Zippidy Doo Da

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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Goes Home

Gold Star Mother for Peace Cindy Sheehan held up against great adversity; suffering personally, physically, and financially. Now after years of derision, smears, and oppression from the White House and the Right Wing Media, she is discouraged to be attacked by the democrats too.

I heard her say that congress is made up of corporate whores, that we shouldn’t expect them to stop the war. She called Nancy Pelosi “the Speaker of the Whores” after Pelosi told Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers that impeachment is off the table. Now Sheehan says she’s had enough and wants to go home to her children.

This latest news has once again made her a lightning rod for criticism. We should all thank her for what she’s done. Remember back when Bush was starting the Iraq war. Few had the stomach to oppose it. One hundred some congressmen, a dozen senators; for ordinary folks, to speak against Holy George was like to invite lynching. I remember feeling that free speech could threaten my livelihood, and worried that my family could suffer for my opinions. We should be grateful that Cindy Sheehan had more guts than most of us.

And let’s remember that it takes a long time to effect change in this country. It took ten years to stop the Viet Nam War. If the passage of the latest war funding bill tells us anything, it’s that we have not yet reached the tipping point. Turn off your TV and let’s stop the war.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

You Know You're a Texan If.. (Vol. III)

The nicest piece of furniture in your house is a gun cabinet.

You've never met a jewish person.

You've got an old can of Butch Wax you can't let go of.

You have tense arguments over bar-b-que.

You buy ammunition at the liquor store.*

You can chart your life through a series of gimme caps.

You think all cowboy hats west of the Pecos and North of the Red are queer-looking.

You have eaten feral hog, possum, snake, havelina, and craw dads but guacamole makes you gag.

You are jealous of your mom's squirrel recipe.

You think all trucks smaller than one ton are girly.

*If you think I'm kidding, please see me for a list of Texas gun/liquor outlets.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Lunatic Fringe or Cognoscenti?

Last week’s Michael Ramirez cartoon featuring the ass end of a donkey was captioned “Rasmussen Poll: 35% of Democrats believe Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance.”
See it here.
I thought, well, people believe anything; and remembered the video of President My Pet Goat. The man looked pole-axed, this is no criminal mastermind. But my curiosity was piqued, and I was soon looking at the 9/11 truth movement site. This is a pretty good clearinghouse. The known facts of this story can be seen to mean many different things, and they do. I’m partial to the “simply let it happen” theory of some crazy scheme gone out of control and they have to keep the lid on it now because they’ve killed thousands of people.

You don’t believe we would go to war under false pretenses? It’s an American tradition since 1846 when James Knox Polk sent Gen. Zachary Taylor into Mexican territory between the Nueces and the Rio Grande to get shot at so Polk could go manifest destiny on Mexico. Remember the Maine? That started the Spanish American War. The sinking of the ammo-smuggling Lusitania helped drag us into World War I. Was Pearl Harbor a surprise? What if anything was the Gulf of Tonkin incident?

Are you ready for the Strait of Hormuz incident?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

This is Awful (& Such Small Portions!)

There seems to be a lot of consternation of late over the government Copyright Royalty Board's decision to make online webcasters pay actual money for the music they use. ( This month, all appeals and legislation offered to forestall action by the board ended, and starting next month, all unpaid royalties are due retroactively from January 2006. (yahoo news) "One concession the judges did make was to allow webcasters to calculate fees by average listener hours until next year, when a per-song, per-listener fee will be enacted." (AP)

I called Mr. Aguilar, the station manager at KPFT Pacifica Radio in Houston for comment, but he has not returned my call after a couple of days wait. They have nothing on their site. KSYM in SA on the other hand, is very active and is organizing grass-roots support.

Things so rarely surprise me these days. I wish I couldn't always count on people in the biz to want a return to the old days, but without any ideas about how a musical industry classic renessance is apt to flower.

John Amato at Crooks and Liars wrote the following amazing statement the other day:

"TOWER records went out of business and as expensive as a CD was, I still enjoyed browsing the store."

Hey! Kid! Iffa you no gonna buy that magazeen, get outta heah! You tink I runna libary?

Grant at says, "hey you kids get offa my lawn, goddammit!"

"To continue also to believe that the now-inevitable transfer to a digital ecology is a disaster for music, for all of us. A system has been created by and for 18-year-olds who don't believe they should pay for intellectual property. In doing so we have destroyed the brick and mortar world in which new artists were incubated, in which casual consumers occasionally succumbed to the temptations of in-store play or celebrity or just simple good taste and bought a record once in a while. We have also slaughtered countless jobs which allowed young and struggling musicians to make a kind of a living surrounded by music all day, listening to what is new and old, ingesting sounds they'd not have sought elsewhere, socializing with like-minded people, meeting and greeting their potential audience. We have destroyed hundreds of community meeting places, and sitting at this screen typing to imaginary friends is no substitute for walking into Second Time Around on Saturday afternoon when Uncle Kenny had just found a new treasure and had to play it as loudly as possible."

People. Let the artists find a way out of the wilderness. The brave new world will be just as fun as when they were all slaves, I promise.

Monday, May 21, 2007

An Apple a Day.....

I have got to learn to write more clearly. Whenever I speak to people by e-mail about something on my mind, they often write back as if the are in the grips of adult dyslexia. For example, here is Prof. David Warner, Wilbur J. Cohen Fellow in Health and Social Policy, Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, who seems a nice enough fellow, but for his confusion, I would think he is answering me with a bit of obfuscation in mind. You decide:

>> Professor Warner:
>> After state agency consolidation a number of vital services to protect public health were under-funded or eradicated altogether. For example, rural indigent clinic funding, reduced, Medicaid funding eliminated for dental, glasses, hearing aids, assistive devices, less provider reimbursement, and mental health services for adults; MHMR closures/curtailment, greater restrictions on hospital district indigent care, lack of autism programs, declining chip roles. This cuppled with increased Medicaid drug costs, shrinking Medicaid provider participation, and prenatal care would predict, I think, would drive over-all mortality rates in Texas up instead of down. Yet, HHS public health tables listing mortality rates list decreases in deaths from incidence of disease accross the board. From my perspective, the only thing new, in terms of health services in rural Texas are more dialysis and hospice services.
>> This result seems counterintutive to me. Less services = less disease? How is this accounted for, do you think?
>> Sincerely,
>> Peter Higgins

> this is 95-2003--the Medicaid cutbacks and CHIP cutbacks didn't begin until late 2003. Also there has been generally full employment and in general death rates have declined nationally as well. Also an increased number of Hispanics who generally have longer lives and better mortality experience may also have an effect even though they have less access to care. The fact is that these services don't really have much to do with mortality.

> Professor Warner:
> I was thrilled and felt very privileged to receive your facinating reply. You got me thinking outside my box, so to speak.
> Incidentally, I have seen the HHS 2003-06 mortality tables, but when searching recently I couldn't find them again. However, I clearly recall that the downward trend continued, which probably isn't too surprising to you.
> To differentiate between US Dept of Labor unemployment (claims-based) statistics vs. "real" unemployment; or, the other non-medical factors contributing to mortality in minority population (accidents and assaults) wouldn't change much. You are no doubt right as to the fact that, "these services don't really have much to do with mortality."
> Risking that I am further imposing on you, should I assume reduced social/medical services from school lunches to geriatric physical therapy make us less healthy? My hope is to find out where any impact on public health would be found in terms of objective measurement.
> You are a gentleman and a scholar.
> Warmest regards,
> Peter

there is a big literature on how a more egalitarian society may have fewer stresses and better health. I think there is certainly an impact on children's health now and in the future from healthy lunches and breakfasts and physical therapy for the geriatric population has a positive impact--whether it can be substituted for by various exercise and other regimens is antoher story.....

Friday, May 18, 2007


There are about 200 children locked up in Taylor at the Hutto Unit, a prison run by Homeland Security, according to the LA Times.

TAYLOR, TEXAS — Khadijah Bessuges is confined by metal gates and razor wire. She wears a uniform. She sleeps in an 8-by-15 cell, and stands by her cot four times a day when the guards count heads. She has only two pairs of panties. Her favorite teddy bear was confiscated. But she has her father, Sebastien, who sleeps in the cell with her.

Khadijah is 9 years old.

She is one of 208 children being held with their parents at the T. Don Hutto family detention center, the Department of Homeland Security's answer to the problem of families caught living in or entering the country illegally.

"It's not a good place for people," Khadijah said in a recent telephone interview. "People here get sad, and they don't want to be here. They want to be with their families."

Hutto, which opened in May 2006, is a pillar of the Bush administration's effort to crack down on illegal immigrants and detain them until their appeals can be heard. It holds detainees who cannot easily be sent home, as Mexicans can. Hutto has families from 29 countries, most from South America.

The center is touted by the Homeland Security Department as a major achievement, and may be a model for future facilities. Hutto also illustrates the administration's bind as its pursuit of border security collides with the reality that many illegal immigrants are minors.

This debate underway about special visas, etc., let's not forget that children are involved with families who are here without green cards. We, as a society, pay the price in the long-term for official U.S. policy that results in aparthide, such as this instance.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I Don't Speak Ill of the Dead

They usually do a great job all by themselves. From the Rude Pundit:

Here's Falwell preaching in 1958, quoted in a Washington Post profile in 1988 by Walt Harrington:

"'In this message,' Falwell intoned pompously, 'I want to use the Bible alone as our guide. It is never worthwhile to give man's opinion...The answer to the whole subject can be found in Genesis 9:18-27.' Falwell went on to explain that Ham, the son of Noah, had seen Noah naked one day. When Noah discovered this, he cursed Ham's son, Canaan: 'A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.' Falwell explained that Ham later became the progenitor of the African race.

"He rambled on, still using 'the Bible alone' as his guide: 'The true Negro does not want integration...He realizes his potential is far better among his own race...We see the hand of Moscow in the background...We see the Devil himself behind it...It will destroy our race eventually...In one northern city, a pastor friend of mine tells me that a couple of opposite race live next door to his church as man and wife ...It boils down to whether we are going to take God's Word as final.'

"Oblivious to the hatefulness of his sermon, Falwell concluded: '...If we live in constant fellowship with the Lord, He can enable us to live Christ-like before others.'"

The epitaph should read, "pass the bacon."

Monday, May 14, 2007

2007 Art Car Parade

Thursday, May 10, 2007


A sheepsih shout out to the folks who have visited the comments in the last month or so. I finally figured out how to put the things up. I will try to answer individually whever possible. To blame stuff on Bloggers is easy, but the sad thing is that I'm just not that sharp.

Folks, listen, try to come out to the Houston Art Car Parade on Saturday. There are few things more fun. Judge Hoarse will be performing "Music to Watch Girls By" in his best Aqua-lung. Look for the Venus Hearse. Be sure to bring water and sunscreen.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pharisees of Texas

The Chronicle headline read “San Antonio megachurch at center of plan to join the UIL.” Next I saw that Sen. Dan Patrick had introduced the bill to allow a small Christian school to join the state league for public school athletics. I guessed right away that they were talking about Pastor John Hagee’s Cornerstone Christian Church. This outfit first came to my attention when I read about Tom DeLay churning it for contributions and preaching their “Apocalypse Now” theology of saving Israel so that we can burn it.

The article notes that the Cornerstone Christian School has been in trouble repeatedly for packing its sports teams with ringers from out of state and around the world. I guess that Jesus didn’t say “blessed are the second-stringers.”

The article didn’t mention that Pastor Hagee also has a history of cheating on his wife, and that he, his wife, and his son shear millions in salary from their flock.

But, they are tight with republican lawmakers like Rep. Frank Corte, Tom “Retreat and Surrender” DeLay, and that excrement Dan Patrick, (a.k.a. Daniel Pugh, Danny Goeb) always willing to bow down before bible beaters and billionaires alike.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Dalai Lama

The weather was pleasant yesterday morning as we waited over an hour with nothing but tickets in our hands while thousands had their bags searched ahead of us. To be fair, maybe those folks all walked there or rode transit, without the benefit of a car trunk.

The old gent was affable as ever. He soon engaged the crowd with his quirky, matter-of–fact humor and infectious laughter. He disabused those in the audience that came to see “miracle powers,” this, he said, “is nonsense.”

He praised Houstonians for practicing compassion and tolerance, and said, “I am leaving tomorrow, so the responsibility is on your shoulder.”

I thought later of hearing Cindy Sheehan suggest that a way to work for peace might be to get arrested sitting-in at your congressman’s office. His Holiness the old monk said that if we try to control a hostile environment, it is impossible because the number of sentient beings is limitless, but if we can remain calm and avoid negative emotions, we will be more prepared for obstacles and difficulties, “some effect, how much I don’t know.”

More humility on his way off stage as he stopped at the podium to suggest that any who found his remarks interesting might feel free to experiment on their own, that it might do some good; and if any did not find what he said interesting, “just forget it.”