What about National Parks as an issue in the 2012 elections?

October 16, 2012

National Parks really are a tiny part of the federal budget.  Consequently, they get overlooked, and that could be bad.

How are your Congress and Senate candidates standing on these issues?

Romney’s “energy plan” calls for opening up the National Parks for oil and gas exploration and drilling, even the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania  Bet that’s not mentioned by anyone in the debate tonight.

Which one is your favorite unit of the National Park System?  What’s your favorite family story from visiting the parks?  How are you going to vote in November?

Graphic from the National Parks Conservation Association:

Parks in Jeopardy, 2012, NPCA

From the National Parks Conservation Association

More:


Leaking of GOP ignorance threatens to turn into a flood

August 28, 2012

My GOP friends tried to say that Todd Akin’s odd views on  pregnancy and rape are a brand of stupid unique to him.  ‘Don’t think all Republicans are that ignorant,’ they said.

Hey, I worked with Republicans and in the Republican Party for years.  I know a lot of bright, intelligent Republicans.

Most of them couldn’t get through the door of the  party these days, if they didn’t already have elected or appointed posts.  Many Republidans come well-acquainted with libraries, books, critical thinking  and an appreciation of art and literature, and at least a rudimentary understanding of science — but alas, they and their views are being smothered by the chuckleheads in the party.

When the Akin flap broke, we were all saddened to learn that he had carried some of those odd views for several years, and that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and the entire Texas Republican delegation in the House of Representatives joined with Akin last February to try to change the legal definition of rape to match Akin’s views.  How embarrassing, not just to be caught, but to have done that stuff in the first place.

“Aberration,” the Republicans said.

Pennsylvania GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Tom Smith

Pennsylvania GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Tom Smith told reporters pregnancy from rape is about the same as pregnancy from an out-of-wedlock affair. Photo from Tom Smith campaign

Don’t look now, but that trickle from the dam holding back the stupid swelled to a stream, and it’s threatening to erode the dam and unleash all the stupid behind it.

I refer you to the odd and disgusting case of Pennsylvania Republican Tom Smith, the GOP hope to defeat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, reported in the New York Daily News:

Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Tom Smith sparked controversy Monday after he compared a pregnancy resulting from rape to “having a baby out-of-wedlock” – days after Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) shocked many by claiming that “legitimate rape” doesn’t lead to pregnancy.

Smith tried to distance himself from Akin’s comments at the Pennsylvania Press Club in Harrisburg, saying that the congressman “should have never said anything like that,” the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported.

But when a reporter asked him what he would do if one of his daughters or granddaughters became pregnant as a result of rape, he said that he had “lived something similar to that with [his] own family,” referring to his daughter’s “out-of-wedlock” pregnancy from consensual sex.

“She chose life, and I commend her for that,” Smith said. “She knew my views but fortunately for me … she chose the way I thought. Now don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t rape.”

When pressed by another reporter, the 66-year-old reiterated the comparison of his daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy to becoming pregnant from rape.

“Put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, it is similar,” he said.

Smith, who is running against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in November, later clarified his statements at the same event.

“No … I said I went through a situation [with a daughter]. It’s very, very difficult,” Smith said. “But do I condone rape? Absolutely not. But do I propose life, yes I do. I’m pro-life, period.”

Steve Forbes endorses the odd Tom Smith

Steve Forbes endorses Tom Smith? The scary question is whether Forbes bothered to learn Smith’s views, or did he perhaps endorse Smith knowing about Smith’s odd views, and hoping Smith would push them in Washngton? Smith campaign image.

One might wonder if the real reason the GOP cut their convention short was to prevent more leaks of the truth about their candidates views and odd positions on issues.  Cutbacks in news departments and the shrinking news holes in most newspapers could be partly to blame for these late-breaking stories of stupid.  Generally news stories expose gross ignorance and patent stupidity in primary campaigns, and voters of the parties vote away candidates who hold extreme, bizarre, dangerous or silly views.  News organizations don’t have the staff to expose these things early, and they get exposed late only on a catch-as-catch-can basis.

But there is a very real danger that some people with money are pushing these candidates because of their odd views.  In Texas, Tea Party courtesan Ted Cruz defeated a well-known candidate for the U.S. Senate nomination, and part of his appeal may be his odd views that the United Nations is trying to seize U.S. golf courses.  Democrat Paul Sadler faces an uphill battle even in Texas where Cruz’s friends in oil pipelines are seizing private farm and ranch land.  Cruz claims to fight against an imaginary problem, but he lets the real problems roll right over Texans.

A wise voter without a lot of time to study in depth the views of candidates might be compelled to vote Democratic straight tickets as the safest thing to do, even with a few odd views among Democrats.

How many more?   How many other odd, divorced-from-reality views have residence in the penthouses of the Republican mansion?  Waiting for one more shoe to drop would be bad enough — ignorance in the GOP seems to be a centipede with dozens of shoes.

More:


Desperate Republicans? Recycling four-year-old PhotoShop hoaxes . . .

July 31, 2012

 

This is an encore post, from August of 2008.  We need to recall, an issue early in the Democratic primaries was ‘who would you want on the Hotline at 2:00 a.m.’  Sometime before the end of the primaries, a jokester mashed up a photo of candidate Barack Obama, changed the line on the phone handpiece, and added a clock at 3:00 a.m. on the wall. 

Republicans picked up on the photo, and thinking it a real photo, shipped it around during the general campaign.  It was a hoax then, and it still is.  I found it today on Facebook, and found people defending the hoax photo as real.  Oy, it will be that kind of election as Republicans get more desperate and more crude.  The encore post:

Dennis at Thinking in a Marrow Bone — not an Obama supporter, mind you — posted a conversation he had with a guy who posted a hoaxed photo of Barack Obama, purporting to show him holding a landline telephone upside down.

This is the hoax photo

The real photograph. Notice there is no clock on the wall, and the phone works properly. By the way, the suit fits, too — Obama’s a very tall man, and that’s what a well-fitting suit looks like on a tall man sitting in a low chair.

 

Dennis called him on the hoax. After a few rounds of weak defense, and then moral waffling of significant proportion, the hoaxer deleted the comments from his blog. Dennis preserved the conversation at TMB.

Moral of the story: Don’t believe much of what you hear or see, without corroboration. If a claim casts aspersions on someone, and comes on the internet, check it out before granting credence. Thanks to Dennis, an honest guy, for exposing the hoax and preserving the record of it.

Hoaxers are malicious and will do almost anything to damage Obama, even if it requires bringing down the U.S. and burning the flag. No wonder George Washington wanted out of this sort of politics.

Question: What’s the deal with the clock in the doctored photo? [Oh – it says “3:00 o’clock”]

Honor roll: Bloggers and others who exposed the hoax:

Dishonor roll, the Little List, bloggers who tried to perpetrate and perpetuate the hoax, or who got suckered themselves:

Special Consideration:

 


Oh, say, can Republicans see?

December 18, 2011

Old Jules was referring to something else, a serious enough issue on its own, and not necessarily the lack of vision among Republican presidential candidates.

But it fits from time to time:

Zero Visibility, a warning sign - photo by Old Jules, perhaps

Zero Visibility, a warning sign - photo by Old Jules, perhaps

Bill Cosby once asked if anyone else had the same chill of fear he gets when the lights start to go down at the theater:  Are the lights getting dim, or are you going blind?

Is there zero visibility, or are our eyes shut tightly?  Can the candidates see what it takes to get us out of this olio, this olla podrida of messes, or is there too much fog, or are they just not looking?  Worse, is it dark AND they are not looking?

What say you?


A president who knows what he’s doing

December 23, 2010

Barack Obama, photo collage by Charis Tsevis, copyright 2008

Barack Obama, photo collage by Charis Tsevis, copyright 2008

Gail Collins, in the New York Times:

Good work, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Unlike your hapless predecessor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, you’ve had legislation shooting off to the White House like angry birds in that video game. Unemployment compensation! Gay rights! Food safety! Judicial appointments! Arms control! Health care for 9/11 responders!

But let’s admit it. Nothing would have gotten done if Obama hadn’t swallowed that loathsome compromise on tax cuts for the wealthy.

If he’d taken the high road, Congress would be in a holiday war. The long-term unemployed would be staggering into the new year without benefits. The rest of the world would look upon the United States as a country so dysfunctional that it can’t even ratify a treaty to help keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. The people who worked at ground zero would still be uncertain about their future, and our gay and lesbian soldiers would still be living in fear.

It’s depressing to think that there was no way to win that would not have involved giving away billions of dollars to people who don’t need it. But it’s kind of cheery to think we have a president who actually does know what he’s doing.

Merry Christmas!  Ho! Ho! Ho!

What a difference a few weeks makes.


November 2: Remember to vote. Remember

November 2, 2010


Rick Perry is the new Corrupt Bargain

November 1, 2010

The fiercely independent Democratic Blog of Collin County compiled a series of Burnt Orange Report posts that make the case that Rick Perry should be retired from the governorship, at a bare minimum.

Will voters wake up before Tuesday, and do the right thing?

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption

From the BOR:

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Texas’ Dropout Crisis

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Texas Forensic Science Commission

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Ethics Complaints

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Emerging Technology Fund

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Political Appointees

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Secret Schedules

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: The $500,000 Land Deal

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Texas Youth Commission

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Teacher Retirement System

Rick Perry to Launch National Book Tour, Won’t Commit to Full Term as Governor

Bonus points if you know off the top of your head where “corrupt bargain” plays in U.S. political history.


Bill White for Governor of Texas

October 30, 2010

Even the conservative, often stuck-in-the-mud Dallas Morning News endorsed Bill White to take the governor’s chair.  Texas needs people to be smart about this race.

Bill White with Texas guys

Bill White with Texas guys - KVRX photo

According to the DMN editorial on October 16:

Record of pragmatism

Democrat Bill White is better-suited to steer this ship of state through the challenges ahead.

The former mayor of Houston is a fiscal conservative with a progressive bent. He’s more pragmatic than partisan. He’s proven himself competent in business and in public office. Indeed, he’s a bit of a throwback – in the best Texas tradition of the businessman governor.

We don’t make this recommendation lightly. This newspaper has a long history of recommending Rick Perry for office against Democrats ­ from agriculture commissioner to the governor’s office. But Texas requires a different kind of leadership at this important juncture.

Bill White is an entrepreneur and an energy expert who succeeded in the private sector before branching out into public service. White, 56, has no use for Perry’s swashbuckling, coyote-shooting style. The Democratic candidate is meticulous and analytical, hesitant to overpromise but determined to solve Texas’ most pressing problems.

As Houston’s mayor, White proved himself to be adept at balancing budgets, managing to cut property tax rates repeatedly. He drew national acclaim for his leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

And White laid waste to the idea that environmentally friendly policies inevitably were bad for business – a myth that Perry perpetuates as he fights to maintain Texas’ right to pollute with impunity. In Houston, White struck a careful balance, proving that a city could go green and still be open for business.

As governor, White would be well-positioned to deliver in areas where Perry has fallen short.

For example, Texas’ transportation infrastructure needs are daunting and urgent. Yet Perry seems to be stumped when it comes to offering workable funding options for building roads. The governor’s go-to move is to blame Washington – and he does, for not sending more money. That’s a fine lament, but it won’t pay for any new lane miles.

White recognizes the need for new revenue sources and supports allowing counties to call elections to raise funds for transportation projects. This local-option approach has the support of North Texas transportation leaders but would stand a better chance in the Legislature with the backing of the governor.

The editorial took nearly a half-page of the newspaper — read the whole thing.

Texans, mark your ballot for Bill White (if you haven’t already).


Reason enough to vote Bill White, Texas Governor: Robert Earl Keen fan

October 22, 2010

Every major newspaper in Texas endorsed Bill White for governor, over incumbent Republican Rick Perry.  For the rest of us, Robert Earl Keen’s endorsement should be reason enough, no?

 

Robert Earl Keen and a Texas highway - Keen endorsed Bill White for governor of Texas

Robert Earl Keen, in this publicity photo standing on a Texas highway, endorsed Bill White for Governor of Texas -- no doubt to keep the Texas road going on forever.

GO VOTE!

Release from Bill White’s campaign:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bill White bands together with Robert Earl Keen

White, Keen ask students to vote for Bill White

DENTON — On Friday, Bill White and Robert Earl Keen, legendary Texan singer and songwriter, will roll into Denton, Nacogdoches, College Station and San Marcos for special early vote concerts. The concerts are free and open to the public on a first come basis.

To see a list of where the concerts will be, visit: http://www.billwhitefortexas.com/blog/001712.php

“College students have a huge stake in the governor’s race,” Garry Jones, Students for Bill White Director, said. “For many of us, Rick Perry is the only governor that we’ve ever known, and we don’t like what we’ve seen. College tuition rates have jumped by 93 percent under Perry’s reign, and we understand that our teachers are being forced to teach us how to take multiple choice tests and not prepare us for college or careers.”

“Texas students are lucky that we have a candidate who will put our needs first,” continued Jones. “Someone who will be more concerned with fighting for our future here in Texas than battling the federal government to raise a national profile. That candidate is Bill White!”

Robert Earl Keen is one of Texas A&M’s most famous graduates. Last weekend, the Bryan-College Station Eagle, endorsed Bill White. The editorial board wrote:

“[W]hy any loyal Aggie would vote for Rick Perry is beyond us . . .  Ten years of Rick Perry as governor are more than enough. It is time for a change and Bill White is that change. He is a strong fiscal conservative who proved as mayor of Houston that it is possible to do more with less. We’ve had the less. Now it is time for the more.”

Early voting started Oct. 18 and continues through Friday, Oct. 29. To find a polling location near you, visit http://www.billwhitefortexas.com/ev/

###


Republican proposal: Double the deficits!

October 22, 2010

What’s worse that “double or nothing?”

Republican tax-cut proposals would double our deficits, some conservative sources report.

Robert Schesinger, in U.S. News and World Report:

In fact the GOP’s deficit-detonating tax-cut proposals make the Democrats with their spending look like pikers. The stimulus bill, remember, cost $787 billion. The tax-cut bill that Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled last week—a combination of making permanent the Bush tax cuts and throwing in a host of other tax credits—has a price tag of around $3.9 trillion. For those keeping score at home, the self-styled party of fiscal responsibility wants to blow a hole in the budget nearly five times larger than the alleged profligacy they have spent the last year or more condemning.

Who is listening to the facts anymore?


Are we mice, or fully-functioning human brains?

September 21, 2010

I’m still smiling about Ed Brayton’s post at Dispatches from the Culture Wars — here in its entirety:

From the utterly delusional Christine O’Donnell [Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Delaware], said on the Bill O’Reilly show in 2007:

“They are — they are doing that here in the United States. American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.”

Which gives those hypothetical mice a sizable leg up on O’Donnell.


Everybody works harder than Rick Perry

September 19, 2010

Bill White is rising in the polls, and, according to some watchers, has a good chance to unseat Texas Gov. Rick Perry, seeking an unprecedented fourth term in office (he succeeded George W. Bush when Bush won the presidency).

Perry is scared, as illustrated by his chickening out of debates (he said that he wouldn’t debate White unless white released tax returns dating back nearly two decades, more than Perry has by a long stretch; plus, the period covered includes White’s service in the federal government, which required an annual report of financial information more detailed than tax returns).

White’s been combing Perry’s record to document where he and Perry differ — and in the doing, White’s team discovered that the official records from the governor’s office show he puts in fewer than ten hours of work a week.

If just half the Texans who put in more work hours than Rick Perry were to vote for White, White would win in a landlside.

At a minimum, it makes for an interesting political ad.


“Here’s to the troublemakers”: Labor Day letter from Linda Chavez-Thompson, candidate for Lt. Gov.

September 6, 2010

Worrying about education on Labor Day, with good reason — I get e-mail from the woman who would make a great lieutenant governor in Texas:

Queridos Amigos,

As you light up the grill and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation with family and friends, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on a question I like to ask myself every Labor Day. 


What kind of trouble am I willing to cause?

We forget how indebted we are to a brave group of forgotten heroes, all of who were labeled troublemakers in their day.  They bucked the status quo, stepping out of line to stand up for the dignity of every human being. Their bravery was often met with a baton, or the butt of a pistol, but they showed that the human spirit can not be silenced.

Their names seldom make the history books, but we owe these troublemakers for many of the blessings we take for granted today —including the 40-hour work week, a minimum wage, vacations, and child labor laws.

So what are we willing to step out of line for?

This past Saturday a group of over 30 volunteers joined my campaign team to go door-to-door in Brownsville, Texas.  I want to send a special thanks to County Commissioners John Wood and Sophia Benavides, as well as Jared Hockema, the Vice Chair of the Cameron County Democratic Party for helping inspire the crowd.

Stirring up their own brand of trouble, they got South Texas parents to sign the “Linda Chavez Thompson Today, Tomorrow and November 2nd Pledge” — pledging to do more to help kids succeed in school, to stand up for candidates who support education, and pledging to show up a the polls on November 2nd.

Today millions of jobs are being created in science, technology, engineering and math.  But instead of investing in education so our kids can compete for these jobs, Rick Perry and David Dewhurst and have led the Texas economy to the greatest share of minimum wage jobs.

We can do better. And in real conversations in Brownsville, Texas, parents and grandparents told us time and again they want more for their kids.

Labor Day is here folks.  Enjoy your time with family today.  Give thanks for all your blessings.  And then get ready to step out of line and challenge the status quo.

Here’s to the troublemakers,

Linda Chavez-Thompson

Teachers make great trouble, as everyone knows — which is why Socrates was condemned to death, why Booker T. Washington is so feared, and why the world’s greatest democrats always support education — like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson, to mention a few education-supporting presidents.

Strike a blow against ignorance:  Give a few bucks to Chavez-Thompson’s campaign, or sign up to help out if you live in Texas.


Republicans in trouble in Texas

August 18, 2010

Four years ago, while few were watching, Democrats took every county post in Dallas County, Texas, previously a bastion of Republican votes.  Not even normally-Democratic-leaning Harris County (Houston, nor Bexar County (San Antonio), went so blue.

In Corpus Christi in July, Democrats were wowed by a slate of powerful state-wide off candidates — Bill White, very successful, pro-business Mayor of Houston nominated for governor, a firebrand of a woman named Linda Chavez-Thompson to make Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst sweat and run from debates, and Hector Uribe for Texas Land Commissioner, and others. White is leading Gov. Rick Perry in fundraising.

The rest of the state is waking up, too.  A blog at the Austin American-Statesman looked around the ethical challenges to Texas Republicans, and figured out that the Texas House of Representatives could very well go Democratic.

Lots to get to today as [Joe] Driver takes a hit, we learn more about the state’s budget problems and thousands of prison workers could be out of work.

While the split between 77 Republicans and 73 Democrats in the Texas House is close enough that there has always been a legitimate battle for partisan control in 2010, most objective observers have long said Republicans are likely to keep a House majority heading into next year. For one thing, it’s a Republican year, and for another, GOP groups seem better-organized and better-funded than usual, and for another, we already know of one seat (Wichita Falls) that is likely to switch from Democrat to Republican because of an incumbent’s retirement.

Well, this thing just got more interesting.

Jay Root of the Associated Press reports in this morning’s papers that Rep. Joe Driver, an 18-year-legislator, has been getting reimbursements from the state for legislative-related travel and other expenses paid by his campaign, to the tune of $17,431.

From Root’s story: “A north Texas state representative who rails against the evils of runaway government spending admitted Monday that he has pocketed thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for travel expenses that his campaign had already funded. Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, faced with findings from an investigation by The Associated Press, acknowledged in an interview that for years he has been submitting the same receipts — for luxury hotels, airline tickets, meals, fees and incidentals — to both his campaign and to the Texas House of Representatives. He has also been collecting thousands of dollars in state mileage reimbursements for travel in vehicles for which his campaign has shelled out more than $100,000 since 2000. The AP’s review of hundreds of pages of state and campaign travel records found that Driver double-billed for at least $17,431.55 in travel expenses, much of it at fancy out-of-state hotels, since 2005. The number could go higher, but House travel records before mid-2005 have already been destroyed. Driver has been in office for 18 years. The double-billing figure does not include the vehicle expenses.”

What’s almost as amazing as the story itself is Driver’s reaction to the findings. His initial effort at damage control made Linda Harper-Brown look like Karen Hughes.

“Now you’re scaring the heck out of me,” Driver told the AP, adding: “It pretty well screws my week.”

Ya think?

Later in the story, Driver says, “If I knew it was wrong, I wouldn’t have done it that way. I wouldn’t have done it just to make money.”

In Driver’s defense, he did warn us that he wasn’t a numbers guy.

Driver’s campaign actually did put out a real defense Monday night. Here it is, in its entirety:

“After reviewing the facts with ethics specialists in the Texas House it is clear that an inadvertent mistake was made in my campaign expenses.”

Republicans grow desperate.  Stay tuned to Texas, and send money to Democrats if you can.

Here’s Hector Uribe at the State Democratic Convention:


Ben Quayle: Worst Congressional candidate in recent history

August 12, 2010

Dan Quayle’s son, Ben, has raised obnoxiousness and rudeness to new heights (that’s “rudity” or “rudiferousness” to Palinistas).

Quayle the Lesser is running for Congress in Arizona, the state where his family owned a huge interest in the state’s main newspaper, and the state where his father, Dan, said he learned all about California while spending time with family in Arizona growing up.  (Logic?  You wanted logic?)

And he’s put out this ad.

I’ll wager the ad gets more play on the internet than on television.

Sounds like Quayle is really, really desperate. Do the polls show him down that much? It’s a 10-way race for the Republican nomination, with the primary election on August 24.

Quayle has other embarrassments already in the campaign, including a campaign flyer that showed him playing with two little girls, when he was married just this past April (the girls turned out to be his nieces), and a connection to an off-color website regarding Scottsdale.

Years ago Esquire magazine named Sen. Bill Scott, R-Virginia, the “stupidest” senator on Capitol Hill.  Scott called a press conference to deny it.  The first question he was asked:  “If  you’re not the stupidest senator, who is?”

Even though his campaign website is a clear ripoff of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign site, Ben Quayle may have answered the question, “Who is the worst candidate for Congress this year?”

More (update):


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