Saturday, February 27, 2010

Just go TF away, Kay

The woman is completely neurotic.

With four days to go before the gubernatorial primary, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison this morning bought herself as many as eight more months in the Senate. Speaking on WBAP's Mark Davis Show, she said she plans to resign from the Senate
"sometime this year before the November elections."

That's a rather significant amendment to her most recent public posture. In November, at a Republican gathering in Galveston, she said she would resign after the primary, win or lose. And she has repeated that privately to GOP donors and supporters.

Technically, the term "after" can encompass two minutes, two months or two years. And it was always safe to assume the Galveston declaration left wiggle room in case of a runoff six weeks after the March 2 primary.

But there's no denying that the impression Hutchison left was that she would resign soon after the primary. Soon as in days or weeks, not seven or eight months.

Republicans are speculating openly that she will concede defeat to Governor MoFo next Wednesday even if she forces him into a run-off. That's laughable -- but tells you two things: the degree to which the Perry campaign and its supporters control the narrative, and how wishy-washy they ALSO believe she is.

This marks at least the fifth iteration of Hutchison's resignation plans. Last summer she said she would resign by the end of November. ("The actual leaving of the Senate will be sometime -- October, November -- that, in that time frame," she said, also on the Mark Davis Show.)

That turned into, by November she would announce her plans for when she would resign. Then came, she would stay in the Senate long enough to fight Democratic health care reform and cap-and-trade legislation and then resign. And then the declaration in Galveston in mid-November.

Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael "Stepin Fetchit" Williams has been lobbying so hard to get the appointment that he will positively have a stroke if she doesn't ultimately quit.

I still believe that Kay Bailey has been direct about one thing: her desire to leave Washington. After all these years she ranks among the most ineffectual senators in the entire body, and that was displayed again last week when she tried and failed to sway rookie Scott Brown on the jobs bill cloture vote. She then left town to continue her campaign to lose the primary to Perry, skipping the final vote on the jobs bill altogether. The governor has capitalized on the anti-Washington rabies rampant throughout his party and mercilessly satirized her in video. She spent 16 years building a reputation as the "most popular Texas politician" (do you remember how often that line has been repeated ... until very recently?) only to have it torn to pieces by the Perry attack machine.  She is likely demoralized and perhaps a little bitter over the developments of the past few months.

Considering she has repeatedly stated that one of her missions in  staying on was to "fight government-run healthcare", in the wake of another disastrous performance by Congressional Republicans and with the legislation moving ahead via reconciliation she could easily decide to cut-and-run as early as ... say ... next month, no matter what happens next Tuesday (but this probably depends on how quickly and successfully Senate Democrats get something done on healthcare reform ... no predictions there).

If she makes a run-off with Perry and does not concede it, does she resign from the Senate next week and go all-out for Austin? More spin-eculation suggests she's running low on funding. Irrespective of how much or how little money she has, she can't weather the criticism if she bolts now. She's not quitting until she knows her gubernatorial fate with certainty, and even then will wake up each morning with some different idea, as Todd Gillman at TrailBlazers noted in the first excerpt.

Kuffner has more, including the video of the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" I expressed my preference in the headline, and since Perry gets to pick her temp fill-in as well as the date of the special election to permanently replace her, the speculation can shift to how much she cooperates with the governor on "what's best for Texas" and the Republican Party going forward after March 2 ... or after her run-off defeat.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Early vote doubles in Harris County (and predicted outcomes)

With early voting coming to end this evening, more Houstonians are casting their ballots before next week's primary than in 2006, the last time Texans went to the polls to choose a governor.

According to daily early-voting updates compiled by Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman, a total of 55,960 had voted through midafternoon Thursday.

“It will easily double our turnout in early voting as of four years ago,” said Kevin Mauzy, chief deputy in the Harris County clerk's office. In 2006, the total number of early voters through Thursday afternoon was 33,362.

A total of 36,321 Republicans voted through Thursday. That number compares with 18,803 through the same period four years ago. On the Democratic side through Thursday, 23,914 voted early, compared with 6,454 in 2006.

My predictions for next Tuesday: Bill White gets the 60% Dr. Murray said he would; Governor AMF in a run-off with Kay Bailey; Hank Gilbert defeats Kinky Friedman in the race for commissioner of agriculture. Hector Uribe easily bests Bill Burton for commissioner of the general land office.

I can't predict the lieutenant governor contest between Linda Chavez-Thompson and Ronnie Earle, but Marc Katz might just get enough to force a run-off between them. Thompson has the surname advantage that usually sweeps a Democrat to victory in places like the Valley, but Earle's name recognition and perception of competence for the state's highest elected legislative job is formidable. I'll SWAG that Thompson finishes slightly ahead of Earle, run-off or no.

Sheila Jackson Lee comes in first against her two challengers in CD-18, but they hold her under 50% and she goes to a run-off with councilman Jarvis Johnson. Borris Miles edges Al Edwards in HD-146. And Sue Schechter just ahead of Ann Bennett for Harris County Clerk.  Here's a good story Chris Moran at the Chron did about the two women as well as the two Republicans running to replace Beverly Kaufman. Kevin Mauzy, quoted in the excerpt above, is one of them and is piling up his earned media, just as Kaufman promised.  Besides being the Chosen One, Mauzy seems competent and experienced and is running against an extreme party hack named Stan Stanart ...

Long a GOP activist, Stanart said he wants to give the public more confidence in the security and integrity of its elections. He suggested that not all voters are being asked for identification and that elections need protection from the activist group ACORN, which has been plagued by accusations of voter fraud. Stanart did not offer any instances of specific Harris County breaches, though. Stanart is also the former executive director of Citizens Lowering Our Unfair Taxes.

There's your TeaBagger, folks.  Do you think he can win next Tuesday?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rice Owls start 0-4

But my Lamar Cardinals are 4-0.
Eventually, Wayne Graham figures his team's pitching will sort itself out.

Through four games, including Wednesday's 13-7 loss to Lamar in Rice's home opener at Reckling Park, it's been the coach's primary cause for concern in this surprising 0-4 start. Specifically, he's fixated on the amount of walks his pitchers have issued. 

After another six Wednesday, the season total now stands at 25.

“We gave up (six) free passes,” Graham said. “Across the board, we didn't play well. But mostly, it was the pitchers.”
Seven Rice pitchers took the mound against the Cardinals (4-0), and righthanded starter Anthony Fazio never made it out of the first inning. He was knocked around for four runs — all earned — on three hits and two walks. The finishing blow was Pablo Salinas' three-run triple. His replacement, Mark Haynes, was better at the start. His three innings were inspired, but he surrendered three earned runs and four hits.

Abe Gonzalez managed five outs, serving up a three-run homer to Clayton Farhat. Doug Simmons got four outs, allowing an unearned run. Poor Tyler Spurlin – he faced two batters and walked them both before being yanked in favor of Holt McNair, the grandson of the Houston Texans' owner. The freshman faced three batters and induced a pair of outs.

I sat in the sun for yesterday's 4 p.m. first pitch but left shivering after four innings, when it was 9-3.

Lamar scored four runs in the first, fourth and seventh innings. Leadoff hitter Anthony Moore sparked the Cardinals with two extra-base hits and two runs in the first two innings. Clayton Farhat hit a 3-run home run in the fourth, and LU scored four runs with one hit in the seventh.

Starting pitcher Blake Ford lasted four innings and gave up three runs on five hits. Ford started a game against Rice last season and only lasted a third of an inning. 

By the way, Anthony Moore looks like a real player.

Lamar last beat Rice in 2003, when the Cardinals swept the two-game season series that season. Lamar advanced to the NCAA tournament that season, and Rice won the College World Series.

A little more on that.

Both Lamar and Rice have rich baseball traditions, having combined to play in 27 NCAA Tournaments and eight College World Series with all of those berths having been earned by the Owls. Rice has qualified for 15 NCAA Tournaments with the last one being in 2009, when the Owls reached the Super Regional level. The 2003 Rice team that lost both of its games against the Cardinals wound up going 5-1 in the College World Series to win the national championship. Lamar has qualified for 12 NCAA Regionals with the last being in in 2004. The Cardinals were eliminated 6-3 that season by the host Owls in the Houston Regional. Rice's last appearance in the CWS came in 2008 when they went 0-2.

Lamar and Rice play again March 30 at Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont. I think that's a Tuesday without looking at a calendar.  I don't think I can get over there then but I'm sure as hell going to try.

Talking about health care is over

Now it's time to cram it down their throats.

Obama listened politely for six hours, with occasional flashes of temper, but in the end, the message was clear: It’s over. We’re moving forward without Republicans. ...

That was the subtle but unmistakable message of Obama’s closing argument. After hours of hearing Republicans repeat again and again that only an incremental approach to reform is acceptable to them, Obama rejected that out of hand.

Here’s the key bit from Obama:
I’d like Republicans to do a little soul searching to find out if there are some things that you’d be willling to embrace that get to this core problem of 30 million people without health insurance, and dealing seriously with the pre-existing conditions issue. I don’t know frankly whether we can close that gap.
And if we can’t close that gap, then I suspect Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner are going to have a lot of arguments about procedures in Congress about moving forward.
Unless I’m misreading that, Obama is saying that unless Republicans support comprehensive reform as Obama and Dems have defined it — dealing with the problem of 30 million uninsured and, by extension, seriously tackling the preexisting condition problem — they will almost certainly move forward with reconciliation.

What’s more, Obama also essentially accused Republicans of approaching today’s summit in bad faith — after they had sat there with him for six hours. He said that even after the public option was taken off the table, Republicans continued to use the same “government takeover” slur.

“Even after the public option wasn’t available, we still hear the same rhetoric,” Obama said. “We have a concept of an exchange which previously has been an idea that was embraced by Republicans before I embraced it. Somehow, suddenly it became less of a good idea.”

I found the little bit that I watched of today's White House summit breathtaking at times, as Democrats spoke eloquently and from the heart about the state of healthcare in the greatest nation on Earth.

Louise Fletcher on domestic violence and female hormones as a pre-existing condition. Oh, and the quote of the day.

Dick Durbin destroying the Republican argument that medical malpractice and the associated tort reform will reduce insurance premiums (hint: that's bullshit). Durbin describing the woman whose face and throat were burned away because the oxygen she was given during anesthesia caught fire, and whose damages were capped at $250,000. Durbin challenging Republicans to drop their own government-run healthcare programs if they are so paranoid about "government-run healthcare".

Obama himself busting Wyoming Republican and Dr. John Barrasso, asking him if he would feel confident dropping his comprehensive healthcare coverage in favor of catastrophic care only. And when Barosso stepped in the trap, slamming it on his head: "Would you feel that way if you only made $40,000 a year?"

Henry Waxman and the "prudent shoppers" of California who saw their Anthem premiums go up 39%.

And all we heard from the the GOP was the same old shit.

Fine. Fuck 'em and feed 'em fish heads. And let's get the public option back in there while we're at it.

The curmudgeon caucus

Got some links out of an e-list to which I belong and it set me off early this morning ...

Mark Levin to Glenn Beck: "Stop acting like a clown"
Politico - Conservative radio host Mark Levin is criticizing Glenn Beck’s widely publicized CPAC speech this weekend attacking Republicans.

Beck trashed the GOP as being “addicted to spending” during the keynote speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee Saturday and has been a major advocate of the tea party movement, even suggesting the formation of third party of grassroots conservative activists.

But on his show Monday night, Levin called on Beck to “stop dividing us” and suggested he "stop acting like a clown."

The Politico excerpt above comes from here. (Don't miss the Richard Viguerie missive either.) A choice bit from it:

For over three decades, the conservative movement consisted of three legs: (1) limited government/fiscal restraint, (2) national defense, and (3) traditional-values conservatives. However, many of the conservative movement’s leaders became an appendage of the Republican Party. Not so with the Tea Party Movement, which puts principle above loyalty to politicians.

The Tea Party Movement developed independently from the conservative movement, but is a natural ally to the cause of small, limited, constitutional government. The Tea Party has started where the conservative movement once did, as outsiders to the political establishment.

The Tea Party Movement is now the fourth leg of the conservatives’ big table. It not only brings millions of new people to the political process, it also brings more energy, enthusiasm and excitement to politics than we’ve seen in the last 100 years.

I have been working and waiting 50 years for this populist, principled and constitutional groundswell against big government and the quasi-socialistic, crony capitalistic establishment institutions that have been abusing power and trust at the expense of hard-working Americans, their children and their grandchildren.

In just one year, the Tea Party has become the fastest-growing political movement perhaps in history. It is getting bigger by the day, and efforts by the political and media establishment to denigrate it merely fuel it. I expect more defeats in primaries this year than ever in history.

Most big-government incumbents would be well advised to follow Senators Bayh, Dodd and Dorgan and voluntarily retire, or the revitalized conservative movement led by Tea Partiers will enforce retirement this November.

I love Dick Vig. He's been conservo-kooky since waaay back in the day, with Bill Buckley and John Birch and John Calhoun.  But regarding his POV on Republican Party's attempts to co-opt the Tea P, I agree that they are doing so and I disagree that the "movement" is anything but another balky bunch of bigots.  All I see is more of this purity test bullshit splintering an already fractured bunch of lunatics who only vary in their lunacy by tincture*.

*tincture: a chemical solution that has alcohol as the solvent

You Kossacks perhaps noticed Jed Lewison's analysis of Fox trashing the Paulites -- the original t-bags -- and by extension the Tea Party itself because Dr. No won last weekend's CPAC straw poll.

A little historical review: less than ten years ago the corporate media studiously ignored Iraq invasion protests numbering in the millions, in dozens of countries across the world -- before any of us ever heard the words 'Blackwater' and 'Abu Ghraib' -- because THOSE people marching and carrying sings and yelling were dirty fucking hippies.  They LOVE, however, to run video of old, white, conservative Americans screaming, especially when they are screaming at politicians. Since last summer it's been must-show teevee.

But all these TeaBaggers are, and all they will ever be, is a bunch of retirees and a few of their grown children and grandchildren complaining far too loudly about the good old days long gone away. "I want my country back" was "those uppity n-----s ain't never gonna get to vote in OUR town" (substitute "go to OUR colleges/sit in the front of OUR busses/eat at OUR lunch counters") fifty years ago, and "The South shall rise again" and "Hell no I ain't fergettin'"150 years ago. The names and the issues change but it's the same old muttering.

Today's iteration just happens to be John McCain and Jack Cafferty and Ron Paul in a circle-grumble. The curmudgeon caucus. That younger, prettier faces like Sarah Palin and Rick Perry and Tim Pawlenty are all trying to leverage the outrage to their personal advantage is just a display of craven opportunistic pandering.

These people are angry, all right. They're bitching about the tide going out and grousing about the cold weather and arguing with each other about what time the sun will rise tomorrow. Sound and fury signifying nothing. All they really want is low taxes and their guns, to paraphrase Good Time Charlie Wilson. Well who doesn't?

When these chronic bitchers are finally carried screaming and kicking off to assisted living and some younger, less pale people -- of whatever party; Dem, Repub, indy, it doesn't really matter --  get elected, this sad chapter of American history can be mercifully closed. Until my generation's conservatives pick up the torch of their forefathers, anyway.

As part of our planning for the Senate district convention next month, I visited the hosting location yesterday, a high school in Katy -- the heart of John Culbersonland, mind you -- and the brown kids outnumbered the white kids about 4-1 by my admittedly "scientific" (in the conservative definition of the word) observation. I can't wait for those little fuckers to grow up and start voting, though. You know that even the Caucasian kids are appalled at what their parents do and say and who they vote for.

There's some that are indoctrinated and inculcated, certainly.  I read on my 15-year-old nephew's Facebook status earlier this week the ever-popular Al Gore pejorative: "Snowing in Houston? Must be global warming." *slaps forehead*

What really gets my goat, though, is when Democrats are intimidated by all this bluster and cowed into not running for office, even and especially when they are a sure thing. Exhibit A: Beau Biden.

 What a pussy.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Credit where it's due

To Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Kit Bond (!) and George Voinovich for breaking with their party and voting to advance the jobs bill.

Four Republicans joined Democrats in a key cloture vote moments ago, allowing debate on a jobs package to move forward. After overcoming this hurdle, debate on the bill can begin.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) broke with his party and voted with the Democrats. So did Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kit Bond (R-MO) and George Voinovich (R-OH).

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) was the only Democrat to break with his party.

The final vote tally was 62-30. 

Our two Texas morons Corndog and Kay Bailing-Out, naturally, voted against unemployed Americans. Only slightly less disgraceful than the execrable Nelson.

"I hope this is the beginning of a new day here in the Senate," (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid said.

The bill, which is much smaller than some original proposals, would exempt businesses from paying Social Security payroll taxes this year after hiring from the nation's pool of millions of unemployed. The Build-America Bonds Act of 2009 would be renewed by the jobs bill. The scaled-down bill would also extend some tax breaks for small businesses, renew highway programs through December, and put $20 billion in the highway trust fund.

Go to the link to see Scott Brown's statement and expression of hopeful bi-partisanship. Let's see if his colleagues denounce him for it. With the announcement that HCR will be presented shortly for a vote again, this is, dare I say it, a good sign.  A healthcare bill -- without a public option and with the odious Nelson abortion amendment in -- appears to be on the docket and subject to a majority vote (what's referred to as reconciliation, meaning of course that 51 votes is all it will take to pass it).

If that's all that can be done, then get on with it, ladies and gentlemen.

Update: Eight more Republican senators found their way over to the light.  Let's not accuse them of being against it before they were for it ...

But Kay Bailey skipped out on the vote.  I believe that''s called 'cutting-and-running'.

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you that early voting locations are open until 7 p.m. each day, until the conclusion of EV on Friday. Here are this week's blog highlights.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is amazed that anger is directed toward the Internal Revenue Service when Americans elect the very people who make the laws IRS enforces. Joe Stack targeted the wrong end of this chain. Taxpayers get end up owing money because they do not understand the laws their representatives make. Tax and Defiance: Short Sighted Protester Joe Stack.

In times of depleting incomes, Republican Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack brags about his $2.3 million tax-funded soap box derby track, at Bay Area Houston.

Two Steps Forward One Step Back for Tainted Texas Air at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

This week at Left of College Station, Teddy reflects on the next 40 days of protest that are taking place at Planned Parenthood and reviews a performance of the Vagina Monologues at Texas A&M. Also, a look at the poll numbers in the campaign to be the next governor of Texas, and a review of the week in headlines.

The Conservative Politicians Against Compromise convention picked an old-school nutjob as the presidential nominee in 2012, notes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know why Republicans hate education so much? Why make community colleges unaffordable?

In Lewisville, the school district has revoked consent for a community organization use their parking lots to gather signatures for a petition drive on the weekend, reports WhosPlayin'.

In what will come as a massive surprise, McBlogger endorses Hank Gilbert. Find out why here.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows that even without the severe decrease in sales tax receipts, Texas would still be facing a budget crisis: Understanding the budget and Texas' structural deficit.

Off the Kuff notes the humor of our Attorney General suing to protect the sanctity of divorce.

Libby Shaw at TexasKaos does the accountability analysis on the GOP stimulus hypocrites. See her scorecard here: TX U.S. House Members Join Senators in GOP Hall of Hypocritical Shame.

If Citizen Sarah had a nickel for every time she's put out a statement saying something along the lines of :Governor Perry is blowing hot air about climate change" she could probably buy something really fancy, like a Mexican Coke in a glass bottle. See Texas Vox for more details.

The Texas Cloverleaf reports from frigid New Jersey and wants everyone to know that the Garden State -- and others -- has not fallen into GOP hands.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ron Paul for President (LMAO)

The Conservative Politicians Against Change convention picked a throwback lunatic as their nominee in 2012.

Rep. Ron Paul won the most support for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination in an unofficial straw poll of conservative activists attending an annual conference.

A libertarian from Texas who has railed against spending and the Federal Reserve, Paul won the Saturday contest at the Conservative Political Action Conference with 31 percent backing. He has sought the presidential nomination in the past and attracted a following among a segment of voters frustrated with Washington.

Participants cheered as their favored candidates' names were announced. Some members of the audience cheered while others booed loudly when event organizers announced Paul as the winner.

Paul spoke at the conference along with potential presidential candidates former Gov. Mitt Romney, of Massachusetts, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty, of Minnesota. Romney won second with 22 percent, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin came in third with 7 percent and Pawlenty finished with 6 percent.

Fewer than a quarter of the 10,000 attendees participated in the balloting, an unscientific sampling that only offers bragging rights.

Dr. No would be the PERFECT candidate for the Party of No, n'est ce pas?

Personally, I think it was the coveted Bruno endorsement that put him over the top.

You really get the notion that none of Paul's staff has explained to him what "teabagging" means. And hey, that's a good thing.

“He’s missing a rudder or something,” Juanita opines. “He starts off sounding like a normal human person, but then he wanders off into very strange lonely places. He starts saying stuff like ‘no taxes, freedom, hate the IRS, it’s MY money, personal freedom, group freedom, pickle relish, your granny’s undies, trig function, War of 1812, soft socks…..’ and all the teabaggers in the room think to themselves, ‘he’s not nuts; he’s just deep and smarter than me’ because they are accustomed to being the dumbest person in the room.”

Sunday Funnies

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pitchers and catchers reported today

... in Kissimmee and elsewhere. WOO HOO

Hair Balls share eleven things to ponder regarding the Astros as they open spring training.

When I lived in Florida in 1992, I went to about a half a dozen different games -- St. Pete (then it was the Cardinals), Dunedin (Blue Jays), Clearwater (Phillies). When I moved back to Texas in '93 -- and my mother still owned her condo in Clearwater -- I went back a couple of times in March for a few days, catching the Yankees in Tampa and the Phillies in their then-brand-new Grapefruit League home. Also jumped over to Osceola County Stadium one afternoon and saw the 'Stros.

There is positively nothing finer than a spring training game in Florida during the first week of March. You can watch the seagulls circle lazily overhead while ballplayers jog in the outfield during the game (they don't do that in late March, when position battles and roster cuts get serious).  I haven't made it down in quite a few years but believe me, it's always on my mind. Go here if you want to see what's going on. Or here. Or here. Or here.

Who besides me wishes ...

... that Joseph Stack had been in therapy for the past month, and Tiger Woods had flown a light plane into a building?

-- More TeaBaggers conferencing this week in Washington. Last year that conclave produced hilarious video of an obese Rush Limbaugh bouncing up and down like a circus elephant. This year so far, only TelePrompter hypocrisy.

-- The History Channel will air a "documentary" on the Kennedy family that will allegedly focus on any variety of family peccadilloes. The producer, Joel Surnow ...

... smokes cigars with Rush Limbaugh, can "hardly think" of Ronald Reagan without "breaking into tears," and believed that "America [was] in its glory days" under President Bush.

-- "The Flintstones" is not a documentary, but far too many of our neighbors think it is ...

Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

-- Roger Ebert, the film critic who was the co-host of a popular movie review show some time ago, is finally reaching the end of the line in his long battle with oral cancer. He writes a moving essay about dying in this month's Esquire. Warning: clicking the link reveals an unsettling photo of Ebert's physical appearance as a result of his many surgeries.

-- Rick Perry, Greg Abbott, and Todd Staples rolled out their opposition to climate change this past week, and were greeted with the appropriate scorn and derision.

-- The BAE truck facility in Sealy finally did lose, after appealing the decision to the Pentagon, their federal contract this week. Thousands of Texas jobs will be lost as a result.

-- Doug Fieger, The Knack's lead singer, passed this week.  I played that album until the diamond needle cut all the way through to the other side of the record.  'My Sharona' was a huge song in the '80's at my fraternity parties.

-- Early voting continues in Texas this weekend. The turnout in Harris County has been massive.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shami campaign staffers resign

Farouk Shami's campaign has imploded in the past few days. First there was an internal e-mail sent to media (including me) revealing inner turmoil over who was responsible for communications, and now this ...

Several top campaign aides to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Farouk Shami resigned today, said Charlie Ray, who had been the campaign’s press secretary.

Five staff members stepped down, including Ray, campaign director Vince Leibowitz, and communications director Kelly Love Johnson, Ray said.

The resignations come a day after the campaign’s internal chaos spilled into public when a bizarre e-mail exchange was, apparently inadvertently, sent to reporters.

On Tuesday, Ray and Shami gave out conflicting information about the roles of aides David Diaz and Jessica Gutierrez, both of whom had been sending out press releases on behalf of the campaign. Ray said that neither were authorized to speak for the campaign, but Shami said late Tuesday night that both had permission to give such statements.

More from Vince Leibowitz ...

“Clearly, (Shami) will not accept political strategy from the people who are there to provide it,” Leibowitz said.

Leibowitz and Ray, you may recall, had earlier replaced Jason Stanford, who ran Chris Bell's 2006 gubernatorial campaign and is now working for Kinky Friedman.

Bill White ought to be able to cruise to a run-off-free win in the primary and look forward to taking on Rick Perry in November (whether or not the governor clears the primary without a run-off).

Update: More from TrailBlazers and Texas Politics, including this ...

"Too many cooks in the kitchen," Ray said today.

Ray said it made it too difficult to "manage the message" when the campaign staff and staff from Shami's hair care company were both doing messaging.

Leibowitz said there was a difference over whether the professional campaign staff was going to run the show or Shami's corporate staff.

"You can see who won," Leibowitz said.

Abbott: Divorce is only between a man and a woman

The hypocrisy is strong with this one.

Attorney General Greg Abbott is trying to halt the divorce of two women in Austin on grounds their Massachusetts marriage is not recognized in Texas.

A Travis County state district judge on Feb. 10 granted a divorce in court to Sabina Daly, 41, of San Antonio, and Angelique Naylor, 39, of Austin. Abbott's aides went to court the following day to block the divorce before the written decree was entered.

“A divorce is an ending or a termination of a valid legal marriage,” Abbott said Tuesday. “In this instance there was no valid legal marriage recognized by the state of Texas. Texas can't have a faulty precedent on the books that validates an illegal law.”

The United States Constitution says you're wrong, "General" Abbott.

Article IV, Section 1: "Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof."

There's also the common-law marriages that are recognized Texas courts, under § 2.401 of the Texas Family Code:

(A)n informal marriage can be established either by declaration (registering at the county courthouse without having a ceremony), or by meeting a 3-prong test showing evidence of (1) an agreement to be married; (2) cohabitation in Texas; and (3) representation to others that the parties are married. A 1995 update adds an evidentiary presumption that there was no marriage if no suit for proof of marriage is filed within two years of the date the parties separated and ceased living together.

But I'm no lawyer; surely this has been previously argued and a conservative judge has tossed it (you go do the FindLaw; I'm already tired of Googling this morning). Abbott has tried to to stop gay people from divorcing before and is still appealing the previous case...

It was not the first time Abbott's office has sought to halt a same-sex divorce. He intervened last October in a Dallas case when two men were granted a divorce.

Luther said in that case Abbott intervened before the divorce was decreed in open court. The judge in that case rejected Abbott's arguments and the state has appealed to try to overturn the divorce.

There are states where people can legally marry their first cousins -- such as Texas -- and there are states which do not, and those states still recognize those unions. "Moral objection" out the window.

But-but-but Article I, Sec. 32 of the Texas Constitution says marriage can only be between one man and one woman. And it was approved by 76% of Texas voters in 2005. (What that tells you, incidentally, is that a whole lot of Texas Democrats voted in favor of it.  Just so you know.)

That, as you may recall, was challenged recently by both Dallas civil court Judge Tena Callahan and the presumptive Democratic nominee for Texas Attorney General, Barbara Radnofsky. As I mentioned here, this matter of Texas voters codifying discrimination into the state constitution is ripe for legal challenge.

Just a cursory review of the case law exposes the attorney general of Texas as a rank hypocrite and willing tool of the social ultraconservatives.

Greg Abbott is nothing more than Pat Robertson with a law degree, and he only uses his legal education if he can con the Talibaptists and other Christianists in Texas into believing that he fights the Good Lord's battles here on Earth.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Early voting reminder (and two Nick Anderson toons)

Early voting in Texas for party primaries began this morning; check this list (.pdf) for an early voting location near you in Harris County. If you would like to see a sample ballot specific to you then go here, click on "find your election day poll and view voter specific ballot" at the top and enter the necessary personal data.

My recommendations for statewide office include ...

Governor: Alma Ludivina Aguado

Lt. Governor: Ronnie Earle or Linda Chavez-Thompson

Attorney General: Barbara Ann Radnofsky

Commissioner of the General Land Office: Hector Uribe

Agriculture commissioner: Hank Gilbert

Railroad commissioner: Jeff Weems

Justice, Texas Supreme Court: Jim Sharp (Place 3), Bill Moody (Place 5), Blake Bailey (Place 9)

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 6: Keith Hampton

Will provide more of these down the county ballot later

Update: Texas House representatives ...

HD-134: Ellen Cohen (my representative)

HD-146: Borris Miles (my former representative)

HD-133:  Kristi Thibaut

HD-47: Valinda Bolton 

Congress ... (contested races only)

CD-18: Sheila Jackson-Lee

CD-22: Doug Blatt

Harris County administration (contested only) ...

County Judge: Gordon Quan

County Clerk: Sue Smith Schechter

I followed the recommendations of a handful of organizations who represent my views and did the heavy lifting of candidate vetting of local judicial candidates. They included the Harris County Democrats, the AFL-CIO, and Democracy for Houston. Charles Kuffner has also interviewed candidates and collected endorsements on a Google spreadsheet.

Update: Stace Medellin at Dos Centavos has his endorsements and the H-Chron published their judicial candidates yesterday also.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Get-your-ashes-on-Wednesday Wrangle

It's also post-Valentine's and pre-Fat Tuesday.  Did they ever stop partying in N'awlins since the Super Bowl?

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes you all a happy Lunar New Year, and brings you the first Year of the Tiger blog roundup.

Update: Oh yeah ... Happy Presidents Day.

Justin at Asian American Action Fund Blog notes that Houston is the first locale President Obama named in his Lunar New Year Greeting. Could there be a political meaning behind it?

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme marvels at the jackassery presented to voters on the Republican ballot. No, we're not talking about the candidates. It's the propositions that disenfranchise voters, turn Texas into Colorado Springs or California, and humiliate pregnant women.

Fake Consultant, over at TexasKaos, gives us a tale from the health care frontier. He points out that even in the little things the present system is fundamentally broken. Check it out here.

From TXsharon: How the oil and gas industry bullies turned an ordinary, honest man into a modern day hero. Read it on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

WhosPlayin is watching candidates file for the 2010 Lewisville ISD School board election.

Contrary to what the Star-Telegram keeps repeating, the Texas Cloverleaf reminds everyone that there is a Democrat running in CD-26.

"Why I'm supporting Dr. Alma Aguado for Texas governor" is PDiddie's endorsement in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Read more at Brains and Eggs.

MeanRachel endorses Bill White and Linda Chavez-Thompson in the two top spots on the Democratic primary ticket.

Adam at Three Wise Men lays out the blog's endorsements for the 2010 Texas Democratic Primary.

Off the Kuff says there's a smart way to do budget cuts and a dumb way to do budget cuts, and we need to do it the smart way.

Neil at Texas Liberal endorsed Hank Gilbert in the Democratic Primary for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture. The post includes a picture of a Longhorn steer, a watermelon, and a channel catfish.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the coming Texas budget woes and that we can't make it balance on the backs of the poor again in his post entitled 2011 budget cannot be balanced like in 2003, not this time.

This week at McBlogger, Mojito takes a look at a Travis County JP race and finds the challenger lacking.

52% of Texans do NOT favor deportation (and other facts that anger conservatives)

"52%" is probably a higher percentage than what Governor 39% will receive in the GOP primary in two weeks, but math isn't the TeaBaggers' strong suit. (Of course neither is science or history or even spelling.)

More Texas voters think unauthorized immigrants should be allowed to stay in the United States — through either a path to citizenship or work visas — than favor deporting them, according to a new Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News poll.

The poll showed that 38 percent of respondents favoring deportation — drawing the most support of the three options offered. Twenty-nine percent favored a way for unauthorized immigrants to attain citizenship, while 23 percent supported work visas.

Keep in mind that this poll, like all others, is subject to the TP Rule.

Results show a strong partisan split, with 45 percent of Republicans and 28.4 percent of Democrats supporting deportation. Age and race also seemed to factor into participants' responses.

“The young seem to see this as kind of, ‘Yes, just let them have the path to citizenship,' ” Blum said. About 42 percent of those under 30 supported that option, compared to 27 percent of those over 30.

Blacks gave the most support to a pathway to citizenship — 39.6 percent compared to 32.1 percent of Latinos and 26.7 percent of whites.

“There have been times when people have thought that minorities would be in competition with each other or would not be supportive of each other,” Blum said. African Americans “were clearly supportive of that (path to citizenship). They were not looking to say, ‘Oh, wait, that's competition for us and send 'em back.' ... The groups that are in favor of deportation are whites and Republicans.”

No. Kidding.  I think he forgot to say "old".

Rice University political science professor Mark Jones said, the results seem a bit high on deportation. He said, however, there's more support for deportation in Texas than in the country as a whole. Nationally, he said, 67 percent generally support a path to citizenship, depending on how the question is posed and whether qualifiers are put on the idea, such as granting such status to those who don't have criminal records and who pay a fine. ...

“Why would Democrats not want to give 20 million illegal aliens amnesty with a pathway to citizenship? Because if they do ... they will create 20 million instant voters with a tendency to vote for Democrats, because they will continue to need health care and free education in the United States, and the Democrats are more than willing to give it to them,” said Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, who has pushed bills targeting unauthorized immigrants. ...

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, said, “From a Democratic standpoint, it behooves the Democratic Party to have Republicans like Leo Berman spew their hateful rhetoric. That's (creating) the next generation of Hispanics that will never vote Republican.” 

What can I possibly add to that?


Texas Republican voters will have a chance to give their opinions on such issues as voter identification and federal stimulus spending through five nonbinding resolutions that will appear on the GOP primary ballot.

The resolutions, which include perennial Republican priorities that have failed in the Legislature, were chosen by the State Republican Executive Committee and are designed to send a message to elected leaders in Austin and Washington, D.C.

“These ballot propositions are Texas Republicans' chance to be heard on issues facing our state,” said Republican Party of Texas chairwoman Cathie Adams. “Voters should study the questions and then use their vote to speak directly to their elected officials.” ...

The top resolution would encourage the Legislature to “make it a priority to protect the integrity of our election process by enacting legislation that requires voters to provide valid photo identification in order to cast a ballot in any and all elections” in Texas. ... The second proposition would require government bodies in Texas to limit annual budget increases to “the combined increase of population and inflation unless it first gets voter approval to exceed the allowed annual growth or in the case of an official emergency.” ...

• • Ballot Proposition No. 3: “In addition to aggressively eliminating irresponsible federal spending, Congress should empower American citizens to stimulate the economy by Congress cutting federal income taxes for all federal taxpayers, rather than spending hundreds of billions of dollars on so-called federal economic stimulus.”

• • Ballot Proposition No. 4: “The use of the word ‘God,' prayers and the Ten Commandments should be allowed at public gatherings and public educational institutions, as well as be permitted on government buildings and property.”

• • Ballot Proposition No. 5: “The Texas Legislature should enact legislation requiring a sonogram to be performed and shown to each mother about to undergo a medically unnecessary, elective abortion.”

Extremist rhetoric and unconstitutionality aside, these resolutions aren't even worth the used toilet paper they're printed on. They exist for the same reason that crayons and a coloring page are kept in restaurants: to pacify squalling TeaBaggers.

Update: Voter ID is, pathetically, the most important statewide issue in this TeaBagger's mind. Excerpt following is from the link to the HouChron; only click on the one embedded below if you have plenty of disinfectant close by.

Texas will face a mega billion-dollar budget shortfall next year.

Don't be surprised if schools sue the state again over education funding.

And traffic congestion gets worse by the day.

But the biggest issue facing Texas?

Voter ID, based on a flyer mailed to West Austin voters by Paul Workman, a candidate for the state House.

The entire mail piece focuses on Voter ID and reviews last year's fight that ended without any legislation passing.

"Paul will take our fight to our Capitol and help pass a strong, constitutional Voter ID law... in the last session of the Legislature, House liberals sustained a filibuster for five days just to ensure that Voter ID didn't come up for debate," the Republican candidate says in his mail piece.

Actually, the House does not have a filibuster rule. (ed. note: it is called "chubbing")

Left unsaid is that Democrat leaders were willing to compromise. They would have supported Voter ID if House Republicans went along with a provision that made early voting easier. Any qualified voter could show up - with ID - and register as they voted. The vote would count only if the voter was determined to be qualified. The same-day registration would have applied only for the early voting period.

It would have made voting both easier and more secure. Both sides won have won something. But Republicans balked, leaving Democrats to wonder if the true intent was to suppress voting by making it harder.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Late Sunday Funnies

Presented without editorial comment

Earlier this week, in Buffalo, NY, Kitty Lambert and her longtime partner Cheryl went to the appropriate government institution to obtain a marriage license. Gay marriage, of course, is not legal in that state, so Kitty and Cheryl were denied.

But Kitty wasn't done yet.
With news cameras rolling, Kitty then turned to the crowd and asked for any male who would be willing to get married to her. A gay man named Ed stepped forward and volunteered. They briefly exchanged information and presented the appropriate documents along with $40. City staff verified the information, and proceeded to give them a marriage license.
So you see, gay people can get married. They can even get married to other gay people. Just as long as they're the opposite gender. But gay people can't get married to the ones they love.

Will the children of Buffalo sleep any more soundly this evening now that this loving couple has been denied their rights?

Why I'm supporting Dr. Alma Aguado for Texas governor

Many of my Texas Progressive Alliance colleagues are behind the presumptive nominee, but I am not. I have previously stated my reasons for not supporting Bill White in the primary; if you need to be reminded why I am not, you can go here, here, and here. Ultimately it comes down to my clear understanding that Bill White simply doesn't steadfastly represent anything that I believe important, outside of defeating Rick Perry and cleaning up Houston's air a bit.

Ted also states some of the best reasons for voting for someone else in the Democratic primary. White just isn't representative of what we feel a Democratic candidate should be. He's much too close for my comfort to being a moderate Republican -- here, take the quiz and see for yourself.

I also took a long look at Farouk Shami, who pays for the ad at the top right corner here. While being a successful businessman and displaying what I initially considered a somewhat endearing personality, Shami has -- to put it mildly -- exhibited a remarkable, even amazing, lack of political acumen.

So my attention turned to the group of people that the Texas Tribune referred to as The Unmentionables. And what I found was a true progressive candidate. A San Antonio physician, single mother, and amateur artist who was born into abject poverty in Mexico, Dr. Alma Aguado understands the inexorable trends in Texas. She has a sharp focus on the neglect of the welfare of children, but the acute and critical nature of that neglect on Hispanic children. Here's a brief excerpt from her introduction (I've taken the liberty of fixing some of the troublesome syntax, for clarity's sake):

In the year 2000 under Republican administration, Medicaid and CHIP funds were redirected favoring the Texas Enterprise Fund. In the year 2005 Medicaid and CHIP funds were restored only to have funds diverted towards the $200 million Emerging Technology Fund. In 2009 we have a total of 1.5 million uninsured children in Texas.

The state's own Comptroller of Public Accounts points out that from the 1984-1985 state budget through 2000-2001, the state increased real public safety and corrections spending by 258 percent, but increased real public and higher education spending by only 82 and 39 percent respectively. In 2007, 28 percent of the (Texas) adult population has no high school diploma. Texas only spends $6.8 million for adult education, as opposed to Florida which spends $277 million. Due to budgeting decisions in the best interest of corporate welfare, we now have an uneducated unskilled workforce ... this is what I call "backward vision".

Go on, read for yourself. Read also her very comprehensive stance on the other issues beyond health care and education.

To paraphrase Michael J. Fox's character in The American President, people -- in this case Texas Democrats -- want a winner, and "they're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

Bill White looks like a winner to Texas Democrats because they are mighty thirsty these days. I do not discount the premise that White could very possibly win. But I believe that will occur only if White executes a flawless campaign strategy from March (or April, if he's in a run-off) to November and gets a little help from a circumstance or two outside of his control that knocks Rick Perry down a few notches.

I'll happily support Bill Caucasian Milquetoast White in the general election as the Democratic nominee for governor of Texas. But in the primary, it's about democratic and progressive principles. Dr. Alma Aguado has them.

Lots of Sunday Funnies

There'll be more later today, too ...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Borris Miles versus Al Edwards

My old Texas House district hasn't gone without its share of news, either. Isiah Carey of Houston's Fox 26 and his blog Insight, followed by Elise Hu at the Texas Trib ...

Would you take a drug test live on the radio? Former State Representative Borris Miles did. If you tuned into KCOH radio (Thursday) morning you would've been entertained. Miles took on the challenge put forward by current State Representative Al Edwards. He mad the challenge Wednesday on KCOH. This comes after Miles challenged Edwards for weeks to a debate on the issues in district 146. Around 9 am (Thursday) morning Miles brought in a private drug testing firm, gave a urine sample, and took his screening live on the radio. Miles says he didn't want to ever put the people of the district through what he calls this type of b.s. again. ...

Note: Miles eventually challenged Edwards to take an IQ test!


This whole drug test deal actually got started at a campaign event photographer Justin Dehn and I attended two weeks ago, at a soul food restaurant called Just Oxtails, in the district. Edwards was taking questions from his supporters, and one supporter wanted to know whether Miles is actually drug-free, given past press coverage of his partying. Edwards started challenging Miles to take a drug test within 72 hours. It's a lot more than 72 hours later, but it appears Miles submitted to the test in a most-public way. He's drug free.

These two fellows have entertained us for years. Earlier in this cycle I received e-mail on the day before his campaign kick-off that by all appearances was from Miles' campaign and cited numerous endorsements from elected officials and community leaders from both sides of the aisle.  That turned out to be a dirty trick.

Theatrics aside, there's only one choice in HD-146. Edwards remains a tool for the Republicans in the Texas House; Miles is the one of the strongest progressives I have ever met. I expect that -- with his recent marriage and the legal issues that troubled his brief term behind him -- Miles has conquered his personal demons.

Borris Miles should be returned to Austin and Edwards should be involuntarily retired, again.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Shami and white people, Medina and more truther gaffes

Let's just go to the videotape. Shami first.

WFAA's Brad Watson also posted this at the station's website.

And Medina, in an interview with Victoria's KAVU-TV.

Let's take Shami first.

Of all the bizarre -- I mean truly bizarre -- things he's been saying lately, a little overt racism isn't such a big surprise, now is it? He's telling a brutal truth but a vastly, politically incorrect one nevertheless. The fact that he also won't deny the MIHOP/LIHOP conspiracy theory is just icing on the cake.

Truth to tell, he was done before this interview. Slam the lid shut on this campaign. Maybe his people can find a way to keep him from talking to any other reporters between now and March 2.

The interview Medina did with Beck and the walking-back from those comments -- as well as her claims of a conspiracy among the two against her -- have gotten more attention than the conversation above. She actually said that asking questions about the 9/11 Commission report is as legitimate as asking questions about Obama's birth certificate.

Like Shami, if she keeps on talking she's going to make Sarah Palin start to sound reasonable.

Update: Is it true that Medina worked for the Mexican Mafia and sold so much ecstasy back in the day that she was the inspiration for Funky Cold Medina?

Hey, I'm just a patriot asking questions here.

Update II: Medina has taken to salting campaign staffers into her press conferences, posing as reporters. That's not exactly "non-politician" ...

Friday "Talk to the Hand" Funnies

TexTrib poll blows up in their face again

Remember what I said yesterday about polls? It's particularly true of the Texas Tribune's Republican half of their most recent gubernatorial poll -- released today but conducted before the Medina truther kerfuffle, which will surely alter the numbers severely.

So disregard that right away. Let's take a quick look at what they have on the Democratic side, however.

White 50
Shami 11
Everybody else 9

Among Democratic voters, 30 percent were undecided, and of those, 48 percent, when pressed, said they lean toward White. With White already at 50 percent, that means Shami would have to strip votes away from him in order to force a runoff or to claim a win.

That's now two three polls showing pretty much the same result, and both all were conducted in the week prior to their debate on February 7. So with the previous advice about polling value in mind, White may improve on his position. And if these are numbers are accurate I have to eat crow served by Dr. Murray.

Democratic primary voters have a couple of other statewide races to decide. In the contest for lieutenant governor — the winner will face Republican incumbent David Dewhurst in November — labor leader Linda Chavez-Thompson took 18 percent of those polled, former Travis County District Attorney Earle got 16 percent, and restaurateur Marc Katz had 3 percent. Five percent of voters said they wanted "somebody else," and a whopping 58 percent remain undecided on the eve of early voting, which begins on Tuesday.

Recall that the TCUL's numbers from February 3,4, and 6 were Earle 25, Chavez-Thompson 18, and Katz 5. Ms. Chavez-Thompson's is the only campaign with any visibility to me in this contest.

Friedman and Gilbert — two refugees from the governor's race now running for agriculture commissioner — are locked in a tight race, 32 percent to 27 percent. While Friedman's ahead, the difference is within the poll's margin of error. And, as with the Lite Guv race, “undecided” is actually leading, at 41 percent.

These two are going at each other hammer and tong. After the DMN disguised a slap at Gilbert with a lukewarm endorsement of Friedman, Gilbert shoved back with this:

Kinky told the El Paso Times Tuesday, among other nonsensical things, that Governor Perry could win re-election and "will probably be President".  This despite running four years ago in the governor's race as a spoiler and taking votes from the actual Democrat.

"We knew that Kinky's baggage would be used to damage the Democratic ticket by suppressing minority turnout," said Gilbert campaign consultant Mike Lavigne referring to questionable comments in the candidate's recent past.  "But we didn't expect him to dismiss the Democratic gubernatorial nominee before there even was one."

Kinky then countered with an endorsement of Bill White. Stay tuned for more headlines today from these two, and probably every day until Election Day.

Last interesting bit from the TexTrib's poll ...

How strong is the Tea Party movement, and who does it steal votes from? Asked the generic congressional question with that movement included as a third organized party, 21 percent said they would choose the Republican, 36 percent would choose the Democrat, and 16 percent would vote for the Tea Party candidate. More than a fourth — 27 percent — said they were undecided. So the Democratic numbers held, while Republicans lost 16 points to the Tea Party and the rest to undecided.

"The electorate is responding to whatever it is they're associating with the Tea Party — at the expense of the Republicans," Henson said. While that's not necessarily to the advantage of the Democrats, he said it will have an effect on the majority party: "The tea party is going on in the Republicans' house."

Take that with a grain of salt, and now toss it out.

Update: Katherine at Burnt Orange adds the results of the Research 2000 poll conducted by the Daily Kos, and rounds up all of the February polls in pretty side-by-side graphs. That view makes it seem likely that Governor MoFo doesn't clear a run-off -- but again, the Medina gaffe's effect is reflected in none of them.

So hit the reset button ... or the flush handle.

Of the kooks, by the kooks, and for the kooks

And she was doing so well, with everybody on that side thinking she was only a closet secessionist...

Anti-Washington activist Debra Medina was on the brink of knocking U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison out of a likely Republican gubernatorial runoff, but she may have spoiled her chances Thursday with her remarks on the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

A series of public opinion polls of likely Republican primary voters this past week had indicated that Hutchison was dangerously close to losing second place to Medina in the contest to oust incumbent Gov. Rick Perry.

Medina has benefited from a pair of solid debate appearances, and millions of dollars in attack television advertising by Hutchison and Perry has made her the none-of-the-above candidate for conservative voters.

But Medina may have stumbled Thursday when talk show host Glenn Beck asked whether she believed the government was involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Medina said people raising that question were slinging “mud” at her but went on to say:

“I don't have all of the evidence there, Glenn, so I don't, I'm not in a place, I have not been out publicly questioning that. I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard. There are some very good arguments, and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there so I have not taken a position on that.”

Where exactly is the line drawn on the Right between crazy and sane? Beck is a birther, and he's calling Medina crazy for being a truther?!?

These are people who think climate change isn't happening, that evolution isn't happening, that Barack Obama isn't a US citizen, that the Earth is only 6000 years old ...

Some on our side want to suggest that this a plot executed by the Perry campaign. I think that has the potential of being as big a conspiracy theory as MIHOP itself. The only real story here is that Medina pulled a Clayton Williams -- which is a big enough (and funny enough) story all by itself.

Really, all you need to do is just sit back and watch the lunatics set fire to each others' hair for the next few days.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Texas Right aflame with Medina "truther" insanity

Get your corn popped and watch the lunatics fall down and spin around. I'm serious; these people are ALL batshit crazy.

There are fifty blog posts and dozens of comments on the mainstream websites arguing about how much damage Debra Medina did to her campaign today.

In an interview with the certifiable Glenn Beck -- that would be the same Glenn Beck who calls Rick Perry a "progressive" -- she couldn't say with certainty whether the federal government was in some way responsible for the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

You could not dream up stuff this wacky if you were smoking rocks.

The normally breathless Eric Dondero at Libertarian Republican -- a near-daily source of laugh-out-loud amusement for yours truly -- is hyperventilating over the news. Go ahead, click on over. You won't get any slime on ya. Read also the HouChron's Texas Politics blog for the direct quotes and especially the comments.

Perry lovers are giddy with excitement. Medina's minions are outraged.

Todd Gillman at TrailBlazers sums up the moral of the story in "At last, something Perry and Hutchison can agree on".  And this comment there is pure comedy gold:

Hutchinson's campaign headqurters (sic) is probably delirious with joy. What an earthquake! This comment is even dumber than Clayton Williams' "rape" blunder. It cost him the election and this is even bigger than that. I was seriously considering voting for Medina. I'm not sure which one of us that exposes as the bigger idiot. Well, I'm not a big enough idiot to stay with her, now. Kay, I'm back in the fold.

Can I get you more popcorn while I'm in the kitchen?

Update: Rhymes with Hate rounds up more links (if you can stand any more) and slams the door on Medina's foot.

Bi-poll-er disorder

One says there were almost certainly be a run-off in the GOP primary and one does not ...

A new Texas Credit Union League poll in Texas finds Gov. Rick Perry (R) leading the Republican race for governor with 49%, followed by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) at 27% and Debra Medina at 19%.
 A new Public Policy Polling survey finds the Republican primary for Texas governor on a path to a runoff. Surprisingly, however, the runoff could be between Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Debra Medina (R), leaving Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) as the odd-woman out.

Perry currently leads with 39%, followed by Hutchison at 28% and Medina at 24%.
This is why pollng will drive you nuts. When you see blog entries -- or for that matter, Traditional Media reports -- along with the pundit class quoting the poll's results, just dismiss it (and them). Any poll you can come up with always has nearly immediate diminishing marginal return. In layman's terms, the instant-and-then-instantly-useless value of toilet paper freshly used.

Yes, it's very important to have for a brief moment, and then it's worth shit.

Having said that -- and noting particularly that both polls show Bill White being thisclose to avoiding a run-off --  I will skooch a little farther out on the limb I crawled a few weeks ago and say that if Rick Perry is as wily a political raccoon as I believe he is, he will start laying off the attacks on Kay Bailey. Because if he should find himself in a run-off with Debra Medina on March 3, he will lose.

The most interesting information in these polls IMHO are the TCUL's numbers associated with the Democratic lieutenant governor candidates -- Ronnie Earle, Linda Chavez-Thompson, and Marc Katz -- who show 25, 18, and 8 respectively. That leaves 49% undecided.

I'd say that's exactly right. Now throw that nasty thing down the toilet, would you?