[This year, in addition to recognizing its Texan of the Year (which will come this Friday), the Texas Progressive Alliance elected to recognize a number of other Texans who have contributed to Texas politics and the Progressive cause during 2007. This week, leading up to the TOY announcement, we bring you our Texas Progressive Alliance Gold Stars (one each day through Thursday). Yesterday, we recognized Denise Davis. Monday, it was Rick & Melissa Noriega. Our Silver Stars, announced last week, may be found here.]
Molly Ivins. Had Molly Ivins been born in 1984 instead of 1944, she might have been a modern-day blogger. Instead, she was an award-winning, best selling journalist, columnist and author. A Texan, a progressive, a feminist, and a survivor, Molly Ivins passing earlier this year marked the end of an era for Texans and those who loved her fiery, populist brand. Molly Ivins gave progressives a prominent, national, voice.
In honoring someone as distinguished as the late, great Molly Ivins, sometimes it's best to do so in someone else's words. In this case, Molly's:
I used to say, having once been a card-carrying Sixties radical, that if I had to be called a liberal, I’d just as soon be the worst kind of liberal--a bleeding heart. I wound up being a liberal because I was for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam and that’s what I got called. I missed the New Deal and McCarthyism and all that good business.
I’ve got more important things to worry about--three-year-old kids getting raped and denied admission to a hospital because their mamas don’t have any money and things like that. I carry neither grief nor guilt for the many sins of liberals past and present: there’s too much to bleed over. And laugh over.
Indeed, Molly Ivins. Indeed. For this and more, we name you a Texas Progressive Alliance 2007 Gold Star.
OK, I've had enough of the damned catalogs and credit offers overflowing my mail box each day. My shredder wants a break.
Here are some links you can use to remove yourself from the mailing lists of the tree-killers:
Pre-screened / pre-approved Credit offers and Insurance solicitations: https://www.optoutprescreen.com/ This lets you opt-out under the Fair Credit Reporting act. The 4 major credit bureaus will remove your name from their solicitation lists and you should start to see fewer offers within just weeks. You can snail-mail a letter to permanently opt-out, or you can do it online and it lasts for 5 years. It doesn't prevent you from obtaining credit, but it does put a stop to pre-approved offers. Very Effective. Cost: FREE
Catalogs and other crap: https://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/ This is the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service. Registration costs $1 by credit card. Can take 60 to 90 days Cost: $1
All-in-One: https://www.41pounds.org/subscribe/ 41Pounds.Org charges you for a subscription. You give them all of your information and pay for the service, and they take care of the rest. A portion of the cost goes to a charity you choose. Cost: $41
http://www.proquo.com/ ProQuo (beta) Lets you select various companies that mail you junk like coupon packs and the like, and will remove you from their lists. Cost: FREE
Whether you give a crap about the environment or conservation at all, junk mail costs you time and effort and can compromise your privacy. Try out these services and see if the volume of mail decreases. If you have other links for stopping junk mail, please post them!
For Christmas, my kids (boys - 7 and 8) have been begging for Air Hogs "Havoc Helecopters" (Or as they call them "Hydro Heli's" - whatever) Anyhow, we went down to Georgetown this past weekend to visit my mother, and it turns out that she bought my kids the "Reflex" helecopter by Air Hogs - which she gave them early. See below for some video that's pretty representative of flight after you've practiced for 30 minutes or so:
Anyway, I can honestly say that this thing is the first FUN toy my kids have gotten that I really wanted to play with. We've enjoyed playing with these as a family.
You fly them in the house. They crash into walls and stuff, but the blades just fold back out of the way. Each one comes with two extra blades. So far, we've used one spare blade each in two days of play. The batteries on board the helicopter are lightweight rechargeable lithium, and they really last for a reasonable amount of flying time. They recharge with the provided AC power adapter. The remote control uses a 9 volt battery which is included. The body of the helicopter is lightweight high density polystyrene foam. There is no assembly required, and the only parts that can detach are the rotor blades.
So far, my seven-year-old is the best at flying them. We have two of them, each a different color, and each operating on a different remote control frequency. You can operate two at once.
The control is pretty simple. You have a throttle for the main rotor - you want to go easy on it or the thing will rocket up straight into the ceiling and crash down on you. You have a thruster control that provides forward, backward, and yaw by operating two little thruster fans on the side of the helicopter. There is a trim dial on the top rotor that allows you to cancel out any autorotation. Unlike a real helicopter that has one rotor for lift and a tail rotor to cancel spin, this helicopter has two rotors that turn opposite each other on concentric shafts.
I would think this should be a a lot of fun for most boys of any age. I'm 36 and I had a blast with this. In fact, I was wishing that I had my own so I wouldn't have to beg the kids to play with theirs.
The only downside is that after a crash, or a particularly hard landing, you do need to click the blades back into place quite often.
My next door neighbors have goats in their house. I'm dead certain of it. One day soon, I'm going to do something about it. Why is it always up to me to handle the goat families?
You see, back in 2003, a family moved in, and I knew from the moment I saw them that they were goat people. Damn dirty hippies.... I tried to be nice. I went to the neighborhood association and tried to get them kicked out. When that didn't work, I put flyers on all of the houses. I hired a private investigator, but the hippies got to him first and he turned on me, actually saying that there were never any goats. I fired his ass. I went through several investigators that way. But I kept my resolve. After those other goat people across town started a fight that injured several people, I knew that times had changed, and if nobody would stand up to them, I would.
So first, I poisoned their children. Then I put a whole bag of sugar in their gas tank and flattened all four tires. I got the neighbor's kids to help me out and we went over and beat them all senseless. Then we burned their house to the ground. OK, four of the neighbor's kids were severely burned, but goat people represent a serious problem. You can't just have livestock in the neighborhood. Especially goats. They look like the devil.
But that was then, and this is now. Today, I think my other neighbors have goats. After all, they look like goat people too, and they live next door to where the other ones did.
Did I mention the goat inspectors? Yes, I sent goat inspectors, and they turned them away. They insist they aren't trying to obtain goats and they don't have goats. I think they're being just a bit defensive. They look guilty as hell.
This week, when I went down to make my weekly police report, the normal gatekeeper wasn't there, and I got to speak to a detective. He told me that right around the time that the first goat family's house burned down four years ago, they had investigated and found that new goat people had supposedly given up their plans of getting goats.
SEE, MY VIGILANCE IS WORKING! As long as you're firm with these goat people, and you have some kids who will work cheap, and you keep all options are on the table, you can prevent goats in your neighborhood.
[3:01:34 PM] Jack1961 says: dude, I just found a million $$ bill in the parking lot, AND some lady from Africa wants to pay me $7 million to help her move some money into the country. I'm SO out of here... [3:04:08 PM] txChainsaw8 says: Man, u are so lucky. [3:04:50 PM] Jack1961 says: I must be living right! [3:05:26 PM] Jack1961 says: shit.. now I'll have to become Republican. [3:06:13 PM] txChainsaw8 says: You will also need guns. Lots of guns. [3:06:51 PM] Jack1961 says: I'll take my million dollar bill down to the gun store and get started. [3:08:13 PM] txChainsaw8 says: You will also need a Hummer to carry all your guns and money. [3:13:29 PM] Jack1961 says: I'm definitely going to skip that whole "cruising bathrooms" thing though.
My wife and I just suffered through what must have been the 493rd Republican debate. Aside from agreeing with each other that Tom Tancredo reminds us of Mr. Roper from TV's "Three's Company", we did find just a few points on which we agreed with a candidate:
Huckabee: Jesus was too smart to run for public office. Tancredo: With the deficits we have and spending out of control, we don't need to spend money on a manned mission to Mars. Hunter: You shouldn't throw shotguns. Also he wouldn't pledge to Grover Norquist not to ever raise taxes, citing the possibility of national emergency. McCain: Waterboarding is torture, it's illegal, and America should not do it. Paul: The best thing we can do for Iraq is to give them their country back. Romney: Some parts of the Bible are allegorical. Giuliani: The right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. Thompson: (referring to a CG animation of Dick Cheney) For a second there, I thought that was me.
All in all it was entertaining. I think Huckabee and McCain were the winners here, in that they came across slightly less crazy and brainwashed than the others.
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.