Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Chupacabra Report

News that Gets My Goat:

I had CSPAN on for wallpaper the other day and noticed that the House General Speeches was all the Texas GOP delegation so I had to turn on the sound and see what crazy shit they were saying. I listened to Pete Olson stammering for a while and gathered that Kent Hance was retiring from his position as Chancellor of Texas Tech. This was an occasion for all the other Tories to stand up and say that Hance is ‘a wonderful human being, a great humanitarian and a personal friend of mine.’

I remember him a little differently.

Hance was an attorney and law professor from Lubbock who, after serving in the Texas Senate, ran for Congress in the 19th district in 1978. This race earned his historical footnote as the only person to beat George W. Bush in an election. He did this in part by plastering phony invitations to a ‘George Bush for Congress’ beer blast on the windshields of churchgoers in bone-dry west Texas.

Congressman Hance established a solid conservative voting record and joined the Boll Weevil Democrats faction that crossed the aisle to enact the Reagan tax cuts. In 1985 Hance switched parties to become a Republican. It was about this time that some wealthy donor took Hance and fellow party-jumper Phil Gramm to a Super bowl game. Hearing the crowd roar, Gramm told Hance “If we can lower taxes and end the deficit, they’ll cheer for us like that.” Needless to say, this didn’t happen. That would be akin to saying ‘If we lose enough weight on the beer and cheeseburger diet, we could fly.’

Hance gave up his seat to make unsuccessful races to be U.S. Senator and Texas Governor, and served on the Texas Railroad Commission (that regulates the oil business in Texas.) After his 1990 loss to Clayton Williams, (who lost to Ann Richards after making a rape joke to reporters) Hance “sought opportunities in the private sector” and he found them as a lobbyist for GOP moneybags Lonnie Pilgrim, oilfield mfr. N.L. Industries, and swiftboater Harold Simmons’ Waste Control Specialties, who won approval to build two nuclear waste dumps in West Texas.

In 2004 Hance became legal counsel to the Alabama Coushatta Tribe, who the year before paid $18 million for lobbying services to Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, a gravy train that flowed to Tom DeLay, Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, and now Kent Hance. I avidly followed this scandal at the time and never saw Kent Hance’s name come up, and must say that he was never indicted, prosecuted or convicted of any wrongdoing. For all I know, the tribe hired Hance to get Abramoff’s hand out of their pocket.

In 2006 the Board of Regents of Texas Tech University appointed him Chancellor. Hance donated $1.75 million to build a chapel there that now bears his name. He achieved his goal of raising $1 billion for the University, and will retire as Chancellor this year. The University has already named him Chancellor-Emeritus.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chupacabra Report

News that Gets My Goat

-For my morning schadenfreude today I see a Chronicle headline saying Appeals court agrees to review DeLay’s overturned conviction. This news was welcome to me, as I’ve been perplexed recently to read that DeLay has a new job as columnist and radio personality for the Washington (Moonie) Times, and that he gave $1,000 to an otherwise-credible candidate to be my representative in Austin.

DeLay was convicted in 2010 of money laundering and conspiracy for a scheme to illegally spend corporate money in Texas political campaigns. This conviction was overturned in 2013 by two Republican judges on a three-judge-panel, who ruled that “the evidence was legally insufficient to sustain DeLay’s convictions.”

DeLay’s attorney, Brian Wice, said that he looked forward to arguing again that the conviction should be overturned. No doubt. For a defense attorney, Tom DeLay is a gift that keeps on giving.

-President Obama’s nominee for the post of Surgeon General is tied up in the Senate, of course. The issue here is that the NRA found him referring to shootings as a public health problem. Personally, in this country where there are more gun deaths every year than fatal car accidents, I would say that he ought to be disqualified should he not recognize this fact, which is endorsed by physician and hospital groups nationwide. But if the NRA’s against it, so goes the Congress. This would be like Detroit automakers opposing a nominee for advocating a seatbelt requirement.

-NPR had a story today about an unpublished theory from Albert Einstein. This “lost theory” offers a model of a universe expanding after the big bang. Researchers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem found a mistake in Einstein’s calculations, a minus sign that should have been a plus. Astrophysicist Mario Livio, author of “Brilliant Blunders” a book about mistakes made by great scientists said “About 20% of Einstein’s papers contain various mistakes of various degrees. You try to think in unconventional ways and when you do that, guess what? Sometimes you encounter mistakes.” No doubt people lobbying Texas’ State Board of Education will be combing through the work of Isaac Newton now, looking for grounds to finally repeal the law of gravity.

Friday, March 14, 2014


I opened Bartcop today hoping to see a new post and instead learned that he had died last week.

Bartcop was the pen name of Terry Coppage of Tulsa Oklahoma, (which place Bart described as ground zero for stupidity in America.)

One of the first political bloggers, Bart opened up shop in 1996, at the height of the right-wing-conspiracy to undo the election of Bill Clinton by smear campaign and witch-hunt. His site was lush with photoshop fun, political cartoons and pages of eye candy called “Bartcop Hotties.” For years he ended every post with a picture of Shirley Manson from Garbage. But Bart was always “swinging the hammer” at greed, bad government, bought media and religious insanity. A redneck progressive, Bart was an avid supporter of the U S Armed Forces and was frequently outraged at their misuse and neglect by chickenhawks eager to send them into harm’s way. Bart was big on gun rights, but not opposed to all gun control, saying that on a scale of 1 to 10, with David Koresh at 10, he’d be a three. He drew outrage from many when he questioned our unquestioned support of Israel, suggesting that the country be re-located to Oklahoma. He would banter with his most rabid critics, posting long email exchanges he posted as “Monkeymail.”

As a sample of the Bart point-of-view that attracted thousands of readers, this from “Bart’s Laws:”

Bart's Law #1

Don't EVER tell the truth in a political campaign.
People want to be lied to.
They don't care if you're the best, most qualified candidate in history, they're going to vote for
a candidate who stars in a fuzzy video of him playing with the family dog while his pearl-necklaced
wife and your 2.3 small children watch in awe while the voice-over dude explains that this guy
has whatever-state-you-live-in family values.

If you doubt me, ask President Mondale about telling the truth.

Bart's Law #2

Any time a person or entity makes a "mistake" that puts extra money (or power) in their pocket,
expect them to make that "mistake" again and again and again. That's why refineries have fires now and then,
because a fire allows them to scream "unexpected shortage" so they can gouge us on the price of gas.

-Bart was a must-read for so many, often an eye-opener and what good fun! For years I would re-post items found on Bartcop on my own blog and on Faceplant, and it was always a thrill when he would post one of my comments, or send me message telling me that I had the correct answer to one of his “History Mysteries.” Koresh, he’ll be missed.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How did I miss this? It's my Congressman Steve Stockman's mug shot from 1977, when he was arrested for illegally possessing valium. The Cornyn campaign dug this up and Juanita Jean was scared to post it because Stockman threatened legal action. Stockman gave up his re-election campaign to run in the Republican Senate primary, where he was trounced. He has since threatened to run for office again in the future. Well, this isn’t a very good picture, but we can always hope to get a new one.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dave Camp's Tax Plan

Just saw an article from NYT’s Stephan Ohlemacher about Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s tax overhaul plan and to my eye it has a lot to recommend itself. As Ohlemacher says;
“In theory, the unhappiness at both ends of the political spectrum could mean that Camp has hit all the right notes..”
-I always figure that if you have both sides pissed-off you’re getting somewhere. Being a Republican plan, of course, it starts with tax cuts. Seven tax brackets become two, with a 10% levy on incomes starting at twenty-some thousand, somewhere becoming 25%, and then add a surcharge on incomes over $425,000 (or $450,000 for married households.) The corporate tax rate would fall from 35% to 25%. So where does the money then come from? Sacred cows.
“Taxes paid to state and local governments would no longer be deductible.” -That’s scary to folks in high-tax states, but sounds good to me in Texas, with no state income tax to deduct.
“The earned income credit for low-wage workers would be converted to a more limited deduction on payroll taxes.”
-Well, the EITC, a popular program since the 1970s, is designed to help low-wage workers get by. A payroll tax cut could do the same. There is the question of this being corporate welfare for low-paying employers like WalMart, the biggest welfare queen ever.
“Deductions of mortgage interest in the future would be capped at $500,000 of debt, half the current cap.”
-There is also to be, I believe, no more mortgage interest deduction for second homes. Real estate professionals will be screaming bloody murder about this, and there probably ought to be some relief for poor devils of modest means living in high-dollar housing markets, but this has largely been a deduction for the well-heeled. I don’t want to help pay for somebody else’s McMansion.
“Under the Camp plan, private equity and hedge fund managers would be prevented from classifying much of their income as lower-taxed capital gains for tax purposes, closing what Democrats have criticized as the "carried interest loophole."
-Be still my heart! This is the provision that gave Mitt Romney a tax rate lower than mine.
“Camp even embraced an idea that has taken hold in the most progressive parts of the Democratic Party, a tax on transactions by the biggest banks.”
- I love this idea. The ‘economic sector’ has been growing larger in recent decades through a frenzy of mergers and acquisitions, plus such innovations as “outsourcing,” “offshoring” and “dead peasant policies.” A modest transaction tax could raise boatloads of money while acting as a break on such plagues as automated trading and churning of accounts. I can’t believe I’m seeing it in a GOP proposal.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"U.S. Government to Release New Dollar Coins" "Since the 1950's, "In God We Trust" has been our National Motto, and has been inscribed on the front of all coins and the back of all paper currency. This new coin came out this month. The U.S. Mint hopes the redesigned $1 coin will win acceptance with consumers. It does not have "In God We Trust" on it. Here's another way of phasing God out of America. You guessed it 'IN GOD WE TRUST' IS GONE!!! "Who originally put 'In God We Trust' onto our currency? My bet is that it was one of the Presidents on these coins.All our U.S. Government has done is Dishonor them, and disgust me!!! If ever there was a reason to boycott something, THIS IS IT!!!! DO NOT ACCEPT THE NEW DOLLAR COINS AS CHANGE Together we can force them out of circulation. Read more at" -Dear Flanders, I find it funny when people send these things with links to snopes or some other site that actually debunks the message sent. This is one of those. If you read the links you’ll see that the motto is inscribed on the edge of the coins. Is that not good enough? I imagine it will still provoke litigation from some atheist attorney somewhere. Snopes does note that the motto was added to currency in the 1950’s. This period of our history is also known as the “red scare,” not one of our best times in many ways. I guess the idea was that the motto would gird us against Godless communism. I’m grateful that God didn’t let us incinerate ourselves in this cause. I’m sure you’re familiar with the gospel story about coins with Caesar’s picture on them. Re-reading Matthew 20: 21, I have to wonder if we’re making a mistake putting “God” on our currency, as many of us seem to worship money itself. -Charly Hoarse

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chupacabra Report

I can tell that newspaper circulation is down in Houston when I go to the Tel-Wink diner for breakfast and there are no copies loose on the counter to read.

But I am still a subscriber. I get news from the comic section and great comedy from the news. It’s such fun to look at the front page headlines and see that Steve Stockman, my useless congressman, is in hot water again, or that his opponent in the GOP primary for the US Senate, incumbent John Cornyn, is polling less than 50% against a field of unknown wackos.

This week I’ve been delighted to see that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has drawn criticism for including Ted Nugent in campaign events. Abbott probably thought nothing of it, as Governor Rick Perry often shared the stage with Nugent. ‘Ted the Head’ would shred the national anthem, call Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi bitches and offer to let them “suck on my machine gun.” Congressman Stockman took Nugent as a guest to President Obama’s State of the Union Address. But this week it was front page news when Abbott did it. Good.

Chronicle columnist Bill King weighed in today on the Outlook page:

“Abbott may have made just the fatal mistake we did not expect. For reasons beyond comprehension, Abbott decided to campaign with rock star-turned-political wacko, Ted Nugent.

“Nugent, a Detroit guitarist, became famous in the 1970s and reinvented himself as a far - and I do mean far - right-wing activist in the 1990s. He is legendary for outlandish comments and behavior.

“He has admitted that he frequently slept with under-age girls while on tour, a felony in Texas. Although he frequently invokes fallen American military servicemen in his political rants, he also admitted to an elaborate scheme to dodge the draft and the Vietnam War.”

“According to him, President Obama is a "subhuman mongrel" and a "piece of s---." He referred to Hillary Clinton as a "bitch" and worse. He has said he would shoot those crossing the border illegally, that it might have been better if the South won the Civil War, that feminists are "fat pigs" and he sees nothing wrong with using the N-word.

“After their appearance this week, Abbott meekly denied knowing about some of Nugent's more outrageous comments and attempted to parse his association with Nugent based only on his support of the Second Amendment.

“But that is simply not going to wash. The media have exploded with stories about the joint appearance, and each one has chronicled some of Nugent's most despicable comments or positions. Now Abbott is stained with Nugent and has provided Davis with material for powerful negative campaign ads.”

“I have heard from a number of women, who, although they are lifelong Republicans, intend to quietly go into the polling booth and vote for Davis. I suspect quite a few more will do so after hearing about Abbott's appearance with Nugent.”

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chupacabra Report

Maybe not a key economic indicator, but the San Antonio Express News reports that unemployment is down among goats.

VICTORIA — Goats soon could dot the Texas landscape as fire prevention experts try new ways to tamp down highly flammable brush, a key component in the outbreak and spread of wildfires.

City officials in Victoria started an experiment this week to see if four-legged barnyard animals could beat two-legged landscapers in clearing the city's Riverside Park.”

“The 25 to 30 Boer-Spanish goats, which started work Monday, are up by 5 a.m. and loaded into a truck at 6 a.m. By 7 a.m., they are hard at work munching their way through sometimes poisonous scrub that has closed off portions of Riverside Park for the past decade.”

“The city is paying $1,200 a week for the goats to dine on the park's brush.”

-Hmmm, $1200 divided by 28 goats by forty hours, that makes goat wages just over a dollar an hour. Probably more than I get committing music, but then, maybe goats can sight-read. I have long schemed to rent out goats as lawnmowers, but had no clue how to stop them from eating gardens, shrubs and satellite dishes. I’ll be keen to hear how this experiment pans out.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Chupacabra Report

News that Gets My Goat

I found this story in a comment string on Juanita Jean’s World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon. The reader was commenting on Danny Goeb’s (can’t help myself, that’s State Senator and Lieutenant Governor candidate Dan Patrick’s original name) answer to questions about his bankruptcy; “We don’t have debtor’s prisons in America.” And good thing for him, that; he may be a darling of the Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse crowd, but Patrick and those who have done business with him are certainly no strangers to the courtroom.

Anyways, the CBS story reports that “Thousands of Americans are sent to jail not for committing a crime, but because they can't afford to pay for traffic tickets, medical bills and court fees.

“If that sounds like a debtors' prison, a legal relic which was abolished in this country in the 1830s, that's because it is. And courts and judges in states across the land are violating the Constitution by incarcerating people for being unable to pay such debts.”

The story goes on to tell of folks around the country ending up behind bars because ‘they ain’t got that do-re-mi,’ and tells of some possible remedies;

“poor defendants should be exempt from court fees and fines, while repayment plans should be set according to people's ability to repay a debt. States also must have clear written standards for determining a person's ability to pay. Fees for public defenders should be eliminated.”

And what can we ourselves do about this? Notice the four mentions in the article of the American Civil Liberties Union defending poor defendants up against the law. Annual membership in the Texas A.C.L.U. begins at $35 per year.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Chupacabra Report: News that Gets My Goat


Congressman Steve Stockman is the gift that just keeps on giving. He was in The Chronicle today saying that he'll take Bitcoin contributions to his Senate campaign. He wishes. The only $867 dollar contribution I could see would be if he could get himself incarcerated again, I could see paying my share for his room and board at the pen. I'm certain that the Stockman campaign would also accept contributions of MREs and canned water; and if anybody has a garage where they could stay, they had to leave the last place they were in. 

I know what I'd like to do for the campaign. Taking their lead, I could paste-up some slanderous shit and stick copies under the wiper blades of all the folks at Stockman's church on Sunday. I could have him saying something about how Bitcoins allow him to take contributions from the underground economy,  foreign interests, the Mob, Commies, aliens.. -Where does he go to church anyways? I should call John Cornyn's people, they might pay me; it would be like inheriting some of Bob Perry's money.