Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Only Tuesday and already it's a lousy week to be a Republican
-- Alaska Senator Ted Stevens -- he of the Bridge to Nowhere and "the Internet is a series of tubes" fame -- had his house raided by agents of the FBI and the IRS yesterday.
Lazy Fred Thompson hit less than two-thirds of his fundraising goal for the month of June, which further disillusions Republican prospects for retaining the White House in 2008:
But many Republicans have turned queasy as Thompson has ousted part of his original brain trust and repeatedly delayed his official announcement, which is now planned for shortly after Labor Day, in the first two weeks of September.
Some are already saying a prospective Thompson run is a flop. “I just don’t see it anymore,” said a key Republican who had been extremely enthusiastic about a Thompson candidacy. "That number is really underwhelming. There were indications it could be double that. They've been saying that people were waiting for Fred, and the money was going to pour in. He looks like he's already losing momentum."
-- And an impeachment resolution was introduced yesterday in the House of Representatives.
All that and we still await a flash from Louisiana Senator Diaper Vitter, who last week suggested to his colleagues that they should "rebrand" the Republican party as fiscal conservatives. (This must be out of concern for the lost libertarian faction.)
There's really no schadenfruede in any of this news, frankly. Illness, legal woes, another politician's campaign and career collapsing ...
Good luck the rest of this week, Republicans. Maybe things will get better, though with Talmadge Heflin now at the helm in Texas, I wouldn't count on it.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Tooling around the Tex-o-sphere
|(I liked the Texas Kaos header so much I appropriated it along with this week's round-up.) |
It's Monday and that means it's time for another Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up. This week's round-up is brought to you by Vince at Capitol Annex.
Diarist Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos has had enough, and she shares the letter she wrote Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn in Tell Me That Our Elected U.S. Lawmakers Do Not Embrace a W. Monarchy.
|Could Be True ponders the often asked question (by the Right): "Why Post-Election Information in Spanish" at South Texas Chisme.|
Capitol Annex reveals a letter House Speaker Tom Craddick sent to former Parliamentarian Denise Davis telling her to keep her mouth shut about her time as parliamentarian.
Texas public education just took another hit, thanks to Governor Perry, according to a post by TXSharon at Bluedaze. Perry appointed Dr. Don McLeroy as chair of the Texas State Board of Education. McLeroy is infamous for his radical fundamentalist views. This is especially bad because textbooks are up for review this year.
Hal at Half Empty ponders early endorsements in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in An Endorsement Is Worth Watt Price?
Matt at Stop Cornyn lets us know that John Kerry has announced a contest to Remove Republican Roadblocks (like John Cornyn).
Karl-Thomas at Burnt Orange Report tells us about Town Lake being named after Lady Bird Johnson.
Muse at Musings has the invitation to LTC Rick Noriega's change of command ceremony at the Alamo on August 4th. Noriega will take command of the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, which can trace its history back to the Republic of Texas. The event is open to the public.
Thought we were done with Accenture and HHSC privatization? Charles at Off the Kuff says think again.
Stace at Dos Centavos tells us about a Pew study which finds Latino political participation is not matching up to Latino population growth. Will demographic changes be enough to put Democrats over the top?
Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News points to a peer-reviewed study that shows illegal immigrants are not criminals -- they go to jail at an amazinging low one-fifth the rate of current citizens. Perhaps we should promote immigration to reduce the crime rate in the United States?
Dembones at Eye On Williamson County posts on the similarities between the latest right-wing talking points on Iraq and the change in rhetoric by Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) on bringing troops home from Iraq in John Carter Heeds Grover Norquist's Talking Points.
John C. at Bay Area Houston, in Raising Campaign Cash 2007 from Bob Perry says that during early 2007 Bob Perry didn't get close to his record contributions last year, which totaled $4.5 million. In 2007 he has donated $471,000, with $250,000 going to Texans for Lawsuit Reform. HillCo PAC, another fine anti-consumer organization, received $50,000 and Lt. Governor Dewhurst received $25,000.
Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal tells us that Carrollton attorney Karen Guerra is set to run as a Democrat for the 16th District Court in 2008.
And, don't forget about these other Texas Progressive Alliance Members: Three Wise Men, In The Pink Texas, Marc's Miscellany, Common Sense, The Agonist, People's Republic of Seabrook, McBlogger, B and B, Feet To The Fire, and Who's Playin'.
"Mmarrvin Zindlerrrr, Eyewitness News", 1921 - 2007
There will still be slime in the ice machines, but there won't be any more Friday rat and roach reports from the King.
Though he was proudest of his work championing "the little guy" and helping secure medical care for needy children, he was best known for stories he did a mere seven months after starting the job in 1973 that led to the closing of the state's best-known "bawdy house," as Zindler called it — a notorious La Grange brothel known as the Chicken Ranch.
The reports not only won him national notoriety but also a public thrashing by Fayette County Sheriff T.J. Flournoy, a Chicken House partisan, who broke two of Zindler's ribs and snatched his toupee, reportedly waving it in the air as if it were a prized enemy scalp.
Texas author Larry L. King wrote an article about it for Playboy magazine in 1974, which was turned into a long-running Broadway musical four years later and became a kitschy 1982 movie starring Dolly Parton, Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise.
And this (a lesson perhaps for the rest of Houston's Republicans):
Zindler became involved in Democratic Party politics, serving as a delegate one year at the state Democratic convention where a conservative delegate slugged him after Zindler had made disparaging comments about the conservative wing of the party in a speech.
Zindler went on to work in the senatorial campaign of Lyndon Johnson and in other Democratic campaigns before switching to the Republican Party, where he continued to espouse liberal notions such as national health insurance.
A wealthy man -- a Republican -- born into a wealthy family, who cared deeply about the little guy. Who supported health care reform.
Where are any more of those left?
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Equal time for Greg ...
Friday, July 27, 2007
Cheney having heart surgery tomorrow, Bush will briefly be 'President'
Last Saturday doctors performed surgery on George Bush’s asshole, and this Saturday they’ll do it again! But this time, it’s the other asshole, Dick Cheney. They are going to take apart his robotic pig heart and replace the core reactor.
That’s the Friday News Fun from the White House this afternoon. The procedure is just the latest of so very many operations for Cheney, who has already racked up “four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, two artery-clearing angioplasties and an operation to implant the defibrillator.”During Bush’s time as “president” tomorrow morning, he is expected to play with his dogs and maybe work on his fort in the back yard.
Overheard this week
-- State rep. and LTC Rick Noriega
“I would love to earn Mikal’s support. With his support we have a much better chance of defeating Cornyn.”
-- Noriega, gently suggesting that his potential primary opponent find another statewide office upon which to spend his considerable fortune
"Well, you know, what’s interesting is that there have been all these hearings on the attorney general and yet nobody’s really laid a glove on him. … At this point, we have hundreds of hearings that have produced bupkis."
-- Tony Snow, talking about Alberto Gonzales
“Coming soon to a classroom near you, Al Qaeda!”
-- Alan Colmes, on FOX News
Bill O'Reilly: "(Daily Kos is) like the Ku Klux Klan. It's like the Nazi party."
Stephen Colbert: "Exactly! The Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis were both notorious for allowing people to express unpopular views in an open and free forum. "
-- The Colbert Report
(Bob Costas is a) "little midget man who knows (nothing) about baseball."
"As anyone can plainly see, I'm 5-6 1/2 and a strapping 150, and unlike some people, I came by all of it naturally."
"How do YOU know?"
-- Bonds, to the reporter who relayed Costas' retort
Tracking the sports scandals
Considering little of sporting importance is supposed to happen in July, it's a great month for a vacation, which is why nearly everyone except me takes one.
Only this July has turned out like no other. Indictments, drug scandals and humiliated commissioners -- and no, not talking about Barry Bonds. Hell, Barry looks like a Boy Scout compared to Michael Vick and Tim Donaghy, and that's just the top of the list.
Here's a few quick hits of the month nearly passed. With so much foolishness, maybe all of sports should consider taking some time off:
• The irony of the NBA's crooked referee scandal is that the league's critics have been bashing it for years because its players are too bold, too brash and, let's face it, too black for some people's comfort.And then it's the clean-cut white guy who ruins the whole thing.
• There's no excuse for dog fighting, but why doesn't everyone get even remotely as outraged about all the pro athletes who beat up women? That's practically an every-week crime.
• I all but gave up on cycling some time ago -- great sport, lots of cheating; even Lance Armstrong was implicated yet cleared -- but how does anyone remain a fan when UCI president Pat McQuaid says the following about Tour de Farce leader Michael Rasmussen: "It would be better if somebody else were to win. The last thing this sport needs is more speculation about doping."
Rasmussen was removed from the race Wednesday.
• And why was anyone surprised by Gary Player's claim that some PGA pros are on the juice, too? People cheat in every walk of life -- religion, charity, government, marriage. Why would golfers tempted by millions of dollars be the only honest bunch left out there?
• Then there's the poor NHL, which can't even get a good scandal going.
• I ruefully admit to watching part of one segment of "Who's Now?," the SportsCenter series so ridiculously bad it makes Chris Berman continuing to ruin the home run derby seem reasonable.
Matt Leinart was up against Tiger Woods (I think) and, I swear, one of Leinart's attributes was that he may have hooked up with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. This was cited as a positive. And Mike Wilbon went along with it. I saw this happen. Really.
That's a wretched two minutes of my life I can never do over.
In August -- maybe even before we exit July -- Bonds will break Aaron's home record, Tom Glavine will get his 300th win, and some of the focus will turn to baseball playoffs and the anticipation of football season. It has to get better for the sporting life -- doesn't it?
Thursday, July 26, 2007
What a Threat We Have in Cheeses
Hat tip to Steve Bates for the headline.
More bloggerrhea ...
-- You've been getting ripped off at the pump by the oil companies, for as long as there's been motor fuel and hot summers, in ways you probably never imagined. Never forget what our nation's finest are fighting, bleeding, and dying for. Record profits.
-- Democratic "centrists" get snubbed by every single presidential candidate. Of course this is a political calculation, especially by the early polling leader. See, she actually benefits from being criticized by progressives -- like me -- because it gives her the opportunity to present herself as unbeholden to the party's base.
-- OMFG Dept.: Alberto Gonzales is a liar, and there's a paper trail to prove it.
You don't think he could be forced to resign, do you?
-- Are we there yet?
The America that would accept this kind of edict in silence is not the America that we grew up in. Something has changed. We are poised to accept this like we've accepted every other insult. It's hard to imagine that, even when bloggers and other dissenters start losing their property, that there will be tens of thousands in the streets to protect us. As long as the forms are still there, and the system continues to do what it must to sustain itself, we will simply be collateral damage.
If we accept the forcible removal of our property without due process, forcible removal of our lives will not be far behind. And there are people eager to accomplish this: according to Barna Research, there are about 50 million hardcore fundamentalists who have been eagerly awaiting the day, training and planning and praying for the chance to do just that -- to take out their frustrations on the liberal traitors whom they have been taught to believe are responsible for everything that's wrong with their lives. They believe, in their bones, we have stabbed God's America in the back; and they are out for vengeance. This is the edict that will provide "legal" support and justification for their first tentative steps toward mob rule.
Are we there yet? Not quite. But Bush has just put the capstone on the doorway leading to the coming fascist state. Whether your own B clause is a passport or a gun, it's probably time to make sure both are in good working order.
Lighter-fare links ahead.
-- The Ten Commandments of Cellular Telephone Etiquette. My personal most grating:
1. Thou shalt not subject defenseless others to cell phone conversations. When people cannot escape the banality of your conversation, such as on the bus, in a cab, on a grounded airplane, or at the dinner table, you should spare them. People around you should have the option of not listening. If they don't, you shouldn't be babbling.
5. Thou shalt not dial while driving. In all seriousness, this madness has to stop. There are enough people in the world who have problems mastering vehicles and phones individually. Put them together and we have a serious health hazard on our hands.
-- This story made me want to run away and join the circus.
-- And I missed this last Sunday, but San Antonio and Austin can still catch it:
The Uncathon event is to raise money for Port Arthur blues legend "Uncle" John Turner, who has played with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and a number of other blues luminaries.
Update (today, from commenter Bev): RIP, Uncle John.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
John Cornyn dressed as a Rove cheerleader (and assorted postpourri)
Is there no shame too great for Alberto Gonzales to endure? Apparently not.
Right, Greg takes it in stride. Good; we mean it all in fun -- just so long as Rick Noriega gets elected, that is. You can still be one of those Great 800 with as little as one dollar.
Last night I took my nephew to the ballgame. It was a fine time:
They stood throughout Minute Maid Park in the sixth inning Tuesday night, focused on Craig Biggio at the plate. In the home dugout and in the stands, they craved one of those storybook moments that rarely materialize the way fans and players see them in their dreams.
Only six hours after Biggio had shown gratitude for being able to write his own retirement script and announcing this will be his last season as a major league player, the Astros icon added the perfect ending to his monumental day.
The bases were loaded, and the score was tied. The crowd of 38,247 was on its feet and sending a raucous echo through Minute Maid Park. As if straight from central casting, Biggio rewarded his fans with a grand slam into the Crawford Boxes. ...
"I didn't even feel like I was touching the bases at times," said Biggio, 41, who will retire after his 20th season, all in Houston. "It was just a magical, magical day. I topped it off with an unbelievable ending."
Like an obedient servant to the adoring masses, Biggio responded to the "BIG-GI-O! BIG-GI-O!" chants by tipping his cap during a curtain call.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
You know, Greg? You're right.
Goalposts will be moved. 800 donors by the end of September is more reasonable, and all of us Kool Kidz appreciate your suggestion.
Now ... about that candidate of yours currently leading in the polls? Nnnnnot so much.
P.S. I thought this watch party announcement was plenty enough 'equal treatment'.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Almost post-debate bloggerhea
Dodd's Talk Clock:
Poll of Kossacks:
Who is currently your favorite 2008 candidate?
9% 1293 votes
26% 3612 votes
37% 5204 votes
5% 777 votes
0% 136 votes
0% 128 votes
4% 563 votes
1% 176 votes
No Freakin' Clue
5% 790 votes
7% 1093 votes
Update (7/24): Gary has a comprehensive summary.
A beer with Brad
Beginning on Wednesday, I'll be guest-hosting the Peter B. Collins Show for a week and a half, Monday through Fridays from 3p - 6p PT (6p - 9p ET, or 5p - 8p CT on our Houston clock) and hope you'll tune in to one of Peter's affiliate stations, or via the Internet for whatever trouble-making we end up cooking up.
We'll be broadcasting each day out of the facilities of KPFT, as generously offered by the good folks of Houston's Pacifica Radio affiliate station there. We're very much looking forward to it, as we've not been on the air for such a long stint in quite a while. The last time would also have been out of Texas, during the Summer of 2005 from "Camp Casey," where we took the old BRAD SHOW on the road for our special "Operation Noble Cause" broadcasts from the middle of one damned hot cow pasture.
That's where I first saw Brad, at the Crawford Peace House, doing his show in the sweltering late August heat, the weekend before Katrina hit New Orleans.
Monday July 23rd: Debate and Impeachment events
Monday, July 23, 2007 from 6:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Gs and Zs, 4412 Almeda, Houston, TX 77004
Please join Honorary Host, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Co- Hosts Carol Alvarado, Sue Lovell, and Annise Parker for the Democratic presidential debate taking place on July 23rd. All across the country, thousands of women and men will be watching at house parties as part of Club 44: Make History with Hillary! We'll hear from a special guest and get a campaign insider's analysis via a conference call from the debate site in South Carolina immediately following the debate.
Houston Area Endorsements:
Houston City Councilwoman and President of the Texas Municipal League Carol Alvarado, Former Houston Mayor Lee Brown, Council Member Sue Lovell, Comptroller Annise Parker, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas Arthur Schechter, State Senator Mario V. Gallegos Jr., State Representative Hubert Vo, State Representative Senfronia Thompson, DNC Member Denise Johnson, State Democratic Executive Committeewoman Rose A. Salas, Former Houston City Councilman Gordon Quan and Sylvia Quan, Texas Young Democrats President Shondra Wygal, State Democratic Executive Committeeman Lloyd Criss, Chairman of the Texas Democratic County Chair Association Sharon Teal of Livingston, TX
RSVP via email to Natakoerber@sbcglobal.net
July 23, 2007, is the fifth anniversary of the Downing Street Meeting, the assembly at Number 10 Downing Street at which the head of British intelligence reported that Bush and Cheney were intent on invading Iraq and were going to "fix the intelligence and facts around the policy." The meeting was recorded in the Downing Street Minutes which were leaked in May 2005. It was then that we launched AfterDowningStreet.org.
Monday, July 23rd, Cindy Sheehan will lead a march from Arlington National Cemetery at 10 a.m. to Capitol Hill, to the office of Congressman John Conyers to ask him to move forward with impeachment. We will wear orange that day, a color that has come to stand for nonviolent revolution. We encourage as many people as possible to join us, and if you cannot, to phone Congressman Conyers' office that day asking him to move forward on impeachment: (202) 225-5126.
Cindy Sheehan plans to announce her candidacy that day for Congress, challenging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to represent the 8th District of California. Sheehan's candidacy is motivated by Pelosi's actively blocking the impeachment of Cheney and Bush, but Sheehan won't run if Pelosi endorses impeachment. Please phone Pelosi's office right away and as often as you can to encourage her to support impeachment: (202) 225-0100.
The 23rd in DC is part of a march from Texas to New York. Cindy Sheehan, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, and others are leading a march/drive from Crawford, Texas, to New York City. The march will include stops at the district offices of House Judiciary Committee Members Mel Watt and Bobby Scott. You can organize a meeting, protest, honk-a-thon, or sit-in at your Congressmember's office. One way to get organized is with this system. You can find events and create them here. And you can meet people in Facebook. Below is the route and a link for more information and to get involved.July 10 Crawford Tx Houston Tx
July 11 Houston Tx. New Orleans La.
July 12 New Orleans La. Montgomery Al.
July 13 Montgomery Al. Ft. Benning Ga
July 14 Ft. Benning Ga Atlanta Ga.
July 15 Atlanta Ga. Gainsville Ga.
July 16 Ganisville Ga. Clemson SC
July 17 Clemson SC Charlotte NC
July 18 Charlotte NC Greensboro NC
July 19 Greensboro NC Lynchburg VA
July 20 Lynchburg VA Charlottesville VA (rally at 6 p.m.)
July 21 Charlottesville VA Richmond VA
July 22 Richmond VA Arlington VA
July 23 Arlington Cem White House/ Capitol
July 23 Washington DC Philadelphia PA
July 24 Philadelphia PA Allentown PA
July 25 Allentown PA New York City NY
July 26 United Nations Action
July 27 Begin to Gather at Central Park
July 28 TBA
July 29 Gathering of Hearts Fest Central Park
Round 'em up
John C. at Bay Area Houston Blog looks at the Houston City Council's Own Chickenhawk and explains how he was once again punk'd on his own radio show.
Muse at Musings brings us some photos from State Rep. Rick Noriega's announcement that he'll form an exploratory committee to run against U.S. Senator John Cornyn in 2008.
TxSharon At BlueDaze reveals that the government paid $400,000 for a new marketing plan that will eventually convince us that Endless War in Iraq is a good thing.
WCNew at Eye On Williamson tells about the Texas Department of Transportation's efforts to continue justifying its existence in TxDOT's Sunset Review Kick-Off Party & Media Blitz.
Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal says that the U.S. Senate Majority Leader has finally decided to call out the GOP in Senator Reid's Jujitsu On Iraq.
Hal at Half Empty explores Rick Perry's choice of Don McLeroy to head the State Board of Education in Governor Perry Names 'Academically Unacceptable' To Head Texas School Board.
Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News reminds everyone to see Michael Moore's SiCKO and to call senators and congressmen about the health care crisis, while telling us why he won't be bothering to call John Cornyn.
McBlogger at McBlogger wants to know why Stonewall Democrats' President Shannon Bailey hasn't resigned yet.
Krazypuppy at Texas Kaos is celebrating his own recovery from minor surgery this week by commiserating in his own inimitable way with the President's latest colorectal adventure.
What is the Texas GOP doing to get ready for 2008? Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff takes a look.
Do you want a red border fence or a green one? Will it make Texas look fat? CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme blogs about how the Republicans are all about PR and imagery. Chertoff opened his mouth and proved it once again.
MexicoBob at Who's Playin'? takes a look at some issues related to some outdated marijuana references in the City of Lewisville's smoking ordinance in Texas Town To Allow Public Smoking Of Weed.
PMBryant at B and B explores journalists downplaying the effects of gender bias during an article on women and their career choice.
And finally, my post quoting Dave McNeely's column regarding the potential 18th Texan to serve in the US Senate.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Presidential polyps identified (not removed)
Asked if he saw the need to address the potentially cancerous effects of the conservative tumor now threatening the health of the United States Constitution, Bush said: "I have the same answer to that question I would have if somebody asked me whether my colonoscopy revealed to me the need for a government plan to insure that all Americans have access to health care: 'Get real, the only person's ass I have ever cared about is my own.' "
Sunday Funnies (early edition)
Story related to above: Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana allegedly asked the prostitutes he procured to swaddle him in diapers.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Rick Noriega for US Senate. Today.
You can hear the man speak in Houston today at the gathering of West Houston Democrats, beginning a little early for some of you at 9:45 a.m. at the Tracy Gee Community Center located at 3599 Westcenter Drive (one block east of Beltway 8 between Richmond & Westpark).
This is also your reminder that you can change the equation by making a donation of any amount to Noriega's campaign, making a little history as one of the Great 800.
Weekend entertainment and sports postpourri
Bud Selig joined the crowd that came out to see Barry Bonds. All the commissioner saw was a long fly and an 0-for-4.
Bonds went hitless and stayed put at 753 home runs in the San Francisco Giants' 8-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night, moving no closer to the record 755 held by Selig's good friend, Hank Aaron.
Bonds started the series opener in the city where Hammerin' Hank began and ended his career — and on the 31st anniversary of Aaron's final home run, no less. He hit No. 755 on July 20, 1976, at now-demolished County Stadium.
It would have been fitting to see Baroids tie or break the record in the same city as Aaron, on the same night 31 years later, but alas. Maybe today or tomorrow. Soon enough for sure.Mark me as neither a Bonds fan nor a hater. Big Head Barry cheated, but so did McGuire, Sosa, Canseco, Palmeiro, et. al. My opinion is that if MLB so despised steroid use then they could have taken action in the last century. But baseball needed big hitters breaking records in the '90's as it struggled to recover from the debilitating players' strike and cancellation of the World Series in 1994.
But back then I thought Ken Griffey Jr. was going to be the greater player of the two, so what do I know?
Because his name is Steve Francis, he's the most intriguing of all the moves (new Rockets GM Daryl) Morey has made in his remarkable offseason. Morey probably can't comprehend that part of the story. He simply can't know how invested fans were in believing Francis and Cuttino Mobley would be part of a third championship.
Francis eventually came to symbolize an organization's failures rather than its successes. Yet his failings were those of a spoiled kid. They were never malicious. So he skipped a flight to see a Super Bowl.Big deal. Check this week's headlines. Skipping a flight seems almost irrelevant.
Good analysis here by RJ, and it applies to Bonds as well. Neither Barry nor Stevie Not-The-Franchise are firing their guns in titty bar parking lots at 3 a.m. or raising and gambling on pit bulls to kill and maim each other. Selfishness -- even narcissim and self-abuse, for that matter -- is one thing, and commission of actual crimes quite another.
Steve Francis might be very good for the Rockets next year, or he might not.
Have you seen SiCKO yet? Get thee to a cinema this weekend. Michael Moore's got a pretty good deal for you if you do:
And, to show my thanks to all of you who'll go see SiCKO this weekend, I'm going to send one of you and a guest on a free weekend to the universal health care country of your choice! That's right. You'll get to pick one of the three industrialized countries featured in the movie where, if you get sick, you get help for free, no matter who you are. All you have to do is send us your ticket stub (make sure it says SiCKO on it and has the name of the theater and this weekend's date on it -- Friday, Saturday or Sunday - July 20th, 21st, 22nd). Attach the stub to a piece of paper with your name, address, phone number and email and send it to: 'Sicko' Night in America, 888c 8th Avenue, Suite 443, New York, NY 10019. (Yes, you have to use that old 18th century device called the U.S. Postal Service, and it has to be postmarked on or by Tuesday, July 24th). First prize is a weekend in the city of your choice: Paris, London or Toronto. This includes airfare, hotel, meals and, most exciting, a representative from their fine universal health care system who will give you a personal tour so you can see how they treat their fellow citizens. You'll meet people who pay nothing for college and citizens who are in the fourth week of their six-week paid vacation. Oh, and you'll have time to see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben or whatever they have in Toronto that is old and tall. (If you don't have a passport, we'll pay for that, too!)
I have seen the film twice now, and it makes me nauseous and angry at the same time. It just amplifies my pre-existing queasiness that George Bush's America isn't the country that I grew up in, that my Cuban in-laws emigrated to, that is worthy of being called the greatest nation on Earth.
Our leaders are failing us, and if we don't reverse the trend, then this grand experiment of democracy now 231 years old will end shortly (if it hasn't already). The patient is certainly in critical condition, and might already be brain-dead.
But as that pathetic neoconservative Dennis Miller would say at this point: "Fuck it, who wants pie"?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
John Tower. Phil Gramm. The current occupants, Senator Perjury Technicality and Senator Box Turtle.
Dave McNeely, whose columns appear syndicated throughout the state, has more. Excerpted in full; emphasis mine:
If you sit around wondering how many Texans have sat in the United States Senate in the 91 years since senators began being selected by popular elections in 1916, the answer is 17. State Rep. Rick Noriega, D-Houston, in the 2008 election would like to be chosen as the 18th.
Jabbing at the Republican incumbent, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, as a "cheerleader" for the administration of President George W. Bush "for a variety of failed policies," Noriega said a change in representation is necessary to bring a change in direction.
"A lot of the problem we see today is (that) stubbornness is not a foreign policy," Noriega said.
Noriega, a sturdy 49-year-old legislator who has worked in educational administration, on Monday announced formation of an exploratory committee at a press conference on the state capitol's front lawn.
Noriega, with buzz-cut hair and an erect military bearing, chose a backdrop of the memorial to those who died at the Alamo, to underline his 26 years in the armed services, including a stint in Afghanistan with the Texas Army National Guard.
"Growing up in Houston, my family taught me the importance of serving my community," Noriega said in a prepared statement. "I've been privileged to serve this country as a soldier, my state as an elected representative, and Houston as a community leader focused on education. The call to service has been a big part of my life, and I am taking the next step in answering that call."
"Standing in the shadows of this monument, I'm reminded of our state's great tradition and our duty to speak out when things have gone off the rails," Noriega said. "Today, our nation is headed in the wrong direction, led by those whose choice is to divide Americans to maintain power.
"They ignore the will of the people about the war in Iraq. They ignore the needs of the people for health care, college education, and a better standard of living. They ignore the lessons of our history: that America's strength lies in our unity and diversity.
"John Cornyn represents the worst of these trends," Noriega said. "And it's time for him to go."
Noriega rose to lieutenant colonel while training Afghan troops. Asked what he would do about the war in Iraq, Noriega said he would follow the withdrawal timetable laid out by the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by former President Bush's Secretary of State, James Baker.
Noriega's wife Melissa, who sat in for him in the Texas House of Representatives while he was in Afghanistan, was elected June 16 to the Houston City Council. After he returned, Noriega was tapped to run a National Guard border security operation, and then by Houston Mayor Bill White to coordinate relief for refugees from Hurricane Katrina who fled to Houston.
Though Noriega took aim in his press conference at Cornyn, his first major hurdle is Democrat Mikal Watts, a wealthy plaintiff's attorney from Corpus Christi and San Antonio. Watts, 39, has already donated and loaned millions of dollars to his campaign. By keeping his campaign war chest abreast of the Republican's, Watts hopes to demonstrate that he can go toe to toe on television advertising.
Noriega, who is not personally wealthy, obviously hopes his Hispanic surname will help offset Watts' dollars. Hispanics lean Democratic, and can account for between a third and half the vote in a Democratic primary.
The Alamo memorial also was undoubtedly chosen to help soften any negatives Noriega's surname may have for non-Hispanics. During times of battles over immigration, and talk of a fence along the Texas-Mexico border, the memorial serves as a reminder that during Texas's war with Mexico, Hispanic Texans as well as Anglos fought and died at the Alamo.
Asked what impact his surname might have on the contest, Noriega said "I'll let the voters decide that. I'm an American."
Cornyn told reporters he'll wait to see who Democrats select as their nominee before responding to attacks.
Noriega's exploratory committee is chaired by Paul Hobby of Houston, who was the Democratic Party's near-miss candidate in 1998 for state comptroller, and son of Bill Hobby, the former longtime Democratic lieutenant governor.
Noriega "is a rare mix of passion, competence and integrity," said Paul Hobby, who said he'd known Noriega for years. "Rick can and should win. I want to turn on CNN and see him representing Texas in the United States Senate. Rick is competent and practical; he is not slick or partisan. That is what we need right now -- credible leadership."
Happy Blogosphere Day
What's that, you say? What the hell is "Blogosphere Day"?
The tradition we now know as Blogosphere Day began in 2004 when, in a surprise statement, incumbent Rep. Jim Greenwood (PA-08) announced his retirement. Democratic challenger Ginny Schrader, with $7000 in the bank, came to the attention of the nationwide blogosphere via the front page of DailyKos, and over $30,000 poured into her campaign that day. Three weeks earlier, a brand new fundraising platform for Democrats -- ActBlue -- was launched, and quickly adopted by those who were raising funds for Ginny Schrader.
We say this time it's Rick Noriega's turn.
A word from the founder about that storied day:
Virginia "Ginny" Schrader was not getting much "help" at all from the DCCC in July 2004. She was running an uphill battle against Republican Congressman Jim Greenwood, who had won his previous race with 62%. Schrader herself had won a primary with only 60% against a frequent Republican candidate who had switched parties. As of the June 30th filing report, she had $7,000 on hand. Her chances, to put it mildly, were slim to none. Despite Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional district having voted for Gore in 2000, Greenwood's moderate social views (he was pro-choice, for example) enabled him to win reelection easily, over and over again. This race would be no different.
Except, suddenly the incumbent announced his retirement, and one enterprising blogger thought it ought to be different. VERY different. So he set out to raise money for a candidate he'd not yet met.
410PM: I used Politics1.com to find Schrader's website, and quickly noted her main positions on the issues, her biography and the district demographics (it voted for Gore, for example). I then set to work typing up an article on the front page of DailyKos. As I did, I checked PoliticsPA.com to confirm the news, and found out that Schrader had just $7,000 in the bank.
440PM: I finished the article, and published it on the front page. This is what it said:Breaking News: GOP Congressman Greenwood (PA-08) Leaving Congress This Year
I just read this at PoliticsPA.com and in a breaking news e-mail from RollCall.com. Congressman Jim Greenwood, a moderate Republican in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional district, just announced he will not seek reelection this year, instead removing his name from the ballot. The Democrat, Virginia "Ginny" Schrader, is an attorney who has just $7,000 in the bank as of June 30th. Greenwood's district voted for Gore in 2000 by a decent amount, and the GOP is now scrambling for a replacement.
Schraeder's website is [ Note: Link is now inactive]. A good place to contribute to would be at ACTBLUE at [Note: Link is now inactive], as it will track the donations recieved for the campaign.
I would suggest that we get involved ASAP. This seat is a Democratic-leaning one, and is too good to miss. Schrader is a liberal-to-moderate, pro-choice Democrat. In addition, she supports civil unions and is against Bush's positions on Iraq and the Patriot Act. She is an attorney who ran for State Rep. in 2002 and lost by a respectable margin.
This is completely out of left field, folks, and it gives us another opportunity for a pickup. Ginny Schrader is the luckiest candidate in the nation today, but can her luck hold?
In my rush to post the article, I mispelled Schrader's name at one point. I also forgot to include her ActBlue account, which I added later on at one poster's urging. In addition, I as of then had not figured out HTML, so there was no bolding or italics in the post. Reading it today when compared to my "modern" work is like comparing Sumerian clay tablets to a Medieval manuscript in its aesthetic beauty.
And yet my appeal worked. I didn't know Ginny Schrader from Adam; in fact, nearly all of the bloggers who responded that day didn't know her either. But people gave, people wrote kind words and let others know the news: that a Congressional seat could be won that had been not been looked at before.
By the end of July 20th, Ginny Schrader had raised $30,000 from the Internet.
Let's make July 19th, 2007 Rick Noriega Blogosphere Day in Texas !
On July 19th, 2005, the blogosphere catapulted Paul Hackett (D-Blogosphere) into contention in one of the reddest districts of red Ohio, OH-02. An excerpt from the Mother Jones timeline of the now recurring phenomenon:
July 18 - Dembloggers posts video of a Hackett ad that Republicans claim creates a false impression of support from George W. Bush. On the same day, Baker posts an email he has received from the Democratic Party that helpfully informs him: on "August 2 there will be a special election to fill a vacant seat in Congress representing the 2nd Congressional district in Southern Ohio."
July 19 - Blog for America, the blog of Democracy for America, announces DFA's endorsement of Hackett. The timing coincides with National Blogosphere Day, which blogs across the internet celebrate by urging donations to Hackett's campaign. In eight hours, Paul Hackett's ActBlue page pulls in $55,000.
July 20 - Grow Ohio reports that the blogs brought in $80,000 in a single day. Swing State Project reports Hackett currently tops Schmidt in Cash on Hand. Hackett's money comes from a network of individuals from around the country, each averaging around $50 a donation. According to the FEC reports analyzed by the blogs, Schmidt's money has come from PACs in average donations of $1,785. Grow Ohio, Swing State Project and OH-02 offer daily information on get-out-the-vote campaigns around the district.
While we're sure the Noriega campaign wouldn't turn down a one day influx of $80,000, this would be a great day to get more small donors on board the Noriega Express.
On July 19th, 2006, the blogosphere catapulted Ned Lamont (D-Blogosphere) into contention in CT-Sen. Howie at Down With Tyranny filed this after-action report:
Ned Lamont was the biggest single recipient and he matched, dollar for dollar, all the money that came in-- something he will continue to do through the end of the primary. Nevertheless, a story in today's NY TIMES by Mike McIntire and Jennifer Medina illustrates what a tough, tough task Ned has taken on himself. Forget for a moment that Joe Lieberman has become a millionaire many times over since he was elected to public office. (Unlike Ned, he is not a man who built a business, got audited, paid taxes and wages; Lieberman just won elections and, like most corrupt politicians... wound up very, very rich.) The headline of the TIMES story says a lot: "Lieberman's Donors Include Many Who Favor Republicans."
Lamont's prospect of unseating Kissin' Joe Lieberman in a primary seemed as distant a prospect as Box Turtle John Cornyn wants to pretend replacing him with Lt. Colonel Rick Noriega is. But 800 of my new best friends know different.
Are you ready for a ticket to ride on the Noriega Express through the cities, small towns, and wild flower fields of Texas?
Won't it be nice to have one United States Senator from Texas who doesn't embarrass the state every time he opens his mouth? Get on the Noriega Express, and help make it happen.
Donate here. Help Texas have a United States Senator who honors the spirit of our beloved Lady Bird instead of stiffing her friends and family at her memorial service.
Future United States Senator Rick Noriega. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The old drugs work better
Older, cheaper diabetes drugs are as safe and effective as newer ones, concludes an analysis that is good news for diabetics and may further hurt sales of Avandia, a blockbuster pill recently tied to heart problems.
The clear winner: metformin, sold as Glucophage and generically for about $100 a year. It works as well as other diabetes pills but does not cause weight gain or too-low blood sugar, the analysis found. It also lowers LDL or bad cholesterol.
"It looks to be the safest," said Dr. Shari Bolen, a Johns Hopkins University researcher who led the review, which was published online Monday by the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Consumer Reports also published a consumer guide of the results. Besides metformin, it rates glipizide and glimepiride, sold as Amaryl and Glucotrol, as best bets.
The good doctors of Baylor Family Medicine have helped me effectively manage my diabetes, particularly Dr. Grace Kuo. My A1C score, 12 at the time I was diagnosed, is now under 7, about as good as a person with a functioning pancreas can do.
Metformin and glipizide are the two I have been taking from the outset, and the only two I have ever used to control my blood sugar. (I also take Tricor for elevated triglycerides, Lipitor to elevate my good cholesterol -- I have never had an issue with high LDL -- as well as a mild diuretic called Triamterene to control symptoms of Meneire's, and Lyrica for diabetic neuropathy in my feet.) In addition to the prescriptions, I take some over-the-counter yet doctor-recommended remedies, including low-dose aspirin therapy and a fish oil capsule (omega 3's also help lift HDL) with each meal. I do not inject insulin; all of my meds are oral.
And yes, I exercise regularly and watch what I eat, as every diabetic should.
I'm fortunate that my insurance plan is good. The co-pays on all these range from $10 to $20, which means I still spend nearly a hundred bucks a month for them. God forbid my insurance went away.
Have you seen SiCKO yet?
Don't piss on my shoes and tell me it's raining
Don't tell me you're a Nigerian prince who's had an unfortunate accident and needs to deposit a large amount of money in my bank account.
Don't tell me I can make thousands of dollars working from home.
Don't tell me bah bah bah bah bah, you're lovin' it.
Don't tell me you've got a bridge for sale.
Don't tell me to apply it directly to my forehead.
Don't tell me to tell ten people to send me ten dollars, then tell them to tell that to ten other people.
Don't tell me it's time for a fourth meal.
Don't tell me James Garner wants me to take out a reverse mortgage.
Don't tell me one of my deceased relatives ordered a monogrammed Bible for me, COD.
Don't tell me I can publish my poems in your journal for a low introductory rate.
Don't tell me I need a pill to keep my restless legs from bothering me at night.
Don't tell me you're concerned about the great deal of time multiple impeachment trials would take away from Congress working on the problems of the country, the time it would take for the House to consider articles of impeachment, and for the Senate to conduct multiple trials, would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for Congress to do what it was elected to do -- end the war and address some of the other terrible mistakes this administration has made over the past six-and-one-half years.
Because I ain't buyin' it.
Which breed are you?
- Which bumper sticker would you most likely put on your car?
- I’m Already Against the Next War
- Nice Hummer—Sorry About Your Penis
- America: One Nation Under Surveillance
- Of Course It Hurts, You’re Getting Screwed by an Elephant
- Evolution Is Just a Theory . . . Kind of Like Gravity
- May the Fetus You Save Be Gay
- A second civil war has just broken out in America. Who is to blame?
- Imperialistic neocons—for launching simultaneous wars against Iran, North Korea, and France
- Global warming deniers—for bringing us an eco-apocalypse
- The South—for never having gotten over the fact that they lost the first War of Northern Aggression
- Corporate greedmongers—for outsourcing every last American job to Bangalore
- FOX News—for fomenting a war with a flashy “March to Civil War” logo and theme music
- Bible-thumping puritans—for banning abortion, gay people, and sex
- An asteroid is headed for Earth. You have a seat on the last shuttle off the planet. If you could bring only one book with which to build a future civilization, what would it be?
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig
- An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
- A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn
- Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin
- America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, by Jon Stewart
- If the Founding Fathers were alive today, they would be most appalled by which of the following?
- The Republicans’ blatant manipulation of terror fears for partisan gain
- America’s crack-like addiction to Saudi oil
- President Bush’s blatant dictatorial power grab
- Government of, by, and for corporate cronies
- The hijacking of government by radical Christian wackjobs
- That hemp is illegal. Come on, what wasn't clear about the "pursuit of happiness"?
- If you could time-travel back to any historical event and bring one thing with you, what would you choose?
- The 1967 Summer of Love—with a truckload of condoms
- The dawn of the Industrial Revolution—with a copy of the Kyoto Protocol
- The day before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans—with FEMA
- The day Monica Lewinsky brought Bill Clinton pizza—with a copy of the Starr Report
- Election Day 2000 in Palm Beach County—with non-butterfly ballots
- The night of Howard Dean’s 2004 Iowa concession speech—with a tranquilizer dart
- If you were a candidate for political office, what would your theme song be?
- “Peace Train,” by Cat Stevens
- “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” by Kermit the Frog
- “Fight the Power,” by Public Enemy
- “Born in the U.S.A.,” by Bruce Springsteen
- “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” by U2
- “Not Ready to Make Nice,” by the Dixie Chicks
- If you could pile any three people into a naked pyramid, who would you choose?
- George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld
- The CEOs of Exxon, Chevron, and Shell
- Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito
- Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling, Andrew Fastow,and the ghost of Ken Lay
- Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh
- Revs. Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and Ted Haggard
Monday, July 16, 2007
It ain't about who has the fatter wallet.
Lt Col. Rick Noriega is our candidate and we aren't asking for big money; we are only asking for an expression of your support.
800 donors in 4 weeks. 200 donors a week. 29 a day. That's our lofty goal. What we have -- you have -- is an opportunity to change the equation. And power a political revolution.
800 donors is a statement that we are tired of politics as usual in Texas.
You are invited to be one of the first 800 to change Texas forever. Donate any amount today.
Candidates should not be able to buy elections or allow special interests to buy the nomination $1,000 at a time. "800 donors" sends a message that we are ready to crash the gate and take back our party.
You can tell Texas, and the powers that be, that you are ready right now for a change by donating any amount. We are joining forces to say that, when it comes to people-powered politics, one dollar is as important as one thousand.
Texas progressive bloggers throughout the state are working together to support Rick Noriega, not by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, but by declaring their support for a populist revolution.
Now all we need is you.
Change the equation with any donation.
We're asking you to sign up with the team, not buy influence. Campaigns should be about people and ideas, not bank accounts and millionaires. With your donation in any amount we can not only stop Cornyn, but we will change Texas forever.
Round 'em up
Last week, member blogs in the Texas Progressive Alliance premiered a new feature, the Texas Blog Round Up, modeled after the 50 State Blog Round Up. We plan to bring this to readers every Monday. Without further ado, here is this week's installment, brought to you by Vince from Capitol Annex.
Lady Bird Was Ours
Among many Texas blogs authoring poignant posts about the passing of Lady Bird Johnson was Fort Bend-based Musings. In Lady Bird Was Ours, Muse offers personal reflections about the former first lady and reminds us that, though Lady Bird now belongs to the ages, she still belongs to us.
Deja Vu All Over Again
Can you see any progress in Iraq? Chances are you can't, but Texas Senator John Cornyn can (evidently through rose-colored glasses). In Cornyn Sees Progress In Iraq, Texas Toad of Denton County-based North Texas Liberal explores how Rubberstamping Republican Cornyn's recent votes fail to support our troops.
Who Is For Whom?
Though we're months away from the Democratic primary, the race to determine which Democrat will take on Cornyn is already heating up on the blogs. In Watts v. Noriega In The Blogosphere, Hal at Fort Bend-based Half Empty explores the various blogs to determine which ones are supporting Rep. Rick Noriega's exploration and which are in support of attorney Mikal Watts. And he asks the important question: "where are all the pro-Watts bloggers?"
Need Birth Control? Better Have Cash.
Could Be True at SouthTexas Chisme explores difficulties Houston-area female college students (and others around the state) may be having when it comes to obtaining birth control from their college health services department, thanks to changes in Medicaid reimbursement policies in Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. College Health Centers To Charge More For Birth Control.
Craddick Stands By His Man
Austin-based McBlogger tells us that House Speaker Tom Craddick is standing by his man and keeping former state representative Terry Keel (R-Austin) on as House Parliamentarian... all the while trying to find a challenger for Travis County Constable Richard McCain, who defeated Keel's brother for that post in 2004. Check it out in Speaking of People We Don't Like.
Even Right Wingers Know When To Pull Out
Bay Area Houston explores the fact that, according to a recent poll, even the listeners of one of the most right-wing radio stations in Houston are in favor of pulling out from war-torn Iraq in Right-Wing Radio Listeners Want Out of Iraq.
What Can You Buy With $900 Million?
Though Harris County is proposing a $900 million bond package for various courthouse and jail projects, Charles Kuffner at Houston-based Off The Kuff has serious concerns about whether the bond package will do anything to alleviate a serious guard shortage at the county jail. Though it is now being discussed in the media, Charles says he's still not satisfied the issue is being addressed in County Bonds and Staffing Issues.
A Closer Look At Terry Keel
Matt Glazer of Burnt Orange Report takes a closer look at some ethical issues facing new House parliamentarian Terry Keel, such as potential conflicts of interest concerning Keel's future rulings as well as maintaining a private law practice while working for the state. Matt also closely examines the timing of Keel's Capitol ID card in Keel's Conflict Of Interest.
Rick Perry v. Community Colleges
Few of Rick Perry's recent vetoes have garnered more attention than the one of community college employee health insurance appropriations. Marc G. at Marc's Miscellany explores the issue further, and takes issue with Perry's accusation that community colleges have essentially falsified their appropriations requests in More On Perry's Battle With Community Colleges.
Perry's Defiant Response To Congress
WCNews at Eye On Williamson takes a closer look at a letter Texas Governor Rick Perry recently sent to Congressional leaders who criticized public-private partnerships to build transportation projects such as the Trans-Texas Corridor in Governor Perry Uses Fuzzy Math In Letter To Congress.
TYC Still Plagued With Difficulties
Vince Leibowitz at Capitol Annex takes a look at the fact that the Texas Youth Commission remains plagued with difficulties concerning a recent incident in which violent juveniles were set for release with little or no review in Texas Youth Commission Can't Seem To Get Its Act Together.
'I Couldn't Make It' Is No Excuse
Matt Glazer at Stop Cornyn reveals the excuse the junior senator from Texas offered for missing the funeral of Lady Bird Johnson in Cornyn Refuses To Honor Lady Bird.
And lastly, women's health services are under perennial assault here in Texas -- but it's not just Dan Patrick, Warren Chisum, and the odd mad bomber who want to control women's health choices. Texas Kaos' Moiv is keeping an eye on them, and in Operation Rescue's Back--Not a Secret Anymore she covers just how widespread is this open conspiracy against women -- involving politicians, fringe religious figures, and Ricky Skagg's "shofar."
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Noriega for Senate, tomorrow
Formal campaign announcement at the Heroes of the Alamo monument near the Texas Capitol's south steps.
You may steal the banner above for your blogs and websites. The website is still under construction, but contributions may be made securely online through ActBlue or mailed to PO Box 231163, Houston, TX 77223-1163.