Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kay Bailey: Keep it Respectful

Well last week we got to hear the junior senator from Texas become the voice of reason on the NPR radio show “All Things Considered” as he begged to disagree with the RNC (Rush Newt Cheney) chorus of hate and bile as they laid into Judge Sonia Sotomayor for being a racist.

Of their remarks he said this:

“I think it's terrible... This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advice and consent. Neither one of these men [Limbaugh and Gingrich] are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it's appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it's wrong.”

Then today his partner in crime Senior Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison echoed Cornyn’s words with her own take on the Sotomayor nomination:

From AP:

“I definitely think we need to have the respectful tone and we need to look at the record. We need to have the responsibilities that have been put on us by the Constitution taken very seriously.”

Implying of course that the remarks of Limbaugh, Gingrich, Rove et al. were not respectful and were not to be taken seriously.

And this has apparently sparked a fury in the rabid right as comments posted at the Houston Chronicle’s website revealed.

“Sounds as though Hutchison is selling out to the illegal Hispanic vote. Is there no one left that represents Americans?”

“If Sonia Sotomayor's behavior had been respectful there wouldn't be a problem now. Her in your face, arrogant, racist rhetoric needs to be addressed. Everybody's personal story is rather unique. What qualifies a Latina woman to be a better judge than anyone? Could Kay Bailey Hutchison answer this question for me?”

“Well, first off, her "life experiences" should play no part in her decisions. Save that for Dr Phil. Secondly her statements on race would disqualify her to serve as a juror, and you want her to serve on the highest court in the land? NO WAY JOSE”

So it has become obvious to me that not only is John Cornyn trying to court a few more Hispanic votes after having chased them all away in 2008 with his border fence (I was for having one before I was against having one) nonsense but it is also clear to me that Kay Bailey has all but written off the right wing in her quest to replace Governor Rick Perry on the ballot in November 2010.

And rightly so.

After all, the rabid teabagging right of the Grand Obsolete Party is what Governor Perry refers to when he says the words “My base.”

Perry has all of those votes locked in anyway, so why not reach out to the Hispanic vote by looking like a reasonable person willing to listen, judge, and then vote to confirm the first Latina Supreme Court justice?

Barring any surprises, this thing is a done deal, so there is no upside to looking like an obstructionist from the Party of No.

I am going to put Kay Bailey’s vote to confirm in the Aye column. As for John Cornyn it is anyone’s guess because when it comes to issues of an Hispanic nature, John Cornyn changes his mind about as often as I change my socks.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

California Supreme Court Takes a Pass on Proposition 8

Incredibly, the California Supreme Court, the court that ruled in a 4-3 June 2008 decision that there was no reason why the state could not grant marriage licenses to couples of the same sex, ruled – again in a 4-3 decision – that a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage in California should stand.

The court, it seems, feels that it has no authority to overturn the will of the people of California.

So what was OK before is not OK anymore.

The only good news in all of this is that the 18,000 same sex marriages that took place during that window of time when they were allowed were not nullified by this decision.

But back to that spineless court.

Sometimes the people are wrong. Take the majority that sent George W. Bush back to the White House in 2004. Sometimes the people are wrong and act badly, in this case voting for Proposition 8, an initiative concocted by the Mormon Church whose purpose is to interfere in the personal lives of their neighbors by forbidding state-sanctioned marriage between people of the same sex, and all of the benefits that you derive as a result.

Bald-faced discrimination by the initiative process.

You know, this is not the first time that the majority of California voters approved a discriminatory initiative.

Way back in 1963, an African-American California state legislator introduced the Rumford Fair Housing Act, a bill that would set guidelines for how and why a renter or buyer of real property could be turned down.

California property owners, it seems, had a habit of discriminating because of race when faced with an offer to buy or rent property. This bill sought to remedy that situation.

And like the Mormon Church, the California Real Estate Association was horrified, horrified I tell you, that the state was intruding in their business decisions.

So they introduced Proposition 14 in the 1964 general election.

A constitutional amendment that overturned much of what the Rumsford Fair Housing Act provided.

And it passed by a 65% majority vote.

Here is what Prop. 14 said:

Neither the State nor any subdivision or agency thereof shall deny, limit or abridge, directly or indirectly, the right of any person, who is willing or desires to sell, lease or rent any part or all of his real property, to decline to sell, lease or rent such property to such person or persons as he, in his absolute discretion, chooses.

Nice, huh?

A lot of people are of the opinion that the ill will that this constitutional amendment spawned among the African-American community was part of the back story that resulted in the Watts Riots that occurred in the summer of the following year.

So this is all sounding a little familiar isn’t it?

All except for two things. Instead of rioting this year, the gay community responded by writing and performing in a musical called “Proposition 8 – The Musical.”

And the other thing, in 1967 the US Supreme Court overturned Proposition 14, labeling it unconstitutional. Unconstitutional because it violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Back then, the US Supreme Court was not squeamish at all about overturning the votes of 65% of presidential year California voters.

Because the voters acted poorly.

So the ultimate answer, it seems, is a process that was just begun this past week by an unlikely pair of lawyers: Ted Olsen and David Boies, the two lawyers that faced off in the US Supreme Court in 2000 in the now infamous case Bush vs. Gore.

Their intent? They have filed suit this past week challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 on the grounds that it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Because, you see, you can discriminate all you want in life – it has happened time and time again with impunity. But when you pass a law that allows you to discriminate against someone – like Proposition 14 in 1964 - that’s unconstitutional.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Grand Old Pornophiles on Nancy Pelosi and S – E – X

You have to love what the leadership of the Republican National Committee has devolved to since massively losing the general election last November. The party of Reagan, the party of Lincoln, has undergone devolution to the party of dirty old bald ugly white guys.

And what is more, apparently they know it.

The RNC produced an ad that equates the Speaker of the House, a woman that is second in the line of succession to the presidency after Joe Biden, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, to the sinister 007 counter agent Pussy Galore.

These guys just don’t get it do they?

They thought it was funny and clever. They even made reference to Goldfinger’s method of torture: painting gold paint all over the body of a woman who betrayed him. A torture that, in the film, eventually killed the woman.

They even put Nancy Pelosi’s photograph down the rifled barrel of a gun as one will see in the beginning of any of the James Bond films produced since 1964. Their fantasy, it would seem, is to put a bullet in the head of the Speaker of the House.

Then paint her with gold paint, all the while obsessing over the fact that Nancy Pelosi is a woman.

Someone, that is, with female body parts.

How embarrassing is that?

Well, someone down at the RNC noticed that this commercial just might be offensive to women, who, at last count constituted 51% of the voting public.

They pulled the ad.

Try and find it on You Tube. It’s gone.

Too late, though. You can still see the ad on any given website. Like this website where you can download it. Or, actually, right here.

Yes that is a naked lady right at the end. A naked lady painted with gold paint.

What I await with baited breath is another ad from the same people that superimposes the video images of our Democratic female office holders with video clips from “Girls Gone Wild.”

It is only a matter of time.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Democratic State Senators to Texas SBOE Chairman McLeroy: Take a Hike

Falling right along party lines Perry appointee Dr. Don McLeroy, dentist turned crusading evangelical chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, was tossed out of his chairman’s spot today in the Texas Senate.

The vote was 19 for, 11 against, and one abstaining (Lucio, D - Brownsville). You need a 2/3ds vote in the Senate to confirm any Perry nomination. The 19, all Republicans who more than likely voted to confirm in order to avoid embarrassing Perry than because they thought McLeroy was doing a heckuva job. That’s my take on it anyway.

The 11, all Democrats.

On McLeroy’s stewardship over the state school board, State Sen. Kirk Watson, D – Austin, had this to say:

“Education is far too important to be little more than a front in an ideological, political and cultural battle. Leaders must lead and Dr. McLeroy has proven conclusively that he is less concerned with leading the board than he is with fighting the battle.”

I’ll say. This guy is 100% responsible for hundreds of hours of wasted time and treasure as he tried to push his radical religious agenda on 4.7 million public school children. Radical in that only a rabid fringe element among the religious actually buy into young Earth creationism.

Don McLeroy has, and wants it taught in science classes in public schools.

What a nitwit.

That’s right, I join a whole host of others in engaging in name-calling.

McLeroy’s defender, State Sen. Steve Ogden, R – Bryan, was apparently offended that people thought McLeroy was a nitwit, or worse, and voiced that opinion:

“There is a certain amount of innuendo in the criticism of Dr. McLeroy To a certain degree it’s a slur.”

Right you are, Senator. A well-deserved slur.

Perry now has to nominate someone to replace ol’ Don. Someone who will be able to head up the school board until 2011 when the next legislature convenes to confirm him or her. My money is on Cynthia Dunbar. Who represents my district.

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer who home schools her children, is every bit the creationist that McLeroy is, but is less devious and more naively open about where she stands.

So this should be even more fun.

Dunbar is up for re-election next year, and the word is that unlike her last election she will be opposed in next year’s election.

As the school board turns its attention from the science to the social studies curriculum I have to wonder what Dunbar and the other right wing zealots on the board have up their sleeves.

Like maybe who REALLY started the Civil War and does the US Constitution specifically order the separation of Church and State.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Neocons Play the Race Card

Gee. It only took them half a day to play the race card on Sophia Sotomayor.

Newt Gingrich, neocon extraordinaire, is Twittering now that because of a comment Judge Sotomayor made 8 years ago, she should withdraw from her Supreme Court Justice nomination.

Gingrich claims that Judge Sotomayor is unacceptable because she is, and I quote, “a racist.” because she made a comment that he claims is racist.

Not only is this ludicrous on its face, but Gingrich took the whole comment out of its context.

First, here is the comment, uttered by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor that Judge Sotomayor was commenting on:

“…a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases.”

To which Judge Sotomayor responded:

“I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.”

That is the statement that offends the gentle sensibilities of Newt Gingrich so that he said this:

“Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman' new racism is no better than old racism.”

So it seems, according to Gingrich, that Judge Sotomayor is of the opinion that a person’s life experiences in some way makes them a better judge who is able to deliver better decisions.

Does Newt Gingrich agree with that? Who knows? Where it gets him is that the life experiences of a Latina woman will be different than an angry old white guy.

But isn’t that a no-brainer?

After all, what kinds of life experiences do you think Judge Sotomayor was referring to? Riding on the New York subway system?

Hardly. The life experiences I think she was referring to was what it is like being a woman in a world that puts women in second place, and being Hispanic in a society that hates and discriminates against Hispanics.

So because a Latina woman would have more of a personal experience with sexism, racism and discrimination that goes hand in hand with both, and would be wiser than an old white man because of it, that makes her a racist.

Newt Gingrich has it a little wrong. It is the racists who gave Judge Sotomayor her life experiences, not the other way around.

Newt Gingrich has it a little wrong. Racist people are in the driver’s seat. They are the ones running things that makes life so uncomfortable for the discriminated.

How can he get it so upside down, backwards, and turned around?

Could it be because Newt Gingrich is . . . racist?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There Goes a Miranda Right

Ironic isn’t it, that on the day President Barack Obama nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the US Supreme Court, a move to preserve a liberal presence on the high bench, The Supremes today handed down another 5-4 decision that takes away another of your rights.

The right to the presence of an attorney before questioning.

The case they heard was Montejo vs. Louisiana a case that overturned a long-standing (since 1986) ruling – in Michigan v. Jackson. The decision isn’t posted at their website yet, so we have to rely on what information that the Houston Chronicle

In Michigan v. Jackson the court ruled that the police may not interrogate a suspect if the person either has a lawyer or requests a lawyer.

In reading the opinion, Justice Antonin “I Stole the Presidency from Gore” Scalia said of the previous ruling, that “it was poorly reasoned, has created no significant reliance interests and (as we have described) is ultimately unworkable.”

Besides, reasoned Scalia, we have Miranda.

“Miranda”is from a landmark 1966 (I think) ruling from which the “Miranda Warning” statement came. In case no one has ever read those rights to you from that pocket-sized card, here is what it says on the card that the police are supposed to read to you when they place you under arrest:

“You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Do you understand?
Anything you do or say may be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?
You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. Do you understand?
If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. Do you understand?”

“If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney. Do you understand?
Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?”

Scalia said this:

“Because of the protections created by this court in Miranda and related cases, there is little if any chance that a defendant will be badgered into waiving his right to have counsel present during interrogation.”

But if you look at the warning again, it says that the accused has the RIGHT to consult an attorney before questioning.

That’s not true anymore, is it?

Because if you look at the second paragraph of the Miranda Warning, that whole thing is all about badgering the accused to talk.

All about it.

No, in my humble opinion all this does is convince the accused that there is no upside to talking to the police without a lawyer being present.

Monday, May 25, 2009

God Help the Girl – An Introduction

Remember my little gift to you last week? A link to the official website for the new Scottish group “God Help the Girl?” And an audio link so you can listen to a startling song about everyday things: “Come Monday Night”.

Well they are ramping it up.

One month out from the scheduled release of their first CD they posted another video on their website. An introductory video that describes how this project began, how it developed, and some of the unique things about the project that has given me something to look forward to this summer.

Here it is, from You Tube:

You may wonder why I, a political creature who writes a political blog, have twice now turned my attention away from politics and toward music.

Well simply put, this group, and the concept that they are developing, just makes me smile.

Point of Order Will Kill Voter ID Bill

State Rep Jim Dunnam (D - Waco) has identified an error in the process to bring the Voter ID bill, SB 362 by Todd Smith, up for a vote in the House.

It is certain to kill the bill, thus saving the state of Texas from having to spend time and treasure defending itself in court as a certain to succeed lawsuit is filed to challenge the legality of the bill.

The error? House rules say that the minutes of the House Elections Committee meetings on the bill must be filed within three days of the end of committee hearings. According to the time/date stamp on the minutes, they were actually filed 4 days late, after 7 days.

That’s a violation of the rules, and we don’t violate the rules.

House Democrats are so confident that this technicality will kill the bill that they are no longer throwing up obstacles to bringing the bill to the House floor for a vote.

So read ‘em and weep voter suppressing Republicans. When you deal the hand you don’t get to complain about the cards that were dealt to you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Who Ruined the Republican Party?

In the news these days all you hear about is how the Republican Party is a marginalized party, a regional party. A party that is all but dead, but it just doesn’t know it yet.

Did that really happen? Is the Party of Reagan, the Party of Lincoln, going the way of the Whig Party?

I think the answer to that question is still a few years off. I can’t imagine that in this day and age a party that has been around for 150 years simply goes away, or morphs into another party with a new name.

But since the conversation is taking place, a question that can be asked and answered right now is “Who ruined the Republican Party?”

There’s this guy, Mike Whitney, who contributes to the website “Online Journal” who thinks he knows who ruined it, and it isn’t George W. Bush.

It’s Karl Rove.

One guy, Karl Rove, ruined an entire political party.

I’m serious. That’s what he says, and after reading his explanation, I think there is some sense in all of that.

First, he explains why George W. Bush didn’t, or rather couldn’t be the culprit.

“But Bush wasn’t as important as people think. He was chosen for the job because his supporters thought they could stitch together another Reagan and because he could be counted on to follow orders without question. But Bush wasn’t steering the ship o state, not really.”

Now, why Rove:

“…it was probably Rove who did the most damage through his backroom maneuvering, his ham-fisted public relations operations and his political arm-twisting. Rove’s bullyboy antics produced a number of short-term triumphs, but they cost the party dearly in terms of credibility. Just look at the Terry Schiavo fiasco; an emotionally-charged issue of personal morality which the administration turned into a circus sideshow. The poor husband was blasted as the devil incarnate for simply carrying out the explicit wishes of his stricken wife. Michael Schiavo was ripped to shreds by a feral media that had become the propaganda-arm of the White House. The incident had “Karl Rove” written all over it.”


“His scorched earth, “take no prisoners” approach galvanized the base, but alienated decent conservatives who were not comfortable with his win-at-all-cost shenanigans. Ultimately, the party of Lincoln became the party of Rove, slipping its ideological moorings and abandoning all claim to moderation. By the time Rove left, the party was in ruins.”

But in the end, I think the editorialist gives too much credit to one man. One fat, ugly bald white guy. Actually I think two other fat, ugly bald white guys must have had a hand in dealing the Republican Party out.

Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney probably helped Karl Rove a little.

Dick Cheney is undoubtedly the man behind torture and a war of choice. The talking heads in the media are now starting to say that these two are actually intricately intermeshed. And now with him in the media defending and justifying things left and right, to the horror of those in his own party, Cheney is right now delivering the coup de grâce on his own party while it slowly strangles itself.

And I think Newt Gingrich started the ball rolling. Remember back in 1994 when the Republicans came back with their “Contract with America?” That was the beginning of the beginning. Politics changed. Republicans got shrill, ugly, and hyperpartisan. Back then I personally held no strong political beliefs at all other than in a few social issues like abortion. But the politicization of the conversation got me riled up. People call me biased and too political now, but guess who did that? Newt Gingrich.

Newt Gingrich made me the partisan political creature that I am today.

And where there’s one there must be more. And there must be moderate conservatives out there that were similarly affected and turned off by a party that they had called home for years and years.

Newt Gingrich did that, and effectively cleared the way for Karl Rove to work his magic.

But I was talking about this Mike guy’s op/ed piece, wasn’t I.

He finishes his argument with something that I just don’t believe at all. He says that the Democrats didn’t win the election; it was the Republicans that handed the country over on a platter.

Obama didn’t beat the Republicans. The Republicans beat themselves. It was a self-inflicted wound. The party had become too ideologically rigid and self-destructive. Besides, how much mileage can a party get on a platform which only contains two planks: War and tax cuts? That’s not a vision of the future; it’s the fast track to disaster.

All good points, but more was won than just a presidency, More, like a Democratic majority in both houses of congress. True people who were turned off by what Republicans were doing from coast to coast started voting Democratic as early as 2006, but I like to think that at least some people vote Democratic because their beliefs are more in line with Democratic principles.

And maybe just a little tired of being scared into voting for Republicans.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Conclusion: Waterboarding is Torture

In case you missed it last night on MSNBC I have the entire “waterboarding experiment” as seen on Countdown embedded below.

Waterboarding is torture. This not from the lips of a “bleeding heart librul”, but from a guy whose bile and invective against liberals of every stripe is heard on the radio every morning.

Waterboarding is torture. Americans tortured prisoners in order to extract information.

Now that all of that is settled, who is responsible for this and when do we see him clapped in irons?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pete Olson Favors Rise in Sea Level

Glancing over the Congressional Record today I noticed that MY congressman, Pete Olson, opposes the Cap and Trade Bill.

The Cap and Trade Bill is an administrative method to knock down the production of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide among others, by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants.

Here is what he said in Congress yesterday on this:
“Madam Speaker, as the House moves closer to taking up legislation to tax carbon emissions of American businesses, we must consider the real costs versus the theoretical benefits.”

“Recent CBO analysis indicates the potential loss of jobs in my home State of Texas, by the year 2020, due to the cap-and-tax bill that is before the House now to be between 53,000 and 300,000 jobs, resulting in a loss of personal income between $3.9 billion to $22.8 billion. CBO also estimates that a 15 percent mandatory reduction in carbon dioxide emissions could cost the average household $1,600 in higher energy prices, with a disproportionate burden placed on low-income families.”

“Energy costs are already high, and we're experiencing one of the worst economic periods in history. Economic impacts aside, we must also look at whether this costly program will achieve its intended goals. The answer, based on the evidence before us, is clearly no. A global problem requires a global solution. Unilateral U.S. action will only hurt our country's ability to compete in a global marketplace.”

“Texas and America simply cannot afford to further cripple our already fragile economy with a risky, costly Federal mandate that does little or nothing to impact the global climate.”
My guess is that Pete Olson is not one of those who has signed on to global warming and the rise in sea level that will result. This is because the cap and trade method of controlling emissions is not a theory. It has been around awhile. It has been modeled by computers for almost 40 years now.

No instead of getting serious about global warming, Pete Olson would rather see the sea level rise. And why not? Surely he has seen the demographics of coastlines. Take his own home state for instance (Texas now, not Virginia). What is the demographic breakdown of your typical coastline voter on, say, Galveston Island?

If you live in Galveston chances are you vote for Democrats.

And a mere 20 centimeter rise in sea level will cause Galveston Island to disappear in no time. Because when the sea level rises, the barrier islands of the world erode.

My guess is that Pete Olson doesn’t buy into the whole global warming thing. But even if he did, so what? Pete wins when Democrats lose.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

John Cornyn and I Finally Agree On Something

I have to hand it to my US Senator from Texas, Junior Senator John Cornyn. He doesn’t let a day go by when he doesn’t say something impossibly idiotic. It has been almost comical.

Comical except for the fact that when he votes in the Senate he now usually votes No as many times as he voted Aye when the Republicans had majorities and a president in the White House.

But today he was quoted saying something that I can really get behind.

Dick Cheney should campaign for Republican candidates.

From Politico:
“I think it depends on the circumstance on the race [but] I’d be proud to appear with the vice president anywhere, anytime.”
I couldn’t agree more. I would love to see John Cornyn share the stage with Dick Cheney. Heck, I’d be thrilled if Cheney started doing this with all manner of Republican candidates, starting as soon as in the primaries next year.

Sharing the stage, a laugh or two, maybe a pitcher of iced tea, with REAL Republicans.

Because what we really want to do is stir up Cheney’s base and get them out to the voting booths and nominate Real Republicans to run against Democrats in the fall. Republicans that are as scary as Dick Cheney is.

Or as dumb as John Cornyn.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cheesus II: The Second Coming

I was a little mystified why my hit count went through the roof yesterday. It was way up in comparison to where it is this time of year, almost as high as it gets when people’s attention turn to elections and they start to pay attention to we political creatures once more.

That was until I saw the evening news and also checked to see where the traffic was coming from.

Because while I think it would be nice if everyone logged on and read yesterday’s blog posting on absolutely the nicest sounding new song I’ve heard in over 50 years, I know that isn’t likely to occur.

And I found out where all of these new readers were coming from.

From Google.

Now what is true is that the traffic that I get from everyone else who comes over to read my blog, other than my 6 regular readers, usually comes from a search engine. So many that this blog’s Google page rank is currently at 5, which is pretty good for a nobody from nowhere’s blog.

People were googling on a news item that we all saw on TV yesterday. That a local Dallas woman who was very recently eating a bag of Cheetos when she recognized the form of Jesus Christ in a Cheeto. And they were arriving at my blog posting of over a year ago when someone else saw an image of the Savior of the World in one of his Cheetos.

And they even gave their Cheeto the same name: Cheesus.

So really, this isn’t the first time this has happened, and I guess you could say that this is the Second Coming of Cheesus.

The second Cheesus, I think, is more of a reach than the first. Let’s compare.

Here is the Cheeto that the youth minister at Memorial Drive United Methodist Church, Steve Cragg discovered in March of last year.

And here is the Cheeto that Sara Bell of Dallas found.

I like the first one better. True the legs are rather abbreviated making Him look a little like Lieutenant Dan, the character that Gary Sinese played in the movie Forrest Gump, but the latest one lacks an arm.

The only thing that is common between the two Cheesuses is the absolute fact that neither of these food morsels have been able to carry out their prime function, to be eaten and nourish the body.

But for different reasons.

Steven Cragg lovingly put his Cheesus in a clear plastic box that he keeps on the bookshelf in his office. He gets it down every once in awhile to admire it and show his young flock.

Sara Bell, and her husband want to sell their Cheesus on Ebay.

And I can’t figure out which is worse, recognizing a religious figure worshipped by 1.1 billion people around the world in a morsel of junk food or trying to make a profit over same.

Or the alternative.

Mr. Bell claims that if they can’t get enough for it on Ebay they will eat their Cheesus.

Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Come Monday Night

I was all set to do a piece on Pete Olson today. Pete Olson is my congressman, but can’t seem to find his “Aye” button on the thing he uses to cast votes. Maybe I’ll get to that later, but for now, I want to give you a gift.

I found another new and interesting musical group that I want to share with you.

The group is called “God Help the Girl” (I know, how cute is that?). I heard a cut from their newly recorded but still unreleased CD of the same name called “Come Monday Night.” This song, and the lead singer, Catherine Ireton, are together, really, really easy on the ears.

Don’t take my word for it. The group’s website, found here, contains code so I can embed the song in the blog.

I just happened on this masterpiece purely by accident. It was called to my attention because of the new postal rates.

I will explain.

I just bought a roll of stamps a month ago, and then on May 11th they raised the rates for 1st class mail by 2 cents. So for the past couple of days I have been trying to find a place to buy 2-cent stamps to augment my now insufficient postage stamps, so I can pay my mid-month bills. And nobody sells 2 cent stamps anymore but the post office.

So I had to make a special trip to the post office after work, taking myself way out of the way to my home. Had I not done that, the car would have been in the garage when the song came on KPFT this afternoon.

And I would have missed the whole thing.

And by the same line of reasoning, so would you have.

So say “thank you” to the US Post Office, Barack Obama, proprietor, for raising those rates. It was a small price to pay in return for making this marvelous discovery.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It’s Official: Bush Started a Holy War

GQ Magazine has the latest drib to drab out of the oblivion that was the world of secrecy in the Bush Regime: Yes, the War in Iraq, was, most definitely, a religious war being fought against Muslims.

If you will, Crusades II.

This fact is revealed by viewing the expensive color coversheets of intelligence reports written for former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Donald Rumsfeld, the war criminal.

These intelligence reports were then viewed in the White House, a place where, as GQ points out, Bush used the term “crusade” in reference to his “War on Terror.”

At right is but one of them, a shot of an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank on patrol in the Iraqi desert at sunset, along with a quote from the Christian Bible - from both the Old and New Testaments. Here are the rest of them in a slide show at the GQ website.

Giving us reason number 10,567 for why the Muslim world is perfectly justified in suspecting that Americans hate them and their religion – in that order.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lowly Trooper Morrison On The Obama Agenda

Last night the Fort Bend Democrats held another fundraiser to prepare a war chest for the 2010 mid term elections. It was billed as the “Gumbo Gala” and it attracted a crowd of gumbo-chomping zydeco-listening Democrats of all ages, sizes and shapes.

Midway through the evening the music was paused in order to hold a live auction.

Richard Morrison, the newly elected (and Democratic) County Commissioner for Fort Bend County was slated to work the audience and get the bidding up.

But he was late.

So he missed auctioning off a remarkable painting of Ted Kennedy smiling in the foreground with his two brothers looking down on him from over his left (naturally) shoulder.

He finally got there and finished the task, ending the auction with a framed black and white picture of Barack Obama in a thoughtful pose.

Then, quite unexpectedly Morrison went off script and shared with the party goers what it means to be a “lowly ground troop(er)” carrying out the Obama stimulus agenda at the local level. You don’t hear about this stuff in the news so it was actually quite . . . stimulating.

Anyway, I videoed the entire thing and its up at You Tube now. Or you can just click below.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Shakeup at Fort Bend County DA Office

Ironically coming on the heels of getting the maximum sentence imposed for a drunk driving manslaughterer, Fort Bend’s District Attorney John Healey fired his senior Assistant District Attorney, Mike Elliott at the end of the day yesterday.

Bob Dunn at FortBendNow has a complete story on this including quotes from Elliott himself who was oddly very talkative about his public sacking.

Healey wouldn’t comment on the affair other than to say that the reasons for firing Elliott had to do with “performance issues.”

Elliott, however, had it differently, saying that the chief reason for his firing was that Healey feared that Elliott would run against him next year. Firing him, I guess, was his way of marginalizing him.

As if he wasn’t already marginalized by his past deeds in prosecuting the mayor of Fulshear and planting racketeering charges on former employees of a local roofing company.

Or how he went after Republican Political Consultant Karen Pearson’s former boyfriend.

I really don’t think that the DA had much to be afraid of vis-à-vis Mike Elliott. Not in the way Elliott imagines, that is.

Because the truth is, Mike Elliott was Healey’s albatross. Keeping him on year after year, with all of his shenanigans out in public was testimony to John Healey’s incredible mishandling of the office of the district attorney.

Either that or Elliott had Healey over a barrel with possession of a bunch of photographs.

Who knows where this will lead, what with Republicans having at each other from one end of the country to the other. One can only hope that it will lead to having a new DA next year, followed by maybe an outbreak of justice in Fort Bend County.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lunatic Fringe Comes Out of the Woodwork on Pelosi

Well, there goes any hope of getting anything done in Congress for awhile now. Not with the lunatic fringe elements of the Republican Party getting shrill over whether Nancy Pelosi knew about waterboarding.

At issue today is Leon Panetta coming down on the side of his employees, as any good boss would do, and denying that the CIA withheld information on waterboarding in a 2002 briefing.

Said Panetta (from Politico):

“Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.”

Pelosi countered with this statement (also from Politico):

“We all share great respect for the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community who are deeply committed to the safety and security of the American people. My criticism of the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe. What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country; that, and how Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, will continue to be my focus as we move forward.”

Bottom line, the CIA was the lapdog of Dick Cheney, who used to run the thing when he worked for Dubya’s father. They did what he told them to do, and if that included torturing prisoners, why is it such a reach that they were also instructed to keep that from Congress?

But no. With Panetta saying one thing and Pelosi another, Republican lunatics are gleefully jumping up and down spouting all sorts of bile.

Congresscreep Steve King (R – Iowa):

“She is squealing because she is caught out in the open with a statement that is clearly not factually true. It’s not a question of whether Nancy Pelosi told the truth, it’s if and when she told the truth because I can’t verify that she did. I think we can verify that the CIA did, and those documents need to come out and then let the Democrats decide if they want to stand and defend the Speaker of the House who is undermining our national security actively without any reason except to protect her own political hide.”

Rush Limbaugh (Leader of the Republican Party)

“You know Pelosi is finding out what it’s like to be me everyday. That press conference yesterday? The media finally probing, the media finally asking for clarification, the media following up, the media asking all these tou. . . You know the Democrats get such softball treatment that when they get a true . . . ah . . . boring in question and answer session from the media they don’t know how to handle it. She was flustered as all get out. She was shaking. Well that could be botox withdrawl. I don’t want to be too hard on the shaking.”

Newt Gingrich (Official Has Been of the Republican Party):

“I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her.”

What are the Democrats saying on the other hand? This one just about summarizes it:

Rep. John Larson (D-CT):

“I will stand by her integrity any day of the week. Nancy Pelosi has more integrity in her pinky than Karl Rove and Dick Cheney possess in their entire body.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don Rumsfeld: War Criminal

Two women verbally accosted former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as he was entering the Whitehouse Correspondents’ banquet last weekend.

Shouting at the top of their lungs "War criminal! Donald Rumsfeld is a war criminal!"

And yes, it was videotaped, and posted on You Tube courtesy of Democracy Now.

What a nightmare.

Texas to Ratify 24th Amendment?

State Rep Alma Allen is trying, for the third consecutive legislative session to get Texas to ratify the 24th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Texas is one of 9 other states that have yet to ratify that amendment, an amendment pushed by then-President Lyndon Johnson. An amendment that outlawed poll taxes.

1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Only 5 states had poll taxes when the amendment became part of the Constitution. Texas was one of them.

According to Alma Allen, who paid her first poll tax when she was 21 years old, Texas’ tax was $1.50, which would be about $11 in 2009 dollars.

Now the reasons Allen wants to get this vote are all symbolic ones.

“It’s the principle,” Allen said.

I find it ironic that Allen is getting 100% in the House at a time when it is again considering passing what amounts to a poll tax in the Voter ID Bill, SB 362.

A bill that requires that voters identify themselves with a photo ID.

A photo ID that they have to pay a fee for.

Obviously there are a bunch of state reps in Austin who just don’t see it that way.

Or maybe they do, and by voting for ratification they are simply saying that they were AGAINST a poll tax before they were FOR it.