Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!!

In keeping with tradition, I give you my favorite piece of music for tonight: The Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saƫns.

Enjoy. Be safe tonight.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekend Update (10/30/10)

OK, so I lied. The wife has to work on her birthday (blech!) so I've got some computer time.....

Perry's lead is widening. Which means that Bill White will start looking toward the 2012 Senate race that he's going to lose.

Again, Early voting from the Republican perspective. I haven't seen a Democratic overview such as this, but if you have one (or have made one) please put a link in the comments and I'll add it here. I'd love to present both side's take on the vote. Charles Kuffner does have some polling information however including some thoughts about them. (Guess which side is happy about things?)

UPDATE: Dr. Richard Murray provides an early voting review from the Democratic perspective. So, there you go.

When the election's over I'll say a little more about the Democrat's sub-par candidate slate. For now though: I give you Pete Olson's dream opponent.

It's sad this is needed but it's not a bad idea. (Civics classes in primary school being a historical object.)

An interesting look at Tea Party fundraising that doesn't follow the "a few rich donors" narrative that Colorado Model news-ish organizations and the InterLeft is pushing.

When one said appeals for common ground, you know the election is not going to turn out well for them.

Missing from this editorial on America's coming budget mess is the admission by the Apple Dumpling Gang that they loudly supported most of the spending that got us into this mess. (And still do) At least they wrote something different than a de-facto second endorsement of Bill White that smacks of desperation. Think the State's newspapers are gripping right about now?

And finally......

When the voters want X and you spend most of your campaign focusing on Y the odds are your message is not going to resonate with a majority. No matter how hard Colorado Model news-ish organizations try and drive the narrative. (The left-leaning media wants the public to care about green energy, soaking the rich, and expanding education spending (and, by extension, public sector unions) but the public just wants jobs, and to keep more of their paychecks in tougher times.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Noise Machine (10/29/10)

The "3-star" early ChronBlog's Sunday edition on Saturday evening.*

Imagine this: Your kid goes to school in Katy ISD. You provide contact information in case of emergency to the district should something ever happen to the young 'uns. Then you start getting pro-KISD bond robo-calls on your cell-phone and at your work because the district gave out your private information. Apparently this was done in "response" to a public information request, which raises the point: Are parents' private emergency numbers public information? My vote is "no".

Dan, Dan the Tea Party man? The same guy who, in the beginning, was hostile toward the Tea Parties because they weren't "toe the line Republicans"? (For that matter, remember when Dan, Dan the Tea Party man positioned himself as an outsider?) Only to lose that status when being an insider was more beneficial politically.

I give you, the watchdog journalism Houston Media should be doing courtesy of Texas Watchdog: Renew Houston leaders made Millions from City of Houston. Instead of blind, un-curious cheerleading that is.

How do you know when a political ad is effective? When the other side goes bat guano crazy over it.

And finally......

The Houston Press Political Team: Now just one week behind TV news blogs!!! Go back to party pictures guys.

*Early post tonight and taking the rest of the weekend off to celebrate mine and my wife's birthdays. Enjoy your weekend.

The Noise Machine (10/28/10)

The times, they are a changin'

ChronBlog discovers what many have said all along. The anti-incumbent meme is a fallacy. It's more like anti-party currently in power.

It's all for one and one for all when it comes to the City Ballot Propositions. (Since I reside outside of the City Limits I leave it to your conscience.)

There's too much money in politics. I could think of several better uses for $4 Billion dollars. You?

Heterophobia? Seems like it to me.

Insert "where sheep are nervous" joke here.

Fun with Campaign Finance Reports, courtesy of Matt Stiles at the Bill White Texas Tribune.

When political hacks use tech-speak the results are not pretty.

What's the deal with endangered Democratic candidates and bogus campaign claims. A PJ party is an S&M bondage party? (Alternatively, why all of the focus on bedroom and spiritual issues by the party who assures us personal lifestyle choices shouldn't matter?)

Let the Texas Goober post-mortems begin.

You know the election is getting less competitive when political signs are used by Colorado Model media organizations as content filler.

Of course Eddie Bernice Johnson's going to fight. Surprised?

The Texas Observer profiles A Black Tea Party candidate with a semi-straight face. I've been hard on Rapaport in the past but this was a fairly solid piece of journalism.

Another day, another ordinance. Up Next: A City ordinance regulating the sale of console TV's on Alternate Thursdays in Month's whose name contains the letter M.

BigJolly continues his look at Harris County Early Voting. One interesting note: The Democrat/Republican ratio is basically 1:1.

And finally.....

Step 1: Call Rick Perry a bunch of names using mild vulgarities. Step 2: Wail after losses on election day that Texas voters are a bunch of hicks. Step 3: Implode. Humorously. (We're well on our way)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Take a Deep Breath America

Before all of this gets out of hand....

Fortunately, I guess, in the background it sounded like at least one Paul supporter (sorta) had a cool head, telling the stomper to stop. Thank goodness for that.

Locally we've seen party-bloggers calling for violence toward their political opposites so you wonder just how far we are from some group deciding they've had enough and a serious fight breaking out?

In lieu of that, here are some tips to remember courtesy of HCA:

1. Just because one of them is an idiot doesn't mean they all are. - Did you hear the guy telling the other guy to stop it? Yeah, that's what most people would do. Don't forget that.

2. Tune out the fringe - I'm not saying don't join a tea-party or don't get active with the Democratic Party, but when people start advocating violence or feel the need to use juvenile vulgarities when referencing the other party it's time to tell them to go to time out and re-evaluate where they are in life.

3. It's Politics - Really. No matter who wins we're all losers. American politics is like going to a carnival with a million barkers and no acts. All sound no substance.

4. There's always someone bigger. - Remember that, the next time you think you want to push down on that woman's head. She could have a husband or boyfriend or friend who's 6-2 250 and can beat the crap out of you.

Most nice. Life's too short to get angry over politics. Save it for the important things like your football team imploding.

The Noise Machine (10/27/10)

Your loss does not mean that American Democracy is on life support.....

The Apple Dumpling Gang has taken to questioning American Democracy as it looks more and more like a large majority of their endorsed candidates are going to lose and lose badly. Of course, the problem can't be with them right?

BigJolly (David Jennings) is against Prop 1 and Prop 3. Click the links and go read why.

Manufacturing is dying in America only if you believe that unions = manufacturing. In non-union States things are moving along quite well.

"I received complaints of voter intimidation" is shaping up to be the political equivalent of a tainted supplement when politicians are caught doing something wrong. Never mind that there hasn't been much hard evidence of said intimidation, only rumors and reports. You'd think in today's society some enterprising person would have snuck a hidden camera in to document all of this right? Until then, we'll continue to have politicians using this as an effective excuse to flaunt anti-electioneering rules under the guise of protecting democracy. (If the idea of a politician doing anything to protect democracy gives you a chuckle.....)

New DNA lab? $4.8 Million. I'm assuming it won't be as cool as the CSI: Wherever labs?

Bye Chet.

Our Attorney General candidates have found social media, of course, Radnofsky doesn't have the financial backing to do much more. Abbott's commercial proves one thing: He's savvy enough of a politician to understand when NOT to mention your opponent. (When they're trailing you by at least 20 pts in all polls)

I wonder if Mostyn is going to file a lawsuit at the Dallas Morning-News now?

Smart. Not to mention mildly amusing.

Looking at this story about the Maldonado/Gonzales State Rep dispute got me to wondering what the projections are for the Texas House? The Tribune did a fund-raising review but I haven't seen any projections. May have to work on that. (No promises) If you've seen one can you pass it my way please?

Didn't the HCRP sue the Republican and Green Parties for this very same thing?

Today's Perry press release, in advance, so you can impress your friends.

Texas Watchdog takes a look at High speed rail stimulus funding. Mark Lisheron does a good job relating the tortured history of high-speed rail in Texas, you should go give this a read.

TW also gives us a preview of the proposed City of Houston ethics rules. That these modest safeguards (a $20 annual fee to be a lobbyist for example) are considered progress shows you just how "Houston Way" Houston government currently is.

White's backers are Now relying on Politifarce to make their case. The projected Perry margin of victory gets larger and larger every day. (In defense of the Austin American-Statesman however, I'm sure they have a significant investment in Politifarce, so they feel obligated to use it, no matter how opinionated or truthy its "facts" turn out to be.)

The Wall Street Journal does the Rick Perry profile thing. Very positive toward Perry or, to use another word: dreck. (Pieces like this are bad when ChronBlog does them, and worse when a real news organization such as the WSJ decides it needs fluff-filler. Boo.)

And finally......

The Bill White Texas Tribune fires their last shot for White......Ah well, campaigns aren't their strong suit anyway. They'll do a much better job covering the actual election and Lege session I'm sure.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Noise Machine (10/26/10)

How 'bout dem Cowboys......

Increasingly Harris County Republicans are seeing the enemy, and it is them.

Think about this: Chronblog lost more readers in the last six-month reporting cycle than many candidates will receive votes in the upcoming election. What to do? Spin.

"We have to pass the bill to find out what's in the bill." Apparently some of what was in the bill involved large cost increases. (I'm surprised Politifarce hasn't weighed in on this yet.)

Meet Houston's new Inspector General. Good luck sir, you've got your work cut out for you.

Rick Perry is raking in the money a lot of it. He's got a comfortable lead in the polls (So comfortable that even the Left-leaning Texas Observer is having trouble finding a silver lining for White), the generic polls are looking good for him and the "anti-incumbency" narrative is finally fading away. (More accurately it's an anti-Democratic wave, but that story will probably only be told after the election.) To top it all off, it appears his campaign ads were hits with Texas values while his opponents were largely a miss. (White never did get a good message out for this campaign.) the only question remaining is by how much.

No surprise. (Whether or not you think this is a positive for Perry......)

Well, you're voting. In record numbers. (There's opposing takes on what the turnout means based on partisan affiliation. My thought is, in Houston, the Democratic areas are doing better than some might hope, but Republican anger is going to be too strong to overcome except on an occasional-race basis.)

Politicking as a non-profit?

You stay classy Tea Party. Ah the overzealous few, always tainting the fairly civil whole. (Just another reminder that everyone, regardless of party, needs to take a step back and calm down. Heated rhetoric and calls for violence only serve to agitate the unbalanced. The majority of people (even activists) in both parties are neither vile nor evil. They don't want to imprison you or your children and they don't want to stick a boot up your ass. The one's who harp the loudest are the one's that are least likely to do anything. Everyone just calm down.)

Candidates aren't buying social media? I doubt that, it's just that, in many cases, entrance into the big social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook etc.) is free. If anything I see MORE candidates migrating away from traditional media and toward social media because of the lower cost. (You can do several You Tube/on-line campaign commercials for the price of one TV ad. A Facebook, or blog, post has a zero marginal cost (above the price of the staffer who wrote the copy, who's cost would be in place for a press release anyway) and will probably reach more readers than would a traditional newspaper ad. This could certainly be the case in 2012.)

You know it's bad when the Brits are giving us grief about our lack of freedom of expression. Thought crimes? Controlling the narrative? Make it stop.

What's $23.75 Million amongst friends? ESPN does a good job broadcasting live events, but their journalism is wrong more often than it's right.

For all of the praise Smart Dumb Growth proponents in Houston slather on the "new urban lifestyle" you'd think there'd be no downside to being packed into "livable centers" like sardines with no cars and limited mobility options. You'd be wrong. The thing that's often forgotten (by both sides) is this: There's a reason people like to live in houses with yards in a suburban setting, just as there's a reason some people like to live in an urban environment. The trick is to satisfy the demands of both markets. (And to not let one group believe the hype that their chosen lifestyle is superior to the other. We're all just living after all.) It'd be nice to see balanced reporting like this on livability issue in Houston. Sadly, ChronBlog is all-in for the same failed residency model that gave us the Plague.....4 Million Houston-are residents shoe-horned inside of Loop 610 sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. That being said, all of those that want to live there should, money and housing space willing.

In the matter of Flores vs. Edwards.....It's over.

And finally.....

It's true, I've been hard on the folks over at the Houston Press of late, their 'hard' political reporting looking more and more like the work of amateurs. That being said, this is some righteous media crit. Good job Connelly.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Noise Machine (10/25/2010)

Could use some rain......

ChronBlog gives us some news "analysis" today with dueling portraits of both Bill White (Successful Mayor, would've cured cancer in Houston but was term-limited) and Rick Perry (Who's Eeeevil and wants to eat the children of the poor.)

I feel sorry for reporters who have to churn out opinion pieces such as these under the direction of the newspaper's leadership. Bill White's not sorry however. I would imagine he, and his supporters are pretty happy. Especially since Houston is emerging as quite the battleground.

Another poll, another downer for Democrats.


(It's almost as if, instead of researching a real political column, Casey just decided to spend a couple minutes re-writing Politifarce and mailed it in. ChronBlog's Op/Ed writing is an embarrassment to Houston.)

San Antonio Express-News/ChronBlog Austin reporter Peggy Fikac polls the usual Democratic consultants and gets a pretty consistent message: (Bill White's done. He needs a miracle)

Amazingly, as early voting is almost 1/2 over, the big newspapers are finally deciding to do some campaign reporting:

The Dallas Morning News looks at how each candidate might approach the TxDOT issue

The Austin American-Statesman takes a gander at SafeClear

And the San Antonio Express-News revisits Rick Perry's now infamous "$2,000 savings" claim.

(This is all reporting that should have been done long before this. Texas Media has done Texans a disservice by failing to take a long look at Bill White's tenure as Houston Mayor and (to a much lesser extent) Rick Perry's tenure as Texas Governor.

A lot of stuff today on so-called outside political money. One thing interesting, those who are making the most noise are often benefiting from 'outside' money and have been for quite some time. (We all like to pick n' choose our bad guys after all)

Speaking of money, Tom Pauken accuses the Back to Basics PAC of being less than truthful when it comes to Texas' economy.

Water is the new pollution.

Don't forget about that budget short-fall. It's going to loom big over the next Lege session.

Tough year for moderates.

I guess you will have Tom DeLay to kick around for a while.

And finally.....

The continued devolution of the Press' local and state coverage is painful to watch.

Friday, October 22, 2010

At least they're mentioning bH now.

Blogger blogs....

(Chron: Scary "new" trend of big money in politics hits Houston! Kevin Whited, BlogHouston)
Now, we certainly wouldn't want to dissuade any Chron journalists from digging into campaign finance records and looking for conflicts of interest. Goodness knows, that would be a welcome change from the sorts of rah-rah stories that too frequently show up in the newspaper.

But "new national trend?"


Former newspaper of record (and current largest local blog) responds...

(Remainders on anonymous donations, Bradley Olson, ChronBlog)
Actually, yes, it is rather new, at least on the scale it has reached in this election, as these stories show. It's a big enough deal, in the estimation of some pretty seasoned journalists, that it could be the source of the next Watergate.

I encourage you to go read both posts, follow the links in both and see the sources each are using to make their case. Then, probably, you'll side with whomever is closest to your partisan leanings.

Hell, I'm just glad that ChronBlog has decided to join the conversation again, instead of banning certain blogs and bloggers from their site. Debate is good.

This is why bad politicians get re-elected.

On the one hand, you have Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, entangled in a nepotism scandal and generally considered to be at-risk despite the fact that her district is heavily Democratic.

On the other hand......

Today's candidate for the "dumbest politician of the year" award....

(GOP Candidate: I can't rule out violence, Melanie Mason, Dallas Morning News via Chronblog)
Republican congressional candidate Stephen Broden stunned his party Thursday, saying he would not rule out violent overthrow of the government if elections did not produce a change in leadership.

In a rambling exchange during a TV interview, Broden, a South Dallas pastor, said a violent uprising "is not the first option," but it is "on the table." That drew a quick denunciation from the head of the Dallas County GOP, who called the remarks "inappropriate."

Broden, a first-time candidate, is challenging veteran incumbent Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson in Dallas' heavily Democratic 30th Congressional District. Johnson's campaign declined to comment on Broden.

In the interview, Brad Watson, political reporter for WFAA-TV (Channel 8), asked Broden about a tea party event last year in Fort Worth in which he described the nation's government as tyrannical.

"We have a constitutional remedy," Broden said then. "And the Framers say if that don't work, revolution."
I would think it is pretty hard to run a losing campaign against an incumbent with so much high-profile baggage. Broden is, amazingly, succeeding at this.

Campaign 101: It's typically not wise to call for the violent overthrow of the government you're asking voters to elect you to.

Tomorrow's class: Holding up a baby is a good photo op, holding the mother of the baby is not, unless it's your baby that is.

Three Things (Obama T-shirt edition)

(Obama T-Shirt serves as voting "dress code" reminder, Kevin Reece, KHOU)

1. It's amazing how many people are willfully ignorant of the law. To the point that they dispute it (for them) even after it's been read out loud.

2. I'm glad to see that Tea Party shirts are banned as well. Electioneering is electioneering no matter the ideology.

3. Good Gawd that was an ugly T-shirt. Were I to wear an Obama shirt I'd wear one of the Warhol looking ones or something.

My favorite line:
"That’s not going to roll with me. Is it going to roll with you?”
I don't know about you but "the law" typically rolls pretty OK with me. Obviously not for these two.

The Noise Machine (10/22/10)

All kinds of "-isms".....

Despite all of the voter intimidation hoo-rah it's important to note that early vote numbers are up across the board, even in the so-called "intimidated" areas of Harris County. (That's kind of a big deal. And a counterpoint to the 'voter suppression' charges by both sides.)

With that in mind: I give you a problem everyone should be concerned about. This issue has been around for a while and, to their credit, it was mainly a concern of the InterLeft. Both sides should be concerned about the lack of an audit trail in the current machines. (The good news is it sounds as if the technology is there, it just needs legislative action to happen.)

Hello ChronBlog, Welcome to SIX years ago.

Election shenanigans are sucking up most of the oxygen, but this story deserves your attention if for nothing else that I believe immigration is going to be the driving (dividing?) issue of the next couple of years.

People die, the lawyers get rich. It's good to be amongst the ruling class.

MetroRail is dying a slow-death of 1000 cuts. The humane thing to do would be to pull the plug, and start over with an actual regional mobility plan.

*GASP* You mean MOST people don't obsess over politics? Whua?

How bad could things be for the Democrats? Pretty bad.

Things you don't want to hear in an election year: Your preferred National Campaign Organization has taken out a sizable loan. Uh Oh.

The Trib interviews Sheriff Adrian Garcia uses most of the time to try and politic for Bill White. Cool.

David Porter is in the lead (and will probably win because of the "tidal wave" effect) but it's widely recognized that Jeff Weems is the most qualified candidate for Texas Railroad Commissioner. THIS, however is not what you want to see on your endorsement:
Victor Carrillo owns the best set of credentials of any Texas Railroad Commissioner in recent times, but he was defeated in the Republican primary.
Translation: Since those Republican dolts primaried out the best candidate, we give you option B. Yeesh.

A good defense of the Emerging Technology Fund even though I don't like it and view it to be just another form of corporate welfare that should be eliminated. (Sorry, got a little carried away there.)

And finally....

Why unserious entertainment organizations should stop trying to do "hard" news. The Press, at this point, would be better served posting party pics and doing TV reviews in an effort to increase page views. Their political reporting is borderline painful.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

So much for that voter Intimidation

(Harris Co. officials find no evidence of voter intimidation; co. attorney Ryan mediating election spat, says no conflict in donation to Houston Votes; feds not investigating tea party group, Steve Miller, Texas Watchdog*)

I'm going to reproduce part of this story here:
And all accusations of intimidation were looked into by the Harris County Clerk’s Office, which found no proof of any malfeasance, said Hector DeLeon, a spokesman for the office.

“We processed 26,031 votes, we had 14 complaints, all from Democrats, of intimidation,” DeLeon said. "We had no complaints on Tuesday or [Wednesday]."

Representatives from his office went to each site of a complaint, spoke with officials there and found nothing to uphold any allegation of trouble, he said.

Still, Ryan called for a monitor from the U.S. Department of Justice, although reports that the DOJ was looking into any particular group – including declarations that some tea party members were involved in the intimidation accusations -- were incorrect.

DOJ: No investigation into any specific political organization, tea party

“The department is looking into allegations of misconduct in polling places that occurred in Harris County during the first day of early voting,” DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said via e-mail. “There is no investigation into any specific political organization, including the tea party, at this time regarding this matter.”

Birnberg, the Democratic party chair, insists there was intimidation and that it has continued.

"The complaints the clerk's office deals with are different from the complaints we are receiving," he said. "We get the documented stories of intimidation, from credible sources. One was on the board of trustees at Houston Community College. One worked for a Texas senator."

The fracas, which involves investigations, lawsuits, ethics complaints and allegations of intimidation and improper activity at polling sites, stems from Vasquez' assertion in August that Houston Votes had turned in thousands of faulty voter registrations. The lame-duck Republican compared the work of Houston Votes to that of the much-maligned ACORN in a press conference.

The King Street Patriots is a conservative group that has taken up squelching voter fraud as a key issue, through its True the Vote arm. It provided Vasquez research of its findings before that press conference.

It’s too early for the King Street Patriots to file a tax form 990, which would shed light on the scope of its operation.

So much for that. It's good to see that the Department of Justice is still going to be out there just in case. We don't want voter intimidation occurring on either side.

Also: This Texas Watchdog story, about City produced videos for City bonds in Austin is worth reading as well.

*Texas Watchdog has very nicely made this story available for reproduction through a creative commons license, however, I'm too crunched for time to replicate all of the code. I encourage you to head over and read the whole thing.

A Question of Politicking.

Here's one....

One of the main complaints against King Street Patriots by the Harris County Democratic Party is that they're "using a non-profit corporation to conduct a de-facto political operation on behalf of Republicans".

I point this out because, today, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas Inc. released their 2010 Election Endorsements and the endorsed candidates are *gasp* ALL DEMOCRATS.

They even missed the obvious by endorsing Gordon Quan over Ed Emmett.

Which raises the obvious questions: Is Planned Parenthood conducting de-facto political activity for the Democratic Party while operating as a non-profit?

If so, will this be reported with the same vigor by Texas' lazy political media as the KSP/HCDP story?

One thing I know for sure, the echo chamber of the InterLeft won't have the same outrage over PP as they are mustering up over KSP, although the right's echo chamber might. They LOVE a good anti-PP story dontcha know. Despite their silence I'm going to use a closer from the sexiest* member of the InterLeft:

Stay tuned.....

*You can come back whenever Slampo....just sayin.

The Noise Machine (10/21/10)

Car in the shop (again) dangit.......

BigJolly on Early Voting Day 3. Numbers are still up, and the Inner-Belt is starting to show increases in line with the Outer-Belt. Which means that the Democrats have finally wound up their GOTV machines.

Kevin Whited of BlogHouston on The Narrative, specifically, how to correct it when it's flown off the rails. (As has been the case in this, very Colorado Model, election.)

On that note: (Also courtesy of Mr. Whited) How news organizations should be covering the story. As opposed to how they ARE covering the story. (Often through press release or over-reliance on reports from partisan Colorado Model news sources. Such is the state of the MSM today.)

Metro's hiring a mediator to cancel the controversial rail car contract and promising to (finally) pay what they owe to local municipalities for road and bridge construction. Maybe this is (New)Metro maybe not. We'll see. (Some of (New)Metro's ideas and actions feeling awfully similar to (Old)Metro after all)

What campaign finance reform hath wrought. A better way would be just to require 100% full disclosure, instead of the piecemeal system we have now. Trying to restrict cash from certain sources, and making some cash illegal while others are legal (Although I'm sympathetic to the foreign cash argument there are even ways around that wall) is a fool's dream. (The best reform is sunlight.)

The best reporting on HISD is currently being churned out By Lynn Walsh and Texas Watchdog. If you're not going there for your education news your missing out.

The Citizen's United decision is misunderstood, especially by Texas political journalists, many of whom stop digging after "the Republicans did it". (Texas needs an infusion of good political journalism in the worst way. Too much reliance on campaign press releases and relationships with political insiders....The King Street Patriots/Harris County Democratic Party story is evidence of that.)

Case in point: I'm Bill White and I approved this message. (This opinion piece is coming from the same guy who provides the AAS "straight" political coverage. Think about that.)

So much for White's "October surprise". Just another misstep by the little campaign that couldn't. (Perry by six or seven is looking too optimistic for White at right about now.)

Question: Is this intended as commentary or as a legit news piece? It isn't clearly labeled and it's listed on the website under "local_news". If this is a straight news piece some editor somewhere should be looking for a job tomorrow.

I'll say this: Bob Perry has himself a LOT of money. Because he's making it rain on Republicans during this campaign cycle like never before. (Think that has anything to do wit the TRCC being sun-setted and it's replacement being discussed in the next Lege?)

And finally.....

Five good things about Bill White & Five good things about Rick Perry courtesy of Evan @ Rick Perry vs. World.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Noise Machine (10/20/10)

Oh boy.....

David Jennings takes a look at early voting Day 2. It's still very high, and a majority is still outside the Beltway.

Hint: If you're trying to unleash an October surprise, make sure that the following phrase doesn't apply:
but an outside investigation last year found no wrongdoing.
If that doesn't work, hope that an uncurious media will bang out a column that's sympathetic toward you. It still won't work, but hey.....

(You've got to give White and ChronBlog credit for trying, but this campaign hasn't shown the ability to make any noise outside of the (increasingly vulgar) echo chamber. This won't change that at all.)

Watch those poll watchers! Out of "twenty" cases of alleged voter intimidation the HCDP provides details of just two? Obviously the goal with all of this is to lay the groundwork for legal challenges to close races, not to actually get at the King Street Patriots or Green Party as they're saying. (The idea is to cast doubt on the democratic model, then sue, sue sue.)

At the debate no-one outside of the echo chamber watched, White slammed Perry then he balked at answering a question about Obama, then (apparently) he lost a debate to two political light-weights, partially due to his inability to provide short, direct answers to questions. (That's bad.) Good for the smaller party candidates however. I guess. (When you consider the amount of audience interest I'm willing to bet most undecided voters walked away saying "Meh" and will either skip the race or vote straight ticket.)

Houston's looking for a Federal Lobbyist. Bill White's going to have some free time soon.

This kind of changing voter demographic story might be interesting and relevant in any other election. This looking more and more like a tidal wave election however analysis like this is pretty meaningless. (Maybe in 2012 it'd be wise to revisit it however.)

And finally.....

I give you, The most biased lede EVER....
The vast Koch Industries-led cabal of GOP donors, free-market ideologues and titans of industry is real
This is important because the American Independent is increasingly being used as a straight news source by the echo chamber as the main source for Colorado Model accusations. The American Independent is the NewsMax of the Left.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Afternoon Election stuff

If campaigns were bad 80's movie sequals......

Desperately Seeking Scandals Nevermind that there's evidence this is a settled matter in which the charges were found to be wanting.

Dirty Rotten Tea-Partiers - It's convenient that all of this anti-Mexican Tea Party stuff takes place off-camera and is only witnessed by Democrtic representatives is it not?

The Paper Chase II: Nepotism At least this time it was done the old-fashined way....with family

UHF II: Still more unwatchable crap. Some time, after this election, we're going to need to have a serious discussion about the sorry state of campaign ads.

All the Democrat's Women. Good question by Evan, bad reporting by Benton. The state of State political reporting is dire.

The Noise Machine (10/19/10)

26K on the first day of early voting in Harris County.....

Still more on the coming problems in the Gulf. (I still haven't found a good projection on why this is a big deal, and what the consequences (spikes in energy prices, an energy supply increasingly reliant on foreign sources) will be. The media is missing that boat.)

Early voting goes to the suburbs and, by extension, the Tea Party, according to this analysis from David Jennings.

Poll Watcher is the new election demon. Interesting that Birnberg of the HCDP is making some leaps that Ryan and others are not willing to make re: King Street Patriots. It'd be funny if the offending poll watchers were Demo operatives. (Although, at this point, there's no evidence of who it is, only unconfirmed reports. The HCDP is already setting the "anti KSP" narrative however. It appears that ChronBlog is biting.)

Bob Perry gives $3.5 Million to the RGA. Still no word on how much Mostyn has donated to the DGA. (When that surfaces, expect the selective outrage to follow)

Another paper breaks for Perry. Well, sorta. In conservative West Texas however it's not like the MRT had much of a choice.

Farouk! Farouk! Farouk is on fire! Fueling speculations that he was a plant candidate all along.

Old habits die hard. Especially amongst the media, who can't shake their mis-held belief that the NY Times is still the most important news outlet in America. The Trib could have been so much more, they're settling for being the small child jumping up and down in class with their hand raised hoping to garner the attention of the aging school marm. (They could have been more content-wise as well, but that's a different story)

One candidate has made his closing argument, one candidate has not.

Related: One candidate is in the other's back yard, one is shoring up the base.

(Now guess which one is winning)

When the story begins "Nine months into the Texas governor's race, and with early voting now underway, Bill White finally has found his voice." You've got problems.

$3 Million raised and spent in a House contest. That's right, a House contest. Wow.

"Mark White" Not a good sign for the Bill White campaign.

And finally....

Before you go cast your vote for/against Proposition 1 make sure you read This Tom Kirkendall piece about opportunity costs. You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Prop One Shenanigans

What does it say that the Anti Proposition 1 piece ran on Monday (a low circulation day for ChronBlog) while two Pro Proposition 1 pieces ran on Sunday? (the largest circulation day for ChronBlog)

It couldn't be that ChronBlog was trying to subtly push the "Pro" (a position that they have heartily endorsed FWIW while playing down the "Anti" could it? Is there another Memo being passed around?

Not running the opposing pieces by Parker and the Council members side-by-side borders on journalism malfeasance. If the excuse is that the "anti" piece wasn't submitted in time then ChronBlog should have waited until it was to run both. Shame on them.

Harris County Democrats sue King Street Patriots (UPDATED)

...offer up amateurish word document as proof of case.

I'm sure they have more than this, and they might even have a case, but if candidates 'attending' KSP events is grounds for a lawsuit then every church headed by a member of the Black Pastor's Association had better hold on to their pews....

Instead of going after King Street, what I think the HCDP is doing here is laying the groundwork for a series of legal challenges to the many races in which they are now expecting to come up short. The new Democratic plan (Post W vs. Gore) has been "sue, sue, sue" then the voters lean the opposite way and work hard to dissolve trust in the voting system.

I'm not sure just yet what the end game is here, but systemic attacks against our democratic system are not rare in history. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.


It's interesting to note that, on the same day the HCDP added KSP to their lawsuit the George Soros/Matt Angle backed Texans for Public Justice filed an ethics complaint against KSP based almost entirely on reporting found in another Colorado Model media outlet, The American Independent, which was then dutifully carried by another Colorado Model "news" outlet The Texas Tribune which conveniently forgot to disclose TPJ's funding ties to Texas Democratic king-maker Matt Angle.*

So we have several (allegedly) Democratic partisan groups suing and filing ethics complaints against an (allegedly) Republican partisan group for (allegedly) performing the exact same actions they're (allegedly) involved in.

*Thanks to Kevin Whited for helping me connect the dots on this issue

The Noise Machine (10/18/10)

Happy early voting day.....

ChronBlog's Peggy Fikac tries to dig at Perry for thinking voters don't care about the debate by using polling numbers that reveal around half of voters don't care about debates. It's sad to watch a fading institution try and preserve itself.

Another reminder to vote early if you're going to vote. With the shortage of voting machines etc. I'd suggest you go that way instead of trying to wait until Nov. 2.

It wasn't too long ago that Obama supporters were screeching that no oil and gas jobs were lost due to the moratorium. Whoops.

The underlying theme here being that most voters aren't paying attention. (You suck! Now vote for me.)

Strange we haven't seen the same news reporting for the DGA and Steve Mostyn. (I guess that's totally different while possibly being exactly the same?)

Ugly. Uglier. Bad losers?

BigJolly points out that the Apple Dumpling Gang isn't even trying any longer. I'm not surprised that they didn't interview many of the candidates, nor am I surprised that they were adversarial to half of them. (The era of the editorial board vetting candidates for voters has passed, better to shutter the entire mess and redeploy the assets to local reporting.)

The funny thing about our "gimmee" society is this: On the one hand we demand our elected officials be against something while, on the other hand, we demand they get more for us if it passes. That's untenable of course, long-run.

What is Jason Embry saying? That Texas Democrats can take control of the Lege? I haven't seen that projection anywhere, and if they really think it can happen.......

In case you haven't seen them before: Here are the Tribune interviews with Rick Perry and Bill White. Just watch them back to back and pretend they are debating.

And finally.....

Surprise, surprise, surprise. (That said, the Waco ed board is decidedly conservative, unlike other ed boards in Texas, so the thought of endorsing a progressive such as White was probably not pleasant to them. Perry always seems to be just a little bit better than his opponent to conservatives. Strange.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekend Update (10/17/10)

No Playoffs for YOU!!!!

Bob Dunn takes a look at another downside of the Houston region's lack of investigative media. (Far better, in the eyes of Chronblog's editorial leadership, to run pictures of pub crawlers and bar hoppers)

The Dallas Morning-News and The San Antonio Express-News put a nifty little bow on top of the election year hissy-fit they've been throwing.

ChronBlog runs dual profiles of the two major candidates for Texas Goober. Perry's was negative in tone (the gist being that he has moved right over the years) while White's was just cloyingly bad. (Who really believes that he was thinking about energy policy at age 12?) All in all they're fitting capstones to ChronBlog's terrible election coverage this year.

Contrast that with this pretty good piece by the Bill White Texas Tribune's Ross Ramsey. Is it any wonder the Tribune, and other online news outlets, are winning the news race in Texas?

Alt media? Nope. The Austin Chronicle gets education wrong, forgetting that, even in anti-union Texas, most teacher's are still unionized. (Houston's alt-media is even worse)

Today's Meet the bureaucrat. Ugh.

Funny....the Party that gave us vote for US you stupid hicks is now informing us that their ballot opponents are stupid as well. It will be interesting to see how this "we're the only smart ones" voter wooing strategy plays out. (My guess is it will go over like a brick....but we'll see.)

And finally....

On the day before early voting begins ChronBlog does a good job representing the pro-Prop 1 argument, teaming this editorial from Mayor Parker with Rick Casey's (so far print only) column calling out the churches as a bunch of selfish, greedy idiots. What's notably missing was ANY word from the opposing camp. You know, journalism in the public interest instead of advocacy journalism. (Not that ChronBlog is anything more than an advocacy blog.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A new beat at ChronBlog?

For a while, ChronBlog featured the Froot Loops bureau, the moniker Kevin Whited hung on their rather weak reporting on events that were originally reported on by other news outlets. That went away, until this evening....

I give you, The Swanson's TV Dinner Beat which could involve an unlucky reporter sitting at home with a laptop posting chubs about the news reports of other news outlets.


Down the stretch they come.....

As early voting spools up the typical last-minute hilarity is running along at full speed, trailing candidates are throwing a bunch of mud at the wall in hope something sticks and the poor, old, overlooked (in their mind) media, is getting creative in their desire to have something that resembles a time when they actually mattered in elections. The big winner? Evan Smith of the Bill White Texas Tribune, a Colorado model organization that's doing a commendable job of framing the issues in the current election. More and more it seems as if the Trib and Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report are defining the narrative, while traditional pulp media outlets are following along in their wake.

This is a big deal, a very big deal if you're wondering what the future of Texas elections could look like going forward. More and more it's looking like the decision by the Perry campaign to bypass newspaper editorial boards and to not agree to a traditional debate is going to be a winning one, and that not receiving a single recommendation from them is going to be inconsequential. Think about that for a bit, and then think about why that's a big deal.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Noise Machine (10/14/10)

The daily delay is slowly getting shorter.....

Give the John Faulk folks their due....they're out there working. They don't have a snowball's chance in Hell, but they're possibly laying the groundwork for others down the road in that District. (I say possibly because a lot of it depends on whether or not the future GOP snaps to the reality that to win minority votes means you have to pay attention to their communities more than during election time.)

More bad macro-economic news on the National front. Those warning sirens you are hearing are the Majority Loss Alarms clanging in Democratic election HQ's across the Country.

What makes this so funny is that Icken is telling the truth. That many who write and edit for ChronBlog are members of the "effete in the Heights" only makes it more so. (Then there's the debate about whether or not a relatively small Facebook group (when compared to total area population) would even be "news" or no if the members weren't predominantly upper class?)

That's one small step for preservation, one giant leap towards zoning. (Houston is the worst at failing to embrace its strengths while rushing to emulate the things that make other cities truly world class. What this leaves it with is a handful of World Classiness and a group of elites who really think others are impressed by it.)

If you're a 501(c)3 non-profit and haven't filled out your required returns, you better get on it.

Bill King comes out For Proposition 3 (The Red Light Camera Proposition) As is his custom, he takes an honest look at it and decides the revenue that is generated is worth the lost privacy. (Which, is a defensible position, whether you agree with it or not.)

What political desperation looks like. It ain't pretty, especially from a man who was griping just a few weeks ago about how negative Perry was running.

We're Texas?

If you love the outdoors (and are not an urban ecomental who loves the outdoors as a concept instead of as a reality) then you're going to be pleased to see this bit of news. Tent-camping in State Parks is one of my favorite past-times. Especially in the Hill Country.

And finally......

Evan from Perry vs. World looks at the case of Burka vs. Rasmussen and declares Rasmussen the runaway winner. If you've followed the writings of Kevin and Evan (and, to a lesser extent, me) on the sorry state of the State's political media this should not surprise you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Noise Machine (10/13/10)

On a nine-hour delay today.......

I told you this "don't debate" thing would catch on....Now that it looks as if Perry is going to win comfortably expect the mass-media debate to become an ever-growing dinosaur.

Here comes the Speaker's race. And we don't even have a full house yet. (My prediction: Straus hangs on - barely)

I'm not sure that quoting a Medina spokesperson is the best place to get insight on Rick Perry's campaign. Call it me.

NPR asks: Is Texas tired of Rick Perry? Which, when you think about it, is just the type of meaningless rhetorical questions the media likes to ask as it gets close to election day and their chosen candidate is trailing in the polls. A better question is this: Has Texas totally tuned out it's political media? (They might as well given this poor quality of analysis.)

How poor? Politifarce wastes 960 words worth of space to basically say We have no idea? and then cover it up be calling it "Half True". If there's a final nail in the coffin of the mainstream Texas political media, it's Politifarce.

Meanwhile: Texas Watchdog refuses to insult it's readers intelligence and provides direct length's to the Harris County Commissioner's 2010 ethics forms. The thought being you're smart enough, if driven, to understand it yourself and that you don't need some j-school burn-out to tell you Candidate X failed to dot an i.

And finally.....

If Bill White had a chance (or if the Perry camp thought he had a chance) this story would be all over the airwaves. That it's not tells you everything you need to know about Perry's lead. (My early prediction was Perry by six or seven, it's looking more and more that I was low-balling his chances. To be fair: I also thought White would run a better campaign. That said, one thought KBH would as well....At some point people are going to have to give credit to Perry's camp rather than taking it away from his opponent. He's a hard guy to run against.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

To Quote Ben Franklin

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Which is the choice before us today.....

(Downtown Cameras Will Target Crime, Ryan Korsgard, News2Houston)
The director of the Mayor's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security said a new network of more than 200 cameras downtown could help solve cases like these in the future.

"They will be able to give us a view of all of the public space in the downtown area," said Dennis Storemski. "We can go back and view the cameras from that period of time and see if we can identify somebody, ID a license plate, something to go on."

Critics fear the government-owned cameras are like "Big Brother" watching. Storemski said that the goal is to make everyone safer.
When reducing the amount of freedom in the citizen's lives the goal is always safety. When George Bush pushed the Patriot Act safety was the justification, when President Obama ok'd increased surveillance on US Citizens the reason was safety. HISD began tracking students like cattle in the name of safety.

Now, the city wants camera surveillance on all public areas downtown.....under the dubious area of safety. After all, there's fairly compelling evidence that these cameras don't reduce crime.

No such thing as a "throw away" comment.

If there's one thing I've learned in almost 7 years* of blogging about local politics and local politicians: There's not such thing as a throwaway line, or something said truly in jest.

For example:

(Ballot for Harris County is larger than ever, Chris Moran, ChronBlog)
The ballot is so long that it requires 61 cents to mail in your vote. Harris County Democratic Party Chairman Gerry Birnberg joked, "We're real close to a poll tax here."

(Ed. - Emphasis mine)
It seems like a throwaway line and, in any other context, it might be. But this is a political figure representing a party that's already involved in a lawsuit against the current Republican Tax Assessor-Collector.

If things don't break the way Birnberg wants them to, (and judging by the polling numbers, they're not going to) is it much of a stretch to see the cost of postage being tacked on as an issue? Not as a stand-alone of course, (you'd be hard-pressed to convince anyone that 61¢ is onerous) but as a part of a larger plan to suppress the poor and minority vote by Republicans?

I sure can.

Proving Republican malfeasance has long been a goal of the Harris County Democratic Party, just as proving voter fraud has been a goal of the other side. Much of it I believe to be political theater, there have been many charges that have been proven false, but there are real voter irregularities out there that should be investigated. As always, the object of voting rules and processes should be to maximize the number of legal votes, while minimizing the number of illegal votes. I doubt seriously that a large ballot is a part of that, nor do I believe Birnberg** seriously believes this is "getting close to a poll tax", but I wouldn't be surprised to see it appear in the challenge documents of a close race or two. This is politics after all, and some campaigns hold on to anything they think might give them an edge.

*As hard as it is to believe, Isolated Desolation began publication in October 2003

**As a matter of fact, I really do believe Brinberg was joking, just as the article says he was. In the throes of desperation comments originally spoken in jest find their way into serious political discussion.

Don't let facts get in the way....

....of a good campaign meme.

(SBOE candidates address old themes Debate ranges from dinosaurs to sex education, Gary Scharrer, ChronBlog)
The social conservatives already lost one of their leaders — Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, in a GOP primary election earlier this year. McLeroy calls himself a "young Earth creationist," who believes dinosaurs coexisted with humans.

"No, I don't believe that dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. That's outrageous," Jennings said during the debate. "This is what our state board of education has become — an object of ridicule.

"If you want to teach creationism, you can teach it in church; you can teach it in a philosophy class. You can teach it in a world religion class, but it has no place in science," she said.

Farney, also rejecting any possibility of dinosaurs and humans sharing the planet, said parents should be responsible for teaching faith and values.
By inserting McLeroy into the narrative it allows Jennings to continue to parrot her campaign talking points that "those evil Christians are out to make Texas Children dumb". She can now do this despite the fact that Farney is advocating no such position.

Is this plan working?

You tell me...

(Endorsement watch: Mistakes are made, Charles Kuffner, Off the Kuff)
That’s a lovely thought if Farney really were a moderate, but there’s considerable evidence that she’s not.

And what is that "considerable evidence"? Two blog posts from Marsha at Musings, one about Farney attending a Tea Party rally and one about OTHER Republican moderates siding with conservatives in a past vote. That's only "considerable evidence" in the bizarro-world of Texas amateur political blogging. As a matter of fact, there's nothing on her Campaign site to suggest such radicalism. Neither is there much radicalism on Jennings website, other than calling fundamentalist Christians religious radicals*.

It appears to me that you have two candidates for this position that are equally qualified and not too far apart on the core issues. The main difference (and where the crux of the argument lies) is between the two candidates political party affiliation. Since there's nothing emperical by which to seperate the two candidates supporters are forced to rely on the emotional.

Ignore the narrative, a vote for either of these two candidates is not the end of the world. It's probably going to come down to party preference.

*Some would argue that the "push" by Democrats against fundamentalist Christians is radical in and of itself. I don't see it that way however. Since most fundamentalist Christians are Republican, it's simply a matter of politics and NOT some grand conspiracy to wipe Christians from the face of the Earth.

Life's Lessons

You cannot have your cake and eat it too

America's States and municipalities have forgotten that truism, and what they're stuck with is a moldy slice of cake with fetid frosting. For too long they've ran on the premise that you can pay people less now (better for waving the budget flag) with the promise of high, unsustainable pensions in the future. Instead of being forced to take a hard look at payroll (as traditional companies must do) they kicked the can down the road by offering up retirement plans that, in some cases, offered greater compensation than the employees earned in a career. We've now kicked the can to a dead-end. Ooops.

Those in Glass Houses should not throw stones

Conde Nast Portfolio deems Exxon's future "shaky". Then they promptly fold while Exxon experiences record growth.

Don't point out the speck in your neighbor's eye when there's a beam in your own

Liberals calling out GOP "radicalism" on climate change while their faith-based system is taking hits is laughable.

Told often enough a lie becomes the truth.

At least, Jessee Jackson is hoping so, as he continues to try and remain a political player.

If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging

This had the potential to be a good story on money in politics and specificially on 501(c)4 groups that are allowed to have their donor lists remain anonymous. Then the New York Times couldn't help themselves and it devolved into a hit-piece against Republicans. As the journalism hole deepens you have to wonder at what point they're going to put down the shovel?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh yes they call him.....

...the streak.

Boogity Boogity.....

Cue Anger

Justice Keller skates.....

Here we go....

Dear Texans....

You are a bunch of lug-headed, mouth-breathing, borderline incompetent, slack-jawed, backward-assed livin', truck drivin, earth-killin', meat-eatin', gay-hatin', god-lovin', inbreds who are incapable of running a Piggly Wiggly, much less making political decisions.......

Oh, and please vote for my guy.


Texas Progressives.

I love election season.

The Noise Machine (10/11/10)

Missed the whole 10/10/10 thing.....

Ever wonder why it's hard to get a job these days?

Your child....the cow. Mooo!!!!

A Perry endorsement in Bill White's home-town. Add that to the Houston Police and Fire-fighters unions and you have something.

Why is the answer always to make something more criminal? Suicides are terrible things, and bullying sucks as well, but criminal? It's getting to the point in "the land of the free" that it's harder to not be in violation of the law than to walk the straight and narrow.

Is a Republican pick-up of 10 seats in the Texas house doable? Shocker! Republicans say yes and Democrats say no.

Now they'll tell us this isn't insider trading. The ruling class strikes again.

Perry for President is a rumor that just won't die. It's also a rumor I don't understand. Perry seems to grasp that the country isn't ready for another Texas Gov. to be President. There's still a lot of hard feelings toward the last one.

CNN does their bit for Chet Edwards. Funny: A sinking ship of a network profiling a sinking ship of a candidate.

and finally.....

Beaumont and Corpus Christi editorial boards break for Bill White. If you're surprised by this you're not paying attention.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Noise Machine (10/08/10)

Mustering up the Rohirrim.....

A challenge to down-ballot Democrats. Of course, it's only "dirty tricks" and "unacceptable" when the other team is doing it.

"At this point, I don't see anything White can do." - Ouch.

What happens when the Beltway set glances at flyover Country is never very pretty (or all that useful). Such is the case in this look at the Gubernatorial race that tries too hard to create a slug-fest that just isn't there.

Contrast that with this Politico piece that offers a much better look at the race.

(Then ask yourself why traditional newspapers are falling way behind the upstart online news outlets. I think the answer is fairly obvious by now.)

Signs Perry isn't taking Bill White seriously, either that or his heart just isn't in this race? This was a pretty bush-league blunder that led, fortunately for Perry, to a fairly harmless, bush-league accusation.

If nothing else, White should help Houston Democrats. Possibly even Harris County Democrats, but I imagine his negatives will outweigh the positives once the areas outside the City are taken into account.

Chet, Chet, Chet.... Internal polls? He's done.

There are many different ways to campaign. At the heart of it though, it all amounts to promising people stuff if they cast a vote for you.

The most telling part of this story is that the Houston Police Officer's Union (and the firefighters unions) endorsed Perry.

OK, WD-40's is one of the few clever things the State Republican Party has ever done. Good campaigning.

and finally.....

Kudos to the Tribune for finding a new way to have a Goober candidate forum instead of just griping about there being no debate. (See above, why online news outlets are kicking the crap out of traditional newspapers)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rasmussen: Perry +11

Closer to the 15% of last week.....Which makes you wonder if the Lyceum poll was an outlier?


Perry: 53%
White: 42%
Other: 2%
Undic: 4%

Link to crosstabs here (subscription)

Sample Size: 750 Margin: +/- 4% w/ 95% level of confidence.

One thing is for sure, the attacks are venturing in to the silly now, secret schedules?? Really? And newspapers are freaking out. As the narrative train steams further off the tracks expect the foot-stamping to get louder.

The Noise Machine (10/07/10)

The winds of change......

Courtesy of BigJolly Politics: David Benzion takes a look back at "Beyond Bush: Texas Republicans in an Obama Era" and finds the Republican resurgence to be more about Democratic incompetence and misreading the electorate than about anything the Republicans have done right.

Another blow for Councilman Jarvis Johnson who, based on his erratic on-camera actions with Wayne Dolcefino last night (If you didn't watch, he called Wayne "L'il Wayne" and asked him if he was drunk or high.) is starting to feel the pressure.

The odd primary win of Stan Stanart* Don Sumners is probably going to result in Diane Trautman giving the Democrats a County win. If you consider Sumner's amateur campaign that's probably the result that should happen. Republicans blew it when they mysteriously went against Leo Vasquez*, who was the most qualified of candidates in their primary.

There are no winners when Homicide is politicized, none at all.

The headline to this Texas Tribune piece is "Challengers outraising incumbents in 15 races", a closer look at the data reveals that most of said challengers have an (R) behind their name. (The media narrative that this is an "anti-incumbent" election is not true when you start to examine who has the bulk of incumbents in trouble.)

A Statewide property tax to fix school funding? I can't see this receiving support from either the no-tax Tea Party OR the Income-Tax progressives so I would have to assume it's nothing more than a pipe-dream.

And finally....

Mark Blumnethal, writing for the Huffington Post, has a good overview of the "likely voter" screen in political polls. In case you were wondering.

*Thanks to Twitter member @Olsonleif for pointing out the error. HCA: The BEST group of volunteer editors in the business.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Missed Opportunities....

What a difference four years makes.

In 2006, Democratic candidate for Harris County Treasurer Richard Garcia ran on a platform of abolishing the office against eventual winner, and Republican perennial candidate Orlando Sanchez who ran on a platform of....oh heck I don't know.

Now, as Chris Moran of ChronBlog reports the race is back on the table with Sanchez, again promising...nevermind, and Democratic challenger Billy Briscoe who's promising to push for an expensive audit with hopes that it will "improve" (READ: Increase the budget and responsibilities of) the office.

Moran also notes, in his article*, that the duties of the office have been stripped down to what basically accounts to cutting checks and balancing a checkbook, duties that could really be handled within the confines of the Controller's office. Four years ago Harris County voters had a chance to cut away a small slice of government bloat, they missed.

Look at where we are now.

*Sadly, this piece will probably be the only thing you see on the race, besides a throw-away endorsement of Briscoe by the Apple Dumpling Gang that is. Houston voters deserve better local political coverage. (NOT a shot at Moran, more a shot at the members of the ChronBlog mast-head who have decided to punt, for the most part, on local politics.)

The development lobby in Houston.....

....sure makes for some strange bedfellows.....

(Council concerns delay vote on Houston's preservation ordinance, Bradley Olson, ChronBlog)
"It is too broad, it is overreaching, and in my view, it is a backdoor attempt at zoning," said City Councilman C.O. Bradford. "Houston is great in my view because we don't have zoning."

Mayor Pro Tem Anne Clutterbuck also opposed the changes to the ordinance...


Clutterbuck was one of seven council members who offered amendments to key points of the revised ordinance. Council members Wanda Adams, Jolanda Jones, Al Hoang, Oliver Pennington, Ed Gonzalez and Sue Lovell also offered amendments that would make technical changes in various aspects of the ordinance.
Mark this down, this might be the only time these seven Council Members EVER stand together in opposition to Mayor Parker.

Ah that money from Houston's development lobby, the REAL power behind Houston.

And you thought it was the elected officials that you voted into office.....

Even more amazing is that Mayor Parker's crew managed to craft a preservation bill that's angered both the development lobby AND the historical preservation folks in town. Typically one side or the other is more upset, but it seems like this time there's something in there to anger pretty much everyone. From the "no tear down" provision to the re-certification of historic areas, this mess (like most other preservation messes in Houston) started out with the best of intentions but, in the end, became too passive-aggressive to really make anyone very happy.

The best thing to do is bring zoning before the voters, and then craft a plan based on the results. Quit trying to implement it piecemeal without public consent.

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