 2000 so that it was automatically on the ballot as well in 2002. Parties in Texas must poll either 5% for any statewide race, or 2% for Governor. Parties that get 2% for Governor enjoy qualified status for the next four years, but parties that get 5% for any statewide race only gets qualified status for the next two years.

Lastly, our freaky TeaBagger buddy at the Ellis County Observer:

I don’t think the Dallas County surveyor position will hold up, unless the Greens have a hidden secret that the surveyor position was never abolished. And, state law requires that in order for a minor party to be automatically given ballot access after this year, they must score 5 percent in a statewide race. So, the Green Party candidate for Comptroller should easily get that, since Republican Susan Combs only faces Libertarian Mary Ruwart in November. A three-way race for Comptroller should get that coveted 5 percent.

And the worst is yet to come

Laurence Lewis:

Fifty miles of Louisiana's coastline already have been hit, including a major pelican rookery. The Louisiana marshes served as nurseries for shrimp, crab and oysters. Will the local fishing industry survive? Even if it does, how long will it take for even moderate recovery, and how many jobs will be lost, both temporarily and permanently? Those marshes also served as a buffer for New Orleans, when hurricanes hit. This just keeps getting worse. And it will take many years for nature to break this mess down.

Among other ominous developments, BP is responding to the EPA's order that it seek an alternative to the dangerous chemical dispersant it had been using by saying it intends to continue with the one it has. Who is in charge, here? Gulf Islands National Seashore is imminently threatened not only by the oil, but by those chemicals. And the government official leading the response to the disaster says only BP has the expertise to plug the leak, and he trusts they are doing their best. Which raises the question of why we entrust entire ecosystems to the expertise of a corporation whose best is a continuing catastrophe.

The magnitude of this disaster is so overwhelmingly large that it's easy to overlook the ways in which it is very small. As in the human scale. The people on Grand Isle who will lose their businesses and their jobs. Those employed in the Louisiana fishing industry. Those employed in the industries that depend on the catch. Those living and working on the coast of Florida, and beyond. The people for whom this disaster could not be much larger. And all the fragile ecosystems that will be destroyed.

This is a teaching moment, for us all. It should be a learning moment. If someone would take this moment to teach. So that enough people would learn. So that we could, collectively, do what needs be done. On the large scale. On the small.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is enjoying the last week of school before summer vacation as it brings you this week's blog roundup.

WhosPlayin notes that the Dallas-Fort Worth area has once again failed to meet its 8 hour ozone attainment, forcing TCEQ to implement contingency measures. Have you had your two teaspoons of ozone today?

Rand Paul explains why Texas Republicans don't mind pollution, notes CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme.

Off the Kuff kicks off the official countdown to KBH's 2012 re-election announcement.

Gas and greed divide neighbors in Argyle, TX. A tale of avarice, lies and corruption and civil disobedience in the Barnett Shale brought to you by TXsharon at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Bay Area Houston will be attending the Sunset Commission review of the Texas Department of Insurance on Tuesday.

There's a common thread of arrogant ignorance that runs between Rand Paul and the Texas SBOE, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs pulls the string.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows that the "big 3" get skittish on certain budget cuts. That won't be the case after the election: Perry, Dewhurst, Straus playing politics with budget cuts.

Libby Shaw says Thank You Rand Paul. The brash-talking ideologue has broken the right wing's first rule: don't tell me what you really think. See more at TexasKaos.

Neil at Texas Liberal reflected on how glad he is that we have a well-armed federal government from freedom-snatching folks like Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jose Lima 1972 - 2010

For Jose Lima, it was time. And to those who knew and played along side him, it came way too soon.

Lima, the former Astros pitcher who became a fan favorite almost overnight for his flamboyant personality and fledgling musical career as much as his meteoric rise – and equally fast fall – on the mound, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack at his home in Los Angeles. He was 37.

Known affectionately as “Lima Time,” the veteran of 13 major league seasons and six teams joined the Astros in 1997 in a multiplayer trade from Detroit to begin a 4½ -season stint with the team.

His best year came in 1999, when he went 21-10 with a 3.58 ERA in a career-high 35 starts en route to earning All-Star honors and helping the Astros to a third consecutive National League Central title.

News of the righthander’s death reached the Astros as they prepared to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in Sunday's series finale at Minute Maid Park.

Without question one of the brightest talents -- and personalities -- to grace the locals.

At his best, Lima won a combined 37 games in 1998-1999 and looked primed to become one of the most successful pitchers in franchise history.

But Lima could never replicate the effort once the team moved from the cavernous Astrodome to then-Enron Field, where the field dimensions played mind games on the pitcher.

He went 7-16 in 2000 and 1-2 in 2001 before being traded back to Detroit. He finished 46-42 as an Astro with a 4.77 ERA. For his career, he went 89-102 with a 5.26 ERA.

Lima’s last major league stint came in 2006 with New York Mets, with whom he lasted just four starts. He also had a stint in the Korean league in 2008 and the independent Golden Baseball League last year.

He had recently rejoined the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom he pitched in 2004, as a member of the Dodgers Alumni Association.

He used to own a home on a golf course south of Houston where I played occasionally and sometimes that meringue music was blasting so loud you could have heard it inside the Dome.

He lived a full life in a short time. RIP.

Black underpinnings

That's not a reference to any subjectified opinions about her future Supreme Court decisions, either.

U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill, doing the customary meet-and-greet with the senators who will decide her fate as a Supreme Court nominee. Whether Kagan leans left or right in her judicial demeanor is for court observers to debate. But in matters of style, she is unabashedly conservative.

... Kagan took the anti-style offensive several steps further. She put on rouge and lipstick for the formal White House announcement of her nomination, but mostly she embraced dowdy as a mark of brainpower. She walked with authority and stood up straight during her visits to the Hill, but once seated and settled during audiences with senators, she didn't bother maintaining an image of poised perfection. She sat hunched over. She sat with her legs ajar.

Kagan made her debut as a U.S. Supreme Court nominee dressed in a hip-length emerald-green jacket, black underpinnings, sheer black hosiery, sturdy black pumps, a strand of pearls and matching earrings. Her style was tidy and conservative but with a generous sprinkling of frumpiness of the sort that federal Washington can't resist -- at least when in front of a camera's intruding lens. 

Even for the Fashion and Style section this is a truly offensive, ridiculously sexist article. Did I just miss the media vetting of John Roberts' and Sam Alito's underwear? The scrutiny of their leg position while sitting?

Ohhhhh yeah, it's about the all important lesbian question.

Tied up in the assessment of style -- Kagan's or anyone else's -- is the awkward, fumbling attempt to suss out precisely who a person is. For Kagan, that means folks are using fashion as a limited tool for making sense of her sexual orientation (Well, she's 50, a bit plain and never married!) and then going on to the larger question of whether being gay or not matters on the high court. (Doesn't everything matter -- including whether one has a small-town background or an inner-city one -- in how one interprets the world?)

So the chatter on the Internet and in the coffee shops, turns to the lesbian archetypes: the Birkenstock-wearing, crunchy granola womyn; the short-haired, androgynous type; and the glamorous, lipstick-wearing Portia de Rossi girl. What does Kagan's short hair mean? Or the fact that she wears makeup?

I have plenty of issues with Kagan's potential views as a SCOTUS justice, but this article just should never have been written, much less published by the Washington Post. Even (especially?) in the Society section.

Update: Maybe Robin Givhan, the author of the Washington Post piece excerpted above, really is a misogynist.

Poll: Paul surges ahead of Palin among self-identified morons

MINNEAPOLIS -- In a sign of his increasing prominence in the so-called Tea Party movement, a new poll shows Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul topping former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin among voters who describe themselves as morons.

In the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota's Opinion Research Institute, 42% preferred Paul, 36% preferred Palin, and the remaining 22% were unsure what the word "prefer" meant.

According to Davis Logsdon, who supervised the poll for the University of Minnesota, Paul's surging popularity among morons is bad news for Palin, who previously had a lock on that important constituency.

"I never thought I'd say that, but if Palin is going to stay competitive with Paul, she's going to have to start dumbing down her message."

 Thanks, Andy.

Sunday Funnies (gRand Oil Party edition)

Friday, May 21, 2010

The governor's race in 3 minutes, and more postpourri

-- So if you haven't been paying attention you can catch up on the Texas governor's contest in less than three minutes, courtesy Eileen Smith at Texas Monthly.

-- What Eileen left out that developed this week: The Texas AFL-CIO offered Rick Perry a double-wide furnished with his favorite magazine for $1 a year. That's obviously a big savings over the ten grand a month for the mansion he's been squatting in. You'd think in these hard times, when every state agency had to cut its budget by 5% or more, that would be a grand gesture for the governor. He turned it down.

Let's Evict Rick instead.

-- Ta-Nehisi Coates follows up on Rachel Maddow's evisceration of Rand Paul:

That interview would have went a lot better for Rand Paul if Maddow had have just thrown her notes in the air and accused him of being a bigot, and a covert member of the Klan. That's what they want. And I don't simply mean conservatives--I mean people you disagree with. I know I've won a debate when my adversary says, "What the fuck type of name is Ta-Nuh-hah-see, anyway?" It translates to "I've got nothing." Much scarier is the opponent who takes your argument, with whatever nuances it may or may not possess, and politely disagrees with the argument as it is.

-- The SBOE finalizes its social studies standards today. Muse has been on the scene. BOR, Kuffner, the TFN and the Texas Tribune have much more.

Last week on my Vegas vacation I took time off from my intense sports booking and heavy slot action to call in and conference with Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau, two of the Democratic candidates for the state school board. Needless to say, electing these two women in November -- as well as Michael Soto -- goes a long way toward effectively mitigating the current board's whacked-out decisions.

-- Pappas Seafood Restaurants is suing BP for damages related to the Gulf oil spill. BP has tried desperately to keep a lid on photos and video of the underwater gusher, but they lost that battle too. Here's a wrap-up of the latestThis site has also been terrific for aggregating information, and Eric Berger is good as well.

Update: Hideous.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ayn Rand Paul, arrogant ignorance, and the Texas SBOE

Chris Good at The Atlantic:

Here's one thing that can, plainly, be said about the controversy over Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act: this is exactly what Democrats hoped would happen.

The Democratic campaign and message apparatus has been banking, for months, on the rightward tilt of the Tea Party to damage the Republican Party in November's midterm elections. They put out a strategy memo to this effect in January.

The idea is, basically: Tea Partiers are crazy, right-wing extremists. If the Republican Party elects them to run in November, the Republican Party will lose. Democrats have been saying this for months.

Paul's statements about the Civil Rights Act, brought up last night by Rachel Maddow and discussed at length, in an interview, have dominated the news cycle today. It has not looked good for Paul, or for the Tea Party.

Joe Klein:

...Rand Paul is now saying that  he regrets the appearance with Rachel Maddow, not the ridiculous statements he made in favor of a private business's ability to discriminate according to race. I suspect that this will be the first of many such disasters for the Tea Party libertarians. They are about to find themselves faced with actual political rivals who will be more than happy to expose the utopian foolishness of their ideology. This will be a rare moment of public education for an electorate that doesn't pay sufficient attention to even the most important aspects of democracy.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, also from The Atlantic:

But what about red-lining? Does Paul know anything about blockbusting? Does he think banks should be able to have a policy of not lending to black businesses? Does he think real-estate agents should be able to discriminate? Does he think private homeowner groups should be able to band together and keep out blacks? Jews? Gays? Latinos?

I think there's this sense that it's OK to be ignorant about the Civil Rights Act because it's a "black issue." I'm not a lawyer, but my sense is that for a senator to be ignorant of the Civil Rights Act, is not simply to be ignorant of a "black issue," but to be ignorant of one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed. This isn't like not knowing the days of Kwanzaa, this is like not knowing what caused the Civil War. It's just embarrassing--except Paul is too ignorant to be embarrassed.

This is George W. Bush-style prideful ignorance, and it's probably the worst thing about the TeaBaggers specifically and the Republican Party generally.

They don't know, they don't care and they don't like you because you do.

Muse notes among the many atrocities in the Texas SBOE hearings going on in Austin is that -- as Coates points out in the last sentence excerpted above -- the Civil War was fought not over slavery or even states' rights but because an angel fell from Heaven (and became Satan, I suppose is the lesson).

The stupidity is literally breath-taking.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sestak retires Specter; Lincoln likely in run-off with Halter

The real news here is that Barack Obama and Joe Biden and others in the Democratic establishment supported both of these two losers. Voters are rejecting incumbents, as has been accurately reported in lots of places.

The Democrat, an asinine Blue Dog named Mark Critz, easily held on to the late Jack Murtha's seat -- the only Kerry-McCain district in the country -- despite a million Republican dollars and all manner of doom-filled predictions that the election to fill the unexpired term was a referendum on Obama.  If it is, we will certainly be happy in November.

The progressive, state Attorney General Jack Conway, defeated the Blue Dog -- Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo -- in the Kentucky Democratic Senate primary election to replace the Alzheimer's-riddled GOP retiree Jim Bunning. But all the media wants to talk about is RuPaul Ron Paul's son and the TeaBaggers again, despite the fact that Mongiardo's 2nd-place finish is more votes than Paul's first-place one.

So where's the "Mitch McConnell's boy and GOP mainstream gets thumped" headline?

Update: Blanche Lincoln may not even be the top vote-getter in AR.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Weekly Wrangle (from the streets of Las Vegas)

Really. I'm on the patio of the Starbucks outside the Golden Nugget, on Fremont and 2nd. I observe that the Associated Press has picked up the story of Rick Perry's ten-grand-a-month rental house, while Rassmublican pushes back with their poll. (Update: Phillip Martin at BOR has more on these ridiculous numbers.)

Distracted though I may have been by our gambling winnings (over $300 on the Preakness which produced a nice dinner at Vic and Anthony's) I'm staying on task long enough on get-back-to-H-Town-day to bring you the blog roundup.

This week at Left of College Station, the spring semester ends and Teddy has made it through another twelve hours of classes. He wasn't too busy to take a look at the developments in the campaign for TX-17, and how the Republicans are attempting to nationalize the midterm elections.

TXsharon of BLUEDAZE: Drilling Reform for Texas took some EPA officials from D.C. on a Barnett Shale tour last week.

Bay Area Houston says Arizona's Governor Brewer is the new Face of the GOP.

Off the Kuff interviewed Democratic candidate for Lt. Gov. Linda Chavez-Thompson about Arizona's immigration law and what comprehensive immigration reform would look like.

WhosPlayin has the final results from the Texas DSHS investigation of blood and urine for residents of Dish, TX; the conclusions are not by any means an exoneration for the industry because of significant limitations to the investigation.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes the futility of Cornyn and Perry saying they want the Hispanic vote while Republicans simultaneously rev up the Tea Party racists.

Sarah Palin decides to release another book and McBlogger had just a few comments.

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw has a question: Is Rick Perry's 2006 Business Tax an Income Tax? According to a pretty sharp legal student, the answer is yes. Who would have thought it, Rick Perry pulling a fast one so he could continue his lower property tax bait and switch scam.....

Announcing the planned City of Houston budget for the year ahead Houston Mayor Annise Parker said Houston has an economy "better than that in any other part of the country." She said this despite Houston's high poverty rate, high dropout rate and large number of people without health insurance. These issues, however, don't seem to be part of Parker's agenda for the future of Houston. Neal at Texas Liberal elaborates.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson observes that as taxes receipts ebb and budget troubles hit Williamson County, the poor and middle class are most likely to pay for it: Changes to indigent health care in Williamson County.

A slow post week at Brains and Eggs as PDiddie slid out to Sin City to help his nephew celebrate his 21st birthday. There's a great old pic of the Golden Nugget -- now under the ownership of Tilman Fertitta -- from 1946, when PDiddie's grandfather used to frequent the gambling hall.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sin City for the weekend

To help the nephew celebrate his 21st. Staying at Tilman's.

This old photo is from '46, when it opened. My maternal grandfather -- a train conductor -- said it was his favorite place, and he passed down to us grandkids a few of the silver dollars he won there (when they paid those out back in the day).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Skynet is about to become self-aware

It has begun. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

Don't be alarmed. High above your heads, a zombie satellite is on the loose. OK, actually, it won't really be a bother to us earthlings. Or at least to most of us. (More on that later.) But the rogue communications satellite is wreaking havoc in Earth's orbit and does threaten to interfere with signals coming from other satellites. Here's the backstory...

The communications satellite named Galaxy 15 lost contact with ground control after a solar flare probably fried its brain. As a story from the Christian Science Monitor reports, attempts from Earth to contact the satellite have been unsuccessful. But instead of just dying and drifting off, the satellite has continued to orbit the Earth, even though it refuses to receive instructions from its owner, Intelsat.

For the science nerds out there: The satellite is still on, with its "C-band telecommunications payload still functioning even as it has left its assigned orbital slot of 133 degrees west longitude 36,000 kilometers over the equator." Translation: Not good.

What's confounding scientists is that even though the satellite is toast, it continues to operate at full power, but with nobody telling it what to do. Why on earth we should care: The "zombiesat" (as its known in space talk) could steal a working sat signal, and interrupt programming for its customers. Yes, that means our television programs. The horror. As the blog Boing Boing points out, Galaxy 15 was one of the satellites that carried the Syfy channel's signal. And now it's met an end good enough to be its own Syfy show.

The Galaxy 15 is on course to mess with an SES satellite that transmits to Luxembourg. If it's any consolation to the good people of Luxembourg, officials are calling the situation "unprecedented."

The undead satellite has caused (Yahoo) searches for "galaxy 15 satellite" to rise an astronomical 10,300% in the last week. Searches were also out of this world for "nasa satellite imagery," "satellite photo," and "nasa satellites." It's also caused people to wonder "how many satellites are in space." Not enough to bump into each other. Yet.


Galaxy 15 continues to receive and transmit satellite signals, and they will probably interfere with the second satellite, known as AMC 11, if Galaxy 15 drifts into its orbit as expected around May 23 ...

AMC 11 is part of a satellite constellation that transmits HD television signals for more than 100 channels, ranging from Showtime and MTV Networks to HSN and the Food Network. Among the channels carried by Galaxy 15 and its sibling satellites are Cinemax, Encore, ESPN, Fox News Channel, HBO, Starz and SyFy.

If it knocks out Fox then I suppose it's worth the sacrifice. Of course if that should happen then it will surely be Obama's (or ACORN's) fault.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Seven days to Sestak-Specter and Halter-Lincoln

If you're as worn out as I am about the over-hyped and over-inflated importance of the TeaBag effect on the nations' Senate primaries, you're in for a welcome respite. From my Senate Guru e-mail:

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak is taking on recent Republican Arlen Specter.  As you may have read, recent polling has trended very much in Congressman Sestak's direction, but all polling continues to show a very tight race.  Democrats deserve better than nominating Specter, who not long ago championed McCain-Palin and stood as a roadblock to progress on issues like health care reform.

In Arkansas, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter is taking on corporate lackey Blanche Lincoln. Lt. Gov. Halter has taken impressive strides toward tightening this race, and the numbers are moving in his direction, but Lincoln still enjoyed a high-single-digit edge as of the end of April.  (This more recent poll shows Lincoln with a 12-point lead.) Every poll -- including ones showing Lincoln edging Halter in the primary -- show Halter performing MUCH stronger against Republicans than Lincoln does.  In fact, Lincoln is arguably unelectable in the general election because of rampant anti-incumbent sentiment in Washington.  However, with Bill Halter as the Democratic nominee in the general against likely Republican nominee GOP Rep. John Boozman, Arkansas Democrats will turn that anti-incumbent sentiment from a weakness into a strength.

We might see a couple of actual progressives -- that would be the Democratic base, in case you were wondering -- knock off some conservative incumbents in their respective elections next week. And no TeaBags anywhere in sight.

How refreshing would that be?

Left over from Sunday Funnies

Lena Horne 1917 - 2010

A life in full.

Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress who reviled the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, slowing her rise to Broadway superstardom, has died. She was 92. ...

Horne, whose striking beauty and magnetic sex appeal often overshadowed her sultry voice, was remarkably candid about the underlying reason for her success.

"I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept," she once said. "I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked."

In the 1940s, she was one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band, the first to play the Copacabana nightclub and among a handful with a Hollywood contract.

In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical "Stormy Weather." Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and her signature piece.

More from the NYT:

Ms. Horne might have become a major movie star, but she was born 50 years too early, and languished at MGM in the 1940s because of the color of her skin, although she was so light-skinned that, when she was a child, other black children had taunted her, accusing her of having a “white daddy.” ...

When she was 16, her mother abruptly pulled her out of school to audition for the dance chorus at the Cotton Club, the famous Harlem nightclub where the customers were white, the barely dressed dancers were light-skinned blacks, Duke Ellington was the star of the show and the proprietors were gangsters. A year after joining the Cotton Club chorus she made her Broadway debut, performing a voodoo dance in the short-lived show “Dance With Your Gods” in 1934.

And concluding from the AP link above.

By the 1960s, Horne was one of the most visible celebrities in the civil rights movement, once throwing a lamp at a customer who made a racial slur in a Beverly Hills restaurant and in 1963 joining 250,000 others in the March on Washington when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. Horne also spoke at a rally that same year with another civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, just days before his assassination. ...

She had married MGM music director Lennie Hayton, a white man, in Paris in 1947 after her first overseas engagements in France and England. An earlier marriage to Louis J. Jones had ended in divorce in 1944 after producing daughter Gail and a son, Teddy.

In the 2009 biography "Stormy Weather," author James Gavin recounts that when Horne was asked by a lover why she'd married a white man, she replied: "To get even with him."

Her father, her son and her husband, Hayton, all died in 1970 and 1971, and the grief-stricken singer secluded herself, refusing to perform or even see anyone but her closest friends. One of them, comedian Alan King, took months persuading her to return to the stage, with results that surprised her.

"I looked out and saw a family of brothers and sisters," she said. "It was a long time, but when it came I truly began to live."

And she discovered that time had mellowed her bitterness.

"I wouldn't trade my life for anything," she said, "because being black made me understand."

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone had a lovely Mother's Day as it reviews the highlights from the blogs.

WhosPlayin has election results and commentary for Lewisville, Lewisville ISD, and Flower Mound.

Neil at Texas Liberal posted a picture of the Mayflower landing in West Texas. Under Texas State Board of Education guidelines, you can teach kids just about anything as long as it is false.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme applauds South Texas for supporting their schools. Tea Party tax brats take note.

Indemnification language exposes industry known threats to safety, public health and environment from hydraulic fracture. On Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Bay Area Houston posted Governor Perry's personal offering on National Prayer Day: Let Us Prey.

Off the Kuff reminds us of the cost of Rick Perry's rejection of stimulus funds for unemployment insurance.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson states that the 2003 Texas GOP/DeLay redistricting scheme continues to cost Texas dearly, in The perils at the national level of being a majority minority-party state.

Rick Perry's ad attacked Bill White's ad this past week, and Rick Perry's ad lost. Not because it was filled with lies and mischaracterizations, and not because it used Yao Ming in a weirdly inappropriate way. No, Rick Perry's ad got kicked because Rick Perry is man so terrified of everything in his life that even laser sights and hollow points aren't enough to comfort him. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has "Perry v. White over the air", a fight which resembled Mayweather-Mosely in its one-sided outcome.

At TexasKaos, JRBehrman poses three questions about the BP oil spill and gives useful perspective on their answers... Check it out : Three Questions. Hint: no quick fixes here!

Ugh. Kagan.

Saw it coming. Still don't like it.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan will be nominated Monday to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama, a person familiar with the president's thinking says, positioning the high court to have three women justices for the first time.

Obama plans to announce his choice at 10 a.m. in the East Room of the White House. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision, which came after a monthlong search, had not been made public.

Just look at all the fawning.

Kagan is known as sharp and politically savvy and has enjoyed a blazing legal career. ...

What the president gets from Kagan, 50, is a terribly bright, progressive judicial voice without a great deal of liberal baggage for critics to sort though. The White House also will get someone who has a long-held inside-the-beltway reputation for being some sort of "consensus-builder."

This comes a little closer to my POV:

SCOTUSblog’s Tom Goldstein, who has been supportive of Kagan, describes her as “extraordinarily – almost artistically – careful” about her views of constitutional law, managing to avoid taking any definitive positions even in conversation. The simple, empirical fact is that there’s very little evidence available for the public to understand her outlook on the Constitution. Should Obama choose Kagan to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, she can remain a blank slate because the mechanism for public investigation of a nominee – the confirmation hearing – has been reduced to a venue for absurdist performance art.

But Glenn Greenwald as usual nails it, with seven salient points about why this is a bad pick ...

1) University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos, who previously expressed shock at the paucity of Kagan's record and compared her to Harriet Miers, has a new piece in The New Republic entitled (appropriately): "Blank Slate."

(2) Digby examines what a Kagan selection would reveal about Obama, and she particularly focuses on Kagan's relationship to Goldman Sachs.  That relationship is relatively minor, but it is illustrative in several ways and will certainly be used by Republicans to advance their attacks on this administration as being inextricably linked with Wall Street.  The Huffington Post's Sam Stein has more on the Kagan/Goldman Sachs connection.

(3) Following up on the article published yesterday in Salon by four minority law professors -- which condemned Kagan's record on diversity issues as "shocking" and "indefensible for the 21st Century" -- Law Professor Darren Hutchinson of American University School of Law today writes that Kagan's record is "abysmal." 

There's more so go read it. But this is the clincher.

(7) Perhaps most revealing of all:  a new article in The Daily Caller reports on growing criticisms of Kagan among "liberal legal scholars and experts" (with a focus on the work I've been doing), and it quotes the progressive legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as follows:  "The reality is that Democrats, including liberals, will accept and push whomever Obama picks."  Yesterday on Twitter, Matt Yglesias supplied the rationale for this mentality:  "Argument will be simple: Clinton & Obama like and trust [Kagan], and most liberals (myself included) like and trust Clinton & Obama."

Just think about what that means.  If the choice is Kagan, you'll have huge numbers of Democrats and progressives running around saying, in essence:  "I have no idea what Kagan thinks or believes about virtually anything, and it's quite possible she'll move the Court to the Right, but I support her nomination and think Obama made a great choice."  In other words, according to Chemerinksy and Yglesias, progressives will view Obama's choice as a good one by virtue of the fact that it's Obama choice.  Isn't that a pure embodiment of mindless tribalism and authoritarianism?  Democrats love to mock the Right for their propensity to engage in party-line, close-minded adherence to their Leaders, but compare what conservatives did with Bush's selection of Harriet Miers to what progressives are almost certain to do with Obama's selection of someone who is, at best, an absolute blank slate.

One of the very first non-FISA posts I ever wrote that received substantial attention (uniformly favorable attention from progressives) was this post, from February, 2006, about the cult of personality that subsumed the Right during the Bush era.  The central point was that conservatives supported anything and everything George Bush did, regardless of how much it comported with their alleged beliefs and convictions, because loyalty to him and their Party, along with a desire to keep Republicans in power, subordinated any actual beliefs.  Even Bill Kristol -- in a 2006 New York Times article describing how Bruce Bartlett had been ex-communicated from the conservative movement for excessively criticizing George Bush -- admitted that personal allegiance to Bush outweighed conservative principles in the first term and that "Bush was the movement and the cause."

To say that "Democrats, including liberals, will accept and push whomever Obama picks," based on the rationale that "Clinton & Obama like and trust her, and most liberals (myself included) like and trust Clinton & Obama" -- even if they know nothing about her, even if she might move the Court to the Right -- seems to me to be an exact replica of what I described four years ago.

This woman has the potential of being what Harry Blackmun was to Richard Nixon, what David Souter was to George H. W. Bush, what John Paul Stevens was to Gerald Ford. And that not coming to pass over the years is the best we progressives can hope for.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

TeaBagger loses in SD-22

As has been the case across the nation, election predictions of TeaBagger takeovers missed a few times. Initially covered here but better blogged since by a variety of other shops, a pair of alleged CarpetBaggers finished first and second in the free-for-all to replace state Sen. Kip Averitt of Waco yesterday.

Former state Sen. David Sibley and Gulf War veteran Brian Birdwell are heading to a runoff after neither garnered enough votes during a special election Saturday for a Texas Senate seat.

Sibley, a Republican, is trying to retake the seat he held for 11 years and finished with the most votes. But with all precincts reporting, no candidate in the four-way race earned the required 50 percent of the vote to secure the seat.

The central Texas seat includes 10 counties stretching from Waco to the outskirts of Fort Worth.

Sibley, a lobbyist and former dental surgeon, captured 45 percent of the vote while Birdwell, also a Republican, came in second with about 37 percent. Birdwell, who survived the Sept. 11 terrorist attack at the Pentagon, trailed Sibley by more than 2,500 votes.

Both men questioned the other's residence eligibility (a state senator must reside in the district for one year at minimum). But the real news is that the TeaBagger, Darren Yancy, came in fourth with just over 5% of the vote in a four-man race. He finshed woefully behind Baylor political science professor and Democratic candidate Gayle Avant, heretofore famous only for his moustache.

So the good conservatives of the Central Texas counties comprising SD-22 picked two establishment Republicans to face off against each other in a runoff. And the Democrat got nearly three times as many votes as the TeaBagger.

Yet we will continue to be treated to more stories about the Tea Party revolt sweeping Texas and the nation. Just remind yourself that it is horseshit when you see it.

The Teabs are an internal Republican Party uprising, and they are experiencing limited success in their maiden electoral endeavor. The Teed Off phenomenon is, at its core, anti-Obama: a virulent strain of Obama Derangement Syndrome. Nothing more.

Because what this country needs is a more conservative senator from Utah

RIP Bob Bennett. No great loss, and his replacement will probably be worse.

He voted in favor of the bailout, which was his death warrant among this extremist subset. The real message, though, is being sent to Texas' own TeaBagger, NRSC head Box Turtle Cornyn.

The result is yet another rebuke of the GOP establishment -- barely a week after Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, official Washington's pick for the state's Senate nomination, quit the party in a last-ditch effort to survive. Another blow to Republican powers here may come in another week or so, as Tea Party favorite Rand Paul may take out the establishment choice in the Kentucky Senate primary.

Note the Teabonics in this link's ending sentence that Republicans had "best head voters warnings".  Sadly Tim Kaine, the Democrats' mostly invisible chair, didn't proof-read his response, either:

" ... If there was any question before, there should now be no doubt that the Republican leadership has handed the reigns to the Tea Party."

Yeah, and the rein in Speign falls mainely on the plane. Go back to sleep, Governor Kain.

The other Senator Bennet, he of one 't' and hailing from Colorado, said it best when he called the TeaBaggers nihilists.

"Who do you think built the road that you traveled here on? Who do you think built the bridges and the sewers and the waste-water systems and invested in the higher education system that we now have. They built that stuff from scratch!... Our parents and our grandparents. And we can't even maintain it?!"

But hey, never forget that " 'Murrica is th' greates' cuntry inna werld".

Update: Steve Singiser ...

Bob Bennett is not burdened by scandal, nor has he been the kind of perennially unpopular politico that barely scrapes by intraparty challenges for the duration of his career (the way his fellow Utahn, Chris Cannon, was).

He is a standard-issue incumbent, who committed the capital offense (for 2010, anyway) of being a Republican occasionally capable of a non-ideological vote. This led him to a raft of opponents, and an unceremonious second-round exit in the state convention, one that was fueled at unbridled anger at ideological apostasy, as local columnist Peg McEntee pointed out:
When Bennett lost, the yips and howls from thousands of delegates sounded like coyotes going after one of their own.

Left standing were Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater, both Utah County Republicans who like the tea partiers and 9/12ers just fine. Both claim to be strict constitutionalists who will free Utah from an oppressive federal government, take back federal lands in Utah and repeal health care reform.
This process is being repeated from coast-to-coast, where so-called mainstream or "establishment" Republicans are getting battered for their lack of commitment to the "principles" of conservatism.

Read more, and take note particularly of the muddled past as prologue.

Greasy Sunday Funnies