Zippidy Doo Da

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From 25% to 8%

"These debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates. It's pretty hard to be able to sit and lay out your ideas and your concepts with a one-minute response," the Texas governor told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly. "So, you know, if there was a mistake made, it was probably ever doing one of the [debates], when all they're interested in is stirring up between the candidates instead of really talking about the issues that are important to the American people."

-No, your mistake was leaving Haskell, Slick.
I, for one would never vote for a candidate that can't stand up before people and speak his mind. You've always gotten by parroting what the 'right' people think, and waiting for their money to sell you like a box of soap. Hopefully Dubya ruined that act for a while.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chupacabra Report

News that Gets My Goat..

-Front page story in the Sunday chronicle about Medicare paying over sixty million dollars a year to private EMS companies in Harris County to transport poor, sick, and mentally ill patients by ambulance to clinics and hospitals, five times the rate of any other Texas city, almost ten times as much as spent in New York City. The article notes that some of these appointments are to strip centers and residential neighborhoods, and that many of the patients are “neither debilitated nor confined to a sick bed. They are not headed to, or coming from the hospital, and there is no medical need.”

Expect this story to get legs, although it’s been going on for over twenty years. I’m sure the usual suspects will try to use it as a hammer against ‘socialized medicine,’ though to me it speaks as an example of the vaunted private sector looting the public till and adds to the case for further reform. There is a crying need for low-income and indigent healthcare in Texas. Could it be that we can spend ten times as much as New York (which has twice the population of Harris County) because they better insure more people there and have adequate public transportation to get folks to their appointments?

Funny, this story reminds me of Orlando Sanchez, who the GOP expected to drive his Humvee into the mayor’s office on the strength of his Latin surname. As I remember his candidate resume, the only job he listed other than being CEO of his own ‘consulting company,’ was being an EMT for an ambulance service in North Harris County. Sanchez lost his bid for mayor, but later got elected County Treasurer over a Democratic candidate who ran on a platform of abolishing the office as extraneous. Don’t take this as a smear on Mr. Sanchez; in one quote I found, he described his EMT service as volunteer, besides; only 333 of 397 private ambulance services in Harris County were under investigation by Medicare last year for billing irregularities. Sanchez may well be re-elected to his treasurers post as long as he cares to run.

-I believe that I’ve heard just about enough praise for Herman Cain now. This sock puppet for the Koch brothers said on Meet the Press that “I’m not familiar with the Neoconservative movement.” Excuse me?! You’ve never heard of the Vulcans who took us into two wars that have cost a million lives and three trillion dollars so far? In his book he wrote “I’m not trying to escape the broader issues, but I think a president should first be briefed on classified intelligence about America’s relationships before offering opinions.” So we have to wait until he gets the President’s Daily Brief to hear what he thinks? Like that one George Bush got on August 6th 2001 maybe?

Cain is getting a lot of mileage out of his “999 tax plan,” regressive as it is. I think it’s just a case of economic illiteracy at work, or is it as George McGovern said, “maybe everybody thinks they’re going to win the lottery.” Maybe folks don’t realize that they would be paying sales tax on every loaf of bread, quart of milk, every prescription they buy. Herman Cain was co-chair of Steve Forbes presidential campaign in 2000. Remember Steve “flat tax” Forbes? Pardon me if I’m dubious about a tax plan offered by somebody who inherited a billion dollars, and note that the “999 plan” eliminates capital gains and inheritance taxes.

Alms to the State

I'm very happy to pass on the great news that here in SA, Methodist Healthcare Ministries has contribute $9.447 million to mental health treatment programs for the "least served and most vulnerable," among us. This was reported Thursday in the Express News', Richard A. Marini.

"Weknow that every emergency room,every jail, every special service agency in South Texas is being flooded with mentally ill patients who do not get adequate care." Kevin C. Moriarty, CEO, Methodist Healthcare.

"And when the state of Texas cut millions in funding to agencies that care for these least-served and vulnerable patients we decided to step in and help.

The money will go to The Center for Health Care Services and the University of Texas Health Science Center.

The nice side of me says thanks for this generous gift from Methodist who profit greatly by the tax-free hospital charity state-charter they have that requires no charity spending. And believe me, they haven't. This development seems mighty white of them; however, the funny thing about their charity recipients in this case are a state run mental health agency, and the medical research arm of a state-run university, (with a healthy state land-based endowment). The cynical side of me cries fowl.

Granted, the money is best-spent on two of the three largest providers of indigent mental healthcare in the county/region, but when Rick Perry commented that government short-falls, and their consequent effects are matters best left up the the Lord, I don't think charity contributions, (or church tithing) should be rolled into the state-run services experiencing the short-falls. I think we all pictured Holy miracles, or something.

Now I guess the Red Cross should give grants directly to the state forestry service to prevent grass fires. Or, the United Way should give directly to the public schools.

Now that I think about it, who's being cynical.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy Houston

The Chronicle's Loren Steffy visited the Occupy Houston protest last week and wrote about a thoughtful capitalist he met among the protesters. Here's some:

"They wonder why if they go to college, get degrees and shoulder thousands of dollars in debt, they still find themselves in the unemployment line.

"They wonder why CEO salaries continue to rise, regardless of corporate performance, while median household incomes fall.

"In other words, they wonder why, if they do their part, the system no longer works the way it was supposed to.

"They wonder why investment banks accept billions in taxpayer-funded welfare to stay in business, then show their gratitude with higher debit cards fees and other abusive practices. They wonder how the big banks can whine about increased regulation as if almost destroying the global economy was akin to a botched play in backyard football and they deserve a do-over.

"They wonder how Wall Street, the supposed engine of capitalism, has become an institution that exists with implicit government support. It privatizes its profits, but when it stumbles, it expects the public to cover its losses.

"The point, as Keeble sees it, isn't to subvert capitalism, but to save it from those who have tried to pervert it.

"The system is broken, and no one in Washington has shown much interest in fixing it. They retread the same tired arguments that either caused the problem or failed to solve it.

"We don't need to end capitalism, we need to root out the influences that have corrupted it.

"If the government won't hold the architects of the financial crisis to account, then "this needs to be addressed in the streets," Keeble said.

"We have to save capital- ism from the crony capital-ists, as he calls them.

"On the back of sign, Keeble called for revamping the tax code by ending loopholes and "tax-break largesse," reforming Wall Street regulations and campaign finance, simplifying corporate compliance and toughing enforcement of existing rules.

"That doesn't sound like a radical manifesto. It sounds like a good place to start."

Phoenix Jones Arrested

Self-proclaimed superhero Phoenix Jones was arrested by Seattle Police after he allegedly hosed down several people with pepper spray. Jones, whose secret identity is Benjamin John Francis Foder, claimed that he was breaking up an unfair fight. Police say there was no fight, and charged him with fourth-degree assault.
Jones is leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement of dorks who must have seen the “Kick-Ass” movie.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

hardboiled fiction

Winslow's quite the social critic: "protecting home and hearth from burglars and home invasion. You gotta love "home invasion" -we thought it would be Mexicans, turns out it was mortgage companies."

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Time to Wake Up

There is a very good post at Kos right now in which the writer makes the best point s about Occupy Wall Street that I've seen so far: let it happen.

The Tea Party "movement" was, and is, a media creation, funded by the Koch brothers, and the usual crowd of suspects on the far right, to promote pet legislation. "Keep your socialist hands off my Medicare," and other skreeds from the, mostly racist, rubes, was part of the carefully choriographed, fully funded, carefully scripted, organizational efforts of a few, and not the organic, grass-roots rage-fest it was promoted to the public.

The best thing the current occupyers could do is to eschew the hall-monitor, agenda driven types who attempt to insinuate themselves into happenings like this in order to gain personal power, or political influence.

The whole question from the power elite, along with their lap-dancing, compliant media partners of, "what do they want?" betrays their utter lack of meaningful connection with the 99% of us who are represented in NY and all over the country.

Hoarse, myself and others here have been asking the question, "where is the public anger and outrage?' for a long time now. It seems to have finally come. Maybe Mr. Obama can learn his lesson here; maybe not. It seems to me, that he has been a major part of the problem he was elected to address in the first place. He could refocus on what matters, and use the energy of this movement to bash the shit out of the Orangeman and his team of modern American traitors. Or he can muddle, dither, distance himself from what he and his spokespeople characterize as marginal and anathema to the true interests of the country, which he appears to be doing. The choice, and opportunity awaits. If he continues with the latter, he might as well pack his bag for a long vinard stay courtesy of his new friends, and live in historical infamy.

Which reminds me. Those Koch bros got some serious 'spaining to do to the teabaggers about their dealings with the Iranians. Whether it is Norquist dealing with the Taliban, Reed stealing from contributers, the sausageman stealing from his PAC, Cheney selling to Iranian terrorists or bribing officials overseas, their preachers putzing children, their pols putzing children, or some other freaky scandal, when will "conservatives" stop buying these creep's snake oil?

Let's pray that the madness on the right will stop, and Americans can start the job of rebuilding the nation.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Prohibition, Civility, and Political Discourse

After enjoying episode two of Ken Burn’s “Prohibition” on PBS tonight, I happened to catch him addressing the National Press Club on CSPAN3. (Available online at

What a performance! He spoke about our loss of civil discourse and our inability to compromise, comparing today’s loggerheads with the Civil War and Prohibition eras. He said movements for sweeping legislation to settle moral questions such as abortion or gay marriage were unlikely to be successful in the light of American skepticism of such solutions after the experience of Prohibition. We will however continue to suffer such wedge-issue politics because the media feeds on the controversy.

He addressed the obvious parallels between Prohibition of the 1920’s and the war on drugs, noting that marijuana is America’s largest cash crop. He said that the two differ in that alcohol has been used throughout the ages while marijuana has been but a sub-culture. Drug violence would not end with legalization because we would be unwilling to sanction the use of cocaine and heroin, so their violent trafficking would continue.

Burns has spent his career making documentary films for PBS and the NEH. He defended these entities against those who would shut them down, noting that they also receive complaints about their conservative bias. He spoke of his friendship with William F. Buckley, who appeared on PBS and PBS only for 30 years. Rather than bias, his films concern themselves with the facts, which are neither Democratic nor Republican. He assembles his teams of experts, consultants and researchers from across the spectrum, and tries to present an average. He says that “newspapers are essential to the survival of our republic,” and that much internet reporting consists of rumor and innuendo. Public broadcasting, while underfunded and much maligned, provides the best in childrens, science, nature, history and news programming. “No other venue would permit me to do as deep a dive, without commercials.”

I knew that Burns was intelligent, but boy was he articulate. He spoke his piece without a halt or stammer, without a misstep. He took questions after, smart as a whip, without a pause. Even if he had been provided the questions in advance, which he apparently hadn’t, it would have been an amazing feat to memorize his responses. I would suggest you have a look at this show if only to remember what a public speaker ought to sound like; you sure won’t see anything like it watching this year’s debates.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Help Wanted?

Pat Robertson’s assertion that most Halloween candy is prayed over by witches made me wonder about the rest of it. Seems to me that this is an opportunity for unemployed broomriders to find seasonal employment.

And while I’m on the subject of Halloween, let me remind young vandals meaning to observe the holiday by throwing eggs that now is the time to buy them so they have time to get good and ripe. Also remember to stock up on shaving cream to avoid shortages and price gouging.

A check of the commodities markets shows that pumpkin futures are through the roof this year. If this year’s drought finds you gourdless, remember that columnist Heloise, who by the way only looks like a witch, assures us that watermelons are an acceptable substitute for pumpkins. So you can go green this Halloween.