And the winning Republican ticket for the White House is….

America is beginning the process of electing another Texan to be president. Gigantic tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, a trumped up war and a ruined economy from the last Texan seem incapable of dissuading supporters of Rick Perry.

His Saturday speech in South Carolina will make clear that he is entering the race for the White House and will spawn the ugliest and most expensive presidential race in U.S. history, and he will win. A C and D student, who hates to govern, loves to campaign, and barely has a sixth grader’s understanding of economics, will lead our nation into oblivion…

The big brains gathered east of the Hudson and Potomac Rivers believe that Mitt Romney is the candidate to beat. But they are unable to hear what Rick Perry is saying. The Christian prayer rally in Houston was a very loud proclamation to fundamentalists and Teavangelicals, which said, “I am not a Mormon…”

Michele Bachmann, who is from Iowa, and is Perry in Prada, has the same appeal among Teavangelicals. Her husband’s reparative gay therapy sessions, the Newsweek cover and a few speeches that were not reality based will, eventually, make even the GOP primary voters realize she is bound for the desert and not the Promised Land.

Romney and Bachmann are the only serious impediments to the Perry nomination…Because presidential politics tend to be more visceral than intellectual, Perry’s coyote-killer good looks, $2,000 hand-tooled cowboy boots, supernova smile and Armani suits, combined with podium skills to embellish the mythology of Texas, all will create a product Americans will want to believe and buy.

After he wins the nomination, protocol will require Perry to have discussions with Bachmann about the vice presidential slot, but he will, eventually, turn to Sarah Palin. The general election will force the Texan back toward the middle and he will stop talking about faith and abortion and gay marriage; Perry will campaign on jobs and the economy. Palin, who is loved by the tea party as much as Perry, will keep the Teavangelicals animated while he tries to talk to the adults to win the election on a single issue: the economy, stupiderest!!!

When the cold rains fall in early November next year, unemployed voters in places like Ohio will step into the booth and dream of a minimum wage job in the Texas sun selling fishing rods at big box sporting goods stores or working in call centers; they will vote against Barack Obama.

And in the process, they will write the epitaph to set upon the tombstone of history’s greatest democracy: Perry-Palin, 2012.

James Moore is a Texas-based Emmy award-winning former national TV news correspondent and co-author of the best-seller, “Bush’s Brain.” He’s witty and way too subtle for Kool Aid Party hacks.

Judge rules Rikers Island inmate has no special right to matzoh

A U.S. federal judge has ruled that a Jewish inmate in a New York jail does not have a constitutionally protected right to matzoh and grape juice.

Christopher Henry, who was convicted of first-degree sodomy, claimed permanent trauma and malnourishment and requested nearly $10 billion in damages for what he called a violation of his First Amendment right to religious freedom.

Henry didn’t request matzoh for Passover, the Jewish holiday during which it is traditionally eaten. Instead, Henry claimed he had a right to have the unleavened bread served daily and grape juice every Friday.

But…U.S. Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin held that the Rikers Island jail could deny Henry his request in the interests of maintaining order and keeping costs reasonable.

“Providing individualized meals to a single inmate might well foster an impression of favoritism, which could lead to jealousy and resentment among the inmate population, which in turn could cause tension and threaten prison security,” she wrote.

“Similarly, providing individualized meals to one or several inmates would involve a substantial increase in administrative costs.”

Scheindlin noted that Henry already receives Kosher meals and is allowed to meet with a rabbi.

Not that Rikers Island is a paradise among jails; but – cultural niceties aren’t a special responsibility of our penal system. Access to education, basic healthcare, is sufficient. The rest is silence.

MRSA infections hospitalizing children have doubled in last decade

A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that in the past decade, there have been a number of shifts in the reasons children are admitted to the hospital. The most notable change in hospital admission data involves severe skin infections, which more than doubled between 2000 and 2009 and now rank as the seventh most common reason for childhood hospitalization, up from 13th in 2000.

The increase is attributed to the rise of antibiotic-resistant staph infections — called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. A vast majority of MRSA cases happen in hospital settings or nursing homes, but 10 percent to 15 percent occur in the community among otherwise healthy people. Infections often strike people who are prone to cuts and scrapes, including children and athletes. MRSA spreads by skin-to-skin contact, typically in crowded conditions and through the sharing of contaminated personal items like towels.

“I don’t think it’s really well appreciated that in most communities, community-acquired MRSA has become the dominant cause of soft tissue infection requiring emergency department care and inpatient care,” said Dr. Patrick S. Romano…“People think of MRSA as a hospital bug, but it’s not just a hospital bug anymore. It’s a community bug…”

This is scary stuff and, yet, something that can be prevented by attention to hygiene including clean surroundings. No one’s going to be able disinfect playing fields or anyplace outdoors where kids will play – which is where many flavors of Staph Aureus abound. But, making certain children wash up when they get back home – especially around inevitable scrapes and bruises – is a requirement. As it always should have been.

Nothing new; but, those critters which lurk in the real world ready to attack at any opening are still alive and well and aren’t going away.

UK may block gangbangers using social networks during riots


Woman jumps into the arms of firefighters during London riots

Britain is considering disrupting online social networking such as Blackberry Messenger and Twitter during civil unrest, Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday, a move widely condemned as repressive when used by other countries…

Police and politicians have said online social networks, in particular Research in Motion’s popular Blackberry Messager (BBM), were used by rioters and looters to coordinate during four days of disorder across England this week.

“We are working with police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality,” Cameron told parliament during an emergency session prompted by the riots.

Many of the rioters favored Canadian firm RIM’s BBM over Twitter and other social media because its messages are encrypted and private…

Online social media was also widely used by members of the British public in recent days to help others avoid troublespots and to coordinate a clean up after the rioting had ended.

Open social media isn’t the problem. If the police and government were competent, messaging in non-encrypted networks would be another information source. Accurate or otherwise.

Problems with encrypted transmission are a horse of another color. Then, you also have to add Skype to the mix of considerations – since it is encrypted communications.

Stagnant and paralyzed – economics and politics today

The recent dramatic declines in equity markets worldwide are a response to the interaction of two factors: economic fundamentals and policy responses – or, rather, the lack of policy responses.

First, the fundamentals. Economic growth rates in the United States and Europe are low – and well below even recent expectations. Slow growth has hit equity valuations hard, and both economies are at risk of a major downturn.

A slowdown in one is bound to produce a slowdown in the other – and in the major emerging economies, which, until now, could sustain high growth in the face of sluggish performance in the advanced economies. Emerging countries’ resilience will not extend to double-dip recessions in America and Europe: they cannot offset sharp falls in advanced-country demand by themselves, notwithstanding their healthy public-sector balance sheets…

What the world is witnessing is a correlated growth slowdown across the advanced countries (with a few exceptions), and across all of the systemically important parts of the global economy, possibly including the emerging economies. And equity values’ decline toward a more realistic reflection of economic fundamentals will further weaken aggregate demand and growth. Hence the rising risk of a major downturn – and additional fiscal distress. Combined, these factors should produce a correction in asset prices that brings them into line with revised expectations of the global economy’s medium-term prospects.

But the situation is more foreboding than a major correction. Even as expectations adjust, there is a growing loss of confidence among investors in the adequacy of official policy responses in Europe and the US… It now seems clear that the structural and balance-sheet impediments to growth have been persistently underestimated, but it is far less clear whether officials have the capacity to identify the critical issues and the political will to address them…

This somewhat bleak picture could change, though probably not in the short run. Stability can return, but not until domestic policy in the advanced countries, together with international policy coordination, credibly shifts to restoring a pattern of inclusive growth, with fiscal stabilization carried out in a way that supports growth and employment.

So, uh, anyone expect a Congress held into Republican lockstep by Tea Party monomaniacs to even consider responding to perilous times in the manner suggested by Professor Spence?

RTFA. There’s lots of analytic detail – even the potential for solutions. Frankly, I think more of our own readers will see this Op-Ed piece than members of Congress.

Border deputy earned a little on the side – helping to run drugs

FBI agents have arrested a Webb County deputy constable on bribery charges.

Eduardo Garcia, 44, was apprehended in Laredo on an indictment alleging he acted as an escort for a federal informant who Garcia thought was a drug smuggler, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Houston.

The indictment alleges that in 2007 and 2008, Garcia, a mental health officer whose duties included driving a prison transport van, escorted loads of cocaine being transported through Laredo by a local trafficker…

But in late 2008, the trafficker who employed Garcia became an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and began setting up the deputy, according to the indictment…

If convicted, Garcia, a law enforcement officer since 1993, faces up to 20 years in prison on the three bribery charges and up to five years in prison on one charge of unauthorized access to protected computer information, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston.

Amazing what a career change will do for you. The drug runner got to be a federal employee. The deputy is in line to be a custodial client of the US taxpayer – for up to 20 years.