Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, June 4, 2015 7:44 pm

Odds and ends for June 4

Ex-FIFA VP Jack Warner says there’s a connection between FIFA and the outcome of the 2010 elections in Trinidad and Tobago. He didn’t say what that connection was, but he says there is one. Meanwhile, the rest of us have legitimate reason to worry that FIFA, having ruined soccer, might be diversifying.

Sen. Bernie Sanders might be a socialist, but there’s one economic issue that 80% of Republicans agree with him on.

I would have thought that the Duggars would’ve lawyered up after son Josh Duggar publicly admitted to having molested some of his sisters, one as young as 5. But if they’ve got a lawyer, either he’s crazy or they’re not listening to him, because last night’s interview didn’t win them any friends.

Republican-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee, the governor of Rhode Island, announces he’s running for president. But of all the issues he could make a campaign centerpiece — jobs, inequality, global climate change, and on and on — what does he choose? The metric system.

On the GOP side, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry also is announcing. But, as with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, it’s even money whether he begins 2017 in the White House, in Paint Creek, or in prison.

Gov. Pat McCrory has pardoned two men who had been in prison for 30 years for a rape and murder that DNA evidence now shows they could not have committed. But the two men were ruled innocent in a court hearing nine months ago. What took the governor so long?

Speaking of our benighted gov, he now says he plans to sign HB 465, a bill passed by the legislature that would extend the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. Not only does this decision suck on the merits, it also violates a very broad pledge McCrory made when running for governor in 2012. Asked by WRAL-TV what additional restrictions on abortion he would approve if elected, he answered flatly, “None.” Since then, he has broken that promise not only in this instance but also in 2013.

Finally, in honor of my fellow Davidson alum Steph Curry on the occasion of his first NBA Final (see what I did there?), this piece from Grantland on the beauty of Curry’s shots:

During the regular season, Curry broke his own NBA record by draining 286 3s. Over half of those came off the dribble, and nobody in NBA history has ever been able to generate — and convert — his own looks like this. It’s not just that Curry is a great shooter, it’s that Curry is the most creative great shooter ever.


Sunday, November 13, 2011 9:42 pm

All you need to know about Saturday’s GOP presidential debate …

… is that Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, “Waterboarding is not torture … and I’ll be for it until the day I die.”

To which Charles Pierce responds, “This is precisely, and in every respect, the position taken by several Japanese military officers in 1945. They felt exactly the same way, which is why we [expletive] executed them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 7:57 pm

Quote of the Day

Ladies and gentlemen, Charles Pierce on your liberal media:

Some day, volumes will be written about how Gingrich managed to get everyone in the Washington smart set to believe he is a public intellectual with actual ideas, and not just the guy at the club whose life gets changed for him every time he reads a new book.

My god, Caligula died centuries too soon. Today, if he’d brought his horse into the Senate, some careerist Beltway journo would find that the horse had whinnied some “interesting new approaches” to our “entitlement crisis.” The horse would be on Meet the Press the following Sunday with David Gregory, who would ignore the fact that there is a fking horse sitting across the table from him and concentrate instead on something the horse had whinnied five years ago that seems to have been contradicted by something the horse whinnied the day before. And then Tom Brokaw would come on to mumble something about how horses were more politically savvy back in his day.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010 8:33 pm

Who’s got their 6?

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 8:33 pm
Tags: ,

This is the kind of thing that absolutely, positively should not happen, ever:

Michael Clauer is a captain in the Army Reserve who commanded over 100 soldiers in Iraq. But while he was fighting for his country, a different kind of battle was brewing on the home front. Last September, Michael returned to Frisco, Texas, to find that his homeowners’ association had foreclosed on his $300,000 house—and sold it for $3,500. This story illustrates the type of legal quagmire that can get out of hand while soldiers are serving abroad and their families are dealing with the stress of their deployment. And fixing the mess isn’t easy.

Michael went on active duty in February 2008 and was sent to Iraq. After he shipped out, his wife May slipped into a deep depression, according to court documents. “A lot of people say that the deployment is more stressful on the spouse than the actual person who’s being deployed,” Michael, 37, says in an interview with Mother Jones. May Clauer had two kids to take care of—a ten-year-old and a one-year-old with a serious seizure-related disorder. In addition, she was worried sick about her husband. Michael’s company was doing convoy security in Iraq—an extremely dangerous job. “It was a pretty tough year for the whole company,” he says. “We had IEDs, rocket attacks and mortar attacks, and a few soldiers that were hurt pretty bad and had to be airlifted back to the States.”

Seeking to avoid hearing about the situation in Iraq, May stopped watching the news. She rarely answered the door, and Michael says he couldn’t tell her when he went “outside the wire”—off-base. May also stopped opening the mail. “I guess she was scared that she would hear bad news,” says Michael. That was why she missed multiple notices from the Heritage Lakes Homeowners Association informing her that the family owed $800 in dues—and then subsequent notices stating that the HOA was preparing to foreclose on the debt and seize the home.

In Texas, homeowners’ associations can foreclose on homes without a court order, no matter the size of the debt. In May 2008, the HOA sold the Clauers’ home for a pittance—$3,500—although its appraisal value was $300,000, according to court documents.

Funny. The previous administration spent eight years trying to make the country more like Texas, as if Texas were some sort of model instead of an oligarchic Third World kleptocracy. (OK, granted, for some people, “oligarchic Third World kleptocracy” is a model, but those are not people I would place in any position of public trust.)

Granted, the homeowners’ association was within its legal rights to communicate only by mail. But isn’t a homeowners’ association also supposed to be your neighbors? And wouldn’t the … oh, I don’t know, neighborly thing to do be to knock on the door and find out what’s going on?

Another thought: My guess is that if Capt. Clauer were Regular Army, he’d’ve had more of a support system for his family. The Army actually is pretty good about that, from what its veterans have told me. Reserve and National Guard personnel, not so much, although the last time I reported regularly on the issue, the Army was at least beginning to come to grips with the gap between support for RA/active-duty personnel and Reserve/Guard personnel, in areas ranging from social support to health care.

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry visited Iraq in July, Michael says he told him about the problem. According to Michael, Perry called May and put lawyers in touch with the Clauers’ attorney, but couldn’t do much to alleviate the situation. (Perry’s office didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.)

Man, what a whiff. Michael and May Clauer’s case was a golden opportunity to look good and win at least two lifelong fans for any politician who could spare 15 minutes to make a couple of phone calls. Hey, Gov. Goodhair, life is not going to hang too many more curve balls out over the plate like that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 8:14 pm

Yeah, let’s blame the victim

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who may well have negligently allowed the execution of an innocent man in Texas, has decided that the way to shift attention from his own behavior is to shout more allegations against the man he may have killed.

Gov. Rick Perry, seeking to defuse an election-season controversy over the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, described Willingham on Wednesday as a “monster” and “bad man” whose conviction in the deaths of his three daughters was sustained “every step of the way” by the courts.

Perry also said the news media are being distracted by what he described as “sideshows” in the case, and he invited reporters to review evidence and court records, which he said unquestionably show Willingham was a “heinous individual who murdered his kids.”

Perry, facing a vigorous re-election challenge in the 2010 Texas governor’s race, has drawn national media scrutiny after shaking up the Texas Forensic Science Commission. Perry dismissed three members two days before the panel was to review an expert report challenging the arson investigation that led to Willingham’s execution.

Perry, a perennial candidate for the Douglas Feith Award, offered 1) no evidence that his claims about Willingham were true, and 2) no basis for thinking that Willingham was guilty of murder even if the claims about Willingham’s other behavior were true.


Perry, who dismissed a fire expert’s report demolishing the state’s arson case as “propaganda,” also needs to understand that when you make a claim based upon valid scientific research, it’s not “propaganda,” it’s the truth. Calling it “propaganda” doesn’t make it any less true.

Face it, Goodhair: You and those judges you tout may well have an innocent man’s blood on your hands. And sooner or later, despite all your screaming and all your obstruction of justice, we’re going to find out for sure whether you do. Your behavior in this case is not that of a man confident of the outcome.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 8:01 pm

“Rick Perry: Tough on crime. Tough on the innocent.”

Rick Perry, the Texas governor who apparently blew off exculpatory evidence in a death-penalty case, is coming under increasing fire for yanking around the commission looking into the case.

Some of that pressure is from primary opponents in his re-election campaign, and this being Texas and me being a cynic, I frankly doubt any of them gives much of a damn whether, as appears almost certain in this case, Perry allowed the execution of an innocent man, Cameron Todd Willingham. But to the extent they’re making noise about the case, they’re making it more uncomfortable for Perry, they’re making it even harder for him to defend an already-indefensible system, and they’re contributing to a climate in which we finally, finally, might start talking critically and analytically about the system under which we put criminals to death.

Politicians have been killing convicts for political purposes for centuries, and the fact that some of them might have deserved the death penalty anyway doesn’t make it right.

Saturday, October 3, 2009 9:55 am

Wednesday night daytime massacre

I mentioned a little while ago that the world might soon be shouting Cameron Todd Willingham’s name from the rooftops, in Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s haunting (because I think it’s about to come back to haunt him) phrase, as the first person definitively proved to have been executed for a murder he didn’t commit. Well, just as the shouting was about to commence, Texas Gov. Rick “Goodhair” Perry this week fired three of the eight members of the investigative panel looking into the case.

A co-founder of a group that works to free wrongfully convicted prisoners called the firings “troubling,” which is sort of like calling the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre an affray, but he also likened it to the Saturday Night Massacre — when President Richard Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor who was looking into Watergate — which comes a lot closer. “Obstruction of justice” might get us the rest of the way there. Further complicating things is the fact that this is Texas we’re talking about — politicians would be almost as likely to brag about executing innocent people down there as Texas rock singers would be to brag about having 12-inch penises — and Perry is facing a tough re-election challenge from within his own party, so naturally his political instinct is to pander to the Neanderthal wing.

I said in my earlier post that any public official willing to put a prisoner to death ought to be so convinced of the prisoner’s guilt that he would forfeit his own life if a prisoner were wrongfully executed. Given his disadvantaged starting point, Rick Perry would have to borrow the testicles of every single Dallas Cowboy, including the practice squad, to be man enough to make that promise, so I’m not holding my breath.

I continue to support the death penalty, but I also think that being right on a capital case ought to be literally a matter of life and death not just for the prisoner but also for the state officials who condemn him. Sadly, this is not just a Texas problem. Some people in responsible positions right here in North Carolina haven’t gotten the message yet, either.

(h/t: Ed)

Friday, September 25, 2009 7:41 pm

Less talk, more walk


TO: Texas in general and Rick Perry in particular
FROM: The rest of the country in general and Lex in particular
DATE: 9/25/09
RE: Secession

If you flakes are going to secede, then secede already and don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out. But don’t just keep talking about it, and if you’re going to keep talking about it, don’t call yourselves Americans.

Blog at

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