Wednesday, June 30, 2010

“Guns” Gorman

If you are a habitual watcher of Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC program “Countdown,” as I am, then you didn’t miss his unveiling of Pamela “Guns” Gorman’s campaign advertisement last night. It was completely over the top – the advertisement I mean.

Now I am not going to give the whole thing the air time that it doesn’t deserve, I just want to isolate the one small bit of the ad that Olbermann also delightfully highlighted. You know, the part where Gorman is shown firing what looks like a fully automatic Thompson machine gun.

Now, you know where this comes from, don’t you? It comes from a fairly gratuitous website that I don’t usually find myself visiting except that I know such sites exist and this particular fantasy is what Gorman’s ad is obviously evoking.

John Boehner: Friend of Democrats

Did congressional leader John Boehner just hand over the midterm elections to Democrats? He did if the words he uttered to a Pittsburgh newspaper reporter yesterday get widespread play across the country.

I mean, really. Three guesses. Which age group is the group of people, Republican or Democrat it makes no difference, that is most likely to show up at the polling booth in the fall?

Old people.

People who are retired or about to retire.

People who are going to take these words that John Boehner uttered in all seriousness with not just a little alarm. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

“Ensuring there's enough money to pay for the war will require reforming the country's entitlement system, Boehner said. He'd favor increasing the Social Security retirement age to 70 for people who have at least 20 years until retirement, tying cost-of-living increases to the consumer price index rather than wage inflation and limiting payments to those who need them.”
“‘We need to look at the American people and explain to them that we're broke,’ Boehner said. ‘If you have substantial non-Social Security income while you're retired, why are we paying you at a time when we're broke? We just need to be honest with people.”
Limiting payments to those who need them? Moving the retirement age to 70? All so we can pay for endless war?

And this is a good idea? This is what John Boehner will advocate when he gets his 39 congressional seats this fall and sits in the Speaker’s chair in Congress next year?

This, in the end, is all that Democrats are going to need this year. All we need is a few candid words of truth from Republicans on what they will do when they retake congress.

The Trib-Review’s video showing how surprisingly willing Boehner is to hit the third rail by his very real threat to postpone and even eliminate social security payments is below.

Truth is truth
To the end of reckoning

- William Shakespeare

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Texas Democratic Party Platform is Published

Amazing. When the TDP Platform committee made its presentation last Saturday, and Chairman Boyd Richie characterized it as a platform to be proud of and not one to run from, they said that it would be made available for public viewing by Tuesday.

And now that it is Tuesday, I decided to go and check the TDP website. And by golly there it is, the 2010 Texas Democratic Party Platform. You can download the entire PDF file from here.

Where it gets really instructive is to compare the TDP’s 2010 platform to the Republican Party of Texas’ platform. Boyd Richie is right. If I were a Republican I would have a hard time defending that document.

A document that virtually drips of fear, hatred and intolerance.

Case in point. Here is what Democrats have to say on how our Constitution should be used:

“We believe our Constitution is intended to protect our freedoms. Republicans seek ways to ignore or deny those protections. Democrats believe our Constitution is intended to prohibit discrimination in all forms. Republicans wish to make it a tool of discrimination.”
Republicans, on the other hand want to use the US Constitution to ban sodomy.

“Texas Sodomy Statutes – We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.”
Sodomy. They put the word “sodomy” in their party platform. My guess is that this affords Republicans a reason to say the word, write the word, and engage in envisioning the act that the word entails. Sexual titillation, in other words.

Oh, and then there is religion. Republicans love to wear their religion on their sleeves. Democrats love to celebrate diversity.

From the TDP Platform on religion:

“Texas Democrats believe government should scrupulously honor every Texan's right to religious freedom, as guaranteed by the Texas and U.S. Constitutions and protected by the separation of church and state.”

“Safeguarding Our Religious Liberties – We affirm that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength. We pledge our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state.”
And near and dear to my heart, how do we compare Democrats and Republicans with regard to educational practices and policies. The differences couldn’t be more stark:

“Texas Democrats believe all children should be able to attend a safe, secure school and have access to an exemplary educational program that values and encourages critical thinking and creativity, not the “drill and kill” teach-to-the-test policy Republicans have forced on students and teachers. To fulfill this commitment, Texas Democrats continue leading the fight to improve student achievement, lower dropout rates, and attract and retain well-qualified teachers.”
Republicans, on the other hand are perfectly willing to “drill and kill” the 3 R’s and continue the insanity of administering high stakes multiple choice tests

“Basic Standards – We favor improvements on the quality of education and a return to the traditional basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic with sufficient discipline to ensure learning. We support standardized testing to ensure minimal standards are met.”
Did you get that?

Not “minimum standards.” Minimum standards are the standards that something must meet, in order for some desired outcome to be certified.

“Minimal standards” has a whole different connotation. Minimal means “only barely adequate.”

But then again, with that rightwing Republican domination we all have seen on the state school board, and the board’s recent revamp of curriculum guidelines in English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies, maybe that wasn’t a misapplication of the word.

Maybe they mean it.

Judge Rules Against Grade Inflation

I read about it first at the Dallas Morning News. Yesterday, Judge Gisela Triana-Doyal of the 200th Judicial District Civil Court ruled in a lawsuit brought against TEA Commissioner Robert Scott by eleven Texas school districts that districts may not require their teachers to issue grades that are higher than a student actually earned.

I have two previous postings on this matter. The reason the school districts gave for flouting what became state law last year was that the provisions in the law were vague and that they applied to individual grades on class assignments but not to actual progress reports or semester reports.

This despite the fact that Commissioner Scott issued a directive to all school districts in the state that clarified the issue, and that State Rep Jane Nelson (R – Flower Mound) clearly indicated the intent of her bill, SB 2033 that became law in unanimous passage last year, was to address grade inflation on report cards.

And apparently the judge had an easier time reading the law than the school boards. From DMN:

“But the judge dismissed their arguments, saying the legislation was ‘not ambiguous’ and reflected the Legislature's intent to protect teachers from having to give grades that weren't earned.”

Significantly, the Houston Chronicle reports that the judge was not deciding the case on the merits of each sides' arguments, both of which, she said, had valid points. The decision was simply a judgment on the merits of the ambiguity in the language of the law as claimed by the school districts.

Asked to comment on the decision to allow teachers to accurately report on their students’ mastery of subject matter, State Senator Nelson seemed pleased:

“This ruling is a victory for Texas teachers, students and parents because now all grades – on class assignments and on report cards – will accurately reflect how well students have mastered their coursework. Knowing the truth about a student's progress is important information for helping all children succeed in school.”

Going forward, what comes next is still apparently up in the air. Richard Morris, the lawyer representing the eleven school districts was rather vague, himself, on possible actions. An appeal was a possibility, he offered. Otherwise the districts might be lobbying the legislature to reverse itself.

But quite frankly, I think Morris might have to look for other cases to occupy his time, otherwise known as “billable hours.” Mainly because in public school education, money is so tight right now that school districts are cutting staff and trimming bus routes. I doubt that taxpayers would take it very kindly if they learned that their school boards were engaged in cutting services but were still spending taxpayer dollars in order to guarantee their continued stranglehold over a teacher’s grade reporting decisions.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rick Perry Is In It for Himself

You might have heard the new mantra that has been unveiled by the Bill White For Texas campaign: Rick Perry is in it for himself.

I think this should play well in Texas, mainly because it explains so much when you see or hear about Governor Perry pulling another bone-headed act – one that doesn’t make much sense when you look at the facts.

You know, stuff like vetoing a bill to outlaw school busses running their engines in school parking lots for hours on end, or you know, like presiding over the largest state budget shortfall in living memory.

How can you explain these things, simple says Democratic candidate for Governor Bill White, Rick Perry is in it for himself.

If you want to understand Rick Perry, all you have to do is understand his colleague, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Palin couldn’t see how she was going to pull down the big bucks and still be governor of Alaska, so she quit and signed on to the gravy train of Tea Party USA. Rick Perry, however, being a career politician, sees no other way to pull down the big bucks than to stick with his present job for an unprecedented 3rd term.

Now understand, Rick Perry isn’t in public service because of the salary. At $150,000 per year, Perry is earning a tenth of what someone in the private sector pulls down for the equivalent executive job. No, it’s all that other stuff.

Other stuff like getting people to pay for your magazine subscriptions, international vacations and all of those campaign contributions. Like doling out taxpayer money from the Texas Enterprise Fund to corporations, only to have those corporations return the favor by making huge cash donations to Perry’s campaign.

Rick Perry has spent such a long time in Austin that he holds all of the cards, and knows how to use his office to rake it in. Bill White has his number though, and unleashed the new mantra that we are going to hear over and over again for the next 4 months.

Here is a video clip, about 5 minutes long, of Bill White explaining all of this to thousands of Texas Democratic Party convention delegates last Friday.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Texas Freedom Network Survey: Just Educate

So I mentioned here that I attended the Texas Freedom Network’s caucus at the TDP state convention. The event was well-attended.

On each seat was placed a pamphlet entitled “just educate.”

The title, as it turns out, was an instruction to the Texas State Board of Education to stop using that obscure branch of state government to promote the political views and religious beliefs of individual political hacks who sit on the state school board.

The purpose of the state school board, the TFN asserts, is not to “undermine science education, call evolution a lie and doubt the existence of global warming.” Their purpose, the TFN maintains, is that they “just educate.”

You can turn the pamphlet into a post card simply by filling out the information on one side and cut along the dotted line, stamp it, and send it back to the Texas Freedom Network.

Or, you can save yourself the postage and go here to fill out the same information and click the “Submit” button.

According to the TFN presentation, only 19% of Texans agree that the school board is on the right track in their bid to reshape and mold the minds of the next generations of Texans in their own images. The grand majority of Texans finds the whole process appalling and decry the fact that Texas has become a national, and some say worldwide, laughingstock because of the SBOE’s recent actions.

So there really isn’t any excuse, is there. Go now and register your opinion.

Peppers and Pigs

I scored a killer place to sit at the recent Texas Democratic Party state convention in Corpus Christi this past weekend. Somehow my senate district delegation wrangled a section on the convention floor. So I was actually close enough to see the speakers at the podium without having to look at the screen projections.

And I was able to make videos of some of the speakers almost unimpeded. I didn’t bring a tripod though so there is a tradeoff between camera steadiness and distance. My favorite convention moment you will see in the You Tube video below. I shot lots of video but this one is definitely the fun one and the one everyone needs to see, so it has been uploaded first.

The speaker is Linda Chavez-Thompson. Chavez-Thompson, former executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, is running for Lieutenant Governor. She has a story worth repeating. She is the daughter of immigrants who had to drop out of high school to help her family in the cotton fields. At 23 she came to work for the Construction Laborer’s Local 1253 as a secretary and worked her way up the ladder to become the first “person of color” of either sex to become an AFL-CIO officer.

On Saturday, Linda Chavez-Thompson had some choice words to say about Texas’ governor, Rick Perry, and how he hopes to lure Hispanic voters to vote for Republicans.

In other words, how to convince Hispanic voters to vote against their own interests, all the time.

Here is a clip from her speech:

You know you have a really good punchline when you repeat it and you get a bigger laugh out of the audience the second time you say it than the first.

Texas Democratic Convention: Education and Two-Stepping

Yes I attended the recently completed Texas Democratic Party state convention in Corpus Christi this weekend. As a delegate, not as a blogger. So I was away from my desktop PC since Thursday afternoon. A lot of people have their own takes on the convention, and I will be putting up some of my own takes, admittedly belated but there it is.

From this delegate’s point of view, the recently concluded Texas Democratic Party state convention was about two things: education and the Texas Two-Step.

And oh yes, electing a slate of Democrats in the fall.

Now it could just be me and my myopic point of view, or maybe it was simply my choice of caucuses to attend before and between convention sessions, but given the fact that there was not an unoccupied chair nor an empty space along the back and side walls of the meeting rooms, and that one meeting had to temporarily adjourn to find a bigger meeting room, I think I am not too far off base here.

Three very full caucuses just dealt with education and the State Board of Education. The SBOE was the target of two caucuses on two days. The largest and most well-attended was led by the Texas Freedom Network, chaired by its president Kathy Miller, and featured a clip from Jon Stewart’s public barbecue of the Texas SBOE on “The Daily Show” as well as short speeches by State Rep Mike Villarreal and freshman State Senator Wendy Davis. The TFN, being non-partisan did not advocate any political actions but their message was clear: with three challenges in SBOE races this fall, the solution would be to elect the Democratic candidates.

The message was made clearer in a caucus entitled “What Can You Do to Take Back Our State Board of Education?” A brief chronology of events was presented, essentially tying the establishment of the Christian Coalition back in the 80’s with a concerted, yet very obscure effort to replace SBOE members with evangelical conservatives. Then the clear message was to elect Michael Soto in the 3rd District, Rebecca Bell-Metereau in the 5th SBOE District, and Judy Jennings in the 10th District.

State Rep Villarreal along with State Senator Davis and other state lawmakers presided over another education caucus – a very well-attended one in which audience members were mainly practicing and retired educators – to gather “Big Ideas” to “build a bold new direction for education in Texas.”

The legislators shared their views of what their main concerns in education were, and then handed it to the audience to break in to groups to brainstorm “big ideas.” They reported their results in the remaining half hour.

Unfortunately there appeared to be nothing new among these “big ideas.” In these days when teaching jobs are as rare as hen’s teeth and step raises are being frozen at current levels, demanding (over and over again) that teachers receive giant increases in salaries to bring them in line with their necessary function in society is a bit of a pipe dream.

And then there was the Two-Step.

A caucus being held by promoters of reforming the uniquely Texas Primacaucus was just about nearly as well-attended as the education caucuses. In it I became reacquainted with the dark days following the Texas primary of 2008 when Hillary Clinton won a majority of primary votes, but Barack Obama’s well-honed campaign machine turned things around in the precinct conventions held later after the polls closed, and attended by a million voters statewide.

Obama, having narrowly lost the primary, ended up with a majority of delegates in Texas with 99 delegates to Clinton’s 94.

Setting off Texas Clinton Democrats like nothing else could, something that put the long-standing and uniquely Texas hybrid primary/caucus system squarely in the crosshairs.

“One man, one vote” was the mantra. Rewarding and promoting activism took a back seat, with defenders of the primacaucus treated soothingly by a group of condescending Hillarycrats.

I learned the strategy, change the process to a pure primary system in the Rules Committee meeting to be held on the following day, or file a minority report if they failed to stack the Rules Committee with enough of their number. Then bring the whole thing to the floor of the convention during presentation of the Rules Committee on the last day of the convention.

Indeed, the rule changed failed by a vote of 25 to 8 in the Rules Committee, so the minority report was filed.

When both majority and minority reports were presented to the convention delegates and two motions to adopt were voted on there was no clear majority in a voice vote, and a roll call vote was all but assured. In the roll call, a “Yea” vote would be a vote to adopt the minority report, and end the Primacaucus, and a “Nay” vote would be a vote to adopt the majority report, and retain the Primacaucus.

An hour of speeches, floor wrangling and counting ensued. An hour where I sat and stewed, knowing what the result would be. During that time the realization hit me that we were engaged in exquisite irony. The convention, you see, with a total of 7,532 delegates allocated over 31 senate districts, was nowhere near that well-attended. But votes were counted and tallied as if it was 100% attended. My one “Nay” vote translated actually to 1.8 votes, as were “Yea” votes similarly allocated. So when 1,930 votes were entered to change the rule to “one man one vote” I knew that it actually represented the actual votes of something around 730 air-breathing souls.

So yeah, a majority of 5,602 votes were cast to adopt the majority report, and a minority of 1,730 votes were cast to adopt the minority report.

What a concept.

Maybe now Hillary Democrats will officially move on and get over the fact that Obama two-stepped right around now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2008. Really, by virtue of the fact that Clinton accepted a very high-profile position in the Obama Administration, and is doing a really good job by the way, she seems to have gotten over her defeat in Texas.

Hillarycrats should now do likewise.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Smoking Gun: Perry Chief of Staff Funded Green Party Initiative

Lobbyist and former chief of staff to Governor Rick Perry, Mike Toomey, has been named by his former employee, Garrett Mize, as the guy who funded his signature-gathering campaign, funded to the tune of $2000 per month, to get the Green Party gubernatorial nominee on the ballot in November.

This is a separate action to the out-of-state operation that got Take Initiative America to gather 91,000 signatures to qualify the Green Party for the November ballot.

The action failed largely because Mize started to have misgivings about his task, a job funded by Republican interests. That is, the Karl Rovian “Sleaze factor” was exceeded.

This testimony is the smoking gun that allows the Texas Democratic Party to demonstrate the intent of Republicans. An intent to get a liberal third candidate on the ballot in order to split a Democratic vote.

Green Party voters are least likely to vote for Rick Perry.

In truth, I don’t see that Green Party voters would have a choice between Bill White and Rick Perry, but absent the choice for their own candidate, I do see how a Green could be persuaded to opt against the candidate whose politics are least like theirs.

This Republican plot is sleaze at its worst. Happily, funding of the project may just be illegal despite anything that Green Party officials try to do to negate that.

Green voters need to pay heed to that. How much can the Green Party claim that it travels on the high road when they accept base and disingenuous help from sleazy Republicans?

UPDATE: The story is here. Texas District Judge John Dietz has decided in favor of the Texas Democratic Party, that the Green Party accepted an illegal corporate donation in order to qualify its candidates on the November general election ballot, and issued an injunction to that effect. An appeal is expected. I would expect this to go all the way to the Republican-packed Supreme Court where it will surely be quashed.

UPDATE #2: I hate being correct.

Texas Democratic Party State Convention Starts Tomorrow

The long-awaited State Convention convenes tomorrow. Thousands of Democrats will converge on Corpus Christi, Texas to celebrate the beginning of the end of a Republican stranglehold on Texas state politics.

Bill White has evened it up in the Governor’s race with months yet to go before early voting begins in October. Months to chip away at Rick Perry’s rusty armor.

The State House, at near parity, threatens to flip to Democratic control as well.

All of this runs counter to the national trend, it seems, where all the news is turned toward Democratic losses in the mid-term election. That may be true, and an anti-Democratic sentiment may spill over into the local races but then again, maybe not.

It’s not necessarily an anti-Democratic sentiment being voiced by the talking heads, it is an anti-incumbent sentiment. Nationally, incumbents are mostly Democrats, in Texas, it is the opposite.

Republicans occupy 100% of all statewide offices. It seems reasonable then, that if there is an anti-incumbent sentiment in Texas, that could bode poorly for Republicans this fall.

But we’ll see, right? Tomorrow it all begins.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Angle: Not My Job But It Is Reid’s Job

I give up. I’m still trying to parse through Sharron Angle’s public statements about who is responsible for Nevada’s 14% unemployment rate. Apparently according to these video clips courtesy of the Reid campaign, it is not the job of a US Senator to bring businesses to the state. It is not the job of a US Senator, in short, to find jobs for Nevadans. As a matter of fact, a US Senator has no culpability in the loss of jobs in Nevada.

On the other hand, Senator Harry Reid is being skewered in Nevada over the state’s disproportionately high unemployment rate, a full 5 percent over the national average. Here is a statement about Reid’s record on unemployment in Nevada, courtesy of Sharron Angle’s spokesman Jerry Stacey:

"Reid’s response reflects just how out of touch Harry Reid is with the plight of Nevada families. It is now clearer than ever that the Obama/Reid agenda of increased government spending, oppressive regulation of business and the uncertain effect of Obamacare and a massive tax increase when the 2001 tax cuts expire in 2011 is only adding fuel to the fire. We need proposals to help, not hinder, businesses from hiring new workers and give them certainty on taxes and regulation.”
So I take it from this, then, that while Sharron Angle, as a US Senator would not be responsible for bringing jobs to Nevada, but Harry Reid, as current US Senator, is.

How scary is that?

Harry Reid must live a charmed life.

McChrystal Out

As you might have suspected, Stanley McChrystal’s leadership in the War in Afghanistan became untenable when the Rolling Stone story hit the internet. Republicans are keeping mum for now but you can be sure that they aren’t going to let this one slide.

The only thing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had to say of McChrystal’s resignation today was this:

“The important thing is to get the mission right and to win in Afghanistan.”
That is, what you saw here in McConnell’s comment was an opening move. An opening move because the endgame is so very apparent: there is no way to be victorious in Afghanistan and everyone knows it.

First, they keep moving the goalposts, don’t they?

When we first went in to Afghanistan we had two objectives: topple the regime that gave Al Qaeda material support and a haven, which we accomplished, and drive the Taliban and Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, which we accomplished.

In short, the Afghanistan War goals have been met. Why then are we still there?

Nation building.

The new goal is to end all insurgent operations in Afghanistan using the so-called COIN strategy developed by McChrystal and his staff, and put in place a stable government that has the support of the Afghans.

The first is a military problem, the second is not a military problem, but apparently we are using the military anyway. Indeed, Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s corrupt president, relied so much on McChrystal for any credibility at all in his own country that he gushed high praise on McChrystal even after the Rolling Stone article came out:
“The president [Karzai] strongly supports General McChrystal and his strategy in Afghanistan and believes he is the best commander the United States has sent to Afghanistan over the last nine years.”
If that isn’t reason enough to ask for McChrystal’s resignation, then nothing is.

So when we lose the war in Afghanistan, losing it because no one could win where the goalposts have been planted by the previous administration, be sure that Republicans will trace it back to McChrystal’s resignation today.

I see this with McChrystal clarity.

Oil-Soaked Federal Judge Lifts Deepwater Drilling Moratorium

Martin Feldman, the Louisiana federal district judge whose actions yesterday resulted in lifting President Obama’s deepwater drilling moratorium, is oil-soaked.

The man owns stock in Transocean, the offshore drilling company that owned Deepwater Horizon before it exploded and sank to the bottom of the Gulf taking with it 11 Transocean employees.

The man did own stock in Halliburton before he sold it in March.

But he also owns stock in Parker Drilling Company, Prospect Energy Corp., Atlas Energy Resources, LLC, and Hercules Offshore.

In short, this federal judge, a darling of the American Petroleum Institute, it is said, has a vested interest in seeing that deepwater drilling be restored and full speed ahead.

I don’t find it amazing that this federal judge, nominated to his current position in 1983 by Ronald Reagan, has a bias toward the oil industry. That is a given. What I do find amazing is the fact that this judge is so transparently biased because he has a personal vested interest in the case.

A case where any judge so heavily invested in the oil industry should have recused himself.

In his ruling, the judge wrote this:

“If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy handed and rather overbearing.”
So the judge conveniently missed the point, didn’t he? No one is saying that all drilling equipment is flawed. The point to the drilling moratorium was to halt drilling in a part of the ocean where there remain questions about what must deepwater drillers do in order to prevent another blow out from happening – because it has become obvious to anyone, anyone who doesn’t have a vested interest in oil and gas that is, that the oil and gas industry is utterly clueless in how to deal with this disaster.

Stanley the Tool

I have a lot of tools. Most of them have the proper name "Stanley" stamped on them. And now we hear that another Stanley, Stanley McChrystal by name, has a bone to pick with my President. The guy I voted for.

I don't recall voting for Stanley McChrystal. As a matter of fact I distinctly remember not voting for anyone named Stanley.

Stanley is not one of my favorite names. I think it extends from my reaction to Marlon Brando's rendition of a Stanley in "A Streecar Named Desire." I never liked that character, and have forever associated Stanley with that style of undershirt that has since been dubbed "wife beaters."

It fits.

Still and all, Stanley is a name we all know. I know the name Stanley from looking in my tool box. I have Stanley tools. Lots of them.

Stanley. What a tool.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

White and Perry All Tied Up

Public Policy Polling has just released results from a poll conducted from June 19th to June 21st of 500 Texans on the Texas governor’s race. The results show that Bill White and Rick Perry are all tied up at 43% each. The error in the survey is plus or minus 4.4%.

Complete results can be viewed here.

Significantly, while 40% of respondents said that they voted for Barack Obama in 2008, 43% said that they would vote for Bill White in 2010, and 37% of respondents identified themselves as Democrats.

It is also apparent that Texas voters not only don’t want Perry to seek the nomination for President in 2012, there is some disaffection with him as a result of their perception that Perry is using the gubernatorial campaign as a springboard to gaining the presidency.

And summer has just begun.

My guess is that as Bill White surges ahead in the polls Rick Perry will have no choice but to consent to a debate sometime this fall.

A move that will serve to seal Rick Perry’s fate.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pete Olson Continues to “Be Factually Inaccurate”

Pete Olson, my congressman, continues to be factually challenged.

June 17th, it seems was a kind of double witching for Olson, first being quoted from the House floor as denouncing Iranian President Khatami for trying to get a nuclear weapon, then in his own words in a local newspaper on “Obamacare”.

From the House floor:

“I mean, the—Mr. Khatami and Iran is scary. I mean, he‘s trying to get a nuclear weapon. He was here at our country a couple of weeks ago, at the United States, at the U.N., at the United Nations, sat down with George Stephanopoulos and literally—this is the leader of Iran, told him that the Osama bin Laden is here in Washington, D.C.”
Like, ya know? Khatami is scary, dude.

But in truth, Mohammad Khatami, a FORMER Iranian president who stepped down in 2005, was going to oppose the current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but stepped aside in favor of his friend Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Rule Number One: Get name right.

Oh, but then why let a few facts get in the way of a good narrative, right? Iran is scary and so is Khatami.

 Then on the same day, Olson’s blast at “Obamacare” appears in a local paper that often prints his diatribes unanswered. It is here.

Olson took up Medicare Advantage, a Republican poster child for all that is bad about healthcare reform it seems.

Medicare Advantage is a plan that funnels Medicare funds to private insurers, something that Republican lawmakers can get behind, especially those who want to privatize the whole Medicare program. Over the years, more and more medicare funds have been absorbed by private insurance providers. Olson, and all Republican supporters of the health insurance industry argue that “…to pay for the health care reform law, the law’s sponsors cut $575 billion in cuts to Medicare. The President’s own analysis indicates that up to 50 percent of seniors will lose their Medicare Advantage plans because of these cuts. Seniors will lose benefits and services starting as soon as next year…”

Factually inaccurate, again.

Medicare Advantage has been identified as a huge waste of taxpayer money. Republicans argue for elimination of waste in Medicare need look no further than Medicare Advantage.

Here is President Obama’s answer to Republican objections to ending Medicare Advantage found in this interview:

“These (Medicare Advantage providers) are essentially private HMOs who are getting, on average -- and this is not my estimate, this is Democrats and Republicans, experts have said -- they're getting, on average, about 14 percent more over payments, basically subsidies from taxpayers for a program that ordinary Medicare does just as good, if not better, at keeping people healthy.”

“Now, they package these things in ways that, in some cases, may make it more convenient for some consumers, but they're overcharging massively for it. There's no competitive bidding under the process.”

“And so what we've said is instead of spending $17 billion, $18 billion a year, $177 billion over 10 years on that, why wouldn’t we use that to close the donut hole so the people are actually getting better prescription drugs…”
So the choice for seniors who fear loss of Medicare Advantage is this: you choose, close the ‘doughnut hole’ or pay more for services that Medicare already provides.

Pete Olson is not responsible for the ‘doughnut hole.’ That was a brainchild of a CD-22 predecessor, former congressman and tango dancer Tom DeLay. But Olson chooses to invoke his party’s impossibly inaccurate shtick.
And why is that? Why promote such an impossible scenario? Does it have to do with the time-honored tradition of Republican politics that Facts Flee in the Face of Fear?

Is Ahmadinejad an Iranian President?

Summer Solstice Plus 6

At this writing we are very nearly 6 hours past summer solstice. In southeast Texas summer solstice occurred early this morning at 6:28 AM CDT.

What is summer solstice and why should we care?

Summer solstice is the longest day of the year. The sun will stay above the horizon for the longest total elapsed time, here in the northern hemisphere, than any other day of the year.

This is because Earth rotates on its axis at a 23.44 degree angle to the plane that contains the elliptical orbit that Earth takes around the Sun. So this morning, Earth, in its elliptical orbit around the Sun is nearing its furthest distance, or aphelion, from the Sun. But in being at this extreme, the Earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun to its fullest extent. Rays from the sun are incident on Earth’s northern hemisphere at the highest, that is, least oblique angle.

Earth receives the Sun’s rays with less filtering by the atmosphere in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere. It is therefore summer here in the northern half of Earth, and winter in the southern half.

Winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere are milder than those in the southern hemisphere but how much that has to do with Earth’s tilt is unknown because on Earth, most of the landmass occurs in the northern hemisphere and land, in general, is warmer than the oceans.

On Earth, the Sun will appear to set on the horizon as far to the north as it does set. From now, until December 21st, the sun will set continually further and further south.

Living in the northern hemisphere is a little different than living on the equator. I did that for about 5 years. On the equator, the sun sets at exactly the same time every day. It rises at the same time as well. And when the sun sets, darkness comes quickly. Here in the northern hemisphere, we have twilight. Twilight extends for a longer period of time as the days grow longer.

What does all of this have to do with politics, the BP oil spill or the War in Afghanistan?

Not a blasted thing as far as I can tell.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tony Hayward Gets His Life Back

Ancient Chinese Curse: May you receive what you ask for.

Tony Hayward has his life back now. He also has renewed anger from those in the Gulf who don’t have a yacht. From those who think that boats are for catching seafood with, and not for catching a gust of breeze.

Here is a video clip from the UK covering American anger at Hayward’s holiday watching his yacht race around the Isle of Wight this weekend.

OK, they say, cut the guy some slack. It’s Father’s Day, they say. [It is, the UK celebrates Father’s Day today]. The question then becomes this: This guy is somebody’s father?

Poor kid.

HISD Hiring Teachers With New “Tough” Standards

I live within shouting distance of Houston but have never even considered for a moment wanting to teach there let alone apply to teach there. Mainly because I am afraid that Houston ISD is more prone to acquiescing to the “flavor of the day” more than most.

Case in point: today’s article in The Chron about HISD’s new “tough” standards by which they hope to hire 1000+ new teachers for the 2010-2011 school year.

HISD typically has a 1000 teacher per year turnover. It’s the largest district in the state, you see, and so 1000 teachers, while that seems like an enormous number of teachers to have to replace every year, represents only a 7.8% turnover – albeit that this number is spread over the entire district.

But since they also fired 162 teachers from nine of their campuses, and 80 more left for their own reasons, the number is a little higher this year: over 1200.

But apparently there is a “scramble” to fill the vacancies this year because of new “tough standards.” They have raised the bar for teachers.

Raising the bar, for instance, by insisting that teachers submit videos of themselves teaching a lesson.

Raising the bar, for instance, by insisting that elementary and middle school teachers take and pass a 5th grade math test. According to their statistics, 30% of their applicants can’t pass a 5th grade math test.

Raising the bar, for instance, by insisting that applicants take a multiple choice questionnaire that rates a teacher's “core values.” The questionnaire is the brainchild of Martin Haberman a now-emeritus professor at the University of Minnesota, Milwaukee and is called the Haberman Star Teacher Questionnaire.

The Haberman questionnaire is purported to identify teachers who are most likely to stay in the teaching profession. That is, teachers who are least likely to run screaming out of the school building in mid-term.

These and other tests have helped HISD narrow a field of 5,000 applicants to 600.

Making up the difference is HISD’s participation in Teach For America, a program that recruits teachers who sign on to teach for 2 years in “some of America’s neediest schools.” It’s a pre-screening program, in other words, much like the Haberman questionnaire.

Except this program costs something like $20,000 per teacher in HISD’s case, where they have used the program to identify 50 math and science teachers. That’s right, a cool $1 million spent to find good math/science teachers.

Now I haven’t bothered to delve into results in the Teach For America program, although I’d like some stock in that company. But the Habermann questionnaire has already been questioned by the very school board that HISD consulted when considering its use, the Guilford County, NC School Board.

Its report can be found here, but here is the operative sentence lifted from the PDF document:

“Although simple means comparison showed group of stayed teachers has higher Habermanscore than group of left teachers, further study using multiple discriminant classification method did not show high Habermanscore significantly contribute to teacher retention.”

That is, using 5th grade math, yes the Haberman questionnaire shows a greater number of “stayed teachers.” But look any deeper and you see no trend at all.


Teachers know these questionnaires. I have taken them. The key to a perfect score on this and any of these kinds of questionnaires is to place each answer choice behind the following phrase:
“All students can learn if/because/when…”

If you can’t pass a Haberman questionnaire, or any of their ilk, you really and truly are clueless on what administration expects of you as a teacher.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

When It’s This Close, Don’t Get A Red Light Snapshot

Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving), State Rep in Texas HD 105, has had it fairly easy since first being elected to her State House seat in 2002. A product of redistricting that turned HD 105 from a 65% Democratic-safe district to a 75% Republican-safe district, augmented by the Tom DeLay TRMPAC/ARMPAC sweetheart deal that swept in a Republican majority in the State House in 2002, Harper-Brown has kept up her end of the deal by voting a strict conservative line.

Easy, that is up until the last election cycle when Harper-Brown eked out a victory over three time opponent Bob Romano by fractions of a percent (19,857 votes – 48.72% to 19,838 votes – 48.67%). Indeed, each and every election cycle the margin has rapidly approached parity. Look at the history:

2000: Tony Aguilar (R) 9,470 votes (36.35%)
          Dale Tillery (D) 16,576 votes (63.64%)

2002: Linda Harper Brown (R) 13,464 votes (75.84%)
          [No Democratic Opponent]

2004: Linda Harper-Brown (R) 21,599 votes (59.2%)
          Mike Moore (D) 14,884 votes (40.79%)

2006: Linda Harper-Brown (R) 11,881 votes (55.08%)
          Bob Romano (D) 8,865 votes (41.1%)

2008: Linda Harper-Brown (R) 19,857 votes (48.72%)
          Bob Romano (D) 19,838 votes (48.67%)

The trend is clear and HD 105 is ripe for a turnover to the Democratic Party candidate.

So when it’s this close, you don’t want any negative press on either side, do you?

Enter the Texas Values in Action Coalition, a Democratic political action group that has forwarded information about Harper-Brown’s possible ethics violations to state and federal authorities. Harper-Brown, who sits on the powerful Transportation Committee and who has touted the use of so-called “Red Light Cameras” by local municipalities apparently has the use of a 2010 Mercedes E550 sedan bought, paid for, and registered under the name of Durable Enterprises Equipment Ltd.

Durable Enterprises Equipment Ltd, and other companies owned by the same individual have received over $12.3 million in contracts from the Texas Dept. of Transportation in the past 3 years. Another company owned by the same individual, Paradigm Traffic Systems, Inc., produces parts for Red Light Camera systems.

The relationship is odious, but Harper-Brown’s spouse, who owns an accounting firm, claims that these are compensations for his work for those companies, and not for her work in the State House.

All of that aside. Whether this is legal or not, whether it is ethical or not, it certainly smells to high heaven. And in a year when Texans are becoming fed-up with sweetheart deals, and in a district where a mere 19 votes stood between victory and defeat in 2008, Harper-Brown should have known better.
Especially because this year, Harper-Brown will not be facing another man. This year Harper-Brown faces a very credible opponent in Loretta Haldenwang.

Between Haldenwang’s creds and the Mercedes Mess this is a perfect storm that will be fun to watch come November.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Republicans Abandon Perry, Rally to Bill White

What fun. As I predicted in early December, when Bill White announced his plans to drop his plans to run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s unvacated Senate seat, The Chron has a story today about how some known Republican “stalwarts” who backed Kay Bailey’s failed primary challenge to entrenched Gov. Rick Perry are now announcing their support for Bill White.

The ones, that is, that are not afraid of a Perry backlash should he succeed in November, an outcome that is looking less likely each day. There are others who are not letting their names be known that won’t come out for White publicly until it looks a little better for him.

These are the ones who search for efficacy. The ones who will be moved to run red lights when they see that others do it without any consequence or penalty.

As time goes by, and as Perry aligns himself more and more to the rightwing extremists of his party, this is an inevitability.

And oh yes, in case you don’t go over and read the article here is my favorite quote from one of Bill White’s new GOP supporters:

“‘I realized he (Perry) supports his campaign contributors and not the people of Texas,’ said Mitchell, who voted for Perry in his previous campaigns. ‘You know how he said that oil spill was an act of God? He would rather blame God than his campaign contributors.’”

Green Old Party Hires Republican Attorney

The Dallas Morning News carried a story yesterday afternoon that the Green Party, henceforth to be known as the Green Old Party for its unholy alliance with the Party of the Dark Side, has hired Andy Taylor (lately of Mayberry, NC?) to represent the Greens in a lawsuit filed by the Texas Democratic Party over a question of the legality of a $200,000 in-kind contribution from an out-of-state Republican operative.

ARMPAC and TRMPAC had puppies, it seems.

Anyway, Wayne Slater reports that Green Party Chair Christine Morshedi has hired Republican attorney Andy Taylor to head up their defense in the TDP suit.

Begging the question: Are there no Green Party lawyers? Or are Green Party lawyers making themselves scarce as the party that paints itself as the true party of goodness and right heads down a dark twisty path, taking a cue from the GOP that any opportunity to win is better than the right thing to do.

Wait it gets better. According to Slater:

“Taylor has a long history working for Republicans. He defended an effort by Tom DeLay to use corporate money to help elect GOP candidates beneficial to Republican redistricting. He has represented several Republican candidates in election cases and was a top aide to then-Attorney General John Cornyn .”

My guess is, is that if they were to poll the Green Party faithful they would find an overwhelming opposition to this unholy alliance. I, personally, would feel utterly slimed by this association.

But then I guess this might just be a measure of just how desperate the Green Party leadership is for some level of legitimacy in Texas. To which I would say why not wait until Texas elects one, just one liberal or left-leaning statewide candidate to office? Because right now, the Green Party’s chances at gaining legitimacy in this state is about as good as a snowball’s chance in Houston (in July).

Sky TV: Tony Hayward Given the Sack

Just a few minutes ago, Sky TV a UK-based satellite TV company reported that Tony Hayward, the new former head of BP America has been given the sack. In an exclusive interview with Sweden’s Carl-Henric “Small People” Svanberg, the worldwide BP CEO, Svanberg announced that Tony Hayward was being replaced by Bob Dudley.

“Mr Svanberg also told [Sky TV’s Jeff] Randall that comments by Mr Hayward have had detrimental effects as the company seeks to control the fallout from the disaster.”

“‘It is clear Tony has made remarks that have upset people,’ Mr Svanberg said.”

“Mr Svanberg admitted that the disaster is turning from an industrial accident into a much broader concern and he will now expand his own involvement.”
Svanberg “will expand his own involvement.” Well that should fix things.

Svanberg should be somewhat of an expert in making people upset, having done so himself in some rather insensitive remarks that he made in his statement that he made immediately following his visit with Barack Obama on Wednesday, calling the hard-working people whose livelihoods have been disrupted by his company’s malfeasance “small people.”

The only difference between Svanberg’s statements, and Hayward’s is basically accent. Americans are unused to Swedish accents, but perceive those with British accents to be talking down to us. Svanberg, however, overcame that distinction by his incredibly poor choice of words.

Knowing how these things play out in oil and gas, it is evident to me now that Hayward knew his fate long before entering the congressional hearing room yesterday, schooled himself in deflection, earning himself a unified American outrage that then allowed BP to behead BP America, sending Hayward home as the scapegoat. BP used the oldest trick in the books, in other words, the old bait and switch.

Because now we have Bob Dudley to kick around.


Dudley is a recently appointed director in BP Group for all of BP’s activities in America and Asia. So this is, what, a demotion? A trial by fire? Prior to that he was CEO of TNK-BP, the Russia-based operations of BP.

Dudley came up through the ranks through his employment at the former Amoco, a US-based company that was gobbled up by BP in the late 90’s.

That’s right. Bob Dudley is an American.

Solves the problem of the accents, doesn’t it?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tony “I Don’t Recall” Hayward Testifies Before Congress

It was politics writ large today in the House Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce as BP CEO Tony Hayward, PhD was set before a phalanx of congressmen who all had on barbecue aprons that said “Kiss Me I’m the Chef.”

It was a veritable barrage of when did you know and how did you know it type questions aimed, the congressmen thought, at the guy at the top who knows, or should know, everything that went on.

And make no mistake, if Tony Hayward didn’t know what went on that fateful April day on the Deepwater Horizon, and he most assuredly didn’t, he definitely does now.

Second hand.

But it was a fine barbecue with Tony Hayward turning on the spit and congressmen applying liberal amounts of tomato-based sauce.

How many ways can you say “I don’t recall?” Hayward said them all. That was interspersed with claims that he is not an expert in the area of engineering. Hayward is a Geologist with a PhD degree. He came up through the ranks in the R&D arm of BP. His area of expertise, from what I can gather is sedimentation from an ophiolite complex in Turkey. His unpublished PhD dissertation’s title is this:

“Tertiary ophiolite-related sedimentation in SW Turkey”

He also authored several related paper on coral reefs, alluvial fans and marine deposits of similar systems, all in Turkey.

If the congressmen have any technical questions on Miocene clastic sedimentation in Turkey, Tony Hayward is their man.

Which is, believe it or not, my main point here.

Tony Hayward is BP America’s CEO. He has a lot of second-hand knowledge of what went on that day, but he is not an engineer. He is not, nor ever will be qualified to answer any of the congressmen’s technical questions. What he is qualified to answer for, aside from the Turkish Miocene, is what corporate culture separates BP from the rest of industry that allows them to be the worst safety violator in the oil and gas industry.

In short, what corporate culture caused a green “Company Man” who was on his first tour on an offshore oil rig to scream down the necks of the drillers that “it’s my way or the highway” as he made the ultimately fatal decision to change out the well’s heavy mud system with sea water.

That’s the guy these congressmen need to talk to. The guy who was there. The guy who made the decision fatal to eleven drillers.

Unfortunately, when the congressmen asked him, he pled the 5th.

Joe “Chump Change” Barton Defends BP

When you cross the border into Texas, depending on where you land, you lose IQ points right off the bat. When I go to my home state of California, I just feel smarter, see clearer and hear pins drop. And when it’s time to go home I always ask myself this: why in the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks do I want to go back to Texas?

But I go back because I like to eat on occasion.

And it is where my unsellable house stands on a nearly worthless piece of land.

And when I get home I say to myself: It’s good to be home. So there it is, the proof is in the pudding – sure and certain evidence that I have lost some IQ points.

But Congressman Joe Barton (R-Big Oil) must live in an unique part of Texas, because when he leaves Texas for DC he takes his Texas IQ with him. Quoting Clueless Joe in this morning’s House Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce hearing on the massive BP oil disaster, as he defends BP against the deal that the Obama Administration cut yesterday with BP, on behalf of the “small people” of the Gulf Coast:

“I am ashamed of what happened at the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would consider a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown.”
That’s right, here is Texas’ own, Joe Barton, criticizing the President for cutting a deal with BP to expedite compensation for the losses of the “small people” (as BP’s CEO likes to refer to them) of the Gulf Coast. People who have lost family members, businesses, livelihoods and health will benefit from Obama’s “shakedown.”

But Barton objects.

And make no mistake, Joe Barton, who is dumber than a bag of hammers, didn’t even think that one up. Was not the first to associate the deal with a “shakedown” It took his Georgia colleague, Congressman Tom Price to think that one up:

From TPM:

“BP's reported willingness to go along with the White House's new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics.These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration's drive for greater power and control.”
He said that yesterday.

Barton must have decided that this was a talking point he could not avoid parroting, so he didn’t.

The thing is, and I have looked, Tom Price has no hands in the oil and gas cookie jar. His contributions listed on show nothing from the oil companies. Price was just being political.

Barton cannot say that, however. Depending on how you cut it, Barton’s number one campaign contributor is from the oil industry, to the tune of $1,148,380. So if anything, what we are seeing from Joe Barton’s remarks (as he was speaking “only for himself”) is what one can characterize as a bit of jealousy. Jealousy in that all Joe has been able to shake down the oil industry, over his career in congress, is a mere $1.14 million. In one day, in Barton’s view Obama has bested him by 4 orders of magnitude.

The difference is, Barton’s “chump change” goes toward getting Barton re-elected time and time again. Obama’s $20 billion goes toward concretely impacting on the lives of countless American citizens whose lives have been disrupted, or ended, by BP’s malfeasance.

I’ll take Obama’s shakedown any day over Barton’s.

Ron Paul is Gratified That . . . What?

I was startled, startled, upon reading the headlines at FortBendNow that Congressmen Ron “Dr. No” Paul was gratified at yesterday’s vote to remove federally mandated healthcare insurance for all Americans.

Claiming that this vote was “a positive sign for renewed and ongoing efforts to prevent America from moving closer to a government-run healthcare system,” I felt my heart skip a beat.


That can’t be true. Removing federally mandated healthcare insurance from the recently passed Healthcare For All legislation, now the law of the land, would remove what was left of any incentive for Americans to all pitch in and pull ourselves out from under the boot heels of the insurance industry.

What little there is left to us, that is.


Then I looked at the vote totals as shown on FortBendNow and eyebrows ascended.

Final vote: 230 Nay, 187 Yea.

How, I asked myself, do you vote to repeal an essential aspect of healthcare reform with Nay votes?

So I looked it up. FortBendNow failed to mention that the attempt to remove federally mandated healthcare insurance through income tax penalties failed. Failed.

What Dr. Paul was gratified about was that 21 Democrats voted Aye with Republicans. But FortBendNow sent a message out over the internet was that somehow the reverse actually occurred and Republican efforts succeeded.

Here is how FortBendNow reported it:

“Before it was removed, the language would have subjected people to stiff IRS penalties or not purchasing government-approved insurance.”
How untrue. How crass. What is this, news for local consumption à la Fox News?

For the record then, a vote to recommit and amend HR 5486, the Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act of 2010, where the federal mandate that all Americans shall purchase federally approved health insurance coverage or suffer penalties charged through income taxes is removed came to a vote yesterday and passed went down to defeat by a vote of 229 Democrats and 1 Republican voting Nay and 166 Republicans and 21 Democrats voting Aye.


Oh, who was the lone dissenting Republican who voted with the Party of Good and Holy Light?

Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District.

UPDATE: I say it here it comes out there.

FortBendNow has emended its false assertion that the motion to recommit passed. Here is what they now say:
"The vote to remove the mandate ultimately failed by 230-187 despite a significant number of Democrats crossing party lines to oppose the requirement."
21. The significant number is 21. About half the Blue Dog Caucus.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Libertarians Nominate Star Power Again

I have always wondered whether the Libertarians have noticed a trend that I have noticed in how their nominee for Governor of Texas does in the general election. And now I see that they have.

This past weekend the Libertarians nominated a woman named Kathie Glass to be their standard bearer to lead them to the Governor’s Mansion (whenever it gets renovated).

This is a name with star power.

Now what do I mean by that. Well OK just looking back through the last four gubernatorial elections you see the trend.

Libertarians who vote for a Libertarian candidate in the gubernatorial election in Texas number between 20 and 30 thousand. That is, when you run such people with plain-jane names as Keary Ehler, Les Turlington or James Werner.

1994: Keary Ehler received 28,320 votes (0.64%)
1998: Les Turlington received 20,711 votes (0.55%)
2006: James Werner received 26,749 votes (0.6%)

But in 2002 the Libertarians ran a guy named Jeff Daniel. Daniel garnered 66,720 votes (1.46%). Get it? They tripled their vote-getting power simply by nominating a guy whose name is one whole letter off from attention-getting Hollywood actor Jeff Daniels.

It’s an effect that we Democrats have unfortunately noticed whenever perennial candidate Gene Kelly ran for some office in Texas. Indeed, in 2006 the attention-grabbing star-powered guy named Gene Kelly, he of the singing, puddle-stomping “American in Paris” role, forced Barbara Ann Radnofsky into a campaign fund-consuming primary runoff election.

The “real” Gene Kelly died in 1996.

Alas we find voters like this in Texas. They are everywhere, it seems.

And coming out of last weekend’s Libertarian Party state convention in Austin we hear that they have named Kathie Glass as their gubernatorial nominee.

You know, Katherine Glass, the actress who played in the memorable role of Allison MacKenzie in the 70’s TV series "Return to Peyton Place."

Or if you don’t recall that, then what about the attention-getting that a name like that of Hollywood actress Sharon Gless could get?

Surely that association will poll over 1%, don't you thnk?

The Libertarian Party. I think they are on a roll.

Or is it role?