Tuesday, October 30, 20070 comments
Monday, October 29, 2007
Ballot Recommendations -Update
You can read about the election going on now here with directions on where to vote and other people's take on the ballot.
Here are my thoughts. I have borrowed from Kuffner for the format.
Correcting the Constitution to list Angelo State University as part of the Texas Tech system.
My vote: Skip. Let the people who are concerned about the issue decide what college system Angelo State should be part of.
Authorizing $500 million in additional state bonds for college student loans.
My vote: Yes. Educational loans are the only bonds I support at a time of budget surpluses.
Clarifying that the appraised value of a homestead for property taxes cannot increase by more than 10% in any year, even if more than a year has passed since the home was last appraised.
My vote: Yes. although this is meaningless for the great majority of people in Texas whose property gets appraised every year.
Authorizing $1 billion in additional state bonds for prisons, DPS, mental health facilities and other state projects.
My vote: No. There are good projects mixed with bad and the both could have been funded without bonds.
Allowing small towns to grant tax breaks for downtown development if approved by local voters.
My vote: Yes. Many smaller Texas towns are becoming ghost towns downtown. This will be abused but will help with the problem.
Exempting motor vehicles used in business from property tax if they are also used for personal purposes.
My vote: No. Tax breaks for those who can most afford taxes means those who can least afford it pay more.
Allowing property that was sold to the government through eminent domain to be bought back by the seller at the original sales price if the government does not use the property.
My vote: No. This grant is too unrestricted and could easily be abused.
Changing the consumer protections for home equity loans.
My vote: No. I've looked and looked and there is screwy wording in this legislation which seems to me to be aimed at protecting lending institutions and not consumers. Oral applications and blanks in the contracts are still acceptable, as are high fees.
Exempting totally disabled veterans from property taxes.
My vote: No. There was no limitation on this. What do you want to bet some millionaires transfer conditional title to estates to disabled vets to avoid taxes? Disabled vets already receive property tax breaks, this makes them unlimited.
Abolishing the office of inspector of hides and animals
My vote: Yes.
Requiring how each legislator voted on the final vote on most legislative bills to be recorded and posted on the Internet
My vote: Yes. All votes should be recorded, with video cameras as well. I want to watch the money change hands.
Authorizing $5 billion in additional state bonds for highways.
My vote: NO. Texas has the most powerful highway construction lobby in the country and seems to spend more on these state roads than people. McBlogger points out that they haven't even issued the last $3 billion bond issue yet.
Allowing judges to deny bail to defendants in family violence cases who violate certain conditions of their initial release on bail.
My vote: No. I dislike this whittling away of civil rights. This allows judges to keep people in jail who have never been convicted of a crime.
Allowing judges to serve their entire term of office even if they reach the mandatory retirement age of 75 while serving.
My vote: No. This keeps old judges in office. I don't want these 75-year-old geezers getting another extension. In the one case I can find that this currently applies to I don't want that cranky judge.
Authorizing $3 billion in bonds for a new program to fund cancer research.
My vote: NO. I don't want Perry's friends deciding what places get state bond money, even for cancer research. What do you want to bet that medical facilities, doctors and scientists suddenly start becoming political donors to get these funds? Why only research, why not cancer care?
Authorizing $250 million in additional state bonds for water and sewers in existing subdivisions that were developed with inadequate facilities.
My vote: No. McBlogger also points out that the state should have required developers to put in water and sewer systems, not come to taxpayers to put them in afterwards.
Summary: YES on 2, 3, 5, 10 and 11. I would not feel too sad if all were defeated.
Harris County bond issues.
Yes on the parks, medical examiners office and the port. No on the others. The Port is borderline Yes, can't it finance these improvements itself, albeit through privatization of facilities or other means? Privatization and other means are worse in regards to corruption than this bond issue. The roads are borderline No. Roads need improvement, but a regional mobility plan needs to be offered to the voters. Update, I am getting arguments that 1) the jail is not just an expansion but needed improvements for the public, 2) I am condemning us to crappier roads and 3) that the family law court is really needed. Your mileage may vary.
Summary: YES, 2, 4 and 6, Maybe on the others.
HOUSTON I.S.D., PROPOSITION
My vote: Yes, if I lived in HISD. If you vote no it simply means it comes back next year in a different form which is also OK.
UPDATE - Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round Up: Amendments, Elections, & Endorsements For The November 6 Ballot. I will send you to Vince rather than repost this.
Sharon now has David Van Os on the Texas amendments. He has a number of disagreements with me. These amendments are controversial and good people can disagree.
The Houston Chronicle hasn't had much to say about the elections at all. If they add anything it will be here. Update - I found Clay Robison's report on the amendments. The Chron has also just come out urging a YES vote on all amendments and bonds.
Gary Permalink on 10/29/2007
Texas Round-Up 16
It's Monday, and that means it's once again time for the Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up. This week's round-up is complied by Vince from Capitol Annex.
There is an Election Going On in TEXAS - check here for info.
Refinish69 from Doing My Part For The Left is outraged with certain politicians in Fort Worth,Texas. Homophobia Rears Its Nasty Head in Fort Worth City Council Race tells who is being a jerk and how to contact one of them.
Muse was at Armando Walle’s campaign kick-off and reports why it’s time for a change in Texas House District 140. Kevin Bailey (Craddick D) has been serving Craddick and not the district. Walle, who is from the district and has a proven track record of service and leadership, already has a large group of supporters lined up to help him take back 140 for the people.
Phillip Martin of Burnt Orange Report provides a detailed chart and analysis updating what's going on with the Craddick D's. The post brought forward an interesting reader response as well.
TXsharon at Bluedaze gives the Texas Railroad Commission Protection Money Breakdown. and makes it easy for you to take action. So, please take that action before you become the next victim of RRC Malpractice.
Hal at Half Empty wonders whether FEMA has finally taken a page out of George Orwell's book when they held a 'news conference' this past week without a single journalist in attendance.
WhosPlayin notes that he would gladly pay the $13.30 per year per person to pay for SCHIP.
McBlogger takes a look at the strange world of Focus on the Family and the very odd people that attended their Values Voters conference.
CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme notes that Perry appointed a public corruption figure to the UT System Board of Regents.
Johncoby at Bay Area Houston finds the highest and lowest costs for electricity in the Houston area. Power Watch: Highest and lowest electricity rates for November.
Stace at DosCentavos features the trailer to the upcoming Jesse Salmeron film, This Is America. "This is America" is the story of a family torn apart by deportation.
NatWu at Three Wise Men exposes the truth about why we need Net Neutrality, especially with all the recent Telecom shenanigans.
North Texas Liberal's Texas Toad gives a breakdown on the factions of the "Trinity Vote" in Dallas Weighs Pros and Cons of Trinity Toll Road.
WCNews at Eye On Williamson wonders What Will John Carter's Excuse Be This Time For Voting Against Health Care For Children?
Off the Kuff gives his recommendations for the state and local bonds and propositions.
NYTexan at BlueBloggin asks how many wars and how many enemies can Bush have?
Vince at Capitol Annex notes that Tom Craddick has borrowed a page from Warren Chisum in announcing that trial lawyers were behind efforts to remove him during the 8oth Legislative Session and wonders why, since he reported it some months ago, it is suddenly "news" to the mainstream media.
In the wake of the Houston Chronicle's announcement of a "position-elimination program", PDiddie at Brains and Eggs recounts his personal experience with Hearst newspapers, budgets, and staff cutbacks in The Trouble with the Newspaper Bidness. (Sounds similar to the trouble in the retail business - EL.)
Gary Permalink on 10/29/2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Vote Early, vote often - Updates
No, not really but voting early is much better than waiting for election day. If something is wrong you can correct it and it is easier to find where to vote. Here is where you can vote early (PDF).
Early voting schedule for Harris County locations is:
The Texas League of Women Voters Guide For the Amendments is here (PDF). Print it out and take it with you if you want. Study the Amendments, there will be a test.
A guide with more bond issues and candidates is here (PDF) but it doesn't cover the amendments as well.
Election day locations and other info is here.
The long analysis of the proposed Texas Constitutional amendments is here (PDF) including the full text of the bills. A condensed analysis without the full text prepared by the Republican leadership is here (Word format).
My thoughts and recommendations on the bonds, amendments and propositions are here.
Updates -- Laws: Still no photo ID required because some old people don't have birth certificates and would have a problem getting a photo ID. If you requested a vote-by-mail ballot and did not return it you don't have to bring the mail-in ballot to vote, but should. Now if you don't you can vote provisionally and later the provisional ballot will count if you had not voted and everything else is correct. No wireless communications allowed within 100 feet of the voting machines, not the voting location. No phoning a friend for help or ordering pizza or answering your phone unless you are 100 feet away. Voting judges, clerks, and other people are not allowed to tell you anything about the ballot measures except what is on the ballot. You can bring voter guides in but there will not be any kept at the polling location. No election apparel items or candidate names, like t-shirts or buttons, allowed within 100 feet. Someone should tell the county clerk who last year gave small buttons for election workers that violated this.
Updates on Amendments: Scott Hochberg has a Democratic state representative view of the pros and cons of the amendments.
Independents against Perry recommendations on the Amendments.
My Dad has cancer and does not recommend allowing the governor to appoint people to decide what places get billions from public state loans for cancer research.
Harris County AFL-CIO: Vote Yes on Texas amendments #2, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15. They also support the local bonds.
Charles Kuffner has his recommendations. I am leaning toward voting against all the bond funding despite the good projects included because Texas had way more than enough money to finance them without bonds which raises the price. Republicans have an agenda of "borrow and spend" government and privatization for their cronies because they are richly rewarded for it. Liberal blogger Vince at Capital Annex recommendations.
Campaign Updates: Manlove campaigns in Fort Bend County for GOP nomination. Mikal Watts withdraws from Senate race. Rick Noriega supporters wish Mikal well.
P.S., totally unrelated but I don't want to push this post down - Riverbend is safe. Her family has fled to Syria to get out of Baghdad.
From PBS Frontline: Showdown With Iran. Seems like fundamentalists are headed for war.
Gary Permalink on 10/23/2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
GOP Congressman goes to Hawaii and all he got was the ugly Ho
A trial about power, bribery and a dirty politician took another tawdry turn Wednesday, as a hooker from Hawaii testified that Poway businessman Brent Wilkes argued with former North County Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham over who would get the prettier of two prostitutes.Randy Randy "Duke" Cunningham had a 100% rating from the Christian Coalition.
Gary Permalink on 10/22/2007
Peak Oil Yesterday
A German study has come to my conclusion, we are already past peak oil. They are even more alarmist, or more knowledgable, in concluding that we may have peaked in many other energy supplies as well. They also have total oil production dropping by 7% a year starting now. Oil prices will continue to go up even more rapidly, although about $30 of the $90 price in dollars now is due to the fall in the dollar value, not the drop in production.
Gary Permalink on 10/22/2007
Texas Round-Up 15
It's Monday, and that means it's time to show some love for the best posts from the members of the Texas Progressive Alliance for the preceding week. Check out the best that the Alliance has to offer, brought to you this week by Vince at Capitol Annex.
PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has an advance of the Max Cleland-Karl Rove debate, coming up this Friday, October 26.
Diarist Scott Cobbat Texas Kaos updates us on the growing movement to hold rogue Judge Sharon Keller accountable for her callous disregard for the responsibility of the Appeals court while she displays her intoxication with its power.
State Senator Craig Estes, Senate District 30, was given numerous examples of Texas Railroad Commission malpractice, negligence, incompetence and cronyism at his recent Town Hall Meeting in Wise County. TXsharon at Bluedaze asks: Will Senator Estes Investigate the RRC's Malpractice?
Adam at Three Wise Men looks into the future to give us his expert opinion on the 2010 Texas Gubernatorial race.
McBlogger has been keeping a watchful eye on what's happening in Congress with FISA expansion.
At Half Empty, Hal ponders the question: which Republican candidate can the evangelicals support for President?
Muse vs. State Senator Eltife. A whole lotta safe sex going on or should the the State of Texas get involved in adults getting free condoms on campus?
Todd Hill at Burnt Orange Report interviews Dan Barrett, the only Democrat in the special election race for HD 97 in Fort Worth.
WCNews at Eye on Williamson reports on some unbelievable statements made by County Commissioner Cynthia Long on the children that are being detained at the T. Don Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas.
Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at a State Representative, Fred Brown (R-Bryan), who has scheduled an oversight hearing of an agency that is investigating his business partner.
Bradley at North Texas Liberal celebrates one of the first and only times Sen. John Cornyn has been on the right side of the issue: securing H-2B visas for seasonal workers and joining with Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland to help save small business... at least for another year.
Are government emails covered by open record laws? Off the Kuff takes a look.
CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme wonders if a Dallas minister will lose his church's tax exempt status by slamming Mitt Romney because 'he's not a Christian.'
Nytexan at BlueBloggin wonders why Homeland Security purchases products from China when Americans industry is disappearing and jobs are declining.
The Texas Cloverleaf looks into the pending libel and slander lawsuit against Dallas Republicans, including State Rep. Tony Goolsby.
Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News updated on political news and gossip in the Pasadena area. Like most gossip one item was wrong.
Think arbitration is fair? Think again. John Coby at Bay Area Houston notes that the bottom line from the data is clear. In the nearly 20,000 cases where NAF [National Arbitration Forum] reached a decision, First USA prevailed in an astonishing 99.6 percent of cases.
Refinish69 at Doing My Part For The Left thinks Texas State Senator Kevin Eltife Needs Some Education.
Gary Permalink on 10/22/2007
The mass media has finally realized that Valerie Plame was an undercover operative working to keep Iran from getting nukes. But 60 Minutes scrubbed the Iran portion from their Plame interview broadcast! After advertising it.
Doesn't leaking Plame's covert identity make Cheney, Novak and company traitors? They did help Iran. Of course, the biggest help for Iran has been the invasion of Iraq.
Will the mass media now speak about her career when she was a spy with diplomatic immunity, supposedly less dangerous, when she was captured and tortured for two days? Assuming the CIA can't keep it muzzled for long. Did the CIA or the White House scrub the Iran portion of her 60 Minutes interview?
I have had many posts about being outraged at the scam the conservatives were pulling on the Valerie Plame case. The modus operandi is always the same, if you have someone embarrassing the President smear them or their family with mud, much like the smears on the families that use the SCHIP program.
Regarding modus operandi, isn't the attack on Iran campaign a little old by now? Seeing it is the exact campaign they ran before attacking Iraq? This campaign has not been as successful with only 29% of the American public supporting an attack on Iran - even though a large majority of voters believe Iran is developing nuclear weapons and is supporting attacks on our soldiers.
Valerie Plame - The edited inside story at the WP.
An online discussion with Valerie Plame about her new book and the 60 Minutes interview today here.
Gary Permalink on 10/22/2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Glenn Greenwald ignores the obvious
It's the water. The DC water supply is massively contaminated with unknown ingredients that makes those who live there close to brain dead. Trying to find the rhyme and reason of Washington Post columnists like Howard Kurtz becomes an exercise in futility until one concludes, as Greenwald eventually does, that they are just dumb. Howard is merely the current example, nearly all the others are as dumb.
I plan on much fewer blogging for a number of weeks. We'll see how that works out.
Gary Permalink on 10/21/2007
Suicide's Not Painless
The odd little arrangement of a tax-exempt Pentagon subcontractor providing a no-work bridge contract job for a high ranking Air Force procurement officer caused the officer to kill himself after being exposed. Sad, but not the first case. Frank Rich explores the whole culture of war profiteering in the Bush years that has allowed Blackwater to be one of the great American corruption success stories and the culture of corruption that now flourishes in Washington and Baghdad. I had blogged about the abuse exposed.
Gary Permalink on 10/21/2007
Hillary Clinton - Neocon
Over at the Moderate Voice Nick Rivera writes that he has been warning about the foreign policy positions of Hillary for years and that she has not changed her record of voting for aggressive neocon positions. This is related to libertarian Reason's Radley Balko making the same argument. On foreign policy, Hillary will not offer changes from Bush. Hillary is the most conservative, most tied to large corporate interests, Democrat running for President.
Some models of presidential election prediction would have that makes her the most electable. Americans usually vote for whom they percieve as the least extreme candidate, which is the most conservative Democrat or most liberal Republican.
Interesting. One of the most accurate of the election projectionists, a conservative Christian Republican, has decided to close down comments because he and his supporters are heavily outnumbered by liberals.
Gary Permalink on 10/21/2007
Pasadena Mayor's Race Correction
Through a miscommunication, I wrote that the latest candidate for mayor was John O. Harris, real estate developer. It is actually O. L. Harris, former city councilman.
Gary Permalink on 10/21/2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Fox News anchor slams Bush’s SCHIP double standard
Bush and the GOP crazies lost many of their own who have defected from this fight. I am going to excerpt a lot about one of the Fox News regulars slamming Bush, it's short and doesn't happen often:
Conservative Roll Call editor Mort Kondracke slammed President Bush’s SCHIP “compromise,” which “cut[s] off about a million children from the rolls.” Kondracke called Bush out on making a prominent 2004 campaign promise to expand children’s health insurance:Of course, Bush's approval rating is now 24% but who's counting. Just like more people want to impeach Bush and Cheney now than ever wanted to impeach Clinton, much more if they have lied about wiretaps and reasons for invading Iraq which would come out in hearings.You have George Bush, who promised in 2004 at the Republican National Convention that he was going to cover millions of children who were not covered by SCHIP if he was reelected? And what does he do? He proposes a bill that would result in almost a million kids losing their coverage from the level it’s at. It’s no wonder Bush’s approval ratings is in the 30’s.
Clinton Aug-Sept 1998 (Before Impeachment Hearings)
Average support for impeachment and removal (10 polls): 26%
Average support for hearings (6 polls): 36%
Since Democrats are not the rabid crazy partisans the Republicans are, despite what conservatives say, impeachment is off the table unlike the GOP who pursued it despite having no chance of removing Clinton from office.
I think SCHIP is going to be the gift that keeps on giving for the Democrats. It sure has dominated my blogging lately. Tom Tomorrow shows the right smear campaigns in action.
Gary Permalink on 10/20/2007
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Rapidly Growing
Jack Cluth links to a TV report that FSM is the second largest church group at Missouri State University. Way to go pirates and Pastafarians. Join the debate. FSM - The Game.
BTW, the People's Republic of Seabrook is now in exile in Portland but that hasn't stopped Jack.
Gary Permalink on 10/20/2007
Vote in Democracy in America Poll
DFA is holding a Presidential Primary Pulse Poll to decide which candidate deserves their support. I voted for Former Senator John Edwards. I think he is the most electable progressive candidate who will also help the Democratic Party in all states.
Could you take just a minute to vote for John Edwards right now? Here's the link:
Democracy For America will provide many activists to work for Democrats in the election.
Gary Permalink on 10/20/2007
Salon.com has fascinating political stuff lately
The Christian right vs. Giuliani and more. Greenwald has also been the goto place on telecom lobbyists buying Democratic Senators to join the GOP to gut the constitution and the heroes who will try to stop them. An interesting earlier Greenwald that the rugged individualist neo-con warhawks get all their jobs through family connections.
BTW, Joan Walsh wrote that Michelle Malkin and those people are crazy. Yeah, there really is some derangement syndrome they have going.
Gary Permalink on 10/20/2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Time for Chief Wahoo to Go
I agree with Joe Posnanski and Kuff. It is past time for an offensive mascot to go. What do you think Cleveland? Slate has a slideshow of racist mascots. Chief Wahoo has been called "racist, degrading and demeaning" by the American Indian Education Center in Cleveland. Gary Permalink on 10/19/2007
Gang Up on Hillary Day
Ana Marie Cox at Time's Swampland does a round-up of a bad day for Hillary. Ana Marie's SwampCast is also improving but isn't there yet. And where would Cox be without an ass reference? "A friend asks, so I have to respond: I imagine that "Romney-brand whoop ass" would be totally flavorless."
Update - now from the UK:
The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street's favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama.Gary Permalink on 10/19/2007
US intelligence does not show Syrian nuclear weapons program
Allegations that a Syrian envoy admitted during a United Nations meeting Oct. 17 that an Israeli air strike hit a nuclear facility in September are inaccurate and have raised the ire of some in the US intelligence community, who see the Vice President’s hand as allegedly being behind the disinformation.Ginning up for Iran strike. Gary Permalink on 10/19/2007
Comcast Blocks Some Internet Traffic
Comcast is blocking peer-to-peer sharing by blocking uploads. In practice this means some files never complete. I am a light user of this technology and I had noticed some minor zipped files that never completed a month ago. The practice is disturbing because it blocks this by mimicking your computer saying "I'm done now" and there appears to be no way around this. The files I was attempting to download were not copyrighted I believe but some geeky stuff I was curious about. I have even forgotten what they were now. After a few days I just deleted the task attempts to complete.
The practice of managing the flow of Internet data is known as "traffic shaping," and is already widespread among Internet service providers. It usually involves slowing down some forms of traffic, like file-sharing, while giving others priority. Other ISPs have attempted to block some file-sharing application by so-called "port filtering," but that method is easily circumvented and now largely ineffective.Gary Permalink on 10/19/2007
FortBendNow Will Cease Publication
This was a model for future online local newspapers. The problem was a lack of time and neglecting revenue while focusing on news. It will be missed. Where else will I read these fascinating Democratic wrangles.
The Pasadena online forum also disappeared months ago - in favor of a email listserve. I have way, way, way too many emails as is. I missed a party invitation almost a month ago due to the volume of my emails. Lucky it was sent well in advance. Gary Permalink on 10/19/2007
Rush Mocks 12 Year-Old SCHIP Advocate While Claiming Never To Have Attacked Him
Newshounds watches Fox News so we don't have to. Here it provides a long example of the tactics of Rush and his Clinton derangement syndrome. You can also notice Alan Colmes, their house liberal, rolling over for most of the remarks. Yeah, Rush went into his attacks and mocking of Graeme Frost while saying he wasn't.
A couple of days ago NewsHounds, which does a lot of good reporting, praised DLC chair Harold Ford Jr. for finally starting to stand up for Democratic values on Fox News.
Gary Permalink on 10/19/2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Ron Paul, Obama draw support from military voters
The Houston Chronicle reports that Ron Paul and Barack Obama are drawing the most contributions from people afiliated with the military. They are both pro-veteran anti-Iraq occupation candidates so no surprise there. Third on the list is McCain also no surprise to me. Gary Permalink on 10/18/2007
House Fails to Override Child Health Bill Veto - New York Times
Picked up 11 more votes, needed seven more Republicans to switch. Their hard core demonizing and misinformation propaganda against the Democratic plan worked. Depending on the wording, 80% of Americans want more children to have health insurance. Why did no Republicans switch? The iron law of institutions. They need to maintain the support of other conservatives over what the public wants.
This is why elections matter. I think the Democrats need to compromise very little. Remove the option for New York to expand the program to over three times poverty level, despite the GOP supposedly being for state control. Perhaps tighten up on the over 21 requirements a bit which in many cases will be wrong. No reason to give Bush 24% very much at all. The Moderate Voice:
Obscured by the uproar over Graeme Frost and his family was that several big health-care groups lobbied hard for the bill, including America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the American Medical Association (AMA). This put the lie to the view that the bill was a Trojan horse for government-run healthcare.UPDATE: Democratic plans post veto - passing a nearly identical plan and also more popular choices Bush will want to veto - TIME.
Texas Republicans who hate kids.
Michelle Malkin plans - probably running over crippled kids in her SUV. It turns out she attacked a Republican and an Independent in her smears on a sick 2-year-old and her family.
Gary Permalink on 10/18/2007
Texas Politics News and Gossip
Dana Philibert announces she is not running for Pasadena mayor, former councilman
Harrison had the editor of the Pasadena Citizen write up his long press release on his candidacy and exclude the many "controversies" the newspaper has extensively reported on. The Pasadena Citizen has been very timid after a former editor and reporters were removed after editorials and articles regarding Manlove's misdeeds drew a call from the mayor who said he would withdraw all city business.
In an earlier report I wondered about the Progressive label for Ralph Riggs. He explained that all of the other main candidates are looking back, he is the candidate who is a new face looking forward and will continue Pasadena's progress. He did have favorable things to say about the beginning of Manlove's time as mayor before Manlove switched to benefiting himself instead of the city.
I also heard Harrison speak recently. He elaborated on all the improvements he would make to Pasadena after eliminating the "rainy day fund" which he said only needed to be 2%. Wrong, it is required to be two months of revenues. He has been told that repeatedly in city council. Is this habitual lying, incompetence or senility?
For those just joining us, Harrison was allowed to keep a seat on city council for over a year after a judge ruled he lost. Harrison, Manlove and Philibert were involved in illegally shutting down citizen's speech at City Council meetings. Don Harrison lost a lawsuit that he had knowingly made false statements against an opponent in campaign material to win an election. The judge made him post a billboard apologizing. A few days later he lied about the case in the Pasadena Citizen. This led to the grudge election rematch and the tied elections and Harrison refusing to give up his seat. (Pasadena's politics can be as much of a three-ring circus as South Houston's.)
Another ethics complaint had been filed against Manlove but his leaving office I am sure will shut it down. This involved him claiming as a campaign expense the full cost of his expensive Spanish lessons when he had received tax-payer funded partial reimbursement at Pasadena City Hall.
Kay Bailey will leave office early, run for governor. She is the much better of our two Texas Senators. She infrequently does the right thing. It is unclear if Lt. Guv Dewhurst will come out of the makeup closet and run against her.
Perry endorses Giuliani. Rumors swept the GOP political establishment that Guiliani will pick Perry for VP. This is electorally stupid but stranger things have happened.
I would not be surprised if Ralph Riggs was in the runoff for Pasadena mayor despite three fellow candidates with better name recognition. He is well organized, sufficiently well-funded and has a smart election plan. If only he would get rid of that incorrect quote referring to sleep on his website.
An election petition signing party early tonight at the Union Hall on Pasadena Blvd. near 225. I hear there is free BBQ.
Saturday is the big fund raising dinner for Harris County Democratic Party. I am not picketing the guest speaker, actually I wouldn't mind if some conservative wealthy person was recruited to run in a winnable local race where the only Democratic candidate running so far sole platform positions are 1) Texas adopting the Kucinich universal healthcare plan and 2) higher pay for teachers. Not that those aren't theoretically good ideas but I am not sure he can even come up with the candidate filing fee.
Manlove hasn't told the FEC yet but he has a lot of money to challenge the other GOP candidates seeking to challenge Nick Lampson. At least $320,000 which places him only behind Shelly, Shelly, Mo-Belly Gibbs. Talton seems to be running a faith-based campaign where manna may mysteriously come from heaven later.
UPDATE: Ralph Riggs is the most progressive candiate for mayor of Pasadena. He is on MySpace with a blog even. ;-)
CORRECTION: It is former councilman O. L. Harris running for mayor.
Gary Permalink on 10/18/2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Flame Out on the Right
Wow, the unhinged remarks by the conservative noise machine seems to be causing friendly fire.
Michelle Malkin storms off of the O'Reilly Factor and quits. She claims that Geraldo Riviera was allowed to call her "the most vile, hateful commentator I've ever met … It’s good she’s in D.C. and I’m in N.Y. I’d spit on her if I saw her.” When O'Reilly accepted his apology Michelle claimed it was insincere.
On Michael Reagan the other night a gathering of right-wing hosts pretty much said it couldn't have happened to a more deserving *itch. She was frequently on lesser known right wing radio until she hit Faux News and then wouldn't return their calls. Crooks and Liars: Is there more going on there? O'Reilly wasn't giving her phone calls was he?
Meanwhile, Michael Savage, AKA Dr. Weiner, who seems frequently to go off his meds, on one of his infrequent saner shows tore apart Ann Coulter. Ann made the mistake of calling America a Christian nation on a mass market show and when asked about Jews allowed her biases full run, only perfected Jews are real Americans. Since then she has been digging herself deeper holes.
This controversy was even picked up by the media. Poor Ann, she forgot that Democrats and liberals and foreigners and Muslims are fair game for vile hate attacks but watch your language about Jews. O'Reilly. after losing Michelle Malkin. gave her a pass. Unfortunately, it was only her hacked website that announced she had been playing a sick-joke prank character for twelve years. Maxim - perfecting Ann Coulter. It was interesting that Mohotta at The Drudge Retort caught CBS NEWS plagiarizing Scaife's far right WorldNetDaily for a report on the controversy complete with errors.
The National Review Online is attacking another kid to support a SCHIP veto, this time a two-year old child with a heart condition whose parents make $35,000 a year. Those bastards. Even the conservatives aren't buying it. Pre-existing conditions preventing health insurance coverage is a common problem. Telling parents to get another job seems to be passing the buck and ignoring the real problems with healthcare in this country. Right-Wing gleefully smears 2 year-old.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has taken disproved accusations and spins against Graeme Frost's family and made a newspaper column. How many papers are going to pick up this smear against a middle-class family?
Media Matters caught part of the flame-outs including other attacks I didn't mention.
So where was Malkin's gotcha in all of this? There was none. None of the online vigilantes claimed the Frosts had duped the government by hiding their possessions, or that Democrats gave the family special treatment. The pointless, hateful exercise in intimidation was simply to humiliate a family whose children were nearly killed in a car accident.P.S. - 81 Percent Support Expanding S-CHIP, Including A Majority Of Republicans. Bush's approval rating on healthcare is 22%.
Gary Permalink on 10/17/2007
Our Dark Lord
Watched most of the PBS Frontline on Cheney last night. Frightening. From a Froomkin post:
While the Oval Office is traditionally the center of power, New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer notes on the show, "The strange thing about this administration is all of the most crucial decisions seem to be taking place in the vice president's office, or even the vice president's counsel's office."The entire show was about Cheney's successful quest to make the executive branch stronger and above the law and any oversight.
I have mentioned this before, take the American Freedom Pledge: 'We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal remedy, we do not tap people's phones and e-mails without court order, and above all we do not give any president unchecked power. I pledge to fight to protect and defend the Constitution from attack by any president.'"
Froomkin takes questions. Today: Bush at 24%: 'I am Relevant'. There are a lot of good relevant links in his blogs and even answering email questions.
Gary Permalink on 10/17/2007
Police claim camera is a deadly weapon
The police in Portland are being taken to court after tasering a citizen video-taping their warantless search of a neighbor's house. The neighbor was tasered, hit with bean bag guns and charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct after he refused to stop videotaping. He was found innocent of all charges.
The police were pursuing a criminal suspect with dogs and the dogs falsely indicated the runner may have entered a car. They broke the car window to search. Residents came out and explained the suspect had not come in that area. A women began videotaping. They told her to stop and then broke into a nearby residence. The women gave the video-camera to another neighbor who continued video-taping. Some of the video tape and longer report here.
When one woman was told to stop recording, she gave the videocamera to Waterhouse. He walked to the edge of the property, climbed up a dirt embankment and continued to record. At one point, he yelled to his friend, "Yes, I got it all on film. They had no right to come on this property."I will no doubt get more emails complaining that I, like all liberals, hate police. No, that's silly. I hate police-states. This report came from my brother and Reason.
Gary Permalink on 10/17/2007
Propaganda on the Inflation Front
The headlines in the financial press are all about how inflation is under control. A closer look at the numbers the reporters repeating the administration and Federal Reserve talking points ignore show otherwise. Food inflation is starting to approach 7% and energy inflation is at double digits and accelerating. Does that sound like inflation is modest and under control? Bonddad and I don't think so.
Gary Permalink on 10/17/2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Texas Round-Up 14
It's Monday, and that means it is time again for the Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round Up. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.
Barney Frank responds to GLBT activists: "Now, this is the issue: Does a political party say to its most militant, committed, ideologically driven believers in purity that they have a veto over what the party does?" Evan at The Caucus Blog responds.
BossKitty at Bluebloggin asks why are so many Texans still illiterate?
The Texas Cloverleaf endorses Karen Guerra for 16th District Court Judge in Denton County.
Burnt Orange Report highlights the hard work being done across the nation. A broad coalition has launched a campaign to override President Bush's SCHIP veto and Kay Granger is public enemy number 1 in Texas. Ads, analysis, polls, and outrage... BOR has it all.
North Texas Liberal asks, "Could Congress override Bush's veto?" Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Kennedy seem to think that SCHIP is worth fighting for. So do we.
Vince from Capitol Annex notes that Kay Granger should have known better when it comes to her recent "no" vote on the reauthorization and expansion of SCHIP.
Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News cannot stop writing about conservative bloggers repeatedly attacking a family who were in a terrible automobile accident and received government health care and liked it. Maybe next time your kids are in the hospitable you'll be attacked by right-wing idiots and more slime in the right-wing noise machine.
McBlogger has a story up about a State Representative you should know.
A supervisor for CPS Energy in San Antonio has a hangman's noose displayed in his cubicle. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs posts the details, including a photo.
Muse notes that Kay Bailey Hutchinson is trying out harder helmet hair styles so that the words of mean bloggers will bounce right off her in her imaginary (or not) run for governor in 2010.
Warning from TXsharon: Calibrate your outrage meter before visiting Bluedaze to read how Bush policies have weakened the Clean Water Act so Texas water is no longer fit for drinking, swimming or fishing.
CouldBeTrue from South Texas Chisme notes that Presidential Candidate Tom Tancredo wants to build that d*mn fence north of Brownsville. Either you're with the fence or he'll move the boundaries so your town's part of Mexico.
Unsurprised at Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize, nor at his acceptance speech, Hal at Half Empty surprises everyone with the Moonwalking Mannequin Bird.
Rattlebrain Randy prefers a little bit of disaster - sure it may hurt his constituents, but it helps his friends in the insurance industry, notes Blue 19th.
At Texas Kaos, diarist persiancowboy invites members of the general public to sign on to the complaint against rogue Judge Sharon Keller for her callous use of judicial power.
Off the Kuff reports that State Rep. Garnet Coleman is urging AG Greg Abbott to sue to block a recent Center for Medicaid and State Operations directive that will result in the loss of CHIP coverage for thousands of children.
Stop Cornyn is fuming about Cornyn's vote against children. After voting against Texas children twice, now Junior John wants a watered down version to save face. It is time to fully fund children's health insurance.
Gary Permalink on 10/15/2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Destroying the man who knew too much
The UK Guardian has an interesting article on the former CIA weapons analyst who tried to stop Pakistan's nuclear program. His life was destroyed by the neo-cons to shut him up. The big question is - did this decision reach to Cheney and Rumsfeld? Neocons are not about stopping WMDs, they are about power. Look at Valerie Plame.
Gary Permalink on 10/14/2007
David Brin on Daily Kos
Futurist and science fiction writer David Brin is trying to give practical advice on how to get our country back on Daily Kos. His latest is a series on asking questions to conservatives - If Bill Clinton had done what Bush did....
WHAT IF BILL CLINTON HAD...Gary Permalink on 10/14/2007
The Golden Rule of Insurance
I was amazed in the Graeme Frost smear case of the extremely low rates quoted for family health insurance available from Golden Rule Insurance. I immediately had my suspicions.
I once lived in Palm Beach Gardens Florida which was a subdivision partially based on the John D. MacArthur fortune. Most of the story is buried now and not available on the internet but MacArthur made his first fortune marketing lousy insurance to poor people and then refusing to pay many claims. He routinely fell afoul of state regulations and always just wiggled and squirmed away. One time his company was about to be closed down for having too low of reserves and he promised to take care of it. They expected him to raise some money to place in reserve. He raised the money by instructing his staff to disallow all the claims they had pending. Later MacArthur diversified into other fields like diary and real estate and still later tried to make up for his immoral beginnings by going into philanthropy. Setting up foundations means the government doesn't get the money and you get to decide what programs to fund. Yes, his is the fortune behind the MacArthur genius grants.
The Golden Rule Insurance sure sounded like the name of one of his old companies. I couldn't find a family connection but it seems a similar company like the one "The Rainmaker" is based on. It was investigated by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee because according to Rep. John Dingell it "routinely engages in extraordinary practices designed to intimidate, coerce, and frighten...and scares consumers with doomsday predictions shored up by misinformation and threats of canceled policies." This investigation was dropped when the GOP took back control of the House - they were big GOP contributors.
Golden Rule Insurance is still known for marketing to poor people with low cost policies and then denying claims. It is now specializing in low cost but very high deductible policies honored by limited service providers and policies linked to a mandatory medical savings account.
Here is one interesting discussion involving Golden Rule - if they have decided something is not covered, either because they disallow it or you are under their huge deductible, Golden Rule will sent a statement to both the insured and the provider of what they would have paid per their contract with the provider but it is up to the provider what they will bill the not covered insured. It is not clear if they allow the insured provider to direct bill the customer for their standard rates even for the treatments they have paid for. The Health Care Blog thinks so in this post where he discusses what a scumbag GoldenRule Healthcare is. I have a friend who was just billed by the hospital and doctor for the difference over items her insurance paid, is this getting common?
According to BusinessWeek Golden Rule is supposedly cleaning up its act since being acquired by UnitedHealth.
Soaring demand is one reason why UnitedHealth paid $500 million in 2003 for Golden Rule, of Lawrenceville, Ill., problems and all. Since 1995, Golden Rule has faced 15 investigations by insurance officials for aggressive sales tactics and questionable marketing. That compares with just nine investigations at UnitedHealth, though Golden Rule's revenues barely equaled 3% of UnitedHealth's 2003 revenues. At its low point, in 2002, Golden Rule settled for $660,000 a nine-state investigation that found its small-group policies required employees to submit "proof of good health," a violation of federal health-care rules. In addition to the payment, Golden Rule agreed to make "substantive" changes in the way it does business in those states.Golden Rule Insurance provides a case study of how "he who has the gold makes the rules." The GOP has encouraged these types of companies with their "health care reforms" of high deductible policies and health savings accounts. In fact, Golden Rule suggested it and paid the GOP politicians.
Tying this back to the current SCHIP controversy - Golden Rule is likely funding GOP politicians refusing to expand SCHIP. Unlike most insurance companies low wage earners are their market.
Support the expanded SCHIP program.
First, under the proposal, 70% to 80% of children in the program would be from families earning less than twice the poverty level ($20,650 for a family of four).
Tags: Golden Rule Insurance, healthcare, insurance, John D MacArthur, scams, GOP, SCHIP, Graeme FrostGary Permalink on 10/14/2007
I Am an Op-Ed Columnist (And So Can You!)
Maureen Dowd staged a coup of her own column by Stephen Colbert.
Also in the Times - legal or not, abortion happens and at the same rate.
A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it.Finally, I recieved an unsolicited e-mail this week from a neighbor of the Malkin family. It said that goat orgies on the lawn involving Michelle Makin and Mickey Kaus, but not Michelle's husband who was busy on the pc writing her columns, were keeping her awake. Unlike Mickey and Michelle, I don't always believe everything I read from anonymous emailers. It really is too bad Michelle Malkin and Mickey Kaus don't agree. I checked out Google Earth to see if a satellite photo captured an orgy on her lawn but posting it here would also be wrong.
Tags: Maureen Dowd, Stephen Colbert, abortion rates, Mickey Kaus, Michelle Malkin, goat orgies, hypocrisyGary Permalink on 10/14/2007
As EL predicted Harrison is in the mayor's race
Is Ralph Riggs the progressive candidate in the Pasadena Texas race?
"I've always been progressive with my thinking," said Riggs. He explained that some of his ideas have become realities in the city, including repairing the road while the Harris Street Bridge was down and a covered pavilion in one of the area neighborhoods. Riggs would like to see the city sell advertising on their garbage trucks and paper bags.In local elections street projects aren't necessarily a sign of progressiveness. What about the Strawberry Extension fiasco? What are his positions on privatization and healthcare to name a couple of issues? How much will he seek citizen involvement? Will the bike paths finally be completed? How does he differ from the other candidates?
The Pasadena Citizen gives us the election timeline.
10/9/07 - First day to apply for mail ballotOther News - I wondered about the lack of news on the murder done by Pasadena Police being investigated by Pasadena police we haven't heard anything on. It turns out Harris County is still stonewalling, or investigating, whichever you believe. The death was ruled a homicide.
Gary Permalink on 10/14/2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
White House Embraces Right-Wing Blog That Called For ‘Destroying’ Graeme Frost
The White House and the GOP have embraced the attacks on the Graeme Frost family as the only way to try to prevent an override of Bush's veto.
Michelle Malkin and the usual gang of idiots are expanding their smears and barely acknowledging their previous errors while expanding into new ones.
I did not think the President and the GOP would abandon their political instincts to attempt to rally one third of the House and Senate. Pulling a Terri Schiavo, satirized in BFF on South Park, without remembering what that later cost politically.
Gary Permalink on 10/12/2007
Sliming Graeme Frost
Krugman gets it:
All in all, the Graeme Frost case is a perfect illustration of the modern right-wing political machine at work, and in particular its routine reliance on character assassination in place of honest debate. If service members oppose a Republican war, they’re “phony soldiers”; if Michael J. Fox opposes Bush policy on stem cells, he’s faking his Parkinson’s symptoms; if an injured 12-year-old child makes the case for a government health insurance program, he’s a fraud.I had predicted that the Frosts had a second mortgage already when conservatives said that was what they needed instead of state provided health care. They do.
I predicted that cheaper insurance wasn't available due to prior medical conditions. It isn't.
The Frosts perfectly illustrate the people SCHIP is designed for, working people who can't afford health insurance for their kids. The slimes of the Frosts perfectly illustrate the shameless rotten behavior of modern day Republicans.
Joe Klein at Time agrees.
The Right Wing Noise Machine is starting to move on to smearing Al Gore and the Nobel Prize Committee. One fine specimen just aims a few at Krugman.
E. J. Dionne Jr.: Meanies And Hypocrites
Most conservatives favor government-supported vouchers that would help Graeme attend his private school, but here they turn around and criticize him for . . . attending a private school. Federal money for private schools but not for health insurance? What's the logic here?They also claim to be pro-family and pro-small business and pro-home ownership but a number have said that it is all the Frosts fault for having too many children and for entrepreneurship instead of getting a corporate job with benefits and prominent conservative bloggers have even said they should not own a home and get government healthcare.
John Cole officially leaves the dark side behind now.
My previous post on this topic.
Gary Permalink on 10/12/2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Pasadena Mayor's Race
That didn't take long at all. Ink barely dry on Manlove resignation and Johnny Isbell, Jerri Neely and Ralph Riggs toss their hats in the race. Election is set for December 8th.
Don Harrison is expected to file but so far has only picked up the info packet.
Jerri Neely shocked Manlove with how well her underfunded grassroots campaign did last time. In a crowded field the name recognition of Harrison, Neely and Isbell may be key. Rumors of corruption may dog Don Harrison and Johnny Isbell. Neely with her monthly speak your mind meetings she ran for years may have a stronger grassroots organization.
The Ralph Riggs entry is unexpected. For his city council race he had labor and police endorsements.
Will Dana Philibert get in the crowded race? This may be the cheapest opportunity for any candidate to test the waters city-wide. In a crowded field 35%, or less, may win.
Prospective mayoral candidates have until November 7 to file for office.
I should ready my new mapping software to look into the past races.
Gary Permalink on 10/11/2007
Edwards received Paul Wellstone Award
Daily Kos dairy has lots of good news for Edwards recently you don't find on the news.
Gary Permalink on 10/11/2007
US Woos UK to Assist in Attack on Iran
The Pentagon is keen to have the Royal Navy's cooperation in the event of an attack, to prevent Iran from introducing mines to the Persian Gulf to block oil exports in retaliation.Brown government seems to be cooperating. The rhetoric on Iran not backed by evidence.
Gary Permalink on 10/11/2007
Senate GOP Leader's Office involved in Kid Smear Campaign
I had written that the GOP politicians were too smart to want this to be a mass media issue. It turns out that they just didn't want their hands too dirty. They encouraged the media to look into how it was all the Democrat's fault they picked a family and injured kids who could be smeared by the right.
That so-called-liberal CNN took their bait and blamed the Democrats as the GOP suggested.
A disgusted Time magazine reports on the Swift Boating of an American family.
If you listen closely to the two-minute radio address that 12-year-old Graeme Frost delivered last week for the Democrats, you can hear the lingering effects of the 2004 car crash that put him into a coma for a week and left one of his vocal cords paralyzed. "Most kids my age probably haven't heard of CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program," he says in a voice that sounds weak and stressed. "But I know all about it, because if it weren't for CHIP, I might not be here today."Shame on the conservative bloggers. Shame on the GOP. And shame on CNN.
Kevin: are they just trying to prevent other family's from giving support to Democrats?
Malkin is back swinging the hatchet and leading the rabid fray but refusing to debate.
My DD: Hillary to Republicans - Lay off Graeme Frost.
There was a young boy who was 12 years old named Graeme Frost. He was in a bad car accident and he didn't have health insurance but thankfully he had a program that I helped start in 1997 with Ted Kennedy and others called SCHIP. So Graeme was able to get health care, good health care, that made a tremendous difference in the outcome of his injuries. So when the President vetoed the extension of SCHIP, Graeme and his family stepped forward to illustrate why it was so important....I suspect the strategy is for the Republican Noise Machine media to generate lots of lies and confusion and smears while the GOP politicians stay back. I think this is a bad strategy, it will engage the base who will agree with it but turn off Moms and most of America by the attacks on the poor kids. Of course, right-wing radio and blogs aren't read by the great sensible mass of America and particularly by the real compassionate Americans.
GOP smear machine attacking injured kids - making Hillary more popular.
American Progress has an Excellent summary Right Wing attacks 12-year-old. The latest GOP talking point is that making $45,000 with 4 kids in New Jersey is rich.
Democrats in Congress actually lashing back. I like how Politico characterizes developing a spine as lashing back.
Local Baltimore story on the Frost family. Editorial: Maryland needs the Democratic SCHIP.
The president also wants to limit new spending on SCHIP to $5 billion over five years - compared with Congress' $35 billion. That would leave Maryland with only half the $162 million a year it needs to continue the program as it is.Daily Kos - This Can Not Stand.
Let's just keep in mind what is at stake here - Health Care for 4 Million Children and what Mitch McConnel is really trying to do is undermine Republican Chuck Grassley's efforts to implement a Veto Override.
Gary Permalink on 10/11/2007