Thursday, January 31, 2013

Texas House Committees Bexar County

Where did Bexar County end up in terms of House Committee assignments?

Trey Martinez Fischer
Natural Resources
Ways & Means

Philip Cortez
Homeland Security & Public Safety
Public Health

Joe Farias - Vice Chair - County Affairs
Defense & Veterans' Affairs
Rules and Resolutions

Roland Gutierrez
Licensing & Administrative Procedures

Ruth Jones McClendon - Chair - Rules and Resolutions

Lyle Larson - Vice Chair - Local & Consent Calendars
Culture, Recreation & Tourism
Natural Resources

Mike Villarreal - Chair - Investments & Financial Services
Public Education

Jose Menendez - Chair - Defense & Veterans' Affairs
State Affairs

Justin Rodriguez
Public Education
Urban Affairs

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rick Perry State of the State Address

The Texas State of the State Addresses word clouded.

[Insert issue here] upsets Texas Republicans

A story at the Express-News' website is titled, " Immigration proposal upsets Texas Republicans."

Am I the only person who thinks you could write that headline about any somewhat moderate legislative proposal and the headline would read  XXXXXXX upsets Texas Republicans?  Hell, these days, there is almost nothing that doesn't upset Texas Republicans. 

Let's try it out:

Coke Flavor Change Upsets Texas Republicans

Bad Perm Job Upsets Texas Republicans

Traffic Jam Upsets Texas Republicans

Daylight Savings Time Upsets Texas Republicans

Food Poisoning Upsets Texas More Ways than One

Monday, January 28, 2013

Are Hillary Supporters Doing More Harm Than Good?

An alternative title to this could be "Too Much Bee Gees."  First the video:

Second the question: Are Hillary supporters risking a Too Much Bee Gees backlash?

She's not even out of the job of Secretary of State and we already have a Super PAC, Ready for Hillary, popping up.  Couldn't we have at least waited until she was official out of her post?

It's also kind of ironic.  I can't recall it being explicitly said, but it was heavily inferred that the supporters of Obama had an almost unhealthy worship of him and were blinded by his rhetoric.  A lot of people may remember the event in Rhode Island where Hillary seemed to mock Obama and his supporters:

How are these supporters of Hillary any different?  Like the Obama supporters, they are just as dedicated, loyal, faithful, and gung-ho about their candidate.

From Marc Ambinder:
ReadyForHillary aims to have its ducks in a row should Clinton decide to press go on a 2016 bid. It will serve as a virtual gathering place for supporters and donors. When prominent Democrats like Donna Brazile offer their endorsements — like Brazile did today in a tweet — the organization, which already claims close to 50,000 Twitter followers, will document them and push them out to the world.

And why the name? It was chosen, according to someone involved in the group, because everyone seems "Ready for Hillary." 
To be honest, I'm not ready for anyone.  We've just come through a presidential election and we have a midterm to get through.  To be honest, anytime someone mentions the 2016 Presidential Race, I want to vomit.

Are Hillary backers risking a Too Much Bee Gees backlash?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Israeli Elections, Vote Labor

Israelis are voting to decide who will be the next Prime Minister.  It's expected that Benjamin Netanyahu will continue as PM.

What's interesting is reading some of the stories from around the world.  The focus is either an election that will be decided on the peace process or one decided on the economy and social issues.

From the ABC News (Australia), an election that is focused on the peace process and the increase in seats of a far-right party.

From the BBC News, an election that is focused on the economy and social issues, but with a rising far-right party.

If I able to vote, I'd probably vote for Shelly Yachimovich and Labor.  The Global Times profiled the head of the Labor Party and the likely Leader of the Opposition.

The latest poll that came out on Jan. 18 had Labor winning 17 seats.

Likud - Yisrael Beiteinu - 32
Labor - 17
Yesh Atid - 13
Jewish Home - National Union - 12
Shas - 11
Hatnuah - 8
UTJ - 6
Meretz - 6
UAL - Ta'al - 4
Hadash - 4
Balad - 3
Kadima - 2
Otzma LeYisrael - 2

Saturday, January 19, 2013

State Sen. Committees

Lite Gov. David Dewhurst has filled out the rest of the committee slots in the State Senate.  How did Bexar County do?

SD - 19, Carlos Uresti (D)
Administration - Vice-Chair
Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Homeland Security - Vice-Chair
Health & Human Services
Natural Resources

SD-21, Judith Zaffirini (D)*
Government Organization - Chair
Health & Human Services
Higher Education

*Only represents 3 precincts in Bexar County

SD-26, Leticia Van de Putte (D)
Business & Commerce
State Affairs
Veterans Affairs & Military Installations - Chair

SD-25, Donna Campbell (R)
Nominations - Vice-Chair
Veterans Affairs & Military Installations

Paid For, But Not Bought

This is pretty funny.  If my understanding of the story is correct, a group of people bankrolled a politician's campaign expecting him to do something for them.  Unfortunately for them, the politician didn't stay bought.  There's more to the story than just that element, but that's what stood out for me.

From The Age in Melbourne:
LANDHOLDERS in Melbourne's south-east are furious after they bankrolled the election campaign of a Kingston councillor - so he would help rezone their land for development - only to find out he offered a deal to an anti-development councillor in a bid to get elected as mayor.

Questions hang over the funding of last year's election campaign of the councillor, Paul Peulich, son of state MP and powerbroker Inga Peulich. Landholders confirmed to Fairfax Media that donations to Cr Peulich totalled thousands of dollars. Under law, councillors must declare all gifts and money donations over $500. On his official return filed at Kingston Council, Cr Peulich said that he had nothing to declare.

There's a lot more to this story related to the Peulich's mother and Peulich's unsuccessful bid to be mayor.

It's the part about the donors bankrolling the guy's campaign and expecting him to do what they want and instead he goes another way.  Aside from the fact that he may gone against them for other reasons, this demonstrates what a lot of people really hate about politics and the stereotypical politician.  Just give enough money to the person and you've got him or her bought.

This is also raises the someone giving you money because they support your position on an issue or because they expect you to vote in favor of them.  In this case it's pretty clear this group of donors was expecting this guy to do something for them.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Only In Texas

Only in Texas can you call the Legislature, be put on hold and hear an instrumental version of How Great Thou Art.  And if that wasn't the song that was playing, my mistake...but that's what it sounded like to me.

On that train of's Dixie Carter signing How Great Thou Art from Designing Women:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Safest Airlines in the World

So what are the top 10 safest airlines in the world?  Hint: none are from the United States.

1. Finnair - Finland
2. Air New Zealand - New Zealand
3. Cathay Pacific - Hong Kong
4. Emirates - United Arab Emirates
5. Eithad Airways - United Arab Emirates
6. EVA Airways - Taiwan
7. TAP Portugal - Portugal
8. Hainan Airlines - China
9. Virgin Australia - Australia
10. British Airways - United Kingdom

Bottom 10

51. SkyWest Airlines - United States
52. South African Airways - South Africa
53. Thai Airways International - Thailand
54. Turkish Airlines - Turkey
55. Saudia - Saudi Arabia
56. Korean Air - South Korea
57. GOL Transportes Aereos - Brazil
58. Air India - India
59. TAM Airlines - Brazil
60. China Airlines - Taiwan

Where did the USA end up on the rest of the list?

14. JetBlue Airways
21. Southwest Airlines
28. Delta Air Lines
31. United Airlines
42. American Airlines
44. US Airways
45. Alaska Airlines

From the Brisbane Times:
The Germany-based Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre, or JACDEC, calculates its annual rankings based on aircraft loss accidents and serious incidents where an accident nearly occurred over the past 30 years.

The resulting Safety Index relates the accidents to the revenue per passenger kilometre [RPK] performed by the airline over the same time.

None of the top nine ranked airlines had lost an aircraft or had a fatality during the 30-year period, but many had also not been active for the full 30 years.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Texas Legislature Gavels In - Live

Little after noon, Secretary of State John Steen gavels the House to order.

12:05 - Preacher doing the invocation for the House gets political.  Talks about life at moment of conception.

12:08 - Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas) leads House in Pledge of Allegiance.  Rep. Helen Giddings (D-Dallas) leads House in Texas Pledge.

12:10 - Steen delivers a message to the House.

12:11 - Asks that Dean of the House, Tom Craddick (R-Midland), stand.

12:13 - Perry political ad from Steen? Says Texas is top place for business, leader in exports, home to more Fortune 1000 companies.

12:18 - Mouseketeer roll call.  Taking attendance.

12:25 - Over at the Texas Senate, they're getting things underway.  Gov. Oops is speaking.
12:27 - Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is in the State Senate Chamber.

12:28 - Mousketeer roll call finishes.  Quorum is present and members can officially be sworn in.

12:28 - SC: Perry speech gets interrupted.  Someone gets sick during his speech.  Not kidding.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Our Long State Nightmare Begins

The National Laboratory for Bad Government convenes in Austin, i.e., the Lege is coming back.

Embassy Orgy

If you've seen that movie My Fellow Americans, there's a scene where Lauren Bacall tells Jack Lemmon, "Don't say friggin Russ.  If you're gonna use the f-word go for the gold."

That's kinda how I feel about political scandal.  If you going to do it, go for the demonstrated by the Honduran Ambassador to Colombia.  To be fair, no one knows if the ambassador was actually present.

From ABC News (Australia):
The government of Honduras has sacked its ambassador to Colombia after the embassy was reportedly robbed by prostitutes during a drunken Christmas party.

Carlos Rodriguez Andino was told to resign after Honduran foreign minister Arturo Corrales received a report drafted by a special commission appointed to investigate the December 20 incident in Bogota.

...According to Honduran media reports, the ambassador's bodyguard and close friend Jorge Mendoza organised a party at the embassy to celebrate Christmas that turned into a booze-fuelled orgy with prostitutes.

Reports said the prostitutes stole embassy computers and mobile phones, and defecated on the desks of the ambassador and the commercial attache, after they were asked to leave without being paid.
I also think the prostitutes have a point.  Hired to do a job and getting stiffed.  Who wouldn't be mad?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Why are there House Republican Women?

2 questions: Where are the House Republican Women?  and Why are there House Republican Women?

After a campaign where we had too many Male Republican candidates offering their "special views" on rape.

Then word from the Speaker's office that only one committee, House Administration, will be chaired by a woman.  As one person described it, the secretarial committee.

The latest is the failure of the Republican House to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

It seems the Republicans are planning to continue their successful War on Women.  Rape, only 1 committee chair, and the Violence Against Women Act.

Once again: Where are the House Republican Women?  and Why are there House Republican Women?

All these smiling women have decided that party comes first.  What's good for the party is good for the country.  All these women said violence against women is fine with them.

Sandy Adams, Florida; Michele Bachmann, Minnesota; Judy Bigget, Illinois; Diane Black, Tennessee; Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee; Susan Brooks, Indiana; Ann Marie Buerkle, New York; Renee Elmers, North Carolina; Jo Ann Emerson, Missouri; Virginia Foxx, North Carolina; Kay Granger, Texas; Vicky Hartzler, Missouri; Jamie Herrera Beutler, Washington; Lynn Jenkins, Kansas; Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington; Candice Miller, Michigan; Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia; Sye Myrick, North Carolina; Kristi Noem, South Dakota; Martha Roby, Alabama; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida; Jean Schmidt, Ohio; Ann Wagner, Missouri; and Jackie Walorski, Indiana.

This is a compilation of the Republican House women from both the last Congress and the new Congress, because both are to blame.  The women from the previous Congress for not pushing to get this bill passed, and the new ones for voting to keep the status quo, i.e. voting to keep John Boehner as Speaker.  One of these women, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, was the nominator for Speaker John Boehner.  Party position over country.

None of these women pushed for this bill.  Where were the press conferences?  The nightly appearances on news shows?  The daily ruckus raising?  Instead, just a few simple statements in support of reauthorization.  Guess they couldn't be bothered with doing anything else.

What would be worse, is if any of these women were the victims of violence.  Those women should have been the ones out there pushing it because they would know the need for it.  We elect our representatives be a voice for their constituents and to fight for their constituents.  It may be hard for them to talk about, but we don't send our representatives to Washington to do an easy job.  If you can vote to send soldiers, men and women, off to die, you should be able to stand up and speak about why violence against women is bad.

Back to the 2 questions: Where are the House Republican Women? and Why are there House Republican Women?  Apparently the House Republican women are fine with keeping silent, which begs the question, what's the point of there even being any Republican women if they're not going to stand up for women?

Republicans: Violence Against Women is Okay

Everyone seemed to notice that the House Republicans pulled the Sandy Relief Bill.  Among the other items that the Republicans didn't vote on was the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.  The Senate had already approved reauthorization and sent the bill to the House.  But the Republicans didn't vote on it, essentially saying violence against women is okay.

In addition to women, Republicans gave the thumbs to violence against LGBT people, immigrants and Native American women.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fun with Word Clouds - Gov. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

Across the country this month the winners of the November elections are being sworn in.  Democrat Maggie Hassan became Governor of New Hampshire today.  Here's a word cloud of her inauguration speech.  She seems to like the state of New Hampshire and people.

My disappointment with Hassan is that during her inaugural address, she has reiterated her opposition to a state income tax, as well as a state sales tax.  Although not a New Hampshire voter, I was rooting for her opponent in the primary, State Sen. Jackie Cilley.

From the Concord Monitor's endorsement of Cilley, back during the primary:
Nonetheless, two contrasts are telling and tip the scales in favor of Cilley.
First, while Cilley is not specifically advocating any new tax, she will not limit debate over state spending and revenue by taking any options off the table. Hassan has chosen to take the traditional pledge to veto a broad-based sales or income tax - a tired and damaging tradition that keeps New Hampshire from facing its most vexing problems fairly and rationally.

Second, Cilley rejects the notion of amending the New Hampshire Constitution to weaken the requirement that the state pay the basic cost of educating every child. Under the right circumstances, Hassan would be willing to support an amendment that permits targeting education aid in a manner not currently permitted.
We've seen the damage caused by Grover Norquist and his tax pledges.  Have we learned nothing?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dallas Cowboys Politics, Epilogue

Another season under a Republican Governor and the Cowboys have missed the playoffs.

Out of 53 seasons, the Cowboys have made the playoffs 30 times or 57%, and missed the playoffs 23 times or 43%.

Of those 23 missed playoff appearances, 39% were under Democrats, 61% were under Republicans.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Bexar County Judges

The Express-News has coverage from the swearing-in ceremonies that took place today for our new judges.

The Bexar County website as already been updated.  And who says government isn't efficient?

Even the 4th Court of Appeals website has been updated to reflect the electoral changes.