Wednesday, January 26, 2011
In order to avoid copyright infringement, I'll just say that I don't believe Ratcliffe's reason for leaving ChronBlog. As with all resigning ChronBlog reporters the question is this:
Which Democratic politician will hire Ratcliffe as head of PR?
Leave your guess in the comments.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
You have the South side of the strip, Mandalay Bay, The Bellagio, Rio, etc. (the rich) the North side of the strip, with the Riviera, Circus Circus (the Middle Class) and Freemont Street (the retired) all trying very hard to ignore all of the pawn shops and pan-handlers (the poor) while occasionally hob-nobbing with one another in mixer settings. Then you have the prostitutes (politicians) who pander to whatever side they think can give them money (the vote or money).
At one time Vegas had style, it was filled with stars like Sinatra, Martin, etc. Gambling had style and panache and was done with flair. Today gambling is a sad sight to see. Poor folks and people with a lot of credit pumping more money than they should into slot machines (Flat Screen TV's, expensive cars, etc.) that slowly drain their wealth why the casino's charge a TON for mediocre food that's designed to have the appearance of luxury.
That being said, I still love Las Vegas, for all of its faults. I like being able to sit down at a poker table with a better than average chance of winning. I like playing the 25 cent Wheel of Fortune progressive slots with a way worse than average chance of winning. I also like seeing the lights, the shows and all of the entertainment Las Vegas has to offer.
Just like I still love America, for all of its faults. I like having a job, being free to write this blog, being able to approve comments from people who don't take the time to read what's written. I like having the freedom to worship (or not) as I choose, and to buy what car I want and to live where I want, work the job that I want without the central planning agency telling me how it should be. I like being able to go to Las Vegas to sit down at a poker table. Yes, I don't like the guys constantly shoving prostitute coupons in my face as I walk down the strip holding my wife's hand, and I don't like seeing bad Elvis impersonators (trust me, there were several of those) but I still like Vegas.
I could do without the prostitutes.
Keep the all you can eat seafood buffet at the Freemont casino however. That was good.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
As partisans, on both sides, try and drape themselves in the ideological cloak of Dr. King listening to this speech should remind the rest of us of something very important: The dream of Dr. King won't be reached by Government fiat, but by normal, work-a-day folks refusing to play the racist hands dealt to us by those in power who cash in on their remnants.
Happy MLK day. I hope you celebrated it well.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
That's 0 for 3 for them today. Shutter this abomination of an Ed board.
Ummm...this statement is false with no statistical evidence to back it up.
Actually, it's fairly knowable. As in we know it didn't. Only people hiding their head in the sand think otherwise.
Quoted for truth.
That's a cop-out. The MSM has been guilty of focusing on the extreme instead of one the sane. See John Coby, Fox News and the Houston Press as exhibit B.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Dallas: The reason humanity invented the word "overrated". Living on the fumes of a TV show that aired over 20 years ago the closest Dallas comes to its former glory is when Jerry Jones is on TV. Oh, and they have a better rail system than Houston. Terrible Bar-B-Q though.
David Dewhurst: The king of starched shirts and the first player out of the tunnel in the race for Kay Bailey's Senate seat.
Dan Patrick, Sen: Master of political rhetoric and zero action. KDAN is all about keeping issues around but doing little to actually get things done. Appraisal caps? (his first signature issue) Now that the political climate is right for them he's abandoned the issue and decided to focus on sonograms for women considering an abortion. His ultimate goal is Statewide office. When you filter his rhetoric through that filter it all makes perfect sense.
Democrats, Texas: The political equivalent of a two year old throwing a tantrum in the corner. It's not that Texas Democrats are bad, it's that they're HISTORICALLY bad. Despite their ideas being out of step with a majority of Texans they're incapable of self-examination. When your one hope is: "Well, eventually the White folks who live outside of the cities will die" you're looking down the long, dark tunnel of political irrelevance.
Democratic Caucus: Harder to find than Waldo.
Department of Transportation, Texas: The Money Pit. Except without Tom Hanks keeping things light.
Ears: God gave us two of them and one mouth. This would suggest that listening is more important than talking but, in the political world, it just means that God wanted everyone else to hear what Dan Patrick is saying.
Easter: When all else fails, the Lege will hope the Bunny leaves them a basket full of cash to close the budget hole.
Easement: Legalized, institutionalized, theft.
Economy: The truth is, no one really knows what's going to happen in the future as far as the economy goes, but budget writers declare the next two years as fact regardless.
Environment: God of the Ecomentals, high legislative priority for what remains of the Democratic Party. The problem with unchecked environmentalism, of course, is that the greens consider humanity to be the real enemy. The only way to "save" the environment is to shut down the economy, throwing everyone into severe poverty and ushering in a new dark ages. Birth is also an issue, meaning humans being born. ANY humans being born. Instead we're promised such silliness as a "green economy" and a "bridge to the future".
Facebook: Another place for politicians to ignore feedback from their constituents.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
- "But I've resigned myself to the fact that a taste of the real amatriciana is only attainable by a flight to Rome and a drive north on the Via Salaria to Amatrice — the "citta degli spaghetti all'amatriciana."
So the foodborg have infiltrated 29/95 I see? I hate people grousing that you can't get food here "just like over there" and then in the next breath rave about "local, sustainable ingredients".
Heh, Bill White is not even on the news-ish radar.
tags: Election 2012
- Among the many names that could seek Hutchison’s seat include Texas Railroad Commission members Elizabeth Ames Jones (R) and Michael Williams (R), former Secretary of State of Texas Roger Williams (R), former state solicitor general Ted Cruz (R), state Sen. Florence Shapiro (R) and former Democratic Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts John Sharp.
The unintended consequence is that this will cost more, which will hurt the poor & State budgets the most.
tags: Teach the Children
"Give me a break! You mean to tell me the Republican leader in the House doesn't already know what he wants to cut? I don't know which is worse—that he doesn't have a list or that he won't talk about it in public."// - There is no cut list. Never has been never will be. It's all about votes.
"But some members’ opposition to any new sources of state revenue might soften a bit once legislators see the concrete and local effects of balancing the 2012-13 budget by cuts alone, Pitts said at a talk sponsored by the Texas Tribune."// - My guess is, their song will change.
tags: Texas our Texas
The Mark White Governorship marks about the last time ChronBlog political reporting was relavent. No wonder they're son enamoured of him...
She really didn't have any other choice. No way she makes it out of a primary.
tags: Election 2012
"She predicted that the process, which gave rise to litigation last year before it even began, will not stir up too much controversy."// - This could go down as the worst prediction of the year.
tags: The Houston Way
"Tree-loving students can get a chance to win a $500 U.S. Savings Bond in the 2011 Texas Arbor Day Poster Contest."// - Show your love for trees by designing a poster on paper stock made from.....dead trees.
tags: Least Common Denominator
Wonder how United/Continental are liking those Chicago HQ's now?
"The Village Voice, which hadn’t tried it, is – frankly – less than supportive: “Whether those green and yellow chunks folded right into the patty will make you blow yours remains to be seen.” Does that surprise anyone coming from Village Voice?
(Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison won't run again. Richard S. Dunham, ChronBlog)
And well....of course it would be Bill White and John Sharp leading the way. For ChronBlog that is.
Former Texas Comptroller John Sharp and former Houston Mayor Bill White are potential Democratic prospects. Republicans who have expressed interest in the seat include Secretary of State Roger Williams, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, Railroad Commission Elizabeth Ames Jones and state Sen. Florence Shapiro. Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has not announced his plans but is considered a strong contender for the job.
For most of Texas it's going to boil down to who wins the Republican primary. The smart money is on Dewhurst. I've never been accused of being that smart so I'm still predicting State Sen. Dan Patrick will cut some kind of deal with Dewhurst that's designed to clear the way for the age of KDAN in DC. After starting his political career with anti-establishment rhetoric, Sen. Patrick has quietly spent most of his time in office wooing the establishment while throwing crumbs to his constituents. Can he win a State-wide race with no name ID outside of Houston? Who knows?
But based on the reaction of the News-ish organizations he probably could if he ran against Bill White:
(Kay Bailey Hutchison announces she will not run for re-election in 2012, Luke Johnson, The Texas Independent)
That a far-left, news-ish site doesn't even mention Bill White as a contender is a bad omen for his chances to eventually win the seat. It seems like only yesterday that White was being held up as the beacon leading the way forward for Texas Democrats. One absolutely horrendous* campaign later and he's found himself relegated to unpaid editorials and being blockquoted by members of the InterLeft. From Mayor of Houston (elected with 90% of the vote) to the vulgarity spewing fringe. That's quite a fall.
*Horrendous is probably too soft a word for the levels of bad that the White campaign plumbed. He cam out looking like a micro-managing nerd with honesty issues, hardly the type of person you want in government. (You want someone who will smile and shake your hand while lying to you. Bonus points if they have good hair and teeth.)
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
Abortion: An issue federally decided by the courts but which takes up much of the Lege's time. A sure-fire way for State Sen. Dan Patrick to get his name in the paper.
Aide, Legislative: The people in politics who REALLY write your laws and make the decisions. Not to be confused with bureaucrats, whose job it is to ensure nothing gets done. Typically fresh out of College, naive, partisan, and hoping to not be the subject of the next big sex scandal to come out of Austin.
Ardmore, OK: Texas Democrats home away from home when they're playing the Government in Exile role-playing game.
Austin: Technically, the physical home of the State Capitol of Texas. In reality: One giant hot-tub party thrown by lobbyists. Also home of angry journalists and bloggers who aren't invited to said hot tub party.
Bar-B-Que: Law: Every politician MUST have at least one (preferably more) photo-op showing him/her eating a pork rib and pretending to enjoy it. Bonus points if you can be shown next to an elderly man wearing a John Deere hat, plaid shirt and suspenders.
Bell, Chris: Perennial candidate.
Bell, Chris: Perennial candidate.
Bell, Chris: Perennial candidate.
Beer: There's plenty of beer in Austin during the Lege session, but the important thing is to count how many parties the beer distributors throw for the elected officials in an attempt to sustain their oligarchy over the distribution process.
Boondoggle: No one really uses this word any longer and, as such, it has no real meaning in non-political conversation. In politics however it can mean any program that the user chooses not to like at the present time.
Budget: Hard facts shrouded in the rhetoric of morality and statistics. It's typically pretty clear how much money the State is projected to have over the next biennium. What's not clear is how many political agenda groups are going to try and convince you otherwise. Because of this what you see as a process in budgeting is really just a one act play focusing on Enron's accounting during the last days.)
Burka, Paul: Proof of the theory that longevity in reporting is often mistaken for expertise.
California: In Texas politics, only used with the following: "Thank God we're not.....", "Texas doesn't run like.....", "....is the land of fruits & nuts."
Caucus: A polite way to say "creative way to legally bypass the Texas open meetings act." Used by political parties when they want to impart a false sense of drama onto a pre-ordained event. (See: Speaker of the House, Paxton, Straus & Dan Patrick for more.)
ChronBlog: What happens when a major city goes without a newspaper for an extended period of time.
Comptroller, Texas State: The Texas political equivalent of the Groundhog. Appears once per year to announce either financial Winter or Summer, then disappears until election season to tout abilities as a taxpayer fiscal watchdog.
Constituents: You, unless you have an issue to address with your elected representative, in which case you become a "crazed partisan whose sole agenda is making a mess of the process." Can also be used in the abstract to describe those the politician in question feels a God-like responsibility for. (See Mouth-breathers. for more)
Courtier: The one relic of the European monarchies that survived the American democratic experiment. Also known as staffers, advisers & lobbyists. Main job is to tell politicians how to think and to snag as many free Hors d'oeuvre's as possible from lobbyist funded events.
Cyan: Obscure word for blue. Not as obscure as Democratic political power in Texas, but you get the idea.
Oh, and there's that budget mess to deal with.
It's Lege time, which means there's only 20 days left until State Sen. Dan Patrick rolls out yet another attention-getting group that he'll quickly abandon after the benefits to his planned State-wide race are exhausted.
Voting down both Sen. Patrick and former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt (R - Quitters Station) in one election cycle would almost be too much to hope for.
Until then, get ready for the cuts and howling, both are going to be too extreme.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Of course the big story is the tragic shooting in Arizona. Prayers, thoughts and condolences are what's needed right now. Nothing else.
As for the shooter? It seems he's anti-American, communist, and a very disturbed individual who decided his early life statement was going to be giving up on the system. In his rush to judgement he killed six people, including a 9 y/o girl. Fortunately, it appears Rep. Giffords is going to make it. Keep praying for her & her family.
In Texas, the biggest story is the upcoming session of the Lege. The big news is the projected budget short-fall but there are other issues that are going to need addressing as well. It will be interesting to see how the Republican majority tries to do this.
Houston's new public defender has a rough road in front of him. Good luck.
Let's end this on a good note: St. Arnold's is booming and 2011 sounds like it will be another big year for them....Good.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Maybe that explains why "Mr. Small Government" can't keep his nose out of Government? (I think he was ignored as a child)
Note to journalists: If you're in the business of defending this, you need to crush your tinfoil, you're getting some bad reception. (Maybe an alternate play to: "blame Israel for everything?" Just a thought.)
That Good intentions....but... historic preservation bill might not be the disaster everyone thought. Just because tragedy was averted doesn't mean the bill didn't suck. (See: Healthcare reform bill, 2010. For more)
Is it really wise to give the Austin press corps guns? After all, this is a group that would miss the story if it was handed to them, why do we think their aim is going to improve with metal?
We watch with amusement as The Apple Dumpling Gang disparages the entire Oil and Gas industry:
BP wasn't (and isn't) the only company cutting corners in deepwater. It's not just one player who's rotten; it's the whole game.It's obvious, to those of us in the industry, that the gang that couldn't shoot straight hasn't spent a day visiting with the actual workers who drill the rigs and who oversee the process. On a whole they're good people doing some very dangerous work. Are their bad apples? You bet. But my experience is that they're a very small minority.
Shutter the Ed board, redeploy the resources to the newsroom. It's time for this wheezing, often inaccurate, dinosaur to be put out of its misery. Their dreck is an embarrassment to Houston.
Chronpon? ChronBlog takes on Groupon by selling pole dances. (As of this writing, a staggering one person has taken advantage of the deal. I'm sure Groupon is shaking in their boots.) Wouldn't actual news be nice to see from the former newspaper of record?
Friday, January 7, 2011
So much ado today over Liberal economist Paul Krugman's column where he pretty much takes Texas to task for not tax and spending as he has recommended the rest of the Country do. Of course, the Right has had their say, specifically, that Texas is NOT broke, which led to the following response from a twenty-something anthropologist (not kidding) writing for the news-ish organization Texas Observer.
Partisan wrangling aside (is it really wise to start a serious piece of writing with the descriptor "kick-ass"?) it seems that people don't have a very clear standing of the fiscal concept of deficit. Let me explain. In order to have a "deficit" one must first have actual "expenditures". Right now Texas, by nature of it's biennial budget process, does not have any actual expenditures for their to be a revenue short-fall against. Because of this, future expected revenues are bounced up against future expected expenditures where assumptions are made that all past expenditures will be maintained at cost plus inflation.
What this is called is a projected revenue short-fall, or a projected deficit, much in the same way the Clinton projected government surplus never materialized, so might this projected short-fall be avoided by either reducing expenditures or increasing revenues. In other words, it's not broken, it just needs to be addressed. This differs from say...California in the sense that many of their costs are fixed and there are few mechanisms allowed to the State to fix the issue.
Texas, on the other hand, has many options available to it to prevent the State from operating at an actual deficit. Does this mean things will be easy? Most assuredly not. In fact, many of the so-called solutions are, in the eyes of many, worse than the projected revenue short-fall itself.
All that being said, this much is clear: Krugman got it wrong because he doesn't have a good understanding of how Texas budget process works. Kevin Williamson of the NRO got it wrong because Texas does have budget challenges in front of it that will not just be whisked away with some clever Republican sleight of hand. And finally, Forrest Wilder of the Texas Observer got it wrong because he's too willing to substitute progressive talking points for "facts".
The only "fact" we have on our side now is that Susan Combs (the Texas State Comptroller) is scheduled to issue the official numbers on Monday. At that point we'll know exactly how much money the Legislature has to work with, and then a budget process can start that may, or may not, be sufficient to deal with the problem, no matter how big (or small) it might be.
Note: The best way to deal with the problem is probably a mix of revenue increases and spending cuts. While it's true that Texas Republicans will probably not look at ways to increase revenues and will focus completely on cutting expenditures, it's also fair to say that Democrats, were they in power, would surely lean the other way. That's not a fact, it's just a prediction based on past performance. Both sides are, in my opinion, 50% wrong.
*Thank you once again The Princess Bride for continued blog fodder.
Bill King on Houston pensions. I wonder how long it takes for people to scoff at this one?
Ah...no...you mean no train to Galveston? That's not World Class!?!
The headline: Police Olympics champ catches watch thief in Woodlands....What???
The end of partisanship: That didn't last long.
Local Lefty blogger (and former Hatch Act violator)* blows the whistle on GOP free bike and turkey program for kids....Hilarity ensues. (Who says there's no fun in local politics any more? Oh, let us not forget the e-mail chain. Priceless.
The same people who are OK with eminent domain for building Urban rail, stadiums and the like say No Way! When it comes to the oil and gas industry. (Of course, the correct answer is "No" on all accounts, but that doesn't make for a Place Called Perfect now does it?)
*Hey, he would know bout illegal partisan activity on Government property right?
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Former State Rep. Ellen Cohen running for City Council? Could be. The operative word is "running". Actually "winning" that right leaning district could be a task for someone as progressive as she.
We need more money for roads, but no one seems to know how to get it. No one in elected office that is....
Adventures in media identification:
1. Texas Watchdog: The Texas Public Policy Foundation as a "policy group". Which they are, but they should also be categorized as "conservative" (Which they DO classify the CATO institute as later in the article FWIW)
2. Texas Tribune: Progressive groups aren't but conservative groups are. Not that you expect much from news-ish organizations on matters like this, but at least the Dallas Morning News got it right in identifying it as a progressive coalition....
Speaking of CATO, here's their full write up on ObamaCare. You may disagree with CATO's politics, but their numbers are typically fairly sound on matters such as this. The thing is, the bill can be fixed, provided our politicians are willing widen free-market options through high-deductible plans and HSA's....
Captain D(roubi}'s? That's not world class.
I can think of worse campaigns than Parker vs. Bettencourt but not many.
BigJolly on the Republican House Speaker's Race. And again. It's good to see both sides of the argument, even if you are anti-Straus.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
What this means is that you'll have to fork over some greenbacks to keep playing the Wayne Slater/Karl Rove Drinking Game, follow ups to political news that's probably already been posted on a political blog, or Dallas Cowboys content that's also been previously reported on the blogs.
In short: you're still paying money for old news that's reactive instead of proactive due to massive cutbacks in the newsroom.
Oh, and the DMN understands tech about as well as ChronBlog. (Hint: hanging your hat on one platform (especially when other platforms are not only gaining ground, but threatening to pass the one you've chosen) is the digital equivalent of waving the white flag.)
On the bright side: Alcohol consumption among media watchdog types (you know, the type that would play the WS/KR drinking game) is sure to go down. Yay liver!!!
Good luck to 'em, but I just don't see what's there for significant numbers of iApple users to pay for.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
With that in mind, lets take a look at some things that MIGHT happen in 2011 but probably won't:
Mayor Annise Parker vs. Houston City Council: 2011 will be the year of jockeying for position. With C.O. Bradford, Jolanda Jones and Mike Sullivan all trying to out-anti-Parker the other in hopes of unseating Parker in 2012. It's going to get ugly. The HCA official prediction is that some local blog will be leaked our local leaders' pet names for one another: "Crime Lab", "Ms. the Tenth", "Mr. Irrelevant" and "GLBT agenda".
Eversole Resigns: It's (thankfully) going to happen. Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Eversole will resign as a result of his federal indictment. The Commissioner's Court (Read: Steve Radack) will then pick his successor. This successor will be former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt, who will come out of retirement "for the good of the County". There will be serious discussions of having the replacement decided by a slap-fight between HCRP's Jered Woodfill and HDCP's Gary Birnberg. HCA's official position is to ratify the latter option.
Metro pulls defeat out of the jaws of victory: The "New" Metro will revert to "Old" Metro tactics and declare the opening of .7 miles of new toy train track as a "significant development" in Houston's transit future. In order to make way for this new line 57 bus routes will be eliminated. ChronBlog will stop pretending and just run Metro press releases verbatim as original stories. At some point in 2011 Anti-Metro activist Tom Bazan's head will finally explode.
It's the end of political blogging as we know it: At their beginning, political blogs were a rowdy sort. They were the place that political outsiders went to vent, and gripe about things their chosen parties were doing wrong. Of late, many political blogs are official (if not publicly acknowledged) PR outlets for their party of choice. They coordinate talking points, disparage the other team, and add virtually nothing new to the political discourse. The next logical extension is for the InterLeft to devolve into nothing more than vulgarities repeated ad nauseum while the Bloggers O' the Right limit their topics to Obama's citizenship, immigration and Dan Patrick's latest
Speaking of Dan Patrick: In 2011 the ambitious (yet results poor) TX State Senator for District 7 will formally announce his intentions to make a run for Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat. His political platforms will include adding "In God we Trust" to every sign in America, anywhere, creating FIVE new legislative groups with the intention of catering to the Tea Party and getting his name in the press. His Democratic opponent will be Chris Bell.
The "green" economy will finally be exposed as a sham: This one will actually happen, as increasingly difficult regulations force Big Oil to move more and more resources overseas there just won't be surplus jobs in green energy to fill the void. Still, this result will be applauded by the ecomental movement whose biggest problem in 2011 is going to have to find creative ways to not admit that wealth and humans are what they're really fighting against. A poorer world is a greener world after all.
Presidential Politics: Any one who's entertaining the thought that Obama won't run for a second term put that away right now. The thing is, this time, he'll be vulnerable as the economy will really start to shudder under the weight of unsustainable government spending. Obama's going to have to start discussing large tax increases to fund his agenda, although he won't have much success passing them with a Republican Congress in place who has no desire to commit political suicide. The key will be who the Republicans run against Obama. Do they pick the next person in line? (Romney, McConnell et al.) A parody candidate? (Palin, Barbour etc.) Or do they think outside the box and bring in a serious candidate that can win? (Mitch Daniels, Marco Rubio are the two that come immediately to mind)
ChronBlog admits the obvious: Sometime in 2011 (perhaps after the Lege session) ChronBlog is going to announce all of it's State and National politics will be covered by a Hearst Pool. The D.C. & Austin bureaus will be all shared content and they will add more lifestyle reporters with the extra money. As mentioned earlier, they'll also abandon the Metro beat in favor of just running the organizations press releases. The Apple Dumpling Gang will continue to churn out content, will continue to get almost everything wrong, and the downward slide of America's worst big city daily will continue.
Change coming for HCA: I'm currently involved in some side projects that I expect to blossom during 2011. If all works out as I expect, HCA will be more focused on "Noise Machine" posts and some in-depth, investigative stories on a local level. I also plan to move to a dedicated web-site for HCA sometime in 2011, ditching the current format and moving to something that's more multi-media friendly.