Friday, February 29, 2008
Almost $50 billion is spent yearly to incarcerate the 2 million plus inmates.
Texas leads the United States in its number jailed, with 171,790 behind bars. Texas also leads the nation in number of executions.
So, doesn't it seem that maybe there might be something wrong here? Besides there apparently being way too many criminals. Could part of the problem be maybe some things should not be punished by jail time?
For instance, a couple weeks ago I blogged about The Soviet State of Texas. I wrote about what happened to a friend of mine down in Corpus Christi over a bounced $20 check from years prior. For a few days she was one of the 1 in 99.1 adults in jail. Read what she had to say about her experience in what I call the Texas Gulag, but which she refers to as a Concentration Camp.
"I saw more pain in that Concentration Camp of torture than I ever need to see again. The Judge in Dallas who wanted to extradite me back to Dallas to account for this $20 check to Kroger I don't even remember. It was my worst nightmare. They held me with no charges from 8:30am my last day until 11:30pm that night. I thought I was gonna die there. They took me off all my meds and provided no treatment for my diabetes. I went thru withdrawal from all my meds. You can't imagine."
The U.S. frequently complains about China's supposed human rights abuses. I wonder if someone can get thrown in jail in China over a bounced check?
Such things don't just happen in Texas. I have another friend who had a similar experience, but this was up in Washington. This also was over money, and in my opinion, a malicious prosecution by an unscrupulous, amoral prosecutor. The victim was also a female, she also was denied her meds. (why do I know so many female jailbirds?) On arrival at the jail she was strip searched and spent her first night chained to a toilet that was used by dozens of others. The judge was sympathetic to her plight and released her after 3 days.
Til I heard her story I did not realize such things happened in America. Good Christian human rights loving nation that we are, land of the free, home of the brave. The majority of Americans consider themselves God-fearing Christians. Isn't one of Jesus's things something like "that which you do to the weakest among you, you do to Me."?
There are too many people thrown into jail for nonsensical things. It needs to stop. Meanwhile, O.J. remains free. As are many other actual serious crime perpetrators. While who knows how many modern day Jean Valjeans are having their lives ruined because they were so hungry they took a loaf of bread without asking? Or bounced a check? Or didn't realize calling a prosecutor an idiotic baboon would result in a vendetta that would end in jail time?
Thursday, February 28, 2008
It doesn't help the sad state of my deteriorated imagination that we are again suffering from balmy, open the windows, temperatures here in Texas. It makes me want to take a nap. If only I could. I've not been able to take a nap in decades. I'm so jealous of those who can. Or those who can sleep on an airplane. How can they manage that? I have trouble sleeping even at the normal go to bed time of the night, sleeping on an airplane is not even remotely possible. I know this one overweight lazy Goober who takes a minimum of 2 naps a day. He has a morning nap and an afternoon nap. And if the day has been especially tiring he adds a 3 nap in the early evening. This sad fool gets up around 5am so that he can manage to get something constructive done and have plenty of time to nap.
It is coming up on 7pm here in the Central Time Zone of the United States. That means I am about 2 hours from my minimum bedtime. Not that I sleep then. I just go to bed and read. I'm still trying to get through Gail Sheehy's book about Hillary called Hillary's Choice. It's exhausting. I don't know how that woman continues to put up with Bill.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
It's another photo that has been around awhile, that seems much more scandalous to me, living as we do in the post Janice Jackson nipplegate wardrobe malfunction Super Bowl scandal era that brought about the end of civilization as we had known it.
The photo I am referring to is a photo of Barack Obama carousing on a beach. Topless. Totally without upper body garb. In our current era of equal rights between men and women why is it okay for a man to bare his breasts for all the world to see, but if a women does this for just a fraction of a second all hell breaks loose?
But, did this shocking photo end Barack's political aspirations? No, not in the least. But what if it had been Hillary who the paparazzi had shot topless, carousing on a beach? (what a shudder provoking thought) I think it's pretty obvious that such behavior would have ended Hillary's political career.
So, how is that fair? It's okay for Barack Obama to splash about, for all to see, virtually naked, but if Hillary did the same she'd be pilloried? And how is the photo of Barack in native garb controversial, where one of him mostly naked raises nary an eyebrow? In the native garb photo Barack is pretty much covered from head to toe, very little flesh exposed. And he is showing sensitivity to the culture he was visiting.
What twisted mind would make a big deal out of that African garb photo? Likely not the same twisted mind that would make a big deal out of Barack's topless photos. And on a totally unrelated note he looks to be in pretty good shape for a guy who smokes. But he should keep his shirt on.
Monday, February 25, 2008
So, last night I made a bowl of popcorn and tried to watch the Oscar show. I don't care for Jon Stewart so that was strike one right there. That show has just become tedious to me. And almost as bizarre as the Super Bowl in how such a fuss is made as if it is something significant if someone wins or doesn't win. It all seems so pompous. I used to like watching it when I lived on the west coast because it came on at 5:30 and was done by 9 or so. And since it is a live broadcast odd things used to happen. Like streaking. But it's been sterile for years now.
The show used to seem sort of like living history. There'd be all these Stars who were Big Stars, but one by one they've mostly died off leaving only a few remaining. And they are old. I think Paul Newman is in his 80s now. I don't know if Elizabeth Taylor still walks. I don't know if Debbie Reynolds can stay out of her wine long enough to attend a long, nighttime event.
Yesterday afternoon I went over to see the Puerto Rican Illegal Alien I've mentioned before. She'd had a stressful week and had left me a couple voice mails. So by mid-afternoon she was self-medicating a bit and somehow spilled a huge glass of spiked water and ice on me. Part of this week's drama was her 15 year old nephew in El Paso had stolen his mother's brand new car and took it for a 2 block joyride when he had a wreck and totaled the car. The kid was not hurt.
The father of the kid is the brother of the Puerto Rican, he is stationed in Iraq. The kid claimed he took the car because he misses his dad so much. I don't quite see the connection. The dad had already been injured once in Iraq, was sent to Germany to recover. That's where the family was stationed. Then the army decided to move them back to the U.S., to El Paso. And then Bush's surge happened and despite being told he would not be sent back to Iraq he got shipped back last August.
My friend up in OK who is moving back to WA who set her property on fire last week also has a kid in Iraq. He is only 25, married, with 3 kids. He was shipped to Iraq with the 3rd kid on the way and has been back for two weeks to see the kid after it arrived. I forget how it was that he ended up in Iraq, it was like he was supposed to be in some officer's training deal, and then he got told it'd look good if he did a tour of active duty during a war and that it'd only be 6 months. But somehow that turned into 15 months. How can they/we send a kid with 3 kids to a war that should never have happened?
Bush should do a tour in Iraq or Afghaniststan when his current job ends. It'd be good for the boy. No one should ever get to send anyone to war who has not been in a war. Or in the military for that matter. Bush's military experience apparently consists of having watched Patton and The Longest day a number of times.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I think the last movie I've been to that may have won an Academy Award was Gladiator, I think that is what it was called. Russell Crowe fought Romans. I saw it in the restored Cinerama in Seattle. Paul Allen had a fondness for a landmark Seattle theater and so he bought it and restored it to its former retro glory. I remember the theater more than I remember the movie.
Lulu, you remember Lulu, I'm sure, all you who religiously read every word of my blog, well Lulu went to the grand re-opening of the Cinerama. Her first husband was there doing photographer duty. Lulu found herself talking to a disheveled looking guy. The guy introduced himself, but Lulu had no clue who Paul Allen was. She was just along for the ride. And the free food. So, Lulu goes over to tell her husband that that guy she'd been talking to had invited them to another party, after this one is done, at that EMP thing by the Space Needle. It was then that her husband, let's call him Geff, told Lulu that she'd been talking to Paul Allen. Yes, I know that, Lulu replied, to which Geff informed Lulu that Paul Allen is the Microsoft billionaire who bought the Cinerama and built the EMP (Experience Music Project). Apparently Paul Allen was quite charmed by Lulu's cluelessness and gave her a private tour of the EMP.
As you can see, Lulu is not the most culturally aware person on the planet. Which means, quite obviously, that she will not be watching the Academy Awards tonight. Lulu has a history of encounters with well-known people who she knows nothing about. She had a store in Tacoma called Frona & Zigz. It was a cool store with cool stuff in a cool part of town. A band called U2 was in town to play at the Tacoma Dome. Members of the band somehow found Lulu's store. One of the members of the band bought a vintage bicycle. When the band members left the store one of Lulu's customers came up to her and said something like "I can't believe you were talking to Bono all that time and weren't acting excited." "Bono?" Lulu asked. "Yes, the lead singer for U2". "U2? What's U2?" I do not know if all these years later Lulu has yet bothered to learn what U2 is or who Bono is.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Hillary had been at a rally in Dallas where about 1000 people showed up and shivered in the early morning cold.
On the drive from Dallas to Fort Worth a Dallas motorcycle cop, Victor Lozada-Tirado, one month into his motorcycle cop career and assigned yesterday to Hillary's motorcade, crashed against a curb and died. (Lulu please have your first husband read this, maybe it will be the wakeup call he so desperately needs, which may bring him out of his mid-life-Harley-riding-at breakneck-speeds crisis)
So, when Hillary showed up for the Fort Worth rally she told the crowd what had happened and that it wouldn't feel right to hold the rally, that she was cutting it short so she could return to Dallas to express her condolences to the family of the fallen cop. Hillary promised to return to Fort Worth before the March 4 Texas Primary.
After the news the crowd quickly dispersed, leaving downtown Fort Worth in its usual less populated state that you see in the above photo. That is the Tarrant County Court House you see in the photo, looking north up Main Street.
I think the last time I saw a Presidential candidate campaigning was Jimmy Carter in an airplane hangar at Boeing Field in Seattle. That would have been the year he lost to Reagan. That was kind of cool with Air Force One pulling up and the President getting out of the plane. No, just remembered, Jimmy was not the last one I've seen, years after that I went down to UPS in Tacoma, where my baby sister was going to school, to see another loser, Michael Dukakis. I honestly don't remember if we saw him or not. This was not a memorable guy. He seems to have disappeared. Last I heard he was delivering packages for UPS. It seems like the fieldhouse/basketall arena venue was full and so we waited outside with all the others who had been denied entrance. During the 1976 election I saw another losing candidate, Gerald Ford. That was a cool one. The rally was held at a waterfront park in downtown Seattle and Ford came in by hovercraft.
The latest poll in Texas has Hillary and Obama virtually tied. Early voting here is breaking records. In Texas we have what we call the Texas Two Step. You vote once in the primary and then go vote again in a caucus. I've no idea how this works in the assigning delegates part of it.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
43. "The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th." --Washington, D.C., July 12, 2007
42. "I'm the commander -- see, I don't need to explain -- I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president." --as quoted in Bob Woodward's Bush at War
41. "F*ck Saddam. We're taking him out." --to three U.S. senators in March 2002, one year before the Iraq invasion, as quoted by Time magazine
40. "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties." --discussing the Iraq war with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson in 2003, as quoted by Robertson
39. "I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me." --talking to key Republicans about Iraq, as quoted by Bob Woodward
38. "I hear there's rumors on the Internets that we're going to have a draft." --presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004
37. "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." --Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000
36. "Do you have blacks, too?" --to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001
35. "This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating." --as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002
34. "My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire." --radio address, Feb. 24, 2001
33. "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." --on "Good Morning America," Sept. 1, 2005, six days after repeated warnings from experts about the scope of damage expected from Hurricane Katrina
32. "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." --Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000
31. "I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound largemouth bass in my lake." --on his best moment in office, interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, May 7, 2006
30. "They misunderestimated me." --Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000
29. "Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled." --explaining his plan to save Social Security, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005
28. "For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It's just unacceptable. And we're going to do something about it." --Philadelphia, Penn., May 14, 2001
27. "This is an impressive crowd -- the haves and the have mores. Some people call you the elite -- I call you my base." --at the 2000 Al Smith dinner
26. "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." --LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000
25. "I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe -- I believe what I believe is right." --Rome, Italy, July 22, 2001
24. "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005
23. "People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you." --Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002
22. "I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it...I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet...I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one." --after being asked to name the biggest mistake he had made, Washington, D.C., April 3, 2004
21. "You forgot Poland." --to Sen. John Kerry during the first presidential debate, after Kerry failed to mention Poland's contributions to the Iraq war coalition, Miami, Fla., Sept. 30, 2004
20. "We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." (Laughter) --touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005
19. "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." --State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003, making a claim that administration officials knew at the time to be false
18. "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." --Washington, D.C., Sept. 13, 2001
17. "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." --Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002
16. "Can we win? I don't think you can win it." --after being asked whether the war on terror was winnable, "Today" show interview, Aug. 30, 2004
15. "I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." --Washington, D.C. June 18, 2002
14. "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job." --to a group of Amish he met with privately, July 9, 2004
13. "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." --speaking underneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 2003
12. "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories ... And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." --Washington, D.C., May 30, 2003
11. "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!" --joking about his administration's failure to find WMDs in Iraq as he narrated a comic slideshow during the Radio & TV Correspondents' Association dinner, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2004
9. "As yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured." --on the No Child Left Behind Act, Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2007
8. "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." --Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2000
7. "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense." --Washington, D.C. April 18, 2006
6. "There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on --shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." --Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002
5. "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." --Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004
4. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." --Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004
3. "You work three jobs? ... Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." --to a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005
2. "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." --to FEMA director Michael Brown, who resigned 10 days later amid criticism over his handling of the Hurricane Katrina debacle, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005
1. "My answer is bring them on." --on Iraqi insurgents attacking U.S. forces, Washington, D.C., July 3, 2003
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Unrelated to the moon, there is a Navy ship out at sea that is going to try and shoot down an out of control satellite that is loaded with a ton of very toxic liquid that could survive if allowed to crash to earth. So, one of the Star Wars missiles is hoping to slam into the satellite at a very high speed. This missile was designed to shoot down ICBMs traveling at a slower speed than the satelite. The Navy has 3 missiles that have been re-programmed to make this hit.
Speaking of taking a hit. Hillary has now lost 10 states in a row. There are 2 upcoming debates prior to the Texas primary on March 4. I read today that Hillary's advisors are arguing about what to do, whether to go into aggressive attack mode or not. I think she should try the Tears Strategy again, only this time get in some real good sobbing and produce at least one really big tear running down at least one of her cheeks.
I got a real good photo of the Fort Worth UFO yesterday. With the beautiful skyline of downtown Fort Worth in the background. This view is looking west down the I-30 freeway. The photo makes it appear that the UFO is taller than the tallest Fort Worth skyscraper. I believe this is an illusion.
On another note, yesterday I mentioned my petty little issue regarding particular peculiar verbiage I read over and over again in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Today there were some fresh examples. I decided it might be fun to chronicle these. I wish I'd kept every instance of the "Green with Envy" verbiage when I first made note of it. Several years went by before I started keeping a collection. You may remember that yesterday we all learned that the reason the Star-Telegram repeats over and over again if a person has some remote connection to Fort Worth is because this gives the reader a local connection to the story. No matter how tenuous. So, in today's Star-Telegram, once more regarding American Idol, we learn that tonight among the 12 women singing that "Kristy Lee Cook lists Oregon as home but used to sing at Cowboys Arlington; Kady Malloy is from Houston."
Houston does not seem all that local to me, but what do I know? And then in another section, this, "Fort Worth native and CBS newsman Bob Schieffer...", in a blurb about Fort Worth native Bob Schieffer quitting news to play in a band. I have never seen Fort Worth native Bob Schieffer mentioned in the Star-Telegram without "Fort Worth native" preceding the name. Well, that's not totally accurate, later in the same article the last name may be repeated without the first name or the "Fort Worth native" modifier.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The first winner of American Idol was a Texan. You never see her name in the Star-Telegram without her hometown as a modifier, as in "Burleson's Kelly Clarkson". Today's American Idol article did the usual Kelly Clarkson mention. The headline for the article is "The latest 'Idol' boasts North Texas ties".
The article goes on to give a look at the 4 American Idol top 24 people with a Texas tie, saying "Two contestants in the top 24 cite North Texas cities as their hometowns, another has lived here, and another is married to someone from here".
Okay, so 2 actually live in North Texas towns. In the details the 'one who lived here', basically grew up and lives in Oregon, is now 24 and spent one year in Dallas, Frisco and McKinney. The one who married someone in Texas is an Australian living in LA who married a girl from Fort Worth and has visited here.
Now, how does this boasting thing work? Does someone from north Texas run into someone from south Texas and proceed to brag that north Texas has 4 people on American Idol? And two of those actually live there?
This boast/brag thing seems closely related to another odd pathology I've made note of before, that being the Green With Envy pathology where the Star-Telegram would say this that or the other totally ordinary thing in Fort Worth made towns far and wide green with envy or was the envy of towns far and wide. Strangely, ever since I webpaged examples of this bizarre verbiage from the Star-Telegram I have not seen another incident in that paper of something causing others to be green with envy.
Now back to this bragging about someone being from here thing. The Star-Telegram always does this. Like actor Bill Paxton apparently is from Fort Worth. Any mention of him is always Fort Worth native Bill Paxton. An actress named Betty Buckley is from Fort Worth, so it is always Fort Worth native Betty Buckley. Today there was mention made of Betty's brother, who I'd never heard of, Fort Worth native Norman Buckley, who apparently got an award at some obscure event called the "Eddie" Awards. I guess Fort Worth will now have the bragging rights and likely a city wide celebration because a Fort Worth native won a prestigious "Eddie" Award. Whatever that is. I guess I could look it up.
A country music singer I'd not heard of, Pat Green, moved to Fort Worth, with the Star-Telegram saying this now gave Fort Worth bragging rights regarding what they called the Texas Transient's move to FW, and that this move had Dallas, Lubbock and Waco green with envy. I am not making this up.
I could go on and on with examples of the "native of" verbiage, but won't. If I haven't made a point by now, more examples aren't going to do so.
So, where I used to live I subscribed to 2 newspapers, the Seattle P-I and the Skagit Valley Herald. Seattle has a few celebrities and well known people, as does the Skagit Valley. Burl Ives lived in the Skagit town of Anacortes til he died. I don't recollect ever reading his name in an article with verbiage like Anacortes native Burl Ives. That guy who played Jesus in that Mel Gibson movie, Jim Caviezel, is from the town I lived in, Mount Vernon. I don't recollect either the P-I or the SV Herald ever referencing him as Mount Vernon native, Jim Caviezel. The richest man in the world was born and raised and still lives in the Seattle zone. I don't recollect ever reading him referred to as Washington native Bill Gates, or Seattle native Bill Gates. Nirvana's Kurt Cobain grew up in the Washington coastal town of Hoquium. I don't recollect ever reading Hoquium native Kurt Cobain.
I can think of more examples of well known people living in the Seattle zone than I can think of here in Texas, suffice to say I don't ever recollect reading about any of them where the local papers repeatedly refer to people as being a native of this that or the other place. Let alone the fact of them being from this that or the other place giving that place some sort of bragging rights. Or being something to boast about. That just seems like bad manners. Maybe the Northwest is just a zone with better manners. And a lot of serial killers. But that's another day's blogging.
Monday, February 18, 2008
I've had a long history of trouble dealing with various Texas bureaucracies ever since my exile here way back in 1999. First thing I encountered was they insist on seeing your social security card to do just about anything. Now, up in Washington we'd always been told to keep this a secret, even before the problem with identify theft came into being. So, I had to get a social security card. This involved finding my birth certificate which involved asking my mom if she had any proof that I'd been born. She had none so I had to contact my place of birth in Oregon to generate a birth certificate so I could get a social security card so I could get a Texas driver's license and register to vote.
So, after many months of trying to go through all the hoops I finally was able to apply for a Texas driver's license. The DMV, or whatever they call it here, was a zoo. The computers that you took the written test on were so dilapidated that you could not make out colors. With the test asking you some questions based on colors. But, despite all the obstacles I managed to pass both the written and the driving test.
A couple weeks went by. My new Texas license finally arrived. On a Friday. I was planning to drive up to Washington for Christmas, leaving the next day. So, I was glad to finally have my Texas license. Til I looked at it more closely. As you can see by looking closely at the photo of my license, above, there is a rather glaring mistake.
So, yes, I headed north using a Texas driver's license that said I was a Female. Because of having this I did get one odd benefit. My sister let me attend her all girl Christmas party. But I had to be the greeter and show the girls my I.D. to establish my bonafides as being one of their gender.
When I got back to Texas I went down to the DMV, or whatever they call it here, waited in line, again, showed the lady my new license, asked her if she saw anything wrong. She said ooops. And then she checked the record. She had me lean forward and she whispered to me, "the records out of Austin say you are also African-American. You aren't are you?" I told her as far as I knew I was not either African-American or female, but how can anyone be absolutely 100% certain about such things?
So, now I guess I am in Texas Voter's Limbo. I'm fairly certain I can still do the early voting thing. Unless that has somehow gotten mucked up by me trying to change my polling place. I don't know why they don't have the permanent absentee ballot method that Washington and other states use. That would make it all so much simpler.
Now, if I do get to vote in the March 4 primary, who should I vote for? Barack or Hillary?
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
So, during the storm I took off to go to Wal-Mart. I needed gas. But the gas station's credit card readers were not functioning, likely a casuality of the lightning. So, I drove on to Wal-Mart on an empty tank. I did my standard call to my mom whenever I get gas, or attempt to get gas. My mom kept me entertained in the Wal-Mart parking lot while I waited for the rain to let up. After what seemed hours, but was likely only minutes, I decided I would need to use my umbrella to get through the downpour and inside Wal-Mart.
I finished with my Wal-Mart foraging and made it back to my vehicle, almost dry. I then decided to call my sister in Phoenix. She lives about 5 miles from my mom and dad. When my sister answered the phone I'd forgotten why I called her. So, we chatted purposelessly while I headed back here. And then my vehicle did that stalling thing that indicates it wants gas. I'd forgotten I'd not gotten gas. I got my sister off the phone and limped into a Shell station. Where I hit the wrong button and got Plus gas at $2.98 a gallon. So, I got a gallon and stopped the hemorrhaging.
We've lost power several times during today's bad weather. The internet connection is off and on. I've got no energy to try and find any sort of pic that might illustrate the horror of today. Let us all just imagine one big oversized lightning bolt crashing down and making a really really loud noise and call it a day.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
This letter is to notify you of criminal activity that has been reported in the immediate area. Two unknown young black males dressed in dark hoodies are approaching people with a black gun & yellow pistol grips demanding wallets, cash, jewelry, cell phones or anything of value. They approach the victims while they are on foot, walking from a car to a breezeway while walking alone. The criminal activity has been reported on Oakland Hills Drive, Ederville Road, Brentwood Stair Road, Boca Raton Blvd. and Pacific Place."
Basically I am doomed.
I can't wait to get me one.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Oh oh. I thought of another similarity between this book and my sister.
This book was about Gypsies taking advantage of elderly people and getting the old folks to put the Gypsies in their wills, or sign over their houses or their investments, like stocks and bonds and properties. Murder was also involved. Now my sister has never taken advantage of anyone, but she did manage to get involved with an elderly person. Or two. And somehow inherited all sorts of things. Cars, houses, property, bonds, cash. I am almost 100% certain my sister is not a Gypsy.
Now that I'm thinking about it I've got another acquaintance who made a minor sideline out of being the last surviving member of her clan and thus inheriting all sorts of things; money, houses, property, bonds, bank accounts, furniture, chickens, cars, cows and who knows what else. Sadly, this acquaintance slowly squandered all her ill-gotten gains, except for the cows, and now survives as a modern day junk collector/peddler. Yikes. That almost sounds like she's a Gypsy. She does sort of dress like a Gypsy, with colorful big skirts and garish jewelry and a fascination for the supernatural.
Anyway, Fay Faron and her Rat Dog Dick Detective Agency finally got the police to put an end to the Gypsie's reign of elder abuse. Incidentally, these Gypsie's were from the same branch of the Gypsy Mafia tree as the ones portrayed in the movie King of the Gypsies.
Fay Faron was so appalled by the lack of protection of the elderly from predators that she formed another agency called Elder Angels tasked with investigating financial crimes against the elderly.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Reading the letters to the editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram each morning gives one a good reflection of the broad spectrum of the thinking, or lack of, of Texans. Sometimes the letters can make you cringe, usually those are of a religious bend, spouting pure unadulterated ignorance that makes one wonder why the paper prints their silly nonsense.
On Sunday there were several letters regarding an issue in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district where one totally Bubba family was protesting the fact that an elementary school was offering a Spanish class. The Bubbas felt that the school was pushing an agenda where the United States is to be taken over by Mexican culture and language.
Many people objected to these particular Bubba's strident position, some comparing them to those who blocked school house doors in Alabama back in the 60s.
And then today came a letter from one of the many enlightened Texans (unfortunately I don't believe their numbers are yet a majority) in which the letter writer put the issue in proper perspective.
I'll copy the enlightened letter to the editor below, with no further commentary.
A Sunday letter (“Clash of words about Spanish”) said: “It’s inconceivable to me that some in this country are pushing an agenda for us to be taken over by Mexican culture and language.”
Monday, February 11, 2008
In the Soviet Union the death penalty was used frequently. Texas, by far, leads the United States in number of executions.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I remember decades ago, up in Washington, in the Skagit Valley, near the town of Sedro Woolley, on a hill named Hoogdal, a strange noise started up at night that sounded metallic and otherworldly. Locals were certain it was a UFO. Media from around the country descended on Hoogdal, not unlike what happened in Stephenville, Texas a month ago with the sighting of a supposed UFO. Eventually government investigators were able to determine, or the cover-up decided to say, that the Hoogdal Otherwordly Noise was caused by an Owl. It became known as the Hoogdal Owl.
So, back to my Texas Hoogdal Owl UFO Sound. As the second round of warbling progressed, the sound gradually faded. Whatever was making the sound, hovering UFO, or bird, was slowly moving away. Eventually the sound faded to silence and I faded back to sleep.
But, I ended up getting up early and I was in the mood for an early morning walk. So I got up and made my morning coffee, skipped my usual morning paper read, filled a thermos and drove to Oakland Lake Park (that is Oakland Lake you see in the photo above). It is a short distance from my abode. The early morning light had the birds all chirping and fellow early birds out walking. Very pleasant. None of the birds were making the noise that I heard in the middle of the night.
So, in regards to explaining what it was that seranaded me in the middle of the night, I lean towards the hovering UFO theory. That, or it was an Owl. A Fort Worth Owl. Not a Hoogdal Owl.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
I had no idea what to do. So, I called my web host. It is located in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Supposedly the biggest webhost on the planet. With its servers underground in bomb/tornado proof bunkers. However, on Super Tuesday, that being the night of tornadoes in 4 states, including Kentucky, my server was knocked out for an hour and a half due to the storms.
I got through to customer service. The problem was passed off to a tech guy who found that my webspace had been hacked with code added to something called, I think, htc access. After about 20 minutes the problem was fixed.
Why did this problem occur? How can I not help but wonder? The only thing I can figure, being of a conspiratorial, paranoid frame of mind is that in some Nixonesque meeting deep in the bowels of Dallas Cowboy Headquarters, Jerry Jones ordered his minions to do whatever they could to shut me up from telling America and the World what was done here in Texas to get Jerry Jones his new stadium.
Would it not be simpler and more linear to just pay me to shut up? Lord knows I can be bought. I mean, I've sprinkled my website with hundreds of Google ads, for gawdsakes, obviously I can be bought. Really, it's true. For just 10% of Tony Romo's signing bonus I'd pretty much be willing to shut up.
But in the meantime the scandal just keeps growing. It has been a couple years now since Jerry Jones and the City of Arlington perverted a legitimate legal tool in order to abuse the eminent domain laws to steal land, homes and businesses from hundreds upon hundreds of people.
Of those victims not all have settled. There are still, after all this time, 26 parcels of land being litigated with the owners trying to get fair compensation. I do not know where or how those poor souls are living while they await justice.
Regarding the lawsuits, this morning the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had some typically confusing verbiage that I can't quite parse. It said, "The tracts were initially appraised by Tarrant County at $1.6 million. The city offered to pay $1.8 million for the 26 parcels. With the proposed settlement of $868,250, owners could receive a total of $2.6 million for the land."
Does the above mean each person would receive that much, $2.6 million? Or would this be divided among the 26? All I know for certain is this. Slightly more than $70 million was paid for all the land, buildings and businesses that were stolen. Tony Romo's new contract is something like $69 million with a $13 million signing bonus. See anything wrong with this picture? How about giving the victims a cut of the $50,000 seat licenses the Cowboys are selling for a spot to sit above the victim's land?
It continues to impress me that Seattle somehow built 2 new stadiums and an exhibition hall, all adjacent, without displacing a single person from their dwelling. This in an area where land is in short supply due to mountains and a lot of water. While here in Texas land is plentiful, large open spaces in the heart of an urban zone. And yet somehow land could not be found for a new Dallas Cowboy Stadium without causing misery and hardship to who knows how many people.
Well, I'm doing my bit. Day by day hundreds of more Americans are being exposed to what the so-called America's Team has done to some Americans here in Texas.
As God is my witness I will not be hacked quiet. But, to repeat, my silence is negotiable.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Go here to read the whole awful story, including listening to 911 calls.
Domestic Abuse does not just occur in low class, poorly educated, poor families. It can occur in what would seem to be a cliche All-American family. I know this all too well.
If you think you are in a domestic abuse situation and somehow do not know for sure, here is a list of the Signs to Look for.
- Embarrasses you with bad names and put-downs.
- Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you.
- Controls what you do, whom you see or talk to, where you go.
- Stops you from seeing or talking to friends and family.
- Takes your money, makes you ask for money or refuses to give you money for your needs.
- Makes all the decisions.
- Tells you you're a bad parent or threatens to take away or hurt your children.
- Acts like the abuse is no big deal, says it's your fault or denies doing it.
- Destroys your property or threatens to kill your pets.
- Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons.
- Shoves, slaps or hits you.
- Forces you to drop criminal charges if police have been called to a domestic dispute.
- Threatens to commit suicide or to kill you.
- Forces you to have sex.
- Prevents you from working or attending school.
If you see yourself above, cry out for help, don't keep quiet, don't be afraid to tell people what is happening to you. GET HELP!