If I've seemed quiet on the stimulus matter, it's because I quite frankly have no idea what to say. I am not a numbers gal and a billion was a word I used when I was four, professing how much I loved my pre-school boyfriend Steven - as in, "I love you a billion!" Yes, when it comes to our economy, I don't know how may zeros make up a billion and I've merely assumed that the legislators and their handlers at least sort of know what they're doing. A billion mea culpa.

Now I'm not admitting that I particularly trust any legislators -- it's much easier to assume they're all forms of crooks and embedded with special interests. I just hope (sic), with hands over my eyes, peeking through my fingers, that those special interests are occasionally worthwhile interests.

But even those interests and the politicians who imbibed are probably feeling the Monday morning hangover of this struggling economy after the last eight years of political partying. I would imagine that if you do in fact know how many zeros make up a billion, then you're probably getting a little concerned as you see the billions dwindle.

And that makes me, at least momentarily, a little smug.

Despite this denial-fueled smugness, I've kept my mouth shut. And you know what? I think there are a few politicians who need to work on that. Particularly if you meet any of the following requisites:

1. Republican
2. Voted for the war
3. Supported George W. Bush in any way (I would consider this to extend even to W's bicycle)
4. Recently went on a frivolous trip to the Caribbean paid for by one of the many fraud bankers who helped get us into this global snafu.

Yup, Big Bad John Cornyn, I'm talking about you. Actually, scratch that, I'm talking to you. A message, from the syndicate:

Shut the fuck up.

From here on out, you have lost your entitled-gasbag-talking-about-what's-right-for-the-economy privileges.

If you want to talk about how to build a balsa wood bridge that will withstand four hundred Hybrids driving across it, or the ecological aspects of leather fringed jacket-making, or maybe even your snowy-haired political aspirations, have at it. You can even post a guest blog!

But I officially do not want to hear another person who has signed blank checks for a wasteful war refer to this bailout as excessive spending. Republicans have spent the last eight-plus years cramming pork into bills while being outraged about who Clinton was porking and now they're crying that the bailout robbed "America's freedom?" No, that was another piece of legislation, a Constitutional hacksaw wrapped in a flag and stamped with an eagle called the Patriot Act. Oh and Perry? That flag's been bleeding for a while. Nice of you to notice.

No, I'm not interested in hearing from Republicans on this one. Their moral authority extends no further than the cuffs of their overpriced suits. When it comes to fiscal responsibility -- and more importantly, fiscal veracity -- Senator Cornyn and his cronies have demonstrated they have none.

An Open Letter to Fresh Plus Grocer on West Lynn

Dear Fresh Plus,

While we are in fact tasked with producing them, women are not babies.
So I would appreciate you putting the tampon section somewhere other than next to the diapers.


Perla for Austin Campaign Kickoff - "Not Just One More Vote with the Majority"

Disclosure: Perla is a friend of mine. I gave her $25. Sometimes we eat BBQ together.
Cross-posted at Burnt Orange Report.

Last night the Perla Cavazos for Austin campaign got kicked off at Nuevo Leon, where Austinites packed into the East Austin establishment to get their hands on Perla Cavazos's pink & gold signs and hear her plan for the future of Austin's economy, affordability and healthcare issues.

Perla started off her speech by touching on the economic crisis, referencing the recent news that Starbucks was closing over 300 stores, the locations on South Congress and Stassney being two of them. Perla, who I first got to know when volunteering for Democratic candidate for Congress Larry Joe Doherty, admitted she was "not a Starbucks girl" (true: while blockwalking, we had a heated debate over Little City versus Progress) but that she "knows a lot of people who have jobs that pay even less than what baristas make, and their jobs don't come with health insurance."

Perla initially came to Austin to promote affordable housing, on a fellowship from the National Council of La Raza. She touched on Austin's affordability issues affecting not just coffee shop employees, but those recently laid off from tech companies or working in government jobs trying to pay the bills while saving money. Two of those Austinites happen to be her brother and sister, both in school and still working to get by.

The solution, according to Perla, is planning. She said that while serving on the Austin Planning Commission, her biggest frustration was that "we were constantly reacting." The concept of acting versus reacting, planning ahead rather than compensating later, is "what the city needs now...not just one more vote with the majority," Perla said.

Perla also discussed her "unconventional ideas," like the City of Austin partnering with schools, because while "some say schools aren't the city's role, producing an educated workforce is everyone's responsibility." She also intends to support the work of the Indigent Care Coalition in finding affordable small business health care solutions and exploring the idea of a medical school in Austin. This is an endeavor that state Sen. Eddie Lucio, for whom Perla was a policy analyst, was successful in fathering in the Rio Grande Valley, creating the Regional Academic Health Center and revitalizing the area with much-needed jobs and educational resources.

Pink is the apparently the new blue and "Perla" seems to be the new buzz-word in Austin, manifesting itself in a City Council candidate and the popular SoCo restaurant Mars orbiting into a new restaurant called Perla's (foreshadowing?). Judging by last night's turnout, the Cavazos campaign is gaining ground. Elgin activist and Perla supporter Rob Ryland texted me at the start of the evening, "This place is packed for Perla!"

To those still on the fence, Perla reminded the crowd that she is running to give the City some "advice of my own. Don't underestimate me just because I'm respectful, professional, polite and short." And she's right -- meeting Austin's needs is a tall order, but Perla Cavazos doesn't need a pair of pumps to stand up to the challenge.

If you can, stop by Perla's Campaign Headquarters Open House this Saturday, Feb. 7 from 1-4 PM.