Friday, November 30, 2007

Mandates and Mudslinging - Krugman

Is Obama becoming the real Republican-lite? Krugman and I can't help but notice that Obama defends his more conservative policy proposals on healthcare and Social Security by using Republican talking points to attack Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

Obama's message seems increasingly muddled and designed to gain supporters from the Right, in a primary where more Democrats are probably available to the Left on these basic issues.

On Social Security there are only minor problems and Republican and Republican-lite "cures" are much worse than doing nothing. On universal healthcare making it non-universal negates many of the advantages of universal healthcare for no new benefits.

Is he confusing rhetoric and positioning that might work in the general election at the wrong point in his campaign? Is Obama's showing yet another instance where he is not quite ready to run for President - this time?

Read Krugman to see where Obama is wrong on healthcare and why Democrats should cease cutting him slack. Some further analysis of why Obama is doing this in The Nation - politics and positioning played badly.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Clinton won't win Iowa

That's my prediction. One basis for my prediction is Andrew's reasoning. Edward and Obama supporters in precincts where they don't make 15% will not go to Hillary's corner. Hillary supporters now see Iowa slipping away which is why there is some real fighting taking place now. The interesting question is can team Obama's political organizing smarts make up for all the inexperience of most of his supporters. Team Edward's supporters have typically been to caucuses before and know what to do.

Trent Lott - another gay sex scandal?

The gay escort who knows too much to talk.

Is Lott trying to avoid the I has sex with Larry Craig pile-on that occurred?

Trent Lott to appear in Hustler. Not the headline you expected but Trent may be some of the fall out from Larry Flynt's trolling for sex scandals.

We now return this blog to the important issue of was Ross Perot right about NAFTA? And the ever popular Kucinich-Paul ticket now being floated by Kucinich.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Vince tells me what I avoided on Black Friday at Best Buy. For several years I have been supporting the buy nothing holiday of the day after Thanksgiving to protest commercialism.

Someone tried to persuade me to pick up some doorbuster deals Friday and I declined. It looks like I was very smart in doing so. I had been doing a lot of Christmas shopping around midnight or later at Wal-Mart but I am done with that too.

Liberal Bloggers Gaining Political Power in Texas

Well, the Dallas Morning News thinks so but tell it to the crusty old Democratic Party leaders. I have not even been able to communicate with suburban local party leaders to that new-fangled invention called email. Don't get them started discussing that internet tuby thingy.

A lot of names from the Texas Progressive Alliance of bloggers get mentioned in the article. You might call this an early lead up to the Netroots Nation national convention in Austin next year.

A number of blogs are referenced at the end of the article on the Democratic side. The Republicans only have two group sites which receive financial support from deep-pocket conservatives. Recent frat-boy (or does he only sound that immature?) Matt Bramanti is mentioned.

Have I mentioned before that one of the big conservative Houston bloggers got her start writing constant letters to the editor at the Dallas Morning News protesting their liberal bias! The Dallas Morning News has a history as one of the most staunchly corporate Republican papers in the country. I wonder if she would protest the short mention the conservative bloggers get in this story about liberal bloggers?

If I can swing the ticket plus the other costs I'll go to Networks Nation plus the Texas Democratic Party Convention this year.

Off the subject, a little late but I want to congratulate the Houston Press contestants and winners of Turkey of the Year.

Texas Round-Up 20

It's Monday, and that means it's time for another Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round Up, compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex. It is a bit shorter this month as some people were busy with the holiday.

Dealing with recalled toys that contain lead is putting a damper on charities' holiday toy drive efforts. Muse discovers some charities are not accepting toys or are throwing donations away.

Despite the Dallas Morning News article claiming the Texas Railroad Commission is stepping up Barnett Shale inspections, an injection well in N. TX remains seriously out of compliance. TXsharon has pictures, history and solutions at Bluedaze.

Who won't be President in 2009? John Coby at Bay Area Houston compiles an obvious list of Who wont be President in 2009 Any Republican candidate. The Republican party must have worked overtime to find this bunch of losers for President. White. Old. Dull.

McBlogger takes a brief look at the concerns of a Republican Bexar County Commissioner who doesn't realize the Republican Party of Texas is already known as the Tolling Party of Texas.

North Texas Liberal reports on President Bush's loss of an ally in staunch conservative PM John Howard of Australia, whose Liberal Party lost handily to the Labor opposition in Saturday's elections.

The Texas Cloverleaf visited Capitol Annex for Thanksgiving with a guest blog about Turkey, Football, and JFK. Oh my!

Off the Kuff looks at mass transit versus highways for dealing with traffic congestion.

Vince at Capitol Annex reprises his holiday tradition begun last year by reprising his Laws of Thanksgiving--with a 2007 update.

In "Giving Thanks for the Corporations", PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has a few choice words from David Van Os, Jeff Cohen, and John Edwards.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson notices the conspicuous absence of Rep. Mike Krusee since a rumor surfaced that he may be retiring in Where's Krusee?

CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme notes Lyndon Johnson was right, but demographics are having the last laugh.

UPDATE - I think I would have send in my Thanksgiving post as most important of the week. I know, hard to decide with so many to choose from. This gives me a chance to correct and include in the post two American history links on the "wall of separation" between church and state that were inadvertently left out.

New Opposition to Chavez - Marxists

Hugo Chavez's referendum on December 2nd increasing his power and eliminating term limits is gathering opposition from former allies - Communists. The Miami Herald profiles one - Stalin González. Hugo is not worthy of continued liberal democratic freedom-loving support. He should abide by the current constitution and make way for a successor.

Time and Joe Klein, Still Top Turkeys

What a propagandist Time magazine's Joe Klein is. This is an old role for Time but it could be argued they did it for what they felt were national security reasons in the past. Now it is strictly for the Republican Party.

Jane Hamsher has a nice summary.

Glenn Greenwald has the fuller story.
The very idea of a reporter and a major news magazine publishing a piece about a crucial bill that neither the reporter nor any editor has ever even bothered to read is amazing. No blogger that I read regularly would ever think about doing that. But that's how the Bush administration has been able to depict all of its false statements about Iraq, and its illegal spying on Americans, as some sort of complex, impossible-to-resolve "controversy." GOP operatives say "X" and reporters write it down, and it would be terribly "partisan" for them to point out that "X" is actually an outright lie.

Had Klein even bothered to read the Democrats' bill before calling it "well beyond stupid" and passing on lies about it, he would have had a real story. This:
Last week, House Democrats passed a bill that allows the government to eavesdrop on foreigners outside of the U.S., but requires court approval to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens inside the U.S. But GOP operatives/politicians have spent the week telling reporters that the bill does the opposite, falsely claiming that it gives the same rights to Terrorists that it gives to U.S. citizens.
Those are the objective facts. That is actually what happened. Yet Klein's function -- like those of most of his colleagues -- isn't to report what actually happened, so he'll never say that. And thus, Time has yet again completely misled its readers on a critical political issue by passing on GOP falsehoods as fact, and they are highly unlikely to do anything in the way of alerting their readers to what they did, let alone reporting the real story here: how and why that happened.
Glenn started here: "simply doesn't know what he's talking about and he publishes demonstrably false statements."

Atrios imagines a Bizarro World and what would have happened if Klein lied about Republicans.

Wired security blogger Ryan Singel: Joe Klein Butcher's Wiretapping Debate.

When even FOX NEWS is turning against the PATRIOT and FISA acts, what is TIME thinking?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The GOP side of the Lampson race

I have been watching the GOP bloggers on the Lampson Texas CD-22 race. One of the most interesting is CD22Watcher.

Supposedly, CDWatcher is written by three young men but Susan found a revealing blog posting mistake.

A CD22Watcher post was accidentally posted on the wrong blog with a name of yet another blog of a Ft. Bend County Republican politician. Who would sign up the name of a blog as a poster's name and then eliminate three blogs to cover up the mistake?

Liz Mitton's former site Save Our Schools used to tell everyone what was going in Fort Bend Independent School District. Both of Liz's sites disappeared very shortly after the mistaken post that was also erased along with the original CD22Watch blog.

Reading CD22Watcher it is pretty transparent that someone working for the former Sugar Land Mayor Dean Hrbacek campaign for district 22 is shooting smears at Lampson and denigrating other GOP candidates chances. Who but a GOP activist would claim Lampson is liberal?

After a nasty slur based on former Pasadena's Manlove's name, Mayor Manboylove - which they attribute to Democrats when it is a GOP smear and activity, they proceed to ignore him saying he has no chance. Too bad they don't know where to look to see Manlove's war chest. They might also learn the old saying don't get in a fight against someone who buys ink by the truckload.

There is so much bias and lack of knowledge in CDWatcher's posts I can't take any observations seriously. The frat boy style of the blog also causes me to suspect it is written by a relative or two of Liz Melton's and not herself, or is she that juvenile?

Thanks to Susan DuQuesnay Bankston.

Houston Police Testing Unmanned Sky Drone

Local Channel 2 Investigates caught the Houston Police Department testing an unmanned aerial drone at a secretive meeting.
Houston police cars were surrounding the land with a roadblock in place to check each of the dignitaries arriving for the invitation-only event. The invitation spelled out, "NO MEDIA ALLOWED."

HPD Chief Harold Hurtt attended, along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and dozens of officers from various police agencies in the Houston area. Few of the guests would comment as they left the test site.

News Chopper 2 had a Local 2 Investigates team following the aircraft for more than one hour as it circled overhead. Its wings spanned 10 feet and it circled at an altitude of 1,500 feet. Operators from a private firm called Insitu, Inc. manned remote controls from inside the fleet of black trucks as the guests watched a live feed from the high-powered camera aboard the 40-pound aircraft.

"I wasn't ready to publicize this," Executive Assistant Police Chief Martha Montalvo said. She and other department leaders hastily organized a news conference when they realized Local 2 Investigates had captured the entire event on camera....

Houston police contacted KPRC from the test site, claiming the entire airspace was restricted by the Federal Aviation Administration. Police even threatened action from the FAA if the Local 2 helicopter remained in the area. However, KPRC reported it had already checked with the FAA on numerous occasions and found no flight restrictions around the site, a point conceded by Montalvo.

HPD leaders said they would address privacy and unlawful search questions later.

South Texas College of Law professor Rocky Rhodes, who teaches the constitution and privacy issues, said, "One issue is going to be law enforcement using this and when, by using these drones, are they conducting a search in which they'd need probable cause or a warrant. If the drones are being used to get into private spaces and be able to view where the government cannot otherwise go, and to collect information that would not otherwise be able to collect, that's concerning to me."

Video is available from Channel 2. The price tag for an unmanned aircraft can be tens of thousands to $1 million each and HPD is hoping to begin law enforcement from the air by June of 2008 with these new aircraft. The Unmanned Aeriel vehicle tested appears to be a Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle which has thousands of hours of service with the military. They can be equiped with both visual and infrared powerful cameras.

Slashdot discussion - "that's a lot of traffic tickets."

Houston Chronicle: This is only a test. I suppose in the event of an actual emergency trust your friendly police.

Impeachment, the Corporate Media, and the Fundamental Problem with Blogs

I'll just send you to the above link with this quote: "The Corporate Media has a vested interest in Republican rule, because Republican rule is dedicated to maximizing the profits of ... Corporations!"

Kids are learning political discourse today from hate radio

It seemed like a small enough gesture. A couple students at a Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High started wearing home-made Peace shirts to school. More started joining in. Then the reaction started.

The peace kids were being jeered at and obscenities yelled at them in school.

They put up posters on each others and friends lockers. Swastikas and 'white power' stuff was soon written on them.
"Someone taped an 'I Love Bush' sign over my 'Wage Peace' sign," she said. "So I tore it down, threw it away, and the whole commons starting booing. I walk by later and find that someone has completely tore my sign down and placed an 'I Love America, Because America Loves War' sign up.' "
The peace students submitted a written request and a sponsor to start a peace club. The school administration says it never received it.

The pro-war crowd started wearing Confederate shirts to school. Other shirts appeared with "This is America, get used to it," and "If peace is the answer; it must be a stupid question."

From a clash over peace and war and free speech it has become a battle of politics with more than a hint of racism.

The article in the local paper draws online comments from a "Confederate" - "I say f*ck all you stupid hippies. And f*ck you Florida Today for not gettin our side of the story. You don't f*ckin deserve a club. darn hippies, don't support our troops, hate the President, say you hate this country, and say war doesn't solve anything. WAR SOLVES EVERYTHING! And I LOVE AMERICA!" Several "Confederate" students and their supporters were interviewed by the reporter.

I wouldn't be surprised if Confederate isn't being approached by Clear Channel for his own talk show now.

Free Video Downloads News and Public Affairs

Aside from the obvious Democracy Now, check out Gary Webb Interviewed and When Abortion was Illegal:Untold Stories.

Free audio public news and commentary as well.

An interesting (cough-cough) audio on the newer versions of the Bible in English and what the word substitutions reveal.
The New Case Against the NIV, NASB, NRSV, NAB, REB, RSV, CEV, TEV, GNB, LIVING, PHILLIPS, NEW JERUSALEM, & NEW CENTURY. The Message - The emerging 'new' Christianity---with its substitution of riches for righteous, a crown for a cross, and an imitation for a new creation---is shown to be a direct result of the wording in the new versions. Documented are the thousands of words, verses, and doctrines by which new versions will prepare the aspostate churches of these last days to accept the religion of the Antichrist--even his mark, image, and Lucifer worship.
ADDED - "One of my favorite new sites I have discovered is Fora.TV. It’s like NPR with video!"

Wal-Mart sues brain-damaged employee

Wal-Mart finally began offering some of its employees affordable health insurance. But if you ever use it and come into some money Wal-Mart wants its money back. From MoJo Blog:

Just when you think that Wal-Mart had already exhausted every last possible strategy for screwing over its employees, here comes this story in the Wall Street Journal. Deborah Shank, a Wal-Mart employee gets into an accident with a semi and ends up permanently brain-damaged a few years back. Her Wal-Mart health insurance paid her medical bills, but she also sued the trucking company for damages. She wins $700,000, which after legal fees and expenses, nets her about $400,000, which was put in a trust to pay the nursing home she now lives in.

But Wal-Mart gets wind of the settlement and turns around and sues Shank for $470,000, the money its insurance company paid for her care from the accident. Now, the woman is reliant on Medicaid and Social Security and Wal-Mart apparently got a much needed windfall.

Wal-Mart isn't alone in such behavior. Insurance companies seizing lawsuit winnings from catastrophically injured Americans is a common practice that gives lie to the notion that anyone gets rich off a personal injury lawsuit these days, as insurance companies often get first dibs on any judgment or settlement in such cases.

I am frankly shocked, shocked!

Not really. Who knew that conservatives were interested in one thing only. Top searches: Gay sex and the diseases you can get according to the almost unbelievably clueless and unintentionally funny Conservapedia.

Bush's Church Leaders Call For Iraq Withdrawal

At the United Methodist Church Bishop's meeting a resolution calling for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq also urged no permanent military bases in Iraq, increased support for military veterans and stronger support for a reconstruction plan.

Maybe Bush should get back to going to church. You don't ever hear word of him going and that is no accident. This is despite church-goers being almost his sole remaining supporters.

Don Harrison Ejected from Council Meeting

Things had been quiet on the Pasadena mayor's race front until the last city council meeting. Another council member used his moment to speak to criticize Don Harrison's parting shot at Johnny Isbell at the candidate's forum. (In what had been a mostly civil debate with just a few barbs Harrison used his position as the last one to speak to read from his political attack ad on Johnny Isbell's tax record as mayor.) At the council meeting Harrison spoke up grumbling about bringing that up. Mayor Douglas silenced him noting the rules do not allow interruptions of council members. The other council member continued by bringing up former Mayor John Ray Harrison's record of tax increases. Don Harrison spoke up saying he would not be silent about lies about his brother. Mayor Douglas had Councilman Harrison escorted from the city council meeting.

When I was told that a council member had been kicked off of a city council meeting I immediately asked "What did Don Harrison do now?" Funny, I am not the only one who said that. This Tuesday's meeting could be interesting. Early voting is underway now at City Hall for the special election.

More on the candidates and the election on the Pasadena city site.

Mr. Stunningly Stupid

I'll let No More Mr. Nice Blog explain why.

Short answer: 1). There is a difference between representing richer districts and representing rich people and 2). the study(?) ignores the trend where within each state the GOP is more apt to get the richer districts.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Who Is The Biggest Turkey?

Greenwald and Wired and Boing Boing show it is Joe Klien of Time magazine writing on Democrats and the NSA domestic wiretapping bill. Turkey Joe is clueless, biased and dead wrong.

Happy Turkey Day - Religion and Myths

Don't kill any Indians.

The truth about Thanksgiving.

The truth about Thanksgiving debunking. Greatly expanded beginning here.

Coral Ridge Ministries, even without D. James Kennedy still around, incorporates the Pilgrim Thanksgiving in its "divine America" new myths. I should not be annoyed by their false history which becomes close to gospel in rightwing churches. Christianity is always adapting history and myths and incorporating them as something the original people wouldn't recognize.

Some of the real religious history of the United States and the wall of separation between church and state. It greatly annoys me that the DoD's JROTC program is incorporating the new religious right's historical myths in its course curriculum. I am thankful that if they have questions students could find out the truth on the Internet, if they know where to look.

"God, please -- God, please -- God, please -- save America!"

A Thanksgiving Sermon at All Soul's Church by Frank Church. I give thanks for religious liberals.

John Scalzi visits the Creation Science Museum after his readers insisted.

Scalzi's writing is something to be thankful for.

Give thanks, say a prayer for the Native Americans today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Why Time passed on Karl Rove

"Time thought this wouldn't be like hiring George Stephanopoulos," my source explained. "They think Karl is essentially like an unindicted coconspirator in a whole string of felonies."
Charles Kaiser at Radar Online didn't explain that Newsweek picked him up because of it's bi-polar disorder. For years now Newsweek has been keeping both sides rilled up using their writers and opinions. No matter your political persuasion you can always find something to hate at Newsweek. Hiring Karl Rove and Markos (Daily Kos) Moulitsas is perfect for their unbalanced "balance."

The JFK Assassination Conspiracy Today

Playboy is running a well-researched long article on what many newly released government files show. Playboy - the man who didn't talk.

Briefly - was there a cover-up? Yes. Was the CIA involved? Yes. Was the Mafia involved? Yes. Who all did it? Ask the people who covered up the investigation.

Gerald Ford, a member of the Warren Commission who recently died, also has a new book coming out which says the CIA covered up what they knew. He himself participated in the cover-up while on the Warren Commission.

We have the recent deathbed confessions of E. Howard Hunt who says the CIA tried to get him involved in the assassination plot.

We have the last ditch effort by a debunker trying to put all the objections to the conspiracy in one book.

The last time there was so much interest conservatives launched a major book whose chief premise was that Oswald was a murderous psychopath since he was five. The author's major interviews and sources seemed to be with those likely involved in the cover-up.

Bonus - The top myths of the JFK assassination conspiracy debunkers.

The Second Civil War

Would America be better off if it split in two?

What was a humorous question in 2000 when a map appeared showing the country divided between Jesusland and the United States of Liberty and Education seems more serious today. Image from Betty
Ronald Brownstein has a new book exploring the partisan divide in America today which has a short excerpt in The New York Times.
DeLay saw greater partisan conflict as a means of advancing conservative goals. The Kossacks saw more conflict as essential to resisting conservative goals and reviving a left-of-center agenda. Each vision derived energy from the other. The more Republicans pursued the uncompromising ideological agenda DeLay promoted, the more they strengthened the voices in the Democratic Party that opposed any cooperation with the GOP. The more Democratic activists pressured their party to pursue a scorched-earth opposition to the GOP, the more they strengthened the conservatives like DeLay who proclaimed it pointless to seek agreements with Democrats. DeLay and the Democratic Internet activists who gathered in Las Vegas could not have been more dissimilar in almost every possible respect. But each sought to reconfigure their political party to the same specifications— as a warrior party that would commit to opposing the other side with every conceivable means at its disposal. In that they were hardly alone. Among the most ardent activists in both parties, the only cause that attracted bipartisan support in the first years of the twenty-first century was the extermination of bipartisan cooperation. That reciprocal passion has produced a political environment marked by unstinting conflict between the parties and the virtual collapse of meaningful collaboration between them. What this unrelenting polarization of political life means for the parties, the electoral system, and the country is the subject of this book.
What has not so far been taken seriously is the benefits to both sides of the partisan divide if America did split. The loudest voices in both parties now have different concepts of religion, foreign policy, the role of government, farm policies, civil liberties and even entertainment choices. Should Blue states forever subsidize the massive farms, the new plantations, of the Red States? Should the Red States continue to lead us into illegal and unnecessary wars? Can we remain this deeply divided over evolution and the role of church and government?

Unfortunately one thing that a state separation doesn't show is the deep partisan divisions that exist on many issues within the states as well. If the United States was divided there would remain large underground movements within each side supporting the other.

America may this century have to make a choice of reducing partisanship or splitting. The other possibility is a serious collapse of the old order where one side gets so discredited it will take a generation or longer to regain national power. That is the situation that occurred in the few years after the Great Depression began. Is it starting to occur again?

Amazon - The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America

A review in the NYT.
Brownstein skillfully and convincingly recounts the process by which the conservative movement gained control of the Republican Party and its Congressional delegation. He is especially deft at identifying the institutional and procedural tools that the most conservative wing of the party used after 2000 both to vanquish Republican moderates and to limit the ability of the Democratic minority to participate meaningfully in the legislative process. He is less successful (and somewhat halfhearted) in making the case for a comparable ideological homogeneity among the Democrats, as becomes clear in the book’s opening passage. Brownstein appropriately cites the former House Republican leader Tom DeLay’s farewell speech in 2006 as a sign of his party’s recent strategy. DeLay ridiculed those who complained about “bitter, divisive partisan rancor.” Partisanship, he stated, “is not a symptom of democracy’s weakness but of its health and its strength.”

But making the same argument about a similar dogmatism and zealotry among Democrats is a considerable stretch. To make this case, Brownstein cites not an elected official (let alone a Congressional leader), but the readers of the Daily Kos, a popular left-wing/libertarian Web site that promotes what Brownstein calls “a scorched-earth opposition to the G.O.P.”
A Second NYT opinion.
In contemplating the possibility of building a political system that would be “less confrontational and more productive than today’s,” Mr. Brownstein explores a host of suggestions, including term limits for Supreme Court justices, the opening of all party primaries to independents, and the formation of a viable third party. Some of these suggestions may seem unrealistic, given the current state of politics. But the low approval rates for both the Bush White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress, combined with a growing conviction that the country is now off-track (an ABC News/Washington Post poll this month showed that 74 percent of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction), attest to the public’s dissatisfaction with legislative gridlock and poisonous fights over national security, social issues and Supreme Court appointments.

In the long term, Mr. Brownstein writes toward the end of this sobering book, “the party that seeks to encompass and harmonize the widest range of interests and perspectives is the one most likely to thrive. The overriding lesson for both parties from the Bush attempt to profit from polarization is that there remains no way to achieve lasting political power in a nation as diverse as America without assembling a broad coalition that locks arms to produce meaningful progress against the country’s problems.”
Should the activists on both sides give up and move to more hospitable states? Or should both sides continue to fight in the United States for the triumph of their beliefs? When you see the other side as fundamentally misguided and wrong and cannot even agree on the facts of history much less the meaning is their hope for compromises?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bob Perry's Million Dollar Donation to Rick Perry may be Illegal

Remember the governor's race when Rick Perry was complaining about Chris Bell accepting a million dollar donation from an individual? Well, it turns out Guv Goodhair did it too. Except that Perry tried to disguise it by having Bob Perry of Perry Homes route it through the Republican Governor's Association.

This is the same thing they caught Tom DeLay on. Texas law is very strict on registering as a PAC and not accepting corporate contributions and commingling of moneys. The Republican Governor's Association is not registered as a PAC in Texas. It appears to have placed the million dollars it held briefly for Bob Perry in a general account which could include corporate dollars. You can't tell if the million dollars they sent the governor is the same million they received from Bob Perry and the RGA would be guilty of a Texas campaign finance crime either way.

What does this mean? If found guilty double fines of the amount of the donation from both the RGA and Bob Perry. Four million dollars to delay exposing yourself as a hypocrite, way to go Goodhair.

There is more at the Houston Chron and the Austin Statesman.

Thanks Kuff and others for catching this and a special thanks to Chris Bell.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pasadena Man Kills Two

Huge amount of commentary about this and I don't know if I want to wade in. I'll just say don't be around these old guys from Pasadena with guns if they get agitated.

It is likely he will be charged because it was daylight, the police dispatch told him repeatedly to stay inside, he said he was going out to kill, the two Hispanics were leaving and he said he was going out to stop them, a shotgun at less than 50 feet is lethal force. You are allowed to kill to stop your property from being robbed, you need better justification about your neighbor's property. He will likely be charge with some more minor offense and plead out with probation.

Would you want a neighbor like this? We have plenty of cheap housing in Pasadena if you do.

Texas Round-Up 19

It's Monday, and that means it's time for the pre-Thanksgiving edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's Weekly Blog Round-Up. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

The Texas Cloverleaf examines the ongoing feud between TxDOT and NTTA -- this time the funding for the Hwy 161 project Dallas County may face its wrath. To toll or not to toll? That is TxDOT's question.

Hal at Half Empty wants to ask John Cornyn just one question: "When are you going to stop flip flopping on a border wall?"

XicanoPwr reports on the noose found hanging from a scaffolding on separate occasions over at the Exxon Mobil facility in Baytown, TX.

NYTexan at Bluebloggin discovers that some things will just never go away. Tom DeLay Will Launch Activist Group. Two stellar citizens, Tom DeLay and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell have teamed up to promote the Coalition for a Conservative Majority (CCM).

Kay Granger pretends to care about the environment by sponsoring an Energy Expo but TXsharon at Bluedaze points to her ZERO score on environmentally friendly votes and begs to differ.

Harris County election officials adjusted the vote at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, after Tuesday's final election results had been released to the media. The Democratic Party's observer, a long-time voting rights activist, was stunned to watch it happen. What does this mean for the integrity of electronic voting in all of Texas? PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has questions without answers.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston reminds us that Texas is #1 in sucking with tuition for Texas University up by 63% since deregulation in 2003. The high cost of college tuition deregulation. Tuition increases again.

CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme complains that Texas keeps money meant for hospitals in 'state funds'. You can hear the Republicans yammering for another tax cut.

Muse wonders why Tom DeLay can't seem to stay away from Fort Bend County when he is supposed to be a Virginia resident. His new Coalition for a Conservative Majority kicks off there and has Ken Blackwell as its chair. Yeah, that Ken Blackwell. SOS in Ohio during the 2004 elections.

Mayor McSleaze at McBlogger asks What part of "interfaith" was not clear? in his post detailing the actions of Hyde Park Baptist Church.

Why can't Rudy Giuliani talk about baseball any more without pandering? Off the Kuff takes a look at his latest shenanigans.

Vince at Capitol Annex explores Texas Congressman Ron Paul's "surge" in the polls and in online contributions and wonders why his Republican supporters haven't bothered to examine his terrible record on behalf of the middle class in Texas.

WhosPlayin brings back the Texas Dim Bulb Award for Cracker-Barrell Craddick.

On The TexasBlue, David Gurney explores the total absence of integrity displayed by the Religious Right's endorsements of Giuliani and Thompson.

Easter Lemming watched the Pasadena mayor's race candidate forum in some amazement: How often do you hear a Texas candidate say: "He's just told me the position pays $102,000. I had no idea. If I had known that, I would have put out more yard signs." And Easter Lemming gets the candidate reply in the comments.

Texas Toad of North Texas Liberal explains why the Chicken Pickens of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth owes Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a sum of $1 million.

Dominatrix with new book about S&M sex with Bush is missing

Rumors have circled around Bush for years about his sexual habits and cruelty. This July a well-known Dominatrix issued an ebook that detailed her experiences with conservative Republican leaders, including Bush.

Her friends report she has now gone missing.

Leola McConnell had recently run for governor of Nevada as an Independent. McConnell had also recently made allegations that a DC prostitute had told her stories about Vice President Dick Cheney.

Of course, these are all just gossip and possibly tall tales. If someone had proof they would be very quiet and rich or even quieter and dead.
Leola McConnell, the former dominatrice and militant for civil equality for people of all sexual orientations — who claimed in her memoir, “Lustful Utterances,” to have had S&M sex with George Bush in the 1980s — is feared by friends to be missing, according to this report.
Bush's Secret Life in 1984

American Politic's Journal:
Leola McConnell, Liberal Democratic Candidate for Nevada Governor, On George W. Bush
Press Release

June 4, 2006—Las Vegas—This Monday, George W. Bush will address the nation, calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. If he does not admit that he's a gay American (or perhaps bisexual), this speech will be as false as all his other public statements.

Too bad I won't be doing the rebuttal. In 1984 I watched George W. Bush enthusiastically and expertly perform a homosexual act on another man, one Victor Ashe.

Ashe is the current U.S. ambassador to Poland; and he too should come out, like former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevy, and admit to being a gay American.
An update - still missing. Radar-Online had a brief mention earlier of her getting into body-building and her harassment and death threats from "Busheviks." Larry Flynt was interested in her story but negotiations fell through.

Wayne Madsen Report -
George Bush, aka the 'jock sniffer'

Sep. 26, 2006 -- According to individuals who investigated George W. Bush's stint in the 147th Fighter Group of the Texas Air National Guard (TANG), the GOP's top dirty tricksters, notably Karl Rove and Roger Stone, interceded to derail the investigation and, instead, have CBS focus on Bush's faxed, scanned, and Xeroxed original TANG records -- which were later hyped by the right-wing media as fakes.

The reason for the GOP's concern was that the investigation was getting dangerously close to exposing Bush's suspected homosexual activity with other members of his TANG unit. Given the times and culture of the early 1970s, investigators were surprised to discover Bush's frequent association with an abundant number of gays in the unit, which was nicknamed the "Champagne Unit." Bush's homosexuality is the bête noire of Bush's past for GOP political operatives, precisely because of the anti-gay stance of the Republican right and its Christian fundamentalist base.

In 1986, the Bush family sent George W. Bush to El Paso's Worthy Creations, a Christian gay conversion center. From that time on, Bush became a tool of the Christian right and a self-hating homosexual. The investigation of Bush's gay activities in the TANG unit would have unraveled Bush's new "straight" persona. The GOP went to battle stations to prevent Bush's past from being resurrected.

Bush's alleged homosexuality in college was hinted at in Kitty Kelley's massive biography of the Bush family, The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, which was released at about the same time as CBS 60 Minutes was investigating Bush's National Guard stint. In the case of Kelley's book and the gay charge, the criticism came not from the GOP operatives but from their allies in the corporate media, including the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, who is married to a GOP operative. While Bush attended all-boys Andover prep school (nicknamed "bend over"), Bush, not able to make it as an athlete, instead became a male cheerleader. At Yale, Bush, according to Kelley, had a "special relationship" (i.e., gay relationship) with Victor Ashe, his room mate and fellow cheerleader. Ashe, a former Mayor of Knoxville, is now Bush's ambassador to Poland. At the Delta Kappa Epsilon frat house, Bush became known as "a jock sniffer."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How big of idiots are Republican bloggers?

Pretty damn big ones.

There is a chorus on the right that are shocked, shocked! that Democratic activists are the undecided primary voters at a Democratic primary debate.

Of course, Michelle Malkin's Hot Air, although not Michelle herself, started this latest non-scandal. That really, really seems Hot Air's and Malkin's specialty - idiotic non-scandals raised to senseless smears.

The Democratic Party headquarters were given half the tickets to give out. Most of the others went to faculty and family members who wanted them at UNLV. Who do you think wanted to go to the debate? Somehow this is beyond the comprehension of the feeble-minded. After noting the audience makeup Reichstag's Riehll still doesn't get it: Did CNN plant the audience?

Rightwingnut bloggers must get their brains from the same pea pile they get their gonads.

Rumors of more Democratic candidates

Pretty definitive word that at least one candidate and probably two or more will be contesting to run for Texas House District 144 with Bob Sonnier.

This is the easiest Democratic House seat pick-up in the Houston area. Janette Sexton, who did not have a very active campaign, only needed 1500 more votes to switch to beat the Republican incumbent Talton. That is thousands less than the other GOP held seats in the Houston area.

The GOP race is also wide open with rumors of three or four people still considering campaigns. All candidates had better hurry up.

PBS taking on Creationists

A little late but several programs on PBS have shot down (un)Intelligent Design in the last few years. The latest I happened to miss and supposedly was one of the best. (PBS's shift to the right has caused me to check what they are showing less often.)

Some see a link in the tactics and methods of the conservative movement generally with the misleading ID campaign. "The debate over the teaching of evolution in the schools will continue for generations to come, despite the one-sidedness of the factual evidence against “intelligent design.” So, too, the debate over the other lame-brained agenda items of the well-financed, relentless conservative movement."

Intelligent Design on Trial

If like me you missed the airtime you can watch it all online in digestible tasty chunks.

Count me as one of those in favor of science, of teaching myth as myth, and of shooting down lies.

On PBS tonight (Sunday) I will catch the last of The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, about a woman who capture the prime minister's office with a new populist party based on truth.

I have moved my giving from Houston PBS to Pacifica KPFT, although it looks like they may have misplaced my monthly pledge form.

Swift Boat Liars Backtracking

A short time ago, Texas's own T. Boone Pickens at a wealthy conservative get-together said he would give $1 million if anyone demonstrated the Swift Boat Veteran's allegations were untrue. Never one to pass up an easy million dollars Senator John Kerry said I'll take that offer.

Furiously backtracking, T. Boone is now attaching contingencies to the offer. To illustrate the extent of his ignorance about this subject among other new demands is that Kerry release all of his service records from 1971-1978. Kerry honorably served in the Navy from 1966-1970.

Continuing their record of enthusiastically applauding ignorance, the rightwingnut blogs are blasting the media for ignoring the challenge until Kerry accepted it.

PS, can I have a chunk of that million? Or at least get eRiposte a piece?

Kerry's medals and the real witnesses. More on the Swift Boat Liars.

From an Op-Ed by Veterans:
As was shamefully done previously against decorated veterans like John McCain and Max Cleland, extreme right-wing groups such as the so-called 'Swift-Boat Veterans for Truth' are again spreading lies meant to discredit a decorated veteran. A veteran who volunteered for combat, who was brave enough not only to withstand the rigors of battle but then the equally difficult struggle to speak the truth about wars inevitable dark side: savagery, stupidity, recklessness, maiming, and death. These are the truths of every war -- those necessary and those avoidable; those just and those unjust.

"The slander about John Kerry's Purple Hearts and courage in command is fallacious at best and spuriously shameful. More, the attacks against Kerry's post-discharge protest of Vietnam represent a concerted attempt to prevent others from speaking the necessary truth of their experience by those too cowardly to admit their own share in our flawed humanity...
Houstonian John O'Neil gets tapped to often do the Republican dirty work against Kerry, first for the Nixon White House, later for the Bush. Another Houstonian, Perry of Perry Homes, paid to set up the Swift Boat Liars and provided millions of their funding.
When voters go to the polls in November, McMahon said, they won't be choosing between John Kerry and "Unfit for Command" author John O'Neill; they'll be choosing between Kerry and Bush. "The choice is between a guy who volunteered to serve, went to war, fought on the front line, took enemy fire, was highly decorated, and saved the life of at least one of the troops -- and a guy who did everything he could to avoid service, jumped over 500 people to get into the National Guard, didn't show up for service in Alabama, and can't prove he was there."

Like many other Democrats, McMahon is incredulous that -- in light of Bush's record -- Vietnam service is even an issue in the campaign. "It seems to me that the president has an awful lot of explaining to do, particularly because he can't produce a single person, he can't remember where he lived, he can't remember who he hug out with, the folks he went drinking with, the bars he hung out in, and we're expected to take seriously their allegations about how many bullets were flying one day in Vietnam?"

Wayne Slater isn't surprised at all. Slater, the veteran Dallas Morning News reporter who coauthored "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential," said Tuesday that the Swift Boat Veterans attack was entirely predictable. Slater has watched Karl Rove work for nearly two decades, and he said the "mark of Rove" in a campaign is always the same: Aim nasty attacks right at your opponent's strength, but keep your own fingerprints off them.
John Kerry was first a hero in Vietnam, where he volunteered to go instead of a safe birth at sea, and then taking on Nixon and the Republicans at home. How many people who believe the Swift Boat Liars even realize that all of the people who served on the Swift Boats during the disputed battles support Kerry?

Long-run budget math and Social Security - Paul Krugman

Conservatives and even moderates have been fed so much propaganda on the failing Social Security system you have to beat them over the head repeatedly with the real truth. Social Security may not have any problems this century. The problem is medicare and health expenses and Bush's enormous budget deficits. Demographic shifts and the number of workers are a minimal problem for Social Security. Social Security was fixed under Reagan, badly by America's largest tax increase in history falling only upon workers, but fixed. The only way Social Security has a problem in ten years is if politicians refuse to honor the Social Security trust fund, which the GOP will like to default on.

I hate to sound partisan but the truth is if there develops a problem with Social Security it is because of the Republican politicians. Are the Republicans saying that Al Gore was right, Bush stole all the money in the Social Security lock box and they won't pay it back?

See also Dean Baker on the Washington Post's war on Social Security which is a follow-up to this. I will add part of R. Timms comment from there:
The real crisis is readily apparent when you look at the rest of government expenditures and income. Taking Social Security (SS) out of the picture the FY07 Gov revenues were 1.667T and outlays were 2.277T. A 610 Billion deficit. Closing the deficit will take a 40% increase in revenues or 27% cut in spending or some combination.

Conservatives see that the unified budget has a much smaller deficit due to the SS surplus. They think it is great that we are using workers SS money from a regressive tax to fund government. But the problem is this can only go on so long. Once boomers retire they want their SS money that has been used to fund government operations. In order to keep funding government with a regressive tax after boomers retire conservatives will have to make cuts to SS or increase SS payroll taxes or both.
Tom Redburn at The New York Times - Obama fighting to fix a non-broken Social Security.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Banning speech

I see Texas Rainmaker has banned me from commenting for disagreeing with him months ago. His latest message for his minions is to suggest they harass a San Francisco columnist for labeling the world's anxious period waiting for the end of Bush's term the Bush Death Watch.

OMG he girly shrieks! It is more liberal assassination fantasies!

My comment for him -

1. It is the "deeply satiric" Mark Morford - the Ann Coulter of the Left. Is he now suggesting we take Ann seriously for her death, destruction, bigoted, ignorant, biased smears and assassination remarks?

2. No where in the column does Mark call for the death of Bush. Getting the facts wrong has never stopped Jason Smith before, why should now be any different.

3. He encourages people to email Mark Morford and issue death threats reprimands to him. This is a common tactic of the false macho men, flood the mailboxes of people you disagree with.

If I wanted to I could urge people to contact conservative Houston lawyer Jason Smith and express their views but I find these people never listen.

Our media failing in debates

The so-called-liberal-media have produced light-weight fluffed-up debates which avoid the many failures of the Bush administration and most other substantive issues.

Media Matters:
Through 17 debates this year, roughly 1,500 questions have been asked of the two parties' presidential candidates. But only a small handful of questions have touched on the candidates' views on executive power, the Constitution, torture, wiretapping, or other civil liberties concerns. (A description of those questions appears at the end of this column.)

Only one question about wiretapping. Not a single question about FISA.

There has, however, been a question about whether the Constitution should be changed to allow Arnold Schwarzenegger to be president.

Not one question about renditions. The words "habeas corpus" have not once been spoken by a debate moderator. Candidates have not been asked about telecom liability.

But there was this illuminating question, asked of a group of
Republicans running for president: "Seriously, would it be good for America to have Bill Clinton back living in the White House?"

Though Republicans often claim that the Bush administration's
warrantless wiretapping of Americans is necessary to prevent "another 9-11," debate moderators have not once asked candidates about recent revelations that suggest the administration began its surveillance efforts long before the September 11, 2001, attacks, not in response to them.

But NBC's Brian Williams did ask the Democratic candidates what they would "go as" for Halloween.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Maybe they only watch FOX NEWS for the Porn

Dems debate

Too bad there are so many of these things. This one was the one to watch.

It was actually funny and a pitched battle, if only at the beginning. I gave up before the real folks offered questions after the CNN journalists with their set but heard I didn't miss anything.

Clinton - easily won and looked like she had spent a fortune on her face and hair. Looked tough and presidential and slugged and stabbed the boys repeatedly while smiling and looking charming. The charge that she says one thing on the stump and another in Washington seemed to bounce off.

Obama - big loser. I wonder if he is really the candidate trying for VP or practicing for his next run. Totally flubbed the illegal immigrants with driver's license question which he should have been well-prepared for. After getting on to Clinton for waffling a minute earlier showed a bigger longer example and was called on it.

Wolf Blitzer was another big loser - made clear that FOX NEWS isn't the only conservative network.

Biden was good, loose and biting and ignored.

Dodd, who I had previously liked, was very dull and moved to the right.

Edwards tried to take it to Hillary and then realized he was only making himself look bad. As a lawyer he may have also been responding to the audience, majority for Clinton. That itself is a very troubling sign for his race - Nevada was supposed to be his state.

Richardson was typical in demonstrating how he is an expert on everything and continued auditioning for VP.

Kucinich must have been seething with the contempt and deliberate ignoring the journalists showed. He will not resign, his motive is to move the party to the left by getting his supporters to state conventions from caucuses.

Gravel must not have been able to afford a plane ticket but wasn't missed.

Prediction: by early February Biden, Dodd, Richardson and Gravel will be out of the race.

If Obama and Edwards don't stop Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire by holding her to third it will be a very short race.

About my bias, my preferred candidates in order are Edwards, Biden, Obama, Richardson. Biden moved up tonight - Obama and Dodd down.

Another professional opinion on the debate. Another point came up very briefly in the debate which Krugman addresses here: Obama, played for a sucker.

Josh Marshall: Can we just close down CNN?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Very Interesting Pasadena Mayor's Race

How often do you hear a Texas candidate say: "He's just told me the position pays $102,000. I had no idea. If I had known that, I would have put out more yard signs."

I went to the candidates forum at San Jacinto College last night. Very interesting and fun. Too bad there is no good late night place to eat afterwards nearby.

Pasadena has wide and varied interesting choices for mayor.

The candidates:
Don Harrison, former mayor's brother, council member.
David Stroder, contractor, no experience in politics.
O.L. Harris, developer - conservative business candidate, last councilman in 93.
Johnny Isbell, former mayor, owns or is involved in three or four businesses.
A.J. Christ, pastor, former Firestone store manager, contractor.
Ralph Riggs, councilman, retired from NASA utility subcontractor.
Jerri Neely, former councilwoman, involved in citizen watch groups, former mayoral candidate.
The highlight of the evening was that Harrison while answering a question mentioned the mayor's salary of $102,000. The next candidate David Stroder: "He's just told me the position pays $102,000. I had no idea. If I had known that, I would have put out more yard signs."

After starting out as the most clueless candidate, only running against the federal government and too many illegal immigrants in Pasadena, Stroder captured the crowd as the most honest clueless candidate. Stroder's campaign seemed to be that he is an average citizen and voters need a change from the typical Pasadena politicians also running. "After all, how much could I screw things up in 18 months." He did have several "I don't know" answers to questions. Perhaps Stroder should have inquired about all the other perks the Mayor has now.

A rundown of the rest:

Don Harrison came across as mumbling, almost senile, but wily and willing to throw the most jabs, about the only jabs in fact. (Take my opinions with a grain of salt, I don't like him even if he was the first to state the obvious, Pasadena is majority Latino and the city should be doing more for all citizens.) Kept exceeding his time limits. Repeated his false claim of a $41 million surplus in the rainy day fund.

O.L. Harris, very conservative, very representative of business interests. On a transportation system for Pasadena - "I don't know any private enterprise that could run it at a profit."

Johnny Isbell, slick, polished, knowledgeable. Running as the only one with experience running Pasadena, stressed his police backing, the reduction in crime rate under his term as mayor. The most typical successful politician, his flip-flop from Democrat to Republican did not come up.

A.J. Christ - we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work. More actions, less studies and talk. Good speaker, but very unspecific.

Ralph Riggs, always repeated the question back. Very specific and knowledgeable. Stresses his accounting and problem solving background. Would be a full-time mayor. Not very charismatic but knowledgeable from his time on council, studious and has good experience.

Jerri Neely, very emotional, loves Pasadena. Has solved problems with slumlords and getting city services in the North end of town. Talks too much, had the most problem with always exceeding her time. Nice lady, also would be a full-time mayor but isn't there a garden club or volunteer organization she should be involved in?

Highlight of the forum was David Stroder (713-STRODER) who after a very bad first impression made strong appeals to electing a normal private citizen instead of the politicians who have created the current Pasadena.

Another interesting highlight was the complete rejection of the Strawberry Road extension by all candidates, with most favoring selling the land back for new housing development to get some money back. Other properties by city hall also needed to be sold or razed. Jerri Neely admitted she had made a naive mistake in supporting the Strawberry Road Extension originally in the interest of redeveloping North Pasadena. (Pat Van Houte must feel somewhat vindicated after leading the citizen opposition to the multi-million dollar boondoggle for years.)

Low point was a hard attack by Harrison on Isbell's very high tax and fee increases as mayor when Harrison was the last one to speak in the debate, allowing no opportunity for a rebuttal. As a student of politics I saw that hurting both Harrison and Isbell. Harrison's typical hardball tactics are probably more effective in a on-on-one race, not in a crowded field of candidates.

Isbell seemed to have the most people in the about 400 crowd. Buttons and badges were banned from entering the auditorium but a small number of people put Isbell badges on at the end.

Afterwards we went to the Skillet to confer. No other late night restaurants in that part of suburbia. They had a good cheap baby-back rib special Pat ordered and I got a hamburger and onion rings. Despite our warning her Janette made the mistake of ordering the most expensive thing on the menu in a dive - rib eye steak. What's worst, she had ordered the same thing before and hated it as I reminded her before she ordered it again.

Our forum consensus, a wide field of candidates and somebody could find something appealing about any of them.

Odds are that Isbell makes the runoff, nobody has close to a majority, impossible to rank how the other candidates will do right now. I like Riggs but I am not sure studious and informed is enough of an image to project in a crowded field or crowded stage.

Links: Pasadena Citizen
Houston Chronicle.

Harris County demonstrates legal vote hacking

Harris County had to correct some ballots. No problem, just get into the county vote program and change a few votes. This time it was done under a fair amount of publicity and lots of observers. Sometime in the future we might not be that lucky.

The biggest cause of voter fraud for the last several decades have been partisan county officials doing what they feel is their duty to ensure a result which is good for them and their beliefs. This Houston Chronicle article just highlights that someone in the glass-enclosed booth could do right by God and correct what they feel are the voter's mistakes.

Our election officials are elected in partisan elections and the parties often support the person most willing to serve the party, whatever it takes. This is a problem for both Democrats and Republicans. I do see more in the GOP slowly recognizing the danger. We also have some seeing the opportunity, like Florida Rep. Tom Feeney hiring a hacker to write a program to electronically steal votes.

The county did add security measures to the voting booth hardware for this last election. Unfortunately, the biggest problem continues to be we depend on the honesty of the county and state officials with their easily hacked and easy to get into vote tabulator software.

Meanwhile, self-described RightWingNuts pursue a partisan agenda of requiring VOTER PHOTO ID to stop non-existent massive voter fraud. The real reason this is pursued is that Democrats are more likely to not have proper photo ID, 91% of R's, and 83% of D's according to a large recent Indiana study. Many Republicans believe this urban legend partly as a result of the fake GOP funded American Center For Voting Rights which was linked to Karl Rove cronies.

Stop real voter fraud, secure the vote tabulators and stop pursuing grandmothers without driver's licenses and seniors and immigrants without birth certificates.

UPDATE - Charles has more and I add a comment about bypassing the voter software entirely. The integrity of the vote is solely up to the honesty and integrity of our partisan county officials.

Off the subject, my brother was right to be worried about the trend to not being able to appeal tickets. Harris County has a non-refundable charge to appeal the new photo red light tickets.

Why does the U.S. lead in medical technology?

Sorry Republicans, it appears to be due to the world's largest government medical research program. The American National Institutes of Health spends $28 billion on medical research, dwarfing every other program on the planet. Read more at Jonathan Cohn's excellent article.

With universal health care, under the proper plan we could cover everyone and even expand this research at much less money then we spend now. First good story out of TNR in years?

In other healthcare news the Mass. universal plan is working.

For once, not a gay GOP sex scandal

Arrested for aggravated DUI and unsafe lane change, almost running into a police car, the recently defeated Congressman had an excuse, a 24-year-old woman's face buried in his lap.

Times Union:
On Monday, State Police issued a news release stating that Sweeney was driving northbound on I-87 about 1:19 a.m. Sunday when troopers stopped him for making an unsafe lane change. A trooper, noticing a "strong odor" of alcohol on the former congressman's breath, issued sobriety tests, which Sweeney failed.

His blood alcohol level registered at 0.18 percent -- over twice the legal limit of 0.08 -- causing him to be charged with aggravated DWI as well as the standard DWI charge. He was also ticketed for the lane change.

Sweeney, a one-time STOP-DWI coordinator for Rensselaer County, lost his seat last November to Democratic Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand amid allegations of spousal abuse.

Ugly Iowa Fake Poll Calls

For various reasons to me it looks like a GOP operation to collect info on what negatives work best and also sow dissension in Democratic voters. Seems targeted to Democratic caucus goers using the state voter list. This campaign has a long way to go and will get ugly. This is a shot of the ugly starting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Conservatives - bad taste in TV too

It turns out there really are three kinds of Americans, Red, Blue and Purple and their entertainment choices are as different as their political choices.

Conservatives love Fox News, hate NBC and MTV. Surprisingly they also like the anti-authoritarian Fox network as well. Only two music genres get more conservative support than average - country and gospel. They hate the arts.

Liberals like to watch the news, even those with opinions they disagree with. They also like comedies. Liberals are most likely to like nearly all music. Most likely to hate reality shows.

The more you study this cluster analysis, the more you realize conservatives don't have broad tastes and generally wouldn't make good friends to hang out with if you are a liberal.
The typology revealed three significant clusters of respondents: "conservatives," as we decided to call them, make up 37% of the national sample, while "liberals" comprise 39% and "moderates" 24%. The same respondents were asked about their entertainment preferences, including their consumption of the most highly-rated TV shows and networks; popular movies, sports, music, books, art and theater. We discovered that just as there are conservatives, liberals and moderates, there are people with red, blue and purple taste.

Another New Meme - Should Edwards or Obama Quit and Support the Other?

Jonathan Stein in Mother Jones makes the argument that Obama and Edwards are very close reform candidates drawing much the same people. After Iowa and/or New Hampshire should the lesser candidate withdraw in favor of the other? This argument is also starting to be made elsewhere aimed at Edwards.

By the rules of Democratic convention delegate allocation there is little incentive for a candidate to withdraw as long as a candidate is still getting 15% of the vote in many areas.

Edwards has an advantage of being the leading second choice candidate in states with caucuses. As candidates don't make the 15% threshold their supporters will migrate to Edwards.

I don't think you will see any major candidate withdrawals until after Iowa and then Biden, Dodd, and Gravel may withdraw. Kucinich will not withdraw. He is in it just to provide a more liberal alternative and move the party leftward. Richardson looks to be out of the race early.

If Edwards or Obama doesn't get 15% in New Hampshire then there is a good case to be made for a withdrawal.

Will that candidate endorse the other to stop Hillary? It is impossible to say right now. Hillary is immeasurably better for most Democrats than any Republican running. Will Edwards or Obama want to anger an incoming Democratic administration? Only if there is a realistic chance of stopping Hillary will a withdrawal and endorsement of another reform candidate occur.