Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Chupacabra Report

News that gets my goat:

>The Chron ran a column by former Dole flack Douglas McKinnon about Clinton and Edwards scheming to exclude “bottom tier” candidates from future debates. He included a tasty bit from the You Tube show last week:

As much as I may disagree with most of the positions of Kucinich, there can be no doubt that he is a person who brings strong convictions to the table and is more than capable of not only defending his ideas, but going after those he perceives as pandering to the voters. One such example being when a YouTube questioner, whose son was being sent back to Iraq for a second tour, asked, "I would like to know if the perception is true that the Democrats are putting politics before conscience is the reason why we are still in Iraq and seemingly will be for some time due to the Democrats' fear that blame for the loss of the war will be placed on them by the Republican spin machine?"
CNN moderator Anderson Cooper offered the question to Clinton, who proceeded to give a practiced and politically safe response. Unfortunately for her, Kucinich was having none of that. He turned to look at Clinton and said, "If you're not going to answer the question, I'm going to answer that mother's question. The answer to your question, ma'am, is: Yes, it is politics. The Democrats have failed the American people. When we took over in January, the American people didn't expect us to give them a Democratic version of the war. They expected us to act quickly to end the war."

>Congressman Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate who voted against the Iraq War. Former Senator Mike Gravel helped release the Pentagon Papers to stop the Viet Nam War. Tell your friends about these guys. Send them money.

>Next we have AP reporter Jackie Farwell writing about how recent immigrants are faring in today’s economy:

NEW YORK — The promise of the American dream continues to lure immigrants to U.S. shores, but the tide of opportunity is turning against the latest wave of new arrivals, according to a new report.
When compared to workers born in the United States, the latest immigrants are poorer today than at any time since World War II, according to data released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
In 2000, the average immigrant earned about 20 percent less than their American-born counterpart, the report stated. In 1940, a typical immigrant earned nearly 6 percent more.
Furthermore, while the children of immigrants today make more money than typical non immigrants, their climb up the economic ladder has slowed in recent decades, according to the report.

>Is this yet another sign of republican economic prosperity?

>And last, after recent stories from former Surgeon General Richard Carmona about the administration muzzling him to further their right-wing agenda. A Chron editorial today notes more of the same:

The Department of the Interior, which oversees endangered fish and wildlife, is the latest in more than 18 agencies or departments whose scientists complain that political appointees have tampered with data.
An investigation by the department's inspector general reported Fish and Wildlife Services employees' protests that their boss, Julie MacDonald, "bullied, insulted and harassed the professional staff ... to change documents and alter biological reporting."
MacDonald, a political appointee with no training in the natural sciences, soon resigned. The agency is now re-evaluating eight decisions she made regarding species on the endangered or threatened list. Environmentalists are calling for examination of 200 other agency decisions.

>Let’s work to see these flat-earth torys extirpated from public office.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We're Number One!

This years Kids Count study by the Annie E. Casey foundation names Texas as having the highest teen birthrate in the nation. This despite the 1995 state law requiring schools to emphasize abstinence in sex education. State Board of Education president Don McLeroy took time out from removing science from Biology textbooks to comment, “The idea that just giving them a lot of information is going to solve it, I think, is kind of naïve, certainly it’s more of a societal problem than it is a school problem.”

Refreshing thought there, that the schools shouldn’t be burdening students by giving them a lot of information.

I would suggest that we wouldn’t have had 40 million legal abortions in the last four decades had we seen to it that young people were equipped with fact based (as opposed to faith based) sex education and birth control services.

I got that 40 million number from Tom DeLay, who addressed the College Republicans (or Killer Sheep) convention at the Moonie owned Sheraton National Hotel in Alexandria Virginia. “Virginia Tom” explained that the reason businesses need to hire illegal workers is because we’ve lost those 40 million souls to legal abortions.

I somehow doubt that had all those people existed, they’d be clamoring to be housekeepers, dishwashers, farm laborers, meatpackers, and cannon fodder for neo con empire building. Some, born to poverty and broken homes, would no doubt take their place filling beds in our booming prison industry. Others, exercising their second amendment rights, would swell the ranks of the average of 10 children ages 0-19 killed each day by gunfire.

But enough of that has been, preaching what if, to the wing nuts. We’ve got real lost generations warehoused in schools and prisons today. How we treat the least among our brethren will show us if we’ll ever top of the list of any but negative indicators.

It Won't Stop Raining

I think that any progress made in the Dhanis Brick Works cancer cluster will not reveal itself at least until it stops raining. Exposure to this carcinogenic glazing chemical was everywhere, but they were wading through raw effluent, too. Plus, relief is slow. People in Texas get disaster fatigue real easy. If you're going to have a catastrophe, line up early.

This sory is bound to unravel slowly, if at all.

Monday, July 23, 2007

c'est la fin des haricots!

In the tiny town of D'Hanis, there is a ruined catholic mission situated on the lonely prairee. Nestled in its shadow rests the little pioneer cemetary of rough hewn and often broken headstones notable for unique funiary markings peculiar to the early german settlers such as hex signs and statuary. A bell stands at the gate, that I imagine the spirits toll in times of despair. One grave stones tells the story of a young mother who waded through the fridged waters of Seco Creek, carrying her infant child, only to sucumb to the wetness and chill of winter along with the ardures of the journey.

How perfectly ironic?

D'Hanis has flooded again over the weekend. The various ages of the villagers depicted above fit quite nicely into the chronology and frequency of flooding events.

They are all lining up for tetnus shots this morning. After re-challenging the state this morning after learning that the state health services were not acting to do any work to limit further exposure, I chastized several state officials. I will guard the names of my political and agency contacts so they have a chance to rise from their slumber and act with some amount of individual human compassion.

My experience tells me that's not going to happen. Usually, when one challenges the State of Texas forcefully enough, usually the messenger becomes the problem. Unfortunately, today seems no different. The weasels are already loose. You know who you are.

Regrettably, I think I should refer to some of my prior correspondence to protect the people who contacted me out of desperation to get the word out. Me, a gadfly with no power. Pathetic.

August 6, 2001

Texas Department of Health
Office of Regional Program Manager
Cancer Registry, Public Health Region 8
7430 Louis Pasteur
San Antonio, Texas 78229

Re: Occurrence of Cancer in D'hanis, Medina County, Texas

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a citizen of Medina County concerned about a possible cluster of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), whose underlying causal factor might be industrial chemicals, in D'hanis, Medina County, Texas. In the past I have enjoyed the privilege of working with your staff at TDH on other matters.

The existence of as many as four children with leukemia was brought to my attention in early April, 2001. My belief has always been that the random occurrence is usually the most valid explanation for clusters that are observed, and that this is often overlooked. We should not be totally surprised to find one or two cases of leukemia in Medina County generally because the normal incidence of leukemia in the U.S. is 150/100,000 folks. ( However, with respect to the three children with ALL in the small town of D'hanis, it is especially significant that the families effected live a very close distance to one another; they seemingly are vicitims of the same illness, and present it at far beyond the predicted rate of indicence.

This situation is apparently well known to people in this area. Some facts have been reported by last week's Hondo Anvil Herald. I had found out from neighbors. I had asked the TDH representative in Uvalde about a report I had heard about some soil or water testing in D'hanis, since this would require some coordination with other parts of TDH, and she affirmed that this had been passed on to the Region 8 office. To the extent that the details of any investigation is public information, I would appreciate a copy of the final report when it becomes available pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act chapter 552 generally. (§552.001, 552.003(A)(v)).

I find it troubling that between 1973 and 1990, the number of ALL cases in children under age 15 rose by 27%. ( This possible cluster exists in an area known for large use of agricultural pesticides. Some types of agricultural chemicals are known to cause cancer. There is a brickworks in D'hanis quite near to these childrens homes. It has been mentioned to me that some chemicals used in the glazing process may be suspect for certain types of cancer. There is an abandoned U.S. Army airbase nearby. A similar facility in the state of Neveda has come under scrutiny lately as a possible source of exposure, which seems siginificant to me in this case. Furthermore, the china plant in near-by Hondo, Medina County, Texas, has been cited mutiple times by U.S. Dept. of Labor for violations involving the release of toxic materials. After my review of the available reports from this agency, and in part from the Cancer Registry Division (CRD), I am concerned that the requests for information about other clusters in Medina County were not handled well enough to answer the questions and concerns from our friends and neighbors who are concerned about these issues.

For example, the 1997 referral to the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC), which resulted in an inspection of the china plant facility mentioned above, should have resulted in information being sent to CDR for investigation, but never did. After another request to this agency for investigations into the cancer in Medina County, the subsequent reports fromt the staff Epidemiologists from the CDR, dated 12/11/98 and 1/7/99, merely re-state this agencies' boiler plate about natural occurences, etc., the actual reported figures for cancer mortality in Medina County for a period of years prior, and a lament that there are only two available sets of data, which are 1992 and 1995, from which to help make their findings. I have observed that there is now information from 1998 to add to this, but given the admitted fact that CDR has no interest in studying the actual clusters, the focus of these reports seem besides the point.

In this case, I am convinced the the mission of this agency remains most faithfully in the interest of public health. To those most effected by the possible exposure to health hazards, a thorough investigation and detailed report would achieve a great deal. I look forward to being able to know that anything that might be killing young children and destroying families has been identified or ruled out, and that any measures to alleviate any possible problems are underway.


P___ H__________


cc: Fr. Wallis J. Stiles
Holy Cross Church
P.O. Box 426
D'hanis, Texas 78850

cc: Texas Department of Health
Cancer Registry Division
1100 West 49th St.
Austin, Texas 78756-3199

EDIT: There are a few people for the state that have indicated their interest in getting to the bottom of this, or at least, push the ball down the field a little. This developement holds promise. I'll keep us posted.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Chupacabra Report

>Heard David Johnson on Marketplace Friday where he would usually give the Dow Jones Industrial Average say “the Murdoch was down 140 points or just over one percent.” You know Rupert, he came from Australia and bought some congressmen, and now his tentacles are f ‘n all over like Nuke Laloosh. Rupert was the model for Monte Burns on The Simpsons. He once bought Newt Gingrich, now he wants the Wall Street Journal. He can have it. That paper actually became readable the past few decades, for all its’ rabid editorials, but now it will become incredible, like Fox News.

Johnson, talking earnings reports, listed several companies that had good sales overseas, but ‘negative growth’ in the U.S; Coke, Harley, Caterpillar, McDonalds.. -Is this another sign of “republican economic prosperity” from the folks that brought us the S&L scandal, the HUD scandal, trickle down, supply side, and now the sub-prime mortgage meltdown? Anyways, I think I’ll go get advice from my friends with the thick glasses before I panic and sell my holdings to buy into gold stock from Pat Robertson and the 700 Club.

>And here’s something from my outbox:

Dear Senator Hutchison,

I just want you to know that I was disappointed in you for voting against bringing the Levon-Reed amended Defense Authorization up for a vote last week.

I am definitely opposed to keeping our people in Iraq through January 2009, much less for 20 or 50 years as the administration has suggested. There is finally a critical mass in Congress to stop digging this hole and to get out. I hope to see you join with your colleagues to find a way to get this done.


Charly Hoarse

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Happy Hour in the Roosevelt Room

I’ve been encouraged the past few weeks to see GOP Senators Domenici, Lugar, Voinovich, and others up for re-election this cycle split with the White House over the war in Iraq, but these guys can be slippery. Last Friday Bush invited a bunch of them, along with some friendly reporters to the Roosevelt room to hear Bush go on about the Almighty’s plan for freedom in the mid-east.

One result of this is that William Kristol wrote a puff piece in the Wa Po Monday about how swimmingly things are going and that history will judge the Bush administration to be a great success. This is no big deal for those who realize that Kristol has been dead wrong on Iraq for five years straight.

But there must have been something in that kool-aid they were serving because Wednesday only four GOP senators voted to end debate and force a vote on a house-passed measure that would have started to bring the troops home. That vote failed 52-47, it could have passed if it had been brought to a vote, forcing Bush to veto the 2008 Defense Authorization bill, or commence troop withdrawals in 120 days. Both Texas senators voted nay, Cornyn because he can’t get anything right, and Hutchison I think, showing that dread shared by many ambitious female politicians of being seen as soft on defense. (See Hillary Clinton, October 2002)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I want to drop my representatives a line and remind them that I don’t approve of the president’s plan to continue the Iraq war through January 2009.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I'm Laughing Through the Tears

Thanks Tom.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mayor Bob in Outlook

Giant former mayor Bob Lanier weighs in on the Chron’s ongoing series on “What Sucks Worst about Houston? He writes about what Houston is, and where Houston came from, but he makes a good stab at what we need to do about it by saying:

To successfully compete in a world market, Houston should increase its focus on critical educational needs for the city and its people. The same is true for the environment and quality of life. I believe that with 5.5 million people and our inherited "can-do" spirit we can do that.

-Isn’t that it? Our next improvement project should be ourselves. I think our state demographer makes the same point, warning that Texas will become a third-world state if we don’t include everybody in the education process. Our current “catch as catch can/take the hindmost” society is not a sustainable life mode for any or all of us. That, plus we must clean this place up so we’re not poisoning everybody and while we’re at it, lets keep it pretty, to enhance our own peace of mind.

His piece is titled “We mostly agree on Houston’s future.” I hope everybody gets the word that we’re in agreement here. This dusty old gent may look funny, and dress funny, but he didn’t skate on the S&L crisis and get re-elected mayor for nothing.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Even though we've had a good crop of babies this year for the tribe, and the kids we have now seem to be thriving more than ever, seemingly bound to kick everybody's ass, we have had great sadness, as well.

Texas has lost four great ladies this year; all iconoclastic figures in their own right: Nellie Connoly, Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, and now the greatest of all, Ladybird.

No matter how one views their politics, no one can deny that each represented something sweet and good that cannot ever be replaced.

If you, dear readers, have a mother or grandmother that smells of lilacs, possessing endless patience, love and forgiveness, or grows pretty flowers, give her a nice big hug and tell her that you love her.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Senile Agitation!

I'm mad I tell - mad! Life confuses me too often. I can hardly believe my eyes.

Harriot Miers ordered not to testify, or honor her subpoena in any way? Sara Taylor invokes executive privilege for conversations outside the WH with RNC employess when she doesn't even work there anymore? And the WEAK and feckless Dems let them get away with it??!! Mad! WTF!!

Senator Vitters liked to pay whores to diaper him, let him poop himself, and then change him with liberal powder and a BJ? And he retains, "the moral fitness to hold office?" Huh? This chaps me! Cowardly Dems, you make me sick!

Holy Joe Lieberman, Mr. Non-partisan (HA!) is the deciding vote in blocking Sen. Webb's veterans' relief bill? And the Dems still caucus with this douche bag? Where's my shot gun?

I'm dizzy. Help me. What happened to my country?

And another thing, what is an "Asian Table Dance?" No one seems to know, and yet they are everywhere!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Chupacabra Report

To the Clear Lake Citizen:

Dear Editor,
I just returned from out of town and have been reading through the papers that piled up in my absence. I see that you chose to report that the Court of Criminal Appeals sustained Judge Priest’s pass on the charge that DeLay and associates conspired to break Texas election laws. I think you have done your readers a disservice here. Other than the one sentence that notes that Delay still faces more serious charges of money laundering and conspiracy, the tone of this story goes along with DeLay’s contention that the charges are simply politically motivated attacks. As the former congressman continues to receive coverage from right-wing news organs, some readers who choose to get their information from only these sources are likely to believe his protests that he is victim of partisan prosecution. I believe that you would have done a service to us all to point out that several DeLay staffers and associates have already been convicted of crimes, and that he remains subject of federal investigations that have ensnared Congressmen Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, and John Doolittle.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dance Tonight!

Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney reduced to writing commercial jingles.

Have you seen the latest IPod/ITunes commercial? It features an animated Paul McCartney dancing, skipping, and strumming what I believe to be a mandola in tennis shoes. It looks like the same animation technique they use in the Charles Schwab spots. I was going to let this go until I watched the commercial again and noticed that Paul ended his little jingle with a power strum on a mandola!? This put me over the edge. He may as well put on a British schoolboy uniform and sing:

"Berries and cream,
Berries and cream,
I'm a little lad who loves
Berries and cream."

This new snippet of music by the softer half of the fabulous Lennon/McCartney duo has the teeth of a newborn baby, the grit of personal lubricant, and the passion of an old Catholic school nun. To add insult to injury I was buying coffee at Starbucks the next morning and found I could buy a limited edition Paul McCartney Starbucks Coffee card, and charge a triple venti no-foam soy milk latte and the new Paul McCartney CD "Memory Almost Full" from the very exclusive set of music CD offerings from my local barista.

How did it come to this? I hate to use this cliche, but...Back in the old days it was considered selling out if your music was sold as a commercial. Even sounding commercial might get you blacklisted by the grass roots. Now Bono and Paul McCartney both have "songs" that I heard first as an Apple, Inc. IPod/ITunes commercial, which pretty much makes them commercial jingles the way I hear it. Both these artists are rich enough and have earned the right to record and play any kind of music they wish, a freedom coveted by many. They should not forsake this right by insulting fans with insipid commercial jingles.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Teen Victim Becomes Suicide

David Ritcheson, a Spring, Texas teen who survived a brutal beating and sexual assault from two biggots last ended his life on Sunday (see The Chron).

He jumped from an ocean liner off the coast of Mexico.

Ritcheson's death comes less than three months after he testified before Congress about how two teens nearly killed him on April 23, 2006 by repeatedly kicking a patio umbrella stand into his rectum while shouting "white power!"

He just got back from Washington DC, where he testified:

"I appear before you as a survivor," Ritcheson told members of a House Judiciary subcommittee April 17. "I am here before you today asking that our government take the lead in deterring individuals like those who attacked me from committing unthinkable and violent crimes against others because of where they are from, the color of their skin, the God they worship, the person they love, or the way they look, talk or act."

Rest in Peace. Our sincere condolences to his survivors.