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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,962

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

What the California wildfires should teach us

When wildfires struck again in drought-plagued Southern California in mid-May, the media were filled with analysis about their causes and reports about the government's massive response. But other disasters--this year's wildfires in West Texas, for instance, which have been many times more destructive--get a fraction of the attention.

Mike Davis, author of Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster and In Praise of Barbarians: Essays Against Empire, talked to Alan Maass about the class dynamics behind the different faces of disaster response--and the mad priorities of a free-market system that does exactly the wrong thing for working people and the environment.


What should we know about the wildfires that grabbed the media's attention in mid-May?

As disasters become more frequent across the country, it's clear that the ones that affect celebrities and wealthier people take the foreground, and push the others into the margins.

But the situation with the most recent Southern California fires was extraordinary--you had 23 Marine helicopters, dozens of other firefighting aircraft, fire departments from all over the state, federal fire agencies. The message being sent to the people who live in their McMansions in the midst of the chaparral or the housing developments recently inserted into the back country is: Don't worry, you can count on us.

The wildfires in Southern California are some of the most destructive in the state's history--particularly the ones in San Diego County in the last decade, where several thousand homes were destroyed. But the message being sent is to keep building--because we can beat fire.

More at http://socialistworker.org/2014/05/28/what-the-wildfires-teach-us .

Burkablog: The Tea Party Takes Charge

The big winners from the primary runoff were Dan Patrick and the tea party. The big loser was the state of Texas, which sailed into unknown territory. The tea party, collectively, is in total control of the state, and the consequences are going to be staggering. All state services are in peril, in particular, the public schools. It’s the revenge of the know-nothings.

What will Dan Patrick be like as lieutenant governor? We know that he is aggressively anti-immigrant, so we may have to deal with Arizona-style immigration legislation, sanctuary cities laws, disinvestment in higher education, and privatization of public education. The one thing we know about the tea party with certainty is that they are angry--they are the definition of sore winners. The new lieutenant governor is not going to inherit a bed of roses. He has no relationship with the Speaker of the House. I doubt that he will have a good relationship with Greg Abbott. My guess is that Patrick is already thinking about the next election, and that he plans to challenge Abbott for governor in 2018. His ego won’t let him stop at lite guv.

One thing I believe with absolute certainty: Dan Patrick as lieutenant governor will hasten the day Texas turns purple. His personal history is one of recklessness and carelessness. There are going to be train wrecks along the way. I have serious doubts about whether the tea party can govern or whether Patrick can get along with his peers without having a meltdown along the way. His followers have no understanding of, or inclination for, negotiation and compromise, and they didn’t run the table at the ballot box last night; Straus’s team outperformed Michael Quinn Sullivan’s. The fundamentals of politics don’t change. You have to understand that you can’t always get what you want.

The question looming over the 2015 session is, frankly, whether state services can survive the session. The state has a lot of money, but will the tea party allow lawmakers to spend it? Or will the money just linger unspent in the Rainy Day fund? There are going to be some potholes in the road ahead--assuming that the tea party lets us build any roads.


Baby's First Propaganda: Tea Party Coloring Books Help You Start ‘Em Young

Do you possess a small child? Do you wish your small child would color things to develop hand-eye coordination and patience or whatever it is that kids are supposed to learn from coloring? So maybe you’ll buy the little tot that brain coloring book or a Barbie book or something.

Unless you’re a weird demagogue of a parent, in which case you’ll buy little Johnnie or Joanie the Tea Party Coloring Book, because it is never too young to start indoctrinating. And if Wayne Bell, the publisher of these childhood classics, has his way, you’ll soon have your schools ramming this down kids throats as well.

“Our products are very accurate and very pure. We want to be included in the daily lives of children across America,” says Bell, who tells Daily RFT he’s petitioning the Missouri Department of Education to include his books as standard texts in official school curricula.

It’s not just Missouri that Bell is trying to convince: He’s sent boxes of coloring books to all 50 states’ Departments of Education, the U.S. Department of Education and, according to a press release, the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other civil rights groups.

Are there generally coloring books in official school curricula? We could look that up, but nah.

We’d like to say that we don’t really think there’s a shot that these books would make it into any schools, but then we remember that there is Texas and they’ve probably already commissioned a hagiographic George W. Bush book that is just 48 pages of his bulging crotch in full airman gear and the “Mission Accomplished” banner, so we shouldn’t be blithe about this possibility.

Read more at http://wonkette.com/550167/tea-party-coloring-books-help-you-start-em-young#MwMTWorCtg9sq4MY.99

We won't have Ralph Hall to kick around anymore.

Ralph Hall, 91 years young, is losing in the District #4 primary runoff tonight.

His teabagger opponent, John Ratcliffe has 21,861 votes while Hall has 19,589 votes with over 93% of the precincts counted.

Beaumont ISD prepares to fire 300 to cut costs

About 300 Beaumont school district employees could lose their jobs because the distirct has to find $25 million in budget cuts, Beaumont school superintendent Timothy Chargois said today in an email to district employees.

Most cuts would come from the ranks of contract and at-will employees, which could range from the teaching ranks to custodians.

"Financial resources of the district are insufficient to support existing academic programs and the district is unable to finance the full compensation of staff for the next fiscal year," Chargois said in his email to district employees.

He said he has "identified" 75 at-will employees and 225 contract positions for a possible "reduction in force" brought about by the district's "financial exigency," which, if declared allows for the drastic cuts.

More at http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/BISD-prepares-to-fire-300-to-cut-costs-5501529.php .

Nebraska Mayor Violating First Amendment Tells Atheist ‘Take Me to F*cking Court – I Don’t Care’

When it comes to religion and government in this country, it should be pretty simple – don’t mix the two. The separation of church and state shouldn’t be a complicated issue. Yet we still continually see politicians, especially conservative ones, try to mix religion in with government policies or events.

And by doing so they’re in direct violation of the First Amendment.

Well, in Nebraska, an individual from the group Omaha Atheists expressed concerns over a Memorial Day event titled “Faith and Family” that was sponsored by the city of La Vista.

Group member and La Vista resident Robert Fuller approached La Vista Mayor Douglas Kindig with his business card requesting to discuss his concerns about the event. Sadly, Kindig apparently wasn’t at all interested in anything Mr. Fuller had to say.

According to Fuller, Mayor Kindig allegedly told him, “Take me to f*cking court because I don’t care.” Aren’t those some fantastic “Christian values” being put on display from La Vista’s mayor?

- See more at: http://www.forwardprogressives.com/ne-mayor-violating-first-amendment-tells-atheist-take-fcking-court-dont-care/#sthash.LFUKu33r.dpuf

Wendy Davis election-year memoir will tell her life story — her way

Just weeks before the general election, Wendy Davis memoir will be hitting bookshelves. Titled “Forgetting to be Afraid,” the book has a September 2014 publication date. The publisher promises “A deeply personal memoir by one of the country’s brightest political stars,” according to its web site. The book offers Davis an opportunity present her story – and to respond to disclosures about flaws in the original campaign version of her life story from teen-age mother to Harvard Law School grad.

The planned 272-page memoir is being published by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin books. The publisher is taking pre-orders on its web site, which presents the cover – a picture of Davis in white blouse and jeans and the title “Wendy Davis: Forgetting to be Afraid. A Memoir.” There is no information about a ghostwriter and it’s not clear whether the name is the final title of the book or simply a placeholder while production is underway.

Davis has become a political celebrity in Democratic quarters following last year’s 11-hour filibuster in the Texas Senate against abortion regulations. Hollywood celebrities have flocked to her fundraisers and political figures in New York and Washington have helped raise money for her uphill challenge against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott. Abbott is the frontrunner and no Democrat has been elected governor of Texas since Ann Richards in 1990. But the Abbott campaign has stumbled, inviting rocker and gun enthusiastic Ted Nugent to join him on the campaign, igniting a firestorm of controversy on the left over Nugent’s history bragging about sexual relations with underage girls. Abbott has also been criticized for using the phrase “third world counties” in describing law enforcement interdiction of the drug trade in South Texas and found himself on the defensive when political supporters put up posters in Los Angeles last week in advance of a Davis fundraiser that depicted the Democrat as a pregnant, scantily clad Barbie doll with the phrase “Abortion Barbie.”

Political memoirs appearing before elections historically play it safe. Ann Richards produced one before she ran for governor. Rick Perry produced his own political book, emphasizing his conservative ideas about local government. And Sen. Ted Cruz, who is looking for run for president in 2016, is reportedly working on a memoir of his own to be published in advance of the elections in two years.


How a Convicted Polluter, with Help from a Texas Judge, Avoided Paying Back its Victims

Companies accused of poisoning our air and water typically pay a fine then move on, rarely becoming official criminals. If you want to get arrested for spewing something into the air, you're much better off blowing weed smoke on your front porch than benzene from smoke stacks.

But in 2007, a Houston oil company became a rare exception, when it was criminally convicted for polluting the air in Corpus Christi. What does that mean? Not much, it turns out.

It took the Texas judge on the case seven years to hand down a sentence. He imposed a small fine but didn't include money for the victim's medical expenses, reasoning, in part, that figuring out an exact dollar amount would take too long. As a result, the people who waited seven years for their restitution will get no restitution.

Citgo Petroleum, based in Texas but a subsidiary of a Venezuelan corporation, was accused by the Department of Justice of operating two massive oil-water separators with no emission controls of any kind. For 10 years, from the 1990s until 2003, people in the Hillcrest neighborhood were breathing toxic chemicals like benzene.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2014/05/not_ready_texas_judge_finds_th.php .

Advice to Dan Patrick: Fighting fire with fire

[font color=green]This is an excerpt from the Houston Chronicle and was written by Ken Hoffman. You will need to scroll about halfway down the page to read this hilarious piece of advice.[/font]

I'm not one to give advice or tell people what to do.

It's not my nature.

But I'm going to help you out, Dan Patrick, candidate for lieutenant governor.

We go back, right? I didn't like the way you responded to your political opponents leaking information about your mental health history - how you spent time in Spring Shadows Glen psychiatric hospital - whether it was for depression or anxiety or exhaustion, whatever.

More at http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/columnists/hoffman/article/Minute-Maid-concessions-hit-it-out-of-the-park-5505383.php

Mewsday – The Texas Primary Runoffs Thread

Prepurring to vote in the GOP primary runoff.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The results of Texas' primary runoff elections on Tuesday could reveal underlying trends ahead of the November general election in the nation's largest conservative state. Here are five things to watch in the Republican and Democratic runoffs:


Ever since grass-roots firebrand Ted Cruz upset Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in their 2012 Republican U.S. Senate primary, most top Texas conservatives have scrambled hard to the right. Even though insurgent candidates have struggled this year elsewhere around the country, the Texas GOP's enthusiastic embrace of tea party ideals will continue if two runoff races go as expected. Houston state Sen. Dan Patrick, who founded the tea party caucus in the Texas Legislature, is poised to knock Dewhurst from a post he has held since 2003. And state Sen. Ken Paxton, after billing himself as the second-coming of Cruz, is favored in the GOP attorney general runoff against veteran state Rep. Dan Branch.


It has been a tough couple of years for a man who was once a powerful force in Texas politics. As recently as 2012, the millionaire energy mogul from Houston had what the mainstream Texas GOP considered a solidly conservative record as head of the state Senate and was the establishment's lock to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Then Cruz sprung his upset. Dewhurst eventually finished a distant second in a four-way race to keep his job in March. He appeared to struggle to make up ground before the runoff — despite pumping $5 million of his own fortune into his campaign. Dewhurst had promised to retire after one more term, but he may be headed home far sooner than that.


Will a candidate who wants to impeach the sitting Democratic president win the party's U.S. Senate nomination in Texas? Kesha Rogers, who is allied with frequent presidential candidate and conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche, has been so vocal about calling for Barack Obama's impeachment that the Texas Democratic Party has urged its supporters not to vote for her. David Alameel, a Dallas dental mogul who has been endorsed by Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis, fell just short of a majority of the votes cast in a crowded field during the March primary.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/5-things-to-watch-during-Texas-runoff-elections-5505109.php .

[font color=green]Please enter comments about your election day expurrience and return tonight to check the furrly results. Have a great day at the polls![/font]
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