Friday, May 31, 2013

If it Walks Like a Terrorist and Talks Like a Terrorist…

So it looks like a terrorist living in the South has mailed three ricin-laced letters to three men that the sender apparently thinks is at the head of an effort to confiscate his guns. Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, got the first, probably because he is the money behind a lobbying group that hopes to shout down the NRA with blistering media buys.

Then a letter was opened Sunday by Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Washington-based nonprofit Bloomberg started. It had ricin in it as well.
The letter sent to Bloomberg had a message in it that read, in part, the following:

"The right to bear arms is my constitutional, God-given right and I will exercise that right till the day I die. What's in this letter is nothing compared to what I've got planned for you."

That is a threat mounted on top of assault with a deadly weapon. Never mind the anti-terrorist laws that have been broken.

Then, a third letter was sent to President Obama.

All three letters were postmarked in Shreveport, La, and now we are finding that all three were processed by the same machine.

Then, in news that is breaking, the FBI is searching a home in New Boston, Texas. New Boston is in rip-roarin’ chain-draggin’ hell-bound East Texas, about 1 and a half hour’s drive from Shreveport.

Gee…the terrorist seems to be not only from the South, but from Texas…what a surprise.

But here’s the thing. Here is what I wonder. Do they have the right guy? I mean seriously, who goes around saying that the right to bear arms is a “God-given right” anyway? Who would be stupid enough to come up with that?

I’ll tell you who, Congressman Steve Stockman, also of Texas.

Steve Stockman got some bees up in his bonnet the other day when he was grousing about all those One-Worlders up North at the UN. The ones who want to take his guns. So he went off on them in much the same manner that the ricin terrorist went off on Bloomberg and President Obama. He “God-givened” them.

“The right to keep and bear arms is granted by God and protecting [sic] from government aggression by the Constitution. It is not subject to the whims of global totalitarians massed in New York City”

Now that is too eerie to be a coincidence. I hear, within just a few days of each other a terrorist claiming that owning a firearm is sanctified by God Almighty, and then a Texas congressman says exactly the same thing.
Jesus said, "When I shoot sinners I like to use my Bushmaster"

Is it a cabal? Is it coincidence? Or is it God and Jesus Christ the Savior of the World speaking through the terrorist and Steve Stockman both, professing through the two of them that He is sorely pissed off that Obama and Michael Bloomberg are fixing to take all of the guns away from the gun nuts.

Jesus may have talked the talk, and walked the walk. People may have labeled Him the Prince of Peace and have him quoted as saying stuff like turning the other cheek and loving the poor and the downtrodden, but Stockman and this still unnamed terrorist might just have it spot on.

If it is Stockman’s God-given right to own a gun, then maybe, just maybe, Jesus is a Terrorist, too.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Schlafly: GOPers Should Go After the White Vote

In a telephone interview the other day with some guy on the uber Christian conservative radio show host on Focus Today former ERA foe Phyllis Schlafly opined  that the RNC needs to stop wasting its time with its Hispanic outreach program. Asked about how George W. Bush succeeded in reaching out for the Hispanic vote, Schlafly said:

“I think that's a great myth because the Hispanics who come in like this are going to vote Democrat.  And there is not the slightest bit of evidence they are going to vote Republican.”
See that? George Bush’s rapport with Hispanics is a myth.

I have to agree.
Republicans are better served not trying to attract the Hispanic vote.
First, Hispanics have no reason to believe that Republicans have come to some epiphany that Mitt Romney really wasn’t serious about his47% comment. They heard Mitt dismiss them to an approving well-heeled audience of donors and high rollers.
Second, you can’t spend an entire presidential term, as Republicans did between 2009 and 2013 degrading the poor and lower middle class, and attacking immigrants of all stripes, and not escape Hispanics’ notice.
Schlafly’s right. Hispanics, if they vote, are going to vote for Democrats.
This was good advice. Don’t pander to Hispanics. Her advice, however, to go and woo those who habitually do not vote in any elections, is equally a catastrophically bad idea.
I know what she’s thinking. Here we have an untapped pool of 94 million voters who didn’t participate in the 2012 elections, and what better place to go but to try and tap in to the White nonvoters among them. Who would be more inclined than they to become proselytized as new TEA Party voters? They are like a sea of delectable Godiva chocolates just ripe for the picking.
But Schlafly is woefully uninformed as to the nature of the non-voters of America. Non-voters don’t vote because they don’t want to, don’t feel the need or desire to, and generally feel like their vote doesn’t count.
The Electoral College has something to do with that.
But that’s for another time.
I never thought I’d find myself in agreement with Phyllis Schlafly in anything, but in this we are agreed. Republicans are wasting their time and money going after the Hispanic vote. And this is why I applaud them in their noble effort.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Insanity Defined

One way to define insanity is the act of doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a different result. This is what Texas' governor Rick Perry is now engaged in, an act of insanity, in calling the state legislature back into special session this week so that they can redraw the boundaries of state house, state senate, and congressional districts.
It seems that the last time that the state legislature did this, they drew boundaries that were so outrageously in violation of the Voting Rights Act that it took a 3-justice federal district court panel, two of them appointed by Bush, to tell the state legislature that they had violated the VRA so heinously that the boundaries were not fixable.
So the justices drew up the boundaries themselves, and did a great job of it.
For instance, since Texas rated another 4 congressional seats since the 2010 census, the legislature awarded three of them through gerrymandering to three Republicans, and only one to a Democrat. Now Texas rated 4 more seats because of a sharp growth in population, much of it due to an increase in African-American and Hispanic numbers. Giving 3/4 of the new seats to Republicans bespoke the outrageous racial bigotry that pervades the Republican Party in the Texas legislature.
The justices fixed it and then we had a belated primary election that counted for little and got Ted Cruz the nomination in a low-turnout primary.
So now Rick Perry wants to do it all over again, and this time without the Yankee justices going all fair and just. Going all colorblind.
Rick Perry wants a do-over, a third re-districting to put all the Republican plans back in place as Texas Democrats are poised to register a million new voters for the mid-term election.
So guess what is going to happen? Absolutely the same thing as before. Out will come LULAC and the other assorted watchdog groups that brought the lawsuit challenging the legality of the last redistricting.
All of this, and nothing will change except for a bunch of lawyers will all have jobs as we litigate this whole mess yet one more time.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lizards on Mars

Some guy was looking at photos taken by one of our crawlers on the surface of Mars and decided that he was seeing a Martian. A lizard-like creature with 4 legs and a tail.
Here it is. Look right in the center of the image.

Now, if this is indeed the first photograph of a Martian, then we have two profound discoveries made here. One is that lizards exhibit convergent evolution having evolved to the same life form on separate planets, and the second is that lizards on Mars exhibit protective coloration or can change their skin color to match their surroundings, like chameleons and geckos do here on Earth, because the skin color of this Martian lizard is identical with that of the surrounding rocks
Either that, or it's a rock.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Some Gave All

On Memorial Day, 2013...

...perhaps the best way to honor our fallen soldiers and veterans is to work to reduce the latter to nothing over time, and in the present and future, work so that not one more of our living soldiers join his or her compatriots on hallowed ground.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

As American as Apple’s Lie

Encapsulating his own views on Objectivism, the basis of his Libertarian Creed, Rand Paul has spurred his mighty steed to the defense of Apple, Inc., for the innovative ways that it has hidden its corporate assets, reaped almost entirely from a voracious American iPod/iPhone appetite.
Paul claims that he is “offended” by the bipartisan bullying that Apple executives have had to endure from John McCain and Carl Levin, and demands that they “should apologize to Apple.”
I guess he means an apology much like the one that Texas congressman Joe Barton offered to British Petroleum when it was forced by a righteously angry federal government to fork over $20 billion in recovery and restitution for businesses that suffered when their Macondo well blew out in 2010.
I guess what Rand Paul is looking for is something like this:
I’m sorry, Apple. You have billions of tax-free dollars squirrelled away in Ireland supporting entities that have no facilities, no employees and, most importantly, no taxes, and we were too hard on you while you support Chinese sweat shops that surround themselves with nets to prevent their employee/prisoners from killing themselves. You poor, poor thing. How dare they ask you to pay your fair share in taxes?
Something like that.
How about something like this?
Rand Paul needs to realize that something as stingy as a corporation that sucks in all that cash only to hide it overseas, then come to congress to lecture it on fiscal responsibility, has no inclination to support his bid for the presidency in 2016. American love them some Apple products, but that could all turn on a dime if they try to buy a president.
Motorola makes better SmartPhones, by the way.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Congress No Care

News item: Fracture-prone bridge collapses after being struck by an oversized truck.

In other news, Congress, for the 37th time, voted to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare).
Congress no care.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Tom and Louie Show

Convicted felon Tom DeLay crawled out from the rock he is hiding under waiting for the jailer to slam the cell door behind him when he starts to serve his 3 year sentence for being a crook, a mean and nasty crook at that, to address the Spirit of the Eagle Republican Women’s Club the other day. Or is it the Spirit of Liberty? Or the Spirit of Spirits? No one knows for sure.

And he was accompanied by sitting congresswacko Louie Gohmert of Texas CD-1 both of whom addressed the roomful of Republican women at a luncheon this week. A luncheon that took place at a Baptist church. They were effusive with praise with each other in front of the gushing Republican women, especially when Gohmert said “Benghazi.”

Benghazi” is the new Republican code-word for the N-word. Gohmert says “Benghazi” quite a lot. Some day, it is hoped, he will be able to figure out where it is on a map.

Tom and Louie overlapped in congress for exactly one year and 5 months, but they appeared to be as thick as thieves as they nostalgically recalled each others’ presence on the House floor. They actually do share something in common: they are both embarrassments to their party.

Louie Gohmert is as well an embarrassment to his district. Texas CD-1 is the former district of Congressman Charlie Wilson. Charlie Wilson, you might recall, single-handedly started the ball rolling that ran the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, and some say, engineered the conditions that brought the USSR to its untimely end. Louie Gohmert? He says “Benghazi” Charlie Wilson? He raised a billion dollars to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan in a covert war. Louie Gohmert has some rather large shoes to fill, and fill him he doesn’t, can’t and will never do.
Flop sweat

Anyway, here is a photograph of Tom and Louie in full embrace with the Women’s Club president who appears to have been suffering from a case of flop sweat.

Some would wonder why Louie Gohmert had his photograph taken with Tom DeLay. I don’t. Gohmert is to politics what Heidi Fleiss was to Hollywood elites. And Tom DeLay, who sought legitimacy on DWTS and nearly dropped Cheryl Butler on her butt, will look under any rock for legitimacy.

And it looks like he found it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gay Boys Can Join the Boy Scouts Now

It’s official. As of January 1st, 2014 gay boys will be allowed to join the Boy Scouts of America.
Now all we have to do is wait for the other shoe to drop as God shows His righteous wrath at both this event and the passing of the marriage equality act in Minnesota. It’s bound to be a doozey now that we have ourselves a twofer.
In reading this MSNBC article on the matter, I was quite taken with this statement from Orlando Florida’s John Stemberger who started a group to oppose gay membership in the Boy Scouts back when it became an issue. It is just so ironic I have to quote it:

“Sex and politics just have no place in the Boy Scouts of America. "The entire process was disappointing.”

Well, yeah, that is correct, sex and politics have no place in the Boy Scout of America, and now perhaps we can move on without them. Gays didn’t make it a sex issue. The last place a gay boy would want to hook up with anyone would be in the Boy Scouts. Straights made it a sex issue. It wasn’t a political issue until opponents of gay rights wielded their righteous indignation that gays should be included in their exclusive club. Straits made it a political issue.
And the other irony that was practically jaw-dropping for me was the fact that the number one sponsor of Boy Scout groups that are religion-based – the Church of Latter Day Saints – the Mormons – were uniformly in favor of the change. This, when the Mormons were 100% behind California’s Proposition 8 which nullified California’s experiment with marriage equality.
Has the Mormon Church truly come around?
But it truly won’t be over until gays are allowed to serve in leadership roles in the Boy Scouts. This is the last widely-held misconception about homosexuals, that they are all pederasts. I am willing to bet that there are just as many homosexual pederasts as there are heterosexual pederasts . Gays are not allowed to be scout leaders out of an unfounded fear that they want to bugger boys. The socio-psychological group that the Boy Scouts needs to ban is pederasts, not gays.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why Tom Coburn Needs to Shut Up, and Now.

Senator Tom Coburn, in yesterday's statement on disaster relief for his state, laughingly indicated that any relief for his state must be offset by government spending cuts elsewhere. I noted in yesterday's post that his expectations are unreasonable because the spending cuts proposed invoke the third rail of Social Security and Medicare cuts, things that are just not going to happen.
These are not, according to Coburn, entitlements. These are investments.
But now I have another angle on why Tom Coburn is full of cornfeathers. You see, Oklahoma is prone to disasters, as are California and Texas. But both California and Texas are net contributors to the federal budget, they contribute more than they receive from the feds. That's because California is the first most populous state in the Union, and Texas is the second-most populous state.
We pay our share and then some.
Not so Oklahoma. Oklahoma has a mere 3.8 million souls within its borders, a population that the city of Los Angeles, or the city of Houston can beat without blinking. These people do not contribute as much to the federal coffers as they collect. They are a needy, receiver state.
And on top of that, of all the states, Oklahoma ranks first in the country in terms of the number of major disasters to befall a state between the years 1950 and 2011. See the graphic courtesy of the Manchester Guardian.

Tom Coburn just needs to sit down and shut up before Americans start demanding that Oklahomans pony up and pay their fair share. Insurance companies certainly operate this way. Heavy users of insurance payments should, by rights, contribute more.
Or Tom Coburn needs to shut up. Both work for me.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Coburn: Social Security Should Be Offset to Save His State

Today Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the latest recipient of (either) God’s Wrath (or) a natural disaster has drawn a line in the sand and required that any and all federal funds that come to his state in the form or disaster relief be offset by spending cuts to federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
That’s it. That’s the ticket. Let’s let the elderly pay for the disaster that befell Tom Coburn’s state yesterday.
They caused it after all.
They did.
They did if you go by Tom Coburn’s fellow Oklahoma Bible Pounders who relate every natural disaster to God’s Wrath. It must have been the transgressions of the elderly because…because they have been around awhile and have had the most opportunity to sin.
But really, how all of this is going to work toward Tom Coburn’s strategy is beyond me. What happens if we Americans, through our largesse ask for no offsets to help Oklahomans dig themselves out of this horrific disaster? What happens if we Americans, through our own sense of self-preservation tell Oklahomans that if they want us to give up our Social Security benefits, benefits that we have paid for lock, stock, and barrel, or give up our Medicare benefits because, well, ditto, then they can just go and dig themselves out of their own mess?
See, Tom Coburn is stuck between a rock and something hard. He voted against federal aid for Hurricane Sandy victims. He couldn’t very well vote for aid to his own state now, could he? Of course not. So now Tom Coburn has placed himself in the impossible position of having to ask Americans to give up their retirement benefits so his constituents can have low interest loans to rebuild their houses and lives.
And to this I have to say, H-e-double-hockey-sticks no. No way, Tom. If you want to put a condition on federal aid, a condition on helping your constituents, a condition that degrades my golden years, well then go fix your own state.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ka-BLAM! When a Scandal Blows Up in Your Face

Someone, someone on Darrell Issa’s Benghazi “Scandal” House investigation committee leaked one of many email messages to ABC last week in a case, built up from nothing apparently, for a panicked  government scurrying about in a massive cover up that built “talking points.” An exchange of emails that developed, over a time, what became “the story.”

That would be nice for the GOP. Finally they have the smoking gun that shows that the Kenyan has no moral compass and the presumed heir-apparent, you know, Bill’s wife, is incompetent and incapable of leading our country now or ever. That would be nice if only it were true.

Because when the White House released the hundreds of emails, emails that were already in the hands of House Republicans, to the press, we all got to see what passes for the truth to Republicans. We all got to see them with their pants pulled down.

They doctored the email messages that they received, then leaked them to ABC. ABC said thank you very much and published them, and the Obama Administration was set into a hand basket and placed on a one way trip to H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks.

Until now that is.

Now we know the truth, and the truth is that the Republican manufactured the whole thing. Here is what Benjamin Rhodes sent to Tommy Vistor three days after the Benghazi attack – what he actually wrote (copy found here):
“Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.”

“There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.”

          “We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies.”

But here is what Darrell Issa or one of his henchmen leaked to ABC:

“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”

They like the words “talking points” but notice that they do not appear anywhere in the body of the original text. It is, however, found in the title. Issa or one of his henchmen needed to move the title into the text, and change things about to make this look sinister. And notice how all those words got cut out. Who wants to read all those words when we can read “talking points” twice.

ABC got played by Issa or one of his henchmen, there is no other way to put it.

And Americans were played as well. Too bad Republicans, too bad. I hate it when it is this easy to see how corrupt you people are when trying to get to the truth of something.

You should make it less obvious.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

In Case You Missed It

I did. I was viewing the Harrison Ford/Tommy Lee Jones epic "The Fugitive" on Saturday night so I missed this gem of a spoof commercial from SNL.
I laughed out loud.


For Sale in Texas: Invisible License Plates

Beginning this month Texans, who are offered a vast array of choices for their license plate backgrounds, will have one more choice, and it is a doozey.

Or as they say here, Camo. Or as they spell at Texas DMV’s MyPlates website, Cammo.

Get it? Camoflauge? Ammunition?

Yes, Bubba, for a mere $30 per year you too can render your car indistinguishable from the surrounding environment. Invisible to all but radar. You can buy this little beauty and stick it on your F-150.

Or for only $3 more per year, you can pick a 3-letter 2-number message, like this one.

Fun-99 means that you just had fun emptying a 100 minus 1 bullets from your high capacity magazine into a target that amazingly resembles the President of the United States, or Treyyvon Martin.

Or go the premium route, and for $66 per year you can conjure up your own 6 letters/numbers message on a field of green blotches, like this one:

I suggest the message DEM187. 187, you know, stands for the criminal code section number covering murder.

Texas has just one-upped Kentucky, whose people are well-known for buying real firearms for 4-year olds.

Way to go, Texas.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

America’s Love Affair With Guns (and Death)

Americans love their guns.
American gun nutjobs claim that it is their constitutional right to keep and bear arms despite the fact that this is the only conditional right to be found in the Constitution.
No one, not even the framers, ever meant for Americans to keep and bear arms so that three- year olds could shoot themselves in the face with their meth addict grandma’s gun. No one, not even the framers, ever meant for American women to shoot themselves with military assault rifles as they hand them over to their husbands. No one, not even the framers, ever meant for Americans to keep and bear arms so that crackers in southern Kentucky could buy a real rifle for a four-year old, who then takes it and shoots his two-year old sister.
They meant that the 2nd Amendment was necessary for the nation’s defense because the fledgling country was not rich enough to arm and equip a militia let alone a standing army.
Clearly the 2nd Amendment has outlived its usefulness and is now doing real damage to the country. Now is the time to consider whether the nation would be better off banning the sale and ownership of all firearms, consider a full government buyback program, and a stiff sentence for anyone who keeps a gun because their sole intent in doing so is to do harm to others.
And the real tragedy of this logical approach to a gun safe America is that it will happen when pigs have wings.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Repealing Obamacare

News item: Today in Washington, D.C. the House voted to repeal Obamacare, and it passed by a roll call vote of 229 Aye to 195 Nay. This was the 37th time the same vote passed in the House since Obamacare became the law of the land.
Michele Bachmann jumped up and down, rubbing her hands gleefully, saying "It's back on the table."
For the 37th time, yes, repeal of Obamacare is back on the table.
Also in the news is the latest Congressional Budget Office report that the growth in health care costs have slowed, and that over the next ten years health care costs will contribute a $618 billion reduction in the budget deficit.
This report comes out and the House responds by voting to repeal this source of budget deficit reduction. House Republicans are not, are NOT serious about reducing the deficit. The only thing they want to do is retake the White House in 2016.
There is nothing else on their agenda.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Irony My Butt

Saw this on Zuckerberg's website.
I live in the South. This isn't irony. This is very nearly the distribution of TEA Party majority voters.

Profiling or Targeting?

I was pretty bummed out that a Cincinnati Ohio IRS group had decided to target conservative groups in evaluating whether they could claim a tax-free status for their organizations. Using search words like Tea Party and Patriots means only one thing: singling out rightwing conservative groups. I mean, this is what Nixon did to people on his enemies list. This is what J. Edgar Hoover did when he had the IRS audit members of the NAACP. This is just not very cool.
Then I looked a little deeper and realized that the bean counters at the IRS weren’t targeting conservative groups for being conservative, they were targeting tax evading groups for being tax evaders.
TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already. These people are poster children for tax evaders. They make their livelihood trying not to pay their fair share in taxes. So when a PAC applies for tax-exempt status, and 2717 did last year, one wonders whether any of them are really entitled to 501 (c) (4) tax exempt status. In order to qualify, the groups must promote social welfare, not political interests.
The only social welfare programs that these TEA Party groups have any concern with is the repeal of Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
And while none of the conservative groups were eventually denied the benefit, one liberal group actually was. But Karl Rove’s Crossroads PAC, which enjoys tax-free status, remained untouched.
No, the only thing that the Cincinnati IRS group is guilty of is being guilty of being too efficient by profiling groups that are most likely to be tax cheats – conservative political groups. And they are guilty of being numb to how their effort might look to the outside. These bean counters probably don’t have a political bone in their collective bodies, but that is what the uber-right is saying.
Know why they are saying that?
It’s what they’d do.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Michele Bachmann to Resign and Move to Oregon

Well the fat is in the fire, and I am taking Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at her word that she will now be forced to resign from her congressional seat in order to avoid the coming wrath of God to Minneapolis and move, as she has suggested, to Oregon.
At least she has until August 1st.
That takes some of the urgency out of it at least.
Today, Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota signed the Marriage Equality Act that was passed by the Minnesota legislature this past week.
“Dayton thanked legislators for ‘political courage’ before signing the bill just a day after it passed the state Senate. It passed the House last week.”

In other news, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has avowed that should the marriage equality act become law, it means the inevitable sure and swift reaction from a vengeful god who does not want His creations to love one another when they are of the same sex.
Said Bachmann to a local TV station reporter:
"Sodom and Gomorrah thought they could defy the will of God, and we all know what happened to them. If the governor signs this legislation into law the Minneapolis-St. Paul region will be next.

Fire and brimstone is about to rain down on Minneapolis. Or something anyway. Fire and brimstone is so Old Testament now. Maybe it will be floods from spring runoff. Or a late spring blizzard. Or tornadoes. They have tornadoes there don’t they?
Anyway, Michele Bachmann is outta there now that Governor Dayton has signed the bill that takes effect on August 1st 2013. Where is she going one might ask. Well she answered and the answer is Oregon which has constitutionally banned same sex marriage.
For now anyway.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Natural Disasters vs. Acts of God

Michele Bachmann is looney tunes. She actually claims that the natural disasters that have occurred are all because of the wrath of God. But that’s not all. She also claims that 911 and Benghazi (which occurred on 9/11) are also the result of God’s wrath.
Everything bad is apparently God’s wrath.
That’s it. That’s the ticket. Last Saturday I was working outside and got a huge blister in the middle of my palm. Very painful, especially when it burst. The palm of humans have some of the highest concentrations of nerve ending in the entire human body. So I’m guessing that if Michele Bachmann is right about natural disasters and planned attacks by fanatical Muslims being a result of God’s wrath, then by God my blister must be similarly an act of God.
So I was looking around You Tube for a quote from Michele Bachmann on all the bad things that happen to us, found them, but then found this little gem. It has very few reads but it cleverly turns it back on Bachmann in terms of Red State/Blue State.
Pretty funny.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

3 Out of 4 Ain’t Bad

Well the Uniform Elections of May 2013 are now in the history books. These are very local city and school board elections and turnouts usually stink.
In Fort Bend ISD there was a truly dismal turnout of 3.27%. This is about half as much as usual. When there is a truly hot button election Fort Bend school board races can attract up to 6% turnout. So in this election, every participant cast a vote for themselves plus 29 of their neighbors who are registered to vote in the district.
Results were uninteresting. Jim Rice won handily. He was running against an empty chair so it stands to good reason that the vote was heavy in his favor.
Dave Rosenthal fended off his seat from Cynthia Lenton-Gary who was appointed to the seat to serve out Jim Babb’s term. She then lost it to a TEA Party geophysicist. Interestingly enough, had they been the only two running Rosenthal still would have won handily.
In Lamar CISD things ran a little more interesting. Most notable was Kay Danziger’s squeaker in her race for District 2 against Beth Horstman. Danziger lost to Horstman in early voting by 14 votes, but scored 20 more Election Day votes than Horstman, putting her over the top by 6 votes.
Both Anna Gonzales and Frank Torres slaughtered their opponents who were supported by PAC money that was chiefly funded by a Tomball homebuilder. The PAC, known as Whistle PAC, was founded by the brother of a local political consultant who was chiefly responsible for recruitment of these candidates. The brother, Rodney Vannerson, is up on charges of Criminal Mischief when he was caught red-handed stealing Frank Torres’ campaign signs.
Karen Mendoza’s race – a 3-way – resulted in the election of Kathryn Kaminski. Kaminski was also funded by Whistle PAC, and in this case, the out-of-district money came in handy and bought Kaminski a seat on a school board where the pay for her service is Zero Dollars. Kaminski is a LCISD contractor. That’s right. A contractor. Did anyone bother to explain to her all that stuff about conflict of interest? It’s big in the public sector.
Still, results in LCISD could have been much worse. Elections have been bought and paid for before and this one had dollar signs stamped all over it. A really good school board trustee was replaced by someone whose business brings her in direct conflict with her service on the school board, but in three other races the outcomes were good ones.
3 out of 4 ain’t bad.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

No “Do-Overs” in Obamacare

One of the intentions of the Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as “Obamacare,” once a derisive term, was to lower monthly healthcare premiums by introducing competition in the insurance marketplace. As it stands today, a person who works for a company that offers group medical plans is forced to deal with the companies that have made a deal with the employer’s HR department, and typically there is only one vendor selected.
Now, with Obamacare, there is true competition, and insurance companies are finding their monthly rates are posted in state marketplace websites so potential clients can compare rates and services. In Texas, of course, we don’t have a similar website to go to for the best deal in the healthcare exchanges. That’s because Perry has declined to set one up and wants the feds to do it. If Obamacare succeeds, you see, Rick Perry and his TEApublicans fail.
For a president who has been accused of being a socialist, this is not a very socialist state of affairs, is it?
It appears to me to be more of a progressive arrangement: breaking up monopolies by encouraging competition.
For example, Think Progress has a story out today about two events in Oregon. It seems Oregon has a website where one can view the monthly premiums being set by insurance companies, and two of these companies participating in the health insurance exchange have asked permission to lower their monthly premiums by as much as 15%.
Click me. I get bigger.
See, they were playing by the old rules of monopolistic health insurance. Their competition was severely underbidding them. So two insurance companies one of them being Providence Health Plan, have embarrassingly found that they are charging too much and want a do-over. I am actually in favor of not allowing do-overs. Let the market decide which company survives and which do not. That is as close to laissez-faire capitalism as you can get.
And what is so wrong with that?
In the oil and gas business, they have offshore lease sales from time to time, and the company that wins a lease has bid the most. It doesn’t work if you get a do-over. In school districts, vendors bid on everything from toilet paper to building construction. If they get underbid they lose. There are no do-overs.
So, no do-overs in Obamacare, OK? Let the market run its course and let the strong survive.
That’s Obamacare.