Left wing tripe

My church, First United Methodist Church of Dallas, has a Sunday school class afflicted with a radical left winger.

If you’re one of my Facebook buddies, you’ll remember this from January 9, 2011:

Wonderful, call a substantial portion of the electorate “stupid people”…

Now it gets more nerdy and nuanced. The same class now has this on its tackboard:

The point here is to get sympathetic liberals to hand-wring over military spending.

Except it’s a lie. It conveniently omits about 2/3 of federal spending!

Here’s a truer picture of federal spending:
(image source: Wikipedia image and article)

It’s more like 20% of federal spending!

Now, to be frank, while I believe in a strong defense, I am uncomfortable that the United States alone accounts for about 40% of worldwide defense spending. I’d like to scrutinize our defense spending, but I’m not going to lie about it with convenient numbers.

And I’m also not going to lie and slander in church.

Texas Senate Republicans violated own party platform

This is a great example of the stupidity of a lot of the Texas Republican Platform.

From page 9 of the 2010 platform:

We oppose any constitutional convention to rewrite the United States Constitution. We demand the Legislature rescind its 1977 call for such a convention. We call upon other states to rescind their votes for such a convention.

This is Eagle Forum-style, nut job paranoia. They fear that a 31 year old concurrent  resolution, calling for a balanced spending amendment, can somehow result in a runaway constitutional convention and rewrite the US Constitution.

No kidding. They really believe this.

Here’s the 31 year old resolutions: HCR 31, Regular Session, and HCR 13, 2nd Called Session.

Now here’s the irony: the current (82nd) Senate did almost they same thing: they called for a constitutional convention for a balanced budget amendment.

A balanced budget amendment is silly; it won’t fix anything because runaway spending is simply taken off budget. That’s what happened with Social Security and Medicare.

But it doesn’t matter. I doubt enough states will call for this convention. And while we’re waiting, the Texas Eagle Forum and Phyllis Schlafly disciples will have another dumb cause to rabble rouse over.

Congratulations to Speaker Straus

Congratulations to Texas Representative Joe Straus: he got reelected Texas House speaker! I’m glad; he’s who I wanted all along.

I don’t understand the campaign against him. Straus has good conservative and Republican credentials. The charges against him were flimsy or outright distortion.

The two groups who opposed him most were the evangelical theocrats and Tea Partiers. I think both groups got too big for their britches. They apparently don’t “get” that they are part of, not the, Republican Party.

The Texas Eagle Forum (TEF), in particular, acted stupidly.

First, the TEF bought into the anti-Straus hyperbole. Either their leadership is IQ-short, or they have little principle, pandering for cheap political points. Or both?

Second, the TEF rates all House members after each session. For this session, half their rating is based on each House members’s vote for speaker. So if you vote for Straus, the highest rating you’ll get is 50%. Gee, that’s smart–88% of the House is crippled with only a 50% rating since 132 voted for Straus. Such a useful rating. Most importantly, this shows the irrelevance of the TEF: defeat after all its blustering.

Petty tyrants.

Texas wanted a conservative House speaker, and it has one! Congratulations again to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.

“Soliciting Sodomy” offenses in Dallas

For my doctoral research, I asked several cities for their traffic citation data. Some cities gave me all their violations, traffic or otherwise.

Dallas gave me all data. One offense is “6460 -SOLICIT SODOMY”. Um, what? After the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court case that shot down Texas’s sodomy law, why is this enforced?

Was I wrong! Here’s Dallas’s enforcement of that offense:

These are all the sodomy citations in the dataset I have from Dallas. (2009 is an incomplete year–data was requested in mid-2009.)

There’s a chance that “the system” says offense 6460 is “SOLICIT SODOMY”, but in fact it’s a different crime. That wouldn’t surprise me because Dallas courts still use an archaic mainframe system. But who knows?