Friday, August 31, 2012

No Party for Old Men

Like all of we political wonks, I was watching the last night of the Republican convention taking in lie after lie in what has become a litany of lies directed at President Obama and anyone associated with him.
And then something very odd happened. Right around 9 PM local time, as they were gearing up to welcome the Mittster to the arena, the lights dimmed and out came a cultural icon from the 60’s and 70’s, none other than former Mayor of Carmel, California, Clint Eastwood.
He had to be there as a politician, right? Not there to shoot the breeze, not when the convention time was cut by an entire day with the passing of a category 2 hurricane.
And then to my shock and chagrin I realized that Eastwood was on stage to run a parody conversation with an empty chair, I guess the nearest thing they could come up with besides an empty suit, the empty chair being occupied by a sitting president: President Barack Hussein Obama.
Amazing, I said to myself. This is the first convention in history to parody the sitting president. The RNC has sunk to a new low and they’ve gotten a cultural icon, Clint Eastwood, to deliver it.
And then Eastwood proceeded not to deliver it. In actual fact it was hugely embarrassing. Not embarrassing for me mind you, I was embarrassed for Clint Eastwood, as probably were a lot of people out in the TV audience.
Not so much in the convention though. As Eastwood stumbled through his vague notion of a script, conventioneers were howling with delight. As I cringed, they crowed and cat-called. I began to really feel sorry for Eastwood, who was clearly fumbling his lines as he struggled to keep with a script that sounded like it was written on a lunch box napkin by a third grader.
I felt sorry for him.
But then I saw this, and I stopped feeling sorry for him.

This gesture, one of simulating a knife being drawn across the throat of a sitting president was met with wild applause, the loudest of the convention, giving Clint all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings.
Dirty Harry stepped over the line.
Here we have a sitting president, whose religion, patriotism,  and even his nationality have  been called into question, and now we have an aging actor mimicking a presidential assassination at the national convention of the opposing party to the wild approval of the assembled masses.
Then I started to wonder whether the party hacks really did want all of this to happen, and knew that Clint Eastwood would garner some sympathy from viewers due to his age. Now I believe it to be true. Proving to myself that the Republican Party is no party for old men.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A One-Two Punch for Texas

Boy the federal courts are having its way with Texas these past couple of days, with one right cross delivered by a three-judge panel of the US District Court for the District of Columbia yesterday, where they rejected redistricting maps drawn by the Republican-dominated Texas legislature, and then just a couple of hours ago, a haymaker landed by a federal appeals court in Washington that blocked Texas’ recently passed voter ID law.
In the redistricting case, the DC court ruled that the Republican-drawn district maps discriminated against Hispanic and African-American voters, something that Democrats have been saying since drafts of the maps were first unveiled in 2011.
In the Voter ID case, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled that the recently passed law would seriously curtail the ability of minorities to vote in elections. Among the arguments that backed up the ruling, the court wrote that those without documents (like birth certificates) to obtain a photo ID would have to purchase them, discouraging poor voters, indeed federal prosecutors argued that this law created an illegal poll tax that was eliminated by the Voting Rights Act.
Ouch and ouch. Texas Republican legislators were caught with their hands in the cookie jar of blatant racial discrimination, that is, if you make it hard for only minorities to vote, that makes you an unmistakable and blatant racist.
How embarrassing for Texas Republicans.
How embarrassing for them as they sit in the final evening of their Mittsterfest in Tampa, celebrating the nomination of a man whose own religious sect until just recently rejected the notion of having an African-American assume high places in the LDS hierarchy.
Next thing you know they are going to want to take another look at “separate but equal” in our public school system.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Fat Man Sang

It’s all over, as they say, the fat lady is singing.
But in this case it was the fat man, New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Last night Chris Christie sang the death knell of the Republican presidential campaign in his keynote address to the assembled masses in Tampa, Florida, and sang it well.
What a fantastic blunder for the RNC, the committee that scheduled and orchestrated last night’s Republicanpalooza. What better way to throw the election than to put Chris Christie on stage right at this time and at this moment.
Mitt Romney is the nominee and Romney’s heavy-handed rules change that negates the efforts of grassroots activists has been presented and passed by most of the convention attendees. Now, one would think, would be the time to step away from singing to the choir, step away from appealing to the ultra rightwing base whose favor the RNC has curried for sickening months now. Time to step away from the crazies and extend a friendly hand toward the alienated moderates and Independents who have yet to be convinced that Mitt is It.
But to do that the RNC had to consider a moderate to be the keynote speaker. Someone who could lift the spirits of the whole assemblage and those at home.  Someone inspirational who could move people of a broad political spectrum to tell themselves that these Republicans really weren’t as crazy as the “lamestream media” has made them out to be.
But no, instead they put Chris Christie on the stage and he proceeded to spew his stream of vile hatred for what is arguably the heartland of America, workers and other “whiners.”
And all of the overweight and aging white men and women on the convention floor ate it up.

My guess is that Chris Christie’s speech sent all others off screaming into the night.
On a personal note, I find it incredible that a public school teacher could cast a vote for a Republican in this next election, not after hearing the utter disdain that Christie holds for people who ply that trade, or hearing the uproarious reaction in the convention to his belittling anti-teacher diatribe.

In short, Chris Christie did in his short few minutes at the podium, more damage to the Republican brand than any  major media market ad buy, and hopefully some of my teacher colleagues were watching. 
The RNC served up a disaster last night, but quite magically, these people don’t even realize it.
In their ignorance I find my bliss.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cruisin’ With Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz, the Republican nominee for US Senate from Texas, is turning out to be an embarrassment on the order of his predecessor-newbie on the national scene, Rick Perry.
Looking for a laugh line at the Republican National Convention yesterday, Cruz remarked that one good thing, that that is, a blessing that has resulted from Hurricane Isaac is that it chased Joe Biden out of Florida.
Biden was expected to speak in Florida this week to balance the Republican convention, but cancelled when it looked like Isaac was going to hit Florida.
The last thing Floridians want to hear while being lambasted by a hurricane is a stump speech by a pol, no matter who it is. But Cruz thought it was funny and passed the laugh along.
And now, as Hurricane Isaac makes landfall just southeast of hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, it seems clear that Cruz’ little joke was ill-conceived.
Hurricanes are a “blessing” to no one except for undertakers and home builders.
Ted Cruz is about as tasteless as unflavored gelatin. He and his spokesperson chortle at the umbrage we Democrats took to his tasteless remarks, proving even more to the point that this man is incapable of humanity.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Paulites Go Third Party

Surprise, surprise. The Ron Paul Republicans have been shunned by the mainstream Republican machine in Tampa, and have effectively been stripped of their delegate credentials.
Well, a lot of them, anyway.
And boy are they mad. So mad that they are not going to support Mitt Romney in the 2012 Election.
Again, surprise, surprise.
So they are going to go Third Party again and vote for one of their own, Gary Johnson, who is running for president on the Libertarian Party ticket.
And so here in 2012 we have a wonderful repetition of history. Remember back when Al Gore was running for president and he was opposed by not only Dubya but by Ralph Nader (of the Green Party), sealing the fate of the nation and thousands of US soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans as Dubya became president because of a Green revolt?
Well what if Johnson gets 5% of the vote that would have gone to Mitt Romney had they treated these recalcitrant (but still Republican) delegates with the respect and inclusiveness that they deserve?
Can it, will it be that easy?

A Tale of Two Cities

It's Convention Season in the South. This week we will see Republicans whoop it up in Tampa, Florida, now more uproariously than ever as they celebrate the bullet that they just dodged when Hurricane Isaac jogged to the west, sparing Florida's west coast from the brunt of a potentially damaging storm.
Here are some TEA Partiers doing just that in a TEA Party party.

Oh my, what fun.

Contrast that to the party they are having right now in the Big Easy.

In New Orleans they are boarding up their shops and homes again on the eve of the day 7 years ago when Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of that city. A city that has yet to come back even after 7 years, made possible, some say, by a completely uncaring Republican administration that handed out congrats to all the players who did so little for that city in the aftermath of Katrina.
So today, as the GOP celebrates in Tampa, southern Louisianans are bracing for yet another assault on their city. 
What a contrast in stories that are unfolding along the same coast, at the same time.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Disrespecting “Yellow Hair”

Just as we see Todd Akin busily backpedaling from his “legitimately raped” remark, and the echoes have not yet subsided from that little jolt, along comes yet another bat guano-crazy remark  from a similar source, the Republican Party.
 This time it seems to be even crazier - even more “off the reservation,” to make an unfortunate metaphor.
Unfortunate in that this remark involves Native Americans.
Pat Rogers, a member of the Republican National Committee has condemned New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez for agreeing to attend the annual state-tribal leaders’ summit.
From TPM:

“‘The state is going to hell,’ Rogers, who is a member of the GOP executive committee and is currently in Tampa for the RNC convention, wrote in a June 8 email released by Progress Now New Mexico. Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Col. Allen Weh ‘would not have dishonored Col Custer in this manner.’"

The Colonel Custer that Rogers is referring to is none other than General George Armstrong Custer who, along with 268 federal troops, was killed in the Battle of the Little Big Horn on June 26th 1876.

The huge losses are widely credited to Custer himself when he made incredibly poor strategic decisions that led to the splitting of his forces.
Nevertheless, Martinez, an Hispanic, is being criticized for consorting with the enemy of 136 years ago – even though the New Mexico tribes had nothing to do with that victory, thank you very much.
It’s like hating the Albanians because they lived near the Germans when they were kicking up a fuss in the first half of the 20th century.
But OK, OK, give Rogers all of that. Martinez must be some sort of heartless Democratic boor to consort with descendants of distant relatives of those who cut down the “Boy General” in his prime.
How, then, does that mesh with Governor Mitt Romney’s own episode of consorting with the enemy in the case of his August 17th fundraiser event with 12 Native American tribal leaders? The campaign did not divulge how many millions the governor raked in from that event, but however many millions there were, I cannot see how the governor, in good conscience, can hang onto those ill-gotten gains, not when General Custer’s blood is dripping from them.
Now Pat Rogers is as wrong as two right shoes that is a certainty. But if there be anyone out there in the radical fringe of the Grand Obsolete Party who disputes that, look no further than the atrocity of accepting blood-drenched lucre from the hands of the Red Menace.
Mitt Romney must return those campaign contributions.
What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Make Charter Schools Accountable?

Waitaminute. Today I am reading in the Austin American-Statesman that the people most concerned with the growth of charter schools at the expense of beleaguered public schools are now arguing for more accountability in charter schools.
You’ve got to be kidding.
One of the ways that charter schools have gotten where they are is through the fact that there is no accountability for them. Charter schools, you see, are exempted from any state-mandated high-stakes tests that are administered in a public schools. Tests that determine how you are placed in the 4-level school rating system that we have here in Texas
They don’t have to worry about them, prepare their students for them, or burn any of the 25 to 45 days of instruction for state-mandated testing administration.
All they have to do is teach their students (or should I say “clients”).
What luxury is that?
But now we are reading that this is not desired, no not at all. They want testing, and they want to be held accountable for what they are teaching their clients.
And I have to ask why, as one who is subjected to testing, and performance-rated by their results, why in all eternity do they want that?
Said Greg Richmond, president of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers:
“If our goal is to increase the number of great schools, you can't get there by approving bad schools and letting them stay open."
Well that makes sense. The greatest objection to the growth of charter schools is that they are not as effective as public schools. By some comparative measure, according to the article, 6% of public schools are rated “Unacceptable” in the state’s rating system compared to 11% of all charter schools.
I think that even this is a low figure, and in truth, there is no way to compare the two because as I wrote above, students at charter schools do not take the state tests. I prefer to point to the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University, whose 2009 study demonstrated that 37% of all charter schools underperformed compared to their public school equivalents.
Nevertheless, it is nice to see that charter school proponents want this in the face of the fact that, historically, charter schools do not perform as well as their public peers.
But then I have to stop myself and ask why. Why submit themselves to this abuse? Ever the pessimist, I have to suspect some sort of agenda, and I think I have happened on one.
In Texas we have a cap on the number of charter schools that may be authorized. That is, there are a bunch of low-performing schools that are taking up some of these spots. It does no one, who is a proponent of charter schools and vouchers, any good if some of these schools are stinkers. And wouldn’t it be better if the stinkers were shoved out in favor of high performers? High performers who are also known as “our friends?” Friends who can cherry pick and put together schools with motivated students?
And in doing so, by increasing the cherry picking, charter school proponents not only enrich their friends but also turn around the unfortunate statistics that seem to haunt them and give public school proponents such fodder for their cannons.
Because when you load up the charter schools with the state’s best students, the state’s least students concentrate in the public schools, and all of a sudden we have a taxpayer hue and cry over why we are throwing our tax money away at low-performing public schools, fueling movement to privatize the rest of the public schools.
And then everybody gets to cash in.
And then we have a world where public education as we know it disappears forever.
Also known as Republican Heaven.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Romney the Birther

Mitt Romney has shown how much he can stand up to verbal assault in the past, hasn’t he? When his religion becomes an issue, that issue is off limits. When his income taxes become an issue then his finances become off limits. When his business acumen becomes an issue – one that he has raised many times – then his time at Bain Capitol become off limits. When one of his own strays off the reservation and conjures up a magic shield to protect raped women from pregnancy, then that becomes an issue that is off limits.
In short, everything about Mitt Romney, including his dog, has become off limits.
And when he discusses it, he whines and complains about how dirty dealing the Democrats have become in their attacks on him.
So today, when Mitt was heard to say these words: “no one's ever asked to see my birth certificate” well that is not a dirty attack, is it?
Despite the fact that the birth certificate issue has been laid to rest time and time again, and should have never HAD to have been laid to rest in the first place, Mitt brought it up again just in time for the Republican convention.
A lie and a fabrication becomes an issue in the campaign, but we can’t discuss Romney’s role in sending American jobs overseas in the discussion of unemployment, what he has actually paid in income taxes in the discussion of revenues and public debt, or whether Romney’s worship of a God who lives on the planet Kolob is of a concern to his Christian base.
None of that is an issue, but all of a sudden it has again become an issue that no one has ever asked to see Mitt Romney’s birth certificate.
All of that aside, that statement is a patent lie. Someone has indeed asked to see Mitt Romney’s birth certificate. You cannot apply for a US Passport without submitting your birth certificate. Unless, of course, Romney has found some way to grease the wheels of the Department of State and has never produced a birth certificate, even though he has traveled overseas and been allowed to return to the US.
Doubt it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

At the Bottom of it All: Dr. Jack Willke, MD.

I have to admit that I am kicking up my heels with glee at the prospect of Republicans being newly embroiled in an internal struggle to silence the crazy rightwingers who have reared their head once again, this time a short week before they are to meet at their national convention.
It all started by a startling revelation from Congressman Todd Akin, running to take Senator Claire McCaskill’s seat, that women who are raped have a natural defense mechanism that prevents them from becoming pregnant.
The obvious inference is that pregnant women who say they were raped are either lying or grossly exaggerating the facts.
All of this led me to wonder who, or what is behind this pseudo-scientific conclusion. How is it that it has become such a widely-held belief among anti-abortion politicians.
Well as it turns out it seems to all come from one guy, Dr. Jack Willke, who is himself an anti-abortion activist. He has put out a couple of papers that have made this very case. Here is some of what he says and the mainstream support he has gotten.
From Wikipedia:
“Willke is a proponent of the concept that rape victims rarely get pregnant, stating in a 1999 article that ‘There's no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy’ and that by his calculations "assault" rape pregnancy is extremely rare and about four cases per state per year. In an interview on August 20, 2012, following the Todd Akin rape and pregnancy controversy, he said: ‘This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight. She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.’ These assertions were disputed by a number of gynecology professors. A study published in 1996 by the Medical University of South Carolina estimated that there are approximately 32,000 pregnancies from rape in the United States each year, a pregnancy rate of 5% per rape among victims of reproductive age.”
“Mitt Romney's 2007 campaign embraced Willke as “an important surrogate for Governor Romney's pro-life and pro-family agenda”, and Romney expressed is pride to "have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country.”
You know what this reminds me of? Lysenkoism. Trofim Lysenko was a Russian agronomist in the 20’s and 30’s who developed his own notions of botany and a process he called “vernalization” not from genetics but from questionnaires provided by peasant farmers. His notions were so politically correct at the time that they became strict doctrine in national agricultural planning, and served to produce disastrous crop failures year after year in Russia.
The result was that Russia, for many years, suffered from under production and many thousands of Russians died of starvation because of a reliance on this charlatan of science.
This is what we have here, in the new charlatan of science, Dr. Jack Willke. Only this time the result could have some very positive repercussions in this election in that Willke’s crackpot ideas are being identified as just that, and those that adhered to them are quickly running for cover. All of this just in time for the 2012 election.
In the Holy Bible we learn of Jesus and the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. In 2012 we have another miracle in the making, and we have none other than Dr. Jack Willke to claim the credit.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Can You Spell Karma?

Now I am not superstitious by nature, but I have a penchant to look askance at coincidence. When there is such an obvious confluence of time and events I have to wonder whether there are forces unbeknownst to science at work.

Call it karma, or call it God’s Wrath, there is a hurricane churning in the Antilles that promises to close in on the west coast of Florida next week, on Monday, August 27th by 2 PM Monday afternoon.

The west coast of Florida, right smack dab on top of the city of Tampa Bay, the venue selected by the Republican National Committee for its national convention to convene on Monday, August 27th 2012.

Here is the probable hurricane track for this storm, dubbed Hurricane Isaac.

Now, I may be a little hazy on my history, but I swear I have never ever heard of a hurricane striking a city at the same moment as the convening of a presidential year national party convention.



And now I have to wonder about the coincidence of names as well as times, dates and places.

They named it Isaac (and not Todd Akin) because Isaac is the 9th named storm of the season, and the list that they are using this year, one of six lists, contains that name.

It is, in short, a huge coincidence that Hurricane Isaac should aim directly at the RNC’s national convention at the precise day and time of its convening, AND that it is named after Isaac, the Promised Son of Abraham, the father of the Jewish Nation whose offspring are all known as the Chosen People of the God of Israel.

No, I am not especially religious, but when there is such a convergence of events, coupled with the fact that the Republican Party, and its TEA Party Crazies have been doing and saying some really really bad things about the poor, children, women and other targets of their disdain, let’s just say I won’t be totally surprised if, in addition to the hurricane, frogs fall from the skies, fire erupts from brimstone or a few people turn into pillars of salt.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Todd Akin: Crazy or Ingenious Idiot?

Congressman Todd Akin (R – Bat$&!+ Crazy) has his heels dug firmly into Missouri soil today as he firmly refused to honor my prediction of yesterday to quit his race for US Senate.

Here is his You Tube video that spells out the deep remorse of the would-be senator, and his plea to his would-be constituents to forgive him his ill-conceived remarks.
So I can just hear the GOP rank and file as they weigh their mainstream ideals that would prompt them to say “We forgive you Todd, now GTHO and STFU” with the batguano crazy Uberconservatives that are applauding his mightily ignorant remarks from Monday. Clearly, what Akin is counting on is a huge rightwing backlash against the mainstreamer’s criticism against a notion that is not so crackpot in their warped minds.
Does that make Todd Akin an idiot as I heard this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe?”
Or does that make Akin an evil genius who simply wants a little favor or two as he leaves his sinking political career?
Maybe it’s the latter. Maybe Todd Akin has weighed it all out and decided to become a thorn in the Establishment GOP, thus becoming a darling of TEA Partiers across his state.
Whichever it is, I’ll just bet that Claire McCaskill is calling the thousands of dollars that her campaign threw at Akin’s primary campaign money that was very well-spent.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Todd Akin: Something Akin to an Idiot

Congressman Todd Akin presents a small problem to the Republican Party. Like his compatriates, Akin believes that God has given woman a magic bullet to kill the sperm of a "legitimate" rapist, while at the same time letting less offensive sperm of a husband, friend or "illegitimate" rapist go by unharmed.

This is is, and as it turns out, other Republican officeholders' notion of why it is perfectly OK to force women who were raped to bear the children of their rapists. If they were pregnant, so they say, they weren't really "forcibly raped" but were somewhat compliant during the act in something calling back to Claytie Williams' idea that women who are raped should just "relax and enjoy it".

But Republicans are just about as outraged as the Democrats, moreso even, because of what this could mean for votes in a presidential year.

And why is that? First, not only is Todd Aiken now unelectable as a US Senator, he is probably unelectable back into his own House seat. Second, Todd Aiken is famously allied with Vice Presidential nominee-apparent Paul Ryan, who is not so famously associated with HR 3, which he co-sponsors, which would outlaw abortion even for rape victims (presumably along the same lines of logic that haunts the mind of Aiken).

Nope, Aiken is an albatross now. He is a giant millstone around the GOP and needs to be shoved under the bus quickly. At this typing, Aiken is still living in his self-constructed dreamland and is in it to win it. Prediction: before the sun sets tomorrow, Aiken will withdraw.

Apparently, Missouri has some statutes on the books that will allow this, and from what I am hearing, there could be an appointed nominee to replace him on the ballot if he withdraws, a wholly undemocratic process, but there it is.

My advice to Akin at this juncture is not to mention to anyone that he doesn't know where he will be living on Election Day. Tom DeLay couldn't resist saying that 6 years ago and look where he wound up.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Legitimate Rape as a Test of Witchcraft

Ho boy, now I know why Senator Claire McCaskill (D - MO) poured so much of her own campaign cash into seeing that her present Republican opponent, Rep. Todd Akin, became her present Republican opponent: he’s a total whackjob.

Rep. Akin claims, as we have learned from the Maleus Malificarum (translation Witch’s Hammer), that there are certain tests to finding out whether someone has really, really been raped or not. Really, really raped is the long form appellation of “legitimately raped”.
Some women, Atkin would claim, are illegitimately raped. Illegitimately in that they “asked for it” in some way. When they ask for it, it seems, according to Akin, they get impregnated. However, when the woman is really and truly sexually attacked and is most unwilling in the attack, well not only is that a legitimate rape, but also, she will not get pregnant from the rape.
Therefore, according to the logic of Akin, there are no women on Earth who need an abortion on account of being raped. If they need an abortion, obviously they were not legitimately raped, but were “askin’ fer it.”
Burn a witch. If she burns, she must be a witch. Throw a witch into a lake. If she floats, she must be a witch.
Rape a woman. If she conceives, that wasn’t really a rape.
Here is yet another example of Republicans making it too easy. Claire McCaskill had some potentially harmful opponents in the Republican Party primary, but she drew this little gem.
I don’t know about you, but I am positively achin’ for a few more Akins for Democrats to run against.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ryan Brings Mama

Hoping to deflect Democratic claims that Mitt Romney, and his budgetary policy wonk VP nominee, Paul Ryan, the GOP had Ryan bring his mama to his Florida rallies yesterday. His 78-year old mother, Betty, was there to help illustrate their claim that Ryan actually was born of a woman – and incidentally, that woman is enrolled in the Medicare program.
Her presence was necessary for him to point out to senior retirees that he was not out to gut their Medicare policies. No, not at all. He was, however, out to gut the Medicare of those who will retire in 13 years.
Why worry about them, after all. The dire consequences of the massive cuts in healthcare benefits will only be made known in an election cycle that is over a decade away.
No one cares about that.
Democrats, on the other hand, were quick to point out that not only will the advent of a Romney Administration spell the end of Medicare as we know it, but also that Romney’s policy wonk, Ryan, would have things go a little differently if his policies were passed in some sort of Ayn Randian future.
“Congressman Ryan didn’t tell seniors in Florida today that if he had his way, seniors would face higher Medicare premiums and prescription drug costs, and would be forced to pay out of pocket for preventive care. He didn’t say that if he had his way, Medicare would be bankrupt in just four years, or that he would give $150 billion taxpayer dollars back to private insurance companies, which raises costs for everyone.”
Yes, Paul Ryan has a mother he can trot out for the masses of gray-headed retirees to clap and cheer for, and yes, Barack Obama has no such mother because she died of ovarian cancer years ago due to a lack of healthcare insurance.
Yes to all of that.
The disingenuousness of it all, however, still amazes me. How do they do it? How do they attract these throngs given that this is the best that the Republicans can do?
Here is the secret recipe:
Winning in 2012
  • Chop a pound of BS in a bowl
  • Sprinkle with lies
  • Stir in a dollop of bat guano crazy TEA Party rhetoric
  • Add Mama
  • Mix well, serve steaming in huge dripping gobs

Friday, August 17, 2012

Come and Take It

Sorry, I couldn’t help using the war cry of the Heroes of Gonzalez in response to the bit of news that the Obama Administration has $31 million in federal highway funds designated for Texas, if only if they would come on down and ask for it.

That’s all they have to do, ask for it.
$31 million in “free money.”
That’s a lot of pot holes.
Yes, here and now, when our infrastructure is starting to crack and crumble, we have been given the option of collecting $31 million in federal dollars to be used to fix our roads…or not. It is, after all, an option, and one that our governor has been known not to exercise from time to time.
Sometimes he gives the reason that there are too many strings attached to collection of the federal dollars, strings that tens of other states don’t mind tying themselves to. This time, there doesn’t seem to be any strings at all outside of the fact that the money must be spent on highways.
And must be applied for.
And must be applied for just weeks short of the General Election.
Strings, in other words.
But in this case, it isn’t money Texas can simply blow off and no one is the wiser. In this case, should Texas not participate in this nearly half a billion dollar government giveaway, other states will get to slice up the pie into larger and fewer pieces.
In other words, no grandstanding on TEA Party principles of opposition to government handouts. The money is going to be spent irregardless of what Texas does.
Now the point is, does Texas go for its slice of the pie or does it end up with egg on its face again?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's a Ryan Cartoon Round-Up

I've been having fun with Paul Ryan these past few days.

I have not been alone in this.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Texas District Judge Bucks the Trend

Depend on Texas to buck the national trend of voter suppression.

In Ohio it is becoming fashionable to deny Democrats, only Democrats, the ability to vote at an Early Voting location during non-business hours, while at the same time offering Republicans the convenience of going to the polls after work to cast their ballots.

And in state after state we are seeing the growth in the requirement for a photo ID at polling places. True, most people have photo IDs, but elderly and poor people – also known as Democratic Voters – generally lack this thing.

Voter Suppression, that is, Democratic Voter Suppression, is the rule, not the exception these days.

But depend on Texas to buck this trend.

In Galveston, a federal district judge refused to grant a stay that would have allowed State Attorney General Greg Abbott to enforce newly-passed Texas voter registration laws, laws that would have seriously restricted the ability of people to register to vote, and to register others to vote.

Taken together, these laws would “prohibit completed voter applications from being mailed to county offices; prohibit deputy voter registrars from registering voters in counties where they don’t live; prohibit the photocopying of voter registration cards; require voter registrars to be Texas residents; and prohibit registration drives from firing deputy registrars based on their performance. Some of the blocked provisions specifically address “volunteer deputy registrars,” the canvassers who, by law, must be appointed to take applications from prospective voters.

So now, instead of allowing Republicans free reign to keep growing numbers of Texas Democrats from registering to vote, this Texas federal judge seems to be bucking the trend, and seems to be backhandedly allowing Texas voters to vote for Democratic candidates.

But leave it to Greg Abbott, he’ll find a way to keep Democrats away from the polls somehow. This is after all a national movement and one thing Texas Attorneys General are good at is going along with national trends.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Republicans Fall in Line…

I once heard a pol characterize the difference between Republicans and Democrats this way (and I think he was quoting Bill Clinton): “Democrats want to fall in love, Republicans want to fall in line.”

It is an often-quoted axiom of modern American politics that got another boost in credibility this morning as I viewed (again) the poll results at a local Fort Bend County newspaper’s online edition.
The poll asked the newspaper’s readers “Who would be your number one choice for Mitt Romney's Vice Presidential running mate?” Local readers all chimed in and by the weekend I could see that the poll results were going to be a little at variance to the desires of the local Republican electorate.
It’s gone now, and I regretfully have no screen shots, but if memory serves, on the morning that Romney announced that Paul Ryan was to be his running mate in the 2012 General Election, the locals in Fort Bend County had Marco Rubio as their number one choice with over 30%.
Now that’s what I call a consensus. These days you can’t get a third of Republicans to agree on anything so one candidate getting that many votes is tantamount to a landslide victory.
The number two choice? General David Petraeus pulling in 18%.
Now call me ignorant, but General Petraeus was way below my radar, but maybe that’s because I don’t watch Fox and Friends or listen to local AM talk show radio. So I Googled it and all I could come up with was categorical denials that General Petraeus was remotely interested in the job.
Then in order followed Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Condi Rice/Tim Pawlenty (tied) and then the Fat Man, Governor Chris Christie.
THEN came Paul Ryan with about 4 percent of the vote.
But what a difference a day makes, or 3 days in this case.
Three days later, on Tuesday morning August 14th, Congressman Paul Ryan has climbed in the polling from 4% to 16% and is currently tied with General Petraeus (as Pawlenty is with Rice, but apparently Paul Ryan’s 16% outranks Petraeus’) as seen on the screen capture at right.
Now I can’t figure out which one of these scenarios is the most proper way to characterize the course of events described above. I guess I want to keep with the whole “fall in line” meme because it seems to be what has happened, but then I am also aware of the fact, especially now that I have seen the nominee-apparent in action over the past few weeks, that there is this irresistible pull toward the desire to change history.
I guess I need to stay tuned and see how the vote eventually settles out. Will Paul Ryan eventually outpoll Marco Rubio? Will Fort Bend County conservatives be the “retroactive bellwether" of the Republican Party?

UPDATE: As of this morning, 7 days after Mitt Romney made his VP announcement, Paul Ryan's surge in the Republican poll has continued. This morning Ryan has gained his place permanently at the top of the poll, outstripping his nearest rival, former front-runner Marco Rubio by 5 points. It is now Ryan 27%, Rubio 22%. More fun in Red Red Texas where, contrary to popular belief, the politics of falling in line is alive and well.