Stupid musings on the future

We, here at Texpatriate, haven’t decided to play the game of futurology in a while. Since the quintessential cynic in me was wrong about Mitt Romney being elected President, I might have to redo my old timeline.

November/December 2013-Annise Parker is re-elected after defeating, among others, Ben Hall. May or not be the need for a runoff election.

March 2014-Greg Abbott defeats Rick Perry in the primary for Governor. David Dewhurst is squeezed into a runoff with one of his many challengers (he may or may not win the runoff). George P. Bush cruises to victory in his run for Land Commissioner. The Democrats, if they are unsuccessful in drafting a superstar (like Tommy Lee Jones or Cecile Richards), essentially concede defeat by not running competitive candidates against Abbott and Cornyn and the like.

May 2014-Dewhurst may or may not survive his runoff election.

November 2014-Republicans take control of the US Senate, Democrats pick up a few seats in the US House. Democrats picks up a few states in both houses of the State Legislature; GOP maintains control thereof and of all statewide offices.

November 2015-Houston elects first Latino mayor.

November 2016-Hillary Clinton elected President; Democrats retake US Senate, pick up a few seats in the US House (still not control). Democrats pick up a few states in State Legislature, all Statewides stay with the GOP.

November 2017-Latino mayor re-elected.

November 2018-First cracks in the GOP barrier. I still am hoping for the Castro/Davis ticket.

In re Inaugurations

Like just about everyone else in the civilized world, I watched the inauguration of President Obama for his second term, today at noon, and then his subsequent speech. I had planned on attending the festivities in Washington with the Texas delegation, like the DNC, but because of personal conflicts was unable to attend. Still, I have quite a few thoughts on Obama’s speech.

It played out like a State of the Union. Obama laid out his plan for his second term, in excruciating detail. He wants to fix the climate, tackle gun control, reform the tax code, reform immigration, eliminate voter intimidation, and further strengthen the economy. Ambitious is an understatement.

However, I really like this new Obama–the one who sticks to his guns and relies on his principles. It was refreshing to hear the President not capitulate to a faux sense of bipartisanship. Anyways, I will have more when he starts nominating new cabinet officers.

But suddenly, a new contender has emerged

As was put so eloquently by another blogger on his Facebook page yesterday, somebody said something stupid at the City Council, and it wasn’t Councilmember Brown.

Councilmember Jack Christie has Houston politicos scratching their heads over how someone who used to be on a School Board could say something SO ignorant and just plain stupid.

The Chronicle reported that he voted against allocating money for flu vaccines because the federal money being appropriated was “borrowed” and because, and I quote–“You don’t die from the flu.” I don’t even. Christie went on to say that the flu shots create “synthetic immunity” and urged people to not take the flu shots, just like he does.

For the record, even though “Dr. Jack Christie” holds himself out as one, he isn’t a real doctor, not a “MD” or “DO” anyways. He’s a chiropractor. The Chronicle article goes on to quote ACTUAL doctors who totally repudiate Christie’s claims. Almost nothing of what he said is true.

This brings me back to what I was discussing last week. Why is nobody running against this guy?? He was the lone dissenter in a vote that Helena Brown voted for. He has taken the crown, at least for the week, of “craziest Councilmember” from Ms Brown. For context on the title of this post, see the youtube link below.

In re guns

From the day job at The Justice. Linked.

I finished my last final exam, and flew home to Houston, on Dec. 14—the date of the Newtown Elementary School massacre. I was in the Logan Airport terminal when news first broke of the horrendous tragedy. The previously palpable Christmas spirit of holiday carols and smiles that seem to fill every airport in America during December was immediately replaced with a loudspeaker of the news and mass despondency.

Now, after countless of these massacres, the conversation finally shifted to gun control. However, the gun control debate is unduly influenced by those who believe that any regulation of firearms is tantamount to a Soviet-style mass confiscation of the people’s rifles, and eliminating the right to carry the types of assault rifles that Adam Lanza used at Sandy Hook Elementary School is antithetical to the meaning of the Second Amendment.

Regulation is not tantamount to impending tyranny, and the banning of assault rifles are not antithetical to the Second Amendment. In fact, it is what needs to be done. The time is now for comprehensive gun control, including a ban of assault rifles, eliminating the gun show loophole (allowing looser regulations on purchasing firearms at gun shows), requiring stiffer background checks and keeping weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill.

This strange alternate reality, that is, the one where people believe the government is perpetually one step away from taking away the people’s guns, has always been a mystery to me. I decided to engage it this break by attending the Pasadena Gun and Knife Show in Pasadena, Texas, the conservative southern suburb of Houston. Attending incognito (wearing my signature cowboy hat), I explored the world of guns and so-called gun rights. Because of what is called the gun show loophole, individuals may purchase most any type of assault weapons at these shows, free of any background check, waiting period or other restriction. The only thing stopping me, someone who has never held a pistol before, from buying a civilian-style AK47 was that I am not 21 years of age. Had I have been of age, I could have approached the woman in the corner who had brought her used assault rifle to sell, paid her cash and gone home immediately with the same type of weapon used in mass shootings and war.

This, summed up into a few sentences, is the most compelling rationale I can find for more gun control, being that almost anyone is able to purchase these guns so easily. The common cliché is that if guns are outlawed, “only outlaws will have them,” but the guns used in the Luby’s massacre of 1991, Columbine shooting of 1999, Tucson shooting of 2011 and the Aurora shooting of 2012, to name a few, were all purchased legally, as were those used by Adam Lanza in the Newtown shooting. Lunatics and psychopaths do not need to smuggle guns, it is already easy enough to acquire these murder machines through legal means.

While the Second Amendment to the Constitution most certainly protects the right for citizens to own firearms, including certain kinds of concealable weapons, there are most certainly limits. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo put it most eloquently in his recent State of the State address, when he said, “No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.”

Just as the right to own a tank or a missile or an F-16 is not holy, there is no special protection to the right to own a semi-automatic rifle.

These newly discussed gun control reforms, like banning assault weapons and closing gun show loopholes, would aim to drastically cut the number of gun fatalities. Countries such as Canada, Japan and the members of the European Union have enacted these regulations, and because of said regulations, they boast much lower per capita violent crime rates. For example, The Atlantic magazine reported in 2012 a startling correlation between more gun ownership and gun violence. The Atlantic also reported in 2012 that Japan, a nation which has nearly banned all types of firearms, saw nearly no gun violence (11 deaths compared to 12,000 in the United States).

It is disgusting that our nation has become so prone to violence on such a mass scale.

I hope that the Christmas spirit of the quintessential December airport is not destroyed so violently ever again. Just as we have fought against common enemies before, we must work together, as Americans, to defeat this problem of gun violence.

Sunday whiskey

Senfronia Thompson has introduced yet another bill to eliminate the blue law on liquor stores being closed on Sunday. The Chronicle reports that the State Representatives seeks to allow these stores to sell hard liquor and spirits on the holy day, albeit after noon, similar to restrictions placed on beer & wines. The newspaper article discusses “$7.5 Million” in new revenues.

The astute will remember that, in my everlasting crusade towards unabashed secularism, I deplore blue laws and all that they stand for. If I could have my way, you could buy whatever type of alcohol you wanted, in any type of licensed establishment, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 (or 366) days a year. Alas, social conservatives still control the State, so that isn’t going to happen. I guess we’ll have to settle for this.

(Gran)Daddy’s money and politics.

The Chronicle is reporting that George P. Bush (yeah, THAT Bush) is raising millions of dollars for his unofficial, official run for Land Commissioner in 2014. He has raised $1.3M so far, and counting. It is interesting, however, to follow the money and see who exactly is bankrolling his campaign.

Daddy and Uncle each gave $50k.

Bob Perry and Harold Simmons each gave truckloads of money. No surprise there.

A full 35% of donations came from outside of Texas, mostly from Florida.

Most intriguingly, Bush received a $25k donation from Clayton Williams. Yeah, the “If rape’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it” guy. The godfather of the Todd Akins, Richard Mourdocks, and what not.

The article also insinuates that Karl Rove will have a heavy hand in Bush’s campaign.