Saturday, September 30, 2006


The exploding scandal around disgraced Rep. Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who trolled for underage male pages while he chaired the caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, now threatens to envelop the House leadership.

It seems that Speaker Hastert's office was notified of Foley's improprieties nearly one year ago -- by Majority Leader John Boehner -- but took no action.

Let's summarize that: the GOP House leaders knew there was sexual predator in their midst, but did nothing to stop him.

Have we had enough of this corruption?

What are we going to do about it?

Apologies to Tony Orlando and Dawn

"Stick a Yellow Ribbon on Your SUV", by the Asylum Street Spankers (I found it at Truth Serum):

No one was tortured. A few Republicans were, however, terrorized

The Houston Progressive Blog-O-Sphere got offline and came together at the Onion Creek last night to host out-of-towner Vince Liebowitz, in town for his abuelita's 87th birthday and the Johnson-Rayburn dinner (Russ Feingold is keynoting tonight). Charles organized and Lyn, muse, Hal, Ryan G. of BOR, and the Diddies attended, and we ate, drank, and made merry. Well, as merry as potential enemy combatants can make.

For the record, few rumors were mongered even as the Friedman campaign conducted some sort of half-hearted rally/signup out on the patio. I saw one young man, cell phone glued to his head (dude, get a Bluetooth) sitting with one of those art-deco yard signs (only 15 bucks!). Left alone to carry on his phone conversations for the most part.

Hal's got a pretty funny post with pictures of the Fort Bend parade in Rosenberg. They showed their asses to the local Republicans. Seriously. Go look. Muse likewise has been all over Shelley Magoola Something-or-Other's hapless campaign, as well as state rep John Dufus' ethical lapses. Ryan recently exposed Martha Wrong's signage malfunction.

Why are all the Republicans cutting and running from debates with their challengers? Even the SCLM-alleged "safe" incumbents are dodging. What do they have to fear but fear itself?

The really surprising thing to me is that if you only looked at Texas conservative blogs, you wouldn't even know there was an election in thirty days.

If you're in the Metroplex today, this is the place to be.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Olbermann, the Post, anthrax, and what constitutes 'funny'

Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC "Countdown" host who's been sending shockwaves through the Bushies and their toadies with his "Special Commentaries" lately, received a letter with white powder in it this week.

Here's the New York Post's reporting of it.

Here's Olbermann's response to the New York Post (transcript, and video available with additional click).

The New York Post had a different reaction when they themselves were the recipient of an anthrax hoax.

So what's so funny about getting a letter like this? KO doesn't think it's funny, but the NYP now apparently does.

Is it funny when the joke's on someone else, after it's been on you? Is it funny when the joke is only on those with whom you disagree, politically?

Is sending white powder in the mail funnier than, say, cracking wise at the airport about the "gun" in your father-in-law's luggage?

Is it funnier than putting a dead deer's head in somebody's mailbox as a college prank?

Does my definition of humor need revising?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Byron Nelson, 1912 - 2006

"I don't know very much," Nelson said in a 1997 interview with The Associated Press. "I know a little bit about golf. I know how to make a stew. And I know how to be a decent man."

Fastow and Ebbers go to jail

A sense of closure today, and it's not necessarily the sound of clanging jail cell doors that produces it.

Jeff Andy Fastow, the former Enron CFO got six years (instead of ten) for cooperating with the prosecutors and was placed immediately into custody; Bernie Ebbers, the one-time basketball coach and WorldCom executive reported to the medium-security facility in Oakdale, LA -- we just drove past there over the weekend -- to serve a twenty-five year term, likely the rest of his life.

These were two of the highest-profile white collar criminals of the Nineties. Few rose as high and fell so far as Fastow and Ebbers. They were hailed as wizards for their business acumen, but it was eventually revealed that they were just plain old charlatans.

Next month Jeff Skilling, Fastow's capo, will be sentenced to prison, and probably for a very long time also. And with that, a most sordid chapter in the history of American corporate malfeasance will draw to a close.

Who will be this decade's Fastow, Skilling, or Ebbers? We might not yet know their names, but unfortunately some of them are probably doing business in Texas. The biggest crooks always seem to.

Could one of them be Bob Perry, of "Swift Boat" fame, who has funneled hundreds of thousands to Republicans throughout the state? Or perhaps James "Voucher" Leininger, who has done the same in order to advance his single issue, dismantling public education in Texas? Both men have made fortunes in business and poured those fortunes into the bank accounts of Republican politicians and conservative causes. Is it possible we could see their corrupt dealings land them in jail if we succeed in voting their GOP lackeys out of office in November?

The chickens always come home in the evening to roost, and dusk is coming a little sooner now that it's fall. Maybe we can hasten it along some if we do what we need to for the next 45 or so days.

Keith Olbermann calls Bush a coward

Chris Wallace is "a monkey posing as a news caster".

FOX is a "propaganda company so blatant that Tokyo Rose would have quit".

Watch (and eat it all, neoconderthals):

348 and 479

I was remiss in not acknowledging this sooner.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Some from the others

On the heels of the Chris Bell video posted below, there have been some other Texas happenings while I've been absent ...

-- BOR has blown Kinky Friedman out of the water. No wait, Kinky Friedman did it to himself. Anyway, here's Chapter 57 of "Kinky Blows Up, and Not in a Good Way".

-- While there are some on the left who think that this is not a good thing.

-- Vince has posted a video which serves as a good primer for the governor's race.

-- Greg Abbott is getting sued over his voter "fraud" shenanigans.

--My man David has been busy in West Texas, and writes that something big is happening out there. And when the Midland Reporter-Telegram agrees, guess what? There is.

-- Here's a great picture of some real Texas leaders.

-- John and muse have stayed busy getting to the vote (in preparation for getting that vote out, starting October 23).

-- Stace posts the letter of a former Kingwood Republican who has seen the light.

-- it turns out that my wife worked with Valinda Bolton back in the Eighties, when we lived in Plainview. She's going to be an excellent legislator.

-- Kuffner reminisced about Rita. (That inspired me to pull my own three-part tale out of the 9/05 archives for you.) In Lake Charles on Saturday, they also stopped to reflect. The hurricane left widespread damage throughout Texas and Louisiana -- from which parts of the area still struggle to recover -- but only killed eleven people. Ten times more than that died in the attempted evacuation of Houston, which I considered to be its own disaster. It warrants reminding that we were lied to by our government -- I'm looking at you, Rick Perry -- about the contraflow lanes to be opened, about the gasoline trucks being sent to refuel the thousands of stranded motorists and the calamity that could have occurred had Rita not turned to the east.

Update: Fred suggests a bigot's dream team: Macaca-N***** Eggs 06.

We need more cowBell

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Traveling to Louisiana today

Anticipate limited bloggage ahead as we travel to Lake Charles, then the family cemetery in Grayson (nobody passed away, just a necessary pilgrimage) and then Monroe on Friday before returning on Saturday.

Here is your news:

George "Macaca" Allen finds out he's Jewish.

There are hundreds of child prostitutes in Houston.

And Greg Abbott is still running amok:

The Killeen-based company that promised to protect landowners – for a fee – from potential eminent domain proceedings in connection with the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor project agreed to the terms set in a temporary injunction Thursday during a hearing before the 345th District Court in Austin.

Attorney General Greg Abbott sought the temporary injunction to stop the business "You Can't Take It" from continuing activity on grounds that the defendants may have violated parts of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act. ...

Hale Stewart, a Houston attorney representing the company, said his clients have shut the company down and "are moving to the immediate settlement with the Texas attorney general." ...

The company claimed to have found a loophole in eminent domain procedures using the legal precedent established through the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Kelo vs. City of New London, to justify its business plan. The company and Killeen residents Douglas Lee Thayer, Lou Ann Reed and her daughter Nykee Jolene Murray of Austin are defendants in the lawsuit. ...

Stewart said the company has only been in business for a month and hasn't purchased any properties or done any other business.

"I frankly think it's a smear campaign from Abbott," he said. "I think Greg Abbott is playing dirty."

Based on the number of companies that open every day in Texas, he said he did not understand why his clients' company was singled out.

"Why is it this one company that hasn't done any business," he said. "The Texas attorney general has shown a remarkably strong interest in this company. I find that really fascinating."

Based on the Kelo decision, Thayer claimed a company could block the state from taking any land through eminent domain.

The decision says that if an economic development project would provide an economic benefit in the form of higher tax revenues to a city, then eminent domain could not override that project, Stewart said.

The Trans-Texas Corridor is intended to relieve congestion on Interstate 35. It will parallel I-35 and extend from Oklahoma to Mexico, with possible connections to the Gulf Coast. It would not only separate car and truck lanes, but it would also include railroads and underground utilities, such as telephone, water and gas pipelines.

"I don't think it is appropriate that the attorney general's office is used to protect the Trans-Texas Corridor," Thayer said on Thursday.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Abbott says he's sorry about seizing those files, Judge

This blog is turning into a Greg Abbott-palooza today because the news just gets weirder by the hour. From the Corpus Christi Caller (hat tip to South Texas Chisme):

The Texas attorney general's office has apologized to U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack for seizing thousands of X-rays, some of which now are missing, that are central to a federal investigation into potentially fraudulent diagnoses of the lung disease silicosis.

If you need to refresh yourself on this story, go here.

In a letter to Jack dated Sept. 5, Abbott's office apologizes for the "confusion and misunderstandings" that the seizure caused, and noted that the attorney general's office should have sought approval from Jack before taking the X-rays.

"Not seeking prior leave of this Court was an error, and for that the Office of the Attorney General apologizes," the letter states.

Senior lawyers who were directing the investigation believed that approval from Jack had been sought, the letter continues. Abbott's officers were joking when they threatened to arrest Cosgrove, the letter said. Officers were told to collect the documents only if there was no objection from records custodians.

I believe this letter of apology from Abbott to be a full load of bullshit. For starters, I have trouble believing:

-- the notion that several attorneys in the OAG can operate collectively under the belief that they have a federal judge's OK when they actually do not;

-- that armed agents of the Attorney General's office HAVE EVER ONCE threatened to arrest anyone "as a joke";

-- and that the agents ignored an order from the lawyers to seize no records without custodial approval.

There are sworn, sealed affidavits detailing the chronology and communications among OAG staff, including Jay Kimbrough, Abbott's former director of the Office of Special Investigations, Deputy Attorney General Don Clemmer, Criminal Law Enforcement Division chief Adrienne McFarland, and Lance Kutnick, the lawyer handling the case.

Those sworn affidavits likely contain numerous statements that are simply implausible, unless you can believe that the OAG is completely dysfunctional and incompetent, top to bottom. And I don't believe that either.

However, it's a frightening prospect to consider: that the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas has become a modern-day Gestapo, accountable to almost no one until well after the fact.

I'd like to not believe that, but when Abbott's men are caught peeping into little old ladies' bathroom windows, and then offering as their only excuse that they thought they were peeping into the kitchen window...

.. well, who's stupid enough to believe that?

What would YOU do if you caught Greg Abbott peeking in your bathroom window?

A) Scream

B) Wonder how he got out of his wheelchair

C) Ask him if he'd like to take a few pictures

D) Shoot him in the face, Dick Cheney-style

Cast your vote in the comments or in any of these locations.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Abbott run amok

These two items regarding the Texas Attorney General once again encapsulate his power to shock and awe:

-- Capitol Annex has details on Abbott's ceding the state's authority to the Talibaptists who have taken over the state Board of Education. This is a sop to his fundamentalist base. Since the decision Texas makes about its school texts has national ramifications, it would behoove those of you reading who don't live in Deep-In-The-Hearta to guard against this kind of initiative where you live. Update: South Texas Chisme points out that the Chronic has an entirely different view. Update II: And Vince consequently raises the question: "Did the SBoE gain or lose ground?"

-- The Lone Star Project catches the OAG peeping on little old ladies in the bathroom. Really. The only way to do this justice is to excerpt:

Earlier this summer, the Lone Star Project reported that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is using $1.5 million in federal grant funds to prosecute Texas citizens who help senior citizens apply for ballot applications and cast their vote by mail. Most of the Texans being prosecuted by Abbott are senior citizens, African American or Hispanic, and ALL are Democrats.

More recently, the San Antonio Express-News wrote about Abbott's controversial activity. Abbott has turned up the heat by sending investigating agents to the homes of elderly citizens to interrogate them in person. There is now evidence that Abbott’s agents have moved beyond aggressive questioning and are employing more intimidating tactics.

According to the sworn statement (pdf file) of Ms. Gloria Meeks, a 69 year-old Fort Worth community activist, two of Abbott’s voter fraud agents came on to her property and looked into her bathroom window while she was unclothed and leaving the shower. Incredibly, the agents justified their privacy violation by explaining, that they thought they were peeping in the “kitchen window.”

Greg Abbott can't do anything about our fraudulent voting machines, but he can have his agents looking in your bathroom window. Doesn't sound like something Jesus would do, does it?

Update: The Chronic has more (via Muse):

Yet, of the 13 individuals indicted on charges of voter fraud by Abbott, 10 are accused of simply possessing another's absentee ballot for delivery to election officials or to a mailbox, Democrats say. Such activities had been legal until the 2003 law turned them into crimes.

Both Democratic and Republican political activists have traditionally assisted elderly or home-bound voters who need help in voting, said attorney J. Gerald Hebert, executive director of the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center, who plans to file the lawsuit on behalf of Democrats.

"Now, merely possessing the mail-in ballot of another person is a misdemeanor. If you do it for several voters, it becomes a felony. It is my view that this is unconstitutional," said Hebert, who headed the U.S. Justice Department's voting section of the civil rights division until 1994.

And lasty, this:

Abbott's PowerPoint primer on voter fraud, "Investigating Election Code Violations," illustrates the discriminatory nature of his enforcement, Hebert argues, because it cues law enforcement to link voter fraud with black voters.

One slide alerts authorities to look for evidence of fraud on documents, especially specialty stamps. It depicts a sickle cell anemia stamp of a black woman holding a black baby, a stamp often used by blacks.

Another slide shows five black people in line for early voting, noting "all laws apply," while no white or Caucasian people are shown voting in the 71-slide presentation.

Abbot spokesman Tom Kelley said the stamp depicted was among evidence gathered in one investigation, but there was "absolutely no reason whatsoever" that the presentation only portrays blacks voting.

Bullshit, Tom. Who's ready for a real Attorney General?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Remembering Richards

The memorial service for Ann Richards today will be broadcast by a handful of local affiliates across the state, and streamed over the Web by many of them as well. Here's a nice remembrance courtesy of Southpaw:

Update: (9/19):Karl-T gets the last post.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened ...

to this expression...

**Congratulations to the Corpus Christi Hooks, who won the Texas League championship in their second year of existence. They had a much better season than their parent, which despite three misplays from Philadelphia's defense couldn't get a single run across the plate to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth against the Phillies last night. Pinch hitter Humberto Quintero grounded into a double play to end it.

Bases loaded, one out and down by one run in the bottom of the ninth. Who wouldn't want Humberto Quintero up in that situation? Besides, the really important thing is that the triple A affiliate, the Round Rock Express, had a chance to win the PCL championship this year. They lost last night also.

Sure, J.R. House, Eric Munson and even Brooks Conrad would have been nice to have on the bench last night, but after all the Express had a much better chance of winning a title than the Astros.

**South Texas Chisme reports on an entirely new immigration problem in the Valley, and this account from Georgia will likely be repeated in many other towns across the US as the racists reap what they have sown. Some local reaction:

"This reminds me of what I read about Nazi Germany, the Gestapo coming in and yanking people up," (Stillmore, GA mayor Marilyn) Slater said.

"These people come over here to make a better way of life, not to blow us up," complained Keith Slater, who keeps a portrait of Ronald Reagan on the wall. "I'm a die-hard Republican, but I think we missed the boat with this one."

**There have been a few seconds of video of Ann Richards' memorial service at the Capitol this morning on the Texas Cable News network. There's a Statesman flash of some of the Big Dog's remarks, and Glenn Smith wrote a touching op-ed in the Chronic. A few members of the Texas Progressive Alliance are in attendance, and I'll link to whatever they post.

Update (9/17): The Austin American-Statesman has the best collection of photos, and extended video of the procession into the rotunda and Bill Clinton's remarks. Unfortunately, it is preceded by a campaign ad from Rick MoFo'n Perry. How utterly classless by both the newspaper and the governor.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pope Benedict insults Islam

News a few days old, but the headlines are just reaching us now:

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

This appears to be bad news for all of us non-Muslims, unless the Pope can apologize for being ignorant with some sincerity.

After all, the most recent insult to Mohammed (by a Dutch cartoonist) resulted in people being killed. As we didn't have enough of that going on already.

Update (9/17): The pope says he's sorry, bu there are plenty of Christianists ready to light the torches and start fighting a new Crusade.

As long as someone else signs up to do the bleeding and dying. Goons like these will wage "war" only from behind their computer monitors.


I am not suffering from this (more like blogstipation), but I have collected a few readable bits...

From Stephanie Miller's interview at The Progressive:

Q: Bush’s numbers are real low right now. What do you make of the people who are still with him at this late date?

Miller: That is the question: Who are these people? What do they think he’s done a good job at? I’m trying to be fair, but what is he good at? You look at Iraq, you look at Katrina. His appointments, Michael Brown. I don’t know where to start. I have Bush Administration Attention Outrage Deficit Disorder.

My personal favorite poll number is the President’s 2 percent approval rating among blacks. Which is within the margin of error. Which leads to all sorts of mind-boggling possibilities, scientifically: Is it possible that more black people hate the President than are actually alive today?

Do you think black ghosts are coming back to hate him?

Do you think they can read black sonograms at this point?

Are doctors saying, “We don’t know if this is a boy or a girl, but we know this baby hates George W. Bush”?

Houston Chronicle cartoonist Nick Anderson's blog is one of the most entertaining places lately. Don't scroll the comments or you'll miss the best laughs.

And once more from Greg Palast:

OK, class, answer this question — and let’s not see the same hands:

President George W. Bush says, “Syria has been a primary sponsor of Hezbollah and it has helped provide Hezbollah with shipments of Iranian made weapons…[which] threaten the entire Middle East.”

This month marks the twenty-first anniversary of a shipment of 508 anti-tank missiles to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in support of Hezbollah. Who approved that shipment?

Need a hint? The shipments were approved by a group which calls itself, “The Party of God.”

That’s right, Republican President Ronald Reagan sent the Ayatollah the weapons (and a birthdayreagan antlers cake — no kidding) in return for loot to fund the illegal war against the elected government of Nicaragua. As part of the deal, Iran’s operatives in Hezbollah would release the two dozen hostages they’d taken, including a Presbyterian minister, a Catholic priest, a librarian and US reporter Terry Anderson. After the arms shipment, Hezbollah released three of the hostages and over time, executed several others. With Iran’s funding, the US supplied its own terrorist group, the “contras,” with weapons used in the killing of 30,000 Nicaraguans.

Bonus essay question: If President Bush wants to give Israel another week to “finish the job” of wiping out Hezbollah and its backers, shouldn’t he add an extra day to finish off Ollie North?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"I did not want my tombstone to read..."

"...'She kept a really clean house.'

I think I'd like them to remember me by saying, 'She opened government to everyone'."

As you wish, Madam Governor.

Go with God.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"

The Twilight Zone episode Keith Olbermann mentioned in last night's Countdown -- you can see his entire commentary at the bottom of my most previous posting here -- is really worth examining in more detail as cogent and timely.

You can read the Wiki, but it's probably best if you go down to your local video store -- not Blockbuster -- and get a copy to watch.

First a nostalgic digression: two of the stars of this masterpiece were Claude Akins and Jack Weston, hard-working and known-to-you character actors from the Fifties through the Eighties.

Claude Akins had a nearly immortal television career as a bit player. With a face like a stop sign (that had been hit a few times with a baseball bat), Akins was a staple of my adolescent teevee diet. He actually made appearances in two of the greatest movies ever made prior to his cameo in a George Reeves-Superman episode two years before I was born. He was a Western regular as both Indian and white man and a beat cop often, a detective occasionally, and a bad guy frequently. He appeared three times each in "My Friend Flicka", "The Rifleman", and "Tales of Wells Fargo". The same year he filmed "Monsters", 1960, he played Rev. Jeremiah Brown in Inherit the Wind. He was in "The Untouchables", Laramie, Rawhide, Laredo, and "Gunsmoke." He made the rounds to "Love, American Style", "Mission: Impossible", Barnaby Jones, Marcus Welby MD, McCloud, Mannix, Cannon, "Streets of San Francisco" and "Police Story". But his starring role came in a spinoff from "BJ and the Bear" -- "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo", in 1979. This review of the show is priceless:

...without a doubt the worst television series to be renewed for a second season. Critics said that Lobo must be short for lobotomy. To admit to have watched Sheriff Lobo is to admit that you watched way too much television back then. However, Sheriff Lobo had the clout to get Playboy's 25th Anniversary Playmate Candy Loving as guest star, but even she couldn't save it from cancellation.

I was in lust with Candy Loving back in the day (warning: not employer-safe).

Jack Weston played a host of neurotic characters, from "Perry Mason" to Please Don't Eat the Daisies to Bob Hope's Chrysler Theatre. I remember him best in Dirty Dancing as Catskills resort owner Max Kellerman, and in The Four Seasons as dentist Danny Zimmer, whose prized Mercedes falls through a frozen lake when his wife, played by Rita Moreno (completely imponderable), drives out on it to save him.

This was perhaps the beginning of the TV trend that saw fat balding jerks married to ultra-hotties (first wives, not trophy wives). Ever noticed?

And now back to George Bush's Twilight Zone.

If you haven't already deciphered the subtext of "Monsters", allow me to quote the aliens on the hill, who have manipulated the appliances on Maple Street and created the panic:

"Understand the procedure now? Just stop a few of their machines...throw them into darkness for a few hours and then sit back and watch the pattern. They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find and it's themselves."

And the closing narration by Rod Serling:

"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own -- for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone."

Yeah, Dick Cheney as Alfred Hitchcock. The real terrorists are in the White House.

Gitmo prisoner discovered at Disneyland

When we arrived last Wednesday in the Emerald City, we caught a limo to dinner at this place, which was renowned for the view but not so much the food. My halibut crowned with crabmeat (hold the bearnaise) was excellent however, as was Sue's alderwood-planked salmon. Some small asparagus spears sliced half-inch size mingled with the garlic-smashed potatoes underneath my fish, and that was scrumptious as well.

My reading on the plane was Greg Palast -- in the previous post I told his joke -- and here's a little more from Armed Madhouse:

I'm going to tell you something which is straight-up heresy: America is not under attack by terrorists. There is no war on terror because, except for one day five years ago, al-Qaeda has pretty much left us alone.

That's because Osama got what he wanted. There's no mystery about what al-Qaeda was after. Like everyone from the Girl Scouts to Bono, Osama put his wish on his website. He had a single demand: "Crusaders out of the land of the two Holy Places." To translate: get US troops out of Saudi Arabia.

And George Bush gave it to him. On April 29, 2003, two days before landing on the aircraft carrier Lincoln, our self-described "War President" quietly put out a notice that he was withdrawing our troops from Saudi soil. In other words, our cowering cowboy gave in whimpering to Osama's demand.

The press took no note. They were all wiggie over Bush's waddling around the carrier deck in a disco-aged jumpsuit announcing, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED." But it wasn't America’s mission that was accomplished, it was Osama's.

Am I saying there's no danger, no threat? Sure there is: 46 million Americans don't have health insurance. IBM is legally stealing from its employees’ pension plan and United Airlines has dumped its pensions altogether. Four million three hundred thousand Americans were injured, made sick or killed by their jobs last year. TXU Corporation is right now building four monster-sized power plants in Texas that will burn skuzzy gunk called "lignite." The filth it will pour into the sky will snuff a heck of a lot more Americans than some goofy group of fanatics with bottles of hydrogen peroxide.

But Americans don't ask for real protection from what's killing us. The War on Terror is the Weapon of Mass Distraction. Instead of demanding health insurance, we have 59 million of our fellow citizens pooping in their pants with fear of al-Qaeda, waddling to the polls crying, "Georgie save us!"

On Thursday we went to Mount Rainier, took a nice hike to see the glacier, had a salmon burger and drank a Moose Drool. Friday we bumped around at the Pike Place Market and watched the fellas sling the fresh catch, and Saturday we went to see the Rangers play the Mariners at Safeco Field. The game went extra innings but we had long gone to eat sushi, not having lost our appetites over the UT-OSU debacle.

That's it for our little anniversary trip.

Still wondering about the headline of this post? ABC/Disney really showed their ass. Go watch some Keith Olbermann telling the truth instead...

Monday, September 11, 2006

So Osama goes into this bar, see...

... and Dubya, who's tending, says, "Whaddle ya have?"

And Osama says: "Well, moron, what's on tap today?"

"FEAR," Dubya says, and Osama yells, "FEAR beer for everybody!" and the crowd cheers and rushes the bar as George starts pulling the tap.

After everyone gets served the presidential bartender walks down to Osama and says, "Hey ... who's payin' for this?" And Osama hooks a thumb over his shoulder and says, "They are."

And both men laugh.

(Yes, I'll find time to write more here. Soon.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

See you from Seattle

... but perhaps not until Friday. Tomorrow's travel day and our anniversary dinner in the evening; Thursday's an all-day outing to Mt. Rainier.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Postpourri: Nellie Connally, the killing of GWB, and the cracks showing in the TDP

There's still a few things to talk about before I get busy in town and out ...

Nellie Connally passed away yesterday. She was the last person left who survived the limosine ride through Dealey Plaza in November of 1963. The phrase "blood and roses" had a singularly stark meaning to her:

"It's the image of yellow roses and red roses and blood all over the car ... all over us," she told the Associated Press.

"I'll never forget it. ... It was so quick and so short, so potent."

(I have previously mentioned here that when we attended the state Democratic convention in Fort Worth earlier in the summer, we stayed in the same hotel where JFK slept on the last night of his life. We also, last summer, stood on the hill in the Texas State Cemetery where she will be buried, next to her husband.)

Speaking of the deceased, a British producer wll release next month a docudrama of the assassination of George W. Bush, to take place in 2007.

Expect (what else) Republican outrage.

Some recent discussions elsewhere point to a fissure developing in the Texas Democratic Party (specifically, between Democratic activists). Essentially the question is: should the organization spend the money it has recently been given by trial attorney Fred Baron on electing Democrats now or later?

Read those discussions and leave your thoughts on this question here (or there).

There's more video of Bush -- and also his wife this time -- talking about his alcohol consumption. Again, it seems obvious to me that the White House is falling down on the job of trying to conceal Bush's drinking problems.

Politics this weekend, grunge the next

This afternoon I will be the brisket judge at the Harris County AFL-CIO Barbecue Cookoff in Pasadena, and despite posting this information a handful of times online, have not yet been tempted to influence the contest in any way. (Rats.)

This evening in what used to be DeLay Country, the Fort Bend Democrats, together with many of our statewide slate of candidates, will flex their muscles in advance of the real competition in November. No county in the state more accurately demonstrates the possibility of flipping Texas from red to blue than this one. Republicans in Fort Bend remain sleepily complacent or actively depressed; Democrats are engaged, active, and working it hard.

Tomorrow, La Marcha, then the Impeachment Town Hall with Ann Wright, and the Clear Lake HQ grand opening.

Next week and through the weekend, Mrs. Diddie and I will be in Seattle celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary, and I'll post a bit from there.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy Labor Day

I'll be in Fort Bend County on Sunday and in Clear Lake on Monday, but the Friday afternoon news dump has me apoplectic:

President Bush this afternoon made another backdoor appointment to his administration. He used a recess appointment to install a lawyer who represented Wal-Mart with a long record of urging restrictions to the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (FLSA’s) overtime pay and other provisions to head up the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Paul DeCamp, who was grilled at an August Senate confirmation hearing, backed the Bush administration’s move to gut the FLSA’s overtime pay protections saying it presented:

... a window of opportunity, particularly in light of the federal elections of 2002, for the business community to achieve positive results that can bring the FLSA into the 21st century.

He even warned that if the overtime laws were not changed, millions more workers could become eligible for overtime. Strangely enough, he also said that it would not be “in the interest” of the workers who might earn overtime eligibility.

It is time to bring the FLSA into line with current notions of public policy. If reform does not come, then the risk and expense of collective and class action litigation may compel employers to reclassify millions of workers as non-exempt [i.e., eligible for overtime], a change that is in the interest of neither the employees nor their employers.

Enjoy your long weekend, and be sure to thank a union member for their forebearers, who fought to give us the 40-hour work week, paid vacation and holidays, health care, safe working conditions, and all the other things the corporations are now busy trying to take away by paying off the Republicans.