Debate Part Whatever

The Republican candidates had another debate last night. Being mildly ill with some form of cold, I didn't watch. Well, that and I don't care. Barring some catastrophic revelation, my primary candidate is picked already (Ron Paul, in case you cared). It does bring me to one question.

Who are these debates for, exactly? Especially this campaign season, the only people paying attention are the hardcore political junkies. Most of them that I know have already consulted their auguries and picked a candidate. Nobody else is watching. So what's the point? Is the performance last night going to change anyone's opinion about fitness for office? I think what I'm asking is whether or not these debates matter to the undecided voter. If not, why bother?



Bizarre Factoid of the Day

The Sex Offender Registry in Texas, amongst many other facts stored about the offenders in question, maintains records of shoe size. I admit to being slightly baffled as to why.



Immigration Yet Again

I don’t have the time or energy to rehash the entire immigration debate right now. I’d just like to point out a particularly annoying post from Radley Balko. Illegal immigrants apparently don’t use more health care resources than native born Latinos. How do we know this? Because some yotz from UC’s School of Public Health analyzed the data from a phone survey conducted in 2003 and concluded they didn’t.

Umm. Yeah. That’s a definitive bit of work, right there. Illegals don’t use more health services because they called them on the phone 4 years ago and asked them. You’ll pardon me if I don’t quite believe this study as the final definitive word. Why not? Here’s a scenario for you:

Hey, there, person in the country illegally! I’d like to ask you about your use of government provided services! Answer honestly now! Absolutely no repercussions will come to you! Just because I called you on the phone and know where you live is unimportant! We’re just interested in data and won’t call INS. Honest!

After all, as we’ve noted before about the illegal drug survey, nobody has any reason to lie in a survey like this. I’ll also just guess, off the top of my head, the distribution of services provided to illegals is lumpy in the extreme. Some hospitals may have a huge problem, while others see almost none. On the average, maybe it’s not a problem. Locally, it might be severe. I dunno, lacking any real data. I sure don’t trust an after the fact data reduction based on a telephone survey to give me the answers. Neither should anyone else, including Mr. Balko, who should know better.

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History & Thanksgiving

So, in an odd confluence of events, it's both Thanksgiving and Whack-A-President Day. So, should we be giving thanks for dead presidents? I have no earthly idea since I started the morning with Maker's Mark in my coffee. There's nothing better than getting drunk by noon, I always say, albeit usually with speech slurred to the point of incomprehensibility.

Anyhow, an only moderately useless donk President got his ass whacked in Dallas 24 years ago. If you think you know who did it, you're probably wrong. I freely admit I don't know. I'm reasonably certain neither I nor J was involved, but after that, all bets are off.

It's also traditional for people to give thanks at this time of year. So, thanks for nothing, bitches! More seriously, I'm thankful for many things which are none of your business. Of the things that are your business, I'm thankful for friends, family, technology, whiskey, beer, and roast turkey. May your day be filled with good food and good company. If not, well, there's always the whiskey and beer. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

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One Sentence Review: 103.7 Jack FM

103.7 is the radio station you get when somebody with the last 40 years of Top 40 hits loaded on their MP3 player hits shuffle.

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Today, for the unaware, is Veteran's Day. This kicks off Veteran's Awareness Week, in which you are supposed to be more aware of veterans or something. I don't know, I didn't really read the memo. I'll make the same suggestion I always make. Buy a veteran a drink! Yes, this is a shameless and transparent ploy to get people to buy me drinks. Well, it would be if I had any plans involving leaving the house today. Since I don't, that drastically decreases the opportunity for anyone to buy me drinks. Failing that, you could always thank your local veteran(s) for their service. That always seems to go over well.

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Jimmuh Loves Cats

We take great delight in mocking the nadir of the American presidency, so learning of Jimmy Carter whacking his sister-in-law's cat with a shotgun was particularly welcome. A couple of observations are in order here.

First, sack up and do this face-to-face. Writing someone a letter that says "Sorry I killed your pet" is right up there with texting your break-up. Some things deserve your actual presence.

Two, it's awfully speciesist of Jimmuh to value the life of the birds over his SIL's cat. Simple courtesy to one's relative should place their pets higher in your regard than random critters moseying about the universe.

Thirdly, did we forget the second rule? "Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy." Of course, since he was apparently not too broken up about the cat, maybe he didn't forget this one.

Finally, bird shot is designed to kill birds. There isn't be much size differential between a large duck and a small cat. If bird shot kills birds, why wouldn't it kill a cat? BB guns are way more appropriate for non-lethal control of cats, et al.

I don't know how the family dynamic plays out here. Maybe it's accepted in rural Georgia to shoot your family's pets and shrug it off with some crap about saying a prayer when you bury it. I just know that if I shot my sister's cat, accidentally or not, I'd better stay the hell out North Carolina for the rest of my freakin' life.

Truly, the old goober-grubber is the gift that keeps on giving. Of course, I'd still rather have had a competent president instead, but I so rarely get what I ask for in politics.

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One Sentence Review: Moonlight

Watch with increasing indifference and contempt as Mick St. John, world’s most incompetent vampire, repeatedly puts self in mortal peril only to be saved by plucky blond female internet reporter as you realize there must be something more worthwhile you could be doing with your life.

In other words, skip it.




Well, in yet another stunning repudiation of the YPS voting guide, all statewide amendments passed. Locally, I note the voters decided a new jail wasn't necessary, but everything else was. Despite our occasional reluctance to acknowledge the fact, Texans are, after all, Americans and Americans do love us some debt. I wonder how many people will be bitching later when taxes increase to pay off the nine billion dollars of debt just voted into being.

Total turnout for our precinct? 184, with 70-something early voting. I'll call it a round 260 people. This from a precinct of almost 4,000 registered voters. Statewide numbers look to be right at 12.6%, based on the Prop. 9 numbers and a registered voter count of 12.6 million in the state. The next time anybody says anything about democracy being the will of the people, I'm going to tell them to have a nice hot cup of STFU. 5% of the voting public managed to screw the rest of us into a 9 billion dollar IOU.

I'm bitter about democracy right now, so I'm going to go drink coffee and mutter to myself.

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Lawyers, Gunpowder, Money

So, as I reminded you last week, tomorrow is Election Day. I remain mildly hopeful that my fellow citizens are bright enough not to hand the state a blank check for over 6 billion dollars. If I were a betting man, I’d bet the other way. I find a helpful rule of thumb is to pick my side of the issue, and assume it will lose. This works more often than not. However, it’s not infallible, so all you voters could surprise the hell out of me and turn down the state’s request for more money.

In the history corner, today is the 402d anniversary of the attempt by Guy Fawkes, et al., to rid the English people of the burden of the current state by blowing the King and Parliament to hell and gone. Reading on the episode makes one appreciate how far we’ve come since the 15th century, and also makes one wonder if Congress has a basement.

In any event, voting is the one of the few ways not involving large quantities of explosives to effect a change in your government. I urge you all to go forth and do so.

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Sen. Craig Approves

We bought a three pack of these the other day for party use. They're very proud of the stance of their chafing dish, since they put it all over the box and literature. I was quite amused.


Schlock The Vote

So in a bizarre twist of events, our regular donk alternate election judge returned no paperwork for the upcoming election. The county called J for advice on who should be the alternate. J, in a fit of lunacy, gave them my name. So I am the alternate judge for the upcoming election. Everyone should hope J remains in good health, because otherwise I’ll be in charge. That never ends well. I have an admitted tendency to abuse power for my own amusement, and I have a really strange sense of humor.

Part of the judgeship involves going to the class on how to run the election. Important highlight: don’t use your cell phone or other wireless communications device within 100 feet of a voting booth. Aside from that, there was almost nothing of interest. Lowlights: the endless litany of stupid questions, the giggling bitch in front of me who kept loudly agreeing with the instructor.

Now, there are a number of constitutional amendments on the ballots this year. As I try to do before each election, I’ll give you the short summary of how you should vote to create the ideal world as imagined by me.

Prop. 1 – Yes. Angelo State doesn’t want to play with Texas State anymore. I sense a money grab as the root cause, but it’s the institutions fighting about their share of the pie. Sure, let ‘em go.
Prop. 2 – No. There’re plenty of sources of funding for education without going in the hole to provide more.
Prop. 3 – Yes. Anything to slow the rate of tax increases.
Prop. 4 – No. We want to borrow a billion dollars. For stuff. What kind of stuff? Just stuff. Yeah, I want a little better explanation of where a billion dollars is going.
Prop. 5 – No. I see sweetheart deals in the making.
Prop. 6 – Yes. I’m ambivalent, but it does lower some folks’ taxes.
Prop. 7 – Yes. In the absence of abolishing eminent domain, I’ll take this one.
Prop. 8 – Yes. They’re tweaking the home equity loan rules. I don’t have any heartburn with the changes.
Prop. 9 – Yes. They’ve paid.
Prop. 10 – Yes. Get rid of useless offices we don’t need anymore.
Prop. 11 – Yes. The weasels need to quit hiding.
Prop. 12 – No, no, no, no. The ignuts at TTC cannot be trusted with $5 billion. They have proven that point with the whole Trans Texas Corridor bullshit.
Prop. 13 – Yes. When we let you out on bail, you have to play nice or you go back to jail.
Prop. 14 – Yes. Avoid the expense of unnecessary turnover.
Prop. 15 – No. Somebody will fund cancer research if the state doesn’t.
Prop. 16 – No. The state needs to quit racking up debt for special projects.

Feel enlightened? Of course you do. Go forth and vote in accordance with my wishes. Failing that, just go vote.

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