Sunday, July 31, 2011

No Default? What a Surprise.

Coming as no surprise to anyone I know, the Republicans and Democrats who are still doing their jobs in DC by negotiating, and not obstinately digging their heels in on a policy of take no prisoners  have hashed out a deal that will prevent the national economy from a proverbial crash and burn come this August 2nd.
Teabaggers, obviously, had nothing to do with the deal, and they could still end up sabotaging the whole process if they can scare up the votes to block passage.
Obama got his wish not to have to rehash the whole thing before the 2012 elections, something that I imagine the Republicans will immediately set to work to reverse in the coming weeks and months. Offsetting this minor victory, Republicans nabbed yet another promise not to raise badly needed revenue, revenue badly needed to set the nation back in working order.
So given that the requisite votes can be assembled in both houses of Congress tomorrow, this whole affair should be old news come this time tomorrow.
Should be.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Perry’s Only Prayer

Today a Texas court will hold a hearing on Rick Perry’s participation in “The Response,” Rick Perry’s own attempt to organize a mass prayer rally and 7 hour fast, an exclusively Christian event sponsored by a well-known Christian hate group, the American Family Association. Briefs have been filed and the court is ready to hear the case.

Rick Perry has come under such a heavy barrage of fire over this unbridled showing of religious preference under color of law that, literally, his only hope of coming out of this mess unscathed is only if the plaintiff, The Freedom From Religion Foundation, is successful in barring him from participating in his event.

Heck, it even gives him points among the Evangelicals as yet another proof that Christians, who enjoy an 83% majority status in America, are being discriminated against by atheistic leftist extremists and the liberal news media.

If Perry loses, Perry wins.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Obama's Great Birthday Conspiracy EXPOSED

All the saints in Heaven, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and Muhammad preserve us, Louie Gohmert, R - East Wacko Texas, has come up with another conspiracy theory. It all revolves around the August 2nd deadline for Congress to raise the debt ceiling or let this country, whose full faith and credit has never in its history been questioned, fall into default on its loans. Gohmert now thinks that the date is a fake one, but not  an arbitrary one. In fact, he claims that August 2nd has been planned all along, just not as the default date.
Gohmert points to the fact that August 4th is Barack Obama’s own birthday. And on August 3rd he is throwing himself a birthday party with celebrities in attendance.
Gohmert added 2 and 2 and came up with his latest of a whole stream of wacky conspiracies: Obama is using the debt crisis, one that has been produced and directed by his own party courtesy of his wacky Teabagger followers, to raise campaign funds.
No, I’m serious.
From Gawker:

“‘[W]e find out the president has a big birthday bash scheduled for August the 3rd, celebrities flying in from all over,’ Gohmert told Newsmax TV yesterday. ‘And lo and behold, August 2nd is the deadline for getting something done so he can have this massive, the biggest fundraising dinner in history for a birthday celebration.’ That's right: This whole ‘idiot Republicans are taking the world economy to the brink of financial ruin’ ferrago is just a way for Obama to raise money... from celebrities. ‘Isn't that amazing?’ Gohmert wonders. ‘The timing of this?’”
This would actually be funny if it weren’t for the fact that Gohmert is dead serious, just as he was dead serious about the so-called “Anchor Babies” or the notion that the direct election of Senators was an anti-democratic liberal conspiracy.

But then come to think of it, what better way to show the nation through the entertainers and celebrities that they revere, how Republicans ruined, or more likely, nearly ruined the nation’s economy through their wacky economic notions.

Louie Gohmert is like a gift from Heaven. He is like Manna. Louie Gohmert personifies how crazy the Republican Party has become, because next to some of these people, Louie Gohmert is as sane and sober as a judge.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Destroying the Economy in Order to Save It

I like this Nick Anderson rendition of what the Teabaggers propose to do to my country. It harkens back to the Vietnam War when an American Major made the observation that it was necessary to destroy a Vietnamese village in order to save it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sugar Land Opts Out of High Density Housing

Now I have no dog in this hunt. I do not live in Sugar Land, nor do I ever want to. Richmond is redneck enough for me. But I couldn’t help but notice today that the plan to develop land in and around the old Imperial Sugar factory has undergone some significant changes of late.
Specifically, a notable sharp decrease in the number of high density “multi-family residences” (aka apartments).
The original plan called for 1600 units. The current plan is for 625.
Now we all know why high density housing was such a bugaboo in the city council elections. It was all about THOSE people. The people who live in apartments.
You know, THOSE people.
The ones who send their children to area schools and don’t pay close attention to their children’s academics. The ones who might not have new cars.
The ones who may or may not need food stamps to get through the month.
THOSE people.
Well it appears now that the people who will be occupying these fewer multi-family units will have to shell out between 1300 and 1800 dollars per month and have incomes somewhere in the$ 55,000 to $65,000 range.
That’s right, teachers need not apply.
Problem solved.
Stay White, Sugar Land.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Creationists Are at it Again in Texas

Texas’ State Board of Education has taken up the matter of Evolution vs. Creationism again today in a hearing to decide on supplemental materials for the state’s science curriculum. Barbara Cargill, the board’s religious evangelical ex-biology teacher who ascribes to a young Earth creationist creed will head up the discussion.
About the only positive thing you can say about Cargill is that she is an EX-biology teacher and is no longer infringing on the religious beliefs (or non-religion) of her students with her own interpretation of cosmology.
The Texas Freedom Network is there in their usual place live blogging the meeting. Their position has been clear from the beginning that any reference to the pseudoscience known as Creationism or Intelligent Design should be eschewed by the state, and not be made a part of the state’s curriculum. Robert Scott, the Education Commissioner has come out with a set of recommendations on which materials should be adopted, and the TFN has given that set its blessings. Now it is up to the SBOE to either accept those recommendations or to go out into the ether and try to ram through its own conservative agenda.
This seems less likely than in the past. Apparently  the successor to Cynthia Dunbar, Republican Marsha Farney, has proven to be a thorn in the sides of the evangelical bloc, and has reduced the former bloc of seven uberreligious votes to 6 (in Cargill’s own words, there are only 6 “true Christians” on the board now).
It should be interesting to watch. In the past, the boards foray into wackydom has been famously dealt with in other states with laws being passed to avoid any materials approved by Texas’ SBOE. Whether sanity has actually won the day in the state school board remains to be seen.
With this bunch, always expect the worse.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Splitting the Rightwing Looney Tunes Vote: Romney’s Only Hope

I read an interesting analysis of what could possibly happen in the event that Rick Perry finally give the nod and step into the Republican fray for Presidential nominee. The Chron blog, Texas on the Potomac had an interesting take.
’According to Jensen, ‘Bachmann’s rise has been fueled by her appeal to voters on the far right — and their skepticism about Romney.’” But the PPP polling found that either Perry or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could carve up large portions of Bachmann’s support, should they enter the 2012 race.” 
“‘A Palin candidacy would take a large bite out of Bachmann’s support with virtually no impact on Romney,’ said Jensen.”
Meaning, of course that the current field of candidates that have broad appeal among the Teabaggers, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry could conceivably split up the uber Rightwing of the Republican Party, leaving the rest to moderate Mitt Romney, whose position has been slowly eroded by Bachmann.
The Tea Party splits its vote, giving the moderates and Independents free hand to decide who the nominee will be.
Now this is not especially good news for me. I would dearly love it if the ultra right got its way in the nomination process. Moderates and Independents would have the bejesus scared out of them by an extremist candidate with poor recall over things like history and facts, as Perry, Palin and Bachmann have exhibited of late.
The Obama strategy must entail making their candidate look so similar to Mitt Romney that primary voters will opt out of voting for him. But if the ultra-conservative vote is split to such a high degree, just about the only thing we can hope for if Romney doesn’t get the nomination outright, is a hopelessly deadlocked Republican National Convention.
One can only hope.

God Taps Another Republican to Run for Prez

OK, so there goes the whole Holy Trinity idea I had awhile back when we took a head count and discovered that not one, and not two, but three Republicans had specifically been asked by the Big Guy in The Sky to run for President.
Last month we discovered that Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann had all three received a call from The Creator of the Universe in which He directed them, all three of them, to run for President of the United States. The theory went, at the time, that the ternary nature of God allows Him to do this. He gets to ask three Republicans, because, again God is a Republican.
And by extension He hates Mexicans and that rich people have to pay taxes.
But all of that speculation has been dumped into the dustbin of history. For the Lord God had now tapped a fourth Republican to run for the office. God has asked Rick Perry to run.
He did. Rick Perry said so.
Actually I truly believe it, too.
“I truly believe with all my heart that God has put me in this place at this time to do his will.”
I truly think that God has  spoken to each and every one of these four individuals because He has a plan, and that plan consists of giving President Barack Obama such a commanding lead when he is re-elected in 2012 that Americans will long remember the day of the grand Republican dismissal of 2012.
22% of Americans will definitely vote for one of these 4. That leaves the other 78% to decide by how much Mr. Obama will win.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Hampshire Teabaggers Have Perry’s Number

Texas Tea Partiers just love them some Rick Perry. They love his secession talk. They love it when he jogs packing heat. They love it when he just says NO to any new form of revenue that just might make his state solvent once again.
But New Hampshire Tea Partiers, you know, New Hampshire, the first primary state, have Rick Perry’s number and they are getting the word out on him.
Like how Rick Perry was once a Democrat (gasp) and was even Al Gore’s Texas campaign chair in 1988 (when he was a Democrat).
Like how Rick Perry supported the DREAM Act in 2001, giving the children of illegal aliens a fighting chance at a decent life – a position he solidly opposes now that he is a reactionary Republican.
Like how he supported the now defunct Trans Texas Corridor, a project which threatened the property rights of hundreds of Texas landowners across the state.
Like how he wanted to force thousands of eleven year old female children to be vaccinated for Human Papillomavirus or HPV – because his former Chief of Staff was a lobbyist for Merck, the maker of the HPV vaccine.
You know, stuff all we Texans know, or should know, or should have known when Perry soundly defeated a better man (better, but just not all that interesting), former Houston mayor Bill White.
And therein lies the difference between idiotic New Hampshire Teabaggers and idiotic Texas Teabaggers.
In New Hampshire, they still read.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Legislature Won’t Adequately Fund Public Education? Let’s Litigate!

The fly in the ointment, it seems, over our state government’s desire to end public education as we know it, in favor of privately run charter schools and private schools, is the fact that the state’s constitution won’t allow it. I’ve written about this elsewhere, but let’s just say that it is down in the constitution that the state legislature must adequately fund public education.

Not may, not might. Must.

So it comes as no surprise that another lawsuit is in the works. A lawsuit inspired by a woefully underfunded public education budget for both 2011-2012 and worse for 2012-2013.

Part of the problem is that many school districts cannot raise additional revenue as they are currently taxing at the maximum state-mandated limit of $1.17 per $100 assessed value. They depended on the state to stake them to their fair share, and the state reneged.

From The Chron:
“Humble ISD is one of about 220 school districts that have hit the maximum school operations tax rate of $1.17 (per $100 of property valuation) and cannot increase revenue.”

“The district's administrators have made cuts every year for most of the past decade and now face ‘even more devastating cuts,’ spokeswoman Karen Collier said: ‘Our backs are truly against the wall.’”
So when your back is against the wall, there is no other recourse than to litigate.
“’There's going to be litigation. The timing of it is really nothing more than putting together the case. We're still analyzing all the impact of the mess that they passed,’ veteran school finance lawyer Randall "Buck" Wood said.”
This isn’t a first, and it surely won’t be the last time there is litigation in Texas over adequate funding of public education. As long as there are forces in Austin that are actively lobbying for privatization of education, there will be inadequate funding of public education.

And there will be H-E-Double Hockey Sticks to pay at the polls if there is any justice on this planet.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rick Perry: Worse for Our Nation

Well there’s a surprise.
Today Travis County Democratic Party announced that at the very same time that Governor Rick Perry, along with the American Family Association, are holding a prayer vigil and fasting at Houston’s Reliant Stadium on August 6th, they will hold a counter rally on the steps of Texas’ state capitol building.
From the Austin American-Statesman:The latter alluding to the fact that Rick Perry is considering a run for the presidency, a move that is sure to excite the Tea Party base – those who aren’t gaga-eyed over Michele Bachmann anyway.
“Party officials say the noon rally on Aug. 6 will be called ‘Rick Perry: Bad for Texas, Worse for Our Nation.’
Perry has been nipping at the heels of President Obama for the past few months, culminating in his (or his ghost writer’s) book, “Fed Up.” Get it? Fed. Federal Government. Ha. Ha. Ha.
So this event, The Response, is Perry’s attempt to grab himself some national spotlight. Allying himself with the Creator of the Universe, like so many Republicans before him, is practically Step 1 in the GOP playbook. And now we see a counter rally. Not one that opposes God, it seems, but one that opposes Rick Perry’s self-promotion as a conduit to Jesus and His Father.
Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain.  Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says'_when the Lord has not spoken.
- Ezekiel 22: 27-28

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Atheists Sue Perry for Promoting a Single Religion

I didn’t know that there were any here in the Bible Belt, but apparently Houston area atheists have filed suit against Rick Perry for sponsoring The Response, Rick Perry’s call to Christian prayer and fasting so that the Christian god, or gods, may help us through these troubling times.
Their case? Weak. In summary, here is what they have against Rick Perry’s participation in this planned event, from the Austin American-Statesman:
“Perry’s participation in the Aug. 6 event amounts to government sponsorship and endorsement of religion in violation of the First Amendment.”
“Prayer and fasting, the Wisconsin-based organization said in the lawsuit, ‘are not only an ineffectual use of time and government resources, but which can be harmful or counterproductive as a substitute for reasoned action.’”
Now there is some basis for the first argument. Rick Perry, under color of law as a governor of the state, is holding a Christian-only prayer event, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, B’hai, or Jews need not apply. This runs counter to the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment.
They have a point.
Where the argument falls apart is the judgmental claim that a prayer meet-up can be harmful or counterproductive. That is a value judgment, almost as religious a claim that prayer brings help from on high.
No, if I were going to file a lawsuit against this event I would definitely concentrate on the fact that the organizers of the event is the hate-filled American Family Association, who, despite their innocuous name, has, through its issues director, alleged “that gays caused the Holocaust—and are planning on doing it again; that gays should be banned from holding public office; that homosexuality should be criminalized; that foreign Muslims should either be converted to Christianity or subjected to lethal force; that American Muslims should be deported; that there should be a permanent ban on mosque construction in the United States; and that Muslims should be prohibited from serving in the armed forces.
Not that their beliefs are illegal, they have a perfect right to hold lunatic ideas like that. But that Rick Perry, as governor of Texas, endorses these rightwing extremist notions. Taxpayers should not have to be made to support this kind of extremism.

On Winning the Energy Crisis

The Energy Crisis has never ended. When OPEC put the squeeze on us in the early 70's we called that an energy crisis.

Then they opened the valves and all was good.

When the Iranians did the same thing several years later we called that an energy crisis.

Then they opened the valves and all was good.

But the energy crisis never ended. It goes on to this day.

Nick Anderson has it exact.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ron Paul is “All In” for the Presidency

In a game of Texas Hold ‘Em the way to scare off your competition is to put all your money in on a hand after the last card is dealt (or even before if the up cards are looking pretty good). It is also a pretty good way of making a bundle on a good hand if your bet is met. It is also a good way to go broke.
Well today, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas’ 14th district is “All in” on his bid for presidency. The 75-year old congressman announced today that he would not seek re-election as congressman, putting all of his campaign effort into the big enchilada.
He won’t win, you know. There is not even a snowball’s chance in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks that Ron Paul can win in even an unfair election against Barack Obama. Michele Bachmann might outpoll Ron Paul in the 2012 election, and that is saying something. So it is either Ron Paul is delusional and genuinely thinks that he has a dog in this hunt, or it’s that this is his swan song and a great way to end a long career in politics.
The latter, I think.
It’s also a great way to shake things up.
Democrats haven’t a chance in CD-14 which, under its present boundaries, went for the Republican presidential candidate by 66 to 33%, 66 to 34% and 64 to 36% in the last three presidential elections. No reason to believe that this district will be appreciably changed after the redistricting.
So the shakeup will all be on the GOP. Politico identified 3 possible candidates who might make the run for the nomination: State Senator Mike Jackson, State Reps Dennis Bonnen and Larry Taylor. Of the three, of course Jackson’s district encompasses more of CD-14 than either state reps districts do.
The upshot, I think, is that no matter who they run, the winner is surely going to run things a little differently than the folks in CD-14 are used to. For all his crazy libertarian ideologies, and for all of his No votes cast in support of those ideologies, at least Ron Paul was an ideologue. A wacky ideologue, but an ideologue.
Paul’s successor will be a blood-sucking, in it for me politician where cronyism is king compared to what they have now.
No, unfortunately the only way out for CD-14 voters is to elect a democrat to this seat. Unfortunate in that there is no way in the world that will ever happen.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Why Prosecute The Rocket? Answers.

Yesterday I wondered out loud about what could possibly be the reason to spend time and treasure prosecuting Roger Clemens for perjury, a crime that everyone knows he committed just as we all know that the taking of steroids to enhance performance in professional baseball is as common as dirt.
What is the moral outrage? But more to the point, what is the motivation to go after Clemons so aggressively? Well today, in The Chron, I think we were shown the answer: the Justice Department wants a win.
From The Chron:Now we are making some sense. The Justice Department was righteously burned the last time out. What is worse, because of his trial, Senator Stevens lost his seat in 2008, and because of some pilot error, lost his life in 2009.
“The Justice Department’s meltdown in the prosecution of the late Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska has added pressure on prosecutors in the perjury trial of baseball icon Roger Clemens. Stevens was convicted of federal corruption charges in 2008 days before being defeated for re-election after 40 years in the Senate. Months later, the conviction was dismissed because investigators found evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.”
In short, Senator Stevens slipped through the grip of justice, and the Justice Department is feeling the heat. They think they might just have a win in Roger Clemens, so there you have it. It’s not about the national IQ, it’s not about the National Pastime, it’s not about making America a better place to live.
It’s about needing to win one.

Prosecuting “The Rocket” : Supreme Waste of Time and Money

Doesn’t it strike you that at this time in history, when we need all of our resources and treasure to take care of the things we need, at a time that Republicans want to cut and cut and cut, we put Roger “The Rocket” Clemons on trial for lying to  Congress?
Does anyone out there really care?
Sure he lied. Everyone knows he lied. Everyone knew it the instant he denied taking steroids to enhance his playing of the national pastime. Clemons exhibited amazing bad judgment doing what he did, saying what he did. But no. We have to put the man on trial. What I am completely missing out on is why is this a benefit to the nation. Is it going to make America a better place to live? Is it going to save baseball? Will the national IQ bump up a few points?
No, no and no.
Clemons faces a possible 30 year prison sentence and a $1.5 million fine.
For a crime that everyone knows he committed, for a crime that hurts no one. Cheaters will cheat. That is a fact of life and an aspect of human nature that was probably instilled in us 40,000 years ago.
If the purpose is to convince Americans that “cheaters never prosper,” well forget it. It didn’t work on the playground in 1st grade and it won’t work here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Perry’s Going to Run and Leal Sealed the Deal

If anyone is still doubting that Rick Perry is going to sit the next Presidential election out, the death of Humberto Leal Garcia at the end of this past week, should lay all doubts to rest.
Leal is pretty much a poster child for all that Rick Perry stands for. First, Rick Perry hates illegal immigrants. Hates them. No, not because they are in his state, not because they vote (they don’t and there is no evidence that they do), and not because they take jobs away from citizens and  food from the mouths of decent white children. He hates them because he has to in order to remain in office. Perry’s base hates Mexicans so he must also.
Second, Perry hates the feds. Hates them. Not because they won’t give him any money. They have, hand over fist and Perry has accepted all of it except when it benefits people like the unemployed in his state.
(By the way, Perry hates the unemployed because it gives lie to his myth of “the Texas miracle”).
But now combining the two, illegal aliens and hatred of “federal overreach” we have the former living human being Humberto Leal Garcia.
Leal, a Mexican national, was tried and convicted of capital murder. Itself not very newsworthy except for the fact that as a signatory of the Vienna Convention guaranteeing that citizens arrested in foreign countries would have the benefit of a helping hand from consular officials from their home countries, the United States, and in this case, the state of Texas, was obligated to let the Mexican government come to Leal’s aid in his trial.
But Leal was never made aware of his rights, and the Mexican government was never notified that he was being tried for capital murder.
So Leal was tried, convicted, and on Friday, executed by lethal injection.
The Supreme Court refused to hear the case to stay the execution by 5 to 4. Rick Perry refused to grant a stay and even went to the extent of refusing to take the call of the Ambassador from Mexico.
Most people would be horrified at this. Americans, now, as it currently stands, are at risk of being similarly treated when the venture abroad.
Perry’s base is thrilled. Oh yeah man, you bet they are.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Staying Awake and Alert on the Santa Monica Freeway

I have a short video clip  exhibiting the lengths one must go to to stay alert after hours and hours on the road. It is not a real reach, but it does take some getting used to. I still haven't gotten the knack for knowing when the CD is finished and has started on Track 1 again...

By the way, to we native Californians, Interstate Highway 10, or I-10 as it is affectionately known, is was, and will always be known as the Santa Monica Freeway. Not the Katy Freeway (TX). Not the Juan Seguin Highway (TX). Not the Pearl Harbor Memorial Freeway (AZ). Not the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway (LA). Not the Ponchartrain Expressway. Not the Stephen Ambrose Memorial Highway (LA). Not the George C. Wallace Tunnel (AL). And, finally not, again as the Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway where it terminates in Jackson, Florida.
I-10 was the Santa Monica Freeway when all of those other routes were either non-existant or dirt roads. How do I know this?
LA invented freeways.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Rick Perry: The New Kid on the Block

Oh I can hardly wait. It is becoming more and more apparent that Texas’ governor, Rick Perry, is in the presidential race – all except in name at least. The Texas Tribune has a new app called PerryTracker 2, showing how Rick Perry has been moving around the country and where he plans to go in the future.

No, the man is running.

This should be fun to watch considering how much Rick Perry’s politics and public statements so widely vary from mainstream public opinion.

Fun. Fun. Fun.

For instance, for the average voter to accept Rick Perry as his or her candidate of choice they will have to agree with Perry that:

Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme

Possession and sales of marijuana should be not be legalized but this is completely a state decision. What’s good in California doesn’t fly in Texas.

It is unconstitutional for the federal government to collect taxes to fund Medicare.

Big Government demands to vaccinate 11-year old girls against Human Papilloma Virus or HPV is perfectly OK and so is a constitutional amendment forbidding gay unions.

You see, most of these issues are red meat issues among the rightwing of the Republican Party and Teabaggers.  Perry should do well among primary voters, the majority of whom are the rightwing and Teabaggers. But facing Barack Obama in the Fall of 2012 with this agenda should be more challenging.

And Fun. Fun. Fun.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Texas Equusearch to Sue Casey Anthony?

Now I am not going to join the chorus of voices who are complaining about the outcome of the recent murder trial in Orlando, Florida. I won’t complain because I followed the trial closely, well, listening to the televised trial from the next room and came to the conclusion that the jury correctly concluded not that Casey Anthony was innocent, just that she wasn’t guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution never proved their case.

The defense story, that Anthony’s daughter accidentally drowned in the pool and that she buried her much like her family buried their pets rather than reporting the accident is, in a word, plausible. The story is plausible because Casey Anthony is a damaged person beyond all reasonable doubt. Damaged and a compulsive liar, but maybe, just maybe not guilty of murder.

But now here is the rub. Texas Equusearch, which sent a team to look for her daughter, spending by their estimate $112,000 now says that since the girl was never missing, that someone knew exactly where she was buried, they want their money back.

KTRK is saying that they are going to sue Casey Anthony to recover their costs. Costs that they wouldn’t have incurred in either case, whether the child was murdered or accidentally drowned.

And I have to admit, they have a point.

I guess the only real question is whether someone who volunteers their services has any basis for suing to recover costs when it becomes apparent that their services were never required.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Evangelicals Want Perry for President

Rightwing Christian Evangelicals have been notably absent from the conversation on which of the current list of Republican candidates they would prefer to see be the nominee. And now we know why.

They want none of the above.

With two Mormons, one womanizer, one person of the wrong sex, one person of the wrong race, one ethically challenged and one milquetoast currently in the race it is no wonder that the evangelicals are singularly unimpressed.

So when Time learned that a conference call between evangelical leaders took place in early June, and that they agreed that they wanted Texas governor Rick Perry to run for president, can we be surprised?

From Time:
In early June, TIME has learned, a group of prominent figures on the Christian Right held a conference call to discuss their dissatisfaction with the current GOP presidential field, and agreed that Rick Perry would be their preferred candidate if he entered the race. Among those on the call were Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council; David Barton, the Texas activist and go-to historian for the Christian Right; and John Hagee.”
And believe me, Perry has the bonafides. He prayed for rain at Easter and got none, shuttering the fireworks stands at the 4th of July, he prayed on the morning of his inauguration then destroyed the careers of 100,000 educators, and he is organizing “The Response,” a plan to bring 70,000 Christians together for 7 hours of prayer and fasting.

And he’s from The South.

Now if that doesn’t qualify you to run for President, nothing will.

And you know what? I agree with these guys. Perry ought to run. Thing is, I doubt he will. Rick Perry knows how bad he is at debate. He is awful. Michele Bachmann is a better debater than Rick Perry is. And while he got away with not debating Bill White in last year’s gubernatorial election, refusing to debate his fellow Republican candidates, and refusing to debate Barack Obama will not set well with Americans.

No, Rick Perry may be a great prayer (with little to show for in heavenly response) but he is a lousy debater.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Fireworks on the 4th

Here it is the 4th of July, Independence Day, and it is so very tinder dry here in drought-stricken Texas that they have practically banned the striking of a match let alone the lighting of a fuse to launch my favorite sky rockets.

Here where I live you can practically buy a pyrotechnic display that nearly rivals what people go to see in public parks.

But alas, not this year. This year the only fireworks I will be seeing are the ones coming out of Katy Perry.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Revenue, Debt Ceiling and Coming to the Table

I’m starting to see some give on the GOP side over raising taxes by closing loopholes (which is not, by definition, raising taxes). Texas’ Junior Senator John Cornyn was on Fox News Sunday today and is reported to have said something like this, as reported in the Wall Street Journal:
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said lawmakers should close some tax loopholes and eliminate breaks as part of a broader effort to cut rates, though he cautioned that there may not be enough time to include such changes in a budget deal now under negotiation.

Arizona Senator John Kyl has also proposed what John McCain terms “revenue raisers” (tax loophole closures and fee increases), getting specific that they don’t want to change the tax code and raise taxes.
And Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn is infamous for his willingness to raise taxes in his effort to end the ethanol tax credit, a proposal that failed by one vote short of the 60 needed to bring the bill to the floor.

So I am wondering why this is. Why are Republicans now apparently walking back on their once hard-line position of deficit reduction by slashing spending, something that went over like a lead balloon with voters at the end of the recently completed special session of the Texas legislature?

I suspect the chorus of voices that erupted this past week claiming that Republicans are sheltering their rich friends and donors by refusing to end tax credits on corporate jets and ending the oil and gas subsidies to the richest and most lucrative corporations the world has ever known may have something to do with it.

It is after all, an obvious truth that they want to cut Medicare, the most popular government program in history, but want to leave the oil companies alone.

I think that this time, the truth hurt a little.

Now it’s time to come to the table in a serious way.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Texas State School Board Has a New Chair

Odd as it may sound, the Texas State Board of Education has not had a chairperson leading it that has been confirmed by the State Senate for several years now.

Don McLeroy, who actually lost in the last election to a Republican challenger, was the first chairman not to be confirmed by the senate, and this is mainly because of the antics he pulled in the recently completed overhaul of the state’s science curriculum.

The vote, taken in May 2009 was 19 for and 11 against confirmation – right down party lines. You need a 2/3ds vote to get confirmed.

And so that left Governor Perry no choice but to name a new chairperson in July after the legislature adjourned Sine Die, and that person was fellow young Earth creationist Gail Lowe. I did a piece on Lowe in January of that year exposing her very, very poor grasp of science in general and geology in particular.

But guess what? Lowe was supposed to get confirmed in the last legislative session but they never brought the matter to the Senate floor for a vote. Again, they didn’t have the votes to confirm her. So as soon as the legislative session ended, so did Lowe’s tenure as chairperson.

So now what does Rick Perry do? He named fellow young Earth creationist Barbara Cargill to be the new chairperson.

So, nothing new under the sun. The state school board will continue to be a hotbed of crazed religious fanaticism and socially regressive ideology that has made Texas education standards a laughingstock across the nation.

And she still needs to be confirmed. In 2013.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Republicans Are Deliberately Sabotaging the Economy

Well finally, the thing that I have been saying for months now seems to be in the mainstream. I heard it last night when Senator Chuck Shumer was being interviewed by Keith Olbermann. Shumer has ventured into waters that progressive bloggers have been wading around in for awhile now: Republicans are deliberately trying to sabotage the economy to improve their chances against Barack Obama in 2012.

Nothing could be more clear.

In this op/ed piece at the Washington Post, we find another quote from Senator Shumer:
Do they simply want the economy to go down the drain to further their political gain? They seem to be against anything that may create jobs, because they view a weak economy as key to their political chances in 2012.”

“It’s an uncomfortable question, to be sure. Are they trying to undermine the economy on purpose, for political gain? Harry Truman had a do-nothing Congress. The Republicans seem to be trying to make this a do-nothing-on-the-economy Congress.”

Time and time again Republicans have supported and even sponsored legislation to improve the economy, but when it becomes apparent that these plans are acceptable to Democrats, the have backed off and moved the goal posts.

Their flip-flopping behavior is getting to be almost bizzarre.

Bizzarre, that is, unless you look at their antics in light of this comment uttered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell late last month:
“I think the president can be defeated if conditions in November of '12 are anything like they are today. He’s got a really tough race on his hands, and I’m confident we’re going to nominate someone who’s going to be a credible, believable alternative.

The only real issue I have with that statement is the second part. If he’s so confident that a credible believable nominee will appear, where is this person now? The first part of his statement seals the notion, previously considered radical, that Republicans will go to any length to keep the economy limping along at current levels. An improvement in the economy is the death knell to Republican victory in 2012 and they all know it.

Now it’s time to spread the word who is really behind the poor performance of the economy, and why.