Sunday, October 27, 2013

Couldn't Resist

Perusing websites looking for nerdy science jokes. My classes eat them up. Couldn't resist borrowing one for the website as it is 100 percent appropriate.

And then there is this one. Totally INappropriate.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

So I Was Wondering...

whether you noticed that I wasn't posting blogs every day as has been my habit. So I looked at my views and have seen that yes, indeed, you have noticed it. My views have hit the floor. There is a reason that I have not posted blogs on the events of the day but I really don't  want to go into it right now because I have varied readers who don't need that information right now.
But I just wanted to make a plea to Texans about Proposition 6 on the Texas ballot this off-off-year election while no one goes to the polls. No one except for the truly wonky politicos among us. These constitution elections are so unsexy, no one votes in them.
Texas Proposition 6 is a constitutional amendment that gives the state legislature permission to release 2 billion dollars of the state's "rainy day fund" so that we can find new water supplies for the state.
Now don't get me wrong. We need water. We will need more water as the global climate shifts and Texas becomes more water poor. But here is the thing. A couple of years ago Texas had a little budget crisis and a few hundreds of thousands of Texas teachers were tossed out of their jobs so that school districts could balance their budgets and increase their class sizes.
And at the same time decrease education quality statewide.
What is more important, after all. Crops and crop supports for Texas farmers? Or education of the next generation? Because I am here to tell you that the next generation is behind. They have been put behind by past education policies that include NOT releasing the rainy day fund for education at a moment when it was most direly needed.
Farmers. Get your water from turnips, just as we educators had to squeeze every dollar allotted to us over the past two years.
Texas should vote NO on Proposition 6. Laissez faire. Let them survive in the marketplace. Education has done so. Why not farmers? Not one dollar for farmers that has been denied to Texas' children.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Say NO to Outsourcing

OK. On a personal note I have a bone to pick with the corporations that have outsourced their customer services overseas. You know what I am talking about. When you have a Comcast problem you are hooked up with a guy with an Indian accent. Now I don't rail against Indians who want a job. I just want to have service provided. And truth to tell, the Indians have done well by me.

Not so much the hotel industry.

Outsourcing the hotel industry has been a disaster. Philippinos have know idea about our conditions. Nor do Indians. Their call centers in American hostelry has been disastrous. And no, the fact that my own kindred lost their job to the Philippines has no bearing on this.

Well, a little.

I made a travel arrangement tonight and had some concerns about the hotel's location. A concern that the remote handler could not deal with. I was given the local number - a number that I should have already been provided - and we got it all worked out. Here is the exchange.

Please enter required fields to start the chat. 00:20
Hal has joined the session 00:21
Welcome to IHG chat! 00:21
IHG: 00:21
Hello Hal!
IHG: 00:21
Welcome to a secure chat session, one moment while we connect you.
IHG: 00:21
If you need to manage your Rewards Club account, Sign in here -
IHG: 00:21
You are next in the queue.
Cheryl Ann O. has joined the session 00:21
Cheryl Ann O.: 00:21
Hello Hal!
Cheryl Ann O.: 00:22
How may I assist you?
Hal: 00:23
I am traveling this November with a truck and trailer to California and I need specific information on the Holiday Inn at xxxxx Gateway Blvd West in El Paso.
Cheryl Ann O.: 00:24
May I ask what specific information would you like me to check for you?
Hal: 00:26
I need to know whether there are obstacles like steep offramps or other kinds of twists and turns that would make it difficult to park my truck and trailer at the motel.
Hal: 00:27
I know El Paso somewhat and know that this is an issue.
Cheryl Ann O.: 00:30
Upon checking, we do not have that specific information. Kindly contact the hotel directly to provide you the complete information with regards to your concern.
Cheryl Ann O.: 00:30
The hotel number is xxxxxxxxxxx. You may also send an email to
Hal: 00:32
Thank you for your honesty, Cheryl. You cannot know the conditions in my country. That is the fallacy of having those out of our country provide services to Americans. You really are irrelevant.
Cheryl Ann O.: 00:33
Is there anything else that I can check for you?
Hal: 00:33
No, Cheryl, you have done all you can. Nothing. Have a nice day.
Cheryl Ann O.: 00:33
Thank you for contacting us. Have a great day!
Cheryl Ann O. has left the session. 00:33
Hal has left the session. 00:33
Chat was finished 00:33
OK, my point is that we need Americans to serve Americans. The corporate world has outsourced reservations overseas. And so much more. We need Americans to rise up and demand that these corporations deal with us and not some overseas phone bank. Do this. Do not deal with overseas agents. Protect American jobs.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


No one on our side thought that the Republican plan to defund Obamacare was going to work. Not us, not House Democrats, not Senate Democrats. The only ones who thought that they could win were the TEA Party Republicans. They thought that they had this deal in the bag. One of their leaders, Rand Paul, has recorded it on a live microphone. Give a listen.

What a hoot. These people are in the process of thrashing apart their own party, just as it is happening here in Fort Bend County. I was there at Pete Olson's Town Hall recently. I saw how Pete Olson whipped up his faithful to support Ted "The Dead" Cruz. They had him loved lock, stock and barrel.

Really, if there is anything left of the Republican Party after this fiasco,  God bless them. They have obliterated themselves from relevancy.

Hey, anyone out there who feels alienated by the Republican Party. Join winners. We have a great big tent and are willing to listen to all comers. It dilutes us, but we are the stronger for it. Come one, come all. The Democratic Party is a party of understanding. A party of love.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The ACA Is a Conservative Healthcare Plan

Now I've known for a while now that the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was the conservative response to Hillarycare way back when a bill to provide us with a national healthcare plan was attempted in congress, and failed. What I did not know is that it was not only a conservative brainchild, it was the brainchild of a researcher working within the Heritage Foundation.
The Heritage Foundation. You know, the one currently being run by Jim DeMint? The one spending a half million bucks on an ad campaign to pressure a 100 congressmen who did not sign the Mark Meadows letter demanding that Obamacare be defunded by refusing to pass a budget bill until it is. Pressuring them to sign on, even as negotiations have drifted away from the Obamacare debate.
The Heritage Foundation.
They are now working against their own plan. You can read all about it at this website. It's a PDF file and has the Heritage Foundation's name all over it. And you'd think that they would have fired its author, Stuart M. Butler, for having authored this law that has been passed by congress and found to be constitutional by the Supreme Court, but no. He is still working there as a Distinguished Fellow and Director of their Center for Policy Innovation.
Here is an excerpt from the file:
"Many states now require passengers in automobiles to wear seatbelts for their own protection. Many others require anybody driving a car to have liability insurance. But neither the federal government nor any state requires all households to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic costs of a serious accident or illness. Under the Heritage plan, there would be such a requirement."
Sound like a familiar argument? He actually was the guy who came up with the idea of the individual mandate. That was his idea.
He also came up with the idea of expanding Medicaid from not only covering welfare recipients but also the working poor.
One part of the ACA that he did not think of is the one where people with pre-existing conditions cannot be refused insurance, and pay as much as anyone else for their policy. But that is one thing that is so universally popular, no one, not even the Heritage Foundation, is talking against that provision.
So if you are of a conservative nature and oppose the ACA because it is a liberal notion, and no conservative would ever sign on to such a job-killing, people-killing law, think again.
The law came from your side. Not mine.

Friday, October 11, 2013

RFTC A Massive Failure

Well, you know the 10,000 trucks that were supposed to convoy to DC and stage a protest by snarling traffic on DC's Beltway starting today? All the truckers who were going to bring the Capitol to its knees? The one that has its own facebook page and website (with a "Donate" page attached)?
Thirty trucks showed up.
The rainy weather in DC today apparently had more of an impact on traffic than the 30 trucks.
"Ride For The Constitution" the protest is called. Apparently the Constitution is in some sort of trouble and it is up to truck drivers to set things aright again. One thing they want to do is impeach that Black President.
And Texas Republican bat-guano crazy congressman, Louie Gohmert is somehow involved in this. They plan on meeting Louie at the WWII Memorial to present him with a list of their demands. Demands like better wages, lower fuel prices, fewer trucking regulations...oh, and impeaching that Muslim President who is the Anti-Christ and "a threat to our national security."
Because passing Obamacare is a threat to our national security, but stopping traffic and commerce in our nation's is not.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Defund Major League Baseball !!

OK, there is nothing that I can write tonight that will top this brilliant letter to TEA Party Republican Jack Kingston of Georgia. It seems that a disgruntled Braves fan wants him to outlaw Major League Baseball until the LA Dodgers (who won the NLDS pennant last night) relinquish their title. A title they won because the Braves "couldn't score enough runs."
Go and read it and then go to the update at the bottom and read Kingston's response. I am constantly in awe at what passes for humor with these guys. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Michele Bachmann: Congresstwit and Prophet

Michele Bachmann just said that because President Obama gave the Syrian opponents to the Assad Regime equipment to protect themselves from weapons of mass destruction - anti-chemical weapons gear - we are now verged on the End Times.
Armageddon is just around the corner because the President sent this gear to "al-Qaeda."
This is very odd. Why would the President authorize Seal Team 6 to run two simultaneous extractions of al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists in Somalia and Libya, and then move to support al-Qaeda in Syria?
But that's OK, Michele Bachmann interprets this move as a clear signal of the beginning of events leading to the 2nd Coming of Jesus.
Which is a good thing
"Rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand,” Bachmann added later. “And so when we see up is down and right is called wrong, when this is happening, we were told this; that these days would be as the days of Noah. We are seeing that in our time. Yes it gives us fear in some respects because we want the retirement that our parents enjoyed. Well they will, if they know Jesus Christ.” 
All of this seems so obvious to her but I can't help but wonder why Bachmann thinks she and she alone can see the writing on the wall. How does she know this when Jesus said this:
"No one knows when that day or hour will come —not the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
Matthew 24:36
One thing she has gotten right, though, these days up is truly down and wrong is truly right.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Cruz Blues

Ted Cruz is starting to make himself unwelcome in DC and elsewhere. This is one ego maniac who people are shunning everywhere. Well, except for Sarah Palin, but then, yeah, that makes sense.
Today TEA Party Virginia governor-wannabe Ken Cuccinelli actually fled the room rather than share the stage with Ted Cruz. He is like a Typhoid Mary of TEA Party politics these days. Cuccinelli, by contrast, is sane.
And today I traced it all the way back to when Ted Cruz derailed himself. Yes it does go back to where he said Obamacare could be defunded - but it couldn't - but people didn't actually start laughing with derision at Cruz until his now-famous reading of Dr. Seuss.
It all proceeds from there. So in celebration, here is a Half Empty collection of the best cartoons from the internet, a collection that I am calling Cruz Blues.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Well That’s Just Discreditable

I learned a new word today. The word is “discreditable.” I read it, looked it up at and then used it in a sentence. That word is made mine, now.
I found it when I read that the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Texas Congressman Randy Neugebauer for “conduct that reflects discreditably upon the House.”
I saw the incident that CREW took offense to on MSNBC yesterday. It really was crass and arrogant, but those are Randy’s two middle names. Here is the clip that I got from HuffingtonPost.

It has more content than what I saw which was cut down. The guy in the bike helmet laid into him pretty well, don’t you think? I don’t know why he was so calm, and maintained decorum because Neugebauer clearly did not.
Anyway, CREW makes a valid point in their complaint, one I’d like to quote:
“Rep. Neugebauer’s conduct violates House Rule 23 which requires all members of the House  to conduct themselves ‘at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House.’ This ethics standard is considered to be ‘the most comprehensive provision’ of the code. When this section was first adopted the Select Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the 90th Congress noted it was included in the Code to deal with ‘flagrant’ violations of the law that reflect on Congress as a ‘whole’ and that might otherwise go unpunished.”

Neugebauer is unapologetic for this behavior. Yesterday on a Lubbock AM talk radio show Neugebauer twisted the whole thing around, blaming the park service for keeping “honor flights” from visiting the WWII veterans memorial, something that, quite to the contrary, they were doing. He also falsely claimed that he told her that she should be ashamed of the Park Service, when clearly he was bullying her about being ashamed.

CREW is making a federal case out of this exchange, literally, and my hope is that he gets his butt kicked over this one.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

In For the Win

Wendy Davis is going to run for Governor of Texas.
That's what she said in a mass email message that I got from her today. I imagine I got on her list because I remember sending her an email message with a personal anecdote on abortion rights because they needed on-topic material for her to read in her filibuster last June.
Don't know if she used it. It wasn't terribly inspiring but it was a true story.
Which I'm not going to share here, thank you very much.
I've been dubious about her chances recently because the GOP is so strong in this state and the people we need to come to the polls and vote just won't do that. But I just read this article and I think I am now less "Half Empty" about her chances.
Her polling shows that she trails her probable Republican opponent, Greg Abbott by 8 percent, but most of those polled have no opinion.
No opinion? Texans have no opinion about whether to vote for a Democratic state senator, and a woman to boot, and an old white man who is only marginally successful in his job as state attorney general?
No opinion? None?
Then there is hope.
When Ann Richards pulled out on top back in the 90's and beat Claytie Williams by 3 points it should be remembered that she started out 27 points below Williams. Wendy Davis has the same kind of tenacity that Ann Richards had. Wendy Davis is anything but a pushover.
And because of this Wendy Davis has nationwide name-recognition. 
But Greg Abbott? Who's Greg Abbott? Oh, yeah he's the straight man teamed with Lou Costello sometime back.