Saturday, July 31, 2010

How about some truth in the current debate?*

Some dishonest statements that need to have rebuttals.

1. America is NOT "addicted to oil". - Yes, we have an economy that's based on petroleum products, but I've seen no signs to suggest that we'd stick with it should a cheaper, more reliable product come along. Addiction means that we can't break ourselves from something when presented with a better solution. That's hardly the case here.

2. The way to cure our economy is to kill it. - The fact is, and no one on the Left wants to admit it, the oil & gas industry offers good jobs to Americans that they will not be able to find anywhere else. Until there's a viable replacement, the idea that damaging an industry that gainfully employs hundreds of thousands of Americans is a good idea rings false.

3. The new off-shore bill will INCREASE our reliance on foreign oil. - Anyone who says otherwise is lying. With no viable energy alternative on the horizon for 20 years minimum the only way to keep people from running out of energy will be to import it. Either that or raise the price of oil so high that the industry has to be nationalized.

4. The Recovery is stalling, and the stimulus failed. - The phrase "priming the pump" means, by definition, that after the priming the flow of water begins unaided. This hasn't happened here. The problem with the stimulus was that it wasn't, be design, very stimulative. The government could have done some good, job creating needed work by focusing on infrastructure work, bridges and roads. Instead they used taxpayer money to pay off the automobile unions, and the still non-existent green energy crew.

5. It's too early to tell is the auto bailout was a success. - When you consider that Ford, who refused bailout money, is the best performing of the Detroit three, that Chrysler is owned by the Italians (and still hasn't done much in the way of product development) and GM is still trying to figure it out, all these Billions could have done is to forestall the inevitable.

6. The Volt, is crap. - Toyota, Nissan and Honda already have eco-cars that are cheaper, more reliable, and have a better range. Ford is deciding to head down the fuel-efficiency road, a road that makes a lot more sense, and will pollute a lot less, than energy taken from coal-fired plants funneled into a car whose sole purpose is to give the bourgeois warm fuzzies.

7. The Left is out of ideas. - Hamstrung as they are by a fear of the private market, aversions to tax cuts for people with money to spend and a loathing of wealth-creating industries, they're done. Anything that they are offering now is just election-year clap-trap with little hope of payoff.

8. Paul Ryan's plan is a good one, but Republicans don't have the strength of will to fight for it. - Which is why we're stuck with Progressive plans that are short-sighted and bereft of any connection with current reality. The fact is, Republicans are worse than Democrats right now in that they're the Democrats of the aughts. They're running against something instead of standing for something. They're also letting Obama and co. define them as the "one's who got us into this mess". That's an untruth. This mess was the making of both parties working together to pass decades of bad legislation.

9. The truth is: both parties have sucked, for quite a long time. The swamp of Republican corruption that Nancy Pelosi promised to drain has been immediately re-filled by the stench of her own parties' filth. We're a country that has allowed ourselves to be governed by society's least common denominator. And then we look to the people who created this mess for solutions.

10. The good news: They haven't outlawed free speech....yet.

*By truth we mean "truth" in the Politifarce sense of the word. Hey, it's good enough for most political pundits right?

E Tu Tea Party?

Once flush in membership stemming from anger over President Obama's policies, the tea party is struggling to craft a sustainable political movement out of the ashes of fury. To most, this is no surprise. Anger as a political driver has a very short half-life. For more on this take a look at Obama's approval ratings as anger against W starts to fade into the reality that the chosen one doesn't have the solutions to all of America's problems as he promised.

Add to that being outside the mainstream on immigration issues and you have a movement that's struggling to define itself as something more than a racist group of white folks who don't want to pay taxes. Ironically, this places them on the same ideological path as progressives, with the notable divergence being that the LibDem idea of sustainability is for everyone BUT them have to pay for the things they want. Tea Partiers don't think anyone should have to pay, but please don't socialize their Medicare.

What's eventually going to happen with the Tea Party is what happened with progressives, except on the Republican side. Most of them are going to be absorbed into the Republican party proper, and the rest are going to establish themselves firmly on the fringe, banging out high-minded blogs and being responsible for the irrational nomination of an idiotic candidate or three.

Much sound, very little sustainable fury.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Newspapers used to do it...

(Several former supporters of Hutchison are backing White in Texas governor's race, Dave Montgomery, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
John Adams, former chairman and CEO of Chase Bank of Texas, said the majority of the signers are moderate Republicans like himself. But he said some are independents who have supported both Democrats and Republicans.

Bloggers are doing it more and more often...

(The 'moderate Republican' Dallas businessmen for Bill White...are Democrats, Evan Rick Perry vs. The World)
Despite John Adams' spin, these "moderate Republicans" are actually not moderate Republicans. If they are, they are a very strange breed of moderate Republican that likes to give lots of money to Democrats.

In short, Bill White has the support of some Democrats who are Dallas businessmen. How exactly does that help him reach into conservative business circles and cross party lines?
This research is something Evan did in one morning, certainly something that a reporter should have thought to do before regurgitating a campaign's press release?

Montgomery's defense will be that he did not say Bill White's supporters were Moderate Republicans, that was a quote. The problem is, when examined with just a touch of research, that quote is found to be false and misleading.

So far the best election coverage is emerging from political blogs, and the Dallas Morning News, who has at least been bipartisan in their reports that have caused candidates discomfort.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Sure appears that way.

(It's official: Wal-Mart coming to Heights area, Mike Morris, ChronBlog)
Wal-Mart has placed 16 acres of land in the Washington Avenue corridor under contract, company spokeswoman Kellie Duhr confirmed Thursday. The deal comes two days after concerned Heights-area residents voiced their opposition to the project to the Houston City Council.
Deeper in the article (go read the whole thing) it's hinted that there's little the City wants, or can do to stop this. The last remaining voices of opposition are spending most of their time pretending they're not elitist while spouting all of the elitist buzz-words that have made this entire situation such fun.

Obviously Wal-Mart understands this truth: Despite all of the protesting, people in the area are still going to shop there, probably even many of the same folks who signed the Facebook "petition".

They'll never admit it of course....don't want to be around "those" people amongst polite company.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Noise Machine (07/27/10)

Much noise, not much of consequence....

ChronBlog finally catches up to a story that Texas Watchdog covered 7 days ago. Much like w/the Metro real estate contract issue they're falling further and further behind.

OK, we know she was a man. The way the law is written that's it right? Why all the drama? (Now, if you're saying the LAW should be changed.....)

Reading this attempt at Al Hoang journalism I'm reminded how much the world needs Slampo. L'il Red is in over her head w/this one. (It's not an issue that lends itself well to chest-thumping. There are people's homes at stake here, not just red lights after all)

Go read the headline to this story on Goober support by the border sheriffs and then go read the story. Last I checked 10(ten) was more than 8(eight). Terrible. (Or 15? There are 18 members of the organization, 15 sheriffs. So White slices the pie and claims a win, ignoring the whole? That'd be like him winning Harris County but losing the State-wide election and then claiming himself the winner right? Amateur hour.)

The second battle for the Alamo will be fought in the courtroom. (Appropriate for the current crop of Texans don't you think?)

Is there another journolist out there? You know, the conspiracy of lefty writers and academics that's not (really) a conspiracy? (Except that they conspired together to shape the news...details)

Then again, when the other side's got nothing why not create a conspiracy? Makes sense to me.

And finally....

All you need to rebut the dumb growth groups of Houston can be found here. When those who view themselves as intellectual superiors view their tastes and opinions to be more valid than Millions of others you have a recipe for disaster. (See: Houston, Modern. for more)

Friday, July 23, 2010

I say Alvin, you say Greene!

I don't know about you, but I'm glad the campaign rap phenomenon has legs....

Not as good as Farouk is on Fire! but hey.....

The Noise Machine (07/23/10)


Katz Kloses? At least, the one in Austin....

Katy gets a Pete and Shorty's. Following Sugar Land. Can a minor league team be far behind?

Chet Edwards and Ciro Rodriguez are going to get some help from National Democrats. Sign #1 that they're in trouble. Sign #2 is the Edwards campaign not releasing their internal polling. That can't be good. Still, Edwards has been left for dead before, and is still around. Rodriguez? Not so much.

Talk about your bad two-fers for Democratic candidate for Texas Attorney General Radnofsky. First it's discovered that she gave $1K to Abbott's 2002 election campaign, then it's pointed out that her defense (that Abbott isn't doing now what he campaigned on) isn't really all that true since the guy has always campaigned as an anti-trial lawyer conservative. Ooops.

It's a good thing only non-Democrats disseminate talking points or this Journolist scandal would be a big deal. It's also good that Democrats are the party of the people and not the party of the corrupt rich, icky upper-class as are the Republicans. Yup, I'm glad we've got public minded citizens looking out for us over on that side of the aisle.

The general consensus among Conservative thinkers is that Americans just don't like a free-spending activist government who's going to invade their lives. That's one theory I suppose. My theory is that a majority of Americans are OK with a free-spending, activist Government who's going to give them stuff provided those making more than they get to pay for it. What's really hurting the Democrats right now is not Obama's activist actions, but that Americans are afraid that tax increases on them are the only way to fund them. We've already shown, under Bush & the Patriot Act, that we're willing to give up our personal freedoms in exchange for National Security theater. Now we're showing, under Obama, that we're willing to give up even more economic & healthcare freedom for the promise (if not the actual attainment) of healthcare & financial security.

Conflicts of interest are not conflicts of interest when they can be explained away to a disinterested electorate.

Yes, school vs. transit buses are apples and oranges, but you'd think that an interested Metro would at least pay lip service to doing better on the heels of this Texas Watchdog report showing their bus-fleet costs to greatly out-pace HISD's bus costs. Sadly, that's still not the Metro way. The status-quo is still good enough at Houston's worst ran government entity.

Speaking of Metro, they fired and re-hired the firm behind the controversial real estate contract (at better terms) that Mike Reed of the West University Examiner had reported on. Amazingly, they still don't seem to have a problem with the CFO of the firm also being the VP of Real Estate for their organization. Status quo. (and hey, ChronBlog finally decides to hop on board!)

And finally....

Mike McGuff reports that KIAH 39 is planning something unusual with their newscast. If you think you could do the job, go apply. (The old CW was that, if 39 had the resources, they could have been a news powerhouse. This was before they decided that big billboards with newscasters featuring come-hither poses was the wave of the future. Now it appears they're abandoning that failure thank goodness.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Noise Machine (07/22/2010)

Building upper-class rail on the backs of the poor. This was the inevitable outcome to a transit system designed without the primary goal of moving people from point A to Point B(and C,D,E,F...etc.) Metro is now a real estate company that provides transportation solutions to Inner Loop developers and their Real Estate shop, spinning it as anything else? Meh.

What?!? No conflicts of interest on the "watchdog" panel? How backward forward thinking by the HISD top brass. Next thing you know they'll be saying that the majority of school money should go to *gasp* EDUCATING CHILDREN. OK, slow down, let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

Better flood warnings for the Med Center is a GOOD thing.

HISD passes on short-fall to schools.

Has anyone noticed the increase in quality reporting from the Houston Community Newspapers of late? Not only are they first on many stories, they're increasingly the ONLY outlet reporting on certain issues. Mark Reed on Metro's dodgy real estate contract and Steve Mark here. Meanwhile, over at Houston's largest blog, we get more and more stories of nudity and porn dealers in other States, the blooming of a flower, and bad editorial and opinion writing. For a while there, ChronBlog was acting as if they were the last eye-line of defense between Houston and a media-free future wasteland. Obviously this is not the case. Welcome to the party HCN. Keep it up.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What constitutes "historic"?

That's the question I have on the heels of this Moises Mendoza story outlining the Mayor's new plan to strengthen the City of Houston Historic Preservation Ordinance.

Are structures older than 30 years historic? How about 40? 50? Or is the requirement going to be that they are sorta, kinda old and somebody wants to make some money by tearing them down and building ?

And what about modern architects? Do those guys suck now? Are they only allowed to build on the sites of depressed properties where the graffiti is particularly ugly and not street art made by one of the cool kids on the block?

It's not that HCA has a problem with historic ordinances it's that, in a City as relatively young as Houston, it sometimes seems that the definition of historical is as murky as bayou water. Oft-times its used by politicians to mean: "Stop mucking around in my safe, segregated voting district!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Other people's money

The Apple Dumpling Gang has never met a big, debt producing, spending project from the Development lobby that they didn't like. Their history is one of calling for monetary expenditure without counting the cost, or the ability of Houston area residents to pay for it. It's no surprise then, that they love Ed Wulf's development landscaping improvement plan but don't mention that it's going to cost in excess of $500 Million or that the City and County are currently struggling to make ends meet.

Nope. Armed with their newly-found exclamation points and numbered-list editorial writing style it's full speed ahead for gang members without thought of piddly things such as budgets and fiscal reality etc.

The ADG's real problem is that they lack the ability to think critically about a plan and offer up tempered, reasoned alternatives that might work. It's either rah! rah! or boo! from this iteration of the Ed board, often to the detriment of the product.

Sadly, I've been writing about the Chron's editorial board for almost six years now, from back at the original Isolated Desolation blog, through Lose an eye, it's a Sport and now in the Harris County Almanac. I've followed this group of know-nothings down a long path of decline from the Ed Board, to Mrs. White, to the Artist formerly known as Mrs. White, to the ChronBlog Caucasian Think-Tank to The Apple Dumpling Gang. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, it did and does.

I've often said that, in writing about something (or someone) my hope is that they would, over time, show improvement. Unfortunately my diagnosis with ChronBlog is that they are a terminal case. No amount of cajoling, hoping, or outright mocking is going to result in a newspaper that Houstonians can be proud of. We're just going to be stuck with ChronBlog. Until they finally merge with the San Antonio Express/News and Houstonians tune out completely instead of mostly.

There's nothing else to talk about concerning ChronBlog, the Apple Dumpling Gang, L'il Red etc.

I'm done.

DOI: BP liable for royalties on spilled oil


(BP Liable for Reporting and Royalties on Oil and Gas from Leaking Well, Department of the Interior)
Interior’s chief oil and gas regulatory official has informed BP that it must report all oil and gas-related activities at the damaged Macondo well and pay royalties on all oil and gas captured from the leaking well. The company also will be liable for royalties on lost or wasted oil and gas if it is determined that negligence or regulatory violations caused or contributed to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent leak.

Michael R. Bromwich, director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM), officially notified BP of its reporting responsibility and royalty liability in a July 15th letter to Guy Otwell, of BP America Inc.’s Tax Department, noting that the company’s failure to fulfill these obligations could be considered a knowing and willful violation of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act. Bromwich’s letter also noted that the Interior Department reserves “any and all rights and remedies available to the United States arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”
A lot of us here at the Evil Empire were wondering how BP was going to have to deal with that. It makes sense though, since royalties are really a payment for mineral wealth extracted from the earth.

Typically, royalties are paid on volumes sold, with the expectation being that almost all volumes, minus loss allowances, will eventually pass through the sales point. In a case where volumes are lost not due to a force majeure, then the producer could also be liable for royalties on those un-sold volumes as well.

I'm sure BP didn't want to see that, but there you go. It's a very real financial incentive to not scrimp on safety. Some companies realize this.

TX Watchdog: Gifting HISD

Good report by Lynn Walsh of Texas Watchdog today focusing on the culture of influence that thrived in HISD despite the organization's paper-strong ethics policy. The entire story is a good case-study on what happens when an organization goes wrong.

Part (not all) of the cause is the way we currently handle our education-spending debate. Throwing money at the problem has become de rigueur and any suggestion that the District should do without becomes an attack on "the children" instead of an attack on an administrative system that's spiraling out of control. Politics of emotion is damaging, and a terrible way to run a City/County/State/Country.

What we need is clear-minded debate. What we're getting is ever more bloggers, reporters, politicians and pundits running around with their hair on fire.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I reject your reality.....

...and substitute my own.*

That seems to be the attitude of the Hank Gilbert campaign when they offered up this Tweet:
Over the weekend 3 major newspapers in TX highlighted the Ag Comm race and how I'm holding @Todd_Staples accountable for his failures. #txag
In response to two stories (the "third" article was actually a San-Antonio Express/news content share with ChronBlog).

Given that BOTH of the news stories seemed to suggest that both campaigns have been playing fast and loose with the facts, I'm not sure how Gilbert's conclusion could be reached by any sane person. The Gilbert4Texas amateur chop-shop is not holding anyone accountable, least of all their own internal team of fact-checkers.

And neither campaign is showing any interest in being the least beat accountable to voters. You know, the shareholders that fund all of this mess? Maybe there's a reason this campaign has traditionally flown under the radar? When the citizenry gets to peek behind the curtain they see a drunk good ol' boy picking his nose.

At first I thought @Hank4Texas was a gimmick account. That's not a lie.

* Thanks to The Mythbusters Adam Savage for the tagline

The Noise Machine (07/19/10)

Poor Monday.....what with no friends and all....

Have gun, will travel. (To the Texas capitol at least.) Suddenly anti-gun leaning reporters everywhere are rushing to get conceal and carry permits to save themselves 5 minutes in screening every day. (When reality meets blind idealism reality is typically the winner)

More people wanting to spend large amounts of taxpayer money to create an urban "utopia" out of Houston. urban utopia once they build developments around the newly renewed areas. (It would be interesting to see how Wulfe's holdings and current developments dove-tail with the land picked out for the Master plan would it not?)

Why "cut, cut, cut" isn't going to be enough to get Texas out of it's budget hole. Streamlining plays a part, but Texas also needs to look at how it generates revenue. (And by "generates revenue" I don't mean calling for tax increases on everyone one pay grade higher than me. That's the LibDem way. Which is why I don't support their plans. Of course, I don't support the "cut at all costs" mentality of the Republicans either.)

More bad news for the HPD crime-lab. Despite Millions of dollars spent, they can't keep up. (Blame this on the administration of your choice.)

Here's a nice State PAC & competitive races funding overview by the Statesman's Jason Embry. Dollars are good (although not perfect) predictors of competitive races.

The InterLeft notes that some of the InterLeft is in opposition to RenewHouston. My guess is that the true opposition (if any) will not spring from this source. (However, it might not be built on opposition stronger than "well, Costello is a Republican!" either.)

Until now, Bill White has repeatedly denied in forceful (for him) terms that he every made money off of his investments in, now-defunct, Frontera Resources. The Dallas Morning News has investigated this claim and found it to be false. White Did profit, to the tune of $1.1 Million. One wonders what else is hiding in those tax returns he refuses to release? (Makes Perry's refusal to debate White, and keep this story in the press, look a little bit smarter doesn't it?)

And finally,

The inevitable result of bad candidates are bad political races. I have to admit that Hank Gilbert has turned out to be a disappointment. Short on ideas, long on mud-slinging, and full of ethical missteps himself, the entire race needs to be flushed down the toilet. Is there a reset button on this thing? (The scary thing is that the Ag Commish controls a LOT of the food safety in TX. Texans deserve better than this.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Two parties you don't want to attend.

The obvious question is Is $426,000 enough to convince Chris Bell to run again?

Oh I hope so. Maybe he'll even bring back the punching bag!

The Republican Party is, predictably, doing itself no favors screaming about a "return to the past".

What the Republicans should do is embrace the newer ideas of their young guns whose ideas on the future of America would appeal to the working class that Democrats have abandoned. My feeling is that type of transformation is beyond the grasp of the current, tea-party pandering, Republican leadership.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Of money, real issues and comedy. (UPDATED)

It's that time that political wonks love....Financial reporting TIME!!!

Goober: Bill White has the overall funds edge over Perry and he raised slightly more as well. As you would expect, this has supporters giddy. The important thing to note is that both candidates are raking it in and both should have plenty of money for the inevitable bad television commercials that are going to start playing in September.

Harris County Judge: If there was ever any doubt that this race was going to be a runaway, this just about settles it. If Quan gets 40% of the vote it should be considered a success for him. Condolences to him for his recent surgery, and here's hoping he makes a full recovery, but this race is over.

Others: Here. Of note: Dewhurst has $3.5 Million and Chavez-Thompson $136,000. Uhhh...ok? Apparently not many outside of the true believers of the InterLeft are fired up about her campaign either. Which raises a question: Does it hurt or help your cause to support a candidate because of party affiliation despite the fact that you've gone and nominated a bad candidate? Harris County Republicans seem to be looking down the barrel of that same question (albeit on a smaller scale) in the race for Harris County District Clerk.


Staples has 10x the dough of Gilbert. (One wonders how his excuse is acceptable (not fund-raising due to family issues) while Perry's excuse (having to spend money on a primary fight) is spin?)

In the matter of Abbott vs. Radnofsky...Abbott by a landslide.

What we have is the answer to the question: Just how weak WAS the Texas Democratic Party under card? Very.

Perspective: While all of this is going on and politicians are giving stump speeches about "fighting for Texans" there are many people in the area who are hungry and the food banks have a shortage.

I leave it up to you to decide what is more important and donate accordingly. I'll be writing a check to the food bank.

Evidence for the Food Bank: Giving money to politicians means donating to people like this:

Enjoy your Friday.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Noise Machine (07/15/10)

Maybe the flower needs blooming stimulus?

Free wi-fi in the friendly skies? Would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath. (Unless Virgin Airways decides to do it first.)

The first-fruits from the fire-house grafitti case. A re-vamp of how the City handles complaints & charges of corruption.

Ed Emmett finds his artistic side. Good for him. Harris County's best Republican keeps on keeping on.

A Democrat on Reagan. Predictable, and he misses Reagan's main fault, but worth reading.

OK Democrats.....GO! (Y'all gotta run with this one, I'm not helping you out here.)

And finally....

Gulf residents oppose drilling ban which would cripple the economy and cost them jobs. In related news: Water is wet.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Maybe it's just me....

...but Rick Perry's monetary diversions from the (now broke) Texas unemployment fund to the Texas Enterprise fund* and the (now broke) Texas emerging technology fund (and the resulting Texas A&M deal that came from that) should be a bigger campaign issue than his (wise) refusal of federal unemployment funds which came with attached strings that inflated the cost of the program in future years.

Granted, provided the companies receiving benefits are "correct", most Republicans and Democrats have no problem with corporate welfare, but many independent voters do.

*Steffy almost got there, but in the end he came up short.

The Noise Machine (07/14/10)

Why are all ecomentalists from urban areas?

It's like AstroWorld, only plus a lot of hihg-minded lecturing and minus all the fun rides. (Welcome to the 21st century amusement park)

Exhibit A: Why perspective is necessary in economic numbers. (May was a terrible month for home prices, one of the worst in history. A better look would be year over year trends for the past five.)

More bad news for Rick Perry, this time in the form of an out-of-money emerging technology fund that his shop reportedly saw coming. (Granted, NOT having this fund {a form of corporate welfare} isn't a bad thing, but letting a pet program run out of funds is never a good thing publicity wise.)

Texas Education: Business tax credits vs. a "five point plan". Guess which Goober hopeful is behind each? (You get three guesses, and the first two don't count.)

Dogs and cats living together. well, sort of. One thing they all agree on is that they know what's best for the mice.

First Wal-Mart, now HEB doesn't meet the Heights faux-chic minimum for doing business. Maybe they should have a review board set up to rate companies? (Q: Do you reguarly overcharge for shit we can get cheaper?) Might as well.

and finally....

Back to a captive audience. (Hey, at this point they're about the only ones that still believe him.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Metro "disengaging" from Real Estate Contract

In a follow-up to his excellent bit of reporting back in June, The West University Examiner's Michael Reed reports that Metro is backing away from the smelly deal.

(Metro ‘disengaging’ from real estate consultant’s contract, West University Examiner)
Describing Metro’s agreement with its real estate consultant as “a point of concern to the new Metro board,” spokesman George Smalley said the transit agency “is now in the process of disengaging from this contract.”

The three-year agreement with McDade Smith Gould Johnston Mason and Co. — approved by the outgoing board in December — was the subject of a recent Examiner investigative report.

The article, “Metro’s latest ground game: a sweet real estate deal (June 24),” pointed out the firm would be receiving commission payments on all Metro land acquisitions going forward — even those on rights of way and donated properties.
Reed goes on to remind readers of the extensive family ties between executives with McDade, Smith, Gould, Johnston, Mason and Co. and the real estate department of Metro. The entire was a mish-mash of inside baseball and (to be honest) poor contract-writing by Metro's outgoing board. It was so bad that the VP of Real Estate services who signed the contract for Metro (Todd Mason) is the Chief Financial Officer at the real estate company, and was the person who signed the contract on their behalf. Think about that last bit for a minute.

Then think about this: Amazingly, a search of ChronBlog's archives reveals no story on this by Houston's (former) newspaper of record AT ALL.

Just another day's business in America's worst big-city daily.

Congrats to Mike Reed and the Examiner for their quality reporting on this issue. They saved Metro from getting stuck with a terrible contract that it has to be said was negotiated and signed under unusual circumstances. I'm hoping a full investigation into this matter is the next step, but I'm not holding my breath.

Just another day's business in Houston's worst public agency.

Droid Landing....

In the Park, in Houston....

But, which park?

Whoever finds it is getting one helluva phone.

Me, stuck at work with no hope of escape.

Good luck hunters

By Your Command

I, for one, welcome our new Cylon overlords.....

The Noise Machine (07/13/10)

On the matter of scoring.....

It's going to cost a little more to leave the country starting today. (Which is OK because the poor rarely get to leave America anyway which, oddly enough, is proof for some that they are inferior and need to be controlled.)

It's CHAOS I tell you, CHAOS!!! That being said, I'm OK with the 2-terms of 4-years proposal. (If nothing else for the fact that it means fewer terrible City Council commercials on the radio.)

Ooops. (I do like the characterization of Rick Perry as a "target-rich environment". It's just that no one the Dems have put up against him have been able to "shoot straight" enough to hit the target.) Politifarce is still terrible FWIW.

No matter your political leanings, this should disgust you.* I understand that many (most?) Republicans hate jobless benefits fine, that's something you bring to the electorate in your party platform and try to get overturned. But the fact that a State agency is giving employers advice how to skirt their legal obligations should give you a moments pause. (If it doesn't then you need to reconsider what prism you're shooting your conservatism through. Unless dishonesty and corporatism are the new conservatism. The ends don't justify the means.)

It's not good when small businesses are losing faith. Often termed the "engine of our economy" by pandering politicians, that engine seems fit to blow a rod.

The rise of Ft. Bend County? What's this? Jobs are moving out to the suburbs? Granted, a lot of that is school district growth (i.e. non-producing employment) but their are also examples of companies increasingly deciding to set up shop in environments far more conducive to doing business than in the rapidly-developing new urbanists' Utopian metropolis. (Jobs go where the workers are after all)

Is Manor Downs the canary in the Texas horse-racing coal-mine? The sad thing is, Texas has some beautiful facilities. Lone Star and Sam Houston are first rate racing venues.

The Texas Teachers' pension fund goes shopping. Insert punch line here.

Texas Democrats learn the old adage: "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." (It's called political Karma)

Confidence in President Obama is at an all time low. His point of comfort is that he's polling better than both Congressional Democrats and Republicans. (Eventually the frog realizes that he's in a pot of boiling water, typically though he figures this out too late.)

In the debate over what caused the deficit, the two camps battle over "spending vs. tax cuts" to no avail. The correct answer is BOTH. When Reagan slashed the tax-rate in the 80's he lacked the political will to tackle middle-class entitlements at the same time. Just as Clinton increased entitlements but lacked the political courage to increase tax rates. Bush suffered from the same flaws as Reagan, and now Obama is proving to be pushing incomplete policies as well. If you cut taxes you have to cut entitlements, and if you raise entitlements you have to raise taxes. (The final result is a tax code that's designed for political, rather than functional, ends. The only answer is a total re-boot of the system, but that would take foresight, intelligence and courage, something our elected officials (for the most part) are lacking.)

On that note.... (Agree or disagree with the suggestion, it's an idea that needs to be in the discussion.)

Rick Perry vs. World: 20 Questions with Marc Campos (A pretty good back n' forth between two actors on opposite sides.)

and finally....

Keep the Tea Party out of our Churches! Left unsaid was that Saul Alinsky needs to keep his communist behind out of them as well. (We all believe in the Separation of Church and State for the other guy.)

*And yes, the world is spinning off it's axis. I have to side with the Apple Dumpling Gang on this one.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Not THOSE People!!!

Thank you to the good folks at the Stop the (sorta near the)Heights Wal-Mart!! Facebook group for keeping the humor quotient high.

Gilbert Joseph Perez:
What's all this talk about how they can make this Wal-Mart look? Who Cares!!! We don't want itin the Heights... We don't want the traffic... We don't want their noisy 18 wheelers.. We don't like what they represent... We don't like their nasty parking lots with used disposable diapers rolled up in a ball everywhere...... Don't want them takingaway business from our small neighborhood businesses... WE don't want to become "Anywhere USA"... Why is that so hard to understand?
Nope, don't want those dirty people (read: poor folks) with their dirty diapers messing up the Heights!!!

Marcy Claypool Perry:
Just a thought why isn't Walmart looking at the North West Mall as a location for their store? IMHO it is a far better location for that type of store.
Could that be because NorthWest mall is in an area that is more economically depressed?

Debbie Montgomery:
No, Walmart and the problems they attract are not welcome at Yale and Center Street. If you want to be frightened drive out to the one near 290 and Tidwell. Garbage, garbage and more garbage.
Since there's nothing "frightening" about trash one has to suppose that the talk is about "Human trash" or....those not sophisticated enough to live in the Heights....

Melissa Navarro:
Walmart ruins small businesses and isn't classy enough for the Heights. Save it for the burbs.
Heh....kind of says it all about them doesn't it?

Jackie Burdisso:
There is only one person and maybe one of her friends that probably are so excited that this Wal*Mart might open in the heights.....mindless fools
Whose mindless? The pack animal or the animal that dares break away from the pack?

Thank you Heights residents. Please keep 'em coming about the Wal*Mart that's possibly going to be built somewhere NEAR the Heights.

That didn't take long.

Sunday, in a 24-hour "print only" exclusive ChronBlog gave Renew Houston a big, sloppy, public display of affection (the first of many to come I'm sure) in the form of a thinly-veiled advocacy piece by reporter Chris Moran.

(Sims Bayou project nears end, but flooding remains a concern, Chris Moran, ChronBlog)
No matter how much wider and deeper the bayou gets, water enters homes or strands people when their yards become moats, according to Sunnyside Gardens neighborhood leader Travis McGee.

So, when he's asked about the Sims project, he says in frustration, "That's a $345 million project with a $5 city drainage system."

McGee knows well that flood control requires a two-pronged approach. Bayous must be big enough to hold runoff within their banks. But first, drains need to gulp water fast enough so it does not pond in the streets or pass through living rooms on its way to those bayous.
There's one salvo, you have to think that the Apple Dumpling Gang will weigh in next, then L'il Red will spend a column or two convincing herself this is all her idea and she'll be instrumental in getting it passed, Ken Hoffman will include a plug in his "pet of the week" column and finally Rick Casey will be bumping up against a deadline and will summarize everyone else's work in a hastily written column that will contain at least two factual errors that will have to be silently corrected at a later date.

It's almost as if someone on the masthead sent a Memo isn't it? And they wonder why circulation is dropping like a rock?

Again, HCA has no official position on the Renew Houston Proposal nor will one be forthcoming. I will say this however: I view infrastructure development to be of primary importance and predicted it's imminent primacy in public debate almost four years ago....whoops.

Better late than never one supposes.

The Noise Machine (07/12/10)


Someone needs to take their own change management courses.

What if we don't have BP to kick around any more? (More importantly, what if thousands of Houstonians don't have BP to employ them any longer?)

Yawnnnn! This issue might have legs, but the legal wrangling behind the scenes sure doesn't.

Two articles by the Bill White Texas Tribune....

One good, thorough look at deregulation of energy in Texas.

One terrible, obvious, sloppy wet-kiss for the Innocence Project.

(Honestly, I was hoping for more of the former and less of the latter from that shop, but I guess considering the source of their funding and the ideology of their leadership an uneven road is about all that can be expected.)

Good news for Galveston.

and finally.....

Give 'em room. (C'mon folks, this is common sense stuff)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Houston vs. the Ibarra brothers....

Round two.

(Will the City’s New Jitney Rules Cut Out the Little Electric Guys?, Swamplot)
ELECTRIC-SHUTTLE entrepreneur Erik Ibarra is worried about a new draft ordinance— due to be discussed by a city transportation committee on Tuesday and voted on by city council later this month — that he says raises the required minimum capacity for jitneys from 4 to 9 passengers. (The new provision appears to have been included at the request of taxi companies.)

This is nothing new in Houston, where Yellow cab normally gets what Yellow Cab wants especially when faced with someone who's figured out a way to move Houstonians in a cheaper, more efficient way than they. They have much influence and deep pockets w/City Hall so expect them to have some success in getting this, rather arbitrary, restriction passed.

That being said, the Ibarra brothers have a history of history of winning legal battles with local organizations, the money from the first settlement providing seed money for GoRevGo, so I wouldn't count them out just yet.

As for Houston, this is just another in an increasingly long list of actions taken by City Hall that are punitive toward small-business and jobs-growth.

Straight Shooter

From R.G. Ratcliffe's Thursday article in Chronblog.:
"I'll tell you what I like about Bill White. He shot straight."

From Michael Graczyk's Sunday AP article appearing in ChronBlog:
...the former three-term Houston mayor and energy executive who promises to "shoot straight with people."

From Bill White's campaign blog:
When asked in March why people in West Texas should vote for him in November, White said he is the kind of straight shooter West Texans appreciate. He also points to his strong belief in private property rights and limits on eminent domain.

"People in West Texas understand that and respect those who shoot straight and don't try to manipulate them," White said.

I'm sure White's people are happy to see the media launch on that that meme...rather than this one from the same Graczyk article:
Some find the session, marked by long-winded questions about charter schools, immigration and financial disclosures, equally long on rhetoric from White and short on specifics.

"A whole lot of nothing," said a disappointed Laura Contreras, 20, a college student who voted for Barack Obama two years ago.

My guess is you won't be seeing the "whole lot of nothing" show up in many campaign pieces, nor in the pieces that are authored by ChronBlog staffers, and NOT by Graczyk of the AP, who's been offering up some of the best Goober race reporting out of all the news agencies. It's too bad that the AP's balanced pieces are often replaced by ChronBlog pieces without notice (or change of the IP address).

If that happens this time, you can find Yahoo! News' version of Graczyk's piece here.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Every time...

...there is a story about a bad Pit Bull you can be assured that this will appear in the story somewhere.

(Officer kills 2 dogs charging at him, officials say, Shaminder Dulai, ChronBlog)
She last saw Vida, a 3-year-old female; Tyson, 2; and Rocky, 8 months, running around in the backyard at noon. Heavy showers had flooded portions of the backyard and late Thursday night the family had taken the pets off their chains to let them move freely to higher ground, Ramirez said.

Chaining Pit Bulls is begging for trouble. It's very seldom bad dogs, but instead stupid owners. Because of the Ramirez' idiocy two dogs are dead, one critically injured, and the "breed ban" morons will have another bullet in their gun.

Make it very difficult for stupid people to own Bully breeds and you'll virtually eliminate vicious dog attacks overnight.

Without having to resort to the continued slaughter of innocent dogs.

Cry Havoc!

And unleash the (blockquoting) dogs of (nonsensical) war!!!!!

Step One: Create and submit the plan

Step Two: Start the PR campaign by recruiting the InterLeft (see above) and here who are typically reliable house organs for big, public expenditure programs.

From that perspective the engineers from Renew Houston are following the "How to get something passed" in rather liberal Houston to a tee. Smart guys. Having a successful program in Houston means that you have to have certain liberal groups behind you. First the progressives, then the black pastors, then LULAC. Organizing those three factions behind an idea pretty much guarantees there won't be sufficient support (no well how well-funded it might be) to form a winning coalition. The trick is crafting a plan that provides sufficient incentives for the latter two groups to join in. Be it pledges of minority participation targets or promises of infrastructure in certain neighborhoods (or, cash payments and consulting jobs, let's not kid ourselves here) support can be had.

As for HCA?

Well, our staff of one doesn't live inside Houston City limits so the official position is: Who gives a damn? Let Houston do what Houston wants to do, just keep the debate interesting and the humor potential high thank you.


Houston Strategies (A serious resource)

Texas Liberal (A not-so-serious resource, but funny as hell)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

One that might stick

I've said before that I think the attacks against Rick Perry by the Bill White campaign are useless. For the most part, I still stand by that statement due to the fact that even Perry's supporters seem to have few expectations for the man. In short: Republicans see Perry for what he is, but they're not going to vote Democratic no matter what.*

One caveat to this: Charges of cronyism might have some staying power with moderates.

I say MIGHT because there's some evidence that White may be making some inroads. Granted, this evidence is anecdotal and based on a single, positive poll for Bill White conducted by a liberal polling agency (Public Policy Polling), but it's there. More conservative polling shops (Rasmussen) still have Perry with a comfortable lead.

Another reason it could work is simple: It's pretty true. Perry has a long history of appointing those who have given to or aided his campaign. It's very, very good to be a Perry supporter once he gets elected. These are the types of political issues that are resonating with the voting public these days. The question for Democrats is: Can they make it resonate enough to gloss over their, very unpopular in Texas, Party platform?

One attack that I don't think is going to work is the chicken attacks. It's an easy attack to make, but one that Perry can easily stave-off by making note of the fact that his current campaign is going out of its way to ignore campaign tradition. No money wasted on yard signs, no speaking with editorial boards, and (by extension) no debates with terrible moderators and Austin press-pool lifers playing a ginned up game of stump the politician. Sure, it's real red-meat for Bill White partisans, but unlikely to move the needle with anyone else. And Bill White partisans are not enough to win this election.

One last point: IF Bill White is going to continue to flick the ethics and influence switch then he had better be ready to answer for his own actions. He's not exactly a rookie when it comes to the politics of influence. Or are we supposed to forget his developer-friendly actions while Mayor of Houston?

*It should be noted that this type of blind partisanship is a two-way street. How else do you explain the Democrats support for probably the worst down-ballot slate of candidates in recent history? A convicted check-forger, a former undocumented alien with strong labor ties, support from the Communist Party USA & no High School diploma, a perennial candidate & an avowed critic of Texas' #1 jobs driver. Really?

In case you missed it:

Buried in the side-bar of Bradley Olson's ChronBlog story on the Great Apartment Association Water-fee Kick-back of 2010 was this little jewel:
SafeClear: Allocated $4.2 million for the city's Major Freeway Towing Program, extending a major transportation priority of former Mayor Bill White.
That's right, $4.2 Million dollars to continue a SafeClear program that was touted as being revenue neutral by Houston's former "business savvy" Mayor who's now promising to take that same level of fiscal prowess to Austin.

$4.2 Million. Granted, that's a penny compared to the $140 Million dollar hole that ChronBlog is assuring us "isn't that bad" but you have to wonder about the political forces that are keeping such an obviously flawed program around.

I say it again: SafeClear was originally pitched to Houston as a revenue neutral program. It's been around since January 2005 or 5 1/2 years. At $4.2 Million/yr that's $23.1 Million of revenue neutral expenditures. Ouch.

The Noise Machine (07/08/10)

Wow!!! Really?!?!

Now's the season where the party-bloggers of the InterLeft and Bloggers O' the Right implore you time and time again to give your hard-earned money to politicians who will get into office and not do much of anything good. Might I suggest you donate those funds to a place where they're needed. (Let the politicians self-finance if they want to be in office so badly. Charity > Government any day of the week.)

Insert ominous music here....BP is coming! BP is coming!

The Houston Zoo's Africa exhibit is almost open! That means rhinos will be making their return to Houston. Something that makes me very happy.

Diversity is beauty.

Kickbacks, part 1 (Also known as "which side of the bread the butter is on")

Shhhhhh....there could be a defense attorney sneaking around.

Could the Texas Farm Bureau endorse a Democrat for Goober? If they're still mad about the Trans-Texas Corridor you bet they could. (The next question is: Do they still have enough clout to matter?)

The only question here is: What the hell took them so long?

Is it me? Or is this story about Austin lobbying groups getting in a snit even inside baseball for those who revel in inside baseball? (Or, is it just a case where reporters can't help but write about their friends? Over-emphasizing the news value of a story that has limited appeal?)

And finally....

*sigh* A truly civilized State would have answered this question long ago.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Three more steps to a world-class Houston

One: I TOLD you this was going to be funny....

(Walmart Vs. The Heights: About What You'd Expect (Plus Annise Parker Weighs In), Chirstopher Patronella, Jr., Houston Press/Hair Balls)
"It's a place where I can walk to the store, get a fine cup of coffee not made by Starbucks, and find stores that carry everything from locally made crafts and clothing to quirky vintage furniture and recycled jewelry," Triplett said. "This is a part of Houston that doesn't have the feel of a suburban, generic, strip-mall wasteland. My fear is that if Walmart moved into this area it would pose major competition to all of these places I love so much and force them into extinction."
Heh. Read the comments for even more intellectual gymnastics from Houston's world-classiness class.

Two: Even funnier....

(There’s Nothing Between the 2520 Robinhood Condos and Hans’ Bier Haus Now Except Pounds of Rotting Flesh, Swamplot)
Did someone really dump 20 pounds of rotting meat in the private alley between the side wall of the 2520 Robinhood at Kirby Condos and the bar patio of Hans’ Bier Haus?
It should be noted that the condominiums were built way AFTER the Bier house, and people moved into said condos with the full knowledge that they were moving in next to a bar.

Three: Not funny "ha ha" but funny....

(Groups say Exxon's Baytown plant violates U.S. air laws, Ramit Plushnick-Masta of the AP via ChronBlog)
The largest U.S. oil refinery violated federal air pollution laws thousands of times during the last five years, releasing 10 million pounds of illegal pollution, including cancer-causing toxins, without facing proper fines or being forced to fix equipment, environmental groups claim.
Exxon's defense is that the releases did not violate their existing permits. If this is true then this is just one more step in the anti-business/jobs direction for the region.

One thing about living in Harris County: There's never any end to the line of people piling out of the clown car.

All things being equal

I'm voting for the Dog.

He's a helluva lot better than this, this or this.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Will the last Republican please turn out the lights....

...and take the kettle off the fire?

As much trouble as I give the Bill White Texas Tribune and the Texas Democratic Party (well deserved I might add) there are some issues on which we agree. Immigration being one (at least in part) and the divisive nature of the Tea Party being the other.

Today's Trib article by Morgan Smith on the potential long-term issues the GOP could have by adoption of Tea Party platform planks not related to size-of-government (which is one area where I tend to agree with the Tea Party in theory, if not in detail) is a good one.

I'm still waiting for the party that realizes the key to immigration is to increase the amount of legal immigrants while decreasing the amount of those crossing the border illegally. Drop all of the white noise about "preserving culture" and "basic rights" and what you really get down to is a pessimist's debate about voting and power.

Go read the article.

Today's sign the Republic is crumbling....

I give you...UFO Lobbyists..

(For UFO lobbyist, the truth is out there, Erika Lovely, Politico)
Allen is among a small, persistent group of activists invested in “exopolitics” — the study of the social-political implications of human contact with extraterrestrials. Like many exopoliticos, Allen believes that Congress should disclose to the American public that the government is aware of the existence of other life forms — and that it needs to develop a game plan in case actual contact is made

Read more:

Considering America is having difficulty getting the basics of governing our own planet these days I'm not too sure why people are all fired up about governing others.

Proof that, if you shake the tree of Democracy hard enough, all manner of nuts will fall onto the ground.

If a tree falls in the woods.... there a politician there to campaign on the issue?

That's the question political pundits are asking after the first few months of the Texas goober election has generated several tiny tempests in 100 miniature tea-pots. Yes, the Bloggers O' the Right and the InterLeft are having a field day, the politically charged are...well...politically charged.

The average voter? Meh.

Most of what you're seeing now is simple "fire up the base" stuff. Working to get the true-believers all lathered up so that they'll take away from their free time later in the year to knock on doors, stand in 102 degree heat and cheer for stump speeches, and generally do the grunt-work that campaigns need. In return for their efforts they get a nifty t-shirt emblazoned with the candidate's name and, maybe, free wi-fi if they're asked to live-blog an event. It's "my political activism is better than your political activism" in it's purest form. Funny as hell, provided you don't take it (or them) too seriously. Political activist' votes are a "sure thing" in elections. Perry's base of support wouldn't vote for Bill White if the latter brought out an Obama pinata and beat it to a pulp before every stump speech. Nor would they reconsider their support for Perry even IF all of White's attacks were true. The same things applies for White supporters.

None of this is really going to matter until the big TV buys start taking commercial time away from those two Sonic idiots. That's also when poll results will really start to matter, once the "undecided" tally drops into single digits.

Until that time, wake me when one of the candidates creates a video with demon sheep or flying candidate heads, THEN we have a political teapot worth watching.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day

Courtesy of Eagle Sam and the Muppets.

Enjoy the day doing the things you want to do with the people you choose to be with. That, after all, is what freedom is all about.

The only group with a lower approval rating than Perry...

....tries to do Bill White a solid?

The bigger question, will this work?

Of course, the offical line from this, the one that will be sent out to the InterLeft for use in their blogs, will be that this is being done "for the children"*. That Perry's budget malfeasance is nothing more than an attempt to strip Texas children of their God-given right to Federal funds. It's a tactic that's guaranteed to play well with their base, and is why many Democrats feel Perry is unfit to govern at ANY level. If you're a true believer in the Democratic cause you've already seen all you need to see.

That's why I'm not writing about you. I'm also not writing about Perry's supporters (the infamous 39%) that plurality of Texans who have no expectations for Perry, but who support him (almost blindly) because he's right on the "key issues".

What I'm curious about are the 25% of Texans who survive in the middle of the political spectrum. Those of us who are accused of "standing for nothing" by the likes of Sen. Dan Patrick because we don't always stand with him. For many of those people, their opinion of Congress is lower than their opinion of Perry. I understand that, for Democrats, this is a key issue that leads to your frustration toward Texans. How in the world can these rubes NOT cast a vote against someone who refuses to roll out Mrs. White's catapult and hurl money at the problem of schools?

Ironically, this is a message that large majorities typically support locally, passing huge bond issues by comfortable margins despite opposition by the 39%. The question is whether or not using Congress to forward this argument is wise? Is it a winnable strategy in November?

Given that Bill White is trying to flee from the policies of Obama (holding himself up as a "common sense fiscal conservative") you almost have to say no. I'm not sure if the US Congress is the most effective campaign tool for Bill White to try and use to dismantle Perry's support.

*The view of HCA is that no legislation is passed absent political purposes. There's nothing forwarded by either party that's not designed (in part) to payback political support or court votes from a certain class.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A numbers game....

So, Obama tries to cherry-pick the positive out of a generally negative jobs-market report by focusing on the volume of jobs instead of the value.

Isn't that kind of like betting excited about heavy trading volume on Wall St. while ignoring the trades drove the averages down?

This either means 1 of 3 things:

1. Obama knows the numbers are bad but he's been advised to put a political spin on it anyway, understanding the American people aren't going to buy it.

2. Obama and his advisers don't understand the unemployment and jobs-market reports.

3. They view their target audience as stupid.

My guess is number 3. They don't view the American public as particularly intelligent and they don't think most people will understand that, while technically the number of jobs rose, the pay that people received dropped. Oh, and the average work-week shrank. That means former full-time workers making living wages are now accepting multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. These jobs probably do not come with benefits.

How much you wanna bet the next breathless report has something to do with the increasing number of Americans lacking healthcare. I've got an idea, let's implement a VAT tax and then kick the can down the road some more. Pretty soon we'll all be dead and our children can deal with it right?

The Declaration of Independence in the Twitter era.

Or, how partisans view America's greatest document....

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

@Republican: Proof that our founders created America on Judeo-Christian principles.

@Democratic: Just a bunch of old White guys who didn't want to pay taxes.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

@Republican: More proof of the creation of America on Judeo-Christian principles.

@Democratic: Obviously, the founders didn't intend to free the blacks, so they're evil. By extension so is America.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

@Republican: Rick Perry for Governor!!!!!!

@Democratic: I'm sorry what was that? I tuned out there when the coyote got shot.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

@Republican: Obama's a tyrant!!!!!

@Democratic: Bush was a tyrant!!!!!
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

@Republicans: July 4th is a day to honor the Patriots of old. Let us Pray.

@Democrats: Really, the founding fathers were the Al-Quaeda of their day.

@Obama: I'm here to announce a blue-ribbon commission to study the issue of freedom.

@CongressionalRepublicans: We're agin' it.

@TexasRepublicans: Rick Perry for Governor!!!!!

@TexasDemocrats: Texans suck. Please vote for us.

@BillWhite: I'm working on a 20 page policy paper to explain my stance on July 4th, it will be out next week.

@RickPerry: I'd walk right up to that King and slap the crown off his head.

@BlogHouston: It could have been pithier.

@OfftheKuff: I don't have an opinion so I'll just say: "What Bill White said."

@ChronBlog: Hold on, the AP wire story is coming across now.

@theAppleDumplingGang: We'll get two it once we have a chance to re-write the New York Times editorial on it.

@HoustonPress: My Declaration of Independence is none of your business!!!! (Now let me tell you all about it.)

@blogawful: Happy 4th of July, now pass me a beer.

Thank you Wal-Mart

For giving us our Summer entertainment.

A proposed Wal-Mart near the Heights has a higher humor potential than Conan O'Brian's new show.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

HTC Evo vs. iPhone

*WARNING: SERIOUSLY foul language on this one but it sure is funny. You have been warned.*

iPhone 4 Vs HTC Evo - Watch more Funny Videos

I want an EVO 4G in the worst way.

Get the facts.

They never do...

(Councilman arrested, charged with evading arrest, Dale Lezon {with help from Bradley Olson & KHOU} for ChronBlog)
Councilwoman Jolanda Jones, a defense attorney, said she planned to withhold judgment about the matter and urged others to do the same.

Community activist Deric Muhammad announced this morning that he is holding a press conference at 2 p.m. today about "the unjust arrest of Jarvis Johnson."
Obviously "withhold judgement" doesn't apply to those who are seeking to increase their political and public profile by making hysterical, anti-police proclemations that cannot possibly be based on any factual evidence. (When you consider we don't HAVE any evidence of the incident yet.)

There are legitimate activists out there doing good work for the Black community in America, then there are those who constantly strive to hang the racist tag on the night sky. If only the media (and society) would pay greater attention to the former.

I would think the unnamed woman in the SUV would provide the answer, hopefully we'll find out who she was fairly soon. Until then I suggest laughing at the side show.



Texas Watchdog

Fox 26




(There were some other local bloggers that mentioned the story but their posts were pretty much just block-quotes of the news stories I've linked to above with almost no original content.)

Sports Section