"I know they're nigras ... but why are there so many of them?!?"
41 and 43 get some bonding time by fishing the 9th Ward.
The President may have to take a "drop" because his ball has become lodged under a corpse.
The President serenades an appreciative crowd - to help take their mind off the food and water that will arrive any day now.
Courtesy The Blue Republic.
The Response to Hurricane Katrina
Asked how Hurricane Katrina will affect the Congress' legislative priorities, and whether this should require a shift away from tax cuts, Smith said, "Yes, mostly." He said he believes that tax cuts do (or can) spike the economy, but remarked, "Realistically, the estate tax will not be repealed this year."
At this point, a man with silver hair stood up. "Representative Smith," he said firmly, "I have been a Republican since the early 1960's." Oh, no, I thought, here it comes - shill time. This guy had to be part of the crowd called in by the Travis County Republican Party this morning to give Smith some cover.
"I pay a lot for taxes," he continued, "and I consider it a social investment. I am outraged! When this catastrophe hit, the president's response was that we should 'give to private charity.' I am outraged that this party can't support our country. We can't deal with our own self-defense. You need to fire Chertoff and these FEMA clowns. What are you doing with our tax dollars?!"
At this point, the audience broke into applause.
Iraq and Support for the Troops
A young woman stood up and introduced herself as a small business owner and from a family of veterans. "The Republican party claims to support our troops," she said, "but a bill providing medical care for veterans missed by one vote, and you voted 'No' on that bill. How do you defend your vote?"
Smith said that veterans received an 8% increase this past year, and "any more would have broken the budget and the general agreement." This excuse was received with hisses.
She followed up asking about a bill to increase health insurance rates for Guard and Reserve troops to the same level as Tricare which regular troops receive, which missed by 7 votes and for which Smith voted 'No.' She said service people are losing their businesses because they have been called up for so long.
Smith said, "We have to do more and do better, but at some point we have to say that 8% is enough."
But to applause, this young woman said, "I don't think you've done as much for our servicemen as you've done for the top 1% in our country."
Another questioner stood up later and thanked Smith for coming out to meet with his constiuents. Playing off Smith's opening assertion that only 20% of his colleagues hold town meetings, the man said, "The reason they don't go meet their constituents is because they don't have competitive districts due to gerrymandering. When will congress pass laws requiring independently-drawn districts?"
Smith said, "That's up to the states to do."
"Then why was Tom DeLay involved here in Texas?" shouted someone.
"He wasn't, the state legislature - "
"Oh, c'mon, Lamar!"
"The legislature - "
"Everyone knows DeLay was running it!"
The shouting and hisses continued for a few moments. Smith pretended not to understand what redistricting people were talking about (he "thought" they meant Texas house districts, not Congressional). He complained that he had been a victim of redistricting in the Texas House back in 1981. And he denied that Tom DeLay had any hand in the matter at all. "Redistricting is up to the states," he said.
"It was wrong split Austin into three districts," said the original questioner.
And when asking about his votes against stem cell research and for extending Terry Schiavo's life, the questioner remarked, "If you spent so much effort on living people as on these issues, New Orleans would never have happened."May she rest in peace, Terri Schiavo is the gift that keeps backfiring on the Mullahs of Congress.
By the last ten minutes, Smith was looking at the clock pretty regularly.
If convicted, the state's largest business group faces the threat of fines — up to $20,000 for each count. But the indictments also complicate the group's defense against civil lawsuits filed by losing Democratic candidates. Damages in those suits could be double the $1.7 million that the association spent on 4 million mailers to voters in 2002.People who watch the antics of our Texas criminal class, the Legislature, may recall that the two recent special sessions to establish Consitutitonal funding for the Texas school system failed to achieve anything in part because they refused to raise taxes on currently untaxed businesses.
The four indictments against the business group — two of which were issued last month and then sealed — break down the counts by different actions the group took. They include:
n 14 counts of prohibited political contributions by a corporation (TAB) for paying Hammond and staffer Jack Campbell to do political work.
•28 additional counts for fraudulently soliciting money from corporations to use in the 2002 election..
•83 additional counts of prohibited political contributions by a corporation for paying for political mailers and TV commercials.
•Three counts of prohibited political expenditures by a corporation for spending money in connection with 23 legislative campaigns.
All the counts are third-degree felonies.
TRMPAC, in the lone indictment against it, is charged with two counts of illegally accepting corporate donations, including $100,000 from the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care.
Texas House speaker candidate Tom Craddick collected that check at a Houston restaurant days before the 2002 election. He has said he didn't know the amount of the check and was just passing it along to the PAC.
Craddick, who became speaker after Republicans took control in the 2002 elections, was not named in the indictments.
At a noon press conference, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle said TAB and Texans for a Republican Majority worked together in a complicated scheme to circumvent the state law banning corporate money being spent on campaign activity.
TAB has refused to identify the 30 or so corporations that underwrote its mail campaign. But TAB unintentionally disclosed 20 corporations, mostly insurance companies, as donors, in documents it was required to release as part of the civil suit. Additional donors are listed in the indictments, including the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care and the American Health Care Association, sister organizations that together gave $300,000, the largest single corporate contribution to TAB.
The measure's author, Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, said there are “more than adequate resources to meet the health care needs of women.”
"There's more than enough money in this strategy for the traditional healthcare things such as pap smears and birth control pills,” Williams said. “I don't count government-funded abortion among those services and I think that's what the difference is.”
Planned Parenthood closed its Pharr clinic Thursday, citing a $200,000 cut in state funding to its Hidalgo County chapter. The closing follows the Texas Legislature’s decision to divert $2.5 million from the Department of State Health Services’ family planning budget to an anti-abortion program, said Margaret Mendez, director for community health services at the state agency.
Planned Parenthood was one of a number of family planning providers, including university health centers and community centers, to lose funding under the deal.
With the Pharr clinic closing, around 4,000 patients, mostly low income and from the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo area, will have to seek services elsewhere, said Kathryn Hearn, community services director for Hidalgo County Planned Parenthood.
"There’s not enough money and not enough space for them," Hearn said. "Birth control, STD tests, pre-cancer screenings, these things cost money."
That money will now go to fund "pregnancy counseling clinics," where women are encouraged to give birth and not seek an abortion. While such clinics have been in Texas for some time, they have not been publicly funded until now, said Dade Phelan, spokesman for State Senator Bobby (sic) Williams, R-Woodlands, who authored the budget change and whose district lies north of Houston.
"There has always been plenty of money for family planning, but there’s nothing that addresses alternative to abortion programs," he said. "This is for women who are trying to decide whether or not to have a baby, and this will give an alternative to abortion. It’s giving them more choice."
But Hearn is critical of such clinics, saying they provide little in the way of medical services, and do little to lower the abortion rate.
"We’ve had some of our clients go these places before, and their whole function is discouraging birth control and promoting child-bearing" she said. "We also try to prevent abortions, but we’re letting people make up their own minds.
"If you have a loss of access to birth control, you’re only going to see a rise in abortions."
A site for cross-posting and posting original stories from around Texas that reveal the character of the Texas right wing. So much dirt. Such a big state.
This site brings Texas bloggers together to keep an eye on the actions of Texas right-wingers. Yes, friends. The radical conservative Republican politicians and activists who rule this state assume that nobody is watching.
They are hoping that nobody remembers Sen. John Cornyn's statements justifying violence against judges or Majority Leader Tom DeLay's zealous intervention into a private family dispute that spawned a media circus. Or Congressman Sam Johnson's intimation that he could personally nuke Syria. Or that Kay Bailey Hutchison has hired one of the "swift boat" smear architects for her gubernatorial campaign. Or that Republican corruption in the Dallas County Police Department has contributed to outrageous crime rates. Or the actions and stunts of the Young Conservatives of Texas on college campuses all across the state.
Well, they have had over ten years to lead. They haven't led. We will.
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