A belated lesson for Ted Cruz on speaking for the people

It helps when more people are behind you. How’s the view from under the bus?

ICYMI: Politico 9/28 – Cruz sternly rebuked by GOP

On Monday night, Cruz’s colleagues ignored his attempt to disrupt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to fund the government without attacking Planned Parenthood. In an unusual rebuke, even fellow Republicans denied him a “sufficient second” that would have allowed him a roll call vote.

Then, his Republican colleagues loudly bellowed “no” when Cruz sought a voice vote, a second repudiation that showed how little support Cruz has: Just one other GOP senator — Utah’s Mike Lee — joined with Cruz as he was overruled by McConnell and his deputies.

Life must be truly surreal for him these days. I mean: Continue reading

Logic 101 – Day 1: Jade Helm 15

Wherein I “prove” logic can be fun, for me at least.

Welcome to Day 1 of Logic 101. Don’t worry. It’s a one-day class. Actually, the “class” is only as long as it takes you to read this post. Homework may take anywhere from 0 seconds to a lifetime, depending on one’s tolerance for such exercises. Continue reading

Is Charlie Strong a Satanist?

Seven reasons Charlie Strong should not be coach at Texas

Red McCombs, a noted football expert, is right. Strong doesn’t, you know, “belong.” Also, he’s a socialist fascist Satanist.

Charlie Strong

Charlie Strong and his white wife.

This week Texas AD Steve Patterson stunned college athletics by announcing the hire of Charlie Strong as coach at the University of Texas, replacing legend Mack Brown. Most pundits had argued the influential boosters of the Texas program would not allow a candidate of color to be named to the position. Now one of those, “megabooster” Red McCombs, has come forward criticizing the hire.

Despite Strong’s record as a coach, 37-15, three bowl wins in four years and two top 15 finishes in the polls, McCombs said that “Charlie” would be a fine position coach or coordinator, but was simply not up to the Texas job.

Here are the top seven reasons Charlie Strong should not be coach at Texas. Continue reading

What 19th Amendment?

It’s a trend lately, that if a party is afraid of losing an election, they pass legislation barring key groups in their opponents’ base from voting. And clearly, it’s something Texas has taken to heart. Right after Wendy Davis declared that she was running for governor, Texas Republicans set out to disenfranchise women from voting, 19th Amendment be damned.

And the way they’re keeping ladies out of the voting booth it is a doozy.

Continue reading

DC appeals court ruling will prove difficult to overturn, largely ignored by conservatives

Part five of a series.

On June 26, 2012, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) greenhouse gas regulations were in accordance with the Clean Air Act and the Supreme Court’s 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA ruling. But more than that, the appeals court so strongly worded their opinion, and based it so firmly in long established court precedents and the Supreme Court’s own ruling that it will be very difficult to overturn. These facts were largely ignored by the Attorneys General of the states of Texas and Virginia, and the vast majority of prominent conservative think tanks and conservative media outlets simply ignored the ruling altogether.

The Court’s opinion is very strongly grounded in existing precedent. The court relied on many old precedents that have guided court decisions regarding the Clean Air Act since its inception in 1970. Continue reading

Wind farms affect local nighttime temperatures, not global warming

On April 29, a paper about how wind farms affect surface temperatures was published online by the journal Nature Climate Change. The authors of the paper found that wind farms increase the nighttime surface temperature within and immediately downwind of the wind farm because the turbines mix up cold surface air with warmer air from up higher off the ground. What the authors did not find, however, was that wind farms were having any global effect on climate disruption. But if you only read articles and blogs from Forbes, Fox News, The Star Ledger, the UK’s Daily Mail, The National Review‘s Planet Gore blog, The Free Republic, etc., you’d never know that.

In fact, if those were your only sources of information, you’d believe that the paper was all about how wind farms were yet another cause of global warming, when in fact it says nothing of the sort. Continue reading

Even killers deserve a last meal

by Pat Hosken

Last week, Texas prison officials decided, after executing 475 people since 1976, its death row prisoners no longer deserve a last meal. You’re already taking away their lives, Texas. Don’t take away their dignity, too.

State Senator John Whitmire said the decision has nothing to do with cost, despite a tight Texas budget. The soon-to-be executed don’t deserve a last meal because they didn’t give their victims a chance for one, either, Whitmire said.

Yes, these inmates have killed or at least have been convicted of killing. But don’t dehumanize them; don’t say they don’t deserve their final nutrition intake.
Continue reading

What's the matter with Texas? (I think it has something to do with testosterone, but I'm not sure what…)

I spent yesterday in Houston on business. Excuse me, I meant “bidniss.” I had to do some interviews with physicians around town, so I spent a good bit of time in the rent-a-car driving from airport to center, center to next center, center back to airport, etc. And sitting in traffic on the freeway. And turning around and trying to find the exit I missed because accurate road signs aren’t the city’s top priority. Or a medium priority. Or even a low priority.

Anyhow, before this trip, I don’t believe I had ever heard a radio advertisement for anything testosterone related. Ever. But by golly, yesterday I heard dozens. Literally, dozens. I found a sports talk station as I was rolling out of the Hertz lot and I just left it on (because I like sports and also, it’s far less brain-damaging than music radio is these days) and honest to sweet baby Jesus, there were at least two testosterone spots in every commercial break. Continue reading

Some of us are heading in the right direction. . .

If you’ve ever been driving somewhere and have gotten really lost—I mean nothing looks familiar, don’t know how I got here, and have no clue how to get where I need to go lost—and then, due to maps, a helpful stranger, or blind luck, you experienced the profound relief of finding yourself on the right road heading in the right direction, you’ll understand a little about how I felt when I saw the headline, “Panel Proposes Single Standard for All Schools.” Continue reading

Nota Bene #106: [no title due to budget cuts]

“Working for a major studio can be like trying to have sex with a porcupine. It’s one prick against thousands.” Who said it? Continue reading

Goodtime Charlie Wilson cashes his check

Some months back, I attended a convention on behalf of my employer. One of the honored guest speakers was former Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson. Wilson, whose story was Hollywoodized in Charlie Wilson’s War, died today at the age of 76.

Wilson was primarily famous for two things: fucking anything he could catch, and funneling arms to the Afghani mujahedeen during the country’s war against the Soviet Union. Those of us unfortunate enough to be stuck in the room during Wilson’s speech were regaled by tales of how he ignored the law, bullied, end-ran, lied and cheated to get what he wanted, and I mean all this literally. Wilson was as proud of flaunting the law as he was of his lifelong pursuit of women with obvious esteem issues. Continue reading

Nota Bene #100: Il Planetario di Figaro

Wow, 100 issues of Nota Bene! Props to Russ for helping me for a while with this nifty little S&R feature. Never mind all that now, let’s get on with this issue. “What splendid buildings our architects would be able to execute if only they could finally be less obedient to gravity!” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #99: Heed the Peace Gnome

“You just pick up a chord, go twang, and you’ve got music.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #98: A More Glorious Dawn Awaits

“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #95: STFU

Gonna try something different Continue reading

Is your house haunted?

Horror of the “gothic” variety that occupied so much of the conversation between Byron and the Shelleys (these would be the conversations that ultimately gave rise to Frankenstein) has traditionally traded in some easily recognizable tropes. Among the most common are your haunted places. Swamps and moors are always a little scary. Graveyards and crypts, of course. Transylvania.

And then there’s haunted houses. Dark mansions, castles on top of hills. Abandoned homes where terrible things once happened. Subdivisions built on top of Indian burial grounds. And so on. Continue reading

Unsolicited Theater Review: Enron

Enron, which is packing the Royal Court Theatre nightly before it heads off to the West End at highly inflated ticket prices, is worth it. It’s a bit disenheartening that Lucy Prebble, whose second play it is, can turn out such an accomplished piece of work at such a tender age—she’s all of 28. But it’s great theatre—it covers the bases, it’s pretty funny throughout and highly funny in spots, and if it overdoes some of the symbolism at time, it captures how Enron fit into the American imagination of the time. And it moves right along, without a dead spot all evening. Prebble understands that Enron is a quintessentially American story, one of a business so intertwined with politics and funny money and that curious belief in unfettered markets that no one ever seems to learn from. That she is able to turn this story of a confused mixture of greed and ideology into a fine theatrical evening is a considerable accomplishment. Continue reading

Why do we teach? No, really. Why?

by Terry Hargrove

A guy I know once said: “People who teach can’t do anything else.” So I hit him with a chair.

OK, I didn’t hit him with a chair. It was The Dad, after all. Still. I was plenty steamed by his statement. But upon reflection, I realized it wasn’t an insult. I’m a teacher because I really can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. I enjoyed my time as a reporter, but I could see that newspapers were dying, and in defiance of one of The Dad’s favorite sayings, they were taking it with them. And so, after 15 fun and fulfilling months as a reporter and columnist at the Pictorial Gazette (1889-2008, RIP), I returned to the classroom. That is, I tried to return, but most classrooms in this state didn’t want me. Continue reading