Saturday, January 14, 2006

Votes For Sale

I do so love my new laptop, y’all. I can blog atcha AND watch Project Runway at the same time. Technology, she’s a marvel.

And the best news is? I only have to play Taps on the bugle 14 times to pay for the damn thing.

I’ll be blogging less with grad school starting back for me next week. I’ve been doing lots of juicy research on Our Boy Frank and we will get it all organized and out for y’all to read in the coming weeks and months. Frank sure doesn’t play well with others outside his group, and it is going to take a bunch of untangling to see how bad all the knots really are.

Note to whatever staff flunkie Our Boy Frank has monitoring the blog? We're lookin' under them there rocks.

But in other news, do y’all remember Proposition 12 that was the big political news in Texas a couple of years back?

I’m sure we can all agree that some medical malpractice lawsuits have been waaaaay out of hand, but the proposed law to cap the monetary awards (Prop 12) on these suits wasn’t the best thought-out of plans. Essentially, it proposed that medical malpractice awards would be limited to the future incomes of the injured or deceased. So a cardiac surgeon and a lawyer would be worth more than a machinist and a social worker. A housewife or a child? Were they worth anything at all?

The logic was flawed when you think about it. Say my husband and his boss both die on the operating table due to an error in the work of their respective surgeons. Lawsuit aside, my husband’s boss's wife would be left with a nice life insurance package and a company that nets about 1.5 millon a year. If my husband died, all I would get is his social security and some extra closet space.

But by proposition 12 standards, she would get a lot more than I would. Because it is more “fair” that way.

So the basic idea was to find a way to cap malpractice suits, which would reduce malpractice insurance premiums, and theoretically then reduce patient fees because the doctor’s overhead would be lessened.

But the end result was yet another bill that screwed the working class and rewarded the wealthy. I don't know about y'all, but my medical insurance is higher now than it was before Prop. 12. I'll bet you're paying more, too. And those medical bills? Have they gone down? Well, not for anybody I run with.

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer yet again.

Not that meant anything to the Texas Lege. The rich got richer there, too.

Texans For Public Justice found the following:

Members of the Texas Legislature received a total of $4,491,595 from Pro-12 interest groups, with Governor Perry receiving another $576,472 and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst getting $247,700. Taken together, lawmakers who voted for Prop. 12 (HJR 3) received four times as much money ($3,612,676) as those who voted against the measure ($863,869).

What was Frank Corte’s cut of this money?

$11,700

How did he vote on the issue?

Not that there is any question in anyone’s mind, but he voted for Prop 12.

You know what? I have a lot of respect for people who vote their conscience and their principles. Even when I completely disagree with them. At least they are being honest with themselves and honest with everyone around them.

However, Frank Corte’s vote is bought by the highest bidder.

This is the real reason Our Boy Frank is so universally reviled. Not because he is a fundie conservative. But because he is a FAKE fundie conservative. If there was more money in being a yeller dawg democrat, Frank would step up to the plate.

I guess, at least in Frank’s case, politics really is the world’s oldest profession.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Little Larry Gets Littl'er

Little Larry has joined Team Telecare for the American Diabetes Association Tour De Cure bike-a-thon along with Treasurer Terry who has been involved with the ADA bike-a-thons for some time. He's figurin' all that bikin' along will work off some of his tummy.

The rest of us plan to follow behind in an air-conditioned van eating bonbons. Don't mind us.

You can see Little Larry's Tour De Cure page here.

and Treasurer Terry's page here.

Unlike political donations (which as COMM-D I should be convincing you are more important; but I'll plead for campaign donations another time), ADA donations are tax deductible...so take some pity on some old retired army guys and throw em a couple bucks!

Tolls, Taxes, Texas *With Update*

It just ain't right. Dad gummit, we already paid for 1604 and 281. We put up with all the crapola while they were being built, we even put up with the fact that in some places they are poorly designed (the exit from 1604 gettin' on 10 was designed not only by the lowest bidder, but the drunkest). But now ol' Rick Goodhair and his tool Frank Corte want to dig up those very same roads, and turn 'em toll roads 'cuz TXDOT can't spend it's money wisely. And the big, dirty secret about all this is that the highway construction lobby needs a steady stream of revenue now that the U.S.interstate highway system is finally completed. So their friends TXDOT, Rick Goodhair and Frank Corte are tryin' their darndest to help 'em out. With our money.

Well, anyway, candidates from both political parties received a questionaire from the Texas Toll Party, a truly bi-partisan group trying to stop this highway robbery. They requested that each candidate send in his or her questionaire by 6:00 P. M. onJanuary 5th. Below is Larry Stallings' completed questionaire:



RULES:
A) THE CANDIDATE himself/herself MUST FILL OUT THIS
QUESTIONNAIRE.
B) The entire Questionnaire must be sent back with all
questions answered.
C) This complete Questionnaire (questions and answers)
must be submitted via email to terri@satollparty.com
by Jan 5th, 2006 at 6:00pm.

Candidate Name: Larry Stallings
Office you are seeking:HD 122
Candidate Cell Phone XXX-XXX-XXXX:
Candidate email: XXXXXXXXX@yahoo.com

1) Will you support legislation and actively campaign
to require local economic impact studies, cost benefit
studies and other viability studies for all toll roads
and other transportation plans, including but not
limited to the Texas Trans Texas Corridor, rail, HOV,
and HOT lanes to ensure accountability?

Yes, and I will file such legislation


2) Will you support legislation and actively campaign
to allow the public to vote whether ANY local existing
route (public freeway) will be shifted to a tollway or
not?

Yes, and I will file such legislation


3) Will you support legislation and actively campaign
to keep tolls off ALL existing public highways.

Yes, and I will file such legislation



4) Will you support legislation and actively campaign
to close the Trans Texas Corridor/Eminent Domain
loophole created in the last session.

Yes, and I will file such legislation


5) Will you support legislation and actively campaign
to prevent control of our roads, rail and utilities
from being handed over to private or/and foreign
interests?

Yes, and I will file such legislation


6) Will you support legislation and actively campaign
for a requirement of nonelected RMA board members to
disclose ALL real estate and business holdings?

Yes, and I will file such legislation


7) Currently a Travis County RMA board member (Johanna
Zmud) was reappointed by Travis County Commissioners
even though her board membership and company contract
with TxDOT violates provisions in the Transportation
Code.

Will you support legislation and actively campaign to
keep nonelected RMA board members from serving when
they can profit, have conflicts of interests, or have
a potential for self enrichment?

Yes, and I will file such legislation


8) Will you support and actively campaign to allow
each local region to have the choice to vote to have
the option to add their own local gas tax to replace
the inefficient freeway tolls?

Yes, and I will file such legislation


9) Texans would like to get the most for every
transportation tax dollar. (GAO Report - 2003
Comparison of States' Highway Construction Costs : A
comprehensive study of 25 states revealed a median
cost per lane mile as $1.6 million. TxDOT 130, Just
East of Austin cost per lane mile is $7.6 million. The
first 3 miles of freeway tolls on HWY 281 in San
Antonio will cost $27.6 million per lane mile.

Will you support and actively campaign for a full
review of TXDOT and its operations to explore ways to
make transportation planning, design and construction
more efficient, more accountable and more cost
effective - to open up and clean up the "good old boy"
bidding process of TxDOT?

Yes, and I will file such legislation


10) Initiative and referendum make government more
responsive to its citizens, neutralize the power of
the special interests and stimulate public involvement
in state issues. Every demographic group in Texas
wants Initiative and Referendum. A recent survey
showed 74% of Texans want I & R.
(http://www.initiativefortexas.org/whowants.htm) Texas
is one of only three western states in which the
Legislature still denies citizens the right of
initiative.

Will you support, actively campaign for and co-sponsor
a constitutional amendment providing Texans with
rights of Initiative and Referendum?

Yes, and I will file such legislation


11) Will you have your comprehensive positions on
Double Tax Freeway Tolls and the Trans Texas Corridor
posted in an easy to find "issues" area on your
website by January 6th, 2006?

Yes


12) Will you incorporate your positions on Double Tax
Freeway Tolls and the Trans Texas Corridor in your
statewide speeches?

Yes


13) Who filled out this questionnaire?

Larry Stallings
2826 Redland Creek
San Antonio, Texas 78259
210-XXX-XXXX

Now, all y'all livin' along 281 and/or 1604, I ask you one question: who do you really want representin' you in the Legislature of the great state of Texas? Frank Corte? Or Larry Stallings?

*Update*

According to the E-N, the 281 Toll Road is On Hold. Check out
Kuff for some more dish. Also, visit The Muckraker for a report of Gov. Goodhair flipping the bird to local S. A. toll road protestors. Good stuff.

Monday, January 09, 2006

They Have No Shame

There is just so much to write about, I don't even know where to begin. I guess the biggest vomit factor happening to me, personally, is that the unlovely Arlene, Wolgemuth, that is; is helping out with the Madla campaign. I gotta tell ya, when Arlene's HB2292 passed back in the '03 Lege session, I nearly cried. I had been working with my church at the time, assisting the working poor in signing up their kids for CHIP. It was a labor of love, and labor it was, for in Texas, it was particularly difficult to wade through the paperwork. Arlene's bill, HB 2292, made it even harder, and on top of that, eliminated some of those very same families our church was helping from the program entirely.

Of course, it later turned out that bill did not save the Great State of Texas the $45 million it was supposed to. It saved about a million dollars. But, hey, Arlene and her ilk probably thought all the misery that bill caused and continues to cause, is well worth it. Well, she's not suffering, I reckon; nor are her friends suffering much.

The lesson we take, my children, from this involvement of Arlene in the Madla campaign is this: Voting them out does not seem to be enough. They have a habit of continuing to show up, like bad pennies all the damn time. I think it's because they have no shame.

And neither does Frank Madla, it seems.