Sunday, January 17, 2010

Loyalty.

The first rule one must understand when running for office is to know your constituency. Martha Coakley called and insisted that Curt Shilling was a a Yankees fan. One has to understand that the state of Massachusetts takes their Red Socks very seriously and that Curt Shilling has earned a place of honor higher than any any Governor or other politician. To the folks of Massachusetts this is the same scale of blunder as calling George Washington a Marxist. No, it's even worse than that. Washington never gave Boston a World Series.

Coakley to the delight of conservatives everywhere can't resist opening her mouth on things she is clueless about She is kinda like Houston's Sheila Jackson Lee.

Curt responded on his blog.
But never, and I mean never, could anyone ever make the mistake of calling me a Yankee fan. Well, check that, if you didn’t know what the hell is going
on in your own state maybe you could….

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Google, putting Itself on The Line

We have been harsh on Google for giving in to China's censorious ways. Google is proving to have charactor and Google is stepping up to the plate in the name of freedom.
Google Inc. will stop censoring its search results in China and may pull out of the country completely after discovering that computer hackers had tricked human-rights activists into exposing their e-mail accounts to outsiders.

The change of heart announced Tuesday heralds a major shift for the Internet's search leader, which has repeatedly said it will obey Chinese laws requiring some politically and socially sensitive issues to be blocked from search results available in other countries. The acquiescence had outraged free-speech advocates and even some shareholders, who argued Google's cooperation with China violated the company's ''don't be evil'' motto.

The criticism had started to sway Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who openly expressed his misgivings about the company's presence in China.

But the tipping point didn't come until Google recently uncovered hacking attacks launched from within China. The apparent goals: breaking into the computers of at least 20 major U.S. companies and gathering personal information about dozens of human rights activists trying to shine a light on China's alleged abuses.

We congratulate Google for doing the right thing, and present a tip of the hat to Sodahead who lays out a clear explanation of what this all really means.

What’s more, the AP story cites a Google blog post stating that the company “is no longer willing to continue censoring our [search] results.” This would mark a dramatic about face from Google’s previous policy of complying with the Chinese government’s insistence that they omit certain objectionable search results.

Finally, it seems, a corporation has learned a much needed lesson from doing business in China: playing by the “law of the land” isn’t always a guarantee of safe passage. Google thought that by being above-board in accommodating China’s “Great Firewall” it would be spared clandestine observation and manipulation by China’s Brobdingnagian internet censorship regime.

What this shows us is that no amount of appeasement is enough to satisfy the paranoia of China’s Internet Mandarins. Google’s getting burned so pointedly, and its equally pointed response, will hopefully serve as a rejoinder to corporations around the world that do business over Chinese servers.
Hopefully China backs down and maybe the good people in China will be free to explore what other folks think and believe around the world.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Meeting on the Border.


On Christmas day three of us, My wife Equality, her sister ruok I were near El Pasoo, on our way to Phoenix from our home in Galveston. We veared off I-10 near the intersection of Texas, New Mexico,and Mexico. I wanted a picture of the long fence line seperating two nations. I had seen the fence on an earlier trip to El Paso, the image fascinated me and I wanted to share it with the ladies. 



There is a small shanty town divided by a fence. The Mexican side is not quite as beat up as the American side.  .I noticed a group of people behind me where I took my picture and observed the long fenceline . I don't know what they were doing. I don't know if they were smuggling drugs, or just exchanging Christmas greetings. I do know the fence wasn't keeping any one out. and as far as this group of people were concerned it was only a minor obstacle. We didn't stick around to find out.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Health Care, Whether we want it or not.

The senate presses forward with the new healthcare bill, whether the citizens want it or not. The problem is that no one seems to know what it it is. The whole idea of healthcare reform is supposed to be making it more available to the people. What we are hearing is that it will cause our insurance to go up. That some health care insurance is going to be taxed. If prices are driven up doesn't it make it less accessible?
"Voting 'no' and hiding from the vote are the same result. Those of us on the floor see it. It was clear the three of them who did not cast their yes votes until all 60 Senate votes had been tallied and it was clear that the result was a foregone conclusion. And why? Why all this discord and discourtesy, all this unprecedented destructive action? All to break the momentum of our new young president.
They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
Senators and Reps are being bought off for hundreds of millions. Harry Ried tells us that such deals are a normal and expected way of doing business.
Senate Democrats said the payoffs are nothing unusual, and in fact typical.
"People figaht for their own states. That's the nature of a democracy," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnt., said on "Fox News Sunday," defending Nelson against withering attacks from the GOP.
"This is just part of the normal legislative process," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
As a measure of just how typical they are, a slew of payoffs and concessions have been struck over the past several months.
-- Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., won between $100 million and $300 million in additional federal aid for her state's Medicaid population. The deal, secured before she cast her critical vote in favor of bringing the health bill to the floor, was immediately dubbed the "Louisiana Purchase," though the actual Louisiana Purchase was considerably cheaper.
-- Vermont and Massachusetts got $1.2 billion in Medicaid money -- a change that was described as a correction to the current system which exempts those two states because they have robust health care systems. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also boasted Saturday that he requested and won an investment worth between $10 and $14 billion for community health centers.
Apparently the Democrats find nothing wrong with buying votes. Maybe reid really does stand a chance in 2010, if he can only buy enough votes. Conservatives Republicans and libertarians who dare criticize or question, and not fall in line with the the "Beloved Leaders" are attacked fiercely. As Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) speech on the Senate floor
"Voting 'no' and hiding from the vote are the same result. Those of us on the floor see it. It was clear the three of them who did not cast their yes votes until all 60 Senate votes had been tallied and it was clear that the result was a foregone conclusion. And why? Why all this discord and discourtesy, all this unprecedented destructive action? All to break the momentum of our new young president.
They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
The Bill is projected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Who is going to pay for it? Probably not the Chinese, but even Obama seems to understand this.
"In the long run we can't continue to spend as if deficits don't have consequences, as if waste doesn't matter, as if the hard earned tax dollars of the American people can be treated like monopoly money, that's what we've seen time and time again, Washington has become more concerned about the next election than the next generation."
I wonder why he doesn't suggest to the Senators to give up the bill? Hmmmm ..

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Obama Man Can


Well Done!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Going Galt

Maryland increases income taxes on the rich. The rich leave. Maryland collects fewer taxes on the Rich. Students of Reaganomics an Ayne Rand aren't surprised.

Maryland couldn't balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O'Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were "willing and able to pay their fair share." The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would "grin and bear it."

One year later, nobody's grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates.

Could this happen on a national level?

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Congress Goes After Hostile Bloggers

They would like to toss into the clink for a couple of years any of us who “coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person.” Isn't that the whole idea of those who political blog, or blog on social commentary. Wired expounds:

Proposed congressional legislation would demand up to two years in prison for those whose electronic speech is meant to “coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person.”

Instead of prison, perhaps we should say gulag.

The proposal by Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Los Angeles, would never pass First Amendment muster, unless the U.S. Constitution was altered without us knowing. So Sanchez, and the 14 other lawmakers who signed on to the proposal, are grandstanding to show the public they care about children and are opposed to cyberbullying.

The meaasure, H.R. 1966, is labeled the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act. It’s designed to target the behavior that led to last year’s suicide of the 13-year-old Meier.

Yeah, it was wrong what they did to Megan Mier, but it is traitorous what Linda Sanchez is attempting to do with the first amendment

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Did You Know?

I found this pretty interesting

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

EPA Declares Carbon Dioxide a Health Hazzard

I got a news update from ISA today declaring that CO2 is a danger to public health. Todays Wall Street Journal reports.
According to an internal document presented by the EPA to White House officials earlier this month, the EPA believes the health effects of elevated greenhouse-gas levels could cause "severe heat waves...with likely increases in mortality and morbidity, especially among the elderly, young and frail." The agency also said climate change caused by higher greenhouse-gas levels could result in more severe storms and more suffering related to "floods, storms, droughts and fires."
I suppose this means mortality and morbidity is worse here in Texas than it is in in Nome Alaska this warm weather is must be killing us. Maybe its just me but it seems that most places in the U.S might be a little nicer if it did warm up a bit. Seems like we hear more about killer blizzards and icing plane crashes than we do aboutn killer heat waves. This is all based on a false premise of global warming anyway, Its pretty clear we are currently on the a climactic cooling trend. It does provide the Obamanation an excuse to grab at more Government control and regulation.

The Environmental Protection Agency's new leadership, in a step toward confronting global warming, submitted a finding that will force the White House to decide whether to limit greenhouse gas emissions under the nearly 40-year-old Clean Air Act.

Under that law, EPA's conclusion -- that such emissions are pollutants that endanger the public's health and welfare -- could trigger a broad regulatory process affecting much of the U.S. economy as well as the nation's future environmental trajectory. The agency's finding, which was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget without fanfare on Friday, also reversed one of the Bush administration's landmark decisions on climate change, and it indicated anew that President Obama's appointees will push to address the issue of warming despite the potential political costs.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Squelching of America

Hans A. von Spakovsky a previous commissioner on the Federal Election Commission posts on how the FEC restricts how we might not be as free to speak as we might believe.
You might want to talk to Kirk Shelmerdine, former crew chief for Dale Earnhardt, who races in NASCAR as a field-filler. In 2004 he couldn’t sell advertising on one panel of his car, so he committed the terrible federal crime of putting a Bush/Cheney decal on it. Horror of horrors — he did not report the “value” of that decal to the FEC, thus violating the independent expenditure reporting requirement. After an extensive investigation, the FEC got into a convoluted internal argument about what the value of that decal placement was, i.e., how much would Mr. Shelmerdine have to pay himself to purchase the unsold advertising space on his own car and how much was that worth in the various races he participated in.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In the town of Marlboro Massachusetts Victor Deeb has has his home raided.
Victor Deeb, a retired chemist who lives in Marlboro, has finally been allowed to return to his Fremont Street home, after Massachusetts authorities spent three days ransacking his basement lab and making off with its contents.

Deeb is not accused of making methamphetamine or other illegal drugs. He's not accused of aiding terrorists, synthesizing explosives, nor even of making illegal fireworks. Deeb fell afoul of the Massachusetts authorities for ... doing experiments.

Authorities concede that the chemicals found in Deeb's basement lab were no more hazardous than typical household cleaning products. Despite that, authorities confiscated "all potentially hazardous chemicals" (which is to say the chemicals in Deeb's lab) from his home, and called in a hazardous waste cleanup company to test the chemicals and clean up the lab.

Are there any property rights left any more? Where does ones right to privacy start and the neighborhood nannyness end. From the Worcestor Telegram reports:

Pamela A. Wilderman, Marlboro’s code enforcement officer, said Mr. Deeb was doing scientific research and development in a residential area, which is a violation of zoning laws.

“It is a residential home in a residential neighborhood,” she said. “This is Mr. Deeb’s hobby. He’s still got bunches of ideas. I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation. … There are regulations about how much you’re supposed to have, how it’s detained, how it’s disposed of.

Mr. Deeb’s home lab likely violated the regulations of many state and local departments, although officials have not yet announced any penalties.
Emphasis of the money quote is mine. Apparently they aren't quit sure about rules or laws Mr. Deeb broke, but their must be some. I wonder what the zoning cops would have thought about Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell? I wonder where we would be today if these zone cops had been around in the days of Dr. Goddard.

While all this happened in the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts. Heavy handed code enforcement thugs isn't unique to the liberal leftest states. Here in Galveston, Texas I've had my own run in with the Galvestons backyard Gestapo.

I have a backyard with a pool. I hate my pool and it requires a lot of work and money to keep it up. I had been pretty busy and had been on the road a lot. So I backslid on the maintainance on the pool and my mowing dutys. The pump was circulating and we were tossing in massive loads of Chlorine every other day. I had a busy body neighbor take ofeence when he stepped up and peeked over the 6 ft stockade fence. A visit and nasty letter followed. Yeah, I compied like the good sheep, and chpped down the weeds got the pool into shape, but I wonder what right does the the City of Galveston have over what goes on in my fenced in Backyard. There was circulation and chlorine so it wasn't a mosquito issue.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

A note from Ireland

We, in Ireland, can't figure out why people are even bothering to hold
an election in the United States.

On one side, you have a pants-wearing lawyer, married to a lawyer who can't keep his pants on, who just lost a long ...and heated primary against a lawyer who goes to the wrong church who is married to yet another lawyer... who doesn't even like the country her husband wants to run.

Now. . . On the other side, you have a nice old war hero whose name starts with the appropriate "Mc" terminology, ...married to a good looking younger woman who owns a beer distributorship.

What in Lords name are ye lads thinking over there in the colonies ???"


He has a point!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Censorship in Memphis

Memphis police have a leak in their department. Someone is blogging about the family department secrets and the department doesn't like it at all.

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and the city of Memphis have filed a lawsuit to learn who operates a blog harshly critical of Godwin and his department.

The lawsuit asks AOL to produce all information related to the identity of an e-mail address linked to MPD Enforcer 2.0, a blog popular with police officers that has been extremely critical of police leadership at 201 Poplar.

These things typically don't turn out to well for the government agencies. The suits give the blogs more attention, and the departments just look like they have something to hide. Perhaps Larry Godwin should have paid attention to the GISD watch fiasco .

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How to be a Winner

John the farmer was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young layers (hens), called "pullets", and ten roosters, whose job it was to fertilize the eggs.

The farmer kept records and any rooster that didn't perform went into the soup pot and was replaced. That took an awful lot of his time, so he bought a set of tiny bells and attached them to his roosters. Each bell had a different tone so John could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing. Now he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report simply by listening to the bells.

The farmer's favorite rooster was old Butch, a very fine specimen he was, too. But on this particular morning John noticed old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all! John went to investigate. The other roosters were chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing. The pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover.

But to Farmer John's amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one. John was so proud of old Butch, he entered him in the Renfrew County Fair and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.

The result. The judges not only awarded old Butch the No Bell Piece Prize but they awarded him the Pulletsurprise as well.

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making: who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention.

Vote carefully this year... The bells are not always audible.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

An Obama Warning

Barak Obama warns us;

Pitching his message to Oregon's environmentally-conscious voters, Obama called on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming, and develop new technologies at home which could be exported to developing countries.

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.

Are we really supposed to care what other nations think about our SUVs? Would he be happier if some can't afford to buy the food they want? Meanwhile he is eating his catered meals in his charter Jet that is set at a proper 72 degrees.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Does Martha Find this Funny?

Anyone want to make a bet that Eliot Spitzer doesn't get any jail time? Yet he insisted that there should be no deals for Martha Stuart.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Obama Flying the Chavez Banner in Houston


I have been thinking that nothing could be worse than the Billerys as President. I've spoke to a few people who were thinking the same. They were of the belief that we know how horrible the Clintons are and that Obama can't possibly be worse. Maybe they are wrong.

The Houston campaign Headquarters is flying high and proud a Cuban Flag with an image of Marxist Revolutionary Che Guevara emboldened upon it.

This isn't the first time Obama has had flag issues. He refused to wear the flag lapel pin, and he refused to salute the flag in another incident. Apparently he has now found a flag that he can respect.

Could this be the type of change he has been talking about?

Update: 2/18/08
The Lone Star Times has more. Pictures and everything.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

There is a Lot of Poking around Going On

Aparently the FBI is interested in some of the goings on in Harris County, The Harris County Sports Authority, and the City Houston itself. Wayne Dolcefino has a report in which he tells of a discussion with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett

Tonight we learn the city hall subpoenas involve Hermes Firm and design work it may have done on a fire training academy. The subpoena also asks about expense records for a trip McGilbra took to Los Angeles. Add to this the ongoing controversy swirling around the District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal and you get why the county judge was waiting for the next shoe to drop. Now it's dropped.

"It's like a spider with eight legs, shoes keep dropping here," Emmett said.

Michael Surface has refused to talk with us for weeks as we've begun to spread our investigation to the sports corporation and the Reliant Stadium. And once again emails are in the mix. The sports corporation lawyer told us Surface deleted emails involving sports corporation business written on his Keystone company computer.

"I think that's probably troublesome," Emmett told us.

We know the feds are examining the deals for the city's emergency dispatch center and at least two Houston fire facilities. But it's the names of the contractors under scrutiny and their millions of dollars in government contracts that may lead to lots of questions in the coming weeks for lots of elected officials.

Now we don't pretend to know where this all is heading, but it certainly has the potential to to be very big.

Tip of the Hat to BlogHouston

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Lessons on Losing Support

One of the basic tenants of politics is that one needs to understand who your core supporters are and to understand why they are supporters.

Chuck Rosenthal got elected as the the Harris District Attorney, he took over as Republican to replace Johnny Holmes. The guy has been a loser by almost anyones account and has alienated anyone who might have supported him in the past.

His most famous case involved 2 gay who were whooping it up yelling and screaming. The cops thought someone was getting killed. So the cops drag them into jail to try to sort it all out. Drop it into Chuck Rosenthals lap. Now Chuck could have just dropped it and hoped that the men involved would have learned a little something about discretion. He could have charged them with disturbing the peace. Maybe a little much but it wou;d drive home a point. But no neither of these choices were good enough for Chucky, he was going to go all the way by pressing a sodomy charge.No one seemed to remember when the last time anyone dragged a sodemy charge in Texas. They hadn't for good reason, it would never stand up to a constitutional test. Chuck so in In 2002, he argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in Lawrence v. Texas that laws against sodomy are constitutional. The Court disagreed with him, holding 6-3 that prosecutions for private sexual conduct violate the United States Constitution. He lost at great expense to the taxpayer. Because he got it tossed out he lost a tool for law enforcement officers. Even though any inteligent Police officer or prosecuter knew the law was bogus and wouldn't hold up, it was often used as a bargaining chip when dealing with rape charges and prosecution. The ACLU discovered Chuck is the enemy, law enforcement agencies got to identify Chuck as some kind of nut.

Chuck seems to have an affinity about going after the black politically connected. He has been accused of contributing to feeding the racially charged flames in Harris. As recorded in Wiki.

Rosenthal started off his term as District Attorney trying to make a name for himself going after various elected officials including Former Police Chief C.O. Bradford and Former Justice of the Peace Mark T. Fury. Most the elected officials Rosenthal investigated where African-American and in response Rosenthal went after Mark T. Fury, a caucasian Justice of the Peace. It has been suggested that Rosenthal went after Fury to ease concerns in the black community that he was a racist.
This didn't help him broaden support. Yet it gets worse.

Harris County is divided are moderate Democrats and and conservative Republicans, most Texans from either party in Harris county will quickly inform outsiders that the the right to bear arms is not only a constitutional right but a god given one. So far might be able to gather support from law and order types, the social conservatives But Chucks still not done with screwin' the Pooch.

In 2005 the Texas State legislature passed HB823, Governor Perry signed it. The law had universal support from the ACLU and gun owners. Rosenthal didn't like it. Grits for Breakfast explains:
With the passage of HB 823 (Keel/Hinojosa) into law September 1, legislators and the National Rifle Association believed they'd finally resolved a longstanding dispute that for years turned thousands of legal gun owners into law enforcement targets. Texas law lets drivers carry a weapon in their car when they're "traveling," but the definition of traveling has never been legally settled.

So the Legislature passed HB 823 creating a "presumption" that the driver is "traveling" unless one of five things is true:
(a) the weapon is in plain view, (b) the defendant is a convicted felon, (c) it's a public, not a personal vehicle, (d) the defendant committed a Class B misdemeanor or worse, or (e) the defendant is a gang-banger. (Conflict alert: I testified at the hearings in both chambers in favor of the bill on behalf of ACLU of Texas.)

The new law seemed pretty straight forward. If the gun is legal, you're not a crook, you're driving your own car, and if the gun is stowed (i.e., you're not driving around with it laying on the passenger seat like an idiot), then you can carry a gun in your car when you're driving. At least, that's what legislators thought they'd passed.

Nearly immediately, though, prosecutors and police began to say they wouldn't enforce the new law, or, rather, would continue to enforce the old one. Harris County DA Chuck Rosenthal led the charge, announcing instructions to officers to continue to make arrests for UCW (unlawfully carrying a weapon just like they always had.
This of course created a lot of confusion in Houston and Harris county. The state passes a law and the man that is elected to enforce these laws is telling his officers to go ahead and ignore the these laws. So he has taken on the ACLU again, Texas Gun owners, and anyone who believes that DAs are to enforce the law, not create them. In 2007 HB1815 was championed by the TSRA and the ACLU was passed by the lege, signed by the Governor. The new law is considered pretty bulletproof but would have been unnecessary if it were not for Chucky's belief that he is above the law.

So Chuck gets himself sued over some allegations that he ordered some one to get beat up. His email gets get made public, and lo and behold he is caught messing around with one of his staff. Whoa is his wife gonna be pissed. The Republican party wasn't to happy either and suggest to Chuck that maybe he should step down. Ole Chucky responds with something like "Hell, you guys ain't never done nothing for me anyway." He upset at least one Precinct chair.

So your argument is that we didn't do much for you in 2000 or 2004. That's funny, I did literature drops for you. I put up signs. I called voters on your behalf. Glad to know that you don't consider that to be significant, s I won't make the mistake of doing it again.

But this also clarifies something quite important. You don't belong don't he GOP primary ballot, and you don't merit the GOP nomination. After all, the leadership of the Harris County GOP has made it clear that the Party does not want you. You have made it clear that you don't need us. That sounds like the grounds for an amicable divorce, which would take the form of you withdrawing from the primary and running as an independent.

So lots take an inventory of who is going to help to help Old Chuck Rosenthal.

  • Democrats: Well they sort of don't like voting for Democrats.
  • Republicans. Whoops He alienated them pretty good by not acknowledging they ever gave a hand. Ungratefulness is not a flattering trait
  • Libertarians, Well there his tendancy to want to write laws his own way.
  • Gun Owners. Now theres a fat chance
  • Law and Order Types. There is that making his laws thing.
  • Gay and Lesbian Community. Whoops not his fanclub.
  • Conservatives. Well there is that family values thing.
  • His Wife. Has she foiund a good lawyer yet?
Truth is exept maybe for a few gullible friends Chucky doesn't have any supporters. Today Chuckie decided to give up the ghost and not run in 2008. The Republicans will anoint another candidate or two for nomination into the primary process. Its going to prove interesting over the next several months.
Update: 1/3/2008
Maybe there is more to Chucky's sudden retreat than we realized.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Alvarado not the Poster Child

Not long ago Carol Alvarado was ensconced in a huge bonus scandal, as Mayor Protem she was handing out illegal payroll bonuses like they were candy.
Houston Mayor Pro Tem Carol Alvarado temporarily stepped down Monday pending the outcome of a grand jury investigation on four of her office employees who were suspended in a bonus scandal, KPRC Local 2 reported. She will remain on City Council.Alvarado's announcement came the same day a report was released that said employees Rosie Hernandez, Florence Watkins, Christopher May and Teresa Orta improperly received more than $130,000 in bonuses in 2005.The Office of Inspector General said its investigation revealed "sufficient evidence to conclude that the four employees, in fact, received incentive bonuses and/or salary increases that were not approved or obtained in accordance with existing city policy and rules." The matter has been referred to the Harris County District Attorney's Office for review."The OIG (found) violations of city law. Those employees violated laws of the city, ordinances of the city, which prohibit employees of the city from using their official position to advantage themselves or others," Houston Mayor Bill White said.
White said that there are actions under way to prevent similar abuses in the future. Administrative functions of the mayor pro tem's office will be reduced, he said.
Typically in Houston City politics, getting caught red handed isn't enough to keep from getting re-elected. This is why cities like Houston have term limits and Alvarado is a poster child on why cities have enacted term limits. Ms Alverado doesn't like it much. While Anne Linehan comments on seems to think Alvarado's legacy and service.

No one can say Ms. Alvarado lacks self-esteem. But she should look on the bright side -- Houston's loss is the state's gain. And she left a lasting mark on Houston, since the mayor pro tem's office will never be the same. That's called a legacy!
...

Unclear is how Ms. Edwards' stances on HPD (increasing manpower = police state!) and the homeless (they should be allowed to bathe in the libraries!) will enhance Houston's quality of life.

Anne also notes a Houston Chronical op-ed piece authored by Ms. Alverado where she whines about losing her job. I've never been a been a big fan of term limits, but the service of Carol Alvarado does present a good example of why they might be a good idea.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Ronnie Earle to Retire

Wonder what Tom DeLay will get him for his retirement gift? He still has a year left to wreak havoc.

Earle’s term has one year remaining, and his resignation will bring to an end to his three-decade reign in which he battled some of the biggest names in Texas politics.

Earle has been criticized by DeLay and other Republicans, who say some of his prosecutions of elected leaders are politically motivated.

"This is a no-brainer for him. He never had any intention of finishing off his revenge on Tom DeLay and is scared to death of being Nifong-ed while still in office,” DeLay spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said in a statement, comparing Earle to the disgraced district attorney in the Duke lacrosse team rape case. "Good riddance to another corrupt DA."

But Earle points out that he prosecutes Democrats as well as Republicans.

DeLay and the Republican fundraisers who were indicted with him are still awaiting trial in Austin.

I'd wager there will be no trial.

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Killing Zones

24-year-old Mathew Murray was feeling persecuted, He was told he didn't have enough of God's love to be a Christian missionary. To prove he had what it takes he decides to go out and take out a few Christians and go out in a blaze of Glory. Maybe he was thinking the church people would be sheep ready to be herded to slaughter. He should be able to march in and mow them down securing his name into history. One brave lady stood in is way and stopped what otherwise could have been a scene of complete carnage. Cal Thomas does a great job of putting this all into perspective.
It is Assam and not the shooter who received — and deserves — most of the media attention and praise. Calm and collected at a news conference, Assam detailed her movements and decision-making after hearing shots in the parking lot outside the church. She was especially attentive to possible danger after learning of the earlier shooting during which two people were killed at the YWAM facility several miles away. After hearing shots in the church parking lot, Assam said she walked about 100 yards through a hallway, hid herself and when Murray walked in, emerged from hiding and confronted him. “I was just asking God, bottom line, this is all you,” she said. “It was so loud. … It was scary. But God was with me. I asked him to be with me. And he never left my side.”

Assam is a former Minneapolis police officer who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon. She said she had been praying about what to do with her life and had volunteered to help with security at the 10,000-member church. She said, “I wasn’t going to wait for him to do other damage. I knew what I had to do.”

Jeanne Assam is a true hero, there are many people alive today because of her clearness of thought and courageous actions. There are some political heros also, those who made it possible for folks like Ms. Assam to legally carry a concealed weapon. There are states where its very difficult for folks like Ms. Assam to legally carry. Some places don't allow carry into a place of worship.

Killers — ones with mental disorders, or terrorists — look for places with large gatherings to amplify their acts. That’s why in recent years they have selected targets ranging from the World Trade Center, to Columbine High School, to shopping malls and now a megachurch. On the rare occasions when an armed person has been on the scene before police arrive, such acts have been stopped before further damage could be done. When no armed person has been present, by the time the police show up the killing is usually over and the gunman has shot himself.

The point is that gun laws will not deter criminals with evil intent and police can’t be everywhere they’re needed. But killers can be stopped by law-abiding citizens with guns. As the Supreme Court considers its ruling on whether the strict gun laws in the District of Columbia are constitutional, it might remember Jeanne Assam and her courageous, proper and for now legal response to a lawless act. Though four were killed at the two locations and several others wounded, many more owe their lives to Assam, who should be the new poster woman for those who wish to preserve the right to keep and bear arms.

Well said, Cal.
Ed Morissey summarized it so well,
After the Virginia Tech shooting, people asked whether a CCL holder could have made a difference once the shooting started. Jeanne Assam answered that question on Sunday.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Not So Quite Hushmail

Maybe we just can't trust anyone anymore. Hushmail has long been considered one the most secure ways of communicating., They even advertise their service as a protection against government surveillance.

In some countries, government sponsored projects have been set up to collect massive amounts of data from the Internet, including emails, and store them away for future analysis. This data collection is done without any search warrant, court order, or subpoena. One example of such a program was the FBI's Carnivore project. By using Hushmail, you can be assured that your data will be protected from that kind of broad government surveillance.

There were some emails the U.S government wanted to look at and it looks like the Hushmail just turned it right over to them. Well, they turned it over to the Canadiens who then turned it over to the American DEA.

Hushmail claims to offer unreadable email as it uses PGP encryption technology and a company specific key management system that it says will ensure only the sender and recipient can read the emails. However it seems the Canadian company has been divulging keys to the American authorities.

The document describes the tracking of an anabolic steroid manufacturer who was being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The document alleges that the majority of those engaged in the trade in anabolic steroids use Hushmail to communicate.

The DEA agents received three CDs of decrypted emails which contained decrypted emails for the targets of the investigation that had been decrypted as part of a mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and Canada.

Thats right, it wasn't about terrorist, or narcotics. It was about steroids. I got to wonder if there is any privacy over the net any more. My real concern though is if whether we've tipped off any Islamic Terrorist that might be using Hushmail. The government showing its hand over something petty like seems silly. It does confirm our belief that the government is more concerned about the war on drugs than they are about the war on folks who are trying to blow us up.

You can't trust anyone anymore.

Update: More details on how they did it can be found on Wired

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Maybe It will all be Worth It..

I claimed we won the the war months ago, The details are in the cleanup. While I don't know if our job will ever be finished there, Its all about progress. The most persuasive proof I've seen is photo posted on the InstaPundit.



Michael Yon emails: "I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John's Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome. A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from 'Chosen' Company 2-12 Cavalry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John's, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope. The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. 'Thank you, thank you,' the people were saying. One man said, 'Thank you for peace.' Another man, a Muslim, said 'All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.' The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

GISD: Lessons on Making a Fool of Themselves

GISD AKA the Galveston Independent School Board has decided to go on the offensive and sue a website over criticisms of its board members and the some of their policies. Yup, thats right, in a blatant disregard of the first amendment, and of Galveston taxpayers rights they are threatening to sue a parents group that dared to question them. The Daily News explains.
Galveston public school trustees on Wednesday authorized the district’s legal firm to take all action necessary to clamp down on what they say is libelous material on parent-run Web site www.gisdwatch.com.

The law firm, run by David Feldman, plans to issue a letter to site administrator Sandra Tetley demanding that she remove all libelous material. If she refuses, Feldman plans to sue her.

The district’s move to sue for defamation is rare and unlawful, said Sandra Baron, executive director of New-York based Media Law Resource Center.

Under the 1964 Supreme Court case New York Times v. Sullivan, government entities cannot sue for libel — any court would toss out the “threatening” suit as being inconsistent with U.S. law, she said.

A school district suing for libel is an intimidation tactic and a waste of taxpayer dollars, Baron said.

“It’s clearly designed to tell citizens of the community: ‘Don’t mess with us. We have the power. Not only do we have the power, we have the tax dollars. And we’re using your dollars to fight your fellow citizens when they say something we don’t really like,’” she said.

“It’s pretty extraordinary to use the power of the state and the resources of the state, that is, the entire tax base, to ... try to bring a libel suit against an individual citizen.”
Its ill advised on several levels. As the Daily News opines
What The Daily News or the school board thinks about the content of gisdwatch.com doesn’t matter. The U.S. Supreme Court has settled the issue of what’s protected, in terms of free speech, under the Constitution.

One of many disturbing things about the school board’s decision to make the legal threat is that it will cost money. This is the signature error of this board.

The recurring error goes like this: Someone — an attorney, administrator or consultant — will offer school board members advice. They will take it at face value. No one ever says: “No, we don’t want to do that because it is a dumb idea. We don’t want to spend public money on something that silly.”
They are wasting taxpayers money on a case they will most surely lose. They are attempting to deny the most fundamental of our first amendment rights. But it is gonna get worse. This suit is about vanity. Yet they are finding out that there will be nothing good to become of this for the district or the members themselves. By drawing the line they invite others into the fray, and surprisingly few will pick their side of the line. Here is how its worked so far.

A small web site criticizes the district.

Suit Threatened.

The local News paper gets critical not a good thing in a one paper town with no other major media. Where do they think the local voters get their information?

Now I'm getting critical, although I'm just a little blog with about a thousand readers a week.

http://www.gisdwatch.com gets more linkages and publicity and more hits. GISDwatch turns on the rhetoric into high gear. The big difference is now even more people get to see it than before. The result is that Lynne Cleveland and the band of H'eight look like a total fools with more negaive publicity than they would have had if they kept the lawyers out.

A week ago about a hundred readers of the a small obscure website believed that
their school district trustees was a vain collection of idiots. The whole Island is pretty much aware of it now. I wonder what they will do for an encore.


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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Paper Trails

We were promised the paperless office, maybe even a paperless society. Our utopian world would leave the trees for the huggers. It sounds good, but humans like the ability to be able to personally hand off and recieve information. To hold it in our hands to peruse over it is somehow comforting. The most important thing about paper is that it is physical. It can be altered annotated and signed, and it can be stored and examined years later without relying on any equipment more sophisticated than a candle or reading lamp.

It looks like Congress is making a move to require a real paper trail for federal elections. Sounds like a good idea.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

An Essay on Federalism

Although i really don't know much yet about Fred Thompson, he does seem to stand a foot or two taller than the rest of the Republican hopefuls. Two thing are clear he does a great essay and he understands the big issues.

The Supreme Court sometimes ignores the written Constitution to reflect its view of the times. So does Congress, which routinely forgets that our checks and balances, the separation of powers and our system of federalism are designed to diffuse power and protect the liberties of our people. Before anything else, folks in Washington ought to be asking first and foremost, “Should government be doing this? And if so, then at what level of government?” But they don’t.

The result has been decades of growth in the size, scope and function of national government. Today’s governance of mandates, pre-emptions, regulations, and federal programs bears little resemblance to the balanced system the Framers intended.

This in no way diminishes the important role played by the national government, including ensuring our national security, and regulating interstate commerce to promote free markets. Indeed, a commitment to federalism would help the federal government do a better job in addressing national emergencies and emerging threats, because it could focus on these issues rather than on everything else it is trying to do. A proper regard for constitutional boundaries would also go a long way in avoiding the arguments that follow when Washington acts by decree, disregarding the elected representatives of the fifty states.

You know better than anyone how involvement from Washington affects nearly every policy, program, and aspect of your jobs. But beyond the nuisance of duplicative state and federal requirements, one might wonder if a division of responsibility between the federal government and the states is still important. The answer must be a resounding yes.

Federalism is not an 18th century notion. Or a 19th century notion. It retains its force as a basic principle in the 21st century, because when federalism is ignored, accountability, innovation, and public confidence in government at all levels suffer.

Read the whole thing. Its a good piece whether you're a supporter or not.

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Melt Down

Everyone agrees that something needs to be done about the illegal immigration issue. The problem is that the folks in Washington don't understand it as we see it. While President Bush claims to be a Texan he is listening to the the Washington policy wonks congress critters instead of core conservatives who put him into office. Does anyone have any doubts anymore about a supposedly Republican that throws his Support behind the likes of Nancy Pellosi and Teddy Kennedy. ( Ever wonder what makes A San Fransisco Congressman and a Cape Cod Senator experts on border security) While Bush ignores advice from Conservative Spokesman) such as Rush Limbaugh, Fred Thompson, Sean Hannity, "Greg from "Rhymes with Right" , and even the two Texas Republican Senators are opposed:

Still, one of Bush's Republican allies in the Senate said momentum is building against immigration legislation. Senator John Cornyn of Texas cited fellow Texan Kay Bailey Hutchinson, as well as Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia as examples of Republicans who might have supported the measure and are now opposed.

``We're beginning to see some of the people that would have ordinarily voted to proceed with the bill to say, `Hey, this process is not fair, it's not transparent,''' Cornyn said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's ``Political Capital with Al Hunt.'' ``The way this bill has come up has caused it some serious problems.''

Greg thinks there is victory in the Bush defeat.

So this time American citizens win and border-jumping immigration criminals -- and the craven politicians who support them -- lose.

Now it is time for some real immigration reform.

Build the fence/wall IMMEDIATELY. Set up a working system to verify legal status of every employee -- if VISA and MasterCard can verify the validity of my credit card in a matter of seconds, the US government should be able to do the same with regard to eligibility to work. Impose meaningful fines upon those who knowingly hire illegals -- and follow up with prison sentences for repeat offenders.

We are still closer to any solution than we were before the bill came up. It is still the same old Status Quo. There are still folks here illegally and our borders are still wide open for any drug smuggler or terrorist to walk across. In the meantime Glenn Reynolds offers some free advice in case the issue comes up again.

My advice for next time:

(1) Make the process open, transparent, and timely, with hearings, drafts on the Internet, and no last-minute bills that no one has read;

(2) Earn people's trust, don't demand it, and treat enforcement like it matters;

(3) Respect people who follow the law, and make legal immigration easier, cheaper, and simpler, rather than the Kafkaesque nightmare it is now;

(4) Don't feel you have to be "comprehensive" -- address the problems you can deal with first. The trust needed to deal with other problems will come later, after you've shown some success and some good faith.


Sounds good to me.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Ron Paul on U-Tube

This clip is pretty popular with the U-tubers. Its primitive but I think it reaches out to the younger set pretty well.
I might be Libertarian, but I'm not endorsing him for Pres.. ... Not yet anyway. He is a little out there on Iraq for me.

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