Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Hurricane Trumps Your Tornadoes

Unfortunately yesterday, the north Georgia area had several tornado touchdowns and in one case, it took out the downtown area of a small town, the town of Adairsville, Georgia.
One person in southern Tennessee seems to have been killed by a tree that fell on the place he was taking refuge in.
But probably the greatest tragedy is that the area is represented by Phil Gingrey, a Republican congressman who notably voted against the Hurricane Sandy relief bill. Now you have to wonder whether the congressman will have the brass to submit a bill to bail out his constituents.
My guess is that he will, but the sheer irony presents itself.
The trouble with all this is that there is precedent in not sending aid to this area when it is devastated by tornadoes, as it is from time to time. Last time the area got hit by tornadoes, in 2011, there was significant damage from Hurricane Irene, and when the tornadoes hit later, FEMA’s resources were drained by Irene recovery efforts.
Georgia and Tennessee were simply told that there wasn’t any money left to fund their long-term recovery. So it kind of makes you wonder if, in all this bluff and bluster about having offsets before funding for disaster relief is approved is really just about payback. In 2011 FEMA turned its back on these two red states. Is turnabout, then, fair play?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kerry as SecState: Texas Votes No

Texas has the singular honor of being the only state whose two senators voted No in the Senate vote to confirm Senator John Kerry as thenext Secretary of State.
That’s right, John Cornyn – the guy who made heavy use of the 2S deferment that got him out of the Vietnam War voted against Vietnam War veteran John Kerry. Ted Cruz being a bat guano crazy TEAbagger couldn’t help himself, but Cornyn should be ashamed of himself.
The vote was 94 – 3 with Senator Kerry abstaining.
The other guy to vote no, not surprisingly, was Oklahoma senator James Imhofe.
Imhofe thinks that global warming is a hoax, so consider the source.
In actuality Kerry’s 100% No vote from Texas should be a badge of honor to be worn proudly. Who would want to have the likes of Cornyn and Cruz cast a Yes vote for you anyway?

Monday, January 28, 2013

The GOP Knows Voter Fraud When It Does It

When Republican Robin Rubin, a Las Vegas casino worker, got to her Henderson Nevada polling place last November she cast her lot, and her vote, for Mitt Romney, the ultimate loser last year. But that was not enough for her. One measly vote and she’s done.

But not her. Robin Rubin, you see, was absolutely certain that there was rampant voter fraud (so she says, anyway) and wanted to test the system.

So she left her job later that same day and tried to cast her second vote for Mitt Romney in Las Vegas.

The poll worker informed her that she had already voted. No, she insisted, I have not voted and insisted, insisted I tell you, that she be able to cast a (nother) ballot.

But the system worked and she was turned away, but not before her actions were reported to the state agency that oversees voter fraud – the Elections Integrity Task Force. She was arrested and charged with voter fraud.

Her defense? She was merely trying to test the system. She wouldn’t have actually cast a second ballot. But apparently the system worked and so her test failed.

The judge bought it (I’m not buying it) and gave her a very light sentence to cover the costs of her investigation, do 100 hours of community service, enroll in a course on impulse control, and keep her nose clean.

The irony to this whole story, besides being a Republican doing what they say Democrats do, is in the statements of the state’s Secretary of State, Ross Miller. Miller is in the unfortunate position of being another Republican elected official who is gung ho for new voter ID laws that include photo identification, but now has to admit that the system actually works.
“If Ms. Rubin was trying to demonstrate how easy it is to commit voter fraud, she clearly failed and proved just the opposite.”
This is something that a Democrat would say, but no, the Secretary of State is Republican. Notice how he tries to fix all this with this statement:
“That does not, however, mean that there is no need for vigilance and enhancements to the existing system. Our existing safeguards work, but when we have the opportunity to further strengthen the security of our system, without disenfranchising any voters, we should do so.”

Yep, he actually said that. He admitted that the system works fine, but wouldn’t it be just wonderful to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to make it still work.

Republicans doing stupid things and Republican saying stupid things. If it weren’t for that there would be nothing to write about except for what the cat did today.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ummm…Sixty is the New Forty

Governor Perry has consulted his Holy Bible and lo and behold he has extracted new meaning where there was none before. See, it has been 40 years today since Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land – settled law according to Chief Justice Roberts – but the number 40 bears some significance to Rick Perry, and as it turns out, it bears some significance to God.
Rick Perry told a crowd of pro-coat hangerists today at the state capitol that according to the Holy Bible, Noah’s flood lasted for exactly 40 days and 40 nights. And not only that, God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, spent 40 days in the wilderness before He started His ministry.
So it’s only logical, you see, that God works with the number 40.
So Roe v. Wade according to God and Rick Perry is going to be dumped onto the trash heap of history this year- in its fortieth year.
But here is the fly in Perry’s ointment. God seems to have changed His mind on the number 40. In times past, like in the last century, when one reached 40 years of age it was all downhill from there, and one was put on a steadily accelerating rollercoaster headed inexhorably to the grave. But thanks to modern chemistry and medicine, it seems that 60 is the new 40.
Times change, you know. Forty isn’t all it was cracked up to be. One has to think out of the box here and understand the new numerology.
So to all you anti-choice people out there I say this: we pro-choice people have been reprieved for another 20 years before we have to let another class of “abortion doctors” sharpen up their coat hangers for a renewed carnage.
Because you see, it’s true what they say, anyone who wants an abortion badly enough will find some way to get one. Ironic, isn’t it that conservatives don’t believe that banning guns will bring a halt to gun violence, but do believe that banning abortion will bring a halt to abortion.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What? A Daily Pledge of Allegiance Isn’t Good Enough?

Every day, in every classroom from coast to coast and in Alaska and Hawaii, millions of American school children pledge allegiance to the American flag and to their country.
Every. Damn. Day.
But that is not good enough for Arizona State Representatives Bob Thorpe, Sonny Borrelli, Carl Seel, T.J. Shope, Jeff Dial, David Livingston, Chester Crandell, and Steve Smith. No, not by a long shot. These miscreants, Republicans all, have devised a plan to force every Arizona high school student who wants to receive a diploma sign a loyalty oath. The loyalty oath, as currently proposed reads like this:
“, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.”

The italics are mine.
Taking an oath freely and without reservation, the consequences being NOT receiving a high school diploma is not, in my opinion, an oath taken freely.
And the requirement that everyone should include in their oath the words “so help me God” runs counter to the principles laid down in the 1st Amendment. It is an option, not a requirement.
Up until this point, the only people who are required to take this oath are those who are to enter the military, or to enter political office, or to become naturalized citizens. In the latter case, they also include a clause about renouncing former allegiances to their home country. But this is the first time in American history that a high school student is forced to sign an oath of allegiance.
And you know what? I wouldn’t do it were I an Arizona high school student and not because of the last 4 words either. I would refuse to sign it on moral principle.
Arizona still maintains the lead in right wingnut wackiness, but I am waiting for one of my Texas State Reps to follow their lead because what is good for people who have been in the sun too long is good for people who spend all their time inside cleaning their weapons.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Electoral College Re-Engineering

You really do have to hand it to the Republican Party. They got licked real good in the Senate, and they got trounced in the Presidential election. But does changing demographics get their goat? Do they just say to themselves we have to change because the country is changing?
Obviously not.
Obviously, because they are now engaged in Round 2 of cheating at the polls. Polling place intimidation tactics adopted by Teabaggers in the last election didn’t work. The black guy got re-elected. Voter ID laws in several states didn’t work. The black guy got re-elected. Discouraging voter participation by purging voter rolls didn’t work. The black guy got re-elected. And finally, guaranteeing long lines at the polls, not only during early voting, but on Election Day didn’t work. Barack H. Obama, the 44th President, and the first African-American president, got re-elected.
That was Round 1. In Round 2 we are going to see Republican-dominated state houses change the way they participate in the Electoral College. They want to change the rule from winner-take-all to winner of the congressional district gets the electoral vote.
Now the populist in me doesn’t see the wrong in this on its face. On its face it seems right, even more democratic, that one’s presidential vote should not be negated simply because you live in the wrong state, as I do. Houstonians and Austinites had their majority votes nullified because Texas is overall rural and red.
But then you have to look at the reality and look at the statistics.
In 2012, 65,899,557 votes (51.06 percent) went for President Obama and 60,931,959 votes (47.21 percent) went for Mitt Romney. Electoral votes for Obama came to 332 (61.7%) and Romney received 206 (38.3%). Yet if you look at the House, a completely different picture emerges.
In 2012, while the Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives garnered a majority of the popular vote (53,952,240 votes for Democratic candidates compared to 53,402,643 for Republicans) exceeding Republican votes by nearly 550,000 votes, there are at present count 233 Republicans in Congress, and 192 Democrats.
How could that be? How do we elect a Democratic president by a majority vote and a Republican House by a minority vote? How do Republicans outnumber Democrats by 41 elections?
The answer, certainly, is all the jerrymandering that has taken place recently in the red states. Depending on how you draw the district lines, you dilute the Democratic voters in one district by drawing district boundaries to create huge Democratic advantage districts. It’s simple math, really.
So by changing the Electoral College vote to voting one elector per congressional district, rather than winner take all you make matters worse. You guarantee a president elected by minority vote.
The Founders must have considered this, along with the notion that rural states are more disadvantaged than urban states in having their votes actually count for something. The Founders had it right.
I find the hypocrisy exquisite. When Republicans defend the 2nd Amendment they fawn on the Founders. But when the Founders’ ideas for the Electoral College need changing because they keep Republicans out of the Oval Office they speak of a fluid process.
The answer lies in putting federal elections under federal rules. States should be allowed to run elections but not allowed to change the rules for how federal offices get filled.
Invocation of the Supremacy Clause should do it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hillary Pilloried

Hillary Clinton finally came to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been chomping at the bit – some of them anyway – to grill her about the events that led up to the murders in Benghazi, and what occurred in the aftermath.
Consider this as background: many in the Senate were suggesting that Hillary Clinton was playing a poor weak southern belle who suffered from the vapors and couldn’t come to Capitol Hill – avoiding their sure and certain wrath of fire and brimstone.
Then she came to testify before the Intelligence Committee – an oxymoron at best - and gave better than she got.
Senator Ron Johnson (TEA Party – Wis.) set out to pillory Hillary by addressing the old “what did you know and when did you know it” routine – homing in on the disparate stories that came right out of the fog of war to our television sets. He wanted to know why these militants did what they did. No, really, that’s what he wanted to know, and Ron just couldn’t get an answer to his questions because he had either failed to read the intelligence report, or equally likely, simply wanted to score points rather than get some information.
“Do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened would have ascertained immediately that there was no protest?” He asked.
And after a back and forth where Johnson clearly had no desire for information, Clinton blew a gasket and laid Johnson out on the carpet.
A word to the wise, start to worry when Hillary Clinton prefaces her remarks with “With all due respect…”

"With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. But the fact is that people were trying, in real time, to get to the best information. The IC has a process I understand going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. To be clear, it is from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice and then maybe we’ll figure out why they did it in the meantime. "

Johnson immediately backed the h-e-double-hockey-sticks down.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Favorite Three

Here are my three favorite video clip/candid photos taken at the inauguration yesterday. I will caption them with appropriate comments.

“Oh Lord help us, what a tool.”


                                                        “I gotta get me some of that…”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Message from the President

As I sit here in my warm house with my laptop on my lap watching as my President procedes down Pennsylvania Avenue in his motorcade I opened my email to find a message from President Obama which I am going to share with you if you were not lucky enough to get one sent to your inbox.

Hal --

I just renewed my oath of office to serve as your president for four more years.

Thank you for making this possible. It's an honor to be your president.

Now it's time to finish what we started -- let's get going.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

There, He Said “God”

CNN has a curious story on their website. It’s a kind of “Dog bites man” story of Barack Obama’s official swearing in earlier today. It’s all about how President Obama said “so help me God” at the end of the oath of office.
Not, I guess, “so help me Allah” or “so help me Mohammed.”
And he used a Christian Bible.
So he must be a Christian after all.
Isn’t that just the biggest bunch of malarkey? Did the CNN author, Bill Mears, just not have anything else to write about today? Of course the President is a Christian. What was all the brouhaha about Reverend Jeremiah Wright about?
But there is one thing that I don’t agree with. It is said that George Washington tacked on that statement at the end of his oath of office, and Lincoln did, too. The words are not included on the official version of the oath written in the Constitution, but when Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath, Roberts prompted the President with the words “so help you God.” It sounds a little silly. And it sounds a little like institutionalization of the Judeo-Christian version of the Creator.
I think it is more appropriate that any president taking the oath of office should not be prompted for those last 4 words. They should be entirely voluntary. That makes it heart-felt.
And it allows for the possibility of a future Buddhist or Hindu to take the oath.


Oh yes. We did.

But no, I cannot attend. Sorry Mr. President.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Tool, But Not the Sharpest One in the Shed

James Yeager, who makes his living training civilians in weapons and tactical skills, can no longer, himself, carry a concealed weapon. That’s like being a dentist but not being allowed to carry a drill.
It seems that Yeager is upset that President Obama has signed an executive order banning all assault weapons in America – not that he did any such thing – but he was definitely upset about that possibility – not that it would be.
So Yeager made a You Tube video in which he threatened to “start killing people” to protect his 2nd Amendment right to carry a firearm designed to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible.
This gave people who work at the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reason to be concerned about the public safety. In their statement made as they suspended Yeager’s privilege to carry a concealed weapon, they said “the number one priority for our department is to ensure the public's safety. Mr. Yeager's comments were irresponsible, dangerous, and deserved our immediate attention. Due to our concern, as well as that of law enforcement, his handgun permit was suspended immediately.”
Unfortunately, this does nothing to increase the public’s safety does it? Adam Lanza certainly didn’t have a conceal carry permit when he murdered 20 babies and 6 educators before ridding the planet of his diseased self. But get this, this guy just threatened to “start killing people” and his weapons still remain in his possession. This is the idiocy that is America’s gun ownership policy.
People own cars because they need to get around. They own frying pans so they can cook some food. But people who own guns do so because they are either hunters, paranoid, fanatical, or bat guano crazy.

Utah: Guns, God, and Gummint

In a JC Penney’s at a mall in Utah - where it is legal for classroom teachers to carry concealed weapons, and they don’t have to notify anyone (including their students’ parents) – a yahoo with more guns than brains decided to make a political point while buying articles of clothing.

He wore an AR-15 over his back, carried several high-capacity magazines, and a semi-automatic pistol on his belt.
This, just a little more than a month after 20 babies were mercilessly plastered with bullets from the self-same weapon, and the country is still in shock over it.

This, just 4 hours after President Obama called for legislation banning assault rifles in America.
This, as well as a teacher’s right to carry a concealed weapon in class, is legal in Utah.

Happily, nothing ever takes me through that state. I haven’t been to Utah since I visited 4 Corners about 6 years ago. But there is nothing in the world that would ever bring me to go to that state and spend any amount of money while that kind of craziness, which appears to top whatever we do here in Texas, remains.
Taste demands it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why is Memory So Short But Tales are so Tall?

Rand Paul today criticized President Obama’s 23 Executive Orders to finally put gun violence prevention in the forefront of federal concern because he believes that The President is overreaching his authority.
He cited President Obama’s developing “King Complex” as a possible cause for overreach.
He also says that he is filing legislation to “nullify” some of these Executive Orders.
Fat chance of that ever happening. Rand Paul tells tall tales, but has the shortest memory in the US Senate.
Did any of Barack Obama’s orders do anything to curtail the sale of assault weapons in this country? Anything to limit the number of cartridges a magazine can hold? Absolutely not. No, all of Obama’s orders dealt with ways the federal government – the Executive Branch of the federal government – goes about his job.
That, I think, is well within The President’s purview.
And Rand Paul’s memory is so short. Well, maybe because he was in college hazing innocent freshmen rushers that he didn’t get the news that, in 1986, Ronald Reagan issued an Executive Order to ban the import of assault rifles. Banning import of any class of foreign weapons, too, is within the presidential purview as the 1968 gun control act made it so.
Barack Obama didn’t do any of that, on that level.
And the cynic in me says that Reagan did what he did to give American armorers a leg-up on their foreign competitors.
Barack Obama has issued 144 Executive Orders thus far. Compare that to Dubya’s 291, his father’s 166 (one term) and Ronald Reagan’s 381.
Rand Paul is either a naïve buffoon or a liar with the memory of a mayfly.
Either way, the shoe fits.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

1 Peter 2:13-14

Let’s see what the TEA Party has to say about the above biblical citation from First Peter.
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.
President Barack Obama has today signed some executive orders altering our gun policies or emphasizing existing authorities. He has also requested that congress pass bills to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
The knee-jerk reaction has been to call for impeachment from a tyrannical leader. But remember the words of St. Peter. This quotation from 1st Peter is a clear call from the distant past to get our house in order, get behind the president, and punish those gun-toting nutjobs who would do harm.
Thus sayeth the Lord.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. King

Martin Luther King, Jr. would be 84 today if he stayed healthy and that racist with a deer rifle hadn’t ended it so tragically early in 1968. I wonder what he would think of our world as it exists right now, but more importantly, I wonder if he, had he lived to do it, continued with the movement that had him as one of the founders?
I wonder, for example what would have happened in the wake of the Rodney King arrest. Would the jury that acquitted the LAPD officers that conducted a brutalization of King have done that, and would the riots that resulted in LA been avoided?
Would racism be found only in the history books and the people that go after Obama because he is “Lazy” or “shuckin’ and jivin’” or a “Kenyan Muslimbe extinct? Or for that matter would the people who go after the person that calls them out on this, as happened to former Secretary of State Colin Powell? From people of his own political party? Would they have kept their traps shut?
I think we will never know for sure but let me make this observation.
Racism is still with us today, but had Martin Luther King been able to conduct another quarter century of work, I wonder if racism would see the rewards that are showered on people now. Rewards for being a racist. You never hear about “The Irish,” or “The Wops” or “The Polacks” anymore because – well first, they’re white – but also because if a person were to cast a disparaging remark their way people would look at the person as if he were nuts.
Really, pretty much I think that because Martin Luther King died before his time, my generation missed its chance to put racism behind us. Maybe the next generation also but I am seeing wonderful things happen in my children’s generation.
Definitely the ones being born right now. I will be very surprised if the generation being born right now will have the blind racism that still plagues us. The problem is, like King, I don’t know if I will be there to witness it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Who’s the Deadbeat Here?

I sit down once a month, whether I need to or not, and pay my bills. I make sure that I have enough money deposited in my account before I do this. This is because I am not a deadbeat and I don’t float checks for more than is in my account.
I don’t, in short, commit fraud on my creditors.
And if on bad months I don’t have enough cash in my checking account to pay all of my bills I do some magic and play raid the rainy day fund.
But never, remotely, do I ever think of telling my creditors that the well is dry so they are going to have to wait for the check until I can negotiate with them a better deal where I pay less but they provide the same goods and services, or even increased amounts of them.
This is what is happening with the Republicans in Congress right now. They want to default on payments for things that they have already ordered up and even already consumed. And the threat is that if we don’t get to negotiate a spending deal all the while not paying them … well… they don’t get paid.
If I go and do that, there goes my credit rating right down the toilet.
So I can’t borrow money to pay my debts.
But this is the load of bat guano that these Republicans – who have always claimed to be the fiscally responsible ones – are offering up. They've run up our debts with two unpaid for wars and porkbarrel spending that had everyone's head spinning. Even John McCain said that the (Republican) government was "spending money like a drunken sailor." And now that the Obama Administration struggles with this ponderous debt, they reach in their pockets and turn them out in the universal symbol of "Sorry, I'm broke."
I teach physics to teenagers who have more sense.
So let’s see. Where can we cut spending? Where do we decide whether family A gets food stamps or Air Group X gets a few of the brand new F-35 Lightning II fighter jets (built from a $382 billion defense program)?
Hmmm. Choices, choices.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Well That’ll Never Happen Here

It seems that in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre of babies, the Montpelier Exempted Village Schools Board of Education in Ohio has approved the carrying of handguns by school staff members.
This is the beginning of a trend I fear, but I suspect that this particular class of school staff that has been authorized to carry concealed weapons down the halls and classrooms of Ohio schools will not be similarly authorized by a Texas school board.
You see, the school staff that has been authorized to carry firearms in Montpelier are the school custodial staff.
That’s right, the guys who toss the sawdust on the vomit spills on the terrazzo floors of public schools will also be the guys that defend school children against crazy demented killers armed to the teeth with weapons designed to kill as many people as possible in as short a time interval as possible.
Because, you know, we can’t simply hope that what happened in Sandy Hook will never happen at the school your child attends. Someone has to do something.
And this is what the Montpelier Exempted Village Schools Board of Education has done.
It is very cost effective you know. They don’t have to hire trained experts in firearm defense, they just pay for a 2-day course for the custodians they already employ. And what self-respecting manager of trash and light bulbs would want to turn down the chance to, at some point in their lives, become a very large target for a demented deranged killer of small children?
But as I mentioned above, this very, very bad idea will find no traction here in Texas, because here in Texas the people we hire to maintain our public schools are uniformly people of minority races – well Hispanics are soon to become the majority here so maybe I should just say “unwhite people”
Because as trifling as it seems, no self-respecting Texas taxpayer could tolerate the expenditure of one cent of their precious tax dollars to train and arm an “unwhite person”.
Nope, not happening.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Why Does DC Get to Have All the Good Laws?

Now I didn’t know this at the time I saw this on the Tube, but Meet the Press host David Gregory was committing a felony on his December 23rd show when he interviewed NRA president Wayne “Let’s Kill Kids” LaPierre when he held up an example of a 30-round magazine similar to the one that Baby Murderer Lanza used when he murdered 20 babies in Connecticut last December.
A felony because in the District of Columbia, where Meet the Press is taped, it is illegal to possess a high capacity ammunition magazine under any circumstances.
Gregory was not arrested or prosecuted because, as it is reported here, his 1st Amendment rights outranked his 2nd Amendment rights.
But the story goes that it was touch and go for a while.
The NRA and the guns ‘n bible toters are screaming at the top of their lungs about their God-given right to own high-capacity magazines, and people are flooding the sporting goods stores in record numbers to snap up any and all that they can, because it is widely believed that soon it will be illegal to buy them.
In DC it is illegal to OWN them. And even illegal to possess them, even as a temporary loaner.
Why can’t we have laws that the people who live and work in the District of Columbia enjoy?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tuesday Gun Control Cartoon Palooza

Today Vice President Joe Biden met with various gun interests in a fact-gathering mission to bring sanity to American gun policy - an oxymoron if there ever was one. Here, in commemoration of this meeting that can never hope to end gun violence in America, is a riot of gun control cartoons devised by our best and brightest political cartoonists.


Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Senate Republicans Shackle Themselves Again

State Senator Dan Patrick lost another bid to overturn the 2/3s rule in the Texas Senate today. Patrick is by far the most extreme conservative of the 19 Republican senators in the senate and wants nothing better than to negate any minority Democratic challenge to some of the more outrageous Republican bills that get through the lower body.
With 12 Democrats in the Texas State Senate, and I am assuming that District 6 will elect another Democrat, it would require a crossover vote of 2 Democrats to bring any bill to the senate floor for debate.
But apparently the other 18 Republican senators want to insulate themselves from some of the wigged out notions that sometimes pass the State House, where insanity sometimes reigns supreme.
What this means to me, as an educator, is that a huge collective sigh of relief can now be breathed with regard to the latest scheme to pass a system of school vouchers meant to benefit establishments of private, and sectarian education.
Democrats are uniformly opposed to the notion, as well as not just a few Republicans.
So Patrick’s scheme to enrich tax-exempt religious institutions with taxpayer money will inevitably fail.
Praise Jesus.

Darwin Strikes Again

This little calf was born on a ranch near Hockley, Texas 3 days ago.

My guess is that the calf will live a long, long life and become very successful biologically speaking. No one in this state would want to pass up the chance to get an offspring from an icon.
The natural selection afforded to this calf  based solely on the marking it bears between its eyes would do Charles Darwin proud indeed.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

On Arming Educators

Now I don’t know a single educator who has gone to a gun club or any other place to receive training in order to obtain a Conceal Carry gun permit. I DO know some teachers who think that it’s a tremendously good idea to arm teachers so that tragedies like the Newtown massacre of babies can be avoided in the future.
But just a minute ago I stumbled across a very selfish reason for school districts across the nation to forbid the possession of a handgun by a teacher in the classroom.
Take a worst-case scenario, where we have a world that accepts, and even promotes the notion that teachers need to be armed, and the possession of concealed weapons in a classroom setting is a commonplace occurrence.
Does this prevent a determined insane killer from intruding on a campus and shooting the place up? By definition, the killer is insane. An insane person is the only kind of person who would perpetrate this heinous act.
But if the insane person is knowledgeable of the fact that every teacher is armed with a concealed weapon, guess who gets the first six rounds pumped into him or her by someone armed with a semi-automatic rifle capable of getting off six rounds per second?
Even if the teacher is, in fact, not armed?
Food for thought.

Impeach Chief Justice Roberts?

The Birthers just won’t go away and they won’t shut up. Now we have Craig McMillan, a conservative wingnut columnist who writes for an uberright wing ezine called WND (which bill’s itself as “America’s Independent News Network”) calling for the impeachment of Chief Justice John Roberts for the offense of knowingly swearing in a Kenyan on Inauguration Day.
McMillan’s theory goes something like this: Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. is the son of Kenyan-born Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. and because he cannot trace his bloodline back to an American born father, and even admits to that, he is not a natural-born native American.
Interesting theory.
Except that it’s wrong. And not just wrong, it’s stupid wrong.
Article 14 in Amendments to the US Constitution defines a citizen as “a person born or naturalized in  the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”. There is no language about whether the father is a citizen. He just made that stuff up.
So he admonishes Chief Justice Roberts that
“Your own oath of office, sworn before God and the American people, requires you to uphold the Constitution. (If not you, then who?) If you now administer the oath of office for the presidency to a man who by his own admission fails to meet the natural born citizen requirement imposed by that Constitution, you have violated your own oath of office and are rightly subject to impeachment by any House of Representatives, at any time, now or in the future.”
That’s pretty lofty.
But now I wonder about this impeachment by the House of Representatives. I wonder about it because if Justice Roberts is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors because he swears in the President, then is not the entire House of Representatives guilty of the same offense? They are the ones, after all, who certified yesterday that Barack Obama won the election.
Who impeaches the entire House?
Where, in other words, do you draw the line?
Or maybe McMillan would just be happy as a witch in a broom factory if we could just take it all back and put some white guy in the Oval Office. Any white guy should do.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Let Free Enterprise Ring

I was somewhat taken aback by a report in the news that an NBC executive was continuing to monitor the acts and antics of Donald Trump and might “act” if he goes so over the top or crosses some sort of line.
And I don’t think he was talking about what Trump says or does on his TV show.
Now to me, that’s just not right and it runs up against my sense of fair play and, yes, constitutional rights. If a public celebrity has to worry about what he says or does off the show and face being sanctioned in some way by his boss for doing so, then I have a problem there, and I am no fan of Donald Trump.
In fact, I have written on this blog that I never thought that Trump was a serious presidential candidate and that things he said were meant solely to attract attention to him.
If anything, I believe that free enterprise, and not some media executive should trump Trump. Much like how we finally got rid of Glen Beck – get his sponsors to withhold support. Much like is currently underway by several groups whose sole purpose is to drive Rush Limbaugh off the airwaves in similar fashion, by contacting his sponsors.
If people want to utter outrageous lies, let them be sanctioned by the people who buy the products that he hawks.
Now there is a downside to this kind of action. At this writing it looks like somewhere around 2200 sponsors have stopped their ads on the Limbaugh radio show, and that’s a good thing. The problem is that the emptiness appears to be taken up by the SuperPacs who wreaked such havoc on our electoral process last year. FreedomWorks, it is reported, is sponsoring the Limbaugh show.
Now I think they can do this despite being a non-profit organization, but as an ultra-right political organization supporting a neo-conservative radio show it smacks of the very antithesis of free enterprise. It smacks of a plutocracy.