Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Movie Review: Mile 22

Wait for it to hit DVD.

This is an action packed movie which could have been a lot better if I had sat in the last row or the film director had invested in stabilizers for his cameras. This wasn't a very memorable movie, to the point I cant remember much about it and for good reason. It just wasn't that good. The ending added a great twist that made you wonder "What the hell was that about?" and "Why did I pay $8 to see it?" and "Where the hell did I park my car?". Memorable.

Mark Wahlberg was saddled with a character with anger issues and mental conditions, the exact characteristics needed in a FBI/CIA agent. (not!) Besides flying off the handle and long winded explanations to his adversaries and team members, he has a bad habit of snapping a rubber wrist band to control his outbursts. It doesn't work very well and it was annoying. Very annoying. Throughout the entire damn movie! For god's sake take a downer!

One of the best part of the move is Rhonda Rousey. She was knocked off early so we were spared her horrible acting abilities. Rousey has a habit of looking like she is faking a bad ass snarl on her face right up to the point she gets her ass knocked out, twice. She needs to stick to the WWE where bad acting and fake snarls are requirements for a wrestler.

Overall this was just a notch above a straight to DVD movie.

Rotting from the head down: Harris County Republic Party.

As the saying goes: A fish rots from the head down. There is nothing worse than the smell of a rotting fish and the Harris County republic party is stinking up the joint. From the Houston Press:

Harris County residents keen to vote in the upcoming midterm elections should be very careful about checking their mail. Recently, some residents of Third Ward received letters informing them of an address change they had not actually filed and which, if not answered, would put their franchise into suspension. It looks to be the result of a Republican-led challenge to thousands of Houston voters.

According to the Press the Harris County Republican Party’s Ballot Security Committee has issued 4000 challenges to voter registration which the County Tax Assessor must respond to with the letter received by residents of the Third Ward. According to republicans this is a legal tactic much like conspiring with Russia to win an election. I wonder what would happen if the County Attorney took action and investigated this a bit deeper.

It doesn't seem legal, or American, for a group of white wing individuals to specifically target a group of people based upon certain parameters such as race or location. The Third Ward is predominately African American. If this is a targeted attack on specific voters it would seem this would be illegal and a form of voter suppression.

We shouldn't be surprised on how low the republic party would go. After all they conspired with Russia to win an election. Hopefully the County Attorney will look into this.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Will the 18-24 year olds come out to vote this year?

Will the 18-24 year olds come out to vote this year?

This is kind of disturbing. As of today there are over 94,000 registered voters in House District 129. 9564 of these are between the age of 18-24. There are registration drives across the district at high schools and colleges. Hopefully those who take the time to register will take the time to vote.

As they have said "If not now, when? If not you, who?"



YearTotal Votes18-24Result
2008457771Obama Elected
2010340460Teabagger election
201250135515Obama Re-elected
201433021452House Remains Republican
2016607122935Trump elected

Friday, August 17, 2018

TX State Representative Dennis Paul: Quid Pro DOH!

It sucks getting caught trading political favors for political favors.

According to Reform Austin:
Clear Lake area State Representative Dennis Paul (R – Houston) is in a bit of a pickle. On April 19, 2018, a concerned El Lago residents group in District 129 discovered that the state representative may have recommended a local mayor to a state commission in exchange for Paul’s engineering company receiving no-bid construction contracts with the city.
Quid Pro Quo is the act of granting a favor in return for something. Quid Pro DOH is being caught in the act of Quid Pro Quo. Reform Austin believes Paul might have this problem. One thing is for sure Reform Austin has read hundreds of pages of emails and City Council minutes. They might be on to something. The Mayor of El Lago, Mark Briggs did donate $2000 to Paul which, based upon his ability to raise money, is a very large donation. And he did give a no bid contract to Paul Engineering. The City Council eventually overturned that contract.

Paul has a strange way with money. His doesn't raise money very well. He only has about $37,000 Cash on Hand with a $150,000 loan from his Engineering firm. He has also accepted $5000 from James Dannebaum who owns another Engineering firm which was raided by the FBI in April of 2017 as part of a corruption probe. So could Paul have exchanged a seat on a Commission for a no bid contract? Maybe.

I have not been able to find out if Briggs was actually put on the Commission or even what Commission he was recommended for but it is clear Briggs gave a no bid contract to Paul and the City Council took it away.

In the words of trump: Let's see what happens.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Rarely do we ask: Is our Teachers learning?

Teachers aren't learning.

Years ago President Bush asked "Is our kids learning?". Seriously he said that. Today we must ask if our teachers are paying attention to the politics affecting their profession, or if parents of students are paying attention to the politics affecting their children's future, or if voters are paying attention to the politics affecting their family members and neighbors lives. They're not.

Each election cycle we see a number of pro-education organizations gather with correctly spelled signs on the south lawn of the capitol. I remember one with  over 5,000 in attendance. Another had 12,000, and yet another 15,000.  These are relatively huge crowds but there are over 300,000 public school teachers and over 600,000 employees in public education. Where were they? Where are they?

Our teachers have been hammered since the Republican Party took over the House, Senate, and Governorship. In 2005 the Republicans passed massive tax cuts to the business community which resulted in predictable massive deficits. In fact the Comptroller of Texas, Carole Keeton Rylander, in a letter to Gov Perry said:

As the state's chief fiscal officer, it is my responsibility to spell out exactly what the Perry Tax Plan means to our state's fiscal integrity. As you have known since it was made public, your plan simply does not pay for itself. As of this moment, this legislation is a staggering $23 billion short of the funds needed to pay for the promised property tax cuts over the next five years.
She was wrong. The plan was $27 Billion short and with that came massive cuts to education, $5 Billion in the first year. But teachers, their families, and friends kept voting for republicans. Over the last 16 years teachers retirement has been cut, the cost of health insurance has skyrocketed and healthcare costs for retirees have soared. Texas has fallen to #43 in the nation in education. Yet they keep voting for republicans or not voting at all.

Its getting hard to fight for teachers when they refuse to learn about the individuals they are voting for or refuse to vote. In the 2018 primaries there seemed to be a sliver of hope with a group advocating for Lt Governor Dan Patrick's opponent in the republican primary. They lost. Again.

If the 300,000+ teachers, 600,000+ public school employees, parents of the students, and their friends and family would vote in support of education, against the republicans in office, and vote their strength the disrespect for those in education would stop. Imediately.

And if 4.8 million Hispanics eligible to vote would vote their strength....

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What happens if TX AG Ken Paxton is convicted?

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing decades behind bars if convicted for his 3 felony indictments. He has been successful in pushing his trial past the November 6 election. If elected, Paxton may have to give up his seat in our government and take a seat in a minimum security penitentiary.

If elected and convicted the Governor will be allowed to hand pick a new Attorney General, the people's attorney not selected by the people. Paxton's million dollar lawyers have been able to delay his trial for 3 years and his trial will be conveniently convened (here in Houston) after the election.

Paxton and the republican leaders probably know how serious the charges are and the possibility of Paxton being convicted. Pushing the trial pass the election protects Paxton and the party just in case he is elected and convicted. This way they will retain the seat and Paxton would probably agree to a plea deal in order to retain his pension and free healthcare for life and for the rest of his life.

Voters shouldn't take a chance with Paxton. The "peoples lawyer" should be selected by the people not by lawyers and party members. Paxton isn't using his office to better the lives of Texans. Currently he is leading the charge to remove pre-existing coverage for all Texans. Diabetes and other medical conditions do not discriminate against republicans or any party affiliation. Most every family has a member with a pre-exiting condition. And even after pressure from the business community, Paxton has continued to lead the charge against DACA immigrants which could cause severe shortage in the work force. (Besides the fact that it is just incredibly mean spirited and short sighted)

Paxton shouldn't be running for Attorney General. He shouldn't be running for anything. As his buddy Donald Trump has said "You can't be serving the people while under indictment." For once I have to agree with that rotten bastard.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

El Tiempo Cantina. Don't drink the Kool-aid

UPDATE: El Tiempo Cantina has removed the pic on their Facebook page early this morning and has now removed their Facebook pages!

I've tried to eat at El Tiempo Cantina here in Clear Lake but it has always been too crowded. Then I saw the menu and the prices. $29.99 for 1/2 lb of fajitas? Yeow! But I digest...digress....




The chef-owner of El Tiempo Richmond received a well deserved social media beat down for posting a pic of himself with the United States Attorney General Jeff Session saying "we had the honor to server Jeff Sessions". (his words not mine)

Everyone who owns a restaurant has the right to serve who they want, after all this is America. But everyone also has the right not to eat there especially after a half baked decision to post this pic to their Facebook page. This bothers me for a number of reasons.

Sessions is well known for his hateful, racist, policy of separating brown faced children from parents who are seeking asylum and help from the United States. The policy is racist, inhuman, rotten, and happily implemented with honor by Jeff Session against Latino families. It is just that simple.

Sessions could have taken his fat ass to a local barbecue restaurant. Instead Sessions picks a Mexican restaurant just like the Director Homeland Security did. She was heckled to the point of having to leave. Sessions on the other hand was served with honor and a pic was taken with him. 

Its like Sessions did this on purpose to rub his racist policies into the faces of the Latino community with the help of the restaurant chef-owner. The owner had the opportunity to look Sessions in the eye and respectfully tell him "El Tiempo does not in anyway support the practice of separating children from parents or any other practices of the government relative to immigration. Enjoy your food." and leave it like that. Take his order. Serve him his goddamn food. Give him the bill. That is all he need to do but instead he joined Sessions rubbing one out in the restaurant.

The response from social media to his obvious delight in posting the pic was quick. Quick enough for him to quickly remove the photo and quickly attempt a lame defense. It was quick. And I'm not buying it. I'm not buying his damn food either. It's America after all.

BTW. Sessions ordered the $29.99 fajita plate and tea with extra ICE.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Lost in Space Force.

What an incredibly stupid, ignorant idea. Lucky for trump he had a stooge, Vice President Pence, around to pitch it for him. From the Washington Post:

“Just as we’ve done in ages past, the United States will meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield,” he said in a speech at the Pentagon. “The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.”

Yeah. He said that. Turns out the only person who thinks this is a good idea is trump. Even Pence acted Luke Skywalker warm to it, but his daddy told him to sell it. And he did but not sell it very well. Pence forgot to mention this idea has an out of this world price tag of $8Billion for initial setup. None of which will go towards exploring space, going back to the Moon or working towards Mars. None.

On top of that there will be a need for another layer of Generals, Colonels, Majors, Captains, and Lieutenants as well as their personal assistants and staff required to manage the new military branch of space roving Buzz Lightyears. This all costs even more money for the military complex.

Pence was standing in-between the Boeing CST-100 and the Space X Dragon mock ups as if NASA will have anything to do with this Space Farce. With a $1.5 Trillion deficit, a looming $40Billion Worthless Wall that Mexico will be paying for, and about $12Billion for a proposed Ike Dike to protect the insurance industry, there isn't much money available to fund Trump's Space Farce. 

Maybe they will raid NASA's funding. That would almost be funny. Almost.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Ken Paxton protecting his pension and healthcare, but not yours

How can any teacher or anyone with a pre-existing condition vote for this man?

A few years ago State Representative Joe Driver plead guilty to a felony of "double dipping". The Texas Tribune summed it up:
State Rep. Joe Driver, who candidly acknowledged pocketing taxpayer reimbursements for travel paid by his campaign, will enter a guilty plea on abuse-of-office charges, a third-degree felony, a top prosecutor said Tuesday night.
Driver stole about $50,000. He eventually negotiated a sentence of only 3 years probation. It was an incredibly sweet deal since it protected his $62,000/year pension and his free healthcare for himself and his family.

This is what Ken Paxton is going to do. In 2015, a grand jury indicted Paxton on three criminal charges: two counts of securities fraud (a first-degree felony) and one count of failing to register with state securities regulators (a third-degree felony). His trial has been delayed till after the election. If Paxton is convicted you can bet he will pull a Joe Driver to protect his $55,000 pension and his free healthcare provided by you, us, me, the taxpayer.

Elected officials receive a pension based upon the salary of a District Judge, $158,000 even though Representatives and Senators are not full time positions. Based upon his service of 15 years Paxton would receive atop $55,000/year and would have healthcare for life for himself and his wife.

A teacher with decades of full time service would be lucky to receive a $25,000 pension and would have to pay for their healthcare. From the Houston Chronicle:
Health care costs soared Monday for many retired educators on the state-subsidized insurance plan, with families now facing $1,000 monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs rising across-the-board.
$1000/month while Paxton, a soon to be felon, will pay nothing. But wait....it gets worse. Paxton is leading the fight to remove the pre-existing condition mandate from health insurance policies. From the Dallas Observer:
The attorney general, as he made clear in the court filing, wants a federal judge to end the act's protections for Texans with pre-existing conditions, regardless of whether the court rules against Obamacare as a whole.

It's enough to make you sick. Literally.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Loaning Campaign Cash: State Senator Don Huffines

Self financing a million dollar campaign for public office must be a thing for republicans.


Hallelujah! Photo from the Dallas Observer
Don Huffines is a multimillionaire. He recently completed a trip to Russia to meet with other wealthy Russian individuals. He was elected to the Texas Senate in 2014 edging out John Carona in the Republican primary. His Libertarian challenger dropped out of the race in the general election.

According to the Texas Tribune his 2018 Democratic opponent Nathan Johnson stated:
"Over the last few weeks, I've crisscrossed the district talking to constituents about the many challenges we face right here in Senate District 16," Johnson wrote. "Meanwhile, my Trump-defending opponent Don Huffines decided to go on a Moscow adventure this week with Rand Paul instead, to 'improve parliamentary relations' with Russia. What does this say about his priorities?"
His priorities are clear. According to his ethics reports he has raised $7.4 million for his primary win with about 15,000 votes, about $500 per vote. Much like Kathaleen Wall who invested $6 Million for a Congressional primary (and lost), and David Mayes Middleton who invested $1.5 Million for his State House primary win, Huffines invested $6 Million for his primary win for a State Senate seat. Out of his $7.4 fundraising haul 81% came from his own pocket!

$7.4 Million might be an appropriate amount to raise for a very competitive Congressional race but it is an obscene amount for a State Senate race and much less for a primary. It's pretty clear. Just like Middleton, Huffines bought a seat at our table. At least the republican voters in CD2 didn't buy Kathaleen Wall's buying of her seat. 

Besides his own $6 million, Huffines raised $1.4 million, the vast majority coming from high dollar donors. Only $15,000 (1%) came from donations less than $200 from about 125 donors. $1.35 Million (92%) came from about 200 wealthy donors of $1000 or more, including a $100,000 donation from Donald Huffines, $115,000 from Carl Allen, $65,000 from Andrew Beal and $63,000 from Huffines relatives. 

Unfortunately the republican voters do not mind if a seat is bought by a wealthy candidate. This is who they are. 

Saturday, August 04, 2018

When your elected official lies to you: Tx Congressman Pete Olson

Texas Congressman Pete Olson sent out this tweet early Saturday morning:


You might think ourcauseourvoice.com is an organization that performs research into voting patterns, policies, and issues such as the one Olson claims as a fact when it fact, it is just his own campaign website. Olson, without one single bit of supporting evidence, claims Americans are "allowing" illegal immigrants to vote. Only an idiot would think this is happening or it's even possible.

Think how hard this would be to accomplish. Besides risking the many felony indictments, someone would have to find an illegal immigrant. Then get an ID with an address of a registered voter. Then go vote and hope that person hasn't voted before. Or someone could register illegally, risk being caught, charged, and deported. And then they would need hundreds if not thousands to throw an election.

Olson has adopted Trump's philosophy towards constituents: “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” And that is what Olson is doing. 

Back in 2009 Olson had a townhill meeting to discuss healthcare. He brought a lady who claimed under the proposed new healthcare system (ObamaCare) she would be denied medical coverage for her ill son. When challenged on this it was noted that her current healthcare provider, the one Pete Olson was supporting, actually denied her coverage and that very coverage came from the the same service that covered Olson!

BTW. I was the one that challenged Olson.


More on David Mayes Middleton: Ethics reform LOL

Waiting for ethics reform from the republicans in Texas is like waiting for the next album by Guns & Roses. It will take a long time and you will probably not like it when it arrives.

According to an article on Empower Texas website, a far right wing PAC, Mayes who is the co-founded of the Chambers County Ethical Government Board, had declared himself the Ethics Czar of the upcoming legislation session. According to his article:

Elected office is supposed to be about public service, not self-service–we are all fed up with politicians profiting off their position. Corruption is an egregious perversion of our constitutional republic and should be dealt with extremely harshly.  People are elected to first, foremost, and always represent the true owners of every elected seat, the voter’s citizens and taxpayers, and never just their own wallets.

Yeah. Right. Mayes is the one who spent $1.5 million of his own money to win the republican primary in HD23, the Galveston County area. He only raised $1.7 million and spent $1.6 million for just 7981 votes. His opponent spent about $149,000 on the primary.

When you look at his financial reports you will find loans and contributions to himself totally $1,485,000, a total of 95% of his entire fundraising efforts. According to his July 2018 report he only raised $74,187, much coming from out of district, and he has only $45,099 cash on hand meaning he has spent about $1.5Million on a State House primary race. 

The Republican Party has been in control of this state for two decades. I cannot remember any major changes to laws concerning ethics or campaign finance reform. They are not interested in this issue. Never has been. Never will be. Neither are republican voters.

Maybe Mayes should push for an end to self financed campaigns instead. He should remember "People are elected to first, foremost, and always represent the true owners of every elected seat, the voter’s citizens and taxpayers, and never just their own wallets."