November 30, 2007

Richardson criticizes Congressional Democrats

And the New Mexico governor and Democratic presidential candidate has a laundry list, items often also noted by folks like progressive bloggers and activists:
Richardson did not go easy on the party, assailing the Democratic-controlled Congress for its failure to accomplish more and calling on the party to win back people’s confidence.

“That begins with proving that we're listening to them,” he said.

“Look at the last twelve months. Not only are we still in Iraq, we still have the failure called No Child Left Behind. We still have 9 million children with no health insurance. We’re still allowing this president to thumb his nose at the Bill of Rights. We’re slipping into a recession," Richardson said. “And we can't even reject an attorney general who refuses to condemn torture.”

You know, it’s pretty hard to argue with any of that.

Richardson also chose the forum with the Democratic National Committee to attack Obama and Clinton for not committing to a full withdrawal from Iraq.

And, he said other candidates aren’t talking about jobs enough. Between that and the recession comments, you can’t argue with him for commenting on economic issues.

Obama repeated his claim to be the Democratic candidate who will rise above partisanship. He either still doesn’t have enough better policy planks, or else Republicans in Congress haven’t beat him about the head enough with 2x4 planks.

Edwards claimed Democrats in Congress have isolated themselves from the people.

Texas science ed director resigns over ID-creationist pressure

Texas’ state science education commissioner, Chris Comer, has resigned in what she calls a forced resignation over her refusal to turn a blind eye to possible evolution and intelligent design politics and spread.
Comer, who held her position for nine years, said she believes evolution politics were behind her ousting.

“None of the other reasons they gave are, in and of themselves, firing offenses,” she said.

The Texas Education Agency put Comer on 30 days’ paid administrative leave in late October, resulting in what she described as a forced resignation.

The move came shortly after Comer forwarded an e-mail announcing a presentation being given by the author of “Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse.” In the book, author Barbara Forrest says creationist politics are behind the movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools. Ms. Comer sent the e-mail to several individuals and a few online communities.

Here’s TEA’s spin:
Comer's e-mail implies endorsement of the speaker and implies that TEA endorses the speaker's position on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral," the officials said.

The officials said that forwarding the e-mail conflicted with Ms. Comer's job responsibilities. The e-mail also violated a directive for her not to communicate with anyone outside the agency regarding the upcoming science curriculum review, officials said in the documents.

The documents show that Lizzette Reynolds, the agency's senior adviser on statewide initiatives, started the push to fire Ms. Comer over the e-mail.

"This is something that the State Board, the Governor's Office and members of the Legislature would be extremely upset to see because it assumes this is a subject that the agency supports," Ms. Reynolds said in an e-mail to Ms. Comer's supervisors.

Ms. Reynolds joined the agency in January and previously worked in the U.S. Department of Education and as a deputy legislative director during President Bush's term as governor.

Note that neither TEA officials nor Reynolds claims to have an e-mail showing Comer officially endorsed Forrest’s book. The idea that it implies endorsement of the speaker may be true in the real world, but the TEA knows it’s not legally provable.

But, that’s small potatoes.

Why WOULDN’T Comer endorse Forrest’s book indeed?

For the TEA and Reynolds to say something is wrong with that leads to the inference they see nothing wrong with creationists trying to foist intelligent design — as already rejected by federal court in Dover, Pa. — as perfectly acceptable.

And, it’s pretty clear that is exactly what they believe.

Big Three to get bribed as part of 35mpg deal

That’s the word on what it’s going to involve to get a 35mpg CAFE bill past Congress. Now, the NYT story doesn’t use the word “bribe,” but here’s the details.
Such a deal would also provide incentives for the three big American manufacturers to continue building small cars in this country, preserving an estimated 17,000 jobs. The United Automobile Workers union and members of Congress from automaking states insisted on that provision as a condition of supporting the broader compromise.

The deal also appears to include mileage credits for so-called flexible-fuel vehicles that can run on a mixture of gasoline in relatively small proportions, and ethanol. It is comparatively inexpensive to convert vehicles to run on ethanol blends, but the fuel is available at a limited number of service stations, so the gasoline savings are expected to be minimal in the next few years.

And, here’s all that’s wrong with that.

First, E85 is a horrible answer to fuel economy. We don’t have nearly enough corn to make that kind of ethanol, the 51-cent a gallon payout for ethanol lines the pockets of ADM and Cargill, and we have no idea of celluolosic ethanol can in any way come close to filling the gap.

Second, the amount of incentives aren’t being spelled out, but you can bet it ain’t cheap. For two decades, the Big Three have resisted making better small cars and otherwise deal with a changing oil future and now, they’re getting rewarded for bad behavior. I was against the Chrysler bailout in 1981 and I’m against this now.

Also, it’s conservatives and Democratic moderates who allegedly are strong capitalists chucking principles for unprincipled protectionism again. (There is principled protectionism, for unfair job competition by countries with no worker safeguards, etc., but, Congress on both sides of the aisle never talks about that seriously, let alone acts.)

Meanwhile, some good provisions are likely to be dropped:
Reaching agreement on that timetable is likely to require Congressional leaders to drop provisions like a mandate that electric utilities nationwide generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources, including wind, solar and hydroelectric power. Utilities lobbied intensively against that requirement.

A House-passed measure to repeal $16 billion in tax breaks for the oil industry is also expected to be scrapped, aides said. President Bush threatened to veto the entire package if the oil and gas tax bill were included.

So, Congress is kowtowing to a threatened Bush veto rather than trying to shame him for blocking “energy security.” And, Congress is also kowtowing to Big Electricity (and Big Coal behind it).

And, our Senatorial Presidential candidates? Well, on the Democratic side, Obama has shown himself to be the worst anti-environmental panderer so far.

Update, Dec. 1: The House passed the revised bill, including ramping up ethanol requirements to 20 billion gals/year AND, even worse, keeping separate CAFE standards for cars and light trucks. I'm disgusted.

November 29, 2007

Annapolis: The 1 1/2 state solution

Let’s be honest. Even if Annapolis did propose to solve anything, the “solution” it offered would be from the U.S.-Israeli point of view. And that point of view is, bluntly, the 1 1/2 state solution.

Now, that phrase, “1 1/2 state solution,” can be understood in one of two ways. The first way would be that Israel doesn’t want a fully independent Palestine for quite some time. That may or may not be the case, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

No, the U.S.-Israeli 1 1/2 state solution is the solution of only recognizing Mahmoud Abbas’ rump Fatah Palestinian government in the West Bank. That’s been the “solution” both countries jumped on ever since Palestinian Hamas won a free parliamentary election in January by a smashing margin.

For years, Likud-based governments in Israel have deliberately puffed up Hamas’ psychological profile in order to make it easier to demonize Palestinians in general. Labor, the times it’s been in coalition, has basically gone along for the ride.

Well, guess what, Likud? That’s now blown up in your face.

George W. Bush has been all about democracy promotion in the Middle East, ignoring clear evidence, such as Algeria’s late 1990s election, that free elections in the Middle East are most likely to elect Islamicist parties.

Well, guess what, W.? That happened in Palestine and it’s now blown up in your face.

But, it’s not just W. Way too many Democrats, let alone Republicans enthralled by end-time prophecies of the Christian Religious Right involving red heifers, temple rebuildings and Jewish conversions, are under thrall of Zionist strains in Israeli politics and Zionist-grounded Jewish-American political action groups such as AIPAC.

Until these shackles are shaken off, Middle East peace conferences are going nowhere.

I’m not excusing past terrorist acts by Hamas, as wingers are wont to claim left-liberal dialogue about Palestine and Israel does. Nor am I excusing Yassir Arafat’s post-Oslo lack of statesmanship. I’m simply stating the fact that anything short of a full two-state solution is bound to fail.

If I were the Platonic philosopher-king at Annapolis

Here’s my solution to the Palestine-Israel section, in several points.

First, a sidebar. Let’s not forget that Jordan, for 19 years, and not Israel, was the first occupier of the West Bank. Problem is, Jordan didn’t want actual Palestinian people after 1948 a whole lot more than Israel did after 1967; it too wanted land first, people second. Anyway, keep that fact of Jordanian occupation tabbed away in a corner of your mind, as it will tie in with one of my talking points.

That said, let’s get down to brass tacks.

A Palestine-Israel peace treaty would be crafted, which would explicitly include all the following to be done:

1. Eliminate the Gaza Strip; it would be a legitimate way of meeting Israeli security concerns. Arab residents would be given five years to decide whether to move to the West Bank, rather, the newly-created country of Palestine, with Israeli compensation, or stay. Obviously, the former Gaza Strip would become part of Israel.

2. Most of the West Bank would be made into the nation of Palestine. Israelis would be given five years to move out freely, without visa restrictions, etc. Where possible and achievable, direct land swaps between Israeli families now in the West Bank and Palestinian families now in Gaza might be done. Palestinian Arabs who wished to remain part of Israel would have that same five-year chance of moving; those who did would be guaranteed a path to Israeli citizenship should they so desire.

3. While most of the West Bank would become Palestine, some adjustment of the border for the best defensive line per geographic and other considerations, especially in the southwest corner of the West Bank, would be done.

4. Re the “right of return,” Palestinian families who lost land in 1947 would be compensated by a pool derived from the following resources: Israel, the United Nations, and all Arab countries who attacked Israel at the time of its birth. (That’s why I said remember Jordanian occupation of the West Bank.) At least half of the cost would fall on the aggressor Arab nations. A U.N. tribunal of representatives of nations who have not participated in the peace process or armed nations involved in Middle East wars would be convened to assess land values of former Palestinian holdings. The physical right of return would be considered to be waived as part of the Israel-Palestine peace treaty; Palestinian refugees could either accept the monetary compensation or reject it, but the physical right of return would be waived no matter what.

5. With minor modifications, Jerusalem would go back to its pre-1967 boundaries. I believe internationalization is impractical.

6. All of the Arab aggressors of 1947 and beyond (see point four) would also be required to be signatories to the treaty, which would include their express recognition of Israel and its right to exist.

7. Regarding nuclear issues, Israel would be required to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would be a de facto admission of its having nuclear weapons.

Business group: CO2 cuts don’t have to be socially pricey

The McKinsey Group, a consulting firm, claims the U.S. can make significant carbon dioxide cuts without major lifestyle changes. McKinsey says increased fuel efficiency in cars, much greater use of fluorescent lights, better heating/air conditioning/appliance efficiency and building insulation, and carbon sequestration will do the trick.

Well, I’m with you on the first three.

Now, will the Big Three, and green-traitor Toyota, stop fighting CAFE standard increases?

Will the federal government pass legislation to phase out incandescent light bulbs and to set appliance efficiency and building standards?

And, will McKinsey find any reputable organization to guarantee that once-sequestered CO2 will remain always-sequestered CO2? That’s why I’m not on board on No. 4.

And, as the article notes, if electric utilities have to pay the costs of sequestration, how will the poor be kept from being the most hurt by electric bill increases?

Iraq good news-bad news department on Sunni “groups”

Our military brass admits it has overcounted Sunni militiamen “concerned local citizens,” to the tune of 77,000 rather than the actual 60,000.

Good news? That’s that many fewer armed Sunni militia forces to possibly inflame Sunni-Shi’a issues, to put it mildly, in the future.

Bad news? That’s 17,000 fewer “concerned local citizens” than the Surge™ previously claimed credit for.

Ehh… the What-a-Gon will probably dismiss it as just another rounding error.

Oh, and don’t “concerned local citizens” sound kind of like “concerned citizens councils” so beloved of folks in places like Trent Lott’s Strom Thurmond-loving political world?

November 28, 2007

Yet more on subprime fallout affecting Dallas and Texas

The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex will lose $4 billion in housing value in 2008, trailing only Los Angeles and New York City and ahead of Chicago.

Especially given that new house costs in Dallas are much lower than on either coast and a fair amount less than in Chicago, this is big news. (On a percentage basis, Dallas’ projected 0.8 percent drop is one-third more than Chicago’s projected 0.6 percent drop.)

Plus, Odessa is on the top-20 cities in proportional value of losses, at a pegged 1.2 percent drop.

Other Texas metro areas projected to take a hit are Laredo at 0.9 percent drop; Killeen-Fort Hood at 0.8 percent; Houston, Midland and Abilene, with a 0.7 percent loss; Austin, Bryan-College Station, San Angelo and Tyler, at 0.6 percent off; El Paso, Amarillo and Corpus Christi, at 0.5 percent off; Brownsville, at 0.4 percent drop; Lubbock, Beaumont-Port Arthur and Waco at 0.3 percent.

So, can we just stop the bullshit from Rick Perry’s mouth on down, and through the Metroplex level, that the subprime crisis isn’t going to affect Texas? It already is, and will do so more next year.

Home sales drop for eighth straight month

Sales volume off 1.2 percent from a year ago; more notably, average price is down 5.1 percent.

Again, that’s pretty much the sound of silence you hear from presidential candidates discussing the economy.

Huckabee is officially big time

How can we tell? The MSM has its first “the whole truth” profile story on him.

First, a general comment on my part. Being a governor is the current favored way to run for the presidency. Unlike in the Senate, you get to claim an executive record, leadership, etc.

Problem is, when you’re a Mike Huckabee and have been guv for more than a decade, you’ve got plenty of flip side record too.

Reducing the sentence of a rapist and getting him out on parole can make you weak in the eyes of “tough on crime” Republicans.

Accepting a number of gifts while in office can taint you amongst the few GOPers who might actually have an ethics backbone.

You also can develop history of flip-flopping, as Huckabee appears to have done in illegal immigration. Of course, he’s not alone. Democrats, in general, haven’t taken a stance on this issue of any strength in the first place, and with the exception of Tom Tancredo, most Republicans have done a mix of flip-flopping and straddling.

Big political money gets even bigger as Wall Street swings Dem

Wall Street is throwing ever more money into campaign contributions, including now having a 57-43 tilt toward Democrats.
In both presidential and congressional contests, Democrats are benefiting more than Republicans from the surge in business donations, with 57 percent of giving from typical big donors going to Democrats versus 43 percent in 2006 and 2004.

More money is coming in from lawyers than from any other sector, as usual. But the biggest increase in giving since 2004 is coming from financiers, whose donations are up 91 percent.

Steep increases are also coming from the real estate industry, Hollywood, healthcare professionals and insurers. …
Wall Street's favorite presidential candidate, based on the latest FEC disclosures from October 29, was Democratic New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Close behind her in donations from financiers were Republican former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Democratic Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

Next were Republican former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Republican Sen. John McCain from Arizona, Democratic former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

The biggest donors in the securities and investment sector, as of October 29, were the brokerage firms Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse.

Also among the sector's top contributors were hedge funds and private equity firms Bain Capital, SAC Capital Advisers, Fortress Investment Group and Blackstone Group.

Chuck Schumer is probably saying, “Bring ’em on” even as we speak. Do you really expect a lot of change out of the next presidential administration? Or the next Democratic Congress?

Democracies in the Middle East

The Schmuck Talk Express™, John McCain, claimed today that Israel is the only freely elected democracy in the Middle East.

Ignoring our puppet state in Iraq, and ignoring the fact that he’s dissing such beloved allies as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Big John is making just a little mistake or two.
Mistake one: Lebanon

Mistake two, which both Republicans and Democrats keep trying to shove under the rug: Palestine. Hate Hamas all you want, they won an election. Oops.

What is all boils down to is that the Bipartisan Foreign Policy Establishment in the U.S. is all in favor of free elections when it elections the people we think it should.

China will cool its economy down — after the Beijing Olympics

But how, without getting the populace mad at a central government who will at that point risk appearing like they’re not doing enough to create new Chinese jobs, etc.? Simple: Blame America. Jim Jubak lists a variety of ways this could be done, such as Chinese bashing of our Fed for moving the wrong way on interest rates, and thereby trying to export inflation.

Hell, Fed bashing is popular enough here; I guess we can export that, amongst the little we have left to export.

Let’s give Kevin Rudd a closer look-over on Kyoto

According to the Guardian, the new Australian prime minister may not be a lot better than his predecessor, John Howard, on the Kyoto treaty in particular and global warming in general.
His claim to be strong on climate change rings hollow when he has promised a subsidy of A$110m to Gunns Ltd, a company intending to build one of the world's biggest pulp mills in Tasmania, which will burn half-a-million tonnes of native forest a year in the monstrosity of its electricity generator alone. Was this Howard's greatest victory: the creation of a Labor party in his own image?

The article also points out that Rudd is not necessarily a lot better than Howard on aboriginal issues, either, amongst other things.

November 26, 2007

How today’s Web journalism world still makes no financial sense

Ted Rall sis right as usual. Double of nothing (doubling your online visitors even as Internet ad rates stay near zero) doesn’t make sense.

And, it’s “liberal” blogs as well as “conservative” traditional media that aren’t getting it.

Wanna blog for Huffington Post? As Rall points out, they’ll pay you plenty of prestige, but zero dollars.

And, as long as you the publicity-hungry blogger make that sucker’s bet, Huff Post, including its charming Dragon First Lady, Ms. Arianna herself, will continue to double down on you. As Rall says, also, try using “prestige” to pay the mortgage or rent.

End result, says Rall:
Print media is dragging content providers into the abyss. First comes downsizing. Writers, cartoonists, and photographers are losing their jobs to peers willing to do the work for less or, in the case of readers invited to submit their comments and images for the thrill of appearing in the local rag, nothing. Then they squeeze those who remain for pay cuts. A cartoon that runs today in Time, Newsweek, USA Today, The New York Times or The Washington Post — the most prestigious and widely disseminated forums in the United States — brings its creator less than The Village Voice would have paid for it in the 1980s. Some print venues offer no payment at all.

What happens if we don’t do anything?
Unless something changes soon, deprofessionalization will further erode journalistic quality. The resulting dumbing down of our politics and culture will accelerate. We can’t get the toothpaste back into the tube. The Internet is here to stay. Unfortunately, the best way to make it more profitable — to stimulate all e-commerce, not just journalism--will require us to give up something dear to our rugged individualist American hearts: the illusion of Internet privacy.

Yes, it is an eye-opener, if disconcerting in a way, to hear Rall, an ardent civil libertarian, say that. But, between spyware that is logging keystrokes on infected computers to ISP providers being leaky sieves to the government even before 9/11, Net privacy, in many ways, went the way of the dodo long ago. Besides, your financial information went even more the way of the dodo even earlier, every time you zipped a debit card at the grocery store.

This is the first of a three-part series by Rall. I’m interested in hearing what he offers in the way of a solution.

November 25, 2007

Could the housing crunch ultimately drop prices 30 percent?

One expert says we should look back to 1925-33 and its similar drop to consider similar radical changes to today’s real estate world. That would include further changes in bankruptcy law, mortgage securities law and more.

Prince Bandar lawyers up — with Louie Freeh

The long-term Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington has taken the former FBI director as his lawyer as the Justice Dept. investigation of British defense giant BAE ramps up . You know it’s serious if Bandar is reaching for that level of legal firepower.

BAE, which had a similar investigation in the UK fizzle out earlier this year under covert political pressure, gets about half its revenue from U.S. subsidiaries. It is accused of paying out Billions with a B of dollars of “lubrication money” to Bandar and other Saudi royals to lock up defense contracts.

The BAE tentacles reach all the way to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Saudi King Abdullah, who didn’t make the first state trip to the UK by a Saudi king in 20 years just to see London fog, or London Fog.

Bandar got $2bil himself, reportedly. That must have paid for an awful lot of sideline space with Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.

The DOJ is investigating under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribes of foreign nationals even if they don’t occur on U.S. soil. Any company with an American connection, such as a listing on an American stock exchange or the use of an American bank account to transfer suspect payments, opens the door for prosecution under the F.C.P.A.

In addition to fines or prison sentences, an FCPA conviction can also bar a company from doing business in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the British High Court has ordered an official investigation into why his government let pursuit of BAE drop. From all that’s spilling out about BAE and its numerous tentacles, it certainly sounds like Bush’s lapdog committed obstruction of justice.

And, in what is indeed poetic justice, albeit delayed, Halliburton is under an FCPA investigation into activities in Nigeria; the timespan of the investigation includes the period when Dick Cheney was CEO.

“Snarl real pretty for the court cameras, Dick. You, too, Tony.”

U.S. now a party of one on Kyoto

W. is now the only Western leader to oppose Kyoto. New Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has reversed course on predecessor John Howard and said he will seek Kyoto ratification from the Australian parliament. I’m all a-twitter awaiting the BushCo spin on this.

Let’s try this one on:

Congress not making Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent will worsen global warming.

Freddo: Damn the revenue losses; full speed flat taxes ahead

Fred Thompson, saying people always overestimate the revenue losses when flat taxes are mentioned, is proposing a two-tier “flat” tax system.
Asked whether the plan would cut too deeply into federal revenues, the former Tennessee senator and actor said experts “always overestimate the losses to the government” when taxes are cut.

“We’ve known for years any time we have lowered taxes and any time we’ve lowered tax rates, we’ve seen growth in the economy,” Thompson said.

Sounds like he’s trying to mix the worst of flat taxes with the worst of the Laffer curve. Good luck with that one, Freddo; if you succeed, you will have trumped previous GOP stupidity on this issue, and that’s not easy to do.

And who’s the we? You, Laffer and the mouse in your pocket? Even many GOPers have stopped drinking that Kool-Aid.

Gov. Helmethair is also Gov. Smogbreath

Texas Gov. Rick Perry just hasn’t met a polluter or a pollutant he doesn’t like, as his handpicked Texas Commission on Environmental Quality tells the federal Environmental Protection Agency not to make the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex clean up its air, specifically its ozone.

Among Gov. Smogbreath’s more ludicrous arguments is that ozone doesn’t put people in the hospital.


Rick, you ever seen a severe asthma attack?

Rick, you wanna admit that a person in D/FW admitted (likely to Parkland) with a severe asthma attack is probably one of hundreds of thousands of children in this state without any, or adequate, medical insurance, another one of those measurement sticks where Texas ranks near the bottom of the nation?

Here’s the actual TCEQ bullshit:
Starting with Ms. White's letter of April 19, the TCEQ has asserted that Texas’ pattern of asthma hospitalizations – peaking in winter, when ozone levels are low – shows that ozone doesn't send asthmatics to emergency rooms. That would contradict many studies that link ozone to hospital visits, and thus undermine the EPA proposal.

The asthma hospitalization pattern, TCEQ officials said, seems to be a uniquely Texan phenomenon, probably due to the state's combination of weather and emissions sources. Ms. White wrote to the EPA that the pattern was “an example of how Texas is different from the rest of the U.S.” and cited it as “indicating that ozone is not a significant contributor to asthma hospitalizations.”

The TCEQ’s Mr. Shanbacher repeated the argument at an EPA hearing in Houston on Sept. 5. TCEQ executive director Glenn Shankle’s formal comments on the EPA plan, dated Oct. 9, also cited it.

This would be laughable if not despicable. Anyway, here’s its detailed refutation:
Actually, the seasonal pattern has been found everywhere it's been studied – “in countries as environmentally, economically, culturally and socially different as Trinidad, Norway, Hong Kong, the United States, and England,” researchers wrote in a 2001 study published in BMC Health Services Research, a peer-reviewed online journal.

The winter-peak pattern is common knowledge among asthma researchers, said Dr. Eric Crighton, the study’s chief author. His paper cited more than a dozen other studies published since 1984 that found the same seasonal trend.

“Rural, urban – if you go to someplace like northern Ontario, where ozone is certainly not a problem, you'll find this same pattern,” said Dr. Crighton, assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of Ottawa. “You go to deserts, to unindustrialized [places] – you name it.”

The immediate cause of most winter asthma hospitalizations, he said, is almost certainly viruses, which spread among children when school starts and are then passed on to their families and others. Asthma hospitalizations match school dates so well, Dr. Crighton said, that it's possible to tell when semesters start by looking at admissions.

The winter asthma peak doesn't exonerate ozone at all, he said, because lung damage from long-term exposure to ozone, even in amounts once thought safe, puts asthmatics more at risk from other threats such as viruses.

Let’s throw a little further refutation from the EPA into the mix:
Dr. Henderson, the head of the EPA's ozone review panel, concurred. The panel members knew about the winter-peak asthma pattern when they called for a dramatically tighter ozone standard, she said.

“They took into consideration seasonal differences and co-pollutants and other confounders of the data,” Dr. Henderson said. “So the panel took those things into account in doing the analysis.”

Meanwhile, Texas Big Biz is all too willing to ride Gov. Smogbreath’s coattails, even as far as verbatim quotes of TCEQ statements in its own comments to the EPA:
Language identical to that in Mr. Schanbacher's September testimony later appeared in letters to the EPA from the Texas Association of Business on Oct. 8 and from the Association of Electric Companies of Texas on Oct. 9.

That includes this whopper:
Mr. Schanbacher said in an interview that he was not aware of a winter peak in asthma hospitalizations being found anywhere else. “I think other states don't keep as good hospital records as Texas,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Grover Norquist/Newt Gingritch talking points are also out in force. Perry and Texas Big Biz want the EPA to consider cost in setting new ozone standards, which is specifically not allowable under the Clean Air Act.

If nothing else, Perry, the state agencies and the Big Biz that dance to his tune have shown they’re as blatant and bald-faced in their lying as Gov. Smogbreath’s predecessor.

Who was that? Some guy who claimed he learned bipartisanship in Austin.

His name almost escapes me, but I can never forget an initial … W.

Rick, can I take you to one of TXI’s cement-production smokestacks in Midlothian, tie you to the top in January, and see how long it will take for you and TCEQ to quit talking about this winter asthma anomaly bullshit?