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June 14th, 2014:

Saturday video break: Car Wash

Time for another episode of Same Name, Different Song. Here’s Bruce Springsteen singing “Car Wash” in Germany:

This was off of his “Tracks” multi-CD set of B-sides and previously unreleased material, which is why you’ve probably never heard of it. The song called “Car Wash” you’re likely more familiar with is the Rose Royce disco classic from the 70s:

From the movie of the same name, of course. Am I the only one who thinks Springsteen could do an excellent cover of this?

Being an idiot, on the other hand, is totally treatable

It’s actually a little amazing that stuff like this doesn’t happen more often.

Corndogs make bad news go down easier

Open mouth, insert corndog

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speaking in San Francisco on Wednesday night, said the U.S. would better serve its diverse population by letting the states handle many economic and social policies, a point he perhaps inadvertently drove home when he compared homosexuality to alcoholism.

Addressing the Commonwealth Club of California, Perry argued the federal government should give up much of its policy-making power, letting states chart their own courses on issues ranging from business subsidies to abortion. He joked about his frequent habit of luring California companies to Texas and called the competition between the two states healthy for both, as well as the nation.

But as Perry eyes another possible presidential run, some of his comments illustrated the wide gulf that exists between blue California and red Texas – and within the nation as a whole.

The Texas Republican Party this month adopted a platform supporting access to “reparative therapy” for gays and lesbians, a widely discredited process intended to change sexual orientation. In response to an audience question about it Wednesday night, Perry said he did not know whether the therapy worked.

Commonwealth Club interviewer Greg Dalton then asked him whether he believes homosexuality is a disorder.

“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry said. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

The large crowd gathered at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel on Nob Hill included many Perry supporters. But the comment still drew a murmur of disbelief.

When you invite an ignorant fool like Rick Perry to speak to your group, you should not be surprised when he says something stupid. Reaction was swift.

“It’s not accurate and it’s not a reasonable conclusion that the world of medicine and psychiatry would endorse,” said Dr. John Oldham, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Baylor College of Medicine. Oldham also is chief of staff and senior vice president at the Menninger Clinic.

“Alcoholism is a form of addiction, which is an illness,” Oldham said. “Sexual orientation is not an illness.”

Defining homosexuality that way is simply outdated, he said.

“Many decades ago, in the diagnostic manual it was listed as a condition thought to be an illness,” Oldham said. “We’ve learned since that that was wrong.”

The governor’s comment came after he was asked about the Texas Republican Party’s new platform that supports “reparative therapy” for gays and lesbians, a process aimed at changing sexual orientation. Pressed to say whether he thought homosexuality could be cured by prayer or counseling, Perry responded, “I don’t know. I’m not a psychiatrist; I’m not a doctor.”

The idea of changing someone’s sexual orientation throughtherapy has been “entirely debunked,” Oldham said. “Reparative therapy is not a legitimate therapy and, in fact, it can be destructive.”

To seek therapy to change one’s sexual orientation, he said, “would be like saying, ‘I would really like to get reparative therapy because I don’t like being short.’‚ÄČ”

The Republican Party of Rick Perry and Greg Abbott doesn’t care what a bunch of pointy-headed scientists think. They have their own truth, and that’s all they need.

Two million Texans used

Yeah, we had lots of demand for health insurance. That’s what happens when you have so many uninsured people in a state.

It's constitutional - deal with it

It’s constitutional – deal with it

Almost all adult Texans knew of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace before its open enrollment ended March 31, new research shows.

In a report released Wednesday, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation discovered about 2 million Texans who looked for marketplace information found the website helpful. Almost half of those who went to the site wanted to buy insurance or check premium subsidy eligibility.

Wednesday’s report was based on responses from 1,595 Texans in September and 1,538 in March. The poll is part of the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey, a national project on the 2010 health law’s implementation and changes in health insurance coverage and related health outcomes. The Baker Institute and the Episcopal Health Foundation are focusing on factors about Texans from an expanded survey sample of Texas residents. The report is the fifth on Texas’ health law implementation.

“In our previous report, we estimated that 746,000 Texans purchased insurance through the marketplace,” Vivian Ho, chair in health economics at the Baker Institute and a report author, said in written statement. “Given that 2 million Texans looked for coverage through the Marketplace, a strikingly high percentage of them elected to enroll in a health insurance plan.”

Here’s the report. More reports from the same group, which I’ve blogged about before, can be found here. Just imagine how many more visits and signups there could have been if our Republican state leaders weren’t so zealously committed to keeping people unhealthy.

Steve Stockman ethics update

He still doesn’t have any, but I’m talking about the investigation into his highly questionable campaign finance activity.

Steve Stockman doing his best Joe Cocker impersonation

The House Ethics Committee extended its probe into U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman on Wednesday, releasing a report detailing allegations that he tried to cover up illegal campaign contributions from people who worked in his congressional office at the time.

The report by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial reason to believe” that the Texas Republican conspired with two former staffers to violate federal laws and congressional ethics rules.

Stockman, the report said, “made false statements and endeavored to impede the OCE inquiry” filing payroll documents in December 2013, months after the two men allegedly quit and then were rehired – all in a matter of hours.


Stockman claimed victory. He noted that while the Ethics Committee extended the inquiry for further review, it did not call for an active investigation by a congressional panel that could issue subpoenas, as recommended by the investigators. Nevertheless the panel did not dismiss the OCE’s findings.

“I am gratified that the Ethics Committee saw the OCE report for what it was and rejected its absurd recommendations and its overreaches,” Stockman said. “While we did experience some (Federal Election Commission) reporting errors, the fact is that we acknowledged and corrected them in due course.”

Legal analysts say it would be unusual for the House Ethics panel to pursue a full-blown investigation of an outgoing congressman. Stockman, who lost a primary election race against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, cannot run to retain his House seat.

Stockman said the House panel “thanked” him for his cooperation in dealing with their probe, although investigators termed him “non-cooperative.”

There’s a surprise. See here and here for the background. TPM has links to the OCE and House Ethics Committee statements. While it may be that the House won’t bother dealing with someone who’s on his way out, Stockman still has FEC issues and could conceivably wind up facing prosecution. Maybe this will finally be enough to remind Republican primary voters that they should steer clear of him if he ever does run for something again. I mean, if it isn’t enough, I really don’t know what would be. dKos has more.

Here comes the 346

We’re getting another area code.

Starting July 1, Houston area residents might see phone numbers that begin with 346, when a new area code comes to town.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas last year announced a new area code was being added and this week cell phone companies are texting their customers as a reminder.

The new area code will create possibilities for about 8 million new numbers.

Long-time locals have no reason to grumble-they will get to keep their original area codes

The new area code will be the fourth for the nation’s fourth largest city.


When 346 is activated, it will overlay 713, 281 and 832 in Harris, Fort Bend, Waller, Austin, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Liberty, Chambers, Galveston and Brazoria counties.

A few numbers are still left in 281, 713 and 832, according to the PUC, but the options for new numbers are dwindling.

Houston’s three existing area codes could run out by October, according to some estimates by the PUC.

The new area code might not be used immediately, but the PUC said 346 will be ready that day, just in case the other three codes run out.

I missed the PUC announcement, so I’m glad I caught this. The story reminds me that we got the 832 code, and the 10-digit-dialing requirement that came with it, way back in 1999. That was two years after the introduction of the 281 code, which at the time was based on geography. Guess they were right when they said the overlay codes would last longer. Anyway, what this all means is that when we finally give Olivia a cellphone, it’ll very likely come with a 346 area code. Good to know. Via Swamplot, and Hair Balls has more.