April 11, 2015

Card’nal, Card’nal, trilling bright

Indiana State Parks photo
CARD’NAL, CARD’NAL

Card’nal, Card’nal, trilling bright, 
In the forests, reddened sight; 
What wondrous hand or tool, 
Did frame thy beauty as a jew’l?

In the oaks, beneath the skies
Whence the fire of thine eyes;
And your majestic color-coat
You wear natural without gloat?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the stirring of thy heart?
On what chords dare you aspire?
What hand bids you sing higher?

Thy brightened beak, tis also true, 
Doth to beauty accrue.
Yet your mate, in lesser garb
Holds not a jealous barb.

No craftsman at glowing forge 
Did your work divine disgorge 
No one smiled his work to see
Thy charms themselves just came to be.

Card’nal, Card’nal, trilling bright, 
In the forests, reddened sight; 
Nature’s blind hand as tool, 
Did frame thy beauty as a jew’l.

            — March 29, 2015, with nods, but no apologies, to William Blake

April 10, 2015

Alberta #tarsands oil is already here; why not OK #KeystoneXL?


Climate Central has a good piece on the facts on the ground, starting with that map above and including its header, especially the word "alternatives."

If US President Barack Obama were to deny KeystoneXL, it wouldn't stop Canadian tar sands oil from getting to market. In fact, via those alternative pipes, about 400,000 barrels of tar sands a day is already coming to the Texas Gulf Coast. And Embridge is expanding that system of pipes.

The rest of nearly 2 million barrels a day is going to refineries in either the US or Canada by either small pipelines or rail, and both are worse options than Keystone.

The latest iteration of railroad tank cars supposed to replace the old, dangerous DOT-111s, the CPC-1232s, have already shown that in rail collisions, they too can rupture and ignite. Plus, the heavy burdening of our rail system with massive oil-tanker freight trains has snarled other rail on the High Plains, including harvested agricultural crops.

Smaller pipelines may not well withstand the special pipeline transportation needs of the dilbit into which tar sands oil is converted, especially if they're older.

I'm an environmentalist. I'm also a left-liberal in American terms. I'm also a skeptical left-liberal in terms of applying philosophically and psychologically skeptical reasoning practices to my own political stances as well as others.

Ergo, I know that blocking KeystoneXL won't block the mining, distribution or production of tar sands oil.

I do know that the one thing that might put a dent in that is a carbon tariff. And that requires a domestic carbon tax, too, which we need anyway.

So, again, I get back to a blog post of a few weeks ago.

We need a grand bargain: Carbon tax+tariff in conjunction with approval of KeystoneXL, which will not be perfect, but which will be safer than methods being used today to transport dilbit.

Again, it won't be perfect. But KeystoneXL itself will be better than what we have now, and connecting it with a "grand bargain" would be much, much better, I think. No pipeline is perfect, but newer pipelines are relatively good, and don't have collisions.

In other words, Alberta tar sands oil is already coming to the US, more of it is coming every day, and yet more will come in the future. Having it shipped her in the most reasonable way possible, and while trying to make that part of a bigger "grand bargain," seems to me to be the best way of addressing the issue.

It will just keep coming by rail and older pipeline if there is no Keystone. And, a group of Bill McKibbens trying to play oil Posse Comitatus at the border would get more than just civil disobedience jail time.

While holding on to ideals, I live in the real world on issues like this.

I also leave in a real world which notes that the GOP, and even most elected Democrats, would in no way countenance a carbon tax, even if tied to a carbon tariff. I also live in a real world that notes that most greens, and most Green Party folks, would never OK Keystone, even as part of a grand bargain like this. Since, per my "grand bargain" blog post link, some greens (don't know whether Green Party or not; I'm referencing an environmentalist with a green group who probably represents others) can't even tell the truth about Alberta oil already coming into the US right now, this doesn't surprise me either.

This is part of why, if I didn't live in Texas, I'd probably fight a legal battle if I were told I had to register by political party as part of voter registration.

Like John Randolph of Roanoke, I guess I'm a tertium quid.

Grist, meanwhile, in a new piece, says that some of these issues are straw men. I think it's partially right, but not totally so. It's true that Keystone won't substantially help North Dakota oil. It's true that we can get even stricter on railcar design than the CPC-1232.

Reducing speed on trains by as much as Grist wants is not realistic, though. And, if a pipeline is better, or even sending a pipeline to connect to Keystone, then let's do it.

The train slowdown, when Bakken oil trains already slow High Plains' crops delivery to market, isn't feasible. That said, reducing volatiles in train-shipped oil is a good idea.

I think my ultimate objection is that Grist is playing this as a, not necessarily a zero-sum game, but as a game, in the game theory sense, with a different expected sum and a different equation, even, than I see. So, I agree with the first three proposals it has on rail cars, but not the speed.

And, per the map above? Let's build a short stub pipeline up into Canada from North Dakota. Combine that with Keystone approval, if necessary. Oh, I'm sorry; the Canadians already have plans for just such a pipe, which Adler, for whatever reason, didn't mention.

That, then addresses North Dakotans who note the current pipelines won't help Bakken a lot. And, removes what, while technically real at the current time, as far as what's possible, is itself a bit of a straw man. It can be part of that "grand bargain."

April 09, 2015

Pujols continues to move up in the record books

Prince Albert! Getty Images via NBC Sports
On Wednesday night, Albert Pujols hit a bomb of a home run. (Sorry, MLB embedding is acting wonky with Blogger, at least on this browser; you'll have to click the link.) Not only was it the first of the year, but it was No. 521 on his career, putting him a tie for 18th with Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.

Next are Jimmie Foxx at 534 and Mickey Mantle at 536, both of whom he should pass without problem this year, then Mike Schmidt at 548, whom he has an outside chance of catching this year, needing 28 bombs on the season to tie and 29 to pass. That would put him in the top 15.

For his career? Pujols still has an outside shot at 700 HRs, a pretty good shot at passing Willie Mays, and a fair shot at Alex Rodriguez, wherever he ends up, which should be shy of 700.

But it's more than just home runs.

That includes noting that he has an outside shot at becoming the all-time leader on at least one counting stat.

First, slugging percentage. Pujols is currently seventh. I expect him to fall no lower than No. 11, staying ahead of current No. 12, Miguel Cabrera, and possibly just to ninth, ahead of current No. 10 Joe DiMaggio. That would still leave him above the majority of people on the list above.

Park-adjusted OPS+ is a good all-around measure of a player. Pujols is currently 10th, at 165. Aaron and DiMaggio are among a group tied for 22nd at 155. Cabrera and Joey Votto are among those tied for 25th, one point lower. Ed Dehalanty is 30th at 152. I certainly don't see Pujols going lower than that.

Next? Total bases, where Pujols is No. 37, with almost 4,700. A strong, but not overly aggressive prediction of 1,700 for the rest of his career gives him 6,400, behind only Hank Aaron. Even a conservative estimate of 1,491, or 213 per year, which he's easily done every non-injury year, still puts him ahead of Stan Musial in the No. 2 slot. (And yes, Musial is No. 2 in career total bases; I just wish more semi-casual, but semi-serious, baseball fans would see this and recognize just how damned good he was.)

In RBIs, Pujols is 33rd. He's 692 behind Aaron, 609 behind Babe Ruth and 651 551 behind No. 3 Cap Anson. An output of 90 RBIs per season for the rest of this year and the next 7 full seasons left on his contract would put him past Ruth.  With 85 or so ribbies, he's past Anson, at least. We'll put him there, with a shot at Ruth. He can get just under 70 per year and pass Bonds into No. 4, which seems it should be no problem. (Per the commenter, thanks for the catch on the math on Anson. It still will be somewhat of a sled to catch Anson.)

The one career stat where he could end up the all time leader?

Extra base hits.

That dinger last night gave him 1,099 for his career, 378 behind Aaron and his 1,477. Barry Bonds is second with 1,440 and Musial is third with 1,377.

That's 378 for seven remaining years, or 54 per year. Other than his injury-limited 2013, he's never had fewer than 66 extra base hits since 2010. So, it's possible!

Needed: "Appomattox Day," or better, "You Lost Day"

The New Republic sums the case up well, on the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee surrendering to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox.

First, given that a racist president susceptible to flattery via pretended groveling from his pre-war Southern "betters," Andrew Johnson, took Abraham Lincoln's already mild "rosewater policy" and gutted it, and then that the Supreme Court gutted the intent of the 14th Amendment from the 1870s through Plessy v. Ferguson, it's hard to believe at times that the South did, in fact, lose the Civil War. (Would Lincoln have done as much better with Reconstruction as some thing? I ask that in Part 1 of my sesquicentennial tribute to his death.)

But it did. And Brian Beutler is right. It should be a federal holiday, though there's less than zero chance of the current Congress making that so.

Per Beutler and a New York Times article he links, yes, we also ought to rename military installations named for Confederate generals, like Fort Hood here in Texas.

And, contra Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg and their Lincoln movie, Lincoln was wrong. Maybe the Wade-Davis Act was too harsh, but Lincoln was too mild, and he refused to negotiate with Congress on this issue after his pocket veto of Wade-Davis. Would he, in the face of the rise of the Klan in 1866, gotten tougher? Well, he would have been tougher than Johnson, but would he have stopped downsizing the Army or even asked for more troops? Possibly not, and maybe, probably not.

For good alliteration of sorts, I've long said that Reconstruction might have worked with 200,000 bluecoats in the South for a generation rather than 20,000 for a decade.

Really, the U.S. South, without a little bit of an "iron heel," essentially promulgated its version of something like the Dolchstosslegende a half-century before General Ludendorff, Adolf Hitler and other right-wing nuts did in Weimer Germany. Beyond denying that the Civil War had been about slavery, the "Lost Cause" idea claimed that, due to various factors, it hadn't been a fair fight.

Anyway, Lee wasn't such a five-star general as the Lost Cause makes him out to be, despite even a Brit fawning over him in an awful book. He was often a poor strategist who refused to implement a semi-modern general staff for the Army of Northern Virginia. Nor was Stonewall Jackson Paul to Lee's Jesus, despite a Texas historian who isn't worth his reputation trying to claim that. (As for long marches, the Union Fifth Corps once marched 25 miles in a day to get in place for the start of Gettysburg.)

As far as Southern pre-war boasts of licking five Yankees?

Well, the US Census was conducted, per the Constitution, in 1860. You knew how much you were outnumbered. Well, you were wrong, even if you try to hide that fact in Lost Cause mythos and trailing clouds of glory.

Anyway, just like Hitler, et al, Southern leaders might have accepted the reality of "you lost" more had their been a bit more pain, as well as a bit more Reconstruction in general.

That said, the Congressional Radicals all needed to view freed slaves as human beings first, political tools second, or third. Some did have this view, but others did not. At the same time, non-Radicals in the GOP needed to get a bit more Radical. Also, outside of New England, blacks were still not just second-class citizens, but only semi-citizens in much of the North, and New England then (versus, say, South Boston today) was seemingly more enlightened precisely because there were so few blacks.

So, that part of Lincoln's Second Inaugural, lauded by me here, was partially correct. The North had its share of blame in the perpetuation of slavery — and the perpetuation of its profits, and even the push for increasing "efficiency," just like in Northern factories, as detailed in this book.

That said, Lincoln didn't go far enough. While the Second Inaugural wasn't meant to be a policy speech, nowhere before his death did he go beyond it to indicate that fair chunks of the North would need their own quasi-Reconstruction. Of course, some Radicals, and some modern historians, argue that part of that quasi-Reconstruction still may have needed to start at 1600 Pennsylvania, had Lincoln lived.

Yes, Lincoln had gotten past his colonization schemes. Yes, after listening to Frederick Douglass, he finally realized that the United States, not an African kingdom or another, was home for African-Americans. He even accepted that some of them had American ancestries older than his.

But, he still didn't understand — despite facts such as tiny, almost slave-free, Delaware having rejected graduated emancipation and Stephen Douglas' racism in 1858 — that many people in the Border States and the Old Northwest (not to mention the Irish of New York), hadn't evolved like he had over the previous four years.

And so, the failure to insist on a thoroughgoing Reconstruction — maybe not punitive, but more than "rosewater" — before his death wound up failing North and South alike.

This, though, is the bottom line. Much of what was "rosewater" was like giving an inch and the South taking a mile:

That lack of consensus was an ineluctable consequence of concerted postbellum efforts to sand down the seams reuniting the states. There was a real but inadequate constituency for crushing the Southern establishment after the Civil War, and reintegrating the country under an entirely different paradigm. Instead, the North enabled the South by giving it unusual influence over shaping the official mythology of the war. Yes, the South surrendered. The states ratified the 13th Amendment. The Union survived. These facts couldn’t be altered. But memorializing the rebellion as a tragedy of circumstance, or a bravely fought battle of principle—those narratives were adopted in part for the unspoken purpose of making the reunion stick. "You lost, we won, and we're all living in the USA," Talking Point Memo's Josh Marshall once wrote. "But we'll let you win in the battle of memory and valor and nostalgia."
Really, the U.S. South, with the "Lost Cause," was just living up to the "honor tradition" that led it to vapidly ingest the narratives of "Ivanhoe" and other Walter Scott novels, and otherwise claim to be Cavaliers, etc. These narratives were ready at hand to the South. (And, speaking of honor, and that book about the profits of slave capitalism? Southern "honor culture" hates nothing more than Southern-born whites writing about these things.)

Beyond that, as far as Southern "nobility"? It's easy to point a finger at Nathan Bedford Forrest and the slaughter of surrendered black soldiers at Fort Pillow in 1864. And, Southerners today probably wouldn't try to defend him. But, it's also easy to point a finger at Lee, watching wounded black soldiers at the end of the Battle of the Crater, during the 1864 Petersburg campaign, be bayoneted while he refused to intervene.

Beutler is right that a federal holiday for April 9 is unrealistic today.

But, we can rename those 10 forts, Fort Hood and others. "Fort Colin Powell" immediately comes to mind. We can stop federal dollars going to Confederate monuments. And, the rest of the nation in general can stoop kowtowing to Southern attitudes.

Beutler is kind enough to suggest "New Birth of Freedom Day" rather than either my straightforward or hard-core realism alternatives. But, I stand by his ideas — except, a bit, for making this part and parcel of American exceptionalism, which he hints at near the end.

And, while I've saluted Lincoln's Second Inaugural for questioning American exceptionalism, nascent at his time, and given an overall salute to the Lincoln movie, I stand by my caveats to that movie, too. Indeed, Lincoln was perhaps, like John Kennedy, lucky he died when he did. Unfortunately, he had the wrong Johnson as his vice president.

April 08, 2015

'The desert always wins': The last word on California drought

The quote above, whether most popularized by Cactus Ed, good old Ed Abbey, or someone else, is true indeed. indeed.

As Marc Reiser demonstrated in "Cadillac Desert," along with many others, some before, many since him, the Colorado River was highly overappropriated among its seven basin states because the 1920s were an outstandingly wet period within a larger wettish period. While Colorado River system water is not the same as the snowmelt from the Sierras that fills (Californians hope) in-state reservoirs, it too is snowmelt-based, with all that implies in our era of global warming, El Niño-related oceanic oscillation changes and more.

Let's not forget that the Los Angeles Aqueduct of "Chinatown" fame was built less than 20 years before the Colorado River Compact, also during a wet period. And, although the 1960s of California State Water Project fame were less wet than the 1920s, they were far wetter than today, or than long-term droughts we know hit the Southwest in the past and are likely to do again in the near future. And, while that megadrought is expected to center on the Four Corners, not California, it will have its "fair share" of effect on the Golden State. And, for students of paleo-American history, this drought is expected, at least in the Southwest, to be worse than the one that shuttered Chaco Canyon and destroyed Anazasi culture. In other words, anthropogenic climate change, while part of the problem, is not all the problem. Rather, it is, in part, intensifying what's more "normal" than European settlers thought, 100 years ago.

So, that leads to Abbey's most famous statement certified statement: "Growth for growth's sake is the theology of the cancer cell."

This NYTimes graphic, from the linked story about
groundwater regulation, shows the amount of sinkage
in many areas; the largest red dots have shown
more than 100 feet of sinking. See story for more.
And thus, the quasi-rhetorical, yet seriously asked, question in this long New York Times piece has but one answer: "no." Relentless growth has limits. There is no perpetual motion machine in general and certainly not with water supplies. Meanwhile, even as Jerry Brown has imposed water cuts (that don't affect agriculture, don't affect oil fracking and don't start until July 1), there's really a bigger scandal in California water issues: groundwater, unlike in most western states (but, unfortunately, very much like in Texas) is currently not regulated at all, and under a weak-tea system the state finally, recently, adopted, will not be semi-effectively regulated until the 2040s.

By that time, the groundwater may be almost gone, with storage capacity, flow, and more of reservoirs irreversibly damaged.

(In turn, this is part of why I said last week that Californians should recall Jerry Brown.)

Now, Reisner did not directly cover these issues. But he did indirectly cover them when he wrote about overpumping of the Ogallala Aquifer.

Having grown up in New Mexico, and been the editor of one newspaper in that state, I personally know this.

Most Western states have a state water engineer, who is god and czar of the state's water supply, with the partial exception of any rivers that come under interstate compacts.

For example, in New Mexico, at least at the time I was editing there, if a person wanted to drill a new water well, they had to run an ad in the newspaper three weeks straight, giving a precise metes-and-bounds description of the well's location AND its planned depth. At the end of said legal notice had to be a date for a public hearing about that well. The regional office of the state engineer conducted that hearing.

From what I understand, even if California does have a state engineer, said office has nothing like that regulatory power.

Meanwhile, fallowing of the fields could damage the fields themselves.

Reiser, whether the water source was irrigation or groundwater, wrote about improper irrigation and the salination problems it caused to land. As California farmers are having to fallow more land, the salinity problems are apparently starting to show up in places in the Central Valley.

Add in that the current drought is worsened by climate change, and many Californians' blithe belief that the state will "escape again," like it escaped Enron gaming its electricity nearly 15 years ago, is kind of appalling. It's also a proof that blue states aren't exempt from the delusion of American exceptionalism.

Abbey addressed that, too:
“There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”
So, Californians? (And, Arizonans, Nevadans, etc.?) It's time for a lot of you to move back to Minneapolis, or Cleveland, or St. Louis — where the water is.

And, speaking of Arizonans and Nevadans? Here's Part 1 and Part 2 of what's going to be a three-part series on drought in the Colorado River basin, from the Arizona Republic.

For those who think desalinization is the answer? In the Colorado River Basin, per that Part 2 link immediately above, maybe think again. In coastal California, even if the price drops a lot, and quickly, which is open to debate, you have the issue of thermal pollution from "wastewater" being dumped into a coldwater ocean current. The only plant currently under construction is only going to meet 7 percent of San Diego's needs, a drop in the bucket for overall California use. If desalinization in Florida is any indication, it will probably not run as well as expected, and be pricier than expected. (Right now, the San Diego project will deliver water at twice the current cost, and the same company that built that troubled Florida desal plant is doing the one in San Diego. It would probably be cheaper to move people back to the Midwest.)

Salvific technologism, as I've called it before, has no guarantees. Re-read those Abbey quotes.

April 07, 2015

Waco Mammoth Site nearer to NPS designation

Regan King, Waco Mammoth Site Program Coordinator.
gives National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis
a tour of the Waco Mammoth Site on Monday.
Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune photo

A national monument preserving a major Columbian mammoth burial site may be closer to reality in Waco than ever before.

I blogged last week about the planning visit of National Park Service Director Ron Jarvis, and Waco civic leaders' push to ask President Barack Obama to use his Antiquities Act powers to make this happen, after Rep. Ron Flores, who represents Waco in Congress, had basically semi-undercut Wacoans attempts to have Congress make this so by legislation.

Well, Jarvis was quite pleased, the Waco Tribune notes, at the level of "development" of the site, its broader potential with adjacent, city-owned land, for a museum or other amenities, and the level of civic backing shown by an SRO crowd.

Per an NPS press release, this is why the site deserves national monument status:
In 1978, Columbian Mammoth fossils were first discovered at the site, and it remains the nation's first and only recorded discovery of a nursery herd (females and their offspring) of Pleistocene mammoths. The remains of 24 mammoths have been found to date, 19 of which were part of the nursery herd, and more remains from the Ice Age are likely in the area. The nursery herd died at the same moment in time as a result of a natural catastrophic event, the skeletons are relatively intact, and the individual mammoths range in age from 3 to 65 years old.The site offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to examine the matriarchal herd structure and behavior of this extinct species. For example, juvenile mammoth skeletons rest atop the long tusks of adults, suggesting that the adults were trying to save their offspring from the rising waters and sucking mud. The site has already revealed other Ice Age fossils, including camel, saber-toothed cat, dwarf antelope, and giant tortoise.

Make it so, President Obama.

Interestingly, or "interestingly," Bill Flores was able to hold a town hall in Waco that same evening, but apparently couldn't be there for Jarvis' visit.

He also, touchingly, asked attendees at his town hall to "remember" the city of West, while not asking them to remember that the West explosion happened to a minimal-regulation government, which the likes of him favor.

Rand Paul makes it two — his chances?

Rand Paul / Wikipedia
Rand Paul has joined the Havana Ham, Ted Cruz, in officially announcing he is seeking the GOP nomination for president.

Now, per the NYT article, on several significant issues, like reproductive choice and gay rights, Rand Paul is not a libertarian.

Realistically, he's just another far-right Republican who's a paleoconservative rather than a neocon on foreign policy. (Yes, he's somewhat libertarian on drug issues, but, you know what? Even with his War on Drugs, Nixon wasn't totally hardcore on pot, and Jerry Ford wasn't either.)

That said, being a paleocon on foreign policy, in other words, not writing a blank check to Israel, is enough for GOP war hawks to already start shooting at him.

Will Paul stay the course on this issue? I'd say about 50-50. He's not going to totally backpedal, but he will "nuance" his views in weeks ahead.

That said, his paleoconservatism isn't just on Israel issues. Last winter, he officially opposed the Cuban embargo. Assuming Marco Rubio runs, as well as Jeb Bush, Florida could be interesting. Younger Cubans don't seem to viscerally hate Castro, but they may be less likely to vote, and less likely to be Republican. Nonetheless, this stakes out an angle there for Paul, assuming he's in the race that long.

And, he may well be. New Hampshire, the first primary, allows crossover voting, and let's remember, there are more than two political parties in America. Whether Paul being part of the Religious Right on abortion and gays would turn away capital-L Libertarians or not, I don't know. If he could pick up at least a few of them voting GOP, plus, paleoconservative Republicans, he could win that primary.

At a minimum, I expect him to be in the top three in New Hampshire. And neocon/war hawks may backfire with the gang-up process.

Plus, he'll have a domino effect on Cruz, forcing him to either moderate (by his lights) or double down on wacko bird. You know which one he'll do.

That said, Rand Paul's got the baggage of the Paul family brand. If he goes goldbug on fiat currency, like his daddy, he's toast.

Final thought? Rand does have a snowball's chance, which is more than Havana Ted. Does he have two snowballs? I don't think so; and even that one snowball depends on how well he can bury a conspiracy theory past that might just be even worse than Havana Ted's. His toupee probably has a good chance of something; what, I don't know. There's also the question of whether his flip-flops help or hurt. Right now, maybe nothing's helping.

April 06, 2015

TPA blog roundup: Bad policing, bad sex ed and more

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes that our state can learn the lesson of the Indiana debacle as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff compared Greg Abbott's performance in heavily Latino districts to that of Rick Perry in 2010.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos is absolutely stunned to learn Texas elected a crook as its top cop. Not. Texas Attorney General an "admitted law breaker".

Socratic Gadfly wrote about the DPS' stupid disciplining of Trooper Billy Spears.

Nonsequiteuse explains to Rep. Stuart Spitzer, the Kaufman Republican who bragged about his sexual history on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives during debate on a budget amendment, that virginity and abstinence aren't the same thing, and neither will protect a person from all methods of HIV transmission.

A conversation between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and JPMorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon from 2013 provides a clue as to what's wrong with everything, according to PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value said look at things you see in everyday life because they are interesting & use as few words as you can. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

===============

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas bloggers.

Grits for Breakfast rounds up news stories about the failure of the latest "border surge".

Better Texas Blog explains how lower oil prices would affect the state's finances.

Texas Vox calls for strengthening the Texas state senate bill aimed at combating government corruption.

Joe Cutbirth wants Texas to stand tall for equality.

Elizabeth Rose saw the signs of discrimination in the Deep South as a child, and she sees them today in Indiana.

RG Ratcliffe rounds up a week of Texas political scandal.