Sunday, February 28, 2010

Piggybacking on the work of others....

This is a little bit pathetic.

(QUICK! SLOW DOWN, ChronBlog Caucasian Think Tank, ChronBlog, 20/28/10)
As reported by The New York Times, Maersk, over the past two years, has dramatically reduced both its costs and its carbon footprint, without employing new technologies or shrinking its work force or resorting to any other drastic measures

Given their recent trend of being out-hustled by community newspapers and TV outlets on local stories the CCTT might as well comment on stories from the NYT.

The important thing about the census.....

Is ensuring the constant flow of "free" federal money...

(GALVESTON COUNTING BIG TIME ON CENSUS, Harvey Rice, ChronBlog, 02/28/10)
Illegal immigrants have become crucially important to Galveston's future in the eyes of city officials because of Hurricane Ike.
The island lost as much as 20 percent of its estimated population of 57,000 after the storm, which could pose a serious problem because state and federal money is doled out on the basis of population.
The 2010 census is looming, and every head on the island, legal or illegal, will count.

The continuation of the "I got mine" mentality ensures that things will get worse, financially, in State and local gov't before it gets better.

HISD continues their clean-up

I've got a feeling there is more to come.

(Ericka Mellon, ChronBlog, 02/28/10)
Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier confirms that chief business officer, Dick Lindsay, resigned Friday. Grier, who accepted the resignation, would not comment on details.

Grier's work of cleaning out the long-time, embedded administrators is going to be the first step of turning around HISD.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The first hint....

...that the Perry team is moving their focus down the road comes courtesy of a Bill White....err...Texas Tribune story on an e-mail from Perry consultant Dave Carney:

(Matt Stiles, Texas Tribune, 02/27/10)
The voter frustration with the democrat party nationally has not escaped the attention of Texans. Mayor White is another in a long line of dream team mirages that the net roots of the left have fabricated. In this political environment no competitive state will elect a big city trial lawyer, anti gun, sanctuary city promoting, Clinton protégé DC politician, let alone a conservative state like Texas.

While Mayor White has yet to been defined, it is inarguable the Texas voters have been exposed to well over $100 million in negative attack ads against Rick Perry. The voters of Texas know Rick Perry, warts and all, and he still leads Mayor White by double digits in most public polls.

White's team countered that he has been defined but that suggestion reveals a flaw in the White campaign team: They're assuming that what's true in Houston is true in the rest of the State. White should win Houston, but my guess is that he'll split Harris County. After that White is a blank slate, and Perry's team is very good at making sure it's their picture that shows up most prominently.

Bill White's worst nightmare..... a State Democratic Machine that's not fully convinced he can win.

(Richard S. Dunham, ChronBlog, 02/27/10)
A Houston Chronicle analysis of congressional campaign contributions in the 2010 election season found that Texans are shipping millions of dollars to out-of-state candidates this year, and most of the recipients are Democrats.

Eight of the top 10 non-Texas recipients of Lone Star State political money are Democrats. Overall, Democrats are receiving about 60 percent of the $6,823,766 in Texas money headed to Senate and House candidates in other states, according to Federal Election Commission filings through Feb. 10.

Houston, the top political exporter, sends about two-thirds of its campaign cash to Democrats.
Dunham's story goes on to speculate that much of the state's Democratic money crosses state lines is due to the Dem's minority status in Texas and the donors desire to back a winner.

The first state-wide Dem candidate to win their race will be the first one that can reverse this trend. Bill White is raising a lot of money, but he's leaving a lot on the table as well.

Then there's the little matter of the fading Republican structural advantage in Texas. It's lessening, but it's still there....for now.

A Lack of Ideological Diversity.....

...lends itself to some odd conclusions.

(ChronBlog Caucasian Think Tank, 02/27/10)
President Barack Obama's much-anticipated health care summit was clarifying. Nearly seven hours of talk on Thursday made plain that the divide between Democrats and Republicans is wide and likely unbridgeable.
But the summit also made this much clear: Most Americans believe that health care reform is needed. We would argue that gives Obama and the Democrats a clear mandate to move forward on their own.


Why I've no doubt most Americans feel something should be done, it's quite a reach to say that the something in question is to pass the Democrats' version of reform.

One of the consequences of group think is the formulation of odd conclusions. This could be avoided were there an inkling of ideological diversity present in the CCTT.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This took longer than I thought it would....

Like moths to a flame unelected, mostly useless, public agencies are drawn to proposed public projects in a vain effort to try and protect their thin veneer of usefulness....

(Chris Moran & Bradley Olson, ChronBlog, 02/26/10)
The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority board is scheduled on Monday to discuss becoming the landlord for a professional soccer stadium in Houston's East End.

Houston and Harris County officials have been negotiating the county's participation in a stadium on 12 acres of city-owned land just east of U.S. 59. Former Houston Mayor Bill White pitched a deal 20 months ago, asking the county to match the city's $10 million pledge to provide infrastructure for a $60 million stadium the Dynamo.

The Authority's involvement does not signal that a deal is imminent, officials said.

What this deal needs is a heaping helping of Billy Burge. Too bad he's not still around. Watching former Oilers QB Oliver Luck explain the intricacies of Footy to him would be a sporting event in and of itself.

Texas Democrat PSA:

Texas political observers were stunned today when....*

......We interrupt this blog to bring you the following Public Service Announcement from the Texas Democratic Party:
"The point is NOT that Democratic Texas Gubernatorial Candidate Bill White appointed the majority of the Houston Metro board, it's the CURRENT Houston Mayor (and Democrat) Annise Parker is cleaning it up."

Thank you, we now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging, already in progress.....

.......was caught, by an undercover news team, playing Parcheesi with a picture of Ronald Reagan and two prostitutes wearing nothing but Cheez-Whiz .

Running Houston Like a Business

Isiah Carey* drops a bomb on the City's Housing Department. If you remember, Bill White appointed David Mincberg to the board of HHD after Mincberg lost an election to Ed Emmett for County Judge.

Prior to that Mincberg was one of Mayor White's $1 executives who acted as a special advisor for multi-family housing.

This could not come at a worse time for the Bill White campaign, who've been trumping his fiscal success while Mayor as one of the main reason's Texans should vote for him as Governor.

Rick Perry's oppo-research team has to be salivating right about now.

*Give it up to TV media AGAIN, for scooping ChronBlog on a big local story. (But hey, ChronBlog's got the Good Life and that's what matters (to them)

There's no such thing.... bad publicity?

I don't think they thought this one through.

The Noise Machine (02/26/10)

You have now entered a no shredding zone....

Oh the humanity! (Thank goodness it wasn't the thin mints. That would have been a tragedy of world altering proportions)

Any way you look at it, that's a crap-load of diapers.

Apparently, you're fired up about this little mid-term election. (Good. Now if we could just get decent candidates....)

Rick Casey gets his dander up, in another excuse to take a shot at Perry. (While writing about a race taking place in the MetroPlex) With all of the good local races, doesn't Houston deserve a columnist that's going to direct their attention here?

I have no problem with ChronBlog endorsing Borris Miles for the 146. I do have a question however:
Miles' proven business acumen and leadership abilities make him the better-qualified candidate of the two.
What proven business acumen and leadership abilities are ChronBlog's Faulty Bullhorn referring to?

Do we want Google Fiber for our communities in Houston? Apparently the bar for 'interest' is set at Austin's 199 people.

The baby-boomers are the worst generation in the history of ever. Discuss.

Lefty thinkers are pushing the nuclear option for healthcare. Ironically, this is what many Republicans are hoping they do. (And what the polls are, increasingly, suggesting they shouldn't do FWIW)

Interesting article from City Journal on eminent domain abuse as central planning tool. It doesn't take much imagination to see Houston's cabal of twenty-something erstwhile urban planners calling for increased use of this to build utopia. Yu can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. (Of course, the "eggs" in this case are humans, but that's not important in the "new urban" vision of Houston. The poor need not apply.)

Speaking of New Urban: I don't think Cypress is what proponents had in mind.

Once again, An online news source does the heavy lifting on a ChronBlog report where it was lacking. (This is becoming a trend.)

Bill White is in full-on general campaign mode. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Shreddergate now with 50% more entertainment value.

And finally....

Big Jolly Politics continues its throwdown against Terry Lowry. (What Mr. Jennings has done is highlight the biggest weakness of the HCRP: An overabundance of good-ol-boy politics.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Metro's Magnificent Maceration

By now I'm sure you've read about Metro's "oops" moment from a variety of other sources (and here and here as well) Of course there's going to be much more to come of this, a scandal with all of the earmarks of a multiple news cycle news event: Intrigue, stealth shredding, shadowy characters plying away in the middle of the night, potential insider deals with contractors by department heads and a crusty DA looking for a freshly minted scalp to hang over her desk.

It wasn't supposed to be this way for Houston's transit agency of course. By this time they were supposed to be popping the corks off of bottles of Champagne as their developer buddies drew up grand, multi-use plans for land that had been purchased on the cheap from small businesses forced to shut down and sell out due to poor access during construction. Shortly after that they would quaff more Champagne as tax subsidies kept pouring in, ridership numbers were inflated, and all of this was positively reported by Houston's notoriously non-inquisitive former newspaper of record. The final leg to the plan would be the election of former Hizzoner Bill White to the Governorship of Texas, where his penchant for over-paying for cutesy green modes of transportation would lead to the salad days for Houston's transportation cabal.

Sadly, all of this is not to be, as Metro head honchos Frank "procurement disaster" Wilson and David road to catastrophe" Wolff are surely to be shown the door once (now sort-of) newly minted Mayor Annise Parker finds suitable replacements for them, hopefully replacements with some fresh ideas on how to move Houstonians from point A to point B (and A to C, and D to E, and L to X, etc. Houston being notoriously decentralized) efficiently and safely, without designing a system that's punitive to Houston's dominant mode of transportation.

Until this unfolds we can only wait for Slampo to weigh in on this mess and for the punishment phase should wrong-doing be uncovered.

My humble suggestion for an ample punishment would be to tie the guilty spread-eagled to the front of the Danger Train wearing a sign reading "Shredder" with an iPod in their ears playing Bill White "State of the City" speeches on a loop until the train reaches full capacity.

That's enough to reform anyone.

The priorities of the California House....

..reveal a lot about what's wrong with that State.

(Dean Thomas Theriault, Mercury News, 02/25/10)
Amid the ongoing — and occasionally tense — debate over how to clean up California's budget mess, lawmakers have taken time out to tidy something else almost as unmanageable: our language. This morning, the Assembly approved a ceremonial resolution turning the first week of March into "Cuss Free Week."

Well shit.

Anger management....

...could do some good in this case...

(Joe Holley, ChronBlog, 02/25/2010)
"While Congresswoman Jackson Lee is on the floor of the U.S. Congress fighting for jobs and health care

Why is it that the worst elected officials always have to be fighting?

Those in glass houses....

...should not throw stones...

(Richard Connelly, Houston Press, 02/25/10)
The Chron, of course, lets just about anyone with access to a keyboard put up a blog that gets featured on the home page. This can result in hilarity like the utterly blinders-on right-wing Tea Party political "analysis" by "Texas Sparkle"; in sports it can result in great blogs (i.e, Texans Chick), or cliche-ridden pointlessness like "On Further Review."

The Houston Press is not calling out ChronBlog for shitty amateur content are they?

Were they still a meaningful newspaper (instead of Houston's largest local blog) then such a move by ChronBlog might raise eyebrows. From the Press? We have no more expectations for them anyway*, having long sense abandoned the "alt" portion of alt-weekly.

*If you ever had any expectations for this blog you need to get out more. You get what you pay for after all.

The Noise Machine (02/25/10)

Funny, it doesn't feel like a Summit.

Want to know why Mega-Chruch/Prosperity Gospel is suffering from bad PR? I give you Exhibit A. (Christ said something about "giving unto Caesar what is Caesar's" right?)

TCEQ 1 Bill White Gubernatorial Campaign 0

This news is sure to get the anti-everyone-but-those-who-look-just-like-me crowd all worked up but it shouldn't. After all, budget cuts during hard times are what folks are asking for. (I'd rather see this program shelved than say...pothole repair.)

That Houston is car-based, to me, doesn't seem to be a problem. Certainly not when you consider that new, fuel-efficient (maybe electric once the battery storage issues get worked out) cars are on the way. What concerns me is people trying to make the HOU graphic in this story look like the NYC graphic despite the obvious. (Like, geography, practicality, attainability)

Anti-Christianity cool or...Life in the ChronBlog "religion" section. (There is fertile debate ground to be plowed on this issue, I could even agree that America is not Christian, per se. The problem is the Houston dims that are doing the plowing are, in many cases, incapable of structuring a logical argument.)

More from Tory Gattis on Metro's fare wars. (I'm still amazed he doesn't have a seat in today's transportation round-table. Were Houston really serious about moving people from point A to point B he'd be given a buggy whip and be told to keep the twenty-something urban planners in line.)

Evan from Perry vs. World takes a look at this Jason Embry story on Bill White getting funding from the Democratic Governor's Association and then does the digging a paid journo like Embry should have done in the first place. (I've been less than impressed with Embry's reporting so far on this election.)

Unca Darrell (who's planned retirement is obviously on hold) offers worthy praise to ChronBlog photographers and wonders why you don't see more of this stunning work in the print edition? (Maybe ASSOCIATE EDITOR - FEATURES Kyrie O'Connor doesn't like pictures?)

Tom Kirkendall on the death penalty. One of Houston's most serious bloggers offers up his criticism of the current system. (My issue is this: Execution should ideally be reserved for the worst of the worst: Serial killers, heinous crimes etc. In Texas I believe that we are over applying the statute on a chronic basis. I'm OK with the death penalty, but not in the manner Texas is applying it.)

and finally......

Slampo reports on the untimely demise of a Metro bus shelter. With shockingly graphic images. (If you've got a soft spot in your heart for bus shelters that is.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Houston does good Craigslist

Very good Craigslist....

Up in here!

How much fun would this have been to watch?

Quite a bit if you ask me.....

(Joe Holley, ChronBlog, 02/24/10)
Whenever the wily, old legislative veteran rambled on about something, Miles, a frown on his face, either drummed his fingers on the table or backed away from the table in exasperation. Watching his body language, I was waiting for him to tell Edwards exactly how he felt -- and then seal it with a kiss on the cheek.

Wanna make those editorial board conferences relevant again?

Gambling IS legal in Texas

Provided you're a politician...

(Joe Holley, ChronBlog, 02/24/10)
For the first time in Sealy history, an election ended in a tie. The winner will be decided at 6 this evening by a roll of the dice in council chambers.

Let's televise it like the main event in Poker.

All this story needs....

Is Raquel Roberts comparing shredders to children's left-handed scissors...

(Mike Snyder, ChronBlog, 02/24/10)
The Metropolitan Transit Authority is investigating whether documents shredded by one of its lawyers were among those sought in an open records request for travel records and e-mail correspondence of senior Metro executives.
After all we already have Frank Wilson assuring us it was an "innocent mistake". I'm surprised he didn't remind us that Metro operates in a completely transparent manner.

Sorry I missed this....

...from the guys over at County Seat, because it's one of the funnier pieces of local political satire that's come down the pipe in a while.

Bonus points for mentioning Webelos.

Oh, and here's a link to Chis Daniel's campaign site, where we learn that, for one thing, he wears a suit to the beach.

Corridor Resuce Inc. Update. (02/24/10)

Now Dodson has a chance.....

(Bobbi Leder,, 02/23/10)
According to Deborah Hoffman from Corridor Rescue, two criminals were apprehended this past weekend after tossing a dog out of a van by his legs. Fortunately there were two separate witnesses - Corridor Rescue volunteers – who went from volunteers to heroes as the scene unfolded.

One actually followed the van (and called Hoffman who in turn called the Houston Police Department). The men in the van were arrested, charged with animal abandonment, and are now in jail.
While all of this was going on the wife and I were at the PetCo setting up for an adoption event. Suddenly Deborah's phone started ringing like crazy and the chase was on.

We haven't met Dodson yet, but I'm sure we will, once he gets back to his fighting weight, gets his mange cleared up and is ready to greet the world. In the meantime these things take time and money, so we'll continue our volunteering.

You might be working too much.....

....if your voter registration address is your business.

(Steve Miller, Texas Watchdog, 02/24/10)
Nine people in Tarrant County live communally in a 539,000-square foot cinderblock compound owned by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration, if their voter registrations are to be believed.

It is the DEA's presence at Alliance Airport at 2300 Horizon Drive and it is most certainly not a residence.

Still, at least three of the nine, who registered to vote in a period between February 2002 and August of last year, cast ballots in 2008 despite the fact that property listings suggest they live in other parts and precincts of Tarrant and, in one case, neighboring Denton County.

Go read the whole thing.

It's cases such as this that lead me to support some form of Voter ID law in Texas. Not as a means to decrease the number of voters, but to ensure that all of the votes that are cast are processed correctly. Any "Voter Identification" law that's passed should really have, at its heart, the twin goals of increasing voter participation and accuracy. That's why I also am in support of same-day voter registration provided the citizen can produce a valid photo ID. You can swipe current versions of driver's licences and State-issued ID cards, and that technology is under-utilized in our electoral process.

The Noise Machine (02/24/10) (UPDATED)

You call that snow?

It'd be a helluva shame to let the Alamo fall into disrepair. Even for a State so allergic to its history as Texas.

"It just bugs me that he got another round off." - David Benke is OK by me.

About 2 years back I predicted that flood control was going to be an expensive, public issue. I was right. Such is the price of the lack of attention paid to public works by the Brown & White administrations. (On the bright side: We've got a skate park and a corporate-sponsored downtown park! When you can get to them that is.)

The Houston Area Survey is getting a new home, thus ensuring that Chronblog can misinterpret the data for years to come.

Harris County is not looking to press their austerity measures to the Sheriff's dept. Thus proving they have learned a little from the mistakes of HPD during the last fiscal crisis. (The mistake of an HPD hiring freeze that Houston is still paying for)

Should Bill White's "green cred" come with a disclaimer now? (i.e. "unsuccessfully fought" etc. etc.?)

It's the SNOWPOCALYPSE!!!....oh wait. those mobile units back in. No 20 car pileups to see here. (And, thankfully, no local reporters having the camera man zoom in on a postage stamp-sized patch of slush)

Do yourself a favor: Read this interesting story and then ignore the (idiotic) comments at the bottom.

Bill White's term limits panel is holding its second meeting in order to keep up appearances before they release their report that term-limits are hurting Houston and should be abolished. (What? You think they're going to say something different?)**

How would you balance the budget? That's the question Charles Kuffner ponders for the Texas Government today. My suggestion has always been a holistic review of Texas archaic system of taxation coupled with spending cuts for certain organizations. (Ending the Texas Enterprise Fund for one.) If that makes me a "know-nothing" then so be it. I'm still not convinced that tax increases for tax increases sake is the best tack although I do see a case for broadening the tax base. (The fact is that, currently, a bulk of the revenue burden is placed Texas property owners, which leaves out a large portion of the State. It's a quaint way of collecting taxes, reflective of the historical measure of wealth in the Lone Star State, but not one that has much bearing on reality. Just raising taxes for some and not addressing spending is a recipe for disaster.)

Also from Mr. Kuffner are the Eight days out reports for Tx. Democrats in the down-ballot State races. (He tries to put a positive spin on things but the fact is, outside of Bill White, the Dems are going to have a slate of candidates that are hurting for cash.)

Perry and 50% Does it matter all that much? (Translation: Will he REALLY have to work that hard in a run-off?) My guess is no.

I wonder if Democrats voting for Perry in the Republican primary in order to help Bill White realize that Perry vs. White is polling basically even w/Hutchison vs. White? (And Perry hasn't even turned the attention of his formidable campaign machine White's way yet.)

How badly have Republicans blown it with Hispanics? This bad.

And finally.....

The Bill White...err...Texas Tribune knocks down a little oppo research disguised as journalism for the White campaign. (Does this get listed on the finance report as an 'in-kind donation' or what?)


**I received an e-mail from a certain blog post author (Name rhymes w/Bike Rider) reminding me that the Term Limits Panel is NOT ALLOWED TO RECOMMEND ABOLISHING TERM LIMITS. Yes, I know this, but my guess is they'll get it in the report somewhere, empowered or no. We offer this little bit of clarification in an effort to bring you a better, more enjoyable, blog-reading experience. (Being fresh out of up-skirt pictures of falling models)** Thank you. We now return you to your regularly scheduled reading.....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Not having a grasp of recent history....

....can lead one to bad conclusions.

Jason Embry, Postcards from the Ledge/Austin American-Statesman, 02/23/10)
More than one out of every four Travis County residents who voted in the Republican primary during the first week of early voting this year also voted in the 2008 Democratic primary, according to some very interesting figures from Jeff Smith of Opinion Analysts Inc.

Almost 28 percent of the votes cast in the first week of the GOP primary came from those who took part in the 2008 primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

We should remember that John McCain pretty much had the Republican nomination locked up at that point. So these aren’t necessarily Democrats. But if nothing else, they are Republican voters who have shown something of an independent streak. There may be a few Republican stalwarts who voted in the 2008 Democratic primary because they were trying to gum up the works, but numerous experts have said that happens pretty rarely.

Rarely, except in 2008, when there was a coordinated "anti-Hillary" movement that led to record numbers of Republicans making the jump:

(Alex Johnson, MSNBC, 02/28/2008)
As many as a tenth of the Texans voting in the Democratic contests could be Republicans, and overwhelmingly they favor Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, the polls show.

Granted, during normal elections, it's safe to say that only a few "cross-over" votes exist, and 2008 was hardly a normal year for Texas Republicans with many of them casting votes they would later regret. In horse-racing parlance there's a saying: "draw a line through it" meaning that, when looking over a horse's past history, you disregard an obvious fluke performance caused by a poor start, or an off-track, something that could have explained a good horse going terribly off form. From that perspective you shows "draw a line" through the 2008 primaries as well. A better determinant would be to look back at the 2006 primaries to determine how many current Republican voters now voted Democratic in THAT election. I've a feeling the numbers will be fairly low.

Underwear optional

On today's ChronBlog photo gallery.....

(Image snipped because I know it's going to "go away" without explanation. You click at your own risk.)

Is that what qualifies as #hounews these days?

Is it just me...

...or does the Debra Medina number still seem too high?

(Public Policy Polling (.PDF), 02/23/2010)
Debra Medina’s strong standing in Public Policy Polling’s last survey of the Texas Republican primary for Governor has faded and the race once again looks like it will come down to incumbent Rick Perry and challenger Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Perry leads with 40% to 31% for Hutchison and 20% for Medina, suggesting that a runoff is likely unless the Governor picks off most of the remaining undecideds.

Interestingly enough, Medina (36/55) does just about as well in a runoff with Perry as does Hutchison (35/52). A second problem for Hutchison is that her job-approval numbers (47%) are trending lower than Perry's (50%). Not surprising (to this moderate) is that more moderates (56%) disapprove of the Republican Party's current direction than do Conservatives (35%). Despite this, 60% of Conservatives still feel that the Republican Party is too liberal.

What that last bullet point suggests to me is that there might be an opening for Bill White (the presumed Democratic nominee) to siphon off some moderate and liberal (There are liberal Republicans in Texas?) votes from Perry in the general.

Will this be enough to overcome the Republicans (fading) structural advantage? Probably not.

When preaching....

It's sometimes wise to face away from the choir.

(Jessica Taylor, Politico, 02/23/10)
Social conservative leader James Dobson endorsed Texas Gov. for reelection Monday, eight days before Texas's gubernatorial primary.

In a statement, the Focus on the Family founder praised Perry for his “record that is consistently pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-religious liberty.”

Read more:

I'm not sure if this endorsement will have any value for Perry considering most of the Pro-Life crowd has already hitched their wagon to his star and over 1/2 of early voting is already in the books.

The downfall of professional language...

...has curiously mirrored the downfall of professional journalism.

(ChronBlog Caucasian Think-Tank,, 02/23/2010)
It's a sweet job, being a Harris County commissioner. Your ginormous precinct is your fiefdom, and it comes with an equally ginormous budget.

Had I wanted to read an editorial written by a tween I would have gone to Facebook. Sadly, ChronBlog is more concerned with cultivating broccoli (which costs nothing) than they are churning out a good, accurate, professional product (which costs money) every day.

The Noise Machine (02/23/10)

"When hell..err...Houston freezes over?"

Trent Seibert of Texas Watchdog fame, takes his camera along for a walk around Houston's Eastwood neighborhood. What follows is an interesting look at true diversity, small business and....the evils of synthetic playground grass. (H/T: BlogHouston)

Take me out to the (minor league) ball-game. (I'm rooting for Sugar Land here. I'm sure the Astros aren't however. One of the best things about Minor League baseball is that it can often remind you how poor the major league experience really is. Give me Round Rock over the Astros any day.)

Brrrrr. (On a bright note: After this it appears that Global Warming will concentrate itself in Houston for at LEAST the discernible future as temperatures are projected to rise. Go Global Warming!)

Remember all of the "sky is falling" exclamations, from those claiming to be in love with science, about how the new science standards signified the death of the same? Yeah, not so much. Proof that it's a bad idea to base policy on the unhinged rantings of fringe actors with personal axes to grind. (Or from people who designed their version of the curriculum, are given an uncontested voice by the region's largest political blog, and spend most of their time calling opponents names.)

Even an animal knows to get up and leave after being kicked multiple times, why should we expect the energy industry to be any different? (This is just the beginning of downsizing, relocation and off-shoring initiatives that energy companies are going to be taking to move their workforce out of a City/Country that has shown no signs of wanting them there.)

Elect me and I'll....What? You want specifics? (All the easier to change course after the election my dear.)

Did Ursula Hall tell L'il Red her baby was ugly or something? Typically Falkenberg reserves these screeds for Houstonians who have a different world view than she. (Nice column though, I'd like to see more like this on many of the lower profile races in BOTH parties.) Yes, ChronBlog should play a role in weeding out the weak candidates. I'd argue, as self-described media, they have an obligation to do so. (Except that they're a political blog, NOT real media any longer)

The Economist gives Rick Perry The once-over, and declares him the odds-on favorite to be Governor....again. (They also provide a fairly sober analysis of the race, something lacking in most local coverage where hyperventilating partisanship is the norm.)

Nature reserves are grand, until people start running out of clean water that is. (Then I wonder what will happen?)

And finally....

Money, it makes the political world go 'round.

Monday, February 22, 2010

When due process becomes gauche...

ideas like this aren't immediately discarded as idiotic.

(Emily Ramshaw, Bill Whiter errr...Texas Tribune, 02/22/10)
The attorney who filed a lawsuit against the state for storing infants' blood samples without consent is demanding that Texas recover hundreds of baby blood spots turned over to a military lab to build a national — and someday international — mitochondrial DNA database.
So is "your DNA is on file" the 21st Century equivalent of "Show me your papers?"

What does it say about "innocent until proven guilty" if a blood sample is entered into a criminal DNA database upon birth?

There's a difference....

...between "broken" and "needs fixing"....

(Andy Barr, Politico 02/22/10)
Eighty-six percent of the 1,023 Americans surveyed nationwide said that the government is “broken” compared to only 14 percent who said it is not.

However, only 5 percent of the 86 percent who think government is “broken” believe that it “cannot be fixed.

Read more:

As opposed to throwing out the Constitutional baby out with the elected official bath-water (as some on the Left are suggesting) perhaps a better, and easier, solution is to just to pull out the drain-stop and re-fill the tub?

One man's opinion.....

.......of manufacturing in Texas?

(Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle, 02/19/2010)
There are six more names, mostly concentrating their agendas on issues of workers' rights and rebuilding Texas' shattered manufacturing base.

If the candidates categorized Texas' manufacturing base in that manner then the article didn't make that clear. It appears that it's the journalist making the case and it shouldn't have been in the article. Also, Texas "manufacturing base" is only "shattered" when viewed from a union perspective. Non-union manufacturing is making somewhat of a comeback.

The rest of the article is another puff-piece for Bill White. See Evan's writing from about a month ago for why you're seeing more and more of these, and how his "Democratic establishment" observation is now hitting the mainstream. Since that ground has already been plowed I see no reason to go back over it.

Texas Politics 101 - Fun Stuff

These are some of the great moments in Houston (and Texas) politics that people should take with them to the ballot box either during this or future cycles*

Chris Bell: The candidate who couldn't beat a corpse. (But who has tried several times)

Shelley Sekula-Gibbs: The worst political song ever. (Hopefully her political career is at an end)

Barbara Ann Radnofsky: The Second worst political song ever

Hurricane Ike: Then Mayor Bill White is primarily known for his cursing while County Commissioner Ed Emmett is primarily known for his logistics experience.

Sheila Jackson-Lee: Her biggest news maker last year was championing a resolution that was too far out there for even Nancy Pelosi.

Louis Macey: Profited from a Houston Way land deal for a stadium that might not be built.

Bill White: Is going to have to answer State wide for this incident with the Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation once he faces off with Perry

Rick Perry: Neither Gardasil nor Spanish Corporations seem to matter much to his base of supporters.

Sen. Dan Patrick: The self-proclaimed "Political outsider" sure receives a lot of campaign money from inside baseball type donors

*Maybe one of a series, maybe not. Who knows?

The Noise Machine (02/22/10)

Hockey hangover.....

Now playing at ChronBlog ONLY IN SUNDAY's PRINT EDITION (until Monday that is): Advocacy journalism! (Because, you know, those decomposing Good Life sections that are still lying in non-subscribers' yards aren't doing it.) Not mentioned is this central truth: You won't see a reduction in crime in a neighborhood until the citizens of said neighborhood decide they've had enough. Once immigrants (illegal or no) decide they've had enough of the killing and other crimes, then they'll band together and put a stop to it. No "touchy/feely" immigration program supported by the members of the masthead is going to change this one iota.

In case you're wondering: The answer is NO. Joe Stack was NOT a hero. He was a very disturbed individual who never took responsibility for any of the bad things that happened to him in his life. That is all.

On a National level: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Such is life under poorly crafted legislation. (Or: Why over regulating private business is a bad idea.) Locally: Rah! Rah! big Government plan! (We'll ignore the icky bits)

Sen. Dan Patrick: Outsider. If, by outsider you mean trusted confidant and supporter of the establishment government, newly minted believer in the Government's ability to solve your problems and sudden power broker in the Texas Senate. OK. (That he's having to argue his status proves his insider lean FWIW)

Bail bonds and you, or another call for more, and larger, regulation that will cost as much, if not more, than can be realized in revenue. (Just wait, a multi-Million dollar plan is coming.)

Brrrrr.... (Glad I didn't put my strawberry plants in the ground over the weekend.)

We all love publicly subsidized housing for the poor, until they want to place it next to our communities that is. (Out of sight, out of mind, is how most people {yes, you too progressives} choose to treat the poor)

There's a special circle of hell reserved for puppy burglars.

I don't know about you, but the idea of mobile voting units sounds pretty good to me. (The next step would be instant voter registration, provided the applicant had a valid photo ID.)

Wasn't part of the Bill White appeal supposed to be his bipartisanship? Referring to your political opposites as "forces of darkness" smacks more of amateur political blogging than something befitting a Statesman of the stature attributed to Bill White by his supporters. (Still, it rallies the base, many of whom have a deep-seated need to be "superior" for one reason or another.)*

And finally.....

The New York Times notices the floundering campaign of Kay Bailey Hutchison. She never seemed to give anyone a clear reason for anyone to cast a vote for her other than "I'm not Rick Perry". (The problem with that is the conservative base of the party is married to Perry.)

*Rick Perry is going to wipe the floor with this guy if he keeps on this amateur hour tack

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Good newspapers make this connection...

When expenditures don't match revenues these types of stories should write themselves.

(Chris Moran, ChronBlog, 02/18/10)
Radack's crew is putting the finishing touches on a $2.3 million soapbox derby park.


It started out as a $300,000 idea early in the decade. But the vision expanded to include a hillside amphitheater, and cost overruns added more to the bill.

(Chris Moran, ChronBlog, 02/19/10)
Harris County will have to spend about $53 million less in the coming year because declining property values are projected to shrink its tax collections, according to a preliminary budget report released Friday.

During hearings last month, department heads said worst-case scenarios could mean layoffs, less mosquito spraying, tax office closures and fewer resources to serve a still-growing county population.

Because, in today's Texas Republican world, legacy-building projects take precedence over good government. This would be harder to pass off had Houston something resembling real media.


Off the Kuff

The power or incumbency......

...means never having to look too far to find a political interest willing to lend a dollar.

(Stewart M. Powell & Joe Holley, ChronBlog 02/20/10)
Continental Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek said the liberal, street-savvy Democrat “has been a tireless advocate” for the needs of his Houston-headquartered carrier, including becoming “personally involved” in getting President Barack Obama's administration to focus on Continental's bid to join the 26-carrier Star Alliance.

Or, apparently, finding a local media outlet who's willing to refer to you in glowing terms.

When the going gets tough...

...Evan Bayh goes home.

(Evan Bayh, New York Times, 02/21/10)
Challenges of historic import threaten America’s future. Action on the deficit, economy, energy, health care and much more is imperative, yet our legislative institutions fail to act. Congress must be reformed.

No, Congress doesn't need to be reformed, neither does over 200 years of Constitutional rule need to be abolished to assuage a progressive fit.

The march to political irrelevance....

Would be Tea Party support of a 9% candidate...

(AP via ChronBlog 02/20/2010)
Rep. Ron Paul won the most support for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination in an unofficial straw poll of conservative activists attending an annual conference.
A libertarian from Texas who has railed against spending and the Federal Reserve, Paul won the Saturday contest at the Conservative Political Action Conference with 31 percent backing.

Of course, it's easy to cast a vote for a fringe candidate when there are no consequences.

A thin slice of the electorate.

ChronBlog (no by-line) 02/20/2010:
More than 100 followers of the Dynamo Supporters’ Alliance gathered on Saturday at the intersection of Capitol and Bastrop to support a downtown site for a Major League Soccer stadium.

Wafer-thin if you ask me.

The Original Winger
Urban Transport

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Noise Machine (02/19/10)


Yup, Roy Morales has lost David Jennings. (Morales lost this voter long ago. Not a fan of perennial candidates.)

BlogHouston brings attention to Beldar's (William Dyer) substantive review of the Sharon Keller case. It's good reading, and more free of the partisan scoring system that one typically finds in other local coverage.

When smog and people having electricity collide the results aren't pretty. (What will be even less pretty are the howls of protest by many against this project when images of children and the elderly suffering through rolling blackouts are broadcast in future Summers)

Meet a $2.3 Million dollar waste of taxpayer dollars. This by a Republican (You know, those folks that are chiding others about fiscal conservatism?)

Is it just me? Or is Metro taking on Annise Parker similar to binging a knife to a gunfight? (After all, she appoints the majority of the board.) Buh-bye David Wolff.

The Dippin' Dots economy signs a deal. Jobs to come sometime in the future. (Hey, in the mean time let's destroy the industries that are creating jobs NOW. Good idea.)

It seems Metro's very concerned about their media coverage. Except for print, and blogs. (You know, old and new media?) Further proof of the echo chamber that has become Houston's transportation agency.

And finally.....

Texas Watchdog is ramping up their content lately. Doing a lot of link-post stuff similar to this one. (So...what are you trying to say?)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chevez-Thompson Ad

H/T: Texas Tribune.

"We can't afford to spend any more time waiting on Austin politicians"

Says Chavez-Thompson in an ad asking you elect her to be an Austin politician...

That, and she's spent a lot of time 'fighting'. Which raises the question: Is the Harry Truman/political underdog meme really going to be the Democratic message this time around?

"I'm a fighter?" Blech.

Besides all of that, wouldn't this ad have made more sense last week? Before early voting started? By the time this hits the air EV will be almost 50% finished. Who are the advisors for these campaigns?

Given the financial state of things in the Democratic Lite Gov race there's enough money for one (maybe two) targeted (not state-wide) media buys. That would be one to target the EV and one right before election day. If you're only doing one then put it out before the start of EV to capture as many not-yet-voted eyeballs as possible.

All that being said, at least Chavez-Thompson is on the air. That's more than you can say for the other candidates in this race.

It's going to be Dewhurst in a laugher.

Economist Rap

This has been around for a while, but it's still damn funny.

FWIW I'm more Hayek then Keynes. (Although Keynes had a better rap)

The Noise Machine (02/18/10)

Shaun White is better than you.....(at snowboarding)

No one is arguing that climate change legislation is going to be horrible for the existing Texas economy. What's humorous is that the faith-based AGW defenders are still pointing to the Dippin' Dots economy as the way out.

Rick Perry "hearts" Toyota and so does the Texas economy. For that matter so does the new American manufacturing industry.* (Is it a conflict of interest that a majority owner in one of Toyota's chief competitors is now conducting a 'hearing' on their safety record? Just asking.)

Full speed ahead to year-round schools. On some campuses anyway.

Shami's campaign staff is out, although I'm not sure how effective they were in the first place. (Then again, I'm almost certain most of the blame for this mess of a campaign is on Shami, and NOT Leibowitz and co. In other words, given the candidate, they had no chance to be effective.)

There's no theatre like security theatre.

Oh yeah: It's been suggested that you should pay for children's breakfast. All children's breakfast, regardless of parental income. (I'm certainly not opposed to children who need it being given a breakfast. I don't blame the kid because the parents are lazy/stupid/bad parents/unlucky etc. What concerns me the most is that we're getting closer and closer to a point where children in public schools are de facto "wards of the State", something for which we used to deeply criticize totalitarian regimes.)

Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Just sayin'

Justice Keller may not be out of the woods yet. (And in the InterLeft there was much rejoicing.)

I just find this headline amusing: Democrats challenging GOP Lieutenant Governor mostly agree. (Well good for them.)

The Bill White er...Texas Tribune discovers the quoting joy that is Gayle Fallon. (Teaching would be great if it wasn't for all those damn parents and students.)

Evan on the FireDogLake polls, more specifically, Evan agreeing with Nate Silver on the FireDogLake polls. (Who says bipartisanship is dead?)

And finally....Undercover news:

KTRK style.

KPRC style.

Nice reports and investigative work by both entities. I give this round to Stephen Dean however for actually getting the targeted employee to lock herself in a broom closet in order to ignore questions. Bring on Sweeps week!

*Now safely located in the right to work South FWIW

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

About this voting thing (Part II)

(That's right, a SECOND look at the pratfalls of voting in a "safe" district)

Attempts to pigeonhole by the InterLeft notwithstanding, I am NOT a Republican. Never have been. As an independent voter with a "live and let live" governing philosophy I've always been too fiscally conservative for Democrats (although not nearly fiscally conservative enough for Republicans) and too socially liberal for Republicans (again, not near socially liberal enough for Democrats). One happy side-effect of this is that I always have been allowed to sit out primary elections, let the party loyalists nominate who they think should get the job, and then pick which Party I thought did the best job in weeding out the suck for each particular race.

Typically this meant that I was forced to skip out on a race or two but, for the most part, each party offered up someone that allowed me to cast a vote against John Culberson, even if it was a sacrificial lamb of a candidate who was just there to garner name ID. Unfortunately, as mentioned yesterday, recently this means that I'm almost forced to sit elections out altogether, the decision having primarily been made by the type of person who gets angry and draws up a placard deriding their political opposites as "loosers".

As you can imagine, this is not acceptable. For one: Yes, some Democrats DO have loose morals, but that's no reason to make fun of them for it and, Two: Looking at a long ballot with only one name on a majority of races is depressing. While it's still the case in several races, at least in the primary you get to feel like you've made a decision at some level. Let's face it, the Democratic primary ballot for my precinct could fit on the Sarah Palin's palm.

Because of this, some-odd election cycles ago, the wife and I decided we were going to have to cast aside our aversion to party politics and start casting votes in the Republican primary if we wanted to have any say at all in who represents us, will be judging us, will be the next person to face a horrifying public disgrace while on our watch etc. I mean, if you've got to watch someone implode on a professional level, it should at the least be someone with whom you have a voting connection right?

So we went to Wal-Mart and bought "his and her" matching American Flag shirts, rented a Chevy pick-up truck and cast our ballots. Yay! American Democracy at work.

What they don't tell you in civics class is that the fun didn't stop there. Now both the wife and I are getting e-mails and multiple robo-calls from some guy named Jared who's imploring us to head out to the polls and "take someone with us". We just received the same message from Terry Lowery, who's Link Letter educated us as to the evils of Libertarians, while providing a handy-dandy list of items to bring up at the precinct convention following the election. Cool. And hey, did you know that there was an "active homosexual" (as opposed to a dormant homosexual I'm guessing) who has dared to run for office in today's Republican Party? Unfortunately, Mr. Lowery chose not to name names which is too bad. If the wife and I could vote for him we would. Anything we can do to forward the "vast homosexual conspiracy" that's threatening to overwhelm Houston.

One last thing that I've noticed is this: For someone who didn't want to finish the job he was elected to do, Paul Bettencourt sure is concerned that I vote in "true conservatives" such as he. Maybe their ultimate plan is to resign en masse and throw the County Gov't into an unstable state?

So, go vote, but make sure your call-screening and e-mail security is of the highest level. Or just unplug your land-line. Let this Jared fellow bring his own friends to the polls.

The Noise Machine (02/17/10)

I'm giving up mushy peas for Lent.....

Mike McGuff reports that Houston Municipal Employees Pension Chief Don Long is retiring. BlogHouston wishes him well and repeats all of our hopes that local journos stay on top of the pension story.

I'll give Eric Berger this much. When the guy melts down, he REALLY melts down. Eric "Chernobyl" Berger anyone?

Say goodbye to your third sophomore year.

PeTA: proving that animals are smarter than humans for 20 years.

Houston oil firms might as well go to Iraq. It's not as if the current administration is giving them much choice.

Say hello to my little begonia.

More proof the Heights is full of hot air. (In all seriousness, congratulations to Val Padgett for breaking the record.)

In reality, Shirly Price should resign. If, for nothing else, not understanding the morals of the community she claims to represent. (That's casting aside the wisdom of giving fellatio tips to children. Attempt to further your career on your own time.)

Coming to you live from what USED to be your back-yard. WHO radio. Today's topic: How to turn a derelict piece of downtown property into a windfall of Millions though insider deals and back-room wrangling. (OK, I kid. In reality it's relating to HPD and HFD communications, but the former sounds more fun doesn't it?) **Kudos to Councilmember Jolanda Jones. The most vocal proponent of limited gov't and citizens rights on this iteration of Houston Municipal Government.**

And if you vote before next Sunday, you get a lollipop! (OK, that's not true either. It would sure be nice though. Red (colored with the blood of Dick Cheney's human sacrifices) raspberry for Republican and Blue (using environmentally sensitive dye extracted from the irises of Lisa Falkenberg in order to save the dung beetle) raspberry for Democrats.)

About those budget cuts....

And finally....

How Texans feel about ancient, ancient history. As for me? Heck I don't know. I wasn't there and there are no surviving eye-witness accounts. We'll all find out some day I guess.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

About this voting thing

Not one member of the various legislative bodies elected to represent me is facing a challenger at any level this year:

Rep. John Culberson? Unopposed both in the primary and general elections.

U.S. Senate? This is the off-year election for our Jr. and Sr. Senator. No Election.

State Sen. Dan Patrick? Unopposed both in the primary and general elections.

State Rep. Gary Elkins? Unopposed both in the primary and general elections.

Granted, I reside in what is considered one of the Reddest districts in America but still, you'd think the Tea Party or someone on the left would have made a run.

It's hell living in what is considered a "safe" district. Your elected representation consists of two blow-hards and one piece of legislative window-dressing.

That doesn't mean there's not a lot of executive, judicial and local election stuff that needs taking care of....certainly at the County level.

The Noise Machine (02/16/10)

Does this Tuesday make me look fat?

Annise Parker's biggest gaffe as Mayor so far? Not putting Tory Gattis on her Metro committee. Big, big mistake.

Kevin Whited of Blog Houston judges the Democratic candidates for County Judge and finds one of them lacking. Ed Emmett's road to re-election seems pretty easy this time.

Note to Texans: They're trains. Get out of the effing way. Geez.

Did they use the under reported HPD crime data for this story? Because, if they did, that's kind of going to pose a problem. (I believe the term is G.I.G.O.)

Here's hoping that BAE can diversify and 3,000 people can continue working. (And here's to the local interLeft for keeping it real, and predictable {If ONLY they were represented by a DEMOCRAT none of this would have happened}....thanks guys and gals.)

Terry Grier goes outside the box, which may be a good thing when it comes to fixing an HISD that's become increasingly dysfunctional over the last couple of administrations.

What does it say that TxDOT identified five times the available cuts in their budget than what Rick Perry requested? (This on the heels of a winter of crying 'poor' when it came to road funds.) Think about that.

Um.....wasn't one of the bigger issues in the recent financial collapse putting people in homes that had no business being there? Uh-huh. Yup. I thought so. (Now's the part where we say something about insanity and expecting differing results etc.)

Oh, should really go vote or something. Because, you know, they went to all this trouble, spent all of this money and have "fought so hard for you" *snicker* up to this point and all. (Is it me? Or are the worst politicians always the ones that are "fighting" the hardest?)

and finally....

We got money, yes we do. We got money, how 'bout you?!?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Updated Bleg

Reminder: The deadline for donations is February 19th, or...the date of the bowling "match".

Because the way the Country is going kids today are going to need it later.

That's right, it's charity time.

If you're not familiar with Junior Achievement then click on the link and read up. Go ahead, I'll wait.....

Got it? Good.

Given the economic mess that we're going to bequeath to the next generation of young, hungry worker bees the least we can do is equip them with the tools they need to make a go of it in the rough n' tumble world of business. That being said charity doesn't mean that you can't have a good time....

I'm asking you to help me support Junior Achievement.

If that link doesn't work then here's a direct link to my Donation Page. I'm also going to be placing this in the sidebar to make it easy.

I've got a big, big goal for this charity, but the potential pay-off is worth it:

Any participant raising $5000 gets 2 Continental Airlines Business First Class Round-trip tickets anywhere within the lower 48. For those of you that don't know, my wife was laid-off back in March. So yes, I'm not too proud to admit it, this is partially driven by our desire to take an anniversary trip later in the year. Believe me, I'm not doing it because I'm a great bowler.

Granted, since it's two tickets I can't offer a ticket up to a big donor (It's me and the wife, you understand) but I can guarantee that I'll take pictures and video which I'll share on my Flickr page, on my food blog, and on here. Hey, it's sorta like being there right?

More importantly, you can walk away with the knowledge that you've helped properly train the next generation to make good business decisions. If you don't think that's important remember this: Their salaries are going to be paying for your retirement, medicare etc.

ALSO: This is a tax deductible donation under the current rules. Junior Achievement will send you a receipt for tax purposes via e-mail.

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who has donated. We've had a strong start and need to finish up even stronger!

The Noise Machine (02/15/10)

Back in the swing of things today....

The Houston Tea Partiers tea partied and straw polled, or something along those lines. (With Perry coming out as the winner, showing just how married the social-conservative arm of the Republican Party is to the Gov.)

Money, Money, Money, Money. All politics used to be local, now all politics is financial. (Specifically, for one side of the political spectrum, 'financial' is often skewed to mean: "How much 'free' money (read: money borrowed from our children's generation) can we get from the federal government?")

Political convention: If only you CD-22 voters had elected Nick Lampson NASA wouldn't be in the position it is today. Funny thing about non-truth's, they're often harder to disprove than truth's. (Something about disproving a negative and for the love of the party politics and all of that)

The old saying was: If it's in the Old Grey Lady (re: The New York Times) then you'll see it on the television news. In Houston, if you see it on TV News, it might eventually show up in regions largest political blog. Maybe, that is, if resources can be torn from the fashion, sex and Lisa Falkenberg's ego beat.

Advocacy journalism is alive and well, especially in the health-care debate, where ideas such as "portable personal plans" and non-buffet style HC plans are not even discussed as a possible alternative. (The now-preferred 'solution' being an un-wieldy government program that will probably make things worse than better.) MORE suck is still suck after all.

That 38% is the conservative wing of the Texas Republican Party. As for the rest of us.....

It's, sort of, like Hot and Africa Hot this smart of which Slampo speaks.

Editorial endorsements don't matter. Most people go to other sources for their voting advice now. (In all probability, they're just straight-ticketing the ballot anyway.) Or, during primaries, following the advice of some intra-party club.

I've a feeling long drawn-out endorsements that don't clearly delineate the preferred candidate move the needle even less. (The idea that, by chastising, you can cajole people into voting your way is laughable.)

And finally....

Some Clear Thinking on civil unions. One thing worse than no civil union rights for the GLBT community is the idea of the Government moving in and forcing churches to perform GLBT marriages against their will.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


If three different groups are in One-hundred percent agreement isn't it true that two of them aren't needed?

What's also true is that none of that ink. Is going to matter.

Whether or not there's a run-off is immaterial. Perry's already beaten Hutchison and won't have to work much to do so any run-off.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Noise Machine (02/12/10)

Truth to tell......

Debra Medina: Point. Counter-point.

I'll bet Politico wishes they could have this one back. How 'bout you?

Bill White gets another Love tap from ChronBlog.

HISD passes new teacher dismissal plan, unions scream.

Oh yeah, and it's going to cost Millions. Just so you know...

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities ties their success in graduation rates to immigration reform. They also borrowed Mrs. White's catapult to craft a solution.

The piss test heard 'round the world. Or, at least, a small part of Houston.

Slampo on Charlie Wilson Good reading, certainly more mature than ChronBlog's effort.

The pole tax goes back to the courts. Newspaper journalists everywhere cheer.

The Bill White err. Texas Tribune is still struggling on how to identify the CPPP (Hint: The Liberal advocacy group would be a good start.)

And finally.....

The Tribune on The Tea Party. Is their sketchy mission statement part of the reason there are so many things attributed to them? (some false, some not so false FWIW)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Did Pat Grey just do Sen. Dan Patrick a solid? (UPDATED)

Much ado today about Debra Medina's 9/11 "truther" admission on the Glenn Beck radio show. More here from The Austin American Statesman.

While I'm not a supporter of Medina, I've never been a believer in the Medina movement, I am wondering whether or not Pat Grey (former radio employee of KSEV) just cashed in a favor to former employer, die-hard Perry supporter and frequent Medina critic State Sen. Dan Patrick?*

Keep in mind that, according to the Glenn Beck transcript, "Pat" was on the air pumping up Rick Perry before and after the interview and that Sen. Patrick has been one of Medina's harshest critics on his radio show.

Of course, there's no way to prove this, Patrick's radio station e-mails not being subject to TXPIA requests as near as I can tell, and there's nothing illegal or unethical about it. (unless he did it as part of his official duties) So what we're left with is a bunch of questions that remained unanswered, and the beginning of the return of Debra Medina to the happy Ron Paul land of 9% or less.

If not a solid then it's damn politically convenient don't you think?

Welcome to the Perry campaign machine Medina. Which is why I still think he'll be the Republican nominee, and why Bill White is going to struggle under the type of pressure Perry's people will apply.

UPDATED TO ADD: So WHAT if she WAS set up? Or if Rick Perry used a friendly insider to pass information to Beck causing him to ask a perfectly legitimate question? The BIG POINT is Medina blew the answer 100% totally without question.

I don't care if Dan Patrick himself asked the question, the main problem Medina has is that her answer leads folks to believe she's sympathetic to the 9/11 "truth" movement.

Just wanted to point that out, in a belated attempt to separate what I'm suggesting to the conspiracy junk that Medina's supporters are saying. I'm only suggesting it was savvy campaigning if anything.

*Of note: I'm not suggesting anything untoward happened here, just hard-nosed campaigning of the type Perry is known for. If Medina is a 9/11 "truther" then that needed to be exposed. You can't campaign for Gov. of Texas and not expect these questions to get a full vetting. Especially against competition as politically savvy as Perry.

Blast those schools!

They're not doing my job as a parent well enough!

When I was in public school (some moons ago) not only did we have our choice of what was on the 'menu' but we also had alternative choices from a salad bar, a la carte menu etc. My Momma and Daddy taught me well enough to know that eating a salad from the salad bar occasionally was probably a good thing to do.

Of took my Momma and Daddy a LOT of work to teach that to a teenager who thought the best thing in the world was having the option to order pizza and egg rolls off the menu every other day.

On this matter we do agree: School lunches, as drawn up, suck.

The Noise Machine (02/11/10)

These things take forever with the new foster puppy wanting attention....

R.I.P. Charlie Wilson. One of the last of an iconic breed of Texas politicians.

"The Godfather" has control of the Dynamo Stadium deal and you had better not forget it.

The fringe Democratic candidates for Governor are suing KERA. Nearest I can tell their one, glaring fault was that they, unlike Shami and White, were not rich, and therefore unable to buy a constituency.

UH approves their tuition hike over the protests of many. Unfortunately we live in an age when a College education is considered "a basic service" by many of our elected officials. (Many of which are well compensated by the education lobby which creates a perpetual money vortex into which we're throwing many limited resources in an effort to provide a secondary education to many who aren't fit for it.) Yes, it's the definition of insanity.

Another attempted reform in HISD, another campaign by Gayle Fallon and the Teacher's Union to stop it. One thing's for sure, in the end, only the students will end up being the real losers. (Which, could be, the plan all along. As long as the district and unions win after all.)

Now that it's all over....Shami gets the ChronBlog reach-around. Nice.

KHOU on City response to blight. Many of which, are owned by the same City. Just show's what tough talk and no action will get 'ya. (Can't wait until all that rhetoric gets to the Governor's office can you?)

Kevin Whited of BlogHouston weighs in on the 420/30 view of public transportation and questions some long-standing assertions that rail is the miracle drug as portrayed by supporters. (In fact, very few (if any) of the assertions of rail-supporters and the twenty-something amateur urban planner/Metro fan-boi brigade are backed by actual social studies. Instead they're based on neat-o maps whipped up on their iMacs and thrown together with a hefty dollop of begging the question as supplied by David Crossley and Co.)

And finally....

The ChronBlog Titanic as noticed by Anne Linehan.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Worth the paper they're printed on...

Most of you know my feelings on polls. They're useful tools for taking the temperature of say...a political race, but they're typically insufficient in scope to provide the basis for public policy. (see: Houston Area Survey for more)) A second problem that I have with them is that decisions when answering a poll have zero consequences. Since I voted in the Republican primary in the last election (Mainly because the local races there weren't settled, and candidates I wanted to try and get in those races etc.) I get several polls from the Republican National Committee. Some of these I actually answer for a lark, despite the fact that I'm probably not their target audience.

One thing fun about polls is getting a chance to play "What does it all mean?" It's, sort of, a parlor game played well by the better political pundits and bloggers, and not so well by those who's only political cred centers around the facts that blogs are free and they can fog a mirror. Since I didn't die from my recent bout with stomach flu, and I've never let piddly things like political credibility get in my way.....

This all brings us to the two recent polls, by Public Policy Priorities and the Texas Credit Union League regarding the upcoming Party primary elections in Texas. First, it should be noted that this ground has already been plowed by bloggers far more talented than I. David Jennings and Evan from Perry vs. World chiming in on the Republican side, and Charles Kuffner writing for the Democratics. I suggest you go take a read at those blogs as well.

Here are my thoughts:

We have two front-line candidates for Governor: It's Perry vs. White, with Shami providing everyone with some amusing asides and Debra Medina becoming a media darling. Then we're left with Kay Bailey Hutchison, whose star has fallen so far, so fast having her name spelled correctly by certain Republican party activists could be construed as a major win.

Angry is easy: Governing is hard. The Democrats, propelled to large majorities over the anger of the populace due to (insert reason here), found this out when their reading of the post-election tea leaves caused them to overreach on their agenda and forget rule one: It's the economy stupid. I've a feeling that the Tea Party movement is going to run into this wall, possibly as soon as this election. Being angry over the Democrats "stealing America" (they're not) or Obama "trying to take away rights" (he hasn't) is easier than crafting solutions to big problems that go beyond the simple and pedantic. Cutting taxes is one thing, ensuring there's still a funded Government in place to operate the mechanizations of the country....

As for everything else: Once you get past the Gubernatorial race at the top of the ticket, the Dems card is..well...pretty weak. The hope here is obviously that Bill White's coattails will be long but, outside of Houston at least, it's not looking as if he'll be all that effective. Still, polls are not totally reflective of what will happen on election day and my guess is, should a miracle happen, a Medina win would spell a Bill White Governorship regardless of what pollsters are saying right now.

Could another State-wide Republican sweep be in the works?

The once and future king

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo*.

For a long time, in America, the small, independent newspaper was the bulwark of public information. News wasn't disseminated to the public via bland corporate newspapers but from plucky companies on a shoestring budget writing with a healthy dose of (acknowledged) bias and a flair for the dramatic. The embedded video, centering on the final days of the Rocky Mountain News, hints (near the end) at the fact that this could be in the cards some day. The reporter mentioned in the documentary is currently working for Pro Publica and, on a local level, The Texas Tribune has taken the idea of non-profit journalism with a hearty dose of advocacy into the (online) mainstream.

It's about a 30-min watch. A half-hour well spent if you're into newspapering and the future of media

*Thanks to Matt Sties (of the aforementioned Texas Tribune) for finding this on Vimeo. I first saw it on television, but he led me to the online link.

The Noise Machine (02/10/10)

The "sick blogger's foundation" should exist FWIW.....

David Jennings brings attention to a recent poll showing Debra Medina gaining ground to within the margin of error to Kay Bailey Hutchison. Then he opines as to the why.

How distasteful is losing out on Federal funds to today's local pols? Distasteful enough that they'll spend $50K to re-up a membership that was recently categorized as "not worth it".

This guy is so getting fired. You don't hit Metro's crown jewel. Especially not in an icky old bus.

OK, the Dem debate sucked fortunately, Slampo is here to make it all worthwhile.

Anthony Hall has left the building. I wonder if he will still be allowed to "review" programs that he created as a courtesy?

Year-round school? It could happen.

Not-so-thinly-veiled misogyny. The sad thing is, this will UP his status with some voters.

I find it funny that Democrats railing against Palin often accuse Obama's TelePrompTer detractors of irony while failing to realize the irony in their own arguments.

Imagine if a Conservative publication ran this cartoon?

And finally.....

There's going to be a short-fall in the next budget. Our elected officials had better do a better job of filling it than they did two years ago.

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