Zippidy Doo Da

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

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fun with Phil and Wendy

I about fell out yesterday reading Susan Bankston at Kiss My Big Blue Butt. Talking about our Congressman Pete Olson being Phil Gramm’s puppet, she said “Pete can’t talk when Phil’s drinking water.”

I met Mrs. Olson last year outside my early voting site, and when she asked me to vote for her husband, I told her that I was troubled by his association with Phil Gramm.

She replied that “Phil Gramm is one of the greatest economic minds of the century.”

I just know that it was Phil Gramm that told her that.

I have friends that know the Olsons, and they assure me that they are fine people. Still, when I see him mixed up with DeLay associates, or signing a pledge for Grover Norquist I want to warn him about keeping company with criminal types. And that includes Phil and Wendy.

Today Susan linked to a story I’ve been waiting a long time to see.
Phil and Wendy were big players in the Enron debacle, but they skated on all that.
Gramm was behind the deregulation that crashed the US economy last year bringing world-wide disaster, but somehow that’s getting blamed on Barack Obama.
Now he’s done a number on the Swiss Banking system. When Gramm gave up his Senate seat and position as Chairman of the Banking committee, he parachuted to a V.P. slot with UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank. Last year UBS found itself holding $37 billion in bad mortgage debt from the Gramm-deregulated US derivatives market. Next, UBS lands in Federal court and agrees to give up the names of tens of thousands of US customers who thought they had a secret offshore tax dodge. Makes me wonder if the Gnomes of Zurich are the type of folks that would have somebody whacked for messing up their business.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Newt is History

The Chronicle reported this week that the fundamentalists on the State Board of Education want high schoolers to learn about Newt Gingrich.

“Texas high school students would learn about such significant individuals and milestones of conservative politics as Newt Gingrich and the rise of the Moral Majority — but nothing about liberals — under the first draft of new standards for public school history textbooks.”

This could be fun. Every American History teacher would eventually have to answer the question “is it true that Newt Gingrich married his high school math teacher?”

And “is it true that he cheated on his first wife with his second wife, and that he cheated on his second wife with his third wife?”

This is not about philandering, it’s about hypocrisy. These dumb torys want to elect this guy president. He was doing all this screwing around while he led the House that impeached Bill Clinton over sex.

They should stick to Adam and Eve and the dinosaurs.

Friday Fishing Report

The 5-10 knot winds forecasted turned out to be 10-15, and from the SW, so the surf was sandy green and choppy, but I decided to give it a try before I bailed and went for another spot out of the wind. It was high tide and just past sunrise.

Baits been plentiful in the surf so I had passed the bait camps and counted on the castnet.
The 2 to 3 foot waves made this challenging, but I finally rustled up a bucket full of mullet and waded in to fish. I soon got rolfed pretty good by the waves. Working in waist-deep water meant that an occasional wave would slap me right in the face, and if you were to turn your back on the waves, a big one might sneak up and knock you over.

I lost a landing net to the surf, and a pair of needlenose, but soon landed a fat speckled trout. They started coming faster, and I had four by eight o’clock. Next I hooked a bull red who kept me busy about five minutes before he broke off right at my feet. The next fish was a red too, and he looked like a keeper. I had lost my fish-gage taped on my landing net so I hustled back to my car where I had a yardstick. Nineteen inches; one inch short of the 20”-28” slot, so instead of going on ice this fish got to swim away too.

And that was it except for one ladyfish, which was fun because they jump so much when you hook ‘em. By then I was tired and hungry so I drove up Broadway to 38th street and had a good cheap desayuno con huevos y chorizo. After breakfast I went back to the beach to fish the Solunar peak from 12:30 to 1:00. Screwed up by taking my shirt off while I netted up some bait. I ended up throwing the net almost an hour to get a few baits and by then I was sunburned. I flogged it for half an hour without a bite and packed it up. All in all another great day in Galveston. Look for me there next Friday, weather permitting.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chupacabra report

News that gets my goat..

The Marketplace program on NPR had a story today from the Journal of the American Medical Association about the marketing of the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil, which has been given to millions of teen-aged girls to protect them against the human papillomavirus.

“Yesterday, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that there are side-effects from the vaccine. Nothing terribly unusual. But the Journal did find something unusual in the marketing of the vaccine. The article says three professional medical associations, or PMAs, talked up the benefits of Gardasil and downplayed the side effects, just like Merck's own marketing campaign to introduce the vaccine. The mission of PMAs is really education, writing guidelines. Not just promoting a product. That's what happened here was this blurring that went on.

“A Merck spokesperson declined to be interviewed for this story. The company acknowledges putting up the money for educational materials. Though Merck says there were no strings attached, and it never told the medical associations what to say. But the article's authors say that's still a conflict of interest.”

-Conflict of interest? JAMA could have found that in Texas two years ago when Governor Rick Perry ordered that all sixth-grade girls in Texas get the shot. He went the executive order route knowing that he could never get such a bill past the trogs in his Texas Legislature, even with a parental preference/religious (loon) opt-out included. Why would no-choice, no-stemcell, no-CHIP expansion Perry suddenly be so proactive on a public health issue? Would it be because Gardasil manufacturer Merck hired his ex-chief of staff Mike Toomey as a lobbyist? Or was it because Merck PAC made a $6,000 contribution to Perry’s campaign fund?

At least he didn’t give them a boatload of cash from his Texas Enterprise (slush)Fund.

The Armed Citizen

Man shoots at electricutility worker

Police: He thought worker was a burglar

Published : Tuesday, 18 Aug 2009, 3:31 PM

DALLAS (AP) - Police said an elderly Dallas homeowner opened fire on an electric utility employee replacing meters after suspecting the worker was trying to break into his home.

According to a Dallas Police Department statement, the Oncor utility worker was hit by flying splinters Tuesday morning when one of the shotgun rounds hit a wooden post.

Paramedics examined the worker, but he was not taken to a hospital.

Police said the worker knocked on the 79-year-old man's door but got no answer. He went to the rear of the house and used a ladder to climb a fence to get access to the meter.

Police said the homeowner, thinking the worker was breaking in, fired several shotgun blasts through the back door.

They are questioning him and likely will refer the case to a Dallas County grand jury .

Health Care, Energy, and the Sausage Factory

I’m getting discouraged at the prospects for healthcare reform legislation. Always thought this issue would get legs, being not only a classic “pocketbook issue,” but truly, a matter of life and death.

Not seeing that. And I don’t think I’m mistaking the fringe for the mainstream. This is not a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease; it’s a matter of the worst wheel on the cart making the most noise. Doesn’t matter. When the people and the insurance companies come before Congress, the insurance companies win. Like with the banks.

The action list for those who would wrest this country back from soulless corporations and their greedhead minions includes campaign finance and media concentration, but it starts with education, and we know that it’s not getting any smarter out there.

Just as the cap and trade energy bill that emerged from the House falls short of promising meaningful reductions in carbon emissions; a healthcare system administered by the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical companies will never bring us universal coverage at an affordable price.

I got a message today inviting me to submit a question for President Obama’s Health Care Forum on Thursday. I replied..

Many of us watching are less than thrilled with what we see coming out of “the sausage factory.” Might you veto an unacceptable bill and ask Americans to send you a better Congress next year?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Famous Socialists of the U. K.

The discoveries of healing science must be the inheritance of all. That is clear. Disease must be attacked, whether it occurs in the poorest or the richest man or woman simply on the ground that it is the enemy; and it must be attacked just in the same way as the fire brigade will give its full assistance to the humblest cottage as readily as to the most important mansion. Our policy is to create a national health service in order to ensure that everybody in the country, irrespective of means, age, sex, or occupation, shall have equal opportunities to benefit from the best and most up-to-date medical and allied services available.
-Winston Churchill in 1944, speaking in favor of Briton’s National Health Service

Dancing With Trolls

That's right folks, ABC has announced that Tom DeLay will compete on the new Dancing With The Stars. He got mixed up with the show a couple of years ago when the "family values" contestant he was campaigning for withdrew because of some sex scandal in the family. We can only hope Der Hammer finds his very own banana peel. Like Juanita says, he's just a shiver looking for a back to run up.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Good Day at the Beach

Got to East Beach a little before noon to make the peak time from the Solunar table. Netted up some bait and had a keeper trout on the first cast. Surf was flat and the water was green off the second sandbar. I caught and released six twenty-some inch specs in the next hour or so before it slowed down.
I been waitin’ for this. There were schools of little croakers in the surf today. One of these days it’ll be shrimp, maybe with pompano chasing ‘em.Whoo-hoo!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Giants of the GOP

-from Calvin Coolidge..

“When people are bewildered they tend to become credulous.”

“Never go out to meet trouble. If you just sit still, nine cases out of ten, someone will intercept it before it reaches you.”

“The business of America is business.”

“No man ever listened himself out of a job.”

“I have never been hurt by what I have not said.”

“I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.”

“If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it.”

“You can't know too much, but you can say too much.”

“You know, I have found out in the course of a long public life that the things I did not say never hurt me.”

“When a great many people are unable to find work, unemployment results.”

“When large numbers of men are unable to find work, unemployment results.”

“When more and more people are thrown out of work, unemployment results.”

“The government of the United States is a device for maintaining in perpetuity the rights of the people, with the ultimate extinction of all privileged classes.”

Over at

Subject: Government run Death Panels

Sarah Palin is concerned about older people having to appear in front of a government "death panel" describing it as "downright evil". I suppose as a Republican she would want privately held corporate death panels.

Oh wait! We have that already. It's called the insurance industry. Except you don't get to appear, you just get denied.

I think what is downright evil is what the insurance companies are doing to America.

-Marc Perkel

Subject: death panels

We already have death panels. Every insurance company has one. They call him/her The Medical Director.

The one who says you are denied coverage because a kidney transplant is "experimental" or that you have reached their imposed "cap" on treatment. They are the real death panels, and they get paid very well for making their "informed" decisions.

- Nanci the Paralegal

I would rather my death panelists be politicians that can be fired by the voters rather than a Rethug who gets a bonus everytime he saves the company money by denying somebody's rightful claim.

That's one reason we had the housing crisis. If you give some realtor $10K each time they rook some young couple into an A.R.M. that realtor is going to get rich and hundreds of homes will be reclaimed by the bank 6 months later.


The Institute Of Medicine ( estimates that 22,000 Americans die every year because they lack health insurance.

-Charly Hoarse

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Giants of the GOP

From Warren Gamaliel Harding:

"I am not fit for this office and never should have been here."

“My God, this is a hell of a job! I can take care of my enemies all right. But my friends, my God-damn friends, they're the ones that keep me walking the floor nights!"

“I don't know what to do or where to turn in this taxation matter. Somewhere there must be a book that tells all about it, where I could go to straighten it out in my mind. But I don't know where the book is, and maybe I couldn't read it if I found it.”

“I don't know much about Americanism, but it's a damn good word with which to carry an election.”

Chupacabra Report

-News that Gets My Goat

The one-page editorial section of today’s Houston Chronicle Lite has, along with a single editorial touting Rice’s first place quality-of-life rank from The Princeton Review, a column from The New York Time’s Thomas Friedman, two letters, and a Bible verse; a column from former Texas Rep. Joe Nixon entitled “Plaintiff’s bar following wrong path.”

In it Nixon decries the trial attorney’s “big government agenda,” for a “country founded upon the principle that individual rights are greater than the rights of government,” that “Congress is leading us away from the rights of individuals” with their “affiliation with the liberal agenda.” He states that our system “centers on the rights of the individual to be protected in his person and property,” but that “public officials now advocate increasing the rights of the state by diminishing the rights of the individual.”

-Sheesh! I’ve read and re-read this thousand word piece and still can’t make out what he’s trying to say. He seems to be using some newfangled random jargon generator. I think it’s about the rights of individual insurance companies, and of insurance companies in general. He finally states that limits on medical malpractice awards in Texas have cut doctor’s malpractice insurance rates in half, although the Texas State Insurance Dept. says the figure is 25%, and the New York Times reports a 21% decrease. Not a word about how Texans harmed by medical malpractice now have trouble getting compensation because attorneys are reluctant to take on these expensive cases for a cut of a maximum award of $250,000.

You see Joe Nixon, before he was fired by Texas voters, was the representative from the insurance industry. He wrote the 2003 tort reform bill that restricted access to the courts and limited malpractice awards. He served as counsel for the Utica Lloyds of Texas Insurance group. (Legislators are sought for legal teams because they can get you an automatic court stay while the Lege is in session.) In 2002, Nixon received a $300,000 settlement on a mold claim from Farmers Insurance while he was carrying legislation to help insurance companies deny mold claims!

If The Chronicle wants to let Joe Nixon shill for the insurance industry, they ought to label it a “paid advertisement” like they do those ads for Amish Fireplaces or The Franklin Mint.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Giants of the GOP

Coming soon to the liquiddaddy blogspot.
Collect all seven: Dopey, Slappy, Spermy,
Greedy, Buggy, Testy, and Crock.
Get 'em here at Zippidy Doo Da.

Giants of the GOP

“According to the Louisville Courier Journal, the Thomas E. Dewey campaign can be boiled down to these historic sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. The future lies ahead.”

-from David Halberstam’s “The Coldest Winter”

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Vote for Justice Sotomayor

Yesterday I heard that 28 Senate Republicans were planning to vote against the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Today I heard the number was up to thirty. Why are they opposed to Judge Sotomayor, a top legal scholar who has the most Federal Court experience of any nominee in the past 100 years? Mrs. Hoarse told me that the senators might not want to vote against a Hispanic, or a woman, but they were more afraid of voting against the NRA.

I’m OK with that; it reminds me of when Tom DeLay was Whip in the House. Sometimes he would count votes and decide that he had too many Democrats voting for a bill, so they would go back and change the bill until the Democrats would vote against it and he could then use that vote against them in the next election.

I know the NRA has four million members and can spend ten million dollars any election year. I’m willing to concede those votes to the Tories for the foreseeable future and play for the other one-hundred and thirty million American voters. Many of us own guns and love to hunt and shoot, but don’t necessarily believe that Big Brother is coming to pry our guns from our cold dead fingers.

Many of us are more concerned about the thirty-thousand gun deaths in the U.S. every year.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

They walk among us..

You may have been seeing news reports of angry mobs shouting down Democratic congressmen holding townhall meetings on health care reform. It looks a lot like the teabagger crowd crossed with the rioters that stopped the Florida recounts in 2000. My first reaction is that these are poor unfortunate ignos duped into opposing their own interests; “Chickens for Colonel Sanders.”

But it’s not like that. Turns out that when you spend $1.4 million per day protecting your obscene profit margins, as America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (pHarma) do, it’s no problem to muster a flash mob that can drown out reasonable discourse.

One of these phony grassroots or, “Astroturf” operations is the Coalition to Protect Patient’s Rights, founded by Rick Scott. Scott was head of Colombia/HCA insurance in the 1990’s until he was ousted by the board of directors after the company was found guilty of fraud and paid $1.7 billion in fines. They are managed by the Washington lobbyists The DCI Group, who organized “smokers rights” groups for the tobacco companies to fight tobacco regulations, and worked for ExxonMobil disputing climate science.

FreedomWorks is another Astroturf outfit behind the latest noise. Chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and funded in part by billionaire Steve Forbes, they orchestrated last April’s “tea parties.”(Forgive me but I don’t think that I should pay the same “flat” tax rate as Steve Forbes, heir to gay billionaire Malcolm Forbes’ fortune.)

“FreedomWorks in summer of 2009 began pursuing an aggressive strategy to create the image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform at Congressmembers' town-hall meetings in their districts. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website "Tea Party Patriots," describes how members should infiltrate town hall meetings and harass and intimidate Democratic members of Congress:

“Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up ... You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep's presentation. Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep's statements early. If he blames Bush for something or offers other excuses -- call him on it, yell back and have someone else follow-up with a shout-out ... The goal is to rattle him ..."
(From )

In “Naked Lunch,” William S. Burroughs wrote of latahs, zombie-like people who could be assembled into crowds that could then be induced to demonstrate or riot.

And I thought it was fiction.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Chupacabra Report

News that gets my goat..

Court gives Santeria priest OK to sacrifice goats

By LINDA STEWART BALL Associated Press Writer © 2009
July 31, 2009, 7:18P

DALLAS — A federal appeals court reversed a lower court's ruling on Friday that barred a Santeria priest from sacrificing goats in his Texas home, saying a city's decision to prohibit the ritual violated the man's religious rights.

Jose Merced, 46, accuses the city of Euless, Texas, of trampling on his constitutional right to religious exercise. The city claims the sacrifices jeopardize public health and violate its slaughterhouse and animal cruelty ordinances.

Last year, U.S. District Judge John McBryde sided with the Fort Worth suburb and dismissed the Puerto Rico native's claims. Merced appealed.

In its ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the Euless ordinance placed a substantial burden on Merced's "free exercise of religion without advancing a compelling governmental interest using the least restrictive means."

"It's a great day for religious freedom in Texas," said Eric Rassbach, Merced's lawyer, in response to the three-judge panel's ruling.

Merced said by practicing his faith in the privacy of his own home, he didn't harm anyone.

"Now Santeros can practice their religion at home without being afraid of being fined, arrested or taken to court," Merced said.

Euless city attorney, William McKamie, said he plans to file a motion for a rehearing.

"We respectfully believe that it's an incorrect finding on the purpose of application of the Texas Religious Freedom Act," McKamie said.

In court papers, Rassbach described Santeria as an Afro-Cuban religion with a complex ritual for ordaining priests, including the sacrifice of up to nine four-legged animals, such as lambs or goats, up to 20 chickens or other fowl and a turtle.

Merced said police officers interrupted a ceremony at his home in September 2004 and told him to stop slaughtering animals. Police warned him again in May 2006 after a neighbor complained about a gathering at the house.

Merced asked the city for a permit to slaughter animals at his home but was told the practice was prohibited. He said he hasn't been able to initiate any new priests in the past three years.

Euless attorneys have said the ordinances outlawing animal sacrifices were passed before Merced's arrival in 1990 and don't discriminate against any individual or group. McKamie also said Merced isn't equipped to handle many animals on his property or dispose of them in a sanitary way.