Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Daily Jackass: Barack Hussein Obama

This space had been reserved for Howard Dean and his diagnosis of Trump's sniffles Monday night as evidence of a cocaine problem, but in a come-from-behind victory at the wire ... congratulations, Mr. President.  You earned it.

“If you don’t vote, that’s a vote for Trump,” Obama said in an interview on the Steve Harvey Morning Show. “If you vote for a third-party candidate who’s got no chance to win, that’s a vote for Trump.”

This might be too complicated.  Let's check in with Ted (Keanu).

Still a little deep.  What say you, Most Interesting Man in the World?

Obama's having a pretty rough final year, what with being the lone ranger supporting the TPP, getting his veto overridden yesterday, a disturbingly silent voice on the increasing number of racial confrontations in the nation's streets as police continue to gun down unarmed black men like it's open season, scolding people about tarnishing his legacy and now this.

And can anyone explain the genesis of the idea that the Hatch Act should exclude the president and vice-president?  The law is all but toothless anyway; those who violate it -- like Julian Castro -- can simply say they didn't mean to and suffer no consequence (save a political one, of course).

Here's hoping the president can avoid pulling any more Kanye Wests from now to Election Day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Trump's male chauvinist piggery

That's what we called it back in the day.  Today the preferred words are 'sexism' or 'misogyny', and Trump is certainly a misogynist.  Both words apply to much of Trump's base -- I won't use the d-word; think that's a step too far -- and the tea party/alt-right/whatever they're calling themselves this week.  He long ago maxed out this voting demographic, and now this bit with Miss America might be sealing the losing deal for him.

Tuesday, Trump refused to back down from his criticism of Machado, telling "Fox and Friends" in an interview that she had "gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem."

"She was the winner and you know, she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem. We had a real problem," Trump said. "Not only that, her attitude, and we had a real problem with her, so Hillary went back into the years and she found this girl -- this was many years ago. And found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Theresa. And it wasn't quite that way but that's OK. Hillary has to do what she has to do."

Hard to see that temperament resounding with 53% of the electorate.  Statistical note: that 53% figure is from 2013 and is likely to increase in five weeks.  And of the nine states where men make up more than 50% of the population, only two are battleground states.  So there's a whole lot of wasted Trump votes in those red states.  The gender gap is real, and Trump is expanding it.

I know that there's a cottage industry full of bankruptcies predicting the demise of Hair Furor (I went real early myself), but there's precious little time for the Barking Yam to recover from his debate faceplant, no matter what the online polls say.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trump picked the wrong weekend to stop sniffing glue

Other than being distracted by his sniffling, I was amused by the evening's developments (not highly entertained, but I always keep my expectations pretty low for these).

Yes, Clinton won, and her polling should reflect that in a few days.  Historically the underdog has usually won Round 1, so that's another plus for Clinton.

And my candidate staged a very busy and effective virtual debate in real time, lifting her into the Trending on Twitter before the debate began with her expulsion from the Hofstra University campus, and sustaining that momentum late into the evening.

There's a lot of spinning and some good analysis that I'll update this post with later.


Who lost the debate? America.

Expanding the Debate: Jill Stein "joins" Trump and Clinton in Democracy Now!'s virtual merge

Monday, September 26, 2016

The First Debate Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance passes along Heat Street's exclusive betting guide, Moms Rising's bingo card, and the drinking game rules for the first presidential debate this evening.  But before it begins, Houston-area partisans, show up at the Harris County District Attorney debate, between Kim Ogg and Devon Anderson, from 6:30 until 7:30 p.m. on the near southwest side.

Socratic Gadfly "invites" members of Anonymous to hack the TV feed of the presidential debate on Monday, and John Coby at Bay Area Houston has the media's guide for delivering a win to Trump.

Off the Kuff marvels at the latest order from Judge Nelva Ramos in the voter ID lawsuit.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos is thrilled by the poll that shows Hillary Clinton ten points ahead of Donald Trump in Harris County: Hot Damn, Houston! We can do this.

A discomfiting conclusion about Ted Cruz folding to Dan Patrick and endorsing Trump was drawn by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

As the Republican Congress fiddles, the Zika virus marches on Texas. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is continually appalled at the Republican war on health care and the well being of citizens.

Neil at All People Have Value pointed out that Ann Harris Bennett would be a far better Harris County Tax Assessor-Voter Registrar than failed incumbent Mike Sullivan. APHV is part of

Asian American Action Fund advances a fundraiser later this week for one of its favored candidates, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IL-US Senate).

State Rep. Ron Simmons will address the Lewisville Chamber of Commerce regarding the forthcoming legislative session and various transportation matters, reports the Texan-Journal.

Texas Leftist is a little taken aback by the number of teachers slated to lose their jobs under Trump's education plan.

And Dos Centavos humble-brags about the two albums he reviewed that were nominated for the Latin Grammys.


More blog posts from around Texas!

The Houston Communist Party, in coordination with the Houston Socialist Movement, plans a counter-protest against the "White Lives Matter" protest next Saturday, at the Anti-Defamation League's southwest Houston office.

Forrest Wilder at the Texas Observer laments the state of the media, but not that of journalism.

Karisha Shaw at Strength in Numbers has a view of intersectionality through the lens of a queer black woman.

Grits for Breakfast offers a suggestion to the Texas House committee contemplating a racial profiling aspect to police stops: limit searches to reduce public dissatisfaction.

Swamplot updates the court room battle between two oyster harvesting companies over Galveston Bay's reefs as the bay recovers from the spring flooding.

Pages of Victory explains why the Trans-Pacific Partnership exemplifies his loss of respect for the Democratic Party.
Lone Star Ma focuses on the twelfth of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Colleen Aune (a former member of the Rice Marching Owl Band) and Dan Solomon have their say on the MOB's controversial halftime show during the Rice-Baylor game.

Raised On The Rail provides a handy map of Houston restaurants near light rail stops.

The Lunch Tray alerts us to a disturbing report about teens and hunger.

The Austin Chronicle and the Texas Freedom Network both remind us that SBOE member David Bradley is a huge jerk.

And the TPA wishes Tom "Smitty" Smith a happy and healthy retirement.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ted Cruz, Trump, and Dan Patrick

I don't care whether Ted Cruz has suffered any damage -- any at all, in any way -- with his endorsement of Trump.  It's obvious to me that the man cares about nothing except the next election he's running in.

But it's instructive that it was our lieutenant governor who pushed him off the fence with notice that he would be "left in the rearview mirror" if he didn't endorse the Republican nominee.  What that tells me is that Cruz was intimidated by the realization that he might be primaried in 2018 by someone running to his right.  (Fear is a mutha, ain't it?)

But.  Someone running to the right of Ted Cruz.  Who could win.

Let that sink in.

"Keep Calm and Vote Green: Fascism is not coming"

Thanks to Paul Street at Truthdig for telling it like it is, using the boy who cried 'wolf" analogy:

Every four years, liberal-left politicos scream wolf about how the Republicans are going to wreak plutocratic, racist, ecocidal, sexist, repressive and war-mongering hell if they win “this, the most important election in American history.” The politicos conveniently ignore the plutocratic, racist, ecocidal, sexist, repressive and military-imperial havoc that Democrats inflict at home and abroad in dark, co-dependent alliance with the ever more radically reactionary Republicans.

Democrats fail to acknowledge their preferred party’s responsibility for sustaining the Republicans’ continuing power, which feeds on the “dismal” Dems’ neoliberal abandonment of the nation’s working-class majority in service to transnational Wall Street and corporate America. They commonly exaggerate the danger posed by the right-most major party and (especially) the progressivism of the not-so-left-most one.

It’s not that the liberal and progressive politicos lie about the presence of wolves. The wolves are out there. But they include Democratic wolves in fake sheep’s clothing joined with Republicans in what Washington journalist Mark Leibovich calls “the ultimate Green Party.” The nation’s capital, Leibovich notes, has “become a determinedly bipartisan team when there is money to be made. … ‘No Democrats and Republicans in Washington anymore,’ goes the maxim, ‘only millionaires.’ ” 

I watched Bill Maher last night (something I haven't done much ever since he came out as one of those Paul Ryan/Chris Christie/chicken or fish fuckwads).  One of the panelists was Lanhee Chen, a Republican who cannot vote for either Trump or Clinton.  His response to Maher regarding who he was voting for began with "I live in California, just like you" before he was interrupted and attacked by World War Z author Max Brooks with "Supreme Court".

Chen gets most everything about policy wrong IMO, but gets it right about the Electoral College; Maher and the rest of his panel (save the odious Neera Tanden, who gets it completely and exploits the fear factor associated with not voting for Clinton) do not.

The more American liberals and progressives (vote for the lesser evil; it has a track record, after all), the more the Republican right wing is emboldened, the further the Democrats move into ideological and policy territory formerly held by Republicans, and the more dire the American and global situation becomes. LEV is a viciously circular, self-fulfilling prophecy that itself holds no small responsibility for the ascendancy of horrible Republican presidents and other terrible things like the tea party and Donald Trump phenomena. [...]

I am not so inured to the quasi-neofascistic evil of the Trump phenomenon and the ugly prospects of a Trump presidency—especially on the ecological level—that I cannot understand why many fellow leftists would mark a ballot for the hideous imperial corporatist Hillary Clinton to block Herr Trump. The intra-left bloodletting that takes place on a regular quadrennial schedule over the difficult question of how best to respond to the United States’ plutocratic electoral and party system certainly does not serve the progressive left cause. Let us join together after the latest quadrennial extravaganza to build and expand a great popular movement with a list of demands and the introduction of an election and party system that deserves passionate citizen engagement.

The debate is Monday.  Clinton's polling has gathered strength again.   Don't be one of those cowards who is too scared to vote for a better Democratic Party -- by voting for the Green Party -- in a non-battleground state.

Friday, September 23, 2016

I see your Charles Blow and raise you Ralph Nader

Blow blew it here with his lecturing, primarily aimed at African American millennials but scattershot at everybody who thinks like me.  So in corresponding piss-value response to everybody that thinks like him (and is sharing it on FB and shit), let's feed him some Nader.

"Sanders hasn’t returned a call from me in 18 years. He is a lone ranger. He doesn’t like to be pushed into more progressive action than he is willing to adhere to. As a result, millions of his voters now are in disarray. They don’t know where to go. They’re cynical. Some will go Democrat. Some will support Libertarian, Green. Some will stay home. And so this huge, wonderful effort that he launched is now aborted. It’s dissipating."

If Sanders doesn't like being pushed to the left, then why would he dare try to push his caucus to the right?  This is the entire premise set forth over a year ago, when he was rumored to be 'exploring' a run for president.  That it would end with him sheepdogging progressives onto the Clinton bandwagon.  We all saw this coming.  We hoped for something different, but no.

"And the idea of calling a third party 'spoiler,' using the First Amendment right to run for office, is a politically bigoted word and should never be tolerated by the American people, because everyone has an equal right to run for office. Everyone is going to get votes from one another. So they’re either spoilers of one another or none of them are spoilers.


"Well, it’s wrong from a First Amendment point of view, first of all. You should never tell anybody to shut up. And when you run for office, it’s free speech, petition and assembly. It’s the consummate use of the First Amendment. But here—it’s a scapegoating. The Democrats could never get over how they couldn’t beat this bumbling governor from Texas, who couldn’t put a paragraph together and has a horrible record—children and women and pollution, etc., policy, right?"

AMY GOODMAN: "You’re talking about George W. Bush."

RALPH NADER: "George W. Bush. So they scapegoat the Greens. So here’s how it goes: 300,000 registered Democrats in 2000 in Florida voted for Bush—blame the Greens. Thousands of people were misidentified as ex-felons by Katherine Harris, the secretary of state for Jeb Bush, governor of Florida—blame the Greens. The butterfly ballot, which was very deceptive and got people to vote for exactly the opposite candidate in South Florida—blame the Greens. Scalia’s political 5-4 decision, which blocked the Florida Supreme Court’s full recount in Florida—blame the Greens. The Electoral College took the victory in the popular vote from Gore—blame the Greens. Gore loses his Tennessee state, where he represented in Congress for years—blame the Greens. It’s total scapegoating. It’s disgusting that extremely smart people, who happen to be Democratic Party apparatchiks, like Howard Dean, who’s now in a corporate firm that lobbies for the healthcare and drug industry, by the way, and never identified as such by The New York Times and others who quote him—he is now reviving this 2000 nonsense."

Two things seem real easy to understand to me: Hillary Clinton is Jeb Bush, with Poppy and all of W's neocons on board.  And if Trump still manages to win, it's Clinton's fault exclusively for being a bad candidate running an even worse campaign.

The more people like Blow (and Charles Pierce) want to play hardball with a candidate drawing 3%, the harder the ball is going to get.  It might come to a head next Monday night in upstate New York.

These fucking Jackasses are wearing. me. out.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

UH releases poll with 10-point Clinton lead in Harris County

If you recall, I made fun of the lady at the beauty shop over a week ago for advancing this exact rumor.  So she gets to feed me some crow.

Poll results released today by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs show that Hillary Clinton has a 10-point lead over Donald Trump among registered voters in Harris County, the largest county in Texas and third largest in the nation. Clinton leads Trump 42 percent to 32 percent, with nine percent supporting Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, two percent backing the Green Party’s Jill Stein, and 15 percent undecided.

If the numbers hold, it would represent the widest margin of victory for a Democratic presidential nominee in Harris County since 1964, the year Lyndon B. Johnson was elected president. He received 59.5 percent of the Harris County vote.

Clinton’s lead narrows to only four points, 43 percent to 39 percent, among voters who say they are extremely likely to cast a ballot this November.

The "extremely likely" screen, with the four-point lead, is probably the closest to accurate, FWIW.  Even if ten is the margin, I simply don't think it can hold all the way to Election Day, but it's more than enough to give blue partisan hopes a big boost.

The rest of the poll's results, however, won't (bold is mine).

The UH Hobby School poll finds no evidence of national Republican concern that Trump’s unpopularity within the party will negatively effect down ballot races. In the race for Harris County District Attorney, among the voters extremely likely to cast a ballot this fall, incumbent Republican Devon Anderson narrowly bested Democrat Kim Ogg, 30 percent to 29 percent, while incumbent Republican Ron Hickman led Democrat Ed Gonzalez 36 percent to 30 percent in the contest for sheriff. A plurality of voters is unsure about their preference for district attorney (47 percent) and sheriff (36 percent).

A year ago during the mayor's race, UH returned a similarly strange polling result:  Sylvester Turner with a ten-point lead, Bill King and Adrian Garcia tied for second, Chris Bell a close fourth, and a massive quantity of undecideds.  The November general election results were wildly different, with Turner 32%, King 25, Garcia 17, Ben Hall 9, and Bell 7.

I pooh-poohed their poll then, and I'm pooh-pooh-ing these two county results now.

Update II (9/23): Charles says I'm confusing my Cougar polls here.  Fair enough; I sit corrected.  I still pooh on both.

For one thing, that's an enormous number of GOP split tickets.  Even with the high unsure/undecideds, something appears to be very off if Hickman is leading Gonzalez by six while Clinton leads Trump by ten.  I would have expected the opposite in the sheriff's race to be true, in fact, irrespective of the presidential.

This is a data point, but an awfully strange one.

Update (9/23): The mighty Kuffner has weighed in, and disapproves of the poll to some greater degree than I do.   No issues with his take.  But I thought about these numbers awhile overnight, and did some back-of-the-envelope math: if 100% of the Harris County electorate represents 1,000,000 voters (Charles will probably have a guess at turnout later and it will be higher than this; my number is extremely conservative) then by virtue of UH's poll, Clinton is ahead of Trump by 100,000 votes, and Ron Hickman leads Ed Gonzalez in the race for sheriff by 60K.

This doesn't seem plausible in a sampling that is 50% D, 45% R, and 5% I (page 5).  It would suggest there is a very large number of Democrats in Harris County -- joined by Republicans, for that matter --  who would be splitting their tickets Clinton and Hickman.  (Significantly less so Clinton and Anderson in the DA's race; everybody understands that one will be very close all the way to Election Night).

Could there really be tens of thousands of blue and red partisans in the county voting Hillary for president and Ron Hickman for sheriff?  I'm just not buying that.

The Swarming of the Jackasses

'Stampede' perhaps better?

These donkeys were braying everywhere you looked earlier this week.  I tend, after having refuted so much of it this year, to see this ad hominem as inflicting a similar amount of damage to that of a swarm of midges.  There has been some pushback, and now that Clinton has stabilized -- still ahead in the polling, and by more than slightly going into the weekend and next Monday's debate -- maybe these nervous, frightened, antagonistic mules can calm back down again.

The Libertarians get the same treatment from Republicans, but that seems like small consolation compared to these Shillbots and their incessant whining and use of trope and myth as substitutes for logic.  Whaddaya gonna do, though?  Punch them in their (deserved) faces?  We're supposed to be the pacifists, after all.  (I'm sort of a militant peacenik, personally.  You know, "peace in our time or I'll kill you muddahfackas".)

As if their incompetence needed further public demonstration, both camps trotted out their managers to show off to the media their unique ability to duck questions.  It was exquisite failure.  Here, for example, is some analysis of the Syrian catastrophe Robby Mook didn't want to talk about.

Still on track for 'worst election ever', and certainly the worst set of debates ever.