Archive for the ‘PrattWatch’ Category

Katharine Hayhoe: Earth Day at Texas Tech

I’m looking forward to a talk Tuesday night at Texas Tech’s Allen Theatre — renowned climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe will speak at 7:00 pm as part of Texas Tech’s Earth Day celebration.

From the news release:

A Nobel Laureate will speak as part of the Earth Day event presented by Texas Tech University’s Grassroots organization at 7 p.m. April 22 in the Allen Theater.

Katharine Hayhoe, a research associate professor in the Department of Geosciences and part of the Nobel Prize-winning U.N. panel on climate change, will give a speech about climate change and the effects it has on Earth. She will discuss how seemingly contradictory theories about the cause of climate change can all be rooted in scientific truths established for more than a century. Hayhoe will also discuss small, everyday changes that can better the world for future generations.

I have heard Dr. Hayhoe speak before, and she’s great.

I would be thrilled if global warming skeptics would attend this free talk and see if their blustering stands up to real science. I’m looking at you, Robert Pratt and Donald May.

Attacking Public Education 101

For all future haters of public education, I have written down the 5 easy steps for assaulting our schools:

1) Underfund schools and underpay teachers for at least a decade in the name of “cutting taxes” and “smaller government”
2) Create bullshit standards for everyone to meet, and watch the poorer schools fail to meet them
3) Complain that schools are failing to meet standards while at the same time criticizing them for not teaching important civic and life skills because they spend all their class time “teaching to the test”
4) Offer the “solution” of letting a “free market” of competing private schools educate our children
5) Profit!

The rest of us — who believe that public education is America’s greatest strength — are up against “Attacking Public Education 203,” the advanced class. For their class project, state legislators like Lubbock’s own Carl Isett are actively writing legislation to destroy public education. Financiers like Leninger bankroll pro-voucher candidates to speed their project along, and privatization cheerleaders like Robert Pratt rant about their project on the radio. They’re working hard to get an A at being the bad guys.

That means we need to roll up our sleeves and work to elect people that are serious about preserving and improving our system of public education, as opposed to those who want to throw out the whole thing and start over.

If you’re not happy with our current system of public schooling, get in there and fix it… before it hits the auction block!

Senator Duncan on Robert Pratt’s Show

Okay, wow. Now I’ve heard everything.

State Senator Robert Duncan just smacked down Robert Pratt when talking about CHIP on today’s show. He made the excellent point that managing CHIP well — in other words, helping as many kids have health insurance as possible — brings federal money to the state that alleviates the financial burden on local and regional health care providers. The federal government provides 73% federal matching funds for CHIP. That federal matching money means that local hospitals — who would have to provide the care anyway — will have the care paid for. Cheaper local government services, a reduction in taxes paid by local taxpayers… conservatives should be hand-in-hand (not in a gay way, Robert) with progressives on CHIP.

Duncan also spoke about the need for a unified Republican Party going into the 2008 elections. It’s good advice, but good luck with getting anyone to listen…

Mikal Watts: The Good Kind of Attorney

Today is Robert Pratt’s first day back on the job, and he already had to get a shot in at Mikal Watts, who had a very successful meet-and-greet with local activists last Friday. He had the typical line of attack that anyone with half a brain would see coming: Watts is a … *gasp* … SUCCESSFUL TRIAL LAWYER !!!

It’s too bad for Pratt and his cohorts that Watts understands how to speak about his successes as a personal injury attorney. This line of attack will go nowhere, as every such attack only provides another opportunity for Watts to demonstrate how he has stood up for the little guy time and time again.

The one interestingly boneheaded twist was that Pratt went after Watts specifically for winning large settlements against big corporations that made unsafe products but decided to sell them anyway, like Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone. Pratt actually said that “corporations are made up of consumers,” as if to imply that going after multinational corporations that put profit before public safety was somehow hurting our citizens.

Robert Pratt doesn’t understand that consumers and investors are two different sets of people. More accurately, everyone is a consumer while only a few of us are investors. Furthermore, the fact that corporations are “made up of consumers” is even more trivial when you consider that most investors own a small fraction of a corporation. Really, a few powerful individuals and groups — the BIG investors — actually run a corporation. (I would also argue that those of us that are unknowing investors through compulsory stock-based retirement plans don’t count as investors either, but that’s for another post.)

So Robert, bring on your corporatist rhetoric. The Watts campaign — and those of us politicking on the ground — are ready for it.

No Bond Election This Year

Everyone’s probably heard the big news of the day: the City Council will not offer a bond election to the voters this November. The current wisdom is to take a step back and prioritize carefully. I think that this is an overall good choice.

Kevin Glasheen was on Pratt’s radio show again today as a guest co-host. He also approved of the City Council’s unanimous decision. My guess is that Glasheen is continuing to play politics very visibly because he may be considering a run for Mayor next year.

In the current local atmosphere, I imagine there are several people considering a run for Mayor next year.

Kevin Glasheen on the Radio

The Pratt-less week of Robert Pratt’s show followed up yesterday’s Gary Boren co-host with another co-host who is also not the current District 3 Councilman but wishes he were: Kevin Glasheen.

The big news of the day is that the ListenLubbock PAC released (most of) its findings from group meetings and a poll of past voters (pdf). Glasheen spoke in favor of the findings of the group; i.e., Lubbock citizens will not support the current bond package. I find that interesting, because it’s almost a complete reversal of his position on downtown development from his campaign.

Indeed, Glasheen was on the Lubbock Arts and Entertainment Task Force Performing Arts Venues Subcommittee, and their March 2007 report (pdf) to the Mayor and City Council advocated for pretty much everything that’s on the current bond proposal that has anything to do with downtown. It’s basically a total flip-flop for Glasheen now to come out against the bond proposal that he had a direct hand in shaping earlier this year.

I also believe it’s a temporary and strategic flip-flop, because Glasheen owns property downtown.

As a downtown developer, Glasheen is sitting on property that currently does nothing while he waits for it to become valuable (say, through actions taken by the City). We have the problem in Lubbock of nearly every single downtown developer having this same behavior. That’s why downtown looks like a ghost town.

So, who blinks first: the developers or the City? If the City blinks first, then we will have higher taxes, or, much more likely due to the rabid “don’t you dare tax me for anything” voting bloc, we would see a cut in essential services.

I’m betting with Lubbock’s history: a majority of developers will not blink first, and some other entity will have to act while the developers profit from doing nothing.

In the meantime, the current bond proposal is likely to go “back to the drawing board” while its proponents think of new strategies based on the marketing study just performed by the ListenLubbock PAC.

We’ll see what happens at the City Council tomorrow morning, anyway.

Gary Boren’s Brilliant Idea

Former City Councilman Gary Boren was guest hosting Robert Pratt’s radio show today while Pratt is on vacation / suspension / whatever. He remarked that he wished we could force prisoners into the army to go fight in Iraq for us. He prefaced this remark by saying that it might sound “extreme Right Wing.” You don’t say, Gary.

Felons, by committing crimes, have already demonstrated that they don’t deserve the full trust of our society. If you, as a soldier, can’t trust your buddy next to you in the foxhole, then you’re screwed.

It’s bad enough that we have a large mercenary fighting force — somewhere in the tens of thousands — fighting many of our battles. It’s worse still to consider using prisoners to fight our wars.

With brilliant ideas like that, I hope Boren doesn’t have aspirations for higher office.

Roger Williams to Run Victory PAC

Former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams will be at the helm of the Republicans’ biggest PAC in Texas — Texas Victory PAC. They are a statewide coordinated campaign that focuses on voter contact activities (phonebanking, mail, canvassing) and conservative message-spreading. Pratt had him on-air for a segment today (after a particularly offensive first hour, maybe worthy of another post).

Folks, this is a big deal because Williams is probably the most connected person in the State after his (moderately disasterous) stint at SoS. Sen. Cornyn is more vulnerable than he has ever been before, but the machine-right is gearing up for the race very early and very well.

We’ve got our work cut out for us.

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