If you read this website with any regularity, you probably know that I will vote for the Democratic nominee in the 2008 presidential election. That's a given.
Unlike many of my blogger colleagues, I've held off on endorsing anyone for the Democratic nomination thus far. But I just got an interesting email from Robert Novak that contradicts what I've heard up to this point: He mentions a new Zogby poll that says Hillary Clinton loses to any major Republican candidate, while John Edwards and Barack Obama each beat any Republican candidate.
As a Texan, and more importantly a former Republican who used to throw food at the television when Hillary or her husband came on, I've known from the beginning that there's just no way in hell that Hillary gets more than a smattering of support down here.
From where I sit, I think Hillary's biggest problem is her personality and demeanor. To me, I think her policies will be as corporatist as George W. Bush, and I just can't understand why any true progressive would get behind her. But that's debatable, I suppose. What would be very difficult for her to change is that she comes across as a very insincere person - a typical politician that won't say anything without polls and focus groups approving it. Frankly, if Hillary told me the sky was blue, or water is wet, I'm afraid my first instinct would be to go check. It doesn't mean she couldn't make a good president. I just haven't seen enough to give me any confidence of that. When I look for her to show a passion for something - anything - all I can determine is that she really, really wants to be president. Everything else she says is so scripted and polished that I just can't tell if she's sincere. Perhaps it's her patronizing vocal inflection that just grates on my nerves. That being said, I'd vote for her 1000 times before I'd vote for any of the Republican candidates.
The two guys who I think would make the best President and have the best chance of uniting the country and doing what's right regardless of the partisan angles: Joe Biden and Chris Dodd. That's right, the two old white guys with grey hair. Sorry, but so far they seem to show the most depth of knowledge and experience. I believe they understand the issues and have the most experience with working in the real world - not the partisan utopias that each side envisions. Both of these guys has proven experience reaching across the aisle and into the international community to get things done.
You get to know a lot about your family members when you're cooped up with them in a tiny cabin on vacation. This Thanksgiving all of the extended family traveled to Lake Whitney, TX where we all sat around eating and drinking and talking in our tiny rooms. It was mostly fun, but Hank got on my last nerve.
Let me tell you about Hank. First off, his hygiene: He has terrible halitosis and B.O. He smells like Fritos on a good day, and he always sits too close. He never changes clothes or does laundry. In fact, he doesn't do shit. He sits around on his a$# all day, and then wants to go out at night. He has no job and no responsibilities - no children. He never brings any food or drink but will always eat or drink as much as he can of whatever you have. He didn't pay for his own accommodations, so he stayed with us.
Another gross thing: He has an extremely hairy back. And he likes to lay on your bed, and whenever he does it, you get his damn back hair all over the place.
He insisted on being served his meals and didn't get up to lift a finger. It goes without saying he didn't volunteer to wash any dishes. When we asked for help, he didn't say shit. When my brother came over and hung out for a couple of hours and spent time with Hank, Hank didn't say thanks. Nope - Hank just bitched and whined when Zach left.
Hank smacks his food, dropping crumbs all over the floor and breathing heavily. He thinks nothing about picking up food that's dropped on the floor and inhaling it. He sneezes without covering his nose and mouth.
He tries to dominate everything. He wants to be the center of attention. He has no concept of time. He leaves shit outside. When he wants something, he wants it now. He barks out orders like a drill sergeant. He'll raise his voice no matter what time of the day or night, or whether people are trying to sleep. He'll walk in on you when you're trying to go to the bathroom, and won't apologize. He'll pee outside even if people are around - even if nobody's in the bathroom.
Thursday night, when I was trying to go to sleep - a deep tryptophan-induced food coma - Hank kept bugging me to go out with him. I told him no several times, so he came up and was punching me in the chest, insisting that I go out with him.
One of the worst, most embarrassing things about Hank is that he's just so damn inappropriate. He puts his hand on people's knees. I've caught him sniffing underwear. He's an unintentional exhibitionist, and he randomly gets very noticeable erections, such as when he was dancing around the room with my boys. Late at night when the lights are off and he thinks we're sleeping, you can hear him pleasuring himself, and sometimes he'll do it several times a night, even after you've asked him to knock it off.
So, as I was laying in bed, thinking about it, I said out loud to Hank: "You're an a$#h0le!" My wife just laughed her head off. "That's absurd," she said. "Why?" I asked. "How can a DOG be an A#$h0le?" she asked.
Well, he may be a good dog, and I do love him as a family member, but I think he qualifies as an a#$h01e. Some dog lovers would say "Dogs are people too!" Thank God that's not true, or Hank would be in jail.
Despite the Dallas Morning News article claiming the Texas Railroad Commission is stepping up Barnett Shale inspections, an injection well in N. TX remains seriously out of compliance. TXsharon has pictures, history and solutions at Bluedaze.
Once upon a time, in a freaky science laboratory far, far away lived two mice: Scratchy and Sniffy. They lived in a maze, and each day they would wake up and put on their headbands, wristbands, and leotards and run through the maze looking for cheese. Scratchy and Sniffy were both dumber than a sack of hammers, but they had good instincts. Also in this maze lived two tiny mouse-sized pixie people: Darrell, and The Other Darrell. Darrell was lactose intolerant, and the other Darrell was just a rude bastard. Both Darrells would get up every morning and ride their little Segway scooters through the maze looking for cheese. Boy did they love cheese, but cheese did not love Darrell.
Usually whenever the mice and Darrells would get their fill of maze cheese, they’d sit around drinking beer, telling “no-shit” stories, and lighting firecrackers. Occasionally one of the Darrells or one of the mice would float a silent-but-deadly air biscuit, and they would all have to clear out and go back to their rooms amid a chorus of “Aw man!” and “It wasn’t me this time”.
But one day, they all discovered that someone had replaced their regular cheese with lactose-free cheese. Darrell would no longer fart, so the other Darrell had to learn to control himself, because he could no longer have plausible cover to deny his own farts.
Because there were no more room-clearing buttsplosions, the Darrells and the mice could now drink beer, throw lawn darts, and play Dungeons and Dragons late into the night. They all became much closer friends and came to take their fresh air for granted. They would tell themselves: “My life is so good because I am a great conversationalist,” or “I am a likable person who is great to be around.”
Then one day, months later, their cheese was replaced once again with natural cheese that had lactose in it. As usual, the mice and the Darrells ate their day’s ration of cheese, and sat on the porch in cheese station 7 for some beer drinkin’, banjo pickin’, and hopscotch tournament. But it had been months since any of them had ingested any lactose. All of their bodies had given up the enzyme that breaks it down, and they had permanently all become lactose intolerant. Soon, Sniffy began to feel rumblings. Scratchy had some abdominal pain that he at first blamed on Darrell’s choice to bring Budweiser. Darrell knew what was going on because he had felt it before, long ago. The other Darrell just knew he needed to rip one, but he did not want to breech the peace.
All of the mice and pixies were in distress, but they all enjoyed each other’s company so much that nobody wanted to leave the room to go relieve the pressure in his bowels. So they all continued as if nothing happened, with each of them too timid to let one rip.
Scratchy’s cousin Felicia showed up that night with a sack of tacos from Taco Bell, but the other Darrell didn’t see the bag. As soon as he smelled the pungent taco meat, he let one rip. Figuring that he had cover since someone else had obviously farted, and because there were now five of them.
Seconds later, Scratchy, Sniffy, and Darrell all caught the first whiff of Darrell’s green cloud. “Thank God,” they all said to themselves as they each broke wind thinking that they had cover. But soon, Felicia said “You guys are gross!” before she began to choke. Then the mice and Darrells began to inhale the full wrath of their collective poison puffs. Each of them knew that they had been the one to fart, but knew or thought that someone else did too. “Who Cut the Cheese?!?!?” they all exclaimed.
They stayed the rest of the night, with eyes watering and noses burning, continuing their normal beer drinking, Wii playing, and whittling. But they were all miserable and sick and angry at each other.
This went on for days, and eventually Scratchy and Sniffy decided to leave when the farting began and just go back home to their cages. “Why should we stick around and smell Darrell’s ass?” they said.
But Darrell was angry. “Why did this happen to us?” he asked. “I deserve fresh air,” said the other Darrell. “Any day now, they’ll probably put back our lactose-free cheese,” said Darrell. They both felt they had a right to continue their lifestyle, and they would suffer until it came back.
Eventually, things got so bad one day that Darrell had to leave cheese station 7 to get some fresh air. As his lungs expanded with the clean air, he felt a rush of exhilaration and so he got out his Sharpie and wrote on the wall: “Breathing in solitude is better than suffering in the company of rude a-holes.”
He went back to cheese station 7 and told the other Darrell: “You need to go out and get some fresh air!” But Darrell said “I can’t do that! I need to catch the end of Glenn Beck’s show, and then Nancy Grace is coming on.”
Darrell knew right then that he had to make a decision. He decided that hanging out with Darrell watching Glenn Beck was gonna suck. So he left cheese station 7 for good.
Each night when Scratchy, Sniffy, and Darrell finished eating their cheese, they would go for a “nature walk” around the maze. And when I say “nature walk”, I don’t mean looking at plants and rocks and things. I mean walking and letting nature take its course. They all discovered that they could easily walk along, drinking beer, throwing rocks, and cracking dirty jokes and have just as much fun as before. And as they would fart, the cloud would move away, and they almost never smelled it.
The other Darrell just sat around in his own stench and was miserable. He no longer had his friends to hang out with, but he held onto the idea that some day the lactose free cheese would come back and his friends would come back, and they’d all hang out drinking beer, knitting, and break-dancing again.
Darrell tried to comfort himself by drinking beer, playing solitaire, and lighting farts. Unfortunately, his last action would be to blow himself and cheese station 7 into smithereens by lighting a fart. The other Darrell wrote on the wall with his sharpie: “He who lit it, bit it.”
And they all lived happily ever after. (Except Darrell)
In House Speaker Tom Craddick's West Texas district, there are two new restaurants - Cracker Barrels - that have yet to open although they were finished much earlier this year.
"Neither have opened because they can't hire anybody out there," Craddick, R-Midland, said Tuesday.
That, he said, is why education should be one of the key issues coming before state lawmakers during the 2009 session of the Texas Legislature.
"If you don't have education, the chamber can go out and solicit companies," Craddick said. "But there's nobody to do the work."
Wow. Really Tom? REALLY? Do I even need to spell out why that's the dumbest statement I've heard in a long time? Were you aware that your ass was talking?
Maybe Speaker "Cracker Barrel" Craddick is up to the challenge. It would actually be a pay raise from the legislator's salary, but it doesn't come with a nice apartment.
Sorry folks, I thought perhaps I'd gotten the "Texas Dim Bulb Awards" out of my system, but Tom Craddick wins one for this month by acclamation. (Nobody do anything 'tarded for the rest of the month, OK?) As Molly used to say, our legislators certainly are a good source of entertainment.
Oh, and thanks Phillip for mentioning Cracker Barrel. I haven't been there in a long time, so I went out tonight and got pinto beans and turnip greens. Mmmm... (Why does it smell like old people in there?)
So here I am this week in Piqua, Ohio. I arrived at my two-star hotel last night to discover that it's attached to a mall. Unless you count the multi-hour ordeals known as "shopping with grandma" that I went through as a child at the Lake Air mall back in Waco, I've never slept at a mall before.
As I was settling in last night, evaluating the toilet facilities, I discovered another wonderful thing about this hotel: It's apparently about 75 yards from very active set of train tracks. When the first horn blew, I pretty much came out of my seat. The third or fourth train of the night came just as I was falling asleep.
Oh yeah, the wireless internet here is spotty too. Isn't it great that it's 2007 and I can bitch about spotty wireless connections? When I was out in this area in 2002, there wasn't squat.
Tonight I walked around downstairs in the relatively small mall. It was less annoying than usual, I think due to the lack of an Abercrombie and Fitch store.
Oh, and it's raining outside, and the TV is getting shitty reception. Feel sorry for me!
Xanthippas at Three Wise Mensays be on the look out for how credit card and home mortgage lenders will screw you by making you pay debts you don't actually owe.
Muse finds herself in the middle of a massive police presence and wonders if she has wandered into a manhunt. Nah, not an escaped convict, just W in town to get slobbered on by his lapdog, John Cornyn, at a fundraiser.
I wish I could find a link for this online, but I guess you'll just have to take my word on it. I was watching CNN this morning and they had a segment on E.O.D. (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) technicians in Iraq. These guys are the ones who disable or destroy roadside bombs and IEDs before they can harm innocent people.
Anyhow, they were showing some of the IEDs that the team had been able to disarm and confiscate. Most of them looked like artillery shells. One setup they showed appeared to be an improvised rocket launcher composed of angle-iron attached to what appeared to be a car jack. As the soldier expressed his opinion that the weapons were surely coming from Iran, the camera zoomed in on the ordnance, which was printed on the outside in typical military style: "Rocket" and "H.E" and so forth - in English.
So again, I'm not saying that Iran is an innocent bystander here, but wouldn't one expect Iranian weapons to be printed in Russian or Farsi? Where would these weapons have originated? What English-speaking country would have supplied weapons to Iran?
It really sucks that the Bush Administration has been so untruthful in the past that one has to look with extreme skepticism on any reports like this which the administration might use to garner support for a pre-emptive strike on Iran.
Briefly, we won this one for freedom. (Lewisville Leader...)(Dallas Morning News...) Well, sort of. The good news is that the majority of the council believes the ordinance was just too intrusive on property rights. The bad news is that just about everyone in attendance at the City Council meeting this past Monday night, myself included, agrees that some areas of Lewisville have really congested streets due to too many cars being parked on the street.
Now, I don't think it is fair for someone like me to go before the council and shoot down an idea like that without at least trying to offer some ideas on other possible solutions to the problem. So, I spent some time during my lunch hour earlier this week doing some brainstorming on possible ideas. Download the MS Word document here.
My favorite ideas, briefly, are: - Mail citizens in affected neighborhoods (perhaps with the water bill) and ask for voluntary compliance. - Solicit citizen involvement in a “Congestion task force.”
There are lots of other ideas, but there really is no slam dunk.
I want to say publicly, that I'm impressed by the amount of thought and effort put into researching and ultimately rejecting the garage conversion ban. There definitely were good reasons on both sides, and it was a tough call.
Not to beat a dead horse, but I want to address a point made by Councilman Tierney. I'm paraphrasing here, but basically he said something along the lines of this: Since the city already has an ordinance requiring garages for new home construction, if we allow conversions - then there is a conflict. I disagree. Requiring garages on new construction means there is a very good chance that at least one car will be parked there. Almost nobody building their own house would not want to build a garage, but builders might try to get away with it on small lots. We need that ordinance, and it's not an unfair infringement on property rights. Further, once a garage is built into a house, even if it's converted into a room, it is still structurally a garage and could in theory be converted back. It would be much more difficult to retrofit a garage where a bedroom used to be.
Tierney also asked rhetorically about whether a citizen could build just anything they wanted - like a shack or a tent to hold junk - and if not, why isn't that a violation of property rights.
My answer to that is that living in a city is always going to be a trade-off between freedom and the safety and comfort of residents and their neighbors. The trick is where to draw that line. The interests of the public must outweigh the interests of the property owner in a clear and compelling way. We just didn't have that in this case.