Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Alex according to local media....



*Unless you pay constant attention to us and our advertisers that is.

A great sucking increase....

Torry Gattis of Houston Strategies linked to this interactive map from showing migration patterns in America from county to county.

Superficially Harris County looks pretty good, with huge net gains vs. the net losses of other counties etc.

A closer look at the numbers however reveals a worrying trend: ON average, the people moving OUT of Harris County have higher incomes than those moving INTO Harris County.

In other words, instead of attracting skilled or executive jobs the county seems to be bringing in unskilled laborers or the unemployed. Backing up that contention is this story that doesn't place Harris County in the top 50 as far as "where America's money is moving".

In an earlier post I stated that Houston needed to get it's pro-business, pro-jobs mojo back in a bad way. People often point to Harris County's growth as evidence this is not so. What they forget is that people who come in without skills and employment are just another drain on local government, a government that's running on fumes as it is.

Another problem is that the IRS isn't counting the influx of people coming into Harris County from non-US sources, neither are they quantifying their income. (or, lack of one from most media accounts.)

Growth for growth's sake is not the economic indicator that many believe. In most cases the numbers are more nuanced than what the superficial picture reveals.

This thing called life... really getting in the way of blogging.

Or, more accurately, I'm finding a ton of stuff to do that's more fun than reading how the Democrats hate Republicans who hate Democrats who are supported by the InterLeft who hate everyone but politicians who treat them like they are people. (That last bit is true)

No, I'm not shutting down. (You, over there, stop moaning.) I'll just be slowing down for a while until things settle down out here in the real world.

Of course....

By the time that happens this blog could have an entirely different name. (and location for all I know)

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Noise Machine (06/28/10)

Mondays are fun days......

We're all gonna DIE!!!!!

In order to save the Republic, we're going to break the private sector. This so the current levels of entitlements and expenditures can be maintained. (Of course, it will then create MORE demand for entitlements and expenditures which will call for MORE revenue which will mean HIGHER taxes which will result in MORE layoffs and closures and......ah screw it.)

Hey, Fiji & the Democratic Party have something in common.....they both hate Newscorp & would like to shut them down.

UH gets wind grant, soon to be laid-off deepwater engineers not holding breath for jobs. (Great news for UH, but I don't see jobs here in sufficient numbers to off-set the losses that are coming. Score one for the dippin' dots economy!

Republicans and statesmanship are like oil & water. Tell me again why we should vote for these idiots? (Let's face it, our government at all levels has become a comedy act with the marginally competent being held up as great public servants. If they're the court jesters then we are the fools.)

Again the Democratic party looks for ways to avoid democratic solutions. Appointments are far more reliable than the American public after all.

Ironic that the Tea Party movement was sparked by the MSM, which they can't stand is it not?

My yard sign is more moral than yours. The San-Antonio version.

and finally....

The family that glows together grows together. (OK, I'm kidding. Texas needs more nuclear reactors for power generation but, since that plan will work, there are many who are against it. C'est la vie.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Noise Machine (06/27/10)

Political parties I don't want to attend....

For all of the (misguided) talk about "increasing our reliance on Community Colleges", the actions don't quite match-up. Never mind that pushing kids toward College that have no business being there is a bad idea in the first place. All revenue ideas aren't even being seriously considered.

We're all gonna DIE!!!!

ASCAP doesn't want you to share your photos. Shouldn't you have the choice to do that or not? (What this is really about is protecting the royalty system, as a growing number of musical acts are abandoning the tired, pathetic studio system.)

I found it to be terribly pessimistic of ChronBlog to disallow comments on their Pride images. Either that, or they realize that their "reader comment" section has become a fetid cesspool of the worst of Houston.

So...the Democrats are going to keep dancing in a way that's anti-democratic, support a rash of policy priorities that are unpopular and back a very, very weak and uninspiring State-wide ticket, and then they're going to blame Texans when they fail? If I were going to vote this year (As bad as the Democrats are, my Republican choices are worse) I'd have to sanitize my voting fingers afterwards. (How in the HELL did Texans let it get this bad?)

and finally...

The economy drops, and so does the amount of illegal immigrants. Given his track record, President Obama will probably call this a "success".

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Noise Machine (06/25/10)


I don't know, sounds like a normal robbery to me.... Although I am sure that the attacker didn't like the victim, saying it was a "hate crime" is a reach. (That's the problem with hate-crime legislation, it makes it too easy to read something into a situation that has little factual support.)

Why should the Democratic party rely solely on the democratic process? C'mon guys, keep the two-step. (You know you want to)

The most-fun political story of the year keeps going and going and going. Next thing you know Republicans will be responsible for the ballots themselves and Democrats will call them illegal. (This is why I find elections humorous, but why I'm less inclined to vote these days. No matter which party wins we all lose.)

Bill White to the Dallas Morning News: "I'm mainstream AND fiscally conservative." you're not. (Fiscally conservative that is. He actually IS more in the mainstream than previous Democratic candidates for Goober. He still won't win, but hey.)

And finally.....

How bad is the down-ballot Democratic ticket? They're not even pretending to have any aspirations outside of Bill White's coattails. It's been funny watching supporters smile while being forced to eat the shite-on-a-shingle that is their down-ballot slate.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Noise Machine (06/24/10)


Houston City Council passes budget, cuts pretty much everything but their own operating budgets. It's good to be the king (or queen). Oh, that's right, it's all about constituent services. (So says Houston's sexiest blogger.) (Thanks to Slampo {would you start blogging again already?!?} for the nickname.)

According to HouBlog, Director of Public Works and Engineering for the City of Houston, Michael Marcotte, has tended his resignation. Nothing, yet from ChronBlog, which tells us that the official press release has yet to be issued. (You know it's true.)

Of course off-shore drilling is not going to resume any time soon. The smart companies are already inking deals with foreign companies.

Harris County Commissioners Court doesn't like Toll Roads. Somehow their rejection of the unpopular arteries are going to be held up by dumbsmart-growth proponents as the harbinger of some car-centric regional apocalypse. The answer, of course, being bicycles and for everyone to move from their outside the loop homes inside the loop to tenement housing, thus forcing the poor and undesirable to move to the suburbs where they suddenly have a difficult time getting in town. (I said it: smart-growth is anti-poor.)

"I question the ethics of the current Ag Commish says the Democratic Ag Commish with a felony conviction on his record. (That doesn't make Gilbert's claims untrue, but they certainly have a pot/kettle feel to them don't they?)

"A 3.4 Trillion Dollar gas tax". Get used to that refrain, because it's going to be repeated ad-nauseum until November. (And it's true, Obama even admitted as much in the campaign. The idea that you can crack down on carbon to transfer wealth to Al Gore and his investors without punishing the poor & middle class is laughable.)

It's a good thing ethics issues and legal problems are limited to the Republican party. Oh...wait.

Rep. Joe Barton may have foot-in-mouth syndrome, but at least he doesn't tweet in third person. That would be grounds for a recall. (Third-person self-references ranking only slightly behind the royal we in terms of "really annoying things politicians say".)

Why do I just not care what Sarah Palin is doing?

Much ado about a party whose candidates are not going to crack the 3% barrier in most races.

First they came for the rich, and I said nothing because I don't consider myself rich. Then they came for the middle class, and I....Wait....WTF???? (All responses in this blurb are fictional and are not intended to reflect any member of the InterLeft currently blogging or blockquoting.)

And finally.....

Bill White fires his "moon-shot" for education. (Free education in return for service commitments, where have we seen this before?) If White is planning on distancing himself from the Obama administration he's sure going about it in a funny way.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Noise Machine (06/23/10)

Tinkering under the hood....

No advanced degree for you! Well, you're allowed to offer the degree, but the State won't recognize it. (There could be a Constitutional question here but I'm too tired and busy to pursue it. Moving on.)

Stop me if you've heard this one before: There's disarray at the HPD crime lab. (I am shocked to find gambling going on at this establishment. As soon as I cash in my chips I will investigate!)

The Jerry Eversole/Steve Radack vs. Sheriff Adrian Garcia pillow fight is in high gear. Of course, the sexy view is that this is all partisan noise. (Which it undoubtedly is, to some extent. Unfortunately this means that the small fact their point of contention is correct will be swept under the carpet in a (sexy)froth of partisan blogging. Ah well.)

Nope, those red light cameras have NOTHING to do with revenue. (What's that? You say we rejected non-revenue producing solutions like extending yellow-light times out of hand? Just ignore that bit.)

A hand-picked judge in Austin authorizes Houston's rather large water rate increase and no-one bats an eye. (You will have a fair trial, where you will summarily be found guilty and then drug outside and shot.)

And finally.....

Calling the TPJ a "non-partisan watchdog group" is the same thing as calling the Heritage Foundation a "non-partisan think-tank". While technically true, it ignores the basic belief structure of each group and is fundamentally a dishonest labelling of an ideological organization that typically targets one party to the benefit of the other. (The Bill White Texas Tribune practices lazy identification like this all the time. It's a media outlet that many had high-hopes for, and which occasionally can produce a good report (see Matt Stiles' work above) but, for the most part, has disappointed except during elections. {To be fair, their primary coverage was excellent.} If they could just get a simple thing like identification correct that would be a good start.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

All in the Family

Michael Reed of the West Houston Examiner takes a peek at a cozy little deal made by the outgoing Metro board and their Real Estate firm....
A three-year contract approved by an outgoing Metro board in December could prove to be quite a lucrative one for their long-time real estate consultant, McDade Smith Gould Johnston Mason + Co.
Lucrative vendor contracts, numbers that don't add up. This pretty much has all of the makings of business as usual under the old regime at Houston's worst-ran public agency.

But wait, there's more. The real good stuff comes down near the bottom:
Todd Mason, a partner of McDade Smith, is also Metro’s vice president of real estate services. Mason signed the December contract modification for McDade Smith, listing his title as chief financial officer of McDade Smith.
(emphasis mine)

There's STILL more, including a McDade family member that's also a Metro employee and some details to the contract that seem....well.... Just follow the link and go read the entire story. A story that's about as Houston Way as it gets.

Congratulations to Reed for his watchdog reporting. It will be interesting to see how long it is before ChronBlog runs an uncritical story detailing Metro's response.

Another log on the "setting the agenda" fire.

Public Policy Polling has the Texas Goober race tied.

Full results (with cross tabs) Here (PDF file)

Rick Perry - 43%
Bill White - 43%
Undecided - 14%

It is fair to say that, if Rasumssen leans right, then PPP leans left. That won't stop people from holding up this attempt to set the agenda as evidence that Rasmussen is trying to set an agenda, but there you go.

I see nothing here to change my mind that what we are seeing is basically party identification based on a different sample using different weighting methodologies. A poll that leans right (Rasmussen) might have a model that overstates the Republican structural advantage. A pool that leans left (PPP) might have a different model that overstates the erosion of said advantage.

It'd be nice if PPP would continue to poll so we have a wider data set.

One final point: When you take into account the margin of error for both pollsters it appears that it's likely Rick Perry is ahead somewhere in the 3-4% range. That's probably fairly accurate right now.

Bread and Circuses

Or: Why getting rid of car commutes is a bad idea.

Last night, on my 40 min drive home from work, I came up with an idea to both preserve the Union and provide the good people of America a smattering of distraction while we're at it. Put simply: It's time to establish a National Lottery & BINGO system that takes advantage of the feelings held by citizens across the political spectrum.

Think about it. USLotto scratch-off cards where Liberals can claw out the eyes of Wall Street executives. "Breeder" cards that allow members of the GLBT movement to undress their most hated Conservative opponents, Global Warming specials that allow you to single-handedly remove oil rigs from the gulf. The possibilities are endless. Not that I left the Red states out of the equation. Cards could be created allowing Republicans to scratch out Rahm's eyes, to eliminate social entitlements with glee, starting with healthcare for children and moving on to welfare for illegals. And speaking of illegals, in Arizona you could have a "deport someone who doesn't look like you" card complete with rifle-shaped scratch-off tools that you could sell for $20. It's the new-age accessory of the moment.

Here's the clever bit. Those who are planted squarely on one side of the fence or another won't even require a jackpot to entice them to play. That's right, it's Lotto without the possibility of riches at the end. "How would this work?" You might be asking. It's very simple. Lotteries are nothing more than taxes on those who are poor at math. Politics takes this one step further, as people often support policies that are going to harm them financially while refusing to believe that the most-likely scenario is really going to happen. In short: Americans don't think things through. Ours is a Country that often acts on political emotion, removed from political logic. Just have Obama & Bush give a joint presser about the joys of the new scratch-off system and you'll have lines of community activists, protesters and bloggers beating down the door to buy, and scratch-off cards that promise them...nothing.

Sure, to round up the dollars of the unmotivated poor you could decide to do a traditional lottery, and then add a rider to a farm-aid bill taxing Federal lottery winnings at 99.99% with no debate. At least 90% of Americans won't know that said tax is in place. Now watch the money roll in.

The second part of my plan is to create a BINGO game but with a 21st century twist. At first I thought about calling the game OBAMA, but the two "A's" kind of skew the whole "O-7" thingy. A better idea would be to call this game BIDEN. That way, when people win, they can holler out BIDEN! and then say "This is a big f***ing deal!" Only if you say the last part can you win. For the Red States you can call it PALIN, with winners having to whistle as they walk up to collect their winnings.

It's win-win America, a one-stop, relatively painless solution for cutting the National deficit AND channelling all of that pent-up political anger and frustration. All I ask for creating the plan for saving the Union is a simple 2% developers fee. I'd have made it 1% but hey, I've got bills to pay.

And "smart-growth" proponents say that nothing good comes from long commute times.

The Noise Machine (06/22/10)

Relatively blowout free since 2009.

BlogHouston notes that the CTC Houston's previous label of "citizen's transportation advocacy group" is nowhere near their reality as a smart-growth group with anti-car leanings. The question now: Will they be properly identified as such in Houston's media? ("No" is the safe bet at -350)

No Usted Puede!!!

What if the KIPP schools are just what they say they are? (And what does that say about HISD and the teacher's unions who are saying they're not?)

It looks as if we might have a Speaker's race during the next Lege session. It's like birthday, Christmas and July 4th for Capitol media all rolled into one. (except that, unlike the Holidays, the average citizen isn't going to care. Political blogs should prosper however. There's a LOT of false outrage out there during Speaker's races.)

Meh. (Outside of Lite Gov, is there a less competitive race than this one on the Statewide docket?)

And finally.....

Rick Perry vs. World on....KBH pondering re-election. My guess is she'll go for it if she's promised not to have a credible primary challenger.

Monday, June 21, 2010

So this is a regular blog feature?

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's the case then I'd like to let ChronBlog know that I'm flattered.

See that "Elliot" link in the image above? (click to enlarge)

It heads here.

That's right: ChronBlog has copied the Noise Machine. (formerly Houston Area Asides)

No pithy comment however. Give 'em time.

What narrative are you setting?

For all of the talk about Rasmussen attempting to set the narrative in certain elections, you'd think all of their polls would have outlying results that made no sense when bumped up against the reality filter of poll results.

At the very least, in Texas, you'd think that they'd reveal Rick Perry scrambling to the top of the heap with few (if any) chinks in the armour.

You'd be wrong. Because according to the latest Rasmussen poll Democratic Goober nominee Bill White is closing the gap on Republican Goober Rick Perry, drawing to within 8 points in the latest version of the poll.

Such are the dangers of trying to demonize a pollster. When the results are beneficial to your candidate, it requires some hard dancing around believable logic to make the numbers suddenly work for your side. Ironically, this is why blogs are terrible repositories for political information*, many of the more-partisan blogs being nothing more than sounding boards for the narrative du jour of their chosen party.

This is why the funky chicken is being propped up as Rick Perry's Willie Horton moment and why anecdotal evidence of some voters that are marginally Republican (supposedly) "crossing over" to vote for White (how many of them voted for Perry in the last election?) is being given any run at all.

It's politics on the margins ran by people who desperately want to be included in the conversation. And, it should be ignored, like most political noise, until we get closer to the election and both candidates start their big State-wide TV buys. Only then will people start to pay attention, and the polls will matter.

Right now what we're seeing is pretty much a party identification result. Which should still be troubling for Democrats if they thought about it. Instead of continually blaming the messenger that is....

Other Eyes:

Perry vs. World

*And no...I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't read blogs. You should especially read this one, daily. If I don't post then read yesterday's post again. Using blogs as your sole source of political commentary is ridiculous however. As ridiculous as relying on the MSM for your news. The key is a variety of sources, both Conservative and Liberal in ideology.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Noise Machine (06/18/10)

Something to get you through a long Friday....

Is this really a game-changer that's worthy of being 'news'? I ask because, in every election, even those most hotly contested, there are voters that cross party lines for personal, ideological and financial reasons. Typically they are not enough to move the needle one scintilla. (And are typically cancelled out by voters from the OTHER party crossing over as well.) Ah well, at least it fits the "Rah! Rah! Bill White!" mantra that ChronBlog is boosting.

I wonder if, when thousands lose their jobs & energy rates sky-rocket, the actions of the EPA will seem pro-people or if history will judge all of this differently? Until the jobs start falling & the poor start getting priced out of the electricity and fuel markets the rhetoric will stick. (I'm a big believer in micro-grid technology, using personal solar panels, backed with wind power generated using home generators, but the battery technology for storage isn't there yet. I wonder, with big government interests scrambling to control the 'green energy grid' if there's any way we're ever going to move forward to something that could work. Right now the plan is folly designed to be terribly hard on the poor.)

The problem with joining a cult of personality is dealing with the hangover when they turn out to not be the god you were hoping to realize.

Ethics, Who needs 'em? Obviously not Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving), who sees no conflict of interest in her driving a luxury automobile owned by a company that profits immensely off of decisions made by her committee. (It's been a rough couple of days for Dallas area Republicans hasn't it?)

Take one part anecdotal evidence, two or three measures of insufficient data, and a dollop of outside opinion. Mix them all together and what do you have? Another non-fact-based "fact check" from Politifarce.

Remember this the next time politicians speak about other politicians 'keeping their eye on the ball'.

And finally....

Yup, Houston's former Mayor, who spent most of his last year in office on the campaign trail, is going to go there with Rick Perry. If I'm a White supporter this change in tack toward negative campaigning worries me. It means that nothing else he's tried has dug any traction.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

One and done....

I wonder if this gets a follow-up report to see if Metro actually lives up to their promise.

Early odds put the follow-up story at a +350 underdog*. That would be watch-dogging, and the editorial staff at ChronBlog HATES doing that to their favorite organization.

*At a -500 favorite however is a gushing editorial from the Apple Dumpling Gang gushing about how Metro's reformed themselves without actually doing anything.

Dear Rep. Joe Barton.....

...there's a way to be industry friendly without giving BP the reach-around.

Here's a hint: Find the companies that are doing it the right way (and they are out there) and hold them up as examples of how things can be when a company doesn't scrimp on safety. Or, you can say something that's going to provide your opposition with the distraction they were looking for all along.

Being an elected official, I see you chose the less thoughtful option. There is a thing called "statesmanship" that's sadly lacking in America's lower house. This is not all Barton's fault, he's just the latest example.

(Note: If Joe Biden is ripping on you for a gaffe you've got issues.)

The Noise Machine (06/17/2010)

It's my list, if you don't like it, go make your own....

Because what Texas needs now is More running of government "like a business". Ummm.....

We're not going to BE any better, we're just going to do a better job at spinning what we will continue to do wrong. <------Loose paraphrase.

I'm sure you're surprised to find out that your elected official often votes in line with his/her financial interest. Could have knocked me over with a feather....

This is not news. Conservatives have been railing against the Bush Presidency since back when he was in office. (Contrary to what you hear from the InterLeft or politically biased pundits who want you to believe this is nothing more than 'racism'. It's not. This anger was there before, people just didn't pay attention because it didn't fit the narrative.*)

Whether or not this publicly funded private travel issue has legs will depend largely on the ability of Bill White's campaign team to make it stick against the Teflon(TM) politician. Good luck with that. (A better idea would be for them to work overtime defining their candidate, and his issues, to people who don't yet know him. Negative attacks against a candidate with zero expectations (even from his most ardent supporters) is a recipe for a 10 pt loss in November.) Hey, at least they're still Organic. (I gotta get on that e-mail list)

Huh? Playoffs? PLAYOFFS?!? You wanna talk about PLAYOFFS?!? (I guess the pom-poms were getting dusty?) This is a Texans team that is a serial .500 offender and who has many of the same issues as last year, a tougher schedule, and an unhappy star. PLAYOFFS??!!?? Blah.

And finally.....

Get well wishes to Gordon Quan. Whatever your political stripes, open heart surgery is not something you wish on anyone. Here's to a quick recovery.

*Just as there are some Democrats out there now who are unhappy with Pres. Obama. It's happening, but you don't hear much about it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Taking outsourcing to a whole new level....

See the "blogger" headline at ChronBlog?

It leads here...

That's right, a third-party a headline....just wow.

America's worst big city daily marches on.


The Oil Spill.....'s my fault.'s my fault.'s my fault.'s my fault.'s my fault.'s my fault.

No...It's MY fault.

Good thing only Republicans use talking points and engage in politics as usual right folks? Right.*

*I'm not suggesting that only Democrats play politics, certainly Republicans are as guilty of this as anyone. What's tiring is holier-than-thou types suggesting that the Democrats are currently operating under both a different set of rules and out of a genuine sense of civic duty. In fact, they're just shifting the advantage to a different set of campaign donors. Such are the spoils of winning an election.

The Noise Machine (06/16/2010)

The hurrider I go the behinder I get....

No! No! Shut them ALL down! Curse my metal body, I was too slow. Some people still have jobs. (Where Cornyn and Co. are wrong, of course, is that the ideal is not job destruction (although that will be an unhappy side-effect) but energy-industry nationalization. Well, that and the enrichment of Al Gore and his Democratic donor-investors.*)

Boy I'm glad Kay Bailey is still around to point out the obvious for us. That didn't take much of a deductive leap since Obama basically said as much in his speech. (What do you think "make the dippin' dots green economy competitive means?)

The "miscue" of one reporter and the InterLeft (arrived at 'independently' I'm sure) is really just an idiot in a chicken suit. (Which in and of itself is really sad if you think about it. A chicken suit?? Really? Have we digressed to this point in politics?)

And finally......

When you're terrible...Fluff & Puff (Somewhere there's the spirit of an angry tree that was chopped down so these could be written. The Apple Dumpling Gang rides again.)

*What?!? You thought there wasn't a political angle to all of this? For years the Republicans issued industry-friendly policies to the benefit of the oil & gas industry (large donors to their coffers) and now the worm has turned. It's the greens that are getting the tax credits and government windfalls. Most O&G companies understand this and are just riding out the current storm. Make no mistake about it though, there are many who want to nationalize our energy, just like healthcare.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teachable moments.....

In the 2010 Goober election: (Video courtesy of Elise Hu at the Texas Tribune.)

To Rick Perry: When scheduling a press opportunity in front of the oppositions HQ, you better know that the media is going to leak said opportunity to the other side. This is the way things work.

To Bill White: And all Democrats really....There's nothing funny about a guy in a chicken suit dancing around. It's lost it's novelty long ago. And calling your campaign opponent a "chicken" doesn't do anything but make your campaign look more InterLeft/amateur than it already does.

To the Bill White Texas Tribune: If you're going to suggest that Perry's campaign staff is saying something but you can't quite make it out.....It helps to not immediately precede that contention with crystal clear audio of said staffer speaking. (Hint: It had to do with BTEC and generators.)

Hope that helps.

The argument against....

...made by accident I'm sure

(Dome's day: Public must decide the future of the iconic, empty and expensive Astrodome, The Apple Dumpling Gang, ChronBlog, 06/15/2010)
In a town with little pity for buildings that have outlived their purpose, the Reliant Astrodome sits vacant and belittled in the shadow of its massive successor, Reliant Stadium.
Such is the case of the Astrodome, aged, falling apart, and standing with no purpose. A prime candidate for the wrecking ball.

Yet, this being Houston (OK, technically Harris County) and Houston being populated by Houstonians, there's a sizable chunk of the population whose own selfish desire to relive the memories of their childhood is threatening to trump common sense. Even supporters of additional, massive, public expenditures on the aging structure have to admit that the Dome serves no useful purpose. Every option that's been forwarded to keep it standing has relied on the public largess to keep it a going concern. In a city that already has too many sites that are drawing from the treasury, adding another huge cost driver would be a mistake. A mistake on a building that's outlived it's useful life. A repeat of a mistake voters made when they financed it out beyond it's depreciation end-date in a vain effort to keep the Oilers. Emotions and memories are great things, they define us, and provide us with perspective over time.

The most important thing to remember is this: Even after the Astrodome is gone those memories will still be there. And you'll have more time to think about them when you attend an event at Reliant because finding a parking space won't take so long.


Houston Press

Eye on the ball....

Ready or not, here comes Voter ID....

Regardless of your stance on voter fraud (Does it occur? Yes, Is it pandemic? No) What should trouble you about this is the lack of interest by either party in regards to increasing the number of legal votes.

You would think that this would be what the issue is all about: Making sure that the largest percentage of legal voters make their way to the ballot box while ensuring that the smallest amount of illegal voters do the same. The answer to the former is engaged, transparent government that listens to constituents and the utilization of same-day voter registration using instant background check technology. The answer to the latter is....voter ID coupled with strong immigration reform.

There's an argument to be made that the last point is a federal matter, which is fine. It also makes all of this talk about voter ID ridiculous. Given that Texas is looking down the barrel of an eighteen Billion dollar budget hole it also seems ridiculous to threaten the entire Lege session on a, relatively minor, voting issue.

During this session the Texas Lege has real priorities, challenges that are going to require the Republicans prove they can govern and put aside partisan issues?

The track record is not promising.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sick day sleep-in round up.

My sinuses are full, just like my feed-readers.......

As the battle over the revenue of red light cameras continues Big Jolly (welcome back) wonders how a Republican candidate for office can make a call from a Harris County Republican Party number on behalf of a PAC and not have a "paid by" disclaimer attached to it?

Get ready to vote on $900 Million dollars in new public debt to save the 'Dome. As opposed to $100 Million just to tear the damn thing down.

Color me unimpressed with the newly drafted Texas State Republican Party Platform. It reads anti-Hispanic and anti-logic and is intended to try and preserve the ideal of Dan Patrick that he and a small minority dictate the private activities of its citizens. Much like that of the Democratic Party (and their never-ending war on freedoms) but on the other side of the spectrum. Either way both parties are on the wrong, anti-freedom, path.

Read my lips: No Perry for President. In all honesty I just don't see it. Perry knows that America isn't ready for another Texas Governor in the White House.

Republicans under siege. Old, socially controlling-types losing their grip on things is never pretty to see.

I'll say it again. I see no reason for Perry to debate White. None, whatsoever.

There's certainly no reason for Perry to debate White when the latter is "excited" about a Democratic rally in Austin, the population-center of the Demos in Texas, where less than 500 people bothered to show. Weak.

Texas Watchdog fills in the final (for now) details on the odd case of the RUD in the Woodlands and a band of voters that (illegally, for now) did some creative things to try and infiltrate it. (I still wonder how such an entity can bee allowed to exists, and have taxing authority, without voter input. Wasn't "no taxation without representation" a founding principle of this Country?)

and finally...

Wrong Munisteri's election doesn't matter, or maybe Burka hasn't taken the time to look at the Texas Republican Party Platform?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Two things.....

1. I don't care who you are THIS is funny.

(Did DPS make Perry move into a mansion? Lisa Falkenberg, ChronBlog)
There are now more than 3,000 fans of the “Evict Rick” Facebook page launched by Democrats, featuring a clever video entitled “It Sucks to Be You! But it's Great Being Me,” and urging Texans to call Perry's office to voice their outrage.
Wow...3,000. Next thing you know they'll have enough voters to win an election against Argyle Texas.

2. At least L'il Red is connecting with her target audience...

(from commenter: rgvguy on Chronblog)
When most reasonable people are outraged at someones behavior, the column should be biased, don't you think?
3,000. Really??? People keep using that word, "outraged". I don't think they know what it means.

At least, the ones hanging out with L'il Red in the kiddie pool don't understand.

My argument would be that "most" reasonable people may be disappointed by Perry's living expenses, they may even be upset that he's costing the State so much money while calling for budget cuts. Those that are "outraged" however are probably not passing the reasonableness test that often during their lifetime. They're the type of people that you see who carry signs at protests and it looks as if they haven't bathed since the Carter administration. Not my idea of reasonable.

The Noise Machine (06/10/10)

Blow it up!!!

Remember way back when...say, a couple of months ago, when the City was touting their new "green" waste disposal bags as the civic equivalent of planting a big sloppy wet kiss on the derriere of Mother Gaiga? Don't pucker up just yet.

Texas Republicans are Happy! No...really....they just found out the State convention is giving out free elephant-themed chastity belts. (Which they plan to place on the children of "those people" to keep them from reproducing.)

Bill Rick Perry....more his campaign team. (You know, the one that's been knocking you around for the past couple of months? Yeah...them.)

It must be done safely! OK, granted, you'll all be too poor to care by the time we're finished, the rigs we need will be drilling away of foreign shores and we'll be importing 90% of our oil(making us LESS safe)...ever hear the one about omelettes and eggs?

Under article 57.2-3(c) of the blogger's code I'm required to say something about the three proposed options for the Astrodome. So....implosions are best witnessed during the cooler months in Houston. That is all.

Many observers feel that Houston's relatively free-market approach to land-use is one of the driving factors in it's leading the nation in cost of living. That developers can develop and people are (relatively) free to do with their property what they want (as opposed to having to do what their neighbor wants them to do) pretty much shielded Houston from the recent real estate bubble that was brought on (in part) by fights for scarce resources in prime locations. Amazingly, in it's race to world-classiness, City Council has decided to temporarily cede that advantage with the hopes of doing away with it permanently. Now if we can just continue destroying the jobs market our journey to Paris-style unemployment and urban design will be complete.

What is it about Houston government (or quasi-governmental agencies) and federal grants?

Consider this: If, during your second run for Statewide office your main concern is still increasing your profile you've got bigger problems than your campaign team wants to admit.

Charles Kuffner grabs a picture of the most vague campaign sign ever. My guess is Michael Williams views elections like a game of "Where's Waldo". Find his name on the ballot and check the box.

Where have we heard this before? We're's the POLLS that are flawed! Blaming the pollsters is the last refuge of the soon to be defeated. (Full disclosure: I've said on many times that I believe certain polls to be of limited predictive value. They're snapshots at best. That being said I do like issues polls, because they typically provide a fairly broad time-span over which to evaluate trends.)

Texas Watchdog takes a look at Texas' Whoops! Lost and Stolen Equipment list. And these are the people we want running our healthcare?

And finally....

Again from Texas Watchdog: That transparent stimulus spending is in desperate need of some Windex.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Devil in the details....

Why Bill White didn't want to release his tax returns....

(White profited from company hired during Rita, Jay Root, AP via the Austin American-Statesman*)
As the storm was walloping Houston, White helped line up private companies to provide goods and services as part of a massive relief effort. One of those companies was Btec Turbines, where White had served on the board of directors. White said he called the company to help provide power generators to ensure that Houston-area refineries and the city of Baytown could maintain their water supply during the power outages.

The company then got an emergency contract with the Coastal Water Authority, White recalled.

A little more than a year later, White invested about $1 million in the privately held Btec, which has also provided generators to contractors in Iraq. He has reported about a $500,000 profit from the investment.

White says he made the investment for the same reason that he called the company during a crisis.

"I thought the company was good at what it did," White said. He said he considered keeping the water supply flowing to refineries a "matter of national importance." While acknowledging he has made money from Btec, White said he saw no conflict of interest in the arrangement.
White's defense is that he didn't invest until AFTER he contacted them during Rita. Whether or not that's semantics (did he have insider information on deals they had signed or not?) is something that I'm sure will be fleshed out over the coming months. If anything, a 50% ROI during a year is damned suspicious.

Then there's the thing that no-one has mentioned yet: Bill White made Billions in Oil & Gas investments while Mayor of Houston. During his time as Mayor he pressed for lawsuits against many Oil & Gas companies. Did he have investments in any of these companies or was he pressing for lawsuits against the competition, thus using his official position to potentially enhance his income? I don't expect the media to ask that question, but I'm betting you Rick Perry's campaign team will.

Regardless of the answer, Bill White's campaign team just wrote one hell of a TV ad for Perry's crew.

The Noise Machine (06/09/10)

Fourteen strike-outs, no walks.....

Think about this: Oil & Gas exploration was cut in HALF last year. Most of this was done as companies decide whether or not to continue to focus operations in an unstable business climate in America. Now that the "ban" is in place, look for those dollars to be spent elsewhere in the world.

The current job market is hard. Even harder if you're a teen whose just looking for a Summer job. That's because a lot of adults, desperate for work, have snapped up a significant portion of the Teen Summer jobs pool.

NASA's big problem? Their future success relies on a trip back to the past.

Because, what Houston REALLY needs right now, is the passage of a demolition moratorium that would put even MORE stress on the home building industry.

Yup, when my contract is up I'm definitely switching to Verizon. Android > iPhone.

Why in the blue hell would Perry want to debate White? There's nothing for him to gain and everything for him to lose. (Still, I'm certain the obligatory round of debates will happen, the moderators will be terrible, the questioners pathetic. Both sides will declare victory. I won't watch.)

Nationally there was this big primary thingy going on remember?

The good news is the demise of the political center has been greatly exaggerated. At least, in the Democratic South. In Texas I'm not so sure. Chet Edwards will be the canary in the coal mine.

In California The GOP is hitching their wagon to two females who happen to be former CEO's. Leading some on the left to start spewing some nonsense about having a monopoly on feminism. If feminism becomes a "Left vs. Right" issue (whose primary driver becomes abortion) then it's finished as a viable political force. The key to its success has always been its willingness to change parties.

Speaking of women: Yesterday was a good day for Sarah Palin. That's right, Sarah Palin. It was also a good day for Blanche Lincoln one of my favorite Democrats. Good for them.

Al Kennedy imagines the perfect writing day. It's not mine, at all, but it's nice to dream right?

That Mr. T isn't in a cameo in the upcoming A-Team film is one of life's great injustices. That said, he has a point. Thinking back on it no one ever died on the A-Team. That's what made it so fun. I still plan to go see the new movie, but I'm not expecting much.

The answer to every problem is NOT always a big, intrusive government intrusion. Politicians should be required to repeat that mantra 100 times a day before stepping out the front door.

Lou Minatti on austerity. Or, more accurately, asking why the hell people are calling "making changes to the public sector that are sustainable" draconian measures?

You guessed it: More trouble for TxDOT. Gargle, rinse, repeat. (Once political pit-bulls, typically backed by competing interests, get a hold of an agency they very rarely back off....until their side is in power that is.)

And finally....

Yeah, OK...we want to save the Earth and all and we REALLY think that all of you should go without oil & gas and modern conveniences and green energy is great and all but just don't try to build it in our backyard OK? (Political translation: Build it where the poor & dirty are will 'ya?)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

All the news......

...that's fit to outsource?

Big story today on the Senate Democrats plans to quintuple the taxes on off-shore oil production. Maybe it's just me but, given the impact said increase is going to have on the local economy shouldn't the newspaper of record biggest blog in the energy capital of America offer up something besides the same Associated Press story that's running pretty much everywhere else?

It's the same deal for today's cell phone proposals announced by Texas' Sr. Senator. AP story, no chaser.

Then there's the story (chub really) of Bill White's tax returns reported on by the AP's Jay Root while non-profit Texas Watchdog offers up an original blog post (with links, as a blog post is wont to have) written by staffer Jennifer Peebles.

Meanwhile Houston gets The Apple Dumpling Gang on Joe Garagiola and smokeless tobacco and the Washington bureau writing about a host of things NOT related to Texas Congressional representation.

I guess there was also no interest in reporting on local congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee filing a bill to limit the powers of the Office of Congressional Ethics on the heels of them launching an investigation into one of her (and other members of the Black Congressional Caucus) trips to the Caribbean.

Nope, far better to dedicate resources to celebrity diets.

Man I feel sorry for the reporters that are still there.



UPDATE: I see where ChronBlog has updated the Bill White story with their own piece by Peggy Fikac, good thing I cached the old Jay Root Story eh? (since they just replace things and don't change the address...)

The Noise Machine (06/08/10)

Keeps going and going and going.....

Can you dumb it down a little? (We've got to hit our phony baloney targets)

Signs of a recession. Discount retailers are booming.

Not ALL of the airlines are hurting. Emirates has the absolute BEST flight attendant's uniforms. They also have great customer service. (Are you paying attention US Airline Industry?)

Potential bad news for Sam Houston Race Park. If this happens, my guess is it spells the end of horse racing in Houston. (If you know my proclivities then you know my position on this)

The German Government, learning from the mistakes of the United States. Go figure.

Maybe it's just me, but "I don't care how good/bad they are I'm agin' em" doesn't seem like a viable political philosophy.

Oh Noz!!! Let's have Council meetings and discuss this tragedy... Oh, wait. This is a private entity taking the necessary steps to weather a recession. Carry on.

For every action, There is an equal and opposite reaction. Shut down the engine of the economy = lost jobs.

I'm not sure Bill White had thought this line of attack all the way through. He spent an large amount of time out in the hinterlands campaigning during his last year as the Houston Mayor.

I give you, today's "It's the end of Democracy as we know it!" moment courtesy of The MSM and InterLeft. Horrors!!

Oh yeah, Next years speaker's race could be a little interesting. Or it could not. (One thing's for sure, politicos will care about it a lot more than the general public, thus convincing themselves that they're more in tune with the world. Zzzzzzz.)

Are "Tenthers" the new "Truthers" Or the new "Tea-baggers?" More importantly, are we now doomed to have every political movement defined with the suffix "-ers"? (Much like lazy journos slap "-gate" to the back of any political scandal to avoid having to do anything remotely creative.)

And finally.....

Turn off the oil. Forgetting, of course, that North East winters are cold and Texas summers are hot. (And that most modern medical advances involve petroleum based products.) My simple solution is this: Much like with the "tax more" crowd being able to write a check to the treasury if they so desire (although they never do), if you don't want to consume oil products then don't. More for me.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

A question of rights....

Alexis Grant asks the question: Doesn't Helen (Thomas) have a right to her opinion?

Answer: Yes, of course she does.

She also has the responsibility of paying the price for voicing said opinions.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that free speech shall occur without public reprecussion, or that an ideology can be publically voiced without cost. What it says is that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;"

There's nothing illegal about what Helen Thomas said although many find it offensive, and rightly so. As a newspaper columnist she certainly has the "right" to tell America how she feels, just as Rush Limbaugh and any other journalist has the right.

And her employers have the "right" to choose to terminate her employment in the face of overwhelming public condemnation.

As far as things go at HCA, we can't help but wonder if many of the same people who are so staunchly defending Helen Thomas for her "personal opinion" in some noble conquest to uphold free speech would be so ready to defend a conservative writer/talker if they expressed the same opinion....maybe involving blacks or latinos?

Some how my guess is no.

They would (and have) call for Limbaugh's (or..locally, Michael Berry) firing and, given that this is their opinion, they would be correct to do so.

Such is the cost of free speech.

Dear AT&T

I realize that right now you're pre-occupied by this... (Apple Computer and Apple Phone courtesy of flickr user yum9me and used via a creative commons license.)

But could you please stop obsessing over Steve Jobs and think about offering more devices like this?

(HTC Evo 4G and II by Flickr user louisvolant. Used via a creative commons license.)

Hell....I'd even settle for more devices like this.

Thanks for your time.

The Noise Machine (06/07/10)

Lightly braised.....

During down economic times, most private companies put a freeze on hiring and defer major capitol projects. This is considered to be a normal business practice. So...Why is it considered to be the end of the world when public sector organizations are forced to do the same thing?

Did the MMS do all they could to regulate offshore drilling? the answer to that is no. But not all of the "accidents" that one sees in this story are ones that could, or should, generate a fine. Just a bad article all around.

Now that the environmentalists seem to have the upper hand on "air quality" issues (mainly due to a friendly EPA and the high-profile Gulf spill) is Houston ready for the potential damage to it's economy? Think tens of thousands of jobs lost or sent overseas if the Gulf drilling ban is allowed to stand. Take the 80's, and double them. (Houston's much touted economic diversity isn't going to mean much if the biggest generator of wealth pulls out and relocates to China.)

The wheels on the bus go round and.....Bam?

Meet the G(OP)ang that couldn't shoot straight. Any effect a Green ballot presence would have is likely to be negligible. Fighting to get them included smacks of desperation.

A billion here...A billion there... The follow-up question would be why a non-specific budget short-fall requires such specific, and draconian, action to bridge? (Unfortunately, this is Texas, and our news media lacks the creativity to ask said questions.)

First it was Rasmussen and now it's Tom Delay that's responsible for the Democrats misfortunes. That is, if you ignore a party platform that's punitive toward much of the State's (and voters) economic interest, disorganization within the party for much of the early aughts and a host of not-ready-for-prime-time candidates. (Do I think Texas would have been better today if there was a strong opposition party? You bet. Do I blame Tom Delay for the Democrats mailing it in all those years? No way.)

On a National Level:

$125 Million to sell the regulation of the medical insurance industry to the American people. That's how much Democrats are going to spend to try and convince us that events like this didn't really happen. (If you have to "sell" a law, odds are it's not the best law. Explain? OK, but sell? Nope.)

About those jobs....(Hint: It's not good.)

And finally.....

It's Ranchers vs. Environmentalists in a water balloon fight. The problem with removing the word "navigable" from the statute means that it could technically become illegal for a rancher to dump animal waste into a holding pond. This only makes sense if your ultimate goal is to bring down the American food industry. (Which, for many ecomentalists, IS the primary goal.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Customer feedback

The Apple Dumpling Gang decided to weigh in on Texas air "quality" today with predictable results.

Yes, out of one side of their mouth, they claimed to understand the importance of the refining and energy industries to the region. Their political side, however, couldn't resist taking a swipe at Rick Perry in an effort to make him look bad against the gang's chosen Guber: Bill White. This type of "editorializing" is expected, and it would be acceptable would that ChronBlog admit its biases to the world. It still wouldn't cure their insufferable case of issue ignorance however, which I leave to commenter "NoWhining" to illustrate best:
You write about that which you don't know.
Get a clue instead of just spouting political talking points.

That's pretty good advice for the Gang, who frequently include simple factual errors into any editorial of a serious nature.

I'll say it again: Shutter the Ed Board, and redeploy the resources to the Metro & State reporting bureaus. If ChronBlog feels the continuing need to editorialize political talking points there are many members of the local blogosphere that could do a much better job, for much cheaper, and with readers having full disclosure regarding their political views.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Noise Machine (06/04/10)

Spanning wait...sorry.

Is the bloom coming off the rose of the Houston economy? And if so, what (if anything) does that say about the motivations of those who support politicians who are taking a hacksaw to the rose garden? (InterLeft cries of "Republicans hate Texans & Texas" ring a little hollow now don't they?)

More Metro "buy America" trouble. Whee! (It's a good thing they're 'working' to shore up their public image isn't it?)

Lemme get this straight: We're going to pay people to take advantage of a free service that's instrumental to their future earnings potential and quality of life? Stop me if I'm wrong there.

Rick Perry supporters are anti-AIR!!!! No, really, that's Mike Norman's deep thoughts for the 2010 Guber race. (It only sounds like political commentary from the Onion. Sadly, this is Texas, and what passes for political discourse in our mainstream media)

More rhetorical fun from the MSM, this time, the Dallas Morning News. Where reporter Robert T. Garrett is allowed to editorialize (badly) without a scintilla of evidence that the theory he forwards is based on reality. (All of this forwards my theory that the media should return to its roots and just out it's political bias. We'd all be better with the cracked shell of impartiality pressure washed away.)

More trouble for the regulation of the health insurance industry. But...what does Politifarce say???

If Texas leans Republican then Republicans in "Toss Up" States must be feeling pretty good.

More on bad polls from the InterLeft. Who need this theory to be correct come election time. (I've limited use for polls and consider them snapshots. I also think that what happens in the ballot box is much different from what happens on the phone or online.)

And finally....

Liberal financial backing & slant mixed with poor public-watchdog journalism & dodgy leadership. What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Your next Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector

Will be one of these two:

Don Sumner.

(Anti-tax Man says breaks for oil are necessary, Chris Moran, ChronBlog Local Politics)
Paul Bettencourt's ideal is right. The citizens deserve a "common sense" hands-on Tax Assessor-Collector as their advocate, one that will fight property tax increases, question improper use of taxes and demand fair and equal appraisals by the Appraisal District.
Not mentioned is that the "Paul Bettencourt ideal" involved getting re-elected and then almost immediately resigning to go into business for himself, thus ensuring that a Republican replacement was appointed to the office.

Diane Trautman.

(Tax Assessor Candidate Diane Trautman Opposes Unearned Valero Tax Break
"We want Valero to profit and do business in Texas. But we cannot allow them to avoid paying their fair share of taxes through some slight (*oopsie*) of hand accounting."
That would be sleight of hand accounting there Ms. Trautman's campaign consultant. Not that attention to detail has anything to do with the HC Tax Assessor-Collector's position.

What makes this race so important (and key) is that the HCTA-C office controls the registration process for elections. Expect ChronBlog's Apple Dumpling Bayou City Gang to endorse Trautman...along with almost every other Democrat on the ticket not named Gordon Quan (I'm betting Emmett gets the nod). I think this will be close. And I think that the only real loser is going to be the general public, no matter who wins.

Thanks to ChronBlog Local Politics for giving me the idea for this post.

The be the judge.

Bill White's latest ad:

Rick Perry's latest Ad:

My thoughts: Actual filmed quotes are better than cartoon drawings and fake voice any day although neither ad is going to be particuarly damaging this far removed from November.

What are you thinking?

Playing the odds.

There's a lot of white noise surrounding the expansion of gambling debate in Texas these days, much of it created by advocacy groups or reporters and bloggers who don't understand the issue anyway, about "how much" or "how little" expanded casino gambling is expected to generate for Texas coffers. Estimates in this Robert Garnett, Dallas Morning News article on the budget quotes House Budget Chief Jim Pitts (R - Waxahachie) estimating the figure at "$4 Billion" per year. This Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune article contains estimates from $2 Billion down to somewhere around $110 Million per year.

So that's the projections, what about the actuals?

1. Unfortunately, the actual current revenue numbers for Texas gaming are not easily determined. since the pari-mutual tax is obviously bundled with something else in the State's database. However, according to the 2009 Annual Report by the Texas Racing Commission, pari-mutuel betting resulted in $3.5 Million in taxes paid to the State in 2009, a number that was down from the prior year and which has been in decline for years prior to that.

We also know, from the State's revenue database that the Texas Lottery is generating approximately $1.5 Billion dollars in gross sales, although despite the fact the title is "net lottery proceeds" it's unclear that administration & awards costs have been removed from that account.

However, given the information available to the public at a superficial level. (Digging deeper would require a FOIA act, something that the HCA budget of just about nothing cannot afford.) It can probably be assumed that monies from all sources of gambling would come in at around $2 Billion dollars/year but with only $3.5 Million of that coming from non-government ran (read: Lottery) sources.

Based on that information it'd be difficult to assume that Texas casinos, or the inclusion of slot-machines in racing venues, would come anywhere NEAR the $4 Billion potential windfall for the State that's being forecast by industry supporters.

Then, there's this data point as reported by Michael McNutt of OK news via the Tulsa World:
Tribal gaming fees have contributed $107.5 million to the state coffers so far this fiscal year, Meacham said. It's expected that tribal gaming fees will bring in about $120 million by the end of this fiscal year, June 30, he said.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at

Coincidentally, I just got back from a vacation in Oklahoma where the wife and I stopped off at one of the casinos right next to the Texas/Oklahoma border. It's a casino where I go frequently to play poker. They just opened a new tower hotel and casino, with a totally revamped poker room that's on par with many that you find in Vegas.

The parking lot was also packed with cars & trucks.....from Texas.

If you assume that probably 3/4 of Oklahoma's casino revenue is sourced from Texas, and that you can probably make the same assumptions about Louisiana gambling revenue, it appears that the $110 Million projection is going to be much closer to reality than is the pie-in-the-sky projections of Billions.

My back-of-the-napkin estimate pegs the increased revenue at around $200-$250 Million if full casinos are approved, around $10-15 Million if expansion is limited to slot machines in race tracks. (See Delta Downs in Louisiana for a good way that would work)

Still, any way you look at it, that's money that's currently heading outside the State that wouldn't, and that could be the most compelling argument of all.

The Noise Machine (06/03/10)

Time off is good.....

Doh! Harris County Sheriff's version 2 or 3 (we keep losing count)

Doh! Houston Metro version.....ah hell who knows with all of the incompetence over at that shop.

Because if American civics has taught us is that lobbyists must have unfettered access to society's Least Common Denominator. (You may have heard them referred to as "elected representatives")

Rick Perry's mad that the EPA is trying to destroy the Texas economy, the Sierra Club is mad that they're not destroying it rapidly enough. (I'm expecting a "friend of the court" briefing from Michigan, California and New York siding with the Sierra Club under the "misery loves company" theory of legal opinion.)

Thank God there are road construction reports like this one. Because if they didn't exist, the InterLeft would have to invent them. (All the better to justify money wasting projects on their side you know. Kind of a "you suck worse than us" race-to-the-bottom approach to local politics. Hey, it works.)

I don't think there's a need to discuss the irony behind light-rail supporters also being the core drivers behind historical preservation rules is there? (I'm reminded of the Classic Steve Martin scene in "The Jerk". "I don't need anything....well...except for this...I need this." New Urbanists: "We need increased density! Uh...well....except can't build here...or here....or over there....or there......")

Wanna job? run for office in a Democratic Primary. See, they TOLD you Obama had a jobs plan.

Which is worse: Losing a job or losing a government benefit? (The answer to that question tells you pretty much what's wrong with America today.)

Call it me, but blowing $105 Million of taxpayer dollars is not a private matter.

And finally....

With November rapidly approaching the InterLeft is engaging in the time-honored political tradition of blaming the messenger. It's good to know that this is still America and the Cult of Personality is still in charge.

America's worst big city daily....

....strikes again.

This time courtesy of more odd writing by the Apple Dumpling Gang.*

1. Excessive Debt is about to pull down Europe.

2. Damn you Rick Perry for not applying for Federal Stimulus funds that are...almost 100% debt spending.

In a sane world these editorial writers would be laughed out of town. Unfortunately, the world as we know it is no longer sane.

*Speaking of that, what the hell is up with ChronBlog not updating the pictures and bios of the ed board? It's not like they're are all that many of them after all. Maybe they're just waiting for Dwight to come out of his iPad coma?

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