A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why A Crucifix Works Against Vampires

Yellowdog Granny reminds us of the hilarious honesty of the great Richard Pryor.

Happy Halloween !

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my readers and fellow bloggers a HAPPY HALLOWEEN.   Even though this is not an "official" holiday, it is undoubtably my favorite holiday.   Halloween is about nothing more than having fun (and it's a great excuse to eat some candy).   You can't beat that.   I hope all of you had a great Halloween weekend.

P.S. Just three more weeks and Thanksgiving will be over.   Then we can kick off the annual "war on christmas"!!

Haunted House

Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

Most Americans Think Palin Is Unqualified

Even though it's still about a year and a half before we have to seriously start worrying about candidates for president in 2012, there has been a lot of talk about whether Sarah Palin will be a candidate for the Republican nomination.   Recently she said she would run if no other acceptable candidates stepped forward.

But if this recent ABC News/Washington Post poll is correct, she's got a lot of convincing of the American people to do or she doesn't stand much of a chance.   The poll was conducted of 1,202 adults between October 25th and 28th, and has a margin of error of 3.5%.   Even giving Palin that full margin of error, she really polls poorly as clear majorities of Americans think she's not qualified and view her unfavorably.   Here are the numbers:

DO YOU VIEW PALIN FAVORABLY?
Favorable...............39%
Unfavorable...............54%
No opinion...............7%

And it gets even worse when the respondents were asked if they thought Sarah Palin was qualified to be president.   Here are those numbers:

Qualified...............27%
Unqualified...............67%
No opinion...............6%

Ouch!   Those are pretty bad numbers.   You can give her the margin of error and those who had no opinion and she's still below 40%.   Here's the numbers for different groups:

UNQUALIFIED
Republicans...............46%
Conservatives...............48%
Tea party supporters...............48%
Independents...............70%
Moderates...............77%
Democrats...............82%
Liberals...............84%

Only two groups had a majority rating her as qualified -- 55% of conservative Republicans said she was qualified and 73% of "strong" tea party supporters agreed.

Unless this woman is even stupider than I think she is (and that would be hard to do), she has to know she has no chance to be elected president.   I think she'll run anyway though.   It's the best way to extend her fifteen minutes of fame and insure she can go on making a ton of money by making appearances and giving speeches.   And there is little doubt that greed is her primary motivation.

Teabagger Candidates

Political Cartoon is by Robert & Donna Trussell at politicsdaily.com.

Ronald McDonald Is A Republican ?

Well, no one can say the Republicans aren't trying every dirty trick in their repertoire to try and win the 2010 elections.   All across the country they have been piling lie upon lie as they campaign -- so many lies that I wonder if they even have a concept of what truth is.   In Houston they are putting out misleading political flyers and intimidating voters in minority precincts.

Now an Ohio Republican businessman has decided he can pressure his workers into voting for Republicans.   Paul Siegfried, owner of Siegfried Enterprises which owns some McDonald's restaurants in Canton, decided a little threat might make his restaurant employees vote the way he wanted them to vote -- for Republicans.   The McDonald's employees got the following insert in their pay envelopes:

I'm sure many right-wingers will view this as just a little harmless campaigning.   I don't, and neither does election law, which forbids companies from putting pressure on employees to vote a particular way.   And as precious as any job is in this economy, even a McDonald's job (where the pay and benefits are certainly nothing to brag about), to have an employer putting pressure on voting employees is just unconscionable.

At least one of the employees wasn't intimidated.   He gave the insert to an attorney, who forwarded it to the local authorities.   That was exactly what he should have done since the insert seems to be a clear violation of state law.   Here is how the Ohio law reads:


"No employer or his agent or a corporation shall print or authorize to be printed upon any pay envelopes any statements intended or calculated to influence the political action of his or its employees; or post or exhibit in the establishment or anywhere in or about the establishment any posters, placards, or hand bills containing any threat, notice, or information that if any particular candidate is elected or defeated work in the establishment will cease in whole or in part, or other threats expressed or implied, intended to influence the political opinions or votes of his or its employees.
Whoever violates this section is guilty of corrupt practices, and shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars."


Now that it looks like he may get in trouble for his illegal campaigning, Siegfried has issued the traditional Republican non-apology apology.   He said,   "Distributing this communication was an error of judgement on my part.   Please know, it was never my intention to offend anyone.   For those that I have offended, I sincerely apologize."

General Manager for McDonald's Ohio region, Shirley Rogers Reece, said that the national chain had no knowledge of the illegal paycheck insert.   Then she went on to issue her own non-apology apology saying,   "While clearly this was poor judgement, we don't believe it was intended to offend anyone."

Obviously both Siegfried and Reece miss the whole point with their tepid attempts at an apology.   The point was not whether someone was offended or not (although they probably were).   The point is that the restaurant owner broke the law by trying to intimidate his employees into voting for Republicans, and that is far worse than being offensive -- especially in a representative democracy.

I have been a semi-regular customer of McDonald's for many years, but it will be a very long time before I will set foot in one again -- unless I hear a real apology from the corporate head office and get their assurance this will never happen again.

(NOTE -- the above picture is from the website thefunnyads.com.)

Professional Courtesy

Political Cartoon is by John Cole in The Scranton Times.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Love Is . . .

Some bigoted Americans would like to set the rules for love, but the truth is that love transcends these rules.   No one should tell another person who they can or can't love.

Most Third-Party Candidates In 76 Years

Third parties seldom do well in United States elections, and many political pundits usually just consider their candidates to be spoilers for one of the candidates of the two major parties.   For example, Greens can siphon off progressive votes from Democrats and Libertarians can siphon off conservative votes from Republicans.  

But recent polls show that Americans may be ready for a new political party to compete with the Republicans and Democrats.   Significant portions of the electorate have answered in the affirmative when asked this year if they would like to see a new major third party.   It seems that many voters are unhappy with both the Democratic and Republican parties.

And some existing third parties are trying to take advantage of that feeling this year.   In just races for the United States House of Representatives there are 443 third-party candidates.   That's the most third-party candidates running for the House in 76 years (since 1934 when 513 third-party candidates ran).

The Libertarian Party has fielded the most candidates.   They have 153 House candidates.   The Green Party is second with 58 House candidates, and the Constitution Party comes in third with 39 House candidates.   Several other smaller parties are running candidates, including a revived Whig Party (see above bumper sticker).

Since 1932, there have been 17,403 House races, and third parties have run candidates in 9,782 of them (for an average of 0.56 candidates per House race).   Here in Texas we have had 422 candidates out of 1,000 races.   That's pretty good considering how hard it is for a third party to get on the ballot in Texas.

It's hard for third-party candidates to get elected in America, but they keep plugging away.   I'm glad, considering the reluctance of both major political parties to make real changes that would take power from the corporations and rich and return it to ordinary Americans.   I hope both the Libertarians and the Greens do well enough to stay on the ballot in the next election.   I myself voted for some Greens and some Libertarians this year.

Frankly, keeping third parties on the ballot is a way to pressure the Democrats and Republicans to actually keep some of their promises.

Halloween Is Like A Political Campaign

Political Cartoon is by David Horsey in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

More Polls Give Perry The Edge

I wish I could say I thought the statewide slate of Democrats was going to pull off a smashing victory next Tuesday night -- even the candidate for governor, Bill White (who I have very little respect for due to his "blue dog" conservatism).   But White's coattails are so short that it looks like it's going to be every candidate for himself or herself.  

Once again the Democrats ran a conservative for governor against a conservative governor.   They seem to think that the way to win in Texas is to deny the progressive roots of the party and not offer the voters a real choice (after all, if voters want a conservative they know the Republicans are the conservative party).   This strategy didn't work with Chris Bell in 2006 and didn't work with Tony Sanchez in 2002, and it looks like it's failing again in 2010.

White's campaign has just failed to gain any traction since the summer months.   He has yet to get any closer than six points in any poll (including his own in-house poll).   A few days ago two polls came out to show that Perry may actually be picking up steam.   White trailed him by 8 points in a Rasmussen poll and by 10 points in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

Now there are two new polls and White is not doing well in those either.   A Bloom & Weprin poll conducted for Texas' five largest newspapers (with a 3.8% margin of error) showed the following numbers for the governor's race:

Rick Perry (R)...............49%
Bill White (D)...............37%
Deb Shafto (G)...............3%
Kathie Glass (L)...............2%

A Public Policy Polling survey was also released.   This poll was taken between October 26th and 28th and has a margin of error of 4.1%.   Here is what it showed:

Rick Perry (R)...............53%
Bill White (D)...............44%
Undecided/other...............3%

The worst part of this is that the Democrats have some excellent down-ballot candidates.   But since most of the money goes to the gubernatorial candidate for the party, these other candidates need for the candidate for governor to do well to give them a boost.   It looks like they can forget any help from Bill White.

I'm still hoping candidates like Hank Gilbert and Linda Chavez-Thompson can win in spite of this disadvantage, but it's going to be very hard.

The New Wing

Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

Rangers Aren't Embarrassed Enough - Yet

As you probably know, the Texas Rangers are playing in their very first World Series ever.   It's not going well.   So far, they've done nothing but embarrass themselves.   They have pretty much been blown out of the first two games by a team that makes a habit of winning one-run games.   In the second of those two games they walked in three runs in a row and wound up losing by nine runs.

Now that would be embarrassing enough for most Major League Baseball teams, but not the Texas Rangers.   They seem to be going for the World Cup of embarrassing.   Just look at what they have arranged to happen at game 4 this Sunday.

The Rangers have invited not one, but two George Bush's to throw out the first pitch for Sunday's game.   That's right.   They've asked both ex-presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (the worst president ever), to deliver the traditional first pitch (or first two pitches in this case).

They'd better win four of the next five games if they ever expect to live this down.

I'm Not . . .

Political Cartoon is by Mike Peters at grimmy.com.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Model For Teabagger Candidates

You can't blame these teabagger candidates  for trying to hide who they really are.   From the great site of Pavlovian Obeisance.

Mine Disaster Should Not Have Happened

A couple of weeks ago people all over the world held their collective breath as they watched the government of Chile, aided by mining experts and equipment from around the world, pull off an engineering miracle and rescue 33 miners who had been trapped underground for 69 days.   The Chilean government and everyone who helped them deserve all the praise and accolades they have gotten for successfully pulling off the rescue.

But what most people don't know is that the disaster at the mine should never have happened.   Both the copper company and the government of Chile knew the mine did not meet even the most rudimentary safety standards.   But the company opened the mine anyway, and the government allowed them to do it without requiring they first insure it was safe.

Javier Castillo, president of Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (United Workers' Center), claims the Chilean government knew the mine was not safe, but allowed it to open anyway.   He said,   "We had a meeting with Labor Minister Merino, in which we talked about the risks in that mine and the fact that despite the number of accidents, deaths and landslides, keeping jobs was always in consideration, at the price of the workers' lives."   He added  "the danger at that deposit was in fact made known to government authorities before the accident of last August 5."

Union leaders again tried to talk with government officials on July 5, after an accident in that same mine seam which cost a miner his leg.   At that time, government officials refused to see them.   They simply did not want to hear of problems in a mine that was making money for both the company and the government.

But it gets even worse.   The miners had told the company of growing problems within the mine, and on the same day the accident happened, they had asked to be permitted to leave the mine.   The company's operations manager Carlos Pinilla refused, and three hours later the disastrous cave-in happened.

Congressman Carlos Vilches talked with one of the trapped miners -- Juan Illanes.   Vilches said,   "He told me that at 11 they began to hear very loud noises.   They asked to leave and they were denied permission.   They believe there was negligence on the part of the owners and managers.   The conditions and the risk were already known, but these gentlemen (acted) as though it were just some crumbling . . . The reasonable thing would have been to get them out."

Miner Jimmy Sanchez said,   "The mine was making noise and they left us inside."   His fellow miner Omar Reygadas said,   "I was in the loader when it happened.   Afterwards I heard about the call.   It must have been the shift supervisor or the foreman.   One of them got in touch with Pinilla.   He knew very well what was happening in the mine, so he can't deny it.   It had been rumbling for several days."

A friend of miner Jorge Galleguilles said that by the fourth, the day before the cave-in, a truck driver had notified Pinilla of the impending disaster but,   "Nobody listened to him.   And that despite the fact that about a half ton of dirt and rocks had fallen on his truck.   The boxes -- the wall rocks -- were exploding every few minutes."

While the rescue was heroic, the fact that the miners were even in the mine at all is shameful.   The company was warned several times that conditions inside they mine were deterioating, and they refused to pull the miners out (or even let them come out after they pleaded with management).   And the government of Chile must accept its part of the blame.   They allowed the mine to open while knowing it was unsafe, and refused to listen to worker concerns even after accidents started to happen.

The president of Chile and his cohorts looked like heroes when the rescue happened.   They weren't.   They were just trying to cover up for their own incompetence.

The Delusion

Political Cartoon is by Mike Keefe in The Denver Post.

Even More Republican Dirty Tricks

Even though Texas is normally a pretty Republican-dominated state (there are no statewide elected offices held by anyone other than Republicans), it looks like some Republicans in the state are running scared.   It came out last week that Republican teabaggers in Houston were trying to intimidate minority voters.   That charge is already being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Now the above flyer has been showing up on the windshield of many cars near the Sunnyside early voting location in Houston (where many minority voters cast their ballot).   It purports to be from a minority organization -- the Black Democratic Trust of Texas.   But there is no such organization.

It is an attempt to keep minority voters from voting the straight Democratic ticket by telling them that such a vote would be counted for the Republicans.   It asks them instead to just mark there ballot for Bill White, the Democratic candidate for governor, and that would be the same as a straight-ticket vote and would count for all Democratic candidates.

Obviously,this is an attempt to suppress votes for down-ballot Democrats (many of whom are favored to win in Houston and Harris County).   It is an attempt by local Republicans to win some local races by cheating that they could not win honestly.   Voter suppression seems to be a common Republican tactic in Houston.

Personally, I think it is also racist.   Because it assumes that African-American voters are not smart enough to see through this crude attempt to subvert their votes.   They aren't stupid (which is proven by their lack of support for Republican teabagger candidates), and I doubt that the flyers changed any votes.   But that is beside the point.  

The point is the racists tried to suppress the minority vote, and that cannot be allowed to happen in a representative democracy.   Those who printed and distributed the flyers should be prosecuted for trying to tamper with an election.

Dirty tricks has become a tradition for many Republicans.   Perhaps the inimitable Juanita Jean, owner of the World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., put it best when she said,   "Getting Republicans not to try to cheat black folks out of their vote is like trying to eat red beans with a pitchfork.   Republicans have messed with black folks for so long that now they can mess with black folks by pretending to warn against Republicans messing with black folks."

The Sensitivity Of Rand Paul

Political Cartoon is by Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The Very Definition Of "Homophobe"

Sometimes there are elected officials that do far more harm than good because they either can't control, or don't wish to control, their own bigotry.   A school board member in Arkansas named Clint McChance is one of those elected officials.   He has decided that his own bigotry and homophobia is more important than acting in the best interest of ALL the students he was elected to help (by overseeing their education and well-being).

Their have been several instances of school bullying (on both a secondary and higher education level) of homosexual students that resulted in these students taking their own lives.   This tragedy has resulted in good people all over the country coming together to try and fight the problem of bullying.   One of the ways this has happened is a "wear purple" day, where people wore the color purple to show solidarity with the victims of bullying.

Unfortunately, some right-wing fundamentalists have decided to show their bigotry in response to this.   McChance took this even a step further by making homophobic and bigoted remarks on his FaceBook page celebrating the death of gays.   Here are some of the remarks he made on FaceBook (which whether he realizes it or not is a public forum):

“Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE.”


“No because being a fag doesn’t give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then dont tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that shit to yourself. I dont care how people decide to live their lives. They dont bother me if they keep it to thereselves. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die. If you arent against it, you might as well be for it.”


“I would disown my kids they were gay. They will not be welcome at my home or in my vicinity. I will absolutely run them off. Of course my kids will know better. My kids will have solid christian beliefs. See it infects everyone.”

Sadly, as an elected public official, McChance cannot be fired by the school district.   If he had any common decency, he would resign.   But after reading his remarks, I seriously doubt that will happen.   He seems to be proud of his bigotry.   Hopefully, the good people in Arkansas will take care of this in the next school board election (or in a recall election).

Fortunately for the students of the school district, other school officials were not amused by McChance's bigoted remarks.   Here is the public statement released by the superintendent of the Midland School District:


The Midland School District, Board of Directors, administration, faculty, and staff do not support or condone the comments Mr. Clint McCance posted on his personal social networking page. Mr. McCance was not acting as an agent of the school board, but as a private citizen when this comment was posted. This post does not reflect the thoughts of the board or administration of the Midland School District.

The district strives to foster an environment that discourages all forms of bullying and an environment that encourages a safe and productive educational climate of all of our students. The district is very diligent in pursuing and addressing bullying of any variety on our campuses.

Sincerely

Dean Stanley, Superintendent
Midland School District

Puppetry

Political Cartoon is by Lee Judge in The Kansas City Star.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Make Books Cool Again

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I love this bit of good advice from the great John Waters.   Found at the blog of Yellowdog Granny.

Republicans Would Destroy Social Security

The Republicans have been denying that they are in favor of privatizing Social Security.   That is because they realize that it is one of the most popular of the government programs, and is supported by a clear majority of the American people.   They know that the time right before an important election is not the right time to tell the American people how they really feel.

But they are lying.   At least 104 congressional Republicans have, in the past, either voted to privatize Social Security or said they would be in favor of doing so.   They want a small government with little or no taxes for their corporate masters and rich buddies, and they can't have that as long as programs like Social Security and Medicare exist.   They really don't care that privatizing Social Security would be a personal economic disaster for most Americans.

Remember when you go to vote this election, when Republicans talk about a small government they are not talking about reducing government welfare for corporations, the giant banks, or Wall Street.   There is no end to the money they wish to put in those pockets.

No, they are talking about cutting, abolishing, or privatizing the programs that help ordinary Americans and needy Americans.   All of the following Republican in Congress are in favor of privatizing (or outright abolishing) Social Security.

Senate (20)
Jeff Sessions (AL)Richard Shelby (AL)Jon Kyl (AZ)
John McCain (AZ)Saxby Chambliss (GA)Chuck Grassley (IA)
Richard Lugar (IN)Pat Roberts (KS)Sam Brownback (KS)
Mitch McConnell (KY)Roger Wicker (MS)Thad Cochran (MS)
Judd Gregg (NH)James Inhofe (OK)Tom Coburn (OK)
Jim DeMint (SC)Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)Bob Bennett (UT)
Orrin Hatch (UT)Mike Enzi (WY)
House of Representatives (84)
Jo Bonner (AL-01)Spencer Bachus (AL-06)Trent Franks (AZ-02)
Wally Herger (CA-02)Dan Lungren (CA-03)Devin Nunes (CA-21)
David Dreier (CA-26)Jerry Lewis (CA-41)Ken Calvert (CA-44)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46)John Campbell (CA-48)Darrell Issa (CA-49)
Duncan Hunter (CA-52)Doug Lamborn (CO-05)Jeff Miller (FL-01)
Ander Crenshaw (FL-04)Ginny Brown-Waite (FL-05)Cliff Stearns (FL-06)
Adam Putnam (FL-12)Connie Mack (FL-14)Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18)
Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)Jack Kingston (GA-01)Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)
Tom Price (GA-06)John Linder (GA-07)Phil Gingrey (GA-11)
Tom Latham (IA-04)Steve King (IA-05)Judy Biggert (IL-13)
John Shimkus (IL-19)Dan Burton (IN-05)Mike Pence (IN-06)
Rodney Alexander (LA-05)Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06)Pete Hoekstra (MI-02)
Vern Ehlers (MI-03)David Lee Camp (MI-04)John Kline (MN-02)
Erik Paulsen* (MN-03)Todd Akin (MO-02)Roy Blunt (MO-07)
Virginia Foxx (NC-05)Howard Coble (NC-06)Sue Myrick (NC-09)
Patrick McHenry (NC-10)Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)Lee Terry (NE-02)
Scott Garrett (NJ-05)Peter King (NY-03)John Boehner (OH-08)
John Sullivan (OK-01)Tom Cole (OK-04)Jim Gerlach* (PA-06)
Bill Shuster (PA-09)Joseph Pitts (PA-16)Joe Wilson (SC-02)
Gresham Barrett (SC-03)Bob Inglis (SC-04)Zach Wamp (TN-03)
Marsha Blackburn (TN-07)Louie Gohmert (TX-01)Sam Johnson (TX-03)
Jeb Hensarling (TX-05)Joe Barton (TX-06)Kevin Brady (TX-08)
Michael McCaul (TX-10)Mike Conaway (TX-11)Mac Thornberry (TX-13)
Ron Paul (TX-14)Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)Kenny Marchant (TX-24)
Michael Burgess (TX-26)John Carter (TX-31)Pete Sessions (TX-32)
Rob Bishop (UT-01)Jason Chaffetz (UT-03)Eric Cantor (VA-07)
Doc Hastings (WA-04)Dave Reichert (WA-08)Paul Ryan (WI-01)
Tom Petri (WI-06)Shelley Moore Capito (WV-02)Cynthia Lummis (WY-AL)

Left Or Right ?

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Democrats Need Another LBJ


When he was elected a couple of years ago, I had hoped that President Obama would be a president in the mold of strong Democratic presidents of the past -- presidents like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson.   He is like a past president, but sadly, he is more like the corporate and Republican-appeasing Bill Clinton.

Instead of standing up to the Republicans and doing what he knows is right, he has tried to get along with them and water-down his proposals in the hopes that he can get Republican support (which will never happen).   He acts like he's afraid he's going to make someone mad and spends far too much time trying to please too many people.   In short, he needs to learn how to play political hardball.

The unadulterated king of political hardball was Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson.   If it wasn't for his mistakes in Vietnam (a mistake Obama seems intent on repeating), I believe Johnson would have been lauded as one of our greatest presidents.   In spite of heavy opposition (much of it from members of his own party), Johnson was able to get some great legislation passed and signed into law -- Voting Rights, Civil Rights, Headstart Program, War on Poverty, and Medicare to name a few.

President Johnson knew he couldn't please everyone so he just did what was needed regardless of what others wanted.   And he had the political knowledge and muscle to get it done.   President Obama could learn a lot from the example of Lyndon Johnson.

I'm not the only blogger who feels this way.   The inimitable Karen Zipdrive over at Pulp Friction also misses the can-do and will-do attitude of Lyndon Johnson.   Here's some of what she has to say (and I urge you to go over and read her full post):

"After John F. Kennedy was assassinated, he left several major, controversial projects on his desk in the Oval Office.


Johnson, who most people outside of Texas considered an oafish, redneck clown, went all-in and forced the passage of Medicare and civil rights legislation that forever changed the fates of elderly people and minorities for the better.


And by "forced the passage," I mean he literally approached defiant Senators and threatened to ruin them and their careers if they didn't vote his way. And by God, LBJ had the clout to do it.


The Republican bullies and teabaggers of today would have been tamed like Pit Bull puppies by Johnson, through diplomacy, threats or whatever means required to shut them the fuck up. Johnson was a mean, calculated bastard when it came to getting his way.


Unlike Obama, Johnson would never have dreamed of entering office with an aim to Kumbaya the Republicans. He hated Republicans because they stood for the same kind of shit they stand for now.


If LBJ was president now, crooks like Tom DeLay would be dancing with the convicts. Bill Frist would be working as a volunteer at some free clinic in the boondocks. Newt Gingrich would be a castrati singing in a boy's choir. As for Sarah Palin, first Johnson would have fucked her on the Oval Office desk, then exiled her to Wasilla for life. For all his backwoods oafishness, Lyndon Johnson was a brilliant politician who knew exactly how the game was played, and how to work the odds to his favor.


As a Democrat, I am adamant in saying we need another strong Democratic bastard or bitch in the White House, who wants to serve the people and not the Republicans, the military industrial complex or the corporate suits whose greed is insatiable."

Scariest Costume ?

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Early Voting Doesn't Favor Either Party


Both political parties are urging their own people to vote early and both hope that early vote will give them an advantage come election day.   One of the best voting prognosticators, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com and the New York Times, says it depends on the state and whether that state is a red or blue state.   But a new poll by the Gallup organization shows that neither party seems to be gaining an edge in early voting.

Gallup did a random survey of 1,364 registered voters from October 21st through 24th that shows roughly equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats and Independents are voting early. The survey has a 3% margin of error.   Here is what their survey showed:

REPUBLICANS
Already voted...............13%
Will vote early...............15%
Will vote on election day...............63%
Don't know...............9%

INDEPENDENTS
Already voted...............9%
Will vote early...............19%
Will vote on election day...............61%
Don't know...............12%

DEMOCRATS
Already voted...............9%
Will vote early...............14%
Will vote on election day...............65%
Don't know...............11%

The poll shows the Republicans with a slight early vote lead, but since there are more registered Democrats than Republicans the whole thing looks virtually equal.   It does clearly show one thing though -- all groups (Republicans, Independents, Democrats) are interested in this election.   The "enthusiasm gap" once held by the Republicans seems to have disappeared.

Meanwhile, here in Texas the early voting totals are still sharply up over the early voting totals for the last off-year election in 2006.   Here are the totals for the 15 most populous counties through 9 of the 12 early voting days.   The percentage of registered voters is in parentheses.

Harris..........295,305 (15.24%)
Dallas..........140,819 (12.29%)
Tarrant..........104,355 (11.14%)
Bexar..........129,860 (14.34%)
Travis..........86,438 (14.30%)
Collin..........55,505 (13.07%)
El Paso..........26,908 (7.09%)
Denton..........41,502 (11.38%)
Fort Bend..........54,741 (17.71%)
Hidalgo..........36,108 (12.18%)
Montgomery..........44,941 (17.98%)
Williamson..........36,330 (15.28%)
Nueces..........22,848 (12.05%)
Galveston..........35,288 (19.30%)
Cameron..........14,725 (8.45%)

Total for 2010..........1,125,673 (13.50%)

Total for 2006..........662,324 (8.14%)

That's a 69.96% rise in early voting in 2010 over 2006 (for the first 9 of 12 voting days).

Can It Be Real ?

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

An Invitation But Not An Honor


Let me make this clear.   I have never voted for a Republican candidate in my entire life -- not on the federal, state or local level.   In fact, when I die I would be proud to have it chiseled on my headstone that I never voted Republican.   I have also never given money to a Republican candidate or the Republican Party.

I have such a dislike for Republicans that when I voted this year (and I have already taken advantage of early voting), I did not vote in several local races because a Republican was running unopposed.   And anyone who has read this blog knows that I seldom (if ever) have anything good to say about Republicans (with the exception of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt) or the Republican Party.

Personally, I believe modern Republicans have done more damage to this country than any foreign adversary could dream of doing (including al-Queda and the Taliban).   So you can imagine my surprise when I got the following invitation:



Please Join VictoryTexas for an Election Night Watch Party!
VictoryTexas 2010 and the Republican Party of Texas invite you to join us for an election night watch party for all our statewide Republican candidates on the ballot.
Honored guests will include:
  • Governor Rick Perry
  • Lt. Governor David Dewhurst
  • Attorney General Greg Abbott
  • Comptroller Susan Combs
  • Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples
  • Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
  • Railroad Commissioner candidate David Porter
  • U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul




                                                      Tuesday, November 2

7:00 p.m. – Midnight

Exotic Game Ranchin Buda [website | map]
3016 F.M. 1327
Brad Dunn and Ellis County
will provide music entertainment throughout the evening



I am on the mailing list of the state Republican Party, so I can blog about any nutty stuff they try to do.   I guess that's all it takes to get an invitation.   I don't think I'll be going to that little get-together (and probably couldn't afford it anyway).   Fortunately, I had already gotten an invitation to the Amarillo Democrats victory party (and if I go anywhere on election night, it will be there).

Pot And Kettle

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Comparing Tax Plans


The Washington Post compares the tax plans of each political party.

Vietnam: Creating A Serious Gender Imbalance


Modern technology, medicine and growing wealth for a country can be wonderful things.   They can lead to a better way of life for all the citizens in that country.   But they can also lead to unforeseen and undesirable consequences, especially when combined with ancient social structures and values.   Vietnam is now finding that out.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is warning that the ratio of male births to female births is quickly  getting out of whack in the country.   The natural ratio in the country is 105 male births for every 100 female births.   But in just the last five years the ratio has grown to 110.6 males for every 100 females, and the problem could escalate even further.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan says this gender imbalance could lead to more than 3 million men being unable to find a wife by the year 2030.   Clearly something must be done to encourage a more stable and sustainable gender balance.   Vietnam has banned fetal sex selection, but passing a law and enforcing that law are two different things.   The practice continues.

The problem has been exacerbated by growing family wealth, which makes families want to have fewer children, and medical technology, which lets families know early in a pregnancy the gender of an unborn fetus.   This gives families the opportunity not only to have fewer children, but to determine the gender of those children (or child).

I know some on the right would just say the answer would be to ban all abortions in the country.   I disagree.   You cannot solve one social problem by creating another.   That would just take away a woman's right to control her own body and result in unwanted and unloved children.   That cannot be the answer.

Western countries also have growing family wealth and the early ability to know the sex of a fetus, and yet those countries are not developing a gender imbalance.   That means that while these may be exacerbating the Vietnamese problem, they are not the cause of it.   What then can be done to solve the problem.

First, the real cause of the problem must be understood, and that cause is not abortion, modern medicine and technology, or growing family wealth.   The root cause is gender inequality.   The simple fact is that men are considered to be more important in the society.   Social custom, law, tradition and even religion combine to give men a superior status in society than women.

Until at least a significant degree of gender equality is achieved in the society at large, prospective parents will opt to have boys over girls.   Like it or not, this is only natural.   Given a choice, wouldn't nearly any parent want their children (especially if they're having only one or two children) to have the best chance to succeed (higher status, legal benefits, societal and religious acceptance, job opportunities, higher pay and promotion opportunities, etc.)?

Other countries in that part of the world have had this problem.   China's gender imbalance was even worse (130 males to 100 females), although it happened over a longer period of time.   They are now restoring a proper gender ratio, done largely through the increase in gender equality in that country (women were given more rights and opportunities).

It is not easy to change centuries of tradition and thinking, but it is the only real solution to the problem of gender imbalance.   The modern world requires a modern way of thinking and living, regardless of where a country is or what kind of traditions they have.   Gender equality is not just the right thing to do, it is imperative for a modern society to exist.   The only alternative is a country with growing problems caused by a growing gender imbalance.

Even in Western countries there are those who whine about "feminism", but they just don't realize the truth.   Gender equality (feminism) is not a bad thing.   In this modern world, it is just common sense.

Just A Costume

Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

Newspaper Circulation Still Dropping


There are those who say that newspapers are dying out, and they might be right.   For years now, the circulation of almost all newspapers has been steadily dropping each year.   Some credit this to television, or the internet with it's multitude of free and instant news sources, or the fact that newspapers are doing less original and in-depth reporting and relying more on news services, or that papers can't instantly respond to breaking stories.   Whatever the cause, the circulation drop is undeniable.

New figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) show that the dropping circulation trend is continuing.   The one bright spot is that the numbers don't seem to be dropping quite as fast as they were for a while.   According to the ABC, the average daily circulation of newspapers dropped by 5% in the six month period ending on September.   The prior six month period had shown a drop of 8.7%.

Out of the largest 25 newspapers in the United States, only two did not drop in circulation.   The Wall Street Journal actually grew by 1.8% and the Dallas Morning News grew by 0.25%.   The other 23 top newspapers dropped in circulation.   Here in Texas, the Houston Chronicle dropped in daily circulation by by 10.5%, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram dropped by 8.2%.

Here are the daily circulation numbers (Sunday circulation will be slightly higher) for the 17 largest Texas newspapers (as of 3/31/10):

Houston Chronicle...............366,578

Dallas Morning News...............260,659

Fort Worth Star-Telegram...............165,252

San Antonio Express-News...............146,230

Austin American-Statesman...............143,760

El Paso Times...............72,251

Corpus Christi Caller-Times...............49,327

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal...............41,062

McAllen Monitor..............40,872

Amarillo Globe-News...............39,674

Waco Tribune-Herald...............33,319

Tyler Morning Telegraph...............31,311

Victoria Advocate...............30,096

Beaumont Enterprise...............28,939

Texarkana Gazette...............27,501

Longview News-Journal...............24,760

Wichita Falls Record-News...............24,697

What Victims ?

Political Cartoon is by Monte Wolverton at caglecartoons.com.

DeLay Finally Goes On Trial


It seems like it's taken forever, but the state of Texas is finally taking corrupt Republican politician Tom DeLay to court.   Back in 2005, DeLay was indicted by a Travis County (Austin) Grand Jury for money laundering and conspiracy.   It was against the law in Texas for corporations to fund political campaigns, so DeLay took corporate donations and funneled them through the Republican National Committee and then returned them to Texas Republican candidates.

The charges led to DeLay's resignation from his leadership position in the House of Representatives in 2006.   Since that time DeLay has been fighting the charges, taking them all the way to Texas' highest court.   A couple of the charges were dismissed, but some serious felonies remain.

After the charges were upheld by Texas courts, DeLay then tried to get the trial moved out of Austin and into his home county of Fort Bend (where he hoped to find some jurors more amenable to him).   That also failed as Judge Pat Priest ruled DeLay would not have a problem getting a fair trial in Austin.

Now it's time for DeLay to pay the piper since all his efforts to put justice off have failed.   Yesterday, jury selection started.   DeLay played fast and loose with the election laws of Texas and thought he was too powerful to be caught and punished.   He was wrong.   He was caught, and hopefully he will now be punished also.

Personally, I think he'll look great in a prison jumpsuit.

Helmet To Helmet Hits

Political Cartoon is by John Darkow in The Columbia Daily Tribune.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

China & The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been a prime mover in the outsourcing of American jobs.   They even held helped the Chinese to hold conferences teaching American corporations how to outsource jobs to that communist country.   They also have spent millions of dollars supporting the Republicans who blocked a bill that would remove tax benefits for outsourcing.   Maybe they should change their name to the Foreign Chamber of Commerce, because they are creating jobs in foreign countries by helping to export good American jobs.   The picture above was found on the blog What Would Jack Do?.

Why Do Republicans Hate Our Veterans ?


The Republicans love to talk about how patriotic they are and how much they not only support the two wars they got us into, but also how much they support the troops.   Maybe they do, but it has become obvious that when the troops return after serving this country and transition from troop to veteran, the Republican support stops.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a non-partisan group who's only political belief is that America's veterans deserve to be helped by the government they served, has examined how each senator and representative voted on issues important to veterans.   They took these votes and gave each politician a grade on how well they supported America's veterans.   Those "patriotic" Republican politicians didn't grade out too well.

GOT AN "A" OR AN "A+"
Democrats...............91
Republicans...............3

GOT A "D" OR AN "F"
Democrats...............12
Republicans...............142

Those are some pretty pathetic numbers for the Republicans.   It seems that they believe the most important thing is to vote against President Obama -- even when the president is trying to help American veterans.   This is the party of no's patriotic accomplishment -- NOTHING!   If you'd like to know how your own senators and representatives scored on their report card, you can go here.

Here is how the Texas senators and representatives scored.   The number before the representative's name is the district they represent:

SENATORS
Hutchison (R)..........D
Cornyn (R)..........D

REPRESENTATIVES

"A+"
9 - Green (D)

"A"
16 - Reyes (D)
17 - Edwards (D)
23 - Rodrigues (D)

"B"
18 - Jackson Lee (D)
20 - Gonzalez (D)
25 - Doggett (D)
27 - Ortiz (D)
28 - Cuellar (D)

"C"
2 - Poe (R)
4 - Hall (R)
15 - Hinojosa (D)
29 - Green (D)
30 - Johnson (D)

"D"
1 - Gohmert (R)
3 - Johnson (R)
5 - Hensarling (R)
6 - Barton (R)
7 - Culberson (R)
10 - McCaul (R)
11 - Conaway (R)
13 - Thornberry (R)
19 - Neugebauer (R)
21 - Smith (R)
22 - Olson (R)
24 - Marchant (R)
26 - Burgess (R)
31 - Carter (R)
32 - Sessions (R)

"F"
8 - Brady (R)
12 - Granger (R)
14 - Paul (R)

I don't think much more needs to be said.   The current Republican delegations in the Congress should be ashamed of the terrible treatment they have given American veterans.

Most Popular Democrat

Political Cartoon is by Lee Judge in The Kansas City Star.

Hank Comes Back To The Panhandle

Hank Gilbert, Democratic candidate for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, brought his campaign back to Amarillo yesterday.   Gilbert is making one last swing through the Panhandle and West Texas in this final week of the 2010 election season.

This area of Texas desperately needs a decent Agriculture Commissioner.   The people of the Panhandle and West Texas not only need a commissioner that will protect them by making sure food inspections are done properly and gas pump inspections are done in a timely manner (as all Texans do), but they also need an Ag. Commissioner who understands the problems facing farmers and ranchers.

West Texas and the Panhandle produce a huge portion of the state's cotton, wheat and beef cattle.   And the cities out here depend on that farm and ranch income, even the larger cities like Amarillo and Lubbock.   Hank Gilbert understands that, and having made his living in farming and ranching, he also understands the difficulties faced by this area's farmers and ranchers.

I can understand voters wishing to vote their party line in many of the other races on this year's ballot, but the race for Agriculture Commissioner is one where the voters in this area (and other agricultural areas of Texas) need to choose the candidate who understands the problems particular to agriculture.   Hank Gilbert is that candidate.

Gilbert understands that Texas has a budget deficit to deal with in the next biennium, and he has a plan to cut the waste and fat from the Department of Agriculture.   He says the department is top-heavy in Austin, and that is where much of the cutting must be done.   But he also understands there are areas that must not be cut, like the field investigators who are responsible for food safety and gas pump honesty in measurements.

No matter who you choose to vote for in other statewide races, I urge Panhandle and West Texas residents to give serious consideration to voting for Hank Gilbert for Agriculture Commissioner.

The Democratic nominee for District 87 State Representative, Abel Bosquez, was also at the rally trying to round up last-minute votes.   Bill White, Democratic candidate for governor, was scheduled to be at the rally, but cancelled at the last minute for a "very important press conference".   No surprise there.   He's never seemed to consider votes from the Panhandle very important.

In the pictures above:
TOP -- Hank talks with local media as the crowd gathers to hear him.
BOTTOM -- Hank chats with a future Democratic voter.