Thursday, July 31, 2008

Countdown for Victory - 96 Days until election REVISED

Report from National Democratic delegate Alex Karjeker.

This weekend Sherrie Matula's campaign is organizing a block walking event. Myself and fellow National Delegate Melanie Wilson will be walking.

We're looking for people to come block walk with us. We will begin at 5:30pm on Sunday with a small training and then walk for two hours (6-8pm). We will meet at the Matula HQ, a local clubhouse - 1610 Sageyork Drive - the revised meeting location.

Sherrie's HQ is at 17300 Saturn, Suite 105 for other volunteer activities and materials.

Sherrie Matula is a wonderful candidate who will do great things in Austin. As I discussed with many of you, Texas is only 5 seats away from having a majority in the Texas State House. Burnt Orange Report consistently reports her race as one of the most winnable in Texas! If we do not win the House this year, we may get into the same trouble with redistricting as we did back in 2003, but this time Texas is scheduled to pick up 3 Congressional seats. To put this in perspective, if Michael Skelly in District 7 and Larry Joe Doherty in District 10 win their races and we do not lose the Lampson (TX-22) and Rodriguez (TX-23) seats we will split the Texas delegation 15-17. If we pick up the other 3 seats that we could get in 2011, then it'll be 18-17. Texas will have a majority Democrat delegation!

Please come join us. We really need your help-this is a very crucial race Statewide, Nationally, and of course, locally for us here in HD-129. If you can come for even just an hour that would be wonderful. Please RSVP to me if you can make it.


Alexander Jonathan Karjeker

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Obama as centrist

In "The Audacity of Hope," Obama states: "I think my party can be smug, detached and dogmatic at times. I believe in the free market, competition and entrepreneurship, and think no small number of government programs don't work as advertised ... I think America has more often been a force for good than for ill in the world; I carry few illusions about our enemies, and revere the courage and competence of our military. I reject a politics that is based solely on racial identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or victimhood generally. I think much of what ails the inner city involves a breakdown in culture that will not be cured by money alone, and that our values and spiritual life matter at least as much as our GDP."

Dare a conservative to call the author of that paragraph their enemy.

That was from David Brin, science fiction and fantasy writer as well as futurist, who has much more.

Bush's Legacy

This is a bit of a response to Matt who was claiming that Bush created 7.5 million new jobs, ignoring the 30 million U.S. population increase.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

McCain Spokespeople: McCain does not speak for the McCain campaign

And some of you thought I was exaggerating about how bad McCain is doing in his appearances.

Three times recently the McCain camp has issued statements that McCain doesn't know what he is saying.

One - McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin responded yesterday to the report, saying that McCain’s public statements are not necessarily “official” policy.

Two - Trying to stymie the conservative blow-back over his boss’s recent comments, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds insisted to Fox News this morning that the senator hadn’t really been speaking for the campaign.

Three - McCain’s own campaign refused to say whether it stands by the candidate’s announcement that he supports the ballot initiative [banning affirmative action programs.]

Finally, here is McCain himself denying he says what he says.
First, he denied that the Iraqis wanted the U.S. to leave on a timetable, then he said that Maliki had floated “a pretty good timetable.” Defending his shifts today, he claimed, “Anything sounds good to me.”
I was thinking this was incipient senility but there is another possibility. Do you think a McCain double has escaped the reservation and is shooting his mouth off while McCain takes his naps?

Seriously, not since Reagan have a bunch of people behind the scenes been pulling the strings on such an elderly puppet candidate.

ADDED - I see Garrison Keillor is also reminded of Reagan:
It's no surprise that Senator McCain likes to bring out his 96-year-old mother Roberta, I suppose. The problem is that she is a lot perkier than he. The gentleman has had a few bad weeks, thundering in a dithery way about America's enemies, looking vaguely purposeful campaigning up and down supermarket aisles as if he couldn't remember what kind of cheese he'd been sent to buy. He surely will hit his stride after the Republican convention, but at the moment he looks to be eight years too late. The brash Bull Moose independent of 2000 has made all sorts of accommodations since, abandoning common sense when necessary, and his unsteadiness the past couple weeks makes his age an unspoken issue: Anyone who remembers the Iran-Contra years and the president who couldn't remember is not anxious to see a genial oldster dithering in the Oval Office. There is more to the job than flashing a big grin. You do need to make sense now and then.
I hate to break it to the hard core conservatives, I kid, but Clinton was more popular than Reagan. Reagan's popularity frequently dipped below 50 percent during his first term, plummeted to 46 percent during the Iran-Contra scandal, and never exceeded 68 percent. (By contrast, Clinton's maximum approval rating hit 71 percent, after the GOP tried to impeach him for lying about a tawdry affair.)

Did you know? Clinton and Reagan edition.

What can the McCains do for you?

McCain's son resigns from two Nevada Banks. Rumors of many bad loans plague the banks whose stock has plummetted 90%. Andrew McCain is on the Audit committee of the institutions.

Related from The Onion - Recession-plagued nation demands new bubble to invest in.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Texas Voter Fraud

Of course it is knowledgeable Republicans doing it. I suppose someone should call Greg Abbott so he can cover it up as no minorities are involved.
These Republican voters claiming to be oh so confused by the complex requirement that you vote where you live, not where you own a business were nonetheless sophisticated enough to start a PAC devoted to ousting incumbents on the Argyle City Council. - boadicea
WhosPlaying caught it first

The Onion: Truce Declared in War For The White House

Presidential hopefuls John McCain (R-AZ), Barack Obama (D-IL), and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) announced Monday their plans to form what many Beltway observers have already dubbed the "2008 Nightmare Ticket," a calculated move that political analysts say offers voters the worst of both worlds.

After nearly a year of verbal attacks and negative campaign ads, the nominees announced that, for the good of the country, they were willing to push their differences to the forefront and grant the American people the ticket they've been dreading all along.

I agree with Texas Liberal

but I am more interested in the horse race and follow a wider selection of media. For most normal people he has a quick way of keeping up with a campaign that is really becoming not very close. McCain today is not the campaigner he was even four years ago. In interviews four years ago he answered the questions even if you disagreed with him. Now he ignores the question and gives fragments of prepared responses no matter how contradictory or illogical they are.

Liberal Media and all that, hold your nose

The Carpetbagger quoting the LA Times reporting on the latest Center for Media and Public Affairs study:
The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.

You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.
Most of the reporting from the evening news was opinion-free, but when on-air media personalities strayed, 28% of the statements about Obama were positive, while 72% was negative. In contrast, 43% of the statements about McCain were positive, while 57% was negative....

One assumes the right will respond to this report by trashing the Center for Media and Public Affairs, no doubt labeling it a liberal propaganda outlet. So let’s preemptively set the record straight — the center is run by Robert Lichter, a favorite of right-wing clowns like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.
McCain is also so obviously an unfit candidate; witness his latest dishonest and disastrous appearance on Sunday talk, that even Republicans are abandoning ship and distancing themselves from McCain and the GOP. And let former Republican John Cole highlight McCain's dishonest campaign advertising smears just this past week, pathetic and shameful.

The latest conservative desperation measure is to urge a vote for McCain to check the so-called communist Democrats in Congress - urging their followers to just to hold your nose and vote for the guy. That is appearing from both the radio and newspaper conservative media pundits and first started early this year. Thom Hartman on a radio broadcast explores the conservatives urging their followers to hold their noses. Of course, many voters will do that for both candidates as NPR reported.

The real reality is that most are beginning to expect McCain and the GOP to lose big and prepare to fight the Democrats in four to eight years over the train wreck of an economy and foreign policy Bush and Cheney have set the stage for. After all, this enabled them to come back after Nixon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Update on the economy

This is in reaction to this story.

From Janette.

The traditional media is ignoring the National Enquirer - UPDATE

The All Spin Zone finds that works both ways. They didn't report on Bush possibly falling off the wagon. They won't report on possible vice presidential candidate hanky-panky if it is only in the tabloid press.

We can also add to that the top GOP leaders who are in the closet about their sexual habits are fairly safe and protected from traditional media. For these type of scandals the traditional media really want several witnesses and photos. Even then it can be spiked based on a decision from the top. They may also go easy on stories that do make it out unless there is an influential group constantly pushing the story. The biggest influentials are Drudge, the right wing media machine and the Washington GOP insiders. The Clintons were dogged by scandals because some very influential people were both pushing the story and launching their own investigations and had captive publications to keep the scandals alive.

UPDATE - FAUX NEWS, barely part of the traditional media, covers the story by interviewing a security guard at the hotel about the National Enquirer reporters. This bypasses the standard of not reporting on politician scandals without a large amount of evidence and instead spreads the rumors by doing a story about events related to the scandal. In a similar manner, the media won't touch reports that top GOP Texas officials are gay or cheating on their wives but if there is a demonstration that makes that accusation they could get the story out by covering that.

Ted Rall - AP: Recession, Year 8

Recession? We've been in one since 2000.

Forget the experts. They think telling the grisly truth about the state of the U.S. economy could make things even worse--and they're probably right. But Americans know the truth.

Every major indicator--jobs, wages and cost of living--has trended downward since the dot-com crash of 2000. Since then it has nearly impossible to sell a home, find a job, or get a raise. Rising inflation is tightening the squeeze. Whoever becomes president next year will inherit an economy beginning its ninth year in a downward spiral.

The official inflation rate of two to three percent is a lie, and it has been for years. Presidents Reagan and Clinton ordered the Bureau of Labor Standards to change the way it calculates the Consumer Price Index. Previously they compared the prices of the same items from one year to the next. Now, in order to cheat senior citizens out of cost-of-living increases on their Social Security payments, the government uses a "substitutions" analysis. "The consumer price index assumes that if prices get too high, consumers will start buying cheaper products," reports The San Diego Union-Tribune. For instance, if steak gets too expensive, they will switch to ground beef."

Steve Reed, an economist the Bureau of Labor Standards, freely admits the change makes inflation looks lower than it is. He also admits its motivation: "Even if the CPI was one percentage point higher, it could cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars."- Ted Rall

It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn...of a Economic Depression
The financial system will collapse before "zero-hour" actually occurs. I think we are seeing signs of it in the desperate measures being employed to nationalize companies which trade on market exchanges as private enterprises. There is simply no way to defend the SEC's decision to selectively enforce the prohibition of naked short selling for 17 ‘fragile' financial companies and to not enforce it for the over 5000 other companies which trade on US stock market exchanges. And plans to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac breathe of a sort of corporate nationalism. Over time this will deal a massive psychological blow to financial markets. They are currently rallying on the sense of relief that the efforts to prevent Fannie and Freddie from dragging US financial markets into the abyss have succeeded and the inevitable day of reckoning has been postponed once again. - The Market Oracle
You know, I am starting to feel the same way about economic news that I was feeling pre-Iraq invasion. I am shouting in the darkness pointing to news our traditional media is ignoring and meanwhile we are fast approaching the cliff. I was right then and I fear I am right again.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Operation Brimstone - Preparing for the Iran War

Naval forces from the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil and France are practicing for a blockade and attack of Iranian ports. The exercise is taking place off of Florida to Virginia and will last until July 31st. The exercises have been named Operation Brimstone.

From United States Navy News:
U.S. and coalition naval assets underway for the exercise include the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) with associated units including the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (RO 7), the Brazilian Navy frigate Greenhalgh (F-46) and the French submarine FS Amethyste (S 605). BNS Greenhalgh is the first Brazilian Navy ship to operate integrated in a U.S. strike group.

French Rafale fighter aircraft assigned to the 12th Squadron, and Hawkeye early warning aircraft assigned to the 4th Squadron will conduct carrier qualifications and cyclic flight operations with U.S. Carrier Air Wing 8 during Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group's Joint Task Force Exercise. This marks the first integrated U.S. and French carrier qualifications and cyclic flight operations aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier.

The TR CSG is made up of: USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71); Commander, Carrier Strike Group 2 (CCSG-2); Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW-8); Commander, Destroyer Squadron 22 (CDS-22); the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61); the guided-missile destroyers USS Mason (DDG 87), and USS Nitze (DDG 94) homeported in Norfolk; the attack submarine USS Springfield (SSN 761) homeported in Groton, Conn.; and the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) homeported in Mayport, Fla. More force details follow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oops, John Edwards caught by National Enquirer

Vice Presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards was caught visiting his mistress and secret love child at 2:40 this morning in a Los Angeles hotel by the NATIONAL ENQUIRER.
I guess we can take him off the VP list.

A GOP possible VP is also caught up in a scandal.

Which banks will fail next?

Mine is probably on that list. Except analysts are getting afraid to make lists because they will be sued.

The problem with any lists is that the real shocker about IndyMac is that the federal reserve never saw the failure coming. It was not on their 90 banks with problems list. (Amazing how we get under reported economic news from religious publications and not American media.)

Business Week
Wachovia Corp. reported a surprisingly large second-quarter loss Tuesday, deflating Wall Street's hopes that the nation's big banks are weathering the credit crisis well. The nation's fourth-largest bank by assets said it lost $8.86 billion, is slashing its dividend and eliminating 10,750 positions after losses tied to mortgages soared.

Even excluding one-time items, the results substantially missed Wall Street estimates.
What is really going on? Maybe we should blame Phil Gramm.

How many coming US bank failures - 1500?
There is $75 trillion in global real estate, $50 trillion in annual global GDP, and $675 trillion in derivatives - synthetic financial instruments loosely associated with the real world that, when inspected, prove to be worth a small fraction of their face value. Nine years ago Weathervane McCain’s chief economic adviser, Phil Gramm, got the Glass Steagall Act largely repealed. Investment houses engaged in an orgy of what can only be described as private money printing, taking real assets, puffing them up, marking them up, passing them around, and they kept at it until there were five or six dollars of funny money for every real dollar of stuff. Ssshhh, don’t anyone tell the pension funds ... The FDIC admits to prepping for a hundred, the highest estimate I've seen is 1,500 gone of the 8,500 [U.S. Banks].
He is a little over the top. The FDIC will bail out people up to $100,000 but they will do it the way they have been doing for the past year. They are running the printing presses at full blast and your dollars aren't going to be worth as much.

Some of the best commentary on what is going on is from outside the United States and from outside the official channels. No one with any sense really believes the official Washington figures now.

Market Oracle:
This is the first stage of the deep recession we've been warning you about. Banks have no choice but to deny loans to all but the most highly qualified borrowers; and as a result, corporations and consumers have no choice but to cut back on their spending.

Consumer confidence is the worst since 1980. Mortgage default rates are the worst since the 1970s. Even the government's highly suspect official numbers show that the growth of the U.S. economy is grinding to a halt.

This is also bringing the runaway inflation we've been warning you about, with oil and energy leading the way. This time, unlike the 1970s when we had artificial energy shortages created by OPEC or by Iran, the planet is confronting chronic, long-term energy shortages.

But at each step of the way, what truly angers me is that our government leaders — the very people we elect to protect our interests — continually minimize, downplay and sugarcoat this crisis.
The housing crisis is only a subset of the financial crisis but it becoming bigger than the Savings and Loan crisis of the 80's.

The price tag for the nation's housing crisis escalated again with reports Tuesday that a record number of Californians lost their homes to foreclosure in the last three months and that a potential bailout of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could reach $25 billion.

The figures were released as the House prepared to vote as early as today on legislation aimed at staving off foreclosures, stimulating the troubled housing market and providing a government backstop to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Who are the least worried - wealthy Americans who have secretly moved their money out of the country.

That's Our Bush

Houston Chronicle:
Unaware he was being recorded, President Bush at a Houston fundraiser last week compared Wall Street to a drunk with a hangover and cracked jokes about the ailing housing market.

"There's no question about it. Wall Street got drunk — that's one of the reasons I asked you to turn off the TV cameras — it got drunk and now it's got a hangover," Bush said at a private fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Pete Olson. "The question is: How long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments?"

The jocular tone Bush used to describe a serious subject also underscores the pitfalls of being candid in an age of tiny camera phones.

News reporters were prohibited from the Olson event in River Oaks last Friday. The short video clip, apparently made by an attendee at the fundraiser, was obtained by KTRK-TV in Houston.

"And then we got a housing issue, not in Houston, and evidently, not in Dallas, because Laura was over there trying to buy a house today," Bush said, to laughter.
Here is the video from Miya at KTRK 13.

Not that surprising. We know that Bush is an expert on getting drunk and not so much on the economy or sympathizing with people paying $4 for gas and losing their homes. We also know he likes to make jokes at people's expense.

Question - how many people think that Bush himself had a few at that gathering?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

They finally are discussing it - McCain's Age - Update

Is John McCain too old to be president?

My conservative Republican step mother will not vote for McCain. She says he is too old. She doesn’t like Obama but given the choices…. She is a bit older than McCain.

It is conservative journalists Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei at Politco who have started the buzz and incipient GOP hissy fit. They have an article pointing out all the gaffes and mistakes McCain has made recently. They ask the obvious question - is it his age and what will this mean for the election?

I agree with Steve Benin that the problem isn't really the verbal slips. "The important point is that McCain, a little too often, seems hopelessly clueless. That’s far more significant than the occasional “gaffe.”"

I also almost agree with former Republican John Cole that Democrats probably don't need to make this a big issue. Voters will contrast the candidates themselves and decide that one is not fit. My doubts are caused by voters reelecting Reagan when my mother and I believed he was already showing signs of senility. Many of the GOP presidents and candidates have been figureheads with sharp staff members and associates to prop them up. Reagan and our current commander-in-chief are prime examples.

With Obama on the right side on the Iraq occupation, end it as soon as possible, and the economy in the toilet, and the GOP candidate showing signs he is a doddering old man, the GOP leaders must either be in deep despair or deep panic about now. Even the normally idiotic Jonah Goldberg seems to see the handwriting on the wall.

ADDED - Another senior moment or is he just an old coot who shouldn't be president? Joe Klein at Time Magazine Swampline blog - McCain's Meltdown. Still another - McCain has no idea what he is talking about on Iraq and goes on broadcast TV to look like a fool. He credits the Anbar Awakening to the surge when it took place a year earlier. BTW, Katie Couric and CBS covered-up the McCain major gaffe. What is that about liberal media again? The AP actually covers the gaffe in a small story. McCain campaign getting desperate as world embraces Barack, both McCain and his staff are now launching many over the top attacks on Obama. "I counted five attacks this morning alone, ridiculing Obama for opposing the "surge" in Iraq and supporting a timetable to withdraw combat troops."

Here is a video of CBS edits to the interview to make McCain look better.

That seems related to this - Politico: "GOP senators scramble for lifeboats." Looking bad all over for Karl Rove's dream of a hundred years of Republican rule.

Been catching up on netroots nation reading

Looks like a great convention.

The big public event still seems like the Al Gore - Nancy Pelosi keynote. "Proposing to get a little increase in oil driiling for fuel to be sold to China 10 to 15 years from now as a solution to our rising gasoline prices makes about as much sense as responding to an attack from Afghanistan by invading some other country."

I would have really appreciated seeing this one - Bush failed you on national security and more should have resigned in protest.

The front-page feature article in the Sunday Austin-American Statesmen on Netroots Nation has been erased and the paper apologizes. There is probably more to the story, the editorial page also had a weak op-ed at the opening, but I doubt we hear more about it.

Misc. - I am really starting to want one of these. This looks pretty cool too.
I have to hang on to my job this summer as a big raise is coming soon and the long delayed jump to full time should also be in the works. Will need the money with signing up for 2 or 3 cons at ApolloCon at room parties. The nature of room parties is such that I don't remember what I signed up for except for CONDFW. I know that one because I have a t-shirt. Another might be FenCon.. I hope another is not ArmadilloCon because it is too soon and I might not have the money for going there and staying at a hotel. I would have already paid for the admission. Yes, these are the con parties where they ply you with drink and then ask you to buy discounted tickets from your new pals.

Coming to a Ramada Inn near You

Phil Gramm and John McCain on Awakening your Inner Elephant - video.

Not coming to a McDonald's near you, anti-gay activists.
The American Family Association (AFA) is a group that opposes same-sex marriages and it was reported in the Washington Post on July 4, 2008, that the AFA had launched a boycott against McDonald's saying they have refused to "stay neutral in the cultural war over homosexuality."

The AFA asked McDonald's to remove themselves from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), with the association's president, Tim Wildmon, stating, "We're saying that there are people who support AFA who don't appreciate their dollars from the hamburgers they bought being put into an organization that's going to fight against the values they believe in."

McDonald's declined to do so with their U.S. Spokesperson, Bill Whitman, saying, "Hatred has no place in our culture. That includes McDonald's, and we stand by and support our people to live and work in a society free of discrimination and harassment."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Texas Progressive Round-Up for July 21, 2008

It's Monday, yadda-yadda-yadda. Thanks to Vince and Kuff.

The Texas Cloverleaf asks if John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison want more HIV in the global pandemic? Our TX Senators were 2 of the 16 votes against the latest HIV/AIDS bill in the Senate this week that passed overwhelmingly.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on Diana Maldonado's great fundraising numbers in Diana Maldonado Has Almost 4 to 1 COH Advantage In HD-52.

WhosPlayin at WhosPlayin steped outside of his comfort zone a bit and commented on the Fannie and Freddie situation.

jobsanger blasts Republican attempts to allow offshore and ANWR drilling in Drilling Won't Make Us Energy Independent and in Bush Playing Politics With Oil.

The bar may be open, says TXSharon at Texas Kaos in Fire Water: With Compliments from EnCana, but if Encana's serving up the cocktails, it might be better to abstain.

McBlogger's own Harry Balczak has a new recurring feature, Harry Balczak's Reminder To You People. In this edition, he'd like to remind Those Of You Who Just Couldn't Vote For Kerry that your decision was, well, pretty stupid. He is nice about it, though.

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that poultry kingpin Bo Pilgrim paid to jet around Texas Governor Rick Perry's staff to promote the ethanol waver he bought and paid for with a $100,000 contribution to the Republican Governor's Association.

Mean Rachel contemplates whether Fannie and Freddie have anything to do with being raised in 78704, but living through young-adulthood in 78749 in Crashes.

The final word, for now, on the Webb County Sheriff's race says Martin Cuellar wins by 41 votes. Since the various 'official' totals for Cuellar have been +37, -133, +39 and finally +41, CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders what the h*ll happened!

Off the Kuff looks at the Harris County campaign finance reports and finds good news and not-so-good news for Democratic campaigns.

The Texas Observer's Melissa Del Bosque had an observation about one of the panels at Netroots Nation this past weekend, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs had some observations about what she observed.

BossKitty at BlueBloggin shows us smuggling humans into the US is no problem at all; From Africa to Mexico to US, Any Way They Can Immigrate.

BossKitty at TruthHugger points out the continued struggle by our soldiers suffering from PTSD and the inadequate response by the incapable VA, in But, When They Come Home ….

Later News Edition

Bill O'Liely says I missed a gathering as bad as the KKK.

Can we unplug all of these media jokers? Doesn't look like it and they are even scoring big on new contracts. Isn't this a sign of irrational exuberance and an over-priced market top considering that voters will surely reject everything these right-wing media clowns have been saying in November?

McCain is going to run on that he was right about the surge. Even if accurate, no, is that enough?

Since Obama was in Iraq 16 months ago the situation has gotten worse for Iraqis.

Politico writer so stupid. She originally wrote that Obama collected half of his June money in one day. The article still has total money on hand wrong. Obama and the DNC had $92 million in the bank July 1 to spend. I am sure more edits to her article will take place.

Hillary Clinton making comeback on women's health issue as her big backers still don't open their wallets for Obama.

The NYT refuses to publish McCain Op-Ed without a rewrite. He needs to add some substance to his standard BS. I liked this ironic dig: "The New York Times endorsed Senator McCain as the Republican candidate in the pesidential primaries. We take his views very seriously."

I managed to see The Dark Knight Sunday night at 10:15 PM with only a 35 minute or so wait. I had planned on another movie this weekend to avoid the masses of people but Janette said we should check. Arriving at 9:40 or so the 9:45 showing was sold out but there were still 130 tickets left for the 10:15. My verdict - very good but loud and some overdone flashy camera work. Movies also reflect their times - Gotham is a city under siege by terrorist bombings. There are many political overtones in the movie.

Emails and Comments - Public or not?

Interesting story in Blogasm about a hate email being posted on a blog that lead to a firing, a story rejection letter that was posted that has divided the publishing community and a silly lawsuit over publishing a hate emailer’s information.

I suppose I should state a policy for my blogs.
If you send me a communication by whatever means: email, comments, mail, phone, text, IM, any communication; that communication now properly belongs to me.

As such I am free to do whatever I please with it, including providing background information related to it to other people.

Shorter Greenwald Edition, an online site worth paying to skip the ads for, has some good recent posts by Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald does a lot more than writing about protecting the Constitution from misguided politicians, but he continues to do that as well as his other commentary as shown by the first following link.

McCain has been hiring Karl Rove minions leading to predictable assaults on free speech at his rallies.

How the political elite and the Washington establishment attack politicians who express opinions that are held by 70% of the American people. Presidential candidate Howard Dean, married to a Jewish wife and raising his children in the Jewish faith and with a former president of AIPAC as his campaign manager, was attacked for his anti-Israeli position of saying that America should be even-handed in its approach to Israel and other Middle East countries. That position is supported by the vast majority of Americans. Obama was also attacked for similar views until he made a pilgrimage to AIPAC and gave some satisfying tilted to Israel rhetoric.

Our humble corporate masters.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I hope this is not a trend - bad comic books promoting politicians

Tulsa Oklahoma Commissioner Brent Rinehart's re-election campaign mailed out a badly drawn comic that lampoons gays and criticizes Rinehart's political opponents. This was the work of two months of writing by the commissioner with a friend badly drawing the illustrations of people, devils and angels. It has several misspellings and grammar problems that even I caught.

Tulsa World:
Keith Gaddie, a University of Oklahoma political science professor, called the book "one of the strangest things" he'd ever seen.

"I've never seen a comic book with the phrase 'anal sodomy' in it before. That was a new one for me."

Gaddie said comics were common political campaign tools decades ago, but not today. "He's pretty much grinding every ax he's got from his days in the county commission," Gaddie said. "In a way, it's a sophisticated piece."

The strip, which Rinehart said took him two months to write, opens with a proclamation that Rinehart is a Republican and Christian who stands up to "liberal good ol' boys" at the county courthouse.

"I do not know who the good ol' boys at the courthouse are," said County Assessor Leonard Sullivan, a Republican who has had public disagreements with Rinehart.

"I've really encouraged him on more than one occasion to get professional help. He really needs it," said Sullivan, who is not depicted in the comic.
Yassir, that coalition of gays, liberals, good ol' boys, and Republicans will get God fearing conservatives every time. No doubt about it.

You can see the 16-pages in all their infamy in this PDF.

Iraqi Government Agrees - We won, now time to leave

Today is victory in Iraq day.
Iraq Leader Maliki Supports Obama's Withdrawal Plans

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Barack Obama's 16 timeframe for a withdrawal from Iraq is the right one.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports US presidential candidate Barack Obama's plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq within 16 months. When asked in and interview with SPIEGEL when he thinks US troops should leave Iraq, Maliki responded "as soon as possible, as far as we are concerned." He then continued: "US presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."

Maliki said: "Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of US troops in Iraq would cause problems."

"So far the Americans have had trouble agreeing to a concrete timetable for withdrawal, because they feel it would appear tantamount to an admission of defeat," Maliki told SPIEGEL. "But that isn't the case at all. If we come to an agreement, it is not evidence of a defeat, but of a victory, of a severe blow we have inflicted on al-Qaida and the militias."
How have the Republicans responded to this resounding victory? According to Marc Armbinder, a Republican strategist emailed back simply "We're f*@%ed."

Lots of campaign talk going on: From the Obama front: "So given that al-Maliki said today that it’s time for an official timetable and that Obama “is right when he talks about 16 months,” will McCain honor that commitment and call for withdrawal or change his position that we should leave Iraq if asked?"

How is the White House responding? With another dazzling display of their competence. White House Accidentally E-Mails to Reporters Story That Maliki Supports Obama Iraq Withdrawal Plan.

Looking like its under pressure from the White House, Iraq says the remarks were mistranslated or misunderstood. McCain is saying this talk of leaving is all due to the surge.

The Colorado Model - the money goes to Texas

I love it when the Republicans are scared of the Democrats.

Fred Barnes shows they are really scared about what is happening in Colorado. There are many laughable statements in his article, Colorado has no rich conservatives spending money on their candidates(!) It really is no secret about the "seven "capacities" that are required to drive a successful political strategy and keep it on offense: the capacity to generate intellectual ammunition, to pursue investigations, to mobilize for elections, to fight media bias, to pursue strategic litigation, to train new leaders, and to sustain a presence in the new media."

The biggest laughs come from Barnes pretending that conservatives haven't been funding institutions to do this since the 70's to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Look to this article mostly as a pitch to the Coors and many other rich conservatives to unite and spend much more money to maintain control of Colorado.

I found this funny and encouraging article in checking out who has been paying Matt "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, So Pay My Way" Bramanti's way lately. The answer is the libertarian/conservative Sam Adams Alliance, one of those nonexistent Colorado conservative institutions Fred Barnes was urging creation of. Maybe if Colorado conservatives weren't paying to train Texas conservative bloggers they might have some money for Colorado.

The conference that Matt is talking about is some pitiful lil thing conservatives held down the street from the progressive Netroots Nation convention in Austin. It was noticed that the conservatives kept showing up where the big liberal boys were.

Conservatives, don't cry in your beers and lattes over the surge in liberal fortunes, as billionaires realize that their rich bulging pocketbooks need the GOP to stay in power, Matt and his cronies will be showered with money.

Here is Kuff and Matt sharing some of their thoughts with the Chron.

Amazing how Matt complains about the shrill liberals, guess he never reads the comments on his Lone Star Times. Next time you see Matt ask if he agrees with Mike Savage about the wimpy austism and asthma sufferers and their families. Does he object to taking Colorado money when The Weekly Standard says Colorado needs it?

Who is polluting Houston airwaves?

Michael Savage is spewing ignorance and hate starting at 5 PM weeknights on 950 KPRC, a Clear Channel station.

I suppose complaints should go to Michael Berry and KPRC advertisers.

Update - Corrected spelling of autism in tags - thanks Matt.

It's the stupid economy, stupid

Link from Texas Kaos

Netroots Nation and My Campaign - Sherrie Matula

My house district surrounds NASA and is contained within what used to be Tom DeLay's district, now represented by Congressman Nick Lampson. The netroots connections in Texas have elevated awareness of our campaign as one of the races to take back the Texas Legislature. Our campaign recently received the endorsement and monetary support of TexBlog PAC in Texas.

The campaign staff includes three of the premier Texas bloggers: Martha Griffin (Muse) campaign manager, John Cobarruvias (Bay Area Houston), and opposition researcher Vince Leibowitz (Capitol Annex).

The netroots community have given our campaign a big push toward winning the race by exposing the ethics problems of the incumbent. He has used large amounts of campaign funds for personal expenses, unaccounted for thousands and thousands of campaign expenditures, and a classic, spent $1500 buying custom cowboy boots with campaign funds.

One reason House districts are important to Texas is the upcoming Congressional redistricting in 2011. All we need are five House seats to undo the damage of Tom DeLay and turn the House blue. The campaign has an aggressive ground game having knocked on over 5000 doors since January with a large group of core volunteers, the "Apple Corps". We have more cash on hand than the 10-year incumbent with over 400 individual donors.

To help us take back the Texas House, visit my ActBlue page! - Sherrie Matula
Sherrie participated in a panel of Texas candidates at Netroots Nation. She has been endorsed by the TexBlog PAC.

In other Network Nation news, I see Charles is having fun. I'll have to hear more stories when he gets back.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Reagan Revolution never left Texas

WSJ - Deregulation Jolts Texas Electric Bills
Texas had some of the cheapest power rates in the country when it zapped most of the state's electric regulations six years ago, convinced that rollicking competition would drive prices even lower.

This summer, electricity there is some of the nation's priciest.
Reading the above Wall Street Journal article reminds me that the Reagan Revolution never left Texas, it just intensified over the last 25 years. Deregulation of electricity is just one more arena where Texans have had little control over their lives. State environmental controls on water and air are laughable as well.

My point is that deregulation hasn't helped the average Texan; it has made our Lone Star consumers poorer and less healthy.

I am a native Texan who is looking for a "better quality of life" state, not a banana republic, in which to retire.

If a conservative national newpaper like WSJ sees this, then why can't our Texas Democratic candidates use this "gouging" as a major electoral issue? It's timely. And, it might work for the November elections, as well as an assault on the current governor and lieutenant governor in 2010." -- Elizabeth McLane

McCain - 61 Flip-Flops and Counting

McCain argues that flip-flops are an example of a political leader who can't be trusted -- so he might as well drop out of the race.

Steve Benen of The Carpetbagger Report has a 61 item list with links of McCain's flip-flops. I have noticed even the media is now expecting that when McCain is challenged on anything whatever he says is probably inaccurate. He just pulls stuff out of his ass.

The 61 flip-flops does not include McCain's support for the surge where McCain has been semantically challenged and it is difficult to determine what he really meant at the time. Maybe we should just leave it at his January 2007 address at the American Enterprise Institute where he said “the worst of all worlds would be a small, short surge of U.S. forces.” McCain was arguing for a large, long escalation, not a surge. Is this a flip-flop when he says he was always for the surge?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Today's Political Headlines

Obama may be doing 2% better than shown in most polls. That is the unstated conclusion in a Pew poll of cell phone users compared to landline phones. Most pollsters are still landline only and then weight results demographically. The Pew Research Center found that doesn't quite eliminate the differences.

Pew Research also finds that the high interest in this election will help the Democrats.

The Wall Street Journal had the numbers wrong. McCain didn't edge Obama in fund-raising in June. Instead Obama had an almost record breaking haul of $52 million, more than double McCain's. This doesn't mean Democrats should relaxed. The RNC is doing much better than the DNC so that in cash on hand the combine party and candidate totals shows a $2 million edge to the Republicans. Steve at Carpetbagger Report has more.

I am not attending Netroots Nation in Austin, for those who may be wondering. I have too many out-of-town conventions on my schedule and too little money. Too bad, a lot of good things are taking place there. You can keep up with the Texas Progressive bloggers contingent. The Austin Statesman had some really good reporting on Netroots Nation, which the paper's editorial board apparently isn't reading.

Jib-Jab has started the 2008 election campaigning with a real treat.

Another conservative Republican switches to supporting Obama.
Unjustified war and unconstitutional abridgment of individual rights vs. ill-conceived tax and economic policies - this is the difference between venial and mortal sins.

Taxes, economic policy and health care reform matter, of course. But how we extract ourselves from the bloody boondoggle in Iraq, how we avoid getting into a war with Iran and how we preserve our individual rights while dealing with real foreign threats - these are of greater importance.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is that really a charity?

Governments and courts are joining me in questioning the tax-exempt status of a growing number of organizations. If they offer fees for services that are the same as similar for-profit organizations is the tax-exempt status really a ploy to reduce expenses?

The New York Times looked at the growing trend of governments and the courts considering taxing non-profits.

I consider the worst tax abusers right now might be "educational" institutions and hospitals.

Many colleges with large endowments financially are more investment holding companies than instructional institutions. Money from endowments in some cases is surpassing the fees for services. What amounts to an excess profits tax on endowments is being discussed.

Rich individuals have realized that establishing non-profit organizations to "educate" the public on political-social issues makes donations that are purely political become income tax write-offs. The abuse of nonprofit organizations for political purposes is part of the Abramoff scandal. The Republican "charitable" groups set up by Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich have been clear abuses of the law. Some churches are also in danger of losing their tax-exempt status by not giving equal treatment to candidates and illegally endorsing candidates.

Many charitable hospitals appear to be transferring what would be profits for shareholders to salaries and perks to executives, administrators and employees. They are also reducing health care competition because of the cost advantage they get from their tax-exempt status. The amount of charity care these charitable hospitals are giving for their tax-exempt status has been an issue since at least 1990. Currently the Wall Street Journal reported that On Top of Tax Breaks, Nonprofit Hospitals Reap Big Profits.

People should consider the consequences of the present liberal use of tax-exempt status. What doe the future look like if some institutions are considered exempt from supporting government services?

In an extreme example, H. G. Wells looked at possible consequences if a charitable trust was set up to manage the wealth of a man in a trance for over two hundred years in When the Sleeper Wakes. The advantages that trusts have lead to most of the world being owned and managed by the board of the trust.

Inflationary Recession Is in Place - Shadow Stats

Officially inflation is over 5%. But shadowstats recalculates the CPI-index numbers the way they were calculated in 1980 and we are hitting over 12% and the money supply is being inflated by 16%.

Shadowstats shows a hyperinflation scenario possible in 2010.

Global warming to spark rise in kidney stone cases

Monday, July 14, 2008

When Memes Collide

A reasonable article on The New Yorker looks at Obama controversy.

Also - The Fed Reserve closes the barn door which was unlocked a decade ago.

I am reading The Shock Doctrine - how much are the Friedman disciples Satan's minions, who have bankrupted the world and spread misery and torture for the obscene profits of a few? Naomi Klein's book is a one-sided polemic, but probably less so than the main stream media and most economic textbooks who support Friedman.

The Texas Weekly Progressive Blog Round-Up is here.

The retail business hasn't changed since I left - Steve and Berry's was kept afloat by questionable financing from malls and has now collapsed. Our local Steve and Berry's isn't in a mall but in a questionable location across the street.

Last Add - "At this point, the AP isn’t “cutting through the clutter”; it’s adding to it. This isn’t “accountability journalism”; it’s weak journalism." That is probably too kind toward Ron Fournier, who had been a very biased reporter before he was made head of The Associated Press’s Washington bureau. He is a Matt Drudge favorite, enough said.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Imagine, for one moment, that it had been Barack Obama instead of John McCain who had cheated on his wife by having multiple affairs. Suppose it was Barack Obama who had married his mistress, a younger heiress of a billion dollar beer empire only a month after the ink was dry on the divorce papers. Pretend it was Michelle Obama instead of Cindy McCain who had been so addicted to painkillers that she stole money from her own charity and had been investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Monday, July 07, 2008


It's Monday, and that means it is time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's Weekly Round-Up. The roundup is compiled each week based on submissions by TPA member bloggers. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

According to PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, if Chris Bell -- in his current inclination toward making a run for the Texas Senate in District 17 -- were to stand next to Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa, it would appear to be at a 90-degree angle compared to him.

It was a week for new contributors at WhosPlayin. Kit asks a million tough questions about America's interventionism and the illusion of national security, and txdemjen expresses the frustration a lot of us have with Obama's sudden right-ward bend.

CouldBeTrue from South Texas Chisme is appalled that special prosecutor, Terry McDonald, gives former Sheriff, Michale Ratcliff, a sweet plea deal for the sexual assault of a minor supposedly under his protection.

Bay Area Houston says Governor Perry is calling for an investigation into the insurance industry.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News now sees his
Pasadena neighbor Joe Horn saying he is no hero. Will he be subject to the same attacks those who have been saying that all along have experienced? Gary has been on vacation, mostly, but remains ticked off over the stupid.

Lovelie99 at McBlogger takes some time out of her busy schedule to inform us about the plight of supermodels. Apparently, there is a shortage of H-1B work visas since far too many math nerds are being imported to, you know, make stuff and stuff and program computers and stuff. And make other stuff, such as cellphones, such as. Which means there are too few supermodels who are allowed to work in the US. Well, at least the kind who are emaciated, gaunt and angular. We at McBlogger wondered if possibly there are math nerds who could do double duty. Then we laughed and laughed and laughed.

The Texas Cloverleaf wonders which is the better place to live...Collin County or New Jersey?. Forbes has the answer.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts the latest toll scam we'll be paying for soon, Going "Cashless" Will Cost Us All.

Off the Kuff notes a recent CNN Presidential poll and says it's not a dead heat if someone is leading.

Last week was a great one for evolutionary biology, but sucked if you happen to be a Conservapedia believer. Over at Texas Kaos Boadicea shares the tale of Conservapedia Ignoramous Schooled by Evolutionary Biologist and then discovered a sequel in which Lenski Meets the Naked Scientists.

refinish69 ponders the American Dream on the 4th of July at Doing My Part For The Left.

North Texas Liberal reports on Kim Brimer's cowardly move to keep worthy opponent Wendy Davis off the ballot in Fort Worth's SD 10.

Vince at Capitol Annex tells us about State Rep. Warren Chisum's announcement that he'll be trying again to pass legislation creating a two-year waiting period before couples can divorce.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I'm not back yet - just ticked

But we are back to Comedy Central providing important news that the mainstream media didn't find. Disaffected Hillary Democrat my ass.

A new Pasadena blogger gets thrown out of City Council for free speech on a t-shirt now.

Watch the body language on the official economic report.

The Peak Oil people, proven right, now advise you to make friends with your neighbors, buy guns to handle your non-friends, and grow a vegetable garden.

Oh, Glenn - go ahead and call the DC establishment freedom and liberty hating Fascists - I do. As they tell us on the FISA bill - the public doesn't understand subtlety.

The incredibly mind-boggling stupid bloggers have found a new game - pretending Obama was not born in Hawaii. I shouldn't be amazed, they did the same amateur document analysis with badly copied and faxed Bush AWOL documents and got the media to agree they could be modern forgeries because the typeface matched the most common MicroSoft Word typeface - just like it was designed to do.

All the stupid coming over the tubes today hurts my brain.

Have a half-hearted laugh -

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

ADDED - While I was a supporter of Galveston District Judge Susan Criss in the primary, Democratic primary candidate for Supreme Court Linda YaƱez has a compelling story and is running against a heartless corporate-favoring, corporate-paid suit.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Joe Horn: I'm No Hero

In a series of media interviews Joe Horn backs away from being the hero that gun lovers have made him.

He says he now regrets his decision to confront two people stealing from his neighbor's house with his shotgun, ignoring the pleas to stay inside from the 911 operator. 'I would never advocate anyone doing what I did.'

Joe Horn has been held up as a hero despite, or maybe because of, shooting the two illegal immigrants with prior records in the back to protect his neighbor's property.

In the interviews, Joe Horn's position is now identical to that of Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg, who has been vilified in comments and by conservative Houston. Lisa and Joe now agree that it was a mistake to go out and kill two men over his neighbor's property. It was a mistake to not listen to the 9/11 operator.

Joe Horn says he doesn't recognize the man who spoke on the 911 tapes. He also says that killing is not why he went down to confront them.
Horn told the Chronicle he went downstairs to get a description of the men for police. But on the 911 transcript in response to the dispatcher's warning that he could get shot if he went outside, Horn said, "You wanna make a bet? I'm gonna kill 'em."
My brother and I were discussing today that there is perhaps a majority of American people who want swift and merciless protection, hang civil liberties and too bad about the innocents who may be killed in the process. That is what Joe Horn was a hero for - swift "justice."

The fact that he now sees that was a mistake, that the deaths of two men is something he will have to live with, won't change the mobs opinion. Those feelings for swift retribution are what created lynch mobs - which is another part of our Texas heritage along with our guns.

The War on Sex

Video link to Reason TV. The embed was too slow to load.

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New Bush Coins (Change for the better?)


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Daily Show Reruns Now Available Online

Check them out at

Easter Lemming is on vacation until after the July Fourth holiday.

The Texas Senator's Sock Puppet

There is a name for pretending to be someone you are not online to advocate for someone - sock puppet. Meet Texas Senator John "Cowardly"Cornyn's Sock Puppet.

The fuller story of one of Cornyn's staffers being paid to work out of his office and go online to advocate for the Senator masquerading as someone else is at MyDD.

Posting will still be light during this vacation and re-setup.