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
Dec 242019

I got two e-mails from Texas politicians today. I’ve been on John Cornyn’s mailing list for many years. I like to keep tabs on my Senator even if I didn’t vote for him and I generally don’t agree with him. I never bothered to get on Ted Cruz’s list apparently. Digging through my Gmail account, I don’t have much from Kay Bailey Hutchison either. I’m also getting e-mails from Beto O’Rourke. They’re quite a contrast. O’Rourke’s is much more personal and less tone deaf than Cornyn’s.

Here’s O’Rourke’s

Here’s Cornyn’s

My favorite thing in Cornyn’s is the small print footer that’s included in most of his recent e-mails.

I’m not sure which staffer wrote it but they need a proofreader.

“help stop the dangerous policies being pedaled by the left to oppose our president and replace our conservative Texas values”.

It’s not in Oatmeal’s 10 words but it needs to be. The phrase is “peddled”, not “pedaled”. I’m not sure how you pedal policies, but I suppose you could peddle them. Lol. Google knows:

Double Lol. Also according to my Gmail account, that footer has been in 126 e-mails from Cornyn since March 12th of this year which is the first time it appeared. His campaign used O’Rourke as a fundraising tool for most of those e-mails, particularly at the beginning of this month when he dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary and it was rumored he might join the primary race to run against Cornyn with most of the subjects of those e-mails having “BETO WATCH” in the subject.

 Posted by on December 24, 2019 at 12:22 pm
Dec 272018

I know this is going to come as a shock to you, but the current President of the United States is a serial liar. He lies as easily as he breathes. Why are we putting up with this? Two minutes of searching proves that his latest statement to troops that he gave them a more than 10% raise and that there hadn’t been one in more than 10 years is demonstrably false. They’ve gotten one every year for the last 10 years and the largest in the last 10 years was in 2009 at 3.9%.

 Posted by on December 27, 2018 at 1:32 pm
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
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
Sep 112007

This is the sixth year that my mother has had to share her birthday with that favorite GOP talking point. I wonder if she’ll ever get it back. I’m not going to post much because I think I covered it pretty well last year.

Six years later and we’re still dealing with poor decisions made in the wake of the attack. Osama Bin Laden is still releasing videos. Here’s a proper remembrance from Tony Pierce.  DailyKos has a proper interpretation of Petraeus’s testimony yesterday (anybody surprised by the timing?). And the Rep for my old ‘hood in Queens tries to get to the point. Of course, his original question never gets answered.

[tags]9/11, anniversary, remembrance, tonypierce, dailykos, crooksandliars[/tags]

 Posted by on September 11, 2007 at 1:39 pm
May 292007

In a press conference last week, Preznit Bush answered a question from David Gregory:

Q Mr. President, after the mistakes that have been made in this war, when you do as you did yesterday, where you raised two-year-old intelligence, talking about the threat posed by al Qaeda, it’s met with increasing skepticism. The majority in the public, a growing number of Republicans, appear not to trust you any longer to be able to carry out this policy successfully. Can you explain why you believe you’re still a credible messenger on the war?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m credible because I read the intelligence, David, and make it abundantly clear in plain terms that if we let up, we’ll be attacked. And I firmly believe that.

Look, this has been a long, difficult experience for the American people. I can assure you al Qaeda, who would like to attack us again, have got plenty of patience and persistence. And the question is, will we?

Yes, I talked about intelligence yesterday. I wanted to make sure the intelligence I laid out was credible, so we took our time. Somebody said, well, he’s trying to politicize the thing. If I was trying to politicize it, I’d have dropped it out before the 2006 elections. I believe I have an obligation to tell the truth to the American people as to the nature of the enemy. And it’s unpleasant for some. I fully recognize that after 9/11, in the calm here at home, relatively speaking, caused some to say, well, maybe we’re not at war. I know that’s a comfortable position to be in, but that’s not the truth.

Failure in Iraq will cause generations to suffer, in my judgment. Al Qaeda will be emboldened. They will say, yes, once again, we’ve driven the great soft America out of a part of the region. It will cause them to be able to recruit more. It will give them safe haven. They are a direct threat to the United States.

And I’m going to keep talking about it. That’s my job as the President, is to tell people the threats we face and what we’re doing about it. And what we’ve done about it is we’ve strengthened our homeland defenses, we’ve got new techniques that we use that enable us to better determine their motives and their plans and plots. We’re working with nations around the world to deal with these radicals and extremists. But they’re dangerous, and I can’t put it any more plainly they’re dangerous. And I can’t put it any more plainly to the American people and to them, we will stay on the offense.

It’s better to fight them there than here. And this concept about, well, maybe let’s just kind of just leave them alone and maybe they’ll be all right is naive. These people attacked us before we were in Iraq. They viciously attacked us before we were in Iraq, and they’ve been attacking ever since. They are a threat to your children, David, and whoever is in that Oval Office better understand it and take measures necessary to protect the American people.

Oh, where to start? First of all, yes, Al Qaeda is a threat to the U.S. . It is inevitable that someone claiming affiliation with them (whether it’s true or not) will succeed in pulling off another attack on U.S. soil and it doesn’t matter who’s the President when it happens. It’ll happen anyway. Whether or not I blame an administration for it kind of depends on the circumstances and magnitude of the attack and if I believe that we reasonably did all that we could to prevent it.

However, the argument that we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here is a load of horseshit. On top of that, nobody is advocating that we leave Al Qaeda or any other terrorists who intend to attack us alone. To insinuate that anyone is advocating that is offensive, petty and wrong. The majority of the violence is sectarian violence that we unleashed by attacking a country that didn’t have any credible ties to Al Qaeda.

Here’s a few good links from over the weekend:

I’m currently reading The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, the 2007 NonFiction Pulitzer Prize winner from Austin-based author, Lawrence Wright. It’s reinforced for me even more that giving up the moral high ground with incidents like Abu Ghraib, Jose Padilla, etc. is one of the biggest mistakes we’ve made over the last 7 years. We’ve given Bin Laden way more power than he ever actually had and it’s the fear mongering of the Bush administration and it’s propaganda machine, Fox News, that’s to blame.

 Posted by on May 29, 2007 at 3:09 pm