Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Run Scott Walker, Run Like a Rabbit

What I saw today coming out of the Public Policy Polling website, found here, is that Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker is standing at the edge of a cliff with Democrats poised to toss him over it.

Not only have Democrats been wildly successful in getting a gubernatorial recall petition qualified for a recall election, it now seems likely that he would go down to defeat if a vote were held today.

Yep, the darling of the Tea Party and the Koch brothers, Scott Walker is about to be skewered and turned on a spit over hot coals.

Scott Walker’s overreach has come home to roost, it seems. His anti-union, pro-fat cat tax cuts for the rich political stance has uncovered him as anti middle class, and a supporter of the 1%. A 1% that he perhaps would like to join someday.

But the numbers don’t lie. The state seems evenly split on dethroning Walker 49% to 49%. It could go either way. But given the fact that he gets the axe, the numbers are even more telling. In a race against his 2010 opponent, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, Walker will lose by 49% to 46%.  Former Senator Russ Feingold, if he should decide to enter the race, would beat down Walker by 52% to 45%.

In short, this is an election for Democrats to lose.

And given the primary results in Michigan and Arizona yesterday, it should be painfully clear to anyone that the Tea Party is in full retreat. Run and hide, Tea Party, run and hide, Scott Walker.

Run like a rabbit.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The New Congressional District Map is Out

Perhaps right in the nick of time before the Texas Primary would have to be moved back (again) into June, the Federal District Court in San Antonio has issued a new congressional district map that pretty much goes along the lines of the compromise between State Attorney General Greg Abbott and 7 out of 10 groups that opposed the highly discriminatory maps drawn last year by the Republican super majority in the Texas legislature. Click here to view the new district map.

I’m happy with the CD 22 boundaries. It puts my county all in the same congressional district rather than being divided. It puts the East Side of the county in Pete Olson’s district, a part of the county that came out heavily for President Obama in 2008.

However on the negative side, the African-American woman who is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Pete Olson, Kesha Rogers, gains advantage as well.  African-Americans I know unabashedly admit that a huge factor in helping them decide who to vote for is race. But I have news for her. The word on her, and her looney tunes ideas about Barack Obama being a puppet of the British monarchy is starting to get out.

Lloyd Doggett will have a problem though. Doggett lives within the newly formed CD-35, a heavily gerrymandered district that includes Hispanic areas of Austin, then goes screaming southeast along a narrow corridor that straddles Interstate 35 (a coincidence? I don’t think so) and takes in a heavily Hispanic east San Antonio. Doggett will have to run in the primary against a popular Hispanic man whose name escapes me right now.

And word is coming out on state senate districts. Apparently Wendy Davis’ district will be preserved. Republicans hold grudges, it seems. And Wendy Davis single-handedly dealt them a temporary defeat in the last legislative session. They don’t like being outmaneuvered by an attractive woman.

It makes them look stupid.

But they have it all turned around. It is they who make Wendy Davis look like a genius.

And she probably is anyway.

Monday, February 27, 2012

An Aircraft Carrier for the Republic of Wyoming?

This should not surprise me, but I continue to be surprised by the lengths that the uber-conservative right of the Republican Party go to differentiate themselves from the rational moderate wing. You know, the Republicans that we Democrats have gone to in the past for a compromise.

In Wyoming, which has not had a Democratic majority in decades, we have had House Bill 85. House Bill 85 is a bill to create a commission to do the planning for when there is wholesale meltdown of the federal union, when, who knows, the Chinese call in their chit and make us pay it all back. You know, in fantasy world.

Here in Fort Bend County, we have 500,000 souls as of the last census. We have as many people in the county as in the whole state of Wyoming, and NOT A SINGLE plan for food distribution in an economic crisis.

But the good men and women of the Wyoming state house and senate are considering just such a scenario. The first of 50 states to make plans for an economic Armageddon.

We have, after all, a black president. How can we avoid economic meltdown with a black guy in the White House? But more to the point, how can we as a country survive 4 more years of a black presidency? A reality that seems to be hitting these cowboy (and cowgirl) lawmakers full in the face nowadays.

So they must plan. And actually it does my heart good that these people are planning for the worst. That is my approach after all. They must plan for a very Libertarian return to a metal based currency, which is central to House Bill 85. They must plan for a food distribution system to feed the teeming throngs of a half a million Wyoming-ans who would face certain starvation under Chinese rule.

But it gets better. Someone in Wyoming has just been tipped to the fact that the 2nd Amendment rights to gun ownership will not be enough in the coming crisis. They are going to need planes and bombs. Jet planes.

And a platform to launch them from.

An aircraft carrier.

Wyoming needs to have its own aircraft carrier.

An aircraft carrier to cruise the waters of Lake Yellowstone maybe?

People tell me that I am too hard on my Republican fellow Americans. Be fair they say. And then you get these stories, true stories, and all I have to say is…are you kidding? These people are pure whack jobs.

They need to check the Strontium-90 content in Wyoming’s aquifers.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Dyslexics Must See

Someone put up an image on Facebook last night that I had never seen before, but have seen similar ones, ones that demonstrate that the mind doesn't process letters of words when you read, it matches patterns. Substitute a "7" for a "t" a 5 for an "s." The shapes are similar. Here is the image:

Now I know what dyslexics must be seeing when they attempt to read some text. I once had a profoundly dyslexic student whose writing was unintelligible to me. It was like a foreign language. Then one day I figured it out. He was embedding whole words inside of other words. The breakthrough was in answering a question on a lab worksheet. What he wrote was "Heatiting." What he meant to write was "Heating it."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Kent Grusendorf: He’s Baaaaack…

Former State Rep. Kent Grusendorf, the guy who personally led the charge for Texas education to go over the cliff until his constituents put a stop to him, is back. He is back with a vengeance. He is back to end public education as we know it.
While people of good intentions toward public education, and their concern about how the Texas legislature has shorted the state’s school children so badly have filed lawsuits to right this terrible wrong, Grusendorf has joined in on the fun with his own disingenuous litigious campaign.

He has joined the other groups that have filed suit to challenge the unconstitutional act on the part of the state legislature to deny public education the funds they need to educate. His claim, horrendously, is that charter schools are being shorted. Charter schools that by far outperform public schools. A claim that is a complete myth.

First, by what measure? Charter schools do not have to comply with state testing requirements. How can you compare apples to tomatoes?

Grusendorf’s motives are completely transparent and joining in these lawsuits to right these terrible wrongs to our school children is, in a word, callous. But why should I be surprised? I am not surprised at all that someone with such ill intentions toward public education as Kent Grusendorf enter this legal fray with complete disregard for what matters most: the education of our children. What he is looking out for is the best interests of the people who want to seize public education and privatize it.

Grusendorf wants to take what has worked for 200 years and turn it on its ear to the benefit of those who can pay for education, to the detriment of those who cannot.

Grusendorf wants to make the story of Barack Obama, someone who battled against the tide to better himself, an impossibility in the future.

His own constituents rejected him. We must  do no less.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Science and Economics of Legal Murder

Poor Texas. Here in Texas we like to kill our convicts. We kill them with the greatest frequency of any other state in the Union. We kill some of them and then find out afterward that the evidence that convicted them was based on bad science or poor information.

Or lies.

Poor Texas. Texas is running out of options in what to include in its cocktail of chemicals to humanely waste our fellow man.

It says so right here in this article in the Austin American-Statesman:
“As Texas prison officials face the likelihood that one of the three drugs used in the nation's busiest execution chamber might no longer be available, they are facing another reality: The cost of executions is skyrocketing as well.”

“A year ago, it cost the Texas Department of Criminal Justice $83.35 to carry out an execution. But since the state was forced to switch from one powerful sedative to another, the cost is now $1,286.86.”
So you see, not only has the price of whacking a convict risen by 15,439% the product used in the whacking, pentobarbital, is most likely going to be taken off the availability list by its manufacturers if it is to be used in executions.

See, if we can’t get the death penalty overturned legally, there are other means including putting pressure on drug companies not to sell its powerful sedatives to corrective institutions.

So now it looks like the sedative of preference will come down to the drug of choice by the convicted former care giver to Michael Jackson. Propofol.

After all, if it can kill the spirit of the King of Pop, it should do just fine against Texas convicts – innocent or guilty.

Personally, I would much prefer it if executions were done in public squares, and the preferred method of execution was a combination of evisceration followed by beheading.

Legalized murder should be horrible in its enactment, and not softened by the humane use of expensive drugs. Because in the end, the result is the same.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birth Control is a Debate I Welcome

Has the entire Republican Party gone insane? The Uber Right Wing seems to have no boundaries. Now they are going after birth control?

A pro-life argument it seems.

An “every sperm (and egg) is sacred” approach to big government intrusion into the personal lives of millions of Americans.

Good Lord, have Democrats gotten that lucky?

In a recent Quinnipiac poll, it has been revealed that 82% of Americans “support the use of birth control” and in addition to that, 71% think health insurance should cover it.

12% think birth control should be banned. That’s half of what I would consider are the number of conservative Republicans out there.

This is a debate I want to have. It’s a debate question I am waiting to be asked at this fall’s presidential debates with unabashed joy.

Political cartoonists are already having a field day with this.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My President Sings!

Is there no end to the talents this guy has?

Rick Perry’s Shady Math Shorts Texas Students

Now here’s the thing, according to Rick Perry’s report card while he was at A&M Perry received a B in Algebra (a course that is taken by 8th graders these days) and a D in Plane Trigonometry (a 9th grade course at my workplace).

Rick Perry, you could say, is math-challenged.

So suffice it to say that when Rick Perry cites that the State of Texas is forking out $10,000 per student this year in public school education funds, and so there is no need to have a re-look at next year's education budget, he may not have done his sums very well.

One has to resort to Chinese algebra to come up with that fact.

According to this piece in the Houston Chronicle, Rick Perry thinks we are seeing to our students’ needs just fine thank you very much. A claim that is hotly disputed by TSTA spokesman Clay Robison (TSTA is a Texas teacher’s union much like my beloved AFT).

“Robison cited new rankings and estimates from the National Education Association, which reports that Texas is spending $8,908 per student this school year, based on average daily attendance (ADA).”

“‘That is $538 less than the $9,446 per student Texas was spending in 2010-11, when we ranked 41st in the country,’ Robison says. ‘The national average of per student expenditure (ADA) for 2010-11 was $11,305. The national average for 2011-12 is $11,463.’”
And guess what, that figure is down from the 2009-10 revenue per student in Texas ($10,630) when Texas was ranked number 36 in the nation.

In short, over the past 3 years Texas education has slowly but surely been put on a starvation diet. Class sizes are up, textbooks are falling apart. But Rick Perry keeps playing his fiddle in his $10,000 per month rented mansion as Texas education faces yet another $2 billion shortfall in the 2012-2013 school year.

People, we are being governed by a guy who thinks SOHCAHTOA is an Indian woman that led Lewis and Clark on their historic expedition to the Pacific Ocean. Perry can’t do the math. Perry has no business in government.

(OK sorry, for the oldsters among us SOHCAHTOA is a mnemonic device for Sine, Opposite over Hypotenuse, Cosine, Adjacent over Hypotenuse, Tangent, Opposite over Adjacent).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Double Dipping or Triple Dipping at the Public Trough

You know, today something that has been flying below the political radar for years in Fort Bend County suddenly popped up. You’ve heard the stories about how Governor Perry, still the sitting governor of Texas despite how much time he is spending carrying on the people’s business, has also officially retired from state government service, earning him a pension on top of his $150 grand a year paycheck as governor.

Double dipping.

Something he argues as perfectly legal. Maybe so, maybe so. But not ethical. Ethics and Rick Perry have had a formal disagreement for years, enriching Perry beyond human belief.

Now come to find out, one of Fort Bend County’s local Justices of the Peace, one Gary Janssen running for re-election in Precinct 1 Place 1 this year, has not one, not two, but three count ‘em three jobs. Two public service, one private practice.

All of this coming at a time when jobs are stretched so thin. Why does one guy need three jobs?

Judge Janssen is not only the Fort Bend County Justice of the Peace in Needville, he is also the Needville Municipal Judge. He also runs his own law firm. Yep, you’ve got it, three jobs. Some Americans would like to have just one.

Leading me to ask, are Fort Bend County taxpayers getting the most bang for their buck? I have to ask myself, why am I paying a full time salary to a part-time judge? Appearing at a Justice of the Peace court here is dicey at best. They set their own hours and you have to take time off of work to appear. You lose money sometimes, and not just because of the traffic fines.

You know, these people have to learn to share. They have to learn to spread the wealth and not dip so heavily into the public trough.

Word has it that Judge Janssen is being primaried. A lawyer named Gregory A. Thompson apparently has filed to oppose Janssen.

And you know, I have no knowledge of his politics and don’t care really. But if I ever voted in a Republican Primary I definitely would never vote for a triple dipper. I’d vote for a guy who would very probably take a pay cut to opt in to public service.

I’d vote for Gregory A. Thompson.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Newt is On Fire

Got a nice surprise on the Houston Chronicle’s website today. Nick Anderson, who usually comes up with pretty clever political cartoons has made a short video of Newt Gingrich – The Marshmallow Man.

It is just so off the wall that I must share this one.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Houston – We Have a Problem…

Or more specifically, Congressman Pete Olson has a problem. Pete Olson is being primaried by the Tea Party, and the Tea Party is painting Olson as an “establishment incumbent.”

This has been so under the radar, my radar. I had no idea that the Tea Party was not pleased with the voting record of the Olsonmeister. Particularly I remember at a Tea Party rally in 2009 Pete Olson spoke there and had a big trunk open in front of him where he was accepting donations of tea bags that he was going to take back to DC with him.

The Tea Partiers applauded Olson that afternoon.

But now it seems Olson has drawn a challenger, a “Constitutional Conservative” (for that read “Obama hater”) in the person of Barbara J. Carlson.

She has a campaign website that you can find here. On it you will read that she is a mother, a widow, a businesswoman, an author, a widow, against Obamacare, and a college graduate. Oh, and did I mention she is also a widow?

What does that have to do with anything? Is Pete Olson a heartless boor because he chooses to run a campaign against a widow? Ooooh. He IS isn’t he?

You will also learn that Barbara Carlson won the Saddle Up Texas straw poll against Olson in a squeaker 51.5% to 48.5%. I never heard of the Saddle Up Texas straw poll. But apparently the preferred presidential candidate of the voters who participated in this straw poll was none other than Ron Paul.

And you’ll also learn that Ms. Carlson keeps showing up at Republican candidates’ forums and Pete Olson doesn’t. On the website you read this:

Monday evening, February 13, was the first congressional debate for District 22, held at the Alvin Senior Center. While Barbara J. Carlson arrived early and was prepared, unfortunately, Olson was a no show, not even extending a courteous apology to both the Alvin Area Republican Women’s Club and the Bayou Republican Women’s Club for his no show. Both clubs went to great lengths and personal financial outlay in preparing the excellent homemade food for this all-important forum.

Oh, Pete, Pete, Pete. Say it isn’t so. Say you didn’t snub these fine ladies and did not partake of the potluck that they labored over hot stoves to prepare?

Pete’s got a problem and her name is Barbara Carlson. I’ll bet he will continue to ignore his opponent, especially when she invites him to debate with her in the “When Was the Last Time You Beat Your Wife?” debate.

Amanda Knox Cashes In

See? I say it here it comes out there. Last year as the world was stunned to see an Italian appeals court overturn American foreign exchange student Amanda Knox’s controversial guilty verdict in a highly publicized trial, I wrote this: “But if Amanda Knox doesn’t write a book and a screenplay and become deliriously rich over this, I’ll eat my hat.”

Well I guess my hat, and my GI tract are both safe.

Amanda has a book deal.

From the Seattle Times:
“The young exchange student whose conviction in Italy and eventual acquittal on murder charges made headlines worldwide has an agreement with HarperCollins to tell her story. The 24-year-old Seattle resident, imprisoned for four years in Perugia, Italy, has not publicly discussed her ordeal beyond a brief expression of gratitude upon her release last October.”

“‘Knox will give a full and unflinching account of the events that led to her arrest in Perugia and her struggles with the complexities of the Italian judicial system,’ HarperCollins said in a statement Thursday.”

The deal? A cool $4 million. That’s a million dollars for each and every year she languished in a Perugia jail knowing that she had been railroaded by junk science, a lascivious press, and for the crime of being a pretty American girl.

Now…about that screenplay…

Friday, February 17, 2012

STAAR Test: Let the Caving Begin

The new high stakes Texas state test to measure accountability in high school education, the STAAR test, takes effect this year with this year’s entering 9th graders. Starting this year, students  must not only have a cumulative score of some amount to be determined at a later date on all of the STAAR end of course tests taken, but in addition to that, the test is to count for 15% of their grade in the course.

15% is peanuts.

15% hardly affects a student’s grade at all.

Nevertheless, parents from Beaumont to El Paso raised a hue and cry so loud about what this “harder test” will do to their children’s GPA and class rank (which determines which Texas university they get accepted to), that today, TEA Education Commissioner Robert Scott announced: “Never mind.”

Scott was advised that he had the purview to overrule what the state legislature mandated in their legislation that established this new accountability system.
So what he said today is this:
“Based on my conversations with the Governor’s Office and clarification of legislative intent from the House and Senate, I am modifying the Texas Education Agency’s House Bill 3 Transition Plan. The modification gives public school districts and charter schools the ability to defer implementation of the statutory provision that requires performance on an end-of-course assessment to count as 15 percent of a student’s final course grade”
 In other words, “Never mind.”  The high stakes test became less high stakes. He let the districts decide whether they were going to let the grade count or not, but do you think any district will let the test count for 15% of the grade if other districts opt out? In this litigious society of ours, a school district that declines to opt out of the relaxation of the rules is a school district begging to be sued by a parent.

But wait, it gets better. The provision to have the state test count for a percentage of a student’s grade was actually a good idea. Know why? When a test will not affect a student’s grade in the present tense, there is little motivation on the part of students to do their best. The school accountability system is a joke because students have not been given sufficient motivation to do their best.

You see, today’s youth is very much focused on “the now.” They could care less about the future. If a test affects their present grade, they are concerned. If it doesn’t they could care less. That’s why this idea was such a good one. Besides, if a whole instructional day is to be spent on a state test, let it count for something.

But no. The caving has begun. And now looking to the future, I can only begin to predict what percentage correct responses will be assigned to a “mastery” rating. Certainly not 70%. More like 50% or 45%.

Texas education. Making mediocrity work each and every day.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Jersey Assembly OKs Gay Marriage Act

Well today the state of New Jersey became the latest state to join the exclusive club  of states that permit gays and lesbians to marry one another. This Reuters piece affirms that the vote was decisive at 42 for and 33 against. The bill awaits Governor Chris Christie’s signature, one that won’t be forthcoming, and the vote margins in either of New Jerseys houses are insufficient to override his veto.

Chris Christie, a self-avowed anti-big government governor, apparently isn’t anti-big government when it comes to legislating morality. When it comes to deciding that the love of one’s life cannot visit their loved one in his or her hospital room, or be included on his or her health insurance policy.

But Christie is clever. Or so he thinks. Christie wants to put the question to a popular vote. That is, representative government is not qualified to decide what the people want – a key principle in representative democracy. This issue, it seems, is so important to Christie that he thinks it should be put on a referendum.

Christie thinks it’s clever because he can duck out of being the Republican governor who bent to the will of the people by signing this legislation into law. But here is the key flaw to his logic.

New Jersey residents overwhelmingly support gay marriage. It’s in all the polls. Passage of a referendum on this issue is all but assured. But here we have Chris Christie on the one hand complaining about excess government spending and on the other demanding additional expense of public funds to hold a referendum on a settled issue.

An issue whose only additional expense, at this point, is the price of the ink that would have been used to sign the bill into law.

Chris Christie is rapidly becoming a poster child for Republican hypocrisy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mitt’s Not Itt Anymore

Doggy despoiler Mitt Romney has fallen out of favor with Republicans it seems. But not because he is a tormenter of canines, and he is that, but because he has finally been accused of the sin of not being unable to woo the Republican base. A base whose values are SO foreign to the American mainstream, that this cannot be better news to the Obama Re-Election Team.

Rick Santorum, who lost his own US Senate seat by 16% in the ’08 election, is now the front runner.

And why not? Everyone else, with the exception of Ron Paul, has led the polling at one point or another. If there is one thing Republicans agree on, it is that Ron Paul is a likeable enough fellow, but he is just a total maniac when it comes to policy.

Rick Santorum.

Rick Santorum is the current Republican front liner in the race to the nomination. You know what they say in that regard? It is from the Holy Bible: The Last shall be First.

That is, the last one in the lead is the winner.

O praise Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, and Allah (and the spirit of the baobab tree) we have the answer to our prayers in Rick Santorum. Rick Santorum will boldly lead the Republican Party over the proverbial cliff.

Want to lose an election? Come out against a woman’s right to protect herself against conception. Thank you, thank you, thank you Pope Paul VI.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Adele, Ma Belle.

Well the Grammy Awards is over for another year and I got a pleasant surprise. The British pop singer Adele came away with 6, count ‘em 6, Grammys.

Whenever one of her songs comes on the radio, or Pandora, I stop and just listen to it. My blood pressure goes down. My life is extended.

Adele has a very soulful breathy voice that packs a punch when she wants it to. For someone so young she sounds so mature. A less raspy Norah Jones, the pop equivalent to Diana Krall.

I was happy to see good work rewarded by her peers.

If you haven’t heard Adele, you are in for a treat. The song “Rolling in the Deep” is the record of the year and she really belts it out. But this is the one that I like, “Someone Like You.” It has meaning for me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

President Pwns the Religious Right

If this latest foray in the area of guaranteeing access to free contraceptives to all American women wasn’t a fully planned out trap for religious conservatives, it should have been.

In making his “compromise” to the Catholic clergy, and indeed to any religious person opposed to contraception, President Obama surely set for them the perfect trap. He forced religious conservatives to own up and admit that they were opposed to women getting contraceptives, free or otherwise, on religious grounds.

Owning up to an idea that is anathema to a majority of Americans, and a grand majority of women.

And real irony of it is that the idea is to decrease the number of abortions performed on women – a hot-button issue with the religious right – by making birth control more available, especially to the poor.

And the whole beauty about this affair, and the timing of it is just this. The typical Republican meme on the economy got kyboshed in a hurry as soon as the numbers started to improve, forcing conservatives to return to their comfort zone of social issues, only to have the rug pulled out from under them.

Sometimes Democrats get to win on social issues. Doesn’t happen often but when it does the win is a sweet one.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It’s Mitt by a Nosehair

The Maine Caucuses are history, the votes are counted, and Mitt Romney won the day by 194 votes.

That is face-saving for the Romney campaign, but a victory it is not. Ron Paul, Ron Paul was his chief competitor and he just barely edged him. Ron Paul nearly won a New England state, a state that should have gone to Mitt Romney in a romp. Ron Paul, a southerner, a Texan, nearly carried Maine.

And get this, it’s even worse. A caucus was cancelled in one county, a very conservative county, on account of bad weather. The margin could have been even tighter.

So for Romney, it’s a victory, and a defeat all rolled up into one.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Uh Oh…Mitt’s In for Another Bruisin’

Maine has been conducting its caucuses all week long and the results will be announced tomorrow. I predict  Barack Obama will get the Democratic nod.

But that’s not news. What is news is that there are indications that Ron Paul, Libertarian Ron Paul, has a good chance of winning in Maine this time around. Winning in a state that Mitt Romney won easily in 2008 against John McCain – and Ron Paul.

Because unlike Mitt, Rick, and Newt, Ron has been actively campaigning in Maine. Paul needs a win at some point and Maine, “Live Free or Die” Maine, is his best shot and he darn well knows it.

I was wondering about this as I read earlier this week that even Ron Paul agreed that he would have to, at some point, win one of these races and was concentrating on caucus states. Now he seems “cautiously optimistic” that this is going to happen tomorrow.

So the news shouldn’t be that Ron Paul finally won one in the primary season, the news should be that this will deal Mitt Romney 4 defeats in a row, something that should have a huge deflating effect on things like support and fundraising.

And the news isn’t that Ron Paul has possibilities as a nominee, that is ludicrous. Nor The Newt. The news is that a Ron Paul win in Maine spells opportunity for Rich Santorum.

And that is good news indeed.

For Democrats.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Will Texas Have a Significant Primary or an Inconsequential One?

Before last Tuesday I figured that a delayed Texas Primary, delayed from Super Tuesday to April….or May….or June meant that the Texas Primary was going to be an inconsequential one.

Inconsequential in that I was thinking that the supposed nominee-to-be, Mitt Romney, was going to have his 1,144 delegates that would secure for himself the nomination at the Republican Convention.

Now after last Tuesday, I am not so certain. Romney keeps making these horrible gaffes exposing himself as a rich snob with no heart. It would be like electing Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons” to run our country.

And Republican primary voters are turning out in droves to vote for anyone but Romney, a vote that has swung heavily toward Rick Santorum as The Newt implodes in public.

So Texas could be a player, even late in the game.

A true disappointment for me because I was hoping for it all to be over in the Republican race so that only the truly agitated Tea Party faction of the Republican Party would care to show up at the primary polls to vote for their extremist candidates who are primarying mainstream Republicans across the state.

Because after the horrible behavior of the Texas Legislature in the 2011 session, Texas voters will be offered more of the same after experiencing 2 years of cutbacks in public services including education and police and fire protection. Who knows, maybe Texans will come to their senses and vote for the candidates who support the public services that Texans used to be proud of.

Democratic candidates, that is.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Rick Santorum’s Hat Trick

As I type this I am (in my mind, anyway) rubbing my hands together in eager expectation of total chaos in the Republican primaries this year. Rick Santorum swept the field in yesterday’s Colorado and Minnesota Caucuses, and the Missouri Primary.

Swept. The Field.

In the Colorado Caucus, Santorum bested Mitt Romney be nearly 6 points. This is a state that went for Romney in 2008 to the tune of 60% of the primary vote. Clearly, this year’s primary voters have either swung wildly to the right or, equally plausible, they’ve always been right wing, but didn’t know Romney as the right of center Republican as they do now. Or maybe it was the dog…

In the Minnesota Caucus, Santorum blasted by Romney by  28.4%. That is significant. Minnesota’s conservative Republicans, also known as primary voters, are obviously fired up about the right to work movement there and came out in droves to defeat Romneycare.

And in the Missouri Primary Santorum did even better, trouncing the well-financed Romney campaign by 29.9%. Missouri is pseudo-south and results there should bode well for Santorum’s chances in the southern primaries.

Why am I so gleeful? Who was the candidate that Richard Nixon wanted as his opponent in 1972? That would be Senator George McGovern. Who is the candidate that President Obama’s campaign like to face in the fall? Rick Santorum.

In a Rasmussen poll taken in mid January, they report that President Obama would win in a hypothetical race with Rick Santorum by 10 points – yeah, better than he did McCain in ’08. Now Rasmussen is a right-leaning polling group so I am guessing that that is a low-ball figure.

Rick Santorum scares the bejesus out of moderate Republicans and Independents. Rick Santorum is so classically under-funded that he is having difficulty getting his message out, which for him is probably a good thing. Rick Santorum is Jesus Christ’s gift to the Democratic Party.

Democrats and Jesus. We be mates.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Abbott: Seven Out of Ten Ain’t Bad

Texas district attorney Greg Abbott has just announced that he has come to substantive agreement with 7 out of 9, actually ten, groups enjoined in a lawsuit to throw out the 2011 redistricting maps. That’s good enough I guess he must be thinking.

After all, these are minority groups and you can’t hope to please them all, can you? They are so unreasonable after all.

So while seven litigants have signed on to an interim deal, two, and the NAACP, a not insubstantial minority group, have not.

“…but the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the Black Legislative Caucus and the NAACP have not agreed to support the proposed maps.”
The 2011 maps were obviously drawn to deprive minorities of representation due to them because of their contribution to the growth in Texas’ population between 2000 and 2010. Lawmakers ignored that just as Abbott is ignoring the demands of 3 significant groups who have been discriminated against.

No, in ethnic discrimination, you don’t get to have a majority rules outcome. You satisfy everyone, or you satisfy no one.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Dogs Against Romney

It was inevitable. It was inevitable that someone come up with a Facebook page about the now infamous Romney family vacation to Canada. You know. The one where Mitt Romney strapped a dog kennel, essentially a crate to the roof of his station wagon and put in it the family dog, an Irish Setter named Seamus. And drove like a bat out of hell for 12 hours on the interstate.

As the story goes, as retold by one of his sons years later, the children noticed a stream of brown fluid going down the back window of the station wagon. The poor animal was so upset that he became physically ill.

So what did Mitt Romney do? He pulled over into a gas station and hosed off the dog and the crate. Then put them both back on the roof of his car and drove on.

Word has it that while vacationing in Canada Seamus made a break for it and ran away from these crazy heartless people.

So now there is a Facebook page that you can find here.

As we say in Facebook, LOL.

UPDATE: They also have a Blogger website. Fantastic!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Romney By 30 Points

That’s my prediction for the Nevada Caucus being held tonight. Mitt Romney is going to take this (rather inconsequential) state by a landslide.

Nevada may have an image of freewheeling big spenders and show girls, but in truth, Nevada has the second largest concentration of Mormons in the 50 states. Behind Utah.

And one thing I know, Mormon voters are every bit as enthusiastic about Mitt Romney’s candidacy as African-American voters were in 2008 for President Obama. Imagine it, the first African-American president followed by the first Mormon president.

We are living in unique times

Friday, February 03, 2012

Off With Her Head

Heads need to roll.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Susan G. Komen for The Cure foundation announced that it was not going to continue to support Planned Parenthood with continued funding for breast cancer screening, a popular and necessary function of the group that saves women’s lives on a daily basis. The reason, as found here, is that one of the foundation’s directors, and who knows, maybe others, bent to the pressure of conservative congressmen who have been trying to drive Planned Parenthood out of the healthcare business for a couple of years now. Their sin? A small portion of the services that they provide to women is the performance of D and Cs. Abortions.

Komen foundation senior vice president and self-avowed lifelong Republican, Karen Handel, made a “retweet” of a Twitter posting by an anti-choice advocate “Just like a pro-abortion group to turn a cancer orgs decision into a political bomb to throw. Cry me a freaking river.” Obviously a reaction to the tremendous backlash reaction among pro-choice advocates upon hearing of the policy change.

The reaction was swift and angry from people of all political persuasions, and donations to Planned Parenthood came pouring in from all over. How, some asked, can the Komen foundation advocate for cancer prevention and cure when they withhold funds from one of America’s main healthcare provider to women who ordinarily cannot afford it?  Today the Komen foundation backpedaled and announced that they would continue to support Planned Parenthood.

And that’s fine. But it sounds really hollow. This reversal lacks sincerity. It is more in the nature of covering their collective behinds than being really and truly repentant. It’s more about image than a substantive change in policy.

That’s why Senior Vice President Karen Handel must lose her job. Karen Handel needs to go. And to make it sweeter, former Komen foundation director of community health programs, Mollie Williams, who resigned in protest of the new policy, should be rehired to replace Handel.

Do that, and I am a believer.