A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Anthem [ in Spanish ]

It seems that someone has made a spanish-language version of our national anthem, and this has got a bunch of people upset. Georgie even got into the argument by saying he thought the anthem should be sung only in English. Why? What the hell difference does it make? This has got to be one of the stupidest arguments in a long time. This song speaks of the greatness of this country no matter what language it is sung in. If you have to pick an argument, at least make it over something that matters. This does not.

The argument is not about translating the song to another language. After all, the song is translated into sign language all the time and no one seems to care. The argument is about translating the song into spanish. This upsets the right-wing, whose primary values are bigotry and intolerance.

As far as I'm concerned, you can sing the anthem in any language you want as long as you're doing it to show your love for this country.

Draft Day Two

Well, the second day of the NFL draft is here and I can hardly wait, proving again what a football nerd I am. The draft starts back up at 10:00am, and the Cowboy's picks at this time are 125, 150, 182, 189, 211, & 224. Here's hoping for the best!


11:25am - With the 125th pick [4th round], the Cowboys have selected Skyler Green, a wide receiver from Louisiana State University. He is 5' 9" tall and weighs 180 pounds. Probably a good pick, but I really expected an offensive lineman to be taken here. The offensive line is still a definite need.


12:00pm - Dallas has just made a trade to move up. They gave the Jets the 150th and 189th picks for the 138th pick. The Cowboys then used the 138th pick to get Florida State safety, Pat Watkins [6' 4" and 211 lbs]. Well, Dallas did have a need at safety. Still waiting for the "big uglies". [5th round pick]


2:00pm - Still no offensive lineman. The Cowboys used the 182nd pick to get nose tackle Montavious Stanley [6' 2" and 313 lbs] from the University of Louisville. This was a 6th round pick. The Cowboys now have two seventh round picks left.


3:20pm - With the 211th pick, the Cowboys take their first offensive lineman. He is Pat McQuistan, a guard/tackle from Weber State. He is 6' 5" and weighs 310 pounds, and has a twin brother who was drafted yesterday by the Raiders. Today is their birthday!


3:50pm - The 224th pick brings the Cowboys another offensive lineman. This time it is E. J. Whitley, a guard/center from Texas Tech University, who stands 6' 5" and weighs 308 pounds.


Well, the draft is over for the Cowboys this year. It looks like they got some good players and filled some of their needs. Was it a good draft? We won't know that until at least training camp. All we can do now is hope.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Draft Day

Today is the day of the NFL draft. I will have to admit to being a true football nut, because I do love this day. I will be planting myself in front of the tv and plan to watch every minute. Of course, my main interest is in what my beloved Cowboys are doing. Last year, the Cowboys had a great draft, and I hope for an equally good one this year.

Houston has already started the festivities in a strange way. They have bypassed both Reggie Bush and Vince Young, and have signed a defensive end. I'm sure he's a very good player, but I don't think I could have passed on both Bush and Young. I believe them to be the two best players in this year's draft.


11:35am - Well, that didn't take long. The New Orleans Saints took Reggie Bush with the second pick, and the Tennessee Titans took Vince Young with the third pick. Houston will regret not taking one of these two players.


2:05pm - The Cowboys have made their first pick. With the 18th pick of the draft, they selected Ohio State outside linebacker, Bobby Carpenter. He stands 6' 2" and weighs 256 pounds. This should help that left side of the Cowboy defense.


5:35pm - Cowboys just traded pick #49 for picks #53, #186 & #211. Looks like Parcells is going for quantity.


6:00pm - For the 53rd pick, the Cowboys have chosen Notre Dame tight end, Anthony Fasano [6' 4" and 259 pounds]. Don't know why we needed another tight end, but some scouts are comparing him to Mark Bavaro. I think I would be happy if he was just nearly that good.


6:45pm - Jerry Jones just had a press conference and explained why the Cowboys drafted another tight end. He said they were trying to go to a two tight end, two wide receiver, single back offense. Very interesting!


7:50pm - The Cowboys had the 80th pick, but they just traded it for the 92nd and the 125th. The 92nd pick will be the last Cowboy pick tonight.


8:40pm - The 92nd pick of the night was the Cowboys choosing Jason Hatcher, a defensive end from Grambling State [6' 6" and 290 lbs].

Limbaugh Arrested !

Yesterday,Rush Limbaugh was arrested and booked in Florida for prescription fraud. Rush's lawyer, Roy Black, tried to put lipstick on the pig, when he claimed that Rush had not been arrested, he had only been booked. It's sad when a lawyer this smart says something this dumb. It doesn't take a professor of criminal justice to know that no one is booked unless they have been arrested.

Mr. Black has negotiated a sweet deal for his client though. Limbaugh will pay $30,000, and participate in a drug program for the next 18 months. As usual, the rich and powerful can buy a little more justice than the poor.

Well, so far we have had Duke Cunningham, Scooter Libby, Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay, and now Rush Limbaugh, not to mention a host of underlings. Who will be the next right-winger to fall?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Chavez Trumps Bush [Again]

The Associated Press is reporting that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is expanding the discounted oil program for poor New Englanders. Rep. William Delahunt [D-Mass], who helped to negotiate the deal, says it will be a "considerable expansion". Last year, Citgo provided nearly 40 million gallons of discounted heating oil to about 181,000 households and hundreds of homeless shelters.

Of course, the right-wing is complaining that Chavez is just scoring political points and really has no interest in charity. This statement might not sound so incredibly stupid if the republicans had done anything to help the poor. They have not. Political or not, at least Chavez is doing something to help the poor. Georgie's oil friends have raised oil prices to record levels, and all the republicans can do is complain about someone else trying to help.

It is a sad day in this country, when foriegners care more for our poor than our own government does.


P.S. - What is up with Georgie and his cohorts calling Chavez a "dictator"? Hugo Chavez was elected in a fair election with a huge majority. That's more than I can say about Georgie!

Obscene Profits

Exxon Mobil has announced that its first quarter revenues for this year are $89 billion. This is up from $82 billion in the first quarter of 2005. Their first quarter profits have risen by 7% to $8.4 billion. This means if they do as well in the following three quarters [and there is no reason to believe they won't], then the yearly profit for the company would be $33.6 billion.

Of course, while the oil companies are making record profits, the price of gas has risen sharply. AAA of Texas says the gas prices have risen by 77 cents just in the last year. Gas prices now hover around the $3.00 a gallon mark all over this country, and most experts believe prices will continue to rise.

Exxon Mobil's spokesman, Mark Boudreaux, says, "The main factor in gasoline prices is the global oil markets." This is a ridiculous statement. If this were true, then oil company profits should go down when the price of oil goes up. A rise in the price of gas would just help to keep profits from shrinking. For instance, a rise in the price of tomatoes might mean a resturant would have to raise its prices to maintain their profit margin, but it would not result in record profits for the resturant.

These oil companies must think we are stupid to tell us that higher company expenses have resulted in record profits. Record expenses cannot result in record profits unless the oil companies have raised prices far beyond what is neccessary to cover rising expenses. This is called "price gouging". If the oil companies cannot control their greed, then it is time for the government to do so.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Quick Hits

* Bush's new press secretary is right-wing pundit, Tony Snow. It only makes sense that Bush would go to Faux News to get his appointee. The lying president picks a liar from the network of liars. Nothing has changed.

* Kinky Friedman's support is growing in his run for governor. Willie Nelson came out in support of Kinky early. Now the Dixie Chicks have announced their support of Kinky. The San Antonio Business Journal did a non-scientific poll on the governor's race and Kinky came out the winner. The republican and democratic party regulars who considered Kinky's candidacy to be a joke may be in for a rude awakening.

* What has happened to my Dallas Stars? After finishing the regular hockey season ranked 2nd in the western conference, they have completely fallen apart in the play-offs. They have not only lost their first three games [two of them at home], but they have given up 14 goals in the three losses. At the beginning of the year, it looked like we had finally settled on a long-term goalie [Marty Turco]. I don't know what to think now.

* The number of people in this country without medical insurance has grown to nearly 46 million people, and the number gets larger each day. Does anybody in Washington even care?

* I'm still seeing many people who want to save the institution of marriage from homosexuals. How does this work? For the life of me, I can't figure out how homosexuals are destroying marriages. Could someone please explain this to me?

* I'm also getting very tired of hearing the right-wingers try to advance their agenda by comparing themselves to the "founding fathers". This is just asinine. If these right-wing nutjobs had lived in 1776, they would have been tory-loyalists. They would have blindly supported the king just as they blindly support Georgie today. The "founding fathers" would not have had anything to do with them.

* This week, another man died in Texas after being zapped with a Taser. Just shows how bad an idea it is to arm school officers with Tasers [as Fort Worth is doing].

* Why do the right-wingers hate America? They can't love our country, or they wouldn't be trying so hard to destroy it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Waiting For Medical Care

How long do you think you should have to wait to see an emergency room doctor? A couple of nights ago, a family member had a bad reaction to some new medication. His throat began to swell and he was having trouble breathing. I took him to the emergency room at John Peter Smith Hospital, the public hospital in Fort Worth.

We arrived at the emergency room about 11:30pm. The doctor actually saw him seven hours later at 6:30am. When I complained about the long wait, the doctor informed me that we had received expedited service because of the seriousness of the breathing problems. He was right! There were several people there who had arrived 3 or 4 hours earlier than we had, and they were still there when we left. This means they had to wait 10 to 12 hours to see a doctor.

I can assure you that any fool that brags about America having the best medical system in the world, has not had to wait 7 to 12 hours to see a doctor. If you are rich, then it is a great medical system, because you can buy whatever care you need at any facility you want. For the middle-class, the medical care is less. They get the care that the insurance companies will pay for. If a doctor recommends care not approved by the insurance company, you do not get that care. For the poor, it is even worse. The poor and uninsured are the ones who must wait for hours to receive care. And this is not just a Fort Worth problem. It is the same all across this country.

Ask yourself the following question, "Would I want a family member to have to wait 7 to 12 hours to receive medical care"? If the answer is no, then why is it all right to make others do this? We are the only industrialized nation that does not provide adequate health care to all of its citizens. It is time to rectify this situation. It is time to institute a "single-payer" health care system in this country.

Congratulations "Little General"

Avery Johnson, head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, has been chosen as the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2005-2006 basketball season. This marks the first time a coach for the Mavericks has won the award.

Coach Johnson, known as "the little general", seems to be setting new benchmarks as an NBA coach. It only took him 62 games to reach the 50-win mark. This is faster than any other coach has ever done it in the NBA. He also won 66 of his first 82 games as coach. This is the best start by a rookie coach in NBA history. He won 60 games in his first full season as coach. This ties the record for season wins by the Mavericks.

Coach Johnson is off to a great start and the future looks very bright for him. I am left with just one thing to say -
THANK YOU COACH JOHNSON FOR THE GREAT JOB YOU ARE DOING !!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Guantanamo Questions

The Pentagon announced this week that they will be releasing 141 Guantanamo Bay detainees who are no longer considered to be a threat to the U.S. I believe that this is long overdue, but before I start patting people on the back, I have a few questions that need to be answered:

1.) If these soon-to-be-released prisoners are no longer a danger , how is that? What changed thier ways in the last four years?

2.) Were they ever a threat? If yes, what was the threat?

3.) How freakin' long does it take to determine whether or not someone is a threat?

4.) What about the approximately 330 remaining prisoners? Why have so few been charged? How dangerous are those who have yet to be charged or released?

5.) How are the American people helped by denying these detainees access to American courts?

and last but not least...
6.) Is this a poor attempt by a struggling majority to boost ratings in an election year?

Tuesday Idiot Blogging

"Why do ya'll have so many young, uneducated people working here?"

Ma'am, I do apologize, but all of our Harvard grads recently quit. We tried to find suitable replacements, but for some reason those who have paid thousands upon thousands of dollars for their degree don't seem to want to make a living making or delivering pizzas. But rest assured, ma'am, that we are doing all we can to change that.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Marijuana Lies

I'm an older guy, and I guess I should be used to the government lying to me, especially about marijuana. The government seems to think we will believe any lie they tell, when the truth is that they destroyed any credibility they had on the drug issue long ago.

First, they produced "Reefer Madness", a movie that told us marijuana was not only addictive, but would also make users insane and drive them to commit murder. This led to draconian laws to prevent marijuana use. Here in Texas, possession of a small amount [one joint] could lead to a prison sentence of LIFE. This lie was believed from the 30's thru the 50's.

In the 60's, it became obvious that the old lie was not working so new ones were invented and foisted upon a trusting public. First they told us that marijuana was a gateway drug and would lead users to harder drugs. This lie didn't last long as millions use pot recreationally without going on to other drugs.

In the 70's, we were told that marijuana use could destroy DNA and create serious medical problems for users. No proof of this exists and regular users of marijuana show no medical problems from that use. Just another lie.

The 80's and 90's brought the lie of the "super weed". We were told that although the weed of the 60's and 70's was harmless, the new "super weed" that has been developed since is much more powerful and much more dangerous. Of course, it was just another lie to try and scare people into not using marijuana. There have always been good and bad or strong and weak varieties of marijuana just as there are today, but there is no super strain.

I guess the government couldn't be in a new millenium without a new lie. Now they tell us that marijuana has absolutely no medicinal value. The FDA said they had "concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment...". Bullshit!!! In 1999, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences stated marijuana could be potentially effective in treatment of several medical conditions. This lie has nothing to do with medical efficacy. It is a purely political lie and is meant to appeal to the republican base of right-wing nuts.

Note that politicians aren't telling the citizens not to use drugs. In fact, the chosen drugs of the powerful [alcohol, tobacco, coffee, etc.] are plentiful and easy to obtain. They just don't want citizens to use any drug they disapprove of. The fact is that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, and legalizing its use could provide millions of dollars in tax revenue.

I don't think marijuana will be legalized soon. Too many people are making a fortune in the drug war, including our police agencies. This is sad enough. At the least, our government should show its citizens a little respect and stop the lies. We don't believe them anyway.

College Computers

In this modern era, computers have become a neccessary component of education. Any decent high school will be outfitted with computers. If a student reaches college without at least a working knowledge of computers, then he/she is starting off behind all the other students. Computers are not a luxury, they are a necessity, but here in Texas a couple of institutions of higher learning are having computer problems.

At the University of Texas in Austin, computers in the McComb School of Business were hacked and about 200,000 electronic records were accessed illegally. Information about students, staff, and alumni were contained in these electronic records. This is the second time UT's computers have been hacked in the last three years. The last hacker [in 2003] was a former UT student. He was given 5 years probation and ordered to pay $170,000 in restitution. The current hacker is not know at this time.

The electronic break-in was discovered last friday [April 21, 2006], but some records were obtained as early as April 11th. This means it took them 10 days to figure out they were being hacked. I find this unacceptable. If a college is going to store student, staff, and alumni information in their computers, then they have a responsibility to protect that information. UT's information security seems a bit suspect. I don't know if the break-in could have been prevented, but it definitely should have been discovered sooner. This is the largest university in the state. I can't believe it doesn't have the assets to provide better computer security.

In the other story, Delmar College in Corpus Christie, has blocked the Myspace.com website. This site can no longer be accessed from college computers. College officials said 40% of the daily internet traffic at the school involved this website. They said it was taking up too much bandwidth and was slowing all the college computers down.

Obviously, Delmar College needs to upgrade their computer system. It is wrong to punish students and ban websites because the college cannot handle the load on the computers. If the college doesn't upgrade and create the needed computer space, they will find themselves losing students. Most students are paying big money for a college education. Why should they spend that money at a college that can't meet their computer needs?

Computers are indeed neccessary in our modern educational system, but the schools must accept responsibility to insure the system is both adequate and secure. Doing less will not meet the needs of Texas students.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Those Liberals !!!

Since Georgie and his right-wing cohorts took over this country, they have labeled the liberals as vile, evil, and many other vicious names. I have even heard them ask, "Why do the liberals hate America?" Well, what is the truth? What have these evil liberals done to help America?

It turns out that liberals have done a few things for America. I submit the following list for your perusal. These are all liberal programs and ideas. The conservative right-wing in this country fought all of these ideas, even though they would like to take credit for some of them now.

Worker Rights - The 40 hour work week, minimum wage, child labor laws, overtime pay, and the right to unionize are all liberal ideas. Nowdays, I doubt there would be many Americans opposing these ideas.

Worker Safety - Liberals created OSHA and jobs are now safer than they have ever been. In the past, many employers forced workers to work in situations known to be extremely hazardous, because their pocketbooks were more important than the lives of their workers.

Equal Rights - Equal rights for minorities, women, and other protected groups have always been fought for by liberals and opposed by conservatives. This is still true today. The fundamentalist right-wingers would still love to take rights away from women and gays especially.

Religious Freedom - I know the right-wing claims to believe in religious freedom, but it is simply not true. They want their own religion to be free, but would happily discriminate against other religions or sects. Several have even admitted that they actually want a christian theocracy instead of a constitutional republic. Only liberals have consistently supported true religious freedom for all religions.

Social Security / Medicare - These programs protect American citizens as they reach retirement age. Although these programs are supported by a huge majority, right-wingers would still like to get rid of both programs.

Federal Deposit Insurance Program - In the past, Americans were subject to the whims of the economy, and if the economy took a downward turn and banks started going under, then the citizen just lost his savings. There was no protection. Now, citizens are protected by the FDIC from bank failures. Once again, a liberal program.

Free Public Education - Thanks to the liberals who fought for it, now all Americans have a right to a free public school education. These public schools have served our nation well. Sadly, right-wingers are still trying to water-down or destroy our public schools with vouchers and other stupid ideas.

This is just a sample of what liberals have done for this country. Frankly, I don't have the time or space to list everything. I am left with just one question:

Why do the right-wingers hate America?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bush vs Chavez, Round 862

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced this week that Venezuelans will blow up their oil fields if the United States attack them. This comes as no surprise to me. I have a feeling he only made the announcement in order to secure his place as a thorn in Bush's side.

Of course, the Bush Administration acts as if Chavez has nothing to worry about with America. I guess they expect Chavez to forget that the U.S. supported (though we still won't admit it) the 2002 coup that temporarily took him out of office. It doesn't help that we insist on calling him a threat to stability in the region either.

Personally, I think that the Bush Administration are too busy eyeballing Iran to worry too much about Venezuela right now. I do, however, understand Chavez's suspicion of us. We are a mineral hungry soceity, and we don't care who we have to step on, torture, maim, or kill in order to get our fix. Any country or region that has vast quantities of natural resources should be keeping an eye on us. As supply gets shorter and prices get higher, we will look anywhere and everywhere to keep our lifestyle unchanged.

As far as blowing up oil fields go, I can't be too harsh against it. Sure, it's not great for the environment, but neither are the power plants or the millions of gas-guzzlers here in America. Plus, I am a spiteful person myself. If I didn't feel that I could adequately defend my property, I'm not sure that I wouldn't destroy it so that it didn't end up in the hands of an invader. I just can't imagine that I'd let someone shit on me, then enjoy the use of my property.

I hope we actually start using our brains in this country before we let our government start a war with Iran or Venezuela, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm still young, but I've been around long enough to see that this is a "Do as I say, not as I do" society. That's not only embarrassing, but sad.

Georgie Helps The Rich

According to republican talking points, most of Georgie's investment income tax cut was supposed to help the middle class. Most of us knew this was a lie the first time we heard it, but now the first figures are in, and it looks like it really was a lie.

The New York Times just did an analysis of Internal Revenue Service data from 2003 [the latest year from which data is available]. The study showed that those making over $10 million had reduced their tax by an average of $500,000. When combined with Georgie's first two tax cuts, these people are saving over $1 million dollars a year. These taxpayers wound up paying about the same percentage of their income as people making $200,000 to $500,000, even though their average income was $26 million.

In fact, the analysis showed that 70% of this tax cut went to the top 2% [about 2.6 million people]. Once again, Georgie has lied to the citizens and given his rich friends the keys to the treasury. This is not only unfair, it is obscene.

2 Million Left Behind

When Georgie's education program, the No Child Left Behind law, was passed a few years ago, it was touted as the tool that would save our schools. Because of this law, schools test more than 25 million students annually in reading and math. All of these scores are to be included in measuring a school's performance. Schools are also required to report scores by catagories such as race, poverty, english proficiency, migrant status, etc. If a school fails in any catagory, then the whole school fails. Failing schools may be penalized by extending the school year, changing the curriculum, or replacing teachers and administrators.

Is it working? Probably not, since there has been no real progress in education the last four years. Now we begin to see why. The Associated Press recently did an analysis of the program, and they found that nearly 2 million students were left out of the count when it was broken down into catagories. The vast majority of the students left out are minorities.

According to the AP, a loophole in the law allows schools to count fewer minorities in the racial catagories. The loophole allows schools to ignore scores of racial groups that are too small to be statistically significant. How small is too small? This is determined by each state with the approval of the federal government.

The size of the exempt groups vary from state to state. For instance, Maryland tests all groups with at least 5 students resulting in a rate of less than 1 in 100 who don't have their scores counted. On the other hand, Oklahoma excludes any group of 52 or less students resulting in a rate of 1 in 5 students whose scores are not counted. At least 2 dozen states have excluded groups of at least 30 students. About 1.9 million students were not counted [about 1 in 14].

How are we supposed to measure the achievement gap between white and minority students, if nearly 2 million minority students are left out of the count? This only gives us a false impression of schools doing well. I do not believe for a minute that this is being done to benefit students. It is being done to hide how poorly our schools are teaching our students, especially the minority students. I don't think there's any doubt that these small groups would be counted if they did very well on the tests.

It looks like the republicans have done it to us again. This time they told us they would fix our schools. Now we find out all they did was to hide the problems. Leave No Child Behind has turned into Leave 2 Million Children Behind! This is unacceptable.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Small Victories

America has won a couple of small victories this week. It is cause for celebration, because in Georgie's america, losses and bad news abound.

The first victory involves the White House. Georgie has accepted the resignation of one of the most incompetent and ineffectual members of his administration. Scott McClellan, the White House press spokesman announced today that he is leaving. He was a master of lying, stonewalling, and answering all questions with republican talking points. I doubt that he will even be missed, since he did not get along with the press. I'm sure Georgie will replace him with someone just as imcompetent, but at least we won't have to listen to McClellan whine anymore. The people who really need to leave are Georgie and the Dark One [Cheney], but today, I'll settle for this small victory.

The other victory involves the war between pro-choice and anti-choice forces in Kansas. Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline, a right-wing enemy of choice, had demanded that abortion clinics, health care professionals, and teachers must report to the law any underage sex, even between consenting youths. Grand Inquisitor Kline said he was trying to protect the children of Kansas from abuse. Ridiculous! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this was a thinly veiled attempt to attack choice by going in through the back door.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten ruled tuesday that clinic doctors and other professionals do not have to report underage sex between consenting youths as there is no requirement for this in Kansas law. The judge said professionals must be able to work in confidence to appropriately treat young people. Kline said, "It's not unexpected. It's what we've been predicting." He said he hasn't decided whether to appeal or not.

The case against Kline had been brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights. Their attorney, Simon Heller, called the ruling an important victory for young people. He said, "It is the first ruling recognizing the United States Constitution gives protection -- constitutional protection -- to the informational privacy rights of young people in health care."

As I said, these are just small victories, but in these dark times, I will celebrate even the small victories. With luck, the small victories will begin to add up and turn into ever larger victories until the war against ignorance and hatred is won.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tuesday Idiot Blogging

Usually I dedicate my Tuesday posts to the idiots that I have the joys of dealing with at work, but today I figured that I should share one of my own moments of idiocy. So here goes:

Last September, my father was shot in the stomach by a carjacker. No one in the family knew that it happened until he was already out of surgery, so the first thing we heard from the nurses was that he would make a full recovery. We considered ourselves lucky that not even one moment did we have to wonder if he would survive.

A couple of days later, when my father was finally awake and talking, the doctor who performed his surgery came by his room to check up on him. He told us that he had been a doctor in the Army for about twenty years, and had seen all kinds of bullet wounds. He explained to us, in no uncertain terms, that there was no better place in the stomach to get shot. In other words, half an inch in any direction would have been a major problem to survive or recover from.

Upon hearing this, I turned to my dad and said,"Damn, Dad, you really dodged a bullet!"

Yes, I immediately realized my fuck up and promptly smacked myself in the head. I have a feeling that my family will never let me live that one down!

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Small Rant

I was lurking over at Feministe [see blogroll for link] the other day, enjoying a conversation on the Duke lacrosse team rape, when a right-winger made a particularly stupid comment. According to this refugee from reason, we as citizens, must consider these rapists innocent until they are convicted in a court of law. Sadly, he made this sound like it was a legal mandate. This is pure bullshit!

Out of approximately 300,000,000 citizens in this country, only 12 people are under the legal obligation to consider a person innocent until proven guilty. These would be the 12 people participating in jury deliberations. Every one of the 299,999,988 citizens not in jury deliberations are free to think and say whatever they wish. It's called freedom of speech and it's guaranteed by our constitution.

If a person does not wish to express or even have an opinion, that is their right. But don't try to tell others that they cannot have or express an opinion. Not only does it not have any legal basis, it is un-american.

Warnings

I was reading the Star-Telegram just now and was struck by an announcement by North Richland Hills (one of the many cities here in the DFW metroplex) that they will no longer be using warning sirens as the main method to announce bad weather, hazardous-materials spills, drinking water contamination, or vast utility outages.

The city is adopting a system called CodeRED, which announces emergencies through a phone call to those who have signed up to receive these calls. This system will cost North Richland Hills $15,000 the first year and $10,000 every year after, and that's at a discount rate.

I have to wonder how badly this system is needed. The news, as crappy as they've become in the last few years, still do a pretty good job of telling us about chemical spills and power outages. Are these phone calls going to give any information about when the emergencies they announce will be taken care of? If not, what's the point of spending tax-payer money on it?

I don't feel that we can ever get rid of the warning sirens. Living in Tornado Alley makes them a necessity. When Fort Worth and Arlington were hit by a couple of tornados in 2000, a friend of mine and her 4-year-old son were in her car on a freeway in Fort Worth. Needless to say, she wasn't at home to receive a warning call. She heard the sirens, and immediately found temporary shelter. For all the people away from home, those who don't have cell phones, and those who just haven't got around to signing up for the service, we must keep the sirens.

So, now I'm back to my orginal question. How badly is this system needed?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Thoughts

To many christians worldwide, this is a very important weekend. This is the weekend they celebrate the resurrection of their savior and the promise this offers for all christians. I wish them well, and I hope the weekend turns out as they planned. All americans should be free to worship as they please.

But I must say a few words to the right-wing evangelicals:

a] Where the hell did you come up with the "gospel of prosperity"? This is the version of christianity that says it's perfectly acceptable to be rich and hoard that wealth. Isn't this exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught? Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. This is not a hard concept to understand. If you die rich, then you have not done all you could to help the less fortunate as Jesus wanted.

b] Where do you get all these ridiculous rules? Certainly not from Jesus. Jesus said there were only two rules - 1. love God with all your heart, and 2. love your neighbor as yourself. All other rules were made by men, especially Paul, who never met Jesus but had the audacity to speak for him, and really seemed to love making rules. Many evangelicals think drinking alcohol is a sin, but Jesus didn't believe this and even helped provide more wine for a wedding he was attending. Shouldn't christians be more interested in what Jesus wants them to do, than what Paul or some other man wants them to do?

c] Should you be judging your fellow man? Right-wing religious nuts are not only quick to judge their fellow citizens, but are prone to make vicious and unprovoked attacks on those they disagree with. I have news for you. You don't have to be a republican or a hatemonger to be a christian. In fact, I believe both to be detriments. The Bible says to not only love your fellow man, but to "judge not, lest you be judged". These are simple words. Why are they so hard to understand?

d] Get rid of the "gay" bashing. It just makes you look petty and vicious to attack people who are doing you no harm. It does not harm you or your marriage for a fellow citizen to live a different lifestyle. If you think it has harmed you, please, PLEASE, TELL ME HOW! And I don't want to hear that the Bible condemns homosexuality. The Bible also supports slavery. Times change, and so do opinions and beliefs.

e] There is no war on christianity!!! Only a con-man or a witless fool could claim there is. Over 80% of americans say that they are christians. The excutive branch and both houses of congress are controlled by your beloved republicans. Nearly every single elected official in both parties and on the national, state, and local level says he is a christian. There is no way you can claim to be a persecuted minority WHEN YOU HAVE ALL THE REINS OF POWER. The real minority in this country that is persecuted for religious reasons is the atheist community. Just ask yourself, could an atheist get elected in my district? I bet the answer is no regardless of where you live.

To all the real christians out there - HAPPY EASTER ! To all those who would use christianity for your own greed and hate-filled agenda, I hope you fail in all that you try.

Friday, April 14, 2006

U.S. Falling Behind ?

It was only a very few years ago that the United States was the world leader in computer technology. Many thought that leadership would last for a long time. That is not the case. Japan has caught up with us rather quickly on the technology, and several other nations are getting close. Now it looks like we are being bypassed in the teaching of computer skills and problem-solving.

The 2006 Association for Computing Machinery's International Collegiate Programming Contest just ended in San Antonio. This was the 30th annual competition held, and the results don't look very good for the U.S. this year. Contestants competed in 3-man teams, and were given 5 hours to solve 10 extremely complex problems. The winning team solved 6 of the problems correctly in the 5 hour time limit.

The winners of the competition were students from Russia's Saratov State University. Yes, you heard that right. Russian students demonstrated the best problem-solving skills. They were awarded a trophy, $10,000 scholarship, and computer equipment from IBM. But it gets even worse. There were three runner-up gold medals awarded, none to Americans. These were earned by the University of Twente [Netherlands], Altai State Technical University [Russia], and Jagiellonian University of Krakow [Poland]. The U.S. team from MIT did share a silver medal with teams from China and Russia.

Why did our students not do better? It's not intelligence. All nations have their share of intelligent people. The problem is EDUCATION! Since the right-wing evangelicals have been in power, our schools have suffered. They have shown a singular lack of respect for public education, especially in the areas of math and science. They denigrate the sciences daily and are interjecting their religion into our classrooms. While we are trying to force religion on our students, the rest of the world is embracing science and making sure their students are properly taught. It is no wonder they are passing us in fields that we used to own.

As long as we teach myth instead of science, our schools, our business, and our country will continue to suffer, and we will slide further behind the rest of the world. All the praying in the world will not solve this problem. The only answer is a proper scientific education devoid of all myth.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Law & Order - Texas Style

Sometimes law enforcement in Texas can be just a little different. Let me submit the following stories for your consideration:

1. Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission has suspended their recent practice of going inside bars and arresting patrons they believe to be drunk. One of the arrests made was on an out-of-town woman who was drinking in the bar of the hotel where she was staying. They certainly can't claim to be protecting the public on that one! Arrests such as this have angered many merchants and businessmen, who believe this would send many conventions and other business to other states. Seeing that they have stirred up a hornets nest, the TABC is now backpedaling as fast as it can. They have suspended the program so they might "study" it further. My guess is that the program will never come back. You don't step on business toes in Texas.

2. The Fort Worth Police Department says they are going to issue Tasers to the 54 officers patrolling the hallways of Fort Worth middle and high schools. A police spokesman said, "It is our department's intention to equip every one of our police officers with the most efficient and up-to-date equipment available. That would include school officers." This is a laudable goal, but I wonder about the use of Tasers in middle school or in high school. In the past couple of years, at least six people have died after being hit by a Taser. We don't know if drug or alcohol use can cause deadly consequences when combined with a Taser. We don't know how someone in poor health would react. Have tests been done on the Taser's effect on juveniles? We simply don't know enough about a Taser's effects to start using them on middle school or high school students. This is just a bad idea.

3. Arlington police are using empty police cars as decoys in an effort to slow traffic down. They are taking the cars that would normally be parked at the station and not in use, and they are parking them on major arteries in the city. A motorist approaching cannot tell if the car is manned or not and therefore slows down. This sounds like a good idea, at least until some delinquent steals one and takes it for a joyride.

4. A Dallas County Jail prisoner has escaped from custody. He had been jailed on 2 arson charges and 1 criminal mischief charge. He was in Parkland Hospital where he had recently had surgery on his abdomen. He was being watched by a private security guard. When the guard went to the bathroom, the prisoner simply left. I don't even know what to say about this, except that this is not the first time it has happened.

5. On wednesday night, a 31 year-old man who had been sentenced to death, was found dead in his cell. Prison officials said he had died of natural causes, but refused to give any further information. If he did die of natural causes, then he saved the state a lot of money. If he didn't, the prison has a real mess on it's hands.

6. Police officials in the city of Dallas said that the recent demonstrations [the largest in Dallas' history] had cost the city about $415,000.00 extra for the required police protection. This was also the most peaceful demonstration Dallas has seen. I wonder if these officials are whining or bragging. What was the purpose of this press release?

Sometimes I'm proud of my brothers in law enforcement and corrections, and sometimes I think, "What the fuck?"

Congrats!

Congratulations, my fellow Texans! We are #1 on yet another list. We are now the single largest source for greenhouse gases in the country!

Aren't you proud?

According to the EPA, Texas power plants pumped more than 255 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year. This is a rise of more than 7 million tons since 2004.

California, Mississippi, Arkansas, Illinois, and Utah all managed to lower their carbon dioxide emissions, though. It seems that the citizens of those states actually like to breathe clean air.

What are we going to do, you ask, to ensure that future generations of Texans will be able to breathe without needing an oxygen tank? We're going to crack down on those evil cigarette smokers.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find a brick wall to bang my head against. Repeatedly.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bit of Hope

Shortly after Ann Richards became the governor of Texas, my older brother got to meet her briefly. Having heard her name being spoken of well in our house, I was jealous. I wanted to see this woman who all of the adults in my family so greatly admired. When I was 12-years-old, I finally got my chance. My father took me to see her speak in Fort Worth.

The experience as a whole was one I will never forget. She gave a wonderful speech, making her the first politician to earn my undivided attention. After the speech, I got to meet one of our state Supreme Court justices, as well as several state representatives. By the time we got back home, I had a newfound interest in politics and a new idol.

So when she announced a few weeks ago that she has esophageal cancer, I was crushed. Knowing that this type of cancer can be particularly nasty, my heart went out to her.

Yesterday, though, she gave me a little peace of mind. Speaking at a news conference, she said, "There is no doubt in my mind that I will recover from this," then went on to joke, "If I had known people would be so nice to me, I might have done this sooner."

That's one of the things I like most about her. I don't think she's ever left her home without her great sense of humor. That, along with her incredible strength, makes me think that if anyone can beat this horrible disease, she can.

I don't think Ann is done with this world quite yet, and her words yesterday confirm this belief. Now, I can only hope that I'll be hearing her witty and inspiring words again very soon.

Practice What You Preach

Why don't republicans practice what they preach? It might be my imagination, but I thought the republicans were claiming to be conservatives. However, I don't see many conservative beliefs being practiced by Georgie's administration or the republican-controlled congress.

Conservatives are supposed to believe in smaller and more efficient government. During Georgie's administration, government has grown larger and faster than ever before. Even past democratic presidents have not spent as fast or as much as Georgie has. The congress must agree with all this spending, because they have done nothing to stop it.

Conservative are also supposed to believe in a balanced budget. When Georgie took office, there was a trillion dollar surplus left in the treasury by President Clinton. Georgie, and his congressional co-actors have not only spent the surplus, but have put us trillions of dollars in debt. Georgie has to be the King of the Big-Time Spenders.

Conservatives claim to be the defenders of citizens' rights. Yet, taking away american rights via the Patriot Act seems to be okay with republicans. They also have no problem with americans' phones being tapped without a warrant or judicial oversight, and they want to take away a woman's right to choose. Honestly, I can't think of any right they are protecting.

I honestly don't know what makes a conservative nowdays. It seems that their greed and their desire to install a theocracy has caused them to abandon all of their old beliefs. Why don't they just practice what they preach?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuesday Idiot Blogging

"Acme Pizza, Euless, can I help you?"

"Are ya'll open?"

No, sir, we're not. I came to work today just for the fun of answering the phones in order to give people false hope. The jig is up.

Georgie Scares Me

Georgie is starting to scare me again. Over the weekend, it was reported that contingency plans have been completed for military action against Iran.

Of course, Georgie is denying this. He says the reports are nothing more than "wild speculation". Georgie says the contingency plans are simply "diplomatic" efforts to get Iran to cooperate with the world community.

This would sound good, if we hadn't already been lied to in this same way before. Before the start of the Iraqi war, Georgie assured us that war was only a last resort and he was trying to resolve differences through diplomancy. We know now that this was simply a lie. Georgie had already given his lap-dog [Tony Blair] the date on which the war would begin. Why should we believe that current diplomatic efforts are any more real than the previous ones?

I expect we will attack Iran militarily before the end of this year. But this is not the worst of the "contingency plans". It has been reported that when the military leaders tried to take the nuclear option off the table, Georgie put it back on the table. Let me make that clear. Georgie has included the use of nuclear weapons as an option in attacking Iran.

Is Georgie crazy enough to actually use nuclear weapons in the middle east? Absolutely! Georgie is absolutely 100% completely bat-shit insane!

Attacking Iran is almost a foregone conclusion. It is going to happen. I just hope we don't use nuclear weapons. Most of the world already is suspicious of our actions. Using nuclear weapons would make us a pariah, even in the eyes of our friends.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What's the Rush?

An 82-year-old woman was ticketed last month for taking too long to cross the street. She started crossing when the light told her she could, but was unable to make it across in the approximately 20 seconds she was allowed. A motorcycle cop gave her a $114 ticket for the infraction.

Now I certainly can't speak for everyone, but I'm pretty sure that most of us don't mind waiting for a few extra seconds for elderly people to cross the road. What in the hell was that cop thinking? Has life become so fast paced that we can't even wait for someone to walk across the street?

We have a lot of people in this country who are elderly or who are disabled. We can't expect them to live their entire lives on one side of the road. I think it is our duty as fellow citizens to make accomodations for them. How hard would it be to add an extra ten or twenty seconds to the lights?

I'm 25-years-old, and sometimes even I have to run to make it across the street before the light changes. Don't you think it's time for us to stop expecting the same from those who obviously aren't able?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Another Foot Wound

Well, it looks like the republicans may have shot themselves in the foot again. CNN is reporting that as many as 150,000 people are demonstrating in downtown Dallas today against the immigration bill introduced by the republicans. Anyone who has ever tried to organize a demonstration in the Dallas-Fort Worth area can tell you this is a remarkable feat. This area is not a hotbed of activism. After all, we are the reddest of red states. If you get together a few hundred people to demonstrate in this area, you are doing well.

But this is more than a few hundred people. This is 150,000 people! And for every demonstrater, we know there are several more people not there who have the same beliefs. Could the republicans have awakened a sleeping giant?

The hispanic demographic is one that republicans believe they are capable of getting significant support from. In fact, during the 2004 election the republicans invested a significant amount of money in appealing to hispanics with spanish-language ads on television, radio and in the newspapers. I believe they have just thrown away any gains they made in the past.

This is a large demographic in Texas and it's growing larger every day. If this 150,000 people [many of them new to politics] take their enthusiasm back to their own neighborhoods, and get involved in voter registration and GOTV campaigns, then the republicans could be in trouble. Hispanics could start voting against republicans in as high a percentages as other minority groups, and this would spell the end of their majority.

We will see how this ends in November, but it looks like the republicans have a lot of making-up to do if they want hispanic votes. Continuing to push for a punitive immigration bill will not help. The self-inflicted foot wound may prove to be fatal.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Armed Robber Shot by Intended Victim

Another reason it is never safe to assume that a Texan is unarmed:

Ft Worth Star-Telegram
Irving- An Irving teenager accused of trying to rob a man at gunpoint Wednesday evening was shot by the victim in a parking lot of an apartment complex, police said Thursday.

The 16-year-old was shot in the chest and remained in intensive care in critical condition Thursday at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, police said.

The man was not injured, police said. Police declined to identify the man or the teen.

No other injuries were reported in the shooting at about 9 p.m. Wednesday in the 9400 block of E. Valley Ranch Parkway.

The attempted holdup victim, a 45-year-old Irving man, told police that he was sitting in his pickup in the parking lot, talking on his cellphone, when the teen walked up. The teen, armed with a semiautomatic handgun, demanded the man's phone and wallet, police said.

The man told the teen he would give him his wallet and acted as though he was going to get it, but instead grabbed a large-caliber revolver on the seat, police said.

As he pushed the teen's gun away, the man shot him, police said. The teen spun around and ran away, police said. Fearing that the teen would return, the man drove away from the complex and called police a short time later to report the robbery attempt, officials said.

In the meantime, residents found the injured teen sitting on a curb near the apartment complex office. When he said he had been shot, they called police. As the teen was taken by ambulance to Parkland, the man drove back to the complex and gave police details of the attempted holdup.

The teen did not have a handgun when he was found, but police searched the complex and discovered one a few hours later.

Criminal Conduct

It looks like republican arrogance and stupidity is still reigning supreme in our country. First we find out from "Scooter" Libby that he was ordered to break the law by our president and vice-president. Libby said Cheney told him that the president had approved the outing of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Georgie told us months ago that he would fire anyone involved in the Plame affair. Once again, he has lied to us. He has not gotten rid of Rove or Cheney, and he has not resigned. Georgie shows us again that he believes himself to be above the law.

Georgie also broke the law by wiretapping americans without a court-issued warrant. He doesn't even deny this, but asserts that the law doesn't apply to him. In this same vein, he has also taken to attaching memos to bills he signs stating that he does not believe the president has to follow the law in question. Do we really want our president [or other politicians] to be immune to our laws?

Georgie also started an immoral war by lying to the american people. He knew when he was giving that famous state-of-the-union message that he was not telling the truth about possible weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But he wanted that war and knew he could not convince americans to go to war unless he lied to them, so he did it.

For someone who professes to be a christian, Georgie certainly lies and breaks the law a lot [both man's and god's law]. Is it any wonder then, that other republicans are starting to think the laws don't apply to them either.

Several republicans have already been convicted and others have already been charged with various crimes, and it looks like more charges will be coming in the future. Each day, we are learning of more and more criminal and unethical republican behavior.

Yesterday, the bugman's campaign manager organized a group of republican thugs to disrupt the news conference of democrat, Nick Lampson. At the news conference, republicans attacked a 70 year old woman by hitting her, shoving her, and trying to pull her hat down over her face. We should expect this kind of behavior. Why should rank-and-file republicans act any differently than their leadership?

If only we had a real minority opposition party. Bush and Cheney should have already been impeached and removed from office, but the opposition democrats don't seem to have the backbone for the job. They were even too cowardly to support a mild censure resolution.

With the republicans too criminal and the democrats too cowardly, who will save our country?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Mexican Straw Men

Illegal immigration has been the hot topic in the news lately, and in Congress. We have people wanting to build a fence across our southern border. We also have vigilantes patrolling our southern border [a disaster waiting to happen]. Much has been made of the claim that terrorists could cross our southern border if we don't shut it off. We also hear that the illegals are stealing jobs from Americans. Let me address some of these claims.

First, the jobs matter. How many illegal hispanic workers have you met with a "middle-class" job? Let me answer that - NONE!!! They truly do get the dirty jobs that others don't wish to do and do it for unethically low wages. We shouldn't punish the poor man working to feed his family. The real criminals are the employers who take advantage of the illegals. There is a crises of disappearing "middle-class" jobs, but it has nothing to do with illegal hispanics. These jobs are being outsourced to India and other asian countries. Cutting off illegal immigration will do nothing to solve this.

Next, the terrorists. There is no evidence that a terrorist has ever tried to enter our country illegally by crossing our southern border. They would have to be stupid to do so. The southern route is for desperate people trying to feed their families. This route has more border patrol officers, it is composed mainly of desert, and many have died trying to enter that way. For anyone with a little money, there are far easier ways to get in this country. In fact, all of the 9/11 hijackers flew into this country on a commercial airline. All they needed was a decent set of papers. Closing the southern route will do nothing to stop any terrorists.

Now, the fence and the vigilantes. The fence is a ridiculous idea, of course. Anything that can be built can be torn down. I know if my family's future was at stake, I would find a way under, over, thru, or around any fence and get to the other side. I expect many others would do the same. The vigilantes are just a bad idea. It is only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs. They also seem to be very fond of the confederate battle flag [the calling card of southern racists]. I'm afraid this whole issue is tinged with racism. Our northern border is both longer and more accessible, but I don't see anyone wanting to build a fence between the U.S. and Canada. After all, most Canadians are white. We seem to only want to keep non-whites out. No vigilantes at the northern border either.

America does have a jobs problem and a terrorist problem, but punishing poverty-stricken Mexican workers will not solve either problem. We should push our government to come up with real solutions, and stop attacking Mexican "straw men".

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Not in Uniform

I like going to the mall about as much as I like having a cigarette put out on my forehead. I try to avoid those hell holes as much as possible, but sometimes that can be unavoidable, especially if I'm looking for something specific. The few times I do go, I try to get out as quickly as possible.

Invariably, I end up walking behind someone whose pace is too slow, only to find myself standing in line behind somebody with too many questions for the cashier. That said, I'm usually left with plenty of time to people-watch.

I see pre-teen skateboarders, overworked mothers trying to get a grip on sugar-doped kids, elderly couples getting their fill of soceity, teenage girls in Daisy Dukes and fuck-me-heels, bored housewives with 2 handfuls of shopping bags, and, among many others, middle-aged men racing me to the exit. I am never surprised at who (or what) I see roaming the halls of malls.

So when I was reading this morning about a theft at one of our local malls, I was a bit dumbfounded when the officer investigating the case was quoted as saying,"We don't know who they are. They were dressed the way you would see people at the malls, so nothing really sticks out."

Is that supposed to be code for "not wearing a ski mask"? Having seen just about every style out there represented by mall patrons, I can't possibly imagine what else he could have meant. Did he expect a criminal to stand out in such a diverse crowd? And if so, wouldn't that be a form of profiling?

Maybe I'm being a little quick on the draw, but statements like that being made by law enforcement concern me.

Health Care Solution ?

I think most people realize that we have a health care crises in this country. We have 40-50 million people who have no health insurance at all [and most of these people are working]. Even those who have health coverage through their employer are finding that the health plan they get covers less with each passing year. We are the only industrial nation that does not provide health care coverage for all of it's citizens.

Massachusetts is trying to solve this problem in their state. The state legislature has just passed a bill requiring health coverage for all citizens by July 1, 2007. The bill has remarkable bi-partisan support. It passed the House by 154-2 and was approved by the Senate 37-0. The governor has said he will sign the bill into law.

One way they have reached this bi-partisanship is by taking ideas from both sides in the debate. Conservatives generally favor personal responsibility and liberals generally favor employer mandates. Both ideas are included in the plan.

The plan has the following elements:
1. Everyone must be insured by July 1, 2007.
2. Those making less than $9,500 a year will get coverage with no premiums or deductibles.
3. Between $9500 and 300% of poverty level will pay on a sliding scale with no deductibles.
4. Businesses not providing insurance will pay a $295 fee per employee anually.
5. An individual who is not covered by 7/1/2007 will face a fine of over $1000 yearly.
6. Other individuals and businesses should see a small drop in their premiums.

Massachusetts says the plan should cost $316 million the first year, and more than $1 billion by the third year. They are not raising taxes, and say the program will be funded with federal reimbursements and state dollars.

I don't know if the program will work, or not. I generally favor a single-payer system, but I must admit that I am intrigued by this program. At least, they are making a real attempt to cover all their residents. If they are successful, we could soon be seeing other states follow suit. We must find a way to give health care coverage to all our citizens. Anything less is unacceptable.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Twas a fine morn

For the first time since I can remember, my alarm this morning actually didn't go off too early for my comfort. I woke in a decent mood and was greeted by a bird chirping outside my window, much to my amusement.

Then I turned on the television only to be met by the wonderful news that Delay will not be running for re-election. I screamed "YES!!" so loud that I probably woke neighbors 2 blocks away. The smile stayed on my face throughout the bathing process.

To make my morning that much better, my boss was only fifteen minutes late, compared to the usual hour. Then, to add the cherry to the ice cream, my first order of the day gave me a $33 tip.

Suddenly I want to be Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. This is the kind of morning that I don't mind being repeated one bit!

Tuesday Idiot Blogging

"Um, yeah, I just got one of your advertisements in the mail. I noticed it had a picture of a pizza on it, so I scratched it and sniffed, but I didn't smell a pizza. Does this mean I get a free pizza?"

Yes, we really received that call. It took everything in my power not to be a smart-ass on that one!

Bugman Quits

The people of Texas received a wonderful gift today. The bugman [Tom DeLay] announced that he will resign from Congress and will not run for re-election.

Bugman said he was resigning because, "I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative, personal campaign". In spite of his past bravado, I think reality was starting to set in for the bugman. His district was not as republican as it has been in the past [thanks to his own unethical redistricting efforts] and his opponent is stronger this year. I believe the bugman could see his own defeat in November.

Is this the end of republican graft and corruption? Not by a long shot! The bugman was one of the most criminal and unethical members of Congress, but he was certainly not the only one. This should not be the end of republican problems, but only the beginning.

Who will win the bugman's old district now? That's anybody's guess. I believe the bugman's quitting does help the republicans in that district, but the district is more evenly divided than ever before. If the democrats show some backbone, they just might win this seat.

Bugman says his resignation will be effective sometime before mid-June. Finally, he has done something good for the citizens of Texas.

Monday, April 03, 2006

News?

I am about sick and damn tired of getting "news" that really doesn't tell me anything. This morning I was looking at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram website and found this little tidbit:

40,982 bankruptcies were filed in 2005 in the Northern District of Texas, which encompasses 100 counties stretching from the panhandle to North Central Texas, including Dallas and Tarrant.

Now, 40,000+ bankruptcies is a number which certainly catches the eye! Should I be concerned? Or should I be relieved? It would have been nice if, say, they told me if it was an increase or decrease from the previous year!

I attempted to put my shoddy investigative skills to work, but I ended up in Google bankruptcy hell. I found plenty of forms and bankruptcy lawyers, but none of the statistics which could help me determine if we are above or below our yearly average. I did, however, find a site that told me that Texas had one of the lowest bankruptcy rates in the country in 2003, but it didn't tell me how many were filed that year.

Now, I know the media of today hate to give us real news, but why bother to print something if you aren't going to explain what in the hell in means?!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Economy Not Great

According to the republican shills on tv, Lil' Georgie's insane economic policies have produced a great economy! They don't understand why the common man doesn't see this. They tell us that millions of jobs have been created and the economy is growing. Why don't we appreciate Georgie's efforts?

The poor and the working class have just been totally left out of this wonderful recovery. The minimum wage has not had lower buying power since 1979. Since working class wages are based on the minimum wage, this means their buying power is less than it has been in 27 years.

Where are the millions of new jobs? The only new jobs I see are minimum wage based jobs. This means they pay a wage that is slightly above the minimum. Certainly not the kind of job that could propell a person into the middle class. Where are the new high-paying middle-class jobs?

I'll tell you where they are. The jobs being added because of this "great economy" are being outsourced to India and a myriad other places that will allow their citizens to be abused. The middle class may have the most to lose in this economy. Their jobs are the ones being outsourced right now, and many are already only a couple of missed paychecks away from poverty.

Georgie has talked a little about the retraining of outsourced workers, but has supplied very little money or training. Where are the jobs to be retrained for? It's not computer jobs. Those are already being outsourced. Soon, there will be nothing left in this country but service jobs.

There is one group to whom this really is a great economy - the rich and super-rich. Georgie's rich buddies have done great.

It is time for democrats to act. They must not only appeal to their base, they must save their base. As Georgie's economy grows, so does poverty and hardship. Do the democrats have enough spine for the job? I hope so. There is no one else.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Epiphany !

I had an epiphany last night, and to my embarrassment, I now realize that the following things are true:

1. George Bush would never lie to the american people.

2. The Iraq War was/is neccessary to protect the world from terrorism.

3. God speaks to Pat Robertson and Pat speaks to our country.

4. Liberals are evil and hate America.

5. We are winning the Iraqi War, but the press won't report it.

6. Gays/Lesbians want "special" rights instead of equal rights.

7. Halliburton is an honest company and would not cheat or steal.

8. Tom DeLay is not a criminal.

9. There is a war on christians in this country.

10. Republicans are really nice people.


HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY !!!!!!