Dec 182022

This was from March 21, 2021 and I never published it. Again, some decent things here but unfinished. We’re about to enter our second winter post snowpocalypse. And not enough has been done to improve things so I guess we’re all just crossing our fingers that it goes well? The Republican party still has a hold on Texas whether that’s due to stupid rednecks or redistricting/gerrymandering. Abbott successfully defeated a challenge from Beto. At least I’m about to be rid of Chip Roy as my representation in the US House.

The last twelve months have been the most stressful of my nearly 50 years on this planet. I’ve had a few extra stressors on top of the ones that everyone else has had. But this post is not about me. This post is about what we want and expect from our government. It’s not a shock to anyone who knows me or has read the intermittent posts on here or my more frequent posts to Twitter that I tend to lean more progressive and therefore Democrat. However, I try to remain open and consider the other side on many issues. Given the last twelve months though and particularly the last week in Texas, it’s undeniable that the Republican party and leadership in Texas are solely to blame for the severity of the situation that we all faced with this unprecedented winter storm.

This wonderfully helpful article on the Texas State Legislature and the wikipedia page on Texas Governors back up what I suspected. The Republican party has had control of the state House since 2002, the Senate since 1996 and the Governor since 1995. So that’s control of all three since 2002 or 19 years.

 Posted by on December 18, 2022 at 10:49 pm
Jul 302021

From VoteAmerica:

We have officially hit more than 460 anti-voter bills this year. This really is an astounding milestone. The onslaught of anti-voter attacks is the most intense and direct threat to voting rights we have seen since the days of Jim Crow.

Many of the most recent bills that have been introduced are coming out of Texas, which as I’ve said before is one of the most egregious perpetrators of voter suppression. So far during their special legislative session, 18 anti-voter bills have been introduced. Here are the stats on these bills:

– 13 bills have passed out of committee and are waiting on a full chamber (House or Senate) vote

– 5 bills are waiting for a vote in committee

– Note: Many of these bills can’t move forward after the walkout by members of the House which broke the quorum they need to pass legislation

If you go back and re-read some of my past emails, you’ll notice I mention Texas quite frequently. I’m tracking Texas so closely because their legislature has introduced a grand total of 85 anti-voter bills this year. That’s 18% of the bills I’ve been tracking. No other state comes close to this incredibly aggressive number of bills (the next nearest state is Arizona with 31 introduced anti-voter bills).

And then there is Indiana where voting rights groups have filed a lawsuit challenging a law that purged voters’ registrations without providing adequate written confirmation and notice procedures. Voter registration purges are one of the most common ways states disenfranchise voters.

 Posted by on July 30, 2021 at 10:33 am
Jan 162015

It’s an upbeat day for science / environmental news. I started my day reading the cover of the New York Times as I waited in line for my coffee this morning.

Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says

So that’s a little light reading.

Followed by the following two posts from the Washington Post…

It’s Official: 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history


Scientists react to warmest year: 2014 underscores ‘undeniable fact’ of human caused climate change

So, thanks for that, everyone who doesn’t give a shit, actively works against any measure for mitigating this looming disaster or just has their head in the sand (or other places where the sun doesn’t shine). Unfortunately, that includes my own parents. Unbelievable.

 Posted by on January 16, 2015 at 3:33 pm
May 052008

Is that title too long to catch on? My morning troll through news feeds brought up two things that I think are somewhat related and that I want to highlight.

Today is the 83rd anniversary of the day that John Scopes was arrested in Dayton, TN for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution to his high school biology class. Until roughly 8 years ago, I would’ve told you that we’d made significant progress since that day and that we were still making progress. Now, in 2008, I’d say that we’ve backslid because of a culture of ignorance, a president who shows no intellectual curiosity whatsoever, stories like this. and movies like this. 83 years later, it’s not safe to take a deep breath. We still have to fight against ignorance.

Also in the news today, Mildred Loving has died. She and her husband, Richard, were the couple behind the 1967 Supreme Court case that overturned many state laws banning mixed race marriages. Until then, it would’ve been illegal for my wife and I to get married in Texas and fifteen other states. My parents were married that year and my wife’s parents were married two years later. My parents were not mixed race, while my wife’s were. My in-laws encountered a lot of resistance at the time that they were married though they were in Minnesota, a state that never had any restrictions on interracial marriage. Loving Day is coming up on June 12. It’s amazing that only 40 years have passed since then, only a bit longer than my own lifetime. Thankfully, we haven’t backslid here as far as I can tell, but it’s still important to remember things like this, especially in light of the same-sex marriage debate that rages today.

I suppose it’s not surprising that the same people who want to put science back in 1925 also want to perpetuate the same ignorance with same sex marriages that existed in 1967 for mixed race marriages. Maybe McCain should just promise his constituents a time machine and be done with it.

Feb 052008

So, the biggest day for primaries coincides with Mardi Gras. I guess this has happened before, but I just like saying “Super Fat Tuesday”.

I’m obviously for Obama. I think he’ll do well enough to keep in the race today. I posted the letter from GYWO’s David Rees yesterday. I’ve got several video links today, so you don’t even have to do much reading.

The, celebrity-studded, Yes We Can video – this is adapted from Obama’s New Hampshire Primary speech

Lawrence Lessig’s 20 minutes on why he’s for Obama and not Clinton. Lessing is a Stanford law professor and is very tech savvy with an amazing record on copyright. He’s also got a personal story that I’ve always connected with, so I give his opinion a lot of weight. I think the first 3/4 is right on. I do think Lessig overstates the impact of Obama’s election on peace at the end of the video.

Here’s the Lorna Brett Howard video referred to by Lessig’s video on why she switched from Clinton to Obama.

And if you’re not reading Robert Reich’s blog, you should start.

Ok, one more that I forgot, Questlove from The Roots reminds us of some things that we shouldn’t forget.

[tags]obama, clinton, lessig, yeswecan, lornabretthoward, switch, videos, election, primaries, democrats, questlove[/tags]

 Posted by on February 5, 2008 at 10:30 am
Jan 302008

Stop the Spying!

Let’s imagine a situation where I get to ask a town hall forum-type question of my two current senators, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison. Two Republican senators who have pretty much rubber stamped everything their fellow Republican Texan President has done in the White House for the past 7 years. Two senators who are standing with the President on the current FISA bill and against the American people. I’d ask them,

“Senators, I’d just like to ask you if you’re going to treat the next President of the United States in the same way that you’ve treated the current one? Presumably, you’re ok with the next President and the one after asserting ‘unitary executive’, issuing dozens of signing statements in which he or she decides to selectively ignore sections of bills that have been passed by the legislature and signed into law? Presumably, you’re ok with getting rid of a system of checks and balances that has served us well over the past 232 years? You’d prefer to let a President and his administration run the country on their own without any input from the people or their elected representatives? Because that’s what you’ve done for the last 7 years and that’s what you’re doing right now.”

Dec 212007

Two things cropped up today and I think they tie together nicely. I’ve got plenty of immediate concerns to worry about, but these are two “big picture” items.

First, Sean, linked I Am Not Afraid from Downsize DC this morning. I completely agree that the Bush administration and the GOP in particular have used fear of another terrorist attack as the reasoning for doing all sorts of ill-advised, bone-headed and criminal things over the past 6 years. However, I don’t want to blindly endorse another push to downsize the government. There’s no doubt that bureaucracies are bloated with waste, but we can’t use the method employed by the current administration to kill it off, namely incompetence and privatization. I’m still baffled as to how I’m drawn into left and right, us and them arguments with friends and co-workers whose viewpoints I have a lot more in common with than somebody like George W. Bush. We’re arguing with the wrong people and about the wrong things.

The second, somewhat related, news item is the death of Nataline Sarkisyan. Jason Calacanis is all over this with posts to his own blog and Mahalo. Speaking of bloated bureaucracies, if it turns out that hers was a legitimate case for a transplant, one was available and she died because of wrangling from Cigna, then this case will be a rallying cry for everyone who’s ever had to deal with the crap that health insurance companies can dish out. This is exactly the sort of thing that illustrates how all of the free market whackjobs need to STFU. Some things can’t be evaluated on their profit potential and if that’s the sole criterion, then you end up with a dead 17-year-old who could and should have been saved. How does fear play into this? I fear that one day; I might have to face a similar situation with my own children.

[tags]fear, terrorism, healthcare, natalinesarkisyan, bureaucracy, policy, failed[/tags]

 Posted by on December 21, 2007 at 3:53 pm
Dec 062007

Keith Olbermann goes off on GW. I know it’s for theatrics and that Olbermann has carved a niche for himself as the anti-O’Reilly, but this quote is too good not to repeat:

A bright man, or an honest man, would have realized no later than the McConnell briefing that the only true danger about Iran was the damage that could be done by an unhinged, irrational Chicken Little of a president, shooting his mouth off, backed up by only his own hysteria and his own delusions of omniscience.

I’d laugh harder if it didn’t scare me so much.

 Posted by on December 6, 2007 at 8:56 pm
Dec 032007

The subject pretty much sums it up. At the recommendation of the dental hygienists at our pediatric dental office, we bought Crest Pro Health Rinse for our kids, especially the older one, who got a poor score on the last visit. True to form, The Boy hasn’t been very good about using it, but The La has been very conscientious, using it every night for the past month or so. This past week, we noticed brown staining near the gums on several of her teeth. It looks terrible and since I’m the one who typically brushes her teeth, I felt really bad and started to worry about what was going wrong.

Well, The Wife googled about teeth staining and, lo and behold, there’s tons of comments on several sites about Crest Pro Health staining people’s teeth brown and causing some to lose their sense of taste, including an Amazon product page. I also found this snarky, but spot on editorial and this article.

I e-mailed Proctor and Gamble this morning and they responded within an hour or two with this message:

Thanks for contacting us, Tim.

I’m sorry about your daughter’s recent experience while using Crest Pro Health Rinse. Some people who use an antimicrobial product such as Crest Pro Health, may experience some tooth discoloration. This is true especially among those people who experience a lot of tartar. Unlike stains due to smoking or beverages which can discolor the entire tooth, antimicrobial tooth discoloration can occur in hard to brush areas like between the teeth and at the gumline. This type of staining is only temporary and on the surface of the tooth. This temporary tooth staining can be reduced or eliminated by using a power brush and a tartar control or whitening toothpaste. I’m sending you some free coupons for other Crest products. Watch for my postal reply to arrive within 2-3 weeks.

Meanwhile, to help us understand your daughter’s experience, we would like to request some additional information. We will share your information with our Health and Safety Team who will follow-up with you regarding your dental expenses.

For answers to medical questions, we recommend you speak with your dentist who will be able to give you the best advice.

Thanks again for getting in touch.

Crest Team

I love how the main thrust of their response is to buy more of their products and that they readily acknowledge that Crest Pro Health will stain your teeth brown. Of course, if they did The Right Thingâ„¢ and warned you about it on the bottle, they’d lose sales, so there’s no chance of them doing that. I contacted our dentist’s office and the person that I spoke with on the phone hadn’t heard of the brown staining problem. We’ve already got an appointment for a regular cleaning next Wednesday, so I’ll report back with what they say. I’m also going to add photos to this post tonight.

 Posted by on December 3, 2007 at 11:26 am