Category Archives: Uncategorized

Former Texas Judge Jumps Republican Ship

Former Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge and long time Republican office-holder, Elsa Alcala, has finally had enough.  Alcala who says she typically stays out of political discussion on social media apparently felt compelled to speak out regarding Trumph – the Insult Comic President’s latest racist rant.  On Facebook, Alcala denounced Trump as
“the worst president in the history of this country.”  Not holding back, the former judge indicated that Trump has an ideology of racism.

In an interview with Texas Lawyer, Alcala, who chose not to seek re-election in 2018, noted, “I have been thinking about this for years and I hoped things would get better but they never did. I did not want an ‘R’ next to my name anymore.”

Alcala also indicated that she would be voting in the Democratic primary in 2020 for the first time.

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A Presidential (and Vice-Presidential)History Lesson

Becoming President of the U.S.A. should be a difficult task.  Only a select few are worthy of the office by dint of their accomplishments, instincts and intellect and also have sufficient belly-fire to make it happen.  Some are worthy but lack adequate belly-fire (Paul Tsongas and John McCain come to mind) and some unworthy have sufficient belly-fire (Pat Buchanan and George Wallace) but could hardly be less worthy.  There are exceptions where belly-fire can overcome the defects in worthiness (e.g. Trumph – the Insult Comic President’s stomach is perpetually aflame it would seem while being perhaps the most vile and disgusting human yet to occupy the office).   And extreme worthiness can make up for an absence of an inferno in the gut (oddly Grant who never lacked belly-fire on the battlefield fits this mold because of his impressive but rather ordinary worthiness and his general indifference to politics).

And then there are the accidents.  Nine of our forty-five have become President through death or assassination or disgrace –  Tyler, Fillmore, A. Johnson, Arthur, T. Roosevelt, Coolidge, Truman,  L.B. Johnson and Ford.  Another handful have played on family connections – J.Q. Adams, B. Harrison and Bush the Younger.  But the easiest path to the Presidency is clearly through the Vice-Presidency.  As it stands, you have a 20% chance of becoming President if you can make it to No. 2.  Which brings us to the point.

As in most human matters, there are no hard and fast rules and it will be interesting to see who emerges to challenge Trump. Given the expansive field it will likely be someone worthy and more than sufficiently fired up for combat.  But of critical importance (to the nation but probably not the outcome) will be the choice of a running mate.  The choices run towards an incompetent ideologue who might fire up the base (Pence is the exemplar here) or a possibly exciting but unpredictable newcomer (the stench emanating from McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin has yet to clear the room) or a ticket balancer (something that almost never works – ask dead Lloyd Benson) or a steadfast old hand (such as Hubert Humphrey).  Even so, the choices are frequently bizarre.  For example, how did a steady hand like Eisenhower land on a young Congressman from California like Nixon?

At this moment in time, if she doesn’t manage to win the nomination, Red thinks the odds-on favorite has to be Kamala Harris.  She is steady, smart and ready for prime-time.

UT Austin Announces Free Tuition Plan

Red received this in his inbox today from University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves:

Dear Longhorns,
I’m writing today with great news. The UT System Board of Regents — under the leadership of Chairman Kevin Eltife — has voted unanimously to establish a $160 million endowment to expand financial aid for middle- and low-income UT Austin students beginning next year.

Starting in fall semester 2020, in-state undergraduate students with need from families that earn up to $65,000 a year will receive financial assistance to completely cover their UT tuition as part of our Texas Advance Commitment. And students with financial need from families with incomes of up to $125,000 will also receive some amount of assured financial aid.

Half of the families in Texas earned less than $60,000 in 2017. So, today’s expansion of the Texas Advance Commitment program means that beginning in 2020, we will be able to cover the tuition for eligible undergraduate students from families earning at or slightly above the median household income level.

This action by the Board of Regents is an investment in the future of our students. It is also one of the largest commitments ever made to improving college affordability among the nation’s leading public research universities. I thank the Board of Regents for their decision today. And I am especially grateful to Chairman Eltife for prioritizing Texas students.

This is an important day for The University of Texas at Austin. You should be proud. I couldn’t be prouder.

Red is proud.  This is a big deal for many Texas families.   When Red and friends went to state schools in Texas (way back in the day) it was for all practical purposes free.  If you couldn’t scrape up the $250 or so per semester to pay for your tuition and fees, you weren’t really trying very hard.  Usually, the books cost more – but you could buy used and trade them back in at the end of the semester.  We were the lucky ones.  Thanks to previous Poor Idiot Governors (Rick Perry Red is calling you out) – tuition increases at state schools have strained budgets for many Texas families.  And the fact is – the UT System has had the money to do this for many years. It was way overdue.  Nonetheless, better late than never.

The Terrorist Living Right (Wing?) Next Door

Despite reports that the FBI and other agencies have been directed to deemphasize their investigations into Right-Wing Terrorism in the U.S. (which is a major problem), a Texas woman, Julia Ann Poff (very close to Poof Red notes), has pleaded guilty to placing bombs in the mail.  Her targets were a bit diverse as she sent bombs to  Obama and Our Poor Idiot Governor.  The moral of the story is that it is the crazy alt-right nutjob with an axe to grind that is more likely to do you in than your garden-variety Islamic terrorist.  The Houston Chronicle has more.

A Brookshire woman pleaded guilty Monday to mailing then President Barack Obama a homemade explosive, which was traced back to her through cat hair stuck on the box’s packaging.

The bomb was one of three that Julia Ann Poff, 47, admitted sending to public officials, according to court records. In her plea, she also acknowledged sending similar packages to Gov. Greg Abbott and the then-acting Social Security administrator, whose agency had apparently denied her disability benefits, documents show.

The boxes contained victim-activated improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, according to the FBI Houston field office.

The box was intercepted on Oct. 6, 2016 at the Bolling Air Force Base in Maryland. FBI exlosives experts examined the small, flat rate box and identified it as a homemade bomb, officials said.

The package included a micro-USB cable box, a cell phone, hobby fuse, matches, paper wadding, plastic sacks, sandpaper and two 20-ounce coke bottle caps, plus pyrotechnics and smokeless powder, according to the FBI.

An investigation linked the box [sent to Obama] to Poff or her husband, partly because investigators found cat hair under a taped address label, “microscopically consistent” with hairs taken from Poff’s gray cat, named Ash.

Poff’s daughter told authorities that the phone in the box was her old cell phone, which was last seen in August or September of 2016 in their home’s garage . Poff’s debit card was also connected to the micro-USB box.

That September the governor opened a box containing a box explosive stuffed in a cigarette pack, but it did not blow up because Abbott failed to open it as designed.

Poff was upset with Abbott because she had not received child support from her ex-husband, according to federal court documents. Her frustration withthe governor stemmed from a legal battle with the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which began when Abbott was the attorney general.

“Crazy Train” aka the Trump Reality TV Show Joke of a Presidency

Ozzy Osburne (through wife Sharon) has demanded that Trump immediately stop using his classic 1980 hit “Crazy Train.”  Trump (or the usual sycophants) had played the song over a clip of the Democratic Debate.   Now if Trump wanted to use the song for his own campaign or to characterize his presidency, Red thinks Ozzy could hardly object.

The song lyrics (complete with Red commentary):

Crazy, but that’s how it goes (crazy like a fox – like an old orange demented fox)
Millions of people living as foes (except the Russians of course)
Maybe it’s not too late (9:00 am tee time)
To learn how to love and forget how to hate (but what would the GOP be without hate? A bunch of old white guys mumbling in their coffee?)

Mental wounds not healing (enough said)
Life’s a bitter shame (unless Daddy gives you $400 million)
I’m going off the rails on a crazy train
I’m going off the rails on a crazy train

I’ve listened to preachers, I’ve listened to fools (hard to tell the difference among the evangelicals)
I’ve watched all the dropouts who make their own rules (would have dropped out but again Daddy)
One person conditioned to rule and control (that’s me suckers)
The media sells it and you live the role (God bless Roger Ailes) 

Mental wounds still screaming (you try marriage to Ivana)
Driving me insane (it was a short ride)
I’m going off the rails on a crazy train
I’m going off the rails on a crazy train

I know that things are going wrong for me (lying, f#(king pollsters)
You gotta listen to my words (off script of course)
Yeah

Heirs of a cold war, that’s what we’ve become (again I love the Russians)
Inheriting troubles, I’m mentally numb (inheriting oodles more like it – mentally ???)
Crazy, I just cannot bear
I’m living with something that just isn’t fair (fake news, Mueller, Biden, AOC, immigrants, the list goes on . . .)

Mental wounds stop healing (what?  I was contemplating this birdie putt) 
Who and what’s to blame (see above)
I’m going off the rails on a crazy train
I’m going off the rails on a crazy train (our country’s going off the rails with a crazy con man)

Gold Cup 2019 Quarterfinals Predictions

With the 2019 Gold Cup Quarterfinals upon us, Red is ready to make his predictions for a tournament that usually has an all too predictable outcome (being Mexico or the U.S. wins).

Haiti over Canada –   This is the toughest call as les Bicolores and the Cannucks have both looked impressive in group play.  Jonathan David has been a break out player for Canada, but his 5 goals have come against questionable opponents.  Look for tough defense from the Haitians to keep it close.  Still this one should feature lots of fireworks.  Haiti 3 Canada 2

Mexico over Costa Rica –  Los Ticos were a hot pick for a while, but they have not replicated their 2014 World Cup success as of late.  Meanwhile, El Tri is showing what futbol will look like in the post Chicharito, Marquez era.  And it looks pretty good.  El Tri will be playing in front of a wet home crowd in Houston on Saturday night.  Red just wishes they wouldn’t throw those $10 beers in the air when El Tri scores.   Mexico 4 Costa Rica 1.

Panama over Jamaica –  With Navas out, Andre Blake of the Reggae Boys is probably the best keeper in the tournament.  That won’t be enough unfortunately against a Panama side that has breakaway capability and good organization on the back line.  Panama 1 Jamaica 0.

Curacao over U.S.  – Red calls the upset here.  Curacao has lots of players you have never heard of – mostly because they play in second tier European leagues.  But those leagues feature some of the most competitive play because the stakes are so high for promotion to the big time or relegation to the real dregs. Top it off with  keeper Eloy Room who looks like the real deal and will keep Curacao in this game until the very end.  The U.S. features mostly MSL clubsters with a trio of English based players and one from Liga MX.  Lately, the U.S. has not failed to disappoint the growing soccer fan base in the States.  Unfortunately, that continues on Sunday as Curacao scores the biggest victory in its history.  Curacao 2 U.S. 1.