Friday, August 31, 2007

No-Labor Day Weekend Bloggerhea

-- Governor 39% commuted the death sentence of Kenneth Foster. Truly amazing. The vile postings of some of the Houston Chronicle's online readers notwithstanding, yesterday was something to be celebrated.

-- Gay people can marry in Iowa -- at least for now.

-- Rick Noriega was endorsed by several Texas icons this week, and would like you to sign his ballot petition (scroll to the bottom of this link, click on the .pdf file and print it using legal-sized paper). And as we near the goal for Changing the Equation, time's running out for you to be one of the Great Eight Hundred.

-- Poor Larry Craig. He sincerely believes he's not gay. Certainly a 62-year-old man who's been having clandestine homosexual relationships going all the way back to the House page scandal of 1982 is never going to be psychologically capable of admitting his homosexuality, that's for sure:

"He may very well not think of himself as being gay, and these are just urges that he has," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "It's the tragedy of homophobia. People create these walls that separate themselves from who they really are."

This is precisely what Pastor Ted Haggard believes (according to Alexandra Pelosi). That he just has a *ahem* "drinking problem". And note also the distinction between how the Washington Republicans have reacted to Craig compared to David "I don't use hookers" Vitter.

The GOP wants to kick Craig out of politics because he's gay (and because they can easily replace him with another right-wing freak). Who's the hypocrite now?

-- This week marked two sad anniversaries: two years since Katrina wiped out New Orleans, and ten years since Princess Di was killed in a terrible auto accident.

-- comically care-free actor Owen Wilson apparently tried to kill himself.

-- Ted Nugent threatened to kill Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He was not arrested nor was he charged with the felony. Let's be reminded that when Ted's duty called, he shat his pants rather than serve his country:

Except when it was time to register for the draft during the Vietnam era. By his own admission, Nugent stopped all forms of personal hygiene for a month and showed up for his draft board physical in pants caked with his own urine and feces, winning a deferment. Creative!

-- Iraq has failed to meet all but three of the 18 guidelines for progress, according to the General Accounting Office. So the Bush administration charged that the benchmarks for success were "set too high", and sent the GAO additional "information" in order to make their case that progress was, indeed, being made:

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Thursday that after reviewing a draft of the GAO report, policy officials "made some factual corrections" and "offered some suggestions on a few of the actual grades" assigned by the GAO.

"We have provided the GAO with information which we believe will lead them to conclude that a few of the benchmark grades should be upgraded from 'not met' to 'met,'" Morrell said.

I believe this is the same grading curve that was used to get George W. Bush through Harvard with a gentleman's C.

-- And on that note, have a good Labor Day weekend. Don't do anything more strenuous than turn the steaks over on your grill -- and thank a union member, whose forebearers provided this holiday, along with a 40-hour work week and health care and retirement benefits among many other things, for you to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Who's next at Justice?

Chertoff? Ted Olson? Some lesser conservative star?

I say it could be Orrin Hatch, for these reasons:

1. He can continue to provide cover for the Bushies as the investigations move forward, maintaining that year-and-a-half-head start the criminals still need. Hatch is a loyalist and Bush won't name anything but.

2. A tenure as AG, even a caretaker one, could be considered a capstone to his lengthy career in public service.

3. He can rest easy knowing another ultra-conservative will replace him in the Senate, by appointment and/or special election. Hatch is too old to give a damn about sticking around, hoping for a GOP majority comeback now quite unlikely in his remaining lifetime (and hopefully, for that matter, his children's).

4. No chance of him achieving his greatest ambition -- getting to the Supreme Court -- with a Democratic presidency coming in 2008.

5. A Hatch appointment avoids a bruising confirmation battle; something Bush has never shied from before, but may no longer have the stomach to fight. A Chertoff confirmation is guaranteed to keep stirring the turd, to say nothing of whomever might be named to replace him at DHS.

Monday, August 27, 2007

He has a "wide stance" when he goes to the toilet

That's why his foot slid all the way into the next bathroom stall, touching the foot of a plainclothes officer at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.

That is seriously what Senator Larry Craig of Idaho is claiming.

Sen. Craig, a conservative Republican from a very conservative state and one of Mitt Romney's most prominent supporters, was arrested for lewd conduct in June as a result of this incident. He pleaded guilty to the charge on August 8 but the report was made public only today. Craig now regrets the guilty plea, thus the "wide stance" defense. He previously claimed that his outing as a homosexual had "no basis in fact".

And so another Black Monday for Republicans comes to a close. (I don't know about Mike Vick's politics, but Phil Garner's were never in doubt.)

Update (8/28): The Pink Lady channels me, for once.

Uncle Drayton cans Scrap Iron and Poo-Poo

I could have just as easily typed "FINALLY" twice.

This has been an interesting Monday so far (and I'm not even counting Michael Vick going to the dogs -- err, court to plead guilty).

Phil Garner was a weak manager -- this reputation preceded him long before he arrived in 2004 -- but the real mercy killing today was GM Tim Purpura, who despite fourteen years in the Astros organization didn't have a clue how to do his job and never had half the authority needed to do it anyway. The last straw was probably his inability to sign the team's most recent draft picks, but his fate was sealed with the disastrous results of the Jason Jennings trade during the last offseason. Scratch that: the last straw was probably the boos rained down on Poopura when he was recognized at Jeff Bagwell's retirement ceremony yesterday.

I'm with Justice: Coop is a good choice not just to finish out the year but deserves at least a one-year contract to show what he can do. McLane's heavy-handedness, not to mention his penny-pinching ways, may well preclude the Astros from getting a savvy talent in the front office.

Hope I'm wrong about that last, because we may be in for a disappointing several few years with the local nine if I am not.

Update: You just can't top this. Caption, please.

"Nobody could have predicted this, could they, Phil?"

Update (8/28): Tom Kirkendall, with whom I agree on almost all sporting matters and almost nothing else, delves deeper into these themes. (He calls it 'due diligence', I call it 'tedious detail'.)


Allah be praised, Alberto is Gone-zo at last.

My only wish is that, as with John Ashcroft, the replacement isn't worse.

I'll update this thread today with new developments (speculation, some rich creamy schadenfreude, and so on).


"So paste a tail upon my nose and point me toward the grass. I'm going back to Texas to be one more horse's ass." -- Shel Siverstein

When an army withdraws from a battlefield, it doesn't just turn and run. It slips away one or two units at a time, leaving other units in place to cover the exit. It's called strategic withdrawal.

Like Rove's, Gonzales' departure from Washington should be seen as part of the greater Bush administration strategic withdrawal from Washington. He is, in Shel Siverstein's words, "Going back to Texas to be one more horse's ass."

Better a strategic withdrawal now than a wholesale retreat in January of 2009. A trickle of departures, followed by presidential pardons on the way out of town, will be smoother and more historically graceful somehow.

(For pure symmetry, it would be fun to see the Bushies conclude the whole sorry show with one last James Baker and Theodore Olson appearance in front of the Supreme Court. Then Baker could leave D.C. for Texas aboard the Enron plane the Bush's lawyers took from Texas to Florida in November of 2000.)


For an administration known for its cronyism, and alas for an alarmingly incompetent group of cronies, Gonzales was the granddaddy of them all. He lacked the integrity, the intellect and the independence to perform his duties in a manner befitting the job for which he was chosen. And when he and his colleagues got caught in the act, his rationales and explanations for the purge of the U.S. Attorneys were so empty and shallow and incoherent that even the staunchest Republicans could not turn them into steeled spin. Devoid of any credibility, Gonzales in the end was a sad joke when he came to Capitol Hill.

And the last lie (we all hope) was told to his own spokesperson:

As late as Sunday afternoon, Mr. Gonzales himself was denying through his spokesman that he was quitting. The spokesman, Brian Rohrekasse, said Sunday that he telephoned the attorney general about the reports of his imminent resignation “and he said it wasn’t true — so I don’t know what more I can say.”

Update (8/28): The powerful dishonesty of Alberto Gonzales includes this Top Six list of his most brazen lies. And from Nora Ephron:

I hope (Gonzales is) not worried about his legacy, because he will have one, and it will be not unlike what awaits almost all the members of this administration: they will be fodder for art. Yes, art. Dick Cheney said a couple of months ago that history would be his judge, but I beg to differ: history will be nothing compared to the plays. This administration will be the subject of hundreds of plays; the playwrights will be drawn again and again to the astonishing, amazing panoply of evil and complicity the Bush Administration has provided. Gonzales will be a hilarious comic foil in most of these productions -- a jack-in-the-box who will pop out, say he has no recollection whatsoever of anything, and pop back in. Short actors will kill to play him.

By the way, I have a pet theory about Alberto Gonzales: I've always believed that the reason the President called Gonzales Fredo was that when they first met, Bush incorrectly believed that Gonzales' first name was Alfredo, and Gonzales was too much of a toady to correct him.

I meant to download that theory before it was too late, and the good news is, where this administration is concerned, it's never going to be too late.

I'd like to add a personal admonition to the once and future Houstonian: you may now remove the American flag lapel pin. You goddamned traitor.

The Weekly TexProgBlog Wrangle

It's time once again for the weekly Texas Progressive Alliance blog round-up, again brought to us by Vince from Capitol Annex.

Getting this week off to a great start, we want to thank our friends over at the 50 State Blog Network for taking note of us and mentioning our round-up in theirs.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

To the rafters with #5

''I can truly say I've made so many great friends because of this game,'' Bagwell said. ''You guys have made me better. I've had so much fun over the years.''

He was joined by Craig Biggio and Brad Ausmus and a distinguished list of former Astros, including Larry Dierker, Jimmy Wynn and Mike Scott.

Sunday Funnies (late edition)

Sunday Funnies (early edition)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Happy 171st, H-Town

Fun story here about the Allen brothers and one of their progenitors. Click for some good old photos of early Houston, too ...

(Augustus Chapman Allen), he says, was a brilliant man, an inventor who went to Mexico in an attempt to build a canal to connect the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.

And Houston, he says, was designed with great foresight: "They set up Houston as a head-of-navigation city. They knew they could get trains and ships into it and could become, as they advertised, 'the great commercial emporium of Texas.' "

I'm posting this too late for the cemetery's rededication this morning, but if you ever find yourself on West Dallas Street with a few minutes to spare, pull over and walk in. It's truly a marvel.

Founders Memorial Cemetery, just west of downtown, has Freedman's Town to one side and a direct, beautiful view of the skyline to the other.

Jill Brooks, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which has worked to make the cemetery a historic site, points at the open green spaces.

"They had mass burials, here," Brooks says.

That means nobody really knows where anyone is buried. John Kirby Allen is there — a headstone was placed in the cemetery in 1936 for Houston's centennial — but no one knows exactly where.

We went here on a ghost tour of Houston a few years back. This place has a real vibe about it. And if you're looking for something to do this weekend (and the first of next week), then check the event schedule at the link at the top.

We're going to see the Astros play tonight -- a rookie pitcher makes his professional debut -- instead of the Jeff Bagwell jersey retirement celebration Sunday afternoon.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thanks to everyone who helped fill Rick Noriega's boots

Our little online effort has now climbed above 600 donors and $45,000. You can still buy a ticket on the Noriega Express for as little as $5.00, and be one of the Great 800 who Change the Equation.

You can also meet Rick Noriega this weekend in Austin, tonight at the Texas Democratic Party's open house (and see their new offices also) or at the quarterly SDEC meeting taking place tomorrow.

Pelosi and "Friends" a real treat

About three hundred Houstonians (SRO capacity at the Christ Church Cathedral downtown) gathered to watch Alex Pelosi's new documentary "Friends of God" and chat with the director last night. Among the many godless liberal activists, there were also the Texas Freedom Network, Americans United, and ACLU staff and board members, Rep. Scott Hochberg, Rep. Donna Howard, and yours truly. (The film makes its debut next month on HBO. Here's a snippet:)

There are some reviews of Pelosi's debut here (more about the after-party than the film itself, the documentarist's infant son, and best friend Moby, including the famous "Karl-Rove-might-be-my-long-lost-brother" remark), a somewhat indignant but generally spot-on Christian review and some spiteful comments here, and a more-even-handed take here.

JFTR, Alexandra Pelosi is a raised-and-practicing Catholic. She comes from good progressive stock of course, grew up in San Francisco and lives in New York, but remarkably bonded with the now-disgraced Pastor Ted Haggard during the filming (and defends him still). Read the links above for more.

What I was impressed with during the post-screening Q&A was Pelosi's commitment to show the evangelicals in the best possible light. She genuinely identifies with several of her subjects, and portrayed in the doc only those whom she she carefully considered were the most sincere. She was quick to note that she met many Christians in her cross-country travels who were full of shit, and left their stories on the cutting-room floor.

Knowing that these might be the best the American evangelical movement -- numbering between 20 million (BARNA) and eighty million (per the late Jerry Falwell) -- has to offer, you can watch the documentary with perhaps a clearer eye. And make up your own mind, as Pelosi intends.

There's no denying the intensity of the belief and the commitment to the cause, as well as the considerable influence on US politics and the Republican party over the past generation. The only question is whether the movement in terms of that electoral influence has peaked, particularly in the wake of the myriad of moral scandals of both those in the ministry as well as their adopted political party.

Can the fundamentalists continue to turn out the vote post-Falwell? Can the Christian issues of abortion, creationism and gay marriage keep driving the believers to the polls to vote straight-ticket GOP? Or are the war in Iraq, global warming, and the cost of health care -- issues which divide the evangelical bloc as deeply as the rest of the nation -- more important to voters in the coming elections?

Time and our respective efforts, as always, will tell.

Update (8/25): Via Dungeon Diary, AMERICABlog has the news of Pastor Ted's latest misadventure. I just have to wonder what it's going to take for Alex Pelosi to see through him.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Justice rides a white Hummer

I only wish I could write snark like this:

We hear Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was sighted at the Texas Capitol [yesterday] morning. Folks under the pink dome saw the AG and his family pull up in a motorcade of black Suburbans and a white Hummer (because, of course, justice rides a white Hummer). A Department of Justice spokesperson told us that Gonzales isn’t here on DOJ matters: “There’s no official event going on. If he’s there, he’s there on personal business.”

Personal business, eh? Perhaps he’s reminiscing about the good old days or as so many do, just returning to the scene of the crime. Since Texas is scheduled to execute its 400th prisoner tonight, maybe Gonzales is here to commemorate his contributions to inflating that number. Maybe he’s looking for a job. (He’s loyal, unscrupulous, willing to lie at the drop of a fired attorney, and bend rules for his employer. Sounds like a perfect House parliamentarian.) Or maybe he’s on an errand for his boss, feeling out possible replacements. Seems like Justice Nathan Hecht has the necessary virtues to lead Bush’s Justice Dept.

I think it's to discuss the special legislative session to be called on Voter ID -- and not Iraqn divestiture, as Vice-President-Wannabe 39% MoFo has feinted.

Update (8/25): Thanks to Matt B in the comments for pointing out that letter correction above. Like so many these days, I am getting my 'q's and 'n's mixed up.

Maybe it's because they're so close together on the keyboard.

Type "batshit crazy" into

and this is what you get:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Postpourri, while we wait for the next hurricane to form

-- Nice one here about Hurricane Dean hitting the island of Jamaica by Attytood.

-- Lady Bird isn't cold in the ground and TxDOT already wants more billboard revenue -- or maybe more fear, or perhaps both. Racy Mind beat me to this last week, but jobsanger today reminded me again of the outrage it made me feel.

"HURRICANE FORMING NEAR GULF -- KEEP YOUR TANKS FULL". Did you see this message flashing on the highway electronic travel advisory boards last weekend?

I think it's actually less advertising than it is a terror threat when the government scares the suburban sheeple into filling up just as the price of gasoline is running up (ahead of a hurricane that never was headed close to Houston).

-- "I'm the proud owner of Karl Rove's father's solid gold cock ring." NSFW. Really NSFW. But click on the Boing-Boing link at the lead-in -- or here -- and you'll be OK. Just be careful not to laugh so hard you throw up.

-- A little protest here today:

“We will protest at the 200-year-old oak tree where black people were illegally lynched many, many years ago. Today lynching in Texas is legal and it is done by the government in Huntsville. But Texas does not have the moral authority to execute anyone. The death penalty is used only against the poor and is a racist attack on the African American and Latino communities.”

Update (8/23): The state of Texas went ahead and killed Johnny Conner yesterday, making him #400. Here's video of the protest at the Hanging Tree, downtown:

-- Advanced Conspiracy Theory, as instructed by RG Ratcliffe:

Black helicopters, the Illuminati, Gov. Rick Perry and the Trans-Texas Corridor are all now part of the vernacular of the global domination conspiracy theorists.

Perry's push for the Trans-Texas Corridor super highway is part of a secret plan, the conspiracy theorists say, to create the North American Union — a single nation consisting of Canada, Mexico and the United States with a currency called the Amero.

Government denials of the North American Union and descriptions of it as a myth seem to add fuel to the fire. A Google search for "North American Union" and "Rick Perry" returns about 13,400 Web page results.

Ya gotta love it. Especially when the Texas Eagle Forum gets in on the action:

Perry enhanced the conspiracy buzz earlier this summer by traveling to Turkey to attend the secretive Bilderberg conference, which conspiracy theorists believe is a cabal of international monied interests and power brokers pressing for globalization.

And the conspiracy rhetoric is likely to ratchet up this week as President Bush meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Quebec in their third summit to discuss North American relations under the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

"There is absolutely a connection with all of it," said Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams. The Trans-Texas Corridor "is something not being driven by the people of Texas."

Keep reading:

Fast-forward to March 2005 to Crawford, when President Bush, Harper and then-Mexican President Vicente Fox agreed to pursue the Security and Prosperity Partnership, SPP. The idea was to promote cooperation among the countries on economic and security issues.

But conservative author Jerome Corsi — in his new book: The Late Great U.S.A.: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada — argues the SPP is a "stealth" attempt to wipe out the nations' borders and form a single economy like the European Union.

With an entire chapter dedicated to Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor plan, Corsi says the first step to integrating the economies is to integrate the transportation infrastructure.

"His (Perry's) actions have been to fight hard to build this toll road and not listen to the objections expressed by the people of Texas," Corsi said.

Corsi became nationally known in 2004 as the co-author of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. Corsi said extensive research shows the SPP has created working groups on the North American Union that answer to presidential Cabinet secretaries.

"This is more of a shadow bureaucracy, a shadow government already in effect," Corsi said. "Unless it is stopped, it will turn into a North American Union with an Amero."

Wait for it ...

The official federal Web site for the SPP has a section dedicated to busting the North American Union as myth.

"The SPP does not attempt to modify our sovereignty or currency or change the American system of government designed by our Founding Fathers," the site says.

But that has not stopped a growing opposition to the North American Union by groups such as the Eagle Forum, The Conservative Caucus and the John Birch Society.

Pow. Money shot.

Now see, ya gotta hope that the Swifties together with the Birchers can derail the TTC -- pun intended -- once and for all. Because if the Lone Star conservatives have one last spasm of outrage left after they finally realize they've lost the battle over immigration, that no one is going to be rounded up, then maybe they'll realize they can still triumph here.

The Chronic was compelled to follow up with a disdainful editorial rejoinder to Ratcliffe's tale of intrigue. You can almost hear their sniffing. Fortunately they managed to nail the real issues, though:

Like a throbbing artery, the Trans-Texas Corridor has become the crucial connection between these theories in recent years. But anxieties about foreign infiltration and loss of national sovereignty have periodically flared in American culture for centuries. Current talk of a looming "North American Union" began in 1992- 92, when first a Republican and then a Democratic administration implemented the North American Free Trade Agreement. The tragedy of our Iraq adventure and the overheated campaign rhetoric about immigration — plus completely rational concerns about shrinking manufacturing here and lower wages for U.S. workers — are setting the NAU fears on boil.

Yet the Trans-Corridor Conspiracy crowd in Texas is looking too far abroad. There's no reason to try to smoke out secret international cabals in this deal. Spanish company CINTRA has already proudly prevailed in the 50-year, multibillion-dollar deal. Though foreign investment brings Texas needed economic juice, 50 years is too long a time to cede control and revenue from the very heart of the state.

Nor are Mexico and Canada the first beneficiaries of Perry's plan. Those would be the contractors — including three of Perry's top campaign donors.

Poorly thought-out trade deals at the federal level certainly can hurt us. But there's little chance that easing the drive from Laredo to Kansas will by itself spawn one-continent government.

All too real, on the other hand, are the effects the corridor itself will have on Texas. Bisected communities, carved-up farmland and devastated wildlife habitats are some of the provable results the corridor will leave in its wake. These threats are considerably more real than the possibility of continental government, and it doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to worry about them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nice property available. Just don't drink the water.

Emphasis mine:

How clean is clean?

That's the question facing Houston as officials consider easing strict standards for cleaning up contaminated groundwater. The plan, up for council vote Wednesday, is intended to help spur redevelopment of so-called "brownfields," former industrial properties with low levels of pollution.

A Superfund site in Westchase could be one of the first properties to redevelop if the city adopts the program. The now-defunct Crystal Chemical Company once manufactured herbicides on the 25-acre tract, just east of the Royal Oaks Country Club.

The current owner, Union Pacific Railroad, has treated much of the soil and groundwater for arsenic contamination. But the groundwater still has too much arsenic to qualify as drinking water, according to state and federal environmental regulators

Drinking-water quality — the cleanup standard under state law — can take years to attain. A city official estimated it would take hundreds of years of treatment for the water underneath the Crystal site to be potable, or clean enough to drink.

"Because of the expense, many developers back away from these brownfield-type properties," said Mike Frew, a technical water specialist with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

To promote redevelopment of these idle sites, the Texas Legislature created an alternative in 2003. Owners can apply for a "municipal setting designation," or MSD, from the state, with city approval. The MSD allows redevelopment as long as the contaminated groundwater never will be used for drinking.

Sounds like a suburbanite's dream, doesn't it? I bet they name the development "Blue Stream", or even better, "Crystal Water", after the company that laced the soil with arsenic.

In cities like Houston and Dallas, most properties use city-supplied drinking water instead of wells. It just does not make sense to require property owners to reach the potable standard, the city's environmental attorney, Ceil Price, said.

"This is groundwater that no one is using," Price said. "In some cases, the groundwater has been treated for 20 years and they just aren't able to get to drinking water standards. And there just isn't technology to get them to the standard."

If Houston joins the MSD program, hundreds of properties potentially could qualify for redevelopment, Price said. But the properties would have to pass a number of environmental hurdles, and owners would remain liable for cleaning up other pollution, such as contaminated soil or surface water.

Price emphasized that contaminated groundwater that possibly could hurt people in ways besides drinking, such as leaking to the surface or releasing hazardous vapors, still would have to be treated under the MSD program.

Oh, that's good to know, Mr. Price. I was afraid for a moment there you were helping make the case for development.

Local environmentalists do not oppose the MSD program outright, but view it with caution.

"Sometimes (contaminated groundwater) travels and gets into our streams and reduces the quality," said Brandt Mannchen of the Sierra Club's Houston Regional Group.

Nice to know that those environmental whackos aren't up in arms over this.

One concern is the presence of nearby drinking water wells. Seventy percent of the city's water supply comes from Lakes Livingston, Conroe and Houston, but the rest comes from wells. There are three public drinking water wells within a one-mile radius of the Crystal Chemical property.

Regulators say that those wells are protected from the arsenic-contaminated groundwater by a containment wall, a pump system and monitoring equipment. If the site wins MSD status, a deed restriction would prohibit drinking water wells from being dug on the actual site in the future.

The TCEQ has given MSD status to 34 properties statewide, accounting for roughly 577 acres. Most of the sites are in Dallas and Fort Worth.

Gotta keep up with the Metroplex, ya know. Bidness is bidness.

In Fort Worth, the MSD program allowed developers to build a Target, Marshall's and other stores on the downtown site of an old Montgomery Ward warehouse, Frew said. The water underground there still has traces of trichloroethene, a toxic cleaning solvent.

If Houston adopts the program, it should examine each applicant carefully, said James Kelly, president of the Bayou Preservation Association. The city also should be clear with the public that the relaxed standard will provide relief only for a narrowly defined group of eligible brownfields. The city should also create its own name for the MSD program, Kelly said, since "municipal setting designation" does not mean anything to most people.

How about "greenfield enhancement zone"? Or just "Green Zone"?

"Let's just make sure that in relaxing this requirement we don't undermine the incentives of landowners who are keeping their property clean and who are cleaning up pollution when it occurs," Kelly said.

Thanks to Mr. Kelly for thinking a little ahead on this one.

Really and truly, anyone foolish enough to buy a suburban property with arsenic-laced water as a feature is just the kind of fool who will vote to keep in office the Republicans in the Texas Lege who relaxed the rules enough for the developers to offer it for sale.

At a bargain price.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Weekly Texblog Wrangle

Here's your Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up for the week of August 20, 2007. This week's installment is once again compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

Krazypuppy at Texas Kaos keeps track of What You Will Not Find at Laura Bush's Library.

TXSharon at BlueDaze asksL "Would you make Osama Bin Ladin director of Homeland Security?" If you said no, read about who wants to protect our water in Barnett Shale: Devon wants to conserve our water? Like hell!

Hal at Half Empty sees vultures flocking to pick over the bones of Tom DeLay's old seat.

Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal exposes the hypocrisy of chickenhawk Republicans taking shots at Rick Noriega.

Vince at Capitol Annex tells us about the coming storm surrounding implementation of religious viewpoint "anti-discrimination" policies in Texas schools to comply with a bill recently passed by the Texas Legislature.

WcNews at Eye On Williamson points out the hypocrisy in sentencing in recent child molestation cases in Williamson County.

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs fries up a double order of e-Slate voting woes: an advance of the meeting over security issues with Houston Mayor Bill White and the Harris County (Republican) clerk; and the disappointing results of that meeting, including the news that the TDP lawsuit over "emphasis voting" was dismissed.

Captain Kroc at McBlogger suggests the incumbent in the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector race is using a page or two from Turd Blossom's playbook.

Boadicea at StopCornyn tells us about John Cornyn's Badge Of Fiscal Irresponsibility.

CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme exposes another Republican minority district suppression scam - using immigration raids to minimize population counts for the 2010 census.

Kuffat Off the Kuff asks "How many felonies could you commit with an oyster?"

Glenn Smith at Burnt Orange Report gives a "political type's" perspective on the media's fascination with Karl Rove.

Also, don't forget to check out these other great Texas Progressive Alliance blogs: People's Republic of Seabrook, Three Wise Men, Musings, Bay Area Houston, In The Pink Texas, Who's Playin?, Feet To The Fire, Easter Lemming Liberal News, Winding Road In Urban Area, Common Sense, B & B , The Agonist, Texas Truth Serum.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"This Week" Prez debate wrap

Live-blogging at The Great Orange Klan, and also Texas Blue. The ABC News online poll shows Obama the winner and Joe Biden a somewhat surprising third ...

Who do you think won the Democratic debate?

Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
Joe Biden
John Edwards
Dennis Kucinich
Nobody won. I'm voting Republican. (Ha ha)
Bill Richardson
Mike Gravel
Nobody won. I'm waiting for Al Gore to get in the race. (Give it up, people.)
Chris Dodd
Total Vote: 13,903

Dodd's Talk Clock:

Sunday Funnies (best of the rest of the news edition)

TDP lawsuit over e-voting machines dismissed

DeeceX, at Burnt Orange:

Earlier this year, the Texas Democratic Party sued then-Secretary of State Roger Williams in his capacity as the state's chief election officer, alleging that the eSlate touch-screen voting machines manufactured by Hart InterCivic and certified by the Secretary of State were defective and inaccurately tallied voters' intentions, depriving them of their voting rights as protected by the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the suit alleged that the machines mis-counted so-called "emphasis votes."

Yesterday, federal district judge Sam Sparks granted summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit. Chad Dunn, the TDP's General Counsel and the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, had this to say:
“We’re disappointed in the judge’s opinion. We’re taking the time to analyze it thoroughly and we’re considering our options on how to proceed. The Texas Democratic Party continues to believe that the eSlate machine fails to record the intent of voters in a significant number of instances.”

The bottom line is this: the eSlate STILL inaccurately counts certain straight-ticket votes, but neither the courts nor the Secretary of State will, for now, do anything about it.

In this posting I mentioned a meeting local e-voting activists were having with Houston and Harris County officials over concerns about e-Slates. That meeting was similarly a total washout.

It turns out that Bill White no more gives a damn about the myriad of security issues surrounding electronic voting than any of the county's Republicans. He came off not just disinterested but passive/aggressively hostile to the idea of asking a local expert in the field -- Rice University professor Dan Wallach -- to head a nonpartisan committee to oversee testing and make any security recommendations. He considered this request an attempt to "sell him a vendor".

Disappointing, but not unexpected by this first-hand observer. Perhaps the mayor was fatigued at the end of a long day which included Hurricane Dean preparedness meetings, but I'm not capable of giving him the benefit of the doubt based on things I heard about his lack of interest in advance of our conference.

Since neither the courts nor elected Democrats care to address these concerns, the emphasis on voting integrity by necessity now shifts to other areas of GOP voter suppression tactics.

Much more to write about this topic in the months to come.

Aldine teachers' union leader arrested in front of school

She made the mistake of talking to teachers:

The trouble began Monday (Aug. 13) when school district officials informed Aldine American Federation of Teachers staff that they could not hand out membership information on school property at Aldine High School, where the district held its new teacher orientation.

The next day, the Aldine superintendent circled the high school with police officers. Aldine AFT staff and member volunteers patiently waited for teachers to finish the event, and when they emerged, one teacher directly asked for some literature. When an Aldine AFT staff member stepped onto school property to hand her a brochure, district officers swarmed around her and threatened her with a citation. Mayorga drove up to the scene on public property and asked an officer what was happening. The officer asked for her identification, and when she questioned why he needed it, he manhandled her, cuffed her and arrested her.

Carmen Mayorga, president of AFT Local 6345, was arrested, handcuffed, and charged with "failure to identify." Her car was impounded and she was held in jail 14 hours before being released, the union said. All of the 800+ members of Local 6345 work for the Aldine ISD, near Houston. The union is considering legal action against the school district over the incident. Texas AFT President Linda Bridges:

Surely the Aldine school district’s police force has better things to do. The superintendent is using [the local police department] to intimidate and coerce employees and their representatives and impede their exercise of constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of association. What is [Aldine School] Superintendent Wanda Bamberg so afraid of that she feels the need to handcuff and rough up a 115-pound mother of three just for coming near a school?

This sounds like something out of the old union-busting days in the 1920s, or even worse, past attempts to stifle free speech on public school campuses.

What is the purpose of this thuggish action by school officials and local police? They're not protecting or serving anything with this brute display of intimidation.

Now the taxpayers of the Aldine ISD will see their tax dollars spent to defend an unnecessary lawsuit instead of educating their children.

Even the Chinese-made diabetes test strips I use are bogus

I don't suppose it ever occurred to any of our corporate millionaires that outsourcing our manufacturing to the cheapest labor source might mean we'd get crappy, dangerous, poisonous products back.

Or maybe they just didn't care.

Sunday Funnies (All Rove all the time edition)

Friday, August 17, 2007

I'm not worried about Dean. Yet. (and more assorted bloggerhea)

It's too early. Maybe by this time next week.

But the SciGuy defintely has the best information in order for me to decide whether to worry about him, or not.

Looking around elsewhere:

-- Lots in the blogosphere over the pending execution of Kenneth Foster, an essentially innocent man. I have wanted to write more about this, but the futility of being able to influence this miscarriage of justice is just too depressing. The Texas Moratorium Network has everything you need to know about this case. Here's an excerpt from Reuters on the phenomenon of the death penalty in Texas:

Texas will almost certainly hit the grim total of 400 executions this month, far ahead of any other state, testament to the influence of the state's conservative evangelical Christians and its cultural mix of Old South and Wild West.

"In Texas you have all the elements lined up. Public support, a governor that supports it and supportive courts," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

"If any of those things are hesitant then the process slows down," said Dieter. "With all cylinders working as in Texas it produces a lot of executions."

-- John Cornyn loves box turtles but hates poor children, and in a reality-based Texas that alone ought to be enough to cost him re-election.

-- More and louder chatter about Hillary being a drag on the Democratic down-ballot. To be clear: I think, like nearly everybody else at this point, that absent some uncharacteristic meltdown Hillary Clinton will be both the Democratic nominee and the next President of the United States. To the sneering chagrin of every Republican from sea to shining sea, and to my own not-insignificant queasiness.

But I still also believe she kills us down the ballot in Texas and across the South, threatening our legislative majorities in Washington, and snuffing out a fledgling uprising in the Texas Lege.

I want to be wrong about this.

-- The goddamned Blue Dogs are Bush's best friends in Congress. We knew what we had with Chet Edwards and Henry Cuellar, and mostly with Nick Lampson, but I have to say that the biggest letdown is Ciro Rodriguez. He was a progressive when he was first elected, then he was defeated by the odious Cuellar, and now has turned to the Dark Side, apparently for political expediency.

I can't believe I fought so hard to get him re-elected. Besides blogging, I attended his fundraisers and gave him too much money myself. No more.

-- Lastly, this rather fascinating story in the Atlantic entitled The Rove Presidency contains an anecdote that speaks for itself:

Dick Armey, the House Republican majority leader when Bush took office (and no more a shrinking violet than DeLay), told me a story that captures the exquisite pettiness of most members of Congress and the arrogance that made Bush and Rove so inept at handling them. “For all the years he was president,” Armey told me, “Bill Clinton and I had a little thing we’d do where every time I went to the White House, I would take the little name tag they give you and pass it to the president, who, without saying a word, would sign and date it. Bill Clinton and I didn’t like each other. He said I was his least-favorite member of Congress. But he knew that when I left his office, the first schoolkid I came across would be given that card, and some kid who had come to Washington with his mama would go home with the president’s autograph. I think Clinton thought it was a nice thing to do for some kid, and he was happy to do it.” Armey said that when he went to his first meeting in the White House with President Bush, he explained the tradition with Clinton and asked the president if he would care to continue it. “Bush refused to sign the card. Rove, who was sitting across the table, said, ‘It would probably wind up on eBay,’” Armey continued. “Do I give a damn? No. But can you imagine refusing a simple request like that with an insult? It’s stupid. From the point of view of your own self-interest, it’s stupid. I was from Texas, and I was the majority leader. If my expectations of civility and collegiality were disappointed, what do you think it was like for the rest of the congressmen they dealt with? The Bush White House was tone-deaf to the normal courtesies of the office.”

Go away, Kay Bailey. Just go away.

I'm with Greg here: this fawning over the Texas Harridan is puke-worthy...

Vice president? Doesn't want it. A run for governor? Quite possibly. Leaving public service for a new career in the private sector? That's appealing, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said Thursday, in the midst of a three-day West Texas bus tour.

"Before I retire, I need to have financial stability," said Hutchison, 64, raising the option of leaving public service after being asked about the always-swirling speculation about her political plans. "I could certainly see another career in the private sector. ... I certainly would like to make money. I think I've given up a lot of earning potential being in public service."

Christ, as if we didn't already know that it's all about her all the time. So what's a politician who -- allegedly -- isn't running for anything except a huge payday after government work doing a on a bus tour of West Texas?

Is she actually out there selling wind turbines?

"Say it's Hillary and (Sen. Barack) Obama," said political scientist Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. "I doubt the Republicans would want to put forward two white males."

He said Hutchison is the only Republican woman in a high office who is well-positioned for the vice presidential spot.

GOP consultant Royal Masset said, "She's probably the most credible female we have in the nation."

It doesn't do for officeholders to look like they're campaigning to be vice president. But Hutchison sounds sincere about not wanting it.

"No. Nooooo," she said. "I do not want to be on the ticket for vice president ... I'm not interested in it. I don't want to be asked.

Since Kay also told us she would never run for a third Senate term, I'm having trouble believing this "nooooo".

Candidly, her best political option is to leave office, even though the appointment by Governor 39% MoFo to fill the unexpired five-and-a-half-year term would likely be a reactionary, fundamentalist conservative such as Lamar Smith. Or, God forbid, Henry Bonilla, who wanted the job in the first place way back when Kay was dithering over a run for the Austin mansion in 2005. My prediction is that she probably will "retire from public life" and go make a mountain of money, only to return in a few years to "accept the call from Texans for new leadership".

And we will all collectively vomit at that moment.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The logical fallacies of conservatives

Previously we brought you the quiz "Which Breed of Liberal Are You?" Today this excerpt, via Bill in Portland Maine:

In the "Advanced Battle Tactics" chapter of his new book, How to Win a Fight with a Conservative, Dan Kurtzman shows how Republicans lean heavily on "logical fallacies" to try and win arguments. He defines logical fallacies as "the three-legged stools of faulty reasoning that conservatives use to prop up many of their ridiculous ideas." See if these sound familiar...

False Choice: Offering only two options for consideration when there are clearly other valid choices.

Example: "If we give up the fight in the streets of Baghdad, we will face the terrorists in the streets of our own cities." ---George W. Bush

Strawman: Oversimplifying, exaggerating, caricaturing or otherwise misrepresenting your position without regard to fact. In doing this, your opponent sets up a figurative straw man that he can easily knock down to prove his point.

Example: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." ---Karl Rove

Shifting The Burden of Proof: Presenting an argument as commonly accepted truth, failing to support it with any evidence, and then forcing you to prove otherwise. This tactic is employed out of laziness or to mask the reality that the facts are not on your side.

Example: "I think the burden is on those people who think he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are." ---[Former White House press secretary] Ari Fleischer, on Saddam Hussein's alleged WMDs

Slippery Slope: Leaping to wild, sometimes inexplicable conclusions---going, say, from Step One to Step Two and then all the way to Step Ten without establishing any discernible connection. By using this kind of leapfrog logic, a person can come to any conclusion he damn well pleases.

Example: "All of a sudden, we see riots, we see protests, we see people clashing. The next thing we know, there is injured or there is dead people. We don’t want to get to that extent." ---Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the dangers posed by gay marriage

e-voting woes: Hart InterCivic's e-Slates

Kristen Mack, from earlier this month:

A recent study of the electronic voting machine used in Harris County found that attacks on the system could compromise the accuracy, secrecy and availability of the machine.

The California secretary of state's office conducted a "top-to-bottom review" of the voting machines certified for use in California, including the Hart InterCivic system used here.

The tests, administered by the University of California at Davis, found that absent tighter procedures, hackers could alter vote totals, violate the privacy of individual voters and delete audit trails.

Debra Bowen, the CA SOS, decertified the Hart machines (.pdf) for use in her state. She tentatively will re-approve them if they use an updated, more secure version of their (still-proprietary) software.

The Harris County Democratic Party's Elections Integrity Working Group, an offshoot of the Progressive Populist Caucus' efforts to thwart the assortment of voter suppression tactics throughout the largest county in Texas, will meet today with Houston mayor Bill White, Harris County clerk Beverley Kaufman and others to discuss the issues swirling around Hart's e-Slates.

Kaufman's office doesn't think the California hackfest is anything to worry about:

"The laboratory experiment, as conducted by the UC-Davis researchers, seems almost impossible to replicate outside that laboratory environment. Thus, voters in Harris County should be aware, but not be concerned by the results," said Hector DeLeon, a spokesman for Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman, whose office administers elections.

DeLeon called the test unrealistic because it is "premised on providing unfettered access to the voting equipment to a malicious individual with the technological savvy and ingenuity to violate the system."

Excuse me, Hector?

"Relying on security through obscurity is a terrible thing to do," UC-Davis computer science professor Matt) Bishop said. "(Hackers) can get the info, the only question is how hard do they have to work to get it. Any defense that relies on ignorance underestimates how ingenious attackers can be and overestimates how fallible people are."

The county, under contract, conducts all of the city of Houston's municipal elections. Harris County officials from top to bottom are Republicans; Houston's mayor and a predominant majority of city council members are Democratic.

The possibility of having paper trails -- much less a paper ballot -- in time for the November 2008 election is slim and none, and Slim just rode out of town. The city is disinclined from a cost aspect to add printers to the e-Slates; the county genuinely unconcerned by the risk assessment to do so. Today's meeting likely won't move those positions much.

Still, the recommendations of the task force will include following the guidelines set forth in the Texas Secretary of State's Election Advisory #2006-16, along with the 'best practices' suggestions of Travis County clerk Dana DeBeauvoir in her "Method for Developing Security Procedures in a DRE Environment" (.pdf) which include logic and accuracy tests, parallel and hash code testing and post-election and audit protocols to prevent -- or failing that, detect -- electronic vote tampering.

That's not too much to ask, is it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

400 (and $20,000)

After Christy at firedoglake and Kuffner independently came up with the same idea -- welcoming Bush's Brain back to Texas by Changing the Equation -- the netroots pushed Rick Noriega over a couple of important thresholds today: 400 individual contributions and $20,000.

Here's Rick's latest video:

Have you boarded the Noriega Express yet? No time like the present...

Still can't believe they killed 'Deadwood' for it

The wave has crashed for "John From Cincinnati." A day after its first-season finale, HBO on Monday canceled the dark surfing drama.

Labeled by critics as "strange," "weird" and "unlikable," "John" never clicked with viewers despite a strong marketing campaign and such well-known leads as Rebecca De Mornay and Bruce Greenwood.

You can say that again. I found it completely unwatchable. Coming on the heels of the Sopranos finale, in the wake of Entourage and, with bonafides like the creator of Deadwood, I never expected that something from HBO could be so bad.

But it was.

I'm not a big fan of Big Love or Flight of the Conchords either so what used to be a pretty enjoyable Sunday evening in front of the TV has turned into a wasteland (yes, I hear you saying it's all a wasteland). I don't watch much beyond the sport of the season and the Daily/Colbert anyway, so it's disappointing when something good goes away.

Bush's Brain Drain

Do you know why they didn't try to sneak this announcement through last Friday afternoon?

Because they didn't want it to be in the Sunday Funnies.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Don't let the door hit ya,Turd Blossom

Truth to tell, I've always loved Karl Rove. I understand his plans include writing a book. Dubya will have a difficult transition without Karl guiding him, but I expect to see The Architect give the assist to Senator Box Turtle once more in 2008.

It's just a shame Rover won't be leaving the White House with some assistance himself. I had an idea for the perfect roommate for him.

Corraling the Texas blogs

Time again for this week's statewide round up from the Texas Progressive Alliance, the liberal online voices of the Lone Star State. Matt Glazer from Burnt Orange Report is giving Vince a break this week and assembles the best posts from over a dozen progressive blogs ...

Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff is suffering from a little Kinky fatigue.

McBlogger special correspondent and legal counsel Harry Balczak enjoyed a trip to the AFL-CIO Democratic presidential debate in Chicago... and interviewed the candidates.

North Texas Liberal reports on the rumor that Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Art Brender and Ft. Worth city council member Wendy Davis are going to square off for a chance to face unpopular Sen. Kim Brimer, R-District 10, in 2008.

Marc also has more to tell about the Democrats who have set their sights on SD-10, and why Tarrant County Democrats have reason to be optimistic.

Matt Glazer at Burnt Orange Report is working for change. Bloggers and activists across the state have launched TexBlog PAC to usher in a new majority -- a Democratic Majority.

What do Republicans do when whistleblowers reveal their secrets? South Texas Chisme lets us know they go after them, of course. Fixing the problem? Not an option. TYC goes after employees who report to the Texas legislature or to newspapers.

Stace Medellin from Dos Centavos is added to the Texas Kaos family. But never fear, Dos Centavos will still be around for your reading pleasure! Stace begins his association with TK on Monday, August 13.

Speaking of TexasKaos, this week the Presidential candidates sat down and answered questions from the LGBT community on Logo. Texas Kaos' contributor Refinish69 writes just how far the LGBT rights fight has come in his post, GLBT History Was Made Tonight & My Part in That History.

Stop Cornyn highlights John Cornyn’s low lights. Sad thing is just how many bad votes he cast this past week.

"Republicans For Rick Noriega?" Half Empty explores the origins of this movement.

Musings reports on Noriega's visit to the lake -- firedoglake, that is.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson asks What Did Senator Carona Expect? After caving in to Ric Williamson during the legislative session, Sen. John Carona can't believe Williamson isn't showing him any love.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has a local digest this time: In the event of a WMD attack our librarians will be sent in.

Vince at Capitol Annex brings us news about protesters -- who happened to have been paid operatives hired through a temporary agency -- who tried to make noise at a fundraiser for Texas Supreme Court candidate Susan Criss.

Who's more corrupt, Republicans or Democrats? Find out at Bluedaze, with TXsharon's Corruption in Government: Comprehensive List. Hint: Republicans = 204, Democrats = 3.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston calls the Republican Texas Ethics commissioners simply incompetent after the discovery of millions in undisclosed campaign expenditures.

And Steve at WhosPlayin? takes Congressman Michael Burgess (R - Lewisville) to task for fear-mongering about the trace amounts of mercury in energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More Sunday Funnies

Three hundred and fifty have Changed the Equation

As a result of the assist from the Great Orange Satan coming out of Yearly Kos in Chicago last week, as well as yesterday's live blogging at firedoglake, Rick Noriega's netroots supporters now tally over 350.

For you math geeks that's 45% of the goal at 36% of the distance to the finish line. There were a few early detractors of this effort but the Noreiga Express has a full head of steam now. Even prominent Republicans are getting on board:

One of the top Hispanic Republicans in the nation says he cannot support U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the next election because of the position Texas’ junior senator has taken on immigration reform.

Houston businessman Massey Villarreal told the Guardian he would instead back Democrat Rick Noriega, a state representative from Houston. Noriega is exploring a campaign for the U.S. Senate.

“I have decided to support Rick Noriega for U.S. Senate as a Democrat. I just don’t think John Cornyn hears my community,” Villarreal said.

“I know he (Cornyn) supports some issues that affect my community but immigration reform is one of the defining positions in my community. I have got to support what is good for my community. At the end of the day, regardless of party, we have to come home to our community, where we grew up in the grassroots.”

So are you in yet?

Ames: where GOP campaigns go to die

How ironic is it that the Iowa Republican straw poll results are delayed by malfunctioning voting machines?

Behind the frivolity of (yesterday)'s Republican straw poll -- the banners, big tents, barbecue and rollicking music -- is a stark truth: This could be the last day as viable candidates for several of these men. For those who do poorly, this informal vote of a relative handful of hard-core Republican activists is likely to herald bad press, an end to fundraising and the death of their campaigns.

Farewell, Thompson-not-Hollywood:

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson has admitted as much, telling his supporters that he will drop out of the race if he does not win here. At his modest tent, diehard fans said they felt the pressure.

"We came two and a half hours to come here on a blisteringly hot, sweaty day," said Craig Damerval, 44, an Iowa correctional officer from Winfield, in southeast Iowa. He said he knows about Thompson's pledge, but added that "I hope he's in the top three, anyway."

Alas, poor Duncan. We hardly knew ye:

By (today), the gimmicks may no longer be enough: The guy standing on stilts for California Rep. Duncan Hunter, because "he rises to the occasion." Or the red, white, blue and yellow hot air balloon for John Cox, who offered supporters a chance to win a trip to Rancho Vanencia villas in Southern California.

Who in the hell is John Cox?

There were a couple of winners here in the cornfields, and Romney was hardly one. Mike Huckabee's second-place finish not only kills off several of his rivals in single-digit territory but gives him a shred of credibility going forward. He defeated John Birch Brownback, who apparently had the only air-conditioned tent at the party (somehow I find it hard to believe that Mitt Romney forgot to buy a tent with A/C) ...

Even Brownback's decision to have the only air-conditioned tent today may not help him much if too few people cast ballots for him here.

For Romney, the risk is not of dropping out, but of embarrassment. Like the rest of his slick, polished campaign, his presence here practically exudes his wealth: a huge, professional stage for musicians, a tent outfitted with flat-screen televisions, and hundreds of volunteers.

As midday neared, Romney communications director Matt Rhoades nervously described the straw poll as "a war of attrition" and worried about how to make sure his supporters actually wait in line to cast their ballots.

Yes, not very many of them did cast their ballots, all right. Forty thousand attended, 14,000 voted. I'm guessing 50,000 plates of barbecue were consumed. What a bunch of free-loaders.

Did I forget to mention Dr. No and his sixth-place finish was the euthanizing agent for Gov. Thompson and the others who will quit shortly?

Did I also neglect to point out that Barack Obama polls better among Iowa Republicans than several of these poor sweating conservatives?

Sunday Funnies (starring Nate the Neoconservative)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Twenty-Six Percent Dissolution

I've been waiting to receive this e-mail from a few bitter-enders among my relatives and friends, though candidly I expected it sooner, when the President (sic) was still polling in the thirties:

I’m one of the twenty-six percent of Americans who still believe in our great President Bush, and everything he’s done for our country!

I believe my tax dollars should not be wasted on welfare, health care, and other socialist programs. That’s why I support an administration that uses my tax money to increase Halliburton's profits, or just allows it to go missing in Iraq!

I believe that the Republican Party is the party of moral values. That’s why I voted for the party of Duke Cunningham and Mark Foley!

I believe that trickle-down economics will eventually trickle down to me, and I will become a billionaire. That’s why I support tax cuts for the wealthy!

I believe in Jesus Christ and all of his teachings. That’s why I condone torture!

I believe in war and protecting the homeland. That’s why I declined to enlist, so I could stay here and encourage other people to join up!

I believe drug addicts and sex perverts should be in prison. That’s why I listen to wholesome Americans like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly!

I believe in the sanctity of life, and protecting the unborn. That’s why I cheer when I hear about an abortion clinic full of people being blown up!

I believe in smaller, non-intrusive government. That’s why I support the president’s wire-tapping program!

I believe in the party of fiscal responsibility. That’s why I support the Republicans like Ted Stevens who continue to run up the national debt with loads of pork barrel projects!

I believe that if we don’t fight ‘em over there, we’re going to have to fight ‘em over here. That’s why I stay stateside, so I’ll be armed and ready in case they show up!

I believe that homosexuality is a sin and a threat to American society. That’s why I support the 100% gay-free Republican Party!

I believe in the concept that we are all God’s children. That’s why we have to kill Muslims, because God never meant for them to be part of the family!

I believe that it is my responsibility to stay well-informed. That’s why I have FOX News on my TV, 24/7!

I believe the President has enhanced the state of education in our country. That’s how I lurnt to speek and spel so gud!

I believe the Commander-in-Chief chooses reliable military advisors to assist him with his war strategy. That’s why I respect every new one he appoints, no matter how often he appoints new ones!

I believe a well-rested president is an effective president. That’s why I’m happy we have a president who is on vacation thirty-six weeks out of every year!

I believe we should Support the Troops. That’s why I have yellow ribbon bumperstickers on both of my SUVs!

I believe in freedom of choice. That's why I'm going to vote for whoever Pat Robertson tells me to vote for!

I believe that all Americans should enjoy good health. That's why I believe sick, uninsured Americans -- and especially those nasty illegal aliens -- should just die and leave the rest of us to enjoy our good health!

I believe that solid family values are the backbone of our country. That's why I, my third wife, and my current mistress are all campaigning for Guiliani!

I believe in spreading democracy around the world. That’s why I’m glad we let Iraqis vote while we were bombing the hell out of their country!

I believe in America and everything it stands for. That’s why I display my made-in-China flag proudly on my front porch every single day!

P.S. I believe that the fact that we twenty-six percenters became twenty-four percenters in the time it took to write this is just further proof that the surge is working!