Gerrymandering is always tossed around by lazy national media types as a reason for why our politics are so polarized. As I've noted before, this is not the case. Some of the alternative explanations are the urban/rural divide and people self-selecting to live (or move to) cities where they feel at ... More >>
It is, after all, almost 2014. And we know that the beginnings of what political scientists call the "invisible primary" are well underway -- i.e., the GOP (and the Dems, but more on that in another post) elites are already deciding who is a viable presidential candidate and ideologically trustworth ... 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 >>
Whatever else you might want to say about the tea party folks -- both the elected representatives and their citizen-supporters -- you cannot say that they are in hock to Wall Street the same way the establishment GOP and (much of) the Democrats are. (Including, yes, President Obama. It's true). If ... More >>
Despite -- or, more likely, because of -- the past two elections that have gone the Democrats' way, public opinion is the most conservative it has been in over 50 years. Surprised? Well, it's true. Political scientist Larry Stimson has shown that public opinion is as conservative as it's been since ... More >>
Remember back in 2008 when then-candidate Obama said this at a fund-raiser in San Francisco: You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administr ... More >>
One thing that has been a staple of congressional compromise over the past three decades or so was the farm bill. The Democrats would -- generally speaking -- hold their nose and vote for the bill, which included agricultural subsidies to "farmers" ( the policy actually largely benefits Big Agricult ... More >>
It's been a while since we've experienced a good, wholesome armed revolution. We had one a few hundred years ago, birthing our nation. Texas had its own just a a few generations after that, bringing us another nation, and another state. And while the Confederacy faltered during the mid-19th-century, ... More >>
As if there weren't already enough public voices coming out against Sen. Dan Patrick's neo-voucher scheme -- Republican Rep. Joe Strauss, the Speaker of the House, already noted that a bill diverting public dollars to private education would never make it pass his chamber -- there's another prominen ... More >>
Honestly, I thought George Foreman had a lot of Georges in his family, but now I'm beginning to wonder if the Bush clan doesn't have him beat. First there was George H.W. Bush, then George W. Bush. Now, there's George P. Bush (maybe even P.G. if you count his second middle name), son to Jeb and gran ... More >>
And should the U.S. bring back the guest-worker program for Mexicans?
And why do Mexicans love "Crystal Blue Persuasion" So Much?
Our sister paper Miami New Times is hard at work covering the 2012 Republican convention in Florida. To which we say Thank Christ because, you know, someone has to. We did our time in the Dome in 1992. New Times' Victor Gonzalez has been roaming the halls, looking for the mementoes available to att ... More >>
From cash-hungry strippers to protesters dressed as vaginas.
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 >>
The quixotically optimistic Texas Democrats -- who haven't won a statewide election since 1994 -- bellowed a lot of things at the Texas Democratic Convention last weekend, but, really, most of it seemed to translate to one refrain. All together now: The Hispanics are going to save us! The Hispan ... More >>
The crowd at the state GOP convention was listening to a very Rick Perry-like speech from Rick Perry when all of a sudden he injected that "my friend David Dewhurst" should be sent to Washington. Then, booing commenced. Or so the lamestream media would have you believe. Perry, ducking reporters af ... More >>
The Republicans are whittling down now to the bare bones. Not to discredit anyone, but the race is basically Rom vs. Newt for the win. While we don't really miss the circus show that was the Republican Party just a few short months ago, at least we had more options. Now that we are getting down to t ... More >>
As the 2012 presidential race begins to heat up in earnest, Rocks Off can't help but feel that the front-runners for the Republican nomination are lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. Call it star power. Call it sex appeal. Whatever it is, these guys ain't got it. If the GOP is serious about wresti ... More >>
The website Go Animate is offering everyone a chance to create a brief animation for the GOP presidential field. You choose a backdrop, provide the lines, and your candidate is spouting whatever you say. You don't get the chance to say much, though, so we couldn't have President Rick Perry offer an ... More >>
Connally: One very expensive delegateThe political world is abuzz today with word of Rick Perry's impressive fundraising. Right after he entered the GOP presidential primary, Perry hauled in $17.1 million. The cah grab could "counter the perception that his campaign his struggling," the AP s ... More >>
Our modern technological age has created a lot of new ways to communicate with others. For some, these means seem cold and impersonal. For those who use them regularly, they are simply another option for sending messages into the giant black hole of data that is the Internet. For politicians ... More >>
The responee to The Response has been underwhelming.Rick Perry's famous call for the nation's governors to come to Houston this weekend to pray and fast is looking more and more like a mistake to all but the religious right. Of course, if he's looking to win a GOP primary, he may just get by ... More >>
Tweets don't fail me nowAs the GOP debates whether it wants the Tea Party to drive it (and the country) off a cliff by playing games with the debt ceiling, we looked to Twitter for the updates from our state's congresssional delegation. Oddly, the Republicans didn't tweet anything like "Yes, ... More >>
Now we'll never know what his currency would have looked like.With apologies to Richard Adams: My heart has joined the Thousand. Donald Trump stopped running today: "After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the presidency," Trump announced in ... More >>
We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning, from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula involv ... More >>
What Would Comprehensive Immigration Reform Look Like If the Feds Got Off Their Duffs?
It's a stampede!!The upcoming legislative session in Austin might get pretty wild and entertaining -- if not beneficial to anyone who fears the GOP/Tea Party agenda -- thanks to a move today. State Rep. Aaron Pena, a Democrat from Edinburg, is about to announce he is now Aaron Pena, Republic ... More >>
President Rick Perry.Governor Rick Perry, the man who has shown the ability to ride a crest of not really being liked to three gubernatorial wins, has done it again.He beat a Democrat in Texas, in the Tea Party year of 2010. A stunning achievement. Still, from now on the press will breathlessly b ... More >>
Time to governSecond-day opening paragraphs on stories about disasters such as air crashes always include something about "picking through the charred wreackage." And that's what Democrats are doing now in Texas, where the state legislature races were, well, a disaster.No other state in the count ... More >>
This past week, the health-care reform debate reached an end, as the bill was passed by Congress Sunday night and signed into law by President Barack Obama on Tuesday. At stake was the health and well-being of millions of uninsured Americans who now stand to be covered by socialized governmen ... More >>
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison rolled out the big guns today as President George H.W. Bush endorsed her. Coming on the heels of the recent endorsement of former Secretary of State James Baker, Hutchison has ably demonstrated what it takes to win the GOP gubernatorial primary. If it were being run i ... More >>
Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison are locked in a pitched battle over the soul of the GOP. They are also running for governor.
Can a ballot triple shift win City Hall for the GOP?
Minute Maid Park
Party veterans sound alarms at the proposed GOP political-purity rules
Bush's battle against terrorism now bars some federal labor activities
Loopholes still hamper electronic reporting of campaign finances
West U rejected them, so how will they ever win Houston's City Hall?
He wants to castrate pedophiles and purge the courts of politics. He has assailed fellow jurists, lawyers and lawmakers. He's maverick Mike McSpadden, a tennis ace with a tomahawk tongue.
We pay for the arena; they'll finance the campaign
A legislative panel summons local GOP leaders to a show-and-tell
How "Scary" Gary Polland turned his party apparatus into a political slot machine
Learning to love the one-party state
The Talented Mr. Stockman. A defeated politician resurrects himself in Seventh District heaven with a stash of campaign cash
Will the next house DeLay fumigates be that big White one or his own?