Friday, February 27, 2009

Texas may let hunters shoot pigs from choppers

In the '60's, that meant something much different:

MERTZON, Texas - Millions of wild pigs weighing up to 300 pounds have been tearing up crops, trampling fences and eating just about anything in their path in Texas. But now they had better watch their hairy backs.

A state lawmaker is proposing to allow ordinary Texans with rifles and shotguns to shoot the voracious, tusked animals from helicopters.

For years, ranchers in the Lone Star State have hired professional hunters in choppers to thin the hogs' fast-multiplying ranks. Now state Rep. Sid Miller of the Fort Worth area wants to bring more firepower to the task by issuing permits to sportsmen.

This wouldn't be quite as inhumane as Alaska's aerial wolf-gunning program. Still ...

"If they're going to open up to where you can do this and anybody who's got a helicopter can go off to an old boy's place and hunt, that's going to be bad," said Jay Smith, owner of Smith Helicopters in Cotulla. Some people "may get confused and shoot the rancher's dog or a calf."

Go on and read some more about the guy in the Panhandle flying the "pork chopper".

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hearst now threatening to shutter SF Chron *update*

Fresh on the heels of a threat to close the Seattle Post-Intelligencer last month comes Frank Bennack and Steven Swartz with another ominous warning:

The San Francisco Chronicle will be sold or closed unless major cost-cutting measures -- including an unspecified "significant reduction in the number of unionized and non-union employees" -- can be realized within weeks, parent company Hearst Corp. said Tuesday evening.

"If these savings cannot be accomplished within weeks ... the company will be forced to sell or close the newspaper," Hearst said in a statement. The company claims the Chronicle lost more than $50 million last year, "and that this year's losses to date are worse." The paper has had "major losses" each year since 2001, the company added.

"Because of the sea change newspapers everywhere are undergoing and these dire economic times, it is essential that our management and the local union leadership work together to implement the changes necessary to bring the cost of producing the Chronicle into line with available revenue," said a joint prepared statement by Frank A. Bennack Jr., vice chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Corp. and Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers.

Fifty. Million. Bucks. In losses.

When I worked for Hearst in the 80's they owned the San Francisco Examiner, and the publisher was W. R. Hearst III, grandson of you-know-who. It was still considered the flagship, the one from which The Chief had built an empire. The company sold off that paper (in a hilarious comedy of very public errors) and bought the crosstown rival Chronicle, the more successful in circulation and ad revenue of the two. They had previously been married in a JOA (just like the P-I, just like the San Antonio Light -- RIP -- and the Express-News).

And now, apparently, they have run that one into the ground.

I suppose Hearst just isn't interested in being in the newspaper business any longer.

Update: And today, the Rocky Mountain News -- two weeks shy of its 150th birthday -- publishes its final edition. No online version will continue to be offered.

(Yesterday's) announcement comes as metropolitan newspapers and major newspaper companies find themselves reeling, with plummeting advertising revenues and dramatically diminished share prices. Just this week, Hearst, owner of the San Francisco Chronicle, announced that unless it was able to make immediate and steep expense cuts it would put the paper up for sale and possibly close it. Two other papers in JOAs, one in Seattle and the other in Tucson, are facing closure in coming weeks.

The Rocky was founded in 1859 by William Byers, one of the most influential figures in Colorado history. Scripps bought the paper in 1926 and immediately began a newspaper war with The Post. That fight ebbed and flowed over the course of the rest of the 20th century, culminating in penny-a-day subscriptions in the late '90s.

Perhaps the most critical step for the Rocky occurred in 1942, when then-Editor Jack Foster saved it by adopting the tabloid style it has been known for ever since. Readers loved the change, and circulation took off.

In the past decade, the Rocky has won four Pulitzer Prizes, more than all but a handful of American papers. Its sports section was named one of the 10 best in the nation this week. Its business section was cited by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers as one of the best in the country last year. And its photo staff is regularly listed among the best in the nation when the top 10 photo newspapers are judged.

Staffers were told to come in Friday to collect personal effects.

Piyush Jindal flops

Even most conservatives considered the Louisiana governor's star turn Tuesday night a miserable failure.

This seems to be the least harsh and sums up the man's shortcomings, all of which appear to be style-related:

He looked young and amateurish. His delivery was unprofessional: He spoke entirely too rapidly, something a speech coach would work on in the first lesson. His tone and mannerisms were less presidential than they were something you'd see in an infomercial, and he seemed to be talking down to the viewing public.

So if you could meld Jindal's mind into Sarah Palin's body, you think maybe the GOP would have something?

Nah, me neither.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And that's why Bill White and John Sharp are running for Senate

Because Kay Bailey Perjury Technicality spanks "the longest serving governor in Texas history" like an unruly child. Let's give Harvey Kronberg the chance to shout a little:


Company uses controversial robo-dialing methodology but notes it was the most accurate in 2008 Texas GOP presidential primary

A North Carolina polling company called Public Policy Polling reports that a recent poll of 797 likely Republican primary voters puts Kay Bailey Hutchison decisively ahead of Rick Perry by a margin of 56-31.

PPP uses a controversial method of automated telephone polling that has both supporters and detractors. To pre-empt arguments about methodology, the company forwarded an analysis indicating that they had the most accurate Texas numbers in the 2008 GOP presidential primary.

KBH has 76% favorables to RP’s 60%. But the 27% Perry unfavorables lean to Hutchison by a factor of 85-8.

PPP President Dean Debman said, “Rick Perry is in grave danger of losing in the primary. It’s partly because he’s worn out his welcome with a certain segment of the Republican electorate, but he even bigger reason is that Kay Bailey Hutchison is just a lot more popular than him. It would be hard for anyone to beat her in an election.”

Most observers believe that a contested primary would draw well over a million voters rather than the six to seven hundred thousand that normally vote in a gubernatorial year.

The poll results can be found here.

Does an all-out assault on DC, abortion, and running so hard right he's knee-deep in the bar ditch get Rick Perry back in good graces with all the freaks who will vote in the Texas GOP primary next March?

I predict that my year's supply of Orville Redenbacher is going to run out before the summer.

Meanwhile ... what's Boyd Richie telling Kinky Friedman and Tom Schieffer?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Leo Berman, Klucker

I grew up around good ol' boys like him, so I have a pretty good idea just what sort he is.

He's making a public ass of himself again.

Somebody needs to take him to the wood shed, and until either the leadership of the Texas House, or the voters in his district do, it's left to us little old bloggers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Post-Oscar Wrangle

Vince Leibowitz (who wrangles the best of the Texas left-o-sphere each week) notes: "The round-up got drunk at an Oscar party, and I had to chase it up and down the street before one of the dogs finally caught it. Evidently it was upset that the lady from My Cousin Vinny did not win another Academy Award. "

"You commie, homo-loving sons of guns."

-- Sean Penn, accepting the Academy award for best actor

It was a theme Oscar voters embraced through the evening with other key awards honoring films fostering broader understanding and compassion.

Sean Penn won his second best-actor Oscar, this one for playing slain gay-rights pioneer Harvey Milk in "Milk," while Kate Winslet took best actress for "The Reader," in which she plays a former concentration camp guard coming to terms with the ignorance that let her heedlessly participate in Nazi atrocities. ...

(Eight-Oscars-winner "Slumdog Millionaire") was a merger of India's brisk Bollywood movie industry, which provided most of the cast and crew, and the global marketing reach of Hollywood, which turned the film into a commercial smash, said British director Boyle.

"We're Brits, really, trapped in the middle, but it's a lovely trapped thing," Boyle said backstage. "You can see it's going to happen more and more. There's all sorts of people going to work there. The world's shrinking a little bit."

Meh; there were those conservative protestors outside. Penn again, with the smackdown:

"I'd tell them to turn in their hate card and find their better self," Penn said. "I think that these are largely taught limitations and ignorances, this kind of thing. It's really sad in a way, because it's a demonstration of such cowardice, emotional cowardice, to be so afraid of extending the same rights to your fellow man as you'd want for yourself."

There's just something about the complete repudiation of the hatred and fear and greed of the past several years that I relish lately.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ben and Jerry's flavor suggestions for 43

You may recall that Vermont ice cream czars Ben (Cohen) and Jerry (Greenfield) introduced a brand following the election of Barack Obama called "Yes Pecan!". With another confectionary hit on their hands, they decided to solicit suggestions for an ice cream flavor that would commemorate the Bush administration. Herewith, a listing of the finalists:

- Grape Depression
- Abu Grape
- Cluster Fudge
- Nut'n Accomplished
- Iraqi Road
- Chock 'n Awe
- WireTapioca
- Impeach Mint
- Heck of a Job, Brownie!
- Chunky Monkey in Chief
- George Bush Doesn't Care About Dark Chocolate
- WMDelicious

Friday, February 20, 2009

That loathsome toon from the NY Post, and more postpourri

-- Sean Delonas, the cartoonist from the New York Post who drew the cartoon that sparked so much outrage, has a long pattern of over-the-top offensiveness more suitable to Hustler Magazine ... or maybe the Washington Moonie Times.

-- TIME has a 25 Best Blogs Index, along with some overrated ones. This blog didn't make either list, so I'm not pimping anything here.

-- Cornyn: No investigations of the Bush administration crimes can be undertaken at this time because of the economic crisis.

-- Now it makes sense: the GOP hates unions because they improve the economy.

-- Sharon "Killer" Keller: a Texas judge who had better start asking for mercy:

This is a woman who voted to deny freedom to a man imprisoned for rape even after DNA evidence showed the sperm belonged to someone else. Her argument: He might have worn a condom.

Later evidence provided proof of his innocence even she couldn’t explain away.

This is a woman who, with her colleagues, appointed grossly incompetent lawyers to handle appeals for indigent death row inmates and then said, “Sorry, your client had his chance,” when skilled lawyers later came in to try to clean up the messes.

This is a woman who, a week before Christmas in 2002, voted to deny freedom to a man who under pressure had accepted a plea bargain for a crime that new evidence showed — “unquestionably,” according to the trial judge who heard the evidence — he did not commit.

Sadly, those aren't even the worst of this woman's crimes against justice.

Chief Judge Keller went home early and was called shortly before 5 p.m. by Marty. Richard’s lawyers were having computer problems and wanted the clerk’s office to stay open until 5:20 or so to receive their filing. Rather than forward the message to Johnson as policy required, Keller instructed Marty to tell the lawyers no. The lawyers made attempts up until 6 p.m. to deliver the filing but were told nobody was there. Richard was executed at about 8:20 p.m.

Two days later, the Supreme Court stopped all executions by injection based on the same arguments Richard’s lawyers made. Richard was the only convict executed until six months later, when the Supreme Court OK’d lethal injection as constitutional.

Here’s the stunner: The morning after Richard’s execution, the nine judges had their weekly conference. At the end of it some of the judges expressed surprise that Richard’s lawyers hadn’t submitted a filing.

Cochran even raised the question — hypothetically, she thought — of what would happen if the lawyers showed up after the clerk’s office closed. She said the court should accept the filing anyway. According to witnesses, Keller said, “The clerk’s office closes at 5 p.m. It’s not a policy, it’s a fact.”

Keller lacked the decency or the courage to tell her colleagues about the call she had received.

This "judge" needs to be immediately removed from the bench.

-- Is it possible that Citi and Bank of America still won't make it? Sheesh.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sir Allen turns up outside DC

Has John Cornyn returned the campaign contributions from Stanford yet?

U.S. law enforcement officials found Texas billionaire Allen Stanford in the Fredericksburg, Virginia, area on Thursday, and served him with a complaint accusing him of an $8 billion fraud.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said the FBI acted at the request of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and that Stanford had not been arrested. The FBI gave few other details.

The whereabouts of the jet-setting 58-year-old tycoon who has luxury U.S. and Caribbean homes, had been the subject of intense speculation since he failed to respond to civil charges filed in Texas on Tuesday.

Stanford, two colleagues and three Stanford companies are accused of a "massive fraud" by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

U.S. federal agents raided Stanford Group offices in Miami, Houston and other U.S. cities earlier this week.

The fallout from the SEC charges against the flamboyant, mustachioed financier and sports entrepreneur has rippled far beyond U.S. borders, prompting investigations from Houston to Antigua and Caracas.

Five Latin American countries have now acted against Stanford businesses, while Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is monitoring a possible U.K. link after media reports that Stanford's books were audited in Britain.

The Houston Chronicle has a blog devoted solely to the Stanford developments -- Stanford Watch.

What Change Looks Like 2

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Run on Antigua banks as Stanford goes on the lam

Anybody called John Cornyn's office yet to see if he knows where Sir Allen is?

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua (Reuters) – Hundreds of people lined up to withdraw money from banks in Antigua and Caracas affiliated with Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, a day after the tycoon was charged with an $8 billion fraud.

The whereabouts of the brash, 58-year-old financier were unknown. CNBC television said he tried to hire a private jet to fly from Houston, the site of his U.S. headquarters, to Antigua, but the jet lessor refused to accept his credit card.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Stanford of operating a fraud centered on the sale of certificates of deposit from his Antiguan affiliate, Stanford International Bank Ltd (SIB).

The scheme has drawn comparisons with the alleged $50 billion fraud by Wall Street veteran Bernard Madoff.

In the twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda, where Stanford is the biggest private employer, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said the charges against him could have "catastrophic" consequences but urged the public not to panic.

Two police officers stood watch at the Bank of Antigua as at least 600 people stood in a line stretching around a street corner, despite assurances from regional monetary authorities that the bank had sufficient reserves.

John Cornyn manages to get involved in every significant Texas-based financial swindle/scandal, yet the brain-dead Texas conservatives continue sending him back to Congress to defraud us over and over again.

All was quiet on Wednesday outside Stanford's Houston office, a day after a raid by federal agents. A man who answered the phone at Stanford's Boston offices but declined to give his name said, "The office is open but we are not doing anything."

Certainly nothing like identifying yourself or closing investors' accounts and returning all their money, eh buddy?

Stanford, who holds dual U.S.-Antiguan citizenship, has donated millions of dollars to U.S. politicians and secured endorsements from sports stars, including golfer Vijay Singh and soccer player Michael Owen.


Stanford lived for more than 20 years in the reef-girded island of Antigua, only 9 miles wide and 12 miles long with a population of just 70,000.

He owns the country's largest newspaper, heads a local commercial bank, and is the first American to receive a knighthood from its government. He has homes sprinkled across the region, from Antigua to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands to Miami.

I would like for John Cornyn to join Roland Burris on the unemployment line ASAP.

Update: From Trail Blazers ...

Sen. John McCain of Arizona was the first major recipient to step forward (and disgorge Stanford's political contributions). An aide said this morning that he will donate his receipts -- $28,150, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics - to a yet-to-be named charity.

McCain was the 3d biggest recipient from Stanford, his employees and his company's political action committee.

No word yet on disgorgement from the others in the top five, including two Texans: Bill Nelson, D-Fla. ($45,900); runner-up, Dallas GOP Rep. Pete Sessions ($41,375); fourth place Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. ($27,500), and Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn ($19,700).

Gov. MoFo says 'no thanks' to your money

That makes him a minority even among Republican governors, including Sarah Palin, Charlie Crist, and Arnold Schwarzeneggar.

How much more stupid can one man get?

Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday he’s not sure the state should accept all of its projected share of federal stimulus money — $16.9 billion and counting by preliminary estimates — because of the “mile-long” strings that might be attached.

“In Texas, we actually know it is a good idea to look a gift horse in the mouth. If we don’t, we may end up with an old nag,” said Perry, who has been critical of such federal spending and voiced concern over whether the state could afford federal strings.

“One thing that concerns me is that dollars are going to come into Texas that require us to match those dollars, and then two years from now, those federal dollars won’t be there, but we will be on the hook to pay for those programs going forward,” Perry said.

According to a preliminary legislative analysis, economic stimulus provisions that affect the Texas budget could total about $16.9 billion.

Perry didn’t say which programs he was referring to, and spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said his staff still is looking over potential allocations to Texas.

But even in Houston, people are finally starting to understand what a miserable failure the man is. One of the top comments from readers at the story link is from "RepublicanForChange":

Texas ranks 49 out of 50 states in the number of children who do not have health insurance. Why? Governor Perry rejected billions of dollars in federal health care dollars because of a fear Texas would have to spend more money on children's health care. If Texas had committed those extra dollars, Texas would rank about 40th of 50 states in its health care spending for children, and Governor Perry thinks that is too much.

Governor Perry does not object to the University of Texas and Texas A & M spending a combined 200 million dollars per year for seven Saturday's of football entertainment, but he does object to spending even one more dollar on sick children. Rick Perry has made clear his belief that a child's "Right to Life" ends at birth.

See? Evolution isn't just a theory.

Update: Jason Embry via Phillip Martin reports that Governor 39% is already backtracking:

Gov. Rick Perry said today he will gladly accept federal stimulus dollars for one-time expenses, but he’s not anxious to embrace dollars for recurring state expenses.

“We need the freedom to pick and choose,” Perry told a group of small-business leaders in Austin. “We need the freedom to say, ‘no thanks’ if they’re trying to stick a bill on the people of the State of Texas just to expand government.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cornyn, Stanford, and Antigua

Zachary Roth at Josh Marshall's TPMMuckraker has it:

So we already knew that Allen Stanford -- the Texas banker charged by the SEC today with running an $8 billion "fraud of shocking magnitude" -- had some pretty impressive political contacts with both parties.

But it looks like his relationship with one of his home-state senators, Republican John Cornyn, may have been especially cozy.

According to Cornyn's Senate disclosure reports -- posted on the site, which tracks privately financed trips by members of Congress -- the Stanford Financial Group paid for the Texas senator and an unnamed companion to take a November 2004 trip down to Antigua and Barbuda, the tiny Carribean nation where the company has its headquarters.

The three day trip is described by Legistorm as a "financial services industry fact-finding mission hosted by constituent company with substantial operations on site."

The site adds:

Sen. Cornyn discloses expenses for himself and a companion, but does not disclose the identity of the companion.

The total cost of the trip: $7,441.00

Stanford Financial was selling CDs with an 8.25% rate of return (not FDIC-insured, of course). Allen Stanford was a big donor to Texas Republicans, particularly John Cornyn and Pete Sessions, but as Roth notes, his contributions were bipartisan.

As for Cornyn's traveling companion, I frankly don't give a shit if he took a box turtle with him down to the Caribbean.

Cornyn is as god-damned corrupt as Tom DeLay, and to think we could have been rid of him four months ago is just too big a missed opportunity to be reminded of.

Update: Rick Dunham at Texas on the Potomac has more, including a smattering of the usual "Democrats did it too/the Chronicle has a liberal bias" reaction from the locals.

A public service reminder

... not to elect religious fundamentalists to the Texas SBOE:

And please remember this the next time Pete Sessions says that the tactics of the Taliban should be replicated in the United States Congress.

The gathering ubiquitousness of Facebook

I do it in the Facebook. Do you?

Last night I realized I have an addiction: I went through Annise Parker's Facebook group friending people I really don't know (but figured I would like to because of our shared interest in seeing her elected as Houston's next mayor). Facebook now gives me a warning when I friend someone, saying I am "abusing the system". I also acquired a conservative Bush-loving barnacle. He hasn't been blocked yet, but I'm ready with the shitscraper.

Hello, my name is Perry and I'm a Facebookaholic. But I only have three of the ten warning signs (#3, 5a, and 9 if you really must know).

Why Facebook is for (Us) Old Fogies:

1. Facebook is about finding people you've lost track of. And, son, we've lost track of more people than you've ever met. Remember who you went to prom with junior year? See, we don't. We've gone through multiple schools, jobs and marriages. Each one of those came with a complete cast of characters, most of whom we have forgotten existed. But Facebook never forgets.

2. We're no longer bitter about high school. You're probably still hung up on any number of petty slights, but when that person who used to call us that thing we're not going to mention here, because it really stuck, asks us to be friends on Facebook, we happily friend that person. Because we're all grown up now. We're bigger than that. Or some of us are, anyway. We're in therapy, and it's going really well. These are just broad generalizations. Next reason.

3. We never get drunk at parties and get photographed holding beer bottles in suggestive positions. We wish we still did that. But we don't.

4. Facebook isn't just a social network; it's a business network. And unlike, say, college students, we actually have jobs. What's the point of networking with people who can't hire you? Not that we'd want to work with anyone your age anyway. Given the recession -- and the amount of time we spend on Facebook -- a bunch of hungry, motivated young guns is the last thing we need around here.

5. We're lazy. We have jobs and children and houses and substance-abuse problems to deal with. At our age, we don't want to do anything. What we want is to hear about other people doing things and then judge them for it. Which is what news feeds are for.

6. We're old enough that pictures from grade school or summer camp look nothing like us. These days, the only way to identify us is with Facebook tags.

7. We have children. There is very little that old people enjoy more than forcing others to pay attention to pictures of their children. Facebook is the most efficient engine ever devised for this.

8. We're too old to remember e-mail addresses. You have to understand: we have spent decades drinking diet soda out of aluminum cans. That stuff catches up with you. We can't remember friends' e-mail addresses. We can barely remember their names.

9. We don't understand Twitter. Literally. It makes no sense to us.

10. We're not cool, and we don't care. There was a time when it was cool to be on Facebook. That time has passed. Facebook now has 150 million members, and its fastest-growing demographic is 30 and up. At this point, it's way cooler not to be on Facebook. We've ruined it for good, just like we ruined Twilight and skateboarding. So git! And while you're at it, you damn kids better get off our lawn too.

Update: They heard you. Dwight ...

Usually, I don't think businesses like Facebook have anything nefarious in mind when something like this happens, but ToS documents are complicated things. What may seem like innocent legal jargon to the corporate attorneys can easily become a public relations bombshell.

Just ask AT&T.

In this case, users were telling Facebook, "Hey, it's MY information, and when I say DELETE, it had better be gone." Facebook gets props for listening to the complaints and doing the right thing in the end, but it was a mistake that probably could have been avoided in the first place if its executives had read the ToS from their customers' point of view.

Cheney's mad at Bush now

Is that popcorn ready yet?!?

In the waning days of the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney launched a last-ditch campaign to persuade his boss to pardon Lewis (Scooter) Libby -- and was furious when President George W. Bush wouldn't budge.

Sources close to Cheney told the Daily News the former vice president repeatedly pressed Bush to pardon Libby, arguing his ex-chief of staff and longtime alter ego deserved a full exoneration - even though Bush had already kept Libby out of jail by commuting his 30-month prison sentence.

"He tried to make it happen right up until the very end," one Cheney associate said.

In multiple conversations, both in person and over the telephone, Cheney tried to get Bush to change his mind. Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the federal probe of who leaked covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the press.

Several sources confirmed Cheney refused to take no for an answer. "He went to the mat and came back and back and back at Bush," a Cheney defender said. "He was still trying the day before Obama was sworn in."

After repeatedly telling Cheney his mind was made up, Bush became so exasperated with Cheney's persistence he told aides he didn't want to discuss the matter any further.

The unsuccessful full-court press left Cheney bitter. "He's furious with Bush," a Cheney source told The News. "He's really angry about it and decided he's going to say what he believes."

Update: Herr General Turd Blossom says the feud is "overblown". I suppose if anyone knows anything about blowing ...

Stick with us! We got ya this far

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Weekly Wrangle

Monday morning means it's time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's Weekly Round-Up.

Off the Kuff takes a look at the early possibilities for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2010.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a serious look at Speaker Straus' committee assignments.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know how police officers can mistake a 12-year-old black girl standing in her own yard for 3 white prostitutes?

WCNews at Eye On Williamson has noticed there's been plenty of misinformation about the the New Deal during the stimulus debate. This week was no different: Another misleading GOP talking point on the New Deal.

McBlogger takes a look at the current economic situation in light of renewed attacks on the stimulus plan. His conclusion is that you really shouldn't listen to those on the right since they don't, you know, understand what's going on or have an accurate read on historical analogues.

Are you terrorized by Barnett Shale gas well compressor noise? If so, you aren't the only one. TXsharon knows about a recent court case that might be helpful. Learn about it on Bluedaze then help us get OGAP here so we can rein in out-of-control drilling.

Possible KBH replacement state senator Florence Shapiro does some political posturing with the new "MySpace bill".The Texas Cloverleaf reports.

Neil at Texas Liberal reviewed structural causes of longterm poverty. Neil also determined that the song running through his mind for the past 20 years was Bring Me Edelweiss. It's a song from an Austrian techno-dance group. Check out the video.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston thinks the leadership at the University of Texas is a bunch of Rotten Teasip Bastards and the student government leaders are a bunch of Teasip wusses.

DosCentavos opines on Senate Bill 320; a bill to require any justice of the peace in a county of 200,000+ to be a licensed attorney. And Stace is not happy at all about it.

jobsanger expresses his disappointment in a Panhandle state legislator in "Chisum's Law Is Abject Failure" and celebrates his fall from his powerful chairmanship of the appropriations committee in "Chisum And Swinford Are Out".

Xanthippas at Three Wise Men examines the claim that groups on the left are in the pocket for the Obama administration, and have sacrificed their credibility on issues like the stimulus package.

The two front-runners for the Democratic nomination for Texas Governor in 2010 are Kinky Friedman and Tom Schieffer. Seriously. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has the details.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is is angry at the sloppy traffic cops we call the US Strategic Command. They oversee our Space Surveillance Network, tracking thousands of pieces of space junk orbiting over our heads every day. So is this just a movie to them? Shouldn't they sound some kind of alarm when a collision is imminent? There is some Serious Space Debris -- US Command Fails Role As Traffic Cop.

WhosPlayin wonders why roadside puppy sales continue despite a new ordinance banning it in Lewisville.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

No obstruction too great or too small

... for John Cornyn and his merry band of naysayers:

Having just seen what President Barack Obama can do with 58 Democrats in the Senate, Republicans are more determined than ever to keep him from getting a 59th.

Especially if the 59th is Al Franken.

Franken, the former comedian, leads Republican Norm Coleman by 225 votes in a “Groundhog Day” of an election that dawned more than three months ago and shows no signs of ending soon.

Which is exactly how Senate Republicans want it. The National Republican Senatorial Committee held a ritzy fundraiser for Coleman in Washington this week, helping him raise the money he needs to keep his legal challenges alive through a trial and then a lengthy legal process if he loses.

How long should Coleman hold out?

“However long it takes,” says Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who chairs the NRSC.

“I encourage him to see it through the end,” Cornyn said Thursday. “He feels like he owes it to the voters of Minnesota and his colleagues here. He realizes how important retaining that seat is to us.”

Six more long years of John Cornyn's daily bullshit.

How about a protest in front of his office with bottles of laxative for him to drink? We're all going to need some relief from him soon, that's for sure.

Sunday Funnies

Friday, February 13, 2009

13 facts about Friday the 13th, the first of 3 this year

If you fear Friday the 13th, then batten down the hatches. This week's unlucky day is the first of three this year.

The next Friday the 13th comes in March, followed by Nov. 13. Such a triple whammy comes around only every 11 years, said Thomas Fernsler, a math specialist at the University of Delaware who has studied the number 13 for more than 20 years.

Here are 13 more facts about the infamous day, courtesy of Fernsler and some of our own research:

1. The British Navy built a ship named Friday the 13th. On its maiden voyage, the vessel left dock on a Friday the 13th, and was never heard from again.

2. The ill-fated Apollo 13 launched at 13:13 CST on Apr. 11, 1970. The sum of the date's digits (4-11-70) is 13 (as in 4+1+1+7+0 = 13). And the explosion that crippled the spacecraft occurred on April 13 (not a Friday). The crew did make it back to Earth safely, however.

3. Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor.

4. Fear of Friday the 13th - one of the most popular myths in science - is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

5. Quarterback Dan Marino wore No. 13 throughout his career with the Miami Dolphins. Despite being a superb quarterback (some call him one of the best ever), he got to the Super Bowl just once, in 1985, and was trounced 38-16 by the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana (who wore No. 16 and won all four Super Bowls he played in).

6. Butch Cassidy, notorious American train and bank robber, was born on Friday, April 13, 1866.

7. Fidel Castro was born on Friday, Aug. 13, 1926.

8. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.

9. Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

10. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. "It was bad luck," Twain later told the friend. "They only had food for 12."

11. Woodrow Wilson considered 13 his lucky number, though his experience didn't support such faith. He arrived in Normandy, France on Friday, Dec. 13, 1918, for peace talks, only to return with a treaty he couldn't get Congress to sign. (The ship's crew wanted to dock the next day due to superstitions, Fernsler said.) He toured the United States to rally support for the treaty, and while traveling, suffered a near-fatal stroke.

12. The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number - 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.

13. The seals on the back of a dollar bill include 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle's head, 13 war arrows in the eagle's claw and 13 leaves on the olive branch. So far there's been no evidence tying these long-ago design decisions to the present economic situation.

The Texas House committee assignments are out! (rinse, repeat)

Charles aggreposts the best of the reactions to Speaker Straus' selections to guide the business of the Texas House during the 81st Lege. It's an excellent resource and all the links there are click-worthy.

I'll re-post the executive summary provided by the Chron's Scharrer and Radcliffe Robison ...


Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston: Speaker pro tempore, he’ll have Straus’ ear. Appointed to Appropriations and Insurance committees, important to Hurricane Ike recovery.

Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie: Once again, he is chief budget writer.

Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton: State Affairs chairman, important to deciding the fate of utility legislation.

Rep. Brian McCall, R-Plano: Calendars chairman, one of the most powerful; his panel decides which bills get a shot and which don’t.

Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston: Local & Consent Calendars, chief traffic cop for hundreds of local bills; which get a green light and which don’t.


Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa: Vice chairman of Environmental Regulation, a big fall from previous post of chairman of Appropriations.

Rep. Beverly Woolley, R-Houston: Removed as Calendars chairman; didn’t even get a vice chair.

Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford: Booted from the defunct Regulated Industries Committee; he doesn’t have a chairmanship or a seat on State Affairs.

Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland: Seated on Energy Resources and State Affairs.


Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston: Now seated on coveted Calendars Committee; chair of County Affairs; keeps Public Health seat.

Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston: Back on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee; also Public Education vice chair.

Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco: The chief Democratic bomb-thrower against Craddick; now chairs a special committee on how to spend the federal economic stimulus money.


Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo: Insurance chair, a post he had under the two previous speakers.


• 34 standing House committees

• 18 are chaired by Republicans

• 16 are chaired by Democrats

• 15 chairmen have never chaired before

• 23 are from urban areas

• 11 are from rural areas

My reaction is that this is more along the lines of what Hope, Change, and Bi-partisanship look like. Hope I'm not mistaken.

The battle royal will remain in the Texas Senate over voter ID, and is looking more and more like one that democracy could lose.

Judge Dredd quits as Commerce Secretary-designate

"I Am The Law" no more, in the Senate either (after 2010).


Fuck him then, I say. This little drama turns out to be some partisan Republican conservative attempt to throw egg on the President's face, which the public -- in both their solid support of both Obama and the stimulus package -- can see right through.

Gregg sought out the position. He knew the policies. He said he could accept and support them. He publicly supported the stimulus package (even though he abstained from the vote).

Last week Gregg stood by Obama's side to accept the nomination as commerce secretary and declared that partisanship should not get in the way of repairing the country's economy:

"This is not a time for partisanship. This is not a time when we should stand in our ideological corners and shout at each other," Gregg said on Feb. 3. "This is a time to govern and govern well. And therefore, when the President asked me to join his administration and participate in trying to address the issues of this time, I believed it was my obligation to say yes, and I look forward to it with enthusiasm."

He even made a deal that his replacement in the Senate would be a Republican.

And now he's saying it had become apparent to him he couldn't do something that he had already agreed to do and in fact had done publicly.

The White House source in the CNN article is right that Gregg was erratic. But in another sense, Gregg is being consistent. He's always been a right-wing Republican, and like all Republicans aligned with the most conservative faction of their party, that allegiance is more powerful than their duty to country, indeed their oath of office.

Given the choice of serving his country during one of the worst economic crises in the past hundred years, Judd Gregg would rather obstruct.

Just like John Cornyn.

Every Republican member of the House of Representatives voted against the stimulus. All but three Republicans in the Senate voted against it. The public supports the stimulus package. But the Republicans don't listen to the public, except for that small minority that makes up the extremist Republican base. The Limbaugh Listening Caucus.

When called to serve his country, Judd Gregg flinched, revealing himself too beholden to the views of a Republican party controlled by bitter, vindictive zealots.

Bi-partisanship only works when both parties put the national interest first. All but a few of the Republicans in Congress put their party before the good of the nation. Judd Gregg's refusal to serve in the Obama cabinet demonstrates once again that the Republicans would rather obstruct progress than contribute to the welfare of the United States of America.

Why do Judd Gregg and the GOP hate America?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Chuck Darwin

Update (at the top this time):

It's well known that Charles Darwin's groundbreaking theory of evolution made many people furious because it contradicted the Biblical view of creation. But few know that it also created problems for Darwin at home with his deeply religious wife, Emma.

Darwin held back the book to avoid offending his wife, said Ruth Padel, the naturalist's great-great-granddaughter. "She said he seemed to be putting God further and further off," Padel said in her north London home. "But they talked it through, and she said, "Don't change any of your ideas for fear of hurting me.'"

The 1859 publication of "On the Origin of Species" changed scientific thought forever — and generated opposition that continues to this day. It is this elegant explanation of how species evolve through natural selection that makes Darwin's 200th birthday on Feb. 12 such a major event.

Alas, only 4 in 10 Americans believe:

On the eve of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, a new Gallup Poll shows that only 39% of Americans say they "believe in the theory of evolution," while a quarter say they do not believe in the theory, and another 36% don't have an opinion either way. These attitudes are strongly related to education and, to an even greater degree, religiosity.

Here are seven pieces of evidence that demonstrate evolution in action, courtesy National Geographic.

And so that Texas students don't continue to be failed by their state board of education, visit the Texas Freedom Network for more on how to combat the ignorance. Here's the latest from their blog.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tom Schieffer and Kinky Friedman *update*

Well, at least we may have a contested gubernatorial primary in 2010:

Tom Schieffer of Fort Worth recently returned to Texas after serving as U.S. ambassador to Australia and, more recently, Japan under former President George W. Bush.

Before that, he was president of the Texas Rangers baseball team when Bush was a part owner of the franchise.

Now, figuring out what to do next, Schieffer has been calling friends and associates, weighing a possible race for the Democratic nomination for governor next year.

Yes, Democratic nomination. Before hooking up with Bush, Schieffer, brother of CBS newsman Bob Schieffer, was a Democratic state representative from Fort Worth in the 1970s.

He has been away from Texas politics (and the country) for years and, thanks to his Bush connections, likely would encounter a cool, even hostile, reception from many Democratic voters.

But Democrats aren’t overwhelmed with potential gubernatorial candidates. With Houston Mayor Bill White and former state Comptroller John Sharp planning to run for the U.S. Senate, it takes some imagination to come up with much of a list, since all statewide offices are held by Republicans.

Which means that Kinky is currently the front-runner:

Humorist and author Kinky Friedman may run for Texas governor again, but if he does, he says he’s serious this time.

First, he’d run with the help of a major party — the Democrats — instead of launching an independent campaign like he did in 2006.

Friedman told the Associated Press on Tuesday he learned some hard lessons from his fourth-place defeat to Republican Rick Perry in a race with three political veterans. He said he found out he couldn’t win as an independent and that he shouldn’t crack so many jokes.

“I’m toning down the one-liners a bit. If I run, it’s going to be a serious run,” said Friedman, peppering the interview with one-liners.

Friedman noted that Democratic comedian Al Franken did well in his U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, though his victory is still being debated in court.

“So this can be done,” Friedman said.

This is just a target-rich environment, isn't it?

But I'm going to hold my fire until this early jockeying turns into something, ah, serious. Ted at jobsanger has more on Schieffer (and you may recall that he was a supporter of Kinky's in the last cycle).

Update: Ted has some thoughts on Kinky which respond to some recent criticism of Friedman and his candidacy as a Democrat from John, Vince, and Neil.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

GOP has "no weapons to match the cool sanity and reason"

... Despite a steady campaign of Republican misinformation about the bill, the President vowed to continue to try to work with them, in the hopes that he'll be able to make some progress in the long term:

There's been a lot of mistrust built up over the years, so it's not going to happen overnight.

Oh, wait a minute: he was talking about the Iranians there.

But there does seem to be a fair amount of stylistic similarity between Republican and Iranian intransigence. Both are trying to sell bluster that seems foolishly overstated and anachronistic now. The Republicans did have an argument: that portions originally included in the stimulus bill would institutionalize new, expanded federal responsibilities in areas like Medicaid, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and education. (I agree those things should be considered separately -- although, unlike the GOP, I think there's a need for additional federal support of both.) But that argument has been bloated into utter nonsense by Senators, including John McCain -- and the moderate caucus, for that matter -- who somehow believe that spending money on school construction and weatherizing of public buildings isn't stimulus. It is, of course: it creates jobs -- and, in the case of weatherization, saves money in the long run.

Perhaps Obama's best answer was a very long one, in which he discussed the Republican objections to the stimulus package in three specific areas. Here's a part of it:

Now, maybe philosophically you just don't think that the federal government should be involved in energy policy. I happen to disagree with that. I think that's the reason why we find ourselves importing more foreign oil now than we did back in the early '70s when OPEC first formed. And we can have a respectful debate about whether or not we should be involved in energy policymaking, but don't suggest that somehow that's wasteful spending. That's exactly what this country needs.

The same applies when it comes to information technologies in health care. We know that health care is crippling businesses and making us less competitive as well as breaking the banks of families all across America, and part of the reason is we've got the most inefficient health care system imaginable. We're still using paper -- we're still filing things in triplicate. Nurses can't read the prescriptions that doctors have written out. Why wouldn't we want to put that on an electronic medical record that will reduce error rates, reduce our long-term cost of health care, and create jobs right now?

Education -- yet another example. The suggestion is why should the federal government be involved in school construction. Well, I visited a school down in South Carolina that was built in the 1850s. Kids are still learning in that school, as best they can. When the railroad -- it's right next to a railroad, and when the train runs by, the whole building shakes and the teacher has to stop teaching for a while. The auditorium is completely broken down; they can't use it. So why wouldn't we want to build state-of-the-art schools with science labs that are teaching our kids the skills they need for the 21st century, that will enhance our economy and, by the way, right now will create jobs?

In the end, it is increasingly clear that the Republicans are peddling from an empty pack -- they offer the same anti-government bluster that has worked for the past 30 years, offer tax cuts as the only credible stimulus. Any government spending at all is defined as pork -- and all too often, the media have gone along with this because it's much easier to report the tirades than look at the substance of the bill ... The Republican path will likely fail on the stimulus bill -- and it will fail even more dramatically over time, for the same reason that John McCain failed so decisively against Barack Obama in the election: it is old, intellectually barren and irrelevant to the needs of the moment. There are other paths Republicans can take -- they involve using conservative means to achieve the government activism that the public clearly wants. It will be interesting how long it take for the G.O.P. to figure out those paths. Right now, though, they have no weapons to match the cool sanity and reason displayed last night by the President of the United States.

Obama's average answer length was seven minutes. As Paul Begala noted on CNN: ""Watching President Bush try to complete a sentence was like watching a drunk, fat guy crossing an icy street. You just knew he wasn't going to make it."

It's no wonder there's so much angry bluster coming from the Right these days.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Weekly Wrangle

Time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up.

TXsharon made another video this week and it's gross! Watch it on Bluedaze then answer this question and this question if you can and know that HELP IS ON THE WAY!

And speaking of Oil and Gas, WhosPlayin analyzed a contract his city of Lewisville made, leasing its mineral rights cheap to purposely bring in oil and gas development to the suburban Texas city of 92,000.

The Texas Cloverleaf brings you the Trinity Toll Road Boondoggle, soon to be funded by your tax dollars.

There are four US Attorneys in Texas. Off the Kuff takes a look at the people who want one of those jobs.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is concerned about the changing mental state in America. Are people becoming meaner? What do you think about our Mean Economy Spotlights Mean Spirits ?

Violence in Mexico and on the US border can't be ignored any longer. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants Hillary Clinton, not Glenn Beck, to provide solutions.

Adam at Three Wise Men explores the possibility of Howard Dean as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Neil at Texas Liberal writes about President Obama's policies for rural America. Our cities and rural areas have more in common than we realize. It would be good if urban and rural office holders in the Texas Legislature would think about and talk about how they could help each other.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the fireworks over UTIMCO this week in Oh, the outrage!.

Over at Texas Kaos, lightseeker asks How Long Will We Have to Put Up With these Arrogant Tools? What has set him off is deposed Czar Craddick's last corrupt act: destroying potential evidence of big a tool he is and was.

jobsanger tells us A Tale Of Two Coaches. Both are winning high school coaches, but one is a real teacher and the other is an embarrassment.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at the fact that state rep. Sid Miller (R-Stepehenville) is spending campaign cash to buy stocks in companies like AIG, Halliburton, and more.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Worth repeating

"Honey, you know the difference between the Taliban and Texas Republicans? One is opposed to science, equal rights for women, religious freedom, peaceful resolution of disagreements, and democracy. The other is the Taliban."

-- Susan "Kiss My Big Blue Butt" Bankston

I took neoconservatism seriously for a long time, because it offered an interesting critique of what's wrong with the Middle East, and seemed to have the only coherent strategic answer to the savagery of 9/11. I now realize that the answer - the permanent occupation of Iraq - was absurdly utopian and only made feasible by exploiting the psychic trauma of that dreadful day. The closer you examine it, the clearer it is that neoconservatism, in large part, is simply about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right. That's the conclusion I've been forced to these last few years. And to insist that America adopt exactly the same constant-war-as-survival that Israelis have been slowly forced into. Cheney saw America as Netanyahu sees Israel: a country built for permanent war and the "tough, mean, dirty, nasty business" of waging it (with a few war crimes to keep the enemy on their toes).

But America is not Israel. America might support Israel, might have a special relationship with Israel. But America is not Israel. And once that distinction is made, much of the neoconservative ideology collapses.

-- Andrew Sullivan


Bradley, a US military attorney for 20 years, will reveal that Mohamed, 31, is dying in his Guantánamo cell and that conditions inside the Cuban prison camp have deteriorated badly since Barack Obama took office. Fifty of its 260 detainees are on hunger strike and, say witnesses, are being strapped to chairs and force-fed, with those who resist being beaten. At least 20 are described as being so unhealthy they are on a "critical list", according to Bradley.

Mohamed, who is suffering dramatic weight loss after a month-long hunger strike, has told Bradley, 45, that he is "very scared" of being attacked by guards, after witnessing a savage beating for a detainee who refused to be strapped down and have a feeding tube forced into his mouth. It is the first account Bradley has personally received of a detainee being physically assaulted in Guantánamo.

Bradley recently met Mohamed in Camp Delta's sparse visiting room and was shaken by his account of the state of affairs inside the notorious prison.

She said: "At least 50 people are on hunger strike, with 20 on the critical list, according to Binyam. The JTF [the Joint Task Force running Guantánamo] are not commenting because they do not want the public to know what is going on.

-- The Guardian, advancing the story of British outrage over the development that UK armed service members have participated in the atrocities at Guantanamo

Sunday Funnies (Bi-partisanship Edition)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Polling finds Limbaugh less popular than Ayers or Wright

(Now why would they do a silly thing like 'read'?)

Didn't the Republicans who turned to Rush Limbaugh read the poll which found that he's one of the least popular political figures in the country?

An October 24, 2008, poll conducted by the Democratic research firm Greenberg-Quinlan-Rosner has Rush Limbaugh enjoying a public-approval rating of just 21 percent among likely voters, while 58 percent have "cold" feelings toward the right-wing radio-talk-show host. Limbaugh's cold rating was higher than that of all the political figures the firm polled. It was seven points higher than Rev. Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright and eight points higher than former Weather Underground domestic terrorist (sic) William Ayers. ...

Limbaugh is so unpopular that only 44 percent of Republican voters reported "warm" feelings toward him, ten points less than those who felt the same way about Limbaugh's top competitor, Fox News' Sean Hannity, and a full 20 points lower than Fox News itself. Yet in spite of rock-bottom favorable numbers, Limbaugh confidently declared one week after Obama's inauguration that his power far exceeded that of the Republican Party's top two leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives. Obama, Limbaugh roared, is "obviously more frightened of me than he is Mitch McConnell. He's more frightened of me, than he is of, say, John Boehner, which doesn't say much about our party."

Obama seems unfazed by El Rushbo. The president recently implored Republican leaders, "You can't listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."

Despite Limbaugh's low popularity ratings, congressional Republicans are so intimidated by his perceived influence that even the most resentful members shamelessly grovel at his feet. He might have alienated vast sectors of the Republican base, but Limbaugh still commands an army of self-proclaimed "Dittoheads" who represent the party's most politically fervent, ideologically extreme, and easily shepherded element. This is a faction that flood the party's elected representatives' offices with phone calls, and which they believe they cannot afford to offend.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday Postpourri

-- Somebody at the White House is paying attention to those of us who want Obama to start punching back.

-- Kristi Thibaut of HD-133 is a real pistol. As Greg also notes -- all three of us worked together on Borris Miles' successful HD-146 campaign in 2006 -- she leaves nothing on the table when she commits. I'm pleased to know such a fine representative. (The Texas Observer's "Floor Pass" is turning into a must-read, too.)

--Holy New Mexico Governor, Batman!

-- The nascent movement to call on President Obama to ask Howard Dean to direct Health and Human Services picks up steam.

-- The Ninth Circuit ruled yesterday that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

-- Best health wishes to Justice Ginsberg.

-- Leon Panetta, at his confirmation hearing, in response to the terrorist threats of Dick Cheney earlier this week:

"I was disappointed by those comments, because the implication is that somehow this country is more vulnerable to attack because the president of the United States wants to abide by the law and the Constitution. I think we’re a stronger nation when we abide by the law and the Constitution."

Some people can be just soooo much calmer in their reactions to arrogant ignorance than I. I admire that. He also promises the end of extraordinary rendition.

-- Alexandra Pelosi has prepared another documentary, this one of the spectacular fall from grace of Ted Haggard, but I'm pretty sure she makes no mention of this.

-- This photo of the Congressional Republicans announcing their opposition to the American economy reminds me of chickens in the barnyard, all looking in a different direction. What, can't you see their heads bobbing and neck wattles flapping? (And John Boehner needs to stay away from Light Bulb Beach.)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A good joke is all about the timing

"The Obama girls love living in the White House. One complaint, though. Sometimes, at midnight, when the moon is full, they can hear the squeaking hinges on Dick Cheney's coffin."
-- Letterman

"Limbaugh said he's not going to 'bend over and grab his ankles' just because Obama is black. Do you think there's any chance in hell Rush Limbaugh could ever bend over and grab his ankles?"
-- Leno

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Funnies that won't wait for Sunday

What Change looks like *with updates*

I just want to underscore a few of the points made here:

When the nation watched horrified while the Department of Homeland Security fumbled painfully in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Michael Chertoff blamed it on phantom headlines, George Bush assured Brownie he was 'doing a heckuva job,' and right-wing pundits eagerly acquitted the White House by trying to lay the whole mess at the feet of the victims and any Democrat within 1000 miles of Louisiana. When George Bush and his merry band of neoclowns stampeded a panicked nation into an ill-conceived war against Iraq and rolled snake-eyes on catching bin Laden it was all because of 'bad intel' and blown all out of proportion by biased, 'liberal reporters' feeding the progressive pathology of 'Bush Derangement Syndrome.'

On and on it went, like a runaway freight train. The economic meltdown was brought on by the unbridled greed of middle class wage earners who bought homes with their 650 FICO scores; politicization of the Justice Department was an artifact of an overzealous congressional witch hunt; Sarah Palin was a superbly qualified candidate unfairly slimed by savage bloggers. If excuses were assholes, the conservative beast would be studded with ugly sphincters oozing an endless stream of foul bullshit from head to toe.

I'd prefer a President who is flawless. But after eight years of conservative 'blame-gaming,' endless Republican evasion and stonewalling, and crazed wingnut finger pointing, I'll settle for one that can construct coherent sentences and tell the truth at the same time. I'll happily support a President with enough basic respect for We the People to look us in the eye and own up.

We'd almost forgotten what honesty looks like. It looks like change.

: I'm just not as big a man as Obama. I'd rather kick these morons in the balls until they start to understand the very simple truths more calmly explained in this post:

The Republican playbook is about standing in opposition, knowing full well that the Democratic Congress is going to pass a stimulus package. Their next step is to go home and sell to what's left of their constituencies the notion that if we had listened to them, things would be far rosier. As a minority, a control group is unlikely to emerge that can disprove false numbers based on false rhetoric. They can go back and campaign in two years whether or not Obama's plan creates anywhere close to the number he hopes and tell the world, and claim that their plan would have provided double the number.

A perfectly manipulative strategy which plays to the short-term memory of the American electorate.

The minority role in government should be about balancing the need of their constituencies with real ideas that create a stronger way of finding a solution. In the modern era of politics Rush Limbaugh style, it is all about spewing hate and misinformation in the guise of governing for the good of the people. The very people that the Obama plan will help most, are the very same people that are being preached to by the likes of Limbaugh and his puppets in Congress.

As far as I'm concerned, though ... fuck 'em.

Update II
: Go Fuck Yourself, Dick.

Update III:

What have we seen the last few weeks? Democrats caving to GOP demands and inserting useless tax cut provisions to appease them. Then they vote en masse against the stimulus in the House. Meanwhile, Obama hands yet another cabinet post to yet another Republican, this one a right-wing small-government ideologue who voted to eliminate the Commerce Department he will now head just a few short years ago. Then he gives a schizophrenic acceptance speech where he thanks New Hampshire's governor for caving to his demands for a GOP replacement for his seat, while at the same time arguing that it's time to get past "partisanship". Oh, then he punches Obama in the face by denying him a critical cloture vote on the Senate version of the stimulus bill.

So what the heck, HHS has an opening, and the media establishment is piling on with progressively crazier ideas, because what the heck, in this post-partisan environment, the party that won doesn't get the spoils. So Romney to HHS! Or maybe Gingrich!

During the Bush years, the best interests of our country took a back seat to the GOP's failed ideology. Right now, it looks like the best interests of our country are taking a back seat to the failed ideology of "bipartisanship".

I'm sharpening my boot tips, because somebody is going to have to do some asskicking ...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Hangover Wrangle

Did your team win? Did you overdo it at the party? Get back to work now (for those of us who still have a job to go to, that is). And if you get a break today, check out the best of last week's posts from the blogs of the Texas Progressive Alliance.

In her first ever YouTube video, TXsharon shows the emissions boiling into the air when a Barnett Shale gas well undergoes hydraulic fracture.

jobsanger examines the modern Republicans who call themselves conservatives, but have betrayed the beliefs and philosophical standards of past conservatives in Where Are The Real Conservatives?

Nat-Wu at Three Wise Men has something to say about the student loan mess that's making it impossible for many young adults to attend college these days.

The Texas Cloverleaf shows that pictures can tell a thousand words. And the pictures of ships at anchor in Singapore is telling the world we are screwed.

Burnt Orange Report discusses the over 22,000 voters being purged from the Hidalgo County voter rolls.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme explains how the Republican free market principles work in real life using contaminated peanut butter as exhibit A.

Redistricting isn't just a state issue. Houston is under pressure to redraw its city council lines. Off the Kuff takes a look at where this stands.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is amazed at the social progress creeping around the world. America elects a biracial president. Iceland appoints an lesbian prime minister. What's next? Yes We Can - Iceland Courageous.

Easter Lemming Liberal News writes his congressman while considering the Republican death spiral.

WhosPlayin announced 46,000 layoffs this past week -- just in the blogging industry.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson points out John Carter's latest shenanigans in Carter's political ploy, the "Rangel Rule".

Things can get pretty ugly between fans of competing sports franchises and we at McBlogger were not immune as Cap'n Kroc and Harry Balczak tear each other apart.

Over at Texas Kaos, Libby Shaw's keeping an eye on Senator Jackass of Texas as he tries to heighten his national profile at the expense of American families. in his latest hit, the buckskin fringed one votes against children having health care. Again.

The Republicans are having an identity crisis, and the election of Michael Steele as RNC chair is not likely to help them solve it. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs observes that Rush Limbaugh is still calling the shots, and they are all cheap.

Neil at Texas Liberal offers some thoughts on city elections in Houston.

John Coby at
Bay Area Houston publishes what Rick Perry really said at his campaign kickoff speech in the Capitol.