Friday, December 22, 2006

All I want for Christmas...

The Ranten Raven says "Tag" and now I'm "It".
As part of this Christmas meme I'm supposed to announce three things that I want for Christmas and three things I do not want for Christmas.

Wow. This is hard. I have an wish list linked on this page, but that's not any fun.
Let's see...

First, I want to see my kids' faces light up on Christmas morning. That's the best gift any parent could ask for.

Second, I got an early Christmas present (and an unexpected one) on Dec. 12 when Ciro Rodriguez beat Henry Bonilla for the District 23 Congressional seat. So I'm going to count that.

And third, I want New Line Cinema to announce that Peter Jackson will direct the motion picture version of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit." (New Line has been stupidly threatening recently to hand the project to someone else because of a financial dispute with Jackson over the LOTR pictures.)

As for things I don't want for Christmas:

I don't want a "surge" of troops going into Iraq early next year.

I don't want the Aggies to be outscored at the Holiday Bowl.

And I don't want a yellow 2007 Chevy Corvette. I mean, come on. Yellow? Yuck!

OK, that's it. And the next person to be hit with this meme will be..........

Robert Shearer at Beginner's Mind

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Golden (Yawn) Globes

Usually at this time of the year I’m excited about the upcoming Academy Awards nominations. But lately, with two young kids at home, I just haven’t been able to keep up. I haven’t even seen any of the Oscar-nominated films from last year yet.
In fact, of all the films nominated for any award last year, I’ve seen six of them:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire;
King Kong;
Batman Begins;
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory;
Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith;
War of the Worlds

But I thought last year’s awards were kind of a bust anyway. The heavy favorite going into the ceremony was a film I cared nothing about (Brokeback Mountain) and it was upset at the last minute by a film which I cared even less about (Crash).

Now the Golden Globe nominations have come out and I barely have any reaction to them at all. I’ve seen exactly two of all the films nominated for anything:
The Da Vinci Code

Of the films that were nominated I’m somewhat interested in seeing The Departed, Scorcese’s latest crime drama, and I’m intrigued by Bobby, the RFK flik by Emilio Estevez. But I had not even heard of Babel, which got the most nominations.
Borat got a nod in the comedy section and I am thinking I will see that movie eventually, although I’m wary because I’m not a fan of gross-out humor and that could spoil the picture for me. But nothing much else catches my fancy at this point.
Oh well. At least I still have tons of movies to watch from last year, if I ever find the time.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Express-News temper tantrum

In what can best be described as a spiteful temper tantrum, the Express-News editorial board lashed out today (12/13/06) in the aftermath of the runoff election which sent their favored candidate down in flames.
First they went after Henry Bonilla — kicking him when he’s down and excorciating him for “squandering the advantages of incumbency, name recognition, access to the media and a $2 million war chest.”
Then they persist in their delusion that the election was “a referendum on Bonilla” and his “efforts to defend the indefensible ethics of Tom DeLay,” as if he would have won the election easily had he simply chosen to stab his party’s leader in the back.
That may have been a wise move in retrospect, but it would have done little to endear him to his constituents back home and would have only infuriated many of his most hard-core supporters.
Neither was Bonilla’s “repugnant ploy to link Ciro Rodriguez to Islamic terrorism” the key to the election. As the editorial writers themselves point out further on, the slanderous attack was “an act of electoral desperation” that was devised long after it was clear that the election was slipping out of his grasp.
No, the clear and overriding issue of the campaign and of the entire 2006 mid-term elections was the war in Iraq. If things had been going well in Iraq, the election outcome would have been entirely different. The costly, bloody debacle in Iraq is what motivated many Democrats to go to the polls and caused many Republicans to stay home all across the country.
Ciro was right on the war from the very beginning. Bonilla and the Express-News were wrong. That is the clearest explanation for the dramatic shift in electoral sentiment expressed last Tuesday. There were other factors in play such as the immigration issue (Bonilla’s support for a border fence killed him with many Hispanic voters on the border) and the “culture of corruption” within the GOP Congress, but these alone would not have been enough to account for the dramatic results we saw.
Next, the editorial writers turn their wrath onto Ciro. They let fly with a whole slew of baseless, unsubstantiated charges against the Congressman-elect. For instance, they claim that Rodriguez canceled debates with Bonilla to “avoid a side-by-side comparison with Bonilla.” This, they claim, is because Rodriguez “has demonstrated an inability to articulate his competence on complex issues.”
How so? The editorial writers neglect to say. But don’t you suppose the fact that Ciro won the election in a landslide is some indication of his ability to “articulate his competence” to the voters? After all, we are talking about someone with a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University and a master’s degree from Our Lady of the Lake University who has a combined 30 years of experience in public service. Someone who has been a university professor, a school board member, a state legislator and a U.S. congressman.
But of course Bonilla was so much more articulate because he was a TV news anchor. I suppose what the editorial writers really mean when they talk about being articulate is someone who is good at reading a teleprompter and parroting short, snappy soundbites.
Then they level the charge that the position Rodriguez takes on issues is detrimental to his district. “When Rodriguez flogs free trade and the elimination of barriers to commerce and finance, he's undermining a $1.2 billion investment by Toyota and the creation of 4,100 jobs in his district,” the editorial alleges.
But what exactly has Ciro ever done that would have undermined Toyota’s investment in San Antonio? That’s a pretty heavy acusation. Could we get some specifics, please? Or is this charge just as baseless as everything else?
Finally, I should just note that Ciro’s appointment by Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi to a seat on the House Appropriations Committee completely undercuts the last slender thread of logic that the E-N used in making its lame and moronic endorsement of Bonilla.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Texas just got a lot bluer

I’m still in shock this morning over Ciro’s landslide victory over the odious Henry Bonilla. I thought I was being overly optimistic to dare hope that Ciro might squeak out a narrow victory. I certainly did not expect that he would win in a 55-45 landslide. My gosh! This was a continuation of the “thumpin’” that Republicans got on Nov. 7. Bonilla did not just lose, he got his ass kicked!
The only polls in the district showed Bonilla winning with about 51 percent and that had put a big damper on my initial enthusiasm. But now it seems that the polls were flat wrong this time. Ciro’s victory means that Democrats had a 30-seat gain from the mid-term elections which is exactly what I had predicted. I could have won the office pool if there had been one.
I’m so happy that the voters in the 23rd District disregarded the San Antonio Express-News’ lame and moronic endorsement of Bonilla. We should all be happy that the “decent” guy won and the guy who ran the “abhorrent” campaign lost.
This was such a huge victory for Ciro that it pretty much cements him in place. A close victory would have meant that Republicans would have been back in force in 2008 to try and reclaim the seat. Now I would expect that effort will only be half-hearted at best. This election showed that Republican efforts to win over the Hispanic vote have gone nowhere lately and they have most likely lost ground.
I still can’t believe I’m actually going to be represented by someone in Congress who shares my values. Since I’ve been old enough to vote, with the exception of the three years that I lived in Connecticut, I’ve never had a Democrat representing me in Congress. In College Station in the late-’80s I was stuck with Republican Joe Barton. For a short time in Connecticut it was Democrat Rosa DeLauro, but then we moved back to Texas and I ended up with Lamar Smith who was representing the Kerrville area in the mid-’90s. In Lubbock I had Republican Larry Combest and when we moved to San Antonio in 2000 it was Bonilla.
And Ciro isn’t just your run-of-the-mill Democrat, he’s an unabashed liberal with a capital L. And while the court-ordered redistricting definitely made this race competitive, it was the Iraq war that made it a runaway landslide for the Democrats. So keep it up, Republicans! Keep our troops mired over in Iraq all the way into 2008 and you’ll think the “thumpin’” you got in 2006 was just a love tap.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

An unsavory and distasteful editorial

The Express-News editorial endorsing Bonilla this morning is even worse than I imagined.
They continue to acknowledge that Bonilla has placed partisan politics over the interests of his district. Furthermore, they say he has run an ugly campaign, adding that his attempt to link Rodriguez to a terrorist was "abhorrent."
And yet they still insist that he is the better choice, even though that choice is described as "unsavory" and "distasteful."
Because Bonilla sits on the House Appropriations Committee and would be in a position to help push more federal dollars into the area, or so they say. Now let's examine the logic behind this for just a moment, shall we? The Democrats are now in charge of the purse strings, and the E-N editorial board thinks the way to get them to send more money to San Antonio is to send another Republican back to Congress? Uh huh.
But what exactly is their knock against Ciro? They say that he is a "decent man." Gee, thanks, guys! But then they add that he was "a lightweight" in Congress and "far from the most effective member of the San Antonio delegation." Do you suppose maybe that could have been because he was stuck in the minority all that time where every one of his initiatives tends to get shot down by the Republican majority? In other words, the same thing that will happen to Bonilla if he goes back to Washington.
And they also knock Ciro for his pro-labor voting record.
But they completely avoid mentioning the one issue most important in this election - the fact that Ciro was exactly right about Iraq and that Henry Bonilla was dead wrong.
That's because the E-N editorial board has been wrong about Iraq from day one. They supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They bought into all the nonsense about WMDs. They endorsed Bush - the worst president of all time - for re-election in 2004. They endorse Republicans for election at every opportunity with very few exceptions. And they continued to advocate a "stay the course" position throughout the entire bloody debacle over there. The E-N has zero credibility on this issue, and their abhorrent and unsavory support of Henry Bonilla should be seen in the same light as the poor judgement they have shown all along in regards to the war in Iraq.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Election blitz

Peter Bryant at B and B did a bang-up job this weekend blogging the appearance of President Bill Clinton at a Ciro Rodriguez rally. I have to say I am getting my hopes up in this race and columns like this in the E-N aren’t helping me keep a lid on my enthusiasm. has become clear down the stretch of the Congressional District 23 race that one candidate — Ciro Rodriguez — has some mojo...

Whether he has the mojo or not, Ciro (and the Democratic Party) has run a good race and it would be a bitter shame of Bonilla wins, especially after revealing his total lack of honor by running that atrocious and blatantly false ad accusing Ciro of supporting terrorism.

I’m hoping that the Express-News editorial writers, who should be duly embarrassed, will skip rehashing their lame and moronic endorsement of Bonilla in tomorrow’s paper, but I probably won’t be that lucky.

I tried to early vote over the weekend but the line was too long and we needed to get the kids home for naptime. So I’ll have to vote on Tuesday. I’ve been blanketed with campaign mailings from both sides and blitzed with phone calls to the point that my wife is threatening not to vote in protest. I keep telling her that all the calls are from Bonilla, but the truth is that it’s about 50-50. And since most are recorded messages there is no one to complain to and ask to be taken off the list.
So while I am happy that the Democrats are putting up a good fight this time, I would just ask or plead that they not call me three and four times a day. You’re singing to the choir, folks! Give me a break!

Win some, lose some

The re-election victory of William Jefferson in Louisiana over the weekend was a big disappointment to Democrats. No doubt Jefferson will quickly become the Republicans’ favorite Democrat, displacing even Joe Lieberman in that capacity.
Not only is Jefferson an embarrassment to the party because of his pending indictment in a bribery scandal, but he practically ran as a Republican during the election - attacking his primary opponent Karen Carter, a fellow Democrat, for being in favor of abortion rights, gay marriage and stem cell research.
Combine those stances with Jefferson’s financial corruption and he would fit in very nicely with the Tom DeLay brand of Republicans in Congress.
It’s a shame the voters in that district didn’t act more sensibly and/or responsibly. Now we are stuck with Jefferson at least until he gets his ass thrown in jail. That may not be too far off, however, so I hope that Karen Carter is keeping her campaign idling and ready to go again when the time comes.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Still deluding themselves

Most conservatives I know are still in denial about the 2006 midterm election results. They want to blame their loss on their party’s failure to crack down on domestic spending programs - that tiny part of the federal budget that pales in comparison to the Defense budget and the Entitlement programs. This, of course, is ridiculous.

The election was all about Iraq - Bush’s quagmire - and I think we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the electorate’s disgust for this bloody debacle. I will predict right now that no Republican will win the 2008 presidential race, especially if this war drags on for another two years as is likely. And any Democrat who wasn’t sufficiently opposed to the war will have difficulties getting elected - including Hillary Clinton. It’s ironic that Hillary’s decision in 2003 to play it safe and support Bush’s war resolution could turn out to be the biggest albatross around her neck in 2008. Personally, I hope she decides to sit this election out and let Al Gore have another shot at it, but I’m not sure her financial backers would support that decision after pouring so much money into her Senate re-election campaign against token opposition.

The war opponents were right from the beginning. That could not be more clear today as the Iraq Study Group’s report shows. It will probably take us another two to three years to fully extricate ourselves from that mess, and many more American soldiers will die as a result. And in the end we will have little to show for it. There is no “democracy” in Iraq today. The country is divided into warring factions and there is no “good” side for us to back.

On the one hand we have the Sunnis, the once-dominant minority that ruled the country with their authoritarian Baathist Party headed up by Saddam Hussein. On the other side we have the Shiites, the bitter and revengeful, newly-empowered majority led by Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army militia which is supported by the Iranian mullahs and the militant Hezbollah. The Mahdi Army is said to be more powerful than the fledgling Iraqi Army that we are so desperately trying to prop up long enough for us to skeedaddle. There is no clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys in this fight. Whenever a bomb goes off you might as well flip a coin to determine who was responsible.

That’s why we’ve got to get out. We are stuck in the middle of a turkey shoot and nobody wants us there. Even long-time war supporters like Republican Sen. Gordon Smith are finally acknowledging this reality.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Early retirment

I saw the bad news today over at Off the Kuff: The Fox Trot comic strip will soon be joining the ranks of Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side and Bloom County as popular strips that ended too soon.

FoxTrot waltzes its way into early retirement.

This is awful! Fox Trot was one of my Top Tier comics strips that I looked forward to reading everyday. I remember when it first came on the scene in 1988 just as we were losing Bloom County. At least Bill Amend will continue to do the Sunday strips for now, but I will miss him during the rest of the week. It’s too bad that we keep losing these great strips while the dead wood strips just continue to hang around forever, some to the point of petrification.

Here are my Top Tier daily strips now that Fox Trot will be bowing out (* = only available online):

For Better or For Worse
Big Nate*
Rudy Park*

Dilbert used to be up there but has fallen off to my second tier list since being relegated to the inside business section where I often forget to go to read it.

Second Tier strips include:

Rose is Rose
Non Sequitur
Piranha Club
One Big Happy
Funky Winkerbean*
Heart of the City*
Get Fuzzy
Sally Forth
Sherman’s Lagoon*
La Cucaracha*

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Abandon ship!

Lie rats scurrying to get off of a sinking ship....

Important Bush Administration officials are ready to leave the government rather than undergo two years of hell from Democratic committee chairmen in Congress. Leading the exodus are officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fearing investigation by two chairmen, Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and John Dingell (D-MI).

And good riddance.

Why do Republicans hate America?

From the WSJ today:

Like a retreating army, Republicans are tearing up railroad track and planting legislative land mines to make it harder for Democrats to govern when they take power in Congress next month.
Already, the Republican leadership has moved to saddle the new Democratic majority with responsibility for resolving $463 billion in spending bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. ....
The unstated goal is to disrupt the Democratic agenda and make it harder for the new majority to meet its promise to reinstitute "pay-as-you-go" budget rules, under which new costs or tax cuts must be offset to protect the deficit from growing.
....With Congress turning off the lights this week, there seems no chance of saving the appropriations process. Instead, most of the government will remain on a stopgap bill through Feb. 15, and in kicking this can down the road, the Republican leadership has no idea where it will stop rolling.
"It's a demonstration of the irresponsibility of Republicans that they would leave this country with this mess," said the next House speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). "But we won, we will deal with it."

Heaven forbid that the Sore-Loserman Party would actually work with the incoming majority for the benefit of the American people. Their goal now is to make everything as crappy as possible so that in two years they can claim that Democrats are to blame for the mess.

More on this from Kevin Drum:

"It's astonishing that this hasn't gotten more attention. Do you remember all those stories that made the rounds after the 2000 election about outgoing Clinton officials trashing Air Force One and the White House before skipping town? There was nothing to it, of course: a few pranks here and there, but otherwise just the normal wear and tear typical of previous transitions, according the General Services Administration, which had (naturally) been called in to do a scorched-earth investigation. Finally, after weeks of anonymous leaks accusing the Clintonites of major vandalism, the director of the White House Office of Administration was forced to admit that he couldn't document any damage or repairs.

But the stories! There were hundreds of them, all agog over the news that a few staffers had removed the W keys from their keyboards. So immature! So childish!

But Republican legislators punting on half a trillion dollars worth of spending bills because they're "tired" and they want to gum up the works for the incoming Democrats? It's barely worth a yawn. Some priorities, eh?"

Monday, December 04, 2006

E-N’s lame runoff endorsement

I thought the Express-News’ editorial endorsement of Henry Bonilla for the general election was pretty bad, but this re-endorsement for the run-off election is even worse.

Here it is in all of its truly pathetic awfulness:

A congressional showdown is under way, pitting Republican incumbent Rep. Henry Bonilla against a former colleague, Democrat Ciro Rodriguez.
The two once served together in Congress. Now they are fighting for the same seat — Congressional District 23.
The highly diverse district runs from western Bexar County all the way to El Paso County and is the largest congressional district in the country.
Bonilla, a seven-term congressman, is rightly criticized for putting the interests of his party over the needs of his constituents. That was well-evidenced when he sought to allow GOP House members, such as former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, to maintain their leadership posts even if indicted on felony charges.
But Bonilla sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which is important for Texas and Bexar County.
Seniority is no small matter in Congress. Rodriguez had the potential to build on his seven years in office, but he lost his re-election bid two years ago — exceedingly rare for an incumbent.
The runoff election comes at an inopportune time — at the peak of the holiday season.
But that shouldn't stop voters from getting involved in this important race.
If you're a District 23 resident, be sure to cast a ballot, whomever you vote for.

If I were a Republican, I’d be ticked because that is about the lamest, weakest endorsement I think I have ever read. They start off by criticizing Bonilla over the Tom DeLay debacle and charge him with putting the interests of his party over those of his constituents. But then they demur and go ahead and endorse him based soley on his seniority (seven terms compared to four for Ciro Rodriguez) and his position on the House Appropriations committee.
But they fail to note that what little advantage Bonilla has in seniority is practically nullified by the change in House leadership. It will do Bonilla little good to have a few more years under his belt when he is stuck in the minority party for the next dozen years or so. But Rodriguez, however, could “build on his seven years in office” and wind up with a key committee or subcommittee chairmanship. Plus, we don’t yet know what committee assignments Rodriguez might score, but he could easily end up with a seat on the Appropriations committee too, possibly filling the seat that would be vacated by Bonilla.

So my question is are the editorial writers at the Express too dense to understand this? Or are they under some pressure to endorse Bonilla when they really don’t want to. My guess is the latter. I think the big bosses at the E-N expect that Bonilla, with his huge monetary advantage, will win the runoff and they don’t want to burn any bridges for themselves by endorsing his runoff opponent. And the editorial writers are either required to follow their bosses’ lead or they do not have the courage of their convictions. Whichever, it is a sad spectacle.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Worst President Redux

This should pretty much seal Bush's status as the worst president ever. If even Donald Rumsfeld now admits that Iraq is a mess, the charade is over. It's time to pull the plug on this disaster. Bush needs to face up to the fact that his presidential legacy will forever be in the toilet and rather than trying to prop up some face-saving, ass-covering B.S. in Iraq, he needs to concentrate on doing something, anything with the last two years of his presidency.

Douglas Brinkley has a column that spells it out very clearly.

"...after six years in power and barring a couple of miracles, it's safe to bet that Bush will be forever handcuffed to the bottom rungs of the presidential ladder. The reason: Iraq..."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

TV catch phrases

Kuff gives us the List of 100 top TV catchphrases according to the folks at TVLand.
I agree with Charles that news events should have been exclused and there are a number of things on the list I wouldn't hesitate to strike, but overall It's not a bad list. Still, I can immediately see some glaring omissions:

"Nanu, Nanu!" - Mork and Mindy
"Beam me up, Scotty." - Star Trek
"Damn it, Jim! I'm a doctor, not a ...." - Star Trek
"You're traveling through another dimension..." - Rod Serling's intro to Twilight Zone.
"Crikey!" - The Crockodile Hunter.

And I'm sure there are many more...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

My TV Network

You’ve heard of fantasy football leagues. Well, here is my version of a fantasy television network. If I had my own TV network that I could lineup with any shows that I wanted, this is what it would look like:

The Mike Thomas Network (MTN)

Star Trek
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Jack of All Trades / Cleopatra 2525

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Xena: Warrior Princess

Star Trek: Voyager
The Twilight Zone
Babylon Five

The X-Files

Danger Mouse / The Simpsons
Mystery Science Theater 3000

The Wonderful World of Disney
The Muppet Show
Monty Python

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

GOP presidential contenders

Just take a look at the leading Republican contenders for the 2008 presidential election:

Rudy Giuliani
John McCain
Mitt Romney
Chuck Hagel

What's wrong with this picture? Where are the conservatives?? Are they just going to sit this election out? I can't believe the GOP would nominate a liberal from New York (Giuliani) or a liberal from Massachusetts (Romney) as their standard bearer. And McCain? Sure, I think he's a conservative, but that's not the first word that comes to mind when people describe him. That word would be "maverick."
So maybe there is something to this Newt Gingrich for President campaign. He would be the only "true conservative" in the race, not to mention the only southerner.
But at this point it looks like the Republicans are just going to take a pass on the '08 election. Maybe they think they can come back stronger than ever in 2012 after we've had four years under President Hillary Clinton. What they fail to understand and refuse to see, however, is that four years under Hillary will be a blissful experience following the eight-year debacle that was the George W. presidency.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A very good month

What a great month this was!
It started off with the Democrats kicking Republican butts all across the country, quickly followed by a cowed President Bush finally canning Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld.
The middle of the month was marked by my little girl’s first birthday!
And now we cap off the month with an Aggie victory over the Texas Longhorns!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Unfinished business

Democrats will have a big mess to clean up when they take control of Congress in January. The do-nothing Republicans are leaving a big pile of unfinished spending bills for Democrats to deal with when they come back from Christmas break.

GOP leaders have opted to leave behind almost a half-trillion-dollar clutter of unfinished spending bills.

This should serve as the final legacy for this bunch of incompetent, corrupt, worst-all-time lawmakers. The Republicans have clearly demonstrated that they are grossly incompetent when it comes to actually governing the country. We can all be thankful that the grown-ups will soon be back in charge again.

Sharp vs. Cornyn in ‘08

Rumor has it that John Sharp may be gearing up to challenge Sen. John Cornyn in 2008.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled to hear this bit of news. I’ve enthused about Sharp before. I thought he should have run for governor this year and I believe he would have had a better shot at taking down Perry than Chris Bell did.
If Democrats are going to reclaim a Senate seat we are going to have to get a candidate with some built in name recognition. Barbara Radnofsky was great, but she was a total unknown and never had a chance going up against Kay Bailey Hutchison. Cornyn may prove to be invulnerable to, but if 2006 taught us anything it is that we have to keep trying and take every race seriously.

Denny Hastert evicted

Go Speaker Pelosi! The new House leader is booting the Republicans out of prime office space that they have been sitting on for more than 50 years.

In something of a break with recent tradition, the incoming Democratic speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, is planning to expropriate the second-floor suite of offices now occupied by the current speaker, J. Dennis Hastert — a handful of rooms providing a spectacular view of the Mall.

The Democrats may boot Dick Cheney out of his office space too...

Vice President Dick Cheney might also come out a loser in this literal floor fight. Democrats have an eye on an office on the House side that Republicans granted to him as a kind of second home in the Capitol, to complement his office on the other wing of the building, where, by virtue of the Constitution, he presides over the Senate (he has no formal role in the House). Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, is interested in reclaiming Mr. Cheney’s House space for the Ways and Means Committee.

Heh heh heh heh.

Blogger update

I'm slowly working on updating my blogroll on the lefthand side of the page. I'm clearing out the deadwood blogs that are now defunct, updating those that have changed URLs and delinking a few that I linked because they linked to me but who no longer link to me.

In other bloggy news, Haloscan recently added a nifty feature that allows me to show who has commented most recently over on the righthand side of the page. That is one of the last bells and whistles I had wanted to add to my site and now Haloscan offers it for free. When I started this blog 3+ years ago it was bare bones with nothing much more than text and links. Now I can do all kinds of things like upload pictures, search archives and manage comments that I once thought were only available through fee-based services.

I was also delighted to find out this week that my blog has finally paid off after all this time. The little ads that occasionally run at the bottom of the righthand column have actually generated some revenue and last week the BlogAds service deposited $43 into my Paypal account. WooHoo!
Of course, I doubt my blog would have ever generated even that amount of ad revnue had I not been fortunate enough to be included as a member of the Texas Progressive Bloggers Alliance. I think I have Sean-Kelly of The Agonist to thank for that.
By the way, I heard Sean on the radio this evening (KTSA 550AM) talking to Charles Kuffner of Off the Kuff. I understand he will be on for the rest of the week in the evening slot until the regular host comes back from vacation.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Future looks bright

Kos has a good preview of the 2008 Senate elections which are even more favorable to Democrats than 2006. This was not supposed to be a good year for Democrats. The party had to defend 18 seats compared to just 15 for the Republicans. And yet Democrats held everyone of their seats while winning nearly half of the available Republican seats. Quite remarkable.
In 2008, the odds get even better for the Blue team. Democrats will be defending just 12 seats that year compared to 21 for the Republicans. If the Democrats win the White House that year, they are likely to sweep a number of Senators and Repesentatives into office with them. So we are in a great position for that to happen.

On the presidential side, I’m very confident that the Democrats will retake the White House, especially if Republicans continue to drag their feet on getting us out of Iraq. It is too early for the polls to be of much use, but so far the potential Repubican contenders all have serious flaws that would make it difficult for them to win.
First, there is John “Unindicted Co-conspirator” McCain, of Keating Five fame, who seems to be the GOP front-runner at this point. It will be interesting to see how McCain’s past problems with ethics will play after Republicans gleefully skewered John Murtha for his involvement in a 20-year-old scandal.
Then there is Rudolph Guiliani, who dropped out of his first race against Hillary Clinton because of a sex scandal. What makes him think people will forget all of that? And then there is the fact that he is a liberal on most social issues - pro choice, gay marriage, etc. Are the Republicans just going to pitch the religious fundamentalists overboard?

The Democrats, meanwhile, have Hillary Clinton currently occupying the top spot on the leader board. Whether she will actually run or not is not yet clear, but I think she could very likely win if she does. The Republicans have done their best to villify her and make her out to be some kind of extreme left-wing moonbat, when her moderate voting record in the Senate clearly demonstrates otherwise. In fact, I think Hillary has already been thoroughly vetted to the point that she is inoculated from most attacks that the right-wing smear machine could dream up at this point.
If Hillary runs, I think she will tap someone like Evan Bayh as her running mate. Barak Obama needs more seasoning and should serve a couple of terms in the Senate before making his move.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Immigration laws gone awry

Immigration laws in our country are a mess right now and nothing illustrates that better than this situation going on right now in Chicago where a woman is holed up in a church trying to avoid deportation while her 7-year-old boy is traveling the country lobbying politicians in Washington, D.C. and in Mexico City to give her a break.
Surely there is something more pressing that our immigration officials could be doing right now rather than harrassing this poor, hard-working woman and her little boy. Let her alone and go and try and stop some drug shipments on the border.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Meet the New Boss II

Here is a quick rundown of the power shift in the Senate when Democrats take charge next year:

Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
Saxby Chambliss, Ga. — Tom Harkin, Iowa

Thad Cochran, Miss. — Robert Byrd, W.Va.

Armed Services
John Warner, Va. — Carl Levin, Mich.

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
Richard Shelby, Ala. — Christopher Dodd, Conn.

Judd Gregg, N.H. — Kent Conrad, N.D.

Commerce, Science and Transportation
Ted Stevens, Alaska — Daniel Inouye, Hawaii

Energy and Natural Resources
Pete Domenici, N.M. — Jeff Bingaman, N.M.

James Inhofe, Okla. — Barbara Boxer, Calif.

Charles Grassley, Iowa — Max Baucus, Mont.

Foreign Relations
Richard Lugar, Ind. — Joseph Biden, Del.

Homeland Security
Susan Collins, Maine — Joe Lieberman, Conn.

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Mike Enzi, Wyo. — Edward Kennedy, Mass.

Norm Coleman, Minn. — Carl Levin, Mich.

Arlen Specter, Pa. — Patrick Leahy, Vt.

Rules and Administration
Trent Lott, Miss. — Dianne Feinstein, Calif.

Small Business
Olympia Snowe, Maine — John Kerry, Mass.

Veterans Affairs
Larry Craig, Idaho — Daniel Akaka, Hawaii

George Voinovich, Ohio — Tim Johnson, S.D.

Pat Roberts, Kan. — John D. Rockefeller IV, W.Va.

Meet the New Boss...

When Congress comes back after the Christmas break, Democrats will be in the majority for the first time in a dozen years. And that means more than just Nancy Pelosi taking the Speaker’s gavel. It also means there will be new chairmen taking charge of all the committees in the House and Senate.
Here is a quick rundown of the power shift in the House with the current Republican chairman listed first and the potential Democratic chairman listed second. Note the lack of Texans chairing any key committees thanks to Tom DeLay. But then, what does Tom DeLay care? He’s from Virginia.

Bob Goodlatte, Va. — Collin Peterson, Minn.
(Note: Charles Stenholm of Texas would have been in line to chair this key committee before Tom DeLay’s re-redistricting shenanigans)

Jerry Lewis, Calif. — David Obey, Wis.

Armed Services
Duncan Hunter, Calif. — Ike Skelton, Mo.

Jim Nussle, Iowa — John Spratt Jr., S.C.

Education and Work Force
Howard McKeon, Calif. — George Miller, Calif.

Energy and Commerce
Joe Barton, Texas — John Dingell, Mich.

Financial Services
Michael Oxley, Ohio — Barney Frank, Mass.

Government Reform
Thomas Davis, Va. — Henry Waxman, Calif.

Homeland Security
Peter King, N.Y. — Bennie Thompson, Miss.
(Note: Jim Turner of Texas would have been in line to lead this key committee before Tom DeLay’s re-redistricting shenanigans)

International Relations
Henry Hyde, Ill. — Tom Lantos, Calif.

James Sensenbrenner, Wis. — John Conyers Jr., Mich.

Richard Pombo, Calif. — Nick Rahall, W.V.

David Dreier, Calif. — Louise Slaughter, N.Y.
(Note: Martin Frost of Texas would have been in line to lead this key committee before Tom DeLay’s re-redistricting shenanigans)

Sherwood Boehlert, N.Y. — Bart Gordon, Tenn.

Small Business
Donald Manzullo, Ill. — Nydia Velazquez, N.Y.

Transportation and Infrastructure
Don Young, Alaska — James Oberstar, Minn.

Ways and Means
Bill Thomas, Calif. — Charles Rangel, N.Y.

Peter Hoekstra, Mich. — Alcee Hastings, Fla.

First party switcher

Now that Democrats are in control of the House and Senate for the first time in a dozen years we can look forward to a bunch of Republican retirements by members unhappy in with their new minority status. And we can also look forward to some party switching by opportunistic politicians.
The first one has already made the jump: Joe Lieberman: Call me a Democrat. Lieberman is switching from the Connecticut for Lieberman Party to the Democratic Party. Nothing wrong with that.
Lieberman will be the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the Senate next year as long as he stays a Democrat and I don’t think there is any question about that. He told his constituents he was going to serve as an independent-minded Democrat. If he had announced that he would go to Washington and caucus with the Republicans he probably would not have won his election.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Winners and Losers

The midterm elections gave us some pretty clear winners and losers.

Here are the folks whose political power and ambitions got a boost on Tuesday:

Hillary Clinton - The front-runner for 2008 was re-elected in a landslide.
Barak Obama - Has seen his status go way up after campaigning on behalf of lots of winning candidates.
Nancy Pelosi - Speaker Pelosi
Harry Reid - Majority Leader
Edward Kennedy - Chairman Kennedy
Charlie Rangel - Ways and Means Chairman
Barnie Franks - Financial Services Chairman
Henry Waxman - Government Reform Chairman
John Conyers - Judiciary Chairman
Eliot Spitzer - Blowout win for Gov. of New York; Setting his sights on 2112.
Charles Schumer - Led the Democrats to regain the Senate
Rahm Emanuel - Led the Democrats to regain the House
Steny Hoyer - Majority Leader
John Murtha - Majority Whip
Joe Lieberman - Back from the dead
Bernie Sanders - The world’s most powerful Socialist.
Sherrod Brown and, of course, all other the new Democratic Senators and Representatives.

The losers were pretty easy to pick out as well:

George W. Bush - Lame Duck with 34 percent approval rating.
Donald Rumsfeld - Out on his rear and soon to be subpoened.
Karl Rove - Not the genius everyone thought he was.
Dennis Hastert - Guess he doesn’t have to resign now. The voters did it for him.
Bill Frist - So much for his presidential aspirations.
George Allen - Ditto
Rick Santorum - Double ditto.
Conrad Burns - Scandal-tarred loser.
Mike DeWine - Loser.
Jim Talent - KO’ed by Michael J. Fox.
Lincoln Chafee - Missed his chance to switch parties. Bye bye.
And all the other Republican losers on election day.

But there were a few Republicans whose political fortunes actually improved on Tuesday:

John McCain - So many Repubicans’ presidential aspirations were wiped out (George Allen, Bill Frist) that it practically left McCain as the only viable GOP contender for 2008.
Arnold Schwarzenegger - Bounced back from a disasterous year by moving left.
Charlie Crist - The new governor of Florida ran the other way when Bush came to campaign for him and managed to weather the Democratic onslaught.
Trent Lott - Now has a clear shot at regaining the leadership job he lost when he praised Strom Thurmond’s segregationist ways a couple of years ago.
John Boehner - He finally got Denny Hastert out of the way and has a clear shot at being the next Minority Leader.
Christopher Shays - Is guaranteed to be the leader of the Republican’s New England caucus in the House.

Too close to call

They’ve got an extremely close election in the 2nd Congressional District of Connecticut - again.
Democrat Joe Courtney is currently leading incumbent Republican Rob Simmons by a razor-thin 170 votes. But if you think that is close, it doesn’t compare to the 1994 race when Democrat Sam Gejdenson just squeaked by Republican Ed Munster with 21 votes - the smallest margin of difference ever recorded in a House race.
That was the rematch race between Gejdenson and Munster. I was there for the first go around in 1992 when Gejdenson bested Munster by a more comfortable 3,700-vote margin. I was a reporter for the Old Saybrook Pictorial Gazette at the time, part of the Shoreline Times chain of weekly papers, and I was covering the 2nd District race along with all the other elections that year (that was also the year I got to hear candidate Bill Clinton give a talk to the Middletown Chamber of Commerce that blew everyone away).
Gejdenson wasn’t supposed to have such a hard time but the district was starting to trend Republican that year and if he had had a more charismatic challenger he might have lost that year. But poor Ed Munster had a couple of things going against him that were beyond his control. First was his name that just reminded everyone of Fred “Herman Munster” Gwynne from the 1960s television show The Munsters. But if Munster had at least looked like Fred Gwynne he might have had a chance. Instead, he was a dead ringer for Michael Dukakis, someone who was not too popular in Republican circles and a fact which brought snickers from most Democrats.
Gejdenson managed to hang onto the seat until 2000 when he finally lost to Simmons. Now it appears that the evenly divided district is about to lean back the other way.
Assuming that Courtney hangs on and ousts Simmons, it will leave Christopher Shays as the sole Republican House member from all of New England (Conn., Mass., R.I., N.H., Vt., Maine).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ciro vs. Bonilla

I’m absolutely thrilled that Republican Henry Bonilla has been forced into a runoff election next month (Dec. 9) with Ciro Rodriguez. Despite Bonilla’s high name recognition, bags and bags of corporate campaign cash and non-stop TV commercials airing during the final weeks ofthe campaign, a majority of the voters in District 23 chose to vote for someone else. That gives me hope that he can be defeated.
I cast my vote for Lukin Gilliland, who I thought ran a very respectable and positive campaign. Now I am throwing all my support to Rodriguez, the former congressman, and I would urge others to do so as well.
I hope that the national Democratic Party will take heed to this race and come in with some extra campaign cash which I’m sure Ciro will be needing.
I also hope that the Express-News will rethink its lame endorsement of Bonilla for the special election. Now that the Democrats are in charge of the House, it would be much better for the district to send a member of the majority party, and one who already has experience and seniority to represent them than someone who will be little more than an ineffective back-bencher.

I was also pleased to see that Democrat Joe Farias was able to withstand all the slime that was thrown his way by Republican George Antuna in what had to be the most despicable campaign by a local politician in years. Despite the fact that the Express-News had exposed Antuna’s allegations of corruption against Farias as lies, Antuna kept up the attacks throughout the campaign.

And in other good news, Charles Kuffner reports that Democrat Juan Garcia has claimed victory in HD32 against incumbent Repbulican Gene Seaman. That would make five state House pickups for Texas Democrats with no corresponding losses.

Aggies rule!

Wow! The news just keeps getting better and better.
Donald Rumsfeld is out! Texas A&M President Robert Gates is in as Secretary of Defense.
Gates is a former CIA director and is close to Bush Sr. confidante James Baker. They both sit on the Iraq Study Group which has been trying to devise an exit strategy to get us out of Bush's quagmire. I think this means that Bush has officially thrown in the towel.

In other news, the Montana Senate race has now been called for the Democrats giving them a total of 50 and guaranteed to at least share control of the upper chamber. But in Virginia, James Webb has a bigger lead than his Montana counterpart and has already claimed victory. I think it is just a matter of time before we can start calling Harry Reid the Majority Leader.

Meanwhile, expect the long knives to come out for former Speaker Dennis Hastert. I doubt that he will still be in the House leadership next year.


A headline from the satirical newspaper The Onion

Republicans Blame Election Losses On Democrats

I nailed it!

Yesterday, actually Monday night, I made my predictions on the mid-term elections and it appears that I nailed it.
I wrote this up for my friend Bill Crawford to use at All Things Conservative but either he did not get the e-mail or chose not to use it and thus it did not get posted. So I am posting it now just for my own enjoyment.

Here are my predictions for the midterm elections:

The Democrats will take the House with about a 30-seat gain. That is the general consensus right now, but many people are saying it could be much higher - as much as 50 or more. Races like the 23rd District here in San Antonio haven’t even been on the radar for most election prognosticators and there is a good chance that Republican Henry Bonilla could be held to less than 50 percent of the vote in this newly redrawn, more Democratic district. And that would essentiallly force him into a run-off in December against a newly energized Democratic Party.

I’d love to predict that the electoral tidal wave is going to sweep across the country and elect hordes of Democrats, but then that means I would have to risk being disappointed if it does not happen and winning 30 seats is already a tremendous victory and nothing to be disappointed with. Still, it has been noted that Republicans are facing a political environment much worse than the one the Democrats faced in 1994 when they lost 54 seats, so why under these circumstances should the Republicans lose only 30? The answer, according to most experts, is that redistricting and the extreme financial advantages that most incumbents have over their challengers has made our House of Representatives much less responsive to the shifting moods of the electorate than it once was. Nevertheless, it will shift this time. The Democrats are getting a few freebies in heavily Republican districts thanks to Republican scandals involving Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Mark Foley and others. In Texas, the best chance for a pickup is the Hammer’s old district thanks to DeLay’s antics earlier this year when he screwed his party around by stepping down after it was too late to replace his name on the ballot. Now Republicans are forced to run an uphill write-in campaign against a well-funded former Democratic congressman. Still, even if the Democrats win the seat, as appears to be likely, they will have to work hard to prove they deserve it or risk losing it again two years from now.
The same goes for the seat of disgraced cyber-pedophile Mark Foley where the Democrat is likely to win unless the GOP can convince enough voters to pull the lever for someone who most think belongs in jail and not in Congress.

Whatever the final numbers, there is little doubt that Democrats will have a lot to cheer about tomorrow. If you are a Republican, I would advise ignoring the national results and concentrating on the statewide races here in Texas where the GOP is still guaranteed to do well. Republicans are on track to re-elect a senator, a governor and most statewide officeholders, as well as all but maybe one or two congressmen. Texas, for whatever reason, is still bucking the national trend that is shifting most of the rest of the country back to the left. Just look at our neighbors. After Tuesday, we will likely have Democratic governors in every state that borders Texas: New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Democrats are poised to win governors races in Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Maine, Massachusetts and New York.
But Texas looks like it will keep its unpopular governor who is likely to win re-election with less than 40 percent of the vote.

In the Senate, I am predicting Democrats will win the six seats they need to claim a slim majority. Sens. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike DeWine of Ohio are toast. They are gone, no question. Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island isn’t faring much better and neither is scandal-plagued Conrad Burns of Montana. I’m predicting both will lose handily. Slightly tighter races that will fall into the Democratic column are in Missouri where Claire McCaskill, with an assist from Michael J. Fox, will best Republican Jim Talent, and Virginia where James Webb, the former Navy Secretary in the Reagan administration, has pulled ahead of the faltering campaign of Republican George Allen.
The one disappointment for Democrats appears to be in Tennessee where it looked for a time like Harold Ford Jr. could become the first black senator from that state, but has since fallen back and is down several points in the polls behind Republican Bob Corker.
I also think the Democrats will come close, but fall short in their bid to oust Republican Jon Kyle in Arizona.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Final polls

The final poll results are out and they are good news for Democrats.

• Missouri: McCaskill 49%, Talent 46%
• Montana: Tester 49%, Burns 44%
• New Jersey: Menendez 50%, Kean 41%
• Tennessee: Corker 48%, Ford 47%

Also, Think Progress has a list of 109 reasons why should vote to throw out the Republican Congress.

My vote

I cast my vote this morning. Lukin Gilliland for Congress. Carlos Uresti for State Senate. Chris Bell for Governor. Barbara Radnofsky for U.S. Senate. Mostly Democrats everywhere else, although I did support a few Republicans like Wallace Jefferson for State Supreme Court because he is from San Antonio (and his only challenger was a Libertarian) and Elizabeth Ames Jones for Railroad Commissioner because her Democratic opponent did not impress me with his response on the League of Women Voters Guide and because she is from San Antonio.
It’s not the first time I’ve voted on an electronic, push-button screen, but it was more disturbing this year realizing that there is no paper trail to verify if the machine recorded my votes correctly after I pushed the little red button that said “Vote.”
There were far too many races to vote on. Too many names on the ballot. After a while it all becomes a jumble. I believe we have too many elections for our own good. At least half of these offices should be appointed rather than elected. That includes all the judicial races and anything else that is not a representative or executive position. I’m as politically savvy as anyone and there is no way I can keep up with all these races. I know the average voter doesn’t have a clue as to who they are voting for in most races. They are either voting based on party identification or name recognition, if they are bothering to vote at all. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. If you vote based on the party, you are more guaranteed to get someone you agree with (though not always). However, there are many positions where political parties should not matter and experience and integrity should be the guiding principles. If you vote based on name recognition you are essentially rewarding the person who raised the most money and ran the most advertising.
I think we should elect our representatives and executive branch officials and then have them appoint professional people to these other positions. If you don’t like who they are appointing then don’t vote for them. But this would at least remove some of the hyper-partisan, money-driven influence that tends to corrupt our political system.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Avoiding the kiss of death

Ha.Ha.Ha! President Bush went down to Florida today to campaign for Republican gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist and Crist ran the other way.

(AP) -- The White House did not hide its irritation Monday at Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist for ducking President Bush at a campaign rally in the Republican-friendly Panhandle.

You really can't blame him for not wanting to be around a guy with a 35 percent approval rating.

Dirty politics

Here is a low-life dirty trick that unsurprisingly is coming from the GOP:

Sources in Bergen County are reporting that an autodial robocall is being made that starts out sounding like a positive Bob Menendez message. If you hang up, it repeatedly calls you back. If you listen all the way to the end, it finishes by saying that Menendez is an embezzler and under criminal investigation.

This is a voter suppression tactic being used nationwide by the GOP. Initially callers will think they are hearing a call from the Menendez campaign asking for support. If they hang up, it will repeatedly call them back. The intention is to annoy the voter so much that they no longer support the candidate. For those who actually listen to the entire call, they are presented with a series of lies and smears against Menendez, also with the intention of suppressing turnout. It's a win-win tactic for them.

The NRCC is doing the same exact thing in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and at least 53 other races across the country.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The E-N hates Billy Joel

I was inspired to write a letter to the editor of the E-N today in reaction to this incredibly lame editorial.

Is it now the consensus view of the San Antonio Express-News editorial board that Billy Joel sucks?
What gives with that editorial last Saturday complaining about the Rock Hall of Fame? That had to be one of the worst editorials I have ever seen in any paper. Did the editorial writer set out just to pick a fight, because that's about all they succeeded in doing. They certainly didn't have any constructive suggestion on how to fix the Hall of Fame balloting and selection process that they are so unhappy with.
If the editorial had simply been about the unworthiness of the Dave Clark Five to enter the Hall of Fame, I would have been OK with it. But where do they get off throwing Van Halen into the mix? A personal grudge against David Lee Roth? They diss the Dave Clark Five as a band that "sounded as if they were playing air guitar." I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean exactly, but there is probably no guitarist who inspired more kids to play air guitar than Eddie Van Halen. So why diss Van Halen? The editorial does not say.
But if Van Halen is not worthy of admittance to the Hall of Fame, who is? The editorial writer thinks some worthy candidates include the Stooges and the Ronettes. Excuse me?! Name one song by the Ronettes other than "Be My Baby." Yeah, I didn't think so. And the Stooges? Maybe if there were a punk hall of fame. The pioneering punk band featured lead singer Iggy Pop whose claim to fame is that he would smear himself with peanut butter on stage and cut himself with broken bottles. Yep, definite Hall of Fame material there.
And then there is this ridiculous slam against Billy Joel at the end of the editorial with no explanation. The editorial writer who wants to induct The Stooges and The Ronettes thinks that Billy Joel, the All-American troubedeaur, is an unworthy Hall inductee. The man was a hit machine throughout the 1970s, '80s and into the '90s. He has sold more than 100 million records and is the sixth best-selling artist in the U.S. My God, what does one have to do to get into the Rock Hall of Fame?
This reminds me of the movie critic who once gave thumbs down to "Lord of the Rings" the same year that he gave a big thumbs up to "Jackass: The Movie."

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Party of Family Values

It looks like the Republican/Evangelicals have another Jimmy Swaggart/Jim Baker scandal on their hands.

The president of the National Association of Evangelicals resigned Thursday after denying an accusation by a male prostitute that the pastor paid him for sex over three years.
The Rev. Ted Haggard said he is also temporarily stepping aside from the pulpit of his church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, pending an internal investigation by the church.
The National Association of Evangelicals is an umbrella group for more than 45,000 churches and some 30 million members across the country.

The word is that Haggard has confessed to elders in his congregation that at least part of the allegations are true. The confession came after a long-night of waterboarding overseen by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Seriously, though, this is a huge deal just days before the midterm elections. Joshua Micah Marshall calls it “the conservative equivalent of Jesse Jackson getting caught wearing a hood at a Klan cross burning.”

And here’s some more breaking news from the party of family values:

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A Republican congressman accused of abusing his ex-mistress agreed to pay her about $500,000 in a settlement last year that contained a powerful incentive for her to keep quiet until after Election Day, a person familiar with the terms of the deal told The Associated Press.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

House Dist. 23 ignored

There has been no polling done in the 23rd Congressional District and I find that rather odd. Nationally the race has been written off as a Leans Republicans seat and it could very well turnout that Republican Henry Bonilla waltzes to an easy re-election.
But this is the district that was most effected by the Supreme Court ruling on redistricting. Several heavily Republican precincts were taken away and several heavily Democratic ones were added. And there are at least three highly credible Democratic candidates making a concerted effort in the free-for-all open election that has resulted. Former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez has good name recognition. Wealthy rancher Lukin Gilliland has spent the most money and run the most aggressive race so far. And Albert Uresti has the benefit of being on the same ballot as his brother Carlos Uresti who is running for the State Senate.
Combine this with the fact that this is shaping up to be a very good year for Democrats nationally and you have to ask whether they will be able to hold Bonilla below 50 percent and force a run-off election? I really don’t know. I hope they do but nobody is talking about it much and I’m not sure what chance there is of that happening at this point. Bonilla, of course, has tons of cash and has been running lots of TV ads. He also picked up a rather lame and lukewarm endorsement from the incumbent/Republican-loving Express-News. But Gilliland has been out there too and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Gilliland has my vote, but I would not hesitate to throw my support to Rodriguez or Uresti if they make it into a run-off.
One of the local TV news stations the other day covered a campaign event where Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell was making an appearance and they got an on-camera interview with Carlos Uresti, who defeated Frank Madla in the primaries for the state Senate race. But they were so clueless that they thought they were talking to Albert Uresti and identified him as such when they ran the interview during a segment on the District 23 race. The clip they aired even has Carlos talking about his state Senate race and it still wasn’t enough to tip them off about their mistake. But then TV newscasters aren’t the brightest bulbs out there as former TV newscaster Henry Bonilla demonstrates.

Shifting blame

House Republican Majority Leader John Boehner wants to blame the troops for the problems we are having in Iraq.

"Let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld," Boehner said yesterday on CNN. "The fact is, the generals on the ground are in charge, and he works closely with them and the president."

After the flap about John Kerry supposedly demeaning our troops with his flubbed joke at a campaign rally, I find it incredible that Boehner would turn around the next day and point an accusing finger at the troops on the ground and say that it’s all their fault and not the fault of the Republican leadership back in Washington. How incredibly despicable. Boehner, of course, is another one of the many Republican chickenhawks - graduated high school in 1968 in the midst of the Vietnam conflict and yet somehow managed to avoid serving a day in the military. Now he is defending his fellow chickenhawks in the Bush administration by blaming all their failings during the Iraq war on the troops and their military leaders.

Kerry's gaffe about education aside, he did say one thing that is quite certain. We are definitely "stuck in Iraq" with no hope of getting out anytime soon. Americans's support for Bush's handling of the war is now at 29 percent, so his assurances that we will "stay the course" and his promise to keep his crack Iraq team of Rumsfeld and Cheney in place for the next two years means the only way people can hope to change things is to vote Democratic in the mid-term elections.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Strong-willed women

Nothing seems to upset right-wingers more than strong-willed women.
Just look at who the No. 1 boogieman is for the right today, the person they villify the most of all: Hillary Clinton.
And then there is the person they are trying to turn into the boogieman for the mid-term elections: soon to be Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Or how about of all the musical groups that are politically liberal and outspoken, which is hated the most on the far-right: The Dixie Chicks, of course.
And of all the people who are opposed to the war in Iraq, who has been demonized far more than anyone else: Cindy Sheehan, naturally.
And the list goes on...
Jane Fonda, Barbara Streisand, Martha Stewart... All seem to take more than their fair share of abuse.
So why do right-wingers seem to go after women so aggresively? A man has to really work hard to achieve the level of villification that these women seem to get naturally. Michael Moore and Ted Kennedy have worked hard to get where they are, but they still seem to get overshadowed by the raw hatred that spews forth from the far right whenever a woman seems to get uppity and starts acting like she doesn't know her place.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A very effective ad

Michael J. Fox’s ad on behalf of Democratic senatorial candidate Claire McCaskill in Missouri was very effective. Visibly suffering from a debilitating disease that cut short his successful acting career, Fox now advocates for more research to help find cures to diseases like Parkinsons syndrome.

The ad was so effective, in fact, that in desperation the Republicans sicced their attack dog Rush Limbaugh on Fox the very next day. Limbaugh mocked Fox’s illness on camera and then accused him of not taking his medication in order to exaggerate the effects of his illness for the camera.
This was blatantly untrue as neurologists and experts with the National Parkinson’s Foundation attested, but that won’t matter to the legions of mindless sheep who listen to his show. All Limbaugh had to do was get the smear out there and he had done his job by giving his readers a hint of doubt on which to cling to so that they can dismiss the Fox ad out of hand and give it no more thought.

Fox has been incredibly gracious in responding to the insults and smears coming from that worthless waste of human flesh that is Limbaugh and others who parrot his words. And hopefully that will be enough to push people in the right direction on this crucial issue.

Culture of corruption

More and more Republicans keep getting sent to the slammer. This time it’s David Safavian, a Bush administration official who served as chief of staff in the General Services Administration. He has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for concealing his relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Safavian will join fellow Republicans Jack Abramoff, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Bob Ney, John Rowland and probably several others I can’t think of off the top of my head. Plus there are a whole slew of Republicans currently under indictment as you can see here. .

Meanwhile, federal lawmakers are currently investigating Republican Congressman Rick Renzi of Arizona over a shady land deal.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Changing your mind

My conservative friend Bill Crawford has changed his mind on the issue of gay marriage and now believes it is OK.

We live in a tough world, and I know that without my wife I wouldn't be as happy a person, and I can't deny that to others. If two guys, or gals, love each other, and want to support each other through life's little bumps, then more power to them. Who am I to say no to love?

Changing one’s mind, especially on hot-button issues like this is never easy and Bill should be commended. It think it is all the more so because it meant rethinking and rehashing an issue that has been very key to the right-wing base of the Republican party over the past several years.
I hashed out this issue myself a while back.
I would just note that I too have changed my mind on some issues - affirmative action being one example - and it is never easy.

Kinky the kingmaker?

I’ve done plenty of grumbling about the Democrats prospects in the upcoming elections. And I’ve been especially hard on Chris Bell, the Democratic nominee for governor.
So I’m pleased to say now that Bell has surprised me by running a better than expected campaign. In fact, at this point it looks like he will come in second, rather than fourth as I had predicted. Considering that he is still fourth in the fund-raising race, that is not a bad showing.
But now I think we’ve come to a time when Kinky Friedman will have to make a decision. His campaign is currently mired in fourth place, but he is still drawing about 16 percent in the latest polls. That is not enough to put him in the governor’s mansion. But it may be enough to allow him to play the role of kingmaker.
I think Kinky has three choices. If he stays in the race, he pretty much guarantees that Republican Rick Perry will be re-elected. But he could throw his support to someone else and possibly tip the scales in their favor. At this point, Chris Bell seems the best option for that to happen. But he could also throw his support to Strayhorn and possibly put her back into contention.
I’m guessing that he will take the first option and do nothing. And that is a shame. It means his quixotic campaign will soon be forgotten as a mildly amusing but ultimately meaningless interlude. He was never serious about actually changing the way government operates in Austin because when he had the chance to make a difference he chose not to.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Weird Al cracks the Top 10

Weird Al Yankovic has finally broken into the Top 10 on the music charts with his latest single - “White and Nerdy”, a parody of a rap song by the artist Chamillionaire.
I’m thrilled for Weird Al. I’ve been a big fan of his since I was in college. He first came to my attention through his popular parodies of Michael Jackson songs like “Eat It” and “Fat”. His "WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC IN 3-D album was one of the last records I ever bought. I have Dare To Be Stupid, Even Worse, Off the Deep End on casette tape and Bad Hair Day on CD.
My wife says Weird Al songs are funny the first couple of times you hear them then they just become annoying. Not for me, I can listen to his music all day and still get tickled.
Weird Al is one of the most successful and talented music parodists of our generation and I’m glad he is finally getting some mainstream recognition. Not that he hasn’t been hugely successful on the fringes. He has a huge cult-like following. People follow his concerts around like it was the Grateful Dead and they have fan conventions and much more. Check out The Official "Weird Al" Yankovic Web Site and his popular MySpace page.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Texas will lose clout in next Congress

From BOR I see that Texas will have no leadership positions in the next Congress thanks to Tom DeLay. That is assuming the Democrats retake control as looks increasingly likely.

If they succeed, no Texans are in line to be chairmen of House committees. DeLay helped send four of the state's most senior members packing when he orchestrated a wholesale redrawing of Texas' congressional districts in 2003.
But if they had remained in office and Democrats took control, Texas would have three committee chairmen.
Frost would become chairman of the Rules Committee, which decides which bills and amendments get a vote.
Former Rep. Charlie Stenholm would head up the Agriculture Committee. Jim Turner would lead the Homeland Security Committee, which oversees border enforcement agencies.

Gee, thanks, Tom!
As Karl says at BOR: "DeLay was never interested in doing what was best for Texas. It was all about power for himself and the Republican Party."

E-N endorses incumbents/Republicans

The San Antonio Express-News has reluctantly endorsed Henry Bonilla in the newly drawn 23rd Congressional District.

We reluctantly recommend Republican incumbent Henry Bonilla, but encourage him to be more responsive to the needs of his district, including the San Antonio area.

Idiots!! There are several well qualified Democratic challengers in this race including former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, businessman/rancher Lukin Gilliland and veteran firefighter Albert Uresti (also the brother of State Sen. Carlos Uresti.) So if they are disappointed with Bonilla, why not consider them? Here is their lame reasoning:

It's unfortunate that none of Bonilla's opponents exhibits the combination of leadership and preparedness necessary to replace him...

What the hell is that supposed to mean?!? Like Bonilla, a former TV newscaster, was so prepared to go to Congress when he was first elected. And Ciro has already been in Congress. As for leadership, Bonilla is not going to do a lot of that when the Republicans fall back into the minority as is almost assuredly going to happen this election.

But this endorsement fits with their policy which can be summed as such: Endorse every incumbent and/or Republican on the ballot. The sole exception was for one of the state Supreme Court races where they are backing Bill Moody against an unqualified Rick Perry appointee.

I'm really disgusted with the E-N editorial board. They are spineless on most issues and the few that they have stood up and taken a stand on are clearly undercut by their endorsements which scream out that they are perfectly happy with the status quo and want more of it.

I have no doubt that tomorrow they will endorse Rick Perry for governor. You can bank on it.
So much for the so-called liberal media.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Old School

I have GOT to get THIS!!!

"Sesame Street: Old School Volume 1: 1969-1974" (List price: $39.98)
Release Date: Oct. 24

Those are the years when I was a kid watching Sesame Street. Classic!

Governor’s races

It has long frustrated me that so many reliably “Blue” states today have Republican governors. For instance, I don’t think you can come up with a grouping of more liberal states than this: Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Massachussetts, Connecticut, Maryland, California, Minnesota. And what do all these states have in common? They all currently have Republican governors.
That is definitely going to change in a couple of weeks - in New York and Massachusetts for sure, and maybe in Maryland and Minnesota as well.
In recent years, though, Democrats have managed to make similar inroads on traditionally “Red” states. Here is a grouping of reliably red states that all voted for Bush and all of which currently have Democratic governors: Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Louisiana.

The upcoming mid-term elections are looking good for Democrats all around, but especially in the gubernatorial contests. Democrats seem to be on track to win governors races in Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Ohio, Maryland, Minnesota and New York. The WaPost columnist has already declared the New York race over saying “The fat lady has sung, showered and is currently sitting on her sofa watching "Desperate Housewives." State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D) will be New York's next governor.”
Democrats also seem certain to maintain governor’s seats in Wisconsin, Maine, Michigan, Iowa and Oregon.

And all of this leads to me current frustration, that being why Texas can’t be part of this partisan sea change that seems to be taking place. It’s almost like the Red tide that engulfed the country 12 years ago is finally receding, but is still drowning us here in Texas. Rick Perry is an exceedingly unpopular governor and by all rights should be shown the door by the electorate on Nov. 7. But instead it looks like he is about to two-step his way to an easy victory with less than 40 percent of the vote.
Maybe the sea change will finally catch up to the Lone Star state during the next election cycle, but it would sure be nice to see some evidence of the shift taking place here next month.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tolerant blogging

In the middle of a rather lengthy thread over at All Things Conservative a comment was made that liberals don’t tolerate conservatives commenting on their blogs to the same degree that the reverse is true. My friend Mark Harden went so far as to make the following challenge:

I would like to issue a challenge to any liberal commentators here to identify and link to a left wing blog - other than Mike's - which displays the same sort of interactive debate with minimal abuse. I sure haven't seen one.

While I appreciate that I was singled out as the exception, I think there are any number of sites that are tolerant of diverse opinions on both sides of the spectrum. But rather than throwing out a long list of links, I would like to step back and look over my experience blogging these past four years.

My first blog post was made on Jan. 10, 2003, when absolutely no one else was reading this site besides myself. (Not that there are very many more people reading it today.) The first bloggers I came across were fellow liberals like the college activists at Burnt Orange Report, who were nice enough to link me up even though I am an Aggie, and Charles Kuffner of Off the Kuff who was then trying to make a comprehensive survey of the political blogging landscape in Texas.
But while BOR and Kuff are excellent sites and daily reads for me, I have to admit that commenting there was not very interesting since I agreed with most of what was being said.
More interesting, I thought, was to find people with different views who could challenge my perception of the world and who would be open to a debate. I was a debater in high school and always enjoyed the rigorous give-and-take that it entailed.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only were there a lot of conservatives out there, which I expected, but many were open to having intellectual discussions that did not devolve into name-calling and insults. I was also surprised to find that many of the conservative sites tended to be more apt to give me a reciprocal link which was very much appreciated in those early days.
Many of those sites are no longer around, unfortunately, including Mark’s InSane Antonio which he inexplicably shut down two years ago. Others that are now missing in action include Joe Kelley's The Sake Of Argument; BeldarBlog; Reductio Ad Absurdum; and Owen Courreges. I used to have lengthy debates with Owen over the Texas House Redistricting controversy. Today he is apparently working at a libertarian think tank and attending law school.

Some conservative blogs that are still around which are open to debate include my friend Rantin’ Raven’s The View From the Nest; Jimmy K.’s but that's just my opinion and my fellow Aggies who run the popular Boots & Sabers blog.
And, of course, there is Bill Crawford’s invaluable ATC.

One more that I should mention is Roscoe’s Excuse. I met Roscoe at the San Antonio Blogger BBQ last year that Ranting Raven organized. However, while I like to read his blog, I rarely comment there because as he aptly explains in his introduction to the site:

“This is not an "argument" blog nor is it a "debate" blog. Heck, it's not even a "discussion" blog. It's all about me, my views, attitudes, and opinions. Any comments left here that are overly critical of me, of my opinions, or of those I choose to embrace will simply be deleted. Get your own soap box to stand on if you want to, this one's mine.”

Fair enough.

I’m not going to name names, but there have been some conservative blogs, local and statewide, that made it quite clear that my comments were not welcome and I have avoided them ever since.
Also, in some cases it took a little effort on my part before I felt welcome at some sites. In some cases, I was not recieved well at first until the blog site owner came to understand that I was not a “troll” coming to take potshots at them. Once they understood that I was respectful of their views, they were more willing to tolerate my dissenting opinions.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Rolling Stone has an entertaining read this week on our current crop of Congress critters. They even put together a 10-worst list beginning with Speaker Denny Hastert, probably the most ineffective speaker since Democrat Thomas Foley (no relation to Republican Mark Foley).
Thomas Foley, of course, was the Washington Democrat who led the party into their version of Little Big Horn in 1994 when Newt Gingrich and his band of wild Indians slaughtered 54 of them and even walked away with Foley’s scalp.
But today, Hastert is leading a Congress that is even more unpopular than the Democrats were in 1994.
Republicans are counting on the inherent flaws in our democratic system to help them maintain power - the gerrymandered districts, the financial and logistical advantages incumbents have over their challengers, and so forth.
It could still work. The polls seemed to favor John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race and yet he still fell short on election day. Although, Ohio, the swing-state in that election, seems to have had a serious change of heart recently.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Too little, too late

Something I wanted to comment on the other day but did not have time to, was the $1 million cash infusion into Chris Bell's struggling gubernatorial campaign by a wealthy trial lawyer and Bell's pathetic, and definitely unheeded plea to Kinky Friedman to drop out of the race and endorse him.
Both items are too little, too late in my opinion. I think it is a foregone conclusion that Rick Perry is going to waltz into re-election with possibly under 40 percent of the vote while the troika of challengers split the rest.
The fact that Perry could be that unpopular and still win re-election so easily is a sad testament to the state of our democracy. Why they cannot have a runoff in a race this important is beyond me, but it is clearly a disservice to the electorate. We are getting screwed.

Meanwhile, I think too much of our electoral process goes toward these countless judicial and administative positions which should all be appointed anyway. Why do we need to elect a county clerk or even a tax collector? And all these judges that nobody pays any attention to. Let's have them appointed and leave the voting for representative positions like city council, county commissioners, state reps and Congress critters. Then maybe people's eyes wouldn't glaze over when they get their ballots and they might even cast their votes more intelligently.

Agreeing with Gurwitz

Jonathan Gurwitz had a column earlier this week that I almost fully agree with. With the exception of a gratuitous knock at Democrats as "anemic and philosophically barren" towards the end of the column, I would have to say that I agree with it nearly 100 percent.

The scandal is that colleagues who had some inkling that Foley was engaging in inappropriate behavior — to give his Republican cohorts a very generous benefit of the doubt — did nothing to seriously confront him and failed to fully investigate the matter.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Rep. John Shimkus, the Republican chairman of the House Page Board, may have had a good grasp of Foley's turpitude for months. They may have hoped Foley's proclivities would simply fade away or at least be kept quiet until after the midterm election.

More likely, Hastert and others simply deemed what they thought was Foley's inordinate interest in pages as an acceptable bending of the rules. Some members of Congress shower their attention on lobbyists and special interest groups. Some have a weakness for travel, others for Louis Philippe period commodes. "So what," they might have thought, "if Foley's special interest is well-groomed young men?"

Either explanation gets to the essence of the GOP's problem: the abandonment of principle.

And that abandonment is certainly costing them in the polls. As many as 20 to 30 House seats have shifted toward the Democrats since the Foley scandal broke.
Political scientist Larry Sabato on his Crystal Ball blog is now predicting that the Democrats will win the majority in the House next month. He has 11 Republican-held seats now leaning toward Democrats and another 16 Republican-held seats are rated as tossups. If they truly are tossups, that would mean at least half would go Democratic giving the Democrats a net gain of 17 seats at the minimum. They need only 15 to take control.

Can you say - Speaker Pelosi? Better get used to it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bonilla's bin Laden ad

Now back to that mailing I got from Henry Bonilla. It was rather odd, to say the least. On the front page is a grouping of three photos of beared Arabic men wearing turbans. One of the men pictured is obviously Osama bin Laden. The caption says “For Men Like These, America is Still a Target”.

My first thought on reading this was to say “Sure, because President Bush failed to capture them after 9/11.”

Do the Republicans really think reminding us that bin Laden is still loose is a good campaign strategy? Apparently so.

Another smaller picture in the ad is of another high-ranking al-Qaeda figure whose name I can’t recall.
But the third picture is of the Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who founded the Mahdi Militia or Mahdi Army
in Iraq.

There are several problems with this. First, al-Sadr has no connection to al-Qaeda. But that has never stopped Republicans from trying to tie Iraq to 9-11. Second, you would think that if they are going to try and force this link they would at least pick a guy who was one of the Baathists affiliated with Saddam Hussein. But the Baathists were all Sunnis and this guy is a Shiite cleric. Third, while the Mahdi Army is a problem for our troops in Iraq, saying that they consider the continental United States a target of their aggression is a bit of a stretch. This guy is only fighting with us because we are in his country and he wants us out. He never had any intention of coming over here and attacking us.

I figure that when they were putting the ad together they had a picture of the Sunni militant Al-Zarqawi filling that slot. But when he was killed, they were trying to find someone else to fill that spot. I'm sure they figured any old guy in a turban would do.

A real congressional race

I got my first campaign mailing from Henry Bonilla the other day, but more on that later. I live in the 23rd Congessional District which was impacted by the recent Supreme Court decision on redistricting. Bonilla is the closest thing to an incumbent in the race and the only Republican. Meanwhile, a whole host of Democrats are in the race with varying degrees of support.
At first, I thought former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez would be the best bet for a credible challenger to Bonilla. But after his hesitant off-again, on-again start to the campaign I’m not so sure anymore. Plus he has the definite aura of a has-been after first losing his congressional seat and then failing to win it back in a rematch with DINO Henry Cuellar.
Another credible contender in the race is Albert Uresti, brother of Carlos Uresti who recently won a Texas Senate seat.
But right now I am most impressed with Lukin Gilliland. He seems to be the best financed and most serious challenger to date. I’ve gotten mailings from his campaign, at least one phone call and I am starting to see signs for him go up everywhere. He is also on TV with some positive, biographical spots.
I’m basically an Anybody But Bonilla voter, so I will support any Democrat who gets into a runoff with Bonilla.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Baseball playoffs

George Steinbrenner was smart to keep Joe Torre as the manager of the Yankees. It would have been nuts to get rid of him. He is an incredible manager and I imagine about 90 percent of the teams in baseball would have been ready to snap him up had Steinbrenner given him the heave-ho.
You don't just ditch a Hall-of-Fame caliber manager because you don't win the World Series every single year. I just remember what happened to my beloved Cincinnatti Reds in the late '70s when they decided to get rid of Sparky Anderson. They didn't make it back to the World Series for more than a decade and they had to sit back and watch Sparky take his new team - the Detroit Tigers - all the way to the top.
The Yankees' problem right now is that they have a lot of talent, but they are lacking the chemistry or the spark that makes it all gel together. That chemistry is more important than having superstars. The Yankees of 1998-2000 proved that when they dominated the game for three years with a bunch of unknowns like Scott Brosius, Paul O'Neil, Tino Hernandez and Chuck Knoblauch. The only guys left from that era are Derek Jeter and Mario Rivera. So they still have to find that spark again that they lost around the time that they got rid of Knoblauch. But they sure won't find it any faster by dumping Joe Torre.

As for the playoffs, now that the Yankees are out of it I can whole-heartedly back the Detroit Tigers. They are long overdue for another championship and they have put together a heck of a good team with one of my favorite players - former Texas Ranger Ivan Rodriguez leading the way once again. Pudge is reunited with his Florida Marlins manager Jim Leyland who, kind of like Sparky, seems to find a way to get to the World Series no matter who he is coaching.

I'm rather indifferent as to whether the Cards or the Mets should win the National League championship. I was pulling for the Padres since they are the new affiliate for the San Antonio Missions, but now I'll just root for the Tigers all the way.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Everything is worse

Can anyone name one thing that has actually gotten better as a result of actions taken by the Bush administration? And I mean something that has gotten better that doesn’t have a correspondingly awful downside, like tax cuts.
Iraq is worse. Iran is worse. North Korea is worse. In fact, since Bush linked the three countries as the “Axis of Evil” at the start of the administration, they have all turned into foreign policy debacles.
As if that were not bad enough, the terrorism threat has gotten worse according to the latest National Intelligence Estimate and, of course, Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. Meanwhile, our military is stretched far beyond its means, our reserves and our National Guard have been exhausted and we are unprepared if any new threats suddenly emerge.
The economy has stank throughout the Bush tenure, with job growth mostly stagnant and wages unable to keep up with inflation. Meanwhile, health care premiums have continued to skyrocket and gas prices have sat around $3 a gallon for the better part of a year.
The immigration problem has continued to fester. FEMA went from being a first-rate government agency to a disaster waiting to happen - staffed with incompetent administration cronies. New Orleans, of course, is much, much worse.
Then, of course, the deficit and the national deficit are both worse. The public’s opinion of Congress is probably at an all-time low as corruption and incompetence have been the themes of this administration.
Surely there is something this administration has done that is positive, but I can’t think of anything right now.