Friday, November 25, 2011

The choices we make.

We should not be allowed to make, according to the anonymous ed board of ChronBlog.

(Congress caves on school lunches, The Apple Dumpling Gang, ChronBlog)
If declaring all that makes us sound as though we favor a nanny state, then so be it. When it comes to diet and health, this country's young people - all of us really - need more guidance and help. And better leadership on the subject than it is apparently getting from Congress.

Translation: We feel that all of you are too stupid to make the correct choices when it comes to your diet.

I have a better idea: Shutter the Editorial Board, which is obviously too stupid to understand the 10th Amendment to the United State's Constitution. School menus are the provision of the States, and the boards that people elect to oversee them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So much for which to be Thankful.

Even with all of the bad news, tragic news, and everything else that has floated around this year we still have a lot to be thankful for in America regardless of one's political persuasion.

I for one am Thankful that we are still free enough to choose to celebrate the Holiday in the manner of our choosing.

Happy Thanksgiving to my two (or so) regular readers, and to the rest of you as well.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

KROI starts tomorrow (Maybe)

Do you even care?

Mike McGuff has been all over this as have many in the InterLeft. It seems that a "news" stations is something that a world class city has to have in order to be more "world class".

I'll be honest, I haven't listened to KTRH 740 since they changed up the format and brought in Matt Patrick. I used to listen to J.R. and Lana from time to time when I knew there were big stories for them to talk about but, for the most part, when it comes to morning, drive-time radio I can usually be found switching between 790 and 610 most mornings. (I stopped listening to 1560 -along with most of the rest of you- when they switched over to the Yahoo! sports radio format) I doubt that the presence of a new 'news' station in Houston is going to change that much.

It doesn't help KROI's position, from my viewpoint, that they've decided to provide a normal time slot to Geoff Berg. There are Progressive opinion-makers I wouldn't mind hearing on a daily news show but this guy, one of the more vile and fact-free members of the InterLeft, isn't one of them.

That being said, the actual "news" line-up of the station is pretty strong and, if they can keep the opinion pieces to a minimum, they might serve a niche market in a city that claims to want it.

Is that niche large enough to sustain a radio station over the long-term? I have my doubts, but I will be listening.....When I'm not surfing the sports talk stations that is.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Meanwhile, out in the 'burbs.....

There's been a lot of news coverage of late surrounding The City of Houston's endless deliberations regarding their new(proposed) parking ordinance. If this kind of dithering reminds you of the City's issues surrounding Ashby High-Rise you wouldn't be far from the truth. The last few City administrations have had difficulty walking the line between catering to the vocal minority that is the Inside-the-Loop, smart dumb growth set, and staying true to Houston's historic core belief of growth through a lack of central planning. That Houston's 'walkable urban' group has never been comfortable with what makes the City great (a great many of them imports from Cities with strong urban planning, bad job markets and higher costs of living), Houston's elected officials have created a business and development unfriendly environment which is having an unintended effect....

In short, many historic "Inner Loop developers" are choosing to move their expansion plans to those hated 'suburbs'.

(New Woodlands homes coming from surprising source. Jennifer Dawson, Houston Business Journal)
News came out this week that construction has begun on a 41-home gated community in The Woodlands.
The project size is not particularly significant. But what caught my eye is who’s behind the new development — Pelican Builders Inc. and Boxer Property — two Houston names not typically associated with suburban residential development.
The single-family community is being developed by Pelican Builders — which specializes in high-density, urban residential projects.
It's true, both Pelican and Boxer are still pursuing projects inside the Loop, it's telling that they feel the need to venture so far outside of it.

I've said before that, counter to the 'anti-suburbia' hysteria constantly produced by urban proponents, there are 'walkable communities' that exist outside of what many consider to be the traditional urban core. The Woodlands has several of these, as does Sugar Land and Pearland. Even Conroe has dense, walkable areas. Just today, in my far NorthWest Cy-Fair neighborhood, I hopped on my bicycle, rode over to the local grocery store, and dropped off some dry-cleaning before heading home, a trip that took just under an hour. If I wanted to, right now, I could walk to a coffee shop, a local bar, a bevvy of restaurants and a movie theater, all within 10 minutes.

It's not that I dislike urban living, it's that I have 3 large dogs and like to have a big back-yard, luxuries that cost a pretty penny inside the Loop. It's not without some irony however that I see well-to-do urban core residents (most of whom are proponents of 'walkable neighborhoods') fighting tooth and nail to keep the luxuries that I have out here in what many consider the boon-docks. I would even venture to argue that my little outer-band neighborhood is far more 'walkable' than many ideal urbanist-approved areas inside the Loop.

The point here is that "walkability" is a concept that can take on many forms, in many locations, and it's presence isn't contingent on geographic location. Nor does it fit stereotypes well. For all you hear about the "white-flight" suburbs*, remember that the ideal of a single-family home with three bedrooms and a 2-car garage is increasingly becoming attainable for historic minority demographic groups. They're discovering the lifestyle, and they're enjoying it. The great thing about living out here is that there are options for all, options that the market has decided are good things to pursue.

*Funny that most of the disparages: Pasty white, drive down the block to pick up a can of corn, bland, monochromatic, etc. are all coming from a fairly bland, chain-coffee sipping, Macy's shopping, mostly white Prog urban group who wants everyone to view things exactly as they do.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Newsish come, Newsish Go

For a while now I've been railing against Prog websites, posing as non-ideological news outlets, whose sole purpose is to attempt to frame today's issues in a progressive bent. I call these organization "newsish" because what they produce reads like news but, after closer examination is not, in the traditional sense of the word.

The most successful of these newsish outlets is The Texas Tribune whose greatest claim to fame is establishing the untruth that Texas cut $4 Billion from public education* (an untruth that has now mysteriously grown to $5.4 Billion.) To be fair, the Tribune does some good work on elections, and the interviews they crank out are of high quality and (occasionally) entertaining (although often biased).

Some of these sites (see: The Trib) have been so successful that many now consider them to be the model for news:future.

Not so fast.

Today the newsish outlet American Independent announced they are shuttering.

While it's tempting to say that this is the beginning of the end for newsish sites I believe that what did in The Independent was more bad journalism and amateurish writing rather than some fundamental flaw in their business model. As I said before, the Tribune churns out some decent product outside of their content that's obviously written to forward the cause, the Independent was never able to do that.

I've also stated that I have no qualms about news outlets with an agenda, provided they're open and honest regarding that agenda. My problem with organizations such as The Trib and Independent is that they're continuing to put on the brave face that they're somehow objective journalists.

That's a claim that's ridiculous on it's face because even traditional journalists aren't objective in this day and age.

So hail and farewell to the American Independent. I can assure you that we will missish you greatly.

*In reality Texas' education funds, in terms of real dollars, INCREASED from the previous budget, although it was $4 Billion less than if they had kept the previous formula (Something the lege NEVER does). What Texas really did was provide the education system with a smaller increase, due to a National recession. It was one of those rare cases where an increase was successfully spun as a decrease by a dedicated few.

Tell me again how this 'hurts the rich'?

Maybe someone can explain this to me 'cause I'm not getting it....

(Occupy Houston protesters arrested near downtown bridge. Mike Glenn,
Police arrested about a dozen Occupy Houston protesters during a march that ended Thursday evening at a downtown bridge.

The protesters linked arms and squatted in the middle of the intersection at Commerce and Travis.
It would seem to me that blocking a major roadway doesn't hurt the 1%, it hurts those of the 99% who are trying to hoof it home after a full day's work to spend time with their families.

Not that clear thinking has been a mainstay of the Occupy movement.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clearing up something on central planning....

So, Houston's restaurant and inner Loop crowd is up in arms over Houston's (proposed) parking ordinance changes....

As they should be, because big government, central planning diktats are rarely workable in a large, diverse urban setting. One size fits all typically becomes one size fits none and it's typically the small businesses that suffer most.

While I agree with them, I do have one SMALL bone of contention with the way this debate is playing out....

(Notes on Parking Ordinance Changes in Houston, The software agorist)
Let’s not suburban cookie cutter this, but work out collaborative solutions that fits each area of our fine city
The idea that Suburban parking standards, set out by market forces and typically not by a domineering, ham-fisted central government are the City's model here is bunk. Yes, it's a mistake to try and make dense, urban areas into a replication of the suburbs, but to compare the two situations is casting a negative light on Suburbia that it doesn't deserve. NBC has already tried this with that horrid TV show Suburgatory, and look how long that lasted. Plus, the idea that there's something "inferior" about the suburban approach to living undercuts the main argument that the "walkable"* urban living group is making.

Individual choice means just that. If you want to imagine true purgatory on Earth, imagine 7 Million people wedged inside the Loop asshole to elbow. The point here should be that there are a myriad of solutions that could provide Houstonians with the flexibility they say they are after. If you don't think so, go take a look at the many "walkable" neighborhoods that actually DO exists outside of the Loop and Beltway 8.

*As my friend Kevin notes, most of the urbanites in Houston have precious little idea what a "walkable" neighborhood really is.

This is why no one takes you seriously (Part II)

Consider this: these are the same people that were frothing at the mouth over the TCEP "censoring" an AGW proponent in a recent report.

("Now would be a good time to think about saving our lives, David Crossley, The List @
[As usual, comments from supporters of climate change will not be published]
Translation: If you don't agree with me, I won't publish your comments.

Pot, meet Kettle.

The good news is that AGW proponents like David Crossley do more to HURT their own cause than any fact could ever do. Prior to Climategate, the momentum was firmly behind them, wind at their back and all of that. Now the emperor has been revealed as the naked, science-free rogue many AGW deniers knew him to be, and they're starting to run into stiff headwinds.

Even more unbelievable is that (the former newspaper of record for America's 4th largest City) is allowing a blogger, posting under their domain, to blatantly violate their comment policy.

This is why no one takes you seriously

I'll give the Houston Tomorrow people this, they're single-minded in their wrongness about the future of Houston's economy.
Texas maintains some the largest scale and fastest growing megapolitan areas in the United States. The state is now the hub of the world energy economy, as well as a major center for logistics, corporate headquarters, and medical research and technology.


The combination of these three megapolitans — each specializing in different sectors — make the triangle’s economy remarkably diverse and resilient. However, the state faces risks, especially in the area of human-capital investment, that could derail growth.
What they mean by "human-capital investment" are more trains, toys and trinkets for the so-called "creative class". What they forget, is that Houston is a white-collar, working-class City through and through.

What the Houston triangle "needs" to stay competitive are more jobs, a more consistent, business-friendly environment that spurs growth, and a continued reliance on the idea that people should be able to live where they want, without nanny-state, know-it-all types trying to make life's decisions for them.

If you want a good laugh, go check this out. If you want to hear some serious talk about the future of the region, go watch and read Tory Gattis.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The job you're hired to do

Greg, from Rhymes with Right, does a very good job picking apart this article by Anita Hassan regarding the back-log of processed warrants at the Harris County Sheriff's office.

While the piece offers zero feedback from anyone other than the HCSO spin-doctors (Garcia himself), Greg provides some much needed context and a little history lesson in Garcia's hiring practices.

Go-read both pieces, and then steel yourself for the wave of InterLeft spin that's sure to come.

I've no argument that former Sheriff Tommy Thomas had to go, but the main plank of Garcia's campaign was on his competence. The question that has to be asked is: "If Garcia is turning up incompetent then does he deserve to be re-elected?"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sticking together

Chris Moran of reminds us that the establishment that plays together, sticks together
Thibaut, a state representative until she was swept out in the Republican landslide last year, also has the endorsements of state Sen. Rodney Ellis and her former state representative colleagues Alma Allen, Carol Alvarado, Garnet Coleman, Harold Dutton, Jessica Farrar, Ana Hernandez Luna and others.

Were I Andrew Burks Jr. (Thibaut's opponent) I'd use that as a selling point for my election.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Yes, they do think you're that dumb...

From Patricia Kilday-Hart's column on corporal punishment:
A clarification: My Wednesday column claimed that 68,000 Harris County voter registration applications were "rejected" in 2008. According to the county attorney's office, during 2007 and 2008 the voter registrar's office rejected 3,518 persons who applied for voter registration cards. During the same period, the tax office also sent 64,036 notices to voters who had submitted incomplete applications; of those, 29,386 ultimately registered, according to county records.

That's not a "clarification", that's a "correction".

That Kilday-Hart and the editors of the Chron believe you and I don't know the difference says a lot about how they view their viewers. To be fair, it's not limited to the Chron (or their Texas Hearst brethren), other media outlets go out of their way to blunt criticism by attacking the critics through grammatical silliness or false appeals to partisanship.

For example. One time, several years back, I was attempting to debate a point of something with Kyrie O'Connor, now (unbelievably) the interim editor of the San Antonio Express-News. Once it became apparent she couldn't refute my argument on "facts", she chose to take advantage of my inability to edit chron.comments and my one mis-use of "its" vs "it's". Did I make a typo? Yes, undoubtedly. Did that make my entire argument invalid? Only in the minds of the press. It doesn't stop there, instead of answering legitimate questions about The Texas Tribune's story on the Texas Windstorm Association, Trib Editor Evan Smith accused me of "grousing".

Unfortunately for Mr. Smith, the readers saw it as more than that:
Erin Anderson
So, to recap: $327 Million taxpayer dollars for 1,000 (temporary) jobs (when the "stimulus" money is gone, so are the jobs), 8,600 homes "weatherized" (with half of homes inspected found "deficient"), agencies unprepared to administer the program, shoddy record-keeping, and outright fraud. Yet the conclusion is that this program is successful and thriving??

Recipients of free money are always happy with the results. But the other 24 million Texans who did not get free weatherization or a government-subsidized job do not believe this was a "successful" use of our tax dollars. Throwing around "free" money (aka "stimulus") is an inefficient way to allocate resources that always results in high levels of waste & fraud.

And since the U.S. is almost $15 TRILLION in debt and borrows $0.43 of every dollar it spends, that's about $140 Million that will have to be repaid with interest by taxpayers. But most importantly, that's $327 Million that now cannot be spent on any other higher-priority uses, such as hiring more teachers & firemen like the President is always talking about (for example, 6,500 teachers at $50,000 each). Not the definition of success.
Is that "grousing"? Or is it a serious question regarding the completeness and context of the article?

This isn't the first petty argument I've received from Smith, who seems to spend more time editing my blog (for free, I thank him for that) than he does his own publication. Typically he gets me for misspelling his cub-reporters names. Obviously, I want to give them the correct credit, so I fix these errors whenever I can.

All that being said there's a big difference in the funding (and supposedly, the mission) of and the Tribune, if not between the attitudes and political leanings of their reporters. The Chronicle is corporate owned, and presents itself as a non-biased media source. The Tribune is non-profit, and plays lip service to not being partisan but is lacking a single Republican on its board of directors. Its main funding comes from Democratic sources. It was very much founded as a Colorado Model organization (Also known as: News-ish) and has followed their business plan to a T.

Which leads us back to Kilday-Hart's "clarification". When Kilday-Hart wrote the original column it was forwarding an idea (that Kilday-Hart and Democrats both share) that Republicans are evil anti-Democracy warriors seeking to deny the right to vote to those who won't vote for them. The data point that she "clarified" seemingly lent credence to that argument. Except that it didn't, and the truth of it severely damaged Kilday-Hart's original argument. By "clarifying" it, instead of "correcting" it as should have been done, Kilday-Hart is implying that her original argument is still valid. That you, the paying (or non-paying) customer are too dense to figure all of this out. It's a very negative view of the general populace, one again (conveniently) shared by Kilday-Hart and the Democratic Party.

The larger, overriding, problem is that a majority of Texas lock-step political media would rather wash their eyes out with bleach rather than spend time conversing and sharing with the work-a-day Texas citizen. You can tell by the tone that they view most of them as rubes and hacks again, a view conveniently shared by them and the Democratic Party.

Does this mean that the media has a "Democratic bias"? No, that argument is sad an only made by people too dense to understand the difference between partisan and ideological. But they are, for the most part, much to the left of Texas' mainstream political population, just as I feel the Tea Party is right of the same. This wouldn't be a problem if they would admit their progressive leanings. Let us know the truth and go from there.

But they don't. Therein lies the rub.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The obvious response..... the news that (some) humans are heating up, and destroying Gaia is fairly obvious right?

(From the Comments of Eric Berger's anti-population post)
namsmog says:

November 1, 2011 at 11:57 am
Families do not afford to have 10 kids, they burden the rest of us with over consumption, social problems, dumb politics, wars/terrorism, you name it; human gene pool is a cesspool; no mammal has had such an adverse impact on all the rest of the species as humans…

If you consider humanity to be at fault, then the obvious solution is to remove yourself (as part of humanity) from the equation.

That will never happen, of course, because mental giants such as namsmog view themselves to be a breed above the normal flim-flam of humanity. Enlightened beings who could save everything if just everyone else would do them a favor and die. (or, at a minimum, do whatever it is they think they should do.)

At it's core, AGW is similar in goal to the Occupy folks, both of which swear fealty to the far left wing of one of our two major political parties.

Think about that.

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