Zippidy Doo Da

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Senate Passes Health Care Bill

When the drug companies cut a deal with the white house to cut prices by 80 billion dollars over ten years, it just made me think about how much they must be screwing us to be able to afford that. They always cite their high costs for research and development, but that actually runs less than what they spend on advertising and promotion, which was 19 billion last year. I find all this incredible.

Data from the Center for Responsive Politics made the wire last week with news that over $600 million was spent last year to influence U.S. lawmakers working to overhaul the health care system; that 3,300 registered lobbyists swarmed the 535 members of Congress. Did all this expense hurt AHIP’s bottom line? Apparently not, as the S&P index of managed care insurers was up 34% for the year.

So the sausage meat has been ground at last, and next month the conference committee will get together to stuff it into hog casings. BartCop quoted NPR’s Will Wilkerson saying “The way health care reform has proceeded somehow reminds me of the way slavery got built into the Constitution.”

The big players all got their money’s worth, and at the going rate, their lobbying expenses will amount to only pennies on the dollar compared to what they stand to gain. This legislation may prove to be an expensive and shamefully wasteful first step out of the evil boondoggle our system has become, but may never evolve into what it ought to be until we make great strides in public education, reform campaign finance, reverse media consolidation, and monkeys fly out our butts.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chupacabra Report

News that Gets My Goat..

Has Charles Krauthammer lost his mind?

I hate to read him anymore as he always seems to be ginning up the next war. Once he won a Pulitzer, worked for the Carter administration, and wrote speeches for Mondale. Maybe all those appearances on Faux News have affected his brain.

Last week he wrote a column to decry President Obama’s failure to support the popular revolt in Iran last year, saying that we should cut off gasoline supplies to the regime and lend covert support to Iranian dissidents.

Is he crazy? Doesn’t he realize that any Iranian caught working with us today would be facing a firing squad tomorrow? The United States and Britain have been meddling in Iran for a century now; why do you think they celebrate ‘Death to America Day’ the way we celebrate the Fourth of July.

Iran is a nation of teenagers under the thumb of the Mullahs and the military. Nothing could send them back into the arms of the bad guys like a little U.S. intervention.

We’re just starting to get over Bush’s “axis of evil” speech and Cheney’s covert ops, let’s give Obama a chance to overcome eight years of wrong-headed mischief and not be encouraging the warmongers, Israeli and domestic.

I’ll leave you with something I just found in “Good-bye to All That,” a memoir from The Great War.

“War should be a sport for men above forty-five only, the Jesse’s, not the David’s. ‘Well, dear father, how proud I am of you serving your country as a very gallant gentleman prepared to make even the supreme sacrifice! I only wish I were your age: how willingly would I buckle on my armour and fight those unspeakable Philistines! As it is, of course, I can’t be spared; I have to stay behind at the War Office and administrate for you lucky old men. What sacrifices I have made!” David would sigh, when the old boys had gone off with a draft to the front, singing Tipperary: ‘There’s my father and my Uncle Salmon, and both my grandfathers, all on active service. I must put a card in the window about it.”

-Robert Graves, 1916

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Texas to send more criminals, idiots, and hapless dolts to Washington, according to the Chronicle’s Chris Moran.

“The population of Texas has grown to 24.8 million, second only to California. Just the growth of the Texas population since 2000 — 3.9 million people — is greater than the population of 24 states.

“If that trend continues through the official decennial count next year, Texas stands to gain four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chupacabra Report

News that gets my goat..

Just as I mistakenly thought we had elected a Democratic Congress that would move to stop the wars, I had also hoped that the Dem majority would pass universal health insurance legislation.

The bill that passed the House was heavily stepped-on by the Republican tools of AHIP and pHarma, along with their fellow travelers, the blow-dog Democrats, but still I watched for the Senate and conference committees to produce some improvement to the status quo.

The Senate surprised me when after killing any public option, they moved to open up Medicare to ages 55 and older. This was an idea I hadn’t heard outside of the Bill Moyers show. Soon, this hope was snatched away, by swing vote Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Why? Maybe Froma Harrop has the answer. This from her column last week..

“The insurance industry has given $1-million-plus to Lieberman's Senate campaigns. The insurers have been very good to Lieberman, but they may not be done yet. That thought plus his dimming favor back home leads to the following question: Is Lieberman pulling a Billy Tauzin?

“A Louisiana Democrat-turned-Republican, then-Rep. Tauzin wrote the Medicare drug benefit that forbade the federal government to bargain on price with the pharmaceutical makers. That legislation could cost more than the Democrats' overhaul of the entire health care system. Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker famously called it “probably the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.”

“As Tauzin wrote the bill to the drug makers' liking, the Bush administration threatened to fire Medicare's actuary if he revealed his true estimates of the cost. Having sold out his country and its taxpayers, Tauzin then left elected office for an estimated $2.5-million-a-year job with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

“Everything Lieberman has done in this health care brawl suggests a similar career path.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I feel as a citizen just like this little girl. I innocently climb in Santa's lap to ask for my favorite toy - health insurance that is affordable and comprehensive enough to be useful - only to be groped, fingered, and sickened by this skeezy imposter's sterno breath and hardened penis.

This degenerate only likes children for the purpose of gratifying his repulsive urges. To ascribe some wholesome interest in kids, Christmas, peace on earth - whatever - makes that person a chump.

Dr. Dean is trying to call a cop to stop the blatant victimization of trusting souls by a mega-mall monster masquerading as a revered cultural icon, but nobody pays attention because, "that's the only Santa we have, and it wouldn't be Christmas without Santa Claus."

Us dads need to beat him bloody and toss his broken body in the dumpster.

Be sure and vote in'10.

Happy Holidays

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

God Calls Oral Roberts Home

A spokesman for God said “God warned Roberts as early as 1987 that his continued existence depended on his raising millions of dollars in ‘love offerings’ from the shut-ins and vidiots that watch his broadcasts. Oral Roberts Ministries receipts have fallen in recent years as marks instead watch Glen Beck and send their dollars to As Roberts’ cash flow ebbed, his time ran out.”

If you don't know, as of today, Facebook will automatically start plunging the Earth into the Sun. To change this option, go to Settings --> Planetary Settings --> Trajectory then UN-CLICK the box that says 'Apocalypse.' Facebook kept this one quiet. -Joe Higgins

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Copenhagen and Home

I heard a story on Marketplace recently about how the Japanese, who import all their fuel, have really gotten religion since the first oil price shocks in the 1970’s. After three decades of investment in conservation and efficiency with no backsliding like some people(us), their per capita energy usage is now just half that of ours.

I would suggest that we aren’t considering the true cost of our energy use. The 13 million barrels of oil we import every day will cost us three or four hundred billion dollars this year.

But shouldn’t we factor in our five or six hundred billion dollar annual defense budget?

And that doesn’t include the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the Iraq war alone is estimated by Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz to total three trillion dollars so far, about equal to what we spend on oil imports over ten years.

Now consider that much of this money is borrowed, and will have to be repaid with interest. I’m certainly no economist, but it seems reasonable to figure that our real cost is two or three times the nominal cost of oil. Cheap energy is no longer cheap, if it ever was.

And that’s just the monetary value. U.S. forces have suffered over 36,000 casualties since we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s like two for every high school in America.

Remember Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery” where the village would pick one person at random every year and stone them to death to ensure the coming harvest? Barbaric, huh?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

That toxic little creep Joe Barton, R-Texas made the news again this week, not for denying climate science, or for being neck-deep into graft with Tom DeLay, but for his College Football Playoff Act of 2009. George Will, another sports fanatic wrote a column about it..

‘“They keep trying to tinker with the current system,” Barton says, “and to me it's like — and I don't mean this directly — it's like communism. You can't fix it.” He would toss the BCS into the ashcan where, arguably, it belongs. “It is,” he says, “simply a cartel, much like OPEC.”

“Barton's bill makes the usual perfunctory nod to the Constitution, finding that college teams travel in interstate commerce, and college games “involve and affect” such commerce and therefore — the usual non sequitur — it is fine for Congress to meddle.

“Barton's bill, which should draw a penalty for unnecessary roughness to the idea of limited government, demonstrates how Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce has become an end run around that idea.”

-Well, that goes to show how Barton’s gotten elected 13 times to Phil Gramm’s old seat. Red baiting: how clever. If that won’t float we can always go back to burning witches.

To show just how silly this all is, let me leave you with this from Jimmy Fallon:

"Congress was hard at work today trying to come up with a fair playoff system for college football. Meanwhile, the NCAA is kicking around ideas for how to win the war in Afghanistan."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

BartCop has Gene Lyons' latest..

"Reportedly, Gen. Petraeus cautioned Obama to think of the current Afghan government as essentially "a crime syndicate." That is, a hierarchical, semi-conspiratorial organization based on tribal and familial loyalties rather than abstract ideals of patriotism or public service -- basically the only way Afghan society has ever run, and realistically the only way it's going to function after Americans leave.

"Something else Obama's team confronted was the impossibility of military victory. "Mr. Gates and others," the Times reported, "talked about the limits of the American ability to actually defeat the Taliban; they were an indigenous force in Afghan society, part of the political fabric." One may as well talk of driving Baptists out of Texas.

"That said, anybody who imagined that this president -- any American president -- was going to abruptly pull out of a NATO action in Afghanistan, or to negotiate from a position of weakness, potentially leading to the spectacle of ragtag Taliban militiamen overrunning Kabul in beat-up Japanese pickup trucks and threatening a consequent reestablishment of al-Qaida bases there, simply isn't dealing with political reality, Afghan or American.

"The success of Obama's plan further hinges on Pakistan's ability to confront jihadist elements on its side of the border. Essentially, the president is like a poker player trying to draw to an inside straight, gambling that his troop buildup can buy enough time to bribe Taliban fighters motivated by dislike of foreign invaders more than jihad into changing sides, another Afghan tradition.

"It's definitely a long shot. The hopeful part of Obama's policy, however, resides precisely in the calculated ambiguity of the July 2011 date.

"Our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended," the president said in his televised speech, "because the nation that I am most interested in building is our own."

"So when was the last time a president spoke in the language of realism, acknowledging limits to American power in remote parts of the world, and to America's ability to pay for endless wars of marginal strategic importance?

"It's an important first step. Will there be another?"

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hotze shakes down Locke

The Chronicle’s Rick Casey reports today that Gene Locke campaign chair Ned Holmes and finance committee member James Dannenbaum each wrote $20,000 checks to right-wing nut Steven Hotze’s Conservative Republicans of Harris County PAC days before Hotze sent out a mailer endorsing Locke.

This really plays to the misgivings I’ve had all along with Locke’s candidacy. He’s an attractive candidate except for his establishment backing. All the usual suspects, the realtors, home builders, contractors, unions, and of course, the ministers lined up behind him early. And then there’s his history with the Sports Authority.

It’s not that I only like candidates who are unelectable, but troglodytes like Steven Hotze, along with moneybags such as Bob Perry and James Leininger, are never going to dry up and blow away as long as we keep electing people that bow down and do trade with them.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Put me down with LD on this one, I’ve been proud to vote for Bill White for Houston Mayor twice; hell, he even won in my tory Clear Lake precinct. After hurricane Katrina, he moved swiftly to take care of people in trouble, while idiot Tom DeLay was tying up everybody’s phone lines asking for Federal troops. His actions after Ike were likewise outstanding, working side by side with the Republican County Judge, unconcerned about who would get the credit for their job well done.

Here’s Bill White on why he will make a fine governor..

"I'm disappointed in Gov. Perry's failure to make tangible progress in addressing the dropout race, fighting polluters, and I could go on and on," he said "If I don't step up and do this, Texas faces several more years of highly-charged wedge politics and a lack of leadership, and Texas cannot afford that."

"Shouldn't we be the state that leads the nation, not that leaves the nation?" White said.

"If I'm governor, no company will feel they're entitled to dump tons of cancer-causing chemicals in our air – the air they don't own, the public owns," he said.

Houston Proud

Houston is where I was born and spent the first twenty years, or so of my life. My family reaches back in Houston history to at least the turn of the century. I feel qualified to speak about it in knowing terms.

Louie Welch was the mayor for life when I was born. He ran things pretty well in a sort of mild-mannered way, in that the institutions that actually ran Houston; i.e. the Chamber of Commerce, the Rodeo Association, the city employees’ unions, black preachers, Costello mobsters, the Klan, Big Oil, and to a certain extent, Herman Short (the Darth Vader of law enforcement) were allowed to operate without any interference from city hall.

People don’t realize that the recently oft-cited “Reagan Recession” – the last time in America that unemployment hit 10% - which stretched from 1981 to 1983, never let up in Houston due to a bust in the oil markets. Through the next few years Space City took it on the chin. Having survived the turbulent sixties, and the inane seventies, the balance of power in the city shifted dramatically. Kathy Whitmier, who I believe was Houston’s greatest mayor, found that women, gays, and Hispanics were seeking greater representation in city politics, and were willing to vote to get it. Mayor Whitmier, in her “Houston Proud” campaign, helped end the hard times and paved the way for the Rocket City to transcend from a one industry concern to a modern diversified economic power-house we see today. My personal feeling is that the spirit of the term limits craze was in the air, plus the experience with Louie’s long tenure made voters look elsewhere for leadership, which they could afford to do because times were pretty good.

After drifting along for a time with a series of mayors whose names I forget, and after the city started to slide into a funk marked by high crime, poor city services, corruption, a lack of transportation and infrastructure planning and spending, very poor air and water quality, Bill White was elected. This fact garnered little notice at the time.

During Mayor White’s tenure these things changed and got better. And he proved his strong leadership during Houston’s heroic rescue of Katrina victims and the incredible nightmare of Hurricane Ike.

Zippidy Doo Da caused itself some minor controversy among the blog community by supporting Mr. Friedman for governor, because the long line of flacid milque-toasty Democratic candidates, who appealed to the young Democratic intelligencia were never going to win in Texas. It’s like bringing a slide rule to a gun fight. Merely pointing out that in Texas politics, that a lack of gravitas, and the absence of an ability to convey strength, = FAIL, made some people get shitty with us.

So how do I feel about Mayor White running for Governor, in a race against any Republican that no one expects him to come close, much less win?

His full name is probably William “Whitey” White, but the man has, at long last, the right stuff to win. He is the real deal. Go read his bio and prepare to be amazed. He can run on his record. He is a pass-master at political compromise that favors a progressive agenda. Although he is not clearly a politcal idealogue, I think he has learned that the power of government to change people's lives can serve the good, AND make us stronger. By the way, he has seven million dollars in the bank already.

I can’t speak for Charly, but this voter heartily endorses Bill “Whitey” White for Governor.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Cornyn Update

-Because I occasionally write to him to offer advice and criticism, John Cornyn sends me updates on his latest mischief. Here’s a sample, with comments..

“I was troubled by the President’s announcement that he will begin withdrawing our troops in July of 2011.”

-Of course, you chickenhawk tool of the neocon warmongers. What ever happened to politics stopping at the water’s edge?

“the Reid bill would take Medicare Advantage benefits away from Seniors,”

-This is probably less a problem for seniors than it is for your patrons in the health insurance industry, who use these provisions to get their sticky fingers into the Medicare system. If it's such a bad deal for doctors and patients, why are the AMA and AARP behind the bill?

“ saddle middle class Americans with $2,100 in increased premiums a year,”

-Let’s see, that figure is CBO’s estimate of increases by the year 2016; under your plan, that is, doing nothing, premiums would continue to increase at 10% per year, an increase of almost $10,000 by 2016.

“and penalize small businesses if they fail to comply with new job-killing mandates in what is still a fragile economy.”

-95% of small businesses have a payroll below the $400,000 mark where the penalties kick in, and tax breaks will be available to help those companies provide coverage. These reforms should be a boon to small businesses who provide health benefits to their employees; businesses that heretofore have been subject to predation and collusion by health insurance providers.

“I have delivered a copy of the full bill to the Austin Central Library where it can be accessed by the public,”

-Yeah I’ve seen you and thirty-seven other Republican senators hauling around those reams of paper. That’s why the RNC pays Alex Castellanos the big money, so you bozos can all say the same thing when the cameras are on. Do you know how silly you look?

“I recently traveled to South Texas where I met with Valley-area veterans in McAllen. Sen. David Vitter, R-La. and I visited the Federal Courthouse in McAllen.”

-That’s rich, you’re running with Vitter now; did he bring any hookers along with him on this trip?

“It’s an honor to serve you in the United States Senate. Sincerely,
U.S. Senator John Cornyn

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Armed Citizen

Juan Rodriguez never even knew the names of the people who rented the house across the street.
He was asleep at 2 a.m. on Thursday when a single gunshot rang out in his northwest Harris County cul-de-sac. Three armed men had just robbed his neighbors. Rodriguez grabbed his handgun and ran outside.
“I have my gun!” Rodriguez yelled.
His words were answered by a barrage of bullets, said his ex-wife, Olga Contreras.
“It sounded like a machine gun,” said Contreras, who lived with Rodriguez. “I immediately threw myself on the floor. With all that gunfire, I just knew that he'd been shot.”
Rodriguez, 39, died at Ben Taub General Hospital. His neighbors disappeared before deputies arrived. Investigators said they believe the robbery he interrupted was drug-related.
(The Houston Chronicle, Houston, TX, 12/4/09)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Chupacabra Report

News that gets my goat..

Today’s Chronicle Lite has a column titled “Let Texas use innovation to solve food stamp woes” stating that Federal bureaucracy keeps states behind times. The article was written by state Reps. Wayne Christian, R-Center, Dan Flynn, R-Canton, Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, John Davis, R-Houston, Leo Berman, R-Tyler, Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, and Bud Snarff, R- Dripping Member. The representatives are members of the Texas Conservative Coalition, a caucus of the Texas Legislature, also known as The Seven Dwarfs.

Frankly I’m surprised to hear this subject even raised by this bunch. They ought to be ashamed that hungry Texans are waiting over three months for emergency food aid during the worst economic downturn since the great depression. These are the same idiots that outsourced the operation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 2003, resulting in over 200,000 eligible children losing coverage.

Just as Governor Rick Perry suspended collection of unemployment insurance premiums the year before jobless claims spiked, these geniuses ran off over 1,000 state employees administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, just when they need to serve twice as many hungry families.

The Dwarfs write that the solution to this mess lies not in more bureaucracy, but in accountability. Too bad Texas voters have failed to hold these members accountable for causing the problem in the first place. Typically, their “don’t blame us, blame the government” response is at least three months behind the curve. Fitting. This story made the papers last September with reports that Texas was processing only 58% of applications in a timely manner, with over 43,000 families waiting anywhere from three to five months for an interview.

They go on to quarrel with the Federal directive that Texas drop it’s requirement for finger imaging of people receiving food aid. Well, if it’s fraud they’re looking for, they should head for the nearest looking glass. Maybe these goniffs should be fingerprinted when they try to spend campaign donations on fancy boots and golf outings.