Daily News
Pro-Lifer to Oversee Nation's Family-Planning Program
In a bold screw-you move, made either in ignorance of or despite of the recent elections that saw a spate of extremist legislators tossed out of Washington, D.C., on their self-righteous cans, President George W. Bush announced on Nov. 16 that he had chosen pro-lifer Dr. Eric Keroack as his new appointee to oversee the nation’s family-planning program at the Department of Health and Human Services – from where nearly $300 million in federal funds is distributed annually among the states to fund, in large part, the providing of reproductive health care – notably, including access to contraceptives – to poor and uninsured women. While one might think that appointing someone expert at providing these critical health services would be a good choice to head up that office, Bush has tossed logic to the wind and has instead tapped Keroack for the job – an ob/gyn best known for his staunch support of abstinence-only education and as the medical director for the outfit A Woman’s Concern, which operates a string of crisis pregnancy centers in Boston – a group that, amazingly, openly espouses the notion that widespread use and distribution of birth control is actually “demeaning to women.”

9:06AM Mon. Nov. 20, 2006, Jordan Smith Read More | Comment »

OSU Chimps Leave Primarily Primates
The ongoing legal battle that will decide the fate of the Bexar Co. animal sanctuary Primarily Primates Inc. and its hundreds of animal inhabitants heated up Nov. 16 over a decision to move seven Ohio State University chimpanzees that were brought to PPI earlier this year to the federally funded primate sanctuary Chimp Haven in Louisiana. The decision to temporarily relocate the chimps caused a stir at PPI Thursday morning, says PPI President Stephen Tello. Tello told the Chronicle that he got a phone call that morning from PPI employees who told him receiver Lee Theisen-Watt and a handful of others – including attorneys from the controversial group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, whose involvement in the PPI controversy seems to be fueling distrust between the sanctuary and the state – were preparing to move the chimps. The employees told Tello they feared the move was being done in violation of a court-ordered stay requiring Watt to receive court permission before undertaking any action to permanently move or to euthanize any of the animals living at the 75-acre sanctuary, he said.

8:54AM Mon. Nov. 20, 2006, Jordan Smith Read More | Comment »

Homelessness in Austin
While we couldn't attend the Community Action Network's Homeless Educational Forum today, we were fortunate enough to procure a copy of CAN's most recent report and FAQ about homelessness in Austin. Aside from being filled with useful information about how to help, it also contains some sobering numbers:

Over a 12 month period, there were over 6,200 homeless people in the Austin area. Between September 12, 2005 and September 12, 2006, 6,242 unique individuals received services from Austin area homeless service providers. (Homeless Management Information System - HMIS)

On any given day, there are approximately 4,000 homeless individuals of which 1,900 are downtown. (Homeless Count 2004)

Over 1,500 children are affected by homelessness in the Austin Independent School District. In the 2005-2006 school year, AISD Project Help served 1,556 homeless students. (AISD Project Help)

High Cost of Living Contributes to Homelessness. Austin has the highest housing costs for an urban area in Texas (Texas A&M Real Estate Center Report 2005)

Low Wages Contribute to Homelessness. Of the top ten occupational categories in the Austin area, nearly 30% of those jobs have a median wage of less than $10/hour. (WorkSource)

Click here to download the report.

2:51PM Fri. Nov. 17, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

National Round-Up
Sekula-Gibbs Sinks Further:

We noted yesterday the TX CD-22 benchwarmer holding Tom DeLay's seat until January so alienated DeLay's staff they cruised on her. The Houston Chronicle is reporting there will be blood:

The turmoil in newly elected Rep. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs' office deepened Thursday with the Houston Republican demanding a congressional investigation of aides who quit in a mass walkout earlier this week.

Sekula-Gibbs said the staffers, holdovers from her predecessor Tom DeLay, deleted records from the office's computers Monday, the day before seven of them resigned in apparent protest of their treatment.

"As public servants, they have harmed the 22nd Congressional District and they have brought shame to this office," Sekula-Gibbs said in a statement. "I have a duty to investigate."

Let us know how that works out.

Pundits Pounce on Pelosi:

Following up another post from yesterday, here's an incisive analysis from blogger Glenn Greenwald describing the Gang of 500's barely contained zeal for "the failed Pelosi speakership." As if, dude.

12:36PM Fri. Nov. 17, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

Lying in the dentist's chair this morning, there was something infinitely more painful than the drill cleaning out all my cavities. That would be Majic 95.5, "Austin's Home of Soft Rock Favorites," wafting in through the speakers like a car passing a dairy farm. Between Josh Groban's MILF-moistening caterwauling and inane dribble about this weekend's megaplex money-minters, was an update delivered by one of the local news network's spokesbots. Surprisingly, the lede wasn't anything morbid or crime related but still played pretty sensationally: how yesterday, City Council had voted to give themselves a near 30% raise – plus an automobile allowance! The nerve!

11:14AM Fri. Nov. 17, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

Making Grover Norquist Look Good
We may not be getting that many comments here at Chronic – not yet, my darlings, not yet – but that's not without its upside.

Over at the Statesman, let's see what the “Talk of Austin” is regarding City Council's raise today. (All comments sic like a motherfucker.)

Bruce7 sez “They vote for Every Bond Issue. Spend, spend, spend. That’s why the City and State are bankrupt.”

erich pontificates, “crooks they are crooks and they should be thrown out of office not given a raise, i cant believe these crooks want a raise”

and Jennifer Kim McCrackhead says... well, with a name like that, does it even matter?

8:47PM Thu. Nov. 16, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

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He Supported School Vouchers, Sex, and Drugs
The Texas Public Policy Foundation and anti-government think tanks across the country are mourning the death of Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who championed a mixed bag of big ideas, all of them centering on the free-enterprise mantra. Friedman died Thursday in San Francisco. He was 94. In Texas, supporters of tax-financed private school vouchers have long drawn inspiration from Friedman when arguing the whys and wherefores of a privatized school system. Not that the Friedman argument ever does them any good, but still. Friedman's followers are less willing to celebrate (at least publicly)the free-thinker's beliefs that laws against drugs and prostitution are just plain silly. Silly like Ted Haggard, for instance. But that's another story. Anyway, RIP Milton.

4:52PM Thu. Nov. 16, 2006, Amy Smith Read More | Comment »

National Round-Up
Hoyer Dems Majority Leader:

House Dems reject Nancy Pelosi's choice of Rep. John Murtha for the post, choose Rep. Steny Hoyer as majority leader. Liberal media trips over self describing Pelosi's first "defeat," "loss," "rebuff," and (my favorite) "stunning push back."

Juice Pushes Pulply Tell-All:

In signs that reality has morphed into a bad Chris Rock sketch, O.J. Simpson will be writing a book, and doing a sit-down with FOX (natch) where he'll say “how he would have committed the murders if he were the one responsible." Certainly this will be pulled off with the utmost respect and taste.

2:59PM Thu. Nov. 16, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

DeLayed Reaction
We missed this little nugget (some might say turd) regarding the Texas CD-22 race for Tom DeLay's old seat. You may remember that, unable to get Shelley Sekula-Gibbs' unwieldy moniker on the ballot, Gov. Perry called a special election to fill the seat from now until the winner is sworn in next year – the thought being GOP voters would see her name there, and have an easier time writing it in. Failed miserably, of course – Dem Nick Lampson handily defeated her by 10-plus points. But Sekula-Gibbs did indeed win the lame-duck election, and that's where the fun begins.

Burnt Orange Report shares the details, by way of Roll Call (subscription required):

The woman who was sworn in this week as the interim Republican successor to ex-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) was, shall we say, not a hit with holdover DeLay aides.

In fact, they showed their feelings about their new boss Tuesday by walking out of the office en masse and resigning, effective immediately. The DeLay refugees, who included DeLay's personal chief of staff, David James, walked out of the office, Von Trapp family-style (though without the singing) and huddled at Starbucks to get their wits about them.

When Tom DeLay's staff gives you the cold shoulder... Sheesh!

1:51PM Thu. Nov. 16, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

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