Zippidy Doo Da

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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Howard Zinn 1922 – 2010

Watching Bill Moyers’ show Friday night I learned that Howard Zinn passed away last week. Zinn was an American author and intellectual who labored in even more obscurity than his friend and neighbor Noam Chomski, if that’s possible. This is not just because his ideas were controversial, outside the homogenized mainstream emitted by America’s corporate-owned media, but because his ideas couldn’t be conveyed in the twenty second clips served up to distracted vidiots.

Zinn grew up in Brooklyn, and served as a bombardier in the Army Air Force in World War II. After the war, he went to college on the G I Bill, and spent the next thirty-two years as a history professor. He was involved in the civil rights and anti war movements as an activist and author. In 1968 Zinn traveled to Viet Nam with Daniel Berrigan, bringing home with them three captured U.S. airmen. While there, he had to shelter in a basement while American B-52’s dropped bombs on Hanoi. He considered this fair treatment for somebody who spent WW II dropping bombs on Europeans.

Dissatisfied with available history texts, he wrote his own, “The People’s History of the United States,” published in 1980, and still selling 100,000 copies a year. I call this book the ‘Losers History of the U S,” as it tells history from the underside; the point of view of the Indians, slaves,immigrants, women, workers, and their centuries long struggle against oppression and inequity. No silver dollars and chopping down cherry trees here, this book tells the whole bloody story of how we became the country we are today, and how we might progress as a people, if we dare.

Moyers ended his tribute with a clip from Zinn’s last appearance on his show,(see it here he promoted a film project from his book, shown on The History Channel last month and due to be released on DVD in the coming weeks. He left off with this quote:
“Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Big Blue Butt has Moved

Susan DuQuesnay Bankston, who is worshiped daily by the gang here at ZDD at her former site "Kiss My Bigg Blue Butt" has moved into new diggs at (not to be confused with - a porn site more disgusting than Two Girls and a Cup - eewww!). Her site is fabulous. She is probably the most under rated blogger west of the Mississippi.

We are secretly gratified she did not pursue political office entirely. We need the daily juice.

Her link is below in "politics" at Juanita Jean's salon.

Show her some love.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vote Perry for Governor in the GOP Primary

I was startled recently to hear that the Texas Primary is coming up March 2nd. Early voting begins February 16th! The big event in the GOP Primary, where the party’s lunatic fringe picks the biggest nuts off the tree to cram down the rest of ours throats, is the contest for governor, where the once-slightly-moderate Kay Bailey is challenging the evil incumbent Rick Perry.

For me, Perry can’t be gone soon enough. I only wish he could be led off in irons. He hides his crony capitalism behind a crock of phony baloney ideology that still sells somehow with a large minority of voters. He’s riding the wave of Astroturf activists conjured up by Roger Ailes and David Koch : Dick Armey and Sarah Palin are their minions; and Chuck Norris and Ted Nugent the sideshow.

Perry has been in office forever, since Geo. W. Bush used the office as a stepping-stone in his quest to ruin the country, so his list of crimes against Texas is lengthy. To list a few:

He has done his best to unravel the societal safety net, in the 48th least generous state in the nation, even in the throes of the worst downturn since the great depression, declining federal funds for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Foodstamps, Unemployment Insurance, and Race To the Top Education Grants.

He has presided over and defended one of the most regressive tax systems in the country, while funneling tax money through his slush fund, the Texas Enterprise Fund, to such dubious recipients as WalMart and sub-prime giant Countrywide Financial. Texas Republicans say they hate welfare, but they love them some corporate welfare.

His office has been a revolving door for staffers who later become high-paid lobbyists, returning to pitch dubious schemes like privatization of state services, turning state highways into toll roads to be leased to foreign interests, requiring certain HPV vaccines for schoolgirls statewide, leasing out the state lottery, and taking out “dead peasant” life insurance policies on schoolteachers.

-Enough of all that, hopefully Senator Hutchison will spend millions telling Texans these stories. From what I hear, Perry is the preferred opponent at the Bill White for Governor campaign. I will enjoy watching Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina sully the governor but I hope that Texas Republicans choose Rick Perry as their candidate in an expensive and bloody run-off election.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In today’s Chronicle, Eric Berger writes about a new CNN poll on climate change;

“After holding steady at around 55 percent since 2007, the number of respondents to a CNN poll in December agreeing that “global warming is a proven fact and is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial facilities” fell to 45 percent.”

-While on the very same page there’s an AP report about plans by the Kodiak-Kenai Cable Company to run an underwater fiber optic cable between Tokyo and London by way of the Northwest Passage.

So if I stay put long enough, I will be living on the beach.

Reminds me of something Churchill said; “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing-once they've exhausted every other possibility.”

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chupacabra Report

Been away for a while, got to sit in at Lucy Hill’s songwriter showcase at San Antonio’s old Olmos Pharmacy, and made it home to recuperate and catch up on the news..

This week the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. FCC that McCain-Feingold prohibitions against corporate-funded attack ads in the 60 days before elections was contrary to First Amendment protection of free speech. This is a major advance of the concept of Corporate Personhood, the idea established (some say accidentally) by the 1886 Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific railroad decision, the idea that a corporation has the same civil rights as an actual person. After this decision, which may eliminate legal limits on corporate campaign spending, corporate “persons” may be more equal than natural persons, whose campaign contributions are currently limited to $2,300 per year.

Eight-nine-year –old Justice John Paul Stevens, author of the 90-page dissenting opinion, questioned afterwards whether the majority was “serious about judicial restraint,” reminding me of a line from newsman John Stewart about advocates of limited government who in reality are advocates of government “limited to Republicans.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Chicken in Every Pot.

So a former nude model who makes Sarah Palin appear positively intellectual has been elected the Junior Senator from Massa-whatsis. This turn of events has Democrats frightened about their phoney bologney jobs.

If they have learned anything it certainly isn't the obvious: Oakley was a stultifyingly boring establishment suit without a coherent message. Beyond that, "the people are starving while Washington fiddles," meme didn't seem to register with Dems who are holding the bag.

Progressive reform and populism, which Obama, et al, were elected for does not entail giving away the treasury to pirates, and fixing deals with monopolized industries. To make these acts the hallmark of achievement for the young administration is not likely to create much momentum going into November's election.

"Every man's a king," seems a little more appealing, even though it is an old school notion to believe that a healthy economy depends on a middle class that can actually buy things. What is clear from this writer's standpoint is that the Democratic establishment is as hostile to real change as the Republicans. This fact keeps Glenn Beck in business.

The Democrats must stand firm for economic justice and equality, and damn the torpedoes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ice breaker at work in Rochester, New York

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chupacabra Report

News that gets my goat..

It was announced this week that Gov Perry won’t apply for hundreds of millions in federal “Race to the Top" education standards program funds because his people fear there might be "strings attached." This is about par for the course in this state where students rank 46th and 49th nationwide in the math and verbal sections of the SAT, the state that leads the nation in the percentage of adults with no high school diploma.

This week also brought a visit from Kevin Concannon, a U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary who said that Texas’ administration of the food stamp program was the worst in the nation, saying that if the state would only do an average job of running the program it could bring another billion dollars a year in food aid to needy Texans. Grocery giant HEB, who no doubt would like to see some of these untapped millions flowing through its stores, is working with state agencies as well as with non-profit organizations and food banks to improve access to the program.

Add in the facts that Perry had to borrow billions from the federal government to pay unemployment claims last year after turning down Stimulus money for supplemental unemployment benefits, and that Texas only uses a fraction of the Medicaid and CHIP funding available to it, and you can see why Bill White says that Texas can no longer afford a government that is ideologically driven and lead.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Re: Haiti

Please don't forget that Tousaint's slave revolt in 1800 defeated Napolean's best army, and Haiti became the first black independent nation, besides the free peoples in tribal Africa.

Prior to this, slave holders rarely imagined a people in bondage violently uprising against their masters. After that, they slept with one eye open. Later rebellions like Nat Turner's and John Brown's sealed the fate of that evil institution forever by changing the public attitude in the North away from indifference and compromise toward the violent overthrow of the bastions of forced servidute. In fact, England freed its' slaves in 1809, later the rest of the world.

I challenge any person of color who is standing on the shoulders of the Haitian freedom fighters to look away from the tragic suffering of their modern ancestors and not feel the burning shame of their disgracefull ingraditude. And if you look upon Haiti as some international nigger town too far gone to save, then go to hell, because you're no different than the white biggots who oppressed Haiti via U.S. colonialism ever since.

Monday, January 11, 2010

One of our resident accipiters, a Cooper's or maybe Sharp-shinned Hawk. That's why there's feathers all over our yard. They scare enough birds off our feeders to keep our seed consumption under 75 lbs/month.

ZDD Music News

Here is the former president reminding us the evil do-ers hate us for our tasty "Bubba Burgers" while estimating their size as slightly larger than a hub cap.

The Bharmacy continues to patriotically produce delicious foods that spell A-m-e-r-i-c-a. (see link)

In addition, Lucy, LD, Hank Floyd and the ever-fabulous Loaded, plus special guests jam every Tuesday night.

Next week, Charly is scheduled to perform his hand-written music, and we urge everyone to turn out in support. People in NY and Maine are excused (this time).

Also, expect reviews of Coastal Bend, Tipsy, and hopefully The Hickoids, sometime soon.

Not to be overshadowed, rumors abound that Driftwood's 11-song CD "Dedicated: To a Cowgirl and Cowboy in the Sky," scheduled for release in August, but sidelined from data loss and mixing problems - which contributed to my nervous breakdown, is back on track for release as soon as March, 2010.

I'll keep us posted.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

From All Things Considered:

“The CIA operatives killed in Afghanistan were working to develop sources within al-Qaida, a task that has proven incredibly tough, and their loss is a heavy blow to the agency's ability to gather intelligence there.

"Former CIA analyst and author Michael Scheuer says the primary problem in trying to gain human intelligence in Afghanistan is that the U.S. is seen as "foreign, infidel occupiers by all Afghans, and at the end of the day, they want us out more than anything else, and the President, neither recent presidents, have told the American people the truth about that.

"The Taliban would not be effective if the local people weren’t supporting it. They increasingly see us as the successors to the Soviet Union as the occupiers of Afghanistan so it makes human intelligence collection very difficult and increasingly dangerous.””

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Today the Chronicle must have wanted to run some important news of the day, so they reprinted an article from yesterday’s New York Times. “Nothing but food stamps” by Jason Deparle and Robert M. Gebeloff notes that a record number of Americans now receive food assistance, (34 million, one in nine Americans) and highlight the six million who report that they have no cash income.

But what really caught me today was the photo of gun collector Kevin Zirulo.

“Mr. Zirulo, 31, dropped out of community college and diverted student aid to household expenses. He is concerned about home invasion. "I can't be without a gun," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's a two-shot Derringer."

“Mr. Zirulo has sold off two semi-automatic rifles and a five-shot revolver. "I put my heart into this gun collection," Ms. Marshall (his sister) said. "This is our last line of defense here."”

-Please excuse me for piling on to somebody who’s fallen on hard times, but really, what is this guy afraid of? Does he think that somebody is going to break in and remove his body art? The Times article described his tattoos as “patriotic.” Really? I’d say this guy is a skinhead. He looks like one of the armed teabaggers that have been showing up at events where President Obama speaks.

I think it’s safe to say that the Liberty Bell is not the only thing cracked in this picture. He wears the word “freedom,” but I’d bet that if quizzed about the Bill of Rights the only amendment he could remember would be the second one. The Statue of Liberty? That’s rich, you just know this guy is a big fan of immigration. And on his right arm is that “Tree of Liberty” that Jefferson said needs to be watered with the blood of tyrants. Again, this one is popular with the armed nuts that show up when the President comes to town. Tim McVeigh was wearing it on a tee-shirt when he was arrested.

I’m not saying that Mr. Zurilo is a worthless P.O.S, I’m just saying that I probably wouldn’t hire him if there were many other candidates. I’ve been saying for years that this country needs a new Civilian Conservation Corps, a program to get this young man out in the fresh air, away from A.M. radio and cable news, and put him to work, maybe in the Everglades.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Chupacabra Report

-Not a top ten list, just news that gets my goat:

-A Chronicle editorial today notes that my congressman has been “Grammstanding” again with NASA funding. Tom DeLay used to pull this too..

“Republicans who had supported the NASA provision, including Rep. Pete Olson, whose Houston district includes the Johnson Space Center, then voted against the overall bill. Nevertheless, after the bill passed largely on party lines and was signed by the president, Olson hailed Congress' commitment to manned spaceflight. His maneuver to have his constituent cake while maintaining a partisan posture was similar to that of Florida Republican Rep. Bill Posey. He inserted earmarks for hundreds of millions of federal dollars for projects in his state, and then joined a party-line Republican vote against the appropriation.”

-AP reports that international pirate Rupert Murdoch is trying to shake down cable customers for the right to see his NFL broadcasts. I wonder how some Fox fans to whom football is a second religion will feel about forking over another dollar a month to help Rupert try to take over the world.

- Mark Stavrakis of Friendswood writes the Chron:

“Regarding the article titled “Despite recession, crime keeps falling” (Page A3, Tuesday): Of the many reasons for the falling crime the author and the “experts” stated, a very obvious reason that failed to be mentioned was that over the last 20 years at least 39 states have passed concealed carry laws enabling law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, and many people are utilizing this right.

“While all the other reasons stated in the article surely contributed, when criminals know their job has become a lot more hazardous many decide not to take the chance. Every day hundreds of crimes are thwarted by the mere presence of a gun without even using it. In the article it seems this reason was glaringly omitted by design.”

-That may be so, but it also brings us stories such as:

Police: Homeowner kills suspect during tool theft
By DALE LEZON, Houston Chronicle

“A homeowner shot and killed a man and then wounded a woman who were reportedly trying to steal tools from his pickup early Thursday at a home in northwest Houston, police said.

“The homeowner also accidentally wounded himself.

“The shooting occurred outside a house in the 1600 block of Ansbury about 2 a.m., police said.

“The man and woman, whose names have not been released, were rushed to Ben Taub General Hospital, where the man died. The woman's condition is unknown.

“The homeowner, whose name has not been released, also was taken to Ben Taub because he shot himself in the foot during the confrontation.”

-In a note that should give pause to those who would eliminate the ‘wall’ between church and state, AP reporter Nasser Karimi wrties on the prospect of Iran prosecuting opposition leaders:

“State prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei said the opposition leaders could be accused of supporting people who defy God by protesting against the government on Sunday. He said the leaders may face charges of "supporting apostates," or those who go against God. His comments were published in the state-owned Iran newspaper."

-Bloomberg News reported last week that Senators McCain and Cantwell, along with Rep. Maurice Hinchley in the House, are sponsoring a bill to reinstate depression-era Glass-Steagall banking regulations repealed ten years ago by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. This would be a good one to write your representatives about, it just might save your retirement account sometime.