B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Archive for the ‘Texas’ tag

A Best-Selling Conservative Author Spread A False Claim About Non-Citizens Being Paid To Vote For Beto

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 I voted! Did you?

Buzzfeed:

A Best-Selling Conservative Author Spread A False Claim About “Illegals” Being Paid To Vote For Beto “Hey, fake news, right?” said Larry Schweikart when asked about his false tweet.

(click here to continue reading A Best-Selling Conservative Author Spread A False Claim About “Illegals” Being Paid To Vote For Beto.)

The funny (almost) thing about this fake story is that a bus of non-citizens voting wouldn’t be enough to swing even a percentage point of place as big as Texas. How many people are on the bus? 50, 100? Texas has 30,000,000 people, and somewhere around 10,000,000 registered to vote. Would have to be a damn big bus to swing even one county’s total…

And would seem like someone would notice at the polling location, perhaps post a photo?

Written by Seth Anderson

November 6th, 2018 at 3:46 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Texas voting machines changing some straight-party selections

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Tomorrow We Vote
Tomorrow We Vote

ABC reports:

Texas voting machines changing some straight-party selections.

Voters are reporting odd problems on both the Republican and Democratic side of straight-party voting in Texas.

Mickey Blake was one of the voters in those early voting lines in Houston earlier this week.

“I hit straight Democratic ticket,” Blake said.

She says she expected all Democrats to come up on her screen, especially Rep. Beto O’Rourke, but when she got to the last screen to review her choices, she noticed a problem.

“It’s all Democratic except for Ted Cruz was checked,” Blake said.

So she backed up and did it again. And again.

“I tried it a third time and the same thing happened,” she said.

(click here to continue reading Texas voting machines changing some straight-party selections | abc13.com.)

Fired up and ready to vote
Fired up and ready to vote

Anecdotal evidence, sure, but enough people are complaining that the Texas Secretary of State issued a statement.

It’s popped up across Texas often enough for the Secretary of State to put up a statewide advisory on Monday to every Texas election advisor.

The Secretary of State calls it ‘operator error.’

A little disturbing, but perhaps the short term answer is don’t use electronic ballots, if you have a choice, and don’t vote straight ticket even though it is more convenient.

Written by Seth Anderson

October 27th, 2018 at 8:40 am

Posted in government

Tagged with , , ,

Ted Cruz is a Serpent Covered In Vaseline

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Brett Stevens is a reliably irritating neo-con newly hired columnist for the NYT, formerly of the WSJ, but this is a spot-on description of Ted Cruz.

Asp door handle- Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum

The New York Times:

I share your enthusiasm for the Texas Senate race, for a couple of small reasons and one very big one. Small reasons: I like Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger, and I like the idea that Texas can turn a bit purple if you have a candidate with energy, wit and a human touch.

The big reason is that I despise Ted Cruz. That is “D-e-s-p-i-s-e,” in case I haven’t spelled out my loathing clearly enough. Would you like to know why?

…Because he’s like a serpent covered in Vaseline. Because he treats the American people like two-bit suckers in 10-gallon hats. Because he sucks up to the guy who insulted his wife — by retweet, no less. Because of his phony piety and even phonier principles. Because I see him as the spiritual love child of the 1980s televangelist Jimmy Swaggart and Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining.” Because his ethics are purely situational. Because he makes Donald Trump look like a human being by comparison. Because “New York values.” Because his fellow politicians detest him, and that’s just among Republicans. Because he never got over being the smartest kid in eighth grade. Because he’s conniving enough to try to put one over you, but not perceptive enough to realize that you see right through him. Because he’s the type of man who would sell his family into slavery if that’s what it took to get elected. And that he would use said slavery as a sob story to get himself re-elected.

Otherwise, you might say I’m his No. 1 fan.

(click here to continue reading Opinion | Supreme Confusion – The New York Times.)

Written by Seth Anderson

September 26th, 2018 at 9:12 am

See Beto O’Rourke Air-Drum to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’

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Rolling Stone:

See Beto O’Rourke Air-Drum to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ After Ted Cruz Debate “This may be the best song ever written,” Democratic senatorial hopeful says of ‘Who’s Next’ classic while waiting in Whataburger drive-thru line

(click here to continue reading See Beto O’Rourke Air-Drum to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ – Rolling Stone.)

Uhh, hyperbole much? Ok, indeed, Baba O’Riley is a great song, and a worthy air drum tune for sure. Also, Nirvana covered it on their 1991 tour (though less bloated, like 3 minutes instead of 5 minutes). 

Ted Cruz booked his flight to Iowa directly after the debate…

Written by Seth Anderson

September 22nd, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Posted in Music

Tagged with , ,

‘Sniveling coward’ Trump to campaign for ‘Lyin’ Ted’ Cruz in Texas

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Ted Cruz Father Linked To JFK Assassination

Chicago Tribune reports:

‘Sniveling coward’ Trump to campaign for ‘Lyin’ Ted’ Cruz in Texas

President Donald Trump says he’ll ride to the rescue of one-time bitter rival Sen. Ted Cruz this fall, the strongest indication yet that the Texas conservative firebrand is getting nervous about his challenger, a liberal darling with a growing national profile.

“Either Ted Cruz is in trouble or it’s a remarkable waste of the president’s resources,” said Republican strategist Rick Tyler, who worked for Cruz’s presidential campaign.

The Texas Senate seat, Tyler noted, was supposed to be the GOP ‘s “safest seat this cycle.”

They later clashed bitterly as Cruz finished second for the GOP nomination, with Trump making fun of Cruz’s wife’s appearance and suggesting that his Cuban-born father had a hand in John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Trump also savaged Cruz on Twitter: “Why would the people of Texas support Ted Cruz when he has accomplished absolutely nothing for them?”

Cruz responded by calling Trump “a sniveling coward,” ”a pathological liar,” “utterly amoral” and “a serial philanderer.” He refused to endorse him during the 2016 Republican National Convention

(click here to continue reading ‘Sniveling coward’ Trump to campaign for ‘Lyin’ Ted’ Cruz in Texas – Chicago Tribune.)

Go Beto!

Written by Seth Anderson

September 1st, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Hurricane Harvey’s Toxic Impact Deeper Than Public Told

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No Chemicals
No Chemicals…

Surprising nobody, the EPA and Texas governor are sweeping any discussion of toxicity under the concrete. 

A toxic onslaught from the nation’s petrochemical hub was largely overshadowed by the record-shattering deluge of Hurricane Harvey as residents and first responders struggled to save lives and property.

More than a half-year after floodwaters swamped America’s fourth-largest city, the extent of this environmental assault is beginning to surface, while questions about the long-term consequences for human health remain unanswered.

County, state and federal records pieced together by The Associated Press and The Houston Chronicle reveal a far more widespread toxic impact than authorities publicly reported after the storm slammed into the Texas coast in late August and then stalled over the Houston area.

Some 500 chemical plants, 10 refineries and more than 6,670 miles of intertwined oil, gas and chemical pipelines line the nation’s largest energy corridor.

Nearly half a billion gallons of industrial wastewater mixed with storm water surged out of just one chemical plant in Baytown, east of Houston on the upper shores of Galveston Bay.

Benzene, vinyl chloride, butadiene and other known human carcinogens were among the dozens of tons of industrial toxins released into surrounding neighborhoods and waterways following Harvey’s torrential rains.

In all, reporters catalogued more than 100 Harvey-related toxic releases — on land, in water and in the air. Most were never publicized, and in the case of two of the biggest ones, the extent or potential toxicity of the releases was initially understated.

Only a handful of the industrial spills have been investigated by federal regulators, reporters found.

(click here to continue reading Hurricane Harvey’s Toxic Impact Deeper Than Public Told – The New York Times.)

Disturbing, and portent of massive human misery to come, especially if the GOP controls the environmental inspectors. Profits over people, always, is the Republican agenda.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 22nd, 2018 at 9:54 am

Posted in environment,government

Tagged with , ,

Gun-Friendly Texas Is Getting Even Gunnier

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Don't Bring Yer Guns to Town
Don’t Bring Yer Guns to Town

As someone who frequently visits the foreign country of Texas, this frightens me a bit…

Texas is so gun-friendly that it is easier to get into the Capitol in Austin with a firearm than without one — licensed, gun-carrying lawmakers and members of the public have their own no-wait security lane, and the unarmed masses have to stand in line and slog through the metal detectors.

But on Friday, gun rights throughout the state expanded still more, as a new law took effect that allows certain Texans to wear their handguns in holsters on their hips — or in shoulder holsters, Dirty Harry-style — openly displaying the fact that they are armed as they work, shop, dine and go about their day.

Gun rights will advance again in August, when students and faculty members at Texas universities will be allowed to carry concealed handguns on campus, although openly carrying them is prohibited.

 

(click here to continue reading Gun-Friendly Texas Is Getting Even Friendlier – The New York Times.)

I’m so glad I survived growing up in Texas when I was younger and rasher, I lived through many confrontations with frat boys or other ne’er-do-wells, luckily nobody was killed because nobody had a pistol. We just used our fists, feet and voices, and we lived. 

Written by Seth Anderson

January 2nd, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Posted in News-esque

Tagged with ,

Shirts vs. Skins – Venice Beach was uploaded to Flickr

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not sure who won

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/psBM8E

I took Shirts vs. Skins – Venice Beach on February 02, 2013 at 02:04PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on December 14, 2014 at 03:02PM

Written by eggplant

December 14th, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Hay Bales Was Explored at Flickr

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Hay Bales

East of Austin somewhere on 290, headed towards Bastrop. I was sitting in the passenger seat, my sister was driving, and somehow I was able to focus enough at 65 mph…

Allegedly, each bale of hay is worth several hundred dollars, but I haven’t yet fact checked that assertion.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 26th, 2014 at 8:31 am

Posted in Photography

Tagged with ,

The Rise of Ted Cruz

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The National Beer of Texas
The National Beer of Texas

Surprising nobody, Ted Cruz and the Tea Party Republicans have their own version of history, a version where Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon were the same kind of obstructionist asshole as Ted Cruz. Of course, that isn’t factual, but since when have the 6,000 year old Earthers required facts to get in the way of narrative?

Jeffrey Toobin hangs out with Senator Cruz a bit:

Cruz’s ascendancy reflects the dilemma of the modern Republican Party, because his popularity within the Party is based largely on an act that was reviled in the broader national community. Last fall, Cruz’s strident opposition to Obamacare led in a significant way to the shutdown of the federal government. “It was not a productive enterprise,” John McCain told me. “We needed sixty-seven votes in the Senate to stop Obamacare, and we didn’t have it. It was a fool’s errand, and it hurt the Republican Party and it hurt my state. I think Ted has learned his lesson.” But Cruz has learned no such lesson. As he travels the country, he has hardened his positions, delighting the base of his party but moving farther from the positions of most Americans on most issues. He denies the existence of man-made climate change, opposes comprehensive immigration reform, rejects marriage equality, and, of course, demands the repeal of “every blessed word of Obamacare.” (Cruz gets his own health-care coverage from Goldman Sachs, where his wife is a vice-president.) Cruz has not formally entered the 2016 Presidential race, but he is taking all the customary steps for a prospective candidacy. He has set up political-action committees to raise money, travelled to early primary states, like Iowa and New Hampshire, and campaigned for Republican candidates all over the country. His message, in substance, is that on the issues a Cruz Presidency would be roughly identical to a Sarah Palin Presidency.

Still, Cruz’s historical narrative of Presidential politics is both self-serving and questionable on its own terms. Conveniently, he begins his story after the debacle of Barry Goldwater, a conservative purist whom Cruz somewhat resembles. Nixon ran as a healer and governed, by contemporary standards, as a moderate, opening up relations with China, signing into law measures banning sex discrimination, expanding the use of affirmative action, establishing the Environmental Protection Agency, and signing the Clean Air Act. Reagan’s record as governor of California included support for tax increases, gun control, and abortion rights, so he sometimes appeared less conservative than his modern reputation suggests. George W. Bush won (if he won) as a self-advertised “compassionate conservative.” So, at this point, Cruz’s concerted attempt to establish himself as the most extreme conservative in the race for the Republican nomination has not evoked much fear in Democrats. “We all hope he runs,” one Democratic senator told me. “He’s their Mondale.” (Running against Reagan as an unalloyed liberal in 1984, Walter Mondale lost every state but his native Minnesota.)

(click here to continue reading Jeffrey Toobin: The Rise of Ted Cruz : The New Yorker.)

Rockefeller and Reagan
Rockefeller and Reagan

I also hope Ted Cruz continues running for President, as I anticipate being amused that the Tea Bagger Birthers will find ways to twist pretzel logic so they can support a Natural Born ‘Murican who wasn’t actually born in the US. Even the most ardent Birthers never claimed Obama’s mother wasn’t American, just that Obama wasn’t really born in Hawaii. Ted Cruz’s mother may have been born in Delaware1 but Ted Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada. It says so right on his birth certificate! The U.S. hasn’t invaded and annexed Alberta, yet.

As Jeffrey Toobin puts it:

Rafael Cruz fled Batista’s Cuba for Texas in 1957 after aligning himself with the anti-Batista movement. He returned to Cuba for just a month, in 1959, and became convinced that Fidel Castro was even worse than his predecessor, so he settled in the United States for good. He majored in mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin, and met and married Eleanor Darragh, who was born and raised in Delaware. (Rafael had two daughters from a previous marriage.) Rafael and Eleanor started an oil-services company after moving to Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, where Rafael Edward Cruz was born, in 1970. (Ted’s birth in Canada, with dual American and Canadian citizenship, has raised the question of whether he is a “native born” citizen and thus eligible, under the Constitution, to be President. The answer is not completely clear, but it seems likely that the Constitution does not bar a Cruz Presidency. Recently, Ted Cruz formally gave up his Canadian citizenship.)

(click here to continue reading Jeffrey Toobin: The Rise of Ted Cruz : The New Yorker.)

Ted Is Organized

Ballard Street, via

Footnotes:
  1. allegedly []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 23rd, 2014 at 7:57 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , , ,

IL Museum Stands Up For Santa Anna’s leg

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Santa Anna Prosthetic Leg
Santa Anna’s Prosthetic Leg

Photo via http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/santa-anna-leg.htm

Good for the Illinois State Military Museum for standing up to self-important Texans. The funny thing is, the leg as an artifact has very little to do with Texas, as it was found by Illinois soldiers, near Veracruz, Mexico, in 1847 after the Battle of Cerro Gordo. I’m not sure why Texas thinks it has more of a right to the leg than Santa Anna’s family1 or a Mexican museum.

Illinois museum officials say their Lone Star State counterparts have no leg to stand on as they seek a prosthesis from Springfield.

The curator of the Illinois State Military Museum plans to keep Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s wooden leg despite a failed petition that sought to temporarily display the artifact in suburban Houston.

For Texans, it seems to be a bit of a sore point that the artificial limb resides in a glass case 875 miles northeast of the Alamo.

But folks here say the fake leg, a battlefield trophy captured by soldiers from Illinois in 1847 in the Mexican-American War and then carried back to Illinois, is a piece of local military history that’s a big draw at the downstate museum.

“It’s not going anywhere,” said curator Bill Lear. “It’s going to stay.

“This is a centerpiece of the museum and a very important artifact to tell the story of Illinois soldiers and the sacrifice that they have made in service of this country.”

As eager as Texas is to display Santa Anna’s leg, Lear said it’s not clear that the prosthesis has even been in the Lone Star State. Santa Anna had both his legs while leading Mexican forces at the Alamo, more than a decade before Cerro Gordo. Lear said the prosthetic limb was captured in Mexico and apparently taken to Illinois via New Orleans.

(click here to continue reading Museum sticks to its guns over Santa Anna’s leg – chicagotribune.com.)

Come and Take It - Franks, Austin
Come and Take It – Frank, Austin

and yet the San Jacinto Museum of History seems to think the leg should be in their museum. Weird, even if after publicity, the museum claimed it was a light-hearted request…

“I cannot imagine a president from Illinois seriously trying to remove a piece of Illinois history and send it to Texas,” [San Jacinto museum president Larry Spasic] said this week.

Spasic said Texas feels the leg should be lent to the San Jacinto museum because it is part of the deeply shared history with Mexico and its leader.
“It’s all interrelated,” he said. “The history of Mexico and Texas is all one and the same, to a great extent. Does that give us a great latitude of claiming a large part of Mexico’s history as our own? Yes, I say.”

“No one had anything in mind for removing it by force,” he said. “And if the leg goes missing, we’ll just keep it between us.”

(click here to continue reading Illinois museum has Santa Anna’s leg, and Texas site wants it | Dallas Morning News.)

Yeah, sure buddy. The center of the universe is just outside of Houston, everything orbits around Texas.

Footnotes:
  1. if it still exists []

Written by Seth Anderson

May 10th, 2014 at 8:25 am

Posted in News-esque

Tagged with , , ,

Sporadic Reviews: Old No. 1 – Guy Clark

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Does this ever happen to you? You’ve owned a piece of music1 in your library for a while, and you like it, but your relationship to the songs is tenuous, ephemeral, noncommittal. And then for whatever reason, you rediscover that particular artifact, and it grips you, forces you to play it over and over, compels you to swirl the songs in your ears. Is it that certain music takes a few plays before it sinks in? Is it a factor of your changing brain? The music is the same, but your response to it has altered, deepened.

Last week, a song came on my iTunes shuffle while I was photostrolling, a song from Guy Clark’s Old No. 1 LP. I had added this album to my library July 15th, 2008, the same day I added Nigeria 70 Lagos Jump, Ry Cooder’s I, Flathead, Alejandro Escovedo’s Real Animal, and had played Old No. 1 a few times since then, but I couldn’t say it was a particular favorite of mine. I had played it five or six times, and particular songs shuffled a few more times than that, but nothing more.

However, last week, that particular song smacked me2 and would not relinquish its hold on my imagination. So I was compelled to listen to it a few times, and then enticed to listen to the entire album multiple times. Great tunes through and through. My favorites are L.A. Freeway, She’s Ain’t Going Nowhere, A Nickel for the FiddlerDesparados Waiting on the Train, Like a Coat From the Cold. Maybe others too. The shaggy-dog story on Texas, 1947, about putting a nickel on the train tracks as a six year-old boy has some great lines, as does That Old Time Feeling. What I’m saying is there are no skippable songs on Guy Clark’s debut album, Old No. 1

Maybe I’m about to start my mid-life crisis, though only if I concede to not living past the age of 120, maybe it is because so many of my formative years were spent in Austin, or maybe because I’m such a fan of Townes Van Zandt, but for whatever reason, I am adding this album to that best albums of 2014 post that I will probably never get around to writing…

Guy Clark Old No 1

Guy Clark pushes a fading, black and white photograph across the table. In it, a man leans against a 1939 Packard, foot propped up on the bumper in the dusty streets of Monahans, Texas. “Jack Prigg” reads the inscription on the back. He’s smiling and sharply dressed in a black suit, a gleam of success in his grin. The image is striking for its sheer contrast to the portrait of Prigg immortalized in Clark’s “Desper­ados Waiting for a Train,” the old, busted oil-driller crying at the kitchen table to broken memories and songs. “Well, that must have been a Sunday,” laughs Clark, looking at the photo as he carefully takes a toke from the last vestiges of a joint and lets loose a rattling cough.

The workshop in the basement of Clark’s west Nashville home collects such memories. His father’s Randall knife sits on the workbench alongside his tools for making guitars. Behind him, shelves of cassettes with handwritten labels display a country songwriters hall of fame. A black and white photo of Townes Van Zandt, his haunted eyes somehow tracking around the room, stares down from the wall. Clark pinches a clump of tobacco and begins rolling a cigarette. The 71-year-old songwriter’s eyes sharpen as he takes in the room, his lips pursed together between the faint stains of yellow on his white mustache and goatee.

“Shit, I’d go back to Texas in a second if I could break even,” he says. “But the music business is here, and if I could just pay back what they’ve given me, or advanced me, I would love to live in Texas. At this point, though, I don’t know. I’m too fucking old to move back, pack all this shit up.”

Clark’s lack of sentimentality is deceiving. What the songwriter submerges in person surfaces in the deeply personal poetry of his songs, from “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” to the elegy for his father in “The Randall Knife,” and the title track of his new album, “My Favorite Picture of You,” an ode to his wife Susanna, who passed away last year after an extended decline from cancer.

Guy and Susanna’s marriage stands as one of the great relationships in music. As strongly devoted as it was tumultuous, their union and the art it produced became the locus for a new community of songwriters that emerged in the Seventies, a wave of scrappy expatriate Texans overtaking Nashville that included Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and most notably, Van Zandt, whose lifelong friendships with both Clarks remain inextricable from the couple’s relationship.

Those days feel impossibly far away in the quiet of Clark’s house as he draws slowly on his cigarette.

“If you want good friends, they’re gonna cost you,” he notes as he exhales a thin line of smoke.

(click here to continue reading We Were From Texas: Guy Clark and the high price of inspiration – Music – The Austin Chronicle.)

from Thom Jurek’s review at Allmusic, where I learned that Steve Earle played on this album…3

If only every country songwriter could release a debut album as auspicious and fine as this one. Houston’s Guy Clark, well known to the outlaw movement for his poetic, stripped-to-the-truth songs about ramblers, history, the aged and infirm, the drunken, the lost, and the simple dignity of working people who confront the darkness and joy of life quietly, issued Old #1 when his compadres had already been making waves with his songs. Jerry Jeff Walker had already cut “L.A. Freeway” and other tunes by Clark, as had Gary Stewart, Billy Joe Shaver, and others. But the definitive versions come from Clark himself. On this disc with help from Emmylou Harris, fellow Houstoners (a young) Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell, guitar wizards Chip and Reggie Young, Mickey Raphael on harp, pianist David Briggs, fiddle boss Johnny Gimble, and the angel-voiced Sammi Smith, Clark executed a song cycle that is as intimate and immediate as it is quietly devastating with its vision of brokenness and melancholy, loose wild times, and unforgettable characters.…Old #1 was unequaled in 1975 for the depth of its vision and the largeness of its artistic and empathetic heart; only Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run came close to it in terms of aesthetic merit.

(click here to continue reading Old No. 1 – Guy Clark | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic.)

I’d rather listen to this album a million times more than having to plod through Born to Run again.

Footnotes:
  1. album, usually, but sometimes a particular song, or artist []
  2. Desperados Waiting for A Train []
  3. Steve’s first known professional recording was with Guy Clark on Guy’s 1975 album Old No. 1. Steve sang back-up vocals (along with Rodney Crowell, Sammy Smith, and Emmylou Harris [“The first time I met Emmylou, she came in to sing on Guy Clark’s first album. She gave me half of her cheeseburger. I wasn’t the same for weeks.”]) on the song Desperados Waiting For A Train. Steve toured with Guy from early ’75 until late ’76. Steve also may have appeared in Robert Altman’s 1975 film, Nashville (he was part of a large crowd scene in Centennial Park, but it’s not clear whether he actually shows up in the film via []

Written by Seth Anderson

April 24th, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Music,Suggestions

Tagged with , ,

2013 Year End Reviews – Johnny “Guitar” Watson – What The Hell Is This?

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Johnny “Guitar” Watson – What The Hell Is This?

Rating: B

 

One of the albums I got for next to nothing as mentioned here, but it is surprisingly listenable. A couple of dud tracks, some silly songs, but some good funky, R&B-based slinky blues contained herein too. I bet you could find a used copy for next to nothing…

Written by Seth Anderson

December 23rd, 2013 at 11:19 am

Posted in Music

Tagged with , , ,

Texas Stringent Voter ID Law Makes a Dent at Polls

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Lamar Street Bridge
Lamar Street Bridge

Democracy in action, Texas style…

First, Judge Sandra Watts was stopped while trying to vote because the name on her photo ID, the same one she had used for voter registration and identification for 52 years, did not exactly match her name on the official voter rolls.  

A few days later, state Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat who became a national celebrity after her filibuster over a new abortion law, had the same problem in early voting. So did her likely Republican opponent in next year’s governor’s race, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

They were all able to vote after signing affidavits attesting that they were who they claimed to be. But not Jim Wright, a former speaker of the House in Washington, whose expired driver’s license meant he could not vote until he went home and dug a certified copy of his birth certificate out of a box.

On Tuesday, Texas unveiled its tough new voter ID law, the only state to do so this year, and the rollout was sometimes rocky. But interviews with opponents and supporters of the new law, which required voters for the first time to produce a state-approved form of photo identification to vote, suggest that in many parts of the state, the law’s first day went better than critics had expected.

(click here to continue reading Texas’ Stringent Voter ID Law Makes a Dent at Polls – NYTimes.com.)

Looking Down- Texas Capitol Building Austin
Looking Down- Texas Capitol Building Austin

Isn’t it amazing that one of the major political parties in the US would rather have less people vote than do the hard work to convince citizens the political ideas of that party are worth supporting? Or change the doctrines of the political party to comply with the wishes of the voters? The Republicans have spent billions of think-tank dollars figuring out how to disenfranchise as many people as possible instead of taking a chance on democracy.  What does that say about the popularity of Republican doctrines?

And in Texas, this was a relatively minor election with low turnout; most participants were experienced, committed voters, not the casual voters who turn out in presidential and gubernatorial contests. Just wait until there are lines stretched around the block…

The nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Texas, which opposed the new law, said that it was concerned more about voters who do not have the proper documentation at all, and might stay away from the polls altogether as a result.

“We have always felt there was anywhere from 500,000 to 800,000 voters who would not be able to present the proper identification,” Linda Krefting, the group’s president, said. “The concern we have is that all this flap in the news may have discouraged people from turning out at the polls.”

Voter ID laws and other statutes that cut back on early voting or make it more difficult to register have proliferated in states dominated by Republicans since the party’s wave of governor and statehouse victories in 2010.

Proponents say they are needed to curtail voter fraud. Opponents point out that such fraud is extremely rare and say the laws actually target groups that have proven less likely to have the state-mandated identification: the poor, students, African-Americans and Hispanics, all of whom tend to vote more Democratic.

Under the new Texas law, the list of acceptable identification includes a driver’s license, a passport, a military ID and a concealed gun permit, but not a student photo ID. Voters who showed up at the polls with no acceptable IDs were allowed to cast provisional ballots. Voters whose names were “significantly similar” on their IDs and the official voter rolls could sign an affidavit, which involved checking a box next to their name, then were allowed to vote normally.

(click here to continue reading Texas’ Stringent Voter ID Law Makes a Dent at Polls – NYTimes.com.)

If I still lived in Texas, I’d have trouble because my drivers license spells out my middle name and my voter registration card only lists the middle initial. And I would vote Democratic…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Seth Anderson

November 8th, 2013 at 9:33 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Illinois Roads, Texas Roads

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Interstate
Illinois Interstate

There seems to be some sort of metaphor here. Compare and contrast, Illinois vs. Texas…

Illinois increases highway speeds:

Drivers tooling through the Illinois countryside will be able to nudge the gas pedal a little harder next year after Gov. Pat Quinn overcame safety concerns and approved legislation Monday that will raise the speed limit on rural interstates to 70 mph.

Dodging a possible veto showdown, Quinn signed the measure despite opposition from the Illinois Department of Transportation, state police and leading roadway safety organizations, who feared increased mayhem on the highways, especially between cars and trucks.

“This limited 5 miles-per-hour increase will bring Illinois’ rural interstate speed limits in line with our neighbors’ and the majority of states across America, while preventing an increase in excessive speeding,” Quinn said in a statement.

The six-county Chicago region — home to some of the nation’s busiest interstates — would be allowed to set lower speed limits under the law, as would two Illinois counties near St. Louis. The speed limit would increase on the Illinois Tollway but also could be kept at current limits on some stretches, according to the governor’s office.

The speed limit in Illinois is 55 mph in metropolitan areas and 65 on rural highways. But on Jan. 1, Illinois will become the 37th state to approve limits of 70 mph or higher since the national speed limit was repealed almost two decades ago.

(click here to continue reading Quinn signs 70 mph speed limit law for Illinois – chicagotribune.com.)

 Steep Road Ahead

Steep Road Ahead

while in some areas of Texas, the conservative mantra of private profit over public services finally yields to reality – the government cannot afford to maintain the roads anymore.

Citing a funding shortfall and the impact of a historic oil drilling boom, Texas Department of Transportation officials on Thursday announced plans to move forward with converting some roads in West and South Texas to gravel.

Approximately 83 miles of asphalt roads will be torn up and converted to “unpaved” roads, TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton said. The speed limits on those roads will probably be reduced to 30 mph.

“We would do these immediately, and I would suspect we would continue to convert other roadway segments as we continue to move forward,” Barton told the Texas Transportation Commission.

All of the affected roads have been so heavily damaged by truck activity related to oil and natural gas exploration that they have become safety hazards, Barton said. The process of converting the roads to gravel can be done quickly but will probably be delayed a few weeks as TxDOT gets permission from the commissioners to lower the speed limits on all of the impacted segments, Barton said.

The impacted roads are in four South Texas counties — Live Oak, Dimmit, LaSalle and Zavala — and two West Texas counties — Reeves and Culberson. The list of impacted roads includes a three-mile stretch of frontage road for Interstate 37 in Live Oak County. Barton said a plant that processes oil and natural gas has dramatically increased the truck traffic on that road.

“Instead of whipping in at 70 miles per hour, they’ll have to move in there at 30 miles per hour,” Barton said.

(click here to continue reading TxDOT Plans to Convert Some Roads to Gravel | The Texas Tribune.)

Illinois is no haven of joy, but at least the IL government isn’t so cowed by corporations they cannot collect enough in taxes to keep roads paved…

The part I cannot understand is why Rick Perry’s friends in the oil industry are allowing this to happen. Won’t slower traffic impact profits? 

Austin Capitol From The East Side
Austin Capitol From The Left Side

Steve Benen adds:

The state legislature briefly considered tax increases on energy companies — the companies that have benefited greatly from the energy boom, and which are chiefly responsible for pushing the roads quite literally past the breaking point — but as you might have guessed, those proposals faced stiff political opposition and never gained traction in Austin.

Darlene Meyer, a 77-year-old rancher whose property sits along a state road marked for conversion to gravel, told the Texas Tribune, “Texas used to have the best roads…. I just can’t believe the Department of Transportation is going back to the dark ages.”

…On the one hand, Gov. Rick Perry (R) believes Texas’ economy is amazing, and he’s managed to strike the perfect balance between meeting the public’s needs and keeping the private sector happy. Every other state, the governor assures us, should be following Texas’ lead — after all, thanks to the energy sector, the Lone Star State has plenty of money.

On the other hand, thanks to wear and tear from the oil companies, which have made themselves remarkably rich from Texas’ resources, Texas can no longer afford to pave many of its roads, and will instead transition from pavement to gravel.

(click here to continue reading A different kind of Stone Age – The Maddow Blog.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 20th, 2013 at 8:15 am