Zippidy Doo Da

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

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Praise the Lord and Trash the Constitution

I saw Tim Russert in New Hampshire ask the Dem. Candidates to name their favorite Bible verse, and they all trotted out something, most of them citing the Sermon on the Mount. I wished somebody had whipped out something odd, funny, or twisted, maybe “Go up you baldhead!” from 2nd Kings.

Tonight on Crooks and Liars I saw a great response, check it out:

Stanley Rosenthal Says:
BTW: All the candidates have gotten the question Tim Russert asked (What’s your favorite quote from the bible?) wrong.

The correct answer is “I’m not gonna give you my favorite quote from the Bible. I’m gonna give you my favorite quote from the Constitution: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article IV)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Whatever Happened to John Doe?

1982 was a happy year for the fun-lovin' me. Among other fixtures of my existence, TV seemed more than ever to reflect my life style and world view. They had the most hilarious show on called T.J. Hooker; a parody of the cult of law enforcement meets homo erotica. The characters were perfect cartoons, the crooks were always severely pimped out or long hairs, and invariably drugs were involved. Who couldn't loudly cheer when hearing, "eat lead you death-dealing punks!" That rug, Zmed's haircake, Yay!

Then I realized they were serious. A-Team, Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, Heart to Heart, CHiPs, and even T.J. were deadly serious, and every show that followed thereafter was/is a celebration of the American Cult of Violence.

Like cigarette companies, the somebody pulling the strings, knowing their products seductive qualities entice children with Mr. T and by the time they meet Jack Bauer they are slobbering like Pavlov's dog.

The thing that bothers me, especially while I'm watch The War every night, is our countries' bent in worshiping the individual hero syndrome (see John Glenn), verses our traditional heroes born from collective and individual responsibility, and the need to protect and defend our families, faith and society at large. This loss to America is described so well by people like Susan Faludi (see "Stiffed") and personified by the recent loss of Studs Terkle.

The north side of town is crippled for a big part of the day by a memorial for a fallen police officer today. At a suburban mega church, with guns and jets and perhaps some Lee Greenwood tunes - I don't know. I feel for him and his family, who didn't seek the side-sho.

This phenomena irks me somewhat, because for the longest time I've noticed from mulling over labor statistics that police officers account for about 4-5% of all workplace deaths. 1000 construction workers vs 250 cops die every year. How come we don't cry so much for truckers, farmers, fisherman and even office workers, increasingly women, who die in staggeringly higher rates, and percentage of the entire trade they represent. The poor people that sell us coffee and liquor everyday have an astronomically higher chance of being capped by a bad guy than ten regular policemen.

How come we can't see the flag draped coffins? The real heroes?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

From the Rumor Mill

Word has it that Larry Flynt will soon reveal the allegations from a poor south Texas watermelon who was sexually assaulted by a degenerate millionaire who is challenging a Democratic incumbent in the coming election.

"I need to speak out to keep this from happening again!"

More to come..

Monday, September 24, 2007

Chupacabra Report

News that gets my goat:

-This caught my eye in The Chron’s lead editorial about the Houston economy being immune, so far, from sub-prime fallout:

“Foreclosures sold through the Multiple Listing Service were up a whopping 78 percent during the first eight months of 2007. But Realtors point out that foreclosures largely have been contained to homes that sell in the $80,000 to $150,000 price band. Sales of homes in that range are down 12.6 percent from last year. But foreclosures are lower and sales are higher at every other price point.

Sales of houses less than $80,000 and more than $150,000 make up the bulk of the Houston real estate market. Houses costing more than $500,000 saw an astounding 26 percent increase in sales this year. Also, any downturn in the Houston real estate market this year must be viewed in comparison to 2006, a year in which homes here sold at a record pace.”

-$80,000 to $150,000; sound like anybody you know? It sounds like most people I know, and I live in Mayfield, home of Ward and June Cleaver. And a million homes been foreclosed on this year. Could this be another sign of “republican economic prosperity?”

-Outlook also ran this from Boston University Economics Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff:

“BIG NUMBERS, like 45 million uninsured Americans, are hard to grasp. But that number came home to me at a recent conference. The keynote speaker was former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Her topic was our healthcare system, and her message was personal and anguished.
The gist was that even she lives in constant fear of major uninsured health bills. Not her own—those of her son. He can’t afford insurance because his son—her grandchild—has a preexisting condition.

As I listened, a light dawned: O’Connor and the rest of us with health coverage are also uninsured. We too face terrible, albeit more remote, healthcare risks—the risk that our employer will drop our plan, that Medicare will go bust, that our plan won’t cover our needs, that premiums will eat us alive, that our doctor will stop taking our insurance, that long-term care will wipe us out, and that our uninsured friends and family members will need major financial help.”

“Most of the Democratic and several of the Republican presidential candidates support expanding S-Chip. Like many governors, they'd also follow Massachusetts' lead in forcing employers to either provide health plans or pay a modest tax to help subsidize health plans for the uninsured. The end game would be a balkanized healthcare system with the old in Medicare, the poor in Medicaid, most workers in employer plans, and the losers -- the otherwise uninsured -- in highly subsidized, limited-coverage plans. Loser plans.

This won't work. First, Medicare and Medicaid are already on a course to bankrupt the nation. Keeping these programs intact is fiscal suicide. Second, many employers are fed up with healthcare spending and are heading for the exit. In 2000, 66 percent of non-elderly Americans were covered by employer-based health insurance. Today's figure is 59 percent. And the more attractive loser insurance becomes, the quicker employers will drop their plans.

Third, loser insurance requires a major federal bureaucracy (think Hillarycare) and unaffordable subsidies. Fourth, this "solution" does nothing to reduce the administrative costs that consume a fifth of our healthcare dollars. Fifth and most damning, making loser policies available doesn't guarantee their purchase. Millions will remain uninsured.”

-The CHIPS reauthorization before congress is like a Harpers Ferry raid before the civil war over healthcare really starts with the upcoming elections and in the congress to follow. The Torys will trot out the same “socialized medicine,” “Harry and Louise,” and “between me and my doctor” claptrap that worked for them in ’94 but I don’t see people buying it anymore.

I’ve had three jobs in the last twenty years, but I’ve had eight different healthplans. So much for choosing my own doctor. I’m choosing a different one every couple years, and not because I’ve got an Oxy jones like Limbaugh.

And don’t expect establishment democrats to help. So far, Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate I’ve noticed talking about busting up the insurance and pharmaceutical complex that has turned our healthcare delivery system into a private gravy train.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Circling the Drain

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed payroll records from the House for Ed Buckham, former chief of staff to ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). The subpoena, issued by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., is the first formal notification that Buckham is the focus of a federal corruption probe by the Justice Department.

Buckham, DeLay’s “spiritual advisor” and former chief of staff, resigned to start his own lobbying outfit, the Alexander Strategy Group. Alexander employed DeLay’s wife Christine, as well as Julie Doolittle, the wife of Republican Congressman John Doolittle. Doolittle, like DeLay, has had his house searched by the FBI looking for evidence of his involvement in Jack Abramoff’s crimes.

The Alexander Strategy Group lobbied for Brent Wilkes, who is on trial for bribing jailed Congressman Duke Cunningham. It was the Wilkes investigation that put the D C Madam in the news. I’m going to fall out laughing if we learn that Buckham was sending hookers to DeLay after his sanctimonious reaction to Newt Gingrich’s antics during the Clinton impeachment.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Soft Bigotry....

This kind of stuff is what many white Texans talk about with each other when nobody (coughtheblacks!) is around (circulated to me via the office grapevine):

James Henry, the latest Longhorn to be arrested, wrote on his MySpace page:

About Me: Whats really good wit ya as you know my name is JAMES HENRY AKA J*HEN im a nigga that about making money hand having fun with the ladies and chillin in the trap with my niggas!!! Im from the tone aka DAT COUNTDOWN CITY!! but i reside in the ATX now cause im up here doin the football thing!! so come holla at cha yo boi special all glowing ass ladies :)

About Me: I hope this note finds you well.
My name is James Henry, although I occasionally affect the jocular nom de guerre of J*Hen.

While I tend to focus on financial success, I balance my interests by participating in the dating scene, and with a relaxed attitude of casual bonhomie.

I hail from San Antonio, sometimes referred to as the "Countdown City," a playful reference to the area code "2-1-0".
However, I currently reside in Austin, Texas where I am active in the University of Texas' famous Longhorns Football Club.

Feel free to contact me, and I extend a special invitation to the special ladies whose radiance shines as if from within. I remain

Your humble servant,
James Henry

Actually, when I think about it, white people often don't care who is listening.

That's a picture of Lincoln Perry, "America's first black movie star" up there, aka Stepin Fetchit, "a befuddled, mumbling, shiftless fool."

"Seen through a modern lens, Perry's "laziest man in the world" character can be painfully racist."

Being a sight-challenged, slightly addled Mr. Magoo of the cheap seat blog world, when I first read that quote, I thought it said, "playfully racist." That's what the e-mail above is. Sick shit that we rub in the face of black individuals everyday.

It is important that we get the national conversation on race they've been promising us since Katrina. All the media can seem to focus on is black-on-white crime in NO. Personally, having seen the images available in the alternative media, I wouldn't be surprised in NO was burnt to the ground by traumatized, desperately frustrated victims of institutional dehumanization. It is a predictable outcome of unremedied social pathologies of this ilk.

The attempt to find justice for the Jena 6 is a battle to closely watch.

EDIT: Please sign the petition to free the Jena 6:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

This Space for Rent

Driving south on the Gulf Freeway towards downtown today I saw a unique advertising balloon. One of the bail bond outfits had an inflatable jailbird bobbing around on the roof of their building. Looked great, a twenty-foot tall disheveled white guy with bald spot and three-day stubble wearing an orange jumpsuit. Too bad it’s on the wrong side of I-10 or it would be visible from Riesner Street.

Then I thought, Hey, I know that guy, that’s Roy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dan Rather Sues CBS

About time. The Houston kid and Sam Houston alumni would cut off his arm before lying about something. The man is many things but not a liar. He got set up by Karl Rove with forged documents that were truthful in nature and content. This fact did not change the underlying unalterable truth: George Bush is a coward who went AWOL in 1973; did not finish his service and then lied about it.

Dan Rather was "swift boated," but failed to respond timely because despite standing up to Nixon, Dan is basically a fixture of the news establishment. Finally, he has summoned the courage to sue CBS and his three former bosses for wood-shedding him, destroying his career, reputation and rubbing his face in dog shit, all on behalf of and at the behest of the Boy King.

I can't wait for him to have his day in court. Prediction: the weasels will settle fast.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Signs of Intelligent Life?

-I took this article by the Chronicle’s Bill Murphy to be a sign of intelligent life on the Commissioners Court under new County Judge Ed Emmett:

“Harris County will try to reduce overcrowding at its juvenile detention facilities by jailing only youths who pose a danger or have been accused of serious, violent crimes, officials announced Friday.

The announcement comes three months after Commissioners Court discussed whether to ask voters to spend $76 million to renovate the former county jail and turn it into juvenile detention space.

Instead, officials have turned to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, based in Baltimore, Md., which has given the county a $300,000 grant to develop ways to cut its juvenile detention population.

"There are all sorts of reasons that kids are in detention that don't have anything to do with public safety," said Bart Lubow, director of the foundation's program for high-risk youth. "They don't like kids' attitudes or feel that they don't have an alternative."

The foundation kicked off a study of Harris County's juvenile detention system Friday. During the next three to five years, foundation analysts and researchers will work with juvenile court judges, prosecutors and the Juvenile Probation Department to reduce the number of youth detainees without putting the public at risk.The foundation has worked on reducing juvenile detainees in 85 communities since 1992. Dallas joined the program last year.

Cook County in Illinois has been one of the foundation's success stories and serves as one of four learning labs for counties starting the program.Cook County's juvenile detainee population averaged 710 in 1996. That number was reduced to 426 in 2006, after officials there began following the foundation's recommendations.

"The Casey Foundation is very creative, and that's why I'm interested in seeing what they've put together in other jurisdictions," said Harvey Hetzel, executive director of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department.The foundation has met moderate to high success in most places, Lubow said. Its efforts did not succeed in New York City and Milwaukee because officials in those cities lacked "the political will" to make the necessary changes and administrators lacked "the acumen" to lead the effort, he said.

The foundation will help the county develop a method of assessing which youths could pose a danger if released.Lubow said many youths will have a better chance at turning their lives around if they are not held with juveniles who have committed serious crimes.

The county could lessen its juvenile detainee population by greatly expanding an electronic monitoring program, creating late afternoon-evening reporting centers for wayward youths and hiring home detention officers who would work with youths, Lubow said.

"We would like to come up with more creative ways of dealing with juveniles," said County Judge Ed Emmett, who chairs the county's juvenile probation board.Hetzel said he does not expect Harris County to get as dramatic results as Cook County because his department has been trying to reduce its number of detainees for several years."We'd be successful if we cut our detention by 20 percent, 25 percent," he said.

Lubow said Harris County should perform a similar analysis of its adult jail overcrowding problem.

The county will ask voters in November to approve a $245 million, 2,500-bed adult jail, processing and evaluation center and medical facility. Bonds would provide $195 million, the city would contribute $32 million and the county would raise the remaining $18 million through other means.”

-This is a real breath of fresh air following news last year that juveniles in state detention centers were being raped and abused by staff, particularly in light of reports about teens caught up in the justice system by “zero tolerance” policies that criminalize common teen misbehavior.

Voter rejection of that November bond issue could give legislators the necessary cover to reconsider our costly and counterproductive drug war. This would be a giant step for pandering officials that campaign like they want to institute Sharia or Hammurabis Code.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wage Peace

“Crooks and Liars” had this from a Colin Powell interview in GQ:

“What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?

I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there—ones that we can take advantage of? It should not be just about creating alliances to deal with a guy in a cave in Pakistan. It should be about how do we create institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market economies? This is perhaps the most effective way to go after terrorists.”

-This is what Dennis Kucinich is talking about when he proposes a Department of Peace. Just imagine what we might accomplish if we weren’t busy brokering billion dollar arms sales to countries where the people don’t even have clean water to drink.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Devil Take the Hindmost

-I heard this today on “Marketplace” from economist Andrew Marcellus:

“The basic economics of risk in hurricane zones is crystal clear. The only people who should live in killer storm zones are those who can afford very expensive insurance and storm-proof housing. But what about the millions of poor and working people who can't afford either but are essential to coastal economies?

We could provide them with subsidies so that they can afford insurance. But we don't have to. Instead, we can safely gamble that sheer economic necessity will bully our soldiers, police, construction workers, and day-care providers into accepting their exposure to Mother Nature. But do we really want to bet that we can tear up the social contract and maintain social order?

Business reality demands it. It's cheaper for society to rescue disaster survivors after the fact than protect them from Nature's nastiness. Social unrest? Yes, we'll have that, but not riots or radical politics. These people are simply powerless at work and in politics.

Profound alienation? Sure. We'll have legions of migrants as climate change proceeds. Continually displaced populations will commit more crimes. Prisons will be the warehouses for these climate migrants.

Impossible? No. Think Mexico City, Mumbai, Nairobi, Sao Paulo, Cairo.

There, elites maintain enough distance between themselves and everybody else that they don't have to give a darn about the majority living at the mercy of the weather.

I have no idea what will happen in an urban society in an advanced capitalist country with a large, floating population continually displaced by climate risk. But neither does anyone else. It's another step in globalization where the U.S. begins to join the "third world."

And that's why this is a bad, bad bet.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ZDD 9/11 Tribute

Thanks to via Wonkett

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dear Congressman Lampson

Next Tuesday, President Bush will again be cynically trying to make hay
on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I would like to point out something
that Senator Durbin said this week at the Center for National Policy.
He quoted Senator Warner, saying that "every annual defense authorization
vote is a de facto authorization of the President's right to
conduct this war as he chooses."
Please Congressman Lampson, no more blank checks for Iraq.

Charly Hoarse
Clear Lake

Friday, September 07, 2007

Suffer the Little Children

I hate to step on Hoarse's great posting - he is speaking to what matters and I encourage folks to read on from here, but I just have to get this out.

In the coming school year and forever more, kid's who have been waived from the standard state assessment of knowledge and skills (TAKS) test, and have heretofore been taking the modified alternative test (SDAA) are required to take the TAKS along with everyone else.

That means that the minority/poor districts who had been working mightily against awesome challenges to stay funded during these times of "no child left behind" will have to include the scores from learning disabled children with their total scores. For example, Lucy's school is 99% low income minority and had proudly acquired "Exemplary" status through rigorous drilling and hard work, testing 85% of students. Now, they will test 97% of students, including all special ed, class 504 and marginal/at risk children. Only Down's kids are excluded. Their scores will predictably plunge. Why does this matter? The school's funding and accreditation is based on the yearly scores.

This happens at a time when special ed funding has been slashed. There is a 2 year delay in performing comprehensive assessment, speech pathology, and plan development within the district. Two experts serve 80 schools. How could any child expect accommodation required by Federal Law under those circumstances. Under State Law, a district may not fund raise, and the Leg just capped property taxes at $1.04, where it had been $1.50.

Why is this happening? Because King George (privately schooled) and his ilk desire to destroy public education so they can create private schools in their place. In fact, that's what Neil Bush does for a living. The fix is in.

To add insult to injury, soon we will hear Rush, and Glen and Sean pointing to "proof" that minorities aren't as smart as white people. Ironically, the people that readily buy into this naked racial hatred are the products of public schools.


Robert Kennedy Jr. told Amy Goodman that the biggest environmental issues in America today are campaign finance and media consolidation.

Think about it. Corporations give money to elected officials to spend on campaign ads run on TV networks owned by those same corporations. The consent of the governed is manufactured with infotainment and propaganda broadcast on these same networks.

Lax congressional oversight and lack of antitrust enforcement have allowed giant corporations to play monopoly with the media. Most cities no longer have competing daily newspapers. A few corporations own most of the radio stations. An Australian billionaire owns a cable news network. A Korean cult leader owns a major daily newspaper in the nation’s capitol. And television networks, where most Americans look for news, now look to their news divisions to be profit centers, and market them like soap flakes in their quest for ratings and ad revenues.

When we manage to bust up these rackets, we can send our parliament of corporate whores home to “spend time with their families,” and “seek opportunity in the private sector.” Then we can get down to the business of cleaning up the planet we’ve been despoiling, see to the health and education of our people, and work for world peace instead of maintaining a state of perpetual warfare.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
Hell, Dennis Kucinich is polling 3%.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Scream Like Hell

-Check out this that Bigfoot sent me…

There are these two blind pilots, both wearing dark glasses, one is using a guide dog, and the other is tapping his way along the aircraft aisle with a cane.

Nervous laughter spreads through the cabin, but the men enter the cockpit, the door closes, and the engines start up. The passengers begin glancing nervously around, searching for some sign that this is just a little practical joke. None is forthcoming.

The plane moves faster and faster down the runway and the people sitting in the window seats realize they’re headed straight for the water at the edge of the airport. As it begins to look as though the plane will plough into the water, panicked screams fill the cabin.

At that moment, the plane lifts smoothly into the air. The passengers relax and laugh a little sheepishly, and soon all retreat into their magazines, secure in the knowledge that the plane is in good hands.....

In the cockpit, one of the blind pilots turns to the other and says, ”Ya Know Bob, one of these days, they’re gonna scream too late.”

-Now think about this in light of Bush and Cheney trying to take us into war with Iran. If we don’t all scream like hell, these two are going to land us in the drink. Scream like hell.
Impeach Cheney first.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fake Purse Ninjas

"Buy fake, support terrorism?"

By Dana Thomas

"Paris —- Luxury fashion designers are busily putting final touches on the handbags they will present during the spring-summer 2008 women's wear shows, which begins next week in New York City's Bryant Park. To understand the importance of the handbag in fashion today consider this: According to consumer surveys conducted by Coach, the average American woman was buying two new handbags a year in 2000; by 2004, it was more than four. And the average luxury bag retails for 10 to 12 times its production cost.

"There is a kind of an obsession with bags," the designer Miuccia Prada told me. "It's so easy to make money." Counterfeiters agree. As soon as a handbag hits big, counterfeiters around the globe churn out fake versions by the thousands. And they have no trouble selling them. Shoppers descend on Canal Street in New York, Santee Alley in Los Angeles and flea markets and purse parties around the country to pick up knockoffs for one-tenth the legitimate bag's retail cost, then pass them off as real.

"Judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys shop here," a private investigator told me as we toured the counterfeit section of Santee Alley. "Affluent people from Newport Beach." According to a study by the British law firm Davenport Lyons, two-thirds of British consumers are "proud to tell their family and friends" that they bought fake luxury fashion items.

At least 11 percent of the world's clothing is fake, according to 2000 figures from the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group in Paris. Fashion is easy to copy: Counterfeiters buy the real items, take them apart, scan the pieces to make patterns and produce almost-perfect fakes.

Most people think that buying an imitation handbag or wallet is harmless, a victimless crime. But the counterfeiting rackets are run by crime syndicates that also deal in narcotics, weapons, child prostitution, human trafficking and terrorism. Ronald K. Noble, the secretary general of Interpol, told the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations that profits from the sale of counterfeit goods have gone to groups associated with Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist group, paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland and FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Sales of counterfeit T-shirts may have helped finance the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, according to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. "Profits from counterfeiting are one of the three main sources of income supporting international terrorism," said Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland.

Most fakes today are produced in China, a good many of them by children. Children are sometimes sold or sent off by their families to work in clandestine factories that produce counterfeit luxury goods. Many in the West consider this an urban myth. But I have seen it myself."

-Remember Steve Martin's 1999 film "Bowfinger?" At the end, the Fedex truck comes with their movie deal, and the crew packs up and goes to Hong Kong to film their next action feature "Fake Purse Ninjas."

It's surreal thing.

Beautiful Losers

I could not resist bringing you these fabulous photos of Sadam BFF, Oscar Wyatt (R-Traitor), and Houston society queen/star fucker, Lynn Wyatt at the de Menil. Nothing tastes as sweet when flavored with gassed Kurdish children. After Ken Lay's theft of everybody's pensions the only thing that could top these guys might be Carolyn Farb's cannibalism.

Yes, that is Elton John contemplating suicide. Liza with an M is there with Oscar trolling for husbands. I do not know the lady in the shiny burka.

Note: The lady in red is Sissy Farenthold, former socialist gubernatorial candidate, and once-proud champion of the people.

(courtesy of

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"Virginia Tom" DeLay Still Whistling Past the Graveyard

-Thanks to Susan Bankston at Kiss My Big Blue Butt for tipping us
to this in today’s edition of The Hill:

"Abramoff, Scanlon and key former aides continue to talk"

By Susan Crabtree
September 04, 2007

"With a busy autumn ahead for the Jack Abramoff investigation, prosecutors may be trying to send former aides — and even Abramoff himself — a message: Play nice with us and we’ll play nicer with you.

In August, Justice Department prosecutors investigating Abramoff and his wide-ranging corruption schemes reduced Will Heaton’s sentence to probation and recommended only home confinement for Neil Volz. The two former aides to Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) played key roles in sending their former boss to jail for 30 months.

Prosecutors are continuing to talk to Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, his close associate and a former top aide to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). In late August, the government postponed scheduled status hearings with Judge Ellen Huvelle for both men, giving them three more months to continue to spill information.

In late July, prosecutors also agreed to give Tony Rudy more time to cooperate, scheduling another status hearing for him Nov. 5."

-As I recall, some of the charges Scanlon and Rudy faced carried a possible life sentence. If you think that personel integrity and loyalty will keep these guys from singing about their dealings with DeLay Inc, you might also be interested in my new volunteer organization, "Adopt a Pit Viper."

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Chupacabra Report -Verdad

Chupacabra found?

By ELIZABETH WHITE Associated Press

CUERO — Phylis Canion has been a hunter all her life and has the mounted heads of a zebra and other exotic animals in her house to prove it.

But the roadkill she found last month outside her ranch was a new one even for her, worth putting in a freezer hidden from curious onlookers: Canion thinks she may have the head of the mythical, bloodsucking chupacabra.

"It is one ugly creature," Canion said, holding the head of the mammal, which has big ears, large fanged teeth and grayish-blue, mostly hairless skin.

Canion and some of her neighbors discovered the 40-pound bodies of three of the animals over four days in July outside her ranch in Cuero, 80 miles southeast of San Antonio. Canion said she saved the head of the one she found so she can get to get to the bottom of its ancestry through DNA testing and then mount it for posterity.

She suspects, as have many rural denizens over the years, that a chupacabra may have killed as many as 26 of her chickens in the past couple of years.

"I've seen a lot of nasty stuff. I've never seen anything like this," she said.

What tipped Canion to the possibility that this was no ugly coyote, but perhaps the vampire-like beast, is that the chickens weren't eaten or carried off — all the blood was drained from them, she said.

Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, and it is said to have originated in Latin America, specifically Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Canion thinks recent heavy rains ran them right out of their dens.

"I think it could have wolf in it," Canion said. "It has to be a cross between two or three different things."

She said the finding has captured the imagination of locals, just like purported sightings of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster have elsewhere.

But what folks are calling a chupacabra is probably just a strange breed of dog, said veterinarian Travis Schaar of the Main Street Animal Hospital in nearby Victoria.

"I'm not going to tell you that's not a chupacabra. I just think in my opinion a chupacabra is a dog," said Schaar, who has seen Canion's find.

The "chupacabras" could have all been part of a mutated litter of dogs, or they may be a new kind of mutt, he said.

As for the bloodsucking, Schaar said that this particular canine may simply have a preference for blood, letting its prey bleed out and licking it up.

Chupacabra or not, the discovery has spawned a local and international craze. Canion has started selling T-shirts that read: "2007, The Summer of the Chupacabra, Cuero, Texas," accompanied by a caricature of the creature.
The $5 shirts have gone all over the world, including Japan, Australia and Brunei. Schaar also said he has one."If everyone has a fun time with it, we'll keep doing it," she said. "It's good for Cuero."

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Class Warfare

As Warren Buffet said, "If there's class warfare going on in this country, my class is winning."
Check this, from Mike Tolson of the Houston Chronicle:

Poverty, in the official sense, ends at $20,615 for a family of four. But an Austin think tank says that threshold is seriously outdated and an income even double that doesn't keep you from being poor.

For a family of four in Texas to have minimal security, it needs a household income of $43,029, says a study released this week by the Center on Public Policy Priorities. If that family lacks health insurance, the total needs to top $53,000.

"We've got a lot of hardworking people who don't make enough money to make ends meet," said senior researcher Frances Deviney.

Many government assistance programs drop off as family income climbs above poverty thresholds, which means that people who make significantly more than minimum wage scramble to provide basic needs, Deviney said. Single parents are especially prone to falling into this category.

This group, known to demographers and social scientists as the working poor, numbers about 1.1 million in the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area, she said.

What to do? With the value of wages declining in real buying power and fewer employers offering benefits, the government should step in, Deviney said. Revising poverty standards and increasing access to the Children's Health Insurance Program and food stamps would be a good start, she said, along with enhanced job training and support for community colleges.