Ben Sargent: “Are you better off . . . ?”

September 14, 2012

Pulitzer Prize winner, and retired (drat it!), Ben Sargent, in the Austin American-Statesman, September 9, 2012:

Ben Sargent, Austin American-Statesman, September 9, 2012

Ben Sargent, Austin American-Statesman, September 9, 2012

It could be a dangerous question for a Republican to ask; voters might actually remember four years ago.


O’Donnell: Obama ‘soft on terror?’

May 7, 2011

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, in his feature “The Last Word”: Who’s soft on terror?


Republicans in trouble in Texas

August 18, 2010

Four years ago, while few were watching, Democrats took every county post in Dallas County, Texas, previously a bastion of Republican votes.  Not even normally-Democratic-leaning Harris County (Houston, nor Bexar County (San Antonio), went so blue.

In Corpus Christi in July, Democrats were wowed by a slate of powerful state-wide off candidates — Bill White, very successful, pro-business Mayor of Houston nominated for governor, a firebrand of a woman named Linda Chavez-Thompson to make Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst sweat and run from debates, and Hector Uribe for Texas Land Commissioner, and others. White is leading Gov. Rick Perry in fundraising.

The rest of the state is waking up, too.  A blog at the Austin American-Statesman looked around the ethical challenges to Texas Republicans, and figured out that the Texas House of Representatives could very well go Democratic.

Lots to get to today as [Joe] Driver takes a hit, we learn more about the state’s budget problems and thousands of prison workers could be out of work.

While the split between 77 Republicans and 73 Democrats in the Texas House is close enough that there has always been a legitimate battle for partisan control in 2010, most objective observers have long said Republicans are likely to keep a House majority heading into next year. For one thing, it’s a Republican year, and for another, GOP groups seem better-organized and better-funded than usual, and for another, we already know of one seat (Wichita Falls) that is likely to switch from Democrat to Republican because of an incumbent’s retirement.

Well, this thing just got more interesting.

Jay Root of the Associated Press reports in this morning’s papers that Rep. Joe Driver, an 18-year-legislator, has been getting reimbursements from the state for legislative-related travel and other expenses paid by his campaign, to the tune of $17,431.

From Root’s story: “A north Texas state representative who rails against the evils of runaway government spending admitted Monday that he has pocketed thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for travel expenses that his campaign had already funded. Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, faced with findings from an investigation by The Associated Press, acknowledged in an interview that for years he has been submitting the same receipts — for luxury hotels, airline tickets, meals, fees and incidentals — to both his campaign and to the Texas House of Representatives. He has also been collecting thousands of dollars in state mileage reimbursements for travel in vehicles for which his campaign has shelled out more than $100,000 since 2000. The AP’s review of hundreds of pages of state and campaign travel records found that Driver double-billed for at least $17,431.55 in travel expenses, much of it at fancy out-of-state hotels, since 2005. The number could go higher, but House travel records before mid-2005 have already been destroyed. Driver has been in office for 18 years. The double-billing figure does not include the vehicle expenses.”

What’s almost as amazing as the story itself is Driver’s reaction to the findings. His initial effort at damage control made Linda Harper-Brown look like Karen Hughes.

“Now you’re scaring the heck out of me,” Driver told the AP, adding: “It pretty well screws my week.”

Ya think?

Later in the story, Driver says, “If I knew it was wrong, I wouldn’t have done it that way. I wouldn’t have done it just to make money.”

In Driver’s defense, he did warn us that he wasn’t a numbers guy.

Driver’s campaign actually did put out a real defense Monday night. Here it is, in its entirety:

“After reviewing the facts with ethics specialists in the Texas House it is clear that an inadvertent mistake was made in my campaign expenses.”

Republicans grow desperate.  Stay tuned to Texas, and send money to Democrats if you can.

Here’s Hector Uribe at the State Democratic Convention:


What’s changed since August 2008?

July 13, 2010

Ben Hoffman drew this on August 2008:

Ben Hoffman cartoon, August 2008 - BenHoffman.WordPress.com

Ben Hoffman on the issues of August 2008 - what's changed? BenHoffman.WordPress.com

Replace half the “abortions” with “socialism,” it’s still accurate.

We could change that for the better in November, were we alert to the issues.

Change:

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


Republicans are meeting in Dallas . . .

June 11, 2010

Sounds like the opening line to a good joke, or to a tragedy.

Sara Ann Maxwell sends along this story she found in a comment at Crooks and Liars:

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

“She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be an Obama Democrat.”

“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”

The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Republican.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist. “How did you know?”

“Well,” said the man, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You’ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”

The real question you might be asking yourself right now is why was the man in a boat?  You understand, as a map savvy person, that 31 degrees 14.97 minutes North and 100 degrees 49.09 minutes West puts the balloon about 20 miles southwest of San Angelo, Texas, probably still in the city limits of Mertzon, Texas, just off U.S. Highway 67.  He’s a few miles west of any significant boat-supporting body of water.

Check it out for yourself on iTouch Maps.

Don’t let that detract from the joke.  Just consider that the woman was trying to meet up with friends attending the Texas Republican Convention this weekend in Dallas.

Balloon Crash, image from Dave Statter, WUSA9

Balloon Crash, image from Dave Statter, WUSA9


%d bloggers like this: