Monday, April 30, 2012

Planned Parenthood Gets a Reprieve

Smackdown. Texas Republicans received another slam to the mat by a Bush-appointed federal judge today as US District Judge Lee Yeakel ordered a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the Republican-passed law that restricts Planned Parenthood from receiving state funding, all because it is a miniscule portion of its business to offer abortions to women.

Even though Planned Parenthood scrupulously keeps public funds completely separate from its abortion clinics, because it is the law, the Texas legislature clearly wants to run Planned Parenthood out of the state if not out of business. Even though Planned Parenthood is the sole source of women’s preventative health care, offering PAP smears and mammograms to women who would otherwise not afford it.
This law is the smoking gun of what has become the Republican Party’s War on Women.
Planned Parenthood in its lawsuit, made the case that cutting funding off from them amounted to a denial of equal protection of the law, last time I looked, that was the law of the land. Their constitutional rights were being abridged by the Texas legislature.
But what is even more curious, is that this Dubya-appointed judge didn’t really emphasize this gross infringement of the law. He was mainly concerned that the legislature, in passing this law, was effectively cutting off essential healthcare services to thousands of Texas women.

“’In balancing the relative harm to the parties and the court’s concern for the interest of the public, the court is particularly influenced by the potential for immediate loss of access to necessary medical services by several thousand Texas women,’ Yeakel wrote.”

Now Republicans can react in one of two ways to this bit of news. They can object strenuously that this federal judge is engaged in federal overreach in a state matter, a likely scenario, and that will only serve to confirm in the minds of half of the electorate that Republicans are indeed engaged in a War on Women.

Or they can just sit back and agree that the judge raises valid concern about what is best for the public interest. Planned Parenthood provides essential services to those who would normally just have to lay down and die from cervical and breast cancer.
Guess which one they will choose?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

It Doesn't Get Better Than This

At the White House Correspondents annual banquet last night, President Obama again brought the house down in this 16 minute delivery.

And I don't care if the Republicans think that remembering the demise of Osama Bin Laden a year ago this weekend is crass politicization of a military operation. Truth is, they hate it that Obama succeeded where their side had failed. Had Dubya managed to pull this one off we would have never heard the end of it.

This is my favorite new rally sign.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Big Oil Gets a Windfall: No Sales Taxes

I don’t know how this got past me, but a couple of weeks ago, oil companies operating in the state of Texas were told that they don’t have to pay sales taxes for oil field production equipment.

Oil companies, currently making money hand over fist, don’t have to pay sales tax like you do. Sales tax on equipment to produce petroleum.
And ironically it was District Judge John Dietz, who is famous for his ruling on the constitutionality of state school funding who made this ruling last April 11th. State sales taxes are a big part of how school districts get their funds from the state, and Dietz’s ruling would not only put the state on the hook to refund $2 billion in sales taxes already collected, but it would deny the state revenues amounting to $2.4 billion in the next 5 years.
More recently it came as some surprise to the judge that some damnfool judge in Texas ruled to deny his state billions of dollars in revenue, only to discover that the damnfool judge was none other than himself.
From the Austin American-Statesman:

“On Thursday, the ever-colorful Dietz recalled that he had been reading The Wall Street Journal over a breakfast of oat gruel when he saw that some Texas judge had recently overturned 50 years of tax law and crippled the state budget.”
"‘What fool did that?’ Dietz said he wondered as he read the story. ‘I'll be damned; it's me.’"
It seems that Judge Dietz was persuaded by an oil company lawyer’s specious argument that produced crude oil was a manufacturing process. In Texas, buying equipment for manufacturing is tax-free. More of that attracting industry to Texas policy that robs its citizens and schoolchildren of much-needed revenues. It is a manufacturing process, they argued, because in the act of raising oil from the reservoir where it exists at much higher pressure than we have here on Earth’s surface, the pressure decrease allows some gas to come out of solution.
Natural gas is “manufactured” because it follows Boyle’s Law.
In truth, the petroleum is fairly useless if it is kept at those high pressures because it needs to stay in the ground so the pressure can be maintained. In the act of raising it to make it useful, natural gas is produced because of the laws of physics.
Judge Dietz bought a specious argument manufactured by unscrupulous lawyers.
This is why science needs to be taught at law school.
So as a result, Dietz is going to have a “stinkin’ rehearing.” Now I find it interesting that the reason Dietz came up with second thoughts wasn’t because he listened to flawed and unscientific logic, it was because it would take too big of a bite out of the state’s revenues.
It’s not so much about what is right as it is about what’s the bill?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Obama Climbs in the Texas Polls

It’s kind of fun watching my fellow Texans, Republican Texans, coming around to line up behind the presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, as their last best hope for a “True Conservative,” Rick Santorum regained his sanity and realized he had neither a hope nor a prayer of beating the Romney political machine.

It’s funny and it’s a little sad.

Sad because as a political animal, I know what kind of boost it gives you when you aren’t settling for your second or even third choice, when the person who comes out on top is not only your choice, but the best choice.

But alas, such is not the case with the Texas GOP this year. This year they are going to nominate The Mormon. Mr. Richie Rich. The guy who makes you yawn with abounding enthusiasm.

That and the fact that there’s this guy who says that when people vote for Mitt Romney, they are consigning at least a million more people to the eternal fires of H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks.

So how does this correlate to the headline? How has Barack Obama climbed in the Texas polls?


Look at the polling in 2008. In 2008 John McCain, even with a disaster like Sarah Palin on the ticket as his running mate, out-polled Barack Obama by nearly 12 points. The McCain/Palin ticket got 55.45% of the vote compared to the Obama/Biden ticket which received 43.68% of the Texas vote.

But according to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling Romney leads Barack Obama in Texas by only 7%. That’s a net gain of 5 points for President Obama.

So the question is, in the past 4 years, has Texas been tipping more and more blue? I doubt it. I think that this is the phenomenon known as “election indifference.” Lots and lots of Republicans are not jazzed by their candidate. Maybe even some of them don’t want to consign a million people to the infernal regions.

What ever. It works for me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rick Perry’s Cashbox is Still Full

When Rick Perry announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, most of us were left slack-jawed. We knew how it would turn out. Perry has no skills in areas that are visible to the public eye. He can’t debate, he has no ability to carry himself as anything but a country bumpkin, and he is lazy and ignorant.

Did I mention he is ignorant?
So I took it upon myself to warn my Republican friends, yes I have one or two of them, about Rick Perry. Turns out warnings weren’t needed. He imploded on national TV, just as we all thought he would. This was an easy one.
And we always wondered why Rick Perry thought he was ready for prime time. He isn’t, his advisers know he isn’t. He isn’t even ready for T-Bone time. Brisket time. Strip steak time. Ground chuck time.  He just isn’t ready. So what was all the hoopla about? Why did we have to suffer those weeks with that buffoon making himself ridiculous on the state of endless debates?
As “Deep Throat” said in the film “All the Presidents Men:” Follow the money.
Rick Perry raised a total of $17.2 million in campaign funds in his short-lived run. Know how much of that he has spent? $2.1 million. He has over $15 million in cash on hand for a race he was never going to win. And one thing Rick Perry is good at, he is good at turning that asset around for his own profit because he knows how to make the system work for himself.
Really good at it.
This is a life-long politician who has made himself a multi-millionaire on a salary that would render him comfortable, but not fabulously wealthy.
So mystery solved. Rick Perry is in it for Rick Perry.  And every time Texans return him to office is just another indication of just how twisted the collective political mind of Texas really is.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Has the Texas State Board of Education Become Irrelevant?

This article in the Austin American-Statesman makes for interesting reading. It seems that the recently passed SB 6, a bill that removed any control that the state school board had over the selection of textbooks and other instructional materials, has transformed the board into an irrelevant body.

Prior to SB 6, the school board voted to include, or not to include, instructional materials on a list of acceptable materials which local districts were required to consult during book adoptions. In years past, this has allowed conservatives on the board inject their own political agendas into what gets included in textbooks, or what doesn’t.

That’s OK, some board members say, they still get to vote on curriculum standards. It’s just now what appears on the state curriculum does not dictate what appears in textbooks as in years past. In short, the school board can say whatever they want, do whatever they want, and no one, particularly book publishers, has to listen to them.

It’s about time. The Texas state school board has been having their way with publishers, and the minds of Texas’ millions of school children for years now. What they were doing was nothing less than shameful. Using the state education system to advance their own political views – some of them not very mainstream views – was a clear abuse of authority.
If you abuse it, you lose it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tomorrow is Texas' County/Senatorial Convention

In case you have been asleep since the Texas Democratic Party, and others, brought suit against the Republican majority-sponsored redistricting maps, you should know that because our primary date has been moved into the next to last Tuesday in May, but county/senatorial districts need to happen in time for the state party convention, this is your fair warning.

If you want to attend the Texas Democratic Party state convention in Houston starting on June 7th, you need to attend your county/senatorial district convention tomorrow.

They start at 10 AM.

Yeah the rules have changed a little. The nice thing is that this year, as opposed to 2008, if you attend the county/senatorial convention, you will in all probability be able to move on to the state convention. And those of you with national delegate aspirations will get a boost because you avoid the hurdle of the precinct conventions.

Who in their right mind wouldn't want to be there in Charlottesville to nominate the first African-American President of the United States to a second term?

Mainly because it is going to drive the Tea Party bonkers, and that is a very easy thing to do as they are already there.

Uh, I Think the Drought is Over

First, I think I am growing webs between my toes. Things have definitely turned here in the parched Lone Star State. There has been one storm front moving through Texas after another. The latest storm this afternoon can be viewed on the Doppler map below.

And here is the drought map as of today..

Governor Rick Perry’s prayerfest last August, a movement to beseech the Almighty to bring rains to the plains of Texas apparently fell on deaf ears the whole time that he was running for president. But the instant he pulled out of the race, guess what happens?

Storms that would have intimidated Noah.

God 1, Perry Zip.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Texas Is Not Healthy for Women and other Living Things, the premiere abortion rights website has a new article on the most unfriendly states to women, or to put it in their words, people “who have ladyparts.”

It is here, but the faint of heart should stay away as the poster makes use of the F-bomb from time to time.

Right at the top of the list, and I am guessing it is not the worst place to be, is Texas. Texas, it seems, is not healthy for women and other living things. I usually don’t wholesale quote from websites, but this was really well-written

From Jezebel:

“Earlier this year, Governor Rick Perry (who really should go by "Dick," because it's much more fitting) threatened the entire Texas Women's Health Program by refusing to comply with the federal requirement that the state stop excluding Planned Parenthood from funding. And! Texas has enacted some of the scariest, most restrictive abortion laws in the land, which affect women in all parts of the state. But Kingsville stood out for a few reasons. Located in Southern Texas an hour or so from Corpus Christi is Kingsville, a city of about 25,000 people. Women who live here are about three times more likely to get raped than women who live elsewhere, and once the US Army conducted an exercise here that involved live ammunition. In 2008, it's estimated that more than a million women were beaten by their partners in the state of Texas. A woman seeking an abortion in Kingsville will have to drive about an hour in order to get to a clinic in Corpus Christi, and once she gets there, she'll be required, by law, to either listen to the sound of the fetal heartbeat and watch an ultrasound or listen to a description of the ultrasound by the sonogram technician. She then must listen to a speil from the doctor that explains that there's a link between abortion and breast cancer (there's no stronger a link between abortion and breast cancer than their is a link between never having babies and breast cancer), that fetuses can feel pain, and that women who have abortions are emotionally scarred. Then she gets to wait 24 hours, drive back to the clinic (since a woman in Kingsville lives under 100 miles from the clinic, she'd be required to wait an entire day) for the procedure. If an underage Kingsville woman becomes pregnant, she needs to both notify her parents and receive consent from them, and the consent form must be notarized. She can bypass this if there's a medical emergency, but not if she's a rape, incest, or abuse victim. Don't uterus with Texas.”

You gotta love this. This Republican anti-woman meme is all the rage, and the beauty of the fact is this: it’s not a meme. It is truth. Republicans are falling all over themselves trying to alienate voters with ladyparts. This is absolutely amazing. It makes John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate pale in comparison.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dead or In Jail

Faded 80’s rock star Ted Nugent addressed the NRA convention today. He sits on its board of directors so I guess he’s entitled to a speech.

And this former Rick Perry supporter, who has now endorsed the presumed nominee, Mitt Romney, could have delivered a rock solid speech for his new candidate of choice. Instead he chose words that make people look twice at what goals this particular person has.
Right in the middle of his speech, Nugent uttered the inflammatory words that …if Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.
Gee. Dare we hope?
But seriously what does he mean by these words? Does he mean that Obama, the Dear Leader, once re-elected, will consolidate his nefarious power by unleashing his minions to put down the wild-eyed , spitting, sputtering uber conservatives that seem to be taking over the Republican Party?
And what does he intend to do to prevent President Obama from having Nugent “disappeared?”
These are good questions, and I guess the Secret Service is interested in getting to the bottom of Nugent’s intentions. Said a Secret Service spokesman todayWe are aware of the situation, and we're conducting an appropriate follow-up.
But, again seriously, I really don’t think there is much to this. I mean really consider the fact that Ted Nugent was Rick Perry’s main celebrity booster (OK, Chuck Norris was, too). Anyone willing to publicly promote Rick Perry for the top job in the country has serious mental processing problems.
And maybe had one too many joints, and two too many quarts of Jack Daniels.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Color Me Confused

I was a little put off today by a facebook posting of a friend of mine who also happens to be Republican. Yes, I do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation or politics when it comes to my facebook friends.
I didn’t begrudge her the posting. It was an honest question. It was a poll.
It was a poll question asked by Republican operative Dick Morris. The question was “Do you think Romney will be able to maintain his recent poll numbers?
At present well over 600 maintain that he will, and around 39 say no.
It was obviously a push poll to get people fired up about the presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, and conservatives are coming out in droves to say yes. And I see that a few Democrats are saying no.
But I don’t agree with my fellow-Democrats. I agree with the over 600 conservatives who think, or rather hope, that Mitt Romney will continue to maintain his poll numbers. I hope so too. His poll numbers stink and I hope to high heaven that he can maintain them, or even improve on the downward trend.
But for a minute I was confused. I’ve been watching the polls and they don’t bode well for Romney. I asked myself “what has changed?” Has the Mittster pulled a rabbit out of a hat and he is now soaring in the polls?
And the answer is no, making this a very clever poll question. Make Republicans think that Romney is getting ahead in the polls and maybe everyone will agree eventually. It’s like Fox News at a small scale.
It’s like asking “by how many percentage points do you think Mitt Romney is going to trounce Barack Obama?”
So to ease my confusion, I consulted the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll taken late last week.
And it’s true, Romney’s numbers are up – among Republicans. Not a hard thing to do when his number one fly in the ointment, Rick Santorum, the last true conservative in the race, withdrew last week, making Romney the presumptive nominee.
But that is about it.
Nearly all of Romney’s numbers indicate trouble ahead for Mitt Romney.
African-Americans hate him. He gets a 10% favorable rating from African-Americans, versus 93% for Obama. Hispanics are similarly disaffected with Romney with a 43% gap between favorable and unfavorable.  Women have turned their backs on Republicans in general and who is surprised at that with a well-documented “war on women” in full throttle?  58% of women favor Obama versus 36% for his presumed opponent. Independents narrowly tilt toward Obama with 53% for Obama versus 47% favorable for Romney.
The only demographic where Romney outperforms Obama is white men. White men love the Mittster, and if it was 1919 he would very probably win in a landslide.
And really, I am wondering how long he will enjoy even that advantage. Some white men, I think, might take umbrage over a presidential candidate hiding some of his wealth in a Swiss bank account, keeping it out of the range of the IRS.
Having just mailed a check to the IRS myself, I know other white men might just feel a little outraged.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Texas Relevancy? Never Mind

A few days back I posted a discussion of how some people in the Republican Party of Texas wanted to change the rules in regard to how presidential delegates are allocated in the Republican Primary.

See, there was this concern that because the Democrats howled and moaned about how the 2011 redistricting was unfair, and this caused our state primary date to be moved way back, that Texas would not be relevant in the 2012 primary.

Besides, polls had Rick Santorum beating Mitt Romney by 8 points.

Changing the rules to winner-take-all would make Texas, and by the way, Rick Santorum, relevant.

But what a difference a week makes. Republicans who were simply trying to make the Texas Primary relevant, and that’s it…they promise…have backed down.

Instead, they say that the rule change will be something that the delegates at their state convention will get to vote on.

Leaving out the fact that the Romney-backing mainstream Republicans of the RNC has made it abundantly clear that they will not allow Texas to change their rules so close to the primary date.

Leaving out the fact that the chief reason for their movement was to get more delegates in Rick Santorum’s column, a moot point now that he withdrew from the race last week.

I love Texas Republicans. Their disingenuousness and their transparent motives make things so entertaining that it adds to my list of things that are cool about Texas. A list of three things: 
  1. Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
  2. Barbecue
  3. Republican hypocrisy

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On Earthquakes and Fracking

People who know me know that I spent a couple of decades of my life, and change, in the oil and gas exploration industry. I have little to recommend this industry to my fellow man, but it puts octane in the gas tanks and mostly no one is willing to talk back against the industry that gives us the freedom of mobility.

But after I left the industry, another industry practice emerged. Hydraulic fracturing.
Alias, fracking.
Now this was a common practice while I was engaged in the biz, but it has taken on a life of its own in the new millennium. Before we “fracked” oil-bearing formations that could not give up their treasure because they were not, as we say, porous. But now we “frack” gas-bearing shale formations.  Shale is considered to be “tight” as in not allowing hydrocarbons to flow through them easily. Typically shale forms the trap that creates subsurface oil and gas accumulations. Now, in this century, shales are considered to be gas reservoirs.
What this whole process involves is introducing fluids to a very resistant rock formation. One that bears hydrocarbons, but can’t give them up because of an issue we call porosity. If fluids cannot flow through a rock it is impossible to produce them. Hydraulic fracturing solves this problem nicely.
There is a downside, though.  To effect a fracture, we must inject water and chemicals into the rock formation we want to break apart and harvest the gas within it. This happens, and the fluids come rushing back to the surface along with the produced natural gas.
And industry must find a place to dispose of this fluid. Toxic, toxic fluid.
Their solution has been to inject these toxic fluids back into the rock layers of Earth. And in that we have a problem.
Don’t take my word for it. The data supports it nicely. In Oklahoma, for instance, in the middle of the continent, away from any real seismic activity, they have had 25 earthquakes per year at recent count. This, by the way, is up from 1.2 earthquakes per year in the half century before fluid injection became a common practice in the oil industry.
Now why am I on this?
People suffer in earthquakes, even low level events. Especially when the local building codes don’t take into account that the area is seismically active.
Oil companies are responsible for the loss of property and land value, and have skated unchallenged to this point.
My point is, this needs to stop, and oil companies need to compensate property owners for their business practices.
It is the fair thing.
That’s why it will never happen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Texas’ Voter ID Law is in Trouble

You know, this was a non-starter for me. Texas’s conservative legislators have been chomping at the bit to pass a Voter ID law on the false notion that voter fraud was rampant in the Lone Star State when in actual point of fact there have been “fewer than five” voter impersonation cases in Texas in the past three years.

The disingenuousness of the recently passed law is obvious. It is obvious that its sole purpose was to disenfranchise the elderly and minorities. In other  words, Democratic Voters.
600,000 of them.
That was the Department of Justice finding made public today.
But wait, it gets better. The Feds  smell a huge rat and want to prove its allegation that it was the specific intent of state lawmakers to rob Texans of their right to vote. They want to check out what went on internally as this vile piece of legislation was being concocted and passed.
From The Chron:
In court papers filed Wednesday, the department was explaining why Texas lawmakers should turn over their papers and communication regarding the law. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has argued that lawmakers should not have to reveal their internal deliberations.
Isn’t that just the coolest thing? The Feds want to read what the legislators were emailing to each other, looking for the smoking gun that shows intent to rob Texas voters of their civil and constitutional rights. And it looks like they are going to play hardball with AG Greg Abbott, and his assertion that they enjoy special privileges when it comes to internal communications.
They get to discuss and decide things in secret.
Nope. The Feds are saying that no such privilege exists. And this is exactly right. The email of public servants doing state business is not privileged information. It is public record.
Trust me. As a public school educator, I am well aware of this.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

This is for Lynne Blankenship who will never ever see this post.

Not thinking of you tonight.

After this, anyway.


Monday, April 09, 2012

Supremes Will Reconsider Citizens United

Seemingly miraculously, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case from Montana that challenges the infamous Citizens United decision. Justices Ginsburg and Breyer are saying that by accepting this case, it gives the Supreme Court a chance to backpedal on their decision, one that has dealt a hand in the 2012 election that no one would have ever suspected.

See, the 5 conservative members of the Supreme Court, in coming to this infamous decision, had a narrow view of how this could help the conservative cause. Help conservatives win elections. Because, obviously, in their minds, corporations want to support conservatives, certainly not liberals.
Now we find that this is not the case, having weathered months of heavy corporate spending in the new super PACs. Turns out, the paradigm wasn’t true. Corporations don’t march in lockstep to support conservatives. They march in lockstep to support winners.
And sometimes winners are Democrats.
But not only that, the Citizens United decision has changed how we do politics in America. Had Citizens United not become the law of the land, I think it is a safe assumption that Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich would both have thrown in the towel by now. Ron Paul is another matter as he marches to a different drum. So Super PACs have radically altered the political playing field in the conservative race, more than the conservative justices may have anticipated, or desired.
The Montana case concentrates on states issues, that the Citizens United decision goes up against Montana state law and tradition. That Citizens United must be applied only in federal elections. But you know, I doubt the Supremes will limit their second decision to the states. It is at the federal level that their decision will have the most effect, particularly in deciding who is going to be appointed to replace the elder amongst them.
The Supremes in the end, will overturn their own decision, their own foray into politics, because it will ultimately decide their own philosophical makeup.
In short, the chickens have come home to roost.

Wild About Wildflowers

Right about now it is high season for blooming wildflowers in the two states that I have lived in, California and Texas. When I see the Bluebonnets come out in Texas, it makes me nostalgic for the days that I used to pack up my family and we'd day trip it to Gorman California where the Golden Poppies (state flower) and the lupins would be blooming in madly splashed mosaic patterns of violet and orange all over the hillsides.

Bluebonnets remind me of stunted lupins and I'm sure that they are botanically related. I'm a little biased, so you be the judge. Which do you think is the better scene?

The Golden Poppy/Lupin menage?

Or this scene from monospecific Bluebonnet field?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Friday, April 06, 2012

Relevant or Recalcitrant?

Let me tell you a sad tale of woe. Texas’ primary has been attacked by the lefties and the US Supreme Court had to put a stop to them. When our glorious state legislature passed by a vast majority, redistricting plans that made complete sense, the liberals tore their clothes and threw ashes in their hair. No fair, they cried. Our Mexicans won’t be able to vote for a Mexican candidate. Our minorities will be denied representation in the legislature.

So they went to court, as is their want, since they can’t win at the polls, and got a federal district court, probably left-leaning despite the two Republican justices on it, and put a halt to their plans. But then the US Supreme Court in all of its wisdom and conservative views to keep federal hands off of local politics overturned that court’s decision.
But now Texas’ primary won’t happen until the last week of this month, after 43 states have had their primaries and caucuses.
See? The liberals made Texas lose its relevancy. The relevancy that would have helped Texas Republicans be the ones who could actually be a deciding vote in who will run against that…that…Muslim.
Texas cannot be irrelevant, you see. Cannot.
So here’s the plan. The SREC, the executive committee that runs the Republican Party, will call an emergency meeting to change the party’s primary policy from one that awards delegates proportionately to each candidate’s polling, a very regressive policy, to a winner-take-all policy where the majority candidate gets to rake in every delegate in the Texas delegation.
That makes Texas relevant, you see.
Aren’t we clever? Oh, that and Rick Santorum, who trails Mitt Romney badly in the delegate count is ahead of Romney in the Texas polls by 8%. But the one thing has no relationship with the other. Texas conservatives just want their relevancy stored. That’s all.
Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Kony 2012 Part 2

Remember when I posted the You Tube embed video last month on Joseph Kony? The guy who has been tearing up central Africa unimpeded for years now? Well you probably know that that video went viral with nearly 2 hundred million views. It also received lots of flack from truly sick minds who question every well intended motive as a project of self-interest.

Because that is how they themselves think and see life.

Now in answer to these mental midgets, we have Kony 2012 Part 2. Issued one month after the initial viral video.

It’s not as long as the original video, 19 minutes and change, but worth the watch.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Republicans Poised to Lose Ground in the Texas House

According to what I am reading in the Austin American-Statesman today, the Tea Party is about to make some more inroads on the Republican Party in the 2012 elections in a year when they will suffer setbacks due to the redistricting process.

In short, what is happening in Texas, and across America, is a continued polarization of politics, as moderates get primaried, and conservative agendas get progressively more radical. This is not so much happening on the left as it is on the  right.
Barry Goldwater, today, would be a Democrat.
Hard to fathom, but facts are facts.
How does this bode for Texas? Not well. Not well at all. It will probably be the case that Texas will shift to the right even more. Like Voter ID laws? Like Mandatory sonograms? Like underfunding education? Like mediocrity and loss of public services? Welcome to Republican Paradise in Texas, USA.
In short, while Texas will become less Republican in numbers, it will become more conservative in its majority make-up.
Maybe it’s time to book passage on a steamer to New Zealand.
Or a road trip to California.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

What if They Built a Jail and Nobody Came?

I live in a very unique state. Living in Texas is never dull, especially when you read in the newspapers that entire state prisons are standing empty.

One prison in Jones County, in West Texas, has never had a single prisoner in its 22 months of being open for business.
The problem? Apparently people in Texas have stopped committing crimes.
But wait, it gets worse.
In Texas, like in Arizona, we have entire businesses established to house prisoners, the privatization of the penal system. Apparently only 20 years ago Texas prisons were bulging at the seams with prisoners, prompting a small boom with local county jails that opened their cells for state prisoners with due compensation from the state. Prompting entrepreneurs to start their own penitentiaries so they could get in on this booming crime industry, spurring a huge growth in the number of prisons being built.
Businessmen looked around and bet on crime. Crime was definitely a growth industry in their minds.
But who knew? Budget cuts and an overall decrease in crime, coupled with an increased use of “treatment programs,” programs to rehabilitate drug abusers have all served to reverse that which these prison industrialists all foresaw as the next big thing.
So here in the Lone Star State, here in Texas, we have an industry under a cloud, and entire counties who may default on bonds sold to build prisons.
Sounds ominous.
So come on Texans, do the right thing. Get out there on the street and knock over a convenience store. Grab some old lady’s purse. Get in the spirit that has been a Texas tradition for decades.
But just remember not to attack someone who has a conceal-carry permit. That might not turn out so well, and rob the Texas prison system of another warm body, replacing it with a cold one.
Those conceal-carry permits (also known as voter ID documents) are very popular in Texas.