August 16, 2014

Your #GregAbbott movie text of the week is "Rick Perry"

"Thank" Greg Abbott for interrupting your movie.
I blogged recently, as shown by the photo at left with my Photoshopped image bubble, about Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott's new barf-inducing low of asking people to text him from movies:
In a new twist, Abbott is taking his campaign to the movies. He is running an ad in two dozen movie theaters across the state, playing on every screen a film is being shown. The ad asks moviegoers to text the word “FREEDOM” to the campaign. The effort is aimed at collecting information the campaign can use to identify and boost turnout.
This combines three barf factors of the modern movie-going experience:
1. Ads before movies;
2. Political advertising in general today;
3. People using cellphones at movies.

Anyway, for obvious reasons, your texting-from-the-movies message for Abbott this week is "Rick Perry." An acceptable alternative is "Indictment."

August 15, 2014

#RickPerry — INDICTED!

Time to stop looking a bit less smug, Tricky Ricky.
Besides, at The Response, your prayer for rain
didn't work either. Patrick Michaels/Texas Observer
Update, 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18: Perry has added to his original legal team with heavy hitters, including Ben Ginsberg, legal counsel for Shrub Bush in 2004 and 2008, and the Mittster in 2012.

I had a poll up when Tricky Ricky first got in the gunsights of a Travis County grand jury. Half of voters said that Tricky Ricky would be indicted on at least one felony count on the matter of vetoing money for the state's Public Integrity Unit because Travis DA Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down after her dumb DWI.

Better than that.

Tricky Ricky's been indicted on TWO felony counts. Too bad we don't have perp-walk pictures. That would have made the story complete. (Actual indictment text is here.)

The charges he was potentially facing, per the Texas Observer, included coercion of a public servant, bribery, and abuse of official capacity. And, per the top link, he got one count of each; the first charge is a first-degree felony, the second is a third-degree felony. The first carries a penalty of 10-99 years plus fines, and the other a sentence of 2-10 years.

I had expected that as a possibility at the time of my original post.

Given the amount of money involved with the veto, abuse of official capacity would be a first-degree felony, if the value of the veto is calculated in cash budget $$ since, at $8 million, it's much higher than $200K. On the other two, in the same area of law code, bribery is a felony 2 and coercion is a felony 3. Perry dodged a bribery charge, which arguably could have been made.

That's not the only "money in play," though. The chart at left, via Jobsanger, shows just what crony capitalism is really all about here vis-a-vis the Texas Enterprise Fund.

Think Progress notes the first statute is somewhat vague, especially when combined with the claim Perry was using his normal veto power. That's arguably true in the abstract, but Perry's comments around the time of the veto, his later offer of another job to Lehmberg if she'd step down and other things, all bolster McCrum's case.

How serious is this? Perry even made the New York Times, which notes you're the first Texas governor to be criminally indicted since the infamous Pa Ferguson.

Meanwhile, I guess the Trickster's flaksters were ready for this. The PR email is already out.

Mary Anne Wiley, General Counsel for Gov. Rick Perry, today issued the following statement regarding the decision by the Travis County Grand Jury: 
“The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution. We will continue to aggressively defend the governor's lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail.”
Sure.

Perry's Aug. 16 presser was nothing new. He's trying to pin it all to politics and Rosemary Lehmberg. Not even discussing special prosecutor Michael McCrum.

He's now shifting to "blame Obama" over the "surge" of Ill Eagles, based on a question at the presser. And, that lasted all of less than 10 minutes!

Time for a new poll, about what jail time the Trickster might get.

Actually, I have two — one about what may happen in the legal process, and the other on what he'll face if he's guilty.

Political and other considerations

First, for any non-Texas liberals, at least, worried that this will make Perry a martyr for wingnutism?

Not likely.

Ever since the Trans Texas Corridor, if not before, Tricky Ricky has NOT been a favorite of incipient, then full-bloomed, Tea Party types. His backers have always been big biz Republicans first. The four-way race in the 2006 general election and the Debra Medina challenge in the 2010 GOP primary point to that.

And, (Aug. 20) that's now official.

The Tea Partiers, as I expected and predicted, have little love lost for the Trickster. Read this, from JoAnn Fleming, chair of the Texas Legislature's Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee, starting here:
(W)e can say there is a basis for raising the questions, and it centers on the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). …
 Proper oversight was missing from CPRIT from the very beginning. With Republicans in charge of all statewide offices and both the House and Senate, this lack of oversight can hardly be laid at the feet of Democrats.

Why This Matters: A scathing January 2013 CPRIT audit report released by State Auditor John Keel cited a weak evaluation process for grant applications, poor verification of compliance with funding agreements, and lack of controls on spending. 
Well put. The TP folks are still claiming there's a political angle, but not that it's the primary one.

That said, that leads to a "timetable" issue.

The Trickster has less than five months left in office. Right now, he can try dumping at least some of his legal fees on the state, and all of his PR fees. And he's already dumped us with $40K of legal fees, according to Progress Texas.

(I have contacted Texans for Public Justice, asking if they plan to file another complaint or take other action over this.)

Come next January, that's a different kettle of fish. I don't know if that will push him to make a plea deal this year or not. Likely not.

That also depends on how deep the wallets are of Friends of Rick. He lost a deeply walleted donor last year in Bob Perry. While it's true that the Public Integrity Unit had some eyeballs on both the Trickster's Texas Enterprise Fund and CPRIT, the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, it remains to be seen how much of a rush private sector folks will be to contribute to a Rick Perry Legal Defense Fund.

Is there a chance he could beat the rap? I was reminded of Bug Man himself, Tom DeLay.

I don't think Perry's odds are as good. And, Bug Man isn't out of the woods yet, too.

First, the statute that I still believe Bug Man violated, despite his escaping on appeal, seems a bit less clear-cut than this.

Also, the overturning of his case on appeal was itself appealed by Lehmberg, whose predecessor, Ronnie Earle, initiated the case. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to accept the appeal, but has not yet issued a ruling.

Second, a special prosecutor, and a Republican seemingly Republican friendly, definitely Republican acceptable lawyer at that, made this case. Travis DA Ronnie Earle, who I wish would have fulfilled rumors and ran for governor in 2010, was after DeLay's tail.

Third, Bug Man had helped elect new, additional GOP Congresscritters. Remember, his campaign fund finagling was related to mid-decadal redistricting last decade. He had people sincerely indebted to him within the political world. Perry doesn't have that. Most of the elected GOP is wingnuts who don't necessarily care for Perry's big biz friends, even if they don't dislike them as much as they do David Dewhurst's ones.

Related to that, GOP wingnuts who are friends of Ted Cruz, at a minimum, probably won't shed tears over Perry's plight. At a medium, they may break out a case of schadenfreude. At a maximum, they may help push him to the curb.

At the ultimate, Cruz himself will probably covertly help push Perry under the bus, if he can do so without leaving fingerprints.

And, the man who's running to replace Perry? Abbott himself has a bit of his skirts dirtied from CPRIT. So, he's going to do his damndest to say as little as absolutely possible. There's already been corruption issues associated with it start to bob up, with the promise of more. CPRIT has been a major focus of Lehmberg's, along with environmental law, and we know how Abbott feels about that.

That said, unless Texas press push the tie-in issue, or Wendy Davis does so strenuously, he may just skate.

And, given that Davis' campaign is still somewhat discombobulated, it's quite possible that, while she mentions a Republican culture of corruption in general or something, she fails to bell Abbott very well.

So far, per an early roundup of political reaction from the Houston Chronicle? Crickets from Abbott and Cruz, and disappointing "justice system" boilerplate pablum from Wendy Davis.

Her full comment at that time?
“These allegations are troubling and I have confidence in our justice system to do its job.”
Blech. A great example of the usually slow-and-timid campaign.

Politics or an independent prosecutor?

Per the top link, about Perry's alleged press conference, this isn't about politics. An independent prosecutor, supported by then Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison as U.S. District Attorney for the Western District of Texas in 2010 (he eventually withdrew his name) sought this indictment.

Speaking of, McCrum's already blasted Perry for politicizing this:
Saturday, the special prosecutor in the case struck back at Perry’s legal team, telling the San Antonio Express-News that it was “ridiculous” and “disappointing” for the governor’s lawyer to say that politics were behind the indictment. Perry lawyer David Botsford had issued a statement late Friday saying he was outraged and appalled by the indictment, which he called an “abuse of the court system” and a dangerous precedent. 
Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor, responded to Botsford Saturday, telling the Express-News: “He can only be implying that it’s either me, or the grand jury, who are motivated by politics, and that’s not only ridiculous, but it’s disappointing, because of the many conversations that I’ve had with Mr. Botsford where he knows full well that was never an issue in our discussions. I think it’s important to note that while that may be good rhetoric for the state, there’s absolutely no basis for it. My investigation not only did not involve that, but my conversations with Mr. Botsford have never involved that. It’s always been about the facts and the law.”

Period and end of story.

However, by the way that Perry's alleged press conference was played, solely on blasting Lehmberg, then using the second of just two questions (a plant? I couldn't hear the question well) to pivot to attacking Obama over border security? We know how he's going to play the game.

We also now officially know that McCrum will fight back with fists swinging.

For friends of mine to pass on to wingnuts and semi-wingnuts talking about Obama's "abuse of power," etc., this little analogy will explain what Obama would have had to have done to do something similar to what Perry's done.

Meanwhile, Michael Lind has written what is far and away the stupidest thing about the indictment I've seen from an alleged liberal and a native Texan to boot. He doesn't even mention a special prosecutor, let alone McCrum's name, and he claims DeLay has been acquitted. You can show him some love with an email to lind@newamerica.net. I've now put his and two other op-ed pieces by folks that should know better into this post.

Beyond this, which idjits like Lind overlook and which the Perry cheer squad wants to sweep under the rug, two other state DAs have had DWI charges during Perry's tenure. His reaction? As the Morning News reminds us — bupkis.

And, I wouldn't be surprised if McCrum knew that, at least the Kaufman DA case, when presenting to the grand jury.

Sidebar: The "missing" bribery charge

So, how did Perry dodge the third possible charge, of bribery?

Perry offered Lehmberg a lesser job within the Travis DA's office in exchange for her resignation shortly after her DWI court plea. First, no, I don't think that counts as bribery, not in the legal sense. Nor do I think it counts as extortion in the legal sense. Whether it adds up to either in a moral sense is another issue.

Somehow, I missed this at the time of Perry's threats. I'm not sure I would have trusted Perry to follow through. OTOH, if it could have been put in writing as a legal contract, I would have preferred it. That said, Perry would have likely still thought about breaking that contract and stalling out a civil legal process, as that's all the result would have been. Especially since other indications are that Perry wanted GOP State Rep. Terry Keel in that job, the offer wasn't to be trusted as genuine.

If I had thought such a deal would have more legal teeth than is the actual case in today's Dodge City, Texas, I would have supported it. Even if she's gotten and stayed stone cold sober, Lehmberg clearly had a drinking problem of long enough standing, probably coupled with some "enabling" here and there, that, ideally, it would have been preferable if she left.

Anyway, contra some opiners, there's no bribery involved in a legal sense. And, since we're now talking matters legal, not matters ethical, I'll fight back on opiners who say he did bribe someone. Whether McCrum presented that as a third charge and the grand jury said no, or whether he pulled it himself, it's the right call there.

 Felonious fallout and a personal connection of sorts

And, if convicted, Tricky Ricky will have to give up that beloved hogleg that he allegedly uses for killing coyotes. It's not just the concealed weapons angle; convicted felons in Texas can't own firearms for five years, and they can't ever have concealed carry permits. That, and many other, restrictions he would face are here. (It's also a great way to do voter suppression, because a felonious Trickster can't vote until he's done with sentence and parole!)

No pistole and no voting; that's about the most fun parts of this.

Beyond that, this has been coming for 20-plus years.

At my first newspaper, I had a set of investigative journalism stories connected to his race against Jim Hightower for Ag Commissioner. Hightower's department was investigating an agrichemical company legally incorporated as a co-op. One of his agents accidentally went from adjoining private ranchland onto the company's site. Perry reportedly told the company to use this as an excuse to stall, stall, stall until after the election, which he, of course won in 1990.  Given the bribery cases against Hightower's aides (to which he was in no way personally connected), Perry had a good chance of winning.

Assuming what I heard as rumor is true, nobody should underestimate Tricky Ricky's legal elbows.

August 14, 2014

Where's President Obama on #Ferguson?

On the racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, while I agree in part with friend Perry that we need national-level white liberals, or "liberals," like Hillary Clinton, to speak up, we need more than that.

Having Anonymous in Ferguson is bad
enough; we sure don't need Adbusters
or other Black Bloc types
We need the leadership from "Dear Leader," too. (That said, I know Perry was speaking rhetorically, having long-ago gotten past the "Politics of Hope," in ignoring Obama.)

He could say "eff it" on angry black worries or whatever, and say:
"Dear Americans: While large parts of our population are largely past racial issues, I have been wrong in talking about a post-racial America."
On the other hand, issues of race overlap with, but only partially, with issues of socioeconomic class. And, Ferguson, Missouri, isn't his upper-income South Side Chicago enclave next to the University of Chicago.

So, yes, Obama could say that. Will he?

Like about all post-WWII presidents, not just the first black one, I am sure he likes playing in the sandbox of foreign policy more than addressing grubby domestic affairs.

So, he could say what I pointed out. But, he almost certainly won't. Instead, he'll stay confined to comments like "heartbreaking," or now, from blissful Martha's Vineyard, asking for "reflection."

Tying issues together, here we have him speaking about both Iraq and Ferguson:



Well, at least we know where he's at geographically.

At the same time, should he decide to speak further than this, I hope he waits until investigations are done. Probably neither the police nor people from the neighborhood are telling the complete, correct story. And, he noted that police brutality should not be an excuse for indiscriminate looting.

Nor should "Anonymous" use occasions like this for disseminating publicly available police scanner transcripts while claiming that it's hacked Ferguson and/or St. Louis County Police Department websites. We also don't need Anonymous claiming it's identified the police officer who is the alleged shooter when, at least for public consumption, those entities say said officer doesn't even work there.

We do not need such grandstanding. We do need Ferguson to make its best effort to honor state of Missouri sunshine laws, though. Or to face legal action if it does not. Recalcitrance merely fans flames.

Fortunately, along that line, President Obama "called out" Ferguson as a city that arrests media members in an attempt at "prior restraint" (pun intended) and intimidation. That said, Dear Leader is being a hypocrite on his stance on reporters, as CJR reminds us.

That said, between blogging about grand juries giving too much credence to police testimony, and recently writing about racial and socioeconomic bias by a policeman in my day job, I have a bit of familiarity with these issues.

On Ferguson? It's had a reputation, deserved, for problems like this, since I lived in St. Louis 20-30 years ago. The current events, with a white power structure pretending to be "open" but really not, is nothing new. Therefore, even if neither the police/city officials "side" nor the black residents' "side" has the full and complete story, the city of Ferguson is probably telling a lot less of the truth.

That said, if the city of Ferguson doesn't have single-member council districts, having a white council majority is in part the fault of black residents of the city, if they've not filed a Voting Rights Act suit.

That said, the council does have individual wards; I don't know if the wards are voted on by the full city or not, but it does have individual, geographically-based wards. And, in a suburb that's less than 25,000 and two-thirds black, it would be awfully hard to gerrymander three wards.

A Kossack has noted that municipal elections are in April. And?

Yes, minorities tend to turn out in lesser numbers for elections that aren't on the primary or general election cycle. They tend to turn out less on non-Presidential years, for that matter. Texas Hispanics are Example No. 1.

That said, there's nothing "racist" about holding municipal and school board elections on special dates. And, ultimately, it's the responsibility of minority activists, or whatever, to boost minority turnout. Yes, Missouri does not have regular early voting; however, either from the legislature or state initiative, voters may get to change that this fall, whether for a narrow six-day period or a longer six-week one.

Yes, per Slate, in places like Ferguson, black turnout may be lower because there, blacks are younger and more transient than whites. BUT, nationally, in presidential elections, black turnout has caught up to white.

So, while an entrenched white power structure is the primary problem, minority apathy is an issue too. And, even if the entrenched power structure has caused feelings of disempowerment that lead to more apathy, there's only one way to fight that. And that's by fighting that.

Also contra the Kossack, the demographic change rate is slower today than it was pre-2000. Of course, that gets back to what I said about 20-30 years ago.

As for Brown's shooting? One thing that cuts down on such incidents in general is cop-car video cameras. Police who are halfway rogue think twice about their actions if they know they're on Candid Camera.

Not directly related, but ... "race" is somewhat a fluid concept, at least for people talking to the Census Bureau.

As for Ferguson being armed with grenade launchers and other military hardware? I knew the answer before stories like this. It's ones of thousands of cities that attempts to justify the need for such paraphernalia based on the "War on Drugs." How do those cities pay for it? Asset seizures from people arrested, but not yet convicted, in the "War on Drugs," at least in the past, though now, Dear Leader's Department of Justice is giving them grant money.  And with the neoliberalization of our military, we're selling surplus shite like it's going out of style. Maybe we need a Brady Bill for police departments.

As part of that military fire sale plus Justice Department grants? No training from the feds on how to use this stuff, unless it's training from the Obama Administration for domestic police to act like the US military abroad toward the media:
Journalists have also been caught up by the police use of weapons. On Monday night, the police aimed directly at a group of photographers and a reporter as they covered the growing protest. One photographer was hit with a rubber bullet. A police officer on Wednesday tossed a tear-gas canister directly at a television crew for Al Jazeera.
Beyond the hardware, there's the issue of who's training U.S. police departments to use this stuff. Namely, the trainers are the same Israeli security forces kneecapping people in Gaza. The same Israeli security forces with whom Clinton and Obama, no less than Bush fils, has been in bed with.

August 13, 2014

Hey, Obama? Put down the shovel on Iraq

First, Dear Leader announced last Friday, which I blogged about, that he was going to use air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. In making his announcement, he ignored such things as the possibility that ISIS might have Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

The fact that he said this:
“I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks,” Mr. Obama said before leaving for a two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. “This is going to be a long-term project.”
Followed by this:
“The most important time table that I’m focused on right now is the Iraqi government getting formed and finalized,” the president said before boarding Marine One.
And knowing the reality of the last pre-election government under Nuri al-Maliki, made me wonder if he was willing to condone a coup, or a semi-coup, to change course in Iraq.

That said, we now see that Dear Leader is getting derped.

First, there's this: ISIS is playing 11-dimensional chess against Obama on the airstrikes.

So, how does he respond?

By talking about using ground troops for "humanitarian" missions.

On that latter?
“What he’s ruled out is reintroducing U.S. forces into combat on the ground in Iraq,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser said. He added, using an alternative name for (ISIS), that the deployment of ground troops to assist a rescue was “different than reintroducing U.S. forces in a combat role to take the fight to ISIL.
And, why is he proposing this in the first place? This, from the same link:

But he added that something would have to be done to help get the refugees off the mountain because “we don’t believe it’s sustainable to have permanent airdrops” of humanitarian aid.
Oh, there's a nice "duh."

Dear Leader proposes the equivalent of a photo op at Mach 2. Gets trumped by Islamic militants having more brains. Then shovels more arms, and arms on the ground, no less, into the mix.

And, overlooks an important "yeah, but," as in ...

Yeah, but ... this is just like the Stinger situation with airstrikes. U.S. troops get shot, and U.S. troops are going to want more manpower to fire back.

In short, this is Shrub Bush's Iraq strategy run through a sieve of neoliberal micromanagement.

And, without any eyeball on the Vietnam parallels.

"Soft bigotry of low expectations" strikes again. Obamiacs and Obots consider Dear Leader a brilliant success just because he's following George W. Bush, even as he repeats some of Shrub's mistakes, and on things like snooping on Americans, even doubles down on Shrub's authoritarianism.

Meanwhile, on a related front?

Iraq's president,  Fuad Masum, who was attempting to shunt aside acerbic, authoritarian current/acting prime minister Nuri al-Maliki by naming a new prime minister candidate,  Haider al-Abadi, to replace Maliki? Maliki says he ain't going anywhere. Now, he's not promising a coup, but he already has asked Iraq's Supreme Court to take a look.

And, if anybody wonders if Masum didn't get a nudge, then a round of applause, from Dear Leader for doing this? Well, of course he did. Read between the lines of this:
But the United States, during whose occupation Maliki first rose to power, made clear again that it has had enough of him - the White House said it would be glad to see an Abadi government and urged Maliki to let the political process move forward.
He is, with his appeal to Iraq's Supreme Court, moving the political process along, by a legal means. Just not the moving along "we" like.

Is baseball "dying"? Keith Olbermann makes an arguable case post #1994strike

Olbermann, on the 20th anniversary of the 1994 players' strike in Major League Baseball, and the approaching replacement of Bud Melman Selig as commissioner has a great video about how, even though baseball seems to be a cash cow today, demographics plus marketing raise concerns for the future.



"The kids are disappearing," he says.

First, here's this part. Olbermann says that wunderkind Mike Trout ranks only No. 100 among top athletes among today's youngsters 12 and older. Chris Paul, not the most popular NBA player, though high up, is ahead of him at No. 86. O.J. Simpson, retired for 30 years, a civil suit loser for about 20, and a felon for better than half a decade, is just behind Trout at No. 105, he says. Babe Ruth, at No. 18, is far ahead of Trout, even if dead for 66 years. And, LeBron James, mentioned near the end, is far, far, far ahead of Trout. As Olbermann notes, unretired swimming star Michael Phelps (maybe it's the bong hits?) and soccer/world football star Lionel Messi also rank ahead of Trout.

Other points?

National baseball broadcasts, as opposed to regional sports network ones, are tanking. So much so that national NBA broadcasts are ahead of them.

Avid baseball fans, by age, are three years older than the national average. At the time of the strike, they were a year younger. Olbermann notes that NBA fans have aged, too, but less than the country as a whole.

Contra occasional troll-level NBC Sports blogger Craig Calcaterra, where I first saw this, and who regularly does a strawmanning "baseball is dying" post, Olbermann's on a fair amount of solid ground here.

His solutions?

Getting rid of interleague play might help national game of the week broadcasts. I'm not sure. But, I get his drift. Baseball has become too much like other sports. That larger point is right.

Calcaterra's sneer about worrying about depending too much on regional sports network money, which does not face full revenue sharing, is also right. It's true that the NBA, which has less than full revenue sharing, unlike the NFL, has small-market Milwaukee and semi-small market Sacramento and San Antonio. (If one semi-cheats and includes metro Austin, San Antonio isn't a small market at all.)

But baseball also has Pittsburgh and Kansas City. And Cincinnati and Cleveland. The last three, while all bigger than Milwaukee, which is in both sports, are all smaller than Sacto and San Antonio (without Austin). That said, the NBA's Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City are smaller yet.

However, because the NBA's national audience is better than baseball's, it addresses equality — and fandom — issues better.

Sadly, it's too late to eliminate interleague play, or other Selig follies.

We can, though, do too things.

Enforce rule 6.02, about keeping batters in the box, and 8.04, about time between pitches. Those alone would speed up games a lot, and can be done without nuttier independent minor league ideas.

So too, would the next best thing to killing interleague play — killing the DH. Do all of that, and even a Red Sox game, with David Ortiz either on the bench or else at 1B, shouldn't need to run more than 3 hours.

(For more on how Rob Manfred is NOT a slam dunk to replace Selig, read this NYT piece. Also note the "takedown" of Tom Werner in Olbermann's video. Trumping both plus Tim Brosnan? She's not African-American, but Kim Ng is a minority and a woman. And, per Olbermann and demographics, younger than any of the three finalists, too. Food for thought.)

Why does #GregAbbott hate the #EPA guaranteeing water quality?

That, and political red meat to tea partiers, is about the only reason he can write the letter he did to the Environmental Protection Agency opposing its new ideas on wetlands, namely, to include seasonal and rain-dependent areas.

Abbott and tea partiers know that this includes lots of West Texas river headwaters, headwaters of rivers that, when damned further downstream, provide a lot of drinking and industrial use waters for Central and East Texas.

But, instead, we get the pout:
The proposal “is without adequate scientific and economic justification and, if finalized, would erode private property rights and have devastating effects on the landowners of Texas,” he wrote as part of a public comment period on the proposal, threatening to sue if it’s not withdrawn.   
Which is, of course, untrue. (The "without adequate scientific ... justification.") The lawsuit threat, coming from Dr. Strangeabbott, is quite real.

The economic justification is also adequate, as I explained above.

On private property rights? I believe said seasonal streams are already marked on maps of deeds, etc., accepted as legal by the state of Texas via its 254 counties. So, this wouldn't involve any change in property rights.

Abbott isn't even a good shyster attorney at times, if I can rebut him that easily.

Meanwhile, the Texas Trib sets this in the background of previous battles by Abbott, often in conjunction with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, against the EPA.

That said, there's one person, even more than the political lackeys at the TCEQ, who has the power, in some way, shape, or form, to protect Texas' water quality, and water supply.

His name is Ken Kendrick, and he will potentially have this power if you help elect him as Texas' Agriculture Commissioner.

Friend Perry, about 10 days ago, did an excellent blog interview with Kendrick.

As Perry notes, Kendrick has a broad-ranging campaign that covers:
1. Water safety
2. Water conservation
3. Corporate accountability
4. Food labeling

And more. 

Don't even think about other names, whether they've got a fake D with a camouflage R after their name, or a bright red R.

Just look at Ken Kendrick.

Update: I emailed this link to Kendrick, and he responded, asking what I thought was a good next step forward.

I told him to "preach" the water quality and water supply issues to Central and East Texas. Especially campaigning against two Republicans, he's got a chance to make inroads in any metro area that gets its water from the Brazos or the Colorado.

Those "seasonal streams" that Abbott doesn't give a damn about? In West Texas, they're called "draws" or "arroyos" and they're the headwaters of both those rivers. Other "seasonal streams" feed the Pecos and Rio Grande.

August 12, 2014

Dear #TigerWoods: Please stop lying -- to yourself

Because that's the point we're at.

Whether to please a sponsor or whatever, you came back too early from your back surgery, then lied about how ready you were. Maybe it was you trying to live up to the myth of superhumanness that's gone from myth to cartoon.

Then, you obviously liked about your back before the start of the PGA. And, were forced to eat your words.

Please don't follow this with groveling to Tom Watson for a Ryder Cup berth for the prestige. 

The US is going to get smoked like cheap brisket whether you're on that team or not. It's an event where you have a poor track record. And your interest in being named to the team seems to be more about your prestige, or "brand," or something, than it does reality.

As a friend of mine said, maybe daddy Earl, were he still alive, might be able to tell you to stop and put down the clubs. I don't know if your mom can do that, let alone help you escape the myth of your own (and Earl's) building, or not.

Anyway, you're not "lying" to us as much as you are entertaining many of us through how flimsy this all is. You're lying to yourself.

And, until you accept some reality, you're only shooting yourself in the foot with the lies. Until you accept the new reality, hitting the peak of whatever realistic peak you still have left is impossible.

I'm nowhere near your favorite fan, but I would find you to deserve a little bit more rooting, at least, if you would practice yet more "acceptance." You seemed to indicate you would, in part by dipping into your mother's Buddhism, after Hydrantgate. Doing more would be good. 

Update, Aug. 13: Thank you for being honest with yourself, and the golf world, by withdrawing from Ryder consideration, and also for announcing you would sit everything out until early December.

August 11, 2014

Texans have a real option in the Ag Commissioner race

The Texas Green Party's best candidate this year, by far, is Ken Kendrick, running for state agriculture commissioner.

Kendrick rose to fame through exposing salmonella problems at two Peanut Corporation of America facilities. He knows food safety, and as a whistleblower, he knows the need to protect other people telling the truth on food safety.

But, his campaign is far more than that.

Friend Perry, about 10 days ago, did an excellent blog interview with Kendrick.

As Perry notes, Kendrick has a broad-ranging campaign that covers:
1. Water safety
2. Water conservation
3. Corporate accountability
4. Food labeling

And more. 

Don't even think about other names, whether they've got a fake D with a camouflage R after their name, or a bright red R.

Just look at Ken Kendrick.

Dear Leader headed for deep doo-doo on Iraq

First, Dear Leader announced last Friday, which I blogged about, that he was going to use air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. In making his announcement, he ignored such things as the possibility that ISIS might have Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

The fact that he said this:
“I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks,” Mr. Obama said before leaving for a two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. “This is going to be a long-term project.”
Followed by this:

“The most important time table that I’m focused on right now is the Iraqi government getting formed and finalized,” the president said before boarding Marine One.

And knowing the reality of the last pre-election government under Nuri al-Maliki, made me wonder if he was willing to condone a coup, or a semi-coup, to change course in Iraq.

Well, this morning, my suspicions deepened. Iraq's president,  Fuad Masum, said he was naming a new prime minister candidate,  Haider al-Abadi, to replace Maliki, who through Iraqi factionalism mixed with his own growing authoritarianism, has not been able to form a government himself since the latest elections.

At the least, even if we don't call it a semi-coup, it's about like the U.S. cutting off financial aid to the Palestinian Authority any time it breathes in the same air as Hamas.

At the same time, Abadi may turn out to be an even tougher, or smarter, or more corrupt, political and sectarian infighter than Maliki. The Times notes of him:
As an adviser to Mr. Maliki, he was instrumental in expelling former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari from the Dawa Party in 2008.
Well, that's that!

And now, we're directly arming the Kurds, which gives ISIS more reasons to fire back, the Kurds more opportunity to "go their own way" should they defeat ISIS soundly enough, and the rest of Iraq more reasons to fear that.

Hey, Mr. Veep Biden? Your once-touted threefold division of Iraq is nearing reality.

Update, Aug. 12: ISIS is playing 11-dimensional chess against Obama on the airstrikes.

Update, Aug. 13: Shades of Vietnam: Obama is sending more military advisers to Iraq. And talking about using ground troops for "humanitarian" missions.

On that latter?
“What he’s ruled out is reintroducing U.S. forces into combat on the ground in Iraq,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser said. He added, using an alternative name for (ISIS), that the deployment of ground troops to assist a rescue was “different than reintroducing U.S. forces in a combat role to take the fight to ISIL.”
Yeah, but ... this is just like the Stinger situation with airstrikes. U.S. troops get shot, and U.S. troops are going to want more manpower to fire back.

In short, this is Shrub Bush's Iraq strategy run through a sieve of neoliberal micromanagement.

August 10, 2014

Your #GregAbbott movie text of the week is #Kirby

"Thank" Greg Abbott for interrupting your movie.
I blogged recently, as shown by the photo at left with my Photoshopped image bubble, about Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott's new barf-inducing low of asking people to text him from movies:
In a new twist, Abbott is taking his campaign to the movies. He is running an ad in two dozen movie theaters across the state, playing on every screen a film is being shown. The ad asks moviegoers to text the word “FREEDOM” to the campaign. The effort is aimed at collecting information the campaign can use to identify and boost turnout in November.
This combines three barf factors of the modern movie-going experience:
1. Ads before movies;
2. Political advertising in general today;
3. People using cellphones at movies.

This is also another post-Citizens United sign of a political system so damned swamped with money that candidates don't even know what the hell to do with all of it, other than inundate us even more.

That said, if you don't want to follow the photo and text "fuck off," there are other options.

For example in light of Wendy Davis' first campaign video:



The text to Abbott for this week is "Kirby."