Let's get this out of the way at the front. The study -- the one I'm about to delineate -- does not mean that there is a causal relationship between Republican presidents and infant mortality. It means that after the authors controlled for certain relevant variables -- e.g., education attainment, ... More >>
Republicans have been at odds with Sen. Ted Cruz for a while now, but his latest stunt seems to have propelled inner-party hatred to new heights, the kind that might require a food taster, according to Jonathan Karl at ABC News. Cruz has spent much of his time in the Senate taking his own very uniq ... More >>
There's a lurching feeling that comes when you realize you don't have any health insurance. You'll be walking along, a swing in your step, a grin on your face, when it hits you: Anything could happen. You just walked under a ladder. Fool! You just felt like you had to sneeze. It's pneumonia! That ... More >>
The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) recently agreed to hear a case that has important implications for political discourse in campaigns. Indeed, this case has a little bit of everything: abortion rights, free speech, campaign finance and PACs. Here's what happened: an anti-abortion PAC, Susan B. Anthony Lis ... More >>
New Jersey traffic retribution scandal tough for Houstonians to understand.
If you have occasion to meet or see Greg Abbott, it's impossible not to notice that he is in a wheelchair. In a freak accident, a tree fell on him when he was 26 years old and rendered him a paraplegic. However, this has not stopped him from ascending the ranks of Texas politics and he is, presumab ... More >>
If you have Texas Blue Cross Blue Shield, the odds are good you have sat on the phone enjoying their hold music recently. Cat Jeanes, of Austin, has definitely gotten an earful of that happy snappy guitar that plays on the automated system, and she isn't alone, judging by the other complaints surf ... More >>
Texas Blue Cross Blue Shield has lovely hold music. Just ask Fred Rhodes. He and his wife have taken turns listening to it since they found out that, despite having enrolled and paid for their new health insurance in December, they still aren't in the system. With the advent of the Affordable Care ... More >>
Every year beginning January 2, people start with resolutions they can't or won't possibly stick with, as if the arbitrary start to a new calendar year is going to be the impetus we all need to be better, skinnier, healthier, smarter and less drunk. By February, it's all over and we try to figure ou ... More >>
Senator John Cornyn is no one's idea of a liberal. Senator Cornyn is no one's idea of a RINO or a squish. Indeed, the non-partisan Nation Journal ranked Cornyn the second most conservative member of the U.S. Senate. As Talking Points Memo reports on Cornyn's conservative bona fides: He has an "A" r ... More >>
Sen. Ted Cruz is the gift that keeps on giving. Yes, he's usually out there spouting some Tea Party-infused dogma or doing things that you know must make some of the more mainline Republicans want to smack their heads on the table, but Cruz occasionally does things with a twist of fancy that Hair Ba ... More >>
Yale law professor Jack Balkin is credited with coining the term "off the wall" legal arguments and has written how "off the wall" arguments can become accepted as mainstream or obviously correct. Some examples: it would have been "off the wall" for an antebellum Southern lawyer to argue that slaves ... More >>
From politics to sports to education and food, the Texas gobblers provided pure gravy.
Everyone has a favorite holiday. I would dare say for many that is Christmas. Others might prefer July 4 or the always scintillating President's Day. For me, it's Thanksgiving. Much of that is likely owed to the fact that my family hosted the holiday every year and it was the one time when, at least ... More >>
In this age of pluralistic families, we are likely to encounter at our family Thanksgiving dinners folks of all political stripes. Perhaps you have a very conservative uncle/nephew/father, who thinks Obama is a raging socialist. Perhaps your younger sister is coming back from college imbued with a n ... More >>
If we have learned anything from the rollout of the Affordable Care Act's website, it is that these things need to be tested heavily before they launch. The failure of the Obamacare website underscored the lessons I've personally learned in 15 years of building websites for customers, primarily that ... More >>
Even after the Affordable Care Act, tens of thousands of Texans have no medical coverage. That is why the San Jose Clinic in Midtown still exists.
He's vacating the governor's office after this term is up in January 2015, but it looks like Gov. Rick Perry has no intention of letting that perfect mop of political hair languish in retirement. Judging by the smoke signals from his most recent forays into media, Perry is looking at another preside ... More >>
The Affordable Care Act has been rolled out, the insurance enrollment website went live and it's had a lot of snags in the process. Hair Balls will bet no one knows that better than U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She's been out on tour, promoting Obamacare while simulta ... More >>
Even after it seems that everything about the man has been said, Sen. Ted Cruz finds a way to restart the conversation. This time it's thanks to a cuddly-soft interview with the Des Moines Register. There Houston's own, the slightly Canadian Cruz let the veil fall a bit and showed his true colors, ... More >>
When you ask a kid what he wants for Halloween, he'll probably say Reese's or full-sized candy bars. I know. One year I decided to give out all Reese's, the full sized, not those "fun size" tiny things. By the end of the night, kids were literally showing up at my door chanting, "REE-SES, REE-SES!" ... More >>
Sen. Ted Cruz has made a name for himself with all the government shutdown hijinks he's pulled in the past few weeks, but he's also ensured that there are a lot of people right now who don't much like guy, including at least one person who's been using Twitter to urge someone to get rid of Cruz. Wh ... More >>
The GOP's ill-fated strategy to defund Obamacare via a government shutdown ended in a political defeat for the Republicans. But the Libertarian Party was happy: "Elected Republicans in the House can stimulate the productive private sector by slowing down Big Government," said Geoffrey J. Neale, cha ... More >>
The Onion, as it so often does, hits the nail on the head regarding political ignorance with this "headline": "Man Who Understands 8% Of Obamacare Vigorously Defends It From Man Who Understands 5%." The satirical headline is simply highlighting the commonplace that Americans simply do not know much ... More >>
Despite glitches, Houstonians flock to sign up to be covered by the new insurance plans.
American exceptionalism, for being an abstract idea, is a real aspect of American politics. Especially among those on the right -- see, e.g., Sarah Palin -- there is a belief that we are a blessed, unique nation (note the underlying theological tones). Part and parcel of American exceptionalism is a ... More >>
In popular "lore", Rick Santelli's infamous rant on the free-market schill network that is CNBC, was the spark that lit the fire creating the tea party. There is something to this, indeed there is a lot to this ("tea party" became the perfect rallying cry for disgruntled coservatives), but it is fai ... More >>
As we drink our morning coffee and watch President Obama talk about how avoidable the federal government shutdown is and hear Republicans counter with their arguments, it's important to note that there have actually been several government shutdowns over the last few decades. So while this is more ... More >>
Even as the United States government shut down over a deadlock in Congress regarding the continued funding of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the insurance exchanges created by the law that allow private citizens to shop for plans that will cover them despite pre-existing condition ... More >>
With the Affordable Care Act tied to the federal budget, and the Senate and House of Representatives about as cooperative as a herd of sugared-up, nap-free toddlers, it seemed inevitable that the government would shut down at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday...and it did. A government shutdown hasn't happene ... More >>
Senator Ted Cruz continues to march to his own special drumbeat.
Sen. Ted Cruz, the freshman senator from Texas with possible 2016 ambitions and a knack for pissing off fellow members of the Republican party he represents, has been everywhere lately. A few weeks ago there was the Canadian citizenship thing. Then he was tromping on the toes of his fellow Texan p ... More >>
Senator Ted Cruz is apparently pissing off everyone in Washington. From political blog The Monkey Cage: The staffer, whom two GOP sources identified as working for Representative John Culberson of Texas, went on to decry Cruz for holding events in Culberson's district and telling his constituent ... More >>
As we know, Rick Perry likes to party like its 1860 (the year South Carolina became the first to secede in the "War Between the States"). Of course, Perry wanted to secede based on Obamacare and federal debt, not one of the great moral crimes in American history, but we all have our own cause celebr ... More >>
Gov. Rick Perry has a hatred for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that comes as natural as breathing to him, but it seems hate only goes so far when there's $100 million in federal funding on the table. When U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came to Texas a few weeks ... More >>
You might be able to find someone who hates the Affordable Care Act more than Gov. Rick Perry, but you'll have to look hard, especially now that U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came all the way to Houston on Monday to announce a video contest promoting the federal healthc ... More >>
As has been made clear, Gov. Rick Perry isn't a fan of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), and it seems the guy with the perfect mop of hair is even less of a fan of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius after her swing through the state Thursday. Sebelius was in Austin to try ... More >>
Now that state Attorney General Greg Abbott has thrown his hat in the gubernatorial ring, the Texas Organizing Project, an advocacy group for low- and middle-income families, is worried that many families will still lack access to affordable health care. Abbott has "led the charge against the Affor ... More >>
You might think something as simple as giving away condoms would not create a controversy. Then again, Congress convened a panel last year to discuss the birth control provision of President Obama's Affordable Care Act that included no women, but it did have members of the clergy. In this instance, ... More >>
We were stoked to hear that Republican activist Steven Hotze -- a physician who once extolled the virtues of 19th century snake oil such as colloidal silver and who belongs to a hardcore Christian sect that believes doctors shouldn't provide medical services on the Sabbath -- had recorded some anti- ... More >>
Hospitals, doctors and dealers have made Medicare the nation's sweetest crime. The feds are now trying to shutter the door.
It was a pretty safe bet that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney would face what Rodney Dangerfield called a "tough crowd" at the NAACP annual convention being held at the George R. Brown Convention Center this week. Romney's platform of repealing Obamacare and tax cuts for the "job creators" ar ... More >>
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act has now been almost two weeks ago. If you keep up with national news, or maybe just don't avoid the Internet machine, well, you have probably observed that people are still noticeably buzzing about the ruling. It does happen to be one o ... More >>
Governor Rick Perry has confirmed in a letter today to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he's no pal of socialism and as such, must reject two key measures of Obamacare - a state insurance exchange and expanding Medicaid. To embrace a state exchange would mean playing ... More >>
When I was a student in Italy in my early twenties, I ate twice a day in a university cafeteria, where 3,000 lire (roughly $2) got you a pasta or rice first course (usually topped with tomato sauce or tomato and meat sauce), a second course of fish or meat with a side of vegetables, a piece of bread ... More >>
If you were two seconds late posting your "BREAKING NEWS!" report of the Supreme Court decision largely upholding Obamacare, you were left in the dust and looking like a fool, fool. Hey, dude, tell us something we don't already know! You get your news by Pony Express? Harrumph. frowny face, etc etc ... More >>
Birth control pills, for the low, low price of nothing.For hating on your babymaker so hard, the government sure is spending a lot of time down there. Just ask Planned Parenthood: there's a lot of womb-shaming here in Texas. But finally, finally, a governmental body may start meddling on beha ... More >>
"I fantasize sometimes that my musical career would hit gold and help us escape these grim realities, but it's not something I really expect to happen." There are few issues in the current political climate more fraught with contention than whether or not the U.S. government will take a more ... More >>
John McStravickGet creative with your Christmas dinner photos and even a drunken brawl will look good!Christmas dinner can be a wonderful experience, sitting around a big table with family and friends laughing and enjoying each other's company. It can also be a horrible disaster complete with ... More >>