Thursday, October 30, 2008

President Obama - 30 minute video wows

I had to take the legal class to be an election judge so I missed seeing this live but it was terrific when I did see it.

Classy, professional, with no smears of John McCain and the dirty Republican campaign they are waging against him these last days.

All my discussions with people who are supporting McCain now revolve around false information and them referring to sites to the right of the Minutemen. This is a FEAR! campaign on its last legs.

He followed his 30 minute spot with Florida rallies and then an interview with Jon Stewart.

Watching McCain the grumpy old man and his spokesmen trying to combat this was an interesting contrast. Reagan and others knew that the most optimistic candidate wins, should someone tell McCain? I am more worried that the increasingly outlandish conspiracy theories the conservatives are weaving means we are going to face 8 years of the old irrational Clinton hatred transferred to Obama-Biden.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Six Years Ago - Molly Ivins was Here

I took this from Molly in the Chron Six Years Ago:
There's many a contest between political pygmies this year -- we're down to seeds and stems again --- but even in proud Texas we have to admit that this year's palm for nose-holding voting must go to California. Not to overstate, two of the most titanically unattractive candidates in the history of time -- Gray Davis and Chuck Simon -- are vying for the governorship. A new nadir in modern politics. How we got from the Lincoln-Douglas debates to this -- or what we ever did to deserve it -- is unclear. The debate between Davis and Simon raised the always-timely question: Is God punishing us?

Naturally, when it comes to voting, we in Texas are accustomed to discerning that fine hair's breadth worth of difference that makes one hopeless dipstick slightly less awful than the other. But it does raise the question: Why bother?

One sorry excuse for a decent, fighting people's pol or the other; what difference does it make?

Oh, just that your life is at stake...

The Bush administration has announced this grand imperial plan, the "National Security Strategy of the United States," under which America is to dominate the world forever, and we'll attack any country that doesn't agree with us. Frankly, it's nutty. But they made a big mistake. They forgot to run it by the people first.
About five years ago I had another Molly - contrasting the Bush haters with the Clinton haters.
After all this time and all those millions of dollars wasted, no one has ever proved that the Clintons did a single thing wrong. Bill Clinton lied about a pathetic, squalid affair that was none of anyone else's business anyway, and for that they impeached the man and dragged this country through more than a year of the most tawdry, ridiculous, unnecessary pain. The day President Clinton tried to take out Osama bin Laden with a missile strike, every rightwinger in America said it was a case of "wag the dog."

By now, quite a few people who aren't even liberal are starting to say, "Wha the hey?" We got no Osama, we got no Saddam, we got no weapons of mass destruction, the road map to peace in the Middle East is blown to hell, we're stuck in this country for $87 billion just for one year and no one knows how long we'll be there. And still poor Mr. Krauthammer is hard-put to conceive how anyone could conclude that George W. Bush is a poor excuse for a President.

Chuck, honey, it ain't just the 2.6 million jobs we've lost: People are losing their pensions, their health insurance, the cost of health insurance is doubling, tripling in price, the Administration wants to cut off their overtime, and Bush was so too little, too late with extending unemployment compensation that one million Americans were left high and dry. And you wonder why we think he's a lousy President?

Sure, all that is just what's happening in people's lives, but what we need is the Big Picture. Well, the Big Picture is that after September 11, we had the sympathy of every nation on Earth. They all signed up, all our old allies volunteered, everybody was with us, and Bush just booted all of that away. Sneering, jeering, bad manners, hideous diplomacy, threats, demands, arrogance, bluster.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The GOP Harris County Love Boat

It's all about the videos.

Here's another.

Disclosure, I volunteered for ACORN one day without pay and I know someone who was hired to straighten out their voter registrations for a brief period.

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Opie Endorses

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Zimbabwe or Harris County Texas?

What place has local politicians from the ruling party getting local constables to disrupt opposition events? The answer is both.

Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman had fellow constables repeatedly disrupt a campaign event held in a county park. Hickman is the campaign treasurer of State Representative Patricia Harless and evidently felt he could use his authority to harass voters at her opponent Democratic Candidate for State Representative Chad Khan's event at Cypresswood Park.
This isn't the first time Hickman has been in the spotlight for questionable activities related to his association with Rep. Harless. Earlier this year, he was criticized for supporting early release and parole for Harless' brother, Donald Fincher. Fincher was convicted of killing a deputy constable while driving drunk.

"This behavior is typical of the questionable judgment exercised by Constable Hickman and his office. That a sitting State Representative like Patricia Harless would want to be associated with someone who threatens to arrest a mother for wearing a campaign tee shirt in a public park--in front of her two young children, no less--should cause voters to question her judgment. First, she asked the Constable to help get her brother out of prison, now she is having him try to suppress her opponent's campaign rallies," Khan said. "It makes one wonder what she and Constable Hickman will try next," he continued.
The conservatives can fill the airwaves about the "totalitarian socialism" of the Democratic Party but voters can see who is using the local law enforcement as their brown shirts to shut down free speech and political opposition.

A video is available at Texas Kaos.

Even conservative bloggers have had issues with Ron Hickman and there have been several investigations of the Precinct 4 constable's office recently. The fact that he let politics influence his requesting early release for a DUI who killed one of his officers says quite a bit about Hickman's character.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Video Updates for Texas Late Early Voting

Lampson at Work

Paul Bettencourt - Incompetent, Intemperate Partisan

Paul Bettencourt's temperament and incompetence is finally catching up with him. Channel 11 has had two reports of the partisan role he has taken in rejecting new voter registrations.
The Tax Assessor’s office in Harris County is trusted with one of the most important functions served by our government: the registration of voters. One would think that Bettencourt would be bound by honor and civic duty to ensure that he does a good job. Instead, he works as a partisan hack for voter suppression laws while failing to properly process valid applications.

Ask any volunteer voter registrar about their experience with Bettencourt’s office and odds are you’ll hear the same story: the only thing consistent about Paul Bettencourt’s office is its inconsistency with changing deadlines, changing rules, and changing interpretations. He rejects applications and takes too long to inform the voter — making the real loser is the voting public.

Recently Bettencourt’s actions are becoming public because some voters are showing up to the polls and finding out they aren’t registered. KHOU-11 showed up at Bettencourt’s office with a stack of improperly invalidated voter forms, and asked him to explain himself. Amid his stammering, all Bettencourt could manage to say was that the forms represent “a mistake” and claimed a “fantastic” relationship with the local League of Women Voters.

The local League of Women Voters refutes this claim.

By the way, his Democratic opponent is — really — an ethics teacher.

It’s time for a lesson.

Texas Roundup - Early Voting Countdown

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

Oh, and don't forget to vote early!

The Texas Cloverleaf helps spread the truth about ACORN.

McBlogger takes a look at our own Congressman from Clear Channel, Mike McCaul, and discovers that he is indeed different.

jobsanger points out the dysfunctional aspect of this year's Republican campaign, first in Palin Disagrees With McCain, and then in Repubs Can't See The Reality.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is sad to recognize that while America’s Foreign Policy Suffers - Unemployment Soars - Religion Goes Toxic America's short attention span has been grabbed by personal survival and courted by political and religious philosophies.

As early voting begins Eye On Williamson charts the early voting numbers in Williamson County. HD-52 Democratic candidate Diana Maldonado continues to rack up the endorsements and launches her latest ad, taking on the insurance companies and high homeowners insurance.

Neil at Texas Liberal posted the second part of his Who I Would Have Supported For President series. The latest entry covered the years 1824-1852.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News is keeping the early voting info up for the voters who need it but did notice that nearly all the PUMAs have come home to Obama.

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that the Texas Association of Business has finally pleaded guilty in connection with its 2002 violations of Texas' campaign financing laws and that State Rep. John Davis (R-Clear Lake) and State Sen. Kim Brimer (R-Fort Worth) have taken big bucks from a company the TCEQ fined more than a quarter million dollars last week for polluting.

CouldBeTrue from South Texas Chisme has some hints about how to get your specific sample ballot. Be prepared!

Off the Kuff analyzes the high level of early voting in Harris County so far.

XicanoPwr analyzes the GOP attack on ACORN and the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters carried out by Paul Bettencourt in Harris County.

John McCain describes the economy as a drive by shooting. The Texas Cloverleaf calls it a whack job.

North Texas Liberal reports on Sarah Palin's $150,000 shopping spree at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, and discusses why it could signal the end for her and John McCain's faltering campaign.

As Democrats in Harris County appear on the verge of something historic, the trends in the extraordinary early voting turnout portend the same blue surge that the rest of the country is about to experience. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has the deets.

refinish69 at Doing My Part For The Left wants everyone to say thanks to Barbara at Avenue Gallery- NOT!!!

nytexan at Bluebloggin points out just how McCain and Palin are alike with their FEC violations. We’ve gone from 8 years of the “emperor has no clothes” to “the empress has new clothes.” The GOP is priceless. Palin is following in McCain’s footsteps for FEC violations, what a pair of mavericks. CREW Files FEC Complaint Against Palin. And, for McCain, apparently he and Palin have an affection for Russia; McCain’s New FEC Violation: Asks Russia For Campaign Money.

George at The Texas Blue wants you to know your job's not over just because you voted. We look at the early voting excitement across the state and remind you that it's critical to tell your friends and family to vote as well!]

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Forget every negative thing I have ever said against Lampson

Sure I would like him to be better on environmental votes, but he still beats every Republican from Texas in DC. But the main change of my heart and my previously luke-warm support is that Pete Olson has revealed himself in a debate. Olson is Sarah Palin without lipstick. The snake filled audience (hiss, hiss) didn't help the debate atmosphere.

Khou-11 - Gloves come off in Lampson-Olson debate.

Houston Chronicle - Olson blasts Lampson at debate.

Support Nick Lampson and keep the partisan attackbots like Olson out of Congress.

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Have all the PUMAs Come Home?

Obama is now doing better among Democrats than McCain is doing among Republicans.

For a couple months there were constant media reports that the female Hillary supporters would not vote for Obama.

But see what has happened now that it is time to vote. After watching the old angry man in the debates and seeing his questionable judgement, and getting a look at Sarah Palin, the Pumas look like they've come home for the good of the country. This Obama finding is not reflected in just one poll but looking at the six that show support by party ID.

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Caught on Tape: Stealing an Obama Sign

I love this comment... Did you know the average Obama sign is about four inches longer than the average McCain sign?

And the average McCain sign is really old and wrinkly.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Texas Roundup - Early Voting Edition - October 20, 2008

It's Monday, and that means it is time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly round-up. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

The Texas Cloverleaf took part in Blog Action Day this past Wednesday. Find out how you can combat poverty in your neck of the woods.

Bay Area Houston listed the fines for State Representatives and Senators issued by the Texas Ethics Commission in 2007 and 2008. Enjoy!

jobsanger discusses voting and registration. He says the E-Voting Can't Be Trusted without a paper trail, and ACORN Is Not Committing Fraud in their effort to register over a million new voters.

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that State Rep. John Davis (R-Clear Lake) is misleading voters about his poor record on education in his newest mailer, and that the mainstream media is calling John Cornyn's performance in the final senatorial debate "less than senatorial."

In the first of a series of posts on past presidential elections, Neil at Texas Liberal offers up Who I Would Have Supported For President 1788-1820.

WhosPlayin goes off on a Republican County Chair who thinks a candidate's sexual preference is more important than the substance of his ideas.

Off the Kuff takes a look at why some people won't be able to cast their ballot during the first few days of early voting.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants a fair election without Republican voter suppression and questionable electronic voting machines.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the fake controversy about voter "registration" fraud, Gone nuts about ACORN. And Diana Maldonado released her first TV ad this week, HD-52: Diana Maldonado is on TV, "Texas' Comeback".

Now that McBlogger has torn him a new cesspool, Joe The Plumber's fifteen minutes of fame are OVER

North Texas Liberal dissects Obama's wide lead on McCain in the polls and the projected electoral map. Also, former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorses Obama for president. (Start following us on Twitter for mini-updates and breaking news!)

Harris County clerk Beverly Kaufman predicts that 500,000 Houston-area voters will cast early votes, but Harris County tax assessor-collector Paul Bettencourt and Texas SoS Hope Andrade have done their best to hold that number down. Brains and Eggs has
the details.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has put up his Early Voting Info post but also announced he is rapidly becoming a clueless Cassandra.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is sad to recognize that Sex Scandals, Scams, Phishing and Your Bank Account are signs of deeper disorders. Power, Money and Sex are hopelessly intertwined with EGO.

Justin at AAA-Fund Blog laments the loss of Gordon Quan as a future candidate.

Burnt Orange Report takes a look into the numbers of the latest poll in the U.S. Senate race and tells why it might be even closer than it looks.

Over at TexasKaos, fake consultant discovers a Gaint Load of Hooey in one of THOSE emails. Just for fun, he investigates the "facts". The result is an education in how desperate the McCain-Palin crowd have become.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

We Voters Approve This Message

Sherrie Matula For District 129

Sunday News

Colin Powell endorses Obama. A common conservative reaction seems to be that Powell is a racist traitor - check comment sections of newspapers and conservative blogs. The good conservative reaction, except the religious right doesn't consider Andrew a conservative at all. Is Colin Powell "the most popular political figure in the country"?

Houston Chronicle endorses Obama. Most other newspapers endore Obama. A common theme - Palin.
Perhaps the worst mistake McCain made in his campaign for the White House was the choice of the inexperienced and inflammatory Palin as his vice-presidential running mate. Had he selected a moderate, experienced Republican lawmaker such as Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison with a strong appeal to independents, the Chronicle's choice for an endorsement would have been far more difficult.
Polls show race tightening, more polls, as surveyers use outdated likely voter models. The Gallup poll showcases the likely voter model differences with between 3 and 10 point Obama leads depending on definition.

Obama raises $150 million in September. GOP reaction - it's unDemocratic, we always rake in the money. McCain - No to socialism, except for campaign money.

Why I blog, Andrew.

YouTube - Obama making funny, includes links to McCain videos.

Hate You Can Believe In: ACORN Deluged with Threatening and Racist Voicemails and Emails - warning - explicit.

NYT - Saturday Night Live - Palin and Fey.

Friedman - Iceland and the global economy.

NYT: Is the bust Henry Cisnero's fault?

GOP Congresswomen disses Democrats as anti-Americans who should be investigated. Opponent raises half a million in one day.

Long article on the death of Betton Woods, will the rest of the world decide the United States is too big to fail?

Mike and Connie sent this: Palin as President - click around the oval office.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tamisan News

I have to give her a plug for being an excellent news reposter. The truly important but perhaps you missed geeky news updates. I seemed to have missed her at FenCon based on Tygerr's report.

Obama Momentum

100,000 in St. Louis Saturday 10/18.

With seven new national polls released yesterday, Barack Obama continues to lead John McCain in all of them, with the average lead being 6.3%

- Battleground (Obama +4)
- Diageo (Obama +10)
- Gallup expanded (Obama +6)
- IBD (Obama +5)
- Rasmussen (Obama +4)
- Research 2000 (Obama +10)
- Zogby (Obama +5)

More here.

If the election were held TODAY:

. . . . . . McCain . . Obama
Probability of Win: 0.1% 99.9%
Expected Electoral Votes: 187.8 350.2

Do you think taxes might have something to do with it?

If you are the typical taxpayer would get $700 more back under Obama than McCain/Bush. If you are a multi-millionaire you lose your Bush tax breaks and pay tens of thousands more under Obama's plan than under your friend McCain's plan.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Texas Delegation Sets a Bad Example on Clean Energy and Conservation

The League of Conservation Voters laments the filibusters and obstruction of the GOP in stopping the enacting of new energy and environmental policies. Texas's GOP members and Senators had particularly awful records. Rep. Lampson was only slightly better. In a nice surprise, Rep. Gene Green was voting Green. More from the Texas branch office of the LCV.

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Short bits

McCain supporter manipulates online McCain "stock" in futures market.

Michelle Malkin Bids for Self-Parody Award She thinks a sick kid and his family are fair game for smear attacks but objects to those investigating an adult businessman plumber.

Texas Observer: Can the Democrats sweep Houston? Maybe.

Did Bettencourt illegally reject thousands of ACORN registrations in Harris County? If the facts in the Houston Chronicle story are true - YES. You are not required to submit ID when registering, only the first time you vote. Just that simple fact shows why the GOP screams about ACORN are false.

Florida's Feeney looks like toast. You might know Rep. Feeney as the Bush supporter who paid a computer consultant for a program to flip touch screen voting machine votes.

John McCain hung his final presidential debate performance on an Ohio plumber who campaign aides never vetted.

The forever Republican Chicago Tribune endorses Obama.

Vote early, light early voting is already causing hours long lines as clerks comply with computerized voter identification verification in Tennessee.

Obama sweeping the 7-11 election. Domino's Pizza poll is also tracking well with state polls.

"Saturday Night Live" parody of Wednesday's debate showcased John McCain's Joe the Plumber as his "imaginary friend." Also Jesse Jackson on SNL about polls.

Rolling Stone: How we lost Afghanistan after we won.

AP Poll: Voters souring on McCain, Obama stays steady

Our newest Noble Prize Laureate on the economy.

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Billboard Ad

A good solid billboard ad.

What is interesting is that it is in an online game.

Obamanation, you can't escape it.

The tax case and the economy craps out

The Progress Report:

President Bill Clinton decided early in his term in office that expanding the middle class -- not tax cuts for the rich -- would be the engine of economic growth, while his successor, President George W. Bush, argued the opposite. But the as the results have shown, a progressive tax policy enacted by President Clinton achieved far superior results for the economy. By the end of Clinton's second term, unemployment stood at very low 3.9 percent while today it has risen over 6 percent. The poverty rate was lower in 2000 than it is today. The median household income (adjusted for inflation) was over $3,000 higher eight years ago. Bush inherited a $237 billion federal budget surplus, which he has turned into a $482 billion deficit (and growing fast). Building on this formula, the Center for American Progresss put forward a progressive, "comprehensive tax reform plan to restore fairness, simplicity, and opportunity to our tax system while generating the resources necessary to meet our nation's commitments," such as energy independence, education, and health care. In order to achieve these goals, the plan centers on increasing the take-home pay of those making under $200,000 a year, with those making more seeing an increase relative to the current tax policy.


Earlier this week, Fox News's Neil Cavuto summarized the right wing's fascination with Wurzelbacher. "You're the type of guy who these tax increases of [Obama's] could affect, or where the cut-off is could effect, and you don't fit this gazillionaire model," Cavuto told him during an interview. But according to tax analysts, the problem for McCain and the right in focusing on Joe the Plumber is that "the underlying premise that Wurzelbacher would face higher taxes under Obama is neither true nor typical of how the vast majority of small businesses would fare." Moreover, even if Wurzelbacher buys the business, it is "unlikely" that his purchase "would give him a taxable income of more than $200,000 -- leaving him unaffected by Obama's proposal." Even if he did earn $280,000 per year as he projected he might, Wurzelbacher "would pay just $773 more in taxes under Obama's plan than McCain's," hardly a crippling blow to his business. The Toledo Blade reports that Joe the Plumber currently earns well under $100,000 per year. In that case, he would save more under Obama's plan than McCain's. "Rather than a game-changing blow for the McCain campaign, 'Joe the plumber' is turning into a bad case of blowback,'' said Rogan Kersh, a public service professor at New York University.
As economy craps out, Las Vegas hurts. "When we talk about gambling, that's a word we don't want in our vocabulary."

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cassandra Clueless

I had given myself the nickname Cassandra for accurately predicting the future but being unable to do anything about it.
Iraq would be a terrible occupation after a short war - check.
No WMDs - check.
Bush would be secretive, wrong, incompetent, unconstitutional, embarrassing and the worst ever president - check.
Kerry would likely lose a close election - America doesn't elect Massachusetts Democrats - check.
The winner in Iraq would be Iran - check.
The GOP is clueless and ineffective in the GWOT - check.
Housing prices in many areas of the country are in a bubble and still have a long way to fall - check.
The DOW will fall to 8000 - almost there - check.
The biggest problem with government and business is lies - check.
Gas prices skyrocket - check.
Global warming and more Houston hurricanes - check.
We are losing in Afghanistan - check.
The only miss was that Bush-Cheney would attack Iran for an even bigger disaster than Iraq. Miss, thanks to repeated and persistent efforts by the professional military to deflect Cheney.

Now people want to know what I see next.

And the unhappy answer is I have about reached the limit of my forecasting skills. There are some easy ones - we pull out of Iraq within two years leaving a government that somewhat leans toward Iran. Our standing in the world goes up with Bush-Cheney gone. Despite going down to massive defeat the conservatives will be as delusional as ever.

As to the economy, we will have a new President with big majorities in the House and Senate and I don't know yet the new policies. Since we have about reached my forecast low I don't know the next step for Wall Street. Maybe after a year of watching Obama and the Democrats I will see a pattern.

One prediction - for the median middle-income voter his income should finally start to go up. That always happens under Democratic control due to tax and fiscal policies that favor workers and not unearned income. For the rest you should listen to people who were right the past 8 years and ignore the great majority who have the loudest voices who were dead wrong. If you bet against them you have the odds heavily in your favor.


The Day After the Last Debate

Undecideds Laughing At, Not With, McCain, Amy Sullivan watches a focus group. Ouch.

Also at Time, Joe Klein says most media is now out of touch and still swallows the GOP rhetoric that worked in the past.

Another focus group - McCain digs himself a deeper hole.
Democracy Corps conducted dial and focus groups with 50 undecided voters in Denver, CO during and after tonight’s debate.Prior to the debate, these undecided voters had an unmistakable lean toward McCain, giving him strong personal marks (54 percent favorable, 34 percent unfavorable) while dividing evenly on Obama (42 percent favorable, 42 percent unfavorable).In fact, in the focus groups conducted after the debate, many of these voters explicitly said that they came into the evening wanting to vote for McCain.But the debate changed their outlook significantly.By a 50 to 24 percent margin, these voters said that Obama won the debate.More significantly, the debate moved their vote considerably, with 42 percent supporting Obama and 20 percent supporting McCain.This was the most decisive movement we saw toward Obama in any of the three debates.

McCain only had himself to blame for much of this movement.His attempts to attack Obama fell completely flat, failing to move the dials against Obama and often backfiring instead.McCain’s harsh tone, dismissive body language, and many interruptions turned off these voters.McCain’s personal favorability actually declined over the course of the debate, the first time we have seen that for either candidate during any of the three presidential debates.Our focus groups showed that McCain’s performance raised serious questions about his temperament and age, with many respondents shocked at how easily he seemed to lose his composure and a few dismissing him as “a grumpy old man.”
The problem for Republicans? They are so upset that character attacks are not trumping issues, They are beside themselves, its not working. My sister has noticed this at work with the blue-haired Baptists working themselves into hissy fits because they can't believe that uppity so-and-so is winning.

A Red Stater faces reality, McCain is going to lose, and is purged from the site. Much like Chris Buckley being purged from the National Review.

Some debate fact checks from the LA-Times as I am increasingly disappointed by bias and sloppiness.

Joe the Plumber a registered Republican, the McCain camp had told Fox News they would make him the focus of the debate before the debate began. A plant - why would a well-off Republican businessman consider voting for Obama but just wanted a few details of his tax plans? As to the question of McCain's vetting of Joe, look at Sarah Palin.

Maybe it was McCain's caffeine problem? BAGnewsNotes picture analysis.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My one sentence debate summary

I am sure Sarah Palin is surprised her running mate thinks she has a child with autism but not half as surprised as Joe the Plumber at now representing the country.

Flash Update - Joe the Plumber is not registered to vote - correction - registered under another name, leans Libertarian or REPUBLICAN but it looks like his father is a conservative Republican. He does represent America, the America that listens to talk radio. Was he a McCain plant?

Conservative blogger alert

Someone asked me to check out yet another conservative Houston blogger. I mostly agree with their description - "check out this yuppie Cartman with a pickle up her posterior..." I had seen her before, she is now at the Right Wing Nut House, which I was hoping would financially go under. Maybe after the election.

Financial Crisis has nothing to do with Democrats and the Community Reinvestment Act

In an only slightly more sophisticated ploy then saying poor minorities caused the financial crisis by buying homes, the latest right propaganda video blames the Democrats and the Community Reinvestment Act for forcing banks to make risky loans.

Ha, ha, ha.

Except unsophisticated idiots fall for this.

Here is what the Houston Chronicle business writer Shannon Buggs wrote about that email and video that has been going around.
Crisis has nothing to do with Reinvestment Act

CRA-motivated loans tend to be the opposite of subprime loans, most of which were issued by mortgage brokers and mortgage companies and financed by investment banks, none of which were covered by the CRA.

• The CRA has been around for three decades and the financial instruments that allowed the subprime mortgage industry to rise and crash came into existence within the past five years.

• Investment banks, not the federal government, had the appetite for risky loans.

The Wall Street-based market for reselling subprime created the demand for riskier loans. Because the debt would be sold into the market and not kept on the lender's books, many lenders did not bother to verify a borrower's income or assess ability to repay the loan.

So the next time you get an e-mail instigating class warfare, don't go for the okey-doke. Hit delete and send it straight to the electronic trash can where it belongs.

The real root causes of this economic crisis are an unregulated "shadow banking system" that fostered unmanageable risks, extreme corporate avarice and consumer excess.
You got that? I say blame more Wall Street that incentivized bad loans, dishonest real estate agents that pushed them, financial institutions that bundled them up, others that "rated" and insured the bundles as AAA quality, and big corporations that sold them around the world.

UPDATE - The Chronicle followed with an editorial:
It is true that many people — including those of moderate means and the well-to-do — signed on to mortgage and refinancing terms that they should have known were beyond their ability to repay. They must share some culpability for the subprime disaster.

But as many more thoughtful commentators already have pointed out, most subprime mortgages were financed by lenders that are not depository banks and therefore not regulated by the act. What's more, there is no federal edict or statute that mandates that unregulated lenders create loan products requiring no documentation of income or assets and for amounts well above the realistic value of the purchase property. And no law pushed lenders to aggressively market their wares to clearly unqualified borrowers.

Nor did the CRA call on investment banking firms to package and repackage those risky loans into complicated investment vehicles and sell them to investors as highly rated securities.

Meanwhile, it's important to note that not all subprime borrowers were low-income minorities. The majority were white, and many were well-off.

Many lessons will be learned as we work through this global financial crisis. Those lessons should not include the notion that the working poor are bad credit risks as long as they have access to appropriate and tightly underwritten loans.

And no one should come away with the idea that home ownership is not a good plan for most responsible people in this country. It's a bedrock of the American dream that's as sound an ideal today as it was before the bottom fell out.
Smart editorial.

Views that traditional media ignores

An interview with Noam Chomsky

Part One - The rest of the world supports Iran.

Part Two: Why Iraq, Reagan as anti-free marketeer.

Advice for the new economy

For when you are out of money.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Venture Capital Firm: R.I.P. Good Times

Slide presentation from Sequoia Capital is bleak.


Barack O'Bama

Lyrics: The Corrigan Brothers, Shay Black and Chris Caswell
Tune: Sweet Betsy from Pike (traditional tune based on 19th century song Villikins and His Dinah)

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare, O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama
From the old Blarney Stone to the green Hill of Tara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama.
You don't believe me, I hear you say
But Barack's as Irish as was our JFK
His granddaddy's granddaddy came from Moneygall
A village in Offaly, well known to all.
He's as Irish as bacon and cabbage and stew
He's Hawaiian; he's Kenyan; American too
And if he succeeds and he has a chance
I'm sure that our Barack will do Riverdance.
From Kerry and Cork to old Donegal
Let's hear it for Barack, from old Moneygall
From the Lakes of Killarney to old Connemara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama.
His mam's daddy's granddaddy was one Falmuth Kearney
He's as Irish as any from the Lakes of Killarney
His mam's from a long line of great Irish mammas
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama.
He looks after his own, a true son of St. Patrick
He chose as his mate, Joe Biden, a Catholic,
Proddies, Jews, Muslims, even the Dalai Lama
Know there's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama
From Spain 'cross the waters, from France and beyond,
Our people have come and though many have gone
We remain what we are when we all started out
And of the Black Irish, Barack's one, no doubt.
Tooral nu, tooral noo tooral noo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

From the lovely Ms. O'Connor.

Mike "Toxic" Jackson follies

I just had a post on Mike Jackson being bad for the environment. That must have hurt. His latest mail political ad is one half touting his (limited) environmental record. The other half claims he spends his time in Austin keeping criminals and sexual predators locked up and out of schools.

Maybe I shouldn't pick on Mike. He lives not that far from me in Shoreacres (pictures) which was hit worse than our neighborhood by the hurricane named after a real Republican. Shoreacres had 53 homes destroyed, 402 with major damage and 259 with minor damage or affected. Both Mike Jackson and challenger Joe Jaworski have been forced from their homes because of hurricane damage.

Rumors that after Mike Jackson skipped his scheduled debate opportunity he met with the Houston Chronicle editors... I almost visited the Chronicle Friday with some free time in downtown Houston. Instead I went by my old employer Macy's and picked up an interview shirt and tie at over 60% off. I still feel this is a sad store now and denotes the squeeze put on traditional city department stores by the economy the last thirty years.

I hope that Joe Jaworski made a better impression with the Chronicle editors than Mike. Joe impressed me with his talk about being a Democrat:
Over the years, we hear that Democrats have ‘lost’ the middle class and ‘lost’ the labor vote. But, we’re seeing evidence in what we read about the shameful disgust people feel with the way things are going, both in Washington and Austin. Over the last few years, the emphasis in government has been about a strong defense, moral values, and low taxes A lot of people might say we have none of the three. And, maybe that means it’s time for an honest discussion about what government is supposed to do, what the church is supposed to do, and what corporations do. And, we can talk about what government is doing.

People are willing to talk about that now. I’m a Democrat and proud to be one, but I am excited about appealing to a great, vast group of persuadables who are disappointed in the GOP leadership.

GOP oilman backing Obama

Janette sent me this some time ago:
"John McCain is energy illiterate," Simmons is saying. "He's just witless about this stuff. As a lifelong Republican, I'm supporting Obama." A dozen oil and gas men sitting around a conference table in Lafayette, La., chuckle nervously as he continues. "McCain says, 'Oh, we're going to wean ourselves off foreign oil in four years and build 45 nuclear plants by 2030.' He doesn't have a clue."

. . . McCain's midsummer move to begin campaigning on a platform of more offshore drilling has only hardened Simmons's position. "What a hypocrite," says Simmons, who supported McCain's rival Mitt Romney in the primary - no surprise given Simmons's history with the Romney family. "Here's a man who for at least the past 15 years has strenuously, I mean strenuously, opposed offshore drilling. And now it's 'drill, drill, drill.' And he doesn't have any idea that we don't have any drilling rigs. Or that we don't have any idea of exactly where to drill." (As for McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, Simmons says: "She's a very colorful person, but I don't think there's a scrap of evidence that she knows anything about energy.")

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Bush Economy: Nearly 1 in 6 Owners 'Under Water'

From that radical rag The Wall Street Journal:
The relentless slide in home prices has left nearly one in six U.S. homeowners owing more on a mortgage than the home is worth, raising the possibility of a rise in defaults -- the very misfortune that touched off the credit crisis last year.

The result of homeowners being "under water" is more pressure on an economy that is already in a downturn. No longer having equity in their homes makes people feel less rich and thus less inclined to shop at the mall.

View Interactive

And having more homeowners under water is likely to mean more eventual foreclosures, because it is hard for borrowers in financial trouble to refinance or sell their homes and pay off their mortgage if their debt exceeds the home's value. A foreclosed home, in turn, tends to lower the value of other homes in its neighborhood.

The McCain Supporter leading the attack on Obama's links to Ayers is himself linked to "domestic terrorists"

Or so says the Wall Street Journal. Of course, he defended a priest attacking Planned Parenthood so that's all right.

Why Barack Obama is ahead in North Carolina

One of the most effective TV ads this campaign.

Bonus videos

Why you might be seeing Senator Al Franken. This is his opponent Sen. Coleman's press secretary:

How about another video?

McCain is down to his hard core supporters:

Have you ever been embarassed to be a white from the South before?

Andrew Sullivan has more:
The point of posting the video was to remind people why the McCain-Palin campaign allows speakers at its rallies to describe their opponent as Barack Hussein Obama. Of course, these people are not typical of all white people, or Obama would be at 15 percent in the polls. But the cultural resonance of the name matters. And McCain is certainly not above deploying it. That's the point.
McCain/Palin are certainly bringing out the crazies with their campaign now. Really, the Bush jackboots seemed much more cultured.

Asking Palin supporters if Obama is a terrorist. McCain/Palin are eagerly throwing the mud pies that attracts these supporters and spreads ignorance.

This may become a media issue - When even Fox News notices the Fascists and racists at the Republican rallies.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Toxic Mike Jackson skipped his debate

State Senator Mike Jackson decided he couldn't face his skilled and charismatic opponent Joe Jaworski and was a no show for his debate on PBS channel 8.

Toxic Mike Jackson has been terrible for the environment and Jaworski is running a tight race. Giving free air time for your opponent doesn't seem like a smart move but when the alternative is being outclassed in a debate...

Oh God, Susan almost had a fight with a priest

See what happened down in Tom Delay territory at Kiss My Big Blue Butt.

The Great Schlep

So this plan is to have all the kids and grandkids visit their parents and grandparents in Florida and convince them to vote for Obama. There is a nice set of talking points (pdf) but I might just go with McCain is old and scary and Palin is even scarier.

Link from 'stina.

I've been told there is a dispute in spelling - schlep, or schlepp. Since it is being translated from Yiddish either is correct.

McCain's health plan - deep cuts to Medicare

Hey Seniors, according to the Wall Street Journal McCain's promise of healthcare for all is to be financed by deep cuts to Medicare.

The campaign

The Cardens sent me that.

I made a "terrorist" hot tea and a bagel. BTW, isn't it amazing how so many of McCain's supporters were communists? Is that why he wants the government to buy people's homes? Nah, this is just more desperate flailing from a desperate clueless campaign.

Obama: "I can take four more weeks of John McCain’s attacks, but the American people can’t take four more years of John McCain’s Bush policies."

Bring back the YouTube debates. Here are the questions voters want answered.

Please join me in supporting Harris County Coordinated Campaign 2008! Click to see details and contribute now. - from my fellow election judge Carolyn Franks.

12 days before early voting begins.

Here are all the state candidates in Texas and here is the Harris County sample ballot.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Five Presidential Elections Worse than This One

A romp through cracked history.

Republican conservatism descending

We are watching "the tactics of a desperate, dying, rotted movement descending further and further into the sewer."

...and their buffoonish pundits.

Other political news...

Surprise. Even Richard Cohen is regaining his senses with an attack on Palin and the traditional media.

Palin works up her base - her rallies now resembling George Wallace's.

Sarah Palin and her husband support Alaska seceding from the Union - video.

The year 2000 Vs. 2008 - look at the picture of Bush at the bottom of the comparisons. Imagine McCain in 8 years.

This is our time Harris County Democrats!

Harris County Democrats ready for victory.

More than 1,100 excited, enthusiastic, fired-up-and-ready-to-go Democrats attended the Johnson-Rayburn-Richards dinner Saturday night. Keynote speaker General Wesley Clark gave a rousing address describing the multiple crises of the Bush years and how they were the result of a fundamentally flawed and decidedly wrong-headed political philosophy. He emotionally urged all Democrats to work tirelessly from now through election day to impress upon their friends and neighbors the urgent and imperative need for change.

Texas senate candidate Chris Bell served as master of ceremonies for the event – the largest ever held by the Harris County Democratic Party — and the crowd was energized by recorded greetings from President Bill Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. President Clinton commended Harris County Democrats for our efforts to Turn Harris County Blue, and Senator Obama implored us to achieve that victory this November – up and down the ballot. “This is our time, Harris County,” Senator Obama exhorted. Both President Clinton and Senator Obama paid special tribute to Ambassador Arthur Schechter for his long and dedicated service to Democrats and the Democratic Party, and in whose honor a portion of the program was devoted.

Remarks from Mayor Bill White, U. S. Senate Candidate Rick Noreiga, Ambassador Arthur Schechter, and others all underscored the importance of this election, the grave shortcomings of the Bush Administration and years, the disaster of the epublican governance of Harris County, and the excellence of the Democratic ticket in the upcoming election.

JRR Dinner chair Herman Litt and his committee put together an event which was tremendously entertaining, extraordinarily inspiring and truly unforgettable. They set the bar very high, and they are to be commended for those efforts, that result, and the exceptional success of the 2008 Johnson-Rayburn-Richards dinner.

Obama Stuff

Fight the Smears - the truth about the smears that a party that is out of ideas uses to attack Obama. Find the latest smears and the facts.

Is this a smear? A documentary about when McCain had an ethical lapse where many lost their life savings.

Salon: The GOP is going back to it's ugly roots.

The debate

Saturday Night Live on the VP debate.

Killed my motherboard and am using other PCs. Posting will be light.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Link to Weekly Round-Up

Brains and Eggs has the detail of the week that was.

I'm back from FenCon in Addison Texas and am going to pick up my PC in a few minutes.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Can Texans now vote for Sweetened Bailout 2?

Here is what appears to be added:
_Authorize $700 billion for the government to purchase troubled assets and buy equity in distressed financial firms.

_Require the Treasury Department to make rules to prevent excessive compensation for executives whose companies benefit from the rescue, and cap deductibility of executives' pay packages at $500,000 for firms that get $300 million or more from the program.

_Establish an oversight board for the program, a special investigator general to monitor it and regular government audits.

_Require that the president establish a plan to recoup the cost from the financial industry if, after five years, there are any losses.

_Phase in the money for buying troubled assets, with $250 billion available immediately, $100 billion to be released if the president certifies it is needed, and the last $350 billion available with another certification, but subject to a congressional vote.

Among the sweeteners added are those that would:

_Provide business tax breaks, including for production of, investment in, and use of renewable fuels.

_Require group health plans that include mental health or addiction treatment to provide coverage for those conditions that is equitable to other medical coverage.

_Increase personal credits against the AMT, shielding more than 20 million taxpayers from the tax.

_Grant tax relief to victims of natural disasters in the Midwest and elsewhere.

_Extend through 2011 a program that funds rural schools and local governments that have low property-tax bases because they lie within or are adjacent to federal lands.

_Extend until end of 2009 the deduction for state and local general sales taxes.

_Extend until end of 2009 individual tax breaks, including deductions for higher education costs and teachers' personal expenses.

_Increase, from $100,000 to $250,000, the limit on federal bank deposit insurance.
The items I highlighted would benefit Texans. This is not a progressive bill I would choose but now I think Democrats in Texas may vote for it, or may not, as circumstances dictate.

Source: AP News