Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bush's New Freedom in Afghanistan

The Afghanistan leaders have confirmed a death sentence to a young Afghan college student. His crime, downloading and reading a report on women's rights. This is today, not under the Talabani we liberated Afghanistan from.
He was accused of blasphemy after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.

Mr Kambaksh, 23, distributed the tract to fellow students and teachers at Balkh University with the aim, he said, of provoking a debate on the matter. But a complaint was made against him and he was arrested, tried by religious judges without – say his friends and family – being allowed legal representation and sentenced to death....

The circumstances surrounding the conviction of Mr Kambaksh are also being viewed as a further attempt to claw back the rights gained by women since the overthrow of the Taliban. The most prominent female MP, Malalai Joya, has been suspended after criticising her male colleagues.

I am an equal opportunity offender

Bill Clinton should Shut the Hell Up if Hillary is going to have a chance. Obama looks more attractive all the time.

Technically John Edwards only suspended his campaign. He can still get delegates. I am thinking of voting for him here in Texas and organizing the precinct caucus. I'll decide in early February.

More on Edwards leaving the race from the NYTimes. “He wanted to have a shot at being president,” said Joe Trippi, a senior adviser. “He wanted to have a chance to change people’s lives, not be a spoiler or a kingmaker and not play political games.”

Update - Hillary's Worse Half video.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bush ignores Congress, wants Iraq military bases permanent

Remember that little thing called the Constitution and the separation of powers? Bush with a stroke of his pen issued a signing statement that he would ignore Congress and spend money for permanent military bases in Iraq and for control of their oil.

How do you think the media reacted? The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times or the Wall Street Journal did not cover the story. You could only find out about it on a Washington Post blog or the Boston Globe, as well as the usual alternative online liberal sources.

Oh, that so-called-liberal-media strikes again.

By the way, that is an impeachable offense if the Democrats grew some red, white and blue balls.

What does a health crisis look like? See Houston -

Six months ago USAToday had an article on how Houston had the most overwhelmed health system of any major city in the country. Go ahead, read it to see why the Houston area is the worst in the nation.

Today - 21 Houston hospitals were on drive-by because of flu season and other reasons. Nothing has changed.

If you are wealthy Houston has some of the best facilities in the world. If you are not it is all day at a clinic for minor problems or an appointment in many months. Visit the ER for a few thousand dollar bill for minimal care after an all-day wait.

To get a true look at the problem be a Houston janitor.

Edward's Concession speech

He ran a class campaign. I could often judge a person by what they thought of Edwards.

Probably a better campaigner than John Edwards - Elizabeth Edwards taking on the media.

Rumors are that her cancer may be flaring up.

TNR - Jonathan Cohn - Why John Edwards Won.

Stephen Colbert still a candidate

In the Marvel Universe. They are considering presidential tickets like Colbert/Iron Man if Colbert wins the nomination.

This is actually a let down for Colbert who wanted to be the new Captain America. Stephen believed the old super hero, Steve Rogers, had promised him that before his assassination because of Colbert's "red, white, and blue balls."

Losers with Rudy dropping out?

A number of Texas Republicans, including the governor. They went out on the limb for a non-church-going philanderer who wasn't pro-life or anti-gay but talked tough. The limb came crashing down.

Florida sets up the race

Democratic side.

Milbank reports on Hillary having a victory party bigger than the victory.

A 59% female vote primary gives the most ardent non-campaigner and panderer the win.
Clinton announced plans for the Florida celebration on Sunday, the same day she held a trio of fundraisers in Florida and accepted the endorsement of the Miami mayor while pressing some flesh for the cameras. On Monday, her campaign claimed the endorsement of Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, while pro-Clinton unions continued sending out mailings in her support.

All of this sounded suspiciously like campaigning. But aides said they were merely trying to protect the people of Florida who, despite the campaign's "scrupulous" refusal to campaign in the state, showed up to vote for Clinton anyway.
Super Duper Tuesday looks to be in Hillary Clinton's favor.

Walter Shapiro: Did Hillary Clinton really win in Florida? Ezra Klein: A victory with a sour taste.

Houston Chronicle -Edwards drops out.

I really think Florida, and Democratic primary voters, has given the presidency to the GOP again.

Rasmussen National Poll:
McCain 48% Clinton 40%
McCain 47% Obama 41%

Republican Side

McCain - Romney battle ends with McCain victory

McCain positioned to be big winner Super Duper Tuesday.

Big losers again, Rush Limbaugh and Republican base voters, and rightie bloggers.

Pragmatic Republicans position themselves for general election. Democrats shoot themselves in the foot at start of presidential race, per usual.

Almost forgot - Democratic vote depressed due to lack of meaning.
99% counted


Alexandria also disappointed, as is PDiddie.

Greg Wythe pointed out the Florida vote by county maps. The rich east coast of Miami to Palm Beach did not like Edwards or Huckabee's populism.

The perception from across the ocean.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

SOTU - More lies than usual?

Think Progress has a series of Bush statements from the State of the Union and then inconvenient facts. Is this a bit more lies than usual? Bush also received another kiss, which seems to have become a tradition at his addresses to Congress.

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Jonah Goldberg and other racists

Wow, Jonah carries on about "liberal Fascism" and attracts admiring racists and Nazis, whom he praises.

Dave went to the pain of reading Jonah's book Liberal Fascism and prepared factual responses so no one else would have to.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I am going to be non-PC and write this

Some women people should know when to Shut Up.

I have noticed this before. Some women are losing their cool over the possibility of Hillary not winning. The New York President of NOW going on an ANGRY rant about Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama shows a lack of professionalism. She also got her licks in to all the other progressives that are not supporting Hillary and tossed in Howard Dean for good measure.

I imagine she then stomped to her room, slammed the door, and yelled "I hate YOU ALL!"

ADDED - Democrats but Republicans too.

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Texas 2008 Round-Up #4

It's Monday, and that means it is time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog Round-Up. This week's edition is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex, with thanks to Charles from Off The Kuff for assistance.

Off the Kuff looks at the woes of the Harris County GOP and what it may mean in November.

North Texas will have one less class II commercial injection well pumping toxic soup underground. Reported by TXsharon on Bluedaze.

TXDOT has dug itself into quite a hole by using your money to lobby for the TTC and to pay for an advertising campaign to sell the wildly unpopular TTC to the citizens of Texas. McBlogger at McBlogger has the details and a great video.

Hal at Half Empty got his TI-83 out and ran the numbers on the Presidential Primaries. Conclusion? Texas has a chance to crown a king (or queen).

WhosPlayin? looks at the case of a teen brought up on charges for "huffing" hand sanitizer and is frustrated at the lack of discretion caused by "zero-tolerance" policies.

The action plan for Monday's FISA-with-telecom-immunity legislation is contained in PDid's post at Brains and Eggs. Don't strain your dialing finger, and don't forget to call Senators Corndog and Hutch. It's a waste of time, yes, but they still need to hear from us.

NYTexan at BlueBloggin explains who Voters, Pledged Delegates and Super Delegates are and how they influence the democratic party nomination at the convention.

Are you a MOTO? If not, you will be after reading State Sen. Kirk Watson's guest blog this week at Capitol Annex.

North Texas Liberal reveals which celebrity is destroying the planet... and no, it's not Britney Spears.

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How to put someone to sleep

Among other items is on my other main blog.

One Million sign up for 'I Dislike Bush' Facebook Group

To celebrate Heather Wokusch is giving away free downloads of The Progressives' Handbooks.

Anti-Bush Group hits one million video.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Yes We Can"

Obama's speech in South Carolina.
After four great contests in every corner of this country, we have the most votes, the most delegates, and the most diverse coalition of Americans that we've seen in a long, long time," Obama declared at his victory celebration in Columbia. "There are young and old; rich and poor. They are black and white; Latino and Asian and Native American. They are Democrats from Des Moines and Independents from Concord, and yes, some Republicans from rural Nevada and we've got young people from all across this country who've never had a reason to participate until now."

"In nine days-nine short days — nearly half the nation will have the chance to join us in saying that we are tired of business-as-usual in Washington, we are hungry for change, and we are ready to believe again."
Hillary Clinton Says Love Pushed Bill Clinton Over The Line. Hillary's anti-Edwards robo-calls.

Shut Up Bill.

The Perfect Storm of Media Clinton Hate. Attention clueless conservatives on reading comprehension.

Edward's unlikely "The Best Man" scenario but no reason to drop out. Edwards continues, dynamics could shift, fund raising has improved despite Clinton and Obama pursueing his lawyer donors.

Romney and McCain battling for GOP nod. Romney: McCain's a liar.

Liz Cheney, fresh from helping Fred Thompson reach early retirement, will endorse and start working for Romney.

Ron Paul alleges boondoggle in Bayou caucuses.

Romney is wearing a Bush earpiece in debates. Or is he? Unlike the Bush campaign, Romney's people seemed to admit earlier in Michigan they communicate with him and help him with answers through an earpiece. Video.

Kennedys, Kerry, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) endorsing Obama. Part of the Kennedy clan breaks for Hillary. Another says Obama would be a president like her father.

To Super Duper Tuesday, and Beyond!

Races entering complex hunt for delegates phase.

Is this a racist TIME Mag Headline--- "Obama 'Rejiggers' Race!" ?

It sure would be nice if the Clintons and Barack would start attacking the Republicans and not other Democrats.

Atrios - Brokered - Yes, all political junkies dream of the brokered convention - but think of the months of media BS.
Atrios points to waving good-bye to American Hegemony courtesy of the neocons.

Michelle Malkin - McCain secretly funded by evil, rich, Jewish financial guy Soros.


Krugman points out just who is going to get stimulated?

How Bush’s Fiscal Mismanagement Produced a Recession.
Bush's illusionary economy.

Dan Froomkin: "What did Bush give up in the course of these tough negotiations? Well, originally he wanted the super-wealthy to get some of the money. He wanted the poor to get nothing. He also wanted his tax cuts, which heavily favor the rich, to be made permanent."

Crisis grips European hedge funds. Up to ten temporarily halting redemptions.

World markets plunging again.

The Great Global Market Freak-Out of 2008

China on buying spree of US Companies. Backdrop to primary - Nearly 21 percent of South Carolina's labor force works for foreign companies.

Iraq prepares for Mosul battle.

US shifting WoT to Pakistan, Afghanistan.
Musharraf rejects CIA proposal to fight militants: report

US Military Deaths in Iraq at 3,934

Joe McCarthy still partisan, repressive and cruel as conservatives seek to redeem him and his reports of a vast evil conspiracy and his drunken personal slanderous attacks.

Man made the dinosaurs become evil and other things "science" won't tell you.

The story of stuff.

Lost Spanish Civil War photographic negatives found. Slide show.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Our Ladies of Imperial Sorrow

I find the NY Times and Washington Post much more comprehensible if I just think of them as the church newsletters for a particularly unpleasant religion. OF COURSE the church elders choose writers who believe in transubstantiation. - Jonathan Schwarz

Megan, you ignorant slut!

* This is from an old Saturday Night Live routine with Jane Curtin. I have a more explanatory comment on Megan's blog at the link if she leaves it there. This follows a long series of previous posts, starting here, where she wants to get rid of the food stamp program. Some of her arguments are reasonable but her powdered wig keeps slipping way too often.

What should you eat - the Mediterranean diet or Okinawa diet is very good and healthy. Why does the food stamp program in some states exclude fruits and all vegetables except carrots? Even without that restriction:
Current food stamp benefit amounts are inadequate to support a healthy diet for food stamp recipients. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, necessities for a healthy diet, are generally more expensive than less healthy foods like sugars and starches. Lack of purchasing power for or access to healthier foods can result in malnutrition and even hospitalization for low-income households.

Furthermore, food stamp households are finding that their benefits purchase less food each year. According to an analysis by Bread for the World, food stamp households spend 80% of their benefits by the 14th of each month. In addition, a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has found that “by 2017 a typical working parent of two will, over the course of a year, miss out on more than one and a half months-worth of food stamps, compared to the amount of benefits she or he would have received” prior to 1996. A chart in this report shows that shows a typical working family of three now gets about $35 less per month (in 2008 dollars) than in 1995....

Furthermore, as a results of the 1996 welfare reform laws, unemployed childless adults 18–50 years old were restricted to receiving food stamp benefits for only three months every three years, regardless of economic conditions or willingness to work. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated in 2000 that these changes denied benefits to 400,000 otherwise eligible people. Most of these people are very poor with little or no education, thus making it difficult to find even low-wage employment. Additionally, because they do not have children, they are ineligible for other poverty assistance programs. The Food Stamp Program is their only help, yet eligibility requirements substantially restrict their access to the program.

Forget Super-Duper Tuesday

It's all about the super-delegates, and Texas and Ohio.

It looks like nobody will have enough to win just over a week from now on Super-Duper Tuesday when most of the states select delegates for presidential candidates. Eyes are now turning to the excessively large number of super-delegates or looking later to the big states of Ohio and Texas. And if not in Texas and Ohio maybe April in Pennsylvania. And if not then maybe in May in North Carolina. Or maybe at the conventions?

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Just some freedom-fightin' computer geeks

One reason to vote early, you could be "accidently deleted" from the voter registration rolls. Safe voting gives you more time to correct that. A computer geek claims he found 1,800 people that happened to in Austin.

I like that slogan.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How Real was Bush Prosperity?

Businessweek has their chief economist saying maybe not very real:
As of the third quarter of 2007, the 10-year growth rate for consumption was 3.6%, vs. GDP growth for the same period of 2.9%. This difference represents an enormous gap. If consumer spending had tracked the overall economy over the past decade as it has in the past, Americans today would be spending about $600 billion less a year. The extra spending has amounted to a total of about $3 trillion since 2001.

Where did we spend the money? On housing and health care, of course. But outsize gains also came in clothing, furniture, recreation equipment, motor vehicles, and consumer electronics—all areas where prices have fallen and imports have surged.

The question now is how much of that extra $3 trillion we will have to give back. Will real consumer spending in the U.S. lag the broader economy for several years?
Unless you are in the top 5% income bracket vote Democratic - its good for your pocketbook. Larry M. Bartels - Princeton Economics study - pdf. The primary reason is that Democratic post WW2 fiscal policies have been aimed at reducing unemployment while Republicans are more concerned about inflation and the economic environment for investors. The partisan related income growth differences for citizens at different income levels has grown more marked in recent decades based on a large number of studies.

The Legacy of George W Bush

Quite a list of accomplishments W.

Meanwhile, Democrats are falling all over themselves to collect telecom money along with the Republicans and insure that wiretapping by the government is secret and legal no matter who they wiretap. And the phone companies don't have to worry a bit.

Texas Democratic Caucus Candidate Allocation

More than you need to know about the Democratic caucus system in Texas.

On March 4 2008 Texas Democrats will caucus at each precinct. At each precinct a minimum of 15% of the attendees must support a candidate for his/her representation to be viable. Delegates are chosen to go to the county or senate district convention.

At the county/senate district convention again 15% is required for viability. Precincts and precinct groupings select delegates to the state convention. Then "at-large" delegates are chosen by the nomination committee so that the proportion of each candidates delegates are reflected in the representation of the delegation. Even if a candidate is represented from precincts or precinct groups the candidate will not receive at-large delegates unless they are over 15% for the county/senate district convention as a whole. They will receive the precinct or precinct group delegates.

This is done again at the state convention being held in Austin June 6-7. The senate districts, again obeying the 15% viability rule, elect their delegates to the national convention. Each senate district has between 2 and 8 depending on Democratic votes in 2004 and 2006. The state convention also formalizes the "unpledged super delegates" based on political office or party committee membership. Then pledged party official and elected delegates are selected by proportion of candidates delegates attending the convention. Then "at large" delegates are chosen reflecting the proportion of the presidential candidates that signed into the party convention.

Note there are several levels where the 15% rule comes in play, at the precincts, at the precinct groups in the county/senate district conventions, at the county or senate district conventions as a whole, and at the state convention.

The Republican rules are somewhat similar but with a 20% viability rule.

Come out to caucus at 7:15 PM March 4th to really decide on the presidential candidates.

Bush seems to have made sure this is a bad stimulus package

Our feckless Democrats in Congress caved to him after only mitigating the damage. There is talk the Senate might improve the bill further, actually giving money where it is needed. Krugman has the overall picture.

The words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt come to mind: “We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.”

And the worst of it is that the Democrats, who should have been in a strong position — does this administration have any credibility left on economic policy? — appear to have caved in almost completely.

Yes, they extracted some concessions, increasing rebates for people with low income while reducing giveaways to the affluent. But basically they allowed themselves to be bullied into doing things the Bush administration’s way.

Who will do better in the general election considering the economy we will have in November? I think Edwards. There is probably a point or two bump for Edwards in the primaries with Kucinich dropping out but it would take a miracle for him to be the candidate.

Texas and Ohio may decide the nominees on March 4.

I take exception to crackpot psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer. I was ignoring his Washington Post column but the Houston Chronicle reran it and put this headline on it "John Edwards farce is an affront to authentic liberals." Clinton, Obama, and Edwards are all running against their records in the Senate. Edwards is no worse than the other two and his current positions are better then theirs. If a real liberal wants your advice, Charles, he is on the way to the looney-bin.

Added - Froomkin has links to how bad is this stimulus package compared to what was needed.
A study by [Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's,] estimates that every dollar put into the food stamp program produces a $1.73 increase in the economy as the money is spent and spent again. By contrast, every dollar put into the business tax breaks that are in the stimulus package will increase the economy by 27 cents, according to the study. The business portion of the stimulus package allows companies to write off 50 percent of the cost of equipment in the year of purchase. This will help firms that sell long-lasting equipment such as machine tools, aircraft, and agricultural and construction equipment. Technology firms could also benefit. But much of that investment would have happened anyway, according to some economists.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

'If you think the market's bad now, wait a year'

Houston is spared the worst of the bear market in housing but we have our own stories here. The above link is to ground zero for overvalued homes and and too many ARMs - California.

Cal. foreclosures up 421% from year-ago levels

"I think we're real lucky in Houston"

Update on Houston economy. Still pretty good - especially compared to elsewhere.

One recent bad note - There are rumors that ADV Films seems to have laid off all of their voice talent. ADV Films, a subsidiary of AD Vision Inc, was the largest anime company in the world outside of Japan dubbing and distributing Asian animated properties and some other science fiction series. It is unclear how serious the problems are and the future of the company in Houston. There have been a number of related announcements about various divisions of the company but no announcement about how bad the financials are. How can that be when anime is such a strong hot category? Bad business decisions at the top are suspected.

What does the international community think of the US economy? US in role of wounded giant - international experts blame Fed.

How bad is the national economy?
Starbucks testing $1 coffee.
Brother can you spare a dollar?

Local Politics

Even the local Pasadena Texas paper and Talton are poking fun at the PhotoShop candidate.

Harris County Judge using taxpayer funds to make sure you see his name. Instead of the County Logo, Judge Emmett puts his campaign literature name on backdrop to county events.

The mail-in ballots determined the new Pasadena mayor.

Republican Judge invalidates last 90 days of runaway grand jury. Was this incompetence in Rosenthal's office or more crony Republicanism? Fall gal - Prosecutor Kate Dolan was responsible for the grand jury mistake, according to authorities and herself.

Pasadena officers charged in death of inmate. This was the case of a 911 call that said the officers were beating or kicking a man offering no resistance.

Texas Air base fesses up - military planes were flying at time of UFO sighting.

The Pasadena Citizen had an opinion-editorial from the New Right's New School of Influence - Grove City College. "Look at any Right Wing Think Tank’s list of personnel – in the US or abroad – and you will likely find a Grove City connection." Question, why is a minor Christian conservative college getting it's faculty in so many places? Answer, it was organized and has received generous conservative funding.

Media forgotten nuggets

They endlessly talked about the 2000 campaign and how McCain was smeared in South Carolina in some of the dirtiest mudslinging in a presidential primary campaign. What they forgot was who was behind it - Bush's top advisor in the state, and where he works now - Romney's campaign. It looks like Romney may have had a hand in taking out Fred.

Number two - Greenwald is right, Majority Leader Reid is atrocious as Democratic leader and kow-towing to big phone companies. Have the media ever noticed this?

After the press reported on a major study of the 935 lies that lead to the Iraq War, Captain Star Trek Lite claimed it was all a rich Jewish financier's plot. Captain Ed takes direction from the Herbert Hoover Institute, Powerline, and various Scaife publications and foundations. Froomkin has a good round-up on real news, not Scaife funded craziness.

Will we get universal health care?

Probably in 2009, but will it be the universal health care the insurers want? The insurance and health care industries are lining up to line their pockets when health care reform gets passed. In many ways Matt is right, if the candidates were promising "universal car ownership" the auto makers wouldn't fight it, they would push the proposals that got them the most money. Ditto for the health care industry.

Will this be the best plan? No, but it is the most doable. If it benefits the big industries half the Republicans will support it. What may sink it is the massive hidden charges on private plans as opposed to government plans - the opposite of the Republican and Libertarian rhetoric.

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Choosing the most electable candidate

It isn't Clinton or Obama. I am surprised that Republicans have been ignoring their radio leaders and rallying to McCain who actually is the most electable candidate on their side. Meanwhile Edwards is ignored by the media, the two leading Dem candidates and most of the Democratic primary goers. This happened in 2004 with Democratic insiders proclaiming Kerry the most electable while outsiders and polls showed it was John Edwards or Wes Clark.

I am getting tired of Democrats writing off Red States and trying to fashion a narrow East Coast + West Coast + some Mid West states victory that depends a great deal on luck.

Frank Wrinn in Tennessee:
Gallup and Rasmussen now have McCain beating Clinton and Obama. In a Rasmussen poll released last week McCain beats Clinton by a startling 11 percentage points. Now, Rasmussen also shows Clinton trailing Huckabee, Obama in dead heat with Huckabee, but Edwards leading Huckabee by double digits. In Democratic stronghold Pennsylvania this month, Rasmussen has McCain beating Clinton by 6% and Obama by 8%. Hello. Where do Democrats make up for a loss in Pennsylvania. Texas?...

For Democrats to change anything, we have to win first.
Edwards on Letterman.

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The Fed can't stop the recession and may hurt

The Federal Reserve has been taking action to preserve the banks and financial institutions. They are the institutions it serves but they are the ones who created this mess. Unfortunately, the only tools it is using to fix the economy are all designed to increase liquidity in the system. This is another way of saying the Fed is throwing boatloads of free and cheap money at the problem. But the problem for the overall economy isn't the money supply, although more cheap money might save some banks. Money supply has been running at ridiculously large increases before the crisis.

The best measure is the total money supply is M3, which the Bush administration made sure it would no longer issue reports on in 2006. That rate of money supply growth is 15%. Why create more money when you are already creating 15% a year? What the Federal Reserve is going to create with the current "solution" they are using is stagflation.

Stagflation, a combination of high inflation and no employment growth occurred in the late 60's to early 80's. The Federal Reserve and the White House floundered around for years seeking a solution.

The current economic crisis is also similar to another time in our recent history. The "Savings and Loan Crisis" of the 80's. Similar to now it was created by loose lending requirements, lax regulation, and obscene profits for the few. It can be argued that the S&L Crisis was also an effect of the Fed's cure for stagflation. The high interest rates doomed Savings and Loans which were financed by low-interest-rate mortgages. The US taxpayers were left holding the bag for a $125 billion bailout of the financial institutions that time. That was a much easier and smaller problem to solve - rescue the Savings and Loans and wait until the housing market adjusted. This time tax payers could end up holding a trillion dollar bag.

Similarly, how did they finally cure stagflation? Raise interest rates to kill inflation, it took over four years, and wait till the economic system adjusted. The failures of S&L's were collateral damage. Note that this cure that worked is the opposite of what the Fed is doing now. There are reasons that this is not even being considered. One of them is that the government is hiding the real inflation numbers. Why, I'm not sure, but Social Security increases should have been about twice what they were which may have something to do with it. (The increases for seniors should have been even higher if like me you think there should be a Senior Citizen inflation index with a much higher weight given to medical price increases. ) If you go back to when they started adjusting the CPI, Walter J. "John" Williams thinks Social Security checks should be double.

What can improve the economy without stagflation? You can ease the pain of it for most Americans by readjusting taxes to benefit the 95% of Americans who have been screwed by tax cuts for the rich. From 1979 to 2005 real family income for the average family has gone up 15%, for the top 5% - 81%.

You can readjust the business taxes to promote job growth in the United States.

You can give business credits for new job creation and entirely new industries and quit rewarding the plantation industries. A digression to modern politics and plantation economics with President Bush as an example.

You can work out policies that reduce inequality because the United States has been making great gains that the great majority of people are not benefiting from as the riches are funneled to the rich.

You can promote the new jobs that will be created by the new green solutions to the environmental crisis.

You can spend money on education for the new jobs and lowering the cost of education for all. Bush has presided over the largest educational cost increases for typical families in history.

You can increase legal immigration that creates new jobs and more workers and take action to end the illegal low wage slave immigration.

We can pay for some of this by ending the war. We don't have the money for the $2 trillion Iraqi war. Bring them home now. Money being spent on an aggressive military posture wastes money that generates jobs on needed infrastructure improvements, better roads, bridges, homes, flood control and communications.

Get radical in 2008. You see what the Washington conventional wisdom brings. Also listen to what the presidential candidates propose. By the way, solving business problems by cutting jobs is probably not the experience you need for this - I'm looking at you Romney. Watch how many Republicans propose to solve the problem by cutting taxes for the rich and businesses. Like Bush, many believe whatever the problem is you cure it by cutting taxes. They rarely say one of the current problems is how much of your taxes is going to pay for the government debt and the liabilities the government has piled up under Bush and left for us and our children to pay for in the future.

Look at history, Democrats are better for the economy, better for the stock market, and better for the average American. Better in every measurement.

Update: The Panic seems to be on - "In 2008, Americans will wake up to the worst economic times that anyone alive has ever seen." (Gerald Celente, 17 December 2007.) Thanks Janette.

"Better superglue yourselves to the floorboards and pray for God's mercy."

Bob Herbert - "They should stop, take a deep breath and acknowledge the obvious: the way to put money into the hands of working people is to make sure they have access to good jobs at good wages. That has long been known, but it hasn’t been the policy in this country for many years."

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Monday, January 21, 2008

GameSpot's Sad State of Affairs

I am shocked, shocked! I say, that multimedia news companies are firing writers who say bad things about the product of their advertisers and the companies even sell the placement of their stories and coverage. ROTFL

Molly Ivins on Hillary Clinton

The late great Texas Icon Molly Ivins had this to say about Hillary in one of her columns before her death.
I will not support Hillary Clinton for president
January 20, 2006

I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.

Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges....

What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
God I miss her.

Skilled and Out of Work

Long-term joblessness is already at high levels and is affecting highly skilled workers the Washington Post finds. Those who find new jobs take a pay cut of almost 20%. It may be more, that covered the years 2001 to 2003.

Some quick links

Sekula-Gibbs being called on her abortion switch.

Greenwald: NYT reporter not liberal on the Iraq war and the only thing the surge accomplished is make sure our troops aren't coming home.

Reason: Lew Rockwell wrote Ron Paul's many objectionable newsletters. Raw prejudice brought in more money.

Billionaires for Bush Romney plans to spend $250 million.

Nation Popular Vote bills now in effect in two states. About to pass in six more. Seven more have passed in the appropriate committee. Will the electoral college be bypassed this year in favor of the popular vote winner? No, probably not until 2012 unless a candidate gets behind this now. Tip: introduce a resolution at your party convention.

Sibel UK Headline 2. THE FBI has been accused of lying and covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt U.S. government officials and their dealings with foreign spy networks stealing our nuclear secrets.

Huckabee: "I'm having to reach down deep and swallow my Arkansas pride, and it is taking everything in me to be able to say this, but, folks, Texas may just have to save this Arkansas boy and put us over the top in March of this year."

More on Huck and Chuck in Navasota.

Local Republican politician's unbelievable statements this week.

Jonathan Chait on who's more electable - Hillary or Obama? (My answer - John Edwards, here's why.)

Worldwide Stock Drop! Bulls end denial, in retreat. U.S. recession blamed.

Krugman: Use the employment to population ratio. Actually the male employment to male population 18-55 is even better. Our real unemployment rate is worse than France's. The next year or two will be unpleasant. Where to apply the stimulus - poor workers and infrastructure projects. Debunking the Reagan myth.

Josh - Why in the Hell should Edwards drop out?

Does Public Opinion Count? - video.

Maureen Dowd gets caught with a fake dateline.

Eight-year-old corrects New York Times.

Edward's Aides no longer expect to win a single state. Still in. (This was a not very transparent attempt to get Edward's to drop out.)

Some movies and TV shows about writers you could watch today.

MLK Day - ‘The time has come for America to hear the truth…’

Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty Bush leaves office in one year!

Democrats debate tonight on CNN. How bad will the moderators be?

Obama gives rousing unity speech at King's church. Video. Edward's rousing unity speech.

Juan Cole: It is time to wrap up the Iraq War and to, as carefully and deliberately as possible, end the US military presence in Iraq.

Someone I would never have expected to agree with - Michael Medved. SOUTH CAROLINA'S BIG LOSER: TALK RADIO
If you’ve tuned in at all to Rush, Sean, Savage, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, and two dozen others you’ve heard a consistent drum beat of hostility toward Mac and Huck.

Texas 2008 Round-Up #3

It's Monday and that means it's time for another weekly roundup of Texas Progressive Alliance blogs. This week's roundup is brought to you by Steve at WhosPlayin while Vince recovers from his wild weekend of covering the AFL-CIO Convention

WhosPlayin takes a look at a spoof website that has turned a Denton County Commissioner's race ugly.

John Coby cautions Houston City Council about Houstonians for Responsible Growth.

BossKitty at Bluebloggin points out how Dick Cheney show his loyalty toward the people who are suppose to take a bullet for him; Secret Service Takes The Fall - Cheney Not To Be Inconvenienced

A report of the SDEC meeting posted by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs drew a response from several quarters.

McBlogger looks at Rep Dawnna Dukes' conflict of interest in helping the film industry and wonders if she's truly non-committal in the Speaker's race.

On The Texas Blue, contributing writer David Gurney takes a look at the short-lived influence of the Baby Boomer era on politics in The Downhill Run.

Off the Kuff says it's time for C.O. Bradford to start speaking out about the various messes Chuck Rosenthal has created at the Harris County DA's office.

The Texas Cloverleaf informs everyone about the TTC Townhall 2.0 hearings have begun. If you care where TTC 69 is going, you best attend for your voice to be heard.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson points out that Democrat Diana Maldonado Out-Raises All Candidates In HD-52 and shows the problem with one-party government in ACLU Shames WCCC - Free Speech Under Attack.

Stace at Dos Centavos analyzes the Latino vote for Hillary in Nevada.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News still can't believe what has happened to what was once Houston's premiere radio news source. The new Republican Propaganda Radio Network had Rush Limbaugh calling a spade a spade with expertise with using hoes. Gary provides alternatives for your radio listening and a contact link to KTRH 740 AM.

CouldBeTrue from South Texas Chisme answers the question 'What does 'immigration' mean as an issue?'

Hal at Half Empty ventured forth to a meeting of The Dark Side. Here is his take on the 10-Candidate strong CD 22 GOP candidates' forum that took place last week.

Nat-Wu at Three Wise Men says reports of the death of the American "warrior spirit" are greatly exaggerated.

Update on Caucusing

Some reports out of Nevada illustrate that it can be ugly and confusing and the most prepared candidates win.

This updates my post on “I’m like, what the heck is caucusing?”

Turn out and vote March 4 at 7:15 PM at your precinct location.

Discussions are getting very heated about the passionate caucus goers in Nevada.

How team Clinton prepared for the caucuses.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Will Edwards still be around for Texas?

Edwards had been expected to be in for the long haul but his weak showing in Nevada is raising doubts about his continued campaigning. For a while it seemed that Edwards could take advantage of the 15% rule to stay in and see if his campaign would eventually catch fire or be the king maker at the convention. Nevada had Edwards down to less than 5% and getting no national convention delegates.
"I got my butt kicked. That is what happened in Nevada," Edwards said Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. "And the job for me now is -- I have learned this from my whole life experience -- is when you get knocked down, you have got to get up. ...

"You know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?" he added. "I hope that turns out to be true in this case."
On to South Carolina and then Super Duper Tuesday and we will see where that leaves the race. It is several days past time for a shake-up in the Edwards campaign. Even his fans say that Edwards passion for issues supporting the working class just is not connecting with most voters.

Past Mayor Isbell Wins Pasadena Texas Mayor's Race

In a very close race Johnny Isbell wins 52.8% of the vote over Ralph Riggs. Only around 6,750 citizens cast ballots for a city of 150,000.

A good clean race. Key issues that decided the race - the questionable acting mayor endorsement after he said he would not endorse, mail-in ballot applications to everyone over 65, the Pasadena North/South split, full-time mayor versus experience, and looking forward to effective honest government or looking back for effective experience.

The keys for Isbell's win were the endorsement and robo-calling by the Acting Mayor Douglass and that Isbell immediately on being in a run-off sent campaign literature with a mail-in ballot application inside to everyone over 65 or otherwise eligible. (People should remember that for future races.)

After a brief slender lead by Isbell on the early vote, throughout the night Riggs held on to the lead. Finally around ten o'clock District H and the mail-in votes results were announced and the winner declared.

Long time Pasadena observers were shocked by the closeness of the race. I wasn't, Pasadena was almost ready for a change and may have gotten it except for the Mayor Douglass endorsement, the head start Isbell got on mail-in ballots, and Isbell's son JJ's district H. (Throw out JJ's district and the race was tied or throw out the mail-in ballots and Riggs wins.)

Both candidates ran issues and endorsements campaigns. All of the earlier candidates except one who were in the race had endorsed Riggs. Isbell had the police and fire endorsements and the acting mayor's. Douglass had promised not to endorse in the race and then said that only applied to the early crowded field. He said he was persuaded by Isbell's experience.

Final preliminary results:
Johnny Isbell 3,559 52.8%
Ralph Riggs 3,182 47.2%

A few provisional ballots are still out and will not change the results.

Update - Pasadena Citizen: Isbell late comeback seals win

Saturday, January 19, 2008

“I’m like, what the heck is caucusing?”

That is the question in Nevada and will be the question in Texas March 4 at 7:15 PM. The local Democratic clubs are holding training, in Pasadena Monday night at 7:30, earlier for judges. In Clear Lake - Bay Area New Democrats is even holding a large caucus demonstration to get people clear on the concept but I don't have a date yet.

Texas Democrats will allocate 126 delegates by Senate District based on primary results. Edwards better get 15% to be included which is the number he is hovering around. Then 102 Texas delegates are allocated in other ways including some party officials and politicians automaticly. The final delegation will be around 50% female and racially proportionate to Democratic caucus goers. Go to the caucus to be part of this process.

Today South Carolina Republicans are voting in a winner take all primary by congressional district. McCain or Huckabee with around 27% could walk off with all the marbles. Hillary and Obama are fighting for the win in Nevada and Romney will run away on the Republican side.

Today Pasadena Texas voters are electing a new mayor if they hadn't already safe early voted.

Update on the state representative 144 race: Competing for the state District 144 seat currently held by Talton who is running for the 22 Congressional seat are Republicans Ken Legler, Pasadena Independent School District board member Fred Roberts and John Hughey. The sole Democrat running for the position is Joel C. Redmond, a mortgage broker with family connections to the north Pasadena First Baptist church.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Weekend Break

Fly Me to the Moon - Diane Krall

Dale Pa' Tra - Notch

You Look Mahvelous - Billy Crystal

Doctored Photos in GOP Race

Bad Photoshopping gets Houston Chronicle front page.

Confession - as a campaign advisor I have had candidates drop a few pounds by condensing the horizontal on some photographs.

Huckabee's ties to Biblical Reconstructionists Huckabee believes the Bible trumps the Constitution.

Huckabee's radical religious friends

Huckabee courts believers in Armageddon.
"South Carolina people know true conservatism when they see it. You don't like people outside the state telling you how you ought to raise your kids. You don't like people from outside the state telling you what to do with the [Confederate] flag. In fact, if somebody came down to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell 'em where to put the pole."
Huckabee said that "the genius" of the Constitution is that it was built to be changed. On the other hand, he said, the Bible "was not created to be amended and altered with each passing culture."

Where have I read this before?

Robert Anson Heinlein: 2012 Nehemiah Scudder is elected American President, and implants a religious dictatorship - To Sail Beyond the Sunset published in 1987.

The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later) - If This Goes On copyright 1953.

- Time Jesus Christ's Superstar.

Is Huckabee a religious populist?

Michael Skelly runs against Culberson

Houston Business Journal has a write-up if you subscribe.
"Business people approach issues in a very pragmatic way: How to solve the problem," he says. "Politicians come from ideological perspective. Pragmatic leaders are what we need today."
Is Skelly the advent of big green money? main story.

Skelly for Congress.

Las Vegas and the forgotten candidate

More. And more.

Jay at Time thinks Edwards will be the kingmaker and has chosen the king.

Tags: , ,

Great Minds Think Alike

I have been reflecting on the radical right nut jobs and Kohlberg's stages of moral development recently and censorship. So has natasha, smintheus and Sara. As natasha writes: "everybody's local flavor of fundamentalist sounds the same as all the rest of them. Mass arrested development."

Some recent bad examples - Mike Savage. Wow.

The other - the author of a recently banned comment here. "This blog is the biggest pile of b.s. I have ever read. I sure hope you don't reproduce!" I am reproducing the comment in full. That type of comment is not unusual. What was unusual was that my concern for what politicians were supporting the Middle Class brought on that comment.

OK, it is a given they are wacky nut jobs. But I have difficulty in determining at what point should we consider censorship for hate speech. At this blog I have made it a policy to reserve the right to ban anonymous comments I don't like. How much should the government regulate our public airwaves which have been given to private enterprise to profit from as long as they serve the public interest? Is hate speech no longer serving the public interest?

A question I don't have an easy answer to.

Tick off a conservative today. Read for pleasure.


Could be a long hard one. Demographics are starting to indicate it could be a decades long recession for the housing market.
About to wreak havoc on the housing market are the 78 million American baby boomers who will “retire, relocate, and eventually withdraw from the housing market,” according to report authors Dowell Myers, a professor of urban planning and demography in the School of Policy, Planning and Development at the University of Southern California, and SungHo Ryu, an associate planner with the Southern California Association of Governments.

Using demographic data to show that individuals in their mid-60s tend to sell more often than buy, the authors contend that when boomers — a “dominant force in the housing market” — start reaching the age of 65 in the year 2011, a market shift will occur. Some retirees will be looking to downsize, others will relocate to warmer climes, while others will move to nursing homes, says Mr. Myers. As they transition out of the housing market or look to sell their homes, in some states there will be “more homes available for sale than there are buyers for them.”

...The authors suggest that to combat the boomer generational trend, local communities need to limit overbuilding of new housing, put measures into place to retain the elderly in the community and attract young households and immigrant households to local neighborhoods.
Krugman - "I suspect that it’s already too late to prevent a recession."

Bush likely to announce $800 tax rebates.

There is a slew of huge bad news coming up soon. How about bankruptcies for the companies guaranteeing those bad bonds?

Matt Lauer's proposed fix, start lying about the economy.

UPDATE - My brother sends me what he calls a great blog which has this:
An honest politician would tell the country the truth. The era of cheap oil, easy credit and spending more than you earn is over. America cannot exist with 70% of its economy based on consumers spending at the mall. We will actually have to rebuild our manufacturing base and that means we will have to rebuild our infrastructure. We can no longer be 16th in the world in Broadband Diffusion, 26th in the world in 12th grade science scores and pay our teachers like they were flipping hamburgers.
More on the middle-class being hurt worst last year.

Biggest drop in home-building in 27 years. When can we get our checks?

Another shoe teetering on the verge of dropping - AMBAC.

'We are always at war with Eastasia'

Someone "off the record" briefed the media that Iran almost started a war with their aggressive actions in the Gulf of Hormuz. Front page news and all over the usual suspects pages and airwaves while Bush was visiting the Middle East.

Those damn Iranian rubber boats were threatening our battleships!

How does it look now?

Turns out it was greatly exaggerated to hype the Iran threat connected with Bush's foreign policy mission to a credulous media.

I just love those "off the record" Republican guys at the Department of Defense.

'Sputtering and fuming' in Fort Bend

Must be the ten little dwarfs debating in Richmond-Rosenberg over who is tall enough to replace Representative Nick Lampson. Hal was at the debate to which Shelley-Shelley-My Belly Sekula Gibbs arrived late, as usual.

I found out she was named after Shell Oil. Grand Oil Party is in her blood apparently. Can we blame them for her money to run those crazy radio ads and all those large billboards?

Last Final Corrupt Act Before Rosenthal Leaves?

Republican Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina and his wife are in financial trouble. Their house was in foreclosure and had tax liens. Solution? His wife set fire to the house and waited outside with her son for the fire department. She got a little carried away with the accelerant and it spread to three alarms and also damaged a neighbor's place. As suspicion fell on her the judge started hiding and tampering with the evidence. He got caught and he and his wife were indicted.

How does disgraced Harris County Attorney Chuck Rosenthal get involved in this? He has refused to prosecute and will move to dismiss the indictments.

Is this one last favor for the Republican Party of Texas?

Grand jury members are pretty steamed about this.
A grand jury handed up the indictments despite objections from Rosenthal's office. In a rare move for a body that typically operates in secrecy, two grand jury members Thursday night publicly denounced Rosenthal's unwillingness to prosecute as politically motivated....

"I've just never seen anything like the vigor with which these two defendants were defended by the Harris County District Attorney's Office," Dorrell said. "It was theater of the absurd. We knew before we handed the indictment down that the district attorney was going to refuse to prosecute, but we did it anyway."

....Medina, a former state district judge in Houston, was Gov. Rick Perry's general counsel from January to November 2004, when Perry appointed him to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, which hears only civil cases. He was elected in 2006 and is not up for re-election until 2012.
Chuck Rosenthal has had his ethics and judgement repeatedly questioned. Presently he is not running for reelection and is under investigation because of his emails containing love notes to his secretary, porn and racist material, and illegal campaign activities. When he was prosecuting cases it came out that he made up evidence and refused to give evidence to the defense. Many attorneys for years have questioned his judgement.

The GOP replacement candidates promise to do better than Chuck. What the Hell else can they say?

Kuffman has more.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vote in Pasadena Saturday

If you haven't safe voted early, Saturday is the day to choose your mayor. Riggs has enthusiastic supporters, can they overcome the experienced Isbell machine and the history of Pasadena returning the same families to office? Riggs held a meet and greet.
"We had people come in that I've never met and I got to visit with them. We probably had between 200 and 300 people show up with very minimal advertising, and I was able to talk to people about some of my plans for the city, which include fixing the things that are falling down around us and continuing on with the capital improvement program that John Manlove started. Overall, it went very well. We were very happy with the turnout, and we think it's a good indicator" he said.
Pat has been working for the Red Cross on local fires and I am about to head down to Clear Lake to meet some people who want to be delegates to the Democratic Party Convention. At work I kept managing to lose stuff that wasn't mine (actually the Honors students probably stole them.)

Huckabee goes after the squirrel eating vote

Huckabee confesses while in college he regularly fried squirrel in his popcorn popper.


John Edwards is the Most Electable

The proof is in polls from Oklahoma and Ohio. OK, this is going to be a rant.

In Oklahoma John Edwards performs 18 to 26% better than Hillary Clinton depending on who the GOP candidate is. Obama gets even more blown out of the water. Bush won Oklahoma in 2004 by 31% and by 22% in 2000.
If the two winners of the 2008 New Hampshire primary are paired up together, Clinton would lose by roughly the same margin as Kerry did in 2004. The Democrats would not be making any sort of electoral progress.

Democrats tend to get swept in Southern states but a John Edwards candidacy puts these states in play. John Edwards was chosen as the VP in 2004 partly because of his strength in the south but obviously that did not help. The Democrats are just going to have to elect him as the nominee if they want to compete in the South.
In Ohio pretty much the same results, only Edwards wins Ohio against McCain and Huckabee. Obama or Clinton go down to defeat. Some of the Democrats versus the Republicans results from the Ohio poll:
Edwards: 47 percent
McCain: 40 percent
Undecided: 13 percent

Huckabee: 45 percent
Clinton: 43 percent
Undecided: 11 percent

McCain: 46 percent
Clinton: 42 percent
Undecided: 12 percent

McCain: 45 percent
Obama: 42 percent
Undecided: 14 percent

Obama: 44 percent
Romney: 38 percent
Undecided: 18 percent
Obama or Clinton would be the John Kerry of 2008 in the South and in the battleground toss-up states.

Democrats in Texas do not realize this as Edwards remains in third in the latest Texas Democratic primary poll. Current and last month results.
Clinton 46% (51%)
Obama 28% (17%)
Edwards 14% (15%)
I can see the Democratic establishment has gotten in the habit and seems to like to lose but can someone explain to me what the average Democrat in Texas sees in repeating the same John Kerry mistake in 2008?

So far all I've heard is it's historical or that Obama and Hillary will grow on people. It was historical when the Democrats had a losing female vice-president. Being historical doesn't get the job done. By this time Hillary has done all the growing on people she is likely to do.

I am sure Obama is going to be torn up in the Republican lying buzz-saw. I have already seen CNN and Fox News running a few spots with the wrong color filter on clips about Obama where he looks like he has jaundice and needs a shave and looks the closest thing to a terrorist.

If you want to have a much easier time to take the presidency and elect more Democrats vote for Edwards. If you want to make an historical statement but that could lose vote for Hillary or Obama.