Archive | October, 2011

Investigative reporting at its best

Letters From Texas Worldwide Headquarters, Twitter Data Mining Division, brings you this tweet from the Texas Tribune:

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Perry, running low on lubricant, may skip future debates

That Rick Perry is such a kidder.

Now he’s blaming his fall from grace on debates. Not how terribly he performs in debates, mind you, but the debates themselves.

Apparently, there is something extra-magical about Rick Perry alone, among the Republican candidates for president, in which there is nothing whatsoever wrong with him, but put him on a stage next to other candidates, moderated by those pesky news people, and suddenly it is as if kryptonite has paralyzed Superman.

Perry is apparently in a problem solve-y kind of mood. He has decided that the key to showing Republican primary voters how he compares to others running for the Republican nomination, is to not show up for future events which are designed to allow voters to compare the candidates running for the Republican nomination.

Only in Rick Perry’s world does this make sense. However, you’re not allowed to ask questions about this, because answering a bunch of questions is way beneath Rick Perry. It’s why he’s no good at debating, and it’s why he seldom hosts a press conference.

In Rick Perry’s world, Rick Perry issues demands. In Rick Perry’s world, Rick Perry does not answer questions.

So his campaign is mulling over skipping future debates. They say he might attend the next one, but will not commit to additional debates after that.

Guess what? Debate organizers almost always have a rule. Candidates who don’t meet some minimum threshold of support in the recent reputable polling aren’t even invited to a debate. That’s why you haven’t seen former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, another Republican Presidential candidate, in recent debates.

Have you seen Perry’s poll numbers recently? If his support falls much farther, whether he likes it or not he may be watching future debates while drinking a brewski in the hotel bar with Gary Johnson.

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Weird campaign videos on parade (updated)

Everybody seems to be ripping on Herman Cain today over a really odd video featuring a guy smoking a cigarette and explaining why he supports Cain. So yeah, the guy’s smoking a cigarette. And he introduces himself as an employee on Cain’s campaign. I’m guessing most of Herman Cain’s staff, and a clear majority of his family, support Herman Cain.

The more I talk about it, the more odd it seems to me, and the more I want to join in the ripping of Herman Cain for the video.

Except that I’d already seen this video for Rick Perry.

Suddenly the Herman Cain “America needs a smoke break” video seems completely normal.

Update: now Colbert’s getting him some.

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Q. How will people know when the Republican Party gets too extreme?

A. when even Pat Robertson says so.

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BREAKING: after meeting with Trump, Perry doesn’t know if Obama’s birth certificate is real

However, also after meeting with Trump, no word on whether Perry thinks Trump’s hair is real.

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Texas progressive blog round-up

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates the start of the early voting period for the 2011 elections as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff has information about the interim redistricting maps that the federal court in San Antonio will be considering.

Letters From Texas discusses Republicans not understanding basic biology, which is why some candidates might not even realize that they’re advocating banning birth control. Much worse, others do understand it.

Several Houston city council candidates earned the coveted PDiddie endorsement. Pick up your progressive voting guide at Brains and Eggs.

As early voting starts for the November constitutional amendment election get started WCNews at Eye On Williamson says Vote No on Prop 4 – the latest transportation scheme.

Libby Shaw says it best in Rick Perry: A Right Wing Wrecking Machine . She compares the degrees of diaster that seperate Perry from Romney. The result is a “how low can you go” contest that America can’t afford, not when one of these mean spirited clowns could be the next American President. See her post at TexasKaos.

Neil at Texas Liberal continues to blog about and to support Occupy Houston and Occupy Wall Street.

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Letters From Texas discusses Republicans not understanding basic biology, which is why some candidates might not even realize why they’re advocating banning birth control. Worse, others do understand it.

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Regarding basic biology, your birth control, and Republican pandering

I’ve wondered about this from time to time, whenever Republicans start pandering to “pro-life” voters. How can candidates make serious public policy which controls women’s lives and affects items ranging from women’s health to the overall economy, based on their favorite campaign slogan, “I believe life begins at conception”?

Rachel Maddow, whom I have a big fat news crush on, and who, so far, has yet to return my many many calls, emails, text messages, notes, cards, flowers, or spray paint on the street in front of her house (Restraining order? Maddow, you are SUCH a kidder – call me!), hit the nail on the head recently on her show. Her focus was Mitt Romney, but she could have focused on just about any Republican who throws the “life begins at conception” slogan around, without those Republicans knowing or caring where that rhetorical logic leads.

Get this, people: politicians who claim to care about your precious little fetus actually care more about controlling your lives, a curious conclusion for the same “conservative” politicians who claim to want to make government inconsequential. If they cared about your fetus, they would also care about it after its actual birth, and would insist on ensuring you have the tools you need to feed it, clothe it, educate it, and keep it healthy. Ironically, those are the things Jesus told us all to do. That would be the same Jesus who never mentioned an opinion either way about aborting it, or keeping the damn thing quiet on airplanes and in restaurants. Yet, those things that Jesus said? They’re are the first things to go when that Republican starts cutting a budget.

Your assumption that Republican politicians’ level of caring about your precious little fetus extends only to your ability to abort it when those little bedroom boo-boos happen? It’s not true. It’s never been true. Your life will be so much more controlled than that.

A few Republican politicians are starting to admit that they’re really after women’s birth control. Most have not admitted it, but that’s the effect of what they say they believe. Maddow explains it such that even that Republican politician should be able to understand:

Texas State Representative Wayne Christian is one of the few Republican politicians to publicly come clean on the issue. His admission:

“Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything, that’s what family planning is supposed to be about,” Christian said.

Christian’s comments were made in the context of the Texas Legislature recently passing legislation, which now-Presidential candidate Rick Perry supported, cutting family planning funding by millions, and requiring women to submit to an invasive sonogram at last 24 hours before an abortion.

Republican candidates for President can pander to the “pro-life” crowd if they want, but they don’t get to re-invent the biological facts associated with their pandering, nor should they continue to be allowed to continue to ignore the stark realities associated with the real life effects of that pandering.

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The most stereotypical Texas crime story ever written…

…is here.

I know, I know. I had many questions too.

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MSNBC analysis: Perry versus Romney cage match

Ed Schultz was kind enough to let me get a chunk of analysis on last night’s debate of 12 year old Republicans. Here’s the segment.

Honestly…the real winner of that exchange? President Obama, hands down.

What did you think of the shameful display by the Republicans last night on the issue of immigration?  Let’s talk in the comments section!

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Presidential campaign update: the clown car continues

Update: I’ll be on MSNBC tonight discussing this very thing. Tune into The Ed Show beginning at 10 Eastern / 9 Central.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared analysis on where I think the Republican Presidential campaign is. Mainly I’ve been too busy laughing at the national pundits who think Rick Perry is toast.

Here’s why, regrettably, he isn’t done yet:

Most importantly, he turned in a decent debate performance last night. And by “decent” I mean he didn’t drool, which is frankly close enough.

Also, while he’s down in the polls now, in the absence of some game-changing scandal, Perry’s poll numbers will soon start to rise. Most of the credit for much of this won’t lie with Perry’s campaign, but rather with the rest of the field.

Mitt Romney is stuck at about 23 percent of likely Republican primary voters. That represents the percentage of hard-core Republicans who aren’t evangelical hard-liners, who are willing to consider voting for a candidate who may be seen as less conservative, especially in terms of his Massachusetts health care plan. In other words, in this day and age, 77 percent of Republican primary voters are hard rightwing whackadoodles who will continue to push the Republican Party and its candidates farther to the right.

The reason Romney is seen as being a front-runner is because his 23 percent is solid. It’s his base, but it’s also his ceiling. Other Republican primary voters are currently dividing their support among the other candidates who, at one time or another, have been or will be the flavor of the week – Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and to a lessor extent, Gingrich.

Therein lies why Perry’s not done – those far-right voters will be forced to take another look at Perry. None of the other candidates has both the money and the organization/network in place to compete against Romney over the long haul. Perry does. The minute Governor Chris Christie and former Governor Sarah Palin announced they were sitting it out this year, Perry’s campaign knew he’d still be in the hunt.

Here are the problems for Perry’s opponents in a nutshell:

Romney is stuck at his 23-ish percent. That’s his base, and that’s his ceiling. He’s a pro-healthcare Mormon, and Republican voters will continue to reject him for each. If that weren’t true, he would have already gotten a big bump after Perry’s fortunes fell, and he got little.

Bachmann is done – she has neither the money nor the organization to be a sustained frontrunner, and has already been permanently rejected by voters as un-electable and somewhat nuts.

Cain’s numbers are looking good currently, but bluntly – and regrettably – I don’t care what Republican primary voters tell pollsters, they will not show up at the polls and vote for an African-American, especially in Southern states. Add that to the fact that he’s about to get the frontrunner treatment, along with its associated scrutiny.

Gingrich is Gingrich. He has enough juice to be a bridesmaid, but not the bride. If he ever achieves frontrunner status, the “family values” crowd will kick in and knock him down. Plus, he’s out of money, and has never had a real campaign.

Everybody else, if they ever reach top tier status, will be in the same situation as Cain or Gingrich – they’ll whither under intense scrutiny, won’t have the money to keep it up, or will otherwise collapse. That’s the most likely outcome for any of them.

So, yeah – bad news, buckeroos: Republican voters have no choice other than to give Perry another look. They may not like what they see, but at least for now, three-quarters of them seem to have an endless capacity for looking at any alternative to the Northeastern rich guy who, by the time his opponents are done swift boating him, will love universal healthcare and hate Jesus.

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FUBAR-Cam update

Seen today in Junction, Texas…

I bet the sign is accurate – otherwise it would clearly be a serious Health Department violation. It also makes me wonder what happens after 9 pm.

Add your suggested caption in the comments section!

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Occupy Wall Street update

Great news: they’ve raised more than $300,000!

Not so great news: I hope their heads don’t explode trying to figure out where to deposit it.

This has been your Occupy Wall Street update.

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Taking God’s name in pain

I’ve always strongly agreed with Voltaire’s theory that God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.  After all, how else would one explain the existence of giraffes, penguins, and East Texans?

It would also be a perfect explanation for the fact that four Republican candidates for President each claim that God told them to run. Against each other. On purpose.

Alternatively, I suspect it may have something to do with those Republicans hearing whatever they want to hear when it comes to God. I also suspect is has a lot to do with those folks being a lot more interested in talking to God, especially when there are people around watching them do it, than they are in listening to God.

I also note with interest that none of them claims God told them to win. God knows it’s not good to over-play a joke.

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Buzz from the TV show

On this week’s Capital Tonight, along with Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg, I was asked whether Rick Perry is really being victimized by national media as Anita Perry claims, and whether Herman Cain’s lead means anything.

Also on this episode of Capital Tonight – more on Perry’s pay-to-play crony capitalism, continuing controversy over the Texas voter photo I.D. law, and details on the lawsuit filed by hundreds of Texas school districts against the state’s public school finance inequities.

You can watch the entire show this Sunday at 11 am on YNN Austin, or any time you want online.

And as always, you can catch us live on Thursday evenings at 6 on YNN Austin, or in other Texas cities on the Texas Channel, channel 888 on Time-Warner systems, and on Time-Warner channel 90 in San Antonio.

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