Patterico's Pontifications


Tea Party Candidate Ousts Texas Incumbent (Updated)

Filed under: 2010 Election — DRJ @ 9:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Texas Tea Party candidate and novice politician trounced incumbent GOP State Rep. Delwin Jones of Lubbock in a Republican primary run-off:

“The long legislative career of state Rep. Delwin Jones is over. And for accountant Charles Perry a new day has dawned.

Jones, who has served in the Texas Legislature for nearly 30 years, including eight as a Democrat from 1965 to 1973, lost decisively to Perry in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff.

With all the votes counted, Perry got 57.6 percent of the vote and Jones 43.4 percent.

Perry, who ran a shoestring campaign compared to attorney Zach Brady, who also challenged Jones but finished third in the March 2 primary despite raising more than a quarter million dollars, did what conservative GOP operators and hundreds of thousands couldn’t do for years – defeat Jones.”

Lubbock made history tonight. Not only was Jones the oldest member of the Texas Legislature but Perry may be the Texas Legislature’s — and perhaps the nation’s — first Tea Party winner since there is no Democrat or Libertarian candidate on the ballot.

Perry ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility but he wasn’t given much chance to make the run-off, let alone win. Political analysts were especially doubtful of his chances after he pledged to work to rescind in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.


UPDATE: The excerpt above is from the online version of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Since I posted, the A-J has updated its story to revise the vote totals — “With all 80 precincts counted, Perry received 57.8 percent of the vote and Jones 42.2 percent in the five-county district” — and add this:

“And now that there are no more elections in District 83 this year, it also means that for the first time in more than two decades the Panhandle/South Plains region will send at least three freshmen legislators to Austin.

The two other House districts in the region that will be represented by rookies are neighboring District 84 and District 87 in the Panhandle.

The possibility of a fourth freshman representing the region exists because in District 85 two-term incumbent Joe Heflin, D-Crosbyton, is expected to have a tough challenge from Plainview Republican Jim Landtroop. The Republican Party considers Heflin vulnerable because he is one of about a half-dozen House Democrats representing GOP-leaning districts.”

Panhandle term limits.

Potpourri for $100

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 5:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s not a good website day so instead of posting separately on several stories, I’m combining them into this post.

  • Coloradoan Abby Toll was found guilty of felony animal abuse for encasing her [ex-]boyfriend’s puppy in packing tape and taping him to the refrigerator. She was reportedly mad at the boyfriend for paying attention to the dog and/or at the dog for biting her.
  • Terry Bradshaw teaches how to say you don’t like someone in a nice way: “[H]e doesn’t like me, and I’m learning not to like him.”
  • Over the weekend, Senator Harry Reid told a Las Vegas rally he wanted to move forward with immigration reform, but he’d changed his mind by today’s Senate meeting in Washington. They really mean it when they say “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
  • The Anchoress shows President Obama making friends with Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper at the nuclear summit. Don’t miss the caption contest.
  • — DRJ

    Nuclear Terrorism (Updated)

    Filed under: International,Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 3:22 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    At his nuclear summit today, President Obama warned of the threats posed by terrorists who get their hands on nuclear weapons:

    “The risk of nuclear attack has gone up,” Obama said Tuesday at a 47-nation nuclear security summit in Washington. “Terrorist networks such as al-Qaida have tried to acquire the material for a nuclear weapon and, if they ever succeeded, they would surely use it.”

    He added: “Were they to do so, it would be a catastrophe for the world, causing extraordinary loss of life and striking a major blow at global peace and stability.”

    President Bush was also worried about terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons:

    “On Sept. 11, 2001 19 hijackers armed only with box cutters launched the deadliest terrorist act in history. Although low-tech in its approach, the sophisticated, coordinated nature of the attack has sparked intelligence and security experts to reevaluate al-Qaida’s stated goal of developing a nuclear weapon for use in the United States.

    Two months after the attacks, President Bush declared that America’s “highest priority is to keep terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.”

    In addition to removing the threat that Iraq would arm terrorists, here are some of the things President Bush did to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons:

    “President Bush in May 2003 launched a new plan, called the “Proliferation Security Initiative” (PSI), designed to promote international cooperation against the nuclear terror threat. Under the informal arrangement, 11 countries — Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United States — have agreed to stop and search vessels in their territories suspected of carrying banned weapons or technology in order to stop the transfer of such items.

    Many credit the PSI for enabling Italian authorities in October 2003 to seize a German ship headed for Libya carrying 1,000 centrifuges produced in Malaysia. It was this shipment that, analysts say, ultimately convinced Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi to end his country’s WMD programs and allow international inspections.

    The PSI is just part of the United States’ broader, multi-pronged approach, which includes diplomacy through the United Nations and the IAEA, detection, export controls of nuclear-related technologies and the ongoing work under the Nunn-Lugar CTR program.

    On the diplomatic front, the Bush administration in April 2004 lobbied the United Nations to approve Resolution 1540, which requires all member nations to toughen their export control laws, criminalize the proliferation activities of individuals and to enhance the security of all nuclear materials.

    Perhaps the most important actions against nuclear terrorism, experts say, is the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), unveiled by the U.S. Energy Department in May 2004. Over the next decade, the GTRI will work to secure and convert high-risk nuclear materials from some 40 nations into non-weapons grade material, according to Cirincione.

    In announcing the plan, then-Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said that the GTRI would coordinate with the IAEA and allies “in order to ensure that such nuclear and radiological materials do not fall into the hands of terrorists or other rogue actors.”

    The GTRI’s projects will be prioritized by the potential threats to the world’s most vulnerable facilities storing high-risk fissile materials.”

    Kudos to President Obama for working to keep terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons. Hopefully his plans include more than holding summits.

    — DRJ

    UPDATE 4/14/2010 — The Washington Times looks at the threat of nuclear terrorism:

    “The Obama administration is warning that the danger of a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons is increasing, but U.S. officials say the claim is not based on new intelligence and questioned whether the threat is being overstated.

    President Obama said in a speech before the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit, which concluded Tuesday, that “the risk of a nuclear confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of nuclear attack has gone up.”
    But Henry Sokolski, a member of the congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, said that there is no specific intelligence on ongoing terrorist procurement of nuclear material.

    “We were given briefings and when we tried to find specific intelligence on the threat of any known terrorist efforts to get a bomb, the answer was we did not have any.”

    Mr. Obama told reporters that there was a range of views on the danger but that all the conferees “agreed on the urgency and seriousness of the threat.”

    Fairness in Lending

    Filed under: General — DRJ @ 3:00 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Mortgage lenders and bank executives told Congress today it wouldn’t be fair to let some homeowners avoid paying part of their mortgages:

    “The executives told lawmakers on Tuesday they are reducing the amount that troubled borrowers owe on their home loans only in limited cases. That’s because consumers who are paying their mortgages on time are likely to see such reductions as unfair, the executives said.

    Such programs “could raise issues of fairness,” agreed Sanjiv Das, Citigroup’s top mortgage executive, who appeared in front of the House Financial Services committee with top executives from Bank of America, Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase.

    David Lowman, chief executive of Chase’s mortgage business, told lawmakers that large-scale mortgage principal reduction “could be harmful to consumers, investors and future mortgage market conditions.”

    Chase estimates that reducing home loan balances so that no homeowners would owe more than the value of their homes would cost up to $900 billion, with $150 billion of that borne by the government.”

    The article doesn’t address how members of Congress responded but some homeowner activists were not impressed:

    “After the hearing was over, dozens of activists from the Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America chased Lowman through the marble-floored hallways of the Rayburn House Office Building, pressing him to do more to help troubled homeowners.

    He did not respond to their requests for a meeting and eventually left the building with the assistance of police.

    Homeowners complained that the bank has been difficult to deal with. Charandra Smith of Prince George’s County, Md., said in an interview that her home she bought in 2007 is now worth about $300,000 — a decline of $170,000 from her purchase price. Chase, she said, has been unwilling to help.

    “I’m not asking (Lowman) to do anything extraordinary. I want my home, I intend to stay in my home, but make it reasonable,” she said. “If I sell my home, I lose everything.”

    A Chase spokesman declined to comment on the activist group.”

    Bruce Marks, the chief executive of Neighborhood Assistance of America, is a self-described “bank terrorist“:

    “We wear that as a badge of honor. Bank terrorism is a nonviolent way we personalize the consequences of CEOs’ actions. When someone loses their home, they lose their neighbors, they lose their community, and their kids lose their friends and their schools. It’s personal. Lives have been devastated. We go to the CEOs’ homes, usually on Sunday morning, which is family time, in their gated communities. We are relentless and we go after them everywhere they go.”

    They call themselves bank terrorists and we’re supposed to believe Tea Party folks are dangerous?

    — DRJ

    Doctor Shortage? No Problem

    Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 2:40 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Following a recent report that ObamaCare could result in a shortage of 150,000 or more doctors in the next 15 years, 28 states may expand the authority of nurse practitioners:

    “For years, nurse practitioners have been playing a bigger role in the nation’s health care, especially in regions with few doctors. With 32 million more Americans gaining health insurance within a few years, the health care overhaul is putting more money into nurse-managed clinics.

    Those newly insured patients will be looking for doctors and may find nurses instead.

    The medical establishment is fighting to protect turf. In some statehouses, doctors have shown up in white coats to testify against nurse practitioner bills. The American Medical Association, which supported the national health care overhaul, says a doctor shortage is no reason to put nurses in charge and endanger patients.

    Nurse practitioners argue there’s no danger. They say they’re highly trained and as skilled as doctors at diagnosing illness during office visits. They know when to refer the sickest patients to doctor specialists. Plus, they spend more time with patients and charge less.”

    Some argue a nurse practitioner-based system would not only be cheaper but also better for patients:

    “What’s the evidence on the quality of care given by nurse practitioners?

    The best U.S. study comparing nurse practitioners and doctors randomly assigned more than 1,300 patients to either a nurse practitioner or a doctor. After six months, overall health, diabetes tests, asthma tests and use of medical services like specialists were essentially the same in the two groups.

    “The argument that patients’ health is put in jeopardy by nurse practitioners? There’s no evidence to support that,” said Jack Needleman, a health policy expert at the University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health.

    Other studies have shown that nurse practitioners are better at listening to patients, Needleman said. And they make good decisions about when to refer patients to doctors for more specialized care.”

    Someone will have to treat all those new patients if ObamaCare takes effect.

    — DRJ

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