Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Noise Machine (09/29/10)

You should be outside today.....

Does the DGA & Steve Mostyn = the RGA and Bob Perry? And, if so, why aren't the local members of the InterLeft up in arms about it? (The HCA line on this is that, while legal, these end-around moves are ethically dodgy. For both parties. That said, campaigning is not known for it's ethics, provided what you do is legal.)

BigJolly on the "non-partisanship" of Houston Votes. Good stuff. (And a good example of why "ideological" journalism is not all that bad.)

Metro has their budget. And a new board member whose made a career out of jumping from one unelected position to another. (And so it goes)

Debate "lite" is coming soon. As newspapers and other MSM outlets ponder the horrifying future (for them) should Perry win despite giving them a total brush-off. (IF Perry wins, and every major newspaper editorial board endorses White as projected, what does that say about the relevance of Editorial boards? This could be a 'sea-change' election in Texas.)

Along those lines, another data point to consider.

Too many polls? Or, is the problem partisan pollsters who frame questions in a dishonest manner, apply dodgy screens to achieve the desired results, or people that just don't understand what it is the results are telling them? (My vote is for the latter two. More data is always a good thing. If you know what you're looking at even bad data can be instructive. If you don't know what you're looking at, make sure to consult those who do.)

Oh boy.....

Women voters "heart" Perry. Experts baffled. (Hint, it's the hair.)

Here's an idea: If you don't like something show up and vote against it. Just sayin'. (HCA is a little weary of people showing up after the fact, complaining about something that they didn't deem important enough to show up and cast a vote against in the first place. Certainly things happen, and HCA would never chastise a public official who had a real tragedy. In this case however, the Democratic board member left so that he could attend a political fund-raiser. Spare us the drama.)

In the matter of Flores vs. Edwards. This race is interesting because Chet Edwards is seemingly on his 9th political life. Written off for dead many times it appears that Flores is finally going to be the one who knocks him out of office.

And finally.....

For all the Tea Party talk of "taking back government" and Republican angst about "unethical Democrats" if these three representatives are re-elected then you can all just get down off your ethical high-horse and go back to doing what you do. If Hank Gilbert's legal woes disqualify him from your vote (and I believe they should) then these three should be disqualified as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beat me to it.....

HCA fave Tom Kirkendall tweeted this response to the news Metro is forcing their executives to ride mass transit:
Yet another example of Metro's futility in providing mass transit -- senior Metro managers have to be ordered to use it!

In a sane world, that would be a sign things aren't working. I'm sure that Prego will tell us it's actually something world class, that he once talked to a highly-paid researcher who had been to Mahenge, Zimbabwe where they had the exact same policy regarding sharing bushes when urinating. Thus proving that Houston is on the path to transit greatness.

The Noise Machine (09/28/10)

Give us this day.......

Know your enemy? This doesn't surprise me, since Atheists (at least, the militant) spend most of their time ripping apart arguments they don't believe in. This requires intensive study. (Those against are frequently more driven than those for. See: Politics)

On the heels of his campaign bemoaning Rick Perry's use of "attack" ads, the Bill White campaign is about to receive some National Democratic help in the form of...well...attack ads. (This is pretty much the norm for this preaching to the choir campaign which has also created a tool to allow supporters (and campaign staffers) to write letters to newspaper editors and then trumped up letters to the editor in newspapers as proof growing numbers of Texans are behind them.)

Meanwhile, an increasingly confident Perry is looking to expand his influence nationally. (This has all the earmarks of a boring race going into November.)

The debate that won't happen will happen. Sorta. It's going to be Bill White vs. the also-rans in a forum Perry can spin to his advantage fairly easily. (How hard will it be to say "Bill White isn't ready for prime time" after these debates?) With Perry looking more and more a likely winner, expect the media "Oh Noes!! We must save our shrinking credibility" machine to kick into full gear.

Deny, deny, deny and then, after you've resigned, make money on the lecture circuit or in lobbying. It's the Washington way. (And my guess would be it's what Bernice-Johnson is looking forward to)

The jobs Americans won't do. I always wonder how many anti-illegal-immigrant folks mow their own lawns? And yes, if you're wondering, I mow my own, but I did use a service for trimming my trees. (Although I'm not anti-illegal-immigrant. I say find a way to get them working legally but not necessarily with a "path to citizenship") Which many of them don't want

Imagine that, Accountability based on results. The teachers unions have to be herniating right about now.

Call them Pay for speed lanes. (Think about it.)

Another Anti-corporate oil story from the former newspaper of record in the energy capitol of America. I wonder how much money trial lawyers, unions, their various PAC's and associations have paid for access? (Or why said payments aren't a story?)

and finally....

Don't look for a Gulf oil rebound any time soon.

Monday, September 27, 2010

There are so many things wrong with this....

....I don't even know where to start.

(Why we should all love the light rail system, David Crossley, ChronBlog "Dims")
Is it clear that this is urban stuff, not sub-urban stuff? The term Sub-urban (less than urban) does not necessarily have much to do with geography, or the distance from the original urban core, but more to do with the form of the development.
That's just one error.

Never mind that the entire piece is opinion presented as fact (which is, when you think about it, the epitome of arrogance) It also runs the gamut of every major fallacy one could imagine. Ad Hominem attacks, appeal to authority, begging the question, straw-men you name it, it's in there. I haven't even mentioned the royal "we" usage yet.

Crossley is the Fallacy Prego of the local chattering class. There's a lot of stuff in his arguments. Most of it in the form of empty calories.

*Not to disparage Prego pasta sauce. Fine sauce. Their commercial just fit.

Why thank you...

Given that most Texans don't like trial lawyers all that much is Steve Mostyn's characterization of Joe Nixon as "an embarrassment to the profession" actually a compliment?

If you want to know why the Back to Basics PAC's political ads have had no effect on the polling numbers?

Then there's this......

(Trial lawyers support White; Perry supports tort reform, Marilyn Tennissen, The Southeast Texas Record)
Trial lawyers have picked their man: Democrat Bill White. According to the most recent campaign finance reports, trial attorneys have donated more than $1.9 million to the former mayor of Houston.

Republican incumbent Rick Perry, on the other hand, has received an endorsement from Texans for Lawsuit Reform.
Given the recent trial lawyer public opinion poll I'm guessing Bill White wants to keep his support from that special interest group fairly quiet.

Public office for Private Gain....

Texas Watchdog has two great pieces on how this is legal in Texas. (although not exactly ethical in most of our minds)

Texas State Sen. Rodney Ellis' firm profits from bond business with local public agencies, including many he represents in Austin, Jennifer Peebles and Steve Miller

Many Texas lawmakers mix public, private business", Steve Miller

You should go read both.

And so it goes....

(h/t: BlogHouston)

Lone Star Times, the original, planned "news counter" to the "liberal voice" of the Houston Chronicle announced it's shuttering today. It's done, kaput, finis, etc.

And that's too bad....

Yes, I was viscerally disliked by many on their staff (Hey Squawk!!) and was persona non-grata on their comment threads, but I still thought they should have had a larger role framing the debate in Harris County. Their biggest problem was, from the outset, they never spent their time & resources on....Harris County.

From the outset (excluding the Chronically Biased era) LST was a National blog at heart. Those are good for chest-thumping and some entertaining photo-shops, but if your goal is to counter the (former) local newspaper of record then you better have the local angle down pat. They didn't, nor did they ever really seem to have much interest in doing so.

Not that they are to blame for this. It's my belief that Republicans as a whole don't "do" local. Where the Tea Party has messed up is that they're focusing on spending at a Federal level only. Where's the TP rally against City and County finances?

I'll be honest and admit I haven't checked up on LST for around a year. So it was a surprise to me when I saw that they were closing down. Otherwise I'd have a better obituary to write for them.

I will say this: The staffers that remained there after Sen. Patrick abandoned the project were dedicated and loyal to their beliefs, they worked hard, posted with heart and humor and did everything they could do to keep that site running as long as they could. In the end it's hard to say that they made any difference, but they did make us laugh.

Kudos to them for that.

If you were an LST fan here's a list of where the contributors have gone, and how you can keep up with (some) of them in the future....


Hamous (and others)

Ree-C?? (maybe)

David Jennings (BigJolly)


As I find more links I'll update them here.

Courtesy of Kevin Whited (Another CB/LST alum {linked to in the post}): Rorshach

The Noise Machine (09/27/10)

It's too damn pretty to be inside reading this......

The Bill White Texas Tribune covers the Mostyn/TWIA story one week late and with the glaring omission of Texas Watchdog, the media outlet that broke the story and was subpoenaed themselves.

Southwest buys AirTran creating a "MiniMe" version of the big boys? The thing about Southwest is that you either love it or hate it. I prefer flying Continental but on the rare occasions they don't match Southwest's rates.....

While I'm not a fan of utilities deregulation, I'm even less a fan of what regulation their is being toothless. (Note: More bad (bad can mean both toothless and heavy-handed) is probably not the answer)

Activist FAIL. Here's a guy that should be up for Houston's Turkey of the Year. Instead, Houston's former Alt-weekly will probably just give the award to DeLay again or something.

And finally....

Blogger intimidated by HCRP Thugs!!!

Can we, at least, get an apology over here?

Oh yeah...the rally itself was underwhelming.

And so it goes.....

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Apple Dumpling Gang Strikes Again....(Part III)

They can't even get endorsements right.....

(Houstonian has the right background for service on Texas Railroad Commission, The Apple Dumpling Gang, ChronBlog)
Weems, the son of a petroleum engineer, would bring both legal and petroleum engineering experience to the position. He would also bring dynamism and enthusiasm that does not appear to be matched by his Republican opponent.
Weems, a name partner in a small Houston firm, has been recognized as a "superlawyer" in the energy field. A University of Texas graduate in petroleum engineering

Now, let's take a look at Weems campaign website...
Jeff attended Rice University and graduated with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983 with a B.B.A. in Petroleum Land Management.
For those of you not paying attention, a B.B.A. is a Bachelors of Business Administration.

In other words....Weems trained as a Land Man, NOT an engineer. His B.B.A. has more in common with an accounting degree than it does an engineering degree.

Since their substantive argument is moot (unless you think being the SON of an engineer makes him experienced in engineer), what this endorsement really boils down to is this: "Weems is a Democrat, and we like him better because of that."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.....The Republican candidate is well...let's just say he's going to be on the ballot. (If you can't say anything nice.....) It'd be nice if the Apple Dumpling Gang would just go ahead and admit. Getting it wrong like this is just embarrassing them further, especially after these snafus.

You would think the editorial board of Houston's largest blog would have a basic understanding of the #1 industry in the region. You would be wrong.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You see the problem they have.....

If Perry wins, their relevance is suddenly open to question.


Interesting footnote in the Mostyn/Texas Watchdog situation....

Earlier today the Houston Press published the following story which was pulled for a time and then re-posted with a rather large addendum apologizing to Mostyn and clarifying his complaint.

(Steve Mostyn, Anti-Perry Attorney, Tries To Subpoena Reporters' Notes, Craig Malisow, Houston Press Hair Balls)
Mostyn's main allegation against Texas Watchdog, which was not articulated in the petition, is that it's violating federal tax code by incorporating as a 501(c)3 without following the code's provisions. Mostyn claims, for example, that the Patriot Group has created other front organizations to act solely as sources for Texas Watchdog stories. He specifically cites a group called Texans for Ethics and Accountability, which, strangely, had the same address that TW once did.

Trent Seibert* of Texas Watchdog addressed the address issue here.....
When Texas Watchdog was launched in 2008, we temporarily rented space from the Patriot Group, a political consulting firm whose clients lean conservative. The landlord-tenant arrangement came about because we had received generous start-up funding from the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance, who knew a partner at the Patriot Group and knew that he rented out space.
We decided, though, that the arrangement might give the appearance of a conflict, and we immediately took steps to find a new office. We moved to another suite in the same building about four months after our launch.

In the two years since then, we have broadened our donor base and have maintained complete editorial independence. Our offices today are in a midrise at Rusk and Main in downtown Houston.
Whether or not you buy that explanation probably has to do with what side of the political aisle you find yourself.

Fair enough, Mr. Seibert also goes on to outline Texas Watchdog stories that cast financial donors to the Patriot Group in a negative light. As I said earlier today if Texas Watchdog is engaging in some kind of political activism then they're doing it wrong.** That's not our beef here.

Our question is as follows: Which is more partisan?

1. An investigative news agency with a mission of open government and training citizen journalists whose start up funding was provided by a Nationally respected open-government organization?


2. An Internet news service whose editor once referred to Lt. Governor David Dewhurst as Texas' version of Snookie and whose founding grant was provided by one of the State's biggest Democratic donors?

You tell me?

To be clear, the editorial position of the HCA staff (OK, me) is that journalism with perspective is not a bad thing at all. As a matter of fact, I am willing in this case to consent to the argument that Texas Watchdog's reporting leans conservative. However, I reject the arguments that the Bill White Texas Tribune and MSM outlets such as ChronBlog (especially editorially) do NOT lean to the liberal side. For those still needing help: Ideological slant does not equate to partisanship.

Yet one of the above two outlets is facing a subpoena suggesting they are. Seemingly for no other reason than they are on the other "wrong" of the aisle***.

*Full disclosure time: I have spoken many times with Mr. Seibert and he has been known, on some occasions, to splurge for a drink (or three) at various blogger meet-ups. I've also spoken with him, from time to time, on blog posts that I've written. I've also spoken with other Texas Watchdog reporters as well as Craig Malisow of the Press. I like and respect all of them as good reporters.

**Not that we here at HCA would have any trouble imagining Texas Republicans doing it wrong. But TW's start-up funding came from the above mentioned National open-government organization.

***Hard to believe that there's a "side" to transparent government isn't there? Everyone claiming to love the First Amendment so much.

If you had your HCA political decoder ring (Part II).....

....this blog post wouldn't be necessary.

("Pledge to America" Unveiled by Republicans", Bill Montopoli, Jill Jackson. CBS News)

- Stop job-killing tax hikes

- Allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income

- Require congressional approval for any new federal regulation that would add to the deficit

- Repeal small business mandates in the new health care law.

Cutting Spending:

- Repeal and Replace health care

- Roll back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels before TARP and stimulus (will save $100 billion in first year alone)

- Establish strict budget caps to limit federal spending going forward

- Cancel all future TARP payments and reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Reforming Congress:

- Will require that every bill have a citation of constitutional authority

- Give members at least 3 days to read bills before a vote


- Provide resources to troops

- Fund missile defense

- Enforce sanctions in Iran

What the Republicans are REALLY saying here:
"OK, you got us. What we really want to do is say a lot without saying much at all. Unlike last time (the Contract with America) when you got pissed at us for not doing what we promised to do."

You still don't have your decoder ring why?

First Amendment

If you're one of the two or three people that pay attention to HCA on a regular basis you're aware of our occasional linking to stories from the journalism shop, Texas Watchdog. We're a fan of any organization who makes it their mission to expose potential ethics violations in politics and lead the fight for Government transparency. You would think that these issues would be championed by all bloggers and journalists, regardless of party affiliation.

Because of this, we were shocked to hear that TW is currently fighting off a subpoena issued against some of their staffers by Multi-Millionaire trial lawyer and mega-Democratic donor Steve Mostyn also known as the man behind the Back to Basics PAC that's been running Anti-Rick Perry ads across the State. Mostyn's charge? That Texas Watchdog is doing what he's doing, except for the Republicans and under the guise of journalism.

If you haven't read the Texas Watchdog feature that's causing all of the commotion you can find it here. Go read the entire thing. It's an interesting tale of curiously timed political donations and settlements that benefit donors. As near as I can tell, Mostyn is not challenging the facts in the article, only the fact that TW reported on it in the first place.

Apparently, in Mosyn's mind an article detrimental to him personally is politicking for the Republican Party and must be stopped. Now, it's possible that you, like me, noticed the flaw in this logic and you would not be wrong. Rep. Todd Hunter, the other subject of the piece, is a Republican representative from Corpus Christi. If that's politicking then TW is doing it wrong.

A more disturbing trend is the fact that this type of investigative journalism would draw a lawsuit at all, much less one that's going to cost TW thousands of dollars to defend. Whether or not you think TW is a "front" group for Republican interests (and you'd be hard-pressed to prove that charge considering their stories have skewered both parties almost equally) their bonafides as a legitimate journalism shop are beyond reproach. They've broken some large stories about Houston and surrounding area government and that there's an effort to shut them down speaks volumes about the moneyed interests in the State. Mostyn and his ilk (whatever their party affiliation) don't want the public taking a look at their dealings with politicians and the easiest way to shut this down is to throw out the red herring of partisanship.

It's important to mention the difference between partisanship and ideology. From an ideological standpoint, TW is certainly more conservative than other journalism shops in Texas. (ChronBlog, the Bill White Texas Tribune, etc.) None of this should matter. It should be equally disconcerting to both parties that there are moneyed interests in Texas trying to bully the media into silence. That's not a function of a healthy democracy, and it's not consistent with the spirit of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Let's be clear here, Mostyn is not the Congress of the United States of America, so I'm not suggesting he's violating the letter of the law when it comes to our most cherished Amendment (or any law for that matter). But I do believe his actions are running counter to the law's spirit, which is that the general public should be able to look under the hood at the working of all levels without fear of censorship or retribution from politicians out to protect their fiefdoms.

Obviously there's a long way to go.

For more on this please go read the blog post by Kevin Whited over at BlogHouston. And if you have any money to spare consider a donation to Texas Watchdog as a show of support. If nothing else, head over to the stories in question and offer up some words of support.

And, if you're a Democratic Party Blogger, consider this: Even though Mostyn is on the right "team" now, what happens when he takes up an issue that you're against? More importantly, what happens when Texas is left with journalism the likes of ChronBlog where pictures of drunks at bars are deemed of more value than honest watchdog journalism? Is "winning" so important that the collateral damage doesn't matter?


More on Mostyn here. (h/t: Kevin Whited)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Urbanists Running Around with their Hair on Fire.


And they respond in kind.

(Walmart Plan Too Suburban for Site, David Dewayne, Offcite blog, ChronBlog)
Opposition to the new Washington Heights development argues that it is a troubling and regressive chapter in the development of Houston's urban core. Instead of high-density, mixed-use, neighborhood-scaled planning that would strengthen the character of the city, Washington Heights represents the low-density, box-and-strip retail that dominates and defines suburbia.


In terms of vision, Washington Heights shopping center remains regrettably lacking in ideas. It is a suburban box and strip clad in slightly better materials than the typical Walmart, which seem to be the building's only acknowledgment that it occupies a significant site.

Two things:

1. The Wal-Mart isn't in the "Heights". It's just not. Therefore any comparisons to the Heights and the Suburbs (many of which are just as nice (if not nicer) than the Heights) is not only elitism but elitism based on a false premise. It's like New Jersey feeling superior about New York.

2. There's nothing more "significant" about this piece of land than any other piece of land around Houston outside of the fact that this piece of land is seemingly surrounded by several people who think their wants, needs and tastes are superior to everyone else. There's a word for that, but this blog is PG rated. (You know, for kids.)

Aw...forget it.....

Keep running around in hysterical circles....It's funnier.

Signs your campaign is drowning.

You're openly wishing for the other guy to throw you a rope.

(Democratic nominee touts support of Obama in Texas, Terrence Stutz, Dallas Morning News)
Asked what might happen if Dewhurst decides to run commercials that criticize her connection to the Democratic president - who is not popular in Texas - Chavez-Thompson replied, "Have at it. It's more publicity for me."
With no money, no name ID, and no way to bridge support from the hard-progressive-left of the Democrats the only hope Chavez-Thompson has remaining is that the Dewhurst campaign somehow implodes.

Barring that, it's small victories, like having them acknowledge your presence.

Glug, glug, glug......

The Noise Machine (09/22/10)

It's just a little bit of history repeating.....

Kathy Glass a player? Bill White's campaign team truly hopes so. (I don't see her mattering much. Libertarians have received less than 1% of the popular vote in the last two Gubernatorial elections according to the Secretary of State. Even IF Glass triples that, it won't have a material effect on the race.)

HISD defendes in the face of all evidence. Of course, it's not that the teachers don't want a cash bonus, it's that they want a bonus that's not tied to their performance, one they don't have to do extra for. Which, when you think about it, runs counter to the meaning of "bonus" doesn't it? (To be fair, this type of thinking, that workers are "entitled" to a bonus, is rampant in our society now. It's not just the teachers.)


Big news on the horse front today. Sam Houston Race Park is getting a new ownership partner and they're gamers. In related news, make sure to read Unca Darrell's overview of what's wrong with the industry as a a whole. As a long-time horse racing fan, even I'm not naive enough to think that slots are going to cure what ails the industry. They have to do a better job marketing their core product.

Tory Gattis writes on democracy vs. freedom and makes a fairly compelling case for the latter. (Unless you're a member of the "smart" set, who want their type of democracy. You know, the type that results in them forcing others to do what they want them to do.)

Jim Sharp has stepped in it. Good luck with that. "Rule one of the InterLeft is that you don't speak ill of Matt Angle's selections." (Amen)

And finally......

Give Bill White this: He's the master of the non-committal answer chock full of vague declarations & vision. (Translation: He knows how to talk a lot without saying anything. That's a key skill for a politician.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

If you had your HCA political decoder ring.....

.....this blog post wouldn't be necessary.

What Democratic Candidate for Harris County Tax Assessor/Collector Diane Trautman said:

(Tax assessor debate centers on voter rolls", Chris Moran, ChronBlog Local Politics)
"I will take the politics out of the tax office"

What she actually meant:
"I will take the REPUBLICAN politics out of the tax office and replace them with DEMOCRATIC politics."

This is a political office, removing politics from it is about as worthless of a promise as anything made by Farouk Shami. In Farouk's defense however he had a really cool campaign song.

Trautman can't even say that.

The complete (abridged) HCA 2010 Electoral Guide.

Because, in the due course of County events, and because The Apple Dumpling Gang spoke up, there comes a time that the public Just Needs to Know, we here at HCA are proud to present to you the following voters guide for the upcoming 2010 elections. Unlike other voting guides we will offer no endorsements, nor will we presume to tell you how to vote. Our job here is merely to capture the essence of each party's job applicants with as little real research and effort as is humanly possible.*

So, without further ado.....


Republican: Rick Perry - The longest serving Governor in Texas history. Known primarily for his great hair and being the only aTm yell leader to ever give the "Hook 'em" sign at a public appearance. Despite this, he is still the favorite to win if for no other apparent (to us) reason than he's not the other guy. Poster child for the fallacy that longevity equates to competence.

Democrat: Bill White - Quite possibly the dullest, least interesting Goober candidate to come down the two-party pipe since.....(Hold on we're thinking).....any way, at least Chris Bell had funny commercials. White's greatest claim to fame is that he's...well he's.....dangit. See what I mean? Anyway, White is well liked by the State's ruling class and some other folks who just don't like Republicans for whatever reason. He'll lose by about 7 pts and then his supporters will call Texans "stupid". It's how they roll.

Libertarian: Kathy Glass - What's known abo......Ah forget it. 3-5% of the vote tops. Moving on.

Green: Deb Shafto - OK, seriously.....

Sugar Free Goober:

Democrat: Linda Chavez-Thompson - Chavez-Thompson is one of two things: Either proof positive that Matt Angle doesn't see Dewhurst as all that beatable or proof positive that Matt Angle has lost it. Either way you have to wonder about the mentality of a party that is willing to run a high-school dropout, former illegal immigrant for the second highest office in the land based solely on the fact that she has a Hispanic surname. Pander much?

Republican: David Dewhurst - Dewhurst wants to be Gov. so badly one wonders if he doesn't scratch the Lt. off of his business cards from time to time. This is a man whose clothes are incapable of wrinkling, who has the pointiest nose in the business and who......well, OK. We're not saying he's an empty suit but let's just say this: When it comes to Dewhurst one could dehydrate waiting for water from his ideological well.

Attorney General:

Republican: Greg Abbott - Loaded,(with campaign cash) effective, and in a wheelchair. This makes him the most difficult candidate in Texas to run against, especially if you have to go negative. Attacks on Abbott are rare, and limited to the far-left ideological refuse dumping ground of the Netroots. Made a lot of money as a trial lawyer, now works against them. (Hey, he got his)

Democrat: Barbara Ann Radnofsky - Previously known for having the second-worst political commercial of all time (the worst being "vote twice for Shelley"), and for getting her rookie political hat handed to her by Kay Bailey Hutchison in the political race with the most spelling mistakes in media history. Now she's becoming known for promising to sue anyone and anything that makes a profit in Texas and for being the heir-apparent to Chris Bell as the Texas Democrat perennial candidate. If she promises to fire off a moon-shot she'll hit the trifecta and win the cheap stuffed bear with the purple fur.

Ag Commish:

Democrat: Hank Gilbert - Blew it on his taxes, fell back on the oldest trick in the book: blamed the accountants. Bounced checks, fell back on the oldest trick in the book: blamed the accountants. Will lose the race, and fall back on the oldest trick in the book: will blame the voters for being stupid.

Republican: Todd Staples - Seems to spend more time dreaming of higher office than actually handling the business of agriculture. Staples strikes us as the type of candidate that sort-of got caught up in something bigger than himself. I mean, sure he wanted to get elected but once he got there he was totally unprepared to tackle the job at hand. He's "W" for a new generation, except without the interesting, boozy past and rumored cocaine trysts.

Land Commish:

Republican: Jerry Patterson - The splash page of his website has him firing a gun, standing with the troops, standing with small children (presumably, his grandchildren) and standing alone in a bad shirt surrounded by prairie grass. To this we offer our congratulations for hitting the political schlock grand-slam.

Democrat: Hector Uribe - To date, his big campaign moment has been his humor, which is good to see. Because this race is going to be a laugher. Appears to be wearing a Members Only jacket on the splash page of his website. Who the hell wears Members Only these days?

Texas Rail Road Commissioner (Note: Job has very little to do with railroads, but we do hear that they're considering regulating Metro's 7 miles of track.)

Democrat: Jeff Weems - Has a goatee. Conventional political wisdom says that you can't trust a candidate with a goatee. Just to be safe we're not even believing that his real name is Jeff Weems, or that he's really running for office. Just sayin'

Republican: David Porter - Beat out Republican incumbent, in part, because his opponent had an Hispanic surname. It cannot be verified, nor discounted that he petitioned the Texas Election Board to have his opponents name printed out as "El Jefe Weems".

There are, of course, plenty more election races on the ballot but we're pretty sure this is all you need to cast an informed vote come November. Since most of you are going to check the "straight party" box anyway we're proud to announce that, unlike those of our competitors, no trees were harmed in the creation of this e-voting guide.

"HCA: Guarding our environment AND our democracy in one fell swoop.**"

*Note: Election judges, should you find anyone going to the polls and using a print-out of this post as an election guide it is our fervent hope that you remand them immediately over to the care of the appropriate mental health facility. Shoot, WE don't even follow our recommendations.

**Except that we don't have a democracy per se....more of a Republic type thing with deeply entrenched political machines, corrupt politicians and gerrymandering. You know, the best system in the world.

The Noise Machine (09/21/10) needs to be dry.

The next round in the matter of Jennings vs. The InterLeft. A little spat which spun-off the biggest over-reaction to what was essentially a throw-away one-liner I've seen in quite some time. UPDATED: And the response.

A bar next to a funeral home is quite possibly the most logical development idea in Houston we've seen in a while. (Now why aren't the uneconomicalsmart-growth, twenty-something (NOT) urban-planners backing this kind of deal? I'm guessing they're anti-beer.)

The way the media is carrying on about it, you'd think the lack of a Goober debate is the mouse that's going to bring the machinery of democracy to a grinding halt. (Fortunately, that won't happen. For one: As Big Jolly stated this is a Republic, not a Democracy, so it's more important to have those who do vote be informed, rather than have a whole bunch of people voting with limited information. Second: It's not like anything new ever comes out of these debates. Bad questions, moderators who don't, and the same damn soundbytes we've seen all along the campaign trail.) Given my druthers I'd rather watch campaign activists beat each other over the head with yard signs. (Of course, this year, White would dominate because Perry has eschewed yard signs.)

Speaking of yard signs.....Welcome to the party Bill White err...Texas Tribune. Nice of you to report the news from three months ago. Better late than never I guess.

At Over $96 Thousand per job it seems the Keynsian multiplier is dividing. (I know, I know...It's Rick Perry's fault.)

Imagine that: University think-tanks are saying that more money, students and resources need to be directed toward......Universities. Because if young Johnny or Jessica can't quote Plato, Texas is toast.

After all, These people have College degrees right? Yeah, more of that.

Jimmy Carter can't even clarify correctly.

In requesting Texans vote for you, it's probably not a good idea to call them sexist, racist and back-water. Yet, amazingly, that's the tack Jim Sharp has decided to take. (Here's a thought Jim, instead of the fault lying with Texas voters, maybe the error lies with Matt Angle selecting possibly the worst state-wide slate of candidates ever? Just a theory.)

Another national media outlet swings, and misses badly to encapsulate the Texas Goober race. Hey, at least they're trying.

The Texas Lege, ever-growing while accomplishing little. The phrase "all hat no cattle" comes to mind.

and finally.....

Have you been watching Mike McGuff on KIAH 39 News? Did you know 39 had a news broadcast? I watched last night. It was pretty good.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Noise Machine (09/20/10)

It's a day.....

They keep getting it wrong. As Kevin Whited of BlogHouston has repeatedly noted, this bit is 100% wrong:
Two days before the commission was scheduled to take up the Willingham case last October, Perry abruptly replaced its chairman, Sam Bassett, an Austin criminal defense attorney, along with two other commissioners.
What Morgan Smith of the Bill White Texas Tribune (and other reporters) are neglecting to point out is that Sam Bassett's term was up when he was replaced. It's not as if Perry fired him mid-term. The question of why Perry did what he did is an open one, but to frame the situation as a governor overstepping his authority (insert new descriptor here)* to cover something up is neither factual or unbiased.

Perhaps part of the reason down ballot Democrats are struggling for attention is because they're not really competitive?

How far has the Obama star fallen? One time VP wonder-child is now pushing him away as he fights for his political life.

After two years of pretty much ignoring them, Dems are finding Latino religion ahead of the mid-terms. Hey, it's politics.

In case you missed it(and you probably did) there was a County Judge debate this weekend. Emmett stressed mobility, Quan stressed "livable centers" which limit mobility. Go figure.

ChronBlog's Eric Berger on creating a blog network...Step 1: Find some Climate Change religious types, let them angrily post on their blogs.....then just stop. It's an odd model I know. (H/T: McGuff)

As mentioned yesterday, here's the on-line version of ChronBlog's no longer print exclusive great under the bus throwing of former Metro President Frank Wilson. (Amazingly, there was no mention of the unquestioning support thrown Wilson's way by the Apple Dumpling Gang prior to his dismissal. Funny how that works.)

ObamaCare is finally coming to Houston. Hold onto your pocketbooks as health care providers will start scrambling to cover the increased costs associated with the plan.

And finally.....

Meet the new boss. An unelected boss at that. (Houston's establishment has a history of creating these "behind the scenes" power players. Everyone who pays attention knows about them, but the average citizen typically does not. True to their form, ChronBlog (the house organ for the establishment) is not unkind to the new power broker. Nor should you expect them to be.)

*As commenter Jim B points out: "over-stepped his authority" is a poor descriptor for what the media meme is on this issue. Once I think of a better one I'll replace it. Until then it remains to be determined and I'll open it up to reader comments. What's the phrase I'm looking for?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekend Update (09/19/10)


This is the sound of inevitability.

So, according to the Apple Dumpling Gang the change Texas needs is a Governor who appointed the people who hired Frank Wilson who ran Metro into a debt hole, who left Houston with a large budget shortfall due to sketchy spending priorities, and who had a habit of making leadership decisions that catered to special interests (the infamous letter of support for Houston Pavilions), developer friends (the Uptown eminent domain scandal), moneyed campaign donors (The Ashby High-Rise often at the expense of the most helpless among us? (The Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation.) Both Perry and White are candidates with warts. What's amazing to me is that the editorial board for the only newspaper (NOT the newspaper or record, Houston doesn't have one) in town chooses to ignore the warts of one because of some crazy personal grudge against the other. That's not exactly "reporting in the public interest" is it now?

Putting aside the faults of the Apple Dumpling Gang (and their are many) this is the earliest endorsement I've ever seen from them. Typically they wait until closer to election time. What's also telling is that most of their complaints seem related to the fact that Rick Perry wouldn't speak to them. Poor babies. There was never any doubt that the Apple Dumpling Gang was going to endorse Bill White, nor was there any doubt that they would do such a bad job doing it.

The irony of the above is that it comes on the same day ChronBlog takes a look at Metro's financial malfeasance.

The problem with this Goober race is that both candidates represent the worst of Texas politics. Perry is an entrenched incumbent whose used his time in office to build up a personal fiefdom while Bill White is a member of the ruling class with below average governing ability. Whoever wins, we all lose.

Tragedy Share the road with bikers people....They have the same right to the roads as you & your car. Condolences to the family.

Congratulations to Texas breweries St. Arnold & Real Ale for their big wins at the Great American Beer Festival. To celebrate I'm going to go drink some. You should as well.

Perry to White: Run for Comptroller.

Funny stuff from a funny race.

And finally.....

Cooper and Riddle sitting in a tree....

Get a room you two.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

County bailing out Sports Authority.

Think they wanted to bury this story?

(Harris County OKs bailout plan for stadiums, Chris Moran, ChronBlog)
Commissioners Court approved on Tuesday* the transfer of $2 million in county money to the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation, the county-created entity that runs Reliant Park. Along with a transfer approved in the spring, it means the county is covering $4 million in sports stadium debt payments this year.
Stadium boosters promised that no property tax money would be spent to build the professional football, baseball and basketball venues. County Judge Ed Emmett and Edwin Harrison, the county's financial services director (interviewed before his indictment on non-job-related charges this week), were quick to say that promise has been kept. The county is transferring hotel room tax revenue to the Sports & Convention Corporation.
Neither Emmett nor Harrison could categorically deny the possibility that lost hotel tax revenue would be backfilled from other sources, including property taxes.

Passed on Tuesday, reported on at 10PM on Friday NIGHT?


Not only is the money being diverted from other uses, but it appears that the same problem is going to be with us for the next four years. Moran's story (go read the whole thing) does a pretty good job explaining how the tumblers fell that triggered this mess, except that he (and pretty much every other stadium booster) never address the fact that the entire stadium bond mess was funded on a house of cards that wasn't designed to handle even basic financial stress, much less an economic melt-down.

The result is a huge financial mess that's going to further stretch an already tight County budget and force Commissioners to eventually have to consider property tax hikes. In the middle of all this there's a deal for the Sports Authority to expand their operations to include overseeing the construction & operations of the new Dynamo stadium. Does that sound smart?

What's happening now is that the fare is coming due for the wild cab ride taken by Houston (and Harris County) over the last decade and they're looking to take the money from the taxpayers who have received little, if any, economic benefit from stadium construction. The cupboard is truly bare.

Who will have to answer for this? Given the state of Houston's establishment media (who led the cheering section for these poorly designed deals) doesn't have any interest in providing Harris County citizens with a watchdog voice, and local pols are tied into the power players and rely on many of them for campaign finances, my guess is that no one will ever have to provide an answer.

Harris County taxpayers were oversold on stadiums with overstated revenue projections and understated costs. The risks and potential prat-falls were downplayed by news organizations who spent most of their time vilifying stadium opponents instead of taking a good solid look at both sides of the issue.

In their rush for "World Classiness" the Houston establishment forgot one key thing:

Going broke is most certainly NOT World Class.

It certainly seems to be the norm for a City whose leaders listened too closely to the whispers of outsiders who (falsely) claimed that Houston didn't have enough going for it and should try to emulate the now-failing cities in the North East.

They listened and now Houston has stadiums it cannot afford, a transit system that is going broke and is failing at it's core mission of moving people, a public pension system house-of-cards with a shaky foundation and a development system that favors special interest groups over the public interest.


*Emphasis mine

Weekend Update (09/18/10)

Sorting through the news so you don't have to.....

I can think of worse ways to spend a weekend, but not many.

The funniest part of this story concerning the Texas race for Ag Commissioner are the comments from Gilbert staffers pooh-poohing the charges using the same talking points. These things happen in non-competitive, low visibility elections.

Houston City Councilman Jarvis Johnson's run of bad luck continues. He's certainly in the lead for the "worst year" award among Houston public officials.

That ChronBlog even treats this story on undeserving Heisman winners as "new" says a lot about how they view their subscriber base.

(First, it's a stupid premise, one sportswriter looking back {and, taking pro careers into account}, and declaring Heisman Trophy winners undeserving? Give me a break. Then, he calls out Houston's lone winner and someone who had the single best statistical season of any quarterback during that era. As ChronBlog's subscriber base continues to dwindle one day forensic accountants will look back on stories such as this as "WTF" moments.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Noise Machine (09/17/2010)

News you can use......

Where were these critics when Millions were given away to sports franchise owners?

If all politics is local, then most politics are born of cognitive dissonance. Whether or not a Wal-Mart is built on that tract of land is immaterial and totally beside the point. Whatever is built there should be a tax donor to fund improvements not a tax receiver. We've gotten that very, very backwards in Houston these days. (This is a totally separate issue from Smart Growth proponents telling private entities what they should do with their land.)

To be honest, I didn't even know they were open.

Opening and closing in four months must be some kind of record or something. Wow.

Q: Would YOU live in downtown Houston?

A: (For most families with children..or, a large majority of the population) NO.

That being said there is a viable demographic for downtown, high-rise living. What the Smart-growth set needs to realize is that they're trying to knock down a brick wall with a feather arguing for this living arrangement outside of the target demographic. (Here's another tip: What works for you doesn't necessarily work for everyone else. Think about that.)

The "anti-business wing" of the GOP?

As much of a critic as I am of the Tea Parties, IF they were to successfully lead the Republicans away from corporatism and back to supporting the common man it would be worth all of the rallies, noise and poorly vetted candidates.

Again, It's a good thing Democrats don't trade in talking points or their columns might start sounding the same.

(I heard you get a free plate of nachos with every referral to journolist II. That's a pretty good deal.)

The elites, slamming the working class. Haven't we seen this before.....from the elites?

One of the left's biggest criticisms of the Founding Fathers was they they were really just a bunch of White Guy's that wanted to control the "uneducated" populace and force them to do what is "right" for them. Oddly enough, those same progressives want to control the "uneducated" populace and force them to do what's "right"...albeit not necessarily for them. Funny how that works.

Oh my....

I'll say this for Jolly, when he gets a burr in his saddle......

Chin UP! Progressives, the old grey lady is here to give you hope in this time of darkness!

(Hope, being defined as a Kafka-esque policy wonk with a spotty political track-record, the problems of which have been largely glossed over by the remnants of the political media in Texas. But hey....beggars can't be choosers right?)

That arson meme just won't die.....

Let's cut to the operative bit in Mike Glenn's story:
Houston Fire Department arson dogs didn't find any accelerants, such as gasoline, at the scene of the Aug. 27 blaze at the Harris County Election Technology Center, 606 Canino.

"We don't have any reason to believe that ignitable liquids were used," said HFD arson chief Gabe Cortez.

Although arson investigators haven't ruled out the fire being intentionally set, Cortez acknowledged that most suspicious cases involve an accelerant.
The most likely scenario is faulty wiring led to a short which ignited some papers or something else being stored and the whole paper-and-voting-machine mess went Foom! That's the most LIKELY, but far less fun than blindly accusing one's political opposites of starting the blaze to give themselves some type of imaginary advantage in a moderate turn-out election.

And finally.....

The Big Story: Metro is finally taking Houston's rail plan back to the voters.

As my friend Kevin Whited said, there could be a real chance to fix the problems that have plagued MetroRail by taking a fresh look at transit needs in Houston and crafting a workable plan to meet those needs. Instead, what we're likely to get is a re-hashed version of the same failed mess of a plan with a different (probably more expensive) funding mechanism. One's only hope is that another ChronBlog rail memo gets accidentally posted to Or, they could just save us all the trouble and recycle the old one......Maybe add some fawning praise for Greanias? Or Speiler?

The ball's in your court ChronBlog....don't let us down.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Houston Metro: We're a Trainwreck.

In more ways than one it seems....

(Metro tied bonds to fare hikes in early ’10, Michael Reed, West University Examiner)
An idea to use automatic fare hikes as collateral to secure approval for at least $400 million in Metro bond sales had been known at City Hall for nearly six months, documents show.

In fact, a lawyer already working toward securing approval for such a plan met with committee members prior to the release of the Mayor’s Transition Task Force report on the Metropolitan Transit Authority on March 13.
With Bill White's supporters scrambling to assure Texans this Metro thing was beyond his span of control (While at the same time telling us he's a detail man who worries about font size in political ads)) the reality is Houston-area taxpayers are just on the cusp of being taken for a very expensive ride.

I still haven't seen cost estimates pertaining to the, now inevitable, delay of rail construction, there's been very little written about the eminent domain fiasco and not much said, as of yet, about how this single-minded desire to build a poorly planned rail system is going to decimate transit service to those who need it most.

The only phrase to describe it is: Train Wreck. The types of train-wrecks that inevitably happen when the group-think majority drowns out reasonable objections to what is an obviously flawed plan by mis-casting doubters as those that are "just against anything". At one time for Houston there were workable transit options. Now it appears that Metro's financial ship has sailed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

U.S. Falling behind in future energy development

As reported by RIGZONE....

Companies such as the UK, Netherlands, Russia, Canada, Norway, Italy and China pay less by way of additional taxes on their repatriated income and are therefore able to compete more effectively against U.S.-based companies - in some cases enabling them to afford to bid twice as much for oil and gas concessions.

If you're not clear on why this is a problem, think about the dire warnings of having our future energy supply dependent on foreign powers made by many of the same politicians who are forcing our future energy production to foreign shores.

Now they want to make the disadvantage worse.

Go read the entire article for more.

Must reads....

1. Tory Gattis' slap-down of Metro both for using short-term debt to cover it's city mobility obligations (dumb) and for it's current (lack of) vision. Agree or disagree with Gattis' take it's a pretty good read. That more of Houston's bloggers and media engaged in this type of debate....

2. Unca Darrell's take-down of ChronBlog for their fealty to Metro. (And, for that matter, his almost daily rebuttles to the Apple Dumpling Gang.)

3. BigJolly Politics' Third salvo in Houston's escalating blog tiff. (You know...for fun.)

Have a nice day.

The Noise Machine (09/15/10)

I'm not promising anything.....

...and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over a debate that few care about and even fewer would watch.

Why West Texas is still important. Much to the chagrin of Smart-Growth proponents who would wish otherwise.

Rest In Peace David Thompson. Tragic news from a good small businessman who (along with his wife) ran one hell of a book store.

It will be interesting to see if Bill White's campaign finance reports have in-kind donation items for puff-pieces such as this. (Kevin Whited's charachterization of the State's political media as "sorry" is starting to look more and more like an overstatement of their competence. I've long said that Houston is the petri dish for a city with no newspaper. It's quite possible that Texas is a bigger culture sample at the State level.)

It's a good thing that Democrats don't use talking points otherwise all of their post primary takes written today might sound identical to one another.

Yet another Conservative of Dan turns out to be playing fast and loose with disclosure rules. Nice movement folks.

And finally.....

Maybe it's just me but the whole "take a poll, release the results, and then have the pollsters call the respondents idiots when the results aren't to your liking" ploy might be a case of "You're doing it wrong." Thornton's shop didn't like the "cut government spending" trends very much did they? (It has to be tough when polls are running counter to the political leanings of your primary financial backer. I would guess that's brutal.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blog Fight!!!!!!

First, it was Tea Party blogger Big Jolly taking a couple of shots at the local InterLeft for their (accused)fast and loose interpretation of the "facts" in the matter of Leo Vasquez vs. Houston Votes.

Then you have one of the more out there members of the InterLeft taking passive-aggressive shots at BigJolly.

Then, in the comments to said post you have this jewel from local member of the InterLeft, Perry Dorrell:
A much calmer response to Jennings than I plan to post. Kudos to your temperament.
To all of this we here at HCA say:

Oh please, let's make this just as much fun as possible. We can't wait for Perry's profanity-laced, factually-challenged response that sends the InterLeft into a tizzy. Nor can we wait for the inevitable *appalled* response from the Blogger's O' the Right.

Time to watch the show.

CAF wants their $330 Million....

...and they're willing to have Metro ask again to get it.

(Rail car issue not yet settled, Mike Snyder, ChronBlog)
The company holding Metro rail car contracts valued at $330 million said Sunday that millions of taxpayer dollars could be wasted and as many as to 100 Houston jobs lost if the transit agency complies with a federal mandate to cancel the deal.
Actually, if Metro doesn't comply with the FTA they will lose a $900 Million grant that they were in line to get before the Buy America issues surfaced. In effect, what CAF is asking is that Metro work to keep them in the money while sabotaging the entire system.

Were Frank Wilson still in charge I'd rank this as a possible option. With all of the public attention paid to Metro of late I'd have to think this isn't happening.

Still amazed that no-one has done a cost analysis on how much this Wilson designed mess is going to cost taxpayers. Amazingly, The Apple Dumpling Gang doesn't seem to think a Root Cause Analysis on potentially Millions of Dollars of wasted taxpayer money is worth while.

If Houston had a real newspaper in town we'd already know this.



Friday, September 10, 2010

If no one can vote....

...then we don't have to worry about diluting the minority vote right?

(Group sues to block vote on banning red-light cameras, Bradley Olson, ChronBlog)
Boosters of Houston's 70 red-light cameras are seeking to prevent a November vote on whether to ban the devices, alleging in a federal lawsuit that the initiative was placed on the ballot illegally and that it could violate the Voting Rights Act.
Perhaps 'not getting to vote' is now preferable to 'possibly voting down a program' that's making big political donors a LOT of money?

Voting rights of the ruling class one presumes.....

What's missing......(Part II)

...From today's ChronBlog story by Joe Holley on the emerging political battle over Metro?

Try Wolff's being one of White's largest campaign donors during his runs for Mayor. Fortunately the Statesman picked up on that.

If Houston had anything resembling credible political media they would have picked up on it as well. When you consider one of White's biggest (and most effective) campaign tactics against Perry is the latter's rewarding of campaign donors with government appointments (sometimes with unfortunate consequences) that little factoid might be relevant to the story.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What's missing.......

....from today's ChronBlog story on the MetroRail delay?

How many Millions of dollars this is going to cost Houston taxpayers.

Yeah, that might have been important, putting a $$$ figure on the mess. Might get in the way of rail boosterism but hey.

Eventually $830 Million means something....

...whether the media narrative will state that Perry dropped the ball or that Doggett played politics with Texas school-children remains to be seen.....

Were I a betting man*.....

Sen. John Cornyn via Texas Insider

*OK, I'm a betting man, but never on politics and media.

People get paid to write this stuff? (cont...)

The Apple Dumpling Gang Strikes Again.

The question isn't whether or not homeownership is beneficial, the question centers on why so many people bought homes they couldn't easily afford.....

The answer to that question isn't moving all of the Houston Metro area inside the Loop into high-rise matter how much the Apple Dumpling Gang wishes it were so.

So much for the TTC as an issue....

Bill White's one argument against Perry on the TTC is now toast.....

(Bill White's former Houston Metro in hot water with the feds, Wyane Slater, Dallas Morning News)
Sound familiar? A chief executive appoints a political loyalist to head a transportation agency that contracts with a Spanish company only to find its project in trouble. Not Rick Perry and the Trans-Texas Corridor. It's Bill White and Houston Metro.
That pretty much leaves the economy, Gardasil & "Well...he's been there for a long time" as potential arrows in White's quiver.

The problem is, everyone who's going to vote for White because of those issues have already made up their minds to do so. White's growth potential is maxed out, unless he can dig up something new. Which leads to another problem....what could Perry possibly do that would cause those who are still voting for him to jump ship? There are fewer political independents in Texas then the MSM & pollsters are leading you to believe. Texas is a State of conservatives, and a growing bloc of progressives that are importing from other regions. When voters call themselves "independents" it really just means they're mad at the party with which they most closely identify*. It's as laughable as Dan Patrick's Independent Conservative Republicans of Texas. At the end of the day.....Dan's as establishment republican as it gets.

That's why I've always felt that Bill White never stood a snowball's chance of beating Perry, and why I still don't.

*Self included. Before I renounced Republicans I proudly considered myself one. Until the moral majority issues started to take front and center, before the collapse of good solid fiscal responsibility coupled with a lassiez faire attitude on social issues. In other words, somewhere before the election of George W. Bush as President (I did, however, vote for W for Governor, the only vote I've ever cast for him.)

The Noise Machine (09/09/10)

Better late than never.....

Want fun? Skip Houston. This is assuredly going to send the "World Classiness" crowd into an uproar. (The question that still isn't answered is this: "What's so bad about just being a City where business gets done?")

This is why Houston can never have anything nice.

Try and try again, That's his motto. (Well...that and "Mexican go HOME!")

If an ethics complaint is filed against Gordan Quan, does anyone really care? Judging by Judge Emmett's response....the answer is no. (One person who seems to care is ChronBlog reporter Chris Moran, who takes the unusual {some would say political} step of writing a follow up blog post to ensure readers understand that Quan's consultant feels the complaint is without merit. Despite the fact that the merit of said complaint has not been ruled upon. {the initial rejection only commented on the complaint format, not the accusations})

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Frank "Procurement Disaster" Wilson in all his glory.

That's right....more polls....this time it's a Democratic shop showing Perry w/a 6pt lead. Go figure.

I'm no fan of the Texas Enterprise Fund, but I'm also no fan of partisan political groups not being identified as such by the denizens of the MSM. Identification shouldn't be this hard. (And hiding behind "non-partisan" is a cop out.)

and finally....

The World Classiness crowd is going to blow a gasket over this one.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Noise Machine (09/08/10)

Left, right's still a shoe....

Tomball votes down an ordinance curiously similar to the Farmer's Branch ordinance that's currently waiting appeal after being declared Un-Constitutional. If you saw the snippets of the citizen feedback last night, the arguments FOR passage were as weak as the arguments AGAINST passage. (My theory is that we'll never solve the immigration issue until we come to grips with why there's a demand for their (cheap) services in the first place.)

I give you the political understatement of the current election: Chavez-Thompson has uphill fight against Dewhurst. Uphill like a wall. (When you're best path to victory is to lie low and ride the coattails of Bill White to victory.....)

Good Politico piece on the blame game that's sure to follow the November elections, regardless of who wins. (Local question: IF Democrats take a drubbing in November in Texas {which looks likely} does Matt Angle's leadership of the Party come under fire?)

Pity the poor Bill White Texas Tribune. When you're almost 100% backed by Democratic money and Democratic pet projects are collapsing before your eyes, it's hard work setting the narrative. (I'm sure the vision of John Thornton, when he funded this project, was that a better job of narrative setting could be accomplished. "Hole in the media" rhetoric notwithstanding.)

And finally....

Evan, of Rick Perry vs. World punches some holes in the recent polls that have led some shops to breathlessly declare "the Goober race is TIED!!!" (As I stated before, the polls released raise some questions, but they don't provide the answers that the media is suggesting they might.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Revving up the engine....

Today marked the unofficial beginning of the dreaded "campaign season" which makes it frighteningly easy for those of us who like to blog.....

First: There's a second Democratic Poll showing *gasp* Bill White is getting closer. I'm with Dr. Jillison on this one: ""Perry has yet to throw his heavy blows." Expect the Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation ads soon.

Second: We give you the political equivalent of Get off my Land!!!! After the infamous Macaca Moment of 2006 expect this type of ejection to become the norm.

Third: It's almost time for the Values Voter Summit Straw Poll, otherwise known as "Ron Paul's shining moment."

Fourth: Evan on Bill White's Tax Returns, specifically: How to make an issue out of something that shouldn't be one.

Last: The lack of a debate (so far) is killing the Main Stream Media who are facing some uncomfortable questions about themselves should Perry win after shunning them almost completely.

While all of this was going on, it's wet, look for reporters in ankle deep water tonight. (And then think about why Perry thought he could bypass the media)

Fried Frito Pie

Oft times, in the midst of important political blogging read by two or three people, I find stories that put all of this electoral nonsense in the proper perspective.....

I give you Fried Frito Pie....also, fried beer.

God bless Texas.

Texas Watch Poll (09/07/2010)

An interesting data point...

A statewide public opinion survey conducted by Republican polling firm Hill Research Consultants on behalf of the Texas Watch Foundation reveals an electorate divided between incumbent Republican Governor Rick Perry (42%) and Democratic challenger Bill White (41%), with a significant bloc of voters (14%) still uncommitted to either candidate. Additionally, across partisan, ideological and geographic lines, broad support is expressed for homeowners’ insurance reform proposals.

Full results (with crosstabs) here. Full questionnaire (with results) here.

If you remember, Hill Research Consultants is the professional "day job" location of David Benzion, one-time (still?) publisher of conservative Blog Lone Star Times, AFTER Sen. Patrick lost interest in the project that is.

The point I'm making is that this is hardly a Democratic shop posting a result that's unfriendly to Perry.

The question now is whether or not this result is an outlier, or if public opinion has really shifted all that much from a few weeks ago?

Edited to add:

Judging from the comments my last point (whether or not this was an outlying result or if public opinion had really moved that far) has been misunderstood to mean that I somehow believe the gubernatorial race is close based on these results. The point I thought important was that this is a Republican shop that released the results, if you look in the comments Kevin Whited makes the point that this poll wasn't designed to be an accurate predictor of the Gubernatorial race. There were no voter screens applied etc. My question regarding the questions were meant to reflect that, but obviously it was clumsily worded and should have gone into much more detail.

In other words: There are many questions about the Gubernatorial race that this poll was not designed to answer. That doesn't make it a bad survey, just one with an odd headline considering the results trumpeted doesn't seem to be the aim. It raises more questions than it answers.

Again: See Dr. Whited's comment for more on this.

Sorry for the confusion.

Monday, September 6, 2010

No media in Houston (Case # 1743928)

When ChronBlog's Rick Casey is on the case concepts such as "innocent until proven guilty" and "trial by jury" seem as antiquated as a sensible Republican immigration platform.

What Casey overlooks is that this is a terribly complicated case involving multiple sources of money and (possibly) illegal movement of the same. It's far more complicated than anything that can easily be explained away by a columnist with a recent track record of not exactly digging deep to ensure both sides of the story are told. (Case in point here: Not ONE quote from the (R) side of the coin.)

As is typical with ChronBlog opinion pieces of late, the funniest bit can be found in the comments:
By Chron.commenter chroncritic2:I'm Bill White and I approve this political message paid for by the Hearst Corporation.
This is not the first time ChronBlog has run to the defense of the Bill White campaign in the face of a political attack by the Perry campaign, I'm sure it won't be the last. (I'm also sure it won't matter one iota sense very few pay any attention to ChronBlog any longer.)

The Noise Machine (09/06/2010)

Working hard on Labor Day so you don't have to.....

"I'll care for you like I care for my family...." Yikes.

Hint: If your profile of a local mid-level bureaucrat uses the phrase "Renaissance man" to describe the subject, you've officially moved away from un-biased journalism and into the realm of PR. (This fluff piece was so sicky-sweet it should have come with a warning for diabetics) Houston has no newspaper of record. The "no media" experiment is here.

Corporate donation trends reveal a lot about where the upcoming election is likely to go. It's like smart money in Vegas.

What is it about the number 10 in journo pieces written during slow news cycles? Is there a class on this in journo-school?

If it's a landslide election in Ohio it's going to be a landslide election Nationwide. This is shaping up to be a loss of historic proportions for Democrats.

Different day, same doomed spending plans. (It's almost as if they've totally run out of ideas, and are now just re-packaging the same ingredients in different shapes, much like Olive Garden's stuffed-pasta specials.)

The Mighty Wizard calls on labor to stop living in the past, and start helping private sector workers in the present. The cash cow has been identified as public-sector unions, so I doubt we'll see anything along those lines. Good blog post however.

And finally.....

Aren't happy with Obama? the problem is most-likely with you not his bad policies. Such is the liberal condensation that ensures bloggers like Unca' Darrell will keep banging out quality media crit.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Here's an idea....

Give ME the $238,000.....

(HCC keeping lid on probe of trustees, despite cost, Ericka Mellon, ChronBlog)
Houston Community College has spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on an investigation into possibly improper business deals involving current and former trustees, but taxpayers are unable to see any findings from the probe.

The college district has said that no written report exists despite the investigators doing more than 700 hours of work

...and I'll at least provide you with a one-page Word document you can use for a press release.*

*For an extra $50K I'll spell-check it! What a deal!

When the cash vacuum meets the environment...

....the environment ALWAYS loses.

(Houston City Council OKs gas exploration beneath parks, Bradley Olson, ChronBlog)

Despite concerns from some environmental advocates, the city moved ahead Wednesday with plans to allow exploration for natural gas reserves beneath three municipal parks.
Remember, this is the same City Government that's all over local refineries (and still has an active lawsuit against them) for "polluting the air". Funny how priorities change when the teat of the cash cow runs dry isn't it?

Gotta protect those pet projects after all....

There's no newspaper of record in Houston.....

I guess their argument would be "Hey, we did FINALLY get around to it!"

(Tax assessor, nonprofit spar over Harris County voter rolls, Chris Moran, ChronBlog)

In dueling news conferences last week
(Ed Note: emphasis mine)
ChronBlog: We get to the newsy stuff eventually. (Until then: How 'bout some pictures of drunk people and scantily clad cheerleaders to tide you over....)



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