Monday, April 28, 2008

Cons and geeky stuff

Have a post in my other blog now.

Conservatives caught in repeated patterns

It is amazing how conservatives get away with making up their own "facts" in debates, the "truthiness" style as Stephen Colbert puts it. Rick Perlstein doesn't let David Frum get away with it and at one point brings him to a stammering halt. More liberals should be ready to pounce on these not-so fast evasions.

Digby also predicted the media and GOP campaign against the "elitist" Obama, they have been using that Village meme for decades.
I'm seeing the narrative playing out exactly as I thought it would and it leads me right back to where I started. I believe that Democrats are nearly guaranteed to win due to the fundamental forces driving this election. But I'm not so sure the Democrats will win with any kind of progressive mandate if they let the media frame the election in these terms and I'm definitely not so sure that our new president will be able to enact a progressive agenda if he (or she) moves right thinking to disable this narrative. (That's the whole point.)

Jim's Linkfest

Brother Jim's other zombie short film, the one that is not opening San Marco's Indie film festival, is posted on Short Film Texas along with Wayne's preparations and a shoot diary.

Evolution in action or don't try this in Afghanistan?

Financial Ruins in the Sinai Desert.

Cops gone bad and using 9/11 as an excuse.

The real Acme turbo-rocket insanity of the 60's.

J. Edgar Hoover's reward for WW2 defectors - trial and false promises.

When bananas ruled the world - Intrigue. Power. Corruption. Death. Sex.

A different approach to city growth - shrinkage.

USA Safe Food? This is similar to the unsafe flights?

Sub-Prime Fun - Blame The Subprime Meltdown On The Repeal Of Glass-Steagall.

Sci-Fi Models! Modern Fred has a lot of interesting photo albums.

Those bankers must be some of those radical liberals. WAMU head claims mortgage industry is in Great Depression.

Time to eat the rich? Clinton was good for the Midwest middle-class. As the number of billion-dollar-a-year-income speculators rise a reminder it doesn’t take brains to make money in a world of unregulated capital – it just takes money.

2063 Space Predictions, from 1963.

Iraqi general spoke, media didn't listen. "Our forces in Iraq and our threat to change Iran’s regime are making the region unstable. Those who link instability with a US withdrawal have it exactly backwards. Our ostrich strategy of keeping our heads buried in the sands of Iraq has done nothing but advance our enemies’ interest."

Food price spike - back to the 70's. Will Nixon-like wage-price controls be next?

GOP Presidents have a magic inequality spell. I have mentioned before that Krugman struggles with some Republican learning from his ivy-league economics classes where he finds it hard to blame or pinpoint systemic GOP policies that raise wealthy incomes and depress the poor.

More ass hattery abos* - crazy people in positions of authority with their heads stuck up their asses.

More big storms a brewing.

Guilty Before Proven Innocent - asshatted prosecutors and an out of control war on drugs run by crazies. “This case scared the hell out of me. These were clearly innocent people. And they nearly went to prison for a long time.” See Grisham's The Innocent Man for more on asshatted police, prosecutors and the reliance on jail house snitches putting innocent people on death-row.

Love the Germans - funny training as a fork lift driver video.

I.R.S. Scrutiny of Big Firms Plummets

When you can’t raise taxes but still need revenue what do you do??? At least six cities tampered with their traffic light times to issue more tickets.

Yoo is a damn piss-poor lawyer and would be flunked out of any constitutional law class, including his own. He wrote an almost hundred-page memo on presidential authority in time of war and didn't mention once Youngstown Steel - the defining court case. The reason for that is because it expressly condemns the neo-con authoritarian reasoning Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Yoo used.

I always compare the Iraq occupation to the Philippines - Jim sends a link to a comparison with our occupation of Nicaragua which gave rise to the brutal dictatorship of Somoza. Who will be the next Iraqi dictator?

More on our drug war stupidity, a personal dairy. Oh well, our grand and mighty Supreme Court just ruled that the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply if you are arrested, even falsely.

It looks like Disney has claimed copyright on a family's home recordings of winning a trip to Disneyland in the 50's following a posting on Boing Boing.

Yoo is a criminal - renditions.

Yoo is a criminal - drugging prisoners. "some of the memos written by Yoo and his colleagues from 2001 to 2003 were "deeply flawed: sloppily reasoned, overbroad, and incautious in asserting extraordinary constitutional authorities on behalf of the President.""

How to do business like the Mafia

The Jefferson Muzzle Awards for 1st Amendment jackassery.

Idiotic corporate-government relationships - Florida water edition.

Cool idea - Plantable greeting-cards embedded with seeds.

Video - Russian bomber.

The new financial plot against Iceland. Jonas Jonsson, director-general of Iceland’s FSA, says the authorities are “searching whether some parties have systematically been distributing negative and false rumours about the Icelandic banks and financial system in order to profit from it”.

"Productivity" - so replacing senior management is an intellectual improvement.

Ill. Rep. Monique Davis: it's dangerous for children to know atheists exist, orders atheist to stop testifying - audio available. Just because we can cause ignorance doesn't mean that helps democracy.

110 best books: The perfect library. Ha!

Egad Watson, April 8 2008 - Gas prices could hit $4 this summer predicts government Energy Department.

Coral reefs coming back from the dead with reseeding - save the environment-it is possible to make changes.

A bonus from me - A Cory Doctorow story After the Siege. In podcast form.

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Texas 2008 Round-Up for April 28

It's Monday which means it is time for another round-up of news from Texas progressive blogs.

North Texas Liberal analyzed the arguments from Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Flower Mound, and Newt Gingrich in favor of the flat tax. See our conclusions here.

The Commissioner of the General Land Office of Texas is a monumental ass. PDiddie of Brains and Eggs has the dirty details in "Discussted".

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News informed his readers about the local elections and other events taking place in a Local Early Voting Edition.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson has This Week's Transportation Wrap-Up.

WhosPlayin resumes his watch on GOP Congressman Michael Burgess, and joins North Texas Liberal in rejecting his "flat tax" proposal as a tax increase on the middle class.

Hal at Half Empty wonders why Texas' junior senator, John Cornyn, doesn't support our troops.

Over at McBlogger, Captain Kroc has a real problem with some of the concessions the City made to a certain developer looking to build condos on Lake Lady Bird.

The Texas Cloverleaf promotes a story about more shenanigans in the Texas Youth Commission, this time forcing a Denton County superintendent to quit before she is fired.

Last week, KUHT (PBS Channel 8) in Houston ran a special on immigration and public attitudes towards it called Houston Have Your Say, which included public officials, activists, ordinary citizens, and a couple of bloggers. Off the Kuff was one of those bloggers, and he wrote about his impressions here.

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that the Texas Association of Business is calling for education reform and wonders if anyone else sees the hypocrisy in that situation.

BossKitty at BlueBloggin looks at yet another VA screw up and continues to ignore the welfare of our troops in the VA Caught In Suicide Coverup.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Local Political News - Early Voting Edition

1. Democratic Youth Outreach
2. San Jac Bond Election
3. Deer Park Election
4. La Porte General Election.
5. State Democratic Convention
6. SD-11 Picnic
7. P.I.S.D. Trustee election
8. Pasadena city info.

1. The Democratic YOUTH OUTREACH and voter registration project -
Democratic Youth for Action - led by Caleb Estes is underway.
has arranged a "Meet and Greet" table at the University of Houston -
Clear Lake on Thursday, May 1 approximately 10:30 am to 2:00 pm to
begin organizing students at UHCL and other local campuses.

Caleb has made all the arrangements with the UHCL administrators and
is in contact with a number of candidates to attend Thursday.

NOW, he needs help from local Democrats and activists like YOU to
staff the table and talk to students. Please give him a call to
arrange for an hour or more Thursday.

Caleb Estes

Caleb is also planning events for San Jacinto College campuses.

2. San Jacinto College has a $295 million dollar bond election. New construction of science, health and physical education facilities as well as the renovation of auto and welding technology and the updating of the libraries throughout the central, south and north campuses are all key components of the bond proposal.

I would be in favor of this.

Early Voting: April 28-May 6
Election Day: May 10, 2008

San Jacinto College is also raising the senior and disabled homestead exemption so those owners of average valued homes pay no college district taxes. For others and for homes valued over $105,000 the bond issue would raise taxes by 4 cents per thousand of valuation. All local elections and the College Bond election are at separate locations.

More information and voting locations is available here:

3. Deer Park has an election with Early Voting starting Monday.

The City will conduct a General Election for Council Positions 4, 5 and 6 and Special Elections for Proposition 1 (proposed 4B Sales Tax) and Propositions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (proposed Charter Amendments) on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at the Deer Park Community Center located at 610 East San Augustine Street from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Early voting will be held at the City Secretary’s office at City Hall, located at 710 East San Augustine from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. April 28 – May 2, and from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. May 5-6.

There are three contested races and a controversial 0.5% sales tax increase on the ballot. Deer Park will, like Pasadena, appoint a development board to oversee how the sales tax money is spent if the proposal passes. Supporters of the sales tax increase point to surrounding communities with higher sales taxes and the possibility of property tax increases if the measure is not approved. Opponents oppose tax increases, oppose there being no plan for how the money will be spent, and oppose the candidates who support the sales tax increase.

4. La Porte general election.

There is a contested election for council member for at-large B. The candidates vying to replace Barry Beasley, who opted not to seek re-election, are Phillip Hoot, Trent Wise and John Black.

Early voting is at city hall. Election day is May 10.

5. Texas Democratic Party State Convention will be June 5-7, in Austin. Delegates and alternates will pick delegates to the national convention and state party officials. Many local delegates will be staying at the La Quinta by the airport. I am recommending trying for discounted hotel rooms or air travel.

6. SD-11 Democrats are having a pre-convention picnic May 25 at Clear Lake Park. Sign up for Yahoo groups SD-11 Democrats for more information.

7. As usual, there is almost no online info on the Pasadena Independent School District Trustee election. Early voting starts Monday at all PISD high schools and goes to May 6. Election day is May 10.

Call 713-740-0243 for info.

8. Pasadena is not having an election, except for the San Jacinto college district bonds. (They do not appear to know about the PISD trustee election.) More info on what is happening in connection with city government can be found here at the website below. The La Porte and Deer Park city sites are also listed.

Gary Denton
Precinct Chair 352

Friday, April 25, 2008

How Hillary Can Still Win

I keep finding quick stuff to post instead of starting the "hmm, ketchup" post.

The above video is based on this: The pledged delegate race is over.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jack re-endorses Obama

I strongly believe now, as I did in August, that Obama represents by far the best option and the most likely of the three semi-finalists to actually endeavor to move this country in a new direction. It's been gratifying to see my choice validated time and time again over the past few months, and while I can't predict the future, I find it difficult not to experience something close to optimism when I hear him speak.
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TPM Video - 'Stupidest Guy on Earth' Speaks Out

Lies and justifications by the man Gen. Tommy Franks, in Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack, calls "the f$@king stupidest guy on the face of the earth."

New DNC Anti-McCain Ad

Help Fund the Ad

Nearly 50 Edwards Backers Team Up With Obama

No, John Edwards has not yet endorsed a candidate.

But nearly 50 of his most prominent backers lined up behind Senator Barack Obama today, in a gesture designed to give Mr. Obama a heavy boost of support less than two weeks before the North Carolina primary on May 6.

The group includes Ed Turlington, Mr. Edwards’s former national general campaign chairman; three North Carolina members of Congress; and 46 local activists, philanthropists and business leaders, among others. - Julie Bosman, NYT Political Blog

Very Rapid Evolution Found in Isolated Lizard Population

National Geographic:
Italian wall lizards introduced to a tiny island off the coast of Croatia are evolving in ways that would normally take millions of years to play out, new research shows.

In just a few decades the 5-inch-long (13-centimeter-long) lizards have developed a completely new gut structure, larger heads, and a harder bite, researchers say.

....The rapid physical evolution also sparked changes in the lizard's social and behavioral structure, he said. For one, the plentiful food sources allowed for easier reproduction and a denser population.

The lizard also dropped some of its territorial defenses, the authors concluded.
More from PZ Myers.

This does confirm beliefs that most evolution occurs in isolated areas with small populations. The new animals with successful traits then radiate out from there.

Health Care That Can Never Be Taken Away

It's time for universal health care.

Whether you love your job or hate your job, you deserve to keep your health care when you quit or lose your job.

Whether you want to go back to school, start a business, find a new job, or just tell your boss to shove it your health care coverage should stay with you. No matter what you choose.

No one should be forced to stay in a job just to protect their health coverage.

Every American should be guaranteed health care that can never be taken away. Not by your boss, not by the government, not by an insurance company.

And Senator Ron Wyden's Healthy Americans Act will do just that.

Join the grassroots movement for universal health care.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The World's Economic Paper Endorses Obama

The Financial Times has a strong endorsement for Obama.
After Tuesday’s vote, the Democrats should move quickly to affirm Mr Obama’s nomination. That is not just because his lead in elected delegates is already unassailable and the contest should be brought to a swift conclusion. It is also because he is, in fact, the better candidate.

The contenders’ differences on policy look small and in reality are even smaller....

Mr Obama has fought a brilliant campaign, out-organising his opponent, raising more money, and convincing undecided Democrats as well as the country at large that he was more likeable, more straightforward and more worthy of trust.

On form, he is a spell-binding orator and holds arena-sized audiences in thrall. He is given to airy exhortations, it is true, but genuinely seeks consensus and has cross-party appeal.

Mrs Clinton’s campaign, in contrast, has been a shambles. She and her team expected to have it all sewn up long ago; they made no plans for a long struggle, ran short of money and had to reorganise on the run.

Her speaking style is pedestrian, when it is not actually grating. Those who dislike her tend to do so with a passion: her disapproval ratings started high and after months of campaigning are climbing still. It is a tribute to her tenacity and to the loyalty she commands in the party that her fate was not sealed weeks ago....

The US has the urge to be inspired a little. Electing the country’s first woman president ought to be very inspiring. But not this woman – with her dynastic baggage and knack for antagonising the undecided – running against this man.

The Democratic party has waited an awfully long time for a politician like Barack Obama. Enough already.

Giblets and the TPA April 2, 2008 Round-Up

Now here exclusively the Easter Lemming's digest of Giblets commentary.
It's time for another edition of BARACK OBAMA: THE FINAL THROES! By implying that the economic immiseration of America's rural underclass has made them somehow unhappy, Obama has alienated America's heartland! Giblets doesn't need to wait for "polls" or "data" or "actual facts" when he has the sound judgment of real authentic heartland folk like Chris Matthews and George Will and Hillary Clinton! When you've lost Hillary Clinton you've lost America! Specifically, America's earthy population of multimillionaire former Wal-Mart executives turned nepotistic senators-for-life. In fact, Giblets will go so far as to predict right now that if Obama doesn't win Pennsylvania by fifty points next week it will be entirely because of this. Or the bowling thing, or the scary black pastor. Or Giblets's constant feverish attempts to make this stuff matter more to voters than the fact that they're stupidly poor. It shouldn't be that hard to do, Giblets hears these people are pretty bitter. - Giblets at Fafblog, read the entire post.
It's Monday, and once again time for another Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up. This week's TPA round-up is compiled by The Texas Cloverleaf.

In honor of Income Tax day, Lightseeker at TexasKaos examines the Republican's tax cut claim here in Texas and discover that what it really amounts to is "tax shifting" and we are the ones getting shafted. Tax Shifting With Bohac's Assessment Cap as Our Example.

WhosPlayin notes that John McCain has proposed suspending the federal gasoline tax, and points out that McCain would do just as well to try to suspend the law of gravity.

The Texas Cloverleaf is helping to save the earth on Earth Day weekend with helpful tips for saving energy and your wallet, as well as picking up trash with Stonewall Democrats. Don't mess with Texas!

CouldBeTrue from South Texas Chisme wonders if all Republicans are Tom Craddicks in training. Listen to Nueces County Republican chair Mike Bertuzzi ignore all the 'Point of Order' calls at the county convention. Sound familiar?

John Coby of Bay Area Houston has the real press release from Rick Perry about his run for Governor in 2010.

Here are local activist Jose Orta's
Impressions Of T. Don Hutto, Williamson County's immigrant detention facility, that were posted at Eye On Williamson after his recent visit.

At McBlogger, barfly analyses what's really important to the American voter in this hour of cultural brouhaha.

Off the Kuff takes an early look at the race for District Attorney in Harris County, which is sure to be one of the hottest local races this year.

Today is San Jacinto Day and PDiddie of Brains and Eggs will be at the commemorative ceremonies taking place at the battlefield near Houston.

BossKitty at BlueBloggin points out that Your $300 - $1,200 Economic Stimulus Payment Cost $767 Million

Hal at Half Empty questions whether one person running for President is actually temperamentally fit to be in that office.

Vince at Capitol Annex thinks it is terrible that Texas teacher salaries are so low that that more than a quarter of all teachers must work a second job to make ends meet.

North Texas Liberal reports on a homophobic journalist's question to White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, and the smackdown she gave in response.

George Nassar at The Texas Blue takes some time out of Friday's morning news roundup to point out that were the Bush administration to use a logical metric, it would be clear to them that the surge has failed.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lying for Jesus - the truth about Expelled

The documentary Expelled makes some shocking claims as it preaches to the faithful that there is a vast scientific conspiracy promoting evolution and that evolution leads to atheism, abortions, eugenics, Nazism, Stalinism and the Holocaust. The film also points to seven people it claims lost their jobs and whose careers were damaged by promoting creationism contrary to our notions of free speech and fairness. The claims appear to be propaganda in an ethically and morally challenged film.

Expelled exposed is quite good.

Friday, April 18, 2008


American Heritage® Dictionary: ADJECTIVE: 1a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded. c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism. d. Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.

A speech on the meaning of liberal:
What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."

I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, the faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith. For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man's ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves.

....This is an important election -- in many ways as important as any this century -- and I think that the Democratic Party and the Liberal Party here in New York, and those who believe in progress all over the United States, should be associated with us in this great effort. The reason that Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and Adlai Stevenson had influence abroad, and the United States in their time had it, was because they moved this country here at home, because they stood for something here in the United States, for expanding the benefits of our society to our own people, and the people around the world looked to us as a symbol of hope.

....I think it is our task to re-create the same atmosphere in our own time. Our national elections have often proved to be the turning point in the course of our country. I am proposing that 1960 be another turning point in the history of the great Republic.
- John F. Kennedy
Acceptance Speech of the New York
Liberal Party Nomination

September 14, 1960

Molly Ivins and John Henry Faulk were great Texas liberals.

Who is not a liberal on the Democratic side? "Hillary Clinton blames liberal Democratic activists for her defeats."

For Rendell, who asked.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Worst Dabate Ever

The crowd ends up booing the inane stupid questions ABC kept asking.

I am going to link to a DIGG for the comments and video link.

Daily Kos with numerous diaries and all the liberal blogs have more and even the Washington Post joined in the pile-on on ABC. Both Gibson and former Clinton aide Stephanopolous repeatedly assaulted Obama with stupid questions and also played gotcha a bit with Clinton.

Tom Shales with the WP:
When Barack Obama met Hillary Clinton for another televised Democratic candidates' debate last night, it was more than a step forward in the 2008 presidential election. It was another step downward for network news -- in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.

For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.
Don't see that in a newpaper very often. E&P agrees - ABC Decides Top Issues Facing Americans Are Gaffes, Flag Pins and '60s Radicals.
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the health care and mortgage crises, the overall state of the economy and dozens of other pressing issues had to wait for their few moments in the sun as Obama was pressed to explain his recent "bitter" gaffe and relationship with Rev. Wright (seemingly a dead issue) and not wearing a flag pin while Clinton had to answer again for her Bosnia trip exaggerations.

Then it was back to Obama to defend his slim association with a former '60s radical -- a question that came out of rightwing talk radio and Sean Hannity on TV, but delivered by former Bill Clinton aide Stephanopolous. This approach led to a claim that Clinton's husband pardoned two other '60s radicals. And so on.

More time was spent on all of this than segments on getting out of Iraq and keeping people from losing their homes and other key issues. Gibson only got excited when he complained about anyone daring to raise taxes on his capital gains.
Gibson got it wrong again when saying that those making $200,000 and very concerned about capital gains taxes were the middle-class. Income of $200,000 would be in the top 4%. Gibson who is so concerned makes millions and isn't paying his fair share of taxes, paying lower rates than you or I, due to those new capital gains rates.

How is all this supposedly bad news and gaffes affecting the Obama campaign? Hillary is going down in the polls, Obama is going up and Obama picked up four more super-delegates Wednesday.

I've been busy and am way behind on postings. I have a big catch-up post due.

With ABC News terrible in Philadelphia, who has been terrific on location there? Not MSNBC, but Stephen Colbert. Fantastic, and funny, and you learn more from his show than from our so-called-liberal mass media news there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Are you totally revolted by our President?

Why not?

In a stunning admission to ABC news, President Bush declared that he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details of the CIA's use of torture. Bush reportedly told ABC, "I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved." Bush also defended the use of waterboarding.

This is actually minimizing what went on. Several participants at high level meetings say the president and Rumsfeld and Cheney carried on like frat brothers at all the things they wanted done.

Nearly all the media have ignored these admissions that Bush and Cheney and the top Bush officials have admitted approving in detail the torture to be carried out.

If you are a conservative why isn't this many times worse than blow jobs from a willing intern?

Do you feel that torture is OK if we do it to them?

The GOP candidate for president, himself a victim of torture, refuses to comment on the involvement of Bush and other leaders in selecting torture techniques.

Email your representatives.

Do we have no sense of outrage and morality left?

Wachovia latest wounded by credit woes

Wachovia Corp. said it will raise $7 billion in capital through stock sales and cut its dividend by 41%, a consequence of its ill-timed move into the mortgage industry, as it swung to a first-quarter net loss caused by $2 billion in "market-disruption" losses and sinking credit quality.

The common- and preferred-stock sales are "in response to unprecedented economic conditions," said Chairman and Chief Executive Ken Thompson. He added the company is "extremely pleased with the strong expressions of interest we've already received regarding these issuances, which demonstrate the confidence of investors in our fundamental strengths and long-term outlook."

....The infusion represents Wachovia's second dip into the capital trough this year. In January and early February, Wachovia pocketed a total of $8.3 billion in capital by issuing preferred stock and other securities to investors

The second round is a sign that banks' fortunes have continued to deteriorate over the past month. While some investors feel confident that the worst of the market crisis is in the rearview mirror, many observers believe that this is the beginning of the troubles for regional banks, which are likely to suffer from rising loan defaults, especially if the economy sinks into a deep recession.
WAMU continues with problems, Wachovia is new this time.

Where did these institutions go wrong? Bad decisions. From Wachovia overspending to acquire a large California mortgage institution two years ago to a series of horrendous decisions by Washington Mutual.
• WaMu aggressively stepped up its lending in some of the riskiest loan types: short-term adjustable-rate mortgages, especially so-called "option ARMs"; home-equity loans and lines of credit; and subprime loans. Over the past four years, more than half of all real-estate loans WaMu made were in one of those higher-risk categories.

• WaMu made billions of dollars' worth of loans with only "limited documentation" of the borrowers' income, net worth or credit history. Such loans — often called "liar loans" or "NINJA loans," for "no income, no job or assets" — make up three-quarters of its $58.9 billion option-ARM portfolio.

• Complaints from appraisers and an investigation by New York's attorney general say WaMu leaned on appraisers to inflate property values to support bigger mortgages.

• In August 2004, WaMu loosened its standards for fronting money to third-party mortgage brokers, allowing brokers with heavier debt loads to make more loans.
Citigroup and Merrill Lynch reveal fresh $15bn loss

Texas 2008 Round-Up #15

It's Monday, and that means it is time once again for the Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up.

It would seem that the Republican Party of Texas (Republicans first, Texans last!) is looking for a few sweet young thangs! McBlogger at McBlogger has the story on the RPT's efforts to secure a few good young people.

Bradley at North Texas Liberal takes a look into the possible political aspirations of Condoleezza Rice... and tells us why she may be the Democrats' worst nightmare.

The Texas Cloverleaf asks if you're ready to strike over gas prices? Some truck drivers are. They aren't defenders of the Alamo, and are few and far between, but will their message resonate with the rest of America? Some of them say no.

With the resounding defeat of Shelley Sekula Gibbs last Tuesday in the GOP CD 22 runoff, this spells the end of her short-lived political career. Hal at Half Empty has created a video to commemorate the Shelster's last hurrah.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme suspects U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez will be looking for a new job. Soon. Seems that Carlos spoke the truth about that d*mn fence!

Lightseeker over at Texas Kaos marks the upcoming annual income tax deadline by bringing up a sadly evergreen topic Tax Lies That Republicans Tell. After all, if the didn't find someone to put money in to the treasury, where would the money to pay for their crony politics come from?

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal Newsis not catching up on sleep this time but reveals the predictions for four years his brother made the day after Bush was reelected. His brother gets the Cassandra Award and the media pundits don't have to worry about their jobs.

Doing My Part For The Left warns that voter suppression is not just a Texas problem.

Off the Kuff makes the case for investing in transit in Houston.

IVR polled the Skelly-Culberson CD-07 race, as well as Noriega-Cornyn, and came up with some interesting results. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs blogged it.

nytexan at BlueBloggin points out that most Americans are scrapping to get by, however, some federal employees are having tons of fun with government credit cards. Your Tax Dollars Purchased iPods, Internet Dating, Women’s Lingerie…

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cassandra Award Winning Brother Jim

On November 5, 2004 my brother Jim sent me a list of predictions for the second Bush administration.

Let's see how he did. (I have not corrected any spelling errors.)
A few predictions for the next four years, for those that are more hopeful send me your predictions, for those that are more pessimistic god help us but send them along:

In 2008 we will still have troops in Iraq, will have spent in excess of 1/2 a trillion dollars, will have killed at least 150,000 Iraqis and most tragicly lost over 4000 american lives.
I will give that an A+
In 2008 we will have even a greater number of Americans living in poverty however the wealthiest 10% of the population will be richer than ever.
In 2008 we will have 2 possible 3 new supreme court justices. There will probable be our countries first hispanic justice but all of them will make William Renquest Nixon's "radical right" appointee look moderate. This type of appointment is already the case in the the appellate courts and will continue.
B We did not get an Hispanic judge. Both new judges continue the Rehnquist tradition - result-oriented, activist, and authoritarian, votes that could almost always be predicted based on who the parties were, not what the legal issues happen to be.
In 2008 the economy will be have shed as many high paying technology and manufacturing jobs as it has in the last four years. The median income adjusted for inflation will have fallen 3-5% if not more.
B I don't have a source right now for high-tech manufacturing job losses but we have not gained manufacturing jobs over four years and the median income has gone down.
In 2008 the housing market will not have recovered from the "real estate adjustment" and home values will be 15-25% below their 2004 level.
B Only in some areas have home values fallen that much.
In 2008 a barrel of oil will be $60-65 a barrel if not more.
This may not occur as a crumbling world economy may lead middle eastern countries to gear up production and oil may fall to $30 a barrel.
C- His first inclination was right.
In 2008 a case or perhaps several will be working through the court system to place stricter limits on a womans right to choose.
In 2008 a majority of states will have passed gay marriage bans.

In 2008 North Korea will have more nuclear weapons.

In 2008 Iran will be closer than ever to completing their first nuclear weapon.
In 2008 we will have witnessed at least one if not several successful terrorist attacks on american soil.
F He misses one.
In 2008 Isreal will have had four years of continued violence and terror in Palestine. Having assinated most of the PLO leadership a more radical leadership will be calling for ever increasing violence.

In 2008 Afghanistan will ship more heroin than it has in 20 years.
In 2008 it will take $2.10 to equal 1 euro. We won't see as many european tourist as you would expect.
B At that time it took $1.25 to equal 1 euro - it now takes $1.58. I am giving that a B only because I think we should wait until November.
In 2008 Texas will lead the world in executions.
D He missed the US temporary moratorium because courts are having doubts about using drugs banned from killing animals on people. Some parts of the world are moving up. In 2007 Texas leading the world may have been true.
In 2008 "no child left behind" will still be an un/underfunded mandate and many children will be going to poorly funded, overcrowded, poorly staffed schools. These same children will be tested and found to rank below the top ten countries in math and science.

In 2008 more american will be without healthcare. For those that have healthcare their copay will be at an alltime high and their will be an even larger list of noncovered drugs and proceedures.
A+ A+
In 2008 we will start phasing in a privitized social security plan. If you make less than $60,000 a year when you retire your benefits will be less than if we had stayed with the current system.
F He missed the first successful progressive blocking of the Bush/Cheney/GOP agenda.
In 2008 the deficit will hit a new record high and the idea of a surplus will be but a dream we tell our children about.
B The record high was earlier in the Bush administration.
In 2008 the minimun wage will be the same as it was in 2004 as it was 2000 as it was in 1996. There will be a call for the elimination of the minimun wage in congress. It will be narrowly defeated.
D The second progressive victory following the congressional takeover in 2006. I am tempted to give it a C because of the narrow margin between those wanting to increase the minimum wage and those who would vote to eliminate it.
In 2008 official unemployment will be 6.8% there will be a record number of people underemployed working parttime jobs.
B- But I should wait until November. The official unemployment rate is 5.1% and rising. The U-6 rate of all those who want full-time work is 9.1% and rising. The shadowstats real unemployment plus discouraged using former measures is now tapping at 13%.
In 2008 There will be no estate tax and if there is a capital gains tax it will be at a historic low.
B We still have an estate tax but the estate tax exemption is set at $2 million for an individual ($4 million for a couple); in 2009, the exemption rises to $3.5 million and $7 million. For 2008 the 15% capital gains tax rate for those in the 25% and higher tax bracket and 0% for those in lower brackets is at a historic low.
In 2008 the number of fortune 500 companies that payed no taxes in 2007 will be at an all time high.
Incomplete - no data yet. A 2004 study found that 82 of the biggest and most profitable Fortune 500 corporations found ways to pay zero or less in corporate income taxes at least once in the previous three years.
In 2008 there will be legislation before congress for national draft.
B- Technically true there have been bills filed but still no chance of passing.
In 2008 illegal immigrants will be allowed to receive guest worker visas. This will drive down wages and push overtaxed social services to catastrophic failures.
D We are approaching massive failures without converting illegals to guest workers.
In 2008 Texas will lead the nation in unplanned pregnancies and have the nations highest infant mortality rate. The state will still have an abstenance based sex education curriculum.
Incomplete, frequency of publication of many federal statistical reports has fallen under the Bush administration. At present, about half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, this is not measured by state. The teen birth rate in Texas is 50% higher than in the country as a whole. When last measured, the Texas infant mortality rate, the best single measure of a state's overall public medical system, was getting worse. The abstinence-only sex education programs, required under Texas state law, have had "little impact" on Texas teenagers' behavior, according to an "ongoing study"* funded by the Texas Department of Health. * - No further reports were issued after this first report in 2005. A federal long-term study found that abstinence-only programs had no impact on sexual abstinence. Lubbock Texas, which had an Evangelical charismatic minister in charge of its sex mis-education program, has banned gay student clubs and is starting an all-female high school this year. It still has very high rates of STDs and teen pregnancy. See The Education of Shelby Knox.
I can go on but I can't stomach it.

I toast the future
mostly with gin.
Overall I give him an A-

Jim will never be a media pundit where going along with all your peers in getting it wrong counts as success. For four years ago that was pretty amazing.

Music I was listening to:
Ani Difranco - 32 Flavors - Not A Pretty Girl
The Whispers - Lady - The Greatest Slow Jams

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oil peak theorist warns of chaos, war

Did we reach Peak Oil in 2005?

UK Globe and Mail:
The views of Mr. Simmons, who runs Houston-based Simmons & Assoc. investment bank, bordered on apocalyptic.

Oil shortages "could lead to social chaos and war," he warned. "The issue is the most serious risk to sustaining the 21st century. Peak oil is real, and we have to take it seriously." He argued that production of conventional crude peaked in May, 2005, at 74 million barrels a day.

Since then, the world has met rising consumption - now at about 88-million barrels a day - by cutting inventories, tapping natural gas liquids that typically are included in crude production figures and using better refinery efficiencies.
More apocalyptic visions - Life after the Oil Crash.

How real is this? Very real, we are on the downhill slope. Here are what the insiders think.

Latest news.

The end of the American Empire.

Peak Oil - solved. Can we fix our oil and climate problems at the same time?

Oil Black Monday -
The bottom line: Oil prices are high today, not due to a temporary disruption in the global flow of petroleum as in 1980, but for systemic reasons that are, if anything, becoming more pronounced. This means news headlines with the phrase "record oil price" are likely to be commonplace for a long time to come. The only good news may lie in just how bad the news really is. Sooner or later, ever rising energy costs are likely to push the United States and other oil-consuming nations into deep recession, thus depressing demand and possibly beginning to bring energy prices down. But this is hardly a recipe for lower prices that anyone would voluntarily choose.
Peak Oil also coincided with a credit and housing bust after a long binge. All those interest-rate cuts aren't making it any easier for the average Jane to afford a house. There's no simple remedy for the aftermath of a borrowing binge.

On the Treasury Secretary's proposed reforms - "It's a scam, a fraud, a charade, a lie." - Jim Jubak, senior markets editor for MSN Money.

WaMu: Forget the customers; save the exec bonuses.

What's with this Shell Oil Ad? - pdf:
The bad news is that no combination of technologies can plug the energy gap if the peakists are correct. There will be a third, and last, global energy crisis. It will dwarf previous crises. Profound economic dislocation will result. The challenge for human civilization will be how we rebuild post-peak. If we mobilize with renewables and efficiency, as though for war, we have the potential to achieve a renaissance on many fronts. If we forget climate change and go for coal and tar sands, we will achieve the opposite.
Is attacking Iraq and Iran really all about peak oil? Touched on in this article which says prepare for even higher gas prices.

Last articles from the peak oil news blog.

Maureen is right

Bubble, Bubble Toil and Trouble at the Senate Hearings.

Except for her or her editer or Sen. Boxer confusing half-a-billion with half-a-trillion dollars, a great witty column.

Also in the New York Times consider the shrimp goby and what people can learn from its mutual relationship with another species. This is part of a weekly blog on evolution.

In The New York Times Magazine - Chris Matthews's contract is up this year - "whither the cable blowhard?"
Sometimes during commercial breaks, Matthews will boast to Olbermann of having restrained himself during the prior segment. "And I reward him with a grape," Olbermann says.

Doug Feith

I agree with Gen. Tommy Franks. Nice Polite Republican radio gave Feith two long interviews to promote his book and say Iraq is not his fault.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Real Life Grisham Novels

In West Virginia, it sure looks like the CEO of a coal company bought the Supreme Court judge hearing his case.

While house sitting at my Dad's, I read the real life nonfiction Grisham book An Innocent Man. It perfectly describes the broken and corrupt Oklahoma justice system through the course of examining four men mistakenly sent to death row by a small town for murders they had nothing to do with. Everything in the book could just as well apply to the Texas criminal justice system. After writing this nonfiction book John said he will stick to fiction from now on, much less work.

I would need one of Grisham's smart lawyers to defend me if I am ever near that hucking fidiot movie reviewer Kyle Smith. I had written in 2006, that he is my perfect anti-critic. Whatever he likes I hate and vice versa, but it is worse than that. The guy has no clucking fue.

Currently in an article about how Hollywood is anti-American he massacres the plot of There Will Be Blood. And he gets paid for going to movies drunk or whatever.

Checking his blog, Hell no, I won't link and give him link coinage, I find his female friends are just as privileged, clueless and so wrong. A female friend of his wrote an article for The Atlantic urging women to settle for Mr Not Right before their ovaries dry up. Ugh -there are so many things wrong with her self-centered life-style.

Kyle informs us that the article has been optioned for a movie! Damn, maybe Kyle is right about one thing after all, Hollywood is anti-American.

I think I will go out and imitate Kyle and his fraternity and sorority friends and get drunk and clueless so Hollywood can discover me.

It's McCaining Again - Update

Not sure why but YouTube pulled the new video by the McCain Sisters, not quite as untalented as the first one but close.

Winners from yesterday

Congratulations to Jeff Heintschel for JP and Larry Weiman for judge in the local Democratic race runoffs.

Complete local returns at the Houston Chroniclee.

I still do not understand how Mark Thompson won statewide. He has no experience in politics, no money, did not even know what a runoff was and didn't know all of what the Railroad Commissioner office did. Was this a plot to keep the office under Republican control? Except on the Internet this race had a non-existent profile.

Houston Politics blog at the Chronicle did a lot of blogging about the local voting, mainly on the GOP side.

Kuff has more on the races and some earlier results.

Incredibly pitiful turnout.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

John Edwards on Hillary Clinton

Meanwhile, I agree with Digby - the big Democratic donors are so involved in the Clinton-Obama fight they are refusing to fund commercials against MacBush.

How 1968 changed Hillary - from Goldwater Republican to anti-war civil rights Democrat.

A record yearly income

$3.5 Billion on Wall Street for hedge fund manager John Paulson.

His skill, guessing right and betting big on the housing decline. No, there was no productive benefit to his gambling and betting prices would go down.

Obama surging nationally

Gallup shows 8 point national Barack lead over Hillary. He is also surging in Pennsylvania but only some outlier polls are showing an Obama lead.

Brendan does graphs of Obama's white and black support by state.

WAMU latest bank at risk

Getting $7 billion in new cash, slashing dividend, cutting jobs to survive.

Bay Area New Democrats meeting Wednesday

Speaker will be John James, a former Republican.
"I will speak on the need for healthcare quality reform to improve patient safety. I will describe the poor quality of care my son received in his college town after he collapsed while running. I'll mention a few of the many medical errors his cardiologists made and show that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America behind heart disease and cancer. The healthcare systems of other developed countries perform much better than ours in terms of cost per capita and quality of treatment. I will finally advocate a patient bill of rights that would begin to heal our dangerous healthcare system. Since it is only the Democrats who recognize the deep-seated problems with our healthcare industry, I have converted from my lost days as a Republican."
BAND website - nice new photo of part of the SD-11 convention.

Harris County races Tuesday

If you have not voted already in the primary runoffs you have one last chance Tuesday. This time you will have to find your correct location - Democrats by precinct - pdf, Republicans - pdf.

Find your precinct number and sample ballot.

The Republican race for 144 between Ken Legler and Fred Roberts is interesting. Legler is a wire manufacturer and Roberts is on the Pasadena school board. Legler did a political hit piece that accused Roberts of not paying all of his property taxes. Roberts then filed suit against Legler for opening him up to identity theft by mailing thousands of people his social security number and address. Roberts also pointed out Lelgler has his own tax problems.

The Democratic candidate Joel Redmond will provide very strong opposition to either of these two losers. Joel is the son of a popular long-time First Baptist Church minister making his first political race. He was also until several years ago a Republican.

From the South Belt Leader - posted here because it will soon disappear off their website:
Legler publishes Roberts’ Social Security number

The Republican race for state District 144 has heated up drastically over the last week, with each opponent sending out controversial mailers. Both Fred Roberts and his opponent, Ken Legler, have accused the other of being delinquent on past taxes.

Roberts alleges that Legler owes more than $5,700 in property taxes on his business in South Houston. Legler, who blames the slip-up on time spent on the campaign trail, told the Leader he has since rectified the problem. At press time, however, Harris County’s online records still showed the bill as being unpaid.

Conversely, Legler alleged Roberts has had two federal tax liens since 1998. While Roberts has since satisfied one of the liens, he said he was unaware of the second one and said the address on it was incorrect.

The Legler mailer also contained his opponent’s Social Security number, prompting Roberts to file a police report. (See related story this page).

Legler insists the publication of the number was unintentional and that he offered to pay for a service to protect Roberts from identity theft.

Roberts, who has served on the Pasadena Independent School District Board of Trustees since 1993, sent out a direct mail piece that asserts Legler maintains a secret residence in order to send his daughter to Friendswood High School, in House District 129, rather than one within the district where he seeks office.

Legler admits that he bought a condominium that his wife and daughter stay at during the week so the girl can be on Friendswood’s drill team where she has prior friends.

Citing a recent Children at Risk study, he also noted that Friendswood High School ranked 25 in the Greater Houston area compared to the number 94 ranking given to Pasadena High School, the highest-ranked PISD school in the study.

“It’s unfortunate that a man doesn’t feel good enough about his own district that he sends his family to another district to live,” Roberts said.

“When it comes time to vote, is he going to think about Friendswood, or is he going to think about Pasadena?”

Aside from district loyalty, it may also be a question of legality for Legler. The 50-year-old business owner maintains three properties within Harris County and one property within Galveston County. Texas state law mandates that a property owner can claim a 100 percent homestead exemption on only one property. However, both Harris County and Galveston County tax officials have records of Legler claiming a 100 percent homestead exemption within their district.
The Harris County Democratic Party and the Houston Chronicle endorses:

# Railroad Commissioner - Dale Henry
# District Judge, 80th Judicial District - Larry Weiman

The Houston Chronicle also endorses in JP Precinct 8, Place 1, Jeff Heintschel.

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Nick at the Houston Chron

MI and FL at DNC DenverNick Anderson

Liberal Blog and Shelly Foundation

Andrew Ostroy has a liberal blog and mentions that the non-profit foundation dedicated to the memory of his murdered film-maker wife Adrienne Shelly could use support. In his recent post he is worried that the GOP right wing noise machine will try to destroy Obama in the general election and presumably throughout his presidency.
Make no mistake: heading towards the general election in November, the Republican Party smells intense fear, and that fear will manifest itself into the dirtiest, ugliest, most divisive presidential election campaign in American history. The GOP's coming off of eight miserable, economically ravished, war-torn, scandal-plagued years of Bush/Cheney. Given the likelihood that Sen. Barack Obama--with his message of inspiration, hope and change--will eventually prevail in his protracted primary battle with Sen. Hillary Clinton, the reality is settling in that the junior Senator from Illinois could be the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania. Just ask neocon pundit William Kristol.
I dislike all of the reality denying Clinton commenters on the blog but Andrew is an astute Hillary supporter.

Howard Zinn's A People's History Of American Empire

Buzzflash: Mike Konapacki's art from the [new Zinn] book and narration by Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen. The 8 minute clip covers the United States imperial ambitions from the days of manifest destiny when Native American tribes suffered through what we would now call ethnic cleansing to the current military intervention in the Middle East."

For another video on a separate liberal topic see 11th Hour, a Thom Hartmann review at BuzzFlash with the DVD at a great price. Also see 11th Hour Action.

Monday, April 07, 2008

McNasty, unfit to be President?

Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you c@nt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.
The man who was known as "McNasty" in high school has erupted in foul-languaged tirades at political foes and congressional colleagues more-or-less throughout his career, and his quickness to anger has been an issue on the presidential campaign trail as evidence of his fury has surfaced.
The first quote is from a new book, The Real McCain, by Agonist blogger Cliff Schecter.

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Misc. plus Jim's links

Nazi orgy scandal disrupts grand prix motor racing.

Juan Cole: As Iraq chaos continues, General Petraeus will push Iran links that make little sense.

For right now, Mike Morford is trusting the collective intuition on Obama.

Christian radio gets people to protest wacky days at school.

From Jim -

The Mike Wallace Interviews, what major commercial network would do this today?

US-funded health search-engine censors all results for searches on "abortion" -- reverses policy when it becomes known. Bush administration in action.

Tang is the secret ingredient in fantasy terrorist UK planes bomb plot.

Visit an old missile silo - turn your key sir! map.

Blast Door Art.

Screwing the communities some lenders are refusing to take over abandoned foreclosed homes.

Even Krugman doesn't understand why all income levels have more income growth under Democrats. I think there are years of GOP propaganda taught in ivy league economic classes that need to be scrubbed away. He does recognize GOP equals slower growth and rising inequality which is a start. I will add to Jim's link another Krugman blog post in which he finds there is a good unemployment number buried in the BLS lies - U6, which shows real unemployment and forced part-time employment is now at 9%.

Don't mess with 84-year-old Marines.

NASA coolness as the shuttle nears its last mission.

The Great Depression: The sequel.

P.S. For Jim, there is still some mystery surrounding IBM's week-long suspension from government contracts. It looks like some IBM employees got caught getting competitive data from an EPA employee and an administrator threw the book at IBM. Government employees didn't believe it at first.

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Texas 2008 Round-Up #14

It's Monday and that means it is time for another Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up. The weekly round up is compiled from submissions submitted by member bloggers. All the members remind everyone to vote Tuesday in the runnoff elections.

Matt Glazer of Burnt Orange Report writes about how the TexBlog PAC shattered expectations to raise $3782.09 from 106 donors over the past week, putting the PAC in position to make a $5,000 donation to a House candidate before the end of summer.

Refinish69 of Doing My Part For The Left gets election fever and decides to through his hat in the ring in Elections 2008- Yet Another One.

Off the Kuff takes a look at where the early vote came from in the GOP runoff and hazarded a guess about what it might mean for the candidates.

The civil rights movement effected us all, and continues to do so today. Over at Texas Kaos they're remembering the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King-in ways both large and small.

Corn? Soy beans? Those are for eatin'! The Texas Cloverleaf looks at the next best Texas biodiesel crop-- algae!

XicanoPwr reports on Texas' Child Protective Services (CPS) removal of 183 young women, girls and boy, ages 6 months to 17 years, from the Fundamentalist LDS Church's compound near Eldorado, TX.

Pete Olson, a Texas CD 22 candidate has elevated Hal's blog to that of a "prominent local Democrat blogger" In That's MISTER Half Empty, Bub, we get Hal's take on that.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson has the latest on a new GOP's scheme to finance toll roads around the state in Sen. Ogden Wants To Gamble With Your Money.

John Coby of Bay Area Houston comments on the High Cost of being a Republican

McBlogger this week takes a look at a certain court case involving some SoftSoap and a naughty child.

Stace Medellin of DosCentavos writes about Senate Leader Harry Reid's statement on Cesar Chavez's Birthday. Reid gave the strongest response among Democrats and pointed to GOP obstructionist tactics regarding various issues affecting Latino Americans.

The Seventh Congressional District of Texas draws national attention and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has the linkage in Skelly Goes National.

Vince at Capitol Annex tells us that the recent uproar involving a criminal complaint filed over a blog is a wake-up call for bloggers' rights.

CouldBeTrue over at South Texas Chisme wants to be shocked that Chertoff decided to bypass all laws to build that d*mn fence! Republican arrogance and incompetence knows no bounds!

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has to catch up on his sleep sometime....

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Clinton finally gets smart

Mark Penn steps down from Clinton campaign. I feel there are a half-dozen other advisers on the economy and foreign relations that need to quit as well.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Film on Texans fighting dirty coal misses big picture

Loren Steffy, the Houston Chronicle's excellent business columnist, makes the excellent point that the new documentary about how an unusual alliance of interests stopped TXU's massive coal power scheme missed the bigger picture. There will be repeated attempts to build more coal fired power plants in Texas because of the way the Texas power market was somewhat deregultated. Texans were sold a bill of damaged goods on deregulation which the power and finance companies love and have increased prices for Texas consumers. The Texas regulations give no thought to the environment and strongly encourage the use of dirty coal for power.
Don't get me wrong, Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars, which [Robert Redford] screened in Houston recently, is a fine documentary as far as it goes. It captures the outrage of central Texas landowners and townspeople who battle TXU's plans to build a gaggle of coal plants in their area.

The little guys band together with several large cities and a gunslinging Houston lawyer to defeat the big, bad utility. The end.

Redford, who narrated the film and financed it, hails it as showing the world that we can fight coal, that we can demand cleaner energy.

Pardon me if I don't slip on a pair of Birkenstocks just yet.

Certainly, TXU, whose generating business is now known as Luminant, was trying to ramrod approval for backward-looking technology when it submitted a proposal for 11 coal plants around the state. Landowners had good reason to protest and valid concerns about the environmental impact.

But the film doesn't address why TXU was so eager to build coal plants in the first place. The film never uncovers the real villain: deregulation.
Steffy's column dealt with the real issues much better than The New York Times which allowed Gov. Perry space to push for more coal plants and for Shell Oil to promote their biggest subsidy hungry boondoggle - coal gassification.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Drudge - three headlines, three lies about global warming

Drudge strung together a climate-denier myth, a poorly reported story about the financial crisis that falsely attributed insurance income declines, and a report about how developing nations are under the threat of climate change changing the emphasis on each to give support to the right-wing fantasy denying global warming.Is global temperature increasing?

The chart on the right somehow led Drudge to headline: REPORT: GLOBAL TEMPS ‘HAVE NOT RISEN SINCE 1998′.

As anyone can see 1998 was an exceptionally hot year but the trend is still present and 2005 was as hot according to NASA.

The Modern Temperature Trend is a much more complete refutation of global climate change deniers.