Archive for August 6th, 2014

Well today at H-Town City Hall the Taxi-Limo-Uber-Lyft issue will be settled for now. We will see who prevails. I will be watching on the flat screen.

Nobody is watching the ‘Stros on TV these days because they aren’t a good team and because a huge chunk of the H-Town area isn’t plugged in so to speak so you probably didn’t see the 15 inning 5 hour loss against the Phillies last night? Name the skipper of the Phillies?

Remember back in 1984 – 30 years ago – when Wendy’s rolled out their “Where’s the beef?” ad with the elderly lady that went after the Big Mac and the Whopper. Then remember when Walter Mondale took the line and used it against Gary Hart and scored some points during the Dem Prez primary that same year. Well Burkablog and Lisa Falkenberg are kind of asking the same question on Guv Dude’s decision to send the cavalry to the border.

If you ask me, Guv Dude is kind of starting to look and sound like a combination of F Troop’s Captain Parmenter and Corporal Agarn from Fort Courage. Here is Burkablog:

To close this discussion, I simply want to say one thing: This was completely predictable. There was no reason to send the National Guard to the Border. There was no mission. There was no objective. It was just political theatre to make Rick Perry look like he was doing something, which of course he was not, because there was nothing useful the National Guard could do.

The real issue here is whether the immigration issue will end up doing real damage to the Texas economy. If we seal the border, are we prepared for the effects of that decision?

Here is Falkenberg:

With every headline he generates, I’m looking for the numbers. With every interview he does, I’m listening for the numbers. With every fear mongering claim he makes, I’m waiting for the numbers.

If the border is truly the warzone that Gov. Rick Perry suggests, if it’s truly under siege by an opportunistic wave of undocumented criminals, if it is hard hit by record infiltrations of people from terrorist countries, if it is indeed in desperate need of another state trooper “surge,” and a Texas National Guard deployment of 1,000 that will cost Texas taxpayers millions of dollars per week — surely, then, there must be statistics to prove it.

Or not.

Perry has offered no statistical proof of his theory that crime has increased in historically safe border cities as law enforcement contends with the wave of child immigrants flowing in from Central America.

Asked for proof, Perry’s office sent me to the Texas Department of Public Safety – an agency that is far from a beacon of transparency.

When two of my colleagues recently requested data on how DPS “surge” efforts along the border have affected drug seizures and other crime, DPS refused to disclose the information and diverted the request to the Texas Attorney General. The agency didn’t give a good reason, except to cite, quite literally, every exemption in the book to avoid turning over the numbers.

DPS did provide one interesting figure to other Chronicle reporters, Lomi Kriel and Mark Collette – 36 percent. But that supposedly represents the percentage decline in apprehensions of people entering the country illegally starting in late June.

Of course, Perry attributes that drop to his decision in June to send a “surge” of DPS officers to the border.

But local border officials insist crime was never up following the influx of child immigrants. And experts interviewed by Kriel and Collette say the decline is more likely the result of seasonal migration patterns and publicity over the humanitarian crisis.

“This is a good media event, but it’s not practical, it’s not going to work,” Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia was quoted saying about the National Guard deployment. “It’s creating the perception that we’re in a violent crime zone of some kind, and we’re not.”

Meanwhile, the Texas governor, with two dark-rimmed eyes on the White House, is making the border photo ops and TV news circuits with the same cowboy swagger – albeit without the boots. He says he gave them up because of back problems, not to cater to the delicate sensibilities of northeastern voters.

But it’s clear he’ll do anything to stage a comeback after his disastrous oops-plagued 2012 presidential campaign. Anything, including trying to scare the daylights out of Americans concerned about the border.

And what’s scarier than surging crime, complete with terrorists?

In June, Perry tried to attribute the record number of non-Mexicans crossing the border to people “coming from states like Syria that have substantial connections back to terrorist regimes and terrorist operations.”

PolitiFact Texas found that less than 5 percent of the “other than Mexico” apprehensions involved people from so-called terrorist states or safe havens. The web site rated Perry’s claim “Pants on Fire.”

Perry was back at it again in July, telling Glenn Beck that more than 3,000 homicides were committed by “illegal aliens” over the past six years. Again, PolitiFact looked into it. Baseless. Perry was slapped with another Pants on Fire rating.

This past Sunday, Perry went on CNN’s “State of the Union” and claimed that the United States is at “historic record highs” of individuals being apprehended on the border from countries with terrorist ties such as “Pakistan or Afghanistan or Syria.”

Again, Pants on Fire.

Now, that’s the designation PolitiFact reserves for the worst political claims, the ones that are inaccurate to the point of ridiculous. The nice folks at PolitiFact Texas are too polite to call Perry’s claims what they really are.

I’m not.. They’re lies. Lies that Perry mixes with innuendo, half-truths, and hyperbole.

Perry often Tweets out editorials and so-called “news” stories that feed his chosen narrative of mayhem on the Rio Grande.

One recent “exclusive” FoxNews.Com report promised in its headline to reveal a “disturbing trend” of brazen attacks against border security by gangs, drug and human traffickers. The report, citing a leaked document, was vague and provided only raw numbers with nothing to compare them to.

The first paragraph mentions how police officers were wounded recently in an hours-long standoff with a gang member wanted for murder. No doubt, it was a horrible incident. But the gang member wasn’t one of the “illegal immigrants” the report warns about. He was a U.S. citizen, according to interim Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra.

“The story is conflating domestic issues with border issues to make it look like it’s worse than it is,” said Larry Karson, a former U.S. customs agent who is now an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Houston Downtown.

It’s the kind of misinformation that keeps the base stirred up and the uninformed alarmed. Then Perry comes riding in with a thousand National Guard troops to save the day.

“This is the one tool he has to put himself back in front of the national media,” Karson said. “And it’s working.”

It’s working for Perry. But it’s not working for us.

There’s no question that the flood of Central American pouring across our southern border is a crisis, one that requires substantial resources and responsible leadership to solve.

We’re not getting either.

Texas taxpayers will pay millions — $5.2 million per month for the DPS and $12 million a month for the Guard. It is not to “secure the border,” as Perry claims. It is free political advertising for a career politician’s next misguided campaign.

What the heck, here is Burkablog on same-sex marriage and the sign of the times:

Wouldn’t it be nice if Texas were to catch up to the modern world, for once? I’m addressing the issue of same-sex marriage here. What’s the use of fighting for a policy that without question violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws? In fairness to Greg Abbott, he knows he’s licked, but he has to try to justify the unjustifiable to satisfy parts of his constituency.

State after state has given up the fight against same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court has spoken. And yet Texas continues on its lonely fight. I don’t blame Abbott. He has to uphold the state’s laws. But he might consider making a statement that would acknowledge the growing national consensus that same-sex marriage is constitutional.

Hall of Fame great Ryne Sandberg of course is the skipper of the Phillies.

I actually watched the entire 15 inning game last night that ended at around 11:15 pm. The highlight of the evening was probably Alan Ashby commenting that he thought Philadelphia at one time served as the capitol of the United States probably in 1680. Oh well!

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