Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Mid-Summer Break. Help others.

Time to take some time off from this blog for a bit.  While I'm gone I might remind you that the people in Louisiana are having a rough go of it right now.

Here's a pretty good CNN article laying out ways that you can help them.

If you can, please do so.

But for the grace of God there go we.

Election Day 2016: ....and nothing else matters....

We're 84 days away from the end of all things good and holy, some thoughts.

 - No matter who wins, we all lose.  At this point we're just splitting hairs over which of the two candidates, The Anointed One, or the Bronzed Ego, is going to make a worse President.  The reality is they are both going to be awful and neither has the apparent chops to improve or, in the case of the Ego, "pivot" to anything approaching respectability.

 - At this point, I don't think it's necessary to fully recap why Donald J. Trump would be a disaster, but it still seems that some people are holding out hope that Hillary Rodham Clinton will somehow be not that bad.  They're wrong of course, because a Hillary Presidency will be just as big, if nor more of, a disaster.

Not a disaster of the "OMG! we're all going to DIE!" type or even one that puts the very fabric of the country in danger but a disaster in the continued dearth of leadership vein that most cities, some states and the country has seen over the last several years.

To be clear. I'm not as gloom and doom as most. In fact, when bad leaders are in charge there is typically opportunity for some, and I imagine they will take advantage of it, creating wealth, and hoarding it (wisely) as they have always.

What is certain to suffer is America's "position in the world" if you feel that type of thing is important (I do, but not in a manner that you might thing) and the government's ability to function in a manner that is subject to the rule of law.

 - A bigger concern, to most, should be that the cities, towns and states are starting to show real signs of wear and tear, as groups such as Black Lives Matter and ineffectual, progressive, politicians find new and creative ways to continue receiving loyalty from the very groups that they are exploiting the most.

In fact, monolithic blocs of voters skewing heavily towards one party or another is probably a bigger concern than the fact that there are still a lot of people who believe, heartily, that their vote matters.  The same pundits who cheered the black votes 90+ percent loyalty to candidates with (D) following their names are suddenly shedding crocodile tears over only 11% of white in one state voting against candidates with (R) following it. Repeat after me: lock-step voting is bad. No matter the demographic slicer that's being applied.

 - The good news:  Football season is starting soon which means:  A distraction.

The Olympics have been OK but there's nothing that can distract from the depressing reality that out of 300 Million people the best we could find was a habitual liar and live-action baboon to run for office is startling.  But, "Gary Johnson!" you holler, to which I say: "Meh."

Even the Libertarians couldn't sort it out and nominate someone who was, to put this indelicately, Libertarian.  At least the Greens have nominated another communist carnival barker I guess?  Some things never change.

 - Then there's the sad case of Evan McMullin, an apparently decent man who's been caught up in the hissy-fit of rejection from some of the more Reagan-underwear wearing fellows over on the Right.  "Back to the 80's!" is not a winning campaign slogan.

Unfortunately, I wouldn't have thought "Back to the 50's!" would have been either but here we are, in 2016 listening to the two nominees for the two major parties in a diminishing world power yearn fondly for the heady, early days of the Cold War.

Happiness is rarely found in the past, but rarely expected in the future, at least where politics is concerned.

Monday, August 15, 2016

HALV: Were I to think-piece Houston's future.

A few days ago I mentioned that the Chron's editor o' snark had issued an "open" call for "all" Houstonians to offer up think pieces on the city's future. If you're interested, and able, to view the Chron's behind-the-pay-wall call to arms you can find it here.

Go ahead and read it, I'll wait......

Back? Good.

Were I of the think-piecing proclivity I would probably consider offering up a suggestion to have rejected by Ms. Gray (who doesn't converse with me much other to tell me, on Twitter, how wrong I am). But, I've always wanted to pen a Dystopian fiction novel (My anti-hero would be brooding, and sultry, and left-handed) so I thought, why not, let's give it a go.

Without further ado:

"Houtopia: A city's tale."

"Shut up" he said as he slammed the snooze button for the second time.

Dick Stockton knew he had to get up, but he didn't want to especially. It was just another August day in Houston and at 6:00AM the temperature outside was already up to 98 degrees. Expected highs somewhere around 115 and thunderstorms in the afternoon.  All of this to look forward to and Dick knew that his day would also be full of press conferences and trying to dodge the personal security of Mayor X, who have made it very clear they don't like questions.

Dick stretched and looked out the window of his company provided 20th story efficiency.  "Shit, there's smoke coming from the Metro line again."  "Is Metro on fire?" now had a Houston branch on Twitter and the result was usually "yes".  Not that he blamed Metro CEO Jay Blazek Crossley however, after all, massive expansion of the light-rail system had brought total track mileage up to 42 (just a few more to 50 and "world class" status) but the city's refusal to approve a 187% tax increase to fund maintenance had left the agency cash-strapped and running out of ideas.

"Push the train" Thursdays didn't help, nor did "Get out and walk" Tuesdays as citizens were increasingly realizing that it's not ideal to perform vigorous physical exercise in near-100 degree heat shortly before going to the office.

Those who still worked in an office that is.  Since the 2047 Nationalization act oil and gas jobs were few and far between, with the collapse of the private medical industry under "KanyeCare" due to an over-reliance on butt implants, Houston's job market was gutted.  Everyone thought things would change if they could just build ANOTHER sports arena for  the new professional handball team but that league folded after only four years and their new stadium was now a haven for cats and vagrants. It's too bad, because this really seemed like the shot-in-the arm that would salvage the economic hopes of the Sharpstown area as former mayor David Crossley promised.

What was left in Houston was a mish-mash of government, fast-food, retail and other assorted hospitality workers catering to the people who owned the businesses.  Forget the income inequality that people griped about in the 10's, in the 60's the gap was a Grand Canyon.  Dick had hope however because President Ashley Kutcher (formerly Ashton) promised she "had a plan" which she would unveil shortly after making her annual State of the Union speech at this year's Oscars.

Dick jumped in the shower and (just) managed to get the soap out of his hair before the mandatory :30 second timer stopped the water flow. He grabbed a handful of organic, free-range, fair-trade breakfast supplement flakes before heading out the door hoping that Starbucks still had some of the good cat-shit coffee from Malaysia left by the time he got there.

God it was hot.  As he took the 22 flights of stairs down to the parking garage he knew that today wasn't going to be filled with good news. Mayor X had promised Houstonians a major policy announcement today that was predicted, though not confirmed, to be the finalization of his program designed to empty River Oaks of "those rich bastards", tear down their houses and replace them with government housing. Sure, there were questions how a broke, dilapidated city like Houston could afford to do this, but details weren't X's thing. The man could give a speech however.

As Dick unplugged his 2050 Tesla Musk (I can't believe the pompous bastard named it after himself) he knew that the time was coming for him to get a new model but, since the merger of Tesla and Chinese owned BYD the cars that were produced just weren't as good as his old, government subsidized rambler. Plus, BYD's don't look as cool.  Oh well, for another time, for now Dick had to focus in to navigate the road in front of him. Traffic in Houston was always bad, but moving down Dallas Street to get to City Hall as almost impossible since the city ran out of public works funds, gave up, and converted all of the streets to dirt roads.

He knew this would be a 45 minute drive, at least, and that there was no way Starbucks would have ANY coffee left (they were only allowed to make 200 per day due to water rationing) by the time he got there. "Shit" under his breath, "this means that I'm going to have to drink the recycled swill that's free in the press pool."  What Dick really wanted was a Red Bull, but those, and all other energy drinks, were outlawed to protect the people from themselves.

About an hour later, there was a 20 minute delay because a MetroRail car caught fire and went up in a ball of flames about 200 feet in front of him, he finally got to City Hall, stopping only for a minute to marvel at Mayor X's refurbished Hummer sitting on the lawn.  It was painted bright blue, and looks as if it had just gotten new wheels, so it was clear the Mayor would be in a good mood this morning.

(Next: Chapter Two - The X-Man cometh)

Friday, August 12, 2016

This is why we can't have nice things.

You've seen those seats on buses, trains, or other modes of public transit marked "reserved for the elderly" right? And you've seen times where people ignored it and forced an elderly person to stand as well I'm sure.

Now you know why.....

Someone offered this Grandad a seat on the subway, his reaction was priceless. Natasha Hinde, HuffingtonPost UK

A 68-year-old proved that age ain’t nothin’ but a number - after he surprised commuters with some epic feats of strength on the underground.
Wayne McEntire, from Texas, was travelling on the subway when someone offered to get up so he could sit in the priority seat, available for the elderly, people with disabilities or pregnant women.
McEntire politely declined the seat, then surprised passengers on the carriage by clinging onto a nearby pole and using his upper body strength to lift his legs into the air.

Of course, his 19 year old grandson was there and just happened to take pictures, which he then posted on Twitter to the amusement of many.

Three things:

1. I don't believe that this is how this story happened. I think the Grandfather was just showing off, and they invented the "give up the seat" portion to make it seem just a little less horrible.

2. They failed.

3. His reaction wasn't "priceless" or "epic" it was damn rude.

Because, if it DID happen like this, then Grandpa and Grandson are two of the biggest prats in the world.

Someone does the right thing, offers to give up their seat to a person for who it's intended, and the response is to debase them by proving that you're somehow better than them because you can flag yourself in public for no other reason than to show them up.

"What a guy" indeed.

Of course, they're from Texas.

So the next time you see an elderly person walking toward you and you're seated the lesson learned from this is "don't give up your seat".  Let the old asshole stand up.  Otherwise you might be publicly shown-up.


Shutter The Ed Board: Turner hits, Turner scores. (A body shot)

It's not a big secret that I'm no huge fan of current Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. I view him as a life-long politician who finally got elected to the position of his dreams just in time to allow everyone to discover just how incredibly out of his depth he is.  He's a Houston version of Hillary Clinton, or one of the Castro brothers, or Greg Abbott and John Culberson if you prefer some examples on the right. (Clinton, however, being the most prominent, riding her husband's coattails she's bounced from government job to government job despite accomplishing nothing, and now is considered to have quite the resume because of it.)

So it was with no small measure of surprise that I read his take-down of the increasingly worthless Houston Chronicle Editorial Board yesterday evening.

Chronicle Editorial Board criticism about housing decision is off-base. Sylvester Turner, HoustonChronicle.com

 I do, however, have a big problem with an institution that does not reflect the diversity of this city publishing a lecture on race and class that does not elevate all children, regardless of where they live.
We have a lot more work to do on this long journey to equality, to be sure - but the Houston Chronicle editorial board needs to reset its perspective. A good first step would be to increase diversity on the editorial board so that it looks more like Houston and has greater access to the diversity of life experiences that the majority of Houston knows.

Of course Turner, who is a very institutional "status quo" type of guy, not being one to call for huge change, seeks to reform (in his view) rather than do anything groundbreaking. Based on that foundation his call for the "diversification" of the Gang of Idiots makes sense.  He also is one who believes that diversity for diversity's sake is a solution. It's important to note that, when he mentions 'diversity' Turner is referring to physical, rather than mental diversity. The former is prized while the latter is demonized.

Most intelligent thinkers, and leaders, understand that diversity is a worthy goal, but should not be pursued to the exclusion of results.  From that perspective, the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board has not produced successful results in quite some time and is a horrid waste of resources at the paper. Their tone-deafness to this issue, an issue where I agree with Turner FWIW, putting affordable housing in that neighborhood is ridiculous given the cost, and their total disconnect from Houston's citizenry make it clear that they've outlived their usefulness.

Turner got a slight hit against them, but a KO blow would have been a call for the shuttering of the board (including, the angry doodler and most of the political columnists) in favor of increased staffing on the news desks.

And while it's possible that a truly diverse editorial board, one including say, Bill King, Mustafa Tameez and Gina Gaston (as an example, I doubt any of these three would be interested) MIGHT do a better job penning opinions that matter to Houstonians they would still be operating under an outdated model of news-gathering.

In the "good old days" almost everyone in America got their news from a newspaper. They also got political and election advice from media barons who had no qualms about openly revealing their political leanings in their publication.  Amazingly, partly because they had no real competition, this so-called "yellow" journalism is now considered the golden age of the newspaper.  But something happened on the road to irrelevance, the media decided that they needed to portray themselves as "impartial" despite not being so and trust in them began to erode. The media barons gave way to corporations and the news became a profit center.

Then came the Internet, and suddenly every half-assed moron with a keyboard and the ability to (barely) string a sentence together became an unabashed expert on everything*, suddenly the media, and especially, unsigned editorials didn't matter as much. The media doubled-down on their "neither left or right" fallacy and public trust continued to erode. Circulation dropped, online portals were created and 'page hits' became the goal increasingly pushing out hard news stories.

Then the cuts came, and came, and a lot of solid, hard news reporters found themselves staring at the unpleasant reality of unemployment that really had not been an issue before. Those who could, jumped ship and either became spokespersons for government officials or government departments. or they jumped over to the dark-side and stopped worrying and came to love the Internet (news sites). The (mostly good) rank-and-file reporters that are still employed at the hulking beasts find themselves under-equipped, under-staffed and running on low morale. Investigative news is rapidly going away, being outsourced to independent shops and local news channels.

But the unsigned editorial still remains, shining like a black light that highlights all of the goo on the walls of the meeting room. It's a relic, it needs to go, and newspapers need to focus on the core job that they've always promised they would never stop doing.  Reporting the news.

It would be better, for them, however if they just gave up and admitted that they were doing so from whatever political perspective they choose.  It might even help them get some trust back.

*Yes, I'm self-describing there, except for the "string a sentence together" nonsense, an area where I clearly struggle.  Half-assed moron though?  Guilty.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Presumptuous Blogging: Things You Should Read (08/11/2016)

Yes, the Olympics have a green pool, but at least there are no open sewage fires raging.....

Remember "Clock Boy?" The kid from Qatar who "built" a clock and got suspended from school for it?  Yeah, turns out it's just about getting more money. (Also, as many have noted, he didn't "build" a clock. He disassembled an existing one and put it in a box.

The government encourages you to keep smoking. After all, they've already budgeted the tax income they expect to receive from it.

The First Order are charging up StarKiller Base. It's the only explanation. I only hope Poe Dameron gets their in time.

At least it's not as bad as "Rationalia". It's just "soak the rich and increase taxes" with some words from academia and many, many appeals to authority thrown in. Proof that being "Harvard educated" does not imply that one is smart.

No one likes a drug cheat better than the US Media. Especially if said drug cheat is from another country, and they can use the story to take pot shots at the American people. 

David French on fixing conservatism: In summary, stop waiting for politicians to do it and get out there in your communities and do some damn good.

It's hard to build an entire argument on "what-ifs" and "maybes" but that doesn't stop America-critics on the left from trying.

"Bi-Partisan" does not always mean better. The assembly line US education model has failed. The so-called bi-partisan solution is more of it running on more money.  *sigh*

The so-called "party of science" is remarkably anti-science on most issues. - "Science" meaning whatever is en vogue and makes them feel all fuzzy inside at the time.  They would be the ideal citizens of Rationalia because they are so easy to lie to.

Ever heard of BYD?  Because, they're doing what Elon Musk claims he wants to do with Tesla but are doing it bigger (although, in research, their car is not necessarily "better")

Change "some" to "other" in the headline and this story makes much more sense. So-called "mobility experts" aren't trying to change their habits, they're trying to change YOUR habits.

During the election, Abbott campaigned against the Texas Enterprise Fund. Now he's in office? Oh, never mind.  Just a reminder that politicians will ALWAYS let you down.

It's funny to watch the Chron's cub reporter try and explain away over two decades of incompetent, trinket governance.

From the people who get most things wrong in their Houston Area Survey (Walkable Neighborhoods! Public Transportation!)  Pensions! The survey.  And many think pieces about how to fix them.

Speaking of think-piecing the future, The Chron's editor of snark (and Twitter "gotchas" that aren't) wants yours on the future of Houston. I'm not sure why they're making an open call when we all know they're just going to take the Crossley's, Tameez and some other local progressive thinkers, mix in a token crazy sounding conservative and call it a day.  Do yourself a favor and skip this series.

And finally.....

Coming soon to a County near you (me).... Tax Increases! Or, "How we screwed up by allowing development in flood plains and are now scrambling to fix it." Tales of Houston Area Leadership Vaccum Expansion, Vol. 1,826,228

Yay! Us.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Election 2016: None of it matters.

Proving what we all knew to be true, a newly released cache of bathroom server e-mails were released raising new questions about whether Hillary & Bill Clinton used the Clinton Foundation to personally enrich themselves by offering access and favors from HRC's State Department.

E-mails renew questions about Clinton Foundation and State Department overlap. Eric Lichtblau, New York Times

I am shocked! To find out the Clinton's were breaking the law and will face no consequences for it!

Round up the usual suspects and fire another staffer!

Then watch as she takes the oath of office (presumably with her hand on a Bible) for the Presidency of the United States of America.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is awful and yes it's true that, throughout her entire career, she's been known more for opportunism, riding her husband's considerable coattails and corruption than she has been for actual accomplishments.  And yes it's more than somewhat likely a Clinton Presidency will be earmarked by crony capitalism, the politics of favoritism,some very, very sketchy business dealings, total disregard for the rule of law and corruption not seen since Bill tried to turn an intern into a humidor.

The American people know this, even honest-Democrats, in their quiet moments, know that they nominated a rank opportunist with a moral code that makes a petty thief look like a choir boy in comparison, We know that Hillary will sell out our safety and security for a large donation to the Clinton Foundation. We know all of this because it's already happened.  And no matter how many times she attempts to "reintroduce" herself to us we know that, at heart, she really is a pretty awful human being, a pimple on the ass-crack of American society.

But none of this matter because......The GOP nominated Donald J. Trump to run against her.

The GOP took a look at all of their candidates, looked at the negatives that Clinton carried with her to the race (she's not even especially popular with Democrats) and decided to nominate the Brad Lidge to her Albert Pujols. The one man who could snatch defeat forcefully from the jaws of victory, who could possibly cause them to lose not only the Presidency, but the Senate and the House as well.

As a bonus they've exposed the party proper as racist, functionally illiterate, economically stupid and more sheep-like in their devotion to party over principle than even the Democrats.

Heckuva job Reince.

You know you're screwed in a political contest when the guy you nominated to head your ticket is the worst of the two options when Hillary Clinton is the other. In fact, it's so bad that the Senate and (yes) even the House GOP majorities could be in play. Trump has managed to alienate just about every minority group, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and classical liberals that used to make up the old coalitions. What he's left with is an angry soup of misplaced rage, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.  Gross.

It's gotten so bad that the most ardent Democrats are concern-trolling without fear of reprisal.

The only answer that I can see is to stop voting and start living. Because the reality is your life is not going to be made better by Hillary Clinton, Donald J. Trump, Greg Abbottthis idiot or even this one. (h/t to Kevin from BlogHouston for the last two links) All politicians can do is make your life worse. So it's not up to you to go out, live it, and make it better.


And yes, you can still gripe. Last I checked there's no voting requirement attached to the 1st Amendment.  But, when the choices are all bad, not voting might be the wisest choice of all.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Big XII (X for now) Expansion: The Chron "reports", hoping that you will decide they're correct.

Tales of a middling regional daily trying desperately to remain relevant in today's media landscape.

Things have been going OK for University of Houston athletics of late. The football program is on the ascendancy, the basketball team is showing signs of life, and facilities are improving, as is revenue and exposure.

The University as a whole is doing fairly well also. Academic rankings are on the ascendancy, enrollment is spiking, current leadership seems to be more than competent.  And despite the occasional misstep news coming out of Cullen boulevard is generally positive.

Of course, this means that it's time for Houston's middling regional daily to start trying to dump buckets of ice water on the institution.

UH 'banks' on joining the big leagues so 'sustain' athletic spending. Benjamin Wermund (UT-Austin alum) and Joseph Duarte (UT-Austin alum), HoustonChronicle.com ($$$)

Is cost of moving to Big 12 too steep for Cougars? Chron (UT-based) sports staff. Chron.com

No doubt the editorial staff at the Chron considers the above to pieces to be 'important' journalism. Stories that "need to be told" for the "good of the community" rather than for the good of the alma-mater of the overwhelming majority of the journalism staff.

Never you mind that, in accepting the Chron's premise in the latter story involves ignoring a few, key facts:

1. University spending on athletics is not a zero-sum game.

In fact, a successful athletic program often, although not always, increases funding in other departments due to increased exposure, university pride etc. It is clear that the leadership at UH, but not the Chron, feels that their athletic spending is an investment toward the future. One that, unless you're Baylor right now, will pay off in terms if increased positive exposure. In none of the stories that they are writing does the Chron even pay lip-service to that fact.

2. Revenues aren't static.

The underlying theme in the second story is that UH doesn't make enough to be able to "afford" Big XII membership. If you assume that their athletic revenues will stay flat after membership to the Big XII, then that argument might hold some water.

But the reality is, their revenues from athletics will increase after joining the Big XII, even if they have to spend a few years under a reduced-share agreement.  Because part of the Big XII revenues is going to still be greater than a full share of American Athletic Conference revenues.

The only reason you write this article is that you don't want to see UH included. For UT-Austin, aTm and other schools the primary reason for this is because you don't want to compete with them.

So far Baylor (Baylor!?) is being honest about this and so is Former UH head coaching disaster Dana Dimel.  But "we don't want UH in the Big XII because it makes recruiting harder for my school of choice" is a tough-journalism sell. It's not deemed to be "important" enough as is making the tenuous connection between athletics and tuition increases far more 'important' journalism might consider looking at the Permanent University Fund which is controlled by, and exclusive to, the Texas University System and the Texas A&M university system to the exclusion of all others. (Including, most egregiously, the Texas State University System which is growing in size, and having to increase tuition at rates much higher than the two systems provided an artificial funding advantage due primarily to politics.)

I'm not suggesting that it is the job of the Houston Chronicle to cheer for the University of Houston, although Rah! Rah! reporting is typically what they do best (provided the Rah! Rah! target in question is rich, well connected or puts on cool parties). What I am suggesting is that what the middling regional daily should focus on is not the rooting interests of their ever-shrinking group of reporters, but the financial well-being of the entire Texas public university system. That goal is not accomplished by selectively choosing facts and then presenting them in a way that's not exactly reflective of the truth, or (in the case of the first story) regurgitating a more than four year old story about athletic fees and then leaving out the fact (reported in their own paper) that the students voted FOR the very fees that are in question.

As bad as the Houston Chronicle tried to frame it however, it appears that UH leadership understands that this will not last if the University doesn't attain membership into a power 5 conference. UH is firing their shot, and they are doing it with student approval.

That should have at least been MENTIONED in the Chron's 'reporting' on the issue, but it wasn't.  Regardless of your opinion toward UH inclusion into the Big XII that type of omission is a grievous journalistic sin by the Chronicle. At best it was lazy, at worst it was a ham-fisted attempt at opinion writing in what was framed as a 'hard-news' story. Regardless of the motivation it's just another data-point illustration the Chron to be an intellectually lazy middling-regional daily with little interest in reporting the news as opposed to trying to "make" the news.

It's also a diminishing institution, whose had to shutter it's downtown offices and whose diminishing circulation is only outpaced by the diminishing size of it's staff.  UH meanwhile appears, for now, to be on the ascendancy.

All that said I still think UH' future is better served outside the Big XII. But I understand their trying to gain access to it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Election 2016: A #PostGOP fairy tale

Humpty Trumpty sat on his wall (not funded, as he claimed, by Mexico)

Humpty Trumpty had a great fall.

And all of Reince' horses

And all of Reince' men

Couldn't put Humpty Trumpty back together again.

And so ends the sad, sad tale of the former Grand Old Party.

Goodnight children.

Goodnight Reince.

Goodnight GOP.

Presumptuous Blogging: Things you should read (08/03/2016)

All you need to know about the world in 15 minutes or less...

"Would you rather?" Be governed by a Bronzed Ego with delusions of strong-man grandeur or a habitual liar who would do anything to achieve power and who has shown a startling propensity to be unafraid to use it in ways that benefit her?  In other words, we're f****d.

How the media views politics. - It makes a lot of sense when you realize the media views politicians in the same vein as they do celebrities.  And media persons will suck up, debase themselves and do almost anything to kiss the ring of celebrity or power. Hence, the courtesan class.

There's flattering reporting, and then there's obsession. - The link to the left is the latter. If this was a book Fabio would be on the cover.

Rule One: Protect fellow members of the ruling class. - Once you're in, you're in. And no matter how bad you screw it up, or how incompetent or unlikable you are, if you network properly you'll never be without a gig. The disconcerting thing with this is that the Democrats aren't even trying to hide it anly longer.  Which suggests they don't care what people think because they know the system has been rigged to sufficiently shield them from punishment or consequence. (Alternative theory: The population is too dumb to care)

Why Trump cannot win. - Being thin-skinned and being the President is not a good mix. Of course, it's also the case for why Hillary can't win, but that ship has sailed.  Either way the country is screwed.

Black voters and the messiness of democracy. - This is the first, modern, election where some (not all, but some) black voters are starting to question their blind loyalty to the Democrats. Unfortunately, for them, they're coming to the incorrect conclusion that voting for a DIFFERENT white Democrat who's proposing more of the same shit that got them in this mess is the correct answer.

"Fact-check" journalism sucks. - It neither checks facts or provides answers. What it is from the beginning is a license to editorialize by reporters who have heretofore only done so through subterfuge. In short, it's what the media has always done, dressed up and given the Imprimatur of the Pulitzer.

Karlie Hay is the worst person in the world.*  (*For the eight minutes that we're all supposed to hate her before we move on to the next supposed tragedy).  Unsaid in all of this is that the begrudging acceptance of hip-hop culture by Caucasian youth should be a good thing.  The problem is there's a lot not to like about hip-hop culture. (But we're not going to have that discussion during the eight minutes hate)

Why do we keep demanding apologies? It's a stupid tactical trick only done with the hope that the current victim of the eight-minutes hate will prostrate themselves in front of the mob to be publicly shamed. (Also the idea that, when Gold Star families talk we are to "shut up and listen" is a horrendous one. You can respect their sacrifice but disagree with their opinion. They are not immune to criticism after all.)

No, it's really not a shocker that the worthless editorial board of a middling regional daily endorsed the Anointed One early. - Trump committed, in their eyes, the worst sin in the world by calling for restrictions on the Media's 1st Amendment rights. This from an editorial board that supports curbing free speech rights for everyone else mind you. Not necessarily the wrong endorsement, but not correct either. (no surprise)  The correct thing to do would be to not endorse at all.

It's always somewhat amusing when artists and the media discover the poor. - Then act as if none of us realize there are poor people out there. Of course, when you don't interact with the servant class and spend all of your time feting the ruling class things like poverty tend to fly under your radar.

Heck of a job GOP.

Heck of a job GOP.


If your sense of entitlement is centered on the Anointed One... Then you're probably doing the entitlement thing wrong. If your daughters needed Clinton to show them all things are possible then you're doing the parenting thing wrong. Above it all, our public education system has utterly failed us.

Black Lives Matters creates a platform. And it really boils down to "give us free shit" reinforcing the belief that what started out as a call for much-needed criminal justice reform has been taken over by the usual actors who are just looking for a bigger hand out.  That's too bad.

As good a defense of the wealthy (and Wall Street) as you'll ever find. - Without the rich, we would not have nice things. That's not an opinion it's a fact. When the wealthy have stuff the less wealthy want it. That creates demand. This creates entrepreneurs who, in term, meet that demand driving growth. The nasty nature of modern politics is that many in the ruling class resent the ruled gaining limited access to the things they claim as an exclusive right. So, to stop this, they seek to limit market access through the power of law and regulation. The poor are kept poor and the (correct) wealthy continue to dine on peacock and Champagne.

The "war on marriage" - In reality, the ruling class would love for people to be single, and not carry emotional attachments to another above the State.  Remember Julia? She was the ideal servant class citizen. Unmarried, wholly dependent on the ruling class for her physical and emotional well-being. Marriage is shown to change all of that.

Every election is "the most important election" if all you care about are elections. - Donna Brazile is a classic "fight" politician. She only sees the world through political wins and losses, and she truly believes that what she is doing is supremely important. In fact, politics, and elections, are nothing more than elaborately staged distractions, manna for the low-information ruled class to tide them over and make them feel a part of something. The best thing to do? Stop giving them money and don't vote, or vote 3rd party.

Our destructive "affordable housing" fixation. - How would putting a group of income-assisted families smack in the middle of the most expensive area of Houston help them out? Everything is higher priced in the Galleria area. It's a recipe for disaster. (Which is why our government is beginning to mandate it)

And finally....

Oil is back below $40/Bbl - It's more than a little ironic that those who mocked the "Drill baby Drill" movement (whose statement was that increased US drilling would lower oil prices) as pie in the sky business theory ("We cannot drill our way to lower energy prices" remember?) are now bemoaning the fact that it worked.

Nor, really, do they even give a backhanded acknowledgement that it worked.

Maybe the only thing in her political life that Sarah Palin got right. And she just glommed onto it, she didn't come up with the idea. That was created by actual people within the industry who are now victims of their own success.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Teach the Children: They're not teaching much about Government at University of Houston are they?

Who in the world is teaching these kids?

'All Lives Matter' gets Texas student suspended, sent to diversity workshop. Blake Neff, Daily Caller.

(From University of Houston Student Government Association President Shane Smith)
"The first amendment [sic] prevents a person from being jailed by the government for what they say. But [it] does not prevent people from receiving other consequences for what they say.”

Oh good Lord no.

And this is from the President of the SGA, someone who, most probably, is preparing himself for a career in government.  And he doesn't even understand what the First Amendment is, what it does, or what all it protects.

Or even, apparently, why it is important.

Or, more importantly, what a public university is.  He might also want to look up "banana republic" while he's at it, because the UofH SGA seems to be failing to understand why the rule of law is important, and why doling out punishment based on what the current SGA President "feels" about the entire thing sets a bad precedent.  Do Universities even teach the rule of law any more, or why it's important?

It's pretty clear that they don't, at least not at UH.

Having an SGA that throws the tenets of good governance out the window to "set an example" (and, it should be noted, remove what they consider to be a stain on their character from their midst) is just another case of children throwing egg on their faces in an attempt to wash their hands.

They look worse now than they ever would have looked by allowing Rohini Sethi to go unpunished, and face the blowback of popular mood. Because suspending the body's constitution to grant the President "emergency powers" to punish someone according to his feels is a bad, bad idea.

It's an embarrassment to UH as a whole and it makes their SGA pretty much worthless. (if it wasn't already)

Were I a civics or political science professor at the University of Houston I don't think I'd advertise that fact right about now. Because one thing is for sure, they haven't been doing their jobs.

The ONLY thing in this that Shane Smith got right is this:  Living in a country that (just) possesses the right to free speech also means that said speech comes with consequences. Like business decisions, those consequences are best left for market forces to decide.

There's one additional point to be made in this story about how we've all decided that any dismissal (no matter how slight) of our cause du jour is sufficient cause to spool up the outrage machine but I'm too sick of it all to make it.

UH should be embarrassed by this.  But they won't be. Instead they'll learn all of the wrong lessons and those who are against freedom of thought will gain another ally in the war against dissent.

You've had a good run America.