Monday, March 07, 2011

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for this Saturday's rally to save Texas schools in Austin as it brings you the weekly roundup.

Neil at Texas Liberal noted that Texas state representative Borris Miles of Houston called upon Texans to flood the state Capitol, just as we are seeing in Wisconsin. Miles made the strong point that it is up to each Texan to decide to fight back against the brutal and vindictive budget and social policy legislation now being considered by our legislature in Austin.

Letters From Texas closed the loop on how decisions that the Republicans in charge are making affect every aspect of your child's public school education, and it's even worse than you thought.

John at The Texas Cloverleaf is looking for your support to win a DFA-sponsored scholarship to Netroots Nation 2011, and shows how you can apply for your own chance.

Bay Area Houston says state representative Larry Taylor's TWIA is in TWOUBLE.

Off the Kuff notes that quite a few Republicans are now talking about using the Rainy Day Fund. Will they have the guts to go against Governor Perry? That remains to be seen.

This week on Left of College Station Teddy looks at the Center for Public Integrity’s investigation into sexual assault in Aggieland. LoCS also covers the week in headlines.

Is Dos Centavos making a full-time return? Stace teases us with a smack-down of the Texas Democrats that voted for the sonogram bill.

Eye on Williamson details what 30 years of GOP degradation of government has left us: Debt and privatization, is that the future of Texas?

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw points out that the Texas Taliban Impose More Government on Women . It is as bad as you think ...

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that the republican war on workers, women, Hispanics, children and the poor is going gangbusters.

The Koch brothers are poised to make another bundle if the Keystone XL pipeline is approved, writes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

WhosPlayin went after Congressman Michael Burgess, who is pushing a bill to sell war bonds to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, and whatever war is next. Problem: Burgess thinks bonds are free money, having told the Air Force Times that they don't add to the debt and you don't have to raise taxes to pay for them. The Republican War on Arithmetic continues...

Is free parking in downtown Austin a thing of the past? McBlogger has a rant before it comes to pass.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Michael Moore rallies Madison protestors: "America is not broke"

As the Capitol building reopened following two judges' orders to stop prohibiting public access to the building, another huge, sign- carrying crowd massed in downtown Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday, March 5.

Once again, there was a festive, playful mood. Protesters carried inflatable palm trees in the frigid weather and signs that read: "Fox News Will Lie About This" (a reference to video of union members screaming and shoving at a rally on Fox's "O'Reilly Factor," which O'Reilly claimed was from Wisconsin, but which clearly showed palm trees and sunshine in the background.)

Capitol Kids, a high-end toy store on the capitol square, was selling bright red t-shirts for kids, with the legend "Teach Me How to Protest," and the Wisconsin Solidarity sign: a blue fist in the shape of the state of Wisconsin ...

"For three weeks you've stood in the cold, slept on the floor, skipped out of town to Illinois. Whatever it took, you did it. And one thing is certain, Madison is only the beginning," Moore said.

He connected the protests in Wisconsin to the struggle against economic and political inequality nationally and around the world. The movement is "a little bit of Egypt and a little bit of Madison," he said.

Revving up the crowd, he talked about how a tiny minority of billionaires bought our political process, and torpedoed public spending on things that benefit most people like education, suppressed wages and benefits, and concentrated wealth in a few hands. "But that wasn't enough for them," he said. "Now they want your soul. . . . They want your dignity." Now they are arguing that working people can't even have a place at the table, Moore said. He described a pilot making $19,000 a year who can't even negotiate for a few more hours of sleep in his car at the O'Hare parking lot.

He begged reporters to write down a statistic: that 400 people in the United States now have more wealth than half of all Americans combined -- 155 million people.

"The few who have the most money don't want to pay their fair share of taxes," Moore said. Furthermore, "They are the very people who don't pay their taxes crashed our economic system."

"The nation is not broke, my friends," Moore said. "Wisconsin is not broke. There is plenty of money to go around."

That bears repeating.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

We're having our own little rally in Austin next weekend to Save Texas Schools. Want to join us?

Sunday Funnies

"So, to wrap up: rather than bring the highest marginal tax rate back to what it was in 1990s, we need to bring teachers' abilities to negotiate their own livelihood back to the 1890s." -- Jon Stewart

"Shocking footage from Madison, Wisconsin! They're not only busing in people from out of state, they're also busing in palm trees ... I say if Wisconsinites wanted [Bill] O'Reilly to use footage of their protest while he was talking about possible violence in Wisconsin, those peaceful Wisconsin protesters should've been violent." -- Stephen Colbert

"People from all fifty states and fourteen foreign countries have donated pizzas to the protesters in Wisconsin. Someone asked, 'How can we fix things in Wisconsin?' And someone else said, 'I know! More cheese!!!'" -- Conan O'Brien

"The latest rumor is that Moammar Gadhafi is calling other countries to find a place to live in exile. So far, Chile has offered to rent out an empty mine." -- Jay Leno

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Irony so rich it makes Bob Perry look like a pauper

Yes, it's Debbie Riddle again.

A proposed immigration law being cast in jest across the country as a way for Texans to rid the work force of illegal immigrants while protecting their low-paid nannies and gardeners drew serious concern Thursday from advocates who fear the bill could have a chilling effect across the state.

Rep. Debbie Riddle's House Bill 1202 calls for two years in jail and up to $10,000 fines for people who "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" hire unauthorized immigrants. Specifically exempted: Laborers relegated to "work to be performed exclusively or primarily at a single-family residence."

Hereafter known as the 'laundry loophole'.

Riddle is already nationally renowned for her idiocy. She made a fool of herself on Anderson Cooper's program last year when she was unable to defend her premise that Middle Eastern parents were flying to the US to give birth, thus creating citizens who would then be indoctrinated in terrorism, i.e. "terror babies" -- an illogical extension of the already-terrifying-to-conservatives 'anchor baby'. You may also recall she was previously known as "Pit-of-Hell" Riddle for saying this.

Debbie "Laundry Loophole" Riddle. Debbie "Terror Babies" Riddle. Debbie "Pit-of-Hell" Riddle. That's a lot of nicknames to have earned in a short time.

And these are just the things she says in public. Anyway ...

Riddle, a Tomball Republican, said she didn't expect some of the national reaction to the legislation.

"I'm not very politically correct most of the time. I'm not too good at it," she said. "What I'm trying to do is inject common sense into government. I'm finding out that's not too easy."

In an ideal world, Riddle said no one would hire illegal immigrants. But she said she included the exception because homeowners don't have access to E-verify, the federal Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

"The reason that we have, in my opinion, so many folks coming over here illegally is because businesses sort of put a big ol' bowl of candy in the middle of the room and say 'If you can get across the border and through the door then you've got plenty of candy, a job, entitlements, and if you bear children they'll be citizens,' " she said. "What we need to do is remove the big bowl of candy. It's unfair to the taxpayers of Texas to carry the burden."

No more candy for you, Ill Eagles. You've been freeloading far too long. How dare you try to escape grinding poverty and/or murder at the hands of the drug cartels for the chance to die in the desert, or in a crammed tractor trailer, in exchange for the privilege of earning ten dollars a day washing dishes or mowing yards?

Which points out that one of those jobs will be legal if Debbie gets her bill passed.

Doesn't she realize that all of the cooks and busboys are going to quit their jobs and hire on as day laborers and lawn maintenance workers and nannies? Who's going to make the enchiladas? Our favorite restaurants will all be closing because they won't be able to afford to pay minimum wage to the staff they will have to replace.

"House Bill 1202 has just really created an uproar in our community," said Laura Murillo, president of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Riddle "makes an exception for those that might clean her own house or take care of her children. If you can't read between those lines, I don't know what lines you can read between."

Murillo called the bill inhumane and other advocates suggested that it could have serious civil rights ramifications for people of all races and immigration statuses.

"It has an element of 'as long as you know your place,' " said Clarissa Martinez De Castro, director of immigration for the National Council of La Raza.

But remember, conservatives aren't taking this action out of hate-filled anger or even bigotry. They understand exactly what the noble representative is doing.

Staunch conservatives said they wish individuals had access to E-verify so that the exception for domestic workers wasn't needed.

"It's too bad she made that exception," said Paul Smith, vice president of the Tomball Tea Party. "But I'm for it. I think illegal aliens are doing a tremendous damage to our country."

See? Makes perfect sense to a Tea Bagger.

But there's the simple solution right there: make E-Verify available to the public. Everyone who hires a guy in front of Home Depot, or a lady to clean their house can quickly and easily check their citizenship beforehand. That's the ticket.

For that matter maybe we should just round up all the Ill Eagles and use them to build the wall at the Rio Grande. For nothing, of course. They've been compensated enough already, right?

Update: John Coby links to Rachel Maddow and Wayne Slater, and the TexTrib adds this:

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez said that if additional legislation proposed by Riddle and her colleagues to round up the undocumented in Texas passed, it would put between 4,000 to 20,000 additional inmates in her jail, carrying an additional cost of more than $1.2 million.

El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles, one of the most outspoken opponents of the myriad immigration-related bills this session, said Riddle’s bill could drain his coffers and max out the capacity of his jail. He said more of his jail's spots would be taken up by state inmates — meaning he'd have to forgo the more lucrative federal detainees that help keep his budget in the black.