Tuesday, March 24, 2009
A candidate for Pasadena City Council has asked that her name not be placed on fantasy cartoons. I have removed a post that showed this. I think this is a mistake. Politicians, especially women, need to develop a thick skin and the ability to laugh, especially at themselves.
I also removed a post with a link to a nice tribute video after a request. Did you know on the Internet if you click on links with sex in the title you can within several clicks find links to sexually explicit material? I am shocked, shocked I say, that some people find that shocking. Researching this complaint and removing the links did discover a few problems I have corrected - eSnips is not a good site to host videos because they are not good about policing for malware, and adult content should have a warning page.
There were some complaints about a post comparing a conservative blogger to a Nazi war criminal, that was a very close parody of his post comparing President Obama to a murderous chimp. There were also complaints that President Carter was one of our worst presidents and not one of our best as I had posted. These complaints I judged were without merit.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Matt Taibbi - Rolling Stone:
The most galling thing about this financial crisis is that so many Wall Street types think they actually deserve not only their huge bonuses and lavish lifestyles but the awesome political power their own mistakes have left them in possession of. When challenged, they talk about how hard they work, the 90-hour weeks, the stress, the failed marriages, the hemorrhoids and gallstones they all get before they hit 40.A lot of astute observations in this look at the leaders of this financial mess and the supposed rescuers.
"But wait a minute," you say to them. "No one ever asked you to stay up all night eight days a week trying to get filthy rich shorting what's left of the American auto industry or selling $600 billion in toxic, irredeemable mortgages to ex-strippers on work release and Taco Bell clerks. Actually, come to think of it, why are we even giving taxpayer money to you people? Why are we not throwing your ass in jail instead?"
But before you even finish saying that, they're rolling their eyes, because You Don't Get It. These people were never about anything except turning money into money, in order to get more money; valueswise they're on par with crack addicts, or obsessive sexual deviants who burgle homes to steal panties. Yet these are the people in whose hands our entire political future now rests.
Good luck with that, America. And enjoy tax season.
Friday, March 20, 2009
I for one am not surprised that some of the so-called-liberal-media and some of the worst of the conservative bloggers have a special fondness for the Special Olympics.
Our favorite special politician is also rejecting money for education.
General Petraeus is upset about some special senators, McCain and Graham, not approving a needed Iraq appointment. A favorite special neocon passes along a drug joke about their being rolled.
Bloomberg columnist Carol Baum can't understand even stupid books.
Yglesias: Was Madoff really a black hat among honest businessmen, or was he just one unusually crude player amidst a rotten crowd?
Newt Gingrich, an ignorant economist, poor tax analyst, doesn't understand climate change.
AIG - If crony capitalists in the Bush administration and even the Obama administration had let AIG go bankrupt, then the AIG contracts would not have to be honored. Why should they even be employed?
Republican Lawmakers Who Opposed Salary Caps Last Month Are Now Attacking AIG Bonuses, Part II.
Galbraith: Geithner is an idiot and his economic plan is a disaster. In this argument I tend to side more with Galbraith.
Jon Stewart Thinks AIG is Bad, but Maybe Not Prize-Worthy Bad
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Progress Report: As outrage mounts over the $165 million in executive bonuses paid to AIG staffers, many Republicans are trying to tap into the wellspring of public anger. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) condemned the "outrageous situation" and boasted that he had been "complaining about the way AIG had been doing its business" since October. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) agreed: "A lot of these people should be fired, not awarded bonuses. This is horrible. It’s outrageous."
However, when Congress debated capping the salaries and bonuses for Wall Street executives whose firms accepted federal TARP funds, these same Republican leaders balked. "I really don't want the government to take over these businesses and start telling them everything about what they can do," McConnell said. "It should be up to the board of directors of a private corporation to set the compensation of an executive; it shouldn’t be Congress's role," Shelby agreed. McConnell's past opposition to capping Wall St. compensation didn't stop him from going on CNN and suggesting that he had favored such caps all along. When CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked whether Congress should "have passed salary caps on these bailed out companies," McConnell replied, "We certainly had a chance with the amendment by Senator Snowe to prevent this kind of bonuses from being paid."
Monday, March 16, 2009
It's the first of another week, so that must mean it's time to take a look at some of the best posts from last week by members of the Texas Progressive Alliance. Here are the submissions:
Easter Lemming finds that Pasadena has its first fantasy action hero candidate for city council. At least by the unauthorized t-shirts and caps of some supporters.
Vince of Capitol Annex took a new look at the latest creationist attack on science in Texas classrooms in Bill Would Make "Strengths and Weaknesses" Teaching Of Evolution State Law.
Bay Area Houston says State Representative Wayne Christian has filed a bill that would scare Texas citizens from filing ethics complaints against elected officials.
Off the Kuff takes a look at who would be affected by the voter ID legislation that is being pushed in the Lege by Republicans.
WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the turmoil facing some inside Texas GOP regarding Gov. Perry's decision to turn down$555 million dollars of unemployment insurance from the stimulus money, UI debate must be maddening for the GOP supporters of Hutchison.
Neil at Texas Liberal reads Malcolm X in a cemetery and says that Rick Perry has found his schoolhouse door to stand in and block.
The Texas Cloverleaf expands upon Capitol Annex's look at Garnet Coleman's proposed repeal of the anti-gay marriage amendment in Texas.
BossKitty at TruthHugger truly believes there is profit for everyone when wasteful and costly opposition to Medical Marijuana is brought in to the economy instead of keeping it out. The War on "Illegal Activities" should focus on smuggling Heroin and Human Trafficking. Can Marijuana Rescue The Economy In 2010 Like Booze Did In 1933
At Texas Kaos, Lightseeker highlights the Texas Shakedown for those who make the mistake of driving in Tenaha, Texas while not white.
CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme notes thuggery isn't the first choice for governing Democrats addressing drug cartel violence. Analysis and coordinated effort is.
Governor "Good Hair, Bad Policy" Perry starts his primary campaign against Hutchinson by piling on the unemployed. Libby Shaw over at TexasKaos has the details and the outrage.Pendejos Perry Says YES to Roads, NO to the Jobless
Mayor McSleaze of McBlogger returns from his holiday to post his thoughts on developments in the Wall Street infotainment industry.
nytexan at BlueBloggin is disgusted, but not surprised, by the new Republican strategy;
WhosPlayin is focused on local races for Mayor and City Council in Lewisville. This week he interviewed Shelley Kaehr and David Thornhill, who are running for Place 2.
There was harmonic convergence in the left and right Texblogosphere last week. See PDiddie's Brains and Eggs for what happened.
Xanthippas at Three Wise Men takes down the right-wing handwringing and disingenuous criticism over Obama's stem cell decision.
Friday, March 13, 2009
You know, we still have the supporters of a minority hard right party in Israel running our Middle East policy, even under Obama. I could go on about this but this topic always brings out the crank comments. See Andrew Sullivan on The Israel Lobby.
Gawd, why is the GOP and the media so stoopiiid about earmarks. Fine, let Congress get rid of them. Let's see how many Republicans win re-election when they can't show they brought home any Federal goodies. Like most stupid things the faux crusade against earmarks is spread and maintained by the Republican noise machine media clowns.
KTRH, Keep To the Right Houston, is unlistenable even in the mornings now as they bring in commentary from conservative think tanks, "Hoover was right" and their afternoon guy Michael Berry who seems to have received a sharp blow on his head a year ago which knocked out the bit of sense he used to have. Their commentary and analysis blends into and becomes their news, "Obama budget brings down Wall Street." Its difficult to overstate the bias this supposedly straight news segment has reached. Except for their Garden Show this was the last unslanted news portion of their weekly schedule. Their FOX NEWS half hourly updates are amazingly less conservative than their local news now.
Obama lowers taxes and is attacked for being a Socialist. I have commented on this before but it bears repeating which MoveOn.org has done.
Stopping the Texas GOP voter suppression. Six Texas voters joined with the Texas Democratic Party to file a lawsuit in U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, challenging mail ballot statutes enacted in 2003. After spending over a million dollars and years the state attorney general only found and prosecuted Democrats helping the elderly and handicapped to vote who forgot to sign their name on envelopes.
Cramer whimpers facing Jon Stewart. Is this a show ender for Cramer?
Watchmen critical analysis.
Americans losing their faith - in everything.
Google about to take over the phone business with useful Google Voice. A better view from the NYT.
Why America isn't better - your money is going to the war machine. More than 40 percent of federal tax dollars go to military spending while we are underfunding education and health care.
Morford's notes on the insanity - Obama attacked from left and right for what he hasn't done in 50 days.
But to make matters worse -- oh holy hell, would you look at this? -- it turns out Obama isn't stopping with just reversing every toxic Dubya-caused debacle, nossir. It turns out he's reaching even further back, casually wrapping his long, socialist fingers around the throat of more than 30 years of pamper-the-rich, supply-side Reaganomics, and calmly squeezing. Heathen!Not helping the unemployed - Texas GOP leaders are cowards and failures.
This is, quite possibly, the most amusing thing I am hearing from the furious fringe: That Obama's plan will wreak hell on the deficit for generations to come. It's a bit like hearing a Catholic priest scold you on the perils of child abuse. I'm sorry, did you just say that it was fine and good to rape the Treasury for the past decade and worship Big Oil and waste two trillion on a failed and useless war, but redirecting those sums into science, health care, children and alternative energy is a terrible and costly idea?
How close to a banana republic? - Proof emerges that Bush seized on 9/11 to have himself as the US president be an elected dictator not bound by the Constitution.
Media blackout on single payer health care as cure for high costs.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Asking those who choose moderate to further refine themselves reveals a divided nation - but one which overwhelming supports positions thought liberal. Think Progress has more on the poll.
A nation that is evenly split in its political identity is decidedly center-left in its policy orientation:In another poll, most of America hates Rush.
• By a margin of almost nine to one, Americans agree that “government investments in education, infrastructure, and science are necessary to ensure America’s long-term economic growth,” (79 percent agree, 12 percent neutral, 9 percent disagree).
• More than three in four Americans (76 percent) also agree with the president’s argument that “America’s economic future requires a transformation away from oil, gas, and coal to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.”
• Nearly three in four Americans believe that “government regulations are necessary to keep businesses in check and protect workers and consumers,” (73 percent agree, 15 percent neutral, 12 percent disagree).
• Nearly two in three Americans (65 percent) agree that “the federal government should guarantee affordable health coverage for every American.”
Complementing this agenda are significant demographic shifts that favor progressives. Between 1988 and 2008, the share of minority voters in presidential elections has risen by 11 points, while the share of increasingly progressive white college graduate voters has risen by four points. But the share of white-working class voters, who have remained conservative in their orientation, has plummeted by 15 points.
Remarkably, voters view Limbaugh negatively by a two-to-one ratio (53 to 26 percent), with nearly half the country, 45 percent, viewing him very, very negatively. Among independents, the ratio rises to three-to-one. More important are the values that Limbaugh espouses. By a nearly two-to-one ratio (57 to 32 percent) a majority of voters – and independents – say Limbaugh does not “share their values,”In my own poll, Houstonians now think KTRH is now all conservative propaganda and sports. The bad slanted news and biased analysis has now spread to what was formerly the morning news show.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
NPR interview about the hidden contradictions in the Bible.
There are three more parts of this interview available from here.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Steve Benen and John Cole and Hilzoy have a handy graph of the top income tax rates from 1920 to the present. For 6 years Reagan kept a top tax rate of 50%.
All of the crazy complaints about Obama, who is just keeping the Bush plan to let the top tax rate reset to 39.6%, being a socialist is just because conservatives don't know real history, just talking points.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Shouldn't lying brokers and agents be held accountable?
Here was a realtor in an audience saying someone should of course buy a house.
Even those real estate and financial agents who say they will help you are likely con artists.
An example of Houston area problems.
Mortgage company problems lead to eviction notice.
"We were trained to mislead borrowers," California real estate broker.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Our Guv Goodhair Perry made the New York Times today as someone starting to feel the ire of the unemployed. Perry is representative of some governors trying not to take federal money to give to the unemployed because you know this economic situation and their lack of a good job is all their fault. As the job losses move up the food chain will those formerly comfy Republicans remember why they can't get unemployment benefits in Texas?
Jobless Angry at Possibility of No Benefits.
The stimulus bill recently passed by Congress includes incentives to states to expand benefits to many more jobless people, including part-time workers and those who have cycled in and out of the work force, who are not covered in many states.
The Republican governors of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, along with Alaska and Idaho, have raised protests, saying that expansion could eventually require them to raise taxes.
For people like Henry Kight, 59, of Austin, Tex., the possibility that the money might be turned down is a deeply personal issue.
Mr. Kight, who worked for more than three decades as an engineering technician, discovered in September that because of complex state rules, he was not eligible for unemployment insurance after losing a job at a major electronics manufacturer he had landed at the beginning of the year.
Unable to draw jobless benefits, he and his wife have taken on thousands of dollars in credit-card debt to help make ends meet.
It is precisely these kind of regulations, involving such matters as the length of a person’s work history or reason for leaving a job, that the federal government is trying to get the states to change. Such a move could extend benefits to an estimated half-million more people, according to the National Employment Law Project, a liberal group in New York that supports the changes.
The anger at the governors’ positions goes beyond just the unemployed workers who could directly benefit from the changes. Because eligibility rules for unemployment insurance are complicated and vary by state, many unemployed people do not even know whether they would be affected.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Here is a slideshow of the renovation. The new library includes a coffee bar and many computers and a friends of the library book store.
Link from the Houston Chronicle's East Harris County reporter and blogger Carol Christian.
NRA's Wayne LaPierre told the conservative activists' CPAC convention that "The Founding Fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules."
Ironicly, he was not found shot dead a few minutes later by mysterious woman who left a note that read "armed feminist liberal."
Seasoned Washington investigative journalist Robert Perry says the GOP history says politics but the media will say principle.
As an example of the mainstream traditional right-wing media bias Perry looks at how the major media framed Bush's last quarter huge drop in the economy as Obama's fault.
Tea Bag Protests Flop - Engineered by the Gang Who Brought You Swift Boat and Ayers Is a Terrorist Lies
The fizzled Tea Bag protests, getting even conservative criticism, are getting more mysterious as Playboy, of all places, discovers the links between organizers. The wealthy fanatics turn out to be those who also promulgated the Swift Boat Liars and the more stupid of the attacks on Obama and his "terrorist" friends. They also registered the central domain name ChicagoTeaParty.com back in August, which is just weird or revealing of long range planning.
There is a response by one of those named in the Playboy article but it leaves more questions than answers. He agrees with the unsavory background of some of the organizers but he himself is an Independent who voted for Obama and who is upset about the huge financial institution bailouts and not as much the piddling help for foreclosure victims. (I agree with him about the obscene financial institution bailouts.)
Was the rant that started the tea parties even real or part of a plot? John Cole thinks the fact there are groups and people with lots of money ready to pounce on Obama and the Democrats over any controversy is not worthy of being called a conspiracy.
For more on the anti-government organizations that the Koch family wealth supports follow the link to Source Watch. The Koch and Scaife foundations are similar in their influence and orientation.
You might ask some of these people profiled in the New York Times who have gone from highly paid high status jobs to low wage grunts how they feel about Scaife and Koch capitalism.
I met someone who has gone from triple-digit income as a database architect to homeless unemployment with the mental and physical stress that causes. More of my friends are skipping our restaurant meetings because of unemployment or severe underemployment.
There are even right-wing bloggers, whose websites I expect to close this year, who started their blogs full time after their jobs were outsourced. Do you think they may start to realize that they were fighting the wrong battles for the wrong side or have they drunk too much of the deranged anti-Democratic, pro-"free market" kool-aid?
The GOP abandoned the "free market" decades ago for crony capitalism. A recent book, The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, makes the argument that Democrats should join them.
Libertarians make the reverse argument: that we should all just realize that government is evil and rich capitalists actually promote liberty. Talk about drinking the kool-aid.